Standard Disclaimer. They do get hurt a little bit but I promise to make them all better. (It's a hard job but somebody's got to do it.) This story works with most of the premise of Call of the Wild, ignoring the last few minutes. Please send comments, questions, compliments, and otters to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://www.members.xoom.com/dueSou.
"You wanted to see me, Lieutenant?"
"Sit down, Kowalski." Damn, he thought, this doesn't sound like good news. He took the seat indicated. "What's up?"
"I've given this a lot of thought, and there's only one solution."
"All right. Who gets custody of the Mountie?"
"You both do."
"What?!" To his consternation, he squeaked.
"I'm assigning you and Vecchio new partners. Each other. What you do with the Mountie is your business. I've made up my mind I don't want to hear any whining."
"You too, Fraser. Thatcher owes me a favor, and I know she'll be more than happy to let me collect."
It was hard being so close to each other, and not being able to love each other. Things had seemed so simple in Las Vegas, but real life was always more complicated than the story books. So when Ray returned, he found that things were different. His best friend had another best friend, his sister had grown up, and his family still depended on him, even more now that Maria had added a set of twins to her brood. And when Ray returned, Ben found that he'd changed in the past year as well. He was more self-reliant and he'd grown much more accustomed to life in Chicago. He had more friends now then he'd ever had in his whole life, and he'd done a lot of growing. Everything that hadn't been said in Las Vegas was suddenly overdue now.
I want to have it all. I know. Your family needs you more than I do, but I'm imagining you here. Maybe if I could just have one night, something to remember when I'm alone.
Leaving cost me so much, and I'm still paying that price everyday. I've seen what the world can do, I've seen what I put people through and I can't do that to him. It was so easy before, when did everything become so complicated?
Well, that got their attention. Finally. I'm a detective, gold shield and all, you know? I've been sitting here for the past ten minutes or so, watching Fraser and Vecchio pointedly not looking at each other. It's getting really annoying. Too quiet. Sometimes silence is loud, like screaming. I'm getting a headache just watching them.
"What do you mean, Kowalski?"
"Here, I think I can explain this quite easily. Whatever's going on between the two of you," like I don't know. I was with Fraser in Vegas, things were fine then. What happened? "talk."
"Talk. If anybody needs me, I'll be in the men's room." He got up and left.
Slowly their gazes moved from his departing figure to each other. They both spoke. "I'm sorry."
"I didn't mean for this to happen, Benny."
"I know Ray. Neither did I."
Gradually they had been moving closer to each other, the physical separation difficult on their bodies, which didn't care what their minds thought.
Tongue-tied for words to explain, Ben placed his hand over Ray's, communicating by touch.
"Has it really come to this?"
He shrugged. "We never said the words or made any promises." There was no reply. Words didn't change how they felt and they both knew it.
"What if there was a way." He started, "Just once."
Ray blinked shyly, understanding Ben's thought.
He was desperate now. There was no good solution. "Do you love me?"
"We can't do this."
"Do you love me?"
"It won't work."
"Do you love me?"
"Do you love me?"
"Then let this happen. One night. It'll work. I can be your lover and your best friend too."
His trust and sincerity were infectious and Ray had been fighting too much, too long. He wanted to be convinced.
"All right." He was curiously proud that his voice barely quivered. "I'm jumping blind here." He managed a nervous little half smile.
"It's okay." Benny replied. "I'll be there before you hit the ground."
They left, sure that Kowalski would understand their absence.
Ben watched him and nodded once.
He nodded again, and his tongue peeked out in a familiar gesture to wet his lips.
"I love you."
He shuddered, closing his eyes against that much open need. A sense of urgency took over.
Pushing gently at his shirt, Ray undressed him. Dropping his own clothes, he backed Ben up until they hit the edge of the bed. Ben sat down and it was almost too much for Ray. He couldn't imagine anything more beautiful. A silent thanks escaped his mouth.
Feeling strange, Fraser opened his eyes and stared up, into Ray's face. The sun was hitting him three-quarters of the way, his nose casting a soft shadow onto the left side of his face, the light making his green eyes warmer and even more inviting than usual.
Fraser tugged until Ray was sprawled half on top of him. He kissed Ray then, for the first time, and Ray moaned. Deciding he liked that sound, he did it again. Ray tugged at him until he rolled over, covering Ray warmly. With a playful nip, he began working his way down Ray's elegant neck, to strong shoulders which bore too much responsibility and more than their share of hurt, pain, and fear.
Ray had never been one to let him do all the work, and he certainly wasn't about to let Benny have all the fun.
Energetic kissing left them both breathless. Ben pulled away for a moment to catch his breath, and with a mischievous twinkle in his eye, Ray pounced again and tickled him until they were both breathless again.
"Ray, I-" Knowing the words would put Ray in the middle of an impossible choice, he swallowed the thought.
"What Benny?" Having seen Ben's face cloud, Ray grew worried. Please don't let him be having second thoughts, please. I can't go back anymore.
"The neighbors." Fraser made up an explanation quickly, although it was harder than usual.
"You want them to join in?" He asked.
Fraser turned a satisfyingly rosy pink. "That's just silly, Ray."
Ray interrupted before he could speak again. "So's talking." Using his hands to hold Ben down again, he kissed him deeply.