Notes: For Snoopypez, set during Some Like It Red
Ray started up the Riv — the engine didn't sound as smooth as the last one, but it was still something special — and pulled out into the stream of traffic. In the passenger seat, Fraser took off his wig and actually tried to fold it.
Ray shook his head and focused on the road. "You know, I did wear drag once, back when I was a rookie."
Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Fraser look up, surprised. "You did?"
"Don't get excited. It was for charity." Ray turned onto North Ashland Avenue. "My whole division got auctioned off, down to the tea lady."
"Ah." Fraser unclasped his necklace and coiled it neatly on his wig. "What did you wear?"
"What did I wear?" Ray shot Fraser a look of disbelief, then had to swerve to avoid ramming a school bus head on.
Fraser just nodded.
"I— Huh." Ray scratched his head and changed lanes. "A little blue number. It was Ange's but she never wore it. The hem kept riding up."
"And?" prompted Fraser.
Ray sent him another incredulous look. Trust Benny to focus in on irrelevant details. "And knee-high, high-heeled boots."
"Frannie's. Ange takes a size seven." Ray tried not to blush at the fact that Fraser was now picturing him dressed up like a transvestite hooker. "It was just once, okay? I'm never doing it again, so don't worry — your bid for Miss Cross-Dresser Chicago's gonna go uncontested this year."
Fraser grinned down at his accessories. "That's reassuring to know."
"Yeah. Good." Ray hid his own answering smile. It was always a secret triumph to crack through the deadpan Mountie fašade. He celebrated by running a stop sign.
Fraser didn't even seem to notice. "I don't suppose you have photos."
"What?" Ray squeaked. "No, I don't have photos. What, do you think I want to be blackmailed?"
"Surely if it was a public auction, the opportunities for blackmail would be extremely limited," Fraser started.
"Domestic blackmail, Fraser!" Ray took a short cut down a side alley and turned onto Racine. "You think Frannie wouldn't use 'em if she had 'em? I'd never be able to bring a girl home again in my life."
Fraser pulled off his earrings. "Ray, you never date—"
"Shut up." Ray was on shaky ground here. Fraser wasn't supposed to have noticed he was taking a break from the dating scene. "Just shut up, okay? And take that lipstick off. It's disturbing."
Fraser dug a snowy handkerchief out of his purse and wiped his lips. "You know, all cultures allow some leeway in attire for—"
"Yeah, you know what? Where I come from, if a guy wants to wear a dress, he joins the priesthood." He pulled up outside Fraser's building. "I'll see you tomorrow."
Fraser didn't move. "I don't suppose I could convince you to come up for coffee?"
"Nah, I told Ma I'd be home for dinner. She wants to talk hot tubs." Ray gunned the engine just a little, for emphasis.
"I understand." Fraser reached for the door handle but didn't open it. "It's just—"
Ray sighed and switched off the ignition. "What?"
"Well." Fraser cracked his neck. "This underwear is extraordinarily constrictive, and—"
"You need a hand with your bra?" Ray hazarded.
Fraser's blush was visible even under the orange streetlights. "Yes, as a matter of fact. How did you know?"
Ray shook his head, ignoring the butterflies in his stomach. "Turn around."
"Not here, Ray," said Fraser, sounding shocked. "It's hardly appropriate for a lady to undress in public, no matter how convenient—" He bunched up the wig and jewelry in one hand.
"Fraser!" said Ray, his voice going up an octave in exasperation. "You're not a woman!"
"Nonetheless," said Fraser stubbornly.
"I don't believe this," Ray muttered. "Okay, fine." They got out of the car, and Ray locked it and followed Fraser into his rat-infested building. "You owe me."
They trudged up the stairs. "I could lend you my dress."
"It's not my color."
"The shoes? The wig?"
"Look, I said I was never doing that again, and I meant it."
"All right, Ray."
They reached Fraser's apartment, where the wolf was curled up with a book. He sat up as soon as Fraser switched on the lamp, eyed him with wolfish superiority and then grinned and panted with his tongue out.
"You see? You see that?" said Ray. "Even the wolf is laughing at you."
"I beg of you, don't encourage him," said Fraser, and added to Dief, "It's in the course of duty, I'll have you know. Besides, I seem to recall someone wearing a crocheted doily tied to his head."
Dief huffed and curled up again, this time with his back to them.
"Okay, okay," said Ray. "Let's do this."
Fraser unbuttoned his dress to the waist, pulled it off his shoulders and then turned around. Ray looked at his smooth, warm back, framed with bra straps, and swallowed. Anyone else and this would've been an invitation to touch. Of course, this was Benny, and while Ray did urgently want to touch him, he couldn't risk losing Fraser's trust. But even as he thought that, his finger came up of its own accord and traced a line down beside one of the shoulder straps.
Fraser stopped breathing, and Ray's internal alarms screamed, so he snatched his hand away, took a deep breath and grabbed the clasp of the bra, forcibly unfastened it, and then stepped back.
Fraser didn't move. "Thanks."
"No problem," said Ray, glancing at Dief to make sure he hadn't been watching. "Any time. I mean—"
"Well, I suppose—"
Ray went to the kitchen and opened the fridge, just for something to do, and took a deep breath of cool air. Fraser's sentence trailed off, and Ray's insides twisted with hope and suspicion. "Benny, did you—?"
Ray couldn't tell where in the room Fraser was, and he was too rattled to look. He stared at a carton of milk, a small lump of cheese and half a bunch of celery instead. "Did you do that on purpose?" Ray asked. "Don't tell me this whole fiasco is about getting me to unhook your bra."
"Of course not, Ray." Sincerity deepened Fraser's voice. "Like you, I'm concerned for Celine's well-being."
Ray closed the fridge, turned around and leaned on it. He folded his arms and looked at Fraser, standing bare-chested in the lamp light with a bra in his hand.
Fraser licked his lip. "So not the whole fiasco."
"Benny." Ray knew he sounded desperate, but maybe that was okay. Maybe it was okay to let Fraser see that.
"Is it— it's not just the clothes?" Fraser frowned.
Ray almost laughed. "No. No, it's you. God help me, it's always been you." He waved his hand at the dress hanging from Fraser's waist. "The clothes make you look like my Aunt Carmina before she got gout and put on a hundred pounds, but even they can't make you less— you."
Fraser's face was a picture Ray could spend the rest of his life studying.
"Stay there," Fraser said. "Don't move." He strode to his foot locker and pulled out a clean white undershirt, and started to change in the shadows of his bedroom. Ray watched greedily, his heart pounding six hundred beats a minute. "You know," Fraser said, "my father once told me that the ability to change his clothes in under thirty seconds had saved his life on numerous occasions. Of course, he was talking about survival in sub-zero temperatures in hauntingly beautiful but brutal landscapes—" He came back into the light wearing sweats and the undershirt. His feet were bare. "—whereas we are in a relatively moderate climate—"
"Are you done?" said Ray, hoarsely.
"Yeah." Fraser stepped forward. He was just a couple of feet away. Lamp light gilded the side of his face and his hair was still mussed from the wig.
Ray's mouth went dry. "Feel better?"
Ray unfolded his arms and pushed off the fridge with his shoulder. "You still got half your makeup on."
Fraser blinked. "Sorry." He reached for a dishtowel.
Ray caught his wrist to stop him. "C'mere."
He tugged gently and Fraser stepped in, his face serious, and angled his head forward. He brushed his lips softly across Ray's. The hair on the back of Ray's neck prickled, his skin tightened and he had to fight the urge to drag Fraser to the bed and ravish him then and there. Instead he raised his hand, fingers trembling, and touched the side of Fraser's face. He could feel Fraser's pulse racing — or maybe it was his own.
Ray leaned in and kissed him again, and this second kiss was longer, still sweet and careful — Ray teasing Fraser's lips apart, learning his taste, feeling their way. Fraser tasted of spearmint and lipstick, and Ray had never wanted anyone more in his life. Heat rose up in his body and he put his hand on Fraser's shoulder to pull him closer. Stroked his thumb above the neckline of Fraser's shirt. Fraser groaned into Ray's mouth.
Ray felt the sound like a physical touch, and confessions started spilling out of him. "Oh God, oh God, you got no idea how much I—"
"I know." Fraser pushed him back against the fridge and plastered his body against Ray's, taking his breath away. "I've wanted you too." He kissed down Ray's neck, and Ray clutched his shoulders and hung on.
"You did a damned good job of hiding it."
Fraser raised his head, and Ray swallowed a curse. Fraser was red-lipped, his eyeliner was smudged and his face was filled with desire and love. "Your friendship means a great deal to me, Ray."
"I know, I know," said Ray roughly. "Me too. Come here!" He yanked him forward, passion eclipsing patience, and they kissed deeply, bodies pressed together, moving urgently. After a few minutes, Ray wasn't sure he was going to make it as far as the bed.
Fraser tore his mouth away and panted in his ear. "I'd like to have seen it. You dressed as a woman."
Ray turned his head and nipped Fraser's earlobe in return. "Maybe. Just for you." He let his head fall back against the top of the fridge. "No cameras, though.""Of course," said Fraser, and kissed him again.