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06 December 2007 @ 11:54 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: To Find That Lost Horizon (2/2)  
Title: To Find That Lost Horizon (2/2)
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Michael and Lincoln (Gen, Angst)
Rating: PG-13 (subject matter, language)
Summary: This is an alternative take on Season 1's "By the Skin and the Teeth," where Lincoln's execution is not stayed and Michael must figure out how to survive his brother's death.
Author's Notes: My final-round entry for pbficsurvivor, based on a suggestion by wrldpossibility. Also for prisonbreak100, this is "Days" for how hard each one is to get through.

Part One

x-x-x-x-x

It's quiet in Block A in the forgotten hours of the night. The two- and three- and four-o'clock questions that crowd in and haunt Michael then have no answers, but the loneliness holds something a little like peace.

In the daytime Fox River's schedule progresses with bells and commands and commotion, when all Michael wants is to be left alone. He's trapped with a cellmate whose sympathy is more than he can bear, because Michel can't be happy or comforted, he can't 'move on' or 'let go' or anything else his friend might wish for. With kindness comes expectations, and Michael has nothing left to give anyone including himself.

In the daytime he longs for the night again, the undemanding night. He wants the freedom to do nothing, whether it's for now or for an eternity, the freedom of silence and stillness that lets the rest of the world just slip away.

"Let's get some breakfast," Sucre urges him, but what Michael hears instead is Lincoln saying "I'll make you pancakes" some Sunday morning when their mother had to go to work.

Michael hardly left his cell at all the first week, unable to lift his lead-filled body off the cot where he lay curled against the wall, staring at the holes and uneven terrain of the gray bricks filling the space in front of him, He doesn't go outside into the Yard anymore, because the fenced-in area where Lincoln used to be waits like an accusation, impossibly vibrant in its emptiness.

The cafeteria is full of knowing eyes, some sympathetic but all of them too heavy—settling on Michael's shoulders until the skin on his back starts to jump. He usually doesn’t bother going.

Warden Pope came to see him in his cell the day after, wondering about a memorial service in the chapel, and Michael couldn't sit still to even discuss it. The irony of a prison service for a man it had killed was too much for him, and the warden's sorrow was a burden that threatened to bury him under its weight. Michael sat down on the floor and wrapped his arms over his head, keeping out all the emotions and meaning and words as he rocked the world loose. The cell was dark by the time he stopped.

~*~

He should have said no when Lincoln asked him to be a witness, but he couldn't. How could he refuse when Lincoln had no choice about being there, about letting himself be killed in someone else's place?

Michael didn't say no.

The room was filled with reporters and a few officials for the President, and there he and Veronica were— his shackles throwing still more accusation on Lincoln—the only two people who weren't there to feed the silent lie and to gloat.

It was all he could do not to scream his brother's innocence.

The guards put Lincoln into the Chair, put on the restraints that would hold his arms and legs and waist. Lincoln didn't fight or cringe or make the slightest sound, not even when they moistened his head and slipped on that deadly metal-cage cap. In those moments, trapped in the worst experience of his entire life, Lincoln was as brave as he'd always been. It filled Michael with pride and then destroyed him all at once.

He stumbled forward, making sure he was up against the glass where Lincoln could see him, where his love would be the last thing Lincoln would take away from this world.

When the black hood dropped over Lincoln's face, Michael turned away, unable to watch the end.

And when the lights dimmed and flickered and the air crackled with current, Michael's stomach rose up through his throat and heaved its contents on the floor, a spasm of soul-deep agony overtaking him before he could even think to try to conceal it.


~*~

"When're we getting out, boy?"

Michael's made it out to the railing this morning, his clothes nightmare-wet against his skin as he stares at the prisoners swirling and eddying down below. T-Bag's voice falls wetly on his ear, breaking him into the present—the forgotten present, where nothing waits but the long hours of loss and remorse that fill Michael's days.

"No hurry now." Michael's voice is flat, devoid of interest in the either the idea or the threat that lies behind the question.

"Life goes on, Pretty, and don't you forget it. The rest of us are mighty tired of waiting."

Michael doesn't notice him leaving, doesn't hear anything but the voices in his head:

"I need you to take care of the dishes—I've got to go out."

Lincoln had said that Friday night too, and Michael's stomach grew heavy, his dinner congealing into a leaden mass
. Drugs again? he wondered. This was how it always started—going out late, sleeping half the day away afterwards, just like this morning. God please, not drugs. Things were going so well…

"Going to see some friends?" he asked tentatively.

"Uh, no," Lincoln answered. "It's—I've got a second job as a bouncer over at this dance club on Halsted. Just a temporary thing. Be sure to turn off any lights you're not using."

Michael dug out some candles from kitchen junk drawer after Lincoln left, huddling in bed to read in semi-darkness when the dishes were done. He wondered if they'd be able to buy groceries this week and still make next month's rent…


~*~

Veronica came to see Michael today, for the first time ever. He thinks she did it for herself and not for him, hoping to draw strength from someone else's heartbreak over losing the man they both loved when everything sensible said they shouldn't.

They'd both tried at different times to walk away, Veronica more successfully than Michael. She'd had a life of her own finally—a fiancé—and Michel wound up throwing his future, his past, his everything away to wind up here. All he had in the end was Lincoln and the driving force of hope. Now both of them are gone.

Veronica was already crying on the other side of the glass when he got there, her eyes pleading with Michael for something, like he had anything left to give. "Don't come back for awhile," he said when his time was over.

The whole thing took so much out of him that the guards had to half-drag him back to his cell.

The room is gray, rust-colored stains on the walls, and Michael only notices them because he's trying so desperately to look anywhere but at the Chair that defines the room's purpose. The side of the room closest to him is glass, the viewing deck for the gallery of those whom come to prey on death and call it justice.

Suddenly the door opens and a man shuffles in, guarded and manacled against escape from an agonizing death. His face is a blur, but still Michael backs up against the wall until he can go no farther. It's then that the man turns to him in recognition:

"Michael! Michael, you've got to help me, don't let them do this to me—Michael!"

Lincoln pulls against his chains, straining toward Michael even as the guards force him down into the Chair. "Michael, help me!"

But Michael is rooted to the spot, as if the wall at his back has swallowed him and submerged him into stone.

A guard drops the hood over Lincoln's face and steps away as another man grabs the lever.

"Michaellllll!"


Gasping awake, Michael sits up so rapidly that he bangs his head into the bottom of the top bunk above him. "Fuck!" he growls, clutching his head and rubbing it. His face is wet, the dream so real it still has a hold on him, and the physical pain is a welcome distraction.

Block A is quiet now, the dead-of-night stillness that marks these hours of self-recrimination Michael knows all too well. Every one of the last six nights he's found himself staring at the bottom of the bunk above him— whether from the aftermath of a nightmare, or just too many emotions chasing through his thoughts to let him go to sleep at all.

He tries to remember all the times it wasn't perfect—lots of times, practically all of the time.

It doesn't matter.

He wouldn't be here if it did.

~*~

The guards still take him to the Infirmary for his insulin shots every day. That trip has become harder than ever, the combination of medical treatment he never needed and the impossibility of escaping the kind of sympathy that could easily destroy him.

"How are you doing today, Michael?" Sara's taking his vitals oh-so-gently, as if his outsides are as fragile as what's inside now, on the verge of breaking through.

"Mmh," Michael says. He doesn’t have the energy for words today, usually doesn't, and he wishes the rest of the world would just let him disappear.

"I want you to know—" Sara clears her throat and tries again. "I did give those papers to my father, and I begged him to read them, but I don't think he even bothered. And I'm sorry, Michael, so sorry about everything." Her eyes are wet now. "I really am…"

It's easier to comfort Sara than himself, and he brushes his hand over her arm and offers her the understanding she's seeking. "I know," he says softly.

Then he turns his head away and holds out his arm, hoping she'll give him the shot and just let him escape out from under all these regrets that are threatening to choke him.

Later, in the safety of his cell, he feels bad for acting like that when she was only trying to help. He is alienating people who care about him—cared about Lincoln. But they all want something from him, whether it's reassurances or for him to begin healing.

And he can't.

Lincoln knew better, knew how to give without taking when Michael really needed it. He'd put his arm around Michael and sit with him awhile, or squeeze his shoulder and let his eyes say all that was necessary. He didn't talk.

God, but it's lonely now without him…

~*~

"Hey, Michael, what're you up to there?"

He'd have thought the purpose of Want Ads would have been obvious, but maybe they weren't. Or maybe Lincoln thought Michael was scoping out a better job for
him, one with higher pay.

Lincoln never really looked more than two months down the road, so why had Michael expected this time to be different?

"I'm looking for a job," Michael answered, his eyes never leaving the listings—as if some miracle of a white-collar windowless bookkeeping hell was going to jump out at him any minute.

"You already have a job, it's called going to school." Lincoln sounded puzzled.

"Yeah, but that'll be over in a few months when I graduate from high school, and my afternoons are free already. If I don't find something now, there'll be nothing left in June."

"You mean a summer job," Lincoln persisted.

"No, Lincoln, I mean an actual paying-the-bills kind of job."

"But you're going to college!"

Michael sighed. "Lincoln, even if I get a scholarship—and there's no guarantee I will—that doesn't cover enough of the expenses to go full-time. It'll just have to wait."

Lincoln stared at him for a moment, like he couldn't believe what he was hearing. "There's money," he said suddenly.

"What?"

"Money. From when Mom died—she left money for you to go to college."

"And you're just telling me this now?" After months of worrying about where his life would go next?

"Yeah. So don't sweat it, okay? You're going to college."


God, how the hell could he actually have believed any of that? There was no money—there had never been any money, not for anything after Mom died. That's how they wound up in foster care to begin with.

The money Lincoln got hold of for Michael's future became the noose around his neck that led to his murder conviction, that led to his death. All for Michael.

Fuck.

Suddenly the cell Michael's hidden in for days is too small for him to breathe. He lurches out the doorway, awkward and aimless, just needing to move.

Across the upper level and down the stairs he goes, so many people crowding on the ground floor that he wonders if the outside break is coming up. Not that it matters—nothing much matters, he doesn't even pay attention to the time anymore.

He only catches sight of the prisoner coming up to the left when he nearly bumps into him. The ones that grab him from behind and shove him into a cell are even more of a surprise.

"Caught myself a Fish," the biggest one says. Latham, Michael thinks, somebody-Latham, one of the White Power gang.

"Think Bagwell wants him?" another one asks.

"Doesn't matter—Bagwell ain't here, and he never laid claim anyway."

The blow to Michael's stomach is swift and vicious, doubling him over while unseen hands yank his shirt up and rip open his pants, pushing him against the wall.

"Hold on now boys, hold on!" T-Bag's voice is unmistakable. "Didn't anyone ever teach you not to trespass on other people's property?"

The only answer is the sound of the other prisoners leaving the cell.

"Next time, I won't be so concerned for your well-being," T-Bag hisses in Michael's ear. "So you'd better make sure we're out of Fox River before the next time comes, do you hear?"

"Got it," Michael answers shakily.

"All right. Get busy with your planning, then, Pretty." T-Bag points a finger at the window, his face unsettling in its seriousness as he backs out onto the main floor.

Michael leans against the wall and sighs.

~*~

Back in his own cell, Michael trades the torn pants for a different pair and lies down on the bed. The headache that never quite leaves him is stronger now, and he closes his eyes to will it down.

Moments later, a soft rapping on the bars draws his attention. It's Westmoreland. Michael is suddenly glad to see him.

"Mind if I come in?"

"Of course. Please sit down." Michael gets up to make room, and Westmoreland motions him down beside him once he's settled.

"Saw what happened downstairs," Westmoreland begins. "I sent Bagwell over to break it up. Pointed out that it was in his best interests to keep you healthy."

"I appreciate that," Michael says softly.

"Thing is, though," Westmoreland rubs his moustache thoughtfully, "those fellows downstairs won't be the only ones. It'll keep happening again and again if you keep on like you're doing, making yourself vulnerable and not paying attention." His expression is sympathetic, but Michael knows he's serious. "Is that what your brother would want?"

Lincoln.

"No…" Michael breathes out a reply.

Westmoreland nods, taking the information in. "Told you to be careful, didn't he?"

"His exact words, in fact."

"Doesn't surprise me."

They sit for awhile longer, in unhurried silence. Finally, Westmoreland speaks: "I really don't think you'll survive here if you serve your full sentence. You'll be marked as a victim, word'll get around. And it'll change a part of you that'd break your brother's heart, if he could see it. You won't be the man you should've been." He waits for Michael's reaction.

"What do you suggest?"

"You never planned to be here for long. You were going to get your brother out and start a new life. What's keeping you from doing that now?"

Michael's eyes prick at the mention of that failed plan, at the thought of that future with Lincoln that will never, ever happen. "What's the point, when Lincoln's gone?" he rasps out angrily.

"The point is you," Westmoreland says. "I'm sorry about your brother, sorry as can be, but you can't throw your own life away on top of his. You've got to start caring enough to save yourself."

Michael thinks about the things Lincoln said to him at the end, about his own promises in return. "It's hard," he admits softly. "I was ready to give up everything as long as I didn't have to give up him."

"I know," Westmoreland says. "And I'm sure he knew it too."

"So…" Michael rests his elbows on his legs, trying to think. "I've got to come up with another plan."

"What's wrong with the old one? You've got time. Might even unload a few passengers along the way."

Michael looks at him in appraisal. No due date means the others won't be anticipating the exact time of the escape. No T-Bag, no C-Note, no anybody else but who he wants or needs to take with him. "You still interested?"

Westmoreland nods matter-of-factly. "Guess there's no point in me dying in prison either, old as I am."

"Good," Michael says, a smile breaking through. His chest feels lighter, his breathing easier for the first time in days.

"So what's the next step?" Westmoreland asks.

"I'll need to borrow some toothpaste."

~*~

It takes only a few more weeks to break down the pipe under the Infirmary again. At first Michael's days are spent waiting for his doctor's appointments and the mundanities of forcing himself to eat. When the sudden threat of carpeting over the hole in the Break Room floor rises up, it puts new life into him—an eleventh-hour scramble to float a concrete patch on the barest structural support, all on the off-chance he might need to bust through it later even though he expects to stay underground this time around.

"Soon," he tells Abruzzi with a few days pending, "but keep it quiet." Michael wishes he could leave without him, but he needs Abruzzi's airplane connections to get them far away as fast as possible. He'll have to live with the results.

He almost wishes Sucre could stay behind, but he made his friend an accomplice from the beginning, and Sucre doesn't deserve to take all the heat that would follow. Michael knows Sucre's thinking about Maricruz and the baby, but her loyalty's suspect and Sucre could wind up making himself a fugitive for nothing. He'd be better off not going and just serving the rest of his year. Thanks to Michael, that choice is gone.

The day it all goes down is a blue-sky Thursday— a beautiful day, the kind Lincoln used to love even stuck in prison because he said it made him feel like hope was out there waiting.

Michael has timed and re-timed the guards and Abruzzi's ordered the plane, and now it's a matter of hanging around until it's dark.

Westmoreland slips into the cell just before four and goes behind the wall. He volunteered to be first in their spread-out migration, the man most able to take the extra hours in the dark. "I'll catch some shut-eye back here," he says as they close him in.

Abruzzi saunters through at the beginning of the last outdoor break for the day. Sucre stands lookout while Michael helps Abruzzi through, then goes out to the Yard himself with Michael following soon afterward. They make sure they're both seen.

The cell doors will be closed for the night at seven-thirty, and they need to make their move before then. At six, Michael hangs a sheet for the last time, thinking about everything Fox River has cost him—his only brother, his very soul.

"Gonna miss this place?" Sucre pulls the toilet back away from the wall.

"Not for one second," Michael answers. He wonders if he'll ever feel like himself again.

Their progress through the tunnels is cramped, a longer journey than the one that started in the Break Room but taking less to chance. The rest of the plan goes off without a hitch, though pulling the window down from the Infirmary was more of a challenge than Michael expected.

Across the wire they go, climbing down the back of Fox River's walls with time to spare. Then they run for the van, run for freedom, under a night filled with stars like Michael hasn't seen in months.

They board the plane and lift off within minutes, arcing away from the prison, from the past.

"Where do we drop you off?" Abruzzi asks.

Michael realizes then that he doesn't really know.

His home is gone now—every home he ever had was somehow tied to Lincoln, even the ones he hated, even the frontman-for-success apartment his college degree helped him land, the degree that Lincoln made sure he got.

Lincoln…

Michael doesn't have a clear future in mind now, not without Lincoln. He's got a criminal record and an unfinished sentence, and all he can do is run until he figures out a better plan.

His throat tightens suddenly as he realizes he's alone now—utterly alone, even more than the worst moments of his life when there could still be "someday" and Lincoln ahead.

He's still struggling to find an answer when a gentle touch on his arm makes him turn. Westmoreland is watching him, his eyes full of understanding as he smiles with a quiet sympathy that soothes Michael's churning emotions.

His words are a promise:

"Michael and I are going to Utah."


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


 
 
 
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: smilie priyankathelana on December 7th, 2007 09:53 am (UTC)
Veronica came to see Michael today, for the first time ever. He thinks she did it for herself and not for him, hoping to draw strength from someone else's heartbreak over losing the man they both loved when everything sensible said they shouldn't.

They'd both tried at different times to walk away, Veronica more successfully than Michael. She'd had a life of her own finally—a fiancé—and Michel wound up throwing his future, his past, his everything away to wind up here. All he had in the end was Lincoln and the driving force of hope. Now both of them are gone.


I'm confused. Veronica visited Michael in the pilot "evidence if cooked/most dysfunctional definition of love" convo (unless you mean the first time after Lincoln's death). And at that point Veronica's fiance had already been killed by the company guy in the well.

The irony of a prison service for a man it had killed was too much for him,

Sigh you know me, I'm always fascinated by the strange and disturbing realities of capital punishment. *shakes head*

Also: Yay Westmoreland/Michael! I particularly loved how Westmoreland didn't urge him about his sick daughter.

I like that Michael was still breaking out. I think so many "Lincoln actually dies" fics just assume that he would give the plan up and so I like that in this case he didn't.

That said: You are a horrible person. How can you stop right at the point where it would get interesting?

Michael might have survived the immediate aftermath, but wouldn't the real challenge of living again come once he stands on that beach alone (cough or with Westmoreland) with the money in his hand?

In those moments, trapped in the worst experience of his entire life, Lincoln was as brave as he'd always been. It filled Michael with pride and then destroyed him all at once.

Saddest sentence of the fic.


God, how the hell could he actually have believed any of that?


Bwahahhaha, the thing that all of us have always been wondering about :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 7th, 2007 08:27 pm (UTC)
Veronica visited Michael in the pilot "evidence if cooked/most dysfunctional definition of love" convo (unless you mean the first time after Lincoln's death).
In the pilot she came as his lawyer, though-- not really so much a visit as a business discussion.

Sigh you know me, I'm always fascinated by the strange and disturbing realities of capital punishment. *shakes head*
That's part of why this is in here. Pope is used to these executions, which doesn't mean he likes them or approves of them. And here, him wanting to do the kind thing for Michael and being blind to the irony of it rings very true. Being Pope, he has to ask in case Michael does want a service.

I think so many "Lincoln actually dies" fics just assume that he would give the plan up and so I like that in this case he didn't.
Well, my other one of these assumed that Michael would kill himself afterward. Because after all, dying is easy-- surviving is hard, especially when you've made returning back to your own life so impossible.

Here, it was Westmoreland who persuaded Michael to live. I doubt anyone else could have-- except Lincoln, whose voice Westmoreland used as the motivation of guilt.

You are a horrible person. How can you stop right at the point where it would get interesting?
Mainly because we know that at this point Michael has chosen survival-- finally really chosen it. And we have the clear implication that he'll find a new family in Westmoreland to help replace the one he's lost-- Westmoreland is offering that, where Michael hasn't asked (we already know Michael would be happy with that). And because the reader knows what it means that Westmoreland wants to go to Utah... we know the money's there waiting for them too. At least, those of us who watched Season 2. ;)

Saddest sentence of the fic.
*is very pleased that you noticed that one*

Bwahahhaha, the thing that all of us have always been wondering about :D
Seriously, where was Michael's critical thinking at that point? That seems like a late idea thrown into the plotting, to show some reason why the "Brother's Keeper" Michael who has given up on Lincoln would be motivated to care all over again. Thin plausibility, though.
(no subject) - thelana on December 7th, 2007 08:44 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 7th, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
happy is as happy does: Michael - sweet smile21happywriter06 on December 7th, 2007 06:50 pm (UTC)
I was really expecting this fic to end sadly. I really thought Michael in the cell with those guys was the end.

I love that Westmoreland is there to help Michael on that road to healing. Although it would have been realistic for Michael to just give up, it's also realistic that he wouldn't because he does 'owe' that to Linc.

There are so many great lines in this fic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 7th, 2007 08:34 pm (UTC)
I was really expecting this fic to end sadly. I really thought Michael in the cell with those guys was the end.
Though the idea of having Michael survive Lincoln is horribly sad, I didn't want that to be the final direction (hence the title-- the feeling that Michael can find something like he once had again, can find some sort of hope).

Although it would have been realistic for Michael to just give up, it's also realistic that he wouldn't because he does 'owe' that to Linc.
Yes-- "Final Hours," which is my other story along these lines (but totally different feeling) goes with that other possibility. For this one, I took the harder tactic of him struggling through the aftermath and then deciding that the worst thing he could have done was to let Lincoln's tragedy destroy him too. Lincoln would never have forgiven him for that, and deep down Michael has to know it. Guilt forces him to do what Lincoln would want and not what he would want. And boy, is he ever a sucker for guilt!

There are so many great lines in this fic.
Thank you so much! I hope that in the end you were glad you read it. I'm sure glad you did. :)
(no subject) - happywriter06 on December 8th, 2007 06:21 pm (UTC) (Expand)
wrldpossibility: End itwrldpossibility on December 8th, 2007 11:53 pm (UTC)
He tries to remember all the times it wasn't perfect—lots of times, practically all of the time.

It doesn't matter.

He wouldn't be here if it did.


This may be one of the most true statements I've read in fanfic about Michael and Lincoln's relationship. Very well done!

And I love that you ended this on a positive note, if not a happy ending. I was completely prepared for a horribly sad ending, but this gives us a glimmer of hope.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2007 08:22 am (UTC)
This may be one of the most true statements I've read in fanfic about Michael and Lincoln's relationship.
When the show started, I really expected some epic bond and loyalty between the two given what Michael was doing. And though it wasn't shown to be quite that, what was clear is that Michael still chooses Lincoln even knowing that Lincoln's imperfect and unlikely to change. Despite how logical Michael is, his heart chooses differently.

I was completely prepared for a horribly sad ending, but this gives us a glimmer of hope.
This is partly because I've already written a similar story that does not have a happy ending-- "Final Hours." So in approaching this idea again, I wanted something different (and not to have all the readers hate me). And for a different ending, I think finding a little bit of family in Westmoreland works really well. Michael loses his brother, but in essence he finds the father he never had (one who already cares more about him than his father ever did). And that idea, of family where you find it and the power it can have, really does offer hope, at least to me.

I hope you liked how this all evolved-- there are lots of possibilities for this prompt, and it definitely had the strongest emotional pull for me. :)
(no subject) - wrldpossibility on December 10th, 2007 06:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
PamalaX: Brotherspamalax on December 9th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwwww what a beautiful ending!

You know I'm a nut for losing one of the two boys in the end. Happily ever after just doesn't suit me BUT hopeful ever after with a little bit of Westmoreland nurturing as a side dish is a perfect fit.

VERY NICELY DONE!!

Thank you so much for playing this game with us.

You played wonderfully fic after fic.
Thanks for doing so much to help make it the success it has been.

Great fic!
Thank you!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
BUT hopeful ever after with a little bit of Westmoreland nurturing as a side dish is a perfect fit.
It really is an important distinction, isn't it? If one of the brothers is lost, there IS no happily ever after. Really, if they destroy what's between them then that holds true also (I really hope that's not where S3 is going). But there can still be hope-- especially for Michael, who has not had enough of the love OR family that he needs, but if he can find those in spite of everything he will eventually heal.

Thanks for doing so much to help make it the success it has been.
Right back at you! The challenges have been tough, inspiring, and the results very rewarding. It's been a blast and well worth it, and I'm so glad you put this idea in motion. ♥
tyricaltyrical on December 9th, 2007 05:47 pm (UTC)
It took me a minute to get to it. But get to it I did and I do like this ending. I could see Michael slowly just sinking further and further into himself.

Westmorland is like a beacon. Something to hold on too, the knot in a life line that Michael didn't realize he had.

Absolutely heartbreaking but also beautiful in the sorrow you're portraying. I really like this part. It's a perfect blend of darkness and light. Of hopelessness and loss.

Exceptional.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 9th, 2007 07:02 pm (UTC)
I could see Michael slowly just sinking further and further into himself.
His sorrow seemed really fitting to me, given what he invested in saving Lincoln and what that reflects of his feelings for Lincoln. With Lincoln gone, he's been orphaned from his entire past-- both literally and figuratively (because his short-term criminal choices slammed the door on his prior life). I wanted the reader to feel that Michael wasn't really getting better, that even if he was making efforts at physical survival he wasn't mentally engaged enough to really make it.

Westmorland is like a beacon.
He is-- that's the perfect description of his function here. He slowly draws Michael back far enough to see what he's doing to himself. And his manner with Michael in that key scene in the cell is so UNdemanding and unhurried... it echoes the things Michael missed about Lincoln's way of comforting him. Being, not doing.

It's a perfect blend of darkness and light. Of hopelessness and loss.
I was hoping it would make the story worthwhile. There's so much sadness here (though not as gut-wrenching as "Final Hours), but I think the path out is very clear at the end. The title says it all-- the horizon (and Michael's sense of who he is and what life is all about) is lost, but Michael begins to find it again in the end.

So glad you liked this, and I'm glad you got around to part 2! :)
JJ: wm17jolietjones on December 10th, 2007 11:24 am (UTC)
*sniff* Ok I've got myself a cup of tea. I'm ok now. But I've got to tell you that I actually wailed out loud at the last line (I WOL!ed). How did you feel while you were writing this?

There is so much to love about this. I think that secretly I was hoping your fic would fall short in some way so that I could vote for Chanchito (I know! bitchslap me!), but I didn't hold out much hope. Now, sadly I think I am going to have to abstain altogether as if I had my way you would be co-survivors.

Well done!



The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 13th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
But I've got to tell you that I actually wailed out loud at the last line (I WOL!ed).
This was such happy feedback for me-- that it hit you on an emotional level (especially because that was a happy moment in the story), and that it was a surprise that wasn't telegraphed by the earlier part of the story! I wanted the reader to be as pleased by that moment as Michael would have been.

How did you feel while you were writing this?
This was not as hard as "Final Hours" (I literally cried all the way through writing that one), though it was still hard. I knew in canon that Lincoln hadn't died in that one scene (the other story was written before canon got that far, so there was still a *bites nails* chance of it), and that helped. But the subject is still just emotionally draining, and the story is well over my comfortable length (about 2000 words)-- I think this is the longest PB fic I've ever written. And the scene with Westmoreland in the cell was key, because he had to be able to persuade Michael in a way no-one else had been able to do. Finally, it was that his approach was more like Lincoln's than other people's had been that did it-- soothing, unhurried, just waiting. And bringing the key piece of guilt.

Now, sadly I think I am going to have to abstain altogether as if I had my way you would be co-survivors.
I think this is a nice solution, actually, and I'm glad you thought this was that worthy. I know there were several people on the jury who begged NOT to have to choose, and I can definitely understand that. Voting people out of the "tribe" was excruciating all by itself. :0
(no subject) - jolietjones on December 13th, 2007 10:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 13th, 2007 10:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jolietjones on December 13th, 2007 11:10 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on December 14th, 2007 12:09 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - jolietjones on December 14th, 2007 07:30 am (UTC) (Expand)
chanchito_z on December 12th, 2007 02:30 am (UTC)
Well, I finally got to sit down and read this. I'd been to nervous to before! Lol! Yes, stupid, but still, I never claimed sanity.

I thought the bunny was really great when I read it and it made me realize what an incredible turning point this was in the show. I didn't start watching until late in S1 and caught up on dvd, so I knew that obviously Linc wouldn't die here, and presumably, most of the audience did (they hadn't set themselves up as willing to kill anyone at that point). But still, I missed that moment in the story telling. And there was such an incredible possibility with the whole premise that the show could have gone on as just Michael's story in Fox River.

And so what I really enjoyed about this was that you really did seem to take the story -right from that point- and move forward with it. There's the sense of Michael's overwhelming grief, and yet, it is set within that same tension that permeated the best parts of S1. But along with that, there is still a continuation of Michael's sense of purpose. It's lost for a bit, but even when he is unsure, the reader knows he is still capable of having that if he is given a focus again. When Westmoreland gives Michael his focus, there is a snap and a return (at least in part) to the old Michael. I like that aspect of the story, bc it shows Michael as a very resilient character. And even as much as I like to read about whumped-on Michael, I like it best when I know he can take it, like here.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 13th, 2007 08:41 pm (UTC)
I'd been to nervous to before! Lol! Yes, stupid, but still, I never claimed sanity.
Unfortunately, I think a lot of other readers felt the same! Which I can understand, though I'd hoped the title would hint that there was a silver lining coming somewhere along the way.

And there was such an incredible possibility with the whole premise that the show could have gone on as just Michael's story in Fox River.
It really was possible. "Final Hours," which I wrote way before this episode aired, took the tack of Michael NOT succeeding, and how that might play out. Oh, it was heartwrenching to write that one. And when canon finally DID get to this part, they went all the way up to sitting Lincoln down in the chair and dropping the hood over his face, which nearly destroyed me to watch, because they could have done it, even then. That they didn't was such a huge, huge relief, though I remember that it whomped me as a writer for awhile that they 'went there.'

It's lost for a bit, but even when he is unsure, the reader knows he is still capable of having that if he is given a focus again. When Westmoreland gives Michael his focus, there is a snap and a return (at least in part) to the old Michael. I like that aspect of the story, bc it shows Michael as a very resilient character. And even as much as I like to read about whumped-on Michael, I like it best when I know he can take it, like here.
That was really key for me-- and that Michael not be loved (or sexed) out of his slump, but that he be forced by something that was already within him to move forward. Westmoreland was just the catalyst for that, but it was Michael's own nature that finally caught hold and pulled him out.

And the ending... *happy sigh*... Michael can't undo being a fugitive, but now he's got something like a 'family' again and someone else who will be stuck living that way too. And the means to do it, as the reader knows even if Michael doesn't.

Glad you liked the story! I can finally wade into yours now (and maybe the holiday snippets, since I started to read them but had to reboot instead). :)

Nev: dean - sharpnevcolleil on December 12th, 2007 07:24 pm (UTC)
Aw :) I like that Charles was there for Michael at the end. I really loved him. So much I even cried over that cat! :p I would have liked to see C-Note get out, but I don't suppose he'd have been much worse off for staying. I didn't get the impression, watching the show, that he was going to be in Fox River for too long. This is a good fic and a wonderfully interesting idea :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on December 13th, 2007 08:45 pm (UTC)
Aw :) I like that Charles was there for Michael at the end. I really loved him.
Oh, me too. The episode where he didn't make it out of Fox River was devastating to me. I wrote a fic about it, "Flown," just for that reason. And if you change the circumstances of the escape, other things change as well-- which means that Westmoreland did not have to get stabbed by Bellick! :)

I would have liked to see C-Note get out, but I don't suppose he'd have been much worse off for staying.
Michael didn't really 'know' C-Note the way the viewer did, and so wasn't as sympathetic toward him. And he might have been better off staying inside-- god, look what happened to his family from him getting out!

This is a good fic and a wonderfully interesting idea :D
Thank you so much! There were some interesting choices to choose from, but this one really grabbed me because of the possibilities and the impassioned subject matter. Popular choice or not, I still had to go with the one that I thought would produce the best story, and this was definitely it.

I forget that you read both fandoms! I still have your Sam/Dean "Mine" icon in my repertory. :D
(no subject) - nevcolleil on December 20th, 2007 04:48 am (UTC) (Expand)
Loki: Prison Break - Michael behind barsloki_dip on January 28th, 2011 10:27 pm (UTC)
Oh Michael! :( So full of pain.

But Westmoreland is brilliant and I love that he survives in this AU and is going to take Michael to Utah where they will hopefully get the money and Michael will be able to find some peace.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on February 7th, 2011 07:04 am (UTC)
I'm glad you read this piece! So many are scared off because of the subject matter, but I think it's one of my best Gen stories despite being AU.

I loved Westmoreland as a character, and it was so hard to let him go at the end of Season One. Of all the other characters Michael met in prison, I felt he was the one best suited to bring that sense of 'fatherliness' that might help Michael in forming something like a family to help ease the pain of all he'd lost.
hybridxlovehybridxlove on November 9th, 2013 07:36 pm (UTC)
My gosh, this one made me cry. So utterly heart breaking. His emotions... so intense. You're an amazing writer.

Another thing I've wanted to read was Linc's reaction to Michael's death. The show sorely disappointed me in that department. Linc barely reacted... I really big part of me is keeping my fingers crossed that you wrote a story like that...
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on December 10th, 2013 01:44 am (UTC)
I re-read this piece just now, and I still think it's one of my best in this fandom. It's hard for a lot of people to read, because of where the setup goes-- some people just can't handle losing their favorite characters. But this was such a great prompt, and there was so much to explore. It was one of my first attempts at weaving flashbacks in and out of a story, but I think it helped tell it well.

I haven't written anything that would resemble S4 canon, because I stopped watching after S3. There is a wonderful story that was written for the Prison Break Fic Exchange, that I helped beta. Thank goodness it's still posted on the comm, because the author deleted and purged her account, but it's a futureFic in which Michael has died that I think you'll really like: Someone Told Me Not To Cry. It's more Sara-centric than Lincoln-centric, but so true to both characters and their feelings for Michael. Definitely worth reading, for any lover of Prison Break.
(no subject) - hybridxlove on December 15th, 2013 06:17 pm (UTC) (Expand)