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02 March 2008 @ 11:54 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: But This Was Never Home (PG-13)  
Title: But This Was Never Home
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: kid!Kellerman, kid!Kristine (Gen)
Rating: PG-13 (subject matter)
Summary: Pre-series look at the childhood Kellerman finally abandoned behind him.
Author's Notes: Although this features a young Kellerman, this is for abused children everywhere. Written for the foxriver_fic February challenge (kid!Kellerman was one of the choices). I picked the helper prompts here of "hiding in a dark alley after a frightening experience" and "an unwelcome touch" (the last is implied).

x-x-x-x-x

Feet slapping the pavement, he runs like the end of the world is coming.

His steps are sloppy and uneven— harder, faster— and his lungs ache, but he keeps going. He can still hear his mother yelling: Get back here, you little bastard!

Ducking inside an alley, he races to a dumpster and crouches behind it. The stink bothers him less than his fear of being caught— Please God, don't let her catch me this time, please. The sudden dizziness of stopping catches up with him in a rush and he falls forward onto his hands, gravel and grit scraping his palms.

Got to. Keep hiding, he reminds himself, and his own panting sounds so loud he's afraid someone else will hear it— his mother, or the kinds of scary people he sees lurking in alleys on his way home from school.

He wishes he could fly or turn invisible, or be strong and powerful like Superman so he wouldn't have to be afraid.

But most of the time he's just waiting to be older so he can leave if he wants to. Even if he ran away now, there's nowhere to go…

His body hurts when he wakes up to the sound of traffic the next morning. He slept leaning against the dumpster, mostly warm enough but not very comfortable. Climbing to his feet, he checks his watch. Seven-thirty— he might as well go to school now. No sense getting into two kinds of trouble.

It's five blocks to Jefferson Elementary, but he makes it before the bell. Still, his teacher notices the missing backpack. "What about your homework, Paul? Should we have the office call your mother?"

He stammers out something fast that seems to satisfy her, and the class moves on to the reading lesson for the day while he thinks about what to do when he gets home. Maybe his mother won't be so mad by then.

Lunch is whatever his friends have to offer, though Paul's not as hungry as usual, not with wondering what's waiting for him at home. When the end-of-the-day bell rings it's all he can do to get out of his seat and head to the Kindergarden class to pick up Krissy.

"Where'd you go last night?" His little sister holds him around the waist, tilting her head back to see him better. "Mommy was so mad when you left," she adds.

He never thought about what might have happened after, to Krissy, and he should have: "Did she— are you—"

"I'm great!" she bounces happily, like his question doesn't make sense. "Come on, let's go." She tugs his hand in the direction of the side exit, probably afraid of missing The Flinstones if they don't leave soon enough.

"Okay."

All the way home she chatters beside him while he watches his feet move of their own accord.

The super lets them in, after Paul invents a story about locking himself out this morning by mistake. Paul has a key, but it's in his room inside his backpack. He didn't take anything with him when he ran off the night before.

He and Krissy take their things to the family room, and Paul goes into the kitchen to get them both something to eat. His gaze skips over the corner where Beau's dog-bed used to be before mom had Beau 'put down' for making messes on the floor— just because the dog was old. Paul worried for a long time afterward what would happen if Krissy started having potty accidents again. Luckily, she never did.

There's a vodka bottle on the counter. He glares at it. His mother gets meaner when she drinks (which is a lot), and he tried pouring the vodka out once. She knew it was him, though. She beat him with a shoe for that one.

"You want some toast?" he calls out to the family room.

"Okay."

He serves her first, then cleans up the kitchen while he eats his own snack. He tries to do an extra-good job to lessen his mother's anger.

When he's finished, he runs upstairs for his backpack. He takes the key out and puts it in his pocket, then stuffs an extra shirt and a pair of underwear into the pack, along with a sweatshirt. Going back downstairs again, he pulls his homework out onto the table and adds a couple of apples to the backpack. He leans the pack up against the wall by the front door, wishing there was a place he could hide it outside. But this is the best he can do for now, and he wants to be prepared. Especially after last night.

He does fractions and decimals for half an hour, watching the clock off and on. Part of him wishes the afternoon would stretch on forever, and the other part just wants to get it over with, whatever 'it' turns out to be.

Finally he hears his mother's key scraping in the front-door lock. He tenses, barely able to look up as her footsteps approach the kitchen. When he does, he's surprised to see that the expression on her face is one of relief. His eyes sting with tears when she moves forward and pulls him close against her.

"I was so worried, Paul, so worried— are you all right?"

"Yes," he whispers hoarsely, feeling the cheap fabric of her dress against his face.

She holds him tightly, stroking his hair wordlessly. There are no apologies for the previous night, but he doesn't expect them. Not any more.

He wonders how it can feel so much like she still loves him at times like this, even after the way she's treated him. He wishes he didn't care, but he does. He's only nine, and her love still matters.

She pulls back at last, and squeezes his shoulder. "I'll heat up some soup for dinner and get changed. Why don't you set the table?"

He nods, always the obedient son.

His mother turns toward the cupboard, but pauses as something catches her eye. She reaches for the vodka, pulling a glass from the drain board and filling it in a single motion.

Paul's stomach clenches, remembering the night before and where it led. His breath catches in his throat as she lifts the glass, and he can only stand there helplessly as she drinks.

He never knows what will set off his mother's moods, even when she's sober. But this is how it starts when it gets really bad, so bad he has to run for safety. He knows this beginning.

He's seen it too many times already.



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

 
 
 
heliokleia: KMAN - Predatoryheliokleia on March 3rd, 2008 09:54 pm (UTC)
My Dear Madame Venus!

First, I have to thank you & your muse for not forgetting HIM. Your fine and sad little KMAN-story made me very happy, because I'm a BIG KMAN-shipper and will love the magnificent bastard forever!
*nods**nods*

Indeed, what a sad story but seemingly, little Paul handles it - and your description of his caring for his baby-sister... yes, I can imagine this picture very well.

Again, thank you, Dear, for not forgetting HIM!!
KMAN FOREVER!!!

I wish you a pleasant week, hun
*hugs*

Edited at 2008-03-03 09:54 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 4th, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
I do miss Kellerman-- and the opportunity for both interesting and cracktastic fics he brings. :)

I'd started this story with an abusive father, but one of my Google searches finally turned up the fact that it was Kellerman's mother who was abusive instead (which implies no father around at all). That was why he left home, finally-- and this is the background of some of the pain abused children feel, that conflict between wanting to leave forever and still being trapped by the fact that they still love their parents. So, so sad.

While this is Kellerman's story, in a way it's the story of many children, even now. *sniffle*
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: bunnies pair of vampire bunniesthelana on March 5th, 2008 11:16 pm (UTC)
It's so strange to see Kellerman without any signs of deviance yet. Though I guess we all start out innocent. The whole situation also stresses the similarities between him and Michael.

His body hurts when he wakes up to the sound of traffic the next morning. He slept leaning against the dumpster, mostly warm enough but not very comfortable.

Totally reminds me of Michael's first night in Sona.

Also interesting the parts of about the dog (since we have that story Kellerman told Lincoln in season 1 when he was trying to smother him). Also makes you wonder where exactly Kellerman got his sense of duty and loyalty to country from without a father in the picture.

Much interesting food for thought!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 5th, 2008 11:26 pm (UTC)
Though I guess we all start out innocent.
We do-- even the monsters that are born and not made begin as something more normal (T-Bag, I think, was both).

Also interesting the parts of about the dog.
I included that part because as a child (if he was in fact young when it happened), that is NEVER good. But as you get older, you try to get "power" over situations you don't like, by being dismissive of them or some other defense mechanism. So the way he mentions that to Lincoln has no bearing on how he might actually have felt about it at the time.

Also makes you wonder where exactly Kellerman got his sense of duty and loyalty to country from without a father in the picture.
Perhaps from joining the military? The canon tidbits I found on the net indicated that his mother was the abuser (I'd assumed his father, if anyone), and that typically means there IS no father in the picture. Also, the "abandoning" Kristine with an abusive parent again indicates that there was no-one to stop it. Mothers often let fathers abuse where the reverse is not true (I've known too many people where this has happened. *sigh*).

You wonder, though, with a family that he can't believe in (other than his little sister) whether Kellerman was ready to latch onto just about anything he COULD believe in. That's very common-- it's a survival mechanism. In his case, though, his background kept him from asking some of the questions he should have, such as when has the abuse of power gone too far?
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: smilie priyankathelana on March 5th, 2008 11:30 pm (UTC)
Also throws up some interesting implications about his attraction to Madame Evil!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 11th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Also throws up some interesting implications about his attraction to Madame Evil!

Yes-- I'm sure he didn't think of her that way at first, but for all his devotion she was using him (especially now that we know that she had a thing going with her brother the entire time she was refusing Kellerman's marriage proposal). Ouch.
chanchito_z on March 10th, 2008 01:19 am (UTC)

I’m so glad someone picked up the Kid!Kellerman prompt! I’m surprised you were the only one, actually. I hope the love o’ the Kellerman is not almost gone!

And I think that this young version you’ve written is very true to the adult version. He learns from his mistakes, he prepares for the future, he is constantly observing and thinking on his feet, yet, at his heart, he loves his sister and he still feels the child’s love of his abusive mother - he’s being slowly broken, but there is still part of him that longs for a good life, he just has no control over that. It’s very sad in the way his life is, but we can see how it could make him into the type of person who could be seduced by Caroline into some pretty horrible things, but who - in the end- did what he thought was the right thing, despite the cost. It was a very lovely story with a new look at a great character. (I'm now going to go start the "Bring Kellerman Back from the Dead Campaign" due to this inspiration!)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on March 11th, 2008 09:10 pm (UTC)
I'd hoped someone else would do the Kid!Kellerman too, though I somehow didn't think even mine would be this angsty. The canon made me do it!

yet, at his heart, he loves his sister and he still feels the child’s love of his abusive mother - he’s being slowly broken, but there is still part of him that longs for a good life, he just has no control over that.
The absolute worst part of abuse for children is that they often don't stop loving their abusers, and there's always a degree of self-blame then (even if it's "Why wasn't I more loveable?"). But knowing that he eventually ran away from all this, you can see that at some point hoping for his mother's love and protecting Kristine won't be enough. :(

but we can see how it could make him into the type of person who could be seduced by Caroline into some pretty horrible things
Yes-- all of that same desperate hope that she's better underneath than she looks on the surface, that there must be a good reason for what she's asking him. Until the day he finally realizes that there isn't, that it was all about self-promotion and expediency, and he was the pawn that helped make it possible. :(

I'm now going to go start the "Bring Kellerman Back from the Dead Campaign" due to this inspiration!
Yay! I'm glad you liked this story-- not many people read it, and I know the subject matter is pretty heavy. I always found Kellerman captivating, though, and I miss him on the show. :)

Is it wrong for me to hope that his new show tanks so he has some reason to reappear on Prison Break? :0
ekorotya on March 30th, 2008 04:39 am (UTC)
More,more
I wish there were more fics of Kellerman,let alone of him as a child.

~E
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on June 22nd, 2008 10:00 pm (UTC)
Re: More,more
I wish there were more too-- he was my favorite part of S2. But he's kind of a challenge to write, and now that he's gone I think fewer people are inspired to try. I miss him. :)