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06 January 2006 @ 10:38 pm
PrisonBreak FanFiction: All God's Children  
Title: All God's Children
Author: HalfshellVenus
Category: Warden Henry Pope (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: He is the warden, the power, and the caretaker of souls.

x-x-x-x-x

All God’s Children need loving and giving. This, the power of The Lord provides.

Henry Pope has been living and believing those words all his life, and he renews them every day. His children here in prison all are damaged, every one of them lost and broken. There are killers, rapists, robbers, fighters, and they are the challenge set out before him. It’s a double-edged sword, protecting society from these men while trying to mold them into something better, and that second part is the one that usually fails.

You cannot build dignity where you do not offer it, and he stresses this in his work. You must deal with men as if they matter, especially when they don’t believe it themselves. Pope treats his prisoners like the men he wants them to become. And as with all children, repetition and patience are required before results can be seen. Sometimes it is weeks. And in some cases, he is still waiting.

Respect must be given to be earned, and a leader must be prepared to take the first step. He cannot give these men a new history, but he can guide them down a better path. Hope has a power that the heart cannot describe. Once given or found, it can draw a man from darkness. Hope is the light that reaches to the soul, and Henry Pope has never underestimated its potential, or the brutal impact it causes when it dies. He has felt them both himself, in the desire to be forgiven and in the child he’ll never know.

Pope knows that people can meet your best and worst expectations, so it is important to be careful what you look for. He is driven to seek out the humane approach to a situation, in his behavior and in the results that come of it. He knows that even a predator can feel pain at the loss of a loved one, and he reflects on this when giving Bagwell the awful news about his cousins. And when Bagwell’s tears and despair are real, like any other man’s, Pope thanks the Lord for helping him to be kind.

He hates his job but loves his mission, and he rides the line every day between doing the right thing for a particular inmate and losing control over the prison or his standing as its director. It’s a balancing act and a lifetime of effort, but he thinks that over time the Good wins out whenever it can.

Some days are all refusals-- Westmoreland’s daughter, Burrows’ son. There is heartache in his choices, and so much more he wants to give. But he is shackled by his position, afraid to offer too much lest it cost him his job. He wants more for Fox River, for the destiny of its souls, and he’s sure that any other warden would not care so much. He cannot risk his larger vision for the kindness of a given moment, and it hurts him that these so rarely coincide.

His goal each day is this: find the man inside the anger, and a reason for him to care.

He can count his successes on two hands, and he knows them all by name. But this is victory, and he knows it, for those men and for the world.

When those children leave the nest, Pope is satisfied and proud. He has given them a future.

And they’ll give God something back.


----- fin -----


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The Good, The Bad and The Lana: tajmajingobop michael and popethelana on January 7th, 2006 09:29 am (UTC)
It’s a double-edged sword, protecting society from these men while trying to mold them into something better, and that second part is the one that usually fails.

It's a really funny coincidence that it might boild down to Michael potentially taking most of the candidates for the first parts (Linc, Sucre, C-Note and Westmoreland, people who just might be mostly good when on the outside) and going and violating the first part.

Great part about contrasting the times when he has to make tough choices (Westmoreland's daughter, LJ) with the times when he was gentle even when he didn't have to be (T-Bag). I thought the way he handled T-Bag was a really, really neat thing of him. One thing he didn't have to do.

Guess he is a lucky having his 40 years of love with his wife to stand on. I'm sure that makes it easier for him to be like that in his job, if he really is the kind of guy who loves coming back to his wife, even after so many years. And who uses his prison, his office, his working place to create something for her.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 7th, 2006 05:32 pm (UTC)
when he was gentle even when he didn't have to be (T-Bag). I thought the way he handled T-Bag was a really, really neat thing of him. One thing he didn't have to do.

Yes, that moment impressed me on the show. He handled it with great decency, as he would for any person with real feelings... and T-Bag's reaction showed that that was entirely the right approach. His cousin DID matter, and losing him hurt.

I also like that, affair aside that resulted in the illegitimate son, he loves his wife so deeply, and so much enjoys being with her. A romantic at heart, too. *sniff*
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on January 7th, 2006 06:10 pm (UTC)
I also like that, affair aside that resulted in the illegitimate son, he loves his wife so deeply, and so much enjoys being with her. A romantic at heart, too. *sniff*

Yeah, I really liked the way it was handled. Like even though he does feel enormous guilt, I don't think that he could ever bring himself to blame his wife and he probably thinks that she was worth every last bit of it.

Like, if he could do it over again maybe he would have fought harder and tried to bring his son into their lives, but I don't think that he would have challenged the basic idea of picking her over his son even for a second.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 7th, 2006 06:41 pm (UTC)
but I don't think that he would have challenged the basic idea of picking her over his son even for a second.

Exactly. He is caught between his duty and love for them both, but feels he ultimately owes her more.

Such an interesting man. I've had this title in my head for about 6 weeks, waiting to see if it turned into something.
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on January 8th, 2006 02:30 pm (UTC)
He can count his successes on two hands, and he knows them all by name. But this is victory, and he knows it, for those men and for the world

This made me cry. Very touching.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 8th, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
Oooh, thank you.

I so badly wanted to capture what it is I like about Pope.

That scene with T-Bag cemented my having to write a story about him.

Any other warden would have just barreled through the news, because child rapists and killers are the lowest scum in prison. A real cynic would have thought that if the news DID hurt, all the better-- T-Bag deserved some pain in return for all that he had caused.

But Pope treated him with decency, when he didn't have to, and it made a difference.

His "leadership by example" really moves me. I love the hints of his compassion and motivation that we get in this show, even when I wish he weren't saying "no" to some of the things he's asked for. Yet logically, I know the risks that might result if he granted those favors, and that he could be out of a job tomorrow if that happened. And then Bellick would be running the show :-(
veradeath on January 9th, 2006 04:59 am (UTC)
This was a beautifully crafted insightful piece about an underappreciated character. I liked it a lot. It was lyrical and sweet. Kudos for writing it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 9th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I certainly feel Pope deserves some appreciation-- his combination of fortitude and kindness really speak to me.

I also covered the prison chaplain recently, in Dialogues in Faith. Don't know if you read that one, but a similar situation there-- both characters are bound up in their beliefs and mission, despite how hard it must be for them to achieve results. And how difficult and discouraging any individual day must be.

And the fact that they persist... makes them fascinating to me :-)
veradeath on January 9th, 2006 05:38 am (UTC)
Yeah, since considering that the rate of released criminals doing criminal acts again is substatially high. Must be depressing for some folks. But I like Pope, since I think he's a decent person.
tyrical: AP_aJolietyrical on April 14th, 2006 03:46 am (UTC)
What kills me about this fic is the hope that shines through.
That he really does care that much and the he's really not that moral about it.

It's also what I really like about the fic.

The thing that saddens me is that this escape will happen on his watch and he may be ruined by it and that his methods is what will ultimately be attacked.
Vicious little cycle this thing called life.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on April 17th, 2006 04:15 am (UTC)
The thing that saddens me is that this escape will happen on his watch and he may be ruined by it and that his methods is what will ultimately be attacked.
Me too. We've seen the seeds of how it will affect Michael, as well. The Warden is a genuine and well-meaning man, and everything he does to try to rehabilitate and save those he can will be pointed to as signs of the weakness that let the escape happen.

But for all that... until it happens, we can admire who he is and the efforts he makes to lead by example. The only method that really matters when you're dealing with mean such as prisoners.