~*~ The events of this story will incorporate external added elements from the author's imagination into the already rich and exhilarating canon narrative of the HBO original series, Oz. For the most part, the canon of the series will remain intact to preserve a sense of realism to the plot, while also being sensitive of the time flow of events occurring within Oz.

~*~ Although the characters to be featured are prominently factual in their given genre, they are the sole property of Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson, and are copyrighted to Rysher Entertainment and HBO. All original characters are of the author's creation and belong to him alone and, as with the rest of the story, may not be replicated or redistributed in any way without formal consent from said author.

~*~ Underage reading or any other illegalities is neither encouraged nor condoned in any way by the author. He also will not tolerate any form of plagiarism towards any of the words to come, as they are his and his alone. The principal objective is that of enjoyment and entertainment to you, the reader.

~*~ Address any type of question and/or feedback to jc71883@hotmail.com, making sure to add a relation to the story on the subject line of the e-mail to guarantee its reception.



The wait was killing him as he sat in the quad by himself and thought. It was almost time for him to go to the cafeteria to prepare lunch and word still had not come in on Cyril's trial. The day could potentially change their lives. O'Reily sat at the table and remained to himself as other inmates passed by and went on as if it was a regular day. To them, it was. Katherine McClain had told him not to get any false hopes, but a little part of him believed that his brother was going to get off. Meehan walked over to the table and sat down across from him.

"What news?" the disgraced priest asked.

"Nothing. The lawyer says it could be a couple of days before the jury comes back with a verdict," the Irishman said. "I just, you know---I just wish I was with Cyril in Solitary, because I know he's scared and I don't think he's got a clue as to what's going on."


"What's good?"

"Well, the less aware he is of things, the better chance we have of overturning a guilty verdict," Meehan said.

"I don't follow. What?" O'Reily was confused.

"I'm not going to let Cyril die---not without one hell of a fight."

"What do you care about my brother for, huh? What fucking business of it is yours?" he got defensive and said.

"Just because I'm a prisoner doesn't mean I've stopped being a priest. Cyril is one of God's kids, there it's---"

"Hey, Meehan, yo---yo, you know what? Stay the fuck away from me, all right. The last thing I need right now is hope, so just fucking beat it," O'Reily angrily said. "Get the fuck out of here! What, are you deaf?"

The bastard was getting on his nerves and he wanted them as far away from each other as possible. Meehan looked at him for a moment before he got up and walked away. He did not need the man stroking to life that little hope he had inside. It was only going to be that much more devastating if Cyril was convicted. O'Reily's eyes glanced to an empty pod on the second floor---neither Alvarez nor the dog was there. A part of him felt that the partnership was not going to work out. And, a part of him wanted it to work out more than he was willing to admit.

Redding and the homeboys started heading to the kitchen so he quickly changed into his uniform and followed them. There was still no word as he prepared lunch and the inmates began arriving shortly after that. O'Reily wanted to turn around and see Cyril playing with the bubbles as he washed the dishes like before, but that was gone. He and Alvarez held each other's gaze for a short time in the line but it was over too quickly. The Latino went on his way with his dog without any word ever being spoken. Nothing had been said, but O'Reily felt it.

"O'Reily, come with me," Howell called to him from the gate.


"Jury's in."

"Oh---take that," he handed off his spoon to another inmate and ran out of the kitchen.

Redding was not happy with this but he did not give a damn. Something important was going to happen today and he had to make decisions for either outcome. Howell walked him over to interaction room and he stayed inside his head the whole way. The stupid cunt was babbling something but he paid no attention to her because there was no plan he could come up with that would save Cyril from the death penalty. If that was the case, there was no plan that could bring him back from the dead.

"Ryan," Sister Pete said when he entered and her tone spoke volumes.

"Oh, Christ," was all he could think to say.

"I'm sorry," McClain said. "We're going to appeal."

"A lot of fucking good that'll do. Hey---you okay?" O'Reily asked to his brother.

"Sure. Kiss Jericho. Kiss him!" Cyril said of the puppet that the nun had given him to keep him quiet during the trial. "He misses you."

"When's sentencing?" he ignored his brother and asked.

"It's Thursday. I'll plead for clemency because of his mental state," McClain spoke.


"Why not?" Sister Pete asked. "The judge---"

"I'm responsible for his decisions, right?" O'Reily made it clear to the both of them. "I say no appeals. No clemency. Now, leave us alone."

He watched the two of them leave and Cyril asked, "Is there a problem, Ryan?"

"No---just the opposite. You're getting out of here, kid," the Irishman sadly said. "You're going to be free."

They had spent an hour in the interaction room talking and O'Reily had to hold back his pain a few times. It was the end of a fucked up and unfair road for his little brother. Cyril deserved better than being brain-damaged---deserved better than being locked away in here. The hack came to take him back to Solitary and he had to bribe another to take him to the cafeteria to talk to his mother. O'Reily tried his best to explain himself as they sat on the stage together, but she did not seem to understand where he was coming from.

"Why would you want your brother to die?" Fitzgerald asked.

"Look at our lives. We were beaten as kids, ignored, in and out of juvie all the time. Then, Cyril gets his brains smashed in. And, we're stuck in this shithole for the next ninety years," O'Reily said. "Nothingness is better than a lifetime in Oz."

"Once he's gone---he's gone forever and you will have to live everyday with the part you played in that."

"Believe me---I've accepted everything I've done to screw up Cyril's life. I can carry this."

"No. No, you won't be able to," she said and rested her hand on his.

"And what makes you say that?"

"Because I know you, Ryan."

"What? You think you know me because we sit around and joke---you got me all figured out?" O'Reily said as anger swelled inside him. "Is that it, huh? Well, let me tell you something, ma---even if you'd been in that house my whole life, you wouldn't have a fucking clue who I am."

"Ryan," his mother was startled and called after him as he jumped off the stage.

"Let me out of here," he said to the hack at the gate.

"Ryan?" Fitzgerald called out to him again but he was gone.

He had gotten far too defensive with his mother, but she was trying to give him false hope just as the priest was. O'Reily could not afford to build himself up like that. He walked back to Em City and entered the pod---he warned Meehan not to say a word to him. O'Reily remained by himself for a long while until he emerged from the pod and immediately felt Morales's eyes on him. The El Norte leader motioned him over and he went and sat. Just then, the gates clanked open.

"Hey, everybody, check it out, Shupe's back. Let's give him a hand," the Irishman mocked the pitiful liar.

"You're a regular Chris Rock there, O'Reily," Shupe said back.

"What can I say? It's a talent."

"Speaking of talents, you made a deal with us---we'd hurt Shupe if you'd airhole Jia Kenmin," Guerra reminded him of their arrangement.

"Well, I never said I'd do the deed myself. I'm going to find someone to do it who the COs can't blame."


He smiled and responded, "The COs themselves."

Guerra looked confused by his statement and O'Reily expected nothing less from the stupid fuck. He understood why Alvarez never took Guerra seriously---he was hardly a worthy threat. He left the lapdog behind after the buzzer sounded signifying that it was rec time. He took every precaution with the plan and the hit was going to happen today. Most of the inmates headed to the gym and he went too. It was past time Kenmin paid for what Cyril was going through. O'Reily entered the gym with his plan already set in motion.

"I hear justice has been served," Kenmin said to him when they were close enough to each other. "Your brother's going to die for whacking Li Chen. My only wish---is that you'd been in court the day I testified. Li Chen---he was a good man who wouldn't hurt a flea. I even choked back a fucking tear. I was brilliant."

"Hey, wonton," he said.

O'Reily clenched his fist and swung at the Asian to get him to shut up. He wanted to get a good punch in, but it would not matter in the end if he did or did not connect. Kenmin dodged the blow and quickly wrapped his hands around O'Reily's neck to choke him. He was on the floor and losing breath in his lungs when he saw a hack come from behind and hit Kenmin to break up the fight.

"Get off him! Get off him, now!" Officer Robinson ordered.

"Fucking cocksucker!" the Asian said and released O'Reily's throat to start assaulting the hack.

"Son of a bitch!" Robinson said as he began to defend himself.

Kenmin kept punching the hack in his face and chest to subdue him so that he could finish the other man off. O'Reily quickly caught his breath, leapt up from the floor to punch Kenmin in the back of the head, and started pulling him off the officer. More officers had joined in when they heard the other prisoners' cheering and the fight was dismantled. Kenmin was still trying to fight off the officers and even spat in one of their faces---he was clubbed hard in the stomach for it.

Everything had gone the way it was supposed to go, but his neck was killing him. The hacks pulled Kenmin away while Robinson escorted O'Reily to the infirmary because there was bruising around his neck. His windpipe felt like it had been crushed and was on fire when Dr. Nathan was examining him. The marks around his neck were red and his blood was still boiling from adrenaline. The Irishman pushed more into Dr. Nathan's gloved touch---a protected touch was still better than no touch.

But, he had touch for a short time and his brain had forced him to give it up. He had kisses that literally stole his breath away and made him weak in the knees---he was never going to tell Alvarez any of that, but wanted nothing more to do with it because of who had made feel like that. O'Reily stayed quietly in his thoughts as she examined him. He wanted to tell Alvarez about the fight---he wanted them to talk again. He missed the loco Latino.

"You're going to be fine," Dr. Nathan said as she removed a glove. "How you feeling?"

"Sore," O'Reily responded with a rasp in his voice. "How's Jia?"

"I didn't even get to see him. The COs threw him directly into Solitary."

"It's not nice to hit the hacks."

"Well, given his previous concussion, I'm a little worried," she said.

"Don't be. It'll be better for all of us if Jia goes back into another coma," the Irishman said with his voice in check.

"I'll get someone to take you back."

"I'll take him," Robinson said and they left the infirmary a few minutes later. "Appreciate what you did today, O'Reily."

"If you guys hadn't gotten there when you did, that chink would have snapped my fucking neck," the viper played the manipulation game he was so fucking good at. "I was just returning the favor. Yeah, Jia, man, he's got some set of balls. He's always talking about what pussies you hacks are."

"Yeah?" the officer took interest in the comment. "Well, he's got a lesson coming. He'll learn."

O'Reily smiled on the inside at another successfully executed plan. It was too damn easy---and at the small cost of being roughed up a bit. Jia Kenmin was either going to be in a coma or dead by the end of the day. The hacks hated taking any shit from the prisoners and got even whenever they could. O'Reily returned to Em City and was immediately greeted by Meehan as he walked to his pod. The bastard had a look of determination on his face. It was just what he needed---a fucking lecture.

"You happy with what you did?" he asked.

"What'd I do?" O'Reily felt a massive headache coming on.

"Got your revenge on Jia Kenmin."

"That motherfucker came at me."

"I saw otherwise," he said.

"Hey, keep your fucking mouth shut!" O'Reily warned him.

"You wear that cross of gold," Meehan said of the cross around his neck. "Why? Do you believe in the risen Christ, or is it just a bobble? What happened to you when you were a child? What made you walk away from the church?"

"I didn't walk away. I ran."

"Why?" he probed.

"When I was a kid and all this shit was going down in our house, my dad was wailing on us nonstop, so I went to our pastor. I had a welt on my back the size of a fist, so, I asked the good Monsignor if he could please talk to my dad and ask him to stop beating on us," he was not sure why he was saying all this. "He said if my dad hit us, it was because we were bad and we deserved to be punished. Then, he told me to go home and honor thy father."

"There are bad priests, but, there are lots of good ones, too. Your priest wasn't there for you, but I am. I'm here for you, and I'm here for your brother."

"No---it's too late, Father. It's too fucking late," O'Reily said dismissively and walked into the pod.

His head had wanted to explode and his neck felt raw and exposed. He just wanted a nap and for the day to be over. Meehan remained outside, but then walked away to give him some privacy. O'Reily did not want to talk anymore and went up to his bunk to rest. The natural high his body was on had long since vanished and he felt uncomfortable telling Meehan what he just did. Information was power inside Oz and he never wanted anyone to have any kind of power over him. O'Reily turned his body towards the wall and tried to get some rest. Maybe when he woke up, everything would have been a nightmare.


Word had gotten around quickly about the brawl in the gym between O'Reily, Kenmin, and the hacks and Alvarez knew this was part of the man's plan. There was very little doubt in his mind that the Asian was on his last breaths of life now, if he hadn't already taken them. He saw O'Reily talking to Meehan outside their pod earlier but their eyes never made contact. Alvarez wanted to talk to him but everything between them was so complicated and mainly unspoken. It was dangerous to open up in Oz.

He was sitting in his pod playing with Julie while Penders was sitting on the floor playing with his dog as well. He felt a sigh of relief when Sister Peter Marie had told him that Father Mukada was going to be fine after she had come back from her hospital visit. The time was coming close for both of them to give up the dogs and Alvarez was depressed about that. Julie had taught him so much about himself. After all the criminal acts and blood that was on his hands, he was capable of taking care and nurturing something to make it grow and prosper. He was capable of love---he was still human.

"I don't know how I'm going to give Julie up, huh?" the Latino said sadly as he played with her. "I had a kid once---died. It fucking nearly crippled me. I ain't felt love since then---until now."

"You know that CO that you blinded?" Penders said.

"Eugene Rivera?"

"Yeah. Is he going to get your dog?"

"Well---he said he don't want any part of anything that had to do with me," Alvarez said, but he knew Sister Pete was still fighting on his behalf.

"You ever seen these babies fight for sport?"

"I've seen roosters. I haven't seen dogs, though."

"It's fucking brutal, man. Three rounds of absolute mayhem. Dogs just ripping each other apart," he painted the ugly picture.

"Jesus Christ---fucking stop!"

"I'm sorry."

Alvarez did not want to imagine Julie in that kind of situation---it was too much. She was a good girl and was gentle and loving. These were more reasons why he wanted Rivera to have her. He had taken a big chunk away from the man's life so Julie's love and support would have at least made it a somewhat easier journey for him as he walked through his life as a blind man. Penders reminded them that they had their final session with Hinden in a few minutes so they got ready to go. Alvarez wanted to feel that sense of accomplishment in something as they left his pod and walked down the stairs and across the quad.

"Hey, Penders, Alvarez, what's this?" Officer Lopresti asked them both as he pointed to the ground under him.

"Beats me." Penders replied.

"It's dog shit, dickhead."

"How can you be sure that a dog did that?"

"Who else shits on the floor?"

"Guerra," Penders said.

"That's funny," the hack said. "Clean it up."



"No," he repeated.

"Clean the fucking shit up," he said as he approached him.

"Lopresti, why you always on my fucking ass?" Penders said with an attitude.

"Because I'm tired of you and your fucking pooch."

"At least Chester doesn't have bad breath."

The hack hit him in the chest at the insult and pushed him down to do the ground. Alvarez stood back with Julie and watched on along with the rest of Em City. Lopresti got down to the ground and shoved Penders's face in the shit that was there. Inmates crowded around the scene and laughed as the hack continued to do the dirty act. His face was grinding and rubbing against the smeared shit that was all over the floor now.

"Chester, now, Chester!" Penders commanded his dog when he was able to get his face off the floor enough.

The dog swept into action to defend its master. Penders had his face back down on the floor as Chester rushed up and attacked the hack. He was ruthless and cunning as he went for Lopresti's throat and bit him there. Penders sat up on the floor and laughed as his dog tried to maul and ravage the other man. Alvarez look on with horror and severe disappointment as the buzzer sounded and more hacks came to control the situation. Chester had a vice grip on Lopresti's throat.

"Damn!" Alvarez said amidst the madness.

One hack restrained Penders while three others struggled to get control of the dog and pry him off Lopresti. The man was bleeding from his neck when they were finally able to remove Chester and pull him away. The crowd booed at this and the Latino watched as Penders was dragged out of Em City and taken away. The hacks took the dog away as well while others helped Lopresti to the medical ward.

Alvarez was in shock and disbelief at what had just happened. He was walking to his final session and was angry that Penders pulled something so selfish and stupid. Doubt could be casted on all the work and progress he made with Julie. He had never taught her to attack or fetch like a regular pet---they were not training them for that purpose. Alvarez wanted to punch the stupid fuck for the dangerous stunt he just pulled.

He walked into the cafeteria and saw a hack talking to Hinden while Chester was on the floor beside her. A full obstacle course was set up over the floor and stage of the cafeteria and he examined what his final test was going to be. The hack walked away and Hinden gave him a blindfold to cover his eyes to begin the training exercise. It was all up to Julie now as darkness covered his eyes. Alvarez held on to her leash tightly and he was a little nervous as they began walking the course. Julie was his eyes for the time being.

"It's a shame what Penders did---teaching Chester to attack. He put a shadow over the whole program," she honestly said.

"He really loved that dog," Alvarez said as Julie continued to guide him through the course. "He just fucking hates people."

"Let her take you up the stairs."

"What else?" he said after they had accomplished that.

"Have her sit."

"Julie, sit," Alvarez gently commanded and she did so. "Good girl. And?"

"Now, take off your blindfold."

"I pass?" he asked as he looked down at her from the stage.

"Yes---A+, gold star. Great job."

"Thanks. She did all the work, you know?"

"And she'll continue to do so, thanks to you," Hinden said and was extremely delighted with both their progress.

"You know what I wish? I wish I could just see whoever's going to get her, you know?"

"Well, Miguel---you're going to get your wish because that person is going to be here in just a second."

"Who's that?"

"McManus has been working the phones all morning, and---"

"Oh, shit. I thought he didn't want her," Alvarez said as he saw Eugene Rivera come in with the help of McManus.

"Tina didn't," Rivera said when they were close enough. "Well---neither did I, at first. Look, I love my wife and everything she's done for me, but she deserves her life back. I mean, I know this dog would be great for me, but, I think, over time, it would be great for her, too."

"That's good," he said with a hint of happiness in his voice. "Cool. This is Julie---and I trained her special for you."

"Special?" Hinden asked.

"What do you normally speak at home?"

"Spanish," Rivera said, slightly confused.

"Now, make believe you're at home right now and ask for her."

"Julie---ven acá," Rivera commanded the dog in Spanish and she easily walked over to her new master.

"You taught the dog Spanish?" McManus said and was impressed.

"Yeah---yeah. Every command---she's fucking bilingual. Tell her to sit down," Alvarez said.

"Julie---siéntate," he said and the dog did so.

"She's all yours," Alvarez said sadly, but this was what he wanted. "Te voy a echar de manos."

"Come on, I'll drive you home," McManus told Rivera. "Let's go."

He watched as Julie left him for where she needed to be now. Hinden patted him on the shoulder to congratulate him and she smiled a small smile as they left. Alvarez had done all he could with Julie and he felt as if he had atoned for one of his many past mistakes. He was happy because Julie was going to get a proper home how---she had never deserved to be in this prison. She was always too good for this place.

Alvarez returned to Em City with Hinden and a hack to retrieve the rest of Julie's things from his pod. He walked into the pod first and there was a slip of paper slightly poking out from under his blanket. He quickly grabbed it and stored it away in his pocket before Hinden came in and picked up the rest of the dog's things. The Latino missed her already, but the right thing was done. The two of them smiled at each other and the hack escorted her out.

The pod was empty again as he looked around and he was alone again. He could not reach into his pocket because he knew eyes were still on him so he just relaxed. Alvarez was more than curious as to what the note said, but kept his focus until he was sure it was safe. O'Reily was not in his pod, but Meehan was---he was reading the bible. Alvarez looked back and reached his hand into his pocket to pick up the small piece of paper.


He knew he was going to have to bribe the guard, but he wanted to hear what O'Reily had to say. Alvarez left his pod and went down to the quad to tell the hack he wanted to see Sister Pete. The gate pulled back and he walked away and towards his true destination. It was a long walk down to Solitary and he saw less and less people as he traveled. O'Reily surely knew the schedules well---even better than the guards and staff that followed them. The Latino approached the door and quickly scanned the area before he disappeared inside.

"Hey, Alvarez," said a voice from behind him. "How you doing?"

"Just gave Julie up about an hour ago, so you don't have to worry anymore," he said once the door was locked. "She left today---she's gone."

"You know who got her?"

"Rivera," Alvarez said and their eyes met for the first time. "Shit---I felt like I lost my fucking kid all over again, you know?"

"Damn. I'm sorry, loco," O'Reily said with a hint of sorrow and truth in his voice. "I know what she meant to you."

"She's where she's needed now, you know? I can take comfort in that shit."

"You did a good thing. I know I gave you a hard time about it out there and shit---in here, too. But it took balls to do what you did. To try and correct a past mistake."

"I guess, man. What's up? You got news?"

Alvarez knew he had to mourn the loss of Julie, but he had to get back to business because if he kept his head out of the game for too long, he could end up dead. Things between him and the Irishman were still strained, but their initial agreement of watching each other's back was still intact for the most part. He walked away from the locked door and a little closer to where O'Reily was standing on the opposite side. His hair was slightly messy and his signature green shirt bearing his last name on the back was wrinkled.

"The deal with Morales went down," O'Reily said. "He did his part and I did mine."

"Kenmin is dead?"

"I imagine he must be by now. He won't be bothering me or Cyril anymore."

"What do you mean? You didn't whack him?" Alvarez asked.

"No. His murder will go unsolved. Robinson and the other hacks will make sure of that."

"You're one crafty bastard, Irish," he said when he realized the words. "That's some kind of retaliation."

"Yeah. Now I don't have to deal with Morales or that stupid fuck Guerra anymore. How that idiot managed to stay alive in here for this long---I don't know," O'Reily said.

"He was actually pretty street-smart on the outside. He just fucking sniffs Morales's ass now and ignores his own instincts."

"Man---I'm glad you're not like that."

"I used to be," he said as he remembered Eugene Rivera and holding the man's eyes in his bloody hands.

"But you wised up, loco. That's what made me think we could be partners. You learn from your mistakes, unlike most of the scumfucks in here."

"What's the next move?"

O'Reily had not thought of any new moves to make yet since everything at the moment was either set or already in motion. Unless something abruptly came up, he did not have to make any plans for the next few days. Meehan's talking to him had brought up an issue inside himself that he had to discuss with Alvarez, though. It was clearly important to both of them that their partnership was based on trust and O'Reily had to put it out there.

In a weird way, the Latino training Julie for Rivera to correct a past crime had inspired him. He had stayed awake at night and wondered if he should tell Alvarez what he knew---what he had done. But the right answer had always eluded him. O'Reily partly blamed Meehan for partially getting inside his head, but he wanted to be honest with Alvarez. There were no games or mind-fucking involved here and he was nervous. He did not know how to start.

"Hey, O'Reily?" Alvarez said and waved his hand close to his face. "You all right there?"

"You don't call me viper anymore."

"What the hell? Where'd that come from?"

"Don't know---just noticed it," the Irishman said and was faintly embarrassed. "I haven't planned any moves yet. You'll know when I do."

"Okay. Is that it, then?"


"What? What do you want to say?" he was getting annoyed because he had read O'Reily's body language and the man had been fighting to say something since the conversation had started. "I'm not that patient and you've already made it clear that I'll never be able to read your mind. So---just tell me."

"I don't---I don't know."

"It's cool. You wanted to be partners and have all that other shit dropped---it's dropped."

"I haven't been honest," O'Reily struggled to find the right words, but those had just blurted out.

Alvarez looked at him and felt his pulse quicken as he said, "Talk right now, O'Reily. And not in goddamn riddles, or I'll fucking kill you."

He got angry at the threat but kept his voice calm and said, "You didn't really lose that boxing match."

"What the hell are you talking about?"

"The boxing match between you and Cramer---I fixed it so you would lose."

"How?" Alvarez knew he was on the edge. "How'd you do it?"

"I spiked your water bottle with drugs that were stolen from the hospital. I'm sorry, Miguel. I wanted to tell you because I want the partnership to survive---I had to be honest. You didn't do shit---I just wanted Cyril to win. I wanted him to win to show everyone how tough he was. Maybe then they'd stop messing with him."

Words were coming through but he did not want to listen to them. He had become a fucking laughing stock of the prison after he lost to a fag. That cocksucker Hernandez had never let him forget that he was beaten in the ring by a fag. El Norte teased and baited him mercilessly about it. Alvarez wanted to remain rational, but he never expected this---it blindsided him when the betrayal sank in. He had known something was wrong after the first round of that match, but had blamed himself for being too tired or not concentrating enough. The Latino had beaten himself up so much over that loss.

The green motherfucker in front of him had been the cause of everything, though. He had never gotten a chance to show his moves in the ring. O'Reily had played him from all the way back then. Rage was clouding his mind because he had blamed himself for that shameful loss---just as everyone else had. Alvarez could not move and the dark fear sunk into his mind that he could actually kill this man right now. No one would hear him scream and no one would ever know what happened because the two of them never associated with one another in public. The perfect crime.

"Did you do this to everyone?" the Latino choked out because he had to know.

"All except Khan in the finals," O'Reily replied and felt a chill when the other man's dark eyes brushed over his.

"You're a fucking piece of shit! I knew I should've followed my instincts and stayed the hell away from you!" Alvarez started to unload his pent up wrath. "It should be you in that goddamn electric chair---not Cyril! He's just another one on the long list of people you fucked over just to amuse yourself! You fucking bit me---even before I knew shit! Fuck!"

Alvarez squeezed his fist into a ball so tightly; he thought his nails had dug into his flesh. He swung hard---his clamped knuckles cracked into O'Reily's jaw, and the other man fell onto the storage room floor with an intense pain. He had cried out and was holding his jaw as the inside of his mouth was busted open and blood leaked out past his lips. Alvarez took deep breaths as he stood there and his fiery eyes burned holes into the man on the floor in front of him. He wanted to kick him and fucking strangle the life out of him, but held back. He had to get out of there and stepped past O'Reily to make his way to the door.

"Wait! Alvarez, wait! Miguel!" O'Reily yelled after him as he got up from the floor and grabbed a paper towel to spit blood into. "Fuck---my jaw!"

"Fuck you!" Alvarez reached for the door but felt a hand grab onto his arm.

"I'm sorry, Miguel. I was never worried about the dog. I was---I was jealous, though, you know?" he realized that he was making no sense but he was telling the truth. "You were right---I was jealous of the fucking dog!"

"Let go of me---let me go before I fucking kill you right here, O'Reily," the loco Latino said in a tone so severe that it scared them both. "Fuck this partnership! Fuck you!"

He violently jerked his arm away from the grasp and walked out the door with that same intense look in his eyes. O'Reily grabbed another piece of paper to spit because the blood seemed like it didn't want to stop. His jaw was swollen, and probably red, when his fingers gently grazed over where he had been hit. He had another headache and was upset by Alvarez's final words to him. There was no more partnership. All their work and progress together had evaporated into nothing. O'Reily sat against the wall and waited for his mouth to stop bleeding before he could leave.