He was stacking paper –such a boring job- when the lights went off.
Keller tensed instantly, mind frozen, senses alert –hunter-mode.
Except that he was the prey, and all the more dangerous.
He didn't even wonder *who*. Or *why*. Just… did what he did best; let himself feel until he heard the tiny whisper of a muffled breath somewhere behind him, and layers of fear lying between that breath and his own
His fear and someone else's fear.
He pounced, grabbing blindly and his aggressor didn't stand a chance. The half second it took him to react Keller had thrown him down to the floor; there was the clattering sound of a weapon being dropped, a muffled cry, the helpless struggle of a body under his –breathless, Keller let him fight a little, only restraining him with his weight, just for the kick he got out of it.
Then he leaned in harder and the struggle stopped. Almost stopped. Only weak shudders, vain attempts to escape.
Keller couldn't see the man's face, but just rubbing his thumb against the naked, trembling wrist was enough.
Fucking crazy motherfucker. He took a deep breath to dispel the homicidal rage, see through the blood-red veil of fury.
Get a grip.
"You son of a bitch! You were going to kill me," he said in a hiss. The body under his writhed "And I thought Vern would've been the one to do it! You scheming bastard!"
Pain and frustration and rage all mixed in one single low growl answered him and he pressed the naked wrists harder against the concrete, felt Beecher's breath come out faster, harder, the body arching in pain under his.
"It would be so easy to break you again, wouldn't it? But I guess, then… you'd only try to kill me again, and I'd never see the end of it."
He stood up, pulled the man to his feet, keeping him from falling, looking deep into those troubled eyes.
"Hello, Toby," he said very low, his breath against the soft skin of Toby's ear, "how do you feel?"
Beecher breathed harder but said nothing. Keller shoved him against the wall hard and kept him there.
In the stillness of the dark room, realization dawned on him, like a blow across his face.
Jesus fucking Christ. He'd been *so* blind.
"You really did kill Metzger after all, didn't you, Toby? Fuck me, you did do it."
He laughed, sickness and exhilaration washing over him. Oh Toby… You're getting better and better at this every day.
"Let me guess how you did it? Bare-handed, cold-blooded murder and I'd bet it felt better than you ever thought it would. Didn't it?"
When no answer came, he raised his hand and backhanded Beecher , hard enough to draw blood.
"Didn't it, Toby?"
His voice breaking.
"Yes," Beecher whispered, naked raw hatred trembling in his voice "fuck yes."
Keller laughed again, delighted.
"Yeah, I bet it did. Are we keeping score, here? Because it seems to me that you're getting ahead of me fast. Let's see... There was that little girl. What was her name, already? Doesn't matter, she's only a rotting corpse by now…"
"It was an accident," Beecher hissed, and Keller pinned him against the wall harder, pushing a knee between the parted thighs.
"Yeah, we fucking know that, Beech. Doesn't make her less dead, now does it?"
Beecher 's sudden fight nearly took him off guard –not quite, though and he pressed harder.
"You fucking son of a fucking bitch," Beecher panted –and got back-handed again, twice, lazily, just as a warning.
"Keep still. You were the one trying to kill me, Beech, so just… keep still."
Keller's voice, like a deep threatening purr –he stopped for a second, breathing deep into Beecher 's fear and anger. Loving it.
"So… Kathy, that was the girl's name… She was your first. Then, poor little Andy. Although you didn't quite plan that one either, did you?"
Beecher had stopped moving, frozen. Keller leaned into him, melting into him, his mouth barely moving against Beecher 's ear, his forehead resting against the cool concrete of the wall.
"That makes two. Metzger. Three… And you nearly got me. Who's next on your list? Vern? Did you really think that would work? Do you intend to whack everyone that ruined your day? Looked at you the wrong way? Was this some type of homicidal psychotic episode, Beecher ? Should I be worried?"
Eventually Beecher spoke.
"I guess you're the one who knows all about that shit."
"Yeah. Yeah I know. You can't begin to imagine how fucking well I know."
Keller let go of him all of a sudden and walked to the door –the harsh light filled the room, and he saw Beecher blink. He saw how aghast and pale and completely *nuts* he looked.
Picking up the makeshift shank he walked back to a shock-frozen Toby.
"Take it, Toby."
Beecher didn't move.
"Fucking take it!" Keller growled "Now!"
Beecher 's hand curled around the weapon, his clear blue eyes closing –trying to shut Chris out.
Yeah. Like it's gonna work, Toby.
"Now do it. You wanted to kill me? I'm offering you the chance, Toby. Look, I'm here. All you have to do is move your hand –and I'll be gone forever…" His voice fell to a husky murmur. "Gone for ever, out of your life forever… No more nightmares…" Keller took Beecher 's hand and pressed the tip of the shank against his chest. "Come on, Baby. You can do it. Kill me; if you don't, I'll come after you. You know I will. You won't have a single second of rest because I'll know and you'll know. There isn’t anywhere you can hide from me. Not now, not ever."
He pressed a little closer, feeling the sharp tip breach his skin –a droplet of blood like a red flower blossoming against his chest.
"Fuck, Toby, doesn't that feel good?"
Beecher moaned in his throat when Keller's mouth closed on him, Keller's fingers stroking his hand, the shank between them.
The kiss… Keller drowned in that one consciously –caressing Toby's lips with his own, opening him, sliding his tongue in the wet warmth that tasted of fear and rage, feeling the body trembling against him – then broke the kiss.
"Or are you such a coward that you can only do it in the dark?"
Toby paled, turning his face to the side to escape the searching lips, warm mouth, his heart beating too fast and Keller forced his hand down, twisting Beecher's wrist until the knife fell from his fingers.
Beecher opened his eyes at last, his gaze as clear as a summer sky; but behind those eyes, the storm clouds were gathering.
"You can't kill me, Toby. Not when you can see me, not like this. You don't have the balls."
Keller took that mouth again, devouring it, and Beecher kept attempting to fight him, weak moves that only made him hungrier…
"Try harder, baby…" Keller said, taunting him, his hand creeping under Beecher 's blue shirt, hard knuckles rubbing against soft sweaty skin, heaving ribs, small nipples, sending shivers and ripples down Beecher 's body.
"You like it, don't you? You've been wanting me as much as I've been wanting you and now's the time. You didn't kill me. You can't. You love me, Toby."
Keller wasn't fast enough to escape Beecher 's knee crashing into him, missing his balls by mere inches. He shoved him to the floor and was on him, a hand pressed over Beecher 's mouth.
"You yell and a hack comes in… I swear to God, Toby, I'll tell him what you tried to do. I'll tell him about Metzger," Keller said, staring at Beecher 's angry face, leaning closer "And you-never-get-to-see-your-kids-again,," he said, keeping voice very soft.
"You're enjoying this, aren't you? Why don't you just rape me, now?" Beecher asked, voice trembling with rage and despair, "I'd bet it's exactly your style."
Keller went very still, forcing himself to display nothing, show nothing, reveal nothing, watching as the fear grew in Beecher 's eyes. "I think," Keller said after a moment, when he *knew* that Beecher was looking in his eyes and seeing his own death mirrored there, "that we're even now."
He sprung to his feet and held out a hand.
"Get the fuck up, now."
Beecher gave the offered hand a wary look, glanced up at Keller and back at the hand –finally took it and got to his feet, shaking. Unresisting, he let Keller pull him against his body, the warmth, the scent of him trapping him there, strong fingers curled around his wrists.
"Christ, Toby, we don't have to go through this. Things could be so much easier if only you'd let yourself accept it."
Keller's mouth brushed against his temple, against the soft sweat-soaked hair, felt Beecher shake his head, barely able to hear the words. "I can't."
"Yeah," Keller said, his voice bitter, keeping his mouth buried in Beecher 's hair, "Yeah, I can see that."
They stayed like that for a moment and Keller pulled away, his eyes hard.
"Get the fuck away, Toby, before I do something we'll both regret."
Beecher pulled his hand away, long fingers squeezing his once more before letting go; he leaned forward to retrieve the shank but Keller had his boot on it before he could reach it.
"Don't push your luck, Beecher . I'll get rid of it. Fuck off, now."
Beecher left, not looking back and Keller spent a moment there, feeling sad and sick, staring at the handmade coiled spring lying on the floor.
I'll be seeing you around, Toby.
NB: Millions thanks to Rifka for an express and awesome beta!!