Category: Lincoln/Michael pre-slash
Rating: PG-13 (for subject matter)
Author’s Note: This could be considered the predecessor to “What Michael Wanted,” followed by “The Arrangement.”
Warnings: Michael has deeper feelings for Lincoln than he should. DO NOT READ IF THIS OFFENDS YOU.
Summary: Michael wondered if he even existed anymore when Lincoln was gone.
It had started sometime during his teen years.
As a boy, there were no memories of his father, but he’d had his mother. They hadn’t been well off, but life was relatively normal, as much as it could be for a too-smart boy with no father at home.
After his mother died, things had changed. Lincoln became the center of his lost universe. Less an older brother and more a savior, Lincoln didn’t always know the right thing to do. But what mattered was that he tried, and that he was all Michael had left.
When Michael turned 10, Lincoln started to be away more often. He stopped coming home after school, instead showing up during dinner—or later. Michael wasn’t sure what Lincoln was up to, but he was certain of the effects it was having. Lincoln talked less. He stopped really paying attention to what Michael was saying. A pat on the shoulder, a tossed-off “How’s it going?” became the extent of their relationship. Michael lost interest in almost everything except those moments at the end of the day when Lincoln spoke to him, all too briefly.
Four years later, Lincoln seemed to be gone all the time. Sometimes before school, Michael would check his brother’s bedroom and see him sprawled across the bed in a nearly comatose state of sleep. On the worst nights, when his loneliness was choking him, Michael would peek quietly into Lincoln’s room. If he was there, Michael would creep through the dark and sit on the floor, resting his head against Lincoln’s bed and listening to him breathe.
Michael wondered if he even existed anymore when Lincoln was gone.
One night, in college, Michael woke up from a dream in which he had been kissing Lincoln. Breathless and wet, he lay there shaken and stunned. Most people would have been shocked by such a dream, but Michael knew better than to deny it. The dream was not at all what scared him. It had been rapturous and fleeting, almost like a glimpse of heaven.
Instead, he was gripped by the knowledge of what those feelings would drive him to do. In that moment of recognition, Michael knew that his fate had already been sealed. No matter what he wanted or planned, those feelings—and whatever direction Lincoln’s choices led them in-- would determine the course of his life. He would no more control his destiny as a man than he had as a child. And this was something he could not hope to change.
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