For akamine_chan by Dessert First

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Title: Again, This Time
For: Akamine_Chan
Pairing/Characters: Fraser/Kowalski
Warnings: NC-17
Vidder's/Author's/Artist's Notes: Happy holidays! I hope you like this, Aka.

"I love you," Ray says during the commercial break, halfway through the Leafs game he knows Fraser has been looking forward to for weeks. There's even bark tea and a pineapple-free pizza. It might not be the stuff of great romance, but Ray figures all this stuff is as close to romance as the Mountie would ever get, so when he guesses the moment's right, he takes a deep breath and just says it. It falls from his lips almost easily, been in his thoughts and on the tip of his tongue for so long, it seems.


Fraser just stares at him.


Ray gets a sinking feeling that he just really, really fucked things up for good. "Uh, symbolically."


Fraser nods, still looking a bit wide-eyed. "Well," he says, his voice hale and hearty and completely fake. "Thank you for the pizza, Ray. Diefenbaker and I should really be going. We have an early morning tomorrow."


Diefenbaker grumbles in protest as Fraser all but pushes him out the door, and Ray feels like such a heel he doesn't even bother pointing out that the game's not over and tomorrow's Sunday.




"Okay," Ray says, talking fast before he can change his mind. It was hard enough getting Fraser to set foot in Ray's apartment again; he can't afford to fuck this up again. "So, forget the love. We can, you know--how do you feel about sex?"


Fraser turns so red Ray's afraid he'll set off the smoke alarm. "Ah, sex, Ray?" he stammers, buying time.


Ray rolls his shoulders, gearing up to stand his ground. He's committed. "Yeah, Fraser. Sex. Definitions vary, but it generally involves two or more people achieving physical gratification in some proximity to each other."


"That's... a beautiful sentence, Ray." Fraser tugs his collar, eyes staring off vaguely. "Fairly naughty, and not the most poetic, but..."


"Oh, there's more where that came from buddy, believe me." Ray knows how to press an advantage when he has one. He leans in close, whispers in a low-pitched voice, slow as molasses, "Non-reproductive, purely physical, dissolve-all-your-inhibitions copulation."


Letting go of his collar, Fraser twitches.


"No strings. No commitments. No declarations." Ray chases his words down with a soft, slow lick along Fraser's earlobe.


"Well, I--"


"Mutual masturbation," Ray breathes hotly into Fraser's ear. "Intercourse." He bites gently at the point of Fraser's jaw. "Fellatio."


Fraser shivers.


Oh, yeah. Ray hooks his finger in the collar Fraser has by now abandoned and reels him in, all the way to the bedroom.


"But it would--" Fraser gasps as Ray removes the lanyard, "It would be wrong. You said--"


"I said it was symbolic, Fraser." Ray undoes the Sam Browne and drapes it neatly on top of the dresser before Fraser can protest. Fraser's belt and tunic follow, and Ray must really fucking love this guy for those ridiculous pants not to make a dent in his attraction.


"But I don't--"


Ray shuts him up, fast, with a kiss that ends up hasty and sloppy and a whole lot less like a supernova than he'd imagined their first kiss would be. But that's okay, because this isn't a romance.


What this really is, is a con job. Whether Fraser buys it or not, he'll have an excuse to fall back on: totally symbolic love, friends with benefits. That will be Ray's gift to him. Plausible deniability.


And sex as hot as Ray can make it.


So he keeps unbuckling and unbuttoning and unzipping until he's got Fraser bare, miles of Fraserskin all pale and soft over firm, hard muscle. He's got some scars, and Ray touches them gently, learns the feel of Fraser's history written out on his skin, but Fraser's muscles start to lock up under Ray's hand and he's about a second away from shying like a startled horse. So Ray quits that, cuts short the exploration and turns the touch into a grip, a grab, a grope, and Fraser likes that, Fraser's with him, Fraser's eating it up, standing there stark naked while gripping and grabbing and groping right back at Ray through Ray's clothes, palming Ray's cock and oh, Fraser means business, Fraser wants it now.


Ray pushes him onto the bed and Fraser drops like a stone, looks up at him all flushed and eager and so damn beautiful. Ray shucks his clothes and climbs onto the bed, onto Fraser, braces himself up over him and kisses his sweet, lush mouth.


This isn't how he pictured it, but damn, it's exactly how he pictured it. Fraser tastes like heaven, feels like it too, is bucking up into Ray's body and holding onto him like he never wants to let go.


It feels just like the real thing.


He keeps on kissing Fraser, loses himself in the rhythm of their bodies thrusting against each other, their cocks lined up so sweetly, and who the hell says Fraser can't dance?


"Ray," Fraser is gasping. "Ray." His fingers bite into Ray's skin, and he keeps calling Ray's name like he's trying to tell him something. Ray breaks the kiss to breathe, braces himself up and looks down at Fraser, looks at him with the Mountie mask cracked open, hair plastered to his temples with sweat, lips red and swollen, pupils blown to black.


Ray breathes in once, a sharp gasp of air that rushes into his lungs like a stab. He presses his mouth to the curve of Fraser's neck, kissing the skin, breathing in his scent. Fraser moans, blunt fingernails digging into Ray's biceps, and they rock into each other, the pace increasingly frantic. Ray bites down on Fraser's shoulder and Fraser lets out a choked-off scream, coming helplessly, warm cum splashing between them. Ray keeps thrusting into the slick mess until Fraser moans and wraps a strong hand around Ray's cock, looking up at Ray with heavy-lidded eyes as he jerks Ray until he tumbles right off the edge, sparks shooting down his spine as he comes.


When he comes back to himself, Fraser is looking up at him, one broad, capable hand gently stroking Ray's back almost as if Fraser is unaware of it. Ray wants to kiss him, but there is something wild and scared in Fraser's gaze, so Ray just slides off Fraser's body, closes his eyes, and lets himself drift off.




He wakes up alone, deeply unsurprised, turns over and smashes his face into the pillow for a while. Weekends were made for sleeping in.




When he finally drags himself out of bed, he heads straight for the shower, cleaning off the flaking mess from last night, washing his hair, letting the warm water drum down on him soothingly. When he's good and pruning up, he finally shuts off the water and steps out. Towels himself off with the thick, warm green one from the set Stella bought and actually let him keep, wraps it around his hips and wanders into the kitchen in search of coffee, still half-asleep, the wooden floor cool beneath his bare feet. Maybe he'll even have some of that multigrain toast Fraser likes to make him eat.


He stops dead when he gets a look at his living room.


Fraser is sitting there, hands clasped neatly in his lap, posture ramrod straight. He isn't wearing his full uniform, just the Henley, pants and boots. "Good morning, Ray," he says. "Or good noon, I suppose would be more accurate."


"Fraser? How long--I thought you took off last night?"


Fraser looks away, seeming suddenly fascinated with the chili pepper lights in Ray's kitchen. Which is bullshit, because it's day, so the lights aren't even on. Nothing really exciting to look at there. "I did," he finally admits. "I had a very... well, I had a very long walk. And I--you lied to me, didn't you, Ray?"


His eyes are wide and blue and so fucking lost Ray doesn't know what to do with himself.


"Hey," he says. "I--you want some breakfast? I could go for some breakfast. Still got some of those steel-cut oats you like somewhere, and there's tea in the--"


"Ray," Fraser says, and why did Ray do this? Why did he think it would be worth it? Why did he imagine for a second that he could touch Fraser and pretend?


Ray isn't half the con artist he thought he was.


"Yeah, I... yeah." He runs a hand through his damp hair, feels droplets of water fall on his bare shoulders, feels Fraser's gaze follow them. For the first time feels a chill, wishes he were wearing a little more than a damp towel. Like maybe a suit of armor.


"Why?" Fraser's voice is so plaintive, so lost, and Ray doesn't ever want to hear that again.


"Because it's not a crime, Fraser, okay?" Ray squeezes his eyes shut, turns away, but he can still see Fraser there in his mind's eye, uncharacteristically small and forlorn. "It's not a fucking crime to love you, for you to let yourself be loved. It's not a crime to let yourself love somebody back."


Fraser looks like he's been slapped. "I trusted you. You said." His gaze darts around the living room, lands on his tunic, and he stands, snatches it up, and heads for the door.


"Fraser!" Ray dashes to the doorway just in time to catch a broad red back swiftly heading down the hall. "Fraser, what the fuck?" Ray's halfway out the door when he realizes that slight chill he feels is actually due to being half naked.


He darts back into his apartment, slams the door and kicks it. "Why the hell did you want to talk about it if you weren't going to like the answer?" The door has nothing helpful to say.


Looks like Ray's a pretty good conman, after all, even if it's only at conning himself.



Things are okay when they meet up again, even though they're really, horribly not. Fraser shows at the precinct on Monday just like always, his uniform neatly pressed, buttons shining, and no one would ever guess it had been lying in crumpled pieces strewn about Ray's apartment just a few days earlier.


Ray looks, but there's no shadow of the guy who dug bruises into Ray's shoulders, who bit his own lips cherry red as he gazed up at Ray. All Ray sees is the Mountie, and Ray nods to himself and shoves the Delaney file over to Fraser, lays out all they know so far about the dodgy uncle, and they go about their day.


There's something wrong with his chest, but he doesn't want to think about it.


Time goes on, and so do they.




Dief is whining, low and steady and irritable. It's too hot for Arctic half-wolves, Ray thinks, but the sun feels good on his skin, stretched out on an old blanket in Fraser's favorite corner of the park.

"I still must disagree," Fraser is saying, his tone pretty much a match to Dief's irritable grumbling. He's keeping the volume down, but Ray's awake, has been for some time, so he doesn't miss a word. "Well, it's not like wolves are known for their mastery of human social conventions, now is it?"


Dief snorts, and there's a rustle as if Fraser is flipping another page on that sheet music he brought along.


Incredibly, sometimes Ray forgets how deeply weird Fraser is. Fucked up beyond belief, yeah, but also really, really weird. It seems if pumpkin pants can't kill his love, nothing can. They should write poems about that, Ray thinks as he really does drift off to sleep.


He thinks, for just a moment, that there are hesitant fingers in his hair.




"Fuck this," Ray says, and he knows Fraser will go along with it, is exhausted, wrung out like a worn dishrag now that the case is finally over. Can't say no to Ray, can't keep pretending. "You're coming back to my place."


Fraser shakes his head, but it's a token gesture, nothing more. He's too worn out to even toss out an "I couldn't possibly, Ray," which is downright scary.


Ray just drives him home, puts him to bed, tucked into Ray's sheets like he belongs there. Ray wants to kiss that pale forehead like his mom used to do for him when he was little, wants to prove there's no monster in the closet, wants to find a way to make Fraser feel safe enough to take his rest.


He grabs a pillow and blanket and goes to bed down on the couch.




It's a pretty sweet dream. Ray is floating, warm, safe, and someone is touching him gently, so gently. It feels like tenderness, and in the dream Ray feels himself unwind a little, let himself get used to the soft hands on his body, the soft mouth on his skin. It feels like benediction, like Ray will never be cold again.


When he reaches out, his sleep-clumsy hand lands on thick, soft hair, just barely long enough to curl round his fingers, and Ray thinks, <i>Fraser</i>. And that's nice, that's a real nice dream.




His bedroom is empty when he gets up in the morning, no sign that anyone was ever there at all except that it looks neater than it did before he brought Fraser home.




Ray doesn't know why he keeps thinking that's a good idea, but he knows himself well enough to figure it's not something he'll be stopping anytime soon.


There's something nagging at him, though, something he ought to remember. About a dream, maybe. He heads into the kitchen, makes some coffee, considers his breakfast cereal options. Eats slowly, washes the lone bowl and mug and spoon and leaves them to dry.


When it hit him, he starts running out the door before he's even thought it through.




Fraser's at the Consulate, of course, doing his weekly hat-ironing and boot-polishing ritual, his Canadian way of kicking back and relaxing, letting it all hang out. Dief is observing him, chin propped up on his paws, long-suffering look on his wolfy face.


"Fraser," Ray says. "You're an even bigger con than I am."


The Mountie frowns. "I beg your pardon, Ray?"


"Fingers! In my hair!" Ray's evidence is pretty incriminating, even if it's not exactly rock solid.


"I don't--"


"I love you," Ray says.


Fraser pales.


"You don't have to say it back, but you gotta stop lying about it, Fraser. This is it." Ray gestures wide, taking in Fraser, Dief, himself, the cramped little office, the Consulate and any career ambitions Fraser might have had. "This is your life. Your one shot. Maybe I'm your shot, too. Don't you wanna take it? What'd you ever do that's so awful this is all you get to have?"


The Mountie falters, takes a step back, and Ray thinks he gets to see a bit of the real person hiding in there.

Fraser sits heavily on the edge of his cot, a million looks passing over his face. He steels himself, sets his jaw and Ray thinks, This is it. Ray gambled it all on a couple of dreams, fucking hallucinations he made up because he was so starved for a little human contact, a little kindness, some hint of connection. Fraser never touched him, not like that. Ray should have known that.


But he can't regret this moment, because he's taking his shot.


He sits next to Fraser on the cot, and when Fraser's tentative fingers take hold of Ray's hand, Ray smiles and waits to see what will happen. He's an optimist, yeah, and maybe a little delusional, but he can't help thinking it might be something good.

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Oh, Fraser.

I loved this, Seekrit Santa!

I loved the ambiguous, unsettled ending.

I really loved Ray's beautiful sentence, and Ray being thinky enough to give Fraser plausible denial.

And this:

"Because it's not a crime, Fraser, okay?" Ray squeezes his eyes shut, turns away, but he can still see Fraser there in his mind's eye, uncharacteristically small and forlorn. "It's not a fucking crime to love you, for you to let yourself be loved. It's not a crime to let yourself love somebody back."

*pets broken Fraser*

And then it gets worse with:

Fraser looks like he's been slapped. "I trusted you. You said."

This is my very favorite kind of story, where the sex doesn't fix the problems, where Fraser and Ray are still hiding themselves and sometimes lying to themselves, where they are broken and possibly unfixable.

Thank you, Seekrit Santa, for crafting a story so uniquely suited to me.

*loves on story*

*goes to re-read it again*

Aw, Aka, I'm so glad you liked this!! Your Dear Santa letter was a goldmine of inspiration, so thank *you* very kindly, indeed. :)

Leyna Author Profile Page said:

Oh, Fraser! So damaged, but still unable to conceal his tender gestures (carrying Ray to bed, the hesitant fingers in his hair *melts*) Great Kowalski pov, too.

Thanks! I'm really glad you liked those aspects of the story.

V Author Profile Page said:

This is gorgeous. *loves*

Oh, this was hot and angsty and sweet, and hopeful, and a little unsettled. I liked it very much!

Wow, what lovely feedback. Thank you so much! I'm glad the "unsettled" factor worked for you. :)

Oh, this is delicious. Poor, sad, screwed up Fraser needs love, too. I have a big old button for hair-stroking, and I feel...well pressed. Thank you, seekrit santa.

"Poor, sad, screwed up Fraser needs love, too."

Awww. Truer words, Vee. Truer words.

Glad you liked this! (I, too, am a sucker for a little hair-stroking.)

pir8fancier said:

Really, really fine characterization. Hearts this muchly.

Thanks! I'm thrilled you liked the characterizations.

lamentables Author Profile Page said:

"Mutual masturbation," Ray breathes hotly into Fraser's ear. "Intercourse." He bites gently at the point of Fraser's jaw. "Fellatio."

Fraser shivers.

Fraser isn't the only one!

I loved Ray's seduction technique. I also loved the fact that though the sex is good it doesn't magically make the relationship work.

Thanks! I'm so glad those elements worked for you. Aka's Dear Santa letter was very specific about how saying "I love you" or having sex don't necessarily fix things, so I really wanted to explore that here.

Linden Author Profile Page said:

Great story. It felt very immediate...Somehow I felt very close to Ray in this one.

Great opening paragraph, really grabs you from the get-go, and I too liked Ray's second attempt, seducing Fraser with fancy words for fucking *g*

The sex was *hot*, you know, and this exchange:

"I don't--"

"I love you," Ray says.

Fraser pales.

was wonderful.

What lovely feedback, thank you! It's wonderful to hear you felt close to Ray as you read this. I'm happy Ray's seduction technique made you smile, and I'm extra glad you thought the sex scene worked. Yay!

Poor fucked up Fraser. I love that ray of hope at the end.

Thanks! I'm glad you found the ending hopeful. I do love those boys.

Ache-y but oh-so-good. I love that Ray is willing to let Fraser run away, but determined enough to keep trying for something.

Thanks, my dear! Glad you liked the story, and that Ray's determination worked for you. Sometimes I wish I had that kind of courage.

Oh, boys. They are so messed up, and yet they're messed up in really complementary ways. Yay Ray for not giving up. :)

They totally are messed up in complementary ways! Lucky they found each other.

Jade Lennox Author Profile Page said:

This is wonderful. Fraser is so broken, and it takes Ray a long time to build up the self-confidence to recognize that and work around it. Or through it, or something.

The sex words scene is fabulous.

I'm so happy you liked the sex words scene. It was fun to write. And I'm delighted the story worked for you. Thanks for letting me know!

galenlisle Author Profile Page said:

I really liked this! I always envisioned Ray making the first move this way, just blurting out that he loves Fraser. And I can definitely see Fraser needing some time to deal with that.

Thanks so much!

"I always envisioned Ray making the first move this way, just blurting out that he loves Fraser."

I'm so, so glad that worked for you. I feel like sometimes love is just too big for Ray to keep quiet or be refined about.

Awww. I was feeling so sad for them, but the ending is just perfectly just hopeful. Yay!

I'm glad the ending worked for you! The boys deserve some hope.

Meres Author Profile Page said:

"Mutual masturbation," Ray breathes hotly into Fraser's ear. "Intercourse." He bites gently at the point of Fraser's jaw. "Fellatio."

asdfghjgfds. Well. Who could resist that?

Also, oh Ray. That's not going to be enough.

In other news, I love love love this. Somehow, one night after reading DSSS fic until banana o'clock I skipped this one. No idea how. I see this unfamiliar title is written by DESS so I know it must be awesome. Did not disappoint.


Oh, thank you so much, Meres. What a lovely thing to say. I'm glad the seduction scene worked for you. Hard to resist at any time, is our Ray, but when he gets all wordy... Fraser hasn't got a chance.

And yes, oh, Ray. It really isn't going to be enough, for anyone. But I love that he's the kind of person that will still try, will be tenacious in pursuing love. *hugs Ray*

OH, RAY. every time i think i can't possibly love him more, a story like this comes along. this is just wonderful, dess. ray's so brave and fraser's so perfectly strange. it's heartbreaking, but ray's matter-of-fact reaction to what's happening SAVES it AND him. JUST LOVELY.

and OH:

But that's okay, because this isn't a romance.

What this really is, is a con job.

i just. OH. RAY.

OH RAY INDEED, my friend! That's such a sweet thing to say about the ever-expanding Ray-love. It's fascinating that this character has taken on such a life of his own through this wonderful fandom.

And I love how you phrase your description of Fraser as "perfectly strange." That's so interesting. I'm glad you liked the story!

I think sionnain captured my own feelings about this fic perfectly:
...angsty and sweet, and hopeful, and a little unsettled.

Particularly the 'unsettled' part, which I think adds a real strain to Ray's experience, despite how proactive he tries to be over and over again. Sure, that's not "happy" but it makes the whole fic pull together with a realism that might otherwise be lacking. Well done!

Thank you so much for the wonderful feedback. I'm so glad you liked the story. I'm delighted you found the strain to add to the realism.

You know, I don't usually shoot for not-happy stories, but this was especially for Aka, who likes such things, and sometimes that's the way a story wants to go. It's good to hear it worked for you.

Oh, I like this very much. I love how Fraser is so closed off to the extent that Ray loving him is a frightening concept, I love how Ray is so brave and honest even when Fraser's telling him he's a liar, and I love how difficult it is, how there isn't a magic solution.

Ray shuts him up, fast, with a kiss that ends up hasty and sloppy and a whole lot less like a supernova than he'd imagined their first kiss would be. This is so heartbreaking. Poor boys :( But a lovely story! Thank you for sharing ♥

Dessert First said:

I can't believe I missed this comment! Um, six months later, thank you! It was really interesting to explore Fraser's fear, so I'm really glad it worked for you. Thanks again!

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This page contains a single entry by Dessert First published on December 16, 2008 12:04 AM.

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