Note: For the DS Flashfiction Cliche' challenge, except I suck and it's too long and it's not nearly lurid enough because it grew a stupid plot. Oh well. Thank you Terri for betaing at five o' clock in the fucking morning, because we're both NUTS.
The thing about polyester was that it made you sweat like a motherfucker.
Ray'd pulled this shirt out of his closet because it had a cool zig-zaggy pattern and a big pointy collar, and he used to go clubbing in it back in the days when he used to go clubbing. But he'd forgotten the way that polyester got all sweaty when you danced, especially when there were a million zillion people on the dance floor with you and strobe lights were going off in your face. And normally, all that body heat was a plus—because when you got hot with a lot of other people, it was hot, it was like boxing, it was like sex.
Except he'd forgotten to figure in the effect of the goddamned polyester.
He did a move where he raised his arms up over his head and twisted his hips, and that helped. The sticky fabric peeled away from his sweat-slick back. It also brought him a new dance partner, because suddenly Ray felt hands on him, spread-fingered on each of his hips. Okay, this was it—this was a score, hadda be, and one of the hands slid around to his abdomen and tugged him back so that they were cock to ass. The hands were still gripping him as they moved together, swaying, gyrating, mock-fucking standing up, and Ray still hadn't seen the guy's face yet, but hey, at least he had rhythm.
Finally he managed to work a quick spin into his dance moves, cause he wanted to see who he was dealing with—and okay, not bad, a couple of years older than him but in terrific physical shape, tall and broadshouldered with muscles that looked really fucking expensive, like his personal trainer had him doing reps with gold bars. The rest of him looked expensive, too: expensive shirt, expensive watch, expensive tan, expensive haircut. Meanwhile, his hair probably looked like it had been cut with a weedwacker—maybe even worse between the gel and the sweat—but the guy was looking at him in the kind of way that meant Ray's downmarket looks were most of the attraction.
He let the guy tug him over to the crowded bar, buy him a drink. The guy waved a fistful of green at the bartender, which got him noticed real quick. Ray wormed a pack of cigarettes out of his back pocket, writhing a little extra just for show before tossing the cig into his mouth and lighting it with a match between his cupped hands.
The guy turned back to him with a drink in each hand. Ray grinned around the cigarette, took the offered drink, nodded.
"You come here often?" Ray asked, but inside, he was thinking are you the guy, are you the guy, are you my guy? "Never seen you here before."
The guy took a careful sip before answering. "I've never been here before. In fact, I'm just passing through on business."
Ray squinted at him, because that was the oldest story in the book. Guy probably had a wife somewhere, or a mother—someone who didn't know that he had a taste for rough-looking guys in polyester shirts. "Oh yeah? Where you from?"
"L.A.," the guy said, and damn, it had been a long time since anybody'd looked at him with that kind of heat. "The Hollywood hills, actually," and Ray decided that he believed him; this guy had L.A. written all over him, which meant he wasn't the guy.
"You got a place?" Ray asked, cutting right to the chase.
The man swallowed hard, licked his lips, and swallowed again. "Yeah. My hotel."
"So okay." Ray tossed back his drink, told the guy to meet him down the block at Vinnie's Pizzeria, and wandered off to find out how Fraser was doing.
It took him all of three minutes to find Fraser. Turned out it was easy to find Fraser in a gay club—all you had to do was head for the thickest part of the crowd, where the guys were crammed together, pushing and shoving like it was a mosh pit and Benton Fraser was the band. At the moment, there was a pretty respectable crowd vying for Fraser's attention, each of them apparently hoping that all the other guys in the room would keel over from heart failure, spinal meningitis, bad filet of cod. Any second someone was gonna crowd-surf by with a sign; it was that bad.
He could feel stabbing glances as he wormed his way toward Fraser; geez, the area around Fraser was, like, a great place to get murdered. As he got closer, he saw that Fraser was in an intense-looking conversation with maybe the second best-looking guy in the place—late twenties, dyed black hair, leather pants. Ray joined the rest of the room in staring daggers at him, and really, it was amazing that Leather Pants Guy didn't drop dead from bad karma.
Ray finally got his shoulder through the crowd, and was able to make a grab for the sleeve of Fraser's shirt. "Hey!"
Fraser turned toward him, his face breaking into a smile. "Ray! Hello!"
Leather Pants Guy's face fell, his pretty little lips going all pouty. Tough shit, Ray thought. He was mine first.
"You got a minute?" Ray asked. "I wanna talk to you."
"Yes, of course." Fraser turned back to Leather Pants Guy and said, "It was a pleasure talking to you. I hope we'll have the chance to chat again sometime."
"—but he wasn't the guy, and he didn't know anything, either. He's from out of town. So I sent him over to Vinnie's," Ray explained.
Fraser raised a disapproving eyebrow. "That wasn't very nice of you, Ray."
"Hey, they have good pizza there—he's in Chicago, he should have pizza. Besides, he can hang out with the other two guys I sent over. They can maybe have a threesome. One more guy, they could play bridge." Ray braced his hands on his back and leaned back, stretching. "What about you, how are you making out?"
"Well," Fraser said after a moment; he was thumbing his eyebrow nervously, "it's been an interesting evening, if not a terribly productive one. One fellow told me all about his plans to move to Key West. Apparently he wants to open an ice cream shop."
"Everybody needs a goal," Ray conceded.
"Another claimed to be a flautist for the Chicago City Orchestra, but frankly, his knowledge of classical music didn't have the depth I would have expected from a professional. So he may just have been trying to impress me. He didn't strike me as the criminal type."
Ray pinched the bridge of his nose; trust Fraser to notice the guy who was exaggerating about Bach and miss the guys who were posing and flexing in his face. "What about Leather Pants Guy?"
Fraser's eyebrow shot up. "Who?"
"The guy you were just talking to. Kid—dark hair, leather pants?"
"Alec." Fraser looked suddenly distant, like he was thinking hard about something. "Alec isn't a criminal, either," he said, finally. "He was nice," and Ray stiffened, cause did Fraser mean "nice" or did Fraser mean "nice"?
"Nice?" Ray repeated. "Nice meaning what? Nice how?"
Fraser craned his neck to glance around, but they'd actually managed to get a couple of square feet to themselves. Still, Fraser lowered his voice anyway. "He's concerned, for one thing. I mean, it's shocking, but most of the men I've talked to—either they don't know or they know and don't care. Six men, Ray!"
Fraser was upset, and Fraser had every right to be upset; this was one ugly case. "Yeah, I know," Ray said quietly.
"And the man committing these assaults must be a regular patron of this establishment—so why aren't they concerned, at least for their own safety?"
Ray just sighed. "They're concerned, Fraser—it's just not a subject they feel much like discussing, and certainly not with you. You're trying to get information; they're trying to get laid. Six guys, drugged and raped—it ain't a sexy conversation."
Fraser coughed at this. "That's true," he admitted. "Oh, and speaking of sex," Fraser added, and Ray grinned stupidly: heh, Fraser said "sex", "apparently this club has a restricted section where—where men go to—"
"There's a backroom, yeah," Ray interrupted. "Upstairs, I think."
"It's more than a back room, according to Alec—he says that you can actually rent a private compartment. I haven't been up there, not yet," and here Fraser looked away, "though several of the men I've met tonight have been good enough to invite me."
Oh, Christ—and Fraser had actually been worried about this assignment. "Is there anything special I should wear?" Fraser'd asked him nervously, and it had taken all of Ray's self-control to keep his voice calm and normal-sounding when he replied, "Nah, Fraser. What you normally wear is just fine."
And now here was Fraser, standing there in a soft-looking blue shirt, in jeans that showed off his everything, and there wasn't a guy in the place that didn't want him, Ray included.
For a moment, Ray let himself dream about him and Fraser together in a private compartment, doing things that they shouldn't be doing—and then he dragged his mind out of the gutter and back to the case, to whatever it was that Fraser was trying to tell him.
"You want to go up there, check it out?" he asked.
"Yes. Though I thought it best to wait for you."
Fraser's voice was soft and serious, his eyes fixed upon Ray—and damn, if it were anybody else, Ray would have sworn that there was meaning there; that Fraser was making a pass or something. Except it wasn't anybody else, it was Fraser—so all he meant was that he wasn't going into the backroom with some guy who wouldn't understand that his interests were purely investigative. Hell, knowing Fraser, he probably didn't want to give the wrong impression: "Oh, I'm terribly sorry—I'm not actually interested in sucking your penis. No, I only wanted to lick this wall over here, perhaps take a few samples. You see, this might be a crime scene. Please—if you'd just put your member away, thank you kindly."
Man, he needed a cold shower or something. He'd been in here too long.
With a start, he realized that Fraser had put one hand on his shoulder, the other on his hip, and was drawing him close. "You see," Fraser said, leaning forward to whisper in Ray's ear, "Alec actually knew Sam Winter," the last man to have been raped, "and he saw him the night he was attacked. Alec says Mr. Winter was heading up toward the restricted section—"
"With who?" God, had Fraser found a witness? "Who was he with?"
"Well, that's just it; he wasn't with anybody, though Alec had the distinct impression that Mr. Winter was planning to meet someone upstairs. But not for sex," Fraser added softly. "To buy drugs."
Ray frowned, because just possibly this changed everything. "But I thought we decided this was a sex case, not a drug case—"
"It is a sex case—at least, I think it is," Fraser whispered back. "But I think drugs are the lure. And consider this, Ray: the private compartments, while designed for sexual encounters, also make an admirable setting for either dealing or taking drugs."
"So you're saying," Ray murmured, "that this guy lures his victims upstairs, drugs them, rapes them, and then what?"
"He's drugging them with something very like Rohypnol," Fraser replied, "though even more potent, which explains the blackouts. Very likely, the men manage to leave the club under their own power—until they collapse, that is."
Yeah: two had collapsed on the street just outside, one in a nearby park, one in the alley behind the club, and one in the first-floor men's room. All bleeding like they'd been fucked up the ass with a cheese grater.
"So okay." Could be that it was wrong to do this, but it was pretty much the only chance Ray was gonna get, so he slid his arms around Fraser's waist. Fraser looked startled for a second before seeming to remember where they were, what they were supposed to be doing, and then he relaxed and showed Ray a flirtatious smile.
"You wanna go upstairs with me?"
"Why, yes, Ray. I'd love to."
He held Fraser's hand tightly as they moved through the crowded club and up the wide, curving stairs. Fraser's hand was strong and warm in his, but he couldn't let himself think about that right now; six guys, drugged and raped, and it was his job to prevent number seven.
It was crowded up here, too, but they parted for Fraser like the Red Sea. All manner of guys, apparently stunned senseless by Fraser's loveliness, fell back to let them through, their mouths falling open as he passed.
"Thank you. Thank you, kindly." Fraser was politely tipping his head this way and that, but Ray could feel Fraser's hand tightening on his. No wonder, because he could hear the whispers in Fraser's wake, and if he could, Fraser could.
Maybe he'd been wrong to bring Fraser with him. But he'd wanted someone to back him up, and Fraser was the only guy he trusted. Besides, he'd figured Fraser's looks would be a plus here, which was true—Fraser'd talked to a lot more guys tonight than he had. But Ray never pictured what it would be like to have people talk about you the way people talked about Fraser—like he was just a piece of meat, something to fuck. Ray didn't think he could handle it, if he were Fraser.
He noticed that Fraser was keeping his own face pretty carefully blank.
The crowd thinned out near the velvet draped arch that led to the dimly-lit backroom, which seemed to be run like a club within the club. A dark-haired woman wearing a tight black dress sat on a stool behind a podium, and behind her, Ray could see two very tall, very large men. Bouncers, he figured.
Fraser's hand tightened further on his, and Ray wasn't sure if he was nervous, or if this was just his way of contributing to the act. "How much?" Ray asked the woman.
"Five bucks to get in. A private room'll run you thirty bucks for the half-hour."
Sheesh. Way to make a killing on guys coming. Ray brought out a wad of bills, folded and secured with a money clip—no wallet, no I.D, not in here. He pulled off a twenty and a ten and offered the money to her. She gave Fraser an appreciative once-over, shot Ray a sharp look of admiration, and handed him the key.
"Number eight," she said.
Ray moved into the backroom area slowly, because it was darker in here than outside and he wanted to give his eyes some time to adjust. It was a large room, very dark, with all sorts of bulky shadows—a good place to break your neck in. As he squinted, some of the dark shapes became furniture—some curved high-back sofas, some cocktail tables, a long wooden bar—and some of the dark shapes became bodies, twisted together like weird sculpture.
Two men were leaning against the velvet-covered walls, doing something fast and intense with their hands. One long-legged man was lying sprawled half on and half off a plush sofa; another man was kneeling worshipfully between his spread legs. A man was braced, elbows against the bar, his head thrown back; it took a moment to see the black-clad figure kneeling in front of him, pale fingers holding tight onto his hips. From somewhere, there was a sharp screech of a chair sliding against wood, and then a muffled groan.
Ray's cock hardened in his pants, hardened painfully as it pressed against the tight buttonflies of his jeans. He'd thought it was quiet in here when he walked in, but once you started paying attention, the sex-noises were deafening: the wet smack of skin on skin, the rhythmic grunts, the hisses and whispers: oh yeah—fuck me, baby—make me come—suck my dick! suck my fucking dick! He shot a sharp glance at Fraser, but Fraser's face was blank and controlled, like he couldn't see or hear a thing. See no evil, hear no evil.
"Come on," Fraser whispered. "Let's find number eight."
They were guided by a small pink neon sign to the left of the bar. "Heaven," it said, and there was an arrow.
They followed the arrow, which pointed down a long, dark, narrow corridor. On the left were a series of doors, numbered one to ten. They looked almost like railway compartments, or maybe like dressing rooms—and yeah, now that he thought about it, he seemed to remember that this building used to be a theatre.
"Number eight seems to be at the far end of the hall," Fraser said quickly, and Ray had to grab him tight around the chest to stop him from hurrying down the corridor. Fraser turned in his arms—and behind that blank expression, Fraser's eyes were pained with embarrassment. So much for see no evil, hear no evil.
Ray tightened his arms around Fraser, drawing him into a warm hug—and one of the neat things about being in this place was that touching Fraser felt natural, which it never did at the station. "Take it easy, slow down," he murmured, sliding one hand to the small of Fraser's back and the other to the burning back of his neck. Fraser's head bobbed quickly, up and down, up and down. "I know you want to get out of here, but we're here now, so let's look the place over before we split, okay?"
"Yeah. Yes. All right." Fraser took a deep breath and pulled out of his arms.
They began to move down the corridor again, but at a slower place. Ray tried to move as silently as possible, because he was trying to concentrate—listening for sounds in the other rooms, searching the walls and floors for any sign of violence, sniffing for the distinctive smell of heroin cooking, someone smoking crack or weed.
He heard a soft groan outside number two, and a quick look at Fraser—who looked miserable—confirmed for him that it was what he thought it was. They nearly had the life scared out of them just as they passed number five—there was a sudden wail and then a loud thump! and then a bunch of other thumps—thump! thump! thump! and somebody in there was getting thumped but good. Fraser, meanwhile, had recoiled back to the far wall and was staring at the door to number five like maybe it might open and unleash the hounds of hell. It was one thing to suggest patience, but something else to torture the guy, so Ray grabbed Fraser's hand and tugged him quickly down the hall to room number eight.
It took him two seconds to unlock the door and push it open, and the Ritz it wasn't—more like a broom closet with a mattress in it. There weren't any sheets or pillows on the bed, just a kind of quilted washable cover that actually looked pretty clean. Next to the bed was a nightstand which offered a canister of baby wipes and a box of facial tissues.
"Well," Ray said, not really knowing what else to say. "Home sweet home."
"Hmm," Fraser hmmed, and that surprised him, because he thought this place was actually pretty embarrassing. Nothing like an unmade bed and a box of Kleenex to prove that men were indeed the skankier sex.
Hell, add cable television and half the guys Ray knew might even live here.
But Fraser didn't look embarrassed, because Fraser was studying the place—looking at the floor, at the walls, at the bed, down at the floor again. Ray followed his partner's eyes, but he didn't know what Fraser was looking at. Ugly orange-brown carpet on the floor? Ugly painting of daisies over the bed? Metal sprinkler system embedded in the ceiling? Nothing to write home about, and he was just about to ask Fraser what the hell was so interesting when Fraser turned, gripped him by the arms, and said, "Kiss me."
"What?" Ray felt like they'd suddenly sidestepped into another, wackier universe.
But Fraser looked serious; in fact, he looked desperate. "Kiss me, Ray. Kiss me now."
Dazed, Ray reached out, cupped Fraser's head in his hands, and tugged his mouth forward—and Fraser's lips against his were soft and wet, a sharp contrast to the bite of nearly invisible beard bristles around Fraser's mouth. Fraser moaned a little and wrapped his arms around Ray's waist, and so Ray deepened the kiss, pulling Fraser in closer, eating his mouth like it was the sweetest summer fruit.
Fraser's eyes were closed and he was inhaling raggedly when Ray ended the kiss. "Oh, Ray..." and Ray couldn't help himself, he had to hold Fraser close. From that very first day in the bullpen he'd wanted to be close to Fraser, and now Fraser's arms were around him, hugging him tight, making him feel all warm inside.
And then he felt Fraser's lips at his ear. "Don't look, and don't make any sudden movements, but there's a camera," Fraser whispered.
Ray froze, not knowing what to do, what to think—was this a game, a trick, a trap?
Fraser gently ran his tongue around the sensitive shell of Ray's ear, making him so hot, making him want to scream for it like that poor bastard in room number five. "Don't worry, I think it's just visuals," Fraser murmured, and now Fraser was fucking his ear with his tongue—his hot, soft tongue—making him weak at the knees. "I don't think we're miked, because I think the vibrations from the dance floor would disrupt the equipment," and yeah, now that Fraser'd pointed it out, Ray could feel the bass of the techno pounding the floor beneath their feet. "But there is a camera," Fraser said quietly, "and I believe we're being monitored." He ended this sentence by pressing a sweet, warm kiss to Ray's cheek.
"Okay. Okay." Ray was trying to process this, but his brain didn't seem to be working; all his blood was down there in his cock. "What do you want to do?"
Fraser answered by kissing him again, and Ray stroked their tongues together—he wanted to hear Fraser moan, he liked hearing Fraser moan. He made fists in the soft, blue fabric of Fraser's shirt, and after a couple of minutes, he found he was rocking his hips forward, nudging his hips against Fraser's.
This time Fraser broke the kiss, and he was flushed and wild-eyed and panting. "Ray..."
Ray pressed his sweaty palms to Fraser's face and tilted his head back, then leaned forward to kiss and suckle Fraser's Adam's apple, the line of his neck. Fraser made a low, unearthly sound deep in his throat, and Ray could feel it vibrating against his lips.
Finally, he tugged Fraser's head back down and gave him another long, wet kiss. Fraser's hands kneaded his shoulders, skimmed down his chest, and landed, heavily, on his groin, where they found his cock and balls and squeezed tightly.
Ray gasped, his mouth coming off Fraser's as he sucked for air. Instantly, Fraser's mouth was on his ear, "Let me do this for you, let me do this, and then we can leave—"
"Don't wanna leave," Ray said breathlessly, rocking his cock against Fraser's strong hands.
"Ray." There was an edge to Fraser's voice now. "Ray. Ray, listen," and then Fraser was pulling him close and whispering intensely in his ear. "We're being filmed. Which means that whoever owns this club is an accomplice to the assaults; in fact, they probably solicited the assaults for the purpose of filming them. Which means that our first priority is to get out of here without rousing suspicion—and even if we manage that, we'll be leaving behind a fairly revealing piece of evidence."
That brought Ray up cold, because yeah, even if they got out of here and called a raid down on the place, there was still a pretty good likelihood that he and Fraser were gonna end up as "Exhibit B."
"So let me do this for you," Fraser said softly, and only now did Ray understand the real tenderness behind the offer: this wasn't about Fraser bringing him off, it was about Fraser being the one on his knees if the film got turned over to the cops or the D.A.
"Okay," Ray breathed. "Yeah. Let's do it."
"Open your pants," Fraser murmured, and Ray obeyed him, reaching down with shaking hands to unwork his buttons. Finally, he shoved his jeans and underwear down out of the way—and Christ but it felt good to let his cock free. He looked up, relief coursing through his body, and saw that Fraser was staring at him with unashamed longing. After a moment, Fraser dropped to his knees and tilted that starry look up at Ray.
"Grab my hair," Fraser murmured, and as in a dream, Ray reached out and sank his fingers in Fraser's thick, dark hair, making fists on either side. Fraser moaned, and Ray tugged gently at his head until Fraser leaned forward and buried his face into the dark blond thatch of Ray's pubic hair. Fraser breathed deeply for a moment, nuzzling the side of Ray's cock with his cheek, then turned his head and took the tip into his mouth.
Ray sucked in desperate gasps for air, his heart jackhammering in his chest. His cock was bulging from Fraser's sweet, soft mouth—so wet, so warm and tight. He could feel Fraser's tongue working his cockhead, stroking the underside lip around the head with teasing little flicks.
Then Fraser really started to move on him, sliding down a few inches and pulling back, sliding down and pulling back. Ray felt himself rocking back and forth helplessly, moving into and out of Fraser's warm, wet mouth. His cock grew slick with spit, and Ray suddenly groaned and pulled Fraser's hair and fucked his face hard and fast until he came.
"This is the police! Proceed to the exits in an orderly fashion! Repeat! Proceed to the exits in an orderly fashion!"
Again, Ray found himself shoving through the club crowd, but this time he was wearing a Kevlar vest and had brought along thirty-five of his closest, most heavily armed friends.
Well, thirty-six, if you counted Fraser, except he was pretty sure that Fraser was more than a friend to him, now. Fraser was everything to him now.
Though right now, what Fraser mostly was was a decoy; he was supposed to be helping the SWAT team separate the club personnel from the customers, but really what he was doing was keeping everyone on the main floor while Ray ran upstairs to destroy evidence.
He fought his way up the staircase to the second floor and pushed through the curtains into the backroom. The woman and the two bouncers were nowhere to be seen, but there were two guys humping passionately on one of the sofas. Ray let them be.
Instead, he searched frantically for the door that led to the area behind the private rooms, knowing that it had to be around here somewhere, and that if it was locked, he was fucked.
It was locked. He was fucked. And then, he felt suddenly, supremely confident—because today was the luckiest day of his life, ever, and good things, like bad things, came in threes. So he'd closed the case, bagged Benton Fraser—and presto! magic! the key he needed had been tossed into the drawer of the podium, along with the keys to private rooms one through ten.
The door opened onto a dark hallway, and Ray raised the semi-automatic rifle he was carrying, just in case any of the bad guys had chosen this as a hideout. Sure enough, he rounded a corner and came upon one of the huge, ugly bouncers. But the guy wasn't armed and so Ray just waved him past with the muzzle of his machine gun, knowing he'd end up downstairs in Welsh's waiting arms.
He turned the next corner and saw the line of cameras, each aimed at the inside of a private room. Behind them, there was a wall of videotapes—man, this was some little business they were running here, home-made porn for all types and all tastes.
Conveniently, the cameras had white numbers on them that corresponded to the rooms they filmed, and so Ray worked his way down to camera number eight, stopped the camera, and popped out the tape. He slid his fingers underneath the inch of black plastic and prepared to yank the tape off the spools—but then he hesitated, realizing that this tape contained his and Fraser's first kiss ever, not to mention their first sexual encounter ever, even undercover and under-duress as it was.
He stared at the tape in his hand for a long time—and then he heard footsteps outside and impulsively shoved it up under his vest.
This tape was a keeper.