Despite Ray's intentions, and despite his fucking excellent recon, and his limitless charm, the hand-holding, or, 'the incident', as Brad calls it, doesn't happen again in Iraq, because shit gets tense, and there's nowhere secluded to jack off properly, let alone make gay ass moves on Walt.
So Ray ships out, back home, with a serious case of blue balls and a deep, deep hope that as soon as his feet hit soil, he can go back to fucking drunk chicks and stop wanting to stick Walt's cock in his mouth like a fucking popsicle.
Ray had been hoping that when he got home, when he saw real tits, and girls in short skirts and he actually got laid by genuine American pussy, that whole hand-holding dicksuck thing with Walt would disappear and Ray could get back onto the pussy bandwagon.
Except, right now, weeks back in and at the kind of impromptu gathering among marines that means a lot of beer and a lot of meat, Ray doesn't want to get laid, or, he does, but not by that genuine American pussy, which is possibly the most awful thing ever, because that means it wasn't just combat stress or, like, a fucking mirage or some shit. Ray's really in deep here.
And right now no one's got a gun, so they can't shoot him if maybe Ray decides here's an awesome place to stick his face in Walt's crotch, except for the part where Ray doesn't want a dishonourable discharge, just a blowjob and a morning after. And maybe Walt saying he'd wanted him the whole time, that he was just shy in his adorable cornfed cocksucking lips way.
"You're thinking really loudly," Brad complains. "Stop it, it freaks me out less when you're talking."
Ray ignores him, because Walt's across Poke's backyard doing that thing where his tongue sneaks out of the corner of his mouth, and it is, as usual, fucking riveting. And hot.
"He's a nice boy," Brad says. "It'll be a shame if you give him syphilis."
"I'll only give it to him a little," Ray protests.
"You are a waste of air, Person," Brad says, then shifts, which Ray thinks means he's trying to go find the LT and flirt in his weird, stone-faced way, but he's too much of a pussy to leave without an excuse. Like Ray being a waste of air. Ray knows Brad would miss him if he died, even if only a little.
"LT's over there," Ray says, and nods his head towards where Fick is busy with Gunny.
"Fuck you," Brad says, and leaves, but he's going over that way, so Ray decides that's just Brad's version of gratitude. Which a-fucking-okay by him, because that means he has an excuse to wander over to Walt, snatching the beer out of Walt's loose fingers and taking a gulp.
Walt grins at him, all crinkly eyes and chipmunk cheeks, and it takes everything in Ray's admittedly limited control not to kiss his ridiculous mouth.
"You're all alone," Ray says. "That's sad."
"I'm not all alone anymore," Walt points out.
"Wanna hold my hand?" Ray asks, waggling the fingers of his free hand in Walt's direction.
"Will you sulk if I don't?" Walt asks.
"I don't sulk, Hasser," Ray says.
"Right," Walt says. "You're soulful."
"Fucking a," Ray agrees, and his breath only catches a little bit when Walt brushes his fingers over Ray's before pulling his hand away to snatch his beer back.
"You should get us more beer," Walt suggests, and Ray can do that for him, especially since he notices, a few beers later, that the beer flushes Walt's cheeks, just a little, and apparently distracts him enough that he doesn't notice Ray creeping closer until they're pressed together shoulder to hip, companionable.
Poke's manning the barbeque with the look of a guy who's at home, and it's weird to realize it is home for him, that the sea-swells of the desert aren't home for any of them, that they are home, safe and sound, and all Ray's got on his mind is Walt's hip pressed against his.
They eat like that, everyone standing up in their little groups, wandering around, and ketchup on Walt's nose, somehow, which Ray shouldn't think is cute, but does, and jesus h christ, man, there aren't even words for how fucked he is.
Sometime between awesome burger two and awesome burger three, someone pulls out tequila, and Walt joins in with this look on his face like a kid who's never fucking touched the stuff, which is retarded, but whatever. Ray probably shouldn't join in, but Walt tonguing the salt off his hand is kind of irresistible, and Ray drinks to keep up with Walt, at first, then sort of gets ahead of himself, until he's pretty sure he can't stand up straight.
"I'm going to take you home," Walt says, and Ray would point out that home is currently Brad's right now, but maybe Walt's taking him to where he's going, and that would be fucking awesome, so he doesn't say anything, just lets Walt wrap an arm around him and steer him out, leans on Walt while he calls a cab.
They sit on the front steps of Poke's place, quiet, with Ray's head drifting onto Walt's shoulder and Walt not pushing it away, not until there's a cab, and then a ride to somewhere, Ray's not paying attention, is just paying attention to Walt, because Walt's knee is bouncing against his, and he's close enough to touch, and wearing a shirt that exposes his throat, his collarbones, and Ray didn't think collarbones were hot before, he doesn't think, but apparently they are now.
Ray is pretty fucking drunk.
And then Walt's getting out and leading Ray somewhere, and unlocking the door. They walk in and sit down on the couch, and it's quiet for a second, this awkward silence, and Walt's licking his lips like he's nervous.
"You have cocksucking lips," Ray says, a little dazed, because Walt was licking his lips, and even sober, Ray isn't very good at dealing with that.
"Thanks, I think," Walt says, sending him a sideways glance.
"Seriously," Ray says. "Seriously, your cocksucking lips make me totally gay for you."
"You're really going to hate yourself in the morning," Walt says, and he sounds amused, and he's missing the fucking point, Ray thinks.
"No, listen," Ray says. "I'm kind of fucking in love with you, dude. Like, I want to take you home to my mom even if it makes her cry."
Walt goes completely still. "That's not really funny, Person," he says quietly.
"Do I look like I'm joking?" Ray asks, and Walt opens his mouth. "Okay, no," Ray says. "I'm not joking. I want to fuck you, and I want to respect you in the morning, and I want to hold your hand again, okay?"
And wow, Walt's right, Ray is totally going to hate himself in the morning, because Walt isn't saying anything, isn't looking at him, and Ray feels a little like he's just been shot, in shock and hurt so badly that his body hasn't even figured it out yet.
"You really need to say something right now," Ray says quietly. "Like, even if it's to tell me I'm a fucking gay ass fag, because I'm kind of freaking the fuck out right now."
"You're not joking, are you?" Walt mumbles.
"What tipped you off?" Ray asks, trying for sarcasm, but completely failing, because he's drunk, and his chest hurts, and right now he wants to go to bed and stare at the ceiling, and, not cry exactly, because he's not a girl or a limp-wristed liberal, but maybe manfully sniffle a few times.
"I should go," he mumbles, because he needs to do that sniffling far away from Walt, but Walt wraps a hand around his wrist, and that just stops him dead.
"Can I kiss you?" Walt asks, and that was totally not what he was expecting but better in about a million ways.
"Duh," Ray says, wide-eyed and afraid to be hopeful, because maybe this is an elaborate prank, maybe Brad read his mind and realized he thought the LT had cocksucking lips, and this is his cruel, cruel revenge.
But then Walt's leaning in, and his lips are brushing against Ray's, chapped and chaste and jesus fuck, Ray is just about doing a happy dance inside.
"I didn't know you wanted to," Walt mumbles, pulling back a bit.
"Then no offense, dude," Ray says. "But you're kind of retarded."
The sad, sad thing is that Ray doesn't remember exactly what comes next, does in little bursts of film in the morning, at least, Walt's hand curled over his hip, Walt's mouth around his cock, and Ray is really angry he doesn't remember the whole thing, and also really angry that there are motherfucking gnomes drilling into his head at oh-eight hundred in the morning.
But Walt's snuffling against his shoulder, looking even more baby-faced than usual, which Ray didn't know was possible, and Ray wriggles a little bit, because that's the best happy dance he can do with his arm numb from Walt's weight and his head trying to commit suicide.
"Please stop," Walt groans, and then looks up, sleepy and dazed and hungover looking, and Ray can't help but kiss him, because he's allowed now, he thinks, and he is going to respect the shit out of him this morning and won't even give him syphilis a little.
"Hi," Ray says, when Walt pulls back, eyes scrunched shut.
"Hi," Walt says. "Go back to sleep, you fucking hick."
"I'm totally going to marry you," Ray mumbles.
Walt doesn't say anything, just sticks his head back into its spot on Ray's shoulder. "I'm taking that as a yes," Ray threatens.
"Kay," Walt says, then yawns.
Momma Person won't know what hit her.