Code-Switching

by Dira Sudis

Notes:

Translation Notes

An edited version of this story subsequently appeared in its proper context as scene 41 of Hawks & Hands.


He found Ray in the fourth bar he tried, propped up against the wall in a dim corner, watching the dancers on the small crowded floor. He had a nearly-empty beer bottle dangling from his fingers, and the table at his elbow held an alarming number of empties.

Ben watched him for a moment from a few meters away, knowing he was safely hidden in the low light and pounding music, free to watch Ray. He rocked a little to the music, hips shifting hypnotically as his neatly-bandaged hand raised the bottle slowly to his lips, long fingers curled around the neck. His head tilted heavily back to catch the last drops, coming to rest against the wall, and his throat worked visibly as he swallowed. His eyes were heavy-lidded, and Ben wondered who on the floor had caught his attention, whether he saw any of them at all or was simply replaying the game in his mind, imagining how he might have turned the tide if he'd been able to play.

Ray set the empty on the table with the others and pushed off from the wall, and Ben moved to intercept him, stepping into his path and setting one hand to his chest. He wore only a thin, faded t-shirt under his leather jacket, and Ben could feel the heat of his skin through it, and the thud of his heart. Ray looked up at him with a slow, warm smile, and Ben felt his own heart start to race. Ray licked his lips, then parted them to speak, and Ben automatically leaned in to hear him over the music.

"Eh, Fraser." Ray's slur, and the feel of his hot damp breath on Ben's ear, turned even his surname into something wanton. "J'suis ben paqueté."

Ben pulled away a little then, squinting at Ray as he settled back against the wall with a smug smile. Remembering Ray's years playing for the Nordiques, Ben mustered his crispest schoolboy French and replied, "Je ne parle pas Quebecois, Kowalski."

Ray favored that perhaps overly obvious statement with a snort. "Je sais, Fraser," he said, very distinctly, raising his voice a little to be heard. "And I don't forget my English when I'm wasted. But j'suis ben fucké, tu comprends?"

He shook his head, slowly, entranced. "You know I don't."

Ray nodded, turning his head aside to stare at the bottles on the table. He licked his lips and swallowed visibly, and then met Ben's eyes again with a small smile. "Exactement, Fraser."

"Dites que vous avez envie de dire, then," Ben said, stepping closer again. Ray's sagging posture gave him a height advantage of some inches, and Ben leaned over him, looking down into his upturned face as Ray's eyes sagged shut.

"What if I don't wanna say anything, Fraser? J'suis ben fucké, ben magané, comprends?" Ben propped one arm against the wall, leaning his forehead on his wrist as he watched Ray's mouth move around words that played on the edge of understanding. It occurred to him, vaguely, how they must look, but it was dark, and late, and no one here knew who they were. "Et je tripe, en masse."

He smiled, at that; even with no idea what Ray was saying, he suspected he hadn't said that right. "En masse, Kowalski?"

"Oui, Fraser." Ray's arm slipped around his hips, jerking him forward, and Ray pushed up from his slouch, grinding their hips together so that Ben could feel him, hard in his jeans. "En masse."

Ben held still, trying to think about how Ray was drunk and how they hadn't talked about this and how to get him out of the bar and into the truck without causing a scene, and then Ray's eyes opened, and the heat in his gaze made Ben's mouth go dry. Ray's hand on his hips tugged a little, and Ben drove against him, hard and hot through two layers of denim, however liquid-loose the rest of Ray's body was. "Je suis ben fucké, so fuck me, Ben."

He couldn't speak, and Ray's smile turned almost mocking, so he lowered his dry mouth to Ray's, which opened readily against his and was not dry at all. He was hot and wet and tasted richly of hops and himself, and Ben couldn't have said which taste made his mouth water more. Ray kissed him back slowly, lazily, licking into his mouth, sucking at his tongue in time to the languid rocking of his hips. His arm looped heavily around Ben's neck, and he pulled away far enough to whisper, "Fuck me," into Ben's mouth, their lips brushing on each syllable. He leaned up then, to press their mouths together again, but Ben pulled back, keeping the contact light, just a brush of wet parted lips.

"Je veux bien," he whispered back, his hand on Ray's chest creeping up of its own accord until his fingertips rested in the sweat-damp hollow of Ray's throat, "but not here. Can you walk?"

Ray chuckled throatily--Ben could feel the vibration of it under his fingers--and reached down between their bodies, adjusting himself. "I think I can manage."

Ben glared at him a little, though he made his own adjustment at the same time. "I was referring to your state of inebriation, Kowalski."

"Paqueté off my ass, yeah," Ray said, head bobbing up and down like a doll's, "But I can get to the car. Just can't drive it when I get there."

"We'll worry about that when we get there," Ben promised him, wondering how the hell he was going to drive anywhere; he doubted Kowalski would be willing to sit quietly and keep his hands to himself. Ben stepped back from him with an effort, tugging him away from the wall as he did. He only stumbled a little, then shook himself and headed for the door, moving with a catlike slink that riveted Ben's gaze. He forced himself to look around as he followed a few steps behind, but, impossibly, no one seemed to be looking at Ray. Blind, all of them, but Ben wasn't about to argue with his first lucky break of the night.

His eyes slid back to Ray, and he mentally corrected that. Second lucky break of the night. He just hoped his luck would hold a little longer.

When he stepped out into the cool night air, he was just in time to see Ray striding off in the wrong direction. "Kowalski," he called, and then, "Kowalski! Ray!"

He stopped, and look back at Ben over his shoulder, weaving slightly in place.

Ben pointed in the opposite direction. "My truck is this way."

Ray shook his head so violently he staggered, and threw out one arm for balance. Ben moved quickly to his side, but Ray was steady again by the time he got there. "My car's this way," he explained. "Nobody's gonna bother your heap, but I'm not leaving the Goat here overnight."

He would have argued, but Ray pulled out his keys and tossed them to him, and Ben caught them automatically, and followed him when he started walking again. He washed up against the driver's side of the car, leaning limply against the vehicle while Ben unlocked the door. He opened it and leaned over, fumbling around for the release to fold the seat forward, and Ray laid himself across Ben's back, breathing against his ear, his erection pressed to Ben's hip, his fingers sliding across Ben's to guide them to the lever.

When the seat shot forward, Ben tilted a little so that Ray slid off of him and into the car, thumping and squirming and kicking his way into the backseat. Ben waited until it seemed safe to duck and peer inside, and found Ray had one knee up under himself on the seat, the other foot against the bent-forward driver's seat, his shoulder jammed against the far side of the car. His head was leaning against that small window, and he was looking back over his shoulder at Ben, eyes gleaming in the dimness. Both his arms were braced beneath him, but he shifted one hand free and crooked one finger in invitation. Ben's cock throbbed in response, and he swallowed hard.

"Kowalski," he muttered, but Ray's hand, white bandage flashing, was digging into his jacket pocket, coming up with a foil packet and a small tube, so what he said wasn't, Not here either, but, "Jesus Christ, you come prepared."

Ray's low chuckle hit him low, and as Ben watched, Ray tossed the supplies toward him, down into the footwell, and he heard the sounds of his belt being undone. Button. Zipper. "Good thing you came along when you did," Ray muttered, sounding breathless as he wiggled his jeans down. "Who knows what kinda trouble I could've gotten into."

Ben muttered, "Oh, for fuck's sake," and Ray smiled his triumph as he worked his jeans down far enough for Ben to realize he hadn't been wearing anything beneath them. It was the last straw, and Ben broke. He snatched up the condom and lube and crawled inside, positioning himself in the tight space behind Ray and yanking the door shut.

Ray shifted his attention from working his jeans the rest of the way off to struggling out of his leather jacket, and Ben hooked his fingers under the denim and yanked them down, drawing a huff of breathless laughter from Ray as he helpfully kicked off one boot and bent his leg to get them all the way off on one side. Ray got his jacket off and chucked it into the front seat, leaving his shirt hiked up to his armpits, and Ben stopped, staring at the expanse of skin exposed in the yellow glow of a distant streetlight.

Folding himself around Ray, he lowered his mouth to lick along the groove of his spine, tasting salt sweat on fine skin before Ray twisted away. "C'mon, Fraser," he mumbled, and his wandering hand made its way up Ben's thigh to his belt, tugging insistently. Ben obediently fumbled the buckle open, pressing closer over Ray, setting his mouth against the side of Ray's throat where the collar of his t-shirt gapped. Ray pressed back against him, distractingly, and Fraser stuck the supplies between his teeth and scooted back in order to work his jeans and boxers down to his thighs. He closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief--if he'd had any idea he'd be doing anything other than hauling Ray home tonight, he'd have worn different jeans--and then opened his eyes again, strangling back a moan, at the touch of Ray's hand against his cock.

Ray blinked rapidly at him--fluttering his eyelashes, Ben realized, or trying to--as he trailed the backs of his fingers up the length of Ben's erection. He swatted Ray's hand away and plucked the lube from between his teeth, thumbing the cap open. He kept his eyes on his hands, not looking at Ray's intent eyes or the way he shifted his legs to spread wider, as he squeezed the clear gel onto shaking fingers. He spread one hand against the small of Ray's back, steadying himself or Ray or maybe both of them, and pressed two slick fingertips against and, shockingly easily, into Ray.

He gritted his teeth against the feel of him, hot and tight, and Ray pressed back against his hand even as he started spitting what could only be curses. "Maudit crisse de câlisse de viarge, Fraser, don't--maintenant, maintenant, for the love of Christ, now."

That was clear enough, so he eased his fingers free, wiped them cursorily on his jeans, and tore open the condom packet, and didn't, quite, drop the damn thing before he managed to get it on. Then the lube, which had fallen to the seat and he had to feel around for it and if Ray actually turned out to be laughing Ben was going to kill him, but his fingers closed on the tube and he slicked up and Ray seemed to be gasping maintenant on every other breath. He shifted closer, his hand sliding up Ray's back, pressing down so that Ray arched up against it, and then he was pushing smoothly in, and something in his brain was saying ‘alcohol' and ‘muscle relaxant' but he wasn't really registering anything more complicated than melting heat and tightness and then, as he folded down over Ray's back, he realized that the whispers of "maintenant," had given way to a steady stream of hissed curses. "Saint-crisse de osti de câlisse de fuck, fuck, ohhh..."

Ben pressed his lips to the back of Ray's neck and went perfectly still, only speaking against his skin. "Je regrette--"

But Ray clenched around him, his head tipping up, and he gasped, "C'est bon, c'est bon," as he began to move, slow and fluid as he'd been in the bar, and Ben tilted his forehead against Ray's shoulder and focused on breathing, on not coming, and let Ray do the work, bracing his feet to keep himself still.

After a moment, he shifted more of his weight onto Ray's back and raised one still-slick hand to Ray's dick. His grasp drew a grunt from Ray, and he started stroking him quickly, at odds with the slower pace Ray was setting. He pressed his mouth to Kowalski's throat again, sucking soft-hard-soft at the thin skin over his pulse point until he could feel the sounds he made as much as hear them, and the motion of his hips went jerky and ragged and Ray was coming, in his hand, under him, around him.

Ben pulled his mouth free then, breathing carefully as Ray's orgasm washed over them both. He slowed as he softened in Ben's hand, slipping back into a slow languid rhythm, fucking himself on Ben so long as he held himself still. Too late for that, though, and Ben slid his hands to Ray's hips, steadying him as he finally, finally, allowed himself to move again, thrusting hard--

"J'regre--"

"C'est bon, bon, Frase--"

--until his toes curled in his boots and the flash-heat of it coiled through his belly and balls and he was coming.

Reality reasserted itself, pulling him away from the low shine of Ray's skin under his unfocused eyes, when Ray made a small helpless noise and collapsed beneath him, leaving them in an awkward tangle of limbs smashed against the seat. Ben carefully extricated himself, tied off the condom and rearranged his clothing more or less decently, and then prodded Kowalski into a more-or-less sitting position.

His blue eyes had lost all focus, and Ben knew he was within a few minutes of passing out. He wiggled pliantly as Ben got his clothes back onto him, even stuck his foot back into his boot, and manhandled him out of the car and around into the passenger seat, where he could buckle him in without sticking him in the wet spot. As an afterthought, he located a towel and wiped that up.

Ray's keys were, miraculously, still in his pocket, and he started up the car and smiled at the purr of the thing, glancing sideways toward Ray. His eyes weren't quite closed, but he wasn't likely to be much help navigating, so Ben turned the car toward his own place. They were halfway there when Ray, sounding more than halfway asleep, muttered, "The game."

Ben shifted in his seat, remembering the night's main attraction for the first time since he'd spotted Ray, and winced at a few of the aches earned in the hard-fought loss. He made only a small neutral noise, but Ray's hand rose from his lap, so that the bandage caught the streetlight glare. "Ma faute. Stupid. J'regrette."

Ben reached across the small space between them, tangling his blunt fingers with Ray's graceful ones, dragging his hand down, shaking his head though he doubted Ray would see. "C'est bon," he whispered, running his thumb along the edge of the gauze. "C'est bon."