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WARNING: 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

Rating: NC-17

Email: emungere@gmail.com

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 from me.

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 bag.

"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 bad idea.

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 listening.

"--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 ever-present cigar.

"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 my heart.

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 either.

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 back.

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 could.

"Archie," he said, talking into my hair.

"Yeah?"

"You want to do this again sometime?"

I though about it, but not for too long. "Yeah."

"Good."

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.

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..end..
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