Ray knew Fraser sealed his fate the moment Fraser said that he was looking for his own place. Ray also knew that he didn’t have it in him to save Fraser.
Instead, Ray heard himself offering – as if from very far away – that they could be roommates, it’d be great. And the fierceness with which Ray’s greed chanted ‘yes, yes, yes’ when Fraser agreed drowned out all common sense.
Things were fine. For a while at least. Ray exercised what little control over his impulses he had and Fraser was trying not to step on anyone’s toes, being new to living with someone else. But over time, Fraser relaxed. He let his guard down around Ray.
Suddenly, Ray could watch Fraser leave the bathroom clad in nothing but a towel. Sometimes, Fraser forgot to pull the door to his room shut before he changed into his long johns for the night. Ray was always there, watching, waiting.
It was too late to stop now. Ray was watching all the time, had catalogued every look, every smile, every gesture that Fraser made. He knew them all by heart. But there were others, intimate, personal, hidden ones that Ray craved.
He dreamt about them, fantasized about watching Fraser flush and moan. About hearing him gasp and beg. About feeling him tense and shatter. Always Ray’s fingers, always the ones to make Fraser lose control, to show total abandon there in the darkness of Ray’s dreams. A whole kingdom filled with dreams.
One night, Ray passed Fraser’s room only to realize that the door to Fraser’s room was left ajar. Temptation sank her claws into Ray’s insides and didn’t surrender her hold. Ray’s feet were shaking with the effort to just take one more step, one more step to pass Fraser’s door and turn his back.
Ray had never been good at impulse control. He almost wished that Diefenbaker would keep him from entering, but the wolf was nowhere to be seen. It didn’t take more than a little touch for the door to open wide.
Fraser’s sleep was calm, undisturbed. The keg of light on the door didn’t even reach the bed. Ray’s feet moved forward of their own accord. He stopped a foot away from Fraser’s sleeping form. When Ray finally left the room again, dawn wasn’t far off.
Things spiraled out of control faster than Ray could put up his defenses. A night later the door was again open an inch, one inch too much for Ray’s self-control. A day later Fraser told him that it was easier for a good night’s sleep if he left the door open for Diefenbaker to come and go at will.
As could Ray. But Fraser didn’t know that. Ray tried to be good, tried to bring Fraser to save himself, telling him that it was stupid to do the wolf’s bidding. But Fraser just smiled and said it didn’t bother him.
Some nights, Ray’s heart beat so loud that Ray was sure Fraser would wake up any minute. But he never did.
In the shadows, Ray kept on watching Fraser night after night. There were no restraints to keep him away from Fraser, nothing to keep him from taking with his eyes what his body wanted. Ray knew he was dangerous, had known it long before he had followed Stella on her dates. Fraser just hadn’t believed it when Ray had tried to tell him.
Spring turned to summer and Fraser forwent long underwear. The white skin of Fraser’s chest too inviting for Ray not to touch, the elastic of the boxer shorts not a border but a tease. Ray’s hand reached out to touch what it had touched every night for the better part of three months in Ray’s dreams.
Ray’s soundless gasp was the only proof that this wasn’t a dream. The fingers skimmed slowly over the satiny skin, careful not to wake the peaceful sleeper. All bets were off.
Some nights, the urge made Ray daring. The little whisper inside of him made him bold, telling him ‘touch his lips, find out what they feel like’ and Ray’s fingers would follow the command, helplessly, willingly, tracing the soft scarlet of Fraser’s full lips.
At some point touch wasn’t enough anymore. Just like seeing hadn’t been enough after a while. Ray wanted to hear him, too. ‘Make him gasp, make his lips part, I want it, I need it, make him’ and with trembling fingers Ray would encircle Fraser’s nipple, hardening the touch until a scrape of nail caught the sensitive skin and— Fraser arched, ever so slightly, a quiet puff of air leaving his lips and Ray was mesmerized.
But in Ray’s kingdom of dreams there was never the fear that his victim might wake up, no nervousness that he might be caught.
Shaking, Ray sank to his knees next to Fraser’s bed. Silently weeping and wishing it didn’t have to be this way, wishing he had it in him to stop.
But at least he tried. Asking Fraser if he didn’t want to meet people, go out, stay up late, but Fraser, not knowing how to save himself, had just smiled and said ‘that’s just silly, Ray. Why would I want to do that?’ and Ray had tried to be mean, suggesting Fraser should get laid but the moment his words had left his lips he took them back, begging Fraser to ignore what he had just said, that he hadn’t meant it at all.
Ray didn’t know what would happen if Fraser brought a woman home, or didn’t come home at all. But the shadows in Ray’s soul were almost pulsating in angry waves; dark as raven feathers and Ray feared what might become of him should Fraser take him up on the idea.
Thankfully, Fraser let it go. Disappointed in Ray but not about to go out and fuck some stranger.
The next night Ray’s fingers almost crossed the last line, playing along the elastic of Fraser’s boxer shorts. Hating them and breathing a sigh of relief at the sight of them at the same time and still Ray’s fingers were dancing along the soft skin there, dipping under the elastic but never far enough to get inside of them.
When dawn came up, Ray drew his hand back with a startled gasp. What had he— how could he— no, the question that was left was only this: when will he cross the line.
Ray staged a fight, shouting the roof down and hoping that it would get Fraser to pack his bags. But Fraser was never one to be easily derailed. Fraser wasn’t the guy to slam doors and vanish for a few days.
Ray tried insinuating that they were too old to be living together as roommates, but Fraser didn’t understand that either.
And Ray was close to tears because he knew one thing; he wouldn’t be able to leave. Not now, not ever. And one day he wouldn’t have the strength to stop either.
Fraser stormed into the bathroom, careful to close the door just about hard enough that it wouldn’t catch in the lock but pop open again instead. It was good for Ray’s career that he had never wanted to become a thief. Stealth wasn’t Ray’s forte. Too eager, too hasty. Ray wasn’t a very good predator.
Didn’t he know that the predator never came to its victims? The predator always waited in the shadows, the prey would come to him. Finding out that Ray wanted him, wanted him with frightening intensity and without rhyme or reason had been a surprising revelation.
Fraser had thought he might have said ‘yes’ to Ray’s living arrangement for not altogether unselfish reasons. After two weeks of living with Ray he had found out that Ray might have had ulterior motives for offering. Fraser considered them even; they were one and the same.
Fraser had been astounded to see the game Ray was willing to play in order to fulfill his want. That his door had been ajar had been simple carelessness on Fraser’s part, not meant as an invitation. Not meant as a tease.
Realizing that someone was standing next to his bed had come as a shock – one that lasted all of one second, for who could possibly be standing in his room, too afraid to breath.
He had smelled Ray, had smelled his excitement and his fear. It had stirred something in Fraser, something he had believed long dead. He would play Ray’s game. It wasn’t a fair game because Ray didn’t know that Fraser had a natural advantage.
Fraser knew about the darkness inside himself, knew about the danger inherent. The shadows in his soul didn’t frighten him anymore. Funny, what a bullet could solve for you. He had accepted this part of him.
Of course, he hadn’t thought he would ever allow it to resurface. But then again, he hadn’t thought that Ray was willing to face his own darkness.
The game progressed and Fraser could smell the sweetness of Ray’s reluctance melting. A rush like a wildfire chased through him the moment he realized that Ray was willing to go much further into the shadows than simple staring. Oh, Ray, you were really prepared to face your own purgatory.
Fraser could taste the hunger and Ray’s despair only sweetened the taste. It was too easy to get more.
That night, Ray’s fingers danced their usual way over Fraser’s skin. Gathering courage to get bolder, to touch the places Fraser knew Ray was getting turned on about by having to wait for them, making sure Fraser was really asleep, that he wouldn’t wake from a simple brush along his ribcage. So that Ray’s nimble fingers could pinch his nipple, dip between his lips, draw lines over the inside of his thigh.
But this time Ray hadn’t added up all the numbers. He had listened to Fraser complain about sleeping badly, he had even handed Fraser a damn sleeping pill to make it all better. Yet, Ray hadn’t realized at that time what kind of opportunities this afforded Fraser – and how much more self-control Ray would have to exert this night.
The moment Ray’s fingers fluttered over Fraser’s nipple, Fraser gasped. Low, warm, almost a moan but not quite. Fraser heard Ray’s breathing stutter, knowing that he usually didn’t appear as responsive. Ray hesitated and Fraser did his utmost to continue feigning sleep.
Carefully, Ray’s fingers returned, lightly pinching his nipple and this time Fraser moaned into the touch, spreading his lips slightly. Again Ray’s hand withdrew as if burned but the next time his fingers settled onto Fraser’s skin, Fraser knew that Ray had finally done the math.
His breathing shaky with suppressed desire and the touch defter than ever before, Ray’s fingers danced downward to the bulge in Fraser’s boxer shorts.
Never going inside, but skirting around it and Fraser moved his hips, gently, a sleepy moan leaving his lips and he felt Ray’s hand stutter in mid-movement. He knew that Ray must be able to see the wet stain spreading where his cock was rubbing against the soft fabric. Ray’s arousal a heady smell that filled the whole room.
Suddenly Ray dropped to his knees, not very quiet at all. His labored breathing harsh in the silence of the room and Fraser heard movement, felt Ray’s hand grip the mattress next to Fraser’s body and heard teeth gnashing. Carefully, Fraser looked beneath his lashes.
Ray wasn’t even properly jerking off – he didn’t need to. He pressed his hand almost painfully against the bulge in his jeans, again, and again, and Fraser heard the swallowed whimper as Ray’s body went lax.
Fraser closed his eyes properly again and heard Ray standing up. He rubbed a hand over his nose and produced a sound like a sob before he fled the room. Ray had never left before dawn had chased him away before.
Fraser wasn’t concerned. Ray would be back tomorrow night. But one thing he realized over the course of the next few nights, Ray wasn’t as far gone as he had thought him to be.
The disappointment, the feeling that his release had just been snatched away right from underneath his teeth, at realizing that Ray’s darkness wasn’t as big as the light inside of him, was almost shattering. Ray couldn’t do it.
Fraser wasn’t sure if he had ever expected Ray to go even this far. He hadn’t thought about where the limit was, and he didn’t think Ray knew either. How far did he want Ray to take this?
He could break Ray; make him lose the last glimmer of light to the dark shadows inside of him. Ray was already breaking. Fraser knew why; Ray had finally realized that darkness was bottomless whereas light
couldn’t penetrate everything.
He appeared ready to take this thing to the end, given enough time perhaps. If he were a better man Fraser would feel bad about leading Ray all this way in the full knowledge that this was a dead end. Ray wouldn’t be able to go back once he reached it.
But Fraser wasn’t a better man; he had been willing to risk everything, his companion, the integrity of his friend, his own fucking life to reach for darkness with both hands.
But… darkness couldn’t exist without light. You needed a point of light or there wouldn’t be any shadows. Fraser knew that this was the reason he was so drawn to Ray. He knew it was the reason Ray was hurting so bad now.
Maybe it wasn’t him leading Ray all the way into the darkness to suck the last bit of light out of him, to rob him of the very thing that made him Ray, at all. Maybe it was Ray, bravely stumbling through the darkness to find Fraser there, a single point of light connected to his little finger to bring them both back. Maybe Ray was willing to go far enough for Fraser. Maybe the only question was if Fraser was willing to go back with Ray.
Maybe it was time to step out of the shadows.