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Ryan shouldn't have been delivering the food to solitary that day. But Adebisi was in one of his more frequent odd fucking moods, and Ryan didn't want to fight him. Pancamo...never fucking listened to Ryan anyway.
Ryan wanted to check. Idly curious. But he should probably be keeping his distance. Beecher's plan had worked beautifully so far. Ryan had known the guy had it in him. That crazy fucker with the sharp mind and the artful beards hidden behind those blue eyes.
Keller didn't see it. Didn't quite comprehend what his lover boy was capable of at first. And K-boy had taken a shank in the back because of it. And...now they were making up. They were so fucked up.
Ryan used to watch Beecher. Keep him close. Wonder. Ponder what it would be like to have Beecher by his side. Their minds working together. But...Ryan wasn't getting in the middle of all that shit now.
He'd team with Beech to get back at Vern...and then back off again.
That Nazi fuck.
Ryan pushed his cart down the grey hall. The one that was slightly different from the other grey halls. Ad Seg. It was singular. It had an even more hopeless and fucked up vibe than the rest of the prison, and that was quite an accomplishment. All that lost hope was trapped behind thick steel. Shut away alone. You could hear screams sometimes. Or whimpers if the slot was open, and you were quiet enough.
It was always quiet here. Everything muffled and trapped. Dark.
Like spawn of Nazi fuck.
Little Andy had shown some balls. Putting on quite a show in the cafeteria. Standing up to dad finally. Ryan could appreciate that on a level he'd kept buried.
He didn't want to like the kid. And he'd managed to avoid it so far.
So, Ryan focused on amusement.
Watching Andy give Vern a punch right in that ugly face. Throwing himself like a wild animal on top of him. Andy had wanted to rip the guy to shreds. So did Ryan.
It was fun watching the guy's own kid do it for him. Watching everything click perfectly into place.
This was personal. Ryan got a buzz out of it he never did with other schemes.
Those were...business. He didn't enjoy it. He was good at it. He liked surviving. It was like breathing. You didn't stop to savor how well you took a breath. You didn't get a kick out of it. The breathing was just there to facilitate everything else.
Ryan wasn't like Schillinger, or Adebisi. Ryan didn't get off on watching people suffer, or exerting his power over them. It didn't bother him either. A dead body meant nothing to Ryan. Nothing good. Nothing bad. It just was. Inconsequential. Ryan didn't get that thrill from it, from just the act. Ryan wanted safety. Money. Tits, of both varieties. Love. That's where Ryan got his thrills from.
Schemes, and the bodies they produced were just like...work. Moves. He didn't care if people got hurt, he wasn't weeping at night, but he didn't enjoy it like some fucks did. Not really. Though it was amusing when it was a motherfucker that really got on Ryan's nerves. They mostly didn't really matter though. Either way.
That made Ryan want to weep.
Made him actually *want* to hurt someone.
Need to do it.
This...he would get a thrill from.
But still...this wasn't exactly what he'd wanted for Vern. He wanted Vern dead. He'd wanted it done. Simple. Clean. Absolute. You hurt Cyril, you hurt Ryan, you die. Pain soothed. Threat gone. Vengeance exacted.
But Hoyt was too stupid to do it proper.
Ryan had to go the long way.
He was brought out of his own head by the end of the hall.
His current plan.
He'd liked what he'd seen of Andy in the cafeteria. The last time Ryan had seen him.
Ryan didn't really want to see him...shattered. Broken. Whimpering. Ryan knew it was the end for Andy. It was part of the plan. A side effect. They couldn't have Vern...so they would take they next best thing. Better. Have Vern do it. But Ryan would rather remember him as that pissed off kid finally standing up to his dad and becoming a man.
Ryan...would have preferred that Andy actually had the balls to kill his old man. But Ryan knew...that wasn't something that was likely to happen. Not before the old man got there first.
Ryan had heard...everything that was going down. Andy might be cold in there right now. Already gone. Helpful guards having given him his last fix.
From dear old dad.
Ryan slid the food slot open. Instead of just skipping him, which happened. Ryan...crouched down to see a sliver of the room instead of just blindly shoving the food in.
He shouldn't have.
He saw just enough.
Andy wasn't cold yet, but he wasn't looking well.
Huddled in a corner.
Fighting urges. Struggling with his own blood. His own head. Ryan could see it painted in the clench of his muscles, the sliver of the boy he could see.
Ryan would bet even money that those tits were in the opposite corner.
Ryan could see, even in that sliver...Andy was losing.
Ryan...had gone through withdrawal in the hole.
If he'd had a bag...he would have hit it.
Andy was going to crawl over.
And it was going to be over.
Those tits were guaranteed to be a lethal hit.
Vern was just that cold.
Beecher had known.
Ryan had known.
Vern would kill Andy rather than lose him to them.
They'd known when they'd set the two men at opposite sides of the board. Aligned themselves falsely at Andy's side.
One was going down.
There would be no draw.
One king would fall.
Andy...wasn't cold enough yet.
Not fast enough.
Ryan wasn't guilty. It was worth the price. Cyril mattered. Andy didn't.
But in that moment...
Ryan knew what it was like to be Andy boy.
He remembered that speech.
All trace of that man that Andy had become was gone in this moment though.
Andy was...shattering into pieces.
If Ryan just left...
It would be over.
"Yo, Andy boy." Ryan hissed.
That head snapped up.
Fear. Of himself, not Ryan.
Relief to see Ryan.
"Hey, how you doing there, buddy? You're looking...ragged." Ryan said easily. Conversation.
Andy...laughed. Strangled. Desperate. "Yeah."
He trusted Ryan. Felt better that Ryan was there. That was stupid of him.
Ryan stood from his crouch, leaving that sliver.
"Wait! You're going?" Andy's call broken. Fear. Clawing in that voice. Reaching out for Ryan.
It didn't quite touch him. Ryan had reached cold long ago. Ryan slid that slot closed. Paused...
...and opened the little window. Looking in at a wider view now.
Ryan decided to buy Andy a chance to pull himself out of check.
Go after the king again.
Andy's death now...would hurt Vern. In a way. But...Andy's triumph would hurt him more.
If Andy OD'd...Vern would sit smugly. His guilt would be buried deep. He would blame them. He would call Andrew weak. He wouldn't hurt enough. It would be a more hollow victory for Ryan. If Andy...didn't, if he stayed clean, proved himself, but still stayed against Vern, that would burn the old man like nothing else.
Beecher...would understand. Ryan had seen it in that false stone face a little while after they'd hauled Andy away. Beecher wouldn't mind giving the kid another go either.
"I only got a minute. Hang in there, I've been in too. I dried out in there. I know it ain't fucking pleasant." Ryan confided calmly.
Here's your chance Andy boy. Tell me. Give me the tits. Resist.
You only get one chance.
Ryan got that strangled laugh again as Andy stood up.
And that was way too much of Andy for Ryan. Ryan's eyes darted away. Stuck on his moonlike face.
"You clean now?" Andy asked. Quiet. Still cracking.
"Yep. As a whistle."
"Can you uh...can you do something for me?"
Ryan...was getting bored. Do it or don't. He had to go. He'd done his part. Even when he shouldn't have.
"What?" Ryan was starting to regret.
If Andy asked for more tits...Ryan was going to laugh in his face.
Andy...scuttled over to the opposite corner. Picked up...something. He came over fast. Out of breath, but not from a physical cause. He held his hand through the tiny window.
"Take this. Please." Andy pleaded. "Get it away from me...you can sell it." Desperate bargaining.
Ryan took it just as fast. But his hand stayed for a second, giving Andy's a warm squeeze. "Done."
Time for a shift in plan.
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