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Tuesday, July 4th, 2006 08:34 am
Title: All That Lies Between Us
Author: [personal profile] bluflamingo
Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Fraser/RayK
Rating: PG
Words: 3669
Feedback: Yes please. Even if it’s bad. Especially if it’s bad.
Disclaimer: No, I don't own them, for which I should think they're profoundly grateful.

AN1: Written for [livejournal.com profile] delgasearsca’s Multifandom Ficathon Fest . Prompt: “The thing that is really hard, and really amazing, is giving up on being perfect and beginning the work of becoming yourself”

Summary: Ray’s sure he’s right – pretty sure he’s right. Now he just needs the perfect plan.



Ray pretty much figured Fraser was perfect from everything he read in the files. Mountie, Canadian, came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of his father, and Ray’s heard that line so many times now that he could recite it in his sleep, but even the *grammar’s* perfect. Plus, look at the guy, which he did, in the photos Welsh gave him, along with a roomful of case files to learn by heart, or as near as, in three days. Fraser looked like dirt wouldn’t have the nerve to try and stick to him, not like Ray, who feels like he’s been through a dust bath before he even makes it into the precinct house, most days.

So, yeah, pretty much your basic perfect Canadian Mountie partner right there, and Ray was gonna be stuck with him for who knew how long, feeling stupid and useless just like he did with Stella when she got to be successful and he was still a beat cop.

The thing was, was that after a few weeks, it got kind of obvious that Fraser wasn’t as perfect as everybody made out, he just seemed that way with all his thank you kindly’s and no please, let me’s. Actually, he wasn’t any more perfect than Ray, and Ray hasn’t thought of himself as perfect since… ever, actually.

Once he realizes this, Ray’s not sure why no-one else seems to have noticed. The polite thing that Fraser does with victims and witnesses and suspects and, hell, random people they run into on the street, that’s just his public Mountie thing. The thing he stopped doing round Ray when they’d been partners for a few days, which Ray took as a sign that Fraser’d finally decided he wasn’t getting his old partner back, and that Ray would be an acceptable substitute, even with the dancing and the speeding and the dress sense that still gets him odd looks from Fraser, which, no surprise there, considering he used to partner up with a guy who dressed head to toe Armani, from what Ray can figure out about the guy.

Really, though, Fraser’s just like everyone else: he snaps at Ray when Ray doesn’t go along with what he wants, and he sulks, and he’s so oblivious sometimes, like how every time he says ‘nice job, Ray,’ Ray has to remind himself that it’s a compliment and Fraser doesn’t mean to sound as patronising as he does. Ray always smiles and says thanks, like his mom taught him, cos he can do polite as well as Fraser, if he has to, but in his head he’s grinding his teeth and wishing he could say it to Fraser, so he’d know what it sounds like, except that Fraser, being the oblivious idiot he sometimes is, probably wouldn’t notice anyway, and would take it as an opportunity to remind Ray that it only takes an extra second to be courteous, which is another of Fraser’s more annoying habits.

But, and here’s the thing, at least, here Ray hopes is the thing, cos if it’s not, he’s about to make such a fucking idiot of himself that he can forget moving to another precinct, he’ll have to move to another *city*, maybe even another country. Maybe Mexico, he’s heard it’s nice down there, if you can stand the heat, which would be a nice change from freezing his ass off through months of Chicago winter every year.

Here, Ray hopes is the thing, though, is that Fraser only brings out the annoying habits when he’s around Ray. He doesn’t go around telling… Turnbull, or someone, nice job, though even super-polite Fraser probably wouldn’t say that to Turnbull, who Ray’s sure is missing several screws, never mind having a couple loose. But Fraser doesn’t get snippy around anyone else, or sulk, not even when the Ice Queen sends him out to pick up her dry cleaning, or orders him back to the Consulate just as they’re about to break their case. Which, OK, might be more because Ray’s the one snapping and cursing then, but that’s not the point.

Ray’s almost sure that’s not the point.

Fraser’s different around him, different to how he is with everyone else and different to how he was when Ray first took over being Vecchio, or being himself being Vecchio, really, since no-one’s dumb enough to really buy into the idea. And Ray’s pretty sure that Fraser doesn’t look at anyone else the way Ray sometimes catches him looking at him, and he’s told himself all week that’s not just wishful thinking or whatever.

Now, he just has to work up the courage to do something about it.

*

Ray’s had six official dates since he got divorced, not counting the handful of times he met someone in a bar and took them home, which no-one in their right mind could term dates, and each time, he’s planned them out before the other person has even said yes. And, OK, all of the six have been women, and none of the dates have gone well, but he figures the same principle should apply to Fraser as it did to all of them.

Except that Fraser, it turns out, is harder than Ray thought he’d be, no pun intended, Ray adds to himself as soon as he thinks it, groaning at the phrasing. If Fraser was a girl, Ray’s buy him – her – flowers, pick her – him – up, go to some nice, expensive place for dinner, maybe dancing, although he’s seen Fraser attempt to move to music, so maybe not, pay for dinner, over her – his – protests… Ray gives up about there, cos all the thinking about Fraser as a girl but not is making his head hurt, and anyway, if Fraser was a girl, Ray, when he’s being honest, probably wouldn’t be all that bothered about whether the date ended in bed or not, which he can’t say for this date-he-doesn’t-have with Fraser. If he had his way, it’d start in bed and skip the rest of it, but Fraser’s kind of a traditionalist, at least as far as Ray can tell, so that’s about as likely as the dancing.

Sitting at his desk and trying to look like he’s giving deep thought to how to phrase his statement, when really it should read, ‘the guy’s got the brains of a blade of grass, Frannie could’ve figured out he did it, without breaking off painting her nails,’ Ray tries to plan. Dancing’s out, bed’s out, bars are out cos Ray’s never seen Fraser drink, dinner’s out, cos he’s not ready to be outed to the Chicago PD by some waiter who can’t keep his mouth shut… Maybe a walk, except Fraser walks everywhere anyway, that’s not a date, it’s just a way of getting from A to B. Ray bangs his head against his desk, once, then again, just in case it knocks a brilliant idea loose, then gives up on the report, which so far reads, ‘the suspect,’ and grabs his jacket to head over to the Consulate to rescue Fraser for lunch.

Just cos he can’t plan a date, doesn’t mean he can’t spend time with the guy.

*

Of course, just like most times they set foot out of the PD, lunch manages to turn into the start of a case, when Fraser helps a little old lady pick up her purse and discovered three wallets in it, each with a different name on the ID. That carries them through the next three days and nets them four people involved in a counterfeiting ring being run out of an old people’s home, which Ray wouldn’t believe if he hadn’t arrested them himself.

It also keeps him distracted from planning his perfect date with Fraser, though not from Fraser himself, who turns the Mountie charm on twice as high for the old folks, and has the girl behind the reception desk practically drooling, even after they arrest her for concealing evidence. Ray ducks out of their interview for a few seconds to grab a file and Fraser glares daggers at him when he gets back, then barely says two words to him the whole way back to the Consulate.

Perfect, yeah right, Ray thinks, and invites him over for pizza and hockey. Fraser snaps out of his silence long enough to accept, then starts in on some long-winded tale of… well, Ray’s not actually sure what it’s about, because he loses the thread about three words in, distracted by listening to Fraser’s voice, as though he’s talking to make up for all his silence before.

Sitting on the sofa, far closer together than Ray ever seems to be with other people sitting on his sofa, Ray thinks about just kissing Fraser right now, in the middle of a commercial for floor cleaner, which has the virtue of being sorta memorable, plus it gets rid of the need for an official first date. He’s not sure he wants their first kiss to be accompanied by some high pitched woman imploring him to do away with his old fashioned mop and bucket in favour of whatever the hell it is that she’s selling, though. Anyway, he’s enjoying just sitting watching the game with Fraser, and there’s always a chance that he’s reading the clues all wrong and Fraser’ll punch him in the mouth if he tries anything, leaving him with a sore lip and no-one to watch the end of the game with.

By the time he’s thought all of that, the commercial’s are over and the game’s started up again. Ray takes a swallow of beer against the dryness that fills his throat every time he thinks about kissing Fraser, and remembers that he already decided no beer on their date, cos maybe Fraser doesn’t like the taste of alcohol or something, and then the kiss won’t be any good at all. So, no kissing tonight.

No date, either, Ray realizes as he closes the door behind Fraser and Dief, who’ve insisted they can walk back to the Consulate, cos he forgot to ask, again, and even if he had, he still doesn’t have a plan.

*

It takes Ray another week of increasingly desperate planning, all of which he ends up chucking out as either stupid or less fun than driving a burning car through Chicago, before he decides he’s going about this the wrong way. After all, Fraser’s not a girl, and he doesn’t seem to date a lot, not unless he has a lot of vampire girlfriends, considering he spends most of the daylight hours either with Ray or at the Consulate. He doesn’t need romancing, or sweeping of his feet, not like Stella, who loved grand gestures, up until she got sick of the sight of him, even if he was bearing a huge bunch of flowers. Fraser’s a guy. OK, kind of a weird guy, with a deaf wolf, but still a guy. He watches hockey, he chases down suspects and jumps on them, he’s a guy.

That settled, Ray tries to think of appropriately guy things to do, but that’s even less successful than trying to plan a date was, because there are no guy things that can be even kind of seen as date activities. He doesn’t want to make too big a deal about this, he’s decided, just in case he is kidding himself – wouldn’t be the first time, after all – but he figures Fraser’s gonna need some kind of sign that this isn’t a regular hang-out-after-work type thing they’re doing, chance to turn Ray down before it gets to the end of the evening kiss, just in case.

Finally, after a day of Fraser asking increasingly often if Ray’s sure he’s feeling quite all right, because, really, Ray, you seem very distracted, and you know you can tell me things, don’t you, Ray’s pretty much ready to punch him just to shut him up, which is not the way he wants to get his hands on Fraser. They’re driving back to the precinct to update Welsh on the suspect they just talked to, who turned out to have an alibi from two priests, so, that’s one more dead end on a case that couldn’t be more dead if it tried, and Ray’s decided, they’re gonna talk to Welsh, then they’re gonna leave, no getting distracted cos he should have finished his shift an hour and a half ago anyway. Then they’re gonna go back to Ray’s place, get Japanese food from the place Fraser likes, and Ray’s gonna sit Fraser down and say, look, Fraser, you and me, and, well, he hasn’t got any further than that, actually, but he didn’t have a script when he proposed to Stella either, and she still said yes. No reason lightning can’t strike twice, or whatever the saying is.

Problem is, Fraser’s right that Ray’s been distracted all day, and he’s still distracted, driving back through the early evening traffic, and Fraser’s saying something about Inuit tracking skills that Ray’s trying not to listen to, and between all that, he doesn’t notice the woman with the pushchair stepping into the road in front of them until it’s way too late for him to stop. He wrenches the wheel to the left, cutting off whatever Fraser was saying, misses the woman and her buggy, just, and then something slams into the side of the car and everything blurs out.

*

The first thing Ray notices when he wakes up is – well, the first thing he notices is that he’s waking up and the last thing he remembers is being in the car with Fraser. The next thing he notices is that the room he’s in smells of anaesthetic and the bed he’s in doesn’t have Fraser in it, all of which suggests that the evening didn’t go quite the way he’d planned it to.

Then all the rest of it comes back to him, the van slamming into his car, the fire brigade cutting the car open, a paramedic muttering by his right arm, and it’s actually kind of a relief. He’s not in hospital cos the evening went so badly that Ray ended up getting drunk and hurting himself, which he thinks is probably the only time he’ll be glad for having been in a car accident.

Ray opens his eyes and catalogues his injuries: cast on his wrist that must mean he broke it, his ribs hurt and his head. Other than that, he feels OK, considering a car just slammed straight into his.

“Ah, Detective, you’re awake.” Ray turns his head, carefully, to see a doctor standing at the bottom of his bed, flipping through a chart. “How are you feeling?”

“Couldn’t be better,” Ray tells her. Everything spins a little as he moves.

“Glad to hear it.” The doctor puts the chart down and moves up the bed. Ray sees two of her moving, both of them a little blurred. “My name is Dr Owens.”

She runs through his injuries, which, broken wrist, bruised ribs, banged head, Ray could’ve told her himself, insists on keeping Ray in over-night, in case he turns out to have knocked more than just his vision off by a few inches when he hit his head, and tells him, right before she leaves, that Fraser wasn’t hurt.

Ray drops his head back and sighs. What she didn’t tell him was where Fraser actually was. Ray refuses to believe he’s just gone home and left Ray in hospital to figure it all out for himself, but maybe he was called back to the precinct? For all Ray knows, being Fraser, he got distracted helping the dumb woman who caused the accident in the first place by stepping into the road without looking.

This is what he gets for not planning his evening out, because if he had, he wouldn’t have been so distracted, and he would have seen the woman and then he wouldn’t be lying in a hospital bed.

He wonders, briefly, what it says about him that the two most important – he hopes – relationships in his life both started with crimes and ejaculation of body fluids, neither of them in a good way.

Someone knocks on the pole supporting the curtains round his bed. There’s only one person Ray knows who’d do that. “Come in.”

“Ah, Ray, I see you’re awake.” Fraser pushes the curtain aside and comes to stand at the foot of Ray’s bed.

Ray stares at him, squinting, as though making the two Fraser’s resolve into only one will change the way either of them looks. He wonders how carefully the doctor measured out his morphine.

Fraser is still dressed in his Mountie uniform, holding his hat in both hands before him, kind of like a shield. Dief’s nowhere to be seen, but even that’s only enough to distract Ray for a second – hospital probably wouldn’t let him in, even with Fraser’s charm.

Fraser’s dirty. Not just kinda dusty, or a little rumpled looking from being in a car accident, but actually dirty, with oil streaked down the side of his tunic, a rip in the left knee of his pants – or possibly the right, Ray can’t actually tell – something that looks a little like mud on one shoulder, and more of it, whatever it is, smudged across his cheek and his nose.

Fraser, the man that dust bunnies fear, is dirty.

“How are you feeling?” Fraser asks. He turns his hat a couple of circles, Ray following it with his eyes and thinking how he pegged that as a nervous gesture on their second day together. Dirty and nervous.

“You’re not perfect,” Ray hears himself say, when what he’d meant to say was that he was fine, a little banged up but nothing he couldn’t handle, followed by some polite question about the driver of the car that ran into him.

Fraser blinks and rubs his left eye brow, just for a second. “No, Ray, I suppose not. Did the doctor check on your head, your reactions? I wonder if the injury might be more severe than she first thought.”

“No, you’re…” Ray shakes his head in frustration, and the dirty, nervous, perfectly imperfect Frasers multiply into an alarming number of concerned faces looking down at him. “You always look – and now you look dirty.”

Fraser looks down at himself, apparently not having noticed the state of his uniform before. “Well, that’s hardly surprising. I was, after all, in a car accident, if you recall, and it is somewhat difficult to remain clean in those circumstances, though of course one tries one’s best.”

Ray remembers just in time not to shake his head, because this is important and Fraser’s not *getting* it; any minute now he’s going to start some lecture about cleanliness being next to godliness, whatever that means, or give Ray a few handy homespun Canadian tips on how to get oil out of one’s tunic without the colour running, which Ray does not need since no-one would even notice if the colour ran in most of his clothes. He gestures for Fraser to come closer, which Fraser does, sitting on the edge of Ray’s bed and leaning over to peer into Ray’s eyes.

Which, OK, a hospital bed and him in a hospital gown, not exactly how he planned this, but Ray figures what the hell, he’s already having a pretty bad day, why not go for broke, and leans up as far as he can, which turns out to be just far enough, and kisses Benton Fraser right on the lips, right in the middle of the hospital.

For a long, horrible moment, Fraser doesn’t respond. Then his hand comes up to cup the back of Ray’s head, and his mouth presses back against Ray’s and Ray breathes a mental sigh of relief cos it’s not like he’s got any breath to spare for an actual one, and Fraser tilts Ray’s head back slightly, so he’s leaning on the pillows again, not straining up at an angle he knows he’s going to feel the next day.

And that’s when Ray tries to put his arm round Fraser, and forgets he has a cast on his wrist, and clonks Fraser solidly on the side of his head.

They pull apart sharply, Fraser’s hand going to rub his head. Ray closes his eyes against the pain of jolting his broken wrist. “Sorry, Fraser, Jesus, talk about spoiling the moment.”

“Ray, I assure you, I’m quite all right.” He feels Fraser’s hand on his shoulder, rubbing soothingly. “These things do happen.” The rubbing turns to shaking and Ray thinks that he should open his eyes, that he must be worrying Fraser, lying here with his eyes closed like he’s passed out. “Ray. Ray. Ray, open your eyes, Ray, wake up…”

Except when Ray does open his eyes, he doesn’t see Fraser’s concerned face hovering over his, but a paramedic, shaking his arm and telling him to wake up, and a fire truck in the street in front of his car, and the weirdest sense that he’s done all this before.

“That’s it, Ray,” the paramedic says. He turns his head a little, as far as he can with some kind of restraint on him, holding it in place, and sees the paramedic filling a syringe.

“Fraser?” he asks, not sure he’s said it right.

“Your partner?” the paramedic asks, then, without waiting for a nod, says, “he’s just fine. Not a scratch on him. Now, hold still, this is just a little prick, it’ll help with the pain.”

‘Just fine,’ Ray thinks, as he starts to drift away. ‘Just perfect, just like always.’ He closes his eyes, and catches a second’s glimpse of Fraser, muddied and torn and normal looking and thinks, when he gets out of this car, that he’ll put his plan into practice, whatever it takes.

“Look, Fraser, you and me…”

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