Pairings: Fraser/Kowalski
Ratings: PG-13 for implied m/m premise. This is vanilla. Really.
Spoilers: None to speak of.
Disclaimer: Alliance owns dueSouth and its characters. This is fanfic. No profit, no problem, eh?
Summary: Ray decides to see just how talkative Fraser can be.
Feedback: Yes! All kinds except flames welcome.
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Author's Notes: This was born, in twisted form, out of the episode "Dead Guy Running". Just watch the expression on RayK's face as Fraser goes on with his 'ear anecdotes'. That expression generated this story. Un-betaed, so tear it to pieces, folks!

"Voluble" by Sandy Steiner

Stakeouts. Man, I hate stakeouts. I'm a wired kinda guy, I've always gotta be doin' my thing, movin' around, gettin' stuff done. And sittin' in my GTO with nothing to do but watch some stupid wreck of an apartment building is not my thing.

Even with Fraser sitting in the seat next to me.

Now, don't get me wrong. Fraser's my buddy. He's the best guy I know, so stand-up-straight honest and kind it's unbelievable. He's a great partner. And a better friend. But that man could talk the ears off a sex-starved moose without even trying.

He's telling a story about one now. A sex-starved moose, I mean. About how it got into some farmer's pasture and started hittin' on his cows. Too freakin' weird. He's been doin' it all day. Moose anecdotes.

I open my mouth, start to shut him up for about the tenth time today, then I change my mind. I hate the little look Fraser gets in his eyes when you tell him to shut up -- he hides it real good, but I can see it. It hurts his feelings, just a little. I'm tired of doing that, and it only gets me a few minutes of peace and quiet, before he starts up again.

I guess all that time out in the wilderness of the Yukon territories --

//It's 'The Yukon', or 'The Northwest Territories', Ray.//

All right, I know that, shut up. I don't need the Mountie in my head competing with the Mountie in my car. Jeez.

I guess with all those years and no one to really talk to, Fraser's just got a lot of things saved up to say. And then my brain lights up, Wile E. Coyote style. I could play a game. What if, just for kicks and giggles, I don't shut him up? Can Benton Fraser, RCMP, actually run out of words?

So I sit back and let Fraser's voice wash over me, and just chill. He'd be droning, except Fraser can't drone. His voice is too nice. It's a rich, deep baritone, and when he's tellin' stories it varies too much for me to fall asleep. Even when they're dumb and boring.

And Fraser doesn't stop talking. Not when our shift of spot-the-bad-guy is over, not when we hit the diner for a quick bite to eat -- well, he stops to chew and swallow. You won't catch Fraser talking with his mouth full. But he starts right back up again, and keeps goin' until I drop him off at the Consulate that night.

And the next morning back at the stakeout it's the same damn thing.

Fraser keeps talking for three days. By the evening of the third day, I'm beginning to think my ears actually will fall off, but I still don't shut him up.

It's stopped being a game.

The moose anecdotes and the Inuit stories have all run out, and Ben's starting to tell me stuff, real stuff, about the people he cares about. I never noticed when he stopped being 'Fraser' and started being 'Ben'. Sometime after the moose anecdotes, I guess.

Ben tells me about his Dad, and his grandparents, and the real Ray Vecchio, and even -- believe it or not -- about this woman he fell in love with, Victoria.

Wow. Now that is a story.

We're back at my place now, the remains of a pizza lying in its box, and Dief zonked out under the coffee table. I'm glad we aren't out in public, because Ben's voice goes husky while he talks about Victoria, and his eyes get bright. Oh, man. I get up and get him a beer, and Ben drinks it, even though he doesn't drink.

Oh, man. I never knew he could feel things like that, not really. I thought Ben couldn't understand the way I felt about Stella, that he'd never felt anything like that before. Hell, he's got me beat six ways to Sunday. True love, betrayal, everything. Wow.

Ben's talkin' again, real low, and I have to strain to listen. He's tellin' me about how he feels now, livin' in Chicago, how lonely he is here, how much he misses Vecchio. It's not like he's even talking to me, just that he has to say the words, say 'em to someone.

It makes my chest feel funny to think that it's me he trusted enough to be that someone. And I think I'm gonna hug him, when he gets through. Not one of those two-second let's be guys here hugs, but a real, long, full-body hug. The kind folks don't give their kids enough of.

It's quiet now. I didn't hear the exact moment when Ben drifted off, he did it so gradually. Three days of Inuit anecdotes and moose stories and childhood adventures and soul-baring confessions have finally run out. Now he's just looking at me. Sitting there, and looking at me.

Oh, God. His eyes.

I'm up off the couch, and I pull him into my arms, like I promised myself I would. It's weird. He's bigger'n me, and it's strange. I don't care. I can feel his breath in my hair, close to my ear. He whispers my name.

And then he whispers three more words. And then he really does run out.

I smile. Jeez. It took him long enough.


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April 07, 2000