Pairing: Kowalski/Gardino AU
Thanks: This is all mergatrude's fault. Also, she betaed.
Notes: For the Rent challenge on ds_flashfiction
Ray locked his glasses, his badge and his gun in the glove compartment of his car and ran his hand through his hair. New haircut and he'd thought it looked pretty cool, the way it stuck up like that, but Stella had teased him about using hair gel, with a mean edge that made Ray twitchy and self-conscious, and now he wasn't so sure.
But it was what it was and he was what he was, and he was where he was, which was the backstreets of Boystown on a quiet Tuesday night. On a mission. Top secret — just like going undercover, he told himself, not that he'd ever done that yet. But one day. Sam had said one day he'd make detective, get out of the damned uniform and be somebody. For now, he still had something to prove, and that something was here, end of the alley, two flights up.
He'd overheard a couple of guys in Vice joking about this place, saying it was stuck in the seventies and weirdly un-skeevy despite that. Ray threw his shoulders back, cracked his neck, and figured what the hell. Had to find out sooner or later if he really was wired this way.
The lights were out in the stairwell. He made his way up gingerly, trying not to touch the railing in case there was something gross on it. Knocked on the door.
The guy who let him in had been in one too many fights — his nose was bent and swollen and his earlobe was torn. He had scars in his eyebrows and on his cheek, and a tattoo on his neck.
Ray was glad he'd worn his boots. "Uh, is this—" He looked at the scrap of paper in his hand. "—XTC25?"
"Yeah," grunted the guy and opened the door. "You got cash?"
Ray nodded and slipped by him, his misgivings only making him reckless, and okay, inside was a lot nicer than he expected given the building. There were lamps and couches, and a bunch of magazines like in a doctor's waiting room. There was a counter manned by a guy in makeup with a blonde beehive wig. It felt clean and it smelled of incense and peppermint, and Ray glanced at the two men waiting — one tall and gangly with bad acne and holes in his sweater, in his early twenties, and one old, heavyset guy with beetle eyebrows and sad-looking jowls, wearing a blue baseball hat.
"Ten minutes," said the guy behind the counter.
"Uh." Ray nodded jerkily and sat down, wondering what he'd just agreed to. He picked up a copy of Automechanic from the coffee table and sat down, flicked through it.
A couple minutes later, a young, ordinary guy left and the holey-sweater guy paid at the counter and went down the hall. Ray tried not to think what was going on behind the walls.
Another ten minutes, and a woman walked out, gave the finger to the guy behind the counter and sauntered out the door. The old guy paid up and went in. A couple more people arrived, sat next to Ray, and Ray had to stop himself from inching away from them. He started getting cold feet — maybe this wasn't the way to go about this — but then a short guy came out and the beehive guy behind the counter nodded at Ray.
Ray swallowed and put the magazine back on the table, got to his feet. "Uh, how much?" he asked, keeping his voice down.
"Thirty for a blowjob, fifty for a fuck," said the guy, sounding bored. "This your first time?"
Ray nodded. "Uh, no." He gave him thirty bucks.
"Room six," said the guy. "Knock before you go in."
"Right." Ray shoved the rest of his money back in his pocket and made himself walk along the hall, past rooms one through five. Room six had a green door, with a yellow "6" painted on it. Ray knocked.
"Okay," came a voice from inside. "Come in."
Ray went in and shut the door behind him. The room was lit by two lava lamps, and there was no furniture except for a wooden chair, a bed, a hand basin and a table with a jug of water and a couple of packets of condoms on it. The guy was sitting on the end of the bed, wearing an ugly shiny brown shirt that was two sizes too small, and red vinyl pants. His hair was curly, and he had on thick-framed glasses that looked a lot like Ray's.
He looked Ray up and down. "Blowjob?"
Ray nodded. "Uh, yeah. I mean, if that's okay."
The guy shrugged. "I'm Louis — I'll be your cocksucker for the evening."
It wasn't obvious if it was a joke or not, so Ray gave him a half-assed smile, and looked around. "Where should I—?"
"You're the boss," said Louis. "Most guys prefer to sit or lie down, but some want to do it against the wall."
Ray glanced at the wall and thought about all those men's asses rubbing against the paintwork. At least the sheets had probably been washed sometime. "Uh, okay. Bed," he said.
Louis got up and Ray took his place, sitting at the foot of the bed. Louis knelt down in front of him.
This was more awkward than dinner with Stella's folks, and Ray hadn't thought that was possible. Not only that, but he wasn't really turned on. Maybe that was the answer right there — maybe he wasn't queer — but having come this far, he knew he had to give it a proper shot.
"You know," Louis drawled, "it's usually easier without the pants? I can undress you if you like, but—"
"Fuck you," said Ray, automatically.
Louis grinned, an actual spark of life in his eyes. "That's more like it."
He reached for Ray's belt, and Ray lurched sideways, avoiding him, got to his feet and unfastened his jeans himself, and then sat down again.
Louis licked his lips. "Now we're talking."
"I'm not here for talk," said Ray, hating him just a little, and then a second later, feeling bad about it. "Sorry."
Louis shrugged again and reached for his dick, lying soft in Ray's lap. "You'd have to do a fuck of a lot worse to hurt my feelings, baby."
"Uh." Ray thought he'd had an answer for that, but Louis' hand was distracting. He might dress ugly and say all the wrong things, but the guy knew his way around a dick. Ray started to feel light-headed, started to get that zing from someone else's hand paying him that kind of attention. "Yeah, that's— I mean, it's good."
Louis nodded like that was only his due, and Ray couldn't bring himself to care if he was losing ground. He lay back, resting on his elbows, and focused on Louis' hand rubbing him, on the way his dick was responding, flushed and hard and Jesus, he was gay.
There was a guy about to suck him off, and he wanted him to, and Ray was gay.
"Fuck," he said, kind of despairing, but Louis just grinned.
"Fucking costs extra." And Louis bent forward and slid his lips over Ray's erection, sucking firm but not too hard. His other hand came up and cradled Ray's balls, pushed up behind them making Ray gasp.
Ray fell back completely and stared up at the ceiling, shocked by the shivers of heat running up and down his thighs and the tension building at the base of his spine, and he thought, There's a guy sucking me and— Oh Jesus!
His dick felt like it was amped up, all the usual sex feelings twice as bright, and Ray threw his arm over his face and groaned into his elbow, trying to keep it down. I am so fucked!
He started bargaining with himself, like maybe he could talk himself straight again. Maybe it's beginner's luck, he thought. First time with a guy — of course there's gonna be novelty value in that. And this guy is a pro, he's got technique. Maybe it's nothing to do with me. He was still turning it over and over in his mind when Louis squeezed his balls just this side of too hard and Ray came with a yell.
Louis turned and spat into something — Ray didn't want to think about that — and Ray lay there, wiped out and sunk, and wondered what the hell he was going to do.
"You okay?" Louis rinsed his mouth with mouthwash and spat into the basin.
"I'm married," said Ray, without opening his eyes.
Louis snorted. "You and half my clients."
"Really?" Ray sat up and rubbed his face. "Uh, I didn't know that." He got up, did up his jeans and poured himself a glass of water.
"Takes all sorts." Louis shrugged. "You do what you gotta do, right?"
"Huh." Ray gulped down the water and stood there uncomfortably, wondering if he was supposed to tip.
"Get outta here," said Louis, kindly. "We're done."
"Okay." Ray ducked his head. "Thanks."
"It's a job." Louis sat on the edge of the bed and looked at him through his thick glasses. "I'm here Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays."
"Right." Ray didn't think he was coming back here, ever. He'd found out what he needed to know, and this whole place kind of gave him the creeps. He went to the door. "I'll, uh, see you."
"Hey, kid." Louis looked up from where he was scraping a spot of something off his shirt. "I like your hair."
"Thanks." Ray shut the door after him and escaped out the door, passed the guy with the tattoos and down the dark stairwell. For some reason, the compliment about his hair made him feel worse than the rest of it put together.