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Don We Now Our Gay Apparel

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Ray is two hours into his new year’s eve plan when he realizes it was a terrible, terrible plan. Sure, yesterday he’d been so fed up with the work and the stress and the same people day in day out that an evening at home with a case of his favorite beer sounded like heaven. And sure, it started off pretty sweet; those first couple bottles had been crisp and relaxing, and he’d sunk into his sofa and breathed deep, relieved that he had nowhere to be for a night.

But a few bottles later, it’s not relaxing anymore, it’s pathetic. Yeah, drinking by yourself: hell of a way to spend a new year’s eve, there, why not just tattoo “divorced loser” onto your forehead and be done with it? One more bottle and Ray considers that if there’s anybody else in the city of Chicago who is alone and doing nothing on a night like this, it has to be Fraser, so they might as well be alone and do nothing together. Or something.

On the steps of the Consulate, he’s starting to rethink his logic a bit, because maybe it’s not entirely suave to show up drunk at the Canadian Consulate half an hour before midnight, and the building seems abandoned anyway. But then the big front door swings open, and there’s Turnbull, and he’s got a party hat – one of those brightly colored cardboard cone-things – strung on top of his Mountie hat. And he seems utterly delighted to see Ray there.

“Good evening, Detective!” Turnbull pulls the door wide and beams, like letting Ray into the building is totally the best thing ever to happen, like this event all by itself turns his evening of doormanship from a boring duty into a rocking holiday party. “A very happy new year to you! And may I say, on behalf of the nation of Canada, not that I generally speak for the nation—”

“Happy new year to you too.” Ray has some trouble getting around him and through the door, but it’s worth it for how tickled Turnbull seems at having something to do. “Is Fraser in?”

“He is!” Turnbull practically bursts with pride in delivering this news. His cheeks are pink with excitement. Or else the elastic from his party hat is cutting off circulation to his face. He’s like a six-foot-tall puppy in a uniform.

So Ray is already in a better mood than before when he gets to Fraser’s office, thinking This was a good idea, and giggling a little, when he hears a muffled voice inside, like Fraser’s a room or two away. He tries knocking but gets no answer, and looking back towards the front hallway he can see Turnbull bouncing on his toes, smiling brightly at him. Ray nods in his direction, receives a smart salute in response, and lets himself into Fraser’s room.

Dief greets him composedly, which is normal, but what’s weird is that Fraser’s voice is coming from inside his closet. And it sounds like he’s having an argument. “You can’t just say these things!” Fraser exclaims, and a few seconds later, “I can’t believe we’re even having this conversation.” Ray cocks his head at Dief, who sort of shrugs and goes back to his bed, like Don’t ask me, man, he does this all the time, and when Fraser says “This really isn’t about you,” it occurs to Ray that Fraser must be practicing. That he has something important to say to somebody, and he doesn’t think it’s going to go well, and this is just how adorable Fraser is: he’s hiding in his closet practicing the conversation he wants to have. He’s doing both parts, evidently, and whatever, the guy’s a freak, but he’s an adorable freak, and maybe Ray’s had a few beers but this is just, honestly, it’s too cute. Mounties as a species are, above all else, they’re cute. Not that he’d say so out loud, because they’re also pretty big and strong and all that. Anyway, Fraser says “Let’s never talk about this again,” sounding pretty put out for a guy who’s been having a practice conversation with himself, and then he comes out of the closet and sees Ray and looks totally shocked and embarrassed, and like a bolt from the blue, Ray GETS IT. Fraser is coming out of the closet. Of course Fraser would take that expression literally.

Fraser starts sputtering something about not hearing Ray come in, and Ray tries to hold back a laugh, because he can see that Fraser’s turning red over here, but seriously, this isn’t just funny, it is FANTASTIC. This is a time of jubilation, and Ray should have come to the Consulate much, much earlier in his evening, except then it might not have turned out as well as it did. Because right now Ray is backing Fraser against his closet door and kissing him wetly on the mouth, and Fraser has a moment of shock where he’s not doing anything, and then he is kissing Ray back. And it’s wonderful. It’s a big smoochy new year’s eve wonderful. Ray just loves Canada.

Fraser has his big strong arms around him, and they’re pressed together, body to body, and Ray pulls his mouth away because he can’t resist saying, “You know, for most guys the closet is a, what, it’s more like a metaphor.” Fraser looks confused for a second, glances back at the door behind him, and is about to say something, then stops and looks into Ray’s eyes.

“I’ll remember that,” he smiles, and then they’re kissing again, and Ray was totally right. This was the best idea ever.