Disclaimers: As much as I wish otherwise, Benton Fraser & Ray Kowalski belong to Alliance/Atlantis. *sigh* This is part of the "Attractive" series; a sequel to "Push." As with the rest of the seried, I'm putting a warning on this story for the more sensitive souls among us. Some people might consider this to be mildly "kinky." I don't.
Rated NC17 for boys with boys and boys with toys, and some unsafe sex practices.

Thanks to my betae-- AuKestrel, Betty, Journey, Judi, and Otsoko, who reminded me that Dewey probably doesn't watch the Beeb. ;-D --Kellie

© 2001 Kellie Matthews

"Ben, really, it's all right, we don't have to! How many times do I have to tell you that? I don't care, okay?" Ray's having a hard time with his tone of voice. He knows he ought to be sounding all gentle, and caring, but he's frustrated and that's leaking out around the edges. He doesn't understand why Ben keeps insisting they try this when he knows it never works.

Right from the start, Ray had no trouble at all taking Ben, but no matter how much lube, how much stretching, or how patient they are, though he loves having Ray's fingers in him, Ben never manages to let Ray's cock in. Well, except one time, Ray had managed to get about an inch in, before realizing in absolute horror that Fraser was actually crying, soundlessly, teeth gritted in determination. That pretty much killed his desire to ever try that again.

"I want you to," Ben mutters against his arm. "It's not right."

Ray sighs, rubbing Ben's shoulders soothingly with one hand. "I'm not one of those guys who thinks it's not sex unless he's got his dick in a hole between someone's legs, Ben. Everything is great, and I am happy, so will you quit worrying about it?" He knows it's useless to ask that, it's like asking the sun not to rise, but he keeps trying anyway.

Ben sighs again, and nods half-heartedly. Ray drops a kiss on the back of his neck. It'll do for now. Ben will forget about it for a while. Or pretend to. And he can go back to getting sucked, stroked, or fucked senseless, and loving it all. Until the next time Ben decides it's time to try again and then it will be back on the not-so-merry-go-round, Ray saying no, and Ben insisting, until Ray finally gives in and they try and . . . fail.

He wraps his arms around Ben, not easy with him lying on his stomach, he has to work to get them under him, and squeezes. "Love you," he whispers, wishing Ben would figure out that that's more than enough.

* * *

"So, what cases are you and Fraser working on?"

Ray doesn't need to look up to identify the speaker. It's Dewey. "What's it to you?" he growls, cranky partly because he didn't get a lot of sleep the night before, and partly just because it's Dewey.

"Oh, just wondering what you're working that's got him hangin' with the hustlers down on Montrose," Dewey says nonchalantly. Then he clears his throat. "Or does he just do that for fun?"

Ray's gaze snaps up from the report on this desk to stare at Dewey's leering face and fake-innocent eyes, automatically on the defensive. "What the hell are you talking about?"

Dewey smiles nastily. "O'Reilly saw him down there the other afternoon while you were in court on the Frohicke case. Didn't even bother to change out of his uniform. Bet they love that down there. I always thought he was a little. . . you know," Dewey let his hand go limp at the wrist and wagged it. "What's it like working with a fairy?"

"Fraser's not a fairy!" Ray snarls, shoving his chair back from the desk, getting to his feet, fists clenched. "And if he's talking to hustlers he has a good reason, so shut your talking hole before I shut it for you, dickweed!"

"Oooh, touchy, touchy," Dewey simpers, mincing away in what he probably thinks is how a 'fairy' walks.

For an instant Ray thinks about tackling him and beating the snot out of his smug face, but he resists the urge and gropes for his chair instead, sitting down, staring at his report, not seeing a word on the page. Ben. Montrose. Hustlers. He has no idea what Ben might have been doing there. None. Not a single one of their cases deals with anything involving male prostitutes. He thinks back to their most recent failure to consummate the way Ben wants to, remembers Ben's unhappiness, and fear leaves a coppery tang in his mouth. Fuck. Maybe it was Turnbull, he thinks, grasping at straws. Somebody saw the uniform and just made a mistake. Yeah. That has to be it.

Except. . . Ben's been quiet lately. And they've been spending a lot of time apart. Of course, they rarely get to spend week-nights together, and Ben's been really busy at work, but what if that isn't it? What if. . . no. No. He wouldn't do that. Ray knows him. He wouldn't. And he's not going to waste any more time thinking about it. He picks up the file and starts to read for real, studiously ignoring the little voice in the back of his head that's asking why, if Ben had a good reason for it, hadn't he mentioned it to Ray?

When lunchtime rolls around, he's out the door like a shot, heading not for his favorite deli, but for the Consulate. He's pulling up out front before he realizes he's going over to check up on Ben, see if he's really there, see if he's really busy. His face goes hot as he recognizes the pattern. Oh yeah. He's done this before. Not with Ben, but . . . not good. He's about to pull out into traffic and go back to the 27th when he sees that he's in Turnbull's visual range as he stands sentry. Which means that once he's not playing statue he'll tell Ben what Ray did. And Ben will want to know why. Damn. Trapped.

He kills the engine and gets out, pasting on a fake smile and nodding to Turnbull as he passes, heading into the building. The reception desk is empty, and he can hear Thatcher in her office talking to someone on the phone, kind of urgent-sounding. He walks quietly back to Ben's office and stands for a moment watching him work, head bent over some papers on his desk. As he watches, Ben shifts a little in his seat, the way Ray usually does when his ass is about to go to sleep from sitting too long. Ray would call it squirming, except that Ben doesn't squirm.

Besides, it's too slow and . . sensual to be a squirm? And it's accompanied by a moistening of lips, and a throaty sound that's a faint echo of the way Ben sounds when they're naked in bed and he's about three seconds from coming in Ray's mouth. Ray starts to smile a little, recognizing all the signs that Ben's having the kind of daydream that you really shouldn't have at work. He taps lightly on the doorframe.


Ben jerks a little in surprise and looks up, his expression sort of . . . dazed. His pupils are wide, and there's a faint flush across his nose and cheekbones that Ray can see from five feet away. The kind of flush Ray can't help but recognizing and responding to. He has to ease his feet apart a little to accommodate the expansion in his crotch.

"Ray!" Ben says, giving him a brilliant smile. "I. . . I wasn't expecting you."

"Well, I was in the neighborhood," Ray lies, feeling a rush of relief at the enthusiastic welcome. "Thought I'd see if you could go to lunch."

The pleasure on Ben's face fades, and his flush deepens from one of arousal to the darker one that usually means he's embarrassed.

"I'm . . . I can't, Ray. I'm sorry."

Wondering why he'd be embarrassed about not being able to go to lunch, Ray looks pointedly around the office, then back. "Seems pretty quiet."

"At the moment, but we're expecting a tour group in about forty minutes. I can't leave."

He's using his 'that's final' tone, so Ray knows better than to argue. Still, he remembers the smile. And the flush. He tries a new angle. "So you want to come over for dinner, tonight?" he asks, wondering what it would be like not to have to use code.

The flush on Ben's face deepens and he looks down, shaking his head. "I can't. Not tonight." He looks back up, his expression both apologetic and hopeful. "Friday, all right?"

Ray sighs and nods. "Yeah. Okay. It's just Friday's a long way off."

"I know," Ben says, his voice rough in a way that Ray finds oddly reassuring. "For me as well. I'm sorry."

Ray shrugs, and then has a brilliant idea. "I could go get something, bring it back?"

Ben shakes his head. "No, I'm sorry. . . ."

"What, you don't get a lunch break any more?" Ray asks feeling cranky.

"I already took one," Ben explains gently. "If I'd known . . . ."

"Oh. Right. Yeah. I should've called." Ray tries not to let his feelings show too much, knows he's not good at that. "Okay. Well, see you Friday."

Ben gets a funny, dreamy sort of look on his face and nods. "Yes. Friday."

* * *

After work, Ray is strongly tempted to go stake out the consulate. He doesn't do it. But, God, he's tempted. Twice that night he picks up the phone to call and just flat out ask Ben what the hell is going on, but the promise of Friday keeps him from pushing that last digit on the dial both times. Friday. He can wait until then. He doesn't want to chance losing that, just. . . in case. He tries hard not to think about the last time someone started not telling him stuff, and started spending more time at work than with him.

He mostly succeeds, until Hurricane Stella blows into the division on Friday morning and her brusque brush-off of his simple 'hello' brings back every feeling he thought he'd successfully dealt with. No such luck apparently-- or maybe he'd only dealt with them as far as she was concerned. At least this time it's not really about her, and he manages to be mostly civil to her. By the time she leaves, though, he feels like he's holding onto his composure by his fingernails. Then on top of that he has to deal with Dewey, who's been an asshole all week, and that's still an insult in Ray's book even though he's developed a certain fondness for the anatomical kind.

He doesn't manage to get out of the building until nearly six-thirty, and he heads for the consulate to pick up Ben, only to find it dark and locked. He slips the lock with his credit card and goes inside on the off chance that Ben's in the shower or something, but the place is deserted. He stands in the empty foyer for a moment, wondering where Ben is, why he didn't call, wondering if he should have done that stakeout after all, if he ought to go down to Boystown and do a drive by . . . no. No, goddamn it, he's not going to think things like that about Ben.

There's probably a perfectly reasonable explanation for everything, even for Ben hanging with rentboys. Knowing Ben he'd probably been trying to track down a runaway or something. And tonight Thatcher had probably commandeered him for an errand. He isn't going to pull this jealous caveman shit. He'll just go home, grab a snack, watch the tube and wait for a phone call like a reasonable human being. Even if he is about to go out of his mind worrying.

He drives home, parks, trudges up the stairs and unlocks his door. The first sign that his luck is changing is the large, excited wolf trying to knock him down as soon as he gets the door open. If Dief's here, chances are good that Ben's here too. Though how the hell he got in is the real question, since Ray still hasn't gotten to the hardware store to get keys made for him. He'll have to give Ben the third degree about that. . . later. He quietly fends Diefenbaker off, feeling the tension ease from his shoulders. He definitely should have known better. He does know better. It's good to have that confirmed though.

The only lights on in the apartment are his chili-pepper lights and the dimmable halogen in the bedroom. It's on a very low setting, but it's enough to see that there's a figure on the bed. Unfortunately without his glasses he can't see much more than that, but its enough. Relief floods through him, strong and fast, and in its wake leaves a glow of arousal. With a perfunctory ruffle of wolfish ears, he toes off his boots by the door and then starts across the room, shedding clothing as he goes. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Dief jump onto the couch and settle. He knows the drill by now: let the humans alone for a while and they'll be nice to you later. By the time he's in the doorway of his bedroom Ray is down to his slacks, and able to focus, and what's there is definitely worth focusing on.

Ben, lying on his bed, stark naked, his pale skin flushed and gleaming slightly with sweat. One capable hand is wrapped around the base of his cock, not stroking, just. . . kind of hanging onto it, and the other one is digging into the muscles of his thigh like he's having a hard time not just going for broke. Understandable, since he's got a woody he could use for a flagpole. Wow. If Ray had realized this was waiting for him at home he'd have taken off work early, and he definitely wouldn't have wasted time at the Consulate. He guesses Ben must've wanted to surprise him. Which he's succeeded in doing. In spades.

"You know, I like this a whole lot better than the last time somebody broke into my place," he says, his voice husky.

Ben jumps and looks up as if just then realizing Ray was standing there.

"Ray," Ben manages, and if Ray thought his voice was husky, Ben's puts his to shame. "You're. . . late."

"Yeah, sorry. Went by to get you. Crossed wires. Hope I haven't, um, missed the party."

"Not. . . yet. Though it's a near thing."

Moving closer, his new vantage point beside the bed shows him how true that is. Ben's cock looks almost painfully hard, dark with blood, and it gleams with a thick film of pre-ejaculate. He can see the tic of Ben's pulse shake his cock with each heartbeat. His fingers fumble a little with the button and zipper on his slacks as he opens them and peels them off, and down past the obstruction his cock has become.

"Been waiting long?"

"Far too," Ben whispers. "Ray. . .?"

Ray knows what he's asking. He kicks off his pants and briefs and kneels on the bed, straddling Ben's waist as he lubes up two fingers and reaches back to get himself ready, figuring Ben will never manage to do it, not as keyed up he is. "I got you," he says. "I got you. Hang on, just let me. . . ."

Ben brings his left hand up to catch Ray's wrist. "No. Not that way."

Ray stops, thinks for a moment. Usually when Ben is this ready he likes Ray to take him in and ride him. So does Ray. He loves the feel of Ben's cock thick and hard inside him. But Ben apparently is going against routine tonight. Well, okay. Cool. Nothing wrong with that. Ray thinks about options. He'd only have to lean forward a little to put his cock in Ben's mouth. But while that would be great for him it isn't going to take care of the problem Ben is having. A change of position is in order. He un-straddles his partner and reaches for a tissue get rid of the unneeded lube, only to have Ben catch his hand again.

"Wait. We need that," he says.

For a moment Ray is confused, until Ben rolls over onto his belly. Ray barely keeps himself from sighing in frustration. "Ben, we just. . . you know we can't. . . ." He tries to think of a gentle way to say it. Fails.

"I believe I've dealt with the difficulty," Ben said, moving Ray's hand down to rest on the curve of his ass.

Dealt with the. . . what the hell does that mean? "Uh-hunh. And how did you do that?"

Wordlessly Ben urges his fingers toward the cleft between his cheeks. Mentally Ray prepares himself to go through the whole sad scenario for the second time this week. Figuring he can at least get Ben off first, he lets a finger trail down the warm valley and . . . .

"What the fuck?"

Instead of chastising him for his language, Ben turns his head and beams at him like he just made a major breakthrough on a case. He investigates the vaguely rectangular thing that's in his way, covered by the thin film of a condom. It feels like the same stuff as his toy, though this is kind of a pearly mango color rather than fuchsia. He slips a finger under the edge and follows it . . . wow. His cock twitches a little as he suddenly realizes what it is. He's seen them in the toy catalog, but hadn't quite realized what they were for until just now.

"Doesn't hurt?" he asks, his finger rubbing softly at the place where it goes from being outside Ben to being inside Ben. The normally-tense opening seems pretty. . . relaxed.

Ben shakes his head. "No."

"How long have . . . ." Ray isn't quite sure how to ask, so he doesn't. He figures Ben will get the drift. He does

"Off and on, since Tuesday. Not the same one all the time, though. My informant suggested several different ones."

Ray's brain tries hard to short out as he processes that sentence. "You. . . Tuesday. . . several?" he says incoherently, wondering how Ben had just managed to say that complex a sentence considering that most of his blood had to be in his cock, not his head.

"Yes. They're similar, but of graduated . . . sizes."

It dawns on Ray that Ben hadn't just been daydreaming in his office the other day. "Holy. . . did you. . . in your office? In uniform? In front of Thatcher?" he demands with escalating incredulousness.

Ben's face turns even pinker. "I. . . yes. It seemed the only way to successfully complete the regimen."

"That is so hot," Ray growls. "So freakin' hot." He touches it again, probes a little, and Ben gasps softly. "How's it stay in?" he asks, wishing he'd gotten one of these instead, or maybe along with his toy, if it stays in by itself.

"Ray, can we talk about the mechanics later?"

Ben sounds slightly desperate, and Ray suddenly remembers how long he's had the damned thing, or one like it, in. He's got to be seriously needy now. "Didn't you. . . take care of things?" he asks, knowing he would've, if it was him. How could he not?

Ben shakes his head. "No. I wanted to wait, wanted . . . you."

That makes Ray want to kiss him again, so he does. Long, and slow, despite the awkward angle he has to use to make it work. He gently tugs and teases until the toy slides free and Ben moans into his mouth. His fingers slip into the warm, relaxed opening, smoothing more slick inside. Ben shudders, and Ray hesitates for a moment, until he feels the liquid undulation of Ben's hips and realizes that the shudder is pleasure, not pain. Maybe too much pleasure, judging from the erratic thrusting, and the sounds he's making. He doesn't want Ben to come yet, so he slips his fingers out again.

He's still got the toy in his left hand, and curious, he strips the condom off it, dropping that into the trash can next to the bed, and studies the plug. It's sort of built like three interlocked balls, each larger than the first. The last one is definitely bigger around than . . . well, if Ben can take that comfortably, then Ray should be no problem for him. He imagines Ben wearing this, accustoming himself to something inside him, for Ray, and slides a finger down the pliant, rippled surface, still body-warmed. He shivers a little, imagining what it feels like.

"Ray?" Ben's fingers cover his. "What?"

Ray swallows hard. "You liked it?"

"Oh yes." Ben's voice is husky. "It was very difficult, not to. . . well, to wait."

Ray gives him a rueful smile. "And I'm still making you wait. Sorry. I got distracted."

Ben smiles back. "You wouldn't be you if you didn't. What's distracting you?"

Ray taps the toy. "This. Wondering what it would be like to have. . . both."

Ben cocks his head, studying Ray for a moment, then his gaze heats, and his smile turns feral. "Why don't we see?"

He leans across Ray and grabs a strip of condoms off the nightstand. With a deftness Ray wouldn't have imagined him possessing a couple of months ago, he opens one and re-sheaths the plug, then flips open the lube. Next thing Ray knows he's on his back and Ben's got two fingers up him. He jerks a little and shudders as Ben strokes and stretches him, feeling suddenly out of control and not sure how he got there. Then Ben's fingers leave him, and something else is pressing in. First two ripples go in easy, but the third one burns a little, and he pants as he pushes against it, trying to get it in. Then Ben's slick hand grips his cock and strokes, and he arches and moans and finally it's in. A long, hoarse "Fuuuck . . . ." escapes his lips, and Ben laughs softly.

"I know," he whispers, still stroking him with long, slow caresses, his thumb gliding back and forth across the head of his cock with each pass. "I know."

He clenches his fists, fighting the urge to give it up. God. Between Ben's hand and the fact that somehow the damned plug is hitting him in exactly the right spot, he has a feeling this isn't going to last long. He reaches down and grab's Ben's wrist. "Don't. Stop. Can't," is all he can manage.

Ben lets go, and then straddles him, still holding him with one hand as he sinks down. There's a moment of pressure, and the tip of his cock slips in. Ben makes a soft sound in his throat, almost a growl, almost a purr, and pushes down as he does, canting his hips a little, and then he's sinking down on Ray's cock, slowly surrounding him with velvet warmth. Ray wants to tell him to stop, to wait, to take it a little at a time. He's worried, remembering all the times this didn't work before, but pinned by Ben's weight, he has no control, he can only lie there as Ben takes him in, smooth and sweet. Hot. Easy. Ben takes his hand away, no need to guide any longer, and doesn't stop until Ray's cock is in him as deep as it can go.

"Ohhhh . . . ." he sighs. "Yes."

Ray can't help but glance down, looking for reassurance. He's relieved to see that Ben's cock is fully erect, even leaking a little. He couldn't fake that. He's definitely enjoying himself. With both hands braced on Ray's shoulders, breathing hard, his body practically glowing with pleasure, Ben looks . . . blissful. Eyes still closed, he shifts his hips a little in a circular movement, making Ray gasp, making himself gasp. Ray reaches out, holds Ben's hips in his hands, encouraging him to do it again, and Ben does, a little harder. He opens his eyes, looking dazed, almost drugged. He licks his lips and then leans down to kiss Ray, nipping at his lower lip, then claiming his mouth with his tongue in a deep, wet kiss as he starts to rock above him.

"Good," he growls into Ray's mouth. "Good."

Ray wants to agree, but words are impossible and all that comes out is a moan. He's never felt anything like this, it's almost too good. His two favorite sensations combined, penetrated and penetrating at the same time. It becomes a test of will not to come each time Ben comes down on him, and the motion pushes him down harder onto the plug, sending a wave of pleasure through him. But he won't come until Ben does. He won't.

He lets one hand slide off Ben's hip and down to his erection, grips it, and starts to pump him. Ben stops, shudders, his body clenching around Ray's cock for a moment. Then he sucks in a deep breath and he starts to move again, harder now, more deliberate. Riding him, panting, head bowed as he pushes them toward the finish. They're both noisy, so much so that for a moment Ray has panicked visions of irate neighbors pounding at his door, but the thought is overwhelmed a moment later by sensation as Ben adds a little shimmy to his movements that is more than his senses can handle. With a despairing moan he tenses so hard he lifts them both off the bed, and then the world goes away in a shower of light behind his eyelids.

When he can think again, the pleasure still pulsing through his veins, Ben has gone still above him, breathing fast, watching Ray intently. And he hasn't come. He's still hard. Ray sighs and soothes a thumb across his hip apologetically.

"Sorry. Blew it."

Ben smiles, and shakes his head. "You should see your face when you come."

Ray feels himself blush. "Um, well, kinda hard."

Ben looks thoughtful, and nods. Ray wonders what he's planning, and why he's doing that and not coming. He runs a fingertip down the length of Ben's cock, which gets his attention fast. His eyes come back to Ray's, hot, and fierce.

"Can I suck you off?" Ray asks, stroking again, softly, with the back of his finger.

Ben shakes his head slowly. "No. I want. . . ." he stops.

"What? What do you want?" Ray prompts, wondering when Ben is going to learn he doesn't have to hold back.

He licks his lips, looks. . . intent, and focused. "I want to fuck you now."

God. Even just having come that almost makes him come. He can't get used to hearing Ben say things like that. He guesses that's one advantage to Ben not normally swearing. It makes it erotic when he does. He nods without even thinking about it. "Yeah. Oh yeah."

Ben lifts up and slides off him. Since he's soft now, and there's a lot of wet in there too, it's easy, without the little catch that sometimes happens. Then Ben's pushing a pillow down to hip-level and rolling him over onto it. Knowing what he wants, Ray tucks his knees up a little, hugging it, putting his ass in the air as Ben tugs out the toy, which resists for a moment before sliding free. Before he has time to really register its absence, he feels the blunt, wet tip of Ben's cock at him, pushing in. He sighs as Ben penetrates him, loving the way it feels.

He wonders sometimes if the intensity of what he feels when Ben opens him up like this is completely normal. Sometimes he doesn't even care if he comes, as long as he can feel Ben in him, filling him up. Like he's filling up some part of Ray that he never knew needed it before, not just his body. As usual, when Ben starts to move he decides he doesn't care if it's normal. It just is. He's never been much about normal anyway.

It feels good, in a distant, warmly pleasured sort of way. He's not even close to coming again, and won't, he knows better than that, but Ben feels so good inside him. His hands are hard on Ray's hips, pulling him back into his thrusts, and Ray manages to overcome his post-orgasm stupor enough to start moving, giving him a little resistance. Ben grunts at that, and shifts position, wrapping his arms around Ray, covering him close, his thrusts gone shallow and fast, and then suddenly he's shaking and groaning and coming, holding Ray so tight he can barely breathe.

After a few long moments he sighs, and tips them both onto their sides, still inside Ray as his breathing starts to slow.

"Good," he sighs, kissing Ray's shoulder sloppily.

Ray nods. "Yeah." After a moment his earlier worry comes back. "You really okay? I didn't hurt you?"

Ben pushes up on one elbow and leans around to kiss the corner of Ray's mouth. "Not in the slightest. It was even better than I'd imagined."

Ray snorts rudely. "Yeah, if your idea of a good time is having a trigger-happy partner who shoots off without you."

Ben shakes him a little. "Actually, I find it very erotic and empowering to bring you to climax so readily."

Ray blinks at him. "You just came and you can still talk like that? That's amazing. I can't even remember my name right now."

Ben chuckles. "It's Ray. But I'm not entirely sure who I am."

Ray reaches back, finds one of Ben's hands, and laces their fingers together. "My partner. That's all you need to know."

Ben nods and shifts back down next to him, still holding him. They stay like that a little while longer, until he feels Ben slip wetly out of him, but it's still bugging Ray a little that he came first, and finally he can't stand it. "I don't get it. You're like a rock from the get go, but I'm the one who can't hold off. How do you do that? Is that some kind of super-Mountie control thing they teach you?"

Ben sighs and pushes away, then leans over him and kisses him, a long, soft, wet kiss. Finally he raises his head and gives Ray a fond, but somewhat exasperated look. "I'm sure this will come as a vast disappointment to you, but sexual effectiveness is not one of the courses taught at the Depot. Actually, I believe that the amount of stimulation I've been under for the past few days has actually desensitized me somewhat. I think next time you'll find my stamina restored to more normal levels."

"Oh." Ray thinks about that. "Interesting. So you being overstimulated actually made it harder to come? Never thought of that."

"Nor had I, actually."

Ray snickers. "So Mom was right all along. Too much stimulation can be bad for you."

"Ray, I'd really appreciate it if you didn't mention your mother when we're in bed."

Laughing, Ray nods. "Yeah, it's kind of a mood-killer, isn't it? Sorry. So. . . whose bright idea was this anyway?" he asks, picking up the discarded toy.

Ben blushes. "I, er, consulted a professional."

Ray smiles, shaking his head in exasperation. "Thought so. Next time you're down in Boystown you should go in civvies. You stand out like a sore thumb in uniform."

Ben looks at him, frowning a little, then turns even redder. "Someone saw me?"

"Yeah. O'Reilly. Who told Dewey. Who told me. But you were just there looking for some runaway Canadian kid, right?"

"Well, no, as I told you I was. . . ah. I see."

"Yeah. I mean, we could tell Dewey you were down there asking for advice on how to . . . ."

"That's quite all right," Ben interrupts. "Your suggestion is an excellent one."

Ray laughs. "Good. Because, you know, I think he's just a little too interested in what you were doing down there, and I don't share."

Ben touches a fingertip to his mouth. "Good. Nor do I."

The low, rough sound of his voice sends a little shiver of arousal through Ray, despite the fact that his body is telling him it's time for rest. He leans forward and kisses Ben softly, finding the slight prickle of beard-shadow against his lips strangely comforting. When their lips part, Ben sighs and pulls him in against him, one hand curved around the back of his skull, rubbing a little. Ray yawns. A moment later Ben yawns too, then he speaks.

"Do you have a full-length mirror?"

The question doesn't make any sense to his tired brain, but he answers it anyway. "Nah. Stella got it. I don't have much use for one. Why?"

"Just curiosity," Ben says. "Go to sleep."

Deciding that's a good idea, Ray does.

* * * Fin * * *

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