Oh, The Places You'll Go

Trample Down Barbed Wire

Notes: Did I mention lately that I love the Rays? I do, I really do. The curve of Vecchio's neck and his ridiculously fierce loyalty. Kowalski's beautiful hands and inability to sit still. *happy sigh* So I wrote them this fic and sageness added her awesome beta touch.

Ray doesn't do well in confined spaces for long periods of time. Even confined spaces that contain an up-close-and-personal Mountie and a Lake view. Even those that hum with the grace of an angel and have brakes and doors for escaping into the open air. Any other year they'd've made the trip south in a plane &151; not so easy to escape but way shorter &151; but the new Superintendent is trying to impress the Mayor and so there are cutbacks and god-awful never-ending road trips just to interrogate some guy who is going to say two whole words the whole time. 'No' and 'comment'. Fun, fun, fun till the Commander took the single-room allowance away.

Outside the window there's straight, empty highway and fields and fields of tiny green shoots, the sun still struggling to coax them out of the ground. It's as monotonous as the yearly lecture on stationery requisition, even the semi-regular billboards are an exercise in mind-numbing repetition &151; one shopping center is much like another when you don't give a flying fuck about farm-fresh. Ray taps his fingers on the window with a rhythmless beat to stop him hitting his head off of it from sheer boredom. Even the drumming of his fingertips sounds dull, the occasional click as his nails catch the glass the only spark of difference. The only thing that reminds Ray that there is more than this, thank the little baby Jesus.

"Will you quit it?" yells Vecchio, an arm suddenly lunging across Ray's vision as Vecchio tries to reach the offending hand. The car swerves and the arm is gone.

Surprised, Ray stops short. "God, Vecchio, take a pill or something, I'm tapping my fingers, not threatening to murder your entire family."

"You've been doing that for an hour," says Vecchio through gritted teeth. "If I could break your fucking fingers right now, I'd do it."

Oh, thinks Ray. He had no idea he'd been at it that long. Still, the principle of the thing stands. "Yeah? Well I got a problem with the Italian lounge crap you've been singing for the last three million miles and I don't get to rip out your larynx so I guess that makes us even. What even happened to the compromise classic rock station?"

"I'm driving, my rules."

Ray glances over at Vecchio and his face is set in a hard line. He's tempted to push it, just to alleviate the boredom, but something's been eating Vecchio since their last stop at Bud's Pick-Your-(Food)-Poison a few hours earlier and Ray can see he's on the edge of losing it. He doesn't want to end up dismembered and buried in some random cornfield in the middle of Nowheresville &151; or, you know, be made to ride in back. He settles on maintaining a dignified silence, but as Vecchio doesn't so much as flick a glance his way he decides the dignified bit is pretty much wasted effort. He slumps in his seat and sees how many he can count to before he spots the next flag. Ray's not sure that a scarecrow is patriotic, but the farmer back up the road a few dozen miles seemed to think so.

It's not long before he's jiggling in his seat again, regretting the last soda. A sign at the roadside tells him relief is near at hand. He jiggles more and looks at Vecchio, but the man doesn't seem set to take a hint. He's gonna have to talk.

"I have to take a piss," he says, trying not to sound like a sullen teenager.

"You want me to pull over?" Vecchio spares him a glance.

"Nah, you're good. There's a rest stop in about five miles, we passed a sign a way back." He jabs two fingers rearward.

"Yeah, you'll be disappointed," snorts Vecchio, eyes snapping back front and center like they're on elastic or something.

Those are some serious ants Vecchio has in his pants. "What's that supposed to mean?"

"We're in the middle of nowhere, Stanley. You're not gonna find an anonymous blowjob in the restroom here. Communicable diseases, sure, but you probably already got a full complement."

Ray's head whips around. His brain is having trouble keeping up with his ears. "What the fuck, Vecchio?"

Vecchio's knuckles whiten on the wheel; Ray thinks if he grips it any harder it's going to shatter impossibly in his hands. He flashes on blood streaming, screeching tires, bodies thrown sideways. He blinks it away.

"I'm not dumb," Vecchio says and Ray goes cold.

This is not how he'd wanted this to go down. He knows better than to expect a hardball cop like Vecchio to embrace Ray's queerness with open arms (or open pants, either would do) no matter how much he wants it but he'd hoped to avoid the whole gay-bashing, 'you are dead to me' homophobia thing. He's so done with that. A little peace, that's all he wants. A little peace and the occasional fuck from an uncaring stranger. Oh, and the Bears to win the Super Bowl. It's not too much to ask, is it?

"Look," he says, all calm and nonchalant like he has this conversation every day, "It's my business, yeah?"

Vecchio shrugs. "Whatever, Kowalski. You want a piss, I'll pull over. You want a quick screw in a dirty bathroom wait till you can lure some pretty boy back to your pit of an apartment."

That's it, thinks Ray, anger knotting his stomach. You try to play nice ... "Pull over," he says and there's no way Vecchio can miss the ice in his voice.

Without a word, Vecchio indicates to the exactly no cars that he's pulling over and they glide to a halt, barely stirring up the dust that lines the road. Ray clenches his fists, digging his fingernails into his palms.

"Get out."

Vecchio doesn't take his hands off the steering wheel, keeps the car idling in first. "Why?"

"So I can punch you in the face."

"Yeah, no, I don't think so," says Vecchio, and his voice is laden with so much scorn Ray wonders how he can't hear the thud as the words hit the floor.

"Seriously," says Ray, and it feels like he's pushing his own words up a hill, "it's none of your business what I do with who."

"With whom."

"Swear to God!" Ray feints a lunge at Vecchio and is weirdly satisfied to see him flinch a little before the impassive look comes back down over his face. Suddenly it's too much to be in the car any longer, it's too small, too stuffy, Ray can't catch his breath and he flings open the door, kicking the dirt into small clouds, heading for the wide open space of the cornfield. There's barbed wire between him and it but his jeans' better days are way back in the Clinton administration, so he takes his chances and scrambles over.

He walks for a few minutes, trying to clear his head. There are rules about him kicking Vecchio's head in. He's pretty sure they come down on the side of not, which sucks. They're going to have to get past this somehow, they're partners and they work good together. He stops. They did work good together. Crap. Ray's bladder makes its presence felt and he doesn't care that the baby corn is only nibbling at his ankles because the cola wants out and he can't argue with that attitude. He unzips, the relief almost orgasmic. Ray relaxes and it's like he's pissing the anger away because by the time he tucks himself back in he's feeling tired and washed out and, if he was five, right now is when he'd want his mom because back then he knew for sure that she could fix everything. No one fixes stuff for him now except himself, and most days he's not too great at it.

He takes a deep breath and turns to head back to the Riv.

Vecchio's leaning against it, an almost-silhouette in his dark turtleneck and slacks, not exactly looking in Ray's direction, but not exactly not. It's hard to see his face from this distance, and Ray hasn't got his glasses on anyway, but he can read Vecchio's body like Ray's well-worn copy of Dark Knight Returns. He looks defeated. Ray's heart does the skip, hop, jump thing he's taken to thinking of as his Vecchio-murmur. He looks down, scuffing the dirt as he walks. He makes it over the barbed wire in one piece, though he's pretty much left any hope of dignity back on the fence with a handful of skin cells and some cotton threads that are fluttering helplessly in the light breeze, hostages to misfortune. Ray stops a few yards from the car, raising his head to meet Vecchio's eyes.

Vecchio looks at him and sighs, scrubbing his forehead with the heel of his hand. "Look," he says, palms out and open in a hey-I'm-unarmed-here gesture, "I'm sorry. I just worry about you."

Now that Ray wasn't expecting. "Since when?" He's propelled forward by some invisible force and manages to catch himself before getting up into Vecchio's personal space. One man's near-sightedness is another man's get-the-fuck-away-from-me.

"We're partners, it's what we do. Right?"

"Um," says Ray because he has no idea what's happening right now.

Vecchio sticks his hands in his pockets before letting his head drop forward. Ray holds for a beat, uncertain, but then Vecchio's raising his head again, just a little, looking up at Ray through long, long eyelashes and he says, "Fuck, Kowalski." And, oh!


And then Ray's whiting out the thoughts that are trying to crowd in his head with a hand sliding the length of Vecchio's beautiful neck to cup the base of his skull, with lips pressed against Vecchio's, first soft, then harder, harder until Vecchio's opening and pushing back and his hands are scrabbling at Ray's tee.

Ray strokes a thumb into the surprisingly smooth stubble of Vecchio's hair, his other hand working its way between metal and ass, tugging Vecchio away from his position plastered to the Riv, trying for better access. Vecchio seems happy to be tugged, pushing his groin into Ray's and ... Jesus, Ray isn't prepared for the jolt that shakes his body when he feels Vecchio's hard-on press against his own.

"Fuck!" he bites out, dropping his forehead to rest on Vecchio's shoulder. "Fuck." He's dizzy and disoriented and it dawns on him that if you've done undercover you can get real good at pretending things don't exist. But they always come back, he knows, twice as ugly and three times as big.

"You okay, Kowalski?" asks Vecchio and his voice is rough and hot in Ray's ear but it's the way Vecchio rubs a thumb down Ray's spine that makes him want to come right here and now.

Ray pulls himself together and straightens up. "Yes," he says, dipping his head to kiss the hollow of Vecchio's throat, rewarded by the vibrations of a wordless mumble. "God, yes, I ... Just let me ..." His hands go to Vecchio's belt, shaking as he unbuckles it. This is maybe not the best place for a first time but he can't hold it in, doesn't even want to. He pushes a hand under the elastic of Vecchio's boxers and closes his fingers around his cock and it's warm and solid and heavy and Ray thinks home and then shutupshutupshutup because he's not there yet and then fuck as a truck honks long and loud and Vecchio twists out of his grip, jumping like he's been shot.

Ray thinks that this'll be the end of it, that Vecchio will zip himself up, that they'll be back in the car and driving in silence and they'll get where they're headed and neither of them will speak of this again and it sucks more than the telling of it. He feels winded and light-headed.

"Kowalski," says Vecchio and Ray zones back in. Vecchio is looking at him, not like a frightened jackrabbit, not with the shutters down but calculating and kinda wicked. This, Ray likes.

"Like this," Vecchio continues, pushing Ray out of the way, and he opens the front and rear passenger doors. "Sit down." He indicates the backseat.

"I knew you were gonna make me ride in back," says Ray and Vecchio lets out a mock-exasperated sigh.

"Sit down," Vecchio repeats, poking Ray in the chest. Ray sits and then stares as Vecchio gets to his knees, reaching for Ray's fly.

"You." Ray knows there's supposed to be more to a sentence than a pronoun but his words seem to have disappeared.

"Yes. Me." Vecchio bites down a little on the cord of muscle running between Ray's neck and shoulder as he works the buttons of Ray's fly and Ray can't help pushing up into his hand.

It isn't until Vecchio's mouth is wet and insistent on Ray's dick and Ray's trying not to leave finger marks on the upholstery &151; because if this isn't the most expert blowjob he's ever had, it's still fighting it out in the top three for best &151; that one of Ray's thoughts fights through the noise of yes, god, yes and don'tcomedon'tcomedon'tcome.

"You're on your knees," he says and he's aiming for casual but he knows it came out surprised.

Vecchio pulls off and looks at Ray through narrowed eyes. "Oh my god, I'm doing it wrong," he says deadpan. "I should do a handstand, maybe."

"In the dirt," says Ray and now his voice is cracking. "In the dirt."

The faint smirk on Vecchio's face vanishes and there's a ruefulness in his expression that Ray can't decide if he wants to kiss off or hide from. "Turns out I don't care," says Vecchio and strokes his hands across Ray's thighs before taking him back in his mouth.

There's the smell of new growth in the air, the sinking sun stretching its arms across the sky, Vecchio's warm hands imprinting his skin and a quiet breeze on his face. Ray feels himself expanding out across the acres of farmland and into the hazy distance and he smiles, wide open.

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