“This doesn’t look right,” Ray mumbled on a very tense drive up to the location of their safe house. They should have come across a river by now.
“Must have taken a wrong turn,” he squinted through the windshield, trying to make out any distinguishing landmarks.
“Yes you have, on more than one occasion if I might add,” Fraser snidely replied.
Ray’s knuckles turned white where he gripped the steering wheel. This had been going on forever. If Fraser didn’t stop with those stupid allusions Ray was going to kick him in the head.
“Then why didn’t you just say so?” Ray snapped back.
“I didn’t think that my opinion was required. You seem to prefer taking action without my input lately.”
Ray gnashed his teeth.
“Fraser, if this is because of the k—“
“If you take the next left we should get to the right road again,” Fraser interrupted briskly without even having to look at the damn map.
Ray had hoped the time at the cabin would be better; at least there was a bit more space than in the GTO.
But it all went downhill right from the start. Fraser orderly stowed away his stuff before he got out a book to sit in the easy chair in the corner.
Ray sighed; so Fraser was set on ignoring him, just peachy. He took a small tour around the two-room cabin and tried not to imagine Fraser’s reaction to the wide bed in the rear room, ‘bed’ as in ‘one’.
Sweat was beading on his brow; it must have been 90 degrees in there. He went back in the front room to look for the A/C. After checking the ceiling and every other corner of the room Ray came to the conclusion that this cabin didn’t come equipped with further amenities than a bathroom.
He went to the window to let at least a bit of air inside.
“It’s not going to lower the temperature if you open the window. Instead you will have to deal with mosquitoes on top of the heat,” Fraser said without looking up from his book.
Ray wanted to kick something… or someone.
“Fine,” Ray yelled before he went outside on the porch and slammed the door shut behind him. Stupid thing was Fraser was right.
It was just as hot outside and now he stood outside with nothing to do and the mosquitoes quite obviously thought him delicious company… at least someone appreciated his presence.
He sat down on the porch and wished he was still smoking. He didn’t know how much time had passed but when he finally decided to go back inside his shirt was plastered wetly to his body and his temples were glistening with sweat.
Unconsciously, he wiped a bead of sweat away that trickled down his throat to vanish into the collar of his shirt.
At the sound of the door opening Fraser looked up shortly before going back to his book – only to do a double take a microsecond later. He fixed his eyes on Ray. Fraser’s eyes looked darker than usual and his tongue sneaked out before he opened his mouth.
But Ray really did not wanna hear another complaint from Fraser so he walked past him and grabbed a towel for a much needed shower.
When he emerged from the bathroom Fraser was sitting at the table eating what looked like tomato soup.
“Uhm,” Ray started to say unsure of what he wanted to say or ask.
“There is another bowl for you on the stove,” Fraser said quietly.
Ray nodded and joined Fraser at the table. Ray blew on the soup and found Fraser looking at him intently. But the moment Fraser noticed Ray looking back he quickly focused on his own bowl again.
They ate in silence and Ray swallowed around the lump in his throat. God, he had really screwed it up this time. If he could take it all back he would… but Fraser wasn’t even letting him apologize.
He muffled his sigh of defeat and collected their plates for washing. He hated doing the dishes, but Fraser wasn’t offering as he usually did and Ray simply couldn’t face another needless argument.
When he was finished he found that Fraser was back with his book so Ray looked around for another distraction. This cabin had nothing in form of entertainment. There was no TV, no nothing.
What was Ray supposed to do the whole evening long when Fraser didn’t even want to talk to him?
Ray browsed the shelf that held a very small assortment of books and picked up Moby Dick. He looked at it in dismay; 600 pages about a guy hunting a big white fish, exciting.
Fraser was probably the only living person who could sympathize with the single-minded tenacity of the guy. But it was better than starting on “War and Peace” or one of the Shakespeare volumes arranged on the shelf.
Ray wondered who had equipped the cabin with those tomes of all things – a TV would have been a better investment – maybe the person had known Fraser’s grandmother, this was right up her alley.
He lay down on the floor and started to leaf through the pages. He didn’t get very far; the story was only funny at the beginning – even though Ray was no expert on 19th century literature… or any other literature for that matter – but this Ishmael and his cannibal seemed more like a queer couple than colleagues so it did have a certain amusement factor.
After this part, however, it all started to get very dull. Ray didn’t have much fondness left for life aboard a ship and he definitely didn’t want to read hundreds of pages in Fraser-talk prose about it.
He threw the book in the next corner and sighed. He turned onto his stomach and sighed again. God… he was so bored. He sighed again – just for good measure.
Fraser closed his book with a snap. “Ray, I am sorry that this cabin does not seem to provide you with a form of entertainment more in your favor but your long suffering sighs are rather distracting.”
Ray took in Fraser’s snippy tone and it raised his hackles on principle. “Oh yeah? If you weren’t so dead set on ignoring me, maybe I wouldn’t be this bored.”
“I didn’t know that I was here for your personal entertainment. It certainly wouldn’t hurt you to spend an evening with a book, Ray.”
Oh, that was rich.
“What? Now I am not bookish enough for your taste? Fuck you, Fraser. Not every one of us is a travelling library.”
Ray towered over him so Fraser stood up to even the playing field.
“I’ve never said anything about turning into a library but apparently your favorite form of entertainment isn’t all that well equipped to entertain someone on their own and—“
“Would you just stop it, Fraser?” Ray shouted. “I’m so sick of it!” They were so close Ray could feel every enraged breath Fraser took. “You can’t stand my company anymore, fine!” Ray fisted his hand in Fraser’s shirt and shook him. “Just say the fuck so and I’ll leave you alone!”
Fraser growled in answer and closed his hand over Ray’s wrist and pushed back. Ray stumbled slightly but Fraser held him up with the death grip on his wrist until Ray’s back was against the wall. Ray gasped for breath, completely baffled.
Fraser was pressed flush against him, his eyes all dark and his lips the tiniest bit open. Ray unconsciously licked his own lips – Fraser’s gaze zeroed in on the movement of Ray’s tongue and it wasn’t just Ray’s imagination that Fraser’s face came closer, so close he could feel his breath on his lips. Ray gave the tiniest moan and Fraser seemed to snap out of it.
He let go of Ray and took a few hasty steps back. Fraser looked wild-eyed, a look Ray had never seen on him. It wasn’t a bad look on him, uncontrolled, raw.
“Fraser,” Ray said very quietly but Fraser was already shaking his head in denial.
Ray was left staring stupidly at Fraser’s retreating back before he vanished into the bathroom. A moment later Ray heard water running.
He waited patiently for Fraser to return but cooling off his face did not seem to have lifted Fraser’s mood any. He took one look at Ray before he squared his jaw and resumed his seat and opened his book again.
“Fraser, listen,” Ray took a deep breath. “It’s alright, okay? No need to freak out just because you almost—“
Fraser closed his book with more force than necessary. “Because I what, Ray? Because I let you goad me? Because I let myself get riled up against my better judgment? I am all ears for that interpretation of yours.”
“…kissed me…” died like a whisper on Ray’s lips.
Fraser’s lips curled into an unpleasant sneer. “I did no such thing Ray and while I understand that human perception can be deceiving I would recommend not to insinuate. Projecting isn’t really helpful.”
“I—“ Ray felt hopelessly lost. He hadn’t meant to… he was just trying to help.
“Damn you, Fraser,” Ray spit out before he slammed the bedroom door behind him.
When he woke up the next morning it was clear that the other side of the bed had not been used.
Ray sighed deeply. If he could just think of something to resolve this situation… but he didn’t even know what was going on inside of Fraser’s head. Flat out rejection Ray might have understood but… this? Didn’t make one inch of sense.
Definitely time for coffee, everything was easier to cope with when you had a cup of coffee in your bloodstream.
Ray shuffled out into the hallway slightly sleepy eyed. He yawned which turned into a loud yell when the door to the bathroom was flung open and Ray literally ran into Fraser.
“Jesus-Christ!” Ray shouted. Way to suffer a heart-attack first thing in the morning. Fraser gripped Ray’s upper arms to keep Ray from colliding with the floor and suddenly Ray was very, very aware that Fraser was only clad in a towel and that his skin was still steamy, with droplets of water here and there… especially there.
A bit of water from Fraser’s damp hair trickled onto Ray’s bare shoulder and he shivered. Fraser was looking at him in frozen shock and Ray’s breath was still coming in pants after his heart had tried to jump right out of his chest.
Ray had difficulties focusing, the naked chest? The eyes? The mouth? What about that drop of water that ran down Fraser’s throat, dipping into his collar bone to slide further down, just about skimming this perfectly lick-able nipple and – Ray swallowed.
Fraser’s thumbs were softly rubbing Ray’s sleep warm skin and goose bumps broke out over Ray’s naked chest.
He heard Fraser quickly draw a breath in and – the next thing Ray knew he was shoved to the side and the bedroom door fell closed behind Fraser. Ray stared bewildered at it. What the fuck—?
He swallowed again, trying to get some spit back into his parched mouth, rearranged himself inside of his boxer shorts and tried to regain his breathing.
Coffee, everything made more sense with coffee. At least, Ray supposed, it couldn’t make any less sense.
Ray was on his second cup by the time Fraser showed his face in the front room. He looked all respectable again, prim and proper, as if none of this crazy stuff was going around lately. Maybe it was only Ray’s imagination?
Hard to believe that Fraser had been drawn to him when he was wearing his ironed flannel shirt and his clean cut jeans.
And his hiking boots, and the hat, and… where did Fraser think he was going?
“Where do you think you’re going?” Ray said dangerously over the rim of his cup.
Fraser pressed his mouth into a tight line.
“I’m going to take a walk, Ray. I think that you’ll find that a perfectly sensible activity.”
Ray curled his lip in annoyance.
“Ray, I assure you—“
“No fucking way! You are not risking your neck like that.”
“Ray, I am hardly in danger. I’m taking a walk; there is no harm in that.”
“No harm?” Ray spluttered outraged. “Why do you think we’re stuck in this cabin? Because someone is after your goddamn stubborn Mountie head! And you’re not going to make killing you any easier by just walking out to meet the fucking basket case—“
“Ray! I’m not going far, I’ll stay alert and I will not take unnecessary risks,” Fraser said calmly, going for patient here.
“Then I’ll come with you,” Ray decided firmly.
“Ah, I don’t think this would serve the purpose.”
Ray was momentarily speechless. Fraser seemed to take Ray’s silent state as acceptance and made a move to the door.
Ray was out of his seat in a flash and pressed his palm flat against the surface of the door, preventing Fraser from opening it.
“Fraser, you’re not going out there without back up,” Ray said intensely. “… Ok?” He added quietly. God, he sounded tired and he knew it but could Fraser just not fight him on this one point?
If Fraser got hurt on his watch because Ray felt too petty to protect him, because he hadn’t tried hard enough he would never forgive himself.
Fraser opened his mouth to retort something but something in Ray’s face stopped him. Fraser’s gaze softened almost imperceptibly. “Alright, then,” Fraser gave in. Ray let out a sigh of relief.
These mood swings were giving him whiplash.
Continued in Part 3