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Through the Looking-Glass

by Riley Cannon

A what-if set during S5's, "Good Intentions," that moment when Toby sees Chris in the infirmary...

Through the Looking Glass

Toby pushed his cart along to the infirmary, his purpose fixed firmly in his mind: hand over the delivery to Dr. Nathan and get out. No more, no less - he could do that, right? The transaction was completed, he turned to go ... and his gaze strayed treacherously over to the window to catch a glimpse of agonizing temptation beyond the glass. How could he help but step closer and indulge in a longer look? He had promised Said not to visit Chris; there had been no vow to refrain from tormenting himself.

One hand pressed against the glass, Toby leaned close to memorize every detail. He smiled through the pain as he watched Chris settle back comfortably and try to charm the nurse, nothing on that smooth surface to betray whatever he might be feeling. Toby struggled to conceal his own emotions as they ate away at him, tried to remember the reasons he was supposed to stay away from Chris. It didn't work. It wasn't Adam's battered face that sprang to mind, it was Chris after they made love - vulnerable and open and trusting Toby not to twist that to some advantage. All he could remember were the lost and lonely words Chris had written him, every line of those letters a sweet stab to the heart.

He lowered his head and sighed and knew he needed to go. There would be time enough later, when he was alone in his pod, to indulge in every misery, to ache for Chris and rant against the fucked up whims of fate.

But when he raised his head he knew he had already stayed too long.

Chris was looking at him, the all-consuming intensity of that gaze a strangely familiar comfort. He saw the disbelief in those beautiful blue eyes, followed by a flash of hope that almost broke Toby's heart. In that instant he would have sold the last fragments of his soul to go to Chris, pull him into his arms and wish them both far away from Oz.

Impossible - everything about their love was impossible, and he leaned his head against the glass, eyes closed as that despair swept over him.

He looked at Chris again, blinked to clear his vision, and hurt for Chris fighting so hard not to break down. He swallowed, pulled in some deep breaths, and laid his hand flat against the window. "I love you." He mouthed the words silently and prayed Chris understood.

Chris nodded, his lips moving - saying it back to him, and Toby found a smile amid the pain and gave him that too.

And somewhere, far off, he imagined he could hear his promises to Said shattering like glass.

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