A/N: First of all, the beautiful picture that I'm using as the cover was fanart made by tttroy (as they are known on dA and y!gallery) and I have full permission to use it. And all their stuff is really good, so you should go look at it.
Okay, this is a very long (132 chapters not including backstory and sidestories) on-going prison AU that I have been posting for the last... two and a half years on other sites. Currently it's being rewritten to fix general inconsistencies, rewording, characterization (particularly with characters that were only revealed officially after I wrote them in) and tweaking a few events to make the events make more sense with said changes in characterization (though the basic story is basically the same.) I'm posting the redone version as I go along, so if you haven't read it on another site, I wouldn't recommend reading it on those sites because they won't be updated until I'm done editing.
If you have, no need to really re-read, I'll list the changes before I get started with new chapters on the other sites. (But if you do reread and leave reviews, avoid spoilers for chapters that aren't on here yet.)
It should be noted that despite numerous rewrites there still are a lot of weird characterization issues stemming from the fact that this fic was started a LONG time ago (we're talking pre-season-8 here) and by the time it was obvious I was writing wrong the characterization issues couldn't be removed without changing the plot, hence some of the weirder aspects.
WARNING: Violence, implied sexual situations and implied rape (no on-screen sex) and occasional character death. This is not a happy fic. Also man-on-man relationships, as well as some straight ones. You have been warned.
Chapter One: Fresh Fish
Donut was annoyed.
Granted, he had a lot of reasons to be. Anyone who was being sentenced to prison because they couldn't prove the death of their psychotic roommate was in self-defence would be annoyed. But they would be getting annoyed at other things. The fact that they were getting sent to prison, perhaps.
Donut's primary irritation at the moment was the orange jumpsuit that came with the territory. It was scratchy and chafed something awful. Not to mention the crotch wasn't roomy at all.
"Move along," the guard said, prodding him in the back with her nightstick. Donut quickly shuffled ahead to avoid being poked again by the woman marching him to the warden's office. He was fidgeting a lot. Trying to get the jumpsuit in a position where it would stop chafing. Maybe the jumpsuit was the real punishment. Spending the next twenty years, provided he got parole at the earliest point possible, in this itchy jumpsuit? That was probably, at least to Donut, the stage of Hell that was always left out to stop people wetting their pants and crying in fear.
As they got closer to the warden's office, Donut started thinking about the other problems that prison life was bound to have. The same bland food day in and day out. Doing laundry without fabric softener. The fact that when he left, he would be at least twenty years older. That part worried him the most. All his youth, gone. Gone!
Prison was just not an inviting prospect at all. He was far too pretty for prison. If the movies and occasional porno film had taught him anything, it was that he was basically currency in a place like this. He didn't want to be currency! Prison guys looked like apes, and that was waaaaay too close to bestiality. God, he hoped prison wasn't like in the movies.
Finally, the guard directed him through a door. Upon entering, Donut found himself in an office decorated with various war memorabilia. And seated behind the desk was a man in his late fifties, by Donut's guess. The plate on his desk simply read 'Sarge.' Though his war days were behind him, he still looked the epitome of the manly military man, crew-cut and everything.
"Sit down, Cupcake."
Cupcake? Do I look like I'm covered in frosting?
Donut's only audible response was a small grunt, as his fear of everything around him was making it hard to speak. He sat down, uncomfortably aware of the guard still standing behind him, her nightstick at the ready. Sarge climbed to his feet and walked around him. Donut wondered if this was some sort of intimidation tactic before Sarge snapped his fingers.
"Goshdarn it, you don't look like a sports man. You look like a pansy," he grumbled. "How is Red Team meant to smash the Blues into the dust if it consists of a pansy, a dirtbag and Simmons?"
"...What's a Red Team?"
"Damn the dibs rule, damn it to heck," Sarge continued, ignoring Donut's question entirely. "Damn Flowers, this is his fault. He called dibs on the last lifer, and we only have a cell open on the Red side. Conniving bastard. Well, you'll have to do. What's your name, Princess?"
"Um. Franklin Delano Donut. People always call me Donut."
"Well, I'm Sarge. Me and Captain Flowers are in charge of guarding you and the other criminals. Once we're done here, Tex will take you down to your cell. You'll be in the same cell block as the other murderers, both Red and Blue-"
"There's Blues as well?"
"-ya'll can have a nice chat with your fellow Reds about all the men you've gutted. It'll be just like in the army, son. Well, except what you did wasn't authorized by the military!"
"It was self-defence," Donut protested. Of course, he'd been protesting that ever since the police took him in, but it hadn't done anything.
"Yeah, kid, that's what they all say. Though to be honest, you don't look like no murdering scumbag to me. But all that means is that you're sneaky. ...Could always use a sneaky Red!"
"I'm not very sneaky."
"Sure you're not. Anyway, if you want to survive your time in here, you need to be manly and tough! Maybe get some of them prison tattoos."
"Lift some weights and such. Well, this prison doesn't actually have a gym. But improvise!" Sarge thumped Donut on the shoulder in what was meant to be a manly gesture of comradeship. It was the most painful display of manly affection that Donut had ever received. "Stay on my good side, don't trust those goddamn Blues and you'll live. Few scars, maybe, but a man should have a few scars to display his courage to the world! Tex, take him down to the cells."
The woman behind Donut nodded and prodded Donut in the back. "Come along, you."
Once they were far enough from the warden's office, Donut asked quietly, "Uh. Is he alright?"
"No. Sarge is insane," Tex said bluntly.
Oh hooray, so the prison is run by someone who should be in a mental ward. That's comforting.
"And what's a Red?"
"Look at the ground," Tex said, as she guided him into the cell block. Looking at the floor, Donut saw that there were two stripes painted on the ground, one on each side of the walkway. The left one was red, the right one blue. "Sarge ordered the inmates to be divided into two colours and be forced to play sports against each other. Presumably out of boredom. He runs the 'Red' team, Captain Flowers runs the 'Blue' team."
"Erm. Which sports do they make us play?"
"Does it matter?"
It probably didn't. Donut wasn't brilliant at sports, with the exception of high school netball. He'd been fabulous at that, but somehow he didn't feel like that was a prison-ish sport.
"Anyway, you only play sports against the others in your section of cells. For you, that'll be the lifers who have committed murder, same as you."
As they passed one cell, he heard footsteps stir and someone whisper, "Hey, Tex. Tex!"
Tex came to a halt. "Goddammit, what? You, wait here," she ordered, before backing down the walkway a little to talk to one of the inmates, a man with black hair and a goatee. Donut couldn't hear what they were saying, since they kept their voices low. But he could swear, although it had been a very quick movement, one that looked like it'd been practiced many times, that the inmate had passed her something. A piece of paper, maybe?
After a few moments of talking, Tex walked back to Donut, slipping whatever the inmate had handed her into her pocket. The inmate with the goatee peered through the bars at Donut and grinned.
"Welcome to Hell," he said, in a slightly mocking tone of voice. Donut had no chance to reply before Tex started pushing him back along the walkway.
There wasn't much further to go. She stopped him again a few cells down and started rifling through her keys to unlock the cell. A minute later, the cell was open and she pushed Donut in none too gently.
The cell was sparsely decorated. A bunk with a lumpy mattress, footlocker, a stained toilet and equally stained sink. Every piece of furniture was bolted to the ground, presumably to stop one of the bigger inmates from clubbing someone to death with it. The cell smelt like someone had thrown up. Donut wrinkled his nose. Lace. The cell definitely needed some lace. Or at least a nice rug.
"Don't make a fuss. Lights go out in a few minutes. If you make any loud noise or act out in any way, you will be punished. Understood?" Without waiting for a response, Tex slid the door shut. There was a small clang as she did so.
That tiny clang felt like the loudest sound that Donut had ever heard. It rung in his ears afterwards. The noise was so... final. There was no getting out of this now. He was stuck here.
Donut felt his eyes prickle and tried to hold back the tears. He stood there for a while, silently trying to fight off the urge to sob. He stood there for so long that the lights went out before he even reached the bunk.
Life. He was here for life. His only chance at ever escaping this prison was parole, and he wasn't ellegible for twenty years. So that was what he had to do. Survive for twenty years without dying or going mad. He could do that.
He could do that.
He could do that.
...He couldn't do that. Who was he kidding? He wanted to cry before twenty minutes were up, how could he last twenty years?
But what other choice did he have?