Part 3: Easier Said Than Done
Plans on paper didn’t necessarily look the same when carried out. To Fraser, to whom most things came more or less naturally, this came as something of a shock.
It wasn’t even that he hadn’t been successful, oh no, he just supposed that ‘successful’ was a question of dubious definition.
Ray had been back to work on Monday but it took Fraser another two days before he had found the perfect place and the perfect time to ask and – well, mostly it had taken him two days to work up the necessary courage to follow through on his plan.
He had wanted to spare Ray on Monday because, really, the man had been sick all weekend he had earned a little time to recover. And on Tuesday he had come terribly close to accomplishing his goal but close wasn’t good enough.
It was still early when Fraser arrived at the station and there wasn’t much to do except for taking up statements.
It wasn’t Ray’s favorite work and it showed. By lunch time he was irritable and – if Fraser had counted correctly and so far he had never counted wrong once – Ray had had at least four cups of coffee since he was at work which in general didn’t tend to put Ray in a very jovial mood to begin with.
But Fraser had promised himself that he would go through with his plan so he tried to approach the topic carefully over lunch.
There were sitting in a small diner near Old Saint Patrick’s Church and their food had just arrived, when Fraser decided to ask Ray.
“Ray, ah, are you doing anything on Friday? I mean, I can understand if you’re already busy but I thought that—“
“Fuck, they forgot the tomatoes. Who forgets tomatoes on a burger? It’s essential, dammit!” Ray muttered clearly annoyed.
“Hey!” Ray hollered until a bored looking waitress approached him disinterestedly. “I want tomatoes on this thing, how can you cheat someone out of tomatoes on their burger?”
“I’ll see what I can do.” The waitress intoned and took Ray’s plate back to the kitchen.
“Sorry, what did you say, Fraser?” Ray asked while wiping his greasy hand on the paper napkin.
“Ah, it isn’t important right now.”
Fraser decided that a quieter time might be more advantageous to his proposition. So he waited till after their shift when they were back at Ray’s apartment for the Blackhawk game.
During half-time Fraser tried to broach the subject again.
“Ray, do you have anything planned for Friday? I mean Friday evening, of course. Although Friday night would also be acceptable seeing that—“
“Fraser,” Ray’s sigh was long-suffering, “you are not getting me to try Turnbull’s cooking.”
I know you said it won’t kill me and that’s total greatness.”
“It’s just that, uh, me?”
“Not so sure about this food poisoning stuff.”
“I wasn’t asking you to try Turnbull’s cooking,” Fraser said, trying to keep the last of his patience together.
“Oh. Okay, what did you want then?”
“I wanted to ascertain the possibility if you might be in any way inclined to—“
“Because if you want me to help ya out with another of your stupid functions then I am not going to. No way, not ever. I told you last time that I wouldn’t do this shit anymore. It’s stupid.”
“Ray, I—nevermind… I told you that I will be a tad later than usual tomorrow?” Fraser asked frustrated.
“Uh, yeah. You said something about a Russian something visiting.” Ray said, his eyes already fixed to the screen again where the game was continuing.
When the game was over Fraser went back to the consulate. He could still try tomorrow. No reason to be crestfallen just yet.
Fraser had slightly more success on Wednesday even though it didn’t happen exactly like he had imagined it would.
Up until this point Fraser had not known that there was more than one level on which one could achieve something.
After this day he would agree, though, that there were at least five stages in which something could be accomplished.
Stage 1 would commensurate to a simple ‘yes’.
Stage 2 would equate to an enthusiastic ‘Really?’ on Ray’s part.
Stage 3 would entail a ‘yes’ and a smile, a gesture, a blush, something more than simple pleasure.
Stage 4 would mean he was even more taken with the proposition and include in addition to stages 1 to 3 also some bodily contact
Stage 5 would be total victory in which the, ah, proposed would probably confess similar feelings or even make a further proposal.
Fraser had expected something like a 4 or maybe a 3, at least a 2 once he finally managed to ask him.
After all, he was asking Ray out on a date.
He encountered the perfect opportunity during a car ride across town to interview a witness about a robbing of a second hand record store.
“Hey Fraser, do you sometimes feel like you need something more? Like you’re missing out on something real intense and you know it?” Ray enquired when they stopped at a red light.
“You mean if I think that I might have neglected to reach for something that would enrich my life in hitherto unknown capacity?”
“Uh, if you wanna put it all fancy, yeah, sure. Like that.”
“Yes, Ray.” Fraser tried his best to look seriously back at Ray without starting to blush.
“You do?” Ray sounded surprised. “Oh, okay. Uh, what are you missing?”
Fraser felt strangled for a second. He couldn’t tell Ray everything just now. This wasn’t how it was supposed to happen…he tried to collect himself.
“Well, in my limited experience the things we desire most are closer than we dare to think.”
God, he hoped that he hadn’t said too much already.
“Huh? You really think so? Cuz in my experience the stuff you really want is untouchable, it’s on Mars, it’s so far away.” Interesting that Ray should choose Mars as an example where he always said Fraser must have come from.
Fraser smiled at that. You are so wrong, Ray.
“Would you do me the honor of accompanying me to dinner on Friday evening, Ray?” Fraser asked with bated breath.
Ray looked at him with a puzzled expression.
“Sure, Friday, why not. Count me in.”
And that was it.
It was a definite 1 on the scale. Fraser pondered his approach all the way back to the station. Had he done something wrong? He was fairly sure that he had done everything by the book.
Well, he concluded, it didn’t matter how enthusiastic Ray had appeared. He had acquiesced to a date on Friday so Fraser could focus on the next part of his plan.
It took a bit of research and Fraser was fairly sure that he had involuntarily hurt Francesca’s feelings although he had apologized profusely once it became clear that she had very concrete ideas whom Fraser wanted to take out for dinner.
In the end, however, he had found the perfect place for Friday evening. It was nice and respectable looking, without bordering on posh. Fraser felt fairly certain that Ray would approve. It didn’t exactly call for a tuxedo but dressing nicely might not be amiss.
Fraser booked a table and went back to the consulate to look through his clothes. He decided on a pair of jeans since he didn’t want to make Ray uncomfortable by dressing up too much and he picked a blue button down shirt to go with them, he liked the soft material and the color so he hoped this would do for Ray.
Fraser was fairly nervous all through Thursday and Ray appeared more than a little unnerved by his unusual behavior.
But it was all Fraser could do not to blurt out what he had realized so Friday could not come quickly enough.
Fraser stood nervously in front of Ray’s apartment door and cleared his throat. He smoothed out his shirt that was already as wrinkle-free as it was possible to be and felt foolish for the hundredth time that he wished Diefenbaker had not refused to accompany him.
He rubbed a knuckle over his eyebrow before he finally raised his hand and knocked on Ray’s door. Ray opened the door half a minute later.
“Hey there buddy,” Ray paused and looked Fraser up and down for a second. “Uh, hey, you look rather nice. Do I need to dress up or anything?” Ray gestured unsure at his black t-shirt.
“No, you-you look very handsome Ray.” Fraser said as evenly as he could and hoped he wasn’t blushing.
Ray grinned at him and took the compliment for their usual banter. “Why thank you. Come on, let’s rock and roll. We need the car?” He jingled his car keys on his index finger.
“It’s not terribly far. We could walk if you’d like to?”
“What the hell, why not. Let’s go.” Ray shrugged into his leather jacket and off they went.
Twenty-five minutes later Ray looked wryly at him from the side.
“Just around the corner, huh?”
Fraser bit his lip. Oh dear. Maybe he should have let Ray drive? He had just thought a nice evening walk would have been a nice way to start their date but he had known that Ray wasn’t terribly fond of walking…
“I’m sorry, we’re almost there. I had simply hoped it would make for a nice change.”
“Nah, it’s fine. Just checking if I signed up for a marathon… you know, your definition of “far” is a bit whacky most of the time. I mean, you walk from the airport!”
“I consider it a healthy exercise. Besides, 8 miles are hardly marathon length.”
Ray shook his head grinning. “You’re a freak.”
“Understood.” Fraser smiled back at Ray and held his gaze. He couldn’t say what he was expecting exactly. Maybe that Ray would look into his eyes and finally realize that he could have what he wanted. Or maybe that Ray would finally feel how important this night was for them.
But Ray simply smiled and didn’t seem to find it the least bit strange that they were still looking at each other even though they were still walking.
They reached their destination a few minutes later and were shown to their table.
“This is actually pretty nice,” Ray said, looking around.
“I had hoped you might enjoy it,” Fraser said with a pleased smile.
“Yeah, I mean, we should definitely go out more. You know, if we don’t deserve a treat now and then, who does? After last week we should have booked a Spa.” Ray grinned again and Fraser had the unbidden picture of Ray, in a steam room with sweat pouring down his body, wearing nothing but a very small, pristine white towel, in his mind.
“Ah, you know Ray, the Inuit have long since understood the varied effect of heat on the body. A traditional ritual is the building of a sweat lodge— consider it a self-made steam room if you will. There was this time when I had a visit from an old friend and his relatives, I was still living in my apartment on—“ he was blithering. He just couldn’t stop it; thinking about Ray naked when he was sitting right in front of him made him nervous. It felt like being caught red-handed.
It was as if his mouth was so practiced in talking him out of potentially sexual situations he didn’t even have to think about it anymore. And Ray didn’t even look as if talking about steam rooms and going to a Spa together even had any sexual connotations. Calm down Benton, he admonished himself.
“I’m quite thankful my neighbors refrained from calling the fire department when they saw smoke coming out of my window,” Fraser licked his lips and tried to get out of his own very convoluted story. “Ah, should we order perhaps?”
Ray looked rather glad to get away from this particular anecdote and Fraser feared that he might not have explained the role of the raven very well. At least he had stopped himself before he could impart his knowledge about the mythological context of the raven and his function as trickster.
Fraser enjoyed their dinner immensely. The talk was easy and the food very good. Ray also looked especially fetching under the indirect lighting of the restaurant. Yes, it was time to be a bit more forward.
“You really look very nice tonight, Ray.” He couldn’t quite manage to hold Ray’s gaze. Instead he dropped it after a short moment of eye-contact to concentrate on cutting his food.
“Fraser, you don’t have to butter me up. I told you I’m not mad anymore that you ruined another one of my shirts with another one of your dumpster stunts yesterday.” Ray looked annoyed.
“I’m not trying to Ray—although I am honestly sorry that your t-shirt couldn’t be salvaged seeing that it had such a sentimental—“
“Fraser! Save it. It’s fine, okay? It was old anyway. Stella wanted me to get rid of it for ages. Don’t sweat it.”
“Understood.” This wasn’t at all going to plan.
They finished their coffee a little while later and Fraser called for the bill.
Ray was already rooting around in his wallet.
“Here, wait, let me get my share.”
“No, you’re invited. Please.”
“Fraser, don’t be stupid. Your salary’s got to be worse than mine.”
“I insist. It was my invitation so let me take care of the bill.”
Ray considered Fraser’s stubborn look for a moment longer before he put his wallet away.
“Okay, thanks. But I’ll get it next time.”
Fraser’s heart beat faster all of a second.
“So, you’d be agreeable to do this again?”
Ray looked at him funny.
“Fraser, I already said we should do this more often. And I think I already know all of my takeout menus by heart so this is nice for a change.” He shrugged.
Which wasn’t what Fraser had meant exactly.
On their way back Fraser gathered his courage for the next approach.
“Did you have a good time tonight?” He asked softly.
“Are you kidding? You’re my best buddy— do you honestly think I would’ve preferred an evening alone with my remote control and the turtle? What kind of sad alternative is that for a Friday night?”
“What does that mean ‘ah’? What, you think I’m pathetic or what?”
“No! Not at all Ray,” Fraser vehemently disagreed. “I’m—I’m glad that you’ve enjoyed yourself.”
Ray shook his head, Fraser was a hopeless case. He sounded like a one of those behavior guides for dating… an outdated one. From the 50s or something. But that was Fraser for you.
No one talked like he did. No one was able to say stuff like “thank you kindly” or “maintain the right” and “it only takes an extra second to be courteous” without sounding like a moron except for him. If it made Fraser’s day that he had a good time it was no skin off his nose.
“I did, I really did. That restaurant was a really good idea of you.” Ray bumped his shoulder against Fraser’s and smiled.
Fraser’s smile was so heartfelt that Ray was surprised for a second. Fraser had many smiles but not so many that really looked like he was happy. This one looked pretty happy to Ray. Freak.
“Come on, I’ll give you a ride back to the consulate,” Ray offered when they had reached his apartment.
But Fraser was still smiling and shaking his head.
“Thank you, but I prefer to walk. It’s a very nice night.”
“Suit yourself.” That man could walk all over Chicago and refer to it as a refreshing promenade around the block.
Ray was already about to unlock his door when Fraser spoke again.
“Ray, are you free tomorrow evening?”
He turned back around and cocked his head.
“Sounds like a got a better plan than sitting around,” he grinned, “what did you have in mind?”
Fraser looked relieved.
“We could—I mean if you’d like to we could,” Fraser took a deep breath and continued, “we could go out again?”
“Sure, great idea.” Ray was all for spending time away from his couch. On some days he was sure that he and his couch had formed one symbiotic entity; it was sad, really sad.
Maybe it was the weather? Fraser sure sounded like he was suffering from cabin fever. Going for a fancy dinner tonight and then again somewhere that wasn’t Ray’s couch tomorrow… oh hell, wasn’t as if either of them had such a busy social life.
“Then I’ll see you tomorrow Ray. Is 8 pm alright with you?” Fraser said still with this oddly endearing smile on his lips.
“Yeah, fine. Tomorrow Frase,” Ray couldn’t help it, the smile was infectious.
Fraser waited until the door had closed behind Ray’s back before he started on his way back to the consulate.
Diefenbaker greeted him most enthusiastically and Fraser had a hard time explaining that there wasn’t a reason to celebrate– yet.
Dief sat in front of him with his tail wagging and Fraser leaned against the corner of his desk before he sighed.
“No, no Ray still isn’t part of the pack.”
Dief’s whine sounded as sad as Fraser felt frustrated.
“I’m afraid the message wasn’t very clear. It was… it was a very nice evening. We had a wonderful time and Ray has told me that he enjoyed himself very much. It wasn’t a complete failure, I just…” he pinched the bridge of his nose and Dief came over to push his head softly against his knee.
“I don’t think he noticed that it was a date—that it was supposed to be a date… that I wanted it to be a date.” He ruffled Dief’s fur and looked down at this canine friend.
“I just have to try harder. We’re going on our next date tomorrow night.” He smiled despite his less than successful intentions for tonight.
“I had really expected tonight to be more… rewarding?” he looked questionably at Diefenbaker who snorted.
“You are probably right. I would need a little more encouragement, too, were I in Ray’s position. Tomorrow… he’ll understand tomorrow.”
At 8 pm sharp there was a polite knock on the door – and Ray would have really liked to know which of his neighbors always let the Mountie into the building; probably that chick from the second floor, she had a thing for Fraser and was probably just waiting for him to come around so that she could hold open the door for him.
He flung the door open and sure enough, there was Fraser in a casual t-shirt with his leather jacket and his beat looking hiking boots – those, Ray could never really get over but it was so Fraser that he had to grin every time he saw them.
“Hey there. So you didn’t plan on anything fancy, greatness! I am all over that.” Ray himself was only wearing his regular clothes, basically what had caught his eye the moment he opened his wardrobe.
“What did you wanna do?”
Fraser cleared his throat. Ray perked up, this had to be good.
“I thought you might enjoy accompanying me to a pub,” Fraser said seriously.
“A pub?” Ray must have heard wrong.
“Yes.” Or it was another lingo, another American-Canadian thing.
“As in ‘bar’? With alcohol and drunk people and cigarette smoke and cheap nuts in little bowls on the counter?”
“Yes.” Fraser looked annoyed.
“Sure.” Why question his good luck? Sometimes you had to get with the program as long as the getting was good. “You have a place in mind?”
“Well,” there was the rub of the eyebrow again, “I had thought you might have a preference.”
Ray mulled over the places he knew for a second. Yeah, this one could work.
“I know a place that even you might enjoy.”
The way Ray saw it, Fraser didn’t like pubs. He didn’t like drunks, he didn’t like disorderly behavior – which mostly resulted in the same thing, come to think of it – and he didn’t like smoking.
Ray knew the perfect place. The beer was cold but the place was clean, the people were merry but not dead drunk on their feet and the non-smoking regulations were observed there – which also meant it wasn’t as crowded.
They entered and Ray ordered a beer and then raised his eyebrows at Fraser.
“What no beer?” Ray threw him a look that clearly said Fraser was a hopeless case.
“Ray, I don’t drink.”
“Then why did you wanna go to a bar?”
There was a short pause before Fraser replied, “I just thought it might be nice.” He sounded a little miffed.
It didn’t make any sense. Ray thought about it but it was too stupid to contemplate, except—
Oh no. Fraser wanted to do this for him? And Fraser had also paid for dinner yesterday… and he had chosen a nice restaurant for it. Why was Fraser so exceptionally accommodating if not because he….
“Are you leaving?” Ray blurted and Fraser actually jerked in his seat at the counter.
Ray flinched and repeated his question a little less forcefully.
“Are you going back to Canada?”
Fraser’s eyebrows moved up into his hairline.
“No I am not. Why would you think that?”
Ray took a deep breath. Okay. Wrong, he had been wrong. It had not been a nice way of saying goodbye.
“I just—“ Ray awkwardly played with the beads of his bracelet. “I just thought this felt like goodbye. You know… the dinner and now going for drinks and everything. Stupid, sorry, don’t listen to me.”
Fraser covered Ray’s hand with his own and Ray looked at him surprised.
“I’m not leaving, Ray.”
It was said with such conviction that Ray felt immediately better. And Mounties didn’t lie. Heh. Maybe that meant it was exactly the opposite: Fraser was settling down. It blew your mind.
Of course! That was why he wasn’t satisfied anymore with cheap takeout all the time and not getting out because he was always sitting on Ray’s couch instead. Fraser wanted more from his life in Chicago. Ray could get behind that. In fact, Ray was all over that. It was long overdue that Fraser enjoyed himself a little.
Before Ray could even reach for his wallet, Fraser had already paid for their drinks. What was it with Fraser and being courteous lately? Maybe he was compensating for all the clothes he had made Ray ruin over the course of their work.
They settled into one of the corner tables and Fraser pushed his foot right next to Ray’s underneath the table; his stomach already tied itself into knots about Ray’s reaction. Ray didn’t pull his foot away… but he didn’t acknowledge the touch either.
He really needed to provide Ray with a better opening. He focused on a drop of condensation that was running down his glass for a moment.
“You alright there?” Ray asked quietly. It might not be leaving Chicago but something was definitely preying on Fraser’s mind.
“Ray, do you consider me an open-minded person?”
Ray’s eyes widened almost comically. “Jesus, Fraser. You’re the most open guy I know. You’re tolerance level’s got to be through the roof. Really, the crap you put up with? Everybody else would have thrown in the towel ages ago. You see something in people where no one else bothers. Why—anybody call you a bigot or what?”
“No-nothing like that.” Fraser hastened to assure. “But you know that I would never… preclude anyone from… ah, consideration, just because of who they are, right?”
Ray seemed to be listening with more than just his ears. Or he was translating.
“Fraser everybody knows that about you. If there is one guy who would be as likely to date a supermodel as he would be to date the girl with the buck teeth who works at the supermarket around the corner it’s you.” Ray smiled at him with fond exasperation.
At least everyone knew that in theory. It was more likely that everyone would bet that Fraser would date neither—even though he could. But that wasn’t the question here. Everyone knew that Fraser wouldn’t say no to the girl with the buck teeth because he thought she wasn’t beautiful enough… for whatever reason he did say no instead.
“Good, it’s good to know Ray. Because I wouldn’t want to give the wrong impression. I would never—”
“I know,” Ray interrupted him with another grin. “Relax, I get it.” He really had to talk with Frannie one of these days. She couldn’t go around guilt-tripping the guy just so Fraser felt the need to prove his open-mindedness and go out with her.
He had never understood Frannie’s obsession with the Mountie. Sure he was good looking –you had to be more than blind not to notice— but Frannie wouldn’t be able to stand him long enough to grow old with him, not in a million years.
She just didn’t get him. Sure, she probably understood him better than the Ice Queen who believed that Fraser could be happy in Toronto but Frannie was just projecting all of her perfect little fantasy world all over Fraser. It wasn’t him she wanted… just the picture perfect world he represented. But Fraser wasn’t perfect and— Ray had to smile because he was probably the only one who could really appreciate that. He would have driven Frannie crazy long before the first wrinkles ever showed around her eyes. Ray just didn’t get why she was so set on ignoring this fact.
After this little trip into Fraser’s freakish mind the evening was actually pretty great. Ray couldn’t say why but Fraser sure smiled a lot and touched his arm or his hand when he tried to explain something –yeah, he seemed a lot more outgoing than usual.
They stayed for a long time, sitting and laughing with each other and that was new, too, Fraser laughing. When it was time to go home they stood outside on the curb and Fraser took a step in the direction of Ray’s apartment.
“Fraser, where are you going? The consulate is in the other direction.”
Fraser frowned and rubbed his eyebrow.
“I deem it prudent to see you home.”
Ray snorted and then he laughed. “Jesus, you freak. Prudent? What’s that supposed to mean? You’re not walking all the way to my place just to walk back twice the distance. I’m not that drunk, I won’t crack my fool head wide open just by walking, okay?”
Fraser debated for a second before he deflated a little. He nodded but he didn’t look happy.
“If you’re sure.”
“Hell yeah I am. Hey—we should really do this again sometime—maybe even get you to drink a beer at some point.” He waggled his eyebrows in a daring gesture.
Fraser bit his lip to hide his smile. “Yes, I would like that.” But he looked wistful and Ray wasn’t sure if they were on the same page here. Something was queer in Mountie-Ville. But as long as Fraser wasn’t leaving Ray had time to figure it out.
Back at the consulate Fraser changed into his long johns in silence. Once he was settled in his cot he looked at Dief who had been looking concerned since he had returned.
“I don’t seem to be very good at this,” he confessed and Dief wagged his tail in answer.
“I had thought that all Ray needed was a little encouragement, that he would approach me as soon as he knew that he had a fair chance… I’m afraid I’m making a terrible fool of myself.”
Dief whined and Fraser looked surprise. “I didn’t say I’m giving up,” he sighed silently. “I just need to find the flaw in my plan. I must have miscalculated something.”
After two more official and frighteningly similar dates over the course of the next week Fraser finally knew what he had neglected to take into account.
It was the very familiarity of their friendship; the very thing that had first terrified him when he had started to investigate those rumors. They were already so very close, it was quite difficult to draw the line.
How was Ray supposed to notice the difference when he didn’t know that he should be looking for it? They had touched before. They had smiled at each other a lot. They had shared personal stories and hardships. They had comforted each other. And nothing Fraser had done over the course of the last two weeks was anything novel.
If he wanted Ray to understand the nature of his interest he would have to step out of his comfort zone. He had to offer Ray something that hadn’t been there before.
It was terrifying.
He wasn’t at all sure if he was up to the task. But he had to try. Diefenbaker was unbearably smug about it, declaring that he had pointed out right from the start that this course of action warranted a much more direct approach.
A smug wolf was insufferable. You let a wolf save your life and suddenly they were an expert on dating.
At least Fraser could simply quit with the dating routine for the time being. There was no point in going on dates when Ray didn’t even know that their meetings were in fact dates. What he needed was for Ray to understand that there might be more to their interaction on Fraser’s part.
He could do this. Start simple. No need to begin with the big declarations, take it slowly.
It was Friday again and Fraser stood again in front of Ray’s apartment building. Only this time they were staying in. Ray had said that sometimes a man needed some comfort food and a bit of a feel-good time. Fraser had translated that into pizza and old movies.
He wasn’t disappointed. Ray opened the door in a pair of his best-worn jeans and a soft, well-washed white t-shirt, looking as if he wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Ray grinned and stepped aside to let him in. Instead of walking straight past him so that Ray could close the door, Fraser stopped when he was on the same level as Ray and inhaled deeply.
He leaned over to Ray and sniffed some more. “You smell very good…” he murmured into the curve of Ray’s neck. His heart was beating all the way up in his throat.
“Uh, thanks.” Ray’s voice sounded a little scratchy. “That’s just…uh, me, freshly showered.” He shrugged slightly embarrassed and Fraser made eye-contact and counted to five in his head. As if he didn’t already know every ingredient that made up Ray’s smell.
“Ah, very nice.” Fraser finally stepped further into Ray’s hallway and Ray shook his head bemused.
Fraser’s heart was still beating too fast and he felt a little shaken at how much courage such little gestures cost when you did them with intent. It held a little thrill of getting caught, as if he was towing an invisible line and at any moment Ray would see him cross it and shout “ha! I figured you out”—which was what Fraser wanted in a way. It was still strikingly intimidating.
“Do you want tea or something?” Ray asked from the vicinity of the kitchen.
“Yes, thank you kindly.”
They settled on the couch after they had finished their pizza and Fraser geared himself up for the next part of his plan—yes, Fraser had improved his old one. This was the trickiest part yet.
Ray was sitting close but they weren’t touching yet and Fraser had every intention of changing that. If he mimicked Ray’s posture he might be able to move closer to Ray without being too obtrusive about it.
He relaxed his shoulders and put more weight onto the couch cushions, and bending his spine that way it felt almost natural to sprawl his legs a little—just a little. And there, his leg was loosely pressed right against Ray’s thigh.
Ray looked at him, first out of the corner of his eye and then completely astonished.
“Fraser— you’re slouching!” It sounded almost accusing, no, scandalized even, and Fraser’s spine snapped into a rigid pole again.
“No, no. I didn’t mean that in a bad way,” Ray exclaimed and pushed at Fraser’s shoulders again to release them of the sudden rigor mortis that seemed to have set in.
Fraser let himself be molded into shape and resumed his slouch again.
Ray looked delighted. In fact, he looked almost proud.
Ray had known Fraser for years and not once, not one single time, had he seen Fraser sitting on his couch in something that could pass as a relaxed pose. It still looked as if he was holding his breath which was a little weird but hey, the guy was trying.
Ray felt like a million bucks. Whatever Fraser had been drinking those last few weeks Ray loved it. Fraser. Relaxed. On Ray’s very own couch. It was a miracle in the making! And Ray didn’t even know what he’d done differently. They had done the same thing at least a million times in the past.
Fraser made the most of his new found opportunity. So that every time one of them got up to get something to drink and their contact had to be broken, Fraser made sure to sink a little further into the couch cushions as soon as Ray returned, until they were touching again.
Cozy, was the word Fraser was looking for but couldn’t quite find underneath all his hyper-aware fascination. Despite his relaxed posture he was anything but. He expected a seriously tense neck on the next day but it was a small price to pay.
Ray pulled him into a short, fierce hug when he was about to leave and Ray’s voice was warm when he asked, “You sure you don’t want a ride back?”
“Hey—I’ve not seen much of the fur-face lately. How come?”
Fraser blushed slightly. He couldn’t very well tell Ray that Diefenbaker was of the opinion that Fraser was more than old enough to go on his dates on his own and that Dief didn’t want to interrupt anything more… carnal… from happening.
“Ah yes, he preferred to stay at home.”
“Huh? Oh well… we could get together tomorrow afternoon? Take him to the park or something? I don’t want to get treated to his pissy looks on Monday. I swear sometimes I really believe the wolf talks back.”
Fraser smiled at Ray’s obvious doubts about his own sanity. “I would like that very much.”
That night it took all of Fraser’s willpower to let go of the shirt he had been wearing. He could still make out Ray’s scent where they had been pressed close against each other while they had watched Bullitt.
Ray couldn’t really put his finger on it but something was definitely different. It wasn’t that Fraser was behaving like someone else, no, it was just… there were moments where Ray could almost see someone else hidden inside the Fraser he knew. And that someone felt free to touch Ray, and smiled a little more honest, and hid a little less behind Caribou anecdotes – just a little though… it was still Fraser after all.
Maybe Ray was going insane— no wonder, after all those years of friendship with Fraser it was probably bound to happen— but… he liked what he saw.
They were walking Diefenbaker in the park underneath a clear blue sky and Ray dropped onto a park bench next to Fraser.
Fraser seemed to be debating something.
“Out with it,” Ray grinned.
“With what Ray?”
“Something’s bothering you. Let me have it.”
Fraser loosened his collar and Ray already expected much worse when Fraser finally answered.
“Do you have any hobbies Ray?”
Did that mean something else in Canadian?
“Uh, you mean like clubs, memberships, sport teams and stuff?” He shrugged a little awkwardly.
“You already know that I like to box and you know that I dance if I can find the opportunity…” he messed up his unruly spikes even more with his hand, “I work on the GTO sometimes…”
Didn’t sound like much now that Ray thought about it. Hey, there was a reason why he and Fraser were so suited for each other. “I shoot a mean game of pool now and then,” he tried to grin but it still looked embarrassed. He owned a turtle for crying out loud. Guys like him didn’t do whitewater rafting or skydiving in their spare time.
“Maybe you could teach me sometime,” Fraser looked as if Ray’s hobbies were the biggest achievements ever and Ray felt slightly embarrassed. Okay, so Fraser’s hobby was helping the police to solve crimes. It didn’t get much more depressing than that.
“You’ve never played pool?”
“Ah, no. I never had the opportunity.” He rubbed his eyebrow and Ray felt bad for his friend. There were probably a lot of things Fraser had never tried. Ray had never thought so much about Fraser as he had been doing lately. Something… Fraser just seemed more approachable lately and it made Ray think stuff.
“Come on then,” Ray jumped up from the bench and looked expectantly at Fraser.
“Where are we going?” Fraser was smiling mildly at Ray’s sudden enthusiasm.
“To find you a pool table of course.”
The bar was almost devoid of customers which shouldn’t have come as a surprise seeing that it was still light outside on a Saturday. Ray didn’t seem to mind. He went to the bartender and came back with a set of billiard balls.
“You know the basics, right?” Because, really, when had Fraser ever answered a question about theoretical knowledge with ‘no’?
“I’m familiar with the concept, yes.”
Ray nodded along and flicked a toothpick into his mouth, closing his lips around the wood to keep it in place. The little wooden stick rolled to the corner of Ray’s mouth when he started to speak again.
“What we’re going to play is eight-ball, guess it’s the best known variety, too. Anyway, rules are simple. Once the balls are scattered one of us takes the solid balls and the other one takes the stripes and you try and get as many of your own balls into the pockets as possible.” Ray flicked a glance at Fraser to see if he had understood and he nodded.
Ray arranged the balls on the table to his liking and continued explaining.
“Whatever you do, do not hit the eight ball before you’ve cleared the rest of yours. You wanna go for the eight ball then, you have to call the pocket you want to put it in. Clear?”
Fraser nodded again and Ray threw him a cocky grin.
“Watch and learn, buddy. This is called the break shot.” Ray’s lean body molded itself against the corner of the table, he lined the cue up with the triangle of balls, pulled back his arm and with a loud clack the white ball shot straight into the assembled rest and balls started spinning all over the table. The yellow 9 careened directly into the upper right pocket.
Ray grinned up at him with an air of accomplishment and Fraser’s mouth was suddenly very dry. Ray looked… delightful.
Ray surveyed his handiwork. “Guess I get the stripes then.” The toothpick wandered into the other corner of Ray’s mouth before Ray took careful aim to pocket the red 11. “You just have to be careful not to hit one of the balls that aren’t yours with the cue ball, that’s the white one by the way.”
When it was Fraser’s turn Ray stepped up to the table with him. “Okay, you want to close your hand around the wrap,” he put his hand on Fraser’s and pushed his fingers another inch toward the butt of the cue. “Exactly like that, and then you place the shaft in the grove between your fingers, you place it over your index finger and steady it with your thumb—yeah, like that. You got it!” Ray beamed at him and Fraser licked his lips. Did Ray ever listen to himself?
“Now, let go,” Ray murmured into his ear, the gaze fixed onto the green felt of the table. Fraser suppressed a shiver and took careful aim. It was a beautifully clean shot. The blue ball went straight into the side pocket in one smooth line.
“Neat, Frase.” Ray praised him.
Fraser cleared his throat. “This is a rather masculine sport I take it?”
Ray looked puzzled. “Uh, I guess… why?”
Fraser smoothed his thumb over his eyebrow. “Well, considering all the sexual connotations in this game I just thought it would be a game that would appeal to the competitive side of the masculine ego.”
Ray looked at him like a fish out of water.
“I can’t believe you just said that,” he exclaimed finally.
Fraser blushed slightly. Oh dear. It hadn’t been his intention to make Ray uncomfortable; it had been a simple observation.
Ray started laughing until his shoulders were shaking. “Fraser… who knew you had it in you?” He wheezed for air until he had his laughter under control again. “Go on, go pocket your balls,” he smothered another chuckle, “—but be careful when you handle your shaft,” his voice cracked again on another bout of laughter and Fraser bit at his lips to keep the grin down.
Ray couldn’t quite believe that he had actually said that—to Fraser of all people! But Fraser didn’t look shocked. Instead he smirked a little and his eyes looked all crinkly.
Fraser definitely caught on quick, Ray thought the further the game progressed. What Ray did with feeling, like knowing how hard to shoot or which angle to use, Fraser did well calculated. At least this was a game where both methods were equally suited, at least as long as your feeling didn’t let you down and Ray’s hunches had never abandoned him before.
But despite it being Fraser’s first game he was a little faster in getting rid of his last ball.
“Do I have to call the pocket I’m aiming for now?” Fraser enquired when he pointed at the eight ball – almost acting as if he still hadn’t grasped the rules and Ray wondered how often Fraser really played his own abilities down.
“Go for it.”
Fraser nodded and surveyed the table with a look like a hawk before his face cleared. “Upper left pocket.”
Ray raised his eyebrows. It was Fraser’s best shot but it was a tricky one nonetheless. Fraser was calm like a glacier when he lined up his cue. His movement was steady and deliberate and Ray knew that Fraser had won the game before the tip ever connected with the cue ball.
The eight went in. Ray grinned. Fraser was really good at this.
Fraser turned around with childlike elation showing on his features. “Ray it seems I have won!”
Ray shook his head and chuckled. “Yeah you did. Okay, here’s the deal: I get the drinks and you get the rack and then I’m going to wipe the floor with you.”
Fraser raised his eyebrows in shock for a moment before a smile appeared at the corner of his mouth. “We’ll see about that.”
Ray looked delighted at the prospect of some real competition.
The next round was even more fun. Fraser had definitely grasped the mechanics of the game—he was really good. Which didn’t really surprise Ray since there weren’t many things Fraser wasn’t good at and since you could get really good at pool if you had a basic understanding of the laws of physics Fraser’s aptitude for it was more or less a given.
So Ray didn’t hold back. He pulled every trick that he had ever learned. Jump shots in which the cue ball simply jumped over another ball that posed an obstacle, kick shots where the cue ball was driven to the rails before it connected with the desired ball and spin shots to get the cue ball rotating. Okay, so maybe he was showing off a little but Fraser wasn’t much better.
Being a quick study, Fraser aimed for the blue 2 and looked up at Ray, his tongue still caught between his teeth, and made the shot—without ever breaking eye-contact. The ball went into the pocket without any problem at all.
Ray smirked at him and mouthed ‘show-off’ and Fraser did this ‘I have no idea what you could possibly be talking about’ impression that had Ray laughing yet again.
And when Fraser managed a pretty daring shot without a single foul and beamed at Ray with this little ‘I’m too modest to say so but I think this was actually a very good shot’- smile, Ray’s gut did a little twist or something. It was strange. It felt good, it… Ray didn’t want to puzzle over it.
Just that with every smile from Fraser Ray felt this little nervous fluttering afterwards. He really needed some food in his stomach, he was dead hungry. Lunch had been a long time away already.
Over the course of their game people had started to stroll in and since Fraser and Ray were the only entertainment at the moment – and also offering quite the pool performance – they suddenly had a little crowd of spectators around them.
Ray had been so focused on their game he hadn’t really noticed and even Fraser didn’t seem to pay the onlookers much attention.
It was a head-to-head race for the win and he couldn’t remember the last time he had so much fun. He wriggled around, trying to get his last ball into a particular difficult pocket when he noticed Fraser looking quite intently at him, a quirky little smile on his lips and Ray raised his eyebrows at him and grinned, “you’re not going to make me lose my concentration Fraser. Not even if you stare a hole into me. I’m going to win this game.”
Fraser’s smile widened slightly. “I’m not trying to make you lose, Ray.”
“The hell you are,” Ray winked and took his shot. The green ball went in smoothly.
“That was very good, Ray,” Fraser’s voice shone with admiration and Ray felt his face heat. “Thanks… Uh, left pocket.” Ray gestured toward the foot of the pool table.
The shot was easy and Ray’s arm steady when he pocketed the eight ball.
Fraser clapped him on the shoulder. But whatever he said was drowned out by the cheers and groans of the people standing around them who had—apparently placed bets on the outcome of their little game.
Ray grinned and laughed quietly.
“Food?” he asked Fraser and the Mountie nodded. There were a lot of disappointed noises from the watching crowd when it became obvious that there wouldn’t be another game between the two of them.
Ray and Fraser took a seat at a table and ordered something for dinner. Ray was still in high spirits while he fed Dief French fries underneath the table.
“Thank you Ray. I had a very good time.”
Ray grinned at him. “This isn’t over buddy. We still need a third game to settle the score. Maybe another time though, my stomach feels kinda queasy.” At least the nervous twinge had stopped after they had settled into their seats to get some food into them.
That night, for the first time in a long while, Ray was dancing through his apartment again, whistling quietly along to the song from the stereo.
The next day Fraser called to ask if Ray wanted to accompany him to the movies. They met in front of the movie theater and the movie Fraser wanted to watch wasn’t even half bad.
Sure, it was some sort of culturally significant artsy thing but it was about those guys who went on this arctic quest and one of them almost didn’t make it out alive and the other one lost two toes to frost bite so it was still an adventure movie and Ray could really get behind those.
He even got Fraser to share a bucket of popcorn with him. Ray almost couldn’t contain his glee, he was corrupting the Mountie! But Fraser had smiled indulgently and even said “that’s a remarkably fine idea Ray” which Ray took to mean something like “you can’t have an adventure flick without popcorn”.
Fraser and he just seemed to have the worst timing ever to be sharing popcorn. Their hands constantly reached for the stuff at the same time and the first time their fingers touched Ray felt something like a jolt and he flicked a nervous glance at Fraser but Fraser was absolutely engrossed with the action on the screen – where, yeah, lots of ice, which probably explained Fraser’s rapture—so Ray tried to shake the feeling off, he had probably just imagined it anyway.
After the fourth time their fingers collided Ray actually held the bucket toward Fraser with an apologetic smile and Fraser smiled back and reached inside.
But that didn’t keep their hands from knocking together again a few minutes later. Ray figured it was probably the fault of the movie that he noticed this as much as he did. Because the way his heart was beating a little too fast and his muscles felt all tense his senses were apparently all on overdrive.
That was exactly the thing that made a good movie, Ray thought. You couldn’t even tell what exactly was getting you all excited – because so far nothing much had happened on screen – but the sheer atmosphere of it was pulling you in.
Fraser’s fingers brushed again softly against Ray’s and his pulse jumped again. Really one hell of a movie.
He said as much to Fraser once they were outside again and Fraser looked mildly surprised. He smoothed a knuckle over his eyebrow.
“You really found it that compelling?”
“Uh, yeah. Why?”
“Well, I have to admit to being a little bit disappointed in the portrayal of this exploration. I had expected it to be a little more, ah, captivating.”
Captivating? That was Fraser talk for saying it wasn’t exciting enough. Man, was Ray the only one who had really watched this thing?
“Fraser, it was all in the—whatchamacallit? In the atmosphere of the whole thing. It wasn’t what was happening on the screen it was in the way it did.”
“Ah, I see,” Fraser answered.
However, when Ray snuck a glance in the movie review section in the paper the next day the critics settled with Fraser on this one. They called the movie “well depicted but lacking the real sense of adventure, resulting in portraying even life-threatening situations in such a way that the audience could hardly get excited”.
Ray felt a bit put out after reading the review. He could still recall the way his pulse had sped up during the movie and this feeling of breathless anticipation… oh well, maybe he was the only one who could really appreciate the movie. So what?
The phone on his desk rang half an hour later.
“Good morning Ray, this is Constable Benton Fraser—“
“Yeah, I already got that,” Ray shook his head amused. “What’s up?”
“Apparently the Inspector has no further need of my presence this morning. I thought I might be joining you at the station early—“
“Greatness! Get your ass over here. I’m drowning in paperwork—I mean it, miles deep, completely smothered. Buried alive.”
“Understood. I’ll be right over.” Ray could hear the smile on the other end of the phone.
He hung up and stretched. Time for a coffee. He ambled into the break room to pour himself another cup. Ray was just adding a few smarties when Dewey joined him at the counter.
A second later Ray noticed Dewey staring at him.
“You’re… nothing,” Dewey said in a voice as if he had seen a ghost.
Ray shrugged. He went back to his desk to get a head start on those reports that kept piling up.
A little while later a quiet voice interrupted his musings.
Ray’s heart did a little backwards flip.
“Jesus, you’ve scared me Fraser. No one ever told you it’s rude to sneak up on people?” Ray snapped irritably.
“I’m terribly sorry Ray.”
But when Ray looked up Fraser was still wearing that happy face and Ray couldn’t help but smile back.
And pouring over case notes together was much more efficient than doing it alone—it might have had something to do with that computer Fraser called his brain.
Two hours later Ray could actually find his desk again underneath all the piles of paper.
“Excuse me Ray, I’ll be right back. I have to check something. Do you need anything?”
Ray shook his head. “Nah, I’m good.”
He continued copying the relevant information from his notes into his report until Francesca stopped right next to his desk.
Ray looked up—the question ‘what do you want?’ already on his lips when he saw her look. If aliens had started dancing around the bullpen Frannie would have had exactly the same expression on her face.
“What?” Ray asked completely bewildered.
“You—you’re humming Ray.”
“Yeah… really cheerful, too. Are you ill?”
“Uh, no. I’m… fine,” he mumbled before he stood up and brushed past her on his way to the break room. Because… humming? He hadn’t done that in ages. He’d done it a lot whenever he’d been really happy— which usually meant that he’d been in l… Oh no, no, no.
He placed his fist next to the coffee machine and took a deep breath. He poured himself a cup and sat down at the nearest table.
He had done a lot of humming… especially back in the golden days when he had been with Stella and things had still been good. And then later, now and again, whenever he had been really interested in someone or actually even a little bit in lo… holy shit. He was way too old for an epiphany like that. He should have noticed this… why hadn’t he noticed this?
He rubbed a hand over his face and took a sip of his coffee.
Fraser appeared in the doorway, scanning the people currently occupying the break room until his gaze hit upon Ray. He smiled in recognition and stepped in front of him, case folder still in his hands, and looked expectantly at Ray whose eyes were wide. He stared at Fraser.
The crazy jumping his heart had been doing lately whenever Fraser had said his name… the stupid tension during the movie whenever their fingers had touched… all of his boyish showing-off trying to impress him…
“Ray?” Fraser’s smile looked concerned.
Ray looked at him in utter shock.
Holy shit. He was falling in love with Benton Fraser.
He flicked his gaze up to meet Fraser’s calm, blue eyes.
When the fuck had that happened?
“Are you all right Ray?” Fraser asked and Ray nodded automatically.
Why hadn’t somebody warned him?
“Yeah, fine. Just dandy.” And he stood up and preceded Fraser on the way back to his desk.
It was just like being undercover; this falling together of pieces—like dominoes, really—and no one could know that you’ve figured it out because your damn life was depending on your ability to keep your mouth shut.
And as long as Fraser didn’t know, Ray was safe. Fraser didn’t need to know. God… he was too old for this. He was too old to look for a new partner. A second divorce at 38? No way was Ray up for this. But as long as Fraser didn’t know, he wouldn’t leave and Ray wouldn’t have to get another divorce and… holy shit!
How could he be so stupid twice in his life? The Gold Coast girl wasn’t enough. No, Ray had to go off the deep end and fall in love with his partner. His Canadian partner. His male Canadian partner.
“Ray, are you sure you’re all right?”
“Who? Me? Yeah, fine. Why? I’m fine.”
Fraser sat down in the chair next to Ray’s desk and looked at him with an unreadable look on his face.
“I just have to make copy of this. I’ll be back in a sec,” Ray muttered and pushed past Fraser, a couple of pages in his hand, and left for the copy room.
Ray closed the door of the copy room and placed a page into the copier. He sucked in air as deep as he could.
He released his breath again and took another one. He exhaled and felt decidedly calmer.
Nothing had happened. Fraser had no idea. All he had to do was go on as before. He took another deep breath and released it again as slowly as possible. He could do that.
Undercover was his thing. And this was comparatively easy. He didn’t have to pretend to be someone else. All he had to do was pretend that he didn’t think of Fraser like that.
This should be easy. After all, he hadn’t noticed until now.
Ray gathered his copies and left the room. Fraser looked worried but Ray gave him a slightly uncertain smile and Fraser seemed to relax a little again.
“So… did you find what you’ve been looking for?” Ray asked, going for casual.
“Ah, yes. You see—“ and Fraser was back in his element. Ray nodded and filled in the blank spots in his report.
Why weren’t there never any situations that endangered Ray’s life in wildly bizarre ways when he needed them? No, when Ray was desperately praying for a distraction he stayed stuck behind his desk with old reports that he suspected no one read anyway.
And Ray was good at pretending. The thing was just that now that he knew he couldn’t stop looking at Fraser. As if he had to reassure himself that he hadn’t imagined his latest newsflash.
So right in the middle of writing down the name of the perp Ray sneaked a glance at his partner and there was the warm, tingly feeling again. And sooner or later Fraser caught him looking.
Ray schooled his features into a friendly smile and went back to work on his report. But it happened again and again over the course of the next hour and in the beginning Fraser had this small frown between his eyebrows, as if he was confused, but for the last half hour he had smiled back.
A real, full blown smile that made Ray’s knees go weak and that didn’t make any sense. Why should Fraser be happy that his crazy assed partner couldn’t stop looking at him?
Had he been in Fraser’s position Ray would’ve thought he had something in his face or that someone had written something on his forehead while he had been asleep.
When Fraser went to the rest room Ray looked underneath his desk at Dief.
“So… do you know why Fraser is happy I got a staring problem today?”
Dief yawned exaggeratedly.
Ray frowned. “Either it’s obvious and I’m being dumb or you’re already bored by this or… I’m talking to a wolf.” Ray rubbed his face in frustration. “Now he’s got me talking to animals. I really gotta stop doing this.”
Ray’s head snapped up at the exclamation of his name and collided painfully with a resounding ‘whack’ with the tabletop above.
“Ouch! Dammit!” Ray pulled his head up from underneath his desk and rubbed the sore spot on the back of his head.
“My apologies, Ray. I had no intentions of startling you. I simply wanted to let you know that there has been a robbing downtown. Apparently, several parking meters were the targets.”
“You mean we have to investigate just because somebody cleaned out a few parking meters? You’ve got to be kidding me.”
“Ah, no Ray. It’s the parking meters that have been stolen.”
Ray looked at him as if he had lost his mind.
“Somebody stole a parking meter?”
“Several, it would appear.”
Ray shook his head. He had prayed for a distraction but, really, who came up with this kind of shit?
“Well, pitter patter buddy. Maybe we can grab some lunch on the way.”
After two hours of tracking down a wannabe criminal mastermind with a personal vendetta against the public parking system of Chicago, Ray felt almost back on even footing.
They entered the bullpen with their small time gangster in tow a little before the end of their shift.
“Hey Johnny, who’s doing the booking? I got us a funny guy here.”
The fellow detective Ray had addressed grinned at him. “Don’t you always Ray? I think Parker’s doing the booking.”
Ray nodded and was almost past him when Johnny remembered something.
“Oh hey, Ray…uh, do you remember that girl I told you about?”
Ray looked confused for a second before his face cleared.
“Man, don’t tell me you asked her out and she agreed?”
Johnny flushed with pleasure. “Yeah…” he grinned slightly embarrassed. “Only,” he leaned closer conspiratorially, “I don’t know where to take her. Do you have an idea? You really have to help me out here.”
“Yes… there was this restaurant—now what was the name of that place?” Ray thought and looked around for Fraser who seemed to be explaining to Welsh what had happened to the parking meters if the Lieutenant’s resigned expression was anything to go by.
“Oy Fraser! What was that restaurant called we went to a couple of weeks ago?”
“Ah, you mean the ‘Casa Mia’?”
“Yes, exactly. Take her to that one, Johnny—she’ll love it.”
Welsh sighed and shook his head. With those two it was better not to ask too many questions.
Frannie looked horrified for a moment before she fled the bullpen. Ray looked after her bewildered. But he was distracted by Johnny who thumped him heartily on the back.
“You’re the best. Thanks!”
And before Ray could say anything more the perp he still had a grip on made a half-hearted attempt for freedom. “One wrong move and I’ll jump bogart all over you.” Ray threatened and pulled him along to Parker’s desk.
Fraser joined him the moment Ray got Parker to watch after his guy.
“Ready to leave this dump?” Ray asked with a glance at the clock.
“Ah, if by ‘dump’ you mean the—“
“Yeah, yeah I do,” Ray interrupted quickly before Fraser could give him another lecture.
“Yes,” Fraser replied with a small smile. Ray smiled back and hurried toward the exit when he felt his face heat.
Ray stopped the GTO in front of the consulate and Fraser cleared his throat.
“I still have a little time before I have to get ready for the banquet tonight.” He cracked his neck. “Would you, ah—would you like to come in for a cup of tea?”
Ray felt himself go hot and cold. That sounded like a come-on. Get a grip on yourself! He was almost scared shitless that his face was giving it all away; apparently being in love with your best friend took some getting used to. So he did the same thing he always did when he was scared: he took the leap. Which was probably also the reason Fraser was still alive in general; if Ray didn’t jump in with both feet every time Fraser got himself in a tight corner the Mountie would have gotten his head blown off more times than Ray could count.
“Yeah,” and then, because he felt the need to fill the silence, “what kind of banquet is it again?”
Fraser looked resigned. “It isn’t exactly a high level meeting. I’m afraid my role in this isn’t at all clear at the present moment,” he paused for a second and Ray grinned a little at him, showing a little teeth. “How so?” He asked gently while his mind screamed at him are you trying to flirt, you utter imbecile?!
Fraser had already opened his mouth to answer when he licked his lips and looked at Ray. “Are you making fun of me Ray?”
Ray chuckled softly. “Not in my wildest dreams.” He got out of the car then so that he wouldn’t have to look at Fraser and the Mountie followed suit a second later.
“You have quite the uncharitable streak Ray,” Fraser said in a quiet voice with a hint of something in it.
“That a good thing?”
“For the most part.” Fraser smiled at him and Ray ducked his head a little before he danced up the stairs in front of the consulate.
Get your mind out of the gutter. You’re supposed to keep a low profile. Get your damn act together!
Thankfully Fraser opened the door then and Ray could busy himself with adjusting to the low lighting inside of the building.
A few minutes later, Fraser placed a steaming mug of some herbal concoction in front of Ray, who was busy pinching the bridge of his nose and looking pained.
“Is something wrong Ray?”
Ray sighed annoyed. “It’s just the headache from when I hit my head this afternoon, it’s nothing,” he waved it aside and tried to relax his features again.
Fraser bit his lip and came around the table.
“Uh, Frase?” Ray asked and tried to look behind him but Fraser had already placed his hands on his shoulders, preventing Ray from looking up at him.
“I might be able to help with your headache,” Fraser murmured quietly. And before Ray could ask what the fuck he was talking about Fraser’s touch tightened and his fingers gripped his shoulders with more strength than before.
“Relax,” Fraser’s voice sounded very close to Ray’s ear. Fraser’s fingers kneaded his shoulders, gripping his neck and smoothing down his spine before they pressed into his shoulder blades and Ray couldn’t keep the low moan inside.
It was the perfect pressure on exactly the right spots and “God,” Ray gasped; those were Fraser’s fingers touching him in this self-assured, not the least bit hesitant way.
Now and then he could even feel strong fingers stroking over the soft skin right at the collar of his shirt, almost like a caress and Ray hung his head to give Fraser better access.
It was such a long time that anyone had touched Ray like that. He practically ached to be touched and the way Fraser stood so very close behind him had every cell of his body paying close attention. It was so good… Fraser’s thumbs pressed into the grove between his shoulder blades and Ray gasped, pressure drained out of him as if someone had pulled the plug.
He realized a second too late just how much his body was enjoying this. Suddenly he noticed how quick his own breathing was, panting was almost a better word for it, and heat shot to his face. And his jeans were getting too tight—shit, shit, shit.
He jerked a little forward in his seat, drawing in on himself in an effort to hide his erection. “Hey, wow, thanks, uh Fraser. That’s much better. I mean, my headache’s all gone, great.” Ray was babbling and already moving into a standing position and Fraser looked a little flushed himself—of course, with Ray moaning into his ear Fraser was bound to feel embarrassed, Ray cursed himself—and he looked a lot surprised at Ray’s outburst but there was nothing Ray could do about that now.
“Uh, good luck with your—thing tonight. I—you probably have to get ready. I’ll see you.” And Ray stumbled out of the consulate kitchen and out of the door as quickly as possible, Fraser’s “Thank you, ah yes, of course. Goodbye!”, still hanging in the air.
Fraser looked confused at Diefenbaker. “I had expected a bit of a different reaction, I have to admit.”
He looked thoughtful for a moment. “After the last few days I had imagined we were on the same page… and I saw the way he looked at me today, I didn’t imagine that.”
Dief woofed his agreement and Fraser smiled at him. “You’re right; I didn’t imagine his accelerated heartbeat or the smell of his arousal either. I guess I embarrassed him with my forthright behavior.”
Dief’s barking sounded a lot like laughter but Fraser didn’t care, he could still see Ray’s flushed face before his eyes and it wasn’t at all hard to recall what those sounds coming from Ray had done to his own self-control.
Ray closed the door of his apartment behind him a little more forceful than necessary.
Shit. Shit. Shit. Shitshitshit. Stupid… god, how can one man be so stupid?
It seemed as if he was indeed going to be gay for Fraser. He sank down onto his couch and let that thought sink in for a moment. It wasn’t really all that surprising. The way Ray saw it if a guy would be gay for someone that someone would be Fraser. And apparently his body didn’t have any second thoughts about being gay; his dick had seemed pretty happy with the idea of Fraser’s hands on him.
Just if he had to be gay… did it really have to be his best friend? Stupid, really, he had never been gay before in his life, of course it had to be Fraser. Who else could just turn a man gay?
Ray went into the kitchen and opened himself a beer. After two long pulls he felt at least a bit calmer.
He resumed his place on the couch, lost in thought.
Maybe he was a one-person kinda guy? There had been Stella and she had been basically it for him for almost all of his life. And maybe it was Fraser now because Fraser was a pretty great guy and possibly the only one who really understood Ray… and maybe also the only one who was really happy to be spending all of his time with him.
Maybe he wasn’t gay. Maybe he was just… heterosexual-except-for-Fraser?
Ray ran a hand through his hair and managed to get it into even more disarray.
But he couldn’t really do this to Fraser, could he? Everyone was lusting after the Mountie and… to whom should the Mountie turn when even his best friend wanted to get inside of his pants? Ray flushed uncomfortably. He had never really thought about getting into another guy’s pants before. It would be weird. Hell, okay, it was probably easier than with women. With a guy you knew what they liked and how to touch them at least.
Okay. So, Fraser.
Coming on to him was out of the question. The guy really had enough unwanted admirers without his own partner making him uncomfortable. Fraser would probably hightail it to Canada before you could say ‘date’.
Anyway, how was a date between them even going to look like? Ray couldn’t really take him to a fancy restaurant, pay the bill and hold open the car door for him like he would with a woman, right? That would look stupid… wouldn’t it? What did guys do when they dated another man?
The thought alone was hilarious. You just had to imagine two grown men sitting next to each other in a movie theater, with one of them probably waiting that the other would put an arm over the back of their seat or trying to come up with the courage to just take the other man’s hand themselves—maybe they would pick an adventure film or a horror movie or something so that you had a reason to grope each other, yeah, right. And then they would be sharing popcorn just to have an excuse to touch…
Ray frowned. Huh.
An excuse…to touch…
But Ray hadn’t asked Fraser to go to a decent restaurant with him. And he hadn’t been the one to invite Fraser to go to the movies with him. Ray hadn’t paid the bill either.
But that meant… Ray shook his head and took another swig of beer. That was ridiculous. They hadn’t been dating… right? Ray had only realized today that he had feelings for Fraser that went beyond friendship and the thing with the restaurant had been weeks ago.
Ray’s mind was schooled to bring details into the right perspective; it’s what he did and what made him a good detective. He knew how to build a solid case.
He cast his mind back to that invitation to go for dinner and the way the evening had gone down and Fraser’s peculiar interest if he thought him an open-minded person. Ray’s thoughts gathered steam the more he remembered.
The pub! Of course, Ray had thought something was seriously off its hinges when Fraser had wanted to go to a pub. The popcorn thing couldn’t have been a coincidence then…
Ray felt almost steamrolled. If he was right… it meant that he had been dating Fraser for weeks and hadn’t even noticed. Fraser could at least have properly asked him!
Oh. Come to think of it… he had. He hadn’t said it was a date but he had asked him all formal and official like. And he had also referred to their next time together as ‘going out again’. Had he really been so blind? But that meant that he could—and—okay, okay. Hold the horses.
Maybe this was all make-believe. It could be just Ray’s subconscious that had put it all into the right shape. Fraser was weird sometimes and he considered most stuff completely normal that had others freaked out to the nth degree.
Ray finished his beer and got ready for bed. He hadn’t been looking for this stuff back then. But he was looking for it now and if there was something to his theory he’d find out.
Ray was just on his way to interview a witness when his mobile rang.
“Good morning Ray,” Fraser’s voice sounded pretty happy and Ray could see his face perfectly in front of him. He was so distracted he almost ran into an elderly woman who was trying to rescue her little ankle-biter on a leash from Ray’s feet.
Ray cursed silently.
“Is everything alright Ray?”
Ray sighed. Nothing in his life was ever alright.
“I’m sorry to bother you. I was wondering whether I might avail myself of your kitchen tonight?”
Ray looked confused at his mobile. “You wanna use my kitchen?”
“Ah, yes,” Ray could hear the damn eyebrow rub, “I found a recipe I would dearly like to try but I’m afraid that Turnbull won’t take ‘no’ for an answer when it comes to helping out in the kitchen.”
“And you’d like to avoid that so you want to use my kitchen?”
Fraser cleared his throat. “Yes, exactly.”
Fraser sounded like he wasn’t telling him the truth… or at least not the whole truth, as was often the case with him. This was intriguing.
“Sure,” Ray said easily and grinned when he heard the relief coloring Fraser’s voice when he thanked him.
When Ray saw all the stuff Fraser had brought with him he wasn’t so sure if cooking at his place was such a good idea. This looked like an awful lot of work. But Fraser had looked so happy and didn’t stop with the smiling that Ray figured what the hell. This was Fraser and the least Ray could be sure of was that his kitchen would be cleaner after Fraser was done than it had been when he had found it.
Ray took a seat at the pass-through and watched Fraser piling vegetables and spices on the countertop.
Fraser froze for a microsecond before he relaxed again. “I left him at the consulate,” he said very decisively.
Ray’s eyebrows shot up at the determined tone. Maybe this was supposed to mean something to Ray? He shrugged. It didn’t really matter.
Fraser was as efficient when he was cooking as he was when he did everything else. Ray could simply watch how the piles shrank into portions that could fit into pots and pans.
Ray had asked him what exactly he was making but it had sounded French and not very appealing so Ray decided he was probably better off not knowing.
Ray’s stove appeared to be throwing a party what with all the stuff arranged on top of it and yet Fraser didn’t even look out of breath.
“Ray, could you watch the sauce for a moment? I’d like to start with the salad.”
“Sure,” Ray answered and slid from his seat. What was it they said? A watched pot never boiled?
Ray stirred now and again and took a peek into the different pots. It really smelled mouthwateringly good. Fraser was happily chopping yet more vegetables into a bowl.
The sauce was obviously the exception to the rule of the watched pot. It erupted like a volcano a few minutes after Ray had taken his spot in front of the stove.
“Ah! Shit! Ouch! Stop it!” Ray threatened with the wooden spoon still in hand. “Oy Frase! You better taste this stuff before it starts sticking to the bottom of the pot!” He held out the spoon with one hand and tried to find the right lid to stop the eruptions from splattering his kitchen with his other one.
With half a brain Ray realized that Fraser had stepped behind him, so close he could feel his warmth at his back. Ray swallowed and was just about to turn around when he froze. Fraser’s tongue was licking a soft trail along the grove of his thumb, catching a few droplets of sauce that had spattered Ray’s hand.
Ray gave a choked off sound. Fraser’s lips touched his skin and Fraser moaned quietly in appreciation.
“Mhm, it’s very good,” he stepped back to his salad bowl. “It could use a bit more salt though.”
Ray was still standing with his hand extended, the spoon still uselessly clasped between his fingers. He licked me. He licked my fucking hand.
“Fraser?” Ray sounded strangled.
“Yes Ray?” And Fraser’s voice was perfectly normal, politely interested. But when Ray turned around he saw that his neck was a little bit pink. Ray narrowed his eyes.
It wasn’t just him, was it?
He had a hunch. If he was wrong though… boy, did he have some explaining to do. Ray hated that Fraser always made him leap. Defiantly, he threw an additional pinch of salt into the pot.
“I added salt. You want to try it again?”
Fraser turned around to look at Ray and Ray extended his hand again, his index finger covered in sauce. He offered Fraser is hand and tried his damndest to fight down the blush that was creeping onto his cheeks.
Fraser’s look turned smoldering and Ray had a hard time keeping eye-contact. Never had a second felt this long.
A small, triumphant smiled played suddenly on Fraser’s lips. He looked immensely pleased with himself. “I’d like that very much Ray.”
Fraser’s hand reached out for him and he took a step closer until Ray could smell Fraser above all of the aromas in the kitchen. Fraser’s fingers were warm where they clasped Ray’s wrist. He pulled Ray’s hand closer and looked into Ray’s eyes. They seemed to be frozen in time for a moment before Ray saw Fraser’s pink tongue flick out to catch a drop of sauce and Ray’s gut did another twist. Fraser closed his eyes then, the lashes dark against his cheeks, and engulfed Ray’s finger in the tight heat of his mouth.
Ray couldn’t keep the groan in at the sight and Fraser took his sweet time to remove all traces of sauce.
When Fraser released him again and looked at Ray he looked a little breathless and a bit unsure. “Delicious,” Fraser murmured very quietly.
Ray finally found his voice again. “You never told Turnbull that you wanted to use the kitchen.”
Fraser bit his lip. “No.”
“So he never asked you if he could help?” Ray whispered.
“I didn’t lie to you,” Fraser said carefully.
Ray smiled at him. “No, you didn’t.” Fraser still had his fingers on Ray’s hand and Ray looked at their joined hands for a second before his gaze flicked up to Fraser’s eyes again.
“Is this a date?” Ray felt ten times of stupid for asking and if Fraser decided to get out as long as he could now, then Ray would look like an utter moron.
But Fraser looked as nervous as Ray felt when he answered, “If that’s what you want.”
Okay, it wasn’t exactly a declaration; it wasn’t even an explanation. But Ray understood it, this was big.
Ray grinned a little and hoped that it helped Fraser relax, too. This might be scaring as hell but at least they were in it together.
“How many dates did we already have Fraser?” Ray asked with a sneaking suspicion.
“Well,” he cracked his neck, “that depends on your definition, I, ah—“
“The first one was the restaurant, wasn’t it? The dinner at this fancy Italian restaurant?”
Fraser nodded, looking embarrassed as hell.
Ray moved his thumb carefully over the back of Fraser’s hand and Fraser’s gaze snapped to Ray’s eyes again.
“How about we start fresh? Could this be our first date? …that way I know I’m actually on a date,” Ray winked and Fraser’s eyes crinkled.
The clock on the kitchen counter started beeping and Fraser jerked back to attention.
Ray turned back around and looked at the boiling content of the various pots.
“Uhm… I think we have to fix the sauce,” he grinned unrepentant. He moved out of the way and let Fraser work his magic.
After Fraser had everything under control again he looked for Ray and found him leaning against the pass-through on the inside of the kitchen, smiling at him.
“Ah, we could eat. We didn’t ruin anything, at least not to the point where it wouldn’t be edible anymore… that is, if you’re hungry?”
“Hell yeah, I am. So… what’s on the menu?” Ray asked, clearly enjoying himself.
Fraser opened his mouth. “We have a mixed salad for—“ He stopped again when he saw Ray’s grin widening.
“Oh.” This was a new freedom, to engage in this kind of banter. “I see, you meant…”
“Food sounds good Fraser,” Ray said softly and took the salad bowl to the table. “Wouldn’t want you to think I’m easy. This is the first date after all.”
“I would never—“ Fraser started to say seriously but Ray just shook his head. “I know.”
It took a little while before dinner was thoroughly enjoyable. It just felt strange, sitting here with Fraser like a million times before when everything was different all of a sudden and every time Fraser looked at him Ray felt as if he should explain or apologize or look away or something—only he didn’t need to. It was okay to want Fraser.
Fraser had this endearingly happy smile plastered on his face as a permanent fixture and Ray had to grin at that because Fraser almost never smiled like that and it felt like the achievement of the century to be the one who put it there.
Except for that nervous twitching his gut was doing and the jolt that shot straight to his groin whenever Fraser did the lip thing it was almost like always—and how had Ray never noticed that they behaved like a married couple most of the time? …how had he never noticed how hard he had fallen for this man?
Fraser pushed a few plates out of the way once they were finished eating. “Would you like dessert?” Fraser smoothed a knuckle over his eyebrow when he saw Ray grinning like a Cheshire cat. “That is, I mean, I made—“ he took a deep breath and continued, “I made tiramisu… if you’d like.”
Ray grinned gently. Getting Fraser riled up could be fun in the future. He could already hear himself say ‘you’re breathing kinda hard’ when Fraser returned from one of his high speed chases… the possibilities were endless.
“You bet I’d like that.”
Fraser smiled and took the plates with him into the kitchen. He puttered around a little before he placed two small plates on the pass-through. It looked amazing and Ray didn’t even sit down again before he tried it.
The first spoonful hit Ray’s taste buds with such a flood of aromas that a low moan left his lips completely unintentional. He quickly glanced at Fraser, somehow embarrassed, afraid that Fraser might think he was being a tease on purpose but all he could see were Fraser’s cheeks darkening and that damn tongue coming out again to lick at the full bottom lip and suddenly Ray was the one feeling teased.
“Frase—“ he croaked, not even sure what he was going to ask.
And Fraser extended his hand, slowly, giving Ray ample time to pull away—which he didn’t—and then his fingers were touching the corner of Ray’s mouth very softly. “You’ve got something, here—“ And damn if Fraser didn’t sound just as breathless as Ray felt.
Ray licked his lips in a nervous gesture, flicking his tongue against Fraser’s finger in the process and Fraser closed his eyes and growled. Ray shivered. And suddenly Fraser was all movement. He came around the kitchen counter until he was almost pressed against Ray and then they were both looking at each other and Ray swallowed and reached out, he placed his hand on Fraser’s neck and pulled him closer.
And it was strange somehow, being of equal height and Fraser being by no means smaller than Ray’s own slender frame. For a second Ray had the hysterical thought that he should be horrified now because kissing Fraser was definitely gay but Fraser’s lips looked damn inviting and all Ray could think was ‘want’ that he ignored the whisper in his mind. He let his eyes fall shut and pressed his lips against Fraser’s.
It was unexpectedly soft. Fraser’s lips moved gently against his own and suddenly Ray needed to get closer. He brought his other hand up against Fraser’s cheek and felt Fraser’s arms come around him and that was even better.
Fraser smelled delicious and then Fraser’s tongue was begging for entrance and Ray was completely lost because how was it even possible that Fraser, wonderful, amazing, irritating Fraser wanted this, wanted him, too?
All thought was completely driven out of his mind when their tongues touched. Ray moaned softly and invited Fraser’s tongue into his mouth. Ray couldn’t remember ever feeling so safe in his life, engulfed in a Fraser-hug was just something else altogether.
Ray buried his hands in Fraser’s hair and pulled his face closer still. He pushed back, exploring Fraser’s mouth and the kiss turned urgent. They stumbled backwards until Fraser collided with the pass-through with a small ‘oomph’ and Ray molded himself against him, his body pressed flush against Fraser’s and a gasp was torn from his throat when his erection rubbed firmly against Fraser’s hip. He broke the kiss, panting for air.
He could do gay. No problem.
Fraser looked equally dazed; his arms still all over Ray’s body like a many-armed octopus and Ray had to grin. Who’d have thought Fraser could let go like that.
“Hey there,” Ray whispered.
“Hey there yourself,” Fraser smiled back. “We should—“ he reluctantly loosened one hand from its spot on Ray’s back and did a sweeping motion, taking in the kitchen, the empty plates and the filled sink.
“I’ll do it later,” Ray murmured.
“Ray!” Fraser admonished, looking stern and Ray sniggered. “Okay, okay, I probably won’t.”
Fraser shook his head but didn’t pull away. Instead his eyes were still fixed on Ray’s mouth and Ray smirked wickedly and raised his head a little to lick Fraser’s bottom lip. Fraser gasped and leaned in again.
Hell, yeah, Ray could kiss Fraser for the rest of his life.
The kiss turned heated and Fraser placed his hands on Ray’s hip to pull him closer, pressing their groins together and the groan sounded more than heartfelt when their erections brushed against each other.
Fraser pulled away slightly. “I’m—I’m sorry,” he panted while Ray was trying to get back the friction he’d had a second ago. “Don’t care,” he mumbled, stealing another kiss.
Fraser groaned when Ray rubbed against him. “I don’t know what I’m doing,” he admitted a little breathlessly and Ray laughed a little. “Hell, me neither.” He angled for Fraser’s lips again but Fraser pulled back a little.
“What do you mean Ray?”
Ray looked at him confused. “What? Do you remember me telling wild stories of my past shenanigans with other guys?” He shrugged unperturbed.
Fraser looked worried and Ray was even more confused. Fraser pushed him back gently. “Ray, let’s clean up first.”
“Uh… “ Ray kept standing bewildered between the kitchen and the table, trying to figure out what the fuck had just happened.
Fraser collected the rest of the plates and carried everything to the sink.
Ray followed him into the kitchen and placed a hand on Fraser’s shoulder. As soon as Fraser had deposited his load Ray turned him around.
He considered Fraser for a moment before he crowded him against the sink.
“Ray—what—“ Fraser exclaimed and moved a step back but the countertop pressed into his back and he had nowhere to go.
Ray pressed closer and kissed him again. He pushed his tongue deep into Fraser’s mouth, smothering any sound of protest Fraser might have had and gave it all he had and Fraser was moaning under the onslaught, his fingers gripped Ray’s shirt tightly, trying to hold on and Ray released him again, breathing heavily, his hand still fisted into the front of Fraser’s shirt.
Ray looked satisfied at Fraser’s glassy-eyed look.
“You really want me,” Ray smiled and Fraser nodded.
“But you’re scared?” Ray tried to assess Fraser’s state of mind.
“Terrified,” Fraser admitted breathlessly. Ray reared back in shock for a second until his brain registered that Fraser was still clinging to Ray as if he was afraid that Ray would leave.
“I get that,” Ray said quietly. Hell, their friendship was the best thing that had ever happened to Ray. He wasn’t about to throw that away for just anything either. “We can take this slow. I can do slow,” Ray gathered confidence and Fraser nodded with a small smile.
Ray wasn’t so sure of his abilities an hour later, after Fraser and he had restored the kitchen to its original condition, when Fraser had him lying almost flat underneath him on the couch, and was kissing the living hell out of him because Ray was positively certain that he would happily come in his pants if Fraser kept grinding against him like that.
“Ray, I—I should,” Fraser panted in his ear and Jesus, why had no one never told him that his ear was a hot spot?
“Yeah, I know, slow,” Ray gasped, unable to stop his hips from jerking against Fraser.
Fraser pressed him back into the couch with his full weight, effectively pinning Ray there and stilling his movement. Ray’s whole body was tingling. Apparently, the only thing more of a turn on than the equality in height was the similarity in strength and Fraser was quite probably even stronger than Ray.
It took a few moments before one of them had their breath back. A few sweat soaked bangs were sticking to Fraser’s temple and Ray took perverse pleasure in knowing that he mussed Fraser’s perfect hair up.
“I should go,” Fraser murmured, trailing kisses down Ray’s throat.
“You could stay,” Ray offered quietly.
It was quiet for a second. Either Fraser really wanted to stay and had a hard time finding a reason not to or he really didn’t want to stay and found it hard to let Ray down easy.
“I—,” Fraser licked his lips. “Maybe another time.” And boy did he look like he regretted having to say that. “And there’s work tomorrow to consider.”
Ray groaned. “Yeah, fine.” He did not want to think about work when Fraser was pressed all hot and touchable against him.
He kissed Fraser again. A tender kiss, gentle and sweet and Fraser had a hard time pulling away when Ray finally released his lips.
“Ray,” Fraser sounded wistful, his eyes closed before he opened them to take as much as he could of Ray in. Ray smiled softly back. “Yeah, I’m right with you Frase.”
Fraser was particularly glad about the brisk night air outside. It helped to clear his head and he took a deep breath to regain some composure.
It had really happened. He couldn’t quite believe it but he could still taste Ray on his lips and he knew that he would be able to smell him if he buried his nose in his own shirt. Ray… it was almost surreal. Again Ray had welcomed him with open arms, had thrown all caution to the wind as soon as he had caught on.
And Ray’s touch had been the most cherished gift. Those strong, warm fingers— and Fraser could still feel Ray’s fingers gripping his nape, pulling him closer. Oh God… and kissing Ray… it was so much more than Fraser had ever been able to imagine.
The fact that Ray was as inexperienced as Fraser himself had thrown him a little. He had been sure that Ray had had some experience to base his attraction to him on. But that meant that no man had ever touched Ray before… that Fraser was the very first man to kiss him. Very much as it was for Fraser himself… he smiled.
To explore this new level of intimacy together was an appealing idea. Fraser glowed with pride that Ray would trust him so much. But what if Ray didn’t know what he had signed up for? Without any prior experience how could Ray be sure that he wanted this? –No, it had been the right decision to stop things tonight before they could go any further. Ray should be sure that this was what he wanted.
The last thing Fraser wanted was to endanger their friendship. It was much too important to put it at risk with an ill-conceived sexual adventure.
How could this even work when none of them had any idea what they were doing? Proper preparation would go a long way to ensure that it would be an enjoyable experience for both of them in the least. Fraser was sure that there were a few options available to him that would assist him with this endeavor.
For the first time in a very long while Fraser regretted not having a home to go back to, a place that would offer comfort, privacy and the possibility to invite Ray back to.
Had his office really always been so crammed?
Ray had never been as paranoid as he was at work the next day. He felt sure people could smell that he and Fraser had been getting it on. It was driving him around the bend.
After the first cup of coffee though he relaxed slightly—no one, really, was paying him the slightest bit of attention.
When Fraser arrived later in the afternoon though, Ray almost inhaled his coffee in an effort to appear nonchalant which ended with Ray trying to dislodge the coffee that had gone down the wrong pipe and Fraser helpfully thumping him on the back and the whole squad room smirking at Ray who had—apparently—never mastered the human basics, like drinking.
After that, however, it was almost business like usual. It was like always—so much even that Ray was almost afraid that last night hadn’t happened. God… what if Fraser was having second thoughts now?
Ray came back along the corridor from interview one and saw Fraser standing near the door to the break room. He looked slightly uncomfortable and Ray hoped like hell that it wasn’t because of yesterday.
Fraser, in all honesty, was simply trying to tune out Francesca and Elaine that were standing right inside the break room.
“…I swear they went to this totally romantic restaurant,” Francesca whispered rather loudly.
“Didn’t you say Fraser was going on a date when he asked you if you knew a place?”
“Yes,” Francesca exclaimed in another sharp whisper. “That’s what I’ve been trying to tell you! Ray was the date!”
There was a short pause before Elaine asked, “Are you sure about this? Couldn’t they have gone there as friends?”
“No, no, no. Remember yesterday? Ray was really happy, humming along and smiling all the time.”
“Yes, now that you mention it. Dewey said something similar.”
“See? If even Dewey saw it, it’s got to be true.”
Ray was rapidly approaching the break room and Fraser couldn’t imagine that the conversation would be over in the next few seconds.
This was something about gossip that Fraser hadn’t anticipated: it had a mind of its own. And there really wasn’t any way to stop it.
Ray looked a little self-conscious and Fraser really didn’t think that overhearing this particular conversation would improve matters in any way.
He took a few hearty steps in Ray’s direction. “Ray, ah, do you perhaps remember that time I had to go fishing with Innusiq? You know, the Inuit believe that patience is best learned during ice fishing—“ Anything to get Ray away from the break room as quickly as possible.
Great, Ray thought. They were back to Inuit anecdotes. He had really fucked it up this time.
They managed to get through the rest of their shift more or less in one piece but tension was running high by the time five ‘o clock rolled around.
Ray opened the door of the GTO for Fraser and got himself settled. What now? Should he simply presume that Fraser would come home with him? Should he drop him off at the consulate?
And Fraser didn’t give anything away. He just sat there, looking all proper and Mountie-like and Ray didn’t know how he could bridge the gap between them.
“Listen, Fraser I—would you like to—“
“—go to my place—just to catch a game—“
“I said yes.”
“—or something, I didn’t mean, uh…” Ray trailed off not knowing how to finish that sentence.
“Ray, I already said yes,” Fraser sounded slightly amused and Ray looked at him, breathing deeply with relief and found Fraser smiling softly at him. And suddenly it wasn’t the Mountie in his car anymore. That was the same Fraser he had kissed in his apartment yesterday.
They climbed the stairs to Ray’s apartment in silence and once Ray had opened his door and they were both standing inside of Ray’s hallway there was a short, awkward pause.
“So…” Ray agreed and glanced at Fraser, rubbing a hand over his neck and Fraser smiled at him and ducked his head a little and Ray reached out with his hand, almost close enough to touch Fraser’s cheek with his fingertips and Fraser’s eyes fell closed and Ray finally smoothed his fingers over Fraser’s skin in one, slow caress.
Fraser’s hand came up to cover Ray’s and he looked at Ray with those blue eyes, serious and intent and then his lips touched Ray’s.
Fraser kissed him deeply, his fingers cradling Ray’s head to keep him close and something in Ray relaxed. Fraser must have been as nervous as he had been throughout the day. Hungry, Fraser kissed like he was hungry, Ray thought amazed. It should have been obvious, shouldn’t it? The only guy lonelier than Ray, the only guy skin hungrier than him, the only guy starving for touch at least as much as he was… was Fraser.
And Ray was drowning in it, in touching Fraser and feeling his hand on his skin, kissing him again and again and when he finally had to come up for air he had no idea how much time had passed. They were still standing right inside Ray’s apartment and the only thing anyone had gotten removed was Fraser’s Stetson.
“Couch,” Ray murmured and Fraser instantly agreed.
And the evening would have been great—would have been fucking perfect if it hadn’t ended again with Ray dry-humping his partner on the couch, with a boner hard enough to drill through steel and Fraser in a very similar situation himself and then a fleeing Mountie with some polite excuses why they shouldn’t be doing anything more and a closed door and an apartment empty safe for Ray.
It was frustrating. Ray could already see his balls turning blue. Okay, Fraser had said that he had no idea what he was doing so he probably didn’t have any experience with guys either which was cool with Ray, they could be bumbling rookies together. After all, how hard could a hand job be? The angle would be weird maybe but apart from that? Couldn’t be much different than jerking off, could it?
Well, at that rate he would never get to figure it out. Ray would be too old to even get it up by the time Fraser finally let him into his pants.
Something had to give.
Work was a nightmare the next day. First of all, Ray felt watched. Constantly. It was probably all in his own head but he could have sworn that Frannie was looking at him with a new found respect and he felt as if Welsh was trying not to listen too much to him and Dewey was grinning at him like a loon 24-fucking-7 and it was all getting on his nerves.
So he spent most of his day second-guessing his own behavior and jeez, no one had ever warned him how exhausting that could be. Fraser wasn’t much better though. He was jump-walking Ray around the station half the time he was there making Ray wonder if he had suddenly lost the ability to walk by himself or what.
Fraser also pulled another one of his vanishing tricks that night and Ray reached his breaking point. He needed a solution for work and he and Fraser needed to talk… or much rather not talk but instead finally do something before Ray’s balls decided to fall off.
The way Ray saw it they were both guys so sex should have been the number one activity and—yeah, okay, the gay thing was pretty new and everything but the kissing was great and they were great together so the sex had to be great, too, right? The least they could do was try it. And maybe Fraser was a bit of a prude but Ray couldn’t see Fraser honestly afraid of getting close and personal with another man’s equipment… After all, Fraser had started this whole dating business. He wouldn’t have done it if he hadn’t had stuff, like thoughts, like, intentions, right?
And Ray himself? Well, sure it was all strange but mostly in a good way and Ray was a guy who would try anything at least once. This was Fraser they were talking about here, not just any guy, and yeah, Ray could see himself touching Fraser.
Everything reached its high point the next day when they got caught up in a hostage situation in a post office after their shift had just ended. A post office for God’s sake!
All because Fraser had said “Ray, my very dear friend, I have a package waiting for me at the post office. Would you mind terribly if we collect it before we go and get something to eat?” And Ray had said “sure, sure, no problem buddy. You got another shipment of books or what?”
And then Fraser had fumbled for a second before he had admitted that “yes, among other things” and Ray had clarified “nothing dangerous, right?” just to check and Fraser had shaken his head and that had been good enough for Ray.
But of course, the moment Fraser had gotten his package from the lady behind the counter some dumbass had to draw a weapon and start shouting.
Ray was mostly resigned. It always happened around Fraser.
So Ray had sighed and drawn his own gun and they had themselves a nice little showdown with Fraser as big fucking red target right in the middle of it all. Yeah, business like usual.
It turned out that the guy with the gun had wanted to apprehend a letter from his girlfriend who had threatened to tell his wife. In an effort to keep the guy calm and everybody safe Fraser had started digging for the elusive envelope.
It took ages and the guy wasn’t getting any less antsy and Ray was already thinking about a possible plan B when Fraser managed to find the damn thing. The man was so relieved he let his gun drop the moment his fingers closed around the paper which was Ray’s cue to wrestle him to the ground and secure the gun.
It was already so late that Ray gave up any hopes of getting anywhere with Fraser that night. He still had to book their perp and get the paperwork filed and… he sighed. No, it was not gonna happen tonight. So he dropped Fraser and his parcel off at the consulate and went back to the station.
Thank god the weekend was coming up. And while Ray was busy concentrating on his work, Fraser was busy unpacking the items of his package and Diefenbaker fled the office to leave Fraser to his newest research project in the semi privacy of the empty office.
It was Friday night and Ray was a man with a plan. They had ordered Chinese and Ray was trying to eat as patiently as he could but he was almost vibrating with the need to touch Fraser—and finally getting a bit more naked skin underneath his fingers.
Thankfully, Fraser seemed to be starving or something considering the speed with which he was shoveling his food in. The moment Fraser put his chopsticks away Ray pushed his plate away, too. Fraser looked at him and licked his lips nervously. “Ray…” his voice had gone low and Ray practically jumped the poor guy. “Finally,” Ray murmured before he sneaked his tongue into Fraser’s mouth.
And whatever self-control Fraser had possessed those last few days had apparently gone flying out the window. It would have been great had it not been so frustrating because with both of them trying to get the other one undressed nothing was really being accomplished.
“Ray,” Fraser groaned and pressed Ray firmly against the couch cushions. “I want to—let me—could I—“
Ray grinned. Fraser too turned on to speak in coherent sentences had to be a good sign. “Whatever you want Frase,” Ray murmured, his throat almost too dry to speak. Fraser moaned and went in for another kiss. Ray was panting when Fraser pulled away and it almost didn’t register when Fraser divested him of his shirt and dropped to the ground in front of the couch.
Only when Fraser needed his assistance to pull down his jeans and his boxer briefs did Ray fully realize what Fraser was about to do.
“Frase…” Ray whispered huskily and Fraser looked up at him, nestled between his legs, this intense look on his face again.
“I want to taste you,” Fraser said quietly and Ray’s dick twitched. “Oh God…Fraser, you don’t—you don’t have to do that.”
Fraser looked confused. “Don’t you want me to?”
Ray touched his fingers to Fraser’s lips, stroking smoothly over the soft skin. “Are you kidding? I’m not dead yet. Just… don’t think that you have to, okay?”
And Fraser smiled and leaned closer and Ray almost held his breath. A hand job; Ray had planned to get at least a hand inside of those pumpkin pants and now Fraser was kneeling between his legs about to give him the first blowjob of his life.
Fraser really had no idea how you spelled normal… or slow, for that matter.
“Ahhhh, God…” Ray had to use every bit of willpower not to thrust up into the tight heat that had suddenly enveloped his erection.
And then Fraser’s tongue fluttered against the sensitive head and Ray gripped the couch cushion as hard as he could. “Oh God,” his voice was choked off, “ohgodohgod—Fraser—“
Fraser’s hand was firm when he curled his fingers around the base of Ray’s cock and Ray’s hip did jerk upward then and Fraser made a little swallowing sound and—god, how was it even possible to have that much tongue?
And Fraser just sucked harder and did this little moaning thing and—Jesus—it had been too long and this was way too good and Fraser was so achingly hot and sweet, on his knees in front of Ray, mouth stretched tight around his cock and, god, if that picture wasn’t already enough—
“Frase—Frase—god, Fraser!” Ray started to chant urgently but all that happened was that Fraser increased the pressure behind his tongue and Ray started tugging on Fraser’s hair.
Fraser growled and released Ray, his eyes dark and the expression on his face feral, like a wild animal and Ray gulped in air at the sight and he could feel his cock leak some more. Fraser could probably make him come just by looking at him like that a bit longer. What the sight of those lips alone, abused looking, all red and raw, could do to him was probably illegal in 23 states.
“Ray,” and Jesus that voice was a weapon all by itself. “Please,” Fraser growled again in that hoarse voice, thick with sex and Ray tried to keep the moan behind his closed lips because how sexy was that, that Fraser was begging him to let go, that Fraser actually wanted him to come?
Fraser’s lips had barely closed around his cock again, sliding smoothly down, and that tongue was still wrapped tightly around it and Ray shook with the effort of keeping it together but Fraser moaned again and that was it—Ray came gasping Fraser’s name and all he could do was hold on when he felt Fraser swallowing around him.
When Fraser finally released him and sat back Ray couldn’t stop staring at him in amazement. And then Fraser thoughtfully licked his lips. It was too much to take. Ray slid from the couch and toppled them over, kissing him deeply.
Whoa! Okay, right. He remembered his own taste from the times Stella had gone down on him… but it had been a while.
And Fraser looked so damn pleased with himself it was actually quite cute. “Where did you learn how to do that?”
Fraser’s cheek dimpled slightly with the effort not to grin. “From a book.”
“From a—you’re yanking my chain here?”
“Not at all Ray.” Fraser’s voice was slightly raspy and Ray felt heat pool in his groin at the sound of it.
“A book? A—wait a second! Is that book by any chance part of the order we had to get from the post office yesterday?”
Fraser actually did his eyebrow rub. “It’s best to be prepared.”
Ray smirked at him. “Up to now I would have said that you cannot learn sex from a book. Let’s see how much I have figured out from watching porn, huh?”
Fraser had the nerve to blush.
Ray kicked away the pile of his own clothes and pushed Fraser flat on his back, his fingers already on the buttons of Fraser’s serge.
Fraser licked his lips and nodded. “Good… ‘cause I feel kinda stupid here, you know… being naked all on my own.” Ray grinned and Fraser almost looked nervous which was the most hilarious thing Ray had ever witnessed because—Fraser? Hello? Every woman was drooling about the mere thought of getting him out of that uniform and here he seemed afraid of Ray’s reaction.
Almost as if he was afraid Ray would discover that he wasn’t what he wanted after all. Ray kissed him again then, until he felt Fraser straining beneath him. That wool had got to go. Okay, getting the uniform off hadn’t been all that tricky when Ray himself had worn it during the Volpe affair. Ray just had to remember the right order in which to open the buckles.
Fraser raised himself up so that Ray could push the tunic past his shoulders. Ray made quick work of the henley, too. Which still left the undershirt and for the first time Ray could almost understand how Fraser’s armor worked. Being hidden underneath so many layers had to be helpful in keeping your distance.
Ray pulled the undershirt off and not even Fraser’s hair could resist looking messed after that. Ray smirked and smoothed his hands over the vast expanse of Fraser’s chest. It was different, touching a male chest, but the way Fraser’s chest heaved beneath him with every touch was no less arousing.
Ray worked his way down until his fingers reached the zipper; he pulled it down and was greeted by Fraser’s white boxers. “Lift up.” Ray tried for calm and measured but he was a bit nervous so it probably came out a little too high and shaky. Fraser helped him pull the rest of his clothes off nonetheless and finally Fraser was lying completely naked in front of Ray.
Ray looked at Fraser’s cock, hard and leaking and not so very different from what Ray had imagined—sure, uncut but that hardly came as a surprise. Ray reached out and curled his fingers around the warm flesh. Fraser’s hips surged up and a stifled gasp escaped his lips. Ray grinned; it had obviously been a while for Fraser, too.
The angle really was weird but somehow it was a damn turn-on to be touching Fraser like that. And Fraser had his eyes closed, the cheeks flushed and he was moaning with every pull of Ray’s hand. Up until that moment Ray hadn’t known how badly he wanted to see Fraser open and vulnerable like this.
Ray added a little twist to his grip and Fraser all but came off the floor. This was pretty neat. Ray flicked his thumb over the sensitive head and Fraser actually thrust into his fist. God… Fraser letting go like that… that was something else.
Ray climbed on top of Fraser then, settling down on his thighs to prevent any movement and Fraser’s moan sounded pitiful when Ray stilled his hips that way.
“Shhh…” Ray murmured and leaned down to kiss Fraser’s parted lips and Fraser plunged into that kiss with desperation, sucking on Ray’s tongue and making those urgent little noises and Ray could still feel the subdued movement of Fraser’s hip underneath his thighs.
He moved his hand in a frantic rhythm and Fraser’s moans sounded almost like sobs and somewhere in between Ray could still make out his own name. Suddenly Fraser pulled him close, and panted into the kiss –and Ray had a sudden reminder of the buddy breathing incident on the Henry Allen—when Fraser’s back arched and warm come splattered Ray’s hand and his chest.
Fraser was breathing heavily but he kept a firm grip on Ray’s neck, keeping his face close and kissing him over and over again in between.
Ray covered Fraser’s body with his own and Fraser’s arm came around him, stroking down his back and Ray felt…yeah, it had been a long time ago but he still remembered what ‘happy’ felt like and this was pretty much it.
“Oh, Ray…” Fraser mumbled in a voice full of wonder.
Ray smiled and pressed an awkward kiss to the corner of Fraser’s mouth— not wanting to disturb the smile there. “Come on… I got a bed. Stay a while.”
They shared a moment just looking at each other and for a moment Ray couldn’t really explain how his life had ended up like that. But since Fraser had come into his life, believable explanations had been a rather rare occurrence so this should probably have come as no surprise.
The last thing Ray mumbled into Fraser’s skin, where he had pressed his face against Fraser’s chest when they were lying in his bed, was “I can’t believe we had sex on the floor” but all Fraser had to say to that was an amused chuckle so Ray figured that Fraser was pretty okay with how things had gone down.
The first thing Fraser noticed when he woke up was that he was warm, toasty really. And once his brain had caught up with him he knew why. There was a warm body pressed close to him. He opened his eyes and saw Ray, the face still relaxed in sleep, his warm body touching him almost everywhere on his left side, one leg thrown over his shin and an arm possessively on his chest.
A wave of tenderness washed over Fraser with such strength that he had to suck in a startled breath to release the pressure on his chest.
Carefully, he allowed his fingers to explore Ray’s body, stroking down the curve of his shoulders, down the lean muscles of his arms, over the jut of his hipbone and back up again; just feeling the soft texture of Ray’s skin, soaking up the warmth of his body, learning the shape of him.
It was undeniably a male body but Fraser found that it didn’t make any difference. Ray was beautiful. All of his lithe grace and supple strength was compressed into this light frame, all of his energy, his restlessness, was contained in the fierceness of his eyes, his gentle heart and his humor was plainly visible in the curve of his smile…
And Ray’s body was arousing him without the least bit of restraint. But Ray would hold that power over him no matter which body.
“Mmmhmm,” Ray moaned quietly and tightened his grip on Fraser’s chest. Fraser held his breath.
A smile appeared on Ray’s lips even though his eyes were still closed. He rubbed his leg gently over Fraser’s and grinned.
“Good morning Ray,” Fraser answered quietly. Ray opened his eyes and blinked at him.
“You’re naked,” Ray stated matter-of-factly.
“Ah, yes, it would appear so,” Fraser answered apprehensively.
“Very convenient Fraser,” Ray murmured with a sly look in his eyes.
“You think so?”
Ray huffed out a breath of laughter. “Hell, yeah.”
And without waiting for more encouragement Ray reached down, dipped his hand between Fraser’s legs and fondled his balls. Fraser gasped with surprise.
“You know,” Ray added conversationally, “being with a guy has certain advantages.”
“Ah, such as?” Fraser sounded a little breathless.
Ray gave Fraser’s cock a lazy pull. “Seems like I’m not the only one who’s awake,” Ray murmured delighted.
“I—I see,” Fraser moaned and Ray nodded knowingly at him. “You do, huh?”
And Ray looked so cheeky that Fraser had to pull him close, drawing a moan from him in the process and he reached down to give Ray a little demonstration of just how awake he was.
“Ohhh… yeah…” Ray rasped.
Sex with Fraser was definitely Ray’s new favorite hobby. That man had a wicked tongue—something Ray had always known—and his hands were always all over the place. Not to forget that it was turning Ray’s crank like nobody’s business to make Fraser lose it, to have him moaning and shaking underneath him and if you pushed him far enough Fraser also wasn’t above begging something Ray found out a few days later when he finally found the courage to go down on Fraser.
Ray incidentally loved blowjobs—another thing he had never known about himself. It could have something to do with the way Fraser’s voice went all hoarse and his legs trembled when Ray sucked him off that did it for Ray, though.
Work was still a bit of an issue because it just wasn’t that easy not to think about Fraser’s dick in his mouth or Fraser’s hand on his own cock, letting Ray watch and—Jesus, that just had to be the hottest thing Ray had ever seen—right, that was exactly the stuff you shouldn’t be thinking about when you sat together in the squad room typing up reports.
At least Huey and Dewey claimed a little of the attention for themselves. Ray hadn’t managed to figure it out but apparently there was some dispute about a bet of some kind going on. But that didn’t keep people entertained for very long.
Ray just felt as if everyone knew which was completely ridiculous but he could swear that everyone was watching him, just waiting for him to slip up. There was also the problem that it was quite difficult to hide that he was damn happy.
People kept commenting on his dopey smile or ribbing him that he was humming now and again when he wasn’t thinking about it. But it wasn’t that easy to control when you had Fraser around and sometimes the smile just crept onto Ray’s face without his knowledge just from looking at Fraser and that was really bad, like being a fucking teenager again.
But his evenings alone with Fraser more than made up for it. Who would’ve thought that the Mountie could actually let his hair down? You got him out of the uniform and there was plain Fraser underneath it all, with sleep rumpled smiles and cozy cuddling in front of the TV… and spontaneous, mind-blowing hot sex like you wouldn’t believe.
So far there was only one thing they hadn’t tried and in the beginning Ray didn’t have any real interest in that, he had been quite content with all the other stuff they had come up with in bed… or on the couch… or in the kitchen, or—yeah pretty much every surface had been fair game. But there hadn’t been a single thing Ray hadn’t enjoyed, so… and there was also one more thing: he wanted Fraser. Like that. He couldn’t imagine anything more close and personal and it felt like one last wall to tear down and Ray wanted that.
Apparently, the duet also worked on the horizontal level. It was another weekend, Saturday night, and Fraser was all spread out, flushed and sweaty on Ray’s sheets and Ray stood up and got hastily rid of his own clothes before he joined him again on the bed.
Fraser spread his legs, making room for him, and Ray covered him with his body and relished the freedom to bury his hands in Fraser’s hair. Ray couldn’t imagine that anyone could ever get tired of kissing Benton Fraser. Ray didn’t mind owing Fraser air from their poker game—hell, he’d lose at poker for the rest of his life if that meant that he could keep on kissing him.
“Ray…” Fraser was whispering again in what Ray had named his turned-on voice because it sounded a second away from coming and Ray liked to say that Fraser just liked fucking with his mind, too.
“Would you make love to me?”
And Ray’s breathing hitched. No one had said it so far. He had been sure, of course, that he did. Love Fraser that is. And he had assumed that Fraser must feel the same but…
“God… Fraser… love you…yes—god, me too,” Ray murmured. “But—we need—“
And Fraser was already nodding. “My pants. In my pocket.”
Reluctantly Ray moved to the edge of the bed to fish for Fraser’s pants. After rummaging for a second he came up with a bottle of slick. Ray grinned cheekily at Fraser.
“Let me guess… that’s one of the ‘other things’ you’ve ordered beside your books?”
“Yes. I didn’t think that we would need further protection considering that we both have to take the same regular medical examinations.”
“Yeah, yeah… I trust you with my life Fraser, you know that. Besides, we’ve got to be the cleanest guys in Chicago.”
Fraser smiled a little at that.
Ray turned the bottle around in his hands. “So… uh, you know what we’re doing here?”
“Yes, Ray.” Fraser voice was warm again.
“From one of your books?” Ray asked a little doubtful.
“Ah—I—“ Fraser rubbed his thumb over his eyebrow and Ray jumped him again.
“What did you do Fraser?”
“Well, as you well know proper preparation prevents poor performance so I ordered a few other things besides the books and the lubricant. I thought it would be best to have some first-hand knowledge.”
“First-hand knowledge?” Ray repeated dumbfounded, the picture of Fraser fucking himself with a dildo now burnt to his mind’s eye.
“Come here, Ray.” Fraser murmured, calling Ray back to the present. After all, Ray didn’t need to know that it hadn’t really been a very pleasurable experience. It hadn’t hurt, at least not after he’d gotten used to it. But the discomfort had stayed. But this wasn’t about a stellar climax or anything like that. This was about Ray and him, a connection. It was about intimacy and that made it more than worth it.
And Ray did. Until Fraser couldn’t hold his hips still anymore and still Ray sucked at his nipple and cradled his balls in his hand and Fraser was desperately panting for air.
“Ray,” Fraser moaned and spread his legs further and Ray’s lips felt suddenly dry. He fumbled the lube open and squeezed a generous amount onto his fingers. Ray hesitated.
“I—I don’t wanna hurt you. What do I gotta do?”
“Just go slow.”
Ray nodded and reached out, spreading lube around Fraser’s hole and Fraser shivered slightly in anticipation. And Ray pushed in. One finger went in easily enough and Ray marveled at the tight heat that kept his finger in a vice-like grip. Okay, he could see how this might need some preparation.
He stroked his other hand over Fraser’s thigh in a soothing gesture and moved his finger slowly in and out. Once the slide went without resistance he added another finger. He pushed inside slowly and Fraser tried his best to relax, opening up to Ray’s touch in small increments.
Their combined breathing was the only sound in Ray’s bedroom and it made Ray nervous. Fraser didn’t sound like he was having the time of his life—Ray wanted to hear him shout the roof down, instead Fraser had a small frown on his face. Ray could do better than that.
He bent down and breathed hotly on Fraser’s slightly abated erection and Fraser gasped and moved his hips slightly. Ray grinned. He could do this. All he had to do was keep the Mountie distracted. Slowly, Ray moved his lips over Fraser’s cock, pressing kisses to it, licking it softly, and Fraser was moaning now, quietly, just this needy little “ah—yes—oh, Ray—hah” and suddenly Ray’s fingers moved way more easily.
“That’s it Frase,” Ray smirked before he engulfed Fraser’s cock and Fraser was biting his lip and pushed his feet firmly against the mattress. Ray started scissoring his fingers and Fraser groaned and moved back against him.
Ray pushed in further, with less care, crooking his fingers and Fraser’s hip came off the bed with a strangled shout.
“Ah—Ray—“ and Ray released Fraser’s cock gently and looked up at Fraser, Fraser’s hips were moving restlessly now. “I—hah—oh, don’t stop Ray—“
Fraser was stunned. It hadn’t felt like this when Fraser had touched himself. There was no dull ache, no small stabbing pain.
Ray’s dirty chuckle washed over his heated skin like a whisper. “Stella always said I know what to do with my fingers.”
But it felt exposed, laid bare for Ray, and Fraser felt hot with embarrassment and excitement and Ray wasn’t stopping. He kept pushing in with that steady, calm rhythm and it wasn’t enough, he needed more, he wanted to feel more—
“More,” he gasped and licked his lips when he felt his face heat. Ray complied. The third finger was more of a stretch but it was welcome, more intense somehow and Ray mouthed his balls, carefully, and his tongue was so hot and—Fraser buried his hands in the sheets.
And then Ray’s fingers were completely buried inside of him and Fraser gasped for breath. “Oh God—“a strangled sob was torn from Fraser’s throat when Ray wriggled his fingers, stretching Fraser some more.
Ray’s eyes narrowed and he did it again. Fraser’s whole body looked flushed now and clear drops of pre-come beaded at the tip of Fraser’s erection. If Ray really concentrated he could feel a small spot inside that felt a bit different than the rest. So Ray flicked his fingers against that spot again and Fraser shouted hoarsely. Bingo! Ray grinned.
“Ray—Ray—please—I need you—inside—please—now“ Fraser’s voice rose to a pitch with every movement from Rays fingers and Ray closed his eyes tightly as he groaned against the sweaty skin of Fraser’s thigh.
Ray was so turned on his fingers were shaking when he slicked himself up. He braced himself over Fraser and Fraser’s legs came up around his waist.
“Brace yourself,” Ray murmured and pushed in slowly. Fraser bit his lip and Ray leaned down, his arms shaking with the strain of holding himself up, and he kissed Fraser, making him let go of his abused bottom lip. He pulled away slightly to whisper “shhh, I got you…” before he moved in for another kiss.
Ray shifted his weight onto his left forearm and moved his free hand between their bodies to grip Fraser’s cock. He kept still—or as still as he could—and moved his hands in slow, lazy strokes. Fraser’s hips snapped up, searching for more friction from Ray’s hand and they had a rhythm going. Moving backwards, Fraser pushed further down onto Ray’s cock and Ray tried not to shove in.
When Ray was fully inside Fraser was gasping wetly, shaking slightly.
“You okay? Did I hurt you?” Ray whispered nervously.
Fraser opened his eyes and looked at Ray with dilated eyes. He licked his lips and shook his head. “No, it’s—it’s intense,” he whispered back in a broken voice. Ray groaned.
And then he began to move. Fraser’s arms came around him then, holding him close and they moved in perfect synch. Ray was panting, pressing his lips against Fraser’s throat absent-mindedly and sucking on the warm skin there and Fraser sounded as if he was falling apart.
It was amazing to feel Fraser like that and to hear how Fraser’s breathing got faster and more labored. Ray could feel the pressure building with toe-curling intensity.
“Love you, Frase…” Ray murmured into Fraser’s hair and Fraser moaned softly and pressed a sweet, off-target kiss to Ray’s jaw.
“I need—Ray I’m—“
Ray could feel Fraser rippling around him and Ray gasped for breath. His eyes were drawn to Fraser’s hand that was curling around his cock and jerking himself off fast and sweet and Ray couldn’t take it anymore, he slammed in again, again, and once more, burying himself in Fraser’s tight, hot body and he felt Fraser clench around him like a vice. Ray shouted hoarsely, coming deep inside of Fraser. He collapsed more or less on top of him; he couldn’t even say who had come first. All he knew was that Fraser was breathing like a steam train and that they were stuck together in a gross mixture of sweat and semen.
“I love you, too.” Fraser murmured quietly and Ray found his lips by feel again. Ray pulled out as carefully as he could and pulled Fraser into a tight hug. They were quiet for a while, just touching each other, sharing lazy kisses now and again when Fraser finally spoke again.
“It was—ah, it wasn’t at all like I had expected.”
Ray smiled at him with an air of triumph. “Told you, you cannot learn sex from a book, Fraser.”
Fraser kissed the smile off of Ray’s face. It didn’t have anything to do with the book or Fraser’s own attempts. It was just that he had failed to factor Ray, with all his idiosyncrasies and his commitment to every single thing he undertook, in.
“You wanna grab a shower?” Ray yawned.
“I’d like to stay here for a while longer if that’s alright with you.”
The next morning Ray was woken up by Diefenbaker’s wet muzzle pressed against his hand.
“Eww… Dief, ge’ away from ‘e,” he mumbled drowsily.
Ray rubbed his face and looked at the grinning wolf. He smoothed a hand over Fraser’s back. “Hey Fraser, wake up. Dief’s looking at me funny.”
Fraser sighed. “He’s just smug.”
Ray looked confused and then a grin stole onto his face. “Really? How long has he been telling you to make a move?” And sometimes Ray was really way more perceptible than strictly necessary.
There was an undistinguishable mumble coming from the sheets. “What was that? I didn’t catch that Fraser?” Ray’s grin widened.
Fraser moved into a sitting position with a resigned look on his face. “A few weeks.”
Dief barked loudly. And Ray smirked at Fraser.
“Sounds to me as if you’re understating the facts a little here.”
Fraser blushed a little. “Wolves have a notoriously bad judgment when it comes to time.”
“Whatever you say, buddy.”
Dief woofed in exasperation and padded out of the bedroom and a moment later there were slurping sounds coming from the kitchen.
Ray reached over to mess Fraser’s hair when he noticed a dark mark on his throat.
“Oh shit… I’m sorry.” Ray looked stricken and Fraser touched the spot Ray was staring at.
The spot of the hickey felt sensitive under the light pressure of Fraser’s fingers. “Ah…”
“Yeah, ‘ah’… shit. No way is your serge going to cover that. Fraser what are we going to do about that tomorrow?”
Ray looked freaked out and Fraser steeled himself for the conversation he had been trying to avoid for more than a week now.
Maybe he could do this diplomatically.
“Ray… all this proves is that I ’got lucky’ as I think the expression goes—which would also be a correct assessment of the situation.”
“But people are gonna talk! Fraser, you’re like the number one guy every woman at the station wants to bag for herself. If you come to the station with a hickey the size of Canada everybody will want to know who the lucky girl is.”
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow and took a deep breath.
“Do you want me to lie?”
Ray spluttered for a second. “I—yes—no—argh! Dammit! No, I don’t want them to think that you’ve got yourself a girlfriend.”
Fraser smiled a little at that. “You would be jealous of an imaginary girlfriend?”
“That—that’s not the point. I just—“ Ray’s fingers continued the talking for a second until Ray could find the right words again. “I don’t want people to talk about you like that.”
This was it then, Ray deserved to know the truth.
“What if people knew the truth?” He asked quietly. Ray’s eyes bugged.
“About you and me? Fraser—uh, I don’t know about Canada but people here are going to eat us alive.”
Fraser licked his lips. “Are you ashamed? Of us, I mean.”
The fact that he was still naked was the only thing keeping Ray seated on the bed.
“I—no. Don’t ever think that,” Ray spat, jabbing two fingers in Fraser’s direction. “But I don’t want people giving us a hard time.”
“Are you having a hard time at work lately?”
Ray had started to run his fingers through his hair when he stopped confused in mid-motion.
“What? No. Why should I? I mean sure, it’s strange not being able to touch you when all I can think of is getting you naked but—” he grinned and shrugged apologetically.
Fraser cleared his throat.
“Why? What are you saying Fraser?”
“Ray… I… I don’t know how else to tell you but…” Fraser cracked his neck and rubbed his eyebrow. “Everybody knows.”
Ray looked at him in incomprehension.
“Knows what?” Ray had a sinking feeling in his gut.
“About us. That we are, ah, romantically involved with each other.”
Ray looked at him frozen in utter shock. “How do you know that?”
“I overheard. I didn’t do it on purpose. People just aren’t very careful when it comes to keeping their voices down.”
You could actually see the wheels turning inside of Ray’s head. “So that’s why you always pulled me around or dragged me away at the station lately—so that I wouldn’t hear.”
“My apologies. I had feared you wouldn’t take it well… and it seems that I was correct in that presumption.”
Fraser didn’t look disappointed, just resigned.
Ray was quiet for a while and Fraser hesitated to reach out and touch him, unsure if his touch would be welcome at this point.
“I thought I was paranoid…” Ray muttered. “I thought I was seeing things… but I wasn’t.”
Did Ray want some space now? Would it be better to leave? Or did he need the reassurance; did he want to be touched?
“I’m honestly sorry, Ray. It—it’s probably best if I go.”
Ray snarled and pushed Fraser flat on the bed and pinned him there. “Don’t you dare Fraser! Don’t you dare let me push you away! I don’t regret it—I don’t want you to leave. I’m just—I’m scared, okay?”
Fraser looked up—eyes wide and startled. His expression turned soft and he kissed Ray gently. When Fraser released his lips again, Ray pressed his forehead against Fraser’s.
“I can assure you that no one was in any way wishing us ill. The general opinion seems to fluctuate between surprise and the relief of finally getting confirmed what they had thought all along.” Fraser blushed slightly when he came to the last part.
Ray’s eyes widened almost comically.
“What you’re basically saying is that they thought we were bent the whole time?”
“I’m going to die.” Ray muttered mortified.
“You will do no such thing. I assure you it will be fine.”
Ray looked at him with a mixture of exasperation and fondness. “You know… you better fuck me so hard I won’t be able to remember my name—let alone that tomorrow’s Monday.”
Fraser growled and pressed Ray closer. Ray gasped, “Yeah, you have the right idea there.”
Ray killed the engine of the GTO and gripped the steering wheel. He looked at the entrance of the 27th with no small amount of trepidation.
“Think you can get me a visa for Canada before I reach the door?”
Fraser smiled softly.
“I might be able to ensure you one by the time you reach your desk.”
Ray laughed at that. “Okay, so if all goes down the drain we do it like the guys from the movie and go on an Arctic quest, commune with the wolves and the seals for a bit.
“Do you think it would lessen the talk about us if you moved to Canada with me?” Fraser smiled fondly at Ray’s pie-in-the-sky-attitude.
Ray grinned. “No, but I can’t hear it from up North.”
“I assure you if you still want to leave I’ll do my best to provide you with a visa to accompany me.”
Dief woofed from the backseat.
“My apologies, to accompany us—Diefenbaker feels that he is entitled to an opinion since we are now all members of the same pack and you haven’t fought him for dominance yet.”
“You are unhinged.” Ray told both, the smiling Mountie on his passenger seat as well as the panting wolf on the backseat. Ray looked at the police station in front of him and unbuckled his seat belt. “Hell, I must be unhinged.”
Ray shook out his shoulders and slammed the car door. Fraser and Dief got out as well and followed him into the building.
Ray took one last deep breath before he pushed open the door and entered the hustle of the bullpen. He almost held his breath, expecting—maybe people clapping or whistling or something—but nothing out of the ordinary happened.
Johnson passed him in the hall with a short “morning” and Elaine passed them, right before they came into the squad room, and informed them with a compassionate smile that Welsh was still waiting for their report about the Torelly case.
Ray looked at Fraser in disbelief and received an encouraging smile in return.
“I need coffee,” Ray exclaimed before he stalked off to the break room.
He stood there at the counter, staring at the coffee pot as if it might be able to provide the key to all the mysteries of the universe. Francesca came in a second later. She took in Ray’s hunched shoulders and his unmoving form in front of the coffee machine.
“Oh, hey…uh…” Somehow Ray had the feeling that he should apologize to her—which was, of course, ridiculous; Fraser wouldn’t have dated her one way or another.
“You didn’t have a tiff with him, did you?”
“What?” Jeez. “No, nothing like that.”
She nodded. “You know, I’m glad it’s you.”
Ray raised his eyebrows in surprise and Francesca blushed.
“I can’t compete with a man, can I? And that totally explains it—why he never…well, you know.”
Ray didn’t have the heart to tell her that Fraser hadn’t been gay before.
“Uh, yeah…” He hastily filled a cup with coffee. “I need to go, work and stuff,” Ray rambled, already halfway across the room.
Before he could let Fraser know that he had better say he’d been gay all along in case someone asked, the Lieutenant intercepted him.
“Ah, detective. If you could spare me a moment of your time.”
Ray followed Welsh into his office. “Yeah, I know you’re waiting for that report. I’m already on it. I—“
“Take a seat detective.” Welsh dropped heavily into his seat behind his desk.
“I don’t give too much credit to gossip. People want to talk? They can do that in their spare time. “
“It’s just that sometimes it’s better to consider some things you hear, do you know what I mean? Let’s say, for example, purely hypothetical, that two cop partners were also involved with each other on a more personal level… now, we can’t have that. You know that detective.”
Ray’s insides froze to ice.
“But say the two cops in questions aren’t officially partners because one of them isn’t even technically a member of the Chicago PD. Then there’s not much I can do about that— as long as the two of them don’t make it my business.” Welsh thumbed the side of his nose. “Do we understand each other?”
“Yes, yeah, perfectly. I mean, this is purely hypothetical and everything…” Ray trailed off when he saw Welsh’s resigned expression.
“I—uh, I get on that report now.”
“You do that detective.”
Ray closed the door to Welsh’s office and tried to calm his racing heart.
“Is everything alright Ray?” Fraser’s concerned voice pulled him out of his thoughts.
Ray let himself fall into the seat at his desk and looked at Fraser with a slightly dazed look on his face. He leaned closer and whispered, “Except for the fact that you’re a flaming queer and have been all along and the fact that we can stay partners as long as we keep the public displays of affection down to a nonexistent level? Nah, everything’s fine.”
Fraser looked alarmed. “Are you sure you feel alright Ray?”
“Yeah… yeah, I think I’ll survive—which is more than I had hoped for.”
“Really, Ray,” Fraser chided. “You’re really underestimating your colleagues.”
Dewey made kissy-faces at Ray from across the room and Ray rolled his eyes. “That, I am not so sure of Frase.” He stared at the hickey on Fraser’s throat, clearly visible to everyone— and a nice addition to the red of the serge, now that Ray thought about it.
“You alright? Nobody’s giving you a hard time, right?” Ray asked seriously.
Fraser loosened his collar. “Ray I told you that our relationship isn’t exactly news to your colleagues. I’m afraid though that I caused one of the civil aids to walk into a wall when she saw your mark on my throat.” He cleared his throat, uncomfortable, and Ray cackled.
“Great! I could get used to that. But no one’s been saying stuff to you? Because I swear it’s all aboard for fun time if people can’t keep their mouth shut.”
Fraser smiled and shook his head. “No, but I overheard people discussing if your dump of an apartment—their words not mine,” Ray scowled, “is going to be in better shape now that a Mountie is living with you.” Fraser rubbed his eyebrow and looked thoughtful. “It’s not true that notoriously well developed housekeeping skills are a prerequisite to become a Mountie, though I suppose my own standard of cleanliness does indeed surpass your—“
“Would you like to?” Ray interrupted in a tense voice.
“Improve your housekeeping skills?” Fraser asked confused.
“No you freak. Move in with me.”
Fraser looked startled for a second before a real smile broke out on his features, it was lighting up his whole face with its intensity.
“I’d like that very much—“
He was interrupted by Dewey’s loud exclamation of “I told you he knows!” Apparently he had been eaves-dropping the way his upper body was straining in the direction of Ray’s desk, keeping him only barely seated. “They’re moving in together. Don’t tell me Fraser would do that if he weren’t on board with it?” Huey scowled and shoved his partner who toppled out of his seat with a loud crash.
The door to Welsh’s office was flung open and Welsh glowered at them. “Gentlemen, you’re not trying to tell me that you’re all spending your free time here? Good. Then get to work.” The door rattled when Welsh pulled it shut behind him.
On their way out to look into some shady business going down at a warehouse across town they passed Elaine again. “Oh hey, congratulations.”
At Ray’s and Fraser’s blank stare she elaborated. “I heard you’re moving in together. Good luck with this slob, Fraser.” Elaine winked at Ray and Ray muttered something about “gossipmonger” and “none of their business” but both Elaine and Fraser ignored him.
“Thank you kindly Elaine.”
She smiled and they left the station.
“You know Ray we really should talk about your housekeeping skills…”
Ray sighed and got into the car but he couldn’t keep the smile off his face.
A week later, Ray tried to sneak up to the board where all the phone numbers and current addresses of all the detectives hung, in case someone needed to be reached quickly, as unobtrusively as possible.
He looked for himself and Fraser on the list and raised his pen to change Fraser’s number from the consulate to his own phone number when he froze. Someone had already written Ray’s number over the one from the consulate.
Frannie came up next to him, startling him half to death. “Oh yeah, we changed that ages ago. No one ever reached Fraser at the consulate. If anyone wanted to get a hold of him they had to call your cell or your apartment,” she shrugged.
Ray stared at her and went to his desk, shaking his head bemused. When he reached his desk there was a parcel wrapped in bright blue paper positioned directly at the center. He reached out for the small card attached and read: “Congratulations guys, it took you long enough. Consider this a housewarming gift.”
And underneath the note almost all of their colleagues had signed their names.
Ray opened the parcel and found a picture frame with a picture of Fraser and him from the Christmas party a year ago. He had his arm slung across Fraser’s back and was wearing the sacred Stetson on his head, grinning at the camera like a dork, while Fraser smiled good-naturedly at Ray.
“Hello Ray, what do you have there?” Fraser’s calm voice announced Fraser’s arrival and Ray extended his hand, looking more than a little stunned, and handed Fraser the picture.
“Oh. That—that’s very thoughtful.” Fraser said surprised.
“Yeah…” Ray swallowed to dislodge the lump in his throat.
Fraser smiled fondly at Ray. He had always known that gossip was inherently harmless. But he had never, not once in his life, imagined that it could be beneficial.
Later on that day, however, he overheard two rookies in the copy room telling each other the story of how Ray had finally confessed his feelings for Fraser while they were hanging on to the wings of an airplane, right before they had to jump—without a parachute—to save their lives . Fraser shook his head. Apparently, a burning car and a ghost ship weren’t enough.
People should really know when to stop. Surely there had to be a limit to gossip?
Maybe Ray’s idea with that Arctic quest wasn’t such a bad thought after all.