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17 February 2007 @ 11:48 am
Prison Break Gen Fiction: Learned At The Cradle, Forged In The Heart  
Title: Learned At The Cradle, Forged In The Heart
Author: HalfshellVenus
Pairing: Lincoln and Michael (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: They are brothers, no matter what, from the very beginning.
Author's Notes: Written for 60_minute_fics, for the prompt of "Family," and for my prisonbreak100 Gen pairing of Lincoln and Michael (prompt #43, "Heart"). Also for philosophy_20, this is "Birth.

x-x-x-x-x

"This is your brother Michael," his mother said.

The little bundle of blankets and pink lips and tiny, tiny fingers didn't seem like a brother. A brother was someone you could play with, someone to build forts and climb trees and color books with.

This was just a baby, who was too small to really do anything. He didn't know how to talk—he didn't even know Lincoln's name.

"Sit right here, and I'll hand him to you."

Lincoln settled into the corner of the sofa, holding the fragile softness he'd been entrusted with.

The baby opened his eyes and looked at him quietly before yawning off to sleep again.

Lincoln decided right then that he'd be Michael's brother until Michael was ready to be his.

*

"What are you boys up to out there?"

Mommy was in the bedroom and Lincoln was at the cookie jar. Michael stood by the kitchen door clutching his Batman figure and wishing Lincoln would hurry.

He peeked around the corner, watching how carefully Lincoln removed the top of the jar. Lincoln's touch was sure and slow, as if the lid were dynamite and the kitchen counter some kind of mine field.

Three cookies in one hand, the lid in the other, Lincoln replaced it as gently as a cloud touching the sky.

Until his hand jerked slightly and a telltale clink was heard…

Michael was across the room and on the sofa in front of the television before his mother even managed to clear the hallway.

*

"That your brother?" Danny Storelli asked Lincoln.

Danny was pointing down the hallway at a boy with too-short pants, a boy who didn't even notice the crowd around him as he struggled to fit his homework into his backpack.

"Yeah, it is. So?" Lincoln challenged him.

"Nothing. Just heard he was smart."

Lincoln smiled and shook his head, because Storelli had no idea.

There was smart, and then there was Michael.

And you'd better respect Lincoln's little brother, or else.

*

"What'll we do now that Mom is gone?"

Maybe there wasn't an answer to that, but Michael needed to believe that Lincoln could find one.

"Stick together, you and me. No matter what happens." Lincoln's hand held Michael's as tightly as if someone was already pulling them apart.

"What if they split us up?" Michael struggled past the tears that filled his throat and threatened to choke him.

"Then we'll find our way back to each other," Lincoln promised. "I'll always be your brother…"

Michael buried his face in Lincoln's shoulder, wishing he were small enough to hide there and never be taken away.

"Don't give up on me," Lincoln whispered.

"You know I won't."

Michael meant it with all his heart.

*

He didn't want Michael to see him like this anymore.

How many times could one man screw up and still live to tell about it? More times than he deserved, Lincoln decided. He'd already proved that point himself.

"Michael, you don't have to…"

Because Lincoln knew Michael was tired of his excuses. He'd been tired of them—of Lincoln-- several years back, before the last round landed Lincoln here on Death Row.

He shouldn't say it—he owed it to Michael to just let it go—but it was important that his brother knew:

"I'm innocent. I didn’t do it."

It wouldn't change anything except the look in Michael's eyes.

*

The wall against his back was cold and unyielding—no place to escape to, no way to disappear.

Outside, there was blood on the floor of the prison. One unlucky moment and it could easily have been his.

There was blood on Michael's shirt, the blood of someone who'd died in Michael's arms.

Michael's brain buzzed with images, sounds and smells. This was temporary, his time here—just a means to get Lincoln out. How could it all have gone to hell so quickly? He didn't even know why the riot had started.

"Pretty… Pretty…"

It was the voice of menace, revenge for something Michael hadn't even done.

Why am I here? His body shook inside the circle of his arms around his legs.

Because it's Lincoln, came the answer, and he's your brother.

Even in this beaten-down concrete hell, that reason was still enough.



-------- fin --------




 
 
 
bluesister on February 17th, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC)
You wrote this in 60min? That's perfect because I'm ready to quit watching the show and just experience that world through your stories. Actually, I think half of my enjoyment of the show is the background of your stories!

Lincoln decided right then that he'd be Michael's brother until Michael was ready to be his.
That's so perfect. And the cookie jar incident? Only a parent knows that silence is a bad sign.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on February 17th, 2007 08:42 pm (UTC)
The first version was written in 60mins (for the challenge community), but then I usually polish it (my brain isn't always at its sharpest from 10-11 pm). :) The comm's writing window is 7-8pm if you live on the West Coast, so I usually just do my own personal version of 10-11. You should try the challenges out! It'll get some ideas flowing, that's for sure. Almost everything I've written for it I wind up keeping-- some 20-25 stories so far, I think.

That's so perfect.
:) I can so understand Lincoln not feeling that Michael really IS a brother yet-- but understanding the he will be someday, and that he can wait until that happens.

And the cookie jar... gah! I was one of those kids myself, because the cookie jar was the center of the universe in my world. :0
Deadbeat Nymph: michael eyesdeadbeat_nymph on February 17th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Lincoln decided right then that he'd be Michael's brother until Michael was ready to be his.

Michael was across the room and on the sofa in front of the television before his mother even managed to clear the hallway.

There was smart, and then there was Michael.

It's all perfect, but those lines are fucking perfect.

I love you.


The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on February 17th, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
Hee-hee! Thank you, Nymph!

I tell you, there is no form of lightning faster than a kid who is a bystander to trouble and is about to be placed in the middle of it. Especially if you have a sibling that gets into trouble as much as Lincoln probably did. :D

bluedelft on February 17th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
Ahhhh, that was so good!

Lincoln decided right then that he'd be Michael's brother until Michael was ready to be his.

Watching out for each other right from the start.

LOVED IT!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2007 08:24 am (UTC)
Thank you, bluedelft!

I really wanted to capture that sense of love and loyalty here-- from the beginning all the way through the good AND the bad. It's the thing I really love most about the show. :)
aeroport_artaeroport_art on February 17th, 2007 09:44 pm (UTC)
Oooh, neat drabbles.

How many times could one man screw up and still live to tell about it?
I liked this line, it really rings true for Linc. He's screwed up SO many times, especially in the eyes of Michael.

a boy with too-short pants
Hee, that is SO Michael!! Even now, with his too-high backpack *giggles*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2007 08:26 am (UTC)
I liked this line, it really rings true for Linc. He's screwed up SO many times, especially in the eyes of Michael.
One of the things that intrigues me so much about Lincoln is that he knows this about himself, he truly regrets it (and its impact on Michael), and yet... he still keeps doing it. And hating himself for it afterwards. The fact the he still does it-- and still cares about its effect-- is an interesting combination.

Hee, that is SO Michael!! Even now, with his too-high backpack *giggles*
Those parts of Michael that are so very un-self-aware are just adorkable to me. ;)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2007 08:30 am (UTC)
Someone, I don't know who, came up with the term "fluffy-angst" (flangst) to describe that bittersweet combination of SO much of Lincoln and Michael together. It applies to the Supernatural boys as well, but you get the sense that Michael and Lincoln had some level of "normalcy" in early childhood-- as brothers-- whereas Sam and Dean didn't. Dean got 4 years of normal and then "whammo," and Sam never got it at all.

But that combined flavor is so irresistible, especially when you look back at the innocence and you know what's coming. It's a cookie jar now, but it'll be something much worse down the road-- and for most kids, it'd never get that bad!

i really like the way you took moments of their lives to show how strong their bond is and how long it has lasted.
Yes, yes-- that was the whole point of this piece, from the perspective of the 60_minute_fics prompt. The feeling of "Family" (the love and loyalty) was really what directed this piece, though when it came right down to the underlying message, "Heart" seemed perfect for the 100-fics challenge.

Well! So glad you liked this one. Thank you. :D

Catherine Winner: misasunrunnersioned on February 18th, 2007 12:23 am (UTC)
that was beautiful!!! So sweet!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2007 08:31 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

There's both light and dark, in what the brothers have been through together, but the way they stand by each other even in the worst times is something I really love about this show. :)
Genevieve: brothers by yucormsgenevieve on February 18th, 2007 06:32 am (UTC)
You know that cliched comment of "I'd quote all my favourite bits, but I'd only be cutting and pasting the whole story"? Well, call me cliche girl, because I loved every single word of this to bits.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2007 08:33 am (UTC)
Hee-hee!

Thank you, Jen, and I know exactly what you mean by that. :)

There are times when I read something, and it's just ALL funny, or ALL moving, or so much of a piece that it's hard to pull the pieces out.

So glad you liked this one. *waves*
Maz (or foxxy!)tuesdaeschild on February 18th, 2007 02:45 pm (UTC)
That whole first paragraph blew me away with the cuteness of it!! Delicious!!

And Lincoln decided right then that he'd be Michael's brother until Michael was ready to be his. was the cherry on top of the icing!! Mmmmmmmmmmmm!

For the fic to go from absolute adorableness to complete terror is exactly why your stories are so loved because you really know how to tell a story in the best possible way! Awesome!!

Actually the scene in Michael's cell after the death of Maytag is one of my favourite scenes ever because it was so powerful and because of a stunning performance from Mr Miller. I totally believed his horror and fear! So for that to be the final scene of this fic was perfect!

God, I love your fics! Wish I had time to read them more often!!


The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on February 20th, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
:D That beginning is, I think, what a lot of older children feel at being introduced to the new baby. "What am I supposed to do with this?" But then they quickly learn to love it on its own terms. :)

Actually the scene in Michael's cell after the death of Maytag is one of my favourite scenes ever because it was so powerful and because of a stunning performance from Mr Miller.
It's funny you should say that, because that was the turning point for me on Michael's character. He'd been so robotic and detached before (other than the tearful scene where he wanted Lincoln to reassure him of his innocence). But in that scene, after the riot, he final sees the enormity of this leap he's made on this brother's behalf. And what innocence it's already cost him-- far more than he probably expected to lose in such a short time. I bought into Michael emotionally then, in huge part because of Miller's incredible portrayal in that aftermath moment.

So for that to be the final scene of this fic was perfect!
That seemed the perfect final point to me for the trading of love and loyalty between the two characters. It began so simply at first, but by the end how complicated and costly it had all become.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting. :) *hugs*
Maz (or foxxy!): Brotherly hugtuesdaeschild on February 21st, 2007 06:28 pm (UTC)
:D That beginning is, I think, what a lot of older children feel at being introduced to the new baby. "What am I supposed to do with this?" But then they quickly learn to love it on its own terms. :)
You really do have your finger on the pulse! Of course it's obvious to me now that you've pointed it out, but you put it so well too! Awesome!


It's funny you should say that, because that was the turning point for me on Michael's character. He'd been so robotic and detached before (other than the tearful scene where he wanted Lincoln to reassure him of his innocence).
And that scene was before he went to Fox River, before he even conceived his plan, I think. So yes, the aftermath of the riot was the first time he had really shown much emotion about anything. And yes, it was all in the performance! Awesome!

That seemed the perfect final point to me for the trading of love and loyalty between the two characters. It began so simply at first, but by the end how complicated and costly it had all become.
The contrast did work perfectly! And I guess that was kind of the moment that Michael really was ready to be Lincoln's brother, yeah?

Always a pleasure to read your fics, my darling! And to comment! :D

*hugs*
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on February 26th, 2007 09:01 pm (UTC)
:) It's so hard for the older sibling getting used to a new baby-- often when they think they're ready, they're expecting someone who will instantly become a playmate and not a fluffy little bundle of "Huh?"

I just love your little vignettes of Lincoln & Michael together. Especially wee!Lincoln & Michael.
I never know when I'm going to write one of the little-people ones, but I've got some 75-or-so prompts left, and some of them have got to inspire these flashbacks. :) I'll keep hoping.