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09 March 2006 @ 11:01 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: "The Man Without A Name"  
Title: The Man Without A Name
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Lincoln and Michael (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: Michael’s father is hardly deserving of that name.
Author’s Notes: Written for the prisonbreak100 challenge, where I have the Gen pairing of Lincoln and Michael. This is for prompt #84, “He.” It was written concurrently for the pbreak_drabbles challenge on “Family.”

x-x-x-x-x

He doesn’t have a name, not really. For as long as Michael can remember, he has been referred to mainly in the third person. His mother rarely mentioned him, but when she did it was “Your father” and “He,” and not “Aldo.”

Names are for people who deserve them, spoken to invoke or to remember. But their father is best forgotten.

What little Michael thinks he knows feels like scratchy whiskers at bedtime, with big hands and rough clothes. There’s no face in his memory, and only a single picture hidden in his grandmother’s passed-down Bible, because they don’t mourn him. They will not. He is not dead or lost or longed-for. He is the coward who abandoned them before Michael could talk.

Michael knows it was harder for Lincoln. His brother knew he was loved once (but not enough), and he had happy moments with their father that would not be repeated and that their mother didn’t much want to hear about. That’s what it is to be trapped between anger and sorrow, to be a wistful child raised by a parent who cannot forgive. There was always something like blame, or Why, or How could you stuck between Lincoln and their mother, and Michael couldn’t quite figure out what it was.

By the time an uneasy truce was reached, he’d already learned the rules: do not mention him, do not refer to him, let his mother say it if she chooses but never drive her to it. Never. Never. Don’t.

That man without a name might have looked like him, but Michael doesn’t care. He wants no part of that legacy, of anything like the weakness that let his father leave and later let his family drown. The poverty they went through, the strain of worries and unpaid rent, colored his childhood and nearly waylaid his future. They moved and moved, escaping bill collectors and trying to stretch out far enough to avoid the mistakes that can’t be overcome. Their mother got sick, and then died, and still he didn’t help them-- he didn’t come. Lincoln kept the two of them together with sweat and street-smarts and steely resolve, and that was all they had against the world.

The father that could have saved them didn’t. And that was a choice they don’t forget.

Michael knows his name, but he doesn’t think it. He doesn’t lend that recognition to the man who failed them all.

And when the chance came to liberate himself from his past, he discarded the last vestiges of that sorry excuse for a human being.

He is his mother’s son, and he survived by his brother’s iron will. That man can never touch him or label him or make him regret it.


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


 
 
 
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: happy sarathelana on March 10th, 2006 07:43 am (UTC)
Eeeeeee! More father fic at last!

*goes and smushes this fic*

Much, much love for you writing this :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 07:51 am (UTC)
:D This one has been tickling at the back of my mind for a couple of weeks now, tied to that "He" prompt. The father-- and all the baggage that goes with him-- seemed the perfect subject for that prompt. And the pbreak_drabbles thing pushed me over the edge.

And tonight-- it all came together :)

Glad you like it so much, despite the rather angry tone to it. (but the anger is justified, of course).
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: went sailorthelana on March 10th, 2006 07:56 am (UTC)
IMO it just fits with the tone Michael had when talking about him in canon. So, it's quite perfect in my eyes.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 07:59 am (UTC)
IMO it just fits with the tone Michael had when talking about him in canon. So, it's quite perfect in my eyes.
Thank you. :)

I want the reader to feel that anger and rejection of all that their father is which ultimately leads Michael to shed that last name and every aspect of the father who failed them.

I don't blame him one bit for doing it. And at the same time, Lincoln has a very different perspective on all of it. Their father was someone he actually knew. I imagine he's much more conflicted about all of it.
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: happy sarathelana on March 10th, 2006 08:00 am (UTC)
I know. At the same time I'm really keeping my fingers crossed that the whole situation will be addressed in canon eventually :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 08:04 am (UTC)
If they do, I'm almost hoping they'll do it referentially rather than via flashback. Because I wasn't so impressed with how they handled the junior versions of Lincoln and Michael. That didn't come off well.

BUT... Michael mentioning his feelings in passing, or better yet-- a heated argument with Lincoln where we see both sides of the issue? I'm all over that. And I wouldn't mind finding out the father's actual name, if they ever give him one.
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on March 10th, 2006 08:09 am (UTC)
Seriously the only thing I'm praying for is that they don't come up with a lame family connection between them and the conspiracy. Because, yeah, *rolleyes*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 08:16 am (UTC)
*Groan* God, I hope not. And I saw the LJ/Kim Bauer reference in one of your journal entries, and... Word. Once for that is bad enough. Let's not repeat THAT mistake. :0
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on March 10th, 2006 06:06 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written! The language was wonderful. And the last line felt really powerful to me.

I loved this!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

And the last line felt really powerful to me.
The endings are so important for me. Sometimes, that's the hardest part to work out. :D
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on March 10th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC)
Yeah, endings are a big thing for me too. I hate not being able to bring things full circle.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 06:58 pm (UTC)
I hate not being able to bring things full circle.
It's usually not so much the idea, but the pace of the ending that has to be perfect. Not too abrupt, not too tossed off. It's got to conclude appropriately.

I swear that, other than awkward phrasing and such, the ends of my stories are the parts I re-read obsessively to make sure that they pace/flow/conclusion works as it should. I'm almost always adding words there to Make.It.Work. :0
she said mysteriouslyresounding_echo on March 10th, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
oh, I loved this! I long for father!fic but find it hard to find some some that resonate with me. Yours was beautiful. It was real and heartfelt, but not cramming-down-your-throat-angst. I mean, that's how it is; Michael pretends his father doesn't have the power to hurt him.

I loved the beginning bit in particular. It's true.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
oh, I loved this! I long for father!fic but find it hard to find some some that resonate with me.
Thank you, Jules!

There's that really great one by quincykat, "Starlight and Dewdrops," and the parent one by [Bad username: libearateourtime], "And Juliet." But otherwise, not that many altogether.

But I've very glad you liked this one. :D Somehow in writing it, it became perfect that not only do they not really talk about him, but that when he had a chance Michael carved off his father's last name in exchange for his mother's. There is so much (justified) unspoken anger in that choice, even as his brother still keeps the family name.

I mean, that's how it is; Michael pretends his father doesn't have the power to hurt him.
Even when we have convinced ourselves that it doesn't matter, it still so sadly does.

I've missed hearing from you, even though I know you're busy. :) New PB p0rns, a surreal/subliminal SN dream story that you haven't read... The subtext of your life implies that this term/semester is much more frantic than the last one. Oy.
she said mysteriouslyresounding_echo on March 10th, 2006 07:52 pm (UTC)
I'll have to check those two fics out. I need some good non-cest family drama.

I've missed hearing from you, even though I know you're busy. :) New PB p0rns, a surreal/subliminal SN dream story that you haven't read...

Indeed, I miss LJ too. I hope to read some more fic over the next week and finally (finally) make good on my bribe to iscaris and draw my Kellerman pic.

The subtext of your life implies that this term/semester is much more frantic than the last one. Oy.

::sigh:: Yeah, I don't know what happened. This week has been hellish, but at least I don't have to be back at school till the end of the month. However, I have a midterm to do today, a prospectus due Monday, a paper to write, books to read, and if I'm smart a paper to start. Some Spring Break, eh? But the great news is my friend who's in Europe for a study abroad came home yesturday! Always a silver lining.
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on March 11th, 2006 12:48 am (UTC)
There's also liberateourtime's drabble Fate, which just gets me *big time*. And Starlights and Dewdrops it just beautifulsad. And "And Juliet" is just incredibly well done.

And mooyoo is always good for gen fic.
mooyoo: Michael - Fencemooyoo on March 10th, 2006 08:40 pm (UTC)
Well now I think we really must be sharing a brain, because I'm in the middle of a father fic at the moment too (though a different perspective). Heh.

I liked Michael's thoughts on his father, how they change over time as the fmaily struggles and the father isn't ever there the way Michcael seems to know that he should be. It's interesting, he's almost like SN Sam in that way - he's kind of stuck on the outside when it comes to their father because he doesn't remember him, so anything he is able to understand about him and about his absence comes from his mother and brother, who have very strong, but different opinions on him. And as a result Michael's not really able to fully form his own feelings unitl he's old enough to understand what it really means to be abandoned by his father (when they suffer and he doesn't come back, doesn't help them) and that he really has no connection to his father.

Anyway, yeah, I liked it :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 08:47 pm (UTC)
because I'm in the middle of a father fic at the moment too (though a different perspective). Heh.
I will totally be interested to see where you take it, too. ;)

This story has been sitting in the back of my brain for while, thanks to this prompt, and it's nice to get it out there!

And as a result Michael's not really able to fully form his own feelings unitl he's old enough to understand what it really means to be abandoned by his father (when they suffer and he doesn't come back, doesn't help them) and that he really has no connection to his father.
In addition to losing their mother-- and the torpedo effect that had on their lives-- had their father ever tried to help out or step in, what a HUGE difference that would have made to the spiral of disaser that overtook their life.
dawnstarrising: Linc and Michdawnstarrising on March 10th, 2006 11:50 pm (UTC)
Wonderful look into how his fathers leaving affected him.

He is his mother’s son, and he survived by his brother’s iron will. That man can never touch him or label him or make him regret it.

Wonderfully put as always.

Dawn xx
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 10th, 2006 11:56 pm (UTC)
Wonderful look into how his fathers leaving affected him.
And how anger can quietly burn for such a long time...

Wonderfully put as always.
Thank you :) Glad you liked this one.
ivy_x3 on March 13th, 2006 10:50 pm (UTC)
oh this was sweet. and touching and really fits into Michael's character. He loves his mother and his love for his brother somehow slightly makes up for it. slightly.
rerun tonight but PRISON BREAK IS COMING BACK MONDAY!!!
hehe.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 13th, 2006 10:54 pm (UTC)
Thank you-- I'm glad you liked it. It's his father he's turning his back on, even though Lincoln has kept that name and it does cut him off from his brother a little. The show has never addressed whether Lincoln takes that personally-- I would imagine it bothers him, even if it's just a little bit.

PRISON BREAK IS COMING BACK MONDAY!!!
I wonder if they've figured out its timeslot, what with "24" on and "House" being on who-knows-what day of the week (it movies with American Idol, apparently). 8:00pm seems too earlier for hardcore prison stuff, but you just never know. It's Fox TV. They do things their way (including putting popular shows on hiatus for months so they can screw them up when they return lose their audience fulfill some unspoken master plan).
dr. henry killinger: find xliberateourtime on March 13th, 2006 11:22 pm (UTC)
He is his mother’s son, and he survived by his brother’s iron will. That man can never touch him or label him or make him regret it.

Oh, this line made me shiver. Gah! Just....gah! Amazing.

*goes to read it again* :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on March 13th, 2006 11:31 pm (UTC)
Oh, this line made me shiver. Gah! Just....gah! Amazing.
Thank you so much! That says a lot, consider how much I love your writing and how poignant it is.

I do wonder (and this fic probably shows it) how long Michael was waiting and waiting until he could get rid of that last name and all the baggage it carries for him. Until he could reject in such a blatant way the man who rejected all of them.

The math geek in my loves your icon, because sometimes math brings out the sarcastic in me instead of the scientist. :P
tyrical: PB_Scofieldtyrical on April 14th, 2006 03:19 am (UTC)
Usually we don't get much of Michael's anger and this explores a possible version of it that I believe. I think that the absense of a father is just another layer that shaped Michael into the man he is.

Determined to never leave a family member behind.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on April 16th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC)
Usually we don't get much of Michael's anger and this explores a possible version of it that I believe.
That insistence on changing his last name-- and why he did it, not because he was ashamed of Lincoln but because he wanted to "disinherit" his 'father'-- speaks of so much anger even in canon.

I think that the absense of a father is just another layer that shaped Michael into the man he is.
No father, but a brother/father and only half a life with a mother. Poverty and abandonment issues and being too-smart aside... those are some heavy influences right there.
Da'mien: Oopsdecayd_matter on June 8th, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Ah, I was wondering whether you wrote a fic about the father. : ) You've covered almost every aspect of their lives!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB  Brothers-- moody eyeshalfshellvenus on June 8th, 2006 07:06 pm (UTC)
:D I've tried to. Actually, those prompts in the xx100 tables really help to get out a lot of background!