Disclaimers: Not mine. I'm all messed up about it, thank you for asking.

Notes: I got tired of slogging my slow way through a dark, angsty piece, so this is my little rebellion. Enormous thanks to Bone and Crysothemis for phenomenal beta support and kindness!

Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski

Rating: NC-17 for language and m/m sex.

Summary: Silliness and smut, in that order.

It's All In The Wrist

By Aristide

January, 2000

Ray looked... very silly tied up like that, face-down on the floor-- dust in his hair and his face bright red and a large, regal-looking calico cat curled up on the seat of his pants, right below the knotted 'X' of his crossed wrists. Very silly indeed.

Of course, it wouldn't do to say so. Fraser knew that. The temptation, however, was extreme.

"About time you got here, Fraser," Ray sputtered angrily-- which was quite unfair, considering that he'd had no idea where Ray was in the first place. It probably wouldn't do to mention that either.

"My apologies, Ray; I came as quickly as I could. Tracking you presented a few unanticipated difficulties for me-- in fact, if you hadn't stepped in that puddle of coolant back at the mechanic's shop, I doubt I would have been able to locate you at all. Dief seems to be having yet another in a series of off days."

The wolf huffed at him to let him know that his remarks carried about as much weight as an empty dog dish, and then nosed up to Ray to investigate the cat. Fraser was entirely aware that he should be doing something-- opening his knife to slice through Ray's bonds, shooing Dief off the cat, shooing the cat off of Ray-- but the situation was so bizarrely appealing and unique that for the moment he just watched, doing his very best to stave off a smile.

"Dief--" Ray had twisted his head over his own shoulder in a way that looked quite uncomfortable, "do me a favor, buddy, willya? Bite that cat. Bite him good, okay? He... he... the little bastard has claws like razors--"

Dief didn't seem to be inclined to bite the cat, and the cat, for the cat's part, didn't seem to be inclined to use the aforementioned claws on Dief. As Fraser watched the cat stood and stretched, kneading a little at Ray's buttocks (which produced a most undignified sort of noise out of Ray), then butted its head against Dief's nose as if asking to be petted. In truth the entire scenario was charming, but Fraser doubted that Ray would agree with that assessment-- he was still making noises, with the occasional 'bite the damn cat' sort of growl thrown in every once in a while.

Ray continued making noises-- sounds of disbelief when Dief circled to sniff and lick at the cat's hindquarters, amplifying to sounds of absolute outrage when Dief noticed his whining and promptly transferred his attentions directly from the nether parts of the cat to Ray's face.

"I'm gonna kill this damn dog, Fraser! Uck! Guh-- God! Fraser! You and this buttlicking wolf and the cat-- you're all dead, you hear me? All of you--"

Fraser stepped forward resolutely. After all, a partner in distress was a partner in distress, regardless of whether or not it was a hugely entertaining distress. He nudged Dief away, then pried the cat off of Ray's bottom in a brisk, no-nonsense manner that produced one final abrupt keening noise and then a quiet sigh of relief, and opened his knife. He leaned forward to inspect the knots in the cord Ray had been secured with-- a tasseled, smooth length that appeared to have originally been a... curtain tieback.

A glance up at the tapestry-hung window above him confirmed it. A curtain tieback. An interesting and tasteful criminal, they were dealing with. "I must admit, Ray, when you failed to meet me at our appointed time, and Francesca informed me that you hadn't checked in for the last four hours, I became concerned-- I understood that you were intending to gather information on Mr. Mullins from his friends and associates?--"

"I did, Fraser, that's what I did. I went to the garage, and the pool hall, and the-- get this goddamn rope off me, willya? I gotta sneeze-- and I kept hearing 'girlfriend', so I tracked down the girlfriend-- damn dusty down here-- and that Buddinger guy at the bar had her address 'cause she used to work for him-- God, my nose itches-- so I came here and I asked her some questions... Fraser, I gotta... my bladder's ready to bust, here... so she got the drop on me and then she tied me up and left me to get my ass pierced by her damn... damn... AHH-CHOOO!!"

"Gesundheit," Fraser remarked mildly, leaning back in with the knife.

"Hurry it up, Fraser. I almost pissed all over myself... I shouldn'ta taken her up on that coffee..."

One twisted cord left. "She 'got the drop on you', Ray? She must have been... formidable." One last delicate slide of the blade, and Ray's wrists were free. "There. Done."

"Thank God." Ray's arms flopped down to his sides, but he didn't display any immediate intent to raise himself up off the floor. "Ow. Pins and needles. Damn."

A flick and click, and the knife was back in his pocket. "Would you like some assistance, Ray?"

One moist, blue eye blinked at him wrathfully. "Gee, no, Fraser. I really like laying here and having to piss like a racehorse with a huge wad of cat hair up my nose. That's, like, my idea of a kick-ass time. I'm ready to party hearty."

Fraser let out a little of the grin that wanted so badly to be set free. "You Americans celebrate the strangest things."

"I'm gonna celebrate kicking you in the head if you don't get me up off this damn floor-- whoa!"

He had, perhaps, used a little too much strength in lifting Ray up onto his feet. No matter. He held Ray steady until he stopped swaying.

Ray sniffled and shook his head, sending a galaxy of dust motes and cat fur into the golden, late-afternoon light that slanted in through the window. "Dizzy."

"Orthostatic hypotension."

A watery blink. "Gesundheit yourself, Fraser."

"Indeed. So, I believe you were going to tell me exactly how it was that you were overpowered?"

Ray grimaced. "No, I wasn't. She just... she was... you know, you said it, forma... uh, formidable."

Fraser looked over Ray's shoulder to a framed and mounted photograph on the wall, a photograph which showed the current suspect in their case, Mr. Mullins, with his arms around a petite young woman with wide, innocent brown eyes and a gentle smile. "I see. Is that her?"

Ray swiveled, looked, and then turned back, wearing his customary head-kicking expression. "She's stronger than she looks."

"I see..." Fraser repeated, and then quickly pressed his lips together. The effort required to refrain from outright laughter was becoming painful.

Ray scowled at him, then began a slow, shuffling walk towards a dim hallway and (presumably), the bathroom. Fraser didn't know about the extent of Ray's urgency, but, for himself, the door clicked shut just in time.

Fraser still found it fascinating, the way Ray's moods expressed themselves through the way he drove. As if he were somehow obliged to be completely honest with his vehicle, no matter what prevarications or pretexts happened to be coming out of his mouth at the time. Fraser shook his head-- a fantastic, nearly romantic notion. But perhaps it was necessary to allow those every once in awhile. The human mind cannot live by the Regulation Handbook alone, and all that.

"So... you're quite sure you're all right, then, Ray?"

Ray pressed the gas pedal with a vigor that suggested that perhaps he was envisioning Fraser's head under it. "I said I'm fine, Fraser. I'm good. You're going as deaf as that wolf of yours."

Fraser put one hand on the dash of the GTO in deference to the corner that Ray was turning with perhaps greater dispatch than good sense. "So, you're not at all upset about being overpowered and restrained by--"

"Will you just shut up, Fraser? Jeez-- look, she was fast, okay? She was fast and she was good with knots. Musta been-- it took you long enough to saw through 'em."

Ah. Transference of blame. A fascinating process. Also somewhat... tempting. He cleared his throat. "Actually, there was nothing uncommon about the knot you were secured with, Ray. I worked carefully to free you only because the edge on my knife is quite keen. The knot itself was astonishingly simple. I'm sure with a greater allowance of time you would have been able to work yourself free--"

His peripheral vision caught the weight of a dire blue glare. "You mean more time than it'd take you; that's what you're saying, right? That what you're getting at?"

Fraser blinked, and looked away from the road for a moment to meet Ray's eyes with equanimity. "I made no such comparison, Ray. Although, I must admit, I have learned from extensive experience that it's possible to significantly accelerate the process, if one is properly motivated to free oneself. All it takes is commitment, control, and a certain quantity of perspiration."

Ray smiled, so widely that Fraser immediately wondered what he'd done wrong.

"You have no idea how kinky that sounds, do you, Fraser?"

"I..." 'beg your pardon' would have been the rest of that sentence, but to say that would run the risk of Ray possibly repeating himself. Fraser swallowed.

Ray didn't seem to notice that he hadn't actually responded to the question. Ray just winked at him. "Kinky Mountie. Boots shoulda tipped me off, I guess."

Fraser looked resolutely back at the road, considered for a moment whether or not taking umbrage about disrespecting the uniform would get him anywhere, and determinedly said nothing.

But he couldn't help but notice that Ray's driving had improved considerably.

And that he himself had somehow managed to unconsciously twist his hat brim hopelessly out of true.

He should have known that Ray wouldn't deem it a suitable revenge to have simply made him blush and mangle his hat. This, he knew, was the price he paid for the depth of Ray's friendship: when Ray had the upper hand, Ray didn't hesitate at all to make him as miserable as possible. It was, in a strange way, Ray's method of expressing... affection.

He supposed he should be touched. And perhaps he would be, if he weren't so excessively annoyed.

"That was an extremely underhanded trick, Ray," Fraser chided, struggling surreptitiously with the cord around his wrists, which seemed to have been-- unfortunately-- looped through the back of his chair.

Ray just smirked at him. "Well, what do you expect from a guy who can't even protect himself from some small-timer's chippie? I gotta be good at something--"

Fraser hoped his expression reflected the full extent of his stern disapproval. "You're good at many things, Ray-- you're a fine officer and a good man. Which is why you should abandon this charade at once and unbind my hands-- I fail to see what sort of point you're trying to make here, and really, such deviousness as this is... beneath you." He rotated his wrists, left, then right, then both, but the cord was slippery, and he couldn't create sufficient resistance to get a good grip on the knot.

Ray persisted with the irritating smirk. "Oh, no way, Fraser. You can't butter your way out of this one. And you can save the guilt-trip for Dief-- I got you good."

Fraser was saved from the necessity of a reply by a knock at Ray's door-- undoubtedly the pizza they'd ordered. He could only be grateful that the delivery person wouldn't have a clear line of sight to where he was-- goodness only knows what kind of conjectures might have been drawn, and here he was, still in full uniform. He used the time while Ray paid for the pizza to take stock of his situation-- Ray hadn't taken that long to secure him, so surely the knot must be fairly simple and straightforward, surely there must be... must be...

Nothing. Not an ounce of give. Embarrassment, chagrin, outrage-- whatever it was that was making his muscles tighten, he seemed to be losing his grip on it. Unacceptable. He stopped struggling at once, and took a few deep, slow breaths. Control. This was all about control.

"Jeez," Ray's voice was rich with good humor, "you still tied up there, Fraser? I thought for sure you'd be free by now-- what was it? Commitment, control, perspiration-- which one's giving you hell? Should I maybe turn the heat up?"

Portrait of smiling cruelty, carrying pizza-box, Fraser thought randomly. He shook his head. "That won't be necessary. While I am entirely capable of voluntary perspiration, I must admit that I'd hoped to get another day or two of wear out of this particular uniform--"

"Bummer for you, then, Fraser. Helluva good deal for your dry-cleaner, though." Still smiling. Still cruel. Still carrying the pizza-box.

Fraser pressed his lips together. Enough. Enough of this, while he still had a hold on his temper. "I believe that I've gotten the point, Ray. Untie me now, please."

He watched Ray put the pizza carefully down on the coffee table, but before relief could set in he caught a gleam in Ray's eyes. An unsettling gleam. "If I've got this right, Fraser old buddy, you don't need me to untie you-- you just need to get motivated to untie yourself, right? Now, let's see..." Ray glanced around his apartment reflectively, "what've I got around here that's good for motivating?"

"You're being insufferable, Ray."

Another gleam. "Does that mean you're suffering?"

"Would you untie me if I said yes?"

Ray appeared to think it over. "Uh... no."

"Then it hardly matters how I answer then, does it?"

"Sounds logical."

Fraser sighed. "Are you enjoying yourself, Ray?"

Ray smiled. "See? You are kinky. Told'ja."

Heat, prickling him all over, exquisitely uncomfortable. "I am not."

Ray took a step closer, his smile subtler now. "No? Well then how come your face is bright red?"

Fraser sat up as straight as his bound wrists would allow. "Perhaps I'm simply making myself sweat so that I can free myself from this... indignity."

"Indignity..." Ray repeated the word as if he were tasting it. "D'you feel undignified, Fraser?"

"I feel..." 'Hot' was the word that came to him first, but that would do little to serve him in these circumstances. "Ridiculous."

"You don't look ridiculous." Ray took another step toward him, close enough now that Fraser had to stretch his neck back to meet his eyes. "You look... hot."

Oh dear. Something in Ray's tone suggested that he wasn't referring to the ambient temperature. He didn't know what to say to that.

As it turned out he didn't have to, because Ray wasn't finished yet. Fraser saw one pale hand gliding toward him, and then there was the lightest brush against his forehead, against his hairline-- outrageously sensitive, and he had to suppress a shiver. "Your hair's all messy. Never seen your hair messy before."

The angle at which his arms were pulled back seemed suddenly painfully acute, his chest stretched too tightly over his thudding heart. "I assure you, Ray, every morning when I wake up my hair is quite messy."

Ray's hand seemed to be getting to know his hair-- a gentle, tentative exploration that really shouldn't have been overwhelming, except that his scalp refused to back down from anything other than hypersensitivity, and each soft, ambiguous caress raised gooseflesh over his entire body that made him want to squirm.

"I could... um... do this up for you," Ray said conversationally, his voice lower, thicker, almost hypnotic. "Spike you up-- you can be the world's only punk Mountie, Fraser; pretty cool. And I could teach you to spit before you say 'thank you kindly', and--"

It occurred to Fraser, as perhaps it should have earlier, that this was most likely not actually about his hair. This was about... something else entirely; he knew that now. And perhaps he should have been more genuinely surprised than he actually was, but right at this moment all that seemed to matter was finding out if Ray knew, and if Ray knew that Fraser knew, and if Ray knew that Fraser knew that Ray knew, and exactly what Ray was going to do about all these known things.

"Ray. Ray... Ray?"

"Yeah, Fraser." Far away, Ray seemed so far away for being so... so very close.

Fraser cleared his throat. "I just feel the need to point out that when one man ties another man up, makes innuendo-laden remarks, and then offers hairdressing advice, there are certain conclusions which seem rather... compelling."

A different Ray smile, warm and amused and not at all what he'd expected after hurling that particular gauntlet. Fraser felt a sudden and unexpectedly strong flash of alarm-- apparently, more things were known than he'd expected. "Compelling. I like that. That's good. That's like 'compulsion', right? I mean, it's like, got the same base or something--"

Hot. Hot. Itchy. Hot. He'd planned on a rational discourse, but Ray was close and smiling at him and not taking exception to even the most blatant provocations, so Ray must... that meant Ray had some kind of plan, and that was maybe something that he should be paying attention to except he couldn't because he was itchy and hot and buzzing and something in his body was going out of control... but his lips moved anyway. "Root word, Ray."

Ray met his eyes then. "Root word, Fraser."

Fraser blinked, a liquid moment when even his eyes felt sensitive in their sockets. "Compulsion? Compel."

"Compulsion," Ray said softly, as if in disagreement. He licked his lips and Fraser twitched. "I'm having one. I'm having one of those."

"Oh--" Oh my, oh dear, oh goodness, oh no-- whatever it was, he never got to finish it. Ray sank to his knees with such fluid and elegant grace that it seemed to loosen Fraser's own bones. Fraser felt sudden, surprising flexibility in his hips that made it a logical countermove, the next step of the dance, to spread wide and slide down to the padded edge of the chair, making a space between his knees where Ray fit neatly, where Fraser could-- didn't! But could-- squeeze.

If he wanted to.

"You having any compulsions, Fraser?"

A simple enough question. An impossible question. "Nuhhh..." Wordless. He had no words for this. Apparently his brain had been heat-damaged. Stricken animal-dumb. Nothing left of him but grunts and hungers.

Panic at that-- not right, not safe, not acceptable at all-- and he tensed up, stiffened, but Ray's sudden grip on his biceps burned straight to his skin as if there was no clothing between them, slender bands of heat. "It's okay, Fraser-- you're tied up, remember? I've got you. I've got you."

While his conscious mind puzzled over why in the world Ray would offer that as a form of reassurance, his body-- which knew, knew perfectly well-- slipped faster than he would have believed possible back into that lax, liquid state. Tied up. Indeed. He remembered the fruitlessness of his earlier struggles, and suddenly the muscles in his forearms bunched-- not pulling, not twisting, just... feeling. Both wrists caught. Solid.

And that had been... irritating, hadn't it? He thought for sure, he could have sworn that he'd been annoyed, perhaps confused, certainly displeased, only now he didn't seem to be displeased at all. Should be. But wasn't. Now he was just... right where Ray apparently wanted him, and maybe-- perhaps-- right where he needed to be.

That thought seemed to produce the last necessary spark of some strange connection: his head drifted back, he heard a distant gasp that had to be his own, and he closed his eyes on an intense awareness of every inch-- knees, thighs, chest, groin, throat-- that felt so exposed. Everything vulnerable, everything waiting.

Waiting for Ray.

He didn't have to wait long. Ray's hands moved from his biceps up to his shoulders and down to his chest, a leisurely trip that was nevertheless more than long enough for the shakes to set in. Fear flared with something else, something darker, and he twisted his wrists again-- tied, bound, fastened there. Slippery now. Through the rush of his own heartbeat in his ears he could hear Ray, a quiet and nearly continual murmur of Fraser, Fraser, mmmFraser, hot-beautiful-Fraser-gimme-mmm-yeah-- hoarse and delighted darkvoiced lust, and he would have been compelled (compulsion, again) to move away except he couldn't... couldn't move, couldn't dodge, couldn't stave off this touch, or that one, or that other one that made sweat spring out in the creases of his groin and made something bright and terrible spiral up from inside.

Slow and heavy movement at his waist, clothing and bone and muscle relaxing into looseness, laxness-- nothing hurried, and nothing abrupt, and yet nothing elaborate beyond the basic necessities of his tunic pushed up while everything else was... tugged down. Pragmatic Ray, of course, of course... Cool air on hot skin, and Ray's hands felt satin-smooth although he knew they weren't, and he had to admit that this was an unexpected surprise, this deliberate, appreciative stroking. Not that he'd thought it would be otherwise. Not that he'd thought about it. At all. Fear again, and Fraser pulled at his wrists-- solid. Still solid. Still tied up. He sighed.

"...gonna suck you, been dying to suck you... Fuckin' beautiful Mountie cock, Fraser, I knew it, I knew that--"

And mercifully, all that was cut off as Ray's mouth was obstructed and his own opened up, a throat-tight cry that brought his head snapping up, that had him wrenching at his wrists again because he had to, because Ray was a straightforward sort and didn't waste time on preliminaries but simply opened wide and got down to the business of... of sucking...

Ray. Sucking. He shouldn't have looked. Actually seeing it was much more than he was ready for, something that overrode whatever controls he'd placed on his own surrendered body and made him thrust up, push in, pulsing in a staggeringly fast rhythm against the silky-rough slide of Ray's tongue. Wet-mouthed Ray, greedy for it, a connection between them both complex and simple enough to stun him to sudden silence except for the panting. Taking and taken, and which was he, again? Oh right, he was...

..the tied-up one. He tugged. And that somehow freed him to groan again.

Ray's eyes were closed. Devotion. His hand, wrapped where it was, looked pale in comparison, his lips redder than... Sweet. So oddly, deeply sweet, overwhelming, really. Certainly enough to overwhelm him, because his heart was thundering along at an alarming rate and the push-pull of hips and wrists and the creaking chair threatened to shake everything apart, and what in the world would he do then?

What would Ray do?

It seemed incomprehensible that Ray would do anything other than what he was doing right now: pushing Fraser past his own limits, getting the both of them where they needed to be, doing what was needed. Sucking him. Nuzzling, a gentle tilt of the head and soft grunts of desire that expressed such tenderness that Fraser's breath caught on what sounded almost like a sob. Ray would open. Ray was open. Sucking him like he'd never, ever stop.

Cycle on a knife's edge-- in and out of Ray's hot mouth, over and over until it was too, too good and then back to his wrists, twisting, numb now but aching-- everything was aching. As it went on he spent more and more time on his wrists-- just a few seconds, now, just a slide or two over Ray's slick, devoted tongue was enough to pull him right up to the terrifying edge of something he couldn't look at, couldn't even think about.


Shocking, to speak in something other than native grunts. The air felt cold against his wet lips, but everything else was so hot, shaking and hot and tense and tight and deep and the more it went on the more he fought it, struggling against a point of no return for so many reasons...

Ray swallowed around him, sighed, and shivered. Fraser shivered.

He knew he had reasons...

Ray's tongue flicked at him like some kind of sensual lightning, and really, for a man who sometimes stumbled with words it seemed only fair that flesh should flow for him so smoothly.

All kinds of reasons...

Ray's face, tense and tender, taking him in, and Fraser thought the sight of it just might kill him soon if he didn't find a way to stop it.

Very good reasons... very good. Very good. Very... ahh...

Slipping now, slipping on the chair, slipping deeper between Ray's sweet lips, slipping and tingling like subcutaneous fire because his hands were-- suddenly-- slipping free, right after that one final second where he might have been able to stop. Terrifying freedom, terrible blissful numb shaking useless power-- power constrained to move in only one direction. Ray moaned when Fraser clutched his head, moaned and jerked and swallowed hard, then Fraser pulled and Ray gave way and Fraser heaved in the chair like he'd just taken a stray bullet-- only he was the one that was shooting, crying out some incomprehensible string of useless pleading pleasure at absolute extremity, throbbing out each exquisite wet pumping contraction until... until he couldn't anymore... until there was nothing left in him but sluggish waves of glutted, wanton luxury and a soft, possessive growl that was no less disturbing for all that it was quiet.

Ray didn't seem to mind, or even notice. His heavy head rested in Fraser's naked lap like some cosseted pet, the silk and scratch of stubble against his thigh somehow both irritating and sensual at the same time.

"Ray..." not easy, not at all easy to speak right now, but Ray's eyes were closed and his breathing had become so slow and regular that Fraser thought perhaps he'd fallen asleep.

But apparently not-- a slight frown-line appeared on Ray's forehead. "Shh, Fraser. This is the afterglow part-- the part where everything's right with the world until it wears off. If you start yappin' I'm gonna forget all about how happy I am right now, and start paying attention to the fact that I just came in my pants and it's kinda uncomfortable."

Residual sparks and skirls of lazy pleasure twitched in Fraser's limbs, and he found himself blushing yet again. He watched Ray lick his lips slowly, shivered, and let one hand stroke over the energetic texture of Ray's hair. He could wait.

Despite the request for silence, Ray reached up and grabbed Fraser's hand, tugging on it until he was able to press a soft kiss on the chafed skin at Fraser's wrist. "Knew you could do it."

Fraser couldn't tell whether Ray was sleepily pleased or sleepily vexed. Perhaps, in Ray, they amounted to the same thing. "With the proper... motivation, yes, apparently so."

Ray opened his eyes and blinked at him once, then closed them again and snuggled down in his lap more firmly, gilt-touched eyelashes glimmering in the lamplight. "Motivation my ass, Fraser. Admit it, you'd never pass up a chance to show me up. Never."

Fraser smiled. Felt his heart warm and expand in his chest, beating easily now. "Never, Ray."


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