Bonnie's request was for slash involving Ray K and Fraser.
Ray paced nervously about outside the warehouse, while Welsh, the S.W.A.T. team, and the paramedics all stood around doing nothing. Nothing! Inside Kelly was holding two Canadians hostage.
"That's Fraser in there!" Ray cried out, but only he understood the awful significance. It was torture beyond bearing. Fraser in danger in danger and he, Ray, not only couldn't help, he couldn't even see what was going on. Fraser could be killed. Fraser could be lost before Ray ever let him know the truth.
And then, a gunshot. Ray snapped. His mind shut down and pure emotion took over. He jumped onto a motorcycle without even realizing what he was doing. Half on instinct and half on the autopilot of an experienced cop, Ray got inot the room and got the son-of-a-bitch Kelly onto the floor. He kept his gun on him until someone else took over. Ray's conscious mind was focused on a scarlet form lying unmoving against a wall. His eyes were on Kelly but somehow he still saw only Fraser and only thought about going to him, to see if he were alive or dead.† It only felt like forever before somebody else's gun was on Kelly, somebody else was calling in the paramedics. Who? It didn't matter. Ray was instantly on the floor beside the Mountie, easing him into a sitting position.
Movement! Breathing! Blue eyes more beautiful than any Ray had known, male or female, fluttered open and met Ray's own. There was blood on one side of that precious face, not much more than a scratch. A paramedic pushed Ray away, looked at Fraser's head and then said the obvious.
"It only grazed you. Christ, you're a lucky man!"
* Me, I'm the one that's lucky, * thought Ray. * He's been spared. It's a sign. I have to tell him. I have to tell him today. *
The paramedics wanted to take Fraser in for examination. One tried to help him to his feet. The Mountie waved him away and leaned forward, determined to get up unaided. But he sank back against the wall, still dazed. So Ray reached out for his friend's arms. Fraser permitted only his touch; they rose together.
"I'm all right," Fraser muttered, his automatic response.
"No, man, let them take a look at you. That was a pretty close call." It was taking all of Ray's self control not to take Fraser into his arms right there and then. He forced himself to do no more than finger the scrape against Fraser's temple. So close, so close.
They made Fraser wait around a long time before finally examining him. But that was fine with Ray, it meant nobody thought he was hurt badly enough to hurry it up. It was late in the evening when a doctor finally released Fraser with instructions not to stay alone tonight, just in case.
Another sign, Ray knew. "You'll stay at my place, buddy." Fraser made no protest. In fact, he was strangely silent as Ray drove him back to the Consulate to change into jeans and pick up a toothbrush and some bare essentials for the night. Then they drove back to the apartment.
Ray settled his friend into an armchair and fussed nervously about. He made tea, poured out chips, clicked the television on and off. He started one meaningless sentence after another and let them trail away without finishing them. All he was aware of was Fraser's amazing contradictory body: so strong and agile from years in the wilderness, yet overlaid with a soft covering that came from three years of unaccustomed soft, city living. What if that body had been stilled forever? How could Ray have lived?
Finally Fraser spoke up. "Ray, settle down, please."
"I'm settled. I'm settled. See, here's me being settled." Ray dropped into a chair facing his friend.
"Just stay still, Ray. I need to talk to you."† Fraser was now suddenly the one shifting nervously in his seat. Could it be? Could it be?
"Ray, this close call Ė it made me realize. I could have died without telling you. I love you."
Ray stopped breathing. He couldn't mean it. Not the way Ray hoped. He forced breath into his own body and spoke.
"Um, and I love you too."
"No, that's not what I mean, Ray. I donít' mean just as a friend. I just hope you don't hate me for saying this but . . . "
Ray's breath now became a groan of relief. "Fraser . . .† oh Fraser . . . "
Just admitting how they both felt would have been enough for Fraser that night. The admission was so enormous for him. He had never said that to another man and meant it the same way. Ray, for his part, had a little more experience in such matters and suggested, ever so gently, never insisting, that try what Ray had so long wanted to do.
For all that Fraser wanted to give his friend pleasure, he couldn't help flinching and shuddering in pain. Ray backed off at once.
"It's okay, Fraser. We don't have to do it this way if you don't want."
"Well, I . . . I mean I just . . . I guess I'm not used . . . you see I just never . . . " Fraser stammered.
"I said, it's okay," Ray reassured him.
Whereupon he approached the issue from another direction, which Fraser found much more pleasant. So much more pleasant, in fact, that he returned the favour with no hesitation at all.
Two weeks later, Huey and Dewey approached Ray in the canteen.
"So, who's the lucky lady?" asked Huey.
"Don't get you."
"Come on, Ray. We can see how different you are lately. Relaxed. Not twitching. Not fidgeting."
"Yeah, you're getting it from somebody. Anybody we know?" Dewey put in.
"Francesca, right?" from Huey.
"No, Frannie only wants the Mountie," from Dewey.
Ray smiled at them, answering with a comment that was true two ways. "Yeah, the Mountie." And the duck boys didn't notice he stressed the second syllable.