Wounds

A "Works of Mercy" missing scene fic

Nights in Oz are the worst part of the sentence, much worse than anything the Rockwells could have wished on me. When the lights go out, I'm surrounded by the very thing I was running from, outside. The same thing that caused me to end up here in the first place. 

This place takes so much away from you: your privacy, your dignity, the years of your life. But the real punishment is not what you lose, it's what you're left with. I've spent most of my life trying to run away, to get numb, but in here the pain is all I have left. It's the only thing that still ties me to the man I used to be. And so I have to embrace it, even while I run. 

This is the level on which Chris and I connect. One night during lockdown, in a moment of rare honesty, he told me about Bonnie. He told me how he'd pushed her again and again, just to see if she'd keep coming back. Of course she did, just as I do. I love him to escape myself. And when loving him hurts too much, I need more of him to ease the pain.

This is the paradox of my addiction.

I touch my mouth to the scar on his chest, listening for the little gasp, the hitch that tells me he's feeling it too -- the pain of living. It permeates the air, flows between us like blood, and *that* is how I love him -- in painful aftershocks, in the phantom ache of old wounds. It's an infinite cycle of hurt and need, one feeding off the other. 

Somehow he understands.

"Toby, you okay?" His soft voice startles me.

I don't answer him. I can't and even if I could, there just isn't anything to say. I simply press my lips against the ragged scar, pass my arms firmly around his waist, and cling. There are times when I simply cannot let myself kiss Chris; times when the love is too much, it's *everything*, and I'm too swamped in guilt to accept it. Tonight is one of them. I can't think about my kids without feeling the torn edges of insanity creeping back into my brain, and yet I cannot stop thinking about my kids. And so I dive into Chris, seeking solace in the pain.

He pulls me tightly against him, resting his chin on my shoulder, and Christ, it hurts just to fucking breathe. My face is buried in his warm skin, and I battle back the hot sting of my tears. There have been many nights when he comforted me in this way, nights when his arms held me bound and kept me from unraveling. I suspect that few people know how gentle Chris can be. Even fewer would understand how well he knows what I need, and how eager he is to give it. That, too, is part of the paradox. I need him to keep me safe, yet he is a big part of the very thing that threatens me.

Tonight, though, I don't want to be safe. I don't want to be comforted or consoled. Tonight I need the sharp burn to get me through.

"Fuck me," I whisper. "I need you." I cling more desperately to him, molding my entire body against his. I can feel him from stem to stern, and my god, it's exactly what I need. *He* is exactly what I need. 

He leans down again and this time it's not about comfort at all. He's demanding, and determined, allowing me no arguments. When his tongue touches mine I can no longer hold back, and it takes only a moment for me to open to him completely.

He slides the jacket off my shoulders, his lips traveling the length of my neck. Like any good addiction, half of the pleasure comes from knowing what's going to happen -- waiting for the oblivion - and tonight is no different. Tonight, I want him like nothing I've ever known. He lifts the shirt over my head and then drops to his knees, pressing his face to my abdomen and licking my skin with a warm, wet tongue. Each movement of his mouth, each scrape of his rough chin ricochets through my nervous system, filling my mind with images of him and me together, in all the ways we've been together. 

Yes, the anticipation is a part of it.

He removes my pants and shorts, and the cool air of the pod sends a shiver through me. "Relax," he tells me, as if that's an option; the fact is that I want to yell, to scream, to clutch him against me roughly. To hurt him, or maybe to hurt myself.  But he knows this, so he rises and kisses me hard. Chris' kiss is just like Chris himself: deep and powerful and dangerous. I lean into him, and my hunger echoes harmlessly in his throat.

His hands are at his own pants now, drawing them down. He's as hard as I am, thank God; I'm in no mood to wait. Then he draws away from me. This is his ritual, and it is the moment that always hurts the most; this last breathless moment before he pounces. He leans back and looks at me, waiting. It's his way of making it clear that nobody's forcing anybody, we're both guilty and we're both innocent, we're judge and jury and jailed. Sometimes at this moment I'll smile at him. Sometimes I'll reach out and draw him to me, and other times I'll simply nod my head and grant silent permission. But he waits for some gesture, each and every time.

Tonight, I place my hands on his waist and press my body against him. He really is beautiful, this man I've learned to love; even the scar turns me on, raw and angry like Chris himself. I can look at him for hours, and at times I have: studying every nuance of muscle, admiring the way the skin flows over his frame. Knowing that I have caused him pain, that I have scarred him, is oddly comforting to me. It levels the playing field, and gives me the illusion that I have some small portion of control in this game of pretend that we play.

Control. 

Have I ever had that?

The drinking and the drugs were selfish props, I know that now; they gave me an excuse, weak as it was, to relinquish control of my life. That's part of what throws me so much when it comes to Chris. He doesn't want to control me he can't control me. If either of us has the upper hand, it's me, because he really does love me. He loves me in a way I will never understand, and that, too, causes me pain. Fate hasn't been kind to those who've cared for me.

Luckily, Chris doesn't give a fuck about that.

I slide my hands softly over his hips, lingering a moment there before grasping his ass and drawing him forward. He makes some wonderful, impatient-lover sound, and after weeks away from him I know what that means -- it's going to be fast, and hard, and Christ, I'm practically salivating. He dips his head into the curve of my shoulder, wrapping his strong arms around me and leading me firmly backwards toward the bed. The feel of him... my God, he's like an electric blanket, red-hot heat radiating from his core. I want to burrow into him, feel his blood pulsing around me and listen to his strong, determined heart. Even if I didn't love him, the fact is that losing myself in Chris is so good, so fucking amazing better than all my other addictions combined. And maybe I'm no better than everyone else who's used Chris in their time and in their way. And maybe I should feel bad about that.  But not tonight.  I'm sure I'll pay for that somehow, too.

His hands are sliding up and down my back, and I'm barely aware when he lowers us both to his bunk. He stretches out beside me, shielding me from prying eyes, before once again burying his head in my neck.

"Can't wait, Toby," he tells me, his voice rough. "It's been too fucking long."

"I don't want you to wait," I say, fiercely. "I need you."

He moves on top of me and I welcome him willingly, once again embracing the contradictions. He is conquest and comfort, craving and consolation, warden and con. It's impossible to think, surrounded by his heat, and the harder he works me the hotter it gets until I'm sure I'm just going to combust into flames. He matches his movements to my rapid breathing and suddenly I'm there, in that place that I seek, where the heat reduces me to cinders.

I've survived another night in Oz.

 

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