It Never Really Was About the Car by Brigantine1

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Title: It Never Really Was About the Car
For: china_shop
Pairing/Characters: Fraser/Vecchio
Warnings: the usual weirdness
Vidder's/Author's/Artist's Notes: Relax, Ray's got it covered.

When Fraser called Ray at home, requesting that he pick him up from the consulate instead of from his apartment, Ray asked himself three questions; first, why was Fraser already at the consulate at three minutes past six on a Thursday morning; second, why did he sound like an over-caffeinated tour guide; and third, whose idea was it to make six-aught-three on a Thursday morning so awfully dark?  Also, where had Ray left his shoes, and was there even the slightest chance that Fraser's inability to wait until after Ray's alarm clock went off at eight o'clock to call him might mean Fraser had experienced a sudden breakthrough regarding the jewelry heist they were working on?  All of which made five questions, but Ray was not awake yet.  He should not be expected to anticipate math.


A half hour or so later Ray pulled the Riv carefully up to the curb in front of the Canadian consulate.  He blamed the fact that he'd been dragged out of his bed two hours early and was therefore still half asleep at the wheel when he stepped out of the car nearly into the path of a gigantic garbage truck as it loomed at him out of the morning half-light and rumbled past, leaving Ray behind in a whirlwind of tainted debris and a wash of foul air that made him not want to eat seafood ever again.


Ray swore, batted bits of he didn't want to know what off of his trousers, and hoped that this did not herald the sort of day when he might be forced to blow up his own car.  Then the consulate door opened and Diefenbaker trotted out, bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, offering Ray a cheerful warble of greeting.  Dief was followed by Fraser, looking way too smart in his brown uniform for this time of the morning, and moving fast, quickly surpassing Dief by leaping down the front steps two at a time, as though he had some glad news he just couldn't wait to share with the world.


Fraser grinned at Ray, bounced on his toes, and yelped happily, "We're like Starsky and Hutch, Ray!" and dove headfirst into the big Buick through the open passenger side window, slick as a seal disappearing through Arctic ice.  A seal wearing a Stetson.  Right.


Dief followed Fraser in and skittered across the back seat toward Ray, while Fraser contorted himself like a circus acrobat within the confines of the Riv's front seat, deftly uncurling to face forward with a pleased huff and nary a hair out of place.  


Dief shoved his head out of the nearest window, whined, and nudged Ray's elbow, leaving a snotty nose-print on the sleeve of his coat.


Ray peered through the driver's side window.  "Benny, what in the name of Saint Michael was that all about, and what would you have done if I hadn't been driving with the windows down, trying to revive myself from being awakened in the middle of the night?  An explanation for which would be appreciated, by the way."


Ignoring Ray's questions, Fraser shifted across the front seat to open the door for him.  "I've discovered the most wonderful television show, Ray!  You see, last night I was enjoying the color television set in the consulate parlor--"


Ray slid behind the steering wheel.  "You spent an evening watching TV?   On purpose?  What was it, something on how to make the perfect roast muskrat?"


Fraser raised an eyebrow, but didn't miss a beat.  "Don't be silly, Ray.  Even Turnbull knows muskrat is only good for stewing.  After I had finished cataloging and alphabetizing our new expense and request forms I indulged in what I believe is referred to as 'chilling', followed by some 'channel surfing.'  At near or about eleven p.m. I happened upon--"


Ray demanded, "You get up at the crack of dawn.  What were you doing still up at eleven o'clock, and why didn't you go home?  Is your landlord trying to evict everybody again?  Or is it just you this time?"


"--a late-night 'marathon' featuring the exciting, if procedurally doubtful, exploits of two detectives who patrolled the streets of the fictional Southern California town of Bay City during the later years of the 1970's."


"Fraser, I am not pulling away from this curb until you explain what's going on."


"I'm getting to that, Ray."


"By way of Greenland, apparently."


"Well Ray, if you wouldn't--but never mind.  Detective Starsky drove a large red and white 'muscle car.'  Specifically, a Ford Gran Torino.  Now I'm not certain a Buick Riviera would be considered a 'muscle car,' but--'"


"Fraser, will you stop making those annoying little bunny quotes in the air!  What has gotten into you?  You're acting crazy.  Crazier."  Ray surreptitiously sniffed him for the smell of booze, but came up negative.


"Crazy?  But it's a beautiful morning!"  Fraser suddenly frowned, grabbed at his Stetson, and began furiously polishing the brass buckle on the hat band.


"It's barely a quarter of seven a.m.  Beautiful is not how I'd describe it. Dark, yes.  Confusing, certainly.  Beautiful, we'll see.  In addition, that is beside the point.  What are you doing now?"


Fraser was twirling his hat on his right forefinger, and had become  mesmerized by the spinning Stetson.  


Ray watched his eyes briefly cross, then uncross.  Jeez.  He reached for Fraser's forehead.  "Are you sick?  You didn't try taking that DayQuil stuff again, did you?"


Fraser blinked rapidly and twitched just out of Ray's reach, smiling sunnily.  "You know Ray, after having viewed the seven episodes which comprised last night's marathon, I've formed a theory as to the true deep and abiding nature of Detective Starsky and Detective Hutch's partnership."


Ray sensed the approach of a Meaningful Conversation, which he was in no shape for.  Not this early, and not without coffee. 


Fraser concluded earnestly, "I'm convinced they were dating, Ray."


Ray dodged, "That certainly is a very interesting theory you got there, Benny,"  which seemed to be all Fraser needed in order to consider himself officially agreed-with, because he beamed hard at Ray, a happy, happy deer in headlights.


Ray needed someone or something he could blame for this predicament, and he needed it right now.  The trouble was that with Fraser's tendency to search for clues by licking all the most disgusting parts of Chicago he could find, the possibilities were practically infinite.  "Did Turnbull feed you something hallucinogenic again?  What did you eat for supper?  D'you remember when he met that guy down at Mahoney's pub, and he brought back those very special gourmet mushrooms that turned out to be--"


Fraser chirped brightly, "Would you prefer to be Starsky, or Hutch?  I think you should be Starsky, as you're the one with the nifty car.  Or any car at all."


"Nifty?" Ray and Diefenbaker eyed one another meaningfully.   Ray started the engine and guided the Riv out into the early morning traffic.


He suggested, trying to sound casual, "Say, why don't we stop off at your place before we start looking for that Antonetti guy?"


Fraser regarded him curiously.  "Why would we do that?  I am wide awake, and rarin' to go!  The early bird gets the worm, Ray!"  Rosy-cheeked, and sweating across his upper lip, Fraser bounced in his seat and beamed out the Riv's windshield, looking faintly deranged and completely adorable.


Ray aimed a prayer for strength at anybody who might be listening.  "I get that Benny, I really do, but wouldn't you like to change your shirt?  Change into some clean underwear and maybe a fresh tie before we start chasing bad guys and interviewing witnesses?"


Fraser considered Ray's suggestion, the expression on his face making Ray think of a squirrel trying to choose, Do I hide the acorn under this oak tree, or do I hide it over there under the pine tree, because you know, my life might depend on this decision, come a cold, hungry day in January.  Ray decided he'd been paying way too much attention to the goofy nature stuff Fraser talked about.  Next thing Ray knew, he'd find himself tracking suspects based on moose migration patterns, and once that happened, there was no hope for either of them.  They might as well pack up and move north, where Canada would promptly fulfill its vendetta against Ray, and then there'd be no one to run after Fraser the next time he went completely off the rails.  


"That's an excellent idea, Ray!  Upon consideration, I'm not feeling entirely fresh, hygienically-speaking."


Ray winced.  The last thing he wanted to think about was Fraser's hygiene.  He already spent way too much time thinking along related lines as he lay alone in the dark in his bedroom.  There in the car with a whacked-out Mountie all too eager to play Hutch to his Starsky, he'd rather have had a tooth pulled than think about Fraser taking a bath.


As Ray drove, carefully keeping Fraser in his peripheral vision, Ray's stomach began to rumble, reminding him sharply that it had been awakened early, and given nothing to work with.  Dief stuck his hairy muzzle down the back of Ray's collar and breathed hot, damp wolf-breath all over his neck, no doubt urging Ray to run stop lights and endanger pedestrians in order to facilitate the mad dash toward home - and possibly breakfast - while Fraser babbled about Dante Antonetti, the rubies they suspected him of snatching, the fancy hand-made European soaps they suspected him of hiding them in, and something totally incoherent about size thirteen men's tap shoes and the scent of lotus flowers.


At no point during their journey did Ray's brain manage come up with a workable plan.  The brief mental flash of handcuffing Fraser to his bed until whatever he was on wore off Ray immediately tossed into a dark corner with all of his other thoughts that he was not willing to allow free reign just at this moment, including the ones about Fraser naked, wet and soapy in the bathtub.  Dammit.


When Ray parked the Riv in front of Fraser's disreputable apartment building, Fraser lunged out of the car - at least he opened the door first this time - and leapt up the grafitti-embellished stairs, whistling the 'Whistle while you work' tune from Snow White, and startling Mr. Mustafi as he bent to pluck the morning paper from his doormat.  Clutching his bathrobe about him, Mr. Mustafi made an inquiring face at Ray, who shrugged back helplessly, and followed Dief and Fraser into Fraser's neat, tiny apartment.


Ray closed the door behind him and looked around for Fraser, who had stopped whistling and bounding everywhere, and instead stood irresolutely in the middle of what would have been his living room, if he'd had one.  "Ray," Fraser announced, "I feel rather odd."


He'd gone flushed, sweaty and shivery, and Ray took a deep breath and advised, "Fraser, I'm pretty sure you ate something that was not intended for human consumption, and it might be a good idea for you to lie down."


Swaying slightly, Fraser regarded him owlishly.  "It's the middle of the day, Ray!  I couldn't do that!" Then he sat down heavily on the edge of his bed, and keeled over sideways, neat brown uniform and all.  


"Ray, I..."  Fraser gulped.  "I believe I'll just... well, perhaps I might rest my eyes for a bit."  He reached down toward his ankles, trying to unlace his shoes as he lay half-curled on the bed, but his usual precise coordination had deserted him, and he thrashed feebly near the edge of the mattress.


Clucking softly, Ray stepped forward to put a hand on his arm.  "Benny, stop.  Let me help."


After dropping the shoes nearby, Ray settled on the mattress near Fraser's left hip, and gently pressed his fingers to the pulse at his throat.  His skin was warm and a little damp, and his pulse was kind of fast, but his breathing seemed mostly normal.  Ray squashed the impulse to caress the soft skin of Fraser's neck.  "Benny, you haven't been eating soap, have you?"


"Soap?"


"Different kinds of soap, trying to find one that tastes like rubies?"


Fraser rubbed clumsily at his left eyebrow.  "Ray, I don't think rubies--"


Ray tugged on Fraser's tie.  "Listen to me, Benny.  You need to understand that you are just not cut out to go around eating weird stuff in the big city.  Sure, up north you could live off of unidentified bits and pieces you find on the ground or dead by the side of the road, but down here, you haven't got nearly enough preservatives and artificial coloring in your system to be so careless about what you put in your mouth."


Fraser nodded mournfully.  "I can't feel my elbows, Ray."


"We'll get your elbows back.  Now I'm gonna tuck you in, so you can get some rest.  Here, take off your tie, and give me your jacket."


"Tunic."


"Exactly."  Ray helped Fraser to sit up, and was assisting him in negotiating his buttons while trying very, very hard not to imagine doing this under more mutually lustful and less tragically weird circumstances when he realized that Fraser was touching, no, petting his head.


Ray looked up, confused and suddenly jittery.  "Benny?"


Fraser snatched his hand back, looking at Ray with huge blue eyes.  "Ray... I... do you suppose... um."  He bit his lip, hesitating.


Ray loosened Fraser's tie, looped it over his head, and braced himself for the return of the Meaningful Conversation.  He should have known better than to think Fraser would let it go, really.  "Go ahead.  Whatever it is, you can tell me."


Fraser cleared his throat, cracked his neck sideways, swallowed hard, and blurted, "Would it be entirely inappropriate if I were to confess myself more than slightly in love with you?"  


Ray sat back, blinking and crushing Fraser's tie in one sweaty fist.  He could feel his eyebrows struggling toward his hairline.  "Well..." He stalled, debating wildly with himself as to whether such an admission could be taken seriously, with Fraser high on God knew what, and currently incapable of untying his own shoes.  "Well, since we're partners, I suppose it probably would be a little bit inappropriate." 


"Oh," Fraser said, his voice small and disappointed.


Ray amended carefully, "Of course if I were to be inappropriate along with you, then your inappropriate and my inappropriate would maybe cancel each other out."  


Fraser chewed thoughtfully on his lower lip.  It was an awfully distracting habit.  "You really think so?"  


Ray suddenly felt like laughing, in spite of the odds against them.  Sure it was a ridiculous idea, but then so was the platypus.  "I really think so."  


He leaned over and kissed Fraser gently on his over-warm forehead, indulged himself in a long, Fraser-scented breath and promised, "You lie down here for a while, and I'll be here when you wake up, me and the wolf, okay?"


"Then we'll talk?  And um, perhaps...?"   


"I'll put the kettle on," Ray assured him.  "And you can bet your shiny Mountie boots we will give 'perhaps' a run for its money."


"I don't know that I'll be able to sleep now," Fraser claimed, trying to grin and stifle an enormous yawn at the same time.  He lay back against his pillow, looking quietly thrilled in that way he had that made his face seem to glow like a saint's, even though Ray was well aware that he wasn't one.  About two seconds later, Benny was off to happy Mountie dreamland.


Ray pulled the afghan up from the foot of the mattress, tucked it around Fraser's chin, and for a little while he let himself just sit there feeling about a million kinds of hopeful, and staring at Fraser's peaceful, sleeping face.  It occurred to Ray that it was only nine minutes past seven in the morning, and already he and Benny had had a very big day.


Ray turned to Diefenbaker.  "The way I see it, if he doesn't remember any of the stuff we just said when he wakes up, I can't feel any worse than getting blown up or shot, right?"


Dief whuffled and rested his head on Ray's thigh.  Ray grinned and scratched him behind the ears.  "You know, that's a good point.  'Starsky and Hutch' would have been a much better show if they had had a wolf with them."


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13 Comments

china shop said:

Awwwwwwww, this is adorable! This exchange in particular:

Fraser nodded mournfully. "I can't feel my elbows, Ray."

"We'll get your elbows back.

made me giggle and glee. *pets loopy Starsky-&-Hutch Fraser, and long-suffering and impossibly patient Ray*

Thank you SO VERY MUCH! I love it!

I am so glad (and relieved, OMG!) that you like it! It's my first ever Fraser/Vecchio, and I was nervous that I'd muck it up entirely.

The elbow thing... Heh. There's something about Ray Vecchio that always makes me think of him as a sort of mother hen. I like that about him. :)

Initially I'd had an idea for a story that took place through a series of rather cryptic telephone calls between Vecchio in the field, and Elaine at the precinct, with Fraser and assorted case-in-progress weirdness going on in the background, but it wouldn't gel. I'm still hoping the bunny will come back around on that one.

Anonymous said:

This is the most fabulously weird Fraser. Leaping about, slashing Starsky and Hutch (!), numb elbows, tap shoes and the scent of lotus flowers. And poor Ray, getting dragged along by it and just worrying he might have to blow up his car again. And a super-cute ending. *loves*

Thank you! The whole thing started with the sudden image of Fraser diving headfirst into the Riv, and then it careened along from there, so yeah, weirdness was pretty much the order of the day. At least Ray didn't have to blow up his car this time. ;)

Hee. Love cracked-up-on-mysterious-things-he-shouldn't-have-eaten-Fraser. Just the right wacky touch.

Thank you kindly! Heh heh. High Fraser is way too much fun. ;D

snoopypez said:

This is so ridiculously adorable.

Thank you very much! I always think RayV is cute when he's fussing over Fraser. ;)

I don't think I can actually deal with how hilarious and adorable this is! I'm half-convinced it's a missing scene from an episode.

And this: Fraser nodded mournfully. "I can't feel my elbows, Ray."
"We'll get your elbows back."

is the most incredibly sweet and surreal Fraser-and-Ray exchange possible. Your Ray voice is brilliant.

Thank you kindly! I was a little worried about my Vecchio voice, since I haven't had a too much practice yet. It's a lot of fun to write mother hen!Ray, though. :D

Ray amended carefully, "Of course if I were to be inappropriate along with you, then your inappropriate and my inappropriate would maybe cancel each other out."

This is an adorable story! &hearts

Ray amended carefully, "Of course if I were to be inappropriate along with you, then your inappropriate and my inappropriate would maybe cancel each other out."

This is an adorable story! &hearts

Thank you, sweet! I rather liked that little bit myself. Heh. Finally writing Vecchio crushing on Fraser was fun. :D

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