Little Boy Lost
Disclaimer: Due South is owned by Alliance and whomever else has purchased rights. (Not me.) I promise to send the rightful owners a generous fifteen percent of all my profits from this story. (15% x 0 = 0)
Author's Notes: This is a pseudo Kid fic inspired by the ds-Harlequin challenge prompt #104.
There is nothing of a sexual nature of any kind in this story. (If there were it would be a little disturbing.) But there is lots of love. I'm not sure what consitutes crack!fic but this probably qualifies.
Ray came awake slowly. Outside, the sun was just beginning to set, giving the room an orangey
glow. In the distance a siren wailed mournfully so that it reminded Ray of wolves in the Yukon.
Somewhere in the building, a door slammed, but the sound was muffled and far away.
Ray closed his eyes again and tried to memorize this moment. This simple, perfect moment when
all was right with the world and Ray's most fervent wish had magically come true.
The warm weight on Ray's chest shifted with a single twitch. With one hand, Ray instinctively
rubbed at the small back, soothing the child without waking him. The boy's dark curls brushed at
Ray's cheek, soft as rose petals against Ray's stubble.
Beneath the small head, the shoulder of Ray's t-shirt was damp and crinkled. The combination of
tears and snot and sleepy little kid drool had made the cotton clammy and probably a bit gross.
But Ray didn't care. It was a small price to pay for the greatness he was feeling right now.
This is what it felt like. This is what unconditional love felt like.
The most surprising thing about it was how familiar it seemed.
With a contented sigh, Ray snuggled against the small body in his arms. He basked in the
indulgence of being permitted so close. To be allowed to care for and to give comfort to this
desperately lonely little boy was a gift that Ray wanted to cherish forever.
The warmth against Ray's torso shifted again and the dead weight that had been dangling across
Ray slowly eased. As he woke, the boy yawned and sat up. He blinked blearily as he sat astride
Ray's lap and stuck one thumb into his mouth.
"Hey there buddy," Ray said.
Wide blue eyes fluttered at Ray. A soft sigh whispered from the child's lips as full consciousness
"You okay?" Ray asked carefully. He caressed a wayward lock of dark hair as he continued. "Is
your stomach upset? You gonna be sick?"
The boy thought about that for a moment before shaking his head.
"Good," Ray said. "'Cause I used to do that when I was a kid. I'd get upset and I'd cry so hard I'd
make myself sick."
With a sniffled response, the child leaned forward to lie against Ray's other shoulder, the dry one.
"Are you sure you're okay?" Ray asked with a frown.
The boy nodded silently around the thumb he was sucking.
They sat quietly together for a long time. Ray continued the soothing caress and smiled to himself
when he felt a small hand mimicking the gesture on his shoulder blade. The light slowly faded
from the room. It was fully dark when Diefenbaker lifted his head from where he was dozing on
the floor. He woofed softly as a knock came at the door.
Scooting forward to the edge of the couch, Ray managed to stand without dislodging the
passenger he carried. The boy was small for a six-year-old. Not a bit over three and a half feet
tall, the child wouldn't be forty pounds dripping wet. So he was easy to carry. Ray simply
balanced the weight on one hip, no problem.
As Ray moved through the apartment, he slapped the switch to turn on the lights. He was still
blinking against the sudden brightness when he opened the door. "Come on in," he said in way of
Ray Vecchio blew into the room. He took one look at Ray and his charge and frowned. "Good
grief, Kowalski, what are you doing to him? It looks like you've been wailing on him or something."
As an afterthought Vecchio reached out and gently pulled the boy's hand away from his mouth.
"Don't suck your thumb, Benny, it'll ruin your teeth."
"We had a rough day, Vecchio, lay off," Ray shot back. "If he wants to suck his thumb let him.
One day won't hurt him any."
Ray looked at the child and smiled encouragingly. "We're okay, for now. Aren't we, Ben?" At the
boy's nod Ray added, "Let's go wash your face, okay?"
"I can do it," the small voice spoke up. With a quick little squirm, the boy slid from Ray's grasp. "I
can do it myself," he repeated.
"Got it," Ray replied with a wry grin. "I guess cuddle time is over, eh?"
Ray and Vecchio watched the child run down the hallway, Diefenbaker trailing in his wake.
"Yell if you need anything," Ray called after the retreating back.
Only after the bathroom door had closed did the two men continue talking.
"Rough day?" Vecchio asked again.
With a sigh Ray ran one hand through his wilting hair. "Rough enough."
Ray folded his arms and leaned against the wall. "We went to the park like you suggested," he
began. "We rode the swings, did the slide. Oh, he thought the merry-go-round was all that and a
little bit more. We were having a grand time.
Then suddenly, he takes off." Ray gestured wildly in demonstration. "I mean zip! Off like a shot,
running across the park. I nearly had a heart attack. Thought for sure he'd get plowed over by a
bicycle messenger or something."
"Christ Stanley, he could have been hit by a car!" Vecchio exclaimed.
"You think I don't know that?" Ray snapped. "But man, he was fast."
"He's just a kid."
Ray eyed Vecchio with his best 'Well duh' stare. "Remember who we are talking about here?"
Vecchio's gaze went blank for a moment as comprehension dawned on him. "Right, yeah, I
forgot. But that's easy to do. He's not exactly himself at the moment."
"So go on," Vecchio urged. "You proceeded with a foot chase through the park."
"Anyway," Ray went on. "When I catch up to him he's talking to this woman. Pretty, middle aged
lady with her hair in a bun. I think he caught a glimpse of her from the playground and thought
she was his mom."
"Exactly," Ray agreed. "After that, he doesn't want to play anymore so we come back here. He's
folding his jacket up all nice and neat when he looks up at me and says 'Ray, my mother isn't
ever coming back, is she?'"
"Shit," Vecchio swore. "Damn, damn and damn. What did you tell him?"
"What was I supposed to tell him?" Ray hissed. "I told him the truth."
Ray sighed heavily. "God, Vecchio, you should have heard him. It broke my heart listening to him
bawl like that. I cried almost as hard as he did." Ray ran his hands across his head. "I don't think
his father told him anything. The bastard just packed all Ben's stuff and dumped the poor kid with
Vecchio shook his head sadly. He pinched the bridge of his nose for a moment and sighed. "Has
he remembered anything?" Vecchio asked.
"Nope," Ray replied. "As far as he's concerned, he waved goodbye to his dad the day before
yesterday. The last thing he can recall is helping his grandmother set up the cot so he could go to
"Dresden figured as much," Vecchio said with a nod.
Ray straightened. "You found him? Harry Dresden is for real?"
"Yep. All I had to do was follow the information in the phone book."
"Well?" Ray prodded. "What did he say?"
Vecchio answered, "He seemed to recognize it as some kind of spell. Something about
transformations and regrets, the path not taken and a choice to be remade."
Ray frowned. "He's six. What kind of choices can you make when you're six?"
"How am I supposed to know?" Vecchio griped. "I'm just telling you what the weirdo said. But the
death of Benny's mom was definitely a pivotal point in his life. So I guess that much of it makes
some strange kind of sense."
Ray thought about it for a moment. "But it isn't his mother's death he's gone back to," Ray
realized. "It was his old man leaving him."
The sound of a door opening interrupted any response Vecchio would have made. A freshly
scrubbed six-year-old Benton Fraser ran toward them, followed closely by the guardian wolf. The
boy stopped in front of Ray.
"All done," he said, holding his small palms out for inspection.
Ray couldn't quite hide his grin. There was no mistaking this kid for anyone but the uptight
Mountie Ray had come to know over the last three years. Proper, serious and desperate to
please, that was Ben Fraser. So Ray did what he always did when Fraser got too stodgy. He
yanked his chain, hard.
Bending down, Ray took the boy's hands in his own and eyed them closely. He turned them over
and studied the fingernails. Then he grasped Ben's chin and gave his face a good look. Pulling
the boy closer, Ray tilted the small head and examined behind the ears. Ray straightened, tugged
the boy against his hip and forced the dark head to bow so he could check the back of Ben's
neck. Then, while he was in the area, Ray tucked his hand through the opening at the neck of
Ben's shirt and tickled him all the way down his back.
"Ack!" The boy jerked in surprise. Reaching through the shirt, Ray grabbed the waistband of
Ben's pants and lifted him off the ground and over one shoulder. "Ray!" little Ben squealed with
Another deft move on Ray's part and Ben was dangling upside-down. Delighted giggles filled the
"Are you hungry?" Ray asked in a bland tone, as if he didn't have a captive six-year-old at his
Ben grinned. "A little."
Ray lowered the child by the ankles so that Ben could tumble to the floor in a graceful somersault.
"Does grilled cheese sound good?" Ray asked.
"Come on, Vecchio," Ray said. "You're invited to dinner."
Ben rushed toward the kitchen, leaving the two Rays to follow. Ray shrugged at the wry smirk
Vecchio was giving him.
"You're enjoying this," Vecchio accused. "You like taking care of him."
"I always have," Ray admitted. "He just doesn't let me do it very often."
Vecchio sat next to Ben at one of the stools by the counter while Ray moved to the kitchen.
Handing the package of individually wrapped cheese to Ben, Ray said, "Open up six slices for me
will you buddy?" The skillet was heating on the stove and Ben was diligently working at the plastic
wrappers when Ray looked to Vecchio and said, "So do we have a plan?"
Vecchio nodded. "Dresden wants to see all three of us in the morning. I left Benny's hat there.
Dresden says that he can use it to track whoever cast the spell."
Ray frowned. "What for?"
"He needs to know the reason behind it all before he can undo it I guess," Vecchio replied with a
"Ray?" Ben asked. He looked up from the plate that now held half a dozen squares of yellow.
"What happens if Mr. Dresden can't fix me?"
"You're not broken, Ben," Ray chided him.
Kneeling on his stool, Ben leaned forward on the counter. "Well, I mean, what if he can't help me
remember being a grown up?"
"Don't sweat it kid," Vecchio told him. "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it."
The boy sighed as a worried frown creased his brow.
"No," Ray argued. "Ben's right. We need a plan B." Ray dropped two buttered pieces of bread into
the skillet and layered them with cheese. "My guess," he continued. "Is that if we can't reverse
this, you'll eventually just grow up again."
"I'll have to go back and live with my grandparents, won't I?" Ben said sadly.
"No Ben," Ray told him. "Not this time. If this wizard, Dresden, can't put things back like they
were, I'll take you back to Canada. That's your home. It is where you belong."
"We should call Maggie," Vecchio argued. "She'll take him."
Ray shrugged. "I'll call her, 'cause she needs to know. But she won't have to do anything. I'll
"No one in their right mind is going to let you raise a kid, Stanley," Vecchio scoffed.
"You gonna try and stop me, Vecchio?" Ray glared at the other man as fierce rage burned in his
gut. "Anyone who tries to take him from me is going to get more than they bargained for. I
promise you, it won't be easy."
Vecchio held his hands out in a calming gesture, "Hey, settle down. Jeez Stanley I'm just
"Well don't," Ray snarled. He turned back to the stove and flipped the sandwiches over.
A long uncomfortable silence followed. "Does it hurt to grow up, Ray?" Ben asked after several
Ray turned and stared thoughtfully at the child. "Yeah Ben," he answered. "Sometimes it hurts a
lot. But you've done it before, so it should be easier the second time around."
The boy nodded solemnly as Ray set a sandwich on the plate in front of him. "Eat up," Ray urged.
Ray placed the second sandwich in front of Vecchio and turned back to the stove to cook a third.
There hadn't been room for it in the skillet before.
The tension in the room evaporated as quickly as it had come. The three ate their meal as they
discussed the appointment they would have the following day with Harry Dresden. Then Ben told
Vecchio about the trip to the park, going into great and enthusiastic detail about the merry-go-
round. He didn't mention the woman.
Ray was putting the dirty dishes in the sink when he said, "It's getting late Ben. Why don't you
change your clothes and brush your teeth? Then you can watch cartoons for a while before
The boy clambered down from his stool and headed toward the back of the apartment. He
stopped in the hallway and hesitated. One hand went to his eyebrow to scratch it nervously.
Ray knew the signs. "Go ahead. Something's on your mind so just come out and ask," Ray
"May I sleep in your room again, Ray?" Ben asked meekly.
A huge smile beamed from the little boy's face. "Thanks Ray." He turned and ran off down the
"What's that all about?" Vecchio asked with a frown.
Ray shrugged. "He woke up screaming last night."
"Nightmares, huh?" Vecchio nodded. "A kid that age, losing his mom, having his life turned
upside-down like that... yeah, nightmares are probably to be expected."
Ray ran water into the sink, purposely not looking up as he spoke. "What really bothers me about
it, is wondering how long he had them. How old do you suppose he was before they went away?
Did they ever?"
Ray hadn't realized that Vecchio had moved until he felt the warmth of the other man's hand on
one shoulder. "He'll be okay, Stanley," Vecchio said. "You know that. His folks may have screwed
with his head, but he turned out okay."
Ray grinned. "Yeah, he turned out pretty good if you ask me."
Vecchio nodded. "Our parents screwed us all up in some way or another, that's what parents do.
Benny's no different than the rest of us."
Ray cocked one eyebrow at Vecchio. "I wouldn't say that," he drawled. "Fraser is about as
different as they come. He's a grade-A freak."
Vecchio laughed. "Truer words have never been spoken."
"But I've gotten kind of attached to his particular brand of freakishness," Ray chuckled.
"Well, it kind of grows on you."
A little less than twenty-four hours later, Ray unlocked his apartment door and led the way inside.
He was followed by one half-deaf half-wolf and a very weary-looking Mountie. Fraser looked like
he'd been hit by a truck and dragged about ten blocks. Come to think of it, Fraser didn't usually
look half this bad when he'd been hit by a truck and dragged for ten blocks.
"Honestly Ray," Fraser said, turning his hat in his hands. "I am quite recovered. I do not wish to
be any more of a bother."
Ray eyed his partner skeptically. "Fraser," he scolded. "You look like hell. You look like six feet of
'oh-my-god-someone-please-put-me-out-of-my-misery' kind of hell. I don't know what that green
stuff Dresden gave you was, but you have been barfing it up for the last three hours."
"The concoction has done its job and the nausea has passed, I assure you," Fraser argued. "I'm
am quite myself again."
Ray shook off his coat and hung it on the knob of the closet door. Then he took Fraser's hat away
from him and set it on the counter. "You never stopped being yourself, Frase," Ray told him. "You
were just a younger self for a while."
Fraser scrubbed at one eyebrow with his thumb. "Yes well..." he tugged nervously at his ear. "I'm
afraid that my recollections of the past few days are ineradicably fixed upon my memory."
Ray blinked. "Does that mean you remember or that you don't?"
Fraser sighed. "I remember," he replied softly.
"Oh." Ray wasn't sure what to make of Fraser's behavior. He studied his friend carefully for a
moment before snapping into action with a twitch. Ray spun toward the kitchen, shooing Fraser
toward the couch. "Sit Frase, I've got to make this peppermint tea Dresden gave us. He said it will
settle your stomach."
Fraser sat down as instructed. "I'm feeling much better Ray. Please don't go to any trouble."
Ray leaned over the counter and pointed at Fraser. "You will do as I say, young man," he said
with a grin. "I've gotten used to this over the last couple of days. Let me savor it just one more
night, will ya?"
Fraser shifted on the cushions so that he could look at Ray over the back of the couch. "You
didn't mind?" he asked.
"Not at all," Ray smiled. "You were a good kid. We had fun."
"Yes we did," Fraser agreed. The Mountie fell silent for several minutes while Ray banged around
in the kitchen. It didn't take long to make the tea. Ray took the mug and handed it to Fraser,
sitting on the coffee table to watch the Mountie swallow the first few sips.
"Better?" Ray asked.
Fraser nodded, but averted his eyes. He licked his lips and opened his mouth to speak, but then
seemed to change his mind. Ray waited with more patience than most would give him credit for.
Fraser's tea was more than half gone before he managed to try again.
"I want to..." Fraser began. "That is... I truly appreciate..." he stuttered.
"Don't mention it," Ray cut him off. "You took care of me often enough while we were on the ice,
right? The least I could do was to look after you for a couple of days when you needed it."
Fraser shook his head and stared pointedly into his cup. "That's not what I meant." He paused for
a long minute before adding very quietly, "No one ever told me." He sighed, placed the teacup on
the table and brushed an invisible speck of lint from his pants. "At some point I came to
understand that my mother had died," Fraser went on. "But I could never really pinpoint when the
knowledge became fully ingrained. My family never spoke of it. No one ever told me."
Ray winced. "I'm sorry, Frase, I didn't mean to..."
"No!" Fraser interrupted. His deep blue gaze met Ray's intently. "You were being honest. You
treated me as though I had a right to know. That means a great deal to me Ray."
Ray gasped and was forced to look away to hide the sudden moisture in his eyes. "It was hard,
Frase," he whispered. "You cried and cried."
Fraser reached out and laid one hand on Ray's knee. "You cried with me," he said. "It was the
first time I've ever been allowed to share my grief with anyone. It was the first time I've ever cried
for my mother. You made it possible, Ray, and for that I will be forever in your debt."
"I wish I could have known you back then, Fraser," Ray said. "I wish I could have been there for
"But you are here now, Ray," Fraser told him. "No man could ask for more than that."
"Thanks Frase." Ray grinned. After a moment, he stood and punched Fraser playfully in the
shoulder. "Hey," Ray asked suddenly. "I'm starved, what about you?"
Fraser nodded, the corner of his mouth curling in a hint of a smile.
"Does pizza sound good to you?" Ray asked as he headed for the phone.
Fraser tilted his head back against the couch cushions so that he could follow Ray's movements.
"Could I have grilled cheese?" he asked innocently.
Ray laughed out loud. "You know Frase, I may be able to manage that," he teased. "But you'll
have to peel the plastic off the slices for me."
Fraser's face broke out into a wide grin. "It is a task at which I've recently become quite
proficient." Fraser rose from the couch and moved to Ray's side.
Ray threw one arm around the Mountie's shoulders and said, "Well then Fraser my friend, it
sounds like we are the perfect sandwich making duet."
Fraser nodded. "Indeed."
As the two men headed for the kitchen, Ray laughed softly, "It's good to have you back Frase.
But I think I'm really going to miss that kid."
"He's right here, Ray," Fraser pointed out.
Ray snorted. "That kid has been squashed out of you for years, Fraser."
Fraser stopped. Gripping Ray's shoulders firmly he turned the other man to face him. "Perhaps,"
he said. "But there is this irritatingly immature detective who has still managed to find that long
"Irritating?" Ray bristled dramatically. "Who are you calling irritating? Hello pot? Kettle here." Ray
blustered away, waving his arms and ranting expressively, grinning like an idiot the entire time.
Fraser laughed and followed his partner.
End Little Boy Lost by Phenyx_tP
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