Author's website: http://www.learnlink.emory.edu/~sdelcul/index2.html
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Author's Notes: Warning: Shifting times and points of view, crying men, hurt, transsexual musicals, and a little comfort. Happy Birthday, Kathleen. You deserve it.
This one's about giving thanks.
last time I saw you, we had just split in two.
You were looking at me. I was looking at you.
You had a way so familiar, but I could not recognize,
cause you had blood on your face; I had blood in my eyes.
but I could swear by your expression that the pain down in your soul
was the same as the one down in mine.
That's the pain, it cuts a straight line down through the heart; we called it love so we wrapped our arms around each other, trying to shove ourselves back together we were making love, making love
it was a cold dark evening such a long time ago, when by the mighty hand of Jove, it was a sad story how we became lonely two-legged creatures, it's the story of the origin of love.
That's the origin of love
They weren't fighting, per se, but things were different. It was almost like they were strangers now. Unfailingly polite, but nothing more. You can hardly be hurt or happy or sad if you don't feel anything at all, understand?
He was trying to understand. He knew that intentionally or not, what he'd done had made Ray hesitate. They'd been headed somewhere together, before he'd lost sight of himself with Victoria. Was it too late now? He could only wait and see. Patience was no longer his strong suite. Too much was on the line.
It still surprised him to look in the mirror and not see that stupid mustache. He'd fought them on growing it, needing to know it wasn't real; the Bookman wasn't real.
Strangely enough it was even harder to remember now that he was back in Chicago. Who could ever have felt clean next to Fraser? Especially with him as the constant reminder of how much his leaving had hurt his best friend.
He didn't know how long he'd been staring out the window, but the sun had set long ago. From his vantage point he could see the Riv parked on the street. His heart has almost stopped beating when Ray showed up. The slow painful beating had restarted as Ray sat motionless, unable to go inside, unable to leave. Just as Ray had frozen, he was frozen too, standing watch over his friend, protecting him as he hadn't before. It was his penance.
He'd never felt so dirty before. He hated showering because he never felt clean. To him it was only emphasizing the dirt. Francesca had teased him about the last of the soap and hot water, suggesting he just dip himself in bleach if he was always going to take so long.
The knocking startled him. He'd only closed his eyes for a second. Forcing them open suddenly, he checked the parking lot in fear. The Riv was there, but it was empty. Like an old man he shuffled over to the door and its shiny new lock.
"Ray!" He said the name like a prayer. Ray looked scared, so he let him in, stepping back so Ray wouldn't have to touch him.
"Sit down, Benny."
"Oh." He realized he was still standing by the door breathing in the wonderful sight of Armani. He sat down on the couch and Ray sat down too. Gently. Hesitantly. Next to him. Closer than Fraser had any right to expect. In fact, if he leaned to the left slightly he could lean against Ray. Lean his head on Ray's shoulder and be comforted as he cried.
"Oh." He was startled again, only this time it was because he was leaning against Ray, and he was crying, and Ray was comforting him.
Benny was there again, knocking on the door and ignoring his order to go away. The door opened as he scrubbed at already pinked skin, expertly picked. He watched Fraser watch him through the clear shower curtain, watched from afar as the beginning of faint red blood swirled into the drain and his best friend, who was too good for him by far, pulled the shower curtain out of the way and held him tight.
They'd moved to the bed, and it was like the world was open to him again. A world he thought he'd never see again --a world of color, and light, and laughter, and love. A world of comfort. Ray's world.
A fragile world made out of crystal that almost shattered as Ray pulled away and took the condom out of his hand.
His ears rang for a moment before he felt Ray's hands moving down his waist. Long, tapered fingers smoothed the condom into place and he caught his breath as he looked into Ray's eyes. Those beautiful eyes held a question and a promise.
Ray was making himself vulnerable again, and he was trying desperately for Ben to deserve his trust. If he hurt Ray now, Ray would be dead inside. The thought made him tremble with the power he held in his hand. He had the sole power to exterminate the light. Right now he had to prove that he wouldn't.
He was shivering even though the room was warm with steam. Fraser reached into the cabinet, pulling out one of the usual white towels instead of the colored one Ray had brought to use.
Perhaps it was the symbolism that warmed him as Ben dried him off and tucked him into bed long enough to join him. After holding him tightly for several minutes, Fraser pulled away. Kneeling over Ray, he gently licked and kissed over every red and irritated piece of skin.
He lingered over Ray's hands and over his face. At the juncture of neck and shoulder he made sure he had Ray's full attention before making his own mark on Ray's body.
As Ray slept close to him, Ben listened to his fragile snores. It was amazing what a body could adapt to, and not sleep without.
The next morning Ray woke up alone, knowing Fraser had gone off to work. Undressing, he caught sight of the purpled bruise on his neck and decided to forego a shower that morning.
Somewhere in the sky, the Gods smiled.
End The Story Of by silvina: firstname.lastname@example.org
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