Giulietta (mondschein1) wrote,
Giulietta
mondschein1

*waves weakly*

So...hey, guys. It's been a while. A while a while. Um. Yeah. >.>


So let's see...checking back, I see that I posted my last fic about two years ago. Yeep. What've I been doing since then...well, I finished school. That was pretty cool. And I got a job as a science teacher (which was actually, oddly enough, what I was aiming to do with myself, to the extent that I consciously intended to do anything). So now I'm doing that, and I am absurdly busy, and have no free time ever. Except it's winter break right now, so there's that. I'm really happy with where I am though, despite being exhausted and busy all the time. I am so freaking lucky to be where I am right now, you guys. Just in case you were wondering. :-)


Anyway. That aside. So I was looking the other day through my folder of fic, which I do sometimes just because I like to remind myself that once upon a time, I could actually sort of kind of write some good stuff. And I found a WIP folder, so I started looking through that, thinking that maybe I could find a story that was half-finished, that might be able to inspire me to write again. Lo and behold, I found a fic that was actually done. "Oh!" said I. "This is easy -- I bet I have beta notes for this somewhere, I'll just take a look at them and polish and then I shall have made new fic."


That process was many things, but easy it was not. My betas (slidellra, nos4a2no9, isiscolo, and china_shop among them, though it's been long enough that I know I must be forgetting someone) were all wonderful people, and some of them got what I was trying to write while others didn't; some liked what I did where others didn't. And ultimately, it was a story I had written partially to challenge myself and my ability to keep in character while writing something -- wait, no, make that many many things *cough* smut *cough* -- that I personally am somewhat uncomfortable with. Yay, pushing limits and growth and all that! So really, I was expecting the process to be hard, to make me think things over, to make me be a better writer. And I was certainly not expecting to suddenly have to drop the whole project in the middle of beta to manage RL.


So, this may not be the best work I've ever done. I tried rewriting, read it back to myself, and realized I was (with my rusty as hell voices) making everything worse with my edits. So I stopped. I edited the bare minimum, the most obvious of things that my betas had told me, and then I just stopped. I'd rather have this get posted for you guys now, than have it hide in my computer forever and ever. *blows kisses* Love you guys, hope I can drop by here for a quick fic or two sometimes. I'll try to keep up with your comments for the next couple weeks before RL eats me again, I swear!

~25 K words. F/K, K/OFC, D/s, first time, angst, post-CotW (partially). Rated NC-17.


[Disclaimer: Fraser and RayK do not belong to me. Sally kinda does a little bit, but...hey, if you want her for something, who am I to stop ya?]

Balancing Act



But dear Lord, he wants. He wants Ray to be small enough to own. Victoria had been too much, and normally Ray might be as well. But Ray is different, Ray can fit. He can make himself fit.

Part One

When Ben was twelve, other boys his age were largely interested in girls. Some of them were fond of hockey, and some of them were voracious readers -- but none of them were like Ben. At twelve, Ben had no obsession with the idea of true love. Instead, he'd already gone ahead and found it.

"You and that guitar are entirely inseparable," his grandmother had scolded once, when Ben moved a practice session from his room to the dinner table. Of course, she'd supported his initial compulsion to take lessons; she had been the one who convinced his grandfather to purchase the instrument, as his grandfather had thought it was a luxury that bordered on hedonistic. But even she couldn't appreciate it completely.

The guitar was his, you see; it was his, and no one else's. Only he would lift it out of its soft, padded case. Only he would tend to its cleaning, tuning, restringing. Only he would feel the hum of the guitar's body against his palm every time he brought it out, and only he would hear the quiet jangle of strings as anything other than dissonant.

Naturally, that had been a long time ago. Ben's since moved on from guitars to girls, from girls to women, and apparently he's recently taken a turn from women to men. Frankly, sometimes he finds himself reflecting upon the wisdom of the pre-pubescent.

For instance, if Ben were twelve, Ben wouldn't have to ask Ray the question that he knows he must, nor would he be staring at the top of Ray's bowed head and stalling for any of the reasons that he is. "Well, then," Ben starts cheerily. "How was your date with, ah -- "

"Gina."

"Ah, yes."

"Fine," Ray replies shortly, scrawling something illegible on a form. "Totally fine, just -- " He purses his lips, thinking, and Ben firmly tells himself that Ray will notice if he stares at them. "You ever hear a goat?" Ray says suddenly, squinting at Ben intently.

Ben blinks at him. "Yes. Many a time."

"Right, okay, so this girl -- totally gorgeous, legs all the way to Mexico, just really mmph, you know? -- this girl's totally perfect, only she's got this laugh like a goat."

"A goat," Ben repeats.

"Yeah, a goat. Just, it grates, you know? How'm I supposed to start thinking about getting really serious if I'm thinking, 'shit! where'd that goat come from?' every single time I crack a good joke?"

"I can see where that might be problematic," Ben agrees cautiously. "Though I'm sure she's a very nice young lady, aside from her laugh, which is hardly her fault."

Ray gives him an odd look, as though Ben's said something unspeakably foolish about Chicago pizza. "Yeah. Sure. Look, I'd love to be all fair and just and everything, but there's this thing called love. Maybe you've heard of it. And love's -- love's kinda kooky, kinda nutty, and it's definitely not fair and just, all right? I mean, if love was fair and just, I'd -- well, you'd -- you know -- "

"Vecchio," Welsh thunders on his way past, "I've always been of the conviction that my detectives' love lives should not be the subject of any conversations in my bullpen. More privacy for them, fewer ulcers for me. Wouldn't you agree?"

"Uh -- yeah, yeah, totally agreed, sir."

"Glad to hear it," Welsh grumbles, and storms into his office.

Smiling cooperatively, Ray watches the Lieutenant go. As soon as he's out of earshot, though, Ray leans in and mutters, "Think about it, Frase. Dating a goat? Not my idea of a good time, I'll tell you that much." He pushes himself out of his chair and lopes down the hall, presumably to fetch a stapler.

Dief woofs. "Thank you, Dief," Ben mutters, returning to the paperwork at hand. "Not, of course, that I needed any reassurance about the pleasantness of my laugh."

Grumbling, Dief sets his head on his paws and closes his eyes.




Now, Ray is not a small man. He is wiry, certainly; in terms of sheer mass, Fraser is certainly larger. But that never seems to subtract anything from Ray's presence, and perhaps it is this which kept it from happening sooner. Ray is not a man who might simply allow himself to be held -- held close, held tight, held down -- and in fact the mere concept was so alien that Fraser had never considered it, not even to dismiss it. It was simply a thought that should not be had. In the best of times, Ray is a policeman: he holds, he protects, he consoles. In the worst of times -- well, in the worst of times, no one in his right mind would dare approach him, and attempting to touch him is a task for only the most foolhardy.

But one day Fraser strolls into the precinct and finds Ray slumped at his desk. He's too tired to be prickly, and far too tired to be strong. He simply -- is, no larger than life, so small that it feels as though he might fit into the palm of Fraser's hand.

"Are you all right?" Fraser asks reflexively.

Ray rubs at his face and makes a muffled sound into his palms. "Yeah," he says, voice scraping in his throat. "I'm fine. Just, there's idiots everywhere I gotta talk to, you know?"

Fraser clears his throat, trying to make the moment seem normal. "Yes, well, I'm afraid I'd have to agree. It may be difficult to believe, but back in Tuktoyaktuk, I once angered a superior officer by saving a herd of caribou from -- well, that's not important," he breaks off, as Ray has dropped both hands to his desk and is staring at him blankly. "What is important is that for a time, as pennance, I was posted near one of the local bars to ensure that no one would commit crimes while inebriated -- "

Ray holds a hand up, and Fraser falls silent. "Fraser, I already said there's idiots everywhere. You tell me that Canada's got 'em too, and I might just give up and go nuts, yeah?"

"Ah." Fraser nods, and clasps his hands behind his back. "Understood."

"C'mon." Ray pushes his chair back and hooks a finger into the collar of his coat, which he had draped across the back of his chair. "We'll order a pizza, buy a six-pack, goof around with the wolf a while, I'll be good as new."

As promised, the next morning Ray is back to normal, taking up half the space in the precinct and even nearly dwarfing the uniform. Fraser says nothing, of course -- it's not as though he has anything in particular to say -- but he has already seen it, seen damn near everything. Ray is only a man. The rest of his size is contained in countless layers, and Fraser doesn't even know what it means that he wants to peel them back again.




If the phenomena had restricted itself to a single evening, it wouldn't have caused any trouble whatsoever. Even Francesca displays, in odd moments, certain attractive traits that Fraser wouldn't be sorry at all to have in his life. But of course Ray had to go and injure himself on purpose in a pugilistic fashion -- for what purpose, Fraser can't imagine, as it certainly had nothing to do with the case -- and now they're in a very awkward situation indeed.

"So. Now you've sparred," Fraser says quietly.

"Yes, Fraser, I have sparred." Normally, of course, there would be a bite to that, but anyone who didn't know Ray would think he was simply stating a fact.

"And you feel better?" Fraser presses.

"Yeah, I feel better," Ray mutters, but there's no real defense in his tone or posture.

Still, Fraser always had had a tendency to babble. "Mentally and spiritually, I presume, because your physical condition is truly appalling."

"I'm good," Ray says, and it is again only a statement. He won't push back, and Fraser feels a giddy urge to provoke him, simply because that is the way things should be.

"Ah. You don't want to talk about it. It's perfectly understandable. I mean, after all, the core of pugilism is really a mental and spiritual quest, isn't it, sort of like mountaineering or marathon dancing or the Iditarod or -- "

"Shut up?"

It is again only a request -- not a demand, as it might be otherwise -- but there are limits to everything, and something tells Fraser that he's reached one. "As you wish." He watches quietly for a moment while Ray has a brief war with his shoulder holster. "Do you need some help?"

"No," Ray says firmly, and attempts to lift his arms again.

The room is somehow too small and too large at the same time. Too small, because Ray is only three feet away, and Fraser can't put any more distance between them without the risk of Ray noticing and asking uncomfortable questions. Certainly more distance would be preferable; Fraser does and does not know what he wants, and indecision like that should never be acted upon. But his palms itch to smooth along the curve of Ray's back, and his fingertips tingle with what they think the lines of Ray's shoulders would feel like. All they can say is, we can touch this. We can hold this. We could keep this, even if Fraser himself knows better.

Ray has apparently given up on the holster, and appears quite willing to wait on that bench for the holster to animate itself and come to his aid. Diefenbaker, on the other hand, doesn't seem to find this plan nearly as appealing, and is glowering at Fraser sulkily from Ray's knee. "Oh, for heaven's sake," Fraser snaps finally, and reaches for the holster.

It takes but a moment to nudge the holster up Ray's arms, but there is again no resistance at all; Ray seems to have collapsed into himself almost completely, and he only even bothers to blink when Fraser's fingertips are actually skimming the warm fabric of his t-shirt.

Dief, simple creature that he is, whuffles approvingly and bounds for the door. Fraser coughs slightly and tries to ignore how very talkative his hands have suddenly become.

Ray squints at him. The mere weight of the holster across his back seems to have improved his mood. "Thanks," he mumbles, averting his eyes.

And they move onwards. Fraser's fingers whisper ridiculous things to him; Ray is oblivious and normal, once again.




Fraser sits at his desk and stares at Ray's gun, which Turnbull had left on his desk before turning in for the night. He tries, desperately, not to think -- not about Andreas Volpe, not about Ray's very remotely possible guilt, and most definitely not about how Ray had literally flung himself into Fraser's care. If he thinks about any of it, he will overanalyze it, and that has never turned out well.

Of course, it's rather like being told not to think of a pink elephant. There's no reason to try, anyway; Diefenbaker is already asleep, and there is no one to mock him for thinking certain -- thoughts.

The simple fact of the matter is the Ray had flung himself into Fraser's world, and specifically curled himself small enough to fit there. He had permitted Fraser to investigate his wounds and apply a foul-smelling concoction to them, though at least in that case Fraser had his best intentions at heart. The handcuffs, however -- the handcuffs were entirely unnecessary, and Ray had to know it. He is an officer of the law. But he merely gave in -- he merely sat in Fraser's chair and dropped his trussed hands in his lap and did exactly nothing at all, until Fraser's guilt got the better of him. For God's sake, he'd even exchanged his own facade with the uniform.

It had been necessary. He'll never do it again; Fraser is certain of that. But dear Lord, he wants. He wants Ray to be small enough to own. Victoria had been too much, and normally Ray might be as well. But Ray is different, Ray can fit. He can make himself fit. If only --

"Fraser? Oh, hey, there it is -- "

Fraser jumps; he hadn't even heard the steps in the hallway. He watches stupidly as Ray's hand wraps around the gun and lifts it off the desk. "Yes," he says, numbly, "Turnbull thought you might be wanting it tonight, so he left it with me before he headed home." Ray shouldn't be here. He simply shouldn't. The door was locked. Anyone ought to think that a locked door firmly conveys the desire for said door to remain closed.

But Ray wouldn't be held back, of course. There's no reason why he would.

Ray grins at him, his charm filling the room, and it settles on Fraser like the dead weight of a caribou across his shoulders. Ray's hands are curled comfortably in his pockets, and the curve in his spine seems to strengthen his posture rather than diminish it. "Y'know, I wouldn't have thought he'd had it in him."

"Turnbull will surprise the best of them," Fraser agrees inanely. His hands clench into fists under the desk, aching with all the whispers that suddenly aren't there anymore.




A submersible, Fraser notes for future reference, is no place for two men to be spending God knows how many hours floundering about in the sea.

"Well, we should be coming across Six Fathom Shoal, at which point I'll be able to navigate by dead reckoning," Fraser assures Ray brightly. "Well, that is, provided I've calculated correctly."

"And if you haven't?" Ray demands, not sidetracked at all by the ruse.

Particularly not when one of those men is Ray, who has lately been towering over Fraser, squeezing him into corners in even the most spacious of venues. He'd even lashed out at Fraser for saving his life -- belatedly, yes, though in the end he'd accepted it -- simply because he'd had to trade his personal space in the bargain.

This is not the usual friendly tension that they keep suspended between themselves at all times. Ray has upset the balance completely. Fraser can hardly speak to the man, let alone anything else.

"Oh, well, then we'll be hopelessly lost," Fraser replies. There's no point in trying to be optimistic about it; Ray seems to be hoping that Fraser's plan will go wrong.

Of course, that doesn't mean he can't object anyway. "Oh, see, this is what I love about you, Fraser," he snaps. "That real positive, you know, everything's-going-to-work-out-fine kind of attitude. It really butters my muffin, it's --"

"Oh, thank you, Ray," Fraser snipes back. He wishes that Dief were here, if only because he would undoubtedly lose patience with this human pettiness. It'll all end soon, anyway. They'll finish this case, assuming that they won't suffocate together in this very submersible, and then they'll be done. No more arguments. No more resisting foolish thoughts. Things will be simple again.

"Oh, he's right, son," an all-too-familiar, supposedly non-existent voice chimes in from the back of the submersible, and Fraser winces. At least, things will be as simple as they ever were.




"You gonna take the transfer?" Ray demands.

Fraser considers it for a moment. He should. He'd said as much, and Ray'd agreed for once. It should be obvious. But -- well, Ray's close next to him, everything about him warm and welcoming, if not necessarily yielding. For the first time in days, it doesn't feel like he's already left, and that's enough to leap for. It has to be. "I don't think so."

Ray nods; Fraser feels, more than sees, a wash of tension melt away from him. It was the right thing to say. Thank God, it was the right thing to say. "You?" he asks, because he has to hear it. He's not like Ray. He can't simply trust the feeling.

"Me? No," Ray answers, and Fraser feels his own tension ease off of his shoulders.

"All right. So we're -- we're still, uh..."

"I think," Ray answers, for all the world as though Fraser had actually found an appropriate noun with which to end his sentence.

"Okay."

"Good."

"Right you are," Fraser replies inanely, and swears that he's not going to say another useless word. He's going to stand here, next to Ray, and refrain from babbling. Ray is not leaving. Fraser is not leaving. They're good. Greatness, even, perhaps.

Ray snorts suddenly, and when Fraser jerks around to look at him, he starts to laugh. What at, Fraser hasn't the faintest -- he doubts Ray knows, himself -- but it's good. It's good, to simply stand here on a replica of the HMS Bounty, shoulder to shoulder with the man who knows him best in the world, and laugh at nothing in particular.

And if there's a whisper in the back of his mind that wants to grab Ray and kiss his mouth, just to see that bright grin collapse into shock, just to be able to hold Ray so that he'll never be able to shut him out again -- well, if there is, Fraser doesn't listen. They're equals. Intuition and reason. He has no more right to pin Ray than Ray has a right to pin him.




Of course, that realization only lasts for so long -- in point of fact, it only lasts until Ray's next staggeringly stupid leap of faith.

Fraser stares at the wreckage of the police motorcycle, acutely aware of Ray's posture beside him. He's been clutching at his elbow since the stunt; he's probably sprained it. Frankly, it's surprising he made it through with just that.

"You okay?" Ray grunts, teeth gritted with pain.

Fraser has to make an effort not to respond that no, he is not okay. In point of fact, he is furious. He can't say that, of course, but he is just the same. What right had Ray to take a risk like that? Was he concerned about nothing but his own conscience? Was he not at all worried about the people who might be affected by his untimely death?

And for Fraser's sake, of all people! First of all, he himself hadn't been in any real danger to begin with. Second of all, he can afford to take such risks, because nearly no one would care if he did die. But Ray -- Ray has parents on the way up from Arizona, whether or not he believes it; supposing they'd arrived only to be told that their son had died, while foolishly driving a motorcycle through a window? Fraser only has -- well, he's got Dief, but Dief's loyalties are clearly not the most steadfast in the world. And Ray, but Ray has so much more than Fraser, and he cares only enough to --

Only enough to drive a motorcycle through a window. Which is not the point, or shouldn't be. He doesn't want it to be. The point is that Ray shouldn't have taken the risk, even if he is a police officer, even if he wanted to. Fraser just wants to grab Ray by the shoulders, shove him, shake some sense into him, pin him to a wall and tie him down so that he'll never be able to try anything this foolhardy ever again. A reprimand is on the very tip of his tongue, and to hell with anyone who might be listening.

He turns to let Ray have a piece of his mind -- but when he does, he sees Lieutenant Welsh, Detectives Huey and Dewey, and Quinn, all of them looking at him expectantly. Not to mention Ray, who's flushed and grinning triumphantly, despite his injured arm.

He can only imagine the shock on Ray's face if he did any of the things he wants to, not to mention the reaction of the other officers. He can't do this. It's simply not an option.

"I -- yes, thank you. Quinn, we'd better get back to the precinct. I expect they'll be wanting your statement."




But even that didn't tax his restraint as much as Ray's ill-advised pursuit of Luanne Russell.

"I dunno, I figure I'm just not into this dating thing. I just wanna cut to being married again, you know? Just, having somebody you know and trust. Not to mention getting laid more than once a year." Ray snaps a twig in his fingers and flicks it into the fire. "Anyway. I figured if I couldn't apologize to Luanne, I could maybe apologize to you."

Fraser watches the flames, not sure that he can meet Ray's eyes. The whole affair was misguided, and if Ray ever made a habit of listening to him, he would have said so. Luanne might have been far less dangerous than Victoria, and innocent besides, but -- it was still inadvisable. Though Ray appears to be back, now; back and seeking repentance, and there's something thrilling about being in a position to give it. "It's all right, Ray. I understand. Well, not that I would have done the same, of course, but I understand."

Ray smiles wryly. "You wouldn't, would you." He looks down at Dief, who's wagging his tail happily enough. "You ever even want to?"

Fraser swallows. "I've -- wanted to. Yes."

Ray's eyebrows rise, his forehead crinkling above them. "So, now? There's somebody you want to -- you know -- right now?"

"Ah, yes." Ray stares, eyes reflecting in the firelight. If this were truly a forest, truly a campfire -- or even, say, a slightly more isolated section of the park -- Fraser might have cast caution to the winds. As it is, he finds himself hurriedly clarifying. "Well, not precisely now of course, I meant -- "

"No, yeah, yeah, I get it." They sit there for a few minutes, quietly studying the flames. After a few minutes, though, Ray says, "You know, I hope she figures you out. I mean that." His voice is unusually soft and warm.

Fraser nods slowly. "Understood. But I hope you'll forgive me if I say that I don't fully agree."

Laughing, Ray shakes his head at him. "Hey, Fraser, way to live on the wild side, yeah?"




"Get out," Ray whispers hoarsely. "Get out of the car."

Fraser looks out the window and considers it. They're still parked outside Beth Botrelle's house, and walking back to the Consulate would take the better part of two hours. Aside from which, there's no real command behind Ray's words. There can't be, not after the sort of crying Ray'd just engaged in. Fraser knows the sound of those sobs. They're the sort that take everything out of you. "No," he says, and clears his throat. "I don't think I will."

"Look," Ray starts, giving his boots a stern look that was probably intended for Fraser, "this is -- what this is, is my car, and I'm saying, I'm saying -- what, I'm saying -- " Ray takes a deep breath and shut his eyes. "I'm saying I want you out," he resumes, at a much slower pace. "Get it? Or is that too complicated for you?"

His voice wobbles, and Fraser smiles humorlessly down at his own boots. "I don't think you do," he counters, albeit gently.

Ray straightens suddenly; Fraser's hand slides down the back of his neck, down past the collar of his jacket, to rest between the points of Ray's shoulder blades. "You -- fucking -- think I don't know what I -- "

He's off-kilter, throwing verbal punches blindly. If Fraser were to -- take liberties, very slight liberties, Ray wouldn't be capable of any serious resistance. "Shh," Fraser murmurs, and though his legs are tensing, ready to move if Ray happens to surprise him, he keeps his voice calm. Steady. Controlled. "It's all right. Everything's all right."

Ray stops dead: stops moving, stops trying to talk, even stops breathing for a moment. Fraser watches. Patience, he reminds himself, is a virtue. "You're just sayin' that," Ray says, finally.

Fraser shakes his head. "No. I'm not."

"How d'you figure? I just -- I almost killed a woman. How's that all right? How's -- "

"Ray. Stop." Fraser lets his hands search out the angles of Ray's back, lets them glide up to squeeze the sinew stretching across Ray's shoulder. Ray stops. "Trust me. It's all right." Ray doesn't respond at all. "Trust me. You can trust me."

Ray shuts his eyes and takes a long, shuddering sigh. Fraser can feel it in his palm, in the wrist that's pressed between Ray's back and the seat. "Hands're warm," he says after a long silence.

It's quite irrelevant, but Fraser takes it in the intended spirit. "Thank you."

"Look, I'm sorry, for -- "

"I told you. It's all right. I don't mind."

At that, Ray actually looks him in the eye, for the first time since he went into that accursed house. "You don't, do you," Ray says, soft and rough at the same time.

Fraser shakes his head, and without warning, Ray's leaning across the gear stick, warm breath whispering over Fraser's cheek, lips touching -- his cheek, his eye, his mouth -- and then Ray pulls back to watch him. "That," Ray says, bloodshot eyes surprisingly sharp. "You all right with that?"

Fraser can only manage a nod. He doesn't have Ray's comfort with words.

"Right. Right. Thanks," Ray murmurs, and drops his head back down over the steering wheel. "Thanks."

Fraser waits a minute, to see if Ray's lost control again. He hasn't, though, and so Fraser makes another imposition. "Take us home," he suggests.

"Yeah, okay," Ray agrees without hesitation, and starts the engine.




"Well," Fraser declares, once they're inside the relative brightness of Ray's apartment, "I expect you'll be wanting to head to bed."

Ray lifts a shoulder, drops it. "Maybe. I'm not too sleepy."

"You're dead on your feet."

"Am not." As if to prove it, he lets his feet tap a complicated pattern across the room, past the couch, over the rug, to line up in front of Fraser's. "Adrenaline," he explains, face just inches away. "Nothing better."

Clearing his throat, Fraser backs away. This isn't right. Ray doesn't know, he doesn't know anything. He certainly can't guess what he's getting himself into. Probably he only imagines this to last a day, perhaps a week, like his usual altercations with women. "I -- I think I'd better leave." A furrow appears in Ray's brow; a lovely furrow, to be sure, the sort Fraser would like to taste with the very tip of his tongue. Still, he ignores it. "We shouldn't -- "

"Why not?"

The night wouldn't be complete without a petulant question, now would it. "Dief -- "

"He'll be fine with the landlady. Anyway, I bet you couldn't get him out of her apartment if you had a dozen donuts."

That much is true, at least. Dief had gone charging in with almost desperate swiftness, apparently preferring her company to Ray and Fraser's awkward conversation. At least she hadn't minded, despite the fact that she'd only opened the door to see who was returning home at so late an hour. "Yes, but still, we really shouldn't impose -- "

"Fraser. Quit changing the subject." Ray's eyes narrow unforgivingly. "Why're you trying to push me away? You decide you don't like kissing boys after all?"

"Ah, no. Nothing like that."

"So?"

"So -- " Fraser glares at him. For someone who's spent most of their night bawling, he's certainly displaying surprising energy. "All right. You're not mentally stable. You're not capable of making a rational decision about anything at the moment, let alone one of this magnitude." He takes a step forward and grasps Ray's shoulders. That is safe. That will not encourage wayward movement. "I suggest you have a hot bath, put yourself to bed, and we'll -- "

Ray kisses him soundly, and suddenly Fraser isn't sure he's capable of making rational decisions, either. "Bed," Ray murmurs, somehow finding a way to purr a word with no fricatives. "Bed sounds good."

"Are you quite -- "

Ray touches a cool finger to his burning lips. "Hey, who's kissing who, here?" As if to prove it, he leans in and makes contact once again. Hot, wet, firm, not a little belligerent --

It's a valid point, one that Fraser can't quite manage to argue. So instead he finds a different topic of debate: he tightens his grip on Ray's shoulders, and pushes him back until he won't go any farther.

This round, he wins; when he opens his eyes, he finds Ray's back pressed to the wall, his head tilted back to rest on it, his glistening throat exposed. "Dear Lord," Fraser whispers, staring. "What on earth do you think you're doing?"

"Trying to fuck you, freak," Ray returns promptly, reaching for Fraser's coat, which won't do at all.

"No, no, let -- let me, let me -- " and suddenly Ray's shirt is undone, Ray's trousers are sliding to the floor, and Ray is simply letting him. Simply standing there, watching with dark fearless eyes, even though Fraser himself is terrified.

Trust, he realizes. Ray's placed himself under Fraser's rapidly fading control, and he simply trusts that it is not in fact fading. It's staggeringly stupid, staggeringly brave, and even more staggeringly arousing.

But he clutches at the shreds of his prudence, just for that; keeps a small voice speaking in the back of his brain, wondering where he's put his trousers, what Ray's gasping in his ear, if any of those words are anything akin to "stop".

They aren't, so Fraser doesn't.

Pulse. There is a pulse under his fingertips. There is a pulse in Ray's wrists, which are squeezed between Fraser's hands and the bed. Ray blinks up at their hands fuzzily. "Fraser -- "

"Shh."

The ropes of muscle pushing against Fraser's fingertips go abruptly limp, and Fraser has to fight not to tighten his grip. He could. Ray wouldn't fight it. Ray's letting him do this. Ray's let him do everything. Nearly everything. Ray's everywhere, held fast in Fraser's palms, his mouth, his legs.

Everything he is, is Fraser's to touch. Every sound he makes is Fraser's doing. Every breath -- and Fraser covers Ray's mouth with his just as Ray tries to gasp, revels in the feel of Ray's lungs heaving vainly against him, just because Ray will let him. "Can I -- " Fraser starts, pulling away.

"Yeah." Ray's eyes are closed, the lids gleaming with sweat. "Yeah. Anything."

"Anything," Fraser echoes, staring up at Ray in awe. Anything. Whether or not Fraser deserves that much trust is indeterminable; but it remains that Ray does trust him, and that --

"Anything, I said. Not nothing. Nothing is not -- oh, fuck, fuck, Christ, let me -- let me -- "

Fraser doesn't let him, but he does drive him to speechlessness. He holds Ray tight, tight, smothers the movement of Ray's hips with his own weight until Ray's frantically cursing him between gasps. "Language, Ray," he breathes, gently biting the offending tongue.

Ray makes a small, broken noise in the back of his throat -- and then he's convulsing against Fraser's grip, eyes squeezed shut and lips parted, like he's trying not to scream. Fraser runs a firm hand down Ray's hot, heaving sides until he quiets, tasting the angle of Ray's jaw and feeling his own control drown beneath a strange giddiness: I did this, I did it, I did this to Ray.

It's only when Ray's asleep, hours later, that Fraser lets himself say what he's wanted to since Ray unlocked his apartment door. "Mine," he whispers into the damp, salty curve of Ray's shoulder. "You're mine."

Continue to parts 2 and 3...
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