Pattern Recognition

by Actizera

Thanks to Maverick, for much-needed encouragement and suggestions. This takes place at the beginning of season 4. Toby's back at work in Sister Pete's office after the famous two-week lockdown, but his mind is elsewhere...

You glance at the clock on the computer screen with only a vague realization that it's what you're doing. It's become pretty automatic by now -- a slight shift in your focus, and you know how much longer you'll be sitting here. How much longer it will be before you see him again. Your stomach churns and your groin aches at the thought. You wonder where he is right now, what he's thinking about. Is he thinking about you? You aren't sure. There was a time when you would have said "yes" without hesitation, when he was thinking about you pretty much all the time. Now that he has you, what does he think about?

This morning, you sat through breakfast seeing him in your peripheral vision, watching him eat, noting the fluidity of his movements while performing even the most mundane daily activities. And you remember thinking to yourself, "It will be good to spend a few hours away from him." Sometimes he seems to be too much -- too big of a presence, filling too much of your universe. You're pretty sure it's not healthy. As you sipped your juice, he leaned close and breathed words onto your neck. "You gonna eat that?" He pressed his thigh against yours, extended his hand, and plucked a piece of toast from your tray.

"Guess not," you snorted, shaking your head and leaning away. He just laughed and nudged your leg playfully with his as he leaned back and resumed eating. The real kicker was that your face was hot, your skin was tingling, and your dick was starting to get rigid. Just from that. (It's even getting that way right now, just from the memory of it.)'s probably good to get away from him for a few hours...

The problem is this: when someone or something occupies that large a space in your life, a great gaping hole is left behind when they're not there. You suppose that feeling will lose some of its intensity as those two weeks in lockdown recede into the past. Right now, you're still used to breathing his air almost exclusively. You're used to the constant, wet smell of your shared sweat and sex, ebbing and flowing like a fragrant, salty tide -- strongest in the early morning, fading slowly throughout the day. The two of you created your own circadian rhythms, within and around the one laid out for you by the lights turning on and off.

Much of each day in lockdown was spent sleeping. Not all that much of each night was. Readjusting to the normal routine isn't going to be easy, if today has been any indication. You'll be working, typing away, and then the screen is blurry, then your eyes are closing. We'll just have to spend more time sleeping at night from now on, you think. Starting tonight.

You close your eyes for a moment, and now you're lying in the bottom bunk, and he's kneeling beside your head as his wicked tongue licks its way from your sternum to your crotch. His body slowly unfolds, and then you're stretched out side by side and in reverse, sucking each other. You probe the silky skin filling your mouth and suck greedily, salivating, hungry for the taste. His rich scent reminds you of hot rain-soaked earth, and you expand your lungs with it, absorb it into your blood. You hold his ass tightly and dig your fingers in, and he groans -- he always likes that, when you grip him tight enough to hurt. It probably confirms for him how badly you need this. His tight muscles become even tighter under your hands, and now he's taking you all the way in, all the way, squeezing you in his throat, the way he knows you can't. In defiance, you draw your head back and work only the tip of his cock with your lips and tongue, determined to stay in your right mind long enough not to embarrass yourself. He knows what you're doing and exactly why you're doing it -- he chuckles in the back of his throat, and you can feel it more than hear it, a hot vibration that makes all your muscles twitch.

Mmmmm...yeah...last night was sweet... You open your eyes, not quite able to focus on the computer screen. You realize your cock is straining desperately against the fabric of your pants. In the last two weeks you've spent a greater amount of time hard than during any comparable period of your life. Is that significant? Does it say something about you? Maybe about latent homosexuality that had always been there but was never acknowledged? Or maybe it simply says something about how long you've been in this place with no one touching you -- at least, not in a good way. Or maybe it's just him.


You lean forward and scoot your chair farther under the desk as you resume typing. "Hmmmm?"

"Is everything alright?"

You can tell that your face is flushed. You grin a little, feeling caught. Sister Pete is peering at you over her glasses in a very nun-like way.

"Sure. Just a little tired, I guess."

You know she knows. She knows you're back together with him, and you know it horrifies her. She thinks he's a monster, a manipulative predator, and you're his victim, his prey. You like to think otherwise.

"We have a lot of work to catch up on, Tobias." Her voice is a bit curt.

"I know." You start typing faster.

You manage to get a good 10 or 15 minutes of solid work in before you're back on that bottom bunk with his hard dick in your mouth. And yours in his...oh, man... His tongue is doing all kinds of crazy things to you, slithering and flicking and nudging and winding. You wish you could make him come first, but if this is a contest, you're way outmatched. You grip his thighs and shove them apart, and you hear him grunt as you reach between his legs and slowly caress his perineum. He does seem to interpret it as some sort of challenge. You begin to shake as two of his fingers push inside you, move in and out of you, and then oh god oh god oh god you're coming so hard you can't even draw enough breath to make a sound, and you have to release him from your mouth before something really bad happens.

He swallows everything you have in you and then flips you over onto your stomach -- he's impossibly strong and you're quivering and helpless, boneless and barely coherent. He coats himself with lube and starts fucking you while you're still twitching with orgasmic aftershocks. He pounds you fast and deep and comes within seconds, pulling hard at a fistful of your damp hair. Afterwards, he collapses slowly onto your back. He strokes your hair gently and presses his lips against the nape of your neck. He's heavy, and his body is so hard and unyielding, but you want him to stay there, inside of you and covering you. "My strength and my shield," you think to yourself, giggling a bit nervously at the sacrilege of it. Here in Sister Pete's office, no less.

You glance over at her and see her looking at you strangely. "Sorry," you mutter, dazed, still smiling. You feel her continuing to stare at you as you type; maybe she's wondering if you're using again. It's kind of what you're acting like. And if you really think about it, that interpretation is not too far off the mark, all things considered. Did you really need heroin more than you need him? Is he any less central to your day-to-day existence than martinis used to be?

He stays inside you for a long time after he comes, just as you hoped he would. Sometimes you wonder if he can read your mind. He shifts his weight until you're both lying on your sides, his arm tight around your chest, his breath warming your scalp. You're able to see yourselves reflected in the glass wall of the pod, and the sight of his muscular arm around your naked body looks strange to you, still. You suddenly see yourself as someone else might see you: in a prison bunk, in the middle of the night, having just been fucked up the ass by a dangerous brute of a criminal. Then he pulls you closer, and you feel a sharp twinge of guilt for thinking that way about him. You don't mean it, really. You squeeze his arm and hug it tightly against your chest, and he makes a sleepy noise, pushing his face further into your hair. You know you should go back up to your own bunk until round two, just in case the hacks decide to stroll by (although they do so less and less as lockdown wears on, it seems), but you're very comfortable.

"Stay here," he mumbles, his voice heavy with fatigue.

Your heart sings with the knowledge that he wants you sleeping beside him. Mmm hmm, yeah, you're in love with him, alright. God help you. The pattern of his breathing soon becomes steady and regular and lulls you to sleep.

Now you're staring off into the distance, past the computer screen, feeling warm, thinking about what will happen tonight. You can both sleep during that dead time before lights out. That's a few hours right there. That will help. The time when the lights are off, though -- that's really too precious to waste. When the buzzer sounds and it's suddenly dark, when you crawl into the bottom bunk where he's waiting for you, always waiting there to take you in his arms...that's when the really significant part of your day begins. Being with him is one of the only things worth being awake for in this place. You have no intention of missing it. Sleep -- you'll get enough of it, some way or another. It's entirely secondary.

Sister Pete might be inclined to disagree. She's looking at you out of the corner of her eye, tapping her fingers on her desk. "Tobias, what's going on with you today?"

"Um..." You can feel your face turning red again, and you're unable to meet her eyes. "I, uh...well...I guess it's just, you know, just finally getting out of lockdown and all..."

She holds her hands out in front of her face, gesturing for you to say no more. "You know what? Never mind. I probably DON'T want to KNOW." She sighs and pretends to start working again, but her eyes are darting in all directions, not looking at the papers in front of her. She sighs again and stands. "Tobias..."

"Yeah?" You sit back in your chair and politely give her your full attention.

She moves to the front of her desk and sits back on it. "I hope you..." She shakes her head. "Tobias, please just be careful. Chris may not be the man you think he is. He tries to make people think he's changed, but I don't think he has. Frankly, he hasn't."

You sigh, not really knowing how to respond. "I love him," you say, shrugging helplessly. Your tone makes it clear that you think no further explanation should be required. In any event, you would be unable to provide it.

"You need to ask yourself," she begins, her voice a little too loud, full of anger. She takes a deep breath and tones it down as she continues. "Ask yourself. Is a man like him even capable of loving you back? You deserve better than that, Tobias."

"Do I?" you snort ruefully. What a laughable idea, really. If she only knew. If she could only see the way her good friend Tobias manipulated Andy Schillinger -- the way you took advantage of his vulnerability, the way you made him believe you cared about him. Compare that with the way Keller manipulated Sister Pete. And then think about which plot ended with someone in a body bag. As misguided and full of fucked-up Keller logic as it was, he did what he did because he loves you, and now Sister Pete is very hurt and upset. You did what you did in the interest of cold and ruthless vengeance, because you hate Vern Schillinger. And now Andy is very dead.

You turn back to the computer and try to dismiss her from your mind. "We've got a lot of work to do..." you mumble, hating yourself intensely for a moment. For God's sake, he was just a kid... You close your eyes and remember what it felt like when Andy was cradled in your arms in the middle of the night, and suddenly that memory fuses sickeningly with a memory of holding your own son when he had chicken pox, burning with fever. It brings you to your feet.


You look at her, your mouth open as if poised to speak. You feel like you want to tell her everything. What you did, who you really are, what you really deserve. No... You need to have her stay your friend. You close your eyes and shake your head, sitting back down in your chair. "Nothing."

You start typing again, trying to keep your mind clear and focused. Soon enough, though, your consciousness has drifted back into the pod, drawn as if by a magnet, and you're with him again. Last night, every night, he takes you in his arms, and the first thing he does is kiss you, slowly. Just like that kiss at midnight on New Years Eve. You know it's his way of making you understand that he isn't Schillinger, that he isn't the same Chris Keller who hurt you, that he loves you. He does love you. Every night he kisses you as if it's the first time. Sometimes you can feel him trembling with the effort it takes to restrain himself, but he still makes it just as sweet. Things almost always become fierce and frantic after that, the bed creaking beneath a molten, twisted mass of hard limbs and slick muscles, cocks and tongues and grasping fingers. But at its core you know there's love -- you know that you love him and he loves you. It's probably more than you deserve, but it's the thing that gets you through each day, providing you with the certainty that you still have a beating heart and lungs that draw air. It's a tangible reminder that there is something other than hate that can get you out of bed every morning.

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