Five Times Ray Got Frasered
Author: Dragonfly Muse
Fandom: Due South
Rating: PG14 for bad words and implied m/m snugglies.
Spoilers: General for the series.
Summary: The title pretty much says it.
Disclaimer: Not mine - just playing with the pretty men! Don’t sue me! I have nothing you want.
Dedication: To kristiinthedark
at the request of your friend, Harmony! I hope you enjoyed the story!
Immense thanks to my wonderful Beta fishsanwitt
for her speedy work in spite of dealing with theatre woe, and to primroseburrows
for answering my call for help regarding RayK's voice. You ladies rock.
1. The First Sunday of the Month
When Ray took the gig of being Vecchio, he knew there were things he was gonna have to do that he didn’t want to do, you know, to make the cover real
. With any undercover, compromises had to be made: Ray had to trade off parts of himself to make his Vecchio believable, because hell, if Ray fucked it up, both he and the Italian Stallion in Vegas would most likely wind up with bullets in their heads, and that? Badness. Beyond
badness. Infinity badness. End of story.
But no way was Ray not still gonna be Ray
. There were things he would change, to keep the Vecchio cover solid, but for what passed for his sanity, he needed to keep a bit of Kowalski around and kicking.
Like, thing number one: he was NOT living with the Vecchios. He might’ve agreed to step into another man’s life, but no way in hell was he sleeping in his bed, or having his Ma wash Ray’s boxers. And there had been no getting around not calling her ‘Ma’; he was her substitute Raimundo
and a weepy Italian mother was not someone you could negotiate with. So boundary the first was established, and Ray happily stayed put in his little apartment, with his turtle and his TV and the kick-ass Arthur Murray foot guides painted on the floor.
And speaking of his boxers – as in those things he was not letting his new Ma launder – they were staying the way they were: soft and cotton and with more than the required number of holes a body needed in order to wear them. Everything Vecchio had left behind in his closet was made of silk or cashmere or some other girly fabric that Ray would never be caught dead wearing…
Well, scratch that. If he was
dead, then, yeah, Stella’d probably have his corpse ass wearing the tux from their wedding when they planted him in the ground. But as long as he was alive and kicking and had a decent pair of jeans to wear with his Bulls t-shirt, that Armani shit was staying in the closet.
The Riv, though… Yeah, that was something he coulda gotten used to, if it weren’t for that unfortunate blowing-it-up-and-drowning-it-in-the-lak
e business. Tough break, that.
It was Fraser – one of the non-negotiable elements of the cover – who’d reminded him, on an annoyingly regular basis, of Vecchio’s closeness to his family, and that if the cover was to be successful, Ray would have to leave his Ramones t-shirt crumpled on his Arthur Murray foot-painted floor and work at making them part of this borrowed life.
“It’s only supper, Ray,” Fraser intoned, smoothing the front of his already perfect blue plaid button down. Diefenbaker whuffled in agreement and nudged Fraser with his nose, knowing that the sooner he got out of the non-Riviera pool car, the sooner he’d be surrounded by children and piles of poorly guarded food. “It’s been my experience that families often gather regularly to share a meal and…”
“I am familiar with the Sunday dinner routine, Fraser.” Ray shoved the gear into ‘park’ and yanked the key out of the ignition. “The Sunday dinner and I are well acquainted and past experience has shown me that no good can come from a table full of relatives – which in this case are not even my relatives – asking you stupid and very personal questions while scamming the last crescent roll from your plate, all with the supposed reason
of ‘catching up’ with you!”
Fraser blinked. “I’m sorry Ray, but I don’t see why this is cause for such…” He hunted for the right word. “Agitation?”
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow. “Fear?”
Ray pushed the car door open with a snort. “I haven’t known you long, but so far, that is the stupidest
thing I ever heard come outta your mouth.” Slamming the dented Chevy’s door hard behind him, he started stalking towards the house. After a few steps, he realized he wasn’t being followed. Turning back, he saw Fraser and Dief standing by the car. He flung his arms out to his sides. “You’re the one who talked me into this! You comin’ or not?”
With a nod to the wolf, Fraser made his way towards the Vecchios’ door. As they passed him, Ray swore under his breath, before following behind. “This is a job
, Fraser! Nothing more. I don’t owe these people anything.”
Fraser paused on the steps, head slowly turning until he was looking directly at Ray. His eyes had grown huge, his mouth hanging slightly open, confusion plain on his face, appearing for all the world like he’d just been sucker-punched by the Queen. A cold flare of guilt bloomed in the pit of Ray’s gut, and he realized this
was what Vecchio had referred to in his letter about the ‘Big-Eyed Mountie Look’. Holding his ground, he waited for whatever lecture Fraser was about to deliver.
But, any reply Fraser might’ve had died on his lips when the door flew open and Maria’s youngest wrapped herself around the Mountie’s leg while her brother romped with Diefenbaker in the alcove. Voices called out greetings and hands guided Fraser inside, Ray just making it past the threshold as Mrs. Vecchio said “No, Caro, don’t worry about your boots. You’re among family…”+
“This makes no sense, Ray.”
Ray poured the rest of the melted butter over the popcorn, helping himself to a greasy handful before shoving the bowl into Fraser’s lap. “What’s to make sense of? It’s a movie. You just sit in the dark and eat popcorn and watch. Uncomplicatedness. No thinking and no sensing about it.”
“I have watched movies before, Ray,” Fraser replied, frowning at the congealed mess in front of him. With something akin to disgust, he picked through the drowned kernels, finding a few untainted pieces around the periphery of the bowl. “But I’ve never been so… confounded, I suppose… by a film. This is the most inaccurate representation of police procedure I have ever witnessed…”
Ray groaned, elbowing Fraser, hard, in the arm. Popcorn sailed onto the floor, where the ever-vigilant wolf pounced upon the treat. “This is a comedy, you idiot, not a training video. You watch the hijinks and cackle along, until the big action sequence at the end. It’s Dreyfus and Estevez and some hot brunette chick and oh my GOD why am I still explaining this to you?!”
“I’m sorry Ray,” Fraser mumbled. He settled farther back into the squishy cushions of Ray’s sofa, nibbling at his remaining morsels of unmolested popcorn. Ray sighed and popped the top on another bottle of cola. Both sat in silence for some time, staring at the TV screen in the semi-dark of Ray’s apartment, before Fraser ventured to speak.
“As this is a comedy – a satire
, if you will – playing out in the context of police work and police men, you are sure that none of what is presented is meant to be representative of real law enforcement protocols.”
Ray gritted his teeth.
“And as such, any similarities between what we see and actual police procedures are purely coincidental?”
“Ah, indeed.” Ray downed another mouthful of cola, waiting.
Fraser cleared his throat. “So, it follows then…”DAMMIT!
“…one should not take anything from this and assume it is relevant or appropriate for police work.”
“That’s right, Fraser.”
Moving the now-empty popcorn bowl onto the table, Fraser sighed. “That being so, then, I will never attempt to redirect your attention to a case by referring to you as a ‘walking hard on’, no matter how apropos it may be.”
Ray nearly choked on his cola.+
3. Dine and Dash
It was a mystery, how they found these places, these little diners tucked at the end of streets that no sane person would ever walk down in the light of day, let alone the deepest dark of night, with hopes of getting a decent cup of coffee and a warm meal and not get mugged in the process. But this was one of those nights where long hours of good police work – followed by even longer hours of annoying paperwork – found Ray following Fraser down one such street and through the chiming door of another tidy linoleum oasis in the midst of Chicago’s dankest quarter. Fluorescent lights hummed overhead, shining too white light down on well-kept melamine counters and spotless blue linoleum. With a nod to the waitress behind the register, he and Fraser slid into a corner booth, Diefenbaker doing a poor job of slinking, undetected, under their table.
The waitress smiled and moved from her post. Without having to ask, Ray found a menu placed before him and coffee filling one of the two mugs Aileen – as it said on her nametag – set on the table. They had the whole diner to themselves, but from the eyes Aileen was making at Fraser, he knew her excellent customer service had nothing to do with the empty stools at the counter.
Not that she completely ignored Ray. His burger arrived in record time, and his coffee cup was never empty. Then again, she delivered the burger with onion rings, instead of the requested fries, her breathless ‘Oh, so sorry!’ and remorseful green eyes directed at Fraser rather than Ray; more than once coffee from her carafe splished over onto the saucer (and once nearly in Ray’s lap) while laughing at Fraser’s unsubtle – and unfunny – comments on the high incident of scald injuries in food service workers as she flashed, at every opportunity, whatever barely-covered bits of anatomy lay hidden under her skirt.
Normally, Ray enjoyed watching Fraser blush and fluster from such attentions, but tonight’s song-and-dance was wearing thin. Once upon a time, pretty blonde female-types used to flirt shamelessly with him, and while he might not have been some broad-shouldered, blue-eyed slab of perfection wrapped in flannel, he’d still had his charms. Apparently the only good quality Aileen sensed in him was a full wallet. Slapping down the check in front of Ray, she tucked a small, pink rectangle of paper into Fraser’s breast pocket and winked. “Call me.”
Fraser’s breaking point ran a close second to Ray’s. Fumbling a small collection of bills from the band of the Stetson, he dropped the crumpled cash on top of the receipt and bolted for the exit.
Ignoring Aileen’s sad little frown, he threw more bills on top of Fraser’s and, after nudging a lazy wolf off his feet, went in pursuit of his errant partner. He found him half a block away, leaning in the shadows of a darkened storefront. Dief trotted to his master, whining when Fraser stroked a hand through his fur.
“Personally,” Ray started, hoping to suss out what flavour of unhinged he was dealing with before showing his irritation with Fraser’s retreat, “I like it when hot chicks flash me their panties and stick phone numbers in my pocket. Gives me the down low warm fuzzies. What the hell got into you?”
“I’m sorry, Ray.” Fraser had the Stetson gripped in his free hand, his other still mired in the thick ruff of Diefenbaker’s neck, staring down at his boots like a child waiting to be reprimanded by the principal. “That wasn’t very polite of me. I… it just was…” He swallowed hard, and then laughed. The hollowness of that joyless noise echoed down the darkened streets, making Ray take a step back. “I found her very… exhausting, and being tired already…” Fraser shrugged. Sign number 3012 that all was not right on Planet Mountie. “But then that’s a poor excuse for bad manners.”
“No worries, Frase.” Ray reached out a hand and gave his friend’s shoulder a squeeze. “It’s just that some guys woulda found that kinda attention flattering. Aileen might be a shitty waitress, but she got good taste. I’ll give’r that.”
Fraser looked up, meeting Ray’s eyes. “They would? And you? You would have been… flattered?” He edged in closer, until the Stetson brushed against Ray’s thigh.
“Sure,” Ray said lightly, trying not to squirm under the intensity of Fraser’s gaze. “Then again, I’m still recovering from The Stella, so any chick not trying to squeeze my balls in a vise is considered a win for me.”
Fraser looked away. “Ah.” With great concentration he smoothed the fingerprints out of the brim of the Stetson and settled it on his head. Sending Ray a smile as forced as his earlier laughter, he fished the pink rectangle out of his pocket and pressed it into Ray’s palm. “I think she would be extremely… flattered… to receive your call. Good night, Ray.”
Confusion rendering Ray silent, Fraser was down the street and nearly to the corner before he found his voice. “Frase! Don’t be stupid! I have the car! Let me…”
Fraser made it across the intersection, disappearing into the night.
“…drive you home.”
Crumpling the pink scrap in his palm, he dropped it to the ground, kicking it into the sewer as he headed back to his car.+
4. Socialized Medicine
For reasons Ray really
didn’t want to explore at this juncture, he was sitting on a narrow stretcher in Chicago Memorial’s emergency room, one thin curtain - and one surly orderly – separating him from Fraser, who was lying on his own narrow stretcher after yet another Mountie-versus-tempered glass collision. To date, the tally, as Ray knew it, was Mountie: zero, tempered glass: seventeen. Ray had been collateral damage in the incident, several small shards of glass biting at his arms and neck as they showered down on the warehouse floor. Who the hell puts a skylight in a warehouse anyway?
his brain grumbled, while waiting for his personal Florence Nightingale to finish up with the three million baby band-aids she was pasting on his skin.
From behind the curtain, without
the aid of his glasses (tempered glass had no loyalties to its lens-shaped brethren, it seemed), he could make out the blobby shadows of medical-type folk hovering over Fraser. Snippets of sound filtered through the background din of the ER, catching Ray’s attention.
“…lost a lot of blood from the scalp lac…”
“Might have a concussion…”
“Fell thirty feet through a skylight?”
“Should we page Psych?”
Escaping Ms. Nightingale’s clutches, Ray lurched towards the curtain, only to be blocked by… oh yeah
… the surly orderly.
“I want to see my partner!” he demanded, hoping the baby band-aids didn’t detract from his air of dangerousness.
Surly crossed his arms. “When the docs are done.”
He demanded louder, adding a bit of flail to his presentation. “I want to see my partner NOW!”
Surly was unmoved. “When the docs are done.”
It seemed the baby band-aids had killed his mojo. He pulled out his badge and waved it in the orderly’s face. “Hey, I’m a cop, pal!”
“Good for you.”
Ray narrowed his eyes and channelled his best Eastwood. “I’m allowed to shoot you, you know.”
Surly sighed. “Zip up your fly first, officer.”
Muttering a few choice Polish curses, he zipped and tucked his blood-tinged clothes back into some sort of order. The blobby shadows had dissipated on the Fraser side of the curtain, so Ray dodged Surly’s half-hearted block, nearly running into an IV pole in the process.
The IV pole was in use. A bag of something labelled Ringers was hanging from one of the four hooks on the pole, a clear plastic infusion set threading down from the bag and weaving through a very complicated looking machine with flashing buttons and green numbers, before ending at a bulky bandage at Fraser’s wrist. The baby band-aid brigade had invaded here too, the tiny dun coloured tapes looking like dark flags against Fraser’s paler-than-usual cheek. A larger dressing covered part of his forehead. Lying there, so still, with his eyes closed, he looked, well… less than vigorous. Thankfully the irritating beep-beep-beep
of the heart monitor provided proof of life within the tattered and filthy serge.
“Jesus, Frase, what the fuck were you thinking?”
One bruised eye cracked open. Ray nearly jumped. “As I am so often told, Ray, I apparently don’t think, at times, but tend, rather, to react.”
Fraser winced. “Ray…”
“ ‘Understatements ‘r Us’ or what, Fraser?!”
through a window thirty feet over my fricken head!”
“Volume, Ray. My head… there is some moderate discomfort with loud noises…”
He watched Fraser fumble with the intravenous line and the zillion other wires attached to his chest and hand, stilling his clumsy motions when he reached for the release lever on the stretcher’s side rails.
“Whoa there, Frase, where you goin’? I think you should stay lyin’ down.”
“Help me up, Ray. Please.”
Fraser somehow had gone paler, a light sheen of sweat making him shine and shiver under the hospital lights and causing the small band-aids to slide and fall off his cheek. Ray pressed a hand to his chest and urged him back down. “You shouldn’t be getting’ up…” He looked around the small space for a call bell. “Lemme get the nurse…”
Fraser grabbed Ray’s wrist. “I’d rather not be sick lying down. Help, now, please…”
It was Ray’s turn to fumble, working the sticky lever on the stretcher until the rails dropped with a crash, while trying not to pull anything off – or out – of Fraser as he shakily got him into a sitting position. Of sorts. Dizzy from the sudden shift, Fraser slumped forward, his forehead resting on Ray’s chest, his hands white-knuckling fistfuls of his partner’s shirt, praying for balance. Ray rested his hands on Fraser’s arms, relieved to feel the tremors ease off and, eventually, fade away.
“You with me there, Frase?”
“Feelin’ any better?”
“Still think you’re gonna puke?”
Ray ran one hand up and across Fraser’s shoulder, letting it come to rest on the back of his neck. He gave it a slight squeeze, and smiled as the tight muscles under his palm unknotted and relaxed. “You keep this shit up, buddy, and they will SO revoke your free healthcare.”
Fraser’s hands released their grip on Ray’s shirt, coming to rest lightly around his waist. “Quite possible Ray. Goodness knows I cannot be allowed to bankrupt Canada…”+
5. So Much for My Happy Ending
In Ray’s opinion, fairytales were crap. When they weren’t scaring the bejeezus out of children by telling stories about kid-eating witches or baby-stealing dwarves, they were fucking up their minds about what love and adventure really were. Knights slew the dragons and got the princesses, handsome princes broke evil spells with kisses and… well, something about lying wolves and leaky dams also played a part, too, in what was happening, but the point was that all fairytales ended just as the good stuff started to happen.
And this, Ray decided, was what was wrong with Fraser. For all his reading and studying and ‘Well, Grendel is a metaphor, Ray…’
only hammered home the point that Fraser never understood that enjoying the reward was part of the doing good, that it was okay to imagine what the knight and the hot princess got up to after they’d rode off into the sunset, that babies and gold were kick-ass bonuses after ridding the world of an evil dwarf. And putting up with wily wolves and a Mountie still dealing with bad stuff that’d happened almost three years ago? That, it seemed, was his reward, and he was going to reap it, and show Fraser how to do it, too.
In fact, he was doing that right this moment, in his apartment, Fraser warm and writhing under him as they necked and groped, one last time, on Ray’s tatty sofa. Not that it was going to be the last time for them, but for them on that sofa. Tomorrow, Good Will would be by to collect it, along with whatever other pieces of the past didn’t fit inside their new apartment.
“Ray,” Fraser mumbled, gasping a bit when Ray licked the length of his neck. “If we’re not careful, this sofa will not be fit for donation.”
“Nrgh,” Ray groused, sliding off his Mountie and flopping into the corner of the couch. “So they don’t get one sucky piece of furniture. We can make up the charitable act some other way.” Ray did the eyebrow waggle, which was not as sexy a move as he thought. Despite the sadness of it, Fraser let himself be lured into another kiss, but broke away quickly, heading towards the bedroom.
“Now you’re talking!” Ray enthused, scrambling to join him, frowning then at Fraser’s speedy return. Ignoring Ray’s near-pout, Fraser pulled him back onto the sofa and handed him a small, wrapped package.
“For you,” he said, barely containing his smile. “On the eve of our next adventure.”
Ray was chagrined. “Geez, Frase, thank you, but I didn’t get you anything…”
“Just open it.”
Bits of paper fluttered to the floor, revealing a white box. Inside, Ray found a small rectangle of bound tissue paper. Teasing it apart, Ray was surprised by what slid into the palm of his hand.
He looked at Fraser. “It’s a plaque.”
“A brass plaque, actually,” Fraser replied. “And it is upside down. Turn it over.”
Ray did, being careful not to put smudges on the shiny surface. Block letters engraved on the front read ‘Kowalski/Fraser’.
“It’s got our names on it.”
“Well, yes Ray, it does. It’s for our mailbox.”
Ray turned the bright bit of metal into the light, watching it glint off the etched letters. Fraser got up and started back in on the packing, for the movers would arrive at 7 sharp tomorrow morning, and it just wouldn’t do to make them wait. With a small shake of his head, Ray figured Fraser finally got it. Fairytales still sucked and happy endings were still cop-outs, but it seemed that Fraser understood that beginnings could be good, too.fin