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23 November 2007 @ 06:12 pm
Prison Break - Unspoken  
Title: Unspoken
Author: clair_de_lune
Characters: Michael/Veronica
Genres: Romance, drama, pre-series
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Some things are not meant to be done; some things are not meant to be said; and some things are not meant to be thought.
Notes: Thanks to be_cool_bec for her help with the translation (French version)


Some things are not meant to be done; some things are not meant to be said; and some things are not meant to be thought. Or maybe behind a safely closed door, the lights off and the curtains drawn, while curled up in bed with the blankets pulled up to the chin, and feeling hung over when waking up.

But even like that...

* *

When Michael was about ten, Lincoln had started to date Veronica. Linc asked his brother how he felt about it: but it was actually one of these questions meant to strengthen your decision more than getting an opinion, and Michael avoided voicing what he really thought.

However, he did have a firmly established opinion.

Vee smelt good; she had this long hair that nicely tickled him when she leaned over his shoulder, a softer and paler skin than his, and a way to look at him that made him feel like he would melt right there. This was new... Maybe he had been ‘changing’, as his therapist had worded it when he’d gone to see him; or maybe Vee had changed; or maybe it was a bit of both. As much as he liked stability – a rare thing in his existence – these changes weren’t unpleasant. Quite the opposite, actually. And Veronica was nice to him: she didn’t act as if he was weird, she didn’t look down on him; she seemed to understand why he liked drawing and building things. She enjoyed his presence – she really enjoyed it, she wasn’t just being nice to him: she played with him, talked to him, and let him stay quiet when he didn’t feel like answering.

So, the idea to be close to Veronica, even touch her, wasn’t repulsive. Unlike the idea to be near, let’s say, Maddy Harris, who apparently always wanted to put her hands on him. Actually... actually the idea to be close to her, even touch her, was... she had on her mouth the same shiny red stuff Maddy Harris used (well, except Maddy stole it from her big sister). The color, the odor, the texture he could experience when she kissed him on the cheek were oddly fascinating, and sometimes, he felt like moving his head just a little bit, just to see if...

The idea to be close to Veronica was definitely not repulsive.

So, when Linc asked if he should date Veronica, Michael didn’t answer. Some things are not meant to be said.

* *

When Michael was about thirteen, he smoked some pot, drank some whisky and kissed Veronica. The three events are related as, without the first ones, he would never have had the guts to pull off the third.

He had, as you would expect, found the joint in Lincoln’s night table (it was not so well hidden... not hidden at all, actually) and the bottle of Jack Daniel’s in the small kitchen cupboards. He had thought it would be some kind of experiment. Not that he enjoyed novelty that much: after several years in a bunch of foster homes, it was nice to have a bit of continuity in his life. But he had thought it would be an experiment, something in common with Lincoln. Maybe that way he would understand why his brother spent so much time and money in order to reach that condition.

He was sprawled out on the couch in the small living room of their apartment, his eyes glued to the TV – although he wouldn’t have been able to say what was on – when Lincoln and Vee came back from only God knows where. She bent over him to kiss him good night and, with a wide smile, Michael turned his head to the side and crushed his mouth to hers. She uttered an exclamation – surprise, reprimand or maybe, didn’t he dare to think, approbation – and he felt a hint of moistness and warmth. But almost immediately, she pursed her lips and it was over.

Then... then Lincoln caught his arm, he lifted him as if Michael had weighted nothing and he started to smack him. Slaps, not punches, which would have been more painful but less humiliating, until Michael fell on the couch, his arms up to protect his face. Then behind his skull and on his shoulders when he curled up, each blow coming with “Don’t start with that!” Fingers painfully closed on his neck and shook him hard when he pointed out, quite rightly, that Lincoln did smoke and drink.

The beating didn’t stop until Veronica grabbed the math book lying on the table and threw it at Lincoln with a “Leave him alone!” Michael was once again seized by the arm and pulled out of the couch, this time by Veronica’s small hand. It left a weirdly hot mark on his skin, almost more burning than Lincoln’s smacks. “Go to sleep, Michael”, she ordered him.

Lincoln had beaten him up because of the joint and the booze, not because of the kiss, which was only one of his many errors of judgment. Because even after Michael had experimented, he still didn’t get why his brother spent so much time and money in order to reach ‘that’ condition. It had been fun and interesting when he had tried it, but it was creepy the morning afterwards, when he realized that he had lost control. And Michael liked to be in control of his existence; he needed to be in control of his existence.

But the kiss? Veronica’s mouth under his? Her hand on his arm? That had reinforced his opinion that some things are not meant to be thought. And if you aren’t able to steer clear of them, you try to shut up, and anyway you definitely do not act on them.

Or at least, you try your best.

* *

Vee had always been there. She had been there for him in a way Lincoln hadn’t – Lincoln had his good days and his bad days, his good moments and his bad moments. Vee had been a lot more coherent, reliable, not the kind of person to say “do as I say, not do as I do’.

Michael hated...

He hated Lincoln when Veronica left in order to pursue her studies at the other end of the country because, no doubt about it, she left because of Lincoln.

He hated Veronica when she left, because she abandoned both of them, Linc and him, as their father and their mother had abandoned them, and as Lincoln sometimes abandoned him. Not in the same way, of course, but in the end, the process didn’t matter that much, since the result was identical.

He hated to watch Lincoln fall apart a bit more each day and sink deeper into the very shortcomings that Vee had left.

He hated to think that and he shut up.

* *

When Michael was about sixteen, Veronica came back – to Chicago and to Lincoln – and for a few weeks, maybe a few months, everything was back to normal, or almost back to normal. Then, with an admirable consistency, Lincoln screwed up and got Lisa Rix pregnant. Michael thinks his brother has this gift (because it was a gift, how could you explain it otherwise?) to be in a pretty decent situation and to make a mess of it. It had already happened before, it had just happened again and Michael would have bet it would happen again. A shrink would probably have said that Lincoln didn’t allow himself to be happy; Michael would have replied that Lincoln blindly dragged everybody down with him in the process.

Quite strangely, Lisa and the baby hadn’t been the last straw to Veronica, though: Lincoln screwing up again and ending up in prison again had made it happen. As if she had needed this to admit that, whatever he might promise, Lincoln wouldn’t be able to live up to it. He had promised, promised for LJ; however, Veronica ended up in the jail visitation room. She put up everything together, analyzed the data and understood it would never stop.

Michael had already come to this conclusion a while ago.

* *

When Michael was about eighteen, he had sex with Veronica. He didn’t mean it to happen, it just had, and...

That’s not quite true: it isn’t the kind of thing that happens if you don’t want it one way or another, is it?

They went to visit Lincoln in jail and, on the way back, Veronica didn’t say a word. Michael didn’t try to strike up a conversation with her; he still remembered that he appreciated when Veronica didn’t compel him to chat when he didn’t feel like it. When they arrived at her place, he hugged her to comfort her, and clung to her to comfort himself. She had an instinctive, defensive start, as if refusing the very idea that she needed any comfort; then she seemed to remember who he was and she leaned into him. He awkwardly embraced her, unable to know whether he wanted to enfold her in his arms or rest, both figuratively and literally speaking, on her. He did know, however, that there was her breath in his neck, warmth, her perfume and, in a matter of minutes he felt better. He needed her that close to him to realize how much he had been missing her during these few years. He whispered it to her, his words muffling into her hair.

This was the very moment the situation got out of control. Or maybe, he’s not quite sure, just after that, when he straightened up and meant to peck her on the cheek – a friendly peck, because this is what they were, in the end, friends. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her mouth, as red and shiny and appealing as he remembered it. Vee murmured a “Mike?” that was an invitation as much as a warning, and he told himself that once... just once... And since some things aren’t meant to be thought, he did not think before he kissed her.

It started as a gentle and hesitant kiss, and he waited for Veronica to try and pull away, or at least to protest like she did a few years ago. But she did nothing, really nothing: she didn’t kiss him back, but she didn’t move away either. She just stood here, her eyes closed, her hands on his forearms – she kept him from stepping back, but she didn’t tug him forward. He decided it was an unspoken consent and he embraced her more tightly.

It was still the same kiss, but insistent, demanding and reciprocal, when they fell together on the couch. When he quickly moved away to take off his shirt, she used the short respite to utter an inquiring “Michael?” He silenced her with a kiss, and an other one when she whispered something about the bedroom. Not the bedroom. Here. Not in a few minutes, or even in a few seconds. Now. He didn’t know why she let him do that, but he was positive about one thing: if one of them thought about what was happening, if one of them had an instant and collected their thoughts, it would stop.

* *

He didn’t want it to happen, but he had sex with Veronica. Repeatedly and regularly. He carefully considered the words defining the acts, mentally tested them, from the most coarse to the most sentimental, and he stuck with the neutral ones. He wouldn’t acknowledge what they do as sleazy (and he noticed he wouldn’t call it an ‘affair’ or a ‘relationship’ either), but it would have been vain to hope and imagine it might have gone on.

It was actually the only moment there were words – when he thought about what they did. Because at the very instant they entered the bedroom (or the living room, or the kitchen, or the bathroom, or even the car once or twice), at the very instant clothes were discarded or pulled apart? Articulate sounds were tacitly banished. The few times he tried to say something, Veronica kissed him; when she wanted to speak, he stroked her; and the words disappeared into a moan or a sigh. Some things aren’t meant to be said.

It happened sixty-four times and a half. Or, if he had to be that thorough, sixty-two times and five half times. He rigorously kept count – not because he wanted to gloat about it, but as some sort of penitence. He’d like to think they did it to punish Lincoln, because in some way, it would seem almost forgivable. Understandable. Justifiable. (He hasn’t decided whether it was meant to punish Lincoln because Lincoln abandoned him again or because Lincoln messed everything up with Veronica and hurt her, though.) But he knows this isn’t the reason, the dice were loaded right from the start. Punishing Lincoln didn’t demand doing it again sixty-three times and a half: once would have been more than enough. Punishing Lincoln should give Michael some sort of satisfaction, not make him unable to sit in the same room as his brother and look him in the eyes. Punishing Lincoln would imply telling him what happened: Michael and Veronica both warily kept silent about it.

Michael thinks it would kill Lincoln, if Lincoln knew.

Correction: he thinks Lincoln would kill him, if Lincoln knew. Or at least, he would give him the most memorable and humiliating beating since the whisky & joint experiment. Michael is that close to thinking he would deserve it. He would deserve it because, whatever the bitter taste this thing with Veronica has left in him, he can’t really regret that it happened.

* *

When Lincoln gets out of jail, they don’t say a thing. No explanation. But tacitly, Veronica stops phoning Michael; Michael stops crashing on her doormat late at night; they avoid the places where they could see each other. They knew right in the beginning it would end, and it would end badly. The only thing they could wonder about was the extent of the damages, and it’s now all about controlling them. Michael focus not to start each time his brother utters his ex-girlfriend’s name, and he automatically smiles when he’s supposed to. It happens less and less frequently, because this time, Lincoln has understood that it’s over, she won’t be back, and he almost never mentions her again.

Michael also comes to understand she won’t be back.

* *

It happened only once.

Sure, ‘once’ if you consider the whole story.

If you have to be that petty and get bogged down in details, it happened... She stopped keeping track after the eight time... or maybe it was the ninth one? She’s not sure she should consider what happened right after the seventh time as... Anyway, she stopped keeping track, and she considers it happened only once. Once several times a week for three months, but only one time for three months. Just once.

Once.

She loves Lincoln because he’s Lincoln, and it isn’t good for her. She loves Michael because he is everything Lincoln is not, and it is good for neither Michael nor her. It was really easier to keep their relations sound and sane when they were kids; she has realized that just a bit too late. When they were kids, loving Lincoln was a good thing, it didn’t jeopardize her nervous and mental health. The few years between her and Michael protected her, her affection for him was nothing but fraternal. And if Michael’s affection for her was sometimes a bit more than just brotherly, she could just ignore it and consider it as some schoolboy crush. That way, nobody was embarrassed or hurt. It has been a lot less sound and safe a dozen years later.

She knows Michael never told anything to Lincoln. She gets it, she’s okay with that: had he been unable to shut up, she would have been mad at him. Linc messed up... She and Linc messed up their relationship; she and Mike messed up their relationship; it’s time to do some damage control. Telling Lincoln in order to clear their consciences would do no good to anybody, and it’s not like they plan to do that again, anyway. Or like it happened several times. It happened only once.

So, a few years later, when they both stand in Michael’s costly living room and are about to do it again... when Michael says they can’t do that, she vigorously nods. With just a hint of regret, but steadfastly because he’s right, they can’t do that.

It happened only once and it won’t happen again.

When she arrives at her place, she closes the bedroom door, draws the curtains and curls up in her bed, the blankets pulled up to her chin. She locks herself into a little soundless, noiseless, lightless realm.

Some things are not meant to be done; some things are not meant to be said; some things are not meant to be thought. And if you have failed to accomplish that, some things still aren’t meant to be brought up.

-END-
 
 
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chanchito_z on November 25th, 2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad to see people are writing Michael/Vee stories! I love this pair. And you've done a very lovely take on what motivated the two to get to the point they were at in Brother's Keeper. I love reading stories that give us background for that scene. My favorite part is the slap-beating that Linc gives Michael and Mike's sense of humiliation that he got bc it was not for the kiss and it was not with “real” blows. That was a very telling reflection on his idea of himself and his place in the pecking order so to speak. It was a nice way of looking at his character.

Thank you so much for sharing!
Clair de Lune: pb - veronicaclair_de_lune on November 26th, 2007 06:35 pm (UTC)
To be honest, this fic was written out of guilt: a while ago, I assigned a Michael/Veronica prompt to someone for a fic exchange in French and I felt bad because the author struggled a bit with it. Writing with the same prompt was my self-inflicted punishment ^_^
I'm really glad that you liked it because I struggled - a lot - to write it, even though I think a Michael/Veronica relationship could almost be part of canon. I can see the attraction between them in Brother's Keeper, but I have a hard time to bring myself to make them act on it. And apparently, mumbling to the characters that they "can't do that to Lincoln" doesn't help to write this kind of story *g*
It's definitely not one my favs (it feels a bit rushed, and Vee's POV in the end comes out of nowhere), but still, I'm happy that I managed to complete it.

his place in the pecking order
I like this expression - fun way to say a sad thing.

Thanks a lot for commenting.
The Good, The Bad and The Lana: smilie priyankathelana on December 30th, 2007 05:44 pm (UTC)
Well, as you may have noticed I really, really love this fic :)

My love of it is really all over, both how you built it up with the childhood parts and where it leads at a later point. I LOVE the scene where Michael experiments and Lincoln hits him. There is something incredibly sad and raw about that scene and I like having some pre-series fic that does go into the more unpleasant parts of Michael and Lincoln's brother relationship which was after all referenced on the show by Vee herself.

Maybe that way he would understand why his brother spent so much time and money in order to reach that condition.

Seriously, so much love for the characterization there. And then the part of how slaps are somehow worse than punches, that Lincoln hits him more about the booze than about the kiss and then the end about Michael not really liking it because he can't lose control just made me go Yes, Yes. Yes! That's Michael!

Really, I just have so much love for the characterisation of both Michael and Veronica in this whole piece, about their characters, their motivations, I seriously can't even describe it. I would quote and discuss my favorite parts (the part about how Lisa/LJ wasn't the last straw, how they consider it only a "once" no matter how long it lasted, the part about Lincoln's good days and his bad days, and! and! and!), but I would just end up quoting the whole thing.

I love the way the beginning and the end mirror each other (I'm always a sucker for structure).

Suffice to say, I really, really love it.
Clair de Lune: pb - veronicaclair_de_lune on December 31st, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
Well, as you may have noticed I really, really love this fic :)
I think I'm starting to get it *g*

This one was a nightmare to write. Partly because the canon is a bit confusing (when did Vee leave? come back? How older/younger is she than Michael/Lincoln? When was LJ born? Did Lincoln and Lisa get married?) Partly because I kept thinking that Michael and Vee couldn't do that to Linc *g* and I had a hard time finding them reasons to actually do it.

I love the way the beginning and the end mirror each other
I tend to use that kind of trick. Although I'm not sure who's really thinking at the begining, Michael or Veronica.

Thanks so much for your comment - and your enthusiasm ;-)
Maz (or foxxy!): Linc and Veetuesdaeschild on April 27th, 2011 01:33 pm (UTC)
This was such a good exploration of Michael's character and the perfect background for the scenes in "Brother's Keeper".

I think you dipped beautifully into Lincoln and Veronica's relationship too. The slapping Michael got for the pot and the whiskey was exactly the kind of reaction I'd expect from Lincoln and so was Vee's intervention.

It really is a very sad story, to be honest, yet I still smiled a bit that Michael would keep track of every transgression. And rate them as full or half!!! So very Michael!

And I started to think what would happen if Michael actually confessed to Lincoln at some point. Not necessarily pre-series...interesting thought! And of course he wouldn't be able to help himself and when Lincoln asked how many times and Michael said "Sixty four and a half" I'm sure Lincoln would demand to know what the half was all about!

There are so many of your fics I missed out on in the early days (maybe I was too M/L orientated?!!)...but it's so good to read all these new fics (to me, anyway!) so thank you for pointing me in this direction!
Clair de Lune: pb - lincoln2clair_de_lune on May 8th, 2011 05:50 pm (UTC)
It really is a very sad story, to be honest

Definitely. Both Michael and Veronica are eaten by remorse, and as for Lincoln... I wrote this a few years ago, but I still remember that I kept thinking they couldn't do that to him *g* Not that Lincoln behaved so well with Vee, but here the betrayal came from the two people he trusted and cared about the most :-/

And I started to think what would happen if Michael actually confessed to Lincoln at some point.

I don't remember exactly when, maybe it was for for a fic exchange in French, I considered Michael confessing. Maybe not exactly what happened here, but what actually almost-happened in the show. Thing is, it was supposed to be a crackfic or humor fic, it was supposed to be set right after the escape, and suddenly, it came to my mind that Vee had died two days ago. Not the right moment for crackastic confession, I guess...

And of course he wouldn't be able to help himself and when Lincoln asked how many times and Michael said "Sixty four and a half" I'm sure Lincoln would demand to know what the half was all about!

Which might lead to way too much information for a PG-13 rated fic *g* In my mind, the half times might have been times when only one of them ended up happy either by accident or deliberately.

There are so many of your fics I missed out on in the early days (maybe I was too M/L orientated?!!)...

I used to write so much more gen and other pairings. My dirtiest secret, given I don't like the pairing, is a short Michael/Mahone fic *g* And imagine, maybe you also missed Michael/Sara/Lincoln fics or even some Michael/Lincoln? *gasp* You know I'm always happy to (self)pimp, but in any case, I obsessively list my stories on the fic index and in the memories - I recently re-arrangered the memories, they're all neat and pretty *proud*

*hugs*
Maz (or foxxy!): Kiss metuesdaeschild on May 11th, 2011 11:47 am (UTC)
Not that Lincoln behaved so well with Vee, but here the betrayal came from the two people he trusted and cared about the most :-/

That would make it much harder to take, wouldn't it? :( And yet it's through Lincoln that they're connected.

Thing is, it was supposed to be a crackfic or humor fic, it was supposed to be set right after the escape, and suddenly, it came to my mind that Vee had died two days ago. Not the right moment for crackastic confession, I guess...

Absolutely the wrong moment for a cracktastic confession! I think I was pondering Michael confessing during the time they were working on the escape, like digging in the break room or something.

In my mind, the half times might have been times when only one of them ended up happy either by accident or deliberately.

That makes sense! And whether it was a 'whole' time or a 'half' time there would be too much information of the wrong kind for PG-13!!

My dirtiest secret, given I don't like the pairing, is a short Michael/Mahone fic *g* And imagine, maybe you also missed Michael/Sara/Lincoln fics or even some Michael/Lincoln? *gasp* I obsessively list my stories on the fic index and in the memories - I recently re-arrangered the memories, they're all neat and pretty *proud*

I'll have to go looking for the Michael/Mahone fic! And all the other fics I've probably missed!! I have most of my fics stashed in my memories but they're not neat or pretty! I'm going to have to rifle through your memories then but I'll try not to leave them untidy! ;)

*hugs*

Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on May 15th, 2011 12:01 pm (UTC)
I think I was pondering Michael confessing during the time they were working on the escape, like digging in the break room or something.

On the one hand, it wouldn't be very cautious given Lincoln has shovels and hammers handy. On the other hand, Michael just saved Lincoln's butt. And it's not like Lincoln needs shovels and hammers to kick Michael's ass anyway right? *g* More seriously, indeed, it could a moment when they have enough time to talk about it. Or even during the road trip, with both of them stuck in the car.

I'm going to have to rifle through your memories then but I'll try not to leave them untidy! ;)

LOL, sure ;) I re-arranged them a few weeks or months ago, even added the main pairings or characters involved in the story to make it easier *proud* The recs, though, are still under construction.
Why, yes, I'm a bit fussy and tend to make a bunch of fic lists :-p

Edited at 2011-05-15 12:02 pm (UTC)
Maz (or foxxy!): A Little Joytuesdaeschild on May 18th, 2011 12:36 pm (UTC)
On the one hand, it wouldn't be very cautious given Lincoln has shovels and hammers handy.

True. But you're right that Lincoln doesn't need shovels or hammers to kick Michael's ass! I do agree that they would need a quiet time to talk about it, so your scenario is better. I just wouldn't want Lincoln to find out something like that after Veronica had died.

I re-arranged them a few weeks or months ago, even added the main pairings or characters involved in the story to make it easier *proud*

And what a fine job you made of it! I had no trouble finding the relevant fic. I wouldn't call it fussy...I'd call it organised. :-) If only I could take a leaf out of your book. *sighs*