Disclaimer: Not mine, not paid.

Rating: R for romantic situations. If the concept of two men being in love bothers you, stop reading now.

Notes: Takes place during and after the final scene of Odds. A good bit of the dialogue is taken straight from that episode.

Warning: This is another unbetaed diddle.

Thank yous: To Debra Fran Baker, for the Serge post that inspired this puppy, and to all the other Sergers who egged me on.


by Crysothemis ( crysothemis@yahoo.com)


Playing for air? Where had that come from? Fraser said, "What's the ante?" and he had to say, "Air"?

Man, he had it bad.

But then, suddenly, they were talking about kisses, and playing for air didn't sound so dumb, 'cause he was short on breath already. Air and kisses . . . why was it the two were so closely linked in his brain these days?

Like he had to ask. Like it was any mystery at all, after that thing on the Henry Anderson.

They put in their ante and Fraser didn't take any cards. He looked so good tonight, in that tux. Even better since he'd taken off the jacket and Ray could see how the crisp white shirt outlined his broad shoulders.

Yeah, distracting as hell. How was a guy supposed to play poker against that? "Okay, two can play that game," he said. Oh, yeah. Two could play the game he was thinking of. "I'll take none, too."

They placed their bets, but Ray was too distracted to think it through clearly. Fraser really ought to be bluffing, since he was refusing to take any cards. And after all, Fraser had just said he was capable of holding his cards close to his chest. But of course it didn't work out that way. Oh, no. The Mountie had a full house, even if he didn't know the right name for it. No bluff.

"I'll take that air now, Ray."

He was not going to do anything stupid. Fraser didn't mean that the way it sounded, because the reason it sounded like that was all in his twisted little brain. "I'm tapped out," Ray managed.

"I'll accept an IOU."

Oh, man. Fraser was being difficult, which meant he really didn't know where Ray's mind was. "An IOU on air?"

"I want you to honor your wager."

"That's stupid."

"Honor is never stupid, Ray."

"Okay, okay." Damn it, how did the Mountie get him into situations like this? But Fraser couldn't know what he was thinking. Fraser couldn't possibly. Ray made an elaborate gesture of using an air pen to write on air paper. "Here you go. One IOU for air."

"So I can collect on this whenever I need to?"

"Yeah, sure. You need some air, you come to me."

Fraser gave him a funny look and "pocketed" the IOU. "Thank you, Ray."

"Uh, no big deal, right?" He laughed, but it sounded kind of nervous, even to his ears. "I mean, you gave me air when I needed it" -- damn, he shouldn't have said that -- "so it's only fair."

"That air was freely given," Fraser said, catching his meaning instantly. "There was no debt involved."

"Oh," Ray said, and felt his face go warm. He shouldn't be talking about this, but it was too late, anyway. He'd already spilled half the beans. "So, uh, if I'm ever stuck underwater on a sinking ship and need some air, you won't count the IOU against me?"

Fraser looked offended. "Certainly not. Besides, who's to say I won't have collected in full by then?"

Oh, no. That did not mean what he thought it meant. He was reading in big time. But he couldn't stop himself. "Uh, you could collect whenever you want. I mean, I'm good for it."

Fraser's eyes caught his, and suddenly he found himself wondering if he was reading in. "What if I wanted to collect now?" Fraser asked softly.

"Um, you could . . . I mean, I wouldn't stop you."

"I thought you said you were tapped out."

"I might've found a new, uh . . ." He couldn't think straight.



Fraser uncrossed his legs and leaned forward in his chair, his eyes gone weird and intense. "You're sure?"

Ray wasn't sure he had any air in his lungs to give, because he was starting to feel dizzy, just like he had on the Henry Anderson. "Yeah."

"All right." And Fraser leaned the rest of the way forward and touched his lips to Ray's. His mouth was open, like it had been underwater, but it wasn't like a French kiss or anything. In fact, Ray wasn't even sure it was a kiss at all. Fraser's mouth was warm and still against his. And then Fraser sucked gently, drawing the air out of him.

It was like having his soul sucked out. Like sharing his life. It was the most erotic thing he'd felt in ages. Ray couldn't help himself; he pushed himself out of his own chair and forward against Fraser's, wrapping his arms around Fraser's neck, tangling his fingers in Fraser's tuxedo shirt collar. And then it really was a kiss, because Fraser's mouth moved against his and he felt . . . oh, God, tongue, and he was getting hard already and he could feel . . . yes, he was plastered against Fraser, now, and Fraser was enjoying the kiss as much as he was.

The only problem was, he was out of air. Ray broke the kiss, gasping and dizzy, and laid his head on Fraser's shoulder while he caught his breath.

"Ray, are you all right?"

"Just a little low on air."

"I'm sorry. If I'd known you were in such short supply, I would never have attempted to collect now."

"Uh, that's okay." Stupid thing to say, but his brain was still short on oxygen. "I'll have more in a sec. You could, uh, you could collect again."

Fraser's hand came up to his hair and stroked it once, which felt amazing. Then Fraser gently tugged his head back until they could see each other's faces. "If you're sure you don't mind."

What, was Fraser nuts? Fraser had to be able to feel him, too. "I'm sure."

And then Fraser smiled, a sweet, half-embarrassed smile that made Ray tingle all the way down to the bottoms of his feet. "That's good."

Fraser wanted this. Wanted to kiss him. That was what that whole thing with the IOU was about. He hadn't been reading in, after all. "Yeah?"

"Mmm-hmm," Fraser said. "Because you realize I have an IOU for a hundred and fifty of those."

"A hundred and forty-nine."

"Right you are." Fraser glanced down again, like he was still embarrassed or shy or something, but then his eyes came back up to Ray's. "Shall we make it a hundred and forty-eight?"

"Oh, yeah," Ray said, and leaned in to give Fraser some air.

~ * ~

(hours later, and elsewhere)


Fraser lifted his head, looking at him with soft and sleepy eyes. "Yes?"

Damn, he felt sore everywhere . . . but it was a good kind of sore. "I think I'm all paid up."

The sleepy look faded a bit, and Fraser got that innocent expression he was so good at. "Oh, no, Ray. That was only a hundred and seventeen."

For a moment, that didn't even make sense. How could Fraser possibly . . . wait. "You were counting?"

"Well, I --"

"You were blowing my mind six ways to Sunday, and you were counting?"

"Well, Ray, it's not something I do consciously, it's just --"

"Oh, yeah. Just one of those little things we do." Ray closed his eyes. "I can't believe you were counting."

"Well, actually . . ." Fraser sounded embarrassed. Ray had to open his eyes to see. Yup, definitely a little pink, there.


Fraser ducked his head. "It might have been a hundred and eighteen."

Ray couldn't help it, he had to laugh. He reached up and pulled Fraser back down against him, feeling that big warm body with every inch of his skin. "You're a freak," he whispered into Fraser's ear, but Fraser just snuggled closer.

They lay like that for a long time: seconds, minutes, hours. Then Fraser stirred against him. "Ray?"


"I was just wondering . . ."


"Could we play poker again sometime?"

~ * ~

(the next evening)

"Uh, Fraser?"

Oh, dear. Fraser turned to face Ray. The interior of the GTO was dimly lit by the street lights outside, and Ray looked perfectly . . . kissable. His mouth was still a bit swollen from their exertions last night.


Ray tilted his head. "How many you got left on that IOU?"

"I believe it was seven, Ray. Or possibly eight."

"I'm good for eight."

"All right, then." Fraser did what he'd been itching to do all day: he leaned across to Ray's seat and covered Ray's mouth with his. Ray's lips opened to welcome him, but before he had a chance to even think about collecting his air, Fraser felt a gentle but persistent suction, felt the air rushing from his lungs into Ray's as Ray stole his breath away. He wasn't prepared for this. Excess lung capacity only got a person so far. In a matter of moments, his head was spinning, and Ray was chuckling softly against his lips.

"Sorry about that, Frase."

"There's no need to apolo- . . ."

Ray smiled at him, which didn't help the dizzy feeling at all. "Guess I owe you nine, now."

"Oh." Oh, dear. But before he could say anything more, Ray covered his mouth again, sweetly stealing another breath.

"Oops, I mean ten."

"Ray, if you keep this up, you'll never manage to pay in full."

Ray's arms tightened around him. "You got a problem with that?"

Fraser looked into his face, into the shining eyes that looked infinitely deep in the dim light. "Well, no."

"Good," Ray said, and pulled him close for another breath.