The Trick Is to Stop Breathing

Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Fraser/RayK
Rating: NC-17
Words: ~ 19.940
Disclaimer: Due South is the property of Alliance Atlantis. Written for fun not profit
Notes: Written for my wonderful Ride_Forever because it’s her birthday and there’s no better gift than presenting her all of her kinks in one neat story 😉
Summary: A follow-up of the story „Release Me“ – One year later, Ray stars in his own personal nightmare. And this time, his captor won’t be satisfied quite so easily.
Warnings: Oh boy… this list is as long as my arm. Sweetie, I hope I haven’t forgotten any: fuck or die, non-con, dub-con, knife-play, breath-play, hypoxia, water torture, drugs, Ray!under-the-influence, (Fraser!under-the-influence), h/c, angst – you probably hadn’t wanted it to turn out so dark… what can I say, my mind is a dark and scary place 😉   
 

A Nightmare in Two Parts

 

Water filled the cell faster than Ray would have thought possible. He tried to keep calm – no way was the guy gonna let him drown.

But the water continued to rush into Ray’s glass prison. Fear took hold of him. The water was enveloping him to the chin now. Ray started cursing. The water covered his mouth and nose. Ray tread water to stay above the surface, but the ceiling was already touching his head – there wasn’t much space to go anywhere.

Panicking, Ray started to slam his fists against the glass screen as the water continued to rise. Soon, he was completely engulfed. He tried to hold his breath for as long as he could, but his heart was beating as if he was running 100 Mph. He stared through the watery mass and could just about make out a few people standing in front of the tank that held him captive.

Ray pressed his lips tighter together. He couldn’t die like this. His heartbeat sounded unnaturally loud. He needed to breathe. He needed air. He was going to suffocate. He was going to die like this.

Air bubbles rose up as his lungs tried to get him to open his mouth. His vision was starting to flicker. On. Off. On. Off. As if someone was constantly hitting the light switch. Light, darkness. Light, darkness.

Darkness.

Darkness was welcome.

——————————————————————————————————

“Ray, are you sure I don’t have to see you home?” Fraser asked doubtfully.

“Yeah, sure I’m sure. I’m drunk, but not that drunk. Besides, it’s just a couple blocks.”

“Well, if you’re sure…” Fraser didn’t like it, but insisting on seeing Ray home seemed excessively over-protective.

Fraser had to admit that the celebration had gotten a little out of hand, but everyone had been in such good spirits after this especially tiresome case had been closed with a successful arrest, that it would have made Fraser look like a spoil-sport had he insisted that Ray drank less.

Ray was right. He could look after himself.

“I’ll see you on Monday then,” Fraser said questioningly.

“Right, Monday. One week of vacation coming right up.” Ray was dragging the vowels out with exaggerated care. Fraser tried to hide his amusement.

“I’ll come by and pick you and the furface up.”

“That would be very appreciated.”

They parted ways and Ray staggered in the direction of his apartment.

He never reached his apartment, though. About halfway there, Ray noticed a dark shadow out of the corner of his eye. But by then it was already too late.

Strong arms wrapped around him and a white cloth was pressed to his mouth. ’Chloroform,’ was the last coherent thought Ray had.

When Ray woke up, he was in a white, barren room. The only thing in it was a mattress. His mouth felt numb and the taste was strange – probably a residue of the Chloroform.

This room looked a lot like— a feeling of panic and disbelief came over him. This room looked exactly like the one from a year ago.

A shiver of dread slithered down Ray’s spine. He didn’t have much memory of his abduction. What little he remembered were flashes, little glimpses of random conversations and pictures. Oh, he remembered the having sex part alright. But nothing definite.

Most of what he remembered was hazy; snatches of vague memories – and he was more than a little grateful for that. He didn’t think that he could have kept working with Fraser if he had a clear recollection of what had happened.

…Fraser had made it real easy for him. The perfect gentleman. He had acted as if nothing out of the ordinary had happened between them, never referring to what he had to do in order to help Ray escape.

And Ray had known that nothing good would come of it when the police had found the warehouse empty. No trace of the bald guy or his crazy lab. As if he had vanished from the face of the earth.

The drug hadn’t even left a trace in Ray’s bloodstream. There was nothing they could have done. Ray had known that this was bad news— but he hadn’t foreseen that he would end up in the same situation a year later.

And this looked frighteningly similar.

Before Ray could even try to get his hands free that were tied behind his back, the door opened.

Two goons entered. Ray had no idea if he should have been able to recognize them. He simply couldn’t remember. They gripped his chained hands and pulled him up.

He started to struggle against their hold and managed to land a solid kick to someone’s shin. He threatened to jump Bogart all over them, and almost managed to bite the goon on his right side.

In the end, however, they wrestled him into an equally empty room despite his best efforts to break free. Those guys had some serious muscle to them.

Ray looked up. There was the bald guy; sitting in a comfortably looking chair, smack in the middle of the room, pleasantly smoking a cigarette.

Panic washed over Ray when he heard the silky voice. “How nice of you to join us.”

Before Ray had consciously decided what to do he was already struggling again, kicking and raving. He spit in the direction of the chair, but didn’t manage half the distance.

The man chuckled. “Feisty. I have to admit I’ve missed it.”

“You sick asshole! Let me go before I’ll rip your head off!” Ray shouted hoarsely.

“How savage.” The dark smile widened.

“You sick jerk! I’m gonna kick you in the head that you don’t know which year it is! Son of a bitch—”

“My, my… Language,” the man said mildly.

“You got a problem with my lingo?” Ray shouted in disbelief. “Deal with it,” he spat. “I call you whatever I feel like—who do you think you are?!” Ray shouted enraged.

“Ah, detective… *Namen sind Schall und Rauch* as Goethe put it – or as Shakespeare said, *What’s in a name?*”

“I don’t care about your artsy shit you sick, twisted, little—”

“I had forgotten how very hot-blooded you are,” the bald man murmured appreciatively.

Ray cursed silently.

“Well then, I suppose introductions are long overdue… I have to admit I’ve never been very fond of names – names give you such power over individuals, do they not? Are you familiar with the Bible, Ray?”

“Fuck you,” Ray said with feeling.

“You can call me ’O’,” the man continued unperturbed by Ray’s disinterest. “You see, I’m where everything began and I will be where everything ends. An ’O’ is a circle and therefore endless. I’m where it all comes together.” He looked expectantly at his visitor and was met with Ray’s less than impressed expression.

“You’re a sad asshole with too much time,” Ray declared and aimed another kick at the man holding him up.

O sighed.

“I don’t think you are open for what I have to teach you, yet.” He nodded at one of his goons who then advanced with a syringe in his left hand.

Ray’s eyes widened before he started to struggle for real. He managed to shake the guy on his right side off, before another one grabbed him from behind.

Ray’s struggle was in vain.

O smiled. It wasn’t reassuring.

“Maybe we should wait with the drug until you’re ready for it. I had a very long thought about the best way to break you in.”

“Break me in? Are you insane? You can go to hell, you hear me?”

“I came to the conclusion that your biggest fear would be my greatest asset. Tell me, Ray, are you still afraid of…drowning?” He pronounced the word with impeccable emphasis, reveling in every letter.

Ray paled. “How do you—I’ve never told anyone about the Henry—”

But O just continued pleasantly.

“I thought it might make you more amenable to my plans for you.” With a flick of his wrist, the three goons dragged Ray to a large glass cell towards the back of the room.

Ray was tossed into the cell and the door closed behind him.

Ray whirled around. Nothing. There was only glass around him. Ray turned to face O who was standing a few feet in front of the glass.

O’s mouth moved, but Ray couldn’t hear anything. The beefy guy next to O fiddled with some kind of control panel.

Shit. Water started to rush in. And not very slowly either. O was insane. He couldn’t really drown Ray… could he?

O smiled at the distress on Ray’s face.

“He’ll be begging for the drug before he is even fully under,” the man at the control panel guffawed.

O’s smile widened. “Do not underestimate our young friend, Charlie. I am sure it will take more than once before he will eventually assist us in our endeavor. But I expect him to be a good deal more manageable after his first time.”

The water was already filling the whole tank. Ray was floating inside, uselessly beating against the glass.

O looked at his watch. Ray wouldn’t be able to hold his breath for very long.

He was right. The first air bubble escaped Ray’s mouth and he looked terrified. He pressed his lips tighter together. O reveled in the pain on Ray’s features.

More air bubbles rose and Ray jerked, scrabbling uselessly with his fingers against the glass. O nodded at Charlie who pushed another button.

The water left the cell – much quicker than it had filled it. Spluttering and coughing, Ray fell to his knees.

O approached the glass cell and opened the door. He motioned for Charlie to enter who complied and then reached for Ray’s arm. Ray only managed a weak attempt to struggle against his grip.

With practiced ease, Charlie injected the needle into Ray’s vein. Ray convulsed while he was still gasping for air.

“I’m excited to see how you will react to this drug, after you’ve reacted so very sensitively to the last one. This one is a bit more subtle,” O’s voice was smiling as he whispered gently into Ray’s ear.

Charlie released Ray and Ray collapsed on the ground. He was feeling violently sick. He twitched helplessly and the nausea didn’t stop.

O nodded at his lackeys and they pulled Ray up and dragged him back into his cell.

Lying on his mattress, Ray suffered from fever dreams. Again and again, he saw the water filling the tank. He felt the air leaving him; the pain as his chest was squeezed tighter and tighter with the lack of oxygen.

His heart was beating very fast. Almost excitedly. Ray shivered.

The next morning, they repeated the procedure. Ray hadn’t thought it could be any worse than the first time – he had been dead wrong. Knowing how it would feel, expecting to feel the air getting less and less, the horror of knowing what was going to happen made it so much worse.

Ray struggled like a man possessed, but it only heightened O’s amusement – Ray was no match against O’s minions. When they finally released him, Ray didn’t have any more energy to fight O and his drug off.

If the drug would just stop making him sick. Ray was shivering, fighting the urge to throw up, and unable to prevent O’s lackeys from stripping him. Naked and vulnerable, Ray curled into a fetal position on his mattress in his cell. This felt like dying, he thought, as another wave of dizziness rolled over him.

His heart was again beating too fast, causing his breathing to come faster. The memory of the water pressing in on him kept haunting him. And yet he felt again this sense of… excitement? Ray wondered if that was the right word. He felt so sick. Everything hurt.

When they came to fetch him a few hours later, Ray was fighting against an almost impotent panic. The moment the fear spread through him, Ray felt a curious sense of heat wash over him.

For a second, this distracted him so much, that they had already dragged him out of his cell before he started to struggle.

The closer they brought him to the water cell, the stronger the feeling became. Ray’s heart was again beating too fast from fear – but also from… this wasn’t excitement… Ray shook his head, trying to clear it.

It felt like… Ray’s eyes widened.

When O noticed Ray’s strangely vacant behavior, his lips stretched into a knowing smile.

“Do you like how it feels?” He asked, watching Ray like a hawk.

Ray was shoved roughly into the glass cell again. Only now did Ray realize that it was too late to fight – they had already closed the door.

Waiting for the moment when the air in his lungs would be exhausted didn’t get any easier with practice. If anything it got worse. And this time, Ray could hear his heart beating loudly in his ears. Every single beat. It was unnerving, but he couldn’t make it stop, he couldn’t concentrate on anything but his heartbeat.

Ray didn’t know if he had actually blacked out before they had drained the water, or if his mind had simply refused to absorb any more input. Because the next thing he was conscious of was the prick of the needle in his skin.

A moment later he started twitching violently. He groaned against the pain and the queasiness.

“We need to give him some rest,” O said thoughtfully. “He really is extraordinarily responsive to these kinds of treatment. Get him back to his cell. I’d like him to be fully coherent when our guest arrives.”

Charlie and the two others grinned dirtily before picking Ray off the floor.

Ray came only slowly back to something that might have been called consciousness. He remembered floating through water, endlessly, the rushing sound of it, the pressure of it. The need for air had been ever present. As well as… arousal. If that was indeed what it had been?

And it wasn’t about the water itself. It was about fear, about the lack of air. Ray tried to figure it out for himself, imagining they would come to put him back in his watery prison.

His pulse quickened. He felt hot. His cock twitched.

Ray swallowed nervously. This was definitely freaky.

The door was flung open suddenly and Ray jumped. His dick gave another violent twitch.

They pulled Ray along the corridor to another set of doors. Behind them lay a room with an open fireplace and a leather chair.

O watched him enter with an almost benevolent smile.

It gave Ray the creeps.

“Hello Ray. I’m sure you’ll agree that it’s long overdue that we moved beyond the water cell.”

Ray had quite a few thoughts on that topic, but he clamped his mouth shut. He wouldn’t give O the satisfaction of rising to his bait.

O noticed it, too, and smiled amusedly at Ray.

“We’ll be having a guest in a few minutes – in fact, I already saw him enter the premises—”

Ray froze in shock. Which day was it? Was it already past Monday?

“I’m sure you’ll be happy to see him,” O was clearly enjoying Ray’s thunderstruck expression.

Fraser… It had to be Fraser. He must’ve come looking for him when he hadn’t appeared to pick him up for their little trip out of town.

A red light above the doorway began flashing.

“Ah, he’s fast. I have to give him that,” O mused delighted. “Well, then let’s get you ready, my dear Ray.”

Before O had even finished speaking, two of his goons had grabbed a hold of Ray again.

Almost tenderly, O sealed Ray’s mouth with duct tape.

He nodded at the two men holding Ray and they pushed him down until he was sitting on the floor.

O took his seat again. It wasn’t even a minute before the door flew open.

Ray didn’t know what weighed more; the relief to see Fraser or the knowledge that he was in this hellhole, too. On some level, Ray had known that Fraser would enter the picture sooner or later. You didn’t need a college diploma to figure that out.

He was also more afraid of what Fraser would see in him than of what they would make them do. Ray wasn’t a fool. He had decided, after the third time they had put him in that nightmare of a cell, that it was better to go along for the time being.

There was nothing they could make him do that he couldn’t cope with in the end. Being dead, well, that would be difficult. So Ray played along for the time being. As if the drug had him completely under control.

To be honest, he didn’t really get what the drug was supposed to do, all he knew so far, was that he got turned on real easy if he started to get afraid. If that was all there was to it, he could cope with it.

Ray was also a lot more afraid for Fraser than he was for himself. Fraser never knew when to shut up. And Fraser also never knew when to back down. If it came down to death or surrender Ray feared that the answer was something he wouldn’t be able to live with.

O took his sweet time greeting Fraser… as if Fraser needed an explanation for O’s capture of Ray. As if he didn’t know that it wasn’t money O wanted. It had come as a shock for Fraser when Ray hadn’t shown up on Monday morning. Even more so when he had finally tracked him down… only to realize that O was behind it all again.

Had he foreseen that, he wouldn’t have told Dief to wait at the consulate for him.

When O stated what he wanted Fraser to do, Fraser clenched his teeth.

Ray stared at O. He had to be kidding? Right?

But if Fraser didn’t do it then… Ray tried to communicate to Fraser that he should just do whatever they told him to. But there was only so much you could communicate when you were naked and duct taped. Still, Ray tried to put everything he had into his gaze.

“No.” Fraser’s voice sounded dead certain and Ray’s heart sank.

O smiled and took a drag from his cigarette.

“You still haven’t understood how this works, have you?”

Fraser raised his head high. “Torture me, kill me, do what you want, but I won’t hurt him.”

Ray made a noise of protest behind the duct tape.

Really, Fraser should stop making offers they might take him up on.

“Ah, I don’t think detective Kowalski wants us to kill you. Consider yourself lucky. Since I’m so fond of him, I’ll ask you again. Pick up the knife and get to work—I’m generous, I’ll even let you pick a design. How about your initials?”

“No.” Fraser’s voice was shaking with rage.

O sighed disappointedly. He jerked his head slightly and two massive goons stepped forward to grab Fraser, who made no move to defend himself. He was prepared to bear whatever punishment they wanted to inflict upon him. They wouldn’t let Ray go before O had had his show, Fraser knew that. He just hoped that he could think of an escape plan before it came to that. A pair of handcuffs closed securely around his wrists.

O smiled at Fraser’s willingness to sacrifice his own well-being. “Tsk, tsk. Constable, you haven’t learned a thing.” On a wave of his hand the two guys holding on to Ray raised him up until he was sitting on his knees. “Charlie why don’t you show Constable Fraser how it’s done? I remember you expressed a special interest in claiming our young detective.”

Ray’s eyes widened when Charlie flicked a knife that looked sharp enough to cut air in front of his face.

“No, get away from him.” Fraser struggled in his bonds. You understood too late, Ray thought. Had Fraser really thought they would leave him be?

He tried kicking, but the two goons holding him didn’t budge an inch, and he couldn’t get enough room to get his legs from underneath him.

Charlie leered and his two companions raised Ray a little higher. The tip of the knife danced an inch or two above Ray’s hipbone without cutting him. Ray’s heartbeat climbed up and up, hammering erratically in his chest. He tried to keep calm, but the damn duct tape over his mouth prevented him from taking deep breaths and the way Charlie wielded the knife wasn’t the least bit reassuring.

“I’ll do it, let go of him,” Fraser shouted. It was unthinkable what would happen if Charlie wasn’t careful… unthinkable that anyone could mar Ray’s skin that way. Had he only agreed to do it… At least he could have done it with minimal scarring afterwards, careful not to cut too deep.

O smirked. “Next time maybe, if you ask nicely. I’m afraid your chance has already passed.”

The smooth blade of the knife whispered again over Ray’s skin and Ray couldn’t look away. His eyes were mesmerized by the glint of metal on his skin, pressing into his skin without cutting him.

Shit. Shitshitshit. The jerk was doing it on purpose; drawing patterns over Ray’s skin just to scare him… knowing what would happen when fear got the better of him.

But Ray couldn’t keep Fraser from seeing. He moaned behind his gag. He was getting hard.

Bastards. Miserable bastards, Ray sobbed behind his gag and tried to at least jerk away.

He tried to remember that he didn’t want this, that he didn’t want to be cut, but his body was feeling warm and cold all over, aching for the pain the knife would bring. The blade pressed into his skin. A soft trickle of blood ran down Ray’s abdomen.

Ray sagged into the grip the goons had on him, as all fight left him. He heard Fraser gasp his name, but only from very far away. He couldn’t concentrate on anything but the cold metal of the blade and the sweet burn where it cut into his skin.

He felt the knife dance in a pattern over his skin, followed by a path of bright and clear pain. He looked down; the dark red of his blood stood out in stark contrast against his skin, a vivid rivulet of scarlet, barely more than a few drops.

Ray was sure there were noises in the room, other people talking, he vaguely saw Fraser’s lips move from the corner of his eye. But his world was completely quiet; nothing existed but the dull thump of his heartbeat and the drip-drip-drip of his blood.

His hip moved without his assent. He wanted to be touched. Ray licked his lips. Drawing a deep breath through his nose was difficult. Remember, it’s just the drug talking, Ray tried to remind himself. He couldn’t control the shiver, though, when the knife left his skin. Or the feeling of loss.

Ray whimpered.

“Isn’t he beautiful?” O asked fondly.

“You heinous, abominable, detestable—“ Fraser spewed until he was interrupted.

“It was your choice, wasn’t it?” O asked pleasantly and Fraser flushed a dark, angry red.

O gave a little sign with his hand and Charlie stepped forward with a little bottle.

He dabbed a little ball of cotton in the clear liquid and smoothed it over Ray’s fresh knife wound. Ray hissed in pain when the liquid met his skin.

“Shh,” O soothed, “we wouldn’t want you to lose your new adornment, now would we? This will ensure that it will stay a long time with you, Ray. An eternal reminder, if you want.”

“You monster,” Fraser choked trembling with rage.

O’s pealing laughter could be heard echoing in the hallway outside of the room.

Ray wasn’t able to concentrate on his surroundings. He was still staring at the marking that was disfiguring his hip. He couldn’t comprehend that he could be turned on by this. Someone had just cut a marking into his skin and all he could think of was sex.

The sudden prick of the needle called him back. He tried to flinch away, but the massive guy next to him had a bone-crushing grip on his arm. Ray watched helplessly as the liquid disappeared into his bloodstream.

He heard Fraser struggle, but Ray’s whole body was busy processing the next drug dosage. There wasn’t any space to fight left inside of his head, not when every cell in his body felt like dying.

When Ray was finally conscious enough again to notice something besides pain-sick-nausea, he found himself alone in his cell. Fraser was nowhere to be seen.

What had they done to him?

How late was it?

Ray started banging on the door, hollering for attention. He wanted answers and he was damn well getting them.

It didn’t take long before two goons appeared to escort him to O. Ray was glad to notice that they didn’t take him to the room with the water cell.

Ray wasn’t even fully in the room before he started shouting. “What did you do to Fraser?”

O closed the book in his hands with a snap. His fingers stroked fondly over the spine of the book.

“I’ll give him back to you with all limbs intact,” O said amused.

Ray growled. “I wanna know if he’s alright.”

“Oh yes, of course he is. After all, it is much easier to control someone who is more afraid for the well-being of someone else than for his own. There isn’t much point in threatening the constable with violence on his own person…” O looked thoughtful. “Your own person on the other hand…” O added as if the thought had just occurred to him.

“You touch one hair on his head, you’re dead,” Ray promised.

O laughed delightedly. “Don’t worry. Quite the contrary, I believe he can’t see straight for lust at the moment.”

Ray snarled. “No—you didn’t?!”

“Did I use that drug form last year on him? How very clever of you. I see you didn’t earn that detective badge for nothing then. You’re deduction is indeed correct.”

“YOU—“

“You should worry about yourself, Ray.” O cut in smoothly.

For the first time, Ray really looked around the room they were in. As always when it came to O’s decorating skills, this room was more or less bare… except for…

“A rack?” It could also be called a table, safe that one end was lower than the other. And knowing O, something out of a torture chamber would be much more common to fill a room than something as mundane and useful as a table.

“Ah, I see that detecting skill is really working for you,” O drawled. On a snap of his fingers, two goons grabbed Ray on each side and dragged him, kicking and screaming, over to the contraption.

Too late, Ray realized that they were tying him to this thing upside down. In all the torture movies he had seen, the hero had always been chained to the rack the right side up.

His head was lower than his heart; he could feel the blood rushing to his face.

“Hey, your goons are too stupid to chain me right side up,” Ray shouted at O.

O appeared in his line of vision with a fond smile on his lips.

“By no means.”

“What the fuck is that supposed to mean?” Ray hollered.

“I’ll explain in a second.” O turned to one of his minions. “”When was his last dosage?” The dark-haired man whispered something into O’s ear.

“Ah, I see. Perfect. But he will need another shot once we’re done. If my calculation is correct, it will work best if he’s on the high point of his intoxication for this.”

“Hey!” Ray shouted again. He hadn’t understood half of what was going on, but it didn’t bode well for him in any case. No sense in staying polite. O could take his politeness and cram it up his ass.

“I’m sure you have already an inkling of what the drug is causing, am I right?”

“Fuck you.” Oh yeah, Ray knew that he was getting turned on by fear… had been kind of hard to miss. O’s version of a sick joke.

O answered as if Ray’s answer had made perfect sense. “See, it goes much further than this. The drug doesn’t only enhance certain feelings; nor does it only promote certain reactions. No, it stimulates the brain to create new neurological connections. In other words, it quickens any form of conditioning. Just imagine… this drug could create the perfect sex slave. With its help I can ingrain every fetish, every kink, into anyone I choose.”

Ray spluttered. “Are you out of your freaking mind?”

O smiled, but his eyes looked like steel. “Fear would work in the favor of the captor. It would make the captive comply…willingly. Because the need would be too strong to resist.” O looked pointedly at Ray.

“Never,” Ray spat.

“You, my dear Ray, are only a day or two away from being addicted to this drug. Let’s talk again then.”

Ray gulped the fear down. He felt his own nakedness as an almost physical itch.

“Now, as to the reason why I’ve tied you the wrong way around as you so deftly pointed out. I think you are already suitably impressed by the water cell. But wasting so much water is hardly economic. It’s also exhaustingly time-consuming. I am a friend of practical solutions. This is a very old torture method. It’s just as realistic as drowning you for real would be. Why don’t we let you judge for yourself?”

Ray’s eyes widened, but he didn’t have the time to protest before a cloth was draped over his face. He was bound to a rack, with his head pointing south, and a dark cloth covering his whole face. Greatness. This couldn’t get any worse.

That was before they poured water over his face. Ray held his breath for as long as he could—but when he couldn’t anymore, the water entered his nose, his mouth. It felt as if the water was flowing into his lungs.

Ray was struggling like a maniac. He tried to pull his head away from the water, but the water simply followed his movement. He was drowning. He was fucking drowning on dry land.

A high, keening sound left his throat. It felt as if he was breathing water.

Suddenly, the wet cloth was removed from Ray’s face. He was coughing and hacking, only to realize that there was no water to get out of his lungs.

“See, that’s why it’s so important that your head is lower than your heart. The water can’t get into your lungs this way, but it does feel like drowning, doesn’t it? 38 seconds can be a very long time when you’re suffocating, am I right?”

Ray was so shaken, he couldn’t even answer. Without any kind of fight, they injected him with the drug again.

This time, after the nausea receded, something like warmth spread through Ray’s body. It felt almost nice. He whimpered softly.

“There,” O said softly. “Now that’s much better, isn’t it?”

Ray feared that O was right.

The next time they dragged him into the room with the rack, it took all four of O’s lackey to chain Ray to the bench.

“Boss, shouldn’t this get easier? Shouldn’t the drug make him want it?” The dark-haired goon muttered gruffly.

“Patience, Jim. We’re not there yet. The lust isn’t able to override the fear. They are merely beginning to co-exist.”

With a shrug, Jim put the cloth over Ray’s face again.

Ray’s heart was hammering in his chest. He listened with every cell of his body, not wanting to hold his breath before he had to – as if he could ever hold his breath long enough…

He breathed rapidly— the panic was making it impossible to breathe calmly.

His heartbeat was so loud. He could hear every beat resonating through the room. Every breath pulled the cloth against his lips.

Ray’s hands balled to fists in his bonds.

He was getting hard. He couldn’t help it. The strain and the fear were just too much to take. He was hot all over and it took him every ounce of willpower to keep his hips still.

A moment later, water poured over his face. Ray hadn’t heard a thing; he had been so focused on his heartbeat. He tried holding his breath, but it was already too late.

He struggled in vain again – knowing that it didn’t help didn’t mean he could just lie there and take it. The panic drowned out everything else.  The feeling of suffocation was so real, that knowing there wasn’t any acute danger didn’t help any.

The water flow stopped and the cloth was removed from Ray’s face. Ray took deep breaths. He wasn’t dying. He was alright. A wave of warmth washed over him and at first Ray thought it was relief.

But the warmth grew into a tingling sensation. He could feel it on his skin… like a touch. Ray gasped. He was—he was—he was still hard.

Ray bit his lip. This couldn’t be real. This wasn’t even possible. His body shook with the sudden desire to be touched. Ray tasted the metallic tang of blood on his tongue.

“You’re learning quickly,” O murmured appreciatively. He turned to Charlie. “Keep his hands bound behind his back when you bring him back to his cell. I don’t want him to find relief.”

Noiseless sobs were shaking Ray’s frame. He wanted to hide himself. He didn’t want any of this. But his erection was telling him otherwise.

Shivering and turned-on Ray spent his day lying on his mattress, trying to overcome his own helplessness.

His erection abated over time, but his confusion didn’t diminish.

When they came to get him in the evening, Ray went without struggling. Where was the point? Fighting only heightened his fear and the one thing Ray didn’t want to be was afraid.

Fear was such an irrational emotion. The closer Ray’s feet brought him to the rack, the quicker his pulse became.

Heat washed over him in waves; stronger with every step he took. The moment they gripped him to push him down onto the bench, Ray was growing hard.

Confused, Ray stared down his traitorous body. Did he want to be chained to the rack? He… yes… he wanted it… at least, his body yearned for the weightlessness that came with not getting enough air… the intensity of his emotions… the need…

Without resistance, they fastened the shackles around Ray’s feet and wrists.

Ray felt his erection throb with every step of the procedure – even though the fear was overwhelming him. But the desire was almost stronger. When they placed the cloth over his face, a moan passed Ray’s lips.

The water flowed over Ray’s face again, making it impossible to breathe. Drowning was still the most terrifying experience… but some part of Ray couldn’t help but feel that if this went on for just a second longer, he might—he might be able to come. Without even being touched.

They finally removed the cloth again when Ray’s struggling became too violent and O watched Ray’s face with avid curiosity. Ray couldn’t form a coherent thought. He was still gasping for breath… still hard… it was the most unreal thing Ray had ever experienced, but the want was real. No sense in denying that he was shaking with it.

“Isn’t it ironic,” O murmured, “the very thing that terrifies you is the very same thing you have come to need. You almost wish you would suffocate, simply because you know it would let you achieve climax if you did.”

Ray was panting – from lust? From fear? He had no idea and he wasn’t sure how the dividing line was supposed to look like.

“You need just a bit more, am I right, Ray?” O asked gently. “Something to give you that extra edge you’re craving. You’ve waited a long time, and you’ve been very good, so I will give you what you need.”

O handed Charlie a knife. Ray couldn’t keep the whimper from leaving his lips. The wound on his hip burned… but it wasn’t unpleasant. It was more of a hot ache.

Charlie placed the knife on the cuts over Ray’s hipbone. Ray’s heart was hammering in his chest. The blade opened the cut again, biting into Ray’s skin, and Ray groaned. It wasn’t so much pain as—as— it was like a direct connection to his aching dick.

Charlie placed the next cut and Ray started shaking. If he could just—if he could just touch himself—he—he—

Charlie pressed the knife into Ray’s skin, following the last line.

With a sob, Ray came.

“Shhh… shh…” O said calmly as he observed Ray’s shivering form.

Ray wasn’t really aware of what happened afterwards. He didn’t feel Charlie cleaning the wound or Jim releasing the bonds that held him. He didn’t care when the needle pierced his skin again.

Ray was just happy when he was back in his cell again. He lay down, feeling finally calm. There was nothing he could do about the drug or its effects. All he could hope was that Fraser was alright and that – at some point – they would be able to escape. O wouldn’t bother with all of this if he hadn’t a plan for them.

He had to remember that he could cope with anything as long as he stayed alive. They would get out of there and then Ray would be able to deal with this mess.

When they fetched Ray the following day, he was much more collected. O could do whatever he wanted, Ray would see this through. If it was the last thing he did. He wouldn’t give O the satisfaction of breaking apart.

So the drug made him confused and made him want things he would never ever want, but he could deal with that. The rest of his mind was still intact.

O observed him thoughtfully.  Ray’s stance was proud… or as proud as one could be while being naked in a room full of dressed people. Ray raised his head a little higher and met O’s gaze head-on.

“I see,” O smiled. He seemed to contemplate something and Ray’s shoulders tensed. He would not get afraid. O couldn’t scare him with his mind games.

“Let’s see how good the conditioning has worked.” O decided. Charlie approached with another injection and reached for Ray’s arm.

Ray set his jaw and held his arm steady. Fighting only amused O. It didn’t do Ray one bit of good, except for making him all excited. He had enough of O’s games.

“Very good,” O whispered appreciatively.

Ray wisely refrained from correcting O’s assessment.

Charlie took a step back again and Ray felt the familiar rush as the drug worked its way through his system. They waited a few minutes, until Ray’s breathing had calmed down some.

O nodded at Jim who was standing behind Ray.

The next second, Jim’s meaty paw of a hand clamped over Ray’s nose and mouth. Ray gasped uselessly, trying to draw some air. When he realized that he couldn’t, arousal spread rapidly through his body.

He bucked into the empty air, trying in vain to find relief for his burgeoning erection.

Jim released him again and Ray gasped for air, still too turned on to form any words. He was still crazy with the need to be touched. A moment later, Jim’s hand covered his face again, preventing him from breathing.

Ray moaned into the hand over his mouth. He wanted more—just a bit more—oh please—

“I think he’s ready,” O said obviously pleased. “He won’t need much more of the drug before he will be begging for it. Put him back in his cell, I have some preparations to take care of before our final test.”

Ray lay in his cell, repeating the same phrase over and over again: “It’s just the drug, it’s just the drug, it’s just the drug.”

He bit his lip to keep from shouting. He wanted to be back on the rack… he wanted to feel the need for air again… he needed… Desperate, Ray fingered the wound of his knife to get that edge back, but it wasn’t enough.

A sob ripped through his throat. He needed to be strong. If only he could get to Fraser, everything would be alright in the end.

When they finally came for him, Ray knew that this was what O had been planning for. Whatever he wanted from Ray and Fraser, they would find out now. Ray was sure of it. One had to hand it to O; he had impeccable timing.

“I’m glad you could join us for our grand finale,” O said pleasantly as his goons brought Fraser into the room.

Fraser refrained from answering and Ray thanked every deity that Fraser had learned something.

“You don’t know what we have been teaching Ray over the last few days, so this will be really exciting for you, Constable.”

Ray saw Fraser’s jaw clench. I hear you, buddy. Ray had no idea how his time on the rack and Fraser were supposed to go together—especially since the rack was nowhere to be seen.

“Every experiment needs scientific proof, though. And you will be the first to try my new invention. It’s a little chip that needs to be attached to one of the pulse points. You will hardly feel it and it will send me detailed data about your heart rate and – my favorite – the oxygen rate in your blood. Let’s go for the radial arteries instead of the carotid ones for purely aesthetical reasons.”

One of the goons advanced on Ray with a little pistol in his hand; it didn’t look like a gun, though. More like something out of Resident Evil. He placed the muzzle against Ray’s wrist and pulled the trigger. It made a little ‘zing’ sound and there was a small, sharp pain but it was all over in a second and Ray had barely time to think ouch before it was over.

Fraser didn’t resist either and Ray knew that it was only his own well-being that kept Fraser from fighting back. He wanted to say ‘thank you’, but all he could do was look grateful.

“It’s all very simple,” O assured them. “I want you to fuck.”

Ray rolled his eyes at him. He had known that the moment they had dragged Fraser into the room a few days ago.

“We could help you, should you need the necessary incentive to get, ah, excited,” O smiled evilly at Fraser. He looked thoughtful for a moment. “But after the last few days I hardly think that you need encouragement.”

Fraser flushed a dark red.

O looked delighted. “I thought so. I knew it was a good idea to develop that drug further. Don’t worry, it’s not addictive. Pity, though. It would have been a very interesting study indeed to see how you would cope with withdrawal. But that is something for another time. This experiment has another goal,” O looked expectantly at them and Ray tried to convey ‘fuck you’ with his eyes.

That guy had a real ego problem. What was it with the James Bond-like revelations? All that he needed was a white cat. Maybe Ray should give him one and he could continue his life in peace?

“Are you familiar with hypoxia, Constable? – Of course, you are. Silly of me to ask. Well then, just let me explain it to Ray,” he turned to Ray with an intense look on his face. Ray glanced at Fraser and saw the panic on his face. Whatever these hypixies were, it wasn’t good.

“It means a state where your body as a whole is deprived of adequate oxygen supply,” O waited for Ray to see where this was going.

Less… oxygen than was necessary? Suddenly it all made sense, the rack, the drowning, oh shit. Ray looked wildly at Fraser. Surely he didn’t think that Fraser would—

“Do you now see why we need these nifty little chips? I want Constable Fraser to induce hypoxia in you, my dear Ray Kowalski. And no faking, I hate artificial substitutes. But don’t worry; there will be no foul play. These little chips will tell me when Ray has lost consciousness due to lack of oxygen. So you won’t have to worry about getting it right.”

Ray knew that his eyes couldn’t get any bigger from panic, but it felt as if they widened another inch at those words.

Fraser was supposed to choke him ‘til he lost it? That wasn’t—that wasn’t funny. No way.

“Mhm-mmhmhmm-mmmhmm-mmh.” Ray said energetically.

O looked intrigued. “Of course, one of my faithful servants could do it as well. He might not be as satisfactory or gentle as Constable Fraser, and he might not stop at unconscious, but instead go all the way to coma or death, but yes, if you prefer that?”

Ray was silent for all of one heartbeat. He started shaking his head violently. “Mhh-mhhm-mhm.”

“I think he would prefer the method in which you revive him,” O said mildly to Fraser.

Fraser looked – if possible – even more scared than Ray.

Fraser didn’t think he could do this. How was he supposed to do something like that to Ray? When every fiber in his body wanted to protect him?

…but he had learned from his experience with the knife. The wound on Ray’s hip spoke volumes about what would happen, should Fraser refuse.

Ray tried to let his anger take over- since his trip into this waking nightmare anger was the more reasonable emotion of the two. He couldn’t trust his fear anymore; it wasn’t trying to keep him safe, it was trying to fuck him over.

Why should O want to test it? They already knew that it would work. They’d had Ray countless times on the rack. They knew their sick training had worked.

And then, suddenly, Ray realized ‘why’ with such a shock that it left him momentarily numb.

This was all for Fraser.

Fraser didn’t know it. Oh God, Fraser would never be able to look at Ray again—Fraser would never be able to forgive himself.

Ray started struggling and shouting against the duct tape over his mouth. They couldn’t do this! He had known they would torture him; he had been prepared for that. This wasn’t the way it had been supposed to go down.

O watched Ray’s increasingly agitated attempts. The glint in his eyes was malicious and Ray’s eyes widened when he realized that this had been the plan all along. He had been so stupid—he had thought it was just about him again. Ray had seriously underestimated O.

This wasn’t about breaking him. It was about breaking Fraser. He gulped in air as fast as he could in a wave of panic.

“We should get started before detective Kowalski manages to lose consciousness all by himself,” O drawled amused. “Ray had a lot of training focusing on the really important things. But why don’t we let the constable see for himself.”

Charlie kicked Fraser in the back of his knees and Fraser sank to his feet. He kept a strong grip on Fraser’s hands that were bound behind his back.

“Jim why don’t you show Constable Fraser how very good Ray has learned to concentrate?”

Jim grinned and knelt behind Ray. He dipped two of his meaty fingers in a pot with a clear, slimy substance and placed his other hand over Ray’s neck, holding him in place.

Ray tried swallowing his fear down, but it was to no avail. He had known it would come to this sooner or later, but just the thought, that O’s lackey might not be gentle and that it would probably hurt, sent a wave of arousal through him that blended out all other thoughts.

He didn’t want the jerk to touch him—hell, he didn’t even want him near him. But the heat in his groin licked through his body and Ray heard nothing but the rushing of his blood. Like the times on the rack, when his air supply was almost gone and his heart beat so loudly that Ray feared it would rather explode than stop.

Jim’s fingers circle his hole and Ray couldn’t keep the moan in. Get-away-from-me, get-away-from-me, get-ahh-oh God, yes, Ray’s whole body moved when those fingers entered him. There was no gentleness, no going slow.

Ray caught himself on his hands, breathing heavily. Arousal a heady mix that made him spread his legs further. He’d been too turned on for too long to fight any of this.

Jim’s thick, blunt fingers simply pressed in, one smooth move, and Ray felt the burn ‘cause no way did having sex with a man once a year ago make this easier. Fear spiked through him and Ray felt his vision lose focus as desire drowned out everything else.

Glassy-eyed he raised his face to look at Fraser, sitting no 10 feet away from him with his eyes fixed on Ray, wide-eyed and shocked.  Jim stretched his fingers and Ray moaned behind the duct tape keeping him gagged. It was pain, it was fear, it was the most delicious thing Ray had ever felt.

He wanted to get away from the sick bastard, but his body was completely out of his control. His hips moved back and he knew that his face was slack with pleasure because he couldn’t even manage to form words with his lips.

Jim offered him a third finger and Ray didn’t even hesitate. Fear delivered a blow directly to his stomach, making his cock twitch, and Ray pushed back. Hard. Impaling himself and loving every second of it.

O leaned over and whispered silkily into Fraser’s ear. “Doesn’t he look exquisite? Don’t you wish to be in Jim’s stead?”

Jim grinned at his boss and mimed thrusting his hips into Ray. He laughed and pushed his fingers in harder.

“Do you want to fuck him, Constable?” O murmured intrigued.

There were voices. And laughter. But Ray didn’t care—he needed, God, he needed—and his throat hurt, raw and tender as if he had moaned himself hoarse.

“Doesn’t he have the most fuckable mouth you have ever seen?” O mused appreciatively. Fraser tried to drone his voice out without much success.

“Do you want him to suck you off while Jim fucks him?” The voice was amused, but Fraser couldn’t suppress the shiver – of arousal? Of disgust? Of fear? He didn’t know anymore.

“Or would you rather fuck him while he puts his mouth on someone else? So that you could watch another man’s cock disappear between his beautiful lips again and again as you take him? Pushing him onto the other man’s cock with every thrust of your hips?”

Fraser made a distressed noise in his throat, trying and losing to fight off the images that O was creating in his mind, and O laughed hoarsely.

“Oh yes, you would like that.”

Jim pulled his fingers out and Ray whimpered. Too many emotions with no direction to go, no outlet for everything that was burning in his blood.

He raised himself up  to look at Fraser and found himself pinned by the most intense look he had ever seen on anyone. Fraser looked wild, there was a slight tremor moving through him as if he could barely hold himself from ravaging Ray, his lips a dark red and, god, the eyes—weren’t they blue?

Ray gulped again. Fear and arousal, one and the same feeling. Looking at Fraser, Ray supposed that he wasn’t the only one with conflicting emotions.

Jim stepped back and pushed Ray between the shoulder blades. Ray stumbled forward and just about managed to catch his fall with his hands again. Had someone said something? Had someone given an order? But it didn’t matter because Fraser was only another two feet away and Ray’s body moved on its own volition.

He almost fell into him, wrapping his arms around Fraser’s neck and only then did he realize that he couldn’t kiss Fraser. The duct tape was still sealed over his mouth. There was a soft ‘snick’ and suddenly Fraser’s strong arms were around him, pushing him back, and Ray tumbled onto something like a mat but he didn’t care.

Fraser struggled out of his clothes and the simple fact that no one had a gun pointed to his head told Ray more about how it looked inside of Fraser than he needed to know.

For a second, a sliver of fear slithered through Ray, fearing that Fraser – his Fraser – had vanished inside of some drug haze, that it might be Fraser’s body but there was no one at home anymore.

But the moment Fraser’s naked body pressed Ray into the ground he realized that Fraser knew where he was and what he was doing. And with whom. He looked at Ray, the blue of his eyes just a fragile little circle around dark black, with an expression of so profound regret on his face that Ray flung his arms again over his neck to pull him close. To hug him, show him that it wasn’t his fault, that it was okay. Fraser moved back a little and wrapped Ray’s legs around his waist.

Ray’s whole body was vibrating with the need to go, gogogo, come on, that the press inside felt like a revelation. Fraser was looking at him with such intensity and then Fraser’s face came closer—kissing Ray. Over the duct tape, as if it didn’t matter.

Ray moaned. The fear abated, Fraser was safe, Fraser wouldn’t hurt him, leaving only lust behind. Lust was simple, Ray could deal with this. They moved in tandem and Ray was breathing frantically through his nose, pressing back against Fraser with everything he had, when Fraser suddenly convulsed in shivers.

Ray made a distressed noise behind his gag, but instead of Fraser O answered.

“My, my, you are really dedicated when you go about a task. May I remind you that we had an agreement?” O’s voice had an edge of steel to it and only now did Ray realize that he had a little remote control in his hands, just a little knob he could turn.

Ray’s eyes widened and he looked shocked at Fraser who was breathing heavily above him, trying to ride out the electric current that had been zapped through him.

Fraser took a shuddering breath.

He started moving again, eyes fixed on Ray’s. He couldn’t do this. Ray would never be able to forgive him. He was supposed to get Ray out of there, not to… to… “Ray, I…”

Ray got it. He nodded. A feeling of vertigo washed over him as he realized that he had just given Fraser the permission to suffocate him.

Fraser’s hand was trembling, but his hips were still moving and Ray was trying to breathe frantically through his nose as wave after wave of pleasure coursed through him.

Suddenly, all air was gone as Fraser’s hand closed over his mouth. His eyes started bugging as he tried in vain to gasp for air. A deep sound vibrated against the duct tape that sealed his mouth. A groan as the familiar quiet settled over him, intensifying everything, the slide of Fraser inside of him, the beating of his heart, the heat.

But Fraser didn’t know that. Fraser was looking as if this was killing him and when Ray’s hand started to scrabble at Fraser’s hand over his mouth – he needed air, god, he needed to breathe, he needed that hand gone – Fraser immediately released him as if burnt.

“Ray,” Fraser choked. How could his own body even be turned on when he was hurting Ray? He never wanted to harm Ray. Then his body convulsed again as O pushed the knob on his remote higher.

Ray felt the tremors as the electric shock moved through Fraser.

“Hah…hah…” Fraser was panting, pressed as close to Ray’s body as possible – still hard and Ray understood what O had meant about developing the drug from last time further.

“Are you hard of hearing, Constable?” O’s voice wasn’t amused anymore.

Fear made Ray’s cock throb with desire. He clenched his legs over the small of Fraser’s back and tried to pull him in further, get him to move. Fraser gasped helplessly and rocked back, the teeth clenched tightly together.

Fraser tried to seal his hand over Ray’s mouth again, but he stopped in mid-movement and gripped Ray’s hair instead. He needed to do this—he just couldn’t…

“Constable—” O started to say and Ray knew that this wouldn’t end well if Fraser didn’t cooperate soon.

Taking panicked gasps through his nose, Ray reached up and closed his fingers over Fraser’s hand. He brought his hand down and placed it over his mouth and nose again.

“Ray, I can’t do this—” Fraser whispered agonized.

Ray nodded underneath the hand. He blinked slowly. And kept his hand over Fraser’s. With a despairing sob, Fraser slammed into Ray again and Ray groaned behind his gag.

He needed this. He wanted this. He couldn’t get enough air. His heartbeat accelerated as Ray pressed Fraser’s hand tighter against his mouth, his hips rose up to meet Fraser and the tightness in his chest pushed him closer to the edge.

He needed—just a bit more—”Ngh,” Ray moaned against the tape. Fraser’s hand was trembling, but he didn’t remove it.

Ray needed Fraser to do this. He needed Fraser to bring him back.

Black spots were dancing in front of his vision. Just a little—yes—Ray arched his back, impaling himself as deep as he could on Fraser’s cock and felt his heart beat slow. Thump. Thump.. Thump…

His sudden climax took him by surprise, breaking through the silence and the fog with crystal clarity. Ray tightened his legs around Fraser as the blackness rushed up to meet him. It claimed him and Ray’s body went limp.

From far away Fraser heard O applauding their performance.

Fraser was sobbing quietly, shaking, still in the circle of Ray’s arms. His body was still on the brink of climax, but all he could feel was disgust.

He pulled out, ignoring the need of his body. He checked Ray’s heart rate.

“Very good Constable, for a second there I thought you wouldn’t make it. How good of Ray to help you.”

“Shut up!” Fraser shouted, his voice was hoarse with tears.

He ripped the duct tape away and pressed his lips to Ray’s mouth and breathed life into him again. He waited a few seconds before he repeated the procedure. Ray started coughing a split second later.

Fraser stumbled to his feet, but only managed a few steps before he fell to his knees again and threw up. His whole body was shaking.

“My, my,” O drawled amused. “I hadn’t taken you to be so faint-hearted.”

“Leave him alone you sick jerk,” Ray gasped from the vicinity of the floor. It hadn’t been… well, it had kinda felt as if the orgasm had simply knocked him out.

Losing consciousness had the pleasant effect that you couldn’t say much about it, you were so busy being, well, unconscious.

Ray scrambled into a sitting position and reached out to put a comforting hand on Fraser’s shoulder.

Fraser flinched at the touch.

“Hey,” Ray soothed, “it’s alright, you hear me? I’m good.”

“How can you touch me?” Fraser whispered.”After what I’ve done to you?”

Ray slung an arm over Fraser and pulled him into a hug. He put his lips close to his ear and whispered urgently. “Don’t let them get to you, don’t let them win. You did good. I’m proud of you.”

Fraser laughed mirthlessly. He‘d gone through with it… oh God, how could he have done something like that?

“Listen,” Ray snapped, “you brought me back, right? You didn’t go too far. I didn’t lose my motion control or anything because I didn’t get enough oxygen for too long. Don’t—I need you Fraser. We need to see this through, I—”

“I think that’s quite enough,” O cut in sharply.

Not caring that he was naked, not caring about his own confused mental state, not caring about anything besides seeing this through, Ray stood up and defiantly raised his head.

He tossed his head. “You’ll let me stay with him the night,” Ray bit through the words.

O smiled at the challenge in Ray’s voice. “And what do I get out of this?” O put his fingertips together in a show of thoughtfulness.

“What more could you possible want?” Ray spat.

O tutted. “My dear Ray, we haven’t even started.”

The smile in his voice was so prominent that Ray had to concentrate hard not to let the sense of dread get to him.

He gnashed his teeth. “Fine, name your price.”

“Ah, this isn’t how this works,” O corrected him gently. “How much is an hour with him worth to you?”

“Everything,” Ray blurted before he could stop himself. He winced slightly. Not the best offer to start a negotiation with.

But O was delighted. He laughed hoarsely. “My, my, how melodramatic. Very nice. Fine, I’ll have another drug I’d like to test – the effects aren’t quite clear as of the present moment. However, one might call them… violent,” O’s tongue caressed the word lovingly as it left his lips.

Ray shuddered.

“Ray,” Fraser croaked next to him, urgently.

“Deal,” Ray said before Fraser could say anything more.

“One hour,” O reminded him.

Ray reached for Fraser’s shirt and draped it over Fraser’s shoulders. He handed Fraser his boxer shorts and trousers.

“Can you manage?” Ray murmured.

Fraser looked at Ray’s outstretched hand with disbelief. Tentatively, he nodded and reached for the clothes. He shrugged into them and Ray saw that he was still shaking.

Two goons escorted them to Fraser’s cell.

Ray wished he had some clothes to put on. But he hadn’t seen his clothes since the time they had pulled him from his cell a few days ago.

“Ray, I’m so sorry.” The words seemed to fly from Fraser’s lips the moment the heavy door closed behind them.

“Would you stop blaming yourself?” Ray sighed. He was tired. He was… confused. He felt the waning effects of the drug, the ache inside of his blood. He needed the next dosage and he hated himself for it.

“I’m the one responsible, I should—”

“Fraser! It’s—” Ray sighed. “Believe me, I know. And I don’t blame you, alright? But we need to get outta here. We got one hour and I’m all out of plans, so if you got one stashed away in your shirt just let me know.”

He was so tired. The drug always made him dizzy in its aftereffects.

Slowly, Fraser pulled a small, slim object from under his mattress.

Ray stared at it. It was an empty syringe.

“How’d you—?”

“After they injected me— I was trying to fight them off. In the commotion, this dropped to the floor and got forgotten.”

“Brilliant,” Ray breathed. He was afraid to lie down. He feared that the nausea would take over if he gave in to his tiredness.

“Is it true what they say… that it kills someone if you inject air into the vein?” Ray asked; half-morbid curiosity and half-wondering whether the answer even mattered to him.

Fraser considered the syringe in front of him. “This isn’t big enough to kill a man,” he said very decisively. But he didn’t sound relieved by it – not like Ray had expected him to sound. Fraser was always trying to save everyone. He couldn’t be indifferent whether they killed a man to escape or not.

But Ray was really the wrong person to tell Fraser that he should care. Ray’s eyes felt like lead. They needed to talk about so much…

“Fraser…when they open the door, you inject one of them and then you’ll make a run for it—”

“I’m not leaving you here!” Fraser almost shouted.

Ray quirked a tired smile at this.

“We won’t make it out of here together. And they ain’t gonna kill me.” He hoped.

“You get help and…come back and get me.” The last part was almost whispered. All of his hopes in 5 words.

Fraser’s fingers closed around the little glass tube of the syringe.

“Please don’t make me leave you,” Fraser pressed out between his clenched teeth.

Ray closed his eyes against the pain. “We have no choice.”

***

Fraser could still see Ray’s exhausted face in front of him, after he had pushed the needle into Jim’s throat.

Charlie hadn’t even wasted a second to check up on his colleague but had immediately gripped Ray in a stranglehold instead.

Fraser had advanced, intent on freeing Ray – but Ray had frantically shaken his head. “Go!”

Approaching footsteps could be heard. Jim was groaning in pain on the floor. Ray’s legs were shaking. Ray was right, there was no way they could make it out of there unnoticed.

“Dammit! GO!” Ray shouted, trying to keep Charlie occupied.

“I’ll be back,” Fraser promised with steel in his eyes. Going through that door was the hardest thing Fraser had ever done.

He was already outside of the building before O’s enraged scream reached his ears. He shivered. He needed to hurry. No one knew what O was capable of.

He would need official help, but informing the 2-7 of Ray’s situation was out of the question. He couldn’t let Ray’s colleagues find him like that. What he needed, was a distraction.

He went for the nearest public phone and dialed a local number.

“Constable Turnbull? I need your help.”

Renfield Turnbull was a practical man who didn’t need more information than the situation warranted.

Fraser had counted on that. Without asking any more questions, Turnbull promised to meet Fraser immediately and to bring Dief, as well as a change of clothing with him.

Next, Fraser called Lieutenant Welsh – the only one who had at least an inkling of what had really happened one year ago.

Fraser gave him the short version of O’s drug experiments, the location, and the number of criminals.

It didn’t take long for Welsh to ask the important question: “Where’s Kowalski?”

Fraser swallowed. “Still there.”

Welsh was quiet for a moment. “I suppose you have a plan?”

“Ah, yes. I’ve arranged for a distraction and I will need a couple of minutes head start to get Ray out before back-up arrives.  But I will need the added commotion to get Ray out unnoticed.”

“You’ve got it, Fraser. We’ll arrive at the site of the lab and work our way to the other rooms from there. This should give you enough time to help him escape… get him out of there.”

“I will. Thank you.”

It wasn’t long before Turnbull arrived in a full out run, Diefenbaker hot on his heels.

“Constable, thank you for your timely arrival.”

“Say no more, sir. It is my duty to help. I’m just glad to find you well – when I found Dief at the consulate I knew something must’ve happened. We’ve been trying to track you down for days—“

Fraser interrupted him hurriedly. “We don’t have time for this now.”

“Of course, what can I do?”

“We’ll need to change clothes. Then you’ll take Diefenbaker and enter the building where detective Kowalski is held captive through the entrance I’m going to describe to you in a moment. Understood?”

“Yes, sir. Perfectly well. What are we supposed to do once we are inside?”

“Keep them occupied. Help in the form of the police should be arriving a few minutes later. All I need is a distraction to get Ray out of there – I am fairly certain I know where he is being held.”

“Then let’s not waste anymore time. Are you ready, Dief?”

Dief growled at Fraser. Franser winced. “Yes, and I am terribly sorry for that. I will apologize to you in full as soon as Ray’s safety is ensured.” Dief barked in agreement and the three of them set of at a run.

Turnbull approached one of the side-entrances with Dief at his side. He appeared to be trying to be as inconspicuous as possible, when in reality Fraser had calculated where he would be best seen by the security camera without being to obvious about it.

Fraser looked for another way in, carefully negotiating his way with the help of the blind spots of the cameras.

Inside, O was just about to give another order when a crackling voice from a speaker interrupted him.

“Boss… the Mountie is back. And he’s brought the wolf.”

O smiled dangerously. “Very well, the rescue team has arrived. Where did he enter?”

“He used the east-entrance. He’s currently advancing in the direction of the holding cells.”

“Perfect. I want him alive.”

O stood up and looked at Ray, chained to the rack, naked and sweaty. “You haven’t seen what I’m capable of yet, Ray. But you will, very soon.”

Ray squeezed his eyes shut. Fraser… they couldn’t get Fraser.

O motioned to his goons to follow him out of the room. “Let’s welcome our visitor. Ray will be fine on his own for a couple of minutes. This will not take long.”

The door fell shut behind them and Ray tried to push the panic down. They would kill Fraser if they found him.

Suddenly, the sound of police sirens filled the air. Ray’s eyes widened. They couldn’t find him like this… no… he—

The door opened quietly and Fraser’s face appeared in the doorway.

“Frase—?” Ray gasped, almost sobbing with relief.

“Hey… I’m here. I’ll get you out of here,” Fraser said quietly. With quick fingers he released Ray from his chains.

“I’ve brought you a change of clothes. Can you get dressed?”

Ray nodded. He reached for the offered clothes with shaking fingers.

“We need to hurry,” Fraser added softly. There were no new wounds on Ray’s body as far as Fraser could see. There were no words to express the measure of remorse he felt for having left Ray unprotected.

Ray pulled the sweater over his shirt and stumbled unsteadily to his feet. There were loud noises and shouts coming from the other side of the building as Ray and Fraser made their way outside.

Once they were outside and Ray could gulp in fresh air, he sank to his knees. “Can I—can I wait here…please?”

“Yes, yes of course.” Feeling slightly uneasy for leaving Ray on his own, Fraser went to look for Welsh and found him next to a patrol car, listening to some report coming in via radio.

“Constable! Where’s—“

“He’s safe.  He’s waiting over there,” Fraser motioned to the left-hand side of the building.

“Is he—?”

“I’m not sure,” Fraser admitted. “I will get him to a hospital should need be. We need someone to bring him away from here.”

Welsh nodded grimly. “I’ll get a car ready.”

“Thank you, sir.”

Fraser returned to where he had left Ray. He felt relieved to find Ray exactly where he had been a minute ago. Some part of him had been scared that something might have happened to him again in the short time of his absence.

“Ray, are you alright?”

“Please… Can you just get me home?” Ray’s voice was strained.

“I—there is a car ready to take you.”

“No. Can you take me home?”

“If you want me to,” Fraser said quietly. Sounding for all the world as if this was the most preposterous thing that Ray could want his help.

“Yeah,” Ray breathed.

Fraser nodded. “Alright.”

It was the last thing any of them said. Inside of Ray’s apartment, Ray stopped in the hallway that led to his living room. He looked small and uncertain and as if he wasn’t sure if this was what safety should feel like.

Fraser began to reach out, but hesitated before his fingers could touch Ray. Surely, Ray had had enough unwanted touch.

But the mere thought of leaving Ray like this was tearing Fraser’s heart to pieces. He couldn’t—he needed to know that Ray was safe. He’d sleep on the floor in front of Ray’s bedroom if need be.

There had to be something he could do to help. If Ray let him.

“Do you—” Fraser cleared his throat. “Would you like to take a shower, Ray?” He asked gently.

Ray thought of the water hitting his face, running over his nose and mouth. He shuddered. He didn’t trust his body so far.

“A bath,” Ray muttered. His voice was filled with self-loathing and Fraser winced in sympathy, falsely assuming that his friend considered the bigger body of water to be more cleansing.

“I could prepare it for you,” he offered with a small gesture toward the bathroom.

Ray nodded. He still hadn’t moved further into the room.

“Will you be alright?” Fraser asked – hating himself for asking, hating himself for having to ask.

“Yeah.” Again this spiritless assent.

When Fraser came out of the bathroom, Ray was still standing in the same spot.

“The bath is ready. I—I’ll be right outside the bathroom if you—” If what? If Ray needed him? After everything he had put Ray through? Did he really expect Ray to call him for help? –”I’ll leave the door ajar,” Ray mumbled.

Fraser could only nod, speechless and desperate.

Ray undressed slowly. He would later burn the clothes he had been wearing when they escaped. He emerged himself in the bathtub.

The heat was soothing. The soapy foam was a welcome crackle against his skin.

He picked up the soap and started scrubbing himself clean. Diligent at first but as he went on more and more fastidious. Rubbing at his skin until it turned an angry red. He could still feel their hands on him.

His shoulders shook with noiseless sobs as his hands dropped uselessly into the water at his sides.

But he couldn’t cry. There was just emptiness inside of him. No hate. No anger. No grief. …No fear.

Thoughtfully, Ray watched the surface of the water as it rippled softly with every movement of his body. Images rose before his eyes; stuck inside a water tank, peering through the blurry glass, the water completely enveloping him.

Slowly – deliberately – Ray slid lower. A moment later, he was completely submerged.

The familiar panic set in – an almost warm feeling, an old friend, an intimately known memory.

Thump. Thump. Thump.

He felt as if his heart produced a ripple on the surface with every beat.

It burned; the lack of air in his lungs. There seemed to be a connection leading directly from them to his dick. With every breath not taken he could feel himself harden.

The same rush of fear and lust intermingled left Ray aroused and confused.

The need to be touched was all-consuming. Furrowing his brow, Ray pressed his lips tighter together. A bubble of air escaped his nose. He had to press his own hand to his mouth in order to stay under the water. Air. He needed air.

His cock throbbed with every beat of his heart. Thump. Thump.

More air bubbles rose up. Ray tried to breathe.

Sputtering and wheezing, Ray resurfaced. The water was moving wildly, sloshing over the rim of the bathtub as Ray’s violent movements disturbed its calm.

The door was flung wide. Fraser was standing wide-eyed in the doorframe. “Ray—are you—” the ’alright’ was frozen on Fraser’s lips as he took in Ray’s drenched and huddled form, the arms slung over his torso, as he shuddered miserably.

Hurriedly, Fraser stepped closer. Close enough to see that Ray was hard. It was hard to hide, really. The foam had dissipated a while ago. Ray noticed that the water was no more than lukewarm. How long had he stayed in the tub?

“Ray…” Fraser whispered. Ray panted and shook his head. He couldn’t deal with this. “Hand me a towel…would’ya?”

Fraser immediately complied. Ray dried off and slipped into a pair of sweats and an old grey t-shirt. But he was still shaking. Still aroused. Painfully visible underneath the well-worn cotton of his sweat pants.

And Fraser was still standing so close to him.

With a sob, Ray pressed against Fraser. Burying his face in his chest.

Fraser’s eyes gentled. “It’s alright, Ray. It’s just the drug,” he murmured soothingly. Hesitantly, his right arm came around Ray’s shoulder and he rested it gently against the back of Ray’s head, cradling him against his chest.

Ray pressed closer. His fingers touched the skin of Fraser’s back, underneath his shirt. He could feel Fraser’s own erection pushing against his hip. Was that still the aphrodisiac in Fraser’s blood talking? It didn’t matter.

“Touch me,” he croaked. “Make them go away.”

Fraser gasped. Ray couldn’t want that—not after—

“Please,” Ray whispered and scrunched his eyes shut tight against Fraser’s chest.

Shaking slightly, Fraser’s other arm came up to pull Ray in a hug. Slowly, he started walking backwards, pulling Ray along with him.

Once in the bedroom, Fraser started undressing Ray. “Are you sure?” He asked when he pulled Ray’s shirt over his head.

Ray nodded.

“Do you want me to—?” Fraser started to ask when he loosened the knot on Ray’s sweatpants to push them off his hips.

“Yes,” Ray pushed the sweats the rest of the way off. And it was a definite affirmation. No hesitation. No uncertainty.

Fraser slung his arms over Ray’s legs and pressed a hot kiss to the inside of his thigh.

Ray gasped and spread his legs, making room for Fraser.

Fraser took a shuddering breath and dragged his wet lips over Ray’s skin.

This wasn’t making love to Ray at gunpoint. This wasn’t someone forcing him to touch Ray.

This was Ray asking him to touch him. This was freely given.

He wasn’t kidding himself – this was far from tumbling into bed drunk on ecstasy. This was—what? Catharsis, maybe. Absolution.

But it was a touch freely given and freely asked for.

Ray gripped the covers tightly between his fingers. “Ah…” he gasped and pushed his hips up.

Urgently, Fraser kissed his way up to the V of Ray’s legs. Moist breath tickled Ray’s skin. He wanted to give Ray something. He wanted to make Ray give himself to pleasure.

Hungrily, his lips parted. Hot, wet heat engulfed Ray’s cock. “Oh God…” Ray moaned and put his hands in Fraser’s hair, pulling at the strands, gripping whole tufts of it.

Fraser took him deeper. Enveloping Ray in the tight heat of his mouth.

“Fraser…” Ray’s moan was so heartfelt, drawn from somewhere deep inside of him, that Fraser shook with desire.

He wanted to give this to Ray. He sucked harder, greedily, wrapping his tongue around Ray’s cock, pushing further down, as far as he could reach.

Ray was shaking from head to foot. His whole body pulled taut and yet he seemed to be waiting for something, unable to let go.

Desperately, Ray pulled on Fraser’s hair. “Frase…please… make love to me…” Ray was trembling and Fraser pulled away, needing the air to make room for the moan that was spilling over his lips.

“Ray, I don’t think—” Fraser tried to intervene; sure that Ray wasn’t thinking clearly.

“Please,” Ray whimpered and Fraser pressed his lips to Ray’s stomach again, feverishly kissing the tender skin there.

“Yes,” Fraser growled.

Ray fumbled for a second before he pressed a little plastic tube into Fraser’s hand. Lube. Ray’s hand was scorching hot as his fingers touched Fraser’s hand.

Fraser took his time. It had been one year – almost to the day – that he had opened Ray to his touch. And back then, Ray had been barely coherent. Now, Ray was filling the whole room with his presence.

He slipped two fingers in and Ray arched his back. Fraser swallowed Ray’s cock again as he worked a third finger into him. Ray’s moan reverberated through his whole body.

“Want you—want you—need you,” Ray gasped brokenly and Fraser felt his heart glow. He’d been so afraid that Ray couldn’t stand looking at him anymore.

Instead Ray was giving himself to Fraser.

Fraser released Ray with a wet slurp and he withdrew his fingers.

“Are you alright?” Fraser whispered softly as he pulled Ray’s legs around him.

“God, yes—if you’d move already!” Ray growled in his usual impatience.

Without waiting for more confirmation, Fraser pushed in. Ray was gasping his name. He could feel the moisture of Ray’s breath against his shoulder.

They were so close together, nothing separating them. And there was time. He could marvel at the tight heat of Ray’s body, at the warmth coming off Ray’s chest, at the slack pleasure on Ray’s face, the lips relaxed, the eyes closed.

“God, I love you,” Ray whispered and a shudder went through Fraser. How often had he hoped that Ray might feel similar—but this was passion talking, relief, the residue of the drug.

He closed his eyes tightly and pulled almost all the way out. Ray’s shaking breath was loud in his ear. In one smooth slide, he pressed back in.

“Hah…so good…” Ray moaned and clung ever more tightly to Fraser.

Fraser wanted it to be sweet and gentle. But Ray was having none of it. Ray rolled his hips to meet every thrust. He panted dirty things into Fraser’s burning ear. He pulled his legs tight behind Fraser’s back so that Fraser slammed into him with unhindered force.

Ray’s breathing was harsh—almost hyperventilating. With every thrust his face morphed into a concentrated grimace.

Ray’s whole body was shaking and Fraser was only staving off his own climax by sheer willpower. Ray looked pained.

Ray was jerking himself, hard and fast, but it didn’t seem to be enough. He was whispering quietly, urging himself on. “Come on, come on, oh please,” he chanted and Fraser slammed in harder, spiking Ray’s moans even higher.

Ray bit his lips— it looked as if he was holding his breath. Ray wasn’t breathing anymore even though his heart was beating fast enough to burst.

Tentatively, Fraser raised his hand to Ray’s face. Ray’s eyes widened and darkened. A flush spread over his cheeks as he pressed his face into Fraser’s palm.

Fraser’s hand was covering Ray’s nose and mouth. On a hunch, Fraser tightened his grip and Ray groaned behind his palm.

Ray moved against him with almost desperate force. Fraser groaned, bent almost double around Ray, pushing in again and again as hard as he could and he felt Ray straining for breath underneath his hand.

He could feel Ray’s heart beating erratically in his chest.

“I love you,” he gasped against his hand that was covering Ray’s mouth.

Ray convulsed underneath him. Spilling his seed against Fraser’s stomach and his whole body tensed, drawing Fraser in—in—in, closer, as close as possible.

And Fraser finally surrendered to his own climax. Shaking and unable to stop as Ray’s body took him.

He lifted an unsteady hand away from Ray’s mouth and Ray gasped for air. Fraser buried his face in Ray’s hair. Kissing the slightly sweaty bangs.

Ray held him tight. A low trickle of tears spilled over, vanishing into Ray’s temples.

“Ray?” Fraser asked shocked. Concerned.

“Thanks,” Ray croaked.

Carefully, Fraser pulled out and closed his arms around Ray, drawing him against his own body in a loose embrace.

“I’m such a sick fuck,” Ray whispered as another tear squeezed past his closed eyelids.

“Shh,” Fraser murmured, licking the tears away. “It’s not your fault.” Fraser’s hand over Ray’s was steady and warm.

“I thought you would be disgusted by me,” Fraser said quietly. “After I…” he couldn’t even bring himself to say it.

Ray shook his head. “Don’t be stupid. Think I don’t know you had no choice?”

“Didn’t I?” It was spit. Bitter and angry. “Maybe I should have tried harder— maybe I could have prevented it all from happening… But I was…I was…” Fraser stumbled over the words.

He remembered the desire burn through him. He remembered the need—the arousal—Ray. Ray on his knees wanting to be taken—fucked—

“I get it. It’s alright,” Ray’s voice was calm.

“All right?” Fraser pulled away to look at Ray with consternation written all over his face. “I smothered you—until you lost consciousness! And I was—I was still—” Fraser choked on the words.

“Hard,” Ray finished for him, an almost amused smile on his lips. “In case you didn’t notice, I come when I get choked during sex.”

It was said as a joke. Dryly. Something that you could laugh about. But Ray’s smile was brittle. And he couldn’t meet Fraser’s eyes.

“Ray, what… what did they do to you?”

Ray sighed before he pulled away. He sat up and fished for his shirt and his sweats.

Fraser watched all of this with rising uneasiness. Not sure if it made Ray uncomfortable otherwise, he dressed himself.

Ray ran a hand through his hair. “They injected me with some kind of drug. And they—they—” Ray faltered. He took a deep breath. “They put me in a water cell and waited ‘til I had almost drowned,” Ray whispered.

Fraser gasped and sat up straight. He’d had no idea… The drug, yes, he had known about that. But drowning… All color drained from Fraser’s face.

“And once I didn’t fight them anymore they…” Ray struggled with the end of his sentence. He stayed quiet for almost a minute. “They would put me on a rack and simulate drowning.”

“Waterboarding,” Fraser murmured before he could stop himself. Ray’s head whipped around. His eyes were glowing from the little light that came from the hallway. “Yeah…that.”

He sighed. “And that drug… O said it would create new neurological connections or something so that I… I got turned on by fear – the more fear the better. Almost drowning sent me into a frenzy.”

Ray wiped a hand quickly over his face.

Fraser’s heart went out to him. He reached out to pull Ray into an embrace, but stopped himself at the last moment. He didn’t want to torment Ray with his touch. Especially while he was reliving the trauma he had suffered.

Fraser’s knowledge about sexual abuse victims was limited at best. But almost every advice had agreed on one thing: to touch only with permission.

He had probably made everything worse by giving in to Ray’s drug induced lust. Often, rape victims created similar situations, unconsciously trying to go through the same experience again. What if he had— involuntarily, just by trying to help— recreated the scene for Ray? Reminded him of being taken advantage of… Fraser didn’t think he could feel any worse.

Ray closed his eyes – hardly visible in the dim light – when he saw Fraser’s hand withdraw.

Not really wanting to know the answer, Fraser asked the question that had been burning on his soul since he had left Ray at O’s hideout.

“Did they—did they hurt you after I—when I—left?” Fraser choked out.

Ray was quiet for a long time.

“No,” he shook his head. “They didn’t hurt me.”

Ray fell silent again.

“Ray…?” Fraser said questioningly.

“No, they didn’t.” Ray repeated. But it didn’t sound much more convincing than it had the first time.

“What did they do?” Fraser asked; his insides were turning to ice.

“Nothing,” Ray sniffed. He wiped angrily at his eyes. “They didn’t have to—okay?” He spat.

If possible Fraser paled even further. “Ray, tell me what happened. Please, tell me.”

A noiseless sob broke free from Ray’s lips. “I wanted it,” Ray said. His voice was frighteningly devoid of emotions. “I begged them to do it.” Bitter laughter chased Ray’s words out of his mouth.

“For what?” Fraser asked, fearing he already knew the answer.

Ray kept quiet.

“FOR WHAT?” Fraser exclaimed much too loudly. He wanted to apologize, but before he could, Ray began to speak. The words came softly, as if from very far away – as if it wasn’t Ray himself who was speaking them.

“O was so furious,” he whispered. Fraser heard Ray lick his dry lips. “It was the only time he really touched me. He gripped my jaw and hissed into my ear that I would wish I hadn’t done this after they were through with me.

They pulled me into the room with the rack. They chained me to it and I—I needed the next shot of the drug so bad. I was going crazy with it. And O knew it, too.

He played with the syringe between his fingers. And I was going out of my mind. So I…” Ray’s voice shook. “I asked him for it. I pleaded with him to give me more. O knew he had won; he hadn’t needed to say a word.

And he didn’t let me forget it either. He teased me about it while he injected me with another dosage of his drug. It felt so good—I was so fucking thankful for it. Thankful…” Ray’s bitter chuckle couldn’t quite hide the sob behind it. “And then they covered my face again. I have no idea how much water they poured over me… But it was much more than all the other times before. It dragged on forever… I thought I was going to die any second—only it went on and on and on. My whole body was shivering when they finally took the cloth away from my face.

I was—it’s so sick—dammit… I was hard, my whole body was shaking with want…I—I’m not sure if I ever wanted anything so desperately. They laughed about it. ‘Look, he’s all hot and bothered. See how he’s shaking? How stiff that cock is?’ they said. And I made these… these needy whimpers and I remember O chuckled at this. He said ‘go on, make him beg for it’ and.. and.. one of his men reached out and smoothed his hand down my chest.

I tried so hard not to make a sound but… but… but when the other one reached between my legs I couldn’t keep it in anymore. I—I—” Ray took a shaking breath. “I begged them to let me come. They laughed at me. And then they started arguing… who would get to fuck me…”

Fraser tensed next to Ray. He gripped the bed-sheets even tighter in his white-knuckled fist.

“…and… and how,” Ray whispered. He swallowed around his dry throat. “It—it only made me need it more… The—the fear was driving me crazy. O tossed them something then, no idea what, a truncheon or something. It was black and smooth and he told them to do it with that. They weren’t happy about it,” Ray continued quietly. “So they…they…” Ray clasped his hands a couple of times before he went on.

“They pushed it between my lips. Ordering me to get it wet. I—“

Ray could see what happened then as clearly as if he was floating above the scene, watching himself: How he didn’t resist. How they pushed it inside of him. The sob of relief that left his lips when they finally breached him.

Ray licked his lips again in an effort to calm his breathing. He tried to hide the tremor in his hands by burying his hands in the sheets. He had still been able to feel them afterwards— on the drive home… in the bath… the soreness after they had pushed it inside of him roughly, harder and harder, and he hadn’t said ‘no’, he hadn’t protested.

He’d been dying for it. God, he felt sick. He’d come. He had come his brains out… even though he hadn’t wanted it to happen at all… but he had asked for it. He was disgusting. The urge to hurl threatened to overwhelm him.

And the tremor was moving its way up his arms.

“Ray,” Fraser said softly.

Ray didn’t know if he had said any of it out loud or if he had sat in silence and Fraser had simply respected that.

He felt his stomach turn inside out. “Gonna throw up,” Ray muttered hurriedly as he scrambled for the closest way to the bathroom. He reached the toilet bowl barely in time. Retching and quivering, he gripped the porcelain between white knuckles.

A vein on his temple was pulsating and Ray felt a sudden, sharp pain to his forehead. He groaned. He wanted…

He craved…

He needed…

Sweat broke out over the skin of his back.

“Please…” Ray whimpered.

Fraser was standing in the doorway to the bathroom, careful not to crowd him.

“The drug…” Ray mumbled. “Just one shot more. I’ll be—it’ll be better then. Please,” he sobbed as another spasm shook his slender frame.

“You’re going through withdrawal Ray,” was Fraser’s measured reply from the door frame.

“No shit!” Ray’s reply had more bite to it then he had intended. He was so tired and his head was killing him.

Another wave of nausea washed over him and he leaned back over the bowl again. God, his throat hurt. There was nothing but bile coming up anyway.

Had it been so long… the last dosage? He hadn’t felt this sick since the beginning. But it was the same cycle. First came the tiredness… and O had hardly ever made him wait longer. But when he had… Ray remembered the headaches and his clammy hands… the muscle spasms that shook him.

But he had never felt sick like this. But he never had to go this long without it either.

Ray wiped a trembling hand over his mouth. He attempted to stand up, but his wobbling legs gave way underneath him. Fraser instantly took a step closer – only to hold himself back before he could grip Ray’s upper arm. What if Ray had to live through a flashback because he used too much force or because his action was too abrupt?

Ray noticed and felt sudden anger bubble up inside of him.

He caught himself on the sink. “Fine!” He spat. “Think I don’t see how you can’t even stand touching me—know what? I don’t care! You think I want all this? Go fuck yourself, Fraser. Go home!” Ray shouted hoarsely. There were tears clogging up his throat, but his eyes were dry.

He didn’t know where the anger was coming from. He wasn’t… was he angry? He didn’t know anymore.

But he knew that he couldn’t bear it if not even Fraser wanted to touch him.

Gently, warm arms closed loosely around his upper body. “Calm down, Ray,” Fraser murmured. “I thought—I didn’t want to touch you against your will.”

Ray could only shake his head; emphatically, from side to side, trying to shake the headache, trying to forget about this craving. “Please, make it go away,” Ray whispered.

“I can’t,” Fraser said in a broken voice.

A dry sob escaped Ray’s throat. It hurt, but he was too empty to cry. Or too full, he didn’t know. All he knew was this hunger and that there was no room for anything else.

“Are you finished vomiting?”

Ray nodded weakly. He couldn’t fathom how anything could be left inside of him. The only things left to upchuck were his organs and that would be bad.

Hardly touching him, but not letting go, Fraser led him back to the bedroom.

“Lie down,” Fraser said quietly. Ray settled back on the mattress. His fingers gripped the sheet in an impotent effort to keep himself together.

A few minutes later, Fraser was back with a bottle of water, a bucket, and a wet towel. He handed Ray the water. Ray could hardly keep the bottle steady. Water trickled down his jaw. He needed—he needed—he needed—fuck, he didn’t want fucking water! Ray threw the water bottle against the bedroom wall in a sudden fit. It collided with the crunch of plastic. The water gurgled softly as it sloshed over the floor.

Fraser flinched only slightly.

“Fuck. Fuck.” Ray muttered, tearing on his hair. “Sorry,” he mumbled as the anger drained from him.

“It’s okay,” Fraser answered and got up to fetch the bottle. The water had left a dark puddle on the floor.

Ray bit the nail of his thumb. He knew this was irrational. Knowing it didn’t help, though. He needed more. Now. Nownownownownow—

“Ray, it’s alright.” Fraser tried to soothe him. He had probably spoken out loud. Fraser… Fraser could do anything, right?

“You can get me more,” Ray’s dark eyes fixed on Fraser’s pale face.

“Ray, you know I can’t.”

“Yes, you can. You can do everything. Just one more shot and I’ll be good. I promise.” Ray’s voice took on a whiny quality, not unlike that of a spoiled child.

“I know that you must be hurting. But I promise it will get better,” Fraser explained as gently as he could. He placed the water bottle carefully on the night table and sat on the edge of the bed facing Ray.

Ray’s head was splitting open. Any moment Fraser would be able to see his brain leaking into his eyes, Ray knew it. But if he got more of the drug, he would be alright. It would make everything stop.

Cat-like, he advanced on Fraser. “Fraser,” he gasped. “Please… please… I need it… I’d do anything…anything…” Ray’s voice was a low murmur. The expression on his face was none Fraser had ever seen. He didn’t look like himself.

Fraser’s eyes hardened. “I know this is only the drug talking Ray. But I will not take advantage of you.”

“You wouldn’t… god… please, Fraser— you have no idea how this feels.”

Fraser flinched at the raw pain in Ray’s voice. He wished there was something he could do to make it easier for Ray.

“Anything, Fraser… just please…” Ray sobbed.

“Ray, you can’t have more of the drug. I can’t let you. And I can’t let you offer something that you would later regret.”

“But you want to.” Ray pressed his own body against Fraser’s. “You want me,” he murmured.

Fraser drew in a startled breath.

“…Yes,” Fraser admitted, feeling as if he was dying. Ray was right. He scrunched his eyes shut against the pain. “But I would never force you to,” He whispered. Was he only trying to absolve himself? No, he wouldn’t have taken advantage of Ray. He hadn’t. Not in all the year after Ray had been abducted. Never… it had been to safe Ray… only to safe him…

Warm lips claimed his and Ray’s slick tongue invaded his mouth.

Fraser’s eyes flew open. He pushed Ray away. “No.”

“No?” Ray’s eyebrows rose up.

“You’re not yourself Ray. The drug is driving you to the edge. Right now you would do anything for another dosage. Listen to me, Ray. I know you’re strong. You can fight this. Think. You don’t want more of the drug, Ray.”

Ray took a few hasty breaths. His body started to quiver again and his face crumbled before Fraser’s eyes. “I can’t—I can’t—I can’t—“ he chanted. “I can’t stand it, Fraser.”

Ray’s fingers curled into a fist over a handful of Fraser’s shirt. He curled in on himself, resting his head against Fraser’s collarbone.

“Do you think I’m disgusting?” He rasped.

“No.” Fraser’s answer came instantaneously.

Muffled sobbing was the only sound in the room.

“I feel so dirty… I wanna get out of my skin,” Ray’s hoarse whisper hitched with every shake of his shoulders.

“Shh…” Tentatively, Fraser settled his hand on Ray’s back. Ray’s sobbing quieted a little, calming his shaking somewhat.

“Nothing of this is your fault.” Fraser’s hand was rubbing soothing circles over Ray’s shoulder.

“I fucking asked them to do it.”

“You were under the influence of a drug. It’s not easy to act against it even when you know about its effects.”

“But it’s possible.”

“With a lot of practice and someone to help you, maybe,” Fraser said gently. Ray’s fingers were curled so tightly into the fabric of Fraser’s shirt that his fingernails must have been biting into his own skin.

Fraser bit his lip. He wanted to help so badly.

“Can I touch you?”

Ray’s answer was almost a sob. “Yeah.”

Carefully, Fraser put his arm over Ray’s back and pulled him close. Ray’s legs stretched to the side as his head came to rest against Fraser’s chest, one of Fraser’s arms protectively around his back.

Over the course of the night, Ray’s mood swung wildly from aggressive to depressed; covering every emotion in between. Ray was hurtful, gentle, sad, coaxing, and Fraser had a hard time keeping up with him.

In the wee hours of the morning, Ray started to drift off into a restless sleep, at first for short and then longer intervals. Fraser sighed with relief. Gently, he stroked the sweat-soaked bangs away from Ray’s forehead.

How could Ray even stand his touch? –No, not just stand. Ray wanted his touch. After everything he had done? It was his fault that Ray was in this condition now. If he had insisted on seeing Ray home… had he managed to fight the aphrodisiac off… if he hadn’t left Ray there to get help… None of this would’ve happened.

He’d do anything to make it up to Ray. But there was nothing to turn back the clock. Nothing he could do… nothing…

Quickly, Fraser wiped underneath his eyes. He didn’t want Ray to see him like that if he woke up.  He had to be strong. He would be there for Ray… even if it was the only thing he could offer him.

Fraser noticed that his breathing was coming much too fast – he was gasping –no— sobbing, and he couldn’t seem to stop. Oh God… he had suffocated Ray. Ray had lost consciousness because he had cut off his air supply—with his very own hand.

What kind of person was he that he could do something like that? He could’ve killed Ray. All color drained from his face.

How could he have done that to Ray? Even under the influence of a drug— it hadn’t been a mind altering substance… was that who he was? Someone who could suffocate the person he loved?

With a groan, Ray stirred. Fraser finally noticed that it must have been noon already, or shortly before it, judging from the light through the bedroom window. He couldn’t—he couldn’t stop the sobbing— but Ray shouldn’t see him like this—he—

Groggily, Ray raised himself up on his arms. It was the first time that he felt more or less himself. He still felt like shit, but at least he didn’t feel like an alien in his own skin anymore. He looked around in confusion. His eyes widened in shock when his eyes hit upon Fraser.

“Oh God, Frase, what’s wrong?” He asked hurriedly. He sat up and looked at Fraser who was sitting with his back against the headboard. “Hey, hey, it’s alright.” Panicking, Ray wiped at the tear tracks on Fraser’s cheeks.

Fraser was still hyperventilating and Ray tried breathing with him to calm him down. “Don’t, Fraser… shhh… take a deep breath, in… and out… shh… you’re safe, okay?”

A sob broke from Fraser’s lips. “I’m safe?” He gasped. “What about you?”

Ray was confused. “Uh, I’m better… I guess,” he said puzzled. His headache was still too prominent to be up for dealing with nervous breakdowns. But it looked as if he didn’t have a choice.

“Ray I almost killed you.” Fraser whispered in a tear-choked voice.

Ray’s eyes widened. “You didn’t kill me.”

“You lost consciousness. And it was my hand over your mouth.”

Something in Ray relaxed. This particular moment wasn’t his worst, compared to the rest of the nightmare. He had known that Fraser would revive him.

“Fraser, at the moment getting choked is a turn-on for me, okay?” Ray said calmly. “The blackout was new, but I wanted the rest. I’m just glad it was you.”

“You’re glad it was me?” Fraser intoned uncomprehendingly. “What kind of person would do what I have done?”

Ray smiled gently. “Someone who’d do whatever it takes to get us outta there. And you did.”

Another tear squeezed past Fraser’s eyelid.

“Hey…don’t,” Ray murmured, brushing the tear away.

“Aren’t you afraid of me? Aren’t you disgusted by what I’ve done to you?” Fraser whispered.

Gently, Ray shook his head. “I never blamed you. I trust you… you’d do anything to protect me…” Ray grinned a little at Fraser, “Of course, you endanger my life in wildly bizarre ways often enough… but when it comes to O you’re really the only thing keeping me sane.”

Fraser stared at him. “You trust me?”

“Yeah,” Ray said with a small smile.

“How can you trust me? How do you know the drug didn’t simply reveal what was inside of me all along? How do you know I wouldn’t hurt you?”

“Because I know you. You’re my partner. You’re my friend,” Ray echoed the same words back at Fraser that had made him believe in his friend even if Ray hadn’t been able to believe in himself.

Fraser took an unsteady breath. “You really think so?”

“Yes, you freak,” Ray said softly.

Ray’s hand started shaking again. Ray raised it up to his eyes and looked uneasy. “I thought that was over?”

“You might get spasms now and again for as long as it takes to flush the drug from your system. It will get better.”

“You sure?”

“Yes, Ray.”

Ray sighed in relief. “Think I’ll ever get over that fear thing?”

“It will take some time, but the effect will eventually wear of.”

“And you’ll help me?”

“If you let me.”

“Don’t be stupid,” Ray smiled. The tremor in his hand stopped again and Ray sighed in relief. “I’d like to take another bath. I feel filthy and I’m sweaty and I really need to brush my teeth… could you—are you still here when I get back?”

“Ah, yes. Yes, I’ll be here.” Fraser didn’t think that he could’ve left Ray had he asked him to. Just the thought of not knowing if Ray was safe made him uneasy.

There wasn’t much left of their vacation and they had agreed to at least talk to Welsh before making an official statement. Ray wasn’t too keen to talk about it, or at least about parts of it, but his desire to see O behind bars was outweighing his own discomfort.

Welsh was a good guy. He’d make it as easy as possible on them, Ray knew that. Still, he was glad for the two days they had left before he had to face the music. And he was equally glad that Fraser stayed with him at his apartment without his having to ask.

There was only one thing Fraser apparently hadn’t grasped and it was long overdue that Ray let the guy know.

On the evening of the second day, they were sitting together on the couch with some mindless program on TV. Ray switched it off and turned to Fraser. Expectantly, Fraser looked at Ray. Ray took a deep breath and pressed his lips to Fraser’s for a soft kiss.

He pulled back to gauge Fraser’s reaction, but he was met with an expression of the most profound regret. That was a surprise.

“Ray, what are you doing?”

“Uhm,” Wasn’t it obvious? “I’m kissing you?”

“Yes, but why? You know this isn’t something you actually want. I told you to expect strange impulses and aftereffects of the drug. You can’t let it control you, Ray. You need to—“

“No. I want to.”

Fraser opened his mouth and closed it again. “What?”

“See, that’s what I’ve been trying to tell you… this isn’t new, all right? I—“ Ray sighed. “I’ve wanted to for a while… but after last year I was… I guess I was afraid, I dunno. And I didn’t think I could cope with it… because it had been forced and I didn’t remember too clearly and I wasn’t sure if I could make it work and stay your cop partner during the day and… but I want. And I’m not scared anymore.”

“Are you sure?” Fraser looked an inch away from breaking.

“No, you doofus, I’m just saying this to entertain myself. What do you think? I’ve never been so sure about anything in my life… and I…” Ray swallowed as a blush climbed up his neck. “I’ve been thinking about you touching me for a while…”

It seemed to be that last sentence that finally convinced Fraser. He reached out and placed his hand on Ray’s jaw. Carefully, he stroked his thumb over Ray’s bottom lip. His grip tightened as he pulled Ray’s face closer. Finally, his lips met Ray’s in a slow kiss.

When they pulled apart, Ray was smiling.

“Could we—“ he tossed his head in the direction of his bedroom.

Fraser’s eyebrows rose in surprise. He flicked a knuckle over his right brow.

“I got a lot of memories I’d like to change,” Ray said quietly.

“You have to tell me if I’m going too fast—or if I’m doing something you don’t want—“ Fraser started his list of objections.

Ray raised his hand to stall Fraser’s security check.

“I think we already established that we’re pretty good in the sack together – I was still myself, you know? I’m sure you’ll do fine.”

“But—“

“Yeah, yeah. I’ll let you know. I’ll kick you in the head if you try to extend the foreplay beyond a human lifespan.” Ray smirked. “I’m not fragile, okay? I did a lot of shit under the influence of some drug, but that doesn’t mean that I’m too fucked up to have sex with you.”

“I never said that,” Fraser said seriously.

“No, I know. You just think too much.” Ray flicked his own finger over Fraser’s eyebrow. “So, what about it – you ready to walk the talk?”

“Yes.” And Fraser had never sounded so sure about anything in his life.

The talk with Welsh had been more emotionally taxing than Ray had expected. They had left some parts out, but Welsh had gotten the picture anyway. Fraser’s timely rescue mission had at least enabled the police to secure enough evidence to put O behind lock and key.

Apparently, the guys from the drug squad also had some beef with O – his drugs had been found in a staggering amount of sex slave cases. O probably wouldn’t see the outside world again anytime soon.

And Ray was never more grateful than for this little fact.

He really wanted to move on – he’d probably never be able to forget about it, but he’d like to leave it all behind him. He stood in front of the mirror in his bedroom, scratching at the mark of the knife over his hipbone with rising irritation.

The only thing he managed to do was making it itch and burn. Angry and frustrated he pulled on the already red and inflamed skin.

“I could change it for you,” came a quiet voice from the doorway. Ray turned around and found Fraser watching him with serious eyes.

“You could?”

“I can’t heal the skin and make it vanish, but I could alter it into something you’ve chosen yourself,” Fraser said quietly.

“Yeah… I, yeah…” Ray said slowly, turning back to look at the mark in the mirror.

That night Fraser sharpened his knife. Ray watched him over the table, feeling an excited prickle where his knife wound was.

Carefully, Fraser cleaned the blade. He looked up and Ray was caught by the intensity in Fraser’s stare. This wasn’t just about Ray claiming his own body back… this was also about Fraser being the one to claim it. As if Fraser could get his own back on O this way.

Ray shivered in a mixture of excitement and arousal.

“Should I lie down for this?”

Fraser nodded. “That would be best,” he answered, but it seemed to cost him to keep his voice steady.

Ray lay down on the bed and waited for Fraser to settle down over his legs. Ray pulled his shirt over his head and Fraser dabbed a ball of cotton into the disinfectant and cleaned the mark.

Ray gasped. Watching Fraser with the knife above him wasn’t as scary as he would’ve imagined. He could feel his heart beat faster anyway. A slight tremor of fear jerked through him and he felt the familiar tingle of arousal.

“Are you sure about the cuts you want me to make?” Fraser’s voice was low, like gravel, and Ray swallowed hastily. Maybe it wasn’t the fear at all that was turning him on like crazy. Maybe it was just the determination in Fraser’s eyes, his quiet control.

“Yeah,” Ray gasped. It was almost a moan.

Fraser’s hand was steady as he guided the tip of the blade over the old design without cutting Ray’s skin.

Ray’s breathing was coming in gasps. He was staring at the glint of the blade and Fraser’s casual grip on the handle – as if he was wielding a knife for a living. But Ray had witnessed Fraser’s expertise when it came to handling a knife before. This should not have come as a surprise.

“Ready?” Fraser asked; his eyes boring into Ray’s.

Ray nodded breathlessly. “Please,” he whispered.

“Ahh—“ he gasped at the sting of the cut as Fraser drew the blade over his skin. A vivid line of scarlet appeared where the blade cut into his skin, but hardly any blood spilled over the incision.

It was hard to keep his hips still. The fact that this was Fraser claiming him, giving him the power over his own body back, was making Ray dizzy with want.

The blade left his skin and Ray panted for breath.

“This will sting,” Fraser cautioned before he dabbed something carefully over the new mark. Ray hissed, but he had anticipated the pain.

Fraser deposited the knife on the night stand, next to the other paraphernalia of cotton balls and disinfectant. The moment his hands were free, Ray reached up to pull him down for a heated kiss.

Ray released him with a biting kiss to his bottom lip. “I need you—you need to finish what you started,” Ray gasped against his lips.

Fraser nodded, gasping for air. He tore Ray’s jeans open, pulling them down and undressing Ray the rest of the way. With quick movements, Fraser shed his own clothes. He pressed his naked body against Ray’s and for the first time since they had escaped, Fraser wasn’t hesitant about his touch. His fingers gripped Ray, every part they could reach; his body molded itself to Ray’s until there wasn’t an inch of space left between them; and his lips couldn’t stop tasting Ray’s.

Ray felt as if a weight had been lifted from his shoulders. In a way, he had been afraid that Fraser would continue to treat him as if he were made of glass for the rest of eternity. But it seemed as if the knife-play hadn’t only released something in Ray.

When Fraser breached him, Ray couldn’t distinguish anymore between the burning of Fraser’s mark on his hip and the burn of Fraser taking him, claiming him in a much more primal manner.

It was all connected. The cut into his skin where Fraser had claimed him with the blade of the knife, and the spot that Fraser was hitting now, deep inside of him, that sent sparks shooting through him. Ray dug his fingers into Fraser’s back, pulling him closer. He needed this, he needed Fraser to give him everything he got; he needed to feel that Fraser knew he could take it.

Fraser was murmuring into his ear. “Mine… mine… mine,” Fraser gasped and Ray moaned helplessly. It might have been “yes” or “yours”, Ray didn’t even know what his lips were forming in answer.

“I won’t let anyone hurt you,” Fraser rasped and Ray shivered, nodding, anything, he’d agree to anything Fraser said at this point.

And then Fraser kissed him; taking his breath away. Ray gave himself to the kiss, breathing through his nose, but not getting enough air, and he felt the light-headedness as the oxygen supply in his blood wasn’t enough anymore.

Fraser’s tongue filled his mouth and Ray shook as his climax overtook him. Fraser broke the kiss then, panting for breath, as he pushed again into Ray, groaning Ray’s name as he came.

“I love you,” Ray gasped when he finally had enough air in his lungs again.

Fraser kissed him tenderly. His eyes were full of affection as he pulled away. “And I you Ray.”

One Year Later, Ray’s aftereffects were much less pronounced. He supposed, having a rather high tolerance level for fear to begin with due to working with Fraser probably helped a lot.

Sometimes, it was still hard to come without running out of air and it still turned him on if he couldn’t breathe, but all in all Ray thought the repercussions could’ve been much worse.

At least Fraser was really good with dealing with it. Ray had bad days, when the sound of rushing water could immobilize him with a sudden onslaught of fear and arousal, but those days were getting less and less. Fraser read all those psychology books, coming up with new ways to desensitize Ray to the effects of his conditioning. And some of those methods really helped.

No, Fraser was really handling Ray’s freak-state remarkably well…

…coming home and surprising Ray with a hand covering his mouth and fucking him, greedy and desperate, right against the hallway wall…

…or fucking him, teasing him, going on and on and on, and only when Ray begged did Fraser finally cut off his air to let him come…

No, all in all Ray figured it could have been much worse. Having Fraser as a partner in all ways, Fraser who was used to a pretty excessive amount of weirdness, was really the best thing that could have happened to Ray.

Fraser, on the other hand, was more of a true Catholic at heart when it came to self-guilt. Ray had tried explaining countless times that there was nothing to forgive – but when had Fraser ever listened to him? Apparently, Fraser had a real problem letting go of guilt feelings.

Ray figured he had all his life to help Fraser forgive himself.

The End