In, Drowned Out
Originally intended as a drabble for Bathsweaver's prompt, "Due South: Ray. Fraser in the rain. Explicate." It ran away. Just a little. Un-beta'ed.
“Fraser! Fraser, wait up!” Ray swore and bundled his coat tighter around himself. It was pissing down, cold and windy, and Fraser had walked, just like that, walked out of Ray’s apartment, out of Ray’s building, and out into the fucking storm of the century. The wind tunnel of the street forced Ray’s coat to whip all around his legs, trapping him in wet cloth, making him stagger. He could see Fraser up ahead of him, almost lost in the darkness. He was outlined by the dimmed street lights, and the outline was moving, dammit, way the hell out of Ray’s reach, walking away from him. “Goddammit, Fraser!”
He knew it was a lost cause to call him back, so Ray broke into a run, cursing as his feet slipped and slid on the wet pavement. He had to get to Fraser, he had to stop him, had to make him understand, now, before Fraser walked out on him because of some stupid misunderstanding.
Not even caring about falling anymore, Ray sped up, the rain beating down on his face, making him nearly blind, blind to everything but the moving outline of a Stetson up ahead of him. He ran and tried to yell, but he couldn’t catch his breath, and droplets of water were sliding into his mouth, nearly chocking him with the force of the rain. By the time he reached Fraser, almost colliding into his wet back, he was completely out of breath.
He groped for Fraser blindly, trying to catch hold of an arm or a shoulder or anything that would keep him still and not moving.
“Fra- Fraser, dammit, wait.” Ray doubled over and squeezed his eyes shut. “Wait.”
He saw Fraser’s boots turning to face him. Good. Good, Ray could get his breath back now. He blinked a few times to get rid of the water in his eyes, swiped at his face and slowly unbent himself. Water was streaming down Fraser’s face – he wasn’t even bothering to get rid of it. And his face was like a wet stone – glistening and holding no expression whatsoever. Ray closed his eyes and when he opened them again, Fraser was looking down.
“What is it, Ray? If you don’t mind making this quick – I’m afraid the serge doesn’t hold up well in this kind of weather.”
Ray took a deep breath, inhaled the smell of wet wool and dust and beer, and opened his mouth. “Why did you leave, Fraser?”
“The hour was getting late. It was obvious the rain wasn’t going to stop, and you had been drinking, so I --”
Ray cut him off with a hand. “Cut the crap, Fraser. You must have thought something bad about something that I’d said, so you cut and ran. What the hell did I do?” Ray tried to make his case without pleading, but his voice was betraying him, and the wind was too loud in his ears.
“You didn’t do anything, Ray, I was merely tired.” Fraser wasn’t looking at him, he was looking down at his own boots, or maybe Ray’s boots, and talking downwind. Ray had to strain to hear him.
“You’re not tired,” Ray countered. “You were just practicing for the power walking marathon! What the hell happened in there, Fraser? You didn’t even say goodbye!” Ray’s voice, acting like an opposing force to Fraser’s, rose, and he was practically shouting now, wanting to push Fraser, wanting to clock him, do anything to get him to open up and just tell Ray what the hell was up his butt. “I’m your friend, Fraser, and you just – walked out?” He jabbed a finger at Fraser’s wet chest and watched Fraser stagger back with a kind of detached astonishment. He’d moved the Mountie. Pretty much literally.
And because Fraser still not talking but staring at Ray like he was nuts, he did it again, jabbing a freezing finger at Fraser’s chest, forcing him further back, taking all of his anger and frustration out on them both.
“Ray!” Fraser finally seemed to find his voice and now Ray’s finger was meeting an opposing force he could no longer move. It felt a lot more familiar, and a hell of a lot more terrifying. He groped for courage.
“Stop!” Fraser’s voice now must have carried down the whole damn street, and Ray clenched his teeth, forcing himself to step back. It took a lot more effort than the running. He looked at Fraser as he took a breath and finally, it seemed, got ready to talk. “It merely occurred to me that our viewpoints were too vastly different to be --” Fraser paused and scratched his eyebrow, not looking at Ray. “To be – compatible.”
“What?” Ray couldn’t have contained it if he’d tried. “What the hell are you talking about? We were watching commercials!”
“Yes, and I believe your reaction to the --”
Ray didn’t let him finish. He finally got it – bam, slammed into this head – and he couldn’t even believe it. “You thought I had a problem with the goddamn movie? Because it was queer?”
“Gay, Ray. And --” Fraser broke off and looked away. Ray clenched his fists so he wouldn’t grab Fraser’s face and turn it to face him. When Fraser finally looked at him, he looked about a hundred years old. “I’m tired, Ray. This has been a long night. I shall see you on Monday, at the station house.” He turned to go, but Ray wasn’t done. He was not done by a mile. If Fraser wanted to think that Ray had had a problem with the very thing that he’d been struggling with the past fucking year, he would just have to listen. Ray forced his arm to move, clenched his fingers around Fraser’s turning shoulder, and forced him back. Fraser’s face was back to stone.
“Now, you just wait, Fraser, and you listen.” Ray clutched the shoulder harder. “Whatever it was that you thought about me – whatever it was that you imagined – is so totally off base, it’s not even in the same goddamned field. You think I’m an asshole? You think I think that being gay is wrong? Well, how about this!” Without even thinking, Ray unclenched his fingers, moved his hand to Fraser’s neck and pulled him in. He tasted like Ray – like rain. Like rain and peppermint and soy sauce, and Ray figured he must have guessed half of that, because it hadn’t even been five seconds before he was forcibly pushed back. He staggered and opened his eyes. Fraser was breathing hard, his chest rising and falling in time with Ray's own crazy beat.
“Explain yourself.” The words weren’t harsh in and of themselves, but Fraser’s tone made Ray’s skin crawl. “Explicate. Elucidate, Ray.”
Ray panted and groped for words. He couldn’t find any. He shook his head and suddenly knew why Fraser had looked about a hundred years old. It’d been a long fucking night. “Never mind, Fraser. Apparently, I just suck at this communication thing.”
He prepared to walk away when a hand grabbed his shoulder and turned him back around. Payback was a bitch. He could feel the water seeping against his skin where Fraser’s fingers pressed in. He refused to look at Fraser as he spoke. “Forget it.”
“No, Ray. I don’t believe I can.”
“Well, then, figure it out.” Ray shook his shoulder and dislodged Fraser’s hand. “I’m going inside.”
Ray turned away one more time.
“Ray, stop. Please.” Something in Fraser’s tone forced him to stall any movement. “I- I think I understand.”
Ray inhaled. The entire street smelled of the two of them, and of the rain and the wind. Fraser’s voice sounded close now. Ray waited.
“If you could- please turn around.”
Definitely close. Fraser was standing right behind him, and if it hadn’t been pounding down rain, Ray might have felt his body heat there. But he didn’t. All he heard was Fraser’s voice mixing with rain in his ear, and his hands twitched. He didn’t want to turn around, but he didn’t know what else to do. He didn’t feel like walking away a third time.
“I’m turned. What now?”
Fraser still tasted like rain and soy sauce and peppermint, but now Ray could feel Fraser’s body heat against the wetness of his clothes, and Fraser’s breath against his face, and Fraser’s heartbeat underneath his hands.