Rating: G
Pairing: Fraser, Kowalski gen
Thanks: Thank to Sageness for beta
Notes: For tx_tart, and the Tease challenge on ds_flashfiction

Incidental

by china_shop


The freezer door clanged shut with them on the wrong side of it while Ray was still yelling threats at Gurdjieff and his scumbag friends. "What's the matter? You afraid to take me on? Yeah, you should be."

"Ray," said Fraser. "You need to conserve your bodyheat."

"What? Oh, right. Yeah." He unclenched his fists and felt around the edges of the door for a way to pry it off its hinges, but it was sealed tight. He gave up and looked around. "Shit."

Fraser took down a carcass from its hook on the ceiling, and brought it over. "You'll need to wear this."

Ray held his hands up to keep him at bay. "Are you crazy? I'm not wearing dead meat. Jesus!" He started pacing.

Fraser frowned. "It's minus four degrees. At least wear my hat."

Ray shrugged and took the Stetson. He never turned down a chance to wear the Stetson—it was like a little piece of Fraser, sitting on his head, and no he wasn't going to think about that any further. "You're pretty calm there, buddy. What's with that? You been stuck in a freezer before?"

"Yes, actually." Fraser paused in the act of arranging the frozen meat around his shoulders. "'You' and I once stopped a crooked meat plant that was slaughtering wild horses and—"

"Yeah," Ray interrupted, "yeah, tell me later. Come on, we gotta get out of here."

"Ray, that door is galvanized steel—"

From the tone of his voice, Fraser wasn't going to give him any good news, so Ray stopped listening. He went over and pounded his fist on the gleaming white door a couple times, before sagging against it hopelessly. "Man, I hate those guys! What I wouldn't give right now to bang the heels of my ruby slippers together and say, 'There's no place like home,' and have—"

"Silver," said Fraser.

Ray spun around and glared at him. "What?"

Fraser was encased in his shiny pink suit of meat-armor, and man that was gross, plus it reminded Ray of his dad, and he didn't want to think about that, either. "Dorothy's slippers were silver, Ray," said Fraser.

"Were not, Fraser. I saw the movie. Stella and me went to that movie when we were in high school." He glanced away, down at the blood-stained floor. "Long time ago."

"Be that as it may," Fraser told him calmly, "the film was based on the book, and in the book Dorothy's slippers were silver."

Ray shoved a hanging carcass, sending it sliding along the overhead railing, clattering against its frozen brothers. "I do not care about the book, Fraser." His hands were freezing—he stuck them in his armpits. "Jeez, how many times have we had this conversation and it always ends the same way! I say movie, you say book, you get all smug and think you're right because of some God-given majesty of the written fucking word. I have had it, Fraser. I'm done. You and me—we just, we've not even speaking the same language."

Fraser's lips tightened into a straight line. "Ray, the source material is, by definition, more accurate, surely."

Ray took off the Stetson, scrubbed his fingers through his hair, and settled the hat back on his head, wanting to howl at the moon or at least get them the fuck out of here. He took a deep breath and let it out slow. It wasn't Fraser he was pissed at, really. "Says who?"

"It's only logical," said Fraser, stiffly.

"Logic, schmogic. The film's got a life of its own."

"But—" Fraser took off his meat coat and came over.

Ray stabbed his finger in the air near Fraser's chest. "You have your cultural reference points, I have mine—and in mine, the slippers are ruby red."

"If you say so—Oh." Fraser stopped suddenly.

"Yeah, I do say so-oh." Ray rubbed his face. "Man it's freezing in here. What?"

Fraser had his ear pressed against the door and an intent expression on his face. "There's an internal release catch," he said, pointing at a red lever beside him on the wall. "I'm just trying to find out whether anyone's guarding the outer door—Ah." His face relaxed.

"What?" said Ray, again, helpless and frustrated.

"Dief," said Fraser, and pulled the lever.

As the door cracked open, Ray could hear Dief's growl and Gurdjieff's high-pitched yell.


The black and whites took Gurdjieff and his henchguys back to the station. Ray and Fraser and the wolf followed in the Goat, tired and bloodied, but triumphant and at least Ray could feel his fingers again now (which, it would've been more useful if he'd got back his manual dexterity before the firefight, but small mercies and it had all turned out okay thanks to the Frisbee powers of the Stetson). He didn't think he'd gotten frostbite on his toes.

So Ray was driving along thinking about maybe becoming a vegetarian after what he'd seen in the meat packing plant (his dad's work had always been spotless, but this was a whole 'nother kettle of gross), when Fraser said, like they were still mid-conversation, "I'm sure they're very becoming."

Ray shot him a look, and turned on his windshield wipers against the rain that was starting up. "What?"

"Your ruby slippers." Fraser ran his thumb around the dented brim of his hat and didn't look at Ray.

Ray snorted. "Oh yeah. Oh yeah—I could've danced all night and still have asked for more in my ruby slippers."

"Ah, well." Fraser cleared his throat. "I believe if you're talking about dancing until the slippers are rags, the slippers would be silk and you'd be one of the seven princesses."

Ray shook his head. "There! You just did it again."

"Did what, Ray?" There was a smile in Fraser's voice.

Ray sneaked an illegal right-hand turn while Fraser was distracted, and said, "You know, the book thing. And that wasn't even the same story! I was quoting My Fair Lady." He glanced at Fraser, whose eyes were glinting, though the rest of his face was innocent. "Hey, did you just call me a princess?"

Fraser raised his eyebrows. "It was an analogy, Ray."

"That's what you say," Ray turned into the precinct parking lot. "You wait till we've booked this guy, you just wait—I'll give you princess analogies out the wazoo!"

Fraser grinned, and let Dief out of the car.

Ray got out, too, and leaned across the roof to look at Fraser. "Yeah, if anyone here belongs in a fairytale, I'm telling you now, it ain't me, Mr. Prince Charming. You just wait."

"All right." Fraser nodded agreeably, and went to hold the back door of the precinct open so Ray could go first.


"Okay," said Ray, once they'd booked Gurdjieff and his crew, and written enough of the report that they could tidy it up tomorrow. "You want to get something to eat?"

Fraser nodded and collect his hat from the top of the filing cabinet.

"Good," said Ray. He jingled his keys in his hand. "Here's what we're gonna do: we're going to get takeout—"

Dief woofed his approval and Fraser gave him a Look.

"—and we're gonna go to the video store," continued Ray, ignoring them, "and we are going to find all of the movies that make up a normal adult's frame of reference, and we are going to educate you."

"All right." Fraser tilted his head. "Thanks, Ray."

"Consider it lessons in the American psyche," said Ray, twirling his hand in the air. "Get inside our heads."

"I'm not wholly ignorant of the cinematic medium, you know," said Fraser, sounding slightly annoyed.

"Yeah, let me guess." Ray stopped and grinned at him. "It's a Wonderful Life."

"Yes, actually. Thirty-two times," Fraser said, serenely. "And The Passion of Joan of Arc."

"We have got a long way to go, my friend." Ray clapped him on the back and drew him out into the twilight. "A long way to go."


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