Title: Crossing The Border

Author: HalfshellVenus

Characters: Michael/Lincoln (Slash)

Rating: M

Summary: Post-Escape established relationship. This falls in between the "Always" Series in Progress, and "Paradise."

Author's Notes: Written for the fanfic100 challenge, where I have the slash pairing of Lincoln and Michael. This is for prompt #93, "Thanksgiving" (the literal meaning of the word, not the holiday).

x-x-x-x-x

The escape team has been migrating South, shedding inmates along the way to improve all of their chances.

By the time they cross the border, it is just Lincoln and Michael in a big American battle-cruiser of a car. It's got bench seats, which Lincoln expects to be trying out very soon now that C-Note's out of the picture, and an air-conditioning system that has held up under the late-Spring heat.

They ride for hours, enjoying each other's quiet company, until they reach the outskirts of Chihuahua.

Michael pulls off onto a side road before they get too far inside the city. He takes a wig out of a suitcase in the trunk, ash-blond and a short-shag in style, and motions Lincoln over to the driver's side as he climbs back in.

"Hola," he says, and Lincoln looks over and cracks a smile.

"What the hell is that?" he asks, as they move back to the highway.

"Did you honestly think we'd get away with traveling together just looking like ourselves? This is a disguise—one of many, just in case—and I'm planning to use it to get us an actual motel room tonight."

Now that is an idea with all sorts of appeal, and Lincoln's mind has already detoured down a couple of the scenarios just in the last few seconds.

"So what's the plan when we get there?"

Michael checks the wig in the visor mirror, smoothing out the bangs and plopping an off-white cowboy hat on top of it. "I'm going to get us a room, something around the back, and then we'll drive the car around and go in. They don't need to know how many of us there are."

"Hmm, clandestine. I like it. Feels like a lunch-time rendezvous or something."

"I'm not touching that one at all," Michael says. He hands Lincoln a black baseball cap to put on.

"Eh—not really a hat kind of guy," Lincoln says.

"Exactly. All the more reason to wear it."

Lincoln shrugs and pulls the hat on. Michael has his reasons, he figures, like he always does. They usually turn out to be important.

"There," Michael says suddenly. "How does that one look?"

It's hacienda-style, clean-looking and glaring white in the light of day.

"Not bad," Lincoln says. "But the sign's falling apart. Let's keep looking—we can always come back."

Five blocks later is another motel. Palm trees and bushes all around the exterior, some kind of bright flowering plant hanging over the balconies and part of the roofline, and a single-story set-up to minimize parking-lot time.

"Huh…" Lincoln says. "Here?"

Michael gives it a quick once-over. "Why not?"

Lincoln pulls into the parking lot, near some bushes and away from both the street view and the front office window. Michael goes inside, leaving the sunglasses on, and Lincoln waits.

After a few minutes, Michael steps out and wanders around the back corner, a room key dangling from his hand. Lincoln starts the car again and follows, trailing behind as Michael ambles down the walkway. There's a slight swagger in his stride that seems new to Lincoln, but it fits with the hat—and he likes it.

Michael stops three rooms from the end and unlocks the door. Lincoln gets the car parked, and the food and clothes and stuff out of the trunk and follows him in.

It isn't luxury, but it's… good. Surprisingly big (larger than Lincoln's cell, certainly), and with a really huge bed that makes Lincoln moan. There are a couple of fake plants in the room, a television, and the bathroom has a decent-sized shower/tub combo.

"Shower first, or what?" Lincoln asks.

Michael gives him a sly smile. "Both." He pulls off the hat and wig, and begins taking off his clothes. Lincoln stands there dumbstruck for a moment before doing the same as Michael takes the bag of shampoo and razors and such into the bathroom.

The water's steaming by the time Lincoln steps in and shuts the door, and Michael's already in the shower, turning slowly under the tumult of liquid warmth. Lincoln slips in to join him, mesmerized by the sight that awaits him.

His brother's skin is arresting, so many images and meanings that build together. Lincoln has rarely seen the full tattoo—just a few glimpses in prison, or partial moments in the half-light after escape. They've been crowded by other people—barely a minute alone since the escape—and a chance to really look at Michael meant that other people were watching too.

Now he can finally see it. Angels and Devils and lost innocence and destruction, against a backdrop of eternal, sinister hills. It's beautiful and stark and so very like and unlike his brother. The artistic grace inside the unforgiving subjects is all Michael—all aesthetics and balance. But the despair is all wrong for this man who survived hardship and abandonment and loss while keeping his optimism burning inside. Lincoln knows that part of Michael has not changed, because it's why they're here now instead of all the other more likely possibilities. Thank god for Michael's stubbornness, and he would never have believed that thought could cross his mind. But Michael is many things, often surprising and incredible, and Lincoln has always been lucky to have him.

He's smiling now as he watches his brother, his thoughts curling now around the water beading up on Michael's face. Now that is an image worthy of an artist—lifting cheekbones and lightly curved mouth, and Lincoln is there before those startling blue eyes can open.

Michael's laughing under his mouth, like that took far less or far more time than he expected. It's always something, Lincoln thinks, but then he's caught up by how Michael tastes like rain and promises.

The kissing and holding and the warm rush of water is like drowning in a waterfall of secrets. It is so good being able to touch Michael without reservation, without wondering who's watching, and Lincoln just falls into the heady thrill of heated, possessive love. His mouth moves down to Michael's neck, sucking the skin under the ear and up against the underside of the jaw—hitting every tingling nerve and feeling Michael pushing against his hips in response.

The rigid heat between them is so sharp and focused that they rub together instinctually, hands grabbing everything in reach, and then Lincoln breaks off and his voice is a low growl.

"Soap?"

"Yes," Michael whispers, and he turns toward the wall and hands Lincoln the hotel soap in one movement. Smoothly, swiftly they join and soon are moving as one, Lincoln's mouth on Michael's shoulder and his hands bringing Michael the same sensations he's feeling himself. It's urgent and a little rough, and "Oh god!" Michael gasps out. Lincoln bites him as the thrill spikes up inside him from those words.

A few leisurely strokes and some gentle kisses to soothe the wounded skin, and then they are facing one another, slowly slipping through the aftermath of love. It is luxury, all this touching, and their fingers and lips search and smooth and calm the fall of energy between them.

"That was perfect," Lincoln whispers as Michael's arms tighten around his neck, and then he glides over Michael's face with soft, slurring hands. He kisses those lush, welcoming lips and then finds the soap once more. Sweeping across Michael's chest, his fingers bring a sheen to the images underneath, and then he rubs across one arm at a time. His hands slide up Michael's neck, slippery and sensual, and under the edges of his ears. A soft touch, and Michael rotates, and all due attention is given to his back, the muscles below, and down the legs and up again. Michael moves like a cat under the sureness of his brother's touch, eyes closed and head leaning back to capture the moment. Lincoln strokes the last suds off of Michael's skin, pressing another kiss below the ear, and then strong arms lock around Michael's waist. They rock together in sweet happiness, and the moment seems to last forever.

Lincoln can feel the smile he cannot see, and he sets to work gradually with the shampoo, fingers massaging Michael's scalp under its slight growth of hair.

"You're gonna put me to sleep," Michael murmurs, his body swaying in relaxation, and Lincoln laughs softly as he rinses out the last of the lather.

"You did most of the driving—you've earned it," he says, and Michael opens his eyes as Lincoln's hands become still and pull him close.

"I can't tell you how grateful I am for everything you did for me," Lincoln begins. "When I wake up, I can hardly believe we're here. But you did it—all of it." Lincoln's voice is low and steady. "And you're still the most amazing person I know."

Michael eyes are listening, but he has no words. His kiss says everything his dangerous mission ever implied.

It cost him—and those marks will never leave him. They will haunt him, brand him, speak for him no matter who they both become. But he would do it again, willingly, for the sake of the man before him.

Michael was not perfect before, and he is even less so now. But as long as Lincoln has a future, there can never be any regrets.

-- fin --