I Can Hear You But I Can't Stay Here by Primrose

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Title: I Can Hear You But I Can't Stay Here
For: bakaknight
Pairing/Characters: F/K, Fraser, Kowalski, Welsh, Dief
Warnings: None
Author's Notes:

Thanks to the mods for bringing everything together for yet another year. I bow to your dedication and mad organisational skillz. Thanks also to Gord Downie, without whose inspiration this fic would never have been written.

Under the pillow
I bury my head and try to shut Chicago out
As it turns out there's a whole other world of sounds
of perfect fifths, low skids and Arctic howls
all saying, are you going through something?

--The Tragically Hip


"Ray.

Ray.

Ray.

Ray!"

I drag a pillow over my head . "Go 'way, Fraser, 'm asleep. "  Which is only half a lie, seeing as how I was asleep, finally, before he started in with all the Rays.  

"I have coffee." 

And okay, this gets my attention. A little, anyway.  I sit up and take the offered mug.  "Thanks, Frase."  I give him a smile that I hope looks apologetic; it's not his fault I've only been able to grab  eight, maybe ten hours of sleep in the last three days.  I really haven't had a decent night's sleep since we got back from mushing around the Arctic three weeks ago, and recently it's gotten even worse.  It's weird, 'cause I slept like a baby most nights up there.  It was just so quiet there, with nobody around but me and Fraser and the dogs. Even in the villages where we restocked supplies, where there were actual other people, I could sleep. Sometimes it got a little noisy, but it was a different kind of noise than you get here, y'know?  People noise instead of traffic noise.  I guess I'm still not used to being back, is all.

"I'm sorry I had to wake you, Ray, but our meeting with Lieutenant Welsh is at noon and we have less than an hour to dress," --he must mean me, because he looks like he's ready for inspection day at Mountie Central-- "eat breakfast, and drive to the station, which, as you know, is ten minutes farther away from here than it was from your old building--well, barring any traffic issues, that is, and what with the road work that started on Tuesday there's no guarantee that--"

"All right, all right, I'm up, already!"  And yeah, I know I sound like an ass, but like I said, I haven't been sleeping so good, and besides that it's always a good thing to head Fraser off at the pass when he starts sounding like an information booth.  "Sorry, Fraser.  I'm tired, that's all."

"I realize that--and honestly, Ray, if it weren't for our appointment I wouldn't have disturbed you."  He wouldn't have, either.  Fraser and I have been sharing a place since right after we got back from Canada, and not once has he got me out of bed without a real reason, despite the fact that even on weekends he gets up before the sun does.  For someone who's lived by himself all his life, Fraser is really good at the whole Stealth Roomie thing. He doesn't even accidentally wake me up, even on the days he makes breakfast, which today, by the yummy smells coming from the kitchen, is one of them. 

"I'll leave you to get dressed, then," he says, and shuts the door behind him.  I stumble out of bed and into the shower, which combined with the coffee gives me enough energy to dress and gel, but not to shave.  I peer at my reflection; yesterday's shave seems to be holding, sorta.  It'll have to do.

By the time I make it to the table, we're down to thirty-five minutes. Which means fifteen minutes for breakfast according to the Offical Fraser Time Clock.  I would've been fine with coffee and doughnuts from Huck Finn's, but since Fraser and I have been doing the roommate thing  he insists on making "a hearty breakfast, Ray!", and a little thing like being almost late for a meeting to find out if I still have a job isn't gonna stop him. Not that I'm complaining; Fraser does a mean breakfast.  I think I've even gained a few pounds, which for me is nothing short of a miracle.

I grab some bacon and a couple of pancakes and start slathering them with syrup.  Insomnia hasn't affected my appetite, I  guess. Fraser gives me a look, but for once he doesn't lecture me on how much sugar I eat.  Maybe he figures that all that syrup will give me energy.   I doubt it--right now I feel like I could faceplant into my plate.

"More coffee, Ray?"

I mutter a yes through a mouthful of  'cakes and hold out my cup. Fraser gives me my refill and turns to put the pot back on the burner. At which point I slip a piece of bacon to Dief, who's been hiding under the table like he's been waiting for me to sit down. Which he has.

"Diefenbaker has already been fed, Ray."  How the hell does he DO that?

"Geez, Fraser, you got eyes in the back of your head or something?"

"No, Ray.  I do make it a point, however, to be aware of my surroundings. And, I may add, I've known the both of you for quite some time."  He looks at me like he wants to say something else, but I guess he decides not to, and goes back to finishing his breakfast.

I peer under the table. "Busted, buddy."  Dief gives me a sympathetic whine.

We finish eating without saying much else, and then it's time to go.  I help Fraser put the leftovers away and clean up a little--no time for the Benton Fraser Antiseptic version--and then the three of us head out the door. 

We're actually on time for the meeting, one of the perks of having Fraser as a roommate. Which increases, but doesn't guarantee, my prospects for continued employment.

 

 

"Ah. The adventurers have returned. I trust you enjoyed your time sledding around the frozen North."

"Yes, sir, it was--" I fish around for the right word. Fraser rescues me, as usual.

"Exhilarating, sir.  Refreshing."

"Amazing," I add. "Cold. Quiet."  Because it was all of those things, and then some.

 Welsh ushers us into his office. "Have a seat, gentlemen.  It seems we have a problem." We sit, Dief between us with his head resting against my leg.  He must sense how nervous I am, which bugs me a little, because if the wolf's noticed, Fraser definitely has. He's not showing it, though, just sitting there with his hat in his hands.

I clear my throat.  "Problem, sir? What kind of problem?" Fraser grips the rim of his hat a little tighter, but he still doesn't say anything.  Not sure if that's good or bad.  I'm thinking bad.

Welsh looks a little nervous himself. The problem, he says, is staffing. As in, the 2-7th has too much of it.  Fraser and me figured we'd just go on where we left off, since Vecchio took a golden bullet and was currently off having his midlife crisis somewhere in Florida with my ex-wife (and wasn't that all kinds of fun to find out. Add it to the list of Why Ray Can't Sleep Anymore), all of which meant that Vecchio's desk was empty and I could slip right back into it like I never left. Turns out we were wrong, 'cause while I was gone someone in the mayor's office called in a favor to the higher ups--at least that's what's come down through the grapevine. And now there's someone else at Vecchio's desk--guy named Ray O'Leary, go figure--and no room for me.

 I'm rapidly going from nervous to really pissed off.

"Wait, you're telling me that just because some crooked politician's second cousin's kid needs a job, I'm out of one?"

"Now, Ray, perhaps--"

Don't do that, Fraser. Do not try to tell me there's anything legal about what's happening here. This is thuggery, Fraser, and in case you haven't noticed, thuggery is against the law!" I'm out of my seat now, leaning over Welsh's desk. 

"Sit down, Kowalski. I agree with you, but I won't talk over you."

I sit, because pissing off Welsh isn't a good idea considering the circumstances.

"I've argued the point to death with the Chief, Kowalski. He says he can't do anything about it. Apparently the order came from even higher up than him. I might have been able to do something if you'd been an official employee of this district, but technically, you're still part of the 1-9th. Where, for the record, you still have a job if you want it. " 

Well, at least that was something.  I hadn't been there very long before taking the Vecchio gig, but the 1-9th was okay. Except for how I was hired as their undercover guy and I really, really don't want to do undercover anymore.  And then there was the other thing.

"What about Fraser? Can he come with me?  If I could talk them into another position, that is." I can't even begin to imagine Fraser doing undercover work.  He'd last about ten seconds before blowing his own cover in the name of Justice or the Queen or something.  Don't get me wrong, Fraser's a hell of a cop, but an undercover guy he is not.

Welsh spread his hands on his desk and looked at them.  "As far as I know, the 1-9th has no relationship with the Canadian Consulate, official or unofficial."  To Fraser he added, "You're welcome to work with Detective O'Leary, Constable, providing we okay it with your Inspector."

Fraser's reply was immediate. "I have no interest in working with anyone other than Ray Kowalski, especially when the other person in question obtained his position through less-than-proper channels." 

Wow. I wonder if he'd still say that if he got to work with Vecchio instead of this O'Leary guy.  Doesn't matter anyway, since O'Leary's definitely not Vecchio.  And if Fraser's not liasing, he has two choices: One, he can run errands for his new boss and any lost Canadians that show up on the Consulate doorstep and do nothing that involves doing actual cop work. Or he could pick option B and transfer somewhere else, which for Fraser would be Canada, specifically the Northwest Territories, which isn't and never has been anywhere near Chicago. And to tell you the truth, if I was in Fraser's place, I'd pick option B in a New York minute.  Yellowknife minute. Something.

"I don't expect an answer right away.  Talk to me in a couple of days, Kowalski, and if you decide to go back to the 19th we'll take it from there, arrange a meeting. Otherwise, maybe we can see what else is available." Welsh is going above and beyond for me on this. I'm really gonna miss him.

"Yeah, thanks, Lieu."  I'll um. I'll let you know soon."

"And Constable, if you change your mind, let me know."

Fraser stands up, puts his hat back on his head. "That won't happen, Lieutenant, but I thank you nonetheless. You're a fine officer, and a good friend. It's been a pleasure working with you."  They shake hands, Fraser gestures to Dief, and I follow the both of them out.

We don't talk much on the way home.  Fraser has to put at least a half-day in at the Consulate. I let him take my car, because hey, it's not like I have anywhere to go. When he gets back we heat up some pre-bagged stir fry for dinner, then watch TV for a while before bed.

I don't get much sleep, which is the first unsurprising thing that's happened all day.  I toss and turn for a while, and when that doesn't work I get up and close the window so it's not so noisy. After I gulp down a glass of water I go back to the tossing and turning thing again.  Somewhere around four it gets real quiet outside, or at  least as quiet as Chicago can get. Which is pretty quiet in the middle of the night, you'd be surprised. I close my eyes and imagine I'm somewhere else, somewhere with less noise and more space.  At around five I drift off,  and dream of ice fields.

I sleep a couple of hours, and by the time I get up I've figured a bunch of things out.

 

 "Fraser, I've been thinking."

Today is Saturday, so Fraser has the day off.  On weekends we usually do stuff  like go to a ball game or take Dief to the park, but today none of us feel much like playing.  Dief doesn't even ask us to take him anywhere; he just sulks in the corner, and believe you me; a sulking wolf isn't a pretty picture.

"Thinking about what, Ray?"  He's sitting in front of the blank television, pretending to read a book. I know he's pretending because he isn't reading parts of it out loud so Dief can read his lips. I'm sitting next to him and watching him pretend.

"The job thing, Einstein." 

"Oh, yes. That. "

"Yeah.  So I've been thinking.  I'm not gonna go back to the 1-9th.  I'm so done with undercover it isn't even funny."  Besides, you wouldn't be there. I think it but I don't say it, because that would be stupid.  "And I've been thinking something else, Fraser. "

He looks up. "And  what would that be?"

"I think I need a change of scenery.  And you know what? I think you do, too."

"Me? I don't understand what you mean, Ray. I have a perfectly adequate job at the Consulate. It's your employment that's in question here, not mine."   His voice sounds all casual, like he's talking about the weather.  Fraser talks about the weather a lot, so I know.

"That's great, Fraser. Perfectly adequate.  Do you want to do perfectly adequate for eight hours a day, five days a week, year in, year out for the next thirty years?"

"Well, no, but I can't just--"

"Can't just what, Fraser? Can't do something for yourself for once?'  I'm yelling, now, but it's  better than busting an artery in my brain.  "Can't listen to your own heart because that overblown sense of duty of yours is so loud you can't hear yourself think? "

"No, it's not--I just--what  exactly do you want me to DO, Ray, up and leave here?  It's bad enough that you've decided that we should go our separate ways--without consulting me, by the way, as if my feelings on the matter mean nothing. Why on earth would I want to compound that by going somewhere else--someplace where I'd be a stranger?  Again?"

I turn and grab him by the shoulders. "No. See, you're not getting it. Come back to Canada. With me.  I can find a job, we can get a place. Somewhere near where we were. Someplace with less noise." 

Fraser opens his mouth, but nothing comes out. After what feels like a hundred years but really is more like fifteen seconds,  he manages to force out a couple of words.

"But, Ray. Why? "

Because I can't imagine leaving without you, I don't say.  Because you make me a better person.  Because just a minute ago I figured out I'm probably in love with you. 

I don't say any of those things. Instead, I lean in and kiss him on the mouth--something I definitely did not plan.  Fraser kisses back with his mouth open, giving as good as he's getting. Which is pretty good, considering that I, a. did not plan it and also b. have never kissed a guy before.

Fraser pulls away a little. "Oh," he says.  He sounds a little breathless.

"That's all you have to say? "'Oh'?" 

"'Oh,'" he says, nodding. "Also 'yes.'"  And now he's grinning like a cat that just caught the canary. Or maybe a Mountie who just caught the clue bus. Something.

"Yes, what?" I know he gets it, but I still want him to say it.

"Yes, Ray, I want you to take me to Canada."  It's the most back-ass-ward thing I've ever heard, but it makes perfectly good Frasersense.

"Good. We'll call Welsh, then."   I go to kiss him again, but I crack a yawn before I can do it.

"Yes.  After you take a nap."  I nod; I have a feeling I'm gonna sleep real good from now on.

"Okay. Take one with me?"

"Okay. " He stands and offers me a hand up. I take it and we head for his bedroom.

And we do sleep, both of us. And then some other stuff after, but like Fraser says, that's not really germane to the story. Or maybe it is, but I'm still not gonna tell you about it. That part's just ours.

 

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12 Comments

Aww, that was sweet. &hearts Poor insomniac Ray, having to deal with sulking!Dief and brooding!Fraser on top of what to do with the rest of his life...

This? And we do sleep, both of us. And then some other stuff after, but like Fraser says, that's not really germane to the story. Or maybe it is, but I'm still not gonna tell you about it. That part's just ours.

One of the best endings ever. :D

Luzula Author Profile Page said:

Aww. I'm with Stars--that was a sweet ending.

omens Author Profile Page said:

Very awww! Poor sleep deprived Ray.. but now he gets to take Fraser to Canada! \o/ "No. See, you're not getting it. Come back to Canada. With me. I can find a job, we can get a place. Somewhere near where we were. Someplace with less noise." I loooove Ray's proposal here, even if Fraser doesn't get it right away.

This fic was all kinds of cute! Great RayK voice too.

Favourite quote:

"Yes, Ray, I want you to take me to Canada." It's the most back-ass-ward thing I've ever heard, but it makes perfectly good Frasersense.

Hee!

I love some of the more unusual and original bits here - Ray not having a job back at the 2-7, Ray not adjust back to being in Chicago, and this line..."That's great, Fraser. Perfectly adequate. Do you want to do perfectly adequate for eight hours a day, five days a week, year in, year out for the next thirty years?"

Nicely done.

What a sweet and original story! I really liked it.

I really enjoyed this story. &hearts

Mal Author Profile Page said:

"Yes, Ray, I want you to take me to Canada."

*HEARTS* and *HEARTS* and still more *HEARTS*

Anonymous said:

warm and fuzzy and homey! I like how Ray figured it all out during his sleepless night.

azamiko Author Profile Page said:

^^ Cuteness.

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This page contains a single entry by agent157 published on December 18, 2009 5:29 PM.

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