The following snippets were all written for the livejournal Due South Flashfiction community. I'll be adding more from time to time, with the most recent ones at the top of the page.

*Kaleidoscope Eyes Challenge
*Door Challenge
*Movie Challenge
*Cliche Challenge
*Documentation Challenge
*180 Degrees Challenge
*Telephone Challenge
*Curtain Challenge
*Masturbation Challenge
*Hourglass Challenge
*Make Up Challenge
*Voyeur Challenge





This little snip was written in the very last minutes of the Kaleidoscope Eyes Challenge (i.e., "get 'em drunk or high"),when I realized that I'd actually been the one to suggest this challenge.

In Vino Veritas
by Beth H.
November 2003

"I'm tellin' you, Jack . . . he was talking."

Huey looked up at his partner and let out a deep breath. "And I'm telling you that it's the tequila talking. Or the Jack Daniels. Or the Amaretto. Or . . . what else did you have to drink tonight, anyway?"

"It's not . . . ."

"What else did you drink tonight?"

"Just a beer!"

"And?"

"And nothing."

"Dewey."

"Okay, maybe a coupla beers." Dewey looked down at the toy gun in his hand. "And maybe a shot of vodka."

Huey stared at him.

"Fine. Two shots. What are you? My mother? I heard him talkin'."

"What was he talking about? Politics? Religion? Classical music?"

"The wolf?" Dewey wrinkled his brow. "I don't think wolves know about that kinda stuff. Nah, it was something about that poodle. Like, I think he wanted to hump her or something, but the other guy said he had to stick with Fraser tonight. No . . . Benton. He said he had to stick with Benton."

"What other guy? Another wolf was talking to Diefenbaker?"

Dewey shook his head. "There's only one wolf, Jack. Did you see another wolf in here tonight? No, it was that Mountie. The one with the funny hat."

"They all wear funny hats. Or . . . do you mean Turnbull? The wolf was talking to Turnbull?"

"He wasn't wearing . . . oh, yeah . . . he had that Santa hat on, didn't he?. No, not him. The old guy."

"What old . . . ."

"Oh come on," Dewey said, leaning forward. "Now I suppose you're gonna tell me you didn't see the old guy in the hat."

"You're right. That's exactly what I'm going to say. And do you know why I'm going to say it? Because there wasn't an old Mountie in a funny hat, just like there wasn't a talking wolf. Just Fraser and Ray pretending half the squad hadn't seen them necking by the supply closet, and . . . "

"Huh?" Dewey stared blearily at his partner. "Fraser and Vecchio were what?"

"Necking. Kissing. Under the mistletoe. Don't tell me you didn't see that. You were standing right next to me."

"Kissing?"

"Yes."

"Under the mistletoe? In front of the whole squad?"

"Well . . .yeah," Huey answered, although he sounded a little less certain this time.

Dewey shook his head and unscrewed the cap from the wine box on his desk. "You know what I think?"

"What?"

"I think we both need another drink."

Huey thought for a couple of seconds about whether hearing a wolf talking to an imaginary Mountie was really any stranger than seeing Fraser and Vecchio making out in front of all their co-workers, and then he pushed his empty glass across his partner's desk.

"I think you're right."

(Back To The Index)




Another variation on a theme. Written for the Door Challenge (with a few extra doors thrown in for good measure), this story is apparently set after - and vaguely related to - my entries in the Telephone Challenge and the Movie Challenge.

Small World
by Beth H
(c) October 2003

When the kitchen cabinet doors were slammed shut for the fifth time, Fraser got up from the couch and went into the kitchen.

"Ray, you're going to have to calm down."

Ray spun around and shook his head. "No, Fraser, you do not get to tell me to calm down. And do you know why you don't get to tell me to calm down? You do not get to tell me to calm down because it's my parents we're going to see. If we were going to see your family, then you'd get to freak out. That's how it works."

Fraser leaned back against the counter top and crossed his arms over his chest. "Yes, well, in that case, it would appear that I'm no longer going to be allowed any opportunity to . . . 'freak out,' am I?"

Before the words were even out of his mouth, he regretted them. Of course Ray had nothing to do with the sudden departure of his family, and it was unfair of him to give Ray any cause to believe he should assume even a small part of the responsibility for their disappearance. "Ray, I didn't . . . ."

"Sorry, Fraser." Ray draped his arm over Fraser's shoulder and pulled him to his side. "You know I didn't mean it that way, right?"

"Ray, I didn't mean to suggest it's your fault that . . . " He glanced over at the closet door. ". . . that my . . . that they . . . ."

Ray tightened his hold on Fraser. "Hey, you can't be sure they're gone for good, right? Maybe they'll . . . ."

"I'm sure," Fraser said, shaking his head. "I should just be grateful that I was given a second chance to . . . .well . . . ."

"Look, Fraser, I know it's not my fault that . . . I'm just sorry, okay? Sorry they're gone and sorry I've been acting like such an ass today. Just a little on edge, you know?"

"I understand, Ray." Then Fraser frowned. "Although I'm a bit unclear about what has you so anxious today. It's not as if we haven't shared a number of meals with your parents over the course of the past two months, and since they already know we're . . . ."

"Yeah, yeah . . . I know all that, okay? But tonight's different. I know them, Fraser. I know the way they do things. Special occasion. That's what both of them have been saying. Special occasion. They're up to something. I know it. The last time they . . . ."

"Ray."

"What?"

"We're going to be late."

Ray sighed. "Yeah. Time to go."

~*~*~*~

As trailer homes went, the one the Kowalskis bought after they moved back to the midwest was pretty hard to beat. It wasn't new. Even with the money they got for their trade-in, Barbara and Damian couldn't quite manage to swing that. But it was only a year old and had less than a thousand miles on it, thanks to its original owner, a recently retired fireman who'd bought it in Iowa with the intention of visiting every state in the union, but who'd only got as far as Door County, Wisconsin, where he met a waitress by the name of Lorraine who got carsick whenever she spent more than twenty minutes on the road.

The trailer was over thirty feet long. Spacious. It had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, and came complete with custom-made awnings for all the windows and doors. No basement or attic, of course, but the Kowalskis had put most of their things into storage before making the trip back to Illinois, and they didn't look to be in any rush to fill the trailer with new clutter.

Ray paused before he knocked, raising his eyebrows at the sight of the brass wolf's head knocker that had been attached to the door since the last time he'd been to visit. He looked down at Dief, then glanced over his shoulder at Fraser.

"Redecorating."

"So it would appear."

"Coincidence?"

Fraser smiled and shook his head. "Unlikely, Ray."

"Yeah." Ray grinned, bending down to ruffle Diefenbaker's fur. "I didn't think so."

He stood up and pulled the brass ring back, tapping out "Shave and a haircut . . . " but before he reached " . . . two bits," the door was pulled open by his father, who was wearing a herringbone sports jacket and carrying a shopping bag.

Ray stared at him for a second, then tilted his head to one side. "Um . . . we get the wrong day or something? You look like you're on your way out."

Damian stepped aside to let the two men and one wolf into the trailer. "Don't ask me what's going on; I'm not in charge of the social plans around here. You know that."

Fraser shut the door behind him just as Barbara came out from the back bedroom.

"Oh thank heavens you're all here. I'd feel so bad if we arrived late, although in the circumstances, I don't suppose it would . . . ."

"What do you mean 'late,' Mom? Aren't we eating here?"

Barbara patted her son's arm. "We've all been invited over to . . . well, you know them, of course." She adjusted a blue silk scarf around her neck, then looked at Ray, who'd just re-opened the front door. "Stanley, you're letting leaves blow into the living room."

"Sorry." Ray closed the door again. "I thought you said we . . . "

"Not that door, dear."

Ray turned to Fraser and whispered, "The place only has one door. I think my mom's losin' it, Fraser."

"Damian, do you have the dessert?"

"Right here," he said, lifting the shopping bag.

Barbara smiled at her husband. "Thank you, dear. Let me get the door."

Ray frowned as his mom reached for the door handle of the linen closet, but the moment she opened the door, Diefenbaker dashed across the living room and ran straight into the closet.

"Dief! Get out of there!"

Barbara just smiled. "He must know dinner's almost ready. It smells wonderful, doesn't it?"

And with that, Ray's mother followed Dief through the door of the linen closet and disappeared from view.

"What the hell's going on here?"

Damian shrugged and adjusted his hold on the shopping bag. "Don't ask me. I just do what your mother tells me to do." He chuckled, and then he, too, disappeared into the linen closet.

Ray stared at Fraser. "Do you . . . ?"

Fraser shook his head. "I don't . . . I suppose we should . . . ."

"Come along, Son." Fraser spun around and stared at the closet, where his father stood, holding the door open. "It's not like you to dawdle."

Unable to think of anything to say, the two men followed Bob Fraser through the door and found themselves in . . . utter chaos. People were everywhere, although most of them seemed to have been drafted into helping set the table. Diefenbaker, who was less than useful with table setting at the best of times, was running through the house, being chased by a brown and white terrier.

"Oh man," Ray said. " . . . .Sparky?"

At the sound of the name, the terrier left its pursuit and dashed over to Ray, jumping up on him and barking. Ray knelt down beside the dog and let it lick his face over and over again.

Ray took the dog in his arms and stood up. "Fraser," he said a little unsteadily, "meet Sparky. Sparky, this is Fraser."

"Your . . . old dog, Ray?"

Ray nodded.

Damian came into the dining room with a platter of rare roast beef. "We heard some scratching inside the bedroom closet door the other day, and when I opened the door . . . well, there was Sparky."

"And you didn't think this was weird enough to mention, Dad?"

"To tell the truth, it just slipped my mind."

"Slipped your mind?"

"What with Bob and Caroline moving in and all."

Fraser stared at his father. "You've moved in . . . with the Kowalskis?"

"Well, not exactly with them, Son. But they said they had plenty of room here, and your mother said there was nothing more annoying than interfering in-laws when a couple is just starting out, and . . . " "Hmmph. Don't think I don't know what she really meant," Martha Fraser muttered from the sofa.

Bob sighed. "Mother, for the last time, Caroline wasn't talking about you and Dad. Didn't she invite you to live . . .well, to come stay with us?"

"You don't have to convince me of anything, Son. I'm just an old woman. It's not important what I think."

"Oh, for the love of . . . . We'll talk later, Mother." Bob turned to his son. "Anyway, there was more room over here, and your mother thought a change of scene might be nice, so . . . "

"You didn't think I might want to know you weren't gone for good?"

Bob frowned. "Didn't we say we were just moving? I could have sworn . . . Caroline!" he yelled. "Come on out here!"

Ray turned to Fraser. "You getting the impression that our folks have a hell of a lot more in common than we thought?"

"What is it, Bob? Oh, Benton. You're here!" She embraced her son, then stepped back to look at him. "I swear, you get more handsome every day. As do you, Stanley."

Ray groaned and buried his face in his hands.

"What is it? Did I say something wrong?"

"He goes by 'Ray,' Mom."

Caroline frowned. "But I was sure Barbara said . . . . "

"Ray," Fraser said firmly.

A few minutes later, all the food had been brought out from the kitchen and everyone was seated at the table when a door buzzer sounded.

Caroline stood up. "Everybody should just get started with dinner. I won't be a minute."

Fraser looked after his mother as she went into the kitchen.

"She'll be back in a minute. It'll just be one of the neighbors."

"You have neighbors?"

"Well, of course we do, Son. We're dead; we're not hermits."

Caroline returned to the table, shaking her head. "Bob, do you remember that rather unpleasant man who lived near us before we moved? Apparently he's living right next door now!"

"Good Lord. What did he want?"

"He was complaining about all the noise he's been hearing for the past week right outside his front door. Blamed us for it, if you can imagine. That Mr. Vecchio said no one in his family would have anything to do with a bowling alley."

"Stanley . . . I mean, Ray? Are you all right, dear? Benton, get Ray some water! Oh dear."

(Back To The Index)




Written for the Movie Challenge.

Coming Attractions
by Beth H.
(c) September 2003

Ray laughed when Fraser walked into the living room.

"Chased you out of the kitchen, didn't she? I told you Mom wasn't going to let you help with the washing up."

"Perhaps your father would appreciate . . . ."

"Fraser, you want a little piece of advice? Do not suggest to my dad that he needs help with this. He almost snapped my fingers off when I tried to hand him a screwdriver."

"I hope you know better than to listen to a word that boy says, Benton," Damian Kowalski said from the narrow space in back of the entertainment center. "I just have one more wire to connect and . . . there. All set."

He came out from behind the unit and set the tools down on the coffee table.

"Barbara!" he yelled. "The dishes can wait. Come on out here."

"Oh, for heaven's sake, Damian," she said, coming into the room. "Sometimes you're as bad as a kid with a new toy."

"This isn't a toy," he huffed. "State-of-the art equipment."

Ray snorted. "It's just a VCR, Dad, not a prototype for a Russian spy satellite."

Damian shook his head, then patted the top of the television. "We'll see if you're still laughing in a few minutes, boy. Barbara, take a seat on the couch. You too, Benton, on the other side of that smart-mouthed son of mine."

He waited until everyone was seated, then put a tape into the VCR and hit play. For a moment, there was nothing but blue, then the image of a drooling, wide-eyed, bald baby filled the t.v. screen.

"Oh heavens! Just look at that precious face!" Barbara turned toward her red-faced son, then looked back at the screen and beamed. "He still looks the same, Damian. He hasn't changed a bit."

"Mom!"

Fraser looked back and forth between the screen and his partner, then nodded. "You really do seem to have retained a great many of your youthful features, Ray."

"Shut up, Fraser," Ray muttered.

"Although you rarely drool when you're awake these days."

"What did I just say? I'm warning . . . ."

"Quiet, Son. Let everyone hear the . . . here it comes!"

The scene switched to a blond toddler dressed only in an oversized Cubs t-shirt, holding a wooden spoon in his hand as if it were a microphone, and singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

"Pretty good sound quality, isn't it?" Damian said, standing with his arms crossed over his chest. "Ernie Pandarski's kid, Tom, knows a guy who converts 8mm films to video tape. All those old home movies were just gathering dust in Aunt Sophie's attic, so I figured, what the hell, right?"

Barbara smiled at him. "This was a wonderful idea, Damian. We haven't looked at some of these in . . . oh look! There's Stanley and Matt Esposito in their Cub Scout uniforms. Benton, were you ever in the Scouts?"

Fraser nodded. "For a brief period of time, Mrs. Kowalski. However, most unfortunately, we were never able to acquire official uniforms."

"Yeah," said Ray. "That's because they didn't have any Boy Scout uniforms made for a girl."

Barbara frowned a little. "You had a girl in your troop? I had no idea things were so . . . forward-thinking where you grew up, Benton."

He smiled. "I believe Joon would have preferred to join the Girl Scouts, but the only other children interested in the scouting program were her brother and me. I'm afraid she was outvoted."

"I don't know, Fraser. From what you told me . . . ." Ray groaned as the next scene began. "You couldn't just let that one die a natural death, could you Dad? You know there's no law that says you have to transfer all the movies."

"I didn't transfer everything," Damian said. "Just the ones I know your mother liked the most."

Ray turned to his mom and scowled. "You got a secret thing for guys in drag?"

"Oh hush. You were a wonderful Mary Todd Lincoln in the fifth grade play."

Ray slumped down and half-covered his face with a pillow. "Never let anyone make you go to an all-boys Catholic grade school, Fraser."

Fraser turned to face Ray. "You know . . . in my admittedly limited experience, one's even more likely to find oneself wearing a dress at an all-girl's Catholic school."

"Huh? Oh. Oh yeah." Ray grinned. "Too bad Dad doesn't have film of that somewhere on this tape."

"Look here, Benton" said Damian. "See that lady in the green dress?"

"I'm afraid I don't . . . ."

"The one hiding behind the potted palm."

"Ah. Yes, I believe I can see her now."

"That was Raymond's grandmother. Never did like having her picture taken. She lived just long enough to see Raymond graduate from highschool."

"I'm sure she was a lovely woman, sir."

"Hey! That's the day we first got the Goat running! Check it out, Fraser. It was still baby blue." Ray looked at his younger self mugging for the camera and laughed. "Stella wanted me to keep it that color. She said it went with her eye shadow."

"What made you change the color, then?"

"I was boxing a lot back then. Okay, I was getting punched in the face a lot. Black went with my eye shadow."

Fraser smiled, then turned back to the screen where Ray, wearing a tuxedo, was feeding cake to his new bride.

Ray's eyes darted over to his partner. "We don't have to keep watching this if you're getting tired of it," he whispered.

Fraser shook his head. "It's fine, Ray."

"That's it for the tape. I'll just . . . " Damian frowned. "It looks like there's something else here."

Ray's eyes widened. "Wow! That's cool. How'd you get a copy of my homerun?"

Damian stared at the t.v. screen. "I didn't. Barbara? We haven't seen this, have we?"

"No, dear. We've just heard Stanley talk about it." She reached over and took her son's hand. "That was very good, sweetheart."

"Oh heavens!" she gasped, squeezing Ray's hand tightly. "That looks dangerous, jumping off a roof into . . . is that Lake Michigan?"

Ray stared, open-mouthed, at the screen."What the hell? Fraser? Did you see anyone with a camera that day?"

Fraser swallowed hard. "No . . . not that I . . . no."

Damian looked away from the screen, now showing an image of his son jumping through a skylight, and faced Ray.

"I don't suppose you know what's going on here, son."

Ray shook his head. "Not a fucking clue."

"Raymond. Your mother's right next to you."

"Sorry, Mom."

"Stanley? Is something wrong?"

Damian could see his son shiver as the image of Raymond and Fraser sledding down a mountainside flashed across the screen. The two men looked at each other. They didn't look like they had any better idea of what was going on than he did.

"I don't know, Mom. It's . . . there's something kinda queer about this tape."

Damian watched as an image of his son . . . kissing his partner appeared on the screen. He sat down heavily on the arm of the couch, and reached for his wife's free hand.

Barbara looked at her son. "Would someone please tell me what's going on? I don't remember anyone filming us at . . . where is that, Stanley?"

The scene playing out on the screen was - impossible.

Ray and Fraser standing next to a grill in the backyard of a house Damian had never seen. Barbara, her hair no longer grey, but pure white, sitting in a lawn chair nearby, leaning over to pet a small puppy. Damian, leaning heavily on a wooden cane, telling a story about his days in the merchant marines to Fraser. And Ray, sporting a goatee, one arm wrapped around Fraser's waist, slipping pieces of steak to a much-aged Diefenbaker, who lay curled up at his feet.

Finally, the screen went bright blue. The tape had ended.

Ray looked over at Fraser. "So . . . um . . . ."

Fraser blinked, then shook his head. "No idea."

Damian squeezed his silent wife's shoulder, then got up and walked over to the VCR and removed the tape.

For a minute, nobody spoke, then Barbara got up from the couch and said, "I think we could all use a nice cup of tea."

"Could I give you a hand, Mrs. Kowalski?" Fraser said, starting to rise.

"Oh heavens, no. You just stay here and . . . Benton, under the circumstances, don't you think it's time you started calling me Barbara?"

Damian watched his wife leave the room, then turned his attention to examining his fingernails. When he looked up, Raymond and his . . . partner were staring at each other, both looking a little like Matt Krawcek did after he'd been on a week-long bender.

"So . . . " he started, then closed his mouth again and shook his head. That was one hell of a movie. "So . . . ."

Ray scrubbed at his face and sighed. "You got something you want to ask, go ahead and ask."

Damian looked at the videotape he was still holding in his hand. He glanced over at Fraser, who was examining his fingernails, then turned back and saw a look of resignation on his son's face, like Raymond was just waiting for the yelling to start.

What the hell. It was just a movie.

"It'll keep, son. Let's go see how your mother's getting on with that tea."

(Back To The Index)




Written for the Cliche Challenge, this was a shaggy dog story (albeit sans Dief) written way past my bedtime, which contains elements of Cliche #1 (Trapped in an elevator or other small space) and Cliche #12 (Sudden disability requires one person to care intimately for the other), with a little belated Semi-Naive!Fraser from the previous week's challenge thrown in for good measure at the end.

Still Partners
by Beth H
(c) July 2003

Lieutenant Welsh looked up from his paperwork at his detective and sighed. "Kowalski, what part of 'you've got to work with a partner' don't you understand?"

"What part of 'I've already got a partner' don't you understand?" Ray said. " For Chrissakes, Lieu . . . just because the guy got himself into a little trouble, you can't just . . . ."

"A little trouble? Kowalski, he was abducted by aliens! We all saw it happen."

Ray flopped down on the lieutenant's couch. "Yeah, well . . . look, they said they were going to bring him back, so this is like . . . can't you just think of this like Fraser's gone on vacation or something?"

"To another planet?"

"He'll be gone two weeks, Lieu. Three, tops."

Welsh shook his head. "I know you miss him, Ray. We all do. When someone loses a partner, it can be rough, But you've got to face facts. He's gone, son, and . . . . "

"Not all of him."

"What?"

Ray got up from the couch. He put his sports bag down on Welsh's desk "Okay, Lieutenant," he whispered.. " I've got something to show you, but you gotta promise you're not going to freak out."

"I don't 'freak out,' Kowalski. I never 'freak out.'"

"Yeah, okay, so . . . .here." He unzipped the bag, then crooked his finger. "Take a look."

Cautiously, Welsh looked in the bag.

"Good afternoon, Lieutenant."

Welsh jumped back from the desk, his eyes wild. "What in the name of all that's holy . . . do you know what that is, Kowalski?"

"Shhhhh! You said you weren't going to freak out!"

"That's . . . a head in that bag," Welsh said. "Fraser's head!"

"Yeah," mumbled Kowalski. "I know."

"Perhaps if I might explain the situation to the lieutenant, Ray. It's actually quite an interesting story. You see . . . "

Welsh stared back in the bag. "It's . . . talking. Fraser's head is talking."

"I know."

"Make it stop."

Ray shook his head. "Make Fraser stop talking? Can't be done."

"Ray, I hardly think that adding insult to injury is called for at this juncture."

"Sorry, buddy," Ray said, patting the bag. He turned back to Welsh. "See? It's still him. It's still Fraser. I don't want a new partner, Lieutenant."

"Thank you kindly, Ray. And I don't want a new partner, either."

"Will the two of you both stop already!" Welsh said. "You're giving me the heebie-jeebies!"

"Sorry, Lieu."

"My apologies, Lieutenant Welsh."

Welsh sat down heavily in his chair. Nobody spoke for some time.

"So. That's really Fraser in there?"

". . . and then Snuffy Prescott said, that's the last time I . . . . "

"Yeah, that's him, Lieu."

"And you want to stay partnered up with him?"

Ray nodded.

"And the . . . . aliens promised they'll bring the, uh, rest of him back soon?"

"Yeah."

Welsh sighed. "This goes against my better judgement, but . . . what the hell. It won't be any weirder than half the other crap the two of you have put me through."

"Thank you, sir. You won't regret this!"

"I'm regretting it already, Constable. Kowalski? You've got two days off. Use the time to come up with some kind of a cover story. I trust your powers of bullshitting haven't deserted you."

"No, sir. I mean . . . .yes, sir. We'll come up with . . . something."

"See that you do. Now get yourself and . . .your partner out of my office."

~~*~~*~~*~~

Ray got in behind the wheel of the GTO and put the open bag down beside him, then slumped down in his seat. "You doing okay over there, Frase?" he asked without looking over at the passenger side.

"Yes, thank you . . . just fine. That seemed to go rather smoothly, didn't it?"

"Uh-huh."

"Ray? I was just wondering, now that things have been . . . ."

"No."

"But if you could just explain . . . .."

"I said no."

"It's just . . . when you and I were in the parking lot . . . ."

"I thought we'd agreed not to talk about this, Fraser."

". . . and the aliens started to take my body away . . . ."

"Fair warning, I'm gonna give you to Dief to play with."

". . . what exactly did you mean when you screamed ?Dammit, this isn't the head I was hoping for!'"

Ray started to undo his seatbelt.

"Ray. Ray. Ray . . . where are you going?"

"I'm going back in to see if it's too late to put in for a transfer."

From the bottom of the unzipped sports bag, Fraser's head grinned

(Back To The Index)




Written for the Documentation Challenge - "...a story that is either in the form of or prominantly features some kind of document." Dates are based on first Canadian air date. Spoilers for "Mountie on the Bounty."

Paper Trail
by Beth H
June 19, 2003



Transfer Request
Please note: This is a formal request to transfer out of one department into another.

(If you are only wishing additional duties in another department, you should fill out the Staff Position Change Request Form)

Date : March 12, 1998

Your name : S. Raymond Kowalski
Email address : srkowals@cpd.cityofchicago.org
Badge number : 409-4B
Transferring from: 27th District, Area 7, Detective Division
Requesting Transfer to: Anywhere that isn't here.

I have read and signed all agreements______________________________

Any additional comments: Tuna on rye, side of potato salad.

This isn't scrap paper, assholes.


Who cares? I can't send this thing anyway. Fuck!


Please make sure you fill this form out accurately. If you have questions about what you should fill in on this form, please contact the Personnel Director.



From the Desk of: Renfield Turnbull

Date: 5/13/98
Time: 1:14 p.m.
To: Constable B. Fraser
From: Staff Sergeant P. L. McKenna, Environment and Wildlife Division
Phone: (613) 993-7514
Message: Please ring re: possible posting change



Foch's Dry Cleaners

Tel: 1 705 256-2292

Address: 721 Queen Street East

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Canada P6A 2A8


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


5/15/98


Uniform jacket (water damage) - $6.50

Uniform pants (water damage) - $4.00

(less 10% RCMP discount)

____________________

TOTAL: $9.45 inc. tax



Pine Grove Motel
1515 Trunk Road, Highway 17 East
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 5K9
Canada

Tel: 705-759-1202

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5//15/98

1 King - $34.00

Note: Sally? We got some more U.S. coins for your collection.


Foch's Dry Cleaners

Tel: 1 705 256-2292

Address: 721 Queen Street East

Sault Ste. Marie Ontario Canada P6A 2A8


~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~**~~


5/16/98


King Sized Comforter - $20.00

RUSH!!




Pine Grove Motel
1514 Trunk Road, Highway 17 East
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario P6A 5K9

Canada

Tel: 705-759-1202

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

5/16/98

1 King - $34.00
Perenteau's Alcohol-Free Champagne - $14.00



Charlie's Lock and Key

10318 S Wood St., Chicago, IL

(312) 555-4573

5/18/98


Duplicate Key - $1.25



Chase
The Right Relationship is Everything

#38966586033086-3-096345#

S. R. Kowalski
Bill to: Raymond Vecchio
2926 North Octavia Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60610

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Unadulterated silliness, Written for the 180 Degrees challenge - "... people behaving in the opposite way you'd imagine them behaving?" - and set after "Seeing is Believing"

Disclaimer: Not in a million years...


Mumbo jumbo, voodoo, jujitsu, hocus-pocus
by Beth H
(c) June 2003

Biting down hard on his thumb to keep from laughing, Ray stood outside the door of Fraser's office and listened as the final chords faded out.

"Oh! You were right, sir! That was exhilarating"

"Thought you'd like it, Ren. Okay, movin' on. Let's try that little number from West Side Story again. This time, you can be Rosalia, and I'll be Anita."


A giggle escaped Ray mouth before he could stop it. "Oh man, where's a video camera when you need one!"

"I'm glad you're finding this so amusing, Detective," hissed Inspector Thatcher. "He's been like this all afternoon!"

"Singing show tunes?"

"Oh, not just show tunes. I've also been treated to a stirring rendition of the greatest hits of ABBA, complete with choreography, and what sounded like the penultimate scene from the film Papillon. Oh, good Lord, there he goes again."

"I like to be in America!"

Ray pounded on his chest with one fist, laughing so hard that tears started streaming down his face.

"This is not funny! I had to close the Consulate an hour ago when he started asking our female visitors whether they sang alto or soprano. You have to do something, Detective!"

"Me? Why do I have to do something?"

Thatcher glared at Ray. "Because much as I loathe the very thought at the moment, he's your partner . . . and also because I'm certain I can detect your handiwork there, somewhere."

"I haven't been here all day!"

"You were skulking in the halls at seven this morning."

"Yeah, I was . . . skulking for about five minutes, but just so I could drop off the wolf's new tags and give Fraser shit for . . . . hmm."

"What is it, Detective?"

"Okay, so yesterday, down at the station . . . remember when he hypnotized us?"

"Indeed I do. And in case you're wondering, I'm also aware of certain post-hypnotic suggestions that were made during that session."

"Oh. You found out about that, huh?"

"Your Lieutenant Welsh was good enough to share that particular detail, one which was apparently overlooked in Constable Fraser's otherwise complete report."

Ray snorted. "Yeah, well, all I said this morning was that next time, he was going under, and he said something about him being impossible to hypnotize, and so I swung my badge in front of his eyes, read a couple pages from the administration manual and then, uh, I told him to grab his ankles and quack like a duck."

"And?"

"And nothing. He just stood there, looking all smug, you know, with the raised eyebrow? And then I went over to the 2-7."

"Nothing else transpired? You neither did, nor said anything else?"

"Is there an echo in here? Is it raining? No, I didn't say anything . . . except for the usual crap I say when he gives me the eyebrow."

"Which is?"

"Which is . . . I don't know, the usual. You're a freak. Lighten up. Get that stick out of your . . . . oh. Wow. I hypnotized him, didn't I?"

"I'll get a terrace apartment!"

Startled by the falsetto tone Fraser had adopted, Thatcher glanced at Fraser's door, then turned back and glowered at Ray.

"Yes, I think we can safely say you did. I'm leaving for the day, Detective, but when I come in tomorrow, I expect to find both my constable and my consulate back to normal. Do I make myself clear?"

"Yes, ma'am," he muttered in the direction of the back of Thatcher's head as she left.

"Hey, Fraser?" Ray reached for the doorknob. "Cauliflower!"

"I know a boat you can get on!"

"Eggplant? Tomato? To-mah-to?"

"Ah, Ray! Just in time! 'Her name was Lola! She was a showgirl! . . . .'"

~~*~~*~~


Ray arrived at the Consulate the next morning to find Fraser kneeling on the floor, looking worriedly at Dief.

"Something wrong with the wolf?"

"Perhaps not wrong as such, but . . . give him a command, Ray."

"A command?" Ray snorted. "To Diefenbaker? Has hell frozen over?"

"Ray, please just . . . ."

"Yeah, okay. Sorry. Diefenbaker, sit!"

The wolf sat.

"Whoa! That's weird. Let's see if he'll . . . Dief, roll over."

The wolf rolled over.

Fraser stood up. "He's been like this since yesterday evening. Following instructions, staying within calling distance . . . Ray, what do you see on Turnbull's desk?"

Ray looked. "A plate of . . . . "

"Beignets. A dozen beignets have been sitting on this desk for the past hour, and Diefenbaker hasn't even glanced in their direction. I'm sure you can see why I'm a bit . . . concerned."

"Yeah. He's acting all . . . oh. Uh . . . .Fraser? Dief was in your office with you yesterday morning, wasn't he?"

"Of course, he was. But what does that . . . oh, Ray. For God's sake. Diefenbaker, too?"

"Hey, this one was an accident. I swear! I just said 'be a good dog,' and . . . ."

Fraser looked down at the wolf and frowned. "I had no idea he was so suggestible."

"Like father, like son," Ray muttered.

Fraser sighed. "Ray, if you wouldn't mind."

"Yeah, sorry." Ray crouched down on the floor. "Dief? Cabbage!"

The wolf blinked twice, then trotted around Ray, planted his front paws on Turnbull's desk, and before either of the two men could stop him, emptied the plate of beignets.

"Well," said Fraser, "it would appear everything's back to nor . . . . "

The front door flew open, and in walked Turnbull, wearing nothing but black leather pants and a pair of motorcycle boots.

"Mornin', boys," drawled Turnbull.

Fraser took a deep breath. "Ray?"

(Back To The Index)




Just in case anyone cares, I'm holding Debbie (aka Starfish) entirely to blame for this. She shot down my original idea (I think her exact words were: "Have you been drinking?") and left me in a state of complete writers block, until a fit of madness the final afternoon of the challenge led me to kinda-sorta cannibalize the lovely "Parental Guidance" for spare parts. Huge apologies to Alanna and Kass for semi-blatant theft. No apologies to Starfish. *g*

(Chicago. Post CotW.)


Preternatural Guidance
by Beth H
(c) June 7, 2003

"Aren't you taking your cell phone, Ray?"

"Nah. It's dead."

"Surely it can be repaired."

"Fraser, when I say dead, I mean really dead. As dead as a doorman."

He deliberated briefly whether he should ask if Ray might have been thinking of the more common Dickensian phrase "dead as a door nail" or whether he'd meant to say the less common, yet apparently equally acceptable "dead as a door knob," but before he could decide between them, he saw Ray grinning at him.

He shook his head and sighed. "You say these things on purpose, don't you?"

Ray laughed. "Don't know what you mean, buddy. Listen, I'm going to get the car. Why don't you go rescue the wolf from the clutches of Aisha and Naomi down in Dispatch, and meet me out front."

"Certainly." He looked back at the phone. "I'll take this with me, if you don't mind. Perhaps some charitable organization might appreciate receiving it as a gift."

"A dead cell phone? I don't think anyone takes . . . never mind. Yeah, sure . . . bring it along. Meet you out front in five, okay?"

Fraser watched as Ray left the squad room, then picked up the phone, but before he could put it in his jacket pocket, it rang. He looked down at the phone in confusion, but automatically opened the connection.

"Good afternoon. You've reached Detective Ray Kowalski's cellular telephone. Constable Benton Fraser speaking. How may I help you?"

"Ben? Is that you?"

The sound of the woman's voice tugged at his memory.

"Oh, my darling. I've missed you so much."

Fraser swallowed hard and closed his eyes.

"Mum?"

~~*~~*~~


Ray didn't know what was up with Fraser, but whatever it was, it had him distracted enough to trip over a coiled rope and fall into a vat of fish heads during an investigation down at the pier. The weirdest thing apart from the fact that this was probably the first time Fraser had ever tripped over anything in his life was that he didn't even seem to notice he was stinking worse than Dewey on a bad day. Ray practically had to drag him back to the apartment by his lanyard and throw him into the shower.

Ray sighed. At least Fraser wasn't hiding out tonight. Every evening for the past week, Fraser'd headed back to the Consulate as soon as they'd finished whatever case-related stuff Ray had going. Six nights in a row, Ray'd asked if Fraser wanted to come over to his place or maybe catch a movie, but each time, Fraser refused - politely, of course - saying that he was expecting a phone call.

As if on cue and just barely audible over the sound of Fraser singing a sea shanty in the shower he could hear the phone ring. Ray frowned. His new cell was programmed to play the opening notes of "London Calling" when it rang. And Fraser didn't have a cell phone, not unless . . . . he picked Fraser's jacket up off the back of the couch. Yep, that was his old phone in the pocket. Ringing.

"Yeah?"

"Detective Kowalski, is it? I was hoping I'd be able to speak with you."

The guy's voice sounded familiar, like somebody he'd met up in Canada.

"That's right. I'm Ray Kowalski. Who's this?"

"Bob. I'm Benton's . . . what, Caroline? Yes, it's his friend. Yes, I'm asking him!"

"Uh . . . Bob? You sure you don't want to speak with Fraser?"

"Oh no, you're the one I wanted to speak with. We . . .well, that is to say, Caroline was wondering whether you like caribou stew."

"Whether I like . . . uh . . . it tasted pretty good the last time I was freezing out on an ice field. You sure you don't want me to get Fr . . . Benton for you?"

"Not necessary. He's always liked caribou stew, even when he was a little boy."

"Yeah, well . . . okay, then. Is that it?"

"Yes, thanks. You know," he whispered conspiratorially, "I told his mother she didn't have to make a fuss, but you know women. Always worried about getting these kinds of occasions just right. Goodnight, Detective."

"Call me Ray," he said automatically.

"Ray, it is. We're looking forward to meeting you, son."

He was still staring at the broken cell phone when a towel-clad Fraser came out of the bathroom five minutes later.

"Ray, do you think I might borrow one of your . . . ."

He looked at the phone in Ray's hand.

"Ah."

"Yeah, you can say that again, Benton. You got anything you forgot to mention this week? Because you know, if I didn't think it would get me locked up in a rubber room somewhere, I'd say I was just talking to your dead father about dinner plans with your family."

Fraser licked his lip.

"Well, to be honest, Ray . . . ."

Ray began to pace back and forth in the living room. "Fraser, what the hell have you been saying to them? And don't tell me you haven't been talking to them all week, because I won't believe you. It explains why you've been acting so weird. But . . . what? You made dinner plans?"

Fraser's eyes widened. "This is what's disturbing you? That my parents want to have us over for dinner? Not the fact that they're both . . . dead?"

Ray stopped in his tracks. "Oh. Yeah, okay . . . I suppose that should seem more weird than it is." He shook his head, then scowled at Fraser. "Don't change the subject, which is what have you been talking about with them? Because I gotta tell you, Fraser, I'm having a flashback to a phone call from Stella's dad, the night before her sweet sixteen party, saying it was high time they met me."

Fraser turned away, but Ray could still see the blush on his pale skin.

"I suppose . . . I may have been a bit excessive when . . . extolling your qualities."

Ray tilted his head. "You saying you lied to your parents about me, Fraser?"

"No, of course not!" Fraser turned back to face Ray. "Just that . . . I may have gone on a bit longer than . . . ." He sighed. "It's been a long time since I've been able to speak with my mother, Ray."

Ray wasn't sure what suddenly happened to the air supply in his apartment. All he knew was that when he put his arm around his partner and held him, the tightness in his chest started to ease again.

~~*~~*~~


Ray closed the refrigerator door and turned around. "That's the last of it, yeah?"

"I believe so," Fraser said. "At least it's the last of the leftovers."

"We're not going to talk about how it was possible to end up with leftovers from your family dinner, right?"

Fraser sighed. "We could, but I don't think it would be a terribly productive use of our time. I've found that, where my family's concerned, it's sometimes better to just . . . . "

"Go with the flow?"

Fraser nodded. "Something like that, yes."

"I like them, Fraser. Even . . . whatshisname, the one who brought the cole slaw."

"Uncle Tiberius."

"Yeah, Tiberius. He told me that the two of you used to spend a lot of time together when you were a kid."

"Mmm. He was the one I felt I could best talk to about . . . well . . . certain feelings of . . . ."

"Because he's queer, too."

"As you say."

Ray sat down on a stool and looked at the packages spread out over the kitchen counter. "Seems to me the whole family's okay with it now."

"They did seem to be rather taken with you. Most of these packages are yours."

He barked out a laugh. "I don't know how much that means. Your grandma kept giving me the evil eye."

"She gave you a gift, Ray."

"She gave me pajamas. With little red fire engines on them. In some cultures that's like handing someone a chastity belt."

Fraser muttered something to the floor.

"What? What'd you say?"

"Just that . . . she gave the same kind of pajamas to me a few years ago during a stay in hospital."

"Yeah?" Ray pulled the pajamas out of the bag they were in and looked at them for a minute. They really weren't too bad. "You know they think we're a couple, right?"

"I'm afraid so, Ray. I should have said something to disabuse them of that notion, but . . . ."

"But you didn't really want to, did you?"

Fraser shook his head. "No. I'm sorry. I'll call them tomorrow and . . . ."

"Let it go."

"What?"

"Just . . . go with the flow. You don't have to say anything. Nothing's written in stone."

Fraser looked at Ray in surprise. "You mean you'd . . . ."

"I don't mean anything, yet. Let's just . . . let's just get some sleep. And Fraser?"

Fraser stopped pulling the cushions off the couch and stacking them neatly on the coffee table.

"Yes, Ray?"

"I think the bed's big enough for two.

Ray wasn't sure he was ready to talk about what was going on between them. Definitely didn't want to think about having to talk to his own parents about this. But . . . it might make a nice change to have in-laws who didn't hate him, this time around.

(Back To The Index)




Because I couldn't think of anything sensible to write: A 100 word Drabble (...is that redundant?) with apologies to The Wizard of Oz.

CURTAINS
(c) May 21, 2003

"Could you hand me the shower gel, if it's not inconv . . . what's wrong, Ray?"

"Uh . . . Fraser? I don't think we're alone in here."

"Ray, I'm certain I locked the front door when we came home this evening."

"That's what I thought, but there's an old guy in here. He's wearing a funny hat and grinning at me."

"Ah."

"It still drives me nuts when you do that. You know that, right?"

"Nice tattoo your Yank's got, son."

(Sighing) "I can't believe you've picked this precise moment to re-appear in my life. Ray, pay no attention to the man behind the . . . ."

(Back To The Index)



>
It was May; of course there was going to be a masturbation challenge.

(Thanks to AuKestrel for a first-draft beta (and pronoun-wrangling) and to Karen, from whom I shamelessly stole a few key phrases during a long-ago AIM chat.)


Good Morning, Chicago
by Beth H.
(c) May 11, 2003

He wakes as the first rays of sun come into the bedroom, not sure why he isn't still fast asleep. They'd been up late the night before on a long stake out, stuck for hours in a crappy pool car on one of the hottest nights of the summer. When their shift ended - three hours with nothing to show for it - Ray drove them back to his place so Fraser could pick up Dief. The look of relief on Fraser's flushed face as he walked into the air-conditioned apartment was enough; no way was Ray letting his partner spend the night at the Consulate with just a cheap K-Mart desk fan blowing hot air around his already stifling room.

So Fraser stayed over, as he'd been doing more and more often over the past three weeks, ever since the first time they made love. Tonight, though, both men were too hot, too sticky, too tired for more than slow, soft kisses, sleepy smiles, and a few murmured words ("I'll get the light" and "G'night" and "See you in the morning") that maybe meant "I love you," before they both fell asleep.

When Ray wakes, Fraser's still asleep. They'd kicked the covers to the floor sometime during the night, and seeing Fraser lying there, all loose-limbed and relaxed on the sleep-rumpled sheets beside him, makes Ray smile. He props himself up on one elbow and watches Fraser sleep for a few minutes, then reaches out to wrap an arm around him, accidentally brushing his hand over Fraser's cock, which twitches at the light contact. And Ray . . . well, the sight of all that smooth skin against the dark curls, that half-hard morning dick makes him smile more. It looks kind of innocent, the way Fraser used to look innocent, the way he still does sometimes, in the right light.

It's all still new for them, this sex thing, and Ray wants to please Fraser, see what gets him off, except he hasn't had the chance. Not really. Fraser's been the aggressor, always, every time they've made love. And Ray, who's had a lifetime of taking the lead in bed, has let Fraser set the pace here, just like he'd let Fraser take the lead in their working partnership, until gold and pirates and a ghost ship taught them both that a partnership couldn't work that way.

All of a sudden, it's become the most important thing in the world to get Fraser off without following directions. Without Fraser telling him what to do. He likes it that Fraser's demanding in bed, loves it, but Ray really wants to see that twitch again, wants to see what makes Fraser's cock respond when the touch isn't accidental. Wants to see what happens when he takes the lead.

Ray sits up, cross legged, and takes Fraser's dick in his hand. He holds it gently at first, just sort of feeling the warmth and weight of it in his hand, but firmly enough to know when the first pulses start that mean Fraser's getting off on his touch.

He feels the slide of skin beneath his palm as he starts to move his hand, long, slow strokes moving up along the hardening length of Fraser's cock. Fraser's breath catches, and he arches a little into the touch of Ray's hand.

Still stroking, Ray runs his other hand lightly across Fraser's chest, teasing absent-mindedly at the flat brown nipples with the side of his thumb. Fraser moans softly and shifts in his sleep, opening his legs and bending them at the knees. He slides his hand across his body, reaching for his own cock. Ray catches him, holds Fraser's hand down flat on his belly, feeling Fraser's muscles rippling restlessly beneath both their hands, still stroking Fraser's dick with his other hand.

Ray strokes more firmly now, sliding his thumb lightly over the top of Fraser's cock on each upstroke. Beneath his other hand, Fraser's fingers flex once, then still . . . but his body's trembling and he's breathing harder - short, shuddering breaths that turn to gasps as Ray moves his other hand to cup Fraser's balls - and when Ray looks at Fraser's face, he sees smoky blue eyes looking back at him from beneath dark lashes.

For a second or two, Ray just looks at Fraser, all sweat-soaked and flushed and so fucking beautiful, then Fraser closes his eyes, and Ray leans over and kisses Fraser hard, tightens his grasp, strokes faster, and Fraser thrusts fiercely into Ray's hand, again and again, until - "Oh, oh God, Ray!" - he comes hard and fast, his semen spurting thickly over Ray's fingers.

Then Fraser collapses, sprawls bonelessly on the bed - "Love the new alarm clock, Ray," he murmurs - and Ray laughs and lies down next to him and holds him until they both fall asleep.

(Back To The Index)




This was written for the "Hourglass Challenge" (which asked for two scenes that were at least five years apart). Spoilers for anything up to and including "Good for the Soul."

Sparks
by Beth H.
(c) May 2, 2003

*****

"Fraser? You okay?"

The voice seemed to be coming from below, but that couldn't be right....

*~*~*

He stood like he'd seen his father stand. Parade rest, his grandpa called it, even when it was just Dad and Constable Frobisher listening to something their commanding officer was saying and not even in a parade.

"You have your knife and that piece of flint, don't you, son?"

"Yes, Dad."

"Good lad. Now I shouldn't be gone long, but if you get cold, start a fire like you've been practicing. You remember the steps, don't you?"

He nodded.

His father patted him once on the shoulder. He started to turn away, then glanced back at his son.

"And Ben."

"Yes, sir?"

"When we get back home, let's keep this just between us men. We don't want your mother to start worrying. We know you can take care of yourself, don't we?"

Ben could feel his bottom lip start to tremble, but he licked at it to keep his dad from noticing. There wasn't anything to be scared of. He'd been out in the woods lots of times. "Sure, Dad. I'll be okay."

After his dad left, he picked up a stick and started to draw pictures of animals in the dirt, but by the time he'd drawn a caribou and a wolf, the sky had grown too dark to see them clearly.

He looked in the direction his dad had gone. He couldn't see him anywhere. A rustling noise behind him made him turn around; maybe dad was coming back from the other direction. No, it was just an animal slipping through the underbrush. Maybe a lynx.

He shivered, then patted at the pockets of his parka, wanting to make sure the flint and knife were still there. Dad would be back soon - he knew it - but maybe he'd go collect some stones and wood before it got too dark to find any. It was always better to be prepared, just in case.

By the time he'd found enough twigs and fallen branches for a proper campfire, the sun had gone down all the way. Mum had told him that tonight was going to be a new moon, but he wasn't really sure what that meant, especially when he looked up in the sky and couldn't even see the moon. At least the stars were still there, peeking out from behind the clouds.

The wind started to blow. He sat down on one of the large stones he'd dragged over and placed in a ring, then pulled the edges of his parka more tightly around him. The scream of an owl from a nearby tree made him jump a little. Just a little. He wasn't scared of any old owl.

It was getting a little cold and damp, though. Maybe he would make a fire, after all.

He gathered some grass and weeds, then rolled them into fibers, just like his dad had shown him. He knelt down inside the stone ring and squeezed the fibers into a small ball, then plucked at the edges until it looked like a bird's nest. Ben hoped the owl didn't think this was her nest before he could get the fire started.

The wind began to blow harder. Ben knelt down beside the teepee he'd built from the twigs he'd collected and pulled out his flint and knife. He struck the flint against the knife blade just like his dad had taught him ...but nothing happened. He tried again. Nothing. On the third try, he finally got a spark, but he must have been holding the knife too far away from the nest of grass and weeds because the spark didn't catch.

It was hard to see what he was doing in the dark. Shivering a little, he held the knife closer to the nest with his cold, numb fingers and hit down hard with the flint, slicing it across the top of his knuckles and missing the knife blade completely.

He dropped the flint and knife and brought his fist up to his mouth. He sucked on his knuckles. Ben could taste his own blood on his tongue. It didn't really hurt that much. Not like that time when he broke his wrist falling out of a tree. But his eyes were stinging with tears anyway.

Ben scrubbed at his eyes with his palms, then took a deep breath and went to pick up the flint again, but he couldn't see the dark stone anywhere. He got down on his hands and knees and reached out all around him, rubbing his hands over the cold dirt. It wasn't there. Biting down on his bottom lip so that he wouldn't cry, he crawled all the way around the inside of the fire ring, even though he knew the flint had to be somewhere near where he'd been kneeling. He had to find it. His dad wouldn't give up, and he wouldn't either. He wouldn't give up.

The owl screeched again. Ben screwed his eyes shut, then reached out blindly until he had the grass nest in his grasp and threw it in the direction of the owl.

"Here," he yelled. "You can have it. I don't want the stupid thing!"

Then Ben tucked his head and arms into his parka, curled up beside the little pile of firewood, and cried until he fell asleep.

*~*~*

"Fraser? Come on, man. You're freaking me out a little."

He opened his eyes. He blinked twice, and snow fell from the tips of his lashes onto his cheeks.

Ben looked down to see Dief staring up at him from the back seat of the GTO. Ray was sitting behind the steering wheel, watching him with a worried expression.

He started toward the car, trying to ignore the throbbing pain in his lower back and right knee, but he stumbled with his first step. Ray was out of the GTO before he took a second step and had tucked himself underneath Ben's left arm before he took a third.

"Starting to stiffen up a little, huh? Yeah, sorry about that. I should have told you to stay inside the station until I got the car, but I thought I'd parked over by the pizza place, and when I got there, I remembered I left the car next to the dry cleaners so...."

"It's perfectly all right, Ray. I'm fine." He tried to smile reassuringly, but the cut at the edge of his mouth pulled and dripped blood onto his lip. He dabbed at the blood with the tip of his tongue.

"Yeah, well, you don't look fine from where I'm standing. Come on, let's get you inside."

Ben felt a little embarrassed that Ray thought he needed help to walk to the other side of the car - and even more embarrassed a moment later when Ray pulled his wool scarf off the passenger seat and used it to brush off the snow that had collected on Ben's shoulders and head while he'd been waiting.

"Can't believe I left you out here without your hat. I guess I forgot I had it on," Ray muttered. "Okay, in you go."

Once more, Ray put his hand on Ben's head - this time as he helped him settle into the front seat - then closed the door and walked around the car.

The heat had been turned to its maximum setting, and the car was so warm that Ben almost drifted off to sleep before Ray opened the driver's side door.

"So...here's what I was thinking," Ray said as he switched on the ignition. "If you and the wolf don't got any other late-night plans, how about...um...coming over to my place? Mom had Aunt Sophie make up a care package for me, so there's food. And...okay, at the party it sounded like you kind of wanted a traditional Christmas, so maybe we could just sit in front of the fire and listen to crappy Christmas carols on the radio and...I don't know...bicker or some other traditional holiday activity. If you squint, the chili lights look a little like...."

"Ray."

"Yeah?"

"You don't have a fireplace."

He laughed. "True enough, Fraser. But I do have a ninety minute Burning Yule Log video." Ray turned to face Ben, the smile gone from his face. "Look, I know you said it didn't matter, but I never should've let you go up against Warfield on your own this week, and...I don't want you to be on your own tonight."

"Ray, I...."

"Plus, I'm not driving you anywhere else, so you might as well forget about arguing and just say,'Ray, I'd be happy to come over and listen to crappy Christmas carols on the radio.'"

"I wasn't going to argue, Ray. I just wanted to say...thank you."

Ray smiled, then sniffed and looked out the front windscreen. "What about listening to crappy Christmas carols?"

"Is that one of the Ray Kowalski Christmas traditions?"

"Could be," Ray said and looked back at Ben. "It could be from now on."

Ben nodded. "I'd like that, Ray."

"Good." Ray let his hand rest on Ben's shoulder for a second before taking it away to put the car into gear. "Let's go home."

(Back To The Index)




Written for the "Make Up Challenge," this was my first stab at an actual drabble, clocking in at exactly 100 words

Overture
by Beth H.
(c) April 24, 2003

After three days during which the inclement weather made it impossible to leave the isolated cabin, Fraser sat down beside his silent friend.

"I know you've been unhappy, and . . . I'd like to . . . that is to say, I need to apologize to you. I can think of no one who has been a better friend or partner. In return, I've repeatedly led you into dangerous situations, and I'm responsible for your current estrangement from your family and friends. Can you forgive me?"

In reply, Diefenbaker licked his face.

Fraser breathed a sigh of relief. "Perhaps things will be different in Chicago."

(Back To The Index)




New Jersey Transit provided the 24-minute ride back from NYC during which my first entry to a ds_flashfiction challenge was written. This was for the "Voyeur Challenge."

First Sight
by Beth H.
(c) April 19th, 2003


The first time Ray saw them making love, it was by accident.

It was 2:00 a.m.

They were in Ray's apartment.

They were both so quiet - the rhythmic ebb and flow of their two bodies moving in waves, breaking so silently on still-new shores - that Ray could have sworn they made no sound at all.

He shouldn't have been able to see what he saw.

But that night a door that was usually shut had been left open, and when Fraser pushed himself up to his knees, the glow from the streetlight outside the window reflecting off his pale, damp skin at the very moment Ray opened his eyes . . . Ray could see.

He couldn't take his eyes off Fraser.

Couldn't still the rapid beating of his heart as he watched the play of muscles beneath the skin of Fraser's shoulders, his ass, his thighs. Couldn't keep from drawing his own short, sharp breath as he watched Fraser open his mouth and gasp silently. Couldn't stop staring as that strangely familiar hand slipped around Fraser's chest and slid down to his cock.

He couldn't take his eyes off them.

He didn't take his eyes off them . . . not until they had both collapsed - sweaty, sticky, tangled in bedclothes and in each other's arms - and shut their eyes.

~~*~~

The first time Fraser watched them making love was when he very deliberately got out of the bed - out of Ray's bed - and opened the closet door just enough so that the mirror stuck to its back would reflect the scene on the bed as it had done for Ray the other night.

This time, they would both watch.

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Chit chat, Critiques, Gratuitous Praise: Beth H

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