It's getting brighter outside.
The phone hasn't rung for hours. Ray picks it up and gives a listen. There's nothing but static on the line.
Fraser, for reasons he has not explained to Ray at this or any other juncture, is sewing the ear on a teddy bear. Just sitting there next to Ray's desk like bear repair is one of the lesser known duties of the Canadian Mountie, like he's got all the time in the world to attach missing bear parts to their originating bears. Ray watches him pull a needle and thread out of his sleeve, cross his legs, balance the bear on his knee and start sewing away. A pair a those old people glasses and a rocking chair and he could pass as somebody's really butch grandmother.
"Hm." Fraser squints at the bear and the tip of his tongue pokes out of his mouth, sliding from left to right.
Ray just cannot take it one second longer. "Fraser, what in the name of all that is fuzzy are you doing?"
"Its ear is loose. I am simply--"
"Yeah, yeah, I got that, I see that. Why are you simply? We don't have time for broken bears today. We got more important things to do."
Fraser tilts his head the way he does. "Well, no, I suppose you're right. A child's toy is not high on our list of priorities today. On the other hand, what better way to spend..."
Ray tunes him out the way he always does when Fraser starts in on his help-your-fellow-man song and dance routine with optional Inuit story and complementary seal blubber cocktail. Ray doesn't wanna fly Air Fraser right now. He doesn't care where Fraser got that bear, what little kid dropped it or lost it or gave it to him for safe keeping. There's a whole story behind that bear and Ray just does not want to hear it.
Ray's ready to tune that out too, but Fraser only says his name once, and it's in that tone, the one he saves for special occasions, like when they gotta jump off a roof into a glass of water, dodging bullets all the way down. Ray hears that tone a lot more than he'd like. "What?"
"Do these ears look even to you?" Fraser holds the bear up at arm's length and inspects its head.
Ray leaps out of his chair with a bang, flinging his arms around and yelling. This is not happening to him. He is not stuck in this building with a stuffed bear and a Mountie. He is not the last sane man in Chicago. He is not going to grab Fraser by his big Canadian ears and shake him until he acts like a normal human being. Ray goes for a walk.
The 2-7 is a wreck, like the last day of school but without the summer vacation to look forward to. The desks are tossed, chairs tipped over. The walls are bare in spots. No more family photos or Don't Shoot People posters, just spooky bright green rectangles floating in the faded paint of the wall. He kicks a soda can across the room and listens to it rattle. Frannie must have twisted the tab off and dropped it down inside after she was done drinking. Supposed to be good luck or something. Help her catch a husband. Meet the man of her dreams. He kicks a trash can now, extra vicious. It goes down too easy, and he kicks it again and again and finally throws it down the stairs. Under the bench against the wall, Diefenbaker whimpers.
"Hey, didn't see you there." Ray drops down to one knee, playing it cool, like the wolf hadn't just seen him go berserk and kick the fuck out of a trash can. "This where you been hiding out?"
Dief's got a sweet set up down there, all the comforts of home. Stash of Ring Dings, plaid shirt to sleep on, Chicago phone book.
Ray's phone book. He tries to take it back. Dief growls at him.
"What, you got calls to make? Important wolf business or something? I am a police officer. It is a federal crime to mess with my phone directory."
That gets him a sharp yip and he realizes he's officially lost his shit, ready to go to war with a wolf over the yellow pages. Like Ray needs the stupid phone book. Who's he gonna call? He already did that stuff.
"Forget it," he mutters. "Wanna lick my ear? Ya know, for old times' sake?"
Dief thinks about it, but goes back to his snack cakes. Ray hauls himself up and collapses onto the bench, scrubbing his hands through his hair. He needs a haircut, but it's too late now. He checks his watch. Ten minutes till midnight.
Fraser comes around the corner, carrying the bear. He stands there for a moment, the yellow light in the hallway making him look old and beaten. "I'm sorry, Ray," he says. "This isn't easy for me. I'd thought that if I--" He stops and tastes his bottom lip, like the words might be there. "But, no. I apologize. Perhaps--"
"Why didn't you go home?" Ray stares at Dief through the slats of the bench.
"Constable Turnbull is the only one at the consulate, and heaven help me I couldn't bear the prospect of spending my last hours with that man."
Ray feels his mouth smiling. He knew it'd be the end of the world before Fraser'd say something mean about somebody else, even a nutjob like Turnbull. "I meant north," Ray says. "Why not...go."
"I thought about it. But I," Fraser ducks his head and rubs at an eyebrow. "I didn't want to be alone."
"Tell me about your bear," Ray says, suddenly desperate for one of Fraser's long pointless stories about the epic human whatever-it-was that always got his eyes bright and his tail bushy.
"It's not important."
"No, you gotta tell me the story. I wanna hear. You gotta tell me, Fraser. It's important." Ray's about to fall off the bench, one hand fisted in the sleeve of Fraser's uniform, button digging into his palm.
"Ray, Ray," Fraser says, sitting next to him.
"How'm I supposed to know what you're thinking without some kind of metaphorical caribou antidote?"
Ray can't see, but that's just 'cause he's not wearing his glasses. He clutches at Fraser, big and red and frustrating. Ray wants a story, and Fraser chooses now to save his breath. That is just like him.
"Say something, Fraser. You can't just--"
"Ray," Fraser says, cupping the back of his neck, rubbing his fingers over the short hairs there. Ray squeezes his eyes shut. Fraser kisses him. Ray's heart is pounding and Fraser's is too, and this is the way the world ends.