Believe You Me
Note: Inspired by, but too late for, the DS Flashfiction Mendacity Challenge. Offered with love to that ungrateful wench Julad whose birthday it is, and who can't focus to stay in a fandom for more than five minutes, damn her eyes. Thanks to Mia for beta!
Ray shoved his fingers up through the spikes of his hair. His head was a little fuzzy, but he had a sweet, warm feeling in his chest—that really good feeling you get on your third (or was it his fourth?) beer. Across the table from him, Dewey was telling some long-ass story, and Huey was laughing so hard that his eyes were wet with tears. Elaine leaned back in her chair, beer bottle hanging loosely from her fingers—and actually, Elaine made being a beat-cop look pretty good. Next to her, Frannie was trying to do a tequila shot, but she couldn't seem to get herself coordinated what with the salt and the licking and the lime.
Ray glanced sideways. Fraser was sitting with one elbow propped up on the table, chin resting on his up-turned palm. He looked relaxed—hell, Fraser looked really relaxed, and so maybe he shouldn't have pushed Fraser into coming out for beers with them, because Fraser looked like maybe his head was going to fall off and roll away across the sticky bar-room floor.
Fraser suddenly caught Ray looking at him and smiled. Ray grinned back, feeling stupid for even worrying. Fraser was doing just fine.
"—and I understand that," Dewey was saying, and suddenly the others were pounding hard on the table and hooting with laughter.
"Bullshit!" Elaine was flushed and her eyes were sparkling.
"Bullshit ," Huey repeated. "You are shitting us, man."
"Totally ," Frannie agreed.
"Hey, would I lie to you? Is this the face of a liar?" Dewey split his face into a gigantic, mug-ugly smile. "Believe me, guys—I'm speaking the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the—"
There was more laughter, and Ray looked from one face to another, trying to figure out the joke. He shot another glance at Fraser, but Fraser was just sitting there, watching them.
Then Frannie turned to Elaine. "Elaine," she said, looking really, really serious now, "I just love it when Lieutenant Welsh chews me out. It's an honor. It's a privilege. It's a growth experience ," and while Elaine was keeping a straight face and nodding, Diane from Records was giggling behind her hands like a schoolgirl. "It makes me feel respected ," Frannie added, slamming her palm against her chest for emphasis. "It makes me feel like part of the team —you know, being patronized and humiliated."
"Oh, believe me, I know ." Elaine set her beer bottle down hard on the table. "Like, don't you love how Haroldson always stares at your chest? It makes me feel so appreciated . Like I'm not just a police officer. I keep meaning to thank him."
"Haroldson looks at my chest, too," Huey said with a shrug. "He's just strange like that."
"Man, I love stakeouts," Dewey said, grinning madly. "And the coffee we got in the station. And how Tony Ryan smells—he smells like roses, that man, doesn't he?"
"Your stories are hilarious," Huey told Dewey. "I never get tired of hearing them. Particularly the one about the time you won that bet with Antonelli over the Brauer case. That story never ever gets old, man. Please, keep on telling it."
Ray lifted his head. "My name is Detective Raymond Vecchio," he said, and the entire table burst out laughing. "A guy of Italian descent—Northern Italian, right? Cause there are blonds in the north, right Frannie?"
"Right," Frannie confirmed. "Lots of blonds in the North."
"Plus, I wear nothing but Armani, because designer threads are my—"
"Like Madonna," Frannie interrupted. "She's a blonde."
"Right," Ray agreed. "Me and Madonna, we're like this," he said, and raised two crossed fingers in illustration. "Spiritual twins. Superstars."
"Actually, you look just like Uncle Nunzio," Frannie said.
"I was named for Uncle Nunzio, wasn't I, Sis?" Ray asked.
"You bet, Bro," Frannie agreed.
"Nunzio's my middle name," Ray said, popping a toothpick into his mouth and leaning back in his chair. "Raymond Nunzio Vecchio. God's honest truth."
"I love working at the Consulate," Fraser said, and everyone at the table looked at him. "It's so enriching. The work is extremely challenging, guard duty especially. My skills are keenly appreciated by my superior officer, who believes me nearly fit for the menial tasks she gives me. Each night I go to bed secure in the knowledge that I have put my talents to their fullest use. I also rest assured that I have earned the respect of my superiors in Canada, all of whom are furiously vying to employ me. This is the life I dreamed of when I was a boy. This was—this was precisely the life I wanted."
Fraser fell silent, and the silence hung there awkwardly. Ray found himself staring down at the scarred wood tabletop, at the two inches of beer left in his pint glass, at his beer-soaked coaster.
Fraser was staring down into his own glass, which he held loosely within the grasp of his fingers. "I'd hate being in your shoes," he mused, sliding the glass back and forth through a slick of wetness on the table. "Just consider the staggering variety of crimes you're asked to solve. The extent to which you're expected to use initiative in doing so. All the time you waste on group camaraderie and peer bonding, not to mention the way you're saddled with the albatross of the partnership system—"
Ray put his hand on Fraser's arm. "Fraser—"
Fraser pulled away from Ray's hand as he got to his feet. "I'm sorry," he said. "Please excuse me," and then he was heading for the door.
In a second, Ray was up and after him. "Fraser," he called out, as Fraser pushed through the heavy oak door that led to the street. "Fraser, wait!" Ray pushed through after him, then jogged a couple of steps until he could grab Fraser's arm.
Fraser stopped, turned—and his face was like nothing Ray'd ever seen before, absolutely thunderous in its emotion. "I'm sorry," Fraser began.
Ray interrupted him. "You're not sorry."
"I'm not sorry." Fraser looked on the verge of helpless, furious tears. "It's just—you don't understand. You don't—"
The bar door opened and discharged six laughing yuppies onto the street behind them. The group stood there talking loudly—where were they going to go next? was Tony's Pizzeria still open? —and Ray took Fraser's arm and tugged him around the corner and into the alley that led to where he'd parked the car, out in back.
When they were nearly at the GTO, which was shining darkly in a corner of the lot, Ray turned to Fraser and gripped his shoulders tightly. "You're right, I don't understand. Not even a little. Because I am Mr. Popularity over here, okay? I am a man in demand."
Fraser stared at him for a long moment before nodding slowly, and then he began to speak in a low urgent voice. "Ray, I love working at the Consulate, living in my office, being a thousand miles from everything and everyone I know—"
"Yeah," Ray said, and it was like soothing an animal. He let one hand slide down Fraser's shoulder and began rubbing his arm.
"—and the only thing ruining it is you . Being with you, being partnered with you, working on cases that actually matter . Without the Consulate, I wouldn't have been able to stand my job at the station. I would have gone out of what's left of my mind."
"Same here," Ray murmured, rubbing Fraser's arm and Fraser's shoulder. "Same here. You've made this job hell for me, Fraser—"
"In the North," Fraser said to Ray softly, urgently, "the work is boring and meaningless—but thankfully my life there is dangerous, physically exhausting, and totally isolated, so there are, at least, compensations. I miss being alone, living alone, eating alone—"
Ray tightened his hands, and Fraser's leather jacket creaked. "Yeah."
"—and having nobody to talk to but myself or Diefenbaker or God —"
"Fraser —" Ray whispered.
"—or the ghost of my recently-deceased father," Fraser said, and he looked wild-eyed and scared. "And I am not the slightest bit afraid of the voices in my head—"
"—or of dying alone, or of living unloved—
The words were pouring out of Fraser now, and Ray didn't know if he wanted to stop them or let them soak into his skin. Before he realized it, he had knotted his hands in the soft leather of Fraser's jacket and pushed him up against the side of the GTO. "Fraser —"
"—and I've never had a single lascivious thought about you," Fraser finished breathlessly, and when had Fraser started breathing so hard? "Not a one. Not ever."
Ray realized, with a start, that he was humping Fraser up against the passenger side door. He stopped and tried to pull away, but Fraser clutched at his hips and held him tight, right where he was, so that they were groin to groin, their faces inches apart.
"I've never thought about us, or dreamed that we could—" and then Fraser's mouth was hot on his, and Ray just let himself fall into the kiss, blindly raising his hands to touch Fraser's face, skim his cheek, cup his jaw. Fraser moaned into his mouth, hands tightening on his hips. They swayed a little, and Ray shoved Fraser back against the car to anchor them both.
"Don't. Touch me," Fraser murmured against Ray's mouth. "Don't touch me. Please." Fraser took Ray's hand and moved it to the fly of his jeans. Ray felt the hard, hot flesh underneath the soft denim and shoved Fraser back against the car, pushing his tongue into Fraser's mouth as he unzipped Fraser's jeans and slid his hand inside.
He groped the length of Fraser's cock, which leaked a stripe of wet up his palm and smeared the inside of his wrist. Fraser moaned as Ray stroked downward, and stroked his tongue against Ray's in a mirroring gesture that tore a moan out of Ray, too. Ray stroked harder and felt Fraser's hand cup the back of his neck, pulling his mouth close for deeper kisses. Fraser twisted his head to the side so that he could suck in more of Ray's tongue, and Ray opened his mouth to deepen the kiss, wanting to sweeten the kiss.
He jerked Fraser in time with the stroke of Fraser's tongue against his, then let his hand slide up so he could gently squeeze Fraser's cockhead in the circle of his thumb and forefinger. He felt, more than heard, the heartbreaking groan that Fraser breathed into him, and a second later, Fraser pulled his mouth away and inhaled desperately for air, though he was still cupping Ray's face tightly between his passion-sweaty palms.
"Oh," Fraser breathed, and there was a kind of ecstasy in his look—a kind of adoration and devotion that Ray never, ever thought would be aimed his way, not by anybody, certainly not by Fraser . Ray brushed his thumb over the slick, soft head of Fraser's cock and watched Fraser's eyelashes flutter, watched his face contort with a spasm of passion. "Ray..."
Ray smoothed his thumb in a gentle, swift circle and watched Fraser's eyes close and his lips part. Ray leaned forward to kiss him, to lick and bite those kiss-swollen lips. Fraser convulsed and came hard, his cock jerking violently in Ray's hand. Ray pulled away to stare helplessly at Fraser's face—Benton Fraser was so, so beautiful, it was almost terrifying. He slid his free arm around Fraser and drew him into a tight, one-armed hug, while his other hand, between them, coaxed Fraser through the sexual aftershocks. Fraser let his face fall against Ray's neck.
Uncontrollable, unnamable emotions rose up in Ray, lodging hard in his throat. He raised his other arm and wrapped it tight around Fraser.
"I never thought about you, either," he said.