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by Maddie

No matter what Chris is doing, whether he's working out in the gym, playing chess with O'Reily, or simply arguing with the guys about Miss Sally's tits for the twelve millionth time, my eyes are drawn to his every movement just as my ears are attuned to his voice. I hear him putting himself down, pretending to be stupid, and I realize no one knows him the way I do. I realize what a fine actor he truly is, as no one else appears to see through his "I'm just a dumb con" act. I remember how he bitched while I taught him to play chess, but it didn't escape my notice that it was only a few days later he was beating me two games out of three.

Nor did Chris's low opinion of himself elude me. I've come to believe his lack of faith in himself became ingrained in him when he was a child. He's let a few things slip about his boyhood, mostly about the way his father abused both his mother and himself. Although it goes against my nature, I try not to push him into opening up. Instead, I delight in every little tidbit he offers, soaking it up like a sponge. And I swear to myself that, no matter how far into the future that day may be, I'll counteract the false beliefs Chris's father did his best to instill.

One night before lights out, Chris was lying in his bunk, reading. Like me, he was waiting for the time we can really be together.



"Why were you in prison the first time? You've never told me."

"It was stupid kid stuff. Me and my best friend stole a car and took it for a ride."

"And you got five years for that?" I asked as the call for lights out came.

Chris laughed bitterly. "Yeah. See, it was the D.A.'s wife's car. And I had this public defender who didn't give a shit. My friend Joey's parents got him a lawyer, and they spoke up for him in court. And..."


"I didn't say anything when they asked me about Joey, I wouldn't rat him out."

"Let me guess. He did rat you out."

"Yeah," Chris sighed. "He told them it was all my idea." "What about your parents?" I asked, then wished I could take it back, because I thought I probably knew the answer.

"My dad told me they couldn't afford a real lawyer. What he really meant was, I was gonna end up in prison eventually anyway, so why waste the money?"

"But, your mom - - "

"Did what my dad said. Toby, they weren't like your folks are. My mom had me when she was sixteen. My dad married her because he got her in trouble. She never finished school. All she ever knew was him. She was a good Catholic, did what he said, and prayed a lot. She woulda never went against him."

Then I felt bad for bringing it up.

Chris sighed again. "Toby. It's not your fault," he said softly.

"I know. Ready for me to come down there?"

"You gotta ask?"

Once in Chris's bunk, all I wanted was to hold him, to comfort him.

"Don't do that," Chris said, glaring.


"You've got that 'poor Chris' look on your face. Don't feel sorry for me!"

"I don't, Chris."

He gave me a look that clearly said he didn't believe me. So I distracted him by kissing him. Soon, we were making love, and it was forgotten. Or so I thought.

After it was over and I was lying in Chris's arms, he fingered his St. Dismus medal. "My mom gave me this before I went to Lardner. She loved me, Toby. She was just more afraid of him. When I was little, she used to read to me, and make up games to play. It wasn't all bad."

I snuggled closer to him. "I just... want for you to have been happy."

"I'm happy now. Can't that be enough?"

"Yes," I say, stroking his chest. I'm know I'm lying to myself and, worse, Chris knows it too.

It makes me so angry when people dismiss Chris as just another dumb con. Or when guys look at him like they want to fuck him, but never give a single thought to who he is inside. And the ones like O'Reily or Schillinger, who only want to use him for their own needs. It makes me want to go postal.

Before, whenever I tried to compliment Chris, he brushed it off like he didn't deserve it. Sometimes now he just smiles when I do it. I think Chris is finally starting to believe he is worthy of praise.

One night my curiosity got the better of me, and while we were lying there, waiting for the hacks to settle down, I asked, "Chris, what's your best memory from your childhood?"

"I dunno, what's yours?"

"When I first learned to ride a bike, I guess. I wouldn't let my dad teach me, even though he was dying to."

"Independent, huh?" Chris asked teasingly.

"Yeah," I chuckled, then continued. "We had this long picnic table out back, and I would put one hand on it to steady myself, then I'd take off around the house. I must've fallen a hundred times, but finally I made it all the way around the house, back to that picnic table. That was the greatest feeling."

Chris was quiet for a minute, then began his story. "Mine is a bike story, too. When I was six or seven, I think, I wanted this bike I'd seen in a store window. It was dark blue, had all the extras, and I wanted it more than anything in the world. I kept telling my mom about it, 'cause it was never a good idea to tell my old man you wanted anything. Things like that really set him off. He had held down a job for about six months, a record for him, so we must've had a little extra money. I don't know how my mom talked him into it, but I got the bike for my birthday. My dad even came out to watch me ride. Told me how grownup I looked."

I lay there and tried to process what he'd told me. I wanted to be glad he had a good memory from childhood. But of course, I started to analyze. Why shouldn't he get the bike he wants? And why shouldn't he ask his dad for stuff? All kids do that. And I cannot get it out of my head, the way Chris's voice changed when he mentioned his dad coming out to watch him. I hated how pathetically grateful he sounded for something most kids take for granted. That bastard taught Chris he's worthless, and he's thankful for this tiny, infinitesimal amount of attention. Rather than voice any of this, I said lightly, "Did it have a racing stripe down the side? Mine did."

He laughed. "Yeah, it did, actually." Then, "You comin' down here?"

I did, of course. That's my favorite part of the day, when Chris and I can just be us, be alone, away from everyone. And I don't just mean the sex, which is stupendous, but I just love being with him. Since I know how people have measured Chris's worth by his body, I always take my time, trying to show him, with my lips, my tongue, my hands, how much I love him, how precious he is to me. I tell him with my eyes, and he can see it. After sex, he talks to me, tells he how he loves me, how no one's ever made him feel loved like I do.

Sometimes he talks about the crimes he's committed. He says he doesn't feel bad about most of the things he's done in here, only what he's done to me. He also feels guilty for the murders he committed before he came here. Even more since he was shot and died on the operating table. He fears the darkness inside him and I know I should feel horrified by what he's done. And part of me does. But the part that loves Chris completely overwhelms my repugnance. Said doesn't understand how I can love him — and he doesn't even know about the murders. My parents certainly don't understand it. I don't fully understand it myself, all I know is that it is.

"Why, Toby? How can you love me? You know all the things I've done."

"I just do, Chris. It's as simple as that. Besides, I see past what everyone else does. Past the image you project."

He grinned a little at that. "What image do I project?"

"A cocky, sexy guy that no one in his right mind would try to fuck with."

"Oh yeah?"

"Yeah. You want people to think you're not as smart as you really are. And that you... that you'll never let anyone get close to you."

His smile faded a little. "You think so?"

"I know so. I watch you, Chris. And I didn't say all of that was wrong. You are cocky, and you are sexy."

He smirked at that.

"But I know you're smart, and occasionally you let people get close. I'm proof of that."

"So. One person."

"I've seen you with Cyril. How patient you are with him. You take up time with him."

"You see all that, huh?"

"Yes. And I love that side of you. Whether you like it or not, Chris, I see your true colors. And they're beautiful."

"Christ, Toby, you sound like an '80s song."

"So what if I do? You think I can't love you because of all the things about you that you consider bad. But don't you love me unconditionally, in spite of the hundreds of things about me that annoy you?"

"Aw, Toby, that's different. You make me feel like no one ever has."

"Chris - - "

"No, let me say this. All the times I was married, it was more about what they needed. With Angelique, it was the money, the things I could give her. I realized that, but she was this beautiful woman, you know? She said all the right things, but I knew why she married me. Same thing with Kitty, except with her it was sex. I came really close with Bonnie, but even she didn't make me feel like you do, Toby." Chris paused to run his hands over his face. "Fuck, this is hard. I want to tell you this, but I ain't no good with stuff like this."

"You're doing fine," I encourage.

"You make me feel wanted, not just like I'm a good fuck, or good to have around to do things. You actually want to know my opinion about stuff. You assume I actually know stuff. See, I'm not saying this right. You make me feel special, Toby. No one's ever done that, been that way with me." He pauses again. "I... don't hate me for this, Toby. I kinda thought at first maybe you were just fuckin' with me, doing to me what I did to you. And I woulda deserved that. Then, I realized you really meant it. See, Toby, you don't have any trouble showing anybody your true colors. In fact, too much sometimes. I worry about that. It's dangerous to do that in here. But that's one of the things I love most about you. You went through all this shit that would turn a normal person into... well, somebody like me. But not you. I love that about you, Toby."

I think that's why Chris and I are good together. He makes me feel normal, and I make him feel special. He doesn't give a shit that I was a rich lawyer, or even that I'm an alcoholic and drug addict. Or even that I was crazy for a while there. He acts like it never happened, like it's just us, none of the past.

"Chris, you don't have any trouble accepting me the way I am. And I love you just the way you are."

"What is it with you and song lyrics here lately?"

"Chris," I said with a huff, "I'm trying to make a point here."

"I know. I just have a hard time accepting that you can love me in spite of what I've done."

"Then I'll just keep convincing you," I said as I hopped up on my bunk to once again wait for lights out. Chris merely smiled and grabbed his book before lying down himself.

A little while later, right after lights out, Chris said hesitantly, "Hey, Tobe?"


"I thought of a song that might work for us."

"What's that?" I ask, fully expecting him to come up with something like "Talk Dirty to Me", or maybe "I Touch Myself".

There was another pause, then Chris said in an embarrassed yet determined tone, "Um, 'Endless Love'".

I paused before saying softly, "That's perfect, Chris."

Then I set about trying to compose myself before I went to Chris's bunk. I thought of how I wanted to show him that I understand what it took for him to say that. And show him how much I love him for saying it.

- The End -

True Colors

You with the sad eyes
Don't be discouraged
Oh I realize
It's hard to take courage
In a world full of people
You can lose sight of it all
And the darkness inside you
Can make you fell so small

But I see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow

Show me a smile then
Don't be unhappy, can't remember
When I last saw you laughing
If this world makes you crazy
And you've taken all you can bear
You call me up
Because you know I'll be there

And I'll see your true colors
Shining through
I see your true colors
And that's why I love you
So don't be afraid to let them show
Your true colors
True colors are beautiful
Like a rainbow





Title: Appearances
Author: Maddie
Websites: Maddie's Fanfiction
Feedback: Yes, please!
Pairing: B/K
Rating: PG (by Oz standards)
Archive: Sure.
Disclaimer: They don't belong to me. No copyright infringement is intended and no money is being made.
First Published: August 18, 2004
Summary: Summary: Toby sees Chris's true colors.
Notes: Thanks to Wadjet for the great lyrics, "True Colors", by Cyndi Lauper. I wish I could have done better by them. Beta by Haven, she did the best she could with what I had. The ending sucks!

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