The drink burns on the way down, and it's just how he likes it.
Danny never was much of a drinker, because when he's sober and everything's normal and he's picking body parts up from the streets and he sometimes thinks about drinking, the sting of the booze seems somehow--not worth it. But when he gets to this point, it's all perfect, even the sting in his throat and the pressure in his chest, because they're connected and it feels good in the most hurtful way.
It's good to be here, unknown city, unknown people, and so what if he can't lose himself in the crowd like he can back home? Because he'll be leaving tomorrow afternoon, and fuck them all anyway. Not like he owes them anything at all. Not like he really needs to be here, but here he is anyway. Danny orders another drink and wonders what Mrs. Steinman thought when she chopped her husband up into itty bitty little pieces and threw them out along with yesterday's newspaper and leftover dinner bits. Wonders if her daughter will ever forgive her.
The guy next to him wobbles in his seat and then lights a cigarette with shaky fingers.
Looks over when he notices Danny watching him and then offers a cigarette to Danny. Danny shakes his head no, but still the guy keeps looking at him. Blows a cloud of smoke into Danny's face, and Danny doesn't even blink. Instead, Danny stares into haunted, blue eyes full of some emotion or pain that Danny refuses to name. And Danny thinks about tomorrow and how his plane doesn't leave until nearly two in the afternoon and how the cab ride to O'Hare won't take him that long.
The guy is sweating slightly, blonde spikes on his head clinging wetly together and two-day stubble on his chin looking darker than it probably is. Forehead damp and Danny knows it's not from the heat, but rather almost like the guy's crawling in his own skin and trying to forget about it. Shove it away into the deepest, darkest corner of his mind he can find. Danny knows the feeling, won't ever admit it out loud, but he knows the feeling.
It's another half hour before the bartender cuts the guy off, and Danny thinks he's gonna argue the point. Has noticed the muscles hidden in the lean body and the tense tendons in his neck, and Danny knows instinctively this is a guy with a temper, but the blonde doesn't say anything at all, surprisingly enough. Just gets up and pulls on a worn leather jacket, sniffs once and tucks his cigarettes and lighter into one pocket.
"See you, Ray," the bartender says, and that could be why the guy--Ray--doesn't say anything, because he obviously knows the bartender here, at least a little. It's an almost alien concept. Danny doesn't know a single bartender in New York, doesn't go out often enough, doesn't even know the guy with all the piercings who works in the bar across the street from his apartment, who Danny sees several times a week as either of them comes or goes.
"You coming?" Ray says suddenly to Danny, and Danny blinks once. Didn't think the guy had even noticed, but Danny only hesitates for one second before downing his last drink, throws a couple of bills in the bartender's general direction and follows Ray out of the bar on unsteady legs.
Ray leads him out into the cool night air, around a corner and into an alley, and then Danny's being pressed up against a wall, Ray's body against his. Blue, worn eyes looking directly into his own, haunted and older than the guy itself.
Ray's lips are warm, and he tastes like tequila and cigarettes, and Danny moans into his mouth. Takes it all in, the taste of Ray and the feel of the warm body against his, and the way the world spins and tilts a little when his vision disappears. Recognizes that he's drunk, and not giving a damn. So easy to hide in this, hide in this alley with Ray and there's not even eight million people in Chicago, so it's different, but not difficult--not difficult. Danny likes how easy it is. Strokes his tongue against Ray's and grinds his hips forward, likes the resistance and how Ray's own crotch fits against his as he grows hard in his jeans.
Danny's only slightly surprised when Ray tears his mouth from Danny's and tugs on his arm, but he doesn't protest, only once again lets Ray take the lead, and Danny isn't worried, because Danny knows how to take care of himself, and he works so much that there isn't that many people he sees on a regular basis back home anyway, and--yeah--fuck them all anyway.
Ray's apartment is less than a block away, and it's cluttered. Danny doesn't look around, just follows Ray through the mess and into his bedroom. Watches for a second as Ray pulls off his clothes before following suit, and when his t-shirt goes over his head, the world does a little jig--a little tilt again--and Danny almost stumbles and falls, almost. Gets naked and then pushes the other guy onto the bed, wants the technicalities and getting there to be gone, and wants to just get there, get back to feeling and disappearing. He finds Ray's lips easily, and then he's sinking again.
Sloppy, drunken, open-mouthed kisses that leaves Danny panting for air, and it's all completely fucked-up really, because Danny still has to go to work tomorrow, get to O'Hare and go straight to JFK and straight from JFK to the lab where Mac probably has a new case waiting for him already, because these assholes never stop committing crime and chopping their husbands up into itty bitty little pieces without even caring, and he's not even sure of anything anymore. Nothing but the tingling in his own body, booze or hormones or some combination of both. And this guy kisses him hotly and desperately, and he only recognizes those kinds of kisses out of experience, and what's the guy's name again? Ray--Ray, that's it--Ray--
Danny puts one hand between their bodies, between Ray's legs and strokes the erection there once, twice, before moving lower, and this gets an immediate reaction. Opens his eyes in time to see Ray's own eyes fly open as he tears his mouth off Danny's with a gasp, and Danny gets this, he does. Handjobs, dry humping, maybe a few blowjobs--
Doesn't care as he continues to circle the tight hole with one finger, pausing only to bring that finger to his mouth and suck on it--not dry, not dry, not that much of a bastard--and then presses gently forward, so horny that his brain is spinning, and the alcohol definitely doesn't help any.
Ray sweats and his breathing is unsteady, but he's shifting his hips too, into Danny's touch, clearly wants this, and Danny almost forgets to blink; only remembers when the other man becomes a skin-colored blur. Hot, little puffs of air against Danny's face, and Danny gets a second finger in. Gets a wince at that, but continues anyway. Gotta learn sometime. Now's a good time as any. Might as well be here, might as well be Danny, and fuck him anyway.
He has at least thought about it before, because he has everything they need right there in his nightstand, and Danny's fingers go in a lot more easily with the slick. Ray just keeps watching him, blue eyes wide open, and there's just too much emotion there, and Danny gets the distinct impression Ray wishes Danny was someone else. Doesn't really care, but doesn't wanna see Ray's eyes anymore, either. Doesn't wanna recognize anymore. Fuck him, fuck them all, Danny doesn't even wanna know that Ray's watching him, wishes he doesn't know Ray is watching him, and closes his eyes instead. Focuses on the clench around his fingers and wills the world around them to fall away, fade out into nothingness.
Danny makes him roll over before he fucks him. It's easier that way, he tells himself, and if he doesn't have to see Ray's face or those haunted, blue eyes, it's only a bonus. Danny doesn't care, doesn't want to care, and doesn't want to feel any emotion. Half ignores the sharp intake of air as he presses forward, and doesn't pause until he's halfway in. He stares at Ray's back, at his bent head and the rise and fall of his sides as the man breathes deeply and measured. Danny's glad he can't see Ray's eyes this very second.
When he slides the rest of the way in, Ray trembles and trembles and then finally moans, and the sound is so unnaturally loud that Danny almost cringes. The sounds grounds him, and it's not what Danny wants right now.
Danny finds a rhythm right away, slow and heavy, and he grips Ray's hips hard. Closes his eyes against the pleasure and tries to let it engulf him. Doesn't work, because beneath him, Ray moans again, and Danny almost screams with frustration. Not gonna happen, not tonight, or at least not right now, so Danny leans forward to at least give the guy a reach-around instead. Ray's erection has wilted a bit, and for a second Danny almost feels bad about it--maybe he went too fast--maybe--? But the guy's moaning again and when Danny's hand closes around Ray's cock, Ray grows hard again, and fuck him anyway.
Still, Danny keeps pumping, even as he can feel his own orgasm building, and the angle is damn awkward but Danny manages to make it work anyway. Holds back until Ray's trembling increases and he spills over Danny's hand and onto the sheets with one final moan, broken and raw--just like Danny's entire world these days, it seems. Danny lets go then, almost burnt by the sheer emotions that Ray is pouring out, and wants nothing to do with it. Grabs Ray's hips and fucks him hard, harder than he probably should, but at last--finally--the world melts away around him, and the itty bitty pieces of human flesh and bone and the chill of emotionless eyes staring hard at him across the interrogation room are no more--no more. They all disappear in his thrusts, disappear in the feeling of his cock in Ray's ass, and they're nothing more than a faint blur, gone in the mist and unable to touch him.
When Danny comes, it's just relief, washing over him like water, cold and void of pleasure, but no less needed.
Ray doesn't ask him to stay, but doesn't kick him out either, so Danny thinks he might as well just collapse where he is. He drops the used condom on the floor, and if Ray has any objections, Danny doesn't hear them, and he doesn't care. The alcohol helps the pull of sleep, and Danny barely remembers to slip the glasses off his nose and toss them onto the nightstand before he drifts off into oblivion without looking Ray in the eye again.
When Danny wakes up, it's with a headache, a dry mouth and the smell of coffee drifting faintly into his nostrils. It's almost seven thirty in the morning, and the bed is empty next to him, but once Danny gets his glasses back on, he can see the edge of a kitchen counter through the open door and a hand reaching for the newspaper. He dresses quickly and quietly, almost stepping in the used condom that's still on the floor, next to the bed where he dropped it.
Ray's leaning against the kitchen counter, cup of coffee in his hands, and dressed in a t-shirt, boxers and a worn baseball cap. The ensemble looks ridiculous, but Ray somehow pulls it off. Danny notices it's a Red Sox cap, and manages not to scrunch up his nose. Instead meets Ray's eyes for the first time since sometime after he fingered him and before he fucked him. Blue eyes, worn and tired with something else than lack of sleep, but at least they're not as fucking empty and haunted as the night before.
"Want coffee?" Ray asks with an almost ugly grin in Danny's direction, and the world seems all too clear around Danny.
"No thanks," he mumbles, and then almost starts as his brain seems to kick-start back into gear. Notices too much around him, and the first thing that catches his eye, is the holster strapped to Ray's shoulders. Leather that probably digs too hard into soft skin, a gun resting just underneath Ray's left armpit, and above it, a shiny badge. 4780, it says. Four seven eight zero, and Jesus Christ, Ray's a cop. Chicago PD.
Danny swallows heavily and this is why he shouldn't drink, this is why he's not a heavy drinker. Unable to stop himself, he keeps glancing around, takes in the neon clock and bike on the wall, the turtle in a tank near the window, the coffee table barely visible under too many old cups of coffee and tea and stacks and stacks of paper, and suddenly understands a little bit more of why Ray's eyes, his eyes--
--and God, Danny doesn't really want to know, wishes he knew how to turn off this part of him, the part that's so alert and trained to take in every little detail, but wasn't that what he'd just done the night before? And didn't that work out well for him, because he still notices things today, and it was all fucked up, really, really fucked up because Ray is a goddamn cop, and Danny wanted to get away, get out, disappear, and not have this familiarity and recognition, because it's all too familiar--
"I gotta--" he says, nodding towards the door, and Ray nods with another ugly grin, and an expression like Jesus fuck, of course he didn't expect anything else.
Danny leaves quietly and tried to block the image of haunted, blue eyes from his mind, and he isn't really sure if those blue eyes are better or worse than itty bitty little pieces of flesh and bone, and the absolute lack of a soul in Mrs. Steinman's eyes as she hissed curses and spit at him. The visions blend and swim in Danny's mind, and he thinks he'd prefer neither, but knows it's not possible.
He hails a cab back to his hotel and packs up his things quietly and effectively, goes to the airport four hours earlier than he has to. As he sits in one of the hard airport chairs, he realizes he never even told Ray his name, that Ray with the haunted, blue eyes let a complete stranger fuck him without even asking his name, and it doesn't feel even remotely good to be here anymore.
Danny doesn't ever want to return to Chicago.