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No Holds Barred

by Riley Cannon

~No Holds Barred~

"Hey, Keller, the honeymoon over already?"

Chris ignored Schillinger. Skin hot and damp, he kept his focus on the weights in his hands, feeling the burn of his muscles and pushing himself further, harder. Like any hobgoblin, though, Vern wasn't chased off that easily.

"That cunt's ass still good and tight? I didn't loosen him up too much for you?"

There was a good reason -- Toby -- he couldn't beat Vern to death on the spot. Fiercely reminding himself of that, Chris laced his voice with insolence and remarked, "Ya got quite a delusion of grandeur goin' on there, Vern." He grunted, working the weights, watching Vern out of the corner of his eye. "Way I remember it, you don't make that big an impression."

"Is that right? Funny the little pussy bitch is nowhere to be seen then, given he can't get enough of you and all." There was an amiable tone in Vern's voice that automatically raised the back hairs on Chris' neck. That was the tone that had fooled him all those years ago, before he'd learned to listen for the menace running underneath it, just like the hiss of a snake before it struck.

"Sister Pete's workin' him overtime," Chris said, knowing it was stupid to respond at all, to take Schillinger's bait. Saying that out loud helped him believe it, though.

"Yeah, bet that's what he told the little woman too, night's he came home late."

God, it would feel so fucking good to smash this weight into Vern's head. "That all you got to do, Vern, stand around and gossip like an old woman?" Finished with his reps, he sat up, reaching for a towel to wipe himself down -- keeping an eye on Vern's boys off in the corner, trying to pool their brain cells. "Don't ya gotta go get your ass kissed by Half-Dick or something?" He almost wished they would try something so he could stop waiting for the other shoe to drop. Almost -- if it wouldn't mean squandering any of the time he had with Toby.

If he had anymore time with Toby... But he stomped that stray thought out right away, just like it was a cockroach crawling out of some dark corner.

It was nuts, letting a load of what-ifs and maybes move in and set up shop just because he hadn't seen Toby since this morning at breakfast. Hadn't so much as caught a glimpse of him across the cafeteria when lunch rolled around. Didn't know where he was or what he was doing, and couldn't quit thinking maybe Toby was off somewhere seeking counsel from Sister Pete and Mukada and Minister High-and-Mighty, and not one of them about to put in a good word for Chris Keller.

Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.

Wondering what had Vern looking like he was sucking lemons, Chris turned just as Toby said, "Hey," to find him on the basketball court, looking in at them.

"Hey," Chris returned, hating the guilty twinge that shot through him. No cause for it, no, but he could imagine how this looked to Toby, walking in here to catch him and Vern having a tte--tte. "How long you been there?"

Fingers curled in the chain links of the divider, Toby shrugged. His gaze, unreadable, drifted from Chris over to Vern and back again. "Long enough."

Long enough to stir old memories back to life? Christ knew enough of those had been skittering around the back of his own head since he'd gotten here. Crazy, because it wasn't like this was the first time either of them had been back here. Besides, this was also where everything changed back for them, him cradling Toby in his arms and feeling his blood seeping out, knowing he would do anything to keep this man safe -- even stand up to Schillinger. Had that day, all the days since Toby forgave him, wiped the slate clean enough? Fragments of battered faith had carried him this far. He had to believe there was enough to keep the momentum going.

"Where you been?" he said, gaze fixed on nothing but Toby, trying to read whatever clues he could find. He could see the other man had come here with intent: Toby had stopped in their pod long enough to change into a blue t-shirt and gray sweats.

"Sister Pete had a shitload of work for me to catch up on. Didn't even break for lunch." Toby had all his attention on Chris, no trace of suspicions and doubts playing hide-and-seek in his gaze. In fact if Chris had to describe the look in Toby's eyes, he'd actually have to say it looked like the other man was glad to see him.

He tried to be cool about that and answered with a nod. "Figured it was something like that," he said, seeing no reason to mention his confidence that way might have been on the shaky side. He reached to cover Toby's hand, feeling the warmth of his flesh through the steel links. Behind them he could hear the Aryans tittering, an "ooooo," that sounded like Vern, and he made to jerk his hand away. Before he could complete the move, Toby curled his fingers around Chris' through the links to keep him there.

There was barely time to register that before Toby dropped the next bomb:

"You want to wrestle?"

Chris could only gawp back at him, completely knocked for a loop. "What?"

Toby repeated it, enunciating slowly and distinctly. "Do you want to wrestle?" A smile teased at his lips and the look in his eyes urged Chris to say yes.

Not sure what was going on, suspecting this was a show for Vern as much as anything, still Chris couldn't deny him. "Sure, sounds good," he said and walked around the divider to join him. "You sure about this?" He watched Toby set out the mats, lent him a hand with that, searching for any signs of reluctance. Voice quiet, for no other ears, he added, "You don't gotta prove nothin' to me, Toby."

His lover looked at him, stubborn and determined. "Maybe I need to prove something to myself."

Chris looked back at him and nodded after a moment. He could understand that. Maybe this was something they both needed, one more bridge to cross. He just had to hope they could make it safely across without its collapsing under the weight of the past.

~*~ What was that saying -- dj vu all over again?

That's what flashed through Toby's head as he walked into the gym to see Chris standing there with Vern. There were some pretty significant changes since that other time, true enough, but for a moment he'd felt that queasy sense of having been here before, the past dizzyingly superimposed over the present. There and gone in a flash, but the intensity was sharp enough to spin ideas through his head.

He had been chafing all day to get way from Sister Pete and see Chris, growing impatient with her finding one more thing after another to do. By the end of the day it had been blatantly clear she was deliberately trying to keep him away from Chris. He'd managed to bite his tongue for once and refrain from any comments about bitter, dried up old bitches eaten alive with jealousy -- but it had been a close thing. A little exercise, maybe shoot some hoops, had struck him as a good way to blow off some steam. The high probability of finding Chris in the gym had sealed the deal.

He just hadn't expected to find Vern waiting there as well.

Easy enough to tell himself that didn't matter and he wouldn't let it get to him, but it wasn't so east to play that all out in actuality. Seizing control of the situation had brought him quite a ways already; it should see him through this too. If he managed to flip off Vern in the process, well, hell -- that was the sweet cherry on top.

As he looked through the divider and into Chris' eyes, though, guilt and dire expectation swimming in that deep, dark blue, pissing Vern off suddenly wasn't that important. Fingers slipping through cold metal links to curl around his lover's, hazy ideas formed into easy words. "You want to wrestle?"

Whatever Chris had expected him to say, that wasn't it. "What?"

He smiled, said it again, waited for him to agree and nod and come around the barrier to join him, help him lay out the mats.

"You sure about this? You don't gotta prove nothin' to me, Toby."

Toby looked at him again, appreciating that reassurance even though he knew it wasn't quite true. If it were, Chris wouldn't be so cautious and wary, waiting for a cue on how to proceed -- just like New Year's Eve. He had been so certain that, once given the green light, Chris would pounce. Actually he'd thought they both might, their desire had been pent up for such a long time. But the moment had been so much more quiet, so much more everything than he had known to expect, and right up to the instant their lips touched he hadn't known for sure how deep his forgiveness really ran.

He needed to keep pushing that envelope. They both did. Although, as they circled each other, looking for an opening, Toby had a strong suspicion Chris would be more than content to let well enough alone. One thing he did know for sure was that Chris was acutely aware of Vern watching their every move. After all, the feel of that icy cold scowl trained on them was making his own back hairs stand up.

Maybe this would get both their minds on something better, Toby thought, an arm shooting out to snag Chris by the back of the neck and drag him down to the mat, pinning him there. Sprawled on top of him, Toby grinned down at him. "Bet you thought I'd forgotten that move."

Chris pushed up against him, as sensuous and erotic as that first time. This go around was better. This time Toby didn't have to pretend he wasn't enjoying every moment. "What else do you remember?"

Toby moved back, off of him, gave him a hand up. "How about you find out?" he said as they circled again, hands grasping each other's arms and shoulders, looking for a good hold. "You're letting me win again," he ground out, veins standing out as he grunted with the effort of throwing 190-pounds of Keller over his shoulder. Hands braced on either side of him, breathing hard, he looked down into his face, hating the hesitation written there. "Chris, I don't break that easily, so will you fucking bring it on?"

Shock flashed in Chris' eyes, like he couldn't believe Toby would throw everything right out there like that. "Toby..."

Popping back to his feet, Toby challenged him further. "Come on, Keller, show me what you've got."

Chris got to his feet, watching him with sharply focused intensity as he tried to figure out what was going on here. No one could blame him for being suspicious under the circumstances, but if that's what spurred him to come at Toby faster, some real enthusiasm firing his movements at last, that could only be scored as a win. He caught Toby around the waist, lips grazing his ear as he growled, "What's this about, Beecher?"

And Toby welcomed that low rumble, craved that warning of passion seasoned with a pinch of danger. He grappled with him and purred back, "It's about this," as he took him down one more time. Hot with the exercise, with being so close to him, he slid along Chris, accidentally on purpose skimming a hand across his groin and loving the twitch of interest there. "This remind you of last night?" he whispered right against his ear as Chris squirmed pleasurably against him, arched up into him. "Last night when we were naked and I sucked you and fucked you and made you come so hard you couldn't breathe?" Last night, when there had been nothing guarded and cautious in how they touched each other's bodies.

"I remember," Chris said, looking up at him with eyes luminous and hot with the memory. He showed him how much, one hand hiking up Toby's t-shirt just by chance, caressing warm, damp skin.

Sucking in a deep breath as those long, strong fingers stroked the small of his back, Toby's smile turned warmer, more intimate. "Good boy," he said, and laughed as Keller lanced him with warning look at that, both hands sliding up to get a firmer hold on him. He put up just enough resistance as Chris wrestled him over onto his back, his lover's breath hot against his neck.

"How far you gonna take this, Toby?" he said, their tangled movements forcing him to rub his face along Toby's throat for a moment -- mouth open against his skin to pull in some air.

"I don't know," he said. "Guess I haven't thought it all the way through." He had to laugh again as Chris reared up to stare down at him, disbelief all over his face. He pulled him down, struggling to get him on his back, to pin him there, both of them breathing hard and sweating from the effort. "Do you believe I forgive you?"

Chris pushed against him, got out from under him -- for a second. "Yes," he panted as Toby got him again.

"Are you sure?" Toby held him there, a drop of his sweat falling to splash against Chris' lips; desire raced through him like wildfire as he watched Chris lick it up.

"Yes," Chris answered him, but something in those deep blue eyes let him know there were still secrets locked away in dark closets.

Maybe there always would be, maybe Toby was just going to have to live with that. "Show me how much," he challenged, staying in the moment.


Toby's smile was gentle now, lopsided. "Any way you want, baby." He moved back, let him up -- grimaced as he spotted Vern watching them like they were the best show in town. "Ignore him," he said, to himself as much as Chris.

"Maybe we don't have to," Chris said, and Toby looked to see what Keller was watching -- divine intervention appearing in the improbable form of Ryan O'Reily sauntering up to the Aryans.

Somehow doubting O'Reily was running interference for them, Toby had to give the Irishman some props all the same since the first words out of his mouth -- "Hey, Vern, you getting a hard on watching those two?" -- did pull Schillinger's attention away from them and refocus it on O'Reily.

"Are we going to owe him?" Toby asked as they took five and watched the little drama playing out, Vern and his boys trying to crowd in on O'Reily who didn't look too worried about the situation.

"Christ if I know." Chris rested his hands on Toby's waist. "He's probably got everything tallied up, though."

Toby didn't doubt that for a minute, leaning back against Chris as they watched things come to a head, Robson provoked into taking a swing at O'Reily who deftly dodged out of the way. That was enough to draw the attention of the hacks who waded in to break things up, herding the combatants out of the gym -- and leaving the two of them alone there. Not for long, no, probably just a couple of minutes, but this was no time to look a gift horse in the mouth.

On the same wavelength, Chris pressed up behind him, whispered, "This one of those seize the moment times?"

"Oh yes it fucking is," Toby purred back, turning to face him -- laughing as he hooked Chris' legs and tumbled him back onto the mat with an oof!

"Motherfucker," Keller growled, immediately up on his knees and grappling with him.

Good, this was what Toby wanted, soaring on the power he was feeling now, his own and Chris' mingling there as they wrestled all out, tangled up and breathing hard, skin hot and slippery with sweat as Chris got him on his back and pinned him. Holding perfectly still, Toby watched and waited as the other man looked at him so intently, like he was trying to read his thoughts. Open as a book, wanting to be anyway, Toby let his eyes drift shut for a moment as Chris wound their fingers together and stretched their arms out. He shivered, eyes half-open now and watching through his lashes as careful fingers traced over his flesh, over the bones that had been shattered. He drew in a sharp breath then, as Chris bent his head to press a kiss right there inside his elbow, another at his wrist, rubbing his cheek all along the now-mended forearm.

Pulling his other arm free, Toby reached for Chris, stroking the back of his head and wanting to hold him tight as could be. No chance for that, of course, the hacks were already pounding back and would be there any minute. They had a few precious seconds left, though, and Toby craned his neck to plant a kiss on his lover's cheek, another to his ear. He whispered, "Remember where we were," before springing to his feet and bringing Chris up with him.

Not an instant too soon, either, as the hacks got there and eyed them with suspicion, positive they must have been up to something but with no proof at hand. Nothing left to do then except bark at them to move their asses back to Em City, and that hardly warranted even an insolent smirk in passing.

~*~ Lights out caught them in the middle of a chess game, one they were pretty well playing to a draw, and Chris put the board and pieces away as Toby moved around the pod, stripping down to his boxers before picking up his toothbrush. Chris sprawled back across the bunk, content to simply watch him going through those getting ready for bed rituals. Funny, all the times he was married, he couldn't remember ever payng attention to every little thing Kitty, or Angelique, or Bonnie did, but Toby -- it was like even the smallest details were imbued with greater meaning.

Guessing that was something better kept to himself, though, Chris finally slid off the bunk and went up to Toby, grasping his shoulders and massaging. Toby groaned like that felt good, and Chris smiled, looking at their reflection in the mirror. "Wish we could have a picture like that," he said, slipping an arm across Toby's chest and nuzzling his throat.

"Me too," Toby said, surprising him with that.

"Yeah? You'd like that?"

"Yes I would." Toby turned in his arms, laid a hand against the base of his throat, thumb stroking along lazy like. "You know what else I'd like?"

"Tell me." And if it was just to stay like this, standing there close and touching, Chris would grant the request in a heartbeat.

"You remember where we left off earlier?"

Like he could forget. "Yes I do."

"Got it bookmarked and everything?" Toby said, moving in closer, his other hand slipping around to caress the back of Chris' neck.

"Uh-huh." He angled his head, pressing a kiss to the corner of Toby's mouth. "You want to pick up right there?"

"Mmmmm," Toby rubbed against him, "maybe we should do a recap first, refresh our memories."

Chris smiled and kissed his mouth, and then because he could, he wrapped him up in his arms and kissed him a lot more. "That sparking anything?" he asked, kissing his forehead.

"Yes, something's coming back to me. Seems to me there weren't so many clothes involved, though," Toby complained, pulling at the white wifebeater Chris was still wearing.

"Yeah? More like this?" Chris said, taking a step back and pulling off the shirt, letting it drop at his feet.

Toby's gaze caressed his chest and one square hand reached out to touch, fingers splayed over his pecs. "Pants too."

He smirked, really glad his instincts had been right about Toby. Even back when this wasn't supposed to mean anything, he'd got this hunch that Beecher was a volcano waiting to blow if someone ever got him stirred up just right. Proof came right then as, impatient, Toby pushed his hands out of the way and tackled the zipper and snap himself, yanking the cloth down Chris' hips and slipping one of those eager and demanding hands inside his boxers. "Don't think we," he bit his lip against a moan as Toby stroked his cock, "got quite this far."

"I know," Toby murmured, leaning in to lick his throat, tracing along a tendon, "I skipped ahead a few pages."

Fine by Chris, and Toby taking the initiative like this didn't exactly throw cold water on the fire. "This 'cause we wrestled?"

Toby scratched a nipple, squeezed his dick. "This is because you believe me." He drew back then, looking into his eyes. "You do believe me, Chris?"

"Don't make sense, but," he looked back at him, "yeah, I do." No way he deserved anything good like this, and Toby trying to comfort him was all kinds of fucked up, but God and all His angels couldn't tear him away now.

"Glad to hear it." Toby maneuvered them onto the bunk, wrestling Chris around until he was stretched on his back and Toby was straddling him. He bent down, kissing Chris on the forehead, cheek, his mouth, taking his own sweet time over that and only turning the page when they were both good and ready.

~the end~
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