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23 May 2007 @ 03:12 pm
Holding On Forever (1/1)  
Title: Holding On Forever
Fandom: Prison Break
Character/Pairing: Michael Scofield/Sara Tancredi
Word Count: 2,364
Rating: PG
Spoilers: 2.10, "Rendezvous" & 2.20, "Panama."
Summary: The third time's a charm for a horizon that is not bleak, but is instead layered in promising pink, orange and gold.
Other: This is a completely self-indulgent (read: mind-blowingly fluffy) piece that just so happens to fit nicely with one particular prompt. It's entirely based on my desire to one day finally see Michael and Sara being given the chance to disappear into the sunset together - just like I've always wanted.
Author's Note: Prison Break and its characters have been manipulated here without the knowledge or consent of 20th Century FOX Television. I am not affiliated with the show, its production companies or cast members and no copyright infringement is intended.



...Nothing in this world could keep me from staring at you and all I need now is for that sun to stay under its glowing horizon for good... "THESE ARE THE NIGHTS" by MAKING APRIL


***


"I've arranged for us to get to Panama," Michael tells her. "We're meeting up with my brother tomorrow."

It isn't at all what she had expected to hear and in spite of the unforgiving sun beating down on her shoulders and upturned face, Sara feels frozen.

She has been cold - so cold - ever since the last time she had been able to stand face-to-face with Michael and somehow, in spite of her reservations, she had come to Gila in hopes of thawing herself of the regret, the bitterness, the grief. She had come praying that Michael would tell her what she needs to hear and that he would give her the hope she's all but lost not only in herself but in him and his damned plan. His way to make everything right. She had come with the need for his lamentation, his self-condemnation, his penitence. She needs him to liquify the blood in her veins like he had once done every day with just the warmth of his smile.

But he is as frozen as she is.

They are as impenetrable as ice sculptures as they face one another with mere feet between them that feel more like miles. But they are both lucid and emotion soon begins to deliquesce them more rapidly than the New Mexico heat is able to.

Michael gazes at her without blinking, nothing short of guileless as he waits for a response. Sara gazes back, her speeding thoughts in a headlong race with her accelerating heartbeat to register the adverse fate of what she is being told.

"Wait, that's your...plan?" Sara clutches her head, as if she can somehow steady herself from the sense of vertigo that realization rocks her with and her fingers tangle into her hair until her knuckles turn white. "To run away to Panama with the two most wanted men in...in America? Michael, I came here because I thought you were gonna have real answers for me."

"This is an answer. And right now, it's the only one we've got."

Michael sounds so sure, despite the remorse that thickens his voice. So certain that this is another situation that he can bend at his will. Another scenario that will end the way he plans. And his audacity eats at her until all Sara wants is to make him see that he has shattered her trust in him. Shattered her pipe dream, her wishful thinking, her faith.

"Running away into the sunset with the man who lied to me? Really?."

Sara watches small lines etch themselves into the glistening skin of Michael's forehead. She watches his eyebrows knit in solemnity, notices the rigidity of his shoulders and the impermeability of the wall between them that has somehow accumulated another few feet of cold, hard stone. And for a moment - just a moment - she regrets saying what she has instead of the words that are still frozen solid somewhere inside of her.

She regrets not saying, I'm sorry that either of us have to be sorry...I'm sorry that this is what we've come to, and making him believe, I know why you've done what you have, I want to trust you - I want to let you save me.

She regrets saying a thing at all instead of throwing her arms around him and letting herself melt until they merge.

***


"Listen, Sara...Linc and I are on the ship. This is it. There's no turning back now so...uh...I know it's not what you wanted from your life but...in case you're interested...there is room for one more."

"Michael Scofield, are you asking me to sail off into the sunset with you?"

"Well, it's more of a freighter but, uh...yes." Michael's voice is effortlessly dauntless but Sara is not fooled by the tone that belies what she knows he must be feeling...because she is feeling it, too.

Sara can see him in her mind's eye as he might be, pacing the rain-slick deck of a ship or braced against the railing as he waits for the affirmation from her that he is looking for. She can picture the narrowing of his eyes in Chicago's grey afternoon light and the set of his jaw. She can almost hear him thinking that even her moment of hesitation is one moment too long because for once, Michael is not the man with the plan. For once he sounds entirely unsure of himself and entirely unsure of what he is asking of her. But Sara has never been more sure of anything in her life.

Her few seconds of reticence are not at all because she needs to consider her options. Not anymore. Not when she knows exactly what she wants and not when that something - that someone - is waiting to hear her say so.

Instead, the fleeting beats of charged silence between them are out of some vain attempt at equivocation. Because for a second, Sara is completely overcome by the desire to say, Yes, Michael...I'd follow you to the ends of the earth, and to breathe the whispers of her rapidly beating heart over and over again against the mouthpiece of her cell phone as if it were the shell of his ear, I love you, I love you...I don't know when it happened but I love you. She wants to say it all.

But she doesn't.

Instead, she assures him, "I'll be there," knowing that some things are better left unsaid for now because they'll have all the time in the world. Because soon Michael won't need any assurance from her that can't be drawn from holding onto one another. Not in a desperate attempt to keep from being torn apart but because it's simply how it's supposed to be.

"I'll see you soon," Michael tells her without prelude, as if he has been fully aware all along of something that Sara has only just recently discovered. As if he's always known that she'd realize that she can't be without him for another second or face another day without his hand to hold.

But the heartfelt relief that Michael is experiencing is tangible in words unspoken and Sara feels cleansed by his consolation as she disconnects the call without saying goodbye.

She'll never say goodbye to Michael again, she tells herself. Only goodbye to the demons lingering at her heels as being in his presence commands them to disperse once and for all.

***


"This...this is my surprise?" Sara is taken aback to look up, not into the familiar face of the man she loves, but the leviathan face of the the equine that has cast its rangy shadow over her.

"Yep," Michael's head appears as he leans forward, his smile framed between the fluted ears of the horse he's sitting astride.

Sara knows there is every possibility that her gawking is tremendously unattractive but she can't remember ever being this close to an animal that nearly stands taller than she does at her respectable five-foot-nine. In fact, she can't remember ever being this close to a horse - at least, not one that isn't of the carnival pony variety - and she shrinks back involuntarily when a pair of fleshy velveteen lips sink against the deep collar of her shirt.

Michael seems to sense Sara's skepticism and he shortens the braided leather of the reins threaded neatly through his fingers and though the horse's head comes up atop a finely arched neck, he - or she...Sara can't really be certain - is not deterred. Instead, he continues to snuffle at her chest and the long locks of hair that hang over her shoulders. Sara is amazed by the chorus of sound that he creates with his hot breath puffing from fluttering nostrils and the gnash of his teeth against the bit in his mouth.

Working the foolish stringency from the poise of her spine and shoulders, Sara hesitantly runs one flattened palm down the bold white blaze of hair between the horse's wide-set eyes. When his muzzle's assault of her ceases, he regards her with a long-lashed, liquid gaze and Sara smiles in spite of herself.

"You ride?" Sara finally asks, taking a few steps (just to be safe, she tells herself) away from the horse's head and toward his side where she's better able to look up at Michael, using one hand to shade her gaze from the fading sunlight.

"Today I do."

"I don't."

"Today you do, too."

Sara glances with quiet conjecture back toward the horse's lowered head and then to the twitching of his long tail with its uneven ends, "Michael, I'm really not--"

"Sara, two years ago I lead you to believe we'd sail off into the sunset together and it didn't...it didn't happen." He twists his torso in the saddle so that he is able to face her partially, both of his hands resting on the pommel just in front of him as he slides his left foot from its respective stirrup. "I guess I just always...I wanted it to be some kind of...fairytale in the end. The way it sounded."

Sara watches the flare of the sunset lighting horse and rider from behind, casting them both in partial silhouette as the Pacific ocean at their back turns to a liquid mirror of its colors. The horse's coat gleams nearly the same shade of red-gold as the water and Michael with his white t-shirt and ink-patterned forearms seems to glow.

Sara is not surprised by the tug of her heartstrings as she safely tucks the image that he makes away into the back of her mind to pull out over and over in the future and she wants to somehow, someway, help him validate everything he's done right for her.

We're here, Michael, she wants to say, What does the past matter now? Everything's right, we're together...we're in Baja! Here we are, she wants to tell him.

Instead a sheepish smile plays briefly over her lips and she folds her arms over her chest, feeling the chill of the sea breeze as it lifts the hem of her camisole and makes the hair around her face flutter against her forehead. "That sailing off into the sunset business was all on me, anyway. According to you it was more like a freighter."

"I said that, huh?" He sounds dubious and it only makes her smile grow.

"Yes."

"But even then I didn't come through for you." The horse shifts restlessly below him and Michael turns him in a tight circle with impressive ease before holding him still enough that he's able to reach down to her. "Give me your hand."

Sara reaches for his offered hand, her fingers tangling with his as she gives it a squeeze. "So you're going to ride me off into the sunset instead of sailing?"

"Exactly." Michael nods his head decisively, giving the reins he's collected into one hand a firm jerk as the horse begins shifting his intimidating bulk once again. "Let me try it a different way this time."

Michael is all but pleading now. "This ride," he indicates with a gesture of his chin to the stirrup he's left barren for Sara's foot, "is not leaving without you. Under any circumstance."

Sara shakes her head from one side to the other, feeling her resistance receding like the tide they had sat side-by-side watching only a few hours earlier. And even though her bare feet sink deep into the fine white sand below her, she manages to catch one in the stirrup and is surprised by the ease in which she hoists herself onto the horse's back with the help of Michael's hand.

Sara lands with what she fears is quite a lack of grace and the big animal stirs below them as she settles behind Michael securely enough to remove her foot from the stirrup so that he can reclaim it. She is snug between his back and the shallow rise of the saddle's back and yet she flings both arms around Michael's waist, her fingers twisting into the material of his shirt where it covers his stomach.

"You're crazy," Sara laughs out loud as she drops her chin to his shoulder and inhales the scent of him - the scent of salt, sun and sea - in the nape of his neck. "I don't ride." She repeats, as if it matters anymore.

"You don't have to," Michael assures her, and Sara can't quite see his face in this position but she can tell he's smiling as he squeezes the horse's rotund sides with his calves and flicks the reins almost imperceptibly against its neck. "Just hang on."

Sara opens her mouth to reply as the horse skitters into a jaunty trot but the air and the words are effectively stolen from her mouth as suddenly the bouncing morphs into gait that is like that of a living, breathing rocking horse. The animal's lissome legs stretch in pairs both ahead of them and behind them and as he settles into his canter, Sara does, too.

The pace is brisk and smooth as Michael guides their ride along the lapping shoreline and Sara is lost in the unexpected intimacy of the experience. The wind whips spiraling strands of her hair forward around both of their faces and she can feel the beat of Michael's heart below one of her flattened palms as it strives to match the cadence of the horse's hooves. Her chest is flush to his back and their hips rock together in an instinctual rhythm that borders on erotic and exhilarating.

The lower the sun sinks, the brighter it becomes and Sara closes her eyes and squeezes the man in her arms and the horse between her legs at the same time.

Just hold on, Michael had told her. Sara holds him more tightly and buries her face against him, content in the knowledge that she is holding on. She's holding onto him forever.
 
 
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