Pairing: mostly Fraser/Kowalski
A Different Reunion
Good For the Soul: deleted scene
Fraser had said I love you
Salmon of Doubt
My cover remains in place
What's wrong with you?
Close Your Eyes
In the Dark
First Kiss and Second Kiss
A silly mini-sequel to It's Only Fair (Frannie/Stella, NC-17).
Vecchio waited while Frannie shut the door to the kitchen. "Okay," he said, when she sat down opposite him. "I'm sitting down. What is it?"
She told him.
He leaped to his feet. "You're doing Kowalski's wife?!"
Frannie came over and punched him in the shoulder. "Ex-wife," she corrected. "Calm down."
But Ray couldn't get his head around it. And Frannie, she looked so centred. So happy. "Kowalski's—"
"She's a person in her own right," Frannie pointed out. "Her name is Stella." She smiled softly to herself, and then she hit him again. "And we're not doing. We love each other."
"Right." Ray thought of all the times in Vegas when he'd worried about what kind of trouble his sister was getting herself into. Offering her body to bank robbers had been a possibility. Nagging Fraser into bed? Sure. Not this, though. This hadn't even occurred to him. "So this—"
"Stella." He looked Frannie up and down. "She knocked you up?"
Frannie rolled her eyes, and just then the front door slammed shut. A second later, a small blonde walked into the kitchen brandishing a handful of printed papers. She was classy, wearing a neat grey business suit and gold jewellery. The first word that came to Ray's mind was exquisite.
"Stella!" said Frannie, and hugged her tight.
This was Stella? Ray turned around and stared at the wall a moment, because the sight of that beautiful woman hugging his sister was not something he wanted imprinted on his mental memory. The calendar hadn't been turned over to May yet, so he did that to distract himself, even though it was only the 29th of April.
"Where's your mom?" Stella said, behind him. "I have these fliers for the campaign."
"She had a church meeting," said Frannie. "She'll be back at nine."
Ray settled the calendar into place, and turned back, figuring it was probably safe now. And, yeah, now they were just holding hands. He blinked. "Campaign?"
Stella looked him up and down, coolly assessing. "To promote same-sex marriage." She came over and shook his hand in a firm dry grip that left tingles. "Hi, Ray. I've seen your photo."
Ray nodded, disguising the fact that he was trying to get his breath back. "You take good care of my sister, okay?" was all he could think to say.
It was a blessed distraction when the door shut again, and this time two sets of footsteps tromped in. Fraser and a tall skinny blond guy. Jesus. This was Kowalski? This guy?
They didn't see him at first, just made their greetings to Frannie and Stella, both of them bending down to kiss both the women on the cheek. And then Frannie turned with an extravagant flourish, like Ray was a revolutionary new appliance on display, and crowed, "Surprise!"
Fraser and Kowalski sprang apart. Until then Ray hadn't noticed they'd been right up against each other. Jesus Christ.
"Ray!" Fraser strode forward gladly, arms out-stretched to hug him and, sure, it was great to see the guy, but what the hell was in the Chicago water supply these days? Because he'd have to be blind and carrying a cane not to see that these two—
"Where's Dief?" he said, changing the subject before they'd even started.
Fraser ignored him, and enveloped him in a bear hug, and Ray softened. "Missed you, Benny," he said, clapping his ex-partner on the back.
"Whereas I was barely aware of your absence, Ray," said Fraser.
Ray drew back, stung, and Kowalski laughed. "Don't worry about it. He does sarcasm now."
Ray stared at him. "And you would be?" he said, haughtily, pretending he didn't already know exactly how the land lay.
"Detective Raymond Vecchio, Chicago PD," he said, amused as all get out.
"You were me." It was so weird to think of.
"The one and only. Though, I guess not so much anymore." He reached out a hand, and Ray shook it automatically.
"And you and Benny—?" Ray wasn't sure he wanted it confirmed but he couldn't stop himself from asking.
"Partners, Ray," Fraser intervened.
Ray nodded. "Right. The Mountie and his partner."
"Yeah," smirked Kowalski, slinging an arm around Fraser's shoulders possessively. "Partners. Guess we just got a little looser on the definitions than you did."
Ray narrowed his eyes. "You think this is funny?"
The guy looked around the room, taking in Frannie and Stella and Fraser, and then back at Ray. He grinned. "You don't?"
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"Well, you can walk all you want Fraser, but uh, there's something I wanna tell you, and uh, it's not the easiest thing for me to say, but..."
Fraser was leaning down to listen, his arm resting on the top of the GTO.
Ray glanced at the rear view mirror, and skidded to a verbal halt. In his relief at finding Fraser, he'd actually forgotten Welsh was there. "Tell you later," Ray finished, lamely.
"Tell me what?" said Fraser, and jeez, that bruise on his cheek must really ache.
"Nothing." But Fraser was looking at him with expectation all over his face, and Ray thought Fuck it! It's Christmas. Now or never! If he screwed it up, he could blame it on, hell, on tinsel-poisoning or too much mistletoe or something. "Gimme a minute," he muttered to Welsh, and he got out of the car, his heart pounding so he could barely breathe, and he walked over to where Fraser had stood up and was watching his approach.
Ray beckoned him over to where a tree was casting deep black shadows, and they stood really close together in the dark. Ray's breath was coming in weird uncomfortable jerks, because he was so damned terrified, but there was no going back now, so he put his hand on Fraser's arm, and opened his mouth to—
"What is it, Ray?" said Fraser looking concerned and, beneath that, sort of broken, and totally throwing Ray off his stride.
"That's what I'm trying to tell you," he said, sounding more annoyed than amorous. He leaned his head forward. "I love you, Fraser."
Fraser raised his eyebrows, puzzled, but he just said, "And I you, Ray." Just like he always did, dammit. Like he couldn't tell that this was different. That this time, Ray meant it more than anything.
Ray nodded. "Yeah, but I mean—not symbolically or anything. I really—"
"Ah." Fraser glanced around, presumably to see if anyone was watching. And then he lifted a bruised hand to Ray's cheek. "Not symbolically?"
Ray shook his head, wordlessly. Fraser's hand was hot and a little sweaty. Ray was starting to feel that way himself.
"Not like a brother?" said Fraser, and wow, this wasn't crash and burn. Not by a long shot. Fraser's eyes were fucking shining.
"No, Fraser. Not like a brother," murmured Ray and, before he could stop himself, before he could even think about it, he leaned forward and kissed Fraser. Kissed him hard on the lips.
And Fraser kissed back.
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Commentfic for Estrella30.
"Ray. Ray! RAY!" Fraser caught up with his partner in the hallway. "Where are we going?"
Ray seemed agitated, and didn't slow down. "Don't ask, don't tell, Fraser. You don't wanna know."
Fraser kept pace with him and waited, knowing that Ray in this kind of mood couldn't help but explain. He wasn't disappointed.
"Gonna kick some yahoo in the head." Ray didn't sound the least bit apologetic.
Fraser decided he needed more information before he could remonstrate. And besides, the process of clarifying sometimes helped Ray to calm down. "Yahoo?" he said.
"Yeah, Yahoo." Ray clenched his fists. "I'm gonna— I'm gonna—" He stopped, breathing heavily, facing away from Fraser. "I'm gonna kill those fuckers," he finished grimly.
Fraser was worried. "Ray, look at me. Look at me! What's happened?"
Ray whirled around and grabbed Fraser's uniform, shaking him. "Criminal negligence, Fraser! Criminal fucking negligence is what's happened! Wanton destruction of property! Those assholes!"
"Ray!" Fraser put his hands over Ray's fists and held them still to prevent any damage to the uniform. It was like tethering a cyclone. He repeated, slowly and clearly, "What happened?"
Ray met his eye, and said, "They fucked up Estrella30's email account. She lost 250 fucking emails."
"Oh," said Fraser blankly. Then, "Oh dear." He released Ray's fists, and Ray released the uniform, and Fraser smoothed the two crumpled patches where Ray's hands had been. The fabric was hot from Ray's hands.
"You're not gonna stop me, Fraser," said Ray.
"No, Ray," Fraser agreed. "Although I may have to arrest you afterwards." He hesitated, and lowered his voice conspiratorially. "You might find Diefenbaker to be a willing accomplice."
"Yeah?" Ray looked surprised, though whether by Fraser's lack of intervention or this revelation about Dief, Fraser wasn't certain.
"Oh, yes." Fraser looked down at his wolf, who barked sharply, then back up at Ray. "He takes his email very seriously."
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Many thanks to A for help in untangling the tenses. :-)
Ray pinches the dull green emery board between the ball of his thumb and the tips of his fingers, and thinks What the hell am I doing? It's late, he's dead beat, and he has to get up early tomorrow, and he's doing his nails? Doing them properly, too. It makes no sense.
He takes another couple of swipes at his index finger, then starts on his right hand.
Ever since he gave up hoping Stella'd come back, he's been using nail clippers — quick, easy, good enough for government work. He'd needed life to be easy then. And it hadn't been like he was putting his fingers anywhere soft and hot and delicate anymore, so who cared if the edges were rough, or if the sides split off sometimes? No-one, that's who.
But tonight when he'd been brushing his teeth, he'd suddenly noticed how scrappy his nails had gotten, scarred and coarse with scratchy jagged edges. Without even thinking he'd started rummaging around for the little silver scissors in the bathroom cabinet, spilling all sorts of empty tubes and old soap and crap onto the counter.
He finishes and examines his work. They look respectable now. Safe. He stuffs all the bathroom crap back into the cabinet, and rubs the back of his head sleepily.
As he crawls into bed a couple of minutes later, he wonders whether Fraser, who notices everything, will notice Ray's nails. And if he does, will he understand?
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Fraser had said I love you. What did that mean? Sure, Ray said that stuff all the time. I love you, Fraser. You're such a fucking genius, I could kiss you, Fraser. But that was just Ray being Ray. Being his usual, high-spirited self. Fraser, on the other hand, did not say that stuff — at least, not out of the blue sitting in a cop car at two in the morning on a stakeout. Fraser only said it when Ray said it: I love you, Fraser. And I you, Ray. It didn't mean anything that way. It was just buddies, partners who liked each other. They had a thing, a vibe going. It didn't mean anything.
But Fraser had said I love you, and all of a sudden Ray was wondering whether it did mean something, and whether that something was what Ray really meant when he said it.
All of a sudden, Ray was wondering whether a casual Yeah, me too was maybe not the response Fraser had been hoping for.
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First line commentfic for Pearl_O
Nature baffled him. The more he learned, the less sense it made: seeds that would only germinate in forest fires, insects that ate their mates, salmon swimming upstream to spawn and then die. He continually amassed information, trying to discern some logic, some organizing principle. But the more he knew, the more chaotic it all seemed. Even his own heart — as much a wilderness as the arctic circle — bewildered him, no rhyme or reason explaining its continual steady beat.
Certainly there had been women who'd heated his blood, aroused his interest, but for months now he'd taken more pleasure in Ray's company than that of any member of the fairer sex, and where was the sense in that?
* * *
Fraser looked down at his bagel and lox. "Sometimes I envy salmon."
Ray choked on his coffee. "For what?"
"You envy salmon."
"Although I suppose that it's more of a biological imperative."
"You." Ray punctuated the accusation with a stab of his finger. "Are a freak."
* * *
"Do you— Perhaps—" Fraser cleared his throat nervously and glanced up at the fireworks, before meeting Ray's steady gaze. "Would you consider—?"
"Yeah," said Ray, his eyes shining with certainty.
Their lips met and, dear God, the facts fell into place with a beautiful logic that made Fraser dizzy. Here was reason enough to defy gravity and current. It terrified him, but there was no longer any doubt. Here was love.
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First line commentfic for lynnmonster
"—I'm happy to report that my cover remains in place, and my working relationship with the humans has been preserved in spite of the ... unfortunate ... incident with the washroom plumbing." Fraser knelt for a moment before the Bozahten throne, in accordance with court etiquette, then raised to his feet and settled his hat back on his head. "Our misinformation program has proved highly effective. The humans fully accept the existence of a Canadian horse-mounted law enforcement agency, despite its inherent impracticalities given the widespread use of firearms."
"Very good," said Emperor Frobisher. "Discover all you can about their non-procreative mating customs."
Fraser nodded respectfully. "I've already made some progress in that field," he admitted. "However, I shall pursue it further."
The Emperor inclined his head. "As far as you are able, without risking exposure. And ensure that Count Diefenbaker is kept well-supplied with pastries."
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First line commentfic for daughtershade
"What's wrong with you?" Ray demanded, swerving erratically to the side of the road, dragging up the handbrake and turning the ignition key so the engine cut out. The car was hot and dark, and Fraser was driving him crazy with his weird polite-but-snarky muttering.
"It's not— it's not anything, Ray," said Fraser in his normal, out-loud voice. "It's— I'm distracted."
"Distracted." Ray snorted and reached across into the glove box to get his cigarettes. "What kind of distracted?"
"I, ah, I'm not sure I understand the question. Perhaps you could give me an example."
Ray lit up, rolled down the window, and exhaled a long plume of smoke into the night, waiting to see whether Fraser would play the game. Waiting in vain. "Oh, come on. You know what I mean. Is it cute girl distracted? Is it missing Canada distracted? Is it one of your boots is too tight and you're getting a blister distracted? What?"
"These are very good boots. I haven't had a blister since nineteen—"
"Fraser!" Ray slammed his hand against the steering wheel, maybe a touch more forcefully than the situation warranted.
"Ah." Fraser hesitated for a moment, and then said quietly, "It's— That is, I was thinking about my father."
Fuck! Now Ray felt like a prize moron. "Oh man, I'm sorry."
"No. It's all right."
"I shouldn't yell at you when you've been through all that—"
"Ray, really. I'm fine. It's just that he has a tendency—"
"—shit. Don't want to make you feel bad, you know that—"
"—to interfere at the worst possible times, and give me advice—"
"—Fraser, I'm your friend, you know? You can talk to me—"
"—that, really, just complicates the issue, when I'm trying to—"
"—Maybe we should go and get a drink or something."
"—find the right way to say— You don't make me feel bad."
They both faltered, and looked at each other.
"Well, good," said Ray. "Because, you know, I don't want to."
"You don't," Fraser said firmly. "Quite the reverse."
Ray took another drag on his cigarette, noticing as he sucked air and smoke into his lungs that his hand was trembling. Fuck. Fraser couldn't mean what Ray wanted him to mean, and Ray didn't think he could handle to (best case scenario) have the Let's Just Be Friends talk tonight. Luckily, he'd been partners with the Mountie for long enough that he'd learned a few tricks, namely, how to change the subject. He reviewed the conversation for bait. Didn't take long. "Wait a minute. What do you mean has a tendency?"
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Oh, man, Fraser. I love you like crazy, but you have no idea how crazy you make me. If I have to watch you step out unarmed in front of a dumbfuck with a gun in his shaking hand one more time, I'm gonna end up in Bellevue singing nursery rhymes with my fingers in my ears. You know what I'm talking about here? It's not that I don't trust you. No, it's not about trust. It's about I know this city, I know these people, and they are not polite, and they do not say, "Yes, here, please take my gun, sir, thank you kindly."
I just— I can't take this anymore.
It's going round my head, this whole speech. I want to yell it at him, whisper it to him, brand it into his skin, but my hands are shaking while I slam on the cuffs and shove the perp into the car, and my throat hurts, and Fraser's too busy giving a lecture on Respect for Public Property and the Body is a Temple and Hey Kids, Don't Do Drugs to even listen anyway. So I keep my eyes on the road and my mouth shut, and I think, Why now? I have been here a hundred times, feeling the dread and adrenaline drain away, leaving me cold like maybe Mort should take a knife to me. Why this time does it feel like the last time?
I don't know. Fraser's casting me sideways looks — I can see out of the corner of my eye — like he knows something's up, but there's nothing I can do. If I start to crumble now, I'm going to end up like one of those old buildings in Greece. The Coliseum or the Acropolis. I'm gonna end up ruined.
We take the guy to the station and book him (surprise, surprise — he's got priors for possession), and then it's five-thirty and I say, "Come on, Fraser. I'll take you home."
He throws me a look, because it's Tuesday and most times on Tuesdays we go out — catch a movie, take in a meal, maybe. We went bowling one time. One time he dragged me to the public library. But I can't do that tonight, and maybe he sees that, because he just nods thanks, and follows me down to the parking lot.
The Consulate looks cold and bleak as ever, but I squash down any guilt I have about leaving him there. He's a grown man, and he chooses to live there. It's not like they don't pay him. For the first time I wonder if he stays there on purpose so I'll worry. I wonder if he wants me to nag. ("For Christ's sake, Frase. Get yourself a goddamned apartment.") But that's always my trap — thinking the world revolves around me. I shrug it off. "Be seeing you," I say, as Fraser gets out of the car.
Like always, I resist the urge to pat his arm. His shoulder. His thigh.
He leans back in to say goodnight. "Have a pleasant evening, Ray." His eyes are dark, concerned, but I gun the engine, just a little, and he gets the message and shuts the door.
I go back to my apartment. My Vecchio apartment. I walk in quick, not looking around. I haven't thought this through, but it seems like I don't need to. It's like a plan's been building in the back of my head all along, I just didn't know it. I grab an old duffle bag, and shove some t-shirts, some underwear, a pair of jeans, and my toothbrush into it. Shrug out of my sports jacket and grab the black leather. Check I've got my glasses and my wallet, and I'm out of there. I'm gone, baby.
Eat my dust.
Shouldn't say that. Fraser probably will. Lick it, at least.
I'm on the road before I even know where I'm heading. I figure if I follow my nose, something will unfold. I figure there's a whole big country out here to get lost in, and I won't be the first to just up and disappear.
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"Close your eyes, Ray," says Fraser.
"What? Okay." And Ray does. No questions, no argument. He lets his eyelids fall, and Fraser's breath catches in his throat. He didn't expect such unquestioning obedience.
"Now what?" Ray asks.
"Oh. Ah, now visualise the perimeter of the compound." Fraser's heart is beating uncomfortably loudly. He hopes Ray can't hear it. "What did you see?"
Ray's silent for a minute. He licks his lips. Fraser can't tear his eyes from the wet skin, the gleam of saliva in the low light from the Exit sign. "Uh, there was a stack of oil drums" Ray says. "Red ones with black markings painted on them. Yellow pickup parked by the gate. Illinois plates. Empty security booth at the gate with—" Ray's eyes fly open. "The guard's dead."
Fraser nods, and promptly shelves his inappropriate longings. They're in danger. They have work to do. He can think about Ray's lips later— much later. At his leisure.
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"Fraser, have you ever kissed a guy?" Ray let the words fall into the dark like pebbles into a pool of water, and listened to the ripples. Beside him, Fraser stopped breathing.
They were walking through a clump of trees in the park. Fraser had come down to bond with nature, and Ray had tagged along to make sure Fraser didn't get into any trouble. And to ask him some hard questions.
Out in the open, there were streetlights, but here it was dark. Ray concentrated on not tripping over any exposed roots or dead bodies (this was still Chicago, after all), and waited for Fraser to answer him.
Fraser didn't say anything.
Ray peered through the dark at him, catching a glimpse of pale skin. "Well?"
Fraser cleared his throat. "Yes. That is, I've— yes. You know, Ray, I've been thinking of acquiring a turtle, to keep Diefenbaker company. What do you—?"
Ray stopped and stared into the dark. "Yes, you have kissed a guy?" Even though he'd kind of been expecting it, it was shocking to hear Fraser admit it out loud.
Fraser stopped talking about turtles. "Yeah." He must've stopped walking, too. It sounded like he was standing right in front of Ray.
Ray shifted his weight, and stuck his chin out. "So, uh, what was it like?"
"It, ah— it, well, it—" Fraser took a deep breath. "It defies description, Ray."
Jesus, Ray could feel the heat of Fraser's blush from here. He smiled. "It does, huh? So— okay, so show me."
There was a coughing sound, like Fraser had choked on something. "Ray, are you—?"
Ray took a small step forward, his hands held out in front of him, and took hold of Fraser's— what was it? His arm? "Yeah, Frase. I am. I just wasn't sure if you were. What do you think?"
"I—" Fraser's hot hands closed on Ray's shoulders and drew him near, and his mouth closed on Ray's, stealing his breath. Too soon, he pulled away, and pressed his lips against Ray's ear. "I think 'yes."
And Ray shuddered with desire, and hooked his arm around Fraser's neck, and kissed him again.
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The first time was in an alley, after Mickey Durant shoved Ray into a stack of crates. Fraser came up behind the creep, disarmed him, and twisted his arm so hard the guy yelled for mercy. Backup arrived a second later and took him away, leaving Ray and Fraser alone in the alley.
"Are you all right?" Fraser's voice sounded strained.
Ray got up and shook his shoulders out, rubbed his back. "Yeah. Should've shot him, the asshole."
"I'm sorry. I should have—"
"Don't worry about it." Ray was getting a headache. "Come on. I'll drop you home."
"Yeah, just—" Fraser put a hand on his arm, leaned in and kissed him briefly, warmly on the lips. "I'm glad you're all right." He sounded sort of breathless, like he'd taken himself by surprise, and Ray was, well, mostly just freaked out. He froze, and swallowed, and waited to see what Fraser'd do next, not sure what was happening, and not sure what the hell he wanted to happen.
Fraser's eyes were shut, lashes casting long shadows down his cheeks in the dark alley. Then he opened them and looked away. "Sorry." And he stepped back.
Ray wanted to say It's okay, don't worry about it, but he wasn't sure what that would mean. So he just said, "Come on." And they didn't talk about it.
Ray thought about it a lot, though, and the second time he was—well, not ready, exactly, but semi-prepared. If it happens again, he'd told himself, I'm gonna kiss back. Because this was Fraser, and Ray wouldn't admit it to just anyone, but his world pretty much revolved around Fraser. He didn't really know if he wanted Fraser like that, but if it was what Fraser wanted, Ray was willing to give it a shot. And, after all, if the memory of that brief one-second lip-press could make Ray's mouth dry, could make him go suddenly still and tingly and distracted from everything, then what would a real kiss do to him?
The second time he found out. It was at the end of probably their wildest car chase to date. They'd careened across half the state, leaving a trail of tire marks and disaster behind them, racing after Ned Gordon down highways and over fields, through a wooden fence and a rose garden, and into a fertilizer factory, where Gordon turned too sharply and his Chevy fishtailed and skidded into a pile of shit. Fucking finally. Ray slammed on the brakes and stopped just in time, and then people were running towards them, shouting and waving their arms. The chase was over.
Ray was breathing hard from all the adrenaline and crazy stunt driving and nearly dying half a dozen times. He didn't know why Fraser was so short of breath. They cuffed the guy and called for backup, and then, when all the other people had gone back to work and no one was looking, Fraser dragged Ray into a storage shed and shut the door. It stunk to high heaven, but Ray didn't care because Fraser's mouth was on his, and this time it was a real kiss—Fraser's lips parted and his tongue licked into Ray's mouth like a flame. Ray groaned and sagged against him. Oh yeah. This was exactly what he wanted.
He pushed forward into Fraser's arms, their bodies pressing together like it would take a crowbar to separate them, if anyone would be fool enough to try. Ray had just let himself thread his fingers through Fraser's thick hair when he heard the sirens. Fuck.
Fraser broke off the kiss, shoving Ray back a step, and they stared at each other, panting and wild-eyed. Ray's body was hot and trembling, and he didn't know which way was up or why the hell they were stopping.
"Go," said Fraser, pushing him through the door and closing it, and then Ray was blinking in the sunlight, feeling shaken and dazed like a kid who'd been caught necking behind the bike shed. Why me? he thought, maybe a little resentfully, but then the others drove up and gave Fraser grief for coming out of a shit-stinky shed, and he thought maybe he hadn't got the worst end of the deal after all.
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