PART 6

Tinkerbel: You know that place between sleep and awake, the place where you can still remember dreaming? That's where I'll always love you Peter Pan. That's where I'll be waiting. – Peter Pan.

'I needed to get out of there...I put my blood into the escape plan. I wasn't going to let it fall out of my hands like that. I was in control most of the time. It's not the first time I had a break down like that. But it was the first time I let myself go there. Hopefully the last too.' He sighed.

'Did you induce yourself into a psychotic state?' I asked matter of factly. Part of me wanted him to tell me that he hadn't...because the thought of Michael doing something so dangerous to himself scared me out of my mind. But another part of me wanted to believe that he did have some kind of control...because the thought of him falling so deep down without anything to stop him...scared me even more.

He was rubbing his eyes and letting out a frustrated groan, he turned to me once more ...

'It's complicated...I don't know if I can really explain. When I was little, before we knew I had low latent inhibition, I had a lot of those episodes. Didn't know how to control it yet. Scared the hell out of me. Apart from my mother, Linc was the only one who could get me out of it...Certain things...stimuli sort of trigger my mind into a short circuit. I've learned over the years to come to anticipate these triggers. Darkness and a lack of stimuli, like in ad seg, are my worst triggers.'

'Oh Michael...' I softly whispered, feeling his anguish...

'Linc was there, talking to me through the pipes...helping me to keep my focus. But then I realized that maybe I could use it...to get me out of there quickly. So I stopped listening to Linc's voice and started focusing on the darkness...it only takes a moment of letting go...just one moment and everything falls to pieces. It's like an explosion of flashes...a neverending stream of images burnt on my eyes before just as quickly, everything turns still. The world stops completely and I'm left in complete nothingness.'

He took a deep breath, wetting his lips...drawing all my attention to those luscious lips I wanted to touch so much. His hand had fallen down and rested loosely on my exposed legs. He started drawing circles on my naked skin with his fingers. Seemingly focusing all of his energy towards his movements. I could feel the tension in his body remembering that horrible day. When he stopped his hands, he shifted his focus to my face and looked almost through me...distant. I had to strain to hear his next words. He mumbled them, like he was saying something to himself.

'...but I heard you when you came into the cell. You broke through the hase and the pain. I heard you, Sara, even when I didn't want to hear you. You were there...' He swallowed as I watched the emotion go through him.

'You scared me. You scared the hell out of me.' I thought I had lost him and I hadn't known how to get him back. Felt so helpless, so guilty for getting him in there, for not helping him when he'd obviously been through so much pain.

'I'm sorry... I couldn't think of any other way to get out of there. I needed to get to the psych ward. Needed Haywire to complete the tattoo again.' I acknowlegded the facts, giving him a sad but understanding look. I didn't like what I was hearing, but I had asked the truth. A part of me felt the anger rise up again for the way he had used me. Appealed to my feelings. Played with them, knowing I'd give in. Knowing he had that power of me...because I cared. As much as I felt angry that he'd hurt me, I felt even more anger for the way he hurt himself and the way this beautiful man kept crossing his own boundaries and limits to save another man's soul. To save his brother. How much did he really put at stake? How many sacrifices would he really make? I couldn't get my head around his plan: was it a heroic measure of brotherly love, born out of an unspoken bond shared between two men so different yet ultimatly connected or was it the work of a madman, whose genius and sheer devotion had given him the opportunity to make amends? My mind drifted back to the day I'd found him in ad seg and the days afterwards spent worrying about him. How I'd had to stop myself from going over to psych ward everyday to check on him. How the butterflies had churned in my stomach the day he'd requested to see me. How I'd felt like a teenager on a first date. I realized I'd been staring out into nothingness and Michael was carefully watching me. Giving me time to process everything. Waiting patiently for my next move, my next question...

'The innuendo in the psych ward?' My fingers slowly crept up his neck, making their way to the strong line of his jaw. I could feel his stublle, teasing the tips of my fingers, the sensitive flesh.

'That was mostly charm. I was happy to see you, like always. But I needed to get out of there and you had the power to do that.' He sighed again, frustrated. Like he was unhappy with his answer. He continued, stressing his words. 'The plan was set in motion. I didn't have much time left and the other inmates were complicating things. I knew I was using you but at that point, I'd exhausted all other options and I was reaching. Going on faith, on hope...on desperation to save my brother. I owed him at least to try to get out...'

I had thought as much. In the long hours alone on the run, fearing for my own life and his, I'd replayed many of the moments we'd had together. Trying to figure it all out. Trying to understand Michael, to understand his plan...to make sense of my part in it.

He tugged on the t-shirt I was wearing to get my attention. His t-shirt. He gave me a shy smile with a look that spoke volumes. He wanted me to believe his next words..

'Though the gift was sincere..' In a flash I saw his heart in his eyes. The vulnerability there overwhelming. And then he quickly averted his gaze to his hands. Toying with my shirt. Edging me closer. 'Actions speak louders than words, I guess.' He added.

A smile crept over my lips and warmed me as I saw it filter through him.

'But I'll always be sorry for how things turned out those last few days. I didn't feel like there was any other way... It really did tear me apart to do what I had to do...with you.' He added, defeated.

My hands went behind his neck, carressing his muscles there. The hairs on the back of his neck teasing my fingers.

'I realize that now...but back then, there were so many questions surrounding you, so many contradictory thoughts and feelings. I never could understand why you blocked me out and wouldn't trust me. That frustrated me...made me doubt my own feelings. It scared me that you could get to me like that. You were never just an inmate to me, no matter how much I needed you to be just that. But I know now why you couldn't tell me.'

I still had one question to go, one answer ... as my fingers found their destination...I watched as Michael closed his eyes and released the breath he'd been holding. My index fingers dipped into the small curve of his lips. Touching, exploring...slowly...precisely...lovingly...passionatly...the final question as I let my hand fall away from his face.

'How about the kiss?' This was –the- question of course, we both knew it. Fish or cut bait... He stopped all his movements and pushed himself up on his arms. He turned his upper body so he was leaning on one arm, coming up level with me. His voice was hoarse when he spoke, filled with emotion but determined nonetheless.

'The kiss was all Michael Scofield. The real Michael. The one that wished he wasn't in a prison, didn't commit a crime and didn't need to get his brother out of a death sentence he didn't deserve. It was real and it scared me. I wanted you so much I thought I could almost forget about the plan.'

He let his free hand play with my hair, just like he'd done back then. I closed my eyes and breathed the scent of him. Felt the moment, the sincerity of his words. Let them heal the wounds of doubt and self-protection.

'I let go of the plan, couldn't go through with it. Couldn't distract you with a kiss and steal away your keys. If anything, Sara...that moment was just about you and me. No plans, no charms...your lips touching mine, my heart reaching out to yours, the neverending thoughts in my head silent for just this once.' And when I heard him plead his words with such conviction and passion I realized this was in fact the real Michael Scofield. I started laughing. A bubbling feeling coming from deep inside of me and cleansing me of all the feelings of despair, loneliness, betrayal, abandonment and self-loathing that had kept me company over the last few weeks.

At first, Michael looked suprised at my laughter but he soon joined me in quiet bits of laughter himself. The tension in his body lessened and I knew he understood. Both our backpacks full of excess luggage and emotion had been discarded. We were free. We had set our own anxieties free...looked them straight in the eye and then into each other's and they had vanished in the tender light of the bond we shared. And with that our lips found each other once again. Unlike in the train, this kiss didn't start tentative but tender and quickly increased in intensity untill we were left gasping for air. Hands searching for flesh, touching, grasping, claiming...untill our bodies fully touched each other. My body closely wrapped around his. Chest against chest, the tension hanging in between us as palpable as an electric charge in the air. Suddenly the passionate storm gave way to deliberate stillness. With the slowest of kisses, my tongue started exploring his intoxicating mouth untill we were breathless again. And as I let my head rest in the crook of his shoulder, feeling his laboured breathing, inhaling the sweetness that was uniquely his...the storm inside my head and heart was finally spent and I felt home...

Michael clinged to my body and wrapped his arms around me, hugging me like he was holding on for dear life. With my head still firmly plastered against his shoulder, I felt the tension in his body build again, ready to snap at any time. He released a muffled sob as he pulled me even closer, tighter, untill he was nearly crushing me in his effort. Hot tears were streaming down his beautiful face, mingling with my hair strewn against his skin. Tension crackled and slowly, bit by bit the sobs subsided untill there were only silent tears. My fingers had started caressing his skin, touching every exposed bit of flesh within my reach. Staying close to him, comforting him with my whole being, willing the tension to evaporate and leave his tormented soul. The intensity of his release didn't scare me, it only strengthened the feelings we just shared. I had been granted a glimpse at the complexity and depth of this man's character and the revelations had left me completely speechless of Michael's capability to love another human being.

When the tears stopped, I continued my efforts, soothing, calming, loving. I pulled on the sheets underneath our strangled bodies and shifted both of us so I could pull them up to cover our cooled bodies. We were both drained from the events of the last few weeks and touched by the feelings and truths exchanged tonight. They needed to be voiced so that we could rest safely in each other arms, drawing strength from the inexplicable bond we had come to share. I reached for the bedside lamp as I looked at his face bathed in light. I placed the softest of kisses on the corner of his mouth and traced the line of his lips with my tongue, then turned off the light. Nestling closer too him once more, I rested my head against his, whispering close to his ear.

'Sleep with me Michael, tonight...sleep with me. No more bad dreams...'

'Sara...' He kept mumbling my name while placing the softest of kisses on top of my head.

We both needed sleep. He slowly turned his body towards me, molding our bodies together untill we were a perfect match. Neither of us said anything, listening to the sounds of each others breathing. I listened to the strong beat of Michael's heart gradually slowing its pace. I felt his body relax deeper into mine with every breath. Turning my head to look up to him, I stilled as he was watching me so tenderly. A warm smile on his lips. A twinkle in his hazel eyes.

'You need to sleep Michael' I tried.

'I know.' Smile still on his face, growing wider.

'Then why are your eyes still open?' My voice had dropped into a low slurring pitch though it conveyed its meaning light and teasing.

'Because this is a really good dream.' He started caressing my arms, up and down. Over my back, making me squirm against his body.

'Charm act.' I whispered.

A smile bubbled up and the sound of laughter made my heart warm. We had come full circle.

'I'll be here in the morning, you know. I'm not leaving again.'

'I know.' He sighed, a contented sigh.

'Then close your eyes and dream with me Michael.' My voice merely above a whisper, my body relaxing to the point of slumber under his calming touch.

'Night.' His soft voice murmured. 'Thank you, Sara.' It was a whisper; muffled into my hair as he squeezed me tighter and gave into exhaustion.

I kissed the hollow of his throat. Tender. Determined. Meaningful.

I knew we still had a long way to go. And not even Michael could 'plan' or foresee all the demons and fears that were still lurking in the dark recesses of the closet. But being here with him tonight had made me realize that there was also strength and hope...faith to hold on to.

'Sweet dreams, Michael.' I whispered against his skin and I knew that tonight the nightmares would not keep him company...I would.

And even though I didn't know what the reality of all the tomorrows would bring, I could give into my feelings for Michael. I could accept my part in the plan. I could accept that it had been real, it was real now. And no matter what, we would always have those precious memories shared in a forbidden place, a forbidden time. In a world so different from the one we were facing now that it felt like it happened in a dream. I didn't know what roads we would be traveling upon or where they might lead us...but I knew that tonight ...we had found a place to start...together.