Pairing: Michael and Lincoln (Gen, Fluff, Kid!Fic)
Summary: Pre-Series Kid!Fic: Not all of Michael's plans work out as intended…
Author's Notes: Trifecta! Written for the 60_minute_fics prompt of "Burn," the pbhiatus_fic food challenge (I picked burnt chocolate cake, melted Snickers bar, and ice cream sundaes), and for my prisonbreak100 challenge ("Taste").
The smell that greeted Lincoln when he walked in the door was familiar.
Familiar, and not at all good.
He followed it to its source, which was the kitchen—just as he'd expected. The traces of smoke left in the air made his eyes burn, though the windows were already open.
He'd only been gone for a couple of hours, and he'd made sure Michael was settled in and doing his homework before he left. He wondered idly exactly how long Michael had waited before kicking off whatever had resulted in the current disaster.
"Michael?" Lincoln checked the oven—thankfully empty—then tried the garbage can. "Good god!" The fumes assaulted him, stinging his nose and eyes immediately. The air even tasted of it.
Charcoal-black cake, probably once chocolate. Now, just disgusting.
Whenever Michael was in trouble, he had this way of coming into the room sideways and almost casually—like he hoped you were calling him for some other reason. Not sneaking, exactly, more like slinking.
And here he was…
"What's all this, Michael? I'm pretty sure this cake didn't kill itself," Lincoln said.
"Kind of," Michael muttered darkly. "Anyway, I cleaned it up."
"That's not the point!" Lincoln said. "Why were you making it in the first place? And you know you're not supposed to cook when you're alone!"
"I know, but it's the only way I could make it a surprise."
"For?" Lincoln stopped for a minute, then "Oh." He felt like an idiot…
When he was younger, their mom's birthday had seemed like a national holiday—he'd planned for it weeks ahead of time, making cards in secret and hoarding his allowance toward a bottle of her favorite perfume.
But now, preoccupied with the important job of being a fourteen-year-old with friends to impress, he'd forgotten. His calendar was attuned to weekends and vacation, and little else. Somehow they'd crossed into October without him noticing. Oh, man…
"So how did it get burned?" Now that he realized it was her birthday, he wished Michael's plan hadn't self-destructed.
"I, um, sort of forgot about it," Michael admitted. "I had to look up steam engines in 'How Things Work,' and I started reading about them. Then I read the next section on rocket stages, and some other stuff after that, and then… then I noticed the smell."
"Nothing caught on fire or anything, but it was pretty bad." Michael shrugged. "Well, you saw."
And smelled. "Yeah."
Mom would be home in an hour, and they had nothing for her except disappointment. "Got anything else?" Lincoln asked.
"I have a Snickers bar from last weekend. It's kind of melted, though."
I'll bet. Michael was legendary for stuffing things into his pockets.
"I can't think of anything left to make," Michael said. "Nothing good, anyway. We could buy her a box of candy, but it wouldn't be the same."
Lincoln thought for a minute about how their mother used to treat special occasions when they were little. Going out to McDonald's was useless for anyone over ten, and a movie wouldn't cut it on a school night.
Outside the window it was getting dark. The neon sign for Flanagan's Drugstore was already lit.
Flanagan's was the kind of place where you could buy mittens in the winter and sand buckets in the summer. It had a little bit of everything, including toys and jewelry.
Lincoln remembered then that it also had a soda fountain. It wasn't much more than a few stools around a counter and a couple of tables in the corner. But they had ice cream sauces and maraschino cherries, and several kinds of ice cream. His mouth watered as he thought back to the last time he'd been there. He'd ordered an ice cream split, and he could still remember how it tasted—chocolate sauce over strawberry ice cream, strawberry sauce over vanilla, caramel over chocolate. Even two years later, he hadn't forgotten a single detail.
"Ice cream sundaes," he said to Michael.
"We don't have ice cream," Michael countered. "I already looked—to go with the cake."
"No, no," Lincoln said. "We can take her to Flanagan's and let her get what she wants."
"Oh." Michael blinked, frozen for a moment. He seemed surprised that the answer could be so simple. "Do you have any money? I think I have two dollars."
"I've got enough for this. We're good."
Michael looked relieved. He smiled tentatively and said, "I made a card. You can sign it too."
Always planning ahead, always so much better prepared than Lincoln.
"Then I think we're covered," Lincoln said. "But Michael?"
"Let's open the rest of the windows and get rid of the other evidence first."
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