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06 November 2005 @ 12:19 am
Prison Break Fanfiction: Final Hours  
Author: HalfshellVenus
Characters: Lincoln and Michael (Gen, Deep angst, AU from mid-S1)
Rating: PG-13
Spoilers: none
Summary: Season1 AU: this is the other possible outcome of Michael’s plan. The story contains a great deal of anguish and affection, but it is not slash. Bring Kleenex.
Disclaimers: I don’t own “Prison Break” or any of its characters. But sometimes I help give them a voice.
Author's Notes: For my prisonbreak100 claim of the Gen pairing of Michael and Lincoln, this is #71, "Broken."

x-x-x-x-x

Flanked by guards, Michael entered the dark section of Fox River that housed Death Row.

The tomblike quiet unnerved him. He knew there were a fair number of the condemned on the Row. The near silence was that of the dead, or of those who had stopped trying to live. That he understood it only made it even more unsettling.

“Here,” Patterson said. They stopped in front of a rusted iron door, and Michael waited through the routine.

“Step back!” Patterson called, then checked the cell. Michael was unchained, and let in through the door. Lincoln waited against the far wall, looking bleak and so much smaller than he should have.

“Two hours,” the second guard instructed, and secured the door behind Michael.

Michael walked over to Lincoln rapidly, embracing him hard and fighting down the surge of guilt and fear rising in him.

He had not saved Lincoln after all. Too much had gone wrong at all the wrong times, and they were still here. It was too late.

A sob burst out of Lincoln as he buried his head in Michael’s neck. These were the sounds of a broken man, and Michael had never heard them from Lincoln before—not in all these years, with all that they had been through. He could not stand it, and felt the depths of his own pain spilling over, joining the two of them in shared sorrow.

He tried to hold it back, to rein it in, because this was not supposed to be about him. He did not want Lincoln trying to take care of him right now, with what awaited him in the morning. He could not, even accidentally, allow himself to become that selfish.

He took a deep breath, and stepped up to the task. Biting his lip, holding his breath, he rocked Lincoln like a lost child, lending what comfort he could.

Gradually, Lincoln quieted, and his breathing eased. He swiped his wrist over his face, as Michael rubbed his back gently and surreptitiously mopped away his own tears.

Finally, Lincoln was able to pull back and look at him, smiling weakly.

“Does that mean you aren’t glad to see me?” Michael asked quietly. Lincoln surprised himself with a laugh, and just shook his head. He guided Michael over to the cot, and they sat for a few moments, huddled together and not knowing where to begin.

“I’ve written some letters,” Lincoln finally said. “For you and LJ. And Veronica. Pope too.”

“Do you want me to read mine now?” Michael asked.

“No. You should wait until after.”

“Can I take it with me when I leave?” he asked. Lincoln looked at him strangely, but just said, “All right. But they’ll deliver it to you anyway.”

“That’s okay. Better to be sure.” He reached out for it, and placed it carefully in his pocket. He looked down at Lincoln’s hand then, picking it up and holding it against his own.

“Lincoln,” he whispered hoarsely. They both knew what he was going to say, but it had to be said all the same. “I’m so sorry. I tried so hard, and I honestly thought we could pull it off.” His face twisted, and he swallowed over the lump in his throat. “I’m sorry I let you down.” He forced himself to meet Lincoln’s eyes, blurring through his own tears, because Lincoln just had to know how much he meant it.

Lincoln reached up to his face, brushing away the tears that were already falling. “I know,” he said. “I don’t blame you at all—I’m so grateful for all that you’ve done, all that you’ve put yourself through. We knew it would be hard, and that our chances weren’t good.” His voice shook. “But it matters so much to me that you tried. I never deserved to have a brother like you, and don’t think I don’t appreciate it.”

The words tore into Michael’s heart, and he broke. “That isn’t true-- you are a wonderful brother! I never expected you to be perfect. Never. But I know how much you sacrificed for me, how much of your own dreams you put aside. How can you not know that ordinary people don’t do that? They get selfish, they walk away. They don’t bury their own childhood so their brother can have one!” The sobs threatened to choke Michael, and he let Lincoln pull him close and cradle his head against his shoulder.

A surprising calm spread through Lincoln as he took all this in. Michael understood. Better than he had himself. He felt an inner peace that had not been with him in years.

He kissed Michael’s face, and wiped the tears with the bed sheet. Suddenly, he did not feel quite as cheated. In the face of despair, he had been given an unexpected gift.

Finally Michael could look at him again, and Lincoln stroked his face and gazed at him, as if memorizing every last nuance of Michael inside and out. He leaned closer, and kissed Michael gently on the mouth.

Michael didn’t pull away, but just looked at him in all seriousness. “Why?” he asked.

“Because this is the deepest love I can give you,” Lincoln said. “And I’m running out of time.” He could barely get the last part out.

Michael nodded to himself, and kissed him in return. He moved his hands up to Lincoln’s face then, kissing the cheeks already wet with tears, kissing the eyelids that were squeezed shut and trembling. He kissed Lincoln’s forehead, the way he never had as a child, because kissing foreheads was what bigger people—parents, aunts, uncles—did. He had wondered why until now, because it never felt particularly special from the other end. But now, now he felt its appeal. It was a bestowment of love that demanded nothing in return. It had a sweetness all its own. Finally, he kissed Lincoln’s head. It was stubbled and rough, but it was Lincoln and it deserved to be cherished.

Then Lincoln kissed Michael, visiting all the same places but lingering last on the forehead— low and in the middle, up high, and next to each eyebrow. Each touch drew out memories of their past, of all they had been to each other, back when Michael had almost been Lincoln’s own child. All of their struggles and triumphs, all they had been through, was being remembered and acknowledged and laid to rest.

He held Michael finally, heads resting together and lost in thought. It had all been worth it, all the choices he had made on Michael’s behalf. There were other choices he regretted, but not these. Michael had been his greatest achievement.

It seemed they had run out of tears for the time being, and they sat up and leaned together against the wall.

“Lincoln,” Michael said after awhile. “I have to ask you something. Is there anything you want right now?”

“You mean, besides a miracle?” Lincoln said, and then immediately wished he hadn’t. But Michael had seemed to expect that. He didn’t look devastated, the way Lincoln had feared.

“Yes,” Michael said with a slight smile, “Besides that.”

“Well.” Lincoln debated whether to say it, but they were being honest with each other and this was the last chance he would ever have to say everything, good or bad. “I… could really use a straight razor.” He looked up cautiously to see what effect that had had.

Michael’s mouth tightened briefly, but he just nodded slowly. ‘I thought you might,” he said. “I have something like that with me. It’s the closest I could get.”

“Seriously?” Lincoln asked. He was incredulous. He’d been trying to protect Michael’s feelings, and had forgotten about his practical side. The side that would do anything for Lincoln. Even this.

“Yes,” Michael said quietly. “It’s inside my boot. But can you promise me… you’ll wait to use it until after I’ve left?”

“I promise,” Lincoln whispered. He put his arm around Michael and squeezed. “You’re the best,” he said. “I mean it.”

They sat for a moment. “So, you’re okay with that?” Lincoln asked.

“Yes," Michael answered. "It’s what I would want for myself. I can’t stand the thought of you lying awake all night waiting. I don’t want you to go through that. They cheated you out of justice… you can cheat them out of their circus.”

It sounded better in those terms. Better than disappointing Michael. Better than cowardice.

It was a choice. The last one he could make.

The heavy sound of boots approached, and they looked at each other, startled. Was their time up already?

Michael quickly unzipped his boot, removing his piece of narrow, sharp-edged plastic. Lincoln shoved it down the back of his pants, and leaned over to hug Michael fiercely.

“I love you,” he whispered. “Take care of yourself.”

“I love you too,” Michael choked out. “I always will.”

Holding each other close, they savored the quiet completion of their foreheads touching and hands stroking each others’ faces. They traded one last gentle kiss, but no words were spoken. Neither could bring himself to say goodbye.

“Step back!” came the order. Lincoln pulled away reluctantly, and moved to the rear wall.

His eyes never left Michael’s face, as his brother was chained up again and guided out of the cell.

Michael looked at him one last time, the light from the wall already forming a dim halo around Lincoln’s form.

The door closed, and he was led down the hallway again.

“I’ll see you soon,” he whispered.

-------------------------------------
 
 
 
Socks Sockstein: Michael Crying by e1us1v3_0n3girlfrom10thave on November 6th, 2005 09:50 am (UTC)
Well... that was...
*sniffles and chokes*
Excuse me. I have to go get myself a box of tissues.
*runs off crying*
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 6th, 2005 06:33 pm (UTC)
Wow-- the perfect icon to go with this story.

I needed the Kleenex while I was writing it.
(no subject) - girlfrom10thave on November 7th, 2005 09:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on November 6th, 2005 03:00 pm (UTC)
Wow...I love it! I'm only thankful that none of my co-workers noticed that I was tearing up...probly shouldn't have read it at work, huh? Can't say you didn't warn me. :)
Kimberleylampshade_days on November 6th, 2005 07:18 pm (UTC)
*sniffles* Absolutely heartbreaking. I especially like the imagery toward the end there, with the light around Lincoln and such.
*more sniffling* Brilliant.
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on November 6th, 2005 07:25 pm (UTC)
Oh, very, very dark. Love the concept though. I have to say though, Michael giving Linc the blade is not what makes it dark for me. Because I mostly consider that a realistic reaction.

What really makes it dark is the last sentence.

I have to admit, while I do picture Michael as being quite broken (just thinking of the episode where Michael thinks that he's being transfered), I kind of picture him as being more defiant. Like Linc asking Michael to take care of LJ and Michael promising to break out and clear Linc's name.

But hey, it's supposed to be darkfic, right?

Is it weird that I'm picturing a weird epilogue in my mind with a reporter investigating the deaths at the prison afte the fact? No idea where that is coming from.

[again, insert the big thelana disclaimer: thelana is just rambling. Do not take anything she says seriously. Her views on characters are generally all weird.]

Might I add, a tiny, tiny critique? I could have done without the "halo" bit (I'm guessing mostly because the idea of Saint!Lincoln makes me chuckle). But I do like the image of the disappearing light as they close the door. And I can see why it might work for most other people with the vibe of the fic. So it's probably just my odd man out opinion. Or my Catholic upbringing ;D
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 7th, 2005 02:07 am (UTC)
Hmm. As a non-Catholic, I don't even connote halos with saints. Mostly with angels.

This was more subconscious imagery when I wrote it, but if I had to explain it I'd say that it has a dual meaning. It is both a forward glimpse of Lincoln's imminent death, and also a summation of how Michael sees and has always seen him: larger than life, the center of every room.

There is both beauty and pain in that image, so fitting for the end of Lincoln's story.
(no subject) - thelana on November 7th, 2005 06:17 am (UTC) (Expand)
she said mysteriouslyresounding_echo on November 11th, 2005 04:57 am (UTC)
I don't really know have to respond to this. To say I liked it seems cheap. You managed to capture angst without making it seem contrived, overdone, or sob-storyish. And for that, you have me impressed.

How can you not know that ordinary people don’t do that? They get selfish, they walk away. They don’t bury their own childhood so their brother can have one!

I liked this explanation. I like how Linc didn't understand that he agreed until Michael shared it with him.

Because this is the deepest love I can give you

This is just perfect. Perfect. To me, this scene wasn't slashy and I wouldn't have liked it as much if it were. I think that's the appeal of brothercest; their relationship is just layered-there's different kinds of love involved. This was the ultimate expression of love and had it been sexual, it would have been ruined.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 11th, 2005 06:11 am (UTC)
Thank you so much for the kind words.

I have a lot emotionally invested in this story, considering the toll it took while I wrote it (not kidding about the Kleenex).

It seemed very real as I wrote it, although there are so few comments that I just don't know what other people are thinking.

To me, this was all about what would be said and shared if this was truly the last time the brothers had together. All the regrets and forgiveness, the understanding that neither had been taken for granted, that their sacrifices for each other were recognized.

All the parts of growing up together that would never be again, so soon to be lost, for such a tragic reason.

Lincoln's saying, "Because this is the deepest love I can give you" is granting freedom for all their love to be exchanged without worry, to leave nothing unsaid or unfelt. In his position, would you want to be constrained when you know what you are both about to lose?

And ultimately, he can tell Michael what he wants (the suicide option), even though it is agonizing. What a terrible conversation to ever have to have. And Michael can admit that he knows and came prepared. They can admit Lincoln's unavoidable death, and take control of it as best they can.

I'm getting weepy just writing this now. Whew.

I had hoped it would bring out similar emotions in readers as well. Not melodrama-- but understanding and anguish, for this sad and unavoidable conclusion.
(no subject) - resounding_echo on November 11th, 2005 07:13 am (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on November 11th, 2005 07:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
Are we back to hos over bros?lissa_bear on November 14th, 2005 10:40 pm (UTC)
I know I've already commented on this fic, but I keep coming back to it. It is, hands down, my favorite so far. It's dark and beautiful and you have a wonderful feel for the characters. No matter how many times I read it, I still get emotional when Michael offers Lincoln a way out. When he mentions not being able to stand the thought of Lincoln sitting up all night waiting for the inevitable, my heart breaks.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 15th, 2005 01:20 am (UTC)
Thanks so much!

The more comments the better. Your words made my heart sing :-)

I am closest to this fic, because of the level and progression of emotion. It took a lot out of me to write it, but in a good way.

No matter how many times I read it, I still get emotional when Michael offers Lincoln a way out. When he mentions not being able to stand the thought of Lincoln sitting up all night waiting for the inevitable, my heart breaks.

Yes-- for Michael to have to make this terrible and loving choice really IS heartbreaking. It admits to both himself and Lincoln that his hope is gone. And that he's been thinking about what this will be like for Lincoln, and much as it hurts him to speed Lincoln along... he has to do it. He just can't leave Lincoln to wait it out.
xo_dior_couture on November 16th, 2005 01:07 am (UTC)
aww! *sniffles* this is the best one i've read so far..i love this fanfic.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 16th, 2005 04:01 am (UTC)
Thank you so much. It is so nice to hear-- including the sniffles, which means it worked as it should have.
Unsupervised children will be used as bait.dhvana on November 20th, 2005 05:04 am (UTC)
Oh my. Where to begin. Well, I guess I can start with my favorite lines.

I just love this, showing the reversal of roles for the brothers, because we do see them keeping an eye out for each other in the show, but in this vital moment, Michael would want to be the one taking care of Lincoln.
He tried to hold it back, to rein it in, because this was not supposed to be about him. He did not want Lincoln trying to take care of him right now, with what awaited him in the morning.


This just sounds like something Michael would say, anything to bring a smile to his brother's face:
“Does that mean you aren’t glad to see me?” Michael asked quietly. Lincoln surprised himself with a laugh, and just shook his head.


My absolute favorite line--it just says it all:
“Because this is the deepest love I can give you,” Lincoln said.


My second favorite:
Michael had been his greatest achievement.


This is just perfect:
He’d been trying to protect Michael’s feelings, and had forgotten about his practical side. The side that would do anything for Lincoln. Even this.
Of course Michael would do something like this, anything to help ease his brother's pain and make up for failing him. Not to mention, saving him from the indignity of the electric chair.

Beautiful story! Thank you so much for pointing me to it!
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on November 20th, 2005 11:04 pm (UTC)
Thank you for the lovely comments-- I'm so glad you enjoyed this story.

I really wanted to show not just their deep bond (even when they don't fully understand each other), but also how Michael would rise to the occasion in a situation like this.

Even to the point of making it as easy as possible for Lincoln to take the early way out... and protecting him from the knowledge that Michael is more devastated than he wants Lincoln to know.
deathstroke: anakin face me cryingdeathstroke on December 21st, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC)
*cries* now i have to make excuses to my friends for why i'm all puffy and red! but that was wonderful, in a heartbreaking way.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on December 21st, 2005 11:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much!

It really should be heartbreaking, especially when it's so tragic and unfair.

I have thought about writing the kind of fic where we actually make it to the execution, but I'm not sure I want to suffer through that. And I know Michael would be there, but also that it would kill him emotionally. For me to write that would be approaching painPorn, so no plans for it so far.

Glad you liked it-- enjoyed is probably the wrong word to use!
(no subject) - deathstroke on December 22nd, 2005 02:41 am (UTC) (Expand)
random_dork7189 on January 4th, 2006 01:39 am (UTC)
Words can not describe how much I loved this story. It's so beautiful, and heart breaking and just...perfect. I saw it so clearly in my mind, and it almost seemed real, I guess I could say? *sniffle* I think I've begun rambling.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphorshalfshellvenus on January 4th, 2006 03:34 am (UTC)
Thank you so very much.

It was all playing out in my mind as I wrote it, and I could hardly get it down fast enough. "seeming real" is my favorite type of compliment for what I write. That means I've done the job well.

*passes Kleenex*
faithinfaithfaithinfaith on February 11th, 2006 10:52 pm (UTC)
You know what? I just cried myself through another of your fics over at prisonbeakfic.com and I'm starting to think I should stop reading fics from you, because here I am again, crying so hard I can hardly see the screen.

I think what gets to me is that your stories feel so real. I can see it all playing out. I can hear the characters voices and I'm thinking "OMG it could happen on the show"

You're VERY; VERY talented and I'm honored to be able to share your work, although it's probably gonna be the death of me. ;)
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Linc/Michael by xenasoulhalfshellvenus on February 12th, 2006 12:17 am (UTC)
and I'm starting to think I should stop reading fics from you, because here I am again, crying so hard I can hardly see the screen.

This is actually the most painful one, by far, of any I've written. As it should be, because of awful hopelessness of the situation and the end that is to come :-(

I think what gets to me is that your stories feel so real. I can see it all playing out. I can hear the characters voices and I'm thinking "OMG it could happen on the show"

That is such wonderful feedback! Every writer strives to make the story every bit as real as the show itself, which is hard when you have to evoke the visual part in the reader. If it's succeeding, that makes me very happy indeed!

You're VERY; VERY talented and I'm honored to be able to share your work, although it's probably gonna be the death of me. ;)

Thank you so very much :) Although I think you can breathe easier through most of my other Prisonbreak fics. Maybe not, though :) As long as you're moved, then I'm doing a good job!
dawnstarrising: Linc and Michdawnstarrising on February 15th, 2006 11:07 pm (UTC)
You've Done It To Me Again!
*sniff*

The lines that absolutely killed me were these ones....

“I’ll see you soon,” he whispered.

and

Finally, he kissed Lincoln’s head. It was stubbled and rough, but it was Lincoln and it deserved to be cherished.

*bigbighug*

I'm going to be a wreck if you keep writing like that.

D

The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Linc/Michael by xenasoulhalfshellvenus on February 15th, 2006 11:59 pm (UTC)
Re: You've Done It To Me Again!
Oh, this one is the most angst-ridden thing I've ever written. Such a sad, sad possibility but I had to write it.

Finally, he kissed Lincoln’s head. It was stubbled and rough, but it was Lincoln and it deserved to be cherished.
This one was because the people we love are never perfect, but we love them all the same. Kind of an indirect telling of that idea.

“I’ll see you soon,” he whispered.
That one is so painful and dark... but so realistic to me. When you've "failed" (in your own mind), and finally lost everything with no hope of ever getting it back... Not everyone wants to stick around for the excruciating aftermath that goes on and on forever. Losing a loved one is hard enough. Losing someone that forms such a part of your own identity is so much harder than that.

I'm glad you got around to reading this one, painful though it is!
BEWARE OF JENMAR.: PB - Pain - Lincclex_monkie89 on March 6th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
So. Much. Sad.

I feel the need to mention how much I love the razor. The electric chair is a horrible way to die and you can't really have any dignity while going through that. It strikes me as right that Linc would go on his own terms. There's a quote out there somewhere that says "Suicide is a man's way of saying 'you can't fire me, I quit'" and that strikes me as very Linc for some reason.

I'm thinking the reason I missed this the first time is because I wasn't participating (Or knowledgable of) this fandom when you first put this out.

I really do love your writing a lot, it takes me a while to get around to it (Because there's just so fricken' much!) but I'm always happy when I do. Even when it makes me sniffle.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: Linc/Michael by xenasoulhalfshellvenus on March 6th, 2006 11:54 pm (UTC)
So. Much. Sad.
It really is, but yet... they get to say goodbye and everything else they need to.

There's a quote out there somewhere that says "Suicide is a man's way of saying 'you can't fire me, I quit'" and that strikes me as very Linc for some reason.
How could you not want to do it your own way-- especially when it shouldn't be happening at all? I love that Michael makes that possible for Lincoln.

but I'm always happy when I do. Even when it makes me sniffle.
This one is, I think, still lissa_bear's favorite, and it's what pulled her into this fandom. And that makes me very, very happy.

So glad you liked this one, although "enjoyed" is probably the wrong word. If this were to happen to Lincoln, I think this is how it should go.
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 on March 7th, 2006 12:07 am (UTC) (Expand)
The Good, The Bad and The Lanathelana on June 27th, 2006 02:51 pm (UTC)
(no subject) - halfshellvenus on July 14th, 2006 11:14 pm (UTC) (Expand)
tyrical: PB_brotherstyrical on December 21st, 2006 03:55 pm (UTC)
'Here at the end of all things I'm glad I'm with you.'

I didn't think that line would ever be more appropriate anywhere else but it is. Absolutely lovely it reminded me of S1. The intensity of it all where every minute was important and all the words that wanted to be said couldn't be.

Very very emotional.
The Coalition For Disturbing Metaphors: PB Final Hughalfshellvenus on January 11th, 2007 07:12 am (UTC)
Absolutely lovely it reminded me of S1. The intensity of it all where every minute was important and all the words that wanted to be said couldn't be.
Oh, I have to admit-- this is one of the things that I miss about S1. All the emotion and angst and fear, but it was tied up in family and loyalty, and now it's all run-run-run-run-run.

When I wrote this, so long ago, I never thought canon would get anywhere close to this situation-- I thought for sure Michael would prevent things from going that far. How very wrong I was, and what an oddly muted contrast the canon version of these moments has with this story.