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Ray can tell when Fraser's thinking about it. He'll stop in the middle of dinner with a bite of salad halfway to his mouth, or he'll get stuck at the bathroom sink with his hands all soapy, or once in a while he'll just stop in the middle of a sentence, completely losing the thread of whatever story he was telling.

Not a problem. Ray's been waiting long enough just to get this far; Fraser didn't say no, hasn't said anything at all, really. Ray can wait.


They're out to lunch, grabbing hot dogs from a stand, when Fraser stops cold again. He gets mustard on his thumb; Ray hands him a napkin.

"You'll need to be willing to use your safeword, of course," Fraser says, and whoosh, there goes Ray's brain for the rest of the afternoon. Maybe the rest of the week.

"Well, yeah," Ray says. "I figured."

Fraser nods, and then he's back to normal again, eating his hot dog and sharing part of it with Dief.


The thing is, Ray knows that's not quite a "go" signal. He knows better than to say, "Okay, my safeword is stoplight" and expect Fraser to be up for trying it tonight. That's part one of the setup, but Fraser's gonna need parts two, three and four before he'll be ready.

But hey, the fact that he's done part one at all is a pretty huge step. Ray's thrilled.

In the middle of an Edmonton-Vancouver game, Fraser pauses. And yeah, there's a power play going on, but that's not why Fraser's holding his breath. He looks at Ray and just freezes, and Ray recognizes it as one of those freezes, and suddenly Ray's not breathing, either.

"Something non-verbal, too, I think."

Ray frowns; he could track the safeword thing, but not this. "Huh?"

"A non-verbal safeword," Fraser says. "I think it would be a good idea."

"What, are you planning to gag me?" Ray blurts out. He realizes as soon as he says it that it's maybe too much, that Fraser's already put more words together in a row tonight than he's done for the whole three months they've had this particular fantasy in the open, but he can't exactly take it back now.

And sure enough, Fraser goes all quiet and embarrassed, looking down at his hands and blinking.

Ray reaches over and squeezes Fraser's shoulder. "It's a good call," he says. "Non-verbal. It's a good idea. I'll think of something."

Fraser nods. He looks back at the TV and focuses in on the game again. Ray exhales softly, and when Fraser's not looking, Ray quietly adjusts himself.

Fraser didn't say no to the gag thing.


There he goes again. It's been two weeks since the non-verbal safeword talk; Ray thinks devil horns would be fine, but he hasn't run them past Fraser yet.

But this time Fraser asks, "Is there anyone with whom you could arrange a safe call?"

"Oh, c'mon, Fraser! A safe call? Really?"

Fraser crosses his arms over his chest. "I don't think it's something you should dismiss so readily. What if something happened to me while you're..."

Ray blinks at him. "While I'm--?"

"Restrained," Fraser says. He clears his throat and picks up his fork and knife again.

Really, despite the fits and starts, this is sounding better and better.


Fraser keeps looking at Ray and licking his lower lip, and it is driving Ray crazy. He knows it's not just a usual, everyday sort of come-on; Fraser hasn't had any problems approaching him for plain old vanilla sex (thank God). But he isn't following that lip-licking up with anything, no more little hints about stuff he needs to pull this fantasy off, and Ray's been seeing him do that for three days and he just can't not bring it up at this point.

"So, ah," Ray says, "I'm thinking stoplight, 'cause my safeword has always been stoplight anyway, and--" He holds up both hands in devil horns. "Just one hand is enough, right, but I can do that with either, and then maybe I call up David and ask if he'll do the safe call."

Fraser's lips part, and his eyes get that glazed look of want, need, have that he sometimes gets when he's pretty much gotta get some. "Yes, all right," he agrees. "I think we need to make sure neither of us is recovering from any injuries, and that we don't have anything strenuous planned for--say three days following?"

"So maybe over a weekend?" Ray stops short of saying a holiday; it's late September, and Ray doesn't have any holidays coming up until Thanksgiving, and Fraser's Thanksgiving is not the same time as Ray's Thanksgiving and it could be Christmas by the time they got around to it.

Not that it wouldn't make a good Christmas present. But then again, Fraser might think that was inappropriate or something.

"Things have been fairly slow at work," Fraser says. "A weekend would probably do." He rubs his hand over his face and shakes his head. "I can't--I can't think about this any more right now. Can we talk again later?"

"Yeah--yeah, I'm sorry, I don't mean to push you." Ray steps back, raises his hands as a "surrender" symbol, but then he realizes maybe that's not gonna help matters much. Fraser's still got that look all over his face, want and need, but now there's a layer of can't in there, too.

And Ray knows it wouldn't help to just say You can, you can, we've got this, just--do it, just start it, we can. In Fraser's head, there are obviously rules about this sort of thing, and Ray knows damn well that pushing the guy on top can be every bit as fraught and dangerous as pushing the guy on the bottom.

"You want to take a walk?" Ray asks softly.

Dief perks up and jogs over to Ray's side, and Fraser actually cracks a smile. "Well, someone certainly does."

"C'mon. I'll buy you an ice cream," he says, this time to Dief for real.

"I wouldn't mind one myself," Fraser says. Ray grins.

"You, I'd buy the whole stand," Ray tells him, and Fraser reaches out and squeezes Ray's hand briefly before turning around to look for his boots.


Fraser pokes his head out from behind the shower curtain one morning. Ray's in the middle of shaving, face half-covered with foam, towel wrapped around his waist from his shower.

"Props," Fraser says.

"Huh?"

"Well, I think we ought to discuss props beforehand."

Ray stops with the razor on his cheek and slowly, slowly puts it back down on the sink. He's glad he doesn't use a straight razor like Fraser does. "Can we maybe talk about this when I'm not holding a razor?"

Fraser goes all pink, though maybe that's from the steam. Probably not, though. "Oh--yes, of course. I'm sorry."

"No, it's good, it's a good call, we should--" Props, Ray thinks, and his towel's starting to tent out in the front. "We should--we should talk about it."

"Yes, but go ahead and shave first," Fraser says, ducking back into the shower. Ray grumbles quietly at the shower curtain and finishes up at the sink; he towels himself off and goes back to the bedroom so he can dress. Not that it's easy getting dressed with a hard-on, but hey, since Fraser moved in Ray's almost gotten used to it.

He leans up against the bathroom doorframe while Fraser shaves, and after a while, Fraser glances over at him. "It isn't any easier for me to concentrate with you looking at me like that, you know," Fraser says.

"Like what?"

Despite what Fraser said about his concentration skills, his are better than Ray's. He guides the straight blade down over his cheek, over the curve of his jaw, down his neck, and after he rinses the blade, he looks at Ray again. "Like you'd prefer we stop talking about it and just--do it."

Ray starts to protest, but Fraser's got his number and they both know it. "Well, I--the--but we--I mean--" He shakes his head; words, words, gotta get Fraser some actual words. "No, I'm fine with talking," he says. "I mean, I'd love to just do it, but it's not just my fantasy, you know? So we do what we gotta do for you, too."

Fraser's stopped looking at Ray, bracing himself on the sink and nodding down at the drain. "Well, obviously my first and foremost concern is for your well-being," he says, very quietly.

"Oh, hey--" Ray steps in and puts both hands on Fraser's shoulders. "Hey." He kisses the back of Fraser's neck. "I know, Ben. I know. That's why it's easier for me--I know you're gonna have that in the back of your mind the whole time." Fraser nods, and Ray kisses his shoulder, rubbing his thumb over the spot he just kissed when he draws back. "No reason we can't take every bit as much care with you."

Fraser's still got shaving cream on his cheek, but he turns around and pulls Ray into his arms, hugging him hard--hard in more ways than one, because his cock's nice and full and thick, pressed against Ray's thigh. Ray slides his hand down Fraser's side and kisses the side of Fraser's neck, but Fraser sort of angles himself back, like he doesn't want the hard-on involved here.

And Ray gets it; he gets it. He lets Fraser go, leaving one last hard squeeze on his shoulder before he moves away.

"When you're done shaving?" Fraser nods. "You still want to talk about props?"

"Can we leave that for later?" Fraser asks. "I'm sorry--I just--I want to be clearheaded when we're planning this."

"It's fine," Ray says firmly. "We wait until we're both ready. That's the way this works."

Fraser nods again and turns back to the sink, and Ray heads out to let him have a little space. They're getting there, they're getting there--just a little bit more time and they'll have this down.


It takes a couple days before Fraser's ready to bring it up again, but for once it isn't out of the blue. He waits through dinner, cleans up afterwards--Ray actually helps with the dishes, because he can kind of tell Fraser's working his way up to something, and he wants the dishes finished sooner rather than later and doesn't want to leave Fraser on his own--and then comes back to the table and waits for Ray to sit down across from him.

"I think I'm ready to talk about props," Fraser says. "Actually, I think I'm ready to talk about the whole scenario, but... is it all right? If we talk through it first?"

"It's fine," Ray says, shifting and squirming in his seat. "No problem. Totally fine."

"I just don't want to--I understand that your side of this fantasy hinges on a degree of spontaneity, and I don't want to undermine that--"

"No, it's all right," Ray says, leaning forward and reaching out for Fraser's hand. Fraser lets him take it, and Ray curls both his hands around Fraser's. "It doesn't have to be that spontaneous, especially not this first time out. C'mon. I'm with you--you think I'm expecting this to be all improvisation, all the time?"

"Well, I thought that was part of the point." Fraser frowns.

Ray shrugs. "I thought the point was playing with a fantasy. And, you know, if it works for us, if we like it and we want to do it again, then hey--not like we can't improvise more later, right? But this time, let's do it how it'll work for you. And before you give me that look--" which Fraser's already giving him, partly, "trust me when I tell you it'll work for me, too. I swear."

Fraser nods a few times and takes several long, slow breaths. "All right."

"So tell me about props. What did you have in mind?"

"Well..." Fraser reaches up with his free hand and scratches his eyebrow. "I wonder--how comfortable would you be if we started this in the hallway? Here?"

"Here inside or here outside?"

"Outside." Fraser's turning a little pink around the ears. "In the hallway outside."

Ray's hands tighten on Fraser's; he's pretty sure he lost some brain cells to that image. "Uh. Yeah. Okay."

Fraser sighs. "Ray--"

"What, no--come on, I'm trying here, I'm trying. Okay, so we start outside in the hallway. I mean, are you talking starting starting, or just--"

"The way I'd been imagining it--" Fraser's ears are definitely going red. "I'd thought perhaps we'd come back to your place after a date. And there'd been some innuendo over the course of the evening, so when I offer to walk you up, you tell me yes, but before you get inside, I might--I might kiss you."

Ray has to shift around in his chair some more. "Yeah, okay, I can see that--so you're kissing me and I'd kiss you back, right? I mean, at first I'd kiss you back?"

"Yes, that was--that's the part I wasn't sure about. It is relatively public--"

"In our own damn apartment building. C'mon. People know us here, they aren't all sitting around figuring we're just roomies." Ray licks at the corner of his mouth, images still running through his head. "So I'm kissing you back, and maybe I got the door open or maybe just the key's in the lock--"

"So I open the door, or I push you inside, and I come in with you--"

Ray nods a few times, because what he really wants to do is say oh fuck, oh fuck, yes, yes. He wants to be outside in the hall, he wants to feel Fraser pushing him in through the front door. "Okay."

"And--and of course I don't want to stop--" Fraser puts his other hand over Ray's and squeezes. "Because you've been teasing me all night--"

"Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah, I could do that, yeah." Ray licks his lips, just imagining how easy that would be. Push Fraser's buttons, make him all hot for it, and then make like he doesn't really want Fraser to come in--yeah. Yeah, he can pull that off.

"But you--eventually you'd need to ask me to go."

"Yeah." Ray's almost panting now. "Maybe not until we're on the sofa or something, maybe not until you grab me somewhere--"

"Or if we're still up against the wall, you could ask me to let you go--"

"Wait, the wall? Outside?"

"No, just--if I pull you inside and shut the door, up against the wall over there." Fraser points toward the door, and Ray turns around to look. Fuck--he's never going to look at that patch of wall the same way again. "You understand I'd be very--aggressive. I'd be trying to get into your clothes."

Ray swallows and nods some more. "I--yeah, yeah." He raises his eyebrows. "Is this where the props come in?"

"Oh, not yet." Fraser's getting a little more confident now, which is not helping Ray's hard-on, not one little bit. "No, I thought I'd start just by--well, strongarming you into things. And perhaps you could put up a few token protests--"

"--yeah, right, 'c'mon, it's late, I gotta go to work early tomorrow'..."

"--well, but if it's Friday night--"

"--or I got an appointment in the morning, my car's going in for a tune-up, you know, some stupid excuse to get you to go, right?"

"Yes." Fraser nods. He rubs his thumb over the back of Ray's wrist, and it's all Ray can do not to just drop to his knees and start tugging at Fraser's belt. "So I'm--we're against the wall there, and I might grab your hair--"

"Oh, fuck." Ray tugs one of his hands back, because now he really does have to do something; he's got to press the heel of his hand hard against his cock, he's got to adjust himself, he's throbbing now. "Fuck, fuck, fuck..."

"I might--bite you. Or lick you, or... I haven't really decided." Fraser's ears aren't red anymore. He's leaning forward a little, looking intense, and he might even look dangerous if there weren't a little bit of uncertainty lingering in his expression. "I'd--I'd really like it if you kept talking--"

"Then? Now?"

"Both, please."

"Okay, okay, sorry, I just--you're frying all the circuits right now," Ray says hoarsely. "I can't even tell you how good this all sounds, I can't even--Jesus, Ben."

But that's enough to make Fraser happy, and he squeezes Ray's hand in both of his and takes a slow, shuddering breath. "But I'd--if you were to keep protesting while I'm touching you or biting you or licking you, it would--I'd--it would..."

"It'd work for you if I did that?"

"Yes." Oh, there's the blush again, starting at the ears again. "And maybe eventually you'd start trying to push me away..."

"How hard can I fight?" Ray licks his lips. "I mean, I'm good with it if you just want it to kinda look like I'm fighting, but I'm good with it if you wanna wrestle me to the ground, too."

Fraser's mouth hangs open for a few seconds, and he blinks at Ray for quite some time before answering. "You can--you're welcome to fight back as hard as you like, as long as you know that I'll stop if you use one of your safewords--"

"I know you would. I know. As long as you're not gonna freak if I don't use one." Fraser's silent for a second, which gives Ray the nerve to go on. "It's just, all these safety things you've got planned in--I feel like you're not gonna believe me that I still want the fantasy unless you hear me say 'stoplight' at some point. Kind of a parallax."

"Paradox," Fraser offers.

"Paradox, whatever. I mean--can't I have an unsafe word? Like, a word that means go?"

"I don't like the term 'unsafe word'--"

"A go-word, then. Hell, some kind of call-and-response where you can just check in, and if I don't give the right password, we can stop."

Fraser closes his eyes and squeezes Ray's hand. "God, yes--I'd never even thought of--yes, please, Ray, I'd like that very much."

"Not that I wanna pick one right now," Ray says quickly. "Just--before we do this, okay?"

Fraser nods a few times and looks back up at Ray. "Yes, beforehand. That would be--I'd like that."

"I know you would." Ray sits up a little straighter and brings his other hand back up to the table, running his fingertips over the back of Fraser's hand. He exhales quietly and squeezes Fraser's hand. "Do you want to keep going?"

"I do, yes--if we haven't lost the mood, I mean--"

"The mood is completely not lost," Ray says. He pulls his chair around the table so he's sitting right next to Fraser, right up close, where he can pull Fraser's hand over between his legs and rest it over his hard-on. "The mood's got signal flares, Ben. I wanna keep going if you do."

Fraser's eyes go wide, and he squeezes Ray's cock--and he's not gentle about it, which makes Ray's eyes flutter closed in a way that Fraser apparently digs, because Fraser keeps on squeezing his cock. "I do," Fraser murmurs. "Where were we?"

"I was--I was starting to push you away some, try and get you to back off," Ray says, pressing Fraser's hand down, rocking his hips up. "And we were talking about how hard I can fight when I do that."

"As hard as you want, Ray," Fraser murmurs, squeezing Ray's cock again. "But I'm assuming I do win eventually."

"Oh, yeah. I--ohhh," Ray moans, letting go of Fraser's hand now, leaning back in his chair. "Oh, fuck, that's so good..."

"Should I stop?"

"No no no, don't stop--"

To Ray's surprise, Fraser laughs. "Are you sure you can tell me 'no' once we start with this fantasy?"

Ray's eyes snap back open. "I got this feeling like I just been called a slut," he says, narrowing his eyes. He can't keep the grin off his face completely, though, because God, yeah--if Fraser's okay enough to make a joke, this is really getting somewhere. They're close now.

"Would you like that?" Fraser asks quietly. "If I--if I said something like that to you?"

Ray catches Fraser's wrist and holds his hand still. "Okay, you--we gotta--I need you to back off if you don't want me coming in my pants."

Fraser immediately stops rubbing Ray's cock, but he raises his eyebrows. "I take it that's at least a 'maybe'."

"Ben, you can call me anything you want once we get going. I want to hear that stuff. I want--" He shakes his head; there's so much he wants. "Everything," he says softly. "I just--everything. I want to get roughed up, I want to get slapped around--fucking backhand me if it's in character, I want--I want to get held down, I want to get called names and have my clothes torn and--"

Fraser pulls his hand away, because now it's his turn to adjust himself. "I should be making a list."

"You don't have to do everything I'm saying, I just--I want you to know you can go that far."

"It's a long way," Fraser murmurs. "It's--there are things we haven't done--"

"Well, yeah. You backhand me in a normal scene, I'm gonna flip out, but something like this--"

"I just worry about this being the first time we play with certain kinks."

Ray sighs. "Maybe, okay, but context is key, right? Context is everything. You pop me one to the face in a scene like this, I know it's serious. You're gonna set off all the bells at once."

"Am I?" Fraser reaches up and cups Ray's face in his hand, and Ray almost shivers, he wants it so bad. "I wouldn't do it hard."

"Wouldn't want you to be too rough, nah," Ray murmurs. "Nothing that breaks skin, maybe. But you can do it."

Fraser exhales softly. "I think what's hard for me about this is that I want to."

"And that's harder than wanting to spank me?" Ray raises his eyebrows. "Harder than the thing you did with the nipple clamps? The times you've taken a belt to me?"

"It just seems so much more about anger and so much less about sex..."

Ray grins. "I gotta show you some of my edgier porn."

Fraser actually goes a little red around the ears. "Ray--"

"I know, I know, you got a thing against porn, but I'm just saying, in context, a shot to the face or two, or hell, a hit to the gut or bodychecking me or leaning on my balls--that can all be about sex." Ray growls out the last of it, and Fraser groans softly. "If I say it's about sex and you say it's about sex and neither one of us says it's about anything else, nothing we been sitting on--then that's what it is."

Nodding, exhaling slowly, Fraser reaches out and cups Ray's face in both his hands. "If I did it--if--it wouldn't be about anything but the moment and the persona. The fantasy. You understand that?"

"Oh, yeah," Ray breathes. "I understand, Ben."

Fraser clears his throat and sits back, letting his hands drop. "I still think I should be taking notes."

"Don't see why--"

"Well, of props, at least. Expendable clothes."

Props, Ray thinks, realizing this is how they got started in the first place. "What else?"

"What else...?"

"Props. You were gonna talk to me about props--what other props?"

"I--" Fraser pauses and rubs at his eyebrow again. "I thought--I was thinking--I wondered..." He crosses his arms over his chest and takes a deep breath. "I thought about perhaps getting a knife. Not one of my work knives, obviously, because those are quite sharp, but then again if you'd like me to cut your clothes off--"

"Oh, shit, Fraser," Ray says, desperation coloring his tone, and he grabs Fraser by the shirt and just pulls at him, smashing his mouth down on Fraser's. Fraser cups Ray's face in his hands, and Ray half-stands, kicks his chair out of the way, and swings a leg over Fraser's, climbing right onto Fraser's lap. Fraser gets a hand between them, squeezes Ray's cock nice and tight, and Ray starts humping down against Fraser's hand, taking as much as he can get--he can't stop, doesn't want to stop, doesn't even want to bother getting his jeans undone, he just needs Fraser now.

"Go on," Fraser pants. "Go on, come for me, come--if you can come like this, go ahead and come--"

Ray clutches at Fraser's shoulders, fists twisting up handfuls of Fraser's shirt, and jerks forward with a grunt and a groan. His cock pulses under Fraser's hand, and he's going to be sore and sticky, but hell yes he can come like this, with Fraser talking about knives to play with versus knives to work with and knives he's gonna use to cut Ray's clothes off, Jesus Christ.

When he comes back to himself, Fraser's stroking his back and kissing the side of his neck. "Yes to the knives?" Fraser whispers.

"Yes," Ray whispers back. He kisses Fraser's cheek. "Yes and yes and motherfucking yes."

"I'll work on that, then." Fraser rests his head against Ray's shoulder and exhales. "I really want this."

"Me, too," Ray whispers. "God, Ben, me too."


After that, it gets easier for Fraser to talk about it. On laundry day, when Ray's down to a mangled t-shirt and a pair of jeans that are ripped at both knees and starting to go at the inner thighs, too, Fraser stares at him for a while.

"What? Hey, everything else is in the bag," Ray says, kicking the laundry bag and shrugging. "Talking of which, get the door for me and I'll carry it."

Fraser nods, and Ray hefts the laundry bag--who knew two guys could produce so much of it every week? Then again, before Fraser, Ray wasn't washing the sheets every single week, either.

In the car, Fraser says, "I'd initially thought perhaps something like what you're wearing, but now I'm wondering if it wouldn't be better just to buy something inexpensive that we won't mind having you lose."

"For what?" Ray asks; he's making a left turn into pretty dense traffic, stop sign on his end only, plus he's wondering if he remembered to put his gym clothes in the laundry bag. Fraser's meaning doesn't filter in until he's made the left turn, at which point his eyes bulge and he says, "Wait, for the--for the--"

"--yes, for that," Fraser says. Out of the corner of his eye, Ray can see Fraser rubbing at his eyebrow. "I simply wondered if you'd really want to wear that out to dinner."

"I don't know--don't care, really, as long as it's not somewhere fancy."

"Well, also, I'd like it if you were wearing something with buttons."

"All my jeans have buttons," Ray says, frowning.

"No, your shirt. I'd thought--"

Ray blinks. "You want me wearing a nice shirt for this?"

"Well, not necessarily, just--you realize the reinforcing around the neck of a t-shirt makes them rather difficult to tear. Which, obviously, matters less if I'm using a knife to cut things, but--"

"Road. Traffic. Driving. At least wait until we're at a stop light," Ray begs, and when they do have to stop, he adjusts his cock and looks over at Fraser.

Fraser's got an odd look on his face. "That wasn't meant to be...? I mean, you said 'stoplight'."

"What? Oh." Ray shakes his head. "Hey, no--I mean, I know you've never actually heard me use it, but no. If I'm gonna safeword, trust me, it's not gonna be something I casually work into conversation in character. You'll be hearing stoplight-stoplight-stoplight or something. Or I'll--" He forms his right hand into devil horns and waves it back and forth wildly.

"That's good to know," Fraser says, and he does actually look relieved. "Have you thought about your go-word at all?"

"Yeah, that one I'm kinda stuck on. Do we want something that can kinda be in-character, or something more like 'stoplight', where there's no way it's gonna get lost in context?"

"Why not both?"

"Both's fine. I can do both." Ray frowns, though, tongue poking out between his lips for a second.

"What's that look for?"

The light turns green, and Ray takes his foot off the brake, keeps heading toward the laundromat. "It's a lot to concentrate on. I mean, 'stoplight' is no problem, I been using it for years. Devil horns should be fine. But if you want me to remember, you know, you say 'The caribou are going south this year for Oktoberfest', and I say, 'What kind of beer do caribou drink, anyway'--"

"Oh, I wasn't thinking anything nearly that long," Fraser says immediately. "I thought perhaps I'd say 'red light' and you could say 'green light'--"

"Too close to 'stoplight'," Ray interrupts. "How about red ships, green ships?"

"All right," Fraser agrees. Ray glances over long enough to see him smiling. "So that would cover an out-of-character go-word. We'd still need one for in-character."

"Yeah," Ray says, pulling into the laundromat, taking the first parking space he sees. He snaps his seat belt off and looks over at Fraser. "I dunno. You say 'give', I say 'take'?"

"Oh, I like that," Fraser breathes. "I like that quite a bit."

"You want me to do something non-verbal for a go-word, too?"

"I wouldn't mind it." Fraser hesitates and then slips his hand into Ray's. He gives Ray's hand a fast, hard double-squeeze, and Ray picks up on it right away and gives that same double-squeeze back. "Something like that?"

"Yeah--and if I just want to cue you, maybe I grab for whatever I can get and squeeze twice."

"As long as you don't squeeze too hard, depending on what you've grabbed." Fraser grins.

"I can remember that." Ray grins, too. "So here's what I think--I think maybe we practice with the go-words a little."

That seems to take Fraser aback some; his eyebrows draw together. "Practice how?"

"I mean, we have regular sex and we use them when there's nothing on the line."

"But we don't need a go-word for regular sex--"

"Uh-huh, that would be my point." Ray reaches over and puts a hand on Fraser's thigh. "First off, it gets me used to hearing it and it gets you used to saying it even when we're kinda hot and bothered."

"Fair enough." Fraser's voice has dropped into a lower, more growling register; he puts his hand over Ray's. "Is there a 'secondly'?"

"Secondly, it gets to be something we both associate with all systems go, with everything running smooth, with all the good stuff. So if you do wanna use it in the, in the fantasy scene, it's not like a panic button. It's not like a last resort. You can ask for it as much as you want, and if I'm used to hearing it and it feels normal, I'm not gonna freak and figure you're asking because you want to stop."

It's all going well up to that last part, and then Ray frowns hard and digs his fingers into Fraser's thigh. Fraser frowns, too, rubbing his thumb over the back of Ray's hand. "What?"

"How come you don't have a safeword?"

Fraser blinks. "I beg your pardon?"

Ray pulls his hand off Fraser's thigh and scratches his fingers through his hair. "How come you don't have a safeword? I mean, what, tops are never gonna freak in a scene? I'm not gonna trip over something that means you have to take a step back?"

Fraser looks totally bamboozled--which, okay, Ray can't blame him, it's not like Ray ever thought of this before, either. "If I need to stop, I can just stop. Why would I need a safeword?"

"Maybe to tip me off that there's something going on and I need to pay attention? Maybe because that way you know you have the right to back off fast instead of having to do all the wind-down and all the aftercare?"

Wrong thing to say; Fraser shakes his head hard. "I'm not going to skimp on your aftercare just because something's bothering me--"

"Oh, I don't like that. I don't like that one little bit." Ray presses his lips together. "If you're freaking, you're the one we gotta care for. I don't care what the 'Being A Responsible Top' checklist says, giving me a backrub after I been tied up does not overrule getting you into a full-body hug if something happened in-scene to set you off."

"I just can't imagine what you could do or say that would 'set me off'," Fraser says, reaching up and rubbing at his eyebrow.

Ray sighs at him. "I coulda said the same thing to you when we got started and you said I had to have a safeword. I mean, what we were doing--all the things we were talking about doing back then, we weren't really taking any big chances. And I mean, fine, whatever, I had a safeword before, I just used that one, bing bang boom, done, easy. But I just--when we started getting heavier, when it got to be something more than just doing it kinda rough now and then--fuck." He shakes his head. "We should've stopped and thought up one for you."

"Ray--"

"Because I'm here for you, too, you realize that? I'm supposed to take care of you, too."

At that, some of the confusion vanishes off Fraser's face. "You do a very good job taking care of me--"

"No no no, I'm not talking about some kind of service thing, I'm talking about the being a good boyfriend thing. I should be helping you come down from things, too, making sure you know we're all right, giving you the all clear when it's over. If something's bothering you, if you're getting twitchy, you have the right to slow down or back off or ask for some goddamned support."

And the walls are right back up around Fraser, who crosses his arms. "I agree that I should have your support, but I do feel I have it, and as for the rest, I don't see why you'd even want to be involved with me on a power-exchange basis if you think I'm that unstable--"

"I don't think you're unstable! I think you're human." Fraser snorts, and Ray rolls his eyes and reaches over and puts a hand on Fraser's shoulder. "C'mon. Did you want me to have a safeword because you think I'm--I'm a, I'm--" Ray grits his teeth; they've been doing this for more than a year, there is no reason it should be so hard to say this. "I'm the submissive one, so that makes me weak? I gotta have a safeword because you just know that someday I'm not gonna be able to hack something?"

"Ray, no--of course not--"

"Defense rests," Ray says firmly. "You get a safeword, too."

"I think in this case you'd actually be the plaintiff," Fraser mutters.

"Whatever. You gonna cross-examine? Wanna try rebutting any of that?"

Fraser lets out one of those sighs that practically tattoos I am exasperated but it isn't worth fighting with you about it all over his forehead. "No," he grunts. "Well, I suppose I'll use 'stoplight', too, then."

"Good enough for me." Ray squeezes Fraser's shoulder again. "C'mon. We got boxers that need starching."


That night, Fraser wraps an arm around Ray's chest and rolls him over onto his stomach. Ray makes a soft, sleepy noise, spreads his legs, and stretches both arms out above his head.

It's as much of a yes as Fraser's ever really needed, but he puts his lips against the back of Ray's neck and whispers, "Red ships?"

Half-asleep, Ray has to grope for the reason behind that, for the response he's supposed to give. "Grmph shmf," he mumbles into his pillow.

Fraser slips his arm out from under Ray's chest and runs it up his back, settling it gently on his shoulder. "A little louder," Fraser whispers. He kisses the back of Ray's neck and rubs his thigh between Ray's.

Louder, what am I supposed to do louder, Ray thinks at first, but Fraser's waiting for something, Fraser's obviously waiting for something, and--oh, God, that, right, that. Ray lifts his head off the pillow. "Green ships."

"Mmm..." Fraser bites down on the back of Ray's neck. Ray shivers and stretches, tries to spread his legs apart even more. Fraser's practically lying on his left leg, though, and if he moves his right leg any further over it'll go off the bed, so it looks like he's stuck here. Not like he was going anywhere else.

One of Fraser's hands comes up and takes hold of Ray's wrist; Ray moans out loud. "Yeah," he whispers. "Yeah, Ben--yeah, please..."

Fraser climbs between Ray's legs and settles down there, his cock pressed up against Ray's ass. Ray squirms beneath him and flexes his fingers. Fraser's still touching, still biting, sweeping his free hand up and down Ray's side, and Ray sinks into the mattress and keeps on moaning.

Fraser's weight shifts on him for a second--Fraser's reaching over to the nightstand, which is good, nightstand means lube, nightstand means Ray's gonna get fucked. "Yeah," Ray breathes. "Please, Ben..."

Moving, shifting, Fraser's hands coming off him, Fraser easing his weight off Ray's body--and then there's Fraser's fingers, cool and slick from the lube, right at Ray's ass. Fraser pins Ray down at the back of his neck and growls, "Give."

"Oh fuck yeah," Ray moans, but nothing happens--he doesn't get Fraser's fingers, he doesn't get anything. Fraser just stays there, hand heavy on the back of Ray's neck, breathing hard while Ray squirms beneath him and tries to push his hips up, tries to get Fraser's fingers inside him through sheer force of will.

"Ray," Fraser whispers. "Ray, do you remember--"

Ray's lucky to remember his own name with Fraser holding him down like that. "Ben--please, please, please--"

"I say 'give', you say 'take', remember?" Fraser whispers. He presses his fingers against Ray's ass again, just a little deeper, almost inside, almost-- "Give," Fraser growls out again, almost snarling it, and Ray gasps out loud.

"Take, take, oh fuck, take, please--"

When Fraser finally slides his fingers into Ray's body, they both end up groaning from it. The prep doesn't last long, but Ray's so impatient now he's almost vibrating. Fraser's not wasting any time, though--he pins Ray's right arm at the wrist, and he sinks in almost in one stroke, opening Ray up and making Ray moan for him.

"That's it," Fraser growls--God, that growl's going right to Ray's cock, too. "Give, Ray."

"Take," Ray pants. "Fuck, yeah--Ben--"

Fraser groans and starts moving, quick, selfish, hard thrusts that shove Ray forward into the mattress. Ray drops his face into the pillow so he can yell, but Fraser squeezes the back of his neck and then twists his fingers into Ray's hair. He drags Ray's head up off the pillow. "Don't bury it," Fraser pants. "I want to hear you."

"Ben, fuck, so good, so fuckin' good, please, please--"

Fraser slips his hand down from Ray's wrist into Ray's hand and squeezes twice; Ray squeezes twice in return. He gets another fast, sharp thrust out of it, which makes him moan, trying to angle back to get more.

"You feel so good," Fraser groans. He tightens his hand in Ray's hair, and Ray cries out for him. "Yes, yes--oh, God, Ray--"

"--fuck, yes, fuck, yes, take take take--"

Fraser groans and shoves Ray back down, slamming in hard, swallowing up Ray's eager, needy noises and finally spilling himself in Ray's body with one last hard shove. Ray quivers underneath him, mouth wide open, still trying to rock back against him. Fraser's hand goes slack on Ray's, but Ray gives him two tight squeezes, and then a few seconds later, two more.

He twists his head to the side. "Please," he pants. "Please, Ben--lemme come, please--"

"Can you?" Fraser eases himself down on top of Ray and licks the back of his neck. "If I just tell you to do it?"

Ray squirms, wanting to--desperately wanting to, he'd love to give Fraser that--but shakes his head. "No, I--sorry, I gotta... fuck. Sorry..."

"Shh. It's all right." Fraser moves back, making Ray groan, but then Fraser's pushing him over, rolling him, and Ray blinks until his eyes adjust and he can make out Fraser in the dim light. Fraser's scooting down the bed, lying down between Ray's legs, and Ray gasps out loud when Fraser licks all the way from Ray's balls to the head of his cock, swirling his tongue around the tip. "Oh, God, Ben, can I touch you? Can I--" Ray reaches down, tentatively slipping his hands into Fraser's hair. Fraser nods, though, and he wraps one hand around the base of Ray's cock and starts stroking.

"Don't come until I tell you," Fraser murmurs, and Ray shivers, clutching at Fraser's hair. He arches and pants and it all gets harder and just--unbearable, God, because it's not just Fraser's hand stroking up from the base, not just Fraser's hot velvet mouth sliding down his shaft, not just Fraser's indiscriminating little slut of a tongue working that spot under the head of Ray's dick--which, fuck, fuck, that's good, that's so good--but on top of all that, Fraser moves his other hand down and suddenly he's working three fingers into Ray's ass, twisting them this way and that way and Ray almost squirms himself straight off the fucking bed.

"Ben, Ben, I can't, I can't, I--"

Fraser lifts his mouth off Ray's cock. "Red ships?"

"Shit," Ray pants. All he's got to hang onto is Fraser's hair, and he tugs twice, but no--words, give him the fucking words. "Green ships, green ships," Ray pants, "just, just, fuck, I'm not gonna--you're gonna--I gotta come, Ben, please let me come, please lemme come now oh God--"

"Not yet." Fraser pushes his fingers hard into Ray's ass and starts sucking again, twisting his head back and forth.

"Ben! God, I'm not gonna--I can't, I'm not gonna make it, oh God, oh fuck--"

But Fraser's not stopping, not letting Ray have a second to rest and take this. Ray finally goes silent, staring up at the ceiling--can't come, can't come, he tells himself, and he pants hard, trying to focus on doing what he's told.

Fraser slips his hand off Ray's cock and puts it over one of Ray's wrists; he squeezes twice. Ray tugs Fraser's hair twice, still panting and staring at the ceiling, and Fraser sinks his mouth down, further down than he's done before, so far Ray feels like that heat's working its way into his whole goddamned body--

And then the heat's gone. Fraser backs off, takes his mouth off Ray's cock, and whispers, "All right. Now."

"Thank you thank you thank you," Ray babbles, "oh shit oh fuck thank you yes yes yes--" And Fraser gets his mouth back on Ray's cock just in time to start swallowing his come, licking hard against Ray's cock and sucking until his cheeks hollow out, until Ray just stares down at him, mouth hanging open, stunned.

When Fraser comes back up, he flattens Ray right into the bed, lying down on top of him and kissing Ray hard. Ray moans and kisses back, tasting himself all over Fraser's mouth. "Mmmmmmmm."

A few long kisses later, Fraser rolls to Ray's side. Ray rolls over and presses his back to Fraser's front, and Fraser drapes an arm over Ray's waist, pulling him close. "That was wonderful," Fraser whispers.

"Yeah, Jesus," Ray says--he's still panting, a little. "For me, too."


Okay, so they gotta work on "give/take" a little, but the non-verbal thing, that went off without a hitch. Ray thinks he can handle working on "give/take" some more. Hearing Fraser growl "Give" at him is one of the hottest things that's happened to Ray in years; it's so damn hot he gets distracted in the middle of the day, sometimes, thinking about it.

It gets better over the next few weeks. "Give," Fraser murmurs, stretched all over Ray's back.

Ray spreads his legs and whispers back, "Take," and oh God, Fraser does.

A few times, Fraser's whispered "Give" when he's about to suck Ray's cock, and most of the time--more often, now--Ray digs up enough presence of mind to whisper "Take" right back at him.

And lately Fraser's been hauling it out even when they're not having sex; one night, when Ray's putting dinner together, Fraser just wraps an arm around Ray from behind and growls out, "Give."

"Take," Ray says, and he's pretty sure his knees went weak there; fortunately, Fraser's holding him up and Ray doesn't think anything on the stove's in imminent danger of catching fire.

Later on, he admits, "I kinda thought 'red ships/green ships' was gonna be the hard one."

"You're doing fine with 'give/take'," Fraser says, eyebrows raised. "You don't like it?"

"I love it. I just, sometimes my first instinct is still gonna just be 'yes' or 'fuck me' or 'hurt me' or 'please'."

"I think those are all fairly close responses," Fraser says, grinning, and Ray laughs and grins right back.


When it comes to shopping for clothes, they usually end up at the mall--Fraser likes Sears, which somehow doesn't surprise Ray a bit, and Ray really doesn't give a damn where he buys his clothes now that he's not dressing to impress Stella.

This time out, though, Fraser suggests the Salvation Army out on Clybourn, and Ray pauses with his keys in his hand.

"This isn't just for new t-shirts and jeans, is it?"

"Well, no," Fraser says. He scratches the back of his neck, looking down at the ground for a second, then looks back up at Ray. "Are you ready for that?"

Ray is ready. Ray is very, very ready. Ray is ready in his pants.

"Green ships," Ray says, and Fraser smiles at him like it's Christmas and New Year's all rolled up together.

The thing that surprises Ray is that Fraser has ideas about Ray's clothing. When they get there and start picking through the racks, Fraser pulls out one shirt after another, until Ray realizes he's going for a particular style.

Ray already knew Fraser wanted buttons. What he didn't realize was that Fraser wants flannel--and it's not about color or pattern, it's about texture. Fraser runs his hands down each of the shirts they find, gently scrunching the fabric up in his hands. He isn't holding onto them hard enough to wrinkle--that'd be rude to the other patrons, Ray guesses--but he's definitely getting a feel for them, how they rub against his palms.

One of the ones he likes is slate blue with white buttons. He holds it up against Ray's chest, checking the size, and then nods and says, "Would you hold onto this at the shoulders, please?"

"Sure, wh--" As soon as Ray's got it, Fraser starts buttoning up the buttons. Once they're all fastened, Fraser takes both sides in his hands and tugs--still gently, but now Ray gets it. Fraser's testing the fabric and the buttons and trying to figure out if he can tear the thing open.

And Ray's holding the damn thing in the middle of the Salvation Army. He clears his throat and wishes he were holding it a little lower.

"Hey, Fraser." Fraser's still fairly intent on the shirt, damn it. "Ben."

That gets Fraser's attention; he looks up with raised eyebrows. "Yes?"

"You are fucking evil," Ray whispers. "Are we about done?"

Fraser steps back, letting the shirt go, and he finally nods. "Well, we've found the shirt, at least. I'd still like to find you some jeans." He grins, and this grin is not doing anything to make Ray change his mind about the fucking evil thing. "You're going to have to try them on."

"Are you kidding me?" Ray squawks. "I have to--are you kidding me?"

"Not at all. Your usual jeans are nice enough, but I'd like to put you in something--" Fraser glances down at Ray, where Ray's holding the shirt strategically in front of him, and he takes the shirt back and gives Ray's crotch a really intense look. Ray is practically dizzy from having all the blood in his head rush south at this point, and he steadies himself on one of the shirt racks. "Something a little tighter," Fraser murmurs.

"Tighter." Ray rubs his face with both hands. "Are we going for CBT here or what?"

"Possibly, since I'm thinking we'll put you in something with a zipper, and I might make you, ah." Fraser slides his tongue over his lower lip. "You know."

"I know a bunch of things you might do," Ray points out. "I don't know which particular one you're referring to now."

"Well, I thought perhaps I'd have you forego wearing anything under your jeans."

Ray gawks at him. "I--you--you're serious."

Fraser reaches out and wraps his hand gently around Ray's wrist, just holding on for a few moments; it doesn't help with Ray's dizziness or his hard-on. "I've been contemplating this for quite a while."

"Oh, Jesus, Ben--"

"If you think a zipper against bare skin would be too uncomfortable to deal with, then of course you can wear anything under your jeans you'd like. I just--when I'm imagining this, that's what I picture."

"And by imagining you mean--" Ray makes a quick, furtive gesture with one hand, and Fraser glances around, making sure no one's nearby to see it.

"Well, yes," Fraser whispers.

And God, that is hot, that is so hot, thinking about Fraser jerking off and imagining what Ray's gonna be wearing--how uncomfortable Ray's gonna be if Fraser stuffs him into too-tight jeans with a zipper and makes him go commando, how that zipper's gonna feel when Fraser yanks it down, how much it'll lock Ray's legs up because he won't have enough material to spread 'em once Fraser pulls his jeans down over his ass--

"--Ray. Ray. Ray."

"Fuck, sorry," Ray whispers. He drags the back of his hand over his forehead; he's not sweating, not yet, but he feels warm all over. "Okay, I think I can do this--let's see about jeans."

Trying on jeans is torture; Ray has to go into one of the booths and pull them on and see how they fit, and some of them cut off his breathing and look totally fucking stupid besides, and some of them are baggy in places Fraser doesn't want 'em to be baggy, and every single time he gets into a new pair of jeans he's gotta carefully put his hand over his dick and make sure it tucks down neat along his left thigh--even if he's not going commando just yet, it's still work getting everything to fit right without pinching any sensitive parts.

Eight pairs of jeans down the road, Ray walks out of the booth and does a little spin in front of Fraser. Fraser crosses his arms over his chest, then brings one hand up to his chin. "Those might do," he says. "Can you sit down in them?"

Ray glances around. No chairs available. He shrugs, drops down carefully into a squat, which is probably close enough. It makes him suck in a breath through his teeth, but he doesn't pop any seams and he doesn't kill himself doing it. He looks up at Fraser. "Probably."

"Then let's get you back out of them. I think we're done."

"About fucking time," Ray says, earning a dirty look from a mom with a sullen-looking kid; Ray winces and apologizes, heading back to the booth and changing back into his own personal jeans, the ones that give his dick a little breathing room. He comes out of the booth to look for Fraser, but Fraser's disappeared somewhere.

He finally tracks Fraser down in front of a rack of belts, which Fraser's--Fraser's stroking them, wrapping his hand around each of them in turn and drawing his hand down a foot or so of their length. He's doing it to black belts and brown belts, braided belts and belts with rivets, and in the end he picks out a very wide black belt and holds it up against his own jeans, testing the width against his belt loops.

Ray makes a noise--words are way beyond his capabilities by now--and Fraser looks up at him. "Oh, you're done. Good. I had a sudden thought, and wondered if we might be able to find a few other things." Ray just nods. Fraser reaches back to the rack and takes down a thinner brown belt; he hands that to Ray. "Will that fit through the belt loops on your new jeans?"

It takes a few seconds' juggling to test that out, since he's not actually in the new jeans, but it turns out the answer's yes, so Ray nods. "All right, then," Fraser says, and he takes both belts, the jeans, and the soft blue flannel shirt up to the cash register so he can pay for them and they can finally, finally get out of this place.

Back in the car, Ray drops his head against the headrest and just breathes for a few seconds. He feels Fraser's hand on his shoulder, but he doesn't move; he just licks his lips and keeps breathing.

"Ray?" Fraser's very quiet. "Are you all right?"

"I have spent the last two goddamned hours being rock fucking hard in a Salvation Army," Ray growls.

"Ah."

"So I am fine, I am green ships all the way, but holy fuck, Fraser." Ray leans forward and presses the heel of his hand into his forehead. "You wanna drive home? Because I'm pretty much a wreck here--"

"Of course," Fraser says, and he climbs out of the car and comes around to Ray's side to open the door for him. Ray's legs are practically shaking, but at this point he's expecting that sort of thing. He gets in on the passenger side, snaps his seatbelt on, and leans back against the headrest all over again, closing his eyes.

Fraser's actually good with the car; he's really picked up the rhythms of the GTO, when he's supposed to shift gears and how to keep its brakes from slamming them both forward every time he needs to slow down. Thinking about Fraser's driving is a lot better than thinking about his hard-on, about the shirt Fraser just bought for him purely for the purpose of ripping or cutting it off him, about the belts Fraser bought and what the hell Fraser plans to do with them.

It doesn't really help, not completely; Ray's still half-hard by the time they get back to the building, and when Fraser puts the car in park and cuts the engine, he reaches over to Ray's thigh and squeezes twice, and shit, there's the rest of the way. Ray shuts his eyes and presses his lips shut and focuses on not panting, but he's got enough brain cells left to put his hand over Fraser's and squeeze twice in return.

"If it helps at all," Fraser says, "the afternoon's been equally taxing for me."

"It doesn't help," Ray says, rocking his hips up under Fraser's hand. "You know what would help? You fucking me would help. That would help a whole goddamned lot."

"Come upstairs." Fraser slides out of the car and grabs the Salvation Army bag out of the back seat; Ray blinks several times and shakes his head hard, side-to-side, until he thinks maybe he can see straight enough to walk.

It's still a challenge, following Fraser up the stairs, following him down the hall and walking into the apartment, but now, now, surely to Christ now--

Fraser drops the bag on the kitchen counter and slips his jacket off. "I need a shower."

"Okay," Ray says, pulling his jacket off, too. He doesn't stop there; he pulls his boots off, takes his socks off, he's halfway to having his jeans off before he realizes Fraser isn't undressing. "What?"

"Finish taking your clothes off, go into the bathroom, kneel down on the floor, and wait for me," Fraser says.

Ray tilts his head back and exhales, hard, at the ceiling. "Fuck yeah," he breathes, and while Fraser disappears into the bedroom, Ray finishes stripping and heads for the bathroom. He kneels down on the bath mat: there's not a whole lot of room in here, but it doesn't matter, since he probably won't be down on the floor for very long.

He doesn't even bother turning his head when Fraser comes in; Fraser's gone all alpha on him, which means he'll either tell Ray what he wants or he'll show Ray what he wants, and either way Ray doesn't have to think.

Fraser drops down on the bath mat behind him, and for one glorious second Ray feels Fraser's bare skin all over his, Fraser's chest up against Ray's back, Fraser's cock--oh, yeah, Fraser's hard, too, thank God, thank God, Ray might actually get laid here. "Ben..."

"Hang on," Fraser murmurs, and he reaches around to Ray's cock and balls and lifts them in one hand. Ray groans, turning his face to the side, tucking it in against Fraser's neck, but then there's a little bit of cold and a lot of fucking pressure and Ray looks down just in time to see Fraser putting a motherfucking cock ring on him, the one with the buckle and the D-ring.

"I'm gonna die," Ray moans. "I'm gonna die, you're gonna kill me, Ben, what the hell--"

Fraser puts both his hands on Ray's upper arms and bends his head down to kiss Ray's shoulder. "Trust me," he whispers. "Trust me, Ray. Do you trust me?"

"I--I... yeah, but..."

"Red ships?"

"Green ships," Ray answers, and he means it, dammit; they're good. He's just starting to wonder if his cock is going to spontaneously combust is all.

"All right," Fraser murmurs. He picks something else up from the floor and takes Ray's right hand, and then he's clipping a double-ended snap hook around the two strands of Ray's bracelet. He clips the other end to the D-ring on Ray's cock ring and then comes around in front of Ray, and Ray stares up at him, wide-eyed.

Fraser's licking his lower lip, and he looks about as smug as Ray's ever seen him. "Can you put your hand on your cock like that?"

"I don't think I can put it anywhere else," Ray mutters, but he tries it, and there's just enough slack between the snap hook and his bracelet to make it happen. He gives his cock a squeeze; he can't really stroke, so that's the best he can do.

"If you start getting soft while I'm in the shower," Fraser says, "get yourself hard again. Keep your other hand behind your back."

"I--okay," Ray says, quickly sliding his left hand behind his back. Truth be told, he doesn't see any chance he's gonna lose his erection at this point; right now he feels like he's been hard forever, like maybe he's going to be hard for the rest of his life. "Okay, Ben."

"Good." Fraser leans down and presses a quick, soft kiss to Ray's mouth. "I'll try to be fast."

And he disappears behind the shower curtain, leaving Ray to wonder what the hell is going through that demented, perverted Canadian brain of his. He has no idea where this is going, not a clue, but here he is, on his knees, cock in his hand like a--okay, like a sub, like Fraser's sub, locked in because Fraser wants him that way.

Yeah. Not getting soft anytime soon.

True to his word, though, Fraser's quick in the shower, and he shoves the curtain aside and towels off in full view of Ray. That doesn't help, either--Fraser naked is a vision, Fraser naked and wet is, like, a wet vision, like you'd have in a wet dream--but after he's dried himself off and run fingers through his hair, he drops down in front of Ray and gets the snap hook off him. "You can let go now."

Ray gives himself one more squeeze before he does, figuring he can get away with it, and though Fraser shoots him a look, he doesn't say anything. He stands up again and holds out a hand to Ray. "Come on."

Hand in Fraser's, Ray follows Fraser to the bedroom, but before Ray can bend over the bed or climb in, Fraser bends over at the waist, spreading his legs wide, settling down comfortably on his forearms. Ray's so stunned his mouth actually drops open, and it takes him three tries to whisper, "Ben?"

"Get back on your knees," Fraser murmurs, "between my legs, and lick me."

Oh shit oh shit, the shower makes sense now. Ray drops like a brick and crawls into the space between Fraser's legs, and he reaches up and holds Fraser's ass open so he can get an eyeful before he starts going. All that beautiful hidden skin, that little spot of vulnerability--Ray dives for it, dragging his tongue up from the spot just behind Fraser's balls all the way up his cleft, wiggling his tongue at the top.

"Oh--God, yes, Ray," Fraser moans, which just makes Ray determined to do even more, make this even better. He does a few more of those long, sweeping licks, but soon enough, when his tongue slides past Fraser's hole, Fraser groans softly and pushes his hips back. And hey, Ray can take a hint; he slips his thumbs into Fraser's cleft and holds him open, and he licks in a slow, swirling motion against Fraser's hole.

Fraser shudders so hard Ray's afraid he might fall down for a minute, but no; he's steady, he's just turned on enough he's panting, too. Well, thank God; it shouldn't just be one of them. Ray's almost managed to forget his hard-on, though--he's got a job to do, something to do for his top, for Ben, and damn if he's not gonna do the best possible fucking job he can with it.

He licks long and slow and soft, gets Fraser nice and wet, because Fraser likes it wet and messy--Fraser likes to see Ray's face shining and slick after he's done this, likes to know Ray's gotten in good and deep and given him all the pleasure and enthusiasm he's got. Ray plunges his tongue in, and he's not even surprised when Fraser's body opens for him--just a little, it's not like what would happen if it were Fraser's tongue pushing into Ray's well-fucked ass, but enough. Fraser's been hot for it all afternoon, too.

He's got a good thing going here, he's found a nice rhythm, he's drawing those soft, ragged little moans out of Fraser with every single warm, lapping stroke, but before he can get Fraser all the way--before he can push Fraser to the point where he growls "Touch me, Ray, get me off, right now"--Fraser takes a deep breath and says, "That's enough, Ray. Stop now."

Ray makes a soft wail of protest and pushes his tongue in as deep as he can, wiggling it hard. Fraser gasps, but after a moment spent pushing his ass back against Ray's face, he shudders and steadies himself and says, firmly, "Ray. That's enough. Stop and stand up."

Fuck. But Ray does it, drawing back and coming to his feet. Fraser stands up himself and turns around, and Ray looks down at Fraser's cock--so dark it's almost purple, leaking fluid at the tip. Fraser must be dying, dying almost as much as Ray is, but Fraser doesn't have a cock ring keeping him from coming--just miles and miles (or kilometers and kilometers) of self-control. Ray shivers.

"I love your mouth," Fraser says. He reaches up and sweeps two fingers across Ray's jawline, rubs them over Ray's chin. When they press up against his lips, Ray opens his mouth and sucks them in, hard and fast and eager--anything, now, anything, Jesus Christ.

"I--really love your mouth," Fraser says, thrusting his fingers in, letting Ray suck them like they're his cock, like they're his cock and Ray's pulling out all the stops to get Fraser to come, tongue swirling, tiny little gentle scrape of teeth, firm hard suction all the way up and down. "God, you're so good--get them wet, get them very wet."

Get them wet--oh, fuck, finally. Finally. Ray coats Fraser's fingers with his saliva, licks them until Fraser's fingers are as wet as Ray can make them, and Ray beams at Fraser when Fraser takes his hand back.

But the beaming comes to a quick halt when Fraser leans down on the bed again, and before Ray can figure out why, Fraser's--he's got--his hand's reaching between his own legs, and he's--the--his fingers push inside himself, and Ray is going to explode, he is going to fall down dead here, Fraser is going to have to call 911 and explain that maybe he didn't mean to, but he just killed his partner dead.

Fraser settles down on his forearms again and looks over his shoulder at Ray. "All right," he says softly. "I'm ready. Fuck me."

"Fuck," Ray pants. "Ben, are you sure--"

"Very much so, yes. Green ships." Fraser grins. "I want you to do it hard, and fast, until I come, and then I want you to stop." He looks hard at Ray, and Ray sucks in a breath. "And, Ray, I'll know if you're holding back."

"Ben--"

"I want this, Ray. Give me this." His expression softens, a little, and he says, "Give...?"

"I--okay, okay, take," Ray says, coming up and spitting into his hand to get just a little extra slickness for himself. He spreads it over his cock and then braces a hand on Fraser's back--Fraser's back, oh God--and then he lines up and pushes in and it's one hard-won inch, but holy fuck, it's like having everything inside his body light up like a pinball machine. "Ben--"

"More, damn it--" Fraser sucks in a breath. "Give--"

"Yeah, fuck, take, take--" Ray hisses and pushes forward again, seating himself a little deeper. Fraser's wet, probably wet enough, and he's trying real hard to relax and get himself open, but it's still going to be a rough ride.

Ray plants both hands on the bed and keeps going, inch after inch after tight, fierce inch, and with one last deep push, he's all the way there--all the way inside Fraser's body, surrounded by so much heat he thinks he's gonna come any second even with the cock ring.

"God, yes, Ray," Fraser moans. "Go on--do it, fuck me--"

Ray's voice is down to openmouthed, pleading groans, but he gives every single one of those groans to Fraser as he starts moving inside him, pushing in, in, in, giving Fraser everything he's got. Fraser starts shoving back, and Ray has to hold on to Fraser's hips to keep Fraser from knocking them both over.

"Harder," Fraser growls. "You can do it harder than this, Ray--give, come on, please, Ray, give--"

Ray's pounding in so hard he's coming up on his toes now, fucking into Fraser until stars explode behind his eyes, but he still manages to pant out, to beg-- "Take, just--just take, everything, Ben, all of it, all of me, please please fucking please take--"

And maybe it's the words or the heavy thrusts or maybe it's the whole goddamned afternoon, but Fraser throws his head back and yells, loud and incoherent and hoarse, ass tightening hard around Ray's cock, coming and coming until Ray's as dizzy from it as Fraser must be.

But he's got orders--still--and now he has to, oh God, stop somehow. He stops with his cock buried inside Fraser, his body weight resting against Fraser's ass and hips and thighs, and he plants his hands on the bed to either side of Fraser's shoulders.

Fraser groans and nods, and he squirms underneath Ray. "Yes," Fraser murmurs; it takes him a few seconds to say it, like the word's coming out in slow motion. "Let me--I want to get up on the bed, Ray--"

Sliding out of Fraser now is not what Ray wants, not at all, but that soft, slow-motion tone of Fraser's means Fraser really needs it--so Ray eases himself back, pulls out of Fraser's body, and stands as still as he can while Fraser groans and grunts and sits down very, very carefully on the edge of the bed. He beckons Ray closer, and when Ray's close enough, Fraser unfastens his cock ring, yes yes thank God yes, only now--fuck, Fraser could probably make him come just by breathing on him.

"Come here," Fraser murmurs; he crawls backwards on the bed, and Ray follows, climbing up beside him. Fraser gives him an impatient look and drags Ray over on top of him, between Fraser's legs, and Ray gasps as Fraser angles his hips back and puts his calves around Ray's thighs.

"Oh, God, Ben, can I...?"

"Yes," Fraser murmurs. "I want you inside me when you come."

Almost sobbing with it, Ray pushes in again--easy this time, Fraser's body offering zero resistance whatsoever--and just holds still for a minute, so close he doesn't even want to breathe.

"Whenever you want," Fraser whispers. He gets his arms around Ray, and Ray bends his head down, resting it against Fraser's shoulder. Fraser slides one of his hands down Ray's arm and fits his hand into Ray's, and he squeezes twice.

"Ben," Ray moans. He gives that double-squeeze back--he's good, they're good, but he's close, he's so goddamned close. He shifts his hips, thrusts forward, and then--then he can't stop, can't hold back, and he's fucking hard into Fraser's ass, double-squeezing Fraser's hand, babbling out "Take" even though he knows damn well it sounds like every way he's ever begged Fraser for anything. Fraser reaches around with his free hand, stretches and squirms until he can dig his fingernails into Ray's ass, fuck, and that's it, that's all she wrote, Ray is gone, gone, gone, flying so high with his climax that he thinks he might actually have left his body. Holy fuck.

He comes back to himself eventually, Fraser's hand stroking his back, and he knows he's been leaking tears--Fraser's shoulder feels wet--but he hopes he doesn't look too fucking shattered. He's not going to get up in order to find out, though; he's pretty sure he's just going to stay here in Fraser's arms until Fraser's legs fall asleep or he has to take a piss or something. Unless Fraser tells him to move, Ray's not going anywhere.

"Ray," Fraser murmurs, squeezing Ray tightly. "Ray, I--"

"Yeah," Ray whispers, hugging Fraser, too, lacing his fingers with Fraser's and giving him two hard squeezes. "God, yeah."


On Wednesday night, Fraser gets the lasagna out of the oven, turns to Ray, and says, "I think I'm ready."

"Yeah, but you gotta give it ten minutes or it's just gonna fall apart when you try to serve it," Ray says absently, flipping through a week's worth of junk mail on the other side of the kitchen. There's a Carhartt catalogue, which cracks Ray up, because while Fraser is totally the kind of guy who would make Carhartt look really good, he's got no idea how Fraser ended up on their mailing list--but there it is, "Benton Fraser" and their address. Go figure.

"Ray, I'm not talking about the lasagna."

Ray looks up from a flyer advertising a new Thai place down the block. "Huh?"

"I mean I think I'm ready." He clears his throat. "I mean--green ships. Ready. For that scene."

"Holy shit," Ray blurts out. "Really?"

Fraser nods a few times. "Would you be interested in doing it Friday night?"

"Yes," Ray says. He comes around the counter, ignoring the rest of the junk mail, and gets his arms around Fraser's waist. "Oh, God, yes, I'm interested."

Fraser grins at him and pushes his thigh between Ray's legs. "I can feel that."

"You can feel anything you want," Ray says, leering.

"Promises, promises," Fraser teases, and he kisses Ray, biting not-so-gently at Ray's lower lip. Ray can't get over it--Friday, they've been waiting forever and now Friday. It seems so soon.

"I thought we could drive out to the pizza place near Douglas Park," Fraser murmurs. "You keep saying you'd like to try it anyway, so perhaps if we arrived a little early... we could pretend it's our first date, that we're only just getting to know each other."

"Okay," Ray breathes. "You oughta drive--we can make like it's your car, you can offer to give me a lift home. It'd be rude not to invite you in for a drink after that."

Fraser's face lights up. "You wouldn't mind?"

"Nah. I'm starting to like having you drive me around. Beats having you drive me crazy." Ray winks.

"I don't want to spring too many surprises on you, but I also don't want it to feel scripted--"

"Hey, I told you when we were just starting to plan this out--scripted's not a problem. It doesn't have to be all-improv."

"Well, I think we've covered most of the things that are important, but there are some things I've thought of in the meantime--I just wondered if you wanted to know about them now or if perhaps I should save them for the scene."

Ray takes a second's pause; he doesn't want Fraser to think he's just going full speed ahead without thinking now that there's a date on the horizon. "I think I can deal with surprises. I trust you." Fraser gets an odd look on his face, and Ray sighs. "I mean I trust you," Ray says, poking his finger into Fraser's chest. "Now, come Friday, maybe that guy doesn't trust the guy you're gonna be, but under the roles? I trust you."

"I trust you, too," Fraser says. "I just--I don't think it had occurred to me how much I'd need to trust you for this scene. In my head, it always seemed as if the question was whether you could trust me, since I'm the one on top, but--if I didn't think you could safeword if you needed it, if we didn't have the red ships, green ships go-words... I don't know how I'd know whether I was going too far."

Fraser takes a step back, and Ray's not surprised when his hand goes up so he can rub at his eyebrow. Ray reaches out and puts his hands on Fraser's arms, squeezing lightly.

"You'll know," Ray says softly. "You'll know because I'll tell you. I swear to God, I'll safeword if I need to--just like you can safeword if you need to, remember?"

"Stoplight," Fraser murmurs, nodding.

"We're gonna keep each other safe. We didn't rush into it, we're not new to each other--"

"I wouldn't want to do this with anyone but you," Fraser says, getting his arms around Ray's waist. "It just feels--ironic. You're--you know how much I--but I still want to do this. With you."

"Whoa, hey--" Ray slips his hands into Fraser's back pockets and squeezes his ass, twice; Fraser cracks a grin and squeezes Ray's ass twice in return. "The fact that we, emphasis on we, wanna do this scene... that does not mean we don't--you know." Ray wrinkles his nose. "That we're not still us. It just means you've got a kink, I've got a kink, it's the same kink. That's a good thing."

"I suppose that's true," Fraser murmurs. He leans in and nuzzles Ray's neck, and Ray closes his eyes and tilts his head back, letting Fraser have all the bare skin he wants. Fraser bites down gently on the side of Ray's neck. "I really am looking forward to Friday," he whispers.

Ray shivers all over and clutches hard at Fraser. "Oh, fuck, yeah," he breathes, and the hell with dinner. "Me, too."


Friday night, Ray takes a good hot shower, washing everything and getting squeaky clean. That part isn't under orders; he just thinks it's the kind of thing he'd do if he were meeting somebody for the first time. First date behavior. He even shaves again, getting rid of his five o'clock shadow.

When he comes out of the bathroom, there are clothes set out for him on the bed. The shirt and jeans from the Salvation Army, the belt Fraser picked up, even a pair of boots and a fresh pair of socks. Fraser's not back here, though, so he probably got dressed while Ray was in the shower. Ray's definitely wondering what Fraser's going to look like tonight, but if he thinks about it too much, it's just gonna make those jeans more complicated.

The shirt really is soft; it feels like it's been through the wash hundreds of times, enough times it's warm but light against his skin. His hands shake a little as he gets all the buttons done up; they could be chasing these very buttons out from under the furniture in the morning.

He gets the jeans on, and he's very careful with the zipper. It still feels weird going commando like this--weirder even when he kneels down to lace up his boots--but nothing's getting scratched up too bad. Yet.

As soon as he slips the belt through his belt loops, he notices something funny about it--it's got extra holes. It fits fine, but there's a bunch of holes down close to the buckle, which would make sense if this were a belt for a scrawny little dog or something, but of course it's not. The holes look hand-punched, too. Fraser bought me a defective belt? What the hell's that about?

But he's dressed now, and he picks up the phone for that one last little detail, the last thing he's got to do before they're good to go.

David's there and ready, still on hand to be Ray's safe call, and Ray makes a quick, embarrassed apology for taking up his Friday night with this. "You know Fraser, though; he's all about safety even when it's us."

"I think that's sweet. You tell him I said hi," David says. "Besides, it's not like I'm not going to call this favor in someday."

"I know." Ray grins. "Password's still pizza, right?" One of those little details that Fraser would appreciate, if he knew about it; if Ray doesn't get the word 'pizza' into the conversation within the first few minutes, all the alarms go off and David gets his ass over to Ray's place in a hurry.

Not that there's any chance in hell Ray would need that password--the concept of a password is more for blind dates and relative strangers, in Ray's experience--but Fraser wanted him to do a safe call, so Ray's not gonna shirk on the little things.

"Pizza it is." David chuckles. "Actually, a pizza doesn't sound half-bad. Maybe I'll order in tonight. Catch the Montreal-Tampa Bay game."

"Oh, God, do not talk to me about hockey," Ray groans.

"Hey, no sympathy from me. I think my team is the only one in the league doing worse than the Hawks right now."

"That's what you get for backing Montreal." Ray snorts. "You gotta follow a Canadian team, you could at least be rooting for the Senators."

"You could switch to rooting for the Red Wings."

"Point," Ray says, sighing. "Anyway, thanks for the safe call--I'll talk to you in a few hours."

"No problem, man. Talk to you then."

Ray hangs up and exhales; there's something about setting up that safe call that brings this all home. It's really happening. Finally. God. He shoves his wallet into his back pocket, grabs his keys, and heads out to the living room.

Fraser's on the couch, bent forward with his elbows propped up on his knees and his chin on his thumbs. He stands up when Ray comes out of the bedroom, and for a few seconds they just look at each other.

Fraser didn't shave. He's not so far gone as to be scruffy, but there's a definite five o'clock shadow going on with him. He's in one of his newer pairs of jeans, the dark blue ones, and he's got a black t-shirt on, which is tight enough on him Ray thinks it might actually be one of Ray's. His leather jacket's draped across the back of the couch. He's got a pair of black ankle boots on, and not his work boots or his general-wear stompers; these are some of his boot-worship boots, and they're nice and shiny, like they've been freshly worked over. Which they haven't been, sadly, but Ray's going to keep that in mind for later. Instead of wearing his dad's watch, he's got Ray's watch with the big thick black leather wristband, which is so right for this scene and this character Ray's mouth is starting to water. Belt from the Salvation Army. Wallet chain clipping his wallet to one of his belt loops, and he's flagging it left. Keychain snapped on another belt loop with one of Fraser's mountain-climbing carabiners; that's flagged left, too. His hair's a little messy.

"You look--"

"Damn, Fraser--"

Fraser grins. "I was going to say you look very appealing."

"Well, so do you. Jesus." Ray puts his left hand into his right and rubs his thumb hard against his palm; fidgeting already and they haven't even gotten started yet. "You still want to get dinner first?"

"I'd like to." Fraser runs his tongue over his lower lip, which doesn't help Ray calm down at all. "If you're still up for--"

"Green ships," Ray says--a little fast and a little loud. "I'm up for it."

"Dinner, I meant." Fraser picks up his jacket. "Do you need anything first?"

Ray looks Fraser over head-to-foot, and since the only thing that comes to mind is a muddled image having to do with Fraser's boots, he shakes his head. "No, I--I'm good."

Fraser pulls his keys off his belt loop. "Do you mind if I drive?"

"Nah, go ahead. Might help you get into character."

"That was my thought, yes," Fraser agrees. He slips into his jacket. "Let's go."

And they're off. Fraser's quiet on the drive over, but so is Ray; Ray's trying to think about what the guy he's pretending to be is like, how he's different from the real Ray Kowalski. He's a flirt, a tease; they've pretty much figured on that. He's the kind of guy who'd be impressed with a '67 GTO, though Ray personally thinks most guys would. But there's some reason he doesn't want to just bring Fraser home and let Fraser fuck him, which is kind of a stretch. No need to worry about it, though; he'll figure it out over the course of the night.

At the restaurant, they part ways--Ray heads inside first to secure a table for two, Fraser stays with the car, giving Ray a head start. There's a bit of a wait for a table, so Ray heads over to the bar and orders a beer, tipping it back slowly as he looks over the crowd.

It's downright weird looking at a crowd from the point of view of someone who's supposedly single, but it's a good mental exercise, a good way to get into his persona's head. There are definitely people checking him out, which makes Ray wonder if the jeans really are a good idea--maybe Fraser knew what he was doing. For once, Ray's body language is a lot closer to "yeah, I'm here, talk to me" instead of "that's nice and I'm flattered, but no joy tonight, sorry" like he's been projecting since he and Fraser made things official. He still remembers how to do it, mostly, but he feels rusty.

He glances up at the television; there's a Hawks game on, and the Hawks are getting stomped. He winces, taking another swallow of his beer, and he spots some movement in the crowd, someone heading his way. He doesn't turn, but he doesn't have to; Fraser comes right up to him, leans back on the bar beside him, and gives him this sharp little interested look that just about makes Ray combust on the spot. Jesus. He doesn't think he's ever seen Fraser looking at anybody like that--in fact, he definitely hasn't seen Fraser looking at anybody like that, because if he had, he'd have had to punch somebody.

Just goes to show--it's not that the man doesn't know how good he looks or how much other people are responding to him, it's that he doesn't want that kind of attention from people. Tonight, though, he wants that attention, and he wants it from Ray.

Fuck, it's gonna be a fun night.

"Hello," Fraser says.

"Hey," Ray acknowledges.

"I hope you don't mind a little company. You looked like your team's giving you some heartache." Fraser nods at the television. "I'm guessing that means you're a Hawks fan..."

Huh, that's interesting; Ray thought they were going to do this as a first-date thing, not as random strangers in the bar. But okay; he can roll with whatever Fraser wants to throw at him. Maybe Fraser had an idea that his character wasn't really the blind date type or something.

Oh, shit, maybe Fraser's going to play this even rougher than Ray was expecting. Fuck, that'd be all kinds of hot. Ray has to take a quick breath to pull his character back together; he's not here waiting for a date, he's here looking to get picked up. Maybe looking to get laid. But it's a restaurant, not a bar, and he's hungry--so he's the kind of guy who expects dinner first. Okay. Okay, Ray can work with this.

"Yeah. Yeah, not their year. Again." Ray shakes his head in disgust. "Your evening's gotta be going better than mine."

Fraser grins at that, eyes narrowed and downright naughty, and he gives Ray a once-over, one that starts at Ray's hair, pauses at his crotch, and ends at his feet, with Fraser's tongue slipping over his lower lip along the way. "It's going fairly well now."

Ray gives him that grin back double. "I could say the same." That's it. Flirt, tease, string him along, get him back to the apartment and fend him off--but why the hell would he do that? So maybe he wants dinner first, but what could a guy who looks like Fraser possibly do to make Ray hesitate when it comes time to get fucked over the back of his sofa?

He leans in against the bar, forearms on the edge of it, back arched a little to get his ass on display. It's not the best ass in the room, but he's seen the way Fraser looks at it; he figures Fraser won't be able to resist a nice sidelong look, not in this persona, anyway. And he's right about that; Fraser pauses for a good long second to check out Ray's ass. Ray stretches a hand in Fraser's direction, getting Fraser's attention back on the rest of him--though Fraser pauses and looks Ray's hand over carefully first, which makes Ray think about all the times Fraser's sucked on his fingers. God. "I'm Ray."

"Ben," Fraser replies, taking Ray's hand and shaking it very firmly. There's another point for Fraser, another sign that this is Fraser's show, and both the Ray that's in the scene and the real Ray are more than happy to let Fraser lead. "So what are you after tonight, Ray?"

"Right now?" Ray shrugs. "Thought I'd have a drink. Get a pizza. See what turns up."

"No plans for after dinner?"

"Nah. I don't like to think that far ahead." Ray slides his tongue over his lips. "You?"

"A drink and a pizza sound agreeable. As for the rest of the evening..."

Fraser's eyes slide up and down Ray's body again, and Ray has to suck in a breath through his teeth, because he's so turned on his palms are starting to sweat.

"I don't have any plans yet, either."

"Okay," Ray breathes. "You want to crash my table when it opens up, split a pizza with me?"

"I'd be delighted."

"Let me just go over and let 'em know, then," Ray says, and after Fraser nods, Ray steps away from the bar. He doesn't actually have to tell the host to change the number, of course, since it was two in the first place, but it's a nice way to get a little space, play a little bit hard-to-get.

By the time he gets back to the bar, Fraser's got a drink in his hand, something pale and slightly fizzy in a highball glass. Ray nods at it when he comes back. "You should've let me," he says. "I would've put it on my tab."

"It's fine."

"What've you got?"

"Ginger whisky. I noticed they had Glen Breton Rare--" Ray gives Fraser a blank but interested look, even though he knows full well that, A, Glen Breton Rare is a Canadian whisky, and B, the chances of that glass having anything but the ginger ale in it are almost zero. But Fraser goes on to explain what a ginger whisky is and where Glen Breton Rare comes from, and by the time he's done, Ray just nods.

"Haven't met a lot of guys who go after Canadian whisky in particular," Ray says.

Fraser looks right into Ray's eyes--and he grins. God, his teeth look sharp tonight. "Maybe you've been meeting the wrong guys."

Ray laughs. "Well, I got a reputation for that," he says, and whoa, where'd that come from? Same place a lot of his improvised little details come from when he's developing a cover, probably. All right--so this guy's not just a flirt and a tease, he's a slut. And--oh, hey, maybe that's where the hesitation later on is gonna come in: he's a slut who has a reputation for getting in over his head. Okay. Ray can go with that.

Fraser's apparently thinking about what Ray said; he doesn't have a response right off the bat this time. He takes another sip of his drink, and after a moment, he says, "Is that a good reputation or a bad reputation?"

"Guess that depends on which way you swing." Ray grins.

"Well, now." Fraser puts his glass down on the bar and reaches out, and he takes Ray's wrist in his hand and rubs his thumb down over the ball chain, bump-bump-bump. "Which way do you want me to swing, Ray?"

Ray stares down at his wrist, unable to respond. Fraser's thumb. God. Fortunately, he's saved by the host calling out "Kowalski, table for two?", and he glances back over his shoulder.

"That's me. Us. That's--"

"Kowalski," Fraser says, and shit shit shit, it is just cheating making Ray's name sound like that, like it's a sex name, a porn-star name, like Fraser's been looking to find somebody specifically named Kowalski to take outside and fuck. "Well, now I've got you at a disadvantage, haven't I?"

"You--huh?" Fraser's still got his hand on Ray's wrist, and he tightens his grip a little--and now Ray's thinking back to his question, which way do you want me to swing. The way Fraser's holding onto Ray's wrist, Ray's pretty sure that was a rhetorical question, because the grip Fraser's got on him says Fraser swings one way, swings it from the top, and Ray can almost feel his knees going, he's so okay with that. "Disadvantage?"

"I know you're Ray Kowalski. But you're just going to have to settle for Ben."

Oh, oh, nice way to play it, Fraser. Ray gives him an odd look, in-character, because it's kind of a strange thing to say, and it should start some of the alarm bells ringing--but Fraser's still got his hand on Ray's wrist, and that trumps any kind of weird vibe Ray's getting. With Fraser coming after him like this, any edition of Ray Kowalski is pretty much gonna be hopeless.

"C'mon," Ray says hoarsely. After a minute, Fraser lets go of Ray's wrist, and Ray's actually able to catch up with the host and have him show Ray and Fraser to their booth.

Fraser's easygoing about the pizza, lets Ray pick out the crust (thin, not deep-dish) and the toppings (ham and pineapple). It's pretty much their usual, the standard by which they measure pizzas at new places, and as it turns out, the pizza's great.

But the pizza's really not the foremost thing on Ray's mind--especially not with the way Fraser's licking his lips and looking through his eyelashes at Ray and God, Ray's halfway to suggesting they just skip straight to the part where there's fucking, because Fraser just looks... feral. Dangerous. Hungry for a hell of a lot more than pizza, that is for goddamned sure.

Ray has no idea what they talk about over dinner; he's only half paying attention to what Fraser says, since the rest of him's so tangled up in watching what Fraser does. Fraser licks his lips a little more often than usual; in fact, his body language is pretty different than what Ray's used to from him. More loose, more easygoing, and Ray wonders how much effort that's taking, because Fraser's good posture and controlled grace aren't there for show, they're ingrained deep-down inside the guy.

They stumble through some small talk--Fraser fends off questions about what he does for a living, offering up generic things like "I solve problems for people," which kind of makes him sound like either a hit man or a spy, either of which is... actually kind of hot. While they're talking, he watches Ray as if he's trying to memorize him, particularly Ray's hands--oh, God, he's licking his lips and looking at Ray's hands. Fuck, that is completely goddamned unfair.

Fraser never actually goes so far as to touch him, but he's still got Ray thinking about it--his mouth on the inside of Ray's wrist, his tongue swirling around Ray's fingers, that grip he had on Ray's wrist at the bar--Ray can still remember the way Fraser's thumb rubbed across his bracelet, he can still practically feel the heat from that. He--fuck, he's completely forgotten what the hell he was supposed to be saying. No, wait, his job--he had the genius idea to dig up the backstory for one of his old covers, telling Fraser about his work as a mechanic. It's something he can babble on about without needing to have all his brain cells in order, which is good, and it gives Fraser an in when it comes to the car, which is even better.

"I have a beautifully-restored 1967 Pontiac Gran Turismo Omologato," Fraser says, and fuck hell yeah, not like hearing somebody say that wouldn't be sex on a stick in the first place, but Fraser? Ben? The guy who's just a little bit rough around the edges and a little bit off and a little bit dangerous, and he's got a GTO? Ray could pretty much just start begging now. "Perhaps I could give you a ride after dinner."

"Yeah?" Ray grins. "You any good at driving stick?"

Fraser has a mouthful of ginger ale, and he chokes on it, grabbing for his napkin. He shoots Ray a stern look, but Ray just sits back in his seat, grinning ear-to-ear as he spreads his arms out over the back of the booth. "Simple question."

"As it happens," Fraser says, putting his napkin down and trying very, very hard to look dignified while he does, "I very much enjoy driving. I'm told I tend to go a little fast, though."

"Well, I promise not to tell anybody if you break a speed limit or two," Ray says, and he swipes his tongue over his lips for good measure.

"I do like a man who knows when to be quiet," Fraser murmurs, and this time Ray's the one who has to shift in his seat. He glances down at the table; they're done at this point, so now he's just going to hope his karma's holding out and the waitress is quick with the check.

She is, and although Dief would be completely wounded to find out they had pizza and didn't save him any, neither one of them wants to leave here with their hands full. Fraser guides Ray out to the parking lot and shows him the GTO, and Ray groans out loud, running his hand over the side of the car. "Damn, that's a slick ride."

"And here I was about to mention the sports suspension. It's less a slick ride than a hard one." Ray is glad he's not facing Fraser, very very glad, because he does not know how either one of them could keep a straight face at a line like that. But Fraser comes up behind him and gently pulls him around to the front of the car, where he pops the hood and lifts it up so Ray can get a look at the engine. It's too dark to really make out much, and when Fraser shoves up good and close, his groin pressed up hard against Ray's ass, his hands on either side of Ray's, Ray figures Fraser's not really doing this for Ray's benefit anyway.

"What do you say?" Fraser murmurs. "Want me to take you home?"

"Yeah," Ray whispers. "Fuck, yeah. Let's go."


Ray's eyebrows shoot up when Fraser takes a few odd turns on their way back; he didn't even bother to give Fraser "his" address, since he was too busy watching Fraser's hand caressing the gearshift and Fraser's thighs as he pushed down on the clutch and the brake. But two turns in a row that aren't the ones they'd usually make to get home, and Fraser's got Ray's full attention. "Hey, this--"

Fraser glances over at him, eyebrows up. "Yes?"

"Just--this isn't the way back to my place."

"You know, interestingly enough, I don't recall saying I was taking you back to your place."

Ray sucks in a breath and presses his hand against the car door. He thinks back: I could give you a ride after dinner. And then, Want me to take you home? Fraser's right; he didn't say whose home.

It's a hell of a thing to spring on a guy, but thinking about his persona--his tendency to get in over his head, the fact that he's a slut--this probably isn't the first time it's happened to him. "Whatever, man," Ray murmurs. Right. If he wants to, he can get out of this later, call a cab, whatever. He probably doesn't want to. He probably wants to go home with this guy, even with the pushy-top grip he put on Ray's wrist and the things that have been pinging Ray wrong--disadvantage? Drawing attention to the fact that he wasn't going to tell Ray his last name? The weird "I solve problems" job description?

Yeah, those are the kinds of things that oughta start a little bit of fear-thrill shooting up Ray's spine, so he digs himself deeper into his role and lets that thrill ride him all the way up.

Fraser's path back to their apartment is unfamiliar, but Fraser looks like he knows what he's doing; he must have had it mapped out in his head for weeks. Ray goes back to looking at him, and as he's watching, Fraser slides his tongue over his teeth. Fuck.

When they get there, Fraser slips Ray's car into its spot and cuts the engine. He looks over at Ray.

"What do you do?" Fraser asks.

Ray tilts his head and thinks about how to play this. Fraser's just thrown him for a loop with that surprise trick of taking him to his place instead of Ray's, so maybe he'll go for the hard-to-get here. "Already mentioned I work on cars," he says blandly.

Fraser grins at him, grins ear-to-ear with narrowed eyes. "Oh, come on, Kowalski. You know that's not what I'm asking."

And now Ray's persona is starting to get a little pissed, a little tired of being treated like a free trick Fraser picked up off the street. Fraser's good-looking enough, but that's not what Ray was after tonight, not what he thought he was getting into. It's a little late in the game to get touchy about it, but it's exactly the right time in the scene for Ray to start putting up a fight, and Ray feels that little zing of adrenaline as things start falling into place. "Yeah, I know what you're asking, and the answer is maybe you better just take me home."

"What a waste that would be." Fraser reaches out and catches Ray's wrist in his hand, the one with the bracelet again, and he leans forward and licks it, licks the bracelet, beads and all, one warm wet curling touch over the inside of Ray's wrist.

"Fuck," Ray pants.

"Now that's more like it." Fraser holds onto Ray's wrist even after he looks back up at him. "Come upstairs with me."

Fraser gets out of the car, but Ray stays put. Fraser comes around to Ray's side and yanks his door open. "Come on," he says, and now he's starting to sound impatient. "Inside, Kowalski."

Ray's giving it just one more beat, maybe two, but suddenly Fraser's hand is on his upper arm and Fraser's dragging him, and Ray yelps out "Hey--!" but Fraser's got him up and out, and he slams the car door shut.

"I get it," Fraser says. He pushes Ray into the side of the car, hard, and shoves right up tight against him, his cock grinding against Ray's, and oh fuck, Ray is not at all surprised that they're both hard. "You like it a little rough, right? You like a little bit of trouble?"

"I don't--" Ray starts, but it's a shitty protest. Even his persona doesn't know if he wants to argue much, because okay, Fraser is fucking pushy, but he's also the hottest guy Ray's had hit on him in--well, in real life, ever, but he'd like to think his persona, having been out on the market all this time, has had better luck. Hottest guy in the last month or two for sure, though.

Still, he doesn't want Fraser to think he's just going to roll over, so he brings his hands up and shoves against Fraser's chest. "C'mon, enough. Take it easy."

Fraser pushes his thigh between Ray's legs--ow--and then slips one hand onto his hip and the other up to his neck, gripping the back of Ray's neck hard. "This is taking it easy. This is exactly what taking it easy looks like. Do you want me to show you what taking it hard looks like?"

Ray rolls his eyes. "Oh, yeah, tough guy, fine--take me hard, asshole."

Fraser pauses, tilts his head, shrugs--and then he bangs his thigh into Ray's cock, not as hard as his persona would do it, but hard enough Ray knows he's supposed to double over and clutch at Fraser, as if Fraser's the only thing between staying upright and falling onto his knees.

Fraser grabs a fistful of hair at the back of Ray's neck and catches Ray's wrist in his other hand. He's got his mouth against Ray's ear now, and he pants a few times, which is so fucking hot Ray can barely stand it. Fraser's hard and he's panting; Fraser is getting off on the scene. Fuck, fuck, fuck, that's just--Ray can't see straight, it's so hot.

"Red ships," Fraser growls.

"Green ships," Ray whispers. Fraser groans softly and grinds his hips forward against Ray's, and then he drags Ray off the car and holds onto his wrist, pulling Ray inside the apartment building.

Inside, then, and up the stairs, and Fraser doesn't take his hand off Ray's wrist for a second. It's only two flights, but of course Ray's not supposed to know that. When Fraser yanks Ray toward the third-floor door, Ray jerks back.

"This was fun," Ray says, "but no. We're done here."

Fraser raises his eyebrows and swipes his tongue over his lips. "We're done. Really."

"Yeah, really," Ray says. He gets a hand on Fraser's wrist and snaps his own wrist out of Fraser's, and he gets one step back toward the stairs before Fraser grabs him by the waist, spins him around--fuck, Fraser's strong, and he's quick when he wants to be--and then he's got Ray up against the wall by the stairwell door, Fraser's whole solid body pushing up tight against Ray's. He's managed to have his arm not just around Ray's waist but blocking in one of Ray's arms, too, Ray's arm tight against his side, but that does leave one arm free for Ray to push back.

And despite how good Fraser feels, despite how much Ray just wants to give in and let Fraser do anything he wants, this scene's all about the struggle, all about the fight. Ray gets that one free hand up and shoves against Fraser's shoulder, shoves as hard as he can. And Ray's not weak--Ray does the same workouts at the gym Fraser does, even if Fraser still outlifts him on almost everything--but Fraser's all locked in hard and braced and he moves maybe two or three inches before he grabs Ray by the wrist, again, and pins that wrist against the wall.

"Look at you," Fraser murmurs. He nuzzles Ray's cheek, lips skating gently along his jawline; Ray shivers hard despite all his best intentions. "You don't spend all night looking at me the way you've been looking at me and then tell me no. You don't want to leave."

"No," Ray breathes, "no, I said--"

Fraser bites down hard on the side of Ray's neck, and Ray grunts, thrashing against Fraser, but Fraser's got him pinned too well. "Maybe I should rephrase that. You're not going to leave." His breath's hot against Ray's ear, and he licks Ray's ear, swirls his tongue in a slow circle around it. "Not until I've gotten what I want from you."

Ray's knees buckle--damn it, it's too early for that, but the ear and the hot breath and Fraser's cock grinding into his thigh and that grip on his wrist, and how the fuck is he supposed to stay upright? "Ben," Ray moans.

"Come on."

This time when Fraser pulls him through the door and down the hall, Ray doesn't protest, though he notices Fraser's keeping his grip on Ray's wrist all the same. Fraser unlocks the door one-handed and pushes it open, but by now Ray's caught his second wind, and he knows exactly what's going to happen to him if Fraser gets him into that apartment, so he plants his feet and pulls back against Fraser's grip.

"Oh, Jesus, not again." Fraser turns around and grabs Ray's shirt in both hands, and Ray just waits, waits for it to rip--but it doesn't, Fraser's not tugging on it like that, he's just using it to slam Ray into the wall. When he speaks, his voice is low and gravelly, pure sex and sin layered with a little bit of evil. "Stop playing hard-to-get, bitch. This is what you spent all night begging for."

Yes yes yes yes yes yes yes, Ray thinks dizzily, but no, that's a line that should really piss his persona off. Bitch? Begging for? "Fuck you," Ray hisses, because unlike what would be happening if this were all for real, Ray really, really does not want to get attention from the neighbors. "I don't fuckin' beg."

Fraser just grins at him. "You will."

But Ray doesn't have time to respond to that, because now Fraser's on him, now Fraser's kissing him, thrusting his tongue deep into Ray's mouth. Ray moans and clutches at Fraser, he can't not, but fuck, fuck, he should be fighting, he shouldn't just give in like this. They've been waiting for it way too long for him to make it that easy.

When Fraser starts to draw his tongue back to lick around Ray's lips, Ray surges forward and bites, getting Fraser's lower lip between his teeth. Fraser cries out, shoves at Ray, and when he gets Ray off him, he lashes out and backhands Ray across the face.

He pulls it--he barely even makes contact--but Ray slams back into the wall like he's been clobbered. Fraser hesitates for a moment, but Ray's still close enough to touch him, so he gets one hand on Fraser's hip and squeezes twice, hard. The worry fades right off Fraser's face, and he grabs Ray by the shirt again and throws him into the apartment, where Ray takes a nice theatrical fall onto his ass and Fraser shuts and locks the door behind them.

Ray pushes himself up on one elbow, and he rubs his thumb across the corner of his mouth, not that Fraser hit him anywhere near hard enough to draw blood. Fraser looks down at him for a few seconds, breathing hard, hands twitching at his sides, and then he shrugs out of his jacket and lets it fall to the floor.

"Hey," Ray says, "hey, look--I get it, I get wanting to just take, okay? I been there. But no harm done--no harm, no foul. We're good. You let me walk out that door, and I forget I ever met you."

He thinks he did pretty good with it--just enough shake in his voice to sound like a guy who's scared and trying to tough it out. "Okay?" he adds.

Fraser shakes his head. "No," he says quietly. "You don't get to go anywhere until I'm done with you. Sorry about that." His lips kind of twist up at one corner, like he recognizes the irony of apologizing for what he's about to do, but he crouches down at Ray's side all the same, and he rests his palm lightly over Ray's cock. "Try to look on the bright side. I'm not unkind. I'll make sure you get off."

Ray glares at him. "You're fucking crazy."

"Well, possibly." Fraser shrugs. "Truthfully, I don't know that you'll need my help to get off, the way you've been acting tonight."

"Hey, fuck you--" Ray starts to get up, but Fraser just swings a leg over Ray's and sits down hard, straddling Ray's thighs. Ray twists under Fraser's legs, but Fraser reaches up and pins Ray down at the shoulder, and wham, so much for going anywhere. Fraser's got all the leverage, and besides, he's right about Ray wanting this--it's not like Ray really wants to win.

Fraser's got one hand free, and Ray swallows as Fraser reaches down for Ray's belt. He gets it unbuckled, and yanks it free--not too gently, either, though Ray arches his back to give Fraser a little help with it. He's expecting Fraser to go on--the jeans next, yeah, hell yes, he's ready to be out of these damn jeans--but instead Fraser surprises him, grabbing him by the shirt and pushing him, trying to get Ray rolled over on his stomach.

The fact that it's a surprise means Fraser gets Ray halfway there before Ray starts struggling, and then it's a full-body wrestle, Fraser using his arms and legs and torso to muscle Ray flat to the floor. Ray almost manages to squirm out from under him--Fraser may have the edge in strength and body weight, but Ray's got the edge in bendiness and flexibility--but Fraser wants it more, that much is clear, and when he gets Ray on his stomach, he shoves his hips down against Ray's ass and they both groan out loud.

"Give," Fraser pants.

"Take, dammit!"

Fraser chuckles and bites the back of Ray's neck. "Whore," he whispers, and that--that tone of voice, that amused, pleased, self-satisfied little chuckle, along with Fraser's teeth on his neck and his body pressed all up against Ray's--it's all Ray can do not to melt into the floor and start begging. "I'd tell you to stop fighting, but I'm enjoying the way you fight far too much to want you to stop now."

And oh, oh God, that just blows Ray's mind, because he knows it's true--he knows it's what Fraser wanted out of this scenario in the first place--but the way it sounds coming from Fraser's badass fantasy persona, it sounds like something else, too, like truth and fantasy all twisted together just right, just perfect.

So now it's Ray's job to bring the fight back to the table--he's the one who needs to keep this fantasy going, fight so Fraser's got something to push against, protest so Fraser's got to bring force into the equation. Fuck yeah, Ray thinks dizzily, yeah, Ben, I want you to force me. C'mon.

"I'm not your fucking whore," Ray pants, trying to get something clear--an arm free, a leg, something, anything. "Get the fuck off me, you sick freak."

It's not working. Every time Ray gets even an inch of freedom to move, Fraser just pins down his arm, or his leg, or bites down hard on the back of his neck so Ray shivers and stops struggling for a few seconds. Fraser ends up with one hand pinning Ray's wrist to the floor, and he starts slowly grinding down against Ray's ass, like Ray's just a body--just a thing, something Fraser's going to use until he's satisfied, with no thought toward what Ray might want.

Fraser eases his teeth off Ray's neck and licks the spot he's been biting. Ray's pretty sure there's going to be a mark there; a pretty big one, if the way Fraser's been going at him is any indication. "I had a lover once who called me a freak on a regular basis," Fraser murmurs.

Oh shit, Fraser's improvising--and he's doing it the way Fraser always does it, sticking as close to the truth as possible. That's Ray who calls him a freak all the time, and now Ray's wondering what it would be like being this guy's lover, this guy's partner. What's this guy like at home? Maybe that's something they should play with later--fuck. He's getting distracted. "Yeah?" Ray asks, groping for the topic at hand. "What happened to him?"

"I had a great deal of fun proving him right on quite a few occasions." Fraser grabs both of Ray's hands, and for all that Ray's ready for almost anything, he is not ready for it when Fraser wrenches them behind Ray's back and pins Ray's wrists together. He grunts out loud, and he yells out when Fraser sits up and pins both his wrists with a knee. "So don't bait me, Kowalski."

"I--" Ray turns his head just in time to see Fraser picking Ray's belt up off the floor. For one split-second, Fraser lets go of Ray's wrists, but the realization about what Fraser's going to do with Ray's belt comes a moment too late--Fraser gets the belt wrapped around Ray's wrists and cinches it tight. And suddenly those extra holes make all the sense in the world; Fraser buckles that belt on, and Ray's done--all tied up with nowhere to go except where Fraser tells him.

"Green ships," Ray pants, "green ships, green ships, fuck."

Fraser gives both of Ray's hands two firm squeezes, and Ray tucks his hands into Fraser's and squeezes back twice. Fraser exhales sharply and stands up, climbing off Ray at last. Ray swallows; Fraser's weight felt so damn good. He rolls over on his side and looks up as Fraser starts walking around him, back and forth in a broad semicircle. Fraser grins.

"Nice," Fraser says. "I think you're starting to take this a little more seriously, aren't you?"

"Hey," Ray whispers. "Hey, listen. I'm--it's okay, all right? I'll fuck you--"

"Very generous of you, but no." Fraser shakes his head. "I want something else."

Ray frowns. "I didn't--I meant--you can fuck me," he says. "Or I'll suck you or--just don't hurt me, okay? You're right about me, I'm a slut, I'm a whore, just fuck me or whatever it is you want and we'll call it a night. Nobody needs to get hurt."

Which is Fraser's cue to take it to the next level, apparently, because he drops down to one knee and tugs his jeans leg up, and suddenly he's got a knife out--right, right, the boot-worship boots have more than enough room for Fraser to tuck a knife away, and this knife is one Ray's never seen before, a single-edged blade about five inches long with a wooden handle. It's made out of steel and has a sexy little curve to it, but it definitely isn't a knife Fraser would throw unless he were desperate, so maybe--God. Fraser mentioned something about a knife for play when they were talking about props; maybe that's what this one is.

"The problem with that," Fraser murmurs, rubbing the flat of the blade across his forearm, "is that I think I'm really, really going to like hurting you."

Ray's eyes nearly cross; his vision definitely blurs out for a few seconds. "Oh, fuck," he breathes, and okay, the words are in-character, but he's gotta be honest with himself; that did not sound like a man who wants to be let go. "Just--just tell me what you want," he whispers. "Whatever--whatever you want, okay? I'll do whatever you want--"

"Oh, yes. You will." Fraser grins down at him. "First things first. I like the begging, but you'd look a lot better begging on my floor if I got you out of those clothes." Fraser pulls the sheath out of the top of his boot and takes to his feet; he repositions the sheath on his belt. With a quick, twirling motion, he sheathes the knife--the steel gleams and flashes as Fraser tucks it away. Ray's seen Fraser work with a lot of knives, but he's never seen Fraser do a flashy move like that one, the kind that's just for show--but he knew, he should have known Fraser knew all the tricks. Fraser can throw a knife with accuracy not usually seen outside of a circus; of course he can spin the damn things.

He kneels down at Ray's feet, and Ray lashes out with one boot for half a second before Fraser grabs his ankle, and in a flash of steel and blade--knife, he's got the knife out, fuck, didn't even see him pull it--pins Ray's jeans to the floor. Ray lets out a noise and tries not to think of the safety deposit, and Fraser immediately looks back up at him, brow furrowed with worry. "Take," Ray whispers, "taketaketake, we're good," which makes Fraser nod, and he pulls Ray's boots off one at a time, shoving them aside. Ray's socks, too.

Fraser yanks the knife out of the floor, and Ray realizes a split-second later that the way the knife penetrated jeans and floor means that was a sharp knife, not the kind of knife Fraser's going to be able to put up to Ray's throat while he growls down at Ray. He's got a few seconds to be sad about that before Fraser slips that knife into the leg of his jeans, and then Fraser gets methodical about it, slicing Ray's jeans all the way up the front of his leg, all the way up to the waistband. The waistband takes some real concentration, a little bit of sawing motion, but Fraser gets it, and then he starts all the way down at the other ankle and works his way up. The back of the blade's cool against Ray's skin, but Fraser's also being very, very careful with it, making sure the tip never even grazes Ray's leg, that Ray never even comes close to being scratched.

When he's done, he grabs the ruined jeans and pulls them out from under Ray, and he chuckles softly at the sight of Ray's cock. Well, what the hell's he expecting? Ray thinks he's been hard for hours; yeah, he's gonna be leaking, yeah, his cock's gonna jump toward Fraser's hand.

Fraser doesn't touch him, but he leans down and breathes out soft and hot against Ray's cock. Ray moans and twists from side to side, spreading his legs. "Please," he whispers.

"Don't really feel like going anywhere now, do you?" Fraser murmurs. "I'm guessing you'd much rather stay right where you are."

"Yeah," Ray whispers. "Yeah, I--" He struggles a little, twisting his shoulders from side to side. "How about you untie me? You know I want this; we could have a hell of a lot of fun, Ben..."

Fraser looks back up at Ray's face, and Ray wonders if he just ruined it--was that too easy, does Fraser think he's done fighting? What does he need?

He puts the knife back in its sheath and shakes his head. "Funny thing," Fraser murmurs, "I don't really believe you. I think if I let you up, you're going to start fighting again, even if it means leaving here with nothing but the shirt on your back."

Thank God, thank Christ, good recovery on Fraser's part. It takes a little effort to dig up the rage he's supposed to be feeling, the angry expression, but Ray manages it somehow. He grits his teeth together and glares up at Fraser. "You know so goddamned much about me," he snarls.

Fraser stands up and gets his boot under Ray's balls, pressing up just enough to be threatening. "I know you're still hard," Fraser murmurs, "whether you want to be or not."

Ray flinches and looks away. Those boots, damn it--that's just cheating, and if he keeps looking up at Fraser, he'll be begging in seconds. "Doesn't mean I want to be here," he mutters.

"But here you are," Fraser says, sounding oddly pragmatic, and he squats down at Ray's side and grabs him by the arm, pulling him up, dragging him onto his feet. "So let's make the most of it, shall we?"

When Fraser guides Ray into the bedroom, Ray doesn't bother fighting. He could, but he's tired, he's bare-assed, and he's got a feeling that whatever Fraser's got planned next is going to take a lot more energy to deal with, so he saves some of his strength for now. Fraser shoves Ray over the bed face-first, and there's something to struggle against; Ray tries to push back, kick back, but Fraser just blocks Ray in with his body, his thighs pressed solid and tight up against Ray's. Fraser's cock is a hard, solid weight against Ray's ass, and Ray doesn't know how Fraser can stand having it zipped up in his jeans like that--it's got to be killing him.

Fraser slips his hands into Ray's and squeezes them twice, and Ray squeezes back twice. "I wish I could trust you to have your hands free," Fraser murmurs. "I'd love to watch you touching yourself."

"You wanna watch?" Ray asks. "That all you can do? Just watch? Gonna lose that hard-on if you actually try to fuck me with it?"

"You really never stop, do you?" Fraser asks. He leans away for a second and comes back with something that--jingles? Ray turns his head to the side to see if he can get a glimpse, but it's too late; Fraser yanks at Ray's sleeve, popping the button off, and shoves the sleeve up so he can get something around Ray's wrist. Whatever it is, it's thick and cool--one of their wrist cuffs, right. Yeah, that makes more sense than the belt.

But it also means Fraser's trying to do something more long-term, and Ray pushes back against him. "What the fuck," Ray growls. "What the hell do you think you're doing--"

"I think," Fraser murmurs, "that I'm going to get you out of this belt and into some cuffs I can lock to my bedframe. And I think if you don't fucking hold still," and oh God, hearing Fraser curse sends a sharp thrill of arousal shooting up Ray's spine, "you might regret it."

And the next thing Ray feels touching him is Fraser's knife, the sharp one, sliding into his sleeve and slicing the button off. Ray takes a few deep breaths, trying to get himself steady again. Okay, that's a solid threat, one that even Ray's persona is willing to listen to. Never mind the fact that it makes Ray want to say hell, yes, cut me; it's the kind of thing meant to get Ray to cooperate for a few seconds, the kind of thing that really should scare him. Fear and anger have been running neck-and-neck for Ray's persona this whole time; this is just what he needed in order to see the scales tip back toward fear.

"Okay," Ray whispers. "Okay, okay, don't get crazy on me. I'm not going to do anything stupid. Just be cool, okay, Ben? We're cool, right?"

"Oh, we're very cool, Kowalski," Fraser murmurs. He gets the second cuff onto Ray's other wrist and unbuckles the belt, and Ray groans as his wrists fall to his sides and he finally has a chance to stretch out his shoulders. Fraser leans down heavily on Ray's shoulders, and it might be just to pin him, could be, but Fraser gives him a few solid squeezes, too, rubbing until a little bit of the tension eases. Ray decides to ignore that one; he'll assume it comes from Fraser and not from Ben unless Fraser says otherwise.

Soon enough, though, Fraser's rolling him onto his back, dragging him up on the bed, and as Ray turns over, he can see that Fraser's knife is still sheathed at his side. He could make a play for it, maybe, try fighting a little more, but fuck it--he's here, and he wants to know what Fraser's got up his sleeve. Besides, Fraser's done more than enough to earn a little bit of cooperation and fear from Ray; he's definitely gotten full points for scary badass in this scene.

He gets another few as he climbs up on top of Ray, straddling Ray's chest and one of his arms; when Ray looks up, he can see Fraser's got a couple lengths of rope in his hand, and Fraser ties Ray's cuff to the bedframe--down low, near the mattress--with what looks like a really elaborate knot. Ray's seen that one before--it's a quick-release knot, all Ray would have to do to get himself loose is pull on the end of it--but for someone who's not as familiar with knots as Ray is after all these years with Fraser, it'd look like the kind of thing he'd never get out of without help. "Fuck," Ray breathes. "C'mon, man, just--you don't have to do it this way, it doesn't have to be like this..."

Fraser ties Ray's other wrist to the bedframe, too. When he's done, he strokes his hands down Ray's arms and crawls back until he's sitting on Ray's thighs. He puts his hands on Ray's chest, strokes the fabric of his shirt, and finally makes fists in the material--and oh God, yes, yes, that's what Ray's been wanting ever since Fraser picked this shirt out at the Salvation Army. Ray licks his lips and looks up at Fraser, and Fraser meets his eyes and smirks--it could be Fraser smirking or it could be the other guy, Ben, and either way Ray holds his breath, waiting, waiting.

And then Fraser does it--both his arms go tense and taut and he yanks at Ray's shirt, buttons flying all over, seams making a bunch of satisfying popping sounds, and suddenly Ray's got a hell of a lot more skin exposed to Fraser, to Ben, to anything Ben wants to do to him.

"Christ," Ray blurts out. "Christ, Ben--Ben, please, just--"

Fraser isn't listening, or rather, he doesn't look like he's listening; Ray's sure he's hearing every word. He swipes his tongue over his lips--he's breathing hard, too--and he curls his fingers into the waistband of his shirt and pulls it off over his head. His scars look different like this--it's not like Ray's persona knows that mark on Fraser's chest is an otter scar, so instead he's got this guy with these scrapes and slashes and marks, the knife and the attitude and the urge to force people, and all Ray can think is that's got to be from people who tried to fight him off--all that, and he's still doing this.

Ray's quiet stare gets Fraser's attention, though, and Fraser leans forward and grabs Ray by the hair. "What?" Fraser snaps.

"Fuck! Just--I'm here, okay? You got me. You got me. I'm not gonna fight anymore."

Fraser's expression melts into another one of those smug grins, and he spreads himself out all over Ray's body, reaching up to take Ray's hand in one of his as he brushes his cheek against Ray's. "I don't know about that, Kowalski," he says softly, breath warm against Ray's neck. "I think I can still make you scream."

Ray surges up against Fraser, arches up against him, and he clamps down on Fraser's hand, twice, hard. "Fuck," he breathes. "Ben--"

"I've been trying to decide," Fraser goes on, as if Ray didn't react at all. "I'm the hands-on sort, I must admit, and the idea of hurting you just with my hands, and my teeth, and my body..." He lifts himself slightly off Ray's body and reaches his free hand down, between them, and Ray hisses in a breath as Fraser puts the heel of his hand down against Ray's cock and starts to lean.

"Fuck, fuck--"

"But then I thought..." Fraser eases up on Ray's cock and lies down again, this time taking Ray's other hand, lacing their fingers together with both hands now. "I thought perhaps you'd like something a little more hardcore. I've got a belt."

Ray's brain flashes back to the belt Fraser's wearing, to watching him pick it up at the Salvation Army. Big. Thick. Wide. Oh, Christ. "Ben..."

"You like it rough, don't you?" Fraser whispers. "You like getting hurt. You like going home sore. Don't you?"

"I don't--" Ray pants out a few breaths--he's almost getting dizzy, he wants this so much. "I don't--"

"You like," Fraser breathes out, and now Fraser's thrusting against him, almost being gentle about it, for God's sake, "being a whore." And fuck, so much for gentle; Fraser's jeans press down and scrape against Ray's bare cock, and Ray clenches his teeth and squeezes Fraser's hands, once, twice. "Being a slut. Going home with anyone who'll give you what you need. Am I right, Kowalski?"

"Fuck you," Ray groans, "fuck you fuck you fuck you--"

"Soon," Fraser whispers. He kisses the side of Ray's neck. "I don't think I can wait much longer. I just want to hear you scream when I'm inside you."

"Goddammit, Ben--"

"I want you so much," Fraser moans, and this time it's his turn to take a few unsteady breaths to collect himself. "The hell with it," he growls, and he leans over to the side, pulling the nightstand open and digging through it for--yes yes yes thank fuck yes--for lube. When he gets back, he shoves Ray's legs apart and slicks his fingers and then he's pushing in, oh God, hard and deep, and Ray shoves down against Fraser's hand as much as those damned cuffs will let him.

Two fingers--no, three--no, four, four and Ray wonders how far Fraser's going to push him with this. He groans and arches his back again, panting, caught between wanting more, anything, just more, and just wanting Fraser to fuck him already. "Please," Ray groans.

"Give," Fraser whispers; he rocks his fingers in good and deep, pressing up, rubbing--shit Christ fuck, rubbing hard, rubbing right there, and Ray shivers and clenches his fists and no no no, not this soon, not yet oh God--

Fraser eases his hand back and comes up the bed, coming face to face with Ray and using his clean hand to brush Ray's hair back off his face. "Ray?" he whispers. "Are you with me?"

Ray nods, nods a couple of times as he catches his breath. "Yeah," he whispers back. "Yeah, I'm here, I was just so fucking close, Ben--"

Fraser bends down and kisses Ray's forehead, kisses his eyebrows--when Ray closes his eyes, Fraser kisses his eyelids, too. "You're amazing," Fraser murmurs. "You're--I don't even know how to tell you--you're amazing."

Chuckling, Ray gets his eyes open so he can grin up at Fraser. He unclenches his fists, wiggling his fingers. Fraser slips both hands into Ray's, even the one that's still slippery with lube, and Ray immediately squeezes Fraser's hands twice. Fraser sucks in a breath; his eyes go wide.

"Do you want to...?"

"Green ships, yeah," Ray says. He squirms under Fraser. "You want me to fight you or beg you?"

"God." Fraser groans and bends his head down, nipping and licking the side of Ray's neck. "I--both? Can you give me both?"

"Hell, yeah. C'mon. Green ships, take--"

Fraser comes up and brings his mouth down on Ray's, tongue thrusting in deep, and Ray squirms hard underneath him, trying to twist his face to the side. Fraser keeps one hand in Ray's, but he brings the other down to hold Ray's chin, hold Ray still. It's a sloppy kiss, a hard one, and after a few more seconds of struggle Ray has to stop and focus on breathing--near as he can tell, Fraser's trying to fuck Ray's mouth with his tongue, and he just wants Ray to hold still and take it.

So Ray stops fighting, lets Fraser in--Fraser pulls back for a split-second to look in Ray's eyes, and whatever he sees there makes him hiss out "Yes" before coming back down and kissing him again. This time it's slower, easier, more--seductive. Fraser licks into Ray's mouth, coaxing Ray's tongue forward, and Ray shudders and shakes and finally, finally lets himself give in, kissing Fraser back.

And that sets off all the fireworks for Fraser, it feels like; Fraser moans against Ray's lips, clutches Ray's hand, thrusts down like he's forgotten he's still wearing jeans and Ray (ow) isn't. Ray squeezes Fraser's hand twice, just in case, but Fraser's here, Fraser's with him--Fraser pushes up so he's sitting again, straddling Ray's thighs, and he slowly, slowly unbuckles his belt, slipping it out of the belt loops and setting it aside.

He's not done, though; he unbuttons his jeans next, and he unzips his fly, and Ray swears to Christ he can hear each individual brass tooth unlocking, Fraser does it so slow. By the time he gets it all the way down, Ray's just about panting for it, and at this point even his persona doesn't care if that means he's a slut or a whore or Ben's whore, or whatever the hell Ben wants him to be. He just licks his lips, staring at Fraser's open fly. "Ben," Ray whispers. "Ben, please--"

Fraser comes up on his knees and shoves his jeans and boxers down to his thighs. He takes his cock in his hand and strokes it, and his head tilts back and his neck's all stretched and oh God, if Ray could reach him, he'd pull Fraser right the hell back down and bite at his neck until he's bruised.

But he can't reach; he can only stare, he can only lick his lips and breathe heavy and wait for Fraser to decide how he's going to use Ray. "Ben."

It gets Fraser's attention, at least. Fraser looks down at him and nods, and he climbs between Ray's legs. Ray tilts his hips up, Fraser slips a hand under his thigh and pushes back, and oh fuck, oh yes, Ray settles in as Fraser shoves him into position and climbs on top of him.

"One more time," Fraser growls, grabbing at Ray's hair, pinning his head down. "Tell me you don't want this."

"I don't want it," Ray spits back, gritting his teeth.

"You're a liar," Fraser snarls down at him, and then he's driving in, pushing forward hard--Ray tries to throw his head back, but Fraser's got him pinned, and all he can do is lie here under Fraser and thrash that tiny fraction of an inch back and forth.

"Ben, oh God, oh fuck, Ben, Ben--"

"Tell me," Fraser growls, hips slamming against Ray's ass as he goes in again and again and oh God yes, again. "Tell me--you don't want it--"

"--don't," Ray pants, "don't, oh God, fuck, no--"

"--tell me you don't need this--"

"Fuck you," Ray moans, trying his damnedest to rock his hips up against Fraser's thrusts. "Fuck--fuck you, fuck--oh, God--"

"You're going to come," Fraser pants down at him. "You're going to come so hard you can't even see straight, aren't you? Because you--" and these last words are harsh and low and Fraser's thrusting in rough with every one of them, "you--love--this." Fraser groans, and Ray knows he's right, knows they're both close now. "Tell me--tell me, damn it--"

The relief's so deep Ray can feel it running all the way through him, and he sobs out a breath and just shakes for a second as Fraser fucks him, thrust after punishing thrust that wouldn't let Ray hide from the truth even if he wanted to. "Yes," Ray moans, "yes, oh God, yes, love it so fucking much, Ben, fuck me, fuck me, fuck me--"

"Oh, God, Ray--" And that's the last thing Fraser gets out before he's lost to it, eyes closing, shaking and gasping and coming with broken groans. Ray fumbles with his right cuff, twists his hand around--he needs to have his hand free for this, he needs Fraser in his arms, damn it, and as Fraser's moans start winding down, Ray finally gets the goddamned rope in his hand and tugs. Thank God for Fraser's knot-tying skills; Ray's cuff comes loose, and Ray gets his arm around Fraser and holds on tight.

Fraser groans one more time and then collapses, head falling onto Ray's shoulder. But he's not done with Ray, not completely; he shifts just enough to get his hand between them, and he curls his fingers around Ray's cock, squeezing and stroking, nuzzling Ray's shoulder as he does.

"Love you," Fraser whispers, and that's it, that's it, that's what Ray needed to hear right now. He holds on tight to Fraser and closes his eyes, and he's there--coming, gasping out Fraser's name, drenched in sweat and feeling wrecked and whole and perfect.

It's a long time before he's ready to come back up after that. He doesn't know how long it is--Fraser doesn't seem real inclined to move, either--but his left arm's asleep, and he groans a little, trying to dislodge Fraser enough that he can get that one untied, too.

Fraser shifts, blinking blearily down at Ray, and then he looks up at Ray's arm. "Oh--Ray, I'm sorry--" He reaches up and tugs the rope, and Ray's arm comes loose; they untangle themselves so Ray can rub at his arm and Fraser can get undressed, finally. "Sorry," Fraser mumbles, once they're a little more settled and they can curl up together again.

"I'm good, I'm--" Ray's hoarse; it kind of hurts to talk. He grins. "I'm fine," he whispers. "Green ships, buddy."

He can feel Fraser smiling against his chest. "Green ships," Fraser whispers.


The next time Ray opens his eyes, the bedside clock says it's nearly eleven o'clock. Fraser's sprawled all over him, head on Ray's arm, one arm tucked around Ray's chest, one leg over Ray's thighs; somewhere along the way, he managed to get himself undressed. It's nice--Ray really doesn't want to leave--but he's got a safe call to make. Ray groans softly and pulls his arm out from under Fraser's head; Fraser makes a sleepy, distressed noise and scoots closer, clinging even more tightly.

"It's okay," Ray murmurs. He kisses Fraser's forehead--easiest part of him to reach--and strokes his fingers through Fraser's hair. "It's okay, I just wanna make my safe call."

Fraser blinks a few times and slowly shifts his weight off Ray, letting Ray sit up. "What time is it?" Fraser murmurs; his voice is thick, like it gets when they've been asleep for hours. Ray grins down at him.

"Quarter till eleven. Go on back to sleep, I'll take this out to the other room."

Fraser nods and closes his eyes again, and Ray grabs his cell phone and heads out to the living room. He dials David's number; David picks up just after the first ring.

"Hello?"

"Hey, it's me. It's Ray."

"Hey yourself. How'd it go?"

"It was fucking amazing," Ray says, unable to keep the grin off his face. He glances down at his wrists; he's still got the cuffs on. "He was great."

"Did he at least feed you first?"

"Oh--right, yeah. Pizza, Canadian bacon and pineapple."

"There we go. You don't want me to worry, you maybe get the password in right up front."

"Sorry. I'm a little zoned out right now. It was--it was pretty intense." Ray glances over at the floor; his jeans are still in a ruined heap not too far from the front door. "It was great, though."

"I'm glad."

"How about you? How was that Montreal game?"

"Painful. Lost to fucking Tampa Bay."

"Ouch. How'd the Hawks do?"

"Lost 5-2 to Minnesota."

"Yeah, they weren't looking so good when Fraser and I were at the bar waiting for our table. Good thing the rest of the night worked out."

David snorts. "Yeah, well, lucky you. Is he doing okay?"

"I think so, but I'm gonna get back to him now--I'll catch you later, okay?"

"Yeah, go, go. Later, man."

Ray hangs up and drops the cell phone on the coffee table; he's halfway to his feet when Fraser appears in the bedroom doorway. Ray grins at him and finishes standing up; he walks over to Fraser and puts his hands on Fraser's hips. "Hey."

"Hello," Fraser murmurs. "You've still got cuffs on."

Ray looks down at them and smiles. "Yeah. I just thought I'd wait for you to take 'em off me."

"Would you like me to do that now?"

"Now's fine. Now works."

Fraser unbuckles the first and gives Ray's wrist a quick rub, a few seconds of massage, and then he does the same with the other. Ray grins at him. "Thanks."

"You're welcome." Fraser glances around the living room. "We--I suppose I left quite the mess."

It doesn't seem like much of a mess to Ray, just his jeans and boots. "We can get it in the morning."

"I'd rather not wait--" And before Ray can stop him, Fraser's headed over to the entryway, where he picks up what's left of Ray's jeans, drops Ray's boots over by the door, and he scoops up Ray's socks, too, as he looks down at Ray's jeans. "There's really no way to salvage these..."

"Well, that was the point." Ray gently pulls both jeans and socks out of Fraser's hands, heads to the kitchen, tosses the jeans in the garbage, and wraps an arm around Fraser's waist so he can guide Fraser back into the bedroom. The socks go into the laundry basket; Fraser goes around the bed collecting his socks, his jeans, the shirt he borrowed from Ray, putting those into the laundry basket, too.

Ray catches Fraser by the arm as he walks past. "Hey, buddy. Red ships?"

Fraser nods. "Yes--of course, green ships, but--" He sighs and lets his head drop backwards, looking up at the ceiling for a moment. "I just want to be able to separate us from that scene. Sooner rather than later."

"Okay. Okay, but you just go ahead and sit down for a minute, all right?" Ray gets their belts from the floor and pushes Fraser's boots under the bed; the belts go into the closet. He pulls the rope off the bedframe and shoves it back in the drawer, and he collects his shirt, taking a quick look at it. No seams ripped, just the buttons; if they could find the rest of the buttons, they could maybe use it again. He tosses the shirt into the laundry basket, too.

That's pretty much that; he climbs back into bed with Fraser and lets Fraser cling to him again, wrapping both arms around Fraser and squeezing him hard. "It was great," Ray murmurs.

"It was," Fraser agrees, and now that the trappings from the night have gone, he's actually starting to relax. "I'm glad it was good for you, too."

Ray starts to laugh but stops himself; maybe that's kind of thoughtless, given the way Fraser seems a little shaken up. "I'm glad it was good for both of us." He pauses, wondering if now's the time to ask, but he doesn't really figure it'll hurt. "You think you might want to do it again?"

Fraser nods, and Ray exhales softly with relief. "Yes," Fraser murmurs. He turns his head and kisses Ray's chest--and then the kiss turns into a gentle bite, just the faintest bit of pressure with his teeth. Ray squirms under him and grins from ear to ear. "There are things we didn't get to--"

"Your belt," Ray says immediately. "I would've loved having you beat me with it."

"I got impatient," Fraser mumbles into Ray's chest. "I meant to, but you looked so... so..."

"Fuckable?"

"Yes," Fraser murmurs.

"I wouldn't have minded you using a play knife, either. Not that I had a problem with the one you did use..."

"I never did have a chance to go shopping for a scene knife." Fraser gives Ray one more squeeze and then rolls onto his side; he looks a lot clearer, a lot more calm now. Ray takes Fraser's hand in his, laces their fingers together. Fraser gives him a couple of quick squeezes; Ray squeezes back twice. "But maybe next time?"

"I'd like that for next time. I'd like it a lot."

Fraser nods. "Something else--if you wouldn't mind... that is, I'm--I would have--I wish I'd--"

Ray raises his eyebrows and waits this one out. Finally Fraser sighs and says, "I wish I'd thought to come up with an alias for myself, a different name I could have used during the scene. I think it would have been more comfortable afterward."

It makes sense to Ray; given how much Fraser needed that boundary between home and scene, given that the scene took place in their apartment, he can see the way it'd be useful to have a particular character Fraser was putting on, a role complete with name and maybe even backstory.

Which makes Ray's eyebrows shoot up, as he thinks back to something Fraser did say in-scene. "I had a thought," Ray says. Fraser raises his eyebrows, too, and nods. "About--if you wanted to do this again. Or something like this. Because you said something about having a lover who called you a freak--"

"Ah. Yes, well--"

"--and it just got me thinking that the guy who picked me up tonight could be, like, the world's scariest boyfriend." Fraser's eyes go a little wide. "I thought it could be fun to play with that, maybe. If you wanted to. Maybe the guy you hooked up with doesn't like it half as much if he doesn't get wrestled flat first, maybe I like to be forced, and I hooked up with you--him--whatever, because he does that."

Fraser licks his lips--and he does it very, very slowly. Ray glances down the front of Fraser's body, and oh yeah, Fraser's interested in that idea. "I think... I'd like to talk about that some more, yes," Fraser breathes. "I think I'd like that very much."

Ray bends forward and kisses Fraser, licks across Fraser's lips the way Fraser just did for himself, and Fraser pushes him onto his back, throwing a leg across Ray's thighs. "Yeah," Ray moans, reaching up, getting his arms around Fraser. "Hell, yeah..."

Fraser bites at Ray's lower lip. "So--we'll talk about it later," Fraser murmurs. "Not now, but..."

"I can wait," Ray whispers back. He squeezes Fraser hard--and thinking about it, does it a second time for good measure. Fraser does him one better, actually squeezing Ray's legs with his thighs, twice, which--oh, God, Ray's getting pretty fucking interested in this conversation, too.

"It'll be worth waiting for," Fraser promises, and the kiss he lays down on Ray is more than enough to prove it.

-end-