Characters: Michael/Lincoln (Slash, Schmoop)
Summary (Paradise Universe): Michael plans the perfect first Christmas for Lincoln in their new home, but reality isn't paying attention.
Author's Notes: A little belated something for tuesdaeschild's birthday, shaped by the schmoop_bingo prompt of "holiday, one person sick" and fanfic100 ("Writer's Choice- First Holiday").
"How bad is it?" Lincoln asked.
Michael opened his eyes blearily. "I'm afraid if I move, my head'll fall onto the floor. Feels like it weighs a hundred pounds."
"Might set off the dynamite." Michael coughed, and grimaced as it rebounded right up through his skull. "Okay," he relented.
"Changed your mind?"
"Yeah." He winced as Lincoln's footsteps thudded across the floor. Everything was ten times louder than usual—the two birds squawking outside the house were this close to becoming tomorrow's dinner if they didn't shut up already.
Michael suddenly remembered that he'd forgotten to turn on the oven for the roast. He tried to get up, which sent jackhammers pounding through his head, and he couldn't quite hold in a yell.
"Michael!" Lincoln rushed to his side and eased him back down onto the bed. "What the hell were you doing?"
"The oven," Michael mumbled. "Forgot to start it. The roast cooks for hours."
Lincoln stroked Michael's forehead, his touch cool and soothing. "I don't think dinner's in your future," he said. "Not today."
"But it's Christmas!" Michael protested. "Our first Christmas since we left Fox River. And it's the first one in this house."
"I know," Lincoln said, his smile as gentle as his voice. "And that makes it special all by itself. I'm just sorry you're not feeling better."
"I guess you're right," Michael muttered. "Being here together is what really counts. But I had all these plans!"
Lincoln laughed, and kissed Michael feather-light and sweet. "You always do."
"So I'm stuck here in bed all day, is that how it's going to be?"
Lincoln lay down next to him and leaned up on an elbow. "I thought I'd make a fire, maybe put a movie on, and help you get settled in the living room. How does that sound?"
"Not too bad, actually," Michael admitted.
"And if you're really good, I'll even make tea."
Michael looked at him suspiciously. "You hate tea."
"Exactly." Lincoln got up again, his movements slow and careful. "You ready now?"
Michael felt like he'd already been in bed forever. The sofa would definitely be an improvement. "Sure, why not."
They made their way into the next room, and Michael lay down and waited for the world to stop spinning while Lincoln brought pillows and a blanket.
"So you were going to make a roast?" Lincoln asked. "Like Mom's?"
"Except for the part about burning it." Because that was the one thing their mother had never been able to cook, though she tried every year. Her optimism never waned—facts meant nothing once she set her sights on a goal.
Chinese food and the smell of scorched beef were longstanding Christmas traditions for Michael and Lincoln too.
Lincoln left and came back with some water and aspirin. "What else?"
"I actually thought about egg rolls and kung pao chicken, but the only place I know of is two hours away and they're closed today. So I was going to stick with baked potatoes and tangerines and eggnog."
Lincoln wrinkled his nose.
"Not all at the same time," Michael amended. "Couldn't really figure out dessert, though. I'm still not used to this climate. Were you serious about the fire?"
"I thought I was. Feels kind of warm already, though."
Michael couldn't help smiling, even with a sneeze threatening to break loose.
"This is some Christmas, with me getting sick and the weather closer to surfing than skiing…" The sneeze happened anyway, and it still caught Michael by surprise.
"Yeah?" Lincoln said. He handed Michael a tissue and tucked the blanket up around him. "I don't really miss the snow, and I definitely don't miss the cold. Chicago's winters got pretty brutal sometimes."
"True," Michael admitted.
"I like the beach, though," Lincoln went on. "And I really like being here with you. I never thought I'd live to see the outside of Fox River again, let alone make it here. I'm glad we did."
Michael looked up at him, at the happiness in Lincoln's eyes. "Even if it means giving up the perfect Christmas dinner followed by sex in front of a fire?"
"In the long run, absolutely," Lincoln said. He sat down in front of the sofa and leaned back, his head close to Michael's.
"Besides, you can't stay sick forever. We've been making our own rules for a long time now. So who says we can't celebrate Christmas a few days late?"
Michael smiled hazily, warmed by the whole idea. Now that was a plan he could work with.
---------- fin ----------