Fraser, being Fraser, saw it as a personal failure. Like he should have been able to hear the marksman cock the rifle from three buildings away over the sound of downtown Chicago at rush hour? So Ray had brought him back to his apartment when their shift finally ended. He'd hoped for pizza, beer, and some quality unwinding time, but what he got was a Mountie with a martyr complex the size of Alabama.
"Look, Frase, I'm freezing the family jewels off here. Come on buddy, come back inside, huh?" he yelled over the roaring wind.
Another ear-rattling boom and the sky lit up long enough for Ray to get a fix on his partner. He was huddled against a vent on the other side of the roof, soaked to the skin and shivering. For once, Fraser had left the red serge at the Consulate, but the thin RCMP-issue shirt and form- fitting jeans were no defence against the elements.
"Shit, Ben," Ray sighed when he was crouched at Fraser's side. "You’re gonna get new monica if you don’t come in."
Fraser glanced up. "Do... d..d..d..do you mmmmmmean... pneumonia?"
Grinning a little, Ray tried to wipe some of the water away from Fraser's face. He wasn’t that stupid. He knew what the right word was; he'd just wanted to get Fraser to react. "If that's the one where you drown in a pool of your own snot, then sure."
Fraser ducked away from his hand, unwilling to accept comfort. "It sounds like a terrible fate, and one I surely deserve," he slurred.
Damn, the whiskey had been a bad idea. It had taken all of Ray's considerable skill to get Fraser to drink even one sip of the fiery alcohol, but once he’d started, Fraser hadn’t seemed able to stop. Ray doubted he would ever forget the moment Fraser had relented, snatched the glass and downed the contents in one long swallow. After several minutes of lung-wracking coughing, Fraser had handed him the empty glass and demanded more. Ray should have heard alarm bells right there, but he'd been so fucking pleased with himself that he'd gone ahead and poured out another two fingers worth.
It hadn’t taken much to get Fraser wasted. The guy had probably never drunk anything stronger than cider in his life. They'd argued about Fraser’s martyr complex, then Fraser had stormed out of the door and they’d wound up on the roof. Go figure!
It was cold up here, and the wind and rain were making things worse. Fraser's dark nipples seemed to be trying to poke their way through the thin white shirt.
"Aww come on, Fraser! That's nuts..."
"Duty, Ray! Duty. I have failed in my duty and that is totally unaccept-ababble!"
Ray gave up and slid his ass onto the wet concrete. "What am I? Chopped liver? We were both there, if you remember. If you failed, then so did I."
That seemed to give Fraser pause. When he did finally speak, his words came so softly that Ray had to bend close to hear them. "That's how my father died, do you know that, Ray? Shot once in the head. Died instantly. I wasn’t there. Couldn’t help. Couldn’t stop it...."
"Shit!" Ray put his arm around Fraser's shoulders and pulled him in tight. "You been carrying this around with you all these years? This whole thing is about guilt over your dad?"
Fraser's face disappeared into his hands and he began to shake. Ray didn’t have a clue what to do. Hell, guilt he knew. Guilt, he understood. Hadn't he carried a shitload of it for years himself? Couldn’t be the big man his father wanted him to be. Couldn’t be the high-flying husband his wife had wanted. Couldn’t provide the kids, the grandkids. He’d told everyone that Stella didn’t want kids, but they'd been trying for years before tests showed he was firing blanks.
Yeah, he knew guilt, but he had no idea how to ease it in Fraser. He'd tried breaking out the hard stuff and look where that had taken them. To a roof in the pouring rain.
Fraser turned to him then, burying his fingers deep in Ray's waterlogged hair. "I always lose, Ray," he whispered. The pain in those few words tore at Ray's heart. "I always lose the people I love."
Ray blinked back tears that no one would even notice him shed. Not in this driving rain. "Hey, laying your heart open is a risk, buddy, but what's the alternative? Spend your life alone, heating up TV dinners and jerking off in the shower?" Ray's hand came up, fingers tracing Fraser's jaw line. "Ben, you have the same rights as anyone to love and be loved. Don’t let it build up like this inside you. You gotta let it out."
Fraser tried to pull away, but Ray held on tight. The struggle was brief. Fraser sagged against Ray and mumbled. "I can't. I don’t know how to ask for what I want."
The sky lit up again and Ray pulled Fraser to his feet, holding him at arms length with shaking hands." No one but me here, Ben. Just say what you really want. Just...yell it all out. I promise, you'll feel better." Ray's thin jacket whipped around his hips, spurring him on, reminding him how powerful the storm was and how easily they could be blown right off the roof.
For a moment, Fraser stared at him like he had a hole in his bag of marbles. Then his face changed, a strange acceptance settling about his features. He took a deep breath, looked Ray right in the face and said doubtfully, "I don't want to live at the Consulate any more?"
"Good, Ben, good. What else?"
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow, "I um... I don’t want to be at Inspector Thatcher's beck and call for the rest of my life."
As he spoke, Fraser's body language changed subtly. He began to straighten up. His head came up and his stance strengthened. Ray let go of him, confident that he wouldn’t run again. "What else? There's more. That's what you don't want. Tell me what you do want."
"I want to drink whiskey whenever I feel like it, and eat hamburgers, and forget to polish my boots occasionally, and I want to have a family and ...and I want to smoke a cigarette..."
This revelation was accompanied by a clap of thunder, which Ray found quite hilarious. "Atta boy, Frase. More!" Seeing Fraser like this, elemental and wide open, practically baying at the moon, gave him a huge kick. Fraser's hair was glued to his skull, his clothes plastered to his body, and he was shivering, but he'd never looked so alive, so real to Ray.
"I want someone to love me for who I am, not what I am!" Fraser was shaking his fists in the air now, seeming to dare the storm to drown him out if it could. "With no strings! No secrets. No crime involved whatsoever!"
Ray punched the air and whooped loudly, barely feeling the cold or the rain anymore. "More, Ben, more. Let it all out!" One last rumble of thunder punctuated Ray's ecstatic words.
And suddenly those blue eyes were on him, wide and wild with passion. "I want you, Ray," he said into the sudden silence of the night. "I want you."
Still clutching Fraser's soaking shirt, Ray felt like he was teetering on the edge of a precipice. He'd had no idea. No clue. But now, if he had any doubt about what exactly Fraser meant, he just had to look at the longing and the need in those eyes. Fraser wanted all of him. Body and soul.
Ray didn’t hesitate. He didn’t need to. Blinking back the rain, he took a step forward, closed his eyes, and stepped off the cliff. He didn’t think about the risk, didn’t think that maybe this was the drink talking or that maybe Fraser would be embarrassed about it later. He didn’t give any of that one single moment of worry, because now that the genie was out of the bottle, there was no going back.
He'd unleashed the real Benton Fraser. The one he'd always known existed under all that spit and polish.
Fraser's fingers were on his face, tilting his head, holding him exactly where he needed to be. The kiss was slow, wet, sizzling hot. He could taste the whiskey Fraser had drunk. It was intoxicating in a whole new way. Ray felt heat rise inside of him, making him oblivious to the elements, and he groaned, pressing closer to the answering heat of Fraser's body.
The pelting rain had sensitized his flesh so that when Fraser's fingers crept beneath his sodden shirt, he gasped, arching even closer. Fraser's fingers burned against his skin, dropping him to his knees.
Faced with Fraser's belt buckle, Ray wasted no time on questions. Fraser wanted him. Fraser wanted this. He pressed his face into Fraser's groin and rubbed his cheek along the distinct bulge he felt there.
"Oh, Lord!" Above him, Fraser's head was thrown back. He was bracing himself against the wall with one hand and he was panting. Jesus, what a sight! It was madness to be doing this up here, in the rain, where anyone could find them, but there was no way Ray could wait long enough to get Fraser inside, much less all the way to his apartment.
He tugged open Fraser's jeans, and gently worked his cock out from the confines of his oh-so-proper white boxers.
He took a moment to stare. He'd very deliberately not allowed himself to look at Fraser's cock before, but seeing it now, fully erect and throbbing with need in the palm of his hand, took his breath away. Rainwater dripped down its length. Fraser was uncut, but so turned on that the head of his cock had already pushed past the extra skin. Ray licked his lips and leaned forward, putting his tongue out to taste him. Salt and rain and sweat and musk all mingled to make the most incredible flavor. Ray already wanted more.
"Oh!" Fraser moaned, swaying alarmingly. Ray wasn’t at all sure his partner could manage to stay upright long enough to do what he had in mind, so he took him firmly by the hips and swung him around to face the wall. He squeezed himself into the small space between Fraser’s legs so Fraser's body would shield him from most of the rain.
"Both hands on the wall," he ordered, "lean on it as much as you want."
He could barely get the words out. Fraser's cock rubbed across his cheek, poking at the shell of his ear, and he needed it back within licking range. He tugged Fraser's jeans down as far as his wide stance allowed and gently guided his cock back into his mouth with one hand, while stroking Fraser's balls with the other. The heavy sacks felt smooth in his hand. Fraser's whole body shuddered, but he didn’t flinch. So vulnerable! So trusting!
For a little while, Ray was happy enough just to run his tongue up and down the heated flesh, but soon Fraser began rocking into his mouth, making tiny, needy noises, so Ray got with the program. Applying just the right suction, he let his throat muscles go lax, cupped Fraser's ass, and enthusiastically encouraged him to let it all go.
"Fuck!" Fraser yelled at the sky. "Oh fuck, Ray, yes!"
Ray had never, ever heard Fraser swear like that. Hot liquid flooded Ray's mouth as Fraser sobbed out his pleasure, and Ray swallowed what he could, his own release taking him completely by surprise. Fraser hadn't even touched him. Those soft cries and gasps from above had been more than enough. The force of his release stole Ray's breath away, and he had to pull back before he choked.
Fraser sank down beside him, wild and windswept. "I can’t believe you let me do that!" he gasped. But before Ray could think of what to say, Fraser was kissing him, shoving his tongue into Ray's mouth and seeking out the taste of himself still there. Damn, it was hot. Ray moaned into Fraser's open mouth as Fraser devoured him.
It took a while for him to notice that he was shaking, and not from the orgasm, but from the chill.
"Uh... Ben,” he panted, when Fraser finally let him up for breath. “Hot shower? Like, now?"
Fraser seemed to shake himself. "Ray. Before we go in. I... I have to know..."
"Will I respect you in the morning?” Ray grinned, helping a wobbly Benton Fraser to his feet. "Morning, noon, night, today, tomorrow. Forever."
Fraser paused at the door to the roof. "Do you mean that? You're not just being... gallant?"
Ray snorted. That was a first. He’d never been accused of gallantry before. And, sure, forever was a long time. No one could promise that. But one thing Ray could guarantee was that he would stick with Fraser as long as the Mountie would have him.
"You. Me. Partners. That'll never change, Frase."
"Partners, Ray." Fraser's smile lit up his face even through the dark and the rain. "Partners means sharing, Ray." Fraser opened the door and waited for Ray to step through.
There was something about Fraser’s tone that made Ray realize he was about to witness one of Fraser's rare attempts at humour.
"So they say. Got something specific in mind?"
Fraser smiled shyly. "Not espess.. expess... not really, Ray, no. I just wondered--do you favor the left-hand side of the bed?"
"You want to share my bed?" Coming from Fraser, it was tantamount to a marriage proposal.
Ray thought about that for a moment and decided that he kinda liked the idea. Smiling widely, he stepped through the door.
"I do." Ray grinned, "But don’t get any ideas about trying to carry me across the threshold. You've had way too much to drink."
Fraser looked so damned confused that Ray had to pause for a moment to kiss him. "Never mind. Just know this one thing. Share my bed: share my life. It's all the same thing. If that's too much commitment for you, we end this right now. Clear?"
Fraser nodded. "Oh, yes, that’s perfectly clear, Ray. I've been totally committed to you since the moment you took a bullet for me on our very first adventure together."
Ray felt himself getting choked up again. He hurried down the stairs so Fraser wouldn’t see what a giant sap he was. "Greatness, let’s get inside before we both die of new monica."
For once, Fraser didn’t try to correct him. Instead he pressed close while Ray fumbled with the door keys, and he whispered in his ear, "Shall we have a drink to celebrate?"
Ray almost fell into the apartment, but he still managed to whirl around, grab Fraser, and prop him against the wall. "Buddy, I'm never letting you near alcohol again. Think I got a pack of smokes around here somewhere, though, if you still want to try that vice on for size."
Fraser's grin was absolutely filthy. "Perhaps later, Ray. There are a few other vices I would like to try first."
"Gotcha, Frase," Ray gasped, as Fraser's teeth closed gently, maddeningly, on his neck. "I gotcha."