Notes: Commentfic for Shay
"I lost him," said Fraser, jogging back to where Ray was sprawled on his back in a tangle of bananas and pears and cardboard boxes. "He had a motorcycle waiting."
The tarmac was wet with rain and squashed fruit. Petroni's muddy footprints spread and dissolved.
"He got away? Shit! Gimme a hand up, will you?" Ray reached up and Fraser saw that Ray's hands were stained with the same ochre-colored mud that had coated the suspect's skin and hair.
"Ray," said Fraser, urgently. "Did you touch Mr Petroni?"
"Yeah, I nearly had him." Ray gave up waiting for assistance, and hauled himself upright, using the broken vegetable cart for leverage. "Got him by the arm, but he was covered in this slimy stuff. Slid right out of my hands."
Ray moved, as though to wipe his palms down his damp jeans, but Fraser captured his left wrist to stop him.
"What—?" Ray tried to pull away.
"Ray, the mud on your hand is evidence. If I could just—" And Fraser brought Ray's fingers up to his face, and sniffed them. Yes, it was clay. And it was almost certainly from the ceramics factory that produced the fake Etruscan relics that Petroni had been using to smuggle the cocaine. Fraser stuck out his tongue and licked Ray's palm to be sure.
Ray jerked away, wrenched his hand out of Fraser's grasp, and stared, his eyes suddenly huge and dark. "Do not do that. Do not touch me with your tongue."
The rain was flattening Ray's hair, and he pushed it out of the way with his other hand, the traces of clay mixing with Ray's hair gel. No matter. Fraser knew enough from that single taste.
"Ray, I was merely—" Fraser automatically began to explain about the lack of formal forensics in the remote parts of the Northern Territories, and how one had to take one's opportunities where one found them. One had to improvise. But Ray cut him off.
"I'm not evidence, okay? I'm not some piece of garbage you can just— Fraser, you gotta ask before you lick someone." Ray seemed agitated out of all proportion to the incident.
Fraser bit back a retort, and said, instead, "Sorry."
"Yeah, well." Ray took a deep breath and let it out. He looked down at the faint smears of mud left on his hands. "You get everything you need?" he asked, and then raised his head again, met Fraser's gaze.
"Yes, I believe that—" Fraser stopped. There was strange wild look in Ray's eye that set Fraser's pulse racing. "No," he said, after a long moment, and his voice was husky and faint. "No, I need more."