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As He's In It

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"I hope you understand, Ray," Fraser says, but it sounds futile, like he doesn't hope it and can't even imagine it. Ray almost feels like a dick, but he's not overreacting here, is he? This is not a fucking detail, this is not like, we forgot to tell you that Vecchio ate paint in grade school.

Ray takes a deep breath. They both need to relax, is just what they need to do. He loosens the straps on his shoulder holster and shrugs out of it, tosses the gun on the table between them, which should be some kind of peace gesture, but Fraser leans sharply away from it, like it's going to take up yelling where Ray left off. "I don't understand. The way people understand things is, they receive information, they are, like, told what's going down, and then they say, Aha! Now it becomes clear, now I understand. And then there's me and you."

Fraser turns his head away, but he catches his own face in the two-way mirror and can't look there either, so it's back to the table, and Ray's gun. There's not a lot to look at in an interrogation room. "It's not...you and me."

"You and me! You and me! Then there's you and me! Don't poke my grammar, you wouldn't like my grammar when it's angry, Fraser!"

"No, Ray. It's not you and me. It's me. Just...me." Ray rolls his eyes at that, because what, is he getting dumped here? And didn't even know until this morning that he was getting any.

Although apparently he was. Or Ray Vecchio was.

"No one knew," Fraser continues softly. "No one at all. No one could have told you other than me, and I chose not to, and that's my fault, Ray, no one else's. But you can -- can't you, you can understand why....?"

Ray leans against the wall, suddenly tired. "Yeah. No. I can understand. But it's like -- you're in the loop, you're out of the loop, and then there's, look, in the distance! A loop!" Fraser looks not just puzzled, but kind of pained, as if he's worried that he's caused permanent brain damage to his partner. Ray sighs and rubs his eyes hard, and then harder, and then he spins a chair around backwards and sits across the table from Fraser. "Okay," he says. "So loop me in."

"I -- what?" Fraser says hoarsely.

Ray gestures rapidly, and Fraser's eyes go immediately back to the gun, so Ray sits on his hands to prove his lack of murderous intent and says, "Just tell me. I mean -- tell me what I should know."

"Nobody knew," Fraser says.

"Vecchio did," Ray says.

For a second, Fraser looks lost, like he's disappeared from inside the serge and nobody's noticed yet. And then he gets that square, stubborn expression on his face and he says, "You're asking about something that was very personal to me, Ray."

"No shit, well, I'm apparently someone who's sucked your cock in the past, so you and me, we're ten kinds of personal with each other, aren't we?" He's sorry after he says it, but he's not, I mean he is but he's not.

He won't take this; Fraser knows his rights. He stands up and says, really calm but sort of thunderous, like the voice of God, "No, Ray, as a matter of fact you have not."

"Look, look, look," Ray says, waving his hands in front of him, and it comes out impatient but he means it as an apology, and maybe Fraser takes it that way, because he sits back down. "I know this sucks," Ray says. "I'm not mad at you, okay? Just, it's time now. Tell me the whole story."

Fraser sort of pales at that, and he says something really fast and kind of mumbly, which is like, where did Fraser even learn how to mumble, anyway? Something mubmly, but Ray catches "extremely inappropriate," and he answers back real quick, "I don't need the gory details, okay? Just give me something to hang my hat on."

"Hat," Fraser repeats blankly.

"Something, Fraser, give me something, here! I got nothing to stand on! Tell me-- " Did you fuck him, did he kiss you, did he like it, did you love him? How did it start, what was it like, did he make you laugh, did you lie for him? Did you take your clothes off? Did he crack you open, did you let him see you? "Tell me what side of the bed you slept on," is what falls out of his mouth.

Fraser blinks. "What side of the bed?"

"Yeah, yeah. I mean, you did sleep -- it was a bed -- there were beds, right? This wasn't fuck and run-- " pretending not to notice the way Fraser flinches upward, chooses the nothing on the ceiling to look at rather than the God knows what on Ray's face, " -- you were partners. You.... In beds. Right?"

"Yes," Fraser says quietly. "Sometimes in beds."

"Right or left?"

"I'm not quite sure."

And that's it, he can't take it anymore. Ray doesn't manage to knock the chair over when he jumps up, so he has to pick it up with his hands and bang it into the floor and kick it across the room. Fraser bends his head down and folds his hands over the back of his neck. "You're full of shit, Fraser, you're full of shit. People don't switch sides of the fucking bed, they have a side! Did you sleep on the right side of the bed or the left side of the fucking bed?"

"I don't know!" Fraser says without looking up, so that Ray can't tell if the wildness in his voice is anger or sadness or -- or whatever you call that, that thing that you feel when your wife leaves you and you're completely alone and blaming yourself and hating what you grew up to be and too stupid to stop thinking maybe it's all a misunderstanding and it'll be back to normal any minute now. That thing. What do you call that? "From whose perspective?"

"Huh?" Ray says. He's kind of forgotten the question.

"The right or left side as a person comes into the room, looking at the bed, or as he's in it? I never really knew -- when people say the right side of the bed, I was never entirely sure from whose point of view...." He raises his head, and there's more stuff there on his face that Ray doesn't have any words for. "People say -- and I don't know how I'm supposed to-- "

"No, it's okay, Fraser," Ray says. "Forget the bed. It doesn't matter."

"I am trying to answer your questions, Ray. I want to answer you, but I don't know how to talk about -- I don't know how to do these things. I don't know how to do this."

"You were right, Frase, okay? I don't need to know, it's none of my business."

"It is," Fraser insists. "Your business is precisely what it is now."

"Yeah, well. I'm in a shitty business, some days. Let's just, uh. Punch each other in the head a few times, and when we're all out of short-term memory, we can say the whole day didn't happen and get some dinner." He scoops his gun and holster off the table, and Fraser doesn't blink, just keeps staring vacantly somewhere around Ray's thigh. He recovers pretty soon, though, and he stands up and adjusts his lanyard, ready to face the world again. Part of Ray can't believe Fraser ever had a secret in his life that he could keep, and part of him doesn't know if he knows anything about this man at all.

Later that night he squirms out of his shoulder holster while Fraser is holding his face, kissing him over and over, and he pitches the whole thing, gun and all, over onto the coffee table, and it hits with a loud noise -- either he's chipped the finish on his coffee table or the gun's gone off and he's blown a hole downstairs into 415, and he doesn't care, it doesn't matter which. He pulls Fraser's hands away from his face, presses them to his ribs and wraps his arms around Fraser's neck. He didn't think anyone could kiss harder than Fraser, but turns out someone could, and it's Ray. "Yeah, yeah, yeah," he says incoherently into Fraser's mouth. "Show me, show me...."

He doesn't know if he knows anything about himself at all.