Codes: Fraser/Victoria, Fraser/Kowalski, Fraser/Victoria/Kowalski, etc, AU
Spoilers: First season
Summary: Maybe if he'd heard the rest first, he might have rethought his answer.
Author Notes: Very AU. Very, very AU. I mean, there is canon and then there is AU and then there is this. Thanks to shinetheway for help with the title and to whoever preread this, because I seriously do not remember, it's been that long.
Ray knows she's going to draw on him before he even finishes the sentence. He does it anyway.
"…fucking amateur. This ain't jacking a convenience store, so get your head outta your ass next time!"
It's likely everyone in this shit tenement can hear them and likely could care less, which is the only thing that makes staying here even remotely workable. He's tempted to turn his back on her when she flicks the safety, but he's running on eighteen hours awake and a drive across two states and is pretty sure he lost any kind of rationality right after the silent alarm was tripped and Victoria wouldn't get the fuck out of there.
Staring down the barrel of a gun isn't new; staring down hers isn't new, either. Taking a step forward, then another, he watches her face, tracing the arguments she makes every time she pulls this shit, wondering if this time she's going to forget how badly she needs him around. He only stops when cool metal presses into the hollow of his throat.
For a second, Ray thinks she just might do it and feels a rush of fear-thick adrenaline like a bullet through his heart; she's been jonesing for this almost since they met. "I dare you," he whispers, leaning forward, brushing his lips against hers. "Do it."
"May I interrupt?" a voice asks mildly from the doorway. Ray sees a muscle in her cheek twitch, knuckles whitening as her hand starts to shake.
"Put that away, Victoria."
She holds out just long enough to give herself plausible deniability then lowers the gun, thumb clicking off the safety as it disappears behind her back. Ray doesn't realize he'd stopped breathing until he starts again, but he knows he's smiling when she turns jerkily away.
"The alarm was tripped," she says bitterly, throwing her bag on the floor. "I assumed, when you said that it wouldn't be accessible to the employees, that meant it wouldn't be accessible to the employees."
Fraser's utter lack of interest is inhibiting at the best of times; that Victoria can manage to say anything is a point in her favor. Ray figures eventually he'll figure out the trick. Exposure, maybe, or sheer determination, and if there was one thing Victoria Metcalfe has in spades, it's determination.
"I have to assume you ignored the restrictions I placed on that; namely, that it could be done manually given time. Which means you allowed someone both access to the manual override and enough time to set it off." Every word is addressed with bored precision to the wall directly over her shoulder; Ray fights the urge to shiver--it went bad because she's greedy and pushes too hard, but he didn't help either. They walked in there at each other's throats and that's no way to start a job any way you look at it. She made them stay too long, but he's the one that let the asshole get to the alarm in the first place. "Perhaps next time, you will pay closer attention to my explanation."
Victoria's eyes narrow, but she doesn't answer--there's no way to answer anyway, like talking to a wall--and turns away, pointedly walking back toward the door. "We're leaving tomorrow. Be ready."
She freezes, hand on the doorknob. "We have time--"
"I'd prefer tonight."
There's a second where Ray's pretty sure she's going to argue it, and Ray swallows, wondering if either of them even know he's still in the room. "Why?"
Fraser doesn't even look interested enough to shrug; they all know there's no reason it has to be tonight, that in fact, they need the rest before one of them forgets all the reasons they haven't killed each other yet. In the months he's been with them, Ray's finally worked out the pattern. Fraser wants it because she doesn't; sounds simple, but it's anything but. "Tonight."
Turning away, he wanders out of sight of the doorway, and even across the room, Ray can see her relax. She doesn't want the fight any more than Ray wants to watch it, not over something this stupid. With a final glare at Ray, she opens the door, going out to do whatever she does when she's like this.
Ray's not worried about a woman alone in this neighborhood at this time of night; he pities the guy who tries anything with her in this mood.
The adrenaline's eased off, and Ray leans against the wall, taking a second to collect himself. Running a hand over his face, he realizes he's sweating.
One day, she's going to forget herself and shoot. She'll regret it after, sure, but that won't make Ray any less dead. At some point, it'll worry him that it doesn't worry him at all.
Slowly, he goes to the bathroom, aware that the throb in his knee is getting worse by the second as the adrenaline eases off. Flipping on the light, he looks around, trying to find the first aid kit, then trying to remember if they even got far enough to unpack that. Fraser keeps them traveling light, but the kit isn't unnecessary luggage, neither. Getting up, he gasps when he puts weight on his leg again, grabbing for the door as the world goes a speckled black. Hitting the floor on his knees when that security guard started shooting had been a bad idea. Of course, getting shot woulda been worse.
If he says a word, he'll throw up, he knows it.
"You were injured."
Luckily, Fraser takes everything but a flat "no" as full consent, and Ray finds himself being transported from the bathroom and sitting on a ratty couch that's older than he is without having to do anything more complicated follow along. He takes the painkiller dropped into his hand dry, chewing it to get the hit faster and ease off the worst of the pain, because he still has his boots and jeans on, and those have to come off before he can do anything about his knee.
After a minute, he opens his eyes on Fraser sitting on the opposite arm of the couch. "Okay," Ray says, sounding almost normal. Unbuttoning his jeans, he slides them down, biting his lip against the feel of the fabric rubbing against the bruised skin. One look tells him that he's going to be limping for a while. Fraser crouches in front of him, testing the purpling swell of the joint.
"Just bruising," he says finally. Ray opens his eyes, unaware he'd even closed them, tasting blood on his lip. "Stay still."
Ray nods as he takes the second pill and grits his teeth through the dressing; half-way through, he's high enough that he really doesn't care that he has a leg at all. Head against the back of the couch, Ray stares at the pocked ceiling, following the trace of careful fingers rubbing in some shitty-smelling crap that works like magic before Fraser wraps it expertly.
"Done. It should be fine by the end of the week."
Ray nods his agreement and tries to decide if he's hungry. Fraser repacks the kit and puts it into the three bags they always travel with. Ray watches him, looking incongruously comfortable crossed-legged on the floor, opening one of the bags and pulling out a gun, checking it with the kind of practiced ease you tended to see either in twenty year Marines or career criminals. He's seen Fraser pick up an AK-47 with the same ease he uses a knife and about the same level of interest.
Since it's Fraser, Ray isn't too worried; if Fraser were going to shoot him, he'd have done it a long time ago. Fraser spreads a small drop cloth over the filthy floor, more to protect their weapons than the floor, takes out his kit, and pretty much zones out. It's fast and so routine that Ray knows every step of the process, gun by gun, breakdown to build up, the smell of gun oil as comforting as the smell of his mother's stew.
"It was half my fault," he admits in a fit of drug-induced honesty, mesmerized by Fraser sighting a shotgun.
Fraser glances at him, a burst of attention like a spotlight that's gone before Ray remembers how to blink. "I know."
Of course he does; he planned it. He knew every fail point before they walked in the building and who was more likely to fuck it up. Ray waits for him to continue, because even Fraser's disinterested play by play of their failure is better than the way he checks out on reality. Fraser can spend entire days off somewhere that's nowhere near where his body is or what it's doing. If it was any better than here, Ray'd let him stay there for as long as he liked, but he's never gotten the feeling it is. "Fraser?"
From the distant way Fraser looks at him, Ray thinks he could be there already, but Fraser surprises him, snapping fully into the room with a jolt that Ray can actually feel, an electric current running over his skin. Fraser looks at the nine millimeter with a frown, like he'd never seen it before, then packs everything up, getting up to wash his hands.
After the sound of the water cutting off, Ray feels the couch shift as Fraser sits down, eyes flickering over him in a fast appraisal before meeting his eyes in a silent question.
"Fine otherwise," Ray answers, relaxing into the couch, forgetting his foot altogether. "I'd've told you. I'm sorry. About the job. It started--badly."
"I didn't expect otherwise," Fraser answers thoughtfully. "All things considered."
'All things considered' is a wide swath of everything going wrong for three days flat; Ray's still not convinced the cops were around for them in Detroit, and Fraser's sheer lack of reaction is an argument in his favor on that score. Fraser always knows; how, Ray has no idea, but he does.
Victoria had panicked anyway, and Ray had learned the hard way that three days close exposure, even with Fraser to buffer them, never leads anywhere good. They should have waited a few days, gotten out of each other's space, burned off the anger before trying to pull anything. Fraser had uncharacteristically said as much, but at that point, neither of them were listening and Fraser, being Fraser, had decided they needed a practical reminder of the consequences of being stupid.
Or something like that, in Fraser's head. Ray wonders what the contingency plan was if they got themselves caught, because he knows there was one, but he's not curious enough to ask.
"You think she'll come back tonight?" Ray asks lazily, then realizes how stupid the question is. Victoria wouldn't take that kind of a risk. He can feel the vicodin hitting his system hard, hazing everything in soft corners and blurry edges, enough to feel brave and stupid both, sinking sideways until his head's in Fraser's lap. The smell of the couch vanishes at this angle--Fraser's some kind of shield against it or something, because now there's nothing but mild detergent and gun oil and the faintest hint of aftershave and something that reminds him of summer.
Fraser doesn't stiffen up, which Ray had half-expected; Fraser personal space isn't something even Victoria fucks around with unless there's fucking involved. He figures he can blame it on the painkillers, exhaustion, or a combination thereof if he has to, but then Fraser's hand rests lightly on the back of his neck and he forgets the entire train of thought, startled by the shocking warmth.
"Get some rest," Fraser says after a few minutes. Ray nods carefully to avoid dislodging the hand and has an impression of fingers threading through his hair before resting gently on his neck again as he drifts off.
Fraser doesn't drive, for vague reasons that include not having a legal license, which makes no sense whatsoever but Ray gave up trying to figure it out when he realized that Fraser was serious.
But then, on the scale, most of what Fraser does falls into what the fuck territory, from the fact he spends three quarters of his time reading and the rest evenly split between planning jobs and being actively insane, to the weirdness that is Victoria and Fraser in the same room. Ray believes it when Fraser says he loves her--that's not something you can miss--and he knows Victoria believes it, too. He just thinks that Victoria's concept of what that means and how Fraser means it are on two separate planes of existence. That it's taken this long for her to start working that out for herself says something about both of them, but what, he's not sure.
Fraser spends the entire drive reading in the backseat, completely uninterested in either their destination or their existence. Ray knows from experience that Fraser won't bother resurfacing until either they're home or Victoria forces him to the surface, and that kind of shit she doesn't do unless she has to.
Home's two nights and five states away, and Ray finds himself hoping for a break, a couple of weeks without a job. Victoria rarely leaves him and Fraser alone--she's impulsive but not stupid--but at least they can get away from each other, put the better part of a house between them. He and Victoria anyway. Fraser tends to occupy space in a way that makes it impossible to get away, and Victoria's as addicted to it as he is.
He's half-asleep when Fraser unexpectedly leans over the seat. "Stop for the night."
Ray glances over at Fraser, curious, but there's nothing there; better luck reading Tarot cards if he wants to figure out what's going on in Fraser's head. They're all tired--Christ, sleep on a mattress would be good--but with only two days of driving and two drivers, it's not necessary and they don't do unnecessary.
From the corner of his eye, he can see Victoria going through the same train of thought, with added malice; whether it's worth not stopping just to score off Fraser and risk rousing him completely in the confines of a four door economy sedan stacked against the fact she's as tired as Ray is and Fraser's never tended to show whether he's tired at all.
It could be a hellish two days if she goes for option one.
"All right, Ben," Victoria says finally, unnerved--Ray thinks he would be too if he wasn't riding the Vicodin train to zen in a big way. So big, in fact, that he's leaning into the touch of Fraser's hand on the back of his neck well before he realizes he's being touched--how did that happen?--and only belatedly realizes Victoria's hands on the steering wheel are yellow-white from her grip, eyes flickering to fix on the Fraser's hand.
Stopping seems like a good idea--the way she's driving, they're going to hit a telephone pole.
Victoria handles getting them a room, par for the course; Ray watches in casual interest as Fraser follows her, hand on her elbow like he's escorting her to a dance or something. They'll spend half the night fucking in the next room, but for once, Ray will be way too out of it to care if he jerks off to it. It feels like years since Stella's filled his dreams; he doesn’t know what that means or if it means anything at all other than he's just as sick a fuck as he's always suspected.
What feels like seconds later, Fraser opens his door. Ray turns his head on the headrest, wondering if he's smiling as stupidly as he thinks he is. With a frown, Fraser crouches, hand cupping his jaw and tilting his head enough to look in his eyes. "How are you feeling?"
"No pain, buddy," Ray says, feeling in charity with the world. "Would like to get the fuck out of this car."
"So you would." Fraser unfastens his seatbelt and eases him out so smoothly that Ray almost misses it. The cool air clears his head a little; he looks at the backseat, but his duffle's missing.
"I took it inside already," Fraser says, arm under his shoulders and urging him toward the door. Ray nods and hobbles his way inside, letting himself fall on the bed with a sigh of utter satisfaction, ankle a distant throb. He feels more awake now, oddly enough, contenting himself with watching Fraser sort through their bags with ruthless efficiency while Victoria counts up the money.
It's enough for at least a few months, Ray thinks hazily, half-listening to the conversation going on above his head. Victoria's subdued, and he can feel her eyes on him more than he likes. Her attention's never something that bodes well. It eases off into not quite silence, and Ray almost opens his eyes before he hears the familiar hiss of clothes, Victoria's tiny gasp, and debates yelling "Get a room" because while it sounds funny in his head, a lot of things do that aren't so funny when he says them.
Besides, there's a gnawing sense of off he can't quite get past--sitting up, he reaches for his boots and starts to take them off, fingers thick and clumsy on the laces and jostling his knee hard enough he has to bite his lip to stop the groan. Abruptly, a hand knocks his out of the way, pushing him back into the mattress.
"Fraser," Ray says, getting up on his elbows and trying to focus. His last pill was less than an hour ago and he's got at least two more before it wears off enough to think. Ray can't even track Victoria anymore but it's a bad sign when he can't see her and he cranes his head enough to catch a glimpse of too much creamy skin and a black lace bra, which granted, not unfamiliar, but--
"In the wrong room," Ray says blankly, trying to catch up. This is significant. He's almost sure of it.
Fraser doesn't look up, easing the second boot off. "There's only one. Please sit up, Ray."
Ray clumsily pushes himself upright, the room swaying like a drunken stripper before he gets a hand on a bare shoulder, skin smooth between his fingers. Ray focuses on Fraser's face, thoughtful as he unfastens each button on his shirt, easing it off his shoulders to puddle on the bed, then the shoulder holster before pulling up his t-shirt, big hands skimming over his ribs deliberately, shockingly warm. Ray draws in a startled breath, and Fraser looks up briefly before cotton comes between them as Fraser pulls the shirt over Ray's head.
When he can see again, Fraser's pushed his knees apart, fingertips skimming just above the buttons of his jeans, and the room abruptly shrinks, dark and hot as Ray feels himself begin to flush. "You can say no," Fraser says, almost ironically, because the offer's true and that doesn't make it any less stupid; Fraser knows his answer better than he does.
Leaning forward, Ray meets him half-way for the kiss; he's had dreams about this, the impossible kind with strawberries and champagne and Victoria sleeping off major surgery in a hospital in another state, because he'd always assumed that would be what it took to even get a chance. This is too easy, too casual, and she's--Jesus, in the room and he doesn't care, he hopes she's watching. Curling his fingers in thick, dark hair, Ray slides off the bed into Fraser's lap, trying to get closer, opening to the hot tongue pushing into his mouth and sucking, feeling the vibration of a groan that could be either one of them.
Fraser's war with Victoria's never involved civilians before, but Ray doesn't mind being another weapon in his hands, shivering at rough fingers sliding up his back and curving around the back of his neck, the other hand pushing into the back of his jeans and cupping his ass. Ray arches, pushing his cock against Fraser's belly, gasping for air when Fraser's mouth moves lazily to his jaw, teeth skimming his jaw, tongue rasping over day old stubble. Opening his eyes, the room's an indistinct blur, dark splashed with pale grey light coming through the curtains and spilling over the bed. He can't see Victoria--there's barely enough light to see where the door is--but he can feel her with every shift on the mattress behind him.
He shudders at the feel of her hand overlapping Fraser's on the back of his neck, biting back a groan at the teeth that sink into the side of his throat; this is a fucking bad idea, stupid to get caught between them, like standing with Victoria's gun in his throat and daring her to shoot. It's possible he could come just from that, tipping his head back when her fingers slide into his hair, pulling sharply, licking into the warmth of her mouth, tasting three hour old coffee and the bright edge of her hatred of them both.
Then Fraser's hand slides into his jeans and squeezes his cock, hard enough to make him pull away with a gasp. Fraser's hand locks around his jaw, jerking his head down. "Do I have your attention, Ray?"
Hell yes. Ray tries to talk, gets two fingers fed into his mouth instead, and he sucks frantically before he's turned abruptly and shoved against the foot of the bed, bent over the mattress. Probably would have been a good time to say he'd never done this, but he can't remember how to form words and Victoria's licking them out of his mouth. He feels his jeans pushed down to his knees and Fraser strokes his cock slowly, matching the slide of slick fingers into his ass that shift weirdly until something inside him sparks bright and hot. He loses the gasp around Victoria's tongue.
Victoria pulls back, keeping her fingers twisted in his hair and holding him in place. "Relax." Reaching back, she holds up a white tube in his line of sight, condom between two fingers. "It's going to hurt. But you're going to enjoy it."
Ray nods blearily as she lets him go, watching her lean over his shoulder, the sound of Fraser kissing her sloppy and wet, the rhythm in his ass never breaking, fingers scissoring unevenly and stretching him out, and he realizes he's clawing the bedspread helplessly.
The hand on his cock vanishes, and Ray watches her slide off the side of the bed, pacing barefoot to the foot as Fraser's hands on his hips urge him away from the bed, turning him in time for Victoria to straddle his lap, tearing a condom between her teeth.
"Oh," he says stupidly; it's not like it wasn't pretty fucking obvious where this was going. She's still wearing her bra, startlingly black against creamy skin, and he reaches for her, easing the lace aside to thumb dusky nipples, cup his hands beneath the weight of her breasts. "Uh."
She kisses him, almost sweetly; the anger's gone and that should scare him, because she's breathes it like air, should scare him because her delicate tongue is tracing his ear and Fraser's fingers are slicker, wetter, moving slow and easy but he's not doing a damn thing else, and Christ, Victoria's gorgeous, but Fraser--
"Ready?" she whispers, reaching down to pull his cock once, achingly tight and perfect. He gasps, nodding, and she slides the condom on him one-handed in a breathtaking twist of her wrist and raises on her knees and slides him inside her just as Fraser's hair brushes his cheek and Victoria's first groan is lost in Fraser's mouth.
Jesus. Christ. "Fuck," Ray manages breathlessly, grabbing for her hips as she settles down against his thighs; she's wet and impossibly tight, muscles shifting and squeezing him, nipples skating across his chest as she rises a little, twisting her hips on the downstroke before she goes still. "Fuck."
Ray feels the fingers slide out of his ass, and he's abruptly empty, ass pushing back to find them--Christ, he thinks, what's he doing--before his head's jerked back and Fraser's tongue slides in his ear.
"Pay attention, Ray," he murmurs, and there's something big and blunt pushing into him, slow and implacable, nothing like those smart fingers, the burn spreading through every muscle, and Fraser's tongue slides into his mouth, swallowing his yell.
He's shaking there between them forever, Victoria's arm over his shoulder bracing him against her body, Fraser against his back, hot pussy squeezing around him and sending shocks through him that match the burn in his ass until Fraser's settled deep inside him, hips hard against his ass. For a second, both of them are still, nothing but the sounds of hard breathing almost drowned by the fast beat of his heart, then Victoria shifts up as Fraser's hand locks on his hip, and they both start to move.
It doesn't require much from him; his participation is limited to touching Victoria wherever he can, the fragile column of her throat and smooth skin of her shoulders, the heavy breasts he can't stop touching, sucking her nipples until she moans and shudders in his arms, sliding a hand down to thumb her clit, her skin slicker as the both start sweating, trying not to come with every stroke inside her, with every time Fraser's cock slides inside him, hips hard against his. It wouldn't seem real--it shouldn't, he's mostly high and so turned on he can't even think--but Fraser's cock in his ass is grounding, keeping him aware he's kneeling on the carpet in a shitty motel a hundred miles from the Michigan border and fucking two of the most wanted bank robbers in the United States.
Victoria comes around him, fingernails pressing into his shoulders until blood wells up around them, iron sweet, and she relaxes against him, mouth warm against his throat, and Ray thinks that's going to do it, balls drawing up, but the hand she slides lazily circles the base of his cock and squeezes once, hard. Gasping, Ray arches back and Fraser licks under his chin while Victoria laughs softly and gives him another squeeze. "You're not done yet."
Abruptly, his cock's in open air and he's down on his elbows, panting into the floor; Fraser slides a hand down his back, thumb stroking over the crack of his ass before sliding down his thigh, pushing his legs further apart, angle shifting, and Fraser's pushing inside him again, hard and impossibly thick, one hand braced on the floor, the other sliding up his chest, twisting sensitized nipples hard enough that he's grunting helplessly into the carpet.
Sweat stings his eyes, sticking his hair to his face; his knees ache and his hands have carpetburns from trying to brace himself against the floor. Fraser licks under his ear, tongue trailing down his neck and shoulder, mouthing along his shoulderblades before resting against the back of his neck, teeth sinking into the thin skin.
He's so hard it hurts, a pounding ache that feels like is never going to stop, and every thrust is another bright burn that hurts and he wants more than he wants air, and he realizes he's sobbing into the carpet and doesn't care, just Jesus Christ, he wants to come, please, Fraser, please, let me, make me, anything, give it to me and realizes it's not just in his head.
Fraser wraps a big hand around his cock, squeezing once, almost there, please, "Fraser, please, please, please--"
Fraser's lips press against his ear. "Come now, please," and he's done, every muscle going liquid and the world going black, a rush like falling off a roof and lighting every nerve. Collapsing on the floor, he feels Fraser go still, cock somehow swelling more, setting off another shocked rush that seems to go on forever, and breathing seems superfluous when Fraser goes warm and heavy on his back, mouthing his shoulder with sparks of pain that tell him Fraser broke skin.
After awhile, there's movement, activity, and Ray doesn't bother pretending he knows or cares what they want him to do, because he'll do it, no question. He follows someone to the shower (Fraser), standing pliant under the hot spray of water--shitty motel, awesome water pressure--dreamily opening his mouth to Fraser's tongue, soapy hands sliding down his back and cupping his ass, braced against the dingy tile and feeling himself get hard when he hadn't been sure he'd ever get hard again. He comes again kissing Fraser, shuddering and shocky, and drops to his knees to take Fraser's cock in his mouth, tasting himself on the warm, wet skin.
It can't be all that great--Ray's done this exactly once and he was a lot younger though probably just as high--but Fraser just murmurs encouragement, fingering his hair and cradling his jaw, stroking his cheeks before he stills, thighs shaking under Ray's hands as he comes. It's easier to swallow than it is to work out the other options, and he's rewarded with Fraser kissing him again, sharing the taste between them.
Later--God knows how, when--Fraser's wrapped around his back and he hears Victoria over his head, sounding soft and defeated, "Okay, Ben. You win."
Fraser's mouth leaves Ray's skin long enough to say, "That was never in question."
And Ray thinks that maybe he should have thought about it a little harder when three months ago, Welsh handed him a file and said, "I have a job for you."
It went something like this.
Her name's Victoria Metcalfe. Suspected in the death of her sister, Laura Metcalfe, wanted for evading arrest, extortion, conspiracy to commit extortion, and murder in the city of Chicago. Suspected in a string of successful bank robberies from Oregon to Florida. She's smart and she's ruthless and she's dangerous.
Ray had stared at Welsh and tried to remember when his last drink had been, because five seconds is way too long and he needs another, like, now.
Bank robberies, not interesting. Then again, there wasn't much that's all that interesting. He'd pushed it away and watched the second file open on his desk as Welsh leaned forward.
His name's Benton Fraser, formerly of the RCMP, citizen of Canada. Formerly liaison from the Canadian Consulate with the 2-7. Her partner.
Ray had blinked and said, "Vecchio, right?" and Welsh had said, "Yeah."
Which hadn't been the end of the conversation, but it might as well have been for the answer he gave. Fraser had fucked over a city cop; ain't no one was gonna forgive that.
Maybe if he'd heard the rest first, he might have rethought his answer.
Then again, maybe not.
They get back home after midnight. Ray's knee's screaming and he's curled up in the backseat when they finally stop. He's three hours from his last pill, but he can't afford the painkillers fucking up his head now, not when a situation that hadn't been what anyone sane would call stable had taken a hard right turn when Ray let his cock control his judgment.
On the other hand, pain's not exactly something that encourages good judgment, neither.
Fraser eyes him expressionlessly as he limps out of the car as soon as the engine turns off. "You should take something."
Ray peels back his lips in something like a smile. "Just need some sleep."
Fraser raises an eyebrow. Sleep was not had on the road or in the motel; brief periods of unconsciousness broken with semi-conscious sex, then a long car ride spread with silence so thick that even breathing seemed too loud.
Taking a step, Ray bites his lip hard enough to taste blood, knees folding, and it's only Fraser's unnatural reflexes that catch him before he hits solid pavement. "So I see."
Fraser doesn't say, there's no fucking way you're going to make the stairs; he won't bother. He doesn't protect anyone from their own stupidity; he leave the world to do it for him. "Fine, I need one. When we get inside. If I could get some help--"
"Of course, Ray."
Ray flings an arm over Fraser's shoulders, letting him take most of the weight. It's a pretty nice building with a surprising number of tenants who lack anything like curiosity, so they don't get a second glance on their way to the stairwell. Ray gives the elevator one longing look, but it's been tricky for the last month and the last thing Ray wants is an extended stay inside while they wait around for maintenance to get on it. Or worse, Fraser getting him out through the roof, which with his knee like this, Ray can't even think about without making it hurt even worse.
The door's already unlocked, so Victoria must have come up already. Ray feels more than usually pathetic as Fraser leads him to the couch and eases him down, disappearing down the hall before returning with a bottle of water and another pill. Ray takes it from him, frowning, wondering where Victoria is.
"Victoria left," Fraser says, anticipating the question. "Considering the amount of money she left with, I doubt she'll return before tomorrow evening."
Shopping in the middle of the night: Ray squints at Fraser suspiciously. "It's midnight."
"I suspect," Fraser says, sitting down on the arm of the couch, leg warm and distracting against Ray's, "she can find sufficient entertainment to keep her occupied."
Ray watches in silence as Fraser opens the bottle, taking it and the pill without argument; he's way too surprised by what Fraser's not saying.
"You threw her out."
Fraser doesn't contradict him; very blue eyes are fixed on Ray's mouth. Ray licks his lips nervously, aware Fraser's following the motion, and feels himself hardening in his jeans.
Ray watches in fascination as Fraser smiles; it's rare enough that it's almost guaranteed to make him stupid. Painkiller luckily gives him a good reason, so he grins back and gets to his feet, because sure, the situation's going to hell in a handbasket, but somehow, he's losing the will to care.
Fraser kisses him, open mouthed and deep and slow, and they stop every so often to take a second against the wall, and Ray forgets Victoria and painful knees and dangerously pissed off murdering bank robbers when the mattress hits the back of his knees. Keeping his grip on Fraser, Ray scoots back until they're both on the bed, pulling until Fraser's stretched out over him, heavy and hard, cock pushing against his thigh, and Ray can't tell if it's Fraser or doing Fraser in Victoria's bed is turning him on more.
"So you sent her away to fuck me?" Ray asks as Fraser sets his teeth against jaw, applying just enough pressure to make Ray shiver.
"I sent her away to inquire if your recent amenability has anything to do with your ex-wife's marriage to my ex-partner."
It takes a second for Ray to catch up--none of those words make any kind of sense, and Fraser's pushing his shirt up, thumbing his nipples. Then it sinks in, and Fraser catches his wrists and pins them to the bed with all the casual ease of picking up a bag.
"Didn't anyone tell you?"
Ray stares up at him, mouth dry. "What--"
"Or are you attempting to think of an implausible lie?" Fraser settles over him, weight balanced on Ray's hips, knees braced on the bed; Ray's not getting away until Fraser's good and ready to let him go.
Ray feels Fraser shift, pushing his wrists together to hold in one hand; Ray almost thinks that in another life, where he wasn’t' an idiot, he could have broken that hold and limped for freedom to the door, which is-- well. Yeah. Useless.
Cold metal suddenly snaps around his wrists; Ray blinks, arching his head back and looking in shock at the handcuffs tying him to the metal panels of the headboard. "You keep handcuffs under the pillow?"
Fraser places a gun on Ray's stomach and Ray goes still, staring at the barrel that's pointed just east of his head. "I like to be prepared."
Yeah. If there's one thing Fraser defines, it's prepared.
"Detective Stanley Kowalski," Fraser says, eyes holding his. "Currently on a leave of absence from the Chicago Police Department for personal reasons; unofficially due to a drinking problem that escalated in an accidental shooting." Fraser pauses, head tilting slightly. "The part I found most interesting is that it's all true. Under normal circumstances, you may have been asked to resign; Internal Affairs, I'm sure, was hoping for far more. However, I suspect Lieutenant Welsh offered you a choice; an undercover assignment in exchange for not losing your badge."
Ray sucks in a breath; trying not to panic. Even vicodin can't compete with utter terror, though. "How long?"
"When I met you."
Jesus Christ. "And you just let me stay?"
Fraser looks at him in amusement. "Why not?"
Ray watches Fraser; he's predictable up the point where he's not predictable at all. He's never seen Fraser shoot anyone, but that doesn't mean much, because Victoria will.
"What are you going to do?" Ray asks finally.
Fraser seems surprised by the question. Picking up the gun, he slides it into the holster behind his back, then leans forward. With a snick-snick, the cuffs fall away and Fraser drops neatly beside him on the bed. "There's a door and a phone. You know how to use them both.
Ray draws his arms down, looking up at him, letting the pieces falling into place. Fraser didn't send Victoria away to protect him--he sent her away to protect her from Ray. "You're nuts."
"That fact is not in question."
It's too surreal to believe; Ray sits up, hissing at the throb in his knee, scooting backward until he can lean against the headboard. Fraser's look of mild interest doesn't change; Ray can't remember an arrest ever starting like this, possibly because he can't even convince himself that he has any intention of arresting Fraser.
"So you're just going to let me arrest you?"
Fraser draws up a knee, resting an arm across it without any sign of worry. "If I thought you were going to do so, I might," he answers after a moment of thought. "But since you aren't, the point is moot."
"Fraser--" But he stops there; how the hell is he supposed to answer that? There's a door, he's not near it; there's a telephone, but he hasn't even looked at it. Fraser's watching him and Ray thinks there's a pretty good chance Fraser will just let him go. Go out the door, back to the car, drive back to Chicago. Tell Welsh they got away, tell IA God knows what, and tell his wife--
His ex-wife, Stella--
Ray jerks his head up, staring at Fraser. "You're lying about Stella."
"You're two weeks beyond your normal check-in," Fraser says with devastating accuracy; Ray wonders if there's anything he's done that Fraser doesn't already know. "You can call and verify. Or you can consult the Chicago Tribune four days ago. The ceremony was very well-attended."
It's like being shot; for a second, there's only the absence of pain.
"You're fucking with me," Ray breathes.
Fraser sighs, getting up to pace to the closet. Ray can feel every second pass like an hour, a day, then Fraser comes out, paper in hand, and Ray feels himself start to shake.
"You introduced them, didn't you?" Fraser asks. The paper folds neatly beside Ray as Fraser sits down. "Before you were sent on this assignment. She briefed you on the original Alaskan bank robbery and my part in her arrest. Vecchio filled in the details on what happened when Victoria came to Chicago."
Ray sees his own hand flipping the pages, looking for the society pages.
"You let them convince you it would be easy. Welsh gave you the file, but they're the ones that convinced you that you could do what four previous officers could not."
Ray's head jerks up. Fraser's expression doesn't change.
"Or perhaps they forgot to mention that." Reaching over, Fraser flips three pages, and Ray finds himself looking down, staring at his wife and Vecchio, lips forming ADA Stella Vecchio and second marriage, words running together into incomprehensibility before Ray shoves the paper away, watching it glide to the floor.
Ray clenches his hands before Fraser can see them shake.
Abruptly, the phone drops into his view.
"Call them and tell them that you've caught me. They'll be disappointed not to have Victoria as well, but I suspect they'll recover." Fraser pauses. "With your IA investigation derailed, you can return to whatever bar you frequent and attempt the most passive form of suicide you can manage until you either die of liver disease or shoot another innocent bystander."
Ray doesn't even think about it; his fist is up and out, smashing straight into flesh and bone. Jerking back, as Fraser turns to face him, Ray realizes he's watching for Fraser to pull his gun.
Jesus Christ, he's hoping.
But Fraser wipes his mouth with his thumb, licking the blood away, blue eyes dark; for the first time, he looks tired. "Fuck you," Ray whispers without heat.
"Make a choice, Ray."
Ray can't look away from the phone; reaching out, he picks it up, staring at the keypad, the number running over in over in his head. They don't make it to the phone.
"I'm a cop," Ray says slowly; the word doesn't seem real, any more real than anything since the day Stella walked out and life became an unfamiliar country where even breathing felt like too much effort. "I didn't introduce them," he hears himself say; he has no idea where that comes from. "Vecchio and Stella. They met after you disappeared. She interviewed him about the murder."
Fraser doesn't say anything; in all honesty, he doesn't need to.
"You don't think--" Ray doesn't; he can't. He won't. "Welsh asked me."
"I'm sure he did."
"They had nothing to do with it!"
"Whirlwind courtships and sudden marriages are certainly not uncommon," Fraser answers agreeably. "Do you need assistance packing?"
Fuck. "She didn't--she wouldn't do this."
"Or should I call you a cab?"
This time, Fraser catches his wrist mid-air. Ray begins to shake as Fraser eases it down, thumb pressing until his fingers unclench, stroking gently against his palm. "Make the call, Ray."
Ray drops the phone. It's not a decision, he tells himself, even when Fraser lets go of his hand, picking up the phone and setting it in easy reach of the bed. Pushing away from the headboard, Ray rolls on his side, eyes fixed on the far wall as Fraser puts away the newspaper and turns out the lights, concentrating the dip of the bed that Ray has to fight not to turn toward before he gives up and does it anyway.
"You planned this," Ray says. Surprisingly gentle fingers stroke over his hairline, down his cheek, and Ray closes his eyes, leaning into the careful touch. "This ain't a decision."
Fraser's fingers pause against his mouth, thumb sliding slowly across his lower lip. "That's what I said," Fraser says finally. The thumb pulls back, and Fraser kisses him, closed mouth and achingly soft. Pulling away, Fraser's forehead rests against his. "Right up until I admitted that it was."
Ray shivers, reaching out and finding skin-warmed cotton, sliding his hands underneath to touch bare flesh. Fraser licks his temple, catches his mouth again, hand resting possessively on Ray's hip. Ray rolls on his back, ignoring the shock of pain from his knee, the thickness in his chest that makes it hard to breathe; somewhere in Chicago Welsh is waiting for his call and Stella's fucking the guy Ray went undercover to help.
Fraser follows him, heavy and solid; in the dark, Ray can almost imagine he's the only thing that's real. Eyes closed, he lifts his hips when Fraser unbuttons his jeans, easing them down until they vanish into the darkness outside of the bed. Fraser kisses him like he's refuting arguments Ray doesn't know how to make, much less believe.
"I don't--" Know what to do. How to decide. What the fuck I'm doing here. They're all lies anyway. He can feel Fraser's hard through the age-soft demin of his jeans, rubbing slowly against his stomach; Ray reaches for him, unfastening the button and sliding the zipper down like moving through water. Fraser bites his tongue before pulling back and onto his knees. It's too dark to see much as Fraser peels away t-shirt and jeans and boxers, but Ray can imagine it, moving enough to let Fraser take his shirts, mouthing up his chest and spreading Ray's legs, settling against him.
Ray shudders at the scrape of cock against cock, fingers tight in Fraser's hair. Panting, Ray mouths his throat, hearing the catch in Fraser's breath when he uses his teeth, and comes shaking and breathless while Fraser kisses him.
After, he stares helplessly at the ceiling, fingers numb and knotted in Fraser's hair as he licks his belly clean. "I can't do this," Ray says, but he's not sure who he's trying to convince, because it's sure as hell not himself.
Fraser's teeth sink into his hip; Ray jerks, feeling himself start to harden again. Looking down, shadowed blue eyes meet his. "You already did."
Fraser's leaning against the hood of the car while he makes the call.
Ray closes his eyes, pressing his head against the pay phone for a second to catch his breath.
"Where are you?" she asks, voice rising. There's vague noise behind her; probably Vecchio calling the station. "You missed your--"
"I know." Ray tries not to examine her voice, but he can't stop himself; he's been a cop for two decades and between yesterday and today she stopped being Stella and started being a suspect. "You got married."
Ray hears her catch her breath, imagining the look on her face. Shock, maybe guilt, maybe relief that he knows and she didn't have to be the one to tell him. "We've been divorced three years," she says gently; idly, Ray wonders if Vecchio's got Welsh on the phone yet. "You have to let go."
"When did it start with Vecchio?"
Another breath: working to keep her voice calm, like she does at trials. Ray checks his watch for the time. "Not long."
"Before or after your husband's boss sent me out here?"
"Ray, no. No. That had nothing to do with it. Ray had nothing to do with it. We didn't--"
"How fucking long?"
Stella's silent, which is answer enough; Ray wants to make her say it anyway. "A year. But--"
Ray hangs up before she can finish; leaning against the phone booth, he draws in a shaking breath. A year. A fucking year. They'd met together, going over the details, working out his strategy; everything Stella had learned about Fraser's past, everything Vecchio knew about the man. He'd drank with Vecchio, listened to his story, wondering what kind of guy could fuck over a friend for a woman, and all along, he'd been sitting with a guy who could do just that.
Ray pushes off the phone, turning around; if he'd been holding a gun, he's not sure the phone would still be standing. He's not sure he'd still be standing himself. "A year."
Fraser nods, straightening as Ray goes to the car, jerking open the door and getting inside. Closing the door, Ray reaches for the ignition, but for some reason, his fingers won't close on the keys.
"Ray," Fraser says softly.
They'd talked in that room, about the case, about this guy, about loyalty and justice and Ray had listened to everything Vecchio said about friendship and betrayal, nodding like an idiot while they convinced him to--
"Four other officers," he says dully. No one had told him that.
"Victoria has her own--methods," Fraser says, an edge in his voice. "Suffice to say, there was very good reason not to tell her who you were."
Jesus. Ray leans his head back against the seat. "Why--" The break in his voice makes him stop; licking his lips, he looks at Fraser. "Why ain't I?"
Fraser looks at him like that's the stupidest question anyone's ever asked. "Because I told her she couldn't." Leaning over, he turns the ignition. "Let's get back."