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Beta'd by Erin.

"Slide" (said the little penguin.) - Part 10/11: "for now and/or forever"

by Ralu

(Touch me the way I touch you. Touch me the way I'll never touch you.)


Toby senses it -- the anxiety. The restlessness. The annoyance. They've had a bit too much of each other for the time being. A quiet, unspoken surge of bitchiness has been flashing like static electricity between them all day, just like yesterday; just like the day before yesterday...

Beecher feels like strangling him; he's tired and wired up, tense and aching all over.

Last night...last night he fucked Chris out of sheer frustration. Anger. Heart's purest irrational hate. All those poisonous elements that make up prison life spilling out through every pore of his body with such intensity it made the other man wince and slightly - if only for a second - want to back away. Want to make *Toby* back away. But he didn't. Chris can take a lot; he's used to it. Used to being used. (--'A piece of shit.'--)

Pinning him down on the mattress, forcing him to bury his face in the pillow, hearing him choking a little, slightly suffocating; thrusting hard, fast - need and want rushing through Toby's body, oddly sunken into a monotonous rhythm, almost automatic. Like...he'd been doing it all his life.

Thinking of how much it resembled his *other* way-too-intimate male encounter...except now...he's the one on top. Same endless and weirdly unemotional, distant pleasure; same need to crush the one below, to make him suffer. Pleasure arousing not from the act itself, but from the knowledge that the other man is completely helpless, hopeless under the weight of his torso; pinned down on his belly and spread wide open...yeah, *it* explains a lot. (--'About Schillinger. But you?!...'--)

Wondering if Chris actually made the same association. Probably. Who knows? Who the fuck cares?

But...he does care. Because this is not just about sex, it's not just about the two of them. Lockdown will be over soon, and things will be going back to their (ab)normal pace...keeping your game face fucking intact. No matter what that game face is made up of or how the other inmates actually perceive it.

So, since they're *back together* (read:fucking) and everybody's already aware of it, this can only mean - in prison economics, the only kind that really matters - someone is someone else's. (Prag) And Toby's not going there again, no way in hell; neither is Chris. Therefore...this leaves them where exactly? Who is who's...whatever?...

'Cause someone HAS to be someone else's; it just can't be otherwise. Not in here. (--'Yep, the end of lockdown will be one bundle of *joy*, that's for sure.'--)

Still, Chris touches him...(--like Gen never did.) And that's the thing - above everything else, above all that's relative, unimportant - that's the thing that scares him the most.

Same question rolling through his weary mind, like a mantra: "How in God's sweet name did ALL this happened to me?..."

And having only Chris' voice - more powerful than Said's, Schillinger's, or even his own - whispering in his ear, through his flesh, cell-deep: "You think the world revolves around you, what you think, what you feel... Well, let me tell you something, Toby. It fucking doesn't. Just...fucking face it...for once."

(--'Just fucking face it, Toby. For once.'--)

Something that - apparently - he's blatantly incapable of doing.


(I touch you the way you'll never touch me...)


Lights out for almost two hours now, and Keller's settling into this familiar rhythm he's learned to (re)discover with Beecher as his pod/bed/life mate.

Nuzzling like a 16-year-old into the other man's cheek, into the crook of his neck; into his insides. Searching - always, relentlessly searching - for that thing, that place inside Toby; that place he knows he can NOW reach, touch, fucking invade and settle in, all over. (*Home*.) Like some fucking disease.

Making the other man tremble and wince and gasp for air as he marks his way down Toby's body with wet, hot kisses; curling his tongue against his navel, waiting for his hips to instinctively jerk and roll under his touch. Waiting for Beecher to DEMAND it. Because he's learned just how much the other man needs to feel in control about something, ANYTHING. Just how much he fears being taken for granted.

And he wants, he needs for Toby to want it, to need it too. Beyond the initial fear, the initial insecurity, the reluctance. Beyond Tobias Beecher - or what was still left of him - the lawyer, the husband, the father - beyond the...(--heterosexual, alcoholic, self-loathing murderer).

Cutting right down to the raw essence of the other man, that knot of inner-power - ignored and repressed and taught by family and environment, by that cushy life of his, to be something alien, unnecessary, vulgar - and helpless need...not for sex, not even for control, but for intimacy, for the sheer touch of somebody, anybody. For *his* touch. (--'Yeah, because you knew how to get there first. You knew how to *make* him want it, unlike some idiots I could mention.'--) Maybe.

But: who cares? Who the fuck gives a shit? Not Chris. He's gotten what he wanted: Toby - moaning and grunting beneath him, enjoying every moment of it.

Keller never thought of forcing Toby to do anything; he never envisioned himself in Schillinger's shoes. He knows, he remembers all-too-well what that's all about: pain, hate, humiliation...that horrible feeling of surrender; the moment when you actually start *thinking* of yourself as somebody's prag. As somebody else's. Completely.

When you can't see yourself any other way than connected, tied by an invisible umbilical leash to your Daddy, your master, your owner, your own personal fucking *benefactor.*

"You know I care about you, Chris. I DO protect you, don't I? You should thank those lucky stars of yours for that. You should thank *me*. So..." (--'what the fuck are you waiting for, bitch?'--)

He knows what it all means. The glances, the catcalls, the bullying; that stigma that never really goes away, even if you take a crap on your Daddy's face or fuck up his parole or...whatever.

'Cause...(--'this is *Beecher* you're talking about here. You, you Chris...you didn't do shit. You just lay down and took it. Didn't feel that bad about it either.'--)

So?... SO?! So fucking WHAT?!... (So fucking...what...)

He got out of Lardner on his own two feet, in one piece (well, sort of); not in a fucking coffin nobody would've come to pick up and give him a proper burial.

He did what he had to. (--'Jesus! And: ain't this your favorite excuse for doing everything? Or letting others do to you what you yourself would never do to any living being?'--)

"I do what I have to."-- what he had told Beecher, right after they met for the first time: a lie within a lie, within the truth...encased - like his arm, like Beecher's broken limbs - into the mockery, the bad joke his life always has been.

That creeping, unavoidable sense of living senselessly, without meaning. That devouring, almost frightening urge to find someone to love him for whatever he was; the hunt, the mindless wander.

The complete and utter sense of loss, all the time. With his long-dead mother, with that unknown father of his; with the seemingly endless rows of foster-families. Even with Schillinger. With his wives, especially with Bonnie - the woman, the *marriage* he WANTED to hang on to like the air in his lungs. That need to belong and be wanted; that need to HAVE something, anything just for himself.

And now...he has. He's finally found it. This infinitely odd man, soft and gentle and feral; a cat-like toddler with a Harvard mind and Kindergarten wits. This knot of unspoken sweetness and pain; his gas-light blue eyes, those flat cheekbones, his small, pixie-like nose. So unlike Keller; so unlike anyone. A twisted man - almost as twisted as Chris - wanting him. Needing him. In spite of everything.

And he'll be damned if he's gonna let this one slip through his fingers, he's let too much slip away and disappear...

Besides, what the hell else does he have left?!...

(--You've managed to fuck yourself out of any other options, Chris. You'll have to live and die in here; your entire future...you already know it. But - at least - you won't have to go through it alone.'--)

Not for the next three or so years, anyway.

And time... Time - like everything else in jail - has a pace of its own. Different than on the outside. Just like people. Just like people and their hopes, their fears, their desires.

Just like people...and their parole hearings.


Later that night, a small squeaking noise from the lower bunk, pale white, bare feet leaning over the edge.

Smooth, quiet, barely perceptible:

"Stay here." (--'With me. Please.'--)

White, tense knuckles and small, shivering feet slowly, reluctantly disappear back into the all-engulfing shadows from where they had appeared.

For the moment - for one. Forever - for the other.


(Touch me the way I want you to...)

---end of part 10/11---

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