Author's Notes:Thanks to lissa_bear for betaing.
You might want to reread The Difference Between A Rule and A Law and more importantly Leap Year before reading.
203(weirdness, unpopular kink, skip this one for your own good)
You have read this one already, clex_monkie, but I made some changes at the end.
Rule two hundred and three states that Lincoln will never, ever, ever tease Michael about wetting the bed and that he will never complain about waking up covered in urine. _
At least that’s the theory. Not that it actually covered all those nights where when Lincoln woke up and kicked him out of bed, stripping off the blankets and both of their pajamas. Michael always felt like he should be ashamed, but there was a strange intimacy in sitting in the bathroom and watching his brother, naked and barefoot, cursing under his breath as he stuffed the washer. It almost made it worth it.
Those nights, Lincoln would grab him under the armpits and set him into the tub before climbing in himself. He hosed them down quickly and then half carried, half dragged Michael back to their room before falling into bed, this time Michael’s untouched bed. Oh yes, definitively worth it.
Michael isn’t sure when exactly it had turned into some kind of game. It wasn’t that hard to control, just cut back on the consumption of liquids before bed. He never had any “accidents” when he slept alone. Lincoln never caught on, figuring that it just coincided with Michael crawling into his bed because he couldn’t sleep out of stress or fear.
The most conscious time had been that one summer at Lake Wildwood... Lincoln was fast asleep, his arm around Nina, one of the local girls. Michael was growing bored watching them. The heat was stinging his eyes and he ruffled his fingers through the dry grass. He got up and walked over to them, staring at their pale bodies in the half shade. He wasn't sure what possessed him, seeing them sleeping there like that, but he pushed down his swimming trunks. He knew it was insane even as he cradled himself and aimed for Linc’s taunt, ripped belly.
A moment later Linc’s eyes flew open and suddenly he was running, screaming and laughing with Lincoln in hot pursuit. He still remembers the way the water invaded his lungs and he coughed and sputtered because he couldn’t stop laughing even as Lincoln gabbed him and pushed him under water over and over again. In fact, he couldn’t stop laughing the whole day, not when Lincoln stalked off angrily towards the showers, not during dinner, where Lincoln kept slapping the back of his head to finally shut him up, and not when they crawled back into their tent at night.
“You should have seen your face.”
“Fuck you.” Lincoln growled and Michael couldn’t stop another bout of laughter. They fought that night, Michael trying inch closer to Lincoln and snuggling up to him, Lincoln pushing him away tersely. Michael grinning, trying to dive under his brother’s defences, giving him his sweetest smile, showering him with kisses and tenderly sinking his teeth into the skin over Lincoln’s shoulder. Linc would groan, close his eyes in exasperation and give up. Michael would burry his nose in Lincoln’s chest only to erupt in another fit of giggles and the game would start anew. He still isn’t sure how either of them got any sleep that night.
He isn’t sure why he does it. He has some ideas. There is the marking, leaving his scent all over Lincoln just to prove that he can. There is the payback, to punish Lincoln for being gone too often. There is the insurance, the chance to assure himself of all the things Lincoln will do for him, because even if he might not show it all the time, there are some things you would do only for the people you really love, right? He loves to taunt Lincoln, to test the limits of just how far he can go. Every time he wants to stop, every time he wants to acknowledge that maybe it is time to grow up after all, there is a little devil’s voice inside his head daring to see if he can get away with it just one more time.
Sometimes he thinks that he should just kiss Lincoln instead, force his lips open while he is asleep and taste the inside of his brother’s mouth and mark him like that instead.
He has run the scenario through his head more times than he can count, explored every possible angle. Lincoln not waking up and the disappointment of that (chance: 20-90%, depending on intended intensity). Lincoln looking at him and pretending it never happened (unlikely; not corresponding to Linc’s temperament; percentage might rise with increased levels of intoxication). Lincoln beating the shit out of him. Lincoln beating the shit out of him and causing permanent damage. Lincoln giving him “a talk”. Lincoln being understanding.
Lincoln kissed him once before. Michael was 8 and Lincoln was in love with his art teacher and desperate not to fuck it up. Back then Michael wiped his mouth and thought it was gross. How could anybody do that for fun? Now, looking back, he just wishes he’d been older, old enough to understand.
They play many different games. Michael likes order, but sometimes he will leave clothes lying around on the floor just to make Lincoln stumble and piss him off. They rarely seem to be home at the same time, missing each other by minutes or passing each other in the hallway. Sometimes Michael thinks that laying something in Lincoln’s way is the only way to make sure he’s still there.
When Lincoln lies half comatose on the couch and refuses to answer Michael’s questions Michael will bite him. He takes his hand and bites the middle and index finger between the first and second digit, or the soft spread between the thumb and second finger. It gives him an angry satisfaction to sink his teeth into Lincoln’s rough skin and he will keep gnawing until Lincoln smacks him. At least when they fight and yell and slam doors it’s better than not talking at all.
Some part of him likes the anger in Lincoln’s face, likes to trigger the single minded rage; it doesn’t mind being shaken around a bit if it means that the mad glitter will break through the daze in his brother’s eyes. It doesn’t mind being roughed up a little if it means they get to touch. They say that a kiss can sometimes sting like a slap. He knows that it doesn’t work like that the other way around. Somehow that does not keep him from trying.
He doesn’t know why he wants to kiss Lincoln. He only knows that some part of his mind is convinced that if he does, some magical spell will be broken and maybe, just maybe things will be different and he’ll be able to move on. But even now, in situations like this, that are the closest to being safe, with Lincoln asleep and vulnerable, there’s still an invisible barrier. Fear? Decency? Sanity?
So instead he traces the contours of Lincoln’s face, filled with a strange tenderness even as he edges closer and listens into his body, to identify the need, capitalize on it and release. And so restarts the cycle.
Twenty-eight Sundays and twenty-nine Mondays after that first Thursday, a girl he knew gave him a ride and he hugged his brother and told him he loved him and never once mentioned a single word about a single one of the eighteen million, one hundred and forty-four thousand seconds since he saw him last.
He never mentioned anything about any of the other times, either. _
They go to the diner around the corner. Michael sits on his hands because they are freezing and makes Lincoln feed him. He grins because he has some money he took off of somebody on the bus and at least that means they won't have to run off without paying. He doesn’t bite. At least not as often as he could.
Afterwards in their hotel room, Lincoln grows restless, going through their meager things, trying to find something else to wear. Boredom strikes and Michael starts throwing things at him, even though he knows that his brother only wants the stench of prison off of him. Slowly Lincoln strips his shirt off to reveal two new scars, trailing down his back from his right shoulder. Michael stares at them, the way they move and shift with the movement of the muscles underneath, but Michael doesn’t ask and Lincoln doesn’t tell.
He hears the tap running in the bathroom and he follows the sound of the water and there's Lincoln bent over the sink, splashing water on his face and neck, his hands massaging his skull under his shortly cropped hair. Michael sighs and decides that it’s been too long since Lincoln has been gone and molds himself against his brother’s spine, even if it means messing up the designated order. Lincoln tenses slightly at Michael's touch, teeth and lips running over the scars on his shoulder. Michael leaves a trail of small bitemarks and wet saliva that glistens in the crude neon light. His fingers run through the trails, spreading them, messing them up, and he decides that he thinks it's beautiful.
His hands slide inside Lincoln’s jeans, not to start anything, but because his fingers are still freezing. The skin above Lincoln’s crotch jumps when Michael touches it and then Lincoln grabs his hands, pulls him to the front. Michael’s feet lose the ground as Lincoln lifts him up and onto the sink. “You’ll get me wet, “ he murmurs even though he doesn’t care.
Lincoln’s arms enfold Michael and he leans their heads together.
“Missed you,” he whispers.
“Missed you, too.”
The need to be closer flares up inside him again and in the flicker of a moment he is off the sink and pressing against Lincoln’s chest. He stands tiptoed on his brother’s feet, kissing his neck and Lincoln walks them back to the other room, laying him down to the bed. For a moment his brother’s large frame looms over him and then they kiss secretly under the covers because that’s what Lincoln likes best.
Lincoln’s hand sneaks under his shirt, fumbling, trying to pull it off. His fingers brush the new stitches on Michael’s back, still rough under his palm and he freezes in confusion. He looks up, his eyes full of worry, but Michael shakes his head so the shirt stays on and the questions aren’t asked; Lincoln growls, but he goes along, trying to suppress the issue. As Lincoln kisses his way down the lenth of Michael's body, nipping and wetting the skin along the way, Michael thinks of the boy who didn’t start anything and that the difference about being brothers means never having to repay your debts.
The next day, well after noon, Lincoln hauls Michael out of bed and drags him to some seedy part of town to see some new friend he made in prison, all buck teeth and thin blonde hair, the walls covered with swastikas and Michael really doesn't want to know. The guy gives them two pairs of old combat boots and says he wants them back later. There’s no logic to this and his are a size too large, but it’s no use complaining. They are heavy on his feet and chafe his calves as he stumbles after Lincoln and yet he laughs when he yells not to twist his arm out of its socket.
The reception area looks like one right out of beauty parlour, if it weren’t situated in a warehouse that is. Lincoln puts his arm around Michael’s shoulders, flashes their fake IDs and now Michael is Marty and his birthday is in June. Michael wants to ask if this is a good idea, but it’s too late for that now because they are already coming, approaching in long, hurried strides. The photographer wears a funny hat and his accent is harsh and melodious at the same time, a strange singsong like watching The Muppets on Sunday morning while high. He scoffs their scars and bruises and Lincoln’s faded handmade tattoos as he inspects his merchandise. They let him, but he can feel Lincoln tensing up next to him when the guy tilts Michael’s head up to inspect his eyes.
They withdraw to the back for some agitated discussion. the young one, I can work with that, it murmurs from the walls. Lincoln pretends he doesn’t hear and bites him, bites the flesh of his hand between the thumb and index finger. Then he turns around to engage in the negotiation. He drives a hard bargain it seems and gesticulations become more heated. In the end Lincoln unbuttons his jeans with a cocky grin and this seems to be what gets both of them the ok.
In the back room a lone red couch stands on rolled out plastic surrounded by harsh, biting lights. He looks at Lincoln, slightly confused, because there’s no place for them to take their clothes off, but then Lincoln is on him, kissing, sliding his hand up Michael’s body and lifting his shirt over his head. And the cameras start clicking.
Fingers digging into Lincoln’s hair, pulling his head closer to his chest -- you sure? He whispers and Lincoln just smiles up at him.
Their bodies are twisting, shifting, rearranging on the old leather couch. Crane your neck, relax your jaw, look over here, stop blocking the angle. His head starts swimming from the orders, but he isn’t really listening to any of them. It’s just him and Lincoln, finally alone in their little word, and most importantly stark naked except their combat boots, chaffing against each other.
Somebody offers them a pill or two, but he just shakes his head, never taking his eyes off Lincoln’s face. They form their picture perfect. He is prodded, opened and displayed, his chin is turned towards the light, his legs manipulated into every shape anyone could ever think of. Sometimes they are told to stop and some gopher rushes in, waving powder and foundation, covering old marks and blemishes that might insult the eye.
what if somebody finds us? He breathes, his fingers still meshing in Lincoln’s hair, pretending there is no one there around them. they won’t, Lincoln tells his pale white flesh as he kisses his way around a nipple. thought this through, only here till tomorrow – a deft lick down his belly, a soft scrape against his hips and then Lincoln is nuzzling and mumbling against the inside of his thigh, Belgian magazine, exclusive, crazy Europeans, nobody will ever know. He pulls Lincoln up and they kiss noisily and messily and they don’t stop quickly even when a high pitched voice barks at them to cut it out.
One leg dangles off the couch, rough rubber soles scraping over the floor. Lincoln’s mouth rests against his hip bone and Lincoln’s fingers sneak their way down the nether crevice. Michael moans and relaxes and then Lincoln’s fingers are inside, testing, finding, teasing. Pleasure reverberates in every bone and he can lose himself in the touch completely, even here, because he knows there will always be Lincoln’s hand, stroking his stomach, keeping him tied to his world. It’s over all to quickly and the click of the camera rips them apart again.
A shift and he is sitting, knee drawn under his leg, back curled over, with his head bobbing up and down as he slowly wets his brother's erection with his mouth. i’ll gladly fall for you, the words form in his head and he knows he doesn’t have to say it because wherever he goes there are his brother’s hands catching him. An order later and he’s kneeling and bent over, hands stretched out and knees against his chest with Lincoln’s hands softly stroking up and down his back. Another shift and he frames his brother’s face with his hands and kisses him so sweetly, like it is the most innocent thing they have ever done.
It’s almost their last shot, their role of film bled dry and the ghosts around them grow restless. The first blue shirts arrive to take down some of the lights. The world around them is unravelling. Only a few more minutes left and Michael shivers at the contrast of his dark boots against Lincoln’s back and he hugs him tighter. Lincoln touches one finger to Michael’s nose and it makes Michael smile, like always. He closes his eyes and thinks he likes the idea that somewhere out there, there will be a Michael and a Linc, forever young, forever kissing, forever touching, forgotten in some long used up magazine in a cellar in Amsterdam or Paris or wherever they are going.