Rated NC-17 for very unsafe M/M sex. As usual, Benton Fraser, Ray Kowalski, and the whole due South gang belong to Alliance/Atlantis, not me. This story has no redeeming social value and is pure, objectifying fluff, written because I needed a break from an angsty monster and I wanted to see Ray dressed like this. :-)
Soundtrack: Bonnie Raitt: You Got It. Sheena Easton: Strut. Eurythmics: Sweet Dreams. Goo Goo Dolls, "Superstar." (pretty much all of it.)
Beta thanks to AuKestrel, Beth, Betty, Judi, Journey, Kass, and Meg. (On a 90K story?? Geez, need hand-holding much? :-p) --Kellie
© 2001 Kellie Matthews
"I'm not doing it." Ray announced, arms crossed over his chest, chin stuck out, eyes narrowed, ready for a fight.
"The gear's over there. Just go change and we'll get this show on the road," Welsh said, ignoring him.
"Detective," Welsh's voice dripped warning.
"What part of 'no' didn't you understand?" Ray asked, pleased that he remembered that line from the sensitivity training class he'd gone to three years earlier. "Have Fraser do it. Everybody wants to sleep with him anyway." Behind him, Fraser made a sound like a walrus swallowing a book. He ignored it.
"Constable Fraser has an assigned role. A different one." Welsh chuckled. "After all, we wouldn't want to cause a riot."
Ray snorted and looked at Fraser. "What's he gotta wear?"
Welsh went to the pile of clothing and extracted several items. "This." He held up an off-white duster-length coat, matching slacks, and a shirt the plummy purple of a day-old bruise. Ray could sort of see Fraser in it, in his mind's eye, and had to work hard not to burst out laughing.
"Okay. Never mind. He's got the worse end of the deal here. So, I'm the rent-boy and he's my pimp?"
"Guess that's why they made you a detective," Welsh said drily. "You two go get dressed and get back in here so we can talk about how we're going to deploy you."
"Wait a second, what about Huey and Dewey? Do they have to see us like this? We'll never hear the end of it."
"I don't expect Detectives Huey and Dewey will be indulging in any jocularity, since they'll be a few blocks down the street doing the same thing."
Ray perked up. The thought of his nemesis, Dewey, having to put on a pimp-suit or troll for johns was just . . . cool. "They will?"
He started to grin. "This might not be so bad after all," he said, picking up the items of wardrobe that Welsh had given him earlier. "Okay, Fraser, let's go get dressed."
Fraser took his outfit from Welsh, looking dubious. "I'm not entirely sure about this, Ray."
"Hey, if I have to, you have to."
"I simply meant that this particular outfit isn't really very accurate."
Ray stared at him. "Accurate? What do you mean accurate?"
"Well, frankly, the . . . ah . . . 'managers' down on Wacker generally dress somewhat more . . . tastefully."
Ray had to work to keep his jaw from dropping. Fraser knew what the pimps down on Wacker dressed like? They were going to have to have a little talk.
"It's all we've got, Fraser, just go with it. Be the pimp." Welsh intoned mystically.
"'Be' the pimp, sir?" Fraser asked.
Ray didn't know how he did it with a straight face.
"Be the pimp," Welsh repeated. "Go. Return."
Ray headed out. Fraser sighed and fell into step beside him.
"This is really remarkably dreadful," he said, gesturing toward the suit over his arm.
"Yeah, well at least your ass'll be covered," Ray said sourly. "I'm gonna freeze out there after dark."
Fraser's gaze grew slightly smoky. "I'll warm you up," he said silkily.
Ray nearly tripped over his own feet. "Fraser!" he hissed. "Not here."
Innocence returned instantly as they pushed open the men's room door. "Terribly sorry, Ray."
Ray ducked down to check for legs in the stalls before starting to strip and talk, toeing off his boots first. "For a minute there I started to wonder if Welsh, like, knew . . . about us, and that was why he was putting us on this job. But then he said the Duck Brothers were on it too so I guess we're cool."
Fraser was unbuttoning his jacket, the brown one. Ray liked the brown uniform. Fraser hardly ever wore it because the Ice Queen didn't approve of it, but Ray thought it was hot. Reminded him of when he was twelve on a camping vacation in the national forest with his folks and got kind of a crush on Ranger Mike. Without looking up from his unbuttoning, Fraser spoke.
"I believe that Lieutenant Welsh is aware of our relationship, Ray."
Ray stopped, hands on his fly, three buttons undone. "What?"
"Last week he called over to the Consulate looking for you. You weren't there at the time, but he said if I saw you I was to tell you to 'get your ass over here' and then he paused, and said 'If you're done with it, of course, Constable.'"
Ray stared at him in stunned amazement. "He did?" he gasped.
Fraser looked at him steadily for a moment, then one corner of his mouth twitched. "Well, no, but I thought it would be amusing to see your reaction."
"You really got a taste for torture, don't you, Fraser?" He shook his head, thoughtfully. "You know, the thing is, I could actually hear him say that. I mean, in my head. Hunh."
He finished unbuttoning his jeans, pulled his t-shirt off, and draped it over the door of a stall while he went inside to finish changing. The hallway door could open at any time, and he wasn't going to risk flashing a passerby. "What if he did know?" he asked, locking the stall door and taking off his jeans.
"Well, I expect he'd take it in stride," Fraser said, from the next stall over. "In all the years I've had the privilege of working with Lieutenant Welsh, he's never seemed to be particularly fazed by anything that's happened. Not even impromptu thermonuclear devices."
"Yeah, true," Ray said, reaching for the pile of clothing he'd put on the back of the toilet. Cheap, worn white tank-top, size small. Okay. He wrestled it on. "Or ghost ships and frigates on the lake. Jeez, this thing's so tight it's like wearing an ace bandage," he complained. "But I guess that's sort of the point."
Next was a faded red plaid flannel shirt. Okay, that was good, at least part of him would be warm. He picked it up, shrugged it on, and realized the sleeves had been raggedly torn away an inch or so below the shoulders. So much for warm. He picked up the cut-off denim shorts and grimaced, but stepped into them, pulled them up and started doing the buttons, then realized his briefs were showing about five inches past the bottom of the shorts. Picked the wrong day to wear long-lines.
With a sigh he took the shorts off, peeled off his briefs, and put the shorts back on. Sort of. Jesus. Where the hell was he supposed to put himself? After some judicious rearranging he was finally sure nothing was showing in a way that would get him arrested before he even left the division, and sat down on the john to put the steel-toed workboots on, lacing them up. Yeah, somebody got this look right. He'd seen it in quite a few of his jerk-off magazines, back when he'd still needed those. Finally dressed, he opened the door.
"How you doin' there?"
"Fine, Ray. Almost ready. The slacks are a trifle snug, and the coat a bit too long in the sleeve, but there's not really time for alterations."
Ray moved back until he could sort of see himself in the mirror over the sink and shook his head, disgusted. "Yeah, well, at least Welsh didn't scam your outfit off some broke teenage twink. I'm way too old for this look."
Fraser opened the stall door, stepped out. There was a moment of silence, then throat-clearing. "I . . . ah. . . think you look quite. . . fetching, Ray."
Ray made a face. "I want my poncho," he declared, then turned, looked at Fraser, and choked. The off-white suit and purple shirt managed to make Fraser look kind of . . . sleazy, turning his movie-star looks into something nauseatingly Hugh-Hefneresque. "That's. . . that's. . . hideous. I never thought I'd see anything that didn't look good on you, but somebody managed it. Thank God, for small favors, I won't have to be fighting for your honor down on Halstead."
Fraser smiled wryly. "No, I rather imagine that the reverse will be true. You look about eighteen in that."
Ray looked at the mirror again, noted the wrinkles on his face and the bags under his eyes, and shook his head, grinning. "You're unhinged. Okay. Let's hit it. See where Welsh wants us to set up."
He picked up his boots and reached for the door, only to have Fraser reach past him and plant one palm flat against the wood, holding the door firmly closed. He looked over his shoulder at Fraser, who was pretty well plastered up against his ass.
"Hey, what gives?"
"I don't think I can allow you to leave here looking like that," he said huskily, tracing the tattoo on Ray's upper arm with a fingertip.
Ray shivered, feeling his nipples rise against tight cotton, feeling his cut-offs get a little more snug. "I, um . . . don't think you got a choice."
"You could wear my coat," Fraser offered, bending down to lick the blurry blue-green image inked into Ray's skin.
"Stoppit!" Ray growled. "Can't. Lemme go, or Welsh'll have my ass."
Fraser's hand wandered down Ray's back to the aforementioned anatomical region. "No. No one gets that but me."
"Fraser! We are in a public restroom at work! Cut. It. Out."
There was a moment of silence, then Fraser sighed and straightened up, taking his hand off the door. "You're quite right. I don't know what got into me."
Ray glanced down and snickered. "I do. And we better wait a minute or two, or else everyone in the building's gonna know you pack left."
Fraser turned slightly pink and went to the sink to wash his hands, which were probably already clean enough to do surgery. By the time he'd turned back Ray could still tell which way he dressed, but not so obviously. He decided not to say anything. The pants were kind of snug, Fraser probably couldn't help it. He opened the door and let Fraser go first, following him out. He was shocked when Frannie walked right past Fraser without even a second glance, then skidded to a stop, staring at him, wide-eyed, one hand pressed to her chest.
"Ray?" she gasped.
He sighed. "Don't start, Frannie."
Her eyes tracked down, stopped, kept going, went back up, stopped, then kept going. "Wow," she said. "If I'd known that was under those baggy pants of yours, I wouldn't have let them make you my brother. Cause it's like, icky, to think stuff like I'm thinking about my own brother, you know?"
He couldn't think what to say, and felt his face getting as red as Fraser's usually did as she circled him slowly, then he stiffened as she put her hand on his ass.
"You got such a cute little tush, Ray!"
Fraser cleared his throat meaningfully. "Would you kindly remove your hand from Detective Vecchio's posterior, Ms. Vecchio?"
Ms. Vecchio? Whoa. Fraser was pissed. The hand moved. Fast. Ray stared at Fraser, who was looking at Frannie the way Dief looked at perps.
"I hardly think I need emphasize that what you just did borders on sexual harassment," Fraser continued severely.
"Oh God! Ray, I'm sorry," Frannie said, sounding thoroughly ashamed. "I wasn't thinking. I was just teasing, you know?"
He turned to look at her, she was all big-eyed like he'd figured. He patted her shoulder soothingly. "Yeah. It's okay, Frannie. I forgive you. C'mon, Fraser. We got work to do."
Fraser nodded crisply and they walked into the bullpen, where they were subjected to a few whistles and catcalls, but they made it to Welsh's office without further incident. Ray noticed the shades were down, unusual unless Welsh was having a private conference, so he knocked.
"Vecchio?" Welsh called.
"Come on in."
Ray pushed open the door and stopped, staring at Jack Huey, resplendent in a dark purple suit, a snakeskin-print shirt open halfway to his navel, snakeskin cowboy boots, with about a pound of gold hung around his neck. Ray blinked. Huey's gaze swept him from head to toe and back, and Ray could almost see him biting his lip. Then his attention shifted to Fraser and his eyes widened, and he winced visibly.
"God. And I thought I had it bad," he muttered. "Guys, what do you say we make a pact? Nobody mentions this assignment ever again, on pain of death."
"I'm in," Tom Dewey said fervently.
Dewey's voice drew Ray's attention to the east side of the room where Dewey was kind of trying to make himself unnoticed. With good reason. Oh, Jesus. At least he didn't have to wear a mesh half-shirt. Though if he did, he'd look better in it than Dewey. He didn't have all that hair on his stomach. No doubt about it, Dewey was in the 'bear' category, even if he wasn't quite tall or hefty enough.
Not that Ray was going to volunteer to swap outfits. No way was he wearing hipsters. Who in God's name had thought Dewey would look hot with his navel hanging out? Silently Ray gave thanks that Fraser had talked him into that camping trip last weekend, because at least he wasn't quite fish-belly white like Dewey, and Nature had blessed him with both sparse and light-colored body hair. And a lot nicer package, too, from what he could tell, not that he was actually checking out Dewey's package.
"Gentlemen, if we're all finished admiring one another's finery, could we get to work here?" Welsh asked in a long-suffering voice, gesturing at the map spread on his desk.
Everyone gathered around, trying not to look at each other, as Welsh outlined the operation.
"Okay, you all know we got an anonymous tip a couple of weeks ago that someone has been shaking down the rent-boys down near Halstead for protection money, right?"
Everyone nodded, and Welsh looked pleased. "Well, it seems that some of the boys have found themselves an advocate who's been pushing the higher ups for something to be done about it." He looked meaningfully at Fraser.
Everyone else looked at Fraser too. Ray in particular.
Fraser cleared his throat uncomfortably. "It seems manifestly unfair that these young men, boys really, many of whom are runaways and in dire need of assistance, should be preyed upon by the people who are supposed to be helping them," he explained earnestly.
"This was your idea?" Ray asked, dismayed.
"Well, ah . . . " Fraser hedged. "I did suggest that something ought to be done about it."
Three voices groaned in unison. Ray shook his head. "I should have known."
"Gentlemen, the briefing?" Welsh said meaningfully. "Now, yesterday it seems that Fraser got another anonymous tip. This one says the guys doing the shake-downs are Vice cops out of the 36th, right Constable?"
Fraser nodded. "Yes. Which explains why no one has so far been willing to identify or testify against them, they're afraid to, because of the 'thin blue line' as it were. However, while they wouldn't tell the Chicago police about it, they would tell me, because I'm not precisely a part of the force."
"Exactly. And that's also why we're on this, not Vice. Nobody knows how far the damage might go, so they want to keep Vice out of the bust. Problem is, with no one willing to testify we're going to have to try to smoke them out. Catch 'em with their pants down-- metaphorically speaking, Detective," he said in response to Dewey's exclamation of dismay.
"Anyway, it's a different division, you guys are all fresh faces in that area, no one's gonna make you. Our information is that our extortionists always collect on Friday and Saturday night, and the victims have all been working in the same eight block area on Couch, between Halstead and Wacker, so we're putting you guys out about every two blocks."
Everyone nodded, and Welsh went on, looking at Huey. "Huey, you and Fraser are acting as immediate backup, but we'll have uniforms stationed to help out on your signal. The four of you will be wearing short-range transmitters and receivers, you can talk to each other and listen to each other, but the signal doesn't reach more than a few blocks. Huey and Fraser will also have standard radios to call for backup, since their outfits more easily, uh, accommodate them."
Ray snorted. Welsh shot him a quelling look and finished explaining the operation, gave them photos of the potential suspects so they'd know who to look for, and pointed out that they were not there to play Vice, and any real johns who wanted services rendered were to be sent on their way with a warning.
"What if they won't take no for an answer?" Dewey asked, looking dubious.
"Then you can arrest them. But flash your badge and I don't think you'll have any trouble."
"Badge? Just where am I supposed to keep a badge? I couldn't even hide a handcuff key in this outfit!" Ray complained.
"Well, actually, Ray, there are places . . . ." Fraser began.
Ray glared at him. "Fraser."
Fraser shut up. "Understood."
"Be creative," Welsh said. "Okay, go pick up your wires from downstairs and get to it. Let's bring this guy in."
Forty minutes later they were on the street. Ray picked a likely looking light-post and leaned back on it, hipshot and slouchy, a toothpick in his mouth, doing his best Steve McQueen and wishing there was more insulation between him and the metal standard. He turned his head toward the little transmitter taped under his collar.
"Testing. Fraser? You hear me?"
"I hear you," Fraser's voice came, reassuringly, though the tiny earphone in Ray's left ear.
"Where are you?"
"Next block down, in the doorway of the dry-cleaner's."
Ray looked, saw him, and relaxed. "Good. Okay. Huey? Dewey?"
Huey's voice came over the earpiece, a little crackley. "Yeah. In position, Couch and Wacker."
"Between Fraser and Huey."
"Cool. We're good to go. Now we hurry up and wait."
And they did. There wasn't much in the way of pedestrian traffic, most of it flowing by in groups or singles. And most of them avoided looking at him, though there were a few speculative glances now and then. About ten minutes after he took up his position, a kid in tight, worn jeans and a black tank came up to him, looking irritated.
"Hey man, you're in my spot. Find your own spot."
Ray looked at him evenly. "I don't see a sign."
"It's my spot. Everybody around here knows it's my spot."
Ray studied him. He was a good-looking kid, maybe eighteen, but Ray guessed part of that might just be street patina. He had curly red-blonde hair, soft brown eyes, a pouty lower lip, and wore a pair of glasses with heavy black frames that looked a lot like Ray's own, pushed up in his hair like a headband.
"Find someplace else tonight," Ray said after he thought he'd deliberated enough.
"I want my spot," the boy insisted.
Ray dug in the pocket of his shirt, brought out the top inch or so of his badge. "No you don't, not tonight. Hey, you know Fraser?"
The kid had been looking a little panicky when he saw the badge, but when Ray said 'Fraser' he smiled and relaxed again, looking around.
"Yeah. Is he here?"
Ray nodded toward the dry-cleaner. "Hey, Frase, somebody wants to see you."
Fraser stepped out and walked over to them. "Hello, Philip."
"Fraser." The boy looked him over and wrinkled his nose. "The clothes suck."
"I'm well aware of that," Fraser said with a rueful smile. "Philip, this is my partner, Ray Vecchio, of the Chicago Police Department."
Ray put out his hand and they shook, and Philip studied Ray again. "Man, you got the look. I never would've figured you for a cop until you got out the badge. I mean, you're old, but you're still kind of hot. I've seen lots worse down here."
Huey and Dewey made razzy noises into their microphones and Ray winced. He wasn't entirely sure that was a compliment, but he figured it wouldn't hurt to treat it like one. "Um, thanks. I think."
Philip gave him another once over, his gaze lingering on Ray's crotch for a few seconds before he looked at Fraser, and lowered his voice confidentially, though not so quietly that Ray couldn't make it out, since he was trying hard to hear.
"Now I know why you were asking for tips. Guy packs some serious weaponry."
Ray lifted his eyebrows at Fraser, who turned red enough that Ray could see it even in the glow of the peach-colored sodium-vapor streetlight.
Fraser cleared his throat and dug in his pocket, coming out with a ten dollar bill which he held out to Philip. "Why don't you go get yourself some dinner? Tony's, just up the street, makes excellent calzones."
Phillip took the money without hesitation. "Thanks, I will." He looked at Fraser and started to grin. "You guys gonna take those bastards down tonight?"
"We're going to try, yes," Fraser acknowledged.
The kid shook his head, looking amazed. "I can't believe it. I mean, why would the cops do anything for us?"
"Because it's the right thing to do," Ray said, anticipating Fraser's next line. "Now scram, go eat, you're scaring off my business."
Philip snorted. "No business this early, man. It'll be at least another half hour or so before traffic starts to pick up. Good luck."
Ray watched Philip walk away, then looked at Fraser smugly. "Kid said I was hot."
"So I heard."
"You think I look hot?" Ray probed, still smug.
"I think you look somewhat chilled, actually," Fraser said with an exaggerated frown, gesturing at his collar.
Ray grinned. "You want to warm me up?" he teased. It was kind of fun to be able to do this and know that Huey and Dewey would just think he was yanking Fraser's chain. "I bet you could warm me up real good," he said, sliding a hand down the slick purple polyester shirt to cup his hand over Fraser's crotch. They could hear, but they couldn't see.
"Ray!" Fraser gasped, stepping back. "What are you doing?"
"Just getting in character. What do they call it. . . methodical acting? Come on babe, tell me you think I look hot."
Dewey and Huey chortled into the radio.
"I think you look like a disreputable lumberjack," Fraser said severely, standing far enough away that Ray couldn't easily reach him.
"Lumberjack?" Ray looked down at himself. Okay, he could sort of see it. "So, you gonna arrest me for illegal . . . logging?" he asked suggestively, running a hand down his own torso, fingering the faded denim of his fly. "You could use the handcuffs. I'll go quiet. Unless you want me to . . . resist arrest?"
Fraser gave him a look that threatened imminent strangulation. "I'm going back over there," he said, pointing. "Call if you need me."
Ray waited until he had turned around, and then whispered: "Need you," low enough that the microphone wouldn't catch it, but figuring Fraser's bat ears would.
Sure enough, Fraser hesitated, then shook his head and kept going. Ray grinned. Served him right for getting them into this to begin with. He settled back into his slouch and fished around in his shirt pocket, behind his badge, looking for. . . yeah, there it was. He unwrapped the sucker and went to work on it, wishing he'd thought to ask Philip to bring him a couple of slices of pizza, or maybe a cup of coffee. At least when he was on stake-out he got coffee. The thought of hot, sweet coffee on a chilly spring night gave him a shiver and he rubbed his arms as people walked by.
"Are you cold?" someone asked.
He turned, looked at the man who'd spoken, his cop's eye cataloguing immediately. Fortyish, a little overweight, balding, with a pleasant, friendly face, wearing a tweed jacket over jeans and sweater. Mentally he compared the face to those on list of suspects, no match. "Little," he acknowledged.
"Are you hungry?"
"Um, could be," Ray said, thinking it was a pretty lame come-on line, but he figured he ought to at least pretend interest.
"Do you need a place to stay?"
Okay, that was weird. "Uh, no, thanks," he said suspiciously.
"Are you sure? If you come with me I'll see that you get some warmer clothes, a decent meal, and you'll have a place to sleep."
And he'd wake up with an ankle in a chain, Ray figured. The guy was just a little wacko. "Nah, really. I'm good, but thanks."
"I really think you should. There's a better life waiting for you," The man said, smiling, setting Ray's hackles up. "It's okay, really," he said, reaching into his jacket pocket.
Ray's hand shot out, grasping the other man's wrist firmly, having heard that line one too many times over the course of his career. "Take it out, slow," he suggested.
The other man complied, not looking upset. He held a piece of paper in his fingers, not a weapon, and Ray let go, sheepishly. Okay, so maybe he'd seen one too many slasher movies.
"Sorry. Thought you might have a knife."
"Understandable," the man said mildly. "I should have introduced myself. I'm afraid I tend to take it for granted that the boys down here know me. Here, in case you change your mind later about wanting a place to stay, or if you just need someone to talk to," He extended the piece of paper towards Ray.
Ray took it, read, and smiled as he tried to hand the flyer back. "Thanks, but I really do have a place to go, and someone to talk to. Have a nice night, Father."
"No, you keep it. Give it to someone else if you don't want it. We don't preach. We're just here to help." The man smiled, nodded, and moved on. Ray stuck the flyer in his shirt pocket. Glancing down the street the other way he saw Fraser step back into the shadow of the doorway he haunted. He'd probably been ready to come running to the rescue there, if the guy'd really had a knife. That made him feel good. He was just moving to resume his place by the light pole when another guy stopped, and looked him over.
Big guy, tall, stocky build, with buzz-cut dark hair and a dangling earring that looked sort of like an axe. He was wearing a black duster over a commando sweater, with fatigues tucked into untied army boots. He had an aggressive set to his square jaw and there was something a little spooky about his pale blue gaze, but he wasn't on the suspect list either. Ray narrowed his eyes.
"Take a picture, it lasts longer."
The guy grinned, a feral baring of teeth. "Don't fucking bet on it," he said, pushing his hips forward suggestively. "How much?"
Shit. He had no clue. They hadn't talked about this. "Depends," he hedged.
"What you want." In his ear Ray heard Fraser tinnily murmuring acts and associated prices. It was kind of weirdly erotic to hear Fraser saying things like "Oral sex, twenty to thirty, ah, 'bucks,' Ray."
The guy looked at him, then reached over and grabbed his hand, the one with the sucker in it, and bent his head to lick, then suck the candy, slowly, before letting go with a grin. "That."
Ray grinned back and handed him the sucker. "You wanna lick my sucker?" He shrugged. "Whatever floats your boat. Five bucks, but you gotta go down to the 7-11 and get me a new one."
Earring-guy laughed. "I fuckin' like you, man. Seriously, how much?"
"Thirty-five," Ray said, making it a little on the high side to try to discourage the guy, and trying not to pay attention to the fact that his fight-or-flight reflexes were trying to kick in. Even though he knew nothing was going to happen, it still just felt . . . wrong . . . to even consider doing this with anyone but Fraser.
The other man considered for a moment, sucking thoughtfully on the candy, then he nodded. "You're on."
The adrenaline kicked in full force. Ray swallowed, and nodded at the alley entrance half a block away. "C'mon."
As he walked toward the alley with his 'customer,' he saw a pale flash of movement out of the corner of his eye, down by where Fraser waited. Mentally he willed Fraser to keep back. He could handle this by himself. He could. Stepping into the alleyway, he walked about halfway back and stopped a few feet from the dumpster.
"What's your name?" Earring-guy asked, and Ray heard the zipper go down.
"Joe Friday," Ray said, pulling out his badge. The alley was pretty dark, he hoped there was enough light for Earring-guy to see it. "And I've got backup so don't try anything."
Earring-guy froze. Yup. He could see it. "Fuck," he said, shoulders sagging. "I should've known you were too good to be true." His gaze dropped to Ray's crotch, lifted again, and he scowled belligerently. "Fucking package isnt everything but I didnt make you for a cop. Where are your cuffs?"
"No cuffs, you're not under arrest. We've got an operation going on here but we're not trolling for johns. So we just hang out here for a few minutes to make it look convincing from the street, and then you're free to go if you promise not to tell anyone."
Earring narrowed his eyes. "You're shitting me."
"You're not arresting me?"
"You American cops are so fuckin' weird," Earring said, shaking his head.
Ray chuckled. "Not as weird as Canadian ones, trust me."
Earring looked at him funny.
"What?" Ray asked.
"Nothing. So, how long we got to hang out?"
"Guess that depends on how long you figure it would take for me to get you off if we were really doing what we're supposed to be doing."
That got a snort. "Three minutes, tops, the way I was feeling."
"Then I guess you can go," Ray said, sweeping a hand toward the street.
Earring nodded. "Hey, thanks. I got a fucking tour to finish." He took a few steps, stopped, and looked back. "You don't have relatives in Vancouver, do you?"
Ray shook his head. "Not that I know of."
"Didn't think so," Earring said, and headed out to the street. Ray saw him zipping himself up as he got to the sidewalk and grinned. Well, that would sure make things look convincing.
"Well done," Fraser said in his ear, startling him.
"Hey, piece of cake," he said as he walked out of the alley and got back into position. A few minutes later he felt a tap on his arm and turned to find himself looking at Earring's grinning face, sucker stick between his lips like a cigarette.
"What? You want to get arrested?" Ray asked, puzzled.
Earring shook his head and took the sucker out of his mouth, then held out a small sack. "Here's your fuckin' replacements."
Puzzled, Ray took the bag and looked inside, then grinned. Half a dozen suckers, of various flavors and types. He looked back up to say thanks, and saw Earring had already started off down the street.
"Hey!" he yelled.
Earring turned. "What?"
"You still owe me five bucks."
Earring guffawed, loudly. "I don't fuckin' think so."
Ray laughed and settled back to waiting. Over the next hour he got five more offers, and played out variations of the same scenario with each of them. One of them, a guy about six-six and over three-hundred pounds, was drunk and thought Ray was role-playing, and he got a little insistent. Pinned, Ray was relieved when Fraser appeared like an avenging angel-pimp and between Ray's unarmed combat moves and Fraser's bear-wrestling techniques they managed to subdue the guy and a couple of uniforms came in from the other end of the alley and took him off to the drunk-tank. Once they were alone, Fraser studied Ray narrowly, concerned.
"Are you all right, Ray?"
"Yeah, fine. Shoulder's kinda sore, wrenched it a little," he said rotating it a little, and wincing.
Fraser put his hands on Ray's shoulder, feeling around. "Yes, there's a . . . hmm, yes, there." Fraser's fingers dug in, hard, twisted, and Ray yelped a little as a flash of electric pain shot down his arm.
"Ow, goddamnit, Fraser! That . . . hey. It doesn't hurt as much now."
Fraser smiled. "I know. There was a pinched nerve, I managed to manipulate it back into a normal configuration. If you'll just hold still for a moment, I'll see if I can mitigate the remaining discomfort."
Ray held still as Fraser worked on his shoulder. His hands were warm and the contrast against his chilled skin made Ray shiver.
"You're cold," Fraser said quietly.
"Yeah, Sherlock," Ray said, rolling his eyes.
Fraser shot a look down the alley in both directions, then stepped closer and pulled Ray up against him, wrapping his duster around him, arms around his chest, and just held him like that for a few moments. Ray leaned back against his solid frame gratefully, letting Fraser's warmth soak into him.
"I could bring you some coffee," Fraser said after a little bit.
Ray shook his head. "Nah. We need to get back into place, you can't be haring off to get me drinks. I'm okay." Reluctantly he tried to pull away, but Fraser held him firmly, and put his lips against Ray's ear.
"Just a minute more, then," he whispered, tightening his arms, pressing a kiss against the back of his neck.
Ray realized that the hard shape against his ass wasn't Fraser's radio, and he grinned. Fraser really seemed to like the outfit. Maybe he could keep it when things were done. Or he could just put one together on his own. As they stood together, they could hear Huey and Dewey on their earphones.
"Man, can't you look just the least bit sexy?" Huey complained. "Vecchio had five offers in the first hour and I'm going to have to discount your ass before we're done."
"Hey, he got a better position!" Dewey grumbled back. "It's not my fault!"
"We should have gotten you some of that spray-tan. I mean, face it, you look like you been living in your mother's basement."
"You insulting my mother?" Dewey demanded.
"Not your mother, no," Huey replied.
Ray chuckled and tapped on Fraser's arms. Fraser let go and stepped back. "Feeling any improvement?" he asked.
"Yeah. It's a lot better. Thanks. Back to work now."
Fraser nodded and they walked in opposite directions, Ray going back the way he'd come, and Fraser circling around back to go around the block and resume his position. Time passed, and pedestrian traffic had thinned to nonexistence, but there were still cars cruising, and Ray got a few more offers. He turned down all the cruisers, he wasn't about to get in a car. Finally, a few minutes after two when Ray was starting to think seriously about taking Fraser up on his offer of coffee, both for the warmth and for the caffeine, a Crown Vic drove by slowly, then parked about half a block up.
The Crown Vic set off his cop radar, and Ray watched as the driver opened the door and got out, as did a second man in the passenger side. Ray recognized the driver immediately as one of the three 'probables' on their list of suspects. Andrew Taylor, a Vice officer out of the 36th, with twenty years on the force. Fiftyish, heavyset, with graying dark hair brushed straight back from a widow's peak, and an equally greying van dyke beard. He had the burly, solid look of a bouncer at a biker bar.
The second guy was younger, in his early forties, taller and more athletic, with longish dirty-blond hair and a full beard. It took Ray a minute to recognize him because he hadn't had a beard in his jacket-photo, and his hair had been a lot shorter, but he was Chester Goode, also in Vice out of the 36th. Under the guise of unwrapping one of his suckers, he spoke softly into his transmitter.
"Heads up. I got familiar faces heading my way."
"I see them," Fraser said quietly.
Ray couldn't very well pretend he didn't see them since it was pretty much just them and him and a couple of winos on the street. He turned toward them, waiting as they approached. As he'd expected, they stopped when they got near him. Goode frowned.
"Where's the kid who's usually here?"
"You mean Philip?"
"He decided Chicago was too cold and headed off for California. Said I could have his spot. It's a pretty good spot, too. I've met six new 'friends' tonight, not counting the preacher."
"He did, did he?" Taylor said, looking annoyed. "And did Philip happen to mention us?"
Ray shrugged. "Dunno. Who are you?"
"I'm Chess, this is Andy."
Ray pretended to think about it, and shook his head. "Nope. He didn't say anything about you. You guys regulars? I don't usually do three-ways, but if the money's right . . . ." He smiled suggestively.
Taylor smiled. "How much?"
Ray knew they were waiting for him to solicit, so he gave it to them. "Depends on what you want and for how long. An hour, a couple of blows, one-fifty. Goes up from there. I don't do kink. Protection's mandatory."
The two men looked at each other and grinned, and Taylor reached into his pocket and pulled out his badge. "Looks like this spot maybe ain't so good after all," he said, flashing it at Ray. "Chicago P.D., Vice. You're under arrest."
Ray groaned, sagging tiredly. "Fuck. I don't believe this. Philip said I wouldn't get hassled here! I already got three priors for soliciting, they'll put me away forever this time," he said morosely, hanging his head.
"Sorry sweetie, tough luck for you," Taylor said, taking out a set of cuffs as Goode pulled Ray's arms around behind him. "Of course, we might see our way clear to letting you off this time, if the circumstances were right."
"What circumstances? You want me to leave town? I'll do it, I promise! You'll never see me again!"
Taylor looked over Ray's shoulder at Goode. "What do you think, Chess? We got any reason to let this guy go?"
"Not that I can see," Goode said, clicking the cuffs Taylor handed him into place.
The cold metal around Ray's wrists bothered him a lot more and in different ways than it had when Fraser put it there. He pulled at the cuffs, instinctively testing them. They were uncomfortably tight. Goode hadn't needed to cinch them up that far to secure him. It was a little power play. He took a deep breath, reminding himself that Fraser, Huey, and Dewey were all listening, they wouldn't let this go too far.
"I don't want to go back to jail," Ray gasped, pretending to struggle against the cuffs, putting a note of panic into his voice. "I'll go away, honest." He was damned good at under-cover.
"Don't see what the big deal is," Taylor said affably. "I mean, it's not all that different from what you're doing out here, right?"
Ray shook his head hard. "You don't understand man. Those guys are brutal, and they don't do safe," he said, panting a little, but carefully, he didn't want to hyperventilate. "Last time I was in the infirmary for a week! Please!"
"He really seems scared," Goode commented.
Taylor nodded. "Yeah. He does, doesn't he? I dunno, Chess, what do you think? Should we let him go? Won't look good, not bringing anybody in tonight. The Lieutenant won't like it."
Goode looked like he was considering the matter. "No, no, he wouldn't. But maybe our boy here can make it worth our while?"
Jesus. He couldn't believe these guys were just going to hit him with the deal without watching him for a while, without even checking him out. Idiots. Ray nodded, vehemently. "Anything. Anything, you name it."
The two men grinned at each other again, a hint of triumph in their faces "How much you make tonight?" Taylor asked casually.
"Two hundred and seventy bucks."
"Not a bad night's work," Goode said. "Okay, how's this for a deal? You give us two hundred, you keep the seventy. After tonight, you give us sixty percent of your daily take, and we let you go and let you keep working here."
Gotcha, you bastards. "Fraser? You get that?" he said.
"Yes I did, Ray," Fraser said from a few feet away in the entrance to the alley. "Gentlemen, you're under arrest for criminal extortion. Please surrender your weapons."
The two men took one look at Fraser and laughed. "Yeah, right, Slick. You guys are cops, and I'm Madonna and he's Celine Dion. This your boy? You running him? You got a stable? We need to talk, then."
"No, actually, I'm not a detective, though he is. I'm Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, acting liaison to the Chicago Police Department, 27th division."
Halfway through Fraser's speech, Ray heard sirens start up, pretty close. He smiled. Backup. Backup was good. Especially with these two. He'd never heard anyone argue about whether or not they were being arrested before. These two made Dewey look like Einstein.
Goode frowned. "Jesus, this gets better and better. You really ought to think your story through before you start telling it. Like a Mountie would be running around Chicago making arrests? And this isn't the 27th's territory, stupid. This is the 36th's."
"That's quite correct," Fraser said calmly. "However the case was assigned to the 27th since it was felt that some of the officers at the 36th might not be completely . . . impartial."
"Um, Chess. . ." Taylor said. He'd started looking worried when Fraser announced he was a Mountie. "The 27th really does have a pet Mountie. I heard he's helped them up their solve rate to eighty-seven percent."
Goode looked at Taylor. "Are you telling me this is legit?" he asked incredulously.
"One hundred percent," Ray said, finally getting a word in edgewise. "My shield's in my shirt pocket."
"Fuck!" Goode growled, and went for his gun.
"No!" Taylor yelled. "Idiot, they're probably wired!"
Almost at the same moment, Huey and Dewey stepped out of the alley behind Fraser, with guns leveled at Goode and Taylor.
"Drop your weapons!" Huey snapped.
Ray wondered where Dewey had managed to hide a piece, then he figured it must be Huey's backup gun. He quickly yanked himself free of Taylor's hand and headed for the safety of Fraser, not relishing the idea of becoming a hostage.
"Fraser, get their weapons and then call this in," Huey said.
"I called it in as soon as they made their offer to Detective Vecchio," Fraser said, moving forward a little. "Judging by the sirens, uniformed officers should be here at any moment. So, if you would be so kind as to place both your primary and your backup weapons on the ground and step away from them?"
Clearly deciding that discretion was the better part of valor, Taylor did so immediately, followed a moment later by a reluctant, expletive-spewing Goode. Three blue and whites pulled up within seconds of each other and Fraser handed the weapons to Dewey as the uniformed officers got out and came to take charge of Goode and Taylor. Ray watched them led off to separate cars and driven away, the third car following as an escort, and then he looked at Fraser who had come over to stand beside him.
"Well, that went nice and smooth, all things considered. Pretty unusual for any operation you're part of," he teased. "Undo these, okay?"
Fraser turned to look at him with just a hint of a smile. "Undo what, Ray?" he asked, his gaze directed somewhere in the neighborhood of Ray's groin.
Huey and Dewey both wheeled around and looked at them, clearly still wired for sound. Fine time for Fraser to decide to play. Ray wiggled his fingers. "These."
"I'm afraid I didn't bring a handcuff key," Fraser said, not sounding at all apologetic.
Dewey snickered as Ray sighed. "You didn't. . . oh, great." Ray looked hopefully at Huey and Dewey, but they were walking rapidly toward where they had parked. "Guys, hold up!" he said into his transmitter, knowing they could hear him.
They just kept walking, ostentatiously removing their earpieces as they chatted about the takedown, ignoring him completely.
"Guys!" he yelled.
"You hear something?" Huey asked.
"Nope. Nothing at all." Dewey answered.
"Me either," Huey said, and then they started talking about where they were going to go eat after they finished up at the division.
Ray's stomach growled. He turned to look at Fraser. "Tell me you were joking."
"I could, but it would be a lie."
"Wait a second, how're we getting back to the 27th then?"
"Well, I do have your keys, since you entrusted them to me for safekeeping. I can drive the GTO back to the station where we can get you unlocked."
"My keys?" Ray perked up. He had a handcuff key on his ring.
"No you don't," Fraser said, apparently reading his mind. "You decided to carry that separately after the incident in which you loaned Officer Carnegie your handcuff key and he inadvertently took your entire key ring home with him."
Ray sighed. "Yeah. Right. I forgot."
"I suspected as much, from the hopeful expression on your face. Shall we go?"
Ray nodded and headed for where they'd parked the GTO. Fraser driving the car. God, that was torture enough, but why couldn't Taylor have cuffed his arms in front instead of behind? "How am I supposed to sit in the car like this?" he grumbled.
"I suppose you could kneel in the seat facing the rear of the car," Fraser offered.
Ray stared at him. "Right. Ass-backwards all the way to the station. Uh-hunh. And you'd write me a ticket for not wearing a seat-belt."
"That is a problem," Fraser acknowledged. "You could get in the back and sit sideways."
Ray thought about it, and sighed. It was the only workable solution. "Okay. Back seat it is. Wolf-hair and all."
They passed Tony's on the way to the car and Ray glanced at it longingly, but it was dark. After midnight they only did delivery, not walk-in. Damn. Maybe it was just as well, since he wouldn't be able to eat with his hands cuffed behind his back. And while the idea of Fraser feeding him might be fun sometime, this wasn't that time. They reached the car and Ray stood back as Fraser unlocked the passenger side and leaned in to put the seat forward for him.
"Ooh, bondage, cool," an amused, and sort of familiar voice said. "Of course, for cops, cuffs probably aren't even kinky."
Ray whipped around, startled, and nearly fell over, his handcuffed arms upsetting his balance. Philip caught him, kept him from falling over on his face as Fraser stood up too fast and managed to whack his head on the door frame. He turned, wincing a little.
"Philip, I didn't realize you were still here," Fraser said, rubbing the back of his head.
"It's not bondage, it's stupidity," Ray grumbled, tugging uselessly against the metal, even though it hurt. He winced.
Philip frowned and looked at Fraser reprovingly. "You know, you're both supposed to want it before you do it."
"Nah, it's not what you think," Ray said, coming to Fraser's rescue, since he was making fish movements with his mouth trying to figure out how to answer that. "Your friends Andy and Chess cuffed me before we busted them, then they got hauled off before we figured out we didn't have a key. We've just got to go downtown and get me loose."
"Oh." Philip looked vaguely disappointed. He started digging in a pocket. "Hang on, I think I got . . . yeah." He pulled out a handful of assorted items, condoms, change, gum, and a handcuff key. Shoving the rest of his stuff back into his pocket, he nudged Ray around, fumbled with his wrists, and a moment later first one, then the other cuff clicked open. "There you go."
Ray sighed, relieved, rubbing his wrists. "Thanks. Where did you get that?"
"Flea market. Comes in handy with some customers."
Ray didn't really want to think about that. He remembered the flyer that the priest had given him and fished it out. "Guy gave me this. You want it?"
Philip took it from him, read a few lines and smiled. "Father Mike's back? Cool. Yeah, maybe. Thanks." He looked from Ray to Fraser, and got serious. "Look, no one else will probably get to say this, so I'll speak for all of us when I say we owe you for taking care of Chess and Andy. Life'll be a lot better around here without them."
"You know, with them gone you're more likely to get busted," Ray said soberly.
Philip nodded. "Yeah. I know. But it's worth it. To have them gone, I mean."
"If you say so," Ray said, shaking his head. "Look, you take care, and thanks again. Those were starting to hurt."
"Yeah, they put them on kinda tight there. See you around."
"Hopefully not, 'cause I don't want to have to arrest you," Ray said, winking.
Philip grinned. "Oh. Yeah, well, there is that. Maybe I'll see you around somewhere else then. Fraser, remember what I told you," he held up one hand and wiggled his fingers. "Oh, and toys are good." He waved, turned, and jogged off toward the spot Ray had recently vacated.
Ray looked at Fraser, who had managed to get his blank face in place. "Tips? Toys? Should I ask?"
"No," he said. "I suppose you want to drive now?"
Ray grinned. "You would suppose right. Fork over the keys."
Fraser held them out, shaking his head. "You really need to get over this need to always be in control, Ray."
Ray snorted. "Got some serious pot/kettle issues going there buddy," Ray said, patting Fraser on the butt. "Now get your sweet ass in the car."
Fraser's gaze met his, and Ray's mouth went dry. Whoa. Control issues were probably a good thing at the moment, since otherwise he'd be up against the car with his shorts around his ankles. He swallowed a couple of times until he got some moisture in his mouth, and then found some words. "Work. Paperwork. Um, you type?"
Fraser nodded, and smiled. "I'd be happy to," he said, so smoothly, so politely, nobody but Ray would ever suspect he was only saying that because he knew it would get them out of the bullpen a hell of a lot faster.
Ray broke a few speed limits on the way back to the 27, but he figured it was in a good cause. Fraser looked at him sharply but didn't say anything about it. They walked in, started to head back to the bullpen, only to be stopped by Sergeant Schumacher testily hollering something about where did they think they were going and street trash wasn't allowed to just waltz right into a secure area, and where were the cops who were supposed to be booking them, until Ray planted his hands on her desk and growled at her, at which point she blinked, her eyes widening.
"In the . . . yeah."
She turned, looked at Fraser, and her eyes got even bigger. "Constable Fraser?" she squeaked.
"Ma'am," he acknowledged.
"Oh, my. . . I. . . sorry. Thought you two were . . . well. I guess you were out on that case with Detectives Huey and Dewey."
"That's right," Ray confirmed. "They here already?"
"Yeah. I.A.'s here too," she grimaced. "Have fun."
Ray groaned. "Oh, God. I.A.? It better not be that asshole Brandauer."
"How'd you guess?" she asked. "Go on, get out of here before someone sees you here with me."
"What's the matter, Sarge, you worried they're gonna think you're paying for it?" Ray teased, batting his eyelashes, striking a pose.
Fraser caught his arm. "Come along, Ray, we have paperwork to do."
Ray let himself be pulled away, blowing a kiss at Schumacher, who stuck her tongue out at him. Diefenbaker dashed out of the break room as they started down the hall and Ray ruffled his ears. "Hey, fella, miss me?"
Dief tried to stick his nose in Ray's crotch, which Ray figured meant 'yes.' He rolled his eyes and shoved Dief off himself as Fraser clucked scoldingly. He could hear Huey bellowing something before they got to the bullpen.
" . . . police station for God's sake! The damned Lieutenant's office! How could somebody just walk in here and take them?"
"Take what?" Ray asked curiously.
Huey, still resplendent in purple, turned outraged eyes his way. "My clothes! My clothes are gone! That suit was a Ralph Lauren! It cost me nine hundred bucks!"
Ray grinned. "Man, you must make a lot more money than I do. I need to ask for a raise."
Huey rounded on him, glaring fiercely. "Oh, you think it's funny? Well how's this for funny: your clothes are gone too."
"What?" Ray turned to look at Dewey, who nodded.
"That's right. Somebody just walked right into Welsh's office and took everything."
"My uniform?" Fraser asked, his voice a little tight.
"Oh, no, they left that. Guess they figured they couldn't sell that. But me, Huey, and Ray. We're stuck with what we've got on."
"This is a joke, right? You guys are joking?" Ray asked. He was sure of it. Yeah, someone might take off with Huey's stuff, but nobody would steal his clothes. Or hell, Dewey's.
"No joke," Welsh said, coming out of his office. "I went out to get a sandwich a couple of hours ago. They must've done it then."
Ray pushed past him and went and looked for himself. Sure enough, Fraser's uniform, neatly folded, was still sitting on top of the file cabinet where it had been when they left, but his own clothes were nowhere to be seen. "Oh man! Those were my good jeans!" Ray bitched.
"Sorry guys. I'll do expense vouchers for replacements."
"I can't replace my Bull's shirt, that was a collector's item!"
"Actually, Ray, I believe I've seen similar ones for sale at a vendor near the consulate."
"It wouldn't be the same. I bought that shirt at the last home game against the Suns in 1993."
Welsh, Huey, and Dewey all made commiserating noises. Fraser just looked a little puzzled. Ray sighed. "It was the last game Jordan played before he retired the first time. It's like if you got something at Gretzky's last game," he explained, and Fraser nodded then, solemnly.
"Anyway, you guys got work to do, so get at it. I.A. has your guys in Interrogation Two, and they want to talk to you."
It suddenly dawned on Ray that he was going to have to talk to I.A. in what he was wearing. "No. No. No way. Remember how I said no before? Well this is like, a thousand times more no. I am not talking to that asswipe Brandauer in this getup. I'm just not. You guys at least got actual clothes that cover most of your bodies." He looked at Welsh pleadingly. "Come on, Lieutenant, don't make me do this. Please. You're not that mean are you?"
He and Welsh looked at each other for a long moment, and Ray saw the flicker in Welsh's eyes that told him he had a toe in the door. Welsh liked Brandauer about as much as Ray did. Come on, he thought, come on. . . . Welsh glanced toward Interrogation 2, and hesitated, then nodded sharply.
"Okay Vecchio, this time. They'll be in there for a while, so you get out of here fast and we'll just pretend we forgot to tell you to stick around. They can get your statement tomorrow. Dewey and Huey heard it all go down anyway, and Fraser should have it on tape, I believe."
"Yes, I do," Fraser said.
Ray's gaze snapped to Fraser, watching him extract a micro-recorder from his pocket, suddenly a little anxious. If he'd known he was being taped he might not have baited Fraser quite so hard, but then it had all been mostly innocent, except maybe for Philip's comment, and that had been pretty quiet. Anyway, Fraser didn't look worried, so he figured he didn't need to worry either. Fraser handed the recorder to Welsh.
"There you are, sir. I started the tape as soon as Ray said he had visual contact with the suspects."
Oh. Okay, whew. Of course he wouldn't have taped the entire evening. Couldn't fit it all on one of those little micro-tapes. Ray felt better. He wasn't ashamed of what he had going with Fraser. In fact more and more often lately, he wanted to just walk in and fucking announce it to the entire division, but having Brandauer hear it on an evidence tape would not really make his day.
"Hey, how come he gets to go home?" Dewey complained.
"Because his lips are turning blue," Welsh said drily. "You and Huey go sit in on that interrogation from behind the mirror, okay? I want to know if they offer those bastards a deal. That's not gonna happen on my watch."
Grumbling, the other detectives headed off to do as ordered. Fraser picked up his uniform from the filing cabinet. "I'll just go change."
Ray nodded. Since it was the brown uniform he'd be done in less than five minutes probably, and he wasn't cruel enough to make Fraser stay in the pimp suit any longer than he had to. He turned to Welsh.
Welsh shrugged. "No skin off my nose. They'll want to see you tomorrow, though, so I want to see you in here at a reasonable hour. By which I mean sometime after one," he said with a deadpan expression. "Since you've been on shift for about eighteen hours now, you earned some down time. And since we were cutting into Fraser's personal time tonight, I already called Thatcher and got him some extra time off, so don't let him go back to the Consulate or he'll just end up working anyway."
Ray turned to look toward the men's room and couldn't help grinning. "Don't worry, I won't."
Welsh snorted. "I didn't think so. But I do expect you to get your ass in here at some point tomorrow." He picked up a file and muttered, ". . . once Fraser's done with it."
Ray stared at him. Had he really just said that? Could he have possibly mis-heard that? Deja vu. Shit. Did Welsh have a bug in the washroom or what? Face hot, Ray closed his mouth and cleared his throat. "Uh. . . yes sir." he managed, at a loss for how else to respond.
Welsh looked up, studied his face, and then he got red. Ray realized he probably hadn't been meant to hear that last part. They stared at each other for a few seconds, and then a faint, faint hint of a smile twitched one corner of Welsh's mouth.
"Funny thing about this building, there's this pipe that runs along the west wall from here to the men's room, they had to cut a hole in the wall for it to go through, and it carries sound like you wouldn't believe."
"Oh," Ray said, feeling his face getting hotter. "Um. . . you. . . we . . . ."
"You know, Detective," Welsh said, cutting off his babbling. "I don't get involved in the personal lives of my men unless they have trouble performing their duties here at the 27th. Fortunately, that doesn't appear to be a problem with any of my men at the moment. However, should it become one, rest assured I will suggest that those involved get the problem taken care of, pronto. Are we clear?"
"Yes, sir. As crystal."
"Good, very good. Ah, there's Constable Fraser now. Get lost before Brandauer comes looking for you. And take Fraser's wolf with you, he's been harassing everyone who walks in the break room all night."
Ray nodded. "Getting lost, sir." He took the neatly folded suit from Fraser and put it on the couch, then pulled Fraser roughly out the door and toward freedom. "Come on. Let's get while the getting is good. I don't know who that is in there, but I'm not sure it's Welsh. Remind me to look for a pod tomorrow," he muttered.
"What sort of pod?" Fraser asked curiously as Ray hustled him down the hallway and out into the chilly night.
"An alien pod. You know, like from. . . oh. No, you probably don't," he said, realizing that Fraser probably didn't have a clue what he was talking about.
"Ah, I expect you're referring to 'Invasion of the Body Snatchers,'" Fraser said, surprising him. "Released in 1956, with Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. A powerful allegory about McCarthyism, and how easy it is to crush the spark of humanity within an individual." Fraser said. "Are you saying you find Lieutenant Welsh to be soulless?"
""No, Fraser, I'm referring to the 1978 remake starring your fellow-Canadian Donald Sutherland, and Jeff Goldblum, and Leonard Nimoy," Ray said, shaking his head. "Leave it to you to get allegorical. For us ordinary people that just means somebody's not acting normal. Or maybe he was. Never seen anything faze that guy." It dawned on him that if he told Fraser about what Welsh had said they would have to have a conversation about it, and at the moment he didn't feel like having that particular conversation. Tomorrow would be soon enough. "Anyway, never mind. We're off until tomorrow afternoon. Welsh got you a hall pass from the Ice Queen."
"Am I to assume that means Inspector Thatcher granted me some leave time, per Lieutenant Welsh's request?"
To Ray's surprise, instead of getting all huffy about how he would be shirking his duty or something, Fraser started to smile. A slow, carnivorous smile that wouldn't look out of place on Dief after a three-day donut drought.
Ray nearly dropped his keys, caught them again, and turned to unlock the car. He could sense Fraser's body heat, very close. His hands shook as he tried to fumble the key into the lock.
"Ray . . . ."
"Kindly unlock the door before I do something that will likely get us arrested."
"Oh, like that's gonna make this easier . . . there. Got it." The key slid home, and for a second Ray flashed on Fraser doing the same thing, and had to bite his lip as his cock began to harden and swell, and there was no place in his shorts to put it.
"Fuck," he muttered. "In the car, please get in the car."
Fraser's hands skimmed down his back, cupped his ass momentarily, then moved forward to his hips as he firmly shifted Ray out of the way so he could open the door and let himself and his wolf in. Once in, he reached across to unlock the driver's side.
Ray shook himself, thought about curling, and sighed. Better. He went around to the other side, walking a little funny, got in, and started the car. Fraser didn't object to his breaking the speed limit this time, either. Welsh wasn't the only pod person around. Pulling into a parking place at his apartment building, Ray suddenly realized he couldn't remember anything after pulling out of the division parking lot. He prayed he hadn't hit anyone or anything. Though Fraser probably would have noticed. Or maybe not, he thought as he looked at Fraser and found himself being visually devoured.
"In," Ray said.
"In," Fraser agreed, opening his door.
They walked in silence up to his apartment and Fraser waited while he unlocked the door, without fumbling it this time, then followed him inside. Ray half expected Fraser to push him up against the wall and kiss him senseless, but he didn't. He took off his hat and put it on the table, took off his uniform jacket and hung it up in the coat closet. Then he picked up his hat again, reached inside, and started counting out bills and laying them on the table.
Ray watched, trying not to smile as it dawned on him what Fraser was doing. Some of the money was green and familiar, some was funny colored. When he stopped Ray figured there was over a hundred there, though it would be less since Canadian money wasn't worth as much. Fraser looked at him, eyes gleaming, and he lifted an eyebrow. Ray looked at the money, looked back at him, and arched an eyebrow back.
Fraser pursed his lips thoughtfully, then he turned and got Ray's old Monopoly game down off the top shelf of the coat closet, opened it, and started taking out bundles of money.
Ray had to bite his lip to keep from laughing as Fraser proceeded to lay out the entire monetary contents of the box. Instead he crossed his arms and narrowed his eyes. "Park Place, with hotels," he said, nodding at the table.
Fraser's lips twitched, but he dutifully sorted through the cards until he found the right one, put it down and added two hotels. Ray shook his head. Fraser put down another hotel.
"And the car. I get permanent dibs on the car."
"Well, I don't know," Fraser hedged. "That's quite a sacrifice."
Ray lifted his chin. Fraser sighed and put the car down too, then looked up questioningly.
Ray smiled. "I'm all yours. What do you want?"
That feral smile bloomed again. "I want you to fuck me, Ray."
Ray nearly hurt himself. He'd heard somewhere that on the average it took a man 15 seconds to become aroused. He figured he'd just beat that by 12 seconds. "You. . . what did you say?"
"I want you to . . . ."
Ray took the three steps needed to bring him up against Fraser and he clapped a hand over his mouth. "Don't do that. I don't want to have to wash it out with soap. Jesus. Tips. Toys. Fraser! Tell me you didn't ask that kid what I think you asked him."
"Ahn rrrree ah nnnn eeeh oo aah," Fraser said into his palm.
Fraser's voice buzzed and tickled against his skin and Ray let go.
"I said I'm sorry, I can't tell you that."
"Ohmigod." Ray leaned his head against Fraser's shoulder and tried not to think about Fraser and Philip sitting on a park bench somewhere talking in serious, scholarly tones about ass fucking. Tried not to think about Philip being anywhere within touching distance of Fraser, for that matter. Maybe offering to give him a test run. No. No, that's stupid. Even if Philip was interested, Fraser wouldn't. Fraser wasn't like that. "Why'd you do that?"
"Because I want you, and you clearly have reservations about the act, so I thought that if I spoke to a professional I could reassure you."
"Professional? Come on, if he's even eighteen I'm Serpico. How can he be a professional anything?"
"He's seventeen and he's been a professional sex worker for two years, sadly. He was also very helpful, and knew of a very useful book, which I purchased. I believe that I'm now fully informed."
"Fraser, I don't know how to break this to you, but just because you're informed doesn't mean I am." And he wasn't. He figured there were some similarities to things he'd already done a lot, but damn it, he'd had a finger in there and he knew it was small, and tight, and . . . God, he shouldn't think about that.
"Quite true, but you trust me, don't you?"
Oooh. Low blow. "Um, yeah." Probably more than he should. Too late to change that now.
Fraser smiled brilliantly. "Then trust me now, Ray." He pulled Ray closer, brushed his lips across Rays' lightly, then his tongue urged Ray's lips open, slicked inside in a moist, languid tease, then he pulled away a little. "Do this for me. I need you."
Ray's mouth wanted him back. He leaned in and took what he wanted. "You know it's not that I haven't wanted to. You know that right?" he whispered against Fraser's mouth. Fraser nodded.
Ray smiled. He couldn't help it. "Yeah, you know everything."
"Everything but how you feel inside me," Fraser said roughly.
Ray pulled him close, feeling the hard press of Fraser's erection against his hip. "You trying to kill me?" Ray asked, biting Fraser's jaw.
"The little death, yes," Fraser said, turning his head, catching Ray's lower lip in his teeth and tugging, then letting go and sucking instead.
Ray kissed him back, until he had to let go and pull back, wincing, reaching down to try and adjust again. Fraser's hand cupped the trapped length of his cock for a moment, before moving to pop the buttons on his fly, then slipping inside the opening to ease him free of the constricting fabric. Ray's knees threatened to buckle, and Fraser's arm went around his waist.
Jesus. He might as well just give in now. He knew damned well he was going to eventually. He thought, as he had nearly every time they'd been together in bed, of how it would feel to be there, to be held in that tight, hot place he'd only dared breach with fingers. A shudder of pure want slid through him, and he kissed Fraser again, hard. "Yes. Goddamn it, yes."
Fraser walked him backward toward the bedroom in stages, stopping to kiss or pet him at places along the way. It was kind of funny, Ray thought, that Fraser was the one who wanted to get fucked, but he was still the same old Alpha Fraser. Somehow Ray had gotten it into his head that the guy who took it must somehow be the more passive partner. Clearly, like a lot of his preconceived notions had lately, that one was gonna have to go right out the window, because there was definitely nothing at all passive about Fraser when he really wanted something.
Going into the bedroom they nearly tripped over Diefenbaker who had positioned himself right smack in the doorway. Ray nudged him with a toe until he got up. "Go. Over. There," he enunciated carefully, gesturing at the sofa. "What, you want a ringside seat or something?"
Dief made a huffy noise and stalked off to the sofa.
Ray laughed. "I think he wanted to watch. Jeez, wolf voyeurs, next on Geraldo. I think we need to find him a girlfriend, Fraser."
"Diefenbaker can see to his own love life," Fraser said testily, pulling Ray into the bedroom, opening his flannel shirt with a yank that sent buttons flying, pulling it roughly off and tossing it aside over Ray's startled protest, then he was going to his knees and latching onto one of Ray's nipples through the ribbed tank top, using both teeth and tongue and the abrasive scrub of wet fabric to arouse it. Ray leaned into that touch, his hands cupping the back of Fraser's head.
"Oh, yeah. . . go for it," he encouraged vaguely, not entirely sure what he was encouraging, but anything was good so long as Fraser was the one doing it. He felt a hand slide up his leg, fingers caressing his inner thigh, high up, slipping under the ragged hem of the cutoffs, making his cock twitch with anticipation. "Come on," he crooned. "Come on."
Those heavy fingers moved higher, brushing his balls where they were cradled in soft old denim. He spread his legs a little to make it easier for Fraser to get his hand up inside the shorts. Fraser took advantage by moving his hand and pressing his fingers into the smooth stretch between balls and ass, making Ray shudder with pleasure. A moment later they were moving further back, brushing lightly between his cheeks, stroking. Felt so damned good. But wait a second, this is not about you, he thought. He was the one who was supposed to be the one doing the . . . doing here. Right. Like he was going to manage that with Fraser's hand up his shorts. Okay, Kowalski, get with the program. He pulled a little on Fraser's head. "Leggo."
Fraser let go of his nipple and looked up. "Why?" He sounded sulky. He didn't like being interrupted.
"'Cause I said so." Ray reached down and tugged him upward, and Fraser reluctantly pulled his hand out of Ray's shorts and stood up.
"That's not a very good. . . . " Fraser began.
Ray shut him up, pushing him back against the bed, kissing him fiercely, one hand moving down to shape itself over Fraser's very noticeable erection, rubbing it through his pants. Fraser arched into his hand, his mouth falling open under Ray's kiss, his tongue welcoming Ray's as it slid and slicked. He really loved Fraser's tongue. Fraser had a very very talented tongue.
Ray took his hand off Fraser's cock and pushed his hips against Fraser's. Fraser arched some more to meet him, but in doing that he leaned back a little too far, and Ray had to catch him as nearly fell over backward. Fraser hung onto his shoulders for a moment as he tried to get his feet back under himself, but Ray lifted a little, pushed, and dropped Fraser right on the bed. It creaked a little. Fraser looked kind of surprised. Ray covered him instantly, his groin right up against Fraser's, and gave him a long, slow, rub as he leaned in to kiss Fraser again.
The kiss was slower this time, he started out with just a faint brush of his lips across Fraser's, then gave it a little more pressure, feeling Fraser's lips part under his. He breathed in, sucked a little on his lower lip, and then finally let his tongue slip into the warm, moist cavity. Fraser put a hand on the back of his head and pulled Ray closer. Ray pulled away and started rubbing his fingers over Fraser's nipples through his shirt, kissing his neck, undoing his tie and sliding it free so he could unbutton a couple of buttons and kiss his collarbone, trying to slow things down.
Fraser wasn't having anything to do with slow. He shifted position, put his fingers in Ray's hair to tip his face back so he could kiss him harder. At the same time he shoved one hand up his shirt and tugged on one of his nipples as his other hand worked its way down the back of Ray's shorts, and his fingers started that maddeningly distracting caress again. Ray rocked into that touch, and wondered hotly what it would feel like to have . . . more of Fraser touch him there. In fact, he'd pretty much wondered that every time Fraser had touched him there, right from the very start, so he could understand where Fraser was coming from. He wanted it too, as much as Fraser did. Considering how contrary Fraser was being, maybe more. He lifted his head.
"What?" Fraser breathed into his mouth.
Now he was stuck. He had to say it. "Think you might be willing to. . . um . . . reverse the order of services?"
Fraser cocked his head a little, processing. "Come again?"
Ray grinned. "Yeah, I probably will. But I meant you could. . . do me first. Since you're the one with the tips and all."
Fraser's eyes went hot, really really hot. The next thing Ray knew he was flat on his back with Fraser impatiently tugging his shorts off. They tangled a little around his boots and Fraser pulled hard and one of the outseams split open about an inch before he managed to get them free and tossed them to the floor. Ray grinned. Okay. Looked like the answer was a yes. He twisted and stretched, reaching for the lube on the nightstand, fingers scrabbling against the wood for a second before knocking over the bottle so it was close enough to grab. Even if they were just using fingers, lube made things a lot nicer.
As he untwisted and unstretched he found Fraser standing next to the bed, stripping. There was no music on, and Fraser wasn't dancing, but his quick, methodical unbuttoning and unzipping and folding was a weird kind of turn-on all its own. Ray reached down and stroked himself lazily, watching the show. Fraser turned from putting his clothes on the dresser, saw what Ray was doing, and quickly reached to catch his wrist.
Ray lifted his eyebrows.
"I want to," Fraser said, getting back on the bed, hands on Ray's hips as he leaned down.
Ray tensed in anticipation, then gasped, as Fraser's tongue started down under his balls and slowly worked around them. He spread his thighs wider as Fraser sucked first one side then the other, his tongue rasping a little, leaving hot wet spots behind to get cool as the room air hit them so that Ray was awash in opposing sensations. Fraser's hand found his, took the bottle from his lax fingers, and then he was using his elbows to urge Ray's knees up. Ray let him, planting his booted feet solidly against the bed. The sheets would wash.
He heard a little click-pop as Fraser flipped up the top on the lube, then a moment later slick fingers were circling and teasing. This he knew, they'd done this lots of times. He tipped his hips upward to make it easy, and breathed out as Fraser pushed with one fingertip. It slid in sweet and easy, and Ray moaned a little. Felt so fucking good. His cock jerked against his belly, leaving a trail of slick behind. Fraser licked the evidence away and eased his finger out, back in, out and then he brushed his lips over Ray's glans, slowly leaning forward, letting the faint pressure part his lips until the tip of Ray's cock slipped between them at the same time that he slipped a second finger into Ray's ass.
For about two seconds Ray wasn't too sure about that, but then the burn turned to a different sort of heat as Fraser's fingers moved inside him, and Ray humped upward into the welcoming warmth and wetness of his mouth with a groan. Fraser sucked him for a few seconds, and as always Ray had a moment of . . . awe, that Fraser would do that, that Fraser liked to do that, would suck him absolutely dry if given half a chance. Maddeningly, after a little bit Fraser pulled away as he continued to work his fingers rhythmically inside Ray's body, spreading them, spreading him, opening him up with surprising ease, and amazing pleasure.
"Fraser!" he gasped.
Fraser froze, lifting worried blue eyes to his. "Ray?"
Worry disappeared instantly, and Fraser pushed his fingers deeper, and Ray saw stars, He clenched his fists in the sheets and swore.
Weight shifted on the bed, he opened his eyes to find Fraser kneeling up close, one hand on his lube-slickened cock as he frowned thoughtfully, then their eyes met and he smiled, and slowly slid his fingers free. Ray reached up, touched Fraser's arm, which was about all he could reach, trailed his fingers down it, back up. Fraser caught his hand, brought it to his mouth and sucked his fingers, eyes closing blissfully, like it was his own cock getting sucked, not Ray's fingers, then he let go and put his hands under Ray's legs, lifting them both as he leaned down.
Ray had seen enough porn to understand the next move without prompting. He put his calves on Fraser's shoulders. Fraser smiled his wolflike smile and moved forward, fingers smoothing more slick where it needed to go, pushing in easily, sliding out again, then something different, something broader. Ray closed his eyes, just in case, and breathed out as Fraser pushed in. He held back the gasp until Fraser was in what felt like a couple of inches, then he had to let it go, and Fraser stilled. Ray opened his eyes, saw worry back in his eyes, and he reached up, put his hand behind Fraser's neck and pulled his mouth down to his. As their mouths met frantically, he pushed his hips down, felt the slow, burning slide as Fraser filled him. He broke the kiss, panting.
"Ohfuck. Ohfuck. You . . . " he had no words to describe it. None. His cock had gone a little soft but there was this strange, intense new pleasure blooming deep inside him that was startlingly different, yet perfectly familiar too.
Fraser started to pull back, his cock slipping out a little, and Ray yanked him down again, kissing him hard, taking him in again, deep, shuddering as Fraser managed, somehow, to hit exactly the right spot. "Jesus. So goooood," he managed to get something sort of coherent out this time, knowing Fraser needed to hear it.
He felt some the tension leave Fraser's body, felt him tremble against him with the effort of control. "Ray," he said against his mouth, then he turned his head and kissed his ear. "Ray, my God. I need . . . I need. . . . ." he broke off, but for once Ray knew it wasn't embarrassment, it was the same problem he had. They didn't know the right words yet.
"Give it to me. Give it up, give it all," Ray said hoarsely, straining to put his hands on Fraser's tight, rounded ass, pulling. "Give."
Fraser growled, and bit his shoulder, and gave. His hips bucked, once, he held there for a moment, then did it again, and again, each time a little deeper, a little better, a little easier, a little faster. He pushed back some, getting better leverage, and for a moment Ray could watch his face as he moved, eyes closed, dark lashes fanned on flushed cheeks, his hair falling in sweaty curls over his forehead, crooked mouth open, gasping, panting, grunting a little each time he buried himself inside Ray, as if he never wanted to come out again.
That singular new pleasure continued to spread through Ray's groin, pumping him back up full and hard as Fraser stroked up into him, easier with each thrust. He felt opened up, spread out, completely possessed for the first time in his life. Connected, deep, in a way he hadn't even known existed. Fraser's head dropped as he worked, close, so close. . . Ray lifted his head, searched blindly for Fraser's mouth, found it, and tried to communicate all the confusing, searing joy he felt with his lips, his tongue. Fraser sobbed into his mouth, slammed his hips forward, hard, and shuddered. Ray felt him come, the bloom of heat inside, the rhythmic pulse.
Ray smiled, and wrapped his arms around Fraser's solid torso, holding him until the last of the post-orgasmic shakes faded, strangely replete despite his own arousal. After a little while Fraser lifted his head, kissed Ray tenderly, and rocked a little against him. Fraser's cock was going soft, but still hard enough to feel good inside him. Ray pushed up against Fraser's belly, and then sighed as Fraser reached between them and wrapped his fingers around Ray's leaking cock, and began to stroke in concert with the rocking. Ray lifted his head to look down between then watching the familiar, dark-red head of his cock sliding in and out of Fraser's pale fingers. He clutched Fraser's hip, shoved himself onto Fraser's cock and let himself fall over the edge into ecstasy.
Sometime later Fraser moved, slipping out of Ray, easing his weight back, and Ray groaned as hyperextended muscles released. He let his legs slide heavily off Fraser's shoulders and onto the covers. More heavily than usual because of the boots. They kind of thudded a little. Fraser looked down, startled, then his gaze slowly traveled up Ray's still-clothed torso to his face. The flush that had faded from Fraser's face surged again.
"Good God, Ray!"
Ray yawned, blinked, and smiled. "I know it was good, but you don't gotta call me God, Fraser."
Fraser laughed, a surprised-sounding snort, and he slid back down onto the bed, letting his head drop to Ray's shoulder, tugging on a tank-strap with his teeth for a moment before releasing it. "I'm afraid I got a little impatient."
Ray chuckled. "Ya think?"
Fraser didn't answer, he just reached down and put his hand under Ray's knee, pulling it up until his foot was within reach. One-handed he managed to fumble the laces loose and together they pushed the boot off and to the floor, followed a moment later by the sock. They repeated the process on the other side, then Fraser reluctantly lifted himself off Ray's chest long enough to peel him out of the tank top, and finally they were both naked, and lying together, skin a little sweaty where they pressed against each other. Ray was about to drift off when Fraser soothed a hand down his back and rubbed his ass. Ray pushed his hips against Fraser's thigh obligingly, though neither of them were really in any shape to do more. Fraser kissed his temple.
"You know Ray, you really should have held out for Boardwalk."
Ray punched him in the arm. Lightly, of course. "That's for you, stupid."
* * * finis * * *
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