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Beta'd by Erin.
Go Straight to Hell, Boy - part 15/17
Well, Keller didn't choose to be lurking outside Schillinger's pod, as the older man had thought. He's just chosen to stop breathing.
Moving around in the quad like a ghost, barely talking to anybody.
Silent and recluse, avoiding looking at Vern or Beecher. Or anybody else.
Devouring himself, from the inside. Completely alone.
He's not interested in the others around him, he's not interested in Sister Pete's almost frantic efforts to make him *speak*; he's not interested in fucking, either - one of those oh-so-obvious things he's depended all his life to keep him going - he's not interested in anything, really. Not anymore.
Not until...he casually hears bits and pieces of a whispered conversation between O'Reily (the man who knows everything) and Rebadow, leaning in so close together they seem like part of some fucking secret cult.
"I know..." O'Reily murmurs, looking behind his shoulder at his (and Beecher's) pod.
"How?" Rebadow asks.
"Someone..." Ryan whispers back, and Keller can't hear the rest of his words, but he clearly hears the ending: "He's gonna snitch on him."
"Beecher? He wouldn't do that," Rebadow says a bit too loud, making O'Reily squirm annoyed in his chair.
"Sssh... Lower your fucking voice. I'm telling you, he's gonna do it. He ain't got any other opportunity to get out of here."
"Still..."-- again Chris can't hear what Bob is saying, catching on his last words: "...he know anything?"
"Probably. Who knows? Who cares?"
"*He* cares about stuff like that," Rebadow mutters slowly, noticing Keller's presence over his shoulder and silencing O'Reily with a sharp look.
Both men try to look as casual as possible, but after a couple of moments they both walk away in different directions.
Too late, though.
Keller has already figured out what they were talking about.
Toby's gonna give him up. Just like O'Reily said, he doesn't have any other possibility of leaving Oz, any time soon.
He's gonna snitch on him...
Toby's gonna...(--kill him.)
Toby's gonna kill him.
But, what the hell is he gonna say? Toby doesn't know shit about Bryce Tibbetts, or any of those other guys.
Beecher is smart, though. And that fucking FBI agent from hell's gonna fill him in on the murders enough for Keller to safely secure himself a seat on the electric chair, this time around. Beautiful.
Why don't you fill him in yourself?, Keller thinks, smiling bitterly.
Why don't you fill him in yourself...
Give him what he needs.
The only thing he still needs from you. Give him...(--his freedom.) His life.
Give the fucking mockery of a life you have for his. Besides...(--'anything's better than this.'--)
(--'You've stopped *breathing* a long time ago, Chris. You know that now. Let him breathe. *Save* him.'--)
"I'm kind of surprised you asked to see me, Chris. These past few weeks...well, you haven't been exactly communicative," Sister Pete says, a bit uneasy, leaning back in her chair.
Whenever Keller wants to *talk* to her, it can only mean one thing: he's after something he can't get by himself. She's got way too much experience with him not to be cautious.
"So... How are you?"
Keller stares at her for a long moment. He doesn't answer back.
Pete thinks she sees for a second his eyes flickering with nervousness, but maybe it's just her imagination.
"Sister," he starts abruptly, still staring at her with that amazing, horrible intensity of his: "I asked to see you because I need to ask you something. And I want you to be honest about it, okay?"
"Go ahead," Pete murmurs, as if under some weird, fucked up spell.
Keller finally looks down for a second, clutching the edge of the chair he's sitting in with his fingers.
Then he looks up at her again; there's a determination in his gaze she hasn't seen in a long time in the other man. And...something else.
(--'God, he's got tears glistening in his eyes!...'--)
"Is Toby...is he gonna rat me out?"-- his voice breaking up a bit, painfully clearing his throat: "Is he gonna give me up?"
Keller can see the woman standing across from him wincing. Her body stiffens as she tries to get as much distance from him as possible, searching for the right words.
She's scared, Keller thinks. She didn't expect this. And, just by reading her body language, Chris already knows.
Still, he presses on. He needs to be sure.
"Be honest. Please," he whispers, letting his gaze roam all over her being.
"Chris... I don't know what..."
"Please..." Keller repeats in an even more quiet tone, utterly motionless.
He's not leaning in towards her; he's not touching any of her stuff, he's not even smiling or smirking or whatever the hell he'd normally do, Pete notices.
He just...keeps staring.
"Chris... You know I can't do this," she manages to mutter, looking down on her desk.
"Professional ethics, I know..." Keller says, moving his head a little to the left, settling his eyes on the large crucifix hanging above a shelf on the wall.
"What are you going to do?" Pete asks, looking at him. Knowing how pointless it would be to pretend she doesn't know what he's talking about.
"Tell him to do it," Chris says, as his fingers slide across his own crucified Christ, in an unconscious move: "He should do it. He has to."-- looking back at her, his voice low, but clear and powerful: "I want him to."
Peter Marie moistens her burning lips with a sharp, quick lash of her tongue, just as unconscious:
Her voice is so soft, so quiet it makes Chris' legs shiver a little.
He tries to shrug, shaking his head:
"How the fuck's he ever gonna get out of here?"-- his voice getting thicker: "Don't let him blow it, Sister. You know he can, that's how he is. Same ethical shit, you know?" he chuckles slowly, rubbing his knuckles against his stubbled jaw: "His fucking conscience."
(--'You know, the thing you believe I don't have.'--)
"That which you *think* I believe you don't have," she replies in a low tone.
Chris nods for a second, a bittersweet smile settling on his face.
(--'Shit, Sister...we could've been such good friends, things would've been different.'--)
"Don't let him blow it," he repeats, dark-blue eyes glowing with...something Pete can't quite make out.
"You know what this means... You DO know, don't you Chris?"
(--'That *think things through* shit... Yeah, I know.'--)
A long, loud sigh:
Still smiling, his eyes darkening for a second.
But, slowly, Pete realizes what that *something* hiding inside his beautiful eyes is...relief.
He knows who he is, he knows where he is. He knows what he's done. And he knows what he has to do.
Suddenly, she manages to pull herself out of that haze the other man always seems to lure her in with, and remembers...she can't do this.
He's gonna die. She can't do this.
"You'll be executed," she hastily points out, as if trying to wake him the fuck up from whatever knight in shining armor fantasy he might be wallowing in.
"I know," he replies, his tone getting sharper, tougher.
He sighs, and looks back at the crucifix hanging on the wall:
"What? You can't let me do this? You can't *approve* it?" Keller interrupts her, holding back a sarcastic laugh: "You don't know where I AM right now, Sister. You don't have a fucking clue where I am," he finishes, leaning back in his chair, eyes wide open. Pupils dilated and hungry, darker than ever.
He rubs his forehead, letting his elbows fall on his knees.
He stares at her for what seems like an eternity to Sister Pete.
"Look. You want him to be happy, don't you Sister? You want him to be happy... Let him be happy," he whispers, looking down at his feet, his voice so low it seems like words form in he back of his throat: "Let him be with his kids. Let him live."
"Chris... Look at me," Pete whispers, and he complies.
She knows - looking at him, sinking into his glistening, tired eyes - there's nothing to say.
He's finally found something worth hanging on to, after all these months of pain and confusion: letting go.
---end of part 15---
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