Window to the Soul

This was written for skaterg8r in the grand icon prompt meme. There are references to Asylum and the whole thing is set post Mountie on the Bounty.

Ray wasn't sure what he was doing in the Consulate so late at night. Got in with the help of a long expired Amex, one of the presents from his and Stella's divorce, slid it under the catch and he was home free. Well, Ben's home free. Ray wondered sometimes why Ben hadn't tracked down a new place of his own yet, but he guessed it made the commute easier at least, and it wasn't as if it was some "only here 'til I'm gone" signal no more, since Fraser hadn't taken the transfer.

No, he hadn't taken the transfer; he's taken Ray's heart instead, and probably didn't even know that he'd got it. That was why Ray had kissed that perky little Mountie girl on the boat; he had to be sure that it was gone, washed away with air beneath the water, when everything suddenly clicked into place. That kiss: that was life from heaven, that felt like what Ray thought being fucking born felt like, dragged out into the air and sun; the kiss with Mountie girl: that was like his last kiss with Stella or with his crypto-sister Frannie, that was two people brushing their lips together, gently trying not to catch hers on the salt chapping on his own.

And now, he was here. And it felt like home, not an unknown country. Sure, he'd found out the layout during the Volpe business, but it had just felt like an over large over weird hotel. Or maybe a church. A church dedicated to the worship of Mother Canada and her holy curling kettles, and may sinners be struck with otter.

And creeping around in the dark in your own home isn't bad, it's practically normal...

Nothing normal about this. Nothing normal about drinking dutch and then setting out to wake Ben up and tell him. Wake him up, because Fraser is a good little Mountie, Ray has no doubt about that, it's going to take Ray to make him a bad little Mountie, and Ray can already imagine that dark head between his thighs sucking and licking and then, with Ray's breath hitching as he realises what comes next, the head dips further downward and those tough explorer's hands hold the cheeks apart as Fraser launches himself into the unknown, with that go-anywhere tongue of his lapping rhythmically, keeping even as Ray's breathing breaks and goes short and random and stops.

And Ray has to stop there, and look at one of the posters of the Ontario experience, count all the people, breathe in and out to each number. Coming in your pants does not an impressive courtship make.

Unless you're a monkey. Ray likes wildlife documentaries. He wouldn't mind the Inuit stories if they were more about you know, actual Caribou and Musk-Ox, rather than sounding like refrigerated Brer Rabbit.

It's then, with his breath almost under control but his heart still hammering at his chest saying, let me out wanna talk to Ben, that he notices there's a light on down the corridor.

Down Ben's corridor, clearly Fraser's up late darning his socks or something. Ray knows he's going to teach Fraser better uses for late nights. Better than socks. Maybe he should try that one on Fraser, somewhere under the whole Mountie-act, there's guy with a sense of humour and he giggles!

Ray creeps through the Consular kitchen with all its sinister silver appliances. Ray doesn't like it much, it reminds him of the morgue and opera and gross stuff. Like Fraser punching a dead man so as he can smell his breath, and Mort who doesn't just play with the outsides but looks on the insides and it wouldn't be so bad if Fraser didn't help him out and look so very interested, 'cause then Ray would be able to vamoose and he'd never have started feeling nervous about his mom's bigos in the first place. As far as Ray's concerned, there are things a guy's not meant to know, and what his liver looks like after a night on the town is one thing, and what the spleen's meant to do is another.

Of course, he'll have to turn down the booze some once he's got Fraser clued in the program, because it's weird, but the one thing the guy doesn't like on his lips is beer. Chewing gum, other people's chewing gum, fine; stuff under fingernails, greatness; booze, you've got to be kidding him. And Ray's gotta quit because he knows he's going to be doing things with that mouth.

Things he couldn't do with Mountie-girl, not do right.

It was then that Ray noticed that there were noises, and they weren't him. He was tiptoe-ing through the tulips big industrial mixing type things through to Fraser's office; he was doing so very quietly. He didn't want to give Fraser time to run, sure, Fraser might not exactly like what he had to say, but he wanted at least to say it. And once Fraser started running, there was no way on earth Ray would catch him, because Fraser had stamina and healthy lungs from all that clean Northern air. And Ray needed to quit thinking of uses for stamina and excess lung capacity right now.

And there was a soft sound, too much passion, too much investment for this to be an "ah" or an "eh", but that's what it sounded like. Maybe Fraser had sore muscles from chasing down the marmoset abductor today, now that guy was one unusually fit perp. Maybe he could make the jail track team. Or maybe Fraser's hands were doing what Ray's hands wanted to do and wrapping around warm hard Mountie flesh and pulling heat from Fraser's bones and all those dictionary words of Fraser's would be gone from Fraser's head and spilling over his fist until he licked them away.

The door wasn't quite closed and light was spilling out and Ray stepped into the light, he'd just wait a moment and then he'd go in, fully relaxed and everything, he'd just wait for Fraser to finish, then sneak back out into the corridor and come in more noisily.

It wasn't as if Ray had any plans in the Fraser-orgasm-deprivation sphere.


Ray wasn't expecting this.

It was as if the world was shattering to glass to the rhythm of Fraser's head as it bobbed between a pair of muscular thighs. Ray couldn't see whose they were, he was at the wrong angle, but whoever was sitting on the edge of Fraser's desk, the one they'd been eating pastrami on rye at this morning. Ray didn't want to see.

Ray wanted to run away and hide under the queen's bed and hope this was all some nightmare brought on by excessive consumption of pizza over a long protracted period.

Ray didn't want to be here at all. Ray didn't want to see this, as Fraser began to fuck his face hard upon that real lucky cock.

Not his cock.

And the wet sounds, the broken Canadian sounds got faster and more desperate, and Ray knew he shouldn't be here. Ray had known since he'd broken in, what had he been thinking - I love you therefore I case your joint?

But every time he tried to tear his eyes away and head back out, quietly because he didn't want Fraser to know what a psycho stalker he was, though he knew already, knew the way Ray wouldn't stop following Stella and her scumbbag suitors. He didn't want Fraser to know what a sad case he was. The last thing on earth he wanted was Fraser's pity.

Fraser was holding mister mystery thighs to the desk hard, but he was still straining upwards still trying to loose control and fuck Fraser's face, not that Fraser wasn't doing a fine job of that himself, and then Ray noticed Fraser's cheeks suddenly go hollow and his hands briefly release to let him buck up with a scream.

Ray wasn't even noticing the hand snaking down and fondling the buttons on his jeans.

He was too busy watching Fraser's back, Fraser's still-serge-covered back as his spine moved and twisted the fabric as he rode it out and swallowed it down.

Ray couldn't see much of the guy, so if he ignored the beefier thighs, he could imagine it to be him, and god, that was so hot, he could see how Fraser did it.

If Fraser didn't want him, at least he'd have something of Fraser to keep him warm at night. Something for what ails him that won't perforate his liver like a kid making punch paper snowflakes. He wouldn't have to put up with Fraser's pity because Fraser would never know, but he'd have something to hold beside him like a comforter while curled up in bed. Or sitting in front of the curling listening to the vowels and imagining them as Fraser's vowels.

And then the light's blocked out for a moment as all he can see is the lucky bastard's back as Fraser manoeuvres him off the desk. He can see Fraser's fingers digging into the flesh of that muscular arm so hard that it turns white. He didn't have Fraser pegged like that, but it's beginning to turn his crank.

He holds his hand closer against his fly. Don't worry, dick, Uncle Ray will take you out once we're home and dry. Or wet, maybe the shower, with his eyes closed.

And with that, Ray's eyes close for a moment, only to open again with the pop of a cap. Fuuuuck...

Now he wanted this, he wanted this, but he can't have it, and Fraser's slick hand is ghosting between those cheeks. Christ, this guy is ripped, it all seems strangely familiar, but that doesn't mean anything really. Ray used to box, he used to be around ripped guys with too few clothes real often and then there was the undercover with the Hawkeyes, now the guy with the gum? He was ripped too. Made Ray wonder about steroids, but this guy seems just about balanced and that arm he saw: guy does a lot of heavy lifting, that's it.

Maybe the guy's just some stray Canadian immigrant construction worker here to do a little Consulate remodelling, and then he'll be gone, and Fraser will be sad, and hello, here's Ray and his confusion of love.

And then there's the voice, and that ruins everything, it's high and piping and full of enthusiasm, but then it's that when there's curling in the offing, or dusting. "Benton, while I appreciate that no end," and yeah, Turnbull's appreciating fine, rolling those hips out so that those fingers can get in nice and close and hard, "some warning might be appreciated, it's a little," a tiny pause-wince and Ray's glad, "cold, and while I appreciate your attentions and esteem, some communication would be advantageous. I didn't mean to tell you now, and distract you or anything, but then there was this juncture, and as father used to say, you just carpe the diem."

That's the longest thing that Ray's ever heard out of the guy that doesn't involve curling or Canada in any way, and it's because the slick stuff's cold? Today's carnal fucking was presented to you today by the letter c and the number 2... It would be fucking funny if Ray wasn't watching Fraser get it on with Turnbull and get ready to fuck the guy up the ass.


Ray so should have left when he got the chance.

And then there's Fraser's voice and it's way too calm for somebody about to get their rocks off. Really calm, and balanced, and while Ray normally likes Fraser's voice, even when it's all modulated and monotone, the guy should be gasping, that's what he does when Ray fucks him.

Inside Ray's head, which is inside Ray's bedroom, listening to the sound of the teevee come shutdown. Except right now, Ray's head is in Consulate, and it's been watching Fraser give head and now he's gonna fuck and this so should make him go limp, but no, he's sporting wood like the Canadian Logging Corporation or something.

And he's just listening to Fraser's flat vowels.

"Renfield, I've told you before, I start telling you what to do and it feels like orders" and there's a pause as the tone shifts from resigned repetition to a strange kind of broken, and for the first time Ray feels kind of dirty, a bit of a card (good Fraser word) for being here, and listening in, "It sounds too much like we're working together, and while we, ah, work well together, it remains that I am your immediate superior and," there's a bigger pause, Ray already knows Fraser has a hard time talking about feelings, but he thought that would stop the moment he declared himself, that suddenly it would be Consulates with white picket fences and sunshine, "it feels wrong, because, we're not like that here," another pause, searching for words in the dictionary brain, "because we're equals, we're a sort of partnership, and we aren't doing anything out of duty and obligation. And if it makes you happier, I'm going to insert a finger now."

And there's a groan and Turnbull's canting himself back onto that finger, and Ray realises that the speech felt odd because Fraser's still wearing the serge, and then there's another long needy groan as Fraser withdraws. A Fraserish hand pats a shoulder, pulls in close, and Ray can barely hear the whispered "wait".

Fuck, who knew they taught speed stripping at Mountie-school? It took him forever to get the damn thing on during the Volpe case, even when he had eager-beaver Turnbull doing all the hooks and eyes for him. Yeah, Turnbull’s eager all right, wiggling his ass, reminding Ben, Benton, Fraser that soon would be nice, and isn’t this one hook and eye fastening to get excited about? And yeah, Turnbull’s ass is wriggling, not quite like he was trying to get into some of those painted on Canadian issue jeans, his legs apart not together, so far apart.

And then, Ray can’t see his ass, because it’s being blocked out by Fraser, easing himself in, and there are sharp gulped sounds from Turnbull. And they’re nothing like the sharp sounds Turnbull makes when he breaks the Ming vases, or when the curling bonbon goes terribly wrong. They aren’t wrong gulps, they’re wrong-right gulps, they’re wr-ight gulps, and then they change into the very good type of gulp, the sort of gulp that means that Fraser’s found it and a thousand happy Mounties are dancing before Turnbull’s eyes.

And Fraser’s speeding up, it’s hard, it’s almost brutal and Ray’s mind just keeps screaming. But there isn’t a sound from his lips as his hand presses harder against the crotch of his jeans, the zipper’s digging in, but it’s good, because it’s all that’s keeping him from losing it.

That and that this was never meant to be like this.

Fraser’s slamming into Turnbull harder and harder, and Ray’s beginning to wonder if Turnbull got those biceps curling after all. And it isn’t meant to be like this, Fraser was meant to be coiled up in the bed sheets, tangling against his legs, as he licks Ray almost to orgasm and back again. And Turnbull’s making half-strangled mewling sounds as Fraser grunts and pounds harder. Fraser was meant to make love to Ray on those sheets he bought after Stella left him, the ones with purple zigzags, and enter him slowly and gently and talking to him in that sweet monotone.

Back in reality, Fraser’s rhythm is beginning to break, and his movements are becoming wilder, and his head throws itself back, and Ray swears that was a growl. And in Ray’s bed, Fraser’s perfectly in control, perfectly considerate, and slowly sweetly bringing Ray to orgasm. Turnbull was gone before Fraser even started this leg of the ride. And Fraser’s arms are hooked under Turnbull’s shoulders, holding him firm; they’re not snaking down between them as Ray looks into his eyes, and holding him, stroking him in counterpoint to the rhythm of his dick stroking Ray inside.

And Fraser’s back is trembling, his rhythm’s gone, and those arms tighten, not to keep Turnbull still, but to keep Fraser upright, to keep Fraser from falling.

Fraser the angel falling from Ray’s mind.

Fraser falling into the throes of orgasm.

Fraser falling away from the achievable to go reside with Stella just out of Ray’s reach.

And he’s shaking, and Fraser is shaking and Turnbull is shaking.

And Ray’s wondering when it happened, and he can half way see it, Fraser wining less and less about Turnbull’s infuriatingness and then, trusting Turnbull with Ray…

And now he’s thrusting Turnbull, trusting Turnbull. And it isn’t anything like the Benton-buddy he knows…

And someone is screaming, and it isn’t until Fraser and Turnbull pull themselves apart, and Fraser opens the door, and he almost falls inside that he realises it’s him.

And the only rational part of his brain just keeps repeating that it ain’t greatness, ain’t greatness and then tells itself to shut the fuck up ‘cause it wasn’t greatness, ever, not since he found Fraser getting hot and sweaty with somebody, who really isn’t him, except in those sort of pubescent Charles Atlas fuelled dreams he had after he met Stella, after he “met” Ellery, after he’d met Steve Bueller in seventh grade and got his head handed to him…

And then, it does. It shuts the fuck up and there’s nothing in his head except the scream.

And cold. He feels so very cold, and that shouldn’t be right, and it’s crazy because he’s got all this clothes on, and Fraser’s naked, and he’s holding him there, with his slightly wilting condom-covered dick just there, like it’s Dief trying to look inconspicuous, while Fraser holds him there and just starts repeating his name like some weird mantis – manticore - mantra.

And Fraser’s holding him, while his dick slowly wilts a bit, but not entirely, and…

Everything’s still wrong.

Ray wants to wonder when it stopped being right. But Ray has left the building, the wheel’s going ‘round, but Vecchio’s drowned the hamster.

You find out such weird shit researching undercover.

Nothing as weird as this.

His partner stroke best friend stroke masturbatory fantasy object has been, unbeknownst (who uses a word like that? See, he does spend too much time with Fraser, almost every waking moment, though clearly Fraser doesn’t spend the same, or he’d never have time to fuck Turnbull like he was a ten-dollar hooker) to him, been fucking his subordinate fellow Canadian like he was a ten-dollar hooker.

If Ray repeats it enough, it might just sink in, maybe; like the Henry Allen sinks. Hopefully.

And he thought the Henry Allen was the end of the world, with air burning in his lungs and the water pushing up his nose and round his eyeballs as he thrashed like a landed fish, only different. It wasn’t.

He didn’t think the world would end, final trumpet and all, with him in Fraser’s arms.

With him in a very naked Fraser’s arms.

And he sure as fuck wouldn’t expect Turnbull looking at him with a look which might be concern, or might just be that usual glazed out look, the one he wore when he broke vases.

And Ray was one heck of a broken vase, and he wondered if he’d chimed “ming” as he hit the floor.

And then, everything else breaks to match, and for some reason Ray doesn’t know and doesn’t get, it really doesn’t make everything any flavour of okay.

“Benton, he’s hyperventilating. Oh dear, he must have had an awful shock. And while I normally praise the restorative value of a little Darjeeling, I really don’t think it’s going to help. Please, Detective Kowalski, listen to Constable Fraser and calm down, this is how it normally works, isn’t it? Oh lord, I’m so very afraid.”

Normal should never figure into anything, in Ray’s book. Stella wanting normal was the beginning of the end for them, Stella wanted him to be a normal husband, doing normal jobs, normally mowing the normal lawn behind the normal picket-fencing. Only, Ray would have coped if it was picket, instead all Stella’s normal lawyer friends were talking about gated communities and if you stayed in the city, normal concierge service. And now normal Turnbull’s talking about normal calming normal effect of normal Fraser, who’s just been fucking him in a totally normal matter, like normality.

And then Fraser gets in with the normal, and Ray starts wishing for the weird, “Ray, please, modulate your breathing, imagine that you’re breathing in and out of a paper bag, imagine that you’re relaxing on a snow-covered plain…” Fraser seems to remember something, “like you’re on a sun-drenched beach,” pause, and some little sane thing in Ray’s skull is telling him that this isn’t Fraser’s calming mental fantasy, it’s his, and Fraser’s having a tough time doing it, because it’s so fucking abnormal to him, “and you can hear the waves lapping on the shore…”

“And the sound of the Miama all-women beach volleyball team practicing further along the strand,” an interruption: Turnbull, who at least seems more clued on normal fantasies.

Except Ray’s fantasies aren’t like that, and he can’t stop shuddering to say, his fantasies aren’t like that, not the sound of waves, but the sound of wolves and the northern lights above him, he’s seen pictures in the Consulate leaflets, and they say they move around and crackle, which is like the second most fantasticest thing in this fantasy.

The first most fantasticest thing is currently holding him in his arms, and everything’s wrong wrong wrongitty wrong macwrong.

And still Ray finds himself relaxing into his arms and his breath and everything dissolves into weird sob things, and the last time he heard weird sob things, they were coming from his old buddy Vitello’s chest after the Zuko gig had gone wrong, and the blood was bubbling out his chest, out his mouth and all over Ray. And Ray had felt cold, and kind of far away.

It was like this.

It was nothing like this.

It was everything and nothing like this.

And then he’s breathing again.

And Fraser just cracks out that super-special the-queen-is-coming-to-visit-and-Canada’s-won-the-curling-the-hockey-and-every-other-sport smile. He doesn’t look like a guy who’s pissed because…

Like, because… because he’s just been interrupted from fucking his boyfriend stroke fuckbuddy stroke insubordinate officer and his dick’s sitting there, well more kind of poking out there, still with the icky condom on, and he has got to have worked out that Ray was getting his own private porn movie after breaking and entering his abode…

And Fraser’s not angry. Neither’s Turnbull. They actual look kind of happy. Smiley.

And his heart starts speeding up again.

And yeah, Fraser’s still there, holding him in a weird Fraser-hug, you know, the one where he grabs your biceps and still holds away from you (which is how Ray could see that Fraser’s dick was still hard and throbbing under the condom) and yet, it feels more intimate than most hugs Ray gets. Though most hugs Ray gets tend to be of the Frannie “thanks, bro” kind, or of the Stella kind, which just suck his brain out and stick his heart in the freezer, or the kind he gets from girls who think he’s a great friend and all, but they wouldn’t date him…

Probably, it’s different, ‘cause Ray always knows Benton means it. And it’s then that he realises that he’s still hard too…

And then, he notices that Turnbull’s gone, but he can’t pull his eyes away from Fraser’s ‘cause it’s like they’re burrowing into him, but not in a bad way, there’s something good, they’re not taking away, they’re giving him something good.

And yeah, that feels something good, and Ray realises that something good is something like love, just as he realises that Turnbull’s been undoing the button on his jeans and unzipping him, and pulling him out, and he knows it’s Turnbull, ‘cause Fraser’s hands are still holding him.

And Ray looks down, and is now very glad he’s being held, because Turnbull, who come on, has to have a better name than Renfield tucked away somewhere, maybe bad first names are RCMP issue or something, he’s looking straight up at him.

He’s got those shining eyes, the same ones that Ray saw when he talked about curling or the Queen; but this time, he knows he isn’t going to get punched out, just as his hand, such a fucking big hand, closes ‘round the base of his dick, and still looking up, like he’s the Queen or the God of the Mounties or the Living Embodiment of Sex, he opens his mouth and he’s hot and moist and barely there on the tip.

And Ray wants more, wants, wants, wants more. And if Fraser wasn’t holding him there he’d be thrusting.

And then Ray slips down, gets pulled, pushed, enticed, never moves at all down Turnbull’s throat and if Fraser wasn’t holding him, he’d be falling.

Ray just wants to close his eyes a moment, which is weird considering he’s been getting his watching stuff long before he came to the Consulate, like since twelfth grade, when Ronnie Malkovitch came in and hijacked the television room at school with a copy of something sweaty and in German.

But this is too much, ‘cause they’re looking at him like he’s the second coming, and maybe, for Turnbull, he really is, ‘cause he’s possibly even more into sucking Ray’s cock than Ray is, ‘cause Ray’s still wondering when the dream will end, and get quietly shelved in his personal library of jerk-off fantasies, all with wipe-clean covers and really nice big letters so he doesn’t have to wear the glasses of dorky death.

So he closes his eyes, and it really feels like he’s falling.

He’s in Turnbull’s mouth, Turnbull’s throat and everything is warm and dark and moist and womb-like, ‘cept not, and it’s pulsing around him, and he can hear his blood in his ears, or is it Turnbull’s, Ray doesn’t know, and he’s falling, and he doesn’t want this to end, doesn’t want to have to come out into the world, which is cold and bright, he wants this, this juncture, this connection to stay forever.

Keep away the midwife of reality with the scissors.

And he hears the faintest of noises behind him, something hitting Fraser’s perfectly aligned trash can, and then he’s falling for real.

‘Cause Fraser isn’t holding him no more.

Fraser isn’t holding him any more, and that’s what scares him way more than that he almost falls on top of Canada’s Olympic Cocksucking Champion, ‘cause Turnbull’s a Mountie, he’s indestructible. It’s the space where Fraser isn’t. Just like back on the Henry Allen, when he couldn’t decide whether the water or No Fraser was worse, and they both made him scream, and time ran slow there just as it is here…

And Ray knows, really, that he’s barely begun to fall.

And that’s when Ben catches him, because he’s Ray’s partner, buddy, everything in one handy serge-covered package.

He’s holding Ray’s arms and whispering into Ray’s neck, like he’s a shy horse, who frights at being saddled, at being rode. And Ray just thrusts his ass back, like millimetres, but millimetres too much for Turnbull, who’s really a Renfield, even to Ben, and Ray needs to try, so it’s Renfield that makes that needy moan and grabs his butt and pulls him back into that hot warm mouth.

And Fraser’s hands start sliding down his arms like they’re on rails or something, perfectly synchronised, symmetrical, sinful and other sin-words, and Ray trembles slightly, he knows where this is going, where they’re going now.

He has no idea where they’re going tomorrow, but this is now, and now is god.

He never realised that with Stella, she lived in now, while he lived in the past with comfortable dreams and infatuations, and dressed like he did before he even hit Academy, and he never noticed how they were drifting in different directions like ships in the night blasting their fog horns at each other, going from loud to distant in half the time than if they were standing still…

And right now, he wants to thrust back, where Ben’s licking him with his tongue, but can’t because right now, Renfield’s hands are holding him firmly in that warm wet mouth, and right now, he’s wondering why he isn’t coming right now…

And he doesn’t know where Fraser’s hands are, but he does, he knows what they’re doing, ‘cause he’s a cop and he actually does detective work; and then he knows because there’s one slick finger easing in like butter, not that Ray’s ever done anything with butter, ‘cause it would go all rancid and leave grease stains in his boxers…

And right now, he opens like a flower, well, a real weird flower, and right now, he doesn’t tell Fraser how he’s had a little assistance with his daydreaming and that assistance is lying hard and half-warm in the dresser draw back at his place; he doesn’t tell, because he doesn’t even think it. It isn’t now.

Now is when Fraser slips in like a diver entering the water from fifty feet, a hundred times more gracefully than a Chicago flatfoot and a Mountie leaping off the Canada Mill warehouse.

Now is Ben and Renfield fighting over him, trying to pull him this way and that, and who thought tug-of-war could be so damn hot. Well, besides all those buff guys slipping sliding in the mud, but they’re not here, not now, not the ones with hands, mouths, everything on him, with him still trapped in his shirt and his half-mast jeans. He wouldn’t be able to stand if they weren’t here, but he trusts them to hold him up and let him fall.

Now is Ben’s fingers slipping into his mouth, allowing some gratifying movement at last, only for Ray to come like a rocket and get tangled in a now with white spots and infinitely exploding stars.

It’s like he’s quit falling and starts flying, looking down on them all like some strange angel, and for a moment he thinks he sees three Mounties, not two, the other all dressed up with no place to go, but then he’s gone, and now they’re three men, three hot sweaty mussed men, and it looks like Renfield’s come as well, but he won’t come up to the ceiling with Ray, but it’s okay, ‘cause now…

Now… he’s back on the ground, and Fraser’s still holding him up, and whispering Eskimo-speak into his shoulder-bone like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and maybe it is, now. Fraser’s pulled back his collar a bit, so he can get at some skin, as yet untouched, and he’s writing the words on it with his breath.

And Ray looks down. And this is now, and Renfield’s looking up at him, and now the kid looks suddenly unsure, lost in a crowd.

And Ray opens his mouth, and lets the little breath he has left out to socialise and stuff, “Hi, I’m Ray.”

And the kid smiles, “I know, I’m Renfield.”

And that smile is like heaven, like sunshine; no, like this, this thing, but making it all a hundred times better, because it led Ray beyond the now, and into the light of the now-yet-to-come.

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