A Dare's A Dare
Author's Notes: Livia wanted a Ms. Fraser story—so I mean! hey! okay! and awwwright! I ended up throwing practically every stupid kink I have into this story—so it's basically one big, overnight bag stuffed with favorite things. God bless and keep Kat Allison for her insight and support; mondo thanks also to Anna, Mia, Gear, and resonant for betaing above and beyond the call of duty. Hope this is what you wanted, Liv!
Ray hooked his fingers around the metal curve of the hanger and pulled the garment bag out of the GTO's trunk. It was the best $12.50 he'd ever spent—okay, so not really, probably getting Plastic Ono Band on CD was the best $12.50 he'd ever spent—but it was right up there with that. He shut the trunk and turned toward the Consulate, swinging the bag around until it was draped jauntily over his right shoulder.
He banged on the front door with his knuckles—just once, to be courteous—before reaching for the handle and pushing into the dim, wood-paneled hallway. Constable Turnbull looked up at him from the reception desk and said, "Good morning, Detective. How may I help you today?"
Ray didn't even break stride. "Here to see Fraser."
Turnbull nodded brightly and reached for the in-house telephone. "If you'd just take a seat, Detective, I'll see if..."
"Yeah, whatever," Ray said and jogged past him to Fraser's office.
Fraser's door was open; he was sitting at his desk, telephone clasped to his left ear while he wrote on a yellow pad with his right hand. He glanced up as Ray walked in and said, "Yes, I know. Yes, he's actually right here. Standing in front of me. Correct. No, that's all right, Constable." Fraser looked up again, met Ray's eyes, and shook his head. "No, really—that's perfectly fine, I'm very grateful." Fraser started to lean down toward the base of the telephone hopefully. "No." Lower. "Not necessary. No." Lower, lower. "No, thank you. Thank you kindly." Fraser quickly pulled the phone off his ear and dropped it into the cradle before it could say more.
Ray grinned at him. "The man's a piece of work."
"Yes, but whose?" Fraser straightened up and irritably tapped his pen twice against the desk. "I confess, Constable Turnbull often provokes me to blasphemous thoughts."
"He has that effect on a lot of people," Ray replied.
Fraser seemed to shake off his blasphemous thoughts with an effort. "I'm sorry—is it something important?" he asked Ray. "I have to write this report; it's due this afternoon. I did tell you that, didn't I?"
"You told me, you told me," Ray said, swinging the garment bag off his back. "I just came by to bring your uniform back."
Fraser frowned at the bag. "My uniform? Which uniform?"
"I picked it up from the cleaners," Ray explained.
"Oh." Fraser's face cleared. "Well, thank you—but you needn't have, Ray."
"I know, but I wanted to." Ray shifted his eyes around the room, wanting to look anywhere but at Fraser's face. Wall calendar with picture of snowy mountains. Paper clip tray with the paper clips in size order. "I mean—all right," he admitted finally, "it was sort of my fault you ended up in the sewer."
Fraser looked down, quirking a half smile, and began to write his report again. "Sort of your fault?" he murmured.
"All right, it was all of my fault." Ray shoved his left hand up through his hair. "I was jumpy, I jumped—I jumped the gun, okay?"
Fraser didn't lift his eyes off the page. "You pushed me into the sewer."
"I thought he had a gun," Ray said defensively.
"It was a flashlight."
"It looked like a gun."
"It looked like a flashlight."
Ray strode over to Fraser's closet and yanked the door open. "Yeah, well, if he'd shot you with that flashlight, wouldn't I look stupid now?" He reached out, grabbed the shoulder of Fraser's brown uniform, and shoved it down the rod to make room.
He could still hear the quick scratch of Fraser's fountain pen behind him. "Well, yes, I suppose you would, Ray. You have a point, albeit a strange one." The scratching stopped and he heard Fraser ask: "Have you ever considered contact lenses?"
Ray hooked the uniform onto the rod and then absently straightened the few other items hanging there. "Can't—they hurt my eyes." He was about to shove the door closed when he spotted a flash of blue fabric. He squinted at it, then yanked the hanger out of the closet: it was a powder-blue silk dress.
"Hey," Ray said, turning around. "You got a dress in your closet, you know that?"
"Yes," Fraser replied evenly. "I know that."
Ray looked up and down at the dress. "Whose is it?"
Ray jerked around to stare at Fraser; Fraser was still focused on what he was writing. "Yours?"
Fraser nodded distractedly. "Mm-hm."
"Yours like you wear it?" Ray pressed.
"I have worn it, yes."
Ray hung the dress on the hook inside the closet door and gave it another searching look. "So what're you telling me? You're a transvestite?"
Fraser straightened his shoulders and didn't quite look at Ray. "I have been known to take up transvestism in the name of justice, yes."
"So it was for a case," Ray said, relieved.
"It was for a case," Fraser agreed, deftly crossing a "t".
"Wow." Ray looked from the dress to Fraser and back again. "That I would have paid money to see."
Fraser glanced up. "Yes, I imagine you would have," he said dryly.
Ray's felt his lips twisting into a smile. "Are there pictures?" he asked, leaning back against the wall.
"Alas, no." Fraser began to write again, adding absently: "Please put that back in the closet before you wrinkle it."
Ray rolled off the wall, reached out for the dress, and then stopped. "Hey. Would you do it again—just for a goof?"
Fraser stopped writing. "A goof?"
"Yeah. So I can see how you looked."
Fraser smiled faintly and shook his head no.
"Aw, c'mon," Ray said. He crossed the room and parked his hip on the edge of Fraser's desk. "Be a sport."
Fraser gave a weary wince and then shifted in his chair. "It's rather a lot of work, Ray."
"C'mon, I dare you."
This seemed to get Fraser's attention; he capped his fountain pen carefully, set it aside, and looked up at Ray. His eyes were dark blue, deep sea blue—dangerous waters, there. "You're daring me?"
Ray smiled slowly, leaned forward a bit, and nodded. "Double dog daring you."
Fraser leaned back in his chair and regarded Ray thoughtfully. "And you're risking—precisely what in this venture?" he asked finally.
Ray stopped smiling. "What do you mean?"
"Well, you're offering me a dare. Only a fool would accept a dare from a man who's not prepared to take one himself," Fraser explained. "You're asking me to go to a lot of trouble. What are you willing to risk in return?"
Ray thought about this for a moment and then raised empty hands. "I don't know—what do you want me to risk?" he asked suspiciously.
"Well," Fraser replied slowly, "I don't see why I should get all dressed up if I have nowhere to go."
Ray stared at him for a moment and then burst out laughing. "Wait, what—you want me to take you out? Are you kidding me?"
Fraser's showed him a smile that was pure challenge. "Not at all. It seems like a fair trade. I'll wear the dress—but you have to squire me to dinner."
"Squire?" Ray repeated, grinning with disbelief. "Dinner?"
Fraser's eyes were glinting. "Yes. And dancing. I dare you."
Ray took a few deep, gasping breaths to try and stop laughing. "Okay, wait, wait—lemme get this straight. You'll put on the dress," he said, pointing at Fraser, "if I," he jerked a thumb back toward himself, "take you out for dinner and dancing?"
"No fuckin' way," Ray declared.
Fraser shrugged, sat forward, and picked up his pen again. "Suit yourself. Please put the dress back into the closet."
Still shaking his head, Ray hopped off the desk and pulled the dress off the hook. The silky fabric fluttered at little as he thrust the hanger onto the rod. Ray pushed the closet door shut, turned to Fraser, and said: "Okay, but I pick the place."
Fraser's head jerked up. "Pardon me?"
"I said, 'okay, I'll do it, but I get to pick the place.'"
Fraser leaned back in his chair, looking surprised and a little bit impressed. "All right, Ray," Fraser said, and Ray could hear the challenge in his voice. "You're on."
Ray grinned, strode over to the desk, and braced his hands on its polished surface. "Eight o'clock all right?"
Fraser looked hard at the wall clock, seeming to consider the question. "Yes. Eight o'clock is fine."
"Fine." Ray reached across the desk and extended his hand. "A dare's a dare—shake on it."
Fraser hesitated for a moment and then shook Ray's hand firmly. "A dare's a dare," he agreed.
"I'll see you at eight," Ray said.
Ray found himself at the Consulate ten minutes early, so he parked outside and stared through the GTO's windshield at the now-dark building. Part of him couldn't believe he was doing this; a larger part of him couldn't believe that Fraser would do it. He was half sure that when he knocked on the door he'd find Fraser in regular uniform. Fraser'd apologize for welshing; Ray'd tease him about it. Fraser would offer to buy him dinner; Ray'd accept and they'd go get burgers or something.
By the time he got out of the car he had completely convinced himself of this scenario. He knocked briskly and the door opened and—
Fraser. He could hardly believe it. Fraser took a small step backwards and seemed to accept his stunned stare with equanimity. "Holy..."
"Is that a compliment or an insult?" Fraser asked, cocking his—her—his—head sideways. His long, red hair sort of swung to the side as he asked the question; Ray hadn't expected the red hair. He hadn't expected how well Fraser would fill out the blue dress either; shit, Fraser really knew what he was doing. The dress emphasized his narrow waist and Fraser had camouflaged his broad shoulders with a sort of shimmery blue gauze scarf pinned over his breastbone. Plus the rack—okay, fake, sure, but damn. Ray let his gaze fall lower, sliding down over Fraser's smooth legs to his feet. Good choice of shoes, he thought dimly: that little strap really made them look convincingly petite. Almost. If you sort of squinted.
"Well?" Fraser demanded, and Ray looked back up at his face. Fraser looked tense—and really sort of pretty. He stepped closer to Fraser and just let himself stare: Fraser'd done something to his eyes to make them stand out. Had maybe lengthened the lashes too—or maybe not. His lips looked soft and shiny and pink—pretty luscious actually, and sorta kissable. Fraser pursed his shiny lips in annoyance and said, sharply, "Ray?"
"You look, uh, good," Ray heard himself say. "I mean—you look sort of like a girl, and sort of like a drag queen. Actually," Ray amended with a frown, "you look a lot like the softball coach at my high school."
Fraser quirked a smile at this, but now it looked seductive and sort of teasing. "Well, I suppose that's reassuring. I might consider a career as a women's sports coach if my career as a Mountie—"
"—goes south?" Ray finished, grinning wildly.
Fraser arched an eyebrow at him. "To coin a phrase. You look very nice yourself, Ray," and this was Fraser Technique Number Four: Go On The Offensive By Changing The Subject. "You wore a jacket."
"Yeah," Ray said, gesturing down at his suit with his hands. He'd put on some of his dancing threads—they were a little retro, but retro worked for him. "I clean up real nice. You about ready to hit it?"
"Hit what?" Fraser asked, but Ray wasn't fooled.
"Hit the street, hit the town, hit the pavement, hit—whatever. Something." Ray reached for the Consulate door and held it open for Fraser. "Or are you chickening out? Cause if you're chickening out, Fraser—"
"Oh, no, Ray," Fraser said mildly. He took a few, graceful steps forward and then smiled at Ray—that odd smile that was pure challenge. "I'm ready."
They stepped out of the Consulate and into Chicago.
It was one thing to see Fraser in drag in the Consulate hallway—weird, but Ray figured that the Consulate was pretty much a site of general weirdness. But it was something else entirely to be in the cool, night air with a Mountie in drag, to find yourself offering him your arm so he didn't break his stupid neck going down the steps in heels.
But they made it down to the sidewalk okay, and it was only a few more steps to the car. Fraser's shoes went click, click, click on the concrete beside him, and Ray realized with a start that he must actually be about an inch or two taller than Fraser, because Fraser was wearing low heels and they were now just about the same height. That took him by surprise, and he stopped by the car and took another hard look at Fraser.
Fraser looked back, eyebrows rising. "Is something wrong, Ray?"
"No," Ray said, and there wasn't—except that he had a whole different sense of Fraser's body now, of the height and width of him. Casually, Ray stood up as straight as he could—and damn, maybe he still had an inch or so on Fraser. Hadda be the hat—that hat really added inches to the guy. Plus okay, maybe he himself didn't have the best posture in the known universe.
"Are you sure you're all right?" Fraser asked softly. "We don't have to do this if you don't want to."
"No, no," Ray said quickly, fumbling his car keys out of his jacket pocket. "I'm good—hang on." He bent and unlocked the door for Fraser.
A ghost of a smile crossed Fraser's face. "Thank you kindly, Ray," he said, and settled himself in the passenger seat, purse in his lap.
"De nada." Ray shut the door and crossed over to the driver's side. He got in, put on his seat belt, and started the GTO's engine.
After a few minutes of driving Ray realized that Fraser was watching him across the dark front seat of the car. He stole his own glances in return—a dark female silhouette, then a flash of red hair and blue dress as they drove through a pool of light, then darkness again.
"You know," Fraser said quietly, "I didn't think you would do this."
Ray barked out a laugh and shook his head. "Me? Hell, Fraser—I never thought you would."
"Ah, but you see, Ray, I've done it before."
Ray turned to stare at him, but Fraser was now looking out the passenger side window, his face obscured by the wig. "Yeah, and you're gonna tell me all about it, right?"
The red hair bobbed as Fraser nodded. "Certainly, if you wish. I'll tell you the story over dinner."
"Okay," Ray said. "Fine. That works."
The nightclub Ray had chosen was literally underground—an arched stone doorway at the bottom of a series of treacherous cobblestone steps. Ray glanced at them, jingling his car keys in his hand. "Hey, I'm sorry—I wasn't thinking about you in heels."
"It isn't a problem, Ray, really." He reached for the banister and carefully took the first step.
Ray couldn't help himself; he gripped Fraser's elbow and began to guide him down. "Careful, take it slow," Ray said sharply.
Fraser looked at him with wide, amused eyes. "Ray, really—I can manage just fine."
"Okay," Ray said, and forced himself to let go of Fraser's arm. "But realize that if you kill yourself, we got a lot of explaining to do."
They made it down the stairs and then stepped through the dank archway into a long, cool corridor. "I must say," Fraser said, looking around curiously, "I wasn't expecting a medieval dungeon, Ray."
Ray smirked at him. "It isn't. Wait." At the end of the corridor there was a door. Ray opened it, and a blast of music echoed off the stone walls behind them.
The room's focal point was the spotlit dance floor: a large wood square now thronging with moving bodies. The dance floor was ringed by white-clothed tables, each marked by a flickering candle. On the right as they walked in was a small podium bearing a leather-bound book; Ray grinned, put his hand on Fraser's waist, and nudged him toward it.
"Vecchio," he told the woman, and shot a grin at Fraser. "Party of two." Fraser just smiled pleasantly.
She glanced down at the book and found their names. "Please come this way."
Fraser followed the woman and Ray followed Fraser, eyes scanning the room as he walked. Thankfully, the place was just like he remembered—mixed and wonky. A straight couple over there, party of four gay men over there, two lipstick lesbians holding hands at ten o-clock. He spotted a seven foot woman wearing a tight leather miniskirt; so he wasn't the only one in here with a drag queen, and that was good too.
The woman had stopped next to a table for two at the far side of the restaurant. Fraser had stopped as well, and was looking back at him over his shoulder. It took Ray a second to pick up the cue—then he darted around Fraser and pulled the chair back with a flourish.
"Enjoy your meal," the woman said and disappeared back toward the door.
Ray pushed Fraser's chair in and took the seat opposite. "So," he began, pulling his napkin out of his wineglass, "what do you think of the place?"
Fraser was looking around the room with interest; it seemed to take him a moment to register the question. "It's very nice. Unusual. How did you find it?"
Ray jerked his head toward the dance floor. "It's on the circuit," he explained, patting his pockets and coming up with a pack of cigarettes. He jerked the pack up and caught one in his mouth. "Stella and me—we used to do competitions," he added, striking a match and cupping it in his hands. "Long time ago. Eons. The ice age," he added, lighting his cigarette and shaking the match out.
Fraser carefully moved his hair off his shoulders. "I see."
Ray took a drag and looked at Fraser through the haze of smoke. "Oh yeah? Do you?"
Fraser just looked at him. "I think so, yes."
"Hmmph," Ray said, and slouched back in his chair. A waiter came by and took their drink orders: Ray ordered a beer, and Fraser asked for a club soda with lemon. A moment later another waiter stopped at the table and recited a long list of specials. Fraser listened politely, but Ray found himself fidgeting, unable to concentrate on what the guy was saying. "Just steak, okay?" he said, when the guy had finally finished talking. "Just bring me—" Ray stopped suddenly and looked at Fraser. "Sorry—you go first."
"It's all right," Fraser said quietly. "I'll have the trout almondine, please."
"Trout almondine," Ray told the waiter. "For the lady. And a steak—medium rare."
"Very good," the waiter said, and disappeared.
"So tell me all about the case," Ray said, once they were alone again. "It wasn't in the file I got."
"No," Fraser admitted, adjusting the silverware in front of him, "it wouldn't have been. It was largely a private matter. You did a favor for an old friend."
"Oh yeah? What old friend of mine was this?"
"Sister Anne—she was the principal at an all-girls' school."
Ray grinned helplessly. "Oh, this just gets better and better." He smoked quietly as Fraser told him the story: how Celine had run away from school, how no women were available to go undercover, how Fraser had volunteered. How he'd gone to the school dance with Ray Vecchio; how they'd spotted Celine's friend Melissa stealing out of the room; how they'd confronted the criminals in the bowels of the school's basement.
"So they really bought it, huh?" Ray asked, stubbing his cigarette into the ashtray. "They didn't suspect anything?"
Fraser licked his lower lip unselfconsciously as he thought about that. "Well, no—not exactly. One or two of the girls certainly suspected that I was...a Canadian."
Ray squinted at Fraser and reached out for his beer. "A Canadian, huh?"
"Yes," Fraser said; he was sitting very still across the table, fingers loosely wrapped around his glass of club soda, which he hadn't touched. "And Melissa was rather upset to discover that I was a man."
"Oh, I bet," Ray muttered. "Years of therapy."
"She felt that I misled her. Lied to her." Fraser seemed to be utterly focused on the bubbles of carbonation in his drink. "But I didn't," he added quietly. "I was myself the entire time. I don't lie, Ray, as you well know."
Ray tightened his hand on his beer glass—it felt cold and reassuringly solid against his palm. Fuck this conversation, he thought suddenly, fuck this evening, fuck this whole stupid idea. He suddenly wanted out of there, wanted to be home and alone and listening to something angry and loud on the stereo in his apartment.
But the dare wasn't over yet. "You want to dance?" Ray asked, brutally adopting Fraser Technique Number Four.
Fraser held his eyes for a moment and then looked away. "Not to this. The tempo's too quick. The next slow one."
"Okay," Ray said tightly. He drained the rest of his beer quickly, then set the glass down with a thunk. "The next slow one."
The next slow one came when they were about halfway through their meal; suddenly the lights changed and the mood softened, and the more aggressive dancers stumbled off the floor, laughing and searching for drinks.
Ray put his fork down with a clatter and stood up, grimly extending his hand to Fraser. He didn't care that Fraser wasn't done eating yet; this was his chance to cross this part of it off his list.
Fraser stared at him for a moment and then nodded almost imperceptibly. He swept his napkin off his lap and dropped it onto the table, then reached out and took Ray's hand.
Ray led him out to the center of the dance floor, then turned around and stepped close. He took Fraser's left hand in his right and rested his own left hand on Fraser's waist. No padding there, he realized—if the rack was fake, the ass was all Fraser's own.
When he looked up and met Fraser's eyes he saw some strange emotion there—nerves, he thought, or maybe even terror—something that didn't belong on Fraser's face. "I'm not a very good dancer, Ray," Fraser muttered, averting his eyes.
"Well, I am," Ray said smoothly. "Just follow me." He tightened his grip on Fraser's hand and began to move slowly. Nothing fancy, just simple rhythms that would allow Fraser to remember that he had to step back when Ray stepped forward, and vice versa.
Fraser's face was a mask of tense concentration. He was counting beats, Ray realized, measuring movements—step forward, step back, glide to the side, twist, turn—and Ray knew from experience that you never got any good dancing like that, like it was a math test or something, and you never had any fun either. With a sudden whip-flick of his body he pulled Fraser closer, off balance and hard against him, snaking his arm tight around Fraser's waist and twining their upraised hands together close to their bodies.
He felt Fraser's sharp inhalation even through the layers of padding between them but held on, turning his face into the cloud of red hair and moving more fluidly now, pulling Fraser with him and against him. He also felt the exact moment when Fraser finally relaxed against him and began to move with him, making their dance more instinctive and intimate.
Ray found the bump of Fraser's ear and whispered, as they turned together, "You don't lie?"
Fraser stiffened slightly in his arms. "No. I don't."
"That's what you say," Ray murmured to him, "but you lie by—whaddyacallit. Omission."
Because they were the same height, Fraser was breathing right near his ear, and the sound seemed unbearably loud this close up. "I...don't always volunteer information, if that's what you mean," Fraser replied finally. "One of the things I've noticed about Americans—you tend to share personal information far too easily."
Ray wrapped himself more tightly around Fraser and closed his eyes, trusting his body to move them, to steer them around and around. "I don't," he whispered.
"No," Fraser said softly, after a moment. "You don't."
Another half-turn around, the warm solidity of Fraser's body in his arms. "So does that make me...sort of Canadian?"
Fraser's voice was so tight that it was barely audible. "Possibly. Does it?"
Ray shifted his hand and gripped Fraser's wrist, clutching so tightly that he could feel the bones creak, could feel Fraser flinch. "Fraser, are you—"
"Yes," Fraser whispered.
"An' what about me, do you want to—?"
Ray could feel his chest tightening; he had no air in his lungs, he couldn't breathe. "Even if it means, you know, risking—"
"Yes," Fraser whispered.
He realized with a start that they'd stopped moving, that they were just standing there, holding each other tightly. Suddenly there was a pounding techno beat thrumming through his body, and the dance floor was filling up again around them, people swarming and dancing and strobe lights flashing—
He turned his head and kissed Fraser hotly, not hesitating, forcing his tongue past the sweet, slick lip gloss and into Fraser's mouth. Fraser moaned and then pushed against him—and it was like there were strobe lights in his head and techno pounding in his chest, his lungs, his groin—his cock was pounding, his hips were driving forward against Fraser.
Fraser twisted his head away and gasped, hands coming up between them, palms splayed on his shiny brown shirt. "No," Fraser managed, "not here. Please, not here," and Ray took a stumbling step backwards and touched his forehead with trembling fingers. He was sweating.
"The check," Ray said shakily, flinging his hand toward their table, "gotta pay the check—"
"Pay the check," Fraser agreed breathlessly and Ray turned, weaving through the gyrating crowd, hands already fumbling for his billfold. He had it open and was thumbing through twenties by the time he reached the table. He pulled out four bills and dropped them down between the plates of half-eaten food.
"Leave another ten," Fraser murmured, unhooking his purse from the back of his chair. "The waiter was nice to us and—"
Ray tossed another twenty onto the table, grabbed Fraser's hand, and started pulling him toward the door. Fraser apologized to almost everyone they passed, murmuring, "excuse me, pardon me, so sorry," as Ray dodged and weaved and once nearly did knock over a waitress carrying a tray of bright pink Cosmopolitans.
The head waitress's confused face passed by in a blur. "I hope you had a nice dinner...?" she called, and behind him Fraser called back, "Oh, yes, it was very nice, thank—"
And then they were through the door and back in the dank, stone corridor. Ray turned, still holding Fraser's hand, and said, "I'm beginning to think you're messing with me."
Fraser looked startled, and then vaguely annoyed. "Me? Messing with you?"
"Yeah," Ray said, cause he sure felt messed with, like maybe he wanted to hit Fraser, or kiss Fraser, or fuck Fraser, or maybe just bang his own head against the stone wall until he was unconscious or, better yet, dead.
"I don't see how I'm messing with you," Fraser retorted. "I'm the one wearing the dress, if you'd deign to notice."
"I—yeah." Ray stopped, stared at Fraser, nodded. Fraser was wearing a dress all right. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm just..."
"I know," Fraser said, taking a step closer. "It's overwhelming. Confusing. And slightly preposterous," and that was just about right. "But it's all right, Ray—everything's going to be all right," and suddenly Fraser was real close, gripping his shoulders and pressing him up against the cold, damp wall and kissing him. Ray let himself be kissed, let Fraser kiss him, let Fraser kiss him until Fraser decided not to anymore.
When Fraser stepped back Ray said, "I'm gonna explode. Or freak out. Maybe freak out."
"Not here," Fraser said instantly, though Fraser looked flushed and wild-eyed and on the verge of exploding or freaking out himself. "We have to get out of here," and then Fraser was tugging him up the hallway, toward the light that was pooling in from the street.
Fraser went first, up the steps, and Ray followed him, staring dazedly up at that blue-silk-covered ass that was all Fraser's. Fraser began to hurry down the street to where the GTO was parked, the click-click-click of his heels loud in the quiet, empty street. Ray put on a burst of speed and reached the car before him, unlocking the door and yanking it open. Fraser slid in and Ray slammed the door after him, then hurried around to the other side of the car.
He got in and managed to shove the keys into the ignition before his brain snapped. He turned, grabbed Fraser, and shoved him back into the corner of the car, kissing him uncontrollably. "Ray," Fraser protested breathlessly. "Ray. Ray."
Ray gripped Fraser's head in his hands and panted against his cheek, "You're teasing me, are you teasing me?"
"I—no. No. I—" and then Fraser's hands were on him, and Fraser's mouth was on him, and that was it—shit—all she wrote. Ray made fists in the red wig, trying to hold Fraser's mouth close, hold it, take it—-but the hair was dead and dry in his hands, loathsome and awful, and so he broke the kiss, yanked the wig off Fraser's head, and tossed it into the back seat.
"Ray!" Fraser said, looking shocked; his own glossy dark hair was a mess, flat in places and then sticking up crazily in others. He looked suddenly Fraserish again—except for the black eyeliner ringing his eyes, the smeared pink gloss on his slightly swollen mouth. "My—"
Ray leaned forward and took Fraser's mouth again, and now his hands were in real hair, living hair, smooth and slick and twining round his grasping fingers. Fraser's hands were on him again, skimming his sides, making him shiver, then clutching at his back, fisting his suit jacket—and fuck if they weren't going to do it right here, in the car, like horny teenagers after the high school prom.
He unclenched his hands and let his fingers slide through Fraser's hair, brushed his fingertips down the sides of Fraser's face. And then his hands were gliding over blue silk, down over the dead padding to real flesh, warm and giving under the pressure of his fingers. Waist, hips, legs—and then he was pushing Fraser backwards and slipping his hands up Fraser's skirt, palms caressing his legs.
Fraser groaned into his mouth and shifted backwards and they were nearly horizontal, now, kissing and groping. Fraser spread his legs and Ray slid neatly between them—except then his sweaty hand skidded across the leather car seat and he came down heavily on Fraser's breasts. Fraser let out a surprised laugh as their mouths came apart—but Ray found himself repulsed by the rubbery feel of Fraser's chest. He pulled his hand out from under Fraser's skirt and reached down the neckline of Fraser's dress, finding the bra and the falsies inside it. Fraser was lying under him, looking up at him, and laughing helplessly as Ray grabbed and pulled and then sent the two silicone bags flying into the back seat. Ray worked his thumb against the bra's front closure and it snapped open and fell to the side, the cups deflating.
"I'm being ravaged," Fraser said, and he was still laughing, damn him. "Or possibly dismembered. Something like that. I don't know if there's actually a word to describe—"
"This is not funny, Fraser," Ray muttered, dropping down onto Fraser's now thankfully flat chest, "this is not the tiniest bit funny, here."
"Oh, I think it is, Ray. Really."
"You picked a fine fucking time to develop a sense of humor," Ray growled, and when Fraser opened his mouth to reply to that, Ray shoved his hand back up Fraser's skirt and covered Fraser's cock with his palm.
Fraser inhaled sharply and closed his eyes.
Ray dropped his mouth to Fraser's and started kissing him again while rubbing the heel of his hand up and down Fraser's erection. Fraser gasped and moaned beneath him, jerking his hips upwards—good, glad the Mountie was taking this serious now, cause this was serious, this was seriously fucking serious, and—
It took his brain a few seconds to register the feel of the fabric between his hand and Fraser's erection. "What the fuck is that," Ray panted, lifting his head, "pantyhose?"
Beneath him, Fraser was breathing hard and nodding rapidly. "Yes, of course. You didn't expect me to—"
"Christ in a bucket," Ray spat; his fingers were scrabbling at the nylon now, but there was no purchase, nothing, no way in, except—
He sat up, yanked the car keys out of the ignition, flipped Fraser's skirt up, and went to work. He grabbed a handful of nylon, tugged, and drove the key through it—then stuck two fingers into the small hole and pulled hard.
The nylon ripped with a shriek. Ray got more fingers into widening hole and in a few seconds the entire groin area of the pantyhose was gone. Dimly he heard his car keys crash to the car floor as Fraser sighed and closed his eyes. "God, thank you, Ray, thank you—"
Ray unzipped his fly and shoved his pants and briefs down before smothering Fraser's apology with his mouth. Now things were good, now they were pressed together, body to body, cock to cock, and moving, fluidly and instinctively, in his all-time favorite dance—the horizontal mambo. Fraser's muscular arms were tight around his neck and Fraser's tongue was in his mouth and Fraser was strong, solid, steaming hot and thrusting hard against him. Ray closed his eyes and let Fraser lead, trusting Fraser to move them, to take him, to steer them around and around and around. Fraser had wicked hands and a wicked tongue and was deadly fucking competent—so if anyone could—if he trusted anyone to—
—and just like that, he was there, flying, riding it, and he had only a few seconds to really enjoy it before the pleasure knifed through him. He surged upwards and Fraser's arms tightened around him, held him down as he jerked and shuddered and came with a shout. And then Fraser was groaning beneath him, shaking violently and coming in quick, hot pulses. "Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray..."
An' then it was over, and he was panting against Fraser's cheek, and Fraser was covering his face with gentle opened-mouthed kisses. And then Fraser ruined it by whispering: "This would be the part where we get arrested."
Ray buried his smile against Fraser's neck. "No, we won't," he murmured. "There's no one around. Besides—you said—you said you were willing to risk—"
"I'm certainly willing to take risks," Fraser interrupted, "but clearly we need to explore the concept of the happy medium."
Ray lifted his head and grinned. "Hey, what can I tell you—I'm a feast or famine kind of guy."
"Apparently," Fraser said, and pushed Ray's shoulders up and off him. Ray let himself fall backwards into his part of the car—and that gave him his first good look at Fraser. Short, dark hair going every which way, smudged black mascara, lipstick smeared across his kiss-swollen mouth. Blue dress gaping at the chest, skirt pushed up around his muscular thighs, and—come stained. They'd both come all over it.
"Hey," Ray said jauntily, "you could bring down a government looking like that."
Fraser stared down at himself for a few seconds and then back up at Ray with eyes that were both amused and outraged. "My God. What you've done to me. I've been completely destroyed." Fraser tugged his skirt downward to no effect—it was stuck against his shredded pantyhose.
"Destroyed is a good look for you." Ray pulled his pants up, zipped them, and reached forward to switch the car on. It took him a second to realize that the keys were missing. He remembered hearing the crash as they hit the floor, and leaned over toward Fraser's feet. Fraser quickly shoved him back. "Hey!" Ray protested. "Keys!"
Fraser blew out a breath and sat back in his seat, resigned. "Keys. Fine."
Ray leaned over again and fumbled blindly on the GTO's floor for the keys. Above him, Fraser said, evenly, "Do not touch my calf or inner thigh."
Ray closed his hand around the keys and straightened up. "That, Fraser, is closing the barn door after the horse is in."
Fraser jerked his head around and stared out the window—but Ray could hear him laughing, even though Fraser had pressed a hand to his mouth. "Out, you mean."
Ray shoved the key into the ignition and the car roared into life. "In. Out. Who cares where the horse is?"
"What horse?" Fraser murmured; he'd moved his hand to cover his eyes.
"Any horse," Ray said, and hit the gas—the car lurched away from the curb and roared down the street.
Fraser didn't ask any more questions about the horse, which Ray thought was a good thing, because he was pretty much out of answers on that front. But a few minutes later, Fraser asked, "How on earth am I supposed to get home? I look like a trollop, Ray."
"It's late. It's dark. Nobody'll see you."
"If you think," Fraser said firmly, "that I am going to walk into the Canadian Consulate looking like this, you're out of your mind."
"Well, we won't make it to my place," Ray pointed out. "You know my place, I got nosy neighbors, we're bound to get caught." He thought about it for a moment and then said, "My gym bag's in the trunk. I got some sweats—they're kinda stinky but I don't think beggars can be choosers."
"Fine," Fraser said instantly. "Now we just need to find someplace where I can get changed."
"We can do that," Ray said. He pulled the car up at a light and turned to look at Fraser—and felt another wave of desire arc through him. Destroyed—Fraser looked destroyed all right, destroyed and beautiful and outrageously masculine in his tattered female garb. "How," Ray began, and then his throat closed up. Fraser looked at him—and Christ, Fraser looked almost glam over there. A little glitter, a little jewelry, Fraser could front a respectable punk band.
"What?" Fraser asked.
He could hear his heart thundering. "How would you—you want to go to a motel with me?"
Fraser's eyes widened for a few seconds, and then narrowed into sea-blue slits. "You really do surprise me, Ray."
"Well," Ray said, and he couldn't look at Fraser anymore, cause if he kept looking at Fraser he was going to have to pull the car over and jump him again. "I figure we're still on lunatic time here, so we better make the most of it."
He'd meant it as a joke, but Fraser didn't seem to take it as one. "Lunatic time? Is that what this is?"
Ray shot him a sharp look. "Isn't it? What do you call this?"
Fraser looked away and didn't answer. Ray didn't know what that meant—was that yes or no on the motel idea? He wanted to turn the car around but he didn't want to seem—presumptuous. He stole another glance at Fraser and saw that the glam-god was gone. It was just Fraser sitting there, looking disheveled and a little tired. "Fraser?" he asked. "Is that...?"
"Yes, all right," Fraser said quietly. "That sounds fine."
Ray turned the car around.
Ray drove them to an isolated motel out in the burbs—he'd done a stakeout here, once, and knew the place was quiet, clean, and didn't ask questions. He rolled the car across the gravel lot, stopped it in front of the door to the office, and switched off the ignition. "Stay here," he told Fraser.
"I'm not going anywhere," Fraser replied, looking away.
Ray nodded vaguely at that, feeling off beat and out of sorts. He got out of the car, crossed to the office door, and pushed through, hearing a bell tinkle. A tired-looking woman came out of the back room and sold him a room for fifty-eight bucks.
Ray went back to the car, got in, and handed the card key to Fraser. "You're an expensive date, you know that?"
Fraser smiled faintly at this, but the smile didn't reach his eyes. Ray started the car again and slowly drove them around the building to where their room was. He felt guilt and anger rising up in him, making his muscles tense, and he practically slammed the car into park.
He turned to Fraser. "I'll get the bag out of the trunk and open the room door—you just run on in when you're ready. I don't think anybody's watching, but it never hurts to be careful."
"Right." Fraser handed him the key back. "I'll wait till you're inside."
Ray popped the trunk and got out of the car. He grabbed his gym bag by the handles, slammed the trunk closed, then loped to the door of their room. The latch clicked and flashed green as he slid the card key into it, and he turned the handle and stepped inside, leaving the door open for Fraser.
He turned a lamp on and looked around—the room was clean, yeah, thank God, with a sink and a queen sized bed. Table and chairs, bureau, color television. He shoved the key card into his pocket and tossed the gym bag onto the bed.
He heard the quiet slam of the GTO's door and then Fraser was behind him, shutting and latching the door. "God, it's good to be inside," Fraser said, and then he took a couple of steps into the room, stopped in front of the full length mirror, and barked out a laugh. "Dear God," Fraser said, raising his hands to comb his fingers through his hair, "It's worse than I thought. I look like something out of a nightmare."
"What did I do?" Ray heard himself asking; he hadn't planned to ask, and he certainly hadn't planned on sounding this angry, but he had and he did. "I did something—I don't know what I did, but I did something. It was good and then I fucked it up—so tell me what happened."
"Relax, Ray," Fraser said quietly, and then he turned away, dropping his purse to the floor. "Would you unzip me, please?"
Ray took a step or two closer to Fraser and yanked the zipper down hard. Instantly Fraser was tugging the dress up, over his head, and then he was pulling the bra off over his shoulders and shoving the tattered pantyhose down his legs and tugging off the low-heeled shoes. "Horrible," Fraser said with a small shudder. "I don't know how women stand it." Naked now, Fraser scratched first at his arms and then at his chest—there was a faint red line there where his bra had been. "They must have depths of strength about which we men know nothing. May I have those clothes now?"
Ray wrenched his jacket off and threw it onto the bed. "In the bag." He threw himself into a chair and watched as Fraser put on his sweatpants and an old, gray t-shirt. Then Fraser reached into the bag again and pulled out one of his sneakers.
"My size," Fraser murmured, inspecting the sole. "May I borrow these?"
"Yeah, sure," Ray said, fumbling in his jacket for his cigarettes. "Whatever you want."
Fraser nodded and carefully put the sneaker away, then sat down across the table from him and watched him light up. Ray took a deep drag, loving how the hard blast of smoke hit his lungs. God, he needed this. God, this was fucked up, this was so fucked up, how the fuck had any of this happened?
Fraser picked his pack of cigarettes off the table and examined them, turning the box slowly in his hands. Ray narrowed his eyes and said nothing—Fraser'd better not launch into one of his lectures, cause he was in no fucking mood. Then suddenly Fraser shook a cigarette out of the pack and put it between his lips.
Ray bolted upright, shocked, every muscle tense. "What the fuck are you doing?!"
"I'm having a cigarette," Fraser said, looking at him.
"Well, don't!" Ray yelped, hands clenching into fists; he had the urge to just snatch the fucking thing out of Fraser's mouth. "That shit'll kill you."
Fraser calmly reached for the matchbook. "You do it, why shouldn't I?"
Ray wanted to kill him. "Cause you don't smoke, that's why!"
"True, yes, but this is lunatic time," Fraser mumbled around the cigarette, "as you so correctly pointed out." Ray watched in horror as Fraser struck a match and lit the tip of the cigarette. He inhaled carefully, coughed, and made a face. "That's truly disgusting," Fraser said, and coughed again.
Ray shoved his own cigarette into the ashtray, and leapt up—but Fraser was already on his feet and stepping away from the table, cigarette between his fingers.
"Gimme that," Ray growled. He jerked forward, plucked the cigarette out of Fraser's hand, and stubbed it out furiously. "You don't do that, you hear me?"
"Oh?" Ray could hear the challenge in Fraser's voice. " And why not, Ray?"
Ray dropped the dead butt into the ashtray and straightened up, meeting challenge for challenge, dare for dare. "Because I love you. Because I fucking love you, okay?"
Fraser looked blank for a moment and then visibly faltered, taking a step backwards and sitting down hard on the edge of the bed. "Ray..."
"Yeah, don't tell me," Ray said with sudden anger, "You didn't expect that. You're surprised, right?"
"Yes." Fraser had gone pale. "Very much so."
Ray narrowed his eyes. "You've been surprised a lot, tonight. You didn't expect me to take the dare in the first place, you didn't expect the club or the sex or here or that—"
Fraser groaned and scrubbed nervously at his face. "Ray..."
"I'm beginning to think you don't expect much from me, Fraser—"
"Ray, I want you so much I can't stand it."
Ray jerked to a stop, anger momentarily shocked right out of him. "What did you say?"
Fraser's blue, black-rimmed eyes were firmly fixed on the carpet in front of Ray's boots. "I want you so much I can't stand it."
Ray couldn't think of what to say to that. "Are you serious?" he managed, finally.
Fraser darted a quick glance up at him. "Completely serious, yes."
"So what the hell's the matter with you?" Ray nearly shouted; hello, anger, welcome back, nice to see you. "Why are we fighting instead of fucking?"
Fraser just sat there for a moment, head bent, staring at the floor. Then, to Ray's surprise, he let himself fall backwards, sprawling back onto the bed. "I don't know. Why don't you come here and fuck me?"
Helloooo lust. Ray felt ripped apart inside, lust and anger jerking him in opposite directions. But he knew Fraser Technique Number Four when he heard it, and he just couldn't let that go. He put a knee onto the bed, glared down at Fraser, and pointed at his face. "Omission!"
Fraser draped an arm over his eyes. "It's not important, Ray, really."
"Omission!" Ray repeated tightly. "Strike two—three strikes and you're out, Fraser."
Fraser took a deep breath and then moved his arm off his eyes. "What the hell does that mean, 'lunatic time'?"
"What?" Ray asked, surprised.
"You said this was 'lunatic time'. Why?"
"Because," Ray said, leaning down and enunciating clearly, "we've been acting like lunatics. For about," Ray glanced down at his watch, "four hours, now."
"What does that mean, 'acting like lunatics'?"
"Well, it means you put on a dress and we went to a transvestite nightclub and danced and then had sex in the car. Now we're in a motel in the suburbs and you're wearing my stinky gym clothes and too much eyeliner—what part of this don't you understand?"
"The part where we wake up tomorrow. What happens then—is that the end of lunatic time?"
Ray stared down at Fraser's makeup-smeared face and didn't know what to say.
"Is it still a choice of feast or famine?" Fraser asked softly. "Because if it is, I'll take feast, Ray." Suddenly Fraser looked incredibly vulnerable, lying there against the hideous flowered bedspread. "I'm tired of famine—I'm really, really, really tired of famine."
"I—yeah," Ray said stupidly. "Me too."
"And feast...." Fraser reached up and tightened his hands on Ray's shiny brown shirt. "I'm really enjoying the feast, Ray."
"I—um—yeah." Lust was moving in now, steady and strong, taking no prisoners. Fraser was pulling him down, onto the bed, and Ray just let himself be pulled. "Feast is good, feast is—"
Fraser wrapped his arms around Ray's neck and head and gave him another of those mind-blowing kisses, heavy and intense and with lots of tongue. And then suddenly they were rolling and Fraser was on top of him, straddling him, holding his wrists and staring down into his face. "I want to live in lunatic time."
"I—yes—okay," Ray said breathlessly, squirming. "Not a problem."
Fraser's hair was messy and his blue eyes were like lasers. "I want feast, Ray. Jam today and jam tomorrow."
"Yes," Ray managed; he could hardly breathe, he wanted to move, thrust, fuck. "Jam anytime you want, just—"
Fraser sat up and pulled his t-shirt off, over his head. Ray stared up at him—at his broad, smooth chest, at his tightening nipples, his strong neck, the smeared pink lip gloss across his mouth. Fraser dropped the gray t-shirt onto the bed and then leaned forward, bracing himself on his palms. "And you're wrong, Ray," Fraser said, unselfconsciously licking the corner of his mouth. "I expect everything from you. I expect the world of you."
Ray's hands flew down over the buttons of his shirt; a moment later he was tearing it off his shoulders; two moments later he had Fraser flat on his back on the bed.
Ray made tight fists in Fraser's hair and tongue-fucked his mouth until Fraser was moaning around his tongue and thrusting up against him. Panting hard, Ray lifted his head—only to have Fraser reach up and tug it down again, and then Fraser was kissing and licking and sucking his face, tongue stroking rhythmically over the stubble on his jaw.
Christ, that drove him wild, nearly out of his mind—and he angled his face helplessly against Fraser's mouth, wanting Fraser's tongue everywhere, letting it rasp everywhere.
He was breathless and gasping and more turned on than he'd ever been in his life when he finally gathered the strength to twist his face away from Fraser's tongue. Fraser blindly reached for him again—but this time Ray grabbed his wrists, stilled them, and then yanked them away.
"Hold on, hold on," Ray muttered. He slid down Fraser's body, skimmed off the gray sweats, wrapped his arms around Fraser's smooth hips, and went down on him.
"...oh god..." Fraser breathed above him, barely audibly, and Ray hollowed his cheeks gently and began to suck. He went slow, slowly, just a nice easy rhythm over the top two or three inches until Fraser's hips were rocking into his mouth, until Fraser was breathing in sync with the movement. He could feel Fraser's arms moving restlessly above him, desperate for something to hold onto—hands grasping the bedclothes, his hair, his shoulders, but not settling anywhere for long. Ray waited until Fraser was writhing and gasping raggedly beneath him before moving his mouth first to lick and suck the base of Fraser's cock, then to massage Fraser's balls with his tongue—
—and that was it, Fraser was moaning "...oh, oh, oh..." and coming hard. Ray lifted his head and watched Fraser's earthquake of an orgasm, watched his head twist and his eyes close and his cock spurt over his belly and chest. Ray moved his hands soothingly over Fraser's hips, rubbing and caressing his sides, wanting to be there for him, to love him through it.
Finally Fraser was breathing more normally and he opened his eyes and looked at Ray. And Ray wasn't sure what Fraser saw in his face—but Fraser smiled and closed his eyes and murmured, "Yes, Ray, yes. Go ahead."
Ray's heart was pounding as he hung half off the bed and rummaged furiously—towel, sneakers, boxing gloves—Jesus Christ. He reached down and upended the entire bag onto the floor, then sorted through the shit with shaking fingers. That!—no, that was hair gel—that was shampoo—fuck, he was being punished for his vanity now, wasn't he? Punished but good. Finally his fingers closed around the tube of Vaseline he used to prevent leather burn—except, fuck, he didn't have any condoms, and even if he did, Vaseline—
"Ray." Ray quickly looked back over his shoulder; Fraser was lying on his side, watching him with amused blue eyes. "Try my purse."
Ray stared at him for a second and then began to laugh. "You didn't."
"I did, yes," Fraser said, then added gravely: "So don't talk to me about low expectations."
Ray grinned and flipped himself off the bed, managing to land on his feet. He crossed to where Fraser'd dropped his handbag, picked it up, and wandered back into the bed, rummaging through it. Shit, did Fraser have enough stuff in here? He sat down on the edge of the bed and dumped the bag out onto the floor, sending a clatter of cosmetics and money and keys and—what was that, a knife?—down on top of his boxing gloves.
Ray picked up a tube of lubricant —right, okay, now where were the condoms? He leaned forward and searched through the mess, then raised his hands. "Okay, I give up. Where?"
Fraser rolled onto his stomach, stretched an arm off the bed, and closed his hand around something Ray'd mistaken for a compact. "Here," he said, handing it to Ray.
"What the fuck is this?" Ray turned the black plastic square in his hand, then squinted at it, saw a recessed button, and pressed it. The top flipped open, revealing a neat stack of square-wrapped condoms.
"I thought it was well-designed," Fraser remarked.
Ray rolled his eyes, put the condoms down, and reached for the waistband of his pants. "Oh, it's great. I love it. Mondo points for design—"
He barked out a laugh as Fraser grabbed him, pulled him onto the center of the bed, and threw him down, flat onto his back. In a flash, Fraser was crouched over him on hands and knees. "Are you teasing me, Ray?" Fraser asked softly.
"No." Ray grinned helplessly and shook his head from side to side in wild denial. "No way. No, sir. Never, ever."
A lock of glossy hair fell down onto Fraser's forehead. "You had better not be," Fraser warned, undoing Ray's fly with a sudden zzzzip.
"I'm not. I swear. I'm gonna fuck you through the back wall."
Fraser's lips twitched but he managed to keep his composure. "Oh?" he asked evenly, stroking a finger up Ray's white cotton-clad erection; Ray inhaled sharply. "When?"
"Now," Ray said, staring up at him. "Now. Right now."
He didn't quite get Fraser through the back wall, but it wasn't like he didn't try. He put Fraser up against the wall at the head of the bed, knelt behind him, and fucked him until Fraser's sweat-slick palms skidded across the wallpaper over the headboard. Ray had to stop thrusting and clutch hard at Fraser's hips to steady him.
"...you okay?..." he murmured against Fraser's neck, "...tell me you're okay...."
"...I'm...okay," Fraser breathed and pushed hard against the wall with his hands, pushing himself back against Ray.
Ray leaned back—taking Fraser's weight on his chest, on his legs, down hard on his cock—and groaned with pleasure, just barely managing to stay on his knees. And then he pushed forward until Fraser's cheek was pressed against the wall between his splayed hands, until Fraser was again flattened against the wall and gasping for breath.
"...hang on...just hang on..." Ray growled, thrusting hard again.
"...hanging..." Fraser whispered, closing his eyes.
Ray gritted his teeth and shoved forward, thrusting hard and deep. He wrapped his arms tightly around Fraser and closed his eyes, loving the feel of Fraser's back against his chest, loving the way Fraser's moans vibrated through him. Warm body in his arms, slow, steady rhythm, dancing—
—except then Fraser was shuddering and shaking erratically, and Ray quickly covered Fraser's cockhead with his palm, cupping it against Fraser's abdomen just as Fraser groaned and ejaculated.
Fraser's whole body tightened and then relaxed and Ray slammed one! two! three! more strokes in before his orgasm overcame him. His muscles turned to water and he clutched at Fraser for support—but Fraser was pleasure-drunk and boneless and so they teetered together and then collapsed backwards, panting and gasping, onto the bed.
"Christ," Ray murmured breathlessly, and closed his eyes.
When Ray opened his eyes again it was morning. They were still lying where they'd fallen, and he was still wrapped tightly around Fraser—but there was bright orange sunlight streaming through the gaps in the heavy motel curtains, striping onto the bed.
Ray groaned, propped himself on one elbow, and leaned forward to look at Fraser's face.
Fraser was awake, head pillowed on his arm, and staring straight ahead. Ray frowned and glanced up, following Fraser's line of vision.
Fraser was staring at the bedside clock, which was glowing 8:14 in red neon.
"Hey," Ray said, ducking his head to drop a kiss on Fraser's temple. "How're you doing?"
Fraser rolled onto his back and smiled at him. "Good morning, Ray. I'm fine, thank you. Yourself?"
Ray had a sudden sinking feeling. "Hey, you're not— I mean you're not gonna— Not after everything, not after all that—"
Fraser raised his eyebrows questioningly.
Ray shook his head and said, "Oh, no, no, no—no, you don't." He quickly crawled to the edge of the bed, dropped flat onto his stomach, and began to rummage through the accumulated crap on the floor
"I don't what?" Fraser asked.
Ray sat up, turned, and grabbed Fraser's arm. "C'mon, up!"
Fraser sat up, blinking curiously at him.
"Don't move," Ray said, flipping the cap off his hair gel and squeezing some into his palm.
"Ray," Fraser began.
"Shut up," Ray said, rubbing his palms together—and then he reached out and grabbed Fraser's head. Fraser laughed, surprised, but Ray was in there now, he had his hands in Fraser's hair and was working it, sculpting it up, working it into little points. Fraser looked up, laughing, like he was trying to see what Ray was doing. "There," Ray said finally, pulling his hands out of Fraser's hair. He leaned back, looked at Fraser, and grinned—Fraser looked delightfully retro, wonderfully 1982.
Fraser was half-frowning, half-laughing, one hand reaching carefully up to finger his gel-stiff hair. "Ray, what did you do to me?"
"I made you look like a lunatic," Ray said, grinning at him. "Or differently lunatic—it's like a new, experimental-type lunatic thing. You look good. C'mon, let's move—we'll stop home, get my poncho, pick up the wolf, and I'll take you guys out for strawberry pancakes."
Fraser's hand fell out of his hair. He stared at Ray for a moment and then smiled.
"All right," he said.