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"Fraser, this cart sucks."
At the metallic scrape behind him, Fraser turned to see Ray putting his entire body weight into trying to drag the shopping cart away from the shelves.
"What? What are you laughing at?"
"I'm not laughing, Ray." But the corners of Fraser's mouth were twitching. "Do you want me to push it?"
"What, you think I can't do it? I can do it, it's just a worthless piece of shit cart, is all." Attempting to wrest the cart back into the center of the aisle, Ray managed to knock three bags of nuts off the rack. "It won't go straight."
"One of the wheels is stuck." Fraser carefully restored the nuts to their proper place on the rack, then bent for a closer look. "There seems to be some gum --"
"Oh no you don't, Fraser, do not even think about it." Ray came around the cart and freed the offending wheel with his foot. "Whatcha doing with those, anyhow?" He nodded at the two boxes of powdered sugar Fraser still held.
"I'm trying to decide which one will make a better substitution, as icing sugar is apparently unavailable in the States." Fraser gave the labels one last look, then put both boxes into the cart. "I've already resigned myself to the loss of richness due to using American butter, which is measurably lower in butterfat than the European Community variety."
Ray was leaning his entire upper body over the cart. "Ah, great, even their butter is buttery-er than our butter." He pushed the cart aimlessly down the aisle with his toes, then looked back over his shoulder and straightened suddenly. "What? What are you looking at?"
"You're looking at me. You keep looking at me."
"My apologies, Ray." Fraser had that almost-smile again. He turned his face ostentatiously away. "Is this better?" He was looking at a spot about two feet to the left of Ray's shoulder.
"Fraser." Ray let out a gusty sigh. "You can look at me, just don't look at me, OK? Got it?"
"I confess, Ray, that I haven't --"
"Never mind." He shook his head. "I can't explain anything to you, Fraser, just ... OK, let's talk about something else. Tell me again why Turnbull's gotta have dynamo bars?"
"Nanaimo bars, Ray. And it's not solely for Constable Turnbull; it was his idea initially, but all of us at the consulate agreed that a taste of home would be most welcome. Although, strictly speaking, the Nanaimo bar's origin is not Canadian but British." Fraser placed two boxes of baking chocolate carefully in the cart. "It was first sent to miners in North America by their families in the United Kingdom because it would keep well on the long sea journey. Now it's frequently served in restaurants in Canada, and ... well, I rather miss it." He gazed at the baking supplies. "I suppose the chances of finding custard powder are slim."
"Seeing as I never heard of it, I can't help you there, Fraser."
"Ah, well, no matter." Fraser led the way to the next aisle.
"Are these things gonna require some kind of weird kitchen supplies?" Ray followed him, dragging the cart to the left every time it tried to go toward the shelves. "Because you're more than welcome to use my kitchen, but I just got the basic guy stuff, you know, nothing fancy."
"That's a good point, Ray." Fraser stopped at the display of kitchenware. "I assume you have a whisk, and -- your stove is gas, I think?" At Ray's nod, he went on: "Then we can do without a double boiler." He looked at Ray and then back at the kitchen supplies.
"Something funny, Fraser?"
"Mm?" Fraser looked at Ray, then quickly looked again at that spot nearby.
"You keep smiling. What are you smiling for?"
"Why shouldn't I be smiling, Ray?" Fraser weighed two foil pans in his hands, then placed one in the cart and returned the other to the rack. " I'm enjoying myself. Aren't you?"
"Oh, sure, Fraser, it's a barrel of laughs going to the Jewel with you, let me tell you. This is the life." Ray rocked the cart back and forth impatiently.
"Oh, but Ray, if you preferred --"
"Ah, don't, don't go all apologetic on me,, I'm just yankin' your chain. I just mean you're the only person I know who thinks going grocery shopping is fun. It's a chore, Fraser. It's not supposed to be fun."
"It's always possible to find pleasure in all of life's little tasks, Ray, with the right attitude." Fraser walked down the aisle toward the checkout, not even looking behind him to see if Ray was following. "And, of course, with the right company."
"Flattery, Fraser, will get you --" Ray had to raise his voice as Fraser disappeared around the corner. "Well, hell. It'll get you a ride and a kitchen, anyhow," he said, and followed Fraser, hauling the cart back to the center of the aisle."
"Now, Ray, I don't want to put you out any more than is necessary," Fraser was saying as Ray unlocked the door. "So I want you to feel free to just do whatever you would ordinarily do on your day off."
"Hate to tell you, Fraser, but there's a good chance I'd still be in bed." Ray took the bags out of Fraser's hands and carried them into the kitchen, neatly evading Dief, who was doing his best to get his nose into the bag with the butter in it. "But hey, you bought me pancakes and all. Plus having you playing Betty Crocker in my kitchen is the best entertainment in town." Ray put the bags down on the counter with one hand and pushed the other hand up under the back of his shirt to scratch his back. "What? What're you looking at?"
Fraser turned jerkily and resumed unpacking the bags. "I doubt the process will be that interesting to watch. Where do you keep your apron?"
Fraser shook his head, then took one of the dish towels from the oven door and tucked it into the waistband of his jeans. "You certainly may not," he said to the hopeful wolf. "You know very well that chocolate is poisonous to canines."
"Well, I'll try to stay out of your way," Ray said. "C'mon, Dief, you know he's not gonna budge. Come watch TV with me."
But after only a few minutes, he abandoned Dief on the couch (without turning off a space exploration documentary that the wolf had shown a decided interest in) and went to lean his elbows on the pass-through. "Graham crackers?" he said. "Not very Canadian, there, Fraser."
"That's a good point, Ray." Fraser continued using the bottom of a drinking glass to pulverize a bowlful of graham crackers. "Perhaps the original bars were made with crumbs from previous desserts, or from crusts of day-old bread." He opened a bag of coconut flakes and dumped them into the crumbs. "Coconuts, too, are hardly likely to have been in ingredient in the original dessert. But the results, I assure you, are classically Canadian."
"Canadian as apple pie, huh." Ray reached through in an effort to dip out some coconut, but he couldn't quite reach the bowl before Fraser poured it into the baking pan. "What else you miss about Canada, huh?"
"Oh, several things, surprisingly," Fraser said vaguely, patting the mixture into the bottom of the pan. "And you, Ray? What would you miss if you left Chicago?
"Pizza at Due," Ray said immediately. "Listening to the Saturday Morning Flashback on XRT. Knowing that if I get a hankering for an egg roll at three in the morning or a Bogart movie at three in the afternoon, I can get one. The feeling of a million people all going about their business and not one of 'em paying attention to me -- a city's its own kind of wilderness, Fraser."
"I suppose you're right." He carefully scraped the gloppy white mixture into the baking pan.
"White Sox games," Ray went on. "Smell of doughnuts frying early in the morning -- hey! You never answered my question!"
"What question was --" Fraser began, but Ray interrupted him.
"Don't gimme that 'What question was that, Ray?' bullshit, Fraser. C'mon. I told you what I'd miss. Your turn now."
"Silence," Fraser said. There was a pause while he thoughtfully unwrapped a stick of butter into a bowl. "Clean snow. The sound of running water. The smell of the forest." He began beating the butter vigorously with the wooden spoon.
"I don't know how you manage to make baking cookies look so macho," Ray grinned. "Anything you miss eating?"
"Well, fresh-caught fish comes to mind. Cooked on a stick over an open fire." Fraser went on dumping things into the bowl and beating them into submission.
"I can see why you picked cookies, seeing as they kind of frown on open fires out on the sidewalk here." Ray came around the partition into the kitchen. "I guess there's nothing in Chicago you'd miss. If you went back, uh, home."
"Oh, certainly, Ray." Fraser took a saucepan out of Ray's cabinet, looked inside it, and took it over to the sink to wash. "I confess I've gotten sufficiently soft that at times I would miss central heating, and the wide variety of music available on the radio would be a great loss. Diefenbaker would doubtless miss the company of dogs and the many smells the city has to offer."
Fraser leaned over to look at the burner as he turned it on, nudging the flame as low as he could before putting the saucepan full of chocolate and butter on the stove. "I would miss my companions at the consulate, and the officers at the 27th," he went on. Then he turned to smile at Ray. "And of course I'd miss our conversations."
Ray gave him a crooked grin. "Yeah, you too," he said. " 'Course, if you went back to the Northwest Whoosits, you could probably talk to the eagles and the moose and all."
"Ah, but they don't have your conversational skills, Ray."
"Oh, great, I can out-talk a moose. Don't flatter me to death here." He leaned over to look into the saucepan. "Smells good. Can I taste?"
Fraser held out the wooden spoon, and Ray leaned in to taste -- then stopped, and looked at Fraser narrowly, and took the spoon out of his hand before putting it in his mouth.
"Eyagh! That's bitter!" He gave Fraser a betrayed look.
"Well, yes, Ray," Fraser said. "It's bittersweet chocolate. It has only the minimum of sugar."
Ray shook his head. "Look, Fraser, we've got to work on this 'Give Ray some warning' thing. Like, 'Ray, my friend, you're about to taste something disgusting.'"
"Actually, Ray, reducing the sugar allows the taster to better appreciate the subtleties of fine chocolate flavor without the masking effect of --"
"Anybody who can appreciate the subtleties of chocolate without sugar is a freak."
Fraser smiled. "Understood." He removed the saucepan from the stove and placed it in a shallow sinkful of water to cool for a moment, then poured it into the baking pan. "However, taste is only one of the attractions of chocolate, the other being chemical."
"Oh, chocolate the drug -- I heard all about that from Frannie last time she fell outta love with some guy." He boosted himself up to sit on the counter.
"Francesca is not quite correct, Ray. Chocolate doesn't mimic the effect of drugs, but it does cause the release of the same brain chemicals that are released at sexual climax."
"Clem -- " Ray gave Fraser a puzzled look, then began to grin. "I cannot believe you said that, Fraser! I cannot believe that word could even pass your lips, even if you did hafta say it wrong."
"Regional pronunciations are not, per se, wrong, Ray," Fraser said serenely. "And perhaps I'm not so sheltered as you might have believed."
Ray snorted inelegantly. "Right." He kicked his heels against the cabinet door. "Now here's what I don't get about you, Fraser. You have not spilled a single drop of that chocolate. Not on the floor, not on the counter, not on you. That's not even possible."
Fraser looked down at the still-pristine towel tucked into his jeans. "A little care is all it takes, Ray." He put the baking pan in the refrigerator. "And in reality, I have spilled some." He pointed to the counter.
"Where?" Ray jumped down for a closer look. "Where, there? Fraser, that's, like, microscopic. That's not enough chocolate to choke an ant. Not that an ant would come near a kitchen if you were the one that cleaned it. Nothin' to eat." He shook his head. "Why don't you wash those dishes while I heat us up some soup."
"What is that? You expect me to eat that?"
"It's a can of soup, Ray. It's nothing threatening."
"Fraser, chicken noodle is a can of soup. Cream of tomato is a can of soup. This -- feast of chicken?"
"Fiesta chicken, Ray." Fraser had deftly opened a package of tortillas and was slicing them into strips. "I'm confident you'll enjoy it." He removed the pan from Ray's toaster oven, made an abortive gesture toward the gunk at the bottom of it, then gave up and settled for shaking it over the sink. He piled the tortilla strips in it, shaking spices over them.
The toaster dinged just as Fraser finished pouring the soup into bowls, and Fraser took out the tray and began gathering up the tortilla strips. "Wait a minute," Ray said, cupping a hand protectively over his bowl. "You're not putting any of that -- what is that?"
"Ray." Fraser gripped his wrist. "Just ... trust me."
It was a moment before Ray turned to look at him and shook his hand off. "I must be crazy," he muttered. There was a furrow between his eyebrows.
Ray was still muttering when Fraser set the bowl in front of him. "Probably got some kinda tree bark in it or something." He sniffed, then sniffed again. Fraser handed him a spoon.
Ray looked at the soup suspiciously, then squeezed his eyes shut as he slurped the first spoonful. His mouth pulled down, then pulled up. "Hey." He took another spoonful. "Hey, that's not too bad."
"Not bad at all," Ray told him around a mouthful of soup and tortillas.
"Perhaps a trifle spicy."
"No, no, it's perfect." Ray was slurping up soup enthusiastically. "I never woulda thought of that thing with the tortes."
"I thought you'd like it."
"See, that's what I mean -- how did you know I'd like it? I didn't even know I'd like it. I buy two kinds of soup, Fraser, I never would've even looked at this. What made you think I'd like it?"
"I have observed your preferences, Ray," Fraser said with a tucked-in smile. "You're fond of spicier foods. You like to have something to chew. You add salt to almost everything ..." Ray was looking at him through narrowed eyes. "It just stood to reason," he finished.
"The bars should be chilled enough to cut by now," Fraser said, putting his soup bowl in the sink.
"You need 'em all for the consulate, or are there enough for me to taste?"
"Oh, by all means, Ray." Fraser was using a butter knife to cut the bars into squares. "You are, after all, the founder of the feast, as it were. Since you provided the kitchen, it would hardly be fair to deprive you of a share of the results." He pried a square out of the dish and held it toward Ray's mouth, and again Ray almost ate it from his fingers before he stopped himself. He glared at Fraser and took the bar out of his hands, stuffing the whole thing into his mouth.
His eyes squeezed tight as he swallowed. "Milk," he gasped. "Water -- something --"
Fraser handed him a glass of water, and he gulped half of it without a breath. "That's -- that's pretty sweet, there, Fraser," he said accusingly.
"My mistake." Fraser said, genuinely remorseful. "I thought surely you had a sweet tooth, given the way you like your coffee --"
"Listen, Fraser, I like sweets, I love sweets. But that is so sweet only dogs can taste it."
Fraser frowned. "The taste buds of dogs ... Ah. I see. You were speaking rhetorically. If I might suggest ..." He poured them each a glass of milk, then placed a bar on a saucer and handed Ray a spoon. "Small bites. A little at a time. Some things, as you know, are meant to be savored." He took a small nibble of cookie and smiled at Ray.
"Fraser, are you ... never mind."
"Am I what, Ray?"
"Nothing." Ray picked up his spoon, but made no move toward the dessert.
"No, no, it's nothing. I just, for a minute there you sounded like you were making an indecent suggestion."
"There's nothing indecent about it, Ray." Fraser set down his glass and turned toward Ray.
"Yeah, I figured, but -- what?"
"There's nothing indecent about it. I believe you are already aware of my affection for you, and I have reason to think that you return it --"
"Not that kind of affection, Fraser!" Ray backed away until he bumped into the counter.
"Well, no! Jeez! Guys don't -- guys can't --"
"Guys can and frequently do, as you know very well."
"Not this guy doesn't, Fraser! Jesus! I can't believe you would - you're actually suggesting that I -- you really think I'd --"
Ray looked wildly at Fraser.
"You can have a fit. Or you can have a kiss."
And when he didn't answer, Fraser took two long steps forward and grasped him by the elbows and kept on walking, pinning Ray against the counter, and kissed him. Soft but not shy, slow but not hesitant, plum-soft pressure of lips and easy, deliberate swipe of tongue, just enough to make his intentions clear. And stepped back.
Ray danced nimbly away, vibrating on his toes. "Damn it, Fraser, I don't do that shit any more."
There was a subtle shift in the atmosphere of the room as Fraser took that in, so that his answer -- "Do what, Ray? Kissing?" -- was as mock-clueless as ever, but the voice held an edge of anger.
"Not sayin' there's anything wrong with it, Fraser." Ray was pacing now in the confines of the small kitchen. "I mean, if it's what you want, good on ya, but it's just not my thing."
"Yes, any more," Ray said, exasperated. "It's kid stuff, Fraser, and I'm not a kid any more."
"Kid stuff?" Fraser frowned.
"You know what I mean. Playing games, playing doctor, whatever --"
"I assure you, Ray, I have no interest in --"
"Oh, do not pretend you don't know what I mean." Ray glared at him. "You're fifteen, you're curious, you do stuff like that. You're lonely, you're a loser, you do stuff like that." He looked away, and then his eyes snapped back to Fraser's. "But I'm over that, now, I'm ready, I'm looking for something real, and jesus, Fraser, I don't know how you can do something like that with somebody who's your friend." His tone was almost accusing.
Fraser was listening with his head tilted to one side, like a dog. In a carefully neutral voice, he asked, "Why not, Ray?"
"Because it's not right, it's not -- friendly. I mean, that's not something you do with somebody you -- well, that's just making do. You know? It's not the real thing."
"And for the real thing --" Fraser's neutrality was now costing some effort -- "you need a woman."
"Don't look at me like that, Fraser, you know it as well as I do. You need a girl, you need a dream, you need a future, you know? I don't," he went on firmly, "do the fuck without a future thing any more, and to be honest I'm surprised you're up for it, you never seemed like the type either."
Fraser's shoulders went down microscopically. "What if I said," he said slowly, and his voice was dangerously gentle now, "that I want a future with you, Ray?"
"Aw, now, don't be giving me that sweet talk," Ray said. "I mean, what are you saying, we could get a little cottage, picket fence, wake up early some weekend and go out to breakfast, do some grocery shopping ... come home ..."
He was slowing down as it dawned on him that this did, indeed, pretty much describe the way the day had gone. "A little conversation, a few good laughs ... and make lunch ..."
He turned to Fraser, eyes wide.
"But -- Fraser. That would mean you --"
"Love you." Very gently. "Yes, Ray."
Ray backed up until his back hit the wall, and stood there, staring at the open cabinet door across from him. Fraser watched him out of the corner of his eye as he washed the last few dishes and wiped a spatter of soup off the counter.
When Ray spoke again, it was in a church-quiet voice, and the edge was gone. "Fraser. You mean it?"
Fraser turned to face him, but didn't close the distance. "Yes, Ray."
"But -- I mean -- you'd -- you mean it for real?"
Fraser nodded, his eyes never leaving Ray's.
"You'd, like, it wouldn't be just a one-time thing, you know, let the pressure off, it wouldn't be like that? It would be a long-term thing?"
"That would be my hope."
"And you'd -- you'd tell people? Turnbull? The Ice Queen?"
Fraser smiled. "I have always believed," he said gently, "that there is no shame in love."
Ray was looking at him steadily. "This -- I just can't get my mind around you really meaning it the way it sounds like, Fraser, swear to god, it's just too weird."
"Is it, Ray? Is it really so different from the way things already are?"
At that, Ray's eyes opened almost comically wide. "Fraser -- " And then one corner of his mouth went up. "You mean all this time we been dating?"
Fraser smiled back. "You could say that."
Ray gave him an open-mouthed, disbelieving grin. "I'll be damned. I never even noticed." He swayed toward Fraser.
"You were a perfect gentleman, Ray."
The grin got bigger. "Can't have that. Got a reputation to maintain here." He approached with a high-energy boxer's step, just a little too close, and rested his hands on Fraser's hips. "Me being so slow on the uptake -- you won't let word get out, will you, Fraser?"
Fraser gazed at him solemnly. "Perhaps you could make it up to me."
"Ooh." Ray's fingers tightened on Fraser's denim-clad hips, and he moved nearer, near enough for Fraser to pick up the scent of hair gel over the chocolate that permeated the kitchen. "Mountie's making demands already, huh? That the way it's gonna be?" Before Fraser could answer, Ray dropped a quick kiss on his mouth, barely making lip contact before dipping in to taste and pulling back. "That how it's gonna be?"
"I certainly hope so," Fraser said fervently, and he pushed both hands into Ray's hair and brought their mouths together again.
Ray teased him with a delicate flicker-and-retreat until Fraser pushed forward, pinning him back against the counter again for a slow, leisurely exploration of his mouth. Ray fought for a moment to control the pace, then relaxed bonelessly, hands coming up from Fraser's hips to stroke over the small of his back and his shoulder blades before settling in his hair and on the nape of his neck. Fraser sighed at that, pulled back, and put his face into Ray's neck, breathing deeply. "Fraser. Jeez," Ray said softly, and then followed Fraser's example, turning his head to run his lips over his neck and up into his slightly roughened jaw, pressing his face hard into that skin. "Smell like chocolate," Ray said.
Fraser sighed, leaning into the touch of Ray's lips, and Ray took the hint and licked a broad stripe up the side of his neck from shoulder to earlobe. Fraser shuddered soundlessly, and Ray did it again, this time continuing up around the outer curve of Fraser's ear. Fraser's shudder this time wasn't silent, and he turned his mouth blindly into Ray's, thumbs stroking down the sides of Ray's neck and dipping into the neck of his T-shirt.
"Ah," said Ray as Fraser's hands continued their downward path, stroking down his chest and belly, then starting upward again. The heels of Fraser's hands rubbed blunt circles around Ray's nipples, and Ray's hips pressed forward. "Ah, jeez, that's -- yeah, yeah, more --"
Fraser exhaled hard against Ray's neck. "More as in -- harder --" he breathed, pressing more firmly and making Ray sigh, "or more as in -- " and he pulled back and ran his fingertips over Ray's nipples -- forefinger, middle finger, ring finger, pinky, then back again in precise rhythm until Ray said, "Oh, god," and leaned his head back against the cabinet, closing his eyes. Fraser looked down at Ray's chest, where his nipples were now clearly defined against the thin fabric of his T-shirt, and gave a grunt of satisfaction, and began circling them gently with his thumbs.
Ray looked down at Fraser's fingers on his chest, up at Fraser's face, watching his own hands with deep concentration.
"Shit. Fraser." His voice was gravelly. "That is seriously turning me on there."
"Good." Fraser looked up from his work to smile into Ray's eyes.
"Dammit, Fraser, you're not even breathing hard."
"My lung capacity is superior to yours. I believe I've mentioned the benefits of regular --" Before he could finish the sentence, Ray spun him around until his back was against the wall, then pinned him there with a hand on his shoulder. Fraser began to close his eyes, anticipating a kiss, longing for it, but Ray just stood at arm's length and looked at him.
And looked. And looked. And openly stared. Until Fraser's eyes widened, until his temples and neck reddened, until his chest began to rise and fall more quickly. Ray devoured these signs with his eyes, hungrily, keeping Fraser pinned to the wall with the weight of his hand and the power of his stare, until Fraser's lips parted and his breath began to come faster.
Until at last Fraser wet his lips and whispered, "Ray." Ray's eyes came back up to his. "Please."
And Ray put his fingertips against Fraser's cheek and slowly drew closer until they were pressed body to body, and he put his mouth to Fraser's -- so softly, caressing, tasting, and they both sighed, and Fraser's hands unclenched and came up Ray's arms to his shoulders.
Ray pulled back and rubbed two fingers over Fraser's lower lip. "I never would let myself think about this." He sighed as Fraser kissed his fingertips.
Fraser gave a self-conscious chuckle. "I believe I thought about it enough for both of us."
"Oh, yeah?" Ray smiled. "You been sitting in the car with me, thinking evil thoughts, Fraser?"
The blush, which had faded, came back. "Yes."
"Cool." Ray kissed him quickly. "Like what?"
Fraser brought his hands up and stroked both thumbs over Ray's throat. "Like this." He moved closer and ran his tongue over the same spot. "Like this."
"Oh yeah." Ray tilted his head back. "I like the way you think." At the touch of Fraser's teeth, he squirmed closer and sighed, "Ooh, yeah." Then, without opening his eyes: "I'm gonna like getting the Mountie treatment."
"What's that, Ray?" Fraser's voice was muffled against Ray's skin.
"Yeah." Ray sighed. "Like, if there's a coat at the crime scene, you look at it and smell it and taste it and then you know where it came from and the name of the guy that sewed it and all. So by the time you get through with me ..."
Fraser was looking at him hotly. "Ray." His voice was low. "Take off your clothes, please."
"What, here in the kitchen?" But Ray was smiling.
"Yes. Here. Please."
Ray looked at him, then shrugged and stepped back. He toed off his shoes and socks, looking up at Fraser sideways with a half-grin. Fraser's nostrils flared slightly, and his nod was half salute and half encouragement. Ray nodded back, hauled his T-shirt free of his jeans, and pulled it off, flinging it carelessly behind him, where it fell into the sink.
He ran the back of his thumbnail absently down the center of his belly, through the coarse light-brown hair, to undo the first two buttons of his jeans before looking up.
Fraser's eyes were not on Ray's fingers but on his face. He nodded. "Go on."
Ray undid the rest of the buttons quickly. The briefs underneath were dark red; he hooked his thumbs under them and pulled off both layers at once. "OK?" he said in a challenging tone. A slight flush was beginning to redden his cheeks.
"Oh yes." Fraser stepped over the untidy heap of clothes and placed both hands on Ray's hips, and breathed deeply. "Your coloring is much as I imagined it, Ray." He brushed his thumbs up and down in the hollows of Ray's hips.
Fraser bent his arms, tugging Ray into an embrace, and Ray shivered as Fraser's mouth brushed over his shoulder and down his arm to nibble at the inside of his elbow. Ray pressed his naked body against Fraser's clothed one and took advantage of Fraser's bent head to lick the back of his neck.
"Ah," Fraser said, and Ray grinned against his skin.
"There you go with the 'Ah' again," he said, and bit down.
"Ah!" Fraser's head came up. "Ray --" He kissed him fervently.
Fraser's hands followed one another down Ray's back, tracing over his shoulder blades and ribs to circle in the dimples at the base of his spine before stroking down over his buttocks, and Ray broke free of the kiss, hissing. "Too much?" Fraser asked, hands stilling.
"Are you kidding me, Fraser?" Ray's hips pushed forward into Fraser's.
Instead of answering, Fraser kissed Ray again, and his hands resumed their explorations -- down Ray's thighs, up over his hips, cupping his buttocks and sending cautious fingertips into the cleft between them. Ray began to murmur encouragements into Fraser's mouth: "Mm, yeah, there, mm, Fraser, good," and squirm un-self-consciously against Fraser. He made no move to undress Fraser, but touched every inch of skin that was available -- ran gentle fingers up his forearms, nuzzled his neck and licked his ears -- until in self-defense Fraser shook Ray off and began to move his mouth and hands down over Ray's chest.
Immediately Ray grabbed Fraser's head and moved it to his nipple. Fraser laughed gently against his skin, then obediently began to lap at the red-brown skin.
"Oh, yeah, yeah, Fraser, that's so good." Ray shut his eyes and his head fell forward against the wall above Fraser's shoulder. "Oh, yeah, never get enough of that --"
"Really, Ray?" Fraser said, without lifting his mouth from Ray's chest. Ray grinned breathlessly.
"Well, I mean, if you kept on till Wednesday, I might tell you to stop -- maybe --"
"You'd scarcely have any skin left, Ray." It was amazing how Mountie-like his voice still sounded, despite the hoarseness and the wet sound of his tongue on Ray's skin.
"I'll -- ooh, yeah -- I'll take that chance." Ray moved Fraser's head to the other nipple. "You could alternate. Give 'em time to grow back."
Fraser smiled. Ray was moving lazily against him, pushing his hips up to rub his cock slowly against Fraser's cotton-clad belly, and Fraser turned to one side so he could reach down and stroke it softly with his fingertips.
"Mm," Ray said encouragingly.
Fraser touched him gently, then enfolded his cock in a loose grasp, and Ray cooperatively began to thrust into his fist, still moving slowly, lazily. "Oh, yeah," he sighed. "Fraser --" and he opened his eyes but didn't still his hips. "You wanna get naked or what?"
Fraser looked up from his hand and smiled faintly. "But then I'd have to stop what I'm doing, Ray," he said, with a little squeeze for emphasis.
" 's all right," Ray said. "I know a Mountie never leaves a job half done, so I'll just take over," and he brought up his hand and stroked up his cock as Fraser stroked down, so that their fingers touched in the middle. "Oh, that's good, Fraser, do that again." Then, with a gasp, "Nuh-uh. Too fast. Never mind, just -- here, I'll help you get started," and he tugged the dishtowel out of Fraser's waistband and tossed it over his shoulder.
Fraser pulled the henley off over his head. His hands clutched it irresolutely for a moment, as if contemplating folding it, and then he dropped it on top of the crumpled heap of Ray's clothes.
"Mm. Nice." Ray ran his fingers over Fraser's collarbone, then out to dip into the hollows in his shoulders. "Now the rest."
Fraser hesitated the barest of seconds, then began unfastening his jeans, bending his head as though the act required his complete attention. Button -- zipper -- the awkward necessity of disentangling his cock from the waistband of his boxers. As he began to ease both layers over his hips, Ray said softly, "Fraser. Look at me." Fraser's head came up. Ray smiled.
Fraser's cheeks flushed a bit, but he smiled back as he stepped out of his pants, leaving them where they fell and stepping forward to press full length against Ray. They breathed identical sighs.
"Smooth," Ray said, running his hands down Fraser's back. "Damn, Fraser, it's like you're not even real."
"Oh, I'm very real, Ray." Ray's mouth and hands converged on Fraser's chest, and Fraser made a choking sound as his knees almost buckled.
"Mm, found a weak spot, did I?" Ray said smugly. "Think you could walk as far as the bedroom?"
"I could if you'd stop -- Ray!" Fraser broke free and backed out of arm's reach, then all but ran to the bedroom.
When he was one step from the bed, Ray leapt on him, bringing him down with a flying tackle to a laughing shout of "Ray!" The bed was, of course, unmade, and after a bit of squirming, Ray pushed Fraser over and threw the sheets and blankets unceremoniously to the floor, and Fraser's arm snaked around his waist and drew him back to rest with his back against Fraser's chest.
"Mmyeah." Ray squirmed backwards, and Fraser sighed and pushed forward against him. Fraser pulled him back until he was almost on his back, leaning back against him, and looked over his shoulder to see his own hands wandering aimlessly over Ray's chest.
"I believe you expressed a desire for more stimulation here?" Fraser's panting voice made an almost obscene contrast with his usual Mountie-like diction, and it was as much to that as to the question that Ray answered, "Oh, yeah." Then, more vehemently, "Oh yeah" as Fraser's other arm went around him and both hands zeroed in on his nipples.
Then for long moments there was no sound but harsh breathing as Fraser tried out every kind of touch, from a feather-light tease to a full-scale pinch, adding the occasional nibble on Ray's neck for variety. Ray's hips moved to thrust into nothing, and his voice expressed something between pleasure and frustration. "Fraser -- jeez -- I could almost -- almost --"
Fraser watched Ray's hand creep up over his hip, then halt and clench into a fist. "Go on, Ray," he said softly in Ray's ear.
"Fraser -- you want me to --"
Even this far gone, Ray could still smile. "Damned kinky Mountie -- never would have thought -- oh yeah, just like that --" and at last he brought up first one hand, then the other, to stroke himself.
"Oh, Ray." Fraser thrust harder against Ray's back, and Ray twisted his head back to hiss, "Don't, Fraser, don't you dare, you save that for me," and then he pushed his head back against Fraser's shoulders and closed his eyes, panting. Fraser looked down over Ray's shoulder, watching Ray's hands on his cock and his own hands on Ray's nipples, and then he leaned forward and bit into the side of Ray's neck, and Ray gave a guttural grunt and spilled over his hands.
Fraser half-closed his eyes, and for a moment it seemed he wouldn't be able to stop himself, but his natural skill at following instructions pulled him back in time, and he pressed his mouth to Ray's shoulder as his hands stilled on Ray's chest and Ray panted and shuddered and murmured, "Fuck -- oh, god, you -- Fraser -- god --"
At last his breathing began to slow and he turned his face blindly up for a kiss. "God," he sighed, and they went on kissing and kissing, and when their hands met in the pool on Ray's belly, Ray opened his eyes.
"Fraser, you keep on surprising me," he said, smiling, still slightly breathless. "I woulda thought you'd be -- I don't know, all dignified and all."
"Dignity is a valuable trait, Ray," Fraser said, then spoiled the effect by burying his nose in Ray's neck and inhaling deeply. "Mm," he said. He drew up a corner of the sheet to wipe Ray clean, but the movement turned into a caress, Ray sighing and nuzzling his head back against Fraser's shoulders until Fraser rubbed over a nipple and Ray shrank back away from his hand.
"Just a little sensitive now," he said, grinning. "Don't know how I'm gonna put a shirt on."
"Don't," Fraser growled, moving out from behind him for another long kiss. Ray turned on his side and pressed up against him, knees to shoulders, all writhing warmth, and Fraser moaned into his mouth. "Oh, Ray."
Ray pushed Fraser onto his back, then sat up suddenly. "Hold on, hold on," he said, leaning almost all the way off the bed to drag up two pillows out of the pile of bedding on the floor. He nudged Fraser, but Fraser just looked at him, breathing hard, almost dazed. Ray shook his head and leaned in for a kiss, and with his mouth still against Fraser's, he maneuvered them until Fraser was half-sitting with his back against the pillows, clutching Ray's back hard and trying to pull Ray down against him.
"Nuh-uh." Ray shook his head quickly and moved down Fraser's chest, slanting him a wicked look from under his eyelashes. "My turn."
"Ohh." Fraser closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the pillows -- then lifted it again, with a look of disbelief, when Ray's mouth came down over his cock. "Ray!"
Ray was moving off Fraser's body to lie at an angle beside his legs, and Fraser gripped him, trying to maintain the contact. Ray shook off the reaching hands. "Tryin' to give --" a quick lick -- "give you a better view," and Fraser let out a strangled groan and let his hands fall to his sides.
The view was glorious, Ray all flushed and golden like a debauched angel, Ray's mouth moving over his flesh -- there was no other word for it -- fondly. The occasional glimpse of Ray's tongue, retreating again to make some astonishing move out of Fraser's sight. Ray's eyes opening, skin at his temples crinkling -- oh, god, he was smiling -- and Fraser lost the battle for control and pushed his hips hard upward and came, crying Ray's name.
Ray lingered over Fraser's spent flesh, reluctantly removing his mouth before pleasure turned into pain but continuing to scatter kisses over Fraser's hips and thighs. At last Fraser's hand came down on his hair and he laid his head down on Fraser's belly, still with that half-feral smile on his face, and sighed ,"Just gimme a sec here," and closed his eyes.
The light in the room changed slowly as day moved toward evening, and Ray made a sound that was almost but not quite a snore, and Fraser sat, looking out into the late-afternoon light with a half-smile, rubbing his hand over Ray's head.
"Fraser, I been thinking."
"You've been sleeping, if I'm not mistaken."
"Oh, sure, some people can only do one thing at the time." Ray raised his head and grinned sleepily up at Fraser. "No, what I been thinking -- that sweet stuff?"
"Well, with a little coffee to cut the sweetness, it might be all right." He sat up a little and settled against Fraser, and Fraser's arm came around his shoulders. "There any left?"
"All you want, Ray."
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