Summary: Post-Escape, established relationship. How much can be certain or lasting?
Author's Notes: Written for the fanfic100 challenge, where I have the slash pairing of Lincoln/Michael. This is prompt #32, “Sunset.”
The bathroom mirror is foggy, and Michael opens a window to release the shower steam into the cool air of morning. He has an errand to run today, and no desire to draw undue attention. He’ll shave and get dressed, and by the time he arrives he’ll look like any city clerk or storekeeper out on an early lunch.
He uses a towel to reveal his reflection, and the eyes staring back at him are the only part he knows. He has grown his hair for their life in hiding, in a way he never wears it, and he is surprised every time he sees it. He no longer looks like himself. He no longer feels like himself, in this new house and town and with a reinvented life. There is no more Michael for the outside world to see.
He finishes quickly, slipping back into the bedroom to get his clothes. Lincoln is still sleeping, but stirs a little when the closet door creaks. He watches Michael gather his clothes. “You don’t have to get dressed on my account,” he says, and Michael can hear the teasing in his voice. Lincoln’s eyes are taking in his brother’s naked form, and Michael is both embarrassed and pleased by the attention. “Going somewhere today?”
Michael rummages through the dresser for underwear and socks. “I’ve got to go into the city. I need to check on our status and get some money.” Michael pulls on a button-down long-sleeved shirt that hides his tattoos, and checks his watch.
“You’ll be careful?” Lincoln asks. It’s not really a question, but Michael knows Lincoln worries. They’re vulnerable, both of them, but Michael is easily the more identifiable of the two. If he were pressed, he’d have to admit that a full upper-body tattoo was not the wisest choice for a soon-to-be fugitive. But he can’t undo it now, and he can hate himself for it later.
“I might be back late,” Michael says, shrugging into a jacket. He takes his keys and wallet off the dresser, and Lincoln catches his arm to pull him down. “Be good,” he says, and draws Michael in for a kiss.
“You’re making it hard to leave.” Michael smiles as Lincoln’s hands squeeze his arms and come around to rock him gently. Some days they never leave the bed, but sadly this will not be one of them. “Got to go,” he whispers against Lincoln’s hair, and his kiss is one of regret. Lincoln is already settling back on one arm to watch Michael edge out the door, and the lazy pleasure written in his posture almost gives Michael second thoughts.
It is after dinnertime when Michael returns. There is no change in their status, but he has wired some more cash from offshore and that will hold them for awhile. The house is quiet as he drives up, and empty as he goes inside.
He grabs a bite to eat, looking over the newspaper and waiting for Lincoln. But it’s nearly nine o’clock when he finishes, and his brother has not returned.
Michael starts to worry. They don’t have cell phones, because the calls are too easily tapped and traced, and there is no note waiting on the counter. Lincoln could be goofing off somewhere, but if he’s been picked up by the police how would Michael know?
He squints for a moment, thinking. Pick the most obvious place and eliminate it, and work backward from there until he finds Lincoln. And if he doesn’t… he’ll come back to the house and work up a new strategy.
He checks the beach down below the house, knowing that Lincoln would probably already have come back as soon as he saw the lights signal Michael’s return. Sure enough, Lincoln isn’t down there.
It’s late, so a bar is the next best guess. There are several little taverns in town, and a couple of nicer places as well. Lincoln favors one of the newer spots, which has two televisions and well-priced drinks.
Michael is there in five minutes, trying to think of where he’ll look next if Lincoln isn’t there. He tries not to get too far ahead of himself, not to start on the road to panic. He steps up to the window, scanning the room inside.
Lincoln, sitting at the bar with a sultry blond, has too many drinks inside him and his smile is far too ready. Lincoln, all too clearly, is fine.
The same cannot be said for Michael. He stumbles back from the window and turns to lean against the outer wall, his head buzzing with disorientation. All thought is frozen as he struggles with the need to breathe, and the roaring in his ears is deafening. His eyes roam the sky, now turning purple in the sunset.
Darkness is falling, in the air and in his heart.
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(On to the next part)