Rating: PG
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Thanks: Many thanks to pearl_o and mergatrude for beta
Notes: For the Lie/Lay challenge on ds_flashfiction

Ruffled Feathers

by china_shop

The sky was pale blue. The first rays of sun glimmered over the tops of the buildings.

Ray pulled out his clip-on sunshades and studied the scratched lenses a moment before he attached them to his glasses. "Christ, what a night. Can you believe that Shelley kid?" He snorted and tried not to sound impressed. "She's sixteen. Where the hell'd she learn to fly a helicopter?"

Fraser was gazing across the city towards the rising sun, a light breeze ruffling his hair. "You have to admit, Ray, it was an extraordinarily successful ploy. Her classmates' prom was entirely ruined."

"I guess you can pick up anything if you watch enough action films," sighed Ray, answering his own question. "Or almost anything. Good thing she jumped in time." Ray waved a disgusted hand at the smoking twisted remains of the chopper, then turned to look five floors down to the empty playground below, finally free of limos, ambulances, and black & whites.

"The shower of bleach was a stroke of genius, I thought." Fraser didn't seem particularly troubled by the fact that they were stuck up here, and the only way down was the way they'd come up.

"C'mon." Ray watched from behind his sunglasses while Fraser twirled his hat onto his head, and then led the way back to the elevator access hatch. "The bleach? Yeah. Those tuxes are never gonna be the same. Hey, you want to get something to eat?"

As they rappelled down the elevator cables, side by side, Fraser shook his head. "I should get back. I need to make sure Dief isn't bothering our new recruits."

Ray raised his eyebrows enquiringly, then realized the question was probably hidden by his flipped-up sunglasses. "You got new Mounties?"

"Not exactly." Fraser stopped his descent just in time to leap sideways, hooking his fingers on the bottom of the entrance to the heating duct. He hauled himself up with a grunt, and shuffled forward on hands and knees. Ray followed suit. Scuffles echoed around the dusty tube. "We have a couple of additions to the Consulate staff, and I should ensure they're settling in all right."

"Do I get to meet them?" New Canadians were a double-edged sword: on the one hand, Ray had the hots for a thick-headed unresponsive Canadian, and maybe he could find one who was just as good but interested. On the other hand, chances were good that they'd be interested in Fraser. That would suck. "What're they like?"

"Well, Gertrude is reputedly an excellent lay. Of course, it's early days, so I've seen no evidence of this myself."

Fraser's voice was muffled by the large amount of body and uniform between his mouth and Ray's ears, but the words were unmistakable. Ray stopped dead in his tracks and let his head hang down. It was bleach fumes. It was sleep-deprivation. It was over-exposure to Mounties. He'd finally cracked. "What did you say?"

Fraser was still talking. "Alice is less forthcoming, I'm told, but they're allegedly a good team, so Inspector Thatcher acquired them both."

"A team," said Ray. "Like—" Like what? He couldn't think.

Fraser pried up a vent in front of him, and lowered himself onto a school desk. He looked up at Ray, his face serious, his blue eyes laughing. "Apparently they egg each other on."

"You're yankin' my chain. Stop it. I'm too tired for this shit." Ray jumped down, and landed on his feet. He staggered against the blackboard, getting a couple of square feet of sex ed smeared across his jacket in chalk. "What, so you're telling me Thatcher's turning the Consulate into a bordello, now?"

"Ray!" Fraser sounded shocked, but the corner of his mouth twitched. "Inspector Thatcher merely wishes to provide some small luxuries for the Consulate's guests," he said, reprovingly.

Ray reached around to pat the chalk off his jacket, then took off his glasses altogether so he could rub his tired, frustrated eyes. "Fraser, what the hell are you talking about?"

Fraser shook his head. "It's not important, Ray."

* * *

"Layers, Fraser. Christ in a plastic bucket. They're good layers."

"That's what I said, Ray."

"No, you—" Ray swung his gaze from the pair of lesbian hens to his partner, who was looking impossibly innocent. He narrowed his eyes and said softly, almost like a threat, "Frase, if you can't tell the difference between a good layer and a good lay—"

Fraser's innocent look faded, and his expression sharpened into a challenge. He raised his eyebrows.

Ray swallowed, and shook his head. He couldn't do it. He could not spin Fraser some stupid line. Fuck. "Nothing," he muttered. He took a step back. "Christ, what a fucking night."

He spun on his heels and stomped off, in through the back door of the Consulate, along the corridor, hearing his footsteps echo off the wood paneling, and out the big front door, slamming it hard behind him. And the whole way he was kicking himself for chickening out.

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