The first thing Beecher thinks when his hand touches the doorknob is that he's going to be sorry he came.
He should just turn around and go back to Sister Pete's office. He should just turn around and fucking go. He pulls his hand away.
Beecher learned Keller's work assignment this morning from O'Reily, who never drops information without a reason. So did O'Reily have some sort of agenda? Or did Keller ask him to make sure Beecher knew? Neither? Both?
Beecher's stomach tightens as his hand hovers over the doorknob. Stay? Go? Stay. Go.
When he showed up at Sister Pete's office for his own work detail Beecher told her that she was out of manila folders, which were in fact hidden at the bottom of a file cabinet. He just needed the excuse to volunteer to get another box for her. He was sure to mention that the stock was being reorganized today, and sure not to mention that Keller was the one assigned. That should have bought him some extra to time to... what? Why the fuck does he have to see Keller?
Christ, is he over thinking this? Probably just the opposite. He takes a deep breath and opens the door.
Keller, body slightly tensed, is already facing him as he steps inside.
"The fuck you doing here?" Keller demands.
Beecher glances around the room. Looks like Keller has pulled everything off the shelves and grouped like things together, but he has not started re-shelving. Beecher expects that Keller has been working efficiently, but not too efficiently. Just hard enough to not seem lazy, but slowly enough that he might drag the assignment out for another day.
"Just need some folders for Sister Pete." Beecher says it like that really is the only reason he is there.
Keller tosses his head in the direction of a stack of boxes, but Beecher doesn't make a move toward them. Keller steps over to the stack and leans down to grab a box with Beecher eye-fucking him for a moment, watching how Keller's body stretches, the black wife beater clinging close to his torso. Beecher imagines himself running his hands along Keller's back under that shirt. He imagines...
"Here," Keller says and hands the box out. Beecher takes it from him, but does not leave. Can't leave.
"Something else?" Keller asks it as if he cannot wait to be rid of Beecher.
Yeah, so? What exactly was Beecher expecting?
He had known when the COs called lockdown in Em City early yesterday afternoon that Barlog was dead. And he had known it was Keller that had done it. Somehow Beecher had expected Keller to come to him, expected Keller to thank him for the warning, expected some sort of change from the status quo.
"You killed Ronnie."
Keller shrugs like doesn't know what Beecher is talking about and starts shelving the remaining boxes of folders.
"Pretended you loved him. You're good at that; I should know."
Keller slams one of the boxes down as he puts it away, but doesn't say anything, just continues working.
"The FBI questioned me this morning."
"Wanted to know if I knew anything about Ronnie's death."
"Wanted to know if he told me anything about you and those murders."
"Which, he did."
"They offered to help me if I helped them."
Keller slams another box down, but then turns to look at Beecher, his eyes hard. "Yeah? So what are you saying to me, Beecher? You saying now you're gonna rat me out?"
Beecher shrugs. "Just telling you what they told me." Now that he has Keller's attention, he's just fucking with him. He knows he shouldn't. He really shouldn't.
Keller moves toward him and Beecher takes a step back, holding the box in front of himself defensively. Keller stops and looks him up and down. Assessing, Beecher supposes, trying to figure out Beecher's game. But even Beecher doesn't know what he's playing at.
"What the fuck do you want?" Keller asks, voice dark.
The fuck does he want? Good question.
"You got what you came for," Keller says coldly. "Now get out of here."
Beecher can detect a hot undercurrent of anger in Keller's voice and it just makes him want to fuck with Keller all the more. He'd rather have Keller's hatred than not have him at all.
Beecher tosses the box of folders aside. "So it's just that easy? You're going to let me roll? Let me tell the Feds what I know?"
Taunting Keller gives him a dangerous sort of a thrill, a power over him. He tells himself to stop. He knows he has to, but he still can't help himself. Just like so many things in his life.
Keller steps toward Beecher again, but this time Beecher doesn't shy away. Their bodies are so close together and it takes every effort for Beecher to stop himself from either hitting him or kissing him.
"Suck my cock," Keller says, voice husky and low.
"Suck. My. Cock."
He's not asking, he's ordering. Demanding it like Beecher has no choice. It almost reminds Beecher of... someone else. He doesn't want to think it, but fuck, he already has. Maybe that's why Keller is doing this. Probably.
Bitch. Beecher can almost hear the word tagged at the end, and it hurts. It makes him hate Keller, but he is sinking to his knees because more than anything else, he needs him.
Jesus, that's the answer, isn't it? That's why he's here He needs Keller. Belongs to him. Loves him. Schillinger may have thought he owned Beecher, but Keller... shit, he actually does.
Beecher can see Keller's cock already hard in his pants, and his fingers, slightly jittery, unbutton and unzip to free it. He takes Keller's cock in his mouth and places his hands on Keller's hips, pulling him in a little deeper.
Beecher sucks. Hard. Keller gasps and puts his hands on Beecher's head. Slowly, Beecher begins to slide Keller's dick in and out of his mouth, letting his teeth gently scrape against it with each pass.
Keller's breath quickens and his grip on Beecher's head becomes tighter with each ragged intake of oxygen. Those hands are starting to hurt, like a vice, but Beecher doesn't care.
"Stop," Keller rasps, but Beecher ignores him.
More urgently: "You gotta stop." Keller tries to step away, but Beecher, hands still firm on Keller's hips, pulls him forward.
"Toby, stop!" Keller snarls and forces Beecher's head back, bringing a knee up into Beecher's chest and shoving him backward.
Beecher falls back, but quickly recovers and gets to his feet, ready to yell at Keller, to fight with him, to fuck him some more.
"Jesus fucking Christ, I told you to stop." Keller's voice tremors, tone almost broken, almost afraid. Beecher has only heard it like that once before: the night he woke up to hear Keller crying to himself because he was so terrified of Hell. Terrified because he knew he was going there.
Beecher can't even begin to fathom what Keller is afraid of right now, but he wants to reach out, touch him, pull him close, whisper soft words in his ear. But how things are now... he can't. Sure, Beecher can fuck him. That's all they've been doing anyway, fucking with each other. With their minds, with their hearts, might as well with their bodies too. But fucking is all that it is. They might as well be strangers. Might as well be Browne or Shemin... or Barlog.
"What is it?" Beecher asks. "Ronnie give better head than me?"
Keller steps close to Beecher, their bodies inches apart. "What did you tell the Feds?" Keller's voice is cold again, each word spoken carefully, but Beecher can hear the strain in it. "No more games."
Ha! No more games? Bull fucking shit. Keller wants honesty? Beecher's been honest with him before and all Keller gave him was hurt. Beecher wants to hurt him back, wants to lie to him, and he almost does.
But that fleeting moment of fear that he heard in Keller's voice stops him. He thinks back again to that night Keller was afraid, thinks about his desperate plea: don't let go. Beecher let Keller down then, he supposes. Keller needed him, and he let him down. That's the only thing he ever seems to do to the ones he loves. Beecher should have held onto him until the hacks forced them apart, until they beat Beecher off of him. But no, Beecher let him go. He let him down.
Is that what he is trying to do again?
Is that what he really wants to do?
Beecher sighs and shakes his head. Honesty, huh? Best policy? Yeah, right. But at this point, what does it matter?
"I told them they were wrong. That they were wrong before." Beecher takes a step back and rubs his face before adding softly. "I was wrong before."
"Why did you tell me about Barlog?" Keller's voice is still dead serious.
Beecher laughs because Keller must fucking know why. Beecher knows it so deep it hurts. Down in every part of his body, his soul, he knows why.
If Keller is surprised by Beecher's laughter, he doesn't show it. His face remains impassive as he waits for an answer.
"It's fairly obvious, isn't it?" Beecher asks.
"You already know: it's the same reason I couldn't tell Adebisi about you. It's the reason I am here right now."
Keller shakes his head like that isn't good enough. "And what is it you see happening between us here today?"
"I just thought... look, you broke my arms, right? You betrayed me. And I fucking shanked you in the back for it."
There's a hint of surprise in Keller's eyes, but he had to have known Beecher did it. Shit, maybe not.
"Then you saved my life from Schillinger. I knew I could trust you. I finally believed you loved me." Beecher wonders if he is even being coherent. Words can't really explain what's going on inside of him, but doesn't dare translate his feelings with touch.
"I saved you by telling you about Ronnie. I thought maybe you would trust me again, love me again. Tit for tat." Beecher's voice is starting to lose it; maybe his mind will follow. That would be easier. It always is. He realizes that his argument doesn't make sense. Their debts aren't settled after all.
"But you loving me again, that's not going to happen." He shrugs, a hopeless inevitability weighing down his words. "I didn't fully understand that until now."
"We're not exactly even. I tried to kill you. As far as I know, you haven't tried to kill me."
Keller looks away and Beecher is not sure why. Probably angry. What else is new?
"Look," Keller says, "I make a lot of mistakes, you know? I fuck up all the time."
"Me trying to kill you, that would be the biggest fuck up of all." He shakes his head. "Toby, it ain't that I can't trust you."
Beecher places a hand on Keller's chest. "Then what?"
Keller pushes Beecher's hand away. "I can't trust myself."
What the fuck is that supposed to mean? Beecher wonders if either one of them are making sense. It doesn't matter. Just keep talking.
"But I trust you. Isn't that enough?"
Keller shakes his head. "It almost isn't."
Keller reaches up a hand and touches Beecher's face, the first gentle move he's made toward him since all this began. He slides his arms around Beecher's neck and says softly near his ear, breath tickling, "I don't want to hurt you no more."
Beecher wraps his own arms around Keller's sides, his hands rubbing Keller's back and pulling him closer. "Forgive me then."
Quiet, but firm: "I will, I can, I have. God, Toby, I love you."
Keller pulls his head back from Beecher's neck and draws him into a kiss. It's slow, like neither of them can believe it's happening, their lips warm and comfortable. Keller sucks softly on Beecher's lower lip before pulling back.
"I should have been there for you," Keller says.
And all Beecher can think is that no one was there for him. No one. It shouldn't have been like that. Keller should have been there.
But he was, Beecher reminds himself. Keller was there until Beecher shoved him away with a shank and an accusation. The shank had failed, but the words had stabbed deep, straight to the heart. And still, for reasons he cannot define, Beecher feels as if he were the one betrayed.
It burns him inside to think about it, and he doesn't give a voice to his emotions. What good would it do? All Keller needs to know is that Beecher loves him. That sometimes he hates him? That sometimes he hates that he loves him? Too much information.
"Tell me what you're thinking."
Why does Keller have to know that? Why, at this exact moment? Beecher almost can't hear his own voice. "I needed you. You weren't there." He wishes he could mask the bitterness in his tone, but he can't. His fingers dig into Keller's back. "You weren't there."
Then, because it's true in spite of all the hurt, Beecher whispers, "But I forgive you for it, Chris."
Beecher doesn't know what to call what he feels when he shares his true thoughts with Keller. All at once, he is liberated, trapped, protected, attacked, fearless, and afraid. Caught in limbo, waiting for a reaction.
Keller is staring at him with those inscrutable eyes, saying nothing, but then a small grin curls his lips. "So we okay then?"
A smile spreads across Beecher's face and he releases a breath he didn't know he had been holding. "Fuck, yes."
Keller pushes hard against Beecher, shoving him against the metal shelving, which shudders with the impact, but bolts in the floor keep it from tipping. Keller kisses him again, but this time deeper, with more hunger. He slips his tongue in Beecher's mouth and Beecher tastes him back. Oh man, he had almost forgotten how much he loved this. Beecher's face is flushing and he can barely breathe. His cock is getting hard and Keller snakes a hand down to Beecher's crotch, rubbing and then unzipping. Keller's fingers are on Beecher's cock briefly, but then he wraps his hand around the small of Beecher's back and presses Beecher against him.
Keller's own pants are still undone and his dick is stiffening against Beecher's. He starts grinding into Beecher, still drowning him with his lips. They're crushing against each other like if they try hard enough, they can fuse. Like all the weeks of distance can be closed in this one moment.
For Beecher, this is nothing like being with the others. They took from him and that's all. They used him and that's all. Sex and that's all. Keller almost did that too, but... it doesn't matter. This is finally Keller wanting to touch him, to know him, to find out his secrets, to love him, to --
Beecher jumps, startled, breaking their kiss. He looks up over Keller's shoulder to see Sister Pete in the doorway, hands on her hips, fury in her eyes. Keller just nuzzles Beecher's neck as if he hasn't heard her, though he slides a hand between himself and Beecher again, pushing Beecher's dick back into his pants.
"Cut it out!" Sister Pete orders.
A whisper of hot breath against Beecher's neck sends a shiver through his body as Keller says, barely audible, "Ask McManus to move me back in."
"Break it up now or I get an officer and you both spend the night in the hole."
Keller zips Beecher's pants closed, takes a step back, and mouths, "Tonight."
A demand or a promise? Both?
Beecher nods to Keller and then turns to Sister Pete, his face still burning from arousal and now a bit from embarrassment that she found them. She looks him up and down; the anger is gone from her eyes, replaced with disappointment. It's hard for Beecher to care. He doesn't owe her anything. Not one god damned thing.
"Catch you later," he tells Keller and throws him a smile, which he hopes conveys both 'I love you' and 'Come fuck me.'
"Later," Keller replies, giving Beecher the same smile.
Beecher grabs the box of folders and leaves quickly, forcing himself to regain calm, forcing himself not to yell and run and laugh just to express his relief. He's halfway down the hall before he turns to offer Sister Pete some sort of apology, but she isn't behind him. Confused, he walks back to see the storage room door closed and to hear muffled voices inside. He almost opens the door, but it opens from inside and Sister Pete steps out looking annoyed. Beecher wonders what the hell she and Keller had to say to one another.
"We have lots of work to do, Tobias," she says sharply. "Let's get back."
"Yes, Sister," he replies, but pauses to took through the gap in the almost closed door.
Keller sees him and mouths again, "Tonight." He sticks one of his hands down his pants, making his meaning very clear. Now Beecher does laugh because Keller's playing with him, but this time it's fun. God, sometimes Keller can be so crude.
"Sorry, Sister," he says and hurries after her, though he does not really mean it.
He's not sorry he came. Not sorry for what she saw. Not sorry that he won't focus on his work this afternoon because he'll be thinking about fucking Keller. Not sorry that he will be fucking him later tonight. Not sorry that he loves him. Not sorry. Not one bit.