"Bless me, Father, for I have sinned."
The words broke into Ray's thoughts, distracting him from his reverie. He'd been expecting, and dreading this moment. Somehow, he'd known Keller would come to him. For absolution. He'd been thinking about it for days.
When you're not thinking about where Miguel is, right Padre? That was the other thing Ray couldn't get out of his head. His regrets about Miguel. He'd let Pete keep him out of the victim/offender program, and watched helplessly as Miguel had slipped further and further away. After Miguel had returned to solitary, Ray hadn't been able to work up the nerve to visit him. And he'd been meaning to stop by the infirmary after Miguel got stabbed, but the racial unrest, the shooting in Emcity, the demands of the diocese had given him the excuse he needed to avoid confronting the man he'd failed so badly.
The man he wanted so badly.
But he'd left it too late and Miguel was gone. Busmalis had returned, but somehow Ray knew that Miguel wouldn't be back. Not for awhile at least.
The traitorous thought returned - but why hadn't he contacted me?
Yeah, right Ray - he's out, he's free, he's on the lam - and he's going to call YOU. Miguel was too smart, too savvy --
too hurt --
to contact Ray. And there was nothing that would change that.
Keller shifted in his seat, his leg brushing Ray's, forcing Ray back to the present. "Uh, Father? It's been a looonnng time since my last confession, and to be honest, Father, I'm not quite sure I remember much more about how this goes."
Keller had been shocked by the fear that had dogged him since he'd woken up in the ICU. They told him he'd died on the operating room table, but he'd already known. He'd seen hell - no long hall of white had greeted him, no pretty blond angels with golden halos and white wings for Chris Keller. No fucking sign of God anywhere.
But they'd brought him back and he'd gotten a reprieve. And being a Catholic, even a HIGHLY lapsed one, he knew what he had to do. All those years of catechism before he'd been in juvie, later as an altar boy, he'd been taught that confession, absolution was the key. It was no guarantee, but maybe a visit to Father Ray might help stave off the demons that had begun to haunt him dreams.
He knew how to handle priests - had learned at the knee of an old Irish monsignor more than 30 years ago. Watch for what they wanted to hear, do what they wanted you to do. Just like the rest of life. Same lesson he'd learned from the very UN-reverend Vern Schillinger ten years later in Lardner.
Give 'em what they want, get what you want. And for Chris Keller, the thing he had that most people wanted was his body.
He didn't think Ray Mukada would be any different. He'd been watching the priest for more than a year, watching him moon over Miguel Alvarez. He knew. Ray needed to touch someone, to be held. And the other day, in the infirmary, Ray had reached for Keller.
So Keller would give the priest what he needed. And in return, he'd get something he needed.
It was fair, if not strictly from the Book of Catechism.
Today, he was going to get what he needed from Fr. Ray.
Absolution. He wasn't leaving without it.
Ray had been avoiding Chris Keller since being summoned to the infirmary a week ago. The sight of Keller, his body weak, his mood strange, almost *soft* had been so -
He knew what Pete had gone through with Keller - the inmate had ripped something vital and precious from Pete, forced her to face feelings that she (and he) had buried long ago.
(Oh, yeah, Padre, dead and buried, right?)
It was Keller's manipulations that had made Pete doubt herself, that had made Ray feel alone and afraid of his own commitment to the Church, to God. And if he was really honest, afraid of his feelings for Miguel.
So Ray was angry and skeptical when he'd arrived at the infirmary, doubting that Keller could be genuine about anything. But the pain in Keller's face, the words, the earnest look had all made Ray wonder.
Could he really be sorry? Did he really want to repent?
And when Keller had struggled to stand, Ray hadn't been able to stop himself from reaching for him. There was just something compelling about Keller. Something earthy and likable.
And frighteningly attractive.
And now here he was. At Confession. Jesus. Well, Pete had no more defenses to deal with Chris Keller, so that leaves me, Ray thought. Keller had never been a regular at mass, had never come to confession before, but he was a lost soul, and Ray had no right not to hear him out. It had been a mistake, though, to agree to hear Keller's confession in his office. Already the room was somehow smaller, the inmate's essence making Ray feel insignificant and small in comparison. Even with a bullet wound, his affect muted by drugs and weakness, the man radiated --
Ray swallowed, forcing away the thought. "Just start talking - what sins have you committed that you want to confess today?"
"God, I'm not sure where I should start. I mean, I've been pretty bad, for a long, long time, Father. What do you want to hear first?" A small, chagrined smile passed across Keller's face, not quite making it to his eyes. The slight betrayal of his nervousness, his earnestness.
Ray deliberately looked down at the small bible in his hands, shying away from the sad appeal lurking in the steel blue gaze. "Why don't you start with Sr. Pete, Chris? You mentioned the other day that you feel bad about what happened with her."
Well, that was unexpected, Keller thought. The good father had a bit more backbone than immediately apparent. This might actually end up being fun.
He pushed aside the niggling thought that Toby wouldn't like this - but this was just sex, and he and Toby were about, well, he wasn't sure, but it felt like more than sex. Besides, once he got absolution, he might not feel so guilty, so bad about himself. It would be good for him and Toby, for their relationship.
Carefully concealing his thoughts, Keller sighed, his eyes closing as he tilted his head back. "Yeah, that's as good a place as any, I guess."
He opened his eyes and saw the priest watching him. And watched as the smaller man struggled to extinguish the need shining out of his dark, bottomless eyes.
Ah. Now that's what I've been looking for, Keller thought, as he began to speak. This IS going to be fun. He suppressed a smile. He licked his lips, absorbing the priest's involuntary recoil at the sensual movement.
** Ray listened with half an ear as Keller confessed his attempt to manipulate Pete, trying to focus on the words, but finding his gaze drawn again and again to the other man's mouth. The quick, self-deprecating grin, the rakish pull that indicated sarcasm. The wet, pink tongue that flashed behind even, white teeth.
"I feel really bad about how Pete took all that. I didn't mean for her to start doubting herself. I just wanted her to help me with Toby. To make him see I still loved him."
Ray forced himself to meet Keller's gaze. "Say an Act of Contrition with me, and I will absolve you."
"Awww, Father Ray, I have no idea what an Act of Contrition is. Can you say it with me? Maybe it will come back to me." Keller let his smile flare to his eyes as he asked the question. And saw the impact his patented charm had on the other man, as Ray swallowed, and nodded.
Ray began, "Oh my God, I am heartily sorry..."
Keller let his smile build, pleased that he remembered the familiar prayer. Dipping his head briefly, he began to speak in tandem with the priest. "... for having offending you..." Slowly, with the practiced ease of a seducer, he raised his eyes, and met Ray's gaze.
The priest's eyes flashed at the heat and invitation he saw there. This honesty was what he should have had with Miguel. If only Miguel had ever been this open with him, this willing...
The rote recitation continued but neither of them were paying attention anymore.
"I detest all my sins because of your just punishments, but most of all because they offend you, my God, who are all good and deserving of all my love."
Ray watched Keller's firm chest rise and fall, his own heartbeat picking up in answer to the unspoken siren's call emanating from the man across from him.
"I firmly resolve, with the help of your grace, to sin no more and to avoid the occasions of sin. Amen."
"Amen." Keller let the quiet word escape on a sigh. He leaned forward, his hands folded together in prayer, taking Ray's hands in his own. He held the priest's gaze, clasping lightly, not forcing the contact to continue, giving Ray the option to withdraw - if he wanted to.
Ray struggled to comprehend how quickly and badly, this situation had gotten out of hand. He pulled his hands back, both men now silent as the moment stretched between them.
"Keller..." he began, biting his lower lip as his labored breath betrayed his excitement. God, the guy just touched my hand and I'm practically panting. "I don't think-"
"Yeah, thinking can get anyone in trouble." Keller grinned, reaching forward again, this time finding the priest's thigh beneath the stiff black fabric of his pants. Keller leaned into the vee of Mukada's legs, his knees finding a place between the other man's. He massaged the tensed muscle in his hand, leaving no doubt in either of their minds as to his intention.
"You know, Father, when I was a boy, I spent a lot of time with priests. I was an altar boy. Yeah, I know. Not exactly the type, huh?" Keller smiled, moving even closer, his face now mere inches from the priest's.
Ray closed his eyes as the combination of the deep blue eyes and the hand squeezing its way up his thigh assaulted his defenses. This can't be happening, he thought. I can't be -
And gasped as Keller leaned in and brushed his lips, the heat of the kiss shocking Ray, unwittingly giving Keller access to the inside of his mouth.
An opportunity Keller did not intend to let pass. Lightning quick, he dived into the opening between the soft, pink lips of the priest. Groaning at the heat generated, Keller gave himself up to the pleasure of the sensations.
Ray moaned in response to the onslaught by Keller, his already weakened defenses assailed by the pleasure of being touched, kissed, held. After the pain and emptiness that had marked his last year apart from Miguel he had little energy left to fight. The thought of Miguel made him squirm, and he grabbed at Keller's arms in an attempt to stop the kiss, to keep it from going any further.
But Keller had been seducing too many people for far too long to be put off by one as inexperienced as Ray Mukada. He deepened the kiss and pressed his hand quickly into the priest's crotch, running his fingers quickly up and down the hardened penis he found waiting for him there.
Mukada felt like he'd been punched, his legs shaking at the sudden attack. "God, no..." he begged, not sure what he wanted to stop and what he wanted to continue. He tried to slip backwards in the chair, trying to escape from the heat and the passion and the temptation wrapped up in Chris Keller's intense package.
Keller took advantage of the priest's sudden retreat to pull the other man to his feet. He broke off the kiss and pushed Ray back until he was leaning against the desk. "Father, I need this, you need this. Let me. Please?" Keller swept down to press kisses on the almond eyes, shutting out the pain and doubt, working soft caresses over Ray's cheeks and jawline before settling again against his mouth.
With his eyes closed, Ray let himself drift into the passionate vortex Keller was creating. He sighed, imagining it was Miguel's hands unbuttoning his shirt, Miguel's arms gathering him close, Miguel's lips ravaging his own. The last vestiges of his resistance were washed away as the image of Miguel, his lips pursed and his dark eyes haunted, filled Ray's head.
Keller felt it the moment Ray became a willing participant. Hiding his triumph, he slipped his right hand into the now open shirt. He hadn't bothered with undoing the collar, satisfied to invade the vestiments while leaving the starched evidence of Ray's vocation in place. It amused him to disrobe the priest without removing all evidence of his being a priest. With unerring aim, he found the tiny nipple hiding under a soft cotton t-shirt, teasing the nub through the fabric, flicking it with his fingers, strumming against it until Ray was bucking against him, out of control.
Ray scrabbled for Keller's arms, needing something to hold him up as the dark-haired man wreaked havoc on him. He was no match for the wiles of Chris Keller, and at this point all he could do was hold on and enjoy. And he was definitely enjoying. After months, years of denying himself and his sexuality, his feelings and needs, this was a relief, to be at the mercy of someone like Keller.
The moans Ray was making let Keller know he was doing something right. In fact, as far as Keller could tell, he was doing everything right. He abandoned the now taut nipple to begin a slow, taunting journey down the priest's flank, pressing into the slim hip, trailing errant fingers over the waistband of the black pants. He used his own hip to press against the hardness between Ray's legs, establishing a slow rhythm, which began to build as Ray answered it with small movements of his pelvis.
Keller felt his own passion stir as he played the smaller man like an instrument. He'd been away from Toby for too long, and his horniness had not abated with his concerns about his mortality and hell. He had to laugh at himself - he'd probably get it on with the Devil when he died.
But for now, he was going to concentrate on getting on with the hot little priest with the beautiful mouth. Keller continued to ravish the soft pink lips as he ground his hardened cock into Ray's hips. His hand slipped to caress the hard butt hiding beneath the priestly garb, surprised at the tight, smooth muscles as the flexed beneath his fingers. A few moments of tickling and teasing was all he allowed himself before returning to wrestle with the waistband of Ray's pants.
Ray kept his eyes closed as Keller undid his pants and unzipped his fly and tried
to prevent a shudder as the inmate revealed his hard penis to the cool air of
the little office. The shock of having his erection revealed was quickly overwhelmed
by the sensation of Chris Keller's roughened hands around the soft skin of his
member. Having anyone touch his cock was so foreign that Ray almost came, but
Keller seemed to recognize his predicament and simply pressed his hand against
the shaft, using his body weight to anchor Ray against the spasms threatening
to end the encounter too quickly, too soon.
Keller had to smile at the innocence the priest could not hide. He was awful cute,
the little Asian padre who had a crush on the unfortunate (and missing) Miguel
Alvarez. After a few moments, to ensure that the priest was not going to pop before
Keller wanted him to, Keller eased back to undo his own low slung pants, which
fit even looser after a month in the hospital. He touched his cock for the first
time since he'd been shot, relishing the stab of pleasure it provoked. Looking
down at Ray, he lined their cocks up, skin to skin, and began to press harder
and harder against the other man, rocking his hips, caressing both cocks together.
Ray began wheezing, his lips burbling with mindless words as the pleasure coursed through his cock, straight through his body. He bit his tongue to try to prevent the groans threatening to erupt from his throat.
Keller's lips found Ray's mouth again, worrying and working the swollen flesh as he worked the harder, sleeker flesh below. Ray's involuntary twitches told Keller that he was about to come, and Keller let it happen this time, increasing the speed and pressure of his cock and his hand, rushing Ray along, rushing himself along to the final pleasure that would absolve them both.
Ray bucked, thrust his tongue in Keller's mouth and came like a geyser erupting, the moisture erupting from his neglected penis coating Keller's stomach. He spasmed helplessly, fighting to hold on as years of celibacy and control spilled out, racking his body with violent tremors. He only barely registered the feeling of Keller joining him, the sleekness and seed binding them together as they both drifted back from the ecstacy, still kissing deeply, still connected at the root.
Panting, clenching, heart pounding, Ray came back to himself slowly, opening his eyes, breaking the suctioning kiss. He glanced up at the hawk-faced man above him, who flashed a wicked leer. The deep blue eyes sparked with the truth of what had just happened - Keller had given him something he'd wanted, needed for a long, long time. Ray felt the illusions he'd been clinging to, the naive illusions about chastity and pure love and Miguel fall away in the harsh light of reality. In the after effect of what he'd done. With Chris Keller.
Keller could see the emotions reflected across Ray's face, and they were pretty easy to read. Guilt, pain, regret. He could feel the smaller man withdraw from him, though, and he didn't understand it. Well, fine, you fucker, he thought, I don't care if you have second thoughts - hell, you're Catholic, guilt is like a sixth sense. But fuck you, I'm getting what I came here for too.
"Hey, Father, you are somethin'. I'm not gonna be able to walk back to my cell." He smiled at Ray, but got only a frown in return. "So, we got a little distracted there, but I gotta get what I came for... absolution. Right Father? And then you'll bless me, so I won't go to hell."
Ray didn't respond, horrified and stunned that Keller seemed to think this was all still part of the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He couldn't really mean it - could he?
The mounting silence angered the bigger man, as he realized that things were not ending the way he wanted. How the fuck had he lost control of this situation - how could he have underestimated Mukada so badly? His rage building, Keller pressed the priest again.
"Absolve me, Father. I confessed, I said the Act o' Contrition. I'm sorry for my sins. Absolve me!" Keller demanded, nostrils flared as he leaned over the smaller man pinned beneath him.
Ray shook his head, unable to speak. His muscles were still clenched from the pleasure they had just shared, and his mind was whirling with what he had done.
And it had not been with Miguel.
"God dammit! Absolve me!" Keller couldn't believe the priest was trying to deny him. For a moment the rage he usually kept contained threatened to erupt and the charming mask he wore slipped.
Ray gasped, stunned by the dead look that emerged on Keller's face, wiping away all trace of passion and charm. His eyes suddenly mean and small, and ugly, hatred and pain and rage somehow radiating from the blank expression. Ray swallowed, refusing to be intimidated. Steeling himself against the cold fear that ran up his body at the sight of a stripped-down Keller.
"No." The word was quiet, but the strength behind it left little doubt in either man's mind that Keller wouldn't get at least one thing he was after today.
"Well fuck you then, *Ray*. Keller snarled, pushing himself off the other man and zipping up his fly. "Thanks for nothing. At least when I was a kid, the priest would absolve me after." He let the implication sink in, enjoying the horror blossoming in Ray's eyes, watching the lie take root.
Ray lay back, his mind reeling, as he struggled to absorb the implications of Keller's statement. After. God. I'm just like the rest of them. I'm just like him. I'm a sinner.
It wouldn't come easily for either of them. Not today at least. Not for a long while.