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Beta'd by Erin.
Go Straight to Hell, Boy - part 12/17
"Son of a bitch... Son of a bitch..."
Muttering the same words over and over like a silent prayer, hearing his own voice melting into the dark walls closing in on him, mute as silent witnesses.
His naked body, so tense it seems about to shatter like a piece of glass...
Like an unborn baby, thrown into the world way too soon, having to slowly learn how to walk, how to think, how to breathe. How to survive.
(--'This is your own fucking fault, Vernon.'--)
Yes, it definitely is his own fault.
What was he thinking? What the fuck was he thinking?!...
He doesn't regret beating the shit out of Keller. Or landing his ass in the Hole.
That...in a weird way, was a good thing. Being away from Keller, away from Em City, away from...(--Beecher), gives him time to think.
(--'A distraction... Wasn't that what he had called Keller? Ha! There you go, Vern, you've gotten yourself the distraction of a lifetime. *Amusing* and persistent as a fucking headache. Just like Beecher. Hope you're enjoying yourself now - stuck in here - naked and freezing. You dumbass!...'--)
What he really regrets is BLOWING UP like that in the cafeteria, in front of *everybody*, over some goddamn prag.
Some fucking slut.
That slut...(--who knows him so well.)
Knows what makes him tick. What pisses him off.
How could he have been so out of himself, so incredibly fucking blind?
How could he have been so wrong?
He knows he fucked up.
He knows...(--he's fucked.)
For the moment, anyway.
Keller's the same.
Give or take Beecher blowing him off, treating him...(--the way *Vern* had, way back in Lardner), or that wife of his, offing herself and leaving him...(--alone, kind of like Vern's own wife had bailed out on him, such a long time ago it seems like in another life to him sometimes), Keller - Christopher fucking Keller hasn't changed much.
Moody, unstable, uncontrollable...and, yes, incapable of self-control, too; but at the same time, sharply aware of his own situation, of the *environment*, sensing - like some kind of an animal (predator or prey, it don't really matter) - the ones around him, their strength and their...weakness.
And playing on them.
To get what he wants, as long as he thinks he needs to. Turning on those he uses afterwards.
Completely, utterly fucking...selfish.
And...(--'why does that matter to you so much, Vern?... I mean, it's not like you fucking married the guy or something.'--)
No, *that* particular aspect is not what bothers Vern right now...
What really, REALLY pisses him off is his own momentary goddamn lack of forethought. Insight.
Fucking common sense...and not listening to his instincts in the first place.
A part of himself screaming 'don't go there', the other pulsing with the sheer, irrational need to *rekindle*.
The sweet, pleasuring desire to relapse, flowing through his body like a drug...
(Or something like that.)
Just like with that fucking junkie Beecher.
But at least with him, he still had an excuse.
Who could have known there was a loony, fucking terrifying, wild animal hiding behind those dorky glasses of his?
Someone so far out there, so unbelievably irrational as to *fuck* with HIM?
Which, by the way, Vern kinda liked...
Seeing his own power reflected in a pussy-ass whiny bitch like To-by, witnessing his own prag turning on him, just like...(--Vern had turned on his own tormentor, that piece of shit that he had for a father.)
But that's another fucking story.
Keller though, he had no excuse for that.
He had given in to the sheer mindfucking pleasure of re-pragging, of getting back what was *his* in the first place; ignoring all those 'don't go there' signs popping up in his head like fucking sirens, ignoring all that had happened ever since Keller had stepped inside Oz.
Choosing to listen only to those superficial assumptions he held about him - natural born prag/slut, spineless piece of shit putting out for whoever for whatever - deliberately shutting down that inner voice that kept telling him Keller...well, he's not that easy to figure out. Not that *simple*.
And yes, believing the other man still somehow *needed* him.
Not just to get over his own...whatever, but on a deeper, more intimate level.
Believing Keller actually...*cared* for him. Somehow. Like...being connected, tied to Schillinger through some unseen leash, some deeply-rooted craving.
Like a dog that's kicked out and tries to enjoy its false freedom, but ends up crawling back to its owner, incapable of surviving on its own without protection. Guidance. Submission.
The 'sex' part had been the cherry on the goddamn cake. The most natural thing, since, well...everything involving Chris Keller seems to be a one way trip to *mmm...ohhh...yeah...* land.
Having sex as his only already certified, reliable trick (weapon) to get him out of really tight spots, to get him through the day really...the only possible thing anyone would ever want from him.
(And, if that doesn't have 'slut' written all over it then...)
God, that must be fucking depressing!...
Chris had fucked him up pretty good, there was no doubt about that.
If it had been some twisted attempt to get back at him for all the shit he had to take back in Lardner, or some pathetic plan to somehow win Beecher's heart...or just his usual temperamental self at work, Schillinger didn't fucking know.
Probably all three of them.
The problem - for the moment - was not exactly Keller and his reasons, but Vern himself...and that slowly creeping, and finally exploding, feeling of weakness. Of...*need*.
For Keller. For how the other man used to make him feel, and still does, on some level.
That feeling of closeness.
Of fucking understanding.
Like some silent exchange of...vital energy, flowing between him and the younger man.
(--'Jesus Christ, Vern... How did you allow yourself to end up like this?'--)
He's got to cast *that* - ALL that - out of his system. To *purify* himself...
To rediscover his own power, his natural strength, that which makes him what he is: untouchable.
Above it all.
Then he will be able to fight back.
And he will fight back. He damn well WILL.
"Hey, Keller! Come over here."
Oh, so I'm back in the fold or something? Keller thinks, hearing O'Reily's call, coming from a table in Em City, where he is playing cards with Hill and Rebadow. No Toby, though.
"What is it?" Keller asks, a bit shaky, keeping a safe distance from the other men.
"Sit down," Ryan says, pointing at a chair nearby.
Keller drags the chair and sits, not uttering a word. He's aware of what the gesture means and he welcomes it.
God, it feels good to have somebody to talk to him, to even glance at him after all these months.
"So what did you and Beecher talk about yesterday?" Ryan asks in a tone that's meant to be casual, but ends up being anything but.
Keller scratches his head and shifts his eyes to catch the other men's expressions.
Yeah, what *did* we talk about, he thinks bitterly.
"You should ask him," he replies carefully.
(--'And by the way, where the fuck is Toby?'--)
"Huh... I bet you're wondering where he is, right?" O'Reily snickers.
(--'Always the mind reader...'--)
Keller just shrugs, trying not to look at him.
"His mother and his little girl came to see him," Rebadow whispers slowly, noticing Keller's eyes flicker for a moment, his mouth twitching instinctively: "He should be back any moment now."
After a long moment of silence, Keller murmurs under his breath:
"Good... Should I leave?"
"You do what you want, Keller," Hill says, indifferent.
Right at that moment, Beecher enters in Em City, slowly walking towards their table.
He stops midway, noticing Keller, but decides to at least greet the other men.
"Hey," he says, making sure not to look at Keller.
'Hey', as in *hey* to everybody else but you, asshole, Keller thinks, not even trying to look at the other man.
"How did your visit go? How's Holly?" Rebadow asks.
Toby just shrugs, his shoulders tense and his whole figure burdened, his fever-hot blue eyes flickering for a second in Keller's direction, sucking in all the other man's uneasiness.
Sure, he's told Keller he doesn't hate him, he even convinced himself for a second, but seeing his daughter and...knowing he'll have to see her like *this* for the next fucking nine years, had made all his words meaningless all over again.
"Why don't you ask Keller over here about that?" Toby responds, in the ugliest possible voice, before walking away and going up the stairs to his pod.
Chris looks down at his clenched fists resting on the table, then rubs his eyes hard:
"Yeah, I think I should go," he mutters, standing up and leaving without looking at the other men, keeping his eyes carefully lowered.
"Anyone feels like playing anymore?" O'Reily says, looking at Rebadow and Hill: "Yep, thought so. Those two fucks sure do know how to spoil a man's fun," he adds, standing up and leaving.
Entering his pod, Beecher collapses on his bunk, holding his head in his clasped hands.
Having his mom and Holly coming to see him had always made him feel better. *Before*.
When he knew his parole was practically waiting for him just around the corner.
But now...seeing his little girl, sensing her disappointment, her pain behind those sweet blue eyes only filled his heart with sorrow. Hate.
For himself and for the man responsible for him not being with his kids.
He sometimes wished he had nothing (like Keller), so he could focus on only staying alive in Oz, ending his sentence...
Things would be a hell of a lot easier if he didn't have a life in the first place.
People that he cared about, people that cared about him. People he had let down. Disappointed.
That's how Chris must be feeling, Toby thinks.
'Cause, the man surely has nothing.
Nothing but a seemingly never ending sentence and...(--Toby.)
And since *Toby*'s made it pretty clear he doesn't want to be anywhere near him, not ever, well...the only thing left for the other man is...nothing really.
Nothing but staying alive, fucking breathing.
Something that Chris seems not to give much of a damn about lately.
After all, Schillinger's not gonna stay in the Hole forever, and when he's back...
Toby ponders for a minute the thought of having Keller slaughtered.
(--'Yup, that's the word for it, knowing Vern...'--)
Before, even the idea of having the other man out of his life would make him shiver and ache, his mind squirming helplessly, painfully aware of just how wrong it was to care that much about someone he was gonna have to leave behind, once his sentence was over.
But now...the thought of Keller, lying in a pool of blood, his life slowly fading away through his lowered eyelids...that makes him...
Beecher nervously rubs his chin with the back of his hand, the corner of his mouth twitching a little.
(--'Shit don't tell me, Toby...you're not actually smiling, are you?!... Is that how little this man means to you?'--)
No, he's not smiling because the thought of a dying Keller makes him happy.
The problem is that, well...Keller actually means something to him, even now.
But this time, it's for different reasons.
(Or so he keeps telling himself.)
If Chris had been his downfall, the reason why he wasn't with his kids right the fuck this minute; the obstacle that had stood in his way, preventing him from recapturing the trust and love of the people that *mattered*, rebuilding his family, fucking finding himself a WIFE and moving on with his life...
(--'And, oh my God! If I keep thinking about this, I'll probably burst into fucking laughter, or tears, or fucking kill someone!...'--)
Chris could very well be - NOW - his ticket out of OZ...
With a little help from that FBI agent that is.
(--'So you better stay alive, you stupid, backstabbing cocksucker. Long enough for me to get what I want from you, then you can go fuck yourself...'--)
Watching Keller in the Cafeteria, delivering his little *look-at-me-I-ain't-no-prag* speech to Schillinger had not only made Toby's limbs twitch with sheer pleasure; it hadn't only made his heart swell with a weird, twisted sense of exhilaration - seeing Schillinger's confused, angry, *hurt* gaze (kind of like Beecher's own gaze, a long, long time ago, and in a different location), completely aware of the fact that everybody was watching that little Superior-White-Man bashing, and, on top of it all, coming from someone like Keller.
It had also sent a sharp, itching, alarming shiver up his spine - especially during the beating section: Keller was not fighting back, wasn't even trying to avoid getting the shit kicked out of him...which could mean, in the long run, that he wouldn't oppose getting shanked to death either.
Whatever had gone terribly wrong inside the other man's head, it was interfering dangerously with Toby's plans of getting out of Oz through the back door.
If Keller would let himself be murdered, then the deal with the FBI Toby said he'd *think* about, would disappear into thin air, and his dreams of freedom would remain nothing but just silly, unreachable fantasies.
Talking with Chris after the beating had been a clumsy attempt to get the other man to fucking *stay* the fuck ALIVE as long as Beecher needed him to...
(--'Yeah Toby, keep telling yourself that. Keep telling yourself that and maybe you'll eventually believe it yourself... Jesus, don't you feel a weird, annoyingly familiar pattern setting in here? You're starting to behave like Keller, split personality psycho-babble included - spinning inside your own circle of bullshit lies and rotten truth 'til you finally get so caught up in them you don't know which is which...'--)
Okay, maybe it had been more than that...an attempt to put his own thoughts, his own feelings into some kind of an order.
He'd said he didn't wanna know the reasons behind Keller's latest choice in podmates and he'd actually meant it.
Keller was free to do whatever the fuck he wanted with himself, Toby couldn't care less.
In the darkest corners of his mind, Beecher believed Chris' liaison with Schillinger was some fucked up attempt on his behalf to make the him jealous or something, but he was rational enough to realize that was definitely not the case.
The real reasons behind Keller's actions were deeper, more obscure, more complicated, and Toby sensed that trying to get to the bottom of it all only meant exposing himself (and that oh-so-inquisitive, trouble-making mind of his) to the dangerous, potentially destructive vulnerability that inevitably came along with getting inside the other man's head.
Trying to figure Chris out was a tricky thing, and it was bound to get him hurt or even more confused; Toby had learned his lesson.
(--'Just take things for what they are, and don't bother with the *why* part of it all... Safer that way.'--)
He'd also vaguely acknowledged the impact of him putting his hand on the other man's ankle, the instinctive jolt that had run through his body (after all, Toby hadn't touched him in fucking months), the surge of electricity making his battered, sore joints arch with pure, veritable desire (need).
He'd felt - right then and there - just for a moment, he could do anything to Keller; Beecher could get him to do whatever he wanted: Becher held the leash, he was in control, and Chris would have taken anything he could have come up with.
His body had betrayed him, and Toby knew he could have beaten or shanked the other man, without him even resisting.
He could have told him to fucking suck his dick and bend over (like the fucking low-life, spineless slut that he is) or go throw himself over the fucking railing or something, and he would have done it.
(--'Jesus Christ, this is too fucking much... Frightening. And I don't even have to *make* him do it... This is more power than Schillinger ever fucking had with any of us. And...my God! It feels amazing!...'--)
But he had rapidly abandoned that thought; he had other more important things on his mind.
'Cause...(--'you don't wanna be Schillinger, right Toby? You can't be...'--)
Making sure Keller doesn't get his ass killed before actually GETTING his ass killed (in a more *humane* manner, as it were).
Trying to get through that thick, screwed up skull of his, while - at the same time - clearly laying out the boundaries between the two of them.
Properly saying their goodbye's, so to speak...
Well, Toby saying his goodbye...
(--'Cause fucking Chris will never say his *goodbye* apparently.'--)
And in the end...managing only to HURT the other man. (Like always.)
(--'Never really getting anywhere, just crashing into each other like blind, senseless objects, spinning in circles... Unable to *ever* GET one another.'--)
Like fucking always...
---end of part 12/17---
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