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The Lesser-Known Fox River State Penitentiary Blues

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Sam's hated this idea since the moment Dean came up with the stupid thing, and had he been more sensible, he thinks now, he'd have run far away before Dean had finished saying, "Okay, so first we get arrested." But they had a debt to repay, and people were dying, and Dean kept assuring him that it was okay, it was all going to be fine, he had a sure-fire escape plan in place.

After all they've been through, Sam thinks, they should probably have realised that nothing is sure-fire.

Here's the problem: the escape plan hinged on Deacon, and Deacon is dead. He suffered a mysterious heart attack hours after the Winchesters were admitted to his prison. With no way for them to avoid it, the date of their hearing has come and gone, and now they're both doing life in Fox River State Penitentiary.

There's no supernatural problem they need to solve at Fox River State Penitentiary. More importantly, they've got no way of getting out of Fox River State Penitentiary.

Sam is never going to forgive his brother. Ever.

-

Sam has a cell in the centre of the middle tier; he has been informed that it is a perfect placement and he should appreciate it, but somehow he can't bring himself to be especially grateful. The guard who escorted him was not reassuring. "Last guy here put in a request for a transfer. Fernando Sucre. Hope it wasn't the cellmate who drove him out, right?"

Sam's cellmate is sitting on the lower bunk, regarding him with an unreadable expression. He hasn't said a word since Sam arrived. Sam has been trying to ignore him, but eventually the reality of the situation filters through his mind; he could be here for a long time, and if he's going to be stuck in a confined space with some guy he should at least try to see whether there's a chance of getting along with him.

"Uh, hey," he says, awkwardly. He really, really doesn't know how people introduce themselves in prison. "I'm Sam. Um, Winchester."

"Michael Scofield," his cellmate says, with a very slight smile. His eyes don't move from Sam's even for a moment. It is beginning to make Sam feel distinctly uneasy. "What brings you here?"

Sam shrugs, looking at the tattoos winding down Scofield's arms so he doesn't have to focus on his penetrating gaze. "You know. Made some mistakes." He's half-expecting interrogation, aggression, and when it doesn't come he's encouraged enough to add, "Mainly listening to my brother."

"Your brother?" Scofield asks, looking slightly more interested. "Is he in here with you?"

Sam looks out through the bars of the door. Dean is standing at the front of one of the lower cells, watching him.

He looks back to find Scofield's eyes on him again, and he has the sudden realisation that this isn't just getting-to-know-you conversation. Scofield is collecting information on him, and he has already given away far too much. Sam doesn't know this man, doesn't know his motives, and he has just unthinkingly revealed his weak spot to him.

"No," he says.

From the way Scofield's eyes flick from Sam to Dean, it's obvious he knows it's a lie, and Sam's pretty sure he knows Sam knows he knows, but he seems to accept it as a signal that the conversation is over. "Good to meet you," he says, swinging his legs back onto his bunk.

They don't speak much after that. Sam paces the floor or sits on his bunk with his head in his hands, trying to think of some way of getting out of here, and then, when he fails to come up with a feasible plan, of every name he would like to call Dean right now. When he looks at the lower bunk, Scofield is usually examining his tattoos; he's taken his shirt off, and Sam can see that the intricate designs cover his entire torso. He's sometimes watching Sam, but his gaze feels more analytic than hostile, and when the lights go out Sam doesn't feel that he's about to be murdered in his sleep.

Scofield makes Sam uncomfortable, but he seems to keep to himself most of the time and he hasn't actually tried to scalp Sam or anything yet, so Sam supposes it could be worse.

-

Dean figures it's not a good sign when a passing inmate gives you a sympathetic look as you're being shepherded into your cell. His new roommate is a skinny guy with seriously alarming eyes, and he looks Dean up and down as the door closes behind him. And then licks his lips. Pointedly.

Okay, so Dean wants a transfer already. There's no way he's going to let himself look like he's running away this early in the game, though, so he pretends not to notice.

"T-Bag," the guy with crazy eyes says, holding out a hand.

"Winchester," Dean says, not taking it. Crazy Eyes smiles and folds his arms.

-

"How's your cellmate?" Dean asks Sam the next morning, when they're getting breakfast in the cafeteria.

"I hate you, Dean," Sam says.

"He can't be worse than mine," Dean says. "My one spent the whole time looking at me like I was a piece of meat. That he wanted to have sex with."

Sam looks at Dean in horror. "Promise me you'll never use a simile again."

-

Dean asks around the other prisoners as they're being led back into the building, hoping for reassurance that T-Bag isn't actually as creepy as he seems. He doesn't get it, and when he returns to his cell it's with the knowledge that he's sharing it with a serial rapist-murderer-necrophiliac.

When T-Bag, after looking at Dean for a while with a predatory expression, asks how he got landed in this place, Dean tells him about being convicted of torture, multiple murders, armed robbery. He neglects to mention that he didn't actually do any of those things. In fact, he throws a couple more murders in there, just to make sure T-Bag knows he's really not someone to be messed with.

T-Bag only smirks.

Yeah, Dean's going to miss being able to sleep. He tries to distract himself from T-Bag's presence by inspecting the bars, and then by sitting on his bunk and mentally listing all the dangerous creatures he knows and how to kill them. He looks out at Sam for a while, and when he looks back T-Bag is watching him, smiling, his lower lip between his teeth.

"If you want the one over there, you'll have quite a fight on your hands," T-Bag says. "He looks like a prize."

"He's my brother," Dean says. "Nobody's touching him."

T-Bag raises his eyebrows. "Well, we'll just see about that. Brothers, you say?"

Sam will be okay, Dean thinks. He'll be able to take care of himself. Dean's going to need to meet Sam's cellmate and make sure he's not T-Bag levels of creepy, though. Just in case.

"We can't be calling you both 'Winchester'," T-Bag says, leaning back against his bunk. "You're going to need a nickname."

"How about 'Batman'?" Dean suggests.

-

Dean's pissed. He's pissed because not only has his psychotic new cellmate nicknamed him 'Pretty', but with T-Bag boasting about his new acquisition at every opportunity Dean's seriously worried that it might actually catch on. If he had to have a prison nickname, 'Pretty' would definitely not be the one he'd choose. Someone named 'Pretty' does not command respect.

He pays Sam's cell a visit when the doors open for lunch to express exactly how unhappy about this he is. It is fairly obvious that Sam thinks this is the best thing that has happened since they got arrested.

"Come on," Dean says, looking longingly at Sam's bunk. "Let's swap cells. You'll like T-Bag. He's very, uh, friendly."

"I think I'm okay where I am, thanks," Sam says, grinning.

-

They make their way to the cafeteria together, and, much to Sam's amusement, Dean seems to feel the need to inform every inmate they pass on the way that his name is Winchester. Most of them look extremely unimpressed.

"I wanted 'Batman'," Dean mutters to Sam as they collect their trays, "but right now I'll settle for anything that isn't goddamn 'Pretty'."

They sit opposite each other at one of the little square tables, as far away as they can get from anyone else; as Dean points out, they don't know any of these people well enough to know they won't be hiding a knife. "Might want to shave your hair off, Sam; you don't want to give them anything they can grab."

This is very definitely not going to happen, and Sam is still trying to find words strong enough to inform him of this when an inmate passing by their table taps Dean on the shoulder. "You're Pretty, right?"

"Winchester," Dean snarls. Sam hides his snicker behind his hand.

"Winchester, then," the inmate says, holding his hands up and dropping onto a seat. "I just heard you were T-Bag's new roommate. Came to offer my commiserations."

Dean looks at him with a hint of suspicion. "Thanks. I think I can handle him, though."

"Yeah, well, keep your eyes open." He holds out a hand. "Sucre."

"Wait," Sam says. "Fernando Sucre? Scofield's old cellmate?"

"That's right," Sucre says, looking at him, suddenly wary. "You my replacement?"

"Why did you move out?" Sam asks. "Is there something about Scofield I should know about?"

Sucre shrugs, looking uncomfortable. "He's okay. We just didn't click, you know?"

'Just not clicking' doesn't sound like a very solid reason to put in a transfer request to Sam. Not feeling hugely reassured, he shakes Sucre's hand and watches him go on his way.

-

The next morning, inmates are smirking to themselves, snickering pointedly as Sam passes. Sam looks questioningly at them, but nobody offers an explanation, and he's not quite curious enough to directly confront anyone about it.

The explanation comes when he finds Dean in the cafeteria. Dean is staring at him like his eyebrows have been shaved off, which sounds exactly like something that would happen in prison to Sam, so he quickly raises a hand to make sure they're still there. They are.

"Dude," Dean says. "What the hell?"

"That's what I'd like to know," Sam says, sitting opposite him. "Why is everyone staring at me?"

Dean looks at him. "I don't know, maybe it's because you've been having sex with Fish?"

Okay, Sam has definitely not been having sex with fish. He doesn't know who started that rumour, but it's just stupid. He's not even sure it's physically possible. "I – what? Fish?"

"The new fish. Your cell buddy."

"The new – Dean, he's been here longer than we have." Sam blinks. "Wait, you think I've been having sex with Scofield?"

"You dropped the sheet," Dean says, still looking at Sam as if he's some kind of new species. "What, am I supposed to think you were just playing poker or something?"

"The sheet?" Sam asks. He feels vaguely as if he's trapped in some bizarre dream. He hopes it started before they got arrested.

"The sheet!" Dean says, with a gesture that means absolutely nothing to Sam. "You – Sam, did he drug you?"

"I haven't been having sex with anyone," Sam says. "What do you mean, the sheet?"

"The bedsheet you drop over the bars," Dean says. "So people can't see in. You know."

Sam frowns. "I don't remember a sheet. Must've been asleep."

There is a pause.

"That dirty fucker," Dean mutters, getting to his feet. "I swear, I'm gonna – "

"Dean," Sam says, staring, "I don't think he did anything to me."

Dean looks over at Scofield, who's sitting a few tables away, leaning over to speak quietly to Sucre. "You sure?"

"I'm sure."

"Okay," Dean says after a moment, sitting down again. He hesitates. "But if he tries anything – "

"Dean," Sam says.

"Yeah, all right," Dean says, rolling his eyes. "What was I supposed to think?"

-

"Hey," Sam says in the evening, "my brother tells me you put a sheet over the bars last night. May I ask why?"

"Why do you need to know?" Scofield asks, with the half-smile he adopts whenever Sam asks him a question.

Sam hesitates for a moment, but there's no way of approaching this subject that isn't awkward. "Because everyone thinks you're molesting me in my sleep," he says, "and I'd like you to tell me it's something else."

Scofield laughs. "They can think what they want. I'm just trying to block some of the light out. Sleep better."

Somehow, Sam doesn't believe him, but he doesn't ask any more questions. This is largely because he has just been hit by a premonition so strong that he stumbles backwards and collapses onto the floor.

a girl who can create fire – she's angry – she loses control of her powers – a burning building – no way out –

The pain in his mind is building and it keeps building, becoming stronger and stronger until he is certain that his head is going to explode. He clings to consciousness through the pain for long enough to feel fingers pressed to the side of his neck and hear Scofield yelling for help, and then he gives up and passes out.

-

Sam comes to in a bright, well-aired room, and he thinks for a moment that Dean must have found a way out and dragged him along before he notices the bars on the window. He sits up slowly, rubbing his head and trying to work out what the hell just happened, and the young woman sitting nearby notices he's awake and comes quickly over to the bed.

"Hey, I'm Dr. Sara Tancredi," she says. "How are you feeling?"

"Felt better," Sam mutters. "What happened?"

"Your cellmate says you just passed out," Dr. Tancredi says, checking his eyes. "Has anything like this happened before?"

Sam frowns, trying to remember, and the vision flashes across his mind again. "Oh, right. Yeah, it's just a dizzy spell. I've been having them for a couple of years now. They're not really a problem."

"Pretty severe for a dizzy spell," Dr. Tancredi says.

Sam tries to give her a grin. Someone outside this prison is dying, he thinks, and he can't stop it. Maybe his being trapped made the vision stronger. "Well, I don't normally pass out."

"Have you been eating properly?" she asks.

"I think so." If he's honest, he's been eating better in this prison than he has for the past two years. The Impala has always been a vegetable-free zone. "It's really not something you need to worry about."

"Maybe not," Dr. Tancredi says, "but I'd like to run a few tests, just to see whether we can determine the cause of the problem." She takes his blood pressure and checks his blood glucose levels, despite Sam's half-hearted protests, and then asks if he'll come back in two weeks.

The tests are almost certainly no use, Sam thinks, but they're not doing any damage, and it's nice to be away from the chaos of the cell blocks for a little while, and if there's even the slightest chance that this woman can help him figure out what's wrong with him he thinks he should probably take it. Besides, he has to admit that Dr. Tancredi is extremely pretty.

"Okay," he says.

-

Now that Sam knows Scofield's been up to something while he's been sleeping, his senses are on high alert, and as soon as the sound of Scofield quietly climbing out from his bunk the next night registers in his subconscious he's awake. He keeps lying there, very still and very tense, as he listens to the soft rustling noise that must be Scofield draping the bedsheet over the bars.

Scofield's soft footsteps head towards the back of the cell, and then there are two or three minutes of near-silence. Sam almost drifts off again a couple of times, but the occasional faint squeaking noise brings him back to awareness, reminds him that something is going on here and he needs to stay alert.

After the squeaking has stopped, Sam hears a scraping sound like something being moved across the floor, and then there's some more rustling. Scofield lets out a very quiet grunt; from the sound of it, he's crouching or kneeling. There's a brief silence, then the scraping noise again, and then nothing.

It doesn't seem as if Scofield is doing anything to harm Sam in his sleep, but he's definitely doing something, and Sam wants to know what it is. He opens his eyes and cranes back to look at the wall behind him, trying to be as quiet as possible to avoid alerting Scofield.

Scofield is not there.

That can't be right.

Sam drops down from his bunk in order to look around more thoroughly. Scofield doesn't seem to be in the cell at all, and that really can't be right. Sam lifts his pillow and takes out the packets of cafeteria salt he's stashed under it, mentally running through everything that he knows can walk through walls as rapidly as he can.

"Scofield?" he asks.

No answer.

Sam's been trained to be observant from a very young age, because an unobservant hunter is a dead hunter, and when he looks around the cell again his eyes fall on the leaking toilet, the bolts lying next to it. He's able to move the toilet fairly easily, and it looks like he's discovered Scofield's hiding place.

Okay. So there's a secret passageway at the back of his jail cell. Sam doesn't really know what to do with that. On the one hand, he'll be surprised if it actually goes anywhere, and even if it does he doesn't want to leave without Dean. On the other, if it does go somewhere and Scofield has chosen tonight to break out, the guards will find the passage in the morning and Sam will have missed a perfect opportunity.

"Scofield," Sam says, quietly. "It's me. Are you there?"

There are a few seconds of silence, then Sam hears quick footsteps, and a moment later Scofield appears in the passageway outside, crouching, staring at Sam through the hole in the wall.

"Scofield," Sam says. "What are you doing?"

"Don't call the guards," Scofield says, urgently. "I can explain."

-

Sam has heard of the Burrows case, of course; who hasn't? Lincoln Burrows, emotionless killer, murdered the vice-president's brother in cold blood. Waiting on death row.

Burrows is at Fox River. And Scofield deliberately got himself arrested and is trying to break him out. Because apparently they're brothers.

It seems that he and Dean may have competition in the dysfunctional sibling relationship stakes.

"Don't tell anyone," Scofield says. "Please." It's the first time Sam has seen his composure shaken.

Sam hesitates. He doesn't know what the moral thing to do here is. If Scofield is telling the truth about why he's in prison, he's innocent, but when Sam was following the Burrows case the evidence looked pretty solid. "I'll need to talk to my brother about this."

Scofield glances towards the cell door. He drops his voice. "If you think he can stay quiet, I can get you and your brother out of here."

-

"We're helping them," Dean says, as soon as Sam has explained his dilemma. He seems surprised that Sam would even need to think about it.

"Dean," Sam says, "these are criminals. Scofield tried to rob a bank. Burrows murdered the vice-president's brother."

"Hey, technically, we're criminals too," Dean points out.

"It's not the same, Dean. We don't hurt people."

"Whatever," Dean says. "We're helping them bust out."

"Why? I mean, I know we need Scofield to get us out of here, but why do we have to help him break Burrows out as well?"

Dean looks at him. "Because they're brothers."

Sam is silent, looking around uncomfortably.

"We don't deserve to be here," Dean says, lowering his voice. "Why shouldn't these guys be innocent, too?"

Sam gives him a significant glance. "You think being brothers means they're innocent?"

"No," Dean says. "But it means we're going to help them."

-

Sam's still not really at ease with the situation, so he confronts Scofield when they've been herded back into their cells and the doors have shut behind them.

"How do we know we can trust you?" Sam asks.

"What do you mean?" Scofield asks, looking shrewdly at him. "You think I've been digging tunnels in the dead of night just so I can report myself?"

"You say Burrows is innocent."

"He is."

"But you're saying you can break us out as well. For all you know, we are murderers. You could be putting people on the outside at risk to save your brother."

Scofield's expression doesn't change. "Wouldn't you?"

-

The next day, Sam spends most of the morning standing at the bars, keeping watch for guards with a small handheld mirror, because if anyone notices that Scofield has absented himself from his cell in order to work on the escape route they're in trouble. Apparently, his life has come to this: being arrested and helping convicts break out of prison. He hopes that Burrows is as innocent as Scofield seems to believe.

-

When the cell door opens for recreation, Sam's immediate instinct is to go looking for Dean, but then he notices that Sucre is trying to catch his eye from the lower tier. He doesn't have any particular reason to avoid him, so he leans back against the bars and waits for Sucre to make his way up to him.

"Saw you with the mirror earlier," Sucre says. "So I guess that means he told you."

Sam watches him warily. He's pretty sure Sucre means the escape, but he's got a feeling that actually blurting out 'you mean the escape?' would be a bad idea.

"He plays games," Sucre says. "I don't think he's one of the bad guys, but he plays games. Watch out for yourself."

"Thanks," Sam says, after a moment. Somehow, puppyish earnestness and looking out for other prisoners isn't really the behaviour he was expecting from convicts, but Sucre seems genuine enough. "I'll be careful."

"And, hey," Sucre says, looking slightly sheepish. "If you think it looks like it could work, if you want to invite me along, I'd be okay with that, you know?"

Sam laughs a little. "I'll tell him you asked. Why did you move out if you wanted to go with him?"

"'Cause I didn't know how quick I had to be to save my marriage," Sucre says. "My girl might not wait for me for ever. And 'cause he lost me my conjugals with some stupid test of my loyalty or something. He do the same to you?"

"I just had to find the tunnel," Sam says. "You're married?"

"Not yet," Sucre says, grinning. "But I will be. I just have to get out of here and show my baby I love her."

There's something strangely endearing about Sucre, and Sam finds himself grinning back. "Yeah, I'll let him know. Good luck."

-

Sam finds Dean and Scofield sitting together on the bleachers. "How's the cellmate?" he asks, sitting next to Dean.

"Still incredibly disturbing," Dean says. "Seriously, if you think yours is creepy, you should swap with me."

"Uh," Sam says, glancing awkwardly at Scofield, "I don't think I ever said I thought he was creepy."

"Well, he kind of is," Dean says.

Sam glares at him, then becomes distracted when he realises that Scofield is laughing quietly. When he looks back, Dean is grinning.

"Calm down," Dean says. "If he's getting us out of here, I like him. Where were you?"

"Talking to Sucre," Sam says. "He was wondering whether he could come along."

Dean stares at him. "You've been telling people about the escape? Sam, if you mess this up – "

"He already knew," Scofield interrupts, looking at Sam. "Sucre's going to be out of here in eighteen months. Why would he want to break out now?"

"Apparently, he thinks it's going to save his marriage," Sam says.

"Only if his fiancée's willing to go on the run from the law," Scofield says. "You're both serving life sentences, so you don't have much to lose, but I think Sucre's going to be better off if we leave him here than if we take him with us."

"Yeah, I guess you're right," Sam says, looking at the fence. Sucre is so in love with this girl that he'll throw away any chance of a normal life to be with her, he thinks. Even though a normal life is just a matter of waiting eighteen months.

Definitely not the behaviour he was expecting from convicts.

-

They catch Sucre on the way back to the cells to tell him what they've decided. Sam knows that letting him serve his sentence is the best thing they can do, but that knowledge doesn't stop him from hating himself when he sees Sucre's expression.

"I could report you," Sucre says, looking back and forth between Sam and Scofield. "I could tell the COs."

"But you won't," Scofield says, smiling.

"Come on, please. Please."

"You're a good man, Sucre," Scofield says. "You'll be out in eighteen months. If you escape now, it's going to ruin your life."

"Losing her is going to ruin my life," Sucre says. "Let me go with you."

"Cons!" a guard shouts. "Move along!"

"At least think about it!" Sucre calls, as Sam and Scofield hurry to their cell.

-

Sam feels guilty about Sucre, but he decides that he's not going to let himself dwell on him; the escape is what he needs to focus on at the moment. He likes to know the details of a plan before he goes through with it, so he asks Scofield exactly what they're going to be doing on the night.

"I can't reveal all my secrets," Scofield says, with a sidelong glance and a smirk. "You might decide to go without me."

Sam laughs. "Don't worry; I think it's pretty obvious you're the expert here."

"There's a wall we need to get through," Scofield says, leaning against the bars. "There's an old drainage pipe on the other side, and we can use that to get to the infirmary. We'll want Lincoln to be there. Then it's just a matter of getting out of the window and over the wall. And becoming fugitives. You ready for that?"

"Yeah, we've had practice," Sam says. "So how do you know so much about the structure of this place?"

Scofield smiles. "Blueprints."

"You've memorised them?"

"Tried. I don't have a photographic memory."

Sam stares at him, then looks quickly around the cell. "You've got them here? Scofield, if they find them – "

"Calm down," Scofield says, still smiling. "They're not going to find them."

"You can't know that," Sam says. "They – " and then he realises, he remembers seeing Scofield studying his own body as if it were a book. "Your tattoo?"

Scofield raises his eyebrows.

"That's brilliant," Sam says, after a moment. If they manage to get out of here, he's half-tempted to ask Scofield whether he would be interested in becoming a hunter.

"So, you say you have experience with being a fugitive," Scofield says. "What did you do for money?"

Sam hesitates. He's not proud of it, but there's no point skirting around the subject when he's in jail. "Credit card fraud, mostly. We moved around a lot. You'll want to talk to my brother about that."

-

Sam and Scofield slip out of the cell in the night to finish off the wall Scofield's been working on. Sam's uneasy; they know more or less when the bed checks tend to be, but they're not as predictable as six-o'clock count, and they've hung a sheet but Sam has a feeling the guards aren't really going to respect their privacy.

"You sure we don't need a lookout?" he asks.

"If we don't have two people drilling, we won't get through this wall tonight," Scofield says. "If we don't get through it tonight, we'll need to trigger a lockdown to keep the breakout on track. Trust me, this option's safer."

When they've weakened the infrastructure enough to knock the wall down easily when there's enough daytime sound to mask the noise, they creep back to the cell. The guard twitches the sheet aside half a second after Scofield moves the toilet back into place. Sam immediately tries to look as if he's just been hastily dressing. The guard rolls his eyes and moves along.

-

"Escape is just the beginning," Scofield says, as they walk around the yard the next morning. "We need to be able to disappear."

"If you or your brother need any ID, we'll be able to help you with that," Dean says.

"Don't let him pick the names," Sam advises.

"The names will be awesome," Dean says. "And we've got plenty of contacts. Think you'll need discounted United Britannia Airlines tickets?"

Scofield raises his eyebrows. "Think you'll be able to persuade your Britannia Airlines contacts to have a plane ready for four fugitives at the airport ten miles from here?"

Dean snorts. "Okay, so our contacts aren't that good. And it'd have to be two fugitives, anyway, because there's no way in hell I'm getting on one of those things."

"We could find a car," Sam says. "Then we just need to stay on the road until we can get you onto a plane."

They continue to walk in silence for a while.

"So," Scofield says, looking over at Dean, "your brother tells me you've been living off credit card fraud."

-

Scofield's said they're going to be out of here within three weeks, but Dean has a feeling that even that may be too long a time to spend sharing quarters with T-Bag. T-Bag will creep up behind him, breathe into his ear, rest a hand on his thigh. The more obviously uncomfortable Dean is, the more his cellmate seems to relish it. Dean's pretty sure it's going to drive him into the psyche ward sooner or later.

Right now, T-Bag is lounging against the bars, watching him lazily. Dean doodles pentagrams on his hand, pretending not to be acutely aware of his gaze.

"Word is you've been spending a lot of time with Pretty over there," T-Bag says.

Dean is confused for a moment, but catches on when he sees T-Bag jerk his head towards Scofield. "Oh, so you can't deal with two Winchesters, but two Pretties is fine?"

"Easier to say," T-Bag says. "You want to tell me what you've been up to?"

"No," Dean says.

T-Bag tilts his head. "Not very co-operative, are you? Fine."

Neither of them says anything for a while. Dean is careful not to look away from T-Bag; he doesn't like the speculative expression on his face.

"It gets mighty dull in here, Pretty," T-Bag says. "And there ain't no point having lips like that if you ain't going to use them. Entertain me."

"Yeah," Dean says, "I don't think that's going to happen."

T-Bag smirks, lazily, and walks Dean back against the wall. "Really, Pretty?" he murmurs into Dean's ear.

Dean's not putting up with this crap any longer.

-

"I'm Dr. Tancredi," the doctor says, swabbing the cut beneath his eye. "You might want to avoid doing that. Bagwell's not someone you want to pick a fight with."

"Bagwell's not someone I want to share a cell with," Dean mutters. "Any way I can put in a request for a transfer?"

"After that? You could be getting a transfer whether you want it or not," Dr. Tancredi says. "Did he knock any of your teeth loose?"

"They're fine," Dean says. "Do I get to choose where I get transferred to?" He grins, looking her over. "Which cell are you in?"

The doctor looks a little uncomfortable, and Dean realises a moment too late that the people who work here think he tortured and murdered half a dozen young women. "Sorry," he says, and then, after a moment, "I'm not a bad guy, you know? I didn't do those things."

"There's one I haven't heard before," Dr. Tancredi murmurs, but she's smiling a little. "If you're hoping to pick me up, maybe you should try again when you haven't just assaulted someone."

"He deserved it," Dean says. "You've met him, right? You can't say he didn't deserve it."

She laughs. "I can't really comment on that. Try not to pick any more fights, though."

-

Dean gets sent to solitary as soon as he's out of the infirmary; apparently you're not supposed to punch your cellmates in the face, no matter how much they deserve it. They keep him there for two days.

"Why don't these guys ever hit on you?" Dean hisses to Sam, when he's out and being dragged past him to see, apparently, the Pope. Not exactly what he was expecting, but okay.

"I don't know; maybe they're worried about how Scofield will take the competition," Sam says, unable to hide his smile.

-

The warden introduces himself as Henry Pope and asks Dean to take a seat and generally treats him like a person, rather than a block of wood with 'CRIMINAL' stamped on it. Dean doesn't like him, because Dean doesn't like anyone involved in the running of this place he and his brother are trapped in, but he thinks he might dislike him a little less than he dislikes the guards.

"We can't tolerate fighting under any circumstances," Pope says. "However, you're not the first not to get along with Theodore Bagwell, and I'm sorry to say I don't think you'll be the last. As, under the circumstances, I think it would be unwise for you to return to your cell, I've put through a transfer request on your behalf."

Okay, scratch that. Dean frigging loves Henry Pope.

-

After spending a week in T-Bag's company, Dean thinks that even sharing a cell with Meg would be an improvement, but it's better than that; it turns out that his new cellmate is Sucre, who's probably the least demonic person in this place. Dean likes Sucre. When Sam skips meals to keep watch for Scofield, Sucre's the one who notices Dean is on his own and waves him over to eat with his group.

"Hey!" Sucre says when Dean enters his cell. He gives him a hug, which Dean's not totally sure how to deal with. "You got out!"

"Yeah, missing T-Bag already," Dean says, grinning. "Do I get the top bunk?"

Sucre snorts. "Dream on, Winchester." He glances around and lowers his voice. "Michael say anything about letting me go with you guys yet?"

Dean winces. "Uh, will you send me back if I say no?"

"Hey, don't worry; I wouldn't even send a clone of T-Bag back to that guy," Sucre says. "And, you know..." He shrugs. "I guess I don't want the feds busting into the church when I'm getting married. Maybe I can wait eighteen months."

-

As soon as eight o'clock count is over, Scofield begins unscrewing the toilet bolts. Sam immediately moves to block the view of anyone who might be looking in. "Where are you going?"

"Last stage of preparation," Scofield says.

"Need any help?"

"One-person job. We'll need to climb up a drain to get into the room below the infirmary, so I'm going to tie a rope. How's your climbing?"

Sam smiles. "I think we'll be okay. Good luck."

"After this, it's just about finding the right opportunity," Scofield says. He ducks and crawls through the hole in the wall. Sam moves the toilet to cover it and goes to the front of the cell with the mirror.

Scofield is away for longer than Sam was expecting, and Sam is on the verge of going in himself to drag him out before the guards come by when he hears the scrape of the toilet being moved. He turns to see Scofield struggling out of the tunnel.

"Did you manage it?" Sam asks.

"Not yet." Scofield gets to his feet and moves to let Sam set the toilet across the entrance again. He seems for a moment as if he's about to say more, but checks himself. Sam glances up at him, kneeling to screw the toilet back into the wall, and then does a double-take.

"You're bleeding."

Scofield looks down at the blood staining his sleeve. "Had an encounter with a railing," he says. "Must have broken the skin."

Sam stands and gently takes hold of Scofield's wrist, peeling the sleeve of his uniform back from the cut. "Scofield, this looks like a knife wound."

"I'm fine," Scofield says. "Screw the toilet back in before somebody sees."

"Did someone attack you?"

"I was backstage," Scofield says. "There'd be no reason for anyone else to be there."

Sam's not falling for that. "No reason, maybe. Was someone there?"

Scofield looks steadily back at him. He seems as impassive as ever, but Sam thinks that perhaps his voice is a little less level than usual. "No."

-

Scofield seems to be paranoid the next day, on edge. He keeps taking the bolt he uses to unscrew the toilet out of its hiding place and turning it over in his hands, glancing up and gripping it tightly at unexpected noises. Sam asks him what's wrong a few times, but when Scofield eventually looks at him and says, "We both know I'm not going to tell you anything, so I'd suggest you stop asking if you don't want me to lie to you," he stops trying.

Sam's not only worried about Scofield; he's worried about the escape. Whatever happened seems to have disturbed Scofield to the point at which he's reluctant to go through the hole in the wall again. Sam offers to work on the escape route while Scofield keeps watch, but Scofield shakes his head, not offering an explanation.

When recreation comes around, Scofield, rather than spending the time checking on aspects of the escape route, goes out into the yard in the thick of the crowd and spends the entire hour talking to Sucre, and that's when Sam realises that he's afraid of being left alone.

"He said anything to you?" he murmurs to Dean.

"Dude, if he hasn't told you he's not telling me," Dean says.

Sam squints at the other side of the yard, where Sucre is gesticulating broadly with a hand on Scofield's back. "Sucre's in your cell, right?"

-

"So," Dean says, casually, when recreation is over and they've been locked up again, "I hear Scofield was acting pretty weird today."

"Can you blame the guy?" Sucre asks. He's resting his arm against the bars, looking up towards Sam and Scofield's cell.

Well, this sounds like a lead. "Don't know," Dean says. "No one seems to know what's going on."

Sucre looks back at him with a grin. "Really?"

"Guy keeps to himself. I guess he didn't tell you anything, right?"

"Never assume, papi," Sucre says, still grinning proudly. "Maybe some of us know him better than others."

"You telling me he told you what happened?" Dean asks, assuming an expression of incredulity.

"Hey, you telling me you don't think he would?" Sucre asks, pulling himself up to sit on his bunk. "There was a fight here, few days after he came in. Blacks versus whites, you know? Anyway, I didn't see it, 'cause I was locked in the Shoe, but the way he tells it some kid had something he needed – some screw, he uses it to take off the toilet in the cell. So he's fighting the kid for it, something goes wrong, Michael's holding him, he dies; it's enough to give anyone nightmares." He pauses, impressively. "And now he's seeing him again."

Dean spends a moment trying to figure it out, but he's lost. "Who's seeing what now?"

"Michael," Sucre says, dropping his voice to a dramatic almost-whisper. "Seeing the kid."

"The kid who died?" Dean asks.

"Scary, right?"

-

"You don't have to tell me what happened," Sam says quietly to Scofield over dinner, "but you have to do something about it. Is there anyone who might be able to help you?"

Scofield gives a short laugh. He's barely touched his food. "I don't think anyone can help me with this."

"Well, you're wrong," Dean says, appearing at Scofield's shoulder. He's grinning broadly, and Sam realises what's going on half a second before Dean says it. "Sucre tells me you need some ghostbusters."

Scofield closes his eyes for a moment, grimacing. "It's nothing I can't handle."

"Actually, I think it is," Dean says, dropping onto a seat.

"Hallucinations? They'll pass. I just have to remind myself that they're not real."

"That cut on your arm looked pretty real to me," Sam says. "Your hallucination attack you?"

"If I didn't know better," Scofield says, looking between them, "I'd say you believe it."

"We believe it because it's real," Dean says. "Trust us. We've dealt with these things before."

Scofield gives him a look. "You've dealt with ghosts."

"We've dealt with a lot of ghosts," Dean says.

"Why'd you tell Sucre about it and not me?" Sam asks, a little hurt. He knows he and Scofield aren't exactly best friends, but they get along well enough, and they've been spending almost every hour of every day together since Sam came into this place.

"I wanted to talk about it with someone who wouldn't try to send me off to the psyche ward," Scofield says. "See, I didn't actually know that you were both crazy."

"You're not imagining things," Sam says quietly, leaning forward so he can be heard over the clinking cutlery and the kid who keeps asking where the hell all the salt has gone. "Look at the cut on your arm. Let us help."

-

Of course, you can't burn many bodies when you're locked up, so it's time to use the prison phone.

"Hey, Bobby," Sam says.

"Nice to hear from you, Sam. Where are you?"

"Uh," Sam says. "You ever heard of... Fox River State Penitentiary?"

There is a long silence.

"You're in jail?"

"Yeah, it's kind of a long story," Dean interrupts, snatching the phone from Sam. Sam glares and ducks down so he can hear Bobby more clearly. "Anyway, you need to burn a body for us, or we're probably never getting out of here."

"You boys, I swear," Bobby says, exasperated. "I wish you'd have Ellen deal with your problems once in a while. Okay, where's this body?"

-

"Sounds like you two have interesting lives," Scofield says, when they hang up. "So what happens now?"

"Bobby's going to burn the body," Dean says. "That should get rid of the spirit. In the meantime, you'll want to put salt around your cell."

"Salt?" Scofield repeats.

"Spirit deterrent," Sam says. "We'll need to keep you alive until we can remove the threat."

"Of course," Scofield says. "You're sure we're not just all losing our minds?"

-

One of the guards comes by while Sam is diligently lining the cell with salt. This is never an easy thing to explain. It is especially difficult to explain, it turns out, to this particular guard, who is clearly put out by the fact that there are no specific rules against lining one's cell with salt and seems determined to find something about the situation that he can punish somebody for. When he starts talking about bringing in sniffer dogs to make absolutely certain that none of the 'salt' is cocaine, Sam wants to throw his hands up in the air and ask whether inmates often spread their drugs in full view across the floor, but instead he listens politely and nods and gets growled at for being insolent anyway.

"I take it you haven't crossed Bellick before," Scofield murmurs to Sam when the guard has finally left in frustration. "I'm impressed; it's difficult not to. What do we do if he finds a reason to make us get rid of the salt?"

"We resist if we can," Sam says. "From what Dean's told me, it sounds like the spirit has a reason to come after you, and you'll be a lot safer if the salt is here. Soaking your clothes in saltwater could help, but we haven't really tried that before, so I don't know how effective it'll be."

Scofield laughs. "How often do you deal with things like this?"

The situation is bad in every possible way, but Sam grins a little in spite of it. "Wait 'til I tell you about the vampires."

-

Sam calls Bobby the next day to hear that the body has been burned and the spirit shouldn't be troubling them any more. He hangs up and looks around for Scofield, hoping to tell him the good news. Scofield is walking slowly around the perimeter of the yard, in step with Dr. Tancredi, on the other side of the fence. They're talking quietly. Sam decides not to interrupt.

"What were you and the doctor talking about?" Sam asks when they're back in the cell.

"It's her birthday," Scofield says. He's carefully folding a couple of pieces of card; Sam has noticed that Scofield will often pass the time with origami when there's nothing to do but wait. "I was wishing her a happy one."

"Are you close?"

Scofield doesn't answer, concentrating on his folding. The pieces of card in his hands are gradually taking the shape of a flower.

Sam smiles. "Anyway, the problem should be over. Bobby's salted and burned the body; that should get rid of the spirit."

They dispose of the salt; Sam briefly considers leaving it, because salt is never a bad thing to have around, but he's got a feeling it's only a matter of time before Bellick finds some way to make a slightly untidy cell justify a beating. As they clear the salt away, Scofield speaks to Sam more candidly than he ever has before: about the death of his mother, the father who left before he was born, how he and his brother grew up looking out for each other. If you want someone to trust you, Sam has found, not much is more effective than rescuing them from a vengeful spirit.

Scofield takes the origami flower with him when he goes to have his insulin shot.

-

They're going to need to be able to move quickly on the day, and Dean hasn't seen the route at all yet, so Scofield takes him through the hole in the wall when everyone else is at lunch to explain what's going to happen, show him how to stay out of sight if guards come through, point out a couple of wrong turnings he can't afford to make. Dean complains about missing lunch, but the sooner they get out of here the sooner he can have a cheeseburger every day for a week, so in the long run he has to admit that it's probably going to be worth it.

"This way," Scofield says, "and – "

Scofield has stopped suddenly, is staring at the corner. A young man is standing there, bleeding from the chest. He is holding a knife in his hand.

"Man," Dean says, pulling a few packets of salt out of his pocket and shaking the contents across the floor in front of them, "I wish just burning the body would actually work once in a while."

-

Sam returns from lunch and brushes the strategically-hung line of laundry aside to find Scofield scrambling out of the passageway with a panicked expression on his face, which he thinks is probably not a good sign. He realises exactly what's wrong when Dean follows and pours a line of salt before moving the toilet back over the hole. They sit Scofield down between them and give him some time to calm down.

"Why didn't it work?" Scofield asks, after a minute or so.

"Something is holding him here," Sam says. "Some bodily remains, or something connected to him. Do you know about anything like that?"

"I didn't know him that well," Scofield says. He keeps glancing back at the tunnel, uneasy. "Can you give me some examples?"

"Blood," Dean says. "Anything made from his hair. Anything he was very attached to. We once hunted a spirit who wouldn't go away because the guy'd had a fingernail collection going back about seventeen years."

"How did he die?" Sam asks, watching Scofield carefully.

"Stabbed," Scofield says. "In the heart." He's trying to keep his voice and manner emotionless, but he's avoiding their eyes, and there is a very slight waver in his voice when he says, "I didn't do it."

"What happened to the weapon?" Dean asks.

-

Okay. So they just have to steal a knife from another inmate. No problem.

Sam really hates his job.

-

Sam and Scofield stay awake in shifts during the night, keeping watch in case the spirit returns. When the morning comes and the guards arrive to escort them to breakfast, Sam hides behind the beds until everyone has gone, and then he slips out and climbs the steps to the upper level.

There are pictures of a smiling woman and a little girl up on the walls of C-Note's cell, which isn't really what Sam would have expected of a man who stabbed a young inmate four times in the heart. He only spends a moment looking at them; he has to focus on finding the knife.

Sam looks beneath mattresses and pillows, but all he discovers there is a lighter. He flicks through the books lying around, checks behind the legs of the desk, and he eventually finds a small blade taped to the side of the bedframe facing the wall. He doesn't know whether it's the one they're looking for, but it's the only one he can find, so they're going to have to hope.

There's a tutting noise as he climbs off the bunk, and Sam turns around to see a man standing in the entrance to the cell, shaking his head.

"My," he says, "I'm sure the present occupant will be very interested to know why you're intruding on his property."

The man looks familiar, and Sam frowns for a moment before remembering where he's seen him before. "You're Dean's old cellmate."

"And you're his brother," T-Bag says. "You close? Because, I got to tell you, I am not too happy with Mr. Winchester right now." His eyes drop to the knife in Sam's hand. "How well do you know how to use that thing?"

"Well enough," Sam says, drawing himself up and trying to look you-really-don't-want-to-fight-me intimidating.

T-Bag smiles and walks into the cell, slowly. "Good. Makes it more interesting."

Sam tightens his grip on the knife, keeping his eyes on the exit. He's trying to calculate whether he'll be able to get past T-Bag without inflicting an injury, whether he can avoid being injured himself, and he's relieved when Scofield saunters into view on the walkway, his hands in his pockets.

"Is there a problem?" Scofield asks.

"This here's a private conversation, Pretty," T-Bag says, not turning around. He licks his lips. "Still, if you'd like to, ah, join us..."

"Scofield!" Sam shouts.

Scofield whips around, sees the spirit that has just materialised behind him and bolts. T-Bag, raising his eyebrows, turns around to look, and then gives a high-pitched shriek of absolute terror and almost knocks Sam to the floor in his effort to hide behind him.

"How – " T-Bag gasps.

"You knew him?" Sam asks. And, okay, yes, he's enjoying this. A little.

The spirit is slowly approaching them, its eyes on the knife. T-Bag presses his face against Sam's back and whimpers.

Sam's half-tempted to run out of here and leave T-Bag to the spirit's mercy, but not even scumbags like him deserve to die, so instead he sprinkles salt on the knife, then takes the lighter from beneath C-Note's pillow and holds it under the blade. It's not enough to melt it, but as the metal heats the spirit flickers, weakens, and Sam grabs T-Bag's wrist and drags him out of the cell.

So it looks like they've got the right weapon, then.

-

Scofield mixes a couple of substances he's stolen from a prison storeroom to create a corrosive compound, and as the three of them watch it burn through the knife Sam again finds himself thinking that the man would make an excellent hunter. Dean's suggestion that they plant the handle in T-Bag's cell and tip C-Note off about it is tempting, but instead they scatter salt over the remains and bury them in a corner of the prison yard.

"So," Scofield says, looking at the miniature grave, "I guess you've saved my life."

Sam grins. "Guess so. I think it's actually worked this time. Uh, sorry about that."

"Thanks." He seems to hesitate for a moment. "What happens to the spirit?"

"Honestly? We don't know," Sam says. "It's got to be better than being stuck in this place, though, right?"

-

Dean returns to his cell after recreation to find that it's not his cell any more. There's someone else in there, and Sucre is giving him a desperately apologetic look through the bars. He looks around, bewildered, to find one of the guards standing nearby. Smirking at him.

"Winchester," the guard says. "I figure you must be missing your old celly."

Dean stares at him. "You can't do that."

"I can do what I like," the guard says. "You've been hanging around with Scofield. Either you're telling me what he's doing, or you're about to have a very emotional reunion."

-

T-Bag greets him with an extremely unfriendly punch to the shoulder and a "You're not going to report that, are you, Pretty?" in his ear. Dean's a little freaked out, because he's half-convinced he's going to be dead before he wakes up, but he covers it up with a smirk.

It takes him a long time to get to sleep, and he snaps awake at the slightest noise, but nothing happens. When the morning comes, he opens his eyes to find T-Bag leaning against the wall, watching him with raised eyebrows and a smile.

"Sleep well?" T-Bag asks.

His shoulder still hurts. "Screw you."

-

"I think the guard is a shapeshifter," Dean hisses.

Sam looks over in the guard's direction. He's getting in some kid's face, and whatever he's saying is inaudible from here but it's pretty obvious it's threatening. "Bellick? He's probably just an asshole."

"Maybe," Dean mutters. "But I like the explanation that means we get to kill him more."

-

Dean gets very little sleep for the next few nights. One night, a slight creak disturbs him and he opens his eyes to find T-Bag inches away from his face, watching him. They stare at each other without speaking for a few seconds before T-Bag climbs back into his bunk.

When Dean hasn't been sleeping well he gets very, very frustrated and paranoid, and when Dean is frustrated and paranoid he goes to the prison chapel and steals a rosary and attacks his cellmate with holy water and gets sent to solitary again.

As solitary confinement is infinitely better than sharing a cell with a guy who he's pretty sure wants to murder him, it's not much of a punishment.

-

When Sam wakes up, the first thing he does is go to check on Dean. It doesn't look as if he's in his bunk. Sam spends a few minutes pressed against the bars of his cell, looking down at Dean's, to see whether maybe he's just out of sight and about to come into view, but there's no sign of him.

Sam doesn't want to call out, because most of the prison is still asleep and if he shouts he's not going to be popular with his fellow prisoners, so he waits for a guard to come by. As soon as one does – not Bellick, he's relieved to see – he taps on the bars and says, "Hey, can you tell me where Dean Winchester is? He's usually in that cell."

"Winchester's in solitary," the guard says. "You won't be seeing him until tomorrow."

"What happened?" Sam asks. "Is he okay?"

"He's fine," the guard says. "Cellmate's fine, too. Winchester was pinning him down, we thought we might have a body on our hands, but as far as we can tell he just threw water at him."

"He assaulted his cellmate with water?"

"That's right."

Sam rolls his eyes. "Of course he did. If you see him, tell him he's an idiot."

-

Sam's completely forgotten about his appointment with Dr. Tancredi in the midst of everything, so he's a little taken aback when a guard comes around in the afternoon to escort him to the infirmary. He doesn't expect the doctor to find anything, but he's grateful for the opportunity to stretch his legs, and Sam thinks it'll probably be good for him to speak to someone who isn't a felon or his brother once in a while.

"Your heart sounds fine," Dr. Tancredi says, putting the stethoscope away. "Where did you get all these scars?"

Sam shrugs, awkwardly. "Well, you know, in my line of work..."

"By 'my line of work' you mean robbing banks?" Dr. Tancredi asks, with a slight smile.

"That was kind of misreported," Sam says. "We were hostages." He looks around. There's a man watching him from the other side of a glass divider, and Sam recognises Scofield in his face before he recognises him from the newspaper reports. "Is – hey, is that Lincoln Burrows?"

"That's right," Dr. Tancredi says, tucking her hair behind her ear. "Hold out your arm."

Sam holds out his arm and lets her wrap the blood pressure cuff around it. "Why is he here?"

"You didn't strike me as the gossiping type," Dr. Tancredi says, inflating the cuff. She checks the readout. "Blood pressure's normal. There doesn't seem to be anything wrong with you, but come back if you have another spell."

"I just – my cellmate is, you know..." Sam hesitates. He doesn't know whether Scofield has told the doctor that he and Burrows are brothers, and he's not sure he should tell her if Scofield doesn't want her to know.

"Oh," Dr. Tancredi says, her eyes widening. "You're Michael Scofield's cellmate, aren't you?"

"Yeah," Sam says, relieved. "So...?"

"Well, of course he'll want to know," Dr. Tancredi says. "It's nothing to worry about; we're just running some tests. He'll be kept here overnight."

-

"I saw your brother in the infirmary."

"What?" Scofield asks, looking sharply at him.

"He was in there for tests," Sam says. "The doctor said it was nothing to worry about."

"Did she say how long he would be there?"

"She said he'd be in there for the night."

There is a pause.

"We have to get out tonight," Scofield says.

"We can't," Sam says, staring. "Dean's in solitary."

"This is the perfect opportunity," Scofield says. He looks pained. "I don't know whether there'll be another before the execution. I'm not letting them kill Lincoln."

"And I'm not leaving without Dean," Sam says. "We saved your life, Scofield. You owe us."

-

There is a long silence after Sam tells Dean what didn't happen while he was in solitary.

"You should've gone," Dean says.

"Dean, I wasn't just going to leave you here."

Dean rubs a hand over his face. "So Burrows might die because of me."

"Well," Sam says, after a moment, "we'll just have to make sure he doesn't die."

-

Scofield is restless; the date of execution is less than a week away, and no further opportunities have presented themselves. Sam is increasingly afraid that he'll do something crazy, like try to climb the fence dividing him from Burrows and get himself shot. If something happens, if the plan fails, Sam is going to be responsible. He still doesn't know whether Burrows is innocent, but somewhere along the line this stopped being about innocence and guilt and became about a desperate man trying to save his brother.

If Scofield and Burrows can pull this off, Sam thinks, maybe there's hope for him and Dean.

He can't let this go wrong.

-

Sam hits on the answer in a dream, which probably isn't a good sign. He doesn't say anything to Scofield, but the moment the cell doors open he's pulling Dean aside to tell him about it.

"This is a terrible plan, Sam," Dean says.

"I know," Sam says. "But it's the only one we've got."

-

Sam passes Sucre on his way to the telephones. Sucre looks shaken, half-joyful and half-terrified. Sam almost stops to ask him what's happened, but he has a job to do.

"Hey, Bobby," Sam says, when the other end is picked up. "We need you to find out about deaths at Fox River."

"What for? You got more ghost problems?"

"Not exactly," Sam says, glancing around to make sure nobody's listening. "Um. We need to summon a spirit."

There is a pause.

"Have you lost your mind?" Bobby asks.

"I'm starting to think I might've."

"You can't just play with spirits, Sam," Bobby says. "They don't like being controlled. Didn't you learn from that film set haunting?"

"But we're not going to use them to kill anyone," Sam says. "We just need to... you know. Wound him. A little."

"You want to summon a spirit so you can torture someone?"

"We don't want to hurt him," Sam protests. "We just need to hurt him. We're trying to save his life."

"I'm not sure I want to know what you're up to," Bobby says. "But you're going to have to be very precise with the ritual if you don't want to kill this guy. And you'll want someone on standby over the bones in case the spirit starts trying to kill you. And like hell it's going to be me."

Sam waits.

"Oh, all right," Bobby says eventually. "Call me this time tomorrow and I'll have your spirit. I swear, the next time you need my help I'm going to kill you myself and save whatever's after you the trouble."

"Thanks, Bobby," Sam says, grinning, before hanging up.

-

Bobby has more than one spirit for them the next day; apparently there has been no shortage of deaths at Fox River. Sam decides that their best option is one of the knife victims; spirits attack in the way they were killed more often than not, and setting their target on fire doesn't seem wise.

"We'll need something to draw the symbols with," Sam says.

"Or we could cut them into the ground," Dean suggests, producing a small blade from his sock with a flourish.

"Dean!" Sam hisses, snatching it from him and looking around. "What are you thinking? Do you know how much trouble you'll be in if they catch you with this?"

"Do you know how much trouble I'll be in if T-Bag catches me without it?" Dean retorts. "We can use it, right? Quit complaining."

Sam glares for a moment longer, but Dean's right. They make their way to as secluded a corner of the yard as they can find, and Sam cuts symbols into the earth while Dean keeps watch for guards.

"Why the hell'd you memorise summoning symbols, anyway?" Dean mutters. "It's not like we'd ever need to use them."

Sam looks up at him and raises his eyebrows.

"Not like we knew we'd ever need to use them. You know what I mean."

Sam shrugs, focusing on his work again. "I like symbols."

"You're a freak."

"We can use it, right? Quit complaining." Sam straightens up. "That look right to you?"

"Dude, I don't know," Dean says. He pulls a lighter out of his other sock, flicks it on, locks it and sets it in front of Sam; they haven't been able to find any candles, but the spirit world isn't all that fussy. "How do we make sure this doesn't kill him?"

"I think I need to picture exactly what I want to happen," Sam says. "And I guess I should change the 'destroy my enemies' part of the incantation to 'slightly injure my friends'."

"There's no way this is going to work," Dean says.

Sam privately agrees, but he curls his fingers around his crudely-made wire amulet and begins to chant in Latin anyway.

-

Scofield has a strange expression when he comes back from having his insulin injection. "My brother's in the infirmary."

"Is he okay?" Sam asks immediately, sitting forward.

"He's bleeding, but the doctor says he'll be all right." He looks at Sam. "They think he did it to himself, but he says he was attacked. He was on his own in a locked cell. Did you do something?"

"You made sure we wouldn't leave without my brother," Sam says. "I'm doing the same for you."

Scofield smiles. "I guess we're going tonight, then." He pauses, then adds, "Thanks."

"Don't mention it," Sam says. "Let's get out of here."

-

They're leaving during tier time, when the cell doors are open for mingling; that'll give them an hour until the next count. Sam waves Dean up from the lower level, which is probably unnecessary; he usually spends all the time he can in their cell anyway.

"Did it work?" Dean asks.

"It worked," Sam says.

Dean laughs. "I don't believe it. Okay, so what happens now?"

"We go through the hole in the wall one by one," Scofield says. He nods to Dean. "You're going first."

"No way," Dean says. "Sam's going ahead of me."

"We don't have time to argue," Scofield says. "Go through and wait for us on the other side. I'll make sure he gets through safely."

Dean hesitates for an instant, looking at Sam, but then turns and goes to the back of the cell. Sam and Scofield carefully manoeuvre to block the view of anyone looking in.

"Now you," Scofield says, after a minute or so, and Sam's about to turn into the cell when there's a shout from the lower level.

"Hey! Michael! Winchester! Hey!"

Sam moves forward to look over the railing, and Sucre is there. He waves to them before running up the stairs.

"Hey," he says, "hey, you're – " he drops his voice – "you're going, right?"

"As far as you're concerned, nothing is happening here," Scofield says, not looking at him.

"I know what I'm doing," Sucre says. "If I want to ruin my life, I can ruin my life. My baby's pregnant. I've got to go to her."

Scofield looks at him at that, clearly taken aback.

"I want to get out of here," Sucre says. "If it means I'll see my son, I want to be a fugitive. That should be my choice, right? You don't need to protect me."

Scofield keeps his eyes on Sucre for a moment, then steps aside to allow him through.

Sucre takes a step back. It is obvious that he hadn't actually expected his speech to have any effect. "Really?"

"Really," Scofield says, smiling a little.

Sucre stares at him for a moment longer, then breaks into a wide grin. He throws himself on Scofield, muttering in rapid Spanish, and then, for no apparent reason, embraces Sam as well, before slipping between them into the cell.

-

"Do you think they'll be okay on the outside?" Sam asks Dean as they creep through the pipes.

"I've given Scofield the credit scam masterclass," Dean says. "They just need to keep moving. They'll be fine."

"Yeah," Sam says. "Maybe."

Dean raises his eyebrows, looking over at him. "Hey, if any of them end up needing work, my baby's always got back seats."

-

They manage to make their way through the pipes and climb up the rope in the drain without incident. There's a grate cover in the ceiling that has been corroded through, giving them access to the grate into the infirmary; Sam suspects that Scofield's knife-destroying chemical compound may have had something to do with it.

Scofield signals for them all to be quiet as he looks through the grate.

"The doctor's with him," he whispers.

Sam takes a look through the grate to see for himself. Burrows is sitting in a chair, handcuffed, the left side of his shirt stained with dried blood, and Sam can just see Dr. Tancredi's legs next to him if he tilts his head. It's after hours; she must have stayed to look after Burrows.

Sam glances at Scofield and sees his conflicted expression. He knows what he's thinking. It would be easier if it were some faceless guard, but they've met Dr. Tancredi. Scofield talks to her in the yard and gives her origami flowers. It's difficult to know what to do.

"Do we knock her out?" Dean asks, quietly.

"We're not going to hurt her," Scofield says. "Let me talk to her."

"Talk to her?" Sucre repeats. "You crazy?"

Scofield is already climbing up through the grate. Sam and Dean exchange an uneasy glance before following.

-

Burrows catches sight of them first and stares. The doctor turns around a moment later, and her eyes widen. "Michael, what – "

"Stay calm," Scofield says, stepping forward. "Don't call out."

"You're – how did you get in here?" She takes a step towards the telephone.

"Don't," Scofield says, quickly. "Please. You don't want to do this."

"Tell me what you're doing here," she says.

He looks at his brother. "We're breaking out."

Dr. Tancredi gives a slightly hysterical laugh. "Right," she says, her hand over the receiver. "Why do you think I want to stand here and let you?"

"Because it's the right thing to do."

She hesitates.

"My brother's innocent," Scofield says. "You know he's innocent. They're going to kill him, Sara."

"Michael," she says, her tone softening, "maybe you're right, but he's not the only one you're breaking out with, is he?"

"I trust these two," Scofield says. "They saved my life."

"Hey, uh..." Sucre begins.

"And if you think Sucre's a danger to society," Scofield says, "you obviously don't know Sucre."

"That's the thing," she says. "I don't know Sucre. You're asking me to trust your word, Michael, but I think you're forgetting that you're a convict too."

"Sara – " Scofield begins, taking a step toward her.

"Don't – Michael." She grabs a hypodermic syringe from the table next to her and backs away. "Don't come near me."

Scofield pauses. He looks pained. "I don't want to frighten you."

"And I don't want to use this on you," she says. "Please, just go back to your cell. I won't tell anyone you were here."

Scofield doesn't move.

"If I sedate you, you won't be able to get back to the cell on your own," she says. "I'll have to call someone. They'll know you were trying to escape. Please, you don't have much time."

"I know we don't have much time," Scofield says. "Listen to me. You can save an innocent man's life."

"I didn't kill Terence Steadman," Burrows says, quietly.

"All you have to do is let us go," Scofield says.

"What will you do if I stop you?"

Scofield is silent for a moment. "I'm not going to hurt you," he says. "But I'm not going to watch him die."

Dr. Tancredi presses a hand to her forehead and closes her eyes. "I don't know. I – Michael, do you know what you're asking me to do?"

"Please," Scofield says. "Uncuff my brother, and then we can get out of here."

She shakes her head. "I don't have the key to the handcuffs."

"Who does?" Sam asks.

"What the hell is this?"

Sam turns to see a guard standing in the door from the bathroom, and of course there was going to be a guard as well, he can't believe he didn't think of that. Dean immediately leaps to grab the doctor's arms, twists them behind her, snarls, "Give us the fucking keys." The syringe skitters across the floor, the guard pulls out a gun, and half a second later Scofield injects the sedative into the guard's neck and catches him as he slumps.

They are all very still for a moment, the only sound Dr. Tancredi's rapid, uncontrolled breathing.

"He unconscious?" Dean asks.

"Looks like it," Scofield says, setting the guard down on the floor and rummaging through his pockets.

Dean lets go of Dr. Tancredi. "Sorry about that," he says. "I figured that if we made it look like you were threatened you'd be able to keep your job."

She's still hyperventilating too much to speak, but after a moment she raises a hand and nods in what looks like a slightly uncertain gesture of thanks.

Scofield finds the key, unlocks Burrows' handcuffs and helps him out of the chair. Checking the wound in his brother's side, he says, "We have to go. They'll notice we're missing soon."

Dr. Tancredi is looking at the unconscious guard, her breathing calming a little. "Why didn't you just knock me out?" she asks. "It would have been easier. For both of us."

"I'm sorry," Scofield says, after a brief hesitation. "I needed you to understand."

She doesn't respond.

"Maybe we'll see each other again," he says.

"I wish you and your brother the best of luck," Dr. Tancredi says. "But please don't try to find me."

-

Dr. Tancredi leaves the infirmary, running her hands through her hair, and as they don't know how long it might be before her conscience demands that she tell someone what's happening they have to work quickly. They tie a fire hose around the bars on the window and run it into the elevator. The elevator, it turns out, has sensors to detect whether a person is in it and doesn't want to move without one.

"What now?" Sucre asks.

"Someone's going to have to go down," Scofield says.

"Oh, yeah, that's a great idea. What if the doors open and there are guards on the other side, huh?"

"I'm not seeing any other options."

Sucre looks around, and then breaks into a grin. "Well, I am, smart boy."

Sam and Sucre manage to lift and carry the unconscious body of the guard with a little effort. Burrows holds the door while they deposit the guard in the elevator and lets go as soon as they're out again. The doors close and the elevator begins to move smoothly downwards, and after a few seconds of strain the fire hose brings the bars crashing onto the pile of pillows they set down to muffle the noise. Sucre whoops triumphantly.

There's a cable running from outside the window over the prison wall, and nobody complains when Scofield says that his brother is going to go first. The effort of climbing across must be reopening the cut in his side, Sam thinks, but Burrows keeps going until he reaches the wall, then pushes the razor wire aside with a couple of infirmary bedsheets and raises a hand.

Sam, Dean and Sucre follow and shimmy down the pipe to the outside world one by one, but Burrows lingers on the wall, waiting for his brother. Looking up from the street, Sam sees Burrows help Scofield onto the wall, sees them cling to each other briefly. They've done the right thing here, he thinks, whether Burrows is innocent or not.

As Sam watches them climb down together, the alarms begin to blare.

It's time to start running.

-

"Hey, Bobby," Dean says, toying with the payphone cord. "So, uh, how do you feel about harbouring the most wanted men in America?"