~*~ 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.



Almost four years later...

Subtle waves of summer winds had sliced across his face as a boisterous motor had torn sound waves across the almost desolate mountain road. Few cars had passed by since his time on the road that went up the coast. The sun had adjusted itself nicely into the sky and the slightly cooler breezes only meant that another summer had almost come to an end. Reflections had bounced off his sunglasses and his eyes had occasionally caught the sprawling ocean low below him.

The 1942 Indian motorcycle had roared to life as he revved it up and had continued along the winding road to where the outlook had been. It had once been his place to retreat to when he had wanted to be alone or cut off from the rest of the world. When he had been entrapped inside Oz, he had thought about it on different occasions. The freedom from that deranged place had hit him all at once and every single sense in his body had been overwhelmed.

Miguel Alvarez had been set free from the maximum security prison that had claimed so many years of his life. The Latino had stepped off the motorcycle that had become his while he had still been incarcerated and had propped it up so that it stood by itself. He had removed his helmet and had rested it on the seat. The panoramic view that had stood before him had only reminded him of how much life he had missed while he had been locked up.

It had been almost three weeks since he had been released and his life had evolved into a whirlwind of forgotten sensations and understanding of past transgressions. Being on the outside free and legally had affected him in ways he never thought had existed. No matter what, Alvarez had been determined never to take his freedom for granted again. It had always been too high a price to pay and he had come to realize how true that had been.

His feet had stood firm on the floor and he had looked out from the side of the mountain at nothing in particular. The warm sunlight against his fair skin had almost tickled. The rays beating down on his short hair had made him want to remain there for as long as he could. With one of his signature armless shirts on, Alvarez had felt rays kissing as much of his skin as possible.

Prison had changed him---changed the man he had wanted to be in life. He had been damaged and most had believed that he had been too damaged to be saved. But that had not gotten to him. None of them had known the internal struggles he had went through waking up every morning without having to yell out his number or constantly play the game to keep himself alive. None of them had known him.

Alvarez had stood only a few feet away from his motorcycle on the alcove and had looked out to the horizon. As much as he had loved Maritza, he had never brought her there. She had not known that he had been a free man. No one in his family had known. The Latino had known that it had to be only a matter of time before he had to tell them, but he had not felt like dealing with them---especially his mother.

It had still amazed him how far McManus, Sister Peter Marie, Dr. Nathan, and Father Mukada had gone to make his freedom possible. With an intensive investigation demanded by McManus, Sister Pete, and Father Mukada, Luís Ruiz had been exposed for his prejudiced ways and unfair professional treatment of inmates like Miguel Alvarez. The state had its back to the wall, so they had to launch a formal investigation into Ruiz's unethical abuse of power.

"Why aren't you excited, Miguel?" McManus had asked him in the privacy of his office.

"It's the same shit. An investigation ain't going to do anything for me. The state doesn't give a fuck about our rights."

"You have to remain positive, Miguel," Father Mukada had said. "This is the crucial first step to proving that you are right about Luís Ruiz."

"If you say so. I know better than to get my hopes up. Especially in Oz."

"It's not fair how Ruiz is discriminating against you. This investigation will prove him unfit to preside over your parole hearing. Don't give up yet, Miguel," the unit manager had said.

"I never gave up. I've been in this shithole for years and have had to fight for respect and my life every goddamn day. The parole board don't see that though. They only see all the shit I have to do to protect myself. All the fights I've been in. All the people I've killed. Whether Ruiz is on the parole board or not, I'm not going anywhere. Oz is my fucking life," he had said to them both.

"You're looking at this wrong," McManus had said. "Ruiz is the reason your parole hearings haven't been successful. If you take him out of the equation, then you could have a chance of being paroled. Provided you stay out of trouble."

"Reflect on what has happened, Miguel," the priest had said. "This could be your chance to be a free man once again. Isn't that worth pursuing?"

"Miguel, this is an opportunity most of the inmates in here would crave. Don't waste it because of Ruiz and what he's trying to do to you. Follow through with the investigation and answer all the questions they ask you. You could stop him from wrongfully profiling other Latino inmates because of his personal biases."

"I ain't looking to be nobody's hero, McManus," he had said.

"Maybe not. But look how hard he made it for Gio Vieyra to be released. And he was only in here for being in the wrong place at the wrong time."

Hearing the kid's name had brought some semblance of a smile inside him. He had been paroled a few months ago, even through Ruiz's circus of a parole hearing. While incarcerated, he had gotten wiser to the ways of the street and himself. Still, none had known that Alvarez and O'Reily together had looked out for him and had kept him out of El Cartel's grasp. It had been a personal good deed that the Latino had been proud of himself for. He had been able to deliver on a positive promise for once. Vieyra had escaped Oz with his life after Alvarez's word that he would look after him.

"Ruiz treated the kid like shit. He didn't deserve that," Alvarez had replied with bitterness. "The kid never shot or stabbed or killed anyone like the rest of the fucks in here. He was a goddamn saint in this pisshole."

"That's why you have to remain positive about this investigation into Ruiz's behavior," Father Mukada had said. "So that someone else like Gio Vieyra won't have to deal with Ruiz's bitter ways."

What they had said had been true, but Alvarez had been tired of the many disappointments in his life. Even if the investigation had proved that Ruiz had let personal feelings interfere with his job, it had still been a long shot of him being released. Oz had caused him to do too many fucked up things to be let back out into public. The Latino had been tired of all the politics and had just wanted to serve his time and get the hell out. If he had given up, then his life would have been forfeit.

The war had happened without the hacks knowing much about it. After Pancamo's death, chaos had descended into every crevice of the prison. The fags, the Latinos, and the homeboys had fought each other for the power of control. Without Pancamo, most of the Italians had distanced themselves from Torquemada and had found a new leader to replace the juicehead. Their numbers had been smaller though because El Norte had went on a killing spree and had taken out a few wops.

Alvarez and O'Reily had navigated as best they could while all the secret killings had been going on. Neither the hacks nor the warden had known that the men of El Norte had been behind most of the slain Italians because El Cartel had made sure that his men had come out with clean hands. The inmates had known that he had been responsible for Pancamo's death, but no one had proof of the action.

The muscled Italian's stomach had been repeatedly slashed open and he had been left in the storage closet by the mailroom to bleed out and die. Blood had been splashed all across the walls and his guts had poured out onto the floor under his lifeless body. An officer walking by had noticed blood trickling out from under the door and that was when his body had been found. Lockdown had lasted five days until the warden had realized that no one was going to take the blame for Pancamo's death.

El Cartel had known how to play his hand, but Alvarez had seen through him. He and O'Reily had read the man and that was how they had been able to survive his rampage after the lockdown had been over. The Latino had to fight off three El Norte members because Calderón had finally gotten tired of the cat and mouse game between them. It had happened in the gym and Alvarez had suffered from a black eye, busted lip, bruised ribs, and a concussion after the attack. He had dodged the attacks by the shanks and had fought back the best he could.

When he had been in the hospital, El Cartel had gone after Vieyra because he had been an easy target since the Latino had not been there to protect him. O'Reily, through his usual scheming and manipulations, had been able to keep the kid alive and safe without either him or Calderón ever knowing a thing. Their trust in each other had grown stronger since that had happened. The Irishman had kept Vieyra safe for Alvarez for a time when he had been unable to.

Pancamo's murder had left Torquemada desperate for control and obsessed with destroying El Cartel before he had ended up like the slain Italian. The melodramatic queen had approached Alvarez countless times to try and get an alliance between them. He had approached O'Reily separately as well and had even gone to Redding to keep himself from being eliminated from the game. It had been pathetic to watch and there had been some points where Alvarez had felt remorse for the man. But he had known better than to get involved with that queen again.

After the Italians had abandoned him, he only had the fags left and their numbers had been as small as the Aryans had been after Keller's anthrax bomb in the mailroom. The fags had never been a powerful group and deep down, Torquemada had known that he was dead in the water if he had not come up with some plan to save himself and regain the control he had thought was his. Destiny, however, had run its course inside the prison and he had been left powerless without most of the men he had at his disposal when Pancamo had been alive.

When he had realized that he had no options left, the prissy queen had called a meeting with El Cartel in the classroom and it had resulted in him being almost fatally stabbed by the warlord. The conversation had gotten heated between the two and then a fight had broken out and had ended with a shank being stuck into the side of Torquemada's stomach. The hacks had quickly broken both men apart as both Alvarez and O'Reily had looked on from different perspectives in Em City.

The fag had been in a medically- induced coma for almost a month because the blade had punctured one of his kidneys and he had suffered from partial failure. There had been some irony there because both Alvarez and O'Reily had to take care of him while he had been confined to the hospital ward. The Irishman had hated it so much, but had done it because he had not wanted to compromise his job. He had Alvarez had done most of their planning there since eluding the hacks had became even harder than ever before.

Calderón had been sent to the hole for an entire month for the attack. El Norte had remained in a holding pattern until their leader had return to reclaim them and continue with his tyranny. Alvarez had known that O'Reily had been disappointed that Torquemada had not been airholed, but had been pleased that the prissy queen had seemingly lost all his standing inside Oz. Destiny had never made a comeback and he had not been able to accomplish much with the small group of fags he had control over.

In the months following the attack on Torquemada, El Cartel and Redding had come to some arrangement about the tit trade. The Irishman had told him that the two leaders had partnered up and had split the customers and profits in half amongst themselves. Together, the Latinos and the homeboys had the biggest partnership and drug ring inside the prison, and Calderón and Redding sucked in all the profits. They had been a force to be reckoned with, but O'Reily had known that there had not been any trust between either men. The partnership had been a mere formality to keep the other in check and from getting too powerful.

The Latino had known for a fact that Calderón had wanted Redding out of the way and control over the niggers. Nothing had ever come of it though and business between them had still continued. He and O'Reily had made sure through their manipulations that the partnership between Calderón and Redding had been preserved because the balance it had brought into Oz had been what they had wanted. It had been essential that no one had supreme power inside the prison---especially the El Norte leader.

El Cartel had never stopped in his pursuit of the rogue Latino. On separate occasions, there had been escalated emotions between them, but Alvarez had always managed to keep him at bay. He and O'Reily had managed to protect Gio Vieyra up until his release. Calderón had not been able to get his dirty hands on the kid to drag him down to hell. Getting to know Vieyra and getting him out safe had meant a great deal personally to Alvarez.

Outside of his head, Alvarez had noticed that the sun had begun its descent under the horizon. The day had slipped away from him, but he had needed the time here to clear his head and to try to shed all the emotional baggage he had stored up from being imprisoned. One beautiful afternoon at his favorite spot had not done it all though. Not even close. Expecting everything to be resolved in his head had been a delusional pipe dream.

Night had fallen and he had been back on his motorcycle to head back to his house. He had become a homeowner. Regardless of the circumstances that had surrounded it, Miguel Alvarez had risen up out of the rut of prison and had a house that had legitimately been his to go to. The feeling had been amazing to have a place for himself. Cutler had been crazy for giving up the house the way he had. The Latino still had not known the reasoning behind the Nazi's actions and had given up trying to figure it out. There had been no going back now, with Cathy Jo Cutler's slaying on orders from Schillinger.

He had come back down the mountainous road and had decided to stop at a bar on the outskirts of town for a drink. His engine had come to a silent halt and he had gotten off shortly after and had entered the bar. Alvarez had made his way through the almost packed bar and had grabbed a stool to sit on. A slight bout of his claustrophobia had flared up because of how many people had been around him. He had closed his eyes to get a moment of reprieve.

"What'll it be?"

"Huh? Oh---vodka and cranberry. No rocks," he had snapped out of his mind and had said.

The bartender had returned shortly with the drink and the Latino had taken a big gulp before he had looked around the crowded bar. People had been grinding against each other or drinking and smoking or shooting pool. He had turned back around and had rested his elbows on the bar and his head had hung a little low. He had thought about what his next move was going to be. There had been a substantial amount of money in the bank from Cutler's estate---he had yet to touch a cent of it. Alvarez had known that he had needed a job. He had needed something positive to occupy his time.

"Hi, handsome," a buxom woman had walked up to him and had said. "You drinking alone?"

"Was trying to," had been the dry response.

"You want company?" she had asked and had sat on the stool next to his before he had a chance to answer. "Haven't seen you in here before. You new in town, sugar?"

"Don't fucking call me that!" Alvarez had snapped and had said to her. "Don't call me that."

"Okay---okay. That's a nice hog you got outside."

"You checking for me?"

"No. Nothing like that," the woman had said and had smiled. "I was outside when you pulled up. I'm Priscilla."

"I'm not interested," the Latino had said, had gulped down the remnants of his drink, and had walked away.

"Well, fuck you, then!" she had sneered when he had walked away.

He had been in no mood to entertain the slut at all. Alvarez had known that he was only looking for trouble if he had dealt with any woman right now. He had to get his head in order first before he could think of inviting someone into his fucked up life. The motorcycle had breathed life and he had sped off soon after. His sexual appetite had been surprisingly low since he had become a free man. Streetlights had guided him to the place that had become his home.

The house had been maintained well and had been a spacious three-bedroom one. It had a decent size front and back yard and a one-car garage. Alvarez had felt guilty the first time he had stepped into the house because of Cathy Jo Cutler. It had been because of him that she had died. Schillinger had ordered the hit, but she had associated herself with him and had ended up paying the ultimate price for it.

In the shower, water had dripped down from his short hair and had gone past his naked body to the tub floor. It had been so long since he had taken a shower by himself. Now he had actual private time to clean himself without the eyes of other inmates or hacks constantly on him. Everything had been an adjustment because they had been subtracted from his life for so long. The warm water had made him feel alive again. He did not know how it had been possible, but the water in Oz had been harder than what had currently covered his skin.

The bed had been one of the bigger changes he had experienced since his extraction from Oz. The mattresses in the prison had been nothing more than padded cinderblocks that had never been disguised to be something comfortable. He had completely forgotten what a true bed was supposed to feel like against his body and what it was supposed to do for his mind. Sensations had overwhelmed and overpowered all of his senses at once. It had him confused, but desperate for more.

Alvarez had rested on the new bed he had bought for his master bedroom and had looked up at the ceiling high above him as he thought. Sheets and a soft blanket had caressed his naked upper torso, as the pillow underneath his head had seemed to be made for him. The Latino had rubbed his eyes and yawned as he had continued to look up above him. He had remembered one of his last conversations with Ryan O'Reily. The same one he had thought about every night since his release. Everything had happened so fast that there had been no real chance to talk.

"Shit---shit," O'Reily had quickly slipped passed the door and had slammed it shut. "I just barely evaded a hack. It's fucking getting impossible to meet."

"I know why they're on edge," Alvarez had said.

"Tell me."

"Calderón tried to whack Torquemada again."

"What the fuck? When? Why didn't I hear about this out there? Is he gone?" the Irishman had asked and he had sat on the floor.

"It just happened. No---he's alive. McManus is moving him to gen pop. That's why the hacks are all over the place. Making sure nothing else is happening under their noses."

"We should get out of here then. It's too risky right now."

"I don't think so. Not yet."

Alvarez had gotten down to his knees and had moved in between the other man's legs for their bodies to be closer together. He had placed a sensual kiss on O'Reily's lips because it had been denied for far too long. Their last meeting had not taken place in weeks because Oz had been in a crazy and unruly state. The kiss had gotten so much better since they had started doing it. Alvarez had the passive ability of taking more and more of his breath away.

"Not a good idea. Not now," O'Reily had nervously said. "We could get caught---especially with all the shit going on out there."

"We won't, víbora. It's been so long since we had a meet."

"You know why that is. We have to throw Calderón off our trail. If that fucker keeps digging, he could find out about the partnership."

"Fuck him!" Alvarez had replied with no remorse. "If he does find out some shit, we'll just have to kill him."

"You say that like it's so easy."

"It's not easy. But we have the resources between us to get it done. Don't sweat him."

"That would fuck up the balance to the tit game, Miguel"

"Say my name again, Irish."

"Fuck you. This is serious and you're playing games."

"It's been too long," Alvarez had said again.

The Latino had used his lips to kiss under the other man's jaw and neck without too much of a protest. No matter how messy things had gotten in Oz, it had never stopped them from making plans or finding the moments to remind each other just how much the partnership had meant. O'Reily had clenched up at first, but had relaxed into the touches and small kisses. It had been fucking too long since they had the time to do this. His body had responded too quickly---too hungrily.

"You happy to see me, baby?" he had whispered into O'Reily's ear as he had felt his stiffening dick through his pants.

"Don't call me baby," he snapped.

"You're in a mood. That's why we're here. I know you missed me."

"No. We're supposed to be plotting to keep our asses alive," the Irishman had said only the partial truth. "Everything's going to shit out there. That's why we're here."

"We've kept ourselves alive all these years without any of these dumbfucks ever figuring out our arrangement. Planning can wait."

"Alvarez, you're crazy."

"That's why you call me loco, víbora," Alvarez had smirked and said.

"Calderón got a one way trip to the hole?" O'Reily had asked and his hand had unconsciously gone to touch the Latino's crotch.

"Until Querns thinks he's no longer a threat," he had said and had slightly moaned. "Touch me, Irish."

"The warden's a fucking moron. Calderón won't stop being a threat, but he can't keep him in the hole forever."

"In a way, you got what you wanted. Torquemada's gone."

"Would've preferred him airholed," O'Reily had said. "Who's taking over his part of the tit trade while he's in the hole?"

"The new guy that came in a few weeks ago," Alvarez had said and had tilted more into the touch. "Must've been one of his generals on the outside."

"Fuck! That means he's still controlling things."

"He's a fucking power-hungry warlord, O'Reily. You think a trip to the hole would force him to give up his power/ Shit's going to continue just as normal until he gets back."

He had loosened the string that had bound the Irishman's pants to his waist and had reached inside his boxers to feel the warm and hardening flesh. His hand had wrapped around the hard member and had brought it out and away from the confines of clothing. Their lips had locked back in a deep kiss as O'Reily had worked on loosening the other man's button and zipper. The touches and warmth between their bodies had been like a slice of life again---the sensation of a half-life inside the barren wasteland of Oz.

"Suck me, loco," he had said when their lips had slightly broken away.

"Only if you return the favor."

"You're on the floor."

"Anything you want, baby," Alvarez had softly kissed him and had grinned.

"I told you not---"

"Yeah, yeah. Kill me later."

Alvarez had rested his clothed back against the prison floor and had shifted his body up and down to get more of his pants down. O'Reily had crawled over him and had given a half smile before he had gone down for a kiss. Hands had roamed forbidden places while tongues had pulsated exhilarated pleasures through their blood. It had still been something uncomfortable at times, but their bodies had always acted for them. There had been no labels attached to what had been between them.

It had not mattered that Calderón had the slightest suspicion about them being allies. It had not mattered that Torquemada had once unknowingly driven a wedge between them. Both had managed to move past that and had managed to keep the partnership intact and completely secret from everyone inside Oz. That was the only kind of partnership worth having. And the extra benefits package that had come along with their unknown affiliation, although still awkward, had been a welcome release from the pent up sexual frustration Oz had been known to capture.

A hot mouth had engulfed his dick and the loco Latino had been happy that they were no longer talking about business. Now had been the time to give in to their bodies' desires of being touched and feeling human again. Oz had robbed them of so much, but stealing these little moments had made it almost seem worth it. Alvarez had licked the base of O'Reily's pulsing head as if it had been his favorite cherry lollipop. The sudden shivers on his skin had told him that he had been doing a good job.

A part of the Irishman had still hated that another man could be able to bring him so much pleasure, but his lust for human contact had blinded him to any residual feelings of shame or disgust. Alvarez's Latin manhood had been in his mouth more times than he had wanted, but it had come with the territory of them having an extra benefits package attached to their thriving partnership.

None of the other stupid fucks in here had ever known what had been going on between them for the past years. A few, like El Cartel and Torquemada, once had their sneaking suspicions about Alvarez and O'Reily being partners, but nothing else. No one had known anything and the sneaking around and keeping everything low had brought with it some pleasure in itself. It had been a thrill and jolt to both their senses. It was yet another thing that had managed to make them feel alive in a place that had managed to rob it from them.

Alvarez had swirled his tongue around the head of O'Reily's dick in an effort to bring him the maximum amount of pleasure possible. Being with a man had been so different from being with a woman, but the intricacies of intimacy and bodily pleasures had mostly felt the same. A warm body to be next to inside Oz had been forbidden, but the two partners had managed to find it to release tension and keep their heads focused on staying alive.

His tongue had swathed and teased the Irishman's sensitive head and it had elicited a moan, much to his delight. The two men that had sworn to themselves that nothing sexual with any inmates was going to happen while they were incarcerated had broken their promises. Neither had regretted the steps the partnership had taken. Though they never had nor would they ever admit it to the other. The comfort had gone a long way to keep Alvarez's mind emotionally stable and, in increments, had allowed O'Reily to cope with the deaths of his brother and father.

For the Latino, it had been about closeness. It had first been about a way to feel again, when he had thought that his body could no longer experience any sensations but inflicted pain and emotional torment. O'Reily's hot and wet mouth had cocooned his throbbing manhood and had his body on sensory overload. As the partnership grew, the víbora had used his tongue for more than deceptions and mind-fucking.

"Shit, loco. That feels so good," he had mumbled out.

"Yeah, papa. Uhh. You too."

He had still been as adamant as ever about getting what he wanted but, on rare occasions, he had shown Alvarez a different piece of the enigma that had made up Ryan O'Reily. He had, and would always be, a devious son of a bitch, but Alvarez had gotten past that and to know the man behind the webs that so many of the dumbfucks had gotten caught with in here. The deceit, plotting, and mischievousness had only complemented his natural Irish charm. And the crafty Irish bastard easily had more than enough charm to match his overblown ego.

Alvarez had licked the underside of his shaft and had used his fingers to massage his balls. He had known that the Irishman's sense of pleasure had heightened when his balls were played with as his dick was being sucked. Almost instantly, O'Reily had begun pulsing in his mouth more than before. The Latino had suck deeper and harder to illicit more moans and grunts. Having O'Reily making such delicate of sounds had been sweet to his ears and had always given him a twist of pleasure. He had felt himself getting close to release.

O'Reily had sucked and licked the on the first few inches of the other man's dick as his own rod had been sensually pleasured as well. The loco Latino had come to be the only person he had trusted inside the walls of the prison. His brother Cyril's death at the hands of the state had still not completely healed inside him. That had only compounded with the death of his father. Oz had taken both men from him and had driven his mother away. Alvarez had become his only lifeline---though he had no intention of ever letting him know that.

"Damn, Irish. Don't stop," Alvarez had said. "Keep going. Suck me. I'm close."

"Fuck! Me too. Keep doing that thing with your teeth."

Alvarez had smiled to himself and had gently grazed his teeth against the throbbing head of O'Reily's dick. He had been extra sensitive in that spot and had liked the almost rough sensation against his tender flesh. He had only barely removed his mouth when the Irishman's body convulsed and he had begun shooting cum from his overly pleasured dick. He had grunted and moaned and had rested on Alvarez's body as he had continued to suck on his dick.

It had not been long after that Alvarez had reached his own climax and had felt like he had been flying with ocean winds caressing his face. He had wanted so badly to escape and run his toes through warm sand and feel ocean waves on his skin. O'Reily had oddly placed a kiss right below his bellybutton before they had to get up and clean up the mess they had made. The Latino had given him a weird look when they had been putting their clothes back on.

No one had been close to touching them or the partnership. As far as most of the fucks had known, Miguel Alvarez and Ryan O'Reily had been on neutral grounds with one another. Neither had been interested in the affairs or movements of the other nor had they any animosity in public. Both men had known the importance of keeping their distance from one another, but had also known not to make it appear that they had been trying too hard to keep out of the other's way. It had been the fine line that both had navigated carefully for years.

"What's with the look?" O'Reily had caught him with the strange look and had asked.

"What look?"

"I saw you, Alvarez. Spill it."

"Nothing, man. You think Torquemada will stop trying to control Oz now that he's in gen pop?" the Latino had deflected and said.

"Fuck no. That fag has some sick obsession with controlling this place. D-tabs will still be in circulation. It won't be strong as the tit trade, though. He's washed up. The sooner that bitch realizes that, the better for all of us."

"Hey---he's out of Em City. Calderón made sure of that. You don't have to worry."

"I'm not worried," the Irishman had defensively said. "I know what you're thinking. Fucking don't."

"You've always been a good mind reader, víbora. You want to try again?" Alvarez had become serious and said.

"Testing my skill? You haven't learned?" he had smirked and said. "I saw you talking to McManus and the Padre. Something going on with Ruiz?"

"You saw that, huh? Guess you're not losing your touch."

"What did they say?"

"I'm going to make this clear. If you fuck with my chances of making parole, I'll take you apart myself. You hear me?" the loco Latino had roughly said to make sure his point had been received.

O'Reily's defenses had immediately kicked into overdrive and he had replied, "Wow---what the fuck, Alvarez? You think after all we've done in here---all the shit that happened between us, I'd do that to you?"

"You bet your sweet Irish ass I do. I know how you operate."

The realization had hit him hard and he had said, "You never trusted me---did you?"

"If I didn't, we wouldn't be having this conversation. Just letting you know where I stand."

"And where you want me to stand? Fuck you and your parole!"

"I forgot. It's too fucking much to ask Ryan O'Reily to think about anyone but himself," Alvarez had aggressively said.

He had not wanted the conversation to be an angry one, but he had to be forceful to make his point. O'Reily had been the only one he had trusted in this cumhole, but he had known firsthand how twisted the other man's thought process had been. Alvarez had turned his back and had looked away as he had thought of the next thing to say. He had trusted the Irishman, but there had never been any real boundaries between them. The point had to be made clear so that the line was drawn in the sand.

The Latino had not even been sure that the conversation had been valid. The chance of him making parole, even with Ruiz's slimy fingers far away from his case had been a long shot still. He had believed that O'Reily would not do anything to jeopardize his chances of getting out, but he had to say it to be sure. McManus and Father Mukada had remained the eternal optimists, though. All he had wanted was for everything to be clear between them.

"Fuck you, Alvarez!" O'Reily had spat back. "You piece of shit."

"Listen to me. You do anything to fuck up my chances of parole and I find out, I'll fucking kill you myself. You got that?" the Latino had turned back around and had to get his point across.

"Not if I kill you first."

"I'm just trying to make a goddamn point."

"If you don't make parole, that won't be my fault, motherfucker," the Irishman had nastily said. "You have a way of fucking these things up on your own."

"Not this time. I'm getting out of this shithole."

"If you're so fucking sure then why are we having this conversation? Why are you threatening me?"

"Oh no, you crafty bastard," Alvarez had slightly laughed and had said. "You're not getting in my head."

"Wasn't aware I could anymore," the Irishman had continued to play his game.

"Don't take my warning lightly. Getting out is going to happen for me."

"If you say so."

Alvarez had shot him a hard look and had left the small room behind with his mind being slightly tilted. He had wanted to believe, and a big part of him had, that Ryan O'Reily was not going to interfere with his parole chances. But he had known and had been involved with the slick Irishman for years---not having some doubts would have been a stupid mistake he had chosen not to ignore. The line had been drawn in the sand and boundaries had been made. The Latino had quietly made it back to Em City to wait for any new words about his case. The chance had been slim, but there had been a chance. Most of the other fucks in here had no opportunities, so their lives had been resolved to Oz. He had done his time and it had been long overdue for him to restart his life.

His eyes had reopened and he had been greeted with darkness but also some light from beyond the bedroom windows. That had been their very last encounter because, four days later and at the suggesting of Father Mukada, Alvarez had been placed in Solitary to be isolated from the rest of the prison population. The state had fired Ruiz for his biased practices on quite a few inmates over the years. The new head of the parole board had reviewed his case and had rendered his fair judgment of Miguel Alvarez.

The Latino had shifted on his bed and had felt the warm and soft blanket caress his naked upper torso. He had ultimately regretted his last conversation with O'Reily. There had been hardly any chance to take back some of his nasty words because everything had happened so quickly afterwards. Calderón had even condemned one of his lackeys to Solitary to try to kill him. The El Norte leader had not been happy about his impending release. He had wanted him permanently attached to Oz or leaving in a coffin.

Now that he had been out, Alvarez had to get a job and push his life past his time spent in Oz. The first few days he had been released, he had hit up any bars he could and had slept with quite a few women. None had even been close to his standards, but he had fucked them anyway. Sometimes in the bar's bathroom, or in a dark corner, or even in dark alleys behind the bars. He had never brought any of them to his house. None of those bitches had been worthy enough for that. The Latino had to recapture his manhood and these loose women had been the easiest way to do so.

A very small part of him had missed certain things about Oz, though. Dr. Nathan's always warm hands when she had examined him. Father Mukada's pure compassion for him, even after all his stumbles and missteps. He had finally accepted that the priest had some special feelings for him. Whether or not they had been sexual, he would never know. Even McManus had turned out to be on his side and had ultimately helped him get paroled. Alvarez had secretly promised himself upon walking out of Oz as a free man that he would never go back there. As an inmate or otherwise.

His mind had also wondered if Ryan O'Reily had kept himself solo or if he had plans to get another partner. Despite everything they had done to each other, the partnership had been a thriving success because they both had survived Torquemada's and El Cartel's wrath. They had kept each other's backs safe without anyone ever knowing a thing. The Irishman had always been able to survive on his own. No one in the entire prison had been on his level of making things happen or disappearing things that had to go away. Alvarez had not been worried about him.

That same small part of him that had missed a few aspects of Oz had missed him. He had not fully understood it, but it had been somewhere there inside him. Through the twists and turns, they had become friends and had helped each other through some of the most desperate times in their lives. Alvarez had been there for him when Seamus O'Reily had died and his brother Cyril had been executed. And the Irishman had offered him human touch that had kept his body going---had been its only fuel at times. Touches that had made them both alive again.

Since his release, Miguel Alvarez had not been back inside Oz. If he had gone back, inmates and staff alike would have put the pieces together and have figured it out.



The End