The guy that had been sitting behind him in the church, he was sure he'd never met. That was one face he would have definitely remembered. He was seriously built, just Ray's type. He liked 'em big; bigger than he was at any rate, and it helped that the guy wasn't exactly ugly.
Ray surreptitiously watched him standing at the graveside all by himself. He figured him for an intellectual, but way more attractive than most science geeks he'd ever met.
After the coffin was lowered, Ray turned away quickly, hoping to make good his escape before anyone could invite him to the wake. He really didn't feel like socializing these days.
"Excuse me." A soft voice behind him made him turn back to find the good-looking guy smiling shyly at him. "I was wondering if you're going to the wake? I'm from out of town and I could use a lift."
Ray licked his lips, looking him up and down. He knew he was being obvious, but the guy met his frank regard unflinchingly. He found himself wanting to get to know this man a little better. What harm could it do? He grinned and held out his hand. "Ray... Kowalski," he introduced himself, hesitating a little on his surname. Even nearly a year after the undercover gig was up, it still felt weird to be back to his own name.
"Daniel Jackson. Pleased to meet you." The handshake was firm and strong. Ray held on a little longer than necessary, enjoying the pleasant tingle shooting up his arm. Oh yeah, he was getting a definite ping from Mr Jackson. Maybe something good would come out of the day after all.
Daniel raised his glass and let it chink softly against Ray's. He could hardly believe that they'd been propping up the bar for over three hours. By a stroke of luck, the wake was being held in the same hotel that Daniel was staying in.
He would have made his excuses hours ago, had it not been for Ray Kowalski. Ray was a very entertaining guy and Daniel was really enjoying getting to know him. He was glad that Ray seemed willing to all the talking about his life as a Chicago cop and his adventures with his colourful Canadian partner because Daniel wasn't sure Ray would swallow his usual cover story. The guy was sharp as a tack.
Right now, Ray was telling of the most recent adventure, where they had wrapped up a case involving Russian submarines and decided to go on a quest to find the Hand of Franklin. Daniel was acquainted with the history of Franklin and admired the two men greatly for deciding to go after a dream like that. He watched Ray's face shining brightly as he told of Constable Fraser leaping onto a horse and riding off after the bad guys, of the hours he'd spent patiently teaching Ray everything he needed to survive in the biting cold of the Northwest Territories, of the weird Inuit tales he would tell as they sat around their campfire at night.
Daniel listened and smiled, hearing the obvious love Ray had for his partner radiating out from every word. "So I take it you didn't find the hand?" he smiled, swirling the contents of his glass around and watching the ice melt.
"Nah, we had to come back home. Neither of us could really spare the time. I came back to Chicago, Frase stayed in Canada."
"Oh?" That surprised Daniel. He'd been sure that the two men were more than friends, by the way Ray spoke, and he felt a flush of embarrassment colour his cheeks. Perhaps he'd jumped to the wrong conclusion here?
"There was no reason for him to come back with me," Ray said flatly, staring into the amber liquid of his own glass. "He was a big damned hero up there after the case. They welcomed him home with open arms. He only stayed here because he had no where else to go."
Daniel drained his glass placed it carefully on the bar. Despite the fact they'd been standing at the bar for hours, neither of them had actually drank that much. He could hear the hurt in Ray's voice and knew he hadn't been wrong. Ray had been in love with his partner, just like Daniel was in love with Jack.
At first he'd held back because Shaur'e was still out there, but it had been six months since she'd died, and he still hadn't been able to bring himself to tell Jack the truth. He was too scared of losing what he already had; Jack's friendship. "Is he still up there?" he asked quietly, placing a hand over Ray's on the bar. Grey eyes met his, confused at first, then clearing.
Ray broke the intense look, shifting his gaze to the hand covering his. "Up until a few months ago he was, yeah. Then he accepted a promotion and a transfer back down here to the Consulate. We don't work together anymore, but... you know, I see him socially sometimes. It's not the same."
"I know what you mean." Daniel got slowly to his feet, licking lips gone suddenly dry with nerves. He was about to do something he never ever did, partly because he was lonely and tired of waiting for Jack to notice he was alive, and partly because he wanted to help ease some of this gentle man's hurt. "Would you like to come up to my suite for a while? Things are getting a little rowdy here."
Ray would either take it as the proposition it was, or he would politely turn it down, no bad feelings. Daniel felt the sad eyes rake him from head to toe, could almost feel the waves of indecision. "I'd like that," Ray said finally, placing his own glass on the bar and getting to his feet.
Daniel smiled and led the way to the elevator.
Ray leaned back against the elevator wall, hands thrust deeply into the pockets of his dark grey pants. This was nuts! This was insane! Why the hell had he agreed to this? He never picked up strange guys in bars. Never!
Granted, Daniel was a looker, and he seemed to genuinely understand. He seemed to know that this was what it was; the scratching of a mutual itch, not hearts and flowers by a long shot.
Just two guys using each other. It sounded really dirty when he thought about it in those terms. Before, down in the bar, it had seemed like the most natural thing in the world. This guy was offering him no strings attached sex. What was wrong with that? Why did it feel like some kind of betrayal?
Daniel was staring down at his shoes, and he looked like he might be struggling with some of the same issues. Ray cleared his throat and pushed away from the wall, coming to stand shoulder to shoulder with Daniel. "You okay with this?" he asked.
Daniel sighed and turned his head a fraction so that he could meet Ray's eyes. "Honestly? I'm scared out of my mind," Daniel laughed nervously, shaking his head in confusion. "I've never actually picked up a stranger in a bar before."
"Me either," Ray grinned, suddenly feeling like a shy schoolboy. He felt his face redden and he looked down at his own shoes. "I mean, I'm not a virgin or anything like that. Don't get the wrong idea..."
Daniel looked up sharply. "Oh, me either. I hope you didn't think..." They both stopped talking when the lift doors opened on Daniel's floor. Daniel pushed his thumb against the door button to keep them from sliding closed and glanced over at Ray. "How about we just have a nightcap, then see what happens. No pressure?"
Ray felt himself relax a bit. This guy really did understand. He smiled and nodded his assent.
Daniel let them into his hotel suite, flicking on one of the bedside lamps before kicking off his shoes. He was much more used to combat boots than these shiny leather things that had been pinching his feet unmercifully all day. He watched Ray go over to the minibar and examine the contents before turning to face him. "Nice room," he said, glancing nervously about.
Daniel shrugged and dropped his overcoat onto a chair. "It's better than a lot of places I've had to stay." He shrugged out of his jacket, loosening his tie and unbuttoning the top button of his dress shirt. Even if nothing happened between him and Ray, he was determined to feel comfortable. He was aware of Ray's eyes on him as he moved around the room, dropping the swipe card on the nightstand, fetching glasses for their drinks, then finally he walked over to Ray and placed the glasses on the bar.
"Rum, vodka or whiskey?" he asked.
Ray's eyes lifted, scanning Daniel's face intently. His tongue poked out, wetting down his lips and Daniel felt a twitch of interest. Ray began to unbutton his suit jacket without taking his eyes off Daniel's. "Just so you know - there'll be no kissing," he murmured, letting the jacket drop to the floor behind him.
Daniel gulped. Ray might have had his doubts but once he came to a decision, he obviously went for it. Daniel was fine with the no kissing rule. Somehow, kissing seemed too intimate. Not that what they were about to do wouldn't be intimate, just kissing was... kissing was something he was saving.
"Fine," Daniel replied, taking a step closer, feeling the heat radiate from Ray's body. "And just so you know - there'll be no penetration either." Another thing he was saving, for all the good it would do him. He knew it made no sense, but it was important to him.
"I'm all over that," Ray agreed, tugging at his tie, but Daniel's fingers came up and closed around the ends of the tie, using it to pull him closer still.
Ray was a really sexy man, with long legs and a wiry strength. This was probably what Jack had looked like when he was younger. Daniel knew that was what had first drawn him to Ray. "I want you to know that this is a one night stand only. I'm in love with someone else." Daniel said softly and Ray got it.
He smiled and ducked his head to nuzzle gently at Daniel's neck. "I hear ya. Maybe sometime you can tell me all about him?"
But Daniel knew that he wouldn't. He couldn't bring himself to talk about Jack. This wasn't going to be a lasting friendship, this wasn't going to be two guys becoming best buddies and getting all their darkest secrets off their chests. This was just about the sex.
Daniel let his head tip back to allow Ray better access. He couldn't afford to think about Jack now.
He couldn't afford to think about anything.
Ray closed his eyes. Daniel was well built, muscular, more so than Fraser with his extra layer of subcutaneous fat, but similar enough that it would be so easy to just imagine... to let himself believe that it was Fraser's hands sliding his tie off over his head and unbuttoning his shirt. But that wouldn't be fair, not to Daniel, or to Fraser, but mostly to himself. Fraser was not a person he could have in his bed, and he was better off not thinking about it.
Daniel had made short work of his shirt buttons and was tugging it roughly down his arms. In his haste to get Ray naked, he'd forgotten about the cuffs, and the shirt wouldn't come right off. Ray felt trapped and vulnerable standing there with Daniel's hands roaming freely all over him. He couldn't touch back, but oddly, it felt good. Almost like some of the responsibility for this had been taken away.
Daniel bent his head and mouthed Ray's nipple, gently sucking on the hardening nub until Ray moaned and arched his back, his dick straining inside his pants. He tried to remember the last time he'd felt the rush, the flood of adrenalin making his heart pump faster, making his blood thunder through his veins, but it had been too long. Maybe since before the divorce. Could it really have been that long?
Daniel reached for Ray's zipper, sliding it down one tooth at a time. The sound of it seemed freakishly loud to Ray's ears and he struggled to get the shirt off his wrists so that he wouldn't have to stand here with his hands behind his back. If the pants were coming off, he wanted to be able to hold onto something. Daniel's head preferably. His hair looked really soft and Ray wanted to thrust his fingers into it, close them into a fist and hold him immobile.
Daniel undid Ray's belt and placed his hands gently on Ray's hips, using his thumbs to run tiny circles in the hollows of his hipbones. Ray threw his head back and groaned deeply. That felt great. It felt beyond great. His hips were already moving, tiny micro thrusts that merely set up a small amount of friction between the seam of his trousers and his dick.
Ray knew he wasn't going to last long, but judging by Daniel's shallow breathing, neither was he, and that was just fine. Getting off as quickly and as spectacularly as possible was the whole point wasn't it?
Finally getting his hands free of his shirt, Ray slid both hands into Daniel's hair while Daniel roughly shoved down his pants and shorts. The blast of cool air against his dick brought him back to reality for a moment and he became aware that while he was all but naked, Daniel was still fully clothed and rubbing himself desperately against Ray. He didn't think that Daniel really wanted to come like that, so he shoved him back against the wall and reached for his belt.
"Hurry," Daniel moaned moving restlessly against Ray.
"Just tryin' to even things up a little," Ray grinned, finally getting the belt undone and the zipper of Daniel's dark blue pants down. He shoved the pants and boxers down as far as he could reach then ran his hands gently up inside Daniel's shirt. "God, you've got the most amazingly smooth skin," he observed, catching a nipple between finger and thumb and squeezing.
"Ray!" Daniel breathed, letting his head fall back against the wall. Ray couldn't drag his eyes away from Daniel's lips. They'd agreed, no kissing, but those full, glistening lips were so begging to be kissed that it was hard to remember the rules.
Ray shoved one leg between Daniel's thighs, gasping when the other man immediately began rubbing off against it. It was so hot, and the noises Daniel was making were driving Ray out of his mind with lust. He could barely hold back. Grasping the edges of Daniel's shirt, he ripped it open, ignoring the buttons flying off all over the room. Daniel still wore his tie, but Ray managed to haul the shirt off his shoulders, leaving the tie dangling down his smooth chest.
"Fuck," Ray panted, biting and licking Daniel's bared throat. Daniel's hands were on his ass, holding him open, pulling him closer as they ground frantically together. "Wanna taste you! Let me taste you."
Daniel's moan was deep and heartfelt. "Shit, yeah," he agreed, letting go of Ray's ass so that he could slide to his knees.
Daniel had the most beautiful dick Ray had ever seen. Long and thick and cut so that the head, moist and pearled with pre-come, was right there in front of him. His mouth watered, but he took a moment to breathe, to take in the sight and the smell of it before closing his eyes and taking it into his mouth. Damn but that felt so good. It had been way too many years since Ray had had a blowjob, far less given one.
"Oh, yeah," Daniel whispered, carding his fingers hesitantly through Ray's hair. It was obvious he wanted to hold on tight, but he wasn't sure if Ray would be cool with that. Ray was very cool with it. To show how cool he was, he cupped Daniel's ass and tugged him forward roughly, letting go then repeating the action until Daniel got the message. With a small grunt, his fingers tightened in Ray's hair almost painfully, holding him in place and he began to thrust steadily into his mouth.
Oh God, that felt incredible. Daniel was making all the right noises, and it was getting real hard to keep the suction going as his hips stuttered and bucked wildly, but Ray held on tight and was rewarded a moment later when Daniel cried out his name and came explosively right down his throat.
Ray swallowed as pulse after pulse of hot semen bathed his tongue until finally Daniel convulsed, let go of his abused hair and slid to his knees with a look of pure dazed satisfaction on his face. "Wow," he smiled sloppily, eyes gone so dark there was barely any blue left.
Ray wiped the back of his hand over his mouth and smiled back. "I'm gonna take that as a compliment."
Daniel was tugging half-heartedly at his tie. "Oh, you should," he drawled, lifting the tie off over his head and looping it lightly over both of Ray's wrists before tightening the knot. "Now if you'd be so kind as to raise your hands over you head...?"
Ray's eyes widened, but he did as he was bid, wondering what the hell Daniel had in mind. A moment later, he found himself stretched out on the floor with his hands tied to the leg of the bed. He had a brief moment of panic when he realised that he'd just let a man he'd only just met, and knew nothing about put him into a very vulnerable position, but when Daniel shouldered in between his thighs and began licking his belly, his fears evaporated. Besides, the knot wasn't very tight. He could easily get out if he wanted to.
Daniel was a very thorough person. Not one square inch of flesh went unlicked. By the time he finally took Ray's cock into his mouth, Ray was writhing around on the floor begging for it. He wasn't even aware of what he was saying anymore, but he knew his mother wouldn't have approved of his language.
"Jesus, Daniel... for fuck sake... finish it!" he panted harshly, straining against the restraints until he was sure his wrists must be raw. He clung to the tie desperately, unwilling to free himself completely, knowing that he needed to feel held down in order to be able to let go.
He could feel Daniel's finger brushing against his entrance and he might have yelled out something, he wasn't sure, because Daniel swallowed him to the root just as he slipped that finger inside and Ray's world exploded into a myriad of fractured sensations.
"Jesus... Jesus...Jesusfuckingchrist YES!"
Daniel was untying his wrists when Ray finally came back to earth. He held out a hand and helped him get shakily to his feet. They stood looking at each other. "Thanks," Ray smiled, flushing with embarrassment, "I really needed that."
Daniel went to the bathroom and returned wearing a white bathrobe. He handed another one to Ray. "You want that drink now?" he asked.
"Sure. Um, whiskey would be nice."
While Daniel busied himself pouring their drinks, Ray shouldered into the robe and sat awkwardly on the end of the bed. They'd just done stuff that would normally have taken Ray months to work up to. He'd really surprised himself. Daniel handed him a glass of whiskey then sat down next to him on the bed.
"Ray, who's Ben?"
"What?" Ray spluttered, choking on his drink.
"You yelled out his name. I was wondering who he was?"
Ray raised his glass to his lips, looked sideways at Daniel and took a deep swallow. "Ben is Fraser's first name."
"Ah," Daniel nodded. "You love him?"
"Insanely. But it ain't gonna happen. Fraser is straight."
Daniel slipped his free hand around Ray's waist, up his back and into his hair. "Same with Jack."
Ray laid his head on Daniel's shoulder and they sat for a moment in companionable silence. "Life sucks, huh?"
Daniel sighed deeply. "Oh yeah. You think you'll ever tell Ben how you feel about him?"
"Doubt it. As far as Fraser is concerned, I'm his partner, his buddy. Nothing more. I value his friendship and don't want to lose it."
Daniel drained his glass then got to his feet. "Yeah, I hear ya. It's a huge risk. Mind if I use the shower first?"
Ray shrugged. He knew he should be getting back home. It was late and he should call a taxi. No way was he fit to drive. But his mind kept going back to what Daniel had just said. That coming clean and admitting your feelings was a risk. He'd been hurt before, and was afraid to be hurt again so taking risks with his heart was not something he'd even thought seriously about. Until now.
Once he heard the shower go on, he got dressed and reached from the phone by the bed just as the damned thing began ringing. He nearly jumped out of his skin, and reflexively he answered it.
"Um, no he's in the shower... it's um, Ray here. You want me to go get him?"
"No," the strong, masculine voice on the other end answered cautiously. "Just tell him... tell him that Jack called. I'm... sorry I interrupted."
Before Ray had a chance to assure Jack that he wasn't interrupting anything, he'd hung up and Daniel had appeared in the doorway with a towel draped low around his hips. "Who was that?" he asked.
Ray chewed on his lip. "Um, Daniel, you and Jack might need to have a talk when you get home. He sounded like he'd jumped to all the right conclusions. I'm sorry."
Daniel sighed and flopped down onto the bed beside Ray. "Don't be. It's about time he knew. He'll get over it soon enough." Daniel shrugged, "Might even make him sit up and take notice. You never know."
Ray bent forward and planted a small kiss on Daniel's forehead. "I better go. Thanks for tonight. I hope things work out okay for you with Jack."
"Thank you, Ray. I hope things work out for you and Ben."
Ray let himself out and headed for the elevator, feeling more relaxed and happy than he had in a long time. They hadn't exchanged phone numbers or email addresses. They would probably never see each other again, but for a few short hours they had been exactly what the other had needed.
Daniel had shown Ray what he was missing out on, and how much of a coward he was being by not telling Fraser the truth. He had no idea how the Mountie would take it, but first thing tomorrow morning, he was damned well going to find out.
Ray stepped out of the hotel lobby and looked over at his car, parked by the kerb. He realised that he'd forgotten to call a cab from Daniel's hotel room, but there was no way he was going to drive himself home after all the whiskey he'd consumed. With a deep sigh, he pulled his collar up higher and stepped out of the hotel awning with his head down only to find his way blocked by a pair of brown leather boots.
Stopping dead in his tracks, he looked up into Fraser's shadowed face. "Hey, buddy. What are you doing here?"
Fraser took his hat off and began turning it around and around. "I was taking Dief for a stroll, saw your car and..."
Ray glanced up and down the street but couldn't see the wolf anywhere. "I was at a wake," he explained, wondering why the hell Fraser looked so nervous. The Consulate was only a block or so away, and if he'd been a little more awake, he could have called Fraser anyway and asked him to come drive the car. But of course, he didn't have that many brain cells still functioning. "I was just about to look for a cab."
Fraser nodded, clearing his throat, and then licking his lips, but whatever he wanted to say, it wasn't coming out.
"Frase, where's the wolf?"
"I um, I took him back to the Consulate."
Ray fished his keys out of his pocket and handed them to Fraser. "You did? So why...?"
"I've been waiting for you to come out. I didn't want to... interrupt your... liaison, so I waited here."
Ray stopped dead in his tracks. "My... what?"
"I've been here for over an hour, Ray. The first time I entered the hotel, you were just getting into the elevator with a very nice looking young man in glasses. By the way his hand rested on the small of your back, I assumed you were intimate, or about to become so. Was I wrong?"
Ray gulped. Try as he might, he couldn't read Fraser's expression at all. Was he freaked? Was he disgusted? Was he perhaps hurt? "You weren't wrong," he whispered, placing both hands on the roof of his car and leaning his forehead on them. "His name's Daniel. He was a friend of Pat's."
Fraser unlocked the car and slipped silently into the driver's seat. Ray took a moment to clear his features and climbed into the car. Fraser was staring straight ahead, his face expressionless. "Ray, why didn't you tell me?"
"That I like men? Oh sure, I was gonna tell you that. Mister straight-laced, Dudley-do-right, never-waver-from-the-right-path Mountie. I was gonna tell you that. And have you freak out on me?"
Fraser turned very slowly in his seat and fixed glittering eyes on Ray. "I'm not freaking."
Ray blinked. No, he wasn't freaking. He looked a little sad, and perhaps a little angry, but he wasn't freaking.
"Ray, didn't you ever wonder why I never dated in all the time we worked together? "
"Figured you were just shy... or terminally stupid. So what you sayin' here? You like guys too?"
Fraser's face lit up in a wide smile. "No Ray, I just like you!"
Ray shook his head in wonder. Looking up at the hotel, he identified where he thought Daniel's hotel room might be and offered up a mock salute. Then he turned back to Fraser.
"Drive me home, Frase. I think it's time you and I had a little talk."
Daniel looked down from the window at the black GTO pulling away from the kerb and smiled. If he wasn't very much mistaken, the Mountie was about to get his man. Turning from the window, he walked over to the nightstand, picked up the phone and dialled. A moment later Jack answered.
"Hey, Jack, you called?"
There was a moment's hesitation and then Jack cleared his throat. "Daniel, I'll be at the airport to pick you up tomorrow morning. We need to talk."
"The time for games is over Daniel. From now on, the only guy answering your bedside phone after midnight will be me. Clear enough?"
Daniel couldn't help the smile that split his face. "Are you getting territorial on me, Jack?"
"You bet your ass I am. See you tomorrow."
The line went dead and Daniel lay back on the bed still cradling the receiver. "Good job I saved it for you then," he grinned.