Fraser watches Ray watching movies. Terribly late and woefully long (4,999) response to the Movies Challenge. And, um, you don't have to have seen the movie Hoosiers to understand this. I, myself, can't really understand how this ended up being based around Hoosiers, which you really wouldn't think would be a terribly romantic movie, only it sorta is. Weirdness.
Great thanks go to my wonderful betas: lamardeuse, for a huge amount of help, including encouraging all the NC-17ness and for giving me a push to expand the ending, and to Shay for all her in-depth work on this piece, for giving me phrasing, and for telling me when things make sense only in my head. And a special thanks to SnowFlake for forcing me to realize, yeah, okay, fine, you're right, that doesn't work for this story.
I can feel Ray breathing next to me. He’s slouched down on the couch, his legs sprawled out, one knee edging into my space. This is fine; I like the warm length of him pressed against me. He’s got his glasses on, but he's still squinting at the television; out of habit, I presume. His rapt absorption with the movie gives me a chance to watch him unobserved. It’s dim in here, but my eyes have adjusted in the time we've been watching.
I find it fascinating how easily he allows me into his life. He shows no hesitation before embracing me, or slinging an (albeit casual) arm around my shoulders, or spending an evening ensconced on his couch with me directly beside him. It creates a level of intimacy of which he is either entirely unaware or else with which he is entirely comfortable.
The latter is most likely: yes, things between us are relatively intimate, though perhaps not in the manner I wish them to be, and yes, he is entirely comfortable with it.
He slouches further down on the couch, pressing his leg more firmly against mine. Without taking his eyes off the screen, he orders, “Relax, Frase. Kick back a little. Chill.”
“Chill?” I ask, allowing myself to turn and look at him openly, instead of the furtive glances I’ve been sending his way.
“Chill,” he confirms. He spares me a glance, running his eyes over me, which sends an abrupt shudder through my body, as though physically responding to the given command. “Like me.”
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, I allow myself the opportunity given and study his posture. He’s wearing faded jeans, which have slid down a bit on his hips. His sweater looks extremely soft, soft like it might be cashmere. In point of fact, I know that it is extremely soft, for he threw his arm around my shoulder on our way out of the station and I allowed my hand to fall on the small of his back for a few moments. It might be cashmere. A leftover from his life with Stella, who would do that, buy him lavish things, trying to reconstruct him in an image of her own making. The collar of a t-shirt peeks out from beneath the sweater, something of which Stella would never have approved.
He’s slouched there, legs spread (not an invitation, I remind myself fiercely. He is comfortable with me and therefore relaxed, and is it not an invitation). His motorcycle boots, battered and scuffed, have not yet been nudged off his feet. I like the dichotomy of the ancient boots, the tattered jeans, paired with the expensive black sweater that looks so comfortable on his body. His clothes fit him as a person, as who he is. Not all one thing, nor all another. Instead, a fusion, put together to create something that is purely him. I envy that.
He has told me to try to be like him. We are so very different; I wonder how it would be possible to even come close. I am wearing jeans, like him, but they conform rather more to my body. My shirt is sturdy, dependable flannel, buttoned and tucked in neatly. I wear boots as well, though they are polished to a shine, with nary a scuff in sight. I watch how he leans there and consider my own posture, which is stiff and unyielding. I sit with my spine straight, even here on the softness of the couch. My legs are, however, splayed rather more than usual, and if I am to be completely honest with myself, I must admit that is because I enjoy the contact of his leg next to mine and cannot stop myself from seeking a rather closer proximity.
I look at Ray helplessly, trying to figure out how to do as he says, to just let go, to relax, to not get caught up in this tortuous thought process. Hissing out a sigh of exasperation, Ray reaches for the remote, pausing the film. He shifts again on the couch, drawing his leg up and angling himself towards me. Resting one arm on the back of the couch, he runs his hand through his hair (which is, incidentally, newly dyed a rather startling blonde and has enough gel in it to stay very resolutely pointed towards the ceiling). He studies my posture, grinning slightly. I’m certain that he is waiting to see if I will, indeed, be able to follow his instructions, imitate his position. His knee is pressed to the side of my leg.
I take a breath. Let it out, and tilt my head from side to side, endeavoring to relax my neck and shoulders. Ray’s grin gets wider, and he lets his hand drop from the back of the couch to my shoulder. He presses down with his fingers, testing, it seems, the level of my relaxation. My shoulders are tense, and I know, and his hands upon me make them more so.
“That as good as it gets, Frase?” He doesn’t move his hand, leaves it there on my shoulder, a challenge.
I raise my eyebrows. Shrug my shoulders a time or two, while taking deep breaths. Then I very deliberately relax the muscles in my back and...slouch. Mimic his posture as it was when he was so intently watching the television. I allow myself to slide forward a bit on the couch, relax so that my head rests against the back of it. Let my legs spread open further, my booted feet braced wide on the floor.
My arms. Hmm. I rest one on the arm of the couch. The other, I let fall naturally to the side, so that my hand rests on my thigh, but my elbow rests on Ray’s bent leg where he presses so close to me.
His hand is still on my shoulder, and I close my eyes for a moment. I can feel the heat of his hand through the layer of flannel that separates us. I just breathe for a moment, let myself enjoy the scent of him so close to me: the omnipresent hair product, the beer he's drinking, the scent of him overlaying it all. I sigh and open my eyes, tilt my head without raising it from the back of the couch. Look at him. “Like this, Ray?”
He takes a deep breath. “Yeah,” he says, his voice coming out a little strangled. “I mean -yeah.” He glances down, notices his hand still resting on my shoulder and snatches it away. He turns away from me, fumbling for the remote. I flinch a little at that reaction. I know I hunger for more closeness between us. He must notice that. I flush hotly, feeling exposed. He is an open person, comfortable with himself, and I keep allowing myself to read that as something more. Wish for that to be something more.
I feel uneasy with my selfishness. This effortless familiarity with him should be more than enough, more than I’ve ever had with anyone, even with the real Ray Vecchio. Perhaps it’s because it is so easy with him, with my Ray (I mean - with this Ray) that I feel compelled to seek for something...more.
Or perhaps I just think too much at times. Perhaps I should, as Ray says, chill. Sit back and enjoy the movie. A choice of Ray’s, but one to which I am not averse. Hoosiers. A basketball film, he said, but it seems to me to be as much about the human need for camaraderie as it is about the sport. I make a concerted effort to focus on the film, an attempt made difficult by the fact that when Ray settles into place once more, it is either somewhat closer to me than before, or else the splay of my legs brings me in to more contact with him.
Regardless, we are now very close together on the soft couch, and I have a difficult time dragging my mind back to the movie, when I can feel his leg pressed against me all the way from knee to thigh. When his shoulder brushes mine each time he reaches for his beer. When no matter how I try not to think about it, I am conscious of his scent at all times. When it is very easy to allow myself to pretend that this pose of relaxation is indeed a pose of true intimacy. When it is even easier to allow myself to pretend that his reaction a few moments ago meant that he enjoyed seeing me relax at his bidding.
That perhaps he would enjoy bidding me to do more than just relax.
The movie. Watch the movie. I’ve lost track of the plot lines, but force myself to concentrate. Ray cracks his neck, apparently loosening the tension he gained after watching me relax. He sinks further back into the couch beside me. I find myself getting wrapped up in the film. It’s easy to get lost here, in both the film and the closeness between us, and the movie is over sooner than I would like.
I allow myself a moment after it's over to simply enjoy being here, then glance over at Ray. “I should allow you to get to bed,” I say, starting to rise, intending to gather the glasses and bottles on the table.
“Relax, Fraser,” he says. I wonder if he knows he’s repeating his earlier exhortation. “You really in such a rush to get back to the consulate?”
“Not at all,” I answer, dropping back onto the couch. He has no idea how vehemently I mean that. How much I despise going “home” to those empty, cold corridors.
“Then stay.” He gets up, goes to the kitchen to get himself another beer. “What did you think? Pretty good, huh? You gotta love that coach, the way he stands up to the town.” He opens the fridge, then leans back in to the living room. Catches my eye and tilts his head. Asking do I want anything. I shake my head and he nods. I like this. No: I love this, how easily we communicate without words. It's inherently satisfying.
He comes back with his beer and settles himself on the couch, not quite as close to me as before. I stifle the disappointment I feel, and try very much to not focus on how cold I feel without him pressed up against me. I concentrate instead on the fact that my posture has slowly reinstated itself as I watched the film, and I am once again sitting up straight, quite the opposite of Ray’s relaxed sprawl. I make an effort and once more slouch back on the couch. It comes easier this time around, and I observe Ray giving me a tiny grin as he catches the movement.
“So?” he asks, taking a swallow of beer. “What do you think?”
I blink at him, startled, imagining my disappointment at his lack of proximity has been entirely too obvious. Perhaps now is the time to...
Ah. The movie. What did I think of the movie.
I consider it for a moment. “I thought it had...unexpected depth to it.”
“Yeah! I know. It goes way past just a sports flick.” He shakes his head. “I could never convince Stella to watch these kinda things with me.” He grins, tilts his head at me. “She called Slapshot ‘that hockey movie.’”
I stare at him. “Like it was just some silly sports film?”
He nods. “Like it was just some silly sports film,” he confirms. “You believe that?”
I shake my head firmly. Just another in a very long series of events that leads me to believe that Ray is much, much better off without Assistant D.A. Kowalski in his life. “She is obviously very closed-minded when it comes to movies such as these.”
“She’s very closed-minded about a lot of things,” Ray says grimly. He takes his glasses off and tosses them onto the coffee table. Then he squeezes the bridge of his nose, closing his eyes for a moment.
I cast him a quick look, hoping the topic of his ex-wife doesn’t destroy the mood of the evening. He opens his eyes with a sigh, shrugs his shoulders, and takes another sip of his beer, obviously endeavoring to let it go.
“I think I was particularly...” I trail off, thinking about the scene between Coach Dale and the teacher, trying to think of the words to describe it.
Ray’s looking at me, interested. Relieved, perhaps, to have something draw his thoughts away from the past. “Particularly what?”
“I was particularly drawn to the exploration of the relationship between Coach Dale and the teacher, Ms. Fleener,” I say slowly, thinking about it even as I speak. “What he said to her...”
I’m suddenly snapped back to the time and place. Ray is watching me intently, and I find myself blushing furiously, for no reason whatsoever except his eyes on me. I mentally curse myself. He’s waiting for my response. “When they’re in the woods.”
He’s nodding even as I finish the sentence. “I love that scene. That’s a great scene.”
I nod slowly in return, studying him and his enthusiasm. “Yes,” I say. “It’s rare that you find such a moment within a movie such as this one.”
“A guy flick, you mean?” he asks. He’s shifted closer as we speak, and put his beer down. His arm has once more crept over the back of the couch and is resting behind my neck.
“I suppose that’s it, yes. I think perhaps the ability of men to understand, and enjoy, such expressions of ...desire...is underrated.”
He makes the moue of grim understanding again. “Underrated. Yeah, I get that.” He seems lost in thought, but rather than gazing off, he’s looking directly at me, his eyes fixed upon mine.
My blush has faded, I hope, and I’m wondering something. I decide, for once, to speak without thinking it all the way through. I can’t tell if what I’m feeling is potential or simply fear. “When he tells her how he's been imagining what it would be like to kiss her from the moment they met…"
Again, Ray is nodding that slow nod before I’ve quite finished speaking. I think I’ve leaned nearer to him, or else he to me, for we are quite, quite close. So close, and there is no time to think before his lips are on mine. It's a soft kiss, unexpected from Ray, who is so fierce and determined. His lips are warm and they move gently against mine. I can't help but moan softly, and his hands land on my hips, clutch gently. Holding on.
As with the movie, the kiss ends much too soon. Ray pulls away slowly. He opens his eyes, as I do, and looks at me. He whispers, so soft that were I not this close to him, I doubt I would have heard him. “ ...I just got tired of imagining.” His eyes are fierce, like he might be angry, and I love that. His fierceness, his certainty, being brave when I couldn't be. Going for more, when I had resolved myself to being content with his leg pressed against my own.
"Yes," I whisper. "Me, too."
The look that sweeps over his face is nothing short of abject relief. I can’t conceive of the fact that he didn’t know. That he was unsure. That he, too, had been imagining. Imagining and tired, so very tired, of not having the real thing. So close but not close enough. All the braver, for having been unsure, yet pushing forward anyway, determined to have something more.
His look of relief is closely followed by one of edged panic. "So, um, it's been… I mean, this is… You and me…" He trails off in frustration, closes his eyes, takes a breath. I wait for him, for this, because I am very far from being one who is capable of making presumptions. I, myself, am edgy, because I can still feel his lips on mine, the warm pressure, his hands on my hips, how very right it felt.
His eyes, when he opens them, are very wild. Is he ever to be my foil? I feel calm here next to him now, when he is now the one who is nervous. I imagine it must make him crazy, make him feel out of step, perhaps, the way I felt earlier, trying so hard to be like him. When really, what he is, is my balance. We fit together like this, make it work between us, because we are so very much not alike upon first glance. We look at things differently, our thought patterns seem to be at odds, but when we act, it's easy. He knows where I am and I know where he is, and you'd think it would be impossible to predict how someone who is so very different from you will react, but -
He is not so very different from myself. It's staggering, these rapid discoveries, and I'm reeling from it, need to breathe, to think a little here, because this is truly huge here; this is my world turned upside down.
But it occurs to me: that we work best when time is of the essence and we must react swiftly or risk losing everything.
I think time is of the essence here.
Before he can say another word, I lean forward and kiss him again. Fierce. Sure. Like him. Pulling him close. Translating here, through this kiss, what he - what we - couldn't find the words to say. I know what he was trying to say before. I know it deep in the heart of me. Knew it before he himself did, maybe. It's an aching relief to be aware, finally, that I am not alone in this. To let myself be aware of this, to not think, to just feel. And what I feel is his answering kiss, his lips opening against mine. It is nothing short of relief to let my tongue slide into his mouth, to feel him shudder against me.
It feels right. This feels right. Like I’m letting go of everything I shouldn't have been hanging onto in the first place. Like earlier during the movie: I need to relax. If I relax, if I let go, then I can have everything.
I can have everything.
When we finally break apart, I find that I have pulled him on top of me, that I am lying back on the couch and he is sprawled over me, his weight heavy upon me. This, too, feels right, that in the taking of this, in the stealing of a kiss, in the letting go of all my fears, I have laid myself open before him, let him cover me, take me, hold me, pin me, even as I am the one to draw him down.
It is a balance and it works. For us, it works. We work.
He is panting and looking not a little startled, but his eyes are not the same sort of wild. It is more a realization of sorts, that all this is his for the taking. "You knew," he says. It is almost accusatory. "You knew," he repeats, shaking his head. "How long?"
I don't bother to pretend to misunderstand him. "Ever since I first saw you," I say, and it is a relief, to say it out loud. Finally. "Forever."
"Forever," he repeats vaguely, looking slightly stunned. Then he gives a little shake of his head, and looks at me. "Yeah. I get that."
I nod slowly, allowing my hand to travel up his back, to stroke gently through his carefully sculpted hair, reveling in this feeling of rightness, of surety. If I was selfish before, in wanting more, then now I am greedy. And in my greediness, I can't help but take, pull him close and kiss him again before he has a chance to fully catch his breath. The way he whimpers against my lips seems to me to be a sound of yielding, of giving in to this desire that, it seems, has been between us so long.
I whisper against his lips, "Did you? Know, I mean? That I wanted - this? That I wanted you?"
"No - I mean - no, I didn't, but - I wanted, tonight, I wanted to…" He trails off, but that's all right, because when he looks at me helplessly, I just kiss him and he sighs contentedly and lets me. This is easier. It was always easy between us, but this is something richer. This is us. We can communicate this way, just as we do through looks, through intuition, when we need to. I need to now. I need this.
He does too. I can feel it, in how he moves against me, how he sinks into the kiss, how even here, sprawled over me, he moves with a sort of loose-limbed grace, not content to merely stay still and kiss, but needing to rub against me, to move his hands down my body and back up, and this is - this is - god, this is good, this is so damn good.
He moves his hips again and I tighten my grip, because all I want is for him to be beneath me, where I can touch, taste, take.
"Oh, yeah," he groans, now thrusting in long, sinuous movements, "like that. Harder. Show me what you want." He yanks his mouth from mine, licks his way down to my ear. "Show me what you like," he whispers.
I'm dizzy, I'm lost, and I have him on his back before I can even think about it. Don't think. Just take. But he likes it, he seems to like it. No, doesn't just seem to, I can tell he likes it, from his gasps, from how he immediately spreads his legs beneath me. Forever, it's been forever that I've been waiting for this. I'm crushing him beneath me, thrusting, now, between his legs, and he's hard too, I can feel in when he presses up against me, meeting my thrusts, and keeping up a low, running commentary when he can breathe between kisses.
"Oh man, oh yeah, there, God, fuck, yes," and now he's struggling against me and even that feels good, though it shouldn't, I should be focusing, but am instead still pressing him down, licking his cheek, his ear, the hollow of his throat, and moaning, God, is that me?
His hands have pushed their way between us and my heart stutters for a moment in the fear that he is trying to push me away, but his hands fall to the button of his jeans, and he's opening them, letting out a sigh of relief as the zipper slides down. The grin he gives me is positively wicked.
That cadence in my head picks up. More more more. I never knew - never even suspected - that if I took a chance, I might get everything and more. Like a child at Christmastime, I'm overwhelmed, unsure of what to touch next, and then his hands move from his jeans to mine. His hands are unbuttoning, unzipping my jeans, brushing tormentingly against me as he works at it. I am gasping out loud, and he loses his grin, looks up at me with fierce need in his eyes as he reaches in and draws me out.
His breath is coming in stuttering gasps as well and he strokes me, seemingly caught between wanting to watch my face and wanting to watch his hand on me, his eyes flickering between the two. I am leaking copiously and he runs his thumb over the tip and I have to close my eyes suddenly, tightly, because I am terribly close to coming just from that touch. I hear him take a deep breath and then his hand is gone from me and I open my eyes to see him shoving his jeans and underwear down awkwardly, as far as he can in his position, still pinned beneath me.
God, I need - "I need you," I blurt out. "I - want you." It sounds greedy to my own ears, but for once, greedy sounds good. He likes it too, because as I watch, his erection twitches, leaving wet smears on his stomach.
"God, Fraser," he breathes.
And I try to tell him how much I want him, but I have no breath, because what I need, now, is - I'm on him, then, thrusting hard, and my erection slides against his and he gasps, "Jesus, yes, fuck, Fraser, yes." My hands are moving over him, grasping tightly to his hair, his shoulders, his hips, looking for purchase, because I am shaking apart, need to hold on because I am losing, have lost, control.
He is lurching up with his hips, meeting me, his erection skimming against mine, silky and smooth and wet, and I try, again, to tell him what I want but what I gasp out, shockingly, is, "I love you."
He groans low in his throat, and that sound alone is enough to make me come, suddenly, shatteringly, against him, pulsing over and over, ducking my head to hide against his shoulder, gasping, gasping. His hands are clutching at my hips and I am suddenly very aware of his erection pressing against the sudden wetness of my stomach, my hip. He moves desperately beneath me and I bite his shoulder, and he comes, cursing, clutching at me, and I can feel the waves of his orgasm shuddering through his body beneath mine.
I am stunned, shaken by this. Because yes, I love him, and he might - he could - . But when I pull back a little, he slings a sweaty arm around my neck, holding me close.
"Gimme a second," he mumbles against my shoulder. "Just stay right there, gimme a chance to get myself together."
I settle gratefully against him, breathing in, now, entirely new scents of Ray: sweat, and semen, and I feel his breath coming hot against my shoulder.
After a few moments, he takes a deep breath and releases me and I push back cautiously, careful to not crush him as I move. I manage to sit back on the couch, and he pushes himself up on his elbows, contemplates the mess we have made of the both of us. He's grinning again, and his voice is sleepy and amused. "You didn't even let me get my clothes off."
"No," I agree, looking around for something with which to clean us, that might allow us to return to some state of decency. Ray doesn't seem to care at all about his lack of modesty, though he does heave himself further into a sitting position and pull off his sweater, throwing it aside, then pulls off his t-shirt, graciously tossing it to me so that I may mop myself off first. I do so, still slightly shaky, and tug my clothing into place.
He is leaning back on the couch, accepts the slightly sticky return of his shirt and swabs at himself before lifting his hips and pulling up his jeans. He looks over at me, and I realize that I am once again sitting up straight on the couch, my hands resting on my knees, as though waiting for a meeting to start. When really, only moments ago, I had this man, my partner, pinned beneath me while I thrust against him, while he writhed against me… I'm flushing, again.
Ray shakes his head at me. "Fraser," he says. "Don't freak out."
"I'm -" That's as far as I get before he leans forward, kisses me. My hands find their way to the smooth skin of his back, and I lean into the kiss. He pulls away slowly and rests his forehead against mine. He's smiling. "Chill. Okay?"
"Yes. Okay. Yes." I can do this. Lord knows I want to do this. Lord knows he's given me enough incentive to do this. I force myself relax again, to stop thinking so much. I very deliberately slouch down on the couch, and raise my eyebrow at him.
"There you go," he says approvingly, stretching his back and rubbing his hands through his hair. "I think you're getting the hang of this, Fraser."
"Yes," I respond absently, watching him. Then, "Am I? Getting the hang of this? Is this all right? You're not - freaked out?"
He ducks his head and grins a little. "No. Not freaked out." He yawns hugely. "Maybe because you wore me out." He catches my eye and quirks his lips. "And maybe because I wanted this, okay? I mean, a little surprising, sure, but - yeah." His voice is soft now. "I want this."
God, I do love him. I don't know what has happened to me this evening, to my sense of boundaries, propriety. He stripped those away from me from the very first meeting, and it feels like this is just another step. Because I lean forward and kiss him again before I say, slightly breathless, "Yes. After a while - well, imagination is all well and good, but reality -"
"- can be a whole lot better," he finishes. He gets up, stretches again, and my eyes follow his body. He reaches out a hand to me. "Come to bed with me?" His eyes have that fierce look again, daring me to say no. As if I could.
"Yes," I say, letting him tug me to my feet. "Of course, that would be lovely, and very kind of you to offer…"
He's laughing, and gives me a shove. "Fraser! Chill."
And I’m grinning as I stumble towards his bed.
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