mistressace: (DS Hero by Skatergate)
[personal profile] mistressace


Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4

*~*~*~*

Lex made the call and the following morning, Fraser saw him off at the airport. They shook hands, embraced and once Lex had disappeared down the gangway, Fraser returned to his life. There were reports to file, visas to arrange, immigration requests to send up the line or return to applicants who did not qualify.

As previously arranged, Fraser met Ray for lunch that Friday.

During their walk from the station to the restaurant, Ray was curiously subdued. His usual repertoire of gestures, his tendency to walk too close, and his natural ebullience were completely absent. He barely looked at Fraser when they sat down.

Instead, he grabbed the menu and frowned at it. Holding it in front of his face, he mumbled an order to the waitress, then continued to hide behind it until Fraser reached across and pulled on the placard. Ray hung on, gripping tightly until the plastic crackled.

The noise startled them both and Ray let go, reaching for his water glass, then fiddling with his silverware. His feet shifted, his boot knocking the side of Fraser's before he pushed his chair back and twisted it slightly to the left.

"Ray... " Another fiddle and Ray's sleeve caught his fork, sending it to the floor.

"Ray...." Leaning over, Ray retrieved the wayward cutlery, wiped it off and set it back down on the table.

"Ray...." The spoon went flying this time, landing on the empty table behind them.

"Ray!"

"What?" Ray snapped, finally looking at Fraser. His gaze skittered away half a heartbeat later.

"What's wrong?"

"It's nothing. What'd you order?"

"My order was the same as yours: Pad Thai, Chicken Satay, and Thai iced tea." Fraser handed Ray's fork to their waitress. She put their drinks on the table and laid a fresh set of silverware next to Ray's left elbow.

As she walked away, Fraser moved the utensils out of Ray's reach. "Tell me what's bothering you. Is it a case?"

"No," Ray said, picking up his drink. He set it back down immediately, its contents sloshing over the rim and onto his hand. "Yeah, yeah, it's a case."

"Which one? Perhaps I can give you some insight."

"Some insight. I'll bet." Ray mopped up the spill with a paper napkin, balling it up and tossing it in the corner. This time when he looked at Fraser, he didn't immediately look away. "Grant's been talking. He's been talking a lot."

"Ah. That case." Fraser wet his lower lip and tugged at his collar. "I hope he's provided enough to secure an indictment."

"Yeah. And then some. He's...." Ray rubbed the back of his neck. "He's said some things about you and what you were doing in that hotel room. It's probably none of my business...."

"Is it pertinent to the case?"

"Not really."

"Then you're correct. If you are asking in your capacity as a member of the Chicago police force, it's none of your business. But.... " Fraser sat back, placing his hands flat on the table. "If you are asking because you're my friend, I'll answer any question you pose."

"Okay, then. As a friend... so, this stuff he's saying, is it true? Are you...?"

"Bisexual? Yes." It felt good to actually admit it. A weight he'd been carrying for years slipped off his shoulders and Fraser took the first deep breath of freedom.

Ray's face fell; he looked close to tears. In fact, he looked... desolate. "Why didn't you tell me?"

"You never asked."

"Jesus, was that all I had to do? Ask you?" Ray slapped his hand down on the table and their silverware rattled. The people around them turned to look and he dropped his volume by a few degrees. "I don't believe this. I freeze my nuts off for four months, sleeping next to you every night and all I had to do was ask?"

Ray could not possibly be saying what Fraser though he was saying. "Excuse me?"

"Then six years. Six years of spending holidays with you in Moose Jaw, or Fort McPherson, or that last place, Aklavikyaktuk."

"Aklavik, Ray. Tuktoyaktuk is much farther north."

"Fraser, if we'd been any further north, we would've been in Russia. That's not the point," Scrubbing at his eyes, Ray blinked. He stared out the window, chewing on his bottom lip as a tear trickled down his face. "The point is... you never said anything, Fraser. Not one word. I... I was dying of waiting and now it's..."

Blinking back tears of his own, Fraser reached for his hat. "It's too late. I know. I'll... I'll talk to you later."

"Yeah," Ray said, his head dropping down. "Later.... Uh, I'm supposed to invite you to Sunday dinner."

Rising from the table, Fraser shook his head. "Give Blanche my apologies."

"Sure."

"Goodbye, Ray."

"Goodbye, Frase."

*~*~*~*

Fraser walked back to the Consulate. His car was parked next to Ray's GTO at the station, but he needed the time to think more than he needed to retrieve his vehicle. The long walk didn't do him much good though, for by the time he reached his office, he was just as confused and heart-sore as he'd been when he left the restaurant.

He was a coward. The loss of a friend had been too much to risk on the chance of gaining his heart's desire. And all along, Ray had been waiting and wondering right alongside him. All it would have taken was to break through the ice and reach for the hand lying next to his own.

The hand that was no longer his to have.

It truly was too late.

Sitting down at his desk, Fraser buried his face in the cradle of his arms. He was too tired to weep.

There was something under his fingertips, something that crinkled as he turned his head. Pushing himself back upright, Fraser stared down at the envelope in the center of his desk.

He turned it over, slitting it open with the knife from his belt. Two items slid free, both of them landing on his blotter. The first was a plane ticket with his name on it. He ignored it in favor of the folded piece of fine stationary.

Laying it flat, Fraser read its contents:
______________

Sweet Prince of Denmark,

Suffer not the slings and arrows for here are your arms against outrageous fortune.

When you are ready -- come to me.

Lex

_________________

Setting the letter next to the ticket, Fraser reached for the phone.

*~*~*~*

finis
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February 2012

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