[cover art by Fox] Reasonable
by cmshaw
14 March 2002

Disclaimer: Oh, so not mine.

Summary: Zuko never said that Fraser would be safe, either.

Warnings: Semiconsensual sex.

Notes: This story was originally written for the Second Due South Lyric Wheel, using the lyrics to "Come Together" by The Beatles (as suggested by Erika and Sylvie Grenon).

Gratitude: Many, many thanks go to Rushlight and Pita Patter for beta-reading!

More gratitude: More thanks go to Fox for the lovely cover art!

Fraser looked up with a groan when he heard the door open again. He should have known that Francesca wouldn't just leave; she was more persistent by far than her brother when she wanted something from him -- not to mention that what she wanted appeared to be of an entirely different nature than the sort of things Ray wanted from him. Fraser closed his teeth gently over the cut on his lip and reminded himself that Ray was his friend, his best friend, and that on no account should he be thinking the sort of thoughts that Ray's little sister had roused tonight.

Even if he had felt so goddamned empty and lonely and frightened that he had wanted to cry himself to sleep earlier.

Fraser clambered out of bed with an effort that made the thought of stopping to put on his robe unattractive, and Francesca had already seen his long johns and been fought off once. He wavered on his feet for a moment until he heard Diefenbaker growling angrily. He hurried into the kitchen in time to see that there was a very large man standing outside in the hallway before the man who was standing in his foyer closed the door behind himself.

"Mr. Zuko," Fraser said, resting a quelling hand on Diefenbaker's ruff.

Zuko smiled, or perhaps more precisely bared his teeth. "Constable," he said, and clucked his tongue reprovingly. "Really, it's a pity you wouldn't keep the furniture. You do need something to brighten this place up."

"A simple lifestyle suits me, I believe," Fraser said cautiously. Other than the man on the other side of the now-closed door Zuko appeared to be alone, and Ray had been quite clear on the point of Zuko's cowardice when alone. Then again, it was possible that he was attempting to remedy this character defect by confronting Fraser without anyone to assist in the beating -- or in the execution, if it came to that. Admirable, except for the part where Fraser was beaten or killed. Fraser winced involuntarily at the thought and shuffled his feet to hide that reaction from the man in front of him. At his side Diefenbaker whined.

Zuko laughed and manfully pounded Fraser on the shoulder, provoking another wince that Fraser hoped also went unnoticed. "A simple lifestyle, eh? I like that, that's good. But me, see, I enjoy my creature comforts. What's the point of working all your life if you don't get anything for it?"

It was difficult to be certain with no more light than what shone through the kitchen windows -- grimy despite Fraser's best efforts at keeping them clean -- but Zuko did not appear to be carrying a gun or to be otherwise armed. His suit hung in clean lines on his body, clearly expensive despite his scuffed shoes and a lingering odor that recalled the basketball court.

"Work itself can be quite rewarding," Fraser said. "There is a measure of satisfaction in a job well done."

"A man who takes pride in his work: that's what I like to see," Zuko said, and patted Fraser's shoulder again. "I'm so glad we understand each other, because I take pride in my work, too."

"Hm," Fraser said noncommittally. "May I ask what you're doing here, Mr. Zuko?"

"Of course you can," Zuko said expansively. "Ask me anything you like, Benny -- you don't mind if I call you Benny, do you?"

"I would prefer to be addressed as 'Fraser', or by my rank, which is Constable," Fraser said.

Zuko shook his head, still smiling. "Oh, don't be that way, Benny. Come on, call me Frank."

"Thank you, Mr. Zuko, but I would rather not," Fraser said firmly.

"You wound me, Benny," Zuko said. He grasped Fraser's chin and turned his face toward the dim illumination from the streetlights, running his thumb roughly over the cut on Fraser's cheek. Fraser jerked his head away, but Zuko captured his chin again in a tighter grip. "Pity about these wounds," Zuko said. "You had such a pretty face."

"They'll heal," Fraser said, trying to remain calm while a highly inappropriate excitement grew. He was beginning to have certain suspicions about the nature of Zuko's intentions, suspicions which rather unfortunately reinforced the direction his thoughts had been taking since Francesca's visit earlier in the evening.

"I suppose so," Zuko said, tracing the index finger of his other hand over the cut on Fraser's lower lip with surprising delicacy. He was standing close enough for Fraser to see a nearly identical cut on Zuko's own mouth, which had presumably been inflicted by Ray's fist. Fraser watched as Zuko's lips formed more words: "Still, it's always upsetting when violence enters this community."

Fraser licked his lips. "Indeed it is," he agreed. "Very upsetting." He pressed his hand down until Diefenbaker stopped his faint growling.

"You see? I'm so glad we understand each other like this," Zuko said, and patted his cheek.

"I'm not sure that we do," Fraser said. He wanted very badly to pull himself free from Zuko, but he remained aware of Zuko's man standing right outside his door. He understood quite clearly Zuko's warning about the consequences of any attempt at using force to extract himself from Zuko's attentions.

"That would be a shame," Zuko said, and pressed his free hand against the center of Fraser's bared chest.

This time Fraser's movement could not be described as a wince, and it was quite certain that Zuko saw it, as the corner of his mouth curled up in a smug smile. Fraser drew in another deep breath, aware that he was shaking under Zuko's hands. Too many people had had their hands on him tonight, had touched him with violent or carnal intent; his exhausted and overwrought body was making its demands with no concern for the fact that it was sheerest folly to even consider this with Frank Zuko. For a moment only he regretted not permitting Francesca to stay, then realized that, had he done so, she would have been here to greet the man whom her brother had humiliated this evening.

Zuko's hand slid down, passing lightly and caressingly over the mass of bruises on Fraser's torso, and hovered between his legs, separated from his vulnerable genitals by only a thin cotton covering and a centimeter of air. With futile embarrassment, Fraser felt the erectile tissue in the shaft of his penis flush with blood and swell to close the distance to Zuko's palm.

Zuko smiled more broadly. "Well, well, well, what a surprise," he said, not sounding surprised in the least. "So, Benny. How do you like it?"

Stalling for time, Fraser repeated, questioningly, "'It'?"

Zuko's hand closed around his flesh, and only the fact that he had expected exactly that maneuver and steeled his nerves against it kept Fraser from pressing his hips forward into that warm hand as it stroked him so pleasurably. "What I mean, Constable Fraser, is that I'm going to bend you over and fuck you, but I'm a nice guy, so I'll let you pick the position. Is that clear?"

"Ah," Fraser said. Frank Zuko was a physically attractive man, or, at least, Fraser found him so, and Zuko acted as though he believed himself to be as well. As the saying went, it only ran skin-deep, and Fraser found Zuko's affected jocularity to be a particularly unappealing feature. There was nothing more beautiful in the world than honest friendship, and nothing so ugly as a man who played at familiarity and intimacy for selfish purposes. On the other hand, the contrast was somewhat titillating, and perhaps Zuko could be persuaded to remain quiet for the duration of events.

Ray was not going to rescue him at the last minute this time, and honestly, even if he did, Fraser did not think that he would be pleased by such an outcome after having been provoked to this degree -- Ray, after all, would not provide him with any outlet for the urges currently raging through him. Fraser closed his eyes for a brief moment, then simply gave up.

"Kneeling against the side of my bed would be the most comfortable, I believe," he told Zuko calmly.

"I wouldn't want to make you uncomfortable," Zuko said agreeably. He lifted his hands away and stepped back, looking expectant.

Fraser inclined his head. "Thank you," he said, and led the way into the bedroom as Diefenbaker watched him reproachfully from the doorway. "Go lie down in the kitchen," he told the wolf. Dief whined. "Kitchen," he said firmly, pointing, and Dief slunk away with a final unhappy glare. Bending down painfully, Fraser relit the lantern beside his bed.

Zuko, hands on his hips, was still watching him with a faint smile. "You really carry this medieval thing all the way, don't you," he said.

"Not at all," Fraser said as he opened the small linen closet and retrieved a clean towel. "This type of lantern is based on wick and chimney design patented by Ami Argand in 1784, whereas the word 'medieval' commonly refers to the period between the sixth and sixteenth centuries. In any case, I assure you that I take full advantage of the modern cooking and sanitary facilities offered in this building." He dropped a pillow onto the floor by the foot of the bed. Turning his back in a reflexive and rather ridiculous attempt at modesty, he lowered his long johns to his knees, then had to sit down on the edge of his bed to finish removing them. His muscles had definitely stiffened up to the point where there was no use in trying to hide his weakened physical state from his visitor.

Then again, Fraser thought uncharitably, Zuko was unlikely to have come here alone if he hadn't known all along that he'd have no reason to be physically intimidated by Fraser tonight.

Painfully levering himself to his feet again, Fraser ignored Zuko's leer and folded his long johns neatly, placed them on top of his dresser, and walked naked across the room to retrieve a small tin of balm from his first aid kit. Zuko shook his head when Fraser held this out to him, so Fraser returned to the foot of the bed and lifted his left leg, bracing his foot on the mattress and one arm across his thigh as he leaned down; with his other hand he began to smear the balm between his buttocks himself.

"I have found electrical power to this building -- indeed, to many of the buildings in this neighborhood -- to be somewhat unreliable," Fraser said conversationally, trying to distract himself from the intimacy of the motion of his fingers. He stared at the weave of his blanket, knowing that Zuko was almost certainly watching his hand. "In addition, I am not entirely certain that the wiring in this apartment adheres to the applicable municipality codes." He worked his fingers, well coated with the watery balm, into the opening to his body, concentrating on relaxing the correct sphincter muscles to ease penetration. "As I have, at various times in my life, lived in a number of dwellings where electrical power was not at any time --" and he gasped as his probing fingers accidentally brushed over his sensitive prostate gland, which caused his muscles to tighten in an involuntary sensual spasm, "-- available, it seemed sensible to simply proceed in a uniform manner with regards to --" and he gasped again, "-- lighting." His opening seemed to be well lubricated and dilated sufficiently for intercourse, so with a sigh of relief Fraser slipped his fingers out of his body and stood upright again. He wiped his hands on the towel and spread it over the edge of the bed where he would be leaning.

"Have you a prophylactic?" he asked Zuko.

Zuko's eyes looked unfocused in the soft light of the lamp. "A what?" he asked, removing his hand from the front of his pants.

"An, ah--" Fraser nodded toward Zuko's crotch, where the head and shaft of his penis jutted redly from his open fly, then politely averted his eyes again.

"You want me to use a condom?" Zuko said. "Safety-conscious, I like that. A man can't be too careful with his health these days."

When Zuko made no move to produce a condom of his own, instead merely stroking his shaft and smiling, Fraser returned to his medical kit and found one of his own. He handed it to Zuko, who, he was pleased to see, inspected its expiration date before opening the package and donning the latex sheath. Zuko even handed the wrapping back to Fraser, who dropped it into the waste basket beside his bed.

Kneeling was not an easy maneuver, given the state of his muscles, especially those over his stomach, but Fraser managed it with a minimum of pained noises. He arranged his knees on the pillow, leaving sufficient room for Zuko to kneel behind him, and braced his chest on the towel he had laid over the mattress. One arm curled in front of him, where he could lean his cheek on his forearm if he wished to do so later, and the other arm he tucked between his body and the bed, brushing the palm of his hand over the head of his erect penis.

"Brace yourself," Zuko said, moving behind him.

"I'm braced," Fraser replied. "Shall we begin?"

Hands brushed over his back, making him shiver with anticipation. Zuko chucked. "Eager to get it over with?"

"No," Fraser said.

Zuko's hands paused over his hips. "No?" he asked.

"It has been quite some time since I've had any sexual release," Fraser explained. "I would like to savor this a little, if you don't mind."

Zuko laughed aloud. "You know, I like you, Benny," he said. "I like the way you think. I'm gonna make this good for you."

"I appreciate that," Fraser said sincerely. He put his head down on his arm and breathed steadily as Zuko's hands spread his buttocks wide. Being this open and vulnerable was part of the excitement, he reminded himself. As long as he complied with all of Zuko's demands he should be in no real danger, and so far Zuko had demanded nothing that he was not already intent upon doing. He made a small noise that was embarrassingly voluptuous as the tip of Zuko's penis breached his body and forced its way inward until the entire head was within him. When Zuko held still for several moments, Fraser allowed his muscles to tighten and relax again, and sighed with pleasure at the resistance.

"Yeah, that's right," Zuko said, "gonna fuck your tight little ass." That was irritatingly crude, and Fraser determined to ignore it. Zuko's hands gripped his hips and turned them slightly upward as he grunted and slid a good ways farther into Fraser, slowly. Zuko's comments had led him to fear a fast, harsh rhythm, but apparently he had convinced Zuko that a more leisurely approach would be more pleasant for both of them.

He spared a thought for Zuko's motives, now that it was too late to reconsider. Zuko's hips rolled sideways and Fraser's toes curled up as he moaned. Much too late. This was not simple lust, surely; a man in Zuko's position would certainly have any number of avenues available for sexual release. Perhaps Zuko enjoyed the thrill of relations with an officer of the law as much as Fraser enjoyed -- and he did, disgracefully, enjoy it -- the knowledge that his sexual partner was a criminal. It was certainly possible that for Zuko this was not about Fraser at all but rather aimed at Ray Vecchio in some manner. It was not unbelievable that Zuko might be harboring unrequitable sexual desires toward Ray, or that he might regard the sexual act as symbolic domination, and since Ray had proved too dangerous Zuko might be making Ray's partner stand in for him.

Zuko's penis slid slickly over his prostate gland, and Fraser shook all over, making another embarrassing sound into the crook of his arm. Speculation into the criminal mind was certainly moot at this juncture. Even if they stopped now, and Fraser was fairly certain that Zuko was not going to allow that, Zuko's body had already penetrated his own. Any symbolism that was going to be relevant had by and large already been achieved.

Truth be told, Fraser rather thought that he himself would not allow them to stop either; it had been far too long since he had indulged in any sexual play of this sort, and the smallest taste, the first sweet tremors as his body was penetrated, the merest hint of threat in the iron grip of Zuko's hands across the turn of his hips -- all of these were reawakening unabashedly primitive impulses. It was fortunate that it seemed it would be unnecessary to force himself upon Zuko to obtain his satisfaction; that Zuko had apparently been willing to do so to him was, while upsetting, no good basis for his own actions in a theoretical reversal of circumstances.

It was perhaps a failure of the regulations governing the conduct of officers of the RCMP that inconsequential gifts were verboten but sexual relations of this sort were unmentioned and therefore permissible; it was nothing more than a cheater's loophole, and a regrettable one. Fraser had taken advantage of it on more than one occasion, always with the same explosively pleasurable results that eclipsed the accompanying guilt. Ray would probably not understand that, if he ever found out what Fraser was doing right now, but the weight of Zuko's body pinning him against the side of his bed eclipsed that guilt as well.

Zuko was moving more strongly within him now, groaning a steady stream of obscenity to which Fraser refused to listen. His own vocalizations were wordless and not loud enough to drown out the other man, but his body was flexing of its own accord, greed moving him in concert with Zuko's thrusts despite the bruised ache of his stomach muscles. The heat and deep internal pressure and slow, inexorable rhythm were inducing blissful pleasure in Fraser's battered and too-long-ignored body, and Fraser panted, open-mouthed, completely uncaring of anyone's intentions, even his own. He merely wished to prolong these sensations for as long as possible before he reached orgasm.

It wouldn't be much more time now; Zuko was starting to grind his hips frantically on each instroke and breathe raggedly. Fraser closed his hand into a fist around the shaft of his penis and squeezed, providing external friction for a counterpoint to the smooth pressure stimulating him internally. The combination brought on his climax only seconds later, fortuitously timed to match Zuko's sudden cries of release, and Fraser moaned quietly as his body rippled through a long series of spasms, clenching around the girth of Zuko's shaft deep in his body and spurting warmly into his own fist.

Light-headed, Fraser turned his face into the crook of his arm. He saw himself shiver and twitch as if from afar, somehow distant from his body at last. Like murky, muddy water cut suddenly with a mountain spring, he felt clear, almost pure. Deep inside he laughed; it was sexual healing, powerful medicine -- as they said in this country, good mojo -- and from Zuko, of all people. The worst storm throws wood up on the beach, his grandmother had always said, although the beaches which he had known as a child had been largely above the tree line and hence wood-free. Still, the metaphor held true.

Fraser drifted in his clarity with aching regret for all the time he spent alone and untouched. Why on earth did he persist in holding the Vecchios at arms' length, anyway? Why hold anyone away? It was so much better to be held close, even so momentarily as this, with Zuko clasping him tightly in the throes of his sexual climax. He wanted more of this. He wanted better than this. He wanted.

His muscles twinged as Zuko pulled free of his body, but he forced himself to rise to his feet as soon as Zuko stood up behind him. He wiped his hand off on a clean section of the towel and turned around. Zuko was flushed, his clothes disarranged and his trousers down around his knees. He stood there for a moment, swaying on his feet and looking bemused, then pulled off the condom and handed it to Fraser, who wrapped it in a corner of the towel. Zuko pulled up his pants and tucked in his shirt before speaking.

"You liked that, Benny?" he asked. "Good for you, huh?" He didn't look like he doubted the answer.

"Yes," said Fraser, since there was no point in denying the obvious. A bead of sweat ran down the back of his right leg, and his calf twitched as it reached the back of his knee. "For you as well, I assume," he said.

Zuko shook his head and refocused his eyes on Fraser's face, some of the customary sharpness returning to his expression. "We'll have to do this again sometime," he said.

"Perhaps," Fraser said, in a tone of voice which he hoped implied complete unwillingness to ever do anything of the sort. He would have to take care to avoid confronting Zuko in the future unless his willpower and his physical defenses were much stronger than they had been tonight.

Zuko smirked as his gaze wandered up and down Fraser's nude body. "Too bad about the gift thing," he said with a laugh. "I'd've taken you out to dinner, maybe bought you some flowers or something, but I'm told it might reflect poorly on me."

"So it would," Fraser said.

"Well, that's okay," Zuko said. "You're still the best fuck I've had in a hell of a long time."

It was hardly a compliment, delivered in that kind of language, so Fraser politely ignored it. "If there was nothing else you wanted to discuss with me tonight, I'd like to return to sleep now," he said.

"I wore you out, did I?" Zuko laughed. "Okay, Constable, you get your beauty sleep. I'll see you around." Fraser grabbed his robe from the hook on the wall and pulled it on as he followed Zuko to the front door. Zuko opened the door, allowing Fraser to see that there was still a man waiting patiently for him on the other side, then turned and grabbed Fraser's face between his hands. He pressed a fatherly kiss to Fraser's forehead before Fraser had a chance to pull away, then let go and said, "I'm so glad to have found that you're a reasonable man."

"I've always been reasonable," Fraser said, but Zuko had already shut the door behind himself. There was a whine and a clatter of toenails behind him. "I don't want to hear it, Diefenbaker," Fraser said, and let his forehead rest against the door for a moment. "I'm going back to bed now. If anyone else tries to come in, you have my permission to bite them."

Diefenbaker barked reprovingly, but Fraser ignored him and made his unsteady way back to the bedroom. He pulled his long johns on slowly, welcoming the warmth and security, then dropped the towel with the rest of his laundry, returned the pillow to the bed, rehung his robe on its hook, and blew out the lamp before crawling under the covers.

Despite everything, he felt asleep immediately, and slept soundly and well.



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