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16 May 2006 @ 10:19 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: Fatherless Child (PG)  
Author: HalfshellVenus
Category: Michael (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: If families were chosen and not born…
Author’s Notes: This uses the rare second-person narrative, but it seemed the strongest POV for this story. Written for the prisonbreak100 challenge, where I have the Gen pairing of Lincoln and Michael. This is for prompt #26, “Parents.”

x-x-x-x-x

A man who abandons you without ever really knowing you— and does it by his own volition— that man is not a father. He is a catalyst. A failure. A contributor to your genetic makeup. None of these things merits being a father. Even Frankenstein loved his creation more.

A brother who sticks by you, who tries to parent you, is not a father. He might be as good as you will get, but it is never anything like the same. He was almost as much a child as you back then, much closer to an equal than you’d like. He can love you, raise you, and try and try and try, but he can’t quite give you what you need—can’t offer what he never had himself.

A man of good intent—a progressive thinker who offers dignity in a position where no-one expects it… he is not your father either. He sees the good in people when he can— so hard in a place like this. He respects intelligence and artistry, and at his core is a man worth choosing if the universe allowed it. He does not have his own children, as far as you know, and this so obviously is a missed opportunity. He would have been a good father—he has been like one in the short time you’ve known him. If not for the failure of that first escape attempt, you would never have gotten to this point where you betray him personally. It hurts, destroying his trust in you. In his eyes, you can see his opinion of you has changed. The care with which you lock him in his own closet will not be remembered. The fact that you truly admired him will never be believed. You have created self-doubts and tainted memories in someone you truly admired. As you shut the door on him—his anniversary and his faith in you ruined—you find yourself thinking that you never deserved any sort of father at all.

A man of wisdom who is not your father has eased your time inside. He knows most of what you’ve done, and what’s more… he understands. He could forgive, if his absolution had value. He knows that you do this for love, that you have your own “do no harm” approach to planning. He believes in your kindness, and has returned it with his own. He has taken the initiative on crucial steps to ensure this escape, and they have cost him everything he had to call his own.

Yet he does not blame you—or anyone—in his final benedictions. He offers a gift of undeserved value, and he grants it with his blessing.

And there is nothing you can do—you cannot save him or give him what he wants. His last words are full of warmth, and they genuinely belong to you. The weight of it is more than you could have guessed.

He was a criminal, albeit a gentleman, but you will not let that word become your memory.

You would have chosen him—or someone like him—if family were made and not born.

And you can’t help thinking that although this time was brief… it means something lasting to know that he chose you.


----- fin -----


 
 
 
michelle: Michael - catatoniccertainthings on May 17th, 2006 05:49 am (UTC)
Beautiful.

The fact that you truly admired him will never be believed. You have created self-doubts and tainted memories in someone you truly admired. As you shut the door on him—his anniversary and his faith in you ruined—you find yourself thinking that you never deserved any sort of father at all.

That section breaks my heart.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 06:03 am (UTC)
That section breaks my heart.
That whole scene in the show broke mine.

If the Plan had worked out the first time, Michael would have finished most of the Taj and just slipped out from the prison quietly. Pope would have felt betrayed all the same, but down the road he might have understood.

When Michael had to readdress his plan, the only way to get Lincoln back where he needed him required forcing Pope's hand directly. And to do that to someone he admires-- who admired him in return-- and to taint the symbol of their cooperation, of the Warden's devotion to his wife, of the occasion itself... that will seem to Pope as if Michael was jerking him around from the beginning. And it will destroy a piece of Pope's faith in himself on the way to festering.

That... is a terrible legagy, and so hugely different from Michael's feelings and intentions about that father figure.

But it was begging to be written. And the Westmoreland one as well.
alienmomalienmom on May 17th, 2006 07:00 am (UTC)
amazing! brillant! perfect! each paragraph is dead on!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 02:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

I had in mind to write something about that Westmoreland scene at the end, and I was so moved by Michael's final, disastrous interaction with Pope... suddenly a theme presented itself. :)
Maz (or foxxy!)tuesdaeschild on May 17th, 2006 10:29 am (UTC)
Wonderful insight into the characters! And written in the very-hard-to-do-in-my-opinion second person too, and my word! that worked so well!

I adore Henry Pope and Charles Westmorland and you really have their possible feelings towards Michael on the nail!

He can love you, raise you, and try and try and try, but he can’t quite give you what you need—can’t offer what he never had himself.
So true of poor Lincoln.

Utterly gorgeous, sweetheart!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
And written in the very-hard-to-do-in-my-opinion second person too
I don't know what happened there. I was 2 paragraphs in before I realized I was doing it, and when I thought about re-casting it in third person it really seemed that would change the power of what I'd already written. I have only one other second-person fic (for Supernatural)-- that one wasn't deliberate either!

I adore Henry Pope and Charles Westmorland and you really have their possible feelings towards Michael on the nail!
I love those characters (and Reverend Mailor as well). The disaster of finding an almost-father bond, and then having to ruin it (in Pope's case) or losing it too soon (Westmoreland) is clearly deeply felt by Michael. :(
I know he would have wished it all to be different.

Thanks so much for your comments-- I'm glad you liked this one. :D
(no subject) - tuesdaeschild on May 17th, 2006 03:15 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - mandarin226 on May 17th, 2006 04:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 19th, 2006 06:28 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tuesdaeschild on May 19th, 2006 01:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 19th, 2006 04:03 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - tuesdaeschild on May 19th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC) (Expand)
miss_mazzie on May 17th, 2006 12:28 pm (UTC)
Beautiful, Venus. Just beautiful!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 02:55 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thank you so much, miss_mazzie!
PamalaX: mikestarepamalax on May 17th, 2006 01:46 pm (UTC)
Beautiful!! That was wonderful! I'm so taken by Michael family ties or lack thereof and what they have or have not done to shape him.

A big part of that is why I was driven to write him as a father and you
very VERY well done work here makes me want to strive do what I'm trying to do just a little better. Thank for setting the bar so high ;D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
I'm so taken by Michael family ties or lack thereof and what they have or have not done to shape him.
I can easily see the ties he had-- and didn't have-- creating an enormous craving for lasting bonds. As you say-- not only to form his own family, but to make sure that they have him and keep him, and never go through what he did.

Thank for setting the bar so high ;D
Wow. Thank you so much, Pamala! This makes my day~~~ ♥
(no subject) - pamalax on May 17th, 2006 03:11 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 04:02 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Mayhem Parva: Rain (hmwitzy)raincitygirl on May 17th, 2006 01:51 pm (UTC)
this is lovely.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 02:59 pm (UTC)
Thank you!

Your icon is adorable, BTW. :)
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: brothers fencethelana on May 17th, 2006 04:38 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad that you decided to write another gen piece as well. Last time I talked I wanted to ask you about one, but I was afraid I would sound too pushy. I miss Gen. Makes me sad when the show doesn't inspire a lot of Gen fic anymore.

And I'm just going to pretend that all my talk about Michael/Westmoreland is starting to get to people :D Next on my agenda: Michael/C-Note. All alazysod's fault.

I love how you contrasted Westmoreland and Pope. The scene where Pope walks in on Westmoreland's dead body choked me up big time.

Here's to hope for many more Gen pieces.

Speaking of second person, have you read this story by a new author? It's second person as well and I liked it big time. Very yearny.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 05:30 pm (UTC)
Last time I talked I wanted to ask you about one, but I was afraid I would sound too pushy.
I was just overwhelmed with 1)Fic Exchange, 2)Bad feelings induced by direction of show 3)Supernatural and 4)"Always"!!

I think mooyoo may be having a similar problem, because I notice that her period of fewer PB pieces in general has overlapped much of mind. Could be coincidence, but could also be where the series had gone lately.

And I'm just going to pretend that all my talk about Michael/Westmoreland is starting to get to people :D
Well now, see-- that Gen drabble that you decided you didn't want me to write (because it was Gen) was where the feelings for the last part of this started. And that scene with Pope was so powerful to me. So this fic came out when I realized that there was a connecting theme there I could work with.

Finding Westmoreland truly dead was so sad. I had kept a smidgen of hope alive until then. And I'm half afraid that Pope will decide Michael shanked Westmoreland-- rather than it was an accident stemming from something else (the breakroom fight).

I'll check out that other story. I have totally given up on non-flist things unless they're recced to me. And there are others I should probably f-list, but the chat-level on my list is so high already. If you have any specific rhymeswithghoti pieces to rec in particular, please let me know (email is fine).
(no subject) - thelana on May 17th, 2006 11:52 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 18th, 2006 12:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thelana on May 18th, 2006 12:49 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 18th, 2006 01:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thelana on May 18th, 2006 06:04 am (UTC) (Expand)
Izzie: The Bros - Brotherly Lovelady_iz on May 17th, 2006 05:02 pm (UTC)
A man who abandons you without ever really knowing you— and does it by his own volition— that man is not a father. He is a catalyst. A failure. A mere sperm-donor (as some might say). None of these things merits being a father. Even Frankenstein loved his creation more.

Powerful.

Beautifully written. Thank you!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 05:24 pm (UTC)
Thank you, lady_iz! :D

I was so much happier on my PB planet before the whole spyDaddy subplot showed up. I really hate it, hate where it's going.

It's actually enough for me that, regardless of WHY he made the choice, something was more important to spyDaddy than his family. Enough so that he let them founder in disaster, poverty and being orphans.

(no subject) - lady_iz on May 17th, 2006 05:43 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lady_iz on May 17th, 2006 06:39 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 08:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - lady_iz on May 17th, 2006 08:41 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 09:48 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - thelana on May 17th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on May 17th, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC)
Beautiful style! And beautiful words! This brought me to tears and the last line broke me! Probably your best gen piece so far! Really, really powerful!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 06:09 pm (UTC)
Probably your best gen piece so far! Really, really powerful!

Wow. That amazes me! Well-- glad you liked it so much, and I will always have the Kleenex for you if necessary. ♥

Better than "Final Hours?" Because that one's also Gen. No really, it is.

I'm glad there are others who share my Pope and Westmoreland love. *sniff*
(no subject) - lissa_bear on May 17th, 2006 06:22 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 07:58 pm (UTC) (Expand)
BEWARE OF JENMAR.: PB - Dysfunctional Loveclex_monkie89 on May 17th, 2006 07:28 pm (UTC)
I'm not reading I'm not reading I'm not reading!

But if I were? I'd tell you that I loved this and am still amazed at the way you write. I'd say that that Michael's thoughts on Linc and Pope and Westmoreland are perfect and right and make me undeniably sad.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on May 17th, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
But if I were? I'd tell you that I loved this and am still amazed at the way you write.
:D Thank you! I so miss when you're not reading. When can I bug you about PB headers? Want to email when Dean lets go of your leg?

I'd say that that Michael's thoughts on Linc and Pope and Westmoreland are perfect and right and make me undeniably sad.
Thank you so much. *Sigh* They are not only missed opportunities, but Michael has perhaps invested more hope in them than he should have. God, the wounds parents give their children. :(
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 on May 17th, 2006 08:19 pm (UTC) (Expand)
dirtandweeds on May 19th, 2006 06:24 am (UTC)
Ahhh this was all so nice. I really liked the first two paragraphs, but the whole text in general was good.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on May 19th, 2006 06:31 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. :) The whole theme runs through Michael's life so far, and in all of it even when he's close, that father eludes him.

That icon is great-- and it would be perfect for "Supernatural," my other fandom. In Supernatural, monsters under the bed turn out to be _real_. :0
(no subject) - dirtandweeds on May 19th, 2006 06:39 am (UTC) (Expand)
dragon9maiden on June 6th, 2006 10:45 pm (UTC)
A truly moving piece as usual! I was particularly touched by the feelings/interactions between Westmoreland and Michael both on screen and in your fic. I've always had a soft spot for the "Phantom/Christine" type of relationship--basically, a malevolent man towards the outside world is benevolent towards his child / one true love. This theme was also well explored in Dickson's classics. And you are right, "he was a criminal, albeit a gentleman", but Micheal would not let that word become his memory.

When Westmoreland gave the final blessing and hidden treasure to Michael, It reminded me of Abbe Faria giving Edmond Dantes the buried treasure in Dumas' "the Count of Monte Cristo". "You are the child of my captivity. You are God's gift to a man who could not be a father and a prisoner who could not be freed." Those were the words the Abbe said to Edmond when he realized he was dying of Catalepsy. You captured the exact same feelings so well in your piece, and it was truly poetic.

I also agree with your points on the slash pairings. LJ was never my thing either. To me, the character in the show has been rather reactive so far. That is, he hasn't done anything too unusual that a rash teenager in his situation wouldn't do. That to me, is uninteresting. Like a blank slate, there is nothing inspiring about him. Slashing him would be no different than slashing any other teenager down the road--tasteless and animalistic.

I miss your slash pieces very much. When will the "Botticelli of Slash" return?
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on June 7th, 2006 12:38 am (UTC)
Oh, DragonMaiden, you always have such thoughtful comments. And I'm glad you liked this view of all the fathers Michael did not have-- except for the one who came closest of all. I really enjoyed the Michael and Westmoreland (and Westmoreland and C-Note) relationships in these later espisodes, and I'm sorry to see Westmoreland go. You might like the piece that is a sort of remembrance of him-- Flown.

Like a blank slate, there is nothing inspiring about him. Slashing him would be no different than slashing any other teenager down the road--tasteless and animalistic.
Exactly. There is nothing "to" that character for me. In addition, he is underage-- and slashing him with adults is unsettling to me.

I miss your slash pieces very much. When will the "Botticelli of Slash" return?
Good question. :) The last L/M slash I wrote was PWP, and it was not my usual flavor-- more rough and urgent, not really romantic. I'm hoping not to get entirely caught in a rut.

I have a Lincoln/Michael "Why they are my OTP" essay due in a week or so for ship_manifesto, and that will likely take up my time this week! Although if I'm lucky, it could kick something off... ;)
Da'mien: L-A-M-Bdecayd_matter on June 11th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
Wow. This was beautifully written. I loved the end.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Casthalfshellvenus on June 13th, 2006 10:37 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's too bad to see those possibilities-- the fathers Westmoreland and Pope might have been-- both swept away.

I loved Michael's relationship with both those characters; I'm sorry to see it end.