This is an erotic character study (aka PWP) featuring the characters
Benton Fraser and Ray Kowalski from the television series Due South.
It is part of in my "Fishing" series, and is a sequel to "Garnish."
Timeline-wise this, like "The Catch," and "Garnish" is
set in the indeterminate time between the episodes "Hunting Season" and
"The Call of the Wild," FYI, although this series began as a DS/HL crossover,
there are no crossover aspects in this story.
Rated NC-17 for graphic sexuality (M/M). If
you're considered a minor in your community please do not read this (do
your parents know where you are, you young whippersnapper you!?). If
you're narrow-minded or easily offended, you may want to take a pass
as well. Characters property of Alliance, everything else is MINE ALL
Thanks to my beta readers: Audra MacMann, Andreshan, Julia Kosatka,
& Marina Bailey, and to my technical advisors: Doug Dinnell & Kevin Robnett.
c. 1999, Kellie Matthews
" Hey there,
Ray," Shannon said, leaning over as she refilled his coffee and
picked up his now-empty plate.
eyes widened as he realized that her blouse was unbuttoned awfully far
down. And she had that look in her eyes, the one that said those buttons
hadn't worked their way undone by accident. He couldn't help himself.
He grinned. "Hey, Shannon, how's it . . . hangin'?" he asked
with a wink.
grinned. "You tell me, Ray," she said saucily as she straightened,
turned, and walked with a lot of hipswing back toward the kitchen.
Ray stared after her,
feeling like he was in a parallel universe or something. He must have
hit on Shannon at least a dozen times in the last year, and she'd never
done more than slap his check down on the table with a roll of her big
brown eyes. Now she was flirting fit to beat the band. Why? As he
groped for his coffee cup, still gazing after her, it suddenly came to
him. It was the Love Karma thing. That weird universal law that said
as soon as you had somebody, everybody else got interested.
strange. In the last two years he'd had about six dates, most of which
had been unmitigated disasters in one way or another. Most chicks had
taken one look at him and run the other way as fast as they could. But
ever since he and Fraser had become lovers, it seemed like everywhere
he went, he was getting hit on. Weird as that was, it was kind of nice
for a change, to not feel like a pariah. Not that he was the slightest
bit interested in what was offered. What he'd found with Ben was way
too good to give up. Not just sex, but love. Partnership, in every
sense. Someone who understood him, down to the bone. He shook he head,
smiling a little, still overwhelmed by it.
his smile, Shannon sashayed back toward the table with a pitcher of water,
and then stopped, a good three feet away, her eyes widening. She backed
up a step, blinked, with the strangest expression on her face. Like
she was a little scared, and a lot disbelieving. Then someone at another
table called her name and she turned, walking quickly, and without the
backfield motion she'd had before. At his feet Ray heard a soft growl,
oddly echoed from somewhere close by. A growl? Dief almost never growled.
He looked down, saw the wolf was watching Shannon. Now that was even
weirder. Dief was a sucker for females, of any species. He really never
growled at women.
looked at Fraser to ask what was up with the wolf, and he stopped, the
words stuck right in his throat. Not only did the wolf never growl at
women, the Mountie never did either. Until now. But his eyes were narrowed,
and darker than Ray had ever seen them, and his lips were curled in what
Ray could only call a baring of fangs. He'd never noticed before what
sharp incisors Fraser had, not even with his tongue.
Uh, Frase? You okay?"
attention snapped back to him, and for just a moment Ray could have sworn
that the eyes staring into his held a hint of green in their usual celestial
blue. And for that same moment he realized what he was seeing in them
and it made his breath catch in shock and amazement. Ben was jealous.
Over him. He was snarling at Shannon because of him. He'd noticed her
flirting and was warning her off, like some alpha wolf over his . . .
well, don't go there, Kowalski. But still. He'd done it. Ray felt
a flush of heat shoot through him that made him shift uncomfortably on
the leatherette bench of the booth. And then he saw the flush climbing
Fraser's cheeks and grinned.
we better find a new place fer late-night breakfasts, hunh Frase?"
To his surprise, Fraser
didn't get all apologetic and appalled. He just nodded.
that would be a good idea, Ray." He stood up suddenly, reaching
into his hat for money, leaving a handful of mixed green and pink bills
on the table. "Let's go."
thing. Just lemme . . . " he reached for his cup to take one last
sip of coffee, only Ben beat him to it, his hand flat across the circumference
of the cup, denying him access.
Now? Just like that?
Not even waiting for the bill, or change, or for Ray to finish his coffee?
That parallel-universe feeling came back in spades, but hey, this was
unusual enough that Ray wanted to see where it would lead. He looked
at the hand, noticed it was shaking slightly. His gaze traveled slowly
upward, noting the rapidity of the breathing belied by the slight movement
of his leather jacket, noticed the parted lips, the lash-shadowed fire
in his eyes. Looked down a little, and saw the more-than-normally prominent
bulge behind indigo denim. Oh yeah. Now. Right now.
it is," he said, practically leaping to his feet, calculating the
distance to home and the amount of traffic that would be on the street
at this hour of the morning and the odds that any of the lights between
here and his apartment would have a traffic cop anywhere near them.
Then they were outside
the dingy little diner and heading around the corner to the alley where
the car was parked, and suddenly Fraser was pushing him up against the
closest wall and kissing him, hard, and deep, his hips grinding against
Ray's as if he wanted to do it right there. Ray dragged his mouth away
from Ben's, gasping for enough air to ask him what the hell he thought
he was doing, but then Ben lowered his lips to Ray's throat and kissed
him there, just where the shoulder and the neck joined. It was one of
Ray's 'sensitive' places, and he moaned a little as he felt Ben's tongue
against his skin. Then he started sucking, which was even better, until
it went hard, stinging, and suddenly Ray knew what Ben was doing and
he laughed huskily.
I am. Now lemme go and let's get in the damned car so I can prove it
lifted his head, finally, looking raw, and hazy, and like he'd just been
kissed, which of course, he had. "You are what, Ray?" he
asked after a moment.
grinned. "Yours. All yours. Stem to stern," he said, going
with the nautical motif from the day before. That had worked out pretty
good. "Outside, an' in. And I want you inside and out. So come
on. It was your idea."
nodded and headed for the car. Ray had to hurry to catch up. He unlocked
the passenger-side door and started to go around to the other side, but
Fraser caught him by the wrist, careful to shift his fingers above Ray's
bracelet so his grip wouldn't hurt. Ray wasn't quite sure what was up
but he waited as Ben opened the door and looked at Dief. Dief looked
back, clearly puzzled when Ben didn't put the seat forward for him.
Dief," Fraser snapped impatiently.
could swear the damned wolf did a double-take, but he hopped in and moved
over to the driver's seat. Then Ben put the seat forward, put a hand
on Ray's head and pushed gently, but firmly, toward the back seat.
Ray balked. "Ben,
what . . ." he began, only to have the Mountie's mouth cover his,
cutting off his objection.
about a hundred and fifty seconds of some of the most erotic tongue-action
he'd ever experienced, any thought of resistance went the way of the
Dodo and when Ben finally released him and urged him into the car, Ray
went without protest. And then Fraser was in the car too, pulling the
door closed, pushing Ray backward, his big, warm body pinning him down
against the seat. They were crotch to crotch, Fraser's hands holding
his face so he could kiss him again, hard, almost desperate, as if he
were trying to suck his soul right out of his body, hips moving, dragging
the rock-hard bulge between his thighs over the matching one confined
behind Ray's button-flies.
what had gotten into him? Not that Ray was objecting, but in the car?
On the street? Who was this and what had he done with Fraser-the-Proper?
Oh geez. Doin' it in the back of the GTO. God damn, this was like a
dream come true. All that was missing was some dumb movie on a drive-in
screen. It dawned on him suddenly that probably Fraser had never done
this before. Dogsleds and snowmobiles didn't exactly have backseats,
not that you could make out in, anyhow.
grinned against Ben's hot mouth. Okay, if the Mountie wanted to experience
necking in the back seat like a teenager, Ray could get behind that.
Or underneath that as the case might be. With enthusiasm. After all
the diner wasn't a cop hang-out and it was three a.m., and it was a nice
dark alley not a lover's lane where they might get busted by some patrol-type
looking to scare a few kids out of a year's growth. He put his hand
to Ben's face, stroking the line of his cheekbone, then he let his fingers
slide down to the corner of Ben's mouth. Ben made a soft growl and turned
his head, catching Ray's middle finger in his teeth, his tongue worrying
at it, sucking.
cock hardened more as his brain made the association between what Ben
was doing and what he wanted to be doing. Realizing he was just lying
there letting Ben do all the work, Ray moved his mouth, bit lightly at
Ben's jaw, then let his tongue flicker out to lick at the sandpapery
line of beard-shadow, loving the roughness of that texture next to the
silken heat of his skin, the way he tasted, faintly salty, yet fresh,
and somehow reminiscent of some sort of fruit, though Ray couldn't figure
that one out. He found the sensitive spot beneath Ben's ear and sucked
at it softly, careful not to raise blood. He didn't want to mark him--
not where someone might notice, and comment, but that place turned him
on so bad he couldn't keep himself away from it.
Fraser managed to work his hand into the almost nonexistent space between
their bodies and started opening buttons. The movements he made as he
worked were incredibly arousing, even though Ray knew he wasn't even
being intentionally erotic. It was amazing how good Ben had gotten at
undoing a pair of jeans one-handed, after only a few days practice.
Fast learner. Fraser finally got the last button undone and his hand
slid into the newly-opened gap, broad warm palm wrapping around Ray's
rampant erection, stroking him hard enough to drag a moan from his lips
and a shudder from his body.
they were in the car and Ben had his pants open, he was really doing
this. Ray couldn't believe it. Fraser? This was Fraser? Shit, he
should stop this before it got out of hand, but it was already out of
hand, and ah, man, so good, he knew just exactly what to do, how to touch,
how hard, how fast. . . . A sudden image rose in his mind of Ben doing
this to himself on some of those long, lonely nights at the consulate,
and knew where he'd gotten this experience. The thought of watching
him do that sent Ray reeling, drove rational thought from his mind.
He found himself trying to spread his legs so Ben could stroke him more
easily, but was hampered by his jeans. Still, he pushed up into that
hand, panting, as Ben worked him hard. Oh god, he was gonna, he was gonna
. . . then suddenly Ben stopped, and let go. Ray moaned in abject denial.
oh god, please don't . . ."
turned suddenly and Ray instinctively covered his head with his arms
as Ben's hiking boots came dangerously close to his face. The new position
had Ben straddling him on the seat, facing away, knees on either side
of his waist. What the . . . ? Ray heard something rip, felt the sudden
easing of constricted fabric across his thighs, then Ben was bending
almost double in the confined space of the back seat as he leaned down
and took the full length of Ray's cock into his mouth. All the way down,
all the way, clear to the base. Just like last night . . .
oh god, Ben, that. . . ah, damn, oh keeerist, yeah, please, babe, please."
God, he was panting
and moaning and begging, and completely stupefied and hot and out of
his effin' mind. That broad back bent over him, that beautiful denim-shielded
butt almost close enough to bite, the slick, silky heat of his mouth,
the motion of tongue and teeth and everything . . . Ben, in his car,
doing this to him in fuckin' public? That did it. He bit back a scream
as bliss exploded through his body and he shuddered as Ben slid upward
to use his lips and tongue to suck him dry, the feeling almost too much
on his hypersensitive glans. He moaned in pained-pleasure, body jerking
a little with each suckling draw. He wanted Ben to stop but at the
same time he never wanted him to stop.
he did, finally, with a last, long lick, and then he was lifting his
head and turning, carefully, to look down at Ray with a smile that gave
him a momentary kinship to the wolf in the front seat.
shit! What the hell was that?" Ray asked breathlessly.
frowned a little, as if he were surprised by the question. "I believe
that it's called fellatio, Ray."
lost it, laughing out loud. At least now he knew it was really Ben, not
some alien clone or something. "Jesus, I know that, Fraser! But,
I mean, we're in public for god's sake! You just gave me a blow job
in the back seat of my car!"
expression grew more puzzled. "But, Ray, I thought that was what
you asked for."
Ray boggled. "I did? When?"
first you said we should get in the car, then you said you were mine,
and I quote 'stem to stern,' and 'inside and out.' So I was merely attempting
to do as you requested. The car is clearly both 'inside and out,' and
we were, in a way, 'stem to stern.'"
stared at him, gaping. Trust the Mountie to take him literally. "Ben,
I didn't mean . . ." Then he stopped, noticing even in the dark
the suspicious twitch at the corners of Fraser's mouth, the mischievous
gleam in his eyes. "Yer puttin' me on," he declared.
Ben grinned. "Yes,
groaned, running his hands through his hair, wondering if someone slipped
something into Fraser's food. First sex in public, then a joke? But
he loved the smile. And the sex, well, he couldn't complain. Not by
a long shot. He propped himself up on his elbows and looked up at Fraser,
grinning, shaking his head.
knew you were such a wild man."
did I, to be completely honest, Ray. Though, I have, at times, suspected
that I might have such proclivities."
What made you think that?" Ray asked, honestly interested. He
wanted to know everything about Fraser, everything that made him tick.
Ben leaned down
and kissed him, softly, almost tenderly, then straightened, the fire
in his eyes well-banked. "The things I used to fantasize about doing
eyebrows shot up. "You fantasized about me?"
mouth curved in a slow, seductive smile. "Frequently."
Ray asked, licking his lips, fascinated.
looked around the car, then back at Ray. "Like this."
absorbed that, felt himself blushing. "Uh, well, fantasy is usually
better than reality."
at all, Ray. I found the experience to be quite . . . stimulating."
Instantly Ray's gaze
lowered to Fraser's crotch. He couldn't help himself. He had to look
. . . no, no wet spot, not one obvious enough to see in the dark anyway.
But a definite bulge. That he could see, especially at this range.
He grinned, and reached out, catching Fraser's hips in his hands, drawing
him forward. Much to Ray's surprise, Ben resisted.
dear! No, Ray, please!"
looked up, saw the flustered expression on Ben's face. He frowned.
"Lemme get this . . . it's okay for you to do me in the damned car,
but not fer me to do you?"
wouldn't be . . . well, proper."
cryin' . . . Ben! Since when is it okay for me to get off an' not you?"
" I'm fine, Ray,
squirmed out from under his lover and sat up. "Okay, so what'd
you usually fantasize about me doin' to you, after you did me?"
Ben bit his lip. "I
ah, rarely got that far," he admitted wryly.
considered that, and shook his head, chuckling. "Fraser, we gotta
work on these fantasies of yours. Most people fantasize about having
other people do them, not about them doin' other people. Come on, let's
go home where I can ravish you proper without you gettin' all maidenly
* * *
I can't believe I just
did that, Fraser thought as Ray put the car in gear and edged it out
of the alley. He had just made love to his partner in a car. In public.
Where any casual passerby could have seen them. He must have lost his
mind. But god, it had been delightful. Addictively so. Listening to
the little moans and gasps, feeling Ray's body respond to his touch,
tasting him, smelling him, drowning in the sensations of his pleasure.
Wonderful. It was very nearly as fulfilling as if he had reached his
own completion. Ray didn't understand that, thought it impossible, but
it was true.
the back seat, Diefenbaker grumbled, and Fraser looked back, frowning.
"Yes, well, I didn't say a word to you about your involvement with
Maggie, now did I? Or when you chose to court Ante, who, I might add,
was not up to your size."
wolf made another comment and Fraser threw up his hands. "Oh fine.
Be that way. Next time you can wait outside."
looked at him, wide-eyed. "Next time?"
blushed. "Well, metaphorically speaking, that is."
Okay. Good. 'Cause, I was thinking if you were gonna make a habit of
this, maybe I should get the windows tinted or somethin'."
don't think that will be necessary, Ray."
shot him another look, then grinned his best light-up-the-night grin.
"Hey, can't blame
a guy for a little fantasy, can ya?" He winked. "So, what
set you off? I mean, one minute yer snarlin' at poor Shannon, and the
next you're draggin' me off to yer lair. Or well, maybe it was my lair
but you were borrowin' it pretty good there."
did not snarl at Shannon!" Ben protested, shocked.
chuckled. "No? Bet she'd say different. Dief? Whatta ya think?
Did he snarl?"
the traitor, yipped an affirmative. Ben looked from the wolf to his
partner. "Oh dear. Did I? I'm afraid I didn't realize. I shall
have to apologize to her next time."
you said we shouldn't eat there any more."
ah, was joking."
Right," Ray said dubiously. "Well anyway, she's probably forgiven
ya already, considering a) that you're you, and b) the amount of money
you left on the table."
frowned, fingers automatically sliding into his hat, searching for folded
bills. He was surprised by what he found, or rather, didn't find. Ray
was right. He'd left at least three or four times as much as the check
would actually have been, and in a mixture of US and Canadian bills that
was sure to drive the poor girl to distraction.
if bein' jealous always gets you all bothered like that, eatin' there
might get ta be a real interestin' experience."
can restrain myself, Ray."
I noticed," Ray said, grinning as he guided the car into the parking
lot of his apartment building. "Okay, here we go. Home. C'mon
Fraser, yer turn now."
turn . . ." Ben started to ask, then he understood. "Oh."
"Oh? That's it?
That's all I get? 'Oh?' Boy, talk about yer enthusiastic . . ."
Fraser leaned over and
covered Ray's mouth with his own, cutting off his diatribe. Ray stopped
talking, and started kissing. Reluctantly Ben drew back more quickly
than he would have liked, as they were no longer in the relative privacy
of a secluded alleyway.
merely meant to convey my understanding of your statement, Ray,"
he said quietly. "Nothing more."
scrutinized him carefully, then grinned. "Okay. No problem then.
got out of the car and pulled his coat across the gap at the lower edge
of his fly where Ben had ripped the crotch seam open about three inches
to get better access. Another thing he couldn't believe he'd done.
He hoped he could mend the tear, because otherwise he owed Ray a new
pair of jeans. Poor Ray couldn't really afford to lose any of his clothing
to Ben's somewhat overly enthusiastic lovemaking. Ben followed him inside,
having a hard time keeping his eyes off his lover's trim posterior as
they ascended the stairs. He walked carefully, aching a little. Although
he had assured Ray he was fine, he was definitely uncomfortable now,
though he really couldn't have let Ray . . . not in the car. He felt
a blush fire his face at the thought of it.
unlocked his door and opened it, motioning Fraser inside. As Fraser
entered the room, Diefenbaker made a questioning sound and Ben stopped,
looking down at him.
we are. And if you have a problem with that then I suggest you wait
in the hall."
wolf sat down then, outside the door, deliberately not looking at him.
Ray laughed. "C'mon
Dief, quit bein' jealous, you're still the one he feeds, right? You
can sleep on the couch. I might even have some cookies or somethin'."
At that Diefenbaker got
up and trotted into the apartment, still not looking at Fraser. Ben
looked at Ray and sighed, shaking his head. Ray grinned and shrugged,
then he closed and locked the door, and almost before the sound of the
bolt sliding home had faded was all over Fraser, pulling off his jacket,
dropping it on the floor, tugging his flannel shirt from his jeans, stripping
it off and tossing it aside with equal disregard. His fingers went to
Ben's waist where he quickly opened his belt, undid the button and yanked
down the zipper, oddly, keeping a finger on the inside of the zipper's
teeth as he did so. His eyes widened.
Ben couldn't meet his
eyes, knowing exactly what he was surprised about. "Yes, Ray?"
"You ain't wearin'
. . ."
his head, blushing. "No. I thought I would, I mean, I wondered
what it . . . felt like. To you. Since you do it all the time, I was
curious if it might not be, well, uncomfortable. Or something."
Ray purred. "Y'mean like, sexy? Like hot? Like arousing?"
Fraser nodded, unspeaking. Ray laughed. "And?"
like it? 'Cause I do. Only you gotta get some 501's, 'cause it's too
dangerous to do this with zippers."
looked at him, puzzled. "But, Ray, you have trousers with zippers,
and I know you don't . . ."
'cause I'm a professional. You're an amateur. 'Kids, don't try this
at home,'" Ray said with a chuckle. "Still, love it. I'm
a bad influence on you."
I don't plan to make a habit of it," Ben confessed. "It's
far too . . . distracting."
studied him for a moment, then he smiled, hooking his fingers in Ben's
belt-loops, tugging lightly. "Ooooho, I get it. This is what did
it, ain't it? You couldn't handle it."
might possibly have, ah, some basis in fact," Ben hedged, though
it was absolutely true.
experiment had probably not been a good idea, considering how little
sleep he'd had the night before. All through the meal he'd sat there
watching Ray, and thinking of the fact that he was probably just as naked
beneath his jeans as Fraser was. Which was quite silly because everyone
was, technically, naked beneath their clothing, so why should a single
additional layer make any difference? But somehow it did. It surely
did. The dark, uncontrolled part of himself had fixated on that, and
he'd had to struggle more than usual to keep it contained.
barely touched his own meal, having to keep focused on acting normal,
on being 'good' in public. That was essential for them, as it would
be foolhardy in the extreme to allow their changed relationship to become
known. While he had been raised surprisingly prejudice-free by his missionary
grandparents, he knew such was not the case with far too many people,
especially those in law-enforcement. But then when Shannon, a very nice
young woman whom he had never found anything but pleasant, had flirted
innocently with Ray, something inside him had broken free of its barriers
in an overwhelming rush.
was his. His. Every last bit of him, from long, bony toes to haphazardly
spiked hair and everything in between. Ray was his friend, his lover,
his soul. How dare she even consider claiming him for herself? He remembered
it now, remembered looking at her narrowly, feeling the lift of his lips
in what he'd told himself was a smile, but was actually a snarl. Good
Lord, he'd actually growled! Perhaps when he went to apologize to her,
he could safely blame that on Diefenbaker, who, picking up on Ben's emotions,
had done the same thing.
if snarling at the waitress wasn't bad enough, he had then dragged Ray
out to the car and proceeded to demonstrate the truth of that possession,
claiming him. He'd used his mouth to mark him as his property. Ray
had even known what he was doing , understood it, and hadn't objected.
'I'm yours, Ben. All yours.' Even now Ben could see the bruise
he'd left, just above where the ribbed collar of Ray's t-shirt covered
his shoulder. Disgraceful behavior. Revolting. Juvenile even. How
could he have done that? He owed Ray an apology, too. He reached out
to gently soothe that spot with a finger.
looked surprised. "What for?"
well, for thinking of you as a possession, as something I could own."
Ray studied him for a
moment, head tilted slightly to one side, then he smiled. "But
I am. You do own me. Everything I am now, I owe you. I'd lost myself
somewhere, and you showed me where I was, who I was. Without you, I'm
not me. Don't you know that?"
was as if he were reading Ben's mind, saying the things that he felt.
"I, too, was lost, Ray," he breathed softly, and couldn't bear
to see the curve of his mouth any longer without tasting it. He moved,
bringing their bodies together, their mouths together. He could taste
the smile, taste the heat and passion behind it, and the gentleness,
and the commitment. Could one possibly taste any of those things? Yes.
Absolutely. And over and through it all, he could taste the essential
He heard a
moan, knew it was his own voice, and for once was not embarrassed by
that. He needed Ray, not just in a sexual sense, but in every way he
could think of. That awful feeling of incompleteness that had been a
part of his life for as long as he could remember was only eased when
he was with Ray. He moved, backing Ray toward the bedroom, stopping
when they came up against the wall beside the door. Another wall, another
kiss. Gentler this time, but still too hard, he knew that, couldn't
seem to help himself, but Ray only gave him more, didn't protest his
roughness, just as he hadn't last night. No. He wasn't going to do that
again. It might, as Ray had said, be all right to be selfish sometimes,
but not all the time. He forced himself to draw back, breathing hard.
Ray opened his eyes, licked swollen lips, and sighed.
nice. I kinda like it when yer butch," he said with a wicked gleam
in his eyes.
Fraser frowned. He failed to see the relevance of a masculine personal
name in this situation. Before he could ask for clarification, Ray spoke
let's stick with that. Whaddaya want me to do to you?"
flashed through Ben's mind, and a single word, "Everything,"
escaped his lips before he could think to stop it.
grinned. "That might take some time, Ben."
That was it. Oh yes. He craved that. Time. Slow, sweet, almost torture.
Ray was always in such a hurry, so fast, not that it wasn't good, but
he wanted it to go on forever and it never did. "Yes," he
whispered finally, ducking his head to kiss the bruise on Ray's shoulder.
"I know. That's what I want. Time. I want it to take time."
He pushed himself, reluctantly, away and took a step back, giving Ray
room to move.
stood there for a moment, looking at Ben with that look he got when he
was making a major discovery, then he smiled. Slowly. "Gotcha.
Come on, then. Time t'get comfortable, since we're in for the long haul
into the bedroom and began to undress. Fraser took off his t-shirt,
then paused to watch Ray remove his own, admiring the play of muscles
and tendons beneath his skin. Beautiful, but so thin. He really should
eat better. Ben tried, he really tried, to get Ray to eat properly,
but it was a losing battle. The man had virtually no nutritional sense
whatsoever. And half the time his attempts worked in reverse, and he
found himself eating what Ray usually ate instead of vice-versa. He
was going to get as soft as Diefenbaker if he wasn't careful. His metabolism
simply wasn't geared for such quantities of sugar and fat.
tossed aside his shirt and his hands went to his belt, unbuckling it,
not bothering to remove it from the belt-loops as he unbuttoned his jeans
and shoved them down, then raised a foot and used his toe to push both
pant-leg and boot off together in one movement. A moment later he repeated
the process on the other side. Then he was naked, his clothing lying
discarded on the floor. So easy, so quick. Always ready, with his body,
his mouth, his mind. Ben loved the spontaneity of him, so different
from his own measured deliberation. Although he found that Ray's spontaneity
had a way of provoking unusual levels of casualness in him. Casualness,
and aggression. For instance, that whole embarrassing but arousing incident
in the back of Ray's car.
hadn't lied about having fantasized about that. That and more. The
car. The closet at the precinct. In the park. He couldn't even remember
all the places he'd thought about wanting to have Ray. Truth to tell,
there had been days, especially those occasional days off when he had
not had Ray's actual presence to help keep him on the straight-and-narrow,
when he had spent the better part of his waking hours daydreaming about
making love to Ray. He'd driven himself half to distraction, doing it
hopelessly, knowing it would never happen, yet now it was. Happening.
And it appeared that it would keep happening. Ray actually wanted to
be with him. To . . . stay, with him. He shivered, remembering the
way Ray's voice had sounded as he'd said that. Just a few hours, yet
a lifetime ago.
yer thinking, you keep right on thinkin' it. Love what it does to ya,"
Ray teased, sliding a hand inside the open fly of his jeans to stroke
a single finger down the length of his cock.
sucked in a breath, shivering in reaction. For someone who wanted it
to last forever, he was being far too responsive. He let the breath
out slowly, and lifted his eyes to Ray's.
was thinking of you, Ray."
grinned. "Oh yeah? Doin' what?"
it was more what I was doing to you," Ben confessed, feeling a faint,
annoying flush in his face. For God's sake, he was a grown man, he should
be able to talk about sex without blushing!
shook his head, sighing. "Like I said, we gotta work on your fantasy
life." He went to his knees and began to unlace Ben's hiking boots.
Staring down at
the man kneeling at his feet, a definite fantasy came to mind. Ray finished
the first boot, tugged it off and tossed it across the room, then started
on the other. He got it done just as efficiently, and threw it aside.
Fraser bit back a protest, knowing it was useless. Ray simply didn't
care about the proper care of personal possessions. However, he took
very good care of other things. Ray reached up and tugged his jeans
down, carefully, easing them past his erection, then slid them down,
and off, urging Ben to step out of first one leg, then the other. Still
kneeling, he looked up.
me what you want, Ben."
want to make love to you, Ray."
gave him a look. "What do you want me to do to you,
of his momentary fantasy, and felt heat that wasn't entirely embarrassment.
"I, ah, your mouth, that is, if it's not . . ."
chuckled softly, interrupting his attempt at politeness. "That's
better." He sat back, surveyed the lie of the land, and nodded
toward the wall. "Over there. Might need somethin' to lean on."
Oh, yes. Definitely
that. Ben moved until he could lean back against the wall for support.
Ray moved toward him on hands and knees, sparking another surge of imagination.
He swallowed, his mouth suddenly dry. Perhaps Ray was right about his
fantasies. Then Ray put his hands on Ben's hips, and leaned in, and
fantasy became reality. The gentlest brush of lips against heated, swollen
skin. His face half in shadow as the hall light illuminated the scene,
lips opening, tongue flickering out to take the shimmering droplet at
the tip, retreating, the movement of muscles as he swallowed. Eyes closed,
deceptive innocence in his face as those sullen lips parted again, breath
feathering over taut flesh just before the wet silk of his mouth closed
moaned, hands clenching, wanting to thread his fingers into Ray's hair,
hold him still, and take him. He fought it. No. No, slowly. Achingly
slow. That's what you wanted. Let him do it. He timed his breathing
to Ray's exquisite indolence, drawing air in with each descent, letting
it out with each ascension, working himself into a place of abstract
pleasure. Suddenly something new was added, shocking him from his trance.
Teeth, oh god he loved Ray's teeth, sharp and hard and dangerous, but
never painful, at least, not too painful.
refocused, Ben watched again, saw the frown of concentration on Ray's
face as he worked. So sensual. The gleam of light on sweat-sheened
skin, the trickle of a salt-laden bead of moisture down his temple, over
the sharp curve of cheekbone, down to his mouth, to mingle with other
salt there. Those long, elegant, golden fingers, dark against his own
pale flanks, flexing, half-stroking. Beautiful. He reached down and
soothed his fingers over the path that bead of sweat had taken, and Ray
rubbed his face into Ben's hand like a cat might, never slackening his
oral caresses. He moved one hand from Ben's hip and let it slide down
his thigh, moving between Ben's thighs, to stroke and caress. For a
moment he indulged himself, letting Ray take him higher, closer to the
edge, but no, that would be too much.
Ray. Not that."
faltered, and looked up, questioning, his eyes like blue fire. Ben shook
his head. "Not yet, it's too soon."
felt Ray smile around him. He gasped, and shivered. Ray drew back slowly,
letting him slip free, reaching to cover him with his hand instead of
his mouth, stroking softly, slowly.
want to do what you did, but I don't know how. How do you do that?"
Ben frowned. "Do
know, the 'deep throat' thing. I wanna do that, I keep tryin' but I
can't. Makes me, well, I mean it's not you. It's me. I want to but
Ben said, understanding. "It makes you gag?"
nodded, looking embarrassed. Ben smiled. "I don't think I can
teach it to you. I suspect that it's mostly a case of my simply having
more conscious control over my autonomic reflexes than most people."
Ray grinned, shaking
his head. "In other words, you just do it."
looked at him apologetically. "Well, yes. I'm sorry. It involves
relaxing the esophageal muscles, and suppressing the uvular reflex, but
somehow I doubt that you will find that particularly helpful."
Ray's grin became a laugh.
"Yer right, I don't. But someday, someday I'll get it." He
slanted a narrow-eyed look up at Ben. "Who'd ya practice that on?"
Ben understood suddenly,
that look. He smiled, gently, not mockingly. "No one. I recently
overheard someone at the station speaking of a film in which the performer
did such a thing, and thought it would be . . . interesting to try it.
So I did."
eyes widened. "Somebody was talkin' about 'Deep Throat'
in front of you? Who?"
it was in the lavatory, and I'm sure they weren't aware that I was present
. . ."
no hedging. Spill. Who? I gotta have a little talk with 'em. Nobody
corrupts my Mountie but me."
found himself smiling in what he was sure Ray would consider a 'goofy'
manner. 'My Mountie.' He was oddly gratified by that possessive
statement. Perhaps he wasn't alone in the way he felt about Ray. Perhaps
Ray felt much the same about him. He'd just had longer to get used to
people flirting with Ben, since it happened so regularly, embarrassing
as that was.
the goofy grin for?" Ray asked.
chuckled. "Nothing important. But are you sure you wish me to
reveal my source? After all, you did appear to be quite pleased with
the results of it."
grinned. "Oh yeah, you could say that. Okay, but next time, tell
me. I was killin' myself wonderin' who you'd learned that from."
Ben frowned slightly.
"Ray, you know . . ."
face clouded. "I know. But that don't mean I haveta like it."
He sat for a moment, slouched and head-down, then he sighed. "Sorry,
I'm just bein' stupid jealous."
understand, Ray. For some time now, every time you've mentioned Stella,
I've felt the same way."
looked up, brightening. "You have? Cool." His sudden moodiness
dispelled, Ray stretched, catlike, and got to his feet. "C'mon,
bed, the floor's hard on my knees."
feline stretch gave Ben a sudden insight. In many ways Ray reminded
him of a cat. He was easily riled, but well able to defend himself,
with claws, and fangs, and deceptive intelligence, yet at the same time
he was lazy, sensual, sleepy-eyed, and perhaps a little too fond of creature-comforts.
Yes, very catlike. Odd that he got along with Dief so well, considering
that, but he did. Still thinking on that revelation, Ben let Ray take
his hand and pull him toward the bed.
* * *
"Penny fer yer thoughts,
Frase," Ray said, pushing Ben down onto the bed, urging him onto
his back, crawling over him on all fours, looking down into his face
was reflecting that at times you remind me of a cat."
thought about that, he could see it, a little. "Guess so. Eat
like a goat, though, or so everybody tells me," he said, grinning.
A cat. He thought
about that some more. What did cats do? They prowled, and yowled, and
fought. Not good. What else? They rubbed. They did that head-butt thing.
They purred. They tom-catted around, and they licked themselves in rude
places. He grinned at that image. He wasn't that flexible, but he could
lick Fraser, for sure. He liked licking Fraser. Two years ago if anyone
had suggested that he might enjoy licking a six-foot tall, dark-haired,
blue-eyed, square-jawed and very male Mountie, he'd probably have socked
them one, but here he was. He leaned down and rubbed his nose along
Ben's jawline, up to his ear.
cat, hunh? 'Zat mean you want me ta lick ya all over?" he whispered,
letting his tongue steal out to lap at Ben's earlobe.
closed his eyes with a little shiver. "That would be . . . would
be very nice."
snorted. "Very nice, hunh? We'll see about very nice," he
muttered under his breath. He was definitely going to have to do something
about Ben's tendency toward understatement.
drew his hand slowly down Ben's chest, then lower, cupping the hard thrust
of his cock in his palm. Ben lifted into his touch, rubbing himself
against Ray's hand, shamelessly. Ray laughed, and leaned down to kiss
the side of his throat, to lick the hollow of his collarbone, then first
one nipple, then the other, tongue flicking over the hardening nubs before
he settled in to suck on one. Ben arched into his caresses, first his
chest, then his crotch, undulating, eyes closed, hands clutching at the
you nice, Ray thought, as he released the nipple that was taut beneath
his lips and traced his tongue along Ben's ribs. Catching one of Ben's
hands in his, he stretched his arm above his head and proceeded to lick
his way up his side, up that soft, pale skin that never saw the sun,
under his arm, into the soft tangle of hair that grew there. Ben shuddered,
and gasped. Ray grinned, moved his mouth down a little, and bit lightly
at the curve of muscle just beneath the arm, almost on the back.
voice was hoarse, and hard.
ignored him, retracing his route back to a nipple, which he tortured
for a moment before switching to the other one, all the while his free
hand stroked and squeezed and played between Ben's spread thighs. He
started moving toward Ben's other side, little licks, just like a cat.
This time he didn't have to show Ben what to do. As soon as he understood
where Ray was headed, Ben reached above his head, catching the bottom
of the headboard in his hand as Ray's tongue worked magic up along the
sensitive skin along his ribs, and then higher. Ray found a spot that
made Ben gasp, and settled in there for a moment, sucking, knowing it
would be safe there, if nowhere else. No one would ever see this place
a choked groan, sounding like a man in pain. Ray was starting to ache,
even though it had been only a short time since he'd come; when he was
doing something this erotic he couldn't help but become aroused, himself.
He loved the taste of Ben on his tongue, the scent of his arousal, sea-bitter
and rich. He headed south again, down ribs, over belly to navel, where
he lingered, teasing him with tongue-strokes into that shallow indentation,
as if he were somewhere else entirely.
was moaning now, his hips thrusting against Ray's stroking fingers.
For a moment Ray was tempted to take him over the top that way, but,
no, he'd said mouth. Mouth it would be. Time to give Ben his fantasy.
He lowered his head to the flushed, swollen shaft, kissing just the tip,
as he might kiss Ben's lips, or his cheek, feeling the slick tears of
his arousal against his lips, tasting them. Ben shuddered, and Ray automatically
tightened his fingers around the shaft, pinching back the orgasm that
threatened. Too soon. He wanted slow. He wanted mouth. That's what
he would get.
wait. Wait a second. Mouth had been Ben's second choice. First had
been 'everything.' Ray grinned. Oh boy. Everything. He frowned, trying
to figure out a way to do several things at the same time. Couldn't.
Would have to be a contortionist to manage it. So, what first, and what
second? Probably needed to ask. With a last, flat-tongued lick at Ben's
cock, he drew back and propped himself on his elbows.
what next, Ben? What part of 'everything' do you want now?"
Ben opened his eyes and
looked down, blinking, looking utterly dazed. "What?" he
finally managed, after a tongue-flick to moisten dry lips.
grinned, and leaned forward to put his lips against Ben's erection once
more. "This? Or. . . " he slid a hand between his lover's
thighs, trailing his fingers lower, and lower, finally touching a fingertip
to the sensitive opening between his cheeks, " . . . this?"
Ben shuddered with his
whole body, his cock jerking tautly with response. Oh, that definitely
got a reaction. Ray smiled, and pretended he hadn't noticed.
maybe somethin' I ain't thought of yet?"
watched Ben swallow, three times before he could speak. Finally he located
please, I want . . . ." Words failed him. He bit his lip, looked
helpless again, as only Ben could.
shook his head. "Oh no. Not this time. You gotta tell me. Nothin'
happens until you tell me."
I . . . I can't."
you can. I know you can. You're the man who knows a blow job is really
fel. . . whatever. You can tell me. You have to. Or we can stop, if
Well, that word
was certainly easily said, Ray thought, hiding his smile.
it's fellatio," Ben said, blushing.
Blow job," Ray returned, giving no quarter. "What do you want,
Ben? I need to know. Just tell me."
don't know. No one's ever asked me that before. I don' t even know how
to frame an answer, when I want everything, and nothing, and it s. .
. ." he stopped suddenly, lips clamping shut on whatever he'd been
about to say, eyes closing, jaw going tight.
couldn't believe what he was hearing. No one had ever asked Ben what
he wanted? Never? He believed that, knew it was utterly true. It was
so obvious, and so sad. He could see him, the boy, and the man, never
asking for anything for himself. Always putting others first. Damn.
That sucked so bad it hurt. Worse was that everyone let Ben do it, himself
sometimes included, Ray thought guiltily. He felt anger welling up inside
him, not at Ben, but at everyone who had contributed to Ben's deeply-held
certainty that he was not allowed to have needs or desires of his own.
That was so wrong.
what 's' word had he been about to use? He had a feeling the end of
that sentence was '. . . and it scares me.' Ben was still afraid of
this, not of the sex, that was clearly okay, but of allowing himself
to be needy. It came to him suddenly that this was the same issue as
last night, just a little different expression. And with that knowledge
Ray realized they would probably have to work through this again, and
again, until Ben finally started to believe that it was okay. That wanting,
that needing, was normal. Even right. Ray shook his head.
it's time, Ben. Time you got to say. Time you got to choose."
Ben dropped his head
back against the bed and stared at the ceiling. "I don't know how,"
he said, in a strangled-sounding voice, body tensing. "I just don't."
Ray almost swore. This
wasn't what he wanted. He could feel Ben losing his arousal, and he
didn't want that to happen. No way. He wasn't a fool. Someone had
to yield. Ben couldn't, so it had to be him. He could. This was too
important not to. There were times to be stubborn, but this wasn't one
of them. So, since Ben was much better at doing than he was at saying,
at least in this sort of situation, maybe they could go with that.
"Then show me, Ben.
Just show me. Use your hands, use your mouth, your body. Show me what
you need. Say it with your body. Anything you want. Anything. Everything."
The words were barely
out of his mouth before he was being hauled bodily up Fraser's chest,
his mouth taken in a kiss that was hard, and hot, and hungry as Ben turned
them onto their sides, facing each other. Taking Ray's right hand in
his own, Ben drew it down between them, shifting his hips a little until
their cocks were aligned, touching. Then the hand that held his was
urging his fingers around not just Ben, but both of them. He shuddered
a little in erotic anticipation. Geez, he'd never thought about this,
but it could work, could be cool-- or would that be hot? Trust Ben to
think of something way different. There might be a disconnect between
brain and mouth, but the ideas were certainly in there.
felt Ben's, big, broad hand curving around his own narrower one, completely
covering it, urging him to stroke them in unison. Ray looked down at
their hands, their cocks, fascinated by the differences, by the samenesses,
by the sensations evoked. Ben's fingers soothed and stroked his hand,
occasionally sliding beneath the chain around his wrist, making it glide
smoothly against his skin. Suddenly Ray got his own outlandish idea,
and slipped his hand out from under Ben's. Ben protested that with a
small, wordless sound, and Ray kissed him silent again, then turned his
head to use his tongue to trace the ridges in Ben's ear, making him shiver
a sec, half a sec, don't worry," he breathed into Ben's ear.
Quickly he found the
catch on the bracelet and opened it, let it fall free, then caught it
and closed the catch again. Then he moved his hand back down, and looped
the warm, polished metal beads around them both. The length went around
them twice, loosely, just as it did around his wrist. Ben had gone very
still, and his eyes were closed, but his quick, shallow breathing told
Ray he was deeply involved in the sensation. Catching the beads in his
hand he slid them cautiously up, then down, making sure they didn't catch
or tug at anything. They didn't. They were smooth enough to move easily,
and the sensation was both strange, and erotic as well. He did it again,
still slowly, experimenting, and Fraser moaned, a shudder going through
him that was powerful enough that Ray felt it as well. Oh yeah. Successful
not entirely sure the chain wasn't going to pinch, he kept up the slow,
sliding strokes, feeling the beads slither over taut flesh, hearing the
faint sounds they made each time, and felt an echoing shiver run through
himself. Never would have thought it would be such a turn-on, but it
was. The two of them, bound skin-to-skin like this, with something that
was such an intimate item for him, his lucky charm. Very, very lucky.
He could feel Ben's pulse against himself, fast, hard, strong, felt his
breath, hot against his skin as Ben put his head down against his shoulder.
The bigger man was breathing raggedly, an almost continuous tremor running
through him, his hand tightening around Ray's, urging him to a faster
chance, Ray let Ben guide him, still holding back a little because it
just felt too good to rush yet, then he felt Ben push into their hands,
straining against flesh and beads, once, twice, and then there was a
gush of thick, hot fluid over his fingers, his cock, and his stomach,
and Ben was gasping and moaning what sounded a lot like Ray-Ray-Ray-Ray,
but not in his usual faintly exasperated tones. Oh no, not this time.
Ray couldn't keep a grin off his face at the Mountie's almost reverent
whoa, the Vesuvius thing was a bit of a shock. He hadn't known Ben was
quite that close. 'Course, he hadn't had the benefit of a back-seat
blow-job to take the edge off, either. In fact, when Ray thought about
it, he realized that Ben had been pushed way past any normal man's limits.
Yet another example of the incredible self-control the guy had. And
he'd broken that self-control, twice in two nights. He felt rather insufferably
pleased with himself. He lay still, waiting for Ben to recover a little,
not wanting to rush a separation. After a moment he thought he probably
ought to take the bracelet off now, and slipped his fingers beneath it
to lift it off. Ben's hand caught his wrist.
The single word was whispered.
Ray opened his eyes, looked into Ben's, and saw something he couldn't
quite identify in their smoky blue-gray depths. Lashes shuttered those
eyes before he could figure it out, as Ben's fingers caught the bracelet
and held it in place as he eased his own softening penis out of its embrace,
then moved to coil another loop around Ray's still-hard shaft. Ray shivered
at that touch, wondering what Ben's very creative mind had come up with
now. Then Ben turned onto his stomach with one knee flexed to the side,
and hid his face in the crook of his arm.
want you in me, Ray. I need you in me," he whispered, barely audibly.
For a moment Ray just
stared at him. He'd done it. Ben had really done it. Admitted both,
need, and want. Said 'I need.' Said 'I want.' Yes! Progress! Then
the full impact of those hoarsely whispered words hit, and his entire
body tightened with reaction. This they hadn't done yet, mostly due
to Ray's newfound and slightly selfish obsession with being on the receiving
end of things. Oh God. He wants you in him. Needs you. Like this,
right now. Oh God. Could he even last long enough to get . . . yes.
He could, damn it. Ben wasn't the only one with the ability to control
himself. He could do it. He started to reach for the night-stand drawer,
only to have Ben reach back and catch his hand, shaking his head.
"No. You're fine.
. . ."
what I gave you."
took him a minute to understand, but then he did. Damn. "Does
that . . . will that work?"
hard. "I don't wanna hurt you ."
won't. Please, Ray."
Ray shuddered. He realized suddenly that if Ben wanted it this way
he'd need to hurry, and not just because their erstwhile lubricant was
rapidly drying on his skin. He closed his eyes and used his fingers
to collect the satiny wetness of Ben's semen from his stomach where most
of it had ended up. It was still faintly warm from his skin, though
not hot as it had been a few moments earlier. Leaning to kiss Ben's
spine, just above his buttocks, he eased his fingers between those perfect
hemispheres and, damn, it worked fine. Ben moaned as Ray's fingers pressed
gently into him, working that slick warmth deep. So did Ray, just from
the idea of doing this. He was so glad Ben had eased his urgency in
the car, because otherwise between the bracelet still wrapped around
him, and the thought of being inside Ben, he'd definitely have
lost it by now.
Ray," Ben whispered.
Yes, now. A little scared and almost unbearably aroused, he fit himself
against that narrow aperture, eased his fingers out and his cock in.
He closed his eyes, panting as he was sheathed in heat. So tight. Never
felt anything so tight. He froze. He had to be hurting . . .
Ray, please. It doesn't hurt," Ben said, reading his mind. "Please."
Oh, too much, too much.
All the barriers were down, and there was nothing, nothing between
them, nothing held back. Was this what it was like for Ben when he was
on top? Why on earth had he waited so long to do this? Oh, God, there
couldn't be anything better than this, except maybe when Ben took him
this way. There were things he desperately wanted to say, to howl even,
but some corner of sanity remained and he didn't want to offend Ben by
screaming obscenities at the top of his lungs. With a shudder he eased
the rest of the way in, and held himself there, trying to find some sort
fuck, Ray," Ben moaned. "So good."
flying open, Ray stared at Ben's back, so shocked he actually forgot
what he was doing for a moment. The Mountie just said fuck?
And here he'd been concerned about offending him! He almost chuckled,
but then Ben spoke again.
Ray?" he said, his voice hoarse, ragged, pleading.
All thoughts of laughing went right out of his head. More? What more
could he . . . oh yeah. There was that moving thing. Instead of the staying-still
thing. Move. More. He closed his eyes again, braced his hands on the
bed and rolled his hips in a long, slow curl. The damned bracelet slid
and clicked against itself, and him, as he moved. He did it again. And
again. Slide-click, hot-tight. Yes. So much more. Tentatively he put
a little more power behind his stroke, and Ben sobbed something that
sounded like "God, yes!"
Ben, I'm sorry, I can't wait, I can't . . ." Ray gasped, and then
he was driving in hard, and fast, and he could feel the swell starting
at the base of his spine and then it broke and light and heat and ecstasy
detonated through him with a concussive blast he was half-surprised didn't
throw them out of bed.
good. So damned good. He felt lazy and contented, his body completely
relaxed and suffused with residual pleasure. He eased himself out of
Ben's clasping warmth, caught the bracelet as it slithered off and put
it on the night-stand, then molded himself bonelessly against Ben's back,
his cheek against his shoulder as his breathing gradually slowed to normal.
Well, it had been good for him, anyway. Hopefully he hadn't been too
hideously inept for Ben. He turned his head to nuzzle Ben's neck.
"Sorry, do better
next time," he offered optimistically.
heard Ben sigh, an oddly contented sound. "You did wonderfully,
derisively. "Yeh, sure. But I'll get the hang of it, and practicin'
is fun, right?" He sighed and rubbed his nose along Ben's shoulder.
"Y'know, fer somebody who don't know what he wants you got some
really great ideas. Just gotta work on ways to tell me what they are."
Judging from the sudden
surge of warmth in Ben's skin, he was blushing again. Which reminded
him. "By the way, tsk, tsk. Language, Ben," he teased affectionately.
More heat. "I'm
sorry, Ray, I just . . ."
laughed. "Give it a rest, Fraser, I loved it, it just about killed
me. Just didn't know ya had it in ya."
was a moment of silence, then Ben spoke again, sounding embarrassed,
but maybe a little pleased, too. "Oh."
yer gonna use up yer surprise quota if yer not careful."
though he couldn't see Ben's face, Ray could 'see' the consternated frown
on it. He grinned. "Surprise quota. You know. Ya only get t'spring
a certain number of surprises on a guy per day, otherwise you get marked
down on yer predictability scores, dincha know? An' I gotta say, ya used
up about three or four days worth tonight. In fact, in the last week
or so I'd say yer waaay over the limit. Mind you, I ain't complainin'."
He heard a soft chuckle
from beneath him. "That's just silly, Ray."
It is." A yawn snuck up on him from nowhere, and he couldn't stifle
it. Jaw-creaking, and wide, he shivered with it and then sighed. "Sorry.
Not used ta all this exercise. Yer wearin' me out. Ain't had this much
sex since . . ." He stopped. He'd been about to say since his honeymoon,
but no way was he going to go there.
it wasn't true. Even that hadn't been like the last few days. Since he
and Stella had been together for quite a while before they'd actually
gotten married, there hadn't been this kind of urgency to their honeymoon.
Frankly it was a wonder he and Ben were getting any work done at all,
as often as they were finding excuses to sneak off together. "Well,
actually, ever," he finished, truthfully.
shifted beneath him, pushing up a little, turning his head to look at
. . . all right?" he asked, sounding anxious, looking it too.
Ray laughed. "Y'ain't
usually given to askin' stupid questions, Ben." Another yawn hit
him, and he shook his head. "Man, I sure wish tomorrow was Saturday.
I'm too old t'be stayin' up this late, m'not a kid any more. But guess
I shouldn't complain, since you gotta be up even earlier than I do."
Ben suddenly looked uncomfortable.
"Ah, well, actually, Inspector Thatcher demanded that I take the
day off. She said my oversleeping this morning was proof that I am under
stress and that stressed employees are inefficient. I tried to tell her
I was fine, but as I couldn't very well explain to her the reasons for
my lapse, she was quite insistent. So, well, it appears that I have the
day off," Ben said, clearly embarrassed.
stared at him, frowning. "You got the day off? The whole day off?"
Ben nodded, avoiding
his gaze. Ray scowled. "Well, that sucks. I mean, not fer you, but
fer me." He rolled over and stared at the ceiling thoughtfully.
A whole day off. He could think of a lot of things to do with a whole
day off, with Ben. In bed. Or out of it. Like, maybe even the Art Institute,
to prove to the Mountie that he wasn't a complete barbarian. He scowled
a bit more.
sorry, Ray," Ben said solemnly.
He turned to look at his lover. "Whaffor?" He frowned. "Fer
havin' a day off?" At Ben's nod, he sighed, shaking his head. "Like
you said before, that's just silly. 'Sides, I got an idea." He
reached over to the phone on the night-stand and hit the speed-dial.
Waited for it to ring through and for Welsh's voice-mail to pick up.
When it did, he coughed, and pitched his voice low and hoarse.
yeah, umn, look, I'm sorry t'do this to ya, but I'm not *cough* feeling
too hot, and I'm gonna stay home an' see if I c'n kick it. I'm gonna
unplug the phone so's I can sleep."
saw the implications of what he was saying begin to dawn on the Mountie,
who looked properly appalled. Ray covered his mouth with his hand to
keep him quiet while he finished. "Anyway, don't think I got any
emergencies on my desk. I'll call Fraser an' tell him not to show up
an' get in everybody's hair while I'm out. See ya." He coughed once
more, for effect, and hung up, then grinned and lifted his hand.
"I know, I know,
that was conduct unbecoming, right? But see, it wasn't really a lie,
'cause I am sick."
looked concerned. "You didn't mention you were feeling unwell."
"Yeah, well, I am.
I'm sick of workin' an' I'm sick of not havin' any real time t'myself.
An' I'm really, really sick of the Duck Brothers' jokes. So I'm gonna
use a sick day, which, I remind you, I have not done all year. I mean,
if they're gonna give 'em to me, I might as well use 'em, right?"
"I really don't
believe that any of those 'illnesses' qualify for sick-leave," Ben
admonished in his best Librarian Mountie tones.
gave Ben the 'puppy-eyed' look that always used to work on Stella, catching
his lip in his teeth, pausing, then speaking in a quiet voice. "You
want me to go to work? You don't want to be with me?"
stared at him, looking distressed. "Of course I do, Ray, I just
feel . . ." his voice trailed off and he looked at Ray narrowly.
Ray somehow managed to hold his innocent, wounded expression, and Ben
apparently decided he was sincere.
sorry, Ray. I do want to be with you. I just wish you hadn't resorted
to subterfuge to take time off. Couldn't you have asked for personal
snorted. "Yeah, with what fer the reason? Gotta stay home and boink
my best friend?"
blushed, but looked pleased at the same time. Ray wondered if it was
the boink part or the best friend part he was pleased by. Both maybe,
but he'd put odds on the latter.
suppose it would be awkward, wouldn't it?" Ben allowed.
it would, Fraser, that it would." Ray dragged one of his pillows
over and bunched it under his head, curling the rest of his body against
Ben's. "'Night, Ben."
may I ask you a question?" Ben said, sounding oddly tentative.
"Sure, shoot. Anythin'."
"You seem so . .
. comfortable, with this."
not a question, Frase. With what?"
. . . us. With what we're doing, together, now.
lifted his head to look, amused, into Ben's face. "Y'mean the sex?
Or the rest?"
flushed faintly, but held his gaze. "Both, Ray. I've wondered
about that. Since I've known you, you've never really evinced any interest
in men, not in anything other than a comradely fashion. You were married
for many years. Your, ah, short-term romantic relationships were always
with women. You watch women. Not men. So I am puzzled by the ease
with which you seem to have accepted . . . what we've become."
Ray stifled a sigh.
He'd wondered when this was going to hit. He'd thought about this a
lot in the last week or so, and come to some conclusions for himself,
but he hadn't quite known how to bring it up, or even if it needed to
be brought up. Clearly, it did. So much for sleep. Well, that wasn't
a problem, since neither of them was going to work now. He smiled gently.
"Yeah, I know, Ben.
I could joke, an' remind you that I told ya I'd try anythin', but it's
a lot more than that here, and we both know it, right?"
hint of relief crept into Ben's expression. "I . . . I know I
felt that way. I hoped you did."
do. This is . . . this is special. Real special. I mean, I only felt
this way one other time, an' that was with, well, I know you don't wanna
hear it, but it was Stella. I tried to tell you that, but I'm not sure
you got it."
blushed. "I 'got' it, Ray. But that's not what I'm asking. I
guess, well, I suppose I'm simply asking if it bothers you that I'm a
man. It doesn't seem to, but I know that appearances can be deceiving."
Ray propped his chin
on his forearms, gaze steady on Ben's. "No. It don't bother me."
"Why not? I'm not
sure what yer askin' there, Ben."
sorry, I know I seem to be pushing, but this is important to me. I need
to know how deeply your . . .
acceptance of this goes. Once before
when I thought there was, there was not, and if there isn't, I need to
know that now."
of what? There was what and then there wasn't, and isn't and what did
he need to know now? Ray studied Ben, just about ready to be exasperated
by his muddled attempt at communication, but then he saw the pain in
his lover's face, and understood. Once before he'd thought someone loved
him enough that it made no difference that he was a man. But that had
been wrong. And that was why he needed so badly to know this now. A
rush of protective instinct came over him and he had to actively suppress
the anger he felt toward the man who'd done this to Ben, knowing Ben
would misunderstand it. He reached out and put his hand on his lover's
shoulder, stroking his fingertips soothingly over that pale satin skin.
I'm not him. Remember? This is me, Mr. Instinct, an' I go by what my
gut says, what my heart says, not what my head says, or what somebody
else told me I was supposed to do, or say, or want. I want you. I need
you. Have for awhile now, though I didn't really wanna admit it because
I thought you wouldn't want me to, or would be offended or somethin'.
I mean, ya come off like the straightest straight-arrow I ever met.
How was I supposed ta know yer not when you never give a guy a clue?"
Ben nodded thoughtfully.
"I do understand that, Ray. I felt much the same way. However,
I still come back to the fact that you have always, at least outwardly,
preferred women to men."
laughed drily, thinking of all the months he'd spent sublimating his
own desires because Fraser 'wasn't like that' because Fraser 'liked women.'
Jesus, they'd wasted a hell of a lot of time.
you didn't? I mean, there's the Ice Queen, an' the Bounty Hunter, an'
Lady Shoes. Even Maggie, well, until ya found out she's yer sister.
Like they ain't all female? Like I don't ask this same question myself?
No, I thought about it, thought about what you said when you told me
about Miss Interpol, an' all that stuff about havin' two-spirits. I
got that, it felt right to me. Ever since I c'n remember it's been that
way for me, but I just made myself not to notice guys because, well,
you know why. It's dangerous in our line of work. Hell, it's dangerous
in any line of work, 'cause there's a lotta people out there who get
freaked out about guy's likin' other guys. That way. You know that."
His eyes held Ben's a
little anxiously. Believe me. You have to believe me. You have to
see the truth here, know it, viscerally, instinctively, not logically.
Remember, sometimes logic doesn't work. Believe in me, Ben. Believe.
"Yes, Ray. I do."
"You do, what?"
Ray asked cautiously, having learned that sometimes he assumed that Ben
meant one thing when he really meant another thing entirely, and he didn't
want to assume here, and find out later that Ben had really been talking
about caribou droppings or something.
do know that it's dangerous. That people, most people, I fear, do not
understand that love is not a thing which can be defined by well-ordered
boundaries, that sometimes, in fact most of the time, and especially
this time, love happens outside the lines."
grinned so broadly his face felt funny. Not only were they on the same
wavelength, but Ben had just said 'love.' A warm feeling suffused him,
made his eyes tear despite his delight. "Yes! Exactly! That's
it! An' we're outside those lines. Never liked lines anyhow."
Ben smiled. "Yes,
I could see that about you from the first day we met."
like I could see that you live for 'em, at least on the outside. Inside,
you got no lines."
Ben absorbed those words, his eyes were the warmest blue that Ray had
ever seen, full of a deep satisfaction, and pleasure. "And I believe
that you are the only person who's ever realized that about me, Ray.
You're the only one who's seen that, instinctively. That means a great
deal to me."
smiled and ducked his head a little, feeling pleased, and possessive,
but unaccountably shy. "Good." He stretched and lay back,
then realized he wasn't tired any more. Or at least, he wasn't tired
in the right way to fall asleep now. Noticing he'd left all the lights
on in the kitchen and living room, he got up.
Fraser sounded concerned.
just goin' to turn off some lights. Wastin' electricity. Plus gotta
put down some water fer Dief," he said as he left the room. He
went into the kitchen and filled a big mixing bowl with water and put
it down for Dief, who had wandered over when he'd come out of the bedroom.
He stroked the wolf's thick, coarse fur, and turned to leave, only to
turn back at a low vocalization from the animal. Oh yeah. Cookies.
He grinned, and opened the cabinet next to the refrigerator and pulled
out a bag of ginger-snaps, tossing a couple to the wolf who waited expectantly.
Dief caught them deftly, they were gone in a flash, and he groaned again
softly. Ray chuckled and put a handful of cookies down next to the water
no chocolate, Dief. Besides, that stuff's bad fer ya and Fraser don't
like it when I give it to ya. Gotta make do with these."
Dief complained, but
then nosed the cookies and started to eat. Ray chuckled, pulled a cookie
out of the bag and stuck it in his own mouth, then put the bag away.
Turning out the lights gave him an idea, and he collected a book of matches
and the half-dozen dusty votive candles he'd had sitting out since the
last power outage, and headed back to the bedroom. Ben was lying on
his back, eyes closed, the messy covers straightened and drawn up in
an almost perfectly horizontal line across his chest so only his bare
shoulders and arms were above them. Ray grinned, shaking his head.
Fraser even slept neatly. As opposed to Ray who usually ended up sleeping
upside down in bed and pulling all the covers off. Well, when he slept
alone, that is. When Ben was here, he wasn't so restless. He could
sleep all night in one position, so long as he could feel Ben's big,
warm body against his own.
he put down his stash of candles on the dresser and struck a match.
He'd lit one candle and was starting the next when Ben sat up with a
Startled, Ray turned
and stared at the other man, stunned by the naked pain and fear in his
expression. The match burned down to his fingers and with a muttered
curse he shook it out and dropped it into the candle he'd been about
Ray. Don't. No more."
nodded. "No more, no problem." He looked at Ben again, frowning.
Pale as a ghost. Of course, he was normally pale, but this was even
more than normal. Even his lips were pale. There was tension in the
lines of his throat, his shoulders, his back. A lot of it. Cautiously,
wondering what was wrong, he ventured a tentative query. "Um, you
want I should blow this one out?"
shook his head. "No. No, that's fine. But no more."
Ray nodded and turned
to sit down on the bed next to Fraser, who was rubbing his thumb across
got a thing about fire?" Ray asked after a moment. Not that he
could blame Ben, after he'd nearly been incinerated the first day they'd
Ben shook his
head again. "No, not fire. Candles."
nodded. "Yes, sorry. Bad . . . associations."
thought about that. Most people thought of candles as being romantic.
He found himself frowning as he tried to think of what might change that
to pain, and fear. Potential answers came to mind, things he'd read
about, heard about . . . anger bloomed again as suspicion came that
this was probably something else he could lay at his namesake's door.
He frowned. "Geez, Ben, what'd he do t'ya? Was he into kinky stuff
head snapped up and he stared at Ray in shock. "Who? What?"
"Vecchio. Did he
do somethin' to ya with candles?"
"Ray Vecchio? Candles?" There was an edge of almost-hysteria
to Ben's tone. Then suddenly he began to laugh. "Oh, no, no Ray.
It wasn't . . . No, nothing like that. I'm sorry. I should have thought.
No, it wasn't Ray Vecchio, not at all."
then? I mean, it's obviously something, or you wouldn'ta freaked out
shuddered, turning his face away. "It was me. They were my idea."
Ray's eyes went wide.
"Your idea?" The Mountie was into kinky shit with candles?
Now that was something he never would have suspected in a zillion years.
Wait. No way. This had to be one of those crossed-wire sorts of things.
"Um, wanna tell me about it?" he ventured.
turned away. "No. It's not something I'm proud of."
no. No way was he going to let this slide now. Not now. He reached
out to put a hand on Ben's shoulder, as Ben had done for him that night
outside Beth Botrelle's house, then leaned forward and wrapped his arms
around Ben, as he'd wished would have happened that night, but that had
been before either of them had realized that more comfort could be offered,
and not rejected.
figured it was, Ben. Look, we all got stuff we wish we hadn't done,
but if we're gonna be together I need to understand you, and I can't
if you don't let me. Talk to me. Tell me about it. Don't shut me out.
I can deal with anything but that."
ragged sigh shuddered through Ben's body, and he stared off into space.
"There was someone in my past. A woman."
nodded. "You read my file?"
smiled. "Hey, you read mine. Turnabout's fair play."
Ben chuckled a little.
"I suppose that's true. I won't ask how you got it. So, you know
Just what was in the file, officially. Wasn't much, but I could read
a little between the lines. She really had you in a knot."
Ben sighed. "That's
one way to put it. God, Ray, I was so lonely, and I loved her, or maybe
just the idea of her, so much. I would have done anything for her.
Anything. The night we . . . were together, there were candles. So
many, almost like a church, a church of passion, and deceit. And when
she left me I lit the candles again, trying to draw her back to me, trying
to create that feeling again. I allowed her to take a part of my soul
with her, and my essential self has been darker since that night."
Ray said quietly. "Just don't. Don't think that about yourself.
You're the brightest soul I know. Don't torture yourself over it. We
all make mistakes."
like this. Ray, I was going with her. I was going to go with her, to
abandon everything I've ever been taught was right, simply because I
thought I loved her. If Ray hadn't shot me by accident, I would have
been on that train with her, against every principle I have."
Ray sighed. Damn it.
Here it was again. This was starting to suck. He needed to find a new
way to approach this. Like everybody didn't sometimes do this kind of
shit? Oh. Wait. Yeah, that was it. That might work.
If we're gonna go wadin' in the deep stuff here we might as well get
comfortable." He eased down onto his back, pulling Ben with him,
pushing and pulling until he had Ben turned, his body alongside his own,
his head resting against Ray's shoulder. That way he could see his face,
touch him, but it wasn't as easy for Ben to see him, especially his face.
Fingers idly playing through the thick waves of Fraser's hair, he started
I get that. I really do. Love makes ya crazy. I mean, lookit me, I
was stalkin' Stella, even though I knew that was wrong. You tried to
make it sound better, but I knew what I was doin' and she had me pegged.
Loneliness can make ya kinda nutty too. I mean, I done some stuff I'm
not proud of, either."
looked at Ben, saw his color was a little better. There was less tension
under his fingers. He was taking a big risk here, opening up to this
extent. He could barely stand to think of this himself, he could imagine
how Ben would take it. Ben, whose idea of a hideous sin was a white
lie. God. He was scared. He swallowed hard, hoped Fraser wouldn't
understand why his heart was suddenly pounding in his chest, wouldn't
smell that fear-smell on him. He breathed in a deep breath, and let
it out again, then cleared his throat.
Stel an' I split up, it got bad sometimes. So much of what I was seemed
to all be tied up in her. I had no idea who I was any more, if I was
a good guy, or a bad guy. Sometimes I did stuff, stuff that was kinda
bad. Like, there was this hooker who worked in my district, Keesha Mullins.
Kind of pretty. Nicer than most. Too young, barely eighteen I found
out later, though she looked more like thirty. She was tryin' to go
it freelance, but there was a pimp who kept tryin' to tie her to his
string. One night after work, I was in the bar she usually worked,
drinkin' my way through a fifth of Scotch, 'cause that was the only way
I knew to make it stop hurting."
made a soft protest, but Ray shook his head. "Nah, it's okay.
I'm over that. Anyway, she comes over and asks me if I'd help her.
She knew I was a cop, but I was an okay guy, didn't hassle the workin'
girls, they're just tryin' t' make a livin'. She thought maybe I could
make the guy's life tough and he'd leave her alone. Offers to 'help
me out' if I'd help her out. Work out a trade. Guess it was pretty
obvious I was lonely." He closed his eyes, remembering the desperation
in her eyes, feeling a little sick. He could feel tears running down
his face, but didn't dare lift a hand to wipe them away because then
Ben might know he was crying. Somehow he kept that out of his voice.
"An' I did it.
Instead of tryin' to get her some help, maybe see if we could find her
a real job, maybe put her in a program somewhere. I did it. I let her
get me off, an' then when I sobered up, well, I knew it was a dumb idea,
but I couldn't back out, not after I promised her. So I went to see
the guy, did my Bad Cop routine, told him t'lay off her, let her work
her spots, no hassles, or I'd bust him. The guy says okay. Two days
later, they find her in a dumpster. Overdose, or so they wrote it up,
maybe accidental, or maybe somebody did it on purpose, no way to tell.
Now, tell me that ain't worse than anything you ever did."
* * *
Ben waited through Ray's
confession, feeling the body under his taut with something more than
simple tension, understanding that for some reason, he needed, really
needed to say this. He also understood that Ray didn't want him to look
at his face as he spoke, the hand in his hair, told him that, even after
it stopped stroking and just rested there, unmoving. When he finished,
Ben could think of nothing to say at first. He was shocked, more than
a little, at what he'd heard. Yet this was Ray, and he knew that his
friend was at heart a good and decent man. If he had indeed done this
thing, it was only because at the time he had been hurting so much he
had not been able to think clearly. Troubled, but knowing that his silence
must be excruciating to Ray, he spoke.
there was no way you could have predicted that outcome. You were simply
trying to help her."
shook his head, Ben could feel it. "No, Ben! Don't make excuses
for me! If I really wanted to help her, I'd have done it right. No,
I knew it was wrong when I did it, an' I did it anyway. Yeah, I was
crazy-lonely, and feelin' like shit, and so screwed up I couldn't see
straight, but even then I knew it was wrong, dead wrong. I know it,
and you know it."
felt a drop of hot moisture on the back of his neck, and suspected Ray
was crying. That was confirmed a moment later when he sniffed a little,
and lifted a hand, probably wiping his eyes. It wasn't the first time
Ray had cried in his presence, nor would it be the last, he suspected.
Ray was so much more emotionally open than he was, so much more honest.
Ben turned, sitting up, reaching out to take his lover in his arms,
but Ray shook his head and pushed Ben away, staring into his face intently.
"See, the difference
between you an' me, Ben, is I know I'm human. I'm flawed. I make mistakes.
I screwed up, and I admit it. I regret it, and will for the rest of
my life, but I'm human and human beings make mistakes. We screw up.
That's where we're most different. Even though I'd give anything to
go back and fix the mistakes I've made, when I screw up, it may take
awhile, but eventually I pick up the pieces and get past it the best
I can. You screw up, it's like the end of the world. You get stuck
there, like one of those strips of twisted paper that you make into a
circle that connects back on itself. I don't do that. You do. You
understand what I'm tellin' ya, y'thick-skulled Canadian?" he ended,
almost yelling in his need to make Ben understand him.
stared at him, wide-eyed, but thoughtful. A Mobius strip. Yes, an amazingly
apt simile, if inelegantly put. He was, indeed, like a Mobius strip,
endlessly looping back onto his own pain. Ray was right. He had to
find a way to break that pattern, to move past the pain. Ray was the
first step on that new path, the break in the strip that would allow
him to change his destination. Finally he nodded. "Yes, Ray.
I think I do."
me then, so I'll know if y'got it right."
saying that I should forgive myself for the mistakes I made with Victoria."
Ray closed his eyes in
relief. "Yes. Yes, that's it, exactly. But not just her. Everything.
Every mistake you've ever made. Let them go, Ben. Let 'em go."
It was so much easier
said than done. "I don't know that I can," Ben sighed.
Ray sighed back. "Try.
Promise me you'll try. 'Cause until y' do that, you can't really be
alive an' it freaks me out when ya play dead, okay? I get scared you
might not make it back."
smiled a little at that, remembering Ray's voice calling him back from
within the well of catatonia. Obligations. Perhaps this was one of
those obligations his father had mentioned, though he had his doubts.
No, this was an obligation he owed himself. The obligation to really
live. The obligation to love. The obligation to go forward, instead
of back. His father was in the past. All his life was in his past.
He needed to create a future. "I will try, Ray. I give you my word."
Ray grinned, that quick,
open, brilliant smile of his, incongruous with the tears that still gleamed
on his face. "Yeah!" he exclaimed, punching the air with
a clenched fist. "That's like saying it's a done deal. I know that,
there was no contradicting that without chasing away that smile, so Ben
let it go. Trying was a big step in the first place. He looked over
at the single candle on the dresser, and suppressed a shudder. It wasn't
going to be easy. Ray's arms went around him suddenly, pulling his
attention from the flickering flame.
it out, Ben. Don't think of her. Think of me. Toldja I don't like
ta share, especially not with some heartless bitch. Think of me. See
me. Not her."
of him. Oh yes. He closed his eyes, and thought of Ray, his strong,
slender body, his generous heart, his quick smile, and sarcastic humor.
Ray. Candle. Ray. Ray burned golden, like the flame. Ben leaned in
to kiss him, only to have him pull back.
don't, I'm all yucky . . . "
held his face between his palms and kissed him anyway, cutting off his
protest, tasting the salt where tears had touched his lips, using his
tongue to cleanse the taste away, then going after the tear tracks on
his face, and his eyes. Ray started to laugh, pushing at him feebly.
"Ben, yer worse
than Diefenbaker! Enough lickin' me!"
made Ben laugh, and he had to stop. Ray wiped at his face with one hand.
Geez, next thing I know you'll be jumpin' on my stomach while I'm on
the couch, an' beggin' fer doughnuts," Ray said, scowling at him,
but his eyes were full of humor.
can think of many things I might beg you for, Ray, but doughnuts aren't
among them," Ben said, attempting a sultry look.
must've worked, because Ray looked rather as if he'd been hit in the
head with a brick. He swallowed, hard.
it, Ben, do not do that. I couldn't get it up now if my life
depended on it. We gotta get some sleep, sometime, or I do anyhow.
I know y'c'n sleep while yer walkin' and talkin' but I can't. So just
cut it out. Okay?"
sighed. "Very well, Ray."
looked at him, and rolled his eyes. "Oh, man. Not that look. Please.
Not that one."
look?" Ben asked innocently.
know what look. That 'I'm disappointed but I'll live, maybe, if I don't
die in the next ten seconds an' it's all yer fault' look. With the eyelashes
an' everythin'. How the hell did you learn that look? That's a chick
not to smile, didn't manage it. "Well, I must admit, I learned
it from Francesca."
knew it. I knew it! Not fair! You know I'm a sucker for. .
. " he stopped momentarily as Ben bent and tasted the hollow at
the base of his of his throat, licking there.
to resist the smooth, sleek skin, Ben slid a hand over the firm arch
of pectoral muscle, fingers playing with a nipple, which hardened instantly.
God," Ray moaned. "Ben, I can't. I really can't. I just
don't have it in me."
slid his tongue along Ray's left clavicle, then up the side of his throat,
enjoying the sensual rasp of stubble against his tongue. "You don't
need to have it in you, so long as I can have it in you."
groaned, Fraser wasn't sure if it was because of the pun, or something
more primitive, and shifted a little beneath his weight. He wedged a
thigh between Ben's, and shook his head as he felt Ben's erection against
Ben. You are unreal! You been lyin' about your age? You can't be more
lifted his head, staring into Ray's face, puzzled. "Why do you
say that, Ray?"
grinned evilly. "'Cause nobody but a teenager gets hard this fast,
this often. Yer a freak of nature, Ben. Course, that ain't necessarily
a bad thing'. . ."
smiled. "Well, I suppose I'm merely making up for lost time. Or
perhaps you might call me a late bloomer."
bloomin' you certainly are," Ray breathed, eyes closing his hand
skimming down Ben's back to curve over one cheek, long fingers searching
out the sensitive opening there, pressing inside. Ben shuddered against
him, moaning, hips moving. He really, really liked that. And Ray was
getting really good at it, too. Ray pushed deeper, harder, and Ben jerked
a little, gasping, thinking somewhat less than coherently that fingers
were definitely a good invention. Someone should be commended for that.
to taste, he found Ray's mouth again, and kissed him deeply, licking
into his mouth, feeling the slick, hard surfaces of teeth, the soft warmth
of his tongue, now playing teasingly with his own. Tears gone, there
was no more salt, now he tasted sweet, and faintly gingery. Ben lifted
his head, momentarily distracted.
you give Diefenbaker cookies?"
nodded guiltily. "Just ginger-snaps, they're low fat."
"They are not, however,
low calorie," Fraser said sternly.
I promised him, remember?"
Right you are. Next time, don't promise."
won't," Ray promised. "No more cookies. What about you?
You wanna cookie?"
I want you."
chuckled, easing his fingers from Ben's body, making him gasp as they
were withdrawn. "You really are butch tonight, aren't you?"
Ben frowned. "You
said that before, but I don't believe I know anyone by that name, at
least not down here. There was a Butch Throcklehurst up in Yellowknife,
but I'm sure you're not speaking of . . . " Ray's laughter finally
made him shut up, and he lifted his eyebrows. "What?"
"God, Ben, I do
love you, y'know. You never worked Vice, didja? Anywhere?"
Ben shook his head.
"No, Ray. Never."
as much. Okay, Ray's Vice-Squad Dictionary time. Butch means masculine,
or aggressive, it mostly refers to the dom half of a couple."
Ben looked at him blankly.
sighed looking a little exasperated. "Dominant, Ben. Kinda the
same as butch, as in 'butch' and 'femme' or dominant and submissive.
Okay? Got it?"
nodded. Butch. That did explain a couple of overheard conversations
about Inspector Thatcher. He frowned. He would have to speak to Detective
Dewey about that. Entirely inappropriate. He went over Ray's definition
again in his head, and feeling a trifle mischievous, he looked down at
I'm 'butch' that would make you . . ."
not go there," Ray said with a severe look. "Do not even think
it, at all. Not if you value your life."
noted the use of correct English and nodded. "Understood."
"Good. Now, where
believe you were protesting that you couldn't possibly have sex again
tonight and I was attempting to convince you otherwise."
laughed. "Oh yeah, that was it. Good memory. Well, keep goin'.
rolled his hips forward, stroking himself against the hard arch of Ray's
thigh where it rode between his own. Ray's arms curved around Ben,
petting his back as he rubbed his nose along the line of Ben's collarbone,
licking at it absently. Ben put a hand under his chin and lifted his
face so they could kiss. God, he loved Ray's mouth. That beautifully
drawn upper lip, contrasted with the fuller lower one, the slight upcurve
at the corners that betrayed his essential amusement. He sucked softly
at that fullness, flicking it with his tongue until Ray opened his mouth
and gave him access to the ginger-sweetness within. Ben kissed him deeply,
stealing his breath, body moving against Ray's like an exotic dancer's,
working hard to convince him. Finally he lifted his head, staring down,
panting a little, asking his question with his eyes. Ray smiled that
lopsided, engaging smirk that drove Ben half crazy.
okay," Ray said a little huskily. "So maybe I could, one more
time, just for you. But after that, sleep. I'm gonna be quick-fried
to a crackly-crisp if I don't get some rest soon."
words were said with affectionate amusement, but something in them made
Ben look at him more closely, and he saw the dark circles under Ray's
eyes were darker and his usually warmly-golden skin was paler than normal.
He did look tired. Very tired. It suddenly dawned on him that he was
being exceptionally inconsiderate. He'd kept Ray up all night the previous
night, and the night before that. Work had kept them out late tonight,
but after that . . . appalling. What had gotten into him? He'd spent
years ignoring his body's demands; there was no reason to indulge them
now at Ray's expense.
sorry, Ray, I'm being thoughtless. Please, go to sleep."
looked up at him, startled, then his eyes narrowed. "What did you
dear. He probably should have put that another way. Ray had a 'thing'
about him being selfless. Although, frankly, Ben didn't see how a relationship
could possibly work when one party was continually insisting that the
other should be more selfish, at his own exp. . . Oh. It dawned on
him suddenly, that what he'd just been thinking was exactly what Ray
had been trying to tell him for some time now. He'd simply been too
dense to see it. He felt a blush heat his face, and unconsciously rolled
his head to crack his neck. Ray was watching him, looking puzzled, and
a little annoyed. Ben smiled a little, and faked a yawn, consciously
willing his arousal to fade.
I find I'm a little fatigued myself, and since, ideally, what I'd like
to do with you would involve a shower, let's just wait until we wake
up, all right?"
eyes widened. "A shower? What . . . ?"
smiled, mysteriously, he hoped. Ray had taken the bait, and in so doing,
was completely distracted from his annoyance. "You'll see."
"I wanna know now."
"Where's the fun
in that? There's no anticipation."
can I anticipate unless I know what it is?" Ray complained.
an interesting thing," Ben commented blandly as he rolled out of
bed and went to blow out the candle. It was a fire hazard. In the darkness,
he slid back into the bed, found the covers, and drew them up around
himself, and Ray.
made a sound remarkably similar to Diefenbaker's grumble. "Hrmmm.
I smell a rat."
didn't know you had such a keen sense of smell. Perhaps you should have
an exterminator in."
punched him in the arm, lightly. "I meant the large, intelligent
true that Rattus norvegicus, also known as the brown, or Norwegian
rat, can grow relatively large, and is considered to be quite intelligent."
"Mmhmmm. What about
the Canadian rat? They smart too?"
smiled into the darkness. "Of course they are, Ray. They're Canadian."
* * *
Ray woke up, sprawled
face-down, diagonally across the bed. Automatically he reached for Ben,
but his hand encountered nothing but sheets. He tried the other side,
found a pillow, and more sheets. No Ben. He pushed himself up on his
elbows and looked around the dimly-lit room, squinting at the clock.
12:16. The 'p.m.' indicator glowed beside the letters. Thinking that
it was awfully dark for noon he looked over at the window, and realized
there were a pair of towels draped over the curtain-rod, darkening the
room far more than the curtains usually did. So, Ben had definitely
been here. But where was he now?
quick glance around told him that Ben's jeans, socks, and boots weren't
on the floor by the bed where they had been the night before. For that
matter, neither were his own. No, wait, his boots were over by the dresser,
neatly side-by-side. And his t-shirt was folded and on top of the dresser.
Obviously Fraser had been neatening up. His mom would like that. Ray
experienced a brief moment of panic at that thought, until he remembered
that she'd already been in to iron his shirts this week, and wouldn't
be back until next. Whew. Actually, knowing his mom, she'd be shocked
at first, but then she'd just pretend nothing unusual was going on and
while she was at it, decide to adopt Fraser and start feeding him. No,
it was his dad who would be the problem. Dad wouldn't understand this.
At all. But he wouldn't be able to ignore it, either. Putting that
thought firmly out of his mind, he wondered where the hell Fraser was,
and why he wasn't in bed where he belonged?
stood up and went to the doorway. Fraser was sitting on the couch, with
what appeared to be a pile of blue fabric in his lap, a needle and thread
in one hand, sewing intently. Sewing? That was taking the domesticity
bit a little too far, in Ray's opinion. What the heck would he be sewing
on anyway? For that matter, where would he have gotten a needle and
thread? Ray didn't do mending. Stuff got holes in it, he threw it away
and bought new. Or just kept wearing it until it was impossible to wear
any more. He didn't mend.
food-ish sorts of scents drew him toward the kitchen, where he found
a pot of coffee, real coffee, not instant, keeping warm in the pot on
the coffee-maker. Geez, he hadn't used the thing in months. He was surprised
it still worked. Guiltily he wondered if he'd remembered to empty it
last time, or if Ben had been forced to clean moldy, dried-up coffee
sludge out of the pot. But coffee wasn't the smell that had drawn him
. . . his gaze moved around the kitchen, looking for anomalies. First
off, it was clean. How'd Fraser managed that without making enough noise
to wake the dead? Then Ray spotted the source of the smell, something
in a pie-tin sitting on the stove. Pie tin? He didn't own a pie-tin.
Or hadn't until today. He eyed it askance; the contents didn't look much
like pie. Didn't smell like one either. In fact, it looked suspiciously
like. . .
Ray. Did you sleep well?"
turned quickly to find Ben watching him from the couch, a smile on his
face. He felt himself smiling back broadly as he raked a hand through
his hair and stretched a little. "Yeah, great, actually. But
you shouldn'ta let me sleep so long. Half the day's gone!"
"Clearly you needed
the rest. And really, it was only a normal eight hours from when you
fell asleep at any rate."
grinned. "Fraser, the words 'normal' and 'eight hours' and 'sleep'
do not belong together. Not on my planet. What is that?" he asked,
pointing at the pie-tin.
and broccoli quiche."
been right. It was exactly what he thought it was. Fraser cleaning
up, sewing, and making quiche? He shook his head.
this will not do! Yer makin' me dizzy."
stared at him, wide-eyed. "Excuse me?"
last night, now this? Settle somewhere, okay? I don't do schizophrenia
afraid I don't understand . . . "
you wouldn't, wouldja?" he sighed, shaking his head. "Never
mind, why should this be any less weird than the rest of my life these
days? Didn't anybody ever tell you real men don't eat quiche?"
"No, Ray, I wasn't
aware there were any gender-based dietary restrictions in this country.
Though, I believe that at one time in the Hawaiian Islands, the consumption
of bananas was limited to men only, an interesting proscription when
you think about it, considering the highly phallic . . ."
Ben looked up. "Yes,
with the history lesson."
Ray couldn't help it,
he chuckled. "You are a freak, Fraser. But yer my freak. An'
I guess I'm pretty much a freak too, so that's okay. Quiche, hunh?
frowned. "I thought you said . . ."
was a joke, Fraser. A really old an' dumb one, but I guess one that
never made it to the Land of Ice and Snow. Just let it go, okay?"
you hungry? It's probably cooled enough to eat by now."
you get the stuff to make it? Borrow it from a neighbor?"
I went to the market."
the closest grocery store is two miles away!"
Diefenbaker needed a walk, and I was feeling restive, so . . ."
"Didja go to a fabric
frowned. "No, what makes you ask that?"
gestured toward the Mountie's lap.
that." Ben blushed, and held up what he was working on.
squinted, and the shape resolved itself into a pair of jeans.
was attempting to repair the damage I did last night," Ben said
sheepishly. "Fortunately I was able to find a sewing kit at the
market, and it looks as if I will be able to make the repair, though
I wouldn't recommend doing any strenuous exercise in them."
Ray chuckled, shaking
his head. "I'll keep that in mind." He reached into the cupboard
and got out a mug, poured coffee into it, reached for the drawer where
he kept his usual sweetener, and stopped. Since Ben had gone to all
the trouble of making real coffee, he ought to treat it better. He was
about to go searching for the sugar bowl to see if there was anything
in it, when Ben spoke again, closer now, he'd put down the mending and
come to stand on the other side of the pass-through.
at him, looked at his cup, shrugged, and tasted. Coffee. Chocolate.
Just a hint of sweetness. But no trace of the sludgy texture or faint
'candy shell' flavor the M&M's usually gave it. He swallowed, and looked
at Ben. "Nice. How'd you do that?"
a quarter of a Ghirardelli dark chocolate bar."
Would wonders never cease? The Mountie knew his chocolate. Ray grinned.
"Now I know ya love me," he teased. "Not only did ya
make me breakfast and fix my jeans, ya sprang for the expensive
surprise, Ben didn't seem amused by that. In fact, he frowned slightly.
Ray felt a little moment of fear, wondering what mistake he'd just made.
"Ray, I know
. . . I mean, I'm not good at, at saying--"
Now he knew. He smiled gently. "'S'okay, Ben. I know. I was
just teasin' ya."
nodded, looking relieved. "I'll just get out the plates. How hungry
You know that. I'm always starvin'."
smiled, and headed for the quiche. Ray decided he felt a little strange
standing around in his birthday suit while Ben was fully clothed, so
he took his coffee back to the bedroom and rummaged around until he found
his favorite sweat pants. Holey. Stretched-out. Paint-stained. Nothing
at all like Fraser's sweats. He pulled on the pants, and a muscle-tee,
and still felt oddly naked. Then he realized why and reached for his
bracelet where he'd left it on the night-stand. It wasn't there. He
frowned, and leaned down to see if it had fallen off onto the floor.
said softly from behind him. "Hold out your wrist."
straightened, startled. Fraser stood only a foot or so away. He held
the chain, dangling from his fingers.
thought you might want it. I cleaned it up."
was more the word for it. It probably hadn't been that shiny when it
was new. Ray held out his arm and Ben looped the chain around his wrist
once, twice. Their eyes met and held, and a shiver of sensual awareness
went through Ray. Ben's tongue flickered out across his lower lip, then
he took a deep breath and closed the catch with fingers that shook slightly.
His fingers lingered on Ray's wrist, sliding the beads around.
"I do, you know,"
he said quietly, his voice as shaky as his fingers.
couldn't breathe for a moment, so he nodded, and finally found breath,
and voice. "I know. I do know. You don't have to say it. I know
it's hard for you."
's eyes lifted to his, their bright blue shadowed, shook his head. "I
want to say it, I need to, but . . ."
felt an overwhelming desire to go back in time and pound some sense into
Ben's family, but that wasn't possible. Instead, he pulled Ben into
his arms. "No rush, Ben. We got time," he said, stroking
his back, holding him wordlessly, absorbing the feel of Ben's strong,
sturdy frame against his own slighter one.
breathing synched up, and he could smell the faint hint of sweat that
came from wearing the same clothes two days in a row and going for a
four-mile round-trip walk to the grocery store with a rambunctious wolf.
He nuzzled Ben's neck, breathing deeply, wondering when he'd gotten so
hooked that he even found the scent of Ben's sweat sexy. He felt the
rasp of stubble against his temple and realized that Ben hadn't shaved.
He pulled back and looked. Sure enough, a strong line of beard-shadow
darkened his jaw and framed his mouth. He'd been up, probably for hours
now, and still hadn't shaved? In fact, his flannel shirt wasn't tucked
in, and both t-shirt and jeans were faintly wrinkled from their overnight
stay on Ray's floor. Ray smiled.
get a day off an' yer personal hygiene goes all to pot," he teased.
Ben colored instantly.
"I didn't want to wake you by making noise in the bathroom . . ."
Ray laughed softly.
"I like it. You scruff up nice."
looked at him sideways, intently. "Not as nicely as you do."
"You really are
unhinged," Ray said affectionately, wondering if he should even
bother to try to convince the Mountie that he was the most gorgeous thing
on the planet, scruffed or not. It wouldn't do any good, and it would
just make him blush, and all that blood could be better used somewhere
else. "Speaking of personal hygiene, didn't you say somethin' last
night about a shower?"
closed his eyes, teeth closing on his lower lip, and a soft sound escaped
him, not quite a moan, not quite a groan, not quite a sigh. "Yes.
Ray wasn't the only one who repeated himself under stress. Now he was
really starting to wonder what Ben had in mind, if it made him react
like that. God, just watching that reaction made him hard, and he was
glad he'd chosen something loose to wear. Then Ben took a deep breath
and control slipped back over his face like a veil.
said . . ." Ben had to stop and clear his throat, then he went
on. "You said you were hungry. We should eat first."
"I'm always hungry,"
Ray said huskily. "I'd rather fuck first."
Cooking-cleaning-mending Ben disappeared in a heartbeat and Ray found
himself pulled up against a veritable wall of solid chest and thighs,
and his mouth was being devoured. Oh God, it was good, the thrust of
tongue like a second cock in his mouth, twinned erections pressing against
each other, grinding a little as Ben spread a hand over his ass and pushed
his hips forward. Oh yeah. This beat out food any day. Ray pushed forward
a little, until Ben got the hint and started to back toward the door,
still kissing him, hand tugging and pulling at his sweats until he could
get his hand inside and fingers cupped bare cheeks.
they made it to the bathroom, and Ray was disappointed when he had to
break contact and turn away in order to reach in and turn on the shower,
but then Ben started kissing and licking the back of his neck and he
wasn't disappointed anymore. God, he'd discovered more erogenous zones
in the last week than he had in the entire life previous to this. Who
would have guessed the back of his neck could possibly have so many direct
nerve-attachments to his groin? After some fumbling, he managed to get
the water adjusted to a reasonable temperature, and stepped back from
the tub, only to have Ben's arms go around him from behind, to catch
the bottom of his tank, and yank it unceremoniously off over his head.
Then those hands were dragging his sweats down, and off, and he was naked
again for the second time in less than ten minutes.
reciprocated, helping Ben strip off his clothes as well, and then he
was being urged into the shower, Ben stepping in behind him and pulling
the glass-door closed to spare the bathroom from the splashback. Ray
braced a hand on the wall, waiting expectantly, and was very surprised
when the next touch he felt was not Ben's naked body against his back,
but the firm, slippery weight of soapy hands on his shoulders. Okay,
well, since he'd been encouraging Ben to do what he wanted, he couldn't
exactly object if what he wanted was to play 'Bath-time Ben' first.
And actually it did feel pretty good, as those strong fingers worked
their way down his shoulders, under his arms, over his chest, his stomach.
There they paused a little while, and Ben pulled him back against his
wet, naked, and obviously aroused body as he stroked at Ray's erection
until the soap all washed away in the streams of warm water spilling
soon, those big, clever hands left him again, just for a moment, then
Ray smelled the strong, citrusy smell of his shampoo and the fingers
were in his hair, massaging across his scalp. Felt great, actually.
He didn't think anyone had ever washed his hair for him before, well,
anyone intimate, not a hairstylist. It was different this way. Very
different. Strangely sensual. Ben finished with the wash cycle and
guided his head back under the spray to rinse, and then the spray was
suddenly gone, moving, as Ben unclipped the shower-massage unit from
its holder and used it to rinse all the leftover soap and shampoo from
when Ray was starting to wonder if a shower was all he was going to get,
Ben moved forward again, pushing a knee between Ray's legs to nudge him
into lifting one foot and bracing it against the rim of the tub. Ray
shivered sensually. Now. Now he was going to . . . no. The shower
spray moved again, between his spread thighs, angling up so the pulsing
water played over his crotch like a thousand warm, wet fingers. Or tongues.
Oh yeah. Then there were more fingers, real ones, big, blunt ones, slippery
with soap, working there too, stroking, sliding, teasing.
gasped, knees going a little weak, nearly pitching him head-first into
the wall as one of those fingers slipped inside him probing shallowly.
Oh God, oh good, so good, never thought of soap as sexy before. More,
damnit, more. But more wasn't to be. Instead the finger was withdrawn,
and he heard the change in the hum of the massage unit as it was dialed
up to a stronger pulse, then the water was back on him, harder now, and
held close enough that it was actually. . . geez, sometimes Ben had some
really weird ideas, but damn, it felt kinda good, especially when combined
with a slow, gentle stroking of his cock. He was really starting to
get into it when suddenly both the water and the hand left him.
"Hey!" he protested,
hearing the water shut off. Opening his eyes, he blinked back the water
that dripped into them from his hair as he looked back over his shoulder
at Ben. "Why'd you stop?"
Ben lifted his eyebrows. "Who says we have?" He slid the
door open again, stepped out, then reached back to take Ray's hand and
pull him toward the opening. "Come on."
shook his hair back and followed, reaching for a towel, only to have
Ben tug it from his hand and toss it aside, then he was guiding him toward
the bedroom again, and pushing him down to sit on the bed, soaking wet.
Oh well, it would dry. He'd started to scoot back from the edge of the
bed when Ben planted a hand in the middle of his chest and pushed him
down onto his back with his legs over the edge, feet flat on the floor.
Then Ben was spreading his thighs apart with his hands and kneeling between
them, sliding his hands under his ass and lifting, hands firmly parting
his cheeks, the hot wet flicker of tongue against extremely sensitive
flesh, slipping deeper, inside. Lick, flicker, tease, probe.
writhed, moaning, out of his mind, stunned, and riding the bliss of that
hot, silky touch, almost ready to come just from that incredibly intimate
caress, until some tiny, rational corner of his mind protested and his
whole body went taut as he realized exactly what Ben was doing and .
. . oh fuck, no way. Oh God.
Jesus, stop that! That's, that's dis . . . "
it's not," Ben interrupted, lifting his head, looking simultaneously
seductive and mulish, if such a thing were possible. "It's very
erotic, and I find it extremely arousing, as, clearly, do you."
he said, with a meaningful look at Ray's erection.
No lying possible with that sort of evidence at hand. "God, yeah,
it feels . . . it's incredible, but you're gonna catch something . .
he sounded exasperated. "I knew you'd react like this. That's
why the shower. I could 'catch something' from eating at that hot-dog
stand you favor. Frankly, I could 'catch something' from eating food
prepared in your kitchen, at least before I cleaned it. However, at
this moment, I suspect I'd be more likely to 'catch something' from kissing
your mouth than your . . ."
sentence ended suddenly, as if someone had hit the stop button on a cd-player,
and Ray watched as a blush spread into Ben's face, and knew, he just
knew that Ben couldn't bring himself to say it. And that was so damned
funny he started laughing. The Mountie could kiss it, lick it, put his
tongue in there, and he couldn't say the word. Any word. Even a nice
clinical, anatomical, non-slangy word. And he also realized that Ben
was probably right. He probably could catch something more easily
from his mouth. Since Ben was pretty much always right that reassured
him a little.
taking his laughter for consent, Ben lifted him again, bent his head,
and that incredible tongue went back to work. Laughter stopped instantly,
choking into a low moan as sensuality warred with caution. Sensuality
won, hands-down, no contest, and Ray surrendered to this new delight
as Ben licked, and sucked, and tormented him until he was whimpering
and sobbing and so hot he was trying to fuck thin air. He felt as if
his whole body were one big, supersensitized nerve-ending, but still
he needed more. So much more. He didn't want to come like this, not
alone. He needed Ben with him. In him. All the way.
stop. Now," he ordered in a ragged voice.
stopped, immediately, and looked up, a worry line forming across his
forehead. Ray smiled, sat up, and slid off the bed onto Ben's lap,
careful not to come down hard on anything vulnerable. As the concern
began to fade from Ben's face Ray kissed him, hard, and deep, slowly
rocking his engorged penis against Ben's in a delicious torture. Finally
Ray drew back and looked down into Ben's passion-slackened face.
"I need y' t'move,
Ben. Sit with y'r back against the bed, 'kay? Can y' do that?"
Slowly, as if coming
back from unconsciousness, Ben blinked, and nodded. "Yes, yes,
I can do that."
shifted his weight, moving aside to give Ben room to move, then as soon
as he had done so, he was back again, straddling his lover's thighs,
knees on the floor. Reaching down, he found Ben's erection stroked it,
spreading slick pre-ejaculate over the head, down the sides, then wrapping
his fingers around it, holding it firmly in place as he eased down.
gasped. "You're not . . ."
Ray said, preventing further objections by the simple expedient of kissing
Ben, though it was difficult to maintain that contact when what he really
wanted to be doing was moaning, and panting as his body adjusted to the
getting easier. Even now, without anything more than nature provided
to ease the way. He was getting the hang of how to relax, so even that
first little bit wasn't so difficult, and the part after was still as
spectacular as ever. God, was it. Not just the sheer physical pleasure
of it, but the incredible intimacy, the trust. And he did trust Ben,
with his body, his life, his soul. For the first time in his life he
felt secure, knowing that Ben wouldn't hurt him. He didn't have it
in him to hurt anyone. It simply wasn't in his nature. Of course, the
sheer physical pleasure certainly wasn't the worst thing about their
arrangement, either, he thought, easing his hips in a slow circle. He
was finding that Fraser was indefatigable. Loved that word. It was
so Ben. Oh yeah.
moaned into Ben's mouth. So good. So good. Ben moaned right back,
his hands coming up to fan over Ray's hips, not guiding him, or pushing,
no, Ben would never do that, but just . . . encouraging. Ray rocked
against him, finding this position gave him amazing control, and better
yet, let them be face-to-face, so they could kiss, so he could watch
the ebb and flow of pleasure on Ben's face as he moved. One of Ben's
hands slid down from his hip to stroke his cock, making Ray gasp, and
buck hard against him. He clutched at Ben's shoulders with both hands,
panting, riding him for all he was worth. The strong, muscular thighs
between his own tensed as Ben tried to push upward in counterpoint to
Ray's downward strokes, but gravity and a hundred-fifty-some pounds of
fiercely aroused and determined Chicago detective conspired to keep him
Ben moaned, eyes squinted shut, his expression almost pained, shuddering,
close to falling.
took his face between his palms and kissed him, then drew back. "Look
at me. Look at me now."
opened his eyes, met his gaze. Thin rings of smoky blue iris surrounded
pupils so huge and dilated they made his eyes nearly black. Ray could
fall into those eyes and drown in them. Was drowning in them, in Ben,
in the pleasure, in the . . . God, in the love he saw there, naked and
shining. Pushed over the edge by what he saw in those eyes, Ray cried
out softly as his body was racked by shuddering waves of delight, feeling
the wet splatter of semen against his own skin. Ben's gaze lost all
focus then, and rolled back slightly as he came, too, teeth caught in
his lower lip, a raw, throaty groan torn from him, one hand clutching
hard at Ray's hip, as if to make sure he didn't move.
* * *
Ben held Ray tight against
him, feeling the trickle of sweat, and semen between them, feeling his
breathing slowly calming as the storm passed. With a little murmur of
discomfort, Ray shifted his hips, disengaging them, then settling closer
against him, relaxing all the way at last, all without moving out of
his arms. Ben worried at the sound, concerned by the lack of lubricant,
though the friction it had created had been stunningly erotic.
"Ray, are you all
right?" he asked quietly.
never better," Ray replied huskily, nuzzling his neck, licking that
spot under his ear that he seemed to have a fixation on.
sounded all right, and Ben trusted Ray not to lie to him. Relaxing a
little, Ben let himself go back to feeling stunned by what he'd seen
in Ray's eyes. So honest, so open. Ray loved him, he really did. Even
knowing him so well, knowing he was stubborn, opinionated, sometimes
even arrogant, Ray still loved him. Ben still had a hard time believing
that. Believing that he deserved it, that it was something he could
really have, for himself.
he knew why he felt that way. He had enough understanding of the human
psyche to understand that the loss of his mother and subsequent lack
of open affection in his childhood years had made him feel unworthy of
love, had led him to put up walls that kept people out, because that
was what he thought he was supposed to do. Knowing it didn't make it
any easier to stop feeling that way. But unlike most people who were
content to let those walls stand, Ray had insisted on more. He'd kicked
down the walls, and stormed past the remaining rubble like some sort
of commando intent on capturing the high ground. Which he had done.
Utterly and completely.
Ray Vecchio had opened a chink in his armor, Ray Kowalski had destroyed
it completely, using his own insecurity and vulnerability as a battering
ram. Ben could no more keep him at arm's length than he could ignore
a cry for help in a dark alley. No one else had ever needed him like
Ray Kowalski. He needed that need. He thrived on it. Ray Kowalski
was slowly, but surely, showing him how to open himself up, how to be
vulnerable, with the right people, the right person. Just as he was
slowly teaching Ray how to be less so, with the wrong ones. Equal needs,
both of them supplying something the other lacked.
Ray Vecchio he'd only had half the equation. He'd needed, but not been
needed in return. There had been nothing for him to give Ray Vecchio.
Nothing he couldn't get elsewhere, with less guilt. Not so with Ray
Kowalski. Ray gave and took in equal measure, and expected no less in
return. Both halves were there, and they produced a whole as a result.
Ben shuddered to think of what he might have become had Ray not been
there when he returned from Canada; had he not accepted that first, tentative
overture to possibly be more than just work-mates. Ray lifted his head.
I could turn up the heat."
shook his head. "No, Ray. I'm fine."
smiled wryly. "In a manner of speaking." Knowing Ray wouldn't
let it go until he explained, he went on. "I was just thinking
of what my life would be like without you in it."
was a moment of silence, then Ray spoke, his voice husky. "I know
what mine would be like."
Over? What did that
mean? Ben frowned and tried to lean back enough that he could see Ray's
face, but apparently he didn't want to be seen, as he kept his face turned
away. "I don't understand," he confessed after a moment.
Ray shook his head,
and sighed against his shoulder. "No, you wouldn't. An' that's
okay. Don't need to."
It wasn't all right. There was only one thing he could think of that
made sense in context, and he couldn't bring himself to think that was
what Ray had meant. He was too alive, too vibrant for that to ever have
been a consideration, wasn't he? Ben shifted position, still trying
to see Ray's face, and Ray still avoided letting him.
I do need to. I need to understand. Are you saying you would have .
. . ?"
not like that," Ray said, interrupting him, saving him from having
to ask the question he didn't want to ask. "But I think I might
have, sort of by accident. You know how easy it can be. Just stand
up at the wrong moment, or go into one wrong spot without backup. I
was that low, when I took Vecchio's place. I really was. Then you showed
up, and things just got . . . different. Crazy, but in a good way.
An' all the sudden, I start to know who I am, when I didn't before."
Ben closed his eyes,
remembering how fragile Ray had seemed when they first met. He realized
suddenly that perhaps he had not, after all, discerned just how unhappy
Ray had been then. But he had known something was wrong and gone about
trying to help in the only ways he could think of. By reminding Ray
at every turn that he was a good man, a good cop, by protecting him from
the barbs of his fellow officers while he got his feet under him, and
by trying to protect him from being hurt by Stella yet again, though
that hadn't worked well. Unfortunately he'd allowed his protective instincts
to become a bit stifling, but they had worked through that during the
Henry Allen incident.
fact that Ray had stood up for himself, and fought for his needs and
his equality then had shown Ben how far he'd come. Had brought him, shockingly,
to realize that he needed Ray every bit as much as Ray needed him. It
had also shown him that Ray believed in himself again. The man with no
self-esteem was now willing to argue procedure with Federal agents, and
disregard their demands when Ben's life was at stake (Huey had told him
about that after the fact). Even to defy Welsh' orders when they contradicted
his 'gut instinct' about how a situation should be handled. It amazed
him that really, he had done nothing more than be Ray's friend, and it
had made that much difference.
his heart Ben understood how important that was. There had been days
when it was all that had kept him going, as well. And somewhere along
the line that friendship had deepened, grown, evolved, now, into this.
Love. It bothered him that he could hardly bring himself to even think
the word, though he knew he felt it, deeply. He remembered telling his
father that he wished he had said it while he was alive, and the reaction
that had gotten. It was no wonder he had trouble expressing affection.
"I'm glad I
was able to be of assistance," he managed finally, and winced at
how stupid that sounded.
his surprise, Ray chuckled in response. "Assistance? Geez, Ben.
One of these days I'm gonna have to teach you to speak American. After
all, you do live here now."
shifted his weight a little, leaned back, and looked into Ben's face.
Ben was pleased to see that his eyes were warmly amused, all trace of
upset gone. Quicksilver moods, unlike Ben's longer-lasting ones. Perhaps
he could learn a little of that from Ray, learn how to let go. A sigh
welled up inside him, but he suppressed it. No need to spoil the moment
with his own emotional handicap. Ray looked into his eyes, and a slight
frown appeared on his face.
shook his head, smiling. "No Ray, nothing at all. Everything is
very, very right." Not a lie, a simple truth he needed to be more
him narrowly for a moment, then grinned. "Okay, good. But I gotta
move. Floor's hard on the knees, an' probably on your butt, too."
Ben considered that portion
of his anatomy, and nodded. "Perhaps a trifle."
chortled. "Trifle? There ya go again. On second thought, I won't
teach you American 'cause I like y'this way. Trifle. Shit. Too much,"
shaking his head he braced his hands on Ben's shoulders, got his feet
under him, and stood up, then extended a hand down to Ben, who took it.
Ray had to struggle a little to maintain his balance as he helped Ben
to his feet, and he shot a look at him, shaking his head.
don't get how you can outweigh me as much as you do an' not be fat when
you're only a couple of inches taller."
shrugged. "I simply have a larger frame."
right, that 'big boned' thing," Ray said, then he laughed wickedly
and slanted a glance toward Ben's crotch. "Oh, yeah. Definitely."
Ben felt the heat of
a blush, and dropped his gaze, embarrassed. "Ray, please!"
"I know, I know,
yer virgin ears an' all that. So, let's get a move on here, I want to
go out and do something fun with you, an' the day's wastin' away."
Ben's eyes widened, and
Ray laughed, reading his mind.
meant somethin' fun we can do with our clothes on, Ben, don't worry.
Ever been to the Art Institute?"
forgot his embarrassment as he realized Ray was serious, and felt a warm
glow spread through him. While he really did know that Ray didn't just
want him for his body, as the saying went, it was nice to have proof.
Of course, judging from his own actions the past few days, Ray couldn't
know that for certain either. He smiled, wondering if this was what
he had heard referred to as 'honeymoon syndrome.' He realized Ray was
still waiting for an answer, and brought his thoughts back to the question.
"No, Ray, I haven't."
"You been livin'
here how long now an' you never been there?" Ray asked incredulously,
looking shocked. "Geez, doncha got any culture, Mountie? I like
the moderns best, but just for you we can check out the Hudson River
School landscapes too. You can put up with my Moderns an' I'll put up
with your Romantics. That way we're both happy."
would like that very much, Ray, although, I assure you, I do appreciate
modern works as well as the classical ones."
snorted. "Yeah, right. Tell me another one. Come on, let's finish
up that shower thing fer real this time, eat, and get out of here."
Ben let Ray drag him
off to the shower, feeling pleased. A date. They were having a date.
Not just eating together, not just working together, not just making
love. Although, 'just' was an insufficient modifier for that last one.
Still, a date. Ray looked up from adjusting the water, and lifted his
are you grinnin' at, Red?"
didn't even bother to try to hide his smile. "You, Ray."
Ray ducked his head and
blushed, looking embarrassed. "Oh. Well, water's ready."
Ben tested the warm spray
with a hand and shook his head. "Oh no, this won't do at all if
we're going to shower together and you want us to leave the apartment
any time soon. Allow me." He leaned over and turned the cold water
up substantially. The shower spray cooled to a comfortable chill, and
Ben nodded, satisfied. "There. That should do it."
laughed, shaking his head. "Looney. Totally looney," he said,
and stepped in, gasping as the water hit his skin.
smiled, and stepped in behind him. A day at the Art Institute was worth
a few minutes of discomfort. Plus he still owed Ray dinner, steak, as
he recalled. And perhaps he could convince him about that salad. Or a
vegetable. Something green, anyway.
* * Finis * *
Comments to: Kellie