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"Can I get you something to drink, Fraser?" Ray asked, desperate for an activity that didn't involve sitting on the sofa anymore.

Fraser ran his finger around under his collar and cracked his neck sideways. It was bad, then. "Yes, thank you Ray, tea would be ... lovely."

Ray escaped to the kitchen and started the water heating. He decided to make himself a cup while he was at it and took down both mugs. When he found himself searching for matching spoons, he slammed the drawer shut and longed for something to punch. Somewhere to run. Someone to f--

"Ray, do you need any help?"

Ray spun around, heart pounding as though he'd been discovered doing something he shouldn't. "No, I'm all set. Just waiting for the, uh, water. To boil."

Fraser nodded like Ray'd said something profound. "You know, Ray, there are different schools of thought regarding that subject. Some maintain the water should be boiling when poured, some say it should be just past the boil, and a third group insist one should try to catch the moment just before the bubbles start to break."

"Yeah?" said Ray, because at least they were talking. He leaned against the fridge, deliberately relaxing his posture. Who, me? Nervous? Nah.

Fraser nodded again. "Although it seems it also makes a difference what kind of tea one is preparing. Green, or black, or oolong ...." He moved closer to Ray and peered into the mugs on the counter.

"Just Lipton."

"Ah. Of course."

"Yeah, I'm not much for proper tea-preparation, myself. Sorry 'bout that."

"Not at all, Ray. I actually hadn't even realized you drank tea."

"Sometimes. I mean, not very often. When I'm in the mood."

"Ah," said Fraser, and Ray thought he heard encouragement in there somewhere so he kept talking.

"See, I never knew I liked it really. I never saw my dad drink anything except coffee and beer, so I thought that was what men were supposed to drink. And then I tried some tea once, a while back, and it was just ... not for me." Ray shrugged. "So I went back to coffee. Then I met you, and I started thinking maybe I should try it again. Maybe it was the kind of tea I tried, like you said. And ... maybe I could be a person who liked both."

Fraser blinked repeatedly. Then he said, "Ray, are we still talking about beverages here?"

Ray swallowed hard and licked his lips. "Mostly," he said, proud that his voice was steady.

"Oh. So tea is a metaphor for --"

"Fraser, I'm begging you, don't start deconstructing it."

"Sorry."

"It is what it is. Like, um, me."

Fraser nodded one more time, and moved even closer to Ray, taking up all the space there was in the kitchen. "And earlier, when you put your hand on my thigh and ... kissed me ... ?"

"That wasn't a metaphor."

"No, it wasn't."

"It was, uh, not even a simile," Ray said.

Fraser was smiling a little now. "Dare I hope it was an overture?"

And Ray was about to make a joke about not seeing what opera had to do with anything when he decided to maybe not fuck this moment up beyond redemption. "Yeah," he said instead, "you can hope. Lots of that going around."

Ray watched Fraser's hand come up and touch his face, felt the warmth of it and the calluses, which was how he knew it was real. Fraser never had calluses in Ray's dreams. Fewer clothes, usually, but ...

Fraser moved in closer still, as close as he could get. Ray could feel the magnets on the fridge behind him, and the coolness of it. And he could feel Fraser, too, warm all up and down the front of him. So Ray leaned forward into Fraser, bringing his arms up around Fraser's neck and cupping one hand at the base of his skull. His thumb and fingers twined into Fraser's hair and felt the unbelievable softness of it.

He didn't have to do much else; it seemed Fraser was taking charge of things. Fraser was, in fact, kissing him with enthusiasm. And tongue. And groping. Ray felt a hand grab his ass and pull him even closer. It was pretty obvious that whatever Ray had felt that had led him to that desperate-pathetic kiss on the sofa, Fraser could match it and more.

Ray's back hit the fridge again and he heard a couple of magnets hit the floor. Fraser had one thigh pressing into Ray's legs, and Ray helpfully widened his stance. Fraser's leg slid in between Ray's and Ray could feel some wonderful friction beginning. He wriggled a little to line things up better and heard Fraser grunt. Then he really started to move.

Between the kissing and the groping and the humping, Ray felt like he'd lost his mind. Or maybe Fraser had, but Ray wasn't going to question it too much. Because while this wasn't a usual activity for the two of them (not by a long shot), it was certainly Fraser's habit to go all out when he made up his mind about something. No-holds-barred; zero-to-sixty in nothing flat.

Fraser moved his mouth off Ray's and took it on a side trip over to Ray's right ear. Ray clutched the back of Fraser's neck when he felt teeth and whispered, "Oh, shit, Fraser, yeah ... that's ..." before losing the ability to speak at all. Fraser was grinding his crotch into Ray's faster and harder than before, and Ray heard something in the fridge fall over with a clunk. He thought for a second that Fraser'd heard it too and was going to stop to investigate, so he moved his free hand down to Fraser's ass and stuck it in the back pocket of his jeans, squeezing slightly along with Fraser's rhythm. Fraser either hadn't heard or was convinced to ignore it, because he started on the tendons between Ray's neck and shoulder then.

Ray felt like something was missing, though, so he tugged Fraser's hair to get his attention, and when Fraser raised his head, Ray lunged forward and kissed him aggressively, fucking his mouth with his tongue. Fraser made a deep growling sound Ray could feel in his own chest and dug his fingers into Ray's ass hard enough to leave bruises. They rocked together like that for a few more beautiful, gasping minutes, until the inevitable happened.

Ray thought maybe Fraser'd started to come first, but only by about a second. As they jerked together, he gentled his grip on Fraser's neck, and softened the kiss until it was just barely there at all, just maintaining contact. Fraser likewise let up on Ray's ass, but left his hand there, which Ray thought was the perfect place for it.

When all the after-shocks had died away, Ray let his head thunk back against the fridge. "Wow," he started, meaning to go on with something like that was different or maybe when can we do that again? The teakettle, however, chose that moment to whistle, making them both jump a little. Fraser laughed.

"What's funny?" asked Ray, as he flailed around trying to turn off the burner.

"I was thinking your kettle has exceptionally good timing. But I don't think we'll need any tea now, do you?" said Fraser, moving the kettle off the heat.

"Nah," said Ray. "Maybe a shower, though."

"Oh. Yes. I ... suppose that would be ... prudent."

Ray felt a smile building from way deep inside. "Absolutely. And I must insist on giving you some clean shorts to wear, at least."

Fraser furrowed his eyebrows. "I don't think your shorts will fit me, Ray."

"Really? Well, I can't let you walk home like that, now can I?" The smile broke free then. It felt good.

"No," said Fraser slowly, "I suppose you can't."

"Good, then, it's settled. Come on. Shower and bed, in that order."

Fraser smiled then and said, "As you wish, Ray," and damned if it didn't sound like "I love you."