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Written for Oz Magi 2006. Recipient: jencendiary. Prompt: AU - Andy lives after Cruel and Unusual Punishment.
Toby's hand moved in gentle circles between Andy's shoulder blades in the same easy rhythm that, at one time, had soothed his kids to sleep. He couldn't feel any tension in Andy at all, yet he continued the repetitive movements.
They sat on the lower bunk, Andy leaning into Toby's side, strangely calm after three days in the Hole. Toby had always needed touch after getting out, craved color and sound, but he had rarely gotten it. The muted tones of Emcity and the way the room seemed to swallow up the voices of the other inmates did little to fill the hunger for sensory stimulation.
Andy's serenity was unusual, but not so out of the ordinary that Toby wouldn't be able to deal with whatever curve ball Andy decided to send his way. If Toby was very lucky, Andy might hand him even more ammunition to use against Schillinger.
He didn't make the mistake of rushing Andy. Any lawyer worth his salt knew how to make time work for him, how to delay the opposition, how to strike when the time was right. Law was a waiting game and Toby had been a champion. He could sit there all night if that's what Andy wanted, but Andy was young and the need to act would eventually get the better of him.
"He gave me a present."
Toby moved his hand to the nape of Andy's neck. "Who?"
"My--" Andy seemed to choke on the next word, "...dad."
"Schillinger gave you a present?"
"Yeah, when I was in the Hole. One of the hacks gave it to me." Andy turned his eyes up to Toby's and that's when he realized that it wasn't some kind of inner peace that kept him so quiet. Toby recognized that kind of inner turmoil from looking in the mirror every day. "It was a
bag full of tits."
"Yeah." Andy went back to staring at some point far beyond the walls of their pod.
Andy had come straight to their pod the minute he got out of the Hole, so he carried that distinctive sweat and come and tears odor from that place. Toby repressed a shudder.
"Look, this isn't an insult, but you stink. Get a shower and some clean clothes and we'll go to lunch. If you feel up to it, we'll talk about this tonight."
It didn't take long to get Andy out of the way. After he was gone, Toby spotted Keller across the quad and signaled toward the staircase.
"Are you sure Lopresti gave him the tits?"
"Yes, Vern, I'm sure." Robson ignored Vern's searching look as he leaned into the mirror and studied his face from a different angle.
"Did you get the right stuff?" Vern couldn't seem to let the matter go and Robson was getting a little fed up with being interrogated from the minute precious Andy got out of the Hole alive and well that morning.
Sighing, Robson pushed the tip of his nose up to check his nose hairs. "I got the right stuff. One snort would have been enough to... you know."
"But he didn't take it, he resisted." Vern said, his tone pleased. "He cleaned up and he stayed clean in spite of the temptation that was right in his hands."
"He's still a junkie, Vern. And he makes you look bad, hangin' out with a bunch of prags and pussies instead of being here with the Brotherhood."
Vern folded his arms. "I'm going to change that. I always thought he was weak like his mother, but it looks like I was wrong. And I'm glad." Vern didn't smile, but there was a warmth in his eyes that hadn't been there in a long time. "I'm going to talk to him again, but in private this time. Just the two of us, father and son."
Robson frowned as Vern turned away. Leaning to the side, he watched Vern's reflection walk out of the cell. Apparently, Vern was expecting a sweet, little family reunion. Robson wondered if he should mention to Vern that when he had handed the bag over to Lopresti, he had told him to give Andy a message, the tits were from Vern.
"That's fucked up," O'Reily said.
"We're talking about Schillinger, of course it's fucked up. I just never thought he'd try to get his son hooked again," Toby said.
Keller's smile didn't reach his eyes, "After everything he's done, you still underestimate him, Toby."
Toby sneered back. "Yeah, like you saw that one coming."
"Okay you two, knock it off. We have to figure out the next move. I still think we should stuff him full of tits until he pops."
Toby shrugged. "He survived three days in the Hole with a bag full of tits and didn't touch them. He's got more spine than I gave him credit for."
Keller tilted his head. "You sound like you admire him, Toby. Maybe you should adopt him as your very own. Andrew Beecher has a certain ring to it."
"I'm not interested in making him mine, Keller. At least, not yet."
"You going to fuck him, Beecher?" O'Reily's eyes darted between him and Keller, his mouth quirked in amusement.
"I'll do whatever it takes, O'Reily." But he was looking at Keller when he said it. Even O'Reily could feel the clash as they tried to stare each other down. He rolled his eyes.
"So, what's the plan, Beecher? You thinking about pragging Andykins out?"
At Keller's glare, O'Reily held his hands up in a surrender gesture, but it didn't wipe the smirk off his face.
"That depends on what happens next. I'm going to have a long talk with Andy tonight, see where his head is at." He turned to go, leaning heavily on his cane. "But I'll keep that idea as a back up plan."
Keller didn't exactly hate Andy Schillinger. He hated that Andy was sitting close enough to Toby that their arms brushed while they ate lunch. He hated that Toby looked at Andy more often than he looked at him. He hated Toby's easy and affectionate manner with Andy, even though he knew it was fake. He hated that Andy would go back to Toby's pod and be there after lights out.
He also hated whatever fucked up new plan was taking shape in Toby's fucked up head.
He wasn't a patient man, preferring what he could get here and now, rather than wait for something better down the road. Delayed gratification wasn't his style, not when he could have what was right in front of him, right now. But he couldn't have what he wanted, not when Toby was close enough to touch, but far out of reach. He could bide his time.
But if something didn't happen soon, he would bide his time creating a custom made shank just for Andy.
An hour after lights out and Andy still wasn't asleep. He was quiet enough, but the cadence of his breathing gave him away.
"Andy?" Toby whispered.
There was a moment of hesitation, "Yeah?"
A quick and secret smile in the dark and Toby rolled out of bed, his face carefully neutral as he knelt on the concrete floor. Andy's eyes were a faint glimmer in the shadows, his face a pale moonshape. Toby reached for him, one hand cupping his shoulder, the other smoothing his hair away from his forehead. Andy never flinched away from his touch but, this time, he didn't lean into it either.
Toby knew exactly what tone to use, a little concerned with a touch of sternness. "What's wrong?"
Andy brought his hand up to lightly encircle Toby's wrist. "Can't sleep. Sorry if I woke you up."
"You didn't wake me up. I can't sleep either." He squeezed Andy's shoulder, satisfied that Andy was finally reaching out to touch him. "You want to talk about it?"
Andy closed his eyes and was quiet for so long, Toby wondered if he was going to answer. "I... I want to see it."
"The scar." Andy opened his eyes. "The one my dad gave you. I want to see it again."
He studied Andy but couldn't tell what he was thinking, but it didn't matter anyway. Standing, he turned around and dropped his shorts. Not so long ago he could never have imagined baring himself for another man's scrutiny. Now, he did it and waited for Andy to make the next move so he could calculate his own.
"You hate him. You must hate me, too."
"I don't hate you, Andy." In a way, it was true.
Then he felt it, a fingertip delicately tracing the lines burnt into his flesh. Only one other person had ever touched him there and never with such gentleness. It was all he could do not to turn around and slap Andy's hand away.
"How many people has he hurt? He used to hit me when I was a kid, me and Hank both. Sometimes my mom."
Toby let out the breath he didn't know he'd been holding and unclenched his fists when Andy drew his hand away. He may have lost the ability to blush, but it seemed he could still shake at a touch. Too bad he was shaking with a rage he had to keep in check.
Collecting himself, Toby pulled his underwear up then sat down next to Andy. He knew he should touch Andy but he couldn't make himself do it.
"Want to tell me what's on your mind?" Toby asked.
"I've been thinking about it all day, what my dad did while I was in the Hole." He caught Toby's gaze and held it steadily. "Tell me the truth, was he trying to make a point, or was he trying to kill me?"
"You think he was trying to kill me." Toby turned his head away, but the loss of eye contact made Andy lean against him instead. "I've been trying to get my head around it, but it's like trying to understand a language I've never heard before. I keep asking myself how he could do it. How could he do that to me, Toby?"
"I've asked myself the same questions, Andy. Night after night when I wake up in a cold sweat I ask, 'Why me?' but I've never found a good answer." Toby slid his arm around Andy, letting his hand rest on his hip. "All I can think is that there is something wrong with your dad, something twisted inside him. It makes him hurt people, even the ones he loves."
He jerked back. "No. No, he never loved me, he never loved my mother, he never loved anybody."
"When you were a kid--"
"No, Toby, not even then. He always wanted us to be like him, me and Hank. And we always disappointed him, no matter how hard we tried to please him. We both gave up." Andy gestured at the walls of their pod. "But not soon enough to keep me out of Oz."
"I'm sorry, Andy. I wish there was something I could say, something I could do..."
"He's going to come after me again, isn't he? Finish what he started."
"I... I'm not going to lie to you. He never stops. The only reason I'm still around is because I've got friends at my back. Without them, I'd have been dead months ago."
"I'm glad we're friends, Toby."
Toby smiled in the dark and rubbed circles into Andy's back.
It wasn't easy getting a minute alone with Vern's highly praggable son. Between his three watch dogs, Robson didn't think he'd get the chance before Vern got to him. It was almost by accident that he ran into Andy in the corridor leaving the cafeteria. Robson turned and fell into step beside him.
"Did you like your little present from daddy?"
He grabbed Andy's arm to slow him down, but Andy shoved him off. They stood on opposite sides of the corridor, Andy glaring, Robson grinning.
"You need another lesson, little boy? Believe me, I'd love to teach you." He grabbed his crotch and flicked his tongue at Andy. The kid was small and skinny, girly enough for Robson. "The only reason I haven't popped that sweet cherry ass of yours already is out of respect for your father. But he's not going to protect you any more."
"He doesn't protect me now. I can take care of myself."
"Don't make me laugh. You're nothing like your father. He told me once that he sometimes wondered if you were really his son. He thinks maybe your mother--"
Andy leaped ttoward him, only to be stopped by a hand grabbing the back of his shirt. He was yanked back and shoved against the wall, a night stick holding him in place.
"Move along, Robson." Lopresti said.
Robson watched as Lopresti took the kid by the arm and marched him down the corridor. Fuck, he was hoping to get the kid sent to the Hole again, but they were going in the wrong direction.
Vern rehearsed his speech, but that's what he had done last time in the cafeteria, and look how that had turned out. He paced the landing in the stairwell, trying to find the words that would square everything with Andy. He needed to get this right.
He turned when the door opened and Lopresti walked in with Andy in tow. Andy looked furious and Vern's heart sank as he realized that he'd have his work cut out for him if he wanted to save his son. Exchanging a nod with Lopresti, Vern waited for the door to close behind him before speaking.
"Is that why you dragged me here?" Andy burst out. "To say hello? After what you did?"
"Look, if you'll just give me five minutes, I'll explain everything--"
Andy walked forward until he was standing toe to toe with him, right in his face. While part of Vern was proud of his son for standing up to him, another part wanted to put him in his place.
"It'll take a lot longer than five minutes to explain how you could send me drugs while I was in the Hole. Do you have any idea what that did to me? I almost went out of my mind."
"But you survived it, Andy. I'm proud of you, son."
"Don't call me son." He stepped closer, forcing Vern take a step back. "Amongst all the other things I can call you, hypocrite is at the top of the list. Whatever happened to 'family values' dad?" He poked Vern hard in the chest, forcing him back another step. "What happened to all that talk about keeping my body clean and healthy?" Another poke to his chest. "How many times did you lecture me about the evils of drug use?"
Vern's back hit the wall, so when Andy lifted his hand to poke him again, instinct took over. Vern blocked Andy's hand, then delivered a hard blow to Andy's chest with the heel of his palm. He just needed some space, some breathing room, but he'd been in prison too long. He didn't know how to pull his punches.
Andy staggered back. For one moment they were poised staring at each other, Andy's eyes going wide with shock as he teetered on the edge of the top step. Then his arms flailed as he tried to get his balance.
Vern lunged forward, but he wasn't fast enough. He could only stand there and watch as Andy tumbled down the stairs, landing on his back staring up into nothing, the light fading from his eyes.
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