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Beta'd by Erin.

"Slide" (said the little penguin.) - Part 3/11: "beggars can't be choosers"

by Ralu

(Let days pass and let nights come... Harsh, transparent darkness. Make days into nights, sprawled arms wide open; you forget everything. And then you remember *everything* all over again.)


He closes his eyes and takes a long, ragged breath. He does that most of the time. (--'I am not here, I am not here... Take me away. Pull me out from inside. Force me out of myself...'--)

Only this time, Chris' hand stops jerking him off; Toby slowly comes back from where he almost always seems to go, sensing the other man's body slightly moving away from him. A rush of cold air quickly fills up the gap between them; a shuddering chill runs up Toby's spine and he opens his eyes in time to see Keller sitting on the edge of the bunk, searching for something under the mattress.

"What?" Beecher asks, sitting up and leaning against the back wall, stroking himself. He's gotten so used to having Keller all over him these past few nights of lockdown. He's gotten so used to having Keller making him come it's kind of difficult getting over a hard-on just like that. And even if it makes Toby feel a bit guilty for thinking it, he'd rather have Keller sucking him off than having to deal with whatever's on his ass right now.

Chris finally finds what he was groping for under the mattress: a cigarette. He lights it and takes several long drags, not replying.

Oh, aren't you the fucking drama queen, Toby thinks. He leans over to Keller - looking like a very pissed off house cat ('cause he can't seem to be able to get off without proper *assistance* anymore) - letting his feet drop on the floor next to Keller's:


Chris doesn't look back:

"Where the fuck do you go?..." he mutters slowly, smoke filling up the space between them: "You close your eyes and it's 'bye-bye Toby'..."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

Beecher knows what he's talking about; he just never thought Chris would notice. Or care. The other man finally looks at him. Toby sees his eyes narrow with something that's not anger, not even a scowl. Keller's pondering whether to go along with it or just pretend nothing's wrong, nothing bothers him.

"You love me..."-- he stops for a second, but keeps staring at the other man, eyes sparkling in the darkness: "You said so, you told me you love me."

And that's the worst possible choice of words Keller could have come up with at that particular moment. Toby doesn't want to think about fucking *love*... Shit, Keller's asking for too much. What does he expect him to do? Hold him and fuck him and tell him he loves him?!... (--'Give me a fucking break!..'--) Beecher moves away from him, resting against the back wall:


His voice is so cold, so unemotional. This is not the pissed off version of Toby, Keller thinks. No, this is the cool, calculating, lawyer-like Beecher that Chris has gotten to witness way too many times for his own taste. Analyzing the situation, waiting for Keller to make his move. Like chess... Cautious and wary. Because NOW...he knows better.

"Nevermind," Chris says, staring at the burning tip of his cigarette. Jesus, he wants to put it out on the back of his hand so much he almost feels the burn spreading beneath his skin.

"No, no. You don't get to back away so easily," Beecher whispers, keeping his voice monotonous: "I told you I"...(--'whatever'.--) "So?"

Keller looks back at him; Toby's gazing through half-lowered golden eyelashes, slant pale blue eyes gone almost white. Sometimes - just sometimes - Keller can't help but associate that powerful lack of *whatever* he notices in Beecher's irises with Schillinger's dead white gaze. Like both of them have something in common...a seemingly natural contempt and a sense of superiority directed straight at Keller. Like both of them...(--know him.) Inside and out. And take it all for granted.

"Fuck you." Chris really doesn't know what else to say to him.

"What do you expect of me, huh? I forgave you. I let you move back in here with me. I let you fuck me... I have given you what you wanted. You should be pretty fucking happy now, Chris. You've got your way. What ELSE do you want?!..."

Those last few words come so blatantly sharp, so...heartless.

"What do you want?" Beecher repeats.

A bargain, Chris thinks. It's a fucking bargain. Nothing more. Toby's way of saying 'thanks for not letting me get shanked to death... See? I too know how to pay my debts...'

Keller closes his eyes; keeps them tight shut, feeling something resembling sharp pieces of glass piercing through his eyeballs. He hears - like in a dream - Beecher's voice softly whispering his name:


Toby's gaze has lost that cold, narrow ugliness. Something shifts inside him, making his limbs tremble slightly; it moves behind his eyelids like water... He looks down, that cute, child-like V forming just above his eyebrows; and he looks up again, straight into Chris' eyes.

He can never keep this up, Keller thinks. This bitchy meanness of his, this fucking unbearable distance he's learned to depend on just to keep himself sane. Simply because...it's not enough. It's not what he REALLY wants, what he needs. Toby needs THIS...this thing right here. Toby needs...(--him.) To make it better. Easier. He needs closeness. And...(--'so do you.'--)

So...(--'fucking go for it.'--) It's the only thing either of them really have. Right now, anyway. It's the only thing he's willing to give and take. (For the moment.) And besides...beggars can't be choosers, right?

He leans over to the other man and kisses him deep, clutching his shoulder with one hand, pushing him hard against the wall, while his other hand is sliding down Beecher's shorts once again.

Beggars can't be fucking choosers. Never have, never will. Just take what you're being given. For the moment anyway.


(You forget everything. And then you remember *everything* all over again. And you can't walk away 'cause there's no place left to go. To hide.)

---end of part 3/11---
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