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Author's Chapter Notes:
I need to work on an Epilogue for Be My Comfort but this story wouldn't let me. It could be taken as a one shot but I think there is a lot more story to tell if people want to read it.

After BMC is done I swear I will write a story that doesn't involve a baby. Heh.
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Sara hadn’t seen Michael in almost a year and a half. The relationship they had was powerful but they both knew it wouldn’t last forever. Sara desired commitment; Michael wasn’t ready to be tied down. She gave him an ultimatum which came and went without incident. The next day they made love one last time before he helped her pack up her things. As she walked out of the apartment they had shared, they told each other they’d keep in touch... They hadn’t.

Sara was determined to move on without him or any other man for that matter. She had to remind herself how to be an independent woman again. She found a studio apartment in downtown Chicago that nicely met her needs. She reclaimed her medical license and after many interviews was able to secure a job at a children’s clinic. For Sara it was a comfort, the kids she saw everyday had never heard the names Burrows or Scofield and didn’t know about her past transgressions. She wasn’t Sara Tancredi: ex-prison doctor who allowed eight men to escape Fox River then nearly overdosed. She was Dr. Sara, one of a dozen other doctors at the Happy Faces Children’s Clinic. Her job was always hectic, sometimes rewarding and best of all distracting from the fact that she was very alone.

No, she hadn’t seen Michael in almost a year and a half and right now she hadn’t thought about him in... about fifteen minutes.

Sara walked up to the nurses station and handed Barbara her last patient’s paperwork. She placed her pen between her teeth and twisted her auburn hair up into a messy bun securing it with a brown clip.

“Looking forward to your afternoon off Sara?”

“Definitely. I have a ton of Christmas shopping to do and only a couple weeks to get it done.” She hoped the nurse couldn’t see through her lie. The only person she needed to buy Christmas presents for was herself and she sure didn’t feel like trudging through the snow to go to the busy mall. All she really wanted to do was go home and not do anything. Snuggle up on the couch and read a magazine or just zone out in front of the television for a couple hours. She desired mind-numbing tasks to replace puking kids and snotty noses.

“I have time for one more patient, what do you got for me?”

The nurse looked over the folders in front of her, “Uhh twelve year old who thinks she has a STD or worried new dad with a screaming baby...”

“Hmm... Screaming baby.”

Sara walked down the hall glancing over the baby’s information. She could hear the infant’s wails before she opened the door. The baby’s father had his back to the door while he attempted to soothe his crying daughter. The little girl was up on his shoulder, red-faced and screaming as loud as her little lungs would allow her.

“Shh... Shh... It’s okay, daddy’s going to fix it...” The man quietly whispered against the infant’s forehead oblivious that the doctor had walked in behind him.

She knocked on the side of the door to get his attention then glanced down to the information in her hands for a last name, “Hello Mr...”

He turned on his heels when he heard her voice to meet her wide eyed stare, “Sara?”

“Michael...” She looked from his surprised blue eyes to the crying baby in his arms then back, “You have a daughter.”

He shifted the baby in his arms as she continued to cry, “Yeah... I... I can explain.”

“There’s nothing to explain Michael. It’s been awhile since we saw each other...”

“Seventeen months.”

She nodded, “And you’ve moved on... That’s great, I’m happy for you.” Her forced smile was less than convincing.

Sara took a second to look him over. He was wearing a brown sweater vest over a long-sleeved dark blue dress shirt and dark khaki corduroys. The baby in his arms was wearing a bright pink fleece outfit with a fuzzy bunny on her bottom and little bunny faces on the feet. She had a little patch of dark black hair on the top of her head and her eyes were squeezed shut as she continued to scream. She took a few steps towards them studying the extremely upset infant.

“Now... What’s all that crying for?”

Michael looked worriedly at his little girl, “I don’t know. I’ve tried everything and it hasn’t helped. She’s not hungry, she’s been burped, and she has a clean diaper... I called her pediatrician but he couldn’t fit her in until tomorrow. I just don’t know what else to do.”

Sara held out her hands, “Can I?”

“Sure.” Michael handed the baby over.

She gently lay the baby down on the exam table, “How old is she?”

“Six weeks...” Michael stood on the other side of the exam table keeping close watch over the infant as Sara took her temperature with the ear probe, “Her name is Isabella. I’ve been calling her Izzie.”

“She’s adorable... So Izzie, what is going on with you?” The baby’s cries subsided as Sara unsnapped and removed the baby’s outfit leaving her only in a diaper. She huffed a warm breath on the cool metal of her stethoscope then placed it to the little girl’s chest listening to her heart and lungs. She glanced up at Michael who was nervously twisting his hands together watching as she examined the baby. Sara used two fingers to press lightly on her abdomen.

“Is she breastfed?”

“No, formula.”

“When is the last time she had a bowel movement?”

“Um... It was last night at her 10 o’clock feeding.”

“She might be constipated, her tummy feels a little firm.”

Michael placed his fingers where Sara’s were and pressed gently. The baby let out a small whine in response to the added pressure.

“What do I do to fix it?”

“Talk with her pediatrician, she might need a different formula. Maybe something with lower iron or soy based.” Michael nodded. “In the meantime add a teaspoon of Karo syrup to her formula, that’ll help get things moving. Also you can massage her tummy like this...” Sara gently rubbed clockwise circles on the baby’s stomach just below her belly button with two fingers.

The baby squirmed at her touch causing Michael to smile, “She’s ticklish.”

Sara returned his smile warmly. He seemed so different from the last time she had seen him. His eyes were filled with love for the tiny baby that lay between them on the table. She looked back and forth between Michael and his daughter searching her face for his features.

“She must look like her mother?”

Michael stared into her questioning eyes, “A little I guess. I think she looks more like her dad though.” He watched Sara’s puzzled glare dart between him and Izzie again. He wished then that she would have let him explain before.

“She’s not my daughter Sara... She’s Lincoln’s but I’m raising her.”

“Oh...” Sara stood dumbfounded for several seconds, “Where’s Lincoln?”

Michael’s eyes saddened, “Your guess is as good as mine. He didn’t want her.”

“And her mother?”

“She didn’t want her either.” The words came out barely above a whisper.

“Wow... But why do you have her?”

“I couldn’t let her go into the system...”

Before he could further elaborate the baby started to noisily grunt. Her little face contorted into a scowl, turning red as she strained, stretching and relaxing her legs repeatedly.

A laugh escaped Michael’s lips, “Well that sounds promising.”

Sara shook her head with a chuckle. She was about to ask him to continue but the door swung slowly open and Nurse Barbara peeked in.

“Excuse me Sara?” The auburn haired doctor walked over to the door, “Did you need me to takeover? I know you were anxious to get out of here early today...”

Sara turned to see Michael watching her, “I’ll finish with Mr. Scofield and his daughter first.” The nurse turned to leave, “Oh Barb, can you see what kind of formula coupons we have?”

“Sure Sara, I’ll have them at the front desk for you when you check out Mr. Scofield.”

Michael nodded, “Thanks.”

Once the nurse left Sara and Michael’s eyes met each other with a smile. They both turned to look at a much more relaxed Izzie, contentedly sucking on her hand. Michael rummaged through her bag digging out a fresh diaper and some wipes.

“Can I change her here?”

Sara laughed, “Of course... Besides I can’t wait to bear witness to The Great Michael Scofield changing a dirty diaper.”

“Hey... I’m actually getting pretty good at it.”

“We’ll see.” Sara stood back and observed Michael changing the infant’s diaper. She laughed at the face he made when he opened the diaper.

“Oh jeez... I don’t know how someone so cute can make something so disgusting. Ugh.” He took out a few wipes and cleaned her bottom up.

“Wait!” Sara couldn’t help but intervene, “Front to back, not back to front... You might spread bacteria and that could give her an infection.”

“Oh,” He gave the infant a guilty look, “I didn’t know.”

“No worries. It’s a common mistake.”

Michael patted the sticky tabs of the diaper firmly then grabbed her pink bunny outfit and started to redress her. Sara walked over to Izzie’s bag and dug around. She pulled out a plain white onesie and passed it to Michael.

“Put this on under her outfit, it’ll help keep her warm.” She kept digging in the bag, “Do you have a hat for her?”

“Her jacket has a hood...”

“Buy her a warm hat, one that goes down over her ears. It’s way too cold in Chicago for her head not to be covered. And get her some thermal long johns for under her clothes.”

He nodded silently, lifting Izzie up to his chest and snuggling her securely. She could sense that he was feeling overwhelmed.

“I guess I’m not doing as well as I thought I was with this whole ‘being a dad’ thing.”

Sara put a reassuring hand on his bicep, “You’re doing fine Michael.”

“I want to be a good father.” He pressed his lips softly to the side of the baby’s head, “I just want to do everything right by her.”

“Michael... You can’t expect to know everything right away. It’s just going to take a little time.” Sara patted her hand over the baby’s back. The little girl rubbed her face back and forth against Michael’s sweater then let out a big yawn.

He lifted his arm up to peep at his watch, “She always gets sleepy around this time.”

“Me too.” Sara said with a giggle and a yawn.

“Crap, I’m sorry... That nurse said you’re supposed to be getting out of here and I’m keeping you from your plans.”

Sara scoffed, “I don’t have any plans actually. I was probably going to grab some take-out then sit on my couch and watch TV.” She gave Michael a sweet smile, “Do you want to go grab some lunch? We’d have a chance to catch up...”

“I’d like that.”

Sara grabbed her purse and met up with Michael in the lobby. Izzie was happily napping against his shoulder, a thick fleece blanket draped over her tiny body to shield her from the freezing December weather. She followed him out to his black Range Rover and helped him get the baby buckled into her infant seat. Izzie fussed briefly not liking that she had to leave the warmth of Michael’s shoulder for the cold interior of the vehicle. He tucked the blanket around her while Sara grabbed the keys, climbed in the passenger side and cranked the truck up turning the heat on full blast. Michael jogged around and hopped into his seat closing the door quickly as not to let too much cold air in. He smiled when he turned around to check on Izzie and discovered that she had already fallen peacefully back to sleep. Sara couldn’t hide the happiness on her own face as she watched Michael’s interactions with the little girl.

Michael swiped the windshield wipers a couple times while he waited for the defrosters to take effect, “So... Where should we go?”

Sara thought for a few minutes before she suggested their former favorite place to dine, a nice little Italian restaurant called Rudy’s. He nodded an approval and flipped the truck into reverse.

They arrived at Rudy’s ten minutes later. Michael looked back to Izzie who was still sleeping quietly.

“Do you have a stroller she could lay down in?” Sara questioned.

“Um... No... I wasn’t sure if I needed one.”

“Well let’s bring the whole infant seat in so we don’t have to wake her.”

“Okay.”

Sara got out of the truck and moved to the back door. She covered Izzie’s infant seat with the fleece blanket and lifted it up from the car seat base. Michael came around and took the seat from her hands while she grabbed the diaper bag and followed him into the restaurant.

A nicely dressed man held the front door open for them to enter, “Just two?” They nodded. “Would you like a cradle for the carseat?” Michael gave him a puzzled look.

“Yes, we would.” Sara spoke up.

“Great, follow me.”

“What’s a carseat cradle?” Michael asked.

“I’m not sure but I guess we’ll find out.”

They followed the man to the table and watched as a waitress came up behind them carrying a folded aluminum contraption. She unfolded it revealing a sturdy mesh hammock slung between two aluminum criss-crossed poles. The waitress motioned for Michael to put the infant seat down which he did then clipped the protective straps around the seat wiggling it gently to make sure it was secure.

“Well that’s neat,” Sara whispered.

“Very neat.” Michael responded while studying the simple design. He moved it closer to the table causing Izzie to stir a little. Michael tucked the blanket around her tightly with a smile.

After they ordered their lunch Sara noticed Michael staring at the sleeping baby. She called his name a few times without getting a response then reached across the table covering his hand with hers and calling his name again.

“Michael?”

He blinked his eyes a few times then shifted his gaze to her face, “Sorry, I guess I was lost in thought.”

“There’s a shock,” She said with a smirk.

He returned her smile before glancing down at their hands and letting out a long sigh.

“Tell me what happened Michael...”

“Lincoln started drinking again after... Oh, you probably don’t know... About LJ?” She shook her head and shrugged, “He... There was an accident. He was coming home from the mall one night and this guy, he was drunk I guess... LJ is...” The words caught in his throat, “He’s gone.”

Sara’s eyes filled with tears, “Oh God Michael... I’m so sorry.”

“It was horrible. He was such a good kid you know?”

“I know he was,” She whispered back tightening her grip on his hand.

Michael shut his eyes tightly waiting for his emotions to settle before he continued to speak, “Afterwards Lincoln was... inconsolable... He wandered around like a zombie for the first few weeks. Then he started drinking, doing drugs. He was borderline suicidal but I think he knew that LJ would have been really mad with him if he killed himself... So he did the next best thing in his mind – drank every night until he passed out or got high enough that he was numb to everything... I finally knocked some sense into him. It took forever but he straightened up, starting going to AA. That’s where he met Christina.” Michael paused to look at the baby, her little mouth forming into a smile as she dreamed. “They started dating – well I don’t know if I’d call it dating really... They were just screwing each other. Exchanging one addiction for another.”

Across the restaurant someone dropped a tray with a loud crash which startled Izzie and caused her to wake up crying. Michael stood up and picked her up out of her infant seat. He nestled the baby comfortably against his chest; his large hand covering her back as he patted her gently whispering quiet shushes into her ear. Once he was sure she was on her way back to sleep he continued.

“So Christina shows up at the apartment Linc and I were sharing a month later announcing she was pregnant... Lincoln was angry, he begged her to get an abortion saying he didn’t want to have any kids. He stormed out leaving her behind crying hysterically. I managed to convince Christina not to give up on him yet and that he just needed time... I don’t even know why I did that in hindsight, I knew Linc wouldn’t change his mind about this... After she left the apartment that day I didn’t see her again for eight months. She showed up at the door again, big and pregnant. I expected her to plead with Lincoln to take her in but instead she told me that she had made her decision. She didn’t want the baby so she was going to give it up for adoption after she was born. I panicked. I flashed back to all the horrible foster homes I had, the abuse, the stories I heard other foster kids tell me in between new homes... I know that there are good adoptive parents out there but I couldn’t bear the thought that Lincoln’s child might end up in a house like the ones I was in...” A proud smile spread across his lips, “So I did what I did best.”

Sara ran her thumb across the top of his hand, “You came up with a plan to rescue her...”

He nodded, “I told Christina to put my name on the birth certificate as the father then she could give up her rights and never have to see any of us again.”

“And she did it? Is that legal?”

“She did it and I’m not sure if it’s legal or not but she’s mine.”

“What if Christina changes her mind? She could come back at any time and want to reclaim her.”

Michael shook his head, “She’s dead. Cocaine overdose the week after Izzie was born.”

“Wow... And Lincoln just... left?”

“When I told him what I was going to do he got mad and stormed out of the apartment. I haven’t seen him since. He called one night a couple weeks ago, completely wasted. I offered to come and get him, help him clean up... He asked if I had the baby, when I told him yes he muttered a few colorful phrases and hung up the phone. That’s the last I’ve heard from him.”

“I can’t believe he’d just give her up... Has he ever seen her?”

Michael shook his head, “He doesn’t even know her name.”

“That’s so sad Michael.”

He nodded silently bringing his hand up to his eyes to wipe away the tears he refused to shed.

The awkward silence was broken when the waitress brought their lunches to the table. She set Sara’s antipasto salad down then placed Michael’s spaghetti in front of him.

Izzie began to stir against him, her little hands grasping at the neck of Michael’s sweater. He pushed back from the table slightly, placed one hand behind her head and the other on her bottom then leaned forward so that she was laying in his hands looking up at him. Her bright hazel eyes stared intently into his blue ones. He rotated her around so that she was cradled in the crook of his arm. She turned her face back and forth, little mouth eagerly searching for the bottle her current position told her she should be getting.

“Well I guess you’re ready for lunch too little girl.” Sara said with a laugh. She grabbed the baby’s diaper bag off the floor and placed it in her lap digging around for a bottle.

“There should be an empty bottle there on the right and some bottled water... The powdered formula is in that little plastic thing. I already measured out enough for four ounces.”

Sara was impressed at his organization though she really didn’t expect anything different from Michael. She opened the water, poured in four ounces then emptied the powdered formula in before replacing the nipple and shaking the mixture together. She asked the waitress to bring a cup of hot water, bobbed the bottle up and down in the hot water to warm it before handing it over to Michael who tested it on his wrist before giving it to Izzie. The baby gulped impatiently at the formula bottle as Michael attempted to eat a few bites of his meal. After a few minutes he pulled the bottle away, checking to see that she had already drank two ounces then put her up on his shoulder patting her solidly on the back. Two tiny burps escaped the baby’s mouth, then one big burp followed by a drizzle of spit-up which Michael caught just before it reached his shirt. He positioned her again in the crook of his arm and grabbed the bottle.

“Here...” Sara got to her feet, “Hand her to me so you can eat.”

“No, I’m fine.”

“Michael... Let me help you please.”

He rolled his eyes before passing Izzie over the table to Sara. She cradled the infant in her arms and put the nipple up to her mouth. The little girl suckled noisily at her bottle causing both adults to laugh. Sara leaned down and brushed her lips to Izzie’s tiny forehead. Michael watched them both from across the table with a big grin on his face. He imagined that had he and Sara not split up it was very possible they would have been doing this same thing, only it would be their child that Sara was lovingly holding in her arms.

“Sara?”

She looked up into his blue eyes, “Hmm?”

“I’ve missed you.”

She nodded, “I missed you too.”

After their lunch was done they sat together in quiet conversation. Isabella was soundly sleeping reclined comfortably in Sara’s arms.

“Are you working somewhere?”

“I’m with Hudson and Partners.”

Sara’s eyebrows rose at the mention of one of the most prestigious architectural firms in Chicago, “Wow... That’s great. I guess the escape didn’t hurt your career any...”

“No, actually I think it helped. Once I put my résumé out there I had all kinds of offers tossed at me. They were enthusiastic to have the most famous engineer in the country on their staff. I guess it didn’t matter that I was famous because I used my engineering skills to break out of a prison.”

She laughed, “So who watches Izzie while you work?”

“I’m still on family leave right now. I had six weeks off plus all my unused vacation time... I don’t have to go back until after the first of the year.”

“That’s good. Have you started looking at daycares?”

“A couple but I haven’t found any that I liked.”

“Some of the doctors that I work with have children, I’ll ask them for some suggestions if you’d like.”

“That’d be great thanks.”

The waitress came by and cleared the table then set the bill face down on the table. Before Sara could reach for her purse Michael whipped out his card and handed it to the waitress.

“Michael, you didn’t have to do that...”

“I insist,” His eyes gleamed at hers as he spoke. He stood up and gently took Izzie from Sara’s arms and set her into her carseat.

“So what are your plans now Mr. Scofield?” Sara asked as she stood up and put her coat on.

Michael thought for a bit before answering, “Well I have strict doctor’s orders so guess I need to go buy some Karo syrup, a hat, some thermal underwear, and a stroller...”

Sara laughed, “Want some company?”

“That would be great.”

Michael covered Izzie’s seat with the blanket then walked with Sara out of the restaurant and back to his truck. They drove over to Babies R Us where Michael spent several hundred dollars buying all the things he didn’t know he should have. When they left the store Michael’s truck was jammed full of baby stuff. Sara agreed to go with him to his apartment, their old apartment, to help him set it all up.

She used his keys to unlock the door and walked in carrying the baby in her arms, “You haven’t changed much since I left.”

He set three big bags of baby clothes and supplies on the couch, “I don’t really like change.”

She giggled, “And yet you went from commitment-phobic bachelor to new daddy overnight?”

He walked over to Sara and the baby with a smirk. His hand brushed a wayward strand of auburn hair behind her ear then leaned down and kissed the back of Izzie’s head. Sara’s eyes closed as he got close enough to her that his manly scent wafted to her nose. When she opened her eyes he was right in front of her, his lips so close that all she had to do was lean forward and they’d be touching her own.

“Seventeen months, two weeks, three days.” He murmured.

She smiled, “Guess I wasn’t the only one counting.”

He shook his head and rubbed his lips together in anticipation, “You are so beautiful.”

“Michael, I never should have...” Before she could tell him how much she regretted leaving him his mouth was on hers. Their kiss started out tender, then his hand drew up to cup her jaw and she parted her lips welcoming his tongue in. As she wrapped her free arm around his neck and pulled him closer Izzie let out a groan. Apparently being smushed between the two adults wasn’t her idea of fun.

Michael patted her back with a chuckle, “Sorry baby girl.” He pressed his smile to Sara’s once more than went back down to unload more stuff from his truck. Three trips later his front hall was jammed full with baby stuff.

Baby Isabella was resting in her new stroller as Michael worked to put her swing together and Sara set out to organize everything else. She piled all of the new pink baby clothes on the couch and lined up the dozen different baby supplies on the coffee table. She packed a large plastic bin with all of the first aid supplies she had Michael buy and walked it back to the baby’s room. She stepped into the nursery for the first time and flipped on the switch. Her face lit up when she saw the room that Michael had made for Izzie. The baby’s white crib was sitting to the left side of the room with her name spelled out in curvy white wooden letters above it. The left and right walls and the wall the bedroom door was on were all painted light purple. The fourth wall which was opposite of the bedroom door had the beginnings of an elaborate mural hand drawn in pencil on it. She set the plastic bin down on the closet floor then walked over to the mural wall. Taped to the middle of the wall was a smaller version of the mural drawn on drafting paper for reference. According to the completed drawing the mural would be of a flowery meadow with a winding creek running through it and an ornate castle up to one corner. Sara smiled as she quietly studied the picture.

“She’s my princess so I thought she deserved to have a castle.”

Sara turned to see Michael standing in the doorway cradling a wiggling Isabella in his arms. She walked over to him and hugged his neck tightly, careful not to squish the baby in the process. She kissed his cheek then softly whispered, “You’re an amazing father Michael, don’t ever doubt that.” He smiled that shy Scofield smile that she had seen a million times before and her heart melted. This was not the same Michael that she broke up with a year and a half ago, this was an entirely different man and she couldn’t wait to get to know him all over again.

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Chapter End Notes:
So whaddaya think??

(Special thanks to the person who pointed out that the word c-u-r-l was causing the 404 Error page. If any of you are getting an error while trying to post a story take that word out & the error should go away. That's what finally worked for me.)