How the kissing scene in "Chicago" might have gone if Michael and Sara hadn't been interrupted.

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"You should know that..."

Sara trails off and looks down at her hands, an unreadable expression on her face. Michael makes his body perfectly still, holding his breath, all at once terrified about and exhilarated from whatever it is that she is about to tell him. Her eyes trace her hands like two unfamiliar objects that have somehow attached themselves to the end of her arms, and her shoulder is trembling against his.

"The first thing they tell you when you take the job," Sara whispers unsteadily a few moments later, "is...never to fall in love with an inmate."

Michael's breath catches in his throat.

Because it's everything he's ever wanted to hear-- but not here, not in this place, both of them hurt and scared and running from unseen enemies; both fighting for their lives. She deserves better than that.

He traces her face with his eyes for a few long moments, admiring the upward sweep of her nose and the firm set of her jaw. He knows he should say something, except what is there to say besides, "I love you, too"? But those words are hopelessly inadequate and cliché, barely scratching the surface of what he feels for her. There has to be a word stronger than 'love', a word that can accurately describe this all-encompassing, complicated, soul-binding thing that he feels for her.

His silence must have frightened her, because when he says nothing for a long time, she brings those deep brown eyes up from her long, thin fingers and fixates them upon his face. He sees fear and an earnest sort of hope in her face, and love. Because, yes, it's perfectly clear, now that she's said it. That thing in her expression that he's always noticed but could never identify-- he can see it clearly now. It's love. Love for him. When was the last time someone looked at him like that?

Possibly never.

He wants to give her everything, all of him, but he's stretched so thin, and not sure if he has anything left to give. But whatever he has left, he would freely give it to her. Because she's worth it, so much more worth it than he treats her, and he wants to prove it to her.

He glances at her again, hoping his eyes say everything that his words can't.

He feels something fierce swelling inside his chest, something like what he felt the moment he decided to break Lincoln out of Fox River. There isn't a name for it that he can think of, but it's strong and pure and good and right and he knows it's got something to do with how much he loves her.

He leans forward and cups her face, his hand encompassing her whole cheek. Her breath hitches ever so slightly in her throat, and he hopes that this isn't too much, too fast. He's kissed her before, but that was different. That kiss was about taking what he needed, and wanton desires too difficult to suppress.

But this is another matter entirely. Because he doesn't want to take what he needs from her anymore-- he wants her to give it to him. And he wants to give all of himself to her.

So he inches his face towards Sara's, watching for her reaction. She shivers beneath his touch, and his other hand finds its way towards her own, where he grips it tightly. Meeting her eyes one last time.

And then he catches her mouth with his own, and kisses her.

He kisses her gently, his hand holding her face still, his mouth moving tenderly over her own. She sighs, and parts her lips slightly in response, but not kissing him back just yet. He doesn't mind- this isn't about him or what he wants. This is about showing her that she's everything, everything he's ever wanted, and that this is not just a fleeting thing.

His hand runs through Sara's hair, and then he pulls away, ending the kiss. He watches her eyes, sees them shining with tears, and prays he hasn't done something wrong. Because for her to be scared or upset right now-- that's the last thing he wants. So he rubs his thumb along the softness of her cheek, an apology of sorts, and watches her expression.

But Sara doesn't pull away, or tell him that this is too much, too fast. No, she leans in, grasps his face in her hands, and presses her lips to his.

Michael's heart cries in relief. She kisses him gently, but there's no denying the feelings behind it. I love you, the kiss tells him. Believe me.

And he does. Oh, how he does.

He thinks his heart might burst from joy. The hand that isn't tangling in her hair, holding her close to him, moves up to grasp her arm, and he rubs the soft flesh there, hoping to stop her trembling.

He barely notices getting off the counter to stand in front of her, because he's kissing her so fiercely now that nothing exists outside his world but Sara. His hands go on either side of her, pressing against the mirror of the bathroom, boxing her in, and he continues kissing her like this is the end of the world and tomorrow doesn't exist. Which, in some deep recess of his mind, is a very real and frightening threat. But he pushes such thoughts away now, because this...this is unlike anything he's ever known, like he's dying and coming alive all at once.

After what feels like a very long time, Sara pulls her mouth away from his. Her arms have snaked their way around his neck, bringing him close to her. He looks down at her, so many emotions between them.

"Michael," she whispers. "Tell me that this is real."

Michael looks at her in disbelief, because after everything they've been through, after everything he's done for her, after this kiss, how can she still doubt what he feels for her? "It's real," he says, and brings his hands to her shoulders. "You and me, Sara. It's real." He echoes words that he already spoke long ago, but they feel different now, because not only is this now real, but it's forever.

Sara's eyes close, and her chin drops to her chest. "Michael, I don't want to get hurt again," she says in a quick breath. "I can't...I can't lose you. Not again."

The guilt comes flooding back, settling itself in his stomach and lodging itself in his throat, and he knows that no amount of apology will ever be enough for what he did to her. "I know," he whispers. "Sara, I'm so sorry." The words are so hopelessly inadequate-- just like, "I love you,"-- and he wishes that it were enough just to stand here, without the words, and let the hearts speak for themselves.

Sara shakes her head. "Michael, stop apologizing," she says with a small smile of amusement. "I forgive you. It's done and it's in the past." She takes a deep breath, and looks up at him. "You have no idea how much this terrifies me," she concedes, and Michael feels that tightening in his chest again. He realizes what it is when he hears the trembling in her voice-- it's the fierce urge to protect her, to keep her safe, to fight with his very last breath to keep her from hurt or pain. It's the same feeling he felt when he was planning his and Lincoln's escape, and that feeling scares him somewhat, because he knows the incredible things that that feeling can drive him to do.

"Me, too," Michael assures her, and means it, because this is far, far too precious to screw up, and unfortunately, when it comes to things like this, he's very good at screwing things up. "But I'm not going to let it pass us by." He kisses her again, briefly. "I love you," he says in a low voice, throaty and raw with emotion, his forehead pressed against hers. "You have no idea how much."

Sara laughs, and it's a laugh of joy, relief. "I love you, Michael," she replies, and Michael's heart soars, because he can count the amount of times he's been told that on one hand.

They stay like that for a few more moments, silent, their heavy breaths and beating hearts the only sounds to be heard. And then Michael slips his arm around her shoulders and lifts her from the counter. She runs her hands through her hair, a nervous tic of hers that he's always found somewhat amusing. "Ready to go back up there and face Kellerman?" he asks, that tight feeling in his chest intensifying tenfold at that man's name.

She nods. "Yeah, I think we can handle it," she smiles, and takes his hand.

He notices that she says, 'we' instead of 'I,' and he can't help but smile back, because she's with him now, and he knows that, despite what may happen, that's everything.

They head back up the stairs together.