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The urge presents itself every once in a while, but he very rarely acts upon it. There is always a sense of... well, it does not feel wrong, more as if there is something missing.

Fraser spends little time around his peers as a child and as a teenager. And although he has a few good friends, their curiosity has never been strong enough to get anywhere near Fraser's. So all this time, he keeps his confusing thoughts to himself.

There is the time at Depot, where Fraser struggles with the ability to interact with other people. His upbringing has brought him a full baggage of polite behavior and eventually he dons it as a mask.

Once or twice someone makes it nearly past his defenses and those times are where the urges are hardest to fight off. Too polite to say no, too curious as well...

Unfortunately it has never been more than a quick groping or rubbing session in a darkened room and by the time he is well out of Depot, he figures it is more curiosity than anything else that draws him to those clandestine meetings.

When he meets Victoria it only supports his theory. This is the way he is wired, so at least this is an area in which he does not differ from the majority. How he has fooled no one but himself. The outcome of that ...relationship, has taught him to be wary of what his heart tells him... as well as his body's tempting urges.

When he arrives in Chicago, Fraser settles himself for being alone, because in truth, at the time or his arrival, he still carries a torch for Victoria. At least that is what he tells himself when he uses his naive facade to deflect advancements from the women around him.

Ray Vecchio stirs nothing but brotherly love in him. Still, even this is new to him. As with his previously physical attractions, this relationship too lacks something. In comparison, though, he has to admit that he much prefers this version, for it leaves him feeling far safer than anything else.

Then Ray leaves and Ray takes his place. Same name, but as different as night and day.

As he ponders this, he realizes that the differences are partly what draws him to this Ray. The cocky attitude, the strange hair, those are seemingly all part of a strange cover, shielding the real man underneath from prying eyes.

The energy exuding Ray Kowalski is dizzying, exalting... thrilling. Above all else, it awakens something in Fraser that he has not thought about for years. It has been there since the day he met this man, since Ray walked up to him, gave him a hug and acted as if nothing strange was going on.

That day, Fraser had been both too confused and too hurt by Ray Vecchio's leaving to notice his own reaction, both physically and psychologically, to the man who took his friend's place.

Ray gets under his skin in a way no one else ever has, and he makes it seem so effortless, although Fraser knows it is not. He has learned that Ray will fight long and hard for what he wants, and if he wants to know something, he's like a dog with a bone.

The odd thought strikes Fraser for a moment. Is that it? Ray's relentlessness lately... it has grown. He refuses to let Fraser go home to the Consulate with Dief after a working day.

A quick look around and Fraser is surprised by the domestic feel of 'home'. Here he is, on Ray's couch, watching hockey. Dief is stretched out on an old blanket in the corner, mirroring Fraser's feeling of belonging.

Another quick peek at Ray sends a slowly churning warmth through Fraser's body. It is the old familiar urge, yet there is more... something he is itching to explore. He finds Ray attractive... more than that, really. He's the moth to Ray's flame, drawn in by this energetic man, the deceivingly simple personality that hides complexity that he has never known before.

Fraser looks down at the couch, where his hand is resting between them. Ray's is very close by, seemingly resting innocently on the couch-cushion. Ignoring the warning voices in his mind, Fraser watches his own hand move, his fingers stroking against Ray's warm skin.

His eyes return to the TV, although his attention is solely on the space between them, the one stolen touch.

For a moment nothing happens, then strong, agile fingers slide over his, and heat spreads from that touch up through his arm, filling his body. Fraser thinks that he can see a small glimpse of what has been missing before.

There is a merging of things he only knows separately. There is the thrill of physical reaction, of slow burning interest ...arousal, that he recognizes from his youth.

Twined around it, however, he finds something that reminds him of what he had with Ray Vecchio. Friendship and trust. The kind of trust that whispers to Fraser's mind and heart that it is safe to close his eyes, lean back and let go. The fingers tightening around his let him know that he is not alone, that someone will catch him if he only dares trust.

A light tug on his hand surprises him enough to slip by his defenses and as he steadies himself, he finds Ray a lot closer than before.

Fraser is the one with words, but he knows this is Ray's move. Ray who prefers doing instead of talking, and he does not disappoint Fraser. Warm, slightly dry lips touch Fraser's and the hockey game is long since forgotten.

This is the true sense of coming home, of seeing the ends of an expedition, a search, and he knows he does not have to look for what he conceives as impossible anymore. Leave it to Ray to turn his world upside down, tilting it just right for Fraser to see the truth.

The End