Perhaps I shall just give Shrift the hugs and twirls she deserves, and a little bit of fic. Thank you Shrift, for making fandom a better place.
Snowblind (due South, RayK/Fraser)
“It sucks, Fraser.”
“Ray,” Fraser admonished, tipping his hat at a little old lady as he held open the door.
“It sucks,” Ray stated more firmly, pushing past Fraser. He bounced on his heels and blew on his hands to warm them while Fraser smiled at the hostess. She blushed and giggled, lowering her eyes. Ray rolled his.
“C’mon, table already?” he asked, leaning just a bit into Fraser. Nothing too noticeable, though, nothing that might make Fraser think anything weird. Just pressing up a little, like maybe Fraser’s arm needed Ray’s to be right there, cause it was cold and all.
And it was cold outside. Coldest day of the year so far; the foot of snow dumped overnight didn’t improve Ray’s mood when he got called into the station on his day off. He’d been looking forward to sitting in front of the T.V. all day, watching whatever the hell the clicker landed on, slouched there in his sweatpants with one hand stuck down them and the other around a beer.
“It’s quite warm in here,” Fraser was saying over his shoulder as he walked toward a corner booth.
From behind, Fraser was all broad shoulders, straight back, long legs, and determined hips under the tunic. He held his head up like all of Canada depended on him to represent what all good Canadians were about – love for snow and one big national hockey obsession.
Ray slid onto the bench opposite Fraser and glared. “Everything about snow sucks, Fraser. It’s cold and it’s wet and it gets in my boots and makes my socks wet.”
He shoved the pepper shaker out of the way. “I hate wet socks,” he grumbled, slapping the grimy plastic menu open on the table. He stared at it for a second, and then realized Fraser wasn’t saying anything.
He wasn’t offering up some stupid story about ice and beavers and life-saving blubber, he wasn’t arguing how snow was beneficial to the life cycle of winged monkeys. Ray looked up slowly out of the corner of his eye. Fraser was sitting there contemplating his menu, finger tracing over the spine.
“Fraser,” Ray barked, and Fraser’s eyes shot up.
“You know what you want?” Ray asked, shifting a little on the bench, because Fraser was looking at him with intent.
Ray knew what ‘with intent’ was all about.
‘With intent’ was when he’d stayed out too late drinking and Stella’d met him at the door, handing him a blanket and pointing to the sofa. ‘With intent’ was that time he’d broken his dad’s pliers trying to dismember his G.I. Joes, and his dad had stared him down and then sent him to his room still sore and rubbing his butt.
It was when he checked out a gay bar for the very first time, back when he and Stell had first split, when he was still dumb enough to think a one-night stand was his speed; just drunk enough to follow a guy out to the back alley and drop to his knees. ‘With intent’ had turned into ‘try and fuck your way down Ray’s blushing virgin throat’. Ray had never been so glad to punch someone in the balls as he was that night.
‘With intent’ usually meant something bad, and Fraser was sitting there with intent all over his face.
“Of course,” Fraser said finally, sliding the menu between the ketchup bottle and the napkin holder. Ray could see the reflection of Fraser’s gold buttons in the dull silver-plated edge, shining polished lights in a puddle of distorted gray.
“Good. Then order already,” Ray said, maybe a little meanly, but it made Fraser look away, and that was good, so Ray waved his hand in the air until a waitress came over and took their order.
They ate in silence, which was fine with Ray, because it meant he didn’t have to look at Fraser and wonder what Fraser was trying to tell him. The thing was, Fraser never made anything simple – everything always had to mean more than it really did, and he always tried to tell Ray something with his eyes when words would have worked a lot better.
Like, instead of doing that raise the eyebrow, roll eyes upward and blink three times, Fraser could just say, “Ray, one man to the right, cover me.” It’d be a lot simpler, especially because it’d taken Ray a few times to figure out just what the hell Fraser was doing.
The first time Fraser’d pulled out the eyerolls and the winking, Ray had wondered for one horrifying moment if something about him made it obvious. That maybe there was something on his forehead blinking LOOK AT ME! I AM GAY! I AM SO VERY GAY! But then Fraser had taken off running, left Ray blinking his own eyes in surprise before he pulled his gun and ran after.
Since then, though, Ray’d gotten pretty good about knowing what Fraser’s eyes said, mostly when they were in some kind of danger.
When Fraser’s eyes started sparkling, Ray knew to draw his gun and get ready. When Fraser’s brows scrunched up, drew his eyes tight into each other, Ray knew Fraser’d solved a case, and when Fraser’s eyes lit up like he’d seen his first Christmas tree, Ray knew he was getting ready to follow Fraser into something that would leave one or the both of them either wet, dirty, or covered in trash.
Ray looked past Fraser, out the greasy windows at the snow, streaked and tumbling against the dirty glass. Problem was, Ray never knew what Fraser’s eyes were saying all those other times. Like when Ray got too close, brushed up against Fraser when he really didn’t need to, and Fraser’s eyes got faraway, like maybe he was thinking about math or tree bark. Other times Ray would be at his desk, slogging his way through tons of reports, half-chewed pencils piling up beside him, and Fraser would walk up, stop beside Ray. Sometimes Ray pretended to stretch, just so his shoulder could bump Fraser’s hip a little, and then he’d scrub at his face with one hand and grin up at Fraser. When that happened, Fraser’s eyes always looked like they had expanded somehow; made what had been hollow full, all the empty spaces piled in layers of blue and grey.
The only time Ray knew, or thought he knew, for certain, that Fraser might be crazy for Ray the way Ray was crazy for Fraser was one time, in the bathroom, of all the crazy places, but he had seen it. Ray had seen it in that one moment.
He’d been washing his hands, letting the hot water run over them to knock off the chill, and Fraser had walked in. Ray’d looked up at him, stared ahead into the mirror and watched as Fraser’s face bloomed open, his smile wide and unrestrained, and his eyes –
– his eyes had been dark. So very dark and clouded and then in an instant had turned clear, clearer than anything Ray’d ever seen; like calmest lake he could imagine, nothing but a bright sun overhead, small waves lapping against the bank.
But Ray’d never seen that again, ever.
He’d tried testing Fraser, hanging out in the bathroom until his fingers shriveled and Huey’d given him strange looks before sliding quickly out the door. He’d tried catching Fraser’s eyes on stakeout, too, when orange light spilled through the window and over Fraser’s cheeks, making him glow. That hadn’t worked either though, because Fraser had only been staring at the warehouse in front of them.
So now – now Ray was sitting here with wet socks, clammy feet and Fraser, who was making Ray’s neck burn at this point because he was staring again, probably with intent like the last time, and Christ, Ray just couldn’t take it.
“Let’s go,” he said gruffly, throwing money on the table. He didn’t wait to see if Fraser was finished, or if he followed, because Ray just needed to get out of there, right then, even if it did mean going back out into the snow.
Fraser caught up to him after a block.
“Snow forts?” Fraser asked, a little too close to Ray’s ear.
“What?” Ray asked, stumbling over a lump of snow.
“Reasons that snow doesn’t suck, Ray. Number one: Snow forts,” Fraser replied easily, falling in beside Ray so that their shoulders touched as they walked.
“The plows always knock ‘em down,” Ray countered, watching the snow crunch under his feet.
“Snowmen,” Fraser continued, pressing into Ray’s side as another couple passed them on the narrow sidewalk.
“The birds eat the carrot,” Ray muttered.
“Hot chocolate,” Fraser said, more determined.
“Wet feet,” Ray shot back.
“Roaring fire,” Fraser said doggedly.
“Digging out your car,” Ray replied, but he was starting to get into it, and he felt himself grin a little. The wind was starting to pick up, and Ray blinked against the lazy snowflakes, round fat spots of white falling on his lashes and cheeks.
“What, you run out of – ” Ray began, when suddenly he felt a wet sting against his face, and turned to see Fraser standing a few feet behind him with a pleased smile.
“Snowballs,” Fraser said, tilting his head to the side.
Ray started to say something – something mean and sarcastic, something like ‘you’re gonna pay for that’ or ‘stop messin’ around’, but then he saw it – he saw it.
Fraser was smiling, wide and open like Ray’d only ever seen that one time and Fraser’s eyes were shining with happiness, and Fraser was looking at Ray with intent. He was looking at Ray with a whole lot of intent, and right then, Ray totally got what Fraser’s eyes were saying.
He felt a little stupid, like maybe Fraser’d looked at him like that a lot, only Ray hadn’t ever noticed, because they’d never been outside in the snow before, not when everything was so white, and Fraser was this big red beacon standing out against it all.
Ray felt himself smiling right back and there was no telling what his eyes were saying to Fraser, but he figured they probably looked a lot like Fraser’s. Fraser’d probably known all along, but now Ray’d seen it – he’d seen Fraser, and he reached down and scooped up snow in his hands.