There were a lot of things that sucked about being a cop. But there were a lot of great things about it. Ray liked helping people, and one of the things that sucked was that you rarely heard back from them. Which made sense. When Ray had helped people, he’d been part of a confusing mosaic of a clusterfuck that most people wanted to forget. So when some of those people actually got back in touch with him, it was always a welcome surprise.
It had been about six years since he and Fraser had seen them, but Ray recognized Eloise and Davie right away. Fraser was serving them tea in his office at the consulate, the one that had been Thatcher’s, when Ray stopped by to pick Fraser up. Eloise and Davie were happy to see him.
“We’re making it official,” Eloise said, flashing a modest engagement ring.
“Longest engagement in the history of ever,” Davie said, nudging Eloise, who blushed and smiled.
“That’s great!” Ray remembered telling Fraser that young love couldn’t last, but he also remembered lying to the hospital people so that Eloise and Davie could spend time together.
“We came to the consulate to see if they could give us an address for Constable Fraser, to send him an invitation,” Eloise explained.
“Only to discover that Sergeant Fraser was the guy running the show,” Davie added.
“Our next stop was going to be the 27th district house,” Eloise continued.
“But Sergeant Fraser said he could get ahold of you, and in the meantime perhaps we could care for a cup of tea? Wondered why he kept looking at his watch. Thought he was trying to get us to leave,” Davie said.
“Just hoping Ray would be on time,” Fraser said, pouring a cup for Ray. “That way, you’d be spared the trouble.”
Ray took the cup and made a toasting gesture at the happy couple. “Trust me, the drinks and the ambience are much better here,” he told them.
“You will be coming to the wedding?” Eloise asked.
“I’d say you’d have your pick of bride’s side or groom’s side, except we’re doing it a little more freestyle,” Davie said. “Mixing the friends and relations up, forcing ‘em to interact.”
Ray grinned and Fraser smiled. “An excellent plan,” Fraser said.
Eloise and Davie glanced at one another, then Eloise spoke. “We were going to send each of you an invitation, with a plus one and everything,” she said carefully. “But I kinda get the feeling that would be redundant?”
Ray glanced at Fraser, whose nod was invisible to anyone not named Stanley Raymond Kowalski. Ray winked at Eloise. “Save yourselves the postage,” he said with a smile. “He is my plus one.”
Fraser’s smile was no longer partly invisible. This was the first time either of them had come out and told anyone else that they were officially a couple. Ray hadn’t remembered how good that felt, and Fraser, poor bastard, had never before had a chance to find out.
And it was even better at the wedding. During the ceremony, Ray couldn’t help but think of his own relationship with Fraser and how it had changed, grown really, over the years. It had been like that when he’d gone to weddings with Stella, thinking both about the couple getting hitched and his own marriage. Now he Fraser weren’t married officially, but as close as they could be, at least in the state of Illinois. Ray’s daydreaming took him forward, from first meeting Fraser, to the Quest, to the Return, to the years they’d spent with a wall between them, and the year since they’d decided the wall was stupid.
There was the time, during the Manicotti case, when Ray had manhandled Fraser into the supply closet, told him to think about the case, then reached into Fraser’s pants, stroking him ‘til he was hard, then stroking him until he came. They came out of the supply closet with Fraser having realized, somewhere during the sexual hijinx, that Maria Manicotti was probably holed up at a relative’s place, and sure enough, they’d found that one of her cousins had a fishing cabin on the Upper Peninsula. After an unofficial call to Vecchio, the FBI had alerted Michigan, who arrested her and extradited her, because while Vecchio was a big deal in DC now, he also still understood how it was to be on the other side of a jurisdictional turf war.
More than once, Fraser had kissed Ray while they were watching a game on TV. Any sport, didn’t matter, but something about watching games on TV made Fraser want to kiss Ray. At first, Ray was kind of annoyed, which since they’d discovered that Fraser really did like kissing “with open mouths and so on," no less, Ray figured he should not be annoyed if Fraser wanted to kiss him. But since Fraser generally found Ray all too resistible, why couldn’t he wait for the half? Or the seventh inning stretch? But Ray wasn’t about to turn down Fraser kissing him, so he went with it. Went with it when Fraser kissed him, went with it when Fraser pressed him down on his back, lying on the couch, went with it when Fraser rubbed against him until Ray came, gasping and mindless. Sometimes, Fraser even joined him; Ray could tell from how Fraser’s breath stuttered and extra sweat dripped from Fraser’s face onto his, and by the way Fraser looked at him afterward, body loose and relaxed, face slightly anxious.
And whether Fraser was into it and actually came himself or not, he was able to give Ray a full color commentary on everything that had happened during the game while Ray was distracted. Ray made a conscious choice to find that endearing rather than insulting.
There were fights, of course. One got really nasty, nearly leading to a repeat of the Infamous Lakeside Punch-Up. Ray couldn’t remember what they’d been fighting about, but they’d both said some truly awful shit. Remembering himself comparing Fraser to a Ken doll still made Ray flush with shame, and Fraser telling Ray, in that horrible, logical, cold voice he got sometimes, that at least he, Fraser, could conduct himself like an adult and not constantly be whining for sex “much like an adolescent dog.” Ray slept in Fraser’s old room for three nights after that, jerking off constantly and not even trying to stifle his sounds while he fantasized about “Ben,” who normally very rarely got any play in Ray’s mind these days.
Eventually, they had reconciled…whatever difference had caused the initial fight, and had been more careful of one another ever since. Ray had vowed to himself that Fraser’s asexuality was completely off-limits in a fight, and he was pretty sure that Fraser had made a similar promise about Ray’s sexuality. In any case, Ray didn’t really like to think about that time, but he thought maybe it was important to think about all the parts of their relationship, good and bad, past and present. He glanced at Fraser, who was looking fondly at Davie and Eloise. But a split second after Ray turned to look at him, Fraser looked back at Ray, his face full of affection that Ray knew was just for him. Fraser picked up Ray’s hand and kissed it just as Davie said, “I thee wed” to Eloise.
Later, after they’d both danced with Eloise and Ray had taken a turn with Davie (who’d told Fraser he could have the second-to-last dance ‘cause “I’m not sure my feet can survive”), Ray, who didn’t care if his feet could survive, got Fraser out on the dance floor. As they swayed slightly to “The Way You Look Tonight,” Ray leaned into whisper to Fraser, right on “never, ever change,” and whispered, “We could do this, you know. Whenever. Now.”
Fraser skipped several beats. “In Canada,” he said, wonderingly.
“I wasn’t suggesting we elope to freakin' Connecticut,” Ray said. “We could even, you know, stay. In Canada.”
Fraser pulled him off the dance floor then, and they sat at an empty table that wasn’t theirs. “Ray,” he said seriously, “I like this song, too, very much, but it’s unrealistic to think that people won’t change, and that they’ll always look the way they look tonight. Metaphorically.”
Ray laughed and shook his head. “I’m pretty sure I’ve taken that message on board. And I know you have.”
“Canada,” Fraser said dreamily, and Ray could see their life together, Fraser in his element, Ray finding something useful to do in some tiny cabin in some chilly town in some Godforsaken piece of the wilderness that hadn’t even achieved provincial status, and the thought made him feel happy and content instead of preemptively scared and lonely.
“Canada,” Ray said firmly.