Posted also on TS and Unit B.
When one's stuck, one tries boosting her ego by posting old fics...
Title: Go Straight to Hell, Boy.
Summary: A hypothetical season seven: Hill's not dead, Schillinger's not dead, Keller's not dead, but Cyril is, thought; the whole *Macbeth thing* never happened, Beecher is back in jail because of Keller, and, yes, he and Keller are off, definitely off. Season six ends, where Beecher, Keller and Schillinger are concerned, right after that discussion between Beecher and Chris in the gym in the 6-th episode; and that FBI agent does have that talk with Beecher at some point on.
Focused on Keller. And depressing as hell, as usual.
This fic was made possible by Erin's wonderful beta skills.
GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, BOY.
Time...timing. Deciding your entire life in one split second turned into eternity. Right in front of you like an endless sea - still, breathless, like an old photograph you can't even remember having taken, forever spinning in circles...that's what time is in Oz until you eventually die. Kaput.
And, fuck! you're still young, Tobias, it's gonna be a long time until you finally exit the scene forever!
Unless somebody does you a favor, first.
*Not with my fucking luck!*
And the thing, the THING that really gets Toby down more than anything is the fact that he put *himself* - eyes wide open - back in Oz.
He should have known better, but it was like he was blinded or something...
That *trust* (you know - the T-word!), that fucking feeling of believing in him.
He never thought, not for a second, that he *knew* Keller, but that didn't matter because he actually felt like the man cared about him more than anybody else, and that would only make Chris want for Toby to be happy.
And HAPPY is on the outside.
With his kids.
Or what's left of it.
Viewing Chris' actions and pleas through his own pattern of behavior, through his own mindset, thinking and believing that Chris wouldn't fuck him over like that, just because Toby himself wouldn't have done it to him, if the situation would have been the other way around...
Thus, ignoring the very first thing he should have known (and never have forgotten) about the whole fucking saga: Keller is *not* like him; he is not like Keller.
They're different...and that's what Beecher forgot long enough to land his ass back in Oz.
And even if this makes the shit he is in right now his own doing, his fault; he cannot, will not forgive or forget.
'Cause he trusted him. And he took that trust and used it, just like he uses everything, and all that they had between them meant absolutely nothing for Keller in that particular moment, walked all over it, like it was utterly useless, unimportant.
All that intimacy, wasted.
All that Beecher cherished the most. Thrown in the trash.
So Keller can go and pretty much fuck himself from now on.
It was over, couldn't be any other way.
All that tenderness, that soft spot in Beecher, had been broken into pieces, dissolved, leaving behind only that steel core Beecher always had inside, the one that had helped him survive in Oz the first time - smooth, untouched, untouchable.
A cold, emotionless, almost mechanical Beecher more ready than ever to make it out of Oz, like setting himself one all consumming goal that he would reach, one way or the other.
And he's not gonna stop at anything.
Sister Pete's office:
"You know, Schillinger is going to be moving back to Em City. Tim and I decided that, given the fact that he and Tobias have come to some kind of truce...
They have both promised to avoid each other. How do you feel about that, Chris?"
"What am I *supposed* to feel about that, sister?..."
The man standing across Peter Marie seemed unbelievably tired and broken, like a truck had run him over or something.
His face kept an empty expression, but she could see the tension behind those dark eyes. Keller was pissed, but something in his usual attitude seemed to have disappeared, like it had gradually poured out of his body...
Pete couldn't quite put her finger on it, though.
Still, that was one of his usual bored-annoyed *don't-wanna-tell-you-don't-wanna-think-a
Like he just wanted to get the fuck out of there.
"How is Bonnie feeling?" Pete asked, trying to get some kind of reaction across the desk, who was rubbing his face with his palms - like trying to scrub something off - hard.
"Listen sister, this is..."-- a beat, slowly breathing out, like surrendering-- "she's not well...she's not well at all. Hurts".
The word, so quiet, it seemed unsaid. His hands, covering his face completely.
And a moment later, the whole thing was over. Time had ran out on both of them, leaving Pete trying to ignore that odd picture of what did not look like Christopher Keller at all, and Keller himself to just...walk away. Go back to the wonderful surroundings of Em City and its wonderful, wonderful people.
The people he's gonna have to see every fucking day for the rest of his life.
Every motherfucking second.
Three bright and shiny days later, Vernon Schillinger, granddaddy of all that's pure and white and sparkling (you know, like your *teeth*, mint-fresh, all clean and...sharp, sweetpea!) puts his stuff on the top bunk in a pod in Em City, still wondering what the fuck was going through McManus' head to make him finally put him back in his golden cage (where he belonged in the first place).
Thank God, no nigger for a pod mate, just some stupid, mean, ugly-looking biker...he can live with that.
Turns around, looking at the crowd gathered casually in front of the TV, his cold blue eyes immediately spotting his favorite plaything, Tobias Beecher. His blonde head, his tense shoulders, like the fuck somehow knows he's being watched...by Vern, of all people.
They're supposed to ignore each other, that was the main condition for him to get back to Em City.
He can do that, 'cause he doesn't wanna screw up and go back to Gen Pop, that rat infested shithole nobody would ever want to end up in...and he can do that cause he's got Discipline.
*So fucking stop staring at him, then!...*
Instinctively, he looks around after his second favorite man, *Chris-to-pher*...and he's nowhere to be seen...nowhere near Beecher, that's for sure.
And that could work to his advantage, if he is to actually give it a thought.
(But for now, caution is his number one pal.)
Where the fuck is that slut, anyway?
Looks (as much as he can, from where he is) inside the other pods, and--Oh! there you are!
Lying down in his bunk...sleeping?!
That's fucking abnormal, in the middle of the day!
(But that bitch was always lazy.)
Wait, he's moving...he ain't asleep, no, he's just lying there!...
Something resembling a smile stretches across Vern's face while his almost-gone eyebrows raise dismissively: the bitch's in...*pain*.
Leaving his pod, Vern notices pretty much nothing has changed in McManus' little house of cards since the last time he'd been in it.
People (the ones that matter) still giving him proper respect (apparently), the others (niggers, spics, Sicilians - take your fucking pick!) and that shithead O'Reily...eyefucking him, just like he's eyefucking them back.
And Beecher, completely *oblivious*, like the man who raped him and terrorized his family wasn't even in the room!
Okay, if that's the way we gotta play this...so be it.
I can do it, let us see if you've learned anything about self-control, already.
(Hell, you've managed to get yourself back in here...you don't have that much self control, Tobias.)
But the man doesn't even look up, eyes locked on the TV screen, headphones on, not giving a shit about anything and anybody.
Locked inside himself.
And Keller, Vern finds himself realizing, is still nowhere in sight.
A whole day passes, things nice and cosy, then lights out, and Schillinger lays down in his bunk, kind of pleased, already sleepy, hoping the ugly fuck on the other bunk's not gonna snore,
(or he's gonna have to suffocate him)
when something hits him, making his body raise almost automatically, eyes locked on Keller's pod, all light and shadows, Keller's body still:
The fuck hasn't come out of his fucking pod all damn day!
---end of part 1/17---
GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, BOY.
Breakfast in the cafeteria:
"Man, look at Keller. He's a mess," Hill says slowly, like he's afraid the other man's gonna hear him - infringing on his personal space and shit.
And yes, Keller doesn't look too swell these days.
The man just sits at a separate table, all alone, staring at his tray, immobile, like he's not even there. Eyes lowered, all that self-confidence gone.
"His wife died," Rebadow murmurs, a hint of sympathy in his slow-running voice.
Beecher doesn't even look up, so Hill feels like he has to take over:
"You know, the one that he always talks about".
"The fat one?"
"Yeah, the one he married twice".
At which moment, Beecher asks, mildly interested:
"Yes, that's the one. Heard she was ill. She O.D'd. Took her own life."
An unexpected shiver runs down Toby's spine...'killed herself'...
Gen's figure, floating for a second in front of his eyes, like a ghost.
That silent uneasiness, like a constant feeling of being choked by long invisible fingers.
(--'Man, she really was sick...'--)
Beecher keeps eating, staring at his tray, not looking up.
"Now, nobody's ever gonna come to visit him," Toby whispers.
No more visits for Christopher Keller, the man's...forgotten.
Like he's already dead.
Toby feels everybody else at the table looking at him, not exactly staring, but still...so he lifts his head and looks directly at Chris, his eyes cold and blank.
Catches in the process the mocking glance of Schillinger, staring at the same man, eyes just as cold, but his entire being marked by a fixed grimace...which means the man is aware of Keller's state of mind, and enjoying every moment of it.
Beecher feels...nothing. Or at least, that's what he thinks.
"Yeah, no more visits for Christopher Keller."
While Keller seems completely unaware of that sudden attention, or completely uninterested...anyway, he really doesn't look good.
Some stupid A.B. fuck stops by his table, saying something that Beecher can't hear, and then laughs.
Keller raises his head, stares at him, like awaking from a long sleep,and then, slowly moves his head sideways, looking at Beecher...but not really looking at Beecher, but at somebody else...looking at Schillinger.
His eyes are dark, watery, like having been soaked in blue-black ink...says nothing, does nothing.
Just stares, looking through Schillinger, long enough for the other man to back down and break into a dismissive laughter, joined by everybody else at his table.
Still; what Beecher gets from this whole thing is the fact that Vern doesn't look back *once*, while Keller seems...lost, his eyes still locked on Schillinger.
Finally, he looks away, drifting over Toby for a second...long enough for Beecher to feel an immense, overpowering black wave of pain mounting behind his stare.
So Tobias does what he knows best: avoids him, looking right back at Rebadow.
"So, what, am I supposed to feel *sorry* for him, now?"
"Nobody here said that, Tobias."
Yeah, none of you said that out loud...but it's all over your faces.
"Well, I won't," he mutters.
Poor, *poor* Christopher fucking Keller. End of fucking discussion.
Still, that's not the end of it, 'cause this is Oz, and there's not a lot of shit to do around here but sit and gossip and watch TV.
And this was as good as anything else, even better.
Nobody ever really liked Keller,
(nobody really likes anybody in this place, to be honest...)
but it's not like the man was Schillinger.
So, without further ado, over a game of chess:
"Ya know, his mom offed herself too. Apparently he seems to have this kinda effect on women, huh?"
But Ryan doesn't smile like he's amused or something, just the usual smirk of his, that *I'm-so-tense-I-might-snap* bullshit he carries around.
Looking more and more like a clown, one eye smiling, the other in tears, but at the same time seeming somehow *older*, all dried up on the inside.
Slower than usual, like constantly losing the beat of the music he's supposed to be dancing to.
And, *that* particular aspect about Keller, Beecher didn't know.
Like he doesn't know pretty much anything about him, especially his family or his childhood.
And why is that?
Guess he never really gave much of a shit about stuff like that. Not like Keller did.
Sometimes, the man seemed to practically *feed* on family-parents-kids stories and info Toby would spill out anytime he felt like it.
Like trying to grab something for himself and never let go.
And by saying just that, Beecher seems to silently tell O'Reily to just change the subject.
Or shut the fuck up.
Keller's not something he wants to talk about. Not right now, not ever.
But Ryan completely ignores him:
"You didn't know? Man, didn't ya *looove bunnies* ever talk and shit?"
At which point, Beecher stares at him, that ugly stare of his:
"Are you gonna play...or what?" --a beat: "Keller doesn't like... didn't like to talk about himself much, not about his family, anyway."
"Well, she fucking hanged herself, that's what I heard...after trying to slash her wrists and do some *self-medication* of her own. Keller was a kid when it happened.
Apparently, she wasn't exactly sane, the picture-perfect mommy..."
(--'shit, Ryan, neither was yours - whose mommy is picture-perfect? Mine, probably. Or maybe not.'--)
"...and K-boy's starting to catch up with her, if ya know what I mean."
O'Reily was Keller's podmate now that Cyril had died, and even if they disliked each other on basic principle (too fucking alike for both their tastes), Ryan really didn't like this new Keller either - all quiet and still, like he had collapsed into himself.
Slowly - too-slowly - spoken words, monosyllabic answers - when he would actually bother to respond. Most of the time O'Reily would only encounter an uncommunicative, stubborn, constantly tired-looking man barely giving him any attention. An odd, annoying look on his face, like he was constantly trying to focus, to realize where he was and who he was talking to (or, more correctly, who was talking to him, *at* him).
Having Beecher not even looking in his direction all this time after getting back in Oz
(and damn right, the man had every reason to do that!) had gotten to Keller, but it was barely perceptible - he was just a bit quieter, more reclusive, he himself trying to avoid looking at Toby (but not quite succeeding), barely laughing or smiling, most of the time.
The toughness was still there, though.
Which was a good thing, a strong podmate to *watch* his back, so to speak - not that he expected Keller to do that,but...you never knew, while *staying off* his back - and in this particular area, O'Reily really didn't have anything to worry about, K-boy always seemed to just not care at all about that particular subject...his eyes set on someone else.
(--'Yeah! Like we all didn't know about that! Most entertaining soap-opera around, never a moment of boredom!'--)
But now, after this...well, it was...difficult to watch him not say a fucking word all day.
Or wake up in the middle of the night, bladder full, badly needing to piss, getting off his bunk, and a moment later turning and seeing him on the lower bunk, eyes wide open,
(and, man, did he look anything-but-normal, scary in the middle of the night, in that dim light, his eyes seeming bigger, deeper, darker...liquid)
not a word muttered, looking at him, through him...
Fuck, it had to stop, or he had to move to another pod!
It had started keeping O'Reily awake too. Like the air in that pod was filled with so much tension it gave him goosebumps - light a match and the whole fucking place would explode!
It was unbearable.
It took him some time to snap out of it and realize Beecher was saying something.
"...n't know what you mean".
His eyes still ugly, like: 'I told you to fucking drop it. So *drop* it.'
"Oh, come on, Beecher, *everybody's* noticed it except *you*?!"
(The underline being: 'Who the fuck do you think you're kidding here? You, of all people, should have noticed it first! If *you* don't know this poor bastard, who the fuck does?')
"He's...he's totally fucked up"-- Ryan's voice getting quieter, leaning over to Beecher, staring right into his eyes: "...last night I woke up and he was sitting on the floor, singing some shit 'bout going to hell...That's what I mean, Beecher, that's not normal."
"Oh, so he's going to hell again,"-- Toby smiling secretively and bitter: "What a surprise..."
Deliberately ignoring O'Reily's inquisitive stare:
And then shifting his position, leaning away from Ryan, arms folded across his chest, legs spread under the table forcing Ryan to pull his back a little bit.
(Oh! and *who* does this pose reminds us of?!)
"Listen, O'Reily, there's nothing I can do about your middle-of-the-night singin' podmate."
A sly, slightly amused look on his face, like imagining Keller's half-dazed half-asleep figure mumbling shit in the dark, hugging his knees to his chest, those long fucking legs of his, shivering.
""To be more precise, there's nothing I *wanna* do, so stop the shit you're trying to pull here.
Keller's *your* podmate, your problem, and if you don't like it, go talk to fucking McManus, or make him try kicking your ass so he'll get thrown in the Hole for a month...you'll get your good-night-beauty-sleep, and I'll get you off my ass and everybody's fucking happy.
Don't have to teach you how to make things go your way, now do I?"
('Cause. You are. THE. LORD. OF. THE. FUCKING. DANCE. Right? Right.)
Up, and off he goes, leaving O'Reily wandering what the fuck happened to the *other* Tobias Beecher, the guy that would give a shit even about Schillinger's pain at losing Andy...
And, yes, he is the lord of the fucking dance, and he would get his way, like always...Well, most of the time.
Most of the time.
Those completely unimportant moments, the ones that don't mean shit in the bigger scheme of things.
*Yeah, I know. I know.*
(Just like the rest of us.)
---end of part 2/17---
GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, BOY.
Lights out again, but this time it's Beecher getting into his bunk, not at all ready to go to sleep...
He fucking hates this early nighty-night shit of Oz's routine, always has...and there's nobody to talk himself asleep to...the idiot snoring on the lower bunk is like something out of a fucking cartoon, dumber than any other podmate he's ever had...nothing at all to talk to him about.
(and Toby can be very nice when he wants to...and most people do like talking to him, 'cause he's smart and knows how to give the impression he's actually listening and giving a shit...just like Chris, come to think of it)
all he got was some Christian shit about *fags-goin'-to-hell* and not-so-Christian shit about Beecher *better-keep-away-from-him-or-get-shanke
and that was the end of it.
Fuck it, is there *anybody* left in this fucking place that doesn't know about him and Keller, that doesn't automatically assume he's a fag wanting to jump on them any chance he gets?!
Just another *Keller legacy*, I guess...
And he tries, he tries so hard to fall asleep, not to think about Keller, that look on his face, that pain...that sign of weakness.
And weakness is deadly in a place like this, he knows it, Keller knows it, but doesn't seem to care anymore...or he just can't hide it...anymore.
Remembers, like in a dream...Chris was there for him, when Gen died.
(--'Yeah, he was there alright, wanting to get inside you enough to fuck you up afterward...or maybe not because of that...not *just* because of that.'--)
And, no matter the real motives behind that, he still *was* there for him, giving him the support nobody - not Sister Pete, not his family - really could, helping him go through it all, the very first time he had felt like someone actually cared about him, understood him.
Maybe that was because Keller knew what that meant, losing someone like that, all the pain and the guilt and the loss...all the rage and helplessness that came along with it, Chris had already gone through it and knew it all too well.
Go to sleep, Toby, go to fucking sleep!
Stop thinking about it, stop wishing...cause he did feel like walking over to Keller in the cafeteria, if only for a moment, just to let him know that he's *there*, that he understands.
But he didn't. He won't. He can't. Because he knows, senses it, knows too well where that might lead, and he's not gonna do that dance again - doesn't want to, in actual fact.
Yeah, he loved him, it's not that easy to go past that, to just ignore it.
But things have changed, Toby's changed.
And Keller and his pain aren't his priority anymore. Can't be.
And that mean voice in his head: 'Going to hell again, Chris?! You sure are going to hell, and going *through* hell right the fuck now, and you deserve it. Fucking lying back-stabbing cunt! Hope it burns and hurts just as much as you remember it.'
Still, the man was there for you when you needed someone to be...and now he's all alone. Nobody giving a shit. Not in this place.
And the same night, *upstairs*, Schillinger's tossing and turning in his bunk, not quite able to get any goddamn sleep whatsoever! Punching his pillow, silently cursing the ugly fuck (oh, yeah, that's his name alright!) starting to snore beneath him (and yes! he snores), his head filled with thoughts going round and round like a fucking record player.
Keller's really messed up, otherwise what's with those weird looks he keeps throwing at him lately? Fuck! He doesn't ever look up at Beecher anymore, but keeps fucking staring at Vern any chance he gets - what's that all about?
(--'Or, maybe you're imagining things, Vern, you know, *fantasies*!'--)
Oh, fuck off!
The last thing he'd want right now would be having that sorry-ass slut down on his knees, sucking his cock every time Vern thinks he wants him to!...
But, still, that look on his face, like he's all *lost* again and shit, just like way back in Lardner, those eyes...what?
Begging?! And for what exactly? A way out? Of what? And by what means?
Schillinger knows that look on Keller's face, that numbness, that pain, that daze, like he's back on drugs again, (maybe he is, wouldn't be a surprise there!) begging (yeah, *begging*!) for Vern to *force* him to snap out of it...or kill him.
But Vern's not gonna do any of those things 'cause he wants to keep his record clean and stay in Em City, naturally.
He can go find his fucking *comfort* somewhere else. Hell! Who wouldn't wanna be the beneficiary of Chrissie's *expert services*? Not him.
(--'Oh, really? Than what's that half-boner in your pants, then, Vern-O?'--)
Yeah, well, the slut's really good at what he does, gotta give him credit for that, way better than Beecher. But then, Beecher's not a fucking fag nor a professional 'ho like little Christopher here...and that was the best part about it, cracking him wide open like a fucking watermelon.
Stop thinking about Beecher and that other fucking prag already, Vern! Or you'll make yourself crazy or something...obsessed.
Vern sits up in his bunk, looking - and not *quite* looking - at Keller's pod...he can see that skinny shithead O'Reily on his feet, waving his arms and yes! There's my boy, on the lower bunk,
(as usual...we all have our place, top/bottom, that's how you define yourself, that's what the whole thing comes down to, really)
sitting down, those long, gorgeous
(--'Aw, Vern, ya didn't just say that, did ya?!'--)
legs of his stretched all the way onto the floor, his hands on his knees, slowly, absently smacking his palms together...
They're talking about something...well, that fucking Mick's doing the talking, Chris just looks...tired, nodding and staring down, rubbing his face with his palms once in a while.
What the fuck are they talking about?!
(--'And don't ya just wish you could have supernatural powers and turn into the *all-hearin'-supersized-human-ear* Vern?'--)
Goddamn it, you're starting to get on my motherfucking nerves! Shut up!
But whatever they were talking about comes to an end pretty fast.
Ryan waves his arms again like: 'What the fuck?!'-- and jumps back into his bed, and Keller...Keller gets up (what the fuck?!) leans over O'Reily's bunk and...
A slice of pure darkness hovers over that part of the pod, and all Vern can see is Keller's white knuckles on the side of the bunk...
What the fuck is that?
Then crawls back into his bunk, obviously mumbling something,
(again, Vern can't hear...'Goddamn it! Goddamn it to hell!')
and goes to sleep.
Not that he sleeps much these days.
And so does Vern, but not to sleep, not yet...
What the fuck was that?!
Back to your chain of thoughts, Vern - ya know, the one that keeps you busy... Alive.
Still, it would be *interesting* to see Beecher's reaction to the whole thing, not to mention the high-quality jizz he'd get from pragging, excuse me: *re-pragging* that manipulative bastard.
(--'But is there any *jizz* in that, really? Pragging a man you've already had, already fucked and fucked over in any imaginable manner? And who? A gone-half-crazy slut like Keller? The man has his moments of power, gotta give him that, and it's not like he's the laughing stock of the quad - he's dangerous enough not to be crossed by anybody. Except Beecher, that is.'--)
If-- just *hypothetically speaking*, Vern-- that slut actually wants you back, if you haven't gone completely nuts here, Vernon, you would have to make it obvious and painful, for everybody to see just who's the Man, who's running the show...
'Cause that bastard's big and strong, certainly *taller* than you, and that's not something one should ever ignore...
Besides, he's a whole lot older than that 17-year old Keller who could take getting fucked up the ass every night, kicked in the gut and slapped around just for the fuck of it!
(--Because Schillinger's no fag, and that fucking kid needed to just learn his place and stop smiling like a retard, like he's *enjoying* everything happening to him.--)
And that could be a big problem...it's kinda weird pragging someone Keller's age, 'cause, let's face it: two men like themselves, it would look kinda *faggy*...and it's not like he can make Keller put fucking make-up on and pretend he's a girl...
A fag, yeah, but not a girl...
And he doesn't want to be seen around a fag, now, does he? No.
Amused and annoyed at the same time: 'Fuck! Come to think of it, not even Beecher looked that much like a girl with make-up on...but Keller would be much, much worse, ugly as hell... And that slut might even enjoy it, given Keller's sick, twisted character...the bitch gets off on getting crushed and humiliated, getting punished.'
That, Vern surely does remember.
Gotta find the right measure...otherwise things could get really nasty, unstable, easy for Keller to turn everything in his favor.
(--'Or maybe it's a trap? Did ya stop to think about that, Vern, or are ya getting hard all over & panting already? Use your fucking brain, not that very, very eager dick of yours. Maybe he doesn't want you to fuck him up the ass every goddamn night, maybe that's not his supreme desire - or anybody else's for that matter.
Maybe what he wants is to fuck *you*. Over, that is. Ever stop to think of that?'--)
But Vern can't ignore that swelling in his shorts...it's been a while! And the ugly fuck snoring in his pod is definitely out of the fucking question, that's for sure!
Just too fucking...disgusting for his taste.
---end of part 3/17---
GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, BOY.
Now: a moment to analyze Vernon Schillinger's pattern of thinking.
Sure, it is obvious Keller's not exactly prag material, not anymore - too fucking old for that - but was he ever?
Schillinger sees the entire idea of pragging someone as imposing, forcing himself on someone who naturally doesn't want that, never would even conceive it, that's the beauty of it all.
You fuck someone who doesn't wanna be fucked, you humiliate someone you know feels that humiliation deeply, eating away at his soul, changing him completely...
That's the real *brand* Schillinger leaves behind.
Cutting through his prag like a hot knife through butter, leaving nothing as it used to be, imposing his mark, his Schillinger-Vision on that certain someone.
Nobody walks away intact, unchanged, after meeting the man...and Beecher, even if that little bitch had fucked him over pretty seriously, was an example of the morphing power Vern had over people.
His strength spilled over onto everybody else, giving the A.B. the self-confidence it needed to survive and keep intact that belief of theirs in...*whatever* Schillinger kept telling them,
(most of those idiots would be throwing themselves nose-first into the first tits they saw, without Vern's watchful eye on them)
and breaking down any shred of opposition coming from any of his prags. Or fuelling that rage one might need to survive after being dumped on his sorry-ass by Oz's own personal Fuhrer, for everybody to scavenge on his already broken corpse...
Whatever it was, the man was powerful and dangerous, everybody knew that - it was a God-given fact!
But you can't just lay back and expect for that to last forever, *nothing* lasts forever...thus, the pragging.
'Cause it's not like the Big White Man needs to get off, nooo...It's not like he needs to get some kind of a sexual release from fucking another man...No.
Pragging someone (along with the sexual favors that come with it) is all about power - showing you're still the king of the castle , lord of the manor and all that shit...and you prag someone who's not a fag, in the first place.
No joy in *making* a cocksucker suck your cock...makes no sense.
No logic. No jizz there, that's for sure.
So, where does that leave Keller? The bitch used to be soooo good at that, *all that*, Schillinger suspected even from the beginning, way before actually finding out from *authorised* sources, that Chris was no prag material, let along A.B. material...
And what a mess that particular indiscretion left behind for Christopher...after trying so hard to cover it up, to avoid having the whole thing ever surfacing...that, that particular moment was worth it, a perfect opportunity to show that bitch that *Vern* was the one running the show, holding the leash...he was the one doing the 'dumping' part.
(--'Ha! Like Keller would have ever thought of dumping you, Vern, like he ever could've... Get a fucking grip here and stop spitting out lame reasonings, get to the *real* motives.'--)
Never interested in the ideology, no true passion whatsoever, hanging out - when he thought Vern didn't notice - with fucking everybody(!): from fags to drug dealers, Jews and yeah! Even some almost-white nigger Keller liked exchanging magazines with...and then going all innocent, like: 'Hey, man, I wasn't *exactly* talking to the guy...'
The whole A.B. giving Vern that ugly squint, that 'check your prag once in a while, Vernon, the bitch's starting to grow fucking balls'.
And Keller acting all kid-like, wide-eyed, that 'Who? Me?!...' expression on his face - like the fucking prick didn't even know what was going on!
But he knew, and whether it was something he was doing on purpose, or just simply reacting like any street-raised stupid white kid with absolutely no interest whatsoever in *The Big Racial War* Vern kept talking about (not an A.B. bone in his entire body, if Vern were to be honest about it - the kid just didn't have it in him), the whole thing only proved the fact that the bitch just couldn't help himself...
An itch - deep inside Keller, something he had to be aware of.
(Shit! It got him into a lot of trouble, it got him getting punched in the stomach every once in a while, he must have been aware of it!)
Something that (possibly) he could not control.
(Or maybe didn't want to - that being his last shred of fucking dignity...if the bitch had any in the first place, ever.)
Something that made him shiver once in a while, his whole body like a volcano waiting to explode, some kind of a humming noise vibrating through his every muscle; eyes all dark, bigger, *freaky* (that's how Vern saw them, anyway).
A burning desire to just break away, to just disappear. To just blow the fuck up, like an A bomb or something, and take everybody away with him for the ride - just for the fuck of it!
Barely perceptible: hate.
Pulsating through his whole being.
('Cause nobody wants, nobody likes, nobody...-- what, *needs*?! Needing and liking are NOT one and the same, not even needing and wanting...-- to be *that* with anybody, *for* anybody, for Schillinger...Not even Chris. Especially Chris.)
And that was probably just as true as any other thing about Christopher Keller, the man who knows how to fake everything so fucking well, he himself finds it hard sometimes to *remember* who he really is...not to mention the haze everybody else find themselves groping through, blinded, completely dumbfounded.
Always pushing, just a little. A small push to Schillinger's shove, a slightly raised eyebrow, an almost invisible mocking twist of the corner of his mouth.
Allowing himself to *move* around like he wasn't really someone else's entirely, just some whore you pay and fuck - no *commitment* whatsoever, always seeming on the edge of...putting out for anybody who would give him anything.
Strutting around like he owned the fucking place, strutting around like a free-licensed whore, no pimp required.
(And, secretly, Vern admired...no, better said - *enjoyed* that, like watching a freak of nature...like watching Tobias Beecher, a fuck of a lot of years later, and for markedly different reasons.)
And probably/definitely that was Chris' strategy all the time, applying it with Schillinger just to get and keep him *interested*.
(that, and the sex, of course)
Like he almost wanted Vern to get really pissed and angry, demanding punishment, that half-joke/half-insult tone of his voice making its way into Schillinger's brain like a whip, forcing him to respond the only way he knew how.
Beating the shit out of him, snapping at him hard and quick, and then watching - more horny than annoyed,
(blood shooting up even faster than during the punishment, filling up his brain 'til it hurt, making his cock practically INFLAMED with expectation)
as Keller - that *freak* - would crawl on the floor on his arms and legs towards him, like a fucking cat, his whole body shivering, tension barely kept locked behind his blue eyes, lowered in submission,
(And yes, hate too, but Keller seemed to hide that better than anything else.)
spitting blood through those bruised wicked lips of his...smiling, SMILING!
Like the whole thing was one big fucking joke or something!
But Schillinger learned quickly that that stupid *grin* of his was only a sign of nervousness, of pain, of fear, an automatic reaction to any kind of pressure, something that gave away his attempt to keep things (and himself) under some kind of control.
And after that, Schillinger knew he was gonna have himself an amazing *blowjob delivery*, like the beating somehow would make Keller...*Made* Keller.
It felt almost like a private dance went on between the two of them - Keller needing abuse, pushing Schillinger enough to receive it, to make the other man respond, and then putting out, doing his very best to make it up to Vern for crossing him...or letting Schillinger think he still had to *force* Keller to put out by beating him. 'Cause that's what you do with a prag, and things would be way too boring and...(--faggy?!), if Keller would actually put out like a girl, without previous fist-fuelled persuasion, once in a while, or just the usual bully attitude Vern loved (always had, always will) to display...
A very twisted *tango* in-fucking-deed!
But everything turned into shit, 'cause the thing Schillinger expects from the people surrounding him, the one thing, above all, is obedience.
An acknowledgement of their own status, and the act of profoundly assuming that status.
The man being such a control-freak and all...
(--'But, deep down, do you really want that? Or do you think you want that 'cause it's a whole lot easier, and the whole idea carries with it assurance and power? Stability?'--)
And that's what both Beecher and Keller failed to show him, some goddamn motherfucking OBEDIENCE!
It ain't that fucking hard, you're given the rules, clear and easy to understand,
(though not that fair and not that easy to follow)
and specific limitations - a couple of things one should never forget. And all you gotta do is *know your fucking place* and stay there!
And both his ex-prags failed miserably at that particular requirement.
Schillinger always suspected the reason behind Beecher's indiscipline had something more to do with his addictive personality than an unconscious need to continually defy his owner, breaking the fucking rules... And this belief came from the fact that he saw Beecher's drug abuse as the main obstacle in turning him into the picture-perfect prag...thus, *ignoring* (deliberately) the real issue - Beecher's seemingly endless capacity to *keep himself*, the parts of himself that really mattered - only to himself.
(Until Keller, that is.)
Therefore - looking at it from this perspective - it would seem like Vern's the one who miserably failed at *getting* to his prag, at really owning the man...not exactly the kind of thing Schillinger would admit to.
But maybe what Schillinger did was simply to fuck a guy who didn't wanna be fucked, brand him, toy with him 'til the poor thing couldn't cope with it any other way than to get stoned up to his eyeballs, before getting bored and tossing him aside, like a broken puppet...once he had gotten everything he wanted;
(or talked himself into thinking he wanted)
once he had squeezed the last drop of dignity out of the man he'd pragged.
Something he *failed* to realize was not true at all. With Beecher.
Keller, on the other hand, was a different story.
Schillinger always felt like the whole *Keller business* could not even be labeled as 'pragging', not because there was no humiliation included, or rape.
(Or - better said - something *resembling* rape, Keller was always so cunning you never really knew whether or not you were being played big time, you know - steered around by your dick.)
Because it left a sour taste in his mouth - even when he was fucking the slut - some kind of a feeling of not really getting anything *important*, anything that mattered to Schillinger, and especially to Keller.
Beecher's loathing, his repulsion, his fear always seemed genuine, the shock, the wide-eyed
*this-isn't-happening-to-me* feeling was there, at least at the beginning, in full-force...and Schillinger *lived* for it, adored every moment of it.
All that seemed like a cheap trick with Keller, and when Vernon finally realized (or told himself it was so) that all of it was just an *act*, meant to keep the appearance of what a prag is supposed to be in the first place...well, he discovered with some kind of a pleased perverse surprise that he enjoyed this act...
He liked the kid because he was smart enough, experienced enough to pull this kind of a stunt on him, but, at the same time, discovered also that that sour taste in his mouth came exactly from that.
Sure, he was pissed - he was being played by a fucking 17-year old, but that wasn't all...
Because Vern (as Keller already had guessed) doesn't get any pleasure from catching prey that never had any *intention* of running away in the first place.
You don't get to *break* something that is already broken.
And finally finding out *all* the indictments that had landed Christopher's ass in Lardner (something that the young man had tried so carefully not to reveal) proved to be the fucking cherry on the goddamn cake...
'Bye-bye' A.B.; 'bye-bye' sucking Vern's cock for a living, 'hello' sucking *everybody* else's!...
Thank God (for Keller) it all happened close enough to his own personal 'bye-bye' Lardner.
That was the problem with Chris: if it hadn't been Vern, it would have been somebody else, anybody else.
And that's the *real* downer. The sour taste. For Schillinger. And probably for Keller, too.
---end of part 4/17---
GO STRAIGHT TO HELL, BOY.
Almost a week later: O'Reily and Busmalis arguing over some newspaper article, Rebadow watching the debate with that detached amusement of his - the three of them sitting at a table in Em City. Doing pretty much nothing, as usual.
"I'm telling you, he's not married to the chick 'cause he's a fucking faggot!"
O'Reily's voice, annoyed enough to seem like a squeal, smacking the paper on the table:
"How fucking complicated is it to understand that, old man?"
"Apparently, complicated enough", Rebadow mutters, shifting his gaze onto Beecher, approaching the table.
The man seems strangely sprightly, like his former lover's state of mind is acting like some kind of energizer on Beecher - that flame twinkling in his eyes - burning a bit brighter.
"Tell him, Beecher, isn't this jerkoff gay?", Ryan says throwing the paper over to Beecher, as the man drags a chair and sits at the table.
And Beecher doesn't even recognize the man in question, doesn't even know any of the movies he's been in.
"Oh, come on, *you don't know*! Fuck, Beecher, you know everything, tell him, the guy's a fag!"
"Honestly, O'Reily, I don't even know who the guy is! And why should *I* know if he's gay or not?"
Beecher's tone is dismissive, bored. But...shit! This is Ryan O'Reily here, ladies and gents, the man's not gonna quit until the whole fucking table agrees with him on this one. And Toby seems himself kinda *high* (and feels like that too), so he's interested in a challenge. Just to see Ryan squirm:
"Give me the paper again...Yeah, I think I saw one of his movies...The man's like fucking Rambo or something, kept kicking some guys' asses in that one. At one point, I think he'd killed over 50 guys...and the movie wasn't even near the end!"
Smiling, bluffing like a gambler, 'cause Toby surely hadn't seen any such movie, had no idea what the fuck he was talking about in the first place.
"Yeah, 'Private Soldier' or something, that's the name of it..."-- shaking his head, a slow-spreading smile on his face, eyes on O'Reily: "Nope, Ryan, sorry...don't think the man's a fag...He's married to some Swiss model or something."
And with that, O'Reily seems to be suddenly going up in flames:
"You're full of shit, Beecher, you don't even know what the fuck you're talking about."-- his voice settling down, like pouring water over that particular fire: "There's no fucking 'Private Soldier' movie... Fuck! You're not the *type* to watch shit like that anyway...'Swiss model' my ass!..."
"What the hell is 'Swiss'?" Busmalis asks dumbfounded.
"You know, from Switzerland."
"Oh! And where's Switzerland?"
Both O'Reily and Beecher breaking up, Rebadow smiling lightly:
"Well, that's debatable."
A bit later, Ryan kicks Beecher's shoe with his under the table, slightly pointing at something in the direction of Schillinger's pod.
And Toby follows instinctively O'Reily's gaze, frowning just a little.
Keller. What the fuck's he doing?
"Something's goin' on over there..." Ryan mutters.
The two men talking - Schillinger sitting on his top bunk, Keller leaning near the door. Cool, casual conversation, or so it seems. Or so it would seem to anyone not knowing the whole ugly story. And those two could never be just *casually* talking. No fucking way.
"Fucking shithead, doesn't say two words to me, but suddenly turns into a fucking chatterbox with Schillinger."-- turning towards Beecher: "What do you think that's all about?"
And Beecher looks away, sensing Schillinger's eyes all over him, like a laser beam. But not Keller's. And that's kinda weird...annoying, if he really wants to admit it to himself. Alarming.
"He wouldn't be thinking..."-- giving Toby that grin of his, like an open wound: "What do you think?"
Beecher - pissed and suddenly unamused, hating that grin, that self assurance - like O'Reily knows everything and Beecher has to also know everything...
(--'Cause that's why you stick around, right Ryan? Because I'm not an idiot. Just like you. So, stop bullshitting me, and just fucking say it, or shut the fuck up. Really don't feel like *guessing* your thoughts, right the fuck now.'--)
Looking back up again, and meeting Keller's hollow gaze, just for a second.
The man, looking at him just because Schillinger had made him, Toby could have placed a bet on that one.
Biting his lower lip, that weird annoyance again:
"Maybe your wish's finally gonna come true."
"You know, your beauty-sleep... maybe you'll get rid of him sooner than you mighta thought."
Ryan - raising his eyebrows, a weird, sick look on his face, meeting Toby's *I-don't-give-a-fuck* pose:
"You *like* this?!..."
Sour smile, looking more like a snarl now...looking at Rebadow, across the table, *knowing* that the other man knows.
"Maybe you should talk to him, Tobias."
(--'Yeah, maybe I should...But what the fuck is he doing with Schillinger out of all people? Fuck him, he's a fucking adult, he can make his own fucking decisions, it's not my job to...whatever.'--)
"Looks like he's got other people to talk to."
Schillinger's eyes all over him, again. If only for one burning second.
"I want back."
The words seeming truly unbelievable to the older man sitting on his bunk - like in a dream or something.
Sure, he had suspected this for quite some time now, had thought about it night after night, always coming up to a similar conclusion: 'No. No fucking way. Not with *you*.'
That being his brain talking, you know, the one *upstairs*!
"What the hell are you talking about, Keller?"
Seeing the other man leaning over the glass wall of his pod, his arms falling slack, defenseless around his body. Like giving up.
"You know what I mean. I've thought about it...you're in Em City, there aren't that many Aryans here. You're kinda left out in the open, you need someone to watch your back." -- shrugging: "I'm here."
And the man was pretty much right...only two Aryans in this mouse trap. But then again, who would be stupid enough, who would have the audacity to...
Give him the proverbial *evil eye*?! Ha! Almost everybody.
(--'But that's normal, you're still breathing, Vernon.'--)
Fuck with him?!
O'Reily does it.
Beecher does it...used to...not anymore.
(--'And that kinda pisses you off Vern, if you're truly honest with yourself.'--)
"I don't need you *watching* my back, *prag*. I'm OK by myself."
Ignoring Schillinger's third most favorite pet-name, carefully choosing his words:
"Come on, Vern, we...I'm not implying that you're weak or something, I would never do that, but... You could use an extra hand."
"You?!..."-- Schillinger's eyes suddenly turning icy, his tone playful, looking over at Beecher, for a second: "And what exactly would you be willing to do for me, Chris-to-pher?"
"Whatever you want."
Looking straight into his eyes, not flinching once.
(--'Come on, Vern, you know what I'm saying here, we've been through this shit before, I know you want it, so...just *come out* and say it. You fuck.'--)
Watching Vern's lips curling up into that particular grimace of his - his eyes sliding over Chris, again looking outside the pod, into the quad.
Looking at Tobias Beecher.
"This could be interesting..."
Thinking out loud, still staring at Beecher:
"What about Beecher?"
"What about him?"
And Keller feels like he just *has* to turn around and look at the man in question, just to back up his dismissive tone. Locking eyes with him, only for a second.
And it still is painful. Like having your heart ripped out of your chest every-fucking-time. Guesses a small part of Toby feels the same. Still.
Raising an eyebrow:
That lazy fucking tone of his - the one Chris remembers so goddamn well - a tone he'll probably carry inside 'til the day he dies (and beyond), like a wound that never quite heals, that you never let heal.
Always seeming a bit bored. Deceiving. So fucking heartless, it hurts.
(--'A wound on your heart, honey, ain't that romantic?! Like a scratched cornea. Or a swastika on... That's the one! Shit you never forget, shit that never forgets you.'--)
(--'I think everybody in here's figured that out by now.'--)
"Well, I guess FUCKING *you* was always a whole lot more fun that fucking that whiny junkie slut. You being so...experienced and all."
(--'...used to being fucked, all the time. Well, most of the times... Shit! I guess even ol' To-by got to see that sweet ass of yours a whole lot more than you got to see his, cupcake.'--)
Bringing the F-word into question...but Keller just seems to take it as the most natural thing in the world. Not flinching, not for a goddamn moment.
"I guess it makes sense..."
A perfect circle.
And now Schillinger's all smile, that daddy-like benevolent look of his in full force:
"Yeah, I guess it does..."
(--'Still the same, right Chrissie? Still the same fucking slut. And God, did I miss looking at you and seeing *that* all over your being!...
'Cause it does hurt, I know it does, even if you probably can't even recognise it anymore, given all you've done and all that's been done to you. Probably think it's all natural, just the way it is, the way it should be. Easy to control... But it ain't. You should at least remember that.'--)
Unable to help himself:
"Still as *good* as you used to be, right?"-- a beat: "Bitch."
Like a slap in the face.
'Man, do you know how to do that! But...been there, done that...already know, ummm...what's to know', Keller thinks.
(--'All about you. All about me.'--)
"Nobody's complained yet. SIR."
And that fucking word seems to do magic on Schillinger, like always:
"Okay...you'll have to do something about the ugly fuck sleeping where you should be...I'll leave it up to you, cupcake."
One more gaze over at Beecher, but the man's gone.