Notes: For mergatrude
"Do not talk to me."
"Ray, you did the right thing. If you hadn't—"
"I know that, Fraser." Ray wound his arms tightly around his body and kicked the doorframe. "I know that. I just—I—" He shook his head and turned to walk away into the harsh sunlight.
Muffled noises came from the next room, and Fraser popped his head around the corner. "Please excuse Detective Vecchio. He'll be with you shortly to read you your Miranda rights."
The gangsters squinted at him and growled.
Fraser restrained himself from kicking them in the head, as Ray no doubt would have done if he hadn't been recently bereaved. Instead Fraser glared at them coldly and went outside.
Ray was sitting on the dusty ground with his back to the wall, leaning his arms on his bent knees, watching the GTO burn. He was wearing his sunglasses and smoking a cigarette from the packet he'd confiscated from Mathew Mercer during the arrest.
Fraser sat next to Ray, and put his hat on the ground beside him. This was no time to be an officer of the law. This was the time to be Ray's friend.
They sat in silence for a long time. The fumes from the fire burned Fraser's nostrils, but he didn't flinch.
"I loved that car, Fraser."
"I know, Ray."
"My dad—" Ray stopped and inhaled deeply through the cigarette, then blew a plume of smoke up at the blue sky. "My dad's gonna kill me."
"No. He won't."
Fraser rubbed his fingers in the dirt, and smelled them, idly analysing the composition of the dust. "Ray, I don't know if you know it, but my father's cabin was burned to the ground some years ago, and—"
"Fraser. This was my car."
"I know." Fraser abandoned the story thankfully. Some wounds were best left undisturbed.
Ray sighed and hung his head. Fraser glanced at the back of Ray's neck, where the hair was fine and soft-looking, and then looked at the GTO. He thought about what his grandmother had taught him: that the human brain is only capable of focusing on one sensation at a time. If your foot hurts, Benton, she'd told him, just dig your nails into your palm, and the pain in your feet will fade away. Fraser licked his lips, and came to a decision. "Stand up," he said.
"What?" Ray looked around. "What? Jesus, what is it now?"
Fraser sprang to his feet and gripped Ray's wrist, hauling him upright. Fraser had been holding this in for a long time, in deference to Ray's apparent lack of interest, but now, in light of this tragedy, Ray needed nothing more than a distraction, and Fraser determined to provide it.
"Ray," he said, his voice quavering only a little. "I hope you won't object if I—"
Ray looked sooty and dusty and confused. He took off his glasses and folded them up, and squinted at Fraser, and Fraser decided to seize the day. He put his hands on Ray's shoulders, and leaned in and pressed his mouth to Ray's lips.
Ray jerked back in surprise, shoving Fraser's hands away. "What the hell, Fraser?!"
"I just shot my car, Fraser. That burning hunk-a-junk there is my car."
Fraser blushed painfully. "You're right. I'm sorry. I'm really terribly—" He bent down and picked up his hat, intending to resume his official role, but Ray snatched it from him.
"And you take this opportunity to kiss me? Does this seem like a good time to make a move?"
"Really, Ray. I think it's best if we pretend this never—"
"That's sick and it's twisted. What the hell were you thinking?!"
Fraser was starting to wonder exactly that, but he managed to stammer out the truth. "My—my grandmother—" In a flash, Fraser vividly remembered the most recent knife wound to his leg, and how he'd tried to distract himself from it by digging his fingernails into his palms. That hadn't worked either.
"You were thinking about your grandma, and that gave you an irresistible urge to kiss me?" Ray's eyes darkened dangerously.
"Well, ah, yes. I—"
Ray sliced through the air with the Stetson. "I don't wanna hear it, Fraser. I'm in mourning here. I am fucking grieving, and you—you try and take advantage of that?! You!"
Oh. Oh dear. "I assure you, Ray, nothing was further from my—I was hoping to alleviate your distress."
Ray tilted his head. "By kissing me."
Ray studied him for a moment, but no longer seemed angry. "Freak."
"Ray, may I—?"
"What, Fraser?" Ray's chin came up.
"May I have my hat, please?" Fraser asked meekly.
"I don't think so." Ray twirled the Stetson in question, and looked up again, and ah. Perhaps the ruse had been slow to take effect, but it seemed to have finally worked its magic. Ray stepped closer, and the state of his car seemed to be the furthest thing from his mind.
Fraser swallowed, and tugged at the restrictive collar of his tunic.
Ray observed Fraser's discomfort with apparent calm. "You know this whole situation is your fault, Frase."
"You mean—that is, the situation with your, with your car." Fraser tried to sound firm and businesslike, but his voice had grown inconveniently husky from the smoke and the dust.
"That too." Ray took a step closer. "So you, you were trying to comfort me in my grief, that right?"
"You never done that before."
"I've tried, Ray. When Lieutenant Welsh reprimanded you for flooding the—"
"No, I mean, you never kissed me before." Ray was very close now.
"Ah." Fraser inclined his head, helplessly. "Well, you never shot your car before, Ray."
The lines around Ray's mouth deepened. "That's what it takes, huh."
"Apparently so," breathed Fraser.
"Helluva silver lining," murmured Ray, and kissed him. Fraser was faintly aware of the sound of his Stetson dropping to the ground, but for the moment he couldn't give a damn. This was the culmination of a thousand wistful daydreams, and even the fact that Ray's mouth tasted unpleasantly of tobacco couldn't dull Fraser's pleasure. The relief at no longer holding back, the release of control, the rough rasp of Ray's unshaven chin—all these combined to drive the oxygen from Fraser's lungs, until he was dizzy. Ray wrapped his arms around Fraser's waist, leaving Fraser no option but to reciprocate, which he did willingly. He pulled Ray to him, and kissed him as thoroughly as he knew how.
After a very long time, Fraser's conscience got the better of him, and he dragged his mouth away, and rested his forehead against Ray's. "We should, ah, we should take the criminals back to the station, Ray."
Ray huffed a breathless laugh. "With dispatch," he said. "Yeah, okay. How do you suggest we do that?"
Fraser pulled back to look at him. "Perhaps you could call for backup."
"Yeah, I could do that, except that my phone was in my car."
* * *
"So then he uses the burning wreck of my car to send smoke signals..."