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Beta'd by Erin.

Human Touch - part 2/10: "unthinkable tenderness"

by Ralu

Chris is idly stroking his stomach with the tip of his fingers, small, light circles around his navel. He turns his palm upside down and drags it on Toby's skin as he senses it shivering.

He doesn't wanna get a rise out of him. It's almost an unconscious motion; he feels the other man needs his touch, so he caresses his skin without asking for anything in return. Like always. (Almost.)

Toby's breath rapidly becomes more and more unbalanced; small, barely noticeable gasps as his hands slowly crumple the sheets beneath him.

"Tell me about your kids," Chris murmurs right before leaning over Toby's stomach and brushing his lips lightly on his flesh.

Small, untouchable moments of strange, unthinkable tenderness - in between fights and mean words; in between fucking and bitching and struggling for power and control. (Or something like that.)

"Stop it, someone's gonna see you," Beecher whispers, pushing him away just a little.

"Fuck'em." Keller leans back against the pod's wall but keeps his hand on the other man's stomach, thumb circling the edge of Toby's navel.

Lack of intent my ass, Beecher thinks, as he senses his whole body automatically rise in warm waves of pleasure and need.

"Chris, you're gonna make me come without even..."-- a small chuckle coming from Keller interrupts him and his eyes quickly scan the outside of their pod for potential unwanted peepers. O'Reily's moping on one of the tables with his brother right by his side; a little to the left, Busmalis, Hill and - probably Rebadow, he can only see his hands - are playing cards. No C.O.'s in sight.

"What's wrong with that?" Chris asks, leaning his chin on Toby's shoulder; hot, moist breath making the other man instinctively brush his cheek onto his face.

Well, nothing's wrong with that... (Presumably.)


"Hey, Chrissie! How's the *marriage* working out?"

He doesn't yell, he doesn't even raise his voice. He doesn't have to.

Keller knows he should ignore him - at least for his own fucking dignity (or what's left of it, if there was any in the first place) - but he turns to face the older man anyway.

Beecher's already at his table, pretending to talk to Rebadow. But he's heard the remark and it feels to Chris like his relaxed figure is almost a silent invitation for him to fuck up. (--'Go ahead, screw yourself over.'--)

And - of-fucking-course - he does.

"A fuck of a lot better than *yours* did."

Loud enough for Beecher to hear him, along with half of the fucking cafeteria. (--'Nice, very fucking nice!...'--) Toby's gonna be on his ass for the rest of the day for this.

Vern tilts his head and looks for a moment like he's gonna start laughing. Instead, he just leers at Keller, quickly checking out Beecher's face for a sign...any sign. (--'Yep, there it is. It's so easy.'--)

"Yeah, well...just wait a couple of more days and you'll change your mind, cupcake. Nobody can keep *To-by* under control, and someone has to be the MAN in the relationship, right?" (--'I mean, *I* should know that...'--)

Keller's jaw clenches, even though he tries as hard as he can to keep his cool. And...Schillinger notices that, since he knows Chris sooo well.

"That is unless..."-- a *very* meaningful beat: "Someone already IS the man of the house..." Vern finally lets out a small, dismissive chuckle, shifting his gaze onto Beecher.

Keller follows his eyes onto the man in question, and he thinks - just for a second (and...ain't that enough?) - he sees in Beecher's eyes something resembling...Schillinger's own personal - more entitled - opinion.

A couple of moments later, sitting near Beecher at the table, he hears the other man asking him - casually - what he already knew Toby would ask, eventually:

"So, what did you two talk about?"

His face reveals nothing, but the tone of his voice annoys the hell out of Chris.

"I think you've already heard it."

Beecher bites absent-mindedly on an apple, placing his elbows on the table and arching his back:

"Yeah, just like the rest of these fucks. Tell me, Chris, you really enjoy this?" -- he stares beyond Rebadow's figure, ignoring Keller's gaze: "Acting like such a complete moron? Or you just can't help yourself?"

Hill, who's sitting right across from Keller, looks up at the two of them and ponders for a second whether to change tables. Probably the rest of the inmates at the table are thinking the same thing. But nobody's moving.

Okay, what are you gonna do, Chris? -- Beecher thinks. Blow up like you sometimes do - just to prove me right? Or give me that ugly fucking stare of yours, keep your mouth shut and swallow your food - along with your oh-so-obvious anger - and blow up a little later, when there's gonna be less of an audience, like you do most of the time?

Keller knows this is some kind of a test, just to push his buttons; it's okay, he probably deserves it, but...(--everybody's fucking watching.) And - of course - that's the whole point of Beecher's little tease.

Without even thinking, he breathes out:

"No, I only behave like a moron when I'm around you."

After a brief moment of confusion, Beecher spreads his hands across the table and leans forward, giving away a little, highly amused chuckle. (--'Well, if that's not *appeasing* at the highest level, I don't know what it is.'--)

It takes just one sidelong glance for Keller to know he's off the hook. For now, anyway. (--'Happy now, Tobe? Big bad Keller going all weak-ass bitch just for that twisted brain of yours.'--)

And...(--'Jesus, doesn't this feel familiar, Chris?...'--)

Remembering - and barely holding back a half bitter/half disturbing smirk - Vern, Vernon -- the Mighty Self-Proclaimed Aryan Lord Vernon K. SchillinGEr, Protector of the White Race - delivering his own highly UNamused and disproportionately sonorous chuckle at Chris' lame attempt to make the other man *overlook* one of his major slip-ups: chatting and exchanging magazines with one of the homeboys. Who, in fact, couldn't exactly qualify as a 'homeboy' but...whatever. The guy was a nigger - that's all that mattered to Vern.

The truth was that Chris had been getting along with the *nigger* quite well, despite being Schillinger's private pet; both of them seemed to not-quite-fit in their own skin-color automatically-determined-skin-color packs. Keller being...Keller, and the other guy being way too smart (in the wrong way) for his own peers. Chris had been trying his best to not let Vern figure out his *degenerate* relationship with the black guy, but...fucking Christ! Spinning in Vern's own circle of one ('cause none of the other Aryans even bother to look at him) was depressing, not to mention...counter-productive. Dangerous.

Schillinger was up for parole in about five months, he would have been completely on his own; the rest of the pack didn't want him, and he knew - he just KNEW - Schillinger wasn't gonna put a good word for him with his Nazi-saluting buddies. I mean, let's face it: Chris was no Brotherhood material; too much of a...(slut) for that.

So: scoping around, looking for any potentially barely-opened doors, something resembling anything close to a useful connection was nothing to be discarded by the 19-year-old. Of course he was blatantly aware he'd most likely just be changing *Daddies*, he had to. He was too fucking young to be 'his own man' - as Vern used to put it whenever giving him one of his patented lessons on manhood and survival of the fittest and whatever crap he'd pull out of one of those books (very few, truth be told - Vern was not much of a book-lover) he kept in his locker.

They looked like 'how to improve yourself' reading material to Chris - something which made him giggle form time to time at the very thought of Vern reading shit only 'women and easily impressionable yuppie bitches' - as Daddy used to put it - would go through.

And the fact that Schillinger actually seemed to believe what was written in them made the whole situation even more hilarious: Vern was NOT the straight man - in every sense of the word - those books kept teaching him to be. Self-improvement - Nazi style - was BULLSHIT; Vern was never gonna completely reform, become the man those books proclaimed he should be, he just simply couldn't. (After all, he was fucking a GUY up the ass...)

Repeating by heart all the things he could never be to Chris' oh-so-bored-and-SO-not-interested ears made the lie, the hypocrisy the more obvious. One small inner victory for the *little bitch*...

Well, trying to slyly weasel his way out of not getting his ass kicked by the Nazi Professor hadn't worked out: two broken fingers and a couple of well-placed fists in the stomach had abruptly interrupted Chris' attempt at moving outside his white (prag) 'level'. For the moment, anyway.

But...in the here and now...who gives a shit, anyway? Old fucking history, right?

He knows he'll have Beecher (*Toby*) in his arms after lockdown - and that's what matters. That feeling of POSSESSING and BEING possessed, holding and being held. Wanting and being wanted.

Touch running through his body like a vital stream. (Toby's touch.)

Just for him.

---end of part 2/10---
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