Kind and Honest, With a Good Sense of Humor
by the Cloudwalker
Ray came over to where Fraser stood watching Melissa walk away. "You ready?"
"Yes," Fraser replied, happy to be once again dressed normally. He had removed Miss Fraser's teal dress in favor of his red serge uniform. It was good of Ray to have had it in the trunk of his Riviera. The two friends walked toward the car.
"You know Benny," Ray glanced at him, smiling. "You weren't a bad looking woman."
"Thank you Ray."
"Of course, you weren't exactly my type, either." Ray was still grinning.
'What does he mean by that?' Fraser wondered. Aloud, he asked, "What exactly is your type, Ray?"
"Well, I like a woman who is kind and honest, with a good sense of humor." A little swagger had crept into Ray's walk. Fraser wondered again what had gotten into his friend.
"Well I don't have those qualities?"
"No, no, you do! I just like a woman who is, you know... a woman."
"Well, that's just... picky, Ray." Really, sometimes Ray could be such a baby.
Ray opened the Riv's driver door. "Ah, don't get in a snit."
"Well I'm not," Fraser replied, opening the passenger door and putting one foot inside.
Ray started to step into the Riv, but asked Fraser over the car's roof "So, what you are doing after work?"
"Nothing with you," was his answer, as he slid into the car.
"Ooh, you're *so * sensitive," Ray laughed, slipping under the wheel. He eased the Riv through the congestion around St. Fortunata's School and onto the street. "No, really, what do you want to do tonight?"
"As I said, Ray: nothing. Would you please just take me home?"
Ray glanced at his morose partner, who was staring out the passenger window but looked as if he were seeing some other place than Chicago. "Hey, Benny, you mad at me?" A diffident shrug was the Mountie's only response. "C'mon, talk to me." Fraser remained silent. "Okay, have it your way." Ray concentrated on his driving, not wanting to give Fraser any reason to become even angrier with him.
Ray still wondered why the man was angry to begin with. He thought over the events of the past few days, trying to find a clue. The coincidence of running into his old flame while helping Benny to find a rare bottle of Scotch for the Dragon Lady, then finding that she had become a nun who frequented bars searching for lost children was pretty bizarre. Ray had been quite put off his stride by the knowledge that someone he had shared passionate groping with as a teenager had ended up a nun. He had felt somehow responsible for 'the loss of a good woman', until sister Ann had reassured him that she had happily chosen to become a Bride of Christ.
And speaking of good women, there was that whole thing with Benny. Just when he thought he had the Canadian figured out, Fraser would come up with something to knock him for a loop. This time had been too much, though.
Ray had checked with everyone he knew who could possibly go undercover as a teacher in the Catholic girls' school where Sister Ann was principal; to gather clues on the disappearance of one of the students. Each one had been unavailable, or had simply turned him down, all but one. When Ray arrived at her door, he learned that she had broken her leg, and had to withdraw from the project. Instead of helping to find another candidate, Benny had simply walked away. Ray chalked it up to another of Benny's idiosyncrasies, and went back to work.
Some time later, Ray looked up to find a handsome woman with shoulder-length red hair seated beside his desk. She couldn't help but overhear him on the telephone asking yet another acquaintance, this one only marginally qualified, to take the undercover assignment. As soon as Ray hung up the phone the redhead's soft voice said, "I'll take the job."
"I don't even know who you are," Ray replied, walking away. He needed a moment to change gears before finding out what she was here for.
"Oh, I think you do," the redhead replied. She stood to follow him, a somehow familiar gesture. Then her voice changed, and in a stage whisper, Fraser called out "Ray! It's me!"
Well, you could have knocked Ray over with a feather! This nice-looking, demurely dressed woman was his friend, Benton Fraser, RCMP, offering to go undercover at St. Fortunata's School.
Ray had serious misgivings. He remembered all to vividly how badly the Mountie had done as an undercover used car salesman, trying to recover the pizza-delivery kid's stolen car. Sure, they solved the case, but Benny would never have made it without Ray's help. Ray had no idea how he would help him with this one.
Learning, however, that Fraser had already fooled everyone in the station before arriving at Ray's desk, he decided to leave it up to Sister Ann. If she gave her blessing, Benny would go into the school as Miss Fraser to try to find the missing girl. To Ray's complete surprise, Sister Ann had agreed.
So now this case was closed. Not only was the missing girl found safe and sound, but a huge cache of jewels, furs and liquor had been uncovered which would go a long way toward solving St. Fortunata's financial problems. They had even ended up with a bottle of the Glendorlan Scotch whiskey for the Dragon Lady.
Ray had tried to compliment his friend on the fine job he had done impersonating a woman, and now that friend wasn't speaking to him. Benny was his best friend, but Ray sure didn't understand him.
Just as the silent treatment was becoming unbearable for Ray, he pulled up in front of 221 West Racine. Ray shut off the engine and got out to open the trunk so Fraser could retrieve his duffel bag full of Miss Fraser's things.
When the Mountie walked toward the building entrance Ray followed him. "Ray, I said I didn't..."
"I don't care, Benny," Ray cut him off. "We hafta talk."
"Please, Ray, not..."
"So how ya gonna keep me out, huh Benny? It's not like you even have a lock on your door. Look. I'm not goin' away from here until you tell me what's wrong, you got that? Now let's go."
Reluctantly, Fraser led the way to apartment 3J. He put his duffel in the closet, and carefully hung his red tunic. He then busied himself tidying the spotless apartment. Ray sat in a chair at the table, waiting his partner out.
It took some time, but Fraser finally gave up trying to ignore Ray into giving up and going home. He came and sat in the other wooden chair, letting the tea that Ray had fixed for him cool untouched on the table between them.
"Okay," Ray said finally. "I figured out that you got mad when I made comments about you being a woman. I was trying to compliment you, Benny. You did a great job. I never thought you could do it."
"And just why not, Ray?" Ray had never heard Fraser sound so angry. "I am a police officer, trained in, among other things, undercover work. I also come from a culture which is apparently not nearly as homophobic as yours."
"Homophobic? You think I'm homophobic? What, because I'm Italian and Catholic and a cop, you think I have to hate gays? You might as well say I must be mobbed up, Benny. Or do you think that, too?" Ray was shouting now, gesticulating wildly.
Fraser never flinched. "Of course I don't think you have mob connections, Ray. That's just silly."
"But you do think I'm a gay-basher."
"Ray...you did say you only like real women. I assumed that you meant that I shouldn't be so free to express my feminine side, that you felt there was something wrong with it...with me."
"Oh geez, Benny, you're my best friend, of course I don't think anything's wrong with you. Oh I know, I tease you a lot for being so different, but that's really what I like about you. You've never let my teasing bother you so much before. Why did it get to you today?"
"Well, Ray, when you said I had all of the qualities you liked, but that you didn't like me because I wasn't a real woman, well... It hurt my feelings, Ray."
"Oh man. Benny, I'm sorry." Ray ran his hands over his close-cropped hair, a nervous habit he had picked up since getting it cut so short. "I never said I didn't like you, but I guess I can see how you took it that way. I was teasing you about... Oh hell." Ray paused, and came to the decision he had wrestled with while Fraser was 'cleaning'. "Benny, I've been keeping something from you. I guess it's time I came out."
"Why would you keep anything from me, Ray?"
"Because you're a cop! I been hangin' around cops 15 years now, and I know one thing. You're right; most of us are homophobes. But not all, Benny. Not all. That's why I got angry when you called me that. I guess I do a pretty good job keeping my personal life personal. A straight arrow like you doesn't see a thing."
"Ray, I still don't know what you're saying."
"All right, here it is: I'm gay. I kept it from you because I didn't want to lose your friendship. I've kept it from everyone at work because, well, you know cops, right? My Ma knows. She doesn't like it much, but she's okay with it. My sisters don't know, and I hope they never will. That's about it, Benny."
"What about... lovers, Ray?"
"I've had a couple of boyfriends, Benny. The last one broke up with me about the time you and I met. You didn't have anything to do with it," he added quickly, when Benny glanced up.
"You said I wasn't your type. And you called me a straight arrow."
"Yeah, well, it wasn't meant as an insult, Benny. When I said I like a woman who is a woman, I meant that I also like a man who is a man. Somebody who is confused over whether they're male or female... well, I don't have much patience for that. Not that I think you're confused, Fraser. And hell, everybody knows crossdressers are straight."
"Well, no, Ray. Not all crossdressers are straight."
"Well, I guess you'd know more about that than I would." Ray grinned.
"So, are you saying, Ray, that I would be your type if I weren't a crossdresser?"
"Don't worry, Benny, I won't bother you. I just hope you find some nice woman who doesn't mind that you want to be a woman sometimes, too. I know there are women like that out there."
"Ray, I only 'dressed' to help you. It's not something I expect to do often. Perhaps not ever again."
"Hey, don't let me stop you, Benny."
"Ray, I think you're missing a crucial point, here."
"Oh yeah? And what would that be?"
Fraser spoke thoughtfully. "I mean, it's as much my fault as yours. It seems I have kept things from you, as well. And this whole 'gaydar' thing... that's apparently a cultural myth."
"Benny, you're babbling. You wanna get to the point, here?"
"Yes. I love you, Ray."
"Aw gee, Benny. I love you, too. You're my best friend, you know that."
"You're still not hearing what I'm trying to say, Ray."
"Well then, maybe you better be more specific. And don't tell me any Inuit stories, I couldn't take one of those right now."
"Ray, I love you."
"Yeah, you said that, Benny."
Fraser just stared at Ray a moment, waiting. Finally, he got up and walked over to Ray, holding his hand out. When Ray took it, looking confused but willing to do whatever Fraser asked, Fraser pulled him to his feet and into his arms. When he took Ray's mouth with his own, he met considerable astonishment before Ray relaxed and began kissing him back. When the kiss ended Fraser was dizzy with desire.
"You're a wonderful kisser, Ray," he breathed.
"You're not so bad yourself, Benny. How come I didn't know this about you?" he asked, caressing the Mountie's back.
"For the same reasons I didn't know about you." Fraser recaptured Ray's delightful mouth. Some time later, he realized that he was standing in his kitchen with a naked cop in his arms, and that only his boots had defeated Ray in getting him naked, as well, although his upper garments were gone and his jodhpurs and starched boxers were around his knees. Laughing happily, he stooped to remove his boots, depositing a quick kiss on Ray's circumcised crown as he did so. Ray groaned.
Fraser kicked off the rest of his clothes, and led Ray to his bed. Lying down, he pulled the slender cop down on top of him. Their tongues danced together as hands explored sensitive flesh. Soft moans disturbed the wolf's dreams as the two men rejoiced in finally sharing their last secrets. Ray began to murmur what Fraser could only assume were sweet nothings, in Italian, as his need rose to fever pitch.
Fraser's vocabulary became limited to the single word, "Ray"; spoken tenderly as he caressed a close-cropped head, in anguish when a sweet tongue was withdrawn from sensitive flesh, in triumph as his essence surged forth to mingle with that of his love.
Blankets were retrieved from where they had fallen to the floor and wrapped to ward the evening chill from recently over-heated, now rapidly cooling bodies. Soon they would shower together, but for now they dozed peacefully in each other's arms.