Spring is when the city is damp and all the snow is gone except for the dirt-encrusted piles left in dingy corners. Spring is when there should be new growing things everywhere, rebirth, new life, only this is Chicago and there seems to be nothing like nature anywhere to be found. Plastic buckets of too-perfect flowers outside the florist shop on 63rd Street don't count as nature. Spring is when Fraser's uniform starts getting too hot, where his collar chafes as sweat rolls down his neck. Spring is when the city loses even the patently false feel of cold and snow and home, when there is no longer even the chance of a snowfall covering up, even for just a few hours, the dull, dirty concrete that surrounds Fraser everywhere he goes.
Spring is when Fraser's heart aches the most and he gets distracted, lost, in thoughts of the North, and he doesn't think he can possibly last even one more day in this city.
He does stay, though, and the reason is this: spring is when Ray starts whistling when he pulls himself out of bed on Saturday mornings. Spring is when Ray usually decides to dye his hair a new and sometimes alarming shade of blond. Spring is when Ray brings his beloved car out of winter storage and spends hours and hours working on it, bent over the engine fine-tuning it, sprawled out underneath it changing the oil, coming home with his fingernails black, his clothes greasy, rambling on at length about gears and gaskets and shocks and speed.
Spring is when Ray goes outside in worn jeans and t-shirts, even though it's still a little bit too cold to be without a jacket. Spring is Ray with his cheeks flushed and his hands cool as he tugs Fraser close and kisses him, messy and determined, in alleys, in the car, in the filing room at the station. Spring is when Ray wants and wants and can't get enough. Spring is when Ray comes in from the garage all sweaty and dirty and he tugs off his shirt, wipes his face with it, and Fraser can't stop looking at his body, long and lean, his jeans low on his hips. Spring is long, lazy afternoon sex with the weak sunlight coming in through the windows as Ray bites his lip and clenches his hands in Fraser's hair and raggedly moans as he comes all over his stomach.
Spring is a constant ache for Fraser, aching for home, aching for Ray, back and forth, and he worries, sometimes, that he'll tip too far, lose himself in Ray, or lose Ray in his need for cold.
Spring is when Fraser thinks about what Ray would say if he asked him to come with him. It makes his heart beat faster and he thinks he'd never know what to do with that much joy in his life, to have Ray and winter and home, all at the same time.
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