Response to the Many Tongues Challenge over at ds Flashfic.
Plot and title shamelessly stolen from the A-Team episode. A plot that was, in fact, shamelessly stolen from the Starsky and Hutch episode "Shootout." If Stephen J. Cannell can do it, then so can I (a conjecture that is sure to take me far in life).
Thanks to Lynnmonster, who suggested I write incisively logical Ray (only Ray just didn't take well to logic and sort of sent the story down a different path). And huge thanks to Justacat for wonderful, last-minute beta-work above and beyond the call of duty. This story wouldn't be anywhere near what it is without her.
"How did you know?" Fraser asked curiously.
Ray shrugged one shoulder. "It just made sense."
Fraser paused for a second, watching Ray paw through the piles of paper on his desk. "I didn't know."
This time Ray spared him a look, grinning. "Well, first time for everything."
"Yes, but…" Ray cursed, and Fraser stepped nimbly aside to avoid the desk chair careening toward him. He looked down at Ray, who had sunk to his knees to peer under the desk. "Ray. Ray. Ray. Ray."
Ray craned his neck to look up at him. "What?"
"What are you looking for?"
Ray hauled himself to his feet. "The report from the Polselli case. I swear I left it right here. Frannie's gonna have my ass if I lost it." He started digging haphazardly through the piles on his desk again.
Fraser scanned the desk and extricated the report from beneath a binder, a newspaper that looked like it had been used to mop up spilled coffee, and a cup that held the remains of what once might have been coffee, but was now home to some unidentifiable life form. He shook it off and handed it to Ray. Ray blew out his breath and shook his head. "Man, I don't know how you do that."
Fraser trailed behind Ray as he strode through the deserted bullpen to Frannie's desk. It was late, he was irritable, he should most likely just let this go, but... "Ray, how did you know?" he persisted.
"How did I know what?" Ray rummaged around on Francesca's desk for a pen.
"How did you know that those people were being held hostage?"
Ray bent over, scribbling his initials on the pages of his report, flipping up one page after another. "Huh?" He wasn't paying any attention.
"How did you know those people were being held hostage? How did you know which one was the man with the gun? How did you know that he wouldn't shoot you?" Fraser could hear the escalating sharpness in his tone and he flushed.
Ray, still leaning over the desk, was staring up at him, a slight smile on his face. "Wow. That's still bugging you?"
Teeth clenched, Fraser replied as calmly as he could. "It's not 'bugging me,' I'm simply curious about to the operation of your intuitive process."
"Oh." Ray scrawled his name on the final sheet, stacked the pile of paperwork neatly, and left it in the center of Francesca's desk. He pivoted and headed the other way. "It wasn't intuition," he said over his shoulder to Fraser, who once again trailed along behind him.
"No?" Fraser made an effort to sound merely interested rather than increasingly annoyed.
"Nope." Ray ducked into Welsh's office for a moment, returning a file to his desk. He brushed by Fraser on his way out without even looking at him. "The people in that restaurant didn't move from their seats the entire time you and I were arguing in the car." He strode down the hall to the break room. Fraser - of course - followed. Ray glanced up as Fraser came in the door behind him. "That was at least twenty minutes - you really couldn't let that one go, could you?" he commented, raising an eyebrow. "I still say you're living on another planet if you think the Hawks aren't going to kick the Leafs ass this year."
At Fraser's pointed look, he added hastily, "But let's not get back into that right now." He poured a cup of coffee and glanced around the counter before shaking his head and heading back out. Fraser took a deep breath, silently counted to ten, and followed him into the hall.
"Anyway, in that whole time we were arguing I only ever saw one guy get out of his chair, and he didn’t look like no waiter," Ray continued as he walked back towards the bullpen. "That's how I figured that there was something wrong, and that he was the guy with the gun, probably," he explained, looking back at Fraser. "And then I saw the attorney general's car pull up, and I put it all together." When he got back to his desk, he sat down in his chair, dug around in a drawer for a moment and pulled out a bag of m'n'ms. He dropped a few of them in, swirled the liquid around for a moment, then took a sip, tilting back comfortably in his chair. "I didn't have time to explain all that to you just then," he said apologetically.
"Obviously," Fraser said dryly, sitting down in the chair opposite Ray. He watched Ray take a sip of his vile concoction of coffee and chocolate and wondered, not for the first time, how on earth Ray expected the m'n'ms to melt through their candy shell. "You noticed the restaurant patrons not moving. Except for one gentleman…"
"The guy in the suit." Ray nodded encouragingly.
"Whom you concluded was in some way threatening the other patrons."
"Sure," said Ray.
"And then you saw the attorney general's car pull up -" Fraser paused, looked at Ray with a raised eyebrow. "And how, precisely, did you know it was his car?"
"I didn't recognize the car so much as I recognized him when he got out," Ray explained. "I met him at some function I had to go to with Stella a couple of years ago. He's a - large guy. Kinda hard to miss."
"Ah," said Fraser. "And - you put it all together."
"Yeah," Ray said.
"People not moving, one man in a suit walking through the restaurant, the attorney general shows up -"
"I figured there were people in the restaurant waiting to kill the attorney general when he got there to have dinner. I figured, guy like him, important and all- he'd have reservations. So they'd know he was coming. So these guys -"
"The potential assassins," Fraser filled in.
"Yeah. They'd have these people pinned down in their seats, making them play nice, act like everything is normal, till the attorney general got there. So there you go."
"QED," Fraser muttered.
"What?" Ray stared at him, puzzled.
"Quod erat demonstratum. Thus it is proven," Fraser said tensely.
"O-kay," Ray said slowly, still staring at him.
Fraser breathed in and out very, very slowly for several moments, staring at Ray. Ray stared back, and finally ventured hesitantly, "Um. Fraser?"
"Your theory doesn't make any sense!" Fraser exploded. "There's no logic there, none at all, it doesn't make any sense!"
"Well," Ray said defensively, "It made sense in my head. It made sense to me." He leaned back a little further in his chair. "Besides - I was right."
Fraser slowly and wearily lowered his head to rest on the edge of the desk.
"You okay over there, Fraser?" Ray asked tentatively.
Fraser lifted his head and peered over at his deranged partner. "Ray. I don’t understand you."
Ray grinned at him in a most irritating manner. "No one does, baby. I'm like the wind."
Fraser groaned and lowered his head again.
"Jeez, Frase, don't get all riled up, okay? It's just - my logic is different from yours."
"Yes, Ray, I am well aware of that," Fraser said despairingly. A thought occurred to him and he raised his head suddenly. "You didn't answer the question."
Ray frowned. "Which one?"
"How did you know he wouldn't shoot you?"
"Oh. I didn't." Ray gulped down some more coffee and stood up. "I just crossed my fingers and hoped for the best." He pulled his jacket off the back of the chair and slipped it on. "C'mon, let's get out of here. It's late."
Fraser simply sat there with his elbows resting on his knees, staring at Ray. "You didn't even have your glasses on."
Ray shrugged impatiently. "You don't have to see too good to tackle someone."
"He could have killed you."
"Yeah." Ray looked at him. "But he didn't."
"But he could have."
"But he didn't." And now Ray was looking at him strangely. Because yes - all right, Fraser put himself, and therefore, quite often, Ray, in danger any number of times in a normal workweek. He knew that. But he also understood how his own mind and sense of logic worked. Keeping up with Ray like this - dealing with a whole different frame of reference, with a mind that made such wildly absurd leaps of logic that turned out to be improbably, impossibly, correct - it made his head spin.
He closed his eyes for a moment and shook his head to clear it. Opened his eyes and looked at Ray. "Will you endeavor to warn me next time you employ such - logic?"
"I'll try. Okay?"
"Can we go now? You ready to get out of here?"
"Yes." Fraser got to his feet. Ray patted his pockets and Fraser watched, following the thought process the movements entailed: wallet, keys, phone.
"All right." Ray turned off the light on his desk, casting the room into dimness and headed towards the door. Fraser followed close behind and when Ray stopped short, collided forcefully into his back. "For the love of - "
Ray didn't even notice. He bent his head sharply to the left, shook out his shoulders, then wheeled around to face Fraser. "What's the problem here, Fraser?"
"What do you mean?" Fraser rubbed his nose where it had bumped the back of Ray's head at his sudden and inexplicable halt.
"The problem, Fraser, what's your problem here?" Ray was advancing on him, and Fraser backed up in the face of it.
"There's no - what do you mean?"
But Ray was having none of it. "Uh-uh, no, no way." His look was intense. "You put my life in danger all the time…" Ray continued to advance and Fraser backed up further, mentally mapping out the lay of the bullpen and easily sidestepping a chair and a desk without looking.
"I don't do it on purpose…" But he wasn't allowed to finish.
"…and you never seem real concerned about it, either. But this one time, I figure something out through sheer logic…"
"It wasn't logic. It made no logical sense…"
"…and all of a sudden you're all up in arms about it…"
"'Up in arms'? Ray, are you unhinged?"
"So what's the big deal, Fraser?"
Fraser's back hit the wall with a thump. "There's no big deal, Ray." "Riiight." Ray drew the word out, nodding slowly. "Uh-huh. Sure. I buy that."
Fraser looked into his face from his - extremely - close vantage point. Ray's eyes - they were an improbable shade of blue-gray.
Ray blinked and looked startled. Blinked again and - that was heat in his gaze.
"What," Fraser managed to say.
"You didn't even notice what was going on in that restaurant," Ray stated.
"No," Fraser said, wondering what the hell was going on here. "I wasn't paying attention."
"You, the king of detail, the king of multi-tasking, you weren't paying attention." Ray's eyes were steady on him.
"No." Fraser stood up straighter, but Ray didn't back away at all.
"You were paying attention." Ray poked his chest. "You were paying attention to me."
"I - we were arguing -"
"Yeah. I distracted you."
"By your insistence on rooting for a team that does nothing but lose, yes…"
"Shut up about the Hawks, we're not talking about the Hawks right now."
Fraser swallowed. "What are we talking about?"
Ray tilted his head a little and his eyes were suddenly a lot darker. "You told me to warn you. Before my next...leap of logic. Right?"
"Right," Fraser said, nervously running his thumb over his eyebrow.
"So." Ray took a deep breath. "I'm warning you."
Then he closed what little space there was between them and kissed him.
Fraser stood, frozen, for the several moments that Ray's mouth moved softly against his. Stunned, held suspended there, Ray's lips on his, tasting of too-sweet coffee. He couldn't - even - really - think
Ray pulled away unhurriedly, and took another deep breath. One eyebrow twitched upwards. "Well. That answers that, then."
Ray turned his head to the side, and Fraser noticed that, without even realizing it, he had brought his hands up to clutch at Ray's shoulders. He was still, in fact, clutching at Ray's shoulders. He let go abruptly, but Ray didn't stand back.
"See, you argue with me all the time." Ray grinned. "You argue with me more than you do with the wolf."
Fraser said, "I - "
Ray cut him off. "And it drives you crazy when I go with my gut. But it drives you more crazy when I try to explain the way I think." He leaned closer then, and whispered in Fraser's ear. "And you watch me like that. All the time. I just put it all together." His breath was warm against the side of Fraser's neck. "QED."
Then he licked Fraser's ear. Fraser shuddered and was suddenly, shockingly hard. "That - that doesn't make any sense," he managed. Ray's hands were on his waist, pulling his shirt out of his jeans, working their way inside his shirt, warm against his back.
"It makes sense in my head," Ray murmured in his ear. "It makes sense to me. Besides," and now Ray's hand moved with intent, and landed firmly between his legs, pressing against his erection. "I was right."
With the evidence entirely on Ray's side, all Fraser could do was close his eyes and nod. Ray shifted and now he was pressed fully against him. Fraser felt Ray's hands moving restlessly over his body, finally finding purchase on Fraser's hips. "Fraser," Ray said tugging gently at him. "Open your eyes."
Fraser did, and Ray was staring at him tensely (his eyes, that improbable blue-gray, boring into him). "You want to kiss me?"
"I - yes." And it was such a rush of relief. To not think this through. To just admit it, and revel in knowing that it was absolutely, obviously, necessarily true.
Ray nodded slowly. "Yeah. Okay. So - go for it. Go with your gut, Fraser."
Fraser swallowed, and licked his bottom lip, and leaned forward hesitantly, and kissed Ray. And kissed him. And kissed him. Because what this felt like was hunger. That uncurling in his stomach a few moments ago, when he'd admitted wanting this, was nothing, nothing compared to actually doing this. Ray tasted - sweet and hot and necessary. He needed this - needed more - and he pushed Ray back, the mental map in his head informing him that Detective Huey's desk should be - right - here.
Ray hit the desk with a thump, and Fraser found himself - improbably, impossibly - sliding to his knees, running his hands along the length of Ray's body on the way down. He pressed his mouth to the front of Ray's jeans, feeling the hot length of him beneath the denim.
"Fraser. Fraser. Fraser. Fraser."
Fraser tilted his head to look up at Ray. Ray, who was clutching white-knuckled at the edge of the desk, who was inhaling desperately through his nose. "Not here, Fraser, not here." He released his hold on the desk and yanked Fraser to his feet.
Fraser changed tacks then, leaning in and taking Ray's mouth again, licking, tasting him, loving this, loving this. He pushed Ray back against the desk, further back, and suddenly Ray was pushing at him, tearing his mouth from his.
Fraser blinked at Ray, sprawled across the desk beneath him.
"Let's get out of here," Ray said urgently.
"Yes." Fraser pulled himself off of Ray and took a step back. Ray pushed himself up on his elbows, and grinned. "Man. I think I'm good at this logic stuff." He slid forward onto his feet.
Fraser said, "Ray, I..."
Ray took him, turned him, propelled him towards the door. "We're leaving. Now. Just go with it, Frase, okay?"
Fraser stumbled towards the door as Ray urged him on. "You think this is -"
"I know this is," Ray said firmly.
"You didn't let me finish."
"You didn't have to. This is, Fraser. This is us. Trust me. I worked it out." Ray pushed through the door of the station and turned around, winked outrageously at Fraser. "Besides. I got a good feeling about this."
Impossible. The man was impossible. And Fraser felt that same uncurling in his stomach as before, this great, vast, wholly illogical world expanding before him - and he went with it.
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