"Michael, what the hell?"
Lincoln's voice came to him distorted and vague, as if he were underwater. Michael's ears rang, and he rocked his head back and forth on the cool tiles of the bathroom wall, fingers idly brushing over the now-dried designs painted in his own blood on the floor.
Lincoln grabbed him by the shoulders and pulled him forward, his grip tight and his eyes wild. "Michael, look at me, man. Are you alright?"
Michael began to laugh bitterly, a low, choked sound in his throat, but it soon turned to sobbing, ragged and uncontrollable.
Lincoln sat down right there and pulled him forward roughly, hugging his brother hard as the sobs shook his body.
Lincoln's leather jacket had the ever-present smell of cigarette smoke – not exactly pleasant, but comforting in its familiarity. "I'm all alone," Michael finally choked out.
"No, man. You're not."
Michael pushed away from him, wiped snot from his face, and had the dignity to look embarrassed. "Why'd you come home?"
Lincoln scrubbed both hands through his close-cropped hair and looked at his younger brother's raw wound. "I knew something was wrong. Can't explain how." He searched the sixteen-year-old's face. "Why'd you do it, Michael?"
Michael frowned. "Everything hurt so bad inside. I needed to get it out where I could deal with it."
"That's not the way, man!"
Michael's frown deepened. "Then what is? Smoking? Drugs? Alcohol? Girls?"
Lincoln sighed and ran a hand over his face. All the things that he tried, thrown back in his face. "Mike..."
"I know." He looked at him again and softened his tone. "Why does it hurt inside?"
Michael shrugged and looked down. "I guess because I'm all alone."
"You're not alone."
Michael looked up with a glare. "I am! Dad left, mom died, and you're never here! I'm all alone, and it hurts like you died too!"
Lincoln looked away, exhaling a long breath. He put a hand against his chest, the accusation like an arrow of physical pain. A million excuses tripped through his mind. He pushed them away and met Michael's eyes. "You're right, man. I'm sorry." His voice was quiet.
Michael's eyes widened a little, but he didn't say anything.
Lincoln squared his jaw. "I'm here now, Michael, and I'm gonna be here."
Michael's eyes stung with tears. "Really?" The word came out choked.
Lincoln nodded firmly. "Really. I'll do whatever it takes to take care of us, Michael. To take care of you. And I'm here for you."
Michael swiped his sleeve over his nose again. "Okay, Linc. I...I hope so."
"I'm here, man." Lincoln got to his feet and offered Michael a hand, pulled him up.
Michael hissed in a sharp breath between his teeth and groaned, grabbing the edge of the sink and swaying. "Shit, that hurts! Hurts worse than when I did it!"
Lincoln crossed his arms over his chest. "Rubbing all the skin off will do that, I imagine. Let's get you cleaned up." He opened the medicine cabinet and reached for the bottle of peroxide.
Michael's eyes widened and his face paled. "Not that."
Lincoln pointed to the edge of the tub. "Sit down. You're the one who wanted to feel your pain on the outside, so sit down and take the consequences like a man."
Michael glared at his older brother, but he sat. "That's not funny."
Lincoln slammed the bottle down unopened. "No, it's not! And you know what else?" His eyes took in Michael's skinned leg and the bloody smears on the floor again, and they blazed. He leaned in close. "If I ever find out that you hurt yourself again, it's not just peroxide you're gonna feel. It'll be my fists on the sides of your face! You got that?" His hands clenched and unclenched, and his chest heaved.
Michael squinted at his older brother, and he nodded almost imperceptibly. There was the Lincoln he knew. "It...it won't happen again, Linc."
"Good!" Lincoln opened the peroxide and poured it without further preamble.
Michael stifled a groan and closed his eyes. He jammed his knuckles against his mouth. After a second he felt Lincoln hugging him roughly.
"I love you, Michael. I never want you to hurt yourself, okay? I'm here for you."
Michael nodded and hugged his brother hard, his face pressed against Lincoln's shoulder. "Thanks, Linc. I love you too."
A/N: (Now complete). I will say it again: You may think you're alone, but you're not. There are people you can turn to. There is always Someone you can turn to. Yes, Prison Break and Michael are brilliant, but this isn't the answer. It's not. It bears repeating: You are not alone. Just have a little faith.