Title: A Place In The World
Summary: Years before, Lincoln talks with Michael's state appointed shrink.
AN: So Michael probably wasn't diagnosed with Low latent while he was still young and I've probably got the ages screwy but whatever lol. I feel like Linc's made a lot of promises he hasn't been able to keep, but not because he didn't want to keep them.
The office makes Lincoln uncomfortable. The chair squeaks beneath his weight and the man behind the inexpensive wooden desk looks worn-down but Lincoln assumes spending all your time trying to analyze and diagnose the city's orphaned and abandoned can do that to a person.
"Mr. Burrows… you're here about Michael Scofield?" his name is Dr. Henderson but he's nothing like the shrinks Lincoln has seen on TV, but then again not much in his life has turned out the way it would have on TV.
"Yea… yea he's my little brother". Dr. Henderson nods and shuffles around some manila folders until he comes across the one with 'Scofield' written across the tab. "I don't exactly get why I'm here… I mean why can't I just talk to Michael's social worker?" The doctor smiles tightly and opens the folder.
"Just Lincoln" he corrects hastily even though he knows one day he's going to have to deal with being 'Mr. Burrows' without flinching from bad memories. 'Mr. Burrows your son is an excellent student', maybe he's got high expectations but the parenting books he read in the prison library said all expectant parents dream big.
"Ok, Lincoln… you are here today because I'd like to discuss your brothers mental health with you". Mental health. Again Lincoln conjures up images from television, bulgy eyed men in straight jackets banging their heads against the wall.
"There's not something wrong with Michael is there?" because if there is he'll kill whoever it is who was supposed to be in charge of his little brother all this time. When he got locked up Michael was fine, maybe not fine, but he certainly wasn't having mental health problems and Lincoln will break whoever was responsible for breaking Michael.
"Let me explain…its procedure for children in the system to meet with me, especially ones that has experienced sever loss in their lives. If I feel that they need a follow up then they continue to come on a regular basis. After a few sessions it became clear to me that Michael's mind didn't work like everyone else's. His grades, even through all of his hardships, have been phenomenal so he obviously didn't have a learning disability. After doing some research I think I've been able to make an accurate diagnosis. Your brother has low latent inhibition".
"Sorry Doc I left my medical dictionary at home. In laymen's terms please" Lincoln has never been incredibly patient but the doctor just smiles.
"When Michael sees things he doesn't just see an object… his mind immediately breaks it down and figures it out. Take something as simple as a pen" Dr. Henderson holds up a black ballpoint, "Michael doesn't just see the pen. His mind instinctively breaks it down into the spring and ink… he analyzes things and people…. takes them apart. I'd guess he's had me figured out since we first met. The only reason he tells me things other then what I want to hear is because I've earned his trust".
"He's always been extra good at math, I mean by 5th grade he was doing problems I was completely clueless about in high school. Are they connected?" Lincoln can remember Michael lugging home heavy math textbooks that probably weighed more than his own skinny frame, 'the teacher says I'm bored with material… she said I should try this' he would say and then lock himself in his room for hours, deconstructing high school algebra problems.
"Yes" the doctor smiles, "In people with high IQ's, and Michael's IQ is very high, low latent inhibition basically creates a genius". Lincoln scrubs a palm across his face.
"You called me all the way out here to tell me something I already knew. I mean… I didn't know that thing about the low latent whatever but we've always known Mike was smart. I didn't need a doctor to tell me that. It's great and all but…"
"There's more" Doctor Henderson cuts him off and shuffles around the papers once more. "Low latent can also be very frustrating. I'm just a state appointed doctor. I certainly can't be the one to teach Michael how to deal with his condition but one day he's going to need that help…"
"Look if he needs doctors I can get him doctors. I'll do whatever…."
"It's not like that. Michael isn't physically sick. His emotional state is fragile. Michael has a very low self-image and near no self-confidence…. with your father leaving and your mothers death and your incarceration…"
"He's been abandoned by us all" Lincoln confirms softly and it stings in his chest.
"Michael doesn't see himself as worthy of attention or love. All of the foster homes report the same thing. He doesn't speak unless spoken to, never asks for anything, and the only time he does its about if he can go see you or call you… he refuses to get attached or develop any kind of relationship with anyone else. And granted not all of the homes he's been placed in are anything to get attached to but he's never going to find his place in the world if he doesn't…."
"With all respect doctor Michael already has a place in the world", Lincoln sits forward in his chair and Doctor Henderson sighs.
"Lincoln… you're never going to get custody of Michael, he's only 13 years old, he could find a new home to belong in…."
"Whether he lives with me or not, I'm going to be there for him. I'll visit him wherever he goes, and I will fight for custody but either way… I'm not leaving that kid again. I promise you that".
"Can you really promise that?" the doctor asks, eyes wandering, and all but lifts up Lincoln's sleeves to reveal the track marks dotting his forearms.
"I kicked that habit while I was behind bars. And I'm not going back to jail. I've got a job lined up…and I've got a baby on the way. I'm not going to screw up…" Lincoln stands and turns towards the door. The doctor doesn't argue anymore and just sits back in his chair and closes Michael's manila folder.
"Regardless of all that" he starts just as Lincoln's hand grasps the knob, "Michael is going to have amazing opportunities, he could live an amazing life. But he's never going to accomplish his goals if he doesn't learn that he can belong somewhere where you don't…he has to learn to live without you".
"He's never going to have to" Lincoln swears one last time and pulls the door shut behind him, ignoring the pang of guilt in his heart.