Author: neversince [fic archive]
Word Count: 1408
Summary: She realizes he hates everything he's done, but he loves his brother more.
Spoilers/Warnings: Nothing specific; general through 1x03 'Cell Test'. Post-escape speculation.
Notes: This is post-escape speculation fic. I don't read spoilers, I don't know anything for sure, it's going to be wildly AU after a few more episodes I'm sure. Since it's mostly character-driven rather than plot-driven, it probably doesn't matter. The last ep I've seen at the time of this writing is 1x03 'Cell Test'.
His voice is deep, roughened by sleep or lack of, she can't tell which. Gravity laces its edges, and she inexplicably pictures the cocky new prisoner who walked into the infirmary only a month ago.
A month that was in fact, a lifetime. Everything has changed since then; all because of one man. It's surreal, and grasping onto it will take her, she thinks, more time than she has. Maybe she agrees to meet him (chartered flight, three days, double back) in spite of the absurdity. Maybe because of it.
Maybe 'be the change you want to see in the world' didn't turn out to be so earth-shattering. Maybe life had stalled. Maybe she hates her father. Maybe she loves Michael.
This won't end well.
And yet she goes.
Michael looks as hard as she feels. He lost weight in those last days; he's angular now. She wants to slap his face, call the cops, but he trusts her and he knows she won't. He hugs her. She doesn't hug back.
Her heart squeezes a little at his touch. He's warm, clean, smells like soap and sea salt. This is someplace people come to be happy. She wants to be happy too, but not quite enough to try. Not yet.
First thing he says: "I lied to you about being diabetic."
It's guilt; she's already figured that part out and says nothing.
His breath tickles the bare skin at her neck for a brief second before it's gone. He pulls away, steps aside to let her in and his hands slide into his pockets. She realizes it's the first time she's seen him outside of prison blues. Chinos, white t-shirt, bare feet. He could be on vacation, only he's not.
She should be happy. She can't. The door shuts behind her with a click and Michael engages the dead bolt. "I didn't know if you'd come."
His eyes are on her, she can feel it, but she doesn't look back. She's afraid to get lost.
Maybe be happy.
"I want to understand," she says.
The catch in her voice is noticeable enough to make her wince and bite her lip. Enough to make him step closer, hands out of his pockets. It's instinctual comfort, she knows. She doesn't want it.
Michael stops inches shy of touching her. "My brother didn't kill that man," he says. He speaks loudly, the tone that says 'I'm telling the truth, you have to believe me.' "He was set up and we're going to prove it. I just had to get him out before they killed him. I had to save him. It was the only option I had left."
The young man who walked into the infirmary thirty days ago had an air of calm that both intrigued and unnerved her. Prison gnawed at him, bit him down to the white of his bones and replaced arrogance with fury. Michael paces while he talks now. Fists clench and don't begin to loosen until she catches him, fingers skimming over taut knuckles.
Michael stops explaining the prison break. He realizes she doesn't want to understand the escape. She's figured it out by now. Motivation, plan, execution. What she hasn't figured out is him.
His jaw moves, loosens. He lets his fists out, works the kinks in his fingers. She follows the movement with her eyes. He has long, elegant hands. She noticed from the beginning.
He takes her touch as an invitation. Says her name behind his teeth and touches her shoulder, first with his fingers and then with his whole palm. She feels the heat of the blood pounding through his veins beneath the fabric of her shirt. He's coiled, tense. An animal let loose from a cage and unsure of which direction to run.
He says, "I'm sorry," and she knows he means it. She sees it in the sorrow in his eyes; it trickles down his entire face like tears.
Michael comes off as detached and unemotional but she figured out from the beginning that when he does connect himself with someone, it's affecting. She wants to go to him, say its okay - it'll all be okay - because that's what their relationship has been about. She's been the caretaker; always in control because she wasn't the one locked up. She didn't have real monsters in her closet.
Now, she's not so sure.
Instead, she steps away from his touch; looks at the place where his palm grazed her as if it's separate from the rest of her body. She feels the tears then, unstoppable even when she squeezes her eyes shut - and he catches her when she turns away.
"I was a means to an end," she says, voice cracking. She hates that she's losing control.
She hates him.
He says, "No," and it doesn't convince either one of them.
Michael was never a serious option, never a possibility. She knew that. She was rational, and a grown-up, and she knew they could never be together. She got lonely at night, but everyone does. Michael Scofield was a prisoner, end of story.
Until she walked back into the infirmary after being called away on a wild goose chase and Michael Scofield and Lincoln Burrows were gone.
Everyone gets lonely. Everyone longs for human touch.
She turns around, uses her fists to push him away. He's gotten too close. She hates him for seeing her like this. Hates him for everything because really, it begins and ends with him.
Michael takes two steps back at the force of her shove. Or he goes on his own, she isn't sure she'd have the strength to really move him. Her eyes skim the tattoo on his arms. It makes sense now, except not really.
"You used me," she spits, sounding angrier than she really is. She's really just tired.
Michael nods slowly; and as pain flickers over his face she realizes he hates everything he did, but he loves his brother more. For each action there is an equal and opposite reaction. She almost falls with the weight of it all. Knees buckle and Michael is there, arms covered in ink slipping around her torso, helping her back up. She closes her eyes against the onslaught. She feels nauseous.
Michael helps her to the bed and she sits, ready to bolt. The door, the bathroom, whichever. She tips her forehead into her hands. He rubs her back. She lets him. It's his turn to be the caretaker.
Minutes, hours - they're all ticks on a clock that don't really matter now - and she loses track. Her eyes blur with tears, clear, then blur again. Michael doesn't say anything. They're sort of past the talking stage, she knows. Everything they say is bullshit anyway. Thoughts flicker through her mind and then scatter, the way fish glint orange at the surface of the water for a second and then disappear into the murky depths of the lake.
Where's Lincoln Burrows? And the rest of the prisoners? What will they do now? Forever? She realizes they've put their forever hopes into solving this conspiracy. But you do time for breaking out of prison, and Michael's crime to get in was very real.
She thinks she should go. She should run without stopping. She wonders how far she'd have to go to forget Michael Scofield.
Michael leans forward and puts his mouth against her shoulder. She feels his teeth pressed against her shirt, the same place he burned her earlier with his palm. He says, "I never meant to hurt you. I didn't know I'd start to feel - "
He stops talking, leaves his mouth where it is. His breath is warm and she sort of likes the pressure there. There's no reason for him to finish his sentence. She knows he was going to say 'this way' and saying it begs the question 'what way'. It doesn't matter what way. He just broke his brother out of jail. She's kind of scared to realize she's probably as fucked up as he is.
She takes his proximity and uses it for leverage. Pushes herself back and finds the side of his head. Presses her lips against his temple before finding his lips.
She tastes her tears mixed in with the kiss. She'd told herself she wasn't going to cry.
She'd told herself she wasn't going to come, either. This won't end well.