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“Hey Fraser, I got your uniform here!”

The restroom door opens and Fraser’s standing there, feet bare apart from the stockings. The wig’s gone, of course, so his hair is sticking up all over the place, and as Ray hands the clothes over, he spots the discarded heels on the floor.

“Thank you kindly Ray. I’ll just be a moment.”

Fraser pulls the door to, but not quite all the way, not completely. Fraser’s no prude and the restroom’s pretty small, a self contained thing, not a lot of space for changing. Fraser probably needs to do some complicated maneuvers to get out of all those clothes. How do women do it all the time?

Ray turns around and shoves his hands in his pockets. Part of him can’t quite believe that Fraser dressed up as a woman for a whole week, but then again, it is Fraser here. He gets away with things that’d get Ray laughed out of town. But with Fraser people just say, ‘well, Fraser’s Fraser, he’s Canadian, you know?’.

“Oh, for goodness' sake-,” Fraser mutters under his breath and Ray turns around, shifting so he can make out Fraser through the gap in the door.

Fraser’s got his back to Ray, blue dress half off his shoulders already, reaching around for the hooks to the fake boobs, the ones he’s been wearing under the dress all week. From what Ray can see, it looks like the clasp to a regular bra, but Fraser clearly ain’t used to it, trapped between the countertop and the wall, he can’t twist right to get his hands on it. Ray watches Fraser struggle for a few seconds, until something makes him open his mouth.

“Hey, need help with that Benny?”

Fraser’s arms freeze for a moment where they are, but then he takes it in stride.

“Thank you Ray, I’d appreciate it. I’m afraid this thing,” he plucks at the straps holding the breasts in place, “is proving quite the challenge.”

So Ray pulls the door open further and steps into the bathroom behind Fraser, peering down at the clasp. Yeah, it’s like the ones that he used to see on the back of Angie’s bras, the sort on his Ma’s and sisters’ in the laundry. Easy enough to take care of. He reaches forward and unhooks the little metal hooks, fingers brushing against the bare skin of Fraser’s back as he does so. Ray can see the small shifts of his breathing but other than that, Fraser is perfectly still.

It feels strange to be touching Fraser like this, intimate. Ray can see all the small marks and imperfections on his skin, imperfections that are so hard to see on Fraser unless you’re right up close. But then as Ray looks and looks, his eyes run over one particular mark, one imperfection, and his heart stops in his tracks. It’s the one. It must be. And Ray remembers everything, it all comes back, kneeling next to Fraser on a train station platform, holding his hand, thinking over and over that Fraser was gonna die. The whole thing is like a bucket of cold water, and he pulls away and steps back.

“There you go,” Ray says, proud that his voice comes out steady.

“Thank you Ray,” Fraser says, though he doesn’t start moving again and he doesn’t turn around.

Ray retreats backwards out of the bathroom, almost tripping over the heels on his way out, and then he pulls the door half closed again. Soon he hears rustling, as Fraser works on the rest of the outfit.

Ray tries not to watch, give the guy a bit of privacy, but every so often his eyes stray back to the gap in the door. Just in case Fraser needs help again, of course. He sees Fraser pulling his white uniform shirt over his shoulders, hands moving on the buttons. Fraser stepping out of the bottom half of the dress, bending over as he rolls the hose down his legs. Fraser standing up again, dressed in only a white shirt and tight red briefs. Briefs. Huh. He wouldn't have figured Fraser for a briefs kind of guy, but then again, when Ray tries to imagine hose on boxers, it all makes sense.

But what is he doing right now? Thinking about Fraser’s underwear? Fraser, you know, his work partner. Fraser, his work partner, who is also a guy? He shouldn’t be watching this at all. Ray turns away and focuses on the brick wall in front of him. No more turning around. No thinking about exactly what Fraser is doing right now, only six feet away from him. Now’s the time to focus on these real interesting bricks here. Bricks. Cement. Bricks.

After five really long minutes eventually he hears an ‘alright, Ray’ from Fraser and so Ray opens the door all the way again. Fraser is mostly back together in uniform and peering at himself in the mirror, dabbing at his face with a handkerchief.

“Makeup,” Fraser says, tilting his head in explanation. “I’ve done most of it, but I think the eye makeup will have to stay.”

“Okay,” Ray says, because really, what else can he say to that?

“My handkerchief is simply not appropriate. It’s not working.” Fraser adds, with no small amount of frustration. “I need makeup remover.”

Ray looks at Fraser’s reflection in the mirror, and it’s not too noticeable, he’s got most of it off, but you can still see the hints of the mascara, the eyeliner, the eyeshadow. And yeah, Ray’s not ashamed to know what those things are, he grew up with sisters after all, and he was married.

“Once we finish up here I can take you home,” Ray says, and reaches over to the countertop with Fraser’s discarded clothes. He grabs the blue dress and slings it over his arm, along with some skin coloured stretchy thing that he’s not going to think about.

“Thank you kindly Ray,” Fraser says, as Ray reaches down to pick up the discarded heels. When he stands back up again, he kind of bumps into Fraser, standing there, knocking against him.

“Oh, I’m so sorry Ray.”

“It’s fine, it’s fine,” Ray says, and takes a step back, the room really isn’t designed for two.

Fraser stuffs his handkerchief back into a pocket, takes the fake boobs, hose and jewelry from the other side of the sink, and then they’re finally ready to go.

They walk together through the halls of the school, heading towards the Riv, and Fraser doesn’t even seem embarrassed, arms full of women’s clothes, hose and plastic fake boobs. He even stops to talk to some of the students on the way out, smiling at them, reassuring them that everything’s fine in that way of his, eyes bright.

When they get to the Riv, Ray unlocks it, heads round to the trunk and pops the lid. Fraser unzips the black sports bag inside, deposits everything in his arms, and then heads around the side of the car - probably to get his hat from the back seat. Ray sticks the dress and heels on top, and then closes the bag back up. It’s funny but from here, all zipped up, it could contain anything. There’s nothing from the outside that says, ‘open me and find all you need to turn Fraser into a woman’.

Suddenly Fraser appears back next to Ray, wearing his hat, and looking perfectly polished except for the makeup, though it really isn’t noticeable unless you’re looking for it.

“Ready to go Ray?” he asks, and Ray steps back and shuts the trunk.

*

They watch the news crews pull up, say their goodbyes and then Ray is driving them home. Once they get going Fraser falls quiet, looking out the window and Ray can understand that, it’s been a busy couple of days for them, so he fiddles with the radio, manages to find something inoffensive and hums tunelessly as they drive back to West Racine. There’s an odd, not unpleasant, smell in the car and he almost opens his mouth to ask Fraser about it—Fraser’s got a great nose for this stuff—but then he puts it together. Women's perfume.

It’s about 10 when they get back, and as they pull up Ray feels his stomach growling.

“Hey, you eat yet?” he asks Fraser.

Fraser turns his head from where it’s leaning on the window pane. “No, not really. I didn’t want to get distracted.”

“Yeah, me neither,” he says. “Pizza?”

Fraser smiles. “I’d like that.”

Ray grabs the bag of clothes from the trunk, and then they head up to Fraser’s apartment. Once they get inside Ray looks around, but the whole thing is still pretty bare bones, and it always makes him a little sad. But hey, Fraser’s used to it and the guy likes what he likes.

Ray drops the bag on the floor next to the bed, dials in the order and slumps down into one of the chairs at the dining table. Fraser is crouched down near the kitchen looking after Dief, talking to him about all the usual things, as he sets out the food and water. After a moment, as if he can feel Ray’s eyes, Fraser swivels, looks over at him, and then stands up.

“Thank you for ordering the pizza,” he says, and then he pauses for a moment. “It’s been a long day.”

“It definitely has Benny,” Ray says, with feeling.

Fraser looks like he’s thinking again.

“What do you want to do while we wait?” Ray says. “TV? Is there a game on?” Though Benny’s TV never works quite right.

“Well, actually, if it’s not too much trouble, I might take a shower and avail myself of the facilities.” And oh yeah, how could Ray forget; the makeup, the perfume all that, of course Benny would want to get all cleaned up.

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Will you be okay here?” Fraser asks.

“Of course.” Ray just sits there for a moment before he realises, oh yeah, Fraser needs to change, and there ain’t exactly a lot of space in the apartment. Ray wanders over to the little TV set up near the bed, out of the way, giving Fraser some privacy behind him. Ray crouches down in front of the set and pokes around with it, trying to get it to work, all to the sounds of Fraser stripping. Again.

Ray starts to feel a bit overdone, there’s really only so much a guy can take, but he doesn’t turn around this time, not even once. There’s a difference between back at the school, where there was some semblance of an excuse and a door between them, even if it was only half closed. But now there is nothing, there are no excuses, so Ray just fiddles around with the TV, not even paying attention to the dials he’s turning and getting static, static and more static.

“Okay, I won’t be long Ray,” Fraser says, and surely Ray is mishearing, because it almost sounds like Fraser is disappointed? But before Ray can come up with a response, he hears the door to the apartment and then Fraser’s gone. Ray rocks back on his heels and then stands up with a sigh. What is it with him tonight? Everything feels...unsettled.

Ray walks across to the window and looks out across the street, watching the people pass by, though there’s not too many of them at this time of night. This ain’t exactly a great neighbourhood. Sometimes he’s surprised that Benny decided to stay here after everything that happened—Dief getting shot and everything—but then he thinks about Casa Vecchio, and what it would take to make him give it up. Sure, nobody’s ever been shot there, but there are still plenty of bad memories. But on balance, despite everything, he kind of still likes it there. He likes sitting around the dinner table with his family, at the same table he sat at as a boy. But Benny doesn’t have any of that stuff with this place, he doesn’t have any history, so why does he stay?

*

After a few minutes, Ray hears a knock on the door behind him, and he walks over to collect the pizza. The delivery driver slouches against the door frame, a gangly kid, can’t be more than eighteen, nineteen. Ray thinks about trying to argue the thirty minutes rule but he’s not feeling it and so he reaches for his wallet, counting out the cash.

Over the kid’s shoulder Ray sees Fraser coming back down the hall—shirtless, towel wrapped around his waist—so he moves to the side as Fraser squeezes past. The pizza guy gives Ray a look, like he’s done the math, two guys sharing an apartment, one of them shirtless and dripping wet, the answer is obvious. Queer. Gay. Ray imagines what Vecchio Senior would’ve done if anyone implied he was queer and Ray’s heartbeat speeds up at the thought. He knows there’d have been yelling, maybe some swinging fists—but he ain’t Carmine Vecchio, he ain’t his Dad—so instead he just rolls his eyes at the kid, and closes the door with an amused smile.

“You done Benny?” he yells back into the room before he turns around.

“Feel free to turn around Ray,” is the answer back, so he does. Fraser’s back in uniform pants and a white undershirt, looking for all the world exactly like he sometimes does when they’re in the bullpen together at the office, except that his hair’s damp from the shower and circling slightly. As Fraser gets out the plates Ray sets the pizza box in the middle of the table. He lifts the box open and sniffs the air. Pure American bliss.

They eat together at the table, and Ray hadn’t really realised just how hungry he was until they started eating. They talk about nothing important; starting on the latest Bulls game and moving on into Benny giving him the lowdown on curling. Before he knows it the box is empty, only crusts left, and they’re both leaning back in their chairs, content. Ray wants to just bask. But Fraser’s immediately up on his feet, and picking up the discarded box.

“I’ll just take this down the trash.”

“Do you have to do that now?” Ray complains.

“It’s better if I do. Otherwise the whole room will smell tomorrow.” Yeah, of course, Ray thinks, the apartment is basically a studio, no real walls. “Come on Dief,” Fraser says, and then they head out of the apartment. While Fraser is gone, Ray gathers up the plates and washes them at the sink, setting them aside to dry. Ray hears Fraser return, and just as Ray puts down the last plate Fraser comes up behind him, hovering. Ray wonders if he should make his apologies and go home. It’s late. He should go home.

But just as he’s about to open his mouth to say the words, suddenly the light overhead flickers and dies, and the TV, playing on low in the corner, conks out too.

“Huh,” he says.

“It appears we have a power outage,” Fraser says. “We get them fairly frequently here, I believe it’s the neighbourhood.”

“Yeah, probably.” Ray’s eyes gradually adjust to the dark. It’s not completely pitch black, there’s a bit of light from the street, so he can just make out Fraser reaching up and opening one of the kitchen cupboards, looking for light.

“When I first arrived in Chicago I assumed basic amenities, like power, would be provided equally for all. But after living here I can tell you that is not the case. The area gets outages at far above the average rate.”

“Well, yeah,” he says, because everybody knows that. Poorer areas have poorer services. The politicians don’t care about them so much. But it makes sense that when Benny arrived, when he picked this place, he might’ve genuinely thought resources would get distributed fairly.

“I suppose you think me naive.”

“Nah, Benny, not naive. You were just seeing the city as it should be, not your fault it ain’t really like that.” Ray thinks he can see a small smile playing around on Fraser’s lips, though in the darkness, it’s hard to tell. Ray watches as Fraser takes three candles from a single box in the cupboard. Huh. A single box.

Fraser definitely used to keep more candles than that, and Ray knows because he remembers clearing them all up, after Victoria. The place had been a mess, candles everywhere, Dief’s blood still on the floor...but Ray'd had a job to do, and Fraser was relying on him, stuck in hospital. So he’d cleaned it all up, scrubbing and mopping, and filled an entire black trash bag with the melted candles, wax staining his hands. A lot of candles. But now when Ray peers through the darkness, there’s only a single box. Just enough for necessity, for times like this, not enough for anything more.

Seeing that single box, Ray feels like he’s seeing something that maybe Fraser wouldn’t want him to see, knowing something Fraser wouldn’t want him to know. ‘Cause so much of the time, Fraser tries to seem like the ultimate at self sufficiency. He hangs out by himself, he lives in this terrible, sparse apartment and gets on just fine. But sometimes there are these little moments, little hitches, where something else bleeds through the facade. Because Fraser can put on a good act, he can put on a really good act, but Ray knows that happy people don’t try to run away and hop on a train with the woman who shot their dog.

“Matches, matches…” Fraser says, reaching up for the cupboard again, but Ray reaches out and brushes his arm slightly.

“It’s okay Benny, I got a lighter.” Fraser frowns, like he often does at the mention of anything vaguely related to smoking. But it’s not like Ray smokes often, his Ma would give him a good whooping if he tried, and a lighter’s useful to have.

Fraser sets up three candles in the centre of the table and then Ray uses his lighter to light them, hovering the flame over the wicks until they catch. The two of them stand back together, looking at the flames, as a soft circle of light spreads out from the centre of the table. It’s enough to see and move, though the corners of the room are still dark. They stand there for a moment in silence, before Ray remembers that he was getting ready to go, it’s pretty late. Fraser probably wants to sleep and get some rest.

Ray turns towards Fraser and opens his mouth to speak, but hey, apparently they were standing closer than he’d thought and while he doesn’t quite bang into Fraser, it’s a close thing.

“Woah, sorry Benny,” he says, but his voice comes out kind of funny, slightly breathless and his heart starts pounding in his chest and won’t let up. Fraser’s tongue comes out to wet his lips, and there’s a familiar tension between them, one that sometimes appears when they’re looking at each other. But Ray is always careful, and they’ve never come this close to letting it show before. His natural instinct is to try and talk himself out of the awkwardness, run his mouth, but something in Fraser’s face stops him. Something that echoes right back into his chest, hitting him hard.

“Maybe I should go,” Ray says, but uselessly, pointlessly, because he doesn’t want to go.

“If you like,” Fraser says, just looking at Ray.

“Or I could stay for a while,” Ray says.

“You could.” Fraser’s eyes are fixed on him, and he licks his lips again.

Ray moves forward slowly, like he’s being pulled by something out of his control, closer and closer and closer...and then finally, their lips brush together, just softly. Fraser’s almost completely still, arms by his side and after a moment Ray pulls back. Candlelight flickers across Fraser’s face but he’s not giving much away, and Ray thinks that he might have better luck with no light at all.

Tension floods through his body, and he hauls Fraser back in close and kisses him hard, putting more heat into it this time, because what else can he do? All of a sudden Ray wants and wants and wants. He wants Fraser to react, something, anything. There’s an anxiety churning along in his gut, because Fraser is a guy, and yeah, he’s thought about guys his whole life, but he’s never acted on it before. Growing up a skinny, Italian kid in Chicago, you learn pretty quick to keep some things to yourself. So this, this here with Fraser, it means something. But then Fraser’s arms come up around Ray, holding him close, and Ray almost melts with relief. Their mouths open and the whole thing gets dirty fast.

It’s strange to be kissing a man, different...but not that different, not really, and his body soon starts to react. They stop to take short, quick breaths and then immediately press back together again and finally the part of him that’s usually alert and whispering, ‘this is Fraser, your partner, be careful,’ is quiet. Fraser’s hands slowly move down until they’re resting on his ass. At the press of Fraser’s hands, Ray tugs him in even closer, until Fraser’s cock brushes up against his hip, hot and hard. Fraser groans into his mouth.

Ray’s vaguely aware that they’re taking stumbling steps backwards, towards the bed, but as they draw closer, Ray can feel a self conscious creep into Fraser’s body, the way he’s holding himself.

“Okay?” Ray whispers, the next time they pull back for air

Fraser just nods, flushed.

“What do you want to do?” Ray asks, and he looks down at the bed and then back at Fraser, trying to read his mind. What does Fraser want?

“I-,” Fraser starts, but then he stops and his hands creep up and start unbuttoning his own shirt, eyes locked on Ray, and Ray supposes that’s an answer in itself. Half an answer anyway. When all the buttons are undone, Fraser pushes the shirt off his shoulders, along with the suspenders. Ray’s mouth is dry, and he wants to reach out and touch but something holds him back and so he focuses on his own clothes. It really looks like they’re going to do this, like they started a boulder rolling down a hill, and now it’s going so fast there’s no way they can stop it. Even if they wanted to.

Ray unknots his tie, which has gotten a little twisted up from the making out, and then starts working on the buttons for his shirt, fumbling slightly. When they’re finally undone, he shoves the shirt off his shoulders, but as he does it catches a little on the cross he wears, the one Ma gave him when he was a boy. He hesitates for a second but then reaches up, unclasps the chain, and stows it away in his pocket. He looks up at Fraser, and Fraser’s just standing, maybe five feet away from him, completely naked, cock hard and curving up against his belly. So Ray takes a deep breath, finally shoves down his own pants and underwear and then kicks them away. And then he just looks at Fraser and takes it all in.

Ray knows he’s no slouch in the looks department, but Fraser really is something else. He has that classical sort of beauty that you only see in paintings, never in real life right in front of you. Ray moves closer and reaches out a hand, splaying it over the centre of Fraser’s chest, feeling the warm skin under his palm, tracing swirling patterns with his fingers. He takes a slight detour to Fraser’s right nipple, circling his fingers there and hears Fraser suck in a quick breath above him. Fraser’s gaze is darting between Ray’s face and his hand, and when Ray circles his fingers again, just lightly, Fraser gasps again. Ray feels like he could do this forever.

But after only a few seconds, Fraser reaches down for Ray’s hand and pulls it away. Before Ray can complain, Fraser interlaces it with his own hand, then brings it up to his mouth and, jeez, kisses their intertwined hands.

“Bed,” Fraser says, the first full word since they started this whole thing, and who is Ray to disagree?

They climb onto the bed together, which neither of them does gracefully, given that Fraser’s bed is so close to the floor. But after a few moments and awkward thumps, they’re both lying under the covers together, and he folds himself into Fraser’s arms. Pressed chest to chest, legs intertwined, he can feel every inch of Fraser and they trade kisses again, hot and desperate. Fraser’s hands roam up and down his back, brushing over his ass and back up again. In return he tangles one of his hands in Fraser’s hair, still a little damp from the shower, and uses the other to skate up Fraser’s chest.

But as his cock slides against Frasers, Ray realises that he still doesn’t know where any of this is going. Sure, the final destination maybe, but how they’re getting there...

So when they next stop for breath, Ray whispers, “Hey Benny, what do you want?”

“Anything,” Fraser says and pulls him closer until their cocks are flush together. “Whatever you like.”

“Whatever I’d like?”

Fraser nods, and watches him carefully. Suddenly Ray’s sure Fraser’s done this before, with a guy. Ray just knows in his gut. As for Ray...well sure, he don’t have a lot of practical experience, but he’s been thinking about stuff since he was fifteen, back when the entire basketball team used to all shower together after practice. Not that Ray ever said anything, it’d’ve been an easy way to get his face smashed in, but if it’s Ray’s choice...then Ray knows what he wants.

“I want you to fuck me,” Ray says quickly, words tripping out of his mouth so fast it’s almost like a blur. Like if he doesn’t get them all out at once, quickly, he won’t be able to get them out at all.

Fraser’s face is almost comical, surprised, as if someone’s hit him over the head with a pipe. He scans Ray’s face searching for something. A hint of doubt? But yeah, when Ray jerks off, when he watches porn, the times he ends up looking at guys, he thinks about it, he always has.

“Are you sure?” Fraser asks.

“If you want to. If you have the stuff?”

“I do,” Fraser says, a small frown line appearing in the middle of his forehead, and Ray can’t tell to which part, the first or the second. Fraser wasn’t expecting Ray to ask for this, he wasn’t planning on it. Maybe Fraser doesn’t want to do that stuff. Not all guys do.

“If you want, we can do something else?” he says, uncertain, because maybe he should have just suggested they jerk each other off. Something simple. Easy.

But Fraser shakes his head and the frown line smooths out. “I do want to,” he says. “I want to very much.”

“Good,” Ray says and before Fraser can take it back, he rolls onto his stomach, resting his head on his arms. Fraser is still for a moment behind him, but then Ray feels the bed dip and Fraser’s leaning across and rummaging in the side table.

After a moment he’s back, and then Ray feels him crawl down the bed. He nudges Ray’s legs apart, kneels in between them and Ray feels the hairs on the back of his neck stand on end, imagining how he must look, spread out, vulnerable. Face down like this, he can’t see what Fraser’s doing, and he feels a mix of excitement and fear curl in his stomach.

“Fraser?” he asks, and then Fraser is touching him, running a hand down his back, and Ray can’t stop a full body shiver.

“Okay?” Fraser asks.

“Yes,” he murmurs, glad that his face is pressed into his arms so Fraser can’t see him.

Fraser reaches over him and grabs a spare pillow, uses a hand to lift Ray’s hips and then pushes the pillow underneath. “Here. This will be easier.”

Ray settles down, and then he hears the click of a bottle. One of Fraser’s hands comes to rest on his ass, and then Ray feels cool, slick fingers stroking down between his ass cheeks. But instead of just going for it, giving Ray what he wants, Fraser just circles his fingers slowly, and Ray can hardly bear it, this waiting.

“Oh God, come on Fraser, fuck me,” he hears himself saying under his breath, without conscious thought. “You gotta-,”

Fraser’s breath catches. “Ray-,”

“Come on, come on, come on-,”

And then Fraser’s finger is pressing in, slowly, inexorably, and Ray moans. It definitely burns, though it’s not unbearable, and eventually Fraser’s finger is all the way inside. Ray just breathes and breathes, gradually relaxing, and after a moment Fraser withdraws and pushes in again slowly. As the burn begins to lessen, Ray starts to push back, and Fraser speeds up.

“Another?” Fraser asks, voice calm, steady, unreadable, and Ray can’t help but think about the last time he tried this, fingers, just once, years ago, with Angie. They’d been married for years, and so he finally asked, because why not? But it’d been clear she hadn’t been into it and hey, Ray Vecchio might not be the best looking guy in the world, but he ain’t no selfish lover. So that had been that. And so suddenly Ray has to know what Fraser’s thinking, has to know for sure, and he twists his head around awkwardly, looking over his shoulder.

Fraser’s there kneeling behind him, naked, concentrating hard as his finger moves slowly in and out of Ray’s ass. He’s got the thinking expression on, the one he sometimes has when they’re working a case...but he’s also biting his lip and staring hard at Ray’s ass. Staring as if there’s nothing else in the world that could interest him right now. And when Ray looks down, yeah, Fraser is rock hard. He’s not impassionate in this, not at all.

Relieved, Ray quickly turns his head back into the pillow. “Yeah,” he says. “Another.”

Ray hears the click of the cap and then suddenly there are two fingers circling. It’s hard to imagine how they’re fit, but they’re going to have to if Fraser’s cock is going to. The thought makes him dizzy. Fraser’s cock. Fucking him. Oh jeez.

And then two of Fraser’s fingers are pushing in, the burn’s back and Ray can’t help the ‘ah’ that escapes him, and he moves his arms out from underneath his forehead to push his head further into the pillow. His breath is coming in little gasps that he can’t hold back and Fraser’s other hand starts stroking his lower back, soothing caresses. After a few moments, once Ray’s adjusted slightly, Fraser pulls his fingers back, and then pushes them in again. As Fraser moves his fingers Ray feels himself relaxing, but he can’t stop the gasps he’s making as Fraser’s fingers move in and out, slowly fucking him.

“Ray.” Fraser breathes his name above him in wonder, like he can’t quite believe what he’s doing, and Ray can’t quite believe it either. How did they get from earlier in the day, dancing at a school disco, Fraser in drag, to here, Fraser behind him, fingers deep in his ass? But part of him knows, it always does. He’s always thought Fraser was attractive. Fraser’s his best friend. And he trusts Fraser. He trusts Fraser a lot. ‘Cause there are plenty of cops who’d take a bullet for him no question, that he couldn’t trust with this.

The burn has almost faded when suddenly Fraser’s fingers brush up against something inside and there’s a spark behind his eyelids. Ray’s erection has flagged slightly but at the brush of Fraser’s fingers everything comes back with a vengeance, and his cock jerks where it’s pressed into the pillow. Ray reaches a hand underneath himself and grasps his cock in one hand, though it’s awkward, it hurts his wrist and it kind of chafes. But at least there’s some friction.

Fraser’s fingers start speeding up, he keeps brushing up against that spot inside and so Ray moans, a ragged sound. It’s good. It’s really good. But all too soon Fraser’s fingers are gone, and when Ray twists around to look, Fraser’s looking down at his own cock, slowly stroking with hands coated in lube. It’s unbelievably hot. But this time Fraser catches him looking, and their eyes meet.

Fraser takes his hands off his own cock, and then suddenly he’s squeezing Ray’s ass cheeks with both hands and Ray moans, a shocked, surprised sound. He wants to look away, hide his face again, but he doesn’t, and it's like all of a sudden it’s like that feedback loop is back, moving between them, desire pinging back and forth. He needs Fraser now.

Fraser pulls at his hips, moving them up until Ray’s on his hands and knees and Ray hangs his head down, panting. It’s kind of humiliating Fraser manhandling him like this, but the way his fingers are digging in sends a thrill of desire into his gut and really, what’s one more thing? It’s too late. Something about the thought is kind of freeing, like there’s nothing left to worry about, nothing left to do but go along for the ride.

Fraser kneels and then moves closer behind him, and Ray feels Fraser’s legs brushing against the backs of his thighs, something hot and heavy resting against his ass.

Ray reaches a hand for his own cock, but Fraser’s there first, hands slick with lube and he slowly jerks Ray off, firm, unhurried. Ray hangs his head down, pleasure washing through him, but then he feels the touch of Fraser’s cock against his ass again, suddenly he can’t stand it, the waiting.

“Fraser, please” he says, and hopes that very incoherent pleading will get him what he wants. “Benny. Please.”

And just like when they’re out there together on the streets or grinning together over dinner, Fraser gets it, gets him, and he’s pulling away, lining up and then pressing in. And Ray just opens up and lets him, until Fraser’s completely inside, gasping above him, buried deep.

“Ray,” Fraser breathes and moulds himself to Ray’s back, wrapping his arms around Ray tight, like he’s never going to let go. Fraser stays like that for several seconds, and sure, it’s nice, but is he ever going to move?

“Oh God Benny,” he says. “Come on, come on, you gotta move.”

And Fraser does, pulling out and then thrusting in again slowly, pausing to let Ray get used to it. As they rock together, the sounds of sex start to fill the room, skin against skin and Ray can hear a quiet litany of ‘Ray, Ray, Ray’ from behind him. The sound crawls inside him and heats him up from the inside out, it’s like the whole world vanishes down to here and now, and his ass, and Fraser’s cock.

Fraser shifts a little behind him, and then his cock starts brushing up against that place inside Ray again, and pleasure hums through his body.

“Yeah,” Ray says, squeezing his eyes shut and then reaching down to stroke his cock, hard and leaking against his belly. But while the slow slide is nice, it’s not enough. “Come on, I can take more, I can take it.”

Ray hears Fraser’s breath catch, and then Fraser starts to ramp things up, harder, faster, holding onto Ray’s hips. Ray moans, like the sound is being dragged out of him, and he has to put his hand back down on the bed, or he’s going to lose his balance. Fraser is breathing harshly behind him, pushing in hard, but all too soon Fraser’s starts to lose the steady rhythm, and Ray can tell Fraser’s almost there.

“Ray, I can’t...I’m going to-,” Benny chokes out.

“It’s okay, it’s okay,” Ray says and then he feels Fraser coming with a long groan, arms shaking, wrapped tightly around his waist.

Fraser stays like that for a while, but eventually he leans over and presses a soft kiss to Ray’s back. “Beautiful,” he says, and Ray shivers at the warm, hot breath on his skin as he waits there, still rock hard, Fraser’s cock softening in his ass.

Eventually Fraser pulls out and it’s a weird feeling, but Ray doesn’t have long to dwell upon it. Fraser discards the condom and then he’s back, pushing at Ray’s hip, until Ray is lying flat on his back. Fraser hovers over him and runs his hands up Ray’s chest, like he can’t get enough. But though his hands are elsewhere, his eyes are fixed on Ray’s cock, which jerks slightly under the attention. As it does, Fraser smiles crookedly up at him.

“You gonna watch or you gonna do something?” Ray asks, trying to cover the nervousness, but Fraser just shrugs as if to say ‘of course Ray’. He moves down the bed, and then one moment he’s looking intently at Ray’s cock, studying it, and the next Ray is getting one spectacular blow job.

Okay, maybe technique wise it’s not perfect, but it’s pretty good and there’s also the fact that it’s Fraser’s mouth hot and wet around his cock, notching the whole thing up to another level. Ray threads his hands through Fraser’s hair, tangling them in the curling strands, and watches Fraser suck his cock happily like there’s nothing else he wants to be doing right now. It’s like some kind of fantasy come to life.

Ray’s already feeling pretty good, he was almost there before, but then two of Fraser’s fingers are back near his ass, pushing in deep and twisting, brushing up against him. And then that's it. He tries to give Fraser warning, moving the hand in Fraser’s hair, but he’s gone, flying, and Fraser just keeps on sucking and swallowing around him.

Afterwards, Ray rests his head back, relaxing in the afterglow while Fraser strokes his stomach gently. But then he leans down again and touches the tip of his tongue to the head of Ray’s cock, like he has to get one more taste.

Ray jerks in surprise. “Sensitive,” he murmurs, head still back, and then he closes his eyes.

“Yes,” Fraser says, and then Ray hears Fraser get up. After a few moments he’s back though, and Ray feels a towel wiping over him, cleaning him up.

“Thanks,” he says, and opens his eyes again. He watches Fraser move around the apartment, completely naked, getting rid of the towel and then blowing out the candles on the table. A few moments later the bed dips and Fraser lies down next to him. Ray doesn't open his eyes, but he feels like he needs to say something, give some sort of acknowledgement.

“Benny,” he says, and Fraser’s arm sneaks across his waist. “Thanks. For everything.”

“Ray,” Fraser says, and Ray turns his head and meets Fraser’s gaze in the dark. “It was my pleasure,” he says seriously.

“Yeah,” Ray says, and pats the hand lying possessively on his stomach. “Thanks Benny.” He stifles the yawn that’s threatening, but they’ve had a long day and he’s tired. Morning. He’ll deal with it all in the morning.

*

Ray wakes up at four in the morning when the lights overhead come back on, and the TV next to him starts humming with static. He never did fix those channels. He looks over in the bed and Fraser is lying next to him. It’s strange to see him like this, naked, asleep, arm resting across Ray’s stomach. Suddenly it’s all coming back to him, flashes of what they did flickering through his head and he knows he’s not going back to sleep any time soon. Oh God, he slept with Fraser. And there’s no way he can forget it, because as he shifts a little, yeah, that’s a twinge in his ass.

He also spent the night here, and he always promised himself he wouldn’t be that guy, the guy who stayed out all night and left Ma wondering when he was coming home. Hopefully they’ll just assume he crashed at Fraser’s, which in a way he did but...he needs to go home. He nudges Fraser, but Fraser just mumbles.

“Come on Fraser, wake up,” he says and then Fraser lifts his head. When he sees Ray sitting up, his gaze sharpens.

“Ray,” Fraser says, and sits up slightly, moves away so that he’s not sprawled across Ray quite so much.

“I need to get back Benny,” he says. “I forgot to call Ma or Frannie, they’re probably wondering where I got to.”

Fraser just looks down for a moment, and then back up again. “I understand,” he says, expression neutral and understanding, and then he rolls away and gets up out of the bed.

Ray watches Fraser bend over, looking for his clothes on the floor and the sight of Fraser’s bare ass is distracting to say the least. But now is not the time for distractions and so Ray gets out of bed and starts hunting for his clothes too. He’s not exactly self conscious, but it’s definitely a little weird, now that daylight is starting to come through the windows, and they can see each other fully.

After a few seconds Fraser moves towards the kitchen, pants on but shirtless and starts a pan of water boiling on the stove, probably for tea. Ray gets his shirt buttoned up and then starts hunting for his pants. He finds them crumpled on the floor, and jeez, they were Versace for God's sake, but there’s nothing he can do about that now. He starts hopping backwards on one foot trying to get them on, yanking at the pants. But as he moves backward, his foot hits the sports bag they’d left on the floor last night, and shit, he almost goes flying. But before he can fall Fraser is there in a flash, steadying him, pressed close.

“Sorry about that Benny,” Ray says, feeling himself flush at Fraser’s touch on his arm, their bodies pressed close together. “I didn’t see the bag.”

“I should have put it away last night,” Fraser says and frowns.

“It’s okay, my fault for leaving it there in the first place,” Ray says, but Fraser’s still frowning and Ray can’t help but lean forward to kiss him. Fraser’s hand hovers for a moment, but then comes up to curl around the nape of Ray’s neck.

After a moment Fraser pulls away, and reaches down for the bag on the floor. “I should put everything away,” he says, and he moves away and starts emptying the bag out onto the bed.

Ray watches, pants half on, as Fraser sorts through the items methodically. The set of Fraser’s back is kind of tense and Ray gets the feeling that maybe Fraser is waiting for him to say something. Though what he’s not quite sure, so instead Ray just focuses on his pants and not falling on his ass.

Ray’s fastening his cross back around his neck, when Fraser brings the empty bag over to him, holding it out.

“I believe this was yours.”

“Nah, you keep it,” Ray says.

“Ray I-,”

“I insist. We already have too many of those things lying around all over the house, you’d be doing me a favour by taking it.”

“Well, okay then,” Fraser says and then pauses. “It’s supposed to be quite cold out there this morning. Would you like tea? Before you leave.”

“Yeah, sure, why not?” he says, and has he gone crazy? Because you only drink one of Benny’s bark teas if you’re crazy, everybody knows that. They’re terrible. But hold up, why did Fraser even offer him tea, he knows that Ray hates it?

Ray sits down at the table as Fraser pours out the boiling water, and he starts picking at the melted candles in the centre of the table, at the wax stuck to the table in little drips. Once the teas have steeped, Fraser brings them over and sits down opposite him, launching into a segment on the long history of tea. Yeah, Benny is definitely nervous. But after five minutes, when it becomes clear that Fraser is not going to even touch on what happened without prompting, Ray cuts him off.

“Look Benny, not that I don’t enjoy listening to you talk for five minutes about tea, but I don’t think that’s really what you want to be talking about.”

Fraser carefully sets his cup of tea down. “Yes,” he says. “You might be right.”

“We had sex.”

“Yes we did.”

“I enjoyed it,” Ray says bluntly and Fraser flushes.

“I have to say that I did as well Ray.”

Ray feels the corners of his mouth turn upwards into a grin.

“Ray!” Fraser implores him, but Ray just grins harder.

“So I guess the question is, what'd you want to do now?”

“I’m not-, I don’t-,” Fraser looks lost. Yeah, okay, while Fraser may have been with a few guys, from everything Ray knows, he’d guess Fraser ain’t had a lot of long term relationships. Not that Ray’s had many either, but at least he’s had some, and he was married.

“Well, look, the way I see it we got a few options.” Ray thinks about it for a moment, but then after last night, what’s the point in hiding? “I was thinking, well, I don’t really know what you want, but if you want, we could do something like this again sometime.”

Fraser sucks in a breath, he looks poleaxed. “I-,”

“But if you don’t want to, if you want to forget it, I can do that. You don’t have to worry about me. We can still work together, you know? I’ll still have your back.” He doesn’t want Benny to think that he’ll completely lose Ray if he says no. Ray takes another nervous sip of his tea. It’s bad. It’s really bad.

“I have to say, your first option would be my preferred choice,” Fraser says, almost formally, and Ray almost chokes on his tea. It’s all he can do not to just jump across the table, and kiss Fraser right now. He could. But then something kind of sinks in his gut.

“Great,” he says. “But Benny…” he looks down, feeling ashamed. “I don’t know that I can-, I ain’t going to be able to dress up as a woman and walk down the street. I just can’t.” Does Fraser get what he’s saying?

“I wouldn’t expect you to Ray,” Fraser says.

“You ever want to do something like that, it’s good, I don’t got a problem with it, but me-,”

“It’s okay Ray,” Fraser says, but it’s not, not really. The edge of Fraser’s smile has dimmed, just a tiny amount. He don’t look sad, not at all, still kind of happy, so what does it make a difference that reality’s started to creep in, just a little? But somehow it does, it does matter, and Ray looks away. Benny doesn’t like lying, even by omission. That was what bothered him the most with the thing at the school, it wasn’t the Catholic girls' thing, or the dressing up as a woman thing, it was the lying, pretending to be somebody he’s not.

“I’m sorry,” Ray says.

“There’s nothing to be sorry for. Some degree of privacy is an imminently practical arrangement, given both of our careers.”

But Ray knows that Fraser doesn’t really care about his career, it’s why he’s still a Constable after all this time. Fraser’s the kind of guy who jumps off buildings and onto moving cars, the guy who’ll take all sorts of risks if he thinks it’s the right thing to do. And Ray...well Ray tries to do the right thing, it’s why he became a cop, but there’s always something there inside him saying, ‘you gotta look out for yourself too’.

“Okay,” Ray says, turning the empty teacup in his hands for something to do, before setting it down on the table and pushing it away. “I should probably head back,” he says.

“Alright Ray.”

Ray gets up out of his chair. “I’ll see you on Monday. You liaising Monday?”

“I should be, yes. I’m sure there will be paperwork to do, after the events of yesterday.”

“Yeah, probably.” Ray kind of hovers by the table.

Fraser opens his mouth as if to say something, looking at Ray over the burnt out candles, but then he closes it for a second and when he opens it again, all he says is, “Don’t forget your jacket.”

“Thanks Benny,” Ray says, and he grabs the jacket from the back of the chair, it’s getting light out, but it’s still cold in the early morning and the Riv will be chilly.

As he buttons his coat, Ray can feel sappy words bubbling inside him, but he holds them back. He wants to go around the table and kiss Fraser, but that’s gotta be a bad idea. Are they really going to work, can Ray make this work? ‘Cause he’s tried before and things haven’t gone so well. He and Ange, well, they had fifteen years, some of them good, some of them not so good, but they split in the end. And the thought of that happening between him and Benny is scary, so much so that he almost doesn’t want to take the risk at all. If they just stayed friends… And then there’s Irene. God forbid if something like what happened to Irene happened to Fraser.

When Ray gets to the door, he turns back, and Fraser hasn’t moved at all, expression unreadable.

“Monday,” Ray says.

“Of course Ray,” Fraser says, but he sounds a little lost, and Ray pauses.

“We’ll talk,” he says. “I mean it Benny.”

“Of course Ray,” Fraser says, politely and then Ray steps out of the apartment and closes the door softly behind him, mindful of the sleeping neighbours. Time to go home.

*

But because Ray is an idiot, he completely forgets that before Monday they have Sunday. And Sunday means church and church means choir, and Fraser is in the choir. Sometimes, anyway, when Father Behan’s short on people, which he almost always is, and when Ray bugs Benny about it, which he almost always does.

Fraser often comes over to the house in the morning, and they all ride in together, the whole family, a few different cars. Not this Sunday though.

On Saturday afternoon the house phone rings, but Frannie picks up before he can get to it. As approaches her in the hall, he can hear her flirting, that tone she gets, and he waves at her to try and get her attention, to try and make her give him the phone. But in the way of sisters everywhere, she refuses, turning away from him, giving another ‘hmmm’ and ‘okay’ into the phone. And then she puts the phone down. Christ. Ray takes a few deep breaths and tries to remain calm. But begrudgingly she lets him know Fraser says he has a few errands to run Sunday morning, and he’s going to make his own way to church.

“But he’s still coming, right?” Ray asks.

“He said he was.” Frannie sighs sadly.

“You’re just disappointed you won’t be able to sit pressed up to him in the back seat of the Riv.”

“Well, yes,” she admits and sighs again. “But if you were a woman, you’d understand. I mean, just look at him! He’s just so...you know? And last week, I mean, what a week.” Frannie shakes her head. “Wow. I still can’t believe he dressed up as a woman all that time!”

Ray carefully keeps his face casual. “I mean, it’s Fraser,” he says. “He’s Canadian, you know?”

“Yeah.” She sighs longingly. “It’s strange, but you know, even as a woman...he still looked good, you know? Real good.”

“Frannie!”

“Yeah, yeah, I know,” she says.

But in his head, Ray has to admit that she’s right.

*

When they get to the church on Sunday, Ray has his ushering to do before the service, so he takes the stack of cushions from Father Behan and starts laying them out. But he’s not focused like he normally is. He keeps glancing up to where the choir sits, looking for a glimpse of red, or a hat, but it’s really hard to see up there and of course that’s by design. The second level used to be for the poor, and the whole point was so you could ignore the people up there, pretend they weren’t there at all.

Ray stands up looking for as long as possible but when Father Behan comes to stand at the front, Ray finally has to sit down. He barely pays attention to the service at all, which isn’t unusual, though usually he’s thinking about a case, or sports, or what needs to be fixed in the house. Not Fraser and ‘where is he’ and ‘did he come’. When the service is over Ray moves and starts gathering the cushions back up, still craning his neck up every so often, looking for Fraser though he tries not to make it too obvious.

And then suddenly, there! It’s Fraser! It’s definitely Fraser, and Ray starts walking, half running towards the stairs. But then 70 year old Lucia Carmen comes up to him and starts talking to him about Ma and Frannie, and how are the nieces and nephews, and by the time he’s managed to get away, the church is mostly empty and he can’t see Fraser anywhere. Hopefully Fraser will have waited. Hopefully he won’t have left.

When the cushions are all back in place, Ray says goodbye to Father Behan and then heads towards the doors. But as he walks past the racks of votive candles, something about the shimmering light catches his eye. He hasn’t lit one himself in a while, he’s usually pretty distracted come Sunday, trying to get everybody out of the house on time, trying to get back for Sunday lunch. But what difference will another minute make now? Either Fraser’ll have left, or he won’t.

Ray adds a couple of dollars to the collection box and grabs one of the red candles, turning it over in his hands. He sets it up, lights it and then kneels down on the cushioned bench in front of the candles, clasping his hands together. He doesn’t really know what to say, instead he falls back on childhood memories and murmurs through rote words he learned as a child. He doesn’t quite know who he’s praying for. Maybe it’s Irene, maybe it’s Fraser. Maybe it’s himself.

When he’s done, Ray finally stands up, knees popping, and heads towards the exit. As he draws closer, he sees Ma and Frannie though the propped open church doors waiting for him. And there, right next to them, it’s Fraser. The sense of relief and joy is overwhelming. As Ray approaches, Fraser smiles at him, happy, but also tinged with caution, uncertainty.

“Finally!” Frannie exclaims as Ray approaches. “We’ve been waiting ages.”

Frannie heads over to Ma, hooks Ma’s arm over her own, and goes to help her down the steps, leaving him alone with Fraser, following in their wake.

“It’s good to see you Ray,” Fraser says.

“And you. I wasn’t sure if you were going to come,” he says. “You had something on?”

“Ah, yes,” Fraser says. “I...wasn’t sure if I would be able to make it. But I wanted to see you.”

“I know,” Ray says. “I wanted to see you. I feel like I’ve been doing nothing but think about you all weekend.”

Fraser over at him, surprised. “You have?”

“Yeah Benny, of course. What d'ya think? That I’d leave and just forget all about you?”

“No,” Fraser says slowly. “I suppose not. I certainly found it hard to forget about you.” He licks his lips, and then oh God, Ray’s thinking about Fraser and sex within twenty feet of church.

“Benny!” he whispers, scandalised. “Church.”

“What?” Fraser says, innocently, but Ray’s not buying it all. He rolls his eyes.

“Come on,” he says. “What am I going to do with you, honestly?”

As they near the gate at the edge of the churchyard, Ray holds it open for Fraser, unthinkingly and Fraser pauses for a second. But then he walks through without saying anything, and Ray closes the gate behind them.

“Thank you,” Fraser says.

“Of course,” Ray says.

*

They go back to the Vecchio home for Sunday lunch. Of course, it’s a complete mess, kids running everywhere, his brother and sisters arguing, but there’s honestly nothing better in the world, especially not with Benny there too, plate piled high, shooting him looks over the fried potatoes. This is how it should be all the time, he thinks.

Once they’re done, Ma packages up leftovers for Benny and shoves them into his arms, despite his protestations.

“Just take them Benny, you can’t try and fight Ma,” Ray warns.

“Ah, oh, very well,” Fraser says, and Ma pinches his cheek and calls him a good boy.

Ray offers to give him a lift home, but Fraser refuses, he wants to walk and so they end up standing on the sidewalk outside, saying goodbye, while the kids run around behind him and play in the yard. Ray remembers playing in the very same yard with his Dad, once or twice, on the rare occasions Dad was sober enough to stand up straight.

Sometimes Ray wonders what his Dad would think of Fraser, but even without the whole queer thing, he’s pretty sure they wouldn’t get along. Carmine Vecchio was always looking out for number one, and that’s what he taught Ray as well, or tried to. Look out for yourself. Protect yourself. Keep yourself safe. Fraser...well, Fraser is basically the exact opposite. Fraser looks out for everybody, he tries to help everybody he can. Even when it’s their own fault, even when they don’t deserve it.

Standing there on the bright sunny afternoon, looking at Benny, he just really wants to lean in and kiss Fraser. And from the way Fraser’s looking right now, he’s pretty sure Fraser’s thinking the same thing.

“Thank you for the lunch,” Fraser says, holding the leftover boxes in his arms, stacked high.

“No problem Benny, enjoy. And Dief too.”

“We will. So...I’ll see you on Monday? Tomorrow?”

“Yeah,” Ray says, but he still really wants to kiss Fraser. He really wants to kiss Fraser. And he knows there are lots of reasons he shouldn’t right now, but somehow standing there, looking at Fraser, all he can see is that single, lone item in the pro column, shining out, the one thing that really matters. It would make Fraser happy.

And ah, what the hell? ‘Cause if it’s not going to be him, here and now, then who? He’s not a kid anymore, he’s a grown ass man, he’s the one who chooses what he wants to do, who he wants to be. And...it’s not like he’s alone, he’s got Fraser at his back, the most stubborn, infuriating Canadian he’s ever known. So if Ray messes it up, which he probably will at some point, Benny will catch him, because that’s what he does, he saves people, helps them, even when they don’t deserve it. And Ray will do the same, when Benny messes up Ray’ll be there, and they’ll work it out. It’s kind of like that already.

So he leans over and plants one on Benny. It’s not a very good kiss, Benny wasn’t expecting it at all, and the boxes of leftovers almost end up all over the floor. But as they start to slide, Ray pulls back, shoves his arms under the boxes and pushes them back up into Fraser’s arms.

“There you go, be careful,” he mumbles. “Don’t let go.”

“I won’t,” Fraser says, and when Ray finally looks up, Fraser gives him a blinding smile, not a hint of shadow.