Rating: PG
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Thanks: Many thanks to mergatrude for beta

Two better hemispheres

by china_shop


Fraser woke to the distant but insistent beeping of a truck reversing down the street outside. It was dark, but he knew exactly where he was, his nakedness, and the languor in his limbs being the most obvious, immediate reminders of the night before. He allowed himself a minute to inventory the situation anyway. Unfamiliar toothpaste. Warm sheets, soft and old. Rain driving against the window at an angle that would be impossible in his office, due to the south-facing wall beside the yard. The faint smell of sex and socks, and Ray's grooming products—no hint of the ink and furniture polish Fraser was accustomed to.

And, more importantly, the heavy arm that draped across his chest, the face pressed between Fraser's shoulder and the pillow. Ray's breathing—not quite a snore, but slow and regular, indicative of deep sleep.

Fraser focused on the sound, knowing it was foolish to try to discern contentment or regret in the rhythmic inhalation, but trying nonetheless. On balance, Ray seemed untroubled. A cautious happiness crept over Fraser. This was okay. This was what they both wanted—whatever this turned out to be. Certainly, Ray's feverish murmurings the night before had left little room for doubt.

Fraser replayed that first kiss in his head. It had started with the jolt of their bodies together, when Ray had stepped forward to retrieve his mother's postcard from the table at the exact instant that Fraser had turned around. Under normal circumstances, they both would have pulled back quickly, looked away, and brushed the moment aside. But for some reason, perhaps at some unspoken, unconscious signal, this time they froze, and awareness suddenly sharpened Ray's blue gaze.

Fraser had broken off mid-sentence, the words dying on his lips when he realized that Ray had stopped breathing altogether. And then they were drawn toward each other—inexorably, thought Fraser now. He'd felt a flutter of panic, before Ray's mouth closed on his, tongue tracing his lower lip, making his intentions plain. Fraser touched Ray's arm, the base of his neck, and at last they were embracing.

"I should go—Diefenbaker," Fraser had protested, breathlessly, pulling away. He was half afraid of what would happen if they lay stretched out together, body to body. Of what he would reveal. His self-control felt flimsy and ragged.

Ray put his arms around him and buried his face in Fraser's hair. "Frase. Jesus, don't back out on me now," he said, and kissed him again. "Just stay a minute. Half an hour, then I'll drive you home." And Fraser had welcomed the pretext, had willingly given in to temptation.

That had led them here, to the bedroom, to a heated, laughing evening of mutual pleasure and indulgence, and then—sleep.

Now it was morning. Fraser judged the time to be well past five, which meant he'd better be on his way shortly if he were to complete his chores before he started work. Diefenbaker would be desperate for a walk by now, too. Fraser lay next to Ray and started to plan his morning, reluctant to move a muscle before it was absolutely necessary.

Finally, he raised his head to see the red numbers on Ray's alarm clock: 6:12. Oh dear. And the rain was still relentless against the window.

He wondered what was the correct etiquette. Were they friends who had slept together, now, or were they lovers? And either way, was it acceptable to disrupt Ray's rest? He had no choice. He brushed his hand along Ray's arm, diffidently.

Ray's embrace tightened momentarily, then relaxed again. Fraser waited, but there was no further response.

"Ray," he whispered, and when that, too, fell on deaf ears, he tried again, louder. "Ray."

Ray muttered wordlessly, and shifted, pressing his body against the length of Fraser's side, clearly resisting any attempt to drag him into the day.

"Ray, I need to go to work," Fraser explained, gently. "Diefenbaker—"

"Ssmillnye," groaned Ray, and twisted his head away, burrowing into the pillow.

"I'm sorry, Ray. It's just that—"

"Sshhhhh!" Ray hissed, sharply, and yanked the covers over his head.

Fraser wondered whether perhaps this was a passing protest, which would soon give way to wakefulness, but it seemed not. Ray's back and buttocks were now lax against Fraser's side and hip, and there was no indication he was about to spring into action.

Fraser rolled onto his side and slid his arm around Ray's waist, hugging him, determinedly ignoring the heady sensation of Ray's rear against Fraser's own morning erection. He propped his head on his free hand and leaned over Ray's sleeping face, kissing just in front of his ear. "I have to go," he said in a low voice.

Ray shook his head a little, eyes tightly shut, and grumbled softly to himself. Then he stopped moving, and his breathing deepened again.

Oh dear. Well, it seemed that Fraser would have to make his own way. He steeled himself and withdrew quickly, knowing that lingering would make the parting harder. He pushed aside the covers, eliciting another round of sleepy grumbling from Ray.

"Sorry," he said, and tucked the covers back, making sure no draft could breach the bedclothes.

Gritting his teeth against the cold, he felt around in the dim room for his clothes, which were tangled on the floor with Ray's jeans and t-shirt and holster. When he stubbed his toe on Ray's motorcycle boots, he stifled an exclamation, and then whispered another apology—this time to the room at large.

By the time Fraser was adjusting his lanyard—luckily he'd had plenty of experience donning his uniform in difficult conditions, and was able to assemble a reasonable facsimile of order, even in the dark—there were vague restless movements from the bed.

Fraser perched on the edge of the mattress to tie his boots, and a lean hand snuck out from between the sheets and grasped his wrist. The nonverbal groan—sounding almost laughably lupine—was clearly a complaint.

"I'll see you later," Fraser promised. "I have to—"

"No," said Ray. His first clear word. Or perhaps it was I know. This was followed by an indistinct sigh, and a series of phonemes that Fraser interpreted as, "Should take you."

The rain clattered against the window, illustrating the point, but Fraser ignored it. "That's not necessary, Ray." He covered Ray's hand with his own and squeezed. "Go back to sleep."

"Mmmm," Ray agreed, sounding relieved. He patted Fraser's arm blindly, drew his hand back under the bedding, and snuggled down again.

Fraser bit back a smile, and cast around for his hat, before remembering he'd left it on the couch. Well, then. It was time to be off. He paused in the doorway. "I'll see you later," he repeated, as much to himself as to Ray.

There was no reaction. Right, then.

Fraser made his way to the living room and retrieved his hat. He slid back the deadbolt quietly and squared his shoulders, ready to face the weather, the world, and Diefenbaker's reproaches. He was just about to open the door, when he heard a thud from the bedroom.

He turned. "Ray?"

And there Ray was, standing in the bedroom doorway, bundled in the comforter. His hair was in wild disarray, his eyes bleary and mostly shut. "You goin'?" he mumbled, squinting at Fraser in the half-light.

"Yeah, I have to—Diefenbaker—" Fraser felt as though he'd been repeating himself for the last ten minutes.

"'Srainin'." Ray was clearly having trouble stringing thoughts together, but the harsh sound of the weather—it was a storm really—seemed to have penetrated his befuddled state.

"Yes." Fraser was torn, knowing he should leave, but wanting nothing more than to go to Ray, to take him back to bed.

Ray held out his hand, and Fraser took a helpless step toward him before he saw there was something glinting in his palm. Keys.

"Are you sure?" he said. Ray was prepared to trust him with his car? Was he really in a fit state to make such a decision?

But Ray nodded, his eyes still practically shut. He shuffled forward and kissed Fraser softly on the mouth, his chin scratchy, his breath bitter and dry. "S'you later." Then he pressed the keys into Fraser's hand, pulled the comforter tighter around his shoulders, turned and trundled back to bed.

Fraser took a moment to savor these twin gifts: the sleepy morning-after kiss, laden with promise and intimacy, and the generous loan of Ray's car keys, cool and angular and perfect. He smiled foolishly to himself, and was careful to ease the door shut behind him as he left, so as not to disturb the neighbors.


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