A Case of You
By: Clio

"Your in my blood
Your like Holy wine
So bitter & so sweet"

Forgiving Keller had been hard for Toby. Now, lying strapped to a hospital bed, just a few feet from Shillinger it seemed like it had taken forever. At night, in the hospital, lying in the darkness and the silence there was nothing to do but think. Mainly, think of Keller. In truth, he had thought
of little else but Keller since he met him. Even in the darkest moments when he wished the hardest to forget him, he couldn't. Even after Keller's betrayal had been revealed, after he participated in breaking Toby's arms and legs, still he was all Toby could think about.

At that time, though, his thoughts continually shifted between loving and hating Chris. It became a strange war inside him, a war of emotions; love and hate locked in battle with each other, in the middle lay Chris as the prize.

Whichever won determined what he would do to him. The war raged on a long time, even after he stabbed Keller it still played out, though he thought that would have ended it. It still lingered after he got his revenge on Shillinger, through Andy's death. Even after his conversion to Islam, the war between loving Chris and hating him continued on. Raging endlessly, until one clear moment, when finally forgiveness came and love won out.

He was shocked as hell, when he found his love for Chris had won out, he thought that after all that had happened it never stood a chance. He had hated Keller for so long, all he wanted to do was hurt him. Lash out at him, break Chris' heart the way he had broken his.

He couldn't leave him though, he could never bring himself to cut Chris out of his life completely, and Keller was dead set not to let him. He lied to himself...a lot, said that he let Chris hang around to torture him (that was partly true) or he needed his help to get back at Shillinger (true enough). Told himself Keller just wouldn't leave him alone (completely true), or he had to make sure Chris didn't hurt anyone else (like Sister Pete). The real reason was that he longed for him, somewhere deep inside there was an ache for him, that he cursed every day. He hated that feeling, but it was so strong it nearly brought him to his knees most of the time. He fought it nearly every minute of every day, tried to steel himself against it, but it never went away, no matter how hard he fought it. It was stronger than he was.

And Keller he never gave up no matter how hard Toby pushed him away, he had remained steadfast, he wouldn't give up. He was determined to win back Toby's trust and his love. He had risked so much confesing to breaking Toby's arms and legs; implicating Shillinger and Metzger in the process. Then he went even farther by helping Toby and O'Reilly in the plot to kill Andy. He just kept coming, kept trying. He had even messed with Sister Peter Marie, in an attempt to regain access to Toby's life and his love.

All the time though, Toby was blinded by hate. His hatred of Shillinger and for Keller himself. He hated Keller for his betrayal, for the lies, for the pretense of who he was, and for breaking his heart. After the attack he wasn't even sure he had ever known the real Keller. He didn't know how much was real and how much was an illusion created to attract Toby.

In the months that had passed he saw the real Keller breaking through. His desperation, his pain, his longing, and even his love. That look of love in Keller's eyes had been the hardest to see, harder still was the love that he felt inside himself.

With Said's help he realized he had to forgive Keller and Shillinger. It took everything in him to go to Keller and tell him that he was sorry, that he forgave him, and to ask for Chris' forgiveness. When Keller embraced him immediately, he knew that Chris had forgiven him right after he found out that it was Toby who stabbed him. Realized that he held no grudges towards him for anything he had done, figured that it was what he deserved, that it was necessary to balance things out.  Toby knew it when Chris told him he loved him, he even found he could say it back, but its full meaning he couldn't handle. He knew that when he felt Chris' breath on his cheek and
heard him say, "Kiss me."

That was too much, he couldn't face that yet. He couldn't handle that level of forgiveness. He couldn't bring Chris that closely back into his fold, he couldn't risk that kind of intimacy again, not yet. The thought of it made hot tears start to come and panic well up inside him. All he could do was try to bridge some peace and get away from Keller as fast as he could. At that moment, he had said he forgave Chris, but he hadn't meant it. Forgiveness didn't come until later.

When forgiveness came, it came quickly, in a flash of a moment, frozen now in his memory. It came there in the gym as he found himself falling to the floor after he had been stabbed by Shillinger. It came as he saw Chris one second protecting him by fighting the Aryans and the next second shiving Shillinger before he had a chance to stab him again. It came as he saw the
desperate look on Chris' face as he rushed to his side, making it before he even hit the ground. It came when he saw the color drain from Chris' face and panic set in as he tried to stop the bleeding in Toby's side. In a matter of seconds it came, the emotion washed over him. In that moment, the love for Chris won the war, over his hate for him.

Things happened so fast though and he had so much to say. Between the pain, the shock, and the SORT team rushing in he had no time to say any of it. One minute he was cradled safely in Chris' arms and the next Chris was being clubbed, and everyone was being dragged off to either the infirmary or solitaire. The forgiveness came quickly, but the understanding of why came to him slowly.

It came as he lay strapped to that hospital bed. Strapped down, so he couldn't get near Shillinger. Shillinger, in kind, strapped to his own bed, so he couldn't get to Toby. Spending several days with nothing to look at but Shillinger, things became clear to him. Events crystallized and understanding entered into the picture. It became like looking into a mirror, in a way. To get back at his enemy, he had become him, employing the same tactics to exact revenge that had once been used on him.

Stabbing Keller, pushing him away, and cursing at him every chance he got had been the equivalent to Chris breaking his arms, legs, and his heart. The manipulation of Andy with the help of O'Reilly and Keller, had been his revenge on Shillinger, and the equivalent to Shillinger's manipulation of him. Having Shillinger kill his own son had been his ultimate revenge, Shillinger would have mostly himself to hate for it.

Toby hadn't factored in that he would actually like the kid, that deep down he was really a sweet kid, corrupted by a terribly father. He hadn't factored in his own guilt. Those random things that he couldn't factor in were the toughest to bear, the things he had the hardest time dealing with, because he hadn't prepared himself for them. (Still loving Keller through it all had been one of those random factors that he hadn't counted on.) Those random things that brought him so much guilt he couldn't stand it, were what drove him to his conversion to the Islamic faith. Drove him to asking, almost begging, Said for his help, to teach him. He saw the whole process now and that it may had some purpose, to lead him to this moment. It still hurt so much to think that such painful things in his life might have some purpose and something to teach him. He was not ready to delve into too deeply, yet.

One thing he did accept and understand, though, was that Keller did love him. That was clear now, his stabbing Shillinger without a second thought for himself or the consequences, all to protect Toby made him see that. See that it had been there all along, it had been evident since the moment he got out of the hospital and returned to Em City after his arms and legs had been broken. It had been there, but he had not been able to see it. Too many other things clouded his vision. Too many emotions were mixed up inside him to see what was inside of Chris. He had needed more than words, he needed actions to prove to him that Chris meant he was sorry and that he truly did love him. Keller did love him, that fact was simple now, also that Keller forgave him and why.

Keller held no illusions about himself, he knew what he had done and accepted that he wasn't a saint. Toby had seen himself above the others here, better in some ways. Felt he didn't belong, had no place among them, but he knew differently now. He was no better than anyone else here now, his actions had made him fit right in. In order to survive, he had become one of them, he learned how to be one of them just to stay alive. Dominance was the key to survival here and you had to be seen as a threat to have any kind of respect and to not be eaten alive.

He realized he was no longer Keller's moral superior, as he had been the last time he lay here immobile in a hospital bed. Now he and Keller were about even. They had hurt each other equally and in similar enough ways to strike a balance within their relationship. All the lies and pretenses were gone now. Each knew exactly who they were dealing with and what both were capable of. The veil had been stripped away and their love for one another remained.

There was so much to say and he had no idea where to start. How to begin to say he was sorry. Sorry things had gone so wrong, sorry for them both. That morning he was being released and he had to figure something out. Find some way to tell Keller that what he did to him was wrong and that he did love him.

As he rolled that thought around in his head he suddenly remembered where he had heard it last. It was the same thing that Keller had said to him after Toby's last release from the hospital.  He realized, he truly was equal to Keller now. So sorry for hurting someone he loved, who loved him. Growing more desperate by the moment to figure out how to begin to make up for his behavior. Desperate to prove that he was sorry and did love him.

He had till the morning to figure out a way. That long at least, to decide what to do. Just how to say all that he needed to say.


Keller had been thinking a lot during his time in solitaire. Thinking about his life and the events that led up to his being here right now. Most of it was too much to bear and he couldn't change any of it anyway. He thought so much of Toby and most of his other thoughts led back to him somehow.

He was so afraid for him, he had no idea how bad he was hurt, and could only get that he was going to be alright from the hacks. He had been so afraid when Shillinger stabbed him, he barely had time to think. One minute he was fighting off some Aryan fuck and the next he heard Toby scream.

He turned just in time to see the blade coming out of him and Toby falling to the floor. He knew Shillinger would come in for another assault and this time he would make sure his aim was truer. He only had time to react, to shove his shank into Shillinger fast and bring him down quick. He didn't even look back to see Shillinger fall. He kept his eyes on Toby the whole time. He so desperately didn't want Toby to hit the ground, everything in him wanted to catch him. He managed to make it to his side by the time Toby hit the ground, at least.

As the circle of blood on Toby's shirt grew larger, Chris' heart pounded louder and faster. Panic started to set in and if he had been thinking clearer he would have pulled off his own shirt and used it to compress Toby's bleeding side. The site of Toby's blood on his hands was almost too much to bear and made his head swim. He had no idea how bad Toby was hurt and the thought of the first time he was able to hold him in so long being his last nearly made him faint. If he had had a second longer he would have screamed for help, the panic was growing so great. By then, the SORT team had rushed in and he was being hit with a nightstick and ripped from Toby.

He had paced all night long, in that cell by himself, and begged the hacks for what information on Toby that he could get. The site of Toby's blood all over him sent him into a kind of shock. He would stare at it almost unable to comprehend what it was at first. His mind unable to wrap itself around just how much pain and fear was rushing through him. He couldn't sleep or eat, the site of the blood and the fear prevented either. He didn't want to take off the shirt at first or clean off the blood.

He calmed down eventually as the pain and fear let go of him. Clarity of thought entered in and he knew standing around with that blood on him did nothing. It didn't keep Toby alive or make sure that he was alright, nor was it healthy for his state of mind to stare at it. After a while, he couldn't stand the shirt on his body or the blood on his skin. The blood began to burn in his mind, like it was acid. It became a burning itch on his skin that he could no longer stand. He feared it would consume him like fire. He had to get the blood off. He ripped off the shirt and flung it into a corner. He scrubbed his arms and chest till no traces of it were left. He tried to cleanse it from him mind too, but that was impossible. It was burned in there, etched into it, that moment. Forever, there sealed in by the pain and the fear that had gripped him for those first few hours and days.

The following days nearly drove him crazy, the waiting and the unsurity of how bad off Toby was. He was certain he would be OK, he had to be, anything else he couldn't bear. He knew he would feel responsible forever if he died, blame himself endlessly for his part as the catalyst to this whole thing, all that had led up to this moment.

While in that cell he decided he wasn't going to push Toby anymore. Toby nearly dying made him realize the extent of how much he cared for him. If he needed time that would be fine, if he never came around, and didn't want him back, that was fine too.

He found himself bartering with God, whatever he wanted just to make sure Toby would be alright. He wasn't becoming religious, or anything, he was just desperate and there seemed no one else to ask for such help. In the desperation and worry he decided that he could stand loving Toby from a distance, as it were, for now or maybe forever. Once he was out of solitaire and had a chance to see Toby again he had no idea how would feel. He would just have to wait and see.

"Go to him
Stay with him, if you can
But be prepared to bleed"

How to say he was sorry came to Toby by the morning. When he woke up he just knew. The one thing to do, the only thing Keller wanted him to do. Let him back into his life. Let him come back, back to the pod and the proximity of him. To no longer push him away, but to pull him closer.

As they led him out he had it set in to his mind what to do. Then he saw Said, yet another person he had so many things to say to. So much to tell, but with one look he knew Said could tell there was a change in him, that he was finally able to forgive Keller and love him again. That happiness, in some way, had entered his world again, at least as close as you could come to it in Oz. He didn't have to say it all right now; there would be time later.

Right now he had another matter to attend to, something he had to do. Go to McManus' office and ask him to let Keller move back into his pod.

When he left McManus' office he was on his way to find Keller, to see if he had been released from solitaire. McManus said he should have been by now. He stepped out of the office to find Keller with one quick glance to the right. He yelled to him just as he stepped out of the office. He had been watching him from across the way. Watching him was something Keller did
often, it had become a habit of his to watch Toby from afar.

The conversation that followed seemed stupid from the get go and neither could seem to manage to say much of what they actually meant to say. They danced around what the actual point of the whole conversation was. Though, they couldn't manage to say exactly what they meant, what they did say got to the gist of it all out. Their words were laden with meaning and each knew what the other was really saying.

It seemed the hardest conversation either of them had ever had. Words got so twisted they weren't even sure what they were saying after a while. Keller wanted to tell Toby he was glad he was alright, safe, but all he could manage to say was, "Hey, you're out." Toby couldn't manage to say much of what he wanted to either, when he wanted to tell him he was glad to see him, all he could get out was, "Yeah, you too."

At the end of the conversation Toby was just glad that he had managed to get out some kind of thank you to Chris for saving his life and found a way to let him know things had changed. He found the best way to say it all was just to tell him that he asked McManus to let him move back into his pod. He understood, got the whole meaning of it, for that Toby was truly glad. Toby wished he had said he was sorry and that he did love him. He just couldn't, not there.

What he felt was to much to get out all at once, especially out in the open, where others could hear. Not that they had done such a great job hiding what they felt or what was going on between them. Everyone pretty much knew, it was a humorous topic for many both were sure.

Keller understood, he knew what he meant. Things had changed and he was loved again and forgiven. It was amazing how so much seemed to be said in so few words. Standing there staring at each other a vast expanse between them both seemed to be breached, both the literal one and the figurative one. It took everything in them to contain their emotions and put up a good show, too much was mixed in there. Holding it in took a lot, but to the other nothing was hidden they could see it all.

The emotions that were etched onto their faces spoke volumes and said the same thing over and over again. I am sorry. I love you, forgive me. It was like a reflection before them, of their own pain, loss, longing, and recapturing of emotions they had long suppressed.

Today was the last day of the New Year and it seemed the perfect time for everything to change. Change seemed to be in the air. It was the day everything would change.


Getting out of solitaire was a reprieve from getting no information on Toby. Back in Em City he was able to get enough info from the other prisoners and the hacks to know Toby was OK and getting out soon. He managed to find a guy who worked in the infirmary who told him that Toby had been released that morning. That he had been released already was a relief and meant he was doing a lot better. He had to find him though, see him with his own eyes to know that he was going to be fine.

He wandered around for a while until finally he caught a glimpse of him in McManus' office. He wasn't sure why he was there, but just seeing Toby again thrilled him. He just stared at him, watched him move, as he had so often. He had taken to watching Toby from afar almost as a hobby, he had been caught a few times, but more often he went unseen. The longing inside him welled up, he wanted to keep the promise he made to himself in solitaire, but he had to hear him say something to know he was alright. Fear had been eating him up inside for days and now so close to him he had to say something.

When he called out to him he was relieved that he even turned and came over to the railing. Something had changed in him he could tell, but he wasn't going to push it. Beecher thanked him for saving his life, but he couldn't take the thanks very easily. He felt responsible for too many things to do that. He hoped Toby had more to say, but he seemed to be a little bit closed off, maybe things hadn't changed so much. He was going to walk away and let him make whatever move came next. He didn't expect it to be right then, though.

When Beecher called out, "Keller", it was the way he said it more than the word that froze him in his tracks and caused him to turn around. He had said his name softer and with more emotion than he had in months, there was almost a pleading to it. Chris hadn't realized that maybe he had been a little cold back, but the tone of Toby's voice seemed to say, Come on don't be that way. He hadn't been aware of it, but he probably had been a little cold, too. He wasn't sure what Toby wanted to say, that maybe they could be friends again was the best he could hope.

It hadn't even come into his realm of thought that Toby was wanting him to move back in, that he was ready for that. He understood what Toby meant and knew there had been a change in him, he was able to forgive him, this time he really did. It wasn't something he said, but didn't mean. This time he hadn't even managed to say it, but he knew that was what he meant.

He had been about to give up on the idea of ever being unconditionally loved. Of anyone ever being able to love him for who he was and forgive all the stupid mistakes he was bound to make along the way. The change he saw in him included an understanding of Chris that he hadn't anticipated. Unconditional love he had finally found it. Now if he could just manage not to do something stupid that would break Toby's heart and cause him lose him again, that would be a minor miracle.

Toby was the only person to know exactly all of what Chris was capable of, not just know it, but to have experienced it first hand, and still to love him. The knowledge that such a thing was possible was almost overwhelming. He had almost given up hope on it and was never really sure if he would ever get it, now here it was and all he could do was think God, don't let me screw this up. I love him so much, God, just don't let me fuck this up...

It was like a silent prayer to be reprieved from his own stupidity and thoughtless crap that always came back to bite him in the ass.


The whole day seemed to be filled with Toby and Chris growing closer again and still managing to say little of what they meant. They were on tentative ground, neither knew what to say and were afraid to say the wrong thing, for fear everything would fall apart. Too often they just found themselves looking at each other, too much to say and neither ready to hear the worst or the best of it.

They got Chris moved back in quick and managed to avoid each other for a good bit of the day. When Shillinger approached them and the group at their table at lunch things got a little bit tense. Toby couldn't stand listening to Vern's shit and couldn't believe the others were willing. Said had been right when he said things were getting bad around Oz, tensions were mounting, and Shillinger wanting to recruit those he hated most into his alliances proved that all too well.

Things had sort of been balanced in Toby's favor for most of the day, he had been the one to take Chris back and the ball was still in his court. It got lobbed back to Chris when he practically ordered Chris to leave with him, when he wanted to escape Vern's racist bullshit. Chris had decided to stay not so much to hear Vern, as to get some power back.

To let Toby know that it wasn't going to be that easy and he still had some anger to get over too. He wasn't his dog he could call and expect it to jump. Chris' guilt over what he had done to Toby had kept him from dealing too much with what Toby had done to him. He didn't hold a grudge, but there was a little anger and hurt in there. He had forgiven him, but he had to know that Toby wouldn't run the first time their relationship was challenged. He had left, but he hadn't changed his mind about things so he felt relatively safe.


The situation evolving in the prison just seemed to be getting worse, even the hacks were getting in on the race war that was about to erupt. By nightfall the hacks were tightening the reins, the prison was in lock down, and the SORT team was everywhere.

Inside the pods the day mostly ended quietly and the coming of the New Year was no big deal. Just more time in Oz.

Neither Chris nor Toby could sleep yet. They were both still up as the New Year came in, waiting for the lights to go down. Still so much to say and no words to say them. As Chris stood over the sink Toby watched, his heart pounding louder by the moment. Once the lights went down they both knew what was going to happen.

Keller stood there looking at Toby's reflection beside his own in the mirror. Wishes of Happy New Year were exchanged, when they meant to say so much more. Chris turned around and they stayed in place just looking at each other for some time. Everything about them both spoke too much of how badly they wanted each other, always had really.

They had to wait till things calmed down a little, though, and the SORT guys weren't paying so much attention. The few minutes it took until things were calmed down enough that they wouldn't be noticed, seemed to take forever.

Toby couldn't take being up on the top bunk anymore, not when he wanted to be nearer to Chris. Once down they both just stood there looking at one for a long moment. Toby tried to say something, but words failed him as emotions got caught up in his throat. He was going to have to learn how to talk to Chris again. They were both going to have to learn how to talk to one another again. Toby just felt so ashamed of his behavior over the past few months. He wished he were more sorry for it and thinking that he couldn't meet Chris' gaze any longer.

Fearing he might lose Toby there for a second when he looked away from his eyes and knowing that the pain was welling up in him too much. He could tell that look, when Toby was getting too lost in his own pain and guilt. He had seen it to many times. He decided to narrow the distance between them. Just before he reached him Toby put out his hand and placed it on his chest. At first Chris worried it was to stop him, but another step towards him found the arm slack. He wasn't trying to hold him off, he was just touching him.

He needed to feel Chris' heat, the beat of his heart, the taut muscle beneath his hand. He just had to touch him. Had to make that connection, not make Chris have to be the one to make all the moves. A wave went through his arm, he wasn't sure if it came through Chris or him. He liked the thought that it came from Chris, that there was an exchange of energy there. More than just heat, something in their souls.

Chris kept moving closer still fearing that Toby might pull away or tell him to stop at any moment. He got no ill response, so kept moving closer until they were inches from touching. He took a deep breath, wanting to feel Toby's hand move on his chest as he drew it in. Wanted to feel the resistance in his arm adding a light pressure, feel him touching him again, finally.

Toby closed his eyes, desire welling up inside him so much he could hardly stand it. He felt Chris lean his forehead against his own for a long moment that seemed to sweet. He opened his eyes as Chris moved his head away. They were so close now that Toby could feel the heat from Chris' body as his chest rose and fell with each breath. Their hearts were pounding so loud they wondered if the other could hear it, the pulsing blood was also gaining force in their groins where a heat started to become a burn.

Chris couldn't take it any more he had to touch him, he thought something might explode inside if he didn't. This was his first chance to touch him truly out of passion, both sober, in no pain (physical or emotional), and both of them wanting the other's touch. He softly laid his hands on Toby's sides, Toby grimaced as he touched the wound on his left side, but Chris didn't move his hand. He hadn't placed his hand there on purpose, but he didn't move it, though. He wanted to let Toby know he wasn't going to hurt him anymore, that it was alright, he could be trusted. He was relieved when Toby didn't pull away either, only glanced at his side and then back into Chris' eyes.

Toby slid his hand up Chris' chest to find a resting-place for his hand at the nape of Chris' neck. The whole moment sent a tingling electric fire beneath Chris' skin. Looking into Toby's eyes he couldn't take much more. He leaned in for a kiss and to his surprise and delight he felt Toby's hand on the back of his neck guiding him to his lips. The kisses were soft, sweet, and gentle exchanges that shot fire through them. He let Toby kiss him, he had waited so long and wanted him to so badly for months and now finally he was. Toby's hands on his face, his lips slowly, beautifully kissing him.

Toby licked Chris' lips to coax them into parting so he could slip his tongue deep inside his mouth. They slipped their tongues across one another in a gentle dance. Whatever they couldn't say with words actions were conveying. Toby felt Chris squeeze his shoulder with one hand and felt the other slip around him. Their kisses deepened and they slipped their arms around each other in a soft embrace.

"Your in my blood
You're my Holy Wine
You taste so bitter and so sweet
I could drink a case of you
And I'd still be on my feet"

Soft gentle kisses and hard passionate one that devour a part of your soul, they indulged in each and every variation in between. They held each other so tight, one might think they were trying to prevent the other from getting away. As if, they might disappear into some dream if they didn't hold on for dear life. They shared those long lingering looks that tell of exactly what they both wanted. A hot breath on the neck like a whispered promise of things to come, kisses laden with the fire and heat of the soul. Souls touching. Electricity surging, burning like wildfire from head to toe.

The passion built up to a level so high and loud neither could resist it. They had touched, caressed, kissed, and worked their way to a fiery moment where one of them would have to take an action. Both had lingered wondering who would be first to assume the power, make the move that would cement this moment in their history.

Love was difficult for them and this moment had been emotionally hard to arrive at. One more step and they were over the edge, the stakes were fast about to get higher. The moment was closing in where they would have to move toward sex or postpone it for another time. Consummate their relationship now, at this moment...or halt and save that for the future. The heat between them begged to be spent and their groins ached.

Keller knew it would be him, he would have to make that first move. He wasn't sure Toby could let go at that level, that he could be the aggressor right now. Chris slipped his hands under Toby's shirt and allowed it to catch in the bends of his wrists and be drug upward as he ran his hands over the smooth, firm flesh of Toby's chest. When he almost reached his shoulders Toby grabbed his wrists and stopped him.

He became assured that Beecher was about to pull away, stop the dance. When Toby removed Chris' hands from his chest, he felt anger surge up in him. The anger was quelched when Toby lifted Chris' arms above his head and slipped his hands under Chris' shirt. He pulled back from him for the first time, long enough to remove his shirt. Then Toby pulled him closer and they got lost in yet another kiss.

The act of removing Chris' shirt seemed to bring clarity to Toby, the pain within him that had been stirring for a while began to well up, causing the fire in him to die down and he did pull away.

Keller had almost convinced himself that Toby wouldn't pull away, but from the start he had feared it (would have till the end, even if Toby had never pulled away). A moment before he had been angry at the prospect, but now he was just sad.

Toby stepped around him and stood before the sink and grasped it sides He scarcely realized Chris's shirt was still in his hand. Why? Why? Was the question that surged up in him. One question that he had never asked and was nearly exploding inside to let out, to know the answer to.

Chris leaned his head against the cold metal from of the top bunk. So close, so close. He was determined not to let the moment pass, to not lose whatever was left of it. He turned, pressed his body against Toby's and slipped his arm around his waist. He lay his forehead on the back of Toby's neck and registered a shiver run through Toby's body from head to foot. It was subtle, but he definitely felt it vibrate off his own body. He thought he had lost him that moment for sure. The thought hurt so bad he almost cried.


"Just before our love got lost you said:
'I am as constant as a Northern Star'
And I said: 'Constantly in the darkness,
Where's that at?
If you want me I'll be in the bar.' "

It was easy for Toby to break free of Keller's grasp to turn to face him, he hadn't held on too tight. When he faced him Chris saw some of the old anger and pain in his eyes, that it killed him to see. Even in the dim lights it was apparent everywhere on his face. Oh God, he thought, its coming.

The fury sprang out of him, but it wasn't as bad as Chris had expected it to be. His voice tinged with anger and pain, softened by love, he simply asked, "Why?"

Chris pulled back a little to better see his face, "Why, what?"

Toby's eyes searched his face, "Why did you do it?"

Keller was unsure of which it Toby was referring to; the kiss, the touching, loving him, fighting to get him back, breaking his heart, breaking his arms and legs, he wasn't sure which.

Toby's eyes hardened, "Why did you go along with Shillinger and break my arms and legs? When you were in love with me?"

Keller bucked at the question and stepped away. "Jesus, Toby. Are we back to that? Can't you Goddamn leave it alone?", he said as he plopped down on the bottom bunk. He buried his face in his hands to hide the frustration building up inside that was so strong it made him want to scream, from showing. "Can't you just fucking forgive me for it and us move on?"

Toby bent down in front of Chris and pulled a hand away from Chris' face and took it into his own. "I do forgive you Chris, I just have to know why. If you loved me, why did you do it?"

Chris rose up and pulled his hand away from Toby's, "Fuck." He leaned his back against the wall and said, "You really want to know? Do you really?"

"Yes, I do," he said as he eased into a sitting position on the bunk.

Keller knelt down in front of him and said, "To make you stop loving me." He stood up and paced toward the door, hardly able to face his next statement. "I am a piece of shit. Don't you get it?" Pacing back by the mirror he could barely stand hid own reflection, "I don't deserve love," he said harshly more to his own reflection than Toby.

Toby got up and placed his hand on Keller's shoulder. "Yes, you do," he said to the reflection of Chris in the mirror.

Chris disagreed, " I'm so worthy, huh? What makes me deserve it? What have I ever done that was worthy of it?"

He shrugged Toby's hand away and backed against the wall. He folded his arms across his chest in defense of any words Toby might have to the contrary to his next statement.

"I treat everyone like shit, so that they never have time to figure out what a piece of human shit I am. I chase them away, to save them the trouble of leaving."

He couldn't stay in one place, he felt trapped inside, he wrapped his arms tight around himself and sat on the bed.

Toby turned to look at him, "If you wanted to chase me away so badly, why did you come after me? Try so hard to get me back?"

Chris hugged himself as tight as he possibly could, "I was in love with you and for once I wanted to be worthy. I didn't want to hurt you anymore, I wanted to make up for the hurt I caused you. For once I loved someone enough to really be sorry for the bad shit I had done to them."

He blurted out the truth barely realizing it was in him. " I wanted you to forgive me and take me back. I wanted some Goddamn body to know me, really know me and love me for it for once. In my life I  never gave anyone a chance to leave me, I always left them first and by the time I did they were glad of it. My ex-wives never even knew me like you do, just what I'm capable of. You know what a horrible shit I am and I wanted you to love me anyway."

Chris railed at the thought he was about to speak, "I love you for who you are and I wanted you to love me for who I am, for the real me. You only knew part of who I was. I wanted to know if you would still love me once you knew it all. I wanted you to love me unconditionally. To know all the bad shit I was capable of doing to others and to you. To know that I am a fool who figures things out to late and by the time I do things are too far gone to be fixed. I screw up royally most of the time, I hurt people intentionally and unntentionally a lot of times. For the first time in my life I was really sorry I had hurt someone and wanted to make up for it, so badly I couldn't breath. I loved you and wanted you back it was that simple. You changed me, changed what I wanted. I wanted your love, that was all. For the first time in my life, that's all I wanted from anyone." Tears rolled down his cheeks for the first time in forever, he hated for anyone to see him cry. Now he couldn't avoid it.

Toby sat down on the floor in front of Chris andaned the back of his head against the sink. "Do you want to know why I forgave you?"

Chris wanted to say no, but couldn't bring himself to say anything. He was still too busy fighting back hot tears to speak.

"I sat in that hospital bed and realized that I am the same as you are. I hurt you, I manipulate Shillinger into killing his own son. I realized there was no difference between you and. I have done the same shit to you andShillinger that you did to me. My doing it and reasons for it were no better than that Nazi fucks. I hated you for shit that not only was I capable of, but I turned around and did. I hated myself for what I was capable of. The truth is, I am a piece of shit. The only difference between us is that you forgave me andpt on loving me. I just had no fucking clue you had hurt me for the same reason I had hurt you. To make you stop loving me."

He ran his fingers through his hair, "It's easier to love someone than it is to be loved by someone. I wanted you to stop loving me, because I couldn't stand who I was. I've never been able to stand it, that's why I pumped myself full of booze and drugs for years. I couldn't stand who I was. Once I got out of the hospital, after what you and Vern did, I had so much hate in me I couldn't see straight. I didn't know what I was doing for the longest time. I was just hurting people. It wasn't until Andy died that it all started to sink in. Through it all I loved you, even after I stabbed you and the whole time I was pushing you away. "

He thumped his head against the sink to feel the pain, "I tried to stop, but I couldn't. Not after what you did to me or any of the stuff I did to you. I couldn't. It was in me and I couldn't turn it off, I didn't really want to. I wanted to be loved by you as much as I wanted to love you. I showed you what I was capable of and I was sure after that you would stop loving me. I kept wondering if I did one more thing to you would that be the last straw. I wanted to know if after
all the bad shit I did to you could you still keep on loving me" he laughed in disbelief, "and you did."

The irony that they had both been beating the hell out of one another physically and emotionally for the same reason was almost too much for Chris to bear. He ached inside and couldn't bring himself to ask to be held. He couldn't manage to do anything, but hold onto himself, tight.

Toby shook his head to shake himself out of the stupid mood that was coming over him. He hadn't wanted this, the pulling away, losing one another before they had barely found each other again. He moved close to Chris put his hand on his biceps, for the first time realizing how tightly Chris was holding onto himself. " Chris look at me. Look at me, please."

Chris didn't want to, the tears were still coming and he couldn't choke out any words.

Toby touched his chin, trying to coax him to meet his gaze. His head was raised, but his eyes were closed. Toby wanted him so badly, now more than ever. He leaned in and flicked his tongue across Chris' lips, a gentle motion as much out of heat and desire itself at to get him to look at him.

The soft lick surprised and caught his breath, Chris opened his eyes out of a start. He was staring into that deep blue now, that was almost green, like the ocean.

Toby's breath nearly stopped as he looked into those deep green eyes of Chris', nearly got lost in the pain, so a reflection of his own back at him. Yet again he was there before Chris, looking into his eyes, and he had the same thing to tell him that had begun this odyssey so long ago. "I love you, Chris. I do forgive you. And I am sorry for everything I have done." Tears started to come for Toby now as he said he was sorry. For he really meant it.

"I...love you Toby. I am so sorry for all I did to you. For hurting you in so many ways. I forgive you for what you did, too. I love you." He reached out and wrapped his arm around Toby and pulled him to him.

"I love you, " Toby said once again. "I'm sorry."

"So am I, " Chris replied. At first, they hadn't been able to say anything at all of what they meant, now they couldn't say it enough.

Chris slid off the bunk onto the floor with Toby. He couldn't stand not kissing him right now. He kissed his soft, shaven cheek and felt his own kissed. They worked their way to one another's lips and kissed again and again.

Soft kisses that became deep and passionate. The feel of a smooth tongue coaxing lips open to allow it entry. The kissing, touching, and caressing seemed to last forever. Then Toby pulled away, "Wait."

Chris thought, God, now what. But he was only stopping to remove his shirt and toss it, along with the one of Chris' he still held into the corner.


"Remember that time you told me
Love is touching souls
Well surely you touched mine
Cause part of you pours out of me
In these lines from time to time"

Firm bodies pressed together, feeling flesh on flesh for the first time in a very long time built the passion up. Keller slipped his hand onto Toby's neck and used his thumb to tilt his head back. He placed hot kisses on the side of his neck. Soft licks and gentle bites and sucks, just enough to make Toby moan.

Toby slid his hand slowly up and down Keller's side feeling the soft/firm ripples of muscle and bone. Chris still kissing Toby' neck, his shoulders, and the top muscles of his chest. Toby slid his hand onto Chris' neck and glided it softly onto his cheek. He leaned in and placed kisses on Chris' forehead, those gorgeous eyes of his, and his soft cheek. He couldn't take anymore he pulled back and eased Chris onto his back on the floor. He kissed his lips over and over and then he began to work his way down his soft neck to his chest. He kissed his chest and caressed it beneath his hands, pushing against the taught muscle just so he could feel its firmness. He paused over a nipple, licked it, gave it a soft suck, and then a gentle bite and tug that made Chris laugh in pleasure. He slipped over to the other nipple, lingering longer over it. He licked it seductively, making a slow circle around it and then a slow lick from bottom to top, looking up to see Chris smile and put his hand over his face to contain his pleasure. He bit the nipple hard to startle Chris and then kissed it with a smile.

The thought occurred to Chris that maybe he should get worried when Toby bit anything, but he let the thought pass with a wicked smile. Opting for trust and liking a little of the danger in not knowing. The perverse little thought made his cock throb and he laughed a little.

Toby worked his way down his chest, planting kisses and licks along the way. He raised up when he came to his jeans so he could unbutton them. He looked at Chris as he unbuttoned and zipped them, smiling knowingly of what they were about to do. Chris lifted his hips and Toby moved to the side so he could get them off in one fell swoop. He tossed them into the corner with the shirts, leaned over and kissed Chris on the thigh, just to see what it would be like to kiss a hairy leg. He rather found he liked it.

He wanted to remove Chris' underwear, but he liked the tease of them being on for a little while more. He leaned over and kissed Chris on the lips again, feeling Chris slide his hand up his thigh to his penis. He slid his hand back and forth over it, feeling the hot erection for a moment through the boxers and then cupped it in his hand, gently squeezing it. He squeezed hard enough to make Toby grimace in pleasure.

It made Toby all the hotter, as fire shot to his brain. He slid Chris' hand away and brought it to his lips to kiss it. He then began to remove his own underwear, Chris stared at him for a moment liking to watch the way Toby moved and then removed his own boxers. They sat for a moment staring at one another, long legs stretched out, chests heaving, their cocks hard arching for relief. Chris leaned in kissing Toby's neck and chest. He kissed him on the lips and cheek. He brought his hand to Toby's neck as he kissed his lips and let his hand slide down Toby's chest till he found the waiting erection. Wrapping his hand around it, he gave it a soft squeeze. Toby closed his eyes tighter and moaned. He loosened his grip and began to slide his hand up and down its length, heat growing inside Chris over the smooth/firmness of it. He kissed Toby on the neck and then made his move to kiss the throbbing erection. Toby let him kiss the tip of it once and even lick it before pulling him away and saying, "No."

Chris felt disappointment wash over him until he looked up and saw Toby smiling at him. He lifted Chris' head up and kissed his lips then lowered him to the floor. He leaned over Chris and kissed him once more before rising to his knees. He looked down at the man's eager erection, he wasn't sure he could do it, but he wanted to. He looked up at Chris, " I've never...I mean not without being forced to. I never..." he trailed off not knowing what to say.

Chris raised up, "It's OK, you don't have to, if you don't want to. I can or we can do something else, if you want to." Chris touched his neck and kissed his cheek. "No, I want to," he said as he guided Chris' hand away and urged him back to the floor. "Are you sure?"

Chris said softly as he eased down, still holding Toby's hand. Toby nodded and Chris rested there wondering if Toby could bring himself to do it. Somewhere in Toby he hoped some good experiences of love making with a man would balance out the bad ones, making it ever enjoyable.

He loved Chris and wanted him so bad. Toby didn't want this to be something he had to force himself to do. He let the site of Chris fill his eyes and held only the thought of him and his love for him in his mind. He slid his hand along Chris' cock teasing it. He slipped his hand onto his balls and caressed them, watching Chris' face as he arched his head back. He leaned over and kissed his balls, it was a start. He kissed around his cock, kissing his hips coaxing himself up to it. He felt awkward when he kissed the tip of it and shifted his position to feel more comfortable.

He kissed it again, this time less sheepishly. He licked the tip of it and then slipped the tip gently into his mouth and out again, trying not to be too quick in his movements. He heard a breath escape Chris, he must have done something right. He kissed down its length, teasing him. He then began to lick it along the sides up and down. Chris reached and held onto his shoulder, giving it a squeeze. Toby smiled, he was getting into this and beginning to like the power of it. He took a breath and upon its exhale slipped Chris' cock into his mouth.

The hot breath followed up by the soft lips surrounding his erection made his back arch involuntarily. Toby liked the feel of the smooth skin and hard muscle in his mouth. He sucked it, letting his tongue and lips do equal the work. He had never liked doing this, but it was never because he wanted to those other times. This time he did want to and it was turning him on as much as it was Chris. He wanted it for once and that made him like it.

Chris gripped Toby's shoulder with one hand, hoping his grip wasn't too hard, and with the other he ran fingers over the soft, short velvet of Toby's hair, wishing he had more to run his fingers through and to hold onto. Toby worked until Chris came hard, with a heavy moan, pulling back as he felt the hot, wetness enter his mouth. Chris' body went slack and pleasure swept over him. Toby came up and kissed his lips, then reached for a towel that hung on a hook above. He kissed Chris and smiled as he handed it to him. His own dick had begun to go limp at the thought of sucking of Chris, with the bad memories fighting to the surface. It had hardened once more as he began to enjoy sucking Chris off. It throbbed as he kissed him and begged for some relief.

Chris slid his hand onto Toby's leg again and felt for his cock, he found it there hard and inviting. Toby pulled his hand away, "You'll get your turn," he said with a smile. He reached up on a shelf and fumbled around until be found a jar of vaseline, knocking several things down as he stretched and strained in the darkness. He smiled at Chris as he parted Chris' legs so he could kneel between them. He popped open the jar and greased his cock with the jelly. It throbbed in his hand and he bit his lip to hold all back that he could. He dipped his middle and ring finger in the jar again, he then slid his hand under Chris until he found the hole and slipped his fingers in to coat it with the jelly. He lowered his body onto Chris' pressing their two heaving chests together.

He guided his cock into the Chris and softly pushed until it was in to the hilt. They both let out soft gasps of pleasure. He slid almost all the way out, leaving only the tip in and then slid back in again as far as he could go. He could feel Chris' cock smooth against his stomach gaining some rigidity, it made him smile. He kissed Chris' neck and buried his face into it as he worked his way "surely and softly to the prostrate dawn", as Whitman would say. Chris held him tight and he worked until he himself came this time in a loud, explosive breath. He crumpled to a heap on top of Chris who held him and kissed his face, working to find his lips.

He kissed him again and again, now finding his own cock hard again. He rolled Toby over so he could be on top and they shifted to a comfortable position. He lay on top of Toby looking at him for a long moment, Toby spent and drenched in sweat. He kissed him and probed around trying to find the jar of vaseline himself. He found the jar under the bed, but he had to open his eyes to attain it. He never let go of the kiss though, such things had been too longed for, not to indulge in now. He looked at Toby, "Are you ready? To go again?," he pulled back, "Do you want to?"

Toby smiled, "Yes, of course," and then he kissed him. He smoothed the jelly onto his cock letting the motion hardened it all the more. He kissed Toby as he slid two fingers into the jar and then gently into Toby's asshole. Toby stuck his tongue deeper into Chris' mouth as he did, shooting fire down to Chris' loins. He kissed him softly on the lips and slipped himself inside of Toby. Toby fought back the painful memories of the past, letting the present moment freeze in his mind. He let out a heavy gasp as Chris glided in to the hilt. Chris moaned. He wrapped his arms around Toby and he began to kiss his neck as he glided in and out of him. Toby held Chris around the torso with one arm and cradled his head in his other hand.

It had been easier for Toby to fuck Chris than to be fucked by him, it caused a loss of power. But as Chris kissed him and made such soft movements, he let pleasure wash over him and he forgot all, but this moment. Chris came with a hard moan and collapsed against Toby. He liked the weight of Chris on him, he kissed his shoulders, neck, cheek, until finally he found his lips.

Chris could feel Toby's cock hard once again beneath him, pressing into his hip. He knew he still had work to do and there was no way Toby would pull away this time. As spent as he was, he found he still had some energy left in him. He kissed Toby's neck and his lips, slipping his tongue into an inviting mouth. It felt good to kiss Toby, touch him, make love to him finally. It seemed like it had taken forever and he wanted to savor every minute of it and indulge in every pleasure they could in one night.

He reached to find the towel to clean himself and Toby up. He wiped both of their cocks clean, lingering over Toby's just to make him moan a little. He fumbled around and found a washrag, he wet it quickly in the sink and used it to remove any residue left on Toby's erection. The coldness of the water made his cock stiffen even more and Chris knew he didn't have much time.

He smiled at Toby and gave him a quick kiss on the lips then he slid down along his body to his groin, cat-like, never taking his eyes off of Toby. He kissed the tip of his cock, feeling a small amount of pre-cum on his lips. He licked it away and then licked the tip of his cock, Toby moaned in response. He slid his lips over it and took it in nearly half way before slipping it back out of his mouth. He made sure to give the underside a good lick as he backed off. He nuzzled into his groin kissing around his cock, letting his escaping hot breath entice even more. He wished he could linger longer and next time he would, but Toby was half-gone, he had to be a little quick. He kissed his way from hilt to tip and then slid it into his mouth. Every movement of Chris' lips and tongue as he sucked brought a new wave of pleasure over Toby. Chris worked until finally he felt the hot sting of cum hit the back of his throat, then he backed off slightly, so the cum wouldn't gag him. He swallowed it with a wicked smile, enjoying the coppery, salty taste. He brought himself up to lay on top of Toby. They wrapped their arms around each other and buried their faces in each others necks, planting soft kisses from time to time. Chris moved close to Toby's ear, "I love you," he whispered in a hot breath that shot through Toby.

He leaned his head back to the floor and took Chris' face in his hands. He wanted to see his eyes, look into them as he said it, " I love you." He hated that hot tears came, as he spoke those words. He ran his finger over Chris' lips and leaned in to kiss them. They kissed soft and sweet, leading to deep and passionate. Toby kissed his cheek and neck, placing as many licks in along the way as he could. Again, they lay heads nuzzled against each other's necks.

Chris raised up and took Toby's hand, "Come on, " he said motioning to the bed with a tilt of his head. They got up and slid into the bottom bunk, together. They became a tangle of arms and legs, wrapped around each other.

"Rest," Toby whispered to him as he kissed Chris' forehead. They slipped off into sleep for a while, passion spent. Love expressed finally thought it seemed to take an eternity to do it. They slept for a while, in each others arms for the first time, the first night of the new millennium.



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