Ex Libris

by brooklinegirl




The concept for this started off as a fic for the Genre Challenge at DS Flashfiction and then evolved into a fic for Pearl-o, with a theme we have been discussing for lo, these many months now. So I shaped it to her personal Fraser kink, and finished it in time, and here it is for the lovely Pearl's very own birthday. On time, even! I love you, darling!

Summary: If this were a romance novel, Fraser thinks now, his life would be easier, and in general a lot more fun, and the hand stroking him right now would not be his own.

Beta thanks to both Lynnmonster who went over this repeatedly for me and gave me so much direction with it, and to Estrella, who gave me a shove when I needed it, and let me know when I wasn't making sense

Fraser sometimes thinks that if this were a mystery story, then he'd be able to solve it. It's what he does, after all, as a profession, so one might easily think that he'd be able pick up all the clues he needed. There would be only one accurate way to interpret things, so Fraser would be able to sift through it all, figure it out, and confront the culprit. The mystery of Ray and himself, however, is proving to be beyond him.

Fraser sits in the uncomfortable chair by Ray's desk and watches Ray on the phone. Ray is arguing, which he does so well and enjoys so much, and his attention is on that entirely, so Fraser is free to stare. He thinks that if there is a clue he has missed, it's not for lack of trying. If this were a mystery story, things would be easier. Something would fall into place - all of a sudden, unexpectedly - and he'd know, for a fact. He would, perhaps, find that one key fingerprint - the damning piece of evidence - somewhere. High on his cheek, maybe, if Ray grasped his head and pulled him close for a kiss. Or on his hip, possibly, if Ray held onto him, held him down, pinned him.

Fraser closes his eyes momentarily, but - "Wake up, we're in. The guy's there now, and we're gonna go see him, if I have to shoot the secretary and her assistant." Ray leaps up, is shrugging into his black leather coat, pushing his sunglasses onto his face, patting his pocket to make sure he has his actual glasses, the ones he needs in order to see. So Fraser gets up, straightens his uniform jacket, tucks his hat under his arm, and follows Ray out the door.

He glances back sharply, and Dief, with a snort and a sigh, gets up from under Ray's desk and follows behind.

Fraser lies on his bunk with his desk lamp tilted towards his bed so he can read. He's halfway through reading Les Miserables for the second time, but it's not keeping his attention. He lets the book close, rests it neatly on his chest. Staring meditatively at the ceiling, he thinks to himself that if his life were a novel, then he would find a way of letting Ray know. He purses his lips thoughtfully, and considers his options. A chance encounter, maybe, on a moonlit night, where everything would just fall into place and all would be known so easily that he wouldn't have to say a word.

He frowns. He had that, though, that night in the park, after the incident with Luanne Russell, when Ray was lit only by firelight and his smile was tilted and incandescent. He didn't say anything then, only told stories that didn't come anywhere close to the truth of what he wanted to be saying. And lying here now, alone in his dim storage-closet of a room, he wonders what it would actually take, what extraordinary circumstances would have to present themselves in order for him to open his mouth and just say it.

It's not until later, after he has walked Diefenbaker, after he has secured the Consulate for the night and shut off his desk lamp, stripped down to his long johns and gotten into bed, that his mind wanders to a new idea. If this were a romance novel - of the type that Francesca reads, the covers of which are lurid displays of lust for all to see - if this were that type of novel, then however he managed to finally tell Ray, what would happen next would be - interesting.


Fraser shifts on the cot, and gives it some thought. He thinks that it would involve Ray holding onto him - grabbing hold of his shoulders and pushing him down on some surface - Ray's desk, perhaps, at the station. Of course, realistically, they could never actually behave like that, but for right now, this is his thought process - or fantasy, if you will - and in his thoughts, his fantasy, Ray is contemplating him from across the desk, Ray is interested in - excited by - what Fraser has just said, and Ray does not want to wait another minute. Ray is impulsive, and Fraser rises to meet him as he comes around the desk, and then Ray is holding onto him, is kissing him.

Fraser, in that moment in his head, doesn't hesitate. He leans into the kiss, he holds onto Ray, and when Ray leans into him, pushes him backwards onto his desk and keeps kissing him, Fraser allows it. Fraser wants it, Fraser eagerly draws Ray down on top of him, allowing case files to fall to the floor. The angle would be awkward, but he wouldn't care, because Ray would be pressing against him, would be holding him there, kissing him, and more.

If this were a romance novel, Fraser thinks now, his life would be easier, and in general a lot more fun, and the hand stroking him right now would not be his own.

You frame my thoughts and fashion me within.

You stop my tongue, and teach my heart to speak.

You calm the storm that passion did begin.

Strong through your cause, but by your virtue weak.

Dark is the world where your light shined never

Well is he born that may behold you ever.

Fraser can find a thousand ways to tell Ray how he feels. Finding the words are not a problem, but they're not his words. They belong to Keats, to Spenser, to Bronte and Byron and Yeats. The words fit perfectly to the shape of the ache in his chest, but they're somebody else's words, not his own. Fraser thinks - he knows, really - that Ray will accept nothing less than what Fraser himself has to offer.

Fraser thinks of the books he read and re-read when he was young, the stories of young men bonding on the battlefield, dying tragic deaths, clutched in the arms of their comrades. He thinks of how he'd read those books nearly to shreds, how he'd practically - and in some cases, actually - memorized them. Thinking of them now brings almost-forgotten scenarios to life in his mind, and he wonders if he has always been this lonely.

He hadn't thought about it when he was young - hadn't known anything different to compare it to, so perhaps didn't recognize it as loneliness, per se - but thinking on it, now, what he had wanted most - what he wants now - is that closeness. That companionship, where one would be literally willing to die for one's friend, where one's life was lessened, permanently, by the death of one's friend, where even before death, one's life was lived for -

Oh. Fraser stops, abruptly, as he is striding down the hall of the Consulate. Turnbull - following too closely behind him, as always - runs into him with a great deal of force, loses control of the files he is carrying, and gets paper cuts on three of his fingers. As Turnbull darts off to staunch the blood-flow, Fraser bends to pick up the pages from the floor, absentmindedly sorting them into order as his mind is completely distracted by the realization of something he really should have known before now.

He's wanted this. He's wanted this for a long time, he's wanted this forever. Not just Ray; he knew that already, he's known that for some time now. Just - he's been assuming it has something to do with the comfort level, the intimacy he's allowed himself with Ray Kowalski. Which, of course, it in every way does. He allows that sort of closeness because he feels that close to - that intimate with - him. It's what he's been looking for, and he has it in Ray.

He wants to know Ray and be known by him, and more than that, even. Wanting has never been the problem. Fraser shakes his head, staring down unseeing at the papers in his hands. He's lived his whole life wanting. He's wanted that whole scenario: the needing, the camaraderie, the partnership, all of it. It's not just Ray that he wants, it's the whole ideal, and now he has it.

Fraser blinks to himself, bemused - he has that. He has Ray, Ray who will go anywhere and do anything for him, who would, Fraser thinks, hold him close if he were to die - on a battlefield or on the streets of Chicago or even in the snowfields of the Territories. And - this is the new thought that is staggering to Fraser in its sheer simplicity - since they have everything Fraser has been wanting for so long, wouldn't it be a shame, a terrible, wasteful, stupid shame, to not say anything until the battlefield deathbed scene?

He wants Ray, and he has Ray, and all he needs, now, is to find the way to say it.

If this were a fairy tale, Fraser would get his happily ever after. He'd find the words, be the hero, save the day.

But itís not a fairy tale, it's Fraser's life. So what he gets is a punch in the face by Mr. Clancy, the doughnut shop manager they're investigating, who has been poisoning the manager of the cab company next door. Clancy is panicked and flailing and really no threat, but Ray has him on the floor in seconds, shoving the cuffs on him and pinning him there with a foot in the small of his back. Ray then holds his hand out and Fraser grasps it, allowing Ray to hoist him to his feet.

"You okay?" Ray asks, panting, and grabs Fraser's face, tilting it to the side to look at where he'd been hit.

Fraser's face throbs slightly, and Ray's hands feel cool against his cheek. Ray's breath is still coming fast, and Fraser feels it soft against his mouth as Ray worriedly examines his face. "I'm fine," Fraser manages, and Ray lets him go with a rough pat to the cheek.

"Good thing you got a hard head," Ray says, and Fraser grins even though it makes his cheek hurt.

Ray smokes in the car on the way home, rolling down the window so the smoke goes out his side. He spends the ride casting worried glances in Fraser's direction. Fraser spends the ride explaining to Ray the effects that even infrequent smoking has on one's lungs. Dief sits in the back and makes his wolf-cough noises, which Fraser explains is his way of indicating his dislike of Ray's cigarettes. Ray manages to mostly drown out the both of them by turning the radio up by increments.

When they get upstairs, Ray looks at Fraser's rapidly developing black eye and goes to the kitchen. He returns with a bag of frozen broccoli and puts it on Fraser's face. Fraser blinks at him with his one good eye. This isn't a mystery, a fairy tale, a poem. This is Fraser and this is Ray and this is Fraser taking a risk.

He reaches forward, putting his hand on the back of Ray's head and pulling him close and kissing his mouth as tenderly as he has been thinking about it for all these months. Ray pulls back a little, looking startled, but that might have more to do with the bag of frozen vegetables still stuck between them than anything else.

Ray blinks at him, and Fraser presses the broccoli more firmly against his face. "What was that?" Ray asks carefully.

"Speak to me only with thine eyes," Fraser says, and Dief snorts pointedly.

Ray frowns, bewildered, and Fraser amends, quickly, with a glance at Dief, "Ah, what I mean is - I've been wanting this. You. This."

"Oh," says Ray. "Wait, what?"

And this isn't a romance novel, so explaining takes a while. Ray listens while Fraser talks about the camaraderie and the battlefield and how it's friendship only more, and how it's the "more" part that's important. Ray starts looking confused again, so Fraser gives up and just kisses him some more. It's not till he's on his back on the couch, with Ray pressing him down and the bag of broccoli gone completely missing, that he manages to gasp out, "You. I've been wanting you."

"I got that, Frase," Ray says, with perfect dry humor, with his shirt rucked up and half-unbuttoned. He's still straddling Fraser at an awkward angle because he never quite managed to get his knee properly wedged between Fraser's hip and the back of the couch.

Fraser looks up at him, trying to catch his breath. This isn't a book, it's real. Ray's hips are under Fraser's hands, Ray is hard up against him. Ray is messy and panting and grinning. Nobody's a prince and nobody's a frog. There's no one solution to the mystery of the two of them. He reaches up to put his hand on Ray's neck, draws Ray's mouth back down to his own.

And it turns out Fraser didn't have to say much, and what he did manage certainly wasn't poetry. But it was enough to get him here, in a romance of his own.


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