© Nov. 2001 by Starfish

Rating: R? for bad, bad language & m/m themes
Disclaimer: I do not own, I only borrow. When the voices start talking in your head, you do what you have to.
Notes: This could fall anywhere in the RayK year after the first few episodes -- one subtle "Seeing is Believing" reference, another for "...Defendant" -- and probably after MotB...but what do I know? I'm merely the conduit for the damn voices...

This piece of schmangst is lovingly dedicated to Skinner Box, who knows it's all his fault -- and I bless him for it every day! Thanks to Katie for the beta and the suggestions.

He won't let me kiss him.

I've tried not to let it bother me; tried to get by without it, but I can't. It bothers me. I want it. I need it.

For Christ's sake, the things I've seen him put in his mouth --

Makes you wonder why I'd want to kiss him, but I digress. Digress? Jesus...

We've been doing this for a couple of months now -- "this" being quick and dirty sex in my bed after whatever particularly nasty case he's found to get me involved in has resolved itself without either of us getting dead.

Could you follow that okay?

So he shows up at my door in jeans and flannel and without Dief, which is how I know what he's here for. Purely social visits he brings the wolf. And so I let him in and offer him a drink. The first time he actually said yes, came in, sat down on my couch. Fumbled around a bit with words before he put his hand on my leg and looked at me with a question in his eyes. A question I knew the answer to, for a change. Would I like to...? Hell, yeah. Now he just shakes his head to my offer of a beverage and pushes me back towards the bedroom.

Not that he needs to push real hard. Even if I didn't go for men, I'd go for him. I mean, you've seen him, right? But I never would have made a move if he hadn't. I guess that means he's in charge. But the no-kissing thing -- that's got to change.

Like right now -- for once I woke up before he did, before he crept out of my bed without waking me and got dressed and left. I think about just going for it, leaning over and putting my mouth to his, tracing his lips with my tongue...and before I really even finish thinking about it, I'm doing it.

I'm doing it. I'm kissing Benton Fraser, RCMP. He's starting to wake up a little, but his mouth still feels like it's asleep. His lips are opening just the tiniest bit, like he's about to ask what the fuck I think I'm doing (although he'd never say the word, of course) and I take the opportunity to slip my tongue in there.

Oh. Yeah.

I don't know the last time kissing felt better than fucking, but this is...everything. My first kiss and my first fuck (both Stella, but I'm not thinking about her right now, no way) were so long ago I can hardly remember them but this is better. This is hot and it's wet and it's NOW. It's better than the first time I had his dick up my ass, even better than the first time mine was up his. It's just -- more personal, somehow. It's us.

And it's over way too soon -- he's pushing me away and rolling off the bed. Trying to sort out his clothes from mine where they're jumbled on the floor. He's not such a neat-freak when he's horny as hell. Hey, wow, one more meaningful insight into the soul of Benton Fraser.

But you know what? I'm tired of rolling over for him. Symbolically, I mean. So I go for it.

"Why, Fraser?" I say, and it's not whiny, it's really not, but it feels like it a little, so I choke down on it and try again. "Why not?"

He looks at me like he doesn't understand the question, but I know that trick, I know all his tricks by now, and he's not getting away with it this time. I stare right back and he finally gives.

"I just -- can't."

Okay, so now I'm getting mad. "Yes, you can, Fraser. Your mouth works just fine when you're sucking me off -- or licking some God-damned piece of gum you picked up off the fucking street -- what you really mean to say is you just WON'T. And my question is still 'why?' Why are you treating me like some kind of whore? That's not --"

I was going to say 'that's not buddies' when it hits me. That casual phrase; I use it all the time, don't even know where I picked it up, but it sums up this situation perfectly. 'Cause we're buddies now, cop-buddies, fuck-buddies, whatever. But kissing? That's NOT buddies, not any kind of buddies. That's more like lovers. A lot more like. Almost exactly like, in fact.

And Ben's last lover? Fucked him UP and fucked him OVER and fucking left him for dead. That wasn't all in the files, most of what I know came from a late-night conversation with Welsh. Makes me wish the "real" Vecchio could shoot like I can. I ever see that bitch, she gets one right between the eyes. I don't care how long I go away for, she's dead.

But right now, she's not here. Ben is. Looking wounded and hurt but still so strong, so fucking brave, like he's never needed anybody or anything in his life. But I know different. I know what he needs, I know who he needs. Me. But just because I know it doesn't mean he knows it. So now I have to get him to listen to me, which is difficult enough on ordinary subjects.

I get up out of the bed, wincing a little 'cause he was in a bit of a hurry last night, and I walk right up to him. He's already got his jeans on but not zipped, and he's buttoning his shirt like it's something real tough and he needs all his concentration to get it right. I grab his wrists and he freezes; deer in the headlights just waiting for the smack! of the bumper and the pain that follows.

"Fraser," I say, "Ben," and that gets his attention 'cause I never call him that when we're not in bed, but maybe I should, maybe I'll start now.

"Look at me," I say, and miracle of miracles, he does. "I'm not her. Don't insult me, don't demean what we have, what we are, by thinking I'm anything like her. Don't you ever fucking do that."

He drops his eyes and I let go of his wrists to cup his face between my hands. I stroke my thumbs over his cheekbones, and this is it, this is the Big Time, the Hallmark Moment, and I open my mouth and just say it.

" I love you."

He winces and mumbles "Don't."

"You don't get to tell me that, Ben. You can tell me to fuck off; you can leave and not come back and tell me you don't want this anymore, but you cannot tell me not to love you. That's my choice, my decision.

"What we've been doing -- with anybody else it would be just sex. Meaningless friction and sweat and come -- it wouldn't matter. But it's not anybody else, it's you and it's me. And it fucking well matters, Ben. At least give me that. Tell me it matters."

My thumbs are wet now -- he's started leaking tears. I can't call it crying 'cause it's not, but it's some kind of reaction anyway. I think back to a story I loved when I was a kid -- remember the Snow Queen? I don't know the details anymore, but there was a kid and his heart was frozen 'cause he had a sliver of ice in his eye. Something like that. And then he cried, and it melted, and everything was fine again.

So I take a chance and move one hand down to his chest, inside his shirt, and I put it right over his heart. My left hand goes around to the back of his head and I pull forward on it so we're nose to nose.

And I whisper, "Let me in, Ben. Please."

And then I press my lips to his again and just wait.


Let him in?

I don't know how to keep him out anymore. He's -- insidious. He's in every part of my life. Even on those rare days when we don't see each other, I think of him far too often.

But I'm afraid to let my -- lust -- rule me again. I know he's not Victoria; obvious anatomical differences aside, he's warm where she was cold, outside and in. Giving where she only took. He saved my life instead of throwing it away. But there is something inside me that holds me back. Because if I could feel love for her, how does that make me fit to love him? The answer, of course, is that it doesn't.

How can he think I treat him like a whore? I am the whore. I let myself be swayed by her supposed need for me, because I wanted so badly to be needed. And deep down I knew she could never be enough for me, could never be *the one*, but the guilt I felt required a penance, and I whored myself for it.

Ray would be surprised to hear me say these things, I think. No, I know. Like so many others, he doesn't often see beyond the facade, the uniform. It's not his fault. I built the walls myself, and I am very good at defending them from marauders. No one has seen inside in so long. Only Ray, and even he only occasionally, when I let him. I have found that his good opinion of me is one of the most important things in my life. And so I can never tell him the true reasons for what I did. He probably assumes it was simple lust, or perhaps he thinks, as I did at the time, that it was love. I don't want him to know it was both, and neither. It was so much darker than that. It was fear, and loneliness. I am not alone any longer. But I still am afraid. Afraid of losing Ray. Afraid of how much he has come to mean to me, afraid of what would happen if he knew.

And I want to tell him this, as he asked me to, I want to say 'Yes, Ray, it matters. You matter. Of course you do, how could you ever think differently?' But if I open my mouth to speak, he will take it as an invitation, an acquiescence that I do not, can not intend. Because if I start kissing him, I know that I will never stop. And that is something I cannot allow. I don't deserve that love he offers so freely.

And yet --

Oh, dear God, and yet-- I want so much to taste him again. That one brief glimpse -- I was too fogged from sleep to appreciate it. And I get the distinct impression that this is my last chance. I may well lose everything. My friendship, my partnership, everything I have. Because he will not offer again -- if he is rejected again, he will end it. Even now I feel him begin to draw away, defeated by my immobility. And so I move.

My hands, which had been frozen on my shirt buttons, are coming up to hold his head as my mouth opens to his. I hear and feel his gasp of surprise, of delight; and I tip my head to the right and dive into Ray.

My fingers are threaded in his hair and I plunge my tongue into his mouth, searching relentlessly, for what, I do not know. He seems momentarily taken aback by my aggression in this, but recovers quickly and soon his tongue is challenging mine for the rights to my mouth.

I'm drowning in Ray; overwhelmed by his taste, his smell, the feel of his stubble against my face, the thrust of his tongue in my mouth. I dreamed it would be like this, and yet it's so much more than I ever thought. So much better. And I feel all the doubts, all the darkness I held inside me just drain away. This is right.

I should tell him that, I should; and I shall, if I can only stop needing to kiss him. I knew this would happen. And I find that I am not at all sorry it has.

Eventually we will have to stop, if only so that we can make love. And it will be making love this time, not just sex, not just friction. How could I have wasted so much time on that, when I could have had this, right from the beginning?

Sometimes I am the stupidest man on the face of the earth.

But I will make it up to him. If it takes me the rest of my life, I will make it up to him. Starting now.

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