Rating: R
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Notes: For Shihadchick

New Leaves

by china_shop

It was the first day of spring. That was supposed to be good, right? Little birds tweeting in the trees, wolves wagging their tails as they trotted cheerfully down the Chicago sidewalks, Mounties twirling their hats at every available opportunity (okay, once), but now Ray and Fraser and Welsh and Stella and, for some unexplained reason, Frannie were crammed into Welsh's draughty office, and Stella was wound as tight as a twisty-tie.

"Gabozo's going to sue the CPD for harassment," she announced briskly, and Ray knew that under the brisk she was pissed to hell and back that the scumbag was gonna get away with it again, and there was nothing she could do. She was pissed and she was frustrated and she felt like the world was outta control.

Ray opened his mouth to say, "Hey, let me buy you dinner," because either she'd say yes, and they'd go out and have an okay time (with maybe some sex, which would not come amiss in Ray's life right now), or she'd shoot him down, which at least would remind her that she had control over some things.

It was a measure of how far Ray'd come that (except for the sex) he didn't really care which way it went. So he opened his mouth, words dangling on the tip of his tongue. And then he saw Fraser watching him.

There was so much written on Fraser's face, Ray thought maybe he could write it all down and turn it into an encyclopedia. For the briefest second their gazes locked, and then Fraser's expression wiped clean like a fresh whiteboard, like nothing had happened.

Ray paused while the words on the tip of his tongue lined up and fell over each other, and disappeared like tiny bubbles popping silently out of existence. "Uh, that sucks," he said lamely instead.

Stella gave him a look like he was the dumbest person on the planet, shot a couple of parting remarks at the Lieu, and stalked off, tense and crabby, to make someone else's day hell.

"Well," said Fraser.

Fraser was quiet the rest of the day—no advice, no bumper sticker slogans. He watched Ray when he thought Ray wasn't looking, and fiddled with his lanyard a lot.

And then it was dinner time, and they were sitting across from each other in a quiet booth at Flo's, eating burgers and fries, and bouncing some ideas around about the McClure case. Ray fed Dief under the table and looked across at Fraser like he was seeing him for the first time. For once Fraser's hair wasn't perfect. A stupid-looking curl had sprung out of formation on the side of his head like an invitation, the perfect opening.

Not letting himself stop to think about it, Ray reached over and smoothed it down, letting his hand linger, his thumb stroking the top of Fraser's ear before he withdrew.

Fraser shot him a startled glance.

"Yeah," Ray mocked him gently, holding his gaze. "Like this is a surprise."

Fraser cleared his throat. He opened his mouth and licked his lip, and then closed his mouth again. Then he leaned across and pulled a playing card from behind Ray's left ear. "It is, actually."

Ray ignored the magic trick, figuring it was just a diversionary tactic. He pointed at the card. "This isn't poker, Fraser."

Fraser's ears went pink, but he nodded. "No, I know."

Ray tilted his foot onto its side beneath the table and pressed his other foot down on top of it to stop his knees from jiggling. He stayed cool. "No more bluffing. Cards on the table."

Fraser paused, swallowed, and then slowly and deliberately placed the card on the table.

Ray flicked his gaze to the card—King of Hearts—and then back to Fraser's face. He nodded. "Yeah," he said softly. "Okay. Let's do this thing."

They left their half-finished meals, left some bills on the table, and walked out into the soft spring night, side by side. Fraser moved beside Ray like a shadow, and Ray couldn't keep from glancing at him over and over, making sure he was real.

"How—" Fraser cracked his neck, and veered a little closer so their arms were brushing against each other while they walked. "How long have you known that I, ah, about this?"

Ray shrugged and his knuckles brushed the back of Fraser's hand. "Didn't know for sure. Had a hunch."

Fraser raised his eyebrows, and Ray shrugged again.

"You don't like Stella," he said.

Fraser frowned. "I have nothing but respect for ASA Kowalski."

"Yeah." Ray nodded, and pointed at an imaginary Exhibit A. "Nothing but respect. That's what I said. You don't like Stella. You only notice Frannie when you're trying to get away from her."

"I—" Fraser stopped, like he had no way to argue with that.

Ray smiled to himself and went on, "But you notice me. Not just like partners. You notice me."

"Yes," said Fraser, in a deep low voice that made Ray's stomach clench and put a little wobble in his walk.

"You want me," he told Fraser. Ray's blood was pumping twice as fast as it usually did. His mouth was dry.

Fraser's hand touched his, casual but not. "Yeah." His voice was like a ghost, hardly there.

They reached the mostly empty parking lot, and Ray unlocked the passenger door and turned to Fraser. "Well, now you got me. What're you gonna do with me?"

Fraser's eyes were dark and intent, but he looked around the parking lot and his lips twisted. "I—Not here."

If Ray'd known that morning he'd be bringing Fraser home like this, he would've changed his sheets. Maybe would've even tidied, cleaned the bathroom and put the toilet seat down. All the clutter in his apartment—the weird stuff he'd picked up god knew where, and the stupid knickknacks—was mess tonight, haphazard and uncool, but when he turned back to Fraser, it was pretty obvious Fraser didn't give a rat's weenie. Fraser only had eyes for Ray.

Ray decided to take that and run with it. He plucked the hat off Fraser's head and dropped it on the kitchen counter, and then blinked at all the junk mail and his Mexican salt and pepper shakers, and told himself to stop being chicken, to just go for it and kiss the guy.

When he turned around, Fraser was right there. Fraser's hands landed heavy on Ray's hips, his thumbs digging in a little. The world swam and for a second Ray thought he might faint, but then he decided, Fuck that! and kissed Fraser instead.

It was supposed to be a slow sweet gentle kiss. A don't-scare-the-horses kind of kiss. A first kiss.

He hadn't counted on Fraser.

Fraser took that sweet gentle kiss and turned it on its head. First off he moaned against Ray's mouth, so Ray had to wrap his arms around him to make sure he was okay. And then Ray had Fraser right up against him, hot and hard and pushing Ray back against the counter, and Jesus, it was like fireworks going off—bright colors exploding and after-images and wind-in-his-hair exhilaration—and no power on earth could've stopped them then. Fraser buried his hands in Ray's hair, but Ray let his hands slide low, wanting to check out the territory now he finally had the chance. Fraser dipped in at the waist, and then, oh Christ, his ass—Fraser grunted and opened his mouth wider, letting Ray in, kissing him hungrily. Ray curved his hands around Fraser's tight round ass and yanked him closer still, widening his legs so that Fraser's thigh pressed up snug against him.

Both of them gasped in response, and then Ray laughed breathlessly and Fraser grinned, and Ray figured since his sheets were already dirty they might as well mess them up some more. He pushed Fraser the six and a half steps to the bedroom doorway without letting him go, and then stopped. "You okay?"

"Yes," said Fraser, trailing his fingers over Ray's face, his neck. "Yes, I want—" And Ray stopped listening—with his ears at least—so caught up in the language of Fraser's hands, their fierce caresses and urgent tugs at clothing, and how they shamelessly crossed lines once they snaked inside. Fraser touched Ray like they had no secrets anymore. He wasn't nervous or unsure—he wasn't even blushing—and Ray's own nerves dissolved. He pulled Fraser onto the bed with him, and they thrust, clumsy and determined, sweaty and still half-dressed, hands and mouths everywhere in a delicious perfect tangle of Yeah! and God! and Please!

"Fuck," moaned Ray, and came on Fraser's hand and his own t-shirt, and the comforter.

Fraser gasped and pinned him down, and half-thrust, half-squirmed until he went red in the face and groaned loud and long, and spurted hotly over Ray's wrist and his jeans.

They collapsed in a heap.

"Jesus." Ray wiped the sweat from his eyes. "Who knew?" He grabbed the pillow and pulled it so it was under both of their heads.

Fraser laughed, and kissed him just below his ear. "Like this is a surprise," he murmured.

Ray thwacked him on the shoulder, and grinned up at the ceiling. "Freak."

It was the first day of spring.

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