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The hospital walls are white, and the lights above him shine too brightly. His head hurts already, but the stark environment is making it all that much worse. He sighs deeply and pinches the bridge of his nose, wishes he was someone else, somewhere else, because the day has barely even started, and it's already too long. How many hours until his shift ends again? Too many.

Another day, another case. Young girl, found beaten, raped and robbed in an alley somewhere, and it's not something Ray will ever get used to.

He's argued with Fraser all morning, all month in fact, over stupid little things. This morning it was so ridiculous he's not even sure why the fight happened in the first place, whatever it was about--Diefenbaker shed in his car, that was it--and the stress of constantly being so on edge with Fraser is damn near killing him. Fraser hasn't even told a stupid Inuit story, or a You know, Ray, my father used to say story in weeks.

Then today started with Welsh giving him hell when he came in, for forgetting something in his last report, continued with an ass nicking the GTO when he was turning down on 32nd--that scratch was ugly, too--and to top everything off, Stella had dropped by the bullpen. Cool and calm as ever, giving Ray one of her patented icy glares and moving with that confident swagger that so clearly said, You're not good enough for me.

It's stupid, how she still manages to hurt him without saying a word.

Jesus fuck, it isn't even noon, and sometimes Ray hates his job, hates his life, hates Fraser, and hates everything and everyone around him.

Fraser's insistence that everything could be fixed if Ray would kindly stop being so negative and pigheaded hadn't made anything any better, because really--as smart as he is, Fraser can be dumb as a lamp post sometimes.

"You suck, and I hate you, Fraser," he'd said between gritted teeth, as they got into the car to drive to the hospital.

Now Fraser is silent beside him, thank the gods, as they walk down the hallway. The girl has got room 313, and Ray takes a brief moment to think, Huh, bad luck, before he pushes open the door and enters, not waiting to see if Fraser follows.

She has got blonde hair with dark roots, one leg in a cast stretched upwards and suspended from the ceiling, and she sits immobile in her bed, staring out the window. The blinds are mercilessly open, and the harsh glare of the sun makes Ray's skull throb.

"Allyson Parker?" he asks, taking his notepad and a pen out of his pocket.

She doesn't reply, just keeps staring out the window. Her face is riddled with small bruises and cuts, butterfly bandages on her forehead, and stitches at the edge of her bottom lip. On her neck, a deep red bruise disappears under the edge of her hospital gown. Ray knows in a few days, it will be deep blue and purple, and then eventually become yellow. He's had enough bruises in his lifetime to know.

"Ms. Parker?" he tries again, but there still in no response. She blinks, slowly, as if even that hurts her.

Ray notices her arms and hands, as bruised as her face. The skin is white and dried around the knuckles, a few nails broken, and in his mind, he can see her struggling against her attacker, clawing and scratching as she tries to push him off her--

Her silence is starting to annoy him.

"Look, ma'am, I know this is uncomfortable for you, but I need to take your statement so I can get out there and find the bastard who did this--"

"Bastards," she interrupts quietly.

Ray shuts his mouth. "Okay, bastards," and he scribbles it down in his notepad. Multiple assailants. "Can you tell me how many?"

She doesn't speak again, and isn't this just a peachy-keen day all around? He takes a deep breath to calm himself, because this is a rape victim after all, and victim of a gang rape on top of that, and he needs to be sensitive, really, he knows that.


"Do you remember what happened to you?" he tries, but she doesn't answer. Just sits there, still as a cracked porcelain doll--almost as if she's afraid she'll shatter into a thousand pieces if she moves. "Do you remember anything at all?"

She keeps staring out the window, and the sun must be blinding her.

"Look," Ray says, clenching his teeth, "I know this is incredibly hard for you--"

Her head suddenly whips around, faster than Ray thought she'd be able to with all her injuries. It must have hurt, but no pain shows in her eyes, not physical at least. Green eyes pierce him and stare accusingly at him, and it infuriates him. The thought strikes him then, that, How dare she? When he's the one who's going to help her, he's the one who's going to hunt the fuckers down and chop off their balls and have them for breakfast for what they've done to her, and she's mad at him?

"What the hell do you know?" she spits at him, voice trembling and unsteady. "You don't know a single fucking thing, you fucking pig, so don't fucking pretend you do! Someone like you could never understand!"

And somehow that doesn't ring quite true in Ray's ears. It infuriates him and angers him and annoys him, because damnit, he's not some rookie asswipe cop, he's damn good at his job--hell, if he wasn't he wouldn't have gotten the Vecchio gig in the first place, but it's not exactly like he can tell her that. And the way she lashes out and takes her anger and hurt out on him just seems all wrong, and why the fuck isn't Fraser in the room? She should really be yelling at him, because he's the one being such a dickhead, not Ray--and that's it, he's gone, he snaps, and he snarls at her, unable to stop himself.

"Look, lady, if you don't remember anything else, fine--if you don't wish to file a formal report after all, or even talk to me, just say so--but either tell me to get the hell out, or tell me what you do remember, because I got six other cases sitting on my desk, and if you don't wanna work with me, I don't have to fucking stand around here, listening to your insults! I got better things to do!"

And then she yells back at him, something he can't make out, because he yells over her, and the anger is red hot in him--why the fuck won't she work with me?--and then Fraser is suddenly there, red serge invading Ray's vision and blocking her from view. Fraser is calming her down, saying ssh, ssh, getting tissues as she sobs and cries, and Fraser turns to Ray, stares at him with an expression so angry and shocked that Ray just has to take a step back, and Fraser says, "For Gods sake, Ray, show some compassion--for God's sake--"

And the realization that he's just screamed at a rape victim just hits Ray like a sledgehammer, and he drops his pad and pen, stumbles away, out of the room just as a nurse and a doctor rushes in, and this is it. This is it. His career is officially over, because holy shit, he's really lost it, hasn't he?

The headache has tripled in size and brought friends, and Ray frantically rubs his temples as he leans against the wall a bit down the hallway. This day is too much, too fucking much. Nobody should have to endure this kind of stress.

He wants to walk out. He wants to walk out and away, and just go straight to the 27th and hand in his resignation, cover or no cover. Vecchio be damned, he can handle his own, let Fraser fend for himself, just as long as Ray doesn't have to take more arguing with Fraser, and that's really the crux of all his problems, isn't it?


It always comes down to that big asswipe of a man, because he is so damn annoying, and most of the time it seems like he does it on purpose. Maybe he does, what the hell does Ray know?

All he wants is to get away from it all, because just being partners with Fraser is hard enough, but the past month--arguing with Fraser--that's been freakin' murder. But somehow, he can't seem to move, can't seem to move away from the wall, down the hallway and out to his car, and he just knows this whole circus is gonna lead to another argument with Fraser.

Now that Ray doesn't deserve it this time, he's willing to admit that, but he never would have snapped in the first place if Fraser hadn't been such a fucking idiot! Who the fuck starts an argument over potholes in the road? Who the fuck starts an argument over the placement of the door handles of the GTO?

Fraser, that's who.

Fraser, who's currently walking down the hall, hat in hand. He stops next to Ray and hands him his notepad and his pen, and Ray takes them without a word, waiting for Fraser to tell him how stupid he is, how insensitive he is, how Fraser of course will have to report the incident to 'Leftenant' Welsh--

Hell, Ray's teeth hurt from the fury racing through him.

"Ms. Parker was on her way home from work when she was attacked by three unknown assailants," Fraser says calmly, placing the hat on his head, and Ray blinks. "They dragged her into the alley where she was found, and two of them proceeded to force themselves on her, while the third held her down and gagged her. She fought them as best she could, damaging one of them near the eyes with her nails and fracturing her leg in the process. The hospital has called for a forensic unit to collect trace evidence from her clothes and fingernails, and they have already performed a rape kit on her and sent the results to the station by fax. The assailants who forced themselves on her both wore condoms as far as she could tell. All three worse masks, but they were Caucasian, and after they were done with their abuse, they took her coat, her purse, her jewelry, and left her. I have noted all this down in your notebook, along with the estimated height and weight of the assailants. I suggest we go back to the scene and start asking around for possible witnesses."

Ray blinks again. No speech about how wrong he was? No angry Fraser?

"That's it?" he asks incredulously, and Fraser cocks his head at him. "That's all? You're not going to yell at me?"

Fraser studies Ray closely, and he doesn't look angry, but Ray can see it in his eyes. "No, Ray," Fraser says, still sounding calm. "I'm not going to yell at you. I explained to Ms. Parker that you have been under an extreme amount of pressure lately, and I took the liberty of telling her your sincerest apologies for your behavior."

Then he starts down the hallway as if nothing had happened.

Ray could let it go. He knows this. He could let it go, and not say anything, and they could go to the crime scene to start asking around for witnesses, and they wouldn't bring it up again, ever, but somehow Fraser's dismissal of the whole thing is even worse than being yelled at.

Angry again, he steps forward, grabs Fraser by the shoulder and spins him back around. "That's not fucking it," he spits out between clenched teeth, because they have been fighting over petty stuff for a month now, and this is the thing Fraser chooses to ignore?! "That's not it!"

"Ray--" Fraser starts to say, looking around at the hospital staff around them, but he's not weaseling his way out of this, and Ray angrily grabs him by the arm, clenches a firm upper arm and red serge so hard that his fingers hurt, and he drags Fraser off, finds the nearest supply closet and shoves Fraser in ahead of himself, closing the door behind them.

"Ray--" Fraser starts again, but Ray gives him a hard shove in the chest, the mere movement making his head throb extra, and Fraser stumbles back against the wall, hat falling off his head. In the darkness, Ray can barely make out Fraser's shocked expression, and finally that calm exterior cracks. Maybe it's because this is the closest thing they've gotten to physical violence since that damn pirate case, or maybe it's because this whole thing is oddly reminiscent of that case, Ray doesn't know, and right now he doesn't care.

Has a brief flashback to being angry, angry, so angry that his fist had flown at Fraser face before he could stop it, and he wonders if things will come to that point again, and he doesn't care.

"You don't get to do this," he spits out, hisses it between his lips, "you don't get to decide what we fight about and what we don't fight about!"

"This isn't the place for this discussion," Fraser whispers back, but Ray shoves him again.

"You don't get to fucking decide!" Ray hisses again. "What the fuck are you playing at, Fraser? Why do you want to fight with me over potholes in the road, but won't say a damn thing at me when I snap and treat a rape victim like a--a--"

"A suspect?" Fraser supplies, ever helpful, and Ray grabs him by his uniform, slams him up against the wall and gets right into his personal space.

"Shut up!" he hisses, growls in the back of his throat. "Shut up, shut up, shut up!"

And then he goes ahead and he does it, he kisses Fraser, forces their lips together and takes his mouth angrily, and Jesus, he hadn't even known he wanted to do this, except now that he's doing it, he knows. Feels like he's been wanting to for a long time, feels like a finally breathes through his entire body, and Fraser's kissing him back, Fraser's kissing Ray back with equal fire.

Sexual tension, a voice says in Ray's head, it's all sexual tension, all the fighting, all the snapping, and Fraser's big hands are on Ray's shoulders now, pulling him closer so their bodies are pressed together in the dark.

Tearing his lips off Fraser's with a gasp, Ray manages a breathy, "Fraser--" before Fraser's hands are at his waist, unbuckling his belt with ease and unzipping his pants, and holy shitfuckdamn that's Fraser's hand around his cock, and Ray wants nothing more than to feel this the other way, he wants to feel Fraser's cock in his palm. He scrambles frantically, tries to get past all the buckles and belts and wool of Fraser's uniform, and Fraser pants in his hear, one hand crashing with Ray's as he helps, whispers, "Here, here," and then he's in.

Fraser's dick is warm and heavy and hard, and Ray pumps him, groans as Fraser mirrors the movement, and then they're kissing again, hard and unforgiving, as if they're still a little bit mad at each other, and hell--maybe they are? Ray has no clue anymore, because Fraser's jerking him fast and hard and it feels so damn good, and why haven't they been doing this before? Why, when they could have--sexual tension, the voice whispers again--been doing this a month ago?

"Fraser," Ray pants into Fraser's mouth, "Fraser," and Fraser moves his lips from Ray's and down across his jaw, to his ear, bites down gently on the lobe and then attaches his mouth to Ray's neck and sucks--

Fraser's hand still moving, still moving, and it's such a damn fight for Ray to keep his own hand moving on Fraser's cock, Fraser has no idea, because Ray's close, he's so close--so damn good--

Ray comes with a voiceless gasp against Fraser's cheek, and it seems like it goes on forever. The orgasm feels far more powerful than it should, considering it was a fucking handjob that did him in, and it might be the best sex Ray's ever had, and he's not even sure it could classify as sex. He coats both their hands in semen, and he shudders, because he's not sure he's ever spurted so much in his entire life--except it's not all his, because then Fraser shudders too, one hand clutching desperately at the back of Ray's neck and the other irregularly clenching his cock, and damn, Fraser just came in Ray's hand.

They stand there for a while, heavy breathing suddenly unnaturally loud in the darkness of the closet. Jesus. What a fucking mess. And Ray flashes back to Allyson Parker's hands, skin dried across her knuckles as she fights off her attackers--

He jerks back, and stares hard at the floor--suddenly feels far too exposed. Softening cock hanging out of his open jeans, sperm dripping off his hand, and it's probably everywhere on his clothes, and how the fuck are they going to hide this?

How soon can they do it again?

The question comes unbidden to Ray's mind, but now that it's there anyway, it seems like a reasonable question. After all, Fraser didn't exactly seem to mind, and who knew the Mountie was the handjob-in-a-closet kinda guy? And Ray suddenly realizes his anger has more or less drained away, and yeah--he's still got that headache going pretty well for him, but it's not quite as skull-splitting as it was. Doesn't make him want to throw his head out in front of a moving truck just to make it stop, anyway.

"So, uh--" he begins lamely. "I, uh..."

He can't finish the sentence. Instead he lifts his eyes to find Fraser calmly wiping sperm off his hands and cock with a handkerchief, and Ray can't be sure in the dark, but he's willing to bet the guy didn't even get a single drop on his precious uniform.

Once Fraser has tucked himself in and buttoned up again--and it kinda makes Ray feel even more embarrassed, because he is still standing there with one hand wet with sperm and his cock hanging out of his pants--Fraser straightens his laynyard, picks up his hat and looks at Ray. His eyes glitter calmly in the dark, but he doesn't look angry, he looks--Ray doesn't know.

"Did you get it out of your system?" Fraser asks calmly, and Ray is kinda stunned, here.

"I, uh--" he says. Takes a moment to just feel. Did he get it, whatever the hell it meant--sexual tension--out of his system? "I think so...?"

"Good," Fraser says, reaching into his pocket and coming up with another handkerchief, a clean one, which he hands to Ray, and Ray is still having a little trouble speaking. "I trust you will be better at handling our witnesses from now on?"

Ray blinks, and says, "Yeah, I--I will," and wipes himself off as best he can. Tucks himself back into his boxers and jeans and zips up, and dear God, he hopes he isn't too much of a mess still. He doesn't really want to walk through a crowded hospital with come stains on his crotch, not really.

"Ready to go?" Fraser asks, and Ray doesn't even need better light to see the half smile on his face, he can hear it in Fraser's voice. Just like that, and they're ready to move on, and maybe now the fighting over petty things can stop?

"Yeah, I--think so," Ray says, balling up the now sticky handkerchief and shoving it in his pocket.

Fraser moves for the door then, around Ray, but before he can get that far, it hits Ray.

"No," he says quickly, and Fraser freezes.

A long moment of silence between them.


Ray nods. "No," he confirms. "It's not okay. I mean, I didn't get it out of my system," and Fraser tenses for a moment there, "I mean--"

Fuck, he's not saying this right.

"I mean, it's not just something I get out of my system, Frase."

The familiar mangling of his name causes Fraser to take a step back again, and he regards Ray calmly in the darkness. "This isn't just some stupid--thing, Fraser, I mean, it's something..."

Ray himself isn't even sure what he's trying to say, the words of each sentence he's planning to get out somehow dying on his tongue and he wishes Fraser would help him out a bit. Fraser always seems to get these things right away, seems to have a knack for just picking these things up, these things that Ray can't quite grasp, and putting them into actual words and sentences, so why should now be any different? There is something to be said here, something important, Ray just isn't sure what it is.

For the longest of moments, they just stand there with Ray's mouth opening and closing again as he tries frantically to put into words exactly what it is, this--thing--and if he could just get it out--

"I am well aware that things haven been--tense lately," Fraser finally says, and thankyouJesusfuck. "But I was hoping that maybe now that you've--"

"Sexual tension!" Ray blurts out with a snap of his fingers. "That's it--sexual tension."

Now Fraser looks confused. "Yes," he says slowly, then continues, "I was hoping that maybe now, some of that--sexual tension--has been relieved, so maybe now you could kindly stop picking fights over small things like--"

And that isn't usually how Fraser solves things between them. Ray feels anger and annoyance flare up in him again, and he's halfway to spitting out a colorful insult, before he realizes that that would probably get them nowhere, and he's supposed to try to fix this now, so he shuts his mouth with an audible snap. Chokes on his own, harsh words before they can be voiced.

"I'm not the one picking the fights," he says as calmly as he can muster. "It's a two-way street, buddy."

"You have been complaining about everything between heaven and earth for weeks now, Ray, and no matter what I do--"

"You're the one who keeps shooting down every suggestion I make," Ray argues back, and hell--this isn't how he'd imagined this conversation would go a couple of minutes ago, at all.

"Well," Fraser sighs, and even the man's sigh sounds annoyed, "maybe that's because your suggestions as of late, has been extraordinary lacking in--"

And then they're down that road again, that sexual tension road, where they snarl and snap at each other until one day they will be back down at the docks and Ray is so fucking angry that his hand snaps forward before he can stop it, and that's not a place Ray wants to revisit, not at all, so he stomps his foot angrily, like a little child. It's probably ridiculous, but it's either that or fast forward to that moment--that hitting moment--right now, and he doesn't wanna go there. Doesn't wanna go there, so he stomps his foot, body practically vibrating with repressed anger.

"Shut up," he snaps, interrupting Fraser. "Just shut you fucking mouth for one second, Fraser!"

"If you have something to say, Ray, stop acting like a spoiled two-year old and just say it--"

"I will if you'll let me get a chance--"

"So stop--"

"Are we gonna stop fighting and start sleeping together, or what?!" Ray finally rushes out, more angry than anything else, and the relief over the fact that Fraser's stopped arguing back hits him long before he actually registers the words he just spoke.

Fraser is completely silent in front of Ray, still as a statue, or tin soldier. He stands there in the dark, not saying a word, and so Ray stays silent as well, their quiet breathing being the only sound in the small confines of the closet.

Ray's own words catch up with him, and he swallows hard, because the transition from angry and annoyed and I wanna bash your thick skull in, you stupid Mountie, to horny and hard and the realisation that Hey, I wanna sleep with you--well, it really has gone fast enough to give him fucking whiplash, and--also, that handjob--God! And he hasn't been this nervous in years, not since before Stella, he thinks.

Finally Fraser moves. In the dark, Ray sees one corner of his mouth tilt up, and Ray releases a breath he hadn't know he was holding. Fraser doesn't say anything, but for once, he doesn't have to--for once, Ray knows it all just by looking at him.

"Sexual tension," Ray says with a shrug, like hey, whatcha gonna do, and Fraser smiles at him then, a real smile, a Fraser-smile, and Ray hasn't seen that in too long, too long, too many weeks. It feels nice.

They share a quiet chuckle, and then as one, they move together out of the closet and into the hospital hallway again. The light seems extra harsh coming out from the darkness, but somehow, it's not as bad as it seemed entering the hospital, and thankfully, Ray doesn't notice any too telling stains on his jeans. He'll have no problems getting home and changing into a clean pair without any knowing stares, and then they'll go to that crime scene and start looking around for witnesses.

Probably should come back and apologize to Allyson Parker in person, too.

Around them, the hospital staff and patients seem blissfully unaware of what just happened in the supply closet--unaware of the handjob, unaware that a whole new world has fucking revealed itself--and Ray thinks it feels vaguely surreal, until Fraser turns his head to look at him, and what do you know? Fraser's still smiling.

They're halfway to the elevator when Fraser takes a breath, and says, "You know, Ray, there is a tale about an old Inuit chief--"

Ray grins to himself and doesn't say a word to interrupt Fraser's story.