by Lisa and Kristin
Ryan O'Reily had always been in control. He couldn't even think of a time when it hadn't been that way. He'd taken it when he had to, like killing Nino Schibetta, and accepted it when it was forced on him, like when Cyril got slow. But today, taking control, taking responsibility, and finally, giving control to Gloria, had taken something precious from him. Something he needed to get back.
Ever since he'd heard about Gloria, he'd been unable to process Beecher's words. Raped. Gloria. Attacked. Scared. Beat up. Violated. Shit. He'd wanted to scream. But as usual, the Tin Man couldn't show his heart. So he'd swallowed the bile that had risen in his throat, forced himself to mouth some casual remark, and tried to figure out what it meant. For Gloria. For him. For them.
And when Sr. Pete had told him Gloria was asking to see him, he'd tried not to hope that she finally needed him. That she was turning to him for comfort. But he couldn't help it - hope didn't exactly spring eternal in Oz, but somehow it hadn't been completely killed in Ryan O'Reily. Yet. So he hadn't really been prepared for the Gloria that faced him across Sr. Pete's victim/offenders coffee table. The hate, the pain, the fury, they were all still there. But it was worse than before. Like she was broken, somewhere important. And would never be the same again.
Still, he was shocked by the accusation. "I know you're responsible."
He'd almost gasped at the words. But somehow he'd kept the indifferent mask in place. "For what?"
But he'd known. Known then that she thought he could do that to her. Order someone to rape her. Hurt her in that way. Didn't she understand the he would never hurt her? He only wanted a chance for them to be together. To love her. She might never accept that he'd only killed Preston to help her, but how could she so badly misjudge him?
It had felt like something inside of him had died. And finally, watching her, he'd seen that she needed to believe it, that the lie would give her peace.
"Fine. I did. You happy?"
And then, anguished, Ryan struck out again, lashing at Gloria, at this latest betrayal of his love. "Fine. Then tell me something else. When he was fucking you... did you think of me?"
He'd aimed the words as carefully as he could, knowing it would get a reaction, knowing it was the end of any hope, of any dream of them. It was over. Finally. And when she had attacked him, marked him with her hatred and her anger, he'd welcomed the physical pain, the chance to finally touch her again after all that time. He had clung to her, wrapping his thin arms around her, pressing his cheek to her back as she struggled against him. He couldn't let go.
Until the hacks pulled them apart that is. And even then, he couldn't let it end. His words sliced the air as he was dragged out of the room.
"Did you fuckin think of me Gloria? Did you fuckin think of me?"
But Sr. Pete had figured him out somehow. She had known that he was fucking lying and she'd called him on it. Now, he just felt -alone-.
It took a laundry room chat with Cyril for him to realize what he needed to do. To make things right... at least with himself.
He needed to go to see Father Mukada. He needed to confess. And maybe then he could feel whole again.
* * *
Ryan went over the confession in his mind as he walked to the priest's office. He didn't know exactly what he was going to say, but he wanted to make sure that he got it all out. If he can be absolved, if he can be forgiven, maybe he can find some peace of his own.
The door to the Chaplain's office was closed. Odd. The door was usually wide open. He shrugged and raised his fist to knock, but just as his knuckles were about to tap the wood, he heard a familiar male voice booming through the door.
"Well fuck you then, *Ray*. Thanks for nothing. At least when I was a kid, the priest would absolve me after."
What the fuck was up with that guy? First he toyed with Beecher, then he fucked with Sr. Pete, and now it looked like it's Mukada's turn.
Ryan leaned back against the wall, crossed his arms across his broad chest and waited. This might just get good. Anything to take his mind off Gloria. A smirk played at the corner of his mouth as he waited, eyes glued to the door.
It swung open abruptly, and a very rumpled, very angry Chris Keller exited. He slammed the door roughly against the frame and it closed behind him with a bang. Ryan watched as Keller hastily shoved his cock into his pants, zipped up and turned to leave.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't Chris Keller."
Keller's head snapped up and he whirled to face the unexpected voice. Fuckin Ryan O'Reily propped up against the wall, like he was on display or something. He had that shit-eating grin plastered on his lips and his eyes glinted with suspicion. "O'Reily, what the fuck are you doing here?"
Ryan's pink tongue darted out to moisten his lips. His smile broadened. "I just came to ask Fr. Mukada if I could make a confession." He dropped his eyes to the bigger man's waist and noticed the moisture seeping through his shirt, and the not-yet flaccid cock still bulging in the loose gray pants.
"And what I'm wondering, Keller, is what you were doing with the good father..." He paused and raised his eyes to Keller's. "...in there." He pointed over Keller's shoulder towards the office.
Keller matched O'Reily's smile with one of his own, only his didn't reach his eyes. The blue ovals gleamed with conceit and shadows. "I was confessing my sins." He leaned in closer to the other man, dropping his voice to a low growl. "Just like you. Performing an act of contrition."
Ryan pushed himself off the wall, closing the distance between them, stopping directly in front of Keller.
"Oh, I bet you were performing, Keller." O'Reily reached out and ran his fingers lightly over the damp stain on the front of Keller's shirt. "And did the good father give you absolution?"
Keller grabbed the offending hand and glared down at O'Reily, not answering.
"That's what I thought." Ryan smiled at him. "You sure seem to be having some serious problems with people of the cloth lately haven't you?" His eyes filled with mock sympathy.
"Fuck you O'Reily." As Keller stormed away, Ryan's eyes followed the angry strut all the way out of the cafeteria.
With a shrug, he turned back to the office. The small window in the door provided him the perfect opportunity to spy on the man still closed within the office. He crossed to the door and peered through the glass, trying to confirm what he thought he had just seen on Keller's face.
* * *
Ray jumped at the sound of the door slamming against the wall and then closing with a bang behind Keller. *What have I done?* he thought, as the reality of what he had let Keller do coursed through him.
He'd been coming to terms with his feelings for Miguel. He knew it was wrong, the way he craved the other man's presence. It was a violation of everything he'd been trained, everything he'd thought he'd known about himself. But he'd come to believe he could rise above those feelings, love Miguel on a higher plane. Resist the constant temptation of those soft, brown eyes, the thick, sensuous lips. And he might have been able to resist the subtle allure of Miguel - but he knew now that he was no match for the insistent charms of Chris Keller.
And it was his fault, Ray acknowledged. Chris had come to him for comfort, for forgiveness. And all he'd given him in return was more pain, more suffering.
But had he? Could he honestly believe that Chris had come to him with only the thought of absolution? Or had *that* only been a means to an end. Had he preyed on Ray's faith in order to separate him from his clothing? He was completely confused. At least with Miguel, he knew the motives. Knew him.
Shit. What would the cardinal think of his all-too-proud protege now? Lost in his reverie, he couldn't shake himself free of the regrets flooding him and didn't notice Ryan O'Reily's face as it appeared in the small office window.
* * *
Ryan watched the priest leaning back against his desk. His shirt was open; except for the white collar still secured at his throat. His white undershirt was pushed up to reveal a flat chest and a soft smattering of black hair over a surprisingly muscular stomach. Ryan noted that the priest's pants were slung loosely over his hips, his fly open, the belt not fastened. As Ray raised one of his hands to rub against his eyes, smoke curled into the air from the lit cigarette he held between the fingers of his other hand.
*Hmmm...Mukada smokes. You learn something new every fucking day don't you.* A smirk threatened to appear across Ryan's lips. His attention was caught again as a tangle of emotions that floated over Ray's face. Anger, hate, guilt. They pulled the skin taut against the bones of the almost pretty face before the anguished priest ground his knuckles into his eyes, trying desperately to relieve the pressure that was obviously building within him. Ryan could almost taste the disgust on Mukada's tongue from his side of the glass.
Ahhhh...but there's something else there too. There is no post-coital glow as evidence, but O'Reily was pretty sure that it had been there moments earlier. He could almost see it fading from the priest's troubled expression.
Ryan O'Reily recognized it at once. He had seen it many, many times plastered on the faces of men inside and outside of Oz. I'll be damned... The priest had been fucked, and now he doesn't know how he should feel about it. He studied the Asian's face.
And somehow, under all the shit, he could see what was really going on. It almost made him laugh.
Mukada's messed up because of *who* fucked him...not because he was *fucked*. Chris Keller had popped his celibate cherry and now he was pissed. Pissed because of who Keller wasn't.
Ryan's lips curled into a lazy smile at the thought of the missing Latino. He'd known for years about those two. Knew that the priest had some sort of weird crush on Alvarez. Didn't know if it was a sex thing or not, but knew something was there. Especially after all that shit went down during the riot.
Mukada had it bad for Alvarez. And Keller had given it to him *good*. So now the padre was upset.
Ray lifted a shaky hand and brought the cigarette slowly to his mouth. He closed his lips around the filter and took a long drag. He sucked the smoke deep into his lungs, his naked chest expanding out from between the halves of the parted shirt. He held his breath as long as he possibly could, then released the cloud of soothing nicotine in a slow stream from between his pursed lips. It formed a halo around his head before slowly dissipating into the air.
Ryan found himself in the grip of an image of the priest's pretty pink lips wrapped around his own shaft, taking a long, deep pull on it like he had on that cigarette.
Disgusted, he turned away and shook the visual from his mind, but not before he felt the blood rush to his dick. Not before his heart began to thud rapidly against his rib cage. *Fuck! I am NOT getting a hard on about the little priest, am I?* Dismissing the thought, Ryan counted to ten and mentally forced the blood flow away from his groin (baseball cards, boxing, Cyril's red ball). He got himself under control after a moment and turned his attention back to the window.
The priest was gone from his view.
Startled, Ryan shifted position. "What the fu..."
The door swung open and Fr. Mukada walked out. His shirt was neatly buttoned, his pants fastened. He jumped back when he bumped into Ryan.
"Ryan." He raised his hand and pressed his palm to his racing heart. "You startled me."
The Irish inmate smiled. "Sorry Father. Didn't mean to."
They stood face to face in silence. Ray nervously ran his hands along his vestments, making sure all was tucked in, put away, hidden. His arm recoiled slightly when his freshly-washed fingers passed over the small, damp, soiled area near his belly. Tension buzzed between them and Ryan's smile broadened into a grin that Ray could not read.
The priest, obviously uncomfortable, cleared his throat, breaking the tense silence. "Ryan, did you want me for something? Did you need anything?"
"Oh, yeah." He paused and nodded. "I came to make my confession." Saying it out loud reminded him of the reason he had come to the cafeteria to find the priest, and sobered him instantly. Gloria. Lies. Confessing. The light that had been dancing in his eyes died.
Mukada snapped to attention. Another inmate was coming to his office for confession. Embarrassment stained his face red, betraying his feigned calm. His eyes searched the Irish man's for any clue, any indication that Ryan suspected what had happened in his office only moments ago. His throat constricted, cutting off any words he might have said.
The priest's obvious distress distracted Ryan from his own problems. *Man, nothing can be as bad this guy's got it*, he thought. A moment of panic passes through Ryan, but he swallows it back, disguising it as concern for the other man.
"Fr. Mukada? Are you ok?" Ryan leans closer and places a comforting hand on the priest's forearm.
Ray jerked his arm back as if scorched. Ryan had to stifle a laugh and crossed his arms across his chest.
"I'm *fine* O'Reily." His voice was strained and harsh.
The fact that Mukada was back to calling him by his last name did not escape Ryan's attention, and he had to bite back a smirk.
"I'll meet you back here for confession in 10 minutes." The priest rushes away.
Ryan watched the rapidly fading back and winked. "Sure thing Father."
* * *
They sat, back to back, on the stage.
"O Lord, grant me the light to see myself as Thou dost see me and the grace to be truly and efficaciously contrite for my sins. O Mary, help me to make a good confession."
Each line of the prayer took O'Reily back to the days when he and Cyril would sit in the pew of St. Ben's, waiting for their mom to finish confessing to Fr. O'Malley. Nothing can ever make you feel as small as a little boy does in a big church, listening to the sounds of his mother's sobs through the door of a confessional. And when he was seven, and he had started going himself, the softly whispered rituals of confession became some comfort in a world of pain and anger and sadness that made up the O'Reily household. As he sat on the stage in Oz, the words of the prayer came back to him, calming him. Making him feel seven years old again.
Ray was shocked that O'Reily remembered the prayer. And not much shocked the priest anymore. The soft words resonated in Ray's brain, reminding him of the sins he'd just committed. *I'm in no position to be conferring the state of grace*, he scolded himself silently.
After a moment, Mukada began the confession, "In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit."
"Bless me Father for I have sinned." Ryan paused, catching his breath. Gone was the egomaniacal, self-serving, sociopath that lived within the walls of Em City. "Today I lied. I told someone I did something that I didn't do."
"Why?" Ray struggled to reconcile the broken, defeated tones with the O'Reily he'd come to expect, bull shit and bravado on full tilt.
"Because it's what she wanted to hear. Because it's what she needs to know to make herself whole again."
Ray's mouth dropped open at the admission. Gloria. Pete had mentioned something about Gloria asking to confront Ryan about her rape. And to be honest, Ray had thought Ryan was probably guilty - he had no qualms about crossing the line, about doing whatever he thought he needed to do.
So he couldn't hide his shock at the ring of truth in Ryan's confession. He had lied. To protect Gloria. To make her
whole. It was unexpected, selfless. Not the Ryan O'Reily he knew.
After a moment of stunned silence, Ray quickly moved on, assigning O'Reily penance and absolving him of his sins. The moment the confession ended, Ryan was out of his chair, bolting out of the cafeteria. Ray couldn't help but notice that he didn't walk with the usual O'Reily flare. *Those are mighty thin shoulders for all that guilt to rest on* he thought, watching as the slim man disappeared from his view. With a sigh, Ray nodded to the next inmate waiting to be absolved.
And lost himself, forgot himself, for a few more minutes, in the misery of others.
As Ryan walked down the long corridor back to Em City, he felt better. He could feel the guilt leaving his body with every step. He knew that Gloria hated him and for now, there was no way he could fix that. But he knew that, maybe, she could move on from the rape. And he would move on too. He still loved her, there was no doubt about that. That would never change. But he no longer felt the tremendous weight of the lie he had told to free her.
All because he had confessed. Because he had come clean to Mukada, and to God. Had released the lie that was one of the only selfless acts he'd ever committed, and had been forgiven.
Although Ryan had not seen his face, he knew that Fr. Mukada had been stunned by his revelation. And why wouldn't he be? The only face the priest had ever really seen of Ryan O'Reily's had been the conniving, hard-as-nails mask he wore in the prison. The face of the man who could convince his brain-damaged brother to murder another man for him.
Not the face of a man who would sacrifice himself to protect the woman he loved.
But Mukada hadn't been the only one surprised during their session this morning. Ryan's lips curled into a smirk as he recalled the events earlier in the day.
He had always pegged Ray as a pussy. No backbone, no strength, hiding behind his faith and his vocation whenever he got into a sticky situation. Ryan had watched as the priest followed Alvarez around the prison like a little lost puppy dog while a majority of the time the Latino treated him like a castoff. Thing was - Ryan knew that Ray felt safe with Miguel. Safe in his feelings for him, because Alvarez wasn't a predator. Ray knew in his soul that Miguel would never take advantage of him.
But today, that had changed. Ray had been violated. Granted, it looked as if he had been a somewhat willing participant in the Chris Keller situation, but it had still been traumatic for the man. Keller had taken Ray and twisted him, bent him and broke his will. He had ripped away the priest's innocence in a single moment of passionate surrender, but Ray had held it together. He had picked himself up, dusted off his pride, and jumped right back into the routine with only the slightest hint of weakness. His concern and duty to others outweighing his own inner struggle.
Somehow, Ray had been able to pull his own mask over that turmoil.
Ryan had a new found respect for the man, for the internal strength he had witnessed in him. He realized that Ray understood how to play too. He knew the rules, sometimes broke them when necessary, but always put his game face back on afterwards.
Unfortunately for the priest, that was his biggest problem. He believed, had faith, trusted in things that were rarely ever present in Oz. He thought he could *save* people. And when he couldn't, when his 'flock' continued in their sinning ways, Ray had to swallow it like a bitter pill. He had to take that into himself, accept what he couldn't change, and cover it up with a well-practiced facade.
Sort of like Ryan did.
He did exactly that same thing every day of his fucking life. He knew what it was like to have something eat away at your soul, knew what it was like to be disappointed again and again - and then to take that disappointment into himself, pretend like nothing was wrong. He and Ray weren't that different after all. The realization hit Ryan like a gale-force wind and he could feel himself becoming more interested in the other man. If he got to know the priest better, he could use that to his advantage. Maybe Ray could help with Cyril? *Maybe he could give *me* what I fuckin' need too.*
He felt a twitch in his groin at the thought of working the little priest. God, he loved a good con. And tapping into Mukada's hidden strength would be so unexpected, so sly. Nothing turned him on quite like a good doublefuck.
He forcibly reminded himself that it had *nothing* to do with the way the priest had looked leaning back against the desk, smoke wafting from the surprising cigarette, soft pink lips pursed in self-disgust.
Absolutely nothing to do with - Soft. Pink. Lips.
Not quite as full as Gloria's, but pinker, subtler in their siren's call. As much as he tried to fight it, Ryan's mind kept spinning back to that vision.
With a growl of self-disgust, he banished the strangely sexy image of Mukada from his thoughts, concentrating on how he was going to play all of this. Ryan needed to make Mukada draw on his inner strengths - and then he, like a sucker fish, would feed off that same strength. If he'd had someone as a child even half as strong as the man he had glimpsed today in the priest, maybe he wouldn't have gotten so fucked up and wound up in Oz. Maybe he would have become something *more*. Something better.
God. If only his father had...
Just the thought of his father pulled Ryan's face into a grimace. It worked every time - a single thought of the senior O'Reily and Ryan is back on his game. Any signs of weakness that may have been reflected on his features only moments ago disappeared as he reached the gates of Em City. His eyes narrowed as he walked through the cellblock. He arrived at his pod and thoughts of his father drop from his mind. Where the *fuck* was Cyril? Ryan had told him to wait *right here* until he had come back from seeing Fr. Mukada. His eyes flashed with anger and concern as he scanned Em City, trying to spy Cyril in the crowd. Fuck! Something was up. He could sense it. He could feel it like icy fingers playing his spine like a piano.
"Goddamn it Cyril!" He rushed around the enclosed space of Em City, searching desperately for his brother. Where the *fuck* was he! After five minutes, he gave up and approached a hack for information about Cyril.
Cyril had completely freaked out, he was told.
Some of the brothers had knocked Cyril down and Mondo Browne had tried to force him to suck his dick. But Cyril had flipped and fought back. Punching, kicking, whatever it took to get away from them. He had been subdued by the hacks, strapped to a gurney, and rushed into the medical ward. Dr. Nathan had shot him up with some sort of tranquilizer to calm him down. He would be brought back to his cell a little later that day.
Shit! He *knew* he should've taken Cyril with him to confession. He could've sat at one of the tables while Ryan spoke with the priest.
"Fuck!" Seething, Ryan stalked away from the hack with only one thought in his mind. Adebisi. Fucking cocksucker was supposed to owe him. And he had let his guys fuck with Cyril. Now someone was going to pay.
* * *
Ray sighed with exhaustion and leaned back in his chair. He was alone on the stage. So many sins, so many confessions, and Ray handing out forgiveness in His name to them all. But what about his *own* sin? What exactly was he supposed to do with that? Who was he supposed to ask for absolution? For forgiveness? He clutched his Bible to his chest, almost like a talisman to protect him all he had heard, witnessed, done. He is careful to keep it from coming into contact with the now-dry residue of his indiscretion. His moment of weakness with Keller.
Just the thought of the muscled inmate made his veins throb. He glanced down at his vestments and saw the proof of their encounter. The stain was like a brand on his clothing.
The word stung his mind like a hornet, and he flinched. Guilt covered him like a thick blanket. As much as he would like to believe that what had happened with Keller had been an accident, a mistake, he couldn't shake the thought from his head. He had enjoyed it. He craved it again. He could try and deny it with all his might, but it was still there.
And that wasn't even the worst part. Somehow Keller had been the thief that picked the lock Ray had kept so firmly secure for the past several years. He'd found a way inside the sacred vow Ray had fought to keep, through his moments of doubt, through his greatest temptation. Through his entire time with Miguel. And now, like a dam bursting, he was unable to hide from the truth of what he wanted. Because from the moment he had bumped into the inmate in his doorway, he had felt himself responding to Ryan O'Reily.
Dear God. He wanted Ryan O'Reily.
By far one of the most dangerous prisoners housed within Oz. Most of the inmates were leery of the Irish manipulator, and many were outright afraid of him. He had a well-deserved reputation of being utterly ruthless, doing whatever needed to be done to serve his purpose. What he had done to Preston Nathan was proof enough of that. Underneath his handsome face was a heart of stone and a mind as sharp as a sword.
But for some reason, when he'd seen the inmate sitting on the stage, waiting for him, Ray had seen the vulnerable slope to Ryan's shoulders. He'd observed the defeat in the other's man's profile. The sight of Ryan without the usual mantle of arrogance and bullshit cloaking him was so striking, so unexpected, that Ray's pulse had jumped to life. A burning flush colored his face crimson red.
He'd managed to disguise his reaction, and took the seat behind the other man. But while they were not actually touching, he could feel the soft sexuality radiating from Ryan. He could smell the soap and the sweat that pulsed from the Irishman's skin. It was dizzying - almost like a drug. Ray's stomach coiled tightly as the heat he had now come to recognize as lust, flowed over his body. And where Keller had attracted him with power and sex, Ryan was seducing him with vulnerability and need.
For the second time that day, he'd had a deeply physical reaction to an inmate.
And again, that inmate wasn't Miguel.
Just when he'd thought he'd gotten himself back under control, that he'd regained some balance, he had heard the softness come over Ryan's voice when he spoke of what he had done for Gloria. The lonely ache lurking deep in the softly spoken confession found an echo in the darkest corner of Ray's heart. And stirred his penis once again.
The priest shook his head roughly from side to side trying to dislodge the thought before his body took hold of it again and ran.
"Shit." Ray's voice was quiet. He glanced at the now vacant chair that Ryan had sat in hours before. He ran his fingers through his short, black hair and stood. He walked over to his office and closed the door behind him.
But he couldn't shut out the shame.
* * *
Ryan had been sitting in his cell, staring at his semi-conscious brother, for the past three days.
This, everything, was all his fuckin' fault. If he hadn't been messing with that chick at the funeral, Cyril would be ok. If he wouldn't have gotten fuckin' cancer, he wouldn't have fallen for Gloria. Then he wouldn't have had Cyril kill Preston. Cyril wouldn't be here.
He had explained to Cyril that he wasn't to blame for Preston's death, or Khan's. He wasn't responsible for any of this. But how could Cyril understand that it was all Ryan's fault? How could he prove it? He couldn't. It just wasn't possible.
Ryan pressed his temples with his fingertips, attempting to bring some relief to the throbbing pulse that had lived in his head since his meeting with Gloria and Sr. Pete. "Fuck!" He shoved the chair back roughly, scratching the floor with a loud squeak. His head dropped into his hands, his fingers weaving into the dark, wavy hair. He had to *do* something. He rubbed his scalp roughly, as if trying to coerce an idea, a plan from his exhausted mind. He couldn't just sit in this goddamn cell, staring at his fuckin' brother, for the rest of his fuckin' life. He slid to his feet and left the pod, making a beeline for the guard station and Sean Murphy.
"What is it O'Reily?"
"I need to go see Sr. Pete."
"You haven't scheduled any time with her. She's a very busy woman. You think she's just gonna drop everything to see you?"
"It's important." He waited as Murphy checked the schedule book.
"Sorry, she's booked up solid today." Murphy shrugged and turned away from the agitated inmate.
"Fuck!" He stormed back toward his pod. The thought hit him when he was half way through Em City. He quickly backpedaled.
"Hey, what about Fr. Mukada?" His stomach tightened involuntarily, his breath catching slightly as an image of the priest crept into his mind.
*What the fuck is going on with me?*
"What about him, O'Reily?"
"Jesus fuckin' Christ man! Does he have any time? Can I go see him?" He rocked back and forth on his feet, impatience radiating from him as he shifted from toes to heels and back again.
Murphy checked the schedule and called the Chaplain's office. "Looks like today is your lucky day, O'Reily. He's free right now. I'll have someone take you down to his office."
* * *
Ryan O'Reily wanted to see him.
Sean Murphy had called and said that Ryan wanted to see him right away, and Ray's body tingled with anticipation. He had tried to ignore it, force it back into the depths of his subconscious, but he had failed. His heart was pounding. His throat constricted so tightly that he almost hadn't been able to tell the CO that yes, it was fine for Ryan to come to his office.
Ray was rapidly losing control. He hadn't even thought about Miguel in days. Miguel - the man he had tried to banish from his thoughts numerous times and failed, the man he had suffered with and for, the man he had come to love - was becoming a fading memory. In his sexual awakening, Ray was finally able to move on from Miguel.
But at what cost?
He mentally gripped his own shoulders and shook them roughly. He had to focus. He was an ordained priest who had handled the Cardinal and the toughest inmates in Oz, and he was acting like a horny teenager. He shouldn't be feeling this way about *anyone* let alone one of the prisoners. He should have never allowed Chris Keller to seduce him.
Allowed. That was a laugh. Did he even have a choice? Did anyone when Keller put his mind to it?
But, yes, he'd had choices. He could've stopped things, should've said no. But he had shown only the slightest resistance. In his loneliness, his regrets over the loss of Miguel, he had given in. For years, he had wrapped himself in thoughts of sorrowful brown eyes, thick dark hair, muscled arms covered in ink. And in a moment of weakness, he had surrendered himself to Keller, gaining physical satisfaction by submerging himself in the sex he'd been denying himself for far too long.
And now he was doing it again. He was getting all wrapped up in physical sensations and dismissing his spiritual side. His mind struggled with the realization that he was now attracted to Ryan O'Reily.
Keller had been aggressive from the very start. He had made almost no attempt to cover his intentions. But O'Reily had done nothing but come to him to confess. He'd had no ulterior motive. At least none Ray could see. And once he was finished, he'd bolted out of the cafeteria, getting away as fast as he could. Ray had mistakenly thought that would be the end of it, but he couldn't seem to reign himself in. Each time he had pushed the thoughts deep into his subconscious, they came roaring back to the surface.
Maybe it was because in that one moment, during his confession, Ryan had reminded him of Miguel. He'd seemed so sad, so vulnerable. So needy. And he had touched Ray on an emotional level, not only on a physical level. Although he couldn't deny that he was also attracted to Ryan O'Reily in a physical way.
And he was on his way here right now.
Ray sat down at his desk and pulled out a cigarette. His hand trembled as he placed the slim stick between his lips and lit it. He sucked the smoke into his lungs and released it slowly. He could feel his nerves settle a little bit more each time he inhaled.
By the time the CO showed up at his door with O'Reily in tow, Ray had managed to coerce himself back into a semi-normal state of mind.
But that was before he got a look at the Irishman.
"Ryan," the priest greeted him as he dismissed the guard and closed the door to his office. "Have a seat." A small smile drifted across Ray's face as he gestured to the chairs in front of his desk. "What's up? You wanted to see me?"
Ryan dropped into a chair and heard the smaller man take a deep breath before turning to face him. Ryan smiled a bit at the priest's obvious nervousness. Yeah, he'd be able to get some help from Mukada. The question was how hard to play him. He figured Keller had been all hard sell and irresistible force in his seduction of the holy man. But Ryan wasn't about force and power. He was about subtlety - he prided himself on it. He decided to start with earnest anger and frustration - emotions that were not hard to summon.
"Father, I need help with Cyril. Nathan's got him so doped up on drugs that he sleeps all the time. There's gotta be somethin' we can do for him."
Ryan got up and started pacing the small confines of the office. He drifted closer and closer to the priest's perch on the edge of his desk, his agitated movements an excuse to brush against the black pant leg.
"Well, Ryan, I know that Dr. Nathan is doing everything she -"
"That's bullshit! Fuck, Father, she hates me! And Cyril. She doesn't want to try with him - she just wants him out of her hair."
"Ryan, you know that's not true. Dr. Nathan would never let her personal feelings interfere with her treatment of Cyril." Even as he said it, though, Ray knew he was not being entirely honest. He and Pete had both worried that Gloria was too damaged by all that had happened, too emotional to come back to work as soon as she had. And she'd never recovered from the discovery that Ryan had had Preston killed. He met O'Reily's eyes, and looked away sheepishly, tacitly admitting that he couldn't completely deny Ryan's accusation.
"Come on, you know she's not trying. She doesn't care. That's why I need you. Cyril needs you." Ryan closed the distance between them with one step, stopping only when he felt the outside of Mukada's thigh against his own. "You can talk to her. Convince her she's gotta find something else, something that won't leave him in a fucking coma."
Ray tried not to shrink back from the need shimmering in Ryan's eyes - almost as hard as he tried not to reach out to touch the pale face shining less than a foot from his own.
"Ryan, I'm not sure I can help," he began, only to be stopped by the pain he saw in the other man's eyes. "Maybe we can talk to Sr. Pete, see if she has any suggestions..." he trailed off again, shocked to see Ryan's lower lip start to quiver, the green eyes filling with tears.
"Please, Father. I need my brother to be okay. He's only here because of me - I should have taken care of him. But I can't reach him - I can't help him. He's in so much pain. And I can't make it go away."
Ray reached out, intending just to pat the taller man on the shoulder, to reassure him. It was a mistake, because the moment his hand felt the warm flesh revealed by O'Reily's wifebeater t-shirt, the heat transmitted itself to through his arm, straight to his groin.
Ryan had to fight off a grin as he watched the priest react to his tears. This was easier than he'd expected.
Until Ray touched him. And then everything changed.
It had been a long time since he'd been touched with such tenderness. Suddenly he found the tears he'd been able to call up threatening to overtake him. Standing there, less than 10 inches away, was Mukada. Radiating with support. A strong shoulder to lean on, to cry on. A safe harbor on a storm that had never had any before. At least not for Ryan.
It was really more than any man could be expected to resist. So Ryan didn't. He let Ray pull him into a soft embrace, a hug of caring and concern, and when he felt Ray quicken, Ryan didn't pull away. He couldn't. He wrapped his own lean arms around the priest, braiding his fingers together at the base of Ray's spine.
Ray stood up, swaying slightly as he gathered the Irishman closer to him in an attempt to comfort him, to soothe the pain he could sense emanating from the other man. A shudder wracked the slender body in his arms, and he turned his head to whisper softly against an exposed collarbone, "Shhhh, Ryan, it will be okay. I'll make it okay."
Ryan quivered as a need he'd never acknowledged roared to life inside of him. God, the feel of the smaller man pressed against him felt so right. It fit somehow. And while Ryan knew this was less about sex than it was about comfort, he felt himself hardening in the arms of the Asian priest. It had just been too long. Too many months - years - of wanting and needing just this understanding, this embrace from someone who couldn't, wouldn't let him get close. Ryan sighed as he felt rather than heard the soft murmurs Ray made to soothe him.
Ray looked up at the sigh, and watched as two tears trailed down the starkly handsome face above him. He reached up with his hand, tracing the path back up to the laser green eyes, which shut in response. Sensing Ryan's consent, he let his fingers feather into the short dark hair, pressing the other man's head forward, pulling him down to his mouth.
It really was a kiss of peace. Soft, gentle, giving. For endless moments, the two men took and received comfort in the smooth caresses of tongues, lips, hands. Sweet, unrushed, Ray ignored the protests of his formerly celibate self. He dismissed the memory of Miguel and let himself fall into the welcoming arms of the last man anyone would have thought would have him.
Ryan struggled to keep control of himself. He'd always been willing to do whatever it took to get what he needed from life - stealing from his aunt, using his dad like a weapon to whip Cyril into a frenzy, giving Gloria a sense of peace by taking the blame for her rape. This was just another example - he wasn't a fag, but he knew that he needed this. That Ray needed this. And that, when it was over, he would own Ray.
So he let himself believe that was all it was about.
* * *
Ray broke off the kiss with a gasp. He rested his forehead on Ryan's cheek while running one hand up and down the other man's arm. Trying to catch his breath, he eased his bruised lips across the chiseled jaw, pressing ghost-soft kisses along Ryan's neck. He licked out to taste the blood coursing hotly through the even softer skin of the vein pulsing there.
Ryan leaned forward, desperate for more contact with the smaller man. He threw his head back, his eyes slipping shut as the delicate seeking tongue and lips caressed over his Adam's apple, a low, vibrating moan escaping his throat.
"God, Father..." He managed to whisper as Ray let his right hand drift down Ryan's torso to capture the erection throbbing within faded blue pants.
"Ryan... I'm Ray. Please. Call me Ray."
His voice slipped from his lips in short, gaspy breaths. The priest continued to nibble a path along Ryan's neck, savoring the smell that was richer in the hollows. Soap, oranges and just a hint of musky sweat. Breathing deeply, Ray moved his hand across the thick packet of muscle at Ryan's crotch, pressing and squeezing, beginning a rhythm of stroking that made Ryan buck with pleasure.
"Ray. Ray. Ray." The name was spoken like a prayer, the repetition giving comfort and grounding Ryan as he gave in to the need to be held, to be touched. The priest's soft lips nibbled the sharp dips of Ryan's collarbone. He had to grasp the other man's arms to keep from falling as the mouth drifted down his chest to find a dark pink nipple hiding beneath his t-shirt. His hands moved to the black-clad shoulders as he held the priest closer, welcoming the warm tongue that bathed the sensitive nub.
"Ohh, ummm, uhnnn. GOD." Ryan moaned. At the sound, the priest doubled the pulls of his mouth, licking and lapping at the nipple, catching it lightly with his teeth. He matched the motions of his mouth and tongue with the soft stroking of his hand over Ryan's penis.
Ryan let his eyes drift open to observe the dark head framed against the white of his t-shirt. The priest's soft hair shimmered like black silk under the harsh lighting. Ryan couldn't ignore the need to touch it and he buried his fingers in the thick strands. The movement released an intoxicating smell of soap and incense, and salty, earthy male sweat that rose up to Ryan's nose. Ray smelled so good. So - clean. Ryan pressed the priest's lips closer to his nipple, his body undulating in pleasure at the sensations.
Ray abandoned the nub of sensitive skin and moved to its twin. He pushed the loose sleeves of the wifebeater off Ryan's shoulders to gain access to his entire chest.
Ryan let his arms stay captive within the sleeves of the t-shirt, the reduction of movement increasing his heart rate as he submitted to the priest's ministrations. Long minutes of torturous teasing from Ray's tongue, mimicked by the soft stroking of his cock, left Ryan panting and shaking for more.
*Ryan. What the FUCK are you doing?* His mind spun around the reality of the situation.
*Hey, I'm committed now so fuck it! This feels too fuckin' GOOD to stop.* He shook off the voice buzzing in his head, determined to go through with it, not even having to force himself to imagine it was a woman holding him so tight.
He freed his own arms and pulled the smaller man up to him, capturing his mouth in one motion. He could taste the salt of his own skin on the priest's tongue as he swabbed into the soft mouth, licking at the palate, tickling the other man with his desire.
Ryan broke off the kiss and opened his eyes to find the other man starting at him.
"Ray, I want... I need..."
He let the sentence drift off, knowing that he didn't have to push hard. The other man sensed his unspoken need. It was radiating from the emerald green of his eyes. And it was reflected back in the priest's.
With a sigh, Ray lowered his gaze, his eyes falling on the small gold cross nestled in the hollow of Ryan's collarbone.
Ray bent down to kiss the small figure resting against Ryan's skin, the metal warmed by the heat of the other man's body. Swabbing the little icon with his lips and tip of his tongue, Ray felt the last remnants of resistance drop away as he gave himself up to the power of his need for Ryan.
He didn't object as he felt Ryan's hands push him down, his chest and face sliding down the whipcord lean body, until he was on his knees. He rested his head against the protruding hipbone as he paused to take stock.
Ray had been shocked by the power of his attraction to Keller. He was completely stunned by the hunger he felt for the cock just six inches from his face. Although it was still safely tucked into Ryan's ratty pants, he could see it moving, pulsing with Ryan's need. He sighed again as he leaned back and found the soft material at the other man's waist. It took just a quick tug and a little pulling and Ryan's pants were at his ankles. Ray quickly saw there was no underwear to protect him from the enticing sight of Ryan's hard-on as it sprang out of the loosened material. The now familiar scent of another man's arousal drifted into his brain as his nostrils flared in an attempt to bottle the aroma deep within his lungs.
Ray reached out and grasped the erection in his hand. He could feel the veins humming with heated passion. It vibrated softly, hotly, within his fist. Ray studied the head which seemed to shimmer with need. He leaned forward and gently lapped at the tip with his tongue. He tasted salty sweat and the faint tang of prison-issue soap as he took it into his mouth.
The priest's tongue wrapped around Ryan's cock, his cheeks hollowing with the effort of taking in the entire length. He gagged slightly with the invasion, but his throat relaxed when he sucked gently. He felt a pulse as his ministrations coaxed pre-cum from the tip. Ray dutifully caught the liquid in his hungry mouth. The taste was sharp, tangy, and just what he needed. Backing off, he lapped up the creamy liquid, savoring it as it melted on his tongue.
Ryan felt his knees weaken at the sensation of the suction and Ray's seeking tongue against his long-neglected cock. His fingers wove into Ray's hair. Holding the other man's head, he began a steady motion in and out of the soft lips, dragging the sensitive tip all the way out before beginning the inexorable descent back into the warm, tight, wet hole.
Ray let Ryan find a rhythm as he lowered his own zipper and began to stroke his erection in time with the motion of Ryan's hips. The friction of sliding within his own grip, of finally giving in to his needs, combined with the heady sensation of making O'Reily squirm brought Ray rapidly to the edge. He began to climax. His muffled groans rumbled in the back of his throat and through Ryan's cock. Thin streams of silky liquid erupted from Ray and sprayed the inmate's legs.
Ryan felt the spasms begin in his back. His muscles clenched as he fell into his climax. His legs buckled and the hands he'd been using to hold the priest in place suddenly scrabbled to keep himself from falling. With a cry, he came. Pulsing, aching pleasure exploded out of his cock as he emptied himself into Ray's welcoming mouth.
Ryan opened his eyes as the pleasure began to diminish. The sight of the priest on his knees struggling to swallow his seed spurred another jolt from his still pulsing cock. He reveled in the power and the pleasure as he felt his legs give way beneath him. Gasping, he slid down, settling himself within the arms of the smaller man.
Ray cradled Ryan against him and watched as his chest heaved, the green gaze hidden by eyes at half-mast. He licked his lips, catching the residue of Ryan's release from the corner of his mouth. The salty taste had become an addiction he wanted to indulge again. He sat back on his heels, shaking and satisfied. He let his hand drift over to grasp Ryan's chin, forcing the other man's eyes up. A silent plea filled Ray's eyes.
Ryan couldn't avoid the need shimmering in the black depths. He found himself leaning forward to catch the shiny lips pouting before him. Their lips had barely touched when the phone rang shrilly, startling both men.
"Shit." Ryan pushed himself away from the priest at the second ring. He jumped to his feet and pulled his pants closed. He glanced down at the priest, a soft glow still casting the pale skin, his still semi-erect cock stark against the black pants. He ignored the jolt it sent to his own cock as he met Mukada's eyes briefly before looking away in embarrassment.
"Father, um, Ray... I better go. Sorry. Uh...bye."
Ryan was out the door and halfway to Em City before he let himself think about what had just happened with the other man. It had started out of fun - a challenge. A way for Ryan to regain some control in a world that was rapidly becoming about being some shade of brown. But it had become more - he had actually enjoyed kissing another man. Shit. He hadn't only kissed another man...but he had been blown by one, and liked it. His skin was still tingling from the encounter.
*You are too fuckin horny, O'Reily* he admitted. He came around a corner and ran right into Claire Howell.
"What the fuck are you doin', O'Reily? You think you get the run of this fuckin prison? Get back to Em City." She growled, her face pulled into an angry grimace as she grabbed his arm and pulled him along.
Ryan mouthed some apology, continuing on without really acknowledging her existence, until he found himself inhaling the scent of freshly washed hair and something else. Woman.
His softening cock twitched at the scent, and he let himself glance over at the bitter profile. He looked away when she sent him a scowl, but not before he noticed an interest lurking just beneath the nasty expression that she hadn't attempted to hide.
He felt a smile tickling behind his lips. With Howell, he would have a much more potent weapon. He knew Ray would never help him eliminate the Russian fucker. But Claire would - she'd probably love it. And he could keep Ray around for insurance, string along the priest, use him for the less brutal business. Ray would help with Cyril. And Howell would help with the rest.
Ryan ignored the little voice that mocked him for being unwilling to confront how much he'd enjoyed being touched by the holy man. The prospect of fucking a woman again, even if he had to imagine Gloria to do it, was enough to reassure him that he was no homo. The shit with Mukada was just survival, not pleasure.
And if he thought it enough, he might even begin to believe it.
* * *
Ray hung up the phone.
He ran a shaking hand through his hair as he struggled to pull himself together. It had been Sister Pete wondering why he was late and asking if he wanted her to come to his office for their daily meeting.
She could just as easily have decided to come down and investigate why he hadn't shown up at their appointed hour and found him wrapped around Ryan O'Reily's shamrock.
A small smile softened the tormented expression as he relived the sensation of pleasuring the other man. It had felt so right somehow to be on his knees, worshiping at that altar. It had been different than with Keller - with Keller it had been frightening, overwhelming, out of control. With Ryan, he had set the pace. He had been a willing, even eager participant. And, he had to admit, he would do it again.
Ryan needed him. He wanted him.
And, sure, Ray knew Ryan was trying to manipulate him, but that was okay. Ray had been through that before, with other inmates, other parishioners. He could handle Ryan O'Reily's machinations. He would be in control, and Ryan would never know it. And Ray would help him with Cyril. It would be good for all of them.
As Ray moved to the sink to wash up, he focused on that thought.
And while Ryan was ignoring his own truths within the walls of Em City, Ray refused to let himself remember who he'd imagined as he had brought Ryan to climax. It had been a different pale skinned, dark-haired man who had been in his heart and his mind as he'd welcomed that cock into his mouth. A man with mysterious and sorrowful, yet lively brown eyes. A man with a crooked, endearing grin that he used against himself too often. A man he'd been denying from the moment they met. A man he continued to deny as he lost himself in thoughts of a green-eyed Irishman.
But, eventually, the day would come when he had to face his own truths, his own actions. And when it did, he wouldn't be able to deny Miguel any more.