foxriverinmate: (Santa Babies)
[personal profile] foxriverinmate
Title: Of Chocolate, Snow and Brotherly Love
Author [personal profile] foxriverinmate
Rating: G
Category: Family
Warnings: None
Characters: Michael and Lincoln
Disclaimer: Sadly these characters are not mine.
Summary: Christmas is just around the corner and it's a bitter Chicago late afternoon...
AN: For my friend and ficcing companion because she requested it and she deserves it. Happy Christmas, my dear [personal profile] clair_de_lune, with my love.

"Get those wet clothes off, Mikey, and get in the shower. Then I'll make us some hot chocolate."

Michael had looked up at Lincoln solemnly. "With marshmellows?"

Lincoln smiled fondly and ruffled his brother's hair. "If we have any, yeah. Quick now."

Michael scurried off to the bathroom.

Lincoln had found his baby brother shivering and fumbling with his door key outside their apartment building, snow flakes melting coldly on his long dark eyelashes. Michael had said he'd lost his bus fare and had walked home from school in the gathering gloom of a mid-December afternoon. Lincoln wasn't convinced. In fact he was pretty sure Michael, caring, compassionate little soul that he was, had probably given the coins to an unfortunate homeless person he'd encountered on his way to the bus stop; it wouldn't be the first time. Lincoln loved that about his kid brother but he worried that one day his kind heart would get him into trouble.

For now he needed to get Michael warm and comfortable because he took his big brotherly duties seriously; he owed it to their late mother. But caring for a child like Michael wasn't easy.

He heard the shower stop as he stood in the kitchen and stirred the chocolate into two big mugs before searching in the cupboards for the package of mini-marshmallows he spent a little of their meagre food allowance on occasionally as a treat for them on chilly winter nights. He was sprinkling the marshmallows on the surface of the hot chocolate as Michael entered the kitchen, his cheeks flushed with the heat of his shower and his dark hair damp. He was dressed in his pyjamas under his too-big dressing gown (a hand-me-down from Lincoln) and he eyed the mugs happily.

"Warmer now, Mikey?"


Lincoln picked up the mugs and led Michael into the sitting room where their small Christmas tree twinkled merrily in the corner with Michael following behind, placing the mugs of chocolate on the scarred coffee table to cool a little. The brothers sat down side by side on the battered sofa with the younger one snuggling up against his larger sibling.

"So you lost your bus fare then, buddy," Lincoln stated.

Michael squirmed slightly, not making eye contact with his brother. "Yeah," he replied softly.

A time would come in their futures when Michael would become a convincing liar; right now he was pretty bad. But Lincoln wouldn't push him on it right now. Their lives weren't easy and Lincoln could ill-afford to give homeless guys, or anyone else Michael deemed a worthy cause, money from the wages he earned at the docks and the meagre food stamps they received. But it was nearly Christmas and it was only the second Holiday they'd spent alone since their mom had died and Michael always maintained, because in so many ways he had an old head on his young shoulders, that it was always right to help someone less fortunate than they were.

"Promise me you'll be more careful in future, Mikey?" Lincoln kept his face stern, though the look of relief on his brother's face made him want to smile.

"I promise, Linc," Michael affirmed gravely and Lincoln believed he meant it. Until the next time he saw someone who needed help.

"Okay." Lincoln leaned forward to pick up the mugs of chocolate from the coffee table, handing one to Michael and scooping some of his own slightly-melted marshmallows into his mouth with the spoon. He smiled fondly as Michael did the same, blowing on them so he wouldn't burn his mouth.

"Mmmmm," he murmured, snuggling tighter against Lincoln. "Just like mom used to make, Linc. Thank you."

Lincoln smiled whistfully, leaning down to plant an affectionate kiss on top of Michael's head. "You're welcome, buddy," he whispered as he returned to his own mug, enjoying some quiet time with his kid brother.
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