Considering the level of bizarreitude going down, far beyond even the usual Fraser-associated levels of weirdness, Ray slept much better than he expected to. He had to get up way too soon, but he woke up feeling bright eyed and bushy tailed. He sang Ramones in the shower, put an extra couple of M&Ms in his coffee, salsa-ed his way from the kitchen to the bedroom closet. Whatever time he'd saved by not hitting the snooze four times that morning was taken up by trying to figure out what he should wear, but he eventually settled on a brown dress shirt with no tie and a greenish-brown sport coat that Stella said made his eyes look pretty. His hair did exactly what he wanted on the first try. As mornings go, it had to be in the top ten of the Vecchio era.
In between all his little morning routines, he'd find himself thinking about Fraser. Like how he'd been standing there holding the Consulate door, looking like he couldn't tell you his own name, much less come up with an Inuit story. Stunned and possibly lust-addled was a really good look for Fraser. Granted, covered with mud and garbage was a good look for Fraser. Fraser didn't really have a lot of bad looks. Frozen over wasn't so good, but Ray was not thinking about that, no, no, no. No more ghostly weirdness, just him and his buddy, going to dinner and hanging out. Maybe making out, and okay that was a little weird too, but not bad-weird, and much much better than frozen over, which Ray was not at all thinking about, no.
When he got to the station, he wasn't even pissed off that he couldn't get to his desk because it was completely surrounded by a huge flock of geese. It was just too funny to be mad about. And the more they were waddling around, honking and shitting everywhere, the funnier it was, until he was nearly pissing himself with laughter. Huey and Dewey were arguing with the goose guy (his overalls and hooked stick thingy gave him away), something about carrying concealed without a license. All three of them were covered in little spots of goose shit. The more Ray tried to imagine how that had happened, the more he laughed. He was still convulsed and weeping when Welsh stuck his head out of his office.
"Detective Vecchio, I'm pleased to see you in such a rarely-observed sunny temper this morning. Perhaps you could marshal enough control of yourself to give Detectives Huey and Dewey some assistance in containing these birds. Now would be better than later."
So Ray got a hold of himself, borrowed a tissue from Frannie's desk to wipe his eyes, and started trying to get all the geese into Interrogation Two. It wasn't as easy as Ray expected and he hadn't expected it to be all that easy. After a couple of minutes of geese going everywhere except where he wanted, he realized that he was going about the whole thing all wrong. He managed to wade through the geese to his desk, picked up the phone and dialed from memory.
"Canadian Consulate, good morning, how can I help you? Consulat du Canada, bonjour, comment est-ce -"
"Fraser, I need you to send the wolf over to the station right away."
"Good morning, Ray. Did you sleep well?"
"Yeah, Frase, peachy, thanks. Can you help me out here?"
"It's only Diefenbaker's presence that you're requesting, then?"
"Hey, you're welcome too if you can get away, but this is really more along his lines, if you see what I'm saying."
"I'm afraid I don't, Ray."
"Look, is he coming over or not? It's not like he's busy, and I'm on a schedule here."
"We'll both be there momentarily."
When Fraser and Dief arrived, Ray was sitting on top of his desk, swinging his feet just to watch the geese move out of the way. As soon as Dief cleared the hallway and got a look at the scene, he barked. Terrified by the sudden arrival of a fucking wolf, the geese started an all-goose punk rock jamboree of honking at a volume worthy of a marshall stack, with slam-waddling in every direction.
Fraser gave Dief the "wait" hand signal and looked down at him with annoyance. "I didn't say you didn't smell geese in the police station, I just said it was highly unlikely." He had to raise his voice to be heard over the din. "Good morning, Ray. It seems as though you have a livestock problem."
"Yeah, you could say that. Hey, Dief, I got to get all these freaking geese into Interrogation Two. Can you help me out with this, Dief-buddy, oh pal o' mine?"
Dief barked again and Fraser threw him an even more irritated look.
"What?" Ray asked.
"He's asking for - well demanding, really - payment."
"We've recently been discussing the intricacies of consumer capitalism and I'm afraid it's gone to his head. Diefenbaker, one does not charge one's friends for favors rendered. Think about all the doughnuts Ray has slipped you in the past when you both thought I wasn't looking. Is this any way to return his kindnesses?"
"Half dozen, glazed," said Ray. "That's my final offer."
Dief barked again.
"Yeah, okay, Krispy Kreme. You got a deal."
Dief, tossing a look over his shoulder at Fraser that could only be described as smug, began rounding up the geese and chasing them into Two. When they were all inside, Ray closed the door in triumph and gave Dief an ear scratch.
"Thanks for the help, buddy," Ray said. "I know herding isn't really your thing, but you're a natural. You should look into it if the police wolf/sled pulling gig doesn't work out."
Dief thumped his tail happily against the door while Fraser muttered something like, "Don't encourage him."
When they got back to the bullpen, one of the janitors was mopping up goose shit and Welsh was leaning against the doorway of his office with a file in his hand and a resigned expression.
"Ah, Vecchio," Welsh said, "I see you called for goose wrangling backup. It's a wise man who knows when he's in over his head. Constable, thanks for your timely arrival."
Fraser ducked his head. "I'm afraid it's Diefenbaker who is the hero of the hour, Lieutenant, if a self-serving one. Ray secured his help with a doughnut bribe."
"Just consider it a performance bonus, Fraser," Ray said with a grin to Dief.
"Since you and the wolf did such a good job with the geese, Vecchio," Welsh handed Ray the file. "Maybe you can corral this car thief in an equally expeditious manner."
"Yes, sir." And wasn't that always the way – the reward for a job well done was big words and another job.
Fraser, Dief and Ray went back to Ray's desk to look over the file the way they always did. Dief curled up under the desk for a nap. Fraser got the file first because he read fastest. He passed the pages to Ray as he finished them and when he was done, he left to go get a cup of tea for himself and a cup of coffee for Ray while Ray caught up. Then they'd drink their beverages, talk over their first impressions, and decide where to start.
That was all greatness, it worked for them, it was one of their little things that they did. What was even greater, which Ray had never noticed before, was that it left him with nothing to do for a little bit but stare at Fraser reading the first page of the file. He couldn't even remember what he normally did during that part, but now he had his first chance of the day, undistracted by flocks of domestic fowl, to check Fraser out, check himself out, check out their new situation.
Item one, Fraser was still gorgeous. Not exactly a news flash. Item two, Fraser didn't look entirely comfortable. And yeah, he wasn't exactly the poster boy for informality even when he was in his freaking long johns, but Ray could tell the difference between his everyday "Constable Benton Fraser RCMP Came To Chicago On The Trail Of My Father's Killers" stiffness and when something was really bothering him. Today, he was feeling bothered. Item three, Fraser was still really fucking gorgeous and Ray was fairly sure he wanted to try kissing him again. This time with more tongue.
Fraser finished the first page, looked up and caught Ray staring at him. They locked eyes for a moment. Fraser's face was carefully neutral but his eyes were saying all kinds of things that Ray couldn't untangle – fear, irritation, hope, affection, heat, confusion. Fraser blushed and handed over the page. He went back to reading and Ray gave himself a mental shake. Maybe work wasn't the best place to do this. He needed to get his head in the game and save the personal drama, interesting as it was, for their date tonight.
The case in question was the disappearance of fourteen cars from a Honda dealership off Lakeshore. In his call in, the manager said that it might have been an inside job, one of his employees. They grabbed lunch and Dief's doughnuts on the way and went out there to take statements from everybody, which killed the whole afternoon. There were a couple of employees missing that they'd have to track down, but Ray had a gut feeling that their perp was the manager. Fraser agreed, probably because of something he smelled someplace but he didn't say specifically and Ray figured it was enough that Fraser was agreeing with him. By the time they finished with all that, it was nearly 6:30 and time to clock out.
"So, Frase, you promised you'd let me take you to dinner."
Fraser blushed and ducked his head. It was kind of adorable. "So I did."
"Greatness. I'm in the mood for something besides pizza for a change, something nice. Steak okay with you? My treat."
Fraser paused, and Ray bet that he was debating with himself over whether it was ruder to let Ray buy him steak than it was to put up an argument about it. "It really isn't necess-"
"As you wish, Ray," Fraser said.
Ray chuckled to himself. He'd also lay bets that he'd be getting a steak dinner in return sometime in the next few weeks, but he could handle that. Dief barked, evidently also in favor of steak (big surprise) but Fraser didn't bother to translate, and they were on their way.