Ray had a lot of thoughts about what the quest was going to be like. Mostly, he had thought ‘cold’ and he had thought ‘white’ and while both of those were true in a manner of speaking they got nowhere near the real thing.
Cause this? This was the reason why the Eskimos… okay, okay, Inuit, had so fucking many words for snow. It just didn’t make sense to talk about the weather when you only had one word to describe it and there wasn’t much else to talk about because there just wasn’t much else to see.
After the first week Ray felt rather bored to point out that it had snowed… again. So he tried to come up with other ways to describe what he saw.
“Hey, Frase I dunno why but this looks like a Popsicle you’ve left in the freezer for too long. Know what I mean? It’s ice but it looks frozen over or something,” Ray had said this morning when he had finally found his way into his hundred-and-two layers of clothing.
Fraser had smiled at him with fond amusement and thoughtfully nodded his head.
“The temperature dropped. I fully expect a storm to catch up with us when we make camp.”
“How can you tell?” Ray asked puzzled. How could you determine when it dropped from freezing-your-nuts-of-while-dressed-in-a-hundred-and-three-layers to another few degrees below that? It was cold, point taken.
“Well Ray, did you notice the change in wind?” Fraser asked and Ray had learned something out here; Fraser didn’t ask this stuff to make Ray look stupid.
He actually asked because he believed Ray to know it and it had given Ray a fuzzy feeling once he realized that Fraser trusted him to be able to hack it out here.
So Ray took a second to think about it.
“Uh, yeah… it moved the snow around yesterday, looked like a veil or something,” Ray scratched his head, trying to remember exactly what it had looked like.
Fraser smiled proudly at him.
“Exactly Ray, if this keeps up – which I reckon it will – we will be enveloped in a snow storm come night fall.”
And Ray simply nodded because Fraser was usually right when it came to this stuff. So they tried to make headway as much as they could before pitching their tent that night.
Ray was shocked to discover that you could feel colder than freezing. The wind had picked up and no matter which way you stood it constantly filled every crack in your clothing, every tiny space it could find with very fine, powdery snow which kind of gave you the chills even though you had already been colder than ice before.
So when Fraser said, “Ray, it is inevitable that we zip the sleeping bags together while the storm lasts. While you’ve adapted remarkably well over the short amount of time I do not think that you’ve managed to acquire the required amount of subcutaneous fat it would take to withstand the new drop in temperature.”
Ray hadn’t been scared that Fraser would try anything funny or anything. It had made sense and hey, he was cold.
All Ray had said was, “Zip them together?” More because he hadn’t known you could do that than because he had any real objections. But Fraser obviously thought that Ray had some misgivings about this plan because he assured him:
“It’s standard procedure, Ray.”
This was the moment Ray started to feel afraid.
It wasn’t that Ray was overly suspicious or anything but… well, the last time Fraser had told him something was standard procedure – and Ray had to refrain very hard not to make air quotes while thinking it – Ray had ended up being kissed by Fraser.
This time they were in a bed together, kind of anyway… which meant… uh… Maybe Fraser would tell him that they had to remove their clothes or something to preserve body heat or some such wash.
Ray swallowed dryly and nodded. He wasn’t sure if he knew what to expect.
They prepared dinner and Ray tried to put the idea of sleeping as far out of his mind as possible… which wasn’t very far away at all because he was dead tired and there wasn’t much else to do after they had eaten.
So Ray stood shivering in his thermals while Fraser competently transfigured the sleeping bags into one big one and laid it down in the middle of the tent.
“After you,” Fraser said politely and Ray nodded and climbed into the rather cold sleeping bag.
His teeth chattered softly when Fraser slid in next to him. Fraser zipped the side up again and reached with one hand behind them to extinguish the lantern.
“Good night, Ray,” Fraser said quietly.
“Night, Fraser,” Ray answered slightly confused.
Fraser’s mere presence warmed the sleeping bag in less than half the time it usually took Ray to make it feel comfortable and Fraser’s breathing sounded deep and even. They weren’t even touching all that much, sure, they lay close to each other but not inappropriately so or anything.
It was quiet for a bit while Ray struggled with his thoughts.
“Uhm… Fraser?” Ray whispered.
“Yes?” Fraser said in a clear voice as if he hadn’t been halfway asleep already.
“This is it?” Ray asked puzzled.
“This is what, Ray?”
“Standard procedure,” Ray said in a voice that implied he thought it was a rather dubious concept.
“Ah, yes, Ray. As I said, combining the sleeping bags creates one larger air pocket which conserves our body heat in a more intense manner so that we can both share the doubled effect.” Fraser explained reasonably.
“There’s nothing… more?” Ray asked… just to make sure.
“More?” Fraser asked and Ray heard him rub his eyebrow.
“Nothing, Fraser. Just checking,” Ray trailed off and Fraser took a breath as if he wanted to protest but then he was quiet for a moment before he said, “I see,” and went quiet again.
After a while Ray relaxed and drifted off to sleep. He could deal with this. This was warm and cozy and…safe… he could get behind this shared sleeping bag stuff.
The weather had calmed down come morning and Ray described the scenery as “fluffy as a freshly powdered doughnut” which seemed to depress Diefenbaker a little.
It was almost a week before the weather took a turn for the worse again. The wind started to whip around them and Ray felt the dogs getting excited and then there was the determined expression on Fraser’s face that told Ray all he needed to know about their situation; there was a stubborn set to Fraser’s jaw and Ray could tell that whatever came next Fraser was going to be prepared.
Even though Fraser was unbelievably fast with putting up the tent it had taken them awhile to reach this cliff side which Ray thought was a pretty neat cover – at least from one side – in an area that didn’t offer much by natural protection.
Still, before they were properly set up the wind was whipping around them, swirling snow around them and Ray wasn’t sure if he could even see more than a few feet. The snow made it hard to judge distances and everything looked even whiter than usual and Ray felt a twinge of uneasiness.
Where was Fraser? He couldn’t even see him but he had to be right next to him, he had been a moment ago and Ray turned around but there was snow everywhere around him and he wasn’t even sure in which direction the tent was… couldn’t be more than 60 feet but he couldn’t even properly open his eyes because the wind bit at his face and Ray’s breathing started to come in panicked bursts.
“Fraser!” he shouted uncertainly but the wind was howling so loudly and… how was it even possible to get lost because of a few feet. He had read that people had frozen to death only a couple of feet away from their shelter and he had never understood how they possibly could’ve managed that but suddenly this seemed frighteningly easy.
He started to sweat from the panic that started to set in and he whirled around again – suddenly there were strong arms around him and Fraser shouted in his ear, “Ray, we have to get out of the storm.”
Ray’s heart almost rose to his tongue he was so grateful to have Fraser there.
Fraser pulled on him and after a couple of steps Ray could even distinguish something darker in between all of the whirling snow. Their tent! It hadn’t really been all that far.
“Ray, get out of those clothes,” Fraser said with quiet urgency and only when Ray hastened to obey did he realize that his teeth were chattering and that his hands were almost numb with cold.
Funny, he hadn’t thought he had been standing that long outside in the storm.
By the time Ray had managed to peel out of his hundred-and-five layers of clothing Fraser had already zipped the sleeping bags back together and had almost stripped down to his thermals – how was it possible for anyone to get undressed so fast? Ray wondered but Fraser was already pulling on him and shoving him into the sleeping bag.
Ray snuggled down and tried to get warm but his teeth didn’t stop rattling and slight tremors shook him every now and again. “Shh,” Fraser murmured and warm arms enfolded Ray in an embrace.
Ray gave a surprised gasp – he didn’t know if he was surprised that Fraser touched him like that, pulled him firmly against his chest and held him or that Fraser could be warm like this after setting up tent in this snow storm.
Ray soaked up the warmth of Fraser’s body and relaxed against him. It was nice, being held like this. Long time that anyone had pressed Ray close… and never like this; no one had ever been bigger or at least as big as Ray. This was… nice. Ray sighed contently.
He couldn’t even remember the last time he had slept this great.
Over the course of the next few days Ray realized one thing: give him dropping temperatures anytime, give him fricking snow storms – he liked snow storms. They scared the hell out of him with all of their howling that sounded as if their tent was about to be blown away and it felt a bit like darkness because you couldn’t see a damn thing for all of this snow whipping around but they had one gigantic advantage.
Storms meant even colder temperatures; colder temperatures meant preserving body heat; this equaled some quality time snuggled up against Fraser.
So what if Ray stayed outside a little longer until his lips turned blue and what if he stumbled unnecessarily often once they were about ready to rest for the night just so that Fraser would feel the need to rescue Ray from frostnip –frostbite, whatever?
There was no harm in that.
It was all innocent anyway. Ray felt freezing cold all the time and there was nothing that felt like safety the way a hug from Fraser felt and maybe Ray felt a little bit lost, okay? Fraser felt solid, like something that could ground Ray and he felt like he could need that a little.
And it wasn’t as if Fraser complained. Sure, he always admonished Ray that he should pay more attention to the way his body reacted to the cold but he pulled him close to his own body anyway until Ray’s teeth stopped chattering and Ray dropped off to sleep.
Okay…. So maybe Ray had started to react to Fraser’s warm body pressed against him those last few times. But it wasn’t as if he was getting off on it on purpose or anything.
And he was pretty sure that Fraser had some rational explanation for it: ‘only natural, blabla, only human, blabla, something like that’ and more importantly, Fraser didn’t know it – didn’t have to, really.
Or, Ray didn’t think that he knew… it was hard to tell. The space in the sleeping bag was certainly limited enough that Fraser could have deduced what Ray’s restlessness had been about… but then again, Fraser was damn good at ignoring basic human needs and he hadn’t said anything about it to Ray either.
It was probably just because he was finally warm enough so that Ray’s nuts weren’t afraid for their lives that he could get it up, anyway; he was a horny guy – that was, like, his usual bed time ritual – it had nothing to do with Fraser.
Ray was just easily aroused – damn, that was his story and he was sticking to it.
Only tonight he couldn’t seem to ignore it. He had taken his own sweet time to feed the dogs and when he came back Fraser was already lying down in the big sleeping bag and Ray shuffled out of his hundred-and-six layers of clothing and climbed in next to him.
Ray didn’t even pretend to shiver, his body managed that all by himself and Fraser had ‘tsked’ and put his arms around Ray. Fraser’s hands softly enveloped Ray’s fingers, rubbing the circulation back in.
“Ray,” he chided quietly, “I’ve told you to wear the fur gloves when you feed the dogs. I know you’ve told me that it’s difficult to perform a task in them but you don’t want to risk frostbite.”
“I know, I know,” Ray sounded properly chastised.
Here was the deal: Ray was warm. He was damn comfortable. Fraser’s body felt like a furnace against him. Fraser’s hands were softly stroking the skin of his fingers and Ray hadn’t even known how damn erotic that could be.
Fraser’s fingers were warm and they were rubbing his fingers gently, softly and Fraser pulled them close to his mouth and breathed hot and wetly on Ray’s red and cold, frozen fingers…
Fraser had magic fingers, period.
Ray’s breathing sounded loud in his own ears but he feared that breathing through his nose would be even louder, so open-mouthed was probably a safer bet. He tried to keep his breathing as shallow as possible.
And Ray was hard and there wasn’t much space and he couldn’t get any release and he was simply trying to ignore it or at least to find a comfortable position in which he wouldn’t notice it all that much – so he squirmed. A bit.
Okay, maybe a lot. This wasn’t exactly easy and Ray wasn’t exactly a patient guy, happy now?
Suddenly Fraser had his hip in an iron grip and urged in a tense voice, “Ray! Stop it!”
Ray flushed a deep red. How had Fraser noticed?
“Uhm…sorry,” Ray whispered embarrassed.
Ray knew what came now.
“Perfectly natural,” Fraser continued. Bingo! Fraser was easy like that.
Ray tried to quiet down but after his mortification hiding an erection wasn’t one of his problems anymore.
He should’ve known that no matter what Fraser said he wasn’t all right. It may have been natural but he definitely wasn’t comfortable with it.
When Ray woke up the next morning Fraser was nowhere to be seen. He came in once Ray had wrestled himself into his usual hundred-and-ten layers of clothing and then Fraser looked at Ray.
And he did the neck crack. He did the eyebrow rub. He cleared his throat.
This wasn’t good.
“Uh, morning, Fraser,” Ray mumbled still a bit uncomfortable about yesterday.
“Ray, good morning,” Fraser’s posture stiffened a bit further.
“I-ah, I’ve already eaten but I have breakfast prepared for you. The storm has quieted down. We will be able to make some progress today. Diefenbaker is already excited about this prospect. In light of the recent weather develop-”
Ray listened to Fraser’s rambling and winced slightly. No, Fraser was not comfortable with yesterday night.
Ray sighed inwardly. It got worse the further the day progressed. He felt that every time he tried to talk to Fraser the Mountie doled out the extra polite crap.
Gee! If anyone should feel that embarrassed by last night’s activities it should be Ray not Fraser but there was nothing he could do to make Fraser relax so after a while he simply gave up and stayed silent.
Fraser seemed to take special care not touch Ray too often. A couple of times Ray glimpsed Fraser reaching out to him, to show him something, to get his attention, harmless stuff, really, but every time he withdrew his hand at the last moment.
Ray closed his eyes in bitter disappointment. He hadn’t intended to make Fraser uncomfortable. Yeah, he had indulged in Fraser’s touch but, Jesus; it wasn’t like he had tried to rape him or anything. It had been more about comfort than anything…Anyway, it was all this stupid hand-rubbing-and-breathing-on-it-thing that was responsible.
So Fraser was polite and never stopped talking and Ray got distanced and didn’t say anything much at all. Greatness! Bloody great; the only company he had, the only thing worth looking at in all this whiteness and he had screwed it up… again.
It became almost unbearable to Ray when bedtime came. Fraser was stoically unfolding the single, big sleeping bag probably trying to be a man about it in that I-won’t-draw-attention-to-this way he had so Ray swallowed his protest and went along with it.
Fraser wanted to act like nothing had happened, fine. So be it.
Ray tried to stay as close on his side as possible even though that pressed him rather harshly against the cold material of the sleeping bag but apparently Fraser was trying to do the same thing for they were touching almost nowhere.
He clamped his teeth together to keep them from chattering and Fraser’s breathing sounded easy and deep as you please and Ray only felt cold, he tried putting his arms around himself and curled inwards a bit but that didn’t help much.
“Ray,” Fraser’s quiet voice cut through the darkness. “If you’d try to relax instead of making yourself smaller it will undoubtedly help to—“
“Yeah, I get it Frase! Just shup up! I’m not stupid, okay? Go to sleep, I bet you’ll manage to stay warm just fine,” Ray snapped. God, he was so angry. Why couldn’t Fraser let him be? He already felt like a dirty pervert anyway.
No need to make it sound as if Ray was trying to get him to touch him…. Which, okay, maybe he had done that but not in a mean way… it was… shit… this was huge here and Fraser felt a bit like a safety blanket and Ray felt so far out of his element he could do with a little reassurance here, and anyway he wasn’t trying to pull anything.
Ray could practically hear Fraser frown. There was soft rustling and then Fraser had turned around with his back to Ray – which he had never ever done before.
Great! Now Fraser was really pissed off at him.
“I can assure you that I will keep my warmth to myself, Ray. No need to worry.” Fraser spoke quietly between clenched teeth. He made it sound dirty and Ray didn’t get that but he was tired and the day had been utter hell and he had no patience left to struggle through whatever the hell it was that passed for a conversation with Fraser.
“Fine,” Ray snapped back.
Was his body’s reaction that disgusting to Fraser? Wasn’t it Fraser who had told Ray that countless animals had sexual relations with same sex partners and that the human sexuality was way more flexible than most people reckoned and all that stuff about open mindedness?
Maybe it was just Ray in particular? He swallowed. Wasn’t he even the tiniest bit likeable? Was it just so horrible for Fraser to think that Ray might be attracted to him like that?
He knew he wasn’t all that much to look at but he had always considered himself to have a certain charm…. Maybe not so much.
It took him a long time to find some sleep.
The next day was tense and Ray was actually glad for the first time that you couldn’t talk much during the day. It took too much effort to shout above the racket of the wind and you couldn’t properly turn around on the sled anyway.
The sky had been a vast grey slur the whole morning but it had been really calm the whole time. So when everything went more or less dark from one moment to the next it scared Ray so badly that he completely forgot that they hadn’t really been talking all day.
“Fraser?” he shouted over his shoulder.
“It’s a ground blizzard Ray. We will have to deal with snow drifts and winds up to 56kmH, that’s 35mph. I’m afraid we won’t have time to set up the tent. It would get blown away the moment we tried to—“
The howling wind swallowed the rest of what Fraser was trying to say but Ray got it anyway. One of the first things Fraser had taught Ray before they even left for their quest was how to behave in a snow storm in case he ever got lost or separated from Fraser.
Ray even had fun when they had practiced… this didn’t look like much fun, though.
The blizzard was rapidly approaching though and there was no handy cliff or rock available this time. Fraser seemed to realize that, too. He stopped the sled and got off.
“Ray, can you secure the sled? We only need the first aid blanket.”
Ray nodded wide-eyed. Fraser had shown him how, he could do this.
So while Ray got out the pegs and the ropes and started to secure the sled to the ground, Fraser started to stake a lean-to for the dogs. He secured their leashes and talked quite intently to Diefenbaker.
The wind was so loud Ray couldn’t hear anything else. It sounded like white-noise… only scarier. Ray let his gaze wander over the big, white, frozen landscape and gulped when he saw the wall of snow being whipped savagely to the right and to the left. There was no mistake that the storm was approaching fast; he wasn’t as good with his guesses as Fraser but if anyone asked him he’d say they’d be buried under huge amounts of snow in the next ten minutes.
Ray tried to keep the panic down; Fraser would know what to do, they were going to be alright. Despite the freezing wind Ray felt his skin breaking into a cold sweat. Not the best moment for that, he supposed.
“RAY!” Fraser shouted over the din.
Ray turned towards him and saw that he had created a small space for them enclosed by the dogs. The wind tore at Ray’s clothes as he stumbled over to Fraser.
Fraser took the blanket from him and enfolded it on the ground, right next to the back of the dogs. “Come here,” Fraser pulled on Ray and pushed him down onto the insulating blanket.
“What—?” Ray started to ask but Fraser interrupted him. “Lied down Ray, I’m going to cover you.”
Before Ray could puzzle out what exactly Fraser meant, Fraser’s heavy body pressed him into the ground. Most of Ray’s body was covered by Fraser now.
“Fraser!” Ray shouted into his ear. “You can’t do that! What about you?”
“I’ll be fine,” Fraser assured him with a small smile. “A blizzard lasts around 3 hours and you have less—“
“Subterranean fat, yeah, I know. You’ll freeze to death, Fraser!” He knew he sounded slightly hysterical but he couldn’t help himself. This was – huge – and he had never been this scared in his life.
Ray saw Fraser’s lips move but every sound he made was swallowed by the first gush of wind and snow that blew over them.
The blizzard really lasted for what felt like hours. Ray felt deaf, the howling of the storm having drowned out all other noises until even that sounded like no noise at all, sounded like quiet. He was numb from lying in the cold and not being able to move. His heart was racing in his chest and his thermals felt cold and damp from perspiration.
But all he could see was Fraser, the vivid blue of his eyes, the chapped lips, the pale face and the intensity of his gaze. Ray saw his lips move in a never ending prayer, or maybe he was telling all of the anecdotes Ray had never let him finish or maybe he was whispering Ray’s name, over and over again, but Ray couldn’t hear him… yet he couldn’t look away.
When had his whole world started to revolve around Benton Fraser? Ray puzzled to distract himself from Fraser’s lips.
But the answer was obvious; wasn’t it?
From the very beginning.
And maybe Ray would have been scared to realize this at any other moment but he was already scared, he was scared to death and this epiphany just wasn’t shocking enough to rock him, not compared to braving the elements without any shelter.
Yeah, okay… so maybe Ray had lied. What if it had been about Fraser in the sleeping bag? What if it had been about Fraser’s touch and not about comfort?
It had always been about Fraser. The quest, their adventure, was nothing but about Fraser, about staying with him, about not having to leave him just yet, and maybe not ever.
It was okay that Fraser didn’t want Ray in that way, that he wasn’t someone Fraser could like and that Fraser didn’t want to touch him like that… as long as Ray didn’t have to leave, as long as he could stay with Fraser, he would be alright.
It was a sorry state of affairs if you had to talk like that about your life but Ray was used to not being what people liked or wanted or expected.
He wasn’t Steve McQueen, instead he was the small kid that wet his pants; he wasn’t the slick dressed husband you could introduce to all of your fancy lawyer friends, he was the cop with bad hours and even worse people around him all day; he wasn’t the dark haired Italian you had been friends with for years and expected to see when you came back from holiday.
He was just Ray Kowalski. Just Ray. And at one point he had hoped that would be enough.
“Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray—“
Ray was so surprised at being able to hear Fraser again that it took him awhile to notice.
“Sorry,” Ray’s voice sounded cracked and raspy from cold and lack of use.
“The storm has abated,” Fraser said quietly. “I—we need to set the tent up before it starts anew.”
Ray only nodded dumbly. It seemed to cost Fraser an awful lot of concentration to get up. He wobbled slightly and Ray stumbled to his feet trying to support him.
“Hey buddy, you alright?” Ray said gruffly.
“Ah, yes Ray. It’s, well, everything is a bit stiff I’m afraid.”
They managed to get the tent ready even though it took them a bit longer than usual. Once they were inside and Ray had lighted the lantern he saw a shadow on the tent flap and frowned. The shadow looked slightly jumpy, as if it couldn’t stay still. He looked confused at the lantern but the light was remarkably steady.
He turned around and saw with widening eyes that it wasn’t the shadow that was twitching; it was Fraser who appeared to try very hard to suppress his trembling.
Ray jumped up to see what was wrong. Fraser had taken off his gloves and now that Ray was close enough he also saw that Fraser’s fingers were slightly blue.
“Dammit! Fraser! What the hell?”
Fraser closed his eyes briefly. “It’s alright, Ray. Don’t worry. It’s very mild hypothermia, no need—“
“Hypothermia?!” Ray exclaimed and started to unbutton Fraser’s parka, god, they had to get him dry and in—wasn’t that the thing about bodily contact or something? Shit, he was confused, should he make tea or something? No, clothes first, he—“
“Ray, Ray, Ray—“ Fraser sounded like he had been saying that for awhile.
“Fraser, you’ve got hypothermia!” Ray shouted accusingly.
“Ray, it’s only very mild. That was to be expected. I shiver extensively and it caused tachypnea but—“
“What’s that last thing? Trust you to tell me in such a ‘by the way, buddy’ manner that you’re dying and I—“
“RAY! It means ‘rapid breathing.”
“Oh,” Ray looked slightly embarrassed.
“I am not going to die. Slight hypothermia is nothing to be concerned about. I might suffer from mental confusion – although a lot of people would agree that to be an ongoing condition – and I might develop a fever but I will be fine. You have to trust me, Ray.”
“I do.” Ray said before Fraser had even finished speaking. Fraser closed his mouth with a snap and then he smiled at Ray.
Ray already felt embarrassed enough. He continued to pull on Fraser’s clothes, batting Fraser’s hands away.
He had Fraser almost out of all the outer layers when his head snapped up to meet Fraser’s gaze.
“Fraser! This is all wet. Why are your thermals soaked?”
“Ah, I’m afraid that’s mostly the snow that managed to enter the clothing at some point during the storm or during the setting up of the tent. I can manage to preserve body heat which means that the snow melted at one point or another.”
Even Fraser’s lips were blue. Ray winced slightly when he looked at him. There was nothing for it; Fraser would have to get out of the wet stuff.
Ray’s gaze glided over Fraser’s body on its own accord. The wet thermal material clung to Fraser’s skin in an almost translucent state. It looked almost pornographic on him. Ray swallowed. His gaze flickered downwards, he couldn’t help it. The cloth had molded itself to Fraser’s cock and Ray quickly looked elsewhere.
He knew his own hands weren’t exactly warm either and his own thermals were still a bit damp but he helped Fraser undress, running his hands over all the smooth skin, rubbing the muscles in hope of returning a rosy hue to the pale flesh. When Ray came to the bottom half of the thermals his eyes strained down again.
His mouth opened in a silent ‘o’ of wonder. Fraser was rock hard. His eyes snapped up again only to see that Fraser had his eyes tightly shut. Fraser didn’t seem all that happy about Ray’s discovery.
Ray already opened his mouth to say something but stopped himself at the last second. Fraser had said that one reacted to others, especially when you are not often touched this way and… he had also said that he might be delusional – well, for real this time – at the moment, so… this probably wasn’t Ray’s safest bet.
The only thing Ray could do was to act comfortable about it. No need to freak the Mountie any further.
Without any flourish Ray pulled on the waistband of the thermals to drag them down.
“Let’s get them off, you need to get into dry ones,” Ray stated matter of fact and Fraser’s eyes flew open in shock at the gesture – obviously he hadn’t thought that Ray would progress with the undressing.
Ray tugged the offending garment off while trying very hard not to take a peek. He squeezed Fraser’s shoulder softly, once before he moved to Fraser’s pack to get him a new pair of thermal underwear. He handed it quietly to Fraser and started to strip out of his own clothes as well.
When he was almost down to nothing he looked at Fraser who was still sitting in the same spot – although in dry thermals – with his eyes closed and a deeply embarrassed expression on his face. Ray did a short check, yep, erection still unabated.
Ray didn’t bother with the top half of his thermals. Fraser needed the warmth anyway and he couldn’t be bothered to find the rest of his stuff, he had more pressing matters to attend to. He walked over to Fraser and shook him softly.
“Let’s get you warm, Fraser.”
Fraser’s cheeks took on a few red patches. Interesting, Ray thought. So that’s how someone half frozen to death blushes.
Ray unzipped the sleeping bag and motioned for Fraser to get in.
Ray had all this speech prepared in his head about how Fraser didn’t need to think that Ray couldn’t control himself and even… well, in light of Fraser’s momentary, uh, interest, that Ray knew that it didn’t mean anything and so on and so forth.
He was almost disappointed when Fraser only nodded once before lying down.
Ray climbed in, pulled the zipper up behind him and faced Fraser. He was lying against the other side of the sleeping bag, eyes closed and shivering.
Ray made an annoyed noise and gripped Fraser’s wrists to jerk him closer. Fraser’s eyes opened in surprise and Ray looked at him with an expression that he hoped conveyed ‘don’t make me hurt you’.
Ray pushed one of his legs over Fraser’s and pulled Fraser’s hands up to his face. He pressed his lips softly against Fraser’s knuckles and breathed softly against them. Fraser gave a shocked gasp but Ray didn’t let him pull away.
Ray enveloped Fraser’s hand with both of his own and let them soak up his warmth. Fraser’s cheeks looked decidedly healthier. Fraser squirmed again and Ray sighed exasperatedly.
“Fraser, stop it. You are not getting away. You almost froze to death so you better—“
“I did not almost freeze to death,” Fraser said impatiently. “I have suffered from mild hypothermia on countless occasion—“
“Yeah and you were alone whenever that happened. You’re not now, so let me help dammit!” Ray snarled.
“But I…” and now Fraser seemed to be at a loss for words. He turned his head away, not wanting to look at Ray and Ray sighed softly.
“Frase… it’s okay. I know you freaked out when, uh, you felt mine you-know-what in the sleeping bag”
“the other day – which I’m sorry about, okay? – but”
“it’s alright, get it? I know it’s just an involuntary reaction to some skin on skin action,”
“happens to all of us and,” Ray sighed, god, he should get a medal for being so reasonable about this even though it hurt to acknowledge that no, of course, this had nothing to do with it being Ray’s body, who could be aroused by Ray? How could you even suggest it?
“What?” He barked.
Fraser’s eyes had widened impossibly.
“I—are you? That is, ah, are you trying to insinuate that—“
“Just spit it out!” Ray had no time for a Fraser induced headache at the moment.
Fraser took a deep breath.
“Are you trying to tell me that, the night we shared the sleeping bag, you had a, ah, reaction similar to my current… predicament?” Well, at least Fraser had a healthy complexion again, bit on the red side, Ray supposed but—“
“Ray?” and Fraser sounded so unsure that Ray took pity on him.
“Frase, come on, you’ve got a rock solid memory. We were both there, I got a boner and you told me off for rubbing against you and I said I am sorry, okay—“
“I, I wasn’t, Ray.” Fraser said baffled.
“Wasn’t what? You said ‘stop it’ and maybe my Inuit lingo is a bit rusty but my English is fine, thanks for asking.” Ray snapped.
“No, I… I mean, I hadn’t noticed that you were, ah, in an aroused state.”
Ray’s eyes were about to jump out of his face.
“What do you mean you didn’t notice? What the fuck, Fraser? Why did you say—oh,” Something dawned on Ray. “Oh… you were… and you thought…”
Fraser closed his eyes briefly, a bitter smile on his blueish lips.
“Your movements were temptingly distracting and I only wanted to prevent any discomfort on your part because I certainly didn’t want you to discover—“
“Fraser?” Ray interrupted suddenly. Fraser closed his mouth again.
“Ah, yes, Ray?”
“You’re not mentally confused at the moment, are you?”
“Well, no, I don’t think so. I am completely certain of our whereabouts and about my physical condition and I don’t have any—“
Ray pulled Fraser’s fingers close to his lips again. He closed his eyes and pressed his lips against them in a soft kiss. Ray’s tongue flicked out, licking hotly between Fraser’s knuckles and Fraser broke off mid-sentence on a gasp.
Carefully, so as not to hurt the reddened skin, Ray nipped at one of Fraser’s fingers, his tongue trailing all the way from the tip down to the crease where the finger curved into the palm.
Fraser’s fingers were still cold so Ray caught two of them with his lips and sucked them into his mouth; he pressed his tongue against them and flicked a glance at Fraser. Fraser’s eyes were closed, his mouth slightly open and he was trembling like a leaf.
Ray released Fraser’s fingers and pressed soft kisses against the fingertips. He closed his own hands around them to keep them warm and pressed another kiss against Fraser’s wrist.
“Ray,” Fraser moaned quietly. “Are you—“ Fraser stopped and bit his lip.
Ray grinned wickedly and pushed Fraser’s hands down, over his throat, his naked chest, until he could press the heel of Fraser’s hand flush against his own erection.
Ray’s hips ground against him involuntarily and a breathless moan escaped him.
“Yeah, Fraser… I am…”
Fraser groaned brokenly and Ray reached out with one hand to feel the heat of Fraser’s cock through the smooth material of the thermals. “Oh, Ray… oh…” Fraser whispered hoarsely. Ray bit his lip and firmly rubbed his thumb over the head of Fraser’s cock. “Ah…” Fraser jerked against him and gasped open-mouthed.
Ray stared transfixed at Fraser’s lips. He reached behind Fraser, placed his hands on his shoulder blade and in the small of his back and pulled him flush against him. Fraser licked his lips at the skin contact, his hands still trapped against Ray’s hard-on.
Ray moved forwards, rocking his hip against Fraser’s hands and pressed his mouth to Fraser’s lips. He moaned at the contact, his tongue tasting the soft skin of Fraser’s bottom lip before dipping in and Fraser swallowed him up as if he had been parched; his tongue pushed against Ray’s in desperation and Ray probed deeper, pushing his tongue into the hot wetness of Fraser’s mouth and Fraser groaned and clutched at Ray’s hips, pulling their groins together.
Ray never stopped kissing Fraser. He ground his hips against him, over and over again and Fraser was shaking for a whole different reason now.
Ray bit Fraser’s lip, worrying it before soothing the sting with his tongue. Fraser moaned brokenly. Ray licked once more into Fraser mouth before pulling away and whispering harshly into his ear, “I want you naked, Fraser. I want to feel your skin against mine… can I… can I have that?”
And Fraser only nodded but his hips never stopped thrusting against him, his fingers leaving bruises on Ray’s hipbones with bittersweet pain.
Ray gasped, “Fraser… Fraser, please…”
Fraser panted and tried to control his breathing. His groin pressed closely against Ray’s. With an effort Fraser loosened his grip and pulled on the hem of his thermal shirt. It took a bit maneuvering but he managed to get it over his head.
Ray took in the soft glow of the lantern on Fraser’s smooth skin and his cock throbbed with arousal. He groaned, his fingers wandering over Fraser’s chest.
“Naked… I need you naked… now,” Ray whispered urgently. Fraser nodded again and reached down to push the rest of the thermals off.
It was somehow erotic to know that Fraser undressed even though Ray couldn’t watch him pulling of the pants. Suddenly Fraser’s fingers were back on Ray’s hips and he moaned and pushed against Fraser. Fraser bit him sharply above the collar bone and he cried out. “Ah, god… Fraser…”
Fraser’s fingers reached inside of the waistband to pull Ray’s thermals off as well. His arms reached far enough to push them down until they were tangled around Ray’s knees and Ray moved his legs to push them the rest of the way off.
Fraser mouth descended on his again, plundering him and tasting him with his tongue. Ray moaned into the kiss and thrust against him. Ray felt Fraser’s wet tongue pushing into his mouth again and again and he knew he was gasping for breath but he didn’t want him to stop, his own tongue was greedily pushing back while his hips set a vicious rhythm and Fraser’s arms were shaking where they gripped Ray’s upper arms.
Fraser’s tongue flicked inside of Ray’s mouth again and Ray’s hands gripped Fraser’s ass, fingernails biting into the soft flesh and Fraser’s breathing stuttered. Ray trailed a finger down the crack, just softly smoothing over Fraser’s hole and suddenly Fraser’s tongue got even more aggressive, his breath coming in harsh pants through his nose. Ray pushed their cocks hard together, Fraser was shuddering with the effort of holding it together and Ray’s finger went in, just the tip but it was enough for Fraser to break away from the kiss to gasp for air.
“Ray… ah… Ray… “
And Ray was so fucking close; he gnashed his teeth and pushed his finger a little deeper in. Fraser groaned hoarsely and shuddered violently. He pushed brutally against Ray, smearing come between them and gripping Ray so tightly that his fingers probably left an imprint on Ray’s arm. Ray gasped, god, he was so close, and Fraser was still shaking and moaning softly and then he brought Ray’s lips against his own again, kissing him wetly and deeply and Ray came with a shudder wracking his body.
Ray tried to get his breath back and dropped his head against Fraser’s shoulder. Fraser’s fingers slowly loosened on his upper arm to encircle him in an embrace. Ray sighed contently. Fraser trailed loose kisses over the parts of Ray’s neck and shoulders that he could reach.
Ray took a shuddering breath and reached behind Fraser with shaking fingers. His fingers closed over Fraser’s thermal shirt. He lifted it to their hips and tried to mop the mess up as best as he could. Fraser moaned softly at the contact and Ray smiled a little.
Ray threw the disgusting shirt out of the sleeping bag and snuggled closer into Fraser’s embrace.
They were both quiet for awhile, Fraser fingers stroking in smooth circles over Ray’s back.
“Do you want to abandon the quest?” Fraser asked quietly.
Ray’s head shot up.
“What? Fraser, come on! You’re not seriously proposing to go our separate ways now? Not after everything, you don’t get to—“
“Ray,” Fraser said quietly but with so much gentle amusement that Ray stopped his rant to look questioning at him.
“I didn’t propose to stop the quest in order to put some distance between us. I was merely suggesting that we could go somewhere a little more… convenient.”
Ray’s eyes widened before he started laughing in disbelief.
“Fraser, did you just ask me if I wanted to go somewhere indoor so that we could have sex more easily?”
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow.
Ray laughed some more. “You are unbelievable.”
He thought about this a little. “You know, we’ve come so far I… I don’t really wanna go back now.”
“But… well… I don’t wanna miss out on any… of this,” he grinned sheepishly, “either.”
“We could make a little detour. There is a small town, more of a village actually, a few miles off. It would be highly likely that we could obtain some… supplies there.”
Ray looked incredulously at Fraser.
“Are you honestly offering to get us to a little town so that we could buy lube and stuff?”
Fraser blushed slightly. “I had hoped we could be a little more inconspicuous about it.”
“What does that mean?” Ray asked.
“I had thought of buying more Vaseline so that we don’t risk using up our current supply.”
Ray gaped at him.
“You plan on fucking me so often that we’d use up a whole pot of Vaseline?”
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow before he said in a reasonable tone.
“The nights are surprisingly long here in the winter, Ray.”
Ray just hugged Fraser more tightly against him before he kissed him again. Only Benton Fraser could be practical in the face of things that other people – Ray included – hadn’t even seen coming.
Ray supposed this might be a different adventure from the one he initially signed up for. He also supposed this one might be more to his liking. He had a more… natural… aptitude for this area of exploration.