Five Stages

by Anne

Summary: What goes through Toby's mind when he's arrested for a parole violation. I thought that Toby's reaction to Chris' betrayal would be similar to going through the five stages of grief, thus the title. This is an angry and sad fic. Sorry, but I just had to get it out of my system.

Notes: Much and many thanks to Mav, my ever trusty, ever thorough beta.

Disclaimers: They don't belong to me. I just play.

Rating: R for language

Completed Feb. 16, 2003.

I'm fucked. I am so fucked. Please let this be a nightmare so I can wake up. I feel the cold steel clamp around my wrists and then they read me my rights. I'm awake, aren't I? And now they're going to send me back; back to that hellhole I just escaped.

This is not happening. It can't be. I just took Holly and Harry to the park today; felt the sun shining on my back. Smelled the fresh air. I can't go back. Can't. Can't. Can't. Can't. I'm supposed to be free. I waited so fucking long to be free. I fought to stay alive so I could get out and be with my kids; live a normal life.

How the hell did this happen? It makes no sense. "Just do me this favor," Chris said. "It's for Bonnie. Please," he said. Why the fuck did I listen to him? I am so fucked. Why do I always leap before I look? I should have said no. No, Chris. I can't do this. It's too risky. I could fuck up my life again. I've been so careful. Even stayed away from the booze and don't think that was fucking easy. It was everywhere. Every bar I passed was like a black hole trying to suck me in. But I resisted.

Why couldn't I do the same when Chris asked me to break my parole? Why couldn't I just say no? Oh wait, I did say that. And somehow he talked me into it. I've never been able to say no to him. Unless you count that time after he broke my arms. Even then, I couldn't hold out under the damn onslaught of Chris' relentlessness.

When he wants something, he's like a dog with a bone. There is no deterring him. No stopping him. No changing his mind. And I'm his pawn; his game piece. He tells me where to move and I go. It's all his fault that I'm here. If I hadn't listened to him, I wouldn't be going back to Oz. I hear the car radio in the background. I see the traffic lights going by and I know this is the last time I'm going to see the sunshine for a long time.

"Could you roll down the window?" I ask the cop.

"Shut yer trap," he yells back at me.


He nods at his partner, who presses the electronic button that brings the window down. I stick my head out the window a little and take a deep breath. The sun is almost down, but I see it in the distance. It's glowing orange and I just want to stay here and look at it until it disappears. I want to go home and see my kids one more time before I get locked behind those walls again. I take a deep breath and close my eyes, wondering again how I could have let this happen. I was being so fucking careful.

Why does Chris have to be so goddamn charming and persuasive? He knew I wouldn't want to do this. He argued with me, for chrissakes. You'd think he wouldn't want to put me at risk like that. He must have known there was a chance that I'd get caught. Jesus fucking Christ.

Oh God. What if...what if Chris knew I was going to get caught? What if he...what if he...No. No, I can't go there. It couldn't be. He wouldn't. Would he? But no one else knew! He gave me the address. No one else knew I was going to be there. Only Chris did. Fuck. Oh, fuck, I think I'm going to be sick. Please, somebody tell me this isn't happening. Chris did not just set me up and fuck me over. Please. Christ, please. I feel like I've been gut-punched and it's suddenly getting hard to breathe.

Why? Why would he do something like that? He said he was happy that I was out of Oz; that I was building a life with my kids. Why would he destroy that for me? Why would he kill my happiness? My chance to raise my kids? He couldn't have done this. Please. Please tell me he couldn't have done this.

Then I remember the look on his face when he asked me about Marion. He was jealous. I knew he was, but he wouldn't go this far. He couldn't. All those times he saved me from the shit inside Oz; Vern. Why would he bring me back to the very place where I'd almost been killed? It makes no sense.

I look up when we stop at the police station. They drag me out of the car and lead me through booking. I try to remember the last time I was here, but it was all a blur. I wasn't exactly clear-headed at the time. This time it's going to be etched into my brain like a permanent carving. Fuck.

They start explaining what's going to happen to me like I don't know already. I was in Oz for six fucking years! I want to scream it at them. I want to throw something. I want this wild beating of my heart to slow down. This cannot be happening to me. It just can't. I want to pinch myself so I can wake up. I try it. It doesn't work.

They don't bother questioning me. They have all the proof they need. A cop who saw me; the drugs I bought for Bonnie. I don't even bother to tell them about that. About Bonnie. Or about Chris and what that backstabbing motherfucker did. I wonder what happened to the idiot dealer who got arrested with me. Actually, I don't fucking care. I hope he rots. He just better hope they don't send him to Oz because he doesn't want to be running into me.

They let me call my mother. I'm so ashamed that I'm cringing as I speak to her. I want to crawl into a hole and disappear. I wish I'd never been born. Not once, but twice now she has had to deal with this; with her criminal son going into the slammer. I hear her voice crack when she speaks and my heart just breaks. She tells me she'll call the firm and have them send over someone tomorrow. I look out the window and see that it's full dark now and the clock on the wall reads 5:45 pm.

Finally, they leave me in a holding cell, which gives me even more time to let my damn mind go into overdrive. I keep seeing Chris' face after I told him about Marion. Why the fuck did he ask me about her? Why the fuck did I answer? There's no way...NO way...I would have thought him capable of doing this. Not after everything we've been through since Ronnie. Not after everything we've shared since he got back from Cedar Junction. Did I miss something? Did I have blinders on?

Then something he said to me the last time I saw him filters through my brain. "It's for the best, Toby." Yeah, that's what he said. For the best? Was that supposed to be some kind of warning that I completely missed? I don't even think it really registered right away. I was just trying to get the fuck out of there as fast as possible. I was so sickened that he would manipulate me; that he would use our love to force me to break my parole.

The way he said those words to manipulate made me want to throw up. After everything I'd done for him and everything we'd been through, how could he use my love for him that way? He knew how much my family meant to me; how much Holly and Harry needed me. Especially with my Dad gone. He knew it! And still, he ratted me out. He had to have. There's no one else. No one. We were really quiet in the visitor's room. I don't think anyone could have overheard me. Even if they had, they didn't have the address. Only Chris had that. Chris. Chris. Oh God.

My stomach drops to my shoes and I'm dizzy suddenly. I lie back on the bunk and close my eyes. Now what? Now what? I know I'm going back to Oz. I know I am. And if that doesn't strike terror in my heart, then nothing will. But what do I do when I get there? God, I can't think about this right now. I'll go crazy. I need to sleep. I need to.

I hope all this is a dream. Please, let it be a dream. Please let me wake up in my own bad. I promise never to listen to Chris again. Hell, I promise never to visit him again if it means I can avoid this nightmare. Please. Anything. I'll do anything to wake up from this and be home again.

I wake up just after the sun rises and lie there waiting for them to come and get me. My suit is wrinkled and my teeth feel gross. Two hours pass before anyone walks by. I relive last night over and over again in my mind. I curse myself. I curse Chris. I curse Oz. Then the guard comes to tell me that my lawyer is here.

It's Paul Giovanni, the top defense attorney in the firm. He brings me a fresh suit and a toothbrush. Thank God. He waits patiently while I change and brush my teeth. Then he asks me to tell him what happened. I do. But I leave Chris out of it. I'll deal with Chris on my own. I just haven't figured out how yet.

Paul asks me a few questions and tells me it's all pretty much hopeless. I'm going back to Oz. I knew it. I really did. But thinking it in my head and hearing it out loud are two different things. Everything starts to shrink in on me then and I feel like I'm going to pass out.

"Jesus Christ, I'm going back to Oz." I say it out loud to make myself believe it. I'm not going to see my children grow up. I may not see Harry again until he`s an adult. Gen's parents will probably get custody of him and take him away from me, from my mother, from Holly. Oh God. Oh God. There's nothing left; nothing to hope for. At least before, I had parole to look forward. Now, there's not even that. Instead, I'm facing nine more years inside that damn hell hole.

I fucked up my life. I have completely fucked up my life. Again. And this time, there's no one to comfort me, which makes me wonder how real it ever was between Chris and I. If he loved me as much as claimed to, how could he do this to me? How could he convince me to do it to myself?

Paul leaves and meets me at the court house and sits by me during the hearing, which is all very civilized and all very moot. Then I heard it out loud for the third time that day -- I'm going back to Oz. Why won't it sink in? I feel like I'm going back and forth on the reality of it. It's real and then it's not real. And then it hits me in the stomach again. It's like those five stages of grief. You can get to acceptance, but then you slip right back to denial in a matter of seconds.

For the life of me, I still can't figure out why I let Chris talk me into buying those drugs. Should I have tried harder to resist him? Why couldn't I? It's not like I've never said no to him before. All those months my legs were still healing, I kept him at arm's length. And when he tried to talk me into killing Schillinger after Hank's body was found, I told him no. I couldn't do it. So why didn't I say no this time?

"It's for the best, Toby," I hear him saying inside my head. I didn't really think about the words at the time, but they came back to me later when I was trying to find the courage to pick up the phone to set up the meeting. I thought he meant me being under his control again and it pissed me off. I almost changed my mind about making the call.

Then I remembered the sorrowful, pleading look on his face the last time I saw him. I knew how lonely he was in Oz and I felt this horrible guilt that he was still inside while I was out walking around in the sunshine. Not that there was any way I believed he should be outside, but I felt guilty anyway.

How could he think it would be for the best me to be back in Oz? Even discounting my desire to be free and to raise my children, how could he think I would forgive him for doing this? Because there's no way I can. No matter what he's done for me in the past. Despite what he tries to do to win me back, I will never be able to forgive him for this.

I should have known my parole was too fucking good to last. Should have known I'd never get away from Oz and everything it's meant in my life. I never should have gone back to Oz, but I did it for Chris and this is how he fucking repays me. I am never going to get away from the shadow of Kathy Rockwell. She is going to haunt me forever.

They escort me out of the courtroom after the judge orders me to serve my full sentence. It doesn't even register. I'm past disbelief; past anger; past anything that requires feeling. I'm just numb. A few hours pass and they load me on the bus back to Oz and I wonder how am I going to face Chris again?

How am I going to deal with his betrayal? How I am going to convince him that we will never again be anything more than bitter enemies? How am I going to stop myself from seeking revenge? Because I want to. I want revenge so badly that I can taste it. I want to hurt him the way he's hurt me. I want to take away his life the way he's taken away mine. I want him to suffer the way I am suffering right now; the way my children and my mother are suffering.

And how, God help me, am I going to resist him when he tries to win me over again? Because he will try. If there's one thing I know about Christopher Keller, it's that.

I arrive at Oz with a dozen or so other inmates and we're ushered in and I see Sr. Pete and Tim McManus standing there watching me. I feel a sense of shame so deep that I feel like it will suffocate me. They look at me like parents about to scold an errant child. "Same old story," I say, unable to look either of them directly in the eye. "I got fucked in the ass." The words sound choked and I feel like I'm going to start sobbing right there in front of them. Somehow, I control myself.

After processing, a guard escorts me to Sr. Pete's office. McManus is there. There is disappointment all over his face, as if he's responsible for my failure. They want to know what happened. I tell them everything. I don't feel any loyalty to hide Chris' part in this. Sr. Pete shakes her head as I speak and Tim McManus just closes his eyes.

McManus points out that I didn't have to do it, like this is all somehow my fault. Fuck you, I think. Why don't you get Chris in here and scold him, too?

"What are you going to do, Tobias?" Sr. Pete asks me.

"Do? Are there choices?"

"About Chris," she clarifies.

"Fuck if I know. Stay away from him, for one. Never speak to him again, for another."

"Are you gonna try to kill him?" McManus asks bluntly.

"No," I say, even though I have thought about it.

They let me go. Everyone I run into asks me why I'm back. I fucking hate this. It's embarrassing. So I tell them the truth. I tell everyone who will fucking listen that Chris betrayed me. That he's the reason I'm back here. Maybe he'll get the message to leave me alone; that I despise what he's done.

I'm in the gym the next day and I hear his voice calling my name and I feel my heart skip a beat. I almost crumble right then and there. It takes every ounce of strength I have to speak to him without letting him hear the pain inside me. I don't want him to know how weak he makes me; how much this hurts me. I can't look at him. I can't. If I do, I know I'll lose it. I think of the most hurtful thing I can to say to him and I pray that he gets it. That he'll just fucking leave me alone. And then he's gone. I breathe a sigh of relief and get on with the next nine years of my life.


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