Huge thanks to Rifka for help and beta...
I wake up with a start and it's still dark; the cold dirty grim deceptive darkness of Em'city that makes this New Year dawn look like any other fucking hellish day in Oz.
But it's not. Today's a different day, different year, different everything because I got Toby back again and this -this makes the whole fucking world entirely different and so much better.
After sex Toby fell asleep in my bunk so I climbed up into his and I spent a long time replaying it in my mind; all those little moments, the way he gave in to my touch, so confident, so truthful, so hungry. So fucking hot.
Last year I would've felt fucking proud of myself but now... Things took such a different turn, such a better one. And he forgave me, Jesus Christ he did. I'm not sure why but hey... I'll take whatever you wanna give me baby.
I stretch my arms and touch the bruises; push the sheet away to see the marks his fingers left on my thighs, on my hips and isn't this just bliss? It is.
But that was five hours ago, and now I need to touch him again, hear him say the words he said last night, say them out loud again with that serious look of his and maybe just a little bit of a smile.
I hop down, walk to the glass door and take a look around at the empty common area, the dark pods all around, see a silhouette or two standing there, behind the thick glass walls.
The guys from SWAT are long gone, leaving a quiet Em City behind but there's some sort of meeting going on up there, McManus is standing at the top of the stairs with Murphy, talking to the hacks, probably briefing them about the fucking lockdown and how long we're gonna stay caged here.
Although caged with this new Beecher for the rest of my life... I've been through much worse.
I step back and sit on the lower bunk, look at Toby. Christ he looks like a boy like this; relaxed, eyes closed, tousled hair, dreamy smile... Where's Crazy Beecher gone? Where's the tough killer gone, the man who stabbed me in the back, nearly killed me? I don't know but as smart and fierce as he was I like this one much better; he looks so fucking good I just can't help, I run my fingers through his hair, along his upturned nose and kiss his temple where the skin feels soft and warm.
He smiles and mumbles something in his sleep.
Are you dreaming of me, baby?
"Chris," he whispers in a sigh and turns on his side as I watch him, my heart frozen with something that's pain and heaven mixed in a single breathtaking feeling.
Guess I've got my answer.
"Wake up, Toby," I say, brushing my fingers along his shoulder then kissing it; but he doesn't open his eyes, frowns as if he was concentrating on just sleeping.
"Hey!" I say and lean forward to kiss his mouth, his nose, his eyelashes, wanting my kiss to be as light as a butterfly wing but Toby smells so good I can't help myself, lean closer, bury my face in the crook of his neck to smell him, feel his warmth.
"Hey Toby, time to wake up."
He keeps his eyes closed, but two strong arms come around my shoulders, pulling me close, pulling me into a kiss that tastes of a short night.
And when he finally looks at me, I forget how much I've been dreading this moment, how fucking scared I've been that maybe I would read hate, sarcasm, disgust; I've been bracing myself, ready to have my hopes slammed down again... but there's nothing else in Toby's eyes, than... love?
"Hey. Did I sleep in your bed," he says, still groggy with sleep and memories of liking what we did there a lot.
"Yeah. I slept in yours." Close to telling him I used to do that when he was in the hospital; wrapped myself in his sheets and slept there even after his scent was gone, but it doesn't seem to be the smartest thing to say right now.
He raises a hand and cups the nape of my neck.
"Amazing night," Toby says.
"Yeah. The best one I ever had."
There it is, he's raising a sceptical eyebrow at me.
"Believe me, Toby; it's the only one I wanna remember from now on," I say.
And then I have to ask, because I gotta be sure ...
"What are you thinking right now?"
"Do I have to be thinking of something?" "Yeah well, you're usually the one who does the thinking."
He doesn't answer. The back of his fingers brush against my jaw with a scratchy little noise and I turn my head to kiss them, feel his hand open under my mouth and run my lips over the warm dry palm, the inner side of Toby's wrist, rub my cheek against his arm, rest my face against his shoulder; feel his fingers in my hair.
Oh God, if this isn't paradise then I don't know what the fuck it is.
"Christ, I love you, Toby."
"Yeah. I know," he says, stroking my cheek with his thumb, and smiling again. "Maybe I always did, after all; maybe I just didn't know. It's hard to recognize a feeling you never had before." "Maybe."
He sounds a little sceptical, but it'll take a lot more shit to ruin my day.
"Was it good for you, Toby?"
"Wasn't it obvious?" he says, teasing and I can't help smiling like the smug bastard I am. "Yeah, sure it was."
I want to tell him how scared I've been but I can't find the words; and maybe he knows it after all, so I just hide my goofy smile against his neck and sigh.
I don't dare say the word. Happy. Because I'm not sure I know what it means and it sounds like a fragile little word, a scary one to say. What if just saying it shatters the whole thing?
But Toby's not afraid; Toby's braver than I'll ever be.
"I didn't think I'd ever feel this happy again," he says in a dreamy voice, "It was one of the things I thought I'd left behind for fucking ever."
When we kiss this time it's not about forgiveness, acceptance like yesterday and it's not the fiery melting of breath, lips, smothered moans, shared passion that came later either. No; this kiss, this one, the first one of the first day of a love I worked my ass off for, the one we want to keep in our minds until lights out, until we can do it again, better, tastes of true love and some wicked kind of innocence- who would've believed it. It tastes like my very first kiss, the day Mary-Jane Easton put her arms around me and kissed me -I was ten and I had an epiphany. But Toby... Toby tastes better than anyone else; his kiss takes me to a magic place where there's nothing dark, nothing bad, no bars, no prison, no Oz, no hacks and when he releases me, his eyes are full of surprise -and I'm shaking.
Because we've never felt anything this good before.
I want to say something but he presses his fingers against my mouth and smiles, so I smile back and we just stay like this, holding each other until the lights finally come back on.
And fuck it's gonna be a very long day until I can kiss him again.