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Aug. 24th, 2007 @ 08:06 pm CourtShip
Cosmic!Rays AU, Part 20. Um. NC-17. For reals. About time, huh?

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5 | Part 6 | Part 7 | Part 8 | Part 9 | Part 10 | Part 11 | Part 12 | Part 13 | Part 14 | Part 15 | Part 16 | Part 17 | Part 18 | Part 19



It was another couple of hours before Riviera made it back to port. Chewing Frannie out for her unexplained disappearance would have to wait, Ray needed her in the engine room and well out of sight when they stowed Zuko on board. He was damned if he was going to expose her to that creep, prisoner or not. She didn't argue or complain which Ray might have found suspicious if he wasn't so caught up in worrying about her and Kowalski and ignoring the part of his brain that wanted to sit him down and bawl like a baby.

"I don't care how busy you've been," he told her, leaning against the doorway to Frannie's domain. "Just get this ship ready to turn round and get out of here. I'm not having him here one more second than we have to."

"I'm with you there, big brother." Frannie pulled her hair back into a ponytail and twizzled something pink and fluffy around it to hold it in place. She squinted at him. "Are you doing okay?"

Ray considered this for a second. He really didn't know.

"I really don't know. You?"

"I'm good, Ray, honestly. I got past it a long time ago. It was you he really screwed over, stupid cycle path." Frannie gave Ray a quick hug. "Tell Ian we'll be ready in five."

"Thanks."

Ray turned and almost bumped into Ian who was standing stock still staring upwards towards the gym.

"What's with Ray?" he asked.

Ray became aware of the rhythmic pounding and dull, grating shuffle coming from above. Something was getting a hell of a beating.

"Turns out Kowalski knew Zuko in a former life. He sure gets around. Like syphilis."

"What? How?"

"Zuko killed Kowalski's partner. Don't ask him about it, it won't end well."

Ian's eyes widened.

"Zuko is Volpe?"

Ray scowled. Was nothing private on this ship? Were even his bowel movements safe?

"You know about Volpe how?"

"I, erm, I ..." Ian shifted from foot to foot, eyes scouting around for an escape route. "That is, I may have- Um." He shot a glance towards the engine room.

Of course, Ray realized. Thanks, Frannie.

"Yeah, well, never mind that now. You've got three minutes to be in your seat and prepared for take-off."

"Right. Will do. But can you believe that? There's your whole history with Zuko with the thing and the other thing and all of that and now it turns out that Ray has history with him too and his is kind of the same as yours only it's different and then you're both called Ray and you end up on the same ship and it turns out that you are the two that bring him down, it's one whole wild bunch of coincidences after another. You should write it down; it'd make a great-"

"Two minutes."

Ray turned on his heel and left Ian babbling. Either everything in life was a coincidence or nothing was. He couldn't see the middle ground. And he couldn't see why anyone would care either way.

"Kowalski!" he yelled. "We're taking off in two. Sit down or fall over, it's up to you!"

He climbed the ladder to the cockpit and strapped himself into his seat, staring out of the window and seeing a blur of buildings on the far off horizon that may or may not have been Firrenz. He wasn't sorry to be leaving it behind. He flipped the lever to tilt the seat back.

"Thirty seconds," said Ian. "Port Control, please release the locks on COPS23, we are ready to depart."

"Released. Good journey, COPS23, come back soon."

"Let's not and say we did," said Kowalski, sliding into the seat next to Ray.

Ray glanced across at him. Hair was plastered to his forehead with sweat and dark patches stained his t-shirt but the planes of his face seemed less hard, smoother.

"You going to clean up before we get to the CourtShip? The way you smell they're gonna think I'm dropping you off for vagrancy. Or possibly prostitution."

"Ten seconds."

Frannie slipped into the final seat with a gentle "Oof".

"High-class escort. I ain't cheap."

"You're a what?!" Frannie exclaimed.

"Five."

"Your brother wants to buy me."

"Four."

"That's poor business sense. Why pay for what you can get for free?"

"Three."

"Fuck you, Vecchio."

"Two."

"I think that's what he's aiming for."

"One."

"Frannie!"

Frannie stuck her tongue out as the force of the take-off pushed Ray back into his seat. She was lucky he couldn't reach over and clip her round the ear. The blue outside the window blurred to white and then black as they breached the atmosphere.

By the time Ian docked with the CourtShip for the second time that day Ray and Kowalski were both smartly dressed and raring to go. The sooner Zuko was off the ship, the happier everyone would be.

Leaving Ian and Frannie on board, they frog-marched Zuko to the Processing Service Reception which was effectively a short, metal counter set in the wall a little way past the docking bay doors. The pane of glass that separated the internal workings of the Processing Office from the rest of the world was dark.

Ray rapped on it. Nothing happened. Ray did not like this. He found a buzzer at one end of the counter next to a small sign that read 'Please Press For Service.' Ray pressed. Nothing happened.

"See that?" said Ray. "I pressed. There should be service. Where's the damned service?"

"Look at all this trouble," said Zuko. "It's not worth it, Mundo. You'd be so much better off letting me go."

"Yeah, straight through the nearest airlock," muttered Kowalski.

"Shut up, Zuko and stop calling me Mundo."

Ray rapped on the glass and pressed the buzzer at the same time. The glass lit up and a small man in a neat red and blue uniform appeared behind it.

"I'm sorry, sir, Processing Service is closed. Please return during CourtShip-adjusted business hours eight through five except for high days and holidays. Thank you for your enquiry."

"It's only just past five. This won't take long."

"I'm sorry, sir, Processing Service is closed. Please return during CourtShip-adjusted business hours eight through five except for high days and holidays. Thank you for your enquiry."

The man began to flicker. Ray smacked his palm hard against the glass and the hologram steadied.

"I'm sorry, sir, Processing Service is closed. Please-"

"Yes!" snapped Ray. "I get that, you freaking jobsworth. What with having perfect hearing and not being an idiot. What I want to know is what do we do with our prisoner?"

"Officers are advised that non-Processed penal clients are accommodated in the CourtShip at their own risk. Penal clients remain the responsibility of the arresting officer at all times."

Ray was not an impatient man. Okay, sometimes he was an impatient man, but usually he'd at least give patience a try. Unfortunately today his well was dry. He was fairly sure it was impossible to intimidate a hologram but he was going to do his best. He leaned in opposite the dapper little man, nose almost pressed to the glass. He enunciated slowly and clearly filling each word with venom.

"What. Do. We. Do. With. The. Prisoner?"

"Do you wish to leave him here?" chirped the receptionist.

"Yes," said Ray, stretching the 's' out into a hiss. "If it's not too much trouble we would very much like you to lock up this murdering scumbag until business hours," he spat the words, "are resumed."

"You should have said so in the first place, sir. That should provide no difficulty. I shall inform the night manager of your arrival."

It was only Kowalski's hand on the back of Ray's neck that prevented him punching through the glass and strangling the hell out of thin air.

The hologram blinked out and the glass went dark. Before Ray could curse he heard footsteps and turned to see a woman in an identical uniform – except made from material and not photons – walking towards them.

"This need locking up?" she asked, jerking her thumb at Zuko as she came to a standstill.

"Please. Take him off our hands."

"Troublesome?"

"Not as much as he'd like to think," said Kowalski, shoving Zuko front and centre. "He just doesn't fit in with the general ambience of our ship. You know how it is. Four law-abiding citizens, one murderous jerk-off. Throws the whole aura out of whack. Or something."

The night manager raised her eyebrows and smiled.

"That so?" She took a small machine from a pouch attached to her belt and looked at Zuko. "Thumb," she said.

"I want my lawyer," whined Zuko.

"Thumb."

"I demand my lawyer."

"Thumb."

"Did you hear me?" Zuko's voice was getting strident. Ray and Kowalski exchanged exasperated glances. "I want my-"

"Yes," interrupted the night manager. "I heard. Thumb tonight, lawyer tomorrow. Possibly."

Zuko subsided like a pricked balloon and pressed his thumb to the screen. The night manager keyed a few buttons, looked at the screen and then pursed her lips and whistled.

"Wow. Was the phrase 'charges dropped' invented just for you, Zuko? You're quite the man – I've got just the cell for a guy of your stature. Come this way."

She turned and beckoned.

"Mr. Zuko to you," snarled Zuko.

"She can call you whatever the fuck she wants," said Ray, giving him a push to get him walking.

"My vote's on Esmerelda," said Kowalski.

"Really? I saw him more as a Flopsy."

"Dumpling," the night manager's contribution sailed over her shoulder.

A few seconds later she stopped and hauled open a door on the left.

"There ya go. All the comforts of home."

Ray helped a reluctant Zuko into the cell. It was small, about eight feet by four, with a single bed, a pan and a bare strip light. There was no light switch or handle on the inside of the door.

"See you then, Zuko. Sleep tight."

"You can't leave me here. Don't you know who I am?"

"A sad, sad, little man," said Ray stepping out of the room and waving at Zuko's outraged face as the door closed on him and was locked. As soon as he was out of sight a wave of relief washed over Ray. He felt somehow cleaner.

"He'll be fed and watered as per," said the night manager. "No beatings will be administered without the prior permission of the arresting officer, yadda, yadda. Just kidding! Don't look so horrified. You guys want directing to the mess?"

"Nah. We'll go back to the ship. Long day."

"Whatever floats your bizarrely constructed spaceship. He'll be okay here, I promise. Have a good night."

"Thanks. Come on, Kowalski."

They set off back the way they had come.

"Ambience? What the hell was that all about ambience? And auras? I'm banning you from talking to Frannie."

"Hey, Vecchio, did you hear the guy? Penal clients! Maybe these guys are the high-class escorts, whadda you think?"

"I think you're overtired." Ray cuffed Kowalski round the back of the head. "Let's go home."

*

Dinner was a much happier affair than the previous night. Ray noticed Frannie stealing glances at her brother but he was too relieved at having Volpe behind a heavy steel door with no hope of escape to care too much about it. Vecchio was quizzing Ian about his warp gate obsession and there was cake. Things were okay. Things were better than Ray had expected.

"But you can't seriously believe that we can just leap through some sort of hoop in space and appear light years away in some random quadrant."

"Why not? Look. We've already worked out a way to fold space so that we can send radio waves through otherwise it would take hours to get a message from here to, say, Ganymede. A conversation could last for months. Nothing would ever get done. Why shouldn't we be able to do the same thing with matter?"

"Have we not been trying for years?"

"Well, yes."

"Are we any closer to getting there?"

"Um. No."

"But you think that some ancient civilization solved the problem that's been taxing the best human minds for hundreds of years and came up with these warp gates?"

"Yes."

"And then failed to use them for any purpose like, say, coming to visit? Or did they leave the gas on back home and then forget about us when they accidentally exploded their planet?"

"Well ..."

"I'm closing the case, MacDonald." Vecchio leaned back in his chair, hands behind his head, smug smile playing across his lips.

"But ..."

"Closed."

Ray grinned. He hadn't expected to enjoy this job, he'd had his goal and that was it. But there was no way these people weren't going to grow on him. And not in the fungus way either. Frannie, with her mixed-up words and her kind heart and her genius hands. Ian's surprising basketball skills, his non-stop chatter, the little nuggets of truth scattered between the whopping great lies, his hopeless enthusiasm. And then there was Vecchio. Screwed-up, sarcastic Vecchio. Funny, frank Vecchio. With the bluster and the hiding, the confidence and the caring. Yeah, Vecchio had definitely grown on him.

"You okay there, Kowalski?"

Ray started, embarrassed at having been caught staring.

"Sorry. Zoned out. Tired."

"Me too. Think I'm gonna hit the sack. Gotta keep business hours or the world as we know it may come to an end."

Ray snorted.

"Ray, can I have a word?" Frannie blinked anxiously at Vecchio as he stood to go.

"Not now, Frannie. I only got two words I understand right now. 'Bed' and 'sleep'."

"But ..."

"Tomorrow."

Frannie shut her mouth and twisted her fingers together as she watched Vecchio heading off to his cabin.

"Oh, shit," she whispered.

"What's up, Frannie?"

"Oh, nothing." She flapped a hand. "Really. Don't worry about it."

Ray was a simple man. At least when he was tired. He took her at her word.

Five minutes later he was also in his cabin, sitting on the edge of his bed, stripped to his shorts. He was going to get in. Soon. He was going to get in soon.

He got in.

And then out again.

This was weird. It had been a bad day. Ray was tired. Here was a bed for sleeping in. A whole bed. No need to worry about someone else talking or snoring or taking up most of the room. A whole bed to himself. Great. He should probably get back in it then. Ray slid one leg under the covers and immediately pulled it out. He stood up and paced a little but there wasn't much room so it started to make him dizzy. He sat down again.

What was wrong here? Maybe he should ask Vecchio. Ray's hand was on the door almost before he'd had the time to complete the thought. Oh god, he wanted to see Vecchio. He couldn't settle because he was a Vecchio missing. Of the Ray type. His stomach lurched. This was bad. Wasn't it? It wasn't good. At least he didn't think so. Maybe he should ask Vecchio.

And then Ray was out of his cabin and wrenching open the door to Vecchio's only to find him standing right there, hand outstretched as if he was just about to come out. And that made Ray smile and take a step forward, right into Vecchio's personal space, close enough to hear him swallow. And he was going to ask if it was okay, he really was, but then Vecchio's tongue flicked out and Ray couldn't wait any more so he took hold of Vecchio's face and kissed him. And it turned out that Ray didn't need verbal or written permission because Vecchio's mouth opened under his and kissed him back, one hand reaching behind him to swing the door closed, one hand sliding up Ray's bare back, leaving a burning trail in his skin.

Ray backed them towards the bed, pushing Vecchio down so that he half lay, half leant against the wall. He followed without letting go of Vecchio's lips, straddling his thighs, sliding a hand down Vecchio's chest and through the hair that curled there. Soft and warm. So that was one question answered. Vecchio shifted underneath him, pushing his hips up so his dick brushed against Ray's, their hardness mirror images. Ray sucked Vecchio's lower lip into his mouth, biting it lightly and Vecchio's hands grasped Ray's shoulders and his waist. With a swift move he twisted Ray round and onto his back, leaning over him with a wicked smile on his face.

Bending down, he nuzzled into the crook of Ray's neck, his warm breath making Ray shiver, Ray's hand coming up to rest on Vecchio's head, a benediction, following Vecchio as he kissed and licked his way along Ray's collarbone to the sharp notch in the middle. Hands stroked down Ray's sides as Vecchio's mouth mazed across Ray's chest. Neurons fired like tiny balls of lightning across his skin and Ray couldn't stay still. His hands grabbed at whatever they could reach, the sheets, Vecchio's shoulders, his arms. His mouth wouldn't stay shut either. Ray found himself chanting yes, yes, yes, yes as Vecchio trailed further down, tongue circling Ray's navel, teeth nipping at taut muscle.

Vecchio ran his tongue along Ray's belly just where his waistband met his skin. Tease. Ray's eyes rolled in his head and he pushed up into Vecchio's face. Vecchio lifted his head and grinned at him and Ray didn't spare a thought to wonder how that smile could make him even harder, he simply squirmed again and hoped he was looking sexy rather than desperate.

A choked laugh escaped Vecchio.

"Pouty, Kowalski. Did someone remove your coglioni? I'll check."

And then Vecchio's fingers were sliding into Ray's pants and Ray didn't care any more how desperate he looked. He raised his ass to help and the rush of cool air over his dick as it was freed was at the same time a shock and a relief.

"God, Kowalski," said Vecchio, hoarse, kneeling up between Ray's thighs. "No one removed anything, did they?"

"One hundred percent Kowalski."

Vecchio was looking at him as if he was a banquet. Ray's chest expanded sharply and he tucked his hands under his head, pretending more cool than he felt.

"It's been ... I want to ... I don't know if ..."

Ray's heart squeezed. Fuck, it was time he started thinking of something past his own pleasure. He reached down and took one of Vecchio's hands and laid it over his dick.

"It's okay to touch me," he said. "There is no shame here. None."

Vecchio's chest rose and fell quickly and he met Ray's eyes as Ray helped Vecchio's hesitant fingers to curl around Ray's dick.

"That's right. Feels good."

Still guiding, Ray slowly drew Vecchio's hand up and down again. Up and down. Not taking his eyes off Vecchio's face, trying to show him how good it felt. How much he wanted this. Up and down, Vecchio's fingers getting slippery under his. Ray relaxed his grip, let Vecchio take control. He held his breath but there was no need because Vecchio kept right on stroking, thumb cresting over the head of Ray's dick with each upward stroke. Ray couldn't help but push up into Vecchio's hand, tell him he was doing good, better than good, he was doing great, Ray felt great, he felt fantastic, he felt ... empty.

His hands were empty and he wanted them to be full. Vecchio's other hand was rubbing up and down Ray's thigh, sweeping further up and further inside with each stroke. Ray grasped Vecchio's fingertips and pulled, climbing Vecchio's arm with his fingers until he had a firm hold on his elbow and could tug him down beside him. Ray turned his head to face Vecchio and smiled, finding his lips, sliding his hand down Vecchio's side and pushing down Vecchio's shorts. There was a brief, fumbling hiatus while Ray and Vecchio rearranged themselves to their satisfaction and then Vecchio's hand was back around Ray's dick and his other hand was in Ray's hair and he was kissing the life into Ray while his dick was making intimate with Ray's hip.

Ray let his hands drift over Vecchio's ass, pressing him in closer, urging him on. Vecchio was handling Ray's dick as if he'd been doing it for years and the earlier balls of lightning were coalescing to electrify Ray's whole body. If his hair wasn't already spiked it would have stood on end with the power of it – Frannie could plug him into a fuel cell and they'd be good to go. Vecchio dragged his mouth away and rested his cheek against Ray's, breathing ragged.

"Fuck," he gasped, speeding his movements, rhythm fracturing and reforming.

Ray could feel the muscles of Vecchio's ass clenching and unclenching under his hand as he drove his dick along the slippery track between Ray's hip bone and Vecchio's own hand. Ray wondered what it would be like to have that ass clenching around his dick and, already balanced on a knife edge, that thought sent him sliding down the sharp side and he split in two, coming in hard spurts that streaked his belly, warm like blood. Vecchio's hand slowed and slackened, his forehead pressed against Ray's neck now, driving himself to his own completion.

Barely sensible, Ray slid one hand under Vecchio's hip and wriggled it down and behind his balls, stroking the delicate, smooth skin with his fingertips. Vecchio struggled to get his hand out from between their bodies and grabbed at Ray's arm with slick fingers, anchoring himself as he pushed once, twice, three times and shuddered as his orgasm hit him. He collapsed against Ray, lips pressed against his neck, huffing out hot breath through his nose. Ray smiled, loose and relaxed, feeling his heart and Vecchio's slowing to normal. He lifted a hand and circled it round Vecchio's neck, absent-mindedly tracing the faded bruises. Vecchio did not flinch.

Ray knew he would probably regret not cleaning up, but he wasn't ready to move and, judging by Vecchio's heavy, loose limbs, neither was Vecchio.

"You know," he said, finger and thumb gently tugging at Vecchio's earlobe, "it's a good thing we're back in our own cabins."

He felt Vecchio's smile stretch into his neck.

"Yeah, it's for the best," he mumbled.

"Wouldn't want anything to happen."

"Bad for morale."

"That's right."

"See you tomorrow then."

"Mmmm."

Ray drifted off to sleep and did not dream of ice.






Part 21
Current Data
the riviera
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From:slidellra
Date:August 24th, 2007 09:03 pm (UTC)
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Yay sex!

This was bad. Wasn't it? It wasn't good. At least he didn't think so. Maybe he should ask Vecchio.

*hearts*
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 25th, 2007 09:13 am (UTC)
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*beams*

/still drunk oops
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From:spuffyduds
Date:August 24th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
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Esmerelda Flopsy DUMPLING!!!!


HA HA HA HA HA!!!!!
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 25th, 2007 09:14 am (UTC)
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\o/

*wins*
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From:izzybeth
Date:August 25th, 2007 02:48 am (UTC)
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NRRGHHGAH.

yes please. and thank you kindly.

also, love the crap out of this paragraph: there was no way these people weren't going to grow on him. all that. love.

you are AWESOME and i LOVE THIS and yay yay YAY.

[/incoherence]
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 25th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
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YAY! Thank you! Your incoherence makes me happy.
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From:lamentables
Date:August 25th, 2007 07:10 am (UTC)
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\o/

SEX. Hot, hot sex FTW!!!

\o/
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 25th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
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WOO! *twirls you*

I'm so glad - I was worried about my porn-fu there. Alcohol ftw!
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From:ignazwisdom
Date:August 26th, 2007 06:18 am (UTC)
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Your porn-fu is totally on, my friend. That was fantastic.
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:August 26th, 2007 10:05 am (UTC)
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Thank you! Oh, alcohol, I embrace your porning properties.
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From:snoopypez
Date:November 24th, 2007 10:50 am (UTC)
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SO I was going to talk about how awesome that night manager was, you know? But now I'm kinda like, other stuff happened? Other than the REALLY HOT SEX? With the.. and the.. and they..

Yeah, that.
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From:ultracosmicrays
Date:November 24th, 2007 12:16 pm (UTC)
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Heeeeeeeee! and \o/

I broke you!