Here's to chipping away at that block, one fic at a time. *chip, chip, chip*
So, if they’re gonna die out here in the middle of the freakin’ tundra, a million and half miles away from the rest of the world where sane people live doing sane people things like walking their dogs and losing their keys and shit like that, then they should at least have bacon, Ray declares, striking a long match to light the burner on the brand new stove they’d put in Fraser’s kitchen when he moved in.
He’s gotten better about the snowstorms; now he’s convinced they’re going to starve to death/freeze to death/die of dehydration/end up eating Dief only when the snow piled against the door reaches *over* nine feet. And this time he’s not even being half-serious (like usual) about the dying thing, he’s just hungry and Fraser’s got something against bacon that Ray pretends not to understand, because understanding would mean having the argument with Fraser about cardiovascular health again, and last time that ended in Ray lighting two cigarettes just to piss Fraser off, which went over real well. The kicker was that Fraser pretended to let the fight drop, waited until Ray was asleep to search the whole damned house and then went outside and broke all of Ray’s smokes in half. A pile of tobacco carnage greeted Ray the next morning. Vindictive bastard of a Mountie.
Fraser gives him a look when he fills the pan with butter, but Ray pretends not to see it, and talks about what he wants on his tombstone for a while, until it stops being funny and starts being kind of creepy. Then he gets quiet and the only thing he can hear is Fraser turning the pages of his book, and the crackling bacon.
Ray should have already died like, ten million times or something. Usually, it doesn’t bother him. He’s a cop, it’s what they do, this whole putting your life on the line, thing. Plus, he’s always been really unlucky and kind of a klutz, so there was always the possibility that one night he’d trip over his own shoe in the bathroom, hit his head on the tub, and drown in his own bathwater.
It’s not something he thinks about. And it’s not like it’s something he *doesn’t* think about. Not like how he doesn’t think about how his ma and dad must have had sex at some point for him to have been born, or the way he doesn’t think about how sausage is made. It’s not *trauma* or anything, it’s just – not on his mind a lot, that he maybe wouldn’t have had this, if things had been different. That any one of a million times if he’d been a second too slow, he might have died before even meeting Fraser, maybe died back when nobody would have really missed him much, or even maybe he would have died back when he was married to Stella.
If he had died back then, his tombstone would have read, “Ray Kowalski – Beloved Husband of Stella,” and that wouldn’t have been totally right, because Stella loved him, but he wasn’t her beloved or anything. He always knew that. Plus, it’s fucking weird to think about – strangers walking by, seeing the fancy ass tombstone Stella would have bought for him, probably with fucking granite-etched curlicues all over it, and thinking, “Huh. Ray. Beloved of Stella. She must really miss him.” When in reality she’d probably be married to Vecchio and living it up in Miami, like she is now, and you know what? That would have been the right thing for her, just like it is now.
Except Ray’d be dead, instead of – here. Which would have sucked. It would have sucked a lot, because here is pretty damned good. He wouldn’t call it perfect or anything, because nothing is, but it’s as close as things can get. Ray’s convinced of that.
It’s not a big cabin, but he and Fraser don’t need a lot of room, and besides, they don’t live here all the time. Sometimes they’re in Chicago, in an apartment that’s about two times the size of this place, since Fraser – it turns out – had some money saved up. Anyway, it’s small here, but it smells good like – like pies or something, all filled with cinnamon and shit like that, and they have this great bed where they sleep together every night, and Fraser’s hands rub up and down Ray’s arms even when Fraser’s sleeping and Fraser’s feet keep Ray’s feet warm at night.
They get in fights sometimes -- a lot of the time really -- because Ray likes to cause trouble whenever he can, and Fraser likes to pretend he doesn’t like trouble. But the point of it is, Ray’s still trying to prove to Fraser that they can fight without it being the end of the world, and Fraser’s just starting to get that.
But even when they’re fighting (which can get mean sometimes), it’s good. It’s great, it’s the best thing ever, because Fraser makes Ray feel like – he makes Ray feel important. Like they’re only fighting because Ray means so much to him, and if he didn’t, Fraser wouldn’t bother. Fraser makes Ray feel like if he wasn’t there, if he hadn’t made it to this place with Fraser because he’d died, or been stupid and stubborn and scared and never crossed those couple of inches of air to kiss Fraser’s mouth, then Fraser would have missed him. No, or if Ray wasn’t there, then there’d be a space in Fraser’s life that nothing else could fill – like it’s Ray or nothing, that’s it, end of story. Ray, or nothing.
Ray gets that, yeah, he gets it, he *totally* gets it, because even just sitting there, reading some thick ass book that nobody except for college students reads, Fraser is – there aren’t words for what he is. Beautiful, sure, even though it’s kind of girly. Glorious is embarrassing for a guy to think, exquisite is even *more* embarrassing, but Fraser’s all of that with his neat dark hair, his smooth skin, the way his neck bends forward just *so*. He’s – he’s everything. He’s the thing Ray can’t do without, too. The thing Ray doesn’t *want* to do without, and hey, lucky Ray! He doesn’t have to. He gets to keep Fraser. He gets to keep the fights, the foot-warming, the cardiovascular health lectures, everything.
He doesn’t even let himself think about what it would be like if Fraser wasn’t around, if Fraser had gotten himself killed doing one of those dumbass things Fraser likes to do, like jumping out of moving vehicles or taking guns from people with his bare hands or wrestling bears or something. It’s too much, too terrifying, because if Fraser wasn’t there it wouldn’t be like there was just an empty space – it’d be like everything had become empty.
Fraser, or nothing.
Benton Fraser, he thinks, seeing the words in his mind like they’re carved into a block of marble. Beloved Of --
“I believe your bacon is burning, Ray.” Fraser’s voice startles him, makes him jump enough that his arm brushes against the side of the frying pan, which makes him yelp, which makes Fraser put his book down and come into the kitchen, wood floor creaking beneath his feet.
“Motherfucking pan,” Ray’s muttering as Fraser hands him – of all the fucking things in the world – half a potato, saying, “Put this on the burn, it’ll help.”
Ray makes sure to give Fraser a skeptical look so that Fraser knows he’s a total lunatic, but puts the potato on his arm anyway, and it does help. Of course.
“Would you like some toast with your bacon? Eggs?” Fraser asks, rummaging in the fridge, and Ray makes a face at the meat in the pan, because suddenly it looks totally gross.
“Nah, I’m not going to eat it,” he says, and Fraser half turns, eyebrows raised. “That stuff’s bad for you.”
Fraser’s eyebrows go even further up his forehead, like they want to merge with his hairline, and he hmms, and Ray grins at him.
“What, you trying to get rid of me, Fraser?” he asks. “Want to cash in on my insurance policy already?”
Fraser leans back against the counter top. “Yes, and just for future reference, when you say that you want your headstone to read, ‘Here Lies A National Treasure’, did you mean an American treasure, or a Canadian one?”
“American,” he says automatically. He dumps the bacon into the trash and tosses the potato on top of it. When he turns, Fraser’s watching, rubbing at his lips like he’s trying to hide a smile, and Ray shrugs expansively, grinning like a maniac still. “And maybe something about me saving babies from burning buildings. But, you know, we’ve got plenty of time to figure it out. Unless you were planning on hitting me in the head with something hard sometime soon, in which case, give me some warning, so I can duck.”
Fraser’s lip twitches, and he rolls his eyes, and he just says, “I’ll be sure to give you ample warning, Ray,” and they stay there like that, just for a little while.