Aftershocks

Shay Sheridan

Tag to the episode "Good For the Soul"


"Sit down, Fraser."

There was strain in Ray's voice, Fraser noticed, which he supposed was his fault. Ray had come through for him, tonight, after all, and so had Welsh and the other police officers. All he'd done in return was behave arrogantly. Self-righteously. No matter what they said in the end, how they'd ultimately backed him up against Warfield, the fact was he'd disappointed them, all of them -- the police, the young waiter at the center of the case, even his father. For all he knew, he'd let down Diefenbaker, too.

But the only disappointment that mattered was Ray's.

Had he even said thank you?

He opened his mouth to do so, but Ray grabbed him by the arm and began to drag him through the apartment. He half-pushed Fraser into the bathroom and said in a deceptively quiet voice, "Sit here, Frase. Come on, sit on the lid."

"All right, Ray, I—"

"--No, wait, can you get up onto the sink? I can see you better in the light."

Ray was controlled, and his voice was tense. He'd been that way since leaving Warfield's club, not angry, exactly, just quivering with low-grade agitation. At times like these, when Ray was in this mood, it was safest to comply, because not to do so was to invite an escalation of anger. So Fraser placed one bruised foot on the lid of the commode and used it to hitch himself gingerly onto the counter by the sink. He was tired, dead tired, his head ached, and his cuts and bruises and sore ribs were twinging and vying for attention. In front of him, dangerously close, Ray inspected his body with the intensity of a trainer checking his boxer for injury mid-bout. Fraser sat still for it until Ray stepped back and nodded.

"You'll live, but you probably'll wish you hadn't. Leastways for a couple days."

Fine words, helpful words, but Ray's tone hadn't wavered, and he certainly didn't sound pleased. Fraser looked at the impassive face before him; only the prominent vein in Ray's forehead revealed that All Was Not Well in Ray-Land.

"Take off your jacket," Ray ordered.

Fraser complied, slowly unbuttoning, unsnapping and removing the stained and bloodied garment, trying not to grimace as his aching muscles throbbed with the movement. Ray took it from him and tossed it carelessly behind him in the general direction of his bed. Fraser opened his mouth to protest, but thought better of it.

Ray had said the right things at the club, too, when facing down Warfield, and he'd said supportive things in the car, murmuring words of apology about how he'd misjudged and now respected Fraser's tenacity. But anger had lingered under those words, and under these, though Ray's hands worked gently enough against his flesh, dabbing at blood, washing dirt from Fraser's face, efficiently completing the job Francesca had begun at the station. It came to him belatedly that Francesca's attentions had been nearly unendurable. Odd, how easily he tolerated Ray's hands against his skin.

"Ray," he said, and his voice sounded abysmally tired, even to his own ears. He licked his split lip and cleared his throat. "Ray, I--"

"Yeah, what?"  Ray's head was down, his hands busy peeling off Fraser's stained undershirt, his eyes focused on Fraser's multi-hued chest as it slowly came into focus. "Je-SUS! What'd they use on you, bricks?"

"A two-by four. Ray, I'm really very sorry. I—"

"Fraser."

And there it was again, no mistaking it this time. Ray was, as he might say, pissed off royally.

But why? Things had ended well, better than Fraser himself had believed possible, back when the three thugs were in the process of pummeling him into unconsciousness. Just about then he'd anticipated nothing but disaster, and all the tenacity – no, call it what it really was, all the stubbornness in the world would have been futile against Warfield's brutal tactics. He'd thought in that moment that he'd lost. They'd all lost, and Warfield had won.

And yet, here he was, all was well that had ended well; the police had their arrests, the witness was safe, Warfield had been stopped, so why. . .

"Ray," he began again, and when Ray's eyes came up to his, flashing anger, Fraser just pressed on, drawing on that same tenacity/stubbornness/arrogance he obviously had in spades. "Ray. I know you're angry with me, and I apologize for causing you to be angry, and for involving you in something you obviously didn't believe in, and despite the fact we won in the end, I feel it only right to tell you I feel bad that I—"

"Fraser! Shut the fuck up!"

Fraser stopped short because Ray's hand was clenching on his thigh, right on top of a deep muscle bruise, and he had to breathe in sharply against the pain. Ray's face was only inches from his, and Ray's eyes were angrier than he'd ever seen them, and Ray's face was red, his hair aggressively spiking into the suddenly extremely charged air.

"Don't say a fucking word, Fraser! Do. . .you. . .know, partner," Ray ground out from between thinned lips, "That I thought they'd killed you? Huh?" Fraser's eyes opened wide. Ray was breathing in shallow pants, his voice breathy. "You know that, Fraser? I thought you were a fucking corpse. Do you know what that's like, thinking your partner, your buddy, your—" Ray leaned even closer, his hand sliding up Fraser's leg. "Are you a human being, Fraser? Do you have feelings?"

"Well, of course I do, Ray, I have—"

"No you don't! You're not normal. Normal people do not do things like you did tonight. They don't go out trying to get themselves killed—"

"Ray, I didn't—"

"--Do you ever think, in that giant brain of yours, 'Hey, slow down, I better stop before I run into guys with two-by-fours who are trying to bash my brains in, because my partner will have to find my body, and that would suck beyond suckitude?' You ever think that?"

He felt a stirring of anger. "There was a larger issue, Ray, and I—"

"A larger issue? Goddamn it! Are you human? Are you made of wood? Because you sure as hell aren't made out of shatterproof glass!"

His own face grew hot as his anger escalated. "Of course I'm not made of wood. I'm made of flesh and blood, Ray, just like you, as these bruises attest. I'm a human being, Ray—"

"Then prove it, Fraser. Prove it right now, show me you're human!"

Before Fraser could draw a breath Ray jerked forwards and captured his mouth in a harsh kiss. His senses spun out of control – Ray's mouth worked against his brutally, the aggressive lips dry and warm, the kiss fervent, angry. But he had no time to respond, either to push away or draw Ray closer, because suddenly Ray's mouth was gone, and his hands were busy on the fly of Fraser's uniform trousers, popping buttons in his haste, and he thought, fleetingly, oh dear, I'll have to find those later-- but those long fingers were inside his jodhpurs, reaching inside, grasping flesh that grew harder by the second. Fraser hadn't even realized he was hard, but he was, oh, he was, so hard, with anger and excitement and confusion and the nearness of the virago called Ray Kowalski.

Ray's hand closed around his erection, and Fraser gasped.

"Show me, Frase," Ray grated in a voice charged with emotion. "Show me you're a human being, made of flesh and blood and spunk and normal feelings. Show me you like living. Show me right now!"

Incredibly, the strong grip around his turgid flesh gave way to hot wetness, as Ray's mouth slid down and engulfed him.

Fraser groaned at the sensation and fell back, his head slamming against the cool tile of the bathroom wall, his mouth falling open in wordless ecstasy. Ray's mouth worked him, drove him, thrust him into a frenzy. He had a sudden image of himself there on the sink, in Ray's bathroom, watching from the outside as Ray sucked him, his flesh driving in and out of that relentless, hot vortex, his body quaking as Ray pulled him towards climax. The picture crystallized, becoming sharp with sensory overload -- Ray's head bobbing, Ray's mouth sucking, his own face twisted with tortured pleasure, the feel of soft spiky hair under his hands, the smell of their mingled musky arousal--

It didn't take long. He went off like a rocket.

His head clunked against the tile once more as he fell back, limp.

When he could open his eyes again, Ray was a foot away, his mouth slack as he rubbed a hand across it. "Ray," Fraser said hoarsely. "Ray."

Ray leaned back, slumping against the far wall, putting distance between them. "That's life, Fraser, that's living, and normal people prefer it to dying. Get it?"

"Ray, I—" Fraser stopped himself. He looked at his partner with as critical an eye as he could muster, what with every molecule in his body still tingling with aftershocks. There was still a look of concentrated anger on Ray's face, but the tension was gone from his body.  A glance downward revealed tell-tale wetness on the front of Ray's jeans. Ah, so he'd found release as well.

He looked up again, and found wariness, weariness, in Ray's eyes. And something more, something similar to what looked back at him every morning in his shaving mirror. Something that bespoke sadness, and longing and—

Oh.

He drew in a deep lungful of air and slid off the counter, unmindful of the disarray of his clothing. His hands moved of their own accord, his body moved forward, until his arms were reaching out, and he was drawing Ray closer, as close as he could pull him. Ray went willingly, arms loose at his sides, settling against him with a shuddering sigh.

"Yes, Ray," Fraser said. "I get it. I get it."


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