*cough* And on to the business at hand.
Title: Chicago Winter: Night
Ray pulls his parka tight, and sits on the stoop in front of his house, looks at his hands in the thin greenish light. Like the rest of him, they’re pretty skinny and beat up.
He’s got all these little scars on his knuckles – raised and white, like little commas and crescents. Like those tribal tattoos that people get in Africa or something, only they’re on his hands and not his cheeks, but Ray figures they’re coming-of-age marks just the same. Half of them he got when he was young anyway, working his way up to manhood.
One or two are from falling off his bike, back when he’d ride it down the street fast as he could and then jump the little ramp that the Andersons’ had. To impress girls, even though when he was eleven, twelve, thirteen he hadn’t been really sure why he’d wanted to impress them so much. And then there are the ones he got being an idiot and hitting walls – which he used to think was some kind of statement. Some kind of tough guy badge, like by taking on the wall he’d proved that he was invincible or something.
Mainly all he’d managed to prove was that his hand could break just like anyone else’s, and that kind of makes him chuckle.
His fingers all sort of bend left. Sometimes when he looks at them for too long, he can practically see the way the bones lean, and it freaks him out. It makes him think about how underneath everybody’s skin there’s this collection of long white bones. It’s a more depressing version of the ‘Everyone’s naked underneath their clothes’ idea. Ray tries to ignore it as best he can, most nights.
He doesn’t like to think of people being meat, and bones, and whatever the hell else is in there. He doesn’t like to try and chart out his own insides, either, because it makes him feel small and strange. Sometimes, he just thinks his body is this shell that holds him – his soul, his heart, whatever – in, so that he doesn’t burst out into some kind of weird human supernova.
Ray grins, then, picturing Fraser lecturing a big ball of twitchy light.
Ray’s comfortable enough with the outside of his body – he likes to look at himself in the mirror even, see how he’s changed. It actually makes him feel pretty good, instead of depressed like a lot of people feel when they’re aging. It’s *good* to see that he’s not the same high strung little punk who used to try and take on bricks every other day, just because he was too angry and weird and fucked up to do anything else. It’s good to see the record those days have left on his body, to see that he’s been literally shaped into this different person.
This person, this person who Ray is now, is a guy who’s pretty much okay with his life. He gets angry, yeah, sure, he’s still *Ray* after all and he’s got a temper – he’ll admit it. But, he’s more or less content. He’s more content than less, really.
He’s good at his job, he doesn’t have to worry about impressing girls, and more nights than not, he’s got someone he loves driving him nuts by folding his socks at a precisely ninety degree angle. He’s got a bed that smells like Fraser, and a photo album with pictures of the two of them doing all kinds of stupid shit like fly fishing and hunting and bowling. He’s got coasters from Canada, and a gross mat of white wolf hair on his favorite chair, which is a weird thing to make him happy, but it does.
Especially when Fraser and Dief are up north, which they are sometimes. Fraser goes up every now and then to commune with the wildebeest, and a lot of times Ray goes with him. Sometimes, though, he stays behind – police business, or other pressing concerns which always seem a hell of a lot less pressing when Ray’s waking up all alone in the morning. But, it’s a system they’ve worked out in the past ten years, and it works pretty well.
When Fraser’s gone, sometimes Ray goes crazy. Sometimes he ends up acting like he’s twenty-five all over again, and stays up all night, watching porn, drinking beer, and eating pizza. He lets the apartment get messy, just so that when Fraser comes home, Fraser will bitch at him.
Sometimes, he gets sad and lonely and pathetic, and mopes around kicking the side of the couch and wearing Fraser’s sweatshirt. Fraser knows he does it, too, even though Ray would deny it under oath if Fraser ever called him on it.
And sometimes, like now, it’s just kind of peaceful and – it’s weird, because when Fraser’s gone, Ray feels like he gets to remember all the reasons why he loves the guy so damned much. And it isn’t lonely, it’s – fuck, it’s exhilarating. Because ten years living together, and Ray’s still falling in love with Fraser.
It makes him go out, and buy things because he knows Fraser will like them – like A&E specials, or books about lichen and how it factors into Inuit mythology or bungee cords, which Fraser seems to think you can never have enough of. And he gets to picture how Fraser’s face will go all soft and sweet when he sees what Ray’s bought.
At night, Ray likes to sit outside when Fraser’s gone. Which Fraser would never believe, because Ray’s always preaching about the benefits of indoor living – “Climate control, Frase – say it with me!” – but he feels like if he’s outside, he’s closer to Fraser. Like by breathing the night air, maybe he’s breathing Fraser’s air, which is stupid and romantic, but Ray’s like that sometimes, too.
It’s silly, because probably Fraser’s inside somewhere by the light of a whale oil lamp reading Victorian poetry or something, because up in Inuvik it’s just too fucking cold to hang out outside and shoot the breeze in March.
It’s almost too cold here in Chicago, even though the worst of winter’s all done with. Fraser says spring’s going to come late this year – he’s better than a groundhog at things like that. Ray remembers waking up one morning before Fraser left, and Fraser was standing by the window scratching his stomach, his hair all mussed from the pillow that still had a divot in it from Fraser’s head.
He was staring out at the still dark alleyway, and murmuring sleepily to Dief, who was doing his best to ignore Fraser.
“What are you doing? Having some kind of – some kind of discussion with the moonat two in the morning?” Ray had slurred tiredly, cracking one eye open, and Fraser had shot him a good morning smile even though he’d been cranky.
“I was just telling Diefenbaker that I don’t think we’ve had our last storm,” Fraser had said, and Ray had thrown a pillow at him.
“Nobody cares about weather before the sun comes up, you freak,” he’d said, flopping an arm down into Fraser’s spot. “Come back to bed.”
And Fraser did, sliding into the sheets, and just watched as Ray fell back asleep. He was still there, watching with that sweet good morning smile on his face, when the alarm went off.
Up in Inuvik, the snow’s probably waist high. There are probably icicles as big and scary as butcher knives hanging off the roof of Fraser’s cabin. Those always make Ray twitchy. He thinks about what would happen if they fell, how embarrassing it would be to live through a million and one gunfights and then be killed by a falling hunk of ice.
Ray likes the snow, though. Or, he does when he’s remembering it. When he’s wading through it, he usually hates it vocally. But when he just thinks about it – when he thinks about what Fraser looks like while the snow sort of drifts down soft and easy, with little white flakes sticking in his dark hair, and on the tips of his eyelashes…it makes Ray smile.
It makes him turn his face up to the night, and hope that next storm will come tonight, so that he can sit here in the snow, thinking about Fraser’s warm hands, and how his kisses sometimes are so light across Ray’s skin that they almost feel like they’re not really there.
In two nights, Fraser will be home again, and so will the wolf. Ray will give Diefenbaker some steak, but he’ll have to do it on the sly so that Fraser doesn’t catch him. And he’ll give Fraser a hundred of those ghost kisses that Fraser gives him all the time. He’ll go with Fraser down to the park, by the water, and let Fraser cook for them on one of his tiny little illegal fires, and he won’t complain about being cold. When they drive home, he’ll put his arm around Fraser, and just feel how solid his shoulders are and when they go to bed, Ray’s skinny, scarred hands will make themselves at home on Fraser’s big, white body.
Ray grins a little, imagining how great the sex will be – because it’s always great, and even more great when Fraser’s been gone for a little while, and then something wet and small falls on his hair.
When he looks up, it’s snowing.