No Experience Necessary
Warnings (highlight to view): nothing to warn for
due South Flashfiction challenge: packing
"Do not look at me like that."
Fraser started at Ray's brusque command. "Your back is turned. How can you possibly know that I'm looking at you?"
"Because I know, that's how I know. I can feel your eyes stickin' into my neck, right under my skull."
Fraser opened his mouth, then closed it when Ray's words made him contemplate that very spot on his partner's anatomy. The cold weather had caused him to lag behind in his trips to the hairdresser, and wisps of soft, curling hair were presently escaping the gray toque mashed down over his ever-rebellious coiffure.
"Well," Fraser began, and then Ray bent over and every thought in Fraser's head promptly left it. Shamelessly, he watched the play of muscle under the tight jeans as Ray gathered a quantity of wet snow and slapped it onto the amorphous shape in front of him. While it would be better for Ray's heat retention if he wore thermal underwear, Fraser had to admit he wasn't sorry Ray refused to wear them in anything but the most frigid weather.
"Nobody else here has a problem with my snowman, do they?" Ray demanded, casting a glance at the assembled throng.
"Hell no, man," Jamal asserted, calling over the top of his own snowman some feet away.
"Language!" Fraser exclaimed, aware he sounded exactly like his grandmother. Thankfully, none of the children at the South Side Community Centre seemed to mind his priggish manners. They seemed to look upon him with fondness, like a favourite aunt who was prone to fainting spells and other quaint ailments, but still made delicious cookies.
"We love your snowman, Ray," agreed Tylisha, as she shaped the upper body of the snowman on which she and Fraser were currently working.
"That's very kind of you," Fraser said, trying to lead by positive reinforcement.
Tylisha grinned evilly at Ray. "We love it 'cuz it sucks so bad, ain't no way it's gonna beat ours."
"Hey!" Ray yelled, pointing a glove-clad finger at her, "Just because you got Nanook of the North on your team, don't think you've got it made."
Tylisha turned her thousand-watt grin on Fraser, and he resisted the urge to crack his neck. Puberty had struck her with uncommon force, and she had been giving him odd looks since the Hallowe'en party, when he'd worn the pirate costume Ray had--
Fraser cleared his throat, suddenly grateful for his long coat. For Heavens' sake, he was standing in the midst of a dozen children, and he was thinking about--
"I merely wanted to point out," Fraser said, turning to Ray after sparing Tylisha a small smile, "that you may be a little less experienced in packing snow than I."
"Oh, I done lots of packing in my time, Frase," Ray assured him, waggling his eyebrows.
Fraser was glad his cheeks were already ruddy from the cold. "How many igloos have you built?" he persisted.
Ray folded his arms. "How many snowmen have you built?"
"Well," Fraser murmured, suddenly feeling strangely hollow. "This would be--my first."
"Hey, Sherelle," Tylisha called to the girl working with Jamal. "I'm Fraser's first!"
"Guess I fucked up, huh? Sorry."
Ray's soft statement was a bit of a non sequitur as they sat together some hours later on Ray's couch, the ruins of a Chinese take-out supper lying on the kitchen counter. Nevertheless, Fraser knew exactly what he was talking about.
"It wasn't your fault. Tylisha is--high-spirited."
"She wants to jump your bones," Ray growled. "But that's not what I meant."
"I know," Fraser murmured, looking at his hands where they lay in his lap.
Ray's long fingers began stroking through Fraser's hair. "You had a pretty shitty childhood, didn't you?"
"They never let you be a kid." Fraser was surprised at the edge of anger in Ray's tone.
"My grandparents weren't prepared to raise another child," he said flatly, wishing that Ray would drop the topic entirely.
"Don't make excuses for them, dammit," Ray gritted, and Fraser turned to look at him.
"Why are you so upset about this?"
"I'm not..." Ray trailed off, then ran a hand through his own unruly hair. "Yeah, I am. I dunno. I suppose I should be grateful, right? Because they helped to make you--you. But something about that really pissed me off. All that snow, and not one lousy snowman. It just seemed--like a crime." Ray's mouth snapped shut abruptly and he darted a glance at Fraser, as though he regretted saying so much, revealing his thoughts.
Fraser understood that feeling perfectly.
His mouth quirked at Ray's sheepish expression. "And you are a crime fighter," he said huskily.
Ray stared at him for a moment, then lapsed into the slow, sexy smile that always turned Fraser's knees to jelly. "Bona fide," he murmured. "I got a badge and everything." He leaned toward Fraser, and angled his head to brush his mouth against the other man's. Fraser brought his hand up to caress the stubbled jaw as he deepened the kiss.
Ray's honesty seemed to demand reciprocation, so when they broke apart, Fraser whispered, "I like that you get--enraged--on my behalf."
"And jealous of a twelve-year-old," Ray murmured, nuzzling Fraser's earlobe, then worrying it with his teeth. "Don't forget that."
Fraser drew back. "Really?"
Ray's eyes sparked with mischief. "Hell, yeah. Tylisha's a little firecracker. When she said she'd help you with your snowman, I wanted to challenge her to a snowball fight."
Fraser grinned stupidly, fully aware he was doing so. "What stopped you?"
"She would've whupped my ass. And then you would've been eating Chinese with her."
"I doubt it."
Ray raised his eyebrows. "You ever been in a snowball fight?"
Fraser flushed, then shook his head.
"Okay, then. Next week, we challenge the kids to one. But I'm pickin' the teams this time."
"How about--the two of us against all of them?"
Ray's grin combined affection and carnality in one neatly wrapped package. "Sounds about right," he said, closing the distance between them once more.
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