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This is set during Season 4 but I had to fudge the timeline to make it work. After the lockdown on the show they didn't really get all that much time to enjoy themselves, so-to-speak.
Making the Most of It
"This is the very ecstasy of love."
-Hamlet, Act II Scene I
"I wanna roll with him, a hard pair we will be.//
A little gambling is fun when you're with me.//
Russian Roulette is not the same without a gun,//
And baby when it's love if it's not rough it isn't fun."
-Lady Gaga, Poker Face
It is a game with many guidelines but only one (not completely) irrefutable rule: look but don't touch. And sure as hell no one touches Toby, not as long as Chris has him fixed in the impenetrable crosshairs of his dark blue eyes.
They play it dangerously, wantonly, and perfectly.
The game arises not out of a fight or a wayward attempt to spice things up, but making the best of a less than stellar situation. Although Chris would like little more than to fuck Toby (slow and steady or fast and furious) from sunrise to sunset (and then some), it is a difficult desire to make real with too many eyes upon them and little privacy afforded. It is a problem Chris would attack head on if not for Toby's staunch self-consciousness.
Even after lights out they have to be constantly aware of the hacks doing their intrusive rounds, peering into personal spheres where consent should rule supreme. Still they do what they can, pretending that it's just the two of them, discovering and rediscovering the ways their bodies rise, writhe and fit together.
The time is always too short. Not to be undone by it they learn to manipulate the daylight hours into an extended form of foreplay. Starting with morning count.
And that is the point when 'don't touch' first shows signs of courting exceptions to their rules.
Standing side-by-side, Chris keeps his eyes straight ahead at the other jokers who surely got an eyeful of his and Toby's nighttime escapades. That in itself is a rush, knowing that they know Toby is his, wants to be his, that Chris wants him back just as much; and everyone else can mind their own fucking business. With his peripheral vision he sees Toby to his right, head moving to follow Murphy down the steps.
Where Chris is overly relaxed gazing forward, he fights the small smile that twitches upon his lips at Toby turning to quickly look at him and then away. Chris sighs and breathes deeply, inhaling Toby's scent, a potent cocktail of pheromones and soap; no cologne to mask his natural aura since that only serves to distract. God knows Chris has licked, sucked, touched and smelled his way up and down that body enough times to ensure Toby understands what makes him growl with anticipation.
The second that count is finished and bodies start moving around the quad Chris breaches the first barrier and lightly brushes his shoulder against Toby's on his way to a shared table with O'Reily and Cyril, leaving Toby to return to the pod and figure out the next move.
The mornings are a mixed bag.
One would think that the bigger test is when Toby chooses to sit with him, but not close enough to have to avoid touching. Over cards with O'Reily who offers up a new round of Oz gossip, Chris flicks his eyes over to Toby (sitting across from him), who discretely meets his gaze but manages to ask questions that convey the impression he gives a shit about who got raped, shanked or is up for parole. Toby isn't the only expert at the two tiered conversation, but Chris is better at the strong and silent play, offering up the rare sarcastic quip, although it is for the benefit of seeing Toby roll his eyes in faint amusement and snort rather than add anything to the conversation.
Sometimes Chris just wants to toss his cards down, lean across the table and pull him into a long, hard kiss, but being this physically close to Toby also works to curtail the incessant need in Chris to wrap himself around the man.
Proximity can work in funny ways.
Distance does make the heart grow fonder.
When Toby stays away Chris is more finely tuned into his frequency.
It can be as simple as Toby dragging a chair away from the table to the closed door of their pod. Chris situates himself across from O'Reily so he can see Toby over his shoulder without being too obvious--although O'Reily casts him a furtive glance once in awhile that informs he knows exactly what is going on.
From this prime vantage point Chris can take in the sight of Toby that rushes his blood as much as having that body arched up against his on the bottom bunk does--his hair is long enough that it curls up at his neck, he is wearing a blue sweatshirt zipped up with the hood dropped back and just the peek of a white t-shirt at the neckline; one khaki leg is angled to rest over top the other, and a book is in hand. Chris loves the look of determined concentration on his face as if the words own a piece of him, but even more so when Toby subtly sticks his tongue out to lick his bottom lip. There's nothing accidental or subconscious about it. It is for Chris and Chris alone.
You know you want to kiss me.
And Chris does. In fact kissing Toby is the most mind altering experience Chris has ever felt and whether it's hard or soft he treats it like something monumental to be honoured. It is one of the greatest pleasures in his life, if not the one. It is the calming of the story that rages relentlessly beneath his sturdy surface and the passionate release of every want he never felt deserving of. The taste of Toby on his tongue, their lips curved around one another, is a natural wonder of the world.
Wanting to kiss Toby any time, any place, in front of everyone (as much to lay a claim as to simply feel the truest human connection possible) is one of the reasons for the game. Unlike Chris, Toby finds public displays of affection problematic. He has worked hard not to be seen as prey for the disturbed masses. And even with the adage 'once a prag, always a prag' generally ingrained within the consciousness of the prison's walls, it doesn't quite apply to him--fighting back and inflicting serious damage while maintaining a 'survivor to the end' attitude granted him an unexpected level of respect or at least admiration.
They both know that gestures of closeness can be read in a way that is detrimental to Toby's character and normally Chris wouldn't care but if he wants Toby for himself he has to stick within certain boundaries. The additional fact is that before Chris, Toby had never felt or truly been this way with another man (and vice versa, though Chris' experience was more varied) and he still feels the need to keep what they have to themselves, not to be tainted by the others. Their game allows Toby much needed space without feeling like he is denying Chris.
For Chris it all becomes part of the exquisite tease.
Of course there are times when he feels himself tested. It is with more discerning eyes that he watches Toby head up to the second floor and lean forward against the rail next to Said while they discuss whatever the hell it is the two of them talk about these days. Chris can't stand Said and a large part of that is jealousy. It is an irony not lost on Chris that he is most envious of Toby's friendship with a man who has absolutely no interest in knowing Toby intimately--physically.
But there is an intellectual closeness (even if it is self-righteous moral grandstanding) between Said and Toby that irritates Chris in ways he can't vocalize without turning it into a petty argument.
It is in Chris' nature to covet completely and unapologetically. With Toby he actually does try to rein himself in, however seeing him with Said, their heads locked together as they take in Em City, talking so seriously, gnaws a pit of annoyance in Chris' stomach. He regards the situation with a counterattack to Said's moves.
Sliding back his chair from the table to make his entire body more visible, Chris slouches back and stares up at the pair until Toby's eyes fall on his. Fixing a smirk in place, Chris keeps his right arm on the table and lays his left one on his lap, purposely resting his palm over his groin. He raises an eyebrow at Toby who appears to momentarily lose his train of thought before containing a smile and turning his attention back to Said who in turn casts a stern stare Chris' way.
The entire exchange is enough to twitch Chris' cock and he adjusts himself (while the image of Toby on his knees between his legs working his mouth and tongue around his hardened length flashes through his brain) when Toby glances his way once more. Victory is found when Toby is forced to turn his back.
Can't compete with that Said, so don't fucking try.
Tests of will are a constant battle.
It is not only the mix of Oz's various units that makes the cafeteria an anomaly in Chris and Toby's drawn out match. Where in other places physical obstacles between them are part of the symbolic landscape, the only time they have never sat next to each other in the cafeteria was when they were fighting, back when Chris was working for Toby's forgiveness. Being together means there is no question that side-by-side is the only option. It is a statement.
Sitting down, Chris senses Toby tense up and raises his eyes from the questionable food on his tray to see Schillinger and the rest of the Aryan jackasses looking them over from the food line. He recognizes the confused disgust in Schillinger's gaze, suitably furious and confused that two men he thought he controlled, still found love--salvation--with each other, out from under his thumb.
Sometimes a sarcastic jab is proffered as Schillinger passes and other times an eye roll suffices. Either way Chris is instantly focused back on Toby and the closeness of his body. They are more at ease in this environment, taking food off of each other's tray while Hill, Rebeadow and Busmallis have some inane but amusing discussion about past relationships and whether Sister Pete was wild in bed before she got in with God.
Chris loves the sound of Toby's laugh and the lighthearted words that can flow off his tongue. Despite the horrors of what he survived he still has it in him to smile, to be happy. Chris clings to that like a lifejacket. In Toby he sees incredible possibility, something he has never known before and there are times he wants to consume him whole, taking all that goodness deep inside himself. Other times he gets panicked as a stray thought--Toby will leave me--takes root and his eyes glaze dark prompting Toby to gently squeeze his shoulder with a look of concern etched on his face.
More often than not Chris simply likes to bask in Toby's presence, enjoying it with a smile on his face and light touches that induce contented sighs, quiet murmurs of appreciation and suggestive anglings into their shared space.
With night looming on the horizon the afternoons turn into the homestretch. When Chris isn't in the stockroom piling shelves and imagining what Sister Pete is encouraging Toby to confess about them while he is in her office doing data entry, he is in the gym stretching and strengthening his body, imagining Toby's eyes transfixed, silently drinking him in.
When they do work out together there are an onslaught of deliberate grunts and glistening bodies leaning close together while adjusting weights and spotting the other with very trusting familiarity. It is the raw and enticing stench of naked undressed musk and runaway daydreams when silence trips between them but their eyes hold firm. There are shy smiles and cocky innuendos when words act as revelations hinting at profound truths.
In two different states of dress (Chris in jeans and either shirtless or in a tank while Toby sticks to loose sweatpants and a t-shirt) they circle around each other, gazes trailing along the lines of the other's body. Chris knows Toby has no clue how hot Chris finds him when his soaked shirt clings to parts of his torso, stained dark under his arms and across his back. Chris has to stop himself from pushing Toby down on the bench and slowly working the wet shirt up his body, licking the pathway of skin that is revealed up to hard nipples that he sucks and gently grazes his teeth against, reveling in the sound of Toby's gasps and the feel of his hands grabbing Chris' hair; it is a siren song to Chris' cock.
Sometimes it can be better for them to be apart with Toby down the hallway staring at a computer screen so that neither of them ends up in the hole for an infraction that will cost them the night together.
Showers are a near coup d'etat. Chris makes no move to hide the desire he feels for Toby. Normally with others present Toby puts on a stern game face, but alone he draws out the act of soaping up his body, extending his arms and legs, rubbing over the curves of his ass and the semi-hard length of his cock, complete with a smirk that makes Chris groan. He always lets Toby leave first so that he can jerk off alone. If he does it while Toby is there they will surely end up christening the tiled walls and floor.
The simplest pleasures, however, are the most innocent to come by.
One of the things Chris enjoys most is something certainly not worth noticing by anyone else but them. It has been a long held habit that during tv time, while Miss Sally bounces her tits to the appreciative hollers of the prisoners, Chris always takes up the chair directly behind Toby. It is not that he is impervious to Miss Sally's perfect endowments but his interest lies elsewhere.
Chris' initial position finds him reclined in his chair with his legs spread so that they are almost on either side of Toby's chair. All Chris has to do is linger his gaze at the long line of Toby's neck when he notices the faint pink hue that rises across the pale skin.
Stop staring at me.
Not fucking likely.
I'm not turning around.
You don't have to.
Eventually Chris sits up and hunches forward, on Toby's right side. Toby slightly turns (as much a defense mechanism as acknowledging him) to look his way before directing all his efforts forward. For his part Chris makes as if he is going to whisper something then decides against it, instead shifting closer. He is fully aware that as amused as Toby is he also hates people seemingly right up against his back. It rankles his survivor's instinct and Chris wonders if one day Toby will spin around and either pull him into a rough kiss before storming away or punch him in the face. Both scenarios are plausible for Chris, though the latter requires more effort to achieve a mutually beneficial endgame.
With that said, fights lead to make up sex, something that he and Toby are not particularly gentle about.
The most fun takes place back in their pod when they are killing the hours until lights out. In the confined space it is impossible to avoid each other but the bright lights from the quad act as a taunting reminder not to press their luck unless they are extending invitations to unscrupulous eyes and knee-jerk judgments.
For a good while they read. Chris can count on Toby to stay on the top bunk, nearly immobile while he weaves through some novel. Chris starts with a skin magazine but soon enough tosses that aside and slips out a novel he has borrowed from the library and keeps under his pillow. The whole situation sounds boring but Chris enjoys the shared peace of the two of them together yet in separate worlds.
Chris can convince himself that he and Toby are more than fucking and hurting each other, that there is something sustainable and permanent between them; that they are long term simplicity and an eternity of complications. He wouldn't admit it out loud but he likes the domesticity of it all as a brief reprieve from the otherwise turgid reality.
When Toby eventually hops down from the top bunk the game shifts again. It is show time for Chris. He turns on his side, propping his head up on his hand and leaving the book on the mattress, and watches Toby go about washing his face, flossing and brushing his teeth, all the while constantly meeting Chris' gaze in the mirror with an indifferent expression as if the whole thing is no bother. By the time Toby is kicking off his pants and tossing his shirt aside, left only in his boxes, Chris is breathing heavy at every swallow.
With Toby leaning forward, his hands on the sink's edge and eyes in the mirror, Chris stands up and moves behind him. Their stare is unbroken as Chris reaches over Toby's shoulders with one hand for the toothbrush and the other for the toothpaste, effectively boxing him in, if only for a few seconds. He skirts around Toby, nudging their hips gently against each other and encouraging him to shift to the right.
Toby turns into him and Chris feels the slight rise and fall of Toby's chest against his shoulder and arm. Once finished with his own grooming routine Chris turns towards Toby, jovially raising his eyebrows, then steps back and pulls his shirt off over his head, tossing it to the floor behind him.
Chris has no idea how long they stare at each other, only that for however long it is the rest of Em City fades away and Oz becomes nothing but a distant thought. Chris can get lost in those eyes, the ones that have drowned in loss and hope, despair and betrayal, volcanic anger befitting vengeance, and absolute love.
The lights go out and Chris quirks a grin and begins to undo his jeans, only to have Toby rest his hands overtop his fingers, stopping his movements.
Holding Chris with a penetrating gaze, Toby says, "Let me."
The feel of Toby's hands as they slide to his waist is electric and Chris drops his left hand to his side (gripping Toby's wrist) and cups his neck with the right one. He can feel the small tremor that shakes Toby's body and the subtle flush of heat that stings his skin. It is all for Chris. After a brief pause he rests his forehead against Toby's.
Let the games begin.
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