by Kalena and Purna
"That's one dark story."
"Yes, it is." Fraser waves a pile of noodles on a stick at him. "The spaghetti's ready."
"You know, I could really like a story that's a little lighter."
He's been listening to Fraser talk about Louuuuuu Skagnetti and belling hearts and beautiful princesses for a week. It's the freakin' story that never ends. Not like it's news to him, for christ's sake. Somebody's been ringing his chimes for a long time now, and it ain't Luanne Russell.
Why couldn't he trust her? That's a no-brainer. She's a con artist; he's a cop. He isn't a stupid cop. He's only stupid about bells and the people who ring them. Two, she's not Fraser, and that really is the bottom line, isn't it? She's a convenient princess. Or she was, for a while.
The funny thing about it all is . . . Fraser. No more Mr. Nice Guy. Man, he can really be -- there isn't any other word for it -- a bitch. Ray smiles behind his hand. He'd have sworn on The Uniform that Fraser doesn't even like the attention he gets. Look what happens when he doesn't get it, though. That red suit covers up some serious green.
Not that Ray minds. It's real. Ray's used to tucking those little things away and keeping them.
"What constitutes 'light' ?"
"Don't you know any that start out, 'A guy walks into a bar . . . ' ?"
"Ah. I'm afraid not." Now that his hands aren't full, Fraser seems to be fidgeting. That's so weird it takes Ray a minute to notice that he's not eating, either. Wasn't he hungry when he made that crap? Fraser's undone the string around his neck and he's playing with it, pulling and twisting. It's not like Ray expects Fraser to sleep in the red jacket, but somehow, the lanyard is such a part of the uniform that it's like Fraser's . . . undressing.
Ray's never touched the sacred lanyard, but it must be made of nylon. It looks silky, even slippery, the way it moves between the pads of Fraser's fingers. His eyes follow the fingers and their prize. Fraser's movements are slow and hypnotic. He has to shake his head a little to break away.
"Then I'll have to tell you a story." Ray shifts a little closer to the fire, soaking up the heat. He's not used to sitting on his ass in the wilderness. He pokes at the fire with a stick.
The darkness around them is thick and heavy. Weirdly, for downtown Chicago, it's quiet, just like they really are alone in the wilderness. It makes him feel strangely comfortable, sitting here in the dark with his best friend after a tough day. It's almost the same feeling as when two guys walk into a bar and they order up a couple brewskis. It makes him want to talk, the same way the mist of wood smoke hanging in the air seems to make Fraser want to talk.
Of course, everything known to man makes Fraser want to talk.
"How 'bout this one? Stop me if you've heard it already." Sneaking a look with his head still bowed, he can see the yellow light move over Fraser's face like it's touching him. Jesus. Ray throws the stick into the fire and watches it catch. Fraser's not looking at him, totally involved in the string. He's tying strange knots in it that Ray doesn't want to ask about. They probably have something to do with ancient Egypt.
"A guy walks into a police station." The fire is making dots across his vision. "He says, 'Ray?' And, lo and behold, Ray is there." His hands are dirty from messing with the wood and the fire. He pokes at a hangnail. He should cut his fingernails one of these days.
"It ain't the Ray he was looking for, but it's the Ray he finds. And he thinks, y'know, this Ray isn't so bad. So he comes into this police station, rides in a burning car, hauls his keister out of that lake, and thinks, I could hang out with this guy." It's really dark outside the circle of the fire, and Ray's glad about that. He leans back so he's in the shadows. Fraser's quiet. The guy can be a good listener, if he wants.
"But, see, this guy is kind of a fuckup. He's so lost in the past that he hangs out in cemeteries, stalks his ex-wife." There, right there, another convenient princess. Somebody to moon after so he isn't really alone. The woods are full of 'em. There's one right next to him. Practically perfect, shiny clean in his full dress reds, Fraser wears his Stetson like a crown. He looks like he's untouched by human hands.
Ray almost giggles over at Princess Fraser. Hell, the guy sure acts like one lately.
And what was that thing with going through Ray's in-box at work, anyway? Stella would never, and they'd been married, except only that one time when she thought Ray was screwing --
"Not a fuckup."
The low, fierce words snap Ray's head up before he realizes what Fraser just said. He blinks at his friend, trying to figure the odds against Fraser using the word 'fuck.'
Fraser himself doesn't even seem to notice what he said, he's so focused on Ray. The lanyard is wrapped tight in both fists. Fraser's eyes burn like the coals in the fire. Ray looks away. It makes him squirm to realize that Fraser can see everything in his face, shadows or no.
"You're a good man, Ray, and a fine officer. I could only wish . . . "
He doesn't expect an answer, but he asks anyway. "Wish what?"
Fraser's looking off into the distance now. Probably he can see what's out there in the dark, too. "Sometimes I wish that someone would watch out for me . . . " his voice drops to almost nothing, " . . . that way. The way you did for Stella."
He turns away, but Ray doesn't give a shit if Fraser is embarrassed. "Jesus, am I invisible? Am I nobody?" He reaches around and waves a hand in front of Fraser's eyes. "What the hell are you talkin' about?" He's so pissed he wants to get up and shake the guy. "You think I don't watch out for you? How far is your head up your ass on an everyday basis?"
Ray gets his knees underneath him as fast as he can, given that he can hear them creaking. It's not that cold out, but he's been sitting on the ground a while. "Screw that, Fraser, and screw you!"
"Ray." Fraser sounds almost angry. Ray's never heard him be angry. It's a sweet sound. He's so fucking glad to make Fraser mad. Ray's not the only pissed-off attendee at this party, because he got his point across for a change. Fraser's been in America long enough to understand 'screw you.'
"Ray, it's not the same. You -- you and Stella . . . "
That's not anger -- it's defeat, now. How'd he win when he wsn't even looking? Ray folds back down, confused. He has no goddamn idea where he lost the thread. He feels bad, now, doesn't even know why, and it pisses him off even more.
"What?" he demands. "What do you want now, now I know you think I don't give a shit? Like I never did nothing for you!"
All of a sudden Fraser's almost on top of him, looking a little . . . crazy, the same way Ray feels sometimes. Like now. Fraser's got a death grip on his arm. He says quietly, "It's what I want to do for you that's the problem."
That sets Ray back a few.
No problemo, he'd be perfectly happy to let Fraser do anything he wants. Did he or did he not let Fraser drive his car? He wonders if Fraser is talking to thin air again. "Cook me more gross spaghetti?"
Fraser carefully lets go, almost finger by finger. "No, Ray." He shrivels back, like the air got let out of him. He's mumbling at the fire when he says, "I apologize for being so abrupt."
Now there really is some weird shit going down. "What was all that about, then?"
"Nothing." Fraser's so expressionless now, he looks like a window dummy. "Just a bit of indigestion."
"You didn't eat anything."
"I'm sure it had everything to do with the chili at Brendel's this afternoon."
"That was yesterday, Fraser, and I'm just as sure that it didn't have a damned thing to do with chili."
"I really don't care to talk about it."
All of a sudden Ray is tired, just really tired. "Now, that harshed my buzz." He starts ticking off the night on his fingers. "First, we're having a nice friendly evening in the wilderness around the fire, then you tell me you think I don't watch your back, and then you don't want to talk about it."
First wonderful, then bitchy, then not talking. Same as before the boat. Fraser is getting more like Stella every day. Oh, lord, is that why he keeps thinking about Fraser in the shower? Those two people are not interchangeable, even though his fantasy life seems to think so, but now it looks like they really are turning into the same person.
He isn't just tired, no; there's more. He feels like that guy who has to keep climbing up the mountain pushing the rock, the one that'll roll right over him if he doesn't keep pushing, pushing, pushing.
The same damn thing keeps happening to him, over and over again. He scrubs a hand through his hair. Why not let it roll?
"Fraser, my friend, I thought we fixed this shit already. I can't, I can't do this any more. We might as well just cut to the chase and get a divorce right now."
He glances up, startled. Fraser's white around the lips. He looks like he's going to puke. What the shit is that? This is not Ray's argument. It's Fraser's. "Well, why not?" He wants to spit on the ground, but he doesn't. "It's downhill all the way, from here. We're moving out. The U-Haul's packed. Trust me on this. I know."
"Wait. I can explain."
He waits glumly to hear the Frasered-up version of what's going on. It might be a long night. Without thinking about it, he leans over and grabs the the lanyard that's dangling limply from Fraser's fingers. Why shouldn't he get the worry string for a while? He sure as hell needs it.
It's a great thing, smooth and silky like he thought. Fraser's got the ends tied together, and it's perfect for those really elaborate cat's cradles he didn't know were like riding a bicycle. He doesn't look up, but he can feel Fraser's eyes following his every move. It's good for something to do while he's waiting.
Finally, the guy talks. What he says leaves Ray speechless, too.
"I didn't know, truly, until I saw you with someone you cared for, someone who returned your feelings, how much I wanted that." His mouth moves, but nothing comes out for a second. When Ray peers closer, Fraser's eyes are shuttered and cold, like somebody extinguished the fire.
Okay, fine. So Fraser wants love. Big surprise there. And he's the one guy who's bound to fall for the one woman who likes Ray. Figures. Ninety-nine percent of all women want him, but he only wants the one who doesn't.
Fraser's going on about something, about how well they work together, what partnership means, like Ray doesn't already know -- Ray fucking invented duets. All of it's real nice and thanks for the warm fuzzies, but . . .
" . . . the normal stresses of police work, combined with the unusual hours and the scarce free time to socialize, it's only natural -- although I must admit that I think the poor nutrition caused by meals at odd hours has affected my metabolism --"
Affected his metabolism? Jeez, the guy is starting to sound like stapling and filing is affecting his brain. "Fork it over, Fraser. What's the real problem here?"
"I . . . I fear I have formed an . . ." -- the words sound like they're torn out of his throat by wild dogs -- "an . . . a . . . fixation."
He has this bizarre vision of duct tape or superglue, and what could happen if Fraser accidentally got ahold of either one of them.
For a long time Fraser is quiet. Ray makes cat's cradles. His mind is blank.
When he talks, Fraser's voice is hardly louder than the crackle of burning wood. He's miles down the line on some train Ray never even saw coming. "My one experience in a straightjacket was not, I admit, enjoyable. However, I have had certain thoughts about . . . involving . . . " He stares at Ray's hands.
His hands? The lanyard? Okay, that makes some twisted sense. He always knew there was something between Fraser and The Uniform. He just didn't know it was a romantic relationship. Still, he's not sure he wants a description of what happens with it. Or . . . maybe he does.
Fraser continues on, so quiet that Ray has to lean in to hear. "When a suspect has been subdued, there's less chance of the arresting officer getting hurt."
"When you say -- " Subdued. With a string. Tied up. He gapes across the fire at squeaky clean Princess Fraser, who's still someplace else. Then Fraser looks up, tension radiating like heat, and he knows.
So much for Fraser wanting Luanne's attention. Guess his work mailbasket isn't the only in-box Fraser wants to investigate.
Fraser snaps back from wherever he's been, his skin gone Wonder Bread white. "Ray, no, Ray, I didn't mean -- I don't! I would never -- " He's trying to dig his way out, but even Fraser can't cover his ass on that one. Ray has to give him points for trying. He can see the lines of Fraser's body change, shift from fight to flight. In the need for speed, he's stuttering. "I . . . I have to go, it's late -- "
"You're staying right here, and so am I." He narrows his eyes and fixes his quarry in place with a look. This is a man with a problem. This is a man who thinks that a piece of string can keep away the psoriasis of heartbreak. Ray knows better; if a wedding band didn't work, then a lanyard won't either. On the other hand, it could be . . . fun. An epic tale of discovery. Science in action. He ponders that experiment, as a slow grin curves his bottom lip.
"What if I said I'd let you do anything you wanted?"
Slowly, Fraser goes back to fleshtone, wide eyed, like Ray's handing him two tickets to the Yukon. He licks his lips slowly, carefully, waiting for the punch line. "I'd hesitate to believe you."
"I don't really mean it, I just say that shit to anybody!" They took a long time to get here; it's been a tough night after a worse day. Ray's got new hope for it getting a lot better, but he's running out of patience.
"You're . . . you think you're serious."
Wary much? He can almost see the arch and hiss. Scarred-up old alley cats have nothing on Fraser. "Arrest me and find out." The guy's got a wicked right cross, but hurt him? Nah. "I told you before, I'll try anything."
Retreat's blowing as Fraser says stiffly, "You were making a humorous exaggeration at the time. This is not a laughing matter."
That's not what Ray wants to blow. He actually looks around. Thank God there's nobody there. "I don't see you or me laughing, Fraser."
It's so dark around their little scrap of fire that they could be in a vast wilderness. The darkness is pressing closer; it's like he can feel it. "Do it. Do me right here. Any way you want to." Slapping down the challenge leaves him light-headed. The wild dark is seeping into him, coming in from outside. "Now or never. We'll make it now or never. Do it or don't do it." He'd seen that look, the one that said Fraser's already been waiting as long as Ray. "Whaddya say, buddy?"
He doesn't wait for an answer. He's too goddamned tired of waiting. He reaches over and fills his hands with tunic, cat's cradle and all, pulling Fraser over on top of him. The ground's cold and damp, but Fraser is heavy and hot; there's moist breath against his cheek and a rough whisper at his ear. "Oh, God. Oh, God, Ray."
Strong hands are at his wrists then, pinning them above his head. Ray laughs, but it catches in his throat. It makes his voice come out funny. "Oh, yeah, big tough Mountie." Smart man; takes the trick right off, too, grinding his crotch into Ray's and using all his weight to hold him down.
"Not tough, just . . . hard." Fraser's voice is low and thick.
Ray can already feel his birthday present, even through all the clothes. Not every good thing comes in a small package.
"Ray." Fraser mumbles as he bites at Ray's neck. "Ray, Ray."
"Oh, fuck." Fraser's teeth are doing amazing things to his earlobe.
The cat's cradle slid off his hands around the time Fraser's tongue introduced itself to his ear. His fingers are in coarse, heavy hair. It wants to wave around his knuckles, hold them in place. He's not against that. It's a good excuse to dive into that mouth again and again.
"Get naked." Ray's holding on way too tight for that to be possible, but it's what he wants, so he says it anyway. He wants Fraser to magically disappear his clothes while Ray's still attached. He doesn't want to ever let go.
"We're -- " Fraser's panting, " -- we're in public."
Fraser's leg between Ray's thighs erases any worry he ever had about that. "I don't fucking care. Nobody's around. It's dark outside!" It's getting darker and hotter and sweeter on the inside, too.
"Ray, oh, God." Pulling too easily out of Ray's grasp, he leans back up onto his knees. He looks kind of wobbly, but Ray's not about to let him get away. Ray reaches up under that jacket before Fraser can do anything crazy, like . . . leave him there, alone on the ground. He wants to take off Fraser's uniform -- make him as naked as Ray feels. He just offered to be trussed up like a turkey, and he's going to make sure Fraser's in this with him. No takebacks.
He can't get into the pants, but he gets a mighty nice handful of hard, hot dick. He strokes a few times until Fraser lets out a shallow cry and pushes reflexively against his palm. Yeah, he's caught now. Time to reel him in.
"Come here." Ray holds up his arms and Fraser drops back into them like he was just waiting for an invitation. He kisses Ray's mouth open all the way, and the wet noises turn Ray on almost more than the feel of Fraser's body rocking on top of him. They sound like sex.
The kiss is so deep he thinks Fraser is looking for something, and it doesn't have anything to do with his mouth or Fraser's. Ray knows it's there; he just hopes Fraser gets it. Wants it.
"I want . . . I want to . . . "
Fraser can't say it. No surprise there. He's almost shooting off sparks, he wants it so bad, and he can't say it. Holy shit, this is really tough for him.
Ray jerks and almost whines when Fraser moves up and off, but it's only long enough to strip off the peacoat and stick it under Ray's head. Long enough to grab the white cord off the ground. Long enough to lean in and grasp Ray's hands between his own. He pulls Ray up to sitting and stares at him, searching for an okay. Ray feels something roll over in his chest, in a scary but good way, and he nods.
Fraser kneels above Ray's thighs and leans in. To Ray's surprise, he nudges four curled fingers away and presses a gentle kiss on the palm. Ray feels that kiss everywhere. His breath catches and he's hard; that's all it takes. Ray shivers when Fraser does the same thing to his other palm, then puts Ray's hands together like praying. Fraser looks like he's praying, too. Fraser can probably feel his erection -- now that he's sitting mostly in Ray's lap, his ass is snug against it.
The cord looks so delicate and thin twined in the strong fingers as Fraser carefully winds it around Ray's bony wrists, tying some kind of knot Ray's never seen. The way they're tied, his hands are close together, but there's enough room to move them a couple inches apart. It's like string handcuffs. He tests the nylon under Fraser's arc-welder gaze. Looks are deceiving. He couldn't break the cord if he tried.
The goosebumps up his back aren't from the cold. He's still wearing the camel-hair coat, the last piece of decent clothing he's got left from his upwardly-mobile marriage. It's okay that it's getting full of dirt and withered leaves. He's glad to sacrifice it for the cause.
He's got a kinked-up best friend on top of him riding his dick and his hands are tied -- gee, bummer -- and the world looks better than it has for one hell of a while. He grabs at Fraser's jacket with his bound hands, trying to undo the buttons, the leather, anything that will let him at that body. He's seen it so many times late at night that it's about time he gets the real thing.
His fingers feel thick, clumsy, but he works his way up, undoing the buttons as best he can while Fraser pulls off the leather straps. That gets even more interesting ideas floating through his brain. He wonders if Fraser had those ideas already, and if they'd be good ideas, too.
Fraser's red jacket is open now. The thin wife-beater's riding up, and his belly gleams gold in the firelight as he opens his pants. He just shoves the boxers down, and the elastic pushes up his hard red dick -- like it wasn't trying to climb out of them in the first place. To Ray, that's all that counts, he doesn't care about anything else besides seeing it and sucking it and making Fraser come, but the man has other ideas. He's struggling to get Ray's zipper down.
It's a bad deal, because he's going to come in two seconds if Fraser touches him. He almost got off on the pressure of his hand on the zipper. He can feel the satin lining of the coat slide against his bare ass and his flag is waving for anybody to see -- no, not for anybody. For Fraser. He reaches up for Fraser.
The loose skin on the tight cock feels like the satin under his ass. Everything he can feel is smooth and slippery; it's all around him somehow. He strokes up from the base to the tip to squeeze out a drop that shines in the firelight. "Come on, come on . . ." He doesn't know if he's talking to himself or to Fraser, but the answer is Fraser's tongue in his bellybutton. The guy is fast.
He jerks up, ticklish, but Fraser's not tickling. He's sucking, and his mouth pulls all the strings in Ray's body into one big fat knot of want. Then his mouth is on Ray's cock. "Fraser," he gasps, but he can't keep it together. "Gonna -- Christ, I'm gonna --" Fraser manages to suck Ray down to the curls before he shoots everything he has down Fraser's throat.
It's . . . unbelievable. He can't believe it even now that he's bare-assed on the ground in a Chicago park. He can't think; he can't even move.
Somebody needs something here, and it's not him, so it has to be Fraser . . . but Fraser's already getting it. Bleary-eyed, he watches as Fraser grabs his own cock in a grip so tight Ray wouldn't have done it to himself. The guy's kneeling up over him, red jacket framing his broad chest, stroking his dripping dick almost right in Ray's face. Jesus Christ.
He wraps one hand around Fraser's fingers, cradling his balls in the other. Fraser moans at Ray's touch, a hollow sound as wild as the night around them. Together they work him up and down until he comes, splattering all over Ray's t-shirt. The guy just melts onto him like everything inside is gone; there's nothing to hold him upright any longer. Harsh breathing fills the silence.
For a while, they're both quiet, until he says, "So, Fraser, you gonna let me go?"
He gets a long, unreadable look. "No, Ray, I'm afraid I can't do that."
He can't help it; he laughs. It feels like the first real laugh since he signed the divorce papers. "Good, that's good. But, y'know, it'll be tough to drive like this." He holds up his hands.
Fraser groans and kisses his knuckles, the backs of his hands, his palms. He licks at the string. He's looking for something and he finds it, white string between his white teeth, and pulls. The whole lanyard unravels at once, slithering down his arm to the ground like it was never there at all. Ray is naked again, but it's all right this time. He doesn't need a string to remember what happened.
Fraser is every bit as naked, blank-faced, trying to look like nothing happened now that it's all said and done. No kinky-ass tie-you-up thing happening here, just move along. Ray can feel everything going on inside Fraser -- the full-body tingle of orgasm is bleeding out as the brain starts up again. The man is not breathing. Okay, none of that shit. There's no chance for more weird sex if Fraser expires for lack of oxygen.
Ray flexes his fingers. They all still work. "Now that I can drive, we're going to my apartment. To my bed. I even got some clothesline." He pulls Fraser down by the wife-beater and holds him as tight as he can. "But you don't have to tie me up to keep from getting hurt."
"It's . . . it's all right, then." It sounds like a statement, but there's still a question in there.
Ray smacks him gently upside the head with the backs of his free, untied fingers, ruffling the shadowed hair. "I drove a flaming car into the lake they call Michigan. For you, I did that. This is a hell of a lot better time."
"Oh." Fraser looks like he gets it now. He settles back down, his head on Ray's shoulder. "You know," he says, muffled against camel hair, "you never finished the story."
"The story you were telling me earlier. The not-dark story."
"Yeah, well, that's because it's not over yet. And it ain't gonna be over for a long, long time, you got that? But I am telling you right now, my friend, the next time we go camping . . . we're ordering pizza."
Contact Kalena (at) mninter.net