I read in one fell swoop, I let it sit in my head a little bit, now maybe I can provide coherent feedback. Be warned, I have a very hard time doing an overview type of feedback for long fics, mostly b/c I'm all about the *details*, and I'm certain there are going to be a million things I forget to say made me incredibly happy.
This is an amazing fic. I think I love your brain, only because - while I *know* you did amazing, admirable, fucking insanely detailed and astounding research, and while the story is tight and real and the research fed that - you did it in such a way that it in no way smacks the reader with LOOK HOW MUCH RESEARCH I DID AREN'T I GREAT. It just - you did a ton of considering and thinking and somehow making SENSE of the canon, and it shows in that there was never a "Huh?" moment in the fic, never something that *didn't* work. Does that make any sense? Just - I love your mad research skillz.
I kept saying to myself as I read this: "I *love* the way she writes Ray." It's hard to get that Ray-voice down on paper. So much of him is how he talks, how he delivers his sentences, how much is going on in his head that doesn't come out in the words. It's the belligerence, the slouchiness, the tired and the cranky parts of him that a good writer can feed into the character voice. You do it without the heavy-handedness that comes across in some fics - even those by really good writers. He just IS the Ray I know, and I love you for that.
Okay. Those are my "omg try to make sense" overviews. Now, in no particular order:
I love the Ray and Welsh dynamic a whole lot. I keep flashing to that scene in the show of the two of them sprawled on the couch, guy-talk, guy-like, understanding in a very guy way. You captured that, from the very start, from right here:
"Please tell me that you aren't going to ask me if you can bring the Mountie down," said Welsh. He rubbed his eyes. "No, nevermind. Give me some of those M&Ms."
That was when I grinned for the very first time. Yay.
I love Vecchio. I have a great, meaningful Vecchio love. I think what you did here, pulling together all the threads of, "wow, he really could have been a dirty cop" was *amazing* (I'm *really really* glad he wasn't a dirty cop.). I adore Fraser diligently sitting and writing letters of rebuttal to everything in Vecchio's sealed files. I love that hugely, I can *see* that, it brings me joy. I love how you captured Fraser's relationship to Vecchio, with that alone, right there.
I love Ray starting smoking again. That makes me gleeful. I know it's symptom of how omg crazy his life is right here, but I love how you WROTE about it, how quick the slide to two packs a day was.
Charlie, I loved, mostly for the scene in Welsh's office with Fraser and Ray, where he imitates Ray, leaning against the wall with his arms crossed, and Ray's irritation, and then almost-immediate jealousy that Charlie will start imitating his Mountie hero soon.
Theresa. I love her because she's tough, and because she's tough on Ray, and because she eases up a little and works *with* him, without being any less tough. I love how she sees right through him, and I love that they got drunk together, and I love that she left him on the bathroom floor, and I love that she brought him coffee. I like that things aren't *simple*, that she *was* lying to him, but she was still something - there for him when he needed it. And Ray's interior conversation with himself - falling in love with her for being that strange mix of him and Stella (ADORED that description), and a tiny bit of Fraser - and how he half-heartedly tries to talk himself into thinking he wants to fuck her - only no.
I loved this section a very great deal:
This was all because of Ray -- and not just because Ben needed to fuck, but because it was Ray who was fucking him, and that was totally fucking hot right there. To be wanted for himself, scars and fucked up hair and thick glasses and History With Stella and everything, that was hot. Ray woke up choking on cock that wasn't there, tears streaming out of his eyes. His hands went up to his head, almost expecting to feel Fraser's big hands there, rubbing his scalp, rubbing his ears and his jaw. He opened his eyes and looked at the ceiling -- he hadn't turned the lights out, and the only thing above him was white stucco. Not Fraser's face, not Fraser's dick, not anything but stucco. There was no way Ray was going to be able to call Fraser and get out even two words before he started to cry like a little bitch. Four years. Four fucking years. Ray sniffed in really hard, then reached over to the coffee table and shook out a cigarette. He had bought Camel Lights -- a classic. He lit the cigarette and inhaled deeply, coughed, and inhaled again. He waited out the tears by chainsmoking, and fell back asleep with a dry mouth. He didn't dream again, though.
For what it says about Ray - how he's not even close to being okay about this, how close they *were*, back then, to making it work, to *understanding* each other, how fucked, how totally fucked he is now, and how he smokes and cries at the same time.
Ben's cock was something that Ray loved -- to touch and taste and look at. It was long and thick and uncut, and when Ben was hard, it was a really deep pink and the head was scarlet. Just thinking about Ben's cock made Ray's mouth water like he'd never been laid before and never would be again. His hands held onto Ben's hips and he just used his mouth and tongue. He'd never been able to take all of Ben into his mouth and throat at one time -- that was how he knew this was a dream, because his tongue was licking Ben's balls while he sucked on his cock, and even though he shouldn't have been able to breathe, it was okay, he could. When he woke up, he dragged himself into the bathroom and bleached his hair. Welsh was waiting for him when he hit the 2-7. "Oh, you still work here?" he said when Ray stumbled into his office, coffee cup in hand. "Nice hair, Detective."
Especially him bleaching his hair. I just - man. Okay, I have a thing for Ray's dreams (dude, you never ONCE let him come, not ONCE in the WHOLE FIC. Poor Ray.). Or maybe a thing for porn (shocking, I know). But I love the transition into waking more than the dreams, even, maybe because of his reaction as he tries really fucking hard to hold himself together.
I love this:
"Ray?" Elaine's voice in his ear and her hand on his back made him jerk out of almost-sleep. "Ray, I brought you some coffee." She ruffled his hair and kissed his head, but had walked away by the time he managed to get his head raised up. "Fuck," he said sourly, and drank the entire cup in one go.
Because I love Elaine.
Love this description a very great deal:
Yeah, he looked like a guy who'd gotten drunk as hell. Maybe everyone just felt bad for the lonely, single, alcoholic, pansy-ass gay detective who hadn't solved a case in two weeks.
I just love Ray in every fucked-up, fucked-over way.
"You don't gotta believe anything. But I never lied to you, Fraser, not once." "Except for when you did," said Fraser, and Ray felt that like a punch in the fucking stomach. "Yeah," said Ray. "Except for when I did. So do whatever the fuck you wanna do, Corporal. Come to Chicago or stay in Inuvik, I don't care. Did Charlie fucking tell you what they think Vecchio did to Joey Cardovo? It was a fucking execution, buddy, Mafia style. So you think about that tonight in your little cabin. You think about how today they found Siracusa shot the same way in a garbage dump outside his mother's house -- shot with the same gun. Yeah, you remember Siracusa, right? I remember Siracusa." Ray was shouting now, and everyone in the squad room was looking at him, and Welsh was standing by his open office door. Ray felt like he could rip his cell phone in half with his bare hands and maybe a tooth or two. Fucking Fraser. Fucking Ben. Who the hell did he think he was? "Det -- K -- Ray." More static. Then: "I'll come." "Fuck you," said Ray, and snapped his phone shut.
Killed me, because I could hear it, see it, *feel* what Ray was going through right there. You set up the scene amazingly, you just completely - throughout this whole fic - made the whole thing feel very *real* and *true* and reading it was just like *seeing* it. Detail makes a fic for me - you did an amazing job.
and the emergency bag of M&Ms that he kept inside Canadian Impressionism
Just - that made me grin in a very big way.
Details: I love the headboard Fraser carved. I love the furs, and the way they smell. I love the m n ms, the coffee fixation, how *angry* and *sad* Ray is in his head all the time. I love Ray's old Zippo lighter. I love this line:
Probably Fraser could even tell what kind of smokes, and that he lit it with a Zippo that was almost out of lighter fluid, and that he smoked it to the bitter part of the filter.
I love Fraser's new scars. I love Ray *knowing* where Fraser is going, what he's doing, going to find Vecchio. And this:
"For the love of God, Ray," said Ben, "why aren't you wearing a vest?"
I love Theresa in a girl-suit.
Dude, they took his *glasses*. Not cool.
The car ride, and jesus, Ray is just *incapable* of talking to Vecchio like a person:
"I did die," said Ray. "And this is fucking hell." "Shut up, Stanley." Vecchio handed him a cup. It was coffee. Ray was still pissed as fuck at Vecchio, but the coffee smelled good, like the real shit, like Kona or something. Probably mobsters didn't have any problems getting the real good coffee from wherever they wanted. "Hey, fuck you, Vecchio," said Ray, but there was no real meanness there, because he just couldn't work up the energy needed for meanness. He took a sip of the coffee. It had just the barest bit of cream, the faintest hint of chocolate. Perfect -- Fraser must have made it. Ray glared up at the front seat.
That whole thing made me grin real big.
And Fraser. Oh, fucked-up Fraser. He took Ray back to Canada without even really TALKING to him. The cabin and the snow and them moving around each other, living *near* each other but not *with* each other, just moving in circles around each other and *not fucking talking* the way they should. This:
Ben had to say it, because feelings and shit were hard enough when two people had them. When it was only one, it was impossible. Ray didn't just know that from Stella either -- Ray knew that from Ben. But this time they were saying the right words, not the safe, easy words. The scary ones. "Say it." "I love you, too, Ray," said Ben, his voice muffled. His face was pressed into Ray's neck. "Don't sniff me," said Ray. "Do not sniff me. I smell bad." "You smell wonderful," said Ben, but he raised his head. Ray smushed their mouths together, not very elegant, but it worked. They were kissing, Ben's mouth hot, and tasting vaguely of sugar and tea, Ben's arms around him, his hands on Ray's waist.
Is good, is great, but it's not fucking ENOUGH, Fraser. Hello.
"You gotta look at me, Ben. I'm not going to do this with a story. You gotta say it." Because Ray wasn't going to be the one to say it. Ben had to say it. This was all Ben's fault and Ben knew it and Ray knew it and Ben had to be the one to admit that it was his fault, the one to ask Ray back.
Yes! THAT. Right there.
"Ben," said Ray firmly. "I love you. I'm never going to leave you. If I can help it. Unless you're a dick."
I adore. Because wow, if I am ever going to fall in love? That's the way I want it.
Okay. Enough. I loved your fucking story.