Notes: For cysefin
It was raining like the end of the world and blowing a gale on top of that, so Ray wasn't thrilled about putting recently arrested, rain-soaked Sinclair Ross into the back of the GTO. He couldn't even lay down the blankets in the trunk, because they were still oily from the cocaine-in-used-car-parts case a couple of weeks back. "He's going to ruin the seats, Fraser! What perp is worth that?"
"The alternative is to wait for a squad car to collect him," said Fraser through the waterfall coming off his hat brim. "And I suspect we'd be waiting some time." The traffic was heavy and it had slowed to a crawl since the downpour started, and there was no point waiting in the car if the idea was to protect the upholstery. Fraser's gaze dropped to Ray's neckline, then scanned the sodden sky like he was hoping for a glimpse of sun.
"And in the meantime, we drown on dry land." Ray sighed deeply and surrendered to the inevitable. "Okay, scumbag, listen up good. Riding in a classic Pontiac GTO is a privilege, not a right. If you so much as drip inside my car, I'm gonna pile on obstruction charges like you wouldn't believe."
"Ray." Fraser tilted his head disapprovingly, sending a torrent of water splashing down his navy great coat.
Ray sighed again. "Fine. Just try not to ruin anything." He unlocked the car and pushed the seat forward. "An art fraudster like you is gonna be respectful of beautiful old objects, right?"
Meanwhile Fraser was calling Dief like he did sometimes, which always made Ray wonder how serious Fraser was about Dief's deafness. Maybe it came and went. Anyway, Dief came haring out of the alley where they'd caught Ross. He barked, splashed through the puddles on the pavement and launched himself into the backseat of the car, where he shook himself thoroughly, spraying the interior with a heavy shower of wolf-scented water. Ray could've cried.
"Jesus!" said Ross. "I can't get in there with that dog! I got allergies."
He started struggling again, and since it'd take Ray nearly five minutes to grab hold of his wet, slippery arms long enough to get cuffs on him, Ray growled and had to force himself not to pop him one.
"He's not a dog, actually," Fraser told Ross. "He's a wo—"
"Frase!" Ray interrupted. He did not want to deal with a hysterical perp while a river of rainwater ran down the back of his neck. He gave Ross his best death glare and said, "His name's Diefenbaker and he's Canadian, so he's polite. He won't hurt you if you do exactly what I tell you."
"But I'm allergic," wailed Ross. "Nasal congestion makes me snore and if you put me in with that dog then my nose is gonna get blocked up, and then you'll stick me in a cell with a bunch of tough guys who'll kill me if I keep them awake all night."
"You should've thought of that before you ripped off that retirement home's art collection," said Ray and shoved him into the car.
"Dammit!" said Ross.
Fraser frowned. "Ray."
"Hey, I'm just doing my job, Fraser." Ray held up his hands and went around to the driver's side. "Feel free to give him antihistamines if you got any." He twitched his shoulders a couple of times to try and get the worst of the water off, and then slid into the car and yanked the door shut before the Great Flood could follow him in.
Fraser somehow managed to sneak in without too many raindrops catching a ride, and then he lowered the window just enough that he could pour the water collected on his hat brim out the gap.
"Once we've taken him in, I'm thinking we should stop by a lumber yard and get some supplies." Ray flicked on the turn signal and looked over his shoulder for a gap in the traffic. Visibility was about twelve inches.
"Supplies?" asked Fraser. There was a drip forming on the end of his nose.
"For our ark." Ray saw a gap and went for it. "Another couple of hours of this and we're going to need one."
"Ah." Fraser smiled down at his hat. "It might take us a while to round up all the necessary animals."
In the backseat, Ross sneezed. "You can have this one," he muttered.
Fraser dug into his coat, pulled out his hankie and handed it back, and Ross honked into it like a goose. "There's no question we'd take Diefenbaker with us. He has very good genes."
Dief woofed and lay down on the seat.
"Thank you," said Fraser, "but I doubt there'll be much necessity for that."
The station, once they got there, was crammed full of drenched perps, soggy cops and the mayhem caused by a bad-tempered guy delivering the new assigned parking stickers for the precinct lot. Ray dragged Fraser and Ross through the steamy madness to Processing, and then Dief trotted off to make nice with the receptionist in Human Resources who always had Twinkies in her desk drawer, and Ray and Fraser went up to make an appearance in the bullpen before they clocked out for the day.
No one was out on the streets because of the weather, so the bullpen was teeming with Duck Boys and weirdass perps and witnesses. There was even a damp magician wearing a top hat and carrying a live dove under his arm.
"Streptopelia risoria?" Fraser asked the magician.
He shrugged. "Her name's Ophelia."
Ray hung up his coat on the overcrowded coat stand, sat at his desk and started shuffling papers in an attempt to look busy for the next ten minutes until five o'clock rolled along. He dripped on the Munchausen case file and wiped it off with his hand, and then looked up to see what Fraser was doing.
Which was, Fraser was watching him with a weird, serious look in his eye.
Ray raised his eyebrows inquisitively, and Fraser blinked like he'd zoned out for a spell, and then took the visitor's chair. "You know, Ray, it so happens I've had some experience boat-building. I spent the summer before I went to Depot working in a boatyard in Paulatuk."
Ray blinked at him for a second, wondering where the hell that'd come from, before he remembered the ark joke. He winked at Fraser. "I guess that's where you learned all those sea shanties, huh?"
Fraser nodded. "It was also the summer I fell in love for the first time."
"Uh, cool." Ray's stomach dropped out. Fraser was talking about personal stuff. Not just day to day feelings, but real meaningful life things. Ray was all ears, but he tried to keep it casual so as not to scare the guy off. "What was— how'd that work out?"
It was near enough to five o'clock that it made no difference. Ray stood up and grabbed a squishy handful of coat and ushered Fraser through the press of people to the door.
"Well, it didn't really come to anything," said Fraser, once they were in the relative quiet of the hallway. "I was young and idealistic, headed for Depot and a career in law enforcement."
Ray nodded along to show he was listening.
"And he was a Russian caviar smuggler called Serge who was struggling to support his elderly parents and three sisters."
"Huh," said Ray blankly. On instinct he grabbed Fraser and ducked into the men's room, and then pushed him into a stall and shut the door. Then the penny dropped. "Fraser, did you just— are you coming out to me?"
Fraser blinked. "Not at all, Ray."
The tightness in Ray's chest gave a weird twist.
"That is, I thought you knew." Fraser looked calm and innocent, and wow. Just wow.
"How would I know, Fraser? It's not like there was a newsletter! It's not in your file!" He held up his hand to stop whatever words were gathering on Fraser's lips. "Sorry, sorry. Just— how would I know?"
"Well, I haven't exactly been at pains to hide it, Ray." Fraser tugged on his ear, thoughtfully. "Naturally, I assumed someone with your facility at reading body language would have—"
"Okay," Ray interrupted. "Okay, sure, but you know, with you it's hard to tell what's Canadian body language dialect and what's — other stuff." He waved his hands up and down the damp red uniform. "Sometimes you're like a big red life-sized Mountie piņata — who knows what's going on in there?"
"Piņatas usually contain candy," Fraser pointed out.
Ray snorted. "Yeah, well. We can hope, but who can tell for sure?" He glanced down and saw the john, and was suddenly painfully aware they were having this conversation in a bathroom stall. He swallowed. "Point is I got no problem with it—"
"Thank you," said Fraser gravely.
"—I just didn't know."
"Ah." Fraser ducked his head and peeked at Ray through his eyelashes. "So am I to take it you're also unaware of my affection for you?"
"Affection," repeated Ray. "You— We're—"
Fraser licked his lip. "Infatuation, if you will."
"Affection." Ray was stuck like a broken record.
Fraser studied him a moment, and then made finger quotes in the air. "Crush."
Apparently Ray had needed it in words of one syllable because that broke through his bewilderment like a baseball through a window. Crush? "You— you— you—" said Ray. "Me?!"
Disappointment flickered across Fraser's face and vanished. "Never mind," he said. "Best we forget we ever had this exchange."
"Least said, soonest mended," he added heartily, and opened the stall door.
"Right," said Ray, and followed him out, going to wash his hands on autopilot even though they weren't dirty. He felt dumb, like his brain couldn't assimilate all this new, terrifying, downright freaky information. "Wait a minute."
Fraser was waiting by the door, looking like nothing had happened.
Ray dragged him back into the stall and latched the door. "You. Want me," he said, carefully.
Fraser straightened his shoulders. "I'd really prefer to let the matter drop."
Ray waved that aside. "And you're telling me today, why?"
Fraser stared at him steadily for a moment, then sighed and leaned back against the door of the stall. "An unfortunate convergence of events, as it turns out."
"Such as?" Ray had no idea what a convergence was but he wasn't going to let Fraser distract him with vocabulary. Not this time. Something was building inside his gut, and he wasn't sure yet if it was fear or excitement, but it was big.
"Well," said Fraser. "Your suggestion that we build an ark naturally brought to mind both Serge—"
"Your Russian smuggler childhood sweetheart," said Ray.
Fraser winced a little, but agreed. "Yes. As well as our own recent reconciliation on the replica of the Bounty."
"The boat thing." Ray snapped his fingers. "Hey, I thought you were getting up close and personal with the Ice Queen."
"She's my superior officer." Fraser tilted his head. "And that's what I wanted you to think."
Ray's mind reeled. "And were there any other, uh, factors in this converge-a-whatsit of yours?"
Fraser's gaze flicked to his neck for a second. "Your clothes are wet through."
"I know, I know," said Ray impatiently, "but we're in the middle of something here!"
"And, well, I experienced a powerful urge to dry you," said Fraser, his voice dropping away so Ray almost didn't catch the words.
"To dry me?" He swallowed.
"With a towel."
Ray stared at him. That had not been what he'd expected. Towels weren't the first thing that came to mind when Ray thought about gay sex. They weren't the second, third or fourth things, either. That sounded — that didn't just sound like lust. It sounded serious. Ray's mouth went dry.
Fraser was blushing. "Really, Ray, I'd appreciate it if we could just forget this ever—"
Ray put his hand on Fraser's chest. "I only got two things to say to you."
Fraser inhaled sharply and stood to attention, radiating nervousness like he expected the sky to come crashing down. "And they are?"
"One." Ray tried to smile but he couldn't. This was too big. "Come here."
Fraser jumped, startled as hell. "Ray, you don't have to—"
"Hey, I'll try anything, and what kind of moron would I have to be to have a shot at trying this and not take it?" The words spilled out of him, but all Ray could see was Fraser's mouth, his soft, full lips like an invitation.
"It's extremely unkind of you to—" said Fraser, so Ray kissed him.
It was a little awkward. At first Ray wasn't even sure if Fraser was pulling him closer or pushing him away, but then Ray threaded his fingers into Fraser's thick, miraculously dry hair and held him still, and then he could focus on doing what he did best, and once they'd settled down it was — incredible. Wow.
Ray stepped back, stunned and breathless. They stared at each other.
"Not bad," said Ray, trying for cool, but when he tried to run his hand through his own hair, he missed and staggered back into the metal partition with a clang. "Could use some practice, but not, uh, bad."
And then Fraser was right up against him, pressing him back and kissing him again, and this time they found their feet quicker, they were in synch, and it was great, it was better than great.
"Oh God," said Fraser, and pressed his cheek to the side of Ray's head.
"Yeah," said Ray, gathering him in closer. He'd always thought of Fraser as big and solid, but in his arms, he was human and vulnerable. Just right. "We gotta stop meeting like this. I mean, here. If we're gonna do this, which please tell me we are."
Fraser sucked on his earlobe, and Ray nearly groaned out loud and had to push Fraser away before they lost all sense of where the fuck they were.
Fraser rubbed his hand over his face and then looked at Ray. "Was there something else you had to tell me?"
Ray was wildly distracted by how Fraser's lips were red and shiny from kissing, but he managed to gather his remaining braincells. "Uh, yeah. Number two." He reached out and touched Fraser's neck, just because he could. "Buy me dinner. I don't know what you're expecting, Fraser, but I ain't going to let you towel me off before we even have a real date."
Either Fraser wasn't listening or he was struck speechless by that. He just gawped at Ray. Or, more specifically, at Ray's mouth.
"Come on, let's get out of here." Ray felt suddenly itchy and hot. This place was too small and too public, and Fraser was too tempting. "You should talk to Frannie," he told Fraser, pushing him out into the bathroom. "I bet she could suggest somewhere cozy and candlelit we could go. Somewhere with nice music playing and those little plates of seafood or something. She'd—"
"Ray?" Fraser had found his voice.
Fraser pushed him towards the bathroom door. "Shut up."
Ray laughed. "Oh, you're just a bundle of surprises today, ain'tcha, Frase?" He stopped him before they stepped back into the madness of the station corridor, and pinned him against the wall, serious. "I didn't know, okay? If I'd known I never would've kept you hanging, I swear."
Fraser swallowed hard and nodded.
"And I'm not gonna run out on you or hate you or cheat on you or anything bad," Ray told him firmly, "but I need a little time to line up my marbles, okay? A little breathing space."
"Understood." Fraser started to move to the door, but Ray held him there.
"Great. Good." He closed his eyes, took a deep breath and let it out real slow, letting his nerves settle and his excitement build. Then he opened his eyes again and all he could see was Fraser watching him, warmth and desire plain on his face like the sun had come out. "Okay," said Ray. "Okay, I'm good to go."
Fraser looked at him incredulously. "That was your breathing space?"
Ray grinned. "What can I say? I'm a quick study."
He yanked the door open and they went into the crowded hallway. A dove flew overhead with a twig in its beak.
"That's gotta be a good sign," said Ray, pointing to where it'd landed on the water fountain.
"Ray, you realize that Noah's Ark isn't exactly a love story." Fraser sounded perplexed and amused, like he'd been thrown completely off balance but, against all odds, he kinda liked it.
"Sure it is, Fraser." Ray clapped his shoulder. "Sure it is. Noah and Mrs. Noah take a Mediterranean cruise with their zoo and God throws them a rainbow." He jogged down the stairs and grinned back at Fraser who was a few steps behind. "Get it?"
The corner of Fraser's mouth turned up. "I think so."
"There's very few situations in this life that a rainbow don't make it better. Remember that." There were more people down here, everyone in coats with water streaming off them.
"I will," said Fraser. They made it to the front door.
Outside, the rain was like a wall of water, splooshing off the building and pouring down the steps. It was crazy, but it was the only way to get home. Ray met Fraser's eye. "You ready for this?"
Fraser nodded gamely, and they pushed open the glass doors together and walked out into the deluge.