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Forty-Five Years

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In the summer up here everything goes a funny color, like some big artist in the sky has come down with one of those weird filters Ray's starting to see in movies now, or at least the ones that get played at the community center. The blue filter means it's nighttime or something. But nature's summer filter doesn't believe in nighttime; 10PM rolls around and Ray knows it's getting late because the sun starts kind of rolling around the horizon, lazy as Diefenbaker but a billion times brighter, obviously, and all the light goes this surreal golden-orange.

Ray's never going to get used to it, but it's the good kind of not-getting-used-to, like how he's never going to get used to waking up spooning Fraser. Ray likes the midnight sun the same way: weird, but good weird. It reminds him a little of Chicago sometimes, the unreal light, his body tired, must be the night shift. Fraser's the same way, sleeps less in the summertime.

Tonight that means he's staying late at the depot. Ray, unofficial and paperworkless restless aimless, walks around town with Dief in the weird soft light and lets Dief trot off to do whatever wolf-things he's up to. Ray's human-things options are sort of limited to going home and making friends with the blackout curtains, or stopping by the bar to say hi to the other summertime insomniacs. Ray picks door number two.

This time of night, it's mostly a handful of bewildered tourists who haven't learned how to make friends with the blackout curtains yet, and a couple of regulars Ray knows, sleepless transplants like Ray who like it here but aren't gonna get used to the midnight sun any sooner than he is. Ray goes over and, at a nod, sits at a table with Mark Hewlett, a pilot and mechanic who does summer runs up here. He showed Ray around his prop plane's engine once; he's a good guy, and Ray likes the company.

Mark's kind of chatty tonight. He hands Ray a beer and starts telling Ray a pretty funny story about the latest batch of American hunters he was flying around; Ray listens a little and drinks a little, letting his fingertips slide around the cool condensation on the bottle. He searches around his tired brain for maybe a poacher-related story he can tell Mark in return, and right when he thinks of one it goes out of his head, Mark's voice goes out of his head, the murmur of conversation and even Ray's tiredness all go about a million miles away, because Fraser's just walked in the door.

He's wearing his Stetson still, but he's also in jeans and the off-white holey sweater that's falling to pieces but Fraser refuses to throw away; civvies, which means he stopped off at home and then came looking for Ray. His eyes crinkle up at the corners, a near-invisible smile, and god, Ray can't even breathe.

"Sorry, I gotta," he says to Mark, and Mark waves him off good-naturedly. He goes to the door. "Hey, Frase."

"Hi," Fraser says. His voice sounds soft and golden like the summer light, and Ray might be tired but it'd still be true even if he was wide awake. He takes Fraser's elbow, bumps the door open, and feels Fraser fall into step beside him. They walk down the road, Fraser's shoulder warm against his, the sky this brilliant painful blue above the soft light, and it's suddenly turned into one of those times where Ray can barely stand it, can barely stand, leaning hard on Fraser, drunk with tiredness and joy.

Fraser chuckles softly. "Sleepy?" he asks, and Ray says, "Uh-huh," and thank god they're home, thank god, Fraser opens their front door and Ray follows him in and turns him around it, slamming the door closed with Fraser against it before his knees can give out, and kissing Fraser, kissing Fraser warm and sleepy and needy. Fraser hums happily and follows Ray a little when Ray backs off to breathe. Then his hands are cupping Ray's face, and he's usually not anything like this gentle but he gets it, Ray can see that he gets it, right now he's got to be careful not to break Ray apart.

"The paperwork's well in hand," Fraser says, like he's imparting some secret of the universe. His thumbs keep running over and over Ray's cheekbones, hypnotic and wonderful. "Want to go fishing this weekend?"

"I'd like that," Ray says, and turns and kisses Fraser's palm, because he can't, he can't, if he says what he wants to say right now he really will just fall apart. He wants to keep solving Canadian crimes and take Dief on walks and get summer insomnia and go fishing all year round and memorize every damn inch of Fraser, and he wants to be even closer to Fraser than he is right now, which doesn't feel possible but it keeps happening, keeps happening every day when Ray doesn't expect it, and he wants it now and he wants it in ten years and twenty and forty-five, and he can't say it, he's too full of words to get even the three important ones out. "Frase," he says.

Fraser kisses him, very gently. "And I you, Ray," he murmurs. "Come to bed."