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Tears, Idle Tears

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Disclaimer: The characters aren't mine and I don't make any money from
them.
Rating: PG, m/m. h/c slash
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
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Tears, Idle Tears
by Iris Gray
------------
Oh, dear.

Ray was crying. 

Ben looked away. He looked at his hands. He tried to ignore
Ray. He thought that perhaps Ray would not want anyone to see
him cry. 

But he couldn't ignore Ray. Ray was his friend, and he was in
pain. He couldn't just sit there and do nothing. But what
could he do?

"Ray," he said softly. No response. "Ray?" The sobbing
continued. Had it only been two days ago that he had stopped
Ray from shooting a suspect who had stolen Ray's gun by simply
saying "Look at me?"  

Ben reached out and tentatively placed a hand on Ray's
shoulder. He felt a marginal relaxation in response. He
carefully put his arm all the way around his partner's
shoulders. Ray leaned into him. Fraser put his other arm
around his partner, always alert for any indication that his
attention was not welcome. He gently drew Ray into his
embrace, and Ray leaned his head on Fraser's shoulder.

Ray was not entirely sure what he was doing. All he had
*meant* to do was take Beth Botrelle home. Then he had ended
up touring the former crime scene with her. He had hoped that
doing so would exorcise some of the demons that had plagued
him since the night eight years ago when he had found Jake
Botrelle dead. When Beth thanked him - thanked him! He had
nearly gotten her killed and she had *thanked* him! - he felt
himself beginning to lose it. He managed to make it to his
car, and of course Fraser was there, as he had been throughout
the two days of madness leading to Beth's exoneration in the
death of her husband. He thought to himself, *It's all over
now. I can take Fraser back to the consulate, and I can go
home. * But he didn't even start the car. He put his head down
on the steering wheel and the dam broke. He couldn't stop
crying. 

Then he felt Fraser's hand on his shoulder. At first he didn't
pay much attention to it. Then he felt Fraser's arms go around
him. He leaned into his friend's embrace and rested his head
on his shoulder. Somewhere in the back of his mind floated the
thought, *I am crying on Fraser's shoulder. He has his arms
around me. Should this be happening? Should I be letting it
happen?* He ignored it. He was in too much pain to care, too
much pain to think. All he wanted was to feel, and right now
Fraser's arms around him felt good. He'd think about it later.

Fraser was holding Ray in his arms. He was uncertain how to
proceed from here. He'd never held a man in his arms before,
and very few women. He found himself awkwardly stroking Ray's
hair. He smiled slightly. Ray's hair. Ray had once described
it as "experimental" which was typical of Ray's habit of self-
deprecation. He liked Ray's hair. He knew that the detective
had tried in vain to control it and had finally given up in
frustration. Ben thought it was attractive. *Whoops. Where did
/that/ thought come from? Ignore it, Benton* he told himself.
*Ray does not feel that way about you even if you feel that
way about him.*

Eventually, Ray's sobs quieted. He hiccuped a few times and
took a few deep breaths. He didn't move out of Fraser's arms
right away. He admitted to himself that he liked the way the
Mountie's arms felt around him. He felt comfortable and safe.
And, well, he felt something else, too. Uh-oh. He hadn't
expected *that.* He carefully sat up, away from Fraser, and
hoped his friend didn't see the bulge in his trousers. *This
is perfectly natural* he tried to convince himself. *No one
has touched me in a long time, and this is my body reacting,
that's all.* 

And then he thought, *Yeah, right. Admit it, Kowalski, you're
attracted to the Mountie.* Not that he would ever actually
/tell/ Fraser that. No way, no how, no sir. He'd jump off
another ship first.

"Are you all right, Ray?" asked Fraser.

Ray rubbed his eyes. "Yeah. Thanks, Fraser."

He started the car, then turned back to Fraser. "Uh, Fraser? I
don't - I don't really want to be alone right now. Would you,
uh, like to come over to my place for awhile?"

"Certainly, Ray."

"I don't have any bark tea."

"Understood, Ray."

"And I'm still a slob."

"I didn't think that had changed in the last two days, Ray."

"Okay, so long as ya know what to expect."

Yes, Fraser knew what to expect. Or rather, what not to
expect. He knew not to expect that Ray would want anything
other than his company, someone to discuss the Botrelle case
with. That was all.

*Damn, what am I getting myself into?* thought Ray. *Why did I
just ask Fraser to come home with me? I must be insane.* But
who else would he ask? Stella? Not likely. Fraser was his
friend. Even if he wasn't likely to be anything more than a
friend, Ray was grateful for his friendship. Of course, if Ray
couldn't control his hormones, there was the possibility of
losing Fraser's friendship. The mere thought immediately
dampened Ray's ardour.

Once inside his apartment, Ray was unable to relax. He
couldn't sit still. He paced restlessly. Fraser watched him.
Just watching Ray could make a person tired.

"Ray, perhaps you would be more comfortable if you sat down,"
Fraser suggested.

*Yeah, right, comfortable sitting next to Fraser?* thought
Ray. His body would give him away in a minute. *Nope, can't
sit anywhere /near/ him.* Most of the time he was able to
control his feelings around the Mountie. But tonight was
different. He had made himself vulnerable. He had allowed
Fraser to get close. Few people were close to Ray Kowalski.
Stella had been close once, but was no longer. Now, suddenly,
Benton Fraser was here. So close. Ray could reach out and
touch him if he wanted to. And he wanted to. But he wouldn't.
He wouldn't risk losing Fraser.

His reverie was interrupted by Fraser's voice. "Ray, you do
realize that you are pacing?" said the Mountie.

"Yeah, Fraser, I realize that I'm pacing. Why are you watchin'
me, anyway?"

Fraser gulped. How was he supposed to answer that question? He
was no good at lying. He covered for it by allowing people to
assume that it was a Mountie thing, like Dudley Do-Right from
that American cartoon; 'Mounties don't lie.' But Mounties were
human beings like anyone else. Mounties lied. Benton Fraser
didn't lie. He couldn't lie if he wanted to. Unfortunately,
now he wanted to. He couldn't exactly say, 'Because I find you
very attractive, Ray,' now, could he? "I am simply concerned
for your well-being, Ray." *Please be satisfied with that*.

"My well-being? You mean, ya wanna make sure I'm okay?" asked
Ray, puzzled.

"Yes, Ray. You have had a very stressful few days. Have you
even eaten anything today?" *There, I've changed the subject*
thought Fraser.

Ray laughed. "It's not like I've never gone without food
before, Fraser. Ya don't need ta worry about me."

"Ray, going without food, and, from all indications, without
sleep, as you have for the past several days, is not healthy."

"Dammit, Fraser, don't mother me! I'm fine, okay?" Ray
shouted. *Oh sh*t. Did I really just yell at Fraser?* The look
on Fraser's face said he had. Hurt and confusion were obvious.
It wasn't like Fraser could hide his feelings. But if that was
the case - what exactly was Fraser feeling, then? Hurt, yes.
That was to be expected, since his closest friend had just
yelled at him for no reason. Confusion, ditto. But was there
something else? *No, there can't be. I'm imagining it. I
haveta be. He can't feel about me the way I feel about him.
Why would he?*

"Ray." There was Fraser's voice again. "Ray? Ray?"

"Yeah, Frase? What is it?"

"I was just saying that perhaps it would be best if I left
now, and allowed you to get some rest."

*NO! He can't leave now. I don't want him to leave. Not like
this. Not after I yelled at him and basically told him to go
to h*ll.* "Naw, Fraser, really, I'm okay. You don't haveta
leave." He knelt in front of the couch, facing his partner.
"I'm sorry I yelled at ya, Frase. I'm not used to other people
caring how I feel. I don't even know *why* ya care so much." 

Oh, dear. There was another unanswerable question. "Why do I
care? I care because you are my friend, Ray." *Why do I get
the feeling he isn't going to be satisfied with that answer?*

Ray put both his hands on Fraser's knees. "Am I *just* your
friend, Fraser? Is that all I am to you?" he asked, unable to
keep the plaintive note out of his voice. He realized that he
was crying again.

Fraser reached out and wiped the tears from Ray's face. "No,
Ray. You are more than just my friend. So much more."

"Frase?"

"Yes, Ray?"

"Wouldya mind if - if - I kissed ya?"

"I would mind if you did not kiss me, Ray."

And Fraser's arms were around him once more, and Fraser was
holding him, and this time there was nothing tentative about
it, as the strong arms held him tightly and their lips met for
the first time. 

"Frase?" said Ray when he came up for air.

"Yes, Ray?"

"I think I love you."

Fraser smiled. "I think I love you, too, Ray."

End

"Tears, idle tears, I know not what they mean.
Tears from the depth of some divine despair
Rise in the heart, and gather in the eyes
In looking on the happy autumn fields
And thinking of the days that are no more."
--Lord Tennyson, "The Princess"

"Cry if you want to
I won't tell you not to
I won't try to cheer you up
I'll just be here if you want me to."
--- Holly Cole Trio, "Cry if You Want To",