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Beta'd by Erin.
Go Straight to Hell, Boy - part 8/17
Walking into the laundry room, deep in his own thoughts, Beecher hardly notices there is someone inside, moving slower than a snail.
Automatic movements, as if he's half asleep. Eyes lowered and dim, hidden behind reddish eyelids.
Himself not noticing the other man stopping in the doorway, hesitating.
For a moment, Toby feels like turning and walking away. But he doesn't.
Still, he can't hold back a low huff, making the other man slowly turn his head in his direction.
Confusion written all over his face, as if Keller can't quite identify the man standing before him.
Jesus, he looks bad, Toby thinks, walking over to the farthest washing machine from where Keller stood. Muttering:
After a long pause:
Beecher starts pushing his clothes into the washing machine, aware of the fact that the other man's eyes still linger on him.
(--'Don't turn, don't look at him. Just don't.'--)
But something inside him, something more powerful than his own will, takes over. As usual.
He turns around to meet Keller's gaze...and sees his eyes...moist.
A part of Toby screams with hate and anger; but the other part, the stronger one, the one that makes him who he is, overwhelms his entire being with a sense of...pity. And a need to comfort.
Fucking empathy, he thinks bitterly. The one thing almost nobody in this godforsaken place has. His curse. His weakness.
He licks his dry, bitten lips, letting out a slow whisper:
"How are you?"
The dumbest thing to say, right now Beecher thinks, silently cursing himself for being so...he doesn't know what, but that was a stupid fucking question to ask.
"Okay," Chris mutters, matching Toby's own tone of voice.
"You don't look okay."
Christ, how long had it been since they last talked?!...
It feels like they're learning how to talk to each other, all over again, Beecher muses.
"Yeah, but *you* don't look too okay there, either, Beecher," Keller's tone a bit firmer now, leaning against the washing machine behind him.
That's more like the Christopher Keller I know, Beecher thinks. And...(--*Beecher*. Not *Toby*.)
Toby shifts his position to match Keller's, suddenly uncomfortable.
What the fuck is this gonna be, a duel of words?...
"I'm fine," Beecher answers, keeping his voice carefully indifferent.
Strangely enough - Toby realizes - Keller isn't measuring him with his gaze, like he would have expected.
No, the other man keeps his eyes firmly locked onto Beecher's.
Like...he can't let go. Can't *play*.
Keller draws in a long, ragged breath as his head jerks slightly to the left.
Beecher finally notices that his hands are trembling, fingers clutching the edge of the washing machine.
"I'm fine, you're fine. Everything's okay, then," Keller breathes out, slightly dismissive, turning his back on Toby.
A long moment of silence.
And, as Keller starts sorting through his things (or Schillinger's... Yup, *Schillinger's*-- Toby could recognize them a mile away), Beecher rubs his lips with his knuckles, clutching his hands into fists.
Chris stops moving.
His eyes fall on his hands over the laundry, shivering.
Toby's voice suddenly carries so much hate, so much anger, it makes him dizzy.
For a moment, he thinks he's gonna fall down.
"Why did you do it? HOW could you do it?"-- Toby's voice breaking into something tense and shuddering. Something between a scream and a wail.
Keller can almost sense the other man's voice trailing on his skin, like a snake.
Icy cold and... burning, at the same time.
He hears Toby - his throat - barely choking back a sob.
He feels the other man's...harshness.
The cold, metal core behind that soft appearance.
He knew this was bound to happen sooner or later. He just never thought it would take Toby so long to find the power within himself to do it.
And...he doesn't know what to answer. Anything he might say - even the truth - it would all mean dick to Tobe.
He doesn't want an answer, he just needs to ask.
To get it all over with.
Still, Keller discovers, right there, in that particular moment, he needs to answer.
He needs it badly.
"You know, Toby... I've always had this feeling of being in the wrong place at the wrong time, all my life... Don't know, you try to grab everything like you're running out of time, like you're stuck or something, and everything seems to just pass you by. Like you're always going at the wrong pace."-- his voice, running slowly, softly, like a litany:
"This constant feeling of losing everything, or being lost...again and again. Unwanted. Awkward."-- lowering his eyes again, feeling Toby's burning gaze grabbing on to him:
"I love...loved what you have. What you are. All that I'll never have..."(--'never had, not ever.'--)
"...all that I'll never be."
Toby lets out a low, ragged breath, covering his face with his hands, shaking his head a little.
"You're so selfish. You're so fucking selfish," he mutters under his breath, almost to himself.
"You wanted me to tell you. I told you," Keller whispers, turning around, looking at him. Straight into his eyes:
"I love you."
"You son of a bitch," Beecher manages to let out, through clouds of hatred and resentment, leaning on his elbows on the washing machine, resting his forehead on his clasped hands.
He is so...fucked. Trapped.
Keller hesitates for a second, then, as if guided by something outside any drop of rationality he might still possess, goes over to Beecher and puts his hands on his shoulders, squeezing a little:
"Get the fuck away from me!"-- elbowing Chris in the stomach hard enough for the other man to wince and back away: "Just go away, leave. Just go."
So Keller turns away, grabs his things and leaves.
Knowing he's given the other man what he needed.
But neither of them know what exactly what that 'something else' actually...is.
(--'He NEVER gives up.'--)
Beecher's own words swimming through his mind, intoxicating him, making him want to throw up.
Filling him with enough intensity to crush any other emotion, any other train of thought the discussion with Keller might have brought up inside him.
(--'Son of a bitch, fucking son of a bitch...'--)
He's fucking with him, that's what this is. He's fucking with his mind, all over again.
But, if Keller actually thinks he's getting anywhere, if he thinks he's getting *Beecher*, he's dead wrong.
Something inside Toby is broken, irreparable. Something's changed.
Sure, he can still feel pity, he can still *feel*. For Keller.
He can still sense that burn, that amazing heat trailing between them.
That seemingly unstoppable flow...
And he knows his own body keeps betraying him (as always), as if it's tied to the other man's, interlaced.
But something has grown inside Beecher, something that was there ever since the first time Keller had fucked him over - something he had tried to forget, to discard, through love. Through forgiveness. Through trust.
As if his body had learned, the hard way, Christopher Keller meant danger. Pain.
A constant reminder of that sickening sense of betrayal, lurking between them like a ghost.
'This man shouldn't be trusted'-- the one thing - stronger that any feeling of lingering warmth from that kiss in the laundry room - Beecher's body had released through every one of his senses, ever since he had turned on him in the gym.
The one thing Toby had forgotten, allowing himself to open up to the other man, to put everything he still had in Keller's hands. To surrender.
But now...things were different.
*This* proved they were different.
His whole body recoiling under Chris' hands, beneath his husky voice.
Breaking into pieces any shred of softness Toby still possessed.
Did Chris know that was what would happen? Had he sensed Toby's still lingering tenderness, his care - and decided to do the one thing he knew would make Beecher realize he had to just give up and move on?
To stop caring?...
Or maybe - the easier hypothesis to accept: Keller was just playing his age-old game - letting out a bit of himself (bullshit or not), waiting for a second for the whole thing to hit, and then pushing his entire being, like a weapon, into Beecher's space, engulfing him in his own scent, his heat, his body.
Knowing (hoping) Beecher would respond as usual, unconsciously trapped in his own desire.
His own longing.
Playing on Toby's own weakness.
Business as fucking usual for both of them.
Beecher didn't know what to believe, didn't fucking *care* to know that much, to be honest.
And this sudden realization made him...uncomfortable, at first.
He always cared about what Keller thought. About what he thought the other man was thinking.
Not now, though.
And, after the dust had time to settle over their conversation, Beecher realized that he felt...better. Easier.
Keller and his thoughts, his words, his actions were slowly drifting away from him. Like a fading photograph...
(--'*Old news*, like Chris would probably say...'--)
Yeah, old fucking news.
(--'Keep telling yourself that, Toby, keep telling yourself that...Shit.'--)
---end of part 8/17---
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