Thanks: Many thanks to Brynn and Mergatrude for beta
Notes: Part 1 was written for Brynn; part 2 for Belmanoir; and part 3 for Andeincascade
Ray scraped his chair back, stood up and stared at Vecchio across the white tablecloth strewn with empty plates and heavy silverware from the fancy dinner they'd cooked him. Adrenalin spiked, fucking with Ray's senses; in the lamplight Vecchio looked as alien as if he was sprouting tentacles. There was classical music wailing in the background and the kettle was boiling in the kitchenette of Fraser and Vecchio's apartment love-nest, but all Ray could hear was the proposition Vecchio had just made.
"What the hell makes you think I'd do that?" Ray demanded. He folded his arms tight. "You think I'm some kind of pervert?"
"No, of course not, Ray," said Fraser soothingly. He stood up, too. "I just—You once told me you'd try anything and I—we—hoped."
Ray squinted at him. "I said that? When did I say that?"
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow. "A long time ago, when were observing Stella to make sure she wasn't partaking in any lascivious acts. I distinctly remember." He was wearing that ancient cable-knit sweater he loved, and the cuff flapped at his wrist when he lowered his hand.
"You did what?" Apparently Vecchio, still in his seat at the head of the table, couldn't resist the chance to make Ray feel like a loser.
"That's not the point." Ray cut the air with his hands. "I didn't mean it literally."
"Ray, please calm down." Fraser gave him the wide-eyed talk-'em-down gaze. "We mean no insult by it. Quite the reverse."
He seemed like he was perfectly serious, so the only plausible option—that this was some fucked-up practical joke—went down in flames, and Ray had to consider the alternative: they meant it.
He shook his head, his frustration sharpening. "I don't believe this. I spend two years trying not to think about you like that because you say you can't. You say you already got a boyfriend."
"You said that?" Vecchio asked Fraser.
Fraser nodded. "Of course."
"And then you gang up and spring this on me over dinner?" said Ray. He shook his head again, but it didn't matter how hard he tried, none of this made any kind of sense.
"Hey, stop yelling at Fraser! It was my idea." Vecchio pushed his plate away, making the cutlery clatter against the china, and got to his feet, hands flat on the table. "You want to yell at someone, yell at me."
"Your idea?!" Ray's stomach flipped like a pancake. He glanced at Fraser for confirmation.
Ray narrowed his eyes at Vecchio, and forcibly loosened his arms from where they were clamped across his chest so he could run both hands through his hair. He could hardly breathe. The dinette was too small and too dimly lit for three tall guys to loom over each other, but he couldn't afford to give ground. "You've got Fraser," he told Vecchio, harshly. "If that's not enough for you, you are majorly fucked up."
Vecchio's lips twisted. "You think I don't know that?"
But Ray had already turned on Fraser again. "And you! You don't want me yourself, but I'm the go-to guy when your boyfriend has an itch you can't scratch?"
"I never said I didn't want you, Ray," said Fraser quietly. He looked like he didn't know what to do with his hands, like he was forcibly stopping himself from stacking the plates or fidgeting with the salt shaker. He slid them into his front pockets, drawing Ray's attention to exactly the place he'd worked hard to ignore.
"Right." Ray scowled at him. "Right, my mistake." He licked his teeth and stepped aside so he could put his chair in its proper place at the table, but then he couldn't seem to unclench his hands from the wooden chair back. "This isn't cool, Fraser. This is not cool. You want kinky stuff, you pick someone up in a bar or you call a pro. You don't ask your best friend, who—"
"A pro?" Fraser looked baffled.
Vecchio translated. "He means a hooker."
Fraser frowned. "Prostitution is illegal in the state of Illinois."
"Not the point," yelled Ray. "Jesus, why am I even still here?" He made himself let go of the chair back and stormed through to the living room. Dief was asleep in front of the empty fireplace, oblivious to the madness around him.
Ray grabbed his jacket from the couch and shoved his arms into the sleeves.
Vecchio followed him. "It's not about kinky stuff, Kowalski. Come on, you think Fraser and me woke up this morning and said, 'Hey, you know what would be fun? Let's seduce Kowalski!'?"
Ray's hands tightened into fists of their own accord. "What am I supposed to think?"
"We've been—" Vecchio got between him and the tiny entranceway to the front door. He looked tired all of a sudden. "We've been going back and forth on this for a year, okay?"
Ray stopped, stunned. A year? Even the stern old guy in the painting beside the bookcase seemed to be laughing at him.
Vecchio must have seen the shock on his face. "Yeah. Ever since—" He gestured at the space between the two of them, and Ray—
Ray suddenly remembered that one time, months and months ago. One little pinpoint of a moment in the GTO when he and Vecchio had sparked, when it had almost felt like they were drawn together. Blazing sunlight and Ray had got tingles down his spine and Vecchio's eyes had got big and dark, and they'd both frozen like ice cubes for second after second after second, like a crazy game of chicken.
And then Vecchio had blinked, everything suddenly shuttered down and oblique, and Ray had backed away, backed off, and later figured he'd imagined the whole thing.
Turned out he hadn't. "A year," he said now, indignantly, "and you never bothered to mention this to me, even once?"
"You were seeing Ms. Kochanski for quite some time," Fraser pointed out from the doorway. He looked worried, like he hadn't expected Ray to lose his shit. Christ only knew what Fraser'd expected.
Dief whined, and all three of them turned to look at him. He thumped his tail a couple of times, then put his head down again and started snoring.
"We couldn't tell you till we were sure we knew what we wanted, okay?" Vecchio said, low and intense. "We didn't want to jerk you around—make a move and then get cold feet."
"But now you're sure." This didn't make any sense. Fraser would never—Vecchio would never—"So you invite me over, you cook me red pepper halibut, Stella's no-fail guaranteed seduction meal. What exactly did you think was going to happen?"
"We were hoping you'd listen." Fraser moved forward. "Ray, please. If the idea repulses you, then all we can do is beg your forgiveness for offending you. But if you can—If you can see yourself with us, please—"
Ray held up his hands to keep Fraser at bay. He felt like he hardly knew him anymore, and that scared him more than anything. "What does that mean, 'with you'?" He pointed at Vecchio. "What is that? I got no fucking idea what you're asking."
Vecchio went red in the face, but he spoke up anyway. "Listen, you want Fraser, this is your chance. The catch is, he comes in a handy two-pack now."
"With you." Ray looked Vecchio up and down, raising his eyebrows mockingly even though Vecchio didn't look half bad in his dark green cashmere sweater and chinos.
"We haven't decided how it might work, Ray." Fraser was still doing his earnest, let's all be adult about this and share our fucking feelings. "We felt you should be part of that conversation, if you chose to be."
Ray took a deep, shaky breath and wondered if he was the only sane person in the room. He went over to the collection of bottles on the bookcase next to the stereo, helped himself to a scotch from the cut-glass bottle and drank it down in one swallow. The burn helped—it cleared his head and reminded him he didn't belong here. "You guys are out of your minds," he told them, firmly. "It's hard enough to make it work with one person." Ray pointed at Vecchio with his glass. "You know that. This—" He waved his hand between the three of them. "This would be a disaster waiting to happen."
"That's a risk we're willing to take," said Fraser, like he thought that made it okay.
"Would you stop with the 'we'?" snapped Ray. "Let Vecchio speak for himself."
"We've been over and over this," said Vecchio. He crowded up beside Ray and poured himself a drink and then offered Ray a top-up.
Ray's need for alcohol-induced clarity outweighed his suspicion that Vecchio was trying to get him drunk. Fraser wouldn't let anyone take advantage of anyone. And at least Vecchio wasn't stingy with his booze.
"We looked for a way out like you wouldn't believe, but the only escape hatch is if you say no." Vecchio was standing too close, too focused on Ray. He replaced the cork without looking and returned the bottle to its shelf.
Ray moved toward the window, trying to stay cool and not give away how much this thing was freaking him out. The heavy curtains were open and the cloudy sky above the city was orange with light pollution.
"We—I want you, Ray," said Fraser's reflection in the glass, "and so does Ray."
Vecchio nodded, but he didn't look that happy about it.
Ray shook his head, though he himself didn't know if it was in denial or just confusion. He turned to face them. "Why me?"
"Because you're you." Vecchio sighed. "Because you're the second most infuriating man on the planet, and it turns out I got a type."
"Age shall not weary him, nor custom stale his infinite variety," said Fraser.
Ray and Vecchio both looked at him like he was crazy, but Fraser just gave a tiny shrug, like quoting the Bible in the middle of a conversation like this was completely normal.
Ray drained his glass and set it on the windowsill with a clink. He pointed at Fraser. "You, I knew about. Sort of. I mean, why do you think it didn't work out with Jenny? I kept seeing you looking at me. I kept hoping. You know what they say—hope is the silent killer. But you—" He turned on Vecchio. "You, I had no idea." He went over to Vecchio before he could think better of it, got right in his face. "Damned good poker face you got there."
Vecchio was alert, wary. He didn't back away, just nodded.
Ray studied him, saw how his nostrils were flaring a little. Maybe that was a tell, but Ray hadn't known there was anything to look for until now. "Show me your hand," he said, softly, daring Vecchio.
And Vecchio did. His cool scepticism melted away, his eyes darkened. He dropped his gaze to Ray's lips and swallowed hard, and then looked up again, locked gazes with him. Ray could almost feel his pulse in the air between them. It was too much, too much—
He blinked, looked away, took a step back.
Vecchio stiffened. "If you're toying with me—"
"Hey, I don't know what the hell I'm doing," said Ray. "You've had your head in the game for a year. I only turned up five minutes ago, remember?"
Fraser cleared his throat, making Ray whip his head around. He'd almost forgotten Fraser was there, but there he was, big and Canadian and gorgeous, standing in front of the big red over-stuffed armchair, watching intently. "Does that mean you're willing to consider our proposition?"
"No," said Ray. He took a breath. "Maybe. How can you be okay with this?"
Fraser dug his hands into his pockets and smiled ruefully. "You're already a very important part of our lives, Ray, both professionally and personally."
"'I' statements, Fraser!" Ray couldn't handle 'we' this and 'we' that—it made him feel like a committee somewhere had already decided everything, like he was cornered.
"All right." Fraser ducked his head for a moment, then looked up at Ray through his eyelashes and, Jesus, he had to know how devastating that was. "I want to include you on the deepest possible level," he said, his voice rich and dark, and Ray could feel himself melting.
He fought back. "Sex ain't always that deep, you know."
"I'm not talking about sex," said Fraser. "I'm talking about day-to-day life, decisions about our future, and yes, physical—"
A light came on in Ray's brain. "You want me to help you convince Vecchio to move to Canada." He narrowed his eyes at Fraser. "You think 'cause I like it up there, I'll help swing the vote."
Fraser's lips firmed up. "Not at all, Ray. I'm more than comfortable with our situation as it stands." He came over, treading slowly and steadily like he thought Ray might bolt. "I want you to be part of our lives," he said as he came, and he didn't stop. Closer and closer, and then his hand was on Ray's neck, hot against Ray's alcohol-flushed skin, and his mouth, Jesus, his mouth was on Ray's, gentle and kind and full of longing.
Ray's heart started pounding. "Oh."
There was a gasp from behind him, and he turned to see Vecchio watching with huge dark eyes.
Ray backed off at once. "Hey, don't blame me," he said, holding his hands up. "I wasn't the one who opened this kettle of worms."
"Nothing to blame," said Vecchio, thickly, and Ray realized it wasn't anger making his face flushed. It was naked desire, like he wanted to jump Ray then and there.
Ray swallowed and moved so the couch was between them. "I thought this wasn't about sex," he said to Fraser.
"Not just about sex," Fraser corrected him.
"Right." Ray felt as if all his circuits had shorted out. "I can't—Fraser." He was pleading, and that meant he was losing ground. This whole thing, that kiss, more than he could handle. "I gotta go. I'll—"
"Kowalski." Vecchio sounded as thrown as Ray felt.
Ray ignored him. "I'll call or something. I'll see you at work. I just—"
"Take all the time you need." Fraser's voice was calm and reassuring, even if his eyes were bright with hope.
It might be the hope that killed Ray. Killed him or reeled him in, one way or the other. He shook his head. "Such a freak." He pulled his jacket together and headed for the door. Of course, he had to get past Vecchio to get there. "And you—" There were definite sparks between them now, and Ray wondered what the hell kind of control Vecchio had over himself that he could've been hiding it all that time. "I don't know what you are."
Vecchio held the door open and stood back to let him pass. "Let us know when you figure it out."
His wry tone was just enough to remind Ray that he knew these guys. That they were friends and partners, despite everything. "Ha!" he said. "Yeah. If and when." And then, because he was already on the way out the door, his trajectory set and unchangeable, and because he didn't know what the hell else to do, he left.
He spent the week distracted and confused, thinking about Fraser, thinking about Vecchio. Thinking about what the hell three guys would do together and whether he wanted to be part of that kind of circus.
In theory, he and Vecchio were working together, but they skirted each other all week, Vecchio doing paperwork while Ray followed up leads, Ray interviewing perps while Vecchio made nice with witnesses and the brass. Ray knew Vecchio was giving him space and he appreciated it, but it didn't make it any easier to decide anything, and by the end of the week Ray was starting to wonder if he'd hallucinated the whole thing.
At least, he wondered that when Fraser wasn't around. When Fraser was there—Well, Fraser had never been any good at hiding his feelings, and now Ray knew for sure that Fraser wanted him, he couldn't ignore it either. It was so distracting Ray nearly got his head blown off by a gun-wielding perp resisting arrest, and once Vecchio—late to the scene 'cause he'd been arresting the accomplice—subdued the bastard, cuffed him and read him his rights and shoved him into the waiting patrol car, and once Ray had rubbed the side of his head and convinced himself the sticky stuff was just slime from the brick wall he'd fallen against and not blood, then the three of them stood looking at each other for a long time.
Ray felt like his heart hadn't gone under a hundred beats per minute in over a week, he was so wired, and he fully expected Vecchio to bawl him out like he always did when Ray fucked up, but instead Vecchio yanked him into a hug that squeezed all the air out of Ray's lungs. "Shut up," muttered Vecchio against his shoulder. "Just fucking shut up."
Ray struggled and Vecchio let him go instantly, his face red.
"I didn't say anything," said Ray, confused.
Fraser gripped him his shoulder hard. "You're all right," he said. And then, to Vecchio, "He's okay."
That night, Ray went for a drive. He motored through the dirty parts of the city full of creeps and bums and hookers, and out into the suburbs, nice ones, with trees and yards full of trampolines and kids' bicycles. He went up and down streets full of the kinds of houses where families watched TV together, where moms baked cookies and dads read the stock market pages in the newspaper, and everything was tidy and regular as clockwork.
He drove along Lake Shore Drive, taking the corners too fast and making his tires squeal. He parked for a while and watched the moon rise over the lake, and then he drove south and, without really meaning to, he washed up on Fraser and Vecchio's doorstep.
Fraser let him in with a warm, no-pressure, "Good evening, Ray."
Dief trotted over to say hi, licked Ray's hand, and then jumped on the red armchair and watched them curiously.
Vecchio was doing some paperwork—maybe taxes—at the dining table, and he got up and came into the living room, still holding his pen. "Hey."
Ray held up his hands to stop either of them saying anything. "Here's the deal," he said. His mouth was dry. He licked his lips. "Here's the—We date. We try it out. We see if this thing has legs, and any time I say no or stop or this is too fucking crazy, we call it quits."
Fraser was already nodding. "All right."
"And we don't tell anyone," said Ray.
Vecchio snorted. "And here I was planning to take out a full-page ad in the Trib."
Ray flipped him the bird and then got serious again. "And no sex."
Vecchio opened his mouth but Fraser quelled him with a look.
"Okay," said Fraser.
"I'm not ready for that," Ray explained. He went over to Fraser. "I go to bed with you and I'm sunk. I'll lose myself. And this—" He stepped back so he was including Vecchio, too. "This has to be a choice."
"Okay," said Vecchio.
"Good." Ray felt jittery as hell. "Good. The thing is, I love you," he told Fraser, "and I like you more than I thought I did," he said to Vecchio. "But you got me outnumbered here, so I need to take it slow."
He took a step towards Vecchio, and Vecchio took a step towards him, and in the small, cluttered room they were suddenly face to face.
"I mean, not standing still," said Ray, jittering so hard on the inside that it was only luck that was keeping him from flying apart. "Just slow." He bent forward and angled his head, and Vecchio mirrored him, and their mouths met softly, sending a trail of heat burning down Ray's spine.
Vecchio touched his ear, gentle and clumsy like he'd been thrown off balance, too, and when they pulled apart, they just stared at each other. Where the hell did that come from? thought Ray. And then, Jesus, this might actually work out!
"That seems entirely reasonable, Ray." Fraser sounded throaty.
"Good," said Ray, not quite able to tear his eyes from Vecchio's face.
Vecchio shook his head a little, blinked, and then said teasingly, "You're gonna cocktease us to death, aren't you? That's your plan."
Without looking away, Ray grinned at Fraser's shocked reproof. "Maybe," he told Vecchio, and then he deliberately, recklessly lowered his eyelashes and smirked at him. "Maybe not."
Taking it slow had seemed like a good idea at the time. Date first, dip his toe in the water, hang out with Fraser and Vecchio with intent and try the whole thing on for size. It made sense, right? But what Ray hadn't taken into account was how it wasn't Fraser and Vecchio who would get cockteased to death. They still had each other.
No, it was Ray who was spending the evening at their place four or five nights out of seven and then going home to his cold empty bed, so it was Ray who was bearing the brunt of it. He hadn't been this intensely frustrated for this long since he was sixteen. After two weeks of getting beaten at chess by Fraser and watching baseball with Vecchio, two weeks of going to the movies with both of them, sitting between them with all of their knees bumping and Ray so distracted he couldn't tell you if the movie was a comedy or a thriller, and two weeks of long, lingering, torturously hot goodnight kisses—after all that, he was horny and desperate and losing his mind, and everything sounded like sex.
Even Tony "Slow Cooker" Fratelli explaining how he'd broken into the Chicago Children's Museum. "My son needed a dinosaur bone for his school project," he said, shrugging helplessly. "So I snuck around the back and found this entrance, all dark and quiet, and kind of let myself in."
Ray tried to focus past bone and back entrance. The Museum had asked them to get as many security details as possible. "What about the alarms?" he asked.
Tony pursed his lips. "You just gotta know what buttons to push, you know what I mean? You sorta feel your way around, read the signs. And then I jimmied the lock and slipped inside, easy."
Ray's breath caught. "Enough with the sexposition," he snapped. "Where's the cocaine?"
"I told you, I don't know what you're talking about." Tony held up his hands. "I was just looking for a pteranodon skeleton for little Mikey."
"Right." Ray rubbed his hot face and avoided the quizzical look Vecchio was sending his way. He pulled himself together. "Right. So how do you explain the dozen headless collectors' edition Care Bears on the backseat of your car? Care Bears which the Museum only just received from Colombia on Thursday."
"I don't know," said Tony. "Maybe someone planted them. It wasn't me." He thumped his fist on the table. "I want my lawyer."
That night, after a roast dinner courtesy of Savoy Dean's Takeout, Ray sat between Fraser and Vecchio on their couch while they bickered amiably about what TV channel to watch. Vecchio stretched his arm along the back of the couch behind Ray's neck so his hand rested on Fraser's shoulder and his soft linen shirt brushed against the short hairs on the back of Ray's head, and all of a sudden Ray hit overload.
He shot to his feet and started pacing, hardly knowing what he was doing. Fraser took the remote from Vecchio and switched off the TV altogether. "What is it, Ray?"
Ray stopped, turned on his heels to face them and then the steam fizzed out of him and he felt suddenly exhausted. It was hard work putting the brakes on all the time. He made a mental note to apologize to Stella for way back when.
But this was now, and Fraser had that concerned crease between his eyebrows, and Vecchio was opening his mouth to argue before Ray'd even said anything. It was more than Ray could take. "I can't do this anymore," he blurted. "It's too—this is killing me."
"That's 'cause you're trying too hard, Kowalski," said Vecchio, sharply. "We're good, we're getting there—you just gotta relax."
Fraser talked right over him. "Is there anything we can do to help? Anything at all?"
Ray took a step back. "No. That's what I mean. It's like I'm an alcoholic working in a bar and the drinks keep offering to pour themselves. I spend every second jonesing and I'm not ready, and I don't know how to handle it. I think I gotta take a break."
He looked at the two of them sitting there together. This was their place. Their couch. And sitting between them was good, it felt good, but it was complicated too. If he kissed Fraser, he felt like he was excluding Vecchio. And if he started leaning into Vecchio, nuzzled his neck maybe, he had to turn his back on Fraser.
He sat in the armchair. "Okay, here's the thing. I need to try something else. I can't give you both my undivided attention—I haven't got that much attention to start off with."
"Ray, you know we would never ask you for more than you're able to give," said Fraser earnestly, and Ray knew it was horseshit, but he also knew Fraser probably believed it. Ray should've known he wouldn't understand. Fraser could give quality attention to thirty people at the same time.
Ray turned to Vecchio. "You know what I'm talking about, right?"
"Sensory overload," said Vecchio, nodding. He came over and knelt in front of Ray, and Ray was torn between giving in and jumping him, and punching a hole in something to relieve the tension. Vecchio looked him over. "You know what you need?"
I need to get laid, thought Ray, but he couldn't just come out and say that. If sitting on a couch with them made his head hurt, bed would probably kill him for real. "What?"
Vecchio leaned forward and rested his hands on Ray's thighs, kissed him luxuriously making Ray moan. "I think you need some time alone with Fraser," said Vecchio, pulling away. "Private time."
"Oh." Ray licked his lips and looked past him to Fraser, who was watching intently with his mouth open. "You'd be, uh—you'd be okay with that?"
Fraser raised his eyebrows at Vecchio. "Are you sure?"
Vecchio sat back on his heels. "We talked about this, Benny, remember? This isn't just one relationship we've got here—it's three—and they all have to get their turn." He reached back and took Fraser's hand. "You and me are solid. I know that. And Ray and me—we're getting there, but it's new." He stood up and met Ray's eye. "I can wait."
Ray nodded jerkily. "Soon, you know?" He looked at Vecchio's mouth, the way his shirt hung from his shoulders, and then he glanced at Fraser again. "Just not all at once."
Vecchio put his hands on his hips and the corner of his mouth turned up. "You can fill me in later, okay?" he told Fraser.
Fraser smiled but his eyes were serious. "Of course."
Ray looked at the two of them and had a terrified moment where he wondered if this was going to screw up everything, send the three of them reeling off in different directions, but the wheels were already in motion and at some point he had to trust Vecchio to know what the hell he was doing. Anyway, the idea of Fraser reporting back was kind of hot.
"A full oral report," said Ray, finally able to joke about it now he knew what he was dealing with. "I'll take a copy of that on tape."
Vecchio grinned and clapped his hands together. "That's settled." He went for his coat. "I'm going to visit Ma. I'll be back in a couple of hours."
"Uh, okay." Ray looked to Fraser again, and Fraser ran his tongue over his lower lip. Ray took a sharp breath and shifted in his seat.
And then Vecchio was jingling his car keys, and then light footsteps moved away and he called Dief to go with him and the door shut firmly, and then everything was quiet.
Ray stared at the red and blue patterned rug at his feet and listened to his heartbeat thudding in his ear.
Fraser cleared his throat. "Would you like a cup of coffee?"
And Ray glanced up, caught a flash of uncertainty on his face like he wasn't sure Ray was on board with this. Ray shook his head. "No, I. It's just sudden, you know?
"Yes." It was understanding and a promise, and Ray didn't really know what the promise was, but it made him feel better anyway.
"We don't have to, uh, do anything," Ray reminded them both, letting Fraser off the hook if this was too much pressure. But he moved towards him anyway, helplessly, and ran his hands up Fraser's chest to his shoulders.
"Not if you don't want to," Fraser agreed huskily, as if he didn't know that doing something was pretty much all Ray wanted, all he'd been able to think about for days.
"Oh Christ." He felt Fraser's hot breath on his face and there was a blur of movement and then Fraser had his arms around him.
"It's a lot to take in," Fraser murmured in his ear, in his dark sexy voice he only ever used within the confines of the apartment.
Ray sighed and leaned on him, already turned on from kissing Vecchio, from his and Fraser's bodies brushing against each other and the clean musky smell of him. "You got no idea." He slid his hands into Fraser's soft, thick hair and bent in to kiss him, and it was quiet and sweet and hot, and there was none of the self-conscious awareness that Vecchio was watching, Vecchio was waiting his turn. None of that. This was simple and easy, just Ray and Fraser, and sexy as hell. "Oh Christ."
Fraser spread his hands down Ray's back, molding their bodies together, and Ray tensed for a moment, his heart pounding like someone beating on a door, and then Fraser breathed, "It's all right," and Ray took his foot off the brake and groaned, pushing forward greedily, sending them both staggering toward the couch.
Fraser let himself be pushed down. He sprawled against the couch arm and Ray landed on top of him and kissed him wildly, started tugging at his clothes—that sweater again, and jeans, and a cotton undershirt buried under the scratchy fraying wool. Fraser kissed back, all lips and tongue and teeth. He yanked Ray's shirt out of the waistband of his pants and plunged his hands down the back of Ray's shorts, and they were writhing and hungry, and Ray could hardly breathe he wanted it so bad.
"I need to touch you," Fraser said against his mouth. "Ray, I need to taste—"
Something about that caused Ray a guilty twinge, but they were on a rollercoaster here, don't fight it, Marsha—it's bigger than both of us. He grabbed Fraser's wrist and raised up on his knees so he could bring his hand down between them to cup him through his pants.
Fraser must've taken that as license to go for it, because the next thing Ray knew, he was on his back and Fraser was dragging his hands down Ray's body, over his ribs, pushing hard, holding him down, and following the same path with his mouth. He huffed hot air through the fabric of Ray's shirt, stealing Ray's power of speech and quite probably his sanity too, and Ray scrabbled for a foothold on the rug, which slid out from under him, and then against the other arm of the couch. Braced himself—
"Oh, Ray!" Fraser's hands were on his zipper and the rasp of the little metal teeth parting was maybe the loudest sound Ray had heard in his life, and then Fraser slid all the way to his knees and rubbed his cheek against Ray's cock, through Ray's shorts, and Ray groaned out loud and flailed his arms out to the side.
There was no one there. The realization was like a bucket of icy water over everything.
He blinked confusedly at the top of Fraser's sleek head, caught a glimpse of Fraser's mouth moving against the shiny cartoon-patterned fabric of Ray's shorts, the hot pressure sending shivers of pleasure through him like an electric current of sex, and Ray said, faintly, "Stop."
Fraser raised his head at once, his eyes blurred and dark with desire, his mouth swollen and his hair almost as messed up as hair could get. "What's wrong?"
Ray let his head fall back and closed his eyes. He couldn't believe he was doing this, and he sure as hell couldn't explain his logic to Fraser 'cause there wasn't any. There was just instinct. "I can't do it like this. Sorry."
He put both his feet on the floor and pulled Fraser up onto the couch next to him, and then half-heartedly pulled his own fly together so they could talk without Wile E. Coyote waving danger signs at him from the fabric.
"Is it—" Fraser took a deep breath and let it out shakily, getting his bearings. "Did I do something you didn't like?"
"No!" Ray grabbed his hand. "No, Fraser. Jesus, you're amazing and that was—" He shook his head. "It is not that."
Fraser ran his hand over his mouth and chin, wiping away a faint sheen of sweat. "So, then?"
Ray flung his arm over his eyes so he didn't have to look at Fraser. "I—it feels like we're cheating on Vecchio."
That wasn't the whole truth and nothing but the truth. The whole story—that Ray had ambushed himself by needing Vecchio to be part of this—was something Vecchio deserved to hear first.
"I'm sorry," said Ray again. Fraser was turned on and Ray was calling a halt for no real reason, and he knew how infuriating that could be.
But Fraser shook his head at once, secure in his super-Mountie self-control even now. "There's nothing to apologize for."
"Right." Ray looked down at his hands and tried to think. "So what do we do now?"
Fraser leaned in and kissed the corner of his mouth. "You should talk to him."
"Yeah. Yeah, you're right." So Ray called Vecchio's cell. "Where are you?"
"Turning into Octavia Avenue," said Vecchio. "Why? Everything okay?"
"Turn around." Ray peered through the kitchen doorway where Fraser was actually making goddamned tea. Ray shook his head affectionately—Canadian freak—and then went over to the living room window. "I don't know which of the two of us is the bigger idiot, but I can't do this without you."
Vecchio sounded uncertain. "I told you. Whatever you and Fraser do is okay with me."
"Yeah, but what I need is you here with us." Ray could not believe that Vecchio was willing to argue about this. "It's not three relationships, stupid. It's one relationship with three people."
Tires screeched. "You mean that?"
"Only if you don't get yourself killed on the way back here," Ray told him. "Pay attention to the fucking road."
He hung up just as Fraser came through from the kitchen with the drinks. He gave Ray a cup of coffee and Ray took it, put it on the windowsill and cupped Fraser's cheek. "He's on his way."
Fraser gave him the sappiest smile imaginable. "You know, Ray, I can't imagine what I did to deserve the two of you. I've made a number of poor decisions in my life and I still—" He shook his head, at a loss. "I'm very thankful."
"Seems like we all lucked out," said Ray, pulling him into a loose, careful, non-tea-spilling hug. He rested his chin on Fraser's shoulder for a minute. "Vecchio better make like the wind. You smell really good and I've been juiced up for a week now, and I think my brake pads are shot."
"He'll be here." Fraser pulled away a little and put his hand on Ray's shoulder. "Patience, Ray. Drink your coffee, and he'll be here."
Vecchio burst into the apartment with Dief hot on his heels ten minutes before they should've feasibly arrived. Vecchio was red-faced and short of breath, and he barely stopped to close the door. Dief whuffed and disappeared into the kitchen.
Ray got to his feet. "Took the stairs, huh?"
Vecchio didn't answer. He was too busy moving in, kissing Ray and shrugging out of his coat at the same time in a jumble of arms and sleeves and mouths. Ray swallowed the speech he'd been thinking up since they'd talked on the phone and let himself get caught up in the heat and urgency, the knowledge that they were both on board—all on board—that they were going to do this. He tore his mouth away and looked around for Fraser. "Get over here."
Fraser was beside them in an instant. He brushed his thumb along Ray's jaw. "I'm here."
"Here's the thing," said Ray. He took a shaky breath and rested his head on Vecchio's shoulder, distracted by Fraser's hand sliding to cup the back of his neck and Vecchio's warm fingers kneading the small of his back under his shirt. "I haven't—Christ, that feels good—uh, I haven't done it with a guy since the eighties."
"We're not gonna grade you on style, you dope," said Vecchio, pulling him even closer. "Forget about guys and girls. This is us."
"I know, and it's good. I just—" Ray leaned his head into Fraser's palm and turned to kiss him. "It's confusing. I think I need another head and maybe a third arm."
"We have plenty of arms to deal with as it is." Fraser smiled warmly, shot a quick glance at Vecchio and then at the dark hallway to the bedroom. "Shall we?"
Ray swallowed. "Yeah." It came out hoarse, but the couch had fucked with Ray's head for two weeks—it was time to get horizontal. His pulse hiked at the thought, making him dizzy, and then Fraser tugged him close, kissed him deep and messy and dirty, and that was so unexpected, so mind-blowing that Ray forgot everything else. He just melted into him, kissed back, vaguely aware that Vecchio was guiding them across the floor, into the shadows, but too drunk on lust and anticipation to process anything beyond that.
The hallway was too narrow for the three of them to pass in a clump like that, so Ray pulled away, panting, and shoved Fraser through the half-open bedroom door. Fraser switched on the lamps on either side of the bed, and peeled his sweater and undershirt over his head. He dropped them on a chair in the corner and stood in the warm slanting light, looking like a statue or a pinup, pale and gorgeous and sexy.
Ray took a step toward him, then stopped. Fair was fair. He skinned out of his own shirt and let it fall to the floor, kicked off his shoes. It took courage to meet Fraser's eye then, but there was nothing on his face but admiration and want. Then Vecchio swore softly and followed their example, and the tension shifted like air pressure changing before a lightning storm. All the self-consciousness went up in smoke, leaving only hunger and Ray's pulse thrumming and the looks on both their faces.
"Would one of you just—" Ray started, but he didn't get the chance to finish. Vecchio grabbed him, slid his tongue in Ray's mouth and ran his hands, hard and demanding, over his naked back. The coarse hair on their chests rasped as they shifted together, and something jingled near them—Ray glanced sideways without breaking the kiss. Fraser's belt buckle. Fraser was taking his pants off.
Ray groaned into Vecchio's mouth and clutched his ass, pushing into him. He needed friction now, couldn't wait another second. His head was swimming with the taste of Vecchio—a little salty from the sweat, a little bitter from the coffee they'd had earlier—and the smell of the room, skin and musk and sex, all undeniably male, all turning him on like crazy.
"Tell me what you want," said Vecchio. "You want to fuck me? You can have anything. Anything at all."
Ray had to close his eyes. He reached out blindly for Fraser, caught his arm and pulled him into the embrace, and it was awkward, the three of them, all angles and shapes that didn't quite fit together, but it was right. "I—" Ray dug his fingers into Fraser's shoulder, his skin, bent to suck and taste his collarbone. "I don't—"
It was embarrassing even thinking it, let alone saying it, but he made himself. New rule: no more dodging the truth, no more bullshit. He sucked in a breath and thought back to earlier on the couch with Fraser. "I want to get blown," he said, as steadily as he could, "and I want to get, uh, kissed. At the same time, and I don't care who does what, but I want both of you." He opened his eyes and looked from Fraser to Vecchio and back again. "Now."
Fraser's mouth was open in an oh that Ray hoped was excitement and not disappointment. Vecchio muttered something that sounded like a prayer in Italian. The two of them exchanged a glance—apparently they had some kind of telepathy deal going on—and Vecchio said, "You got it." He shoved Ray onto the bed, threw off his own pants and crawled up to meet him.
The quilt was made of slippery wine-colored fabric, cold but warming quickly against Ray's back, and the mattress dipped under his weight, tilted when Vecchio lay beside him and stroked his chest and belly. He was breathing hard. And then the mattress angled the other way, and Fraser was on Ray's other side, unfastening Ray's pants, fumbling a little in his haste. Ray bent his legs and lifted his hips so Fraser could ease off his pants and shorts, and then they were, wow, all naked, all on the bed, all reaching for each other and kissing each other and skin sliding against each other, sweaty and hot.
Ray stopped thinking and focused on feeling. It was like floating in a sea of sensations and low murmurs and groans and love. He ran his fingers up Vecchio's chest and pinched his nipple, kissed him, and at the same time, Fraser was kissing the back of Ray's neck and then slowly and wetly down his spine.
"Oh fuck, oh fuck," groaned Ray, wondering if you could die of feeling this good, wondering if Fraser was gonna keep going, kiss all the way down to his ass, and not sure he could stand it if he did.
But Fraser twisted Ray so his hips were flat on the bed, his upper body still in Vecchio's arms facing him, and his cock exposed for just a moment before Fraser bent and licked him.
Ray gasped into Vecchio's mouth. Vecchio threaded his fingers in Ray's hair and held him, kissed him deeper, heavier, and hitched his own cock against Ray's thigh like he couldn't help himself.
"Jesus, you—" Vecchio blinked his eyes open and looked at him wonderingly, and Ray had no idea what he was seeing, but it was hard to care, hard to think with Fraser's mouth sliding down his cock, savoring him. There were hands and mouths all over him, and if he shut his eyes, it was almost too intense, too good, more than he could handle.
A tremble started at the base of his spine, like an earthquake building, like nothing he'd ever felt before. "C'mere," he said to Vecchio, and hauled him closer, gave him everything while Fraser sucked him and moved his hand on him, until the tremble turned into a shudder and Ray couldn't hide it anymore. He groaned helplessly and let go of Vecchio with one hand to touch Fraser's head, to make sure he was in the loop—and found Vecchio's fingers there, too, Vecchio loosely cupping Fraser's head as he blew Ray.
Ray tensed up, almost—and then Fraser pulled off, pulled away from his grasp.
"Don't come yet," ordered Vecchio, and Ray grit his teeth and somehow held on, held back.
"Trying to kill me?" he ground out, and maybe they were because then Vecchio gave him one last kiss and moved down the bed and Fraser started sucking and biting a trail over Ray's belly, turned him and pulled him into his arms. Fraser slid his tongue into Ray's mouth and Ray tasted himself, intense and salty, and before he could figure out what to say, how to feel about that, Vecchio wrapped his hand around Ray's cock and started sucking him.
"Oh Jesus." It was more than Ray could handle. "Oh. I'm—I'm gonna—" He couldn't get enough air, couldn't—His vision blurred around the edges and he was shaking now, splitting right down the center and spilling everywhere, coming in Vecchio's mouth and moaning into Fraser's. Held close and safe and right at the center of everything. He pressed his face into the side of Fraser's neck and swore long and loud.
It took a while for the shaking to subside, for his breathing to slow to anything like normal. He flopped onto his back and Vecchio moved up the bed and kissed him. Ray's lips and chin felt raw with stubble-burn, but it didn't matter, nothing mattered.
And then Fraser and Vecchio leaned across him and kissed each other—deep, sensual kisses—and Ray watched, mesmerized, moved beyond words by how much he loved them both and loved them together.
Vecchio looked down at him and quirked an eyebrow. "Worth waiting for?"
"Ungh," said Ray. He dragged his arm free from under Fraser and clumsily rubbed his face, trying to get some coherence back and ignoring how Vecchio was grinning at him.
"We'll get you to fill out our customer satisfaction survey on your way out," murmured Fraser, and bent in to lick sweat from Ray's collarbone. The movement brought his erection up against Ray's hip, and Ray took a couple of deep breaths and lined up his remaining braincells. Two of the people on this bed hadn't come yet.
"So, uh, when you guys fuck," he said, concentrating so he could form the words, "who fucks who?"
Fraser's tongue smoothed over his lip. His hand stilled on Ray's thigh.
"Depends on the day," said Vecchio, sounding gravelly.
"How about when it's just an old run-of-the-mill Wednesday." Ray brushed his thumb along Vecchio's lower lip, then kissed him. "I want to see that."
"Do you have a preference?" Fraser asked him quietly.
Ray shook his head. Vecchio fucking Fraser or Fraser fucking Vecchio—either way was hotter than he could imagine. Either way was going to blow his mind.
Fraser and Vecchio looked at each other, did their telepathy thing again, and then Fraser stretched over to the nightstand and fished a bottle of lube out of the drawer while Vecchio rolled onto his front, half on top of Ray, his knee hitched over Ray's thighs and his cock pressed against his hip.
Ray looked up at him, momentarily stunned by how they'd gone from cop-type partners only a couple of weeks back to this, this connection which felt deep and real and serious. And then there was the click of the lube bottle opening and Fraser moved up behind Vecchio, and Vecchio's face softened, his breath sped up. Fraser did something back there with his hand, lubed Vecchio up or something, and then shuffled up behind him, and Vecchio inhaled sharply and held it, and then it was like he was melting over Ray, Fraser moving into him in waves and Vecchio rolling with it, rubbing up against Ray and moving back, over and over, and Christ.
Fraser raised up on his elbow and kissed Vecchio's cheek, the corner of his mouth, still fucking him slow and steady, and Vecchio moaned, his face open and more vulnerable than Ray'd ever seen him.
Ray reached for him, found Fraser's wet fingers wrapped around his hip, and met Fraser's eye over Vecchio's shoulder. It took his breath away. They were letting him see them—this wasn't a performance, they weren't doing this just for him. They were making love and letting him be part of it.
He licked his lips, kissed Vecchio's open mouth. Vecchio's eyes had fallen shut and Fraser's forehead was furrowed with concentration, and Ray felt a swell of love for both of them. He trailed his hand down Vecchio's sweat-slick body and found his cock.
Vecchio's eyes flew open, startled for a second, and then he smiled and curved his back to give Ray room to move. Ray jacked him in time to Fraser's thrusts. It was like being part of a sweetly running engine, like the whole world was in tune, in time, all working together and making sense.
"Fuck," Vecchio panted, "oh fuck!" His chest flushed and Ray forced himself not to speed up the strokes, just kept them even and steady, and Fraser was pushing in and in, groaning and saying their name.
"Come on, Vecchio," murmured Ray, "let me see you." And Vecchio stiffened. He raised his head, his face wracked with pleasure, and his cock pulsed in Ray's hand.
Ray was still kissing him when Fraser groaned and started thrusting harder, rocking the whole bed, and soon Fraser was losing it, too. His timing stuttered, each thrust desperate like he couldn't help himself, and he grabbed Ray's arm and held it tight, tight enough to hurt.
Ray didn't care. "I'm—We're here," he told him, and Fraser groaned and came.
They collapsed on Ray, squashing the air out of him, and Vecchio was so boneless and relaxed, Ray thought he could feel Fraser through him, which was weird and good, and anyway, Fraser's hand was sliding down Ray's arm, taking his hand, weaving their fingers together.
Vecchio was so still, Ray started to wonder if he'd actually passed out, so Ray nudged him with his knee. "Worth the wait?"
Vecchio breathed a laugh and cuffed the back of his head. "Wiseass." And then he visibly pulled himself together and looked at Ray. "Yeah," he said seriously, and kissed him sloppily.
"How about you, Frase?" Ray turned his head, and Fraser was right there.
He didn't say anything, but his kisses—first with Vecchio, then with Ray—were eloquent, and so was his smug sleepy smile.
Ray's grin was probably just as goofy and he was already starting to drift off, too. He blinked hard, trying to stay conscious. "So, um. Should I—?"
"What?" Vecchio yanked at one of the pillows and lay back down with a contented sigh.
Fraser put his hand on Ray's chest. "Stay," he said. "Please."
That made Vecchio clamp an arm around Ray's waist. "You're not going anywhere. If you go home now, you'll freak yourself out and we'll be back where we started."
"Not a chance," Ray told him, even though he was probably right.
Fraser leaned over and kissed his ear. "There's a spare toothbrush. You're more than welcome to it."
It was such a typically Fraser offer that Ray and Vecchio both snorted affectionately, and then grinned at each other. "He's a nutcase," Vecchio said, like a warning.
Ray pretended to think it over. "A freak. I think I can live with that."
"You better," said Vecchio, firmly. He tugged the quilt out from under them with difficulty and arranged it over them, then lay back down and turned his face into the pillow. "Christ, I could sleep for a week."
Ray turned to Fraser, who was looking just as bleary. "It's good."
"It is." Fraser smiled and touched his cheek.
"You're gonna need a bigger bed," Ray told them both.
"We are." Fraser yawned loudly. "Mmm-hmmm."
"Later," mumbled Vecchio. "Sleep first. Jeez."
And Ray grinned and kissed his shoulder. "Okay," he agreed. "Sleep first."