Rating: Slash. G, maybe PG. Because they kiss.
Archived at: Here. My livejournal.
Disclaimers: I don't own them or have any copywrites, nor is any money made in this endeavor. I do, however, love them, the muses are mine -- okay, I'm theirs -- and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Feedback: I'll accept constructive praise and criticism.
Requests and Dedications: To Linda and Pam for the read-throughs and encouragement to post. And, as always, to SORT, because you're amazing. I have to also give thanks to the boys for talking and giving me the image that started this all.
Notes: This snippet/ficlet was born from a challenge I had issued to myself: take an idea/image and write -- no re-editing or mulling over thoughts -- for 30 minutes. Well, I was multi-tasking at the time, so the time limit became 45 minutes. But this is the result. There has been a very minimal amount of editing and beta (pretty much, there was a sentence or two that made no sense that I had to tweak). I'm happy with the results, and since this was an experiment/challenge, I didn't want to spend a lot of time making this into something it's not.
Benton Fraser woke up precisely at 5:00 a.m., like he did every other morning, but on this particular day he knew something was different. What exactly that difference was, he couldn't quite put his finger on. Yet.
As he shaved, showered and got ready for the day, he mused on the elusive fact -- wishing desperately for not the first time that his father's ghost would, if only for a few minutes, reappear to impart some insight. Even if said insight was given via some long-winded and nebulous story, Fraser knew, in the end, he'd have something to hold onto.
Sitting at the island of Ray's apartment, Fraser sipped his tea and read the latest news, looking over the newsprint every-so-often to watch Ray move around the apartment - searching for the gift for Francesca's baby while eating his bagel and cream cheese.
They had returned to Chicago last week when they'd heard Francesca had given birth to a beautiful baby girl, Maria. And for that week, Fraser had yet to set foot in the consulate.
Instead he and Ray had acted as tourists, spending days touring the museums and walking along the lakefront with Diefenbaker discussing where they would go next, if it was wise to return to their adventure now or wait until the weather would be more feasible for their search for Franklin's hand. And at night, they'd pack up Ray's apartment; eat pizza and watch sports or a movie or just talking, before saying their good-nights and Fraser would sink into the couch and sleep.
At the Vecchio household the excitement over the latest addition to the family made Fraser forget his query for a while. There were too many people to hug or talk to, and a baby to marvel over, although that was far more Ray's thing. From virtually the time they'd walked in, Ray had been glued to the couch, talking to Francesca and smiling at the tiny creature with the thick shock of black hair and the olive skin. Thank goodness Maria had inherited her mother's beauty and coloring, Fraser thought. Although, he continued, with her luck, she'd probably inherited Turnbull's grace. He suddenly had a horrifyingly humorous image of a gawky teenage Maria mixing her metaphors like her mother and stumbling over her own two feet like her father. He smiled and looked over at the couch again in time to catch Ray watching him with an expression that was a mix of contentment and happiness, colored with a hint of some secret that seemed like only the two of them shared. Maria was asleep in Ray's arms, next to him on the couch, Francesca began talking and Ray turned to her, his smile changing.
Suddenly his earlier ponderings came back along with a warmth that pooled in his stomach and spread through his body, making his nerves feel alive.
The sensation continued as they said their goodbyes, climbing into the GTO and silently driving back to Ray's apartment. As they sat together on the couch, watching the hockey game, Fraser remembered the smile Ray had shared with him and Fraser knew. Suddenly definitions he'd always held concrete became flexible and his universe slightly shifted. Ray was home with him. Ray was Fraser's home and his family. They were, as Ray had said that first day, a duet. Harmonious. In sync. In love.
"I love you." He hadn't meant to say just that and not out of nowhere, as they watched a hockey player attempt a hat trick. But Ray, being Ray, didn't blink an eye.
"Likewise, Fraser." Ray looked at him and there again was the secret-sharing smile.
"In love." Such discoveries had obviously taken more brainpower than he thought.
"I know. I've known, and now you do too." Warm fingers laced through his own.
Now he knows.
He knows the sound Ray's stubble makes as he runs his fingers across Ray's cheek, knows the feel of Ray's hand winding around his chest and he knows the taste of Ray's kiss.
And he knows that when they pull apart, hours later, with clothes and hair disheveled and air a precious commodity -- that he will join Ray in the bedroom. That at Ray's side, he is home.