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21 August 2006 @ 10:22 pm
Prison Break Gen Fiction: Father's Day  
Title: Father’s Day
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Michael and Lincoln (Gen)
Rating: PG
Summary: What is Father’s Day for someone without a father?
Author’s Notes: Written for prisonbreak100, where I have the Gen pairing of Lincoln and Michael, this is for prompt #24, “Family”. The idea comes from particlesofgale’s plotbunny at pb_plotbunnies. Just took a little longer to finish than I expected.


x-x-x-x-x

“Today, we’re going to make Father’s Day cards, class. I want you to think about something special you’d like to say to your father.”

Michael sits at his desk, watching the teacher with accusing eyes. His shoulders are stiff already with this reminder of how he isn’t really like the other kids, how he doesn’t fit into the boxes they way his teachers and the school expect.

I’d like to tell him I wish he was dead, Michael thinks. How’s that for special?

Michael doesn’t have a father, and the teacher knows that—she’s known it forever. Michael’s father is alive, somewhere, but he’s never met him. And it doesn’t matter, because he doesn’t want to. His father ran out on them a long time ago, and Michael has seen what it’s done to Lincoln, how he still hopes that maybe their father will come back some day.

In ten years, he hasn’t come back. As far as Michael’s concerned, he isn’t going to.

Michael weighs the problem of not doing this project against what will happen if he raises his hand and asks the teacher what to do, since… Huh-uh. He’s not going to bring that up when somebody else might hear. He slumps down in his seat, scrawling random words on a piece of paper. Only in fifth grade, and he’s already mastered the art of looking busy while his mind is somewhere else…

After class gets out, he lingers at his desk, slowly putting his papers and supplies in his backpack until the other students are gone. He checks on the teacher every few seconds, willing her not to leave, and finally it’s just the two of them.

He approaches her desk quietly and waits.

“Yes, Michael,” she says.

“The thing you want us to write, to our father? I don’t… don’t have a father,” Michael mumbles to the floor. “What should I do about the assignment?”

“That’s all right,” she tells him. “Lots of people are in your shoes—just not always as young as you are.” She gets up quietly and comes around to the front of the desk, perching on the edge of it next to where he stands. “Do you have someone else who does some of the things for you that a father would?” she asks. “Your mother, perhaps? Or—“

“Lincoln.” Michael looks up then, an answer finally found. “My brother Lincoln.”

“Do you think your brother would appreciate a note like that from you?”

“I… I guess so,” Michael says. “I think he would.”

“Then that can be your project. You can start it tonight after you get home.”

Michael stumbles down the sidewalk, thinking, thinking all the way home. He’s good with ideas, but not always with words, and who knows what Lincoln will think of this anyway? He wonders if he’ll have to show it to the teacher, which could be bad, because he’s not sure she’d understand the way it is with Lincoln.

He pours a glass of milk, and sits down at the kitchen table with paper and a pencil.

“Dear Lincoln,” he starts. Then scratches it out. It’s not like he’s sending a letter home from camp—they see each other every day.

“It’s Father’s Day, and I was thinking of you…” he tries again. And feeling so thankful for all that you do, a voice sing-songs in his head. There’s a sort of clunky Hallmark-card sound to it all, and he scribbles over it and chews on a hangnail.

There has to be some middle ground between being stiff and being sappy. Between distant and dorky.

Between totally embarrassing both of them, and getting the point across.

Michael taps the pencil against the table, scrunching his fist against his face. He taught me to throw… and to ride a bike...

“Thanks for teaching me stuff, Lincoln.” That’s as far as he gets on that one. He crumples up the piece of paper and throws it across the room. Then jumps up to bury the evidence in the garbage can. God forbid Mom should find it, and then they talk about it.

Nothing is coming to him. Nothing. He does the rest of his homework, putting the project aside to try again later.

Dinner is franks and beans, made by Lincoln. That seems kind of basic, but maybe it’s harder than it looks. It always turns out right. Michael can’t tell if Lincoln’s a good cook or not. His cooking is predictable, and stuff tastes okay. Maybe that’s what a good cook is. Lincoln sends Michael to get ready for bed—it’s a late night for their mother—and Michael is barely under the covers before an idea pricks at him.

He turns the lamp on and reaches for a notebook he keeps by the bed for his ideas. Once he’s gotten the words out on paper, he’s able to smile at last and sleep with the problem finally solved.

On Father’s Day, he waits until their mother is at work again. Then he brings out the Father’s Day card, leaving it at Lincoln’s place at the table. Michael gets orange juice and milk ready, and pours Lincoln’s favorite cereal into a bowl. In ten minutes, Lincoln is up, banging around in the bathroom before coming to the table.

“What’s this?” he asks, when he spies Michael’s artwork.

“For you,” Michael says. And just waits.

“To Lincoln on Father’s Day,” his brother reads. “I don’t have a father, but you’re my brother and that’s all I need. Thanks for teaching me things, and not getting too frustrated when I’m not very good at them. Thanks for taking care of me, and never giving up on me. You’re good at being my brother. Love, Michael.”

“Too dumb?” Michael asks nervously. Too much? Not enough?

“No. It’s perfect,” Lincoln assures him. He hugs Michael tight, like after a home run or a Science Fair ribbon.

And then Michael thinks that maybe that assignment wasn’t so stupid after all.


----- fin -----



 
 
 
bluesister on August 22nd, 2006 07:04 am (UTC)
Aw, that was a good twist.

Last Christmas, my child was asked by Santa about his Mom and Dad and he loudly proclaimed that he had no father but two moms. Then his friend sat on Santa's lap and, proving he does not learn, Santa asked about her mom and dad. She announced that her dad is dead. Thanks, Santa!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:40 pm (UTC)
Aw, that was a good twist.
Thank you! I had this whole thing half-written in a breeze, until it got to the letter part. THAT stalled me out for what-- 2 months? I did actually start it before Father's Day.

Your Santa was a dud. Any fumes? We had a party Santa that handled my then 2-year-old son (and his weirdness) really well:
Santa: Well, what would you like for Christmas?
Christopher: I want a whistle. (the noise-blowers everyone had at the party)
Santa: That's an unsual request. Anything else?
Christopher: I want my birthday party in my backyard. (in 8 months)
Santa: Well, that's not usually my department. You'd better ask your Mom about that.

Christopher's parting shot, after babbling away for awhile, was "I like your glubs!" (gloves-- he was obsessed with those for about 3 years)

And that wasn't even a professional Santa. Our mall has had a fabulous Santa two years running. And previously, skeevy alky Santa with red hair and a bulbous red boozer nose to match. :0

/TMI
(no subject) - bluesister on August 22nd, 2006 11:57 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on August 23rd, 2006 12:06 am (UTC) (Expand)
Your Sweet Six Hundred, Threescore And Sixmusicophilia on August 22nd, 2006 07:10 am (UTC)
awwww that is *so* sweet!!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
:D Thank you. Sometimes fluffySweet just hits the spot, doesn't it? :)
(no subject) - musicophilia on August 23rd, 2006 07:33 am (UTC) (Expand)
canadian_kazz: Prison Break tearcreekcanadian_kazz on August 22nd, 2006 10:22 am (UTC)
Really nice fic. Reminded me of a kid I knew in school who would make Father's Day cards for his grandfather when everyone else made them for their dads. Keep up the good work. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:43 pm (UTC)
Reminded me of a kid I knew in school who would make Father's Day cards for his grandfather when everyone else made them for their dads.
It's nice to have an alternative for that. Such a hard situation for people who don't fit in the box.

Glad you liked this story. :)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is lovely. It always made me uncomfortable in school when we were asked to do that kind of project because I knew my best friend didn't have a Mum, only a stepmum (and there were issues).
Ohhhh... just makes me cringe thinking about it. Stepmother with issues is SO not like the mother of stories, fantasy, Hallmark and most of your friends. :(

Little Michael made me a little heartsick but you've resolved it beaautifully.
Thank you. I wanted him to find something good in that situation after it blindsided him and reminded him of everything that wasn't instead of what was. :)
Tiger Lilytigerlily0 on August 22nd, 2006 03:51 pm (UTC)
Aw
Aww. Loved it. I love these little brotherly stories.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:46 pm (UTC)
Re: Aw
:) Thank you, tigerlily. I really enjoy the bonding/fluffy stories as well as the deeper and more serious stuff. And with Prison Break, you usually get both at once somehow-- even here.
The Grammarian about whom your mother warned you.acostilow on August 22nd, 2006 08:00 pm (UTC)
Awwwww....wee!Wentworth! :) Very cute.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:47 pm (UTC)
:D Thank you, Athena! I don't write youngMichael very often (is this only the second one?), but sometimes it's a really nice change. :)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on August 22nd, 2006 11:49 pm (UTC)
Very sweet and handled with great sensitivity.
Thank you-- especially since this one was yours. :)

And I love the way you let Michael try on different solutions/approaches to his special situation. Mulling over the different tacks he could take was very Michael-ish.
I thought so too-- not just very Michael, but the failed attempts that he immediately hates and wants to eradicate from existence seem very much like him too. :0

Growing up w/o a Father figure/older Brother I always found myself in a similar predicament, who to make the obligatory Father's Day card for. The joys of childhood.
Oh, so sorry to hear that. That explains the source of this bunny then-- you've been there, and boy do you remember it.

Sorry it was so late-- the opening was written before Father's Day, but once it was time to write the letter I totally stalled out (for two months) until I finally finished it on vacation. Yay!


Melissajayne_190 on August 23rd, 2006 02:54 pm (UTC)
Great job; I found that the Michael in grade 5 to be much like the adult Michael that we have come to know and love. Guess that low latent inhibition made it's presence known at an early age, not knowing how useful it would end up being.

Lincoln and Michael have such an interesting relationship and you did a good job in expressing that.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 23rd, 2006 10:36 pm (UTC)
This is the fun part about writing kid!Fic-- leaving hints of the future character to come, where they aren't that already, but you could see them evolving into that.

The amount of awkwardness Michael has here-- wanting to do the right thing, not sure how to do it but pretty sure when he's doing it wrong!-- also kind of drives the story. That's so true of kids in general, but for Michael (perfectionists start so early) it would be so much more.

Thank you for your comments. :)

I'm the girl that you just won't admit you adore.tabularassa on August 23rd, 2006 03:53 pm (UTC)
Awww, that is the sweetest thing!You write this so well.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 23rd, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! Sometimes, fluffyFic is the best. :)
mooyoo: M/L - Kidsmooyoo on August 23rd, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Very sweet. I liked Thanks for teaching me stuff, Lincoln. Makes you wonder if Michael spent his life wondering about his father and wishing to meet him, or if he just wrote him off and never had any desire to ever find him, and I tend to believe the latter, as you wrote him here - that Michael would just see him as the guy who helped make him biologically, but that's as far as his interest in him goes, and Lincoln and his mother are the ones who are really his family.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on August 23rd, 2006 10:48 pm (UTC)
I liked Thanks for teaching me stuff, Lincoln.
That part-- and the immediate overreaction to how dumb it was-- was so much fun to write.

Makes you wonder if Michael spent his life wondering about his father and wishing to meet him, or if he just wrote him off and never had any desire to ever find him
I definitely believe the latter-- it's just a question of how far back he came to that attitude. But canon definitely shows him being there now. There's another piece I wrote awhile back, "The Man Without A Name," that really covers that whole issue.

Which of course is only part of the reason I'd like to stab the whole spyDaddy subplot with a fork. :0
Augustine: Wentworthnymphadoraklutz on August 23rd, 2006 11:44 pm (UTC)
Little!Michael is adorable. I want to hug him. Cute fic. :)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: MichaelInBarshalfshellvenus on August 23rd, 2006 11:58 pm (UTC)
:) Thank you, Dora! :)
xadiexadie on August 26th, 2006 07:02 pm (UTC)
You made me cry! *stares accusingly* As a person with serious father issues, you really nailed the kid-not-knowing-what-to-do-about-problems-much-bigger-than-them tone. Poor Michael. My favourite part was Lincoln's dinner - franks and beans - and Michael trying to work out whether he's a good cook. So real and domestic. Aw Linc! Makes me wish I'd been a better big sister...
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on August 26th, 2006 07:33 pm (UTC)
You made me cry! *stares accusingly*
Sorry! *Is secretly thrilled and honored.*

As a person with serious father issues, you really nailed the kid-not-knowing-what-to-do-about-problems-much-bigger-than-them tone. Poor Michael.
Thank you so much. I had no idea, when picking up this plotbunny, that the original requester had been through much of this same thing herself. There's a universal pain to this situation, to its unfairness, that covers both absent fathers and not-quite-enough fathers. *Sigh* If more parents could be worthy of their children, the world would be a happier place.

My favourite part was Lincoln's dinner - franks and beans - and Michael trying to work out whether he's a good cook. So real and domestic.
I'm so suprised that no-one else seems to have even noticed that part. It just seems very little-kid to me, because when you're Michael's age how can you gauge the difficulty and skill of cooking? And yet an adult reads that and knows that franks-and-beans are not especially good data for determining the answer to such a question. ;)

Makes me wish I'd been a better big sister...
My older sister told me that very thing over my vacation (our parents were more 'disinterested' in their children than they should have been). And I had to really work to reassure her that she was a far better sister than she realizes. She made up for some of that, truly. And it made a huge difference. :) *sniff*
tyrical: PB_brotherstyrical on August 27th, 2006 09:41 pm (UTC)
Take out the desperation and the loss and they really is a tight bond that had it not been colored by so much sadness, hurt and pain. They would have the stuff that a only child wishes for! That person who will always be there to back you up no matter what!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on August 28th, 2006 06:09 am (UTC)
This is a lovely take on it all: That person who will always be there to back you up no matter what!

When it comes down to the end, that's what's important and they both truly have it. :)
PamalaX: mikehuglincpamalax on August 29th, 2006 10:33 pm (UTC)
Love this into tiny little love filled bits!! THANKS!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Gen PB brothershalfshellvenus on August 29th, 2006 11:00 pm (UTC)
Hee-hee! Thank you, pamala. :D
Mayhem Parvaraincitygirl on September 2nd, 2006 08:58 pm (UTC)
Oh, this is SO CUTE.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on September 2nd, 2006 10:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! It's really only my second kid!Michael fic, but I had such fun with it.

Love that "Angel-as-puppet" icon. :D Complete with the absolutely straight eyebrows (just like the actor). ;)