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16 March 2007 @ 09:01 am
Prison Break Gen Fiction: Deadly Secrets  
Title: Deadly Secrets
Author: HalfshellVenus
Character: Alexander Mahone (Gen)
Rating: PG-13 (subject matter)
Summary: In that garden, his secret was just waiting to be discovered.
Author's Notes: Written for philosophy_20, where I claimed the General Series. This is for prompt #19, "Caught In The Form Of A Limitation."

x-x-x-x-x

His future and his past were bound by the dark decision that lay buried under the bird bath.

The silent earth held his secret, held the mystery of murderers murdered, of justice wrought against the workings of the law.

It still haunted him. He'd spent years hunting down Oscar Shales, following a trail of dead women from coast-to-coast. When he'd finally found the man—just a few leaps of logic in front of the pack— Shales had taunted him. "Can't prove a thing," he'd said. "Nothing but circumstantial evidence—all kinds of room for reasonable doubt."

Mahone had had no doubts whatsoever. He'd known Shales had done it all, he'd seen the evidence with his own eyes.

Shales was not the only one who knew about unconnectable dots and leads that could be made to run cold. A bullet to the brain, and Shales was no longer a threat to anyone. Not in the beginning, anyway… but then, so much could change with time.

Mahone was a detective first and a lawman second. The fact that Shales' case remained unsolved didn't bother him—that was only on paper. The truth had been laid to rest.

What he hadn't counted on was that nobody else was prepared to let it go. It became his "failure," the one he'd let get away. It dogged his reputation in spite of all his successes. There were times he wanted to just scream out, "Shales is dead, the case is closed." But the FBI wasn't lenient about the kind of solution he'd chosen. More than being a disgrace or showing a lack of control, it was the sign of a rogue agent—the kind who'd wind up being forced to take administrative leave under the eyes of bureau psychiatrists

So Mahone kept his mouth shut and threw himself into his job, while the pressure kept growing all around him.

When his wife had said she wanted a divorce, his first thought wasn't about the two of them—it was for whether he could afford to leave that garden, and what he'd been hiding there all those years. Eventually his panic settled out, replaced by thoughts of the other things he was losing—his wife, his son… the parts of himself that were more than the job, more than his mistakes. They all slipped out of his fingers, and there was nothing he could do.

Now, in his isolated existence, he could see how hopeless it really was. His obsession, his guilt, his resentment of the limits of the law—they'd all made it impossible for him to be anywhere but alone.

Now his life was defined by his work. The work was all he had left.

And in that garden, his secret was just waiting to be discovered.

Someone knew about Shales. It was how Mahone had gotten stuck playing detective on the one hand and lone assassin on the other.

It was the leverage that helped him pull the trigger that first time, when it was David Apolskis. All that loud posturing and loose talk covered a rough undercurrent of naivete, like a too-big suit dwarfing the little boy inside it. Mahone couldn't get that thought out of his head once the echo of the gunshot had died. All that blood, all that innocence… some of it was his own, spilling out unchecked as he stood shaking over that kid whose stilled face suddenly looked so terribly young.

Abruzzi hadn't been easy either. No question that the man was guilty of all kinds of crimes, but still— gunning him down with the barest excuses wasn't how Mahone had been trained.

It was a different kind of sin to talk a crazy man into diving into the unforgiving air. Patoshik was dangerous, the type who could only be caged but never cured. How many shades of gray could span a world where a man could betray someone he didn't even know?

There was more to this story he was chasing, of that much he was certain. Too many questions— Scofield's history that didn't match his crime, the pleading in the Burrows kid's eyes, the audacity of the brothers' newscast, the number of people who'd had to be silenced. It added up to something that had to be more than a simple jail break.

Mahone wonders whether "cleaning things up" is the real job, or whether it's a torturous exercise meant to keep him from looking at the puzzle any closer.

Killing Shales was what started all this, but each gesture of obeisance Mahone made afterward dug the hole deeper. There was no backing out anymore—to hell with the job, now they were threatening his family. It hadn't escaped him that he'd helped force that same choice on Franklin, even knowing the things a man would do to save his child.

He'd killed to protect his secret, but he was making more secrets as he went—more things he'd done that he could never walk away from.

The irony here was entirely of his own making—he knew that all too well.

Trapped by what he'd done those years ago, everything since then had only strengthened the bars of his cage.



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




 
 
 
PamalaX: Mahonedespairpamalax on March 16th, 2007 06:42 pm (UTC)
YAY!!!!!!! You have no clue how excited I was when I saw this show up. Just not enough Mahone fic out there so seeing some from one of the most respected PB fic authors around is pure joy!

General excitement aside this was really wonderfully done.

I think a lot of people still don't see all the layers to the character blinded by his always breathing down Michaels neck.

It all there and you did a feally great job illustrating that with the nice GEN ;o) fic.

But you don't have to believe me one this one because as I read I kept thinking about this quote from Bill Fichtner during an interview last week when the interviewer mentioned Mahone was cerebral,tortured and more than just a bad guy:

Fichtner: Thank you. Thank you for using those words to describe him. That's exactly how I think about him, but people are always like, "He's such a bad guy." I'm always like, "Don't you get more than that?" Pay attention, he's more than a bad guy. He's a guy who gets pulled in so many directions. That is what has made this entire season really worth it for me.

What's interesting is all the other stuff, the internal conflicts and what's happening in his life and with his family, that's what makes it work. Characters who have more than one plate spinning are the most fun to play.


I loved this and am betting the actor himself would agree.

Hope to see you do more in the future.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 16th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC)
I think a lot of people still don't see all the layers to the character blinded by his always breathing down Michaels neck.
One of the most intriguing things to me are characters that are not black-and-white. Crazy Haywire tried to save that young woman from her own father, in his mind. Bellick is an ass, but he's cunning all the same. T-Bag is charmed washed over the substance of realized evil.

And Mahone... probably a good man once, who "took the easy way out" on the problem of Shales, never realizing what it would cost him. Killing Shales punishes no-one, and brings a form of justice. But the fact that Mahone's method was also illegal means that the choice becomes leverage to make him do so much worse.

I love the Fichtner quote you included-- that's Mahone in a nutshell to me. Tortured genius, less by his own mind than by the situation he created that allows him to be forever, secretly punished.

He's a guy who gets pulled in so many directions.
He still wants to do the right thing, but that chance is often over for him because the higher-ups aren't playing by the rules. Refuse to kill a man who shouldn't be killed, and your family gets threatened with death instead. Who wouldn't choose the least of the two bad options? And punish themselves for both of them, after it's over.

I loved this and am betting the actor himself would agree.
:D That's often the reason for writing these vignettes-- to bring more of the character to the forefront that is usually just implied or glimpsed just briefly in the course of the show.

So glad you liked it-- you're probably Mahone's number one fan, after all. :)
PamalaX: Alexshadesgraypamalax on March 16th, 2007 08:51 pm (UTC)
I love the Fichtner quote you included

I loved that quote! The part where he say " Don't you get more than that? Pay attention. " cracks me up because you can just feel the frustration of people not getting all that he's put into the character.

It helps a lot that it validated my seeing all that stuff so I can throw that back when people tell me I read way too much into the character :o) THANKS BILL!

So glad you liked it-- you're probably Mahone's number one fan, after all. :)

I loved it and yeah I am kind of Alex nut at this point which seems to irritate some.

The good news is: because I am I know where all the Mahone junkies are so I'll pimp this one tomorrow if its okay with you and you might want to post a link here when you have the chance.
http://community.livejournal.com/fichtner_fans/

Thank again. I have PJ party house full of 13 year old girls tonight so an Alex pick me up hit the spot.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 16th, 2007 08:59 pm (UTC)
Oh, thanks for the Comm link. Wonder if I should add it to the Fic Exchange and PB100 affiliates?

Yes, please pimp! Most of our readers are (I hope) zooming through the fic exchange stories), and the rest are reading very little Gen. :(
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable women: michaelmissyjack on March 17th, 2007 12:19 am (UTC)
Okay this fic - brillaint and a milion miles better than the show at present!

The ep where Mahone kills Tweener aired in Aust this week (yes I am rewatching the earlier eps!). And you fic captures the dark complexity of the man, becuase he has the capcity to do what he is doing, and he is trapped by himself as much as others, but there is still soemthing of the good man he once was in there.

See this is what greta fanfic does, helps me lvoe my show more.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 17th, 2007 02:50 am (UTC)
Okay this fic - brillaint and a milion miles better than the show at present!
Eeeee- thank you!

And I don't know how far in you are, but Season 2 has been making many of the fans nuts. Kellerman and Mahone are getting a good workout in character depth, but Michael and Lincoln have splintered off into 2D cardboard cutouts following the plot around much of the time. It's truly aggravating. :(

And your fic captures the dark complexity of the man, becuase he has the capcity to do what he is doing, and he is trapped by himself as much as others, but there is still soemthing of the good man he once was in there.
I loved him at the beginning of the season, because although he was Michael's adversary, he was worthy and he had no way of knowing that Michael had his reasons for what he was doing. Then there was the meeting with Kellerman and killing Tweener, and I was thrown by that-- I thought they'd 180'd the character and flattened him out. Over time, they've added back in the hints of coercion that are forcing him to do the things that are so counter to his nature, and that's made him interesting all over again! I'm all about complexity, when it comes to characters. So much to chew over.

Well, I'm so glad you liked this! The stories I'm writing for the philosoph_20 challenge kind of force me to bring up my game, because they're the first that will represent the fandom, and I want them to be good *gulp*.
I'm for wine and the embrace of questionable womenmissyjack on March 17th, 2007 03:02 am (UTC)
I'm up to date with PB and i do agree about what has happened to Michael and Linc. I am not looking forward to S3. But maybe Kellerman and Mahone could have a spin-off series? hehe.

BTW are you watching 24? There is so much wrong with the damn show in terms of writing, chracterisaiton, politics and morals and but I cant help but enjoy the ride.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on March 17th, 2007 03:14 am (UTC)
Gah-- at this point, the idea of a Season 3 doesn't even seem like a good idea. The dropoff from S1 to S2 was huge already, in terms of why I watched the show. :(

I lurve "24" and cannot help myself. It's always so fascinating, even when parts of it bug me. I've been struggling the last few weeks with staying awake, but it still packs a punch. (not the show-- I'm just not getting enough sleep. Last week was all weasel-VP-weasel-adamantVP-weasel-MARTHA! WTF!)

;)
poważny zamyślony kwadrat: PB/MahoneAngstpellamerethiel on March 17th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
Ohhhh, this fic is so great! Just made of awesomeness! Alex is my full-time favourite character and I'm just thrilled to see that more and more fics about him are being written. :)))

I loved the way you write, especially when it comes to look into the very soul of characters. And I was really stunned to see how you've managed to push Alex through this horrible formal FBI stuff - these lines were my favourites, really. The whole fic is gorgeous. :)

Mahone was a detective first and a lawman second. The fact that Shales' case remained unsolved didn't bother him—that was only on paper. The truth had been laid to rest.
Perfect lines!

There were times he wanted to just scream out, "Shales is dead, the case is closed." But the FBI wasn't lenient about the kind of solution he'd chosen. More than being a disgrace or showing a lack of control, it was the sign of a rogue agent—the kind who'd wind up being forced to take administrative leave under the eyes of bureau psychiatrists
As I said before, these lines are my favourites!♥

Someone knew about Shales.
And this one gave me chills. Really. :D

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 17th, 2007 02:58 am (UTC)
Alex is my full-time favourite character and I'm just thrilled to see that more and more fics about him are being written. :)
I didn't know you were such a big fan of him! He and Kellerman are the real standouts of Season 2, though I do miss having more "meat" on the other characters.

especially when it comes to look into the very soul of characters.
Thank you! That's honestly what motivates me to write fanfiction-- it's getting deep down inside characters where we sometimes get only the briefest glimpses of them. I enjoy fleshing them out, and also tying their bits of canon in together and trying to get those and the character to make sense. You might call it "enrichment," in some ways.

And this one gave me chills. Really. :D
I really think someone must. I suspect (as mentioned here) that Mahone's solution to Shales was the first piece of leverage in blackmailing his later behaviors. *angsts*

Thanks so much for your thoughtful review. ♥
poważny zamyślony kwadrat: PB/TeamMahonepellamerethiel on March 17th, 2007 03:04 am (UTC)
I didn't know you were such a big fan of him! He and Kellerman are the real standouts of Season 2, though I do miss having more "meat" on the other characters.
Yeah, Alex = my hero!♥
And I have to agree - Mahone and Kellerman are so well-written in the second season, as well Sara, but on the other side something's wrong with the brothers. :/ I really wish they thought more of expanding their relationship or gave them more brother-family issues-memories scenes.

I really think someone must. I suspect (as mentioned here) that Mahone's solution to Shales was the first piece of leverage in blackmailing his later behaviors. *angsts*
That's what I'm thinking too. ;)))
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on March 17th, 2007 03:18 am (UTC)
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<i.And I have to agree - Mahone and Kellerman are so well-written in the second season, as well Sara, but on the other side something's wrong with the brothers. :/</i>
Those have all been the hard parts for me. I don't like M/S as a pairing at all (and it's dragging the show down for me), but Sara apart from Michael has been kick-ass this season!

And on the downside, the brothers have no visible relationship right now at all. Even by themselves, Lincoln has very little characterization, and Michael's is a moving target. I've talked about this with several people who've dropped the show recently, and the main reason in part is that the brothers and the emotion between them was a big hook in watching the show. The way they behave almost like strangers now, and the way the episodes kind of whiplash from one plot-point to another, entirely weakens the parts of the show I actually like! *is pensive*

I would like to see who exactly knew what Mahone had done with Shales. And of course, I hold out hope that someone will run over Agent Kim again (why didn't Kellerman shoot him when he had the chance, I wonder?) ;)
poważny zamyślony kwadrat: PB/BrothersTogetherpellamerethiel on March 17th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
I'm M/S shipper, so that doesn't bother me at all. But I have to agree about what you said about brotherly stuff on the show - yeah, they're acting like strangers now and I can't really understand why they couldn't care more of each other? The last ep really pissed me off, when Mike got back all sore and bruised and Linc behaved like nothing ever happened. Hey, Linc, he could have been killed! It was really a stroke of luck that he haven't!

And I was also angry to see Kellerman not killing Kim - uh, there's a loooong line of people waiting to kill this guy. But I think that Alex's gonna be the one who shall do this. ;)))
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on March 17th, 2007 03:38 am (UTC)
The last ep really pissed me off, when Mike got back all sore and bruised and Linc behaved like nothing ever happened. Hey, Linc, he could have been killed!
That bugged me so much that there's half a chance a story will come out of it. Grrrrr...

But I think that Alex's gonna be the one who shall do this. ;)))
I was rooting out loud for Michael to run Kim down with the car, and yet still half-surprised (and pleased!) that he actually did it. ;)

You should peek at this ficlet-- it's a revenge-fantasy on Agent Kim. alazysod egged me on to write it, and I couldn't resist. Our fandom is united in its hatred of Agent Kim at least. :D :D
brushed_velvetbrushed_velvet on March 17th, 2007 02:32 pm (UTC)
pellamerethiel, I have to ask where you got this icon from. I hope you don't mind but I've snagged it. Over on Fan Forum in the William/Mahone thread we have a team Mahone and this icon fits perfectly! I would like to give proper credit though if I use it so I'd be grateful for the info.
poważny zamyślony kwadrat: PB/TeamMahonepellamerethiel on March 17th, 2007 03:35 pm (UTC)
I've taken it from uponplains :DDD
brushed_velvetbrushed_velvet on March 17th, 2007 04:09 pm (UTC)
Thanks! I'll credit circus_sands then.
brushed_velvetbrushed_velvet on March 17th, 2007 02:28 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful! I absolutely love Mahone and all his flawed, complex layers and you've done a great job of tapping into that.

It was the leverage that helped him pull the trigger that first time, when it was David Apolskis. All that loud posturing and loose talk covered a rough undercurrent of naivete, like a too-big suit dwarfing the little boy inside it. Mahone couldn't get that thought out of his head once the echo of the gunshot had died. All that blood, all that innocence… some of it was his own, spilling out unchecked as he stood shaking over that kid whose stilled face suddenly looked so terribly young.

I really loved this paragraph especially... heartbreaking.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 22nd, 2007 12:11 am (UTC)
I absolutely love Mahone and all his flawed, complex layers.
I love that they're getting moreso all the time-- that we have a sense of him being coerced to do these things that are so very wrong for him. His abrupt character change in that first discussion with Kellerman was such a jolt-- no background for that 180-flip at all. But we've had glimpses added in since then-- his family threatened, his child run down by another G-man. We know why he keeps on towing the line now, even while it destroys him.

I really loved this paragraph especially... heartbreaking.
Thank you! I chose this scene because this is the first time, that we know of, that Mahone has killed someone on those orders who really hasn't deserved it. God, the way that would jolt down through him and never go away. He is as guilty as he never wanted to be.
i'm chris, not dustin (bella): Mahone - Haywire dieaccrues on March 17th, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
This was brilliantly done, absolutely wonderful. And I have to disagree... I'm fighting pamalax for the title of biggest fan :P

This is a lovely exploration into the mindframe of his own crimes within the law, pushing boundaries to try and find a resolution but making things worse. And you pulled it off really well.

Trapped by what he'd done those years ago, everything since then had only strengthened the bars of his cage.
Gah.. Just... perfect. Fics have to have the best tag line and that... that is brilliant. Have I ever told you I love your fic? *grin*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 22nd, 2007 12:14 am (UTC)
I'm fighting pamalax for the title of biggest fan :P
:D You do have a Mahone icon, which is more than I do. I think Pamala would wrestle you to the ground on that one, though. Clearly, the man has people who understand him, however flawed he becomes. :)

This is a lovely exploration into the mindframe of his own crimes within the law, pushing boundaries to try and find a resolution but making things worse. And you pulled it off really well.
Thank you so much! I'm sure that the first crime, that of Shales, never even seemed wrong. In the larger scheme of the Universe, it wasn't. But the position he got pushed into as a result of that... Mahone's further actions aren't debatable or forgivable. They're black-and-white wrong. *angsts*

Have I ever told you I love your fic? *grin*
Hee-hee! Thank you so much!

And I live to make sure the ending doesn't collapse, let me tell you. ♥
i'm chris, not dustin (bella): Alex - sleepyaccrues on March 22nd, 2007 12:59 am (UTC)
:D You do have a Mahone icon, which is more than I do. I think Pamala would wrestle you to the ground on that one, though. Clearly, the man has people who understand him, however flawed he becomes. :)
I have about 20 Alex icons :) And yes, here we are fangirling him because he needs all the support he can get (and we dont want him to die!!)

They're black-and-white wrong. *angsts*
Well... not really. They're grey. Because he's being blackmailed and everything... *shrug* it all gets very oddly confusing for me :P


And I live to make sure the ending doesn't collapse, let me tell you. ♥
You pull it off well :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on March 22nd, 2007 01:01 am (UTC)
I have about 20 Alex icons :)
Well! You are a worthy contender then!

Well... not really. They're grey. Because he's being blackmailed and everything...
I think his motive is gray, but the acts themselves are not.

And while the viewer has some wiggle-room over them, the torturous part is that Alex is not so forgiving of himself.

That's the lead-in to allllll the angst. :D
i'm chris, not dustin (bella): Michael - and linc brothersaccrues on March 22nd, 2007 01:04 am (UTC)
I think his motive is gray, but the acts themselves are not.
Okay, I'll conceed to that. And in the end, before a judge, he's guilty. Law tends to be black and white, unfortunately. (As much as I'd love a happy ending for him...)

And while the viewer has some wiggle-room over them, the torturous part is that Alex is not so forgiving of himself.
Yes, that's true. And that's what seperates him (and in some cases, Michael) from people like T-Bag. Teddy doesn't CARE what he does to people (or at least that's the idea we get) while Michael and Alex torture themselves and feel the guilt heavy on their shoulders.

We love angst, dont we? I can't get enough of it.