Notes: For the_antichris
"Dad, there's something I have to tell you. Now, I know this isn't the kind of thing we normally talk about—" Fraser pushed past the spare uniform hanging in his closet, and into his father's office. "—but it does affect you and, well, your accommodations here. Ray and I—"
He broke off, positively pole-axed, and surveyed the scene before him.
His father's office was crowded with people, many of them women, all middle-aged or older. A disproportionate number of them wore homespun sweaters, and they were in the act of passing around pamphlets and earnestly discussing the content.
A gray-haired couple glanced up at Fraser and then bestowed matching grins on him with disturbing intensity.
Fraser's father, sitting stoutly on a chair near the closet door with his arms folded and an untouched pamphlet on his knee, looked up grimly and said, "This is all your fault, Benton."
Fraser raised his eyebrows. "My fault?"
Bob Fraser shook his head. "Tiberius got wind of your shenanigans with the Yank, and insisted I host a meeting here. I tried to explain that—"
Fraser frowned. His father already knew about Ray and him? "Meeting?"
The female half of the blatantly eavesdropping gray-haired couple nodded enthusiastically. "Welcome to the Post Mortem chapter of PFLAG," she said. "Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays." She gestured toward a rainbow flag that was draped artistically over the RCMP logo. "Never thought you'd see that here, did you?"
"No, ma'am," he said automatically, and he took a step backward, beckoning his father to follow. "All these—" He gestured at the gathering.
"Deceased," said Bob gloomily, waving the pamphlet at them.
"—people know that I—?" Fraser felt slightly queasy at the thought. It wasn't that they seemed antagonistic or even concerned by the news, but the idea of so many people knowing his intimate business didn't bear contemplating. "That Ray and I—?"
"'Fraid so, son. No rest for the wicked and no privacy for the homosexual, apparently." He pursed his lips, and added, "Can't say I share their interest in whatever it is you two choose to get up to—"
He trailed off, and the two of them cracked their necks in discomfited unison.
"Well, I suppose I—" Fraser cleared his throat and edged toward the door. "—should be getting—"
"Yoo-hoo!" called a gnome-like old lady from across the room. "You must be Benton!"
Fraser forced a polite smile—which by necessity expanded to include all the others who had overheard and were now staring at him curiously—and waved.
"You see what I have to put up with?" Bob muttered. "I could wring Tiberius' neck!"
"He's not here?" Fraser cast his gaze around the room again, carefully avoiding making eye contact.
"No," said Bob. "He claims he got held up. Something to do with a slug infestation."
Fraser scratched his eyebrow. "I see. Well, I—I'm truly sorry, Dad. I had no idea."
"Neither did I, son. Neither did I." The general hubbub of conversation swelled, and Bob put his hands in his pockets and rocked back on his heels. "Not that you weren't a strange boy," he continued, "but I always put that down to the isolation."
Fraser stared at him, confused, then shook himself out of it. "Anyway," he said. "I just dropped by to say I'm moving out."
Bob brightened visibly. "Is that so? Where—?"
Fraser straightened his spine. "And you're not invited."
Bob blinked for a moment, his pale blue eyes no less sharp than they had been in life. "You're flying the nest, son, is that it? So much for filial gratitude."
"That's right," said Fraser, feeling brutish but determined not to back down. "I'm moving in with Ray. Alone. Together."
His father cleared his throat. "Well," he said, gruffly, "just don't let him push you around, son. You know what those Yanks are like. Think they own the place."
Fraser didn't bother to correct him. "Thanks, Dad. I'll—that is, I'll still be here during the day."
Bob turned back to the assembled gathering and shrugged. "It will give me more time to work on my memoirs," he said, adding under his breath, "if I can ever get rid of this lot."
"Indeed," said Fraser, feeling increasingly desperate to escape. "Well, I'll just—"
"—throw me to the wolves," his father finished for him.
For a moment, Fraser listened in silence to the kind-faced throng. "They're hardly wild animals."
"You haven't tasted their baking." Bob snorted. "They're excessively fond of bran."
"Really?" said Fraser, heartily. "Well, that'll keep you regular."
"I'm dead," Bob reminded Fraser.
"I'm aware of that." Fraser backed toward the door again. "Bye, Dad. Give my, ah, my regards to Uncle Tiberius when you talk to him."
Bob huffed grouchily, and stomped back to his place in the circle of people, where he held up the pamphlet under the guise of reading it, and hid behind it with all the subtlety of a moose.
Fraser took one last look around at the crowd of gay-friendly ghosts. "Thank you kindly," he said to the room at large, and made his escape, grateful that he hadn't been drawn into a conversation on the more private details of his relationship.
Ah well, at least his father had company in his post mortem years. Fraser packed the last of his personal effects into his trunk, and went to call Ray to come and take him home.