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18 February 2006 @ 10:14 am
PrisonBreak Fanfiction: Always, Chapter 3: Wisdom  
Author: HalfshellVenus
Category: Lincoln/Michael (Slash)
Rating (this chapter): PG
Summary: Wisdom from Westmoreland and a timeline that’s running out.


x-x-x-x-x Chapter 3: Wisdom x-x-x-x-x

Michael was out in the Yard, playing checkers with Westmoreland. He was up three reds, and the end was in sight.

"You and Lincoln Burrows seem to get along awfully well." Westmoreland moved one of his pieces.

"Yeah," Michael said softly. "We understand each other."

Westmoreland looked up shrewdly. "I'll refrain from stating the obvious things that brings to mind." He watched Michael jump two unguarded chips and snatch them off the board. "How long have you known each other?"

Michael's met Westmoreland's eyes briefly, but there was nothing suspicious there. “Years. From the neighborhood."

"You're risking an awful lot for him, you know." Westmoreland jumped and took a red piece as his final move.

"I know." Michael hopped the last remaining black checker, and then it was over.

"These rounds go by awfully quickly," Michael said, as he set up the board again. "Do you ever play chess? That would last longer."

Westmoreland leaned on the table with both elbows, his manner suddenly serious. "I do, but I usually keep it to my cell."

"Really? Why?" Michael asked. Chess players were hard to find, especially in prison.

"Because knowing how to play... and what that says about a man's abilities... is the kind of thing you have to keep hidden in a place like this." He stood up unexpectedly, clearly done with playing for now.

"You ought to be more careful with what you let other people see. Intelligence is a weapon. Don't let them see you sharpening that knife."

Michael stared at Westmoreland’s back as he moved across the yard, wondering where all that had suddenly come from.

***********

Michael caught Lincoln’s arm as he entered the shed, just to slow him down so he could get a better look at him. Lincoln’s shoulders were slumped and his eyes were preoccupied.

“It’s going to be all right,” Michael said softly. “Really. And I know it’s got to be hard waiting.”

Lincoln spoke without looking at him. “I’ve only got a few days left, Michael. I’m being asked to sign things and define things I don’t want to even think about. Planning your own death is just sick when someone else decides how and when you’ll die.” Lincoln rolled his shoulders, pushing around the anxiety there. “And god knows where LJ is, whether he’s safe. I got word yesterday, but I don’t know if he’s still okay now.”

Michael’s hand stroked up Lincoln’s arm, all the shallow comfort he had left with no time or privacy to spend. “I’m sorry this is happening,” he said, and he felt stupid just saying it but what else could he do? “You know I’m thinking about this all the time, right?”

“I know,” Lincoln said. Michael was suffering right along with him, and he’d already done more than anyone else ever would have. Lincoln took a quick read on the break room, and saw that everyone else was already busy. He kissed Michael softly on the cheek, and squeezed the hand on his arm. He wasn’t relieved and he couldn’t pretend that he was… but at least he could show he understood. He slipped away then to grab a mason’s float, and felt Michael’s sigh behind him.

***********

“What’s on for tonight?” Sucre asked. He was bouncing a rubber ball off the wall while Michael sat on his bunk and tried to think.

“I’ve got a trip to make. I need to lay some more supplies.”

“This won’t be like that other time, right? ‘Cuz I don’t want to sit around and listen to your watch forever, waiting to hear some mysterious ‘special’ noise.”

Michael smiled. “No, it won’t be like that. But I may need a towel this time.”

A bell sounded, and the bars drifted open.

“Time to eat,” Sucre said, dropping the ball on his bunk. He pulled a skull cap on for style, and they lined up outside the cell. “So what am I supposed to say if someone asks me about you and Burrows? We never got down to that part.”

“Why say anything?” Michael asked.

“C’mon, man,” Sucre said. “Just not saying anything is an answer. You gotta decide on what the answer’s gonna be, because you’re saying it one way or the other.”

Michael tried to think. Brothers? Not brothers? What was it going to be? He ran over what he remembered anyone seeing and how explicit it was, and whether it could be explained away. T-Bag had seen them kissing in the break room, and Sucre was there for the main event. But Sucre wasn’t going to tell anyone, and T-Bag would always be seen as a questionable source of information.

“How about this,” Michael murmured as the guards moved down the line. “Eventually everyone’s probably going to know Lincoln and I are brothers. So how about just denying that anything more than that’s going on?” He thought back to what Westmoreland had said earlier about what you let people see, and it seemed that might apply to more than just a man’s skills and capabilities. “But don’t admit what you don’t have to, because I don’t need him being used as blackmail against me. Abruzzi and the others don’t need to know how important he is to me, that he’s my brother.”

More than that, Sucre thought, but he didn’t say it.

“They can think he’s just somebody I used to know from before, that I’d do a favor for.”

“Whatever you want, man,” Sucre said. They joined the procession to the cafeteria, moving with the tide sweeping down the stairs.

“Well if it isn’t Pedro and the Pretty.” T-Bag’s voice was sliding on over their way as they inched closer to the food line, and of course he’d seek out the opportunity to bother them both.

“You boys keeping things nice and friendly in your cell?”

Michael could feel Sucre bristling next to him as T-Bag’s heat moved close enough to feel.

“Oh, wait a minute now,” T-Bag said. “Why, I’m forgetting that Fish already has a playmate. Or is it a brother that he’s got instead? It gets awfully confusing at times. I do believe Fish himself is confused about it.”

“Meatloaf or lasagna?” Michael asked Sucre, like there was no-one there but the two of them.

“I heard meatloaf.” Sucre’s eyes flicked over in time to see Michael wrinkle his nose a bit. Prison meatloaf was nothing to get excited about. At least with lasagna the seasonings could disguise any lesser results.

“Do you know,” T-Bag went on, “I saw Mr. Scofield here, and his brother Mr. Burrows, greeting each other with the most uncommon enthusiasm just the other day. Why, I haven’t seen the likes of men kissing like that outside of illicit romancing in the shower.” T-Bag’s tongue was teasing the top of his lip, his body steeled as he waited for just anything to happen.

Sucre's head barely turned in his direction. “The only kind of kissing you know is the Kiss of Death, so your street cred on that subject just doesn’t cut it with me.”

“Whatever does the boy mean?” T-Bag leaned around to look in Michael’s face. “What have you been telling him?”

Michael fixed him with steely resolve., but Sucre spoke first. “You know the old saying,” he said. “‘Consider the source.’ Well I did. And I’m done.”

Michael bit the inside of cheek. There was too much tension crackling through the air between the three of them, and damn Sucre for making him want to laugh right now.

T-Bag was frowning. Sucre could not possibly be dodging him now, could he? Only the Abruzzis and the Burrows of this world dodged him. The others listened and ulcerated or stammered. They didn’t disregard him.

“Bagwell! In line or out!” the C.O. yelled.

“Later, gentlemen,” T-Bag mouthed as he moved back to his band of followers.

“You’ve got balls, Sucre,” Michael muttered.

Cojones, man. Cojones.” They bumped shoulders and did the fist-punch of solidarity out of view of any interested eyes.

-----------------------

(Next chapter)



 
 
 
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: michael sucre awwwwwthelana on February 18th, 2006 06:26 pm (UTC)
Wheeee, much love for this.

Intelligence is a weapon. Don't let them see you sharpening that knife."

Don't know why, but I really loved that line. And didn't lissa_bear request something like Westmoreland being onto Michael/Linc? She's going to be very happy.

Love the Michael/Sucre friendship and interaction in this one. It's so cute :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Linc/Michael by xenasoulhalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2006 06:34 pm (UTC)
Intelligence is a weapon. Don't let them see you sharpening that knife."
Don't know why, but I really loved that line.


Yay! It's there because it's something Westmoreland has learned, and which a more psychologically-savvy person than Michael would already have guessed. Never tip your hand in a dangerous situation (prison is an unendingly dangerous situation) unless you have to. No matter how little a thing you think it is.

Love the Michael/Sucre friendship and interaction in this one. It's so cute :D
I had a lot of fun with Sucre in the last chapter too. Don't know why he's started coming to me now, but maybe its because his character is opening up on the show. The dialogue is what drives Sucre for me.

So, no porn, but.... I couldn't see Lincoln being in the frame of mind for it right now. You can guess why.
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: happy sarathelana on February 18th, 2006 06:38 pm (UTC)
So, no porn, but.... I couldn't see Lincoln being in the frame of mind for it right now. You can guess why.

Yeah probably true. Darn you and your insistance on some character realism ;D But the T-Bag/Sucre/Michael scene certainly was a lot of fun.

But all the Abruzzi mentions left me hungry. Not I was a scene with Abruzzi having his suspicions and Michael and Abruzzi having interaction. Is this one before Sleigh of Hand? Darn, don't remember. Comeon, you have to give me at least one attempt at Michael/Abruzzi interaction before Abruzzi is shipped off with his throat slit. Or at least some background Abruzzi insulting and slapping around T-Bag because that is always fun.
BEWARE OF JENMAR.: PB - Hug - Michael/Sucreclex_monkie89 on February 18th, 2006 07:04 pm (UTC)
the fist-punch of solidarity

Right on! I'm happy to see a new part of this (Shh, I'm not reading, I'm studying. Studying!) and it was well worth the wait!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on February 18th, 2006 07:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks!

Hey, at least you caught up on something. Too much RL! It's deadly!
BEWARE OF JENMAR.clex_monkie89 on February 18th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC)
Too much RL is stupid! Which is why I'm about to watch a few hours of Prison break and then go a-readin'. Yay!
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: cheerful T-Bagthelana on February 18th, 2006 08:08 pm (UTC)
Save time, watch it on the computer while reading fic! ;D
BEWARE OF JENMAR.clex_monkie89 on February 18th, 2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
Ah but then I can only pay attention to one at a time! And suddenly going from Riots, The Drills, and The Devil to something schmoopy and back could hurt me painfully.
Kimberley: PB2: by everlynlampshade_days on February 19th, 2006 12:31 am (UTC)
Ahh, brilliant, as always.

Love your Westmoreland too.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slash by tinamishihalfshellvenus on February 19th, 2006 12:55 am (UTC)
Ahh, brilliant, as always.
Thank you!

Love your Westmoreland too.
He was where this chapter started. I started hearing his voice in my head (finally!) and this conversation with Michael. Unfortunately, that was 2 1/2 weeks ago! I needed to figure out where to go with the rest of it before I could finish this chapter. Luckily, Sucre arrived to save the day :D
tyrical: PB_Alazysod_L_desperatetyrical on February 19th, 2006 07:10 pm (UTC)
Gosh its like I can here the tolling of those bells. Ever signalling that the end is near.

I loved the dialouge between T-bag/Sucre/Michael. That constant push and pull of what to tell, how to say it, what to give, what to hide.

Truly great naunces of that struggle all over this chapter.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: TBag by marinarusalkahalfshellvenus on February 20th, 2006 12:55 am (UTC)
Gosh its like I can here the tolling of those bells. Ever signalling that the end is near.
This is where following the series really limits your options, as an author. We'll see where things go in March-- either a big sudden escape, or a temporary reprieve that allows more stri-i-i-inging out of the escape. And a chance for Abruzzi to come back.

I loved the dialouge between T-bag/Sucre/Michael. That constant push and pull of what to tell, how to say it, what to give, what to hide.
I had a lot of fun with that. I enjoy writing T-Bag's dialogue-- and clearly, so do a lot of other PB writers! And there's that trick of always being careful not to challenge him outright, if you can help it. Because he is an extremely dangerous man.
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slash by tinamishihalfshellvenus on March 19th, 2006 07:09 am (UTC)
You dealt with the 'brothers, not brothers' dilemma very nicely.
Thank you :) I felt it was time to fold my AU into the canon, other than the slash, and it really made for some interesting chapters. Blackmail threats have inherent interest. :0

Question: where can I find the next chapter? I need more. A lot more! Thanks.
They're not written yet, unfortunately. :( I will probably try to hit the events up to the hiatus really soon, but I can't do too much when the show itself isn't moving forward.

However... what I DID wind up doing was writing a lot of post-Escape slash. If you visit my LJ homepage, there's an entire section labeled PrisonBreak Slash, and all of it is Lincoln/Michael. The post-escape stories beginning with "Paradise" lead out from the "Awakenings" and "Always" series (where the brother's relationship as lovers began in prison). There are other pre-Series works there too, and then the "Shape of Freedom" arc is a completely different Universe, in which the brothers' sexual relationship begins after the breakout.

Hope some of those are fun for you. There are about 25 stories in all under the PB slash, and more to come. Thanks for reading, and especially for the wonderful comments :D


Maz (or foxxy!)tuesdaeschild on May 11th, 2006 01:34 pm (UTC)
Well into this one now!

I'm loving Sucre more and more all the time (in the show I just like him, but you're making me love him!)

And my oh my! Have you got T-Bag's voice exactly or what? I think he's kind of hard to pin down in that respect, but you so got it!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 11th, 2006 08:28 pm (UTC)
in the show I just like him, but you're making me love him!)
:D He's more fun for me to write than he usually is to watch. This is kind of... Sucre with a little brightener on him. As if instead of the occasionally funny personality-laden moments, we're getting some off-camera scenes where he just... himself but moreso.

And my oh my! Have you got T-Bag's voice exactly or what? I think he's kind of hard to pin down in that respect, but you so got it!!
Thank you very much! He has such a formality to his speech-- all the big and polite words, but with menace running underneath. It makes his voice vivid and fascinating to me, because it's not entirely what you'd expect.
Maz (or foxxy!)tuesdaeschild on May 12th, 2006 09:27 am (UTC)
:D He's more fun for me to write than he usually is to watch.
That's what comes across so well; you do actually enjoy writing him!

but with menace running underneath.
That's the clincher! The formality should be reasonably easy to write, but writing him with menace? Not easy, but you nailed it!