torch, July 1999

Disclaimer: it's my party and I'll slash if I want to! Plot free. Spoiler free. No nutritional value whatsoever. Do not archive this story without permission.

Rock'n'roll with me

"Ray. Ray. Ray. Ray. Ray."


Jerking upright, he tried to blink the world into resembling something other than fuzzy shadows. His neck felt like it was broken. It probably was broken. Fraser was probably waking him up in the hospital to tell him that he was going to spend the rest of his life flat on his back looking at a white ceiling. Shit. He lifted a hand to rub at his eyes and realized that he was sitting up and moving — a wince as he banged one knee against something hard — and all parts except his broken neck felt pretty much as usual.

With the next blink, his vision cleared. He was in the car. Fraser was sitting next to him. It was dark outside. It was dark outside because—

"It is almost twelve thirty. Since the deliveries are made at approximately a quarter to one, I think we should both be alert."

He'd fallen asleep. On a stakeout. And his neck felt like it was broken because he'd fallen asleep, on a stakeout, leaning on his partner. With his head on Fraser's shoulder, like the other guy was some big custom-made pillow. (Don't go there.) Ray glanced quickly that way, and saw a darker stain on the uniform. Jesus, he'd drooled on the uniform. There was bound to be some horrible ancient Mountie punishment for that. Maybe they tied you to a chair with leftover lanyards and forced you to watch curling for a week, or something. Maybe they got Turnbull to read to you from the regulation handbook.

"Sorry 'bout that, Fraser," he said, waving one hand vaguely at the damp red serge. "I didn't mean to, uh—" No, he could not say that he hadn't meant to drool all over Fraser. One, he'd sound like a total moron, and two, it wasn't true. Only he was usually awake when he did his Fraser-drooling, and not quite so literal about it. He settled for, "Didn't mean to fall asleep on you."

"It's perfectly natural, Ray. You've had a difficult week." That was true as far as it went; he'd pulled double shifts, trying to sort out which of Wendigo Shipping's delivery jobs were legit and which were a pipeline for the hauls of some very successful antiques thiefs who had recently started to rack up a body count during their heists. Killing people over spindly-legged chairs, how stupid was that? Only problem was, so had the Mountie pulled double shifts, days at the consulate and nights staking out warehouses, and did he fall asleep? No, he just sat there looking like a recruitment poster. Join the RCMP, be as starched as you can be! As long as no one comes along and drools on you. "You probably needed a short period of sleep to refresh yourself."

"A nap, Frase, it's called a nap." Or dereliction of duty, but let's not go into that right now. His head felt fuzzy. "What I need is a cup of coffee."

"I'm afraid I didn't bring any." There was a whuff from the back seat. "No, Diefenbaker, I did not bring any donuts, either. You should know better than to ask."

"I'm awake," Ray muttered. "I'm awake, I'm awake, I'm awake. I need coffee. I'm awake."

"My grandmother always said that cold water was the best way to wake up a sleeping boy," Fraser said, and Ray pictured a robust woman in snow-shoes picking up a miniature Fraser by one foot and throwing him in the nearest lake. "I didn't always agree with her then, but now I have to admit that it provides a shock to the system that can be quite helpful."

"You're not gonna put ice cubes down my shirt, are you, Fraser?" Ray stretched as best he could in the cramped confines of the driver's seat. "Cause I think that kind of shock to the system would be detrimental to my health, it being January and all."

"Is it customary for officers of the law on a stakeout to bring coffee, donuts, and ice cubes? I'm afraid the RCMP manual doesn't cover all the details of Chicago policework."

Ray looked suspiciously at his partner. "Was that a joke?"

"Yes, Ray."

"Oh. Ha ha. Very funny." Then he relented, and grinned. "But the coffee would've come in handy."

"You're still feeling sleepy, Ray?" Fraser was frowning slightly, a small line between his brows, as though the question held some deep significance only he had grasped. "Oh, dear. Close your eyes."

"Fraser, I'm on a stakeout and I'm trying not to fall asleep. Catching the bad guys will be a lot easier if I have my eyes open."

"Yes, I realize that. But with your permission I would like to try an experiment," Fraser waggled an eyebrow in a way that was probably meant to send some kind of message, but Ray had no idea what it was, "that might help you wake up. Close your eyes, Ray."

"I'm not sure I wanna know what your idea of a shock to the system is," Ray muttered, but he did close his eyes, because he always ended up going along with the bizarre things Fraser suggested, because, well, it was Fraser. Opening his mouth to say that this better not involve ice cubes anywhere, he was silenced by soft, warm lips against his own, a gentle touch that grew more firm, more assured, more demanding.

Mouth. Lips. Fraser was kissing him. Tongue. Tasting him. And it was definitely a shock, it was like a big electric jolt going through him, every hair on his body standing on end and his eyes rolling up in his head and his brain melting out of his ears and—

And then it ended, and Fraser said, "Do you feel more awake now?"

Ray opened his eyes. "No." He blinked, shook his head to clear it, blinked again. "Matter of fact, I'm pretty sure I'm dreaming. That did not just happen."

"Well, I'm afraid it did, Ray. Although it doesn't appear to have had the effect I was aiming for."

"If you were going for complete, utter and total shock, you did pretty well, Frase."

"Thank you. But I was thinking more in terms of you returning the kiss."

It was a good thing he didn't have the cup of coffee he'd been longing for, because he would have choked on it. As it was, he practically choked on just air. He'd been expecting Fraser to tell him that what he'd thought was a kiss was in fact some obscure tribal hunting ritual or something. Now Fraser was giving him the Earnest Mountie Look and saying that he wanted

"In the middle of a stakeout?!"

The blue eyes clouded over with instant guilt. "You're correct, Ray. I apologize for my extremely inappropriate—"

Ray grabbed Fraser by his well-ironed collar and hauled him close, smothering the rest of the sentence with his own mouth.

Despite the way his hand was white-knuckled bunched into the cloth, the kiss was gentle, one skidding breathy brushing touch after the other until they softened into each other, mouths melting all hot and sweet and perfect. Ray could feel his heart start to beat out an entirely new rhythm, one he could listen to forever, one he could dance to forever, and he just wanted it to go on and on...

Then someone licked his ear.

Ray jerked back and was met with a whuff and a push from a wet wolf nose. When he turned his head, he saw that the quarter to one delivery to Wendigo Shipping had arrived. That was enough to make him let go, reluctantly. "All right, I see 'em. I owe you a donut, Dief."

About to open the car door, he was stopped by a hand on his arm. "Ray." Fraser looked a bit troubled. And there was stubble-burn to one side of his mouth. "Are you..."

He grinned. "Oh, I'm awake, Frase. Don't worry 'bout that. I'm wide awake."

* * *

due south || e‑mail