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30 June 2009 @ 01:16 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: "Schematics For Survival" (PG)  
Title: Schematics For Survival
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Michael and Lincoln (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary (Pre-series to S1): It used to be something to cope with. Who knew that it was destined to become important?
Author's Notes: Happy belated birthday to tuesdaeschild! I hope this gives you a little lift, and restores some of the PB love.
Also for prisonbreak100, this is "Beginnings."

x-x-x-x-x

There were probably rules for how to deal with a genius younger brother, or at least some guidelines. Lincoln always wished someone would tell him what those were, so he didn't have to learn everything the hard way.

Showing interest in your brother's creations seemed pretty simple, at least when Michael was younger—and it clearly made him happy. But when Michael turned seven, something changed. Asking, "So what's this supposed to be?" might set Michael off for days. Michael could turn a question like that into a cycle of self-punishment faster than anyone Lincoln had ever seen—beating himself up because his Lego-structure or drawing wasn't obvious enough, or real enough, or whatever perceived failure must have kept Lincoln from being able to identify the thing at first glance.

Lincoln had learned years ago not to guess at what things were, thanks to the boy across the hall who used to specialize in drawing horses that looked like hippos, and cows built like eggs with horns and feet. But normal children just got angry when you misidentified their artwork—they refused to consider the possibility of their own limitations, whereas that was the only thing Michael ever focused on.

"You're a kid, Michael!" Lincoln always told him, but that leniency simply wasn't in Michael's nature.

Lincoln quickly discovered the wisdom of vague conversation: "How's that coming?" and "How much longer do you think that'll take you?" If Michael answered with details, the chances were good that Lincoln wouldn't understand them anyway. Instead, he just listened attentively, and avoided asking questions that showed he didn't know what on earth Michael was talking about.

By the time Michael was nine, Lincoln was pretty much faking his way through nearly everything. He actually knew what a buttress was, for instance, but he wasn't ready to debate the merits of the various types. Listening to Michael talk about which kinds were his favorites and the ways that each could be improved was definitely interesting (and the kid could really get wound up about it, too), but it was more complicated than that for Michael. It was as if those ideas lived inside Michael, colliding with each other and producing new thoughts, new experiments.

Michael's brain was a restless engine that never got turned off.

His drawings had changed over the years. Instead of the animals and landscapes of the innocent past, Michael tended to draw machines or buildings or sometimes the steps to execute an idea. At first, they'd looked like Wile E. Coyote diagrams to catch the Roadrunner. Now, Michael called them "schematics," and they were convincing (and sometimes complex). Why that obsession over diagramming and planning, Lincoln wondered. Where did it come from, and why did it keep on growing? It was as if Michael was trying to contain the universe into something that could be bound, captured and controlled.

After their mother died and they were dragged into the foster care system, Michael's preoccupation with those drawings and ideas increased. Lincoln almost felt as if he understood by then. Whether it was escapism or something else, it had to be comforting to force some part of the world to actually make sense.

Years later, Lincoln found himself on Death Row for a crime he didn't commit. His execution date was just weeks away, and the hours all blurred together now as he wondered How and Why and reviewed his history and all his many failures.

Michael was there, inside the prison, working some scheme to get Lincoln out that still didn't add up, no matter how you sliced it. But Michael believed in it, and Lincoln was losing the energy to try to talk him out of it.

Sitting in the chapel with Michael behind his shoulder, Lincoln would listen to the litany of preparations and plans that were supposed to somehow make the impossible come true. He didn't really understand it, not the interlocking pieces and players, nor even how the timing of it all could ever work out. Yet Michael was thoroughly convinced.

A lifetime of diagrams and designs had led up to this, as if Michael had been practicing for years toward a goal that neither of them could have foreseen.

Please, Lincoln thought, even though a miracle was far too much to ask for and he wasn't worth the risk to Michael or anyone else. But he was desperate and time was ticking by, and if anyone could pull off something of this magnitude, it was Michael.

Whether Lincoln understood any of Michael's plan or not wasn't important, just like all those times before when Michael had been the brainiac kid with the endless supply of extraordinary dreams. The only one who actually needed to understand anything was Michael; everyone else was simply caught up in the ride.

Trusting Michael was the only part left now for Lincoln to play. After that, one way or another—good or bad—the rest would take care of itself.



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

 
 
 
Maz (or foxxy!): Michael Rubs Headtuesdaeschild on July 1st, 2009 11:42 am (UTC)
Part kid!fic, part S1!! Perfect combination, sweetheart!! :)

Poor Michael was truly an obsessed child and of course he would see the lack of understanding exhibited by others as his own failure...even as a kid everything seemed to be Michael's fault, didn't it? And it's hard not to feel sorry for Lincoln and his struggle to understand everything his baby bro came up with but of course he would try to figure things out as best he could if it meant Michael didn't need to indulge in self-flagellation. He was kind of smart there because he got that, huh?

A lifetime of diagrams and designs had led up to this, as if Michael had been practicing for years toward a goal that neither of them could have foreseen.

I like that concept! Is it destiny or free will that leads us down the paths we take in our lives? I think for Michael here it really does feel pre-ordained!

Lincoln trusted Michael yet still believed he himself was helpless to affect the outcome...maybe he believed in pre-ordination too?!!

I don't know why I'm getting so analytical all of a sudden! But your perception of the brothers got me thinking about stuff...but I still totally love it for being a bro!kid!S1 fic!!

Thank you so much, my darling, for such a wonderful fic! I can appreciate gen with the best of them as long as my favourite bros are involved!! I think Michael and Lincoln kid!fic is my favourite kind of tale in the whole world! :)

I'll add it to my thank you list and include a link because I do believe in sharing lovely things!! :)

*hugs*


The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on July 1st, 2009 05:13 pm (UTC)
Yay-- I'm so glad you liked it!

I was a little stumped for a slashFic, having just written one last week for ethereal_flaim, but then I remembered how much you enjoyed kid!Fic, and this idea seemed like a great combination of that and of how those earlier aspects of Michael's personality would come to be important later.

I'm glad you noticed the idea of Michael blaming himself for Lincoln's misunderstanding, because that seems very Michael to me-- not just taking everything on his own shoulders, but also that perfectionist streak that can be SO self-punishing and so readily assumes that an idea is misinterpreted because it is NOT perfect.

but of course he would try to figure things out as best he could if it meant Michael didn't need to indulge in self-flagellation. He was kind of smart there because he got that, huh?
That theme has come up for me in so many other kid!Fics with these two (the gingerbread-house disaster readily comes to mind), where you have one brother that veers from "whatever" to "Rage!!!" and another who regularly dives into self-accusation. The "whatever" side of Lincoln must have been horrified to see Michael beat himself up at the drop of a hat, and I'm sure he would have tried to minimize that over time, finding ways to 'handle' Michael that would lessen the chances of that happening. :0

I like that concept! Is it destiny or free will that leads us down the paths we take in our lives? I think for Michael here it really does feel pre-ordained!
It's such an interesting question, isn't it, and so hard to be sure of the answer. In any case, it is lucky for them both that Michael developed such an obsession over ideas and schemes, because that made him unusually capable of rescuing Lincoln. Who else could have done that? It was impossible! Unless you were Michael...

Well, I do hope this added a little something to your birthday celebration, and I'm sorry it took awhile to get finished. The Big Bang really set me back on all my birthday fics, not just the completion but the creative energy to find ideas for them! Hope it was worth the wait. :)

*hugs and extra cupcakes*
Maz (or foxxy!): Brotherly hugtuesdaeschild on July 5th, 2009 05:35 pm (UTC)
You know I love my slash but kid!fic, at least about Lincoln and Michael, is probably my absolute favourite!! Such a shame that the idiots who thought they were being clever in Season 4 ruined the relationship between Christina and her two lovely sons!! :( I shall continue to live in Denial Land, however!!

I did love how you dealt with Michael's personality traits that would later make him put together his awesome plan to free Lincoln. Taking what we know about him then filling in what he was probably like as a child is exactly the thing that makes kid!fic so wonderful!

And Lincoln's love for his brother really came through beautifully in this because learning how to 'handle' Michael was surely an act of devotion to save Michael at least some of the anguish of beating himself up for his 'failures'.

You're right that no one else could have pulled off the seemingly impossible!

This definitely added more than a little something to my birthday celebration and well worth waiting for!! I hope your creative energy has been recharged now and you're raring to go again.

I get hugs and extra cupcakes?!! Thank you, sweetheart! :)

*hugs*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on July 5th, 2009 08:29 pm (UTC)
Such a shame that the idiots who thought they were being clever in Season 4 ruined the relationship between Christina and her two lovely sons!! :( I shall continue to live in Denial Land, however!!

That's one of the reasons I'm so glad I didn't watch S4-- it never happened for me, and all of the S4 crack that became canon is all some ridiculous AU to me. :0

Taking what we know about him then filling in what he was probably like as a child is exactly the thing that makes kid!fic so wonderful!

That's what really got me liking kid!Fic, which I never used to see the appeal of. It's casting characterization backward and planting the seeds of the future that's so intriguing. So much better than "Let's put the whole cast of House in high school together," which is more of an AU thing anyway.

I get hugs and extra cupcakes?!! Thank you, sweetheart! :)
Always! Your sweetness deserves extra everything, and I only wish I had RL ways to get it to you. :)