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Dirty Deal


"Ray, Ray. . ." Fraser managed to get his clumsy hands to move and he pressed Ray away from his body as gently as he knew how. Ray's hands were flat on his waist, he could feel the tremor in them, even feel their heat dully through the layers of wool and cotton that kept the world from his skin. His muscles knotted with tension at the touch, starting a dull throb behind his eyes. "No." Please, he thought, no. Anything but this. He could still taste Ray on his mouth and Fraser fought the urge to drag out his handkerchief and wipe his lips.

Ray's face was beautiful with desire a moment longer then Fraser's words penetrated and he flinched as if Fraser had hit him--again. "Jeeze--oh, Jesus!" Ray flushed a patchy scarlet and swung away, throwing himself at the wall next to the front door of his apartment where, moments ago, he'd followed some instinct or hunch or need and kissed Fraser like they were both drowning.

Ray slammed his fists against the wall, denting the plaster and then--clearly unsatisfied with the result--banged his forehead against the wall as well. Fraser didn't move, didn't do what he would have moments ago and grab Ray, prevent him from injuring himself, hold him. Ray was a deeply tactile man but Fraser suspected that today would be the last day the two of them would ever touch with ease. "Ray," he tried. "Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray!"

"I'm sorry, Frase," Ray told the wall, palms flush to the beige paint, face hidden between his arms. He was shaking visibly, voice, body, the ends of his jacket. "Sorry, sorry, sorry, I suck. I suck. I thought--"

"Ray," Fraser ran a finger under the collar of his tunic, it had gotten painfully small in the last fifteen minutes. "No, I'm sorry. You thought--" his voice thinned as he lied. "You just thought incorrectly."

"Are we gonna be buddies?" All Fraser could see of Ray's face over his arm was one blue eye. "Partners? 'Cause I swear I'll never touch you again. I'm just some screwy Pollack, Frase, that's all. I was stupidstupidstupid!"

"No--" Fraser said and Ray's eye widened. "I mean, yes, yes, of course we are still partners, Ray. Buddies, as you say. No, you are not stupid."

"Fraser, slobbering all over your partner--your friend is not smart. It is stupid. Ergo--I am stupid," Ray's voice was full of self-loathing but Fraser couldn't--he couldn't say anything more, do anything to make this moment easier. He could only wish that it had never happened and pray that Ray's resilience would get them both through this.

His hands were white on the brim of his had when he looked down, sweat from his fingers had darkened the felt. Fraser unclenched his fingers and smoothed the crumpled brim. "Please, Ray, don't. It was--" the knot in his throat was choking him, "--a perfectly natural misjudgment due to the--closeness of our friendship. You're my friend, Ray, my closest friend. I'm just not--" able, Fraser thought. Willing. Capable. "--interested in a sexual relationship."

Ray was watching him from one pale eye but hadn't moved from his place against the wall. Clearly Fraser had overstayed his welcome, not to mention started babbling.

"I should go."

Ray nodded. Fraser left.

The last Tuesday of every month was agony, Fraser was capable of managing only by refusing to think of anything at all as he changed out of his uniform finished dinner then put on a pair of older jeans, an undershirt and a gray flannel. This Tuesday though, his bones ached, his skin felt raw, his jaw was so tight Fraser was afraid he was going to break a tooth. He laced his boots mechanically and went to catch the bus.

This Tuesday, the memory of Ray's touch, his kiss, burned at the numbness Fraser needed so badly. This Tuesday, he found himself hesitating in crosswalks, tempting fate, until he recalled that there was no promise that death would release him. Fraser recited the RCMP handbook under his breath as he turned up a familiar, upscale street, down the block and into the driveway of Frank Zuko's elegant mansion. As usual, he made his way to the back door, silent in the twilight. He'd been here before. Fraser had been here many Tuesdays before. He had to pause for a moment, outside the door, until he was sure he would not be sick, then he knocked softly and Zuko's current bodyguard let him in.

Fraser refused to imagine what Zuko's bodyguard thought of his monthly presence, no doubt the man knew what happened up in the upstairs room. For all he allowed himself to think, Fraser might not be the only one to suffer under Zuko's . . . intimate extortion. He pushed that thought aside, trying desperately not to imagine anyone else trapped like he was. Even the thought brought outrage to mix with his building shame and misery as he walked quietly down the carpeted hallway --to avoid waking Zuko's children -- he couldn't save himself, he certainly couldn't save anyone else and he couldn't afford the risk of thinking about anyone else.

At the familiar, dark oak dork, he hesitated like he always did. The temptation was always there, to turn around, to defy Zuko. Tonight he shook with the urge, stomach clenching with horror at what lay beyond the door he stood in front of. Fraser's mouth burned with hate -- and fear -- and despair. His head dropped in defeat and he closed his sweaty hand over the cold brass doorknob. He was not here for his own sake, at this point, he'd be willing to risk his life for a chance to be free of Zuko. Ray Vecchio's life was what hung in the balance, the last Tuesday of every month, when Fraser came at Zuko's summons. With a grimace, he went inside the room and closed the door quietly behind himself.

Zuko was there, sitting in the wing chair he favored and sipping his glass of brandy. He was always there, in that chair, the soft lights bringing out the warm colors of his hair and touching gently on his handsome face. Fraser had come to despise the smell of brandy, to hate Zuko's handsome good looks. To fear his soft voice and triumphant smirk.

"Glad you could make it, Constable," Zuko leaned his head back and gestured to the space a few feet from his chair. He always called Fraser by his rank, quite pleased to have a Mountie at his mercy for an hour or so. Fraser stood where he was bid and fixed his half-focused eyes just to the left of Zuko's shoulder.

After a moment of study then, "Naked this time, I think. Strip."

He should have felt cold, as he pulled off his Henley and unbuttoned his jeans -- as more of his skin was exposed to the air -- but he felt hot. Hot and sick, feverish -- as if Zuko's consuming eyes were poisoning him, they were acid on his skin. He couldn't stop his hands from shaking as he folded his clothes onto the stool provided then knelt at Zuko's guesture. The tremor crept up his hands, across his skin, locked around his throat; Fraser clenched his fists on his thighs and waited for instructions. Zuko tossed a tube of K-Y jelly at his knees. Fraser picked it up and squeezed some of the cold lubricant onto his palm. The faint smell of it made his stomach lurch and Fraser squeezed his eyes shut, struggling not to vomit.

"Ah, Constable," Zuko chided. "Eyes open. Always."

He couldn't do this. He couldn't, not again. And he had to. Fraser's breath escaped from between his clenched teeth in a shaky sigh that was like a smothered scream then he opened his eyes. His gaze fell on the curve of Zuko's brandy snifter, where the liquor danced like gold, catching the soft light that should have been soothing but was only nightmarish. Fraser fixed his eyes there, not on Zuko's face, wearing that look of possessive triumph. He could not watch Zuko looking at him, could not bear the creep of that attention over his bare skin. Fraser thought of home; cold snow, empty skies, being blessedly alone. He thought of work; forms and files, he tried to find his way to the empty patience of sentry duty. He didn't think of Ray, of his mouth, of his freindship. He didn't think of Ray and the danger he was in, alone in Las Vegas, or the way he'd been abandoned to Zuko's mercy here. They had both known the deal, back then, and now.

Small tremors shook Fraser as he waited, naked, on his knees, for Zuko to instruct him. No dreams of tundra, of ice, chilled the shame that burned him until Fraser thought -- wished -- he would die of it.

"Rough day, Constable?" Zuko murmured, as if they were friends, as if Fraser would answer him. "You're shaking. Try and relax. You want a drink?"

Fraser shook his head, face half turned from Zuko then flexed his palm, feeling the jelly warm and soften in his hand and didn't answer. He never spoke here, even for Ray's life, he couldn't bring himself to speak. The sound of his voice would make things too real.

"It's rough, isn't it?" Zuko murmured. "Being here. But you do pretty good, Constable, must be that Mountie dedication, huh? Go on -- get the show on the road -- and don't be shy."

Fraser wrapped his slick hand on his lax penis and began to stroke, gaze never shifting from Zuko's brandy glass. The mobster's words -- Zuko never stopped talking -- fell into the space between Fraser's body, which felt distant and somehow separate and the real him. The one who would never be here, do this. The one on his knees here, degraded, humiliated, was not him. Not really. Fraser clung to that thought, he made himself belive it. He had to be here for Ray Vecchio's sake but he had to escape for his own.

". . . lean back more."

Fraser leant back onto his heels, until he was splayed, flushed skin displayed, the head of his penis slipping in and out of his fist under Zuko's gaze. Wincing, Fraser returned his gaze to the empty brandy glass, shunting aside the look on Zuko's face. It wasn't lust, it wasn't desire. It was triumph.

The wet sound of his hand, slick, slick, slick was obscenely loud in the quiet; it was a sound that repulsed him, just as the physical pleasure stealing through him repulsed him. In his hand, his penis swelled slowly, the feel of it repulsed Fraser. Pleasure, any pleasure, in this place, under Zuko's eyes was vile. Fraser's skin crawled and he retreated inside, into the place where no one could touch him, where no one could see him.

Fraser's eyes were wide and blank, his strokes mechanical -- efficiently jacking his penis. He had practice in not seeing, in not feeling. Even as his breathing roughened, as his penis leaked over his fingers, he could barely feel the pleasure -- he refused to own it. The choked cry that sounded in the room wasn't his, the sudden smell of semen wasn't his.

Fraser dressed, wiping his hands clean on the towel provided, tucking his shirt in neatly. Zuko spoke, reminding him of the deal they had -- the deal the deal that kept Zuko's mouth shut about Ray Vecchio in exchange for Fraser's degradation.

It wasn't until he was halfway home that he came back to himself with a jolt and a rush of raw misery. He vomited, as he often did, as soon as he got off the bus. When he got home Fraser showered, scrubbing his skin until all he could smell was soap and all he could feel was the harsh rasp of the cloth over his skin.

Fraser went to bed and prayed that tomorrow, Ray Vecchio would return.

END (020105)