The Way Back

by Riley Cannon

A trio of drabbles written as HT100 challenges, and exploring a reconcilation between the guys, post-RIS, and dedicated to Maverick for being such an endless well of ideas to spark my creativity.

*for HT100 #6: Free-for-all*

~The Way Back~

"I'm sorry."

Chris looked at the hand resting on his knee, surprised at the sensation that didn't immediately sizzle through him. There had been a time when the slightest touch from Toby would set him on fire. Now it just grounded and soothed him. "Sorry for what?" he said, turning to look at him. "For telling me?"

"No, never," Toby said, blue eyes looking at him so earnestly, so filled with guilt -- and something Chris felt wary of believing now, as much as he wanted to. "I couldn't let him betray you, Chris. I'm sorry he wasn't a better friend. I'm sorry I didn't do it for you."

*continued in HT100 #11: One to Grow On*


The lockdown, the hacks clearing Ronnie's meager belongings out of the pod - his brief glimpse of Chris at this morning's count - had told Toby all he needed to know. He'd thought he might want to put on guilt like a well-worn and comfortable sweater. Instead, as he finally found Chris sitting by himself on the hard metal stairs, weary defeat readable in every line of his body, all Toby wanted was to reach out, to help ... make it some degree easier.

He sat down beside him, hesitating only a moment before resting a hand on Chris' knee, the connection still there, always there, just quieter and easier now. "I'm sorry," he said and watched Chris turn to look at him, the wariness in his eyes slicing into Toby's belly sharp as any shank.

"Sorry for what? For telling me?"

Christ no. Sorry for the childish games that had stolen so much time, sorry for not having enough faith when it mattered most. Sorry for so many goddamn things - but not for loving Chris, not for keeping him safe.

He watched Chris listen to his words, felt a different twinge in his belly as those blue eyes warmed up with a flicker of hope, and felt that stir to life in himself as Chris' hand covered his and squeezed.

*and concluded, so far, in HT100 #27: Under the Boardwalk*

~One Step Closer to Home~

Chased off the stairs, Chris was taken by surprise when Toby grasped his arm and pulled him into the shadowy depths under the stairs, pressing him against the wall and just looking at him. Chris looked back, wondering what was running through that complicated mind now. He wasn't about to try and guess. He'd already gotten this part wrong, imagining the reunion was over and it was time to go their separate ways for now.

Toby laid one hand against his shoulder, the other cupped along the side of his face, an earnest warmth in his eyes that Chris hadn't seen there in far too long. Almost like that very first time when a touch of those lips had set his whole world spinning.

"Hey," Toby said, and smiled.

Chris returned it, "Hey," and held still as Toby leaned in and kissed him, his world snapping back into place. Yeah, maybe he was damned for all time - but at least he'd have this one taste of heaven.


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