~*~ 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.

 

 

Faith had gotten him through one of the most difficult times in his life. He had prayed, and had truly believed it, and, as a result, his little brother's life was spared. He had never felt such an overwhelming feeling of relief and peace as he had when McManus had come to the gym to tell him what happened. O'Reily had remained to himself over the next few days---not really even talking to Alvarez, because he had to recollect his thoughts and prepare to take up the fight once again.

He could not deal with the confusion of his feelings for the Latino, though. He had given up denying that there was something between them. Something he was not supposed to feel because he was not a fag. The feelings were there though, and the partnership was thriving without anyone being the wiser. O'Reily was pushing the lunch cart to deliver food to the various cellblocks. His first stop, of course, was death row. He saw his mother when he entered.

"Lunch, little brother," the Irishman said as he retrieved the tray.

"Is it fluffernutter?" Cyril asked hopefully.

"Not this time, sport."

"He's doing fine," Fitzgerald said to him after she came out of the cell.

"Yeah."

"You know, he's still completely unaware that he was almost executed. I don't know if we can get away with the charade the next time."

"No, no---Cyril's going to be fine," O'Reily said. "He's not going to die."

"Ryan, the court didn't overturn the death sentence. One justice ruled for a stay, and that's all," his mother told him what he already knew.

"No," he said. "I prayed, God listened. He saved Cyril's life---that's it."

"Ryan."

"Hey, ma, have a little faith, all right?"

She smiled and touched his face before saying, "I will."

He left because he had more places to deliver lunch to. His mother had to have faith in what had happened. Cyril not being executed that day was a sign from God himself and O'Reily took it to mean that. The state Supreme Court had to overturn his sentence because it was meant to be that way. He walked over to the hospital and started passing out trays to the patients there.

"Look, fuckstick, I don't make the food, all right? I just serve it," he said to a complaining inmate.

"Ryan, if you're finished, I'd like to see you," Dr. Nathan said and they both walked into her office. "I---I don't know if you're aware that I was the attending doctor for your brother's execution."

"No."

"Well, I agreed to be there in case Cyril needed something."

"I appreciate that," he told her.

"Then, as they were strapping him in, I suddenly had this flash of my husband---and the horrible way that he died at Cyril's hands," Dr. Nathan emotionally said. "And, I thought, good---I'm glad that I'm here to watch."

"I can appreciate that, too."

"Well, I can't. Revenge is not justice. You know, I'm a doctor. I heal people---I save lives. I shouldn't feel happy at the moment of---of another person's death. Anyone's---not even the man who killed my husband," she said.

"You know, Gloria, I've been thinking, I really need to do something to balance out all the---all the shit that I've done," the Irishman said. "And I---I'd really like to come work in the hospital."

"Ryan."

"No. Not to be near you, you know. Or just to be near you. Ever since I washed Father Meehan's body, I've---I don't know. I've spent so much time trying to stay alive here in Oz. All my energy has been focused on survival," O'Reily said the truth. "And I'm---I'm fucking good at it. So, I'm thinking maybe it's time for me to help others survive. It's---it's no scam. I swear to you, on my brother's life."

"I believe you."

"You do?"

"I'll request the transfer," she positively said.

"Thanks."

Part of the change inside him had been from Father Meehan and the bible, and he was sure Dr Nathan knew that, but no one was going to know the other reason. Miguel Alvarez had also inspired the change inside him and had made him want to believe that there was still some good inside him. O'Reily had felt it every time they had spoken when they were alone---even in the many times they had argued or not agreed with one another. The Latino was a positive influence inside him.

O'Reily zoomed past hallways to start collecting again because Pancamo was going to have his ass if he did not return on time with the dirty trays. He was in no mood to deal with the muscle-head Italian leader and his nagging. He was not sure if he could save any lives inside here, but he wanted to try. So many people had died either directly or indirectly because of him. The slain blood was becoming harder and harder to scrub off his skin.

"Yo," he greeted his brother again.

"Dad's coming to visit?" Cyril asked.

"Well, not visit, exactly," the Irishman told him the piece of news he had not too long ago found out himself.

It pissed him off because he wanted nothing more to do with his father. The old bastard used his son's impending execution as a way to get famous and pick up bitches at bars. He did not care about either of his children and O'Reily was fuming when he heard that he would be coming to Oz. He picked up all the trays and headed back to the kitchen to drop them off.

He wanted the fuck nowhere near him, Cyril, or his mother. Seamus O'Reily had lost the privilege of being their father a long time ago. He had lost it during the countless beatings on his sons and the selfish attitude that had made neither of them feel cared about. O'Reily was going to be at odds with the old prick until the day one of them died. Once back in Em City, he went straight for McManus's office.

"That's one sad looking plant there, McManus," the Irishman said as he commented on the pathetic dying plant in the office.

"Well, it's supposed to survive without natural light, but, ah, fuck it," the unit manager said and threw his frustrations away.

"Look, I'm here about my dad," he got down to business.

"I don't want Seamus O'Reily in Em City."

"I don't want him here, either."

"You don't?" McManus asked, surprised.

"No," O'Reily firmly said. "I just came here to make sure that you weren't going to do the right thing, you know, try to reunite us---some kind of bullshit like that. I don't want that old bastard anywhere near me."

O'Reily clearly made his point and left the office behind before McManus had a chance to respond or say anything else. There was not going to be any kind of father and son bonding experience here---not if he had anything to say about it. He was in no mood to listen to the unit manager jabber and just wanted to be by himself in his pod. He walked down the stairs with his pod in mind, but was stopped by someone stepping closer to him.

"Hey, O'Reily," Alvarez smiled, but was perfectly mindful of his surroundings. "How about a game of chess?"

"Checkers this time, and you're on," the Irishman said after he was immediately knocked out of his bad mood.

"Picked the easy one, huh? I'll still get you."

They both walked over to a vacant table and began setting up the pieces and O'Reily was a bit confused but not surprised by his sudden change of emotions. Not even two minutes ago, he had walked out of McManus's office in a foul mood, but it seemed to dissipate now. Alvarez had made his foul mood disappear. He was not even sure if the other man was aware of it or not. All the pieces found their proper squares and the game quietly began. No one around Em City cared about the innocent game they were playing.

"You looked upset coming down the stairs. What's up?" the Latino did not take his eyes off the board when he asked.

"My dad's coming to Oz. I was just making sure McManus knew that I wasn't interested in any kind of reunion or any of that shit. You know how that bastard likes to meddle."

"Maybe."

"What's that mean?" he asked as he took an opposing piece.

"Sometimes it's good, you know? He's trying to get me a meeting with Ruiz. I have no fucking hope after punching and strangling the guy, but McManus said he'd do what he could."

"Good for you. Two totally different situations, though."

"Yeah---you're right," Alvarez said. "King me."

"What the fuck---already?" O'Reily said and was not happy with the turn of events. "Maybe I should've gone with chess."

"Too late for that now. The big man's out for blood."

"I saw you banging on your pod wall like the rest of them."

"I had to. I had to support Cyril," he said.

"Thanks, loco," the Irishman said lowly, but just enough to be heard.

"Anything new with the case?"

"Nothing. Dammit! Let's go again," he said after Alvarez had destroyed his last piece on the board.

He started setting up his side of the board again because he was not going to lose. Alvarez had laughed at his reaction to losing, but he was going to take this game. Maybe he was distracted by what was going on with Cyril, or, the Latino's shoulders and arms in the sleeveless shirt he was wearing. O'Reily sighed and smiled to himself because he had been there---his fingers or tongue had practically explored every inch of Alvarez's body. It gave him some kind of pleasure inside---something that had absolutely nothing to do with sex.

"Should I take it easy on you?" Alvarez joked.

"You do and you won't see tomorrow."

"I'm shaking, and aroused, vÝbora. You want to touch me under the table to feel how much?" he said and smiled that devilishly handsome smile of his.

"Whoa, whoa there, Alvarez. Calm little junior down," O'Reily said. "Don't forget where we are."

"Oh, I know. And he ain't little---you should know that by now."

"Shut up and king me," he said with a hint of bravado. "What are you doing? Are you trying to flirt with me?"

"Trying? Ouch!" the Latino said, as the words took a hit to his ego. "I was just trying to get your mind off Cyril---for a little while."

"Are you really hard?"

"Touch me and find out."

"No."

"I'm not," he laughed. "King me---again."

"You're cheating."

"You wish."

O'Reily knew his accusation was without any merit, but the other man was trying to mess with his head by being sexually suggestive in such an open place. There was a point where he had seriously considered Alvarez's offer to touch him under the table---he was going crazy for the man. The conversation he had with Dr. Nathan came into his mind and he remembered the plan he had to tell the Latino about. It was going to be beneficial to them both.

"I asked Gloria if I could work in the hospital," O'Reily said as the second game was winding down, and not in his favor. "She said she would put in the transfer."

"Why?"

"I, um, I---fucking Pancamo is driving me crazy. I'm sick of him and the kitchen," he stuttered but kept most of the truth concealed still. "I need a fucking change."

Alvarez took the hint and then said, "You'll like it. I did when I worked there."

"Hey---I want you to work there with me. Not right now, right away---maybe a few weeks from now."

"Why?"

"I---I want to be close to you, Miguel. You said you liked it when you were there."

"I did. I mean, it's one of the best jobs in this shithole. Doesn't mean I'll get transferred, you know? This isn't a job agency."

"Use McManus's trust in you to ask him for a favor. You two are close enough to where he would do it, I think. I can't ask McManus for you. That would be suspicious."

"No---yeah, of course," Alvarez agreed as the third game was well under way. "I know that."

"McManus trusts you---let's keep it that way for a long time. He may be a dick, but he has his uses too," the Irishman said and jumped a piece on the board.

"All right. I'll talk to him when the time is right."

"Okay, you know what---fuck you, Alvarez!" O'Reily got up from the table at the completion of the third game. "You're fucking cheating. Not going to play this shit anymore."

"Whatever. Sore fucking loser!" he said back.

O'Reily gave him a hidden smile as he left the table behind and walked to his pod. They were going to be able to spend more time together even after the play had wrapped up---it was getting close to completion. He did not want to work in the hospital to be close to Dr. Nathan like she had thought---the Irishman found himself thinking less and less of her and what he thought was his undying love for her. He knew that, at one point, he had loved her as much as he had said he did, but it had mostly dispelled away since that time.

 

A part of him was happy that Cyril O'Reily's execution had been stayed for a few days---not as happy as he knew vÝbora was, though. After everything bad that had happened to them both, some good news was due to present itself eventually. Miguel Alvarez sat in the quad and drifted in and out of a conversation around him as he thought about the last time he and O'Reily were together and alone in one of their spots. It was deeper and something far more than two guys getting off with one other in a storage closet.

"Score is love-love everybody," the TV said. "It's going to be a lot of squatting down, it's going to be a lot of quick moves, flexing, thrusting---"

"Oh, good---time to exercise the old fantasy muscle," Urbano crudely said.

"They ought to do a <i>Miss Sally</i> marathon and bring the <i>School Yard</i> back," Pancamo said.

"Especially since Busmalis didn't learn his lesson of the day the first time. Ms. Sally says, `Don't try and marry my slutty secretary'," Guerra said of Norma.

"They're jealous," Busmalis said to Rebadow. "The two oldest guys in the joint are the only true Romeos."

"Yo, Busmalis, are you really going to do it again---getting left at the altar and all?" Alvarez heard himself say.

"Even if the wedding do go through, he got to play baby daddy to a kid ain't even his," Poet said.

"Some might consider that an act of generosity," Busmalis defended.

"I consider it an act of insanity," Rawls pathetically said. "The brat was conceived on what should have been your honeymoon. That's like, freakier than cloning."

"Yo, the warden's not even going to let him get a kickoff conjugal," Alvarez said.

"Marriage ain't marriage without sex," Guerra said the truth.

"That's right," the Latino agreed.

"You going to step in here, Bob?" Busmalis asked and looked for defense.

"You do have some serious issues to resolve," Rebadow noted.

"Great. Well, to all you lonely, horny naysayers with nothing but Rosie Palm and her five sisters to love you, I say this: `Right here, baby, right in my big blue balls coming back to life because I'm going to the chapel and I'm going to get married. Yeehaw!'" Busmalis said and stood up and left.

"You better get your Viagra ass out," an inmate yelled and laughed behind him.

They had actually gone through it. Many inmates lost numerous bets saying that it was not going to happen, but it did. Busmalis and Norma had gotten married in the cafeteria. They had gotten married in the same spot where Schillinger was standing and auditioning for the play. Alvarez looked at the Nazi fuck as he read lines from a book to him and Fitzgerald.

"`It will have blood; they say, blood will have blood: Stones have been known to move, and trees to speak; Augurs, and understood relations, have by maggot-pies, and choughs, and rocks, brought forth the secret'st man of blood.'" Schillinger read.

"That was very good, Vern," Fitzgerald commented. "You have a natural gift. Acting is often making a lie ring true."

"So, do I get the role?"

"Sure. I'm just a little surprised that you're so enthusiastic about it, considering that we've had so much trouble with people dying."

"Taking over this part now proves I've got bigger balls than anyone in Oz," the Nazi boasted proudly.

"I've come to audition," Beecher said after he entered the cafeteria.

"Too late, Beecher," Alvarez said.

"Yeah, I got the part."

"Oh, all right."

"Oh no, wait---my Macduff got sent to Solitary yesterday, so how'd you like to try out for that?" Fitzgerald said.

"Sure," Beecher agreed.

"Read this," Alvarez handed him the script and said.

"So, this is where Macduff learn that Macbeth has killed his wife and son," Fitzgerald said and set up the scene for him.

"`Sinful Macduff, They were all struck for thee. Naught that I am, Not for their own demerits, but for mine, Fell slaughter on their souls: heaven rest them now.'" Beecher read.

Practice was over and he had not seen O'Reily at any time throughout it. He must have been spending time with his brother; it was a logical choice. Alvarez remembered pounding on his pod wall as a form of protest to Cyril's execution. It was the first time since he had been here that he had seen the inmates united in such a way. It had been something powerful. He had done it for them both. The Latino wanted to ask Fitzgerald about O'Reily, but decided against it because linking them together and drawing unneeded attention to their partnership was dangerous---even if it was only from the Irishman's mother.

The pod was quiet as Alvarez thought about Beecher. The stupid bastard had it all---he was out and away from Oz, but he fucked it all up by violating his parole and landed himself right back in hell. Everyone knew Keller had something to do with it because that was how his twisted mind worked. He was selfish and had not been able to let go, and that assessment had made itself clear the day Beecher had returned to Oz as a prisoner.

The relationship the two of them had was sick and built on them hurting each other---both physical and emotional abuse. Alvarez wondered why the hell Beecher put up with that manipulative fuck Keller, but remembered O'Reily. Sure, they had trust in their relationship, but Ryan O'Reily was such a complicated man---they both were. The Latino wondered how they were able to be this close without one killing the other already. Something was between them---something more than partnership or staying alive in Oz.

These thoughts swirled around in his head and he believed that Oz had finally gotten to him---Ryan O'Reily was fucking attractive to him. The dangerous way O'Reily mind-fucked to get what he wanted was sexy in its own right. His friends in the old neighborhood would kill him if they knew how far he had gone sexually with another man---fags were not acceptable, and Alvarez was no longer sure if it was Oz or if he was one. He knew one thing, though; he did not want to do anything with anyone else in here. McManus opened the door of the pod.

"He said no?" Alvarez asked as soon as he entered.

"He said maybe."

"I guess that's something."

"The key, Miguel, is to keep on track," McManus offered one of his pep talks. "Don't get sucked up in all this shit."

"I'm trying," he said.

"I know."

"It's fucking hard."

"I know," McManus said and left shortly after.

The following day, Alvarez was waiting in the visitor's room for Cathy Jo Cutler. She had requested to see him---it must have been to sign the paperwork. Regardless of all the flak he had gotten from the other inmates, and, O'Reily, he knew he was doing the right thing by signing over Cutler's inheritance to his wife. The Irishman understood why he had to do it though, unlike the other stupid fucks in here. She came in and he stood up to greet her.

"Hello, Miguel," she warmly said as she extended her hand to him.

"Hey, Cathy Jo. How are you?" he asked and took her hand in his.

"I'll be better when we finish this legal stuff. They lawyer says once you sign these, all of Wolfgang's property is mine."

"You look beautiful," Alvarez said from across the table and used his thumb to stroke one of her fingers.

"Thank you."

"You know, I didn't---I didn't know Cutler all that well, but he's got to be a dope for treating you the way he did, you know? If it was me, I'd worship at your feet."

"I guess we should deal with this," Cathy Jo Cutler said at first but then changed her direction completely. "Then again, what's the rush?"

"No, none fucking at all."

She touched his arm with her fingers and smiled---not even worried about the numerous legal papers that were strewn about the table. Alvarez's arm blended into the feminine touch and his insides shuddered because of how much he had missed it. Small and slender fingers rubbing against his skin kept him entranced and internally pleading for more. Cathy Jo Cutler was attracted to him---he was to her. Their fingers played with one another's and their eyes only connected for brief moments at a time.

The touches and intimacy with the Irishman were soft, but they were not feminine. He knew this could not be helped because O'Reily was not feminine in any way, and Alvarez preferred it that way. Drag queens and men that dressed and tried to be like women just freaked him the fuck out. He knew he did not want someone like that to be around him---definitely not intimate with him.

Cathy Jo Cutler had left without any of the papers being signed. She was confused and had confided in him that she needed some time to think about everything. Her husband putting her in that situation in the first place had really taken an emotional toll on her. Alvarez had not pushed and invited her to come back whenever she wanted, even if she did not have the answer to the acquisition of the possessions yet.

The Latino was in the cafeteria eating as he thought about what she had told him about her troubled marriage with Cutler. He felt bad for her because she had been abused and raped by that Nazi fuck numerous times. Him giving everything to Alvarez was one last way to fuck with his wife and make her an emotional mess because he knew how she would react when she found out that she had lost everything.

"I hear Cathy Jo visited again," Schillinger passed by the table with his flunkies and said. "That mean you signed all the property over to her?"

"Not exactly," he said and was annoyed with all the checking up.

"It's either yes or no, Alvarez."

"Or, it's not exactly. She isn't sure that she wants everything."

"What the fuck does that mean?" the Nazi leader asked.

"I don't know. She wants more time. Give her time."

"All right---just get it done."

"Hey, I'm just doing what the widow wants," Alvarez got up, grabbed his tray, and said. "It's just like you asked. Jesus, you guys need to calm down."

"I don't trust that little spic," Schillinger said as the Latino walked away from them. "Next time she comes, I want a mole in that room. I don't think I trust her, either."

Alvarez knew their eyes were on him throughout the remainder of lunchtime but he was not going let the Nazis dictate what he was and was not going to do. They had to be stupid if they actually believed he paid any attention to anything they had to say. He was more concerned about Cathy Jo Cutler than the property, anyway. She seemed genuinely torn during their visitation as to what she wanted to so about the property.

He stood against a column in Em City along with Guerra and was talking while most of the other inmates were watching TV or huddled in their respective groups, plotting. O'Reily was nowhere to be seen---probably with his brother in death row. The amount of things vÝbora had been able to get done and accomplished inside the walls was amazing. Just as Alvarez was losing interest in the conversation, the buzzer sounded and the gate clanked open.

"Who the fuck is that?" Guerra asked as virtually everyone was looking and teasing the newest arrival.

"It's Torquemada, the club owner---the king of the night," Alvarez looked at the ostentatious man and said.

It was a fucking atrocity beyond words. The overly flamboyant Alonzo Torquemada sashayed into Em City with a tight jacket and even tighter jeans on. He wore knee-high boots like a woman would and had a frilly, flowery collar attached to the shirt that he wore under the jacket. A big beaded flower adorned one of his jacket lapels and it looked garish. He looked like a fucking drag queen himself and Alvarez felt a little queasy inside. The hooting and snickering from the rest of the inmates did not seem to affect the man.

Everything died down as quickly as it had started and the Latino was in the computer room by himself just surfing the web and reading anything interesting that caught his eye. He wondered what Cathy Jo Cutler was going to do about the inheritance and wanted Schillinger off his back about dealing with her. Alvarez was unaware when someone was looking at him through the glass and also took no notice when that same someone entered the room.

"Miguel Alvarez. I hear you're the man to know," Torquemada spoke in a sensually sweet voice after he sat next to him.

"Whoever told you that was an idiot," the Latino replied without bothering to lead his eyes away from the computer screen in front of him.

"Quires festejar?"

"No thank you. I hate heroin."

"Oh, I ain't talking about that street shit, sweetie. I'm talking about the latest in synthetics. You ever done destiny? D-tabs," he asked as he shook a little bottle with green pills inside and Alvarez finally looked over at it. "Like a six month Mardi Gras."

"I'm up for parole in a couple," he said and focused his eyes back on the computer screen. "I'm keeping my record and my head clean."

"I like you. You're smart. You can be my numero dos," Torquemada said and easily ran the tip of his finger against the other man's arm before he quickly took it away.

"That's funny. Of the drag queens?"

"Oh, no. I intend to run all of Em City."

"You want Em City? You going to beat the wops---going to beat the niggers?" he said while still keeping his eyes forward.

"That's right."

"Taken one too many of those D-tabs, baby."

"Trust me, Miguel. Once the boys get their hands on this shit, every con in Oz will be mine," Torquemada said with deadly overconfidence.

He moved his head closer and took a deep sniff as Alvarez backed his head away. The man smiled and left out of the computer room as he looked on and wondered what the fuck the conversation meant. Torquemada was determined to make a name for himself and apparently had the drugs to back it up. Alvarez had to be careful, but it seemed like the flamboyant nightclub owner had his eyes on him. He wondered what O'Reily would have to say about that.

Alvarez felt uncomfortable, but he rarely felt that level of discomfort. It felt like the man was looking through him. Then it hit him---the dead eye. That was what made him uneasy. Torquemada had something that looked like glass for one of his eyes---either way, it was not a real eye. Things were changing in Oz and, if the fags came into power as he seemed to think they were, there would be another riot, or something much worse. There was no way he was going to be second anything to that fucking effeminate queen. The Latino had to make his parole and get the fuck out of here before D-tabs became the lifeblood of Oz.