Disclaimer: This is a work of fanfiction, written purely for fun.

Author's Notes: This is a follow up to uniform kink story by rispacooper titled, Don't Tell Me Turtles Don't Laugh. It's over on her LJ and tis marvelous. This story will make much more sense if you read her story first. We are egging each other on to better and more perverse kinks. Bring it on, baby. Hats off for another stellar beta by jamethiel_bane. Thanks, sweetie, sorry it was so rough around the edges.

"No arguments, you hear me?"

"Yes, Ray, it would be virtually impossible not to, as you are shouting at the top of your lungs."

"Look, you're gonna have a dead wolf on your hands otherwise. Just stay here while I'm away. That frigging Consulate must be like an oven by now."

Since I could not dispute that last statement, as the Consulate is currently sweltering, I said nothing. Being made of bricks, the Consulate is actually cool for the first few days of a heat spell; however, more than three days of hot weather and the bricks absorb the heat. We were in week two of a particularly brutal heat wave. Never, never do I miss home more than when encased in a regulation RCMP dress uniform—do I even need to mention that it's 100% wool—with the temperature hovering at ninety-five day after day and the humidity at 90%. By 11:00 a.m. my socks are wringing wet inside my boots.

"Heat's gonna break Tuesday. I'll be back Wednesday night."

I still said nothing, but unfortunately Ray knows me.

"Can the passive-aggressive bullshit, Fraser," he snapped. "Tell me you'll stay here. If only for Dief's sake."

At that Dief let out a strangled woof. Despite being 7:30 in the morning, Dief lay splayed in front of the air-conditioning unit housed in the window of Ray's bedroom, trying to catch every stray bit of cool air. I could not in good conscience tear him away from whatever small relief he could glean from the heat. Arctic wolves are not bred for Chicago summers. Therefore, I stifled an equally testy reply. Since my return from Canada three weeks earlier, the atmosphere between me and Ray has been uncharacteristically strained.

I nodded.

"Greatness!" Ray basked in his victory with a one-two punch in the air. "My flight gets in at five on Wednesday afternoon; I'll take a cab back. Then we can get a bite to eat." The long-winded blare of someone leaning on a horn sounded. "Fuck, there's my cab." Ray threw open the window. "Keep your shirt on. I'll be down in a minute," he yelled and then slammed the window shut. "Fucking Frannie, booking me on a… Do not give me that look, Fraser. It's Sunday, seven fucking thirty and I should be asleep, not on my way to the airport. Okay, see you in a… Oh, Christ on a raft, I've got toothpaste… My favorite tee-shirt… Goddamit… Why can't they invent invisible toothpaste…"

That begged for a comment, even though I was fairly certain it would not be met with much "greatness" on Ray's part. "That would make brushing one's teeth rather difficult. How would you know when it's on the toothbrush?"

"Don't start with me, Fraser," growled Ray as he threw his toothpaste-stained tee-shirt into a corner of the room and grabbed another out of what I hoped was a clean basket of laundry. "One would know, okay? I'd know. Toothpaste dribble is like a black shirt magnet. Or maybe it's the other way around. Just frigging leaps… Keep your shirt on!" he yelled at the impatient cab driver, who had begun leaning on his horn again. Who would certainly be unable to hear Ray through the closed window, although I imagine his neighbors above and below did.

Ray pulled on another tee-shirt, and was, indeed, still threading his arm through the second hole when he scooped up his duffle and was out the door with a gruff "Later."

I heaved a metaphorical sigh of relief, even as I called out, "Have a safe flight."

We'd had strained periods during our partnership, our friendship, but all disagreements had been met with Ray's forthright, take-no-prisoners style, as in "Keep it up, and I'm going to kick you in the head, Fraser." At one particularly grim moment that meant rearing his fist back and letting me have it; however, Ray being Ray, he immediately gave me a chance to hit him back.

Ray usually met every problem head on. A shrinking violet not. In fact, sometimes I wish Ray were a trifle less forthright. But ever since my return, we'd been metaphorically stepping around each other, avoiding each other, and snapping at each other without our usual underlying bonhomie. Had Ray intuited my sexual longings in the interrogation room after that strange episode with the mud wrestlers? (Up until that afternoon I would have unequivocally termed "wrestlers" a non-gender specific term, but now it is clearly up for debate). I suppose I shouldn't judge, but for all that Ray calls me a freak and lays quite a bit of it down to my being Canadian, I couldn't help but raise an eyebrow when faced with all that, well, mud. American mud. Not Canadian mud. And women in bikinis in the American mud. American women wrestling in bikinis in American mud. Yes, as I said, twice, I think. Oh. My.

Clearly, the mud wrestling completely unhinged me. To the extent… My uniform! I left my uniform at the precinct, which Ray had thoughtfully returned to me dry-cleaned. To be honest, it wasn't just the mud wrestling that unhinged me. True, I found it quite strange and not a little intriguing from a purely logistical point of view—as in how would you get the mud out of—I am digressing. But if I were being honest with myself, there was the fact that when Ray and I were tussling with the suspect in all that American mud, Ray, if I am not mistaken, and I am sure I am not, had an erection. Ray's erection was, no doubt, in response to the sight of those women in bikinis (one of them quite well-endowed and given the general American male's obsession with female mammary glands, Ray's reaction was not surprising). Ray, while unique in a thousand ways, seems to share this predilection with his fellow American males. A woman with large breasts comes into the bullpen and Ray's pheromones go quite haywire. I can smell him from across the room.

Regardless of why he was erect, the point is that he was erect. Against me. Which inexplicably caused my own erection. I may rail privately against wearing this uniform on a hot day, but believe me, I had no complaints that afternoon because the "pumpkin" pants, as Ray so fondly calls them, hide a multitude of sins. Or "sin" in this case.

I ignored this completely inappropriate response in the ensuing chaos of rounding up our suspect, and the female wrestlers lest they were involved. Unfortunately, once we were back at the precinct, Ray's forearm undid me. The mud caked on his blond arm hair. A bit of dirt on his cheek. And the strange compulsion to lick that dirt off. I do not use that word lightly, and, as a result, I fled. I had to get out of that room and away from Ray and, inexplicably, his muddy forearm. And that damn cheek of his. And the memory of that erection. Because only by the greatest of efforts did I stop myself from grabbing his wrist and bringing his forearm up to my mouth and with my other hand, pressing a palm just there…

Yes, I fled the precinct, even the country, leaving behind one filthy uniform and one American detective with that damn muddy cheek and dirty forearm. And the memory of that erection against my thigh.

I'd been postponing a number of legal details regarding my father's estate and now seemed a perfect opportunity to address those matters. You'd think I'd have leapt at the chance to return home (as I have accumulated, to date, six hundred and forty-two days of leave); however, my father's repeated and irritating appearances rendered him more of a presence in my life than when he was alive—he certainly didn't feel dead—which psychologically made tidying up of his affairs somewhat problematic. He didn't have much, if any, presence in my lifetime while technically still alive, and now to just barge right in like he had the right, left me not a little ambivalent over the issue of his estate. Add that to my new-found reluctance to approach anything even remotely resembling a closet, which did not leave me so much as ambivalent as downright irritated, I'd let matters lay fallow.

The episode with the mud-wrestling bikini-clad wrestlers decided the issue. It was either run for the border to meet with solicitors (a sufficiently plausible excuse for an immediate departure), or ruin my friendship with Ray by committing an insane act that could only be construed as both "freakish" (and not in a good way) and sexual. The act of licking another's man's arm and then following it with a lapping of his cheek would be interpreted as a blatantly sexual act in both Canada and the United States, of that I am certain.

However brief my sojourn in Canada and the ridiculous amount of time spent in solicitors' offices, it left me with plenty of time to ruminate on the issue of Ray and passion.

I am a Catholic in Presbyterian clothing. By that I mean that I have a passionate nature, but was brought up by those who not only scorned passion, but mistrusted it. My grandparents were exceptional people, living examples of why duty, service, and honoring one's obligations are noble and decent virtues, which I embrace wholeheartedly to this day. Unfortunately, the zeal with which they instilled duty and obligation into me was only matched by their fervor in trying to stamp out the passion that is also an integral part of my character.

Who knows what manner of head-shaking went on in the dark of night over the genetic make-up of the woman their son had married, because I imagine it was impossible for them to imagine this exuberant little boy who had been dumped in their laps as being a "Fraser." As I grew up and my deep-seated love of learning (and an innate skill with knives, guns, and traps) became evident, it put to rest any further concerns on that score. But what to do about this lively child?

What they did was stomp on this passion. In the most humane and loving fashion, mind you, but they did their level best to eradicate every hoot and holler and display of temper. The Canadian Frasers would have been perfectly at home in some Scottish Kirk. As a child I learned early on that crowing over one's accomplishments was certain to be met with marked disapproval, while effacing one's victories and plowing forward with nary a look back was met with a small smile. Similarly, a venting of anger (no matter how justifiable) received a stern look, while swallowing one's rage was met with a nod. Imagine a child who has, in effect, lost both his parents, and will, therefore, do anything to keep the adult figures in his life happy because if not, they might leave him. I was a quick study.

To all intents and purposes, they succeeded. I channeled all that energy into duty and obligation, embracing the tenets of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police with a fervor that marked me as both an exemplary recruit on paper and something of a nut in situ. I learned to squelch this passionate nature of mine. I could not deny it completely, I found that impossible, but I could manipulate it. Or so it seemed.

I have learned since that you cannot deny this passion. The following metaphor will serve: I might have been saying my prayers in a bare Presbyterian chapel, devoid of anything that might remotely be deemed "popish," nevertheless, I still peeked in Catholic churches to marvel at how beautiful their religion was. It was a beauty that I didn't understand and yet was completely captivated by.

Which I suppose is a perfect description of my brief relationship with Victoria Metcalf.

What I felt for Stanley Raymond Kowalski in that interrogation room was pure unadulterated passion. The last time I felt that way, I was running to catch a train with a known bank robber, and Raymond Vecchio put a bullet in my back to stop me. If I have learned one thing in my thirty-nine years, it is that my passion betrays me every time.

Ray's apartment was a study in, well, Ray. It held the remnants of his old life with Stella (trophies from their dance competitions), but enough of his post-Stella life that I think that he might actually be healing. Assistant State's Attorney Kowalski would sooner put a fork in her eye than have a bicycle grace her living room wall. I doubt even Ray believed that some sort of reconciliation is possible at this point. Over the last few months something has shifted. He no longer lives his life as if she is going to walk in that door. His bowling ball isn't stashed in the far corner of the closet; he has added to his chili lights; and posters of 1980s punk rock bands have been tacked to the walls. It was very Ray.

It was also very messy. Surveying the living room and the jumble of newspapers, bills, CD cases, and tools, I could only wonder what he needed that socket wrench for?

Surely he wouldn't mind if I vacuumed.

By 2:00 p.m. I had vacuumed the entire apartment, minus the patch where Dief lay, taken a spare toothbrush and a gallon of bleach and eradicated all mold in Ray's bathroom, re-alphabetized the CDs (that did take some thought, but my knowledge of Ray gave me some insight: by band name and the first name of the artist). That enormous stack of old newspapers in the corner and the grimy state of Ray's windows demanded my attention. A quick trip to the small grocery store on the corner…

There is nothing like ammonia, newspaper, and elbow grease to clean windows. A rather vigorous scrubbing of Ray's kitchen cabinets resulted in scratching the paint beyond repair, so there was nothing for it but to take Ray's car and buy sanding paper, primer, and paint, and then stop by the consulate for supplies. By midnight, Ray's entire kitchen had a new coat of paint: white for the cabinets and a nice cheery yellow for the walls. It seemed silly to paint just the cabinets when the whole kitchen really needed it. I had debated whether or not to replace the linoleum while I was at it, but Home Depot had already closed.

I slept like a baby, with no thoughts of Ray, erections, arms, or dirty cheeks.

The heat wave had not yet abated when I returned Monday evening. Dief was still parked in front of the air-conditioner, however, the large bowl of ice cubes that I had placed next to him that morning before I left was empty, meaning his tongue and possibly his neck were still operational. After a hearty greeting (and a snap of jaws in return; I bit back a, "Try being in boots and a wool coat," but that seems churlish given his coat), I replenished his water. In such haste to get out of my wool prison, I nearly ripped a button off. Stripping down to my shorts, I sat down next to Dief in an attempt to stave off impending heat exhaustion. My repeated requests for him to share the cool air were met with the flick of one ear and a snarl. Generosity, thy name isn't Diefenbaker.

Could a day be any more boring and horrible? One more request on the proper way to fill out a 408A form and I would go stark raving mad. The tedium of the Consulate without the possibility of a phone call from Ray liberating me, "Get your ass over here. I need someone who can speak ancient Mayan," is tedium indeed. Not to mention the Inspector Thatcher factor. Her natural demeanor borders on difficult—not that I would ever admit such to Ray—but the unrelenting heat has made her positively trying. Running a Consulate in a city she hates with a staff she hates (well, I don't think she hates me so much as I annoy her to no end; Turnbull, she hates), combined with this unholy heat, has her snapping our heads off the minute she enters the Consulate's door. Turnbull is so undone by the heat he almost snaps back.

Despite Diefenbaker's refusal to share the cool air, within fifteen minutes I had cribbed enough minute wisps of cold to return to functionality. I hauled myself up, drank four glasses of water (which I had placed in the icebox that morning), took a freezing shower, ate a large spinach salad, and proceeded to dust Ray's apartment.

Those rags he buys for buffing the GTO are truly amazing. They work their magic on wood as well. Of course, some lavender oil, beeswax, and lemon peel is God's answer to a dusty roll-top desk, and I wish Turnbull would stop buying that horrible Pledge, which isn't polish so much as… Well, anyway.

Ray's desk was, like his floors, something of a nightmare. He would, if here, no doubt protest that the piles are organized. This is, of course, utter nonsense. Ray uses this same excuse when referring to his desk at work. There is no method in that madness; I doubt it existed here. I did not bother to hide a smirk as bills were mixed in with flyers for weight loss (the last thing Ray needs) and housecleaners (something he should seriously consider). His electricity bill had written across the top, "CALL SHANNON RE JUICE." It was overdue by three weeks. Thank goodness the heat spell was predicted to break by tomorrow. With Diefenbaker's current mood, there was no telling what he would do to Ray should the electricity be shut off. Bite off a toe, possibly.

I began organizing this mess into designated piles and in the middle of all this paper was a miscellany of photographs. On top were several pictures Francesca had taken of the two of us at the last Christmas party. I looked…happy. How odd. Francesca had taken them with us unaware. I am reacting to something Ray is saying. By turns, I looked amused, skeptical, dubious, slightly mocking, entertained, and, yes, happy. I will guess that this was the point in the evening where we had had the discussion about the aliens that live inside Ray's computer. The same aliens that hide Ray's files. On Ray's mess of a desk. As per the usual, Ray's face was much more animated than mine, but he, too, was happy, giving me a variety of patented "Ray-ish" expressions that all boiled down to, "Give it up, Fraser, I ain't conceding." Francesca had demanded that everyone don Santa's hats, and in the last photo of the two of us, Ray's hat is perched on the side of his head defying gravity. He's hoisting a bottle of champagne up to his mouth, challenging me with a saucy slit to his eyes; my mouth is pursed in chastisement. I smiled; he resembled nothing so much as a naughty elf.

Beneath these were photos of Ray and Stella. They are very young in these pictures, perhaps newly married. Ray is very, very handsome, that strong beautiful mouth in smile, his eyes crinkled up in amusement at her, the camera catching perfectly well the regard he holds for the woman who will, fifteen years later, break his heart. She is looking directly at the camera, appraising the photographer, almost ordering him or her to take a decent photograph. Even at twenty Stella Kowalski was a force to be reckoned with. I knew Ray quite well, but for the life of me I cannot imagine why he has cobbled together these particular photographs. I set them aside with care.

And began polishing like mad.

I tumbled into bed around one, the apartment pristine. Around eight p.m., nature's demands on Diefenbaker's bladder became too pronounced to be ignored, and he made a tortured ramble down the fire escape, grousing every second of the way. I ignored him, and no sooner did I see the back of his tail than I attacked his treasured spot in front of the air conditioner with the vacuum cleaner. Further scrutiny of Ray's floors convinced me that these floors hadn't been waxed at any point this decade. They needed a damn good polish! It was back to the Consulate. I was beginning to suspect that Turnbull was taking bribes—the plethora of Johnson and Johnson products in the Consulate's utility closet was astonishing. I left a note on Inspector Thatcher's desk that I should be docked the cost of one can of Johnson's floor wax from next month's salary to cover the can I took (after doing the monetary conversion, naturally), with the postscript that I was borrowing the floor buffer for the evening and would return it by eight the next morning.

Is there any smell more soporific than floor wax, lavender, and lemon? I think not.

Ray was right. Thunder clouds rolled in with Tuesday's dawn, carrying with it a humidity so fierce that everything I touched felt damp. The wind had picked up as well, whipping its way up sidewalks and down alleyways, around car tires and women's skirts. The heat wave was going to break today.

I had no sooner made it into the apartment than lightning cleaved the sky in two, with rain pelting the windows. Dief whimpered in relief. I threw open the window, he made a brief howl, and then scampered down the fire escape to wallow in the wet and relative cool. He wouldn't be back until dawn. I turned off the air conditioner and stood by the window, watching him lope down the street, on the prowl in this urban hunting ground. Shake, garbage cans, shake.

I stripped down to just my shorts and stuck my head out the window. The rain soaked my head and shoulders in a matter of seconds. I shivered in delight. Oh, the luxury of being able to indulge in such informality. At the Consulate, I would sooner prance around in my underwear than buy a can of Pledge. Add to that the novelty of throwing all restraint out the window and dousing my head in the oncoming downpour? I suddenly understand Dief's urge to howl. Sometimes there really is nothing else that will do. In deference to Ray's neighbors (that Mr. Crenshaw already thinks I'm several sandwiches sort of a loaf after that unfortunate incident with the chainsaw and the pumpkin pies), I opted for staying mute.

A few more minutes and I pulled myself back inside. Not wanting to soil the clean towels I'd laid in Ray's bathroom, I grabbed his toothpaste-stained shirt (invisible toothpaste! Only Ray would come up with something that ludicrous and endearing) from the laundry basket and rub my shoulders and hair dry. I nearly threw it back into the basket when a whiff of Ray's scent stopped me. Despite the fact he'd showered the morning before he'd left, the heat was so oppressive that he'd sweated a little into it, even though he can't have had it on for more than fifteen minutes. Ray has a particularly masculine smell to him. Tart, a little brisk, with the underlying buffer of cinnamon (most likely due to the gum he chews) and deodorant.

I pushed my face into the soft cotton and inhaled deeply.

It's funny, really. That I wear a uniform is glaringly obvious, but he wears one as well. As sure as I don my serge, Sam Browne, regulation boots, and lanyard most mornings, Ray pulls on a tee shirt, hoists a pair of blue jeans over his slim hips, laces up his "shitkickers," and adds a pair of sunglasses. Suits and Ray are like heat and Diefenbaker. Someone is bound to get hurt if it doesn't stop soon. This teeshirtjeansbootssunglasses persona is as much Ray's uniform as the serge is mine.

His return tomorrow night will be a whine by whine recital of how boring the law enforcement conference was. How "lame" most cops are (emotionally stunted not physically disabled—it took me some weeks to figure out why Ray kept calling Dewey "lame" when his gait was perfectly normal as far as I could tell). The price of drinks at the hotel (which is always astronomical, but the one time I suggested that Ray save money by ordering a glass of water he scowled at me and grumbled, "Yeah, right, and Paul is dead," a reference that baffles me to this day). There's little variation on this theme, but Lieutenant Welsh in his wisdom has devised a clever way for Ray to amass his continuing education hours. He keeps Ray more or less hostage in a conference hotel in a strange city for two days, which is a lot cheaper than signing him up for classes here in Chicago and not having him even make an attempt to attend.

I smelled his shirt again. Oh Ray. What a character. What a good friend. I crushed the cotton with my hands and inhaled him…

There. There it was. Again. A heat and a corresponding throbbing.

If Diefenbaker hadn't left I never would have… His snorts of derision would have stopped me, but as it was, it was only me and the storm and Ray's tee shirt.

No, goddamit, no. I will not feed…

Hopeless. Utterly hopeless. Apparently, the only lesson I have learned in unmasking my father's murderer (a course of action I will never regret no matter how many hellholes they assign me to) and my ill-fated love for a sociopathic bank robber (which I regret with every waking moment) is that I am helpless in the face of passion.

Keeping the shirt up to my face, keeping his scent trapped in the folds of the fabric, I brought a palm up to the cotton of my shorts and begin to rub, to circle, to pleasure myself.

Ray says "freak" with nothing but affection, and I suspect it's because Ray understands only too well what it's like to march to a different drummer. Because Ray's beat on the timpani might be different from mine, but no less lonely. It's like my noticing other people who also have a weak back; the careful way they stand up from a sitting position, as do I; that tiny pause to make sure all the vertebrae are lined up. Ray sees that loneliness in me, that difficulty in connecting with his peers, because he shares that unfortunate trait himself. The cop who is not "lame" and pays and pays and pays. I had worked with Ray for less than two weeks before I understood that Ray went undercover because it was safer; being undercover meant there was less Ray Kowalski to take pot shots at. His way is much wiser of course. I just stand there in my bright red uniform and let people fire away.

I eased a sweaty hand past the elastic of my shorts to cup my aching balls.

As much as Ray and I shared a personal philosophy, or perhaps it's more accurate to call it an emotional vulnerability in a profession where any vulnerability can be fatal, I strongly doubt we shared this. Of course, had I paid one whit of attention to Victoria's criminal past (and criminal future) or to the certain destruction of my career in the search for my father's killer? No. Does it matter one iota that the Ray is male? That his crusade to win his ex-wife back is as much a testament to his sexual preference as his love and devotion. I arched up into my hand at the thought of him. Us.

Another whiff and I tumbled sideways onto the bed, holding Ray's shirt up to my face, and grabbed myself. My hands were sure and knowing, the pleasure to follow most predictable. But what if the hand touching me wasn't broad but slender, with elegant and impossibly long fingers and a little tentative? Fingers that massaged and pulled and a wicked thumb that caressed the crown and that little spot to the left.

Dear. God.

The thought of Ray and myself on the bed, together, his smell completely around me, not just a faint reminder on a tee shirt? Heaven help me. I more or less rolled off the bed and hobbled over to his dresser. In my frenzy, I toppled the entire contents of the dresser drawer on the floor, snatched up the oldest pair of jeans, nearly white from repeated washings, stumbled back to his bed, and pulled on the jeans. Although the same height, I am at least twenty pounds heavier than Ray, and I could only get the jeans up to the top of my thighs. The soft worn denim, so loose on Ray's slender frame, was tight around me, so tight I was afraid the fabric might tear as it hugged my thighs, my knees. It was good, a start, but not quite enough. I brought the tee shirt over my head and the cotton stretched, the shirt binding my chest, and I heard the slight rip of a stitch or two as the fabric eased over my shoulders.

It is a mark of the depth of my desire that I cared not.

Yes, perfect. With one hand I plucked at a nipple—through the cotton—and imagined these were Ray's fingers worrying the taut nub. The other hand? Ah. A slow and teasing grip and release and caress and a thumb over the top. Ray would be a giving lover, but that does not mean he wouldn't tease and play and drive one mad. His sense of humor is profound, and combined with his generous nature? I groaned and lifted up my arm, ignoring the scritch of the fabric as a seam gave way, and smelled my sweat now intermingled with Ray's.

You would think that Ray's resoundingly heterosexual bias would dampen my enthusiasm. Hardly. I twisted my hand as it traveled up my length and whimpered at the delicious sensation. My life has been a textbook case on desiring the unattainable, whether it be in the form of a sociopathic bank robber or my heterosexual partner. I always want what I cannot have. And the fact that my fairly limited sexual experiences would seem to indicate that I was, too, heterosexual in nature, was clearly nothing more than hogwash. The sweat beading on my hairline, my harsh panting clearly demonstrated that it mattered not whether Ray was female or male. What mattered was that it was Ray. I wanted him. Passionately.

And I could not have him. Ever.

What is worse is that I know this nature of mine; it will not rest. I will move forward, like a juggernaut, until I demolish and destroy this friendship, this deep and abiding relationship, because that is the sort of man I am, a man who is exemplary, top of his class, except when he desires. Because he does not desire much, it as rare as hen's teeth, but when he does…

All hell breaks loose.

Like film clips, obscene pictures tumble one after the other in my mind, behind my closed eyes. Ray's hands on both nipples, turning, tweaking, teasing. Ray's mouth on me, languid and hot. A warm hand cupping my balls, rolling them in the palm…

All forbidden.

With a vicious twist of my nipple and a rough squeeze I was done, his name wrenching from my lips as my orgasm overwhelmed me.

I lay there in a post-orgasmic stupor, one sticky hand covering my crotch, the other resting on my chest, charting the gentle descent of my heart rate. I listened to the curtains flapping as the wind whipped them to and fro, the soft drip of water from the open window to the sill, the rain having spent itself momentarily.

And the creak of a floorboard.

"Dief?" I whispered.

No answer. No whuff. No click of heels on the wood. Nothing except another creak.


Dear God. No. Please not this, not Ray, not so soon. He wasn't supposed to be home… I have never, in my entire life, experienced humiliation on this scale. My reaction was instinctive; I curled up into a ball, pressing my eyes into my kneecaps, willing him to go away.

"What are my clothes doing all over the… You're wearing my clothes?"

I couldn't even respond. I just curled up tighter with the ridiculous hope that I would, eventually, curl up into nothing.

"You… You've been… Jesus, Fraser, you've been… Fucking-a…"

I said nothing because it was obvious what I had been doing. Despite the open window, the room smelled like sex and sweat.

"You called out my name."

At that I broke.


There was silence, no further creaks.

I started crying, the worst sort of crying. That crying where there is no noise, just the shattering of self, where you cannot even move to wipe the snot from your chin. I had not cried like this since my mother died. Which I suppose in hindsight was fitting, because I couldn't have killed my friendship with Ray any more completely than if I had shot him between the eyes.

The mattress gave underneath me. Pressing up against me, Ray begged, "Aw, Fraser, don't buddy, don't. Oh Jesus, please don't." Which, of course, only made me cry harder, my torso shaking from the humiliation and grief.

I moved to escape the bed, my humiliation, but he grabbed me and held me tight.

"Ssshh, ssshh. Look… Look, it's okay. I get it. It's gonna be all right. You know how I cleaned your uniform for you? Wasn't because I was a nice guy. Was because I am a shit, because I jerked off in your uniform." His breath was hot on my ear; a gentle thumb caressed my cheek. "I put it on and stood at my bathroom sink and rubbed that soft wool between my fingers and jacked off thinking about you. Just shoved my hand down those stupid ass pants, and, Christ, you could have a boner the size of Sears Tower in there and no one would notice. And I jacked off and got jizz all over the pants and the jacket and thought of you." At that I jerked. "Yeah, you. And your body under that uniform and your dick and what your dick felt like in that uniform and I just fucking spilled all over. All over… So stop, please stop. You're killing me here… Don't. Please don't…"

By this time we were both crying. My brave, brave Ray.

He turned me over to face him and wiped my face with a corner of the sheet and then kissed me and I don't really remember the chain of events after that other than I think I roared before climbing on top of him. At some point, he grabbed the neck of his tee shirt and ripped, exposing my nipples to his eager hands. I ran my hands over his jeans and his tee shirt and cupped him through the denim and pulled him out and we rutted against each other's bare stomachs, which were slick with sweat. We bit each other's lips raw, humped against each other like animals, came all over each other, and then fell asleep holding hands.

I awoke sometime late in the night to the sound of a voice. Ray was standing by the open window, making a very poor attempt to whisper at Dief. It was more like contained shouting. "Get your wolf ass in here, or you're on donut rationing for the next two weeks."

The subsequent, "Fucking wolf" under his breath and a lowering of the window meant that Diefenbaker had ascertained that Ray's threats were hollow, which they usually were, and was flouncing off to commit more crimes against the garbage cans of greater Chicago.

"He's been cooped up for days. Let him be," I murmured.

"Hey, didn't mean to wake you up."

He climbed into bed and threw a leg over mine.

"I am sorry about your tee shirt." The remnants of what used to be Ray's tee shirt lay tangled in my feet at the foot of the bed.

He shrugged.

"Just a shirt. You ever do that? You know with a guy?"

I buried my head into his shoulder and shook my head.

"You okay with it?"

I nodded and kissed his neck. Okay? Quite the understatement.

"So you never?"

"No, Ray, I never," I confirmed. "But, we…" I left it at that and threaded my hand through his hair.

"I'm…" He began to fidget, his fingers beating a tattoo on my shoulder. "You gotta know, Fraser… I just, you know… I can't…"

I started to stiffen, because here it was. The rejection. Couched in very nice terms, because even if Ray tells you to "buzz off" he will be nice about it, but when have I ever gotten what I needed? What I wanted. And when I did it was always at a terrible price and now…

He thumped me on the side of the head.

"Quit it. You're getting all stiff and weird on me. I think I'm good with this, but if I have a couple of freak-outs, just roll with it, okay? Plus, I just want to know if this is, you know, you and me together? Because I'm kinda a romantic, and I'm thinking that in addition to telling my het adios, this is the real deal. I'm like those fucking trumpeter swans, mate for life types. Except I think I'm on life number two here, which is kinda not like the swans, but if you factor in that my hetero died and now we're on homo time, I get another crack at it. You think maybe we're swan material, Frase?"

Swan material!

"Yes, Ray, I do."

"Greatness," he whispered into my ear. We snuggled together for several more minutes, and I was nearly asleep again when he said, "This is really cool. You can't pull your usual superior crap on me. I could be a better queer than you!"

I laughed. Maddening, endearing, sweet, spontaneous, wonderful Ray.

"You could try," I smirked and reached for him, all of a sudden very much awake.

The phone rang at 11.27 am. Before I could go into my spiel, Ray yelled into the phone, "You freak!"

"Good morning, Ray. Did you get some sleep?"

"You painted my kitchen and did my floors and my windows and, wow, organized my desk. You are seriously weird, Fraser. Seriously. You gotta donate your brain to science, and I hope I live longer than you because I'm totally positive there's an alien infestation living in your brain tissue."

"Considering your on-going war with the aliens that live in the printer at the precinct, I'm not sure I take that as a compliment. Did you call Shannon? Your electric bill…" My voice tapered off.

"Yeah, yeah. We're cool. Shannon's an old bud at the electric company. Popped her kid awhile back for boosting cars and I gave him a break. Good kid; just needed to ditch his low-life scumbag friends. Anyway, will mail that sucker today, I promise."

"Very good, Ray. I shudder to think what Diefenbaker will do to the tires of the GTO should the air-conditioning cease to function."

"Fucking wolf… Um, Fraser? Why didn't you wake me up before you left? There's eti-whatever in these situations. Even if we're doing the guy on guy thing, you don't sprint out of someone's apartment after… After, you know."

"I thought you might appreciate a lie-in. I had to be here at eight to open up, and I imagine you didn't sleep very well on your trip—"

"Like shit—"

"And since you're not due back at the precinct until tomorrow—"

"Welsh is going to ream me another one for leaving that conference early—"

"Yes, he will. You should have stayed—"

"Christ, you don't know how boring it was. Even worse than the last one he sent me to. All these lame-ass cops trying to prove their dick is bigger than my dick. I'm too old for that shit. And besides, I got Mr. Police Procedural for a partner. You'd wipe the floor with the assholes teaching those courses—"

"Be that as it may, he will not be pleased." I sounded stern, but I was secretly touched by Ray's compliment.

"No, he won't," Ray agreed reluctantly. "Course, you're the only one who knows I'm back—"


"Okay, jeez, I'll fess up that I left early. But only if you take the afternoon off. Don't tell me no; you got nine bazillion hours of leave. Turnbull can man for the phones for four hours without causing an international incident." That was highly debatable. "You got a spare uniform?"

Oh my.

"Pick me up at one."

"Greatness! Oh, what did you do with all my newspapers?"

"Newspapers?" I frowned.

"Yeah, I've been saving the sports page of the Trib for over ten years. Figure they'll be collector's items some day. They were in a corner of the living room…"

Oh. My.