Right now, Sara can't remember why she ever used to love bars or even tolerate them.
The insufferably loud music.
The smell of peanuts and sweat and beer.
You'd have to pay her to spend a night there, like she used to. Or tell her that her life depends on it.
It's little comfort to see that Michael is at least as uncomfortable as she is. Hands in his jean pockets, trying to make himself less tall than he is, so his head won't stand out among the crowd. He's looking behind his shoulder, and Sara is keeping a steady watch on the entry door.
They've ordered drinks to blend in, but the two glasses lay on the bar behind them, untasted.
Minutes pass like hours, but they do, five then ten then fifteen, and at this point, Sara whispers into Michael's ear, "I don't think they saw us."
He sighs. She doesn't hear it because the music is too loud, but sees him exhale the air as she watches his face.
"It's my fault," he says, and again, she can read the words on his mouth more than she can hear them.
She can't really deny this.
For the past week, she and Michael have been locked up in some motel, waiting for some development from the lawyer who's been working on that recording between the Vice President and her brother, trying to see if it's enough to get Lincoln exonerated.
And no, it hasn't been as fun as it sounds.
Being locked up with Michael in a motel room all day, all night.
Not as fun as she would have imagined, back in the days of Fox River, on the rare days she allowed herself to indulge in fantasy. Then, when Michael was only her patient, and the prison-blue of his uniform never let her forget the inexorability of the barrier between them, Sara thought there must be something wonderful in being locked away with him, behind closed walls, to touch not only the soft skin of his forearm or the gaping injuries he came to her with.
To touch him without gloves. To touch him without restraint.
But as it turns out, since that admittedly mind-blowing kiss in the bathroom of their train to Chicago, she and Michael have had little inclination to touch, though in some way, they've had all the leisure for it in the world.
She supposes that having Kellerman and Lincoln in the opposite room, all the time, is kind of a mood killer.
Most of the time, Sara is still struggling with the boiling fury that got her to try to strangle the man who almost killed her. The walls of the motel are thin, and she can hear him move, all day, clear his throat, and talk, which is generally followed by Lincoln ordering him to shut up.
When this happens, Michael is not so much a reassuring presence than an unwanted witness.
It's wrong, that it should all happen like this.
Her love for Michael cries out that they should be together, alone, focusing on the unspoken delights that they can bring each other, instead of them having to deal with their respective trauma under the other's sympathetic but unwelcome eyes.
Michael has no place in Sara's murderous rage toward Kellerman.
Although she supposes she has one in his.
And so, when Michael got up from the floor one evening – yes, he leaves her the bed, sleeps on the floor, it's actually that kind of cohabitation – and said, "Let's get out, just you and me," what could she do but follow him?
It did feel sudden, but Michael looked like he'd been struck with some sort of illumination, so it couldn't really be dangerous to trust him.
A genius like Michael Scofield could only be struck with good ideas. Couldn't he?
And how can she deny that it felt like a good idea, the best of all ideas, at least until they walked by a pair of policemen in the midst of their romantic promenade?
"Where are we going?" Sara had asked, changing her clothes in the small bathroom while Michael waited by the ajar door.
She had left the door open. Merely a small slit through which you could barely fit a male hand.
What had she been thinking?
That Michael should be craving to see more of the body he had scarcely explored higher than her hand and wrist, craving it so much he would be horribly tempted to look at the ray of light coming from the bathroom door, with guilt and fascination, the way a child coming home from church would look at a candy store, with his head still full of sinners and hellfire?
Whether Michael had noticed the crack of the open door, his voice hadn't let on. "It's a surprise."
It was a little past nine p.m.
Sara had been expecting nothing more of the evening than silent companionship. Silence was more appropriate than small talk, considering who was sitting on the other side of that wall. The situation denied them even the pleasure of private conversation.
"Just like that?" She couldn't help from sounding incredulous. "Without warning anyone?"
Michael didn't answer.
She came out, wearing nothing more spectacular than her last change of clean clothes, jeans and a black fitting shirt, which she knew to be becoming when Michael's eyes swept over her from head to foot, and glossed quickly over the tightness of the black material which embraced the curves of her upper body.
Yes, it was a little tragic, that after all they'd been through, that shirt was enough to send his head in a whirl.
"We'll be back before they notice we're gone," he said. "Do you trust me?"
She found she was in the mood for mischief. "Is now the good time to ask me?"
He smiled, and brushed his thumb across the side of her palm.
She liked how he did this, how he never actually took her hand in his, how his language was one more subtle and more deep than traditional lovemaking.
But part of her inwardly sighed in irritation and said, What a tease.
His plans for the evening turned out to be relatively unambitious. Considering how they'd been stuck in some boring motel for the past week though, it was all the excitement Sara could have asked for.
He drove them to the drive-in of a restaurant that looked only slightly fancier than your average McDonalds.
"Is this safe?"
"We won't get out of the car." Then, when the speaker from the restaurant came alive with the voice of a young waiter, he said to his address, "I'm sorry, would you happen to serve filet mignon? Yes, I'm afraid nothing short of that will do. Oh, yes, I understand."
They had to try six different places before they came across a restaurant that would give them what they were looking for.
Sara didn't know how to feel.
It was sweet, sexy and surprising nearly to the point of laughter that Michael would have thought this was a good idea.
And yet it was a little uncomfortable – unusual – for him to be going through all that. Many times, she almost opened her mouth to say, 'Oh, you know, that was close enough. I appreciate the effort. Considering the circumstances, I'll make do with some salad and a very good ice cream.'
It wasn't that men had never tried to impress her before.
Just that it felt wrong, with Michael.
Because until then, she had always been the one to give. To nurse him, try and make the guards treat him decently, leave the infirmary door open for him.
Along the way, there had been little opportunity for him to do something for her.
What he took her out to do that evening was unnecessary and almost ridiculous.
But she couldn't stop him, couldn't really see the sense in the words when she pictured them out loud.
And when the waiter at the other end of the speaker said, "We have some filet mignon in our Vietnamese sandwich," she actually let out a cry of disbelief and joy.
Michael ordered two without even asking what else was in it.
They ate them on the parking lot behind the restaurant, and though the bread was rubbery and the sandwich dripping with too much sauce, Sara thought she had never been so hungry for this particular food, and that if she ever had to choose a last meal – let her never have to – this would be it.
She wouldn't have played hard to please if Michael hadn't gone to such lengths to please her, and if she wasn't sure he knew how grateful and happy she was tonight.
Over the course of the past week, they had learned to communicate without using words.
"As far as first dates go, you're not doing bad," she said. "You score points for surprise and perseverance."
"This was a first date?"
She sighed, like he was hopeless.
He asked if she fancied a walk, and they both got out into the night like they were normal people and not fugitives.
Now, standing next to him in a crowded bar, all too aware of their visibility, Sara fully realizes the price they're paying for their indulgence in make-believe.
"We should drink."
"Sorry?" He half-shouts.
She motions at their drinks, and her eyes seem to say, You know what's suspicious? Getting into a bar and not drinking what you've ordered.
Silently, Michael nods, and Sara is pleased to see he's had the presence of mind to buy her soda.
Scoring half a point more.
Let's not kid ourselves, she thinks. Their date went out the window when their romantic walk got jeopardized by the couple of policemen who sprung out of nowhere from a street corner, and she and Michael had to throw themselves into the first open facility they could think of.
"I think we're good to go," she says, smiling, close enough to Michael that only he can hear.
This is not completely unrelated to the fact that a lone man looking abominably drunk and sitting at the bar started nodding at her suggestively and flashing her a grin so gruesome, it somehow decreases the whole value of this past evening.
Michael waits a short moment, swallows what's left of his drink, whatever it is, and starts for the door.
She follows him.
She shouldn't feel offended he hasn't taken her by the waist or at least put up a show of romantic love between them before he made for the door.
To Michael's mind, he is being pragmatic.
Not drawing attention. Not contaminating Sara with his fugitive status, which he constantly seems to forget she shares; trying to protect her.
If Hollywood's correct, she thinks, they should be sticking their tongues down each other's throats, because that seems to work for the protagonists, when an excuse for a first kiss is wanted.
Not that it'd be their first.
Not that she should really be thinking about kissing Michael, right at this second.
"God," she says once they're out.
But he doesn't relax. "Let's keep on walking."
Of course, he'd react like this.
After all, Michael's whole act has been out of character for the evening – so why shouldn't he spin this around, and hate himself for putting them both in danger?
Before she can help it, Sara's mouth fills with anger and bile as they walk back to the car, side by side, without speaking.
It's only when they're both sitting inside the vehicle and the car doors are locked that Michael allows himself a small sigh.
The remorse and self-hatred are still so plain on his face, though, she doesn't have the will to join in on his relief or even allow him one moment of reprieve.
"You know, I followed you out there of my own volition."
His forehead creases in incomprehension. There are still beads of perspiration streaming down his temples, and she can't exactly account for them by the nightly heat or by the exercise from the walk.
"We're both adults, Michael. We both took a risk tonight. I don't know why you did it. I didn't need to. It was enough for me that you were willing to." She adds, "I did it because the past few weeks have been as close to hell as I ever thought life could get, and I thought that just feeling alive for a moment, just being with you, without your brother or Kellerman in the next room, would be worth it."
"Sara," he sounds concerned, "when did I ever –"
"Like this wasn't what you were saying to yourself, all the time we were walking. I can see you blaming yourself even now."
He can't deny this much, and softens his tone, "Well, it was my idea."
"Yes," she says, fuming. "And you know what? It was a good idea. Really, considering where your past ideas have put me, Michael, I'd be tempted to say it was your best idea."
The effort he's putting into looking serious is evident, but he can't quite repress the admittedly seductive smile that breaks into his cheeks.
"Taking you out for filet mignon sandwiches?"
Though she doesn't resent his amusement, her own eyes are earnest, and they never lower from his.
"Say you don't regret this."
Then, as usual, he seems to understand her without needing for her words to make sense, even to her.
"I don't regret this," he says.
Sara's heart is still throbbing with adrenaline, and the fire that was anger still burns so hard into her veins, she isn't sure what to do about it if not burst.
And before she can think to stop herself, her hands are gripping at the back of his head and she is urging his lips to hers in a wet, sugary kiss.
It's a little too brutal and his teeth grind into her upper lip, but she doesn't mind, doesn't stop.
She can taste the coca cola on his mouth, and relishes every second of his surprise, which doesn't last very long.
Michael Scofield was always quick on the uptake.
Soon, it leaves place to skilled exploration as his tongue teases its way past her lips, and his hands move around her hips until she's sliding away from her seat and into his lap.
The old logic her brain has integrated tries to protest. No, this is going to fast, you must hold back. Surely there's something inherently wrong about allowing a man – a convicted felon – to sneak his hands under your blouse, while the air inside the car is getting thick with heat and desire.
But on a more primal and deeper level, Sara knows there isn't.
That just because Michael may be the love of her life, there is no reason for the first time that they make love to be romantic, by any traditional standards.
What great romance ever did start inside a man's car?
Yet again, how many started in prison, how many involved overdose and torture?
Sara thinks that, over the past weeks, she's learned a few things about what things seem to be and what they really are.
And she thinks whether what is going to take place right now, inside that car, is right or wrong, absolutely no one outside from her and Michael should be the judge.
AN: More Mi/Sa scenes from season 2… Yes, I do wish we'd gotten more of those. Please share your thoughts in the comment section as always.