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Beta'd by Erin.

Slide (said the little penguin.) - Part 1/11 Prologue: "it's like.we're married or something"

by Ralu

(Let days and nights pass like water... Wait for time to stretch and narrow, cross all boundaries - last forever, unstoppable. Blurred. Wait - hope - for the whole fucking thing to just stop, die in its own making. By its own hands. Hoping for the end. The end of everything. And nothing in particular.)


Wake up when they tell you, back in your pod when they tell you; eat when they tell you, work when they tell you; sleep, piss, fucking *breathe* when you're told to... Like a caged animal. Like a goddamn lab rat. Do what we want you to, and you'll get your cheese. Or - better said - you won't get punished.

Still, you could move around, talk to people, watch fucking TV... Not anymore, though.

Twenty-four hour lockdown, slowly chipping away at Beecher's sanity, making him oversleep or not sleep at all; making him pace back and forth in his pod, angry and confused. Having only Keller's eyes on him, watching him. Hell! Even Keller has gotten tired of watching him...(--and that's saying a lot.)

Apart from the usual, mindnumbing routine of NOT DOING DICK all day long, what Toby has is DOING DICK with Keller. Weird, amusing small talk with the other man, that oh-so-welcomed sly, self-deprecating sense of humor he's missed so much (nobody can really match Chris' ability to make Toby genuinely smile and even laugh, that's for sure); playing cards or chess. Watching him get pissed off like a kid whenever he loses.

Jesus, the man has really gotten under his skin, hasn't he?!...

Screwing each others brains out; a bit surprised (okay, a whole lot more than a bit...) to hear Chris whispering to him - in that low, husky tone of his - he actually WANTED Toby to...

And...(--'sweet fucking Christ, if that's what Schillinger must have felt...'--) But you don't wanna go there Toby, do you? No. (--'Fucking NO.'--)

Having that completely NEW experience (and especially realizing just how good, great, fucking *amazing* it was) leaving him confused and insecure all over again. Who the hell is he? How has he become *this*? This thing, this person he can barely recognize... Where has he left Tobias Beecher - the lawyer, the son, the father, the husband?!... (--'Inside that Toyota you drove into drunkenness and death...'--) Yeah...

And who the hell is this enigma, this man with whom you can never quite tell what he is thinking or feeling, and why the hell he is doing the things he does? Who is Christopher Keller? And what does he want from him? (The things that aren't exactly obvious.)

What the fuck does Chris really *want* out of him?!... Why does he want HIM...

Chris had told him on their fifth night together it felt like they were married...(--'or something.'--) Lying on the lower bunk, already *almost* completely uncaring of any hacks that might pass by on their nightly check-up and bang on the pod's wall. Having Chris' arms holding him tight, feeling his breath invading his lungs; Chris' body nudging into his like the other man wanted to melt into Toby's being. He'd whispered slowly:

"You know Toby, it's like were married or something..."

Making Beecher wince, his back muscles stiffening under the other man's hold; letting out a small, disapproving huff - enough to get Keller to ease his grip and let out a casual remark about the hacks' nightly rounds.

Toby can sense the other man's insecurity, the underlining fear; he'd sensed it even before moving in with him, before the lockdown had begun. The awkward chat they had at a *safe* distance - for both of them - leaning on the railings; the first night they'd been together. That unspeakable tenderness in his voice and in his touch: like he was afraid Toby might push him away, or freak out on him. His entire being saying just one thing: 'I'm sorry, I'll never hurt you again; don't push me away.' (--'Trust me.'--)


(Blur. Bury your senses, feed off your instincts, ignore it all together. Swim through shit, grope in darkness, stumble. And grab the one thing that's still standing, the one thing you fear the most. The one every inch of your body, every pore of your skin craves and dreads. Grab on to him, like he grabs on to you. What fucking else do you have left? Burn. Breathe. Make your choice.)


Toby didn't push him away, he didn't want to. They had both crawled through way too much shit, too much pain and longing to deny themselves that kind of intimacy, the closeness they had experienced before. And besides, having someone like Keller to watch his back is not a thing to be easily discarded, as Toby had already realized.

But there is something more than the simple idea of protection... (--'Cause that would make this a kind of bargain, right? It would make you his *prag*.'--) Even beyond longing...

It had hit Beecher the moment he saw Chris stabbing Schillinger in the gym, to SAVE his life. The moment he'd felt the other man's arms grabbing onto him, shielding him with his body. It wasn't about fucking or winning him back. Or proving *something* to the other inmates.

It was about the fact that Keller actually CARED about him. Needed him to stay alive. Enough to put his own life on the line for that. Keller probably would have even settled for Toby to just fucking *talk* to him again and not treat him like a worthless piece of shit. (For the moment.)

But Beecher had also realized, as he lay in the gym, bleeding all over Chris, that he too needed the other man. In every describable and indescribable manner. Both of them - trapped inside each other. Tangled.

So, maybe they are kind of *married*... (*Kind of*.)

(--'Jesus, this is fucked up!'--)

But marriage means - above all - TRUST. Unconditional surrender. And Beecher doesn't trust him. Even if he desperately wants to...(--'cause he DID save his life after all.)

But trust doesn't come on command; you don't just snap your fingers and have it magically appear. It's something that comes naturally, you can't force it. Toby has forgiven him... (--'Sort of.'--) But he can't trust him. (Not yet.) And that's the one thing Keller wants the most out of him. The one thing he can't really have, for the moment.


(Burn. Breathe. Drown. Just...slide. But never, never, never-fucking-EVER forget. Don't you *dare* to forget...)

---end of part 1/11---
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