Father Ray Mukada stood over the limp, semi-conscious body of Miguel Alvarez. He stared down into the open, but slightly vacant eyes of the once feisty - yet somewhat possessed - man lying on the small bed within the confines of the tiny solitary cell. Fierce waves of guilt flooded him and he nearly wept. His legs weakened and he dropped down onto the mattress, seating himself beside Miguel.
Sweat beaded along the inmate's brow and streamed down his cheeks. *Always fighting his demons,* Ray thought as he reached over and brushed the damp strands of hair off Miguel's forehead. *The demons I should have helped him destroy.* The priest ran his palm over the rough surface of Miguel's face, wiping away whatever moisture he could.
A tremor of electricity passed through him. He jerked his hand back quickly, but not before a pulse of heat sped into his groin.
*Oh, God, help me. No. Not now.*
He ignored the hardening sensation between his legs and with a sigh, opened the small bible he held in his trembling hand.
Ray began to pray.
The words he spoke soothed him and he found himself becoming wrapped within them. His faith, as always, provided him with comfort and tranquility. He was startled out of his reverie when he felt Miguel's hand drop softly onto his thigh.
One word, spoken in a rough, but whisper-soft voice, snapped Ray to full attention. He placed his hand over Miguel's. It was warm with pulsing blood - alive. Relief spiraled through the priest's body, choking him up.
"Miguel, thank God." He paused to clear his heart from his throat. "I was so worried. After you escaped, I had no idea where you were or if you were even alive. Then you came back to Oz and you were okay for a while ... and now this again." He gestured around the tiny room. "The warden told me what you did to yourself when they brought you back here. I don't understand what happened. I need to know what's going on with you?"
"When I ... got back, I asked." Miguel's eyes slipped shut and Ray watched as he struggled to stay focused. "Needed you. Wanted to talk. Where ...?"
There it was. The one question Ray had hoped to avoid. He'd left his job in order to find peace. To put behind him all of the mistakes he'd made with Miguel and Keller and Beecher and *shit* who hadn't he failed in some way or another? And he had. He had returned to Oswald refreshed - renewed - ready to take on the world.
Unfortunately, Ray Mukada had been slapped in the face with reality the very moment he'd crossed through the gates of the prison.
Miguel had been caught and returned. The warden had given him the chance to move back into Em City, which was a miracle in itself. But that had been short lived. Before Ray had even reclaimed his position as Chaplain, Miguel had been shipped to solitary confinement and was already slipping back into his personal psychosis.
And the priest couldn't help but blame himself. Had he been here when Miguel was caught, been here when Miguel had asked for him, maybe the inmate wouldn't have screwed up. Maybe he'd still be in Em City and not stuck in this living hell. Because of this, Ray was suffocating under a heavy mantle of guilt. This oppressive feeling had kept him from coming to solitary - until today.
"Yo, Father Mukada?"
Miguel's somewhat amused voice broke Ray from his self-depreciating pity party. He turned his eyes back to the inmate's face. Miguel had a lit cigarette perched between his lips. Ray was about to ask where it had come from, how he'd gotten that in here, but decided against it. He wasn't sure he'd be able to speak anyway. His eyes were transfixed on Miguel's mouth.
The way his lips surrounded the filter when he sucked the smoke into his lungs. The tight ring of pink flesh they formed as Miguel puffed clouds of nicotine into the stale air. Ray felt himself begin to harden again, and quickly dropped his eyes to the floor.
"I was on retreat, Miguel. I needed some time to think. To be ... alone with myself. Away from here."
The softly spoken question resonated in Ray's mind. Two words. Simple and clear. But, he didn't know how to answer. How could Ray explain everything that had happened while Miguel was gone? The situation with Chris Keller and his 'confession' - Ray's refusal to grant absolution. What about the whole mess between Schillinger and Beecher? And now, Cloutier. Every day he was reminded of his failures.
Couple all those on top of the fact that while Miguel had been missing, Ray had done nothing but worry about him since he'd been notified of the inmate's escape. Was Miguel safe? Warm?
Was he even alive?
Ray wondered almost daily if Miguel would contact him for help. And as wrong and illegal as it would be, Ray would have helped him. Would've done whatever was in his power to help Miguel. He'd lain awake night after night, waiting for the call to come, asking himself why? Why would he put his life on the line for Miguel Alvarez.
The answer was obvious. He missed Miguel. God yes he had missed him. Sometimes the feelings had overwhelmed him so much they had almost torn him into pieces. Instead of embracing what he knew to be true, Ray chose to ignore his own question. As well as it's dangerous answer. But he had felt those feelings pulse through him every time he had to force himself to walk into the prison knowing that Miguel wasn't there. And may not ever be there again.
Finally the pressure had taken it's toll, and he had to leave his job and his 'flock', because he couldn't deal with the oppressive loneliness any longer.
Ray felt Miguel's hand tighten on his leg, fingers digging into the soft skin beneath the stiff, black pants. He jumped off the bed and turned away from the other man. The area on his thigh where Miguel's hand had rested hummed warmly. Ray felt beads of sweat swell on his neck. He shivered as they rushed down his back in thin rivulets.
"I uh ... Miguel. I need to go now." He straightened his clothes and tried to ignore the heat throbbing through the tight, hardening packet of skin between his legs. He quickly turned and took a step towards the barred door, but stopped when he heard Miguel start to mumble.
They had been here before. Ray knew Miguel would quickly become hysterical, possibly even violent. But something in the inmate's shockingly quiet voice, made Ray pause. Miguel sounded different this time.
Ray's mind flashed back to the day when Miguel had come to him after blinding Eugene Rivera. How scared the inmate had been. How his voice had stuttered and shaken as he spun into hysteria. The priest turned back to face his friend.
The inmate was now sitting, back to the wall, head down on his knees, arms curled tightly around himself. He was rocking back and forth, muttering and groaning, his naked back slapping against the hard wall of his cell wall. His eyes, however, were fixed on the priest.
Ray was overpowered by the desperation he saw covering Miguel's face. His legs buckled and he stumbled backward. The cell was so tiny that he didn't actually fall. His back tapped the wall behind him softly and jerked him out from the memory he'd been trapped in.
Miguel's desperate cry pierced the priest's soul. He crossed the short distance between them and grabbed Miguel's shoulders. He shook the inmate roughly.
"Miguel!" Ray shook him again.
The outer door to the cell opened and a guard peered in at the men. His startled intake of breath alerted Ray to his presence and the priest turned his eyes to the door. Miguel continued to struggle within his grasp.
"Father? Everything okay in there?"
"Yes, officer. Everything is fine." He paused to cast a quick glance at Miguel. "Please leave us alone. If I need your assistance I'll let you know."
"Okay." The CO smirked at the priest's somewhat snippy response as he began to slip the outer door shut. "You make sure you 'let me know' then."
Ray nodded and turned his attention back to Miguel. The inmate was shaking, his shoulders rolling beneath Ray's hands.
"Miguel, stop it!"
Ray ignored the intense feeling to slap the inmate as he continued to restrain him. Miguel was far stronger than Ray, and there was no possible way he was going to be able to restrain him for long. Instead, the priest climbed on top of the inmate, straddled his hips, and using all of his body weight, shoved Miguel's shoulders backward, trapping him against the wall. It took every ounce of strength Ray had to just hold him steady. At least it stopped the rocking. Unfortunately, it did not stop the insistent throbbing of his penis.
Ray felt himself quicken again as the inmate's cock began to harden beneath him.
*Dear God, I want this man.*
Ray pushed the thought from his mind before it could distract him further.
"Miguel, calm down."
Almost as if commanded, Miguel's eyes began to clear and refocus on the priest.
Miguel's strained voice ripped Ray's heart from his chest and squeezed it tightly. He forced himself to relax. He released Miguel's shoulder from his grasp and sat back against the inmate's thighs - thankfully removing the temptation to grind against the now fully erect cock that had been directly beneath his ass. Ray sighed loudly.
"Miguel, I don't know what I can do to help you." He paused and rubbed his fingertips over his closed eyelids. When he reopened his eyes, his gaze met Miguel's. "I've tried everything I can think of, done everything in my power, and we still keep coming back to this very place. I've failed you - failed your soul. Maybe it's time to let someone else try."
"No. That ain't it. I need you, man. I don't want no one else."
Ray froze as Miguel leaned forward and his tongue flicked out, unconsciously, to moisten his parched lips. The priest knew what was about to happen. The air between them crackled with static as the inmate closed in. Ray knew he should move, but he couldn't force himself away. Miguel's lips grazed his softly, sending a wave of electricity through him. His body hummed with shock from the kiss.
Miguel's skilled tongue parted Ray's lips and entered his warm mouth. The priest felt as if he were floating through the air on soft gusts of wind - like a feather. His mind was lost within Miguel's kiss - the feel of his lips and tongue as they scoured Ray's mouth.
Ray cried out when he felt Miguel's fingers slide over his clothed penis. He pulled away from the inmate, rolled off the bed and drew the back of his hand across his mouth.
"I. Need this." Miguel coughed softly. "You."
Miguel reached out and grabbed Ray's hand. He tried to pull him back, but Ray slipped his hand out from between the other man's fingers. He rushed over to the bars and yelled for the guard. He turned back to his friend.
"No. Oh, God Miguel. I'm sorry I can't help you."
Ray paused as heat raced through him, gaining strength and power with each lap completed. It licked at his groin like the flames - flames of temptation. Beads of perspiration trailed over his cheeks and down his neck. His heart thudded within his chest and he felt as if he might faint.
"I'm so sorry. Goodbye, Miguel."
The door slid open and Ray pushed roughly past the guard. He ran all the way back to his office and slammed the door behind him, turning the lock to seal himself in. He leaned his forehead against the cold surface and tried to force himself calm. His breath was coming in short gusts and no matter what he did, he couldn't seem to get himself under control.
He pushed away from the door, crossed the floor to his desk and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. He placed one filtered stick between his lips and lit the soothing tobacco. He sucked smoke deep into his lungs and prayed that this would pass. Sweat ran down his forehead and dropped onto the floor at his feet.
With each inhale, he hardened more. Somehow, the thing that usually relaxed him, was doing the exact opposite. It was forcing him into an even deeper state of arousal. He took one last drag and stubbed the cigarette into an ashtray he kept on the desk.
Ray flicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth and the kiss flooded back to him. He brought his fingers to his lips and traced them lightly. Miguel had tasted - ashy. From the cigarette he'd smoked. Ashy and dangerous. And Ray had never tasted anything that erotic in his entire life.
The image of Miguel's lips wrapped around his cigarette rushed through the priest. Ray dropped into his chair. His eyes slipped shut and ground his knuckles into them as if trying to force the vision from them. But it kept coming back. It would not be denied or ignored.
So he finally gave in.
Ray's hands fell into his lap, searching blindly for the button and zipper of his pants. He could feel his penis pushing roughly against the stiff, black cloth, crying - screaming - for attention. His fingertips found the small metal button and he quickly slid it through the opening. Ray pulled the halves of his pants apart, the teeth of the zipper releasing easily. His engorged member, finally free of pressure from the restrictive material, tented his briefs. The priest sighed loudly in relief as grasped the waistband of his underwear and peeled them down and away from his erection.
Ray's body shivered when the cool office air kissed the pre-come soaked head of his penis. He reached into his lap and slid his fingers lightly over the shaft. He took himself into a different place. A place where it wasn't his own soft, uncalloused hand wrapping tightly around his cock - but the long, thin fingers and sandpapery rough palm that belonged to Miguel Alvarez.