Due South slash fanfic by joandarck
Pairing: Fraser/RayK
Length: About 4,500 words.
Rating: R (barely.) Implied sex, roughhousing, sock suspenders.
Feedback? here at my livejournal



You Can't Take That Away From Me




"Hold your fire! Hold your fire! Ray! It's me!"

The thin figure leaned around the doorway. "You don't say!" A bullet ricocheted off the wall near Fraser's shoulder.

"See, he doesn't remember you either. Come on! Get down!" Huey and Dewey gestured frantically from behind the upturned table they were using as a barricade. Welsh was checking his watch. "He shot at you fer chrissake!"

Fraser didn't take his eyes off the other end of the hall. "He wasn't trying to hit me."

Dewey stopped tugging at him. Huey was mostly occupied trying to keep all his bulk behind the table. "How do you know?"

"He's wearing his glasses. Ray! Listen to me! It's your friend, Benton Fraser. I know you're probably very confused right now..."

The potted plant exploded on the sideboard under his elbow.

"Actually I think I'm real in touch with my feelings right now. I feel like I'm a good guy, you're a bad guy, and if you stick one foot past that table I'm gonna nail you in the head."

"Can he do that from here?" Dewey wanted to know. Welsh nodded grimly.

"Sharpshooter. Decorated, believe it or not."

"And if it turns out I'm just very confused about my head shot capabilities – you're four feet wide and bright red. So chew on that."

Fraser stayed behind the waist-high barricade, hands held steady in the air. "Believe me, no one is trying to hurt you. I just want to talk."

"Yeah? And why do I want to listen?"

A tinge of irritation crept into Fraser's mellow voice. "Just consider it sensibly, Ray. You have no food, no water, a limited supply of ammunition. How do you imagine you're going to resolve this situation?"

Dewey rolled his eyes. "Do you believe this guy? Best friend shoots at him, he sounds like my aunt Trixie arguing bridge scores. Is he bulletproof?"

"No," Welsh said shortly. "And shut up."

"Oh, I got, uh, an end game worked out, don't you worry. I'd tell you what it is but–" Ray flashed his teeth and shrugged. "You wouldn't like it."

Welsh tapped Huey's shoulder. "Find out what's in that office he could use: fuse box, volatile chemicals..." Huey nodded and pulled out his phone.

"Don't worry. He's bluffing." Fraser took a step forward, raising his voice again. "You're not going to shoot me."

"How do you know?"

"Because underneath, you're not a violent man. And because I only... want... to talk."

The snake-charmer sincerity finally had its effect. Ray lowered the gun, running a hand through his flattened hair. "All right, fine. Whatever. JUST YOU." Now he had it trained at the top of the barricade, where there'd been some unwise movement. "The rest of you dirtballs STAY THERE. Oh, and no heat. Drop what you got."

"I'm not carrying a weapon."

"Yeah, right. Take the coat off."

Fraser adjudged that fair, nodded, and efficiently shucked his tunic and accoutrements. He handed them down to Huey, who pushed them across the floor to the nurses congregating in the doorway.

"Ditch the suspenders, too." Fraser raised his eyebrows, but unsnapped the black braces and draped them over the side of the table. "Shirt's tight but... you could have a knife. Okay. Lose it."

"Take off my shirt?"

"Do you wanna talk or not?"

Fraser removed his shirt, folded it and handed it down. He started to step out of cover.

"Wait! Wait! Oh, god." Ray was – laughing. He slumped against the door frame and waved Fraser back. "Wait. Okay. That was good times, but you gotta take the hat off now. I need my hand steady."

Fraser was frowning as he turned to obey the order. He caught Huey's eye and muttered, "Is there something wrong with my appearance?"

Huey started. "No. Nope. Nothing's wrong."

"You, uh, look good, Fraser," Welsh soothed.

"Yeah, if you're one of the Village People. Ow!"

Welsh reached up. "Let me take the hat."

There was something they weren't telling him. Fraser smoothed the back of his head anxiously. Well, now wasn't the time for vanity. He straightened up and moved out from behind the barricade.

"Jesus Pete! You're kidding me!" Ray wiped his eyes. "Take off the clown pants. Oh, this is too much."

"Take off – my pants."

"Come on, you could have juggling pins in there. You could have another clown."

"I really would rather not remove my trousers."

"And I really would rather you did. And who's more important here? Let's check. Me."

"Just take 'em off, Fraser," Welsh sighed.

"Very well." Fraser dropped to the floor to start removing his boots. "The sooner this..." He grumbled inaudibly.

Soon pants and shirt were stacked neatly beside the boots with the Stetson on top, and Fraser rose up again in his pristine white boxers. Fluorescent lights glinted off his pale pink back. From the waiting room behind them came the unmistakeable click-whirr of a camera.

"Who – damn it!" It was no good: there were too many nurses and they all looked innocent.

Welsh groaned. "Dewey, find out which one it was, get the film." He held him back and added low in his ear, "We don't want it in the papers again."

"Right, sir."

Dewey scooted out of the line of fire, got up, and started in on the nurses. He had about as much luck with them as he usually did.

Decidedly peeved now, Fraser came around the side of the table and advanced down the hall. At least no one had made him remove his socks: he still had some dignity. Ray waited for him, retreating into the room beyond when he got close and motioning for him to shut the door. He was wearing an intern's scrubs, a little too big, and his own sports coat on top, which explained the glasses.

The ordeal had left him even thinner than usual, dark hollows under his eyes, and his hair was rumpled with sweat. He'd pinned his badge onto the scrub shirt, which Fraser found unexpectedly touching.

"You see that cabinet? Yeah, the big one."

Hoping it held files and not something breakable like medicine, Fraser followed orders, wrestling the heavy metal object across to block the door.

"Okay. Now turn and face the wall. What 'hm,' did I ask you to 'hm'? No, I said up against the wall."

Well, this was novel. He'd seen Ray perform this procedure many times, of course, usually on fully clothed subjects, but... familiar hands checked for an ankle holster, skimmed up the outsides of his boxers, then the insides. Maybe skimmed wasn't quite the word.

"What's the matter, my hands cold?"

Fraser gazed down the wall, not seeing it. "-No."

"Okay, you're clean." Ray gave him a friendly slap and moved away. "Here, put this on." He tossed over a hospital gown. "Now let's hear it."

In truth, Ray's hands had been warm, and as forceful and deft at the task as he had imagined they must – not imagined, that implied that he'd been thinking about it, which he – Fraser shrugged rapidly into the pale blue apron. It wasn't much, but at least it covered his nipples.

"Yes. The situation. Now listen carefully, please. Your name is Stanley Ray Kowalski, you go by Ray. You're a detective. Currently undercover as Ray Vecchio, also a detective, also undercover. I am Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police, your friend and partner. I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father, but that's simply not important right now compared to the fact that you have been held prisoner in this hospital for several days and kept subdued through the use of, among other things, mind-altering medication. You are disoriented, paranoid, and suffering from some form of amnesia."

"It's a blur, yep," Ray said cheerfully. "Aside from that, is this a good time to say how much of that I don't believe? Because all of it."

"I know it sounds unlikely, but it really is true. During the course of a routine physical, you became aware of illicit activities taking place on the premises and attempted to interfere, but were overpowered before you could summon aid. Luckily, one of your bullets exited an open window and pierced a child's red balloon, which – well." Fraser stopped gesturing, modestly eliding several days of frantic investigation, urban orienteering, and dumb luck. "Suffice it to say it's a good thing Diefenbaker is familiar with the taste of your hair gel."

"Sure, that sounds reasonable." Ray's eyes were tracking him from toes to head and back.

Gown. Nipples. Covered. Good. "We entered the building two hours ago and encountered some resistance, easily dealt with, and seized some files. It seems it all hinges on the sale of some tainted blood packs from a nearby prison, rather an amateur racket, hence your continued survival. The leaders panicked and couldn't agree on what to do with you. At any rate, all involved are in custody or will be shortly, and you are quite safe. We'll bring you to a trustworthy doctor as soon as we can; in the meanwhile I've been sent in to ask you to stop firing at people."

"Uh-huh." Ray leaned against the desk and patted his jacket. "And it's nothing to do with anyone wanting to get their hands on this evidence I got here, because it's only enough to shut down the whole lousy operation."

Interesting. "A tight case is always preferable, of course, but we have more than enough to convict as it is."

"So I guess you're not trying to get the evidence."

"No."

"And they're not waiting out there to pile on me and jab a needle in my ass."

"No."

Ray studied him some more, eyes gold and feral.

"You're a good-looking guy," he said gently.

"I- I- thank you. As are you."

"Yeah, I can see that." Ray jerked his shoulder at the big mirror by the door. "I don't know why I don't just stay home all day and kiss myself. But you, you're like, unreal."

Fraser opened his mouth and closed it again. He had a strange sinking feeling.

"That why they sent you?" Ray pushed off the desk and started to circle him. "Because I go for that?"

"Oh dear." Fraser turned with him, trying to get through to him with his eyes. "Ray, I am not working for the miscreants. I am your friend and partner. You've been rescued and I simply want to get you medical attention. And as a side note, you were married for much of your adult life."

"I'm not now?"

"Ah, no."

"Okay then." Ray brushed that off. Unworthy thought, but Fraser was glad to be spared the irritating hangdog expression that talk of Stella usually induced. "Partners like how? Cop partners? If we're partners, show me a roster."

"Oh, I'm afraid – that is, our partnership has no official standing with either the local law enforcement agencies or the Canadian consulate. It's just something that we... do."

"Uh-huh." Ray looked like he understood, but Fraser had an uneasy sense that he didn't. "Okay, we'll play it your way. Hit me."

"How many–! Ray, as I keep telling you, I have no desire to hit you, and what's more, you may wish to consider therapy of some sort–"

Ray waved him silent. "I mean lay one on me. Do what you came for. Give me the sugar." He crooked his fingers, come on, come on. "Persuade me."

Fraser gawped at him, pulled himself together. "I assure you. We are partners, we are friends, we are not, physically, involved."

Ray came towards him. "Yeah? That's not what my gut tells me." He cocked his head and grinned like a shark. "Or maybe that's not my gut."

Fraser swallowed and closed his eyes.



"Pretty quiet in there, sir."

"That's good. That means Kowalski hasn't shot him yet."

"He could have strangled him," Huey said thoughtfully. Welsh glared.

"Nah, nah, are you kidding?" Dewey smacked his partner's arm. "Kowalski loves that guy, you know that. All the Mountie's gotta do is sweet-talk him a little, and it's kiss and make up in no time." Welsh glared at him too. "What? That's how it always goes down with those guys. What??"

"Sir, we've rounded up the last of the orderlies. We're taking them to the station now."

No need to glare at the rookie. "Good. We can start sending people home, then. Oh, and Thompson – search all the nurses."

"What are we looking for?"

"Film of the –"

Huey coughed.

"Film. Just film."

"Yes, sir." Thompson scurried off.

"You hear something?" Dewey was looking around.

"Like what?"

"Like a kid crying."

Welsh shook his head and looked back at the closed door at the end of the hall. "The maternity ward's in a different wing."

"I'm telling ya, I heard it. My sister has enough kids I know what it sounds like. Never stops, day or night."

"Must run in the family."

"What's that, sir?"

"Nothing."

Huey put a hand on Dewey's arm and guided him a few steps. "Come on, let's get in position."

"Sh-sh! Listen!"



"...your baby blues and I'll just roll over and hand you the disk, huh? How dumb do you think I am? How dumb? Oh I'm sorry, does this hurt?"

"Yes," Fraser said into the desktop, a bit strangled.

"That's too bad. I guess crude intimidation tactics are not my forte. But while we're here maybe you could take this time to think twice about who you're screwing with."

"I'm not screwing with you, Ray," Fraser repeated indistinctly. "I'm trying to help you."

"Yeah, help me into a ditch by the interstate." Ray eased up on his arm, but kept the gun pressed to his back. Fraser felt the muzzle nudge under the hem of his hospital gown, which had slid to the sides. He shifted his chest uncomfortably on the desk. There was a pause. "That's uh... quite a scar you got there."

"They weren't able to remove the bullet."

"You do this kind of thing a lot, huh?"

There was a draft on the back of his legs. "Not exactly like this, no."

"Hang on a sec." Ray left him entirely and began to pace around the room, scratching the back of his head with the gun. "It occurs to me I may have gotten my wires crossed here, 'cause you're not trying real hard to seduce me, are you."

"No, Ray." Fraser watched him walk in and out of his field of vision.

"Okay, so, forget that. No hard feelings?"

"It's forgotten."

"Great. So if that's not it-"

"May I get up now?" Fraser started to lift his head.

A blur of angry, wiry muscle slammed him back down into the desk, the cold metal of Ray's badge pressing his skin, the hand on his head resolving to individual fingers, parting his hair. The gun ground painfully against his spine.

"You could... have just... said no."

"-then why'd they send you in here, huh? You're a distraction. That's it, they're getting ready to do something out there. Send in the Grade A Canadian beefsteak, catch me with my tongue hanging out. What are they up to? Spill it." The gun dragged down along his vertebrae. "Spill!"

It was highly uncomfortable. He couldn't move, could barely think. It was almost electric, the pressure on his lungs, the adrenaline rush that went straight to – oh no. No, please. Not here. Not now.

Not him.

"Look, you think you're safe with them? You think whatever they're doing's only going to hurt me?" Ray's voice changed, lost its belligerence. "Fraser, you seem like a decent kinda guy. I don't know why, you just do. You don't owe those slimebags anything. Do you know the kind of racket they're running here?"

About to explain it to him again, Fraser was struck by a sudden thought. "Do you?" he asked slowly, still deeply distracted.

"Maybe... maybe, maybe not. I'm kinda confused about stuff. But I know it stinks a mile high. And I know I got the evidence right here, and we've got to get it out of the building."

And Ray was across the room pulling up the window, and Fraser was free.

"Come on, let's go. Second story. Think we can jump it?"

"Oh, certainly."

"Come on. You can get up now, it's okay."

"I'd... rather not."

"You really go for getting pushed around, don't ya?"

"Studies have shown that taking a non-threatening posture can aid in negotiations."

"Congratulations, you got a really non-threatening butt. Now get up and let's go. Jump time. Oh, you're gonna get hurt, all skin like that, you better wear my jacket."

"I'd really..."

"Hello, hostage situation, not a democracy?" Ray indicated that he had reached his limits of exasperation with the sound of a firearm's hammer cocking. "You gotta argue every step of the way? Get up, turn around, take the freakin' jacket!"

Mustering every mental technique he knew, including biofeedback, negative visualization, the memory of a long-ago bout of hypothermia, and a sincere prayer that the ground open and swallow him, Fraser did as he was instructed.

Ray lowered his gun. "Holy Moses."

Fraser stared into the middle distance. Unfortunately, that included the mirror. The man who looked back at him was pale-faced with distress and still had a sizable disturbance to the front of his thin cotton garments.

"Where did... Okay. You cannot just jump out a window like that."

He looked hypnotised. So did Ray.

"Was that - do you want - hell." The room was getting smaller. Ray dragged a hand across his mouth. "I don't, I don't mean to get all personal with you here, but... could I?"

Given that the gun seemed to have been forgotten, Fraser had a number of defensive options open to him at this point, most of which would probably have allowed him to regain control of the situation. None of them included sinking back against the edge of the desk and choking, "I thought this wasn't a democracy."

The man in the mirror couldn't explain it either.

It wasn't until Ray's dampened lips were about to close around him that Fraser remembered that the window was open and Detectives Huey and Dewey and Lieutenant Welsh were nearby in the hall, quite possibly just on the other side of the door. At that point it was too late and all he could do was bury his mouth in his arm and try – not – to scream.



"Listen and attend, Thompson, because I think this is important. Now. This woman works in the X-ray department. She's carrying X-ray film. Do you see something wrong with this picture?"

"No, sir."

"No, sir. Neither do I. You can go, ma'am." Sometimes Welsh wondered why they didn't just hand parts of Chicago over to the criminal element on a platter. It would be easier. "What about this young lady?"

"She works in the psychiatric ward, sir."

"And what kind of film is she carrying?"

"Baby pictures."

"Baby pictures."

"Here, take a look, sir."

Welsh thumbed through them, then looked up slowly. "Never thought I'd say this, but these are very interesting."

The nurse sniffed. "It's perfectly normal to carry baby pictures."

"Four hundred of them?"

She gave him a hard smile. "I've got a large family."

"That's nice. I like that. Huey! Dewey!" No response. His second-best detective team, having moved the sideboard, were busy prying a duct cover out of the wall.

"Hey, somebody get me a screwdriver."

"While you're at it, get me a martini!"

"Bu-dump-bump-psshhh!"

A very large platter, engraved 'With love from my blood pressure, Harding Welsh.'

"Gentlemen? Any reason you feel moved to investigate the ventilation system at this particular juncture?"

"I'm telling you, sir, it sounded just like–"

A baby crying.

Or several of them, echoing mournfully in the vent.

After a long metallic scraping noise, the door to the far room burst open, and Kowalski lurched out. He looked like hell. "You've gotta stop them! They're taking them out of state!"

The Mountie followed behind him, like the star of some loony-tunes burlesque show in his sock suspenders, hospital gown and too-small sports coat. It was an embarrassment just to be near the guy. On the other hand, along with the jacket he'd managed to get Kowalski's glasses and gun, so things could be worse.

"Ow!" The psych nurse kicked Thompson in the shins and tried to bolt for it. Thompson showed unexpected skills in preventing this, and it turned into a struggle. Kowalski saw her and pointed violently. He looked like he would have tried biting.

"She's in on it! The whole department's in on it. The whole floor. And the maternity people."

Welsh looked at Fraser; Fraser nodded discreetly. "All right, book her." He let Thompson deal with that and sauntered over. "Although, when you got a minute, would you mind telling me what for? It looks so good on the forms."

That got him bright-eyed lecture Mountie. Chipper and looking a hell of a lot healthier than Kowalski. Course, he hadn't been shot full of drugs. "Apparently, the tainted blood cover-up we encountered was itself a cover for a much more elaborate black market baby-smuggling operation. The perpetrators of which made several errors in judgment, the greatest perhaps being putting details of their entire operation on a floppy disk."

"You don't say. Huey, Dewey... thank you." They were already spreading the word on the new set of perps. Good men. He didn't want to get ahead of himself, but this could possibly turn out to have been a good day.

"I dunno," the remaining detective said, swaying on his feet. "A cover for a cover? Sounds kinda hinky."

Welsh stabbed a finger at him. "Live it, love it, Vecchio."

Kowalski looked confused. Not an attractive look. "Evidence. You need the evidence!"

"It's all right, Ray. I've got it."

He craned around to look at the Mountie, all pathetic-like. "Oh. So, I guess I trust you now?"

Fraser smiled at him. "You must have." He patted one of the pockets significantly. "You gave me your jacket."

"Oh, that's good." His eyes rolled up in his head and he fainted. Of course, Fraser caught him.

"Lieutenant?" Fraser was trying to signal him with his eyebrows. "Would you be so kind as to – thank you. I think you'll find that disk is very useful in locating the hidden holding area for the children and identifying the perpetrators. I'd assist but Ray is in need of medical attention."

"Hey, lucky we're in a hospital," Dewey said. "What, what!"



(And it was in a hospital that Ray woke the next day, just as he had every day for a week. He hated this. The food, the smell, the needles, the knowing he was going to get shot any minute. He faked unconsciousness for a while before starting to notice some of the differences in his situation.

He had an IV in his arm. Ouch. He wasn't strapped down. Cool. He was alone. Alone. Really? He lifted his head. Definitely, alone.

Ray let his head fall back on the pillow and started to remember.)



It took two days before Fraser could make himself visit. He had spent the time helping with the difficult task of tending and sorting the infants and returning them to their correct legal guardians, at which he believed they had been mostly successful. He told himself that he was acting for Ray in this during his recovery, which excuse failed to fool Diefenbaker, let alone his own conscience.

Finally he was there in the correct corridor, properly remote in his brown uniform, hair brushed into complete submission. The door to room 315 was open. Ray was dressed and moving around, ready to leave already although he wasn't due to check out until later that day.

Fraser knocked politely on the door frame. "Hello."

"Hey."

"It's good to see you on your feet again."

Ray winced.

"The doctor tells me your condition is much improved."

"Yeah, they rehydrated me, all the drugs are out of my system, now I'm just supposed to eat a lot of pizza. Where's the wolf?"

"There's a... nurse. It seems they have a rapport." Annoying animal.

Ray swung around on him. "So where've you been, buddy?"

"I–"

"Skip it. What happened back there?"

After a few false starts, Fraser asked, "How much do you remember?"

"It's fuzzy, but I got notions."

"I see." He put his hands behind his back. "Well, in your distressed state, you had difficulty telling friend from foe, but ultimately you produced the vital evidence that allowed Lieutenant Welsh and his officers to shut down the baby-smuggling ring and arrest the malfeasants, all of whom have at this point been captured. Currently the focus is on tracing any earlier activities..."

"Did I hurt anybody?"

Oh, poor Ray. "Property damage only," he assured him. "You were confused, but still yourself."

"That's what I was afraid of." Ray folded in on himself and looked away. "Listen to what I'm asking, Fraser. Did I hurt anybody."

Fraser's eyes narrowed. "The drugs they kept you on strongly affected your memory and judgment. It wouldn't be a'tall surprising if you'd experienced delusions–"

"Do not try that with me, Fraser. That not-lying lying thing. I could taste it." He lowered his voice shyly. "When I woke up. I could still taste it."

...Ah. Speaking of embarrassing autonomic reactions. Fraser's heartbeat went on a jagged detour that left him lightheaded and sick.

Ray looked up. Ray's face was burning, his eyes were burning. Fraser was burning.

"You let me do it," Ray blurted.

Unable to think of anything to say to that, Fraser turned to go.

"What – did – did I remember that wrong? Did I... Jesus. I had a gun."

Fraser froze in the doorway and struggled with himself. This was his chance to escape, but he couldn't leave Ray behind in the fire.

"Don't tell me I made you let me. Please." He heard Ray collapse onto the bed. "Oh god. I want to die."

Enough was enough. Fraser shut the door with unnecessary force and strode back to the bed, sitting down in the visitor's chair. He leaned on his forearms, a bit helplessly. "I'm sorry. You didn't make me. It's true. I let you, I as much as told you to. I... wanted you to."

It took a while for that to sink in. Ray pulled his head up from his hands for a tentative sideways glance. "You weren't on drugs," he accused.

"No, I wasn't."

"Then did you kiss me, too? On the stretcher?"

"I'm afraid that really must have been a delusion." He didn't know which of them sounded more wistful.

"You know..." Ray sat up. His voice shook. "Some guys, if they were doing something like, driving a flaming car, they'd think it was a good idea to stop and get out."

"Ray." Fraser stared down at his hands, getting angry. "This is a terrible idea. Consider our professional working relationship, prevailing social mores, your present state of health–" and then he lunged onto the bed and pushed Ray back across the pillows and kissed him, and took him. Just took him. Well, he was his.