Ray is fucking Fraser. Not for real, unfortunately. In reality Fraser is alone in his cot at the Consulate, and Ray is out with a woman named Caroline, attending a dance club in downtown Chicago. Fraser knows this because all day long Ray has been telling him about it, asking his opinion of potential restaurants and nightclubs and shirt-and-jeans combinations, laughing at his answers and insulting his sense of fashion. Fraser did not take offense--he knows that Ray was just nervous. This is, after all, his first serious date date since his divorce. ("Like, I went on a couple of dates, right after? But those were set-ups, you know. Didn't mean nothing except hey, look at me--I'm out there! I still got it! But this, Fraser...I like this girl. I think I could see us together.")
So Fraser nodded and closed his hand on Ray's shoulder, feeling the movement of muscle and bone beneath the t-shirt and the warm skin. "I'm very happy for you, Ray," he said. And Ray smiled and failed to insult him, blushed and ducked his head.
And so now Fraser is alone in his cot and Ray is fucking him, long slow thrusts with his mouth against Fraser's ear, and it's pathetic and unhealthy, but Fraser is not stopping; he is thrusting into his own slicked fist and muffling his moans with his pillow, he is thinking about Ray's fingers on his hips, digging into the flesh, he is imagining Ray's voice and his breath and the slap of their bodies connecting. Ray would take him carefully, Fraser thinks, but the caution wouldn't last for long. If he groaned, if he pushed back against Ray's cock and clasped hard at his hand, Ray would almost certainly forget himself. Fraser moans again, imagining it; thinks of panting, of trembling, of half-voiced breathless words. God, Frase, I want to...Oh Jesus, I'm gonna...oh... Teeth on that last word, where Fraser's neck meets his shoulder. Ray would want to leave a mark, lots of marks--a dozen small reminders of just where he'd been. He is very possessive, and that's unhealthy too. But oh god, Fraser thinks, as he pushes himself hard against the sheets and his own hand, god, what he wouldn't give to be the object of that interest.
The next day, everything is the same as it always is. Fraser works at the Consulate until three o'clock, then finds his way to the station. Ray is at his desk, feet propped amidst a towering pile of overdue reports and sandwich wrappers, phone receiver cradled between his shoulder and his ear. He lifts his eyebrows when he sees Fraser, does his minimalist, backward nod. Fraser nods back and takes the chair next to Ray's desk. Taps his knuckles against the toe of Ray's nearest boot.
Ray rolls his eyes, but he takes his feet off the desk and puts them on the floor, sits a little straighter in his chair. He's still listening to whomever it is on the telephone; he lifts his eyes to Fraser's, holds up a single finger: one minute. Fraser nods and sits back in the chair, Stetson on his knees. He keeps his eyes on Ray's face, watches as Ray's gaze goes distant and inward again, his attention moving back to the phone conversation. Watches as Ray nods agreement with the caller, remembers he can't be seen, says "yeah, yeah," in a quiet encouraging tone. Ray's eyes are very blue today. He is wearing a sweatshirt and his holster. He smells like dryer sheets and the soap he uses, like coffee and hot-dog relish and a sweet undertone of candy. Fraser feels his fingers clench too hard around the brim of his hat. He lifts his own gaze to the window. Sunny today, but still cool. He thinks of the way the ground felt under his boots as he crossed the park on his way here. Tries to calculate how many inches of thawed earth cover the remaining winter frost.
"How was your evening?" he asks later, when not asking has become unbearable.
"What? Oh. Yeah." Ray pushes a hand through his hair, shrugs, shuffles his feet. "It was good, fun. Weird. I don't know." He lifts his eyes to meet Fraser's again, smiles a little, wry and heartbreaking. "Dancing was fun, but I suck at making small talk. I don't think she's gonna call me."
That night, Ray pushes Fraser onto his back and lies down between his thighs, covering Fraser's naked body with his own. Fraser imagines the slick heat between them, Ray's mouth on his, the weight and wet and the thrust of Ray's tongue. He imagines movement, Ray's lips and his own, Ray's fingers on his face and in his hair, Ray's hips rocking slowly. He imagines the smooth rolling of flexed muscle beneath his palms. Ray's skin would be soft, Fraser thinks, panting blindly in the dark. He would put his mouth here, and here. He would say Fraser's name with a hitch in the first syllable, like his voice was breaking, like Fraser could do that to him, could do that, could break him.
In the mirror that morning, Fraser's face is too pale. His eyes are ringed with shadows, as though punched; his mouth looks hard and bitter. "Enough of this," he murmurs. "Enough."
The Consular morning drags by as it always does. Fraser files and photocopies, staples and memos and faxes and sits. He feels ill. He can't think. The slide of paper against paper grates like nails on a chalkboard. His fingers will not stop feeling Ray's skin.
At noon, he dismisses himself. The Inspector has gone to Ottawa for a conference so there is no one more senior to petition for permission. But he thinks that granting himself a half day's leave is not remiss under the circumstances. If he has to sit at that desk for one moment longer, there is a very real possibility that he will light himself on fire.
Turnbull is more than happy to forgo the rest of his own day off to fill in. "I'd be delighted, sir," he says. Fraser doesn't even have to wait for him to make his way to the Consulate; it seems Turnbull was spending his leave in Conference Room B, weeping over taped re-runs of The Beachcombers.
Fraser leaves him mopping at his eyes behind the front desk. He makes his way to his office and closes the door, stands for a long time looking at his cot. Then he unbuttons his tunic and pulls it off, hanging it up with the others. Suspenders, trousers, Henley, boots--everything in its place. Nothing but his boxers now, between the air and his skin, and it would be so easy to lie down beneath his blankets, to close his eyes and let the images waiting behind his lids move in and pull him under.
Instead, he finds a pair of sweats and pulls them on. Adds a t-shirt and running shoes to the ensemble. "Dief," he says, as he pulls open the door. "Come on. Let's go for a run."
The air outside is fresh and cool, but Fraser's skin is soon flushed with warmth. He runs at an imprudent speed at first, letting his legs stretch and flex, loping up Washington street to the park. Wet beneath his sneakers. Breath loud in his ears. His muscles burn and his knees ache. Dief runs easy beside him, tongue lolling, all lupine approval. It's been too long since they did this--since November. Since the fall. Fraser thinks he can feel a winter's worth of frustrated longing come sweating out his pores.
He slows his pace after a while and they turn down toward Dover street. It's quiet, the lull of midafternoon: too early for traffic, for kids to be let out of school. Fraser lets his mind go blank, lets his body move without direction. When he finds himself slowing to a halt on the sidewalk in front of the Two-Seventh, he is surprised, and then not at all surprised, and he knows precisely what it is he means to do here.
He wipes his face against his shoulder; his whole body is covered with a fine sheen of sweat and a prickling flush. His hair is damp and disordered. His muscles are trembling with unaccustomed exhaustion and his lungs feel raw and sore. "Wait here?" he says to Diefenbaker, who whuffles a bemused agreement. Fraser nods his thanks and starts slowly up the stairs.
Ray is there. Fraser didn't even think that Ray might not be there until he steps into the bullpen and sees him. He's behind his desk, but standing up. The phone is cradled between his shoulder and his ear again, spiraled cord pulled taut. He seems to be trying to reach something at the top of the filing cabinets behind his desk without interrupting his conversation. When he sees Fraser, he looks relieved and waves him over, pointing frantically in the direction he was reaching.
Fraser crosses the bullpen on legs that feel like rubber. The thing Ray couldn't reach is a pen. Fraser hands it to him and Ray makes a grimace that means thanks and then another one that means hang on a second and then another one whose meaning Fraser doesn't catch.
He lifts his eyebrows. Ray frowns, mimes writing on something with the pen. Fraser hands him a piece of paper. Watches that too-familiar hand as it leaves a trail of ink on the page, Ray's strange, half-cursive scrawl. Tong. Watts. Freddy Everett. Greggs. A pause, and then a new line: 414 Redding. 8 pm tomorrow. Fraser glances up at Ray's face, presses his lips together in acknowledgement of Ray's triumphant grin.
"Yeah," Ray says, into the phone. "No, yeah, that's real helpful. Okay then. Okay. Goodbye."
The phone jangles a little when Ray puts the receiver in its cradle, and that pen ends up all the way on the other side of the room. "I am a god," Ray says. "I tell you, my friend. You are looking at the freakin' god of crime-fighting, right here."
"Ray," Fraser says.
"All we have to do is show up. That's it. It'll be like...like Christmas or something."
"Ray." Ray's upper arms are warm and tense in Fraser's hands. Ray looks startled, and then puzzled, and then concerned.
"What's going on?" he says, suddenly low-voiced and serious. "Are you okay?"
Fraser swallows hard. There is something cold and hard welling up inside his chest; terror, probably, or a strange, anticipatory grief. "I need to talk to you. Right now. In private."
Ray takes a quick breath. He looks pale but he doesn't pause; just does a quick look around the bullpen and shakes his head. "Fuck. Okay, not here. Come on." He pulls himself gently out of Fraser's grasp, puts his own hand on Fraser's shoulder and propels him forward, toward the hall.
They go all the way to the end of the corridor and then down the stairs, past the rarely-used rear exit to the basement. There's a space there, beneath the staircase. Ray pushes Fraser into it. "We should be okay here--nobody ever..." He breaks off, closes his eyes for a second. "Jesus Christ, Fraser, what the hell is wrong?"
He's standing so close. Fraser can't breathe, can't open his eyes without drowning. "Nothing," he says. "I just. I have to tell you something." That cold hard thing is falling away and Fraser's stomach is going with it. He swallows again, licks his lips. Forces himself to open his eyes. "I think about you," he means to say. But the words won't happen when he opens his mouth, and Ray's face is so close that Fraser could count each eyelash, if he wanted to; he could number them one by one. So instead of saying anything, he fists his hands in the front of Ray's t-shirt and pulls him close, and he covers Ray's mouth with his own.
Ray hangs in Fraser's grasp for a moment, his body slack with shock. But then Fraser feels his hands come up and close around Fraser's elbows, and he waits for Ray to shove him away, to stumble back and wipe his mouth with his hand. He braces himself for it, draws his own mouth away a little.
"Oh," Ray says, instead. And then those lips are on Fraser's again, moving and warm, and Ray's tongue is, god, is licking its way into Fraser's mouth, and Ray's hands are moving too, sliding up Fraser's arms and around to pull him close, and so Fraser finally lets go his death grip on Ray's t-shirt, wraps his arms around Ray instead. Ray moans and pushes even closer, and Fraser's knees wobble dangerously so he backs them up, moves them both until Ray is pressed against the wall and he is pressed against Ray, and they are still kissing all this time, wide, open-mouthed kisses in the dark echoing space beneath the stairwell.
Finally Fraser has to breathe or die, so he turns his head away, lets his mouth wander down Ray's chin to the stubbled skin of his neck, and Ray moans and lets his head fall back against the wall, slides one hand up Fraser's side to cover the hot nape of Fraser's neck. "Why didn't you just say something?" he says.
Fraser pauses, his lips still pressed against Ray's skin. He tries to think of a plausible response and can't. "I don't know," he admits finally.
Ray laughs, softly. His hand moves on the back of Fraser's neck, stroking him, fingers pushing into his damp hair. "That's d-u-m dumb, Frase," he says. He kisses Fraser's temple, licks his ear.
Fraser lifts his face from Ray's neck and draws a breath, kisses Ray again, pushes his hands down Ray's body to grasp his hips. Ray moans into Fraser's mouth and thrusts against him, and Fraser tightens his hands. "Mmm," he says, and kisses Ray again. "Yes. It was."