Title: Winter's End

Author: Seana Renay.

Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski.

Rating: Slash, PG-13.

Summary: Wherein Fraser muses about the weather, his destiny and Ray.

Disclaimer: Not mine. No money. Don't sue.

Feedback: Comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Date: March 2001.


I can't look at him. It sounds trite, even in my own head, but he's too beautiful. Contented and happy, warm in his bed.

I don't belong here.

A light snow began to fall earlier in the evening, while we were making love. I didn't notice until afterward, when Ray informed me. "It's so pretty, Fraser," he said tiredly. I reminded him of how intensely he disliked cold weather and snow. "I know I do," he said, "and I'm gonna hate it tomorrow, but right now it's so pretty."

Ray summed up my feelings on our entire relationship with that single sentence.

I do love him. I've never loved anything quite as thoroughly and honestly as I love Ray. This Ray. My Ray. What I hate is our situation. I hate the lies and the pretense. I hate the cold, steely look in his eyes at the Precinct, when he's determined not to allow even a hint of improper affection to show through. Before we became lovers, Ray was never concerned with such things. I wonder at times if his careful respect for my personal space is not infinitely more telling than it would be if he had his hands all over me.

I hate the mornings after nights like these. I hate walking out of this apartment, with the overwhelming feeling that I'm walking quite certainly toward my doom. I could lose him any day. Any second. To death. To a woman or another man. Even, apparently, to Las Vegas, if history does indeed repeat itself.

If there were even one person with whom I'd had a relationship and had not lost to one fate or another, I might be less worried than I am. Unfortunately, I've never been what one might call lucky in love. And with Ray, the feeling is even stronger than it was with Victoria that we are living on borrowed time.

I certainly will lose him. I'm inclined to believe that I was never meant to have him at all. Really, it's only a matter of time.

Ray was right. The snow is lovely. It is difficult to see directly out the window, but watching it fall back-lit by the streetlights is quite a breathtaking sight. It makes my heart ache for home, but I don't even know where that is anymore.

I don't belong here. This isn't real. This isn't my life, and it's most definitely not his. This is wrong. This is, effectively, a lie. How can I stay with him, when I know what a mistake is being made? How can I put him through this, and put him through the pain that will undoubtedly follow?

He's too beautiful. And he loves me. I'm not strong enough to say no to Ray, to refuse all he's offering me, even if it's in our best interests for me to decline. I think I might be the most selfish person I know.

"What's that word, Fraser?" he asks suddenly, shattering the oppressive silence of the room, interrupting the bitter echo of my own thoughts. "That word, when someone talks real nice? Sounds like elegant."

"Eloquent, Ray," I say, almost entirely without thought.

That was a bit non sequitur, wasn't it? I can't imagine what made him ask. I wait for an explanation, but none comes. Perhaps it was just a fleeting thought. Ray is a great many things, but he is very rarely linear.

Ray tells me often that he is extremely happy with our relationship. He is a romantic at heart, and I know that he takes professions of love quite seriously. While I wholeheartedly believe him, I can't help but wonder at times where our love exists in the context of reality. It is very real to us. It is very real in this apartment, in this bedroom. But outside, it has never been acknowledged or even suggested. How real can a relationship be that only exists inside four walls? How can that be enough for Ray, who's experienced what a true, whole love can be? When will it cease to be enough for him?

Ray has argued, in so many words, that our perception determines our reality. "It is good enough for us, Fraser," he told me once. "It doesn't gotta be good enough for everybody else. Only two people matter in us, and that's you and that's me."

If that were completely true, if there were no outside factors hindering the two of us, Ray and I could walk down the street holding hands, with utter confidence in our safety and acceptance. This hiding, this sneaking around, would be unnecessary. We could share our happiness with our friends, whom we have both agreed are all the family we truly need. We could date, really date. Ray doesn't even feel comfortable going to the movies alone with me anymore. He's paranoid, he says he feels stares on the back of his neck, like people are waiting for us to kiss so they have an excuse to physically harm us.

If it were completely true, I would be buying Ray a ring by now.

But it's not completely true. It's hardly true at all. And it's hardly fair.


"Yes, Ray?" I want him to say anything, ask anything. Make these thoughts go away. These are thoughts for tomorrow morning; they have no place here.

"The snow will be there in the morning. Come back over here and keep me warm."

I smile, rising from my uncomfortable chair by the window, climbing back into the bed beside him. I will gladly keep Ray warm. Warm and safe and loved. And I hope tonight, as I've hoped every night before, that it will be enough.