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05 April 2006 @ 10:55 pm
Prison Break Fanfiction: And If The Answer Fades With Time  
Author: HalfshellVenus
Category: Sara Tancredi (Genfic)
Rating: PG
Summary: Sara’s POV: What is the legacy of perfect love, and of its loss?
Author’s Notes: This is for liayso, who requested that I write a story about Sara and her mother. The story is now AU, as late Season 1 episodes revealed that Sara's mother did not die when Sara was young (as assumed here), and that her relationship with her daughter and husband did not end well. Also written for the philosophy_20 challenge, where I claimed the Prison Break General Series, for prompt #5, “Syzygy” ("The joining of two entities, without loss of identities.").

x-x-x-x-x

Her mother was tall and slender, and she moved like a willow in the wind.

Out in the garden, they gathered flowers for the house—pink roses and yellow honeysuckle, white gladioli and purple irises. Sara had her own small gardening gloves, and she was old enough to use the garden snips now. She wandered through the bee-swirl clouds of blossoms, considering and choosing the prettiest blooms. Her mother, close beside her, cut the bases and stripped the too-full leaves. Sara carefully watched the pruning angles and the techniques to try out on her own.

“How’re my girls?” her father called out, coming around the ivy-covered wall. Her mother’s smile grew at the sound of his voice, warmer than the sweet spring sun, and she pulled off her gloves and waited for him. Their eyes met, each pulling the other in with a slow dance of magnetic union. They clasped hands and kissed, before her father’s hand reached to bring her in and Sara was gathered into the circle of their love.

“What brings you out here?” her mother asked playfully, and Sara’s father ducked his head and grinned.

“I just wanted to say goodbye before I leave for the Retreat,” he said. “I hate having to leave you both behind, but at least it’s only for the weekend.”

“We’ll miss you, sweetheart,” her mother answered. “Just promise that you won’t be trading up on me while you’re there,” she winked.

Her father laughed, though Sara didn’t see why that was funny. He gave them both a kiss, his fingers trailing at the edges of her mother’s hair, and walked backwards and waved for half the length of the pathway.

Sara watched him go, the crinkles at the corners of his eyes fading in the distance as the sparkle left the air with him and the hum of tranquility returned.

“Mama,” she asked suddenly, “Who will I marry?”

“What?” Her mother turned toward her, eyes still on her husband.

“What kind of man? Why did you marry Daddy?”

“Oh,” her mother began, for this was an unusually unexpected question. “I knew your father and I belonged together on our second date. But it isn’t that way for everyone.”

Sara put down the pruning snips and looked at her mother seriously. “How did you know?” she asked.

“Well, he was so funny and interesting.” Her mother smiled as if she could see him in her mind. “And he looked at me like I was the most beautiful woman in the world.”

“You married him because he thought you were pretty.” That was logic an 8-year-old could grasp.

“No, it was more than that. Your father saw me for who I was, deep down. It was as if we filled in all the missing pieces of each other.” Sara looked alarmed at that, and her mother hastened to reassure her. “You’ll know, honey, when it’s right. You’ll marry the man that makes you feel most like yourself, the man you make happy just by being there. You’ll know.”

And Sara was satisfied. Things that she would Just know later were things she didn’t have to understand right now. She smiled at her mother and picked up her cutters. She could see a wave of blue in the back corner that would complete her part of the bouquet.

*******

Years later now, watching her father over breakfast, she puzzles over the things her mother said. This man—so serious now, so impatient and distracted—how could he ever have been her mother’s perfect love? There is nothing soft or spirited inside him anymore, he is nothing like the man she remembers from that day. They barely speak to one another, passing serving plates, dishes, beverages and the like without words. They are in a rhythm of disinterested cooperation—or even a symbiotic dance— each performing the basics with little feeling or depth. They know, they anticipate, but they do not understand.

Sara has given up hope of recapturing the spark their life once held. It died with her mother, taking a piece of all of them with it.

She has seen him, late in the evenings—a glass of scotch clutched in his hands, his eyes puffed-up and red. His voice is rough then, her mother’s picture often nearby, and she knows the weight of the grief they don’t discuss.

He doesn’t really see Sara anymore, and he doesn’t let her see into him. He throws himself into his work when he’s away; when he’s here, he skirts her and edges through the rooms of their hollow home.

She struggles to thread her way to maturity, with little guidance from the only family that remains. There is resentment and unspoken loneliness; at times, frustration and anger find her too.

But watching him, still broken after so many years, she sees a hint of the answer coming in from the side.

Perhaps her mother’s perfect man is still here, revealed in the destruction her mother’s absence left behind. If this was that deepest love—the joining of souls that are distinct and yet are one—its proof is in the near-extinction of the half that remains.

It doesn’t make him a better father. It doesn’t excuse his lack of making his child come first.

But she understands it now. Even if not forever, for years the shattered soul still yearns for its mate. He might recover—when it is too late for his daughter—but for now, he is a shell in scattered pieces.

He aches and he misses. He forgets his duty to his daughter while mourning at the shrine he keeps to her mother’s memory. He is imperfect and no longer whole. He cannot save himself, and he has little left for his neglected child.

Though it hurts and scars and numbs her, Sara knows that his is the pain of loving too much.

And her mother, who knew that part of him always, quite honestly deserved nothing less.



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



 
 
 
liayso: Sara & Dadliayso on April 6th, 2006 06:45 am (UTC)
I got my Sara fic! Yay! Thank you so much! :)

To be honest with you, I actually had nothing in mind for how you would write this fic. I think it's because we know absolutely nothing about Sara's mother from the show. Everything is just speculation about her.

I loved the opening scene with all the flowers. It really added to the beauty and innocence of Sara's childhood with her mother. Perhaps that could be another reason she doesn't like flowers? They remind her of her mother and it just brings up memories of her death.

Her mother's explanation of love, it is so a motherly explanation. :) And I'm pretty sure you didn't mean for it to happen, but I immediately thought of Michael when her mother said “You’ll know, honey, when it’s right. You’ll marry the man that makes you feel most like yourself, the man you make happy just by being there. You’ll know.”

And I love how you threw in the dad in there as well. And I love the contrast between his past self when his wife was still alive and his present self. And I like how Sara sees how her mother's death affected him, and thus affecting their Father/Daughter relationship.

“You married him because he thought you were pretty.” That was logic an 8-year-old could grasp.

Your Kid!Sara is just too adorable! I love her!

Again, thank you so much for writing this! I just love your Sara Gen fics!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2006 04:22 pm (UTC)
I loved the opening scene with all the flowers. It really added to the beauty and innocence of Sara's childhood with her mother. Perhaps that could be another reason she doesn't like flowers? They remind her of her mother and it just brings up memories of her death.
Oh, I love this idea, actually. I picked this opening partly because it ties back into some of my 50-sentences pieces, but this explanation you gave... I would love for that to be true.

but I immediately thought of Michael when her mother said
I knew the Michael/Sara people would think of that, and I actually didn't have that in mind (I don't see him as being that for her-- and he's shown signs of the opposite (i.e., frustrating who she is)). But I did mean to imply that this was how her mother felt about Sara's father. And then looking at the junkieLove boyfriend Sara had before.... ew. Keep moving.

And I love the contrast between his past self when his wife was still alive and his present self. And I like how Sara sees how her mother's death affected him, and thus affecting their Father/Daughter relationship.
The prompt seemed to imply 'soulmates' to me, and I wanted to show-- even if briefly-- Sara's parents as being that way. And then, oh, the horrible contrast between the man her father was and who he is now. As an adult, I'm sure she'd wonder why on earth her mother ever loved him. But then again... he is no longer that same man her mother loved.

Just... adding more layers to the uneven relationship Sara has with her father.

Well, I'm glad you approved of this one! I was hoping you would. *VBG*
liaysoliayso on April 7th, 2006 12:45 am (UTC)
Oh, I love this idea, actually. I picked this opening partly because it ties back into some of my 50-sentences pieces, but this explanation you gave... I would love for that to be true.

Thanks! I feel all insightful and stuff. lol.

I knew the Michael/Sara people would think of that, and I actually didn't have that in mind (I don't see him as being that for her-- and he's shown signs of the opposite (i.e., frustrating who she is)).

True, true, but, I'd hate to sound cynical, there really isn't such a thing of love without conflict/problems/some type of frustration. Yeah. I'll just leave my shipperness at that.

But I did mean to imply that this was how her mother felt about Sara's father.

I did pick up on that. :)

And then looking at the junkieLove boyfriend Sara had before.... ew. Keep moving.

LOL! I totally agree with you on that one! I don't want to be mean... He's just...ew.

As an adult, I'm sure she'd wonder why on earth her mother ever loved him. But then again... he is no longer that same man her mother loved.

Yeah and that's why it's so sad.

Just... adding more layers to the uneven relationship Sara has with her father.

And I hope you keep on doing it! :) You do it so well!
Tinniscary_sushi on April 6th, 2006 03:07 pm (UTC)
There is not enough Sara fic out there *winks* so thank you for this wonderful insight into our lady Doc!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on April 6th, 2006 04:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you! (love the username, BTW)

This is my 3rd Sara Genfic, and I anticipate writing at least one more for the philosophy_20 challenge. She's got her name on one of my other prompts already... :D
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on April 7th, 2006 05:50 am (UTC)
Out in the garden, they gathered flowers for the house—pink roses and yellow honeysuckle, white gladioli and purple irises. Sara had her own small gardening gloves, and she was old enough to use the garden snips now. She wandered through the bee-swirl clouds of blossoms, considering and choosing the prettiest blooms. Her mother, close beside her, cut the bases and stripped the too-full leaves.

Oh, such a beautiful paragraph!

He doesn’t really see Sara anymore, and he doesn’t let her see into him.

Ouch. Great way of putting it.

This man—so serious now, so impatient and distracted—how could he ever have been her mother’s perfect love?

Have you ever seen "The House of Spirits" with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons? Because that's the first thing I thought of when I read that sentence.

And LOVE the last sentence. The whole mood that goes with it. Almost a certain defiance/rebellious mood? To say that something if bad, but in this case it is good?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2006 06:19 am (UTC)
Oh, such a beautiful paragraph!
Thank you! Sometimes I get to actually enjoy just setting the mood...

Ouch. Great way of putting it.
It still seems to be true, even now. Although we have some insight into him, perhaps, having given up on her. BUT that whole thing aside... I like the idea that it could have predated that whole problem (perhaps, even contributed to it).

Have you ever seen "The House of Spirits" with Meryl Streep and Jeremy Irons? Because that's the first thing I thought of when I read that sentence.
God, if I have it's been way too long ago.

And LOVE the last sentence. The whole mood that goes with it. Almost a certain defiance/rebellious mood? To say that something is bad, but in this case it is good?
Yes-- it's almost as if she's angry and resigned all at once to the idea that somehow... this is actually how it should be. :(
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on April 7th, 2006 06:52 am (UTC)
This entire thing made me really emotional and the last line made me cry. This is absolutely beautiful.

Perhaps her mother’s perfect man is still here, revealed in the destruction her mother’s absence left behind

So freaking beautiful!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on April 7th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
This entire thing made me really emotional and the last line made me cry. This is absolutely beautiful.
Absolutely the best kind of complement, truly. I was hoping to bring some deep emotion out with this one.

I hope the show doesn't prove me wrong on this one, because I like the notion that this sense of loss is principally what drove both Sara and her father to where they are now. I'd so much rather her father had been happy and destroyed than that he was always "empty." And that (now that we've gone down the icky path with Sara's backstory) her father's emotional neglect and her own pain drove her to drugs rather than just... she became a random junkie and he rejected her only after that.

I would so like to see the show move toward greater character depth, rather than black-and-white answers for why they all do what they do.

As you read the description of the "Syzygy" prompt, does it seem like this story fits it to you? I thought that soulmates-- who complement but don't cancel each other out-- could so easily be a fitting match for that definition.
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on April 7th, 2006 07:05 am (UTC)
If strong emotions are what you were going for, you hit your mark perfectly. I have such a strong relationship with my father that this makes me sad.

I'm with you in hoping that the show takes a turn towards showing some greater character depth. The characters really are so complex and the show has only begun to scratch the surface!

And I think this story fit the prompt perfectly. It worked really well for me.

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on April 8th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
I have such a strong relationship with my father that this makes me sad.
From what little we've seen of Sara's relationship with her father, it's not good. Almost as if she isn't a real person to him. I alluded to that in an earlier fic-- it's as if she's daughterArchetype and not actually Sara. :(

And I think this story fit the prompt perfectly. It worked really well for me.
I was hoping so. The community's definition was the one I quoted above, and it seemed to me that "soulmates" is one of the things it could easily be describing. And being as it's the weirdest of the bunch... of course, I want to immediately kill it off. ;)
tyrical: AP_aJolietyrical on April 11th, 2006 05:22 am (UTC)
Great Sara fic,

It sorta gives a bit of insight to why the two of them are so at odds with one another. You can tell he loves his daughter but their are times when you think she broke his heart. Or maybe is just that everytime he looks at her he sees his broken heart.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Venushalfshellvenus on April 11th, 2006 05:57 am (UTC)
It sorta gives a bit of insight to why the two of them are so at odds with one another.

It's one possible explanation of so many (we still don't know the truth yet). But here, he lost a huge part of himself when Sara's mother died. Now he can't muster the energy or drive to help her through that same loss. He's stopped being a parent, and is more of a victim of unresolved grief-- none of which helps her own substantial pain. And she's not really a person to him then. She's a responsibility that he can't uphold.