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01 September 2008 @ 03:53 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: Noble Theories, Revised Outcomes (PG)  
Title: Noble Theories, Revised Outcomes
Author: HalfshellVenus
Character: Henry Pope (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: (Season One) Lots of theories have exceptions. Henry just didn't expect this to be one of them.
Author's Notes: Written during a 60_minutes_fic session on "Castles In The Sky." Also for my philosophy_20 challenge, this is "Theory."


Teach a man to fish and he'll eat for a lifetime.

Henry Pope was raised on ideals that spoke of hard work and the value of looking beyond easy answers. The larger purpose was always at stake.

He heard his own message in those lessons: never dismiss anything out of hand, look deeper to find what's important and lasting and true. That method set him apart, whether it was the study of criminology (motives were the key, where even the lack of reasonable motive might show a pattern) to his years as a police commissioner and finally as warden of Fox River Prison.

Henry had always been different.

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

That was the guiding principle right there, compassion and respect. Henry hadn't always succeeded at living it to the fullest (poor Judith, how he regretted wounding her with that extramarital affair), but he believed it to be true. He believed in applying it to his life and to his work.

Henry harbored no thoughts that the criminals who came to Fox River were innocent. He was idealistic but not a fool. These men might be among the worst to have walked this earth, or they might be folks with bad backgrounds who'd never learned a better way—they could even fall anywhere in between.

The point was this: a dog kept on a chain could never be anything else. The longer you kept it there, the angrier and more violent it became.

Fox River was full of men who'd been kept on chains, who kept coming back to the prison system that was the only thing they understood. Henry believed there was a better way, that teaching the men to become more civilized improved their chances of getting along on their own in the real world. He'd based his whole style on that method for over twenty years.

Spare the rod and spoil the child.

Now it wasn't permissiveness, far from it. Henry believed in firmness and boundaries, and in consequences for men who got out of hand. They were necessary to keep order, for everyone's sake, but moreover they provided the structure that men like that needed.

Again, it was about respect. It meant treating the prisoners like reasoning men instead of animals, it meant mixing kindness with the authority he wielded.

None would be the worse for it, and some would surprise you by rising closer to the higher expectations you had of them. Those men were cause for hope.

A leopard can't change its spots.

Henry had seen many of the same faces cycle through prison repeatedly, and he knew most people believed it was hopeless to expect otherwise.

He disagreed.

Sometimes you could change things—it was as simple as that. Not always, not even often, but the few times you did succeed mattered a great deal.

You had to help people become more than the sum of their circumstances or pasts. If you managed to do that for even just a few, it was really worth something. You'd changed a little piece of the world and made it better.

It was with this theory that Henry Pope had run Fox River for years.

He had letters that meant the world to him saved in a folder in his desk. These were written by men who'd made it after leaving his prison, many of them with families whose pictures they'd sent along. Henry had saved every single one of those letters.

He still believed in that theory, despite those times when it failed—sometimes drastically—for a particular individual.

Michael Scofield was one of those failures, an example of trust and kindness utterly betrayed. Henry had never seen the slightest possibility of that impending treachery, would never have suspected it even if he'd been warned .

But he could worry about that another time, well on into his retirement years if necessary. Scofield had escaped with a group of other dangerous men, and the window to recapture them was growing smaller. All of Henry Pope's theories were locked away for now.

He had a manhunt to run.

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

mercurybard on September 1st, 2008 11:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, poor Pope. So much philosophy and hardwork and idealism out the window when Scofield went over the wall. Ugh...can I kick Michael?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on September 1st, 2008 11:34 pm (UTC)
I can imagine that he's seen men he knew weren't lucky to be success stories, and that he didn't invest too much expectation in a successful outcome.

But Michael? Already half-way to rehabilitation when he got to Fox River, and then it turned out like that in the end. Ouch!
Genevieve: henry pope by sezmsgenevieve on September 1st, 2008 11:24 pm (UTC)

Oh, yes. He broke Henry's heart, big time.

Wonderful fic, and I'm so glad you finished it.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on September 1st, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. He broke Henry's heart, big time.
What's hardest is knowing, as a viewer, that it hurt Michael every bit as much and that he never wanted to do it. :(

It's SO nice to get another of the philosophy_20 prompts laid to rest-- this one was begun on Friday night, and just took awhile to revise (the last adage was hard-- I couldn't find the right one until I looked for the reverse of who Henry was).

It's the "Orientation" one that's been kicking me around since 2 years ago, I think. :0 Almost there, but still haven't written through to the end. Heaven knows, the middle's been revised enough to last a lifetime.

I hoped you'd see this one, AND that you'd bless it with that Pope icon I love so much! ♥
Genevieve: trio 2 by sezmsgenevieve on September 1st, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
that it hurt Michael every bit as much and that he never wanted to do it.


Michael's face during that whole scene just kills me.

I'll keep my fingers crossed for you to be inspired to finish your other story. You know, I really hate that there seems no way for both of us to be happy with this show. *sighs*

scribblecat made that Henry icon for me at my request and it's normally not for sharing, but I just love how much you love it, so please, take it and use it too? :)

Edited at 2008-09-01 11:47 pm (UTC)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on September 13th, 2008 09:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, I appreciate the icon offer-- truly! But I'm on the way out of this fandom, and I know I'll be purging out icons eventually.

However, that icon will make me smile every time you use it. That character WAS made of awesome. He and Westmoreland are the parts of S1 I miss the most. :)
Genevieve: 401 michael by sezmsgenevieve on September 21st, 2008 08:20 am (UTC)
But I'm on the way out of this fandom, and I know I'll be purging out icons eventually.

That makes me very sad, but I do understand, believe me.
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: animated ollianthelana on September 2nd, 2008 05:24 am (UTC)
Sigh. Oh Pope! If I didn't constantly forget the code for it, I would draw a field of happy little hearts.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on September 2nd, 2008 06:20 am (UTC)
Just knowing that you feel that way about the story (or maybe just Pope) is enough.

I so loved that character, and Stacy Keach's portrayal was a huge part of it. He gave such strength to the idea of converting through kindness-- the character was never weak, and that's even more important considering the ideals he held.

Still miss him. :)