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20 September 2007 @ 04:58 pm
Deliverance (1/1)  
Title: Deliverance
Fandom: Prison Break
Characters: Michael Scofield, Lincoln Burrows
Word Count: 792
Rating: PG
Spoilers: 3.01, "Orientación"
Summary: Even a man who has successfully accomplished what he set out to is no stranger to the same lamentation that comes with failure.
Other: Oh, thank goodness for a new season and along with it, new fodder for stories. This wee little piece was something that I came up with when I watched the infamous 17-minute preview right after it was released to FOX on Demand but kept at bay until after seeing the season premiere. Color me angsty.
Author's Note: Prison Break and its characters have been manipulated here without the knowledge or consent of 20th Century FOX Television. I am not affiliated with the show, its production companies or cast members and no copyright infringement is intended.



"Within yourself deliverance must be searched for, because each man makes his own prison." -Sir Edwin Arnold


***


Michael has spent only shy of twenty-four hours in the Panamanian bastille that is Sona, but it feels like a year. Only a day, but one that carries the weight of itself multiplied by three hundred and then some.

In Fox River a full day had felt like meager hours. Back then time had been precious and no amount of it had been enough for Michael to rehash his extravagant mission, to lay the groundwork, to see to the details, to connect the dots. He'd been afforded weeks when in fact he would have been grateful for years. Maybe then he would have had time to realize the flaws in his plan. Maybe then he would have been driven by hope for an alternate way out rather than the fast-approaching date of an execution.

Maybe more time would have been enough for Veronica to uncover the truth and expose it. Maybe the fatal knowledge would have been enough to make her a heroine rather than a martyr. Michael would have gladly renounced the chance to be Lincoln's savior, and along with it, Lincoln's tendency to look at him as though he really does have all the answers. Michael has never been equipped to be a hero.

When he shuffles across the barren dirt yard and spies Lincoln awaiting his arrival on the other side of a chain link fence crowned in familiar curls of barbed wire ribbon, it's like he's seeing into the future. Or maybe, he thinks, into the past. To a time when Lincoln looked different than how Michael has come to expect him to look. To a time when he looked younger, fresher, untainted by the depravity all around them. To a time when they'd both been irreproachable.

Lincoln is clean-shaven, the curves of his smooth cheeks full and rosy like they'd been back in the years of their childhood and his skin is burnished from the days they've spent under the resolute sun. The downy fuzz of his hair seems to be even shorter than usual and Michael notes that his clothes are new. The henley and cargo pants are unpretentious at best, but they appear to be freshly laundered and it makes Michael silently long for the understated scent of softener and dryer-warmed cotton on his own clothes instead of the stale stench of prison.

Lincoln looks so deviant from his normal self, in fact, that it takes meeting his somber gaze through the barrier for Michael to realize that nothing has changed. A healthy dose of irony has merely been injected by a higher power with a wicked sense of humor.

Here they are, jaded, but ultimately the same men of just a few months prior.

But they have traded well-worn shoes, and Michael had never anticipated the literal opposite side of the fence to be so excruciating. After spending time behind one set of bars, he had never assumed that the next could be so different. Had never thought that the change could be so painful or that getting exactly what he's wanted all along could be so bittersweet.

Seeing Lincoln standing there, perched on the brink of a new life and all of the rightful freedom he's always deserved - all of the freedom that Michael has always wished for him - is unnervingly abrasive and Michael immediately loathes himself for his envy.

I didn't ask you to do what you did, Lincoln had told him once not so long ago, and Michael knows that he had been right. He had chosen to save his brother's life in a drastic way, but it had been the only way that he knew how. How dare he begrudge Lincoln his deliverance from the darkest hour of his life? Especially when Michael had known all along that things may end this way. That perhaps legitimate redemption may never be in the cards for the both of them.

Feeling guilt throttling him with aching pangs between his eyes, Michael shoves his hands deeper into the recesses of his pockets, trying to hide all of the blood that lingers on them, regardless of the fact that its physical evidence has long since been washed away.

Maybe this is where he belongs, he thinks, as he comes to a halt in front of the big brother that he would still, despite his suppressed resentment, do anything for. Knowing what he knows now, Michael realizes that he would do it all over again.

"So," Lincoln says, the desultory word more of an unsteady breath, a plea for Michael to tell him that he has a plan.

"So," Michael replies, the echo expendable at best, an entreaty for Lincoln to understand that no amount of planning could have prepared him for this.
 
 
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