lay in bed, drifting in and out of a doze but seemingly unable to deepen
it into true sleep. They'd worked hard that day; his aching body was glad
for the chance to lie in bed, next to Ray once more, and bask in warmth
A low chuckle sounded next to his ear. "I know what you're doing."
"Oh?" he turned his head, searching for the glimmer of Ray's smile in the darkness.
"Yup. You're doing that thing where you're too comfortable to let yourself sleep."
As ever, Ray knew him. "Is there something wrong with that?"
"You need your rest," Ray said. His voice was light but had an undertone of seriousness. "You haven't been sleeping lately."
Fraser was silent. It was, after all, perfectly true.
"I know what'll help you sleep," Ray said, his voice tickling intimately at Fraser's ear. "What you always need when you get like this--"
"Ray, we can't--"
"Shhh," Ray said. "Just do what I say. I'll take care of you. Can you trust me to do that?"
Ray smiled, slowly. "Close your eyes."
"I want you to push the blankets down to your knees," Ray said. "The fire went out while we were gone and it got cold in here. Can you feel it?"
Through his longjohns, cool air teased at him. "Yes."
"You're wearing those longjohns I like," Ray said. "I think you just do that to drive me nuts."
"They're very practical, Ray."
"Hah. You're just all about the tease, Benton Fraser. I know you. Plus, you have a button fetish." Ray's voice lowered. "That's OK, though. So do I." He was silent for a moment, and Fraser let his eyes jerk open, searching the room for him. "Ray--"
"Hey, take it easy," Ray said, "I'm not going anywhere. Close your eyes again, that's it. There you go. Now I want you to undo your top two buttons. Just the top two."
"Put your finger at the base of your neck, where the little dip is," Ray said. "Can you feel your pulse?"
"Yes," Fraser said.
"How does it feel?"
He concentrated on the tip of his forefinger, pushing down a bit on the thin skin in the hollow of his collarbones, feeling the throb of blood. "Fast."
"That's a great spot," Ray said. "I like to kiss you there. Nibble a little, so I see the marks the next day, feel like a vampire. You color up so pretty."
The night before Ray Vecchio's last birthday party, Fraser remembered, Ray had spent quite a while with his face buried in Fraser's neck. He hadn't thought the mark was that noticable, especially hidden beneath the collar of his henley, but he had reckoned without Francesca's sharp eyes. She'd tugged the collar down with a manicured forefinger and raised an eyebrow. "Nice form, Ray," she'd said, and her brother had moaned, "God, I don't wanna know," while Ray had gone bright red at something Stella had said to him and refused to tell Fraser what it had been, though he thought he could probably guess.
"Open some more buttons," Ray said. "Three more. Good. Now stop."
Fraser stilled his hands.
"Hands at your sides," Ray said. "Just lie there for a minute."
Fraser lay still, eyes closed. He was flushed, aroused by Ray's words and his own touch, his body warm except for the wedge of skin from neck to navel where his long underwear were unbuttoned.
"Put your hands at your neck again," Ray said. "And then slide them down, slowly. Slower. That's good."
Fraser's hands felt fiery hot on the chilled skin of his torso; it felt like, if he opened his eyes, he would see stripes of color where his fingers had been.
"You're getting hard, Ben," Ray said. His voice sounded very close. "Do you want to touch yourself?"
"Yes," Fraser said. "Please."
"Then go ahead. Show me."
Fraser flattened his palms against his stomach and stroked down, cupping his erection through the flannel that still covered it. He traced the shape of it through the cloth, feeling it grow more solid beneath his fingers.
Forcing himself to move slowly, Fraser unbuttoned the last few of his buttons and pulled the edges of flannel apart, sucking in a breath as the chilly air met his skin.
He opened his eyes; Ray was staring hungrily at his body. Fluid welled from the tip of his penis, and he wiped it with a finger, hissing as a callous brushed the sensitive head. He lifted his hand to his mouth.
He looked into Ray's eyes as he sucked his fingers into his mouth, wetting them, and then licked his palm in broad stripes before reaching down to grasp his erection in a hot, slick fist. He bit his lip at the feel of it.
"Like that," Ray said. "Like I would."
He pumped himself, like Ray would, slow and hard with a twist at the end, stopping every now and then and pulling his hand away until Ray nodded his permission to resume, the contact seeming doubly sweet. Soon, though, he stopped removing his hand, and although Ray's eyes never left his, Ray seemed to know before he did when he would speed his strokes, patience giving way to urgency. Ray was still watching his face when Fraser's eyes slid shut on the crest of his orgasm.
"Ray," Fraser murmured, and reached out to gather him into his arms. The chill as his hands passed through Ray's body shocked him back into alertness, and he stared at Ray for a moment, wordlessly.
"It's OK," Ray whispered. "Pull the blankets up and go to sleep."
Fraser pulled up the blankets, and rolled onto his stomach, and laid awake watching Ray watch him, until at some point his vision blurred and he knew nothing more until he woke into the heavy dawn.