Almost taped his mouth shut this time around.
Her man arms pushed him away, making him trip over his pants.
Trying again, he gave her the post-coital smolder as he tried to dress. Used to work on Shannon.
"I need you to do something for me."
Holy fuck, it worked on her too. No smart-ass sarcasm or bodily harm.
She smiled, not a happy smile. This was the type where you worried she'd swallow you whole.
"So I'm supposed to break the law when you don't even wanna fuck me?"
This again. So much for progress.
Losing control of the situation again. *Like I ever had control.*
"Last time I checked, my name wasn't 'Ugh....Glo...'."
Pronounced Gloria with a mocking whine. Wished she were a prisoner, force somebody to slit her throat before she could ever desecrate that name again.
"I thought you loved me O'Reilly."
Love her? Fucking wildebeest who got it on with McManus? Still didn't wrap his mind around that horror too often, sharing two women with the cocksucker.
"I do love you."
She circled around him, more frightening now than in her rage.
"Tell me you don't give a shit about that dirty, smelly spic cunt."
"I don't. Not since she tried to kill Cyril."
"Say the words."
Words are shit, Ryan wrote enough death certificates on the backs of lies and promises. Still tore at his guts to say them.
"I don't give a shit about that dirty, smelly spic cunt."
Hoped she didn't pick up on the ragged tones in his voice.
Howell pounced on him, Ryan forced himself not to gag around her tongue in his mouth. When she pulled away, she had his oxygen supply as a souvenier.
"He'll be dead soon."
Still panting for breath, Ryan grabbed the back of her head, holding her in place as a hand traced her left breast.
"He better be."
His hand slowly uncurled from her brown hair. Howell stepped away, with her devil daughter expression. Almost had a coronary when her eyes popped wide, mouth in an obscene grin.
"Now who's a big boy today? Aw....c'mon, let's get your hot ass back where it belongs."
With all those clown faces she'da been a natural for silent movies. Best of all, if she got her ass drop-kicked back all those decades, she'd be a rotting corpse now, eating worms instead of Ryan's cock.
Ryan set his face on stone while she pulled him away by the arm. Busy shaking the guilts (like Gloria's even fucking HERE) for words she'd never hear him say, he let joy over his enemy's death simmer on the backburner.
Arms folded in front of his stomach, Nikolai kept a watch on Ryan O'Reily's pod. Clear for searching. If he had the strength to walk and rummage. He was not as younthful as he once was, and the activities of the day before still carried into his mind and body.
The metal chair skidded as he stood.
Sex was the last resort. Fears from lack of command, a test of strength, resulting in submission. Sex knew no language, color, or border.
To say he did not enjoy parts would be a lie. He and O'Reily had been in foreplay for weeks. Their banter had sexual charge, how they lingered over each other's features a moment too long, a long chase finally resolved shortly before Ryan stole his phone. And again yesterday.
As much as Nikolai wished to live, a few fucks were not going to accomplish that. Now that the taste of survival had entered his mouth, accepting death was not as easy. Ryan was a different breed of enemy, true. Different in many ways. A strong foe during Kosygin's brief stay in Emerald City. Superior to Nikolai at that time.
O'Reily had lost his edge. A threat, but reckless. As Nikolai himself had been when the Cossack nearly killed him. Nikolai had learned a lesson that day. Never trust a man who has a suit jacket tighter than his butt. He certainly did not worry about that with Ryan O'Reily.
O'Reily never wore suit jackets.
Almost at the pod, no guards in sight.
"Ryan and I live here."
How fast did Cyril O'Reily move? Dense, yet swift. Did not see him coming.
"Busmalis wished to see you, I have just been speaking to him."
Cyril stared back at him with eyes of impossible coldness.
"You talk funny. And Ryan told me not to listen to the stuff you say."
Nikolai pulled out his best false grin.
"We are friends, your brother and I. Can I not be your friend?"
His hand went to Cyril's bare shoulder, quickly shoved away.
"Ryan hates you. He says it all the time. He wants to clobber you."
"Yes, your brother spent a good deal of time clobbering me yesterday."
It leapt out, probably because he wanted to say the words so badly. Fortunately, Cyril did not seem to notice.
"Ryan is a coward if I am not allowed to go inside his pod. He has no balls."
Cyril took a step forward, apparently preparing to lunge.
"GO AWAY! G'WAY!"
As hard to deal with as his brother.
"Let us hope you do not regret this."
Nikolai returned to his chair, almost sitting before he saw the key to this puzzle.
Cyril did care about Beecher, and the man was unstable enough to play some part, of his own choosing or not.
First, the eye contact. Their blues and browns met, oblivious and all too aware of the faces surrounding them.
Nodding, Beecher made his way underneath the stairwell, Nikolai turning to see if Cyril watched. He did not. No matter. He would know soon.
Following with casual steps, Nikolai swerved his neck, seeing Keller pressed against the glass of an upper-level pod. A nervous swallow bubbled in Nikolai's throat.
Keller. That man was the living embodimient of death. Silky, whispering, only a menace when it is too late to take action.
Keller had taken himself away from Beecher, including an ugly fight which happened after Nikolai found himself in protective custody. Their normal body language told Nikolai the story had not been finished. O'Reily was problem enough, without two lovers who were....how do you say....fucked up in the head. He would rather not be the corpse littered between them.
Stopping, he turned. This was not the best idea.
On his way back to his own pod, he almost collided with Busmalis. Sad, sad time for this man. He had to join of the club.
Nikolai stepped back, looking up and down, speculating.
"Busmalis, I need you to do something for me."
He waved his arms.
"My heart belongs to Miss Sally."
Nikolai grinned, rubbing his chin.
He pointed to the floor.
"Faint. Onto the ground."
Busmalis adjusted his hat.
"Bob got a tumor and tried to carve me up. Beecher's a big tramp. And now you're asking me to do pratfalls! What's happening to this place?"
This was *not* the stupidest thing he had ever been involved with. Had to remind himself. That was spending a month trying to track down Russian-translated sheet music of 'I'm So Excited' for Tanya. Why did her breasts have to be so big and firm...
He sighed. "Busmalis, I consider you a friend. Do not make this physically painful."
The eyes of the man squirming in front of him widened.
He fell, head resting comfortably against his interesting fisherman hat.
Time to act. Hacks were busy talking to each other. The darker men noticed Busmalis fall, only moments could pass before they began abusing his body.
Nikolai ran to Cyril, pointing in the direction of the prone body.
"Busmalis needs your help!"
Did not believe him, until Cyril saw the still form downstairs, near a table. He ran without thinking, determined to aid his friend.
Clock ticking, Nikolai jumped into the small room, hands looking everywhere. A skin magazine, razor, a beaten wife or whatever the name is...
"He's fine. Back off O'Reily. Wanna take a tour of the Hole?"
Little time left. Placing a grip on front and back of the pornography, Nikolai shook, rewarded when a piece of paper fell out.
Gloria Nathan and her amazing blood drive.
He strolled toward the steps, sliding the article in back of his jogging pants.
Had to wait a while before Howell did his dirty work. Not as long as they'd have to in the "good" ol' days, since the handful of pale faces left could commit hari-fuckin-kiri without the brothers even bothering to sniff a Jap-English dictionary.
Sometimes he really missed the cocksucker. Asshole, banged every chick under 70, but he was predictable. Querns had his own agenda. McManus pretended he cared about the cons, even though he only gave a shit about himself. Querns didn't bother hiding how much bigger he thought his dick was.
He craved Nikolai's death. A dose of sanity. The hunger only stopped when Cyril blindsided him.
"Busmalis had to go to the hospital! He passed out! He's gonna die."
Ryan processed the minor quake through Em City life, rubbing Cyril's arm.
"Nah, he just inhaled too much dirt. Old fart'll be fine."
"W-Will Doctor Nathan take good care of him?"
Cyril had his innocent stare, worn despite the murders and rape of the past few years. Ryan wanted to slap the shit out of him when he went into kiddie mode.
"Doctor Nathan isn't here right now. Busmalis will be back in no time, bugging the crap out of everybody. Like always. I..."
Felt that paper rolled between his fingers, brushing smooth skin, ready for a light.
"Yeah, I promise."
A day passed, Claire not wanting to be too careless with her prisoner pull-outs.
After the lunch rush, Ryan relaxed in the pod, draping across his upper bunk. Had to sell a few tits soon, least that was a benefit of Querns. No drug restrictions. These boys don't care what color your skin is as long as the nose candy is plentiful.
Flipped through the girly mag, needing to find Gloria, see her face. *I know I left her here.*
He tossed it to the floor, too tired to look any more. Near-daily sessions with the shebeast, and that.....conservation with Stanislofsky took a toll on his body. He'd spent too long with a fist sandwich to cope with so much action.
Shutting his eyes, he felt, not saw, Nik watching him. The gaze burned over his proud Irish features. *Fuck, if I were him I'd take a long look too. Especially after 4 decades living with that ugly mug.*
Slowly, he sat, then stood, keeping one eye on Cyril downstairs.
So smug, marching up here without even asking. He'll be smug until the bitch beats the smirk off his face.
They spoke few words, more of staring at each other, cool tendrils of recycled air breezing past their tense bodies. Ryan on one side of the door, arms at his sides, Nikolai at the other, arms folded.
Amazed at the calmness of a man about to die. His light brown eyes, dancing with amusement, like he was watching from far away. The middle age crevaces sinking into his face, probably had a track record as wild and long as Ryan's. The coarseness of his goattee, couldn't imagine Nik without that ratty fuzz. Still felt the singe marks on his cheeks from the hairs, close to those lips and their stupid pucker every time Nikolai bought a vowel...
*I'm memorizing the face of a man I hate.* Pissed off at himself and his weird emotions, he refused to turn away. No reason to show weakness.
Nikolai smiled at him with the familiar wrinkles around the edges of his mouth.
"Do I not get a goodbye kiss?"
Ryan let out a sharp breath, hand leaning on the frame beside Nik's ear. He licked the middle finger of his other hand, brushing it across Nikolai's lower lip, digging the nail into pink tissue. Not very surprised by the tongue and teeth enclosed briefly, Ryan pulled away, charged by the sensation.
Nikolai moved away, stopping for a moment. He bowed before he left, midsection doubling and contracting with the quick movements. A bow? Crazy motherfucker. Like a fairy tale.
Ryan went back to his bunk, tracing a thumb over the inside of his elbow. Didn't look when Claire came and got the future cadaver. Didn't have to. If this was a fairy tale, he already knew the happy ending.
The bathroom. Much nicer than the aluminum toilets of Emerald City.
Claire pushed him into the room. He knew this was his time to die. On she and O'Reily's schedule.
He shrugged off the jacket of his jogging suit, more for effect than heat, showing her his vulnerability.
"Nice shiner. Guess somebody beat me to the punch."
He should have laughed here, but he didn't. His expression was more serious, taking a step toward the guard.
"Is this where Ryan O'Reily fucks you?"
The swing from her nightstick grazed his temple. Cushioned his fall as to not blow out his knees. He had enough problems.
She walked toward him, menacing and giant, smirking.
"Yeah, it is. He fucks me like no man ever has. He's a REAL man, not that a half-dick like you would know anything about that."
Careful not to make sudden moves, he moved for the paper.
"You will be surprised at what I know. He makes love to Gloria Nathan as he fucks you."
The nightstick flew toward his head again, he grabbed the end flying toward him, jerking it away before tossing her weapon into a nearby stall.
Her face was pure rage.
"He told me he didn't love her."
Nikolai cocked his head.
"Perhaps he does not. I found this today. Any guesses as to what the stains are?"
Howell ripped the paper from his hand. He did not look in her eye as she read. She was the type of woman he left behind in Russia, the type who was not supposed to exist in America.
"He promised me! Maybe he didn't have the chance to...AW FUCK HIM."
Wordlessly, he moved toward Howell's crotch, reaching for the belt buckle.
"Get the fuck away cocksucker."
Ripping the undershirt from his body with a frightening zeal, she unzipped her uniform pants, shoving his face into her pubic hair.
Nikolai was now, with hope, on a level equal to O'Reily. And he loved eating pussy....or at least he used to.
His mind filled with images of conquest, a bevy of women, standing over the body of his greatest rival as a young man. And the rival's last words, muttered in Russian between bouts of coughing blood.
"Survival is a cruel, cruel mistress."
Continued in Control