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17 September 2006 @ 11:08 pm
Prison Break Fanfiction: Always, Chapter 7  
Title: Always
Author: HalfshellVenus
Pairing: Lincoln/Michael (Slash, W.I.P.)
Rating: PG-13 (this chapter)
Summary: Recovering the lost pieces of the tattoo.
Spoilers: Ep #17, “J-Cat” and #18, “Bluff”


x-x-x-x-x Chapter 7: Radio Silence x-x-x-x-x

Michael was doing something—something bad from the sound of it. He wouldn’t answer, hadn’t talked since the previous night, and now Lincoln could hear muffled pounding and displaced grunts.

“Michael!” he shouted again, but it made no difference.

Michael was off somewhere inside his own head and getting his attention was like trying to break up a dogfight through a closed door.

Lincoln’s shoulders dropped down, and his hands clenched together as they hung uselessly across the back of his neck.

………

His brother’s voice was calling, but Michael was not about to give in. He knew his silence worried Lincoln, knew his own part in the history behind that worry. But this was important. It was the only avenue he had left.

Michael continued slamming his fist into the wall, harder, harder. So painful, so red-blind raw and screaming-skin nauseating until he could hardly feel it, his knuckles nearly numb from the beginnings of shock. Finally, the wet stickiness trickling through his fingers caught his attention, and he stopped. The back of his hand was a mess— all pulped and bleeding. He hoped he hadn’t broken anything, wished he’d let up a little bit sooner.

But his hand was only half of it, and would not buy him the right options on its own. He had to tie it into the bigger picture, and not lose this narrow control of their destiny.

Gathering his concentration, he drew back into a corner of his mind and prepared to stay there. Hiding behind the mask of his frozen face, he made himself ready to be found and taken to the Psych Ward. In there, his only hope for answers was waiting.

………

Now there was no sound whatsoever coming through the wall. That was so much worse than before, and Lincoln’s mind dashed from one possibility to another, none of them good. Michael couldn’t be asleep, that wasn’t it. Unconscious from whatever he was doing earlier? Or awake but non-responsive?

That last part was the one Lincoln was afraid of. Because this was not the time for Michael to bail out on him. There wasn’t much time for anything anymore. If Michael was off in his own head, he might not come back before they took Lincoln away again. And if that happened, if Lincoln got executed then, who would bring Michael out of it? Who would even care whether Michael did come back?

There was a clanging sound outside, and Lincoln jumped up immediately. “My brother! He needs help! He’s in the cell next to me—he needs help!”

Shuffling sounds and muffled yells went on next door, outside Lincoln’s cell, but he couldn’t see what was going on, couldn’t see who was there. He heard a woman’s voice—the Doctor, he thought—but he didn’t hear Michael’s. A procession moved outward from next door, and all he could do was wonder.

What had happened to Michael? Why didn’t he say something? How bad was it this time?

Lincoln paced around the cell, pent-up energy and emotion coursing through him.

What if that was it, earlier? What if that was his last chance to say goodbye to his brother, and he missed it?

Lincoln had never been very good at “I love you.” He felt it, but it was too awkward to force it out. It was like humiliation, or like a trap when he said it, and he was always waiting for it to fall flat, for the other person to stumble through some kind of faked-up response. He didn’t really say it anymore except for when other people said it first.

But he should have told Michael. Just in case, and because, and … what if he never got the chance again?

Lincoln slumped to the floor, suddenly defeated.

His son and Michael were both in trouble, both in places now where he couldn’t reach them, couldn’t help them.

He was so fucking powerless here, and there was no-one to look after the people he loved.

This was never how it was supposed to be. And yet one way or another, he’d spent half his life in exactly this same pathetic, useless state.

…………

What have I become? Michael wondered.

He used to know the answer to that. He was smart—even gifted. He was Lincoln’s brother. He was an orphan who knew the importance of family. He was kind, he was sympathetic… some said he cared too much.

Where did that last part of him go?

He cared about Lincoln—to the exclusion of absolutely everything else. Now he’d begun to compartmentalize, to divide up the things he would approach with fairness and the things he would attack by any means necessary.

Today, he’d bullied a psych patient to get back those missing parts of his tattoo. He’d assaulted Haywire, and he could rationalize it and say that he hadn’t actually hurt the man, not really. But there was no denying the fact that he’d violated him. Grabbing ahold of someone and shoving your fingers down their throat isn’t a minor or forgettable thing.

He had done that—had dredged up Haywire’s pills and forced him on the path toward conscious awareness, whether that was the right thing for Haywire or not. The few days he’d shared Michael’s cell, Haywire had been only slightly strange at the beginning. But he’d stopped taking his pills and his obsession with the tattoo had grown, until one night he’d ripped Michael’s shirt open while Michael slept. That meant Haywire would only get worse, the longer he was off his meds. But Michael would not let that distract him from what he had to do. If he was lucky, in the end he’d get the information he needed. And either way, Haywire would be sent back into zombiedom as soon as he had an outburst and the doctors realized he’d gone off the edge.

Michael’s head hurt and his stomach was queasy. His body was at war with itself over these choices, these immoral compromises.

But his mind was still ticking off the sequence of steps that remained. He needed to see Haywire again and get that map, then maneuver being released from the Psych Ward and returned to Gen Pop. But after that… the picture was fuzzy.

Michael squeezed his eyes shut and tried to will that future to become clear, but still it wavered at the edges of understanding.

How could he make the rest of the pieces fall into place? Would the answers come before it was too late?


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


(to be continued)



 
 
 
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on September 18th, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
You're lucky to have found this recently, so that the wait doesn't seem so long. The rest of my f-list may have forgotten I was even writing it! Argg. I'm going to try seriously to steadily finish this series off.

And thank you. :)
(Deleted comment)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on September 18th, 2006 11:41 pm (UTC)
To even see if Michael is alive or see how much damage has been self inflicted. I shudder just thinking about him penned and powerless.
Oh, me too. He can tell from the noises-- followed by silence-- that something really bad is going on through that wall. But he can't see how bad, and Michael didn't even warn him about what he was going to do (the only reason I can imagine for that is that Lincoln would have tried to talk/guilt him out of it).

Angsting over having had to abuse Haywire and the prospect of continuing that abuse, hurting himself to further the plan and his constant worry that time is running out. Geesh. Angst much?
That episode was so striking because of Michael's shifting over into what can only be called bullying. We'd never seen that side of him beforehand, and it was shocking and a little ugly. I have to think that must have been very disturbing to him as well, but... it's a measure of how truly desperate he now is.

Glad the chapter is worthy! Everything after the end of The Riot has been really hard to work with. :( Hope to keep plugging away. ;)
dragon9maiden on September 18th, 2006 11:05 pm (UTC)
Moral Dilemma
Once again, love the fic. It's an excellent companion piece for viewing the episode.

You accurately pinpointed Michael's moral ambiguity: "Now he’d begun to compartmentalize, to divide up the things he would approach with fairness and the things he would attack by any means necessary."

I also think that Michael was probably struggling with his "reckless' actions from the get go. When he was pinning all the newspaper cut-outs, formulas, and diagrams onto the wall, he was keenly aware that such a large undertaking required a team of cons--many of them might be purely evil.

When he finally broke the "fish tank", he must have realized that he set the goldfish free along with the sharks and the piranhas. We haven't seen much of this guilt in the show yet, but I suspect we will.

Love the "Always" series. Please carry on....
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on September 19th, 2006 05:37 am (UTC)
Re: Moral Dilemma
he was keenly aware that such a large undertaking required a team of cons--many of them might be purely evil.
Yes, and I think he was kidding himself even back then. He probably imagined that he'd find cons who weren't that bad (except for Abruzzi), but then reality took a different turn. T-Bag added himself onto the escape-- the most lethal of all of them. Tweener and C-Note wormed their way in too, but neither of them is terribly dangerous (except that Tweener is dangerously obnoxious).

When he finally broke the "fish tank", he must have realized that he set the goldfish free along with the sharks and the piranhas. We haven't seen much of this guilt in the show yet, but I suspect we will.
And I would so love to be seeing this right now in the show. Consequences have already resulted, with many more bad ones to come. Michael should take a little time to feel remorse over the snowball effect of his choices, where he worked so hard to stay on the side of righteousness but instead set things in motion that are darker than sin.

Love the "Always" series. Please carry on....
Thanks for reading it-- and not abandoning me even though this series has gone so long without updates. :)
Your Sweet Six Hundred, Threescore And Sixmusicophilia on September 19th, 2006 12:54 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for writing more of this! It was one of the first PB fics I ever read, and I was so excited when I saw it on my friends page :D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on September 19th, 2006 05:40 am (UTC)
It was one of the first PB fics I ever read, and I was so excited when I saw it on my friends page :D
Thank you so much for saying so!

I truly never intended to have such long gaps between posting (I didn't have this trouble at all with the first series), but canon threw up such a challenge in terms of writing the story in parallel. I'm trying to seriously knuckle down and finish the series, even as the episodes' plots are flying in all directions at once and there's so little coherence (or alone time for the boys) to work with. :0
aeroport_artaeroport_art on September 24th, 2006 04:58 am (UTC)
Hummm maybe I'm just not looking hard enough but I can't find the previous chapters to this fic :x I just got back from Taiwan and this is the first thing I do, lol. Such an addict =_=

Btw I friended you, now I won't miss any of your fics :3
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on October 2nd, 2006 06:18 am (UTC)
Hummm maybe I'm just not looking hard enough but I can't find the previous chapters to this fic :x I just got back from Taiwan and this is the first thing I do, lol. Such an addict =_=
Hee! I'll love you for it. ;)

Everything's linked off my LJ Homepage (under the slash section), but I'll provide the first chapter link here. Then there's a "next chapter" at the bottom of each installment that flows to the next.

Welcome to the f-list, and I hope you like what you find. :D I'll be finishing this story up, but first I have to re-watch those last episodes for the explosion of cross-action plotting that went nuts at the end of the season. :0
randomiciclegabo0 on June 19th, 2007 05:57 am (UTC)
This is WAY too much
The story is beautiful
I love the way you write
I'm even cutting on my sleeping hours to read.. hope tomorrow I get up for class.
Please, please, post more soon!
GaB
crowleyangel on October 13th, 2007 08:20 am (UTC)
Okay this story is brilliant, please please please update soon!!!!
hybridxlovehybridxlove on November 10th, 2013 09:27 am (UTC)
Wow, amazing story. Sad to see it unfinished.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on December 10th, 2013 11:53 pm (UTC)
It is. It lost its audience long ago, and canon got so complicated to follow in parallel, but I keep thinking that someday I'd like to take it to at least the end of S1. That would mean rewatching many of the late episodes, but the DVD set is on my Xmas list. :)
Trini: [Others] WORSHIP MINDtrinipedia on November 17th, 2014 05:33 pm (UTC)
Just found this.
Actually, just found Prison Break.
I'm craving good Lincoln Michael fics, and I've already read everything on AO3...then suddenly this appeared.
I was shocked and in awe at you and your talent all over again.
And even if you never finish it, I'm so glad I got to read it.

PS: if you have more, or if you can suggest other good fics, please let me know!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB slashhalfshellvenus on November 17th, 2014 08:08 pm (UTC)
Hi, there!

I have not uploaded much of any of my PB fics to AO3 (neither have most authors, it seems!), partly because it's soooo slow, and we already did it for prisonbreakfic.net (which I think is now defunct).

If you look at the top two entries under my links, you'll see my LJ pages for the Gen and Slash Prison Break stories (the Slash is almost entirely Michael/Lincoln). Other good authors include clair_de_lune and aeroport_art, just off the top of my head.

So glad you enjoyed this, and hope you find other stories you like. There are tons of them!