Gifts and Burdens
by Ultra Chrome
Disclaimer: These are not my boys, but I'm playing with them anyway.
Author's Notes: Written for the GetFraserLaid challenge. An explanation of why Fraser has clothes all over his floor in Asylum.
Love and undying gratitude to Lucifercircle and Heartofdavid for the great beta work on this, my first ever Due South fic.
Story Notes: Spoilers for Asylum, if spoilers are even an issue these days.
Ray once said something very interesting to me. Well, he has said many interesting things to me, but this thing is the one I've come to find most interesting of all of them. He said, "On the inside, I'm a poet. On the outside...shake, bad guys, shake." At the time, I thought very little of it, other than to surmise that he was a romantic at heart, but hid it from the world. As do a good many romantics at heart, I among them.
That was approximately two months ago, and many things have changed since then, including my take on the meaning of that seemingly small admission. Perhaps that's not entirely true. It's not so much that things changed, as it is that I finally became aware of how they have apparently been for some time. That happened as of two days ago. The clues were, for the most part, subtle, leading to a much larger event than my epiphany regarding Ray's words, although not unrelated. And I am still coming to terms with the effects of both. Happiness, true happiness, is a feeling I have difficulty accepting, even though I crave it. Which is why I feel compelled to write it all down, in the hope that I will always have a reminder of how I feel at this precise point in time. In case things should change again, and not for the better. Things have a way of doing that, despite my attempts to keep them the same.
But I digress. If Ray were reading this, he would raise his eyebrows pointedly and sort of waggle (for want of a better word) his head about. This is his silent way of saying, "Fraser, would you just get to the point?" I believe he developed it to save himself from becoming repetitive. Because saying, "Fraser, would you just get to the point?" over and over is hardly poetic, no matter how beautiful the mouth that utters it.
And we are back to the point, I believe. Inside, Ray is a poet. I know this to be true, because I've been there, where the poetry is born; inside Ray. And it is everything that poetry should be. Very much more than most poetry is. I believe it was e.e.cummings who said, "A lot of people think or believe or know they feel -- but that's thinking or believing or knowing; not feeling. And poetry is feeling --not knowing or believing or thinking."
And the good poets, the truly great ones, have a way of doing more than simply sharing their feelings. They give them to you, wholly. Whether they be gift or burden, or somehow both, they become yours. You feel them as your own, even as you know that they are someone else's. And the emotions stay with you, long after the words are forgotten.
Ray is very obviously an emotional man. Passionate is perhaps more accurate. He appears incapable of mild emotion, in any event. That is easy enough to see from the outside. It translates to nervous energy most often. I would say irrational anger runs a very close second. Whatever form his passion takes, he radiates it. It affects everyone around him. There is a possibility that I simply absorb it because I want any part of him that I can get. This would explain my own inability, at times, to contain my frustration and anger, which are obviously a reaction to his, more than they are my own feelings. Restraint is a virtue I have always been proud to have perfected. It is also one which Ray has systematically destroyed in me, at least where he is concerned. His gift and burden to me.
From the moment I saw him, I wanted him. And I felt guilt, because I should have been thinking more of Ray Vecchio, who had seemingly disappeared, to be replaced by a stranger. Nobody else seemed to care. Not even his family; so I should have been more concerned with his whereabouts than trying to discover whom this man claiming to be my friend was. But I wanted to know. I wanted to find out everything about him. Mostly I think I wanted to know his sexual orientation, and his identity would be the first step. It never once occurred to me to ask.
Even later, when he gave me opportunities to do so. There were clues, which I would mull over obsessively when I was alone at night, but which I was too afraid to follow up in the light of day. I tried and even thought I may have succeeded in showing my desire for him a few times, but either he was oblivious to my advances, or suffering from my own brand of reticence.
In any event, it didn't take long for him to reveal his identity to me. Only slightly longer than it took me to discover it for myself. He told me many things about himself, including the more personal details of how he won the love of his ex-wife. It was evident from the way he spoke that he still held strong feelings for her. This was a blow to me. Such a crushing disappointment that I failed to wonder why he had asked me if I found him attractive. At least until I was alone with my thoughts, and the fantasies that arose from them. But that is neither here nor there.
Stella Kowalski is not a particularly pleasant woman, and I fail to see why Ray ever loved her. With his deep embarrassment about his given name, I would have thought that he'd have avoided a girl named Stella as a matter of self-preservation. But love her he did, and still does, in his own way, which I believe is one of Ray's more endearing qualities. He loves freely, unashamedly, and makes no excuses for it. Stella almost destroyed him, but still, he will defend her and protect her with a single-mindedness that makes little sense, even to me. Considering I have been accused of being the most stubborn man on Earth, this is quite astounding.
And yet, even with his loving nature, he keeps himself closed to all and sundry, appearing violent at worst and annoyingly obtuse at best. For the life of me, I cannot figure out why I was so strongly attracted to him from our first meeting. He hardly stopped speaking for a second on that first day, even when he hugged me, which is unacceptable behaviour for a first meeting, and still, I learned nothing about him. Except for the physical evidence I gathered (in a somewhat less that surreptitious manner, I might add) which allowed me to pull his file later. He assures me that he practically told me his life story, but as I was sliding around on the roof of Ray Vecchio's ill-fated Riviera for the duration of his discourse, I can't be sure he told me anything that I wanted to know. Diefenbaker claims he was also distracted and wasn't able to see Ray's mouth moving, so he was no help. This is not entirely new.
If anything that occurred on our first day together gave me an inkling as to Ray's true nature, it was the fact that he stepped in front of a bullet intended for me. Granted, he was wearing a vest at the time, but that would not have protected him had the bullet gone high.
That is not usually the act of a self interested, angry man. His inordinate pleasure at my fear that he was mortally wounded was a tad annoying at first, but I think perhaps it was more a case of happiness that he was appreciated. Even his sense of humour is not so perverse as to find instilling terror in a body amusing. And appreciation is not something Ray Kowalski has had a surfeit of in his lifetime, I imagine. He has such little faith in his ability to engender feelings of fondness in others that I wonder if he believes his prickly exterior is ultimately convincing; or is the prickly exterior there to hide his loneliness and self doubt? Either way, he responds well to praise and kind actions, a fact which I have shamelessly used to my advantage, I'm afraid.
A few days ago, Ray had a meet with a member of Chicago's organised crime community, which ended in the fatal shooting of that man, one Andreas Volpe. Ray was knocked unconscious and never saw the shooter, but it was readily accepted by the police in general (although not by those who know him) that Ray had killed this man. When he regained consciousness, he ran from the scene, directly to the consulate. I heard the door burst open and rushed to the foyer in time to see Ray fall to his knees yelling my name. He was obviously in some kind of grave peril, yet all I could think for a brief moment was of Stanley Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire and the fact that it should have been Stella that he was yelling. But it was oh so heartbreakingly my name that he called and I felt an uncharitable joy rising in me. I had replaced Stella. I was the first person he thought of in times of crisis. When Ray thought first with his heart, he thought of me.
Of course, I could hardly know that to be fact. It is entirely possible that Ray was thinking very clearly and the consulate was close enough to the scene of the shooting to be his first obvious destination. I haven't yet had the courage to ask him. Perhaps I never will, so until I am told otherwise, I will believe he thought first of me, and that is why he was on his knees in the foyer of my place of employment and residence, panting raggedly and calling my name. Tragic and beautiful. Living poetry.
That image is one which I must admit led me to other inappropriate thoughts, briefly at that point in time, but increasingly as I recall it now. And so it was a difficult task to tend Ray's head wound, which was, thankfully, minor, and take in the details surrounding his spectacular entrance. When the full weight of the situation became apparent, I determined that my only course of action was to arrest Ray and therefore keep him out of the hands of the Chicago Police Department until I could clear him of any wrongdoing. Metaphorically tying him up in red tape, if you like. The picture that conjured in my mind's eye, coupled with the willing presentation of his wrists when I approached him with handcuffs was enough to make me eternally grateful for the length of my tunic and the loose fit of my jodhpurs. But there was work to be done, and quickly, if Ray was to be exonerated before he was extradited from my care.
Constable Turnbull was delighted to have a guest to fuss over, even with the curling being telecast at the time. This made me feel slightly less guilty for leaving my post, as it were, to retrieve Ray's personal files from the station. I am helped in my belief that I was acting purely out of concern for Ray and not my own fear of losing him, by the alarming moments I was forced to endure in a darkened closet with Francesca. These were made even more alarming by the fact that I had to somehow open my trousers to hide Ray's files and avoid her usually...free spirited hands. By some stroke of luck I managed this and was rewarded twofold when I returned to the consulate with my jodhpurs uncomfortably full of manilla folders stuffed with photographs and reports.
Inexcusably, I removed my tunic and lowered my trousers in front of Ray, when I really should have gone first to my office and removed the files there. As I said, Ray has destroyed any restraint I may once have had in these matters. At this point I am far from concerned, as he responded favourably to my impromptu strip show. The glint in his eye as he watched me was certainly not related to the files. In fact he seemed surprised when I produced them. Believe me, I was watching his face, and what I saw there gave me the courage to act as I did later that evening. But there was work to be done and I set out to gain as much information as I could, leaving Ray in the care of Constable Turnbull.
Typically, Ray was unable to stay put and let things unfold around him. He managed to convince Turnbull to hand over his uniform and left the consulate, resplendent in red serge and Stetson, walking unnoticed by Detectives Huey and Dewey, who were stationed outside, in the hope that he would try just such a stunt. I'm unsure whether this is testament to Ray's undercover abilities, or the detectives' lack of stake-out skills. But the upshot is that Ray and I were both captured by Eddie Herndorff's men and held in a workshop to be turned over to the police. An outcome which never eventuated, thanks entirely to Diefenbaker's tracking abilities.
Which is how we ended up hanging from the steel pipes on the ceiling until the search for us was called off. When Ray could hold on no longer he fell, quite awkwardly, into the back seat of a convertible that was parked directly below us, wrenching his neck rather painfully. After I climbed down, I managed to appropriate two coveralls which disguised us sufficiently to get to the consulate, and which I have since laundered and returned to their rightful owners. We shucked them just around the corner so that Detectives Huey and Dewey saw nothing more exciting than two Mounties returning to their little slice of Canada. One of them walking stiffly with his head held at a careful angle and the other with a concerned hand on his waist. I can only imagine their conversation about that. Although, I'm entirely certain I don't want to.
Thankfully, Canada was closed for business by now, and we were greeted by the sounds of curling. Constable Turnbull was relieved that we had returned safely, although politely peeved at Ray for leaving him stranded in his underwear for over two hours. If the man had any sense at all, he would have borrowed a uniform from my office. However, as I am referring to Turnbull, I should not be surprised. When he asked if he could have his clothes back so that he could leave, Ray looked at me and said, "Yeah, can't wait to get out of these pants." For the life of me I cannot fathom why he would look at me while saying this, unless it was some kind of signal that he was...well, interested in being naked in my company. Which it turned out he was, but I was unaware of his desire at that time and merely cleared my throat to offer him a hot shower.
And so I found myself in the bathroom, helping Ray undress, as he was unfamiliar with the uniform and its various fastenings. If he noticed my shaking hands and increased respiration rate, he kindly avoided the subject. I turned to leave as he was peeling off his white t-shirt to reveal a black undershirt. I believe Ray would call it a wife beater, though I have no idea why. It's not as if that item of clothing could inflict any sort of harm, unless rolled up and flicked, and even that would hardly constitute a beating. In fact many consider it a game, I included, contrary to the popular belief that I am incapable of having any sort of fun.
I'm also confused as to why he would wear black under a white t-shirt, but that is possibly something Ray couldn't answer himself. He doesn't share his predecessor's passion for clothes. In point of fact, he often appears barely able to dress himself. I wonder if his mind is too busy to pay due attention to such a routine task, or if he deliberately dresses down as a form of rebellion against having to live someone else's life. He certainly pays enough attention to his hair to indicate a touch of vanity in his nature. Whichever it is, his style of dress only serves to accentuate the image I now have of him as a poet. And I have always appreciated his choice of jeans, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, if I intend to complete this account of events.
Ray called me back to ask where he would find a towel, and I turned to see a vision of raw sexuality. Ray, wearing nothing but his clinging white jockey shorts and a halo of steam. I was momentarily lost for words as I noticed the outlines of his muscles, his stomach...the definition in the bulge at the front of his shorts. I believe I saw him smirk at me as I mumbled something about the vanity cupboard, before fleeing for the relative safety of Constable Turnbull's incessant rambling.
By the time Ray emerged from the shower, I was in my office, once more in control of my urges and working on a plan to clear his name. I hadn't counted on the fact that he had left his clothing in here when he made the transformation from Chicago flatfoot to Mountie, and so was taken aback when he entered wrapped in a fluffy white towel and holding his underwear in a bundle in one hand. As I looked up, he dropped the garments to the floor and folded his arms, leaning back just a fraction. I'm afraid I wasn't looking at his face when he spoke, and this may or may not account for the hesitation in his voice when he asked if I had a shirt he could borrow. He seemed to think his own was somewhat sweaty and held traces of Turnbull's scent from the tunic. I answered in the affirmative and rose to fulfil his request at the same time he made a move to retrieve his trousers from the far side of my desk. This had the unfortunate yet pleasant result of bringing us face to face in front of the closet door. In an office this size, I don't need to tell you that there was very little space between us.
At this point I found it exceedingly difficult to breathe, torn as I was between decorum and desire. A dilemma that was made considerably worse when Ray looked down, causing his lashes to fan over his cheeks, and licked his lips. Slightly damp and flushed pink as he was from his recent shower, this gave him a deliciously debauched appearance and my breath returned to me in a sharp intake, as my body responded vigorously to both his beauty and his proximity.
Ray noticed. He smiled a little, moved even closer as he reached for his pants, and in a voice much warmer than his usual, said, "My shorts are a little damp, too. I'll have to go commando." More evocative words have never been uttered, nor have I heard any poem that suffused me with such intense emotion. Not even the one recited to me when I thought I was dying.
That was the moment I lost control, or took control, I'm not entirely sure which, but I leaned in and kissed him, not gently, not politely, but with a kind of desperation that spoke of my desire and my inability to articulate it any other way. Ray responded in kind, bringing his body to press against mine as he moaned into my mouth. The hand that I had placed on his chest now rose to the back of his head and I made to pull his mouth harder against my own. Ray stiffened and gasped, but in pain not pleasure and I backed off hurriedly, remembering his injury and feeling guilt wash over me. Ray grabbed my Sam Browne and tried to pull me in again, but I shook my head, no, telling him that I was sorry I had caused him pain. He just shrugged lopsidedly and leaned into me. As he pressed his hips close he said, "So take my mind off it."
I desperately wanted to. But I had a much deeper need to get this right. To make it memorable for all the right reasons, not just for me, but also for Ray, because if I could make it perfect for him, then maybe, just maybe, given time, I could replace Stella as the love of his life. Which is entirely selfish of me, I admit. Disturbing as the thought is, that was and still is my goal. Perhaps more so now that I am privy to a side of him that I had not previously been aware existed. His inner poet.
And so I kissed him softly before I led him to my chair and pushed him down onto it. He went willingly enough, though he made an impatient noise in the back of his throat as I began to massage his neck, working on the knotted muscles with my thumbs. It didn't take long for him to start alternating grunts of pain with groans of pleasure, and the euphony of his vocalisations touched me physically. A rhythm began to form between us, my hands moving slower, pressing deeper into the muscles beneath them, Ray's groans becoming quieter and more frequent, until he seemed almost to be humming softly. I could feel that he was relaxing, becoming pliant in a way I never imagined him capable of, and knew that if I were to manipulate his neck now, I could ensure he would suffer no lasting effects from his fall.
Knowing Ray would tense if I warned him, and knowing this would hamper my efforts, I simply pulled his head back so that the top of it rested against my stomach and placed both hands under his neck, stroking upward to the base of his skull. He practically melted into me, so I had no trouble grasping his head firmly between my hands and twisting a little as I pulled upward. I was rewarded with a satisfying crack as his spine realigned, but Ray...well; Ray does not like to be caught unawares. He exploded from the chair, characteristic anger radiating from him in anything but subtle waves. He took a moment to gain his balance and launched a stream of invectives at me that I felt sure would strip the paint from the walls. I will certainly not recount them here, as I have no desire to recall them, even knowing as I do that they were merely a reaction to the surprise I caused. I punctuated his verbal abuse of me with a single syllable repeated often; that of his name, as I have discovered that if I say it over and over, it eventually sinks in and he cannot help but turn to me and say, "What?" in a suitably annoyed tone. Whether the repetition soothes him or irritates him further he has never indicated and I have never enquired, nor will I. It works and that is all I need to know.
At any rate, he stopped inventing new ways to insult me and glared at me instead. When I said nothing, he exploded again, this time with questions. "What the hell was that, Fraser? Was that some kind of freakish Mountie mating ritual? Do you get off on causing intense fucking agony? What the fuck was that?" But when I attempted to explain my actions he cut me off. Apparently I had not committed an act of kindness but rather executed a fiendishly devised plan to "mess with" Ray's head, to use his own words. He gave me a quick lesson in etiquette, which, in a nutshell, was that one "should not kiss a guy and get him all worked up and then try to break his neck." I understand now that it is an act of incivility preclusive to sexual contact. At least in the moments immediately following the faux pas.
When I failed to respond with any more than a pained expression, Ray made his "get to the point, Fraser" moves and asked if I was getting him a shirt, or was he going topless as well as commando? He waited as I retrieved and handed him a small pile of clothes from my closet, before dropping his towel and looking pointedly at me as he drew on the jeans I had added on a whim, leaving them unzipped while he pulled on the t-shirt and tucked it in. I followed the movement of his hands as he readjusted himself before drawing the zipper up and I noted the way he shielded his genitals from the metal teeth with the front of the t-shirt. My t-shirt. A garment that had been against my skin countless times and was now pressed intimately against that part of Ray that I wanted pressed against me. I closed my eyes a moment, trying to come to terms with the fact that because of my well intended actions, I had been reduced to envying a scrap of cotton.
When Ray spoke, his voice was quiet, almost apologetic. "Not a bad fit, all in all," He said, echoing my words to him earlier in the day. I didn't look up, merely nodded at my boots. "And my neck feels better." He exited the room without waiting for my response. It was the closest I would get to a thank you, and was as good as an apology coming from Ray, but it did nothing to make me feel better about the situation. A few moments later I heard the television from down the hall and decided to leave him to his own devices while I caught up on some paperwork. Diefenbaker amused himself by throwing Ray's clothing in the air and attempting to kill it on the way down. I didn't admonish him for this. At least one of us was enjoying himself.
I removed my tunic and sat at my desk, unable to concentrate on any of the tasks I set myself, and when I heard the television silenced, I had a moment of hope that Ray would come to me. But he didn't, and I was left wondering if I had ruined more than an opportunity.
The chiming of the doorbell pulled me from my self pity, and I mistakenly thought that Ray had ordered pizza, so was somewhat taken aback to find Lt. Welsh standing on the other side of the door when I opened it. He had come to inform us that Ray was to be extradited first thing in the morning, and as the three of us stood in my tiny office, with Ray's clothes strewn around the room, and him wearing mine, I found it difficult to concentrate, despite the urgency of the situation. Even as I wondered how this would appear to Lt. Welsh, I kept looking to the hem of my t-shirt, now outside of the waistband of the jeans Ray was wearing, and wondering if he had untucked himself for a purpose, or if it had merely ridden up as he lay on the couch. The former, while being the preferable of the two options, was also infinitely more distracting, so I convinced myself it was the latter and forced myself to focus on the task at hand.
The information Lt. Welsh gave us opened up new leads, which needed to be followed up with haste if we were to keep Ray from being taken into custody by anyone other than myself, and I left to do so quickly. Once away from Ray's presence, I was able to think more clearly and soon decided on a course of action that I felt would lead to a favourable outcome. Although I had my suspicions as to who had framed Ray, I couldn't be certain and had devised a plan to flush the culprit out.
Pleased with myself, and feeling quite optimistic that Ray would also be pleased with me, I stopped in at a drugstore on my way back to the consulate, buying items that I had begun to despair I would never have use for again, as long as I was in love with Ray Kowalski and therefore uninterested in anyone else. I determined then, that I would try one more time to show Ray how I felt, and if he refused me, I would simply leave it at that; suppress my emotions with ever more force until they died of suffocation. Call it a hunch, or call it arrogance, but I didn't think it would come to that. At least not if I refrained from attempting to break his neck this time.
When I returned once more to the consulate, I discovered that Ray had ordered another pizza and was well into gaining what information he could on the telephone. And by the time the pizza arrived we had everything we needed to convince me that my plan would, indeed, be successful. I was beginning to feel a sense of completion, even at this early stage, and so I was somewhat dismayed when Diefenbaker alerted me to the fact that Ray was attempting to flee the consulate. I really should have known it was on his mind to do so, since he was wearing his holster when I arrived, but it never occurred to me that he would actually try. I managed to convince Ray to stay, with assertions of my faith in him and of our friendship. Curiously, he asked me if it was hard for me to say those things, as he has done previously. The day he told me about the moment that made him what he is today. The day he asked if I found him attractive. I wondered why he should think it such a challenging thing to admit one's feelings for another, until I realised that I had been keeping the true extent of mine a closely guarded secret. This in turn led me to wonder if perhaps he was holding a secret of his own.
It occurred to me that Ray may not have seen my kissing him as a true indication of what I felt in my heart, but merely as me giving in to a physical impulse, which saddened me, as I had let myself believe that Ray knew me well enough to know that could never be the case. This is not to say that I have never indulged in sexual activity merely for the pleasure it provides, but I have never initiated it for that reason. In any event, it was clear to me that I had no choice but to be honest with Ray regarding my intentions, both with respect to his impending extradition and my feelings toward him. And so I took him to the conference room and settled him on the couch with the remote control, before I payed Sandor for the pizza and returned with it in hand.
We ate in silence for a while, me half watching the curling and Ray watching the pizza box in front of him. Suddenly he turned his body toward me and pulled one leg up on the couch in front of him. I watched as he took a deep breath, visibly steeled himself and opened his mouth as if to speak. But he merely closed it again and sort of slumped down, looking miserable. I swallowed my mouthful and put the rest of the slice I was holding into Diefenbaker's waiting mouth, not even considering the calories I was letting him ingest. Ray was about to let something of himself be seen, and it was important he had my full attention. He fidgeted a little and then looked me in the eye and blurted, "Fraser, what do you want from me?"
So many things entered my head and were chased out by the next thought, until I began to imagine that I had a revolving door in there and it was spinning with such force that I would never be able to really see my thoughts, let alone grasp one long enough to make sense of it. And when I imagined the snow starting to fall in front of that revolving door, one thing became clear. Every thought going around wore Ray's face, not Victoria's. It was no longer her I looked upon as both my destruction and my redemption. It was Ray, and how could I tell him that I wanted him to possess me and to hold me captive so that I could have a brief respite from the constant effort of maintaining my sanity? Instead, I smiled sadly and asked if he meant right now, or tomorrow morning.
I know he saw something of my turmoil, because he held my eyes with his own, but kindly, as he replied. And the expression I saw there was concern, so at odds with the words that came from his mouth, and yet not. He said to me, "I mean after we have sex, `cause we are going to have sex, aren't we?"
And it wasn't as if he was asking, so much as he was making sure I was ready for it. I must have nodded then, because he relaxed his shoulders a fraction and asked me again what I wanted from him. Now that I was sure exactly what he was asking, I felt more like myself and began formulating a light hearted answer, something about having to wait and see how well he was equipped or whether his technique was good enough, but I found myself instead telling him that as long as our duet remained intact, I would settle for nothing at all, if that's all he could give me. And when he stressed that he had asked what I wanted, not what I would settle for, I replied as honestly as I could. That I wanted him and I wanted everything about him and whatever else that might entail. I believe I even offered to adopt his turtle, if he felt it necessary.
The smile he couldn't suppress then told me more than any words he could have said. I was a freak, I wasn't really funny at all and most of all, it told me that I had given the correct answer. He shook his head with mock sadness and informed me that I couldn't have everything, not on a first date, and certainly not when there was a good chance he was going to jail. And he may have to take me up on my offer to adopt his turtle.
The moment he realised what he had said, the happiness fled from his eyes and he turned away from me. It took me a moment to remember that, just because I had a plan, it didn't automatically follow that Ray was aware of it. And so I placed a hand on his shoulder and presented my theory in as few words as possible, which was still far too many, judging from the way he glazed over once the initial excitement of understanding had passed. When I stopped mid sentence he stood up and began to pace, repeating my plan in his own words, which went something like, "OK, so we get a blank piece of paper, stick it an envelope and you make a big speech and then lie." He held up his hand here to stop me from attempting to correct him. "No. You do something that ends in ate, or ize. Whatever. Tell the world that you've got a witness to the shooting and then see who panics. Then you arrest them and let me go. Did I get that right?"
I replied in the affirmative, and Ray spun on his heel and resumed his pacing for a moment before he told me it might just work, but he would only allow it on one condition. I was banned from using any sort of anecdote regarding Inuit customs. I readily agreed, which elicited another of my favourite Ray responses: a little dance and air boxing, followed by the word, "Greatness." And then he was on me, literally. He straddled my lap and laced his fingers behind my neck and said, "I can't promise you anything, but we'll see if we can make it work."
I misinterpreted his meaning at first, but when I tried to tell him that he didn't need to do anything, he set me straight, and I had a very brief moment to place his words in the correct context before his lips were on mine and he completely stole my ability to think rationally. I was stunned into inactivity until Ray tugged my hair and bit my lip, causing me to gasp with surprise and more than a little pain. It was the jolt I needed, and I returned his kiss then, fiercely.
My hands were clutching at Ray's clothes; my clothes, warmed against his skin. I wanted my skin there instead and I must have vocalised some part of that fractured thought, because Ray pulled away and started to answer me. He looked at my face, at all of it and then at each part, and he told me how he had been watching television earlier as I sat in my office and he had looked down at my clothes; my jeans against his cock, and he'd become aroused, wondering if I had ever worn them with nothing underneath. Wondering if maybe his growing erection was touching the same denim that had rubbed against my naked cock and if I had grown hard there, too. And as my breathing grew ragged, and my grip on his hips tightened, his fingers traced the path that his eyes had blazed and he told me that he had touched himself, stroking over the denim, before sliding the zipper down and taking himself in hand. He said that he had pleasured himself slowly as he thought of the possibility that I might walk in at any moment and see him, with jeans open and his hand surrounding the hard flesh of his dick. He traced the line of my bottom lip with his index finger, and when I opened my mouth, he slid two fingers in and caressed the tip of my tongue, telling me how he had wondered if I would take him in my mouth and taste him.
Inside me, something tore, a wound was opened as I recalled other fingers in my mouth, first clinging to the life they found there, and then manipulating me, entering my body and demanding I walk away from that life. My eyes squeezed shut in a kind of panic, but Ray simply leaned forward and pressed his lips to the lids. First one, then the other, and kept talking in that quick, quiet voice that spoke more of his arousal than the words he uttered. And before he had finished telling me that he had made himself stop before he made a mess he wasn't prepared for, I was off the couch, with him clinging to me, arms and legs wrapped around me and nibbling on my neck as I half stumbled, half ran out of the door and down the hall toward my office.
I'm unsure how many times I stopped and pushed Ray against the wall or the doorframe along the way, but I do know that at those times I would press hard against him and he would let his feet touch the floor as I kissed him hungrily and tried to articulate what I wanted to do to him before he wrapped around me again and thrust as if he could force me to walk with the movement of his hips alone. Which was not entirely wrong, since the press of his groin so close to my own and yet so very far from where I wanted it was enough to drive me to action once more, and eventually we made it.
I headed straight for my desk and deposited Ray on the edge of it, ducking down enough to keep my mouth on his, and I saw, out of the corner of my eye, Diefenbaker slinking out through the door just before I kicked it closed with my foot. I gave thanks for the tiny room, as I didn't once have to lose contact with Ray; because I was certain I would simply cease to exist if that were to happen any time in the near future.
I wanted this to go on forever, but wanted more too. And so I kept up my assault on Ray's lips, his tongue, neck...anywhere I could reach with any part of my mouth as my hands fumbled with the fastening of the jeans that had sparked this frenzy. No. The spark was Ray; his discourse on the jeans had merely been the accelerant. And that word flashed an image in front of me. Our first day working together. He was leaning toward me, so close and he was excited about his discovery and I had thought then that one of us need only move a fraction and our lips would have met. I groaned and pulled away. One word was all I needed to say. Accelerant. And Ray nodded once, and he said, "Yeah. Even then." And I knew at that moment, that I had been right. Ray did know me better than anyone ever had, and he wanted me with a voracity to match mine for him.
It was a matter of moments before both of us were naked, Ray helping with my boots, and there was no vulnerability, no awkwardness of hoping that I would be pleasing to him, or evaluating his own physique in comparison to my imaginings. There was only urgency. I placed one hand over Ray's chest, pushing against him, but not pushing him away; he understood my intentions and met my pressure with his own, as if he thought I could press right through him to hold his heart in my hand and I believe he welcomed that image.
My other hand was reaching behind him, searching for my belt and the pouch on it that held my drug store purchases. It was just out of reach and I had to lean over, pressing Ray back so that he was forced to place a hand behind himself to keep from falling flat onto the paperwork that was piled behind him. He used the leverage that gave him to raise his hips, just enough to press the hard, wet head of his penis against my stomach. I was distracted from my search and pulled Ray up again, biting his neck as my hips tilted forward, trying to get more contact with him. But he placed both hands on my shoulders and pushed me away, with increasing force as I ignored him. I realised he was repeating my name, over and over, just as I do his when he is distracted, and made an effort to answer him, but my mouth was busy tasting the salt near his hairline and I'm sure I only managed a moan against his skin.
He moved one hand down my chest and actually yelled my name as he pinched my left nipple with more force than was necessary, but he achieved his aim. I pulled back from him suddenly and the look on my face must have been amusing, because Ray was grinning like a maniac. I frowned very deliberately at him, meaning it as much as a question as I did a display of displeasure. He reached out and caressed the injured nub while he explained that if I didn't get my bedroll out in a hurry, we were going to be dealing with some very serious carpet burn, because he had no intention of fucking on my desk when we could actually get horizontal.
I'm really very enamoured of the way Ray says "fucking", when he means it in that context. As a curse, I find it irritating and quite unnecessary. But as a verb: when Ray says it, he speaks with his eyes at the same time. The way his pupils dilate and his voice roughens... I can almost hear his pulse quicken and it's such a powerful aphrodisiac, I wonder why he doesn't just go around saying it to everyone. It would certainly make him a very popular man. Or very adept at having sexual relations in the most inappropriate settings with a mostly uniformed Mountie.
And there he was, sitting on my desk in all his nakedness, hard and breathing heavily and telling me that I needed to take him to my bed or what passes for one here. My body reacted before my brain this time, and I was around behind the desk, shoving my belt at him with one hand and telling him to look in the pouch, while my other hand opened the closet door and reached up for my bedroll on the shelf above me. The cot was not an option, as I had no desire to be away from Ray's touch long enough to set it up. There was a brief moment of fear that I would be faced with my father's cabin, but it seems even he has some sense of timing and I was relieved beyond measure to see nothing but spare uniforms and empty hangers before me.
I knelt to lay out the roll of canvas and blankets as quickly as I could, not caring to line it up squarely with the corner of the room as I usually did and caring even less if there were wrinkles in the blankets, because Ray had stepped closer and he held a small foil package over my shoulder, for me to take, and when I turned my face to him, I was greeted with the sight of him, fully hard and just inches from my lips. He placed his free hand in my hair and massaged my scalp firmly, while the hand holding the prophylactic waved in front of my eyes.
I knew what he was asking of me and didn't need any further prompting. I had a brief struggle with my principles, wanting to taste Ray and not latex, but sense won out quickly, supported by the fact that my wants were not the only ones to consider. And so I placed the condom on him and rolled it down with my mouth and hand working together. No teasing, no shyness, no holding back. I was far beyond that by now. And Ray rewarded my forthright approach with an enthusiasm that left me with no doubt that he had been thinking of this moment for some time. His hand tightened to a fist in my hair, not pulling me in, but as if he was holding on for dear life, and he rocked almost imperceptibly in time with my movements along his length. His restraint was evident in the way he tried to control his breathing, the tension in his buttocks where my hands were now alternately stroking and grasping.
I inhaled deeply through my nose, wanting to fill myself with his scent as I was deprived of his taste and it was warm and clean and a little musky and I fancied I could actually smell the semen welling up in him, ready to pour out and be caught in the rubber sheath. I made a noise of annoyance in my throat then, both at the barrier between us and at my own reckless thoughts. I moved my hands to Ray's hips and made to pull him in, encouraging him to thrust into my mouth, but he grabbed another handful of my hair and pulled my head away from him, stepping back at the same time, and I looked angrily up at him. It was getting more than a trifle annoying, all this "Touch me. No stop" behaviour. And so I told him that.
He was looking down at me and I wonder what he actually saw, because his eyes were so dark and glazed that I swear he was looking through me, rather than at me. He didn't speak, in fact he seemed incapable of it, but he scooped the package of condoms and the lube from the desk behind him and dropped them on the floor by his feet, before he fell heavily to his knees, wincing slightly as he came face to face with me, and claimed my mouth with his own. I tried to press my full length against him, but he placed his hands on my hips and held me back, even though it seemed he was trying to crawl inside my mouth, his kiss was that deep.
When I tried to reach for his penis with my hand he slapped it away and all but growled at me. I was exasperated. Did he want this or not? I asked him outright and the response I got took my breath away momentarily, although I can't be sure if it was the words or Ray's voice that caused such a response. Or perhaps it was the fact that he grasped my erection and stroked me so slowly that it felt like an age before he got to the base and slipped his hand under to cup my testicles. His words. There is no way I can do them justice in writing, but I remember every syllable and it still excites me in exactly the same way now, even without his breath hot on my ear and his hand on me.
He said, "Fraser, I want it so fucking much. So much I can't bear to have you touching me. Can't bear the way you make my whole body feel like a fucking time bomb. I'm so close to blowing, you have no idea. You get one hand on my cock and I swear I'm gonna blow so hard there'll be nothing left of me, and I need you to feel how this feels, because it's like heaven and it's like hell and it's like being fucking possessed by something, someone. You. It's like you fucking own me, Fraser. Like you made me and this is my whole purpose and everything is gonna stop when this is over. And it's not gonna be over until I've had enough, which is not until you've had enough, too. So shut up, ok? Just shut up and let me do this thing my way."
I felt it. He didn't just share his feelings, he gave them to me. And it was both gift and burden, heaven and hell. The way he pushed me down so that I lay half on the bedroll. His hands and mouth on my neck, my chest, my inner thighs, everywhere but where I wanted him most. He took his time, deliberate and slow and my impatience grew. As his breathing slowed and it became obvious he was becoming more in control of his body, it was equally obvious I was losing control of mine. He laid over me then, full length with his legs between mine, but not letting his full weight rest on me, not giving me the full contact I needed. He rocked his hips, and his still sheathed erection brushed lightly along my own, exposed one. The latex encasing him was now dry and it caught a little, making vibrations as it almost bounced along me. And suddenly I was pushing Ray's hips away, holding him off me like he had burned me. He licked my ear, taking the focus from my impending orgasm just in time to stave it off. He knelt up then and looked at me with such heat in his gaze, such intent, that I barely noticed as he reached back for the small bottle of lubricant next to us. He squeezed some into his hand and my gaze was drawn away from his eyes as he lowered it to his penis and began to stroke himself, gasping at the coolness of it, but not faltering for a second. I placed my hands on his thighs, just resting them there, too caught up in watching him to do more than that.
His hand moved slowly, his grip was loose, but it was only a few moments before his eyes closed and he moaned softly and gripped the head between his thumb and forefinger, tightly. His other hand gripped one of mine and tugged upward, and I took it that he wanted me to move. So I scooted back far enough to bring one leg over and made to kneel with my back to him, but Ray grabbed my shoulder and made me turn back to face him. He shook his head at me and said, "No way. Nuh-uh. It's not gonna happen that way."
He handed me a condom and the lube and then he lay back, not gracefully, but I was entranced all the same. I understood then that I was not to be the bottom here, and I had no say in the matter. He was dominating me with his vulnerability. Opening himself to me and yet demanding it be on his terms. It was quite intimidating, like I was being given free reign but knew that if I made one wrong move, I would be punished. He never said that, but that's how it felt to me, and it pulled me back from the edge enough that I could focus on getting it right, pay attention to making it perfect for him.
And so I readied myself with the necessary protection and warmed a portion of lubricant on my fingers before I bent over him and kissed him slowly and deliberately. Wanting him to feel my intent to do whatever he asked of me, however he asked me do it. My surrender, as it were. And even though I was above him I have never been so submissive as I was in that moment, when he took my head in his hands and broke that kiss long enough to tell me that I should just put a pillow under him and fuck him now, because he was all kinds of ready, and not good at waiting. And so I reached blindly for the pillow, slipping it under his hips as he bent his knees to raise himself up to me. Then I took myself in one hand to guide my way as I placed the other hand next to his head and bore my weight on it.
He looked up at me and raised his eyebrows. He even waggled his head a little. He was telling to me to get to the point and if I hadn't been so intent on pressing into him slowly and watching him for a sign that this was too fast I would have laughed at the absurdity of that gesture. But I could feel myself entering him and I watched his face change as I sank slowly but surely into him. I could see the brief flash of pain in his eyes and around his mouth as he hissed his breath out. And then I was all the way in and fighting for my own breath and for any shred of control I could muster. I closed my eyes to block out anything that might stimulate me more. I even resorted to counting to ten. In French, then Inuktitut.
And then Ray wrapped his legs around my waist, raised his head to bite my neck as he pulled me harder against him and the moment was at hand. I began to move then, slow, sure strokes and I huddled over Ray, kissing whatever skin I could find with my lips and moving only my hips as I drove into him. He pulled back a fraction and I heard a snapping sound and he pulled his condom away and dropped it on the floor. One hand remained between us, giving himself one or two quick strokes, before he placed it on my buttock, kneading in rhythm with my thrusts. His other hand gripped the back of my neck tightly and I looked up into his eyes as he started to make small noises with each exhalation.
Just as one can see a puff of breath in cold air, I could hear Ray's voice with every breath, and I moved my hands to rest my weight on my elbows, forearms under Ray's shoulders, gathering him as close as I could so that our torsos were pressed together full length. I could feel his hardness pressing into my belly as I curled my hips forward with each stroke.
I pressed my face somewhere in the vicinity of his armpit, fighting to keep this rhythm for as long as possible and listening as Ray's vocalisations became longer puffs of sound, deeper now and breathier, but the tempo remained the same. And as I listened I began to hear words, there was a meter forming, and even though I couldn't understand what was Ray was saying, I was sure it was a poem. I raised my head then and watched his mouth move through heavy lidded eyes. As my chest came away from him, he opened his own eyes and as he looked at me his voice became stronger, his words more distinct. And I knew then, that he was not reciting a poem. He was telling me about myself, about how I felt inside him and on him, about the way I always make him feel important because I always know exactly where he is even when I'm not looking at him; and about how good it is to be wanted for who he is, the way he is and not who he could be. And then he told me again how I felt inside him, but his voice was catching now, and the words were shorter and sharper.
His fingers were digging into my skin so hard that, although I didn't know it then, I would still have the marks as I write this. And when he began to shake it became too much for me and I rasped out his name, halfway between a plea and a warning, and he relaxed almost imperceptibly, saying "Yes!", giving me permission. And then he tensed, going perfectly still under me for a heartbeat, and as I rocked into him again I felt him pulse against me and around me and his breath came out as a ragged moan as I went as deep as I could and tried to go still deeper because I couldn't control my hips anymore and I was lost. Or found. I don't know which, but for a seemingly endless moment I was nothing but nerve endings and emotion and it all spilled out of me and into Ray, even as he emptied onto the skin of our bodies and went limp under me, his hands sliding from me to fall beside him.
I stayed where I was, fighting to catch my breath, for a few moments; watched Ray's face, relaxed and worry free for the first time since he came crashing through the consulate doors. And before he could open his eyes and see the extent of my feelings, I lifted a little, to warn him I was moving, and then I drew away, taking care to hold my condom on as I left his body as slowly and gently as I could. He frowned, and reached a hand to touch my arm, and then let it drop to his side again. He was exhausted.
I gave thanks again for my tiny office as I did little more than lean over to place my condom and the one Ray had discarded into the waste paper bin beside the desk, and then I lowered myself down next to him, trailing a finger through the ejaculate on his abdomen and allowing myself to touch just the very tip of my tongue to my finger. A small taste, but it was enough for now.
Ray reached for me and I took the pillow from under him, turned it over and put it beneath our heads as I lay down beside him. We didn't speak. And strangely there was poetry even in our silence. Perhaps because I was now feeling his feelings and words were superfluous. Perhaps we had already said everything that needed saying. Whatever the reason, I was happy to lay with him as his breathing slowed and he fell into a deep sleep. And when I arose to launder his clothes and compose my speech for the next morning I was happy in the knowledge that he would be there when I returned to him.
And as I wait now for him to collect me for a night of whatever may come at his apartment I will allow myself the indulgence of believing that this time my happiness will last. Ray has given me hope. Another of his gifts...and burdens...to me.
End Gifts and Burdens by Ultra Chrome
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