Rated NC-17 for M/M sex. As usual, Benton Fraser and Ray Kowalski belong to Alliance/Atlantis, not me. Although, really, they just belong to each other. And to the ages. Okay, that's enough.

Soundtrack: Great Big Sea, Own True Way. Jefferson Starship, Have You Seen The Stars Tonight. Utada Hikaru, Fly Me To The Moon.

Thanks to Betty, Beth H. and Audra for sterling beta. And to Betty for the germ of the idea, since I was all out of PWP ideas. :-)

© 2002 Kellie Matthews

"So what do you want to do tonight?" Ray asked, gazing distractedly out the window, one hip on Fraser's desk, foot swinging, the other leg braced against the floor.

It was an innocent question, Fraser knew that. Or he thought he did, anyway. Of late he wasn't sure but that Ray was flirting with him. Be that as it may, there was still no earthly reason why the first answer that sprang to mind should be one that would probably not be allowed across the border in printed form. He had a hard time banishing the image, though, and because of that was slow in answering.

"Yo, Fraser. You awake?" Ray asked impatiently, his attention returning to Fraser from whatever it was he'd seen outside.

Fraser's face felt warm as he nodded. "Sorry. I'm afraid I was woolgathering."

Ray frowned mock-thoughtfully, but his hazel-blue eyes were bright with humor. "Woolgathering, hunh? Never tried that. Doesn't sound too fun. Besides that, where we gonna find sheep?"

Despite his best efforts to remain expressionless, Fraser felt the corners of his mouth lift slightly. "I'm sure there must be a sheep farm somewhere within driving distance."

Ray snickered. "Dief'd like that. Wolf in sheep's clothing. Kinda like you. So, what do you really want to do?"

"I have no particular preference," Fraser said blandly. "You?"

"I know I don't want to do what we always do," Ray said decisively.

"That being?" Fraser asked cautiously, not having previously realized that they 'always' did the same thing. Of course, Ray was prone to hyperbole.

"Same three things, all the time. We get dinner, we go over to my place and watch tv, then you go home and go to bed and I stay home and go to bed."

"We didn't do that last night," Fraser pointed out.

"Yeah, that's 'cause last night we were on stakeout. I'm talking about nights when we don't have to work."


"Yeah, ah."

"We could go to a film," Fraser offered, hoping there were no gratuitously violent science fiction epics currently playing.

Ray shook his head. "Nah, that's just like watching really big TV. You can do better than that. What did you do for fun at night before you ended up down here?"

Fraser's face, which had cooled to normal, heated again.

Ray looked at him curiously, and then grinned. "Besides that. Though that's always fun," he said with a wink. "It's okay, you can stop blushing now. Come on. Think. Fun. Nighttime. There's got to be something."

"I. . . ah. . . astronomy!" Fraser said, clutching at the first innocent idea that came to mind.

"Astronomy?" Ray asked. "You mean, like, go to the planetarium?"

"Well, nothing so formal as that, no. I was simply thinking of the back yard sort of star-gazing."

"Hunh. Yeah, could be fun," Ray said, nodding. "Only one problem. No back yard. Just a parking lot."

"Two problems actually, Ray. No back yard, and an excess of light-pollution."

"Light pollution? As opposed to heavy pollution?" Ray asked with a Groucho-like waggle of his eyebrows.

"No, light pollution. The city lights make it difficult to see any stars," Fraser explained, knowing there was a real question behind Ray's leer.

"Right. True. Hm. Okay. We could go out to Goose Lake. I bet it gets dark enough out there, and it's not more than an hour's drive. Sound like a plan?"

Fraser stared at him, a little stunned. "You want to go outside, in a remote area, after dark, and look at stars?"

Ray grinned. "Why not? Let's go."

"You don't think it's too cold?" Fraser asked, concerned, remembering that Ray ostensibly got hives from trips away from the city.

"Cold? This from Nanook of the North? Nah. It'll be fine. It's not like it's January. I'll throw my sleeping bag in the trunk, we can take a thermos of cof. . . um, hot chocolate, and we'll be set. Should we take my binocs?"

"Ah . . . certainly, if you like."

"Okay, great. Get changed."

"Excuse me?"

"Change. You heard me. Get out of the uniform and into some civvies. Or did you need help?"

"No, of course not. I can do that."

"So do it already," Ray said, looking at him expectantly.

Fraser hesitated for a moment, waiting for Ray to excuse himself, but after a moment it became clear that he had no intention of doing so. Ordinarily he would feel no compunction about changing in front of Ray, but with the things he'd just been thinking fresh in his mind, it was an entirely different proposition. Feeling warm yet again, he opened the closet to get out a pair of jeans and a sweater, and placed them on a filing cabinet within easy reach. Next he unfastened his lanyard and Sam Browne and slung them on the hook on the back of the closet door, then shrugged out of the tunic and hung it up. He unfastened his suspenders, and paused for a moment to pull on his sweater over his undershirt before undoing the button and zipper of his trousers.

Only after he had them open did he realize that Ray's presence had so flustered him that he hadn't remembered to take his boots off first. With a sigh he held his pants up with one hand as he pulled out the desk chair and sat down to remove his boots.

"Give you a hand with those?" Ray offered.

Fraser looked up to find Ray squatting in front of him. More un-exportable images filled his mind, and he had to moisten dry lips before he could speak. "I think I can manage."

"I know you can manage. I figure you've been dressing yourself on your own for a while now," Ray said dryly. "I just thought it might go quicker with help."

"Ah," Fraser said, realizing he was being nonsensical. "I, ah, well, yes, it probably would."

"Great." Ray leaned in close and started unlacing his left boot.

Fraser stared down at the top of his head for a moment, having never really had the opportunity to observe Ray's hair from that vantage point before. It looked . . . soft. When he breathed in he could detect the faint scent of . . . cherries? And something else, perhaps flax-seed, and aloe. Hair-styling products no doubt. Intriguing. Ray suddenly looked up. Lord, they were. . . close. Ray's lips were just inches from his.

Ray's gaze flicked momentarily downward, seemed to rest almost tangibly on his mouth for a moment, then lifted again, full of amusement and . . . he shouldn't call it heat, should he? Perhaps warmth, though that seemed a little weak. And once again he had that odd feeling that Ray knew exactly the response he was provoking, and was doing so quite deliberately.

He could trace Ray's behavior to two weeks previously, when, in attempting to keep them both awake for what Ray termed 'yet another stupid stakeout,' he had somehow gotten onto the subject of gender roles among the Inuit and their acceptance of role-exchanges. He'd been tired enough that he hadn't noticed where Ray's questions were subtly leading until he had found himself talking about his old friend Steve.

While he hadn't thought he'd said anything particularly revealing, Ray apparently had. He'd spent the rest of the stakeout occasionally glancing thoughtfully at Fraser, in-between yawns and meaningless chatter. The following day, and nearly every day since, had brought what appeared to be increasingly less subtle overtures.

"Maybe we should just get these off and then put you to bed?" Ray said, his voice a little husky. "You don't seem to be firing on all cylinders."

Absorbed in his thoughts, it took Fraser a moment to comprehend what Ray had said. Bed? Put him to. . . oh! He blinked and sat up straighter, shaking his head. "Nonsense, I'm fine. An evening in the outdoors will be just what I need to clear the cobwebs from my head."

Ray nodded. "Cobwebs. Yeah. Okay. So get to work or am I doing both sides?"

Flustered, Fraser bent down to unlace his right boot and nearly collided with Ray as he moved to finish the left. He put a hand on Ray's shoulder for balance, and Ray put a hand on his thigh, probably for the same reason. They stayed like that for a long moment. Close. Touching. Then Ray cleared his throat, gave Fraser's thigh a little squeeze, and moved his hand back down to his boot.

Greatly daring, Fraser squeezed Ray's shoulder slightly in return, and saw Ray's mouth curve in a knowing smile, though his eyes were hidden behind long lashes. Thoughtfully, Fraser moved his hand away and started to work on his boot, certain now that Ray was flirting with him. He'd lived in the States long enough to know that there was simply no way an exclusively heterosexual American male would have done what Ray had just done. No, he would have yanked his hand away as if Fraser was on fire and then pretended it had never happened.

It was a little confusing, nothing that he knew of Ray's background would have led him to believe that Ray was, as he'd overheard someone put it recently, 'an equal opportunity player.' Of course, he knew only those bits and pieces of Ray's past that Ray had chosen to reveal. And really he could hardly blame Ray for not revealing anything which might have indicated that. It could be, frankly, rather dangerous. The fact that Ray felt comfortable enough with him to do so now gave him a warm feeling inside. Not to mention a certain tingle of anticipation.

He felt Ray tugging at his heel and lifted his foot off the floor. Ray pulled his boot off and set it aside, and then moved to the other boot and pulled it free as Fraser finished with the laces. Putting that boot beside its mate, he stood up and brushed his hands off. "There you go. Need help with the rest?"

"What would you do if I said yes?" Fraser asked boldly, looking a challenge at his partner.

Ray grinned. "I'd help, of course. I can be very helpful. I live to be helpful."

"Ah. Would you believe I didn't know that about you?"

"Lots you don't know about me," Ray said.

"I'm beginning to realize that," Fraser said.

Ray smirked at him. There was no other word for it. For a moment he thought about asking for help, then decided that he wasn't really quite ready to find out just how helpful Ray was willing to be. He leaned down and untied the tapes at his ankles, and then stood and stripped off his pants, trying very hard for nonchalance, and hoping Ray would put his flushed face down to the bending over he'd just been doing. Shaking out his jeans, he pulled them on, tucked himself in, and fastened them quickly. Only then did he allow himself a quick glance at Ray, who was watching him unabashedly.
Their eyes met, and Ray smiled. Fraser smiled back, tentatively.

"You ready?" Ray asked softly, his gaze holding Fraser's, almost physically.

"Yes," Fraser said, feeling a bit dizzy.

Ray's eyes flicked down, then back up. "Shoes, Fraser."

Fraser looked down at his stockinged feet and hastily retrieved his hiking boots from the closet and shoved his feet into them. "There. Ready."

"Let's get at 'er then."

* * *

"What do you think about here?" Ray asked, gesturing at the meadow opposite the trail. "Good enough?"

Fraser looked up at the sky, still glowing indigo with the last vestiges of a cloudless sunset, looked around at the barren expanse to either side of them, mentally calculated the distance to the deserted parking lot, and nodded. "Yes, I think it'll do nicely."


Ray headed off the trail, the dry shortgrass rustling under his feet. Dief trotted at his heels, clearly enchanted with this odd new stakeout location. Fraser hesitated for a moment, trying not to worry about being off the trail. After all, there weren't any signs forbidding it.

"You coming?" Ray called out.

Fraser shook off his paralysis and went to join them. Up ahead, Ray had apparently found a spot to his liking and was spreading out the tarp he carried. Next he unrolled the sleeping bag on top of it and then plopped down, patting the space next to him. "Here. Saved you a spot," he said as Fraser approached. "Not you, wolf, he said affectionately, shoving Diefenbaker out of the way as he tried to take over the spot. "You can sit on the other side."

Grumbling, Dief circled around to sit on the grass on Ray's left. Fraser sat down on the sleeping bag next to Ray. Ray was digging in his pack, and a moment later he pulled out two bottles of water, and what appeared to be a partial loaf of bread. "Here. Dinner."

"Bread and water?" Fraser asked, taking the water Ray held out to him.

"Well, technically it should be a jug of wine and a loaf of bread," Ray said, opening the bread wrapper to pull out a sandwich. "But you don't drink, and I thought plain old bread was a little chintzy so it's peanut butter and banana sandwiches. I made them while you were helping Mrs. Knopfler with her garbage."

"I'm sorry to have taken so long. She did have rather a lot of rubbish, but she was quite grateful."

"Hey, I'm not complaining. Keep her grateful and maybe she won't raise my rent. Here, these two are yours." He handed Fraser two sandwiches, gave two to Dief, and got out two more for himself. "Multi-grain bread, and organic, no-sugar-added peanut butter. There's also a thermos of hot chocolate for later. It's instant, sorry. Didn't have all the ingredients for the real stuff."

"I'm sure it will be fine, thank you. And thank you for dinner."

"Anytime. Can't have my partner going hungry."

Fraser took a bite of his sandwich, and only then did it occur to him what Ray had said. The proverb was unmistakable. A loaf of wine, a jug of bread and . . . him? He tried to swallow without finishing chewing and nearly choked on the sticky wad of bread, fruit, and peanut butter. Ray hastily handed him his own, open, bottle of water and watched in concern as Fraser gulped down several swallows.

"You okay?"

"Thank you, yes, I'm fine now," he rasped, nodding.

"Good. Scared me for a minute there. Thought I was going to have to Heimlich you. And you know, mouth to mouth is a lot more fun."

Fraser closed his eyes for a moment. "Ray, are you. . . ." He couldn't finish. He didn't want to hear it if the answer was no.

"Am I what?" Ray prompted.

"Nothing," Fraser said abruptly, mentally scolding himself for cowardice. "You know, I don't believe I've had this particular culinary combination before."

It was a blatant change of subject, but Ray went with it. "What, you mean the Elvis Special? My mom always made these for us when we were kids. Is it okay? You can take the banana off if you don't like it."

"No, I like it very much," Fraser said, taking another bite, chewing carefully this time. "Elvis?" he asked thickly, talking with his mouth full.

Ray grinned. "Yeah. Except I think he mashed his bananas and Mom always sliced ours. Plus it would have to be on white bread and grilled in bacon-fat to be the real deal. No wonder he died young."

Ray took a bite of his own sandwich, and retrieved his water bottle from Fraser. They ate in silence, listening to the sounds of the place: a few birds settling in for the night, the sigh of the grasses in the faint breeze, a faraway yapping sound that had Dief pricking up his ears and looking at Fraser. Fraser shook his head.

"No, I'm afraid the foxes wouldn't understand that you just want to play."

Dief sighed and subsided again. A few moments later a nearby rustle of dry leaves caught his attention, and this time he bounded off to investigate. Ray looked at Fraser with lifted eyebrows.

"A rabbit, I suspect. We'll see if he still remembers how to hunt."

Ray nodded. "Okay, what do we do next?"

"Just wait for the stars to come out. The moon won't rise for another two hours and it's not full, so we should have decent viewing tonight."

"You know all the shapes and stuff?"

"You mean constellations?" Fraser asked. At Ray's confirmation, he nodded. "I know a good many, yes. Both the traditional Western interpretations, and some First Nations ones from north of the border."

"Cool. Only one I know is the dipper thing. And the North Star."

"Polaris. In Inuktitut it's nuutuittuq, which means 'does not move.' Did you know it's actually several degrees off true north? The North Pole actually wobbles in a circle, one which takes several thousand years to complete. But Polaris is close enough to steer by, if need be."

Ray chuckled. "A few degrees off true. That sounds like me. And you, hunh?"

"In a number of ways," Fraser agreed, amused.

"Hey, look, there's a star and it's not even all the way dark yet!"

Fraser looked in the direction Ray was pointing, and nodded. "To be accurate, that's a planet. Venus."

"So it's not a star at all?" Ray sounded disappointed.

"Technically, no, although depending on what point in its orbit it currently occupies, it is often called either the morning or the evening star."

"Oh. So is it okay to wish on a planet if it happens to be the first star you see?"

Fraser smiled. The question was so quintessentially Ray. "It's quite traditional to do so, actually."

"Good." Ray lay back on the sleeping bag, his lips moving silently as he gazed intently at the silvery brilliance of Venus where it shone just above the rapidly darkening horizon.

Watching him, Fraser was sure he saw the shapes of familiar words on his mouth. Star light, star bright. . . he wondered what Ray was wishing for, and wondered even more so when Ray finished his incantation and closed his eyes, a sweet, secretive smile curving his mouth. Fraser made a swift wish of his own. After a moment, Ray opened his eyes.

"What did you wish for?" Fraser couldn't resist asking.

Ray shook an admonitory finger at him. "Uh-uhn. You know better than that. If I tell then it won't come true, right?"

Fraser sighed. "That's the superstition, yes."

"See? I'm not telling. I could stand to have a wish come true right about now."

"As could I." Fraser couldn’t repress a small sigh.

Ray reached up and tugged at his pant leg. "Come on down, Fraser, the price is right."

Fraser stared at him. "The price?" he ventured cautiously.

"I have got to get you watching more daytime television. It's from a TV game show, relax. I just meant you should lie down. You'll get a crick in your neck trying to stargaze sitting up."

A little self-consciously, Fraser removed his hat, eased back and tried to find a comfortable position next to Ray without touching him. Given the rather small space the tarp and sleeping bag covered, that wasn't easy. Finally he settled in, and looked up. More stars were visible, and he kept his gaze on the sky, even though he wanted badly to watch Ray instead. With the fall of darkness, the temperature had dropped precipitously. It wasn't uncomfortably cold, at least not to him, but it did make him very aware of Ray's warmth all along his left side.

"Man, it's quiet out here," Ray said after a few moments. "It's nice. Peaceful. I bet you miss this."

Fraser thought about that for a moment. "Oddly, I rarely think about it any more. I suppose I've adjusted more to the city than I realized."

"That, or we usually keep you too busy to think," Ray said dryly. "Hey, that's the Big Dipper, right?"

Fraser looked up and nodded. "Yes. The Inuit call it tukturjuit, or Caribou. The ancient Romans saw it as Ursa Major, the great bear. Interestingly, the Cree also see it as a bear; however, where in western cultures the three stars at the rear of the bear are considered a tail, the Cree believe that those three stars are hunters, tracking the bear."
Ray was silent for a moment, then he turned to look at Fraser. "Bears don't have tails," he said.

Fraser smiled. "No, they don't."

"Stupid. I like the Cree one better. You ever hunt bear?"

"No, although I did have to intervene once when a bear took too much interest in a community dump."

"That where you wrestled that one bear you talked about?"

"So to speak. It was mostly a matter of distracting it until it could be tranquilized."

"Distracting it?"


"Hunh. You always been a lunatic?" Ray asked, sounding thoughtful.

Fraser nodded. "Yes, more or less."

"Good. That's good to know."

"Why is that?"

"Well, that way if you start acting normal I'll know something's hinky so I can get you some help."

Fraser couldn't help the startled laugh that escaped him. "You'll get me help for being normal?" he asked a little incredulously.

"Yeah. I like you in all your freakish glory."

"My . . . " Fraser shook his head, smiling. "You know, I strongly suspect I'm not the only lunatic on this sleeping bag."

"You'd be right. Hey, look at that! That looks like a GTO up there."

Fraser looked at the sky. "Where?"

"Over there." Ray pointed. "See, there's the hood, and those stars there kind of slope down like the back end does. And there's kind of a little curve there like a wheel, if you squint."

Fraser squinted. "You know, you're right. If you take part of Boötes and part of Corona Borealis, and throw in a few stars from Hercules."

"Cool. This is fun. What's that one that looks like a big 'W' over there?"

"Cassiopeia. Ostensibly a Grecian queen."

Ray stared, and shook his head. "Nope. No queen. Just a 'W.'"

"The Yakima say it's an elk-skin, stretched out to dry on the sky. The Inuit say it's pitauq, a lamp-stand."

"A skin or lamp stand? Either of those makes more sense than a queen. I think those ancient Roman guys were smoking something."

"Possibly," Fraser agreed. "Or suffering from lead poisoning from their pewter drinking vessels, but in any case I tend to find the Native constellations more accessible."

"What's that bright star down by the Dipper?"

"Arcturus. One of the brightest stars in the sky."

"Got a story about that one?"

"The Lummi call it Coyote's Eyeball. They say that Coyote liked to show off to the girls by juggling his eyeballs, and one day he threw one so high that it stuck up in the sky."

Ray laughed. "Man, that's a sick story. You know any girls who'd get off on watching some guy juggle his eyeballs?"

"Well, I'm not certain," Fraser said, feeling a laugh bubble up inside him. "I've never really asked."

"Trust me on this one, don't. That one over there kind of looks like a guy."

"Orion, the Hunter."

"Oh yeah, I remember that one now. Hey, you know, it looks kind of like you, carrying your hat out in front of you, with your uniform on, and the belt, and the strap-thing, and then down. . . um . . ." Ray chuckled. "Well, the baggy pants kind of hide the goodies so I don't know if you're as big as he is."

"Ray! That's his sword!"

"Yeah, I've heard it called that. Sword. Pistol. Gun. Club. Blackjack. Why do people use such ugly words for such a great thing?"

Fraser swallowed hard. "Ah. . . I don't know." He cast around desperately for a halfway intelligent answer. "I suppose it's probably tied into concepts of aggression and masculinity."

Ray snorted. "I dunno about you but my masculinity and aggression survive just fine without being compared to a weapon. I think dick and cock work great."

"Well," Fraser shot back, thoughtlessly, "that's probably because in comparison to much of the male population, you're quite amply . . . ." Oh dear Lord. He caught himself, but not quite in time. He held still, staring at the sky, unable to bring himself to look at Ray and see how he had taken that. A long, silent moment later, Ray chuckled.

"Thanks, Fraser." He shifted, turning onto his side, leaning on an elbow. "Now, since you've obviously been checking me out, do I get to check you out?"

"You can't check out a person like a library book, Ray," Fraser said, feigning obtuseness.

Ray leaned closer, and put a hand on his stomach. He thought he could feel it through his coat, sweater, and undershirt. The heat seemed to seep into him, spreading, centering in his groin. His body reacted, predictably, and his jeans seemed to be getting tighter.

"It's a colloquialism, and you know that. You. Checked. Me. Out. Admit it."

"I . . . it's . . . I didn't exactly . . . but. . . ."

"Fraser, admit it." Ray prodded.

He took refuge in ill-temper. "All right. Fine. Yes, I checked you out."

He saw the gleam of Ray's teeth.

"Thank you."

Ray's hand moved lower, sliding down the front of Fraser's coat, then edging underneath, just hovering there. Anticipating the touch he knew was coming, Fraser felt himself hardening further. His jeans were suddenly far too tight, painfully so.

"This okay?" Ray asked softly.

Fraser closed his eyes. For an instant he was tempted to say no, to run. But hadn't he been hoping for this very outcome? Hadn't he just made this wish? And running never solved anything. "Yes," he whispered.

Ray's hand settled over his fly, cupping him through layers of denim and broadcloth. He gasped, pushing up into the cup of Ray's palm, and Ray squeezed a little, then rubbed.

"Yeah, ol' Orion up there's got nothing on you," Ray said softly. "Can I kiss you?" he asked.

Fraser reached out and grabbed him by the collar of his coat, pulling him close, then rolling over so he was on top. "No," he growled. "I want to kiss you first."

Ray laughed into his mouth, open to him, his tongue darting fast, teasing, daring Fraser to follow. He tasted like peanut-butter, bananas, and some mysterious, spicy heat that was his alone. Ray's stubble scraped painfully against his lips, but he didn't care, he just kissed harder, the sharp rasp simply another of the sensations that proved he wasn't imagining Ray's lean, muscular form beneath him, or the softness of his lips, or the taunting flicker of his tongue.

Ray's fingers twined in his hair and tugged. After a moment he realized it wasn't an odd sort of caress, but a request, and he reluctantly relinquished Ray's mouth. "What?" he asked petulantly, then bent, trying to catch his mouth again. Ray avoided him neatly, and finally licked his nose, and laughed when he pulled back in surprise to rub it dry.

"God, you are single-minded. Not that that's a huge surprise. "You good with this? Really?"

Fraser stared at him. "I thought that was obvious."

"Yeah, but sometimes the little head does more thinking than the big head and I don't want this to be one of those things you regret in the morning, you know?"

Suddenly serious, Fraser wished he could see Ray better. He reached out and traced his fingers across Ray's mouth, then let them slide down to cup the sharp line of his jaw. "I would only regret it if you did, so can I ask you the same question? Are you good with this?"

"I am so good with this, Fraser. You can't imagine how good I am. You have no idea what a goddamned relief it was when I figured out that not only were you cool with queer, you were cool with queer."

Fraser smiled. "How frightened should I be that I understood that?"

Ray laughed. "Very. Just as scared as I am that because of you I know what germane means." His fingers tightened in Fraser's hair and pulled him down. "Okay," he said, the word a tickling hum against Fraser's lips. "I'm good, you're good. Anybody else get a vote?"

Diefenbaker barked, close by. Fraser pushed himself up and turned his head toward the sound. "No, you don't."

That drew an affronted grumble. Fraser sighed. "Oh all right. What do you think?"

Ray was laughing so hard he was shaking as Dief yipped enthusiastically, and Fraser translated. "He approves. Apparently you've wormed your way into his favor via your generosity with snacks."

"I owe you, Dief, now scram," Ray said and then hauled Fraser down again.

Fraser resisted. "Do we need to talk more?"

"Kiss now, talk later," Ray said succinctly, using the advantage of surprise to push up and lever Fraser over onto his back. Straddling him, Ray put a hand under his jacket again, found the taut denim stretched over his erection and rubbed his palm over it, then leaned down and started kissing him again. Slow, soft kisses, just a flick of tongue now and then, or a gentle nip, all the while his hand shaped and smoothed back and forth over Fraser's aching groin until he couldn't help lifting into that touch, whimpering, and wincing.

Ray kissed his way along Fraser's cheek. "That good or not good?" he whispered into Fraser's ear. "Hard to tell."

"Both," Fraser moaned, reaching down to push Ray's hand out of the way, wrenching at the button on his jeans until it gave, and then yanking down the zipper with imprudent speed. Luckily he didn't catch anything vital in the teeth, and he sighed in relief as the constriction eased.

Ray laughed softly. "Better?"

"Much," Fraser said. "Where were we?"

"Somewhere around here," Ray said, slipping his fingers into the open fly, laying them against his belly, just under the waistband of his boxers.

Cool skin against his own. Faint roughness of a writing callus on one of the fingers that stroked across the trail of hair arrowing downward from his navel. Ray touching him.

"God!" Fraser threw his head back, glad there was a layer of sleeping-bag and grass between him and the ground, otherwise he'd have been seeing stars of an entirely different sort than the ones that shone around the Ray-shaped darkness above him. Needing to touch, he reached out blindly, found Ray and ran his hands up his thighs to his waist, worked his fingers up under his jacket, up under his shirts, and finally found skin. Real. Ray.

Ray had gone still above him as soon as Fraser touched skin, still, except for the rapid rise and fall of his stomach with his breathing. It came to him that Ray was waiting. That he could be bolder. He let his fingers slide downward, until they found the waist of his jeans, the fabric thick and stiff in contrast to the satin warmth of Ray's skin. He fumbled with the button a little, the unfamiliar angle making it harder to undo, but finally it yielded. He heard Ray take a deep, slightly shaky breath as he drew down the zipper and paused before doing anything more.


"I'm good, Fraser," Ray rasped, anticipating his question. "But I could be better."

Without a word, Fraser slid his fingers into the gap. Soft, stretchy cotton did little to conceal the thick, heavy shaft beneath it. Sword of Orion, indeed, he thought, with a smile he knew Ray couldn't see. The damp patch at the tip drew his curious fingers, and Ray shivered a little.

"Touch me, Fraser."

He didn't argue semantics. He wanted it as much, or more, than Ray did. Easing Ray's briefs down out of the way, he complied. Firm flesh filled his palm. So hot. So soft. So hard. Pulse ticking against his fingers, fast and strong. Ray's fingers slipped into his boxers, closing around him, and he gasped as the sensation of holding Ray was amplified by Ray holding him, skin against skin. But there was something missing, still. He wanted more. He wanted not just to touch, and taste, and hear, and smell, but to see. He wanted Ray with sunlight spilling golden over his skin, illuminating every inch, nothing hidden.

"God, what made me think it was a good idea to do this outside in the dark?" Ray muttered. "Can't see you."

Fraser's grip faltered a little as Ray seemed to be reading his mind, and as it sank in that Ray had planned for this to happen. A burst of joy filled him at that realization. He was wanted. Ray wanted him enough to plan.

"You okay?" Ray asked, sounding concerned.

He nodded, then realized Ray probably couldn't tell. "Yes. Yes, fine. I. . . damn! I wish it wasn't an hour's drive back."

Ray laughed. "I'm so with you. But you know, we could, um, take the edge off here, and then go back."

"An eminently practical solution," Fraser said huskily.

With a soft chuckle, Ray let go of him and unfastened his jacket, pushing the edges apart before moving away. "Leggo for a sec . . ." Ray said.

Reluctantly Fraser released him, his hand feeling strangely empty. A moment later he heard the long 'zzzt' of Ray's jacket zipper coming down, and then Ray's hands were back on him, pushing his sweater and undershirt up, tugging his jeans open wider, then he was shifting, leaning forward, bringing their groins together. The unfamiliar touch of Ray's hot flesh was stunningly erotic, and Fraser's hands found their way past bunched fabric of Ray's jeans to his bare hips, holding him, pulling him even closer. He felt slick heat streak his belly as Ray rocked against him, felt the muscles shifting under his skin as he moved. In his mind he could see how that would look in the light: beautiful.

"Mmm," Ray sighed breathlessly. "God, you feel good."

He leaned down to brush his lips lightly across Fraser's, back and forth, maddening, teasing, never giving Fraser a chance to satisfy the hunger he felt for Ray's mouth. Finally, frustrated, Fraser took a hand off Ray's hip and reached up to bury it in the crisp-soft spikes of his hair, yanking him down into a deep, hot kiss. The stroke and play of their tongues echoed the rhythm of their bodies, and the slickness of tongue on tongue echoed the slickness that spread on his skin with each stroke of Ray's heavy shaft against him, and his own signature on Ray's belly. And there was more he could have, more he could feel, with just a little. . . shift. There. They were lined up now, so each stroke of Ray's cock slid against his own, instead of his hip.

Yes. God, that was it. That hard heat against him was what he needed, craved. The feel of Ray's lean strength. He felt as if he was swimming in sensation; in the musky scent of their sweat and arousal, and the taste of Ray's mouth, and the sound of his harsh breathing, the incredible feel of him, so much better than he'd imagined. He thrust upward, meeting Ray, matching him, faster, his hand returning to Ray's hips, holding him hard, grinding against him. He needed this. Needed it. Needed Ray. He moaned Ray's name, putting into it everything he felt.

"Christ!" Ray gasped into his mouth. "Fraser!"

He sounded as needy as Fraser felt, almost desperate, and his thrusts grew erratic, and Fraser let his hands splay out over Ray's backside, pushing him down, holding him there as he came. The hot flood of semen across his belly and his cock was more sensation than he could bear. He heard himself sob once as the pleasure hit, waves of it, and he shuddered, surrendering to it.

A few moments later, breathing still ragged, heart barely slowed, he let his hands slide limply from Ray's buttocks to the sleeping bag. He felt boneless and sated. Ray rubbed his nose along Fraser's throat and made a contented little sound, then he reached back with one hand and tugged at Fraser's arm.

"Put your hands back."

Fraser frowned, not quite understanding. "Excuse me?"

Ray tugged again. "Your hands. Put 'em back where they were. I can't move yet and my ass is getting cold."

Laughing, Fraser complied, putting his hands there protectively.

"Thanks." Ray sighed. "This location was not one of my better ideas."

"On the contrary, Ray, it was a wonderful idea."

"Light and warmth would've been better."

"Would we have done this in your apartment?"

"Um. . . good question."

"After all, we've had ample opportunity prior to this."


"I think that the unfamiliar setting was actually a masterstroke, allowing us to overcome the ingrained inhibitions imposed by our usual surroundings."

Ray made a sound that was suspiciously like a giggle. "I love that you can talk like that less than five minutes after you come," he said, his voice full of amused affection. "Sometime I'd like to blow your mind, or maybe your cock, so good you can't even think about talking for at least ten minutes."

Fraser grinned. "I think that sounds like an admirable undertaking."

Ray snickered. "You would."

"I would, of course, return the favor," Fraser said.

"Yeah, well, rendering me speechless is a lot less work."

"I'd make certain I didn't stint."

"Yeah, you would. That's you. And I appreciate that," Ray said. "Really. You know, considering as how we pretty much come from entirely different planets, the odds must've been pretty long that we'd ever even meet, let alone fall for each other."

Fraser shifted one hand so it and his arm covered Ray's bare backside, and used the other one to hug him. "Extremely so, Ray. In fact, you might even say they were . . . astronomical."

Ray's laughter warmed the night.

* * * Fin * * *

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