home * fandoms * firefly
If you haven't read the warning on the index page, go back and read
it. If you don't, and you don't like what you find here, don't
come crying to me.
|Title: A Day for Rain
Author: Eleanor K.
Fandom: Nero Wolfe
Pairing: Inspector Cramer/Archie Goodwin
Disclaimer: Surely everyone knows that Rex Stout is the genius behind
the overweight genius?
Note: I noticed too late that room 214 in the book had a double bed,
not twins, but I maintain that the management switched beds between
Archie and Cramer's first and second meetings there.
Note the Second: What the heck is Cramer's first name? I've read nearly
twenty of the novels so far, and not once is it ever mentioned.
Note the Third (and last, I promise): If you've only seen the A&E
series you'll have to take my word for it that the scene between Archie
and Cramer in that hotel room was a lot slashier in the book-- in
fact almost everything is slashier in the books, particularly Archie
and Wolfe's relationship. I recommend them highly.
Right, now that the notes are longer than the story...
This time, it all started with a glass of milk. After we'd satisfied
our client, Wolfe was plenty satisfied too, as he should have been
after the second check he got from Mrs. Bruner. That should have done
it for me, too, and normally it would have done. Satisfying clients
and Mr. Wolfe is what I get paid for after all. But even after finding
the gun and wrapping Cramer's murder up for him, that glass of milk
was giving me problems.
So, it was ten in the morning of a rainy Monday that I sat at my desk
in the office and looked at the Cypripedum lawrenceanum hyeanum in
the vase on Wolfe's desk and considered my problem. I'd changed the
water in the vase, peeled off another day on the desk calendar, and
dealt with the mail. For a while my eyes had looked around for something
else to do, but it was no good. Now they'd settled on the vase and
wouldn't be moved, while my mind had settled on Cramer and the goddam
cheek he'd had to swallow his pride like that. It put me in a bad
position, one that just solving a murder case wasn't going to get
me out of.
Not being the type to sit and push my lips in and out when there's
action to be taken, I picked up the phone and called Homicide South
and asked for Inspector Cramer. He didn't sound too unhappy to hear
Twenty minutes later, after a visit to the plant rooms, I was out
the door. It was a safe bet the FBI weren't tailing me this time,
but I was almost as careful as I had been the last time I went to
this particular run-down flea trap of a motel. I guess that makes
a good case that I knew what I was going there to do, and that it
didn't have a thing to do with the bottle of cognac I was carrying.
Wolfe hadn't been pleased about the cognac. It took his stock of the
stuff down to a mere twelve bottles, after giving one up to Lon so
recently, but I insisted.
Also in the bag I carried were two glasses, because this was not the
kind of booze you drink out of a paper cup. And besides that, he'd
brought a glass for me. And that was only milk.
On the way over it was pretty easy to keep my mind off my destination
and the reasons for it, and if it wasn't for the clink of the glasses
against each other I might have forgotten about it all together, which
would have been a relief. As it was, I had to keep wondering why it
had taken so little prompting to get Cramer to meet me. There'd
been a long silence on the other end of the line when I told him where,
so long I thought we might have been cut off, but in the end he just
said, "I'll be there."
I was five minutes late getting there with all my worry about tails,
and he wasn't in the lobby. I walked up the stairs, telling myself
he wouldn't be in 214, that he was probably late too, that someone
else was bound to have taken that room by now, and, finally, that
I should have just sent the goddam bottle and never come here.
He opened the door to my knock and called me Archie, which he doesn't
do often, and nodded to me. It occurred to me that if he was going
to go around calling me Archie like that, maybe I should give his
first name a shot, but I didn't.
"It's a pleasure to see you as always, Inspector," I said lightly
as he closed the door behind me.
"I'll bet," he said. "What did you get me out here for in the middle
of a work day?" A pointed pause as he chewed on his cigar. "Some of
us non-geniuses have murders to solve," he added, but it didn't have
the punch it would have had if he was talking to Wolfe.
I set down the bag on the bed and extracted the bottle and glasses,
setting them on the table. Cramer's eyebrows went up at the sight
of the bottle. He took his hat off and set it on the bed next to the
"What's this?" Cramer asked, though I knew he recognized the label.
I didn't answer, just poured us each a glass and handed him one. I
held up the glass for a toast, which I hadn't planned, but it seemed
like a good idea. He held his up too, eyebrows still standing at attention.
That's when it gripped me that I didn't know what the hell the toast
was going to be, or what I was doing here, or anything. My mouth stayed
shut, and my throat felt gluey. Cramer was still waiting.
Maybe he got something from my eyes because the corner of his mouth
went up a notch, and he clicked his glass against mine. "To a good
working relationship," he said, and I nodded and drank. I needed the
drink by then.
He went over to the window and started a monologue on something or
other while I tried to recover. My palms were damp and the glass felt
slippery against them so I set it down. I'm not used to being caught
without something to say and Cramer bailing me out of it just made
it worse. I would have been better off sending him the bottle. I wished
like anything that it had occurred to me sooner. Wished like anything
I had a smooth exit line in mind, or any exit line at all, because
somehow in the last minute or two this had turned into an incredibly
I tried to convince myself not to make a big deal out of nothing,
but it wasn't working. I looked over at him, still facing the window,
talking about... talking about the case we'd just finished. I started
"--which is not to say I won't take the cognac, Archie," still calling
me by my first name and it was starting to get to me, "but you played
fair with this one, and so did Wolfe, whether he wanted to or not.
And I'll bet he didn't." He grunted, took a drink, and turned to face
me. "Not your fault Hoover's boys weren't guilty of more than B and
E. What I'm trying to say," he said, walking over to stand in front
of me, "is that you don't owe me. I'm betting you bent over backwards
to see that Wolfe played it straight with me. Am I right?"
And there I was, so tongue-tied-stupid I couldn't even speak, so I
just nodded. I guessed that finding that gun qualified, and Wolfe
hadn't had anything to do with that. That was just me.
He smiled, and he was standing so close, and I couldn't back up without
hitting the wall... So close I could feel his body heat, smell his
"Right," he continued. "So what I'm trying to say is that you don't
owe me anything. So if that's what you're here for, to pay me back,
consider me paid."
I didn't say anything, just looked at him and swallowed. Didn't know
what I was there for anymore, if I ever had.
"You listening to me, Archie?" Oh, yeah. I was listening all right.
"We're even. You can take off." I didn't move. "If that's why you're
here," he added. There was a tone in his voice I'd never heard before.
He said I could take off, but he didn't budge. I was standing between
the two twin beds, and the only way out, unless I wanted to climb
over one of them, was through him. I took a step toward him, expecting
him to step back. He didn't.
"Is that why you're here, Archie?"
Maybe, just maybe, if he hadn't said that I would have left. Climbed
over the bed or pushed him out of the way and just walked out. But
I didn't. Maybe it was just the way he said my name, maybe it was
just that extra push; I don't know. That step I'd taken had put me
about an inch away from him. I should have been surprised when he
reached out and smoothed the lapel of my suit jacket between his fingers,
but I wasn't.
Between that and me looking so hard for tails on the way, I can only
assume my subconscious knew what I was up to before I did, which is
bad enough. It was pretty clear that Cramer knew before I did too,
which was worse. I try to keep close tabs on my subconscious, and
I don't like it when it gets the better of me, but it happens. How
the hell did *he* know before I did?
"Well? I'm waiting for an answer. Nothing to say?" His voice was low,
and his hand had stopped moving on my lapel and come to rest over
That's when I gave up. It's no use pretending when the guy you're
pretending to can feel your heart pounding like mine was. "I guess
that's not the whole reason I'm here," I allowed.
"No. I didn't think so." His hand closed on my lapel and pulled. It
didn't take much of a pull to land me up against him, feeling the
line of his body from chest to groin.
My breathing was shallow and quick. His head bent toward me, and I
was praying, actually praying, this wasn't some kind of joke, that
he wouldn't pull back in a second and laugh, push me away, and that
would be it for me, just the end, I may as well move to Antarctica
if that happened... Then his lips touched mine, and I wondered when
he'd gotten rid of the cigar, and then I wasn't thinking at all.
I wrapped my arms around his neck and traced his lips with my tongue,
tasting the sweet spice of his cigar there, and then his mouth opened
under mine and I was tasting him, too.
I was congratulating myself for pulling it together enough to kiss
him properly and was exploring his mouth when one of his hands dropped
to my ass and one of his legs found its way between mine. His thigh
rubbed against my crotch, and I moaned into his mouth.
He broke away, and I saw a grin on his face that nearly made me moan
again, for a less pleasant reason. I was never going to live this
down. Only thing to do was to see to it that he wouldn't be able to
It was a good job there were beds on either side of us. They could
have been bigger, but we managed.
I backed up against the one behind me and fell back, pulling him with
me. He landed with a surprised puff of air, and I went back to kissing
him. He didn't expect it when I flipped him over, but he didn't look
too unhappy about it. Just reached for me and pulled me down to him.
Our lips slid together, and it was hot and wet, and his arms came
around me, and for a second I forgot about making him lose it as much
as I had and just enjoyed it.
His hand stroking my ass brought me back to it, and I managed to get
a hand between our bodies. He was hard. I could feel that through
his pants. I got the buckle undone and found out something I hadn't
known about Inspector Cramer before. He was big. I closed my hand
around him, and he broke off the kiss with a gasp, arching his neck
That was too tempting not to take advantage of, and I fastened my
mouth on his neck. That got the first real sounds out of him; first
a noise like he was trying to say something, and then he was just
moaning as I sucked at his throat and pulled on his cock.
I wanted less clothes between us, but I couldn't stop. Having him
like that, moaning under me, not even able to speak-- I couldn't let
that go. It was going straight to my cock, and when he arched up against
me I was afraid I might come in my pants just from that. I took my
hand off his cock and rested my head on his chest, over his heart.
It was beating just as hard as mine.
"Oh, Christ," he gasped. "Oh, Christ, why'd you stop?"
"Clothes," I said. "We need less of them."
I don't know how we got them off, but most of them landed on the floor
within a minute or so. I was still wearing my undershirt, but he was
still wearing his socks, so we were more or less even.
A second later he had my undershirt off and had me clutching at the
bed spread as he teased a nipple with his teeth and tongue. "God,"
I said, and it came out sounding like a sob. "Jesus... Don't stop..."
That was the best I could do, and even with my memory I'm lucky I
remember saying it at all. No one had ever done that to me before.
He bit down gently, and I pushed up into it, mouth open, feeling the
heat of his mouth and an answering heat in my groin.
I could feel his cock hard against my thigh and tried to roll us over,
to get myself into a position to do something about it, but he was
on top of me now, and he's not a light-weight. I pulled his head away
from my chest, pulled him up to kiss me again, and when it ended there
was a question in his eyes that I didn't know how to answer.
"Anything," I said, my voice hoarse and probably sounding pretty desperate
by then. "Something. Just more, now." The last word was a gasp as
he shifted and settled his cock against mine. I waited, holding my
breath, trying not to say 'please', because sooner or later I'd have
to work with him again, and I didn't think I could do it if he'd heard
me beg for this.
He smiled this slow, lazy smile at me and reached between us to wrap
his hand around both our cocks, spreading the wetness up and down,
up and down... And that was all I could take. I pulled his hand away
and started rubbing against him.
He started moving too, and the feeling of his cock sliding against
mine-- slick, smooth, and so fucking hot-- had me biting my lip to
keep from crying out. Then he was kissing my lip where I was biting
it, and his hand caught my hips, controlling our movement. We were
moving faster, desperate, my cries swallowed down his throat as he
deepened the kiss.
I felt it coming, the tingling spreading from my stomach downwards,
and the kiss was barely that anymore because my mouth wouldn't stop
trying to form words, though I don't know what I was trying to say.
I came hard and out of control, and I got the first, "Oh," out almost
full volume, but the rest was muffled as he grabbed my hair and kissed
me hard, fiercely, his body stiff as he came, too.
He dropped against my chest, breathing heavily, and wrapped an arm
around me. I stroked one hand up and down his back and let it rest
on the back of his neck. Moving was out of the question.
He kissed my chest softly, just a bare brush of lips before laying
his cheek flat against my skin again. Somehow that was more surprising
than anything else that had happened. I never would have expected
it of him.
I don't know how long we lay there, but once we were up it took only
a few minutes to clean up and get back into our clothes. That left
us standing there by the door, fully dressed, staring at each other.
I was as speechless as I had been before. He stepped closer, ran his
thumb over my bottom lip, and I tried not to lean into the touch.
He made some crack about finally figuring out how to shut me up, but
he didn't manage much of a smile.
The rain was still falling outside the window, hitting the glass pane
with little splats. I'd opened it a crack to air the room out, and
the rain scent was seeping in, clearing away the musty smell of the
furniture, but the undertone of sex was still hanging on. I reached
for him, and he stepped into me, arms closing around me under my jacket.
I held onto his trench coat, and we leaned together into that kiss.
After a second he brought a hand up and got a fistful of my hair,
guiding my head down to his shoulder. I didn't object. I felt a little
like I should, but it felt too good, so I stayed put. Stayed in his
arms. Tried not to think too much about what came next, but that didn't
work. I kept thinking about him showing up in Wolfe's office, wondering
whether I could act anything like close to normal. And then there
was the obvious question nagging at me, too. He asked it before I
"Archie," he said, talking into my hair.
"You want to do this again sometime?"
I though about it, but not for too long. "Yeah."
Neither of us said anything else. A few minutes later I was out on
the street, rain running off my umbrella, paper bag with the glasses
in it held to my chest.
* fandoms * firefly