They’re cooking dinner, the first time, Fraser catching the edge of his finger with a knife. Ray doesn’t think when he says, “Frase, here,” grabbing his hand, taking Fraser’s finger in his mouth to stop the bleeding. He doesn’t think.
Maybe it’s a little weird, to other people. People who aren’t the Mountie, who don't lick the bottoms of dead guys shoes and taste animal poo to figure out what time it is. But Ray’s seen enough of that kind of weird to not even think when he offers to lick the blood off Fraser’s finger.
He had Fraser’s dick in his mouth last night – how is this any different?
Except. Well. Apparently it is. Fraser yanks his hand away like he’s been burnt, saying, “No, thank you Ray,” and disappearing so fast from the kitchen that even Dief jumps up like there’s some emergency.
But Fraser is back five minutes later with a bandage on and a story about the time he went fishing off a block of ice and a hook broke off in his forearm.
“If you look closely, Ray, you can still see a small sliver of metal - ”
They don’t talk about it.
It happens again at some party Dewey’s throwing in a lame attempt to get into the new girl’s pants. It’ll never work, Ray’s pretty sure – Naomi has a brown belt in Karate and makes the best sponge cake Ray’s ever tasted. A woman like that doesn’t fall for guys like Dewey.
“Trust me on this one, Fraser, yeah?”
“I always trust you, Ray.”
“No, I mean - ” Ray sighs and passes Fraser the piece of cake he was saving for himself. “Try it.”
Fraser gives him that look, that one that says he’s just doing it to keep Ray happy. The one that says, Yes, Ray, I’m sure it’s very nice cake but is it better than June Harrington’s plum pudding, I don’t think so. But he eats it anyway.
“Delicious,” Fraser says with a nod as he swallows the last of his mouthful, but Ray’s not buying it.
“Delicious,” he repeats with a scoff, then grabs Fraser’s hand to steal the crumbs that are still on his fingers.
When Fraser flinches at the touch of his mouth, Ray’s pretty sure it’s not a modesty thing. There’s no one really around; and their co-workers probably have a betting pool on when they’ll finally admit they’re together. Seeing them is bound to make at least one person happy.
“I should go wash my hands,” Fraser says, not looking at Ray’s face, not looking like himself at all. “Excuse me.”
Ray stands there, still, feeling – and probably looking – suddenly stupid.
All the cake’s gone.
Ray’s not much of a talker. He got that off his dad (his mum could talk the ear off an elephant); a sick, twisting feeling in his guts screaming Danger! Turn back! Emotions ahead! Stella hated it.
It’s not that he doesn’t care. It’s that he doesn’t trust himself to know what to do. He doesn’t want to screw things up. He told his dad he wanted to be a cop. He told Stella he wanted kids. Where did any of that get him?
“Fraser,” Ray starts, both of them sprawled on the couch watching a weird documentary about birds. Fraser’s rubbing Ray’s feet where they’re rested in his lap – he looks good in one of his knitted sweaters, his hair a little out of place from when they were making out earlier.
Ray smirks to himself.
“You know you can tell me when there’s something you don’t like, right?”
“What do you mean, Ray?”
“Well, I mean,” Ray fumbles, stuck on Fraser’s confused face, the lines in his forehead that usually means Ray’s about to say something to piss him off. “If I do something. Or something. You can tell me not to do it. You know that, right?”
Fraser still looks confused. “Yes. Just this morning I told you not to wash your coloured clothes with your white ones.”
“Ha, ha.” Ray nudges at Fraser’s thigh with his foot. “I meant bigger stuff. Intimate stuff.”
“Oh,” Fraser says, and confusion has turned into shock, and his face is a nice shade of pink. Ray’d be tempted to feel proud if he wasn’t trying to be serious. “Yes, Ray, I – of course. I always want to be honest with you.”
“Okay.” Ray puts his foot back down; revelling in the way Fraser’s hand is rough and warm at his ankle. “Good. Greatness.”
“I don’t imagine there’s anything I don’t want you to do to me.”
This time it’s Ray’s turn to go pink.
Ray’s a little drunk, the time after, back from an old buddy’s birthday party that Fraser couldn’t go to because he had to work. Ray perches himself on Fraser’s desk, and Fraser pushes in close to kiss him, and it feels so perfect to be stitched together like this, to be wound tight around Fraser and fit there.
Ray’s riding a little high on that when he says, “Give me your hand.”
It’s big and lovely, like the rest of him. Soft, and strong and familiar. Ray’s had it twisted in his hair, or clawed into his skin, or bruising at his hips. Ray’s had it tight around his cock, or inside him, or tangled in his own hand as he comes.
Ray’s never had it in his mouth.
“Let me,” he says, quieter then he’d meant to, then drags his tongue up the palm and takes the index in his mouth. He can feel the moment Fraser stops breathing. His eyelids are heavy and his tongue darts out and even though Ray’s holding him by the wrist with two hands he knows Fraser could get away easy.
“Ray,” Fraser says, breathing out, watching every small move that Ray’s mouth makes.
It’s when he almost has two fingers resting on his tongue that Fraser finally pulls away.
“Frase - ”
Fraser pushes out of his chair, leaving Ray half sitting and half hard. “I can’t.”
“You said you’d be honest about - ”
“I know.” Fraser says from the doorway, his back turned and the room dark. “I’m sorry.”
He doesn’t even say goodnight.
The phone doesn’t ring the next day. Or the one after that. And so on and so on like some ugly loop – like it was the last time, with Stella. Ray buries himself in work, which says something; a string of gruesome murders is easier to deal with than his own failing relationship.
A relationship he thought he’d have for a while. Until he was gray, maybe. Or grayer than he already is.
“Hi, Ray,” Fraser says a long time later, standing next to Ray’s car like he’s keeping watch at the Consulate.
“Frase,” Ray says, trying not to stop with his shock and sort of tripping the last few steps to his door. “How long have you been out here?”
“Not long.” Which means forever. “May I ride home with you?”
Fraser doesn’t bother with a story. He doesn’t talk about why Dief isn’t there as usual, or why he’s wearing his brown suit instead of his red one. He doesn’t talk at all, which should be a sign, or something. Which should probably make Ray want to do more than just some punch something.
“I was in love once before,” Fraser says the minute Ray’s front door clicks shut behind them. Ray drops his keys. “As an adult, I mean. I was in love many times as a child but … but as an adult. Once.”
“She wasn’t a good person. Or at least, she never really had a chance to be and I – I suppose - ”
“Are we talking about Victoria Metcalfe?” Ray hears himself saying, because he’s stupid. He’s so stupid. Fraser drops his head. “I read the file. And Welsh talked to me.”
“Shit, I’m sorry Fraser. You were trying to tell me something and me and my big mouth just … shit.”
“It’s fine, Ray, I – there’s not much I can tell you really, except. Except there was a moment. The only real moment we shared I think and …”
Fraser doesn’t say, she put my fingers in her mouth, or anything like that, but he doesn’t have to. Ray gets it. He can’t smell a certain perfume, or hear the far away twinkling of some woman’s laughter, or hold someone against him when he dances, and not think…
He gets it.
“You’ve been thinking about her a lot, huh?”
“I suppose. In the abstract, really. Not about her specifically, but about it. About a time.”
Ray wants so badly to say something more meaningful than, huh? but he doesn’t. “Huh?”
The side of Fraser’s mouth curls up and it uncoils something so warm in Ray’s belly. A little flickering flame of hope. Please. Please, please, please.
“I was in love with Victoria Metcalfe, Ray,” he says, and then finally looks Ray in the eye. “And now I’m in love with you.”
Ray feels dumb with the admission. Dumb and happy and excited and scared shitless.
“And the thought of exposing everything to you,” Fraser goes on, closing what little space there is between them, reaching to take Ray’s hand. “The very, very worst parts of me – it’s scary, Ray. It frightens me very much.”
Ray pulls Fraser in enough that he can kiss him, can slide their mouths together in one quick, clumsy movement that you’d never read about in one of those books Frannie loves. Fraser opens for it though, yanks a moan out of Ray when he pushes him against the front door and creeps a hand under his t-shirt.
There’s nothing you can say to change my mind, Ray thinks, you can’t make me leave, you won’t, I take the good with the bad with the ugly, I’m ugly.
He just says, “I love you too.”
It’s the same thing, really.
Ray’s got his knees up, a hand curled around the headboard and the other scratching at the tense, muscly meat of Fraser’s shoulder. Yes, he thinks he’s saying, despite the white noise rushing through his head, the quick, shocky sparks that shoot through him every time Fraser fucks into him. Yes, Fraser, please, please, yes.
Fraser hushes him, grounds him, says, “I’ve got you, Ray, I’m here,” before he presses a hand to Ray’s face and teases a thumb into his open mouth.
Ray turns his head to take it, at last, then nuzzles into his hand, then kisses it.
“You have all of me, Ray,” Fraser promises. "Even the parts I'm ashamed of. Everything."
"I know," Ray swears, "I know, I want it, I want you."
Later, Ray will tell him, you have all of me too.
He'll put his fingers in Fraser's mouth to keep them warm.