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23 Leroy Street

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Don't say a prayer for me now... save it 'til the morning after
Duran Duran, "Save A Prayer"

A late Friday night in an early September, four months and counting post-Oz; crappy night for a walk, but that was the last thing on his mind. The air was still warm enough that the rain seemed more of a gift than a curse, and even the weatherman's threat of "a heck of a boomer" couldn't keep him from this thing he had to do -- this ritual, this compulsion, this whatever-you-call-it that allowed him to get through the rest of the week without doing something worse.

From Sunday to Thursday, he belonged to them. After his release, his parents had insisted he stay at the house; they'd given him back his old room, his old office, and five days a week, under close supervision, they gave him his kids. They just wanted to help -- help him make the transition, help him 'ease' into his new life. He'd shrugged and agreed to whatever they said, kept his nose clean, met with his PO, and every Friday he quietly cleared off his desk, dropped his car into an anonymous lot, and 'eased' himself down to lower Eighth, where he trolled the streets looking for something to fill the aching, gaping holes inside him, the ones his parents knew nothing about.

Six weeks later, still looking, he'd 'eased' himself into a month-by-month lease on a slightly seedy Leroy Street walkup (something else his parents knew nothing about), where the neighbors kept to themselves and only occasionally wondered about the mysterious "T. Beecher" who sometimes holed up in apartment 4C.

Nope, a little rain wouldn't hurt. He'd learned long ago that whatever was seething inside him would not wash away. Besides, Friday was Friday, rain or no -- and if nothing else, he was a man of habit.

Mostly the addictive, destructive kind -- but hey, anything'll do, in a pinch.

*

Thunder off in the distance meant little to him, he barely noticed it. The threat of a storm had dwindled the foot traffic to only a few brave, transient souls, none of them making any impression on him. He paid little attention to faces; in fact, he paid little attention to anything about them at all until one would stop, make a point of stopping, eyeing him in that obvious way, and even then, he rarely remembered the face.

He leaned back against the front of a corner building, one knee hiked, hands clenching and unclenching inside the pockets of his jacket. Head cocked, staring straight ahead, not looking at anything in particular, just listening to the whoosh of the water in the street as the cars passed by... and then, the roar of a motorcycle, slowing as it approached. The traffic light had turned red, and the bike dipped to one side as its rider dropped a booted foot on the asphalt to steady himself. The bike was loud, even in idle -- Toby felt it as much as he heard it, the vibrations skittering across his already tremulous nerves.

He glanced at the rider, sizing him up. Long legs, draped across metal and chrome; a requisite leather jacket that had been left open, revealing a white t-shirt stretched taut across a lean, muscled chest. The helmet he wore covered his face, but it was his hands that caught and held Toby's attention... strong and long-fingered, they flexed restlessly on the handlebars, drawing forth deep, sexy growls from the engine beneath him.

The light went green, and Toby smiled slightly as the bike lingered at the corner. He watched with increasing interest as those long fingers lifted the helmet, revealing the guy's features by degrees: strong jaw, lean face, dark eyes glinting with light from the windows above -- and then, as expected, one cool eyebrow, lifted questioningly.

Their eyes met. Sparked. This one was something, all right -- and probably trouble, too. Real trouble, not just some bad-boy wannabe pretending that a leather jacket gave him a dark side, one he could take off whenever he'd gotten his fill. Toby had come across dozens like that -- and fucked most of them ruthlessly, angrily even, sending them home to their safe little lives with bruises that'd be a real bitch to explain -- but this guy was the real thing. Toby knew it, as surely as he knew that it wasn't going to stop him. He was going to get on that bike.

The guy gestured toward the seat behind him. Beecher hesitated only a fraction of a second, which was part of the ritual. Later, afterwards, it would be so much more painful -­ and therefore, so much more satisfying -- knowing he'd had that one moment to choose. With a single, brief nod and his lips pressed into a determined line, he pushed off from the wall and made his way to the corner.

Up close, he discovered those dark eyes were blue and compelling, like midnight, or deep space. The final frontier, he thought wildly, and then laughed at himself. Despite his unease, once the decision was made it never occurred to him to turn back. The danger, the fear, it was all part of it. It was... necessary.

The stranger grinned easily, lounging back in the seat, and Toby just snorted, amused. He knew that technique, the practiced attempt to disarm him and make him feel safe; he used it himself, on occasion. Hey, whatever, man -- you do what you have to. We all do. His lips curved into a small, knowing smile, one that said, 'I'm on to you, but since we both want the same thing, I'm willing to let it slide.'

"So.... where're you headed?"

Toby shrugged carelessly. "You tell me."

Another grin flashed, wider this time. "Hop on."

*

They passed two lights, then three lights, then four, and Beecher smiled to himself as they raced through the streets. He'd passed on the helmet, preferring the risk, and now he was glad that he had... with the wind whipping his hair and the limitless sky overhead, he could almost imagine that Oz was light years away. He held on to the biker's hips, closing his eyes as the air rushed his face, enjoying the motion, the speed, the freedom of not even knowing where he was going, while anticipation unfurled inside him like a pair of powerful wings.

Five lights, then six. He thought of asking where they were headed, then dismissed it. Who the fuck cared? The escape was the thing, however brief it would turn out to be... escape was itself an addiction, a craving that grew each time he tried to feed it. He leaned forward, wrapping his arms around that lean waist, grinning against the black leather when the biker lifted his shirt and placed Toby's hands directly against his bare skin. Seven lights, eight... and oddly, Toby found himself wishing that they could keep going like this, even as part of him practically screamed to stop somewhere and get on with the rest.

The rain began without fanfare or warning. Toby laughed as it struck him full in the face, but the biker shouted a muffled curse. Toby leaned over his shoulder, pointing off to the right, and they quickly turned in that direction, heading into a narrow alley that cut between two of the storefronts. It led to a couple of small parking lots situated behind the buildings, but at this time of night the lots were deserted, and the alley was empty and dark. They pulled in and cut the engine, and the sudden silence wrenched Toby out of his thoughts as reality reined him back in, dark as the alley itself.

He slid from the bike, raking his fingers through his wet hair, and glanced around. There was no actual roof here, but the tangle of metal above their heads -- fire escapes for the buildings on either side -- kept the worst of the rain at bay. Turning, he watched as the biker removed his helmet, letting his eyes travel over him, taking note of the way the shirt clung to his rain-dampened skin, the way those wet jeans hugged his thighs. His mind conjured an unbidden image of that hard body bent forward over the bike, and he felt the blood rush to his groin.

Looking up, he found the guy watching him, smirking, as if reading his mind. Toby just shrugged, and gave him an unapologetic smile. "Nice bike," he said.

"You ride?"

"I've been known to."

"Tell you what." The guy's voice was fucking amazing, soft and rough at the same time. "You ask nice, I might let you drive."

Toby laughed softly. He took off his damp jacket, tossing it over the seat of the motorcycle, then turned and moved further into the alley, where the rain fell harder but the shadows would hide them from anyone passing by in the street. He took up a familiar position, leaning back against the wall, and stood watching mutely as the other man rose and walked toward him. The guy moved like a cobra; standing there, waiting, Toby felt like he was being stalked, like he was prey. The irony of that made him want to laugh. Hard.

When the biker finally stopped moving, they were so close Toby could feel warm breath on his face.

"Got a name?"

Christ, that *voice*. Toby imagined it snaking around him, drawing him in. "Sorry, what?"

"Your name." A slow, lazy smile, and then: "As in, what should I call you?"

Oh, right. A name. Yeah, he had plenty of those. Bitcher, sweetpea, prag...

He considered lying, knew it would be smarter -- and safer -- to do so, and then said: "Make it Toby. And I'll call you...?"

"Chris."

"Nice to meet you, Chris."

"Pleasure's all mine." Chris grinned, pressing closer, and then closer still, the heat of his body enfolding them both. He placed one hand on the wall just above Toby's shoulder, tilting his head to one side as his dark eyes traveled slowly over Toby's face. Toby gazed back at him silently, slightly off-guard -- the guy was practically *sniffing* at him, like some feral animal preparing to mate. It was oddly intense, and disturbing.

It was also arousing the hell out of him.

They stood like that for a minute, silently gauging each other. It was Toby who finally moved first, holding Chris's gaze as he pushed the leather jacket from his shoulders, letting it fall to the ground. He went for Chris's fly, but was stopped by a hand twisting into his hair, holding him still.

What the fuck?

He tensed, and his instincts, honed sharply in Oz, went on full alert. Chris was gazing at him with unreadable eyes, and Toby barely had time to guess what he was planning before Chris hauled him forward, kissing him hard on the mouth. Toby jerked back in surprise, but Chris simply went with him, pinning him to the wall, leaving him no room to maneuver away when Chris's tongue parted his lips and plunged inside. The shock, the total unexpectedness of it was enough of a mind-fuck to keep Toby's brain occupied while his body responded in a much more visceral way: his breath caught, his cock hardened, his pulse went erratic.

Jesus, this guy was kissing him - and pretty fucking persuasively, too, practically daring him to respond in kind. His hands came up of their own accord to grasp Chris's waist, and he found himself kissing him back -- pushing his tongue into that warm, hungry mouth, already greedy for more.

Chris smiled against his lips. "I'm going to fuck you," he said.  In that voice.

Toby opened his eyes, a half-smile curving his lips. So confident, so fucking sure of himself, like he had Toby all figured out... Toby could only imagine what the boys in Oz would say about that. They'd probably tell this poor guy to turn tail and run for his fucking life. He stifled a laugh. None of that even mattered. He couldn't care less what this guy was thinking, as long as he got what he wanted from him -- and that, he thought wryly, had been made pretty clear when he'd climbed on the bike.

With his eyes fixed on Chris's, he reached down and took Chris's right hand, dragging it to his own groin. "Tell you what," he whispered, mimicking Chris's soft, sexy drawl. "Ask me nice."

Chris's grin disappeared, his eyes narrowing dangerously. Caught him off-guard, Toby thought, and that felt pretty damn good -- though he couldn't say why. He gazed at Chris questioningly, one cool eyebrow raised as he waited for him to say something, do something -- and was more than a little surprised when he just -- didn't.

He just stood there. Watching.

Toby found himself holding his breath. It went on for too long. Chris said nothing, did nothing, just stood there staring at him with those cold, assessing blue eyes, staring at him until it went past the point where it made any sense, past the point where it was even a stare anymore. It became something else -- a moment, a strange, surreal moment stretching out until Toby thought maybe it couldn't end, because once it did, they'd have to explain it somehow.

And then it was over. Just like that, as if it had never happened at all. Chris was smiling again, pressing close again, and without another word spoken between them, he flipped Toby's jeans open, plunging his hand inside, and sank to his knees.

*

It had to be the rain, Toby thought crazily. Something about the way it felt on his skin, little licks of cold fire... fucking Christ. Chris worked him like a pro, sucking at him, tugging on him, gripping his hips hard enough to cause bruises and making these deep, growling sounds in his throat that made Toby writhe even more. It was so good, too good, and he wanted to pull away but he couldn't... he wanted to get closer, but couldn't... he couldn't seem to do anything other than stand there, helpless beneath Chris's mouth.

He groaned in protest when Chris finally pulled away, but before he could react, Chris was back on his feet, trapping him against the wall again. They kissed roughly, as if they were fighting; groping each other in some kind of battle where the winner was whoever got closer, whoever went deeper, whoever got in, and Toby had no idea who was winning, and couldn't care less. He pulled away only to lift his shirt over his head while Chris did the same, and their mouths met again, greedy and wild, as the rain slicked their skin and fell all around them.

"You want more?" Chris whispered into his mouth, and Toby nodded, barely able to breathe. "How much more? C'mon, ask me nice..."

"Fucking all of it," Toby shot back. He yanked at Chris's zipper once more, and this time Chris didn't interfere. "Let's go."

They kissed again, hard, then Chris grabbed his wrist and spun him around, pushing him against the fire escape. Toby grasped the ladder to steady himself, closing his eyes as Chris tugged at his jeans and pushed them down over his hips -- and then he held his breath, waiting.

It didn't take long.

"Oh, man, what the fuck is this?" The burst of laughter seemed incongruous in the dark, silent space.

"It's nothing," Toby said flatly. "Come on."

Chris bent down to study the swastika up close, and Toby heard him whistle softly. "That's fucked up."

"I'm aware. Are we gonna do this, or not?"

A slight pause, that was all -- give the guy points for being unshockable -- and then Chris came full against him again, those strong arms snaking around his waist. "So you want me to fuck you, baby?" he whispered roughly. "You want my dick in your ass?"

Good Christ. Toby's knees almost buckled. "What I want," he muttered, "is for you to shut the fuck up and do it." He paused, briefly, then added, "Think you can handle that -- baby?"

Chris laughed. Toby might have said more, but another sensation was rapidly stealing his breath -- Chris's hands, running the length of his body, kneading the skin made slick by the rain. Toby was sharply aware of the strength of him, of the power contained in those rough, flexing hands -- even more so when Chris seized him by the hips and pulled him tightly against his body. He felt the rigid length of Chris's cock pressing insistently against his flesh, and could barely contain his reaction to it, wanting it more with each moment that passed.

A zipper. A wrapper. The snap of a plastic cap, and then... oh, Christ...Chris's long fingers were inside his body, slick with lube and chilled from the night air. He groaned, unable to stop himself, and heard Chris's breathing quicken behind him.

"Grab that ladder," Chris demanded. "And hold the fuck on."

He wrapped his fingers around the steel rail, grunting when Chris's fingers retreated and his hard body pressed flush against him. He was trapped now, he knew it... he needed it, he was fucking fiending for it, and he spread his legs as wide as his jeans would allow while Chris planted one hand firmly on his back, bending him forward. He drew a long breath, held it until he ached, then expelled it, slowly, as Chris pushed his cock inside.

Above them, the storm broke; Toby barely noticed. The first thrust opened him to a cloudburst of pleasure and pain, rocking him against the cold steel. God, yessss... He tightened his grip on the rail, and the thunder echoed his moans as Chris slowly retreated from him, then pressed forward again. Harder, his mind screamed. It's not fucking *enough*. Chris's fingers dug into his hips and he used them for leverage, bending his legs and pushing back hard on the rail as Chris came deep inside him again.

Yes, yessss... Flesh slapped against flesh while the rain mixed with sweat and sluiced between them. Toby arched back against Chris again and again, practically fucking himself, gritting his teeth as each thrust vibrated through him. He was losing control, perhaps he already had, and he knew it -- he knew it, and couldn't care less, because control wasn't real - only this was real, this was the only fucking thing that made sense... He reached down and grabbed Chris's hand from his hip, dragging it around to his own aching cock, and the breath left his lungs when he felt those strong fingers wrap firmly around him, jerking him off in long, powerful strokes. Lost as he was, he barely noticed when Chris's free hand covered his on the rail, clenching his fingers tightly as they moved faster, thrust harder. He lifted his face to the sky, tasting the rain, and then he was coming, he was coming so hard he forgot momentarily just why the fuck he was even here, feeling only the full-system shock of release -- and beneath it, the beckoning call of a new, unexpected addiction, already taking hold.

*

Afterwards, he found himself strangely reluctant to move. Usually, he was itching to disappear even before the sweat cooled on his skin, eager to go off alone and lick his self-inflicted wounds, but hell, he couldn't deny it, this guy was good --he'd made Toby forget, for a few, elusive moments at least, how much he would hate himself for all this, later on.

For that alone, Toby thought with a cynical smile, he would almost hate to see Chris go.

Turning around, he zipped up his jeans and leaned back against the ladder, watching silently as Chris reached for his shirt. The tattoo on his arm caught Toby's eye. Intrigued, he leaned forward to get a better look.

A dark, dramatic crucifix, so big it took up half his arm. Toby studied the suffering Christ for a moment, then his eyes flicked back up to meet Chris's. "Friend of yours?" he asked dubiously, and Chris grinned at him.

"Like it?"

"Jesus," Toby muttered, tracing the dark lines with his fingers. "And I thought I had a persecution complex."

Chris shrugged. "Seemed appropriate at the time."

"Appropriate, huh?" Toby regarded him thoughtfully, and then turned his eyes back to the tat. "Still, that had to hurt." He suppressed a shiver, remembering his own.

"Nah. You get used to it."

Their eyes met, held a moment too long, and Toby nodded slowly. "Yeah. I guess you do." He wondered what he would say if Chris asked him about the swastika.

Chris didn't ask, though. He simply tossed Toby his shirt, and said, "Let's go."

"Go?" Toby asked, surprised.

"You need a ride, right?"

"I think you took care of that, thanks."

Chris smiled, a wide, feral one that made promises. "C'mon, Toby," he practically purred. Christ, that voice -- right to the dick, even after all this. This guy was better than booze.

"Where to?"

"You tell me."

Toby gazed at him, considering it. He had nowhere to be until Sunday, nobody to know or care what he did, or with whom. Why the fuck not? One more round, in a bed this time -- maybe even an all-out, around-the-clock bender?  Fuck. His cock was already twitching again, at the thought.

"23 Leroy Street," he said slowly, answering Chris's wicked smile with one of his own. "But this time, I get to drive."