There was a universal truth that Ray hadn’t encountered until last week: weirdness accumulated – torture even more so.
At least that was his take on things right at this very moment – standing in the dark, in a closet of a hotel room, with Benton Fraser, waiting that the next customer fell for the ruse and followed the call-girl to her room.
Fraser had assured him that this wasn’t the first time he was standing inside a closet of a woman of a similar profession but Ray wasn’t sure if he should feel assured by that.
Ray felt that this whole investigation was taking too bloody long – they didn’t even want the john! The just needed him for information about his contacts. They had done nothing but giving sleazy guys between the age of 40 and 60 half a heart-attack with their interruption over the last week and it wasn’t exactly the stuff he had signed up for when he had become a cop.
“Ray, there is really no need to feel ashamed,” Fraser whispered in a low murmur that stirred the hairs on the back of his neck with its wet heat. Ray shivered involuntarily.
Oh God, why couldn’t those stupid hotel closets be bigger? Like stadium big, maybe. Fraser was almost pressed against his back and he had been breathing on his neck for the better part of fifteen minutes – Ray was getting desperate here.
“I’m not,” Ray mumbled trying to ignore the moist air at the back of his neck. It almost felt as if Fraser was mouthing his neck… but that was ridiculous. Why would Fraser do such a thing?
“Good,” Fraser sounded relieved, “because there is really nothing wrong with this profession. It’s one of the oldest –as you well know. Even though, of course, it hadn’t been common to pay sexual services with money as a currency until—“
Ray could have sworn that he had felt Fraser’s lips at his ear when he had said “sexual services”. He was going to die of an internal meltdown or something before the john ever showed his face.
“Fraser! Spare me the lecture, okay?” He snapped feeling rattled.
“But Ray,” and Ray could hear the pout in that voice, “it’s a fascinating history. The price system for the different services – whether it was oral or—“
“Fraser!” It took every ounce of Ray’s willpower not to shout. “I do not wanna hear it!”
“Understood,” Fraser sounded definitely miffed by Ray’s refusal. How was Fraser supposed to show people that he wasn’t as ignorant of sexual activities as everyone believed when no one let him talk about it?
Fraser was quiet now and Ray realized that silence wasn’t necessarily the better option. Fraser’s breathing wasn’t exactly loud but what with Fraser’s mouth only inches from his ear it was hard not to hear it.
Ray closed his eyes. This was so not happening to him.
“Ray,” Fraser whispered urgently and his fingers closed on Ray’s hip. Ray jerked with surprise.
“She’s coming back alone. He didn’t follow her. This is the third time; I’d suggest that we think of another course of action.”
Ray worked some spit back into his mouth before he was able to produce something that sounded like “yeah”. Fraser’s fingers had left a burning imprint on his skin.
He opened the closet door and slid out of his jacket to drape it over his arm. At least it covered his erection even though Fraser looked at him with a curious expression.
They stepped outside of the hotel – it wasn’t exactly cold but it didn’t exactly scream run around in a t-shirt either.
“Are you overly warm, Ray?” Fraser asked in a low voice.
“Uh, yeah, it was—you know, rather stifling in that closet… Come on let’s get back to the station.” Ray started walking briskly towards the car.
Fraser smiled to himself. It had been a fortunate coincidence that they had to stand so very close in that closet but he hadn’t anticipated Ray to react quite so sensitive to his presence.
Two days later they finally had some solid leads on who was behind this prostitution ring. They took a short break after Fraser had finished typing up their report.
Ray gulped his coffee down with the fervor of an addict in the last stages of his drug habit.
“Ray, you should really consider drinking less coffee. The caffeine alone—“
“Fraser, I’m not sleeping all that well okay? My back is still killing me and if I don’t get coffee I’ll sleep on my feet. So I rather take my chances with a caffeine overdose than getting shot because I fell asleep during a bust.”
Fraser thought about this for a moment. “You could try physical exercise.” Fraser bit his lip for a second, he could phrase this in two ways and… it really wasn’t very nice to abuse Ray’s exhausted state but temptation licked at him in white hot flames and the mere imagination of Ray’s reaction was more than a little intriguing.
This was the beginning of a slippery slope and he knew it. He just couldn’t stop it.
“You should really consider it, Ray. It is really remarkable how good it feels to be completely spent, when your muscles unclench from sheer exhaustion and you feel sated all the way to your bones, with sweat still pouring from your skin—“
“Fraser,” Ray interrupted with eyes dark and wide. He sounded short of breath when he struggled for the rest of his sentence, “What are you talking about?”
“Ah, jogging, of course. As I said the endorphins that are discharged after a physical work out have a most soothing effect – a very rewarding experience, I assure you.”
Fraser had to work hard to keep his voice steady in the face of Ray’s obvious arousal at his words.
Ray shook himself as if he was trying to get rid of a mental image – which he probably was. “Yeah, right… exercise,” Ray mumbled trying to get a grip on reality again.
Shit… if Fraser continued to paint such pictures he was toast. No way was he going to survive it if Fraser kept this up.
Ray took another mouthful of coffee – caffeine was definitely a safer option than listening to Fraser. At least his blood had time to handle the caffeine administered to it; Fraser was more or less a direct injection that caused all of his blood to jump south in the blink of an eye.
He took a calming breath and studied Fraser over the rim of his coffee cup. Funny thing was, Fraser was… well, Fraser most of the time. Know-it-all, stubborn, goody-two-shoes Fraser.
There were just times when he jumped various pieces of sexual trivia at Ray as if he believed that Ray had missed out on some important facts on the subject – which he probably had but did Fraser have to be so damn involved in every case?
Fraser had probably no idea how it looked when he ran around throwing ‘sex’ into every available conversation. Not everyone was as innocent as Fraser, sooner or later people would start thinking that Fraser needed to get laid. Badly.
But maybe that was only Ray’s libido talking. Fraser had always driven him crazy in the best (and the worst) of ways but lately? Sex on a stick didn’t even begin to cover it.
Shit! Fraser was constantly sucking on things not even the slightest bit disgusting – or at least it wasn’t dirt or rubbish Fraser was licking lately and he had taken to removing his tunic at Ray’s place – which, okay, it was really warm for June most of the time but Ray had a perfectly well working air conditioning.
It was probably all in Ray’s head. They had been spending days on the paper work and his head hurt because he hadn’t bothered to put his glasses on. Once the headache receded it would all look normal again… or something.
Their shift ended finally so Ray turned to Fraser and asked him if he wanted a ride back to the consulate.
“Thank you, Ray. But Diefenbaker has had very little exercise those last few days due to our investigation so I thought I’d take him for a walk. You’re welcome to join us, though.”
Dief gave an affirming ‘woof’.
Ray looked outside and it was still sunny outside and it had been a rather hot day, too. Why the hell not? Fresh air might help to clear his head.
“Sure, let’s get going.” Ray said and fished his glasses out of his pocket. He really didn’t like them, he looked like a dork with them but his head was trying to split open so it was probably the smaller price to pay.
Fraser watched him and smiled softly. He was quite fond of Ray and his slightly too big glasses even though it would never do to tell him; he would probably not take kindly to this compliment.
They walked the streets for a while before Fraser steered them in the direction of the water front. He enjoyed the area around the Field Museum and the view of the lake. Ray breathed in deeply next to him, he seemed more relaxed than the last few days but Fraser had to admit with a slightly guilty conscience that he wasn’t exactly blameless.
Maybe he should go easy on Ray for today. He saw a street vendor selling ice cream in front of the steps of the museum. Ray would surely enjoy it.
“Ray, what would you say to an ice cream?”
Ray grinned at him. “Perfect idea, buddy. Count me in.”
They approached the vendor and Fraser greeted the man by name.
“Hello Mr. Philippe. What can you offer my friend and me today?”
Ray didn’t even bother to ask. Fraser had some kind of special rapport with the street vendors of Chicago.
“Ah, Mr. Fraser,” the man exclaimed delighted. “I have some of the woodruff ice cream you are so fond of.”
Fraser smiled happily.
Mr. Philippe looked at the wolf. “And, of course, I have some of the vanilla ice cream you are such a fan of my furry friend.” Dief wagged his tail with enthusiasm.
“So, what about you?” Mr. Philippe looked Ray up and down. “I’d say you could go for some triple-chocolate, extra dark with a few sprinkles of nougat chocolate.”
Ray’s eyes lit up.
“How’d you know that?”
The man shrugged with a huge smile on his face.
Fraser tried paying for their ice but Mr. Philippe was having none of it.
“No, no. Do not insult me, Mr. Fraser. You keep our nice city safe. Least I can do is reward you with a bit of your favorite ice cream.”
“In that case, thank you kindly Mr. Philippe. Have a nice day.”
Ray eyed the violently green ice cream in Fraser’s hand.
“You actually like that?”
Fraser smiled at him.
“Yes, it’s quite delicious.”
Ray scrunched up his nose and Fraser’s cheeks dimpled with the effort not to grin.
They sat on a small wall looking at the lake and Ray relaxed with a happy sigh. He slurped enthusiastically at his ice cream and Fraser smothered a huge smile watching him.
He looked adorably childlike with his glasses and the happy smile on his face.
Ray stopped mid-lick.
He pulled his tongue in again and swallowed. “What?”
Fraser shook his head with another amused smile.
Ray shrugged and continued eating his ice cream.
Fraser had been so busy watching Ray that he hadn’t even noticed that his own was rapidly melting.
He flicked his tongue out to run it quickly around the scoop in a big stripe, catching the dripping ice on the tip of it.
Ray almost dropped his ice cream. He had just glimpsed the motion out of the corner of his eye but now that he had caught sight of Fraser devouring his ice cream in the most indecent manner he had ever seen he was riveted.
Fraser’s pink tongue sneaked out again and again to catch the glistening drops of molten ice cream until he flicked his gaze to Ray – apparently feeling watched.
Ray licked his lips – he couldn’t help it and a soft red hue spread over Fraser’s cheeks.
It was a slightly awkward moment saved by Dief who tried to get a taste of Ray’s ice cream while he was so obviously busy not eating it.
“Dief!” Fraser admonished him and Ray instinctively held the ice cream out of the wolf’s reach.
“Nu-uh!” He said to Dief who whimpered, obviously embarrassed.
They continued eating their ice cream in silence until Ray cleared his throat. He wasn’t a big fan of silences.
“Uhm, so it’s really good, huh?”
Fraser was confused for a second before he looked at the green scoop in his hand.
“Why, yes Ray. Would you like to try?”
He held the ice cream cone out to Ray who looked from the ice to Fraser’s face and back again.
Ray couldn’t get over the fact that Fraser had touched it with his tongue, had indeed run it all over it and in a way this would enable Ray to…. God, he was pathetic.
He nodded hesitantly and drew nearer to Fraser’s hand. His gaze flicked to Fraser’s mouth again for second before he tentatively stuck his tongue out and licked a stripe over the ice cream.
Fraser stared mesmerized at Ray’s tongue.
A sharp sting of desire flared in his midsection. God, he wanted…
Ray withdrew his tongue and tried the flavor out in his mouth. He nodded and had to concede that this didn’t taste half bad, not really all that sweet, kinda fresh.
“Thanks,” he said quietly.
“You’re welcome,” Fraser said in a low murmur.
The walk back to the precinct where Ray had left his car was charged with something very much like electricity. A kind of breathless anticipation that Fraser thought tasted even sweeter than the woodruff.
This wasn’t over. Not by a long shot.