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09 May 2006 @ 07:53 pm
Prison Break FanFiction: Always, Chapter 4  
Author: HalfshellVenus
Category: Lincoln/Michael (Slash, W.I.P.)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Time runs out on the brothers’ chance to escape.
Author’s Notes: Readers, thank you for your patience in waiting for updates to this series. I know it’s been far too long—the show really put me into a funk after the hiatus, in terms of adding onto this particular story. I think I’m over it now, finally. This chapter contains spoilers for Episodes 12, “End Of The Tunnel,” and Episode 13, “The Rat.”

x-x-x-x-x Chapter 4: Nightmare Made Flesh x-x-x-x-x

It was like a bad dream, all of it. An endless nightmare of everything falling apart piece-by-piece. And no matter how many changes he made, how many last-minute fixes and patches, it continued to spiral toward the same inevitable, devastating conclusion.

It began with Lincoln going into the SHU, trapped there without the pill they needed to put him in the Infirmary at the right time. Michael had regrouped, kicking everything off a day early and working with the unknowing aide of the prison’s kind-hearted chaplain.

It had looked good then, with even the timing right other than being 24 hours earlier than planned. Until the pipe. Michael’s beautifully corroded pipe-- the hatchway between the supply room and the Infirmary drain—had been replaced with a thick and insurmountable barrier.

His whole world crumbled in that moment, anxious cons on the one side and his brother helplessly isolated above. Nothing came to him—no solution, no inspiration. His brain flew in a different directions at once trying to come up with an idea, a piece of leverage, that could turn it around. But after a close call with a pair of guards, he’d had to give in and call a retreat. Michael could barely muster the focus to move under the crowding, sickening panic, but he stuck with his role as the leader. Back they went, threats overlapping grumbles in the fog surrounding him. They’d nearly been caught out again at the break shed, and by then Michael’s nerves were shot. He vaguely remembered that Westmoreland had been compassionate, and that T-Bag was angry in ways he couldn’t even begin to care about.

One thing alone occupied his mind, driving him to last-ditch desperate actions before time finally ran out. And then everything clarified finally into a single, horrible truth. They wouldn’t make it out before the execution date… and Veronica’s miracle was too long in coming.

Michael had been a child the last time he felt that desperate.

The last moments of opportunity had escaped, despite all his planning and adjustments and efforts. This last night and day had seen too many turns on a giddy roller coaster of hope and despair, and none of it had changed the final outcome.

Now, one dead rat and final lost chance later… Michael sat in a visitation room with his brother.

……

Michael was waiting for him inside the room, his apologies already bubbling up out of him.

I can’t, Lincoln thought. Can’t face what’s coming, can’t talk about hope I don’t have anymore. I just—

Then Michael’s arms were around him, holding down the panic inside them both. They fit together like something separated into two pieces— halves that overlapped but were nothing like the same. They filled in the corners of each other, body and soul. But this together-more-than-the-sum the two of them became would be forever orphaned in just a few short hours.

“I’m so sorry,” Michael began, but Lincoln could not begin to walk that road of regret. Michael had done everything— had done too much—to save him from a fate orchestrated without mercy. The miracle Michael had grasped for had not happened, and part of Lincoln had never given up that sense of resignation.

“Don’t,” he said quietly. “Just—don’t.” And Michael heard him, and just finally… let it go.

The room was crowded with all the emotion of the moment-- of a lifetime-- pushing in and threatening to smother them both. Lincoln could hear Michael’s footsteps through his pacing, and then he was turned around and kissed until his lips were numb. Michael guided him to a chair, pushed him down and straddled his lap. “What--?” Lincoln started, but Michael’s mouth absorbed the rest of that question. Every touch of lips and fingertips tracing Lincoln’s face spoke of feeling and want and memories and shared sorrow. Lincoln remembered and rejected the possibility of the guards watching. With what was coming, and all that would never be again, he just honestly didn’t care. Let them wonder, he thought, as he held and responded in turn.

Michael’s jaw shook momentarily, and Lincoln knew how much effort it cost him to hold it all in. But Michael was doing it for him—like everything else these last few months. This strained composure saved them the burden of hysteria and dread, giving them instead a chance to spend this time in some semblance of themselves.

Michael’s hand strayed down Lincoln’s chest, brushing lower. His eyes asked the question, but Lincoln smiled softly and shook his head. “I just can’t… bring myself to want it,” he said quietly. “It would be, I don’t know, doomed or desperate or something.”

“Morbid?” Michael whispered.

“I guess so,” Lincoln answered. The lack of privacy made it hard enough. But the sense of finality did him in. This wasn’t a vacation he was going on in the middle of a love affair. It was obliteration. And there were some things even he couldn’t manage under those conditions.

“What do you want to do now?” Michael asked. “Play some cards?”

“Why not.” Lincoln spoke calmly, despite the shuddering in his stomach. Then he turned his head to press his lips against those fingertips stroking his jaw, and Michael was right there, kissing him deeply, longingly. Arms tight around each other, they reassured a moment longer before parting.

……….

They’d played several hands, Lincoln busting him wide open for playing to lose, and one somber phone call later Veronica was there. Michael had expected her, but still he gritted his teeth watching her practically paw Lincoln over and over. She’d loved Lincoln too—and probably still did—but that didn’t make it any easier to witness.

Lincoln was withdrawn by then, barely speaking or responding… and that was hard to watch too. Denial could not change where this was headed, but it had been helping up until now.

The guards were there all too soon, and the long march began. Closer and closer they moved in procession, Michael’s feet stepped automatically in the crowded ever-darkening corridor. The air—the light—was leaving this world as Lincoln walked ahead of him. Michael was lightheaded, tears escaping now that it was too late to be brave for Lincoln’s sake.

They stopped. Michael said his goodbyes—far too public, crowded with people and schedules and the unfairness of it all. He could not give Lincoln the farewell he wanted—could not reveal so much of themselves before an audience. He left Lincoln what dignity he could. Veronica was not so inhibited, saying all the words that belonged to him, pushing her demands on Lincoln even now. The bitter taste in Michael’s mouth warred with the desire to throw up.

And then they took Lincoln in, one last backward glance all he had to leave the two of them.

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

(Next chapter)



 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on May 10th, 2006 05:16 am (UTC)
This chapter was just so hard - too hard - for me to read... brought up too many memories of impending loss and heart ache and despair too heavy to carry. ::cries::
Oh, I definitely understand. *Sigh*

And that is exactly why it was so hard for me to get back into writing this series.

There is no way to skip over these events-- the most critical part of what has happened for Lincoln and Michael. But at the same time, it destroys me to go back into that place, to write those awful feelings. The two Gen Lincoln pieces I wrote around these episodes were hard enough. It has taken me now about 6-7 episodes past the ones in this chapter here to get to the point where I can even go back over it and write about it.
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: brothers execution hugthelana on May 10th, 2006 06:13 am (UTC)
I love this piece. I love the anger over Veronica getting to say Michael's words. Makes me wonder why he doesn't tell her. Because he likes her? Because he is afraid that she would stop her work on the conspiracy then? Because he is afraid that the time might come where Lincoln wants her again?

It's odd because in a way Michael is the one who invited her in, by telling her to investigate the conspiracy. Just like he invited Sara in. In a way Michael is the one who invited both of them into their lives.

But yeah, I love the angsty-ness of this piece. I'm amazed that Lincoln could pull back after a steamy making out scene though ;D Don't get me wrong, I'm totally on board with him thinking it would be too much or too morbid.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on May 10th, 2006 06:32 am (UTC)
Makes me wonder why he doesn't tell her.
Because being in love with your brother isn't the kind of news you break even to your close family friends? And then there's the part about fearing that Lincoln might someday want her again-- that comes up in the "Paradise" arc because I think it's a realistic fear.

I'm amazed that Lincoln could pull back after a steamy making out scene though ;D
:0 I don't see that as steamy so much as love and connectedness. I think Michael would offer in case Lincoln wanted more, but I don't see that as his original motivation. More just the desire to touch, to hold, to be, as if you're memorizing something that is about to vanish.

And from Lincoln's side, I just can't see a guy with imminent execution hanging over his head being able to get it up. A battle in the morning? Possibly. There's the thrill of the unknown, and the adrenaline. But execution? It's a completely different situation-- especially if you're not an unfeeling sociopath and to top it off, you didn't do the crime. :(

But everyone has different opinions on these possibilities. These are the ones that make sense to me, obviously!

The Good, The Bad and The Lana: brothers execution hugthelana on May 10th, 2006 06:38 am (UTC)
Because being in love with your brother isn't the kind of news you break even to your close family friends?

Kinda makes me hunger for a "breaking the news to her softly" story. Because I think that would be in interesting in itself rather than the usual "walking in on them". (and I'm not sure if Veronica is capable of the "slowly realized on her own that something is different even though she doesn't see anything incriminating per se" version ;D)

:0 I don't see that as steamy so much as love and connectedness.

Which is odd since the whole mood of the scene (on the show) felt so much like Lincoln not wanting to be connected. Still very sweet though.

as if you're memorizing something that is about to vanish.



A battle in the morning? Possibly. There's the thrill of the unknown, and the adrenaline

*Mind is immediately killed dead by picturing Michael/Lincoln hot steamy sex before the battle AU* Rrrrrrrrrraw!!!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Bladehalfshellvenus on May 10th, 2006 06:51 am (UTC)
and I'm not sure if Veronica is capable of the "slowly realized on her own that something is different...
Duh-HUH? ;0 Oh, I think we know the answer to that one!

Which is odd since the whole mood of the scene (on the show) felt so much like Lincoln not wanting to be connected.
I meant more on MIchael's side of things. Which is part of why Lincln slips into withdrawal mode near the end of this chapter-- it fits up with canon, and he really seemed to be progressing into it through the episode.

*Mind is immediately killed dead by picturing Michael/Lincoln hot steamy sex before the battle AU* Rrrrrrrrrraw!!!!
Something Greek or Roman, where there are skimpy clothes and comfortable climates for tent-sex. ;)

Dominic in a breastplate... We've seen something close to it in "Blade:Trinity", and Guh-- was THAT ever an eyeful.
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: michael gay pornthelana on May 10th, 2006 06:56 am (UTC)
I've always, always, always wanted a Roman AU. Soldiers, Gladiators, whatever. Because, guuuuuuuh, hot!

Did ya ever see my "Rome" picturespam with Pullo and Vorenus? Sigh, another couple completely to my heart.
Kimberley: PB2: by everlynlampshade_days on May 10th, 2006 04:32 pm (UTC)
Michael had been a child the last time he felt that desperate.

You did an incredible job getting down what was probably going through Michael's head at the time of the first unsuccessful escape attempt. This line in particular is perfect. Very, very Michael - a man not really used to having things fall apart on him.

The not-sex followed by the card game made me think of Jack and Sawyer on LOST playing cards and my theory that the J/S card game was really just one big metaphor for sex. Hee.

Brilliant job with the "final moments." Love Michael's thoughts on/reaction to Veronica. In short: lovely, heartwrenching little chapter.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on May 10th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
You did an incredible job getting down what was probably going through Michael's head at the time of the first unsuccessful escape attempt. This line in particular is perfect. Very, very Michael - a man not really used to having things fall apart on him.
The shock of having his perfect plan ruined-- within a DAY of the last time Michael checked that pipe-- must have been stupifying. Lincoln's in the right spot, and none of the rest of them are, and Lincoln's the one on the tight schedule. God, that ending was just a killer.

and my theory that the J/S card game was really just one big metaphor for sex. Hee.
I saw that immediately in that episode, and wished they'd stop metaphoring and just let the two of them sass each other into a sexual standoff and start going at it right there on the beach. Network wimps. ;)

short: lovely, heartwrenching little chapter.
I hope it worked. This part of the show was such a huge roadblock to continuing the series. I really didn't think they'd take Lincoln all the way up to the chair (and put him IN it, for god's sake). And when they did... it destroyed my in-prison muse for weeks.
michelle: Michael and Lincoln 3certainthings on May 10th, 2006 05:33 pm (UTC)
Brilliant.

I enjoy your view on the episodes, the thoughts, the slash, the love. And I quite love the way you write.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on May 10th, 2006 06:16 pm (UTC)
I enjoy your view on the episodes, the thoughts, the slash, the love.
Such an angst-ridden episode. It destroyed me to watch it.

Working that into this story was really hard, especially having the characters deal with something so shocking and horrifying... and then Lincoln's progression into numbness rather than feeling more, which I hadn't expected. What a challenge. Whew. Still not sure whether it came off here.

The only helpful part is that I remember that Lincoln withdrew progressively over this scene. He started out jangled and still fairly himself, and became nearly catatonic (to anyone outside his head) by the time he was led to the chair. That at least gave some leeway for some good off-screen time, and all of the love that should have happened there.

Thanks for letting me know how much you liked this, Smidgy. I haven't updated in so long that it's hard to know if anyone still cares if I do! But I owe it to the M/L folks not to let this series just dangle while the show moves on.

Post-escape. Yes. Where Lincoln and Michael can be in the same room for more than 20 seconds of an episode. ;)
anisapologist on May 10th, 2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
This is an absolutely wonderful series! I love how slashy it is without being smutty, and you describe the love, the longing, and the desperation of both men in a totally believable and heart breaking way. Thanks for this--looking forward to more!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on May 11th, 2006 04:21 am (UTC)
Wow. Thank you so much!

It's nice to know people are enjoying it other than the loyal folks who have hung around from its predecessor.

This is in many ways my most challenging fiction to write, because of working in and around canon. The post-Escape Universe is sooooooo much more simple to work with-- especially when Lincoln and Michael can be in the same room (alone even) for more than minutes at a time. :0

I'm so glad you're enjoying the emotional aspects of it as well-- the underlying relationship in addition to the smut potential (which we all tune in for, me included of course). :)

Hope to be providing more to read soon. :D Thank you again.
Maz (or foxxy!)tuesdaeschild on May 11th, 2006 02:11 pm (UTC)
You've captured the sub-text that might have been going on in this episode perfectly. Everything could slot seamlessly into the show and it would all make sense.

But it was a very hard chapter to read and I felt bled dry by the emotion of it by the end.

Awesome!
dragon9maiden on May 11th, 2006 02:37 pm (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this chapter. What touches me most was that you genuinely FEEL the characters. I don't think anyone can write a truly moving piece without understanding the characters completely and compassionately.

I completely agree with your assessment on Linc's refusal / turn down of Michael's sexual offer. After all, this is not equivalent to the blueberry pancake of the last meal, and it shouldn't be. It's not a fix, not a drug, not a high, but an emotional fulfillment, a connection (like you said).

I am so glad you are continuing with the series again.

Look forward to more...

Take care,
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on May 11th, 2006 08:11 pm (UTC)
I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of this chapter. What touches me most was that you genuinely FEEL the characters. I don't think anyone can write a truly moving piece without understanding the characters completely and compassionately.
Thank you so much, dragonmaiden. :) This chapter was so very, very hard to write. It was worse than the two Gen Lincoln pieces over this time period ("Into That Good Night" and "The Waking Dream"). Here, there are the emotions of both characters to consider over the most terrible thing that has happened to them aside from losing their mother. And it is made worse by knowing that Lincoln was railroaded. For Michael, as well, this will entail a huge loss of himself as well as his brother. It's soul-destroying to even contemplate.

Whew. Well, I'm so glad all of that came through to you as I hoped it would.

I completely agree with your assessment on Linc's refusal / turn down of Michael's sexual offer.
I just don't see HOW he could want it or do it. There's no adrenaline-thrill component to even drive the libido a little bit. It's adrenaline-defeat, which is different. Most Death Row inmates going into execution do not eat much of their Last Meals-- and neither did Lincoln. They're pent-up, anxious and nauseated with fear and foreboding, and no appetite of any kind can survive that. :(

I am so glad you are continuing with the series again.
Oh, it's so nice to hear that. It lets me know that it's worthwhile, and that I'm writing for an audience rather than out of duty or just for completion. :)
tyrical: AP_aJolietyrical on May 14th, 2006 03:23 am (UTC)
At the end of all things there is you and me and everything else is just a pale imitation of what life is, was, and what will be.

Inspired by this chapter. The hopelessness and the anger and the pain of knowing there is no more you can do and you will lose the one that you love.

Your intensity in this chapter moves me. Makes me remember why I read.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on May 14th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC)
At the end of all things there is you and me and everything else is just a pale imitation of what life is, was, and what will be.
I love the beauty and simplicity of this phrasing...

Your intensity in this chapter moves me. Makes me remember why I read.
This is just wonderful to hear, after having to wait so long before I could get over the emotional roadblock to resume writing this series. You always fear that you're losing your touch... Your words bring me much reassurance. ♥
Are we back to hos over bros?: MichaelVeronicalissa_bear on May 17th, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
Ah, so heartbreaking! You've done a wonderful job capturing emotions! I loved this line He vaguely remembered that Westmoreland had been compassionate, and that T-Bag was angry in ways he couldn’t even begin to care about.

And I love “Morbid?” Michael whispered

And so much love for Michael having to watch Veronica get to be what he wants to be.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 06:18 pm (UTC)
He vaguely remembered that Westmoreland had been compassionate, and that T-Bag was angry in ways he couldn’t even begin to care about.
I felt so bad for Michael in that scene, with all this yammering bitchiness bouncing around him while he's stuck on "Oh my god-- I didn't save him." And that one person, at least, remembered what part of all that was most important to Michael.

And so much love for Michael having to watch Veronica get to be what he wants to be.
He gets even more fed up in the next chapter. So unfair!