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Elaine's first partner at the 1-8, her very first partner, was Roger. He was an older guy, close to retirement, and they spent just over a year on an easy beat in an upscale neighborhood near the million-dollar estates on the Gold Coast. It was a decent gig. Roger told great stories. His wife made fantastic sandwiches, and Roger shared them with his young partner. About seven months in, they arrested a guy attempting to steal his ex-wife's BMW. Sweet.

Shortly after that Roger retired, and Elaine was partnered with Jerry. Oh, dear.

Jerry wasn't big on rookies, or women cops, and he repeatedly failed at being subtle in his quest for hints about Ray Kowalski and the Mountie, over at the 2-7. Or more specifically, what Ray Kowalski and the Mountie might be doing together after hours, why the Mountie had come back from Canada with Kowalski, why they were still partners when the Mountie wasn't even an American cop, and how partners were they, really?

Jeez.

There are always plenty of rumors floating around police precincts, same as they float around hospitals, or schools. The 2-7 was up to its collective eyeballs with them, but when it came to Ray and Fraser, Elaine figured that while people might wonder, most of them didn't actually want to know. If the rumors stayed just rumors, then everybody could keep going along minding their own business and nobody would have to confront that whole Gay Cop Issue and maybe have to take a side.

But Jerry, he was convinced Elaine must have the inside scoop on a certain "partnership," because she'd made the mistake of telling him, before she'd learned better, that she and the Dynamic Duo had kept in touch since she'd graduated from the Academy - that Fraser had become a sort of mentor to her, and Ray a late-night sounding board, someone who'd still be awake and coherent at 1 a.m., and Jerry would not let that go. Then one very early morning in mid-May, Jerry started in before she'd even had any coffee, and Elaine finally snapped, threatening heatedly to throttle Jerry senseless and stuff him in the trunk of the squad car if he didn't quit being such a yenta. She may also have mentioned something about the deliberate misplacement of a cheese danish within a sensitive area of his person. Possibly.

That evening after shift Jerry complained to their lieutenant that Elaine was impossible and maybe crazy, but instead of busting her for it the Lieu teamed her up with Marty who, Elaine has been relieved to discover, could not care less about Elaine's gender or her rookie status, as long as she doesn't mess up and get him killed, and who brings with him his own circus o' drama; one wife, one ex-wife, three kids, a neurotic poodle, and a beloved uncle who on rainy days tends to think he's Bullwinkle the Moose. Marty doesn't give a rat's ass what Ray and the Mountie might or might not be doing. He's too busy being grateful Uncle Morris doesn't imagine himself as Fearless Leader.

 

There are many reasons why beat cops hate Friday nights. They're not all that keen on Saturday nights either, but it's on Fridays that people seem most susceptible to a peculiar sense of obligation to cut loose, and some people cut really, really loose, and when this is coupled with guns, alcohol, and gang members, a policeman's weekend is likely to start out very badly.

Somewhere around 9:13 p.m. the Langton Reds tried to rob a convenience store in the Washington Exchange's territory, more interested, Elaine and Marty found out later, in scoring coup than cash. Elaine and Marty responded to the robbery, thinking merely, "Hey, a robbery, we'll be careful," but it turned out the Exchange had long ago found out about the Reds' coup attempt, they arrived in force right behind Elaine and Marty, and Elaine's weekend began with her and her partner digging frantically for any kind of cover as the front windows of Marconi's Readi-Shop got blown into a zillion sharp little pieces.

There was gunfire and screaming, and Elaine trying to make herself very small, hoping nobody might think it would be a great idea to maybe hold a cop hostage, or maybe shoot one for the street cred. An eon later, there was a mass convergence of screaming squad car sirens, and the noise level ramped up to what sounded remarkably like a scene from "Apocalypse Now" happening front and back, though Elaine couldn't see at all, hunkered down as she was underneath a shelf full of Huggies and Pampers, while things shattered explosively along the store aisles. One of the Langton kids ran past her, heading for the back entrance, but he didn't get far, and Elaine was just about sick to her stomach, until she realized, thank God, out of the corner of her eye that he wasn't dead.

Marty was pinned down one row over, yelling to check if she was okay, or maybe just to give himself something to do besides panic, and the fluorescent light over Elaine's head blew apart and made her cringe and burrow deeper into the diapers with a complete lack of consideration for her dignity. Dignity schmignity, she did not want to have to phone her grandma from a hospital bed and explain how she'd got there, and how she couldn't guarantee it wouldn't happen again.

Then the shooting stopped - a sudden, weird lack of shooting, and instead Elaine could hear someone swearing savagely, and threatening to kick people in the head, which meant Ray and Fraser, which pretty much explained that whole Apocalypse Now thing.

What remained of the Langton Reds' raiding party lay down their arms, and began to file out of the store, and then Ray and Fraser came running into the store, followed by EMTs and a dozen or so uniforms, and calling Elaine's name as they kicked their way through the shambles. When they found her Ray grabbed her and pulled her out of the heap of debris and diapers and held her so tight she almost couldn't breathe, which was okay, because she could do plenty of that later. When she looked up from pressing her face hard into the familiar comfort of Ray's neck, feeling his pulse hammering as though he'd been terrified, and likely murderous, when she looked up past his shoulder there was Fraser, wide-eyed and ashen, and there was blood on him, but Elaine didn't know whose. He licked his lip and he growled, like it hurt him to say it, "Someone called in an officer down. We thought you'd been shot." And then Ray kissed her, hard on the mouth, right there in front of God and Marty and everybody, and it wasn't near the surprise it probably should have been that she grabbed him by the back of his jacket and let him.

 

Okay, yeah, probably it was the kissing part that did it, that got her past the paramedics, and into the GTO with Diefenbaker in the back snuffling at her and whining like he just had to make sure she was all right, and he'd been so worried. And wasn't it weird that she got that, and that she was really too freaked out to care about the white fur all over her uniform or wolf drool on her face. She was filthy anyway, gooey with what Elaine suspected was baby oil, and possibly some sort of anti-rash ointment, and - pickle relish? - and probably slivers of glass, and she itched.

Yeah. Terror, gunfire, bloodshed, exploding light fixtures, Fraser and Ray arriving like a couple of post-apocalyptic knights, then kissing, then into the great, glossy black steed of the GTO, with the white wolf, soft and warm and worrying over her. Yep. That was how Elaine got from sitting in the squad car with Marty on a drizzly Friday night eating a cold bacon sandwich to here, in Ray's apartment.

She understands that this is a trauma-related response. She loves Fraser, and she loves Ray, in that way of just loving somebody because you do, because they're there for you, and you're there for them, and sometimes you go out for a beer and you beat them both scorchingly at pool, and that's good, too. But this? This is post-trauma. You almost die, your brain wants to celebrate that you didn't, and the most common response to that is sex.

She knows even as Ray and Fraser are stripping down in front of her that this is not a permanent situation, this is not a brand-new, committed threesome. But for dealing with getting shot at and maybe-almost-dying and the freakout that follows it, this beats the crap out of sitting in a therapist's nice, safe office trying to "access her feelings" about being pinned down and shot at and watching a kid get shot while she was helpless to prevent it. It sucked, okay? It just really sucked.

Ray and Fraser, they've each earned a doctorate in dealing with the aftermath of not-having-died-today. They've got the scars to prove it, and just now Elaine's about to get a good look at every one of them.

 

Somewhere past midnight Ray is murmuring into Elaine's ear, "Hold him tight, he gets lost, you gotta hold him tight," which would be a peculiar thing for Ray to say, except that Elaine saw Fraser fall. She recognized the moment when he reached the point of no return, and his strength was hers. She's sandwiched between Fraser and Ray, riding Fraser as he kneels in Ray's bed, her knees on either side of his thighs. It's a little awkward, but Ray is behind her, pressing gently, the soft rasp of his naked chest warm against her bare back. He kisses her shoulders, kisses her neck, and she can feel the brush of his hardness against her backside, the slick of his lust, but he doesn't push, just keeps close, embracing around her to touch Fraser. He licks her ears, his breath loud, wanting, surprisingly patient.

Fraser's breath rushes hot against Elaine's skin. She's crossed one arm across his shoulders, her dark hand splayed against his pale back. She feels the muscles rolling beneath his skin, beneath the palm of her hand. She cradles the back of his skull, pressing his face to the hollow of her throat, her fingers threaded through his hair, soft as rabbit fur. His chest is smooth and sweat-slick against her breasts. Elaine, Ray and Fraser slide against one another, a locomotive grind, and Fraser makes small sounds against her throat as he thrusts up into her. She promises, "I've got you Benton, I've got you," and he surges in her arms, uttering a soft, wild cry against her neck, his body tensing as he climaxes, his hands on her hips bruising, but Elaine's strong and she's got him, he's safe. They have Ben safe, she and Ray.

Fraser passes out beneath Ray's kisses. Elaine and Ray gentle him back onto the bed, and Fraser reaches up and strokes Elaine's face, thumbs across one cheekbone, traces her bottom lip, until Ray crawls on top of the two of them, making Elaine snicker and gripe about too many elbows, and Fraser grins at her sleepily as she wriggles out from under Ray. Then Ray kisses Fraser, kisses his mouth, his cheeks, his eyes as they close, and Fraser strokes Ray's back until he relaxes into sleep and lies sprawled serenely on Ray's bed.

Elaine brushes her fingertips across Fraser's forehead, thinking about how Fraser's just a guy, just Benton, after all, and feeling all kinds of protective. She looks at Ray, pointing out, "You never, ah..." She gestures meaningfully, gives Ray an eyebrow waggle that makes him grin.

He shakes his head, whispers, "Neither did you," and kisses her, and man, the way Ray can kiss, whoever started that rumor doesn't know the half of it, and then he licks her throat, moves down to kiss her breasts, her belly, licks her belly button, and she tries not to giggle too loud, but hello, ticklish, and then Ray shimmies down further to lick her thighs, which feels nice, and then her kneecaps, and then the insides of the knees, asking permission, cajoling, and she opens for him, carefully draping one leg over Fraser's as he sleeps, warm and tranquil next to her.

Ray hitches Elaine's other leg up onto his shoulder, strokes her thighs, kisses the low mound of her pelvic bone, presses his nose there, closes his eyes, and takes a long, slow breath that she can feel against her skin, in and then out, moist and warm, and then he dips below and licks her opening, his tongue soft, soft, gentle. He takes her between his lips and sucks on her, explores her with his tongue. No lover has ever done this for her after sex, it's always been part of foreplay, part of getting in the mood, which is fine, but after, when she's swollen and a little raw makes a universe of difference, and she squirms at the intensity of it. It occurs to her that maybe part of the goodness of it is that she didn't even have to ask, Ray seems to just want her this way, messy and earthy and hyper-sensitive from good sex with Fraser.

Ray takes his time, and Elaine's hips roll and rock with the slow build of pleasure, until Ray shifts her leg, the one over his shoulder, uses his thumbs to open her wider, and he rubs his stubbled cheek against her, aiming for her clit, for her opening, like some cat wanting to get his scent deep into her, or maybe get her scent onto him, and it burns, just the right side of too much, and oh, she can feel his eyelashes, first on the inside of her thigh, and then there, right there, and she is so close, teetering at the edge and biting her lip, feeling the wave swell, rushing up from her knees to her hips, when Ray whispers against the inside of her thigh, "Man, I'd love it if you'd fuck me with your fingers," and she groans sharply, one leg kicking out from sheer overload as the wave crests and breaks, salty and wet.

"Kowalski, you maniac!" Laughing quietly, Elaine reaches down for Ray, takes his grinning, triumphant, beautiful face between her hands and pulls him up to where she can kiss him, taste all three of them on his mouth. He closes his eyes and moans a little when she licks his lips.

"Did you mean that?" she asks. "About..." and she nudges her fingertips into Ray's mouth, feels him lick across her fingernails. These days, she always keeps them boy-short. How dumb would it be to break a nail grabbing for her handcuffs?

Ray's eyes flutter half-mast, and he nods, breathing out, "That would be great, that would be greatness," and he reaches back to rummage around on the low bookshelf that forms his headboard, and hands her a half-squashed tube of slick, and then he rolls onto his back and scoots toward her, away from the edge of the mattress, pressing Elaine snug next to Fraser, who rolls toward her, dozy and warm.

She kisses Ray once on the mouth, moves down to his chest, licks at the cooling sweat, drags her tongue hard over one nipple, grins when he twitches and grunts. Sensitive. Excellent.

She reaches for his sex, hot and large beneath her hand, and she thinks with some amusement that it's no wonder he tends to sit splay-legged, he needs the extra space, and at that thought she whuffles a little raspberry there at his belly button. His laugh cuts off abruptly when she tongues him, right down the length of him, hard beneath skin like satin, and straining from neglect. She warms the slick in her hand, and presses one finger against his hole. He makes a small sound of surrender, his knees drawing up and flopping open for her.

"Easy," Ray breathes, "Yeah, like that..." and Elaine caresses and persuades until she feels him relax, and then she presses in, and the way he whimpers in pleasure makes her want to bite him on the back of the neck. Instead she kisses his hip bone, notes the sharp flex of muscle beneath her lips as she presses in another slick finger, and soon after that it's three, and she finds that her thumb fits perfectly against his perineum. She rubs him there, right behind his balls, watches his features go slack, all of his ferocity draining right out of him.

The bed dips behind her, and she feels heat against her back. Fraser nuzzles into her shoulder, encouraging her in that smooth rumble he gets, "Keep going, he's yours," and she presses her long fingers deep into Ray's body, hot and slick and vulnerable. She finds what she's looking for, watches his narrow hips rise up off the bed, his mouth wide open for air.

Fraser reaches over her and takes hold of him, curls his big hand around Ray's cock and begins to stroke slowly, while Elaine watches Ray's body arch and bow, his muscles taut and delineated sharply beneath his skin as he grips at the bottom sheet, like a figure in an anatomy book. She watches the tension in him building, his breaths short and quick, until at last he makes a desperate sound, his face contorting into a fierce grimace, as though he's spoiling for a fight, and yeah, that's her Ray, and then he clenches around her fingers, cries out once and comes hard in Fraser's hand. Elaine leans down and licks the tip of Ray's cock, while she slowly pulls her fingers from him, and he twitches and grunts and lets her taste him, thick and salty, like the sea.

 

She half-wakes to late morning light filtering red through Ray's curtains, and the bed rocking beneath her. Behind her. She turns, still groggy from sleep and exertion, and there's Fraser beneath Ray, his legs wrapped around Ray's narrow hips and his arms tight around Ray's back. She can't see Fraser's face well, Ray's got his hands gripping hard beneath Fraser's shoulders, and his face pressed against Fraser's neck, there where it joins the shoulder, and Elaine thinks to herself that Fraser's not the only one who gets lost during loving.

Ray clings to Fraser hard, ramming deep and steady, and Elaine listens to them breathe together, soft moans of encouragement, growled endearments. She makes no effort to participate, doesn't especially want to wake up entirely, as it's often best this way, sex, half in and half out of sleep. Her brain is happy simply coming along for the ride, the feel of their heat, their rhythm, their smell, the reek of old sweat and new, of dried jizz, scents welcome and real.

Ray snarls and thrashes and comes inside Fraser, who hasn't yet, and Ray shakes off the buzz like a dog leaving water, and scrambles down, and Elaine guesses what he's after, and that, that does it for her, makes her hips jerk and twitch with release, watching Ray go down on Fraser, bring him off with his mouth, Fraser thrusting up and gasping Ray's name toward the ceiling. Elaine whimpers, "You guys are gonna kill me," and Fraser laughs, breathless and beautiful.

Ray crawls back up to half-collapse on top of Fraser to kiss him, and Elaine's orgasm-fuzzed mind considers tall ships on the ocean, and Fraser posture-perfect in his uniform like a figurehead at the prow, and she remembers that woman, Victoria, the one who nearly destroyed Benton and Ray Vecchio, and she thinks, Victoria called to Benton like one of those sirens luring the lost Ulysses to his doom against the rocks while he struggled to find his way home in an open boat in rough waters, and the only way Vecchio could tie Benton to the mast to keep him from her was to shoot him. And Elaine thinks, Victoria could have had this, days and nights of Benton's smiles, his heat, his desire, the gentleness and the strength of his hands, but instead all she could think about was revenge, and taking all his choices away from him until only she was left, and Elaine can't fathom that at all. She reaches out and traces the shell of Ray's ear, and he turns to her and smiles, and says, "Hey, you hungry?"

And boy, she really is.

Fraser showers quickly, declining Ray's offer of assistance, as Diefenbaker has waited about as long as he can to get outside, and apparently with Ray's "help" Fraser's shower would take about three times as long.

While Ray rummages in the kitchen Elaine spends some quality girl-time in the shower, washes the mess of last night away with equal parts relief and regret. She manages to regain control of her hair with a little help from Ray's stash, and she takes a minute to just look around her, chuckling, because jeez, Ray's got more hair stuff in his bathroom than she does. She pads out into the living room in a towel, and says, "Um... clothes?" She'd rather not get back into her gooey, itchy uniform.

Ray is unashamedly buck naked, talking on the telephone with Sandor, and he gestures toward the bedroom and offers, "Oh, hey yeah, grab anything you like." So she does, and pretty soon she's wearing a large, dark blue t-shirt that's got the RCMP logo on the front, and which smells like Fraser, and a pair of Ray's Jockeys, baby blue with white stripes, worn thin and soft, and she loves the way they don't chafe her anywhere.

She asks Ray if she can use his phone, and then while Ray jumps into the shower, she makes herself a cup of tea, and she calls Marty. Louise answers, and when Elaine says, "Hi Louise, it's Elaine--" she gets,

"Oh my goodness, we were wondering if you were okay, Sweetie! Here's Marty--"

--and then there's yelling for Marty, where Elaine has to hold the phone away from her ear for a second, and then Marty says, "Elaine! You okay, kid?"

Elaine warms and smiles, "Yeah, I'm good. We're waiting on pizza. How are you doing?"

"I'm okay. Last night, sorta rough, but Louise has seen me worse." Elaine can hear high-pitched chaos in the background, which makes sense when Marty tells her, "We got my sister and her kids over, and I'm throwin' some stuff on the grill. Y'know, most of the time, a half-dozen little kids running around, plus my brother in law, that makes me nuts, but after last night, this is the kind of crazy that does me good. You wanna come over?"

"Thanks, but I'm with some friends. They're looking after me," which is one way of putting it.

"The Mountie and Kowalski? They were pretty quick to carry you off last night." And there's a whole layer of meaning underneath that, after Ray's Prince Charming act.

Right about here, Ray wanders out of the bedroom in a pair of faded red boxers and a very used white t-shirt that kind of nudges at Elaine's imagination and makes her mentally drool a little, a situation made worse by the fact that Ray probably wasn't even thinking about the effect on her, and also 'cause he sits down in one of the other kitchen chairs next to her, and takes hold of her foot and starts playing with her toes.

"We go back a ways," she manages to get out.

Marty snorts, "Yeah, so I gathered."

"Hey!"

But Marty's chuckling, and then he warns, "You gonna be okay for a lot of pointed conversation and a crapload of paperwork on Monday? Lieu's gonna want dotted i's and crossed t's and all that jazz."

Ray winks, the punk, at Elaine and she says, "Remember where I started, Marty. Paperwork is no match for me. The i's and the t's should be afraid, very afraid."

Fraser and Dief arrive at about the same time as Sandor and the pizza, creating a frenzy of whining and jostling, with Fraser at once reprimanding and apologizing at Ray's door.

Fraser's apartment is in a smaller building three blocks down, and he could have left Dief at home, but, "He sensed food was imminent," Fraser explains to Elaine as Ray puts a slice on a plate for the eager wolf. "We generally order in after we, ah, um..." and it's kind of weirdly adorable to watch him turn bright pink, after everything they did last night.

Ray finishes for him, "Red-hot monkey sex equals pizza after. The wolf can add."

"Erm, yes, " Fraser agrees, scratching at one eyebrow.

 

Soon enough, Elaine is going to head home, wash her disgusting uniform, get some rest, maybe watch a movie and see if she can get her brain back on the road to normal before Monday, but not just yet. For now, Elaine is sitting in the big, old green stuffed chair in Ray's bedroom, wearing Fraser's shirt and Ray's boxers and eating Haagen Dazs strawberry ice cream right out of the container because hey, she needs these calories, she really does.

Elaine has got her feet braced against the edge of the mattress, and she's watching Ray crouching at the foot of the bed, naked again and doing messy, happy things to Fraser's guy parts. He hasn't zeroed in on any one of Fraser's nice pink parts just yet, but Elaine can tell he's considering the question. Ray, Elaine knows from personal experience, has a fantastic mouth. Fraser stretches splay-legged over rumpled sheets, his arms flung above his head in utter abandonment, and he is making the nicest, sweetest noises, until Ray stops, pulls away, licks his lips, and looks at Elaine.

Fraser manages a soft grunt of protest. "Hey."

Ray's pupils are blown in the dim, rose light, his lips swollen and wet. "Gimme a bite of that ice cream there, will ya?"

Elaine feeds him a spoonful, watches him savor it, rolling it in his mouth, letting it melt.

She thinks about kissing him. She thinks she'd very much like some of what Ray's got rising up there between his long legs, flushed dark red, and substantial. Yeah. But later.

Fraser raises up on his elbows, the tiny scowl on his face quickly replaced by fascination as Ray accepts another bite of ice cream from Elaine, his closed lips sliding it off the spoon as though he's performing for a porno film.

Ray holds the ice cream in his mouth, turns, and engulfs the warm head of Fraser cock in his cold, strawberry mouth, and Fraser squeaks in surprise and thrashes awkwardly, getting nowhere.

Diefenbaker barks twice from the living room.

Fraser replies sarcastically, "I'm terribly sorry we're disturbing your nap, but you asked to be here!"

Ray snorts sharply around Fraser's sticky shaft and starts laughing.

Fraser grumbles, "Oh, for heaven's sake," which only makes Ray laugh harder.

Grinning, Elaine relaxes back into the big stuffed chair to finish off the ice cream, and watch Ray cackle his way up to Fraser's belly button. Life goes on. It's all good.

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