Ah poor Miguel.
The hacks found him of course. Found him and cut him down.
Cut down, dragged out, wheeled in, talked down, doped up and sent right back to where he started from. Nothing gained, nothing lost. Well, maybe a little of both.
A little more self-awareness gleaned of who he is and what he can and can't tolerate, maybe even a few steps closer to why he is what he is. A few months of freedom. Well, relative freedom. Still locked up within the walls of Oz but with a hell of a lot more walking room than the little cell. A wasted plea for forgiveness, that came along in the course of things too. The twisted nightmarish gift of actually seeing (as his victim couldn't) the damage he'd caused, a single shining flash-in- the-pan glint of why he'd done it. That was his to carry now too.
Along with all the rest. He shouldered it all; mournfully, ruefully. But he had to anyhow cause really, in the long run, there was nowhere else to put it. Guilt and blame, sorrow and grief, injured pride and loves lost; victims, attackers, grandfathers, babies, mothers, hacks, priests, and lovers. And not a one to pick any of it up and make it easier to breathe, easier to sleep.
Ah poor Ray.
Brushed off, passed over, set aside, confided in, and finally turned to when all else failed. Ever watching with way more than vague curiosity about the fate of his favorite sheep. Everything gained, everything lost. Well, maybe not quite that dramatic.
Pray, hope, pray some more. Pray for strength, pray for guidance, pray to the Almighty who he devoted his life to - forsaking all others for HIM.
Ahhh yes. And yet. He takes the confessions and grants absolution. He lightens their burdens, either by helping to shoulder or granting them the grace to put it down. Self-awareness known but shoved aside cause that's what it's all about - sacrifice.
And the bird's eye view of how much good all that sacrifice and shouldering does has been his reward. Cause he just can't pick it up if they won't put it down and where the HELL is he supposed to put HIS even if they do? Back on them?
Like he's already done.
Fuck yes, that's what he's done. He's supposed to be there for them and yet he broke and took, accepted. Mournfully, ruefully, yes. Nevertheless. He didn't give Miguel the gift of Love, he gave him the burden of love. A single sickening flash-in-the-pan revelation of how deeply he cares.
And then, pulled back to reality, Ray sucked it right back in and watched from afar with a thick throat, heavy heart, and slumping shoulders at all the good it just didn't do. And where exactly is he supposed to put THAT now?
* * *
"Oh fuck man, here we go again." Miguel says it simply, without malice really, just a basic observation on the whole of the situation as a hack escorts Ray through the small door and into the cramped cell that's once again his friend's home.
Nodding slightly at the guard, he steps lightly, hesitantly, careful to leave the large iron door open. "I just came to see how you're doing Miguel."
"I know. I know man. That's what you do," he says while looking down, elbows on his knees, hands faced palms up. "You come in and it all starts right back up again. I talk, you listen, I talk some more, you talk, then after it all goes down I fuck up some more. It don't change. Just keeps on going, Padre, don't change at all."
"What would you like to change Miguel? Do you want me to not come and see you? You think that would stop everything that happens?"
"Nah. That ain't gonna change shit, nothin will. Come, don't come, who cares anymore huh?"
"Yeah, you think you do."
"I do care Miguel. I'm responsible for you."
"Still?" Miguel questions, the word laced with bitter sarcasm. "You still think that? That I'm worth all that?"
"Yes," Ray says earnestly.
Mumbling, "Yeah, you think I'm worth -something-, alright."
There it is. Like a dagger in his heart, Ray flinches at the sting of the remark. He knows exactly what Miguel's driving at with it so he drops his head, averts his eyes and wallows in his own shame and guilt. Possibly enjoys it even, knows he deserves it, much more than that sort of veiled accusation even. He can't fight it, can't deny it, would gladly climb on a cross of his own making would that it weren't true.
Licking his lips, Miguel's one hand wanders thoughtlessly up across his own biceps, soothingly rubbing along its length. He backpedals gently, "Yo padre, man. I didn't mean that shit."
"No, no, you're right. I deserve that from you."
"No you don't. You're the only one left who does care, I know that, you know? It just, I can't..."
"Trust me anymore," Ray whispers, finally looking up, body still backed against the iron bars.
"Nah it ain't that man. That ain't it." Miguel shakes his head and quickly uncoils his body. Walking, pacing slowly, his upper lip curls as if he's trying to speak but can't find the words.
Hesitantly, Ray inches out of his corner as Miguel settles with his back against the far wall. "What then? It makes you uncomfortable?"
Pinning the priest in his hollow-eyed dark gaze, Miguel answers slowly. "No. I like it Padre. It's kind of nice, you know, to know that you care, that someone does."
Ray steps forward again, "Then what? Look, Miguel, I can put that aside, and I hope you can too. I just want to be a friend to you, to do whatever I can for you."
"Yeah I know you do. But you can't do nothin for me. What're you s'posed to do, huh?"
"Minister to you."
"Minister to me?" A wide smile cracks across his face as he pushes off the wall, repeating the words again. Dry, brittle. Amused. "Minister to me." He cackles as he paces. "What the fuck you gonna minister?" He laughs.
"Your soul Miguel. So that God can soothe your soul."
"FUCK HIM!" He snaps around, cat-quick his bare hands shove Ray back.
Shocked and stumbling, the base of Ray's spine smacks into the small tin sink, halting the forceful momentum of his lower body as his torso bends under Miguel's weight. A rough hand is clamped on his shoulder - pinning him back, the other squeezes into his throat. Ray's pulse surges as adrenaline shocks through his veins. Breath stopped, his eyes catch Miguel's; curled and flashing with rage, brow furrowed and teeth gritted as his fists continue to dig into Ray's shoulder and throat. His heart double clutches as he instinctively reaches behind and grabs at the sink for support to help keep his balance.
Lips curled and jaw clenched, Miguel holds him still, pinned against the sink and wall, legs off balance. One hand is still around Ray's neck, forcing the white collar to scrape against his tender skin. Temple throbbing, deadly quiet he whispers to the priest. "Don't ever fuckin mention Him to me again. Understand me?"
Swallowing thickly, Ray nods once, still not daring to breathe. Peripherally, he catches movement just before he hears the hack.
"Hey, you ok Father?"
Miguel eases his grip and begins to slink back.
"Yes. Yes, I'm fine," Ray exhales roughly.
The hack lingers as Miguel backs further away, casting his eyes down, shoulders unknotting.
Nodding again, Ray waves the hack away and straightens up, adjusting his collar and smoothing his sweatshirt.
Slumping back onto his bunk, fire extinguished, Miguel rocks back and forth. "You wanna know why, huh? Do you?" His eyes graze up across the priest, imploring and wide.
Cautiously, Ray steps towards him and nods.
"Cause I asked. I asked Rivera, you know, to forgive me and shit. And he couldn't. Wouldn't. And I asked God too, and know how He answered? I had to kill a guy." He looks down at his own hands, fingers spread wide. "I killed a guy, that's what, and I ain't sorry 'bout that. I ain't beggin no more, Padre."
"Miguel, you don't have to turn your back to Him, you should look to Him even more now."
"Nah. Huh uh. -You- look to Him. You pick Him over me."
"You. You're all I got man. The only one left. And I know you care about me Padre, but you love Him more. I ain't even first with you."
Sitting down next to him, Ray sighs. "Oh Miguel, no. No, that's not it at all."
"Yeah it is."
"No. I, I love you through Him. He loves you through me, that's all it is."
"No. You love me, I know it now. But you pick Him still. That's how it's always been man. Every fuckin person, I just wasn't the best or first or favorite for no one, not even you."
Placing a hand on Miguel's shoulder Ray tries again. "I do this for you, Miguel. It, it wouldn't be right."
Facing the priest, Miguel looks him in the eye. "No, you think it wouldn't be right for -you-," he whispers. Leaning closer, confidingly, he continues, "It ain't what I need though."
Heart skipping, Ray leans back slightly, "You don't know what you're saying, you..."
"Yeah I do," he says. "You don't love me best, that's all." Licking his lips, he presses forward again, swiftly and surely, brushing his face millimeters from Ray's. "I know, I know you want me," he mumbles directly into his ear.
Again, Ray's heart skips within his tightened chest. Swallowing, he struggles for some words, something to say, but his tongue is thick and slow as he feels the warm breath tingle in his ear. Swallowing again, he sways back, only slightly, as a hand on his side, just above his belt, freezes him.
Miguel turns, slowly closes and opens his eyes so that his lashes brush against Ray's cheek. Feeling a heavy breath fall upon his neck, he uses the hand placed at Ray's waistline to coax him closer to him, turn him toward him more, open him up. "It's ok," he whispers and places a soft kiss on Ray's jaw. "Yeahhh," he growls low, kissing again. And again, working his way toward Ray's neck with his lips, his other hand sliding up and down the thick fabric on the arm of his sweatshirt. Gentle, just enough pressure to register, to soothe, not to spook.
Ray thinks he's frozen, his mind swims with what to do. Push him away, pull back, stand up, walk out, say goodbye. Pray. No. "M, Miguel," he stutters, spine still tingling from the whispers that thrilled down it. "This isn't ...right."
"Yeah it is," Miguel answers again, careful to breathe the reply directly in his ear again, moving his roaming hand up to the base of his neck, reaching further around his waist with the other. Thumb stroking at Ray's hairline, mouth to mouth he kisses, sighing against his lips. He sucks on his bottom lip, then the top. His tongue moves out, licking as he takes slow salty drags on the previously virgin lips. "Mine," he murmurs between tastes. "You're only mine." Another kiss. "Right?"
Ray pants as Miguel moves from his mouth. Lips still buzzing, his body slumps languidly into Miguel's and he answers "Mmmmm," as Miguel's lips trace across his jawline. Dizzied, heat slowly moving through his limbs he moves a heavy hand onto Miguel's forearm - to push him away - but lingers. Lingers and rubs, feels the muscles tense and ripple under his touch. Feels the heat against his palm as his stomach quickens with desire. He's being pushed back, a strong hand is in his hair, cradling his head, Miguel's shoulder presses against his, down. Thick and syrupy, his body hums.
Miguel settles against him, allowing the full weight of his body to lie on top of him, warm him up, tune him up. Chest to chest, he feels Ray's hand travel further up his arm. So soft, reassuring, sliding up to his biceps, his shoulder, then back down. Deep and throaty, he asks again. "Me. Me, right?" Limbs quietly pulsing, he senses the slow internal vibrations of the priest beneath him. He moves his leg, pulling it up slightly, forcing his hips deeper against Ray's, hears him sigh. "You pick me. You love me most."
He dips in and parts Ray's mouth, catches his tongue between his lips, and sucks.
A jolt of electricity rips through the haze of pleasure straight to Ray's groin. He lurches and gasps, startled and shocked.
Miguel wanders his hand across Ray's chest, rubbing through the black fabric, soothing him again. Resting at his neck, he fingers the stiff white square of his collar, plucking at it gently. Gravelly low, "You gotta pick, Padre," he says while watching Ray's face, eyes squeezed shut and brows knit together, lips shining from his kisses.
Leaning in, he kisses again, open mouthed, tongue wandering and sliding against his friend's. Away from the collar, he runs his hand over Ray's chest again, still kissing him, sucking on his mouth, feeling their breath get warmer and heavier. "I can make you feel good," he tempts. His hand snakes down, across Ray's stomach, over his belt. "I gotta come first to you," he kisses again, hand still moving down, feeling the growing thickness under the priest's zipper. Whispering directly in his ear, Miguel asks one more time, "Who you love? Ray?" And his hand squeezes demandingly at Ray's erection.
"UHHH!" Ray goes breathless and bucks from the stunning jolt of pleasure. He ducks and rolls, pushing out from under Miguel and scrambling to his feet, chest heaving to catch his breath.
Miguel props his head up with one hand and rubs the other across his tight stomach, leering at Ray as he watches him stumble toward the door and hoarsely call for a guard.
* * *
And so they fester.
Ray arranges to see him in his office. He's made his choice and now it's time to live with it. He can't abandon Miguel, maybe out of that tiny cell with some natural sunlight coming through the windows he'll be in a clearer state of mind.
So he shuffles around, trying to push the nervous butterflies down, to calm his frayed nerves and heavy heart. Lighting a candle, he drops to his knees and prays to the Virgin Mother. For strength. For himself. For Miguel.
The hacks deliver Miguel to his door promptly and Ray rises and turns immediately; quick enough to see Miguel shake his head and look away, rolling his eyes at what he saw.
"Uncuff him please," he requests.
"You sure about that Father? He's sort of aggita.."
"Just uncuff him," Ray snaps. "I'll be fine."
The hack does as asked and eyefucks Miguel for a few seconds before exiting the room. Courteously, Ray thanks him, closes the door behind him. Clearing his throat, he sheepishly turns to Miguel. "I, um, I convinced Warden Glynn to let you out to come see me. For counseling. He wasn't thrilled, but I think in a strange way he's gratefu..."
"What the fuck're you doin?" Miguel interrupts testily.
"Miguel, I wanted to talk to you..."
"Fuck THAT!" Miguel stalks around the room, circling around the desk. "I already told you, I don't wanna talk about that shit." Halting, he points at Ray, "You gotta choose."
"I made a vow to God Miguel."
"I promised Him I'd forsake all others for Him."
"But you love me too," Miguel protests. "You love -me-."
"Yes, I do," Ray admits. "But that's for me to deal with. You should forget about that," he whispers and turns away, staring intently at the single candle burning before him. He feels the movement behind him, his nerves buzz as he feels Miguel close behind.
"I don't wanna forget it," Miguel whispers into his ear.
Reflexively, Ray's head bends slightly into his breath and his eyes drift closed. He feels Miguel's hands on his sides, then wandering across his chest. He feels his tongue flick at the crook of his neck, and Ray sighs something incoherent.
Miguel moves his hands down, one rubs across Ray's stomach, back and forth, strong and sure, pulling the priest's back close against his chest. The other moves lower, rubs insistently between his legs, slowly. Up and down, friction and pressure, oh so maddening and oh so sweet.
Swallowing thickly, Ray turns quickly to meet him eye to eye. Hovering there, wordlessly, he lifts his own hand to his neck and plucks the stiff white collar free from his shirt. Miguel's eyes follow as Ray sets it gently on the table next to the candle. Leaning over, he curls his lips and blows the flame out.
Hands trembling now, Miguel questions, "You serious, Padre?"
"Ray." He answers. "Call me Ray now."
Miguel's eyes lock with his again and he obeys. "Ray."
Ray dives in. Hands on Miguel's face, gliding across the combination of smooth skin and rough stubble, he kisses. He licks, he laps, his tongue darts in and out, tasting the salt, trying for more, deeper.
Miguel tries to back him up, slow him down by moving his hands slow and soft. But Ray keeps driving against him, restless and needy, panting with longing. He knows Ray won't last long so he fumbles at his belt for him as Ray tries to undulate against him, humping against Miguel's hip. He hears Ray groan as he slides the zipper down, so he shushes him and kisses his neck. Reassuring, he speaks lightly, "It's ok, ok. Take it easy, Ray," he croons as he slides his hand under the waistband of his underwear.
Ray shifts his weight and bites back yelling as he feels Miguel's thumb slide across the head of his cock. "Never, no one. No one else ever touched me," he mumbles and squirms. He feels Miguel move again for him, breathes in the smell of his sweat that's intensifying. With that he pushes his hips, driving himself deeper into Miguel's strong hand.
Miguel feels him grinding and pumping against his hand and knows there's no slowing him down now so he gives in and starts to stroke him deep and quick. Feeling Ray curl into his body he speeds it up, grinning widely as Ray stutters his name with shuddering breaths. When Ray's fingers dig into his shoulder he knows he's over the edge.
Ray shivers against him, an earthquake of pleasure radiating from his aching cock throughout his body as he comes for the first time with someone holding him close. "Jesus," he hisses as he tries to catch his breath, collapsed against Miguel's warm frame, head full of fog.
"You ok?" Miguel asks. "Ray? Ray? You ok?"
Nodding once, Ray has trouble finding his voice right away, "I, I'm sorry, I just..."
"It's ok man. It's alright, you're good," he reassures and kisses him deep and slow. Breaking away, he grins a little. "So you glad you picked me?"
Flustered, Ray grins too, still weak-kneed but he's slowly coming to his senses again. Releasing Miguel's shoulder, he realizes just how tight he was holding on and wonders if he bruised him. Smoothing his hand across his chest, he works it down toward his pants. "You, uh, didn't. I mean, um..."
Smile gone, Miguel eyes him gravely. "Yeah, me now. My turn," he instructs. He feels Ray's obedient hand slide down further as he leans in to kiss him. He takes the kiss, then grabs Ray's hand in his and sniffs. "Nah, huh-uh. Not like that. Ray." He sees the questioning look on his face and places his hands on Ray's shoulders. "Get down."
"On your knees. In front of me man, kneel down," Miguel commands and gently urges him with his hands. Once he's settled there, Miguel strokes his hair and catches his eye as Ray gazes up at him. "This ok?"
Ray nods as Miguel undoes the top button of his pants.
"You wanna do this? For me?"
Ray nods again as Miguel unzips. "Is this what you want?" Ray asks.
Reaching in, Miguel grabs hold of himself, half-hard already. Stroking himself lightly, looking at Ray's upturned face, he tells him what he wants. "Tell me. Tell me I'm your favorite Ray," he pleads, growing harder. "That's what I want. Tell me you love me the most, that's it, that's all I need."
"I do love you, Miguel," Ray answers, placing his hands on Miguel's hips. "I love you," he says, placing his hand over Miguel's and moving it aside. Then he leans forward and takes him in his mouth.
He licks, he kisses. Finally, he sucks. Miguel moans at the slick warmth around him, eyes rolling heavenward. He tries to be still, not to choke or force. And Ray keeps taking him, in and out, up and down, licking and sucking away greedily. Unwittingly, Miguel starts to rock into him, reflexively setting the pace that he wants and needs. Forcing his eyes open, he looks down at Ray working away on him. The sight sends a silvery shudder through his spine and his fists clench in reaction to the shock.
Ray moves down and tightens his mouth again, so good it makes Miguel reel above him. Then Miguel loses it. Biting hard on his lower lip, he rocks back and forth a few more times, each thrust making the feeling more intense until it's just so good it -has- to end.
So he thrusts again, and Ray takes him deep, hands at his waist to hold him steady. With a single loud "UHHHH," he comes deep in Ray's mouth, then pulls free to stroke himself a few times to finish it off.
Panting, still holding himself, his other hand moves to his face and he covers his eyes. Silent moments pass with Ray watching his every non-movement. "Are you...was that, ok?" He finally questions.
Sighing, Miguel moves, "Yeah," he answers as he arranges and zips up his pants. "That was... thanks." Looking around he gazes at the table next to him for a few seconds and then back at Ray. "Com'ere," he says gently, motioning for him to stand.
Ray stands and fixes his own pants finally, gingerly tucking his shirt back in. Pulling him close, Miguel smoothes his hair with one hand and kisses him on the mouth again, then he looks back to the table. Licking his lips, he mumbles, "I guess I gotta go back to my cell now Padre."
Ray flinches and grins. "You're going to have break the habit of calling me that."
"No I ain't," Miguel says quickly. He picks the discarded collar up off the table and fidgets with it in his hands for a moment as he releases Ray with his other arm. "Put this back on too," he says holding the stiff white band up to Ray's face.
"Miguel, I thought you... you wanted me to..."
"I said it put it back on, Padre."
Wide-eyed, Rays heart flips in his chest and his shoulders sag, "Miguel, I can't, I told you, I, I..."
"I know. I know, but it's ok. I'm glad Padre, you know, that you picked me. I needed that, but you gotta, gotta, fuck, I don't know."
"No, you -don't- know Miguel!" Ray panics. "What do you think this was? I can't just renounce God for you and then turn back."
"But you gotta man. It ain't right."
"It's not right? What are you, cra..."
"NO!" Miguel snaps. He stares at the priest, unwilling to back down, brown eyes resolute. "We all do what we gotta, Padre. I deal, you deal, we go on, it all keeps going, no matter what we do," he says and moves away. Head hung low, he moves to the door. Halting, he looks over his shoulder at the gape-mouthed man behind him. "Bye Ray," he says. Then he turns the doorknob and exits the room.
Ahhh, poor Ray.
Ahhh, poor Miguel.