One For My Baby

by Anne

Notes: This story was written for the Oz Lyric Wheel. It is set nine years after the end of season six. Song Title and Artist: "One for My Baby" Words by Johnny Mercer
Music by Harold Arlen
Lyrics provided by: Rebecca

He waved the bartender over. "Another," he ordered, pointing at his glass.

"Pal, haven't you had enough already?"

"One for me and one for my baby," Toby mumbled.

"Whaddya say?"

"I said, `One for me and one for my baby!' " Toby yelled over the music. Twelve years of sobriety gone in a few gulps. But that was hours ago now. Who the fuck cared? No one. No one cared if he drank his whole life away. His father had been dead for years. His mother was dead, too. His children treated him like a stranger because he was a stranger to them. His brother was married and had two young children whom Toby had never met. No one wanted him around. He might as well have stayed in Oz.

After Chris had set him up to break his parole and he'd been sent back to Oz for another nine years, his kids has stopped coming to visit. Gen's parents took them to San Diego and he didn't see them again until his finale parole - two weeks ago. They refused to live with him. Holly was already in college and she was at least civil to him, but Harry wouldn't even speak to him. Toby had practically gotten on his knees and begged to be involved in their lives, but Harry only looked at him coldly and said, "You're not my father. You've * never * been my father."

The bartender came back with a martini and held it just out of reach. "You don't get this until I get your keys."

"Fine." Toby reached into his pocket and handed them over. What did it matter? He didn't want to kill anyone other than himself.

"Your wife walk out on you or something?"

Toby laughed long and hard at that. "No. I just got out of prison two weeks ago."

"Then who's this baby you're chattering about?"

"Chris." He said it wistfully. Even after everything Chris had done, he still couldn't bring himself to completely hate the man.

"She leave you?"

"He. And you could say, in a manner of speaking, that he did. Nine years ago when he committed suicide and left me to rot in prison by myself."

"Oh, but it was okay for you to leave me to rot by myself," Chris said.

Toby glanced to his left and saw Chris sitting on the barstool next to him.

"Fuck you, Chris."

"Is this how you're going to spend your days? Getting drunk and whining about me?"

"Oh, that's rich. You telling me how to live my life. You're the one who ruined my life, you fucking prick." Toby's voice was barely above a whisper but it was hard and full of anger.

"Who you talking to, pal? I'm over here."

Toby ignored the bartender and continued to stare at Chris, who looked exactly the same as he had the day he died. Tall and muscular, with a little bit of stubble on his face. And breathtakingly beautiful. All cool disdain, as if nothing could ruffle him.

"So, that's it? You're going to let me win?"

Toby snorted. "You already did. The day you set me up to break my parole." The bartender shook his head and walked away.

"Come on, Toby. You did that to yourself."

"I did it for you! Because you asked me to! Knowing all the time you were going to rat me out. How could you do it, Chris? How could you do that and still claim to love me?"

"You already know the answer to that."

"Yeah, I know. You didn't want to be alone in Oz without me. Then you jumped off the balcony and left me alone. Very fucking nice, Chris."

"You left first."

"I had a family! Kids who needed me. What was I supposed to do? Give them up for you?"

"You were everything to me, Toby."

"I know that, Chris. And I'm sorry that you couldn't be everything to me. My kids had to come first. You * know * that. I'd think you would have understood that, considering you had a less than stellar childhood. I thought you wanted that for my kids."

Chris looked anguished. Good. He should, Toby thought. "I did, Toby. I did. In the abstract. But the thought of not having you near me every day; of you focusing all your attention and love on someone other than me, well it made me crazy. It was selfish, I know, but it was how I felt." "Yeah, well, lucky me," he said and took another drink. "So you got your wish. You dragged me back into Oz and then * you * left me."

"It wasn't part of the plan, Tobe. I just couldn't stand the way you were looking at me. There was so much contempt and pity on your face. You know I always hated pity."

"Yeah, well, it's how I felt. I was never good at hiding how I feel."

"I was good at it, Toby. Until I met you. And I then I wasn't anymore. And that day, when you compared me to drugs and alcohol and poison, it just ripped me up. You may as have pushed me over that balcony yourself."

"Oh, now it's my fault?!"

"Hey, Pal, you want me to call you a cab?"

Toby turned to look at him. "Just mind your own fucking business, okay? And pour me another."

The bartender did. Toby picked it up and weaved over to a booth in the back.

"Toby, ya gotta stop doing this to yourself."

"Christ! You're still here?"

Chris slid into the booth across from him. "I ain't leaving until we talk. Until you decide to stop fucking up your life."

Toby laughed harshly. "What the fuck do you know about my life? You've been dead for nine years. Go rest in peace or something. Leave me alone."

"You don't really want me to do that."

"I don't? Are you a mind reader now, too?"

"Toby, look, you've got some demons. I know that. We all do. But you got a life now. You can't fuck it up all over again with alcohol. You did that already. Didn't you learn anything?"

"Apparently not. Other than, don't fall in love in prison. I learned that lesson quite painfully, thanks. Besides, you don't know anything about my life. It happens to suck right now and I don't particularly want to be sober enough to enjoy the misery."

"Toby, your life doesn't suck. You're out of prison now. You have two great kids. You have a loyal brother. You're back in your dad's old law office..."

"You don't know anything! My kids hate me. My brother doesn't have time for me and my position at the firm is just as a glorified law clerk."

"That's just the way you see it now. You're comparing this life to the one you had before you went to prison. You can't do that."

"Oh, but I can. And I do."

"No one who spends 15 years in prison is going to come out and just jump into a perfect life. You have to work at it. You want have a relationship with your kids? Work harder. You want to spend time with your brother? Keep asking. You want to get a better job? Work for it. Nothing is going to be handed to you. You have to think positive. What was it, uh, Hamlet said? There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so."

Toby laughed. "They're teaching Shakespeare in heaven now? Or wherever the hell it is you are."

"No, Toby. This entire conversation is taking place inside your head. You supplied the quote. Maybe you're trying to tell yourself something."

"Inside my head? I think the bartender would disagree," Toby said, indicating the man who was watching Toby warily and shaking his head. "Besides, why would I conjure you up? I want you out of my head; out of my memories."

"No, you don't or I wouldn't be here. Didn't you just ask the bartender to serve me a drink a couple of minutes ago? One for me and one for my baby, you said."

"That's a Frank Sinatra song. It's my head. Doesn't mean anything."

"Sure. Sure. Go ahead. Deny it. But you are thinking about me and you do want me here."

"Fuck you. Leave me alone."

"I can't. You won't let me."

"This is getting old. Why would I want you here?"

"I don't have a clue. Why don't you tell me?"

"I don't know either!"

"Then why don't you tell me why you're here in this bar drinking?"

"I already told you. My life sucks."

"I think there's more. Why are you thinking about me? Why are you buying drinks for me?"

"What do you want from me?"

"The truth, Toby, for once. A little enlightenment, maybe."

"Sorry, I'm fresh out."

"Why can't you stop thinking about me?"

Toby clapped his hands over his ears. "Lalalalalala. I'm not listening."

Chris waited, his arms folded across his torso. "I ain't going anywhere."

Toby dropped his arms. "Jesus Christ, I came to forget my demons, not drag them with me."

"I think there's something you need to admit that you don't want to."

"What are you talking about?"

"You know."

"No, I don't. I don't have a clue. I just want to sit here and drink and forget."

"Forget what?"

"That my kids hate me. That my job sucks. That I have a shitty life."

"What else?"

"Jesus, you're relentless."

"No, Toby, you are. You're doing this to yourself. You always do this to yourself. You carry guilt around like luggage."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It's what you do. You act without thinking and then you feel guilty. And you think that erases everything. It doesn't. Tomorrow, you're going to feel guilty about drinking. You're going to make yourself sick with it and then you're going to go out and drink to forget your guilt."

"That is not fair," Toby said, scowling.

"It's true, though."

"And why I am feeling guilty now, oh wise one? What drove me to drink today?" he asked sarcastically.

"You tell me."

"I can't!" Toby said, sounding anguished.

"You can and you will. Otherwise, you'll be back here tomorrow and the next day and the next day until the alcohol and guilt eat you up," Chris said and paused. "How did you feel the last time we spoke? Before I went over the railing?"

Toby paused for a moment, uncertain of whether or not to answer. "I was angry. I hated you and I felt sorry for you. I wanted you out of my life. Happy now?"

"And after I died?"

"Guilty and sad and hopeless."


"Because it was my fault you went over."

"No, it wasn't. It was mine. I made the choice," Chris insisted. "And a few days later? How did you feel then?"

"I, uh, I missed you. I wanted you to come back. I wanted to ask you to forgive me."


"And I wanted to tell you that I..." Toby hesitated.

"That you what?"

"That I loved you. That I would have eventually forgiven you."

"And you feel guilty about that, too, don't you?"

Toby hung his head, whispering, "yes."

"Don't you think it's time to go home?"

"I guess it is." Toby stood up and pulled his wallet out of his pants, taking out a few bills and leaving them on the table. He looked up again and Chris was gone.

He walked to the door, ignoring the bartender's attempts to get his attention. He headed out into the night air, looking around to get his bearings. He looked at his watch. It was just after midnight. If I hurry, he thought, I can still catch a meeting at St. Andrew's.

~The end~

One for My Baby

Words by Johnny Mercer
Music by Harold Arlen
Recorded by Frank Sinatra

It's quarter to three, there's no one in the place Except you and me
So set `em' up Joe, I got a little story I think you should know

We're drinking my friend, to the end
Of a brief episode
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

I know the routine, put another nickel
In the machine
I feel kind of bad, can't you make the music Easy and sad

I could tell you a lot, but it's not
In a gentleman's code
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

You'd never know it, but buddy I'm a kind of poet And I've got a lot of things I'd like to say And if I'm gloomy, please listen to me Till it's talked away

Well that's how it goes, and Joe I know your gettin' Anxious to close
Thanks for the cheer
I hope you didn't mind
My bending your ear

But this torch that I found, It's gotta be drowned Or it's gonna explode
Make it one for my baby
And one more for the road

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