Toby shrugged out of his suit jacket and let it fall to the floor. He loosened his tie and collapsed wearily onto the couch. He kicked off his shoes and stretched his legs out onto the coffee table. It had been a long day: the paperwork with the Luden case had been misfiled and the prosecution had sent over three boxes' worth of witness information to his office. Normally, this kind of overload was routine for Toby: he spent innumerable days tracking down lost information and ferreting out new sources. He pored over witness testimony for countless hours. But over the past weeks, this sort of detailed work had begun to lose its appeal, and his job suffered because as he found himself zoned out at the most inopportune times. Also, he was losing sleep. His dreams were consumed with what could only be described as pornography.
Chris and Toby: sucking, fucking, kissing and tugging at each other's bodies. It was always almost the same loop played back in his head. In his dream, Toby approached the truck from a distance. He could yell or shout but nothing deterred the two bodies in the bed of the truck from continuing their carnal activities. They were totally wrapped up in each other, and Toby leaned against the side of the truck to watch. While he stared, he felt the waves of desire and pleasure that emanated from his own dream-body. The look on his dream-face was rapturous, and Toby always awakened before either man climaxed, his own dick in his hand, furiously rubbing it.
Toby sighed. Since his return from the woods, he'd made a conscious effort to ogle male bodies, but no one came close to the perfect specimen he'd gawked at nearly two months ago. After he dreamed the same dream almost every night for three weeks, Toby was desperate. He bought a DVD called 'Truck Stop Daddies' and blushed so hard watching the first scene that he turned it off. Half an hour later, he turned it back on, nervously, and stared open-mouthed until he was so hard he had to jerk off.
The dream didn't come that night and Toby felt relief, mixed with inexplicable disappointment. He was able to function at the office and his paralegal complimented him on his shirt. Toby smiled, thanked her, closed the door to his office and sagged against it. He was wearing a replica of the shirt he'd had on when his car broke down. That night, the dream returned with a vengeance, and when Toby awakened, a picture of Chris's hot eyes and hard dick etched into his brain, his stomach was sticky and he quickly changed the sheets before heading to work.
After a few more run-throughs, the DVD held little interest and Toby gathered his courage and went into a gay bar. After two martinis, it was shockingly easy to pick up a tall, dark-haired man. Toby made it as far as the bathroom with the man – Steve – and had even submitted to a kiss before he was overcome with panic and bolted. Back at his apartment, he furiously brushed his teeth: the taste of the other man's mouth had been wrong, and Toby was startled by that realization as he stared at himself in the bathroom mirror, toothpaste smeared on his lips. Well, shit.
At that point, he'd even considered hiring a private investigator, but had so little information to offer that he decided against it. 'Oh yes, I'm looking for a man named Chris, he might live in New York, and he drives a silver truck.' That certainly narrowed it down. Plus, he had no idea if Chris had given him another thought after dropping him at a garage on the outskirts of the city. Toby replayed their last conversation in his head, and thought it had probably been a brush-off. Thanks for the sex, Tobe, gotta run.
It was odd, though. Going in and out of the courthouse in Manhattan so much, he began to think he actually saw Chris, glimpses of tan skin, short dark hair, broad shoulders. But he'd never been fast enough to catch up with any of the men, and Toby thought that maybe he'd been inventing what he wanted to see.
Toby hasn't had the dream for two nights now, and it has been easier to sleep. Slowly, his brain has been forgetting the exact lines of Chris's face and body, and the image of the two men in the truck is fading. Instead of making him happy like he should be, it only makes him sad to lose the memory of the hottest sex he'd ever had.
Toby puts the finishing touches on his meal and carries the plate to the dining room table. He uses the remote control to flick on the television, settling on a news channel. Keeping the volume low, he begins to eat, shuffling through the pages of a deposition at the same time.
"Breaking news…" the newscaster drones.
Toby continues scanning the file before him, though as he glances up at the television briefly. Suddenly, he does a double take, and gropes for the remote, turning the volume up without taking his eyes from the screen.
"Thank you, Frank. I'm here on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where it appears the investigators searching for Will Parrett may have a new lead. Dr. Parrett is the Dean of a boarding school for troubled youth just outside the city, where he acted as both a counselor and the agriculture teacher. He has been missing for a little over two months, when he disappeared after being contacted for questioning in a string of child molestation crimes at The Hill School for Adolescent Boys in Rockland County. He still remains the main suspect in these alleged incidents.
In a bizarre look-alike arrest, Detective Elliot Stabler of the Special Victims Unit apprehended one Christopher Keller, occupation unknown, in the vehicle. It has been confirmed that the vehicle is registered in Mr. Parrett's name. The Manhattan Special Victims Unit has had this vehicle under twenty-four-hour surveillance, and though there has been no sign of Dr. Parrett, the NYPD believes that Mr. Keller may have additional information about the incidents and on the Dean's whereabouts. Currently, Mr. Keller is being held for questioning while a forensics unit examines the vehicle…"
Toby's head fills with a buzzing noise; the reporter's voice trails off. The picture in the upper left-hand corner of the screen held his attention. It's an outlined box, with a white line running straight down the middle. On one side is a close-up of a person who looks like Chris, eyes hard in a closed face, wearing a zipped-up jacket. On the other is another man who looks a lot like Chris, but with a very different expression on his face, wearing a suit and tie. Toby turns the volume up even louder, physically unable to get up and move closer to the television.
The camera pans to where a silver pickup truck is being hoisted onto a tow truck. Yellow crime tape encircles the area, and several reporters and cameramen are grouped around a short man in a trench coat.
Toby coughs. He's been holding his breath and he nearly chokes on his mouthful of food. Swallowing, he wipes his face with his napkin and pushes his chair back from the table, shakily standing up.
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my fucking god. Toby recognizes both men from the picture and makes it halfway to the couch before he drops to his knees and dry-heaves.
"A department spokesman will only say that the truck does, in fact, belong to Parrett, and the driver has been taken into custody. There is a rumor that blood was found in the truck's bed, although there is no official confirmation at this time on that. The investigation is on-going…"
Toby shuts his eyes and tightens his grip on the remote, managing to hit the 'mute' button. His mind is spinning out of control.
The rest of the night is a jumble of thoughts and noises. Every news channel quickly picks up the story, and Parrett's picture is plastered up next to the ones of the driver and the cop. No, Toby corrects himself, Chris and Elliot. Oh, god. The only update on the story comes on the eleven o'clock news, when an issued press release affirms that there is no blood relation between Christopher Keller and Elliot Stabler.
He's still in his work clothes, frozen in place on the sofa. His shoulders ache a little from the heaving, and the line of his back is tense. He can place Chris in the truck two months ago, sans Parrett. The police would definitely be interested in that tidbit. Toby knows he has decisions to make, but hell if he knows what the answers are.
After a long, hot shower, Toby falls into bed. His body and mind are exhausted, but he can't turn off his brain, and his thoughts continue to whirl around. He's still in shock from the realization that it was Detective Elliot Stabler that he took up to the penthouse with him. Toby tries as hard as he can to remember more about their conversation at the bar and details about their night of passion, but is stymied; he recalls laughter and sharing stories about women, hushed breaths and tightened nipples, slow kisses and… shadows. Low groans. Toby shakes his head. He doesn't even remember Elliot saying anything specific about his job.
Both the location and the timing of when and where he met Chris stick in his mind. He's conflicted: there were moments when Toby recognized Chris's strength, reveled in his intensity and flirted with the idea that Chris could be somewhat dangerous, but it didn't make sense to him why Chris would be driving Parrett's truck. Or rather, that Chris could have any relationship with a man wanted by the police for molesting adolescent boys. Did Chris have anything to do with Parrett's disappearance?
Toby's scared by that thought, and his mind jumps to the fact that Elliot and Chris look like they could be twins… brothers… related somehow. He shivers a little, and wraps his comforter tighter over his shoulders. He's not even sure what happened with Elliot, but he knows the dream-reel starring Chris was as real as it gets. He's pretty sure that he's freaking out, because he's staring at the same spot on the ceiling and he can't look away or even blink. Chris-Elliot-Chris-Elliot-oh-god. OH GOD. His mind helpfully conjures up a visual of Elliot, Chris and himself in the woods; they're all nearly naked, gleaming with perspiration, and touching. Oh god! Toby forces himself to sit up. He's sweating, so he kicks off the blanket and grabs the remote to switch on the fan. He needs a plan.
Toby lies on top of the covers, the soft whirring of the fan camouflaging his occasional crazed giggle. He's actually seriously considering going to the precinct. Huh. Probably not one of my better plans. He's unsure of several things: what Elliot's reaction will be, what Chris's reaction will be – both to seeing him and to his possible knowledge that Elliot's the cop Toby messed around with, and whether or not he can make it through the night without self-medicating with his largest bottle of gin.
The worst part is that he's unsure of his motives for going to the station at all. He feels simultaneously happy and guilty at the prospect of seeing Chris again. He's not even certain that he would care all that much even if Chris did have something to do with the missing dean, and the defense lawyer in him begins to speculate on additional scenarios. Toby is fairly certain that Chris didn't have anything to do with the molestations, though. Why on earth would he stoop that low, when he could easily talk his way into anyone's pants within half an hour of meeting them? Clearly, he had no problems getting into mine.
Wearing one of his priciest suits, hair brushed back and briefcase in hand, Toby opened the door to the Sixteenth Precinct in Manhattan. He approached the desk sergeant who directed him to the Special Victims Unit. He paused at the doorway and scanned the room. Four or five officers were gathered around a whiteboard covered with photographs and hand-written timelines. Toby's stomach clenched when he recognized the broad shoulders and back of Elliot Stabler. He edged closer to hear their conversation.
An authoritative-looking bald man addressed Stabler. "What's the update on Keller?"
Stabler's jaw tightened. "He's familiar with the proceedings. He's technically not a suspect, so we've only got a few more hours before we'll have to charge him or let him go."
"Did he give anything up on Parrett?" This was from a slim, brown-haired woman.
"No. He's not talking at all. He just looks at me and," Elliot paused, "laughs. Dammit! He's gotta know something. Anything back from that school yet?"
The female detective started to say something and then caught sight of Toby, who hovered in the background. "Can I help you with something?" she asked.
Toby's eyes were riveted on Stabler, who turned around and froze when he saw Toby. Myriad emotions ran across his face: surprise, guilt, a flicker of happiness and then cold professionalism settled in. "I've got this, Liv," he said. He walked over to Toby and hissed, "What are you doing here?"
"Can we talk somewhere?" Toby was proud at how even his voice sounded.
Stabler scratched the back of his head. His eyes darted from Toby's face to his briefcase, and then he said, "Yea, come on, in here." He waved to the brown-haired woman, who watched them both with concern. "We'll be right back."
After closing the door to an interview room, Elliot spun around and got right into Toby's face. "What the hell are you doing here? How did you even know where I worked?" His shoulders were tense and he unconsciously began rolling down his pushed-up shirtsleeves.
Toby didn't back down. "I saw you on the news."
Elliot's whole body relaxed; his eyes warmed up immediately and he laughed wryly. He rubbed his hands up over his face and back through his hair. "It's crazy. I mean, everyone's got a twin, right? Doppelgangers. It's funnier when it's not your double who turns up in the middle of a case."
"Is he still here?" Toby's tone was light.
"Yea, we can't find anything to charge him on, because there's nothing to disprove his one statement that Parrett lent him the truck." It was clear from Elliot's voice that he thought Chris Keller was lying. "Anyway… what are you doing here?" Suddenly his voice was tempered with suspicion.
Toby hesitated, then made his decision. "I'm Keller's lawyer," he said. He reached into the inside pocket of his suit jacket and pulled out a business card, proffering it to Elliot. He looked straight into Elliot's eyes and saw a flash of outraged betrayal.
"I'm here to represent my client," Toby responded. He thought for a moment that Stabler might punch him; he looked so enraged.
Elliot looked down at the card held out to him and snatched it from Toby's hand. "'Beecher & Carridan, Attorneys-at-Law.' You're Tobias Beecher?!"
"My reputation precedes me, I gather." Toby squared his shoulders. "I want to see my client now."
Stabler flung the door open so fast it ricocheted off a filing cabinet with a loud bang. He stalked out of the room and Toby trailed after him. The other detectives looked up as they approached, and Stabler grated out, "This is Mr. Beecher. He's Keller's attorney."
All of their faces smoothed out into blank cordiality, and the woman stepped forward. "Mr. Beecher. I'm Detective Benson. You can follow me."
Toby accompanied her to an interrogation room, where she opened the door and motioned for him to enter. Toby adjusted his tie, took a deep breath and stepped into the room after Detective Benson.
"It's about time, sweetheart."
Toby heard the familiar drawl.
"Just you this time, huh? Whatever. Wake me up when I can go."
"Your lawyer's here." Detective Benson stepped off to the side and Toby saw Chris seated in a chair, his arms crossed over his chest and his legs sprawled to each side. His eyes were closed, but they opened at her words, and he and Toby shared a long moment of silent communication before a wide smile crept over Chris's face.
"Well, fuck me." Chris drew out the vowels in the phrase, his eyes still focused solely on Toby.
The door closed and still they stared at one another. Finally, Toby walked forward and put his briefcase on the table. He pulled the other chair out from the table and sat down.
"'Bout time you showed up, Beecher." Chris's voice was lilting; there was an undercurrent of derision, but his face still showed his smile.
"Oh yeah? You've been expecting me?" Toby asked quietly.
"Told ya I'd see you again, Tobe." His words transported Toby right back to the last time he'd seen Chris. Toby blushed. There was a short pause, and then Chris said, "Knew you'd come for one of us." Chris winked at him. "Just wasn't sure it'd be me."
Toby gaped at him, then closed his mouth firmly and said, "They aren't charging you with anything. They can't hold you any longer, and unless you have something else you'd like to tell the detectives, we should go."
Chris stood up and hooked his thumbs through the belt loops on his jeans. His fingers were perilously close to his fly, and Toby stared for a minute before he realized what he was doing and snapped his gaze back up to Chris's face. Chris's eyes gleamed in a predatory way and he stepped around the table to Toby's side.
"Or we could stay here a while longer, if that's what you really want, Toby. Jailhouse kink?" Chris whispered into Toby's ear.
Toby managed a weak smile, then picked up his briefcase. "What I really want is to get out of here."
Eyes dark and hot, Chris slowly looked Toby up and down. "Your wish is my command." He grinned at Toby. "Let's go."
Toby was extremely relieved to see that Elliot was no longer in the common room. He wasn't sure he could handle being in a room with both Chris and Elliot. He nodded his head at Detective Benson and the bald man who stood by the whiteboard, then made for the hallway. He could feel Chris next to him. Their arms rubbed together as they waited for the elevator and under his shirt, the skin of Toby's forearm prickled as if their bare skin was touching. He felt flushed and his mouth kept going dry.
They were the only two people in the elevator, and the trip downstairs was a silent one. Usually when Toby escorted a client out of a stationhouse, they were dying to talk as soon as they were out of the interview rooms. But Chris was didn't say a word, and Toby had the unpleasant feeling that Chris was, in fact, familiar with the proceedings.
There was one more long hallway to navigate, as Toby wanted to exit from the side of the building and avoid any other SVU detectives who might be in front. He steered Chris to the left, and they walked for about ten feet before Toby tensed. Up ahead, Detective Stabler leaned in a doorway, his body stiff with anger, jaw working hard around a coffee straw. His arms were crossed over his chest and he was glaring right at them.
Toby's steps slowed, and he almost came to a stop.
Chris whispered in his ear, "That your cop?"
"Yea, thought so." Toby could tell Chris was grinning.
Chris sped up his stride and Toby was forced to hurry as well. He didn't want any kind of confrontation to occur, but Chris just walked past the open doorway without a word or even a glance at Stabler. Toby sighed with relief as they left Elliot behind, and then Chris put his hand on Toby's ass and squeezed. Toby squirmed; he felt Elliot's eyes burning across his back and he watched as Chris turned his head back toward Elliot and smirked.
Then they were outside, down the steps and into the bright sunshine of the day. Toby whirled, dislodging Chris's hand, and hissed, "What the hell?"
"What the hell, baby?" Chris mocked Toby's last sentence. "You made your choice. What's the problem?" His eyes were cold.
Toby was suddenly inexpressibly furious. "You- he- you-," he stuttered, unable to articulate his anger. The words finally burst free: "Why don't you just piss on me?!"
Chris grabbed him by the shoulder. His voice was low as he rumbled out, "Don't tell me you aren't happy to see me, Toby. I know you are. You haven't been able to get me outta your head, have you, baby? You're the one who came to me, remember? We had a deal, and I helped you out just like I said I would. Why are you mad at me? C'mon, Tobe. Tell me you're happy to see me."
Toby's fury drained away as quickly as it had appeared. "I- I am. This, this is just-" He rubbed a hand through his hair and sighed.
Chris chucked ruefully. "No shit."
Toby managed a weak smile. "So… you hungry?"
"Fuck yea," Chris said. "You buying?"
Toby laughed out loud. "Yeah, whatever."
They were almost to a restaurant Toby had in mind when Chris said, "I like it when you smile."
"Huh?" Toby shook his head. Chris had gone from dangerous to complimentary in less than two minutes.
Chris rolled his eyes. "I said, I like-"
"No, I heard you. Uh. Thanks." Toby slanted a glance at Chris's profile.
"Yea, okay. Hey Tobe, c'mere," Chris said right before he took hold of Toby's jacket and pushed him into a narrow alley between two buildings. Toby's breath expelled in a whoosh as his back hit a brick wall. He dropped his briefcase on his foot, but before he could get out an appropriate curse word, Chris kissed him.
Toby's mouth was already open and Chris took full advantage, sealing his lips over Toby's and thrusting his tongue inside. One hand combed through Toby's hair, getting a good grip and tilting Toby's head to the side. Chris brought his mouth to Toby's neck and licked a wide swath up the skin to his ear, nibbling on the earlobe, breathing out how hot Toby was, how good he looked, how his smile made Chris hard. Chris returned to Toby's mouth, sucking on his bottom lip. Toby groaned as Chris's other hand ran down his body and cupped at his groin. Toby's dick twitched.
Chris moved his hand away and pressed his body up against Toby and the wall, staring until Toby opened his eyes. Toby jerked his head forward and latched onto Chris's lips again. He touched Chris's shoulders and biceps, his whole body trembling. Toby embraced this feeling of re-kindling their attraction and his dick hardened even more. After a frustrated moan, Toby said, "I am happy to see you. I am."
Chris ground his hips against Toby. Both men panted as they kissed passionately. Their tongues wrestled and Toby felt the familiar coil of orgasm as it settled in his stomach. Without warning, Chris pushed himself off of Toby and took a step back so their bodies were no longer touching. Toby's legs shook and for a minute he thought he might fall over. He immediately missed Chris's strength and warmth on him.
Chris watched him through unreadable eyes. Then he spoke. "Not so lost anymore?"
After a split-second hesitation, Toby smiled. He felt a rush of desire mixed with joy; Chris hadn't forgotten him. He looked at Chris and grinned. "No, I know exactly where I am."
Chris smiled back.