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Unbeta-ed. Mistakes mine.
Disclaimers: I am only playing with the people from Oz and SVU. They do not belong to me and I am making no money from this.
Copyright: Edgar C. Gambodge, Elizabeth Lightbody, Chris's professor and Mrs. Keller are mine.
Theme: B/K. What happened after what really happened at the end of Season Six. This overlaps with my previous story, "Settling the Bill.
Warning: In my Oz-verse, many of the events from the last two episodes of Season Six are fictitious.
Coming in from the Cold 2/17
Part 2: A day in the life
Sometimes when he looked down at the sidewalk from the window of his penthouse apartment, Chris wished he hadn't chosen an apartment so high up. Sometimes the urge to take a swan-dive was almost irresistible. And he had to use almost every scrap of willpower to stop himself taking a running jump out of the panoramic window in what the agent had called "the living area". If it was the living area, why did he feel as if he was dying when he was there? He kept the blinds closed now.
He had feared and fought death for as long as he could remember. He'd used his will and his self-discipline to get himself through a lot of crap. People like Sister Pete had always said he lacked self-discipline, but this wasn't so. He'd always been remarkably focused when he'd put his mind to it. Sticking to the plan was second nature to him.
So, if he wanted a drink, which he often did, he worked out. If he wanted a hit of something else, he worked out too. If he thought about dying, he hit the gym. All that gym was going to start taking its toll on his joints, sooner or later. He was almost sure he didn't have the energy to keep it up. Lucky he had his own gym now, in the second bedroom of the apartment. All the best and right equipment, carefully chosen. After years of poring over fitness mags and enduring second-rate gyms, he knew what to buy and what to avoid and knew people who could get the right stuff for him at the right price.
He had gone through life on autopilot, because it was easier, especially once you knew what your current plan was. Even after Toby came on the scene, he'd managed not to think too much, because what he thought about hurt. So he'd restricted his thinking, by and large, to planning his next move. But now, like when he'd got shot in Oz and when he'd been shipped to Cedar Junction ...too much time to discover exactly how much he hated being in his own skin. And to realize that the battle he'd waged against fear for so many years was a losing one. Only this time, for the first time, there was no one else around to focus on.
He'd woken up shaky and unable to eat. His joints ached and he'd sprained something in his back. He knew he'd overdone the gym in recent days, so he didn't have recourse to that. He wondered what to do. He didn't want to call Bonnie or Elizabeth. He really wanted to call Toby. He'd been thinking of him constantly and how he'd fucked up Toby's parole and life. And also that maybe he should just do it, take the plunge, and leave the money to Bonnie and Toby. How it would be better for both of them without him. He thought about how suicide was a mortal sin and about Hell. How dying wouldn't solve anything. What the fuck type of deal was that?
He shut off the TV. The noise was rubbing his nerves raw. The only person other than his lawyer, Gambodge, whom he could call, was Elliot. And he'd already called Gambodge to "check on the status of Toby's case". Again.
"Fuck, I'm calling the police," he thought, as he hunted for Elliot's card. He hadn't put the number into his phone, but he hadn't cleaned up either, so it was bound to be lying around somewhere in the mess.
So now Elliot was sprawled on Chris's couch. Chris was sprawled on an armchair across the coffee table from him. Elliot had come right over when Chris had called, as if he'd been waiting. Chris immediately wished he hadn't called him. He didn't have the strength or desire for touching family reunions, particularly not with people he couldn't remember at all and never knew existed until a couple of weeks back. He only wanted Toby. No one else mattered to him.
"You should spend some time with your wife and kids," he told Elliot. He was feeling better enough to want to be miserable on his own again.
"Kathy's taken the kids to her folks for the weekend."
Elliot took a swig from his soda bottle. No beer in Chris's house. Makes you fat and besides, Chris didn't want temptation around when Toby finally got to the apartment. But Elliot didn't know that. Elliot was certainly making himself at home. He had a foot up on the coffee table. His sweat shirt was flung across the couch. His keys and cell phone lay on the kitchen counter. It was pissing Chris off.
"You ever fuck a guy?" Chris asked, out of the blue.
"This going somewhere?" asked Elliot, apparently unphased.
Chris grinned at him.
"Just asking," he said.
"See much of Tobias Beecher?" inquired Elliot, not moving more than to take another swig from his soda bottle.
Chris was thrown enough to take a moment to figure out Elliot must have read about Toby in his file from Oz.
"Just asking," said Elliot.
Chris wished Elliot had a file he could read.
Elliot took to showing up at Chris's apartment. A lot. Guy must be obsessive or something. The doorman always waved him through. So much for security. Chris had to think twice to remember why the doorman might not stop Elliot. Think twice or look in the mirror that is. It was too fucking weird. He could never get used to opening the door and seeing himself standing on the fucking welcome mat. Had no cause to doubt Elliot. The guy obviously was his twin brother. Needed no proof on that score. More than that. He was his fucking clone. Even had the same hair style. Had he been stalking him or something?
Didn't dress the same though. First there were those suits. Then the jeans and sneakers. Who chose this stuff for him? Kathy probably, making sure he looked as dull as possible. Leave him with Chris for five minutes and he's make him an absolute babe-magnet. Knew just what would look good on him. Maybe he should lend him some stuff.
Chris was staring at Elliot, who was tucking into the Beef Wellington and baby potatoes that Mr. Gambodge had left, after his latest visit to discuss the value of Chris's evidence in the upcoming serial-killer case. Chris hadn't been able to drag himself to Gambodge's offices and was surprised when his leviathanesque lawyer had arrived, bearing beef, three vegetables and a substance he called "syllabub". Chris still didn't know what that was. Elliot would no doubt be able to tell him when he got to dessert though.
Mr. Gambodge remarked on Chris's pallor and general air of debilitation and told him that he needed feeding. The food tasted like ashes, but Chris thought it best to look as if he were making an effort. He hit the gym after Mr. Gambodge left, to work it off. Now Elliot was devouring the leftovers as if there was no tomorrow.
As he watched Elliot lay waste to the food, Chris was running an imaginary movie clip through his mind, in which he and Elliot appeared on one of those daytime TV talk shows as twins reunited after being separated at birth or whatever. They would both be slouching identically in their seats or next to each other on the couch to show how identical they really were. The host would ask them how they'd got separated and how they'd found each other again and all that shit. Then they'd have to explain how although they grew up so far apart, they did all the same stuff. How they weighed the same amount, wore their hair the same way, could wear the same prescription glasses. Course their careers had taken different paths, but, hell, they were both involved with the law.
"What's so funny? You never seen a guy eat before?" Elliot asked, grinning back at him.
"There's more where that came from," Chris covered.
"Are those things comfortable?" Elliot pointed at Chris's construction boots. Probably wanted to get a pair too.
"Yeah, I've had them for twelve years - more even. Wear `em with everything, except in the gym. They'll never wear out. Got `em when I turned thirty, I remember. `Bout all I remember of my birthday. I was smashed out of my mind on X for days."
Chris rolled the strange idea around in his head that, at precisely the same time, somewhere else, Elliot was turning thirty too. "What did you do that day?" He asked.
"When I was thirty, I'd been married five years and had two kids. Living in Queens. Working for the NYPD. I wasn't in SVU then though. I think I went to work that morning and Kathy baked a cake for dessert that evening, for the girls mainly. So you never wear anything else?"
That seemed to appeal to Elliot.
"I used to borrow O'Reily's cross trainers for gym in Oz. He always seemed to have an extra pair. Knew him from Lardner. He came up there the second time I was up. Eighteen. He wouldn't have lasted a day with that pretty face. I watched his ass for him."
"He your lover?"
Chris snorted with laughter. He must remember to tell O'Reily. Often. Just to see the look on his weasely face.
"O'Reily? He's straight - keeps sayin' so. Anyway, he's not my type. Too young. Makes you look old."
It was another Saturday and they were back on the shoe topic again.
"So what's your shoe size?"
"My turn. What do you weigh?"
It turned out that Chris was three pounds lighter than Elliot.
"Must be all those donuts you cops eat," Chris said.
"Actually, I'm not that fond of donuts," said Elliot. "Don't really have a sweet tooth."
"Me neither." Said Chris. "I prefer salty things."
"Yeah, like pepperoni pizza..." mused Elliot.
"Thought so. I can order a couple," Chris said.
"A beer would be great. I can go to a liquor store and buy some."
"Knock yourself out. I've never drunk beer much. Makes you fat. When I used to drink, I went for hard liquor. Malt mainly."
Chris discovered they liked a lot of the same food and mentally added this to his talk show. Elliot had taken him to some of his places, where he ate when on duty, to show him how he spent his time. Chris got quite an adrenaline spike from dining amongst so many cops and had to keep reminding himself that they were staring at him because he looked like Elliot. Probably. He was probably only still on the wanted lists in Vegas. Better get Gambodge to check. He decided not to take Elliot to his old haunts, largely because he didn't want to get sucked back into any of that shit, now that the plan was to be as clean-cut as possible for when Toby got out.
They had started to play a game called "let me guess what you're going to eat". They were usually right about each other. And when one guessed wrong, the other would often change his mind to fit in with what had been guessed. This was fast becoming a tacit rule.
"Do you want fish?"
They beamed at each other. Elliot wasn't very expressive, but his smile radiated such love and happiness, that Chris got fidgety.
"Hey, Elliot, people will think we've got a narcissism thing going on here," he said.
"You think?" said Elliot.
His smile gave nothing away other than affection that Chris found strangely disconcerting. He looked away, wondering which one of them was smarter. He had a feeling O'Reily wouldn't put his money on him.
"I'd like to meet your wife some time."
Elliot hesitated. Chris smirked.
"Worried about introducing her to an ex-con? Hey, she might like me."
"Your Toby might like me," retorted Elliot, but seemed not to be cheered by that thought. Nor was Chris. He pulled his game face back straight.
"Are you worried that Kathy'll like me better than you?"
"Wouldn't be difficult. She's not all that keen on me these days," Elliot muttered.
"Want me to step into your shoes for a while?" Chris grinned.
"Want me to step into yours?"
"Beecher loves me," said Chris a little more forcefully than he'd intended.
"I've kind of fucked things up with Kathy," said Elliot.
"I've fucked things up with Beecher and he's fucked things up with me, but we'll still work things out."
"I don't really want to work things out anymore. Maybe I never really did."
So the clean-cut life wasn't perfect. Interesting. Elliot seemed like the perfect family man. This Kathy must be an idiot. Elliot did everything right. What was not to like? Bonnie would've preferred Elliot to Chris. So would Kitty and Angie. Well, maybe not Kitty. Her problem was limited attention span with men. Maybe Kathy was the same. Must be the name. Like Katherine McClain. Didn't exactly stand by her man either. Way things were going, Elliot still had to make his way through an Angie and a Bonnie (twice), then only could he graduate onto a Toby.
"Stay away from Marion," Toby had told Chris one visiting day.
Chris hadn't of course. She wasn't that difficult to find. He knew the name of Holly's school, found its address in the directory. Watched the playground. Found Holly, before he'd even met her at the Beechers. Recognized her from photographs he'd seen over the years. Looked at which teachers she spoke to. Saw Marion. She was surprisingly like Genevieve. And Katherine McClain. Small and dark.
Then Chris watched Marion. Followed her to the grocery store. Followed her to her parents' house. Even followed her home to her apartment building. Found the apartment number from the janitor who also helpfully supplied her surname. Mulroney. Marion didn't notice a thing. Not a very observant gal. Must've been why she hitched up with Toby. Then Chris waited. No rush.
When he got his opportunity, it was surprisingly easy to meet her. He called on Mrs. Beecher one morning to discover that Holly had left her soccer kit at home and needed it for that afternoon. He offered to drop it off at her school, being careful to ask what the address was, to deflect suspicion.
It was recess when he arrived. He'd timed that carefully too, asking Holly on a previous occasion when it was. After he charmed the secretary with his smile, she directed him down to Miss Mulroney's classroom, so he could give her Holly Beecher's sports clothes himself. Marion was alone in the classroom, marking assignments, while the kids whirled around the playground outside. He summed her up as he shook her hand. Not much of a threat. Would never have lasted.
Couldn't really see what Toby saw in her, unless it was the comfort of the familiar. Toby had said she was funny or something. He couldn't see it. She smiled a lot at first. Toby'd said he'd love her. He didn't. He considered fucking her though, only it was too much trouble. They made small talk. She thought she'd seen him before. He told her his twin brother was with the NYPD and got around a lot. Had been on TV. Of course she wanted to know what connection he was to Holly. He told her.
"Toby's my partner."
"You're a lawyer?"
"Nah, I used to be an independent contractor. I've gone back to school. Toby's my lover."
That was when she stopped smiling.
"Oh my," she said.
He torqued his grin into something as self-deprecating as possible and rubbed his hand through his short hair.
"Yeah, we've been together for a while. I thought the school knew. I'm helping look out for Holly while he's in Oz. This prison thing has been real awkward for all of us."
Marion hadn't been hard to shake off Toby's scent. He hadn't had to threaten or even allude to her relationship with Toby. She'd been so disgusted at the thought of Toby having it off with another man, even though she'd tried not to let it show, that Chris knew she would never be back again, not even after Toby made parole. He decided that Toby'd earned himself a few more months in prison though. Now that he'd seen Marion, he just couldn't get the image out of his head of Toby kissing Marion, like he'd kissed Chris, all sweet and hesitant. Or of Toby saying Marion's name - "Marion" - in that special tone he used to say Chris's name when he was pleased with Chris. Kissing the back of her neck... Chris just wanted to deck Toby. Meeting Marion was even worse than hearing about her and her funniness from Toby. He'd been pretty pissed then, but it was all a little abstract. Now he could imagine in astonishing detail, after years of practice at imagining Toby engaged in various erotic acts, how the whole affair with Marion had played out. No. It was altogether better that Toby was safe and sound in Oz for the moment.
But the charge Chris got from seeing Marion off soon dissipated and the Tobyless days dragged on. The window was starting to tempt him again. One Tuesday, Chris was more strongly drawn to the ground than usual and wishing that Toby would call. He knew he wouldn't though. The far away sidewalk beckoned him. He tried not to think about Toby. Trained himself not to hope. Told himself that Toby'd come round sooner or later. This time was taking longer than usual, but long-distance relationships were always difficult.
That was when he'd called Elliot for the first time and clearly made the guy's day, fuck, maybe even his whole week. That was a novelty for Chris too. Seldom did he ever make anyone this happy without its leading up to a ponzi. So he did it again and again. And then one day, Elliot invited him home.
"I got stuff I gotta do," Chris lied.
"You chicken?" asked Elliot.
Fabulous. This is what you get for hanging out with your identical twin. Cocksucker could read him like a fucking book. Chris grinned at him. Elliot didn't grin back.
"I want you to come, Chris," he said.
"I don't do family things," Chris said.
"Seeing me all the time is a family thing," Elliot told him.
"It's not the same," Chris said, hoping to flatter him into changing his mind.
"C'mon, Chris," Elliot stared at him, right in the eyes, "help me out here - it's difficult with Kathy and me being separated and the kids and all."
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