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Armani's still in love with the Mountie, Ray's pretty sure. Something in the set of his mouth when he says that stupid nickname. Something about how quick he is to make jokes at the Mountie's expense.
Doesn't matter. Might be the Mountie's picture in his locket, but it's Ray's dick in his mouth right now, Ray's hands on his head. That's good enough.
They started fucking regular about three days after Welsh got fed up with playing referee and split them up as partners. Which would be about three months after Stella and Armani came back up from Florida in separate cars, and about three weeks after the Mountie tipped his hat and headed back up north all alone with a look on his face that was more like relief than regret.
By then, the two of them had so much in common that they couldn't stand the sight of each other, so Ray guesses this -- Vecchio's closed eyes and wet mouth, his own clutching hands and growled obscenities -- was pretty much bound to happen.
Once the two of them had a couple days under their belts with their new partners, Vecchio banged on Ray's door after shift one night and stuck out a hand and said, "Stanl--" When Ray lifted his chin, Vecchio deflated a little and said, "Kowalski, listen, nothing personal, right?" And Ray shrugged and said, "Beer?"
How they got from that to groping on the couch is a little fuzzy in Ray's head, but he does recall a moment when Vecchio, flushed and panting but still a smartass, focused his eyes for a second and said, "Hey, Detective -- I knew -- fuck -- I knew we could -- be professional --" and Ray was still snickering when he came.
He's good, Vecchio is. Good in bed, graceful and generous and just commanding enough to piss Ray off in that hot way. Not handsome but strangely pretty in parts -- the eyes, the mouth, the skin. And everything on him is soft and expensive and good-smelling in an understated way, like a faint memory of Stella without the ice.
Good company, too -- as long as they fuck first. Try and get together without fucking and in a half-hour they'll be "Stanley" and "Pig," ready to take each other's heads off. But if they spunk out all the testosterone first, then afterwards they can relax, bat ideas around, help each other out with cases. Get goofy, laugh themselves stupid over nothing at all. Block out the two other people who are with them all the time without really being there.
Ray smoothes his hand over Vecchio's warm scalp, rubs his thumbs over Vecchio's hollowed cheeks, strokes down the back of his neck to the collar of a dress shirt that probably cost more than the chair he's sitting in -- Ray sometimes thinks Vecchio learned to swallow just to save on dry-cleaning bills -- and Vecchio starts making quiet happy noises, leaning into Ray's hands as much as he can with his mouth anchored on Ray's cock.
He's a toucher, even in public. Nice. Arm draped over Ray's shoulder, hand ruffling his hair -- he does it with everybody, but it's still a nice change. Even now, it's like he can't get close enough, one hand gripping Ray's thigh and the other holding his hip, moving him, fast and slow as the mood takes him. Making it last.
Ray's never asked what happened with Stella. Doesn't need to -- a classy cop is still a cop, and Stella's ambitious. She's genuinely friendly to both of them now, now that she can be sure neither of them is going to do anything embarrassing. She's dating some guy who's in management at Arthur Andersen, so apparently she finally got her craving for the bad boys under control.
She seems to like seeing him and Vecchio being friendly. Yeah, yeah, we're all pals now, no hard feelings, one big happy. Ray and Stella taught each other to kiss, all those years ago. If Vecchio notices any similarity in their technique, he's smart enough to keep his mouth shut about it.
Vecchio kisses slow and arrogant most of the time. Yeah, baby, lemme show you how it's done. Ray likes to kiss him when he's coming, when all that smooth technique goes out the window and it's just greedy tongue and teeth -- or afterwards, when he's all boneless sleepy-eyed satisfaction. Ray likes to kiss him, fast and dirty, at the door or in the car. Just a little hint of danger.
There's things Ray flatly refuses to do with Vecchio. He won't sixty-nine, won't fuck back to front -- it's face to face all the way, because he's going to make goddamned sure that Vecchio knows who he's doing. Vecchio can be in love with the Mountie all he wants, but he's in bed with the Mountie's other cast-off partner, and Ray's not going to let him forget it.
Vecchio's still pissed about the Mountie, even though they've got some kind of bargain not to talk about it. Vecchio thinks Ray got in a lot deeper than he did, just because of that trip to the north, but when Ray tried to tell him it wasn't true, he said, "Your business, Clairolski. I don't wanna hear it."
The truth is, Fraser very probably loves them both, but he loves the north more. He writes less and less often as time goes by, ever since the night he called here and Vecchio answered the phone. Must have been a relief to get his Rays squared away so he wouldn't have to worry any more.
The Mountie has a cold spot inside -- not his fault, but there you go. The sooner Vecchio gives up that fantasy of being the one who can make him warm, the better off he'll be. Ray lost a fingertip to frostbite when he was up north, and sometimes it catches in the soft hair behind Vecchio's ears. Ray knows a little something about cold.
Vecchio, now, he's warm. Hot. Hot temper, hot skin, hot mouth. Hot eyes opening now to look up at Ray, and Ray's close, he's not going to be able to ride this knife's edge much longer. "Fuck -- soon --" Vecchio likes a warning so he can pull off enough to taste. He does it now, and Ray's hands frame his face, and then it hits so hard Ray nearly bucks out of the chair.
Vecchio sucks it all down, making noises like he's the one coming, eyes shut, and then he opens them fast and catches Ray looking. He shouldn't be able to manage that I'm-hot-shit Vecchio smile now, not down on his knees on Ray's dirty carpet, panting and hard and licking the shiny wet spot off the corner of his mouth. Pisses Ray off. Gets him so hot.
Must do something for Vecchio, too, since he still hasn't caught his breath. "Jesus -- Kowalski --" He sounds like he's going to come any minute, but he won't ever do himself. He always waits for Ray to do it.
"Up, up, Ray, c'mon." Ray plucks at that shirt, pearl-gray cotton fine as silk, and Vecchio climbs on top of Ray's naked body. Four hands go to work on his fly, and finally it comes free, and the shorts actually are silk, a shade darker than the shirt and still darker where they're wet.
Vecchio kneels up, shoves the pants and shorts down a bit -- not a word about wrinkles, Ray notes with a grin -- and Ray works his cock with one hand while the other finds a nipple by feel and pinches it hard through the soft-crisp fabric.
Vecchio grunts and thrusts fast, head thrown back, a dark flush rising out of his collar and up his jaw. Kowalski talks low and dirty like he knows the others never would: "Yeah, c'mon, give it up, come all over me, get me wet --"
Vecchio goes still and then starts up again, frantic, hands braced on Ray's bare shoulders, and Ray tightens his grip and Vecchio lets out a wail as he comes, christ, all over both of them. Leaning into it. Like he doesn't even care about the mess.
"Jesus. So good." And it is. Vecchio pitches forward against him, and Ray nuzzles into his neck to get that laundry-cedar-ocean-sweat smell of him. Kisses the damp skin and feels Vecchio laugh weakly.
Vecchio lifts his head, eyes shut, and runs his mouth over Ray's temple, down his rough cheek, to kiss him nice and slow and easy. Pulls back and just looks at him, thumbs stroking his jaw. "God," he says. "Ray."
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January 5, 2002