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Beta'd by Erin.

Human Touch - part 9/10: "given the right amount of time and practice."

by Ralu

"Why didn't you tell me?"

Schillinger looks at him, a bit confused. What the fuck's he talking about? And where does he get off...

"Why didn't you tell me you got paroled?"-- a long beat, words melting on the tip of his tongue: "You're getting outta here."

Chris' eyes are dim, heavy lidded; he's trying to keep his balance by clutching on to the edge of the upper bunk. His whole body seems connected to some electrical source, limbs shaking uncontrollably from time to time.

"What the fuck's wrong with you?" Schillinger asks, crossing his arms over his chest. His eyes narrow and bleach, as years of experience in dealing with seemingly mindless ramblings kick in; Keller's stoned. Or drunk. *Intoxicated*.

A weird, never heard before sound forms in the back of the younger man's throat: a small, aborted sob rapidly turning into a psychotic chuckle...turned into laughter. He's laughing...*at* him. (--'High as a kite.'--)

"I'm celebrating," Keller manages to respond through a shattering burst of laughter.

"Fucking bitch, what are you on?" He wants to move in on him, punch him or something; but before he gets the chance, Keller lets go of the bunk's edge long enough to collapse onto the floor.

"Wow...oops! Shiiit..."-- chuckling softly, hands grabbing the sheets of his own bunk: "Why, Vern?..." He's burying his face into the edge of the bed, coughing. "Why didn't you fucking tell me?"

Schillinger grabs him by the back of his neck and starts shaking him, knee roughly planted between his shoulder blades while Chris holds on to the sheets like an animal.

"What the fuck are you on, huh?"-- sliding his hands under the other man's arm pits and lifting him, fully aware that Keller's incapable of getting up off the floor by himself: "Get up, somebody might see you. Get the fuck up."

Two and a half years, two and a half fucking years since Keller moved in with him - and he's never had any problems with the C.O.'s; both of them, fucking model inmates. *Clean* - in every sense of the word. And now *this*; NOW - of all times.

"Fucking moron," Vern whispers as he throws his cellmate on the lower bunk.

Keller's half-asleep; or on his way to a fucking overdose, who knows? Who the fuck cares? Schillinger's only interested in keeping him quiet, so he won't call any unwanted attention on himself - and by extension, on Vern. He'll deal with it later. (Who the fuck cares?)

Strangely enough though, Vern unfolds a blanket and places it on the slightly shivering body, sweating on the mattress. (--'Needy little fuck.'--) He can't help but feel a bit amazed by his own actions, as he leans over and tucks the other man in. It's mid-November, and it's kind of cold. Yeah, that's what it is.


A bit later, Keller awakes with a major headache and an impending need to puke, and slowly walks out of his cell for the evening count before lockdown. As the guard passes him by, Chris looks at Schillinger - standing next to him - through lowered eyelids. He's pissed. Well, that's okay, Keller's pissed too. Still, as he's already learned, having a pissed off Schillinger is...not okay at all. (Whatever.) He's too tired, too wired up to even *think* about it.

Vern stays quiet for the entire evening, not uttering a word to Chris. Ignoring him completely.

As soon as the lights go out, Chris hears the upper bunk make that way-too-familiar squeak... (--'Shit, shit, shit...'--) ...and Vern lands on his feet in front of him.

Before even thinking of saying anything to the other man, Schillinger's hands clutch onto his shoulders and - within a second - Chris is thrown on the floor, heavy boot landing on his stomach.

"Shit, Vern..."-- scrambling for the right words, like he could actually say anything *right*, now; feeling his insides burn and ache like hell (oh, yeah - he's definitely gonna throw up now!...) as Schillinger's practically walking all over him: "Wait..."

The rest of his words fade back in his throat, 'cause Vern - 'the biggest badass in Lardner' - is choking the life out of him, and the only thing Chris can do is to silently...*beg*.

"You think you can ask for anything from me?" Schillinger says slowly as his hands slide up from around Keller's neck and tighten like a vice on his face, forcing the other man to look into his eyes: "You think you can fuck with me, Chris? Is that what you think, bitch?"

He can see fear, anger and pain in the younger man's eyes - fine, it's still there. After more than two years of forced intimacy, Keller's still afraid of him. Just as afraid as during those first couple of weeks when Chris would try his best not to cry himself asleep every goddamn night.

"What the fuck do you think this is, huh? What do you think *I* am?" (--'What do you think *you* are?'--)

He lets go of the limp body long enough for Keller to crawl towards the toilet and puke his guts out: the dinner he *didn't* eat, the shit he'd snorted earlier, after...(--his world had come crumbling down); and...(--'oh, yeah, there it is'--) - Schillinger's Pure-White cum... (--'Nice.'--)

Vern just stands beside him, staring. Intent pouring through every sweat soaked pore.

Even after all this time, the need is just as strong; the craving still rampages through his body like fire. It just needs a little...*push*, from time to time. Schillinger senses in the other man's shivering body, in the way he tries to NOT look into his eyes - *Keller* feels it too.

Beatings and fucking - the best release, the fastest shot of adrenaline; the highest high...for both of them. It stopped being about punishment or discipline a long time ago. It just slowly turned into a seemingly natural biorhythm. Just a way to keep yourself...*sane* in this goddamn slaughterhouse.

He hits Chris with the back of his hand one last time before silently ordering him to bend over. Chris tries to climb into his bunk, but Schillinger's hands grab him again by the back of his neck and push him on the floor.

"On your hands and knees, like the bitch you are."

So Chris does what the other man tells him to, and... (--'Jesus, oh, Jesus!.. It hurts like hell, like it never hurt before, like it...'--) Like being ripped open from the inside out.

Still...abuse turns into acceptance - given the right amount of time and practice. And Chris is moaning and gasping, throat choking with his own blood, tongue swimming in sweet, sickening, cloying muck, while Vern's demonstrating again why he's 'the biggest badass in Lardner'... Just like two dogs fucking.

Vern reaches around from behind and starts stroking Chris' cock hard and fast. Giving the other man one more reason to hate himself. He knows what he's looking for, and he knows he's found it. He always finds it in the younger man. He always gets it. He gets Chris.

Hours later, Keller is lying in his bunk, face buried in the pillow, sobbing quietly. He knows Schillinger's still awake, 'cause there's no snoring coming from above. It will all be over in a couple of days. Everything will stop...his life. Like *this*.

He doesn't know what he's feeling. After all - given the right amount of time and practice - one can get used to *anything*, right?

The problem is...how do you get UN-used to it, once it's gone? How do you learn to let go? How do you learn to forget it?

Schillinger's voice breaks the silence one more time - the last time:

"Don't take any shit from anybody, Chris. Don't take any shit."-- a long beat: "You're gonna do just fine. You're a strong kid."

And with that - Vern's gone. Out of Lardner the next day; out of Chris' life. (For now, anyway.)

---end of part 9/10---

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