Category: Lincoln/Michael (Slash)
Summary: Post-Escape, established relationship. Follows directly after “Darkness Falling.” Michael cannot outrun the clouds gathering over the relationship he has with Lincoln.
Author’s Notes: Written for the fanfic100 challenge, where I have the slash pairing of Lincoln and Michael. This is for prompt #70, “Storm.
Michael stumbled out of the parking lot, leaving Lincoln and the blond woman to finish their flirtation. Or their mating dance, if it came to that-- and he really couldn’t stand thinking along those lines any farther.
He headed down to the ocean, needing to calm down—to think—before going back to the house. The beach was dark and empty now, the waves hypnotic and soothing. He took his shoes off, as he so rarely did, and wandered in and out of the edges of the pooling tide. The moon shone brightly overhead, the sole witness to all the pieces of him that were missing.
He’d known it was possible, always known it, though he’d been unable to keep himself from hoping. If he were being honest, he even knew that it was likely—maybe even inevitable. All those things that made Lincoln irresistible worked on other people just as well as they did on him. And Lincoln himself was drawn to the ladies—too many of them, too often. Always. Men were not his preference, or even second choice, and when you added in the fact that the man in question was his own brother… Michael knew all too well that Lincoln didn’t like it when things got complicated.
He sat down a little farther from the water, watching the moonlight weaving through the waves. He could not hide down here forever. Sooner or later, he would have to brave the emotional battle to come.
He breathed and waited, gathering his strength. Finally, he stood up and brushed himself off, pulling his shoes back on and heading up to the house. Better to be prepared. Better to have a plan before Lincoln showed up, whether that was tonight or tomorrow or days down the road.
The lights were still off at home, and Michael felt absurdly relieved. He stood in the small living room, surveying his options, and quickly found the line between what he could deal with and what he couldn’t. Lincoln, in the same bed with him after what Michael had seen, would be altogether too much. Michael pulled an extra sheet and pillow out of the hall closet, and a couple of blankets, and made up the couch. He figured that locking the bedroom door would be a clear enough message if Lincoln got home later in the night.
He dug out the rum that they kept for mixed drinks, and downed a glass of it for his sanity and his nerves. He brushed his teeth and took some aspirin, and was turning on the living room lamp by the sofa when the front door opened.
His stomach clenched over the alcohol inside it, and he turned away to gather his composure. It was too late to bolt into the bedroom, and that was a coward’s choice anyway. He schooled himself to calmness, readying himself to face his brother.
The hand that clapped him on the shoulder made him jump, and he backed away from Lincoln’s boisterous greeting.
“You were gone forever today,” Lincoln said.
Michael’s gaze flicked down toward the floor. “Not entirely,” he said.
‘Well, you hadn’t come back by dinnertime, so I decided to go out for awhile instead of waiting around here.” Lincoln seemed to take notice of the edgy look on Michael’s face. “Probably should have left a note,” he mumbled as an afterthought.
Michael kept his voice as even as possible. No nagging, no accusations. “That would’ve been a good idea,” he said lightly. “I wasn’t sure whether something had happened, and I had to go out looking for you.”
“Oh, yeah? I was down at the Riptide.”
“Yes,” Michael said simply. “I saw you through the window, talking to some blonde woman.”
“Yeah. She was pretty nice. I liked her a lot.”
Michael gritted his teeth and looked away. He had seen enough blowups with Lincoln and his girlfriends to know that drama and histrionics would drive his brother away like that. He was not going to get all girly about this and throw his dignity after his heart. He would hate himself for it, and it would only make things worse.
Lincoln had edged around to the side to try to get Michael’s attention again. “She said she had a sister. Thought you might like to meet her.”
Michael didn’t even look up. “Lincoln, if you try to set me up with her, or anyone else, I may kill you in your sleep,” he said flatly.
“I am not in the market for dating. At all.” Trust Lincoln to make him say it, to define what should have been obvious.
It was then that Lincoln finally noticed the made-up sofa behind his brother.
“Are we having company?”
Michael couldn’t quite contain a noise of exasperation. He spun on his heel and headed into the kitchen for another crack at the rum.
Lincoln followed right behind him, too quick and too close. He grabbed Michael’s arm, turning him around and backing him up against the counter. “I have the feeling I’m missing something here.” His confusion was evident, and that made it all even harder.
“Lincoln…” Michael began. He had nowhere to move, and finally settled on putting his hands on Lincoln’s chest and pushing him back. He caught his gaze, and pled his case. “I know we haven’t talked about this relationship over the long-term, and I guess I just didn’t want to force the issue before I had to. But what we have is… real, and so amazing. And for me, it’s complete—just the way it is.” Michael swallowed, and looked away. “But I’ve never just assumed that you felt the same way. I don’t know what this is for you—whether it’s good for now, good for awhile, or just… convenient.”
Lincoln’s grip on Michael’s arms tightened. “Wait a minute—where is this coming from? Was it that woman at the bar?” He ducked his head around to where he could catch his brother’s eyes.
“Michael. I didn’t sleep with her. I wasn’t planning on sleeping with her.”
Michael felt the slightest lessening in the tightness around his heart, but didn’t let down his guard. “I wasn’t trying to say that you did,” he said softly. “But it seemed… that the possibility might have occurred to you. From what I saw.” He took a deep breath, and kept on going. “I think we need to step back a little. Give you some time to figure out what you want to be doing. Who you want to be doing it with.”
Lincoln’s tone was annoyed. “What makes you think I need that? Did I say I wanted a change?”
Michael’s voice was quiet. “No. But I think I need you to be sure. More sure than I saw tonight.”
“I didn’t do anything! I was just talking!”
Michael’s touch had softened. “Lincoln. I don’t want my needs and my desires to make your choice for you. I need to take myself out of this equation for you to see this whole thing clearly.”
“And what, you want me to sleep on the couch now?”
“For awhile. Until you know.”
Lincoln shifted sideways, crossing his arms. “And how long will that be?”
“I don’t know. At least a few days. Maybe longer. We’ll both know when you’ve figured it out.”
That tightness was forming around Lincoln’s eyes again, and his mouth had hardened. “All right. For you, I’ll do it. For awhile. But I still don’t think it’s necessary.”
“It’s important to me. This—us—matters to me. If I have to let it go, I want some warning.”
Michael’s eyes were too bright, and Lincoln understood what he was seeing more than what he was hearing.
He nodded his head, and pulled Michael to him gently, pressing the softest of kisses against his cheek.
“I’m sorry,” he said.
“Me too,” Michael whispered. He brushed his hand over the side of Lincoln’s face, and then he was slipping away, across the room.
Lincoln could only watch in silence then as the bedroom door drifted shut.
-------- fin --------
(On to the next part)