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28 January 2009 @ 06:31 pm
Prison Break - Tantalus  
Title: Tantalus
Author: clair_de_lune
Characters: Sara, Gretchen
Spoilers: Season 4
Category: Gen
Rating: PG
Word Count: ~ 700
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: After, when everything is over and settled, when everybody is okay and secure, she pays her a visit in prison.
Author’s Note: Written for pbhiatus_fic Bechdel Test Challenge. Many thanks to tuesdaeschild for the beta.

After, when everything is over and settled, when everybody is okay and secure, she pays her a visit in prison. She submits to the same kind of security procedures she’d seen dozens and dozens of people going through. She walks through the same kind of corridors and rooms she’d been working in for three years. She breathes in the heavy air and, even though this is a women’s facility not a men’s one, she recognizes the scent from her days at Fox River – stench and resignation and lack of hope.

She’s not sure what she’s trying to accomplish here. Not sure whether this is pettiness, retribution or merely the irrepressible need to make sure that the woman is here, locked and watched the way she should be.

She used to feel compassion for the people who were brought to her handcuffed and tripping over shackles. She watches Gretchen shuffle towards the seat in the small glass visiting booth and can’t feel the faintest trace of pity within her. She wonders if it makes her a hypocrite, not to care because she’s been personally involved and hurt. Maybe it’s normal; maybe it’s just the difference between justice and revenge.

“Hello, Sara. How are you doing?” Gretchen gazes at her, slightly bending her head to the side, her expression concerned. She doesn’t wear any make up and it makes her eyes look like they’re the only bright color in her otherwise pale face. “You don’t look too well. Is this place bringing up old memories? Bad ones?”

Even now, she’s so casual and laid back and brash, Sara wants to break the heavy, dirty glass that separates them and reach for her. She wonders what she would do then, though. Maybe she says that aloud because Gretchen smiles at her.

“You should have taken up on my offer back in LA. Whip me; whip this out of your system. You’d feel better by now. Trust me on that,” she says then asks with a patronizing little sigh, “Do you even know why you came, Sara?”

The reminder startles her. The question, laden with condescension, makes her jolt on her chair.

“Michelle,” she says. She’d swear that Gretchen rolls her eyes at her answer, and since it’s definitely not the kind of response she wants, she adds, “Emily.”

And now, Gretchen is still smiling but her smirk has faltered and is plastered to her face, her expression frozen and guarded.

“You remember Michelle and what I told you, don’t you?”

“Our few and short conversations were memorable,” Gretchen assures her sarcastically.

“I don’t believe in the death penalty. Even now.”

“One of the many things we disagree about, I guess. Granted, I was usually the one dispensing the penalty so I may be biased about the whole thing.”

The smart-ass retort is murky with uneasiness, even a hint of fear – Gretchen is faking it, and Sara doesn’t pay attention to her show of attitude.

“So I’m going to do whatever is in my power so that you’re not sentenced to death. Then I’m going to do whatever is in my power so that your daughter can’t visit you. By the time she’s an adult and can make her own decisions, maybe she will come and see you or maybe she won’t. Either way, she will have grown up free of your influence and you will have seen none of it. None of her. You will have to be content with pictures and letters. If your sister feels like sending them. And let me tell you something because I’ve witnessed it first hand: it’s a real Tantalus’ torture.”

The bright blue eyes bore into hers, helpless and frenzied for the first time since Sara sat on the other side of the glass. Just as she used to feel compassion for the people who were brought to her handcuffed and shackled, she used to feel sympathy for those who looked at her that way.

“You’ve really become a little pesky, vengeful thing, huh?” Gretchen finally spits.

She studies the woman in front of her and feels nothing but the relief – she’s quite grateful that it is relief, not actual satisfaction – of the job done.

“Only for you, Gretchen.”


Comments are always appreciated ;)
Jan 18-25, 2009
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
tokenblkgirl: Prison Break: Gretchen's Eyestokenblkgirl on January 28th, 2009 06:24 pm (UTC)
Fantastic! So should've happened on the show too. I like bitter Sara. I like her a lot. :)
Clair de Lune: pb - saraclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
She promised retribution to Gretchen for killing that guard, didn't she? ^__^

Thanks a lot for commenting!
i want this to last forever: M/S-What do you Want from Melinzi20 on January 28th, 2009 11:40 pm (UTC)
This is excellent!
Clair de Lune: pb - sara2clair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks a lot :)
(Deleted comment)
Clair de Lune: pb - saraclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:03 pm (UTC)
I like that you mentioned the "iciness" because this was the feeling I wanted to give, especially regarding Sara.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for commenting :)

Edited at 2009-01-31 04:04 pm (UTC)
The One with the Cauldronburntcircles on January 29th, 2009 12:46 am (UTC)
This is so good, so powerfully tight, that I'm at a loss for words.

The characterization and dialogue is excellent--Gretchen, especially, seems to leap out of the screen alive--and it feels very much like a scene straight out of a good PB script. I'm in awe.

I like your writing, and I think this is one of your best.
Clair de Lune: pb - gretchenclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
I'm a bit floored by the positive feedback. I wasn't sure I got the characterizations right, especially Sara's, and it's one of those fics that I thought no one would read, even less enjoy. I'm so happy you liked it.

In her own way, Gretchen is fun to write. She reminds me of another snarky, bad-ass female character - Miss Parker in The Pretender, and I loooved to write Parker :-p

Thanks a lot for the nice comment :)
The One with the Cauldronburntcircles on January 31st, 2009 04:17 pm (UTC)
Well, you've always been great with dialogue, I have to say. That this little fic is so good shouldn't have surprised me at all, but I suppose I was (still am) so hungry for more interaction between these two and here you did it so skillfully--their personalities are so wonderfully juxtaposed, with the way you blended the description of their expressions and thoughts with their spoken words--that I was just so thrilled. :) Thank you very much for this!
Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 10:13 pm (UTC)
On second thought, maybe 'floored' wasn't exactly the word I was looking for. Slight case of this word doesn't exactly mean what I think its means.
Overwhelmed? Pleasantly surprised? wordreference.com for the win ;)

I deplore the lack of interaction/confrontation between the two of them too, and it's one if the reasons I'll be a bit disappointed if we really don't see more of Gretchen. At this point, Sara has probably had more on-screen interaction with the general's daughter than with her...

I guess we'll just have to fic it ^_^
Tori: pb | bleak | always on the runtorigates on January 29th, 2009 01:21 am (UTC)
This is absolutely fantastic.
Clair de Lune: pb - sara2clair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you! :D
the wrong bitch: it's in the special way we fuckcoffee_mill on January 29th, 2009 10:05 am (UTC)
It's really fantastic *nods*. I wish we could see something like this on PB. that would be beyond awesome. You captured these two so well... Amazing job *nods*.
Clair de Lune: pb - gretchenclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:12 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much. I'm happy the characterization worked for you! :D
Genevieve: sara profile 409 by sezmsgenevieve on January 29th, 2009 12:01 pm (UTC)
This is fabulous.

I love, love, LOVE Sara working out exactly how to punish Gretchen without using physical violence. That's so in character it makes me go all shivery.

Thank you!
Clair de Lune: pb - saraclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
Your comment made me remember that she did use violence on Kellerman. But back then, she 'just' wanted retribution whereas here, she seeks to actually punish Gretchen. So I guess it works.

And thanks a lot. I was a bit meh about this story and didn't think it would elicit... any response actually :-p
Flurblewig: saraflurblewig on January 29th, 2009 06:19 pm (UTC)
Awesome! Your Gretchen voice is spot-on, and I can so easily see Sara reacting like this. Great job!
Clair de Lune: pb - gretchenclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:21 pm (UTC)
Thanks so much! I'm happy you enjoyed it.
danni18danni18 on January 29th, 2009 11:01 pm (UTC)
You really wrote them well, I think Sara would really need some justice..I could picture their conversation in my head
Clair de Lune: pb - saraclair_de_lune on January 31st, 2009 04:24 pm (UTC)
I'm glad it worked for you. Thanks a lot for the kind comment :)
Simple.Things.: Gretchenfoophile on February 1st, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC)
Fantastic revenge! I'd actually forgotten that Gretchen was left, literally, in the middle of the street to finally get her punishment from the law. She so deserves everything and anything Sara can think up to inflict. Cut throat, but just a taste of her own medicine.

Loved this!
Clair de Lune: pb - saraclair_de_lune on February 2nd, 2009 08:12 pm (UTC)
*nods* I've come to like Gretchen - sort of - but if I have to choose between Sara and her, my choice is pretty much done ^_^

Thanks for the feedback :)