All of the Em City regulars were gathered around the television watching Miss Sally and her ample bosom when one of the hacks brought in the new prisoners. Watching this progression out of the corner of his eye, Chris saw one of the men being led into his - no. Toby's pod.
The man was gorgeous. Six foot five, at least, with peppered brown hair and eyes that definitely deserved closer observation. For the first time since his fight with Toby, Chris felt pangs of lust. But almost immediately, they were washed away by feelings of... guilt? No, Chris had to admit to himself, it was jealousy. This new man, this stranger, would be spending the most intimate times of the day (and night) with his lover. His ex-lover.
And Toby would be able to gaze upon this gorgeous man.
Either way, he tried to put it from his mind. Toby was no longer his concern. That he could have even... Chris understood. He did. But at the time he had been angry. Furious. Like Toby, he hadn't been in his normal state of mind. And also like Toby, he had said things he didn't mean. But it was too late now. This was Oz, and in Oz, you don't renege on something like that. You can't allow yourself to cave in. If you did, you were thrown to the wolves.
But then this new roommate had to arrive. Sure, he had to be better than Browne - anybody was better than brown. Another man in his pod with Toby. Laying on his bunk. Deep inside, Chris cringed. As much as his outward appearance may have dictated otherwise, Chris needed Toby back. He needed to talk to him, to hold him, to feel the hot air of Toby's breath blow softly against his neck as they held each other tight. But Chris knew he couldn't have that. He knew what he had to do.
Lunchtime. Chris stood in line, carefully scanning the crowd of people waiting for their chicken nuggets. Toby had been conspicuously absent from sight for most of the day, but Chris knew he was there, watching. Nearing the end of the line, Chris' gaze fell upon the man he had been looking for. The *other* man he'd been looking for. Among all these hardened criminals, the man was easy to pick out, and not because of his height. His beautiful hazel eyes projected a look of innocence. A look that just didn't belong in Oz.
'That's probably what Toby looked like when he first came to Oz,' Chris started to think, but quickly cut off the train of thought. Chris' eyes followed the man to where he sat down, alone with his tray. After collecting his own share of nuggets and nameless, yet nutritional side dishes, Chris walked over to where the man was sitting and set down his tray.
"Hey. You new here?"
"Yeah," was the man's muted reply.
"Well, just wanted to welcome you. I'm Chris," Chris thrust his arm across the table to mean the other man's hand. The man looked shocked, but shook it.
"Hi, Chris," Great what stimulating conversation.
"So, you got a name?"
The man looked up and met Chris' eyes with his own. From here Chris could see that it wasn't innocence they projected, at least not a helpless kind. It was something else. Something Chris couldn't quite put his finger on. Something sensual.
"Bayliss. Tim Bayliss." Those hazel eyes studied Chris' features with an intensity Chris had never seen but in one man, spurning Chris' next question."
"So, Bayliss, Tim Bayliss, do you like sex?"
"Chris expected shock, or at least a surprised look, but Tim didn't even flinch. "Who doesn't?"
This baffled Chris. "I mean, with men."
"Like I said, who doesn't?" Tim's eyes now twinkled with a shine that Chris recognized right away. Desire.
"Well, then, I've got a proposition for you..."
With a little help from one of the guards, the two men were able to escape the cafeteria and make their way to a deserted Em City. Once in Tim's /Toby's/ pod, Tim immediately started lavishing Chris with hungry kisses. It was all Chris could do to pull himself away. But before he could explain, the door to the pod was thrust open.
"What the hell is going on here?!?" It was Toby, and he was furious.
"No, Tobe, let me explain..." Chris' voice waited for an interruption from Toby that never came, leaving the three men in silence.
Bayliss looked around the pod awkwardly. "Maybe I should-" but Toby interrupted him.
"No, Tim. Stay. Keller here can leave."
Chris tried to speak, but Toby interrupted him.
"What, Chris? What? You really think I was gonna let you get away with this? Well, you may not care who *I* fuck, but I certainly care who you do. And I most certainly wasn't going to let you do it here, in my pod, where we..."
Chris couldn't take it any more. He just couldn't bear to listen to any more of Beecher's inane ramblings, but he couldn't get a word in edgewise with the former lawyer. So he did the only thing he could think of to shut Toby up. He kissed him.
Toby's previously open mouth recognized the kiss before the rest of his body was cognizant of what was happening. His lips slammed shut with the adamant chastity of a catholic school girl. But the intended goal had been achieved. Toby was silent.
Chris pulled away and used this rare opportunity to place a gentle hand over Tobias' mouth, indicating that it should stay that way. "Let me say a few things here." Toby looked somewhat agreeable to the idea of not having to talk anymore, and so Chris pulled the hand away.
Chris looked Toby straight in the eye and continued. "Look, Toby, let me explain. I've wanted to talk to you, to get you alone to just fucking talk to you for days, but I just didn't- I couldn't- I'd've looked like a goddamned pussy. I knew that you'd been keeping an eye out, and figured this way I could get you to confront me. And see, here you are."
Chris stopped for just a moment and Toby popped in. "Great. So your plan worked. Now what? You want more groveling from me? Well, you're not gonna get it. What's done is done."
Chris' face bore a slightly shocked expression. "No, jeez, Tobe. I wanted to say... what I mean is... shit. 'Kay. Let me try this again." Chris took a deep breath and started over. "Like you said, what's done is done. What's been said's been said. There's no way for either of us to go back in time and change those things. I wish to Chris we could, but he doesn't seem to be listening to me much lately."
Toby shot Chris a look that said he better get to the point of this story fairly quickly.
"I guess what I'm trying to say is, I'm sorry. And that I..." Chris' voice started to crack, so he trailed off. He looked at the floor of the pod, trying to gain some composure before finishing his declaration. "I love you Toby. I need you. There ain't nobody else in this whole damn prison, the state, no, the entire fuckin' country who could give me what we had. There just isn't. I need you, Toby," he repeated, this time looking up to meet the blond man's eyes. "Fuck, Toby. It's just not right without you."
With this, Chris again moved towards Toby's mouth for a kiss, but this time he didn't face resistance. Instead, Toby's mouth opened to Chris' searching tongue and welcomed him in. To Chris, it was like finally coming home. The two men momentarily forgot about everything around them, about Oz, about Em City, even about the third man standing only feet from them. For that brief moment, as their souls touched, they were alone in the universe.
They pulled apart. Toby looked at Chris and saw his eyes bright with unshed tears. He lifted a hand and gently caressed his lover's face. Then, leaning over, he rested his head on Chris' shoulder and kissed him lightly just below his ear. "Welcome home, baby."
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