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07 August 2008 @ 11:42 pm
Prison Break - Equilibrium  
Title: Equilibrium
Author: clair_de_lune
Characters: Michael/Lincoln
Genre: Slash
Rating: PG-13/R
Words: ~ 3580
Warning: Incest
Disclaimer: Not mine. Just borrowing them for a while.
Summary: For a long time, when it came to Lincoln, Michael wasn’t quite sure where he should have drawn the line.
Prompt: It was a second take on the same prompt as Twilight: Michael/Lincoln, a feather (I did a really bad job with the feather part of the prompt BTW), the sentence "I missed you", a sweet moment.
Notes: Thanks to recycledfaery and niennanou for the beta.



-There is...-

There is desire, and there is want. For a long time, when it came to Lincoln, Michael wasn’t quite sure where he should have drawn the line.


-I-

There was a time, when he was still a child, when he was content with what he had – Lincoln just to himself for a few hours each day – but with the passing years, it became less and less satisfying. He doesn’t really know whether it’s because his desire increased or because Lincoln seemed to escape him. Between foster homes, juvenile detention and prison, they have been apart longer and more frequently than Michael would have cared for. The fact is it became less and less satisfying. And more and more frustrating. When Lincoln finally managed to get out of jail, rent an apartment and had Michael move in with him... it was too late. The ache was here, lingering in his brain, in his stomach, constricting his throat. He was constantly surrounded by the feeling that whatever he might do, whatever he may get, it would never be enough. Linc’s presence wasn’t enough: he desired his attention; Linc’s attention wasn’t enough, he desired his undivided attention; Linc’s undivided attention wasn’t enough, he desired...

At this point, he didn’t exactly know what he desired, but he knew he wasn’t happy with what he got.

* *

He started to sleep with Lincoln from time to time because he had nightmares. Whether it was actual nightmares or the reality of waking in the middle of the night without Lincoln, he honestly can’t say. Linc finally told him that, “We can’t go on with this story of monsters in your closet,” and “You’re way too old to sleep with me.” The two arguments were valid and Michael couldn’t refute them. So he added the ‘cold’ variable to the equation: in Chicago, in the middle of winter, in a poorly heated apartment, this was essential data. Lincoln posed little resistance, and with hardly a sigh of surrender, he let Michael slip under the blankets with him. Didn’t protest when Michael scooted closer to him. Barely grumbled when he woke up with Michael’s back pressed to his chest, Michael’s hand possessively holding his.

Michael argued that if his brother hadn’t been willing to encourage such a behavior, he would have sent him back to his own bedroom with an extra blanket.

* *

Sharing a bed with Lincoln was nothing systematic. There were conditions. Linc allowed it when he had something to be forgiven for, and so couldn’t refuse Michael’s request – and it has to be said, Lincoln often had something to be forgiven for. Or when Michael had had a bad day and needed a comfort that his brother was unable to deny him. When he was cold and nothing but Linc’s closeness would warm him up. When he really had a nightmare, or at least when he managed to make Lincoln believe he did; because sometimes, Linc would just say no to every other sensible reason, and Michael had – had – to resort to that kind of pretense.

There were more or less flexible conditions, but one of them was not open to discussion: Veronica couldn’t be here. Obviously. When Veronica was here, Michael was tacitly confined to the living room or to his own bedroom. He thought it was pretty fair, even though it left him a little disappointed.

And then there was the time he heard Lincoln and Veronica. At first, they were talking and he was able to understand everything they were saying; then their voices lowered, the words mingling with bursts of laughter; and then it was whispers and, in the end, just soft sounds of fabric and sighs.

He’s almost positive he imagined the sounds of fabric and the sighs more than he really heard them, because even though the walls were thin, they weren’t that thin, and Linc and Vee tried to be quiet – Vee tried to be quiet anyway. He shifted in his bed, exasperated, fighting the temptation to knock on the wall. He didn’t know what to do with his hands and after a few minutes, he just tugged them under the pillow, his fingers intertwined and clutching. He closed his eyes and tried to concentrate on his breathing rather than on the – real or imaginary – sounds coming from the next room.

He needed an entire day to realize he hadn’t even thought to turn on the little radio on his night table or – as cliché as it may sound – bury his head under his pillow in order to stifle the sounds. All day long, there was this weird sensation, pressing on his temples and crushing his chest: he didn’t understand it was plain and simple jealousy until he saw Lincoln and Veronica snuggling together on the couch.

He shifted and moved in his bed for a couple of hours, messing up the bedding, before he finally got it: he wasn’t jealous of Lincoln, he was jealous of Veronica. He didn’t doubt, didn’t question the outcome of his thinking because when he brought up some images, some memories, it was clear he had correctly tackled the problem. He was barely surprised by his conclusion, and that was, in the end, the most surprising aspect. Because this kind of thing is supposed to take you off guard, isn’t it? Well... at least, he had finally managed to know what he might desire that Lincoln had never given him.

He didn’t feel the sudden need to throw up in the toilet the dinner that he and Vee had cooked earlier that evening. It would have done no good anyway. He didn’t mull over moral or practical considerations, the bottom line was pretty obvious and final: among the list of things he could not and should not have, this one was on top. Written in red. Marked by a double asterisk.

He spent the whole night lying on his back, awake and still, his breathing slow and scarce, his eyes glued to the ceiling. Converting in months – days – hours – minutes the moment he would have to go to college and leave Linc. Already knowing it would be a torture and a relief at the same time.


-II-

He should have known that a Saturday night starting with his brother on his doorstep, a pack of beers in his hands and asking, “You weren’t planning on going out, were you?” could only take a weird turn. It’s not like, since he graduated, Linc has spent a bunch of Saturday evenings in his sole company – it’s not like Linc has spent a bunch of Saturday evenings in his sole company before he went to college either, in fact, but it’s something that happens even less now.

Linc doesn’t wait for his answer, of course: he comes in, drops the beers in Michael’s hands and heavily slumps onto the couch. Michael barely winces when he hears the furniture squeak, and then when Lincoln carelessly pops up his feet on the coffee table – nothing new here.

“No, make yourself at home,” he mumbles. And maybe that’s not the right thing to say, because Linc does make himself at home. He discards his jacket, grabs the remote and starts to flip through channels. Michael blinks as the images flash and flicker on the TV set and with a resigned sigh he picks up the jacket and opens two beers.

Twenty minutes later, they’re flopped in the couch, barely paying attention to the movie on TV. Michael dozes after a week of work, while Lincoln dozes after a week of... Michael probably doesn’t want to know. Nor why his brother is spending a Saturday night with him, rather than doing what he usually does. Whatever it is he usually does. Michael doesn’t complain, though. He’s got used to life without Lincoln being near him. It’s just different when he’s around – better and worse. The ache is still here, but he can control it, not let it overwhelm him; he almost has it on a leash.

* *

It starts with a disagreement: Lincoln gets a pack of cigarettes, a lighter and even before he can spot an ashtray Michael is already saying no, not in his living room. Not in his apartment either, and by the way...

“You’d better stop. This stuff will kill you.”

Lincoln stares at him for a few seconds, screwing up his eyes, cigarettes in one hand, lighter in the other. Then, with a careful gesture, he puts down the cigarettes on the coffee table, reaches out for his jacket and gets a small plastic bag out of the pocket. There are a couple of joints, neatly folded, in the small bag and Michael is the one screwing up his eyes and staring now. He knows Linc is doing it to piss him off. It works. It obviously works, because his brother has always known which buttons to push.

“You are not doing this here,” he grits out. Lincoln suggests that he kicks him out, then lights one of the joints. He takes a puff, leans forward and blows the smoke right into Michael’s face.

“This isn’t funny, Lincoln,” he says, wincing and backing off simultaneously.

“You are not funny. Stop living as if you were seventy.”

“Stop living as if you were seventeen.”

“Uh uh, I can be serious. I was serious when I sent you to school. I’m being serious with LJ,” he shoots back, and Michael stays quiet because Linc isn’t entirely wrong. Whatever can be held against him, there are some things that do count in his favor. “Thing is, can you not be serious once in a while and get off your high horse?”

He takes another, longer puff, and then points the joint towards his brother. Michael looks at it as if it was a dangerous weapon, or some belligerent act. And in way it is: it’s a challenge and Lincoln won’t let him get out of it – he will bait him the whole evening.

Lincoln watches him as he inhales, keeps the smoke a few moments and then slowly let it out. Smoothly, no coughing. “That’s not a first, huh, Mike?” Lincoln says with a smirk.

He shrugs. “I wanted to know.”

“Know what?”

“Why you did it.”

Lincoln glares at him from the other end of the sofa. “Would have beaten the shit out of you for that,” he growls, and Michael feels like smiling. Because Linc has just dragged him into something he would have forbidden him from doing five years ago.

* *

They’ve pushed the coffee table out of the way, slid down to the floor and they’re now sitting with their backs against the couch; they’re still and quiet. Michael decides it’s the good kind of silence, the one you respect when you don’t need to speak with the person next to you, when you don’t have to chat or make small conversation. Not the bitter and aggressive silence he has happened to observe with Lincoln lately.

Lincoln has closed his eyes and lolled his head back. He breathes slowly and seems to occupy all the space of the small living room. It’s only a few details though – his jacket on an armchair, his pack of cigarettes and the lighter laying on the table, the familiar scents coming from him... Then Michael realizes it’s only Lincoln, he only has to be here to occupy not only the place but also Michael’s entire existence.

“I missed you,” he blurts out without thinking.

Linc turns his head towards him, letting it roll slowly, so slowly, on the couch cushions, and he asks with a slight smile, “Yeah?” He shows off the remaining joint. “Even that?”

“Even that, in some way.” Not that Michael appreciates the notion, but it’s a whole: he can hate some of the things Lincoln does, but they’re part of him, participate in what he is. He slides along the sofa to get close enough to Lincoln to brush his shoulder and feel the heat radiating from him. There are the familiar scents, and...

Almost as familiar is Veronica’s perfume. Unambiguously telling him how and with whom Lincoln has spent his day. His throat and stomach constrict; he tries to swallow and thinks it’s really not the right moment for that to come back... for that to show up.

“Do you like men, Michael?” Lincoln lets out, while watching him through half-closed eyes. His tone is lazy, low, sincerely curious.

“Do I...” Between the way Linc has worded his sentence and the small maelstrom Michael feels himself sucked into, he needs a few seconds for the question to reach his brain and be processed. “No!” he answers.

“So this is just your big brother you look at like this?”

His blood pressure must be doing strange things, all of a sudden, because he doesn’t know anymore whether he is livid or crimson, sitting on the floor or floating high. He makes a point of breathing and letting out a small amused laugh. At least, he tries to let out a small amused laugh; it comes out like some sort of croak.

“You’re really high, huh?”

Lincoln barely needs a second to make him swivel and push him backwards. He can’t even apprehend what’s happening, and before he can gather his thoughts, he’s lying on his back, pinned to the floor. And maybe he just took a few puffs, maybe Linc is the one high as a kite, but Linc is also the one who controls the whole thing. His brother even affords the luxury to grab a small cushion and slips it under Michael’s head. Under any other circumstances, he would have appreciated that; now he just blinks, stunned and a bit groggy. The feathers in the cushion crush below his skull; the floor is hard and uneven beneath him; Lincoln is bulky and strong on top of him. He lays flat and heavy on Michael, and it’s both oppressive and exhilarating, it’s everything Michael has hoped and feared for some time. Linc’s belt buckle presses against his belly, unpleasantly biting into his flesh, but he hardly cares. His attention is devoted to Lincoln’s hand sliding under his neck, to the fingers closing on his nape. Somewhere deep in his mind, there’s this idea that lying like that is embarrassing, the embrace is awkward, the touch uncertain. It is, however, far from as embarrassing, awkward and uncertain as it should be for both their mental health.

Lincoln leans into him, grazes his nose against his, and whispers a few words Michael can’t make out. There’s a touch – less than a kiss, more than a brush – on his cheek, another on his jaw, a last one on his chin, right in the crease under his lower lip. He closes his eyes when Linc backs off a bit.

“Please...” he asks. Would he be able to know whether this is a ‘Please stop’ or a ‘Please go on’, it would unquestionably help him into making a decision. Because Lincoln is bending down again and he doesn’t look like he’s going after Michael’s cheek or chin, this time around: making a decision is more and more urgent.

It’s nothing more than a stroke on his mouth, light and cautious, as if Lincoln is carrying out a precarious scientific experiment. His lips are dry and firm on Michael’s, surprisingly soft in comparison to the rougher skin surrounding them, and they taste like salt and beer. It’s pleasant, familiar and exotic at the same time. He has imagined...

He has imagined...

He realizes he has never imagined anything. He has desired, been jealous, and sometimes hoped, but he has never imagined. He guesses some things are unimaginable. He distractedly wonders to what extent he has wished to imagine, but the idea flees away almost as soon as it came.

He cranes his neck just a little bit and kisses Lincoln back, a stroke as light and cautious as the one he has received. He’s bathing in Lincoln’s attention, his undivided attention, all for him, just for him and... he’s kissing Linc, shitshitshitshit, it’s not the kind of thing that’s supposed to happen, it’s the kind of thing that he’s supposed to almost hold on a leash.

Oxygen is becoming insufficient, he’d like to breathe deeply, but if he does that, he will move of a few millimeters and kiss Linc again, because his brother is staying so close, too close.

“It’s what you want, isn’t it?” Linc murmurs. Each word delivers a small puff of air, hot and moist, on his face, and he feels like his skin is sparking. Shitshitshitshit. How can this be happening?

He looks at his brother above him, he scrutinizes him in frenzy, but Linc’s expression remains impenetrable. It’s rather unusual, because Lincoln doesn’t have a poker face: his thoughts always show up in his eyes immediately, in his body language. To Michael, anyway. And yet, Michael is unable to tell whether this is dread, disgust or amusement in Lincoln’s voice; pity, dismay or affection on his face; whether he’s contemptuous, complaisant or willing. He’s unable to know what Lincoln thinks, feels and desires.

Whatever Lincoln is offering however, the stakes are unequivocal: the kiss... the kisses, as ghostly as they may be, one of Linc’s hands on the nape of his neck and the other one trailing down and pawing at his chest (and, oh, he almost wants to laugh because the gesture is so mechanical), his hips grounding against his... Unequivocal, crystal clear.

Would you do that?

He doesn’t ask it out loud because he’s not sure that he wishes to hear the answer, he’s not sure that he wishes to see Lincoln’s mask drop. Whatever he’s hiding behind it, Michael is safe; sometimes, ignorance is a blessing.

“Michael?”

Right within his reach... For a few seconds, the need contracts him and he arches against Lincoln. He’s tempted to answer ‘yes’ – and everything else be damned. The yearning is so strong that the word seems to materialize in his mouth, he can almost sense the letters on his tongue.

He looks up and meets Lincoln’s gaze. A lot clearer, sharper and more focused than it should be, considering what they have smoked and drunk tonight: his brother knows exactly what he’s doing, proposing, what his question implies. It’s not a game or a provocation or a giddy impulse gone wild. Linc’s sphinx-like expression has no other purpose than letting him choose freely. Of course, whatever happens next is another story. If he says yes, Lincoln may as well slug him and get the hell out of here. But the question had been asked, and for the first time, Michael wonders exactly how far his brother would be willing to go in order to give him what he desires or, according to Lincoln, needs.

He can feel the desire ebbing away, the need calming down, the ache subsiding. As if Lincoln acknowledging them and accepting their existence has been enough to bring them back into manageable, decent, normal proportions. Legitimately brotherly proportions. With a small sigh, he relaxes and sinks back to the floor.

* *

There is desire, and there is want. There is a whole world between desire and want. And he can desire Lincoln in ten different ways, but he just wants his brother to be his brother. Nothing more and, above all, nothing less. As volatile as the balance may be, as fine as it sometimes may seem, the line between the notions is clear and healthily impassable.

“Is it what you want, Michael?”

He puts his hands around Lincoln’s neck, squeezes just a bit too hard and smiles. His head moves on the small cushion.

“No.”


-Philadelphus-
Philadelphus – philein, (to love) and adelphos (brother), adelphê, (sister)

He has no regret. Not the slightest one. He knows that he made the right choice, the only conceivable choice. But when he thinks of Caroline Reynolds, he’s always thrown off balance because a part of him understands her – a small part which wonders whether he should despise or admire her because she didn’t know how to want rather than desire.

“You’ll have to explain to me where the difference is, someday,” Lincoln tells him. He’s on his bunk, an arm folded under his head; they’re aboard the cargo ship sailing to Panama. In spite of the situation, in spite of everything, Michael smiles.

“A hint of reason and good sense. What you can do and come to terms with.” His brother raises his eyebrows. “You know... Like when you desire one more drink but do not want to have a hangover the morning after...?” he adds, and Lincoln feels targeted. Appropriately so, since there are these headache pills next to him.

He leans up against the wall and eyes the arrangements. There are three beds: one for Linc, one for him, and one for... The third one was for Sara. He stays here and watches the unoccupied beds, unable to choose one. After a while, Linc lets out an exasperated sigh, mumbles something about his fucking need to get some fucking sleep, and he shifts on the mattress to make some room.

“Come here,” he gruffly orders.

Michael straightens up. He has never totally relinquished his inherent right to sleep with his brother when he has had a nightmare, and recently, there have been plenty of nightmares.

He stretches out next to Linc and closes his eyes, temporarily soothed.

-END-


Stories love to be commented.

End notes: This thing has been sitting on my computer for a year... Thought it was about time to post it.
11-30 July 2007
 
 
Current Mood: hopefulhopeful
 
 
 
miss_elektramiss_elektra on August 8th, 2008 07:40 pm (UTC)
This was wonderfully intense and I also loved it that it didn't end the usual way, meaning sex. Of coursse there's nothing to say against sex but the fact that Michael made a different decision added some kind of depth to this story.

I also appreciated the mentioning of Caroline very much. I always found it a bit strange that the writers decided to put an incest-plot into Prison Break of all TV-shows.

Thank you very much for sharing.
Clair de Lune: pb - brothers4clair_de_lune on August 9th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
Of course there's nothing to say against sex
In their case, I'm not so sure ;-)
Seriously, in my mind, it wouldn't have ended that way, no matter what. I didn't want to make Lincoln's intentions clear, but as far as I'm concerned, it was all about proving Michael that he didn't actually want "that".

I always found it a bit strange that the writers decided to put an incest-plot into Prison Break of all TV-shows.
It was a bit odd, indeed. I guess that I took it like some sort of mirror or nemesis thing, Michael and Reynolds willing to go quite far for their respective brothers, Reynolds in a wrong way - well, a wronger way since Michael made quite a few collateral damages.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thank you for the feedback :-)
Julesdarkwriter69 on August 9th, 2008 08:35 am (UTC)
What an incredibly intense little fic. I loved every minute of it - especially Michael's choice. I also enjoyed how you brought Caroline's choice in as a comparison but most of all, I loved the way you ended the fic by bringing it back to the start.

Well done.
Clair de Lune: pb - brothersclair_de_lune on August 9th, 2008 03:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you! In the first place, it was meant to be about Michael making the wiser choice obviously, but there was also the idea that he didn't actually know or realize what he wanted. I regret a bit I left that out, but I guess it's still kind of there when he thinks that he's never been able to "imagine" how kissing Lincoln would be.

Initially, the story ended with Michael's "No" to Lincoln. I almost edited the last part out, because I thought it may be irrelevant. But I really wanted to write some sort of comparison bewteen Michael and Reynolds. It's also one of the first Michael/Lincoln stories I've written (it just took me forever to finally post it), right after Twilight, and since I hadn't done it in Twilight, I wanted to adress the brothers' reaction to the revelation made in Sweet Caroline. Anyway I'm glad I kept it ;)

Thanks a lot for reading and commenting :)
Julesdarkwriter69 on August 9th, 2008 09:17 pm (UTC)
but there was also the idea that he didn't actually know or realize what he wanted. I regret a bit I left that out

I felt that you still conveyed that, even if it was subtle. Sometimes subtle can be better anyway. And yes, I'm glad yo continued it passed Micheal's 'no' - it gave the fic more depth.
Clair de Lune: origami - canardclair_de_lune on August 9th, 2008 09:50 pm (UTC)
It was probably better to settle for one main idea anywyay, but it's nice to know that it's still conveyed.

By the way, I think you left me a couple of reviews at pbfic.net and I haven't had the chance to at least say thanks for them: I'm having a few troubles with my account and can't log in right now. So... thanks ;)
PamalaX: Brotherspamalax on August 9th, 2008 11:34 am (UTC)
Very nice fic. All that wonderful tension is there with the rather untraveled road choice of dealing with it. A really refreshing twist.

I liked it a lot.

How can you let something sit there for a year? Once I start a story I go crazy needing to get at it until its done.
I can't imagine it waiting there. Did you have a lot of it and no finish or just a start waiting. Yes I am awed.
Clair de Lune: pb - brothersclair_de_lune on August 9th, 2008 03:02 pm (UTC)
All that wonderful tension is there with the rather untraveled road choice of dealing with it. A really refreshing twist.
I wanted to start roughly on the same ground as Twilight and get to the opposite conclusion ;)

Once I start a story I go crazy needing to get at it until its done.
lol, usually me too. But writing for PB is harder now and I tend to procrastinate. Sometimes, I start a story and just put it to rest after a few paragraphs. It happened with the No Man's Land fic. When I'm lucky, I do finish the story sooner or later. Right now, I have a companion piece for Letting Go - Linc's POV - that's been waiting for a couple of months.

As for Equilibirium, however, it was finished. It's been waiting, finished and beta-read, in a file. It's actually one of the first stories Faeary beta-read for me. So it's even worse than you imagined *blushes* It's just that I wrote other things in the meantime and wanted or had to post them first. I don't like to clog communities and flists (well, clog them more than I already do *g*) so the fic ended up being constantly postponed.

Thank you :-)
Maz (or foxxy!): A Little Joytuesdaeschild on August 10th, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
*pouts* There was an error! I lost my comment! *glares at LJ*

Okay, I'll try again!

This was a beautifully crafted, very intense and incredibly thoughtful fic and I believe Michael made the right choice, which made for a very different kind of ending but a wholly satisfying one. Lincoln also proved to be surprisingly intuitive by giving Michael the choice, knowing what he might desire but didn't want. And you did a fabulous job of illustrating the subtle diffence!

And it was a brilliant examination of the brothers and their relationship...inlcuding all their faults too, which was refreshing and honest. I really loved it, sweetheart! :)
Clair de Lune: pb - brothersclair_de_lune on August 13th, 2008 12:23 pm (UTC)
LJ can be quite treacherous. I always select & copy before hitting 'post' because it tricked me a few times too and ate my comment *grumbles*

Lincoln also proved to be surprisingly intuitive by giving Michael the choice
I do think that Lincoln has more insight than he's actually pictured to have, and he's still the person who knows Michael best.
For me, in this story anyway, he wouldn't have carried on if Michael had said yes, even though I didn't to make clear his stance on the matter. It was more about giving him a reality check, and I guess it works better if Michael realizes it all by himself rather than merely be denied what he desires.
And I'll stop rambing now ;)

I'm so glad you liked this. I felt a bit bad labelling it slash when it actually tells how it *won't* happen, but on the other hand, I could hardly called it 'gen' *g*

Thank you for reading and commenting :D
Maz (or foxxy!): A Little Joytuesdaeschild on August 15th, 2008 11:09 am (UTC)
It really can! I do select and copy when I remember...

...and he's still the person who knows Michael best.
For me, in this story anyway, he wouldn't have carried on if Michael had said yes, even though I didn't to make clear his stance on the matter. It was more about giving him a reality check, and I guess it works better if Michael realizes it all by himself rather than merely be denied what he desires.


He is! And I can't fault you on that argument. It was a little like calling his bluff, I suppose; clever Lincoln! And what we can have we don't neccessarily want because isn't it the most forbidden fruit that tastes the sweetest?!!

Rambling is good! Feel free to ramble whenever you like, sweetheart! :)

I think you labelled it right too. It was far more "slash" than "gen"!!

And you're welcome, dear. :)

living in pixelsrixiel on January 19th, 2009 06:30 am (UTC)
eeep! I love the story! And I like how real is it that Michael says no in the end, as much as he would want to say yes.
Clair de Lune: pb - michaelclair_de_lune on January 20th, 2009 08:38 pm (UTC)
He made the reasonable choice here ;)
Thanks a lot for your comment. I'm happy you kike dthis!
venacavaa on April 27th, 2010 10:53 pm (UTC)
It's a good thing you thought it was about time to post this, it's fantastic.

I always thoroughly enjoy your Prison Break fics. They're always so beautifully written and perfectly characterized.
Clair de Lune: pb - brothersclair_de_lune on April 28th, 2010 10:33 pm (UTC)
At some point, I wrote so many PB fics I had to delay their posting not to clogg my flist - and this one was delayed quite a few times before ending up online, I'm afraid ^__^ Not so much an issue now, sadly.

I'm so glad you liked this. It's actually one of the very first M/L I've written, and it's great to see someone's still reading it :)