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For BLG, because flip-flops are hard and life is hard and Ray is hard and one of these things is well worth celebrating.

Title: Practicalities
Pairing: F/K
Rating: R
Notes: Crazy love and much gratitude to malnpudl and omphale23 for beta. 1600 words or so. Also available as audiofic.





When Ray goes out looking for it, he finds it. Easy with guys; he's easy, they're easy, everything is easy except the hurry and the risk. He's down on his knees, in control, talented, top of the world for those quick minutes.

This guy is dark and skinny and pretty, and Ray makes him shake, makes him swear and grab Ray's head before he comes.

When it's his turn, he keeps his face towards the street. He wants to close his eyes, wants to focus on the mouth on his cock, the rush and heat of it, but he knows better. Still, it's good. It always is.

***

This guy wants to fuck him, leans against him, bulky and a little drunk, grabbing his ass and breathing raunchy sweet nothings in his ear. Ray snarls at him, doesn't turn around, and the guy sucks him off sulkily.

Ray doesn't fuck in alleys. He's too smart for that. And alleys are all he has, these days.

***

Usually, Ray looks guys in the eye, waits a couple of beats too long, gets them looking and tilts his head. Easy.

He's earned a little easy.

He's rattled, though, wired from the bust and how it almost went south, and he can't make eye contact, but this guy follows him outside anyway. It's raining, but that's probably a good thing. Keeps the street quiet. Ray hunches his shoulders against it and turns to face him. He's big and broad, a little soft around the middle, but has good hands. The hands were all Ray noticed inside, blunt and strong and clean.

"Here?"

"You have a better idea? Here."

The guy shrugs and pushes Ray against the wall, reaching for him with those nice hands. Water drips off the roof above them, slides down Ray's neck and under his shirt. He's cold, but he warms up soon enough.

***

This guy is hungry for it, confident and needy and ready, and when he works his pants down and begs Ray forgets that he doesn't fuck in alleys. He fumbles with the rubber, but manages, and then it's push and pull and harder and God he's missed this.

That was dumb. He doesn't go back to that bar.

***

It shouldn't be such a shock. Fraser had been working himself up to something all day, on the job, in the car, and now, in the safety of Ray's apartment. Still, it rattles him when it comes: "I'm worried about you, Ray."

He knows what Fraser means--Fraser's the best detective Ray knows--and he's jumping inside, thinking don't fuck with this, don't, but he keeps it cool enough, saying, "Yeah? I'm good," around the stir-fry in his mouth.

Fraser doesn't buy it. Fraser's city-dumb, but he's no idiot. His forehead wrinkles, and he pokes his unpronounceable food with his chopsticks. "Hm."

"I'm getting by," Ray insists. "There's worse things."

"You're putting yourself at risk of worse things. It's dangerous."

Ray can't help it, snickers, pointing at Fraser, pointing at himself, miming explosions, guns. Fraser takes a minute but twitches his mouth up, acknowledging the joke. Ray wipes a hand across his face, sobers, and says, "I can take care of myself."

Fraser's face doesn't smooth out, and Ray knows he's seconds away from a lecture on sexual health and societal norms and he really, really doesn't want to hear it. "I know, I know. I just. It's dumb, right? Really, really dumb. But this is what I got. And I am fine." He says the last real steady, keeping his eyes on Fraser, making him get it as best he can.

Fraser could go any way here, and most of them would suck for Ray. The sigh is a bad sign, but when Fraser reaches out and puts his hand on Ray's shoulder, squeezes and lets his hand drop, Ray feels like a champion. He can have this. His partner, the job, the sex. He's got it all.

***

The next time Ray glances towards the street, hands on broad shoulders, he sees flannel. Familiar flannel. His dick is out of the guy's mouth fast enough to risk permanent damage.

He catches up with Fraser on the sidewalk. Easy, 'cause Fraser wasn't hiding. "No, Fraser. Fuck you! You said you were--" cool with this, not going to freak, not going to fuck everything up.

Ray's got a fist pulled back and Fraser doesn't even flinch. "I'm just making sure you're safe, Ray," he says stubbornly.

He shakes out his hand, slaps it against his thigh, tries to gather his scrambled thoughts. Fraser just stands there, solid and steady and completely out of place. "I love you, right? You're my partner. But this, I need this and I can't have it if you're going to--" chaperone, the word is chaperone, but it won't come and Fraser doesn't need to hear it anyway.

Fraser's face softens just a little, but he doesn't back down. "I'm not trying to interfere with your activities," Ray snickers at that, but Fraser pushes on, "but my presence may limit its attendant risks."

Jesus. The last thing Ray needs is a babysitter while he's getting off. He knuckles his forehead before glancing back down the alley. The guy is gone, and so is Ray's hard-on.

He doesn't take Fraser home; it's too far away and too normal. They find a diner, empty except for them and a scruffy guy and the waitress, and she's working on her homework at an empty booth. Ray drinks his coffee, Fraser his milk.

"What about dating?" Fraser asks out of nowhere, like Ray'd be Duh, I shoulda thought of that one!

"Yeah? Detective Vecchio, the hot relationship prospect of Halsted Street?"

Fraser frowns. "I hadn't considered--"

Ray waves a hand. "It's not just that. It's that, yeah, but it's also that, just, things are good, you know? Maybe I've been down for so long I forgot what good was, but this is working. I got the job, I got you, I got...that. I'm good. I don't need you to mess things up worrying about me. I don't do it that much. I'm fine."

When Fraser just looks at him thoughtfully over his milk, Ray'd like to think Fraser gets it, but he knows better.

***

Fraser is a stubborn tail, but he's not sneaky. Ray ditches him pretty easy.

His bad luck, though, that that's the night he could have used somebody watching his back, let him know about the beat cops rattling cages. He sits in the dark a long time, willing his heart to slow down, telling himself that they didn't recognize him, that it's fine.

***

Fraser won't stop looking at him. Out of the corner of his eye, thoughtful like.

Ray twitches, glances around, like somebody is lurking in the backseat to hear him. "I'm not a slut, you know."

Wrong thing to say, maybe, because then he has to put his head down on the steering wheel and wait for Fraser to work through sputtering indignation and apologies and god will he ever let Ray get a word in?

"Sorry," Ray says when he winds down, then, "I mean, how do you handle it?"

Fraser looks out the window, and Ray can't see much on his face. "Solitarily."

"Yeah. I don't like that much."

There's a pause before Fraser says, "Me neither."


***

The guy at the bar is drinking tea. Definitely not Ray's type. But tonight he won't shake, and Ray isn't going to get any action with him tagging along.

Ray's had enough. He puts his body between Fraser and the rest of the room. This isn't a scene place, but it's busy enough, and Fraser stands out. "What, you want to get your rocks off?"

Fraser frowns, tilts his head. "I don't--"

Reaching down, Ray grabs himself and lifts. "Rocks, get it? Rocks off?"

"Oh, I understand," Fraser says, then, slowly, "Really, Ray, that's an excellent idea. Can we?" He has that startled, proud look he gets when Ray solves a tricky case, finds the clue that even he'd overlooked.

Ray nearly shits himself, nearly gets pissed, nearly doubles over laughing. He has to reach out and hold Fraser's shoulder down when he starts to get huffy, starts to stand up. "Well, gee, Fraser. You think?"

***

After all that, it would have been typical of Ray's luck for him to go impotent, or Fraser to not get off on guys after all, or it to be like making it with his brother.

But Ray's luck changed with Fraser, had from the first day, if you looked at it right, kind of squinted and had crappy vision to start with. Fraser's still Fraser in the sack, focused and weird and better than just about anybody, and Ray can't believe his luck, to be sweaty and come-smeared in his bed, in his apartment, with the guy he loves best in the world wrapped around him, snoring into his neck. He's got an arm around Fraser's shoulder, and he's sore from the workout and he's just about ready to start counting his blessings when the phone rings.

Fraser lifts his head, blinking, and Ray twists for the phone. After grunting at Welsh and getting the phone back in the cradle on the third try, he turns to find Fraser already awake and alert.

"If Mr. Johnston is finally talking, we need to be there. The next shipment is due in this morning."

"Bat ears," Ray mutters, and starts hunting for his pants.

"Convenient, actually," Ray can hear the smile in Fraser's voice, "to save you the time you'd normally spend picking me up. We should have thought of this months ago."

Yeah, he had a point there.



*

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
brooklinegirl
Jul. 1st, 2007 12:15 am (UTC)
Dude, this is AMAZING. This is a FULL-FLEDGED fic, and you totally blew me away. I love – god, I mean, I sort of completely love RayK picking up guys in bars and screwing around in alleys. And I just – I LOVE Fraser knowing. I love Fraser knowing, and Ray KNOWING he knows, and they just – can't see the right way to go. Yet.

Of COURSE Fraser would tail him. Chaperone. Of COURSE. And he's WORRIED, you know, he's *concerned*, and just – I want to squish both of them to DEATH.

And Ray just – the way he picks up guys KILLS me. Just a tilt of the head. And when he forgets he doesn't fuck in alleys – oh, WOOBIE Ray, just – so fucking woobie. The image of him, w/that close call, scared and trying to just breathe, is just – oh boys. Oh BOYS.

I really, really fucking love this. It's so damn good. SO damn good.
slidellra
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:11 pm (UTC)
YAY!!! I'm so, so happy you enjoyed your present.

(RayK getting it on with strangers in alleys is kind of a mainstay of my brain when idling. Count sheep? Pshaw. Count guys Ray's doing against the wall. *nods*)

*hugs you*
kristiinthedark
Jul. 1st, 2007 01:13 am (UTC)
This:

This guy is hungry for it, confident and needy and ready, and when he works his pants down and begs Ray forgets that he doesn't fuck in alleys. He fumbles with the rubber, but manages, and then it's push and pull and harder and God he's missed this.

That was dumb. He doesn't go back to that bar.


just makes me so happy, I can't even AWESOME, awesome, awesome. This entire fic rocks. I love it more than I can say. ♥♥
slidellra
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
You know what makes me so happy I can't even? YOU. And the fabulous feedback of love. Thank you!
celli
Jul. 1st, 2007 04:06 am (UTC)
I love their "oh, hey!" moment. Cracks me up. :)
slidellra
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, boys. So very pretty.

Thanks!
viciouscats
Jul. 1st, 2007 09:20 am (UTC)
Wow. I love this madly. :)
slidellra
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:15 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much! *beams*
nos4a2no9
Jul. 1st, 2007 01:54 pm (UTC)
BLG is right (as she so often is): this really is a full-fledged fic, and the sex seems almost secondary to the slow realization Fraser and Ray come to. Their moment of "Oh, okay, RIGHT" was very well handled, and I really liked the way Fraser was so protective of and worried about Ray. That rang absolutely true, and I loved the "How do you handle it?" "Solitarily." "Yeah. I don't like that." "Me neither" exchange. It was heartbreaking and really, really made me believe in the ease of their relationship later on. And Ray! So happy to be curled around "the guy he loves best in the world." That was a lovely moment in a lean, tight story filled with very poignant images. Good work, as always!
slidellra
Jul. 1st, 2007 03:17 pm (UTC)
and the sex seems almost secondary to the slow realization Fraser and Ray come to.

I KNOW, but you don't have to rub it in! Meanie.

Glad you liked it!
buzzylittleb
Jul. 1st, 2007 08:05 pm (UTC)

"Convenient, actually," Ray can hear the smile in Fraser's voice, "to save you the time you'd normally spend picking me up. We should have thought of this months ago."

Yeah, he had a point there.


*cracks up* This is greatness.
slidellra
Jul. 1st, 2007 09:02 pm (UTC)
*beams* I'm delighted you liked it!
keerawa
Jul. 2nd, 2007 03:33 am (UTC)
There are many things I love about this fic. I love Ray picking up guys with a long look and a tilt of the head. I love Fraser trying to chaperone him, to keep him safe. I love The guy at the bar is drinking tea.

"Solitarily."
"Yeah. I don't like that much."
There's a pause before Fraser says, "Me neither."
Is telling a whole story in itself.

But I think the thing that will stick with me the most is how very small both of their dreams are in this piece.
slidellra
Jul. 2nd, 2007 03:53 am (UTC)
Oh, keerawa, thanks!

But I think the thing that will stick with me the most is how very small both of their dreams are in this piece.

Indeed they are. *kisses you soundly on each cheek*
spuffyduds
Jul. 4th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
This is so sweet--they're just both so loving and STUPID I can hardly stand it.
slidellra
Jul. 6th, 2007 10:05 pm (UTC)
Dumb boys ftw! Thank you, darling!
vsee
Jul. 6th, 2007 01:32 pm (UTC)
Whoa, such an original premise...Ray doing the whole pick up thing and Fraser knowing. Love the slow figuring out that they belong together. Fun, hot story.
slidellra
Jul. 6th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC)
Oh, I'm so happy you liked it! *beams*
sageness
Jul. 8th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC)
oooooh, Fraser is so sweetly bulldoggish when he's worried. And I really like Ray taking the desperate, high-risk, adrenaline-rush method of dealing with a bad divorce and a seemingly untouchable partner. It's fucked up and gives Fraser real reason to chaperone.
slidellra
Jul. 9th, 2007 12:13 am (UTC)
Fraser is a wee bit determined, he is. And I can see Ray making terribly high-risk choices and failing to fully appreciate the danger, in a personal/sexual reversal of Fraser's professional habits. Fortunately, they have each other. *smooshes them together*
luzula
Jul. 8th, 2007 07:37 pm (UTC)
Oooh. Wonderful. God, they're so dense. I love this line:

Fraser's still Fraser in the sack, focused and weird and better than just about anybody

slidellra
Jul. 9th, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
Thank you! That line came about thanks to omphale23, who gently pointed out that my original take on sexual!Fraser was lame. Man, but I love a good beta (or two, in this case).
keerawa
Sep. 28th, 2007 06:36 am (UTC)
I just came back to reread this. And it made me very happy.
slidellra
Sep. 29th, 2007 06:15 pm (UTC)
And your re-commenting made me very happy. Glad you're still enjoying the fic!
terrible_tues_1
Jan. 17th, 2008 10:24 pm (UTC)
I enjoyed the story, and I was glad that you put the humor in as a bonus at the end.
slidellra
Feb. 10th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)
I'm so glad you enjoyed!
mamaffy
Mar. 4th, 2010 05:48 am (UTC)
Hi there! I wanted to tell you this for a while. I listened to a couple of your podfics and this story is among my favorites of yours. I just love your voice and I wanted to tell you that you are my favorite reader. Slow enough but interesting in pace and with such colorful intonation. I also like the way you do the dialogue, pretty natural, yet distinguishable. Overall, thank you so much for your recordings, I enjoy them a lot.

And of course, the story itself rocks as well!
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )