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Author's Chapter Notes:
Di & Katie? You ladies are resposible for this finally ending up here. Thank you.

Angie, thank you, too! You might recognize one of the characters appearing very soon. :)


Welcome Home - Radical Face

Sara sat on the bed near the phone, one leg curled under her while the other bounced wildly over the side - a habit she'd apparently picked up from Michael. Her gaze shifted from the stamped and addressed envelope propped against the lamp to the alarm clock right beside it.

She wasn't this girl - the one that waited by the phone for someone to call. Not just someone, she corrected herself; him. She wasn't that girl that needed to hear his voice or just reach out and touch him to know that everything was going to be okay. She wasn't the girl that couldn't sleep without him in the bed beside her. And she surely wasn't the girl that watched the digital time display and waited for it to flicker to the next minute - the time he said he'd call, with her anxiety level so high that it easily gave her medical school days and their battle against the Company a run for their money.

'Liar,' she resigned herself when the phone rang. Her lips curved into a smile before she even pressed the phone against her ear, anticipating his rich baritone caressing her intimately the second she heard it. "Michael?" she answered presumptuously.

"Hi." One simple word. Two letters. One consonant. One vowel. A thousand butterflies fluttering in her chest.

He sounded just as relieved to hear her voice as she was to hear his. They'd barely said anything to each other yet she felt herself ease out of the protective shell she kept herself wrapped in whenever they weren't together.

"How was your day?" he asked and he could hear the sigh of relief sweep through her body and felt his own tension ebbing away.

"It was good. Long," she amended. "We talked to the Dean of Admissions and toured the campus. I got to meet with a lot of the faculty and they seem fairly excited to have me join their staff next semester." She omitted the portion of the day she spent being a patient. What she had to say couldn't be said over the phone.

"I'm sure they are. You're a wonderful doctor and you'll be an even better teacher. How could they not be excited?" Michael praised.

Sara's head dipped down for a second and she felt the warmth rise in her cheeks. He was so good at this. He was never shy about showering her with unconditional love and adoration. She felt her throat constrict with emotion. Her news and his compliment, intended to bolster her spirit made her miss him that much more. "Yeah? I think you might be a little biased," she managed to joke.

"It's true regardless of how I feel about you," he assured her, feeling the ache of missing her stretch even greater than before. He heard her choke up and try to pass it off as a laugh. "Are you alright?"

"I -" miss you so much. Haven't slept in three days. Can't think of any good reason to get out of bed when you're not with me. Have a life altering announcement for you. "I'm fine. Just tired," she tried to pass off her excuse, hoping he would hear her silent scream for him but praying he would never hear how desperate she was to be with him again.

"Sara?" his pressed, his tone taking on the same tinge of hopelessness that she was feeling. Misery did not love company. Hearing him reflect what she was feeling only made it worse.

"I miss you. I miss you so much I can hardly stand it," she confessed. Irrationally, she wondered if LJ would forgive her if she just got in the car and drove home. Or even if she could just throw open the door and run down the street; anything that brought her closer to him. She felt like she was suffocating without him. Realistically, while she was nearly finished, he still had several more interviews to go through and she knew that she couldn't leave. It didn't stop her wishing, though.

"I miss you, too," he rasped out, unable to form the words to tell her he hadn't slept since she left and forced himself to get out of bed and face each day. He couldn't explain why he felt inexplicably drawn to her - the connection so strong he could focus on little else. He couldn't tell her that Linc had harassed him non-stop about being whipped until he'd pinned him against the wall and with his forearm pressed against his throat, asked him politely to stop. To Linc's credit, he did stop and five hours later when they were informed that the shipment of equipment they were waiting for that prevented them from going with LJ and Sara in the first place was going to be delayed for at least another week thanks to a customs snafu, Linc was waiting by the car with two cups of coffee and his bag already tossed in the back. "It won't be much longer," Michael promised.

Not soon enough as far as she was concerned. "I know." The longing stretched over the silence and miles separating them and she was able to pick up the sound their car. "What are you up to tonight?" she asked, glad for any distraction that kept them from focusing on how miserable they were.

"I'm heading home," Michael answered, his tone immediately lighter and more hopeful than before. It made her happy that he looked forward to arriving in the place they'd created so many memories in. She found more than a small measure of comfort in it.

"I'm glad. How did everything go today?" Sara settled back against the headboard, content to participate in the normality's of their daily relationship.

"It was fine until Lincoln mistook his finger for sheet rock and shot himself with the nail gun," he related Linc's morning mishap. Much to Linc's chagrin, he had to admit it wasn't the brightest thing he'd ever done.

Sara cringed at the image. "Is he okay?"

"Yeah, he's fine. Luckily it just grazed the side of his knuckle. We spent most of the day making 'nailed it' jokes," Michael related, relieved to hear her laugh.

"I can't leave you boys alone for five minutes, can I?"

"I wish you wouldn't," Michael replied before he could stop himself. He didn't want to make her feel guilty for pursuing something she was so passionate about. He had been aware of the tension within her to re-enter her profession building over the past few months. With the Company nothing more than an unpleasant memory, they'd been able to concentrate on themselves and each other and while they had both silently feared their attraction to each other would wane in the face of normalcy, their fears had been unnecessary as their bond did nothing but grow.

Sara's lack of response confirmed he'd done just that. "I'm sorry," he breathed out.

"No, I'm sorry," she started, barely able to form words around the sorrow she felt. Exhaustion mixed with the ache of missing him compounded exponentially by her roller coaster emotions left her raw and vulnerable. "It's just so much harder than I ever imagined it could be to be away from you."

Michael consciously applied more pressure on the gas pedal, trying to get to her just a little sooner. He knew that the drive would take at least another thirty minutes but he hated that all he could do at this point was agree with her. "I know," he soothed, armed with the knowledge that very soon he'd be able to comfort her with more than words. He had to get her out of the funk she was seemingly drowning in. It was killing him to hear her that way. "I just hope you'll be able to recognize us after being away for so long. Lincoln in particular," he hoped his lightened tone didn't sound as forced to her ears as it did to his.

Sara smiled at the familiar rhythm Michael was trying to establish with her. "I take it he finally went through with the operation?" she ad libbed, increasing the ante in their game.

"Yes. Oh, and he's asked that we refer to him.. or rather her, as Lin from now on," Michael responded without missing a beat. Linc snorted in the front seat beside him, enjoying the familiar banter. It was good to see his brother smile again after the last few days spent scowling.

"I think it's nice. You've always wanted a sister and I'll finally have someone to go shopping with."

Michael relayed her message to Linc. She laughed as she heard him suggest they get a mani/pedi together. "I'm a little frightened that he knows what that is," she admitted as she strained to hear what else he was saying.

"He says its a shame you won't be able to get matching polish because he's a 'summer' and you're an 'autumn'," Michael related. "He also wants to know if he can borrow your ruffled mini skirt?"

"Sure. Lin's lucky. I don't loan that out to just anyone, you know," Sara confided about the imaginary garment. "He's got the legs to pull it off."

They shared a chuckle before she heard Lin(c) ask about LJ. "He's good. He's already got a hopeless crush on one of the instructors. I think he was trying to get her to go to dinner with him tonight."

"I've been there.. I hope she agrees to go out with him and puts him out of his misery," Michael commented as a wave of nostalgia passed over him.

"You do?" Sara questioned, not immediately making the same connection he made.

"Yes, Doctor. I do," he intoned with so much familiarity that she flushed immediately and was instantly transported back to the infirmary, complete with stolen glances and forbidden touches, invitations and hidden promises.

The shared memory elicited a comfortable silence between them before Sara shook herself out of her reverie. "Do you think it's normal?" she posed her vague question.

"Missing each other so much?" he guessed.

"Yes."

Michael contemplated his answer before giving it to her. "We didn't meet and fall in love under normal circumstances. Everything surrounding us has been intense. I'd guess that being apart and missing each other would be the same."

"That makes sense. How'd you get to be so smart?"

"Lin dropped me on my head a lot," he answered nonchalantly. They shared some more snippets about their day, each concealing one very important detail. Things were slightly uncomfortable when he asked about her dinner plans and again when she asked why the drive home was taking so long.

With creative answers they managed to avoid lying to each other. "You sound tired," Michael mentioned after a brief lull. He slowed the car down as it approached her motel, barely able to keep the excitement out of his voice.

"I am tired," she admitted, feeling the exhaustion hammering her as much as her longing for him. As tired as she was she knew she was facing another sleepless night without him. She wasn't looking forward to hanging up with him. An idea formed in her mind, offering her a glimmer of hope. "Will you do something for me?"

"Name it," Michael answered without hesitation. He shut the car off and opened his door, intending to retrieve his bag but Lincoln sent him on his way, motioning that he would grab it for him. With a wave of thanks he quickly made his way down the hall towards her room, watching the numbers on the doors increase frustratingly slow in spite of his hurried pace.

"I know you're tired too," she prefaced, feeling guilty for asking this of him. "It's silly. Nevermind."

"Sara. Just tell me what you want," Michael prodded.

"Talk to me until I fall asleep?" she requested shyly.

Heart in throat Michael finally spotted her room. He came to a halt just in front of it, stopping his hand from reaching for the handle. "Is that all you want?"

"No. What I want is you. But, I'll take what I can get," she lamented, swallowing past the lump in her throat.

His eyes closed in response to her answer. He didn't know how many times he'd found himself in this exact situation - so overwhelmed, so lucky, so blessed that she loved him just as much as he loved her. It nearly made him weep every time. "Open the door," his voice beseeches her to comply.

The phone lands with a soft thud on the bed as she moves towards the last barrier between them. He hears the safety chain and lock disengaging at the same time before the door opened an instant later revealing the reason for his journey.

Belatedly he realized he was still holding the phone to his ear. He snaps it shut as her arms wrap around his waist, her body curling and disappearing into him. His arms tighten around her shoulders, holding her as tightly as possible and it only barely conveys how much he's missed her.

By the time Lincoln catches up with them they haven't moved. They were still clinging to each other in front of her room as he sat Michael's bag down beside him. Sara reluctantly pulled her face away from Michael's chest, her eyes curiously glossy as she received her customary kiss on the cheek from her brother in law. "Hey Sar," he greeted.

"Hey Lin," she greeted back, earning a chuckle from each brother. "I want to see your finger later," she warned as she spotted the bandage on his hand.

"Wouldn't you rather see Michael's?" he countered cheekily as he continued down the hall to LJ's room.

Sara's face clouded with confusion for an instant before she broke into an embarrassed grin. Looking up at Michael as he lifted her chin, he noted the slight discoloration under her eyes even as she was doing the same to him; a testament to their sleepless nights apart. "I can't believe you're here," she whispered in astonishment. Michael caught an errant tear with his thumb and brushed it away.

"I'm home," he whispered back, gathering her in his arms once more before pressing his lips against hers. She welcomed him immediately, her lips as soft and pliant against him as her body, needing to absorb as much comfort as he was willing to give.

"Missed you so much," Sara proclaimed as she began taking an active role, lifting her heels off the floor to allow her height to work in her favor. Without warning her internal craving for him reared its head. She was starved for him, unable to get close enough fast enough. Michael's hands firmly gripping her bottom and low growl give approval and signify the need to take their greeting inside.

He breaks the kiss long enough to reach down and pick up his bag, not relinquishing his grip on her with his other hand and pushes them inside her room. As soon as they are in far enough to kick the door shut, he does so before dropping the bag and sliding his hands underneath her sleep shirt which looks suspiciously like his t-shirt he thought was still in the laundry a few hundred miles away. There would be time for gentle teasing later. For now, the need to reconnect; physically and emotionally took a strong precedence over everything else.

"Remind me again whose idea it was for me to stay behind?" Michael asked rhetorically between increasingly frantic kisses. Her hands expertly flip open the top two buttons of his shirt before grasping the collar and tugging it over his head, leaving the rest of it in a perfectly buttoned heap on the floor. His chest bare, she wastes no time tasting every inch of newly exposed skin, kissing and nipping her way across devils and archways. She fixates on the sword, suckling her way down to the tip before dragging her lips back up at his insistent encouragement, preventing her from continuing beyond the sword to the fallen angel below.

He's momentarily paralyzed by the sensations coursing through his veins and he can do little more than lift his hand to tangle in her hair, hoping the sweet torture never stops while his desperation to touch, feel and possess her kick up another notch. He applies pressure behind her neck, encouraging her to move her ministrations up and when she reaches the hollow of his throat, his other hand meanders up her side. His palm conforms expertly around the curve of her breast, possessively and deliciously tightening his grip.

Without warning she shoves him nearly violently away, his back slamming against the hotel door and the handle digs almost painfully into his lower back. He's too shocked to react before her lips crash into his while her hips grind against him as she pins his hands against the door. He's not sure what just happened and he's little embarrassed to admit exactly how turned on he is by her aggressiveness. Nonetheless, her initial look as she was pushing him away was one of pain, and that's not something he can ignore.

"Did I hurt you?" he blurts out as she drags her teeth over his adams apple. Even his adams apple can't seem to get enough of her as he has a hard time keeping himself from swallowing involuntarily.

She pauses ever so slightly in her delicious torture before returning to his lips for a bruising kiss. "Do I seem injured to you?" She gives him no time to respond before her hands are reaching down the front of his jeans. Pulling. Tugging. Twisting and squeezing.

He's close to dissolving into a tragically unsatisfied puddle if she doesn't slow down and let him catch his collective breath. They've been passionate since the beginning but there's something about the almost feral attack that sets his senses on edge. This isn't like her, he knows. He has no time to think or analyze before she's practically panting in his ear and it's all he can do not to lose himself right then and there.

"Who are you and what have you done with my wife?" he rasps out, unable to keep from tasting every inch of skin available to him. There may be something amiss, but he's only a man being seduced by the woman he loves. He pushes them away from the door, pulling at her shirt until her arms raise and then it's tossed into a forgotten corner.

Her hands make a beeline to his waist, making quick work of the button and zipper before she addresses him with a determined look as she delivers her ultimatum. "We can either talk," she yanks his jeans and boxers down to his thighs and he almost cringes as he fears she'll rip his appendage off in her haste to get to it. "Or we can -".

He doesn't let the rest of the words leave her mouth before he's lifted her off her feet and spun them around and this time it's her back that collides with the door. There's no hesitation before he's nearly growling while tugging her panties aside and impaling her. If he thinks he's taken her by surprise, he's mistaken. She starts moving even before he does, digging her heels into his thighs as she tries and succeeds in getting closer to him.

He feels the familiar tightening taking over before they've barely begun and he knows it won't be long for either of them as they rock against the door, unconcerned and unembarrassed that anyone walking by would undoubtedly hear Sara's cries and the rhythmic pounding against the door. For an instant he curses not being completely free of his jeans, but somehow the limited mobility he experiences forces him to focus every thrust and jerk of his hips to one finite location, driving the intensity through the roof.

He comes just before she does and her name falls from his lips in a strangled gasp as he pulses deep inside her shuddering walls. Her thighs tighten around his hips and her fingernails embed themselves almost painfully into his shoulder, her breathy moan in his ear washing over him like a tidal wave.

When she opens her eyes again and releases her grip of him the nearly wild look in her eyes is gone without a trace, replaced with a look that's innocuously shy in light of what they just did. Without a word, he places a tender kiss against her forehead before guiding her head down to his shoulder.

Sara buries her face against his neck, gratefully inhaling the comforting scent of him; soap, the lingering aftershave that makes her stomach curl with desire every time she smells it, clean sweat and skin. She kisses at some of the moisture that has collected on his neck, noticing for the first time the chill in the air against her own sweat dampened skin. She's loathes the idea of losing her intimate connection with him by moving but knows he can't hold the both of them up much longer and that he's probably feeling the strain of it already.

Michael feels her shift reluctantly against him and he knows her well enough to know that this is not what she really wants. It's not what he wants either as he tightens his grip around her, preventing her from pulling away from him. "Just a little longer," he requests, ignoring the burning in his legs and lower back in favor of the feeling of being safely ensconced inside Sara. It's no surprise to him when she doesn't respond with words, only nods contently against his neck.

A few minutes later she slides half-heartedly away from him, instantly mourning the feeling of loss with him. She doesn't hide her appreciation as she brushes her fingertips against his stomach as he pulls his boxer and jeans back up but doesn't bother to button them. In the low light, his tattooed torso contrasts against his black jeans producing so much sex appeal that in spite of their recent activity, she feels herself flush all over again and her heart flutters as she thinks she may have married the sexiest man on the planet. She watches as he plucks his buttoned shirt from the floor, gathering the material together before sliding it over her arms and head and lets the garment slip through his fingers as it covers her body. She slips her hand in his and leads him deeper into the room.

A moment of panic hits when they draw closer to the bed and she remembers the addressed envelope is propped against the lamp and in plain sight. Michael would surely see it and be naturally curious about it but she notices with no small amount of relief that it's fallen down flat on the night stand.

Spotting the door to the bathroom, Michael releases her hand and disappears behind the closed door, giving her time to tuck the envelope away in the nightstand. When he returns a minute later, she feels the relief of his presence hit her again and she meets him halfway through the room, walking in to his waiting embrace. "You certainly know how to make an entrance," she comments, not intending the double entendre that brings a sly smile to her husbands face.

"I like to think so." His smirk earns him a shake of her head and a slight eye roll. Their tender moment takes a turn to the practical with the growling of Michael's stomach.

"We'd better get you fed before your stomach wakes the entire building," Sara warns, pulling away to locate a room service menu for him.

"Yes, because my stomach and not anything we were just doing could wake someone up," Michael teases seconds before the thwack of the menu strikes his bicep. He quickly peruses the items listed, nothing catching his eye on the first pass. "What's good? What are you having?"

Sara struggled to keep her answer neutral as a fresh wave of nausea washed over her with just the mention of food. "A sandwich, maybe?" She swallowed quickly to counteract the unpleasant reminder that her nausea wasn't just an idle threat and took a few steadying deep breaths, careful to keep her back to Michael. She busied herself with unpacking his bag while he placed the order for food, thankful for the distraction.

"We can get you something else to eat if you don't like it," Michael offers after watching her pick at her sandwich a little later.

"It's fine," she assures him. "I'm just really tired."

Michael nods in understanding. "Why don't you go to bed? I'll clean up," he suggests.

"I'd rather sit here with you," Sara answers even as she fights back a yawn, her eyes watering at the thought of staying awake one more minute.

Her husband wolfs down the remainder of his meal with alarming speed and quickly clears the table before pushing away from it to stand behind her chair. "On your feet, Scofield," he instructs, pulling her chair back for her.

She gives a half-hearted groan of protest even as she pushes herself to her feet. She reaches back for his hand, pulling his arm around her waist and her back sinks into his chest as he directs them to the bed, shutting off the lights along the way.

"You want your other shirt back?" Michael asks, knowing she would be more comfortable sleeping in something without buttons.

"Not after it's been on the floor," she responds, her face pinching slightly at the thought.

"You dug it out of the hamper and wore it," Michael points out, poking fun at her sudden discrimination.

"That's totally different," Sara defends, diverting from their path to change shirts.

"If you say so," he offers skeptically, momentarily sidetracked while he unashamedly ogles his wife when she pulls off his shirt and plucks her favorite ‘I heart zombies’ nightshirt from a drawer.

"Letch," Sara mumbles when she catches him, smiling under her husbands adoring gaze.

"Temptress," Michael lobs back at her, following her to the bed.

"Lothario," she smirks, pulling back the sheets before crawling in.

"Siren," he accuses, pressing her into the mattress before lavishing his attention on her lips. Her arms cross behind his neck, her back arches up instinctively to meet his body. Her body tries to tap into a reserve of energy, but disappointingly, she finds the reserve has already been used. Probably with that little interlude against the door, she muses.

"Horndog," she counters when his lips leave hers. The corner of her mouth twitches as she tries not to grin.

"Is that the best you've got?" Michael raises an amused brow.

"You think you can do better?" she challenges, wriggling into a more comfortable position on the bed with Michael still hovering over her.

"Licentious," he declares before brushing his lips against hers in the barest of kisses.

"Enchantress," he adds, teasing her bottom lip between his own and she feels her heart skip in her chest.

His knee slides between hers and its no surprise to anybody that she widens her thighs to readily accommodate him. "Seductress," he goes in for the kill, kissing her so deeply he steals her breath away.

When he pulls back, he's pleased to note the rapid rise and fall of her chest and the fullness of her lips as her tongue darts out to taste him. He's feeling pretty pleased with himself when it takes her a few seconds to muster up a response.

"Horndog," she repeats, frustrated that her own body was reacting explosively to him, but lacked the stamina to carry it any further. She knows Michael is waiting for her to take things further or issue a raincheck. Regretfully, she cups his cheek and draws him closer, giving him a sweet kiss goodnight.

"I think it's safe to say I won that round," Michael teased, moving to lay beside her.

Sara's eyes are already closed and he can see that she's very close to being asleep already. She smiles all the same. "Hmmm," she agrees, snuggling against him. "You can collect your prize at midnight."

Michael smiles, pressing a kiss to her temple as his arms tighten around her and his eyes slip shut. "Love you," he whispers, sure she's already asleep. His breathing soon matches hers and he's on the verge of sleep himself when she whispers the words back to him.
________________________________________
She feels like her eyes have just closed when she hears the scrape of metal on metal. Before she can even react, she's held down forcefully and her body absorbs blow after blow. It doesn't take long before a detached numbness takes over the blinding pain she's experiencing. She thinks she hears ringing in her ears but can't tell if it's from the hands around her throat strangling the life from her or from an external source.

As much as she wants to fight it, she also wants to give in and this thought alone scares her more than the beating she's taking. As quickly as it began, it ends - leaving her choking and gasping for air. She can't fight the blackness that closes in around her.

She doesn't know how much time has passed when she next opens her eyes but she doesn't recognize her surroundings and lets them fall shut again. The inside of her elbow stings from the I.V. and she adds that to the growing list of injuries she's feeling the effects of including a deep gash along her side. Her throat feels raw and she can faintly taste blood when she tries to swallow and when her tongue moves to moisten her lips she's not surprised to find her bottom lip is nearly twice the size of normal.

Sharp plastic pokes at her lip and it takes her a second to realize it's nothing more threatening than a straw. Carefully she maneuvers her lips around the instrument, trying to find a place to let it rest where it doesn't hurt so much.

"Take it easy. Don't gulp it," she's advised by a voice she doesn't recognize. The water helps wash away the taste of blood and she sips steadily until it's removed from her. "I have a message for you."

She opens her eyes hesitantly, wondering if she's about to be finished off by a stranger in a lab coat who took great care to make himself nondescript.

"This can all end. All you have to do is tell me what you would do if you were given your freedom right now," he delivers the message so casually that it takes her a second to realize what he's actually saying.

There's only one answer she can give. Only one answer that will remove her from her concrete hell. "I would find him."

Her doctor nods his head in approval of her answer, withdrawing a syringe from his pocket. She watches as he injects the contents of the syringe into her I.V. line. "What is that?"

"Amoxicillin."

Her heart pounds in her chest and her throat constricts painfully. "I'm allergic to penicillins!" she yells at him, trying to pull the I.V. out of her arm.

Strong hands cover hers. "I know," he answers calmly, his face exhibiting none of the chaos she felt rippling inside her own skin. Seconds later her body convulsed violently and she could remember nothing else.

Chapter End Notes:
The first few chapters will set up the rest of the story. Eventually, the beginning of the chapters will catch us up with what everybody has been up to and the second half of the chapter will be current.

Provided anyone is interested. :)