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Title: How A Resurrection Really Feels
Author: Aspen Snow
Character: Michael, Lincoln
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Freedom doesn't taste like it should. Michael and Lincoln in Mexico.




Michael loses his mind a little bit when they get to the border.

It’s dark and there is nothing but cool dust and moonlight for miles and miles. Mexico is just there, he knows, at the edge of what he can see. But he stops running.

“Michael let’s go,” and Lincoln’s voice is a little bit fierce, a little bit tired.

Lincoln has been running in front since they escaped. He’s been desperate since before he got sent to prison and Michael can hear the so close so close in the way Lincoln can’t stop moving.

But Michael doesn’t move, doesn’t go.

The moonlight is hot like a spotlight and he hears sirens and dogs and helicopter blades and the way the handcuffs hanging off his wrist slide against his skin is too familiar.

Michael thinks maybe his plan has been wrong this whole time.

What if they can’t ever run far enough?

*

The air in Mexico tastes like fast food and cheap beer and sweat that stains. The freedom here is stale at best.

The clerk at the motel doesn’t understand English, but he does understand exhaustion and American money. When Michael pulls a hundred out of the waistband of his prison issued gray sweatpants with shaky hands (it’s a dead man’s money after all) the man behind the counter doesn’t ask any questions. Just takes the bill in a sweaty hand and tosses them a key.

The room has no windows, just one bed and one door and even though the walls are brown and the carpet is brown and even though he is in another country, he sees grey, he sees metal, he sees bars.

He hadn’t expected to be so stifled when they finally got here. This hadn’t been the plan, standing in an open doorway holding his breath waiting for everything to change.

He’d planned on breathing.

*

The first morning they are in Mexico Michael buys them both clothes with pockets and shoes with laces.

When they get hungry Lincoln insists on going to a diner where they don’t have to stand in line with trays. When the waitress asks them what they want Lincoln orders a hamburger and fries without looking at the menu like he has planned this moment.

Michael holds onto the menu, his fingers pressed hard into the cool laminated paper and he tries to take comfort in the feel of something so common.

But he can’t. He doesn’t know what to order.

He never planned this moment.

*


Lincoln never asks Michael why they always stay in towns on the beach.

Michael watches the way Lincoln walks now, carelessly with hands in his pockets and slow. So slow that Michael has to stop every once in awhile and wait for Lincoln and his long lazy strides to catch up.

He watches how Lincoln doesn’t run anymore and Michael doesn’t know how to tell him that he needs to be able to see the wide open space of the ocean so that he doesn’t forget, again, that there are places beyond places.

The sand isn’t soft and it isn’t white, but it’s warm under his feet and the way it sinks and collapses with each step lulls him into an easier rhythm.

Forces him to slow down and pull his feet out of the sand.

The sand is warm and it is the first observation Michael has that is completely useless.

*

They stop at a mini mart to buy $6.32 worth of aspirin and candy bars. Michael pays with a twenty dollar bill and when the cashier gives him the change, Michael gives Lincoln the 68¢ of loose coins.

When they walk out of the store Michael bites into a Snickers bar and Lincoln swallows three aspirin dry, walks across the street to the payphone, puts in a couple of coins and puts his hand on the phone.

But he doesn’t pick it up, he never does.

There are some things that even Mexico can’t give back.

So wherever they go Michael carries the bills. Lincoln carries the change─ because Michael can only plan and Lincoln can only hope.

*

Michael gets drunk one night, drinks too much watered down vodka and everything becomes so heavy that he can’t move.

Lincoln is standing not far away with the same beer in his hand that he been casually sipping the whole night. It angers Michael that he can do that, stand and sip, stand and sip, that he can keep doing something so meaningless over and over again like its nothing.

Like all of this is nothing.

But it’s everything to Michael, fucking everything. It’s his life now, bars and motels and beaches with sand shades too dark to be paradise.

“I’m not supposed to be here you know,” he says mostly to himself. But he thinks Lincoln hears it because he finishes his beer in one long swallow, wipes his mouth with the back of his hand, and slams the empty beer bottle on the table.

“Let’s go,” he says and Michael remembers the last time Lincoln said those words to him he was desperate and running.

“It’s your fault,” and Michael can’t stop himself, “it’s your fault,” he says again and again and again until the world becomes too heavy and everything goes black.

When Michael wakes up in the morning he’s too nauseous to remember anything from the night before.

They pass a payphone when they walk into town and Michael stops, but Lincoln keeps walking.

Michael feels like he should apologize for something, but he doesn’t know what.

*

He sees her picture on the TV. He can’t make out much of the rapid fire Spanish, but he catches one word, muerto.

Dead.

He buys himself a twenty five cent beer because at least it wasn’t Lincoln.

He goes to the beach that night, buries his feet in the sand, listens to the water─ smooth and quiet, and tells himself it wasn’t his fault.

*

Michael breaks when there’s no more Mexican space to run through.

“I don’t have a plan,” he says and he thinks maybe he’ll just sit here on the edge until everything changes, until he finds something familiar he can hold onto.

“I know,” Lincoln says and he wraps his fingers around Michael’s wrist, firm and steady, and drags him along, back to the coast, back to the beach. Like he’s always known that Michael was breaking, like he has always known that Michael needed something constant and endless to hold him in place.

“What are we going to do?” and it’s the first question Michael has asked anyone, anyone, since he got himself sent to prison, since he decided that his brother’s life was worth more than his own.

“I’ll think of something,” Lincoln says and he believes him.

It has something to do with the way Lincoln’s fingers are wrapped around his pulse, Michael thinks, holding it steady.


Comments

( 48 comments — Leave a comment )
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fiddleyoumust
May. 22nd, 2006 05:02 am (UTC)
So I'm going to go on a bit here. Sorry. I've been in this funk. This sort of I hate writing, I hate reading, I hate fanfic funk. Then I click on this link and I read this and I think what the hell was I thinking because fanfic gives us stuff like this. This is absolutely brilliant, amazing, insightful, and perfect.

So wherever they go Michael carries the bills. Lincoln carries the change because Michael can only plan and Lincoln can only hope.

This line just kills me. It describes them perfectly in such a painful way.

He buys himself a twenty five cent beer because at least it wasn't Lincoln.

This is so how I see Michael. Always focused on the plan. Sara was just an acceptable casualty. I really love the simplicity of that. When you get right down to it, all that matters is that it wasn't Lincoln.

The ending is wonderful and I really like the idea of Michael only knowing how to plan for the future, and Lincoln only knowing how to live in the moment. They are both so emotionally retarded.

Gah! I just love, love, love it. By god I think you may have fixed my pessimism. That's how good this is.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
Guh.

*falls over*

Comments like yours make me all sorts of happy.

I am so glad you enjoyed. I haven't written anything in a long time but the finale sort of screamed WRITE SOMETHING.

Thank you so so so so much for taking the time to comment. Really, I appreciate it a lot. =)

Also, fanfic funk is perhaps the greatest term ever. And I am glad I could do my part to snap you out of it.
thelana
May. 22nd, 2006 05:55 am (UTC)
I love it soooo much. *garglesinintelligibly*

Seriously, give me a moment to phrase this properly.

I love the emotions. I love Michael being so completely helpless at the overabundance of choices all of a sudden. I love the underlying resentment issues. So sad. And emerging blind trust. It just tucks he heartstrings so bad and it's such a good reason for why the brother dynamic might work and why Michael would want to save Lincoln, if Lincoln can still have this blind older brother faith effect.

*garglessomemore*
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 05:45 pm (UTC)
Thank you, as always, for leaving me a wonderful comment!

And for some reason, after watching the finale, I just got the feeling that eventually Michael was going to fall apart and Lincoln was going to step up and take charge. You kind of already saw little flashes of that in the episode.

Also, for some reason, I love the idea of writing about them in Mexico. No idea why.

=)
(no subject) - thelana - May. 22nd, 2006 05:59 pm (UTC) - Expand
poisontaster
May. 22nd, 2006 06:39 am (UTC)
Oh. Oh, this is just lovely. I came on thelana's reccomendation and I think the...aching behind all of this is just exquisite. Michael is so tightly wound, so focused on his single purpose of out that OF COURSE he forgot to plan what comes after, how to enjoy it. And Lincoln, finally at peace with come what may that he's just the right one to help Michael put it back together. This is one of those stories that you read and you go "OMG, of COURSE it's this way--how did I not see this before!" And the last line is just...perfect.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 05:47 pm (UTC)
Oh I am so glad you stopped by.

And yeah, Michael is so incredibly tightly wound and focused that, personally, I think the only thing he has left to do is break.

Thank you so much for your lovely comment! =)
accrues
May. 22nd, 2006 06:40 am (UTC)
I cant review this. Part of me wants to stop this right now and walk away.

But only because I dont know what to say.

How can emotions run from one persons fingers, through the lives of a fictional character and become part of someone's life, part of their heart?

How can words become so real off of a screen? Because that is what you did to me.

So many things in this could be reviewed and I could show you how much I loved it but then the whole fic would end up in this comment box, and that would be too much.

So I'll just say this.

I loved it.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 05:50 pm (UTC)
Awww, you're so sweet.

Really, I'm glad you loved it and it's gratifying to know that something I wrote affected you the way it did. As a writer, there is no better compliment than someone telling you that your words feel real.

So thank you for that. =)
(no subject) - accrues - May. 23rd, 2006 10:07 am (UTC) - Expand
mooyoo
May. 22nd, 2006 07:04 am (UTC)
I really, really loved this, and it's a little late for me so I can't completely go into everything I liked about it, but basically I just loved it. I love Michael unraveling at not having a plan, not knowing exactly how things are going to go or what to do because it's almost too much freedom, and Lincoln in the end trying to be the older brother to him again, after Michael's planned everything for them and taken care of them through everything until now. And you wrote it in such an understated way that just worked really well. So well done. Loved it.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 05:58 pm (UTC)
Thanks! And I'm glad you took the time to review despite the late hour. =)

All we have really seen about Michael is The Plan and we've seen Michael break a little every time something goes wrong. So I can only imagine that when he has no use for his plan anymore he is going to be lost and Lincoln is going to have to take over.

Thanks again for you comment!

clex_monkie89
May. 22nd, 2006 07:39 am (UTC)
I apologize in advance for my lack of coherent and good feedback that this fic truely deserves.

This fits right and hurt and was just as painful as it should have been in all the right parts. You can actually feel Michael's... almost confused desperation at parts. Like he thought out the plan and carried it out but never actually really thought it would ever work.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 06:01 pm (UTC)
I find myself wondering sometimes when I watch the show if Michael actually believes his plan is going to work.

We see hints of Michael's confusion and desperation in the finale and I think it is only going to get more pronounced as they continue to run.

And coherency is overrated and your feedback was still wonderful and awesome.

Thank you! =)
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 - May. 22nd, 2006 06:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 - May. 23rd, 2006 05:18 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - aspensnow - May. 23rd, 2006 03:59 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - clex_monkie89 - May. 23rd, 2006 05:23 am (UTC) - Expand
iscaris
May. 22nd, 2006 09:59 am (UTC)
Beautiful story. I'm impressed. The imagery, the themes, the palpable despair even though Michael got what he wanted - it's all here, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.

My favorite bit:
So wherever they go Michael carries the bills. Lincoln carries the change─ because Michael can only plan and Lincoln can only hope.

Thanks for sharing.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 06:02 pm (UTC)
Ohhh your welcome!

And thank you so so much for leaving a comment, it always good to know that all the emotions and themes that I am attempting to get across with my words actually comes through.

So thanks again! =)
miss_mazzie
May. 22nd, 2006 11:55 am (UTC)
Hey, Aspen. It must simply be illegal to go so long without a fic from you. I told you long ago - you write it and they (including me) will come!

You packed so much into this. I love the idea that the plan is *so* off, that Michael can't quite recover and snap together contingencies. And somehow, after all these years and events, Linc still has that effect on him - big-brotherly hope, faith.

I love that Linc seems to be living for the moment, caring out those "if I ever get out" wishes he's stored in his brain. But swallowing 3 aspirin dry? How awful! (But, OTOH: Whoa! That just screams (in a very odd way) masculinity - like a modern or city version of the Marlboro man.)

I think the saddest part is when Linc walks past the phone without dropping the coins in. Now they've both been brought back to reality. Makes the "optimism, hope, faith" concept seem dark and bitter - maybe a little like swallowing aspirin tablets dry.

So beautiful, per usual, Aspen. I love it. I love you. Write more. Please.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 06:08 pm (UTC)
Ohh I have followers! *giggles*

Anyway, yes, I need to stop waiting so long to write. Really I do.

Modern city version of the Marlboro Man<----for some reason, that description REALLY fits Lincoln. So funny.

I think in their situation their hope and their faith is always going to be a little bit bitter. Because yeah they escaped, great. But they can't go back to their lives, they still have to fear being caught, and they can't do the simplest things, like pick up a phone and call someone they love (i.e. LJ).

Thank you so much and I will most certainly write more, hopefully soon since the whole idea of them being quasi free in Mexico intrigues me. =)
(no subject) - thelana - May. 22nd, 2006 06:17 pm (UTC) - Expand
tuesdaeschild
May. 22nd, 2006 06:19 pm (UTC)
OMG! The hopelessness and desolation! And you've got it so right. Will Michael ever be able to see anything beyond the plan? It's such a hard-hitting story but so softly and gently done that I never really saw it coming until it hit me like a truck.

I think I need some chocolate to cheer me up now.

But wonderfully written and thanks for sharing.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 10:09 pm (UTC)
I think I need some chocolate too!

So glad you liked it.

Thanks for commenting! =)
(Anonymous)
May. 22nd, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
Very powerful. I think you're another writer whose fic I've read before, from another fandom. I'm so glad all the great fic-cers are PB fans! Please write more asap.
aspensnow
May. 22nd, 2006 10:10 pm (UTC)
Yes, I think that PB fans are the best!

Anyway, I promise to write more because these boys are just to hot and angsty to NOT write about. =)

Thanks!
becisvolatile
May. 22nd, 2006 11:23 pm (UTC)
I sort of adore this. I love the slow crumbling of Michael and the reverse of roles. It's all been written with such care and attention to character, so I'm grateful for it!!! Thanks.
aspensnow
May. 23rd, 2006 03:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so so so much.

Really.

And your welcome!

=)
certainthings
May. 23rd, 2006 12:26 am (UTC)
You own me.

“I don’t have a plan,” he says and he thinks maybe he’ll just sit here on the edge until everything changes, until he finds something familiar he can hold onto.

“I know,” Lincoln says and he wraps his fingers around Michael’s wrist, firm and steady, and drags him along, back to the coast, back to the beach. Like he’s always known that Michael was breaking, like he has always known that Michael needed something constant and endless to hold him in place.


I love that section so much. I ... Just. Nng. Words fail.
aspensnow
May. 23rd, 2006 03:54 am (UTC)
I've never owned anyone before. It's sort of a neat concept.

Anyway, thank you for reviewing because comments are my crack. And it's ok that words fail you because Nng is an awesome word and it is gratifying to know that something I wrote has reduced you to that. Wheee!

Anyway, what I am trying to say is THANK YOU so much. =)
wentworth801
May. 23rd, 2006 03:55 am (UTC)
Too many sections to cover that I liked. But so much word for writing the brothers this way!
aspensnow
May. 23rd, 2006 04:00 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! =)
pamalax
May. 23rd, 2006 08:17 pm (UTC)
Wonderful! Really REALLY Wonderful!! Thanks for writing ;D

You made my first PBless Tuesday a better place to be.
aspensnow
May. 26th, 2006 07:06 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it!

And writing this made my first PBless week easier. =)
halfshellvenus
May. 23rd, 2006 11:48 pm (UTC)
Gorgeous. I love the shift from the beginning, Lincoln's desperation and Michael's sudden inertia. And then the edgy lack of reassurance for Michael while Lincoln adapts and again becomes Michael's rock.

I love that Michael sees nothing but grey-- that his vision is filled with the place where he sold his soul.
This hadn’t been the plan, standing in an open doorway holding his breath waiting for everything to change.
He’d planned on breathing.

Love this phrasing altogether. It wasn't _enough_ to be free. And that's partly because the freedom wasn't for him. Michael can't be free now of all the things he did to save his brother.

So wherever they go Michael carries the bills. Lincoln carries the change─ because Michael can only plan and Lincoln can only hope.
A perfect metaphor, and a perfect line.

I love that Michael clings to the beach, with the reminder that there are places beyond places. His soul is still jailed in that cell, and that feeling is not so easily shaken.

Michael breaks when there’s no more Mexican space to run through.
“I don’t have a plan,” he says and he thinks maybe he’ll just sit here on the edge until everything changes, until he finds something familiar he can hold onto.


Just love all the lost, desperate lack of comfort here. His plan worked, his brother is free, and yet nothing is "over." And how unsettling that would be for Michael.

Fabulous work. :)
aspensnow
May. 26th, 2006 07:12 am (UTC)
Thank you so much!

I really do think, after everything that has happened, that Michael is going to see prison in everything and everywhere he goes for a long time. When he was there he was so busy trying to save Lincoln that he didn't have time to deal with the fact that he WAS in prison...and I think its all going to catch up with him when they are on the run.

Anyway...thanks for your lovely comment!
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