The characters Benton Fraser and Ray Kowalski are from the television
series due South. I don't own 'em, I wish I did. I'd be a lot
richer, plus I'd be insufferably smug. Yeah, the characters are property
of Alliance, yadda, yadda, yadda; everything else is my smutty intellectual
property. Rated NC-17 for graphic sexuality (M/M). If you're considered a minor in your community please
do not read this . If you're narrow-minded, easily offended, or have
something against Chicago Flatfoots with Experimental Hair, you may want
to take a pass as well.
NOTE: I've always been intrigued by the fact that Ray has a bicycle on
a stand in his apartment. They never elaborated on that detail in the
series, and that has just... niggled... at me. So, I did. :-)
Thanks to Judi, Betty, LaTonya and Audra for beta. Y'all are the best.
(I was born in Texas, I can legally say that.)
Soundtrack: Pierce Pettis lots of Pierce Pettis: 'My Life of
Crime,' 'Love Will Always Find Its Way,' 'My Heart Goes Out,' 'Hole in
my Heart,' 'Comet,' & 'Words Said in the Dark.' Also,
Bruce Cockburn: 'Look How Far' & 'Isn't That What Friends Are For.'
listen up. Anybody here got a bike?"
was a bizarre question. Ray looked over at Welsh, standing at the door
to his office. Everyone else was looking at him too. Duh. Like they'd
dare look anywhere else when Welsh was talking.
for an undercover job, probably three or four days' work."
was a cookie. No question about that. He hunched down in his seat a
little, trying to be smaller. Welsh was trying to bait them with the
undercover thing, which meant Ray didn't want any part of it. And he
wasn't about to volunteer his bike.
mean a motorcycle?" Dewey asked.
scowled. "Did I say a motorcycle? No. I did not. I said bike,
as in bicycle."
slid a little further into his slouch, trying to look as unathletic as
shifted to look at him, puzzled, then back at Welsh. "Ray has a
bicycle," he offered. "A very nice one."
didn't smile as his gaze pinned Ray, but Ray could see the grin anyway.
"I didn't know
you were into fitness, Detective Vecchio. I assume you can actually
ride this bicycle of yours?"
was tempting to lie, but Ray figured there wasn't much point in it, not
any more. With a fulminating glare at Fraser, he shrugged. "Yeah."
"Good. Thank you
for volunteering. In my office, now."
sighed and stood up. "Yes, sir." Halfway there he stopped,
turned, and looked at Fraser. "You too, Fraser,"
Ray, I . . ."
Fraser," Ray said, backing it up with a Look.
nodded and followed. Once the door was closed, Welsh settled at his
desk and laid out the deal. They needed someone to go undercover as
a bike courier because there had been a bunch of ripoffs lately that
pretty much had to have been inside jobs: only the couriers carrying
valuable goods were getting hit. A couple of the couriers had been smacked
around when they hadn't wanted to give up their bags. No one had been
seriously injured, yet, but you never knew when something like that was
going to turn ugly, which it almost always did with guns in the mix.
So the Chicago PD decided to put someone in there to see what he could
see. It wasn't a bad plan, actually, and Welsh had some references cooked
up for him that looked good, but Ray thought about how long it had been
since he rode seriously and shook his head.
dunno. I don't think they'll buy it. All my stuff's about two years
out of date, and I'm way out of shape."
looked at him slantwise and started to say something but Welsh snorted
and beat him to it.
compared to most of us around here you're Lance Armstrong, so don't give
me that crap. You got a bike, you know how to ride it, and I've seen
those guys. You have the look."
like some crazed maniac with a death wish?" Ray asked jokingly,
then wished he hadn't when Welsh nodded.
just like that."
wouldn't say death wish, or even crazed," Fraser murmured in his
that he didn't demur about the maniac part, and his irritation flared.
Okay, fine. If Fraser could volunteer him, he could volunteer Fraser
right back. Fair was fair. He folded his arms and stuck his chin out
stubbornly. "I want backup. No way I can carry a piece in courier
gear. I need someone watching my back." He slid a look at Fraser,
and Welsh got it immediately; of course he did, he was good.
sure Constable Fraser will be as effective as always," Welsh said
back a grin. "Yeah, but he's gonna have to keep up with me. That
means he's gotta go undercover, too."
thought about that and then nodded.
Ray, I . . ." Fraser began.
shook his head. "You too, Fraser," Ray said firmly. Fraser
hesitated, but when Ray backed his statement up with yet another Look,
he gave in with an apologetic glance.
well, I'll. . . I'll do my best, Ray. But what if they don't need two
looked at Welsh. "You said this place is run by a woman, right?"
Welsh nodded. "Yeah,
one Cassandra Peterson."
grinned. "No problem, then. They'll hire you even if they don't
need another courier. I'll need to update some of my gear. Shoes and
helmet, especially. No self-respecting courier would go with the kind
of gear I have. We'll have to outfit Fraser, too. And find him a bike,
'cause mine's not built for two."
Whatever," Welsh said. "Get what you need, I'll sign the vouchers."
Ray did a double take
and gave Pod!Welsh the eye. Welsh, volunteering funds? What the hell?
"One of the
riders who got roughed up was some alderman's kid," Welsh explained,
looking a little embarrassed by Ray's wide-eyed stare. "The mayor's
screaming about this one."
that'd explain it all right," Ray said cynically. "Okay,
come on Fraser. Time to go spend the city's money."
their way out, Fraser balked again. "Ray, there's something I need
to tell you."
paused at the door to the station, looked at Fraser, and sighed. "What?
Besides 'Ray, my friend, I'm very sorry for volunteering you and your
bike without your permission.'"
frowned. "Well, I didn't volunteer you, I merely mentioned that
you owned a bicycle, which, really, you ought to have done yourself,
as it was a polite request."
a polite request with a bunch of strings attached, Fraser. And I didn't
get a chance to check out the strings before 'volunteering' for this
job. I like to know what the heck I'm getting into before I do it, Fraser,
unlike certain Mounties who have a habit of leaping before they look.
I was playing him for more information, okay? I figured he'd come out
with some if nobody said anything."
looked taken aback for a moment and his face fell. "Oh. I. . .
yes, I understand now, Ray. I'm sorry. I didn't . . . "
sighed, waving a hand. "Yes you did. You always do. Water under
the bridge. Now, what's bugging you?"
ah . . . well, you see, there weren't many places in the Territories
where one could actually ride a bicycle, and my grandparents didn't feel
it was worth the cost and effort to order one and have it shipped, and
so . . . well, truth of the matter is that I. . . I . . . ."
By the time Fraser got
that far, Ray had finally figured out what he was trying to say and his
jaw dropped. "You telling me you never rode a bike? There is actually
something you, Super Mountie, cannot do?"
looked acutely embarrassed. "Yes, Ray."
whistled softly. "This has to be my lucky day! Not only did Welsh
agree to let me spend money, but I found something I can do better than
looked at him in that odd, assessing way he had where he ducked his
head a little, and narrowed his eyes a little, and wrinkled his forehead
a little. "I'm sure there are many things you do better than me,
a rude noise and rolled his eyes. "Yeah, right. Okay, so I gotta
teach you how to ride a bike. No sweat."
the end it did entail a certain amount of sweat, not to mention the loan
of a bike from an old riding buddy of Ray's who was about Fraser's size,
but, as Ray had figured, Fraser got the hang of it with only a few ungraceful
tangles with the spidery bike-frame. In a disgustingly short amount
of time Ray had him riding like a pro. . . or at least not a novice
. . . around the track at a local high school. Even Ray's impromptu
obstacle course barely slowed him down. What floored Ray was that once
Fraser figured it out, he was clearly enjoying himself. Ray had never
seen an outright grin on Fraser's face before, and it made him feel oddly
pleased and even a little proud to have helped put that expression there.
He hated to pull Fraser off the track to go to the cycle shop and outfit
him properly, but it was work, after all. As he roamed the aisles examining
the merchandise, Fraser trailed behind him, watching, frowning a little.
"You seem to know
a lot about bicycling, Ray, though I don't believe I've ever seen you
a glance at him, nodded. "Yeah. Haven't had much time to ride
lately. Used to, though, especially after Stella and I . . . ."
He stopped and cleared his throat. He didn't need to get into that,
didn't need Fraser to know it had been a way to keep himself from moping
around his apartment feeling sorry for himself. "Anyway. I know
my way around a bike. And I do still ride sometimes when Thatcher keeps
you busy, though I'm not the maniac I used to be."
seems a shame that you're not able to keep up with a pastime you enjoy.
Perhaps now that I've learned, we could ride sometimes."
looked at him for a moment, frowning. "You don't have to humor
of course not," Fraser said quietly, and something flickered in
his eyes, something a little more human than his usual bland expression,
something a little. . . hurt?
if you really want to, that'd be cool," Ray said, automatically
trying to fix that pain he'd seen, and maybe caused.
would like that, yes," Fraser said firmly.
then," Ray said. "It's a date. You, me, a couple of bikes.
Maybe we could even wear out the wolf."
looked puzzled. "Wear out the. . . ah. You mean Diefenbaker."
"Well, yeah. What'd
you think I meant?"
for a moment I wasn't entirely sure. It sounded as if it might be a
metaphor of some sort."
snickered. "Wear out the wolf. Yeah. Like spank the . . . ."
He stopped abruptly. Oh no, Stanley Raymond Kowalski-Vecchio. Don't
even think about it. "Uh . . . never mind. Come on. Let's get
going here. My mom always said when the going gets tough, the tough
his relief Fraser didn't pursue the dropped conversational thread and
just followed along as Ray shopped. In the end he judiciously selected
a dozen or so items before heading for the checkout. Fraser blanched
a little at the total on the register, and cleared his throat meaningfully,
but Ray just grinned back. "Welsh said the city would pay for it."
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow
with a fingertip. "I, ah, don't think he quite understood the, ah,
full implication of his assent, Ray."
if he wants us to play in the big leagues . . . ." Ray shrugged,
leaving the rest of the sentence hanging.
looked a little disapproving but didn't protest further, at least not
until they get back to Ray's place and Ray handed him his share of the
loot and nodded at the bathroom. "Go change."
looked at the meager pile of fabric in his hands, back at Ray, and swallowed.
"Ah . . ."
gotta look the part. Just think of it like that time you went undercover
as a used car salesman."
forestalled the impending argument, and Fraser disappeared into the bathroom.
Ray took his own loot into the bedroom and changed quickly, checking
himself out in the mirror. Not too bad. He wouldn't win any beauty
contests but he didn't look like a complete fraud either. Done, he waited
impatiently for Fraser to emerge from the bathroom. And waited. And
waited. Finally he began to wonder if Fraser had drowned in the sink
or something. He went over to the door and tapped on it lightly.
Okay. Alive. Alive
was good. "You been in there a long time."
. . yes."
. . not as such. No."
afraid you purchased the wrong sized clothing for me."
did not. I have an aptitude for sizes. Never once got Stella wrong,
and I know guys better than I know chicks, being one myself and all."
"Well, but they're
very . . . snug."
grinned. "They're supposed to be, Fraser. Open the door."
There was a moment of
silence, then the door opened about two inches so all Ray could see was
a part of Fraser's face as he looked out.
I really . . . ."
the way, Fraser."
a long-suffering sigh Fraser opened the door and stood there awkwardly.
Ray's gaze traveled down Fraser's broad chest, lovingly clung to by a
red and black jersey, past the shorts -- black, with a yellow stripe,
and even made in Canada, according to the tag. He had to be careful
not to let his gaze linger too long on the way the gleaming fabric flowed
over every concave and convex curve that Fraser owned, forced himself
to move on down the bare legs which looked really strange without their
usual armor of jodhpurs and granny-boots. Strange, but . . . nice.
Finally he looked back up at Fraser's face and grinned "Perfection,
Fraser. Definitely not the wrong sizes. That's the way they're supposed
to fit. Aerom. . . arid. . . aerodynamic."
frowned a little, and studied him, taking in Ray's equally snug orange
jersey and black shorts. His eyes widened slightly as he moistened his
lower lip with a slow flicker of his tongue. That was followed by another
quick glance down Ray's torso, then back up. "Ah. . . yes. I see.
told himself firmly that Fraser's words held absolutely no double meaning,
but he couldn't help one of those quick glances himself, which led to
him noticing something odd about the fit of the shorts. He frowned.
"Fraser, tell me you are not wearing your damned boxers under those."
"Well, of course
I am, Ray."
sighed and shook his head. "No. The whole point is to not have
anything that chafes or binds so you don't get . . . chafed, or bound.
See? Now go take 'em off."
you didn't give me anything to wear und . . . oh. I see."
Color flared across Fraser's
face and Ray had to bite his lip to keep from laughing as he realized
that just the idea of going commando had set his partner blushing like
a schoolgirl. Fraser's gaze flickered down a third time, back up, and
his color deepened.
He looked like he wanted to say something, but finally he just stepped
back into the bathroom and shut the door. Ray tried not to let his imagination
get carried away with the fact that Fraser was in there getting almost
naked. Or with the fact that Fraser just checked him out. . . three
times. He was just looking at the clothes, that's all. Normal. Not
used to them, on himself or on Ray. A few minutes later the bathroom
door opened again and Fraser stepped out, walking inexpertly in the rigid-soled
shoes. Ray looked up from the kitchen sink where he was filling water
bottles, and couldn't resist asking a question he knew Fraser wouldn't
answer even under torture.
better now, right?"
blushed again, Ray could see it from clear across the room. "I
just feel rather . . . exposed," he said finally.
he looked it, too. Ohyeah. Jesus, Ray. Enough. "Yeah, it takes
a little getting used to," Ray said nonchalantly, trying to make
Fraser feel a little more comfortable.
Fraser agreed. A faint frown creased his forehead as he looked down
at himself. "If I might ask. . . is it usual for there to be. .
. padding . . . in the, ah, groin area?"
chuckled. "Yep. And believe me, you'll be glad of it, too, after
a long ride. Just be glad I'm not making you shave your legs for authenticity."
Fraser cocked his head.
"I've done that before. It's not so bad."
stared at him. Did he even want to know? He thought about it for a
second, and studied Fraser narrowly. "This what you were talking
about in the crypt that day? About dressing up like a woman?"
blushed a little. "It was for undercover work."
hunh. Sure it was."
Ray, it was."
Fraser opened his mouth,
shot him a look, and closed it again.
You're no fun," Ray grumbled.
shook his head, suspiciously bland. "None whatsoever, Ray."
* * *
Hanging out in the front
office of Peterson's Pro's waiting with several other people for an interview,
Ray figured he was a shoo-in, what with the references Welsh got for
him. Unfortunately that made him feel a little guilty. If he got the
job, he'd probably be taking bread out of these guys' - and girls' -
mouths, and some of them looked a little hungry. He consoled himself
with the thought that it was only for a few days and then they'd be hiring
someone to replace him, and that his replacement would be a lot safer
with the perps behind bars.
glanced over at Fraser, who sat primly in the chair next to him trying
as hard as he could not to notice that every eye in the place was sliding
his direction every few seconds. Even with the streamlined black Bell
helmet in his lap concealing the most interesting bits, it was just hard
not to look at Fraser in spandex and stare. The man was amazing enough
in the goofy pants and old-fashioned-fire-engine-red tunic of his dress
uniform, but when he was tricked out like this it was a wonder he wasn't
on billboards across the country advertising something. . . anything.
Ray figured people would line up to buy air if Fraser was selling it.
Well, if they didn't actually know him and know how really irritating
he could be.
A voice called. "Ray Kowalski?"
took him a minute. He was so used to Vecchio that he'd nearly forgotten
his own name, his real name. He jerked his gaze away from Fraser to
the snotty clerk with the clipboard. "Yeah, I'm him."
"Ms. Peterson will
see you now . . . if you're ready." The clerk cast a smirking glance
from Fraser back to Ray, and Ray glowered at her until he remembered
he was supposed to want this job and smoothed out his frown, nodding.
he said, deliberately not looking at Fraser again.
clerk opened the door to an office, not a big, spacious, well-furnished
one, though slightly better-furnished than the little front room, at
any rate. The first thing he noticed was that just as he'd suspected,
the long mirror next to the door was a one-way, so the boss could keep
an eye on the front room if she wanted to. Worked for both management
and security aspects.
thin, fortyish woman with faded blonde hair and skin that had seen way
too much sun was seated at a desk that looked older than he was, making
notes on a steno pad. She looked up as he came in, her shrewd blue-gray
eyes assessing him, and Ray was glad he'd taken the time to scuff up
his shoes and get a few concrete-snags on his outfit before he'd shown
up, because he had a feeling not much got past this woman. She stood
up and extended her hand, took his in a firm, no-nonsense grip.
"I'm Cass Peterson,
I run this dump," she said, waving a hand around. "Have a
seat, Mr. Kowalski." She gestured to the tacky harvest-gold Naugahide
chair on his side of the desk. "You want a job?"
sat, then nodded. "Yeah. Could use one."
read your papers." she said.
he shook off the feeling that he was a racehorse or a dog, and lifted
his eyebrows. "Yeah?"
You rode pro?"
but not for a while," he lied diffidently. "Been working in
the Big Apple, but my mom's sick, had to come home to help out."
She looked at him speculatively,
and he thought about how he'd feel if his mom really was sick, and put
that into his face. After a moment she nodded, flipped a couple of pages
on her desk. He recognized 'his' resume.
is pretty impressive. We can't pay this well."
I know that. I figured that. This ain't The Apple, after all."
She grinned and nodded.
"True, Mr. Kowalski. But there are other outfits right here in
Chi-town that pay better than we do. Why did you come to us?"
"You have a rep
for being fair and for not overworking your riders. I'll need to have
a flexible schedule, to work around times I need to be home helping out."
Ms. Peterson frowned.
"I can be a little flexible, but I need coverage. I have regular
clients who rely on us, and things are tough right now with the muggings.
You've heard about that?"
nodded. "Yeah. News travels. I can take care of myself."
He felt that shrewd gaze
on him again, and she nodded. "Yes, you look as if you could.
So. Coverage? How will you guarantee my coverage when I need it?"
Ray fidgeted a little.
"I. . . got a friend. He needs a job, too. Was hoping maybe we
could work together. Kind of a two-for-one deal, he rides when I can't.
I'd need to take him out with me at first, show him the routes, he's
from up north, not familiar with the city like me. Growing up here,
you get to know the place."
boss-lady was frowning again. "Two for one? That strikes me as
too good to be true, Mr. Kowalski. Is he any good at what he does?"
Ray laughed ruefully.
"Lady, he's good at everything he does. It's pretty damned depressing
some days. But he's even broker than me, and doesn't have family here
to crash with. He's been sleeping on a cot in a friend's office, but
I'm trying to get Mom to let him stay with us for a while." She
frowned a little, and Ray gestured toward her window on the outer office.
"That's him over on the left. Red jersey. Sitting like a school-marm."
She snickered and leaned
left to look past him out into the office, and Ray watched her eyes widen.
"Oh, my," she breathed reverently.
chuckled. "Yeah. Sucks. You have any idea how hard it is to get
a date when you hang around with that all day? But he's my friend, and
a real good guy, so what can you do?" He shrugged eloquently.
Ms. Peterson tore her
gaze away from the spectacle that was Fraser in spandex and moistened
her lips. "I. . . ah. . . don't know what to say. He'll really
work any shifts you can't? For no more pay?"
until maybe you need another full-time rider. It beats park benches."
Her gaze had wandered
off over his shoulder again, and she frowned a little. "I . . .
have a bit of a difficult time believing he can't find employment."
Ray looked at her steadily,
pulled out the big guns. "Oh yeah, he's been offered a couple of
jobs, but they're not what you'd want a friend doing. Not if you don't
want to see them messed up and tossed in some back-alley dumpster like
so much trash, or a year or two down the road in the hospital in with
a disease nobody can cure yet."
blinked, snapped her gaze back to his face, and he saw the shock in her
eyes. "I see. Yes. Well, if he's willing to cover you when you
need time, then yes, I'd be a fool not to hire you. And that's something
I'm not. Welcome aboard, Mr. Kowalski."
Ray, please. We'll do our best for you, Ms. Peterson. You can count
looked at him with her head tilted a little, her expression startlingly
reminiscent of Fraser's assessing look. "Yes, I believe you will.
Why don't you bring your friend in and introduce us, and we'll get the
paperwork out of the way."
* * *
Two days riding the routes,
and Ray was beginning to get that feeling . . . that 'we're close' feeling,
that 'someone's watching' feeling that lifted the hair on the back of
his neck, those few that weren't glued down from the sweat, anyway.
Yeah, he knew Fraser was trailing him some way back, staying out of sight,
but Fraser never gave him that particular feeling. It was like he could
. . . feel . . . the difference, between Fraser watching him and anyone
else watching him, almost like he had some kind of weird mental connection
how often Fraser seemed to read his mind right back, Ray wasn't entirely
sure that was just his imagination. He only hoped Fraser was never reading
his mind when he got sidetracked onto one of his many Fraser Fantasies.
That would be-- embarrassing. Though Fraser would probably just do his
Oblivious thing and pretend he hadn't. Still, just in case, Ray always
made a concerted effort not to let that kind of thing happen around Fraser.
Unfortunately since he wasn't not around Fraser very often, that
meant that those kind of thoughts usually occupied his mind at night
when he was home alone in bed, which was probably not the best place
to have them, all things considered.
shook himself. Told himself to pay attention. He was on the job, and
right now with a package in his pouch that was insured for $50K, he knew
someone other than Fraser was watching him. Which was good, because
he wanted to wind this job up. He liked undercover, he was good at undercover,
that was why he was being Vecchio to begin with, but despite Fraser's
assertion as to his maniac status, taking on Chicago traffic with nothing
but a bike was not really his thing. He preferred the safety of wrap-around
steel, and a light and siren he could slap on if needed.
was, he felt vulnerable out here, though not so much to any lurking bad
guys, those he was used to, but there wasn't much either he or Fraser
could do to protect themselves from several tons of hurtling metal and
rubber. It was just. . . be careful, quick, and agile. Unfortunately
though he could be agile, Fraser's version of careful involved deliberation,
and that could be more of a liability than an asset out here. Ray found
himself constantly worrying about Fraser, which really kind of defeated
the purpose of having him as backup, not to mention defeating the purpose
of getting even with Fraser for volunteering him. Thinking of Fraser,
he touched his earpiece, thankful for wires that could masquerade as
portable CD players, and scratched his nose to disguise the fact that
he was speaking.
Fraser, how's it hangin'?"
is what hanging, Ray?" Fraser responded immediately, sounding puzzled.
Ray grinned. "Never
mind, Fraser. Just making sure you're okay."
fine, Ray. Why wouldn't I be?"
reason. Just . . . " Ray broke off as his bike suddenly wobbled
and got hard to steer. "Damn, I got a flat," he said, annoyed,
as he dismounted and carried his bike out of the street to lean it against
a nearby building.
glanced around, thinking to himself that this was a pretty good place
for an ambush, if one was going to happen. Not much street traffic here,
mostly warehouses around, no storefronts to supply witnesses. The hair
on his neck prickled a little. He leaned down and examined the flat
tire. Not one, but four different carpet nails pierced it. He shot
a look into the street, saw a scatter of metal glittering in the sunlight,
and frowned. Oh yeah. Carpet nails wouldn't do much to a car tire,
but they were hell on bikes. He knelt next to the tire and unclipped
the tire pump from its clamps, then started fiddling with the fill valve
to make it look like he was focused on the tire. "Frase, I'm between
third and second on Grant, and I think this is it. Hang back, okay?
Don't let 'em see you."
I'm not close enough! The backup cars are even farther!" For once
Fraser didn't sound calm, or cool. He sounded worried.
far back are you?"
blocks. The others six, at least."
didn't swear, but he wanted to. He was on his own. "Watch the
street, they put down nails. Ride on the sidewalk when you get to Grant."
"But Ray. . . "
a show of spinning the tire and swearing loudly, made it look like all
his attention was focused on the flat as he shifted his grip on the pump.
It wasn't much as weapons went, but it was better than nothing. He heard
the crunch of a shoe on sidewalk debris behind him. He kept up a running
grumble about the damned tire and the damned nails, and the damned time
he was losing, all the while listening, preparing. Another footfall.
Close. He glanced out of the corner of his eye, took in the size and
position of the man, and waited. He had to be sure. . . .
is a stickup, bike-boy," a gruff voice barked. "Hand over
the bag . . . awk!" The order mutated into a startled yelp as Ray
surged to his feet and brought the pump around in a smooth arc to impact
the heavy wrist holding the gun, then reversed his swing to catch the
guy under the chin. The blow was blunted a little by the knit balaclava
the guy had over his face, but it was good enough to lay him out, the
gun spinning away to the sidewalk well out of reach. Ray had a moment
of irrationality, thinking the guy must be sweltering under that mask
and was about to whip a set of cuffs out of his bag when a second voice
froze him in his tracks.
the pump," Thug Number Two hissed in a really odd voice, kind of
spun around and came face-to-muzzle with another gun. He froze, tried
a smile at the balaclava-hidden face across from him.
you don't want to do that, you really don't," he said placatingly.
"I said drop the
pump," Two repeated in that same peculiar voice, almost like he
was trying to disguise it, like maybe he expected Ray to recognize it?
That made sense. Hide the face, disguise the voice. Whoever this was,
Ray probably knew him.
unwrapped his fingers from around the pump and let it fall, studying
his opponent closely. He was short and thin and wearing loose, shapeless
dark clothing, but the gun made up for a lot of size. A Beretta, he
thought, from the silhouette. "It's dropped," he said unnecessarily.
"Take off the bag,
hand it over."
can't do that," Ray said, stalling for time. "I'll lose my
job, they'll take it out of my hide. Don't do this to me, man, I'm just
a guy tryin' to earn a living."
insured and you know it, asshole, hand it over."
eyes widened. He, or rather, she, had forgotten about the voice-disguise
for a second there. And now he knew exactly who it was. Oh yeah. The
clerk. Inside job for sure. He remembered her smirking at him about
staring at Fraser before the interview, remembered that prissy, pissy
tone. They'd wondered about her, but her bank records had looked clean.
But if she was smart enough not to flaunt her newfound wealth, and she
was working with a partner whose account they could use, that explained
a lot. What was her name? Mary. As he stared at her he saw her eyes
she said in her natural voice. "Fuck. You know."
swallowed, not sure how he'd given himself away. "Know what?"
he tried. Come on, Fraser, he thought, just as he caught a flash of
red out of the corner of his eye and he forced himself not to look, not
to give it away as a feeling of relief spread over him. Fraser was here.
Things would be okay.
know who I am," Mary said flatly.
no clue, other than you're the one with the gun," Ray said, trying
to keep her attention focused on him as that flash of red over her shoulder
got closer and bigger. Fraser, legs pumping hard, crouched low over
the handlebars. Oh yeah. Come on baby, come to papa. He focused on
the clerk again, had to keep her focused, keep her attention. "Look,
you can have the damned bag, I'll just take it off here, nice, and slow
. . . ." He reached for the strap and the muzzle of the gun, which
had begun to drop a little, nosed back up again.
I'm stupid?" Mary snapped. "You'll give me the bag then go
tell Peterson who's been ratting out her riders, and I'll be looking
at a felony rap. No way, you're not getting out of this one, Kowalski,
because I am not going to jail."
retrospect it was weird how everything had almost seemed to stop, like
a movie in slow motion. He'd actually seen Mary's finger tightening
on the trigger, and had resigned himself to taking one, to maybe dying,
and he'd felt really crappy because there were so many things he hadn't
done, so many people he had never told how he felt about them . . . well
. . . one person, at least, in particular. Then Fraser was there, riding
to the rescue like a big, red bat out of hell, launching himself off
the still-moving bike and onto Mary at a good fifteen or twenty miles
of the tackle propelled Fraser and Mary into Ray, and all three of them
went down in a heap. A blast of sound hit Ray's ears and he'd felt a
dozen tiny stings along the side of his face, like a bunch of pissed-off
bees had attacked him. Brick shards, he'd realized as he shook his head
and swore, trying to clear the ringing from his ears. He'd managed to
grab Mary's gun as Fraser stared down at him with a wild-eyed look that
Ray had never seen on him before. Then Mary started to squirm where
she was sandwiched between them, swearing like a sailor, Fraser blushed,
and a huge burst of relief at not being dead surged through Ray and left
him grinning foolishly.
know, Fraser, there are easier ways to get me into a menage á
tory, if that's what you're after."
eyes had gotten really wide then, and he'd blushed even worse, but he
said his next line right on cue, like he couldn't help himself. "Trois,
Ray. Menage á trois."
chuckled. Everything was definitely back to normal. "Whatever.
Now you wanna get off me, and get Mary off me, before I suffocate and
before her boyfriend over there wakes up?"
terribly sorry, Ray," Fraser said as he scrambled to his feet, looking
apologetic. He hooked a hand into the back of Mary's shirt and hauled
her up, too, using his other hand to tug off the mask that had hidden
her face. He didn't seem at all surprised by the face revealed. "I'll
restrain Ms. Crowe, if you'd be so good as to take care of her accomplice."
"Already on it,
Fraser," Ray said, tugging his cuffs out of his bag and heading
for the guy on the sidewalk who was starting to stir and groan. In short
order he had him rolled over and cuffed, and had started to read him
his rights when Mary struggled in Fraser's grip to turn and stare at
him, mouth open.
You guys are cops?" Mary gasped. "I'm going to sue
your asses for brutality! I think you broke my ribs, you asshole!"
She wrapped her arms around her midriff and assumed a pained expression.
Fraser's face took on
that prim look he got when he was offended. "I apologize for my
roughness, Ms. Crowe, but as you were in the process of attempting to
shoot my partner, I felt a certain judicious use of force would not be
then a familiar tan economy car came screeching around the corner with
a portable light on the dash; behind it was a pair of blue-and-whites
with light-bars on full and sirens wailing. Fraser nodded toward the
cars as they squealed to a halt.
backup is here, we'll have them call in some paramedics to make sure
you're not seriously injured."
and Dewey piled out of the first car, the uniforms got out of their vehicles,
and the scene dissolved in controlled chaos. Measurements were made,
photographs taken, and the nails from the street and Ray's tire and
the bullet that had hit the bricks and blown shards into his face were
all collected as forensic evidence. The paramedics eventually arrived
and could barely even find a bruise on Ms. Crowe's supposedly broken
ribs, though her boyfriend had a hell of a knot on his jaw from where
Ray had clocked him with the pump.
with the crooks comfortably separated in each of the blue-and-whites,
they had to head back to the station. The only vehicle remaining was
Dewey's compact, and after cramming the two bicycles awkwardly into the
hatchback, Ray and Fraser ended up in the tiny back seat trying to avoid
getting skewered by protruding bike parts every time the car hit a bump.
After the third time Ray got clipped on the sore side of his face by
a set of handlebars, Fraser had shifted back against the door and tugged
Ray over to his side of the car. It had worked, and Ray hadn't had to
keep a protective hand over his face any more.
the position had put him practically in Fraser's lap, and Ray had been
acutely aware of the fact that he was snugged up tight against Fraser,
even in such a completely innocent fashion. He hoped like hell neither
Huey, or especially Dewey, could see his face in the rear-view mirror,
because he was pretty sure he was nearly as red as Fraser's jersey.
Fraser's complete nonchalance about it had helped Ray regain his composure,
though, and as the adrenalin surge from the bust started to fade out
of him he'd begun to relax until his back touched Fraser's chest. Instantly
he'd sat forward again so they weren't quite so close. After the second
time that happened, Fraser had put a hand on his shoulder, lightly.
"It's all right,
Ray, I don't mind."
settled back again before he stopped to wonder just what it might mean
that Fraser, who never willingly touched anybody, didn't mind Ray slouching
all over him in the back of Dewey's junker. After a couple of turns
made him even more aware of their closeness and Fraser's apparent relaxed
acceptance of it all, he did start to wonder, but it wasn't the time
or the place to ask, and then they'd pulled into the parking lot and
there wasn't time to ask. There was just time for paraffin tests, and
statements, and reports in triplicate, and to interrogate Ms. Crowe and
Mr. Jackson, and find that Mr. Jackson was interested in spilling about
their partners at some of the other courier services in exchange for
a lighter charge than attempted murder of a cop. Then there'd been a
trip to Welsh's office for congratulations that made Ray blush like Fraser.
That was one of the things he and Fraser had in common. He hated being
congratulated for just doing his job.
what felt like days later, Welsh let them escape and Ray headed to the
men's to take care of some pressing business, followed, inevitably, by
Fraser. As usual he had to tell himself firmly that it was bad manners
to watch Fraser while he peed, and then found himself trying not to laugh
as it hit him that he could barely remember having gone to the bathroom
by himself since he'd become Ray Vecchio. Finishing up, he went and
washed his hands, by which time Fraser was doing the same thing. He
dried his hands, raked a hand through his hair, looked at Fraser, and
smiled a little self-consciously.
had a chance to say thanks, Fraser."
turned to look at him with a slight frown. "For what, Ray?"
Ray shook his head, rolling
his eyes. "For saving my skinny ass, Fraser. I'd be one dead cop
if you hadn't made like Bjarne Riis to get there before she blew me away."
I'm sure you'd have been fine."
snorted rudely. "Oh yeah, right. I'd have been a fine puddle on
the sidewalk. Just shut up and let me thank you, damn it."
Fraser ducked his head,
looking uncomfortable. "Really, Ray, there's no need. . . ."
"Yes there is, Fraser.
I need to, okay? So just work with me here. I'm betting your grandmother
taught you this one. I say 'thank you' and you say. . . ?"
Fraser said hesitantly. He still looked a little embarrassed, but a
slight smile lurked around his mouth.
now was that so hard?"
. . . ." Fraser began.
shook his head, interrupting. "No, it was not. Take it like a
man, Fraser. If I can humble myself to thank you, you can humble yourself
to accept it. It's not every day some crazed maniac with a death wish
flings himself off a moving bike to save my skinny ass from some slimeball-ette
who wants to perforate me with high velocity projectiles."
. . wouldn't say death wish or even crazed," Fraser murmured, that
little smile lurking around the corners of his mouth again.
laughed, then winced a little. When he smiled big, the cuts on his face
from the brick shrapnel stung.
eyes narrowed. "Did you have the paramedics see to those?"
"Nah, they're just
little scratches. Nothing to worry about."
you shouldn't neglect yourself, even a small injury could get infected.
We should clean the cuts, and I have some salve that will help."
Ray?" Fraser asked, using his patented Concerned Expression.
Oh, damn. Please. No
way he could hold out against a Fraser 'please.' He sighed. "Okay,
fine. But it better not be that mucous stuff again."
Ray, that's back at the consulate. This is a simple calendula salve
with a beeswax base. Calendula is well known for its . . . ."
"Just do it, Fraser."
Fraser fumbled with his cartridge case and extracted a small tin and
an alcohol prep pad.
lifted his eyebrows. "Don't you think sometimes you take that boy
scout thing a little too far?"
flushed a little under his gaze. "I'm not a boy scout, Ray. Not
. . . in the sense you mean."
I don't know too many guys who carry alcohol wipes 'just in case.'"
"Actually, I obtained
one from the paramedics earlier. I suspected you would not have taken
the time to . . . ."
sighed again. Nobody could argue that Fraser didn't know him better
than almost anybody. "'Nuff said. Go for it."
opened the pad and the sharp scent of isopropyl alcohol filled Ray's
nose as Fraser leaned close, using one finger to turn his face toward
the light, studying him for a moment, up close. Real close. Ray could
even kind of smell Fraser over the alcohol, kind of a warm, clean-sweaty
aroma. How you could smell clean and sweaty at the same time was a bit
of a mystery, but then, that was Fraser in a nutshell. A mystery.
"Get it over with,
would you?" Ray asked a little gruffly, kind of on edge at how
close Fraser was all the sudden.
nodded. There was a gentle swipe of cold across his skin, followed instantly
by the stinging burn of alcohol on broken skin. Ray sucked in a breath
over his teeth and managed not to jerk away, only to do so a moment later
in surprise as Fraser leaned even closer and . . . blew. . . on his face.
"Fraser, what the
. . . .?"
helps the alcohol evaporate more quickly and should make it sting less."
Ray said, relieved that it wasn't some weird kind of Canadian foreplay.
Or was he relieved? Right now he wasn't quite sure. His body was sending
him signals that it liked having Fraser this close, liked smelling him,
liked feeling his breath on his skin. Fortunately the realization that
he was wearing spandex and they were standing in a public restroom
at work fixed that problem.
what better?" Ray asked a little wildly, wondering if Fraser could
possibly have noticed.
sting." Fraser said, looking puzzled.
God. "Oh, that. Yeah. Better."
"Good." Fraser threw away the wipe, in the trash can of course,
and then opened his tin and rubbed his fingers in the pale, creamy stuff
inside and lifted them to stroke the substance gently and carefully over
Ray's jaw and cheek. Felt nice. Good. Damn it. Not that again. Just
cut it the fuck out, he told his body sternly. Not here, not now, probably
not ever, even if Fraser did sometimes give off some pretty mixed signals.
It wasn't like he was ever going to find out. You didn't go around asking
your partner if he ever did guys as well as chicks. It was kind of frowned
Fraser asked, sounding concerned.
focus snapped back into the present, into Fraser's big, gentle fingers
on his face, Fraser's face way too close to his, Fraser's lips slightly
parted as he gazed worriedly at Ray . . . wow. . . He'd looked at Fraser's
eyes hundreds of times, maybe thousands, howcome he'd never noticed
that little ring of gold right up tight around Fraser's pupils before?
How could he have missed that? That was pretty cool.
he managed intelligently.
dropped his hand from Ray's face, and he looked . . . guilty? That was
weird. But his words were normal. "Are you quite all right? You
look a little. . . odd."
yeah, I'm fine, Fraser. Just kind of zoning out there for a sec. Hungry.
Want to go get food?"
Ray, that would be nice. However, we're not exactly dressed for dinner
you look good enough to eat, Ray thought, and wondered what the hell
was wrong with him today. Normally his inner heckler wasn't quite so
out of control. "Yeah. We'll go back to my place first, shower,
get some real clothes." Maybe getting Fraser covered up a little
would help. "And take my poor, wounded bike home so I can fix it.
We can leave Ed's bike here overnight, it'll be safe and it's hard enough
getting one bike in the GTO. I'll get it back to him tomorrow. It's
his spare, he won't care."
nodded. "I'll call Constable Turnbull and ask him to take Diefenbaker
for a walk and feed him before he leaves this evening, so we'll have
no time constraint about dinner."
* * *
Ray followed Fraser up
the stairs to his apartment, carrying his bike. He couldn't help staring
at Fraser's posterior as his partner preceded him up the stairs. Yeah,
it was pretty tacky of him, but hell, Frannie wasn't the only one who
could appreciate the sight of Fraser in spandex. Jesus. Could a collection
of muscles and skin get much nicer than that? No. But in following,
and staring, he couldn't help but notice that Fraser seemed to be kind
of. . . limping. Not exactly limping, but almost. Just a slight hesitation
in his normally purposeful stride which got even more noticeable as they
got to the hallway and Fraser was walking on a flat surface instead of
handed over his keys, and Fraser unlocked his door for him, holding it
open so he could take his bike in and settle it on its stand. As he
did, he finally figured out what was wrong, and grinned a little. "You're
walking kinda funny, Frase. You okay?"
turned back, closing the door, still holding his keys. "I'm fine,
Ray. Just a trifle. . . stiff."
snickered. "Admit it, Fraser, you're saddle sore."
looked at him like he'd lost his mind. "Nonsense, Ray, I haven't
been near a horse."
patted the bike's seat. "This saddle."
Well, I suppose in that sense, one could say that." Fraser reached
a hand back and rubbed his lower back down near the base of his spine.
"Riding a bicycle does exercise rather different sets of muscle
groups than my normal activities. But actually, I'm afraid that I wrenched
my back a bit when I apprehended Ms. Crowe."
suddenly felt a little guilty for having put up such a fuss about having
Fraser help him on the case. It wasn't like they'd really needed two
undercover bike messengers, he'd only insisted because he was peeved,
and now Fraser was hurting. And Ray had made fun of him on top of it.
That wasn't buddies. He watched Fraser rub his back again and stretch
like his shoulders hurt, and scowled.
go lie down."
turned to look at him, wide-eyed. "What?"
lie down. You're hurt. You hurt yourself saving my ass. I can help.
Go on." He pointed at the bedroom.
Ray, I'm fine."
yeah, that's why you're walking funny and rubbing your back and rolling
your shoulders. Go. Lie. Down," he ordered firmly.
looked like he wanted to argue, but apparently the expression on Ray's
face dissuaded him. He nodded. "Very well, Ray, but honestly,
I . . . "
shut up, finally, and walked hesitantly toward the bedroom. He looked
back at Ray with a slight, puzzled frown, then sat down gingerly on the
edge of the bed like he was afraid it would collapse under his weight.
Ray studied the broad line of Fraser's back as he bent over to untie
his shoes, noted the long, smooth curve of calves, the strong arch of
thigh. . . oh, crap. He was staring. Way to be obvious. It suddenly
dawned on him that maybe this hadn't been such a good idea, but he couldn't
back out now. He was committed-- and maybe he should be committed--
but for once his motives were actually pretty pure. At least they had
been until it had sunk into his brain that Fraser was in his room, on
his bed, and wearing a hell of a lot less clothing than normal.
Do not go there, Kowalski,
he admonished himself, trying to make his inner voice sound all stern
and paternal. Just 'cause you played for the other team a few times
in your wild and misspent youth does not mean that Fraser is a switch
hitter too. Besides all that, it was a really, really bad idea for a
cop to go where his libido was hinting it wanted to go. He thought
about Dewey's probable reaction to any of this, and that pretty much
flatlined any lurking arousal. Relieved, he cleared his throat. "Take
off your shirt," he called out, heading into the bathroom to wash
his hands and dig through the medicine chest.
shirt?" Fraser sounded shocked.
grinned, imagining the look on his partner's face. "Yeah, your
shirt. You hard of hearing?"
Ray, my hearing is fine, but why should I need to remove my shirt?"
Ray emerged from the
bathroom with the tube of Aspercreme and held it up. "Because I
can't put this on your back through your shirt."
really don't think that's necessary, Ray," Fraser said.
frowned. "Geez, you are so stubborn. Like it's going to kill you
to feel better?"
certainly felt worse in the past and managed to muddle through without
you muddled through. But you don't have to muddle, Fraser, when I can
help. So let me do this for you, okay? I just want to help."
Fraser opened his mouth,
shut it again, and sighed resignedly as he unzipped the snug neck of
the jersey, then reached down and pulled it off over his head. Once
he managed to stop staring at Fraser's bare chest, Ray noticed that taking
off the jersey had left Fraser's normally perfect hair a tousled mess,
which was, Ray realized with some surprise, a good look for him. Hunh.
Maybe that was why he was always so anal about keeping it neat-- he got
hit on enough as it was. Okay, stop mooning, Kowalski. Action.
said, surprised at how normal his voice sounded. "Now, down."
"We can do this
sitting up . . ." Fraser began in a voice that was suspiciously
close to a whine.
what is it with you?" Ray demanded, annoyed. "Will you stop
arguing? Just do it."
Ray," Fraser said, almost meekly.
deliberately looked away as Fraser settled onto the bed on his stomach,
musing that Fraser must be in really bad shape to be so submissive.
Usually he was the one giving orders and getting his way. Politely of
course, and with that way he had of making you think it was your idea.
Still, it was kind of nice to be on the other side for once. He felt
the bed shift a few times, and then the movement stopped and he looked.
And, oh, that was so . . . pretty. He couldn't help but take a moment
to admire the flow of back down into ass, and thighs, and calves. Hell,
even the back of Fraser's neck was good-looking. If he was an artist
he'd want to paint Fraser, but the only thing he'd ever painted was the
GTO, and he didn't think Fraser would look good in seven layers of gloss
if Turnbull ever sketched Fraser in secret. He bet he did. How could
he resist? Ray was pretty damned sure the other Mountie had done his
share of team swapping, especially after watching Turnbull on the boat
that time with that barely-old-enough-to-shave junior Mountie. And as
Ray well knew, if you played for both teams then it was just about humanly
impossible not to look at Fraser every now and then and wonder what he
looked like naked. In fact, Ray figured you didn't even have to play
for both teams to wonder that. He had a funny feeling that pretty much
everyone sometimes wondered that, even the straightest of the straight.
And, heck, since this was as close to naked as Ray was ever going to
see Fraser, could anyone blame him for taking a minute to just admire?
No, he didn't think so.
Fraser's voice broke into his contemplation.
What would be wrong?"
. . . don't know. You're just very quiet."
Yeah. Oops. He was doing that a lot lately. Had to get a handle on
that. "Nah, nothing's wrong. Just . . . planning my strategy here.
Fraser sounded unenlightened. "I wasn't aware that applying liniment
required a strategy."
liniment. Aspercreme. And yeah, a good back rub requires a strategy.
Where does it hurt worst?"
earned a long silence. "Back rub?" Fraser asked finally,
sounding like someone had just offered to execute him like that Wallace
guy in 'Braveheart.'
Fraser's voice sounded even more strained all of the sudden. "Really,
Ray, that's not required. . . ."
it's not, but I want to. I mean, it's my fault you had to do the whole
bike thing to begin with."
Ray, it's more my fault. If I hadn't spoken up about your abilities
when Lieutenant Welsh asked if there were any cyclists in the station
. . ." Fraser began, and Ray cut him off.
Fraser, it's your fault I had to do the whole bike thing to begin
with. It's my fault you did. I. . . um. . . kinda wanted to get back
at you for volunteering me. Sorry."
Well, I don't really blame you, you know. I should have asked you first."
"Yeah, but you didn't,
and I didn't, and we're here now and you're sore so shut up and tell
me where it hurts, okay?" Ray said with some exasperation.
"I can't very well
tell you where it hurts if I shut up, Ray."
Ray said warningly.
neck and shoulders are a trifle tense," Fraser admitted reluctantly.
Got a place to start." Not that Ray believed him for a second.
He'd seen where that hand was rubbing a few minutes ago, and it wasn't
anywhere near his neck or shoulders. Nope. It was his lower back that
was bothering Fraser more. And his butt, probably, but that didn't bear
thinking about because he knew he was not going to get those shorts off.
Even if he did, Fraser probably had molded-on plastic underwear just
like Stella's old Ken dolls. That image made him smile and reminded him
that he was just there to be a good friend. He opened the tube, squirted
a dollop of Asper-goo into his palm and rubbed his hands together to
take the chill off, then took a deep breath and started.
nice skin. Nice muscles. Nice everything. Felt good under his hands.
He hadn't had skin under his hands, besides his own of course, for way
too long. Fraser was really tense at first, his whole body tight and
unyielding, but the longer Ray worked him, the looser he got. Ray kind
of zoned out on it, smoothing, circling, using just enough pressure to
make that sleek, pale flesh yield and dimple under his hands. After
a while Fraser made a little sound, one that from anyone else Ray might
call a groan, but this was Fraser and . . . yeah, it was still a groan.
nodded into his arm where his face was pillowed against it, but didn't
speak. Ray let his hands slide around on those strong shoulders for
a little while longer, digging under the wings of shoulder-blades with
his fingertips. He got a couple of explosive little grunts out of Fraser
at that so he concentrated there until he felt the tension there soften,
and Fraser made a new sound, a kind of contented little 'mmm' that made
Ray want to hear it again. It was completely unexpected to hear Fraser
make those kinds of noises. He was always so . . . proper . . that it
just never occurred to Ray that he might even be capable of sounding
so. . . well. . . primal. And that led, inevitably, to thoughts of what
else Fraser might be capable of that Ray hadn't thought of. Oh. . .
He shook off
that thought and got more goo on his hands, preparing to go a little
lower, and that's when he noticed the scar for the first time. Before
he'd been concentrating on the shoulder area, and it just hadn't caught
his attention, but it did now: a deep crater just to the left of Fraser's
spine, mid-back. The scar tissue was still pink, not white so he could
tell it wasn't a really old scar, and it looked awfully familiar, like
. . . oh yeah. He remembered then, from when he'd read Fraser's file
getting ready to be Vecchio. That was where Vecchio, the real
one, shot him. The bullet was still in there. He remembered that, too.
Fraser had almost died before Ray ever got a chance to meet him.
An unexpected shudder wracked him, and to his surprise Fraser turned
his head to look at him with puzzled, concerned eyes.
Ray looked back, trying
to organize his thoughts, and shook his head. "I'm good."
"If you're tired.
. . " Fraser began.
tired," Ray interrupted before he could finish. "Not tired.
Just. . . ." he reached out with one finger and gently traced a
circle around the area, well outside the scar tissue. "It was bad,
dropped his head back down to his forearm, effectively hiding his face,
and nodded. "Yes. Very bad. I was. . . ." He choked a little,
shook his head. "Bad."
knew, somehow, that Fraser wasn't talking about anything physical. He
wished he knew more, wished he could help. He feathered a touch over
the area. "Still hurt?" he asked quietly, not talking about
the physical, either.
was another long pause. "Sometimes," Fraser whispered. "Sometimes."
Ray felt a clench in
his stomach, a flare of empathic pain. "Yeah. I know. Been there."
He wasn't talking about the time he got shot, and he knew that Fraser
shivered and Ray reached out to smooth his hands gently across his middle
back, moving closer, pressing the outside of one thigh against Fraser's,
just offering comfort.
have nice hands, Ray," Fraser said with a sigh.
thank God Fraser wasn't too tough-guy-macho to say things like that,
because that was sweet. Real sweet. A little thing, but sweet. He
kept working, very gentle now, careful around the scar, not too much
pressure. Fraser sighed again, a different sigh, shifted a little under
his touch, then made that coveted little purr again. Uh oh. Suddenly
Ray was way too conscious of that big, warm body, and how nearly-naked
it was, and kind of by extension how nearly-naked he was, too, because
you know, spandex just made you feel . . . naked. He suddenly understood
Fraser's earlier comment about feeling exposed. Yeah. Very exposed.
Back rub. Scar.
Pain. Okay. That was better. He eased his hands lower, to just above
the waistband of Fraser's shorts, skimmed back and forth there. Remembering
the way Fraser had pressed his hand against his lower back there, Ray
frowned. "It hurt here?" he asked, rubbing a fingertip across
black spandex at hip level.
. . . perhaps a trifle," Fraser admitted in a low voice.
Ray figured for anyone else would probably mean they were in agony.
"Can I. . . I mean, do you mind if I . . . uh . . . push these down
a little? So I can get at that with the goop?"
his complete surprise, Fraser didn't demur, didn't even pause. "That
would be nice, Ray."
now, that sucked. He actually had permission to peel down Fraser's shorts
and he couldn't even allow himself a moment of illicit thrill because
. . . Fraser trusted him. Trusted him. Crud.
took a deep breath and reached out to slip shaky fingers under the waistband,
stretching it as he pushed the fabric down as far as he could, which
wasn't really very far because they were, after all, bike shorts and
made to fit tight. He realized suddenly that if he let go, the waistband
would snap back on Fraser's ass and that wouldn't be comfortable at all.
Oh man. How did he get himself into things like this?
Frase. . . " he began, trying to think how to ask what he needed
all right, Ray. Go ahead."
cow. That was way more permission than he'd expected. "Um, okay.
Could you maybe, lift up a little, so I can . . . " his sentence
trailed off as Fraser tucked his knees up and lifted his ass like a .
. . no, don't go there, find some other simile... um. . . like a sleeping
toddler. Yeah. That worked.
eased the shorts down to Fraser's knees and closed his eyes as Fraser
just kind of melted back down onto the bed and lifted his knees so Ray
could tug the shorts the rest of the way off. He tried so. . . damned.
. . hard. . . not to notice that Fraser was buck naked in his bed. Be
Good, he said in his head. Be good. Begoodbegoodbegood. He chanted
it like a mantra under his breath as he squirted more Aspercreme on his
hands and started to work on that lower back area, staring fixedly at
Fraser's spine right about waist level because he didn't dare look anywhere
else. He hit a tight spot and Fraser flinched and sucked in a sharp
sorry," Ray apologized, lifting his hands instantly, not sure if
he should continue.
it's all right, Ray," Fraser said reassuringly. "I was merely
More permission. Wow. He took a deep, quiet breath and started again,
really lightly, barely touching at all as he smoothed the cream across
pale skin which had started to flush a little with increased circulation.
There had been no more gasps, but Fraser was still shifting a little
with each stroke though, so Ray knew his back was still bothering him.
He kept working, though he eased off to just fingertips, barely touching
he felt relaxation set in, and Fraser didn't seem to be holding his breath
any more. Unfortunately he'd started making those little sounds again,
and Ray had to keep telling himself it wasn't what it sounded like, it
wasn't, so he was very relieved when Fraser stopped making those
noises and just kind of lay there like a log. All the time he worked,
Ray carefully kept his hands above the equator of those amazingly perfect
cheeks, and he figured he deserved an effing commendation for his restraint.
Finally he realized that his hands were starting to ache a little and
sat back with a sigh, rolling his own shoulders and cracking his neck
with a quick side-to-side twist. Amused at himself for picking up that
Fraserism, he chuckled softly.
Frase, you got me do. . . ."
stopped suddenly as he realized that Fraser hadn't moved a muscle since
he'd stopped rubbing his back, Well, other than whatever muscles were
involved in breathing. He shifted a little until he could see the half
of Fraser's face that wasn't hidden against his arm and . . . yep, his
eyes were closed and he was breathing deeply and regularly. Sound asleep.
Completely out, like a light. On Ray's bed. Stark naked.
eyed Fraser for a moment with some consternation, and then a funny, warm
feeling started in his chest as he realized that Fraser felt that comfortable
with him, that he could just fall asleep in Ray's bed, like he belonged
there. With what he was sure was a really idiotic grin on his face,
Ray carefully eased himself off the bed and went and got the afghan his
mom had made him from the closet and returned to the bedroom to carefully
drape it across his snoozing partner. It wasn't cold, but if Fraser
was like him, he liked to have covers on him no matter what. It was
just. . . cozier.
Cozy. Fraser usually slept on a cot in his office and Ray was worried
about whether or not he was cozy? He shook his head at himself and went
back out to the living room and turned on the TV with the sound down
really low. That only distracted him for about half an hour though.
There wasn't much on that he wanted to watch. It was kind of like that
Vacation movie where they were in England and there was only 'Cheese'
or 'Snow' on television, only Ray had over a hundred channels of cheese
and snow. Fraser'd probably like the snow part, but it wasn't keeping
Ray's attention. He was antsy for some reason, uncomfortable, itchy,
decided he needed to wash off the sweat-salt from the day. Maybe that
would settle him down. He hesitated for a minute, worried that the sound
of the shower would wake up Fraser, but finally decided that Fraser was
so sound asleep it would take more than a little running water to wake
him. Ray headed for the bathroom and stripped off his shorts and jersey,
adjusted the water temperature, and stepped into the shower. The hot
water felt good; it seemed to wash away some of his jitters and relaxed
enjoying the sensual feel of hot water on his bare skin until that got
him thinking a little too much about skin and sensuality, which inevitably
led to thoughts of a naked Fraser in his bed, and he decided maybe he'd
better not do that, and he turned the hot way down for a final rinse
with water just a hair short of frigid. It actually felt kind of good,
and definitely tamed his incipient . . . interest. He got out, dried
off, and then realized he hadn't brought in anything clean to wear.
He sighed. Fate was just not being very nice to him today. Wrapping
a towel around his waist he opened the bathroom door and headed for the
bedroom to snag something to wear.
not looking at the bed, Ray slipped into his room, quietly slid a drawer
open, grabbed a t-shirt and a pair of shorts, then turned around and
oh. . . God. No, Fate definitely had it in for him today. Fate was one
mean bitch. Even though he knew he should, he couldn't, just couldn't
look away from the sight of Fraser sprawled out on his back, the afghan
kicked off and tangled around one knee and thigh, but not hiding anything
that really . . . mattered. He had to curl his hands into fists to fight
the itch to touch that was immediate and nearly irresistible. His gaze
slid over Fraser's body like he wished his hands could, taking in the
amazing fact that unlike ninety-nine percent of everybody, Fraser actually
looked just as good with all his clothes off as he did with them on.
And man, he looked good.
had been a long time since Ray had felt this way about another guy.
Actually, he couldn't ever really remember feeling quite this way about
another guy. There had been a time, during one of the many off-again's
with Stella before they'd gotten married, when he'd experimented some.
Two guys, that was it. But it had been just that really, experimenting,
and though it had been kind of fun, he hadn't really thought much about
it after he'd gotten back together with Stella until he'd met Fraser,
and the attraction just kicked him right between the . . . eyes, bowled
him over, really. Stronger than anything he'd felt in what seemed like
forever, and he'd been fighting it for so long, and damn it, was he hurting
anyone by standing there and just looking? No.
he wasn't just standing there. He realized with a shock that he'd been
moving forward like his feet belonged to some other person. Some person
who was walking toward the bed, toward. . . Fraser. No. Bad. Stop.
He shook his head and backed off, got his feet tangled in Fraser's discarded
shorts, and sat down on the floor, hard. He was still swearing under
his breath and trying to rub both his bruised ass and banged elbow at
the same time when he heard Fraser's puzzled voice.
Shit. He looked up,
saw Fraser was up on his elbows, gazing at him with a sleepy, confused
hi, Fraser." Whoa, that was really smooth there, Kowalski.
"What. . . are you
uh, took a shower, came in to get some clothes. Tripped over your shorts."
Okay, lame, but at least it had the advantage of being true, so far as
Fraser said, looking somewhat less confused. "It would probably
have been a good idea not to have left them on the floor."
some reason that seemed like the most singularly annoying thing Fraser
had ever said to him. "I don't need housekeeping advice, Fraser,"
of course not Ray," Fraser said, sounding a little distracted.
He was still staring at Ray, his gaze kind of. . . intent, and . . .
low. Ray looked down, realized his towel wasn't doing a whole lot of
covering at the moment the way he was sitting, and he reached to tug
it into place, then stopped, his hand hovering as it hit him that Fraser
was . . . well . . . he was staring at Ray with an expression not too
far off from what Ray figured he'd looked like as he stared at Fraser
a couple of minutes ago. And Fraser hadn't grabbed the covers and pulled
them up to his neck. And he wasn't blushing, either. Now what the hell
did that mean? As he watched, Fraser frowned again.
. . how did you manage to trip on my shorts over here," he indicated
Ray's proximity to the bed, ". . . when your clothes are all over
there?" He nodded toward the dresser.
Fraser had a real knack for cutting right to the heart of the investigation.
Ray felt his face getting hot. Hell, not just his face, his whole torso,
his shoulders, his neck, the whole nine yards. "Um. . . I was .
. . checking you . . . I mean, checking on you."
Fraser said again, and damned if the corner of his mouth didn't quirk
upward in a lopsided little smile, like he knew exactly what Ray had
almost said. And wasn't bugged by it. Was, in fact, kind of amused
by it. Ray's face got hotter, a little lick of anger cutting through
funny, Fraser?" he asked, feeling his chin lift, his jaw tighten.
He knew he had his 'challenging' face on, couldn't seem to help it.
Fraser's eyes met his,
a little narrowed, his expression assessing. "Not . . . amusing,
Fraser's gaze slid deliberately
lower, lifted again. "No. Not at all, Ray." His tongue slid
out, moistened his lower lip, and a hint of doubt crept into his expression.
"Ray, I . . . . do you. . . were you. . . ?"
blushed then. Whatever Fraser was trying to ask, he couldn't do it without
blushing, which told Ray way more than maybe he really wanted to know,
and he started to feel a scary little surge of excitement. He had a
gut feeling about this, a kind of good gut feeling, like the kind he
got when he was about to solve a case. He shifted a little, bent one
knee, and, bingo, Fraser's gaze was right there, and his tongue
was out again in a quick little flicker, and his blush darkened, expanded,
and he was still lying there without a stitch on and no covers either,
so Ray could see just how far down it went Hunches. Instinct. He'd
learned over the years to listen to those. He leaned back on his hands
and looked at Fraser with what he hoped was a puzzled expression. "Was
I what, Fraser?"
dragged his eyes back upward, opened his mouth, closed it, tried again.
"I, ah, did you perhaps mean to say 'out' just then?"
Out? Ray did a quick mental playback of his last few sentences, and
his jaw dropped. No way. No way Fraser just asked him . . . that.
Oooh, now Fraser was gonna get it. If he knew that, then odds were good
that he knew pretty much every damned bit of slang he'd ever given Ray
that blank-eyed stare over. He had to know, though, for sure. "'Out,'
Fraser?" he asked. "Did I mean to say 'out' when?"
"When you said you
were . . . checking on me."
yeah. Definitely going to get him for that. Eventually. When something
much more important wasn't on his mind. "And what if I did? You
got a problem with that?"
was still challenging. He had to. Had to know, before he did something
irretrievably stupid. Fraser's gaze met his again, and there was something
new in that normally placid gaze, something hot, and verging on wild.
Fraser said, his voice unusually husky. "No problem at all."
He smiled, minutely, just the faintest lift of the corners of his mouth.
"After all, turn about is fair play."
jaw dropped at that, even more as Fraser's gaze slid down again, slowly,
Ray could almost feel it on his skin like a touch, and the interest that
had stirred in the shower was back, even stronger, and his towel was
pretty well useless by that point. He snuck a look at Fraser and saw
that he wasn't alone in being interested, that Fraser looked kind of
. . . interested, too.
was all it took. He didn't think he'd ever moved as quickly in his life.
He was off the floor and on the bed so fast that Fraser actually looked
startled as Ray got really up close and personal, hovering just inches
away as he asked one last time, because he had to be sure. Completely,
Fraser. . . I am way out on a limb here, so tell me now if you're just
being clueless and you really didn't mean to say what it sounded like
you said. Did you mean it?"
gazed back at him, and that wildness and heat in the back of his eyes
got wilder and hotter. "Yes, I meant it, Ray. "
other circumstances Ray would have let out a whoop and pumped his fist
in the air, but not this time. Instead he took Fraser's face between
his palms and leaned in to brush his lips lightly over Fraser's mouth
once, twice, and then he settled down in earnest, letting his tongue
slide between Fraser's lips and into his mouth. Heat shot through him,
tingling through every nerve ending in a rush of sensation so pure and
acute that he moaned into Fraser's mouth as that broad tongue met and
teased his own. Fraser. He was kissing Fraser. Fraser was kissing
him back. And that was just . . . mindblowing, and so . . . good.
So good. Better than good. Then it was awful, when Fraser pulled back
and stared at him, his moist, reddened, mouth betraying the force of
their kiss more than his expression, which was tight and anxious.
"Ray, Ray, wait.
. . please. You like this? You know this?"
could feel the heat in his face but he nodded, his eyes fixed on Fraser's
face. "Yeah. I know it and I like it."
looked confused. "But, Ray . . . I thought you . . . Stella."
Ouch. He sat back and
ran a hand through his hair. "Yeah, well. Old news." He shrugged.
"It's been a while, but yeah, been here, done this." He offered
a hesitant smile. "Well, not quite like this, just a couple of
guys goofing around. Not like-- this."
gaze darkened, and another one of those little smiles urged the corners
of his mouth upward. "No, Ray. Not like this for me, either."
Not like this for him
either? What did that mean? Ray knew what it meant to him, wanted to
know what it meant to Fraser, but was too scared to ask. He was still
rocked with disbelief every time he thought about what was happening
for more than a second or two. The whole time they'd known each other,
Fraser had never. . . well, it was always chicks. There was Janet Morse,
and Denny Scarpa, and he'd heard about . . . the other one. The crazy
chick. The one Vecchio was aiming for when he shot Fraser. Shot Fraser.
That shudder hit him again.
Fraser sounded concerned.
shook it off. "I'm okay. I'm good. Just got the air conditioner
turned up too high. So, you know this, too?"
yes, I know this. Better, by far, than I know the other, though neither
well at all."
It always got him where he lived when Fraser talked like that, like someone
out of an old book, but it was more this time, it wasn't just how he'd
said it, it was what he'd said, and the way he'd said it, notes of wistfulness,
and self-mockery, and pain threaded into his voice, stealing its usual
calm confidence. None of those things were what he thought of as Fraser,
and he realized with a sudden shock that this was Fraser laid out, naked,
in more ways than one. He reached out, hesitantly, put his hand on Fraser's
shoulder. "It's okay," he said, feeling helpless, knowing
that saying that didn't make it true.
gaze lifted to his, searching, and Ray saw the deep, raw pain there.
The loneliness, and need, and desire, and every one of those things had
an answering echo in himself, and suddenly the helpless feeling was gone,
and he knew what to do, how to make it right, how to make everything
all right. He bent and brushed his lips against Fraser's again, drew
back a little. "It's all right," he said into Fraser's mouth.
And it was. It
was all right. Better than all right. It was good. Mouth against mouth,
tongue against tongue, warm, bare flesh against warm, bare flesh, arms
around waist, and shoulder, hands in hair, the sharp, drugging spiral
of want and need and lust and something deeper, something better, something
more. More. He felt Fraser shaking in his arms, tightened them, wrapping
him up in arms and legs, holding him, and Fraser turned his head, buried
his face in the curve of Ray's shoulder, and said a word. One word.
It sounded so good.
He wanted to say something back. Something that said everything he felt.
No such word existed. Well, maybe one. "Fraser."
closed, blind, touching, seeking, mouths finding. Heat began to build
again, the hot press of hard cock against his hip, the feel of smooth,
strong thigh against his own thickening erection. Nothing, nothing had
ever felt this right before, not even Stella. He held onto that for
a moment, stunned nearly past thinking, because for most of his adult
life Stella had been the pinnacle, the prize at the end of the race,
and now here he found out that there was an even better prize than he'd
ever imagined. And he was utterly terrified of losing it.
. . Ray?"
sounded like he'd been saying that a while, and he was trying to pry
Ray off him where he was clutched onto Fraser like a remora on a shark.
shuddered, shook his head, pushed himself away. "Fraser, I . .
. fuck. Sorry," he apologized automatically. "Just. . .
don't want to mess this up. Mess anything up. You know?"
his surprise Fraser nodded solemnly. "Yes, Ray. I do know. But
this feels right."
does. It feels right," Ray agreed. "Not messed up. But that's
how things start, they start good. It's later they get messed up. I
don't want to mess you up. I'm . . . " Fuck it. He had to say
it. "I'm scared of messing us up. You. . . what if this doesn't
work? I lose it all then. Everything. And I can't do that."
Fraser's hand found his,
fingers threading through Ray's longer, thinner ones, and his other arm
went around Ray, pulling him close. "No, I can't lose that, either.
So . . . do we leave this here, as it is? Remain friends and partners?"
Ray pushed him away,
looked him in the eyes. "You could do that? Just leave it here,
like this, knowing what you know?" Ray knew he couldn't, but he
needed to see if Fraser thought he could.
opened his mouth to speak, shut it, and looked down, his expression tense
and unhappy. "I . . . don't know. I can try."
want to? You want to try to leave it, go back?" Ray asked more
shook his head. "No," he said, his voice a whisper.
we got a chance?" Ray asked, even more quietly.
looked up, his gaze intent. "Yes. We can make it work. We've always
made it work, even when we didn't think we could."
smiled. "Yeah, yeah, we have, haven't we?" He sobered abruptly.
"It'll be rough going, you know that. We both got a lot of baggage
to begin with, and then there's all the baggage that comes with this.
. . two guys. Heavy load."
nodded slowly. "I'm fully aware of that, Ray."
you still. . . ?"
Fraser said, and the word had weight, and substance.
too," Ray said softly, but just as solidly.
stared at each other for a long moment, both serious, both scared, if
the look on Fraser's face was anything to go by. Ray knew most people
thought of him as the rash and impulsive one, the one who dove headfirst
into situations, but really, he wasn't. For all his formality and reserve,
it was Fraser who was usually the one to leap first and look later .
. . or look, and leap anyway maybe. But they were stuck here, mere inches
apart, in a standoff. Neither of them, apparently, able to stop looking
and just leap, do it on faith. Ray was trying to get up his nerve. .
. from what he figured, he was probably the more experienced of the two
of them, though that wasn't saying a whole lot, when suddenly, surprisingly,
he felt a touch on his thigh. He jumped a little, surprised, and looked
down to see Fraser's broad hand resting just above his knee.
lightly tanned thigh seemed dark in comparison to Fraser's milky hand,
and he wondered distractedly, how Fraser had managed to spend two days
riding around outdoors on a bike, in shorts and jersey, without getting
even the slightest hint of sun. Must use SPF 200 or something. Then
the hand on his thigh started to move, and thoughts of sunscreen went
right out of his head.
as if afraid to startle him, Fraser flexed his fingers a little, almost
stroking but not quite. Ray watched, mesmerized, as those big, blunt
fingers moved more deliberately on his skin, and as if a switch had been
flipped, he felt it now, felt the slight catch of callused fingertips
against him, and his dick perked right back up again as if there had
been no pause for reflection on some pretty serious stuff. He was so
busy watching that hand inch higher on his thigh that the other hand
coming to rest on his shoulder did startle him a little. After he finished
jumping he yielded to the slight pressure and let Fraser press him back
onto the pillows, reaching up to curl his own hand around Fraser's shoulder
and pull him down too.
to mouth again. Much better than buddy breathing, without that panicked
need for air to interfere with the feeling of lips against his own, the
feel of skin against his own, well, except for where that damp towel
was still bunched between them. In another example of Fraser reading
his mind, the hand on his shoulder slid down to his waist and tugged,
easing the towel out from between them, then he felt the sudden hot friction
of terrycloth against his ass as it was unceremoniously yanked out from
under him. He yelped a little, more in surprise than pain, and Fraser
drew back, looking mortified.
I'm so sorry, I . . . "
it's cool. Just surprised me." He grinned. "Kinda anxious
saw a hint of a smile curve one corner of his partner's mouth. "Not
precisely anxious, no. Anticipatory, yes. Even eager."
Eager. Like that one."
thought you might, Ray."
am all over eager. Eager is my middle name."
thought your middle name was Raymond."
They both laughed,
and Ray tried to kiss Fraser in the middle of the laugh, and their teeth
clashed which only made him laugh harder, and he had his arms full of
warm, naked, laughing Fraser and nothing had ever felt quite so right
in his life. Laughter softened into kissing, deep, soft, messy, wet
kisses, tongues tangling, sliding, sucking. As they kissed Ray let his
hands range down Fraser's back to his hips, then finally, finally did
what he'd been itching to do for weeks. Months, really. He filled his
hands with the solid curves of Fraser's ass, and squeezed. Not hard.
Just . . . right. Fraser sucked in a breath and flinched. Ray was surprised
for a moment, then he remembered, and soothed his hands lightly across
the lower curves, massaging a little.
nodded against his shoulder, but didn't speak, and his hips pushed rhythmically
against Ray's, and a shudder of heat went through him at the feel of
the hard length lined up alongside his own. So good, so good, naked
Fraser, all that smooth, creamy skin against his own-- hard, hot cock
against his own-- soft, sweet mouth against his own, his hands cupping
warm, firm rounds that were prettier by far than Stella's. He kept massaging,
and he couldn't help but let his fingers slip into the crevice between
Fraser's cheeks, where he was warmer, and a little sweat-slick, and oh.
. . wow . . . responsive. He stroked a fingertip across the narrow aperture
there, and Fraser's hips just slammed into his, hard, and he made a sound
deep in his throat that was half groan and half sigh. He stroked again,
and Fraser bucked again, and that was seriously cool, that he could make
Fraser feel that way, without ever even touching his . . . .
of which, there was something else he wanted to get a handful of, something
he'd been watching covertly ever since he'd managed to get Fraser to
come out of the damned bathroom in those spandex shorts. Well, before
that really, though it was hellishly hard to get a good look at a man
in jodhpurs and a hip-length tunic. He rolled his hips, and shifted
his hands, pushing at Fraser. "Turn over," he whispered.
"Let me see you."
warm skin seemed to get warmer where his face was now hidden against
Ray's neck. Ray knew he was blushing, and bit his lip to hide his smile
as Fraser slowly shifted up, and turned to lie on his back, his gaze
hidden behind thick, dark lashes, a blush still flaming across his face.
Shy. Ray didn't understand what a guy that looked like Fraser had to
be bashful about, but it was kind of . . . sweet. Though Fraser would
probably whack him one if he knew Ray had thought that. No guy wanted
anyone to think they were 'sweet' except maybe his mom. But, oh. . .
yeah. Pretty, pretty cock. Thick, and hard, pulsing a little with
each heartbeat, couched in a thatch of silky sable curls, the foreskin
slipped back a little to expose the flushed, slickened glans.
man," he said quietly, appreciatively, and reached out to touch,
running a finger down the turgid length, curling his long fingers around
the broad shaft, stroking idly, learning the weight and texture of him
and his responses, which were strong, and surprisingly vocal.
head went back, exposing his throat, and Ray couldn't resist trailing
kisses up it, pressing his mouth into the sensitive hollow behind his
ear and feeling Fraser's heartbeat racing against his lips. He kept
caressing the heavy shaft and with each stroke Fraser bucked into his
hand and shuddered, fists clenching in the covers like he was afraid
he'd fall off the bed if he didn't hang on. Egged on by Fraser's appreciative
responses, Ray dragged his thumb experimentally across the tip of his
cock, spreading that slickness over the whole surface, twisting a little
on the way back down. Fraser made a sound like someone had kicked him
in the gut, and arched tautly, and wow. . . spurt after spurt of thick,
creamy wetness spattered Fraser's chest and thighs, and Ray's arm and
to stroke him, automatically, gradually slowing, until the last welling
drops had been coaxed out, and Fraser's cock had softened to a silky
half-hard state that was nearly as much fun to play with as his erection
had been. He couldn't help grinning as he watched Fraser gradually coming
back to himself, but he was surprised when Fraser looked at him and blushed,
I'm so . . . "
geez. Not that. Ray shook his head firmly. "Shh. No, Fraser.
Don't spoil it. That was so damned cool."
was a short silence, and Ray looked up to see Fraser staring at him,
yeah. Got some nice range there," Ray grinned. "Not to mention
volume. Wow. Been a while?"
laughed, blushed some more, then nodded ruefully. "Actually, yes,
quite a while."
reached down and dragged his thumb through a puddle, lifted it to his
lips and sucked it clean, savoring the bittersweet taste, slick, smooth
Fraser began. "You shouldn't. . . ."
quelled him with a look. "Trust you, Fraser. All the time. With
my life, you know that."
looked like Ray had clocked him with a baseball bat, and his eyes were
hot and astonished at the same time. "Ray," he said, his voice
oddly choked off. "Ray, I . . . ."
leaned in and shut him up with a kiss, drew back a moment later, grinning.
"You talk too much, Fraser."
nodded in response, still looking a bit dazed. Ray's grin got wider.
to mark this day on my calendar for a whole lot of reasons, including
the fact that you just admitted that you talk too much."
blinked, and gave him a reproachful look. "Ray, it's really not
very nice of you to take advantage of a momentary lapse of mental faculties
chuckled. "Frase, with you I need all the advantages I can get.
I'm usually two steps behind."
gaze dropped to his groin, lifted. "So I see."
laughed out loud, "Jesus, I knew you had a sense of humor! Sneaky
parents had been married for some time when I was born," Fraser
remarked mildly, then his gaze slid down again, and he caught his lower
lip in his teeth for a moment, frowning thoughtfully, then his eyes lifted
once more. "Ray. . . ."
had a feeling he knew what Fraser was going to say, but, God, he wanted
to hear it anyway. "Yeah?"
you . . . you seemed to be, well . . . " he paused, and shot Ray
a look that clearly requested assistance.
I what, Fraser?" Ray asked helpfully.
cleared his throat. The blush that had receded some rose again, and
his gaze was full of some odd, unfamiliar emotion. Well, no kidding,
it wasn't like this was really familiar territory for either of them.
They'd both been a ways down this road before, but not with each other,
and it was one of those weird kind of roads that changed every time you
got on it. Ray would just have been happier if one of the emotions he
was seeing there hadn't looked quite so much like trepidation He smiled
encouragingly. Fraser took a deep breath.
It took Ray a second
to sort out the words, blurted out at a speed that would have done a
native Chicagoan proud. Then he stared. Blinked. Processed. Jesus.
No that was not what he'd expected to hear come out of that incredibly
proper mouth. He swallowed until he got enough moisture in his dry
throat to actually speak, and forced out some sound because Fraser was
starting to look pretty panicked at his continued silence. "Fuck!"
"That would be one
way to put it," Fraser said, his voice a little strained.
I mean. . . Jesus, Fraser. You, um . . . I wasn't expecting that."
Fraser looked at him,
frowning slightly. "You weren't?"
I, uh, I mean, I guess you said you've done. . . stuff . . . before,
but I didn't, well, it's kind of, I'm just not used to thinking of you--
frowned a little. "Ah. I see."
remembered the way Fraser had responded to those really intimate touches
earlier, the way his hips had moved when Ray had petted his ass-- it
was pretty obvious he'd liked that. So, maybe Fraser was a lot more
experienced than Ray had imagined. After all, he had said he knew guy
on guy stuff a lot better than the guy on chick stuff. Okay. If Fraser
wanted to go there, Ray could do that. He'd done it a couple of times
with Art in his experimental phase, and it had been pretty damned hot.
Once with Stella, who had been seriously unimpressed by that particular
activity. Still, Art had seemed to like it a lot. Maybe it just worked
better for guys than chicks. He suddenly realized Fraser was watching
him intently. Waiting. For him. Oh. "I mean, not that I wouldn't
want to, if you want to," he said quickly. "Just thought we
might want to . . . ease into things, you know?"
Fraser nodded. "Yes, I imagine that would be best."
good. Ray felt relieved. Well, as relieved as he could feel sitting
naked on his bed, sporting major wood, with a come-covered Fraser within
petting distance. Speaking of which, that couldn't be comfortable.
He reached over and grabbed the towel that had been around his hips and
used it to mop up Fraser's belly and thighs, then his own hand and arm.
When he leaned over to drop the towel onto the floor beside the bed,
he felt a touch on his flank, and he started a little, turning back to
look at Fraser, whose gaze was warm and dark but a little concerned.
Ray deliberately looked down at the hand on his thigh, back up at Fraser,
and he moistened his lips. Fraser's tongue echoed that movement. Unconsciously
his lips parted, waiting, hoping . Fraser's hand slid deliberately upward,
from Ray's thigh to his hip, to belly, to his chest, fingers skimming
a nipple and making Ray gasp.
that gasp Fraser leaned in and their mouths met again, and his tongue
went deep as his hand skimmed higher and then slid behind Ray's head
to cup and tilt him to a better angle. Ray sucked on his tongue as it
penetrated his mouth, subtly thrusting, and his hips echoed that movement,
pushing into air, his cock straining, aching. He felt the bed give a
little as Fraser shifted position, felt himself pushed back, and gave
way until he was flat, with Fraser half over him, braced on one elbow
as he continued to plunder Ray's mouth with a thoroughness that was shockingly
at odds with his usual politesse. This was take-no-prisoners mouthfucking--
sucking, licking, flicking, sliding, even biting at his lower lip and
tugging on it in a way that sent shudders through him and made his hips
it came, the touch he'd been waiting for, aching for, it shocked him
into a moan so loud he was surprised the neighbors didn't bang on the
wall, for the tenth of a second it took to have the thought, then his
brain was completely, one-hundred-percent focused on the feeling of Fraser's
wide palm curving around him, his strong fingers tightening, not in a
half-assed, chick-like gentle touchy-feely way, but in a perfect, hard,
grip that he could really, really lose himself in-- so he did. Bucking,
fucking that tight clasp, sucking on Fraser's tongue, mouths fused.
Fraser pushed him,
stroking fast, and hard, and just right, and then suddenly the mouth
left his and he mourned its loss with a soft hiss of protest. Then the
hold on him shifted a little, moved lower, down to the base, holding
him, holding his cock away from his belly a little. Fraser's other arm
shifted so it was across his hips, his weight concentrated there, almost
holding Ray down, which was a little freaky but good, too. He had only
a moment of warning as he felt the warm, humid ghost of breath on sensitive
skin before his cock was engulfed in Fraser's mouth.
touch was almost all it took. Just the incredible realization that the
warm wetness surrounding him was Fraser's mouth, his amazing, beautiful
mouth. But Fraser didn't let him come; he gently but firmly pressed
down at the base of Ray's cock until the urgency faded a little. Only
then did Fraser start for real, rubbing the tip of his tongue against
that little spot just beneath the head of his cock that felt so fucking
good, and using his hand just right, and sucking and licking until
Ray just couldn't help but writhe and buck and moan like he was losing
his mind, which he was, pleasure just arcing and sparking and rushing
through him in a searing flood, and then he was gone.
muscle in his body clenched, toes curled, fingers fisted as he arched
and bucked and came like he'd never come before in his entire damned
life. And Fraser took it. He took it all. Sucking. Swallowing. Moaning
like he might be coming too, and that vibration was just the cherry on
top. Jesus. Nobody had ever, ever swallowed before.
God . . . ." The words burst from his throat in a long, slow groan.
God. Yes. Fraser. He could worship Fraser. Like he didn't already.
Now it was just. . . more. Sacrilege, but true. Well, true in between
all the times he wanted to shake some sense into him. But right now
he was feeling too good to think about that. Because Fraser, Benton
Fraser, had just given him the best blowjob of his life. As his breathing
slowed and his body began to relax, he had time to really think about
what had just happened, and it hit him again with stunning force. Fraser
liked guys. That way. It boggled his mind, even now. Fraser liked
guys. Knew guys. Knew . . . this. Fraser was good at this.
Ray felt a strange
mixture of intense jealousy and intense gratitude towards whoever had
taught Fraser how to make love like that. He knew it was way better
than his own half-assed attempt. But that was okay. He could do better
now that he had a standard to go by. That always helped. Still, there
was part of him that hated the idea that Fraser had ever done this with
someone else. Stupid, he knew, but. . . there. Just deal with it, Kowalski.
Get over it. You got people in your past; so does Fraser. For all that
this was pretty weird to begin with, it'd be even weirder if he didn't.
He's with you now and that's all that matters. He reached out and stroked
his fingers through Fraser's thick, soft hair, touched the curve of a
cheekbone. "Fraser," he sighed.
gave a last little lick and released him, making Ray buck and gasp a
little, then he slid higher in the bed, his gaze searching Ray's almost
anxiously. Ray knew that feeling. He tugged Fraser closer, and kissed
him lazily, tasting his own semen overlaying Fraser's less strident flavor.
He liked that, liked that combination of the both of them. Both of them.
Together. It was just. . . right. He drew back, stretched a little,
and yawned. Fraser pulled him back in, close, tight, holding him hard,
almost hard enough to make breathing difficult. Ray pushed at his shoulder.
"Hey, I'm not goin'
loosened his grip marginally, still holding on. "Ray," he
said in a dark, shaken voice.
tried to pull back and look, suddenly worried. "Fraser? You okay?"
He felt a kind of tremor
slide through Fraser, then he sighed. "Yes. I'm just. . . today,
I wasn't sure . . . . "
sure about what?" Ray prompted, ready to reassure on the two-guys-having-sex
front, even though he was still a little iffy on that himself, but no
way was he giving this up so he was prepared to lie his ass off if necessary.
"I was afraid
I wouldn't get there in time," Fraser said after a moment.
there in time. It wasn't a real far piece from his mouth to his cock.
. . hang on. No. Fraser didn't mean that. Ray got it suddenly, remembering
standing on a street corner looking down the barrel of a gun. He hugged
back, hard. "You did. You always do, Fraser. We're a good team."
For some reason that
worked. Ray felt the tension ebb. "Yes. We are."
lay still for a few moments, and Ray felt a yawn rising. He tried to
stifle it, but as he did, Fraser yawned, too, and Ray laughed. "It's
a sign. Bedtime."
stirred a little. "You should eat, Ray . . . . "
his eyes a little, Ray stroked Fraser's shoulder with one hand. "Chill,
Fraser. I'm a big boy, okay? Besides, when you're talking sex, sleep
and food, any order's good."
could feel Fraser take a breath to protest, stop, and then finally nod.
"Mmm, you have a point."
almost made a crack, then decided to let it go. He was in too good a
mood to spoil things with unnecessary smartassed-ness. It had been an
unbelievable day, like somebody had decided it was time to hand Ray pretty
much everything he wanted on a silver platter with a red serge napkin
on top. He was definitely not going to look this gift horse in the mouth.
He shifted around until he was comfortable, his head pillowed on the
curve of Fraser's chest, then lifted his head. "This okay?"
All he got was a faint
smile and fainter nod. He returned his head to its pillow, and closed
* * *
It took Ray a minute
to figure things out when he woke up. First off, he woke up with a hard
on. Not an unusual occurrence, really, but this wasn't that kind of
full-achy-itchy 'I gotta pee' kind of hard on. No, this was the full-achy-tingly
'I wanna fuck' kind of hard on. And he was tucked into a nice, warm,
kind of snug spot that just seemed to call for a little rocking motion.
So he rocked. Which felt really, really good, even as it stirred a sleepy
murmur from . . . Fraser? Oh yeah. It all came back to him in a rush.
A hell of a rush.
He was in bed with Fraser. He. Was. In. Bed. With. Benton. Fraser.
Jesus. They'd kissed. Sucked. Played. Made love. And it felt . .
. right. Way right. Like this was how it should have been all along,
between them. Like they should have been doing this since the first
day they met. He remembered throwing his arms around Fraser that first
time, feeling the shock of almost-familiarity that solid body against
his own had created. Like he knew that feeling. Like it was comfortable,
and expected. Just like this. Waking up in bed with Fraser should have
been freaky but it wasn't. It was just right.
was kind of funny how he'd gone to sleep on top of Fraser, and woken
up behind him. Back in his Stella days that was how they'd usually slept,
with Ray curled up around her from behind. He guessed that his body
had just said 'company in bed, do the usual.' That made sense. Company
in bed. Oh yeah. Been a while for that, and he couldn't think of anyone
he'd rather have there, either. Not after last night. Absently he rocked
again, and Fraser pushed back a little against him with an encouraging
little sound that brought to mind the offer Fraser had made him last
night. As soon as he remembered it, he felt that smoky little curl of
jealousy again. Who had Fraser done it with, where had he gotten that
that. It didn't matter, damn it. He knew it didn't. Don't be a possessive
jerk. You know where that gets you. Nowhere. You're better than that,
Kowalski. Deliberately he thought about all the good stuff, the reality
of Fraser in his bed, in his arms, naked and warm; the reality of having
his best friend be something . . . more. That was what had always been
missing before. Even with Stella. They'd been in love, but somehow
they'd never quite been friends. In the end, that was why they hadn't
worked. But him and Fraser, they had that, had been through the fire
together, tempering their friendship into something stronger and more
flexible than before. Flexible. Yeah.
grinned, inhaling deeply, filling his nose with the scent that surrounded
them, left-over from the night before. The smell of sex: himself, and
Fraser. Oh yeah. He'd definitely inhaled, and the rush was better than
that joint he'd shared with Mark Jelinek in seventh grade. He let his
hand slide down from Fraser's stomach, spreading his fingers through
the soft thatch of pubic hair, fingertips skimming lightly along his
cock. He wasn't hard . . . quite. Getting there though. Pretty quickly.
He smiled against the back of Fraser's neck, and rubbed his lips across
the velvet of short-cropped hair there.
he said, still smiling.
morning, Ray." Fraser's morning voice was husky, and warm.
"You, um, want to
eat?" he asked, figuring he ought to at least offer before he jumped
would depend on what's being served," Fraser said, his voice full
"If we're talking my kitchen, I'm afraid it's probably Corn Pops,"
he said ruefully.
shuddered hard enough for Ray to feel it. "I think I'll pass, thank
I wasn't prepared for a breakfast date. We can go out if you want.
not really . . . hungry . . . Ray."
that was a nice pause there. It surprised the hell out of him, but it
was definitely an insinuation Ray grinned, his fingers returning to
that thick, hard thrust of cock at Fraser's groin. "No?" he
asked, stroking lightly.
Fraser cleared his throat. "Not for . . . food."
decided he really liked Innuendo!Fraser. This was a side of the man
he'd always had a funny feeling was in there, just kept well in check.
"Mmm. Something else you got in mind?"
seem to be on the right track," Fraser said, punctuating the statement
with little movements of his hips.
me. I'm a tracker. Good at that." Before Fraser could comment
on that assertion, Ray amended it. "Well, city tracking. And
this is definitely something this city boy can track," Ray said,
tightening his grip a little. Fraser's cock thrust forward into his
hand and his head whacked back against Ray's shoulder with an audible
thunk as his breath caught on an almost-moan. Ray almost laughed out
loud. Oh yeah. Underneath all that buttoned-and-proper there was a
real live boy who liked sex just as much as the next guy.
. . . it's a good thing you didn't . . . mention a breakfast date last
night," Fraser said, amazingly coherent for a guy getting a hand
Why?" Ray asked as he slid his cock rhythmically in the smooth,
warm crevice between Fraser's cheeks, not really with intent, just because
it felt good. And oh, it felt so good. He counterpointed his strokes
behind with his strokes in front.
. . oh, Ray!" Fraser gasped, pushed back against him, bucked into
his hand, and then tried again. "I might have thought . . . ah,
that's . . . yes. Mmm."
was losing coherence fast, just as Ray had planned. "Thought what,
. . . ah . . . you only wanted . . . ."
laughed out loud as he figured out where Ben was going, or trying to
anyway. "Thought I only wanted to get you in bed?" he asked,
sliding his free hand down Ben's back to his ass, squeezing lightly.
Fraser managed, nodding
jerkily, his body shuddering as he tried to decide which sensation should
let his thumb brush across the head of his own cock, then he spread that
slickness across the small opening between Fraser's buttocks. Fraser
gasped, his penis surging in Ray's hand. Ray stroked him again, let
his thumb press in a little. Fraser flinched. Damn. Not enough. Okay,
okay, what'd he have. . . yeah. That would work. He twisted a little
so he could reach his nightstand without letting go of Fraser's cock,
and found the jar of stuff he used for recreational activities. He tried
to get the lid unscrewed one-handed, but it was rough going, especially
since he'd apparently been sloppy last time so the jar was slippery.
Finally he plunked the jar down on the bed and said "Fraser, hold
"What is it?"
Ray said, not wanting to get into specifics at the moment. Apparently
accepting that explanation, Fraser held the jar and Ray finally managed
to get it open. He armed himself, then went back to the task at hand.
He soothed his thumb back and forth in the cleft between Fraser's cheeks,
the way eased by the slick cream, and judging by the hitch in Fraser's
breath and the slide of his hips between Ray's hands, he was really getting
into it. Ray was getting into it too, rubbing his cock up against Fraser's
backside in the same rhythm he was using on Fraser's frontside. After
a while he let his thumb press in again, and this time it slid in that
first little bit nice and easy, and Fraser didn't flinch. In fact, he
practically purred, making a low sound in his throat that was just .
. . hot.
that?" Ray couldn't resist asking.
grinned. He'd always wondered if it was possible to render Fraser speechless,
and he was getting close here. He was down to non-verbal, anyway.
Ray let his thumb ease
out, then back in, out and in, feeling Fraser relax more each time, letting
him in deeper each time. His own arousal was getting hard to ignore
but he sternly told himself to wait, because it was no good rushing things.
It had to be good for both of them. Not just him.
. . ? "
Wow. Okay. More. He
shifted his hand, and slipped a finger in, going deeper, if not wider.
is a virtue."
. . ."
With a kiss to the back of his neck, Ray gave him what he wanted, and
Fraser hissed a 'yes' through his teeth as Ray slipped his thumb out,
moved his hand, and eased two fingers in. Getting serious now. Serious.
God. Impossible to ignore the pounding blood in his veins, the ache
in his groin that wanted him to be as impatient as Fraser, to say the
hell with preparation and just slide on home in that tight, smooth heat,
deep and hard. Could this possibly be real? Was he just having one
of the world's greatest wet dreams? Jesus. If he was dreaming he didn't
want to know.
let go of Fraser's cock and pushed himself up on one hand so he could
lean around and bring their mouths together again, softly at first, but
with growing intensity, until Fraser's mouth opened to his, and his tongue
slid against his own, and he sucked softly at Ray's lower lip, and he
was where he belonged, naked, in Ray's bed, in his arms, right up against
him everywhere. Yeah. Oh yeah.
broke the kiss and shifted position back again, licking the back of Fraser's
neck as he resettled his hand over the hard, silky weight of Fraser's
erection. Fraser shivered and bucked into his hand. Smiling, he trailed
his tongue up to his ear and traced the convolutions there. How sad
was it that he thought Fraser had sexy ears? He'd look hot with an earring.
. . all that cool, prim and proper Mountieness put to the lie he'd just
discovered it was, and God, he was going to enjoy proving that. The
whole concept of Fraser wanting, of Fraser needing. . . him .
. . . was just the most amazingly erotic thing he could think of.
He wiggled his fingers.
Slick with lube, they moved easily, and the movement drew a dark, soft
moan of pleasure. Clearly Fraser had pretty much gotten used to them
being there. Which mean that it ought to be pretty easy for him to get
used to something else being. . . there. Ray shivered at that thought,
and began to stroke his fingers rhythmically in and out. Fraser's hips
echoed the movement, a graceful undulation that was nothing like his
usual starchy movements. Ray curved his fingers a little, searching,
and when Fraser suddenly shuddered and moaned, he smiled. Long fingers
had their uses. The shaft in his hand swelled and thickened, and Fraser's
movements lost a lot of their smoothness.
licked and bit along the line of Fraser's jaw, not hard enough to leave
marks, just enough to tantalize, enjoying the rasp of faint stubble.
Each scrape of that roughness against his tongue sent a shiver of sensation
straight to his groin, where he was starting to ache because he was so
hard, and it was so difficult not to just hump a few times against that
silky skin and put himself out of his misery, but God, he didn't want
to stop. He wanted to torture himself a while longer with the sheer,
unadulterated delight of the sweaty, musky scent of aroused Fraser, the
pulsing heat of cock in his hand, the raw catch of breath and little
sounds Fraser made in his throat as pleasure made him mindless.
"Ray. . . "
Fraser finally made a word instead of just noise. He sounded breathless.
Ray waited, licking the
soft skin below Fraser's ear, never letting go of his cock.
he kept waiting, he knew it was coming . . . .
There it was. "Yeah,
need. . . I'm so. . . that feels . . . please. . . ."
Jeez, he hadn't meant
to make him beg. "I got you, Fraser. I got you," he whispered,
and started to stroke Fraser's cock in earnest, no longer teasing, just
intent on giving his partner what he needed. Fraser shook his head sharply.
He knew what Fraser was
asking. He swallowed hard. "I'll last ten seconds."
No performance anxiety there. "Okay, okay. We're good, hang on."
He reluctantly let go of Fraser's erection, slipped his fingers out,
and shifted a little, rolling Fraser onto his stomach instead of his
side. With his knees between Fraser's, he spread his legs, making Fraser
do the same, and the sensation of cool sheets against hot, sweaty skin
was deliciously sensual.
sat back a little and groped until he found the still-open jar of cream
where it had nearly fallen off the bed, and scooped out a fingerful,
then spread the slick stuff down his cock, gritting his teeth against
the urge to just lose it right then and there. Don't, not now, keep
your head. He looked back at Fraser, spread out, waiting, bare,
and beautiful, and needy, and had to lean down to kiss the corner of
his mouth, trying to say what he couldn't say, that this was more than
just getting off. Fraser turned his head a little and kissed him back,
and Ray suddenly knew he got it. He got it. Thank God.
hands shook a little as he cupped the firm, muscular curves of Fraser's
ass and he moved into position. "I don't want to hurt you,"
he said, suddenly afraid. "Don't let me hurt you."
think a certain amount of pain is inevitable in any relationship, Ray,"
Fraser said quietly, his voice rough and husky, not at all his usual
smooth, bland tone.
oh, fuck, that was God's own truth there, wasn't it? Yes. But . . .
"'Those have most power to hurt us that we love,'" he
heard himself say, and he closed his eyes and bit his lip, hard, wishing
he could take that back, because it said far too much about him, far
more than he wanted anyone to know, even Fraser, even now, because it
stripped off all of his armor and damn it, he needed that.
lay still beneath him, quiet, absorbing his words, and he knew it was
too late. He was bare and vulnerable now, and he waited for the blow.
that is not sorrow but delight; and miserable love that is not pain to
hear of,'" Fraser quoted back at him.
didn't it just figure that Fraser would do that? Not make fun of him.
Not even be surprised that he had a quote in him to begin with. Just
quote something right back at him. He didn't know that one, not surprising.
He knew about eight quotes all told, every one of them learned in the
aftermath of Stella, so they all dealt with pain. And for that pain,
Fraser returned delight. Freaks. Both of them.
want me, Benton Fraser?"
want you, Ray Kowalski." There was no hesitation or doubt in his
"You got me." He shifted his weight forward, holding himself
with one hand, the other taking his weight. He went in slow, using the
sound of Fraser's breath and the tension in his body as his roadmap,
forcing himself to stop and wait a couple of times until he felt Fraser
relax, trying with marginal success to ignore that part of his anatomy
that was demanding deep-hard-fast-now-now-now-damnit. Finally, finally
he was in, all the way in, and he was shaking and sweating like a junkie
in need of a fix. And he couldn't move, because if he moved even an
inch, he'd lose it completely and he really didn't feel like being the
poster boy for premature ejaculation.
. . . " Fraser said softly, in that hoarse, husky voice that just
seemed to drip sex. "You feel so . . . good."
had to say that. He just had to. Ray dropped his head to Fraser's shoulder
with a gasp. "You. You do. Damn. . . I'm sorry, I can't . . .
hold it back, couldn't stay still. He moved his hips in a long, slow
curl, and Fraser made an indescribable sound, his hips echoing that movement,
and then they were moving together, in tune, in time, like dancing only
so much better. The air was rich with the scent of sweat and sex, and
the sounds of harsh, panting breaths and mindless little pleasure-sounds
from two throats. He watched Fraser's hands fist in the sheets, felt
him buck hard beneath him, three times, with a deep, throaty growl.
Then a fusillade of shudders raced through him in quick, heavy pulses.
And oh, fuck, the knowledge that he just made Fraser come was just more
than Ray could take. He slammed home once, twice, burying himself deep,
and let go, let it all go. He groaned as the pleasure just rolled up
through him and out of him and back in sweet, hot waves. Too good.
himself out of the warm clasp of Fraser's body and collapsed down onto
his partner's strong back with a sigh, then remembered about the backache
and rolled them onto their sides to take the stress off. Fraser shivered,
and Ray scrabbled for the covers, drawing them up so the air couldn't
get at Fraser's damp skin. Really, the only thing that would have made
it better was to have been able to see Fraser's face, to look in his
eyes, touch him, kiss him, watch him to make sure it was good. But how
. . . ? That wasn't anything he'd ever done. Okay, Fraser said he knew
this stuff. Had to know more than Ray, whose experience was limited
to three times with two people, none of it anything like this. He stroked
Fraser's arm a little to get his attention.
He got no response, other than a completely meaningless moan. He stopped
stroking, and tried again. "Hey, Frase?"
time he got a distracted-sounding "Mmm?"
ever. . . I mean, when you did this, um, before, you ever do it. . .
was a long pause; he guessed Fraser was trying to get his brain working.
Ray was kind of having that problem too. Finally Fraser tried to look
at him, kind of craning around until they were nearly nose to nose and
that had to make his neck hurt, which probably explained why he was frowning
I did what before, Ray?"
Ray said, dropping a hand down to Fraser's ass, stroking two fingers
lightly across slick-wet, yielding flesh.
face went slack and he gasped. "Oh, my . . . oh . . . "
Ray stopped moving his
fingers. Incoherence was not what he was after, for all that it was
an incredible turn on to be able to do that to Mr. Coherent. "So?
You ever. . . ?" he prompted.
blinked. Focused. Blinked again. And his flushed face got even pinker.
Ray said hopefully.
ah, you see. . . I've never actually done that before."
nev. . . ." Ray stopped, tried to decide if there was any other
way to interpret what Fraser had just said, and couldn't think of one.
It was like having a bucket of ice dumped on him. He was lying here
with Fraser having just fucked him because he'd thought Fraser
knew this, was experienced with it, and . . . . he wasn't. He just .
. . wasn't. Jesus.
first instinct was to back way off, but he knew that would probably be
misinterpreted and could screw things up even worse, so he didn't. He
just stayed there, frozen, trying to think, trying to figure out what
the hell to do. Okay. Think, Kowalski. Think. Fraser hadn't protested.
Fraser had seemed to enjoy it. Fraser had asked for more. He'd. . .
come. That was good, right? God. He felt like he'd just debauched a
virgin. Hell, he had just debauched a virgin. The thought made
his head spin.
Fraser sounded worried. "Are you all right?"
yeah, Frase. It's okay. I'm okay. It's just. . . Jesus. I thought
you . . . you said you knew this stuff. I thought you meant you knew
it." As soon as he said it Ray could feel the tension hit, feel
it spread all over Fraser's beautiful, naked body. Oh, smooth. Way to
go. Make him feel like he did something wrong. He babbled on, trying
to fix things. "I mean, I'm just surprised. I should've asked.
I shouldn't have assumed. You know me, Frase, you know me. I do stuff
without thinking it through sometimes."
didn't help. If anything it made things worse, he could tell by the
way Fraser kind of drew in on himself, trying to ease away from Ray's
hands. Jesus. What had he said? What could he say? How could he make
it right? He tightened his arm around Fraser's waist, hooked a knee
over his thigh, holding him there, not letting him run, not letting him
escape. If he messed this up, it was over, finis, gone, and he wasn't
going to let that happen. Not ever going to let that happen again.
Fraser didn't exactly struggle . . . it would have been pretty undignified
to struggle with Ray holding him like that, both of them buck naked,
in Ray's bed, still dripping. But he didn't relax, either, and Ray knew
the moment he let go, Fraser would bolt. As he tried to think of what
to say, Fraser spoke.
sorry, Ray," he said quietly, sounding achingly sad. "I never
meant to make you uncomfortable. I'm afraid this probably wasn't a very
shook his head against Fraser's shoulder, so he couldn't help but feel
it. "Fraser. Jesus. No. You didn't. You didn't, I swear. I
was just surprised. That's all."
felt Fraser take a deep breath. "Ray, clearly it matters to you
that I'm inexperienced. Please don't pretend otherwise. I may be somewhat
naïve, but I'm not stupid."
sounded kind of irritated, which was better than that sad, quiet voice,
but still all wrong. So wrong. He took a deep breath. "Yeah, Fraser.
You're right. It matters. But not for the reasons you're probably thinking.
See, if I'd known, I'd have done things different. You deserve better.
Better than this."
tried to turn and look at him, but the position didn't really allow for
it. Ray could visualize the frown on his face, though.
he asked, in that patented Fraser 'I don't get it' voice.
Better. Better than me groping you like some horny teenager at a drive-in.
You deserve more than that."
shifted, rolled over, and looked at him, his face grave. "Ray,
we're in your home, in your bed, and you did not grope me like an aroused
adolescent. You made love to me, very effectively."
Not that voice. Not the 'you did good, Ray' voice. He just couldn't
catch a break here. "Do not do that, Fraser," he said
a little snappishly. "You don't need to reassure me, okay? This
isn't about that, and my self-esteem is fine. I just screwed up here,
and I know it, that's all."
was silent for a long moment, then he nodded. "All right, I can
see you think that. But so far as I'm concerned, you didn't 'screw up,'
Ray. I'm an adult, we both are. I chose to be here with you in this
way. You made the choice to be here with me. We talked about it. We
made an informed decision, didn't we?"
had a point. "Yeah," Ray admitted grudgingly.
I don't see what the difficulty is."
just. . . you never . . . and I kind of just. . . went for it. Should've
been slower, nicer. . . I don't know. . . just better." Ray said
vaguely, not really sure what he meant, but trying to say it anyway.
Fraser was quiet again
for a minute. Then he spoke, his voice sounding . . . amused? "Ray,
I don't need candles, or flowers, or chocolate."
damn. Yeah. That was it. Leave it to Fraser to get right to it in
one swell foop. Yeah. Romance. He was thinking in the box. The box
he was used to. Chicks. Fraser was not a chick. Not by any stretch
of the imagination. An uncomfortable flush climbed Ray's face and he
shook his head sheepishly. "Um. . . sorry."
nodded sympathetically. "It's all right. I do understand. It
is, after all, the dominant paradigm."
Only Fraser would use words like 'dominant paradigm' at a time like this.
Ray shook that thought off and looked at Fraser intently. "Okay,
so, um. . . can I ask, what have you done with guys? So I don't mess
up again, making stupid assumptions. I mean, you don't have to say who
or anything, I know that's not kosher, just what."
ah . . . well, what we did last night. Hands and . . . mouths."
"No fingers or anything
else anywhere else?"
"And this was how
been . . . several years."
many is several?"
. . . ."
or minus ten?"
"Jesus. How much
a bit plus," Fraser admitted reluctantly.
"Oh. Man. And
what about chicks?"
would be rather more recent."
six, eight months? Four?"
cow. Fraser. You telling me you haven't had sex in years?"
"And I thought I
had no love life. No, don't get all stiff. Not that way anyway."
Ray shifted his hand down, found Fraser's hand, put it over his cock
so Fraser couldn't pretend he didn't know what Ray was asking. "What
about this?" he asked, using his own hand to urge Fraser's into
a slow stroke. He watched, he couldn't help it.
Ah . . . quite recently." How someone's voice could blush was beyond
Ray, but Fraser's could.
let out a sigh of relief. "Okay. Good. Now I don't feel like
such a pervert."
chuckled. "I suspect that perversion is in the eye of the beholder."
Ray laughed. "Yeah,
true. Too true." He yawned, a jaw-cracking yawn. Sex always made
him sleepy. He had to chuckle a moment later when Fraser yawned too.
Cool. He'd forgotten about that kind of plus to sleeping with another
guy. They didn't expect you to be coherent after sex. He reached for
a pillow and tucked it under his head, pulled the other one down and
shoved it at Fraser, who took it and settled in as well. Ray had just
started to doze off when the alarm-clock went off. It was pretty funny,
really, both of them jumping like scalded cats as Ray launched himself
across Fraser to hit the snooze button. Breathing hard from the adrenalin
rush, they stared at each other with the dawning realization that It
Was A Work Day.
shit," Ray moaned.
smiled ruefully. "That seems to sum it up nicely."
Ray could do more than grasp the fact that Fraser hadn't gotten all prissy
on him about his language, Fraser was sitting up.
you like to take the first shower or should I?" Fraser asked.
"We could conserve
water . . . shower together . . . . " Ray suggested slyly.
looked at him, amusement glowing in his gaze. "While I applaud
the concept of environmental conservation, I suspect we would both be
late to work were we to attempt that."
stretched and pushed off the covers. "Yeah. So subtle, I'm not.
Go on, you first. The Ice Queen will get cranky if you're not there
to fix her coffee when she comes in, and I want you to keep your balls,
I like playing with them." Ray had the satisfaction of seeing Fraser
blush before he cleared his throat.
Ray, she's quite a good commanding officer."
Yeah sure. Whatever. Towels are in the closet behind the bathroom door.
You want some tea?"
thank you kindly."
You don't have to thank me. Okay?"
to the door, Fraser turned and looked at him, an odd expression on his
face, and in his gaze. "Yes. I do. Thank you."
Oh . . . . that. Ray might be crazy, but he wasn't stupid. "No,
Fraser, thank you. And you know that bicycle date idea?"
nodded, eyebrows lifted.
on for tomorrow." He grinned and winked. "That is, if you can sit down
smile lit Fraser's face. "I'd like that very much, Ray."
"Me too. Now go,
or you really will be late and you'll get a demerit or something."
He watched Fraser walk away, feeling a strange warmth spread through
him. He had a feeling about this. A hunch. A good one. He smiled
and got up to go put water on to heat. This morning he'd even do it
right, instead of using the tap.
* * * Finis * * *
Note: The quotation Ray uses is by John Fletcher (1579-1625) from 'The
Maid's Tragedy.' Fraser's is William Wordsworth (1770-1850) from
'The Prelude.' And yes, I think anyone who can understand Fraser
and use the word 'elucidate' correctly might just know a few classical
quotes, no matter how much he likes to joke about Fraser's vocabulary.
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