Rated NC-17 for M/M sex and occasional bad words. If you're considered a minor in your community please take off now, you shouldn't be reading this. You may also want to skip this if you're narrow-minded or easily offended. The characters Benton Fraser and Ray Kowalski are from the television series Due South. I don't own 'em, I wish I did. Characters are property of Alliance, everything else is my smutty intellectual property. This is either a sequel to or an epilogue to "When the Ice Goes Out." Haven't quite figured out which. It's pretty much a PWP.

Soundtrack: An instrumental piece for Spanish guitars called "Coast to Coast," and "Mi Vida," both from the album Compadres, with Oscar Lopez and James Keelaghan.

Thanks to AuKestrel & Betty for beta. I don't know what I'd do without you guys. Also thanks to Betty for thoughts of canoes and porch swings. :-) --K.


© 2000 Kellie Matthews

The temperature has dropped precipitously now that the sun has fully set. Though the days are lengthening this time of year, dark still seems to fall quickly, especially here where no artificial lights brighten the shadows. I send another annoyed glance at Diefenbaker who looks abashed, well aware that it was his ill-considered leap into the water after a duck which tipped the canoe and drenched us. Even though the temperatures today were pleasant, the water was still very cold.

Fortunately it hadn't been far to shore, and we'd already been most of the way back to the cabin, so while we're wet and chilly, neither of us is in danger of hypothermia. Had the incident occurred further from shore or the cabin the situation might have been different. All in all Ray had taken the whole event with surprising good humor, better, in fact, than I had. We'd maneuvered the upside-down canoe to shore, dumped it out, wrung out our clothes as best we could and headed in for the night after storing the canoe.

"You can finish drying out here," I say sternly to Diefenbaker as we near the cabin, moving a little faster in our desire to get out of the chilled air and our wet clothes.

"He didn't mean to do it, Frase," Ray says, trying to blunt my justifiable irritation.

"The fact remains," I say, refusing to grant clemency.

"Hey, he's just following his natural instinct," Ray says. "Can't fault a guy for that."

Instinct. The word, indeed, the entire subject, has taken on a whole new meaning in the last few months, one to which I tend to respond in a rather Pavlovian manner. Despite the discomfort of being chilled and damp, I find myself becoming aroused. It's a bit embarrassing how easily he can induce that in me. I suppose it's a result of going so many years without intimacy. My body wants to make up for lost time and my mind isn't far behind. I shoot a look at Ray, but though his eyes are bright with humor they don't hold that certain look I know means more.

All right. Settle down. He's wet and cold, he didn't mean anything by that. After all, he has no way of knowing that I respond to the word 'instinct' like a lab rat to a food lever.

Ray unlocks the door and we step inside. The small cabin has retained some residual warmth from the day and if it feels good to me I know it must feel better to Ray, who's already starting to strip off layers of damp clothing as I light the lantern. There's a generator if we want electricity, but I prefer the simplicity of lanterns.

"I dibs the shower," Ray says, heading for the small bathroom. In the doorway he stops and looks back, eyebrows lifted. "Unless you want to share?"

I'm very tempted. His lean torso seems to invite my touch, and he did offer . . . however, one of the things I've learned since I moved in with Ray is that we waste a truly frightening amount of water when we shower together. In the interests of conservation I shake my head. "You go ahead, I'll shower later."

He nods, not looking too disappointed. I console myself with the thought that there will be other opportunities which have less environmental impact. A moment later I hear the shower come on while I strip and drape my clothes over a kitchen chair to dry. Knowing that we're settling in for the night I opt for the comfort of a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt. I light a fire in the fireplace, and after standing by it a few moments I'm almost too warm, but I know Ray will be glad of the heat.

A can of beef stew goes into a pan on the propane-fueled stove to heat on a very low flame, because Ray takes long showers even without me. As I rinse the can I suddenly remember that Dief is in exile on the porch and feel slightly guilty about that-- as Ray said, the hunting instinct is difficult to overcome. However, it would undermine discipline to go back on my word now, so I ready a bowl of food and another of water and head out to feed him. He's under the porch swing, and though he comes out from under it when I step out, to my surprise, when I put down his dishes, he doesn't immediately begin to eat.


He exhales loudly: a very wolflike sigh. Perhaps it's my imagination but he sounds guilty. I sigh too and crouch down.

"It's all right this time, but you need to think of consequences. Ray's not a strong swimmer, and it's fortunate we were relatively close to shore when it occurred and that I was able to help."

He lowers his head, puts his ears back and glances away briefly with a soft whine. I nod, accepting his apology. "Thank you. I know you didn't."

That seems to do the trick: I feel the brush of his tail twice against my arm and then he wanders over to start eating. I get to my feet and stand for a moment, absorbing the night. I can hear the susurration of the river, crickets, frogs, and distantly the call of an owl. The sky is a vibrant cobalt blue with a scattering of bright stars like - I grin to myself - drops of spent semen across dark sheets. A faint ivory glow through the trees to the east tells me the moon is rising. The air that felt uncomfortably cold to me just a few minutes ago now feels just pleasantly crisp. Ray was right. I do need to escape the city for this sort of setting now and then. He's usually right about me, I've found, even when I think he's not.

Being together hasn't been a completely smooth adjustment. He does things that annoy me: wet towels in a heap on the bathroom floor, for instance. I do things that annoy him, of course, such as arranging the spices alphabetically rather than by frequency of use. But the annoyances so far are minor when compared to all the things we do right together, and we're learning how to communicate so that those minor things don't assume more importance than they should. I close my eyes and inhale deeply. Leaf-mould, moist earth, pine, damp wolf, a tinge of woodsmoke from our fire, and a faint hint of warming stew. I don't want to go back inside yet, so I settle onto the swing, rocking it idly with an occasional flex of my legs.

I'm not sure how long I've sat there when the cabin door opens and Ray emerges. It must have been quite some time, because his hair is dry. He brings with him the aroma of Dr. Bronner's peppermint soap, together with his own unique scent, which combined are nearly as erotic as the word 'instinct.' He's wrapped in a quilt against the chill, and though his face is shadowed I can see his eyes shining in the moonlight as he looks at me. Wordlessly he comes and sits beside me, and I can feel his warmth, radiant. Ray-diant. I hadn't realized I was getting chilled until now. After a few moments he untucks the quilt from around his feet and hooks a foot behind my ankles to pull my feet under the fabric too. His long narrow feet cover mine, warming them.

"I turned off the stew," he says after a little while longer.

I stiffen a bit. "I'm sorry, I forgot."

He smiles, I can see the flash of his teeth. "S'okay. No biggie. You're allowed. Nice out here."

I look at him, a little surprised. "You don't find it too cold?"

"It's a good kind of cold. Not the nut-shriveling kind. Just the fire-in-the-fireplace kind. The kind that makes you want to be close to someone else."

He says it nonchalantly, but I know him better than that and have to work to control a smile. I can take a hint. I scoot a bit closer and slide my arm around his blanket-encased form. He leans into my embrace and I see his teeth again, briefly. This close his scent is stronger, and there's an underlying hint of more than just soap and clean skin. My own mouth curves in a smile I can't control. He's looking away from me, toward the moon, almost full, that's now risen above the trees. My eyes trace the long line of the tendon in his throat from just behind his ear down to where it flows into the curve of his shoulder, and I suddenly realize that in order for me to see that he must be shirtless under the quilt.

I almost chide him for coming out half-dressed when a thought takes me, and I slide one foot out from beneath his and glide my toes up his ankle to his calf. His bare calf. I've always been quite good at deductive reasoning. And math. Combine bare shoulder with bare calf, add quilt, multiply by Ray's personality and the sum of that equation shakes me to the core. I'm suddenly very glad I didn't put on a pair of jeans, as I would be quite uncomfortable right now. The muscles of his calf flex a little under my toes, and he chuckles.

"Get two yet?" he asks out of the blue.

"What?" I reply stupidly, wondering if the sudden rush of blood to more southerly areas has left my brain unable to process correctly. His question makes no sense.

"Did you get two yet? You know, one plus one?"

Damn, sometimes he is uncannily in tune with my thoughts. I clear my throat. "Ah, yes."

He laughs again, a richer sound this time. "'Bout time." He snakes a hand out of his quilt and runs a single long finger over the turgid proof of my reasoning ability. "Oh yeah," he says huskily. "You got it all right." He moves his hand up, hooks his fingers into the elastic waist of the sweatpants and tugs. "Lift up."

"But Ray, it's . . . ."

"I didn't say 'argue with me,' I said lift. Now lift."

I lift. He pulls. When I settle back I feel the fabric of the seat-cushion under my buttocks and thighs, cool air caressing the bared, heated skin between my waist and knees. He stands up, the blanket trailing from his shoulders like furled patchwork wings. The moonlight steals all his daylight gold, rendering his elegant lines in silver and smoke. Dear God, I didn't think it was possible for him to be any more beautiful than he is every morning in our bed, but he is. Standing here in between shadow and substance he is a mythical creature, but not an angel. No angel ever wore such a look of earthbound mischief.

"Ray," I say hoarsely.

"Mmm?" he replies, moving closer to me, standing with his feet on either side of mine.

"You're going to get cold," I say foolishly, and then want to bite my tongue. Sometimes I say the most idiotic things.

"Guess you better keep me warm then," he says softly, leaning forward, planting a knee on the swing next to my thigh as he puts a corner of his quilt into my hand.

I grasp it automatically and he does the same thing with the other corner, leaving me holding it up as he puts his hands on the back of the swing, shifts his weight and straddles my lap. The swing wants to rock and I have to tighten my calves and dig my toes in against the porch to hold us still. He's not cold, I can feel the heat of him just inches away. His right hand is warm as he lets go of the swing and strokes my thigh, then curls his fingers around the base of my erection, holding me as he leans even closer, cants his hips forward, and then eases down. I almost protest again, because though we're getting fairly experienced at this there are things that should be done first, but as I feel the slickness and then the ease with which I slip inside him, I realize there's no need. Ray must have . . . prepared. . . before he came outside. I moan as I imagine what he looked like doing so, feeling the results all around me.

Finally he's settled, both hands on the back of the swing again, his bent knees in the gap between the seat and back of the swing, his legs tight alongside my thighs, his penis a thick, hot length against my belly. He moves on me, a roll of his hips that makes me slide within him in a way that makes us both gasp, and then he leans to lick my ear with a sound that's half purr and half growl.

"Relax, Ben. Let us go."

Ben. He only uses that name for me in the heat of passion. I cherish it like a rare gift. I don't understand what he means though, until the next time he moves and I strain to keep the swing stable. Then I finally comprehend. I stop trying to hold us in place and his movements make the swing sway gently. He takes that rhythm, echoes it, his body moving against mine, all long, lean grace as his head falls back, and his lips part. In this position his chest is at mouth level, and I take advantage of that, leaning to suckle first one taut nipple, then the other. He shivers suddenly and I remember the blanket, now draped limply between my hands, and bring it up around his shoulders, enfolding him in its protective embrace.

He shivers again anyway, and I realize it's not from cold, it's from arousal. He sighs, and makes a soft sound in his throat, coming down harder against me, making the swing move faster. His sigh brings my gaze to his mouth. His mouth is extraordinary: so expressive, so talented. I stretch upward to catch it with my own, and he bends down again to make it easier for me. My lips graze his cheek as he moves down to me, encountering smooth skin. . . he shaved. More preparation. Knowing how much he planned this sends rivers of heat through me, the intensity almost too much. My thighs flex and I push up into him, disrupting the rhythm he'd set. He moans and shakes his head.

"Let - let me do the work, Ben."

Somehow I manage to relax my legs and the movement of the swing stabilizes again, a steady back and forth, with each movement of his body. I want to touch him, but I can't because my hands are full of blanket and if I drop it to touch him, the cold air will find his sweat-sheened skin. It's a subtle torture to not be able to caress him. I lean forward to lick his shoulder, to use my mouth on him as I can't use my hands, and he laughs, taking a hand from the back of the swing to stroke my face, run his thumb across my lips.

I catch it quickly in my teeth, hungry for some part of him in me as I am in him. I suckle it, stroking with my tongue, as I wish I could do for the straining length against my belly. The deliberate rhythm stutters, and he clenches around me, oh God, so sweet. I buck and shudder and gasp his name, fingers clenching in fabric as I strain to keep from falling.

"Shhh," he says, tugging his thumb from my mouth, leaning to brush his lips across mine. "Shhhh. God this is good. I love the way you feel inside me. I could do this forever, fuck you forever."

He might be able to, but I can't. I never can with him. The control I've always had deserts me when I'm with him, completely lost, no reserve, no restraint nothing but passion and need and love. I try. I bite the inside of my lip, hoping the pain will outweigh the pleasure, but his hand is on my face again, finger sliding into my mouth, pushing between my teeth, taking even that from me.

"Don't, Ben. Just give it to me, come for me."

His voice steals my last thread of sanity, and I do as he says, with his finger in my mouth, my cock buried deep in the welcoming heat of him. Pleasure rises through me in mind-stealing waves, pulsing out of me, making me shudder and cry out like some wild thing, giving myself to him totally, trying vainly to somehow meld the very cells of our being together, inseparable. I am in him, but somehow he's also in me at the same moment, one.

Gradually reality settles in again. He's still hard against my stomach, trembling, his breathing shallow and tense has he holds himself still to allow me the fullest experience of my own pleasure. I lift my head to look into his face. His eyes seem to hold the moonlight captive: there's no color to them, only light and the dark wells of his dilated pupils. I let the blanket fall and my hands slide down to his hips, caressing, urging him up, and off me. I can feel him shaking as he complies, hear the soft sound of loss he can't suppress as my body slips out of his.

I steady him as he gets his feet under him, and then I stand too. My legs are also more than a little shaky. Grabbing the blanket from where it fell, I wrap it around his shoulders, then turn him and press him down to take my place on the swing. He complies with a sigh, and I sink to my knees between his widespread thighs, hands on his hips again, pulling him forward to the edge of the seat. He makes a soft, anticipatory sound. He knows I like this, I know he loves this. Perhaps not as much as me in him, but it's a close second. I circle his erection with one hand, pumping gently, and he moans, thrusting into my hand.

He's close, I can feel it in him, hear it in his voice. I slide my other hand beneath the sweaty weight of his scrotum, caressing, then back farther, fingers searching, finding. He's softly pliant, his body opening readily to my touch. I take his cock in my mouth just as I slide two fingers into him, their entry eased by the heat and wetness of my own semen inside him. He arches helpless under the dual assault, hands clenching by his thighs.

"Oh fuck," he moans, the words thick and hoarse. "Yeah. Ohyeah. More."

I give him the more he wants, using my fingers almost roughly inside him, my other hand still working the base of his shaft as I lick and suck on him. I used to be afraid I'd hurt him, but I know now where the lines are, what he wants. He bucks hard against my fingers and shudders, his long body bowed in a slouch as he tries to stay on the swing and still get closer to me, to the pleasure I'm giving him. I twist my fingers a little inside him, pushing deep, probing, and let him feel my teeth, and that's as much as he can stand. He tenses, groans a deep, throaty sound, and I smile around him as I feel the spasms start around my fingers only to be echoed a moment by the hot spurts of his seed across my tongue.

I take every drop from him, licking softly, knowing how sensitive he is now. Finally I feel him shiver, from cold this time, and I know we need to move inside. I slide my fingers gently from him, release his softened cock, and rub my head against his thigh for a moment before I stand, hitching up my sweatpants which I've just now realized are still down around my knees. Astonishing the things one can forget when one is otherwise. . . occupied. Ray is still sprawled in an almost-painful looking slouch on the swing, looking utterly and delightfully debauched. He doesn't appear to have moved at all, not an inch.

"Are you all right?" I ask.

He chuckles softly, looking up at me with those amazing, luminous eyes.

"Pretty much dead, but way better than all right."

I put out a hand. "Come on, inside. It's too cold for you to be dead out here. Lets go in by the fire and I'll warm the stew up again."

He yawns and nods, and puts his hand in mine so I can pull him to his feet, but I don't stop with that. Hands still entwined, I pull him into my arms, holding him close for long, long moments, just trying to convey through simple touch the feelings I have no words for. 'I love you' is entirely inadequate to the task. He's part of me, and I of him. His arms go around me and tighten, almost painfully, and I know he understands, that my truth is his truth as well. His lips brush my ear, then my cheek, then my eyelids, his tongue stealing out, warm, to lick the salt from my lashes. How did he know? He lingers there a moment, then his mouth moves to mine and I taste my tears on his lips.

"There's no one in the world I'd rather be dead with," he whispers a moment later. "Come on. Let's go inside. We can die again in a little while."

We can. We will. And live again, as well. Together.

* * * Finis * * *

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