Characters: Michael/Lincoln (Slash, somewhat Dark)
Summary: How could Lincoln know it was even possible for Michael to rescue him, or all that his brother would come to demand in return?
Author's Notes: Written during a 60_minute_fics session on "Weapons," and for my fanfic100 claim (this is "And"), this is a fleshed-out version of one of the "Stories I Never Wrote You" entries, namely the one for "Beware Of Greeks Bearing Gifts."
Also for the February foxriver_fic challenge.
I've come to get you out, Michael said.
Lincoln let him try because he was sure it would never happen.
It didn't start with Lincoln agreeing to it. You can't, he told Michael that first day, it's impossible.
Because it was.
It was far too late to save Lincoln, either from the system or from himself. Lincoln wasn't even worth saving, wasn't worth risking Michael's life for. When Michael showed him the tattoo (a series of disturbing biblical images devouring Michael's flesh), it just drove the point home: everything Lincoln had ever done wrong was somehow responsible for Michael's troubled state of mind. Lincoln's failures would destroy them both.
But he let himself be persuaded by Michael's enthusiasm as the weeks went on. Lincoln finally came to believe so strongly in that impossible hope that he was hardly surprised when his brother rendered it true.
In Nebraska, Lincoln found that there were other plans his brother had never mentioned. Having broken the two of them out of prison to save Lincoln's life, Michael had certain expectations. The key one was that Lincoln would be grateful.
Grateful wasn't a thank-you or a quiet hug, or even a promise to walk the straight and narrow until the end of time. Grateful was giving Michael the one thing Lincoln never could have imagined he'd be asked for— the whole of himself, body and soul.
It turned out that the army that had freed him from Fox River did so only to form its own occupation.
It didn't start with Lincoln agreeing to it. We can't, he told Michael, you're my brother.
Lincoln omitted all the parts about them both being men, all the reasons he didn't see Michael that way, didn't love him that way. It became clear that Michael did and would— and maybe always, a lifetime of always— until it was Lincoln who was wrong for not loving Michael enough, especially after everything Michael had done for him.
Every kiss was a form of self-betrayal (though Lincoln had betrayed so many others that this was the one time it couldn't matter). Every whisper, every touch, every slick-hard heated-flesh moment Michael demanded was one Lincoln owed him. He'd lost the right to say No.
They made it across the Mexico border finally, where freedom could almost be glimpsed. Generic tourists turned anonymous, they edged away from recognition with every passing day. Lincoln ached for the chase to be over.
But part of him knew it wouldn't help, for he was already caught. He was a slave to his brother's need for him, bound by the shackles of his own guilt. The chains had begun forming over a decade ago.
Under the stars of a new country, Michael warmed Lincoln's side. His skin was a seal against the night air, against the possibility of anyone or anything else— half solace and half suffocation.
There were times Lincoln wondered how much longer, how much more. When would he have endured enough to show his gratitude, to claim release from his brother's hold?
But the look in Michael's eyes was seared inside him, deeper than truth or hope or anything Lincoln knew before.
It didn't start with Lincoln agreeing to it.
But that never mattered. It was already too late.
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