Rating/Warning: R. Some violence, some naughty language. There is slash
in this, too. It's also Ludicrous and Silly.
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski 
Disclaimer: 1) Due South and all the characters don't belong to us. Please
don't sue us. We don't have any money at all!  2) The little kid in the
restaurant can be seen as either Rod/Todd Flanders from "The Simpsons".
We don't own them either.  3) Ray's speech about Irish "Cuisine" is 'borrowed'
gratefully from Denis Leary. We don't own him, or his work. Spoilers:
Summary: Fraser's having a bad day. A REALLY bad day. Over, and over,
and over... Notes: All those many months ago in May, Jo had a vision.
This was it. 

A lot of artistic license has been used and taken overboard here (especially
with the playing we did with Fraser's character)... sorry about that.
We enjoyed it, though. For most instances, you can replace "ice cream"
with "sex"... If you're not a slash fan, you might not want to read this
the whole way through. It's still good, but, well! If you ARE a slash
fan... ENJOY! 

Ashinae's note - JO MADE ME DO IT!! Oh, and this is unbeta'd. The only
eyes that have touched this are my own. 

You can reach Jo at go_bananak@yahoo.com and Ashinae at ashinae@cherrypopsicle.com
- cause, you know. Feedback is good for the soul. 

* * * * *

by Jo & Ashinae

There was a bird chirping outside of Benton Fraser's office. He opened
his eyes and sat up on his bedroll, glancing at his clock at the exact
same time someone knocked politely on his door. "Yes?" he called out.

Constable Turnbull poked his head in the room. "You left a note, asking
me to be sure you were awake by nine o'clock today, Constable," he said.
"It's Detective Huey's birthday breakfast." 

"Thank you, Turnbull," Fraser said. Turnbull nodded and ducked out, closing
the door behind him. Fraser stood up and stretched, wishing he had returned
to the Consulate *before* two-thirty that morning, then went about getting
ready to go out. He expected his unofficial partner, Ray Vecchio (who
was really Ray Kowalski, but, shh, you're not supposed to know about
that!), to be by to pick him up at nine thirty and he didn't want to
be late.

Outside in the hall, Inspector Thatcher accosted him, looking at her
watch. "Constable," she barked, "you're late."

Fraser blinked. "Respectfully, sir--"

"I need you to file these forms--"


"And the lightbulbs in the front hall need to be replaced--"


"Your post will begin at twelve o'five exactly--"

"Sir!" Fraser protested.


"I-it's my... day off, sir," Fraser said meekly.

Thatcher blinked. "Oh. Carry on, then. Turnbull!" She turned and stalked
off to her office. 

Fraser glanced briefly at Turnbull and he could swear the other man seemed
to twitch violently before he followed Thatcher.


"Yer wearing yer uniform," Ray commented forty-five minutes later, looking
Fraser up and down briefly.

Fraser glanced down at himself as he descended the steps in front of
the Canadian Consulate. "Yes, Ray," he replied.	

"It's yer *day off,* Fraser."

Fraser gave a little shrug, brushing off the comment. "We don't want
to be late, Ray," he said, and opened the passenger side door of Ray's
issued car. Ray seemed to switch cars every week, he noted, as he allowed
Diefenbaker to hop into the back seat.

Both men slid the car and Ray pulled out into traffic. Everyone--that
included Ray and Fraser, Huey's partner Tom Dewey, Francesca Vecchio,
and Lieutenant Welsh--was meeting at a pancake house for breakfast. Fraser
was of course worried about being late, as they were supposed to meet
for ten o'clock and Ray had not shown up at the Consulate until five
to ten. 

"It'll be a fashionably late entrance, Frase," Ray reassured him as he
dashed through traffic. 

Fraser shook his head and sighed. "If we make it there in one piece,"
he argued. "Ray, aren't you supposed to be *incarcerating* people who
drive like this?"

"Are ya makin fun of my drivin' here, Frase?" Ray demanded.

"No, Ray."

"You are!" Ray looked at Fraser, taking one hand off the wheel to wave
it in the air. Fraser reached over, grabbed the blond man's wrist and
firmly planted his hand back on the wheel. 

"Would you please watch the road, Ray?" Fraser asked mildly.

"See, there ya go, insulting the way I drive!" Both hands flew up in
the air again and Fraser resisted the urge to yelp as he leaned over
Ray and grabbed the wheel himself. 

"Cuz, see, when you insult my driving, I don't want to do it anymore."
Ray sat back, grinning to himself as Fraser drove the car from the passenger

"Ray, you make things very difficult," Fraser said in a strained voice.

"Yeah, well, you could be a little more, I dunno... *agreeable* once
in a while." 

"I am perfectly pleasant, Ray. What are you trying to say?"

"Ya know what I mean, Frase!" Ray snapped. "Are ya planning on parking
this thing from over there, cuz I'm not touchin' that wheel until ya
say something nice." 

"You're incorrigible!"

"I'm waiting, Frase. I'm sittin' here waitin' all patient-like." He continued

"You are an... acceptable driver, Ray," Fraser muttered.

"Not good enough."

Fraser sighed. "More than acceptable. You are quite... talented in your
driving capabilities." 

"Get ready to park, Fraser, cuz the restaurant's right ahead."

Fraser winced. Ray smugly noted the sweat dripping down the side of his
partner's face. "Come on, Frase, you can do it. I know ya can."

"This is so illegal!" Fraser actually shouted this.

"Fraser, next light, next light."

"You are God of the Road, Ray!"

"Thank you *very* kindly, Fraser," Ray said in a sugar-coated voice as
he took the wheel back from Fraser. The Mountie sat back in his seat,
taking a few deep, comforting breaths. He pressed two fingers to temples,
chanting over and over softly, "Pristine snowy landscape, pristine snowy

Ray glanced at him. "Yer a freak, Fraser, ya know that?"

Fraser didn't dignify that with a response, but he could swear Diefenbaker
was laughing in the back seat.

Ray pulled into a parking spot in front of the restaurant. Fraser turned
in his seat and looked at Dief. "Stay," he ordered.

Dief whined. 

"Wolves are not allowed inside of a restaurant like this. ... I know
it's discriminatory, but I don't make the rules. ... Now, pouting will
not help you in the least. When in Rome, Dief." 

Ray got smoothly out of the car, while Fraser was a little shaky on his
feet. He spotted Frannie standing at the door waiting for them, and she
called out to Ray, "Your driving scaring the Mountie again?"

Ray glanced at Fraser and just shrugged. As Fraser approached Frannie,
she reached out to him and he drew back sharply, side-stepping around
her as he muttered, "Good day, Francesca," and dashed into the restaurant.

Ray smirked at Frannie. "*Who's* scarin' the Mountie?" he teased, following
Fraser inside. 

Muttering to herself, Frannie followed Ray and then pushed by him to
lead Fraser to the table Huey, Dewey, and Lieutenant Welsh were sitting
at already.

"Yep, Fraser is, of course, wearin' his uniform," Ray announced as he
sat next to Dewey. 

"I think they could see that without you announcing it, Ray," Fraser
murmured as he sat down between his partner and Frannie.

Frannie smiled sweetly at him. "Well, you look very good in it, Fraser."

"Thank you, Francesca." 

A waiter came by and handed Fraser and Ray menus. They ordered something
to drink--tea for Fraser and orange juice for Ray--and then suddenly
everyone else was up and heading to the buffet without them. They glanced
at each other, shrugged, and returned to looking over their menus.

Shortly after, their waiter returned to take their orders. Fraser ordered
Belgian waffles while Ray ordered pancakes, scrambled eggs, and three
large house sausages. Once their meals had arrived and the others were
already eating, Ray grinned and said, "Ahh, nothing like some roasted
hog in the morning!"

Collective groans of disgust issued from around the table. "Ray, that
was very unnecessary," Fraser chided.

"Yeah, well." Ray shrugged, digging into his meal. "Que sera, Fraser."

Fraser shook his head as the others all somewhat reluctantly returned
to their meals, but not before Dewey stood up, leaned over the table
and deposited his own sausages on Ray's plate. 

"Right, happy birthday to me, huh, Vecchio?" Huey groused.

"Oh, yeah... here, man," Ray said, tossing a sausage onto Huey's scrambled
eggs. "Many happy returns, buddy."

Huey drew back in his chair. "Oh, God!" he exclaimed in disgust.

Frannie shook her head. "Are we all agreed, then, that Ray is *not* allowed
to eat in public with us anymore?" she demanded. "Say aye!"

Huey and Dewey raised their hands. "Aye!"

"Nay!" Ray protested.

Welsh was watching all this with an expression resembling despair on
his face. He turned to Fraser. "Do you see what I put up with?" he asked.
"Can you explain this to me at all?" 

Fraser looked at him helplessly. "Ray is not under my control, Leftenant."
He glanced at Ray, then back to Welsh. He seemed to search for words,
then just shook his head and said, "I--He's a head case, sir."

Ray pointedly ignored him, but Huey and Dewey agreed that that was definitely
a point for the Mountie's side.

Frannie looked insulted. "Am I the *only* one here who believes in table
manners? Can I not enjoy my meal with some responsible adults?"

"Now, now, Francesca," Fraser spoke up, "I seem to recall... certain,
oh... family dinners at the Vecchio household. Hmm?"

"Oh!" Dewey shouted. "Point two for the Mountie!"

A young voice drifted over from the next table. "Why are those men shouting,

"I don't know dear," Mommy said patiently. "A tad *rude* though, *aren't*

An embarrassed silence fell over the table. Welsh sighed in despair,
pushed his empty plate back, shook his head and got up from the table.
As he walked by, he patted Fraser on the shoulder and said, "I look forward
to seeing *you* later, Constable." He handed Fraser a twenty dollar bill.

Fraser blinked. "Uh... thank... you, sir," he said uncertainly.

Everyone turned and looked at Welsh and Fraser.

"Ya know, Frase," Ray said slowly, "I'm gonna let that one pass by..."
He glanced at the bill in Fraser's hand. "Is there somethin' you two
aren't tellin' everybody else?" 

Fraser glanced sharply at Ray, his mouth dropping open.

"It's for my part of the bill," Welsh explained with infinite patience
that was wearing thin. He shook his head again, then turned back to Fraser.
"Oh, and, Fraser... thanks for last night." With that, he left the restaurant.

Fraser got that deer-trapped-in-headlights look on his face.

The others burst into uproarious laughter as Fraser all but tried to
crawl under the table. 

"Wow, I've never seen so many shades of red before!" Dewey exclaimed,
and that just caused everyone to laugh even harder.


An hour later, they were back on the road to the 27th, Ray's car following
Huey and Dewey's. Frannie sat in the back seat with Diefenbaker. Dief
was delighted that Ray had saved a sausage for him, and Frannie was chatting
away to Fraser. Fraser was just nodding... he didn't have to say anything
at all because Frannie just kept talking.

They passed by a parking lot when there was the sound of gunfire. Ray
and Fraser glanced at each other, and Ray swerved the car sharply into
the parking lot, right behind Huey and Dewey's car. "Stay here!" Ray
shouted to Frannie, as the two men jumped out of the car. 

Four men were in the parking lot, just *shooting* at each other, right
in front of all the people standing, terrified, outside the shopping
plaza. "Police!" Ray shouted, dashing around his car, pulling out his
own gun at the same time the other two detectives were jumping from their
vehicle. "Drop yer weapons!" Ray ordered. "Now!"

Fraser barely registered it happening, as one of the men turned and fired
a single shot in their direction. The next thing he was aware of, Ray
was flung back against him, his gun falling from his grasp to land with
an all-too-loud clatter to the pavement. In shock, Fraser's arms instinctively
wrapped around Ray's body.

"Oh, *shit,* man!" one of the gunmen shouted. "You shot a *cop*!" Instantly,
the four men were running.

"Someone call 911!" Fraser shouted, lowering Ray's body slowly to the
ground. He was torn between the instinct to chase after the gunmen, and
to stay by his partner's side. He was saved the choice as Huey and Dewey
were back in their car and chasing after them. 

A pale and trembling Frannie emerged from Ray's car. "Oh, my God!" she
cried. "Oh, my God!" She came around to where Fraser was kneeling over
the still form of his partner. 

"Francesca," Fraser said in an amazingly calm voice, "get out your cell
phone and call for an ambulance."

"Right, Frase, right," she agreed quickly, digging in her purse for her

"Please hold on, Ray, just hold on," Fraser pleaded as he tore at Ray's
jacket for some material to stop the bleeding. There was just so much

"F-Fraser..." Ray mumbled through his rough gasps for air. "Frase..."

"Please, Ray, don't do this!" Fraser cried, feeling his control slip
away as he simultaneously watched his friend slip away. "Don't leave
me, Ray!" he pleaded, pressing the cloth to Ray's chest. "Don't you leave

The next thing he was aware of, Lieutenant Welsh was there and pulling
him away from Ray's lifeless body as the paramedics came by with a stretcher.


Huey and Dewey sat with Fraser at Ray's desk. "How did you catch them?"
Fraser asked, unemotionally.

"A guy just swerved in front of them with his car," Dewey replied. "Cut
them off, we got out, arrested them..." He stopped and glanced at his

"The guy'll get life for sure, Fraser," Huey put in. "He killed a cop.
You don't get away with that."

"That's not enough," Fraser said softly. "It's... just... not enough."
He lowered his head. That one moment in time had taken away the centre
of his universe, his only reason for being where he was now. Ray was

"He's... Ray's never coming back."

"I know, Fraser," Huey said gently. "Look, you should really get some
sleep. It's late. You want a lift back to the Consulate?"

"I'll walk, thank you. Good night, Detectives."

"Night, Fraser," they said in unison, and watched the Mountie depart,
his shoulders slumped, head down, hands in his pockets.

He returned to the Consulate about forty-five minutes later, pulled off
his uniform and just let it fall heedlessly to the floor, and settled
down on top of his bedroll in his boxer shorts. 

Ray was gone.

How was life supposed to continue when Ray wasn't a part of it?

"Ahh, nothing like some roasted hog in the morning!" Ray said joyfully.

Fraser blinked a few times and slowly turned his head to look at his
partner, his fork stopped halfway between his plate and his mouth. All
morning, he had been having the oddest feelings of deja vu, but now the
feeling hit him almost like a physical blow. As he turned out what the
others were saying, and just watched Ray teasing Detective Huey, he vaguely
felt that something was very wrong.

He was aware of what was going on around him again when Welsh turned
to him and said, "Do you see what I have to put up with? Can you explain
this to me at all?" 

He turned slowly to Welsh. "Ray is... not... under my control, Leftenant."
He glanced at Ray, then back to Welsh. He just shook his head and added,
almost matter-of-factly, "He's a head case, sir." He could swear that
he had had this conversation before. 

Ray pointedly ignored him, but Huey and Dewey agreed that was definitely
a point for the Mountie's side.

Frannie looked insulted. "Am I the *only* one here who believes in table
manners? Can I not enjoy my meal with some responsible adults?"

"Now, now, Francesca," Fraser spoke up, "I seem to recall... a certain,
oh, family dinner at the Vecchio household. Hmm?"

"Oh!" Dewey shouted. "Point two for the Mountie!"

A young voice drifted over from the next table. "Why are those men shouting,

"I don't know, dear," Mommy said patiently. "A tad *rude* though, *aren't*

As an embarrassed silence fell over the table, Fraser pushed his plate
away and headed outside. He heard Ray following him but didn't turn to
look at his partner. 

"Hey, Fraser, ya still have to pay!" Fraser didn't respond. "Fraser?
Frase? Fray-serrr?" Ray's grin faded. "Hey, what's wrong?"

"I saw you die, Ray," Fraser said softly. "You... you're dead."

Ray drew back a little. "What?"

"I don't know, perhaps it was just a dream, but I know everything that
has happened this morning has happened already. You know that feeling
of deja vu that happens at one single moment? Well, I've been having
that feeling all day, ever since I woke up this morning. Ray, we're going
to leave the restaurant and come across four men shooting at each other
in the parking lot of a plaza a few blocks away. We will follow Detectives
Huey and Dewey's car into the parking lot, we will all get out of the
cars, you will tell the men to put down their weapons, and one will shoot
you. You... you go down, Francesca calls for an ambulance... but it comes
too late, and you die in my arms."

Ray shook his head slowly, blue eyes looking frightened at the dead,
serious tone in Fraser's voice. "Fraser--there's no such thing as goin
back in time," he said gently. "Ya couldn't'a seen that coming." 

Fraser shook his head, turning to look at Ray. "I know how this sounds,
Ray, but it's true, it's all true."

"Look, Frase, we had that cheesecake last night, right? And, well, ya
know, you were complainin', cuz ya don't like cheesecake, but I made
ya eat it anyway--I'm sorry about that, by the way--but, well, ya must
have had some sort of weird, freakish, cheesecake-inspired dream, or
something. Maybe ya need to get more sleep or somethin. Maybe a holiday?"
He patted Fraser's shoulder. "The pressure's getting to ya, buddy. Get
in the car, I'll go pay and we can leave." 

Fraser swallowed. "All right, Ray." He numbly got into Ray's car. Dief
obviously sensed Fraser's mood; he came up behind the Mountie and silently
put his head on Fraser's shoulder. Fraser reached his hand back and scratched
the wolf's ears absently. "I can't lose him again, Dief," he said softly.

Dief licked Fraser's ear, then sat back in his seat as Ray got in the

Fraser barely took a breath as they made their way back to the Precinct.
He jumped in his seat, though he shouldn't have been surprised, when
he heard the sounds of gunfire. He closed his eyes. *Oh, God, no,* he

Ray glanced at Fraser briefly, then quickly followed Huey and Dewey's
car into the parking lot. He yelled at Frannie to stay in the car, then
jumped out as Fraser cried after him, "No, Ray, don't go! Don't you see

Ray was already out of the car and around to Fraser's side. Fraser opened
his door and started to get out. "It's all happening again, Ray!" Fraser

Ray turned, quickly, to glance at him, and then suddenly he pitched forward
and Fraser caught him, letting out a moan of despair as he cradled Ray's
body to his chest, rocking him gently as his life slipped away.


Fraser held his breath for a count of twenty, then called out, "Come
in, Turnbull!" before there was even a knock on his door. The door slowly
opened, and Turnbull poked his head in. "How did you know it was me,
and how did you know I was even at the door?" 

"Don't ask, I just know. I know it's nine o'clock and I know it's Detective
Huey's birthday. Now leave."

Turnbull blinked. "Um--right..." The door closed.

In the hall, Fraser cut Inspector Thatcher off before she could even
open her mouth. "It's my day off, so don't even speak." With that, he
all but ran out of the Consulate and down the steps.

"Ray!" he shouted exuberantly, running towards his friend with arms outstretched.
"Ray, I'm so glad you're here!" He threw his arms around the slender
body and hugged him tight. "Of course, I knew you would be," he added,
a smile stretching across his face. "I love you, Ray!" 

Ray patted his back tentatively. "I, uh, love ya too, man, uh, but, we're
in public." 

"Of course, Ray," Fraser replied, pulling away. "I'm dreadfully sorry.
Let's go. I'm *starving.* Do you want me to drive? Because I will."

"Uh, why would I want you to drive, Fraser?" Ray asked, confusion written
across his face. "You never drive."

"Oh, you'll want me to drive, Ray, trust me."

Ray shook his head and went around to the passenger side. A few minutes
later, he said, "Yer *speeding*, Fraser."

"I thought we agreed that you would let me drive."

"Yeah, but--"

Fraser lifted his hands into the air. "Do *you* want to do this?" 

"Fraser!" Ray cried, leaning over to grip the wheel, but Fraser's hands
went back down. 

"I was just testing you, Ray. To see how *you* would handle the situation.
And apparently I was wrong."

Ray just *stared* at Fraser for the rest of the trip to the restaurant.
Once inside, Fraser didn't even take a menu from the waiter and said,
with perhaps a little too much enthusiasm in his voice, "I'll have a
large chocolate chip waffle, with lots of whipped cream, ooh, and a cherry
on top! Yes! Oh, and one of those chocolate milk shakes too, if you don't
mind too much." 

The waiter blinked, then turned to Ray. "And you, sir?"

"Uh... I gotta... think about... that... yeah, so... yeah." Ray was preoccupied
with staring at Fraser. It seemed the others were as well.

"Yes?" Fraser asked innocently.

"Uh... nothing, nothing at all," Huey reassured him. "Uh--we're hitting
the buffet, you wanna join us, Ray?"

"Nope, I'm gonna order something, you guys go ahead," Ray said, waving
his hand and not looking anywhere but at Fraser.

"He'll order some sausages, probably," Fraser added. He winked at Ray.

"Uh, yeah, I was thinking about that," Ray said. "Uh, how'd you know

"I know all, Ray. I know all, and I see all."

"Have you been drinkin'?"

"No, Ray."

"A little nip first thing in the morning?"

"Nope. No, no, no siree, Ray, my friend Ray."

A few minutes later, once everyone else was eating, and Ray and Fraser's
meals were placed in front of them, Fraser watched Ray intently, waiting,

Ray gave a happy little stretch. "Ahh--"

"There's nothing like some roasted hog in the morning, right, Ray?" Fraser

Ray stared at him in horror. "How in the hell did you know I was going
to say that?" he demanded.

Fraser spread his hands, reaching over to pat Ray's shoulder, but the
detective recoiled. "Don't touch me, don't even come *near* me right
now, Frase. You're completely freaking me out right now, man." He looked
pleadingly at Welsh. "Hey, uh, Lieutenant... wanna switch spots?" 

Welsh leaned forward a little. "Hell no," he replied firmly.

"Oh, Leftenant!" Fraser exclaimed, just remembering. "Thanks for last
night. I'd like that twenty now."

Welsh stared at him in abject horror. Fraser nodded and leaned back in
his chair with his hands behind his head. "Oh, I am *so* good," he murmured.

Ray shook his head. "Ya know, Frase," he said, "I'd say the pressure's
gettin to ya, but what pressure, man? What pressure?"

"Oh, Ray, Ray, Ray!" Fraser shook his head sadly. "You know I am your
hero. That is to say, I am the wind beneath your wings." He reached out
and patted Ray's cheek. 

"Stop that!" Ray snapped. "Keep your hands to yourself!"

"Oh, my dear, *dear*, oblivious Ray! You're just so cute when you don't
know anything." 

"I--Fraser--" Ray stood up. "I don't even want to drive you home, man,
you can walk." He reached into his pocket and pulled out a twenty, dropping
it on the table. 

"Oh, I'll be in the car with you, Ray, don't you worry. I'll happen.
Eventually." He smiled in what could only be considered a smug fashion.

Ray shook his head and went outside.

Huey stood up. "It's my *birthday*, man. I'm forty! You just--you realise
you've ruined everything? What is *wrong* with you?" He turned and headed
out of the restaurant. 

Before following his partner, Dewey said, "Anybody vote that the Mountie
doesn't get to come out with us anymore? It's bad for him!"

Frannie was staring at Fraser in shock and dismay. "Who the hell *are*
you," she demanded, "and what have you done with Fraser?" She grabbed
her purse and followed Huey and Dewey. 

Welsh left his money on the table. "I suggest more sleep, Constable,"
he said before leaving. 

"Hmm," Fraser said softly. His eyes widened. "Oh, dear... If I've done
all this... and I save Ray's life... they'll all remember this tomorrow
when we wake... oh dear." He paused and looked down at his mostly uneaten
waffle, then stood and grabbed his Stetson, taking out some bills and
leaving them on the table. "I'm sure they'll forgive me... eventually.
After all, I am the Canadian."

He went outside and was only mildly surprised to find everyone still
waiting for him, except for Welsh who had already driven off. They all
looked at him, and then Frannie got into Detectives Huey and Dewey's
car instead of Ray's. Ray shook his head, then motioned for Fraser to
get into his car.

"Yeah, yeah, I know, I *have* to drive you to the Precinct, ya weirdo,"
Ray muttered as he pulled out of the parking lot. "Ya gotta get that
file for the Ice Queen. But I swear, Fraser, ya better keep your hands
where I can see 'em. Put 'em on the dashboard and keep 'em there, but
don't ya *dare* touch my glasses."

"Yes, Ray," Fraser said with a little meekness. He knew perfectly well
how ridiculously he had been behaving, and decided it was best to tone
it down just a bit. There was no reason to save Ray's life only to be
punched in the face later for the way he had been acting. 

As they passed by the now all-too familiar parking lot, gunshots rang
out and Ray swerved the car, following the other one.

All right, Fraser thought, timing is everything if I'm going to save

The car screeched to a halt.


Ray pulled off his seat belt and instantly Fraser was on him, pinning
him to the seat. 

"Hey, get off me!" Ray shouted.

Fraser didn't say anything, just held Ray down as he struggled against
the Mountie's superior strength.

"Fraser, this isn't funny, let me go, there's a situation!" Ray squirmed
and struggled, pushing against Fraser. Ray had a momentary advantage
against Fraser and the Mountie felt his elbow hit the dashboard, and
felt Ray's glasses fall and knock against his boot, breaking, as he jumped
forward again, pushing Ray back harder. He knew he was probably hurting
the slightly smaller man, but right now, letting Ray out of the car was
not an option. He had to save his life. 

"Let me *go*!" Ray shouted. "Dammit, Fraser, stop, what the hell is wrong
with you? I swear to God--"

Ray cut himself off as they both heard another gun shot. They stopped,
and looked forward to see Dewey drop to the ground, heard Huey's shout
of anguish and Frannie's scream. 

"Oh, *shit*!" both men cried simultaneously, and were almost instantly
out of the car. They ran towards their fallen friend, Ray kneeling down
next to Huey, and Fraser standing by in shock. 

No, there was no way this could have had to happen; he just knew it wasn't

"Fraser!" Ray looked up at him, anger flashing in his blue eyes. "This
is *yer* fault! My God, how could you have stopped me like that? Damn
you, you stupid bastard, I could have helped, could have done something!"

Fraser's heart leapt up into his throat and he stumbled a step backwards.
"I--It wasn't supposed to happen this way," he protested weakly. "It
wasn't the plan." 

"*Plan*, Fraser?" Huey shouted. "What the hell are you talking about?
Goddamn you!" He jumped up and lunged at Fraser, but Ray was up next
to him and pushing him back. 

"No, man, no. He's mine!" He jumped at Fraser, landing a punch square
across the Mountie's jaw. Fraser's hand came up to his face, and he staggered

"Stop it!" Frannie screamed. "This isn't helping!"

Fraser sort of tuned out, vaguely hearing the three arguing; Ray and
Huey just telling Frannie to keep "the Mountie" away from them, and Frannie
holding firm to the argument that Fraser was in shock.

Fraser moved away and slumped against Ray's car. A few moments later,
Lieutenant Welsh was standing in front of him.

"Detective Huey had this idea that you were in on that shooting," he
said quietly. 

Fraser's head snapped up. "No! God, no, I just knew that Ray would die
and I had to save him and I couldn't let him die, so I didn't let him
out of the car, you have to believe me, Leftenant, I didn't want this
to happen!"

"I believe you, I believe you," Welsh reassured him. "But believe me
on this too: you are *not* very popular today. I called you a taxi. Go
home, Constable."


Fraser stood in Inspector Thatcher's office, receiving the tongue-lashing
of a lifetime. He wanted to crawl into his own skin; he wanted to disappear
from the spot he stood; he wanted to hide under the carpet; he wanted
the roof to cave in on him. Anything, but be where he was now. 

Then Thatcher reached out for a pair of scissors, grabbed his lanyard
and--snip!--cut it in half to the simultaneous wail from Constable Turnbull.
Thatcher decided to have "some pity" on Fraser and told him he could
stay in his office *tonight only,* but after this he was on his own.

He nodded. "Understood," he said meekly.

"Dismissed!" she snapped.

He nodded again and fled, returning to his own office. He sat down on
the floor and buried his face in his hands.

Good God, how had things gone so very wrong today? What was he supposed
to do now? Just because he had had this strange feeling of deja vu, that
he had repeated this day at least once, didn't mean that he would wake
up tomorrow and find that tomorrow was really today. 

He had nowhere to go. No one to turn to... He could go home, but what
was home? Ray was his home--his reason to stay in Chicago, but... God,
Ray hated him right now, and he had a feeling that what had happened
today was irreparable.

He wasn't as close to Ray Kowalski as he had been to the real Ray Vecchio.
They didn't have the bond that he had formed with the original Ray. He
often felt distant from Ray Kowalski; that he wasn't understood.

Thoughts of Vecchio pulled Fraser up to his feet and he opened a drawer
in his desk, pulling out a picture frame, and turning it over to look
at the smiling face of his first partner. The grin on that familiar,
friendly face offered no answers and Vecchio could offer no support because
he wasn't there. Instead Ray was deep undercover and couldn't even contact

Fraser sighed and put the picture frame down on his desk and began slowly
removing his uniform for the last time.

* * *

The birds chirping loudly were the first thing Fraser was aware of. Next
were the sun on his face, and the knock on the door. Fraser closed his
eyes. "Come in," he called. 

Turnbull poked his head in. "You asked me to be sure to wake you by nine
o'clock today, Constable," he said. "It's Detective Huey's birthday breakfast."

"Thank you, Turnbull," Fraser replied.

When the door closed, Fraser leapt to his feet with a howl of pure joy.

The door opened again and Turnbull frowned at him. "Constable?"

Fraser launched himself at Turnbull and spun the other man around. "I
love my life!" Fraser cried.

Turnbull looked horrified. "Yes--that's--good. That's good. I'll go now."
He fled. 

Fraser took his time to get ready, knowing that Ray would be late, and
went to wait on the Consulate steps.

His exhilaration at this new chance quickly wore off as he realised he
wasn't sure what his options were this time around. Ray had already been
killed twice; the time he had tried to stop Ray, Dewey had been shot.
What now?

Ray's car pulled up beside the Consulate and Fraser climbed into the

Ray glanced at Fraser after pulling the car out into traffic. "It's yer
day off," he commented. 

"I know," Fraser replied.

"You're wearing your uniform."

"You noticed," Fraser said dryly.


"Ahh, nothing like some roasted hog in the morning!" Ray exclaimed. 

The others all let out groans of disgust, but Fraser was lost in thought
as he contemplated his possible courses of action. He wasn't very interested
in his meal and didn't notice everyone else staring at him. 

"Fraser?" Ray's hand waved in his face. "Hey, Wendy, come back from Never-never
Land." Pause. "Fraser? Helloooo? Frayy-serrr." Another pause. "Huh, coma,
whaddya gonna do?" He poked Fraser's eye lightly and Fraser jumped, his
fork flying through the air. 

There was a wail. "Mommy! They hit me with a fork!"

"Good job," Ray complimented sarcastically. "Why not toss yer knife at
that little old lady over there?"

"This is no time to be sarcastic, Ray," Fraser admonished. "I have to
go see if that child is all right." But when Fraser went over, the boy's
mother beat him with her purse and told him if he and his "horrible friends"
didn't leave them alone she would call the police. 

Fraser meekly returned to their table. 

"Well?" Ray asked.

Fraser sat. "She told me if I didn't go away she would call the police,"
he said softly. 

They all started laughing at him; except, of course, for Welsh who sighed
tragically. "This is what I have to deal with," he muttered. "I've gotta
go." He stood up, reaching into his breast pocket.

"The twenty for your meal, sir?" Fraser asked.

Welsh blinked at him. "Uh... yeah, how'd you know?"

"Ah... Mountie intuition," Fraser improvised.

"Riiight... You should teach me some of that sometime." Welsh handed
him the twenty, grabbed his jacket and left the restaurant.

"You okay, Fraser?" Frannie asked, concerned.

"What?" Fraser shook his head. "Yes, yes, of course, Francesca..." 

Huey rolled his eyes. "Just because it's my birthday, don't let it stop
you from being a downer."

"I'm sorry... there's..." Fraser cut himself off. "Ray, I have to go
to the library." 

"Right now?" Ray asked.

"No... no, after, before we go to the Precinct to pick up those files."

"Uh... why not on the way back to the Consulate? That's easier, ya know."

"No, no, we have to go right away." Fraser winced slightly at the lie.
He *had* to save Ray's life. No matter what.

They finished eating and Fraser more or less dragged Ray from the restaurant
after they had paid. Ray still didn't understand Fraser's reasoning,
but followed him into the library anyway, leaving a rather discontented
wolf standing outside and begging for food. 

Ray plopped himself down in a chair with some magazines as Fraser wandered
about for the next twenty minutes, trying to find a book he *hadn't*
read. He finally settled on an Irish cookbook. He was flipping through
it as Ray came up behind him.

"Cookbooks, Fraser? Ya dragged me out here to look at cookbooks?" He
scanned the title by leaning around to view the opposite side. "You've
gotta be kiddin' me!" He cried, receiving a nasty look from the librarian
walking by with a cart. "*Irish Cuisine*, Fraser?" he continued in a
hushed tone. "Are ya kiddin' me? Irish food isn't a *cuisine*, Frase,
it's mashed up stuff that's put in a pot for 20-some-odd hours and is
finally sucked up with a straw! That is not a delicacy! Believe me, I
had an Irish friend! Nothing *cuisine* about that, let me tell ya!" He
grabbed the book from Fraser's hand, placing it on the shelf. "Ya dragged
me here so you could look at Irish food? What's wrong with you?" Shaking
his head, he practically had to push the Mountie the whole way back to
the car. 

"Yeah, yeah we'll get you somethin to eat, Dief. Why don't ya whine some
more!" Ray got an indignant huff from the wolf as the three got into
the car.  

The car rounded the corner and stopped shortly to grab the parking space
in front of a nearby doughnut shop. 

"Ray, you might want to indicate next time you would like to pull over,
so that the drivers behind us could have some warning. It's called defensive

"Two words, Frase: bite me! Anyway, I didn't have my glasses on, so I
didn't see the spot clearly until two seconds ago."

"What does that have to do with your ability to use turn signals?" Fraser
asked, looking out the window to avoid the icy look directed at him by
the blond detective. 

"I suggest ya remember back to those two words, Frase. Let me remind
ya. B-III-TE M-EEE!" Smirking, he left the car and headed for the shop's
front door, Dief following onto the sidewalk. 

Fraser quickly rolled down his window. "Ray, you are *not* giving him
junk food again, are you?" 

"Oh, no Frase, never, what would make ya think that?" Ray asked all too
innocently, then winked at Dief.

"I did see that!" Fraser called out, then watched as Ray went in, and
returned with a bagel in hand. He unwrapped it and handed it to Dief
as Fraser got out of the car. 

"Thank you, Ray," he said.

"No prob, Fraser," Ray replied. "But you might not want to know that
the cream cheese is *strawberry-flavoured*." He grinned.

Fraser rolled his eyes. "Ray, Ray, Ray..."

Dief whined appreciatively.

There was a disturbance from across the street and Fraser glanced quickly
at his watch to check for the time. *No, it couldn't be that, not over
here,* he thought. *We're safe.* 

"I'll be right back," he spoke aloud, then turned and dashed across the
street to where two youths were scuffling.

Behind him, he heard a bus passing by but then the screech of tires and
a horrible, pained yelp before Ray shouted, "Oh my GOD!"

Fraser froze and closed his eyes tightly. He forced himself to turn around.


"I--I can't believe he's gone."

"I know. It was just so... sudden."

"I mean... He's always been there."


"He was a devoted friend and--" Ray sniffed loudly. "I--I got somethin
in my eye." He looked away.

"Of course, Ray," Fraser said soothingly, patting his friend's shoulder.

Ray sniffed again. "I just--I can't believe you're taking this so well."

"I'm sure it will all sink in tomorrow morning, Ray..."

* * *




Been there, done that.

"Roasted hog, right, Ray?" Fraser muttered irritably.

"Way to ruin my thing, Fraser!" Ray protested. "That's my *thing.*" 

"I thought your thing was that on the inside, you're a poet. But outside--"
He mocked, using his best Ray-imitation, "Mm! Shake bad guys, shake!"

"Are you okay, Frase?"

"That's it, you see! That's the real problem: I don't know! I just *don't
know.*" Fraser threw his hands up in the air. He glanced around quickly,
then grabbed Ray's orange juice and downed it all in a single gulp.

"God," Huey complained, "I didn't realise my birthday could make you
so cranky. 

*My* birthday. Yeah? My *birthday.* Where I'm turning forty?" He shook
his head. 

"God, I'm *forty* today, anybody else realise that? Anyone care? No,
because it's all about the Mountie."

Dewey stopped eating for the first time that morning. He didn't turn
as he reluctantly put his fork down, reached out and patted his partner's
shoulder, then resumed eating. 

"*Who's* the cranky one?" Ray demanded, just a little smug.

"Bite me, Vecchio. Bite me."

Frannie rolled her eyes dramatically. "The maturity level at this table
is astounding," she remarked sarcastically, her first input of the day.

"Well, Francesca," Fraser spoke up, "I seem to recall a certain... family
dinner at the Vecchio household? Hmm?" He decided to try that again to
see if it would have the same reaction. And he was right.

"Ooh! Point for the *Mountie*!" Dewey exclaimed.

"That's right, take the *Mountie's* side again!" Huey groused.

Welsh had that same look of despair on his face. He turned to Fraser.
"Do you see what I put up with?" he asked. "Can you explain this to me
at all?"

Fraser frowned, trying to remember what he had said before. "Ray... is
not... uh... under my control, Leftenant." He shrugged. "He's a head

Ray pointedly ignored him, but Dewey shouted, "Oh! Score two for the

A young voice drifted over from the next table. "Why are those men shouting,

"I don't know, dear," Mommy said patiently. "A tad *rude,* though, *aren't*

An embarrassed silence fell over the table. Fraser sighed. He closed
his eyes and remembered his trip over to the table from yesterday-today.
He just hoped nothing had changed yet--since he had not interacted with
that family, there should not be any alterations in their course of time.

He tossed his fork over his shoulder and was immensely satisfied as the
child's balloon popped and the little boy started to *wail.* He pushed
back his chair and headed over to their table. 

"*Terribly* sorry about that," he apologised expansively. "My wrist,
you see--" He demonstrated, making an absurd flicking motion over his
shoulder as he struggled against the laughter bubbling up. "I can't control
it, honest, see there it goes?" He snorted with laughter. "I... Dreadfully
sorry, really, I am." He started giggling. "Do you want me to--pay--for
the... balloon?" He chuckled a few times.

"You horrible, horrible man!" the woman cried as she gathered up her
sniffling child. She whacked Fraser with her purse a few times.

He pulled back, still laughing. "I'm sorry, ma'am, I really am--" 

The child fixed Fraser with a stern gaze. "Lies make baby Jesus cry."

Fraser burst into laughter. He clapped. "Good one!" he exclaimed. He
stumbled back over to his table, still laughing. He wiped a tear from
his eye.

There was perfect silence around the table.

"Yeah?" he asked.

They were staring at him with undisguised, pure horror. *This* was the

Fraser fixed his gaze on Dewey. "Score three for the Mountie," he said
proudly, winking. "That's right." He sat back. "I'm *all* that and a
bag of fresh potatoes." 

Ray shook his head. "That's *not* the way it goes ," he advised his friend.
"But the thing is, ya tried, which is, ya know, good and all. Am I, like,
rubbing off on you?" 

Fraser looked at Ray with an arched eyebrow. "Ray, I would say you are
*definitely* rubbing off on me."

Ray seemed to colour a little at that. He glanced away briefly before

"Well, great, Fraser. Uh--" A grin spread across his face. "I gotta say
though--that was *priceless.*"

"Thank you *kindly,* Ray."

Frannie was still staring in horror at Fraser. "I--My Mountie!" she said
in a small voice. She grabbed her purse, left a twenty on the table,
and then fled the restaurant. 

Welsh sighed in his most tragic fashion. "I put up with this," he muttered.
"God only knows why, but I do. I put up with this, everyday..." He continued
muttering to himself as he placed his own money on the table then left.

"My--birthday--" Huey said brokenly. "Oh, God--always the Mountie--always--"
He and Dewey wandered off too.

That left Ray and Fraser sitting together.

"Well," Ray said.




"Yes, Ray?"

Ray squinted at a sign. "Should we order some dessert? What's that say?"
He leaned forward, then over towards Fraser, almost directly into the
Mountie's lap. "Does that say, ice cream?" 

Fraser glanced down briefly at Ray's neck and the position he was in,
then cleared his throat. "D-Direct payment, Ray," he whispered. "Uh--"
He cleared his throat again. "It says, direct payment."


"Are... are you wearing new cologne, Ray?" Fraser asked softly.

Ray sat up. "Uh... yeah. You, uh, like?"

"Very much so, yes. It's very... flattering."

The corner of Ray's mouth quirked up. "Thanks, Frase." He squinted at
the sign again. "Guess it does say direct payment at that." He grinned
sheepishly at Fraser. "Probably should be wearing my glasses, huh? Left
'em in the car."

Silence again.

"You should wear them more often, Ray," Fraser said softly. "They're
actually quite... becoming."

Ray blinked, looked around. "Oh. That's, uh, nice of ya to say... Fraser."
He glanced Fraser up and down, briefly, then cleared his own throat.
"Guess, uh, we should... ya know, pitter patter..."

"Yes, I think so. I need--those files." They stood and left their own
money on the table. 	

"Maybe... maybe we could go for some ice cream later? Tonight? After...

Fraser's eyes widened. *This* was a significant development! Quite unexpected.

But definitely not without... it's perks. So to speak.

"Yes, Ray," he agreed finally. "Definitely. Ice cream sounds very, very

Ray nodded. "Yeah--ice cream. Right."


Timing. Timing, as always, was everything.

But timing for *what*? 

Fraser glanced at Ray. 

He had never really thought of Ray as anything but a friend... Well,
perhaps that wasn't *entirely* the truth. When he first saw him, he was
astounded by the man's... by the fact that Ray was completely gorgeous.

But Ray had been married and was still in love with his ex-wife so what
chance would *Fraser* have with him?

His eyes widened.

Was he in *love* with Ray?

He glanced at the blond man again.

Yep. He was.



Fraser shook his head, breaking out of his thoughts. "Yes, Ray?"

Ray grinned boyishly. "How 'bout some ice cream *now*?"

"*Now,* Ray? But we just left the restaurant."

"Nope. We're gonna do it my way--I mean, have it--I mean, we're gonna
go down--I *mean,* I know a good place for, ya know, ice cream."

Fraser was turning almost as red as his serge. "That sounds--fine." 

Ray grinned. "Yep. Good good. All right. Let's go."

"Well, you're driving, Ray."

"Oh, right." Ray pulled the car into an illegal U-turn and started driving
off in the opposite direction.

"Um, Ray--"

"Shut up, Fraser."


Ray was grinning madly. "Ya know, Fraser... I'm... uh... glad we're going
to have some ice cream. Real glad, ya know? I mean... Ya know."

"Of course, Ray." Fraser smiled. "I understand. I'm glad, too. Ice cream."


A few minutes later they were coming out of the small ice cream parlour
with their sundaes. Fraser cleared his throat. "Uh... Ray?"

"Yeah, Fraser, I know, later."

"Just checking."


Fraser stopped walking. "Uh, Ray?"


"Have you noticed the cars or are they a figment of my imagination?"

Ray glanced up from shovelling his ice cream into his mouth. He froze
completely. There were at least seven cars backed up from the drive-thru
for the fast food restaurant next door, completely blocking in his car.

"Aw, well this is great!" Ray shouted. "Just perfect!"

Fraser came up behind him. "Perhaps if we just get in the car, and you
start it, someone will understand that we want out and will allow us
to pass through?"

"Yeah, that's gonna work," Ray muttered. But they got into the car anyway,
and sat about two minutes before Ray got really frustrated. He repeatedly
glanced in his mirrors and over his shoulder.

"There's almost enough room for me to get outta here!" he shouted. "But
that ditz in the red Ford Taurus doesn't have a brain in her head to
back up a little bit to let us out! It's not as if she don't have enough
room behind her!"

Fraser glanced over his shoulder. He put his rapidly-melting sundae on
the dashboard beside Ray's glasses and said, "I'll be right back, Ray."
He got out of the car and knocked politely on the passenger-side window
of the red Taurus. The window rolled down. "Excuse me, ma'am..." 

"What?" the woman demanded.

"My friend and I have... important business to attend to." He checked
his watch. "If you wouldn't mind backing up just--"

"Get lost, Dudley Do-Right," the woman snapped.


"I said, get lost."

Fraser frowned and backed up, bumping into Ray. Ray patted Fraser's back.
"Told ya, Frase," he said. He leaned down and pulled out his badge. "What
were ya sayin, ma'am?" 

She shot him.

She just pulled out a gun and shot Ray in the chest. 

Fraser stared at Ray in horror briefly then looked at the woman with
wide eyes and mouth hanging open.

"You BITCH!" he screamed. Before she could do anything, he had her out
of the car, on the ground, and her hands tied behind her back with his

"Someone call 9-1-1!" he shouted to the people gathered around, staring
at what had just happened. He checked his watch.


Right on time.

He rushed back over to Ray, kneeling at Ray's side. "Ray," he said softly,
"oh, God, Ray..." 

"Frase? Frase, it hurts..."

Tears sprang to Fraser's eyes. "I know, Ray..." This had happened twice
before... but that didn't make the pain any less real to him. He grabbed
Ray's hands. "Hold on," he whispered, though he knew it wouldn't matter.
Wouldn't do any good.

"I love you, Ray," he said.

"Yeah... love you..."

* * *

"...roasted hog in the morning!"

Again. It was all happening again.

And Fraser was lost and confused and just generally miserable. Except...
well, yesterday-- today--the yesterday-today--he and Ray had... had a
connection. And when he looked at Ray now, Ray was just as he had always
been. Oblivious to the fact that yesterday-today they had professed their
love for each other. Did Ray feel that way now? Had he always felt that
way? Or had it just been yesterday-today's situation? Delirium? Had Fraser
read too much into the flirting before they had gone for ice cream?

Fraser sighed. He would never think of ice cream sundaes the same way

"Fraser?" Ray's hand waved in his face. "Hey, Wendy, come back from Never-Never
Land." Pause. "Fraser? Helloooo? Frayy-serrr." Another pause. "Huh, coma,
whaddya gonna do?" He poked Fraser's eye lightly and Fraser jumped, however
he maintained his hold on his fork. He shook his head.

"I'm sorry, Ray. I was..."

"On another planet?"

Fraser smiled indulgently. "It sometimes feels that way."

"My... birthday..." Huey said pitifully.

One of these todays... Fraser was going to have to smack Huey.


The parking lot. The parking lot was three blocks away and Fraser was
terrified. What now? Ray had died three times. Dewey once... even *Dief.*

He sighed.

Maybe it was him. Maybe it was Fraser who had to die.

He glanced at Ray. It was obvious that Ray couldn't die or he would be
stuck in this loop forever. And it seemed apparent that no one else could
die at this time either. He felt responsible for the deaths Dewey and
Diefenbaker had suffered; his own actions had led them both to die.

There was no doubt in his mind that he loved Ray. Maybe always had, and
it had taken this for him to realise that. Perhaps Ray did love him too--

Two blocks.

But maybe Ray was never to know. Perhaps Fraser had to sacrifice himself.

He fought back the tears that threatened to spring to his eyes.

It wasn't fair at all that he had made this realisation and now, had
to end it all. But the universe worked in mysterious ways... he had always
known that.

One block.

It was altogether possible that in the grand scheme of things, life would
never work for Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser as... more than friends.

Gunshots rang out. The car swerved into the parking lot behind Huey and
Dewey's car. Fraser jumped out of the car at the same time as Ray.

The one gunman turned and pointed his gun at Ray.

But Fraser was ready.

Searing, hot pain shot through him as he threw himself at Ray, taking
the bullet in his back. Ray grabbed Fraser and lowered him to the ground

Huey and Dewey chased after the retreating gunmen.

Ray let out a long moan of despair as he pulled Fraser's body to his
chest. "No, no, Fraser... You... ya can't do this to me!" he cried. 

Fraser looked up at him. His vision was blurred... but he could make
out the tears streaming down Ray's face.

"Why, Fraser?" Ray demanded. 

"You wouldn't understand," Fraser said weakly. "You... probably never
will... just... had to happen, Ray..."

"No, Fraser!" Ray cried, voice cracking. "That bullet was meant for me!
You know it. You know it, Fraser... you know."

Fraser used what strength he had to force a smile. "I know... but...

"Fraser... Don't, you gotta hang on, you gotta! Don't leave me!"

"Ray... I... love you."

Ray hugged him closer, shaking his head, really crying now. "I love you
too, Fraser. That's why you can't go! Stay with me, please!"

"No, Ray..." Fraser struggled to form the words. "I'm... in love... with..."


"Fraser!" Ray shouted. "Fraser, no! I love you too! I--Damn it, Fraser,
open yer eyes! Look at me, *look* at me!"

Hands grasped Ray's arms and pulled him to his feet. "Vecchio--"

"No!" Ray screamed. "Fraser!"

"Vecchio!" Welsh snapped. "Get a hold of yourself!"

Ray watched the paramedics pick up Fraser's lifeless body and put him
on the stretcher. They covered his face with the blanket.

"No!" Ray screamed. "You don't understand!" He struggled against Welsh's
superior strength. "I love him! He can't leave me!"

* * *

The birds were chirping.

Fraser found this extremely funny. He couldn't quite explain it, but
the fact that there were birds chirping was just flat-out hilarious.
He threw an arm over his eyes and just started howling with laughter.

There was a hesitant "knock ... ... ... knock?" on his door.

"What?!" he shouted.	

Turnbull poked his head in the door, eyes wide. "Are you--"

"I'm fine, get lost."

"Getting lost, Constable."

Fraser jumped to his feet and started pacing.

He was alive.

He was dead a little while ago, now he was alive.

All right, then.

"The first today, everything seemed normal. Well, except for the fact
that Ray was shot and died. The second today, the exact same thing happens
and I realised that I was repeating the day. Ray died again although
I tried to warn him. I fix that the next today and then Detective Dewey
is killed. On the fourth today, I *really* knew there was something I
had to do to avoid that situation so Ray and I went to the library and
Diefenbaker got ran over by a bus. I figure, all right, it all has to
do with *something* at this particular time: eleven fifty-four a.m. So
the *next* today Ray and I go out for ice cream. But, you see, before
that? There's the interesting thing, right? Ray and I--we love each other!
Isn't that wonderful, I think! We're going to have ice cream and we're
in love and I'm just so deliriously happy. So some madwoman shoots him
and that's the end of that. So the *next* today, I realise... well, it's
this big whole cosmic something-or-other that's interfering with *my*
life. *I'm* the key, I think. I was always present when someone died.
So *maybe* it was me. I sacrificed myself to save Ray. Well, obviously
that wasn't it, because what do you know? Here I am! So somehow I have
to figure out how to keep Ray from dying, as well as everyone else, including
myself, and I'm really hoping for the whole relationship-ice-cream-aspect
part of it all to work out because wouldn't that be so wonderful? 

"I'm missing something. Something important, I just know it. Some key
aspect. I have worked out a list, of course, of what I have already tried,
and what other options are open to me. I have narrowed it down to a few
things that I am willing to attempt to see if I can set time back on
its course. Today, I'm trying for the 'I-refuse-to-leave-the-Consulate'
plan. ... Thank you kindly. I ... just needed to say that out loud."

Fraser sat down on Inspector Thatcher's desk. She and Turnbull exchanged
a look that spoke volumes.

They were sitting on the floor, back to back and tied together. They
hadn't quite figured out *why* Fraser had done that to them, but in his
current state of mind, it didn't seem to be that big of an issue.

"Constable," Thatcher said slowly--

"Oh, no!" Fraser cut in. "You're not allowed to speak. I have some thinking
to do." He swung down off the desk and went around behind it, sitting
in Thatcher's chair and began rummaging through her desk.

"Do you *not* believe in basic organisation skills, sir?" he asked. "How
do you find anything in here? Aha! Here it is." He pulled out a pad of
paper then reached out to grab a pen. "It was just a mental list, of
course. I really must write it down so I can keep track of things. Hopefully
if I keep this list on my person it won't... vanish as the day repeats.
If the day repeats." He frowned. "See, that's the other thing. I never
really know if the day is going to repeat until I wake up in the morning
and the birds are chirping and Turnbull comes in to tell me it's Detective
Huey's birthday and everything just repeats as it has been!" He giggled.
"So you do realise, of course, that if *this* is the correct course of
action, I'll really be in a pickle tomorrow morning!"

"Oh, believe me, Constable," Thatcher all but growled, "you *certainly*
will be." 

"Make that a dill pickle!" Turnbull piped in.

"Shut up, Turnbull!" they both snapped.

Fraser began jotting things down on the pad of paper, watching Turnbull
and Thatcher with some amusement as they struggled to get out of the
intricate knots Fraser had done. 

"Oh, you two really are quite stuck, you know," Fraser told them. 

They glared but he just laughed at them. "Oh, this is rich... I think,
that if tomorrow *is* actually *tomorrow*, this might just have been
worth it."

"Constable Fraser," Thatcher snarled, "I swear if you don't--"

"See, Inspector, this is the thing," Fraser said, standing up and coming
back around the desk and leaning against it. "This is the *thing*." He
laughed childishly. "*I'm* in charge now! Me!" He leaned forward and
smiled ever so sweetly at her. "Me."

"If you don't--"

"No, no speaking! Did you not understand?" He crouched down in front
of her. "You *really* don't take directions very well at all, do you?
Unlike me, of course. Oh, no, I put up with your crap twenty-four hours
a day. Almost literally! And I have to ask myself, *why*? I mean, I understand
that it's my job, but do you have *any* idea how irritating you are?
How *degrading* it is to say, 'How high?' when you tell me to jump? I'm
sick and tired of jumping when you tell me to. You know what? Jump. I'm
telling you--*ordering* you--to jump. Right now." 

Thatcher glared at him.

"Oh, right... you're sitting down." He frowned. "Well, you'll be jumping

"Are you *mad*?" Thatcher demanded.

"Mad? No." He stood again and waved a hand. "I'm *frustrated*. That's
what I am. I'm frustrated beyond belief. Not mad. Just frustrated. I'm
just... going to have some fun with this. So this is me, having fun.
Whee!" He laughed. "Oh, God, but I swear if I have to repeat this day
much more, I am *going* to go quite mad."

There was a pounding on the front doors to the Consulate. He glanced
at his watch. "That would be Ray!" he exclaimed. "Right on time. If you'll
excuse me."

He left Thatcher's office, then firmly closed the door behind him. Dief
was sitting at the front door, waiting to go. Fraser looked at him. "Where
do you think *you're* going?" he asked. 

Dief whined and glanced at the door.

Fraser laughed. "No. I don't think so. We're staying here. As of today,
you're on a diet!" He opened the door to look at Ray, who had an expression
of concern on his face. 

"You, ah--" Ray looked him up and down. "Yer still in your... p.j.'s
there, Frase." 

"Yes, I know."

"Uh... Ya wanna get changed?" Ray spread his hands. "Ya know, since we
gotta go and all that... Huey's birthday."

"Oh, I'm perfectly aware. But I'm not going."

"What? Why not?"

"Things have come up, Ray, I'm terribly sorry."

Ray looked disappointed. It hurt to see that expression on his friend's
face, but Fraser had already made up his mind.

"Uh... all right, Frase. I'll tell Huey ya said happy birthday."

"Thank you kindly, Ray."

"Yeah... I'll talk to ya later."


"And furthermore, *Inspector,*" Fraser concluded, "I meant *everything*
I said this morning about my feelings for Detective Vecchio. So if you
do *not* cease in your, shall we say, *advances,* I will be very put
out with you." He smiled thinly. "I'll see you tomorrow." He left Thatcher
and Turnbull in the Inspector's office, then headed back to his own.

He closed the door behind him and leaned against it, laughing. All in
all, today had been a rather therapeutic twist of events. He was able
to work out a few theories; some possible courses of action to take until
he got things right, and had used this opportunity to tell Thatcher and
Turnbull how he *really* felt about things.

Of course... tomorrow he was either going to be out of a job, or back
where things started. He shook his head, then wandered over to his desk
and sat down. He spotted the Walkman Ray had left the other day and shrugged,
grabbing the headphones and putting them on; switching on the radio,
he listened to the news on the station Ray had left it on. 

"In local news... Chicago PD Detective Raymond Vecchio was shot and killed
today by a gunman while trying to break up a dispute--"

That's all he needed to hear. Sighing, he shut off the Walkman and put
it back on his desk. He had assumed as much, and took the folded piece
of paper from his pocket, scratching out the Consulate plan.


He looked up. "Dad. This is a peculiar turn of events. What are you doing

"Watching you and wondering... where did I go wrong?"

"Yeah, well. Whatcha gonna do?"

"I'm very surprised at you, son. I honestly do understand the occasional
emotional outbursts that you've had over the past few... occurrences
of today, but that--" 

"What?!" Fraser cried. "Past few... *What*?!"

"Oh, I've been around, son. Watching what you've done... About you and
the Yank--" 

"No!" Fraser shouted. "You have *not* been keeping an eye on things and
have only just *now* decided to do something!"

"Yes, I have."

Fraser flopped over onto his bedroll, pulling his pillow over his head.

"That's not going to help, son."

"Go away, Dad, please!" Fraser said pitifully. "Before I say something
I'll really regret, considering you've waited until I had to suffer through
my own death, the death of my--my-- whatever Ray is to me--*four times*
now--and, even Diefenbaker! And, Detective Dewey," he added. 

"About the Yank--"

"Yes, fine, all right, *I love Ray*!" Fraser shouted. "Now, please, let
me go to sleep. The sooner I go to sleep, the sooner tomorrow--or, today--will
be here." 

"But... grandchildren..."

Fraser wailed.


"Turnbull... do you hear that?"

"By 'that' do you mean, the shouting coming from Constable Fraser's office?"

"Yes, that."

"Ah. Well, yes, I hear that, sir."

"My God... he really has gone mad."

"Hold me, sir."

"Shut up, Turnbull."

* * *

Birds. The birds were going to drive him mad.

If "roasted hog" didn't do it first.

Or maybe it would be Ray's driving.

Or that *irritating* little child in the restaurant.

Or Huey's incessant whining about his birthday.

He winced as, once again, he was reminded that Huey had turned forty

And at 11:52, they were in that damned parking lot again.

At 11:53 Fraser turned to Ray and told him, "I love you, Ray."

Ray paused. "I love you too, Frase."

"No--I mean... I love you."

Ray stared.

The gunman fired.

Huey dropped.


Fraser opened his eyes. Turnbull knocked on his door



Fraser was the first one to jump out of the car this time. He grabbed
Ray's gun and shot at the gunman.

"Fraser! You don't have a permit!" Ray protested. As he dashed forward,
the gunman shot again. 


Fraser opened one eye cautiously. Birds were chirping. Turnbull was knocking.

"Damn it all."


"Ray, why not try the buffet today?"

"Uh... hell, why not?"

The buffet was good. Didn't help though. 


Turnbull peeked his head in. "You asked me to be sure to wake you by
nine o'clock today, Constable," he said. "It's Detective Huey's birthday

"Aw fuck it." Fraser grabbed his blanket and pulled it over his head.
"Tell them I'm ill and can't go. Detective Vecchio's cell phone number
is in my Rolodex. And be quiet about it." 

"Uh--yes, Constable."

* * *


The birds were chirping.

Fraser could probably mimic their sounds perfectly, he had heard them
enough times now. He clenched his hands into fists.

When Turnbull knocked on the door and looked in, Fraser grabbed a pencil
sharpener off his desk and hurled it at the unoffending Constable with
a shout of pure irritation. 

"Ow!" Turnbull cried, rubbing his forehead. He retreated hastily, fearing
Fraser's wrath. 

There had to be something. Fraser paced the front foyer of the Consulate,
waiting for Ray to arrive--late, as usual.

Something. Something, but what? He had tried so many different things,
large and small, to try to fix the situation. *Nothing* helped. No matter
how many times he tried something, he always woke up to *today.* 

He had interacted with everyone, in a different fashion each time...
changed everything except for in the parking lot. Although he had tried
a few tactics with Ray--never had he tried to change the ... gunmen...

Of course! That *had* to be it! He somehow had to stop *them* before
they shot anyone. That was his mistake. He was always able to negotiate,
in his way--throw them off-guard. He was working with the wrong people

"How could I be so dimsighted?!" he exclaimed.

"Constable?" Thatcher began, stepping out of her office.

"I'm sorry, sir, not today! I'm on my way out!" With that, he dashed
out the door and down the steps just as Ray pulled up. He jumped in the
car and smiled warmly at Ray. 

"Hey, Frase," Ray said. "It's your day off--"

"I know, Ray."

"You're wearing your uniform."

"I enjoy it."

"All righty. Looks good on ya, anyway."

"Thank you kindly, Ray." He paused. "Ray?"

"Yeah, Frase?"

"Would you like to... go somewhere for dinner tonight? And, maybe, go
for some ice cream? I'm craving a sundae."

"Sounds good, Frase," Ray replied. "Sounds really good."


Welsh was watching his party with that look of despair on his face. He
turned to Fraser. "Do you see what I put up with?" he asked. "Can you
explain this to me at all?" 

Fraser grinned a bit. "Ray is not under my control, Leftenant." He glanced
at Ray, then added, "But he's... just great, isn't he?"

Ray glanced at Fraser, a lopsided grin on his face. "Yeah, I'm great.
See?" he said pointedly to Welsh. "And the Mountie *never* lies!"

Frannie sighed. "Am I the only one here who believes in table manners?
Can I not enjoy my meal with some responsible adults?"

"Now, now, Francesca," Fraser repeated, "I seem to recall a certain family
dinner at the Vecchio household. Hmm?"

"Oh!" Dewey shouted. "Score for the Mountie!"

*Scoring will be taking place later,* Fraser thought, *if this all goes
right.* He looked again at Ray and smiled at him. Ray turned a little
bit pink then glanced away. 

A young voice drifted over from the next table. "Why are those men shouting,

"I don't know, dear," Mommy said patiently. "A tad *rude*, though, *aren't*

An embarrassed silence fell over the table. Welsh sighed in despair,
pushed his empty plate back, shook his head and got up from the table.
As he walked by, he patted Fraser on the shoulder and said, "I look forward
to seeing *you* later, Constable." He handed Fraser a twenty dollar bill.

"Why, Leftenant... I thought we agreed that it was all free..." 

Everyone turned and looked at Welsh and Fraser.

"Ya know, Frase," Ray said slowly, "I'm gonna let that one pass by..."
He glanced at the bill in Fraser's hand. "Are ya two, uh... Am I missing

Fraser winked at Ray.

Welsh covered his face with a hand. "It's for my part of the bill," he
explained with infinite patience that was slowly wearing very thin. He
shook his head again, then turned back to Fraser. "Oh, and, Fraser...
thanks for last night." With that, he left the restaurant. 

All around the table, everyone burst into uproarious laughter, including

"Damn, Fraser!" Dewey laughed. "I never realised you had a sick sense
of humour like that!" He wiped a tear from his eye.

"Oh, there's a lot about me people just don't seem to realise..." Fraser
once more looked at Ray. He raised an eyebrow briefly at the blond man
who seemed to be turning redder by the minute. "Now, Ray," he teased
quietly, only for Ray's ears, "I always thought *I* was the one who blushed
too much."


11:52 am. Ray's car pulled into the parking lot behind Huey and Dewey's

This was it.

Timing was everything. Everything had to run smoothly because he was
not willing to repeat the day one more time.

He braced himself for what he had to do when he glanced forward just
once and his eyes fell on Ray's glasses sitting on the dashboard.

*His glasses.*

*Ray can't see without his glasses. If he can't see, he can't shoot.
He's... * 

It was like time froze. Fraser reached out, took Ray's glasses off the
dashboard, and just stared at them.

*Ray's glasses.* 

That was it. That was *it,* the key piece in the whole thing. He thought
back on the *thirteen* instances of today and how many times something
about the glasses came up. Nearly every day, something happened, someone
said something...

*My God,* Fraser thought. He scrambled to get out of the car.

"Ray!" he shouted. "Put these on!" He tossed the glasses at Ray, who
grabbed them, put them on, pulled out his gun and fired.

The gunman dropped his weapon, clutching his hand. Huey and Dewey ran
forward and apprehended them after they surrendered; Ray called into
the Precinct and reported the situation. 

Fraser glanced at his watch. 11:55. Tears welled up in his eyes. No one
was dead. 

After the four men had been taken away, Huey and Dewey came up to them.
"Good going, there, Ray!" Dewey enthused. "How'd you see that he had
his gun drawn? I mean, you can't see a thing." 

"Glasses," Ray replied with a shrug. "I almost forgot them, but Fraser
saved the day." He reached out and placed an arm affectionately about
the Mountie's shoulders, grinning, and Fraser just broke down and started

Ray looked a bit horrified. "What'd I do?" he cried. "I'm sorry, Fraser!
I really am! I don't know what I did, but if I buy you some ice cream
will you stop crying?" 

Fraser sniffed. "That would be lovely, Ray. Just--thank you." He pulled
Ray into a tight hug. "Thank you."

Huey and Dewey exchanged a glance. "It's the booze," Dewey whispered
conspiratorially. "It's gotten to Fraser."

Huey tapped his nose, and they left.

* * *

The birds were chirping.

Fraser winced.


Turnbull came in. "Constable?" he said, raising a hand to cover his forehead.
"I've made... waffles, you enjoy waffles... don't you?" He raised his
hands again. 

"What is *wrong* with you?" Fraser demanded.

"You... you threw a pencil sharpener at my head yesterday morning." 

Fraser blinked. "Yesterday morning?"


"You remember that?"

Turnbull pointed to his forehead. "I have a bruise and a bump to remind

Fraser laughed aloud. "Wonderful! Perfect!"

Turnbull looked insulted. 


A few hours later, Ray's phone rang.


"Hi, Ray."

Ray smiled. "Frase, hey, how are ya?"

"I'm... perfectly wonderful, Ray. Just... wonderful."

Ray nodded and gave a little laugh. "That's good, Frase."

"I... I had a good time last night, Ray. We should go out for dinner
and ice cream more often, I think."

"Yeah, Frase. Good times. Uh... you know, I'll be workin' a bit late

"Oh... that's too bad, Ray."

"But... well, not too late that we can't pick up some pizza and Ben and
Jerry's and head back to my..." He swallowed. "My place."

There was a small pause. "That... I'd like that, Ray. I really would."

"Kick ass!" Ray cried. Everyone looked at him. He shrugged. "I'll pick
you up, at seven, okay?" 

"Seven it is."

"Talk to ya later, Frase."

"Bye, Ray."

Huey and Dewey exchanged a look. "The booze," they said at the same time.


Lights from the street outside came in through the window. Fraser lay
back, gazing up at the ceiling with a little smile on his face.

Everything had worked out. Finally, he could just get on with his life!
Everyone had been saved and there were some pleasant new developments

He shook his head. He had always thought it would be something--something
heroic, something "cosmic", but no, it had been something so *simple*
that it was mind-boggling. 

"Glasses," he whispered. "Just... glasses."

"Hmm? Frase?"

Fraser pulled Ray closer to him. "Nothing, Ray," he said softly. "Go
back to sleep." 

Ray rested his head on Fraser's shoulder, snuggling up closer to his

A smile curved his lips. *His* Mountie.