Beecher had half expected to see his roommate, Keller, lying smugly in his bunk when he limped back to their pod. But he was gone still, where he could be Beecher had no clue. Could he have really gone and told McManus the truth? Beecher laughed maniacally at the thought, even though Keller had exploded from their pod earlier yelling to be taken to McManus. All for show, Beecher thought ruefully. He wanted to know what was going on that man's head. Was it not enough that he mangled his body? Did he have to play sick mind games too? Spouting bullshit that he loved him and was truly sorry, offering his limbs for Beecher to mar, as he did to him two months earlier. No, Beecher was glad that his roommate was still gone, it gave him time to think of how everything would unfold.
Those two months he was recovering from the attack in the infirmary, he was thinking of one thing: Revenge. As new prisoners were admitted or returning for check ups there was one thing that made life worth going on for him. Revenge. As his bones ached from inside their casts. Revenge. As his eyes turned hollow and lifeless, as he replayed the attack over and over in his head; Metzger laughing, Keller throwing an arm around Schillinger. Revenge.
Just as his life almost began to fall into place. As much as one's could in OZ. Even though he still was tormented nightly with dreams of un-extinguished memories past, but knowing there would be a hand on his shoulder, comforting him, he was able to go on. But everything was false, the glances, the secret smiles, the subtle grazing of hands, arms, legs. His lips. The laundry room memory popped into his head without warning, and Beecher was desperate to suffocate it. Everything was phony, everything was planned out to make him come undone. And he fell into the trap - no, he walked into it, willingly. He bought into it, because he wanted to believe that it was true. He wanted to believe someone could still love him.
What Beecher didn't know was that Keller was in protective custody. After confessing that he, Metzger and Schillinger were to blame for Beecher's attack two months back. They put him in a single person cell. Schillinger was thrown in the hole, to think about how he would pay him back for his current predicament. And Metzger, whose fate was the worst, laid in the dark shadows of Em City in a pool of his own blood.
* * * * * * * * * *
Keller had given up on sleeping. He was lying on the bed in the corner, his hands behind his head, staring up at the ceiling as one of the florescent lights flickered on and off. He looked almost serene, but that was in stark contrast with how he actually felt. His mind swirled with conflicting emotions. His main concern however, was Beecher's acceptance of him.
After the day he and Schillinger finally executed the grand finale of "Operation Toby" by breaking Beecher's arms and legs, Keller went back to their pod, heavy hearted with deep regret. He knew though, he had little choice, he owed Vern. Schillinger, The Aryan Brotherhood, none of it mattered to Keller anymore. Only Beecher mattered. See, when he told Beecher he loved him that day in the laundry room, and earlier today when Tobias returned to their pod, he meant it. And part of him, hated himself for it.
What on earth was he thinking? How could this happen? He was going to be in prison for the rest of his life, and he had managed in one day to tear down the alliance he had made with the Aryans and gain one of the most powerful men in prison as his enemy. He was weak, and even more stupid then he thought. All he had to do was follow Schillinger's orders, simple orders: gain Beecher's trust. And what did he do? He fell in love with him, he began to care deeply for the man who he was there to obliterate, the same man who looked into his eyes, and saw in him some importance. Beecher looked at Keller and saw worth in him. Keller wasn't sure if anyone had ever looked at him this way, not even his three wives.
But after seeing him today, for the first time in two months, that look was gone. He looked at him with these detached, slightly demented, dead eyes. Yet Keller knew he was the same man, and he would do whatever it'd take to get him back.
Keller turned on his stomach and buried his face in his pillow, trying not to think anymore. He wanted to return to Em City, he needed to talk to Beecher again, make him understand that he would do anything for him.
* * * * * * * * * *
Beecher looked down at his playing cards as Bob Rebadow and Augustus Hill forgot about the poker game, and spoke about Metzger being found with his throat slit.
"What did you say to him?" Ryan O'Reily's voice slithered over Beecher's shoulder like a snake. He looked back at the smug Mick standing with his younger brother.
"What are you talking about, O'Reily?"
"So, you don't know?"
"Know what?" Beecher asked, looking up at Ryan, who's face broke out in a big shit eating grin.
"Keller's in protective custody - he snitched on Metzger and Schillinger about your attack. Don't tell me you had nothing to do with that."
Beecher glanced at his cards again. Keller had been gone since Beecher told him to confess, yet he still couldn't believe that Keller actually did it. After letting it settle in, he looked back up at Ryan blankly and shrugged.
A few minutes before lockdown, as Beecher laid on his top bunk, writing, Keller walked into the pod, escorted by a CO. Beecher looked up from his paper, and his eyes fell on him, he looked away quickly and returned to writing. Keller heavily sighed, and leaned against the door.
"I did what you told me to do."
"Congratulations," Beecher replied, not looking up from whatever he was writing. Keller snorted, walking over to the bunk.
"That's it? That's all you have to say?"
Beecher dropped his pad of paper and pencil.
"What the hell do you want me to say? Thank you?" He smiled suddenly, shaking his head at Keller. "You break my fucking bones and you want my declaration of gratitude for doing what you should have done in the first place?"
"I just want you to know...that I..." Keller's voice trailed off, and he looked down.
"What?" Beecher repeated, becoming agitated. Keller looked up at him, his mouth opened slightly.
"Oh, shit. Just forget it." Keller sat on the bottom bunk. Beecher returned to writing. After a few minutes of silence "Toby..."
"What the fuck is it?" Beecher asked harshly, as he paused with pen in hand. Keller sighed loudly.
"I love you," the words floated up to the top bunk and Beecher grinned deviously at them.
"Fuck you, Keller."
"LOCK DOWN!" The sound of the new CO's announcement over the speakers filled Emerald City.
Beecher and Keller, unmoved by it, stayed in the same place. Beecher continued writing, and Keller, exhausted by trying to think of ways to get Beecher to listen to him, decided to get ready to sleep. He stood up, stripped from his clothing. Beecher didn't move a muscle, but his eyes lifted a bit from his pad of paper to watch Keller undress. Keller walked over to the sink, and turned on the faucet, splashing cold water on his face.
He looked up into the mirror and caught Beecher's reflection - their eyes met for an instant, but Beecher turned back to his writing. Keller turned around and looked at him, not even sure if it had happened. He thought about asking Beecher what it would take for him to forgive him. But he thought better of it. If there was a chance that he would forgive him, he probably would have to find out on his own.
Keller slipped into his bottom bunk, groaning as he turned on his side, trying to push the vision of Beecher's eyes locked on him for that split second.
Beecher looked down at his pad. He planned to dispose of the paper he was writing on as soon as he was finished, scrawled in black letters was the word REVENGE. Underneath was the names Metzger, Schillinger and Keller. Metzger had a line through it. He looked down at it, and drew a line through Keller. He sighed, and underlined Schillinger. Although he didn't trust Keller, he felt that if he was foolish enough to rat out Schillinger, he wouldn't have to worry about him for much longer. So why bother plotting against his roommate when he could be devising some way to get Schillinger? He tore off the piece of paper and crumpled it in his hand. He could hear Keller's heavy breathing now, and knew he was sleeping. A sudden moment of desire came over him.
Beecher carefully climbed down his bunk. He looked at Keller, who had thrashed off his blankets, and slept bare chested on his bed.
"Keller," he whispered. Keller moaned a bit and turned over on his back. Beecher smirked, and lifted the pillow he held behind his back. He inched a bit closer, but stopped dead in his place when Keller's eyes flickered open.
"Beecher?" Keller looked at the pillow Beecher was holding over his head. Beecher closed his eyes, and took a deep breath. He walked over to the sink, and leaned on it, dropping the pillow. Keller was up and out of the bed, standing behind him now. "What were you gonna do - suffocate me, Beecher? Huh? Is that what you were gonna do?" He picked up the pillow and shoved it into Beecher's hands. "So do it then, c'mon, you want me dead -- do it!" Keller was surprised at the hostility in his own voice. He couldn't believe that the person he put his life on the line for, by confessing, was about to try and kill him in his sleep.
"Fuck off!" Beecher roared back, looking at him sideways. Keller grabbed Beecher's arm and yanked him over to him.
"You want me dead so bad? Do it. Kill me." Keller murmured looking into Beecher's ice blue glare.
"Let go of me," Beecher grumbled back.
"I'm never gonna let you go, Toby," Keller replied, still gazing into his eyes.
Beecher scoffed and tried to struggle out of Keller's grasp, but he only held his arms tighter. Keller took a step forward and pushed his lips on Beecher's. He let his hands slide around Beecher's waist. Beecher's fists were clenched tightly, pushed up against Keller's chest, trying to pry himself out of Keller's clutches. But Keller continued kissing Beecher, pushing his lips apart and shoving his tongue down his throat. Beecher found himself closing his eyes and his fists loosened, until they laid flat against Keller's pecs. He suddenly realized what he was doing, and withdrew his hand, clenching it and socking him in the face. Keller stumbled backwards, and they both stared at each other, breathing heavily.
"Fuck you, fuck you," Beecher murmured, breathlessly scampering to his bunk. Keller just rested his head against the wall, sliding down to the floor. He could hear Beecher still breathing heavily from the top bunk.
Beecher rubbed his face in his hands miserably. He could feel tears begin to swell his eyes, and choked back a sob. That kiss shook him up more than he cared to admit. It reaffirmed his fears that he still had feelings for Keller. He looked down at Keller who was grabbing his knees, staring up at the ceiling, his neck against the cold wall. Beecher couldn't begin to admit how upset he was with himself for still caring for the man who mangled his body along with his trust.
Was Keller telling the truth? Did he love him? Did he really care?
Who cares? You shouldn't. Beecher told himself, rubbing tears away from his eyes. But he could tell himself that all he wanted, it wouldn't be true. How pathetic could he be? Beecher walked right into Schillinger's plan. He was broken by the same man he told he loved, and yet he still cared deeply for him? What on earth was wrong with him? What did Keller have to do to for Beecher not to stop loving him? Kill him?
I don't love him. Beecher thought desperately.
He looked down at Keller, who scratched his ear delicately, then looked down at his fingers.
* * * * * * * * * *
Beecher bit into his banana. His eyes did not leave their place on the table.
"You look like hell." Augustus Hill remarked, rolling up to the table, his tray of food in his lap. Tobias raised his eyebrows slightly, running his fingers through his hair.
"Didn't get much sleep last night."
Between the nightmares and his feelings for Keller, he wasn't sure if he should try and sleep and risk the bad dreams or stay awake and feel the burning of love in the pit of his stomach. Sufficed to say, the nightmares won, but he'd wake up every so often after the dreams got a little too intense.
Augustus nodded slowly, but his attention soon turned to Keller who was carrying his tray over to their table, only to be stopped by a few Aryans. They didn't say a word, and neither did Keller, who tried to push his way past them, but they stood in his way. The Aryan on the right side of Keller flicked some of the food into his face. They giggled moronically as Keller clenched his teeth, but still avoided looking into their eyes. He held onto a string of self control.
Beecher watched the Aryans mess with Keller with somewhat phane interest. He knew that messing with Keller this way was only a taste of what Schillinger had in store for what he'd done.
One of the Aryans flipped Keller's tray up and out of his hands, and it fell flat on the ground.
"Ooops," one said dumbly. Keller looked down at the tray, then glared up at him. He could feel heat rise up into his face, and looking at the smaller Aryan, knew he could easily take this guy. He glanced quickly over at Beecher, who was watching him, and didn't turn away when their eyes meet. Keller looked down at the tray again, laughed quietly and turned around and got back in line, to jeers of the other inmates who saw his backing down nothing short of cowardly.
Finally permitted to sit down and eat, he sat at the table with Beecher, Rebadow, Busmalis and Hill. Who all said nothing to him as he sat down. Keller unwrapped his plastic utensils and began to eat. He acted as though the silence wasn't bothering him, but it truly started bugging the hell out of him.
"Why the fuck is everyone so fucking quiet?" He asked, swallowing hard. Rebadow and Busmalis looked at each other. Hill looked over at Beecher, who was staring straight at Keller without blinking.
"Because you're sitting here," he replied gruffly. Keller nodded, flexing his jaw muscles.
"Yeah..." he pushed the tray away and threw down his napkin as he got up from the table. "Fuck you, Toby."
Hill looked over at Rebadow and Busmalis, who were trying to avoid Beecher's eyes. Beecher stood up.
Keller walked out of the cafeteria, quickly, not noticing Beecher trailing behind him. Suddenly he felt a hand on his shoulder and spun around defensively, Beecher stood before him, cane in hand. Keller looked at him unflinching.
"What?" he asked, not knowing whether he wanted to kiss him or punch him.
"Why did you come back to Em City?" Beecher asked him. Keller was honestly surprised that he actually was talking to him. "That shit back there, that was nothing. That was a joke. You fucked Schillinger over, he's gonna make you pay."
"Don't you think I know that?" Keller replied, shrugging. Beecher looked into Keller's eyes.
"Why'd you come back?"
"You know why, Beecher. Shit, I told you last night."
Beecher didn't say anything, he walked over to a nearby table and sat in a chair. He gazed off, and Keller stood behind him, silently.
"What are you thinking?" He asked softly. Beecher took a deep breath.
"About how much I should hate you right now. Do you even know? Do you even know how much I should want to kill you right now?" He mused, not even sounding like he was talking to Keller.
"Toby, I know what I did was wrong..."
"You can't just tell on your buddies and make it all better. And it fucking kills me that I give a damn about you."
"You were going to try and kill me last night" Keller replied, looking at the back of his head. Beecher looked down at his hands.
"I should want to kill you right now."
"But you don't."
Beecher turned and looked at Keller and shook his head, then quickly looked down at the floor.
"I don't hate you. I don't even not like you..." Beecher laughed in spite of himself, shaking his head again. Keller smiled as well, though he wasn't even sure why. "I want you to go back into protective custody." He looked up into Keller's eyes. Keller shook his head with a half smile.
"Schillinger will kill you."
"Don't worry about me, Toby. I'm not. I'm more worried about you. With Metzger and Schillinger around...you need someone to watch your back."
"Metzger's dead, Chris." Beecher said, looking back up at Keller. "Please. You have to go back."
"No." Keller squatted down before Beecher. "I'm not gonna leave you."
"Even if it ends up getting you killed?"
Keller took Beecher's hands in his, and Beecher didn't pull them away. He was wondering how they got back to this point so quickly. Just a few minutes ago he was shunning him from his table, now they seemed to be picking up where they left off before Keller was thrown into the hole... after he came out, it was like he was a different person.
He fell to the ground after Keller shoved him.
Beecher pulled his hands away, as the memory strikes him.
"I can't do this..." Beecher said as Keller's face falls. "I can't pretend it didn't happen." He rubbed his face in his hands. "Ohh God."
Keller hung his head, and stood up in front of Beecher.
"Fine...I understand. I know I fucked up, Toby..." Keller nodded his head slowly, and kind of gave a sideway glance to Beecher. He smiled slightly, and Beecher, against his better judgement, smiled back at him.
I don't like where this is going, he thought.