Alliance Atlantis owns the characters and concepts of due South, created by Paul Haggis. No profit or copyright infringement was intended.

 

Tawse AU

{just a vignette}

 

He'd hated this place the first time he'd come around and Vecchio didn't like it any better now that he knew what went on behind the oak and brass door. It popped open before he even got a chance to pound out some temper on it and he nearly let his fist go at the sight of the big doof and his numbingly friendly smile.

"Ah, good afternoon, sir. Or late morning really -"

"Get out of my way, Turnbull," Vecchio shoved past him

"And, why yes, please come in, it is a lovely day -"

"Where the hell is he?"

"In the apartment and -"

"Good, I won't have to haul him off some guy's ass, then," Vecchio snapped and thumped up the stairs. The hell with it, the carpet was too thick to even get a good stomp on. He gritted his teeth, full of the petty urge to key the antique mahogany banister or spit on the carpet.

"- of course, he's expecting you," Turnbull's voice trailed away behind him as Vecchio took the turn around the second floor landing.

His lip curled. This was where Fraser ran his 'business', a quiet, wood paneled hallway with soft lighting, a real Persian carpet on the floor and discreetly smutty artwork on the walls. There were no moans floating out from behind the line of doors, no smell of old sex, just calm, refined good taste; it was so fucking civilized it made Vecchio want to puke. It was everything he'd dreamt of when he was young and stupid, before he knew what it cost - in more than money - to have a place like this. So, he sweated and bled for a run-down house on Octavia with a mortgage and kids that weren't even his own to look after while someone like Fraser laughed up his silk sleeve at schmuks like him.

The top floor was Fraser's home, high enough that the sun poured like gold in the tall windows and elegantly spare in a way the rest of the place wasn't. He smacked the door at the top of the stairs, feeling it swing under his hand.

"You shouldn't leave your door unlocked," Vecchio breathed deep against the wire tight ache in his chest. The white dog lying on the floor shot him a disinterested glance then rolled over to put his belly to the sun. "'Cause you never know what kind of nutcase is going to just march in one day."

"I don't leave it open all the time," Fraser said mildly. "Just for certain people."

He was sitting in a wingback chair with his finger in a book, wearing the kind of clothes that cost a good six month's of Vecchio's salary. He didn't look anything like a pimp and a whore. If he thought anything of Vecchio stalking over to him, fists clenched, it didn't show on his movie star face.

"Maybe you should take me off your list," he sneered, breathing in some kind of wild smell, some kind of fucking miracle cologne that hung around Fraser like a drug. Fraser shook his head slightly and Vecchio jerked away before he did something - something he'd regret, even if it was all he wanted right now.

"I gave you all the information I could," Fraser said softly. "And I warned you."

"To hell with you, you bastard!" Vecchio spun around, yelling, and the dog yelped then trotted down the hallway. Some guard dog. "I got bodies on the ground and I'm supposed to worry about some two-bit whore's privacy?"

"It's not my privacy we're concerned with here," Fraser said stiffly, standing and dropping the book back on his chair. Sherlock Holmes was the title and of course Fraser read that while Vecchio wore out his shoes on a case he couldn't win. "And I'm not a two-bit whore, I assure you."

He came right back into Vecchio's space, crowding him like he wanted to start something. Vecchio glared straight into those distant, night blue eyes. The hell if he was going to back down for someone like Fraser.

"No?" he breathed, overheated and shaking. "How much then?"

Fraser blinked and it was good to startle him, to find a way past that pretty, careful mask he always wore. "What?"

"How much -" Vecchio pressed his palms to Fraser's chest, raw silk under his sweating palms. "Do you cost, huh? How much did it cost to shut me down? How much -" Vecchio shut up, biting back the words he didn't want to say. How much to get you?

"You don't want to have sex with me," Fraser said firmly, like he knew everything, like he was never wrong. Vecchio shoved him away, the little violence felt right and fuck if he knew anything - like why was he here when he'd been told hands off the whore? "You're angry."

"Damn right I'm angry," Vecchio cried, throwing out his hands, coat fluttering around his shins. He was so fucking angry he could barely keep himself from stomping around like a little kid - or smacking the shit out of somebody like his pop. Fraser's smug, pampered face was looking like a great target. "People are dying -"

Fraser flinched.

"That's right," Vecchio stalked him, grinning with gritted teeth when Fraser backed up until the smooth plaster was at his back. He flung his words like darts, like bullets, going for blood. "Dying, Fraser, so your johns can keep their dirty little secrets. So you can live in this fine house and eat caviar and wear silk clothes."

"I can't give you -"

"You put out pretty easy for everyone else," Vecchio snapped, hearing the shake in Fraser's voice and liking it.

"Do you think I have a choice!" Fraser yelled, finally opening up for him, going red, getting angry, being alive. "Do you think -" he cast a scornful hand around the room with its handmade Mission style furniture and original art on the walls - "that it's different for me because it's prettier? I can't tell you more! I can't give you -"

"Give me something, dammit!" Vecchio yelled. "You're the reason I'm swinging in the wind, give me something!"

Fraser stared at him, breathing hard, frustration sizzling between them. Vecchio wanted … he wanted to hit Fraser, to make him feel what he was feeling; fury, impotent fucking rage. He wanted to hit him and the thought made him sick. Vecchio clenched his fists until his nails bit his palms and turned away, stalking stiffly to the door. He shouldn't be here. He shouldn't be with anyone, not like this. He'd sleep in the car like a dog.

"Wait," Fraser said behind him. "I can give you something you need."

Vecchio turned, teeth clenched so tight his jaw hurt, to see Fraser unbuttoning his shirt. He flung up his hands, squinting. "Jesus, no! I'm not queer!"

"No," Fraser said urgently when Vecchio twisted away to go. "No … go open that cabinet."

Vecchio glanced over to see Fraser fling his shirt over the chair as he nodded at what Vecchio had figured for an entertainment cabinet. Naked from the waist up, Vecchio could see the man was gorgeous, even if it didn't get his engine going. Fraser was all pale perfect skin as if he'd bought Canada down with him, smooth muscles and a perfect face on a perfect body - all of it for sale. "What?"

"Open it, use it," Fraser said. "Use anything on the doors you want, Ray Vecchio."

Vecchio loved beautiful things, clothes, cars, women and Fraser's cabinet against the wall was a beautiful thing. But when he opened it … when he opened it. "Mother of god …."

The things in it should have been ugly.

They weren't.

The floggers swung to a halt with a whisper of leather as Vecchio clung to the doors and stared. Steel and chrome glinted in the light, leather; inky black or polished brown scented the air - and didn't Fraser smell a little like that? Several floggers hung from pegs on the doors, with paddles - fur? - and things Vecchio didn't know the names of. There were other things, unknown but gleaming with care and smelling of wealth, on the shelves and riding crops hanging in the back. Vecchio darted a shocked look to Fraser. The man had his back to him, leaning, hands braced against the wall, head down just waiting for it.

"No," Vecchio croaked.

"Yes," Fraser said and even now - waiting to get the shit beat out of him - he still sounded like he was never wrong. It made Vecchio reach out, it reminded him why Fraser was the most annoying man in the world. How could someone sound like that when they were letting someone hit them? Hell, Vecchio thought as he touched the suede wrapped handle of one of the floggers, Fraser wasn't waiting he was telling. His fingers were shaking as he skimmed over a leather strap that looked way too much like his pop's belt.

"Why do they call these toys? They sure as hell aren't toys," Vecchio breathed in the smell of leather and expensive oil. There was a split strap made of warm brown leather hanging from the left door, it's cool wooden handle fit his hand … the weight of it was as tempting as the devil. As tempting as Fraser giving Vecchio something. Giving Vecchio permission to be angry, to be angry, to let it out.

Vecchio squared his shoulders and turned back to Fraser, the weight of the thing just right.

"I don't know," Fraser said, head dipping as he looked below his own arm at Vecchio. "It's an Americanism. I would just call them whips, or crops, or -"

"What's this?" Vecchio held up the split strap, shrugging out of his overcoat.

"A tawse," Fraser's voice seemed shaky when he answered and he turned swiftly back to the wall. "It's called a tawse it was originally used the Scottish public schools, whereas the cane was more common in England - ahh-h! "

"Shut up!" Vecchio shook with the shock of the blow, the jump of the handle in his hand was burned into his memory and a two inch wide strip of skin on Fraser's pale, pale back was turning vivid pink.

"Oh, god," Vecchio hadn't meant to hit him, not for real, and now he was going to do it again.

He shifted and Fraser twitched; he licked the sweat off his lip and hit Fraser again. This time, Fraser only gasped but his skin told the truth, bright and blinding. Fraser was feeling it, was feeling Vecchio. He hit him again, watching Fraser's shoulders jerk, hearing his breath hiss between his teeth. Vecchio wanted to hear him yell.

He hit him again. And again. And again.

The thing - the tawse - got lighter and lighter each time he lifted it, until it was floating, until he was floating. Fraser's back was red, striped with white welts, his shoulders hunched and rolling and Vecchio couldn't tell if the harsh gasps echoing in the civilized room were his own or Fraser's.

"God!" Fraser cried over the crack of leather on his skin. He collapsed against the wall, hands leaving sweaty smears on the pristine plaster, gasping. "Stop! Stop -"

Vecchio let his hand fall, the tawse tapping lightly against his leg. "Feel that?" he said harshly. Feel that anger? Vecchio thought. Do you feel what I do, now?

"Yes …" Fraser groaned, Vecchio could see him shaking. "Yes."

"Well you just think about the ones who can't, anymore, because of your precious clients," Vecchio threw the tawse with a clatter to the floor and walked out.

END (92105)