Express 2.0"> Before Dawn

Disclaimer: Characters belong to Alliance.

Pairing: BF/RK .

Rated: PWP. NC-17 for language and themes

Notes: This is my first foray in DS ficdom, and it was inspired by a couple of serge challenges.

Feedback warning: Comments may be printed out and danced with indecorously, Scrooge McDuck style.

Before Dawn

by Mia

My "You suck, Ray" litany segues into "You clumsy, inconsiderate fuck", as I hear the shift and slide of sheets behind me. I've woken Fraser, and - what with the insane hours the Ice Queen has him working - if there's one thing he doesn't need, it's to be startled awake by apocalyptic crashing noises to rival the A-bomb.

"Ray?" He reaches for my side of the bed, and I'm there, leaning over him almost before he realises I'm not between the sheets. I grab the hand that's reaching for me and hold it. The shadows and moonlight have conspired to smooth away the responsibility which lines Fraser's face during the day. He seems shockingly vulnerable.

There's a hint of panic in his expression, and my heart thumps off beat when I see it. I recognise it. He was dreaming when I woke him, and now, just for a moment, he isn't sure if I'm real, or something his subconscious concocted.

I know all about that kind of doubt. Months after Stella left me, I was still having dreams about her. The works. Full colour, surround sound. Smell, taste, touch intact. I'd wake up reaching for her, and there'd just be me in my empty bed, empty apartment.

For a moment, I can't breathe. The yearning to go back in time and undo every moment of loneliness in Fraser's life is almost overwhelming. I bend down and press a kiss to his forehead. "I'm right here." My voice comes out all rough and tender at the same time, like my vocal cords can't choose between the self-disgusted and concerned signals they're getting. I clear my throat and try again. "S'just me, it's okay."

"Ray, what-?" Fraser's not even trying for the unruffled SuperMountie he likes to show to the rest of the world. His voice is blurred with uncertainty, and his shields are all down. Way, way down. Like no steam ahead, captain. He's trembling at the shock of being woken so abruptly, little rippling tremors that travel all the way to his fingertips, and he's gripping my hand hard enough to hurt.

"Shhh. S'okay babe, s'okay. Just go back to sleep." My throat's still playing adolescent games, so I shut up, and kiss his forehead again, then brush my lips over each eyelid to close them, trying to ease him back to sleep.

He ignores that, of course. There must be a mule somewhere in the Fraser ancestry. A bear too. I'm not exactly Rambo, but I have all the leverage in this position, and he pushes me aside like I'm made of styrofoam. Not roughly, just enough to give him room to sit up. He cocks his head wolf-like. "What was that noise?" There's some of his usual alertness in his tone this time.

"I- the lamp. I just knocked over the lamp. It's okay." I put my hands on his shoulders and gently push him down. After a momentary resistance, I feel him comply, and lie back against the pillows.

"It's okay," I say again. Inane is my middle name. I sit down beside him on the bed, and stroke his shoulder in a way I hope is soothing. "Didn't mean to wake you."

The rise and fall of his chest slows as the adrenaline rush leaves his system. After a few minutes, he stills my hand with his own. His fingertips brush the sleeve of the shirt I'm wearing, and for just a fraction of a second, I feel him freeze. I freeze too.

He folds his hand over my wrist, and his other hand comes up to brush my jaw. He traces my face with his fingertips, like maybe he can read my thoughts by touch.

But he can't, I guess. There's a tug on my hand, and I realise that he's leaning over to switch on the lamp by his side of the bed.

While I'm blinking in the sudden glaring light, he looks me over searchingly. "Ray, is something wrong?"

The last thing I want to do is worry Fraser. "No, no, there's nothing- I just-" I run my free hand through my hair, suddenly embarrassed - about the plan, about messing it up. "I thought I'd get up early, and get you - us, get us - some breakfast. You know. In bed."

"Ray, it's 4:30 in the morning." The words aren't exactly encouraging, but all I can hear is the note of surprised pleasure in his voice. And suddenly, everything's sunshine and greatness. Lamp, what lamp? Finding stuff that makes him happy is turning into a kind of hobby of mine. What turns his crank turns mine.

"Yeah? So?" I try to back up that with my cooler-than-thou, defiant look (tm), but I think the moronic grin's getting in the way. If I looked in the mirror, I'd probably see Adoration spelt out in big, obvious letters all over my face.

I hide my smirk as he does the 'on occasion, you can be very frustrating' eyebrow thing, three quick thumb strokes. "It's very early."

"You leave early."

I watch this sink in. "You planned this?"

"Hey, you know me. Mr Premeditated."

"Mr Premeditated?" he repeats, as if he can't believe those words have just come out of my mouth.

"That's me. Mr Predictable. The man with the plan." I stare at him, daring him to contradict me.

He tries not to, he really does. He hesitates a whole five seconds. But that Mounties never lie thing gets him every time. "Well, to be honest, I've never observed-"

I cut him off with one sharp hand gesture. "Fraser, we can sit here yapping. Or I can get us some breakfast, and then we can fuck."

I wait for the inevitable "Language, Ray." But it never comes. He just looks me for a long, long moment. Long enough for me to realise belatedly that my shut-up gesture was the same one he uses to instruct Dief to stay. Long enough to wonder if I should offer to wash out my mouth all on my own.

Something I can't identify flickers across his face, and is gone. Then his smile curves into something almost predatorial. "I see."

My mouth goes dry. I don't know how he does it, but he can turn on sensuality like flexing a muscle. His eyes are dark and ocean deep, and the air between us seems to scorch and crackle. I'm very, very aware that he's naked and sprawled on his back on my bed, and that I'm wearing way too many clothes to this party.

"So this plan..." I'm not sure if it's just my imagination, but his voice sounds decidedly deeper.

"Yeah?" I'm still attempting nonchalance.

"Do the components have to be in any particular order?"

For a second, I can't speak. I take a deep breath, let it out, breathe in again. Then I make a superhuman effort, and actually manage to answer with a complete sentence. A complete sentence that makes sense. If there's a Nobel Prize for composure, I want it. "I consider myself to be a... flexible person."

Fraser chuckles, a rich, dark sound I can almost touch. He runs a finger up my spine. "I can vouch for that."

I shudder, and his eyes narrow. He traces his finger back down the same path, slowly this time, almost thoughtfully.

Then he sits up again, one smooth movement, panther-light with restrained power. It's blindingly fast and unexpected, and it almost triggers my fight or flight instinct. I have to steady myself against the bedside table.

"So." He lowers his voice confidingly, and leans in, right up close. I can feel his breath puffing softly against my mouth. His fingers start working on the buttons of my shirt, and he slides his tongue slowly over his lower lip. I know it's deliberate, and that thought alone almost makes me come in my pants. As it is, my dick is twitching happily every time he undoes a new button. "So we could, for instance, fuck first?"

I can't make my mouth shape the answer that's screaming through my body. Not sure if I'm more shocked that Fraser's said fuck, or that Fraser's said fuck in *that* tone. He sounds dangerous. Lethal. His eyes are so dark, they're almost black.

I want him so bad I can feel the tug of his body like gravity, but all I can seem to do is stare at him, blinking, like an animal in headlights. The air in my bedroom suddenly seems very low in oxygen. I open my mouth, then shut it again.

"Or perhaps." He finishes with my shirt and presses a chaste kiss to the newly exposed flesh below my throat. Then he leans back comfortably against the bedrest, stretching his long legs out in front of him. "Perhaps we could have pancakes."

I blink, trying to drag my mind out of my pants. I'm almost painfully hard, and seriously wishing I hadn't put on jeans when I'd gotten up. I attempt to frame a question, but my throat still isn't working.

He smiles brilliantly, and answers me, just as if I'd managed to ask. "Pancakes. I fancy pancakes."

"Pancakes?" Not exactly Einstein, but at least this time sound comes out when I move my lips, albeit little huskily.

"With syrup. Something high in energy."

"You're hungry?"

"Mmm hmm."

"For food?" I can't seem to stop asking stupid questions.

"Mmm hmm." Fraser's seriously enjoying himself. He's doing his 'I'm a naive, clean-living Mountie, and I'm going to take every word you say as literally as linguistically possible' thing. It fools just about everyone who meets him, even people who have known him for years. Not me of course. And anyway, the hand sliding teasingly up my thigh is spoiling the act.

"You're *not* hungry, Ray?"

What kind of stupid question is that? "No!"

"You rose early in order not to eat?"

Oh. Well, when he puts it like that, he's got me over the barrel. Love that phrase. It's so... evocative. I flash a grin at him, stun-gun, fuck-me RayK charm blast. "Hey, you know me. Spontaneous. Unpredictable."

"You said you were the man with the plan."

"No I didn't."

He brushes his fingers lightly over the buttons on my jeans, making my breath catch, but he makes no move to open them. "I clearly recall it."

"Well, it's not the kind of plan that's set in stone or anything."

"You said you were Mr Premeditated."

Damn that Mountie memory. "I was exaggerating."


And we are at an impasse.

I can't quite work out how much is tease. It should be obvious - what with size of his hard-on, and his hand on my cock - but I can't stop thinking about how much his face lit up when I said I'd get him breakfast. I want so badly for this thing between us to work. I've never wanted anything so much. Don't really know why, but so far it seems to be working for him. All I have to do is not fuck it up. I want to believe I won't.

He efficiently strips the unbuttoned shirt off my shoulders, and tosses it to the floor. His hand brushes over the front of my pants again, and I press against him instinctively. I think I even whimper because he smiles at me, a small lip curve hot enough to melt my insides. He increases the pressure, and starts to find a rhythm.

It's not enough, not even close to enough, but I grab his wrist to stop him. The loss of sensation is almost unbearable, and I can't suppress a moan. I can feel my hand shaking against his as I fight for control. But I have to ask.

"Do you really want me to get us some food? Cuz I can do that. Get us some food, I mean. Unless you want to fuck now. Because we can do that too. Pancakes, sex, whatever you want." My mind's in my pants and I'm babbling, but I look at him real serious, trying to let him know I mean it. And I do. If he wants pancakes, I'll make him pancakes, blue balls notwithstanding. Whatever it takes.

Fraser opens his mouth a little, like he's going to say something, but he does the eyebrow thumb scrape instead. He's quiet for so long, I start to worry that I've killed the mood by going all literal on him like that.

"What do you want, Frase?" I wince at the husky uncertainty in my tone.

Stella's voice echoes in my head. //You're so goddamn needy, Ray!//

I squeeze my eyes shut. I can't think about this now. I can't, I can't, I can't.

//We can't go on like this. Why are you being so selfish?//


//You're impossible to live with. You don't listen.//


//You'll never succeed in any relationship unless you get it together, Ray. Now, I don't know if you're capable of that. All I know is that I can't wait around anymore until you become capable. I'm not telling you this to hurt you, I'm telling you because you need to recognise it.//

"Ray!" There's a touch on my hand, and my eyes fly open. Fraser's watching me, concern written over his face. "Ray." His voice is perplexed, but very gentle. I get the feeling he's said my name more than once.

I realise that my knees are against my chest. I've hugged myself into a ball. I should straighten up, but I can't seem to move. I'm numb with the knowledge that it's only a matter of time before I fuck it all up. It's the pattern of my life, and I'm too old to learn new habits. I don't know why I thought it could be different this time.

Fraser pushes away from the bedrest. The movement is still smooth, but slow. Like I'm something wild he doesn't want to startle. He does a kind of palm-up 'I'm unarmed' gesture, and slowly lowers his hands to mine. He doesn't take his eyes off my face. I guess he's checking my reactions, making sure I don't bolt.

I don't remember clenching at the sheets, but I must have, because he starts carefully unwrapping my fists from them. He's murmuring very softly, I think it's my name. There's sea-roaring in my ears. All I know is that I've lost it in front of him. His erection has softened.

He finishes untangling my hands, and pushes and tugs, and half-lifts me until I'm lying on my side, and he's lying facing me. He doesn't speak, just wraps one arm around me, pulling me closer against him. He runs his free hand through my hair.

I close my eyes, concentrating on the gentle pressure of Fraser's hands, the clean-sweat smell of his body and the sheer physicality of his nearness. We lie like that for a long time. He seems content to hold me, and I can't think of a way to break the silence.

Finally, I find my voice. "I'm sorry." I swallow. "I should've got the food first, but I broke the lamp, and then you woke up. And then I should've just gone with the flow when you were jerking me off. I just- I don't know what I was-"

"Don't." It's just a whisper. He cradles my cheek, runs his thumb down my jawline. "You don't have to-" He shakes his head. "You don't have to do all of this, you know. Breakfast, rising before dawn. You don't have to do anything. It's enough for me that you're here."

All of a sudden, I want to cry. "I just- I've messed it up before, ya know. I couldn't bear it if-" The sentence sticks in my throat. "I needed to show you. I needed you to know." I'm gutless. I say it through evasion.

He strokes my hair. "I do know, and I-"

I stop him. I know if he says it, I'll break wide open. "I've messed it up before," I say again. I need him to understand how much of a risk I am. How even I can't count on myself, trust myself to make a relationship work.

"As have I." There are tears in his voice. I won't cry, so he's crying for me. He is spare with his demonstrated emotions. His tears unbalance me, and I am forced to listen to him. "But that's not going to happen this time." He sounds fervent, intense, like it's desperately important to him that he persuades me. "Pain doesn't have to give rise to more pain. We can use those experiences constructively."

And I do believe him. Or I want to really, really badly, which might eventually become the same thing.

He's close enough that I can meet his lips just by tilting my head. He tastes like salt and need and himself. I'm hard again, just at that brief taste. I moan into his mouth, and push my cock against his thigh.

He pushes me away, and cups my face, forcing me to look at him.

"I love you," he whispers.

I close my eyes. "Fraser-"

He cuts me off with a short, rough kiss. "Listen to me. I love you. I don't know what makes you think that you have to continually endeavour to re-earn that love, because you don't. And I don't know what makes you think you might inadvertently destroy a romantic union at any moment, when it takes two people to make a relationship, and we have sustained a platonic one for almost two years.

"I love you, and I'm proud to have you as my partner, and my friend, and my lover."

And I am undone. I can feel tears streaking down my face. My jeans are tight and painfully constrictive, but I rock against him desperately. He's growing hard again against my stomach, and when I rock again, he gets harder still.

He makes a small noise at the back of his throat, more growl than moan, and rolls me onto my back. He pushes his tongue into my mouth, licking hard at my teeth, my tongue, the roof of my mouth.

My jeans are unfastened in three economical movements. I sob into his mouth as he spreads the fly and folds his fist around my cock. He answers by slicking his thumb over the head, and I sob again. I pump into his palm once, twice, three times. Then I grab at the sheets, forcing myself to lie still, scrabbling for control. This
isn't what I want.

"Fraser, I need you inside me." My voice is thick with tears, and distorted by need, but he hears me.

A shudder runs through him. "Ray."

I whimper with frustration. The effort of finding the words is almost more than I can stand. "Fraser. I. Need. You. Inside. Me. Please, I need-" My breath catches. "I need-"

His mouth covers mine, swallowing the remaining words. He kisses me reassuringly, soothing my desperation.

He unwraps his fist from my cock, and yanks at my waistband. I wriggle my jeans down past my ass, and Fraser tugs them off the rest of the way. They join the shirt on the floor.

I look up at him, straddling me. He's so beautiful, he seems luminous, even in this semi-darkness. Like some kind of ethereal being. His cock is swollen and glistening. I slide my palm over the underside of it. "Fraser."

He swallows hard and nods. He offers me his hands, and helps me to roll over and crouch on my knees in front of him. His hands move over my back and sides. The steady strokes are belied by the tenseness in his arms, and the speed of his breath.

He reaches for the bedside table. I grab his wrist before he can uncap the bottle.

I hear his breath catch. "Ray, we can't."


"No, we can't. We haven't done it this way frequently enough to try it without lubricant. And as I've already told you, you don't have to prove anything to me." He sounds obstinate, but he's using small words and his voice is shaking, which means he's not operating on all cylinders.

I know it won't take much to drive him over he edge. I spread my thighs, and push my forehead into the pillow. "Can." I need it now. I need it hard. I need it fast. And most of all, I need it with nothing between us.

For a few moments, I can hear him breathing harshly behind me. Then he seems to come to a decision.

He pulls me up so I'm sitting in the cradle of his thighs. His teeth scrape my earlobe. "Masturbate, Ray. Let me see you."

I swallow. I've always thought that word was too formal - if you can't say it dirty, you can't do it well. But then, I've never heard it come out of his mouth before. It takes me a long, excruciating moment to remember how to move my arms. Then I fumble for my cock. I'm shaking and clumsy with arousal. Fraser has to guide my hand.

We're almost the same height, seated like this, but he's broader and heavier. With his legs framing mine, and his arms around me, it's like being cocooned. I feel utterly safe.

He wraps his palm lightly around my fist. I know from his stillness, that he's concentrating. Memorising the way I like it, the way I do it to myself. When I find a rhythm, his hands leave mine to go roaming. He can't seem to decide what to touch first. He cups the sac beneath my fist, circles a nipple, sweeps a palm across my thigh.

I close my eyes, and for an endless time, there's nothing but my hand and Fraser and the cyclic heat and chill of his breath against the back of my neck.

Then he nips hard at my neck, where the hairline starts, and my rhythm falters. I Elvis-thrust into my hand, slamming my ass against his cock on each backstroke.

He moans. I'm so close I'm seeing stars. Around me, his fists clench as he fights to stay in control, and he buries his mouth against my back.

And then I'm there, exploding into my hand. He growls once, harshly into my ear, and drags my arm away almost too soon. He's clinging more precariously to control than I realised. He folds my palm into a loose fist, and thrusts his cock in, coating himself.

Then he pushes me forward onto my knees, and slides into me. My legs feel liquid, but miraculously, I don't collapse. He's too close for it to last long. He thrusts five, six times. Then he cries out, a wild, fierce sound, and he comes inside me.

This morning, I thought there were only two possible paths. In one of them, I would leave him before I ruined everything. I would live out the rest of my life alone, and filled with regret.

In the other, I would make a mistake. I would not see it coming, but it would be inevitable and irrevocable. I would lose Fraser like I lost Stella. I would lose his love. I would hurt him beyond forgiveness, and I would hurt myself beyond repair.

Now I can see another path, cobweb-faint, but possible. Maybe, on this path, I can negotiate the mistakes of the past.

Fraser gathers me into his arms, and pulls the sheets over us. He looks at me questioningly. There are faint, tense lines around his mouth. I reach up to touch his cheek.


I will find the courage and resolution to walk this shimmering path.

His smile spills across his face like sunshine.


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