Characters: Lincoln/Michael (Slash, Dark, Underage Warning)
Summary: Svengali’s motives were never pure.
Warning: This is not my usual Lincoln. This is assy, Dark!Lincoln written as a personal challenge to stretch his character. Though dark to me (about an 8 on the HalfshellVenus scale), this would be about a 1 on a T-Bag scale, so YMMV.
Author’s Notes: For thelana (Happy Birthday!), from an idea by tyrical. I hope this darker, deliberate Lincoln is everything they both hoped for, and still far more irresistible than he should be. Also written for fanfic100, this one for prompt #44, "Circle." Title by missyjack-- thank you!
Michael was his almost from the beginning.
From the first skinned knee while Mom was at work… to the first time Lincoln taught him how to really throw, Michael hung on Lincoln’s every word, his every idea, his very presence.
It wasn’t until later that Lincoln realized he could use that.
Things were still fairly typical between them before their mother died. There was the younger brother following and copying the older one. There most definitely was bossing and two-sided pouting.
But after she died, things became different. It isn’t easy for a teenager to raise a child that isn’t his. Especially when it’s the kind of child who wants to know Why for every suggestion or direction or decision to be made. A barely 16-year-old who spends his time doing day-labor to pay the rent instead of going to school himself runs out of ideas and energy very quickly.
One day, it occurred to Lincoln to try the thing he knew how to do best.
It wasn’t fighting—though he’d tried that too. That was a short-lived solution, lasting less than a week. Michael had flat-out refused to do the dishes, one of the few chores an 11-year-old could handle. Lincoln had been firm, before moving on to yelling. Finally, he’d smacked Michael across the face, swift and hard, the blow knocking Michael to the floor with its force. Michael had stared up at him, stunned, before running off to the bedroom and locking the door. They had stalemated over it for three days, with Lincoln pleading and cajoling and threatening all over again. Still, Michael had not come out. He’d saved all his bathroom and water needs, so far as Lincoln could tell, for when Lincoln was asleep or at work. Lincoln had actually had to call the school and tell them Michael was sick, sorely tempted to give in to sarcasm when they asked him why. “Stuck in a world-class snit” was not a medical excuse, though with Michael it could have qualified as a psychiatric condition. Michael came by his stubbornness honestly, and Lincoln was no match for him in the long haul. Where Lincoln would eventually explode, Michael would dig his heels in and wait. Lincoln had been able to practically feel Michael doing that on the other side of the bedroom door.
Finally, he had appealed to Michael’s sense of guilt. “I’m so sorry I hit you, Michael. I really am. Now I’m worried that you’re never going to forgive me. It’s just you and me Michael—you’re all I have left now. And I don’t know what I’ll do if you won’t talk to me, and be my brother again… Pretty soon, if you don’t come out and go to school they’re going to call the police, and then Social Services will split us up. And I’ll probably never see you again. Will you promise me you’ll at least say goodbye before that happens? Before they take you away?”
The door had opened so fast Lincoln had nearly fallen through it. Michael had wrapped his arms around him so suddenly and fiercely that Lincoln had barely caught a glimpse of the tears on his face. But they were there. And when he’d held Michael tight, stroking his back and neck, Michael had burrowed in further and harder just like any desperate child. Lincoln had half expected that. But when he’d lifted Michael’s face up and brushed the tears off his cheek, Michael had leaned into his touch like a neglected cat. And when he’d kissed Michael’s forehead so impulsively, Michael had trembled like a leaf in his arms.
That was when he’d known. Michael would not give in to force. But he had an indelible weakness for love.
And Lincoln was a skilled artisan at the wielding and withholding of love.
He’d used it sparingly at first. Nothing excessive, just a gentle hand on the shoulder when he wanted Michael to do something. A big smile or a hug when Michael finished a chore or task that he normally would have put up a fuss over. One time Lincoln had needed something really big, needed Michael to stay alone overnight—without turning the stove on or leaving the door unlocked, and here was a phone number if Michael absolutely had to call-- while he went out of town for a two-day job. He’d got down at Michael’s level, spoken to him very seriously using his most sincere eyes and voice, and cupped the side of Michael’s face with his hand. Michael had melted, his eyes giving up his very soul as he promised Lincoln he’d be good and stay out of trouble, that he was old enough to be trusted on his own.
Lincoln had filed that reaction away for future reference.
By the time Michael was thirteen, Lincoln had him well-figured out. The devotion he gave Michael at home was almost always returned in kind. Lincoln kept adjusting his own approach to keep one step ahead of his brother. His attentions, his caresses, were the kind he used on girls who already had a boyfriend, the girls he wasn’t already dating himself. His behavior said “If only,” and “Deep down, you’re really the one I want.” He liked the attention that flirting always got him, all those girls tied to him by invisible threads. They’d cozy up to him with their eyes, and he knew they thought about him when he wasn’t around. That was exactly the kind of situation he needed to keep his own brother in check.
Sitting on the sofa in the evening, he would draw Michael’s head down onto his shoulder. With an arm curled around his brother, he’d let his lips graze the top of Michael’s forehead from time-to-time. He could feel Michael’s longing for it in the taut press of that body against his own. After a few weeks, Michael would sit down and immediately drape himself across Lincoln, his head on Lincoln’s chest and his arm wrapped around the front of Lincoln’s waist. Lincoln would hold him close with both arms, enfolding him, while mentally racking up the tally of completed homework and paid bills and Michael knowing when not to answer the phone or the door.
Any time he had to up the ante, it always worked best when he left Michael wanting more. Lincoln would dangle just a taste of could-be/would-be/what-if in front of Michael, never enough to quite answer the questions that kept Michael trapped right where he was.
The night Michael found Lincoln’s stash in the underwear drawer, they argued and Michael just would not let it go. Lincoln shifted gears suddenly, becoming all reassurances and smoothness. He soothed his hands over Michael’s arms, talking more and more softly, his hands sliding up to stroke the sides of Michael’s face. Caught in that python gaze, Michael stilled into a state of frozen thrall as Lincoln’s thumb brushed over his lower lip and Lincoln leaned closer, closer until his breath whispered weightily against Michael’s mouth. Lincoln felt Michael’s head tipping back, saw Michael’s eyes drifting shut as his lips parted and he stood there waiting. And then slowly, deliberately, Lincoln let his mouth just lighter-than-air brush across Michael’s on the way to pulling him into a close, intimate hug. Lincoln wrapped his arm as low around Michael’s waist as it could go without slipping into new territory, and he could feel the measure of Michael’s clear want pressing into his leg. For the remainder of that night—and for weeks to come—they would not have that particular discussion again.
Months later, Lincoln stepped up his methods again. He’d stayed out stoned for three days, and came home to find Michael in a panic. Lincoln stayed calm, always edging closer, until he backed Michael into a corner in the kitchen. Letting his voice go deep with the tantalizing air of promise, he pushed lightly again and again into Michael’s space. As mesmerized as before, Michael let him, let his protests fall away as Lincoln leaned in further, further… there. Lincoln felt the uneven hitch of Michael’s mouth under his own as he kissed down and in, felt the exact moment when Michael crossed over and came in his pants.
That moment had the flavor of victory. Just then, Michael wanted whatever Lincoln would give him more than he wanted to always be right. And from then on, the gloves were off. Lincoln moved in a sliding scale of intimacy according to his need.
He schemed to hide his girlfriends from Michael’s jealousy, avoided parading his sex-life where Michael could see it. Veronica made the mistake of calling too often one night while they were out celebrating Michael’s birthday. A hand-job against the bathroom sink worked like a charm to keep Michael from fixating on the reasons for Veronica’s interest. It might have seemed like a special present, this sweet attention to the whole of Michael’s desire, but there was purpose hidden behind every skilled, distracting stroke.
The pregnant girlfriend laid his lies out in the open. Lincoln could not pretend that wasn’t his responsibility, could not deny how it all had come about. Michael knew—and he was angry. He held those half-truths over Lincoln’s head as emotional blackmail, and for awhile Lincoln found their situations almost reversed. He tried to appease Michael, to appeal to his sense of reason. But he’d lost control of Michael, and Michael’s stubbornness won in the end.
Lincoln had been forced to escalate, to bring Michael back under his hold. That was how he found himself stopping over to see Michael three to four nights a week, how it progressed from necking on the sofa to fucking on the kitchen table. Michael was fierce and demanding—and so responsive, so addictively into it—but he was compliant between the phone calls and visits. The fact that Lincoln couldn’t stop made him wonder which of them was in charge. Buried deep inside his brother, watching the flush come out on Michael’s cheeks and flash down his chest as Michael moaned and begged and called his name, Lincoln couldn’t keep himself from thrusting into the only home he knew.
It was a lifetime ago, that dance of seduction that he’d spun out oh-so-well. And he still hadn’t forgotten a single part of it.
He was in Fox River now, weeks away from dying. His brother had followed him into this soul-stealing Hell to save him.
Lincoln was finally man enough to regret what his actions had cost Michael. He’d pulled his brother along with him for twenty years, his hold on Michael lasting long after he’d needed or wanted it to.
But having made Michael who he was-- having drawn that loyalty out of him with every touch and kiss and finely-tuned method of manipulation-- Lincoln knew that it was all too late.
He had molded Michael into someone who could barely resist him, someone who could never truly manage to leave him. And somewhere along the way, he’d caught himself in his own web of deceit. Lincoln thought about Michael even now—the feel of him under his hands, the beauty of being Michael’s everything all those years ago.
There were times he still wanted that back, wanted anything he could grasp of the way it had been. He’d come full circle to that longing that had defined his brother. Or perhaps he wasn’t returning, and instead… he’d never left it.
There was no hope he’d ever find that life again. There was no-one left to petition or persuade anymore.
So now he waited for the inescapable end. He could not say whether having company lessened the burden or made it heaver with that added wrong.
Michael was bound to whatever path Lincoln set out, his destiny sealed from that first almost/someday/be-mine touch.
It was a fate intertwined, one inseparable from the sum of what they were.
It was tied into the long history of the two of them together: so subtly symbiotic... so rarely rewarding… so horribly doomed.
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