Characters: Michael Scofield, Lincoln Burrows, OC (mentions of Lisa, LJ and Abruzzi)
Pairing: None (Michael/Linc if you’re looking for it)
Category: Gen. Pre-season and Post-escape
Rating: R for language
Summary: You glance over at Michael, annoyingly tapping the top of his right index finger on the very ridge of the steering wheel, and wish that you could tell him that you’d lied to him all that time ago. You may be innocent of murder, but some guilt stays with you forever.
Notes: I wrote Lincoln fic. Oh god. Please note that this is only posted because tuesdaeschild didn’t *make* me, but strongly suggested I posted it, pemphredouk nagged me, and pamalax forced me. It’s changed since you read it, Marilyn. I toned it down. *blushes*
Prompt: 37 - Sound, table is here
Spoilers: 2x05 – Map 1213 and prior episodes.
1. adj. Being one of four equal or equivalent parts.
2. adj. Being one fourth of a standard or unusual value
3. n. A coin equal to one fourth of the dollar of the United States and Canada.
4. n. A place of residence, especially the buildings or barracks used to house military personnel or their dependents.
It’s so quiet.
When it is – when anything is – this quiet, you can hear everything that you’ve missed before. It’s like your ears try to make up for the absence of sound by filling your head with other sounds, tiny sounds that you’ve never heard before… or haven’t heard in a long time.
The soft purr of the car’s motor, the minute vibrations that shake the vehicle as it moves closer to an unknown destination. God it’s been so long since you were on a road trip like this.
Standing at the pay phone, your fingers tap the metal gently as you impatiently wait for the other end to pick up. You gaze around at the desolate surroundings, one tiny 7/11 the only sign of civilization around for miles. Leaning against the car are Joey and Mark, waiting for you to hurry up and ring so you can all get back onto the road and get to… wherever you’re going.
Away, anyway. Away from Illinois and Chicago. Away from Lisa and…
…Finally the phone picks up, a hesitant, indifferent voice speaking into the receiver.
“Michael? It’s Linc.”
Suddenly your brother’s voice fills with warmth, and you can just picture him smiling as he does that really annoying thing with the phone cord and his finger that has already lead to two snapping. “How are you?”
“Fine, fine,” you answer dismissively, waving a hand as if it will accentuate your words further, despite your little brother being thousands of miles away. “How are you?”
“Oh you know… fine.”
“You sound it,” you mutter in response to the half-hearted reply.
“It’s just…” he hesitates, dropping his voice lower. You can imagine that little tinge of pink that plays about his cheeks when he’s embarrassed beginning to flourish, the little nervous habit Michael has of chewing his bottom lip when he’s uncomfortable beginning to activate. “I miss you… And-”
You cut him off, giving a quick glance over at the guys, moving a few inches away as if it’ll help stop them hearing you. “I miss you too Michael. But hey, when I get back, you and I… Well I’ll just have to come and see your new room at college.”
As cliché as it sounds, you can almost hear the smile on Michael’s face down the phoneline. “I guess you’ll have to,” he says playfully, his voice still a whisper.
“Hey, I have to go,” you murmur suddenly. “My credit’s running out. But I’ll call you tomorrow okay? Wherever I am.”
“Oh right.” He sounds so miserable that your heart almost breaks.
“I’m sorry, but I seriously have to go… we’re going to drop out any minute. I love you.”
“Love you too,” he says softly, and the line goes dead. You hang up, and watch as more than half the quarters you slotted in there fall into the refund tray with a loud metallic noise.
It’s easier to lie sometimes.
You glance over at Michael, annoyingly tapping the top of his right index finger on the very ridge of the steering wheel, and wish that you could tell him that you’d lied to him all that time ago. You may be innocent of murder, but some guilt stays with you forever.
His eyes flicker on the horizon, from the black tarmac directly in front of you to the bare open road ahead and up to the rear view mirror. He keeps doing this, only slightly moving with each motion, almost unnoticeable. You wonder when it started, because you can’t actually remember him ever doing that before. Perhaps it’s something that he’s only just learned, now that he’s on the run from the law, but that doesn’t lessen your concerns. What else don’t you know about your little brother now?
He starts to hum and you almost want to laugh. It’s some pop tune, you think. You didn’t get much access to music stuck on Death Row at Fox River, but sometimes you’d hear snatches here and there, depending on which CO’s were on duty, and you think you can place the tune.
The newspapers had written a small biography on all eight convicts that had escaped from Fox River, and you couldn’t help but scowl at the inaccuracies in Michael’s description. Michael couldn’t be described in simply words or a photograph, defined by a crime or a sentence. There was so much of him that just couldn’t be contained in words. His genius… his life… his love… his actions… There was so much they didn’t know. The never ending movements he made when he was trying to settle to sleep, like a cat who has to knead out every point of the bed to make sure the best position was achieved. The way he breathed when he slept, soft sighing noises, as if he was finally restfully content. How could they, anyone, contain that in three simple sentences: Michael Scofield, former Structural Engineer. Serving a five-year sentence for Armed Robbery. Potentially armed and considered dangerous…?
It’s cold and dark, and you have to rub your hands together as you hold the receiver to your ear, trying to keep warm. The phone rings and rings, and you begin to fear that it will ring out when suddenly the small click sounds, informing you that you have an audience to entertain.
“Where are you?”
“Oh… some backwater town in the middle of nowhere. How are you, Michael?”
“Oh you know… fine.”
“You sound it.”
There’s a pause. Neither of you say anything, and the silence is so unnerving that you have to distract yourself, watching as the grey puffs of carbon dioxide from your breath light up the dark sky.
“When are you coming back to Illinois?”
“I don’t know, Michael. Soon. I have to go.”
“It’s only been a minute, Lincoln! I’ve been keeping track!”
“We’re running low on cash. Love you.”
“Huh. Good night.”
The payphone’s deposit cache is broken, and the remaining quarters spit at you angrily, hitting your hand so hard, three times like penance… yet you’ve only lied twice.
Michael’s tongue slips out between his lips as he bites the tip of the pink flesh, switching on the indicator as he rounds the corner. The tongue disappears. He accelerates slightly, and the scenery begins to blur past faster from the sudden motion. When you reach the end of the street, you begin to stare intently at your brother, watching as sure enough, yet again his tongue is fastened between his teeth as he indicates.
“If you crash, you’ll lose that.”
He looks at you with wide-eyed confusion, tongue very much hidden again. “What?”
“Huh. Never mind.”
Michael yawns and you glance over at him in concern. “Hey.” You touch his arm lightly as he sighs. “I haven’t driven since we left Nika behind. I can…” He doesn’t even reply out loud, just pulls over resignedly and parks, opening the door so that you can switch places with him.
It’s a smooth transition, with you and the car back on the road in no time at all. You’re still worried about him though, staring out the window as lush green paddocks fly pass.
It’s so quiet when you neither of you speak, and you can’t figure out whether you desire the sound or just want to relish in the silence. You go for the first, because the idea that you had finally become institutionalised enough to desire solidarity begins to scare you. You reach forward your right arm half-heartedly and push the radio on, listening as the chimes of the news begin to start. Not exactly what you’d been looking for, but when you go to change the station, Michael swats your arm away.
Not surprisingly, you, Michael, and the other six that escaped with you are the first items on the news. “This morning, authorities in Illinois issued an update on the escaped convicts known until now as the Fox River Eight. Chicago Mob Boss John Abruzzi was gunned down outside of a Washington DC Motel last night after investigators received a tip from an informant. The other seven escapees are still at large and considered dangerous.”
She continues with some other story that will lead to some other criminal ending up in jail, and you really couldn’t give a shit so you turn the damn radio off as Michael sighs, rubbing his head and turning back to the window.
“I didn’t think Abruzzi’d be the first one to eat it.”
“I have a feeling we’re in for lots of surprises.”
“Huh. They said seven of us are still out there. So much for faking our deaths.” You touch a raw nerve mistakenly, yet another sign of how much you really don’t know Michael any more, and he turns to you sharply, tinges of anger and hard pain that you hadn’t seen in him before he went to Fox River alighting the corners of his eyes.
“I bought us some time. And that’s what counts.” The undercurrent of anger beneath his words bites into you and you wish you’d taken it back, rephrased it slightly so that he wouldn’t have taken so much offence. You just shake your head, watching out of the corner of your eye as he fidgets. “How much further?”
You glance down at the mileometer briefly, even though you’ve been checking it regularly, wishing this car drive to be over. “Seventy, eighty miles.”
“Good. Means we should be hitting the Double K ranch by this afternoon.”
His priorities kick you in the stomach and you wish you really could shake the shit out of him. “Or we could keep driving, pick up LJ and hit Panama.”
The anger that you thought had gone rises up from where it has been simmering inside. Beside you, your brother firmly bangs his hand on the armrest. “We can’t hit Panama. We can’t hit anything; we can’t do anything without the money. We need the money. We need to find Charles’ stash.”
“I know some other guys are thinking the same thing,” and that’s what scares you slightly. This money could put everything in jeopardy because eight convicts- seven, now, in the same place together has never made for happy pickings before. And if anything went even the slightest bit wrong, you- you don’t even want to think what might happen to Michael.
When you call next, he doesn’t pick up. The phone rings out numerous times before you give up, angrily growling as you walk back to the guys.
“None of your fucking business,” you snap, yanking the car door open with such ferocity that neither comment, climbing in after you.
You stop off again some hours later, trying your brother again, thinking that maybe he’ll actually decide to answer this time. The phone begins to ring out for the second time when it’s finally picked up, a weak sounding voice whispering into the phone.
“Oh my god, Michael. What’s wrong?”
“Linc?” There’s a pause as he turns his mouth away from the receiver and coughs. “Nothing. I’m fine.”
“Like hell you are. Michael. What’s wrong?”
“Lincoln.” He strains your name, patronising you in the same way that you did him. “I’m fine. Just a cold.”
“God you’re stubborn.”
“When are you coming home?”
“I don’t know.”
“Do you intend on coming home?”
“Michael.” Your voice has a warning tone, not exactly purposefully cold, and you know it. “Of course I do.”
“Huh.” There’s a pause, and neither of you say anything. If you do, it will almost definitely come out wrong, and it seems that he’s treating the silence as penance for you. “I’m sure your credit is running out, Lincoln. You’d better go.” His voice is as cold as yours was, and your insides turn to ice.
“Bye Lincoln.” This time it’s he that hangs up first, and you are forced to listen as quarters fall once more to the tray. When you slip your fingers inside, you pull out three of the silver coins, unknowing – or perhaps you do, perhaps it’s a conscious thing – that you’re leaving one behind. Either way, you leave it. Everything seems to have reversed now, and someone might as well gain from your misfortune. After all, that is the way the world works.
You don’t say a word to Mark or Joey when you get back into the car, just key the motor and spin the wheel so forcefully that Joey, in the passenger seat beside you, reaches out and grabs at your hand. You flinch, giving him a glare as you turn the car and travel straight back to where you came from.
Mark cries out in admonishment from the back seat, but you don’t listen, mostly because you just don’t give enough of a shit about what he wants. All you care about now is your brother, in a strange place all alone. The last time this happened, he-
You wince, practically stand up on the accelerator and tell both Mark and Joey to shut the fuck up before you decide to crash the fucking car. That would, at the very least, solve the problems all three of you are running away from.
But you’ve been running for long enough. It’s time to go back to Chicago, to Michael and Lisa and… LJ.
Mark and Joey can deal with their own problems.
Michael is humming again, his forehead pushed against the window, staring out at the scenery as backwater towns flip past, tumbling as if they were cast away in the wake of your car.
Beside you is the persistent humming.
He’s still pissed at you, you can tell from the way his neck cranes away indefinitely, his back turned to you, even though his shoulders are still plastered squarely against the seat.
He’s humming. You’re getting incredibly sick of the humming.
“Michael,” you growl, and he turns to look at you, his forehead pushed back somewhat from the window pane, a square of pale white stretched against his skin because of the cold glass. His eyes are confused, mixed with mild annoyance.
At least he’s stopped humming.
“Nothing. Just thinking.” He gives a soft laugh, and you can’t help but smile at it. “Oh? The brawn can’t think?”
“Oh no,” he murmurs. “The brawn can think.”
You pull over momentarily, turning to look at him. “Michael.”
He points forward. “What? We’re almost there.”
“Michael.” You strain again, your voice thick.
“What? Did you want to swap or-”
“No, I just wanted to ask you something.”
The corners of his mouth lift up, but it’s forced. “Yeah?”
“Yeah. Fox River-” he groans, and you look at him in surprise. “What?” When he doesn’t answer, you go on. “Why didn’t you just leave me there to die?”
“Oh no, not again. We’ve been over this a thousand times. I owed you. Besides, you’re my brother, and I love you.”
You sigh. “You were angry with me, and from where you stood, you had reason for it. I’d done nothing with my life while you’d gone off and made a name for yourself.”
“We’re both famous now,” he jokes, cutting you off. “Lincoln. Forget it. We have to concentrate on what we’re up against now, instead of dwelling on the past.”
“Did you know?”
“Years ago. When you were in college and I went off with Mark and Joey. Did you know that I had been lying to you? That I was running off and leaving you and LJ behind?”
He sighs. “Lincoln, just drive.”
“Yeah, I knew. But it was your decision to make. Come on, Lincoln, let’s go get this money.”
You walk to the front office of the college, squinting at the piece of paper Michael had given you a while ago. “Yeah, hi. I’m looking for Michael Scofield. S-c-o-”
Behind you is your brother, looking momentarily confused before a true smile stretches across his face.
“What are you doing here?”
“What do you mean, what am I doing here? I’m here to see you!” You wave a hand dismissively at the lady behind the desk and she sighs, turning back to whatever she was doing before you interrupted.
“I thought you were-”
“I know, Michael, I know. But I’m here now.”
“Does Lisa know?”
“What does that matter?” You snap, gathering him into a hug. When he pulls away, his face is a mask of questioning. “No, she doesn’t, Mr Morality. I figured I’d go see her after I was done visiting my brother.”
He rolls his eyes. “Come on then, I’ll show you my quarters.”
You feel a flash of remorse and a spike of guilt, but here is your brother, smiling good-naturedly beside you, and you have to smile too. You’re finally able to pocket the quarters that have been burning into your palm.