Thanks: Thanks to Sage for beta
Notes: For the Courteous Ray challenge on ds_flashfiction
"Stop sniveling and start yammering, scuzzbucket," Ray said fiercely. "Where'd you get the goods?"
"I'm not sniveling. I got allergies." Jonas honked his oversized nose into Fraser's hanky, and then mournfully eyed his own reflection in the one-way glass of Interview Two. "And I told you—Meeksworth knows a guy. He set it up. I had nothing to do with it, man."
"Knew a guy," Ray corrected him. "Meeksworth's dead."
"He's what? No fucking way." Jonas' shock was about as real as the fur trim on his jacket.
"That's what I'm saying. And we got fingerprints putting you at the scene. So tell me this—" Ray leaned over the table and got right in Jonas' face, jabbing his fingers toward him and keeping his voice low and intense. "—where'd you get the goods, and what were you doing at ten o'clock on Friday night?"
Jonas scratched his neck, leaving a row of long red welts. "I—"
The door opened, interrupting, and Fraser came in carrying three styrafoam cups and his hat. "Coffee, Ray?" he said, cheerfully. "And for you, Mr. Rinksman."
He unburdened himself on the table, completely blind to how Ray was gonna blow a gasket in his direction for breaking his flow.
"This got sugar in it?" asked Jonas. "I need to keep my blood sugar up or I get blackouts."
"I'll give you a blackout," Ray said, clenching his fists, glad there was someone he was allowed to take his fury out on.
"He's exaggerating for dramatic effect," Fraser told Jonas. "I'll get you sugar."
He left the room, and Ray snarled at Jonas to get ready to cough up the hard cheese, and followed hard on Fraser's heels, signaling a uniform to cover the door until he got back from smacking Fraser's lights out. "What are you doing? What the hell are you doing, Fraser? I'm trying to interrogate a scumhead in there, and you come in and make like it's a tea party with the Queen? Are you out of your mind? This is a cop shop. This is a place where the pondscum of humanity all try to weasel out of whatever it is they did, and Jonas Rinksman did it."
Fraser stopped and he and Ray moved out of the flow of human traffic. "I beg your pardon, Ray. I assumed we were taking on our usual 'Good Cop, Bad Cop' roles, and since it's half past three in the afternoon, that is, afternoon tea time, refreshments seemed to be in order."
"No, no, no, no, no," Ray told him. "You're not listening. For you and me, it's afternoon tea time. For Jonas, it's pony-up time. You think he's going to spill his guts if his guts are full of coffee? I don't think so. We have to sweat it out of him. We have to remind him he ain't got the upper hand anymore. Forget the good cop, bad cop routine. I'm talking bad cop, bad cop. Try that."
Fraser's forehead creased in confusion. "But Ray, that's hardly likely to create an environment where suspects feel able to—"
"It's not about feeling, Fraser. It's about wringing his neck till he sings like a canary." Ray folded his arms and considered Fraser. "You know what I think? I think you need to try the bad cop routine. It's a—think of it like a survival skill."
Fraser ran his thumb along his eyebrow. "No, I know, but I'm not really equipped."
Ray moved in. "You can't be polite to these scumbags, Fraser," he insisted. "You got to unleash your inner wildman."
"Ray." Fraser tugged at his collar and stepped closer to the wall to let a maintenance man with a ladder past. "I don't—"
"Look, we'll talk about it later," Ray told him, glancing back along the hall to make sure the uniform was still guarding the room. "For now, just go with it. Follow my lead."
"All right," said Fraser, obviously reluctant.
"Good. Good." Ray clapped Fraser on the shoulder and shepherded him back towards Interview Two. "Come on. We'll crack him like a walnut."
Fraser looked uncomfortable, but so long as he stopped tripping Ray up, Ray didn't care. Welsh had given them 24 hours to nail Jonas, and they were running close to deadline.
ONE HOUR LATER, IN THE BREAKROOM.
Fraser: You know, I don't think it's entirely fair for both of us to be Bad Cop.
Ray: You're probably right, but it don't really matter cos I am bad cop and you are lump of wood cop.
Fraser: Yes, but what I'm saying is, it would be easier for me to acquire the Bad Cop survival skills if you were to simultaneously take on the Good Cop role.
Ray: Can't do it.
Fraser: Why not?
Ray: Because I can't. Because it's not my style. I'm not—I'm not—Where's my motivation?
Fraser: Bad Cop is hardly my style but I'm willing to give it a chip.
Ray: Shot, Fraser. Give it a shot. *sighs* Okay. Okay. Let's take another crack at it. You be bad cop, I'll be good cop. God help the good people of Chicago.
Fraser: You'll be fine, Ray. You have a natural talent for undercover. Just treat the suspects as you'd like to be treated in their position.
Ray: Nah, but it's easy for you—you're a Mountie.
Fraser: Being a Mountie is far from easy, I assure you. Why fully a third of my class at the Depot failed their exams.
Ray: Yeah, but you know what I mean. You're Canadian. You're bred to be polite. It's in your blood.
Fraser: Nonsense. I'm sure you can be polite when you put your mind to it.
Ray: Me? I only open my mouth to switch feet.
Fraser: You could look on it as an experiment in social anthropology.
Ray: I ain't no guinea pig, Fraser.
"Mr. Rinksman, please tell us again for the record where you were on the evening of the 14th." Fraser's hairy eyeball was improving, but his tone was still straight out of Victorian Deportment for Young Gentlemen.
"I told you." Jonas sniffed into Fraser's hanky. "I was watching the game on TV with my buddy, Ginger."
Ray raised his eyebrows at Fraser, and jerked his head encouragingly.
Fraser nodded and stuck his chest out. "And will Ginger corroborate your story?"
Ray sighed. He elbowed Fraser out of the way and sat down at the table, leaned towards Jonas and smiled. Jonas scraped his chair back nervously.
"Hey, listen, buddy," said Ray, "we know what was going on. You got mixed up in some bad shit, Meeksworth put on the squeeze. Maybe threatened your family?" He raised his eyebrows encouragingly, and Jonas started nodding. "What choice did you have, right?"
"Uh-huh," said Jonas.
"So why the fuck don't you stop yanking us around like a chew toy and tell us the straight up—" Ray broke off and pressed his lips together. "I mean. I, uh." He forced another smile. "How 'bout you fill us in on what you know, and then we'll see what we can do to help you outta this mess you've got yourself into. Please."
Jonas shot a glance at Fraser. "I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know anything. I want a lawyer."
"Hey, you can trust us," said Ray, wondering how in hell Fraser managed to sound sincere when he said that kind of thing.
"We'll have someone call the public defender's office," Fraser added.
Ray sprang to his feet and dragged Fraser out the door, slamming it behind them.
Ray: That is not bad cop, Fraser.
Fraser: I know. It's just—Jonas Rinksman will get what he deserves according to the letter of the law, but that doesn't include our ire.
Ray: *shakes his head* Bad cop, Fraser. Come on. I know you got it in you. Just let it out.
Fraser: All right.
The change was incredible. It wasn't Fraser's posture or even what he said, but it was like he'd switched on an electric forcefield. Ray couldn't look away.
"Where were you really on Friday night?" Fraser asked Jonas, and now his voice rang with cold authority.
"I, uh—" Jonas stuttered.
Fraser raised his eyebrows and waited, and it was the chilliest silence Ray'd heard since Stella kicked him out. Jesus Cheeses. It almost had Ray on the mat, ready to confess everything, every impure thought, but he gritted his teeth and held it in. Instead he watched, transfixed, as Fraser ruthlessly extracted a true confession out of Jonas, wrote it down and got Jonas to sign it, three and a half seconds before Jonas' public defender walked in the door.
"Wow," Ray told Fraser, clapping him on the shoulder as they left Jonas and the lawyer to try to scheme Jonas some wiggle room. "That was something. That was—How'd you do that?"
Fraser cracked his neck. "I—Well, I asked myself how I'd approach the interrogation if I were Inspector Thatcher."
BREAKROOM. FRANNIE ENTERS.
Ray: Hey, Frannie, nice belt. Got a skirt to go with that?
Frannie: Screw you, Ray.
Fraser: Ray, you're supposed to be being polite.
Ray: We're talking cops, Fraser. Roles. Not everyday interactions.
Fraser: I dare you to be polite. I bet you.
Ray: For money?
Fraser: Well, no, that would be illegal. For—*stumped* What do you want?
Ray: (*thinks* If only you knew.) Detail my car. The full Mountie service, all the bells and whistles.
Fraser: All right.
Ray: And what do you get if I don't make it?
Fraser: The satisfaction of knowing you tried your best.
Ray: Fraser, that's not how bets go. I lose, I have to give you something. What do you want from me?
Fraser: Ah. *licks lip*
Ray: *raises eyebrows*
Fraser: *clears throat* If you lose you can pay for dinner.
They took their coffee to the bullpen and Ray grabbed the file off his desk and opened it, ready to write his report. Fraser sat in the visitor's chair and fiddled with his hat. Every time Ray looked up, he was shifting in his seat. Crossing his legs. Uncrossing them. Leaning his elbows on his knees. Fidgeting. Something was going on, and Ray had a hunch he knew what it was.
Fraser liked being bad cop. Liked it more than he'd ever admit.
Ray stood up and took a couple of steps into the middle of the room. "Hey, Dewey," he called. "You stink."
"Fuck you, Vecchio," said Dewey without looking up.
Fraser was looking, though. "Ray!"
Ray shrugged and perched himself on the corner of his desk nearest Fraser. He folded his arms and grinned shamelessly at him.
"That was a very poor effort, Ray." Fraser met his gaze. "Less than five minutes since we made our wager."
"Yeah, well." Ray let his head drop and scratched his neck, giving himself a minute to work up the balls. Then he looked up, serious now. "Maybe I wanted to buy you dinner," he said, quiet enough no one else would hear.
Fraser blinked. His gaze darted to Ray's waist—or maybe a little lower—and then up again. "Ah," he said.
"Yeah, ah." Ray's heart was pounding, he could barely breathe, but he kept his fašade of cool together, except for—shit, one of his fingers was twisted up in the hem of his t-shirt. He yanked it free and folded his arms again, balled his sweaty hands so no one watching would catch on. "You gonna let me?"
"Let you?" repeated Fraser, faintly.
Recklessly, Ray slid his foot forward until it nudged Fraser's boot. "Buy you dinner."
"Well, of course," said Fraser, flushing, trying to play it clueless, giving him an out. "Given our agreement, I'd say you're obliged to."
Ray glanced around. No one was looking. He leaned closer and murmured, "Yeah, but when we made that deal, you weren't in full possession of the facts. So, uh, Fraser. Are you going to let me buy you dinner?"
Fraser shifted in his seat again, and Ray couldn't help himself. His eyes did the same quick glance down Fraser had given him earlier. What he glimpsed—a disruption in the Force, he thought, and nearly choked—made him so dizzy that when Fraser spoke, he hardly heard him.
"I'd be honored."
The words hung between them for a second. That was it. That was it. After all this time, Ray had made the move and Fraser hadn't blocked or side-stepped or flustered his way out of it. Fraser had said Yes. Fraser, who was holding his gaze, his eyes dark and filled with intent. Not a hint of good cop there. Nothing but truth.
It took everything Ray had not to reach out and touch. Soon, he told himself. Thirty seconds, a minute tops. He started flipping through his mental rolodex looking for a secure location. While he did, his mouth formed words on autopilot. "Thank you kindly."