Affliction - Part Two
by 'dalia

Beecher began packing a bag full of dirty clothes to take to the laundry room. Keller had gone to work out in the gym, and left a pile of his smelly clothes on his bed for Beecher to take along with his.

Two months ago I was lying in the infirmary because of him, now I'm doing his fucking laundry, Beecher thought as he pushed Keller's clothing in the bag.

Only a week had gone by since he had gotten out of the infirmary, but they were already on good terms. They spoke all the time, ate together and hung out together. Beecher had tried to delay this reunion, but Keller was so damn persistent. It seemed to be impossible to stay in the same pod with that man and *not* talk. Of course, their relationship had not returned to its romantic side, at least not yet. Beecher was no fool, he cared for Keller deeply, but he wasn't about to let him know that. He still was trying to tell himself that he didn't care for him *that* way. But he knew deep down what the truth was. Despite the deceit and the physical destruction that Keller had done to him, he still loved him in the very same way that Keller loved him.

But what kind of love was it anyway? What kind of love allows one person to wound the other physically and emotionally? Maybe it was the only kind of love that could flourish inside of OZ. God knows it couldn't survive outside of the prison walls.

Still, Beecher was struggling with his emotions for Keller everyday.

He shouldn't love him, he shouldn't want to be with him, he shouldn't *trust* him, and yet he found himself realizing that he did all of those things, and it made him sick. One night he woke out of a nightmare, only to find himself faced with the realization, that he was in love with someone who hurt him more then he'd ever been hurt before. He had known that all along, but for some reason that night, it literally slapped him in the face. He was overtaken with despair, and began crying, muffling his sobs by pressing his face into his pillow.

When Tobias returned to their pod, his bones still tender, getting used to walking with a brace on his leg, he was teetering on the edge of insanity. When he killed Metzger less then an hour later, he had fallen off the edge. As soon as Keller came back the next day, he pulled him out of his derangement. And Beecher had been trying to return to that frame of mind ever since. It was apparent he would not be able to survive in OZ, the way he was before. Nevertheless, he was returning to his old ways.

Beecher sighed heavily as he stepped into the laundry room, he glanced over at the washing machine, he was pressed up against when he and Keller had kissed. He instinctually walked towards it, but stepped back and went to the machine next to it. He shook his head in wonder, it's not as though if he used it, everything would come flooding back, the memory haunted him daily anyway.

Beecher pulled out a few of his old t-shirts and threw them inside. He pulled out a tank top that was Keller's and stared at it before throwing it into the wash. He then brought it up to his face and breathed in its scent. He always liked the way Keller smelled, and the tank top smelled like him - if he hadn't washed for a few days. He threw it in the washing machine, cursing himself silently for doing that. He picked up the laundry bag and dumped the rest of the clothes in, along with a cup full of detergent. He started the wash, and sat down across from it, and opened the book he started this week. He had been trying to read more regularly to get his mind off of what was going on in his fucked up life. Reading offered an escape from OZ even if for only an hour a day.

* * * * * * * * * *

Beecher returned to his room an hour later, his book on top of the now clean clothing in the laundry bag. He opened the door to Keller standing in a towel, glancing around the room.

"I did your laundry," Beecher said, walking past him and putting the bag on Keller's bunk. He began pulling out his book and clothes.

"I was wondering where my clothes had gone," Keller replied, standing closely behind Beecher, still wet from his shower.

"Like you didn't intend for me to wash them," Beecher retorted, turning, with his folded clothes in his hands.

"The thought never crossed my mind," Keller grinned back, taking his clothes out of the bag, once Beecher moved across the room.

"This is way too normal." Beecher said under his breath. He glanced over at Keller, who slipped on a clean black wifebeater.

"Uh, Beecher..."


"Schillinger's out." Keller looked carefully at Beecher, noticing his facial expressions hardening.


"Few of the Aryans kind of approached me and told me..." Keller pointed to his right eye, and Beecher finally noticed the swelling.

"Oh..." Beecher repeated. "Hmm..."

He pulled a chair next to the bunk and sat down, opening his book. He knew Schillinger wasn't going to stay in the hole forever, but he was unprepared for when he finally did get out. Beecher thought he would have his revenge planned out by now, instead he was preoccupied with these stupid feelings for Keller.

Who was staring at him now. Stop it! I'm trying to read, he thought, trying to focus on the words.

"That it?" Keller asked.


" 'Oh...hmmm?' " He replied, mocking Beecher's tone. Beecher nodded slowly, meeting Keller's eyes.

"Yep, for now." Beecher returned to his book, which he finally realized is upside down.

"Come on, talk to me, Toby." Keller sat opposite Beecher on his bed. "What's going on in that head of yours?"

Beecher closed his book and glared at Keller. "Wouldn't you like to know."

Keller nodded, and looked down at the floor. But Beecher only smiled at him, and opened his book again.

* * * * * * * * * *

He did it again, Keller thought, glancing up at Beecher, who continued reading his book. That eerie smile that never ceased to raise the hairs on the back of his neck. He did it when he came out of the hospital, he did it when Keller got out of protective custody, he's done it sporadically over the course of these past few days. Every time Keller thought they were getting close to where their relationship has been, Beecher seemed to put up another wall for Keller to try and break through.

Not to say the progress they had made over the past few days hadn't been tremendous. Keller had underestimated Beecher's reluctance to trust him again, but he was truly surprised that he and Beecher seemed to be at that same point when Beecher first began to fall in love with him. Keller felt it too, except this time, there was no plan, no underlining guilt of knowing that it would all have to end horribly. This time it really was for real.

But Keller was still frustrated with Beecher's unwillingness to return to that side of their relationship. Keller had dreamed of waking up next to Beecher, and holding him in his arms. When he was thrown in the hole after their only kiss, it was the only thing he ever thought about. He knew Beecher had must have thought of it too.

A few nights ago, Keller heard Beecher wake in the middle of the night, only to break down and weep. Even though the sobs were low and muffled, it still tormented Keller's thoughts. Was it a reaction to the same nightmares he'd always had? Or was this something different?

Keller thought he knew Beecher pretty well. Maybe he was fooling himself, however. Because lately, he couldn't figure him out. One minute they would be joking, the next Keller would look over at Beecher who would be glaring at him.

Things were only going to get more complicated.

Keller had been blocked from leaving the weight room that day by two Aryans. Who had given him "a little message" from Vern, by ramming his face into the wall. Schillinger, was in fact, released from the hole that day.

Schillinger wanted Keller dead. Keller wasn't inane, he knew ratting him out was probably the worst possible thing he could have done. Did he regret doing it? Not yet. He knew if he hadn't confessed, Beecher wouldn't even be talking to him.

Beecher. Even *if* he had forgiven Keller for the betrayal, he certainly did not forgive Schillinger for any of the shit he's done to him.

Which always brought Keller back to that smile. It wasn't a smile of happiness, or amusement, or even spite, it was far more daunting. It was the smile of a man on the brink of madness, and he was afraid that now that Schillinger was out of the hole, he would be seeing it a lot more.

* * * * * * * * * *

"Hey, check it out." Ryan O'Reilly said to Keller, nodding his head over to a table, while serving him two breaded fish sticks. Keller glanced over his shoulder, and saw the Aryan brotherhood sitting at a table, with their leader, Schillinger. "That nazi shit is back."

"Beecher," Keller said, nudging him with his elbow. Beecher looked over at the table.

"Nice," was his only reply. Keller looked at Beecher puzzlingly.

They carried their trays to a table, with all the Aryans watching Keller, who was oblivious.

"Do you have some sort of plan to get Vern that I should know about?" Keller said in a low tone.

"Yeah right. Even if I had a plan - I'm going to tell you, so you can go tell Vern." Beecher snorted as they sat down with Busmalis, Hill and Rebadow.

"What the fuck is that crack supposed to mean? You can't really believe I'm still in cohoots with the Aryans??"

Beecher shrugged lamely, taking a bite of a fish stick. "Why don't you tell me what I'm supposed to believe, Chris," he said, still chewing.

"Where is this coming from, Toby?" Keller asked, leaning in. The table was silent, and Busmalis and Rebadow, finished with their meals, got up and left.

"You sure know how to clear a table."

"Why are you fucking with me, Toby?!" Keller growled, staring at Beecher.

"I'm not fucking with you," Beecher replied with a grin.

"I don't understand why I even try with you. I put my fucking life on the line - just because...oh, fuck it." Keller went on, while Beecher listened and watched him, expressionless.

"I told you to go back into protective custody," Beecher replied without any feeling.

Just then, the entire Aryan brotherhood walked by Beecher and Keller, just glancing over at them blankly. Vern was at the back of the pack, walking with a pleasant smile, while Keller glared in his direction. They all walked out of the cafeteria together, Keller watched, looking over his shoulder.

"I wonder what that fuck is up to," he said aloud, but Beecher just continued eating.

Keller was so confused by Beecher's total change in attitude. He sat there, studying his face, trying to figure out what was up with him. But his face wasn't giving anything away, it was like he was completely hollow. He didn't do anything for him to act like this, did he? At least not today. Is this a game? Was Beecher playing with him? Did he want to manipulate him? Because can two play at that game.

"You're a moody bastard." Keller remarked, smiling coyly at Beecher. Beecher chewed slowly, staring at Keller. "What's up honey, you on the rag or something?" Keller took a sip of his juice, and kept smiling. Beecher didn't reply.

* * * * * * * * * *


Keller spat out the toothpaste, and before he could put down his toothbrush, he felt hands on his bare shoulders, slamming his back against the wall.

"Mmmph!!" Keller groaned as he hit the wall.

The next thing he felt was Beecher's warm lips on his. But Beecher pulled away before Keller could even react and he swiftly returned to the top bunk. Keller stared out of the clear wall in front of him, then turned his head and looked up to the top bunk, and saw Beecher settling into bed.

"Toby." Keller said aloud, but there was no response. He decided not to call him again, but if he wasn't confused before, he was more confused now then ever. What the fuck?! Is all he could think as he slipped into bed. What the *fuck*??

Beecher would be thinking the same thing too, if the brilliance of the moment hadn't just hit him. He didn't know what he was thinking when he kissed him. Nor did he know exactly why he did it. But as he scrambled for his bed, after laying his lips on Keller, it hit him. He's fucking in charge. He's calling the shots, he's making the rules, he's the one. He has all the power.

Why hadn't he realized this before? Easy. Because his emotions had got in the way. Stupid, fucking feelings for that fucking shit. Fuck them, as long as he can ignore them, as long as he knew what was important, revenge, he could manage just fine.

* * * * * * * * * *

Keller sauntered into the gym early the next day. He spotted Beecher at a nearby weight bench lifting light weights. Beecher looked up at Keller and glared in his direction. Keller took this as a "come on over" signal.

"Toby, mind tellin' me what that was all about?" Beecher stared up blankly at Keller, who looked as though he hadn't slept the night before. "Last night..."

"What?" Beecher asked innocently. Keller's eyes burned their way into Beecher's...he looked down at his converse sneakers as he spoke.

"You know, what," he said in his lowest possible tone. "The fucking kiss."

He glanced up at Beecher who looked like he was chewing the inside of his cheeks.

He shrugged at Keller. "No. Stop playing these fucking games."

Beecher grinned suddenly and Keller snapped. He grabbed Beecher by the shoulders and shoved him back into the wall.

"Quit fucking with me Toby." Keller held Beecher's cold stare for one entire silent minute. He released his grasp on him and swaggered away.

Beecher was left with red finger marks on his arms where Keller held onto him tightly, and a certain sense of satisfaction that he was really getting to Keller.

On the other side of the gym, Vern Schillinger had witnessed the entire confrontation, that he had decided had been a lover's spat.

Fucking weak ass Keller looked like he was falling apart, he thought as he watched them. He didn't even notice Schillinger and the Aryans and went straight to Beecher, only to get shot down by the bitch. It would have even amused him if he didn't hate Beecher so much. Yet still, there was the fact that Keller had snitched on him, for the reason to somehow prove himself to Beecher - and he still wasn't getting anywhere with him. Okay, so maybe it was funny. Just because, well, Keller would be dead soon, and he died for nothing. He would have died for trying to put something together with Beecher - he died for him.

Ain't that sweet? Schillinger thought to himself, putting down the barbell.

As it clanked to the ground, Beecher looked up and noticed Schillinger staring back at him. Vern pursed his lips at Beecher and smirked as he strode out.