Title: Family Ties:
Author: Sharron Ibbitson
Why not visit my site: http://friends.acmecity.com/ryan/344
Rating: Probably R
Permission to archive at Kari's archive and Hexwood, but nowhere else without permission.
Summary: Ray's past and family catch up with him opening old and new wounds as well as dragging up all the hurt from his past. Some serious RayK Angst and FV/RK comfort. Lot of torture, both emotional and physical.
Disclaimer: Any characters mentioned here that are recognised belong to Alliance and the actors that play them, I am just borrowing them for the sake of this story, so please don't sue me because I'm not worth much anyway!
This is going to develop into a series, I'll try to post new parts regularly, but if it takes a while please forgive me. Any feedback would be greatly appreciated.
This story is dedicated to anybody that had ever lost someone that they love, whether it be a boyfriend/girlfriend, a parent or a sibling.
Stanley Kowalski dragged his fingers through his blond spiky hair, and then rubbed his red and bloodshot eyes with the palm of his hands. He couldn't remember the last time he had had a full nights sleep.
"Ray are you okay?" he heard faintly in the familiar voice of his partner and best friend Fraser. He shook his head to clear it and blinked several times to focus on the read suited man before him "Ray are you okay?" the Mounty repeated.
"Um, yeah Fraser. Um I'm fine, just a bit tired that's all" Ray muttered quietly. Fraser looked doubtfully at his friend, certain that something was very wrong with him.
"Ray, come on go home." Fraser said quite firmly.
"Na, it's okay, I'm good" when he saw his friend's doubtful expression he continued "Honestly Fraser I'm a little tired but I'll be fine" he tried to smile his trade mark grin, but it turned into more of a grimace. Fraser just shrugged his shoulders, but silently vowed to keep a very close eye on his friend. Ever since Ray Kowalski had stepped in, undercover, to portray his best friend and partner Ray Vecchio, he had found himself growing to like the troubled young detective. Even though his role in the charade was to act like they were best friends, he found that he did actually regard Kowalski as a true friend and partner. The day seemed to last forever and Fraser was glad when it was over. When the day finally ended Fraser insisted on escorting Ray home, he was determined to find out what was wrong with him. Fraser began questioning Ray as soon as they had arrived at his apartment.
"Ray what's going on?"
"What do ya mean?"
"You've been acting rather strangely all day, tell me what's wrong"
"Look Fraser I appreciate the concern, but honestly I'm good, I just need sleep. I'll be fine by tomorrow" Fraser looked into his friend's eyes and only saw truth in them, so he decided not to press the issue any further. Fraser left, as he sensed that it was the end of the conversation. Ray went straight to bed hoping that tonight the demons would leave him to rest in peace.
The next day, Ray awoke early, to discover that he had actually managed to get a few hours sleep, which was beginning to be unusual for him. Even though it was hardly daylight out, he decided to get ready for work, because he knew he wouldn't be able to get any more sleep. He yawned tiredly, but realised that he felt a lot better than he had the day before. He headed for the shower hoping that it would wake him up a bit. He stood under the cool flow of water for a long time before drying off and pulling on his clothes. He shrugged on his shoulder holster and grabbed his car keys, and then he set of for the precinct. When he arrived everything seemed to be quiet, as most of the detectives didn't arrive till later, he was surprised to find that lieutenant Welsh was already in his office. Ray went straight over to his own desk and started reading a case file that had been placed there. He looked at the words without seeing, until Welsh came out of his office and noticed him sitting there.
"Vecchio, you okay?" Welsh said, but Ray was in his own world and didn't hear the other man, until he came over and placed a strong hand on his shoulder. Ray jumped at the contact, and even went to the extreme of reaching for his handgun, before he realised who it was.
"Vecchio, what's going on?" Welsh questioned with concern.
"Sorry sir, just a little jumpy I guess" Ray replied cautiously, without making eye contact.
"What are you doing here so early anyway?"
"Um, I er, just thought I'd catch up on some paper work, sir" Kowalski replied, still not looking at the lieutenant.
"Well, okay but take it easy huh?"
"Oh and Ray?" Welsh said gently
"If you need to talk I'm here" he said, seriously, knowing that the detective had problems.
"Thank you sir, I appreciate that, but I'm fine really"
When Fraser arrived a couple of hours later, he found Ray asleep at his desk. He decided to just sit back and let him sleep for a while, he knew that Ray needed sleep. Almost an hour went by, before any movement could be seen in Ray. Fraser looked up, expecting to see his friend wide awake ad ready for work, but was surprised when Ray was just making violent disorganised movements in his sleep. He realised that his partner was in fact having a nightmare, so he gently shook him awake. Ray head shot up and he gasped. He seemed to be shaking for some time before the full effects of the dream had worn off. Fraser sat by trying to calm him. Eventually Ray was fully awake and the shivering had worn off enough for him to be able to speak.
"Ray are you all right?" Fraser asked with concern evident in his voice.
"Yeah, yeah I'm fine" Ray replied quietly. He looked far from fine, as his face was deathly pale, and his eyes were bloodshot and didn't hold the usual twinkle. His forehead was glazed in sweat. Fraser refrained from mentioning any of this. Welsh, who had seen the whole incident, did not.
"Ray, you look like shit, go home and don't come back till ten tomorrow" the lieutenant ordered. For once Ray made no argument but simply shrugged on his coat gingerly and began to make his way out of the station. Welsh nodded his head to Fraser indicating that he should follow. He caught up with Ray easily and escorted him home. As soon as he knew that Ray was safe and sound he went back to the precinct. When he arrived Frannie came straight up to him. He was aware that she seemed to harbour some feelings for him, and was half expecting her to begin the usual routine with him, so he was pleasantly surprised when she simply came up and asked after Ray.
"Hey Frase, what's wrong with Ray, he looked lousy?" she asked with genuine concern evident in her voice.
"I don't know, he's at home in bed at the moment. Maybe you should go and see him after work?" Fraser suggested.
"Yeah, I think I might do that, oh no I can't I promised Ma I'd go and visit my uncle. I'll see how he's doing tomorrow " Frannie replied. She wasn't quite sure why she felt so protective of Ray, he was after all only pretending to be her brother. As much as she pretended she didn't, she couldn't help but like him. Fraser continued on his way into Welsh's office. Welsh looked up when he heard him enter.
"I take it that Ray is at home?"
"Do you know what's bothering him?"
"No sir, I was hoping that you could enlighten me"
"Sorry, I have no idea what so ever what is wrong with Ray. I do however want it sorted out. Now what has happened in the last couple of weeks that could affect Ray like this?"
"First we have to work out what cases he has been working on"
"Well he had that stake out for two weeks up until Tuesday, but was he acting strangely before that?"
"No it's only in this last couple of weeks that he has been acting differently"
"Well, we should assume that it has something to do with this stakeout then"
"Where was it held?"
"It was a drugs set up in the Collection Bar just inside town. All he had to do was sit and wait then go in with backup when the targets arrived. It went more or less without a hitch, one target was killed on site by one of the backup squad."
"How did he die?"
"SHE was shot, actually as I remember Ray was pretty close by to where the girl died"
"Do you think that's it?"
"I don't know, maybe we should go and talk to him"
"Yeah, give him a few hours sleep then we had better go by" Fraser advised the trusted lieutenant, he knew that welsh had a soft spot for Ray Kowalski, even though he himself didn't know all of Ray's background he was pretty sure that Welsh did, he had possibly played a part in it.
Meanwhile at his apartment Ray found himself a quarter of a bottle of Malt scotch. He wasn't quite drunk enough to not realise that he was drunk, but he was too drunk to think straight. He decided to go to the local store to buy some cans of lager. He staggered down the hallway, and down the stairs onto the street. He moved slowly and carefully, he was too drunk to make the observations that he normally would have, so he didn't notice the man dressed in black entering his apartment.
When Fraser and Welsh arrived at Ray's apartment block they were surprised to find various fire appliances and police cars gathered round the area.
"What's going on?" Welsh questioned a uniformed police officer.
"Please stand behind the line" the cop replied, Welsh flashed his ID and the officer immediately apologised informing him that there had been a bomb threat rung through to the station for one of the apartments. Welsh questioned what the tenant's name was.
"Uh, Ray Vecchio" the cop replied "Why you know him?"
"Yeah he's one of our detectives. Is he still in there?"
"We don't know, bomb squad are up there now" Just at that point a message came through on the radio, informing the officer that there were no people present and the bomb had been diffused. Both Welsh and Fraser released a breath that they hadn't known they were holding.
"So where the hell is Ray?" Welsh questioned Fraser with a sense of urgency "And why the hell is somebody trying to blow him up?" Fraser shook his head, showing his own confusion. Just at that moment a very drunk Ray came staggering round the corner and almost toppled over onto Fraser. He shook his head to try to focus through the drunken haze.
"Ray? Ray what the hell is going on?" Welsh questioned, but it was too late, Ray had already passed out. Between them they managed to carry him back up to the now bomb-less apartment. They knew he couldn't stay there, but agreed that he would probably be safe for the night. Fraser still insisted on staying with him.
The next day Ray awoke to the worst headache he had had his entire life. He opened his eyes carefully, but immediately regretted it as he was forced to leap out of bed and sprint to the bathroom, to bring up the same amount that he had drank last night. Fraser heard him and rushed to the bathroom to ensure that his friend was all right. Fraser immediately rang Welsh, after he had settled Ray on the sofa and dimmed all the lights. Welsh arrived within half an hour.
"How's he doing?" Welsh whispered.
"Well he lost the contents of his stomach, and is extremely sensitive to light, but physically he's all right. He hasn't really said much though" Fraser whispered in response.
"Well it's time to talk then" Welsh muttered, but stopped in his track when he caught sight of Ray, his detective looked deathly pale and his eyes were screwed tightly shut, as if in pain. He decided to speak gently to the detective. He approached him carefully, remembering the episode the previous day. Even with the careful approach Ray's eyes flew open and his intake of breath seemed to catch in his throat. He visibly relaxed when he spotted Welsh.
"Ray we need to talk" Welsh prodded gently. Much to his surprise Ray simply nodded.
" I know sir" Ray said as he once more sagged back against his sofa.
"What's been going on?" Ray shook his head honestly not knowing what was going on in his own head. Welsh tapped him on his shoulder and helped him to pack a bag ready to leave the apartment should he need to leave quickly in the near future if danger once again targeted him. His head dropped down to his chest and he knew that he had to tell them. He slowly walked over to his work surface in his kitchen, opened a drawer and pulled out numerous letters. He showed them to Welsh. Welsh couldn't help the gasp that escaped him. When he had read through the letters he passed them onto Fraser.
"Oh dear" Fraser muttered with grave concern for his friend, as soon as he had read the letters.
Welsh and Fraser took Ray down to the police station immediately.
"Why the hell didn't you tell me?" Welsh questioned with astonishment, his detective had been receiving death threats for the last two weeks and he hadn't told anyone?!
"I.. um don't know sir, I guess I didn't take it seriously" Ray replied weakly.
"Yeah? So that's why you nearly killed yourself through lack of sleep and food is it?" Ray didn't respond, he just looked down at the floor.
"It's not about that sir. It's something else" Ray continued quietly.
"Well what is it about then?" Welsh replied.
"Its sounds dumb"
"Just tell me, it will help" Welsh prompted.
"It's just, that it's, um, the anniversary of something that's all"
"What?" Fraser questioned not understanding
"Of my sister's death" Ray continued. Suddenly understanding dawned onto Fraser, knowing how much Ray cared for family and friends it must be difficult for him. He still avoided making eye contact with the two men standing beside him, and Welsh suspected that there was still something that he wasn't telling them
"How did she die?" Welsh questioned
"She was murdered" Ray replied before making a quick exit out of the room. Fraser and Welsh exchanged glances, neither of them even realising that Ray had a sister.
"Did you know he had a sister?" Welsh questioned Fraser. Fraser shook his head to the negative. Welsh went straight over to Francesca and got her to find out about Ray Kowalski. She shot him a questioning look, but didn't say anything, but she was amazed by what flashed up on the screen. She called Welsh over immediately. When Welsh and Fraser reached her they could tell by her state that she had found something crucial.
"Sir look. Stanley Raymond Kowalski was soul handedly responsible for the arrest and prosecution of Daniel Owen. Owen, the leader of the Space Land gang, murdered and raped unnamed females, (code 12398/12a) and murdered several Chicago Detectives aswell as severely injuring the previously mentioned Raymond Kowalski. During the course of the trial Owen escaped detention to visit Detective Kowalski in the Hospital, Saint Joseph's of Chicago, where he killed a nurse and attempted to murder Detective Kowalski. The Detective, under heavy sedation, was unable to defend himself and suffered several lacerations and abrasions before security officers working throughout the hospital restrained the attacker. Detective Kowalski was given two months sick leave to take both physical and emotional recuperation after the attack. Daniel Owens was found guilty of all killings and the assault on Detective Kowalski, and was sentenced to life imprisonment."
"So what about it Francesca?" Welsh asked, confused.
"Yes Francesca, I really don't think that we should be prying into Ray's private life" Fraser added
"The point is Owens escaped from prison a month ago and hasn't been found since" Frannie replied, with what would have been a smug expression if it hadn't been for the seriousness of the situation.
Welsh was in action almost immediately. Ray had left the station without telling them where he was going. Fraser and Welsh were getting extremely worried, especially since Ray wasn't answering his cell phone. By the time night drew in, both were exhausted, they had looked every where they could think of, from the consulate to Ray's own apartment.
"Right we need to find out everything we can about this Owens, last addresses previous acquaintances everything" Welsh instructed Francesca and she got to work immediately. "Fraser, you go to Ray's apartment and anywhere else he might have got to, he may just be ignoring the phone, so try and find him" Fraser picked up his Stetson and went straight to his friends apartment. Even though they had already looked around Ray's place Welsh figured he might have gone back there.
When Fraser arrived at Ray's apartment building he went straight to
the landlady. He had met her before and knew she thought a lot of Ray.
She was most concerned and immediately offered to help. Together they
went up to Ray's apartment and their concern was elevated when they discovered
that the door had been kicked in. Fraser instructed the lady to go and
phone for the police. Once she had left, Fraser cautiously entered the
apartment. As soon as he was through the door he could smell the blood.
He found himself almost gagging. He looked all around and followed the
smell into Ray's bedroom. He nearly passed out at the view in front of
him. His friend and partner was soaked in blood. It seemed to originate
from an angry wound above his right eye and stretched at least four inches,
until it was beyond his hairline. Fraser found himself taking a deep
breath before approaching. He immediately reached out to feel for a pulse
and was relieved when he felt a faint flutter beneath his fingers. He
ripped the sleeve from his tunic and pushed it firmly against his friend's
"Ray can you hear me? Ray you have to answer if you can hear me" No response. Fraser reached into Ray's trouser pocket and pulled out the cell phone. He dialled 911, and was shocked to notice his fingers were shaking. The dispatch said that it would be about five minutes before an ambulance would arrive, and sure enough five minutes later it arrived, although it felt to Fraser like an eternity. He was pulled gently away from his friend as the medics placed an oxygen mask gently over Ray's face and set up numerous machines to monitor his friend. He looked round to see the man who had his hands on his shoulder, and was surprised to find Welsh standing there looking extremely concerned. Fraser insisted on staying with Ray as he travelled in the ambulance to the hospital.
When they arrived at the hospital Ray was wheeled straight through to an exam room, whilst Fraser waited, it wasn't long before Francesca and Welsh showed up. Frannie looked worried.
"Fraser how's he doing?" She asked with genuine concern for her fake brother.
"I haven't been told yet" He replied
"We have more news Fraser" Welsh told him and Fraser knew it wasn't going to be good. "One of Owens' victims was Ray's sister." Fraser and Frannie both gasped at this piece of information "She was raped and then murdered. It happened exactly four years ago yesterday. Did you know?" Welsh continued aiming his question at Fraser. Fraser shook his head. "There's more though, his real name wasn't Daniel Owens, it was Daniel Kowalski"
Four hours later the three of them were still seated in the waiting room, with no word on Ray. Eventually a doctor came over to them.
"Sorry you've had no word for so long. Your friend received a nasty blow to the head. It has resulted in a severe concussion and he narrowly missed a fractured skull. He's still unconscious at the moment, but we should know more when he wakes up." The doctor told them
"Can we see him?" Frannie asked and the doctor nodded before leading them off to his room. Frannie couldn't stop herself from gasping when she saw him. He was deathly pale with a stark white bandage around his head. He had an IV in one hand and the other was bandaged up. He still had the oxygen mask on his face and a machine attached to monitor his heart rate. Frannie pulled the chair over to the side of his bed and gently held his hand. Fraser pulled a second chair over and sat down gently. Welsh made his excuses and left promising to return the next day.
The next morning when Frannie awoke she was alone in the room with Ray. Fraser had left a couple of hours earlier to collect some belongings. Frannie checked over Ray to make sure he was okay, not that she'd really know medically if he wasn't. He really was a handsome man she found herself thinking. His beautiful blond hair was so soft to the touch she continually wanted to run her hand through it. She wished she could do so now, but the bandage prevented her from doing so. She wished he'd wake up. She hadn't realised how much she cared for Ray until all of the issues from his past came up. She now realised what a sensitive and caring man he was. She knew he must have gone through a lot of pain to arrest his own brother for the murder of his sister. It was like losing two siblings at once to the same cause, she didn't know what she would have done in the same position. Ray had been unconscious for fourteen hours now, and she was more than slightly concerned. She was stirred from her thoughts by a soft groan from beside her. She looked and saw that Ray was coming round so she immediately pressed the call button to summon a nurse.
Ten minutes later Frannie was back in the room with Ray. His eyes opened cautiously when he heard footsteps in the room. Frannie was so relieved to see his eyes that she could have cried. The lights were dim, so she assumed that the light hurt his eyes, which wasn't exactly surprising. She again placed his hand between her own before speaking.
"How you doing Ray?" she asked softly
"Like I got hit on the head by something very heavy" he muttered quietly. Frannie had never heard him sound so weak before.
"Do you remember who did this?" she asked. He shook his head then winced; she reached over to call the nurse, when his hand on her arm stopped her.
"No, I'm fine. I'm tired, I think I'll go to sleep" Ray muttered before his eyes once again slipped shut and he was asleep. Frannie knew that he was evading the question, but was too relieved to see him awake to say anything.
By the time Fraser and Welsh arrived that evening Ray was semi reclined in his bed and actually talking to Frannie. The lights were still very dim and they had to talk quietly, but he looked a lot better then the day before.
"Hey Ray, how you doing?" Fraser questioned
"Not so bad thanks" Ray replied very quietly. Bruises were now visible around his right eye and half way down his face. His head was still bandaged up tightly as was his arm, but all in all he looked better. Welsh knew he had to ask Ray about the attack but wasn't looking forward to it. Ray still looked very pale and he didn't want to hinder his condition.
"Ray you know I have to ask you, don't you?" Ray just looked up, knowing exactly what was coming and not looking forward to it. He nodded gently, as he couldn't move his head much without an explosion occurring.
"We know about Daniel Owens" Welsh stated, if he thought that Ray was pale before then he didn't know what he was now. He thought Ray was going to pass out at any minute.
"What about Daniel?" Ray stammered.
"He's your brother isn't he?" at Ray's semi nod he continued "He killed your sister didn't he?" Ray closed his eyes and his whole body went tense. Frannie still clutched his hand tightly, hoping to help him fight the demons of his past. "Did you know that Daniel escaped from prison a month ago?" Ray's eyes shot open and Fraser could have sworn that he saw fear in them.
"Have they found him?" Ray questioned in more of a squeak that his own voice. Welsh shook his head. "You think he's behind the letters and this don't you?" Ray asked as understanding dawned. He sighed deeply, not wanting to believe that his own brother was behind this. Welsh suddenly thought of something.
"Ray, when you said that it was the anniversary of your sisters death and she had been murdered by someone, you did mean Julia didn't you" Ray nodded his head.
"Yeah, there's only me and John left now" Ray replied quietly, as if deep in thought. "So, you gonna get me out of here now?" Ray asked enthusiastically
"No, no way. You're in here for at least the next week, they'll never let you out with no one to look after you" Welsh replied shaking his head.
"What about if I looked after him?" Frannie, who had so far remained quiet, spoke up. All three men turned to look at her in surprise.
"No promises, but I'll go and ask" Welsh replied as he and Fraser went to ask the doctor.
"Frannie, why would you wanna look after me?" Ray asked in surprise.
"'Cause I care about you, and you need help" Frannie replied, not taking any arguments. It wasn't long before Welsh returned. He told them that the doctor had said that Ray had to remain in the hospital for at least the next couple of days for observation and then he should return to familiar surroundings with someone to look after him. Frannie nodded her head agreeing.
That night Ray felt as though he hadn't slept in months. The doctors told him that he needed plenty of rest, but yet they woke him up every half an hour. After three days of the same process, he was about ready to collapse with exhaustion. By this point he was almost begging the doctors to allow him to go home, he was surprised when they still seemed reluctant. Fraser had visited every day and stayed for at least two hours every visit. He was continually asking the doctors when his friend was able to go home. Eventually that night they informed him that Ray could indeed go home the next day, on the condition that some body was there to look after him. After a phone call to Francesca it was confirmed that she would stay at Ray's apartment to aid him in his recovery. Ray seemed very relieved at the news.
The next day, Ray was extremely tired by the time Frannie arrived at the hospital to pick him up. As soon as she arrived the doctor led her away.
"Now I'm sure you realise what a severe injury it was?" at Frannie's nod he continued. "Now I have made up a list of do's and don'ts. Keep any meals light for a week or so. He must stay in bed for at least the next couple of days, but wake him up every four hours or so. Any dizziness, shortness of breath, lack of hearing or vision, severe memory loss or general loss of appetite bring him back here straight away. He is going to have bad headaches for the next month, but bring him here if it becomes unbearable. He's not going to feel hungry for the next few days, just try to get him to eat a bowl of soup, or porridge and that should be okay. He is not to do any exercise for at least a week, and after that nothing strenuous. He may go for slow walks by the end of next week. He is not to drive or ride bikes or anything. He is off work for a minimum of a month and that is final, make sure that that is clear to him. After that month he may go back, but only on light duties" Frannie nodded, for once she had listened very carefully, even though there was a lot to understand she really wanted to do this. The doctor proceeded in writing out a list of medication and how often it had to taken, he also wrote down a list of emergency numbers for her. "He'll need to come back to the hospital twice a week to have his dressings changed. You must also make sure that he rests that arm" the doctor finished before leading Frannie back to Ray, where a nurse was tying up his shoes, to his frustration.
A quarter of an hour later Frannie and Ray were both sitting in the back of a squad car, being driven by no other than Lieutenant Welsh himself, on the way to Ray's apartment. When they arrived Ray practically stumbled out of the car, and by the time they had got upstairs he was about ready to collapse. Frannie decided that it was for the best to lead him straight to bed so she pulled his shoes off then tucked him in carefully. She found herself sitting by his side watching him sleep for a while. After an hour, he seemed to be resting peacefully so she went to make herself a cup of coffee, n sooner had she left the bed room, when the phone started ringing. She answered it, not wanting to wake Ray.
"Hello Stanley?" said the feminine voice
"No this is Francesca Vecchio, who's calling please?"
"This is Mrs Kowalski, Stanley's Mom, is everything all right?"
"Ah Mrs Kowalski, Ray was attacked a few days ago, he sustained a severe head injury, but he's okay. He's just sleeping now" Frannie replied, hoping to sound fairly intelligent.
"Is he home now?" Mrs Kowalski questioned concerned.
"Yes I'm here to look after him. I'm sure he'd love a visit"
"I'm leaving as we speak" she replied before disconnecting.
Ten minutes after her conversation with Mrs Kowalski, Frannie heard movement from the bedroom. She went straight to check on Ray, hoping to find that he was up and about, when she made it to the bedroom, she found that he was in fact still in bed, and thrashing about. She went straight up to the bed and gently laid her arm around him, hoping to give him some support. She was amazed by his immediate vice like grip on her arm; he quieted down none the less. After ten minutes Frannie's arm was going to sleep, so she decided to give Ray more comfort, and crawled into bed beside him, after setting the alarm. She wrapped her arms around him, and soon drifted off herself.
Two hours later both Ray and Frannie were awakened by the incessant beeping of the alarm. Ray seemed a bit disorientated at first, but then his eyes clouded over with confusion. At first Fannie was concerned, and then she realised that he was surprised to find her in his bed. She stifled a giggle.
"It's okay Ray. It's nothing sexual, you were having a bad dream, so I got into your bed to comfort you" she explained. He nodded in understanding, then rolled over to try to go back to sleep. He became slightly frustrated when Francesca would not allow him to. Eventually she managed to drag him out of bed, by telling him that his mother had phoned. He seemed concerned and almost nervous about his mother's impending visit. Frannie made some soup from some left over chicken in the fridge, although it was good, she practically had to force feed Ray. Just as she was coercing Ray into finishing the small bowl of soup in front of him, Fraser arrived to look after Ray whilst Frannie went to the local shops to pick up some essentials.
"My Mum's coming" Ray informed Fraser matter of factly.
"Ah, that's excellent. When is she arriving?"
"This afternoon, and it's not excellent"
"Why ever not?" Fraser questioned confused.
"How would you feel if you once again had to face the son who had raped and murdered your only daughter and raped your son" Ray blurted out, without fully realising what he had just revealed. Fraser was almost speechless.
"Ray, he um raped you?" Ray's head tilted back and his eyes shut tightly. Fraser just noticed a single tear sliding down his friend's cheek. After a while Ray nodded, not trusting himself to speak. "Oh Ray, why didn't you say so?" Fraser asked him, his own voice turning high pitched with the tension.
"Oh yeah just bring it up in conversation. It's just really hard to um tell anyone" Ray forced out, still not opening his eyes. Fraser had to agree that he had a valid point. He didn't know what to say to his friend now. He was saved by a knock on the door, which also gave Ray enough time to compose himself. Fraser opened it with caution, remembering that there was someone out there trying to kill his friend. When he saw that it was just Lieutenant Welsh, he let him in straight away. Welsh took in the tearstains down Ray's cheeks and silently questioned Fraser, Fraser just shook his head to let him know he'd explain later. Ray was once again nearly asleep, so Fraser gently shook him awake. He once again seemed slightly disorientated so Welsh helped him to his feet and between him and Fraser they carried Ray off to bed, setting the alarm for four hours later. Ray was asleep as soon as his head had hit the pillow.
When Welsh and Fraser were back in the living room, Welsh immediately began questioning Fraser about the scene he had interrupted.
"What was going on?" he asked
"Um, Ray had just let something slip about what Daniel Owens did to him" Fraser replied cautiously.
"What?" Welsh asked
"He um he raped him" Fraser told him with great difficulty. Welsh was speechless, he knew something bad had happened, but getting raped by your own brother that was worse than anything he had expected.
"Oh God" Welsh muttered, when he was finally able to talk. Fraser simply nodded, understanding exactly how Welsh felt.
It wasn't long before Frannie arrived back at Ray's apartment; she let herself in, as Ray had already entrusted her with a spare key. She was surprised when she found Fraser and Welsh sitting in silence on the sofa, looking very shell shocked, they didn't even look up when she entered the room. She coughed loudly to get their attention. They looked up, almost shocked.
"Hey guys, what's up?" she questioned, trying to sound cheerful, even though her stomach was doing cartwheels.
"Um, Frannie, did Ray tell you that his brother had raped him?" Fraser asked cautiously. The look of pure shock and horror answered his question straight away. She shook her head, in an almost dazed way.
Ray was woken from his restful sleep by an annoying bleep. He struggled to sit up and squinted at the clock to see it had just turned six at night. He managed to drag himself out of bed and to the bathroom. He seemed to run out of energy after he had splashed cold water over his bruised face and cautiously dried it. He knew he probably wouldn't be able to make it back out to the living room, so was relieved when Welsh appeared at the door, took in his appearance and helped him struggle out to the sofa. He flopped down heavily onto the seat as soon as he could sapped of all energy. He gently rubbed his hands through his hair and winced as he did so.
"Where are the others?" Ray asked Welsh softly.
"They've just gone out to pick up a Chinese" he responded and Ray nodded gently. "Do you need anything?" He asked. Ray just shook his head. "Do you wanna watch some television then?" he asked, hoping to get some sort of verbal answer from Ray.
"Yeah sure, what's on?" Ray asked, without making eye contact. Welsh picked up a nearby discarded TV guide and flicked through it.
"There's the X-Files or Friends on at the moment, do you fancy either?" Ray shrugged, so Welsh opted for Friends, not much of a fan himself, but it was meant to be quite amusing, so it might serve to cheer Ray up a bit. It turned out it was a whole evening of Friends. After the first episode Welsh was chuckling, and even Ray was smiling, both appreciating the humour of the show. By the time Fraser and Francesca returned with the evening's dinner both Ray and Welsh were creased over in laughter by the antics of the six American actors. Fraser and Frannie exchanged glances and grins, but made no comment. After all Ray had been through in the last few days, they were just glad to see him happy. They emptied the bags of Chinese take away cartons onto the table and brought out plates. All four of them were relaxed for what felt like the first time in ages. By nine that night, Ray was yawning and all four of them knew that he was ready for bed. He showed the others how the pull out sofa bed worked and told them where blankets and towels were kept. Francesca helped him to get ready for bed, a job that she really wanted to do for a long time.
"Ray, do you want me to stay with you again?" she asked nervously
"Do you mind?" he asked, fearing rejection. She answered by crawling into bed with him, and gently wrapping her arms around him.
Meanwhile in the living room Welsh and Fraser were getting ready for bed.
"Where's Frannie got to" Welsh questioned. Fraser shrugged and together they walked to Ray's room to find her. They both smiled at the sight before them. Ray was sound asleep in Frannie's arms, his head was against her shoulder and a contented smile was across his face. Frannie's chin was resting gently against the top of Ray's head. She too was peacefully asleep. Welsh checked that the alarm was set and he and Fraser left the room. They both agreed that Ray and Francesca looked right together.
"I've never seen Ray look so peaceful" Fraser told Welsh, Welsh agreed. Neither of them wanted to think of the complications that would be caused in the undercover assignment if and when the two got together.
It was half past one when Frannie and Ray were once again woken up by the alarm. After making sure that Ray was okay and fully awake, the two went back to sleep. The next morning they got out of bed simultaneously. Frannie had to take Ray back to the hospital for his check up, and then his mother was arriving in the afternoon. When the four of them arrived at the hospital the doctor led them all straight into the examination room. He began unwrapping Ray's head first and the other three people in the room gasped when they saw Ray's head under the bandage, their was an angry cut that still oozed blood. The doctor informed them that the antibiotics that Ray was taking had to be increased to fight off infection. He pressed another gauze against Ray's head and Ray gasped in pain. The doctor gave him a minute to recover before continuing. He then once again wrapped a long bandage around Ray's head. He then cut the dressing away from Ray's arm. It had swollen up and was a deep purple colour; Welsh and Frannie couldn't help the sympathetic wince that escaped them at the sight of it. The doctor decided that a soft cast would offer more support for the arm, so set the arm immediately. He wrote out a new prescription for stronger antibiotics and strong ibrofen to take the swelling down and ease the pain. When they had got Stan settled into the back of the car Fraser and Welsh set off to meet Ray's mother, whilst Frannie escorted Ray home.
When they managed to get home through the thick traffic, Ray felt better than he had in days, but he was still exhausted. Frannie allowed him to drink a strong mug of coffee for the first time in days. It woke him up enough to keep going for the rest of the day. He admitted that he wasn't looking forward to his Mother's visit.
By the time his mother did arrive Ray was getting stressed about her reaction to the current situation. She greeted him with the usual hug, but she was gentle with him this time to avoid the thick bandages still strapped around his head. When she saw her son's condition tears sprung to her eyes.
"Oh Stanley, who did this to you?" she asked suddenly, Ray looked down at his feet, refusing to make eye contact with her. She looked towards Fraser and Welsh to answer her question.
"Mrs Kowalski, I think you had better sit down" Fraser told her, Ray looked at him pleading him to tell her the story. When she had sat down on the couch between Ray and Frannie, Fraser continued. "We believe that the man that attacked Ray was a man called Daniel Owen, also known as Daniel Kowalski" Mrs Kowalski gasped.
"You mean the man that murdered Julia? And the man that raped and beat Stanley?" she whispered at which point Ray sprung up and left the room. Fraser nodded.
"Yes Mrs Kowalski, I mean your son" Fraser responded and was surprised when Mrs Kowalski shook her head.
"No dear, he's no son of mine" was all she said before going to check on Ray.
That evening Ray, Frannie, Fraser, Welsh and Mrs Kowalski went out to a restaurant for dinner. Even Ray dressed up for the occasion, still very pale, but looking better. The five chatted fairly easily, all relaxing. Ray only managed to eat half a sandwich and a bowl of soup, but it was more than he had eaten in days. The others all ate and drank well, Ray and Fraser didn't drink anything, as Ray was on medication and Fraser didn't drink. They didn't return to Ray's apartment until after midnight, so everyone stayed the night there. Frannie once again shared Ray's bed, Mrs Kowalski slept in the spare bedroom and Welsh and Fraser once again slept in the living room.
They all rose out of bed at about the same time the next morning. Fraser agreed that Ray could spend the day at the consulate with him, whilst Frannie and Welsh went to work and Mrs Kowalski went shopping.
"Hey have you asked Thatcher about this?" Ray questioned Fraser on the walk to the consulate.
"Um, not exactly, but I can't see that she'll mind" Fraser replied after a little hesitation, Ray disagreed, but didn't say anything. Maggie looked up in surprise when she saw Ray; she had known that he had been injured, and Fraser had fully explained the background of his injuries.
"Hello, Detective, how are you feeling?" she asked with genuine concern. Ray looked towards Fraser in confusion.
"Er, I'm, much better now, thank you Inspector Thatcher." He replied politely.
"You may as well call me Maggie, detective if we're going to be meeting each other regularly in the next few days" she told him, he nearly passed out in shock. Maggie was acting very out of character with him.
"Well then you should call me Ray" he told her. Fraser took in the conversation, with almost as much shock as Ray himself had. He had actually told the inspector about what he had found out about Ray in recent days, but knew Ray would never forgive him if he found out that Maggie knew. Maggie had sworn to him that she would not mention it to Ray, until he mentioned it himself, not that either of
them thought that Ray would.
By midday, Ray was getting restless, he wasn't tired enough for a rest, and he was too bored to sit still. Fraser was amazed that his friend had lasted as long as he had. In the end he told Ray that he could take a gentle walk down to the precinct at lunchtime, to spend time with Frannie and Welsh. Ray sighed and looked at his watch noticing that he had to wait another half an hour.
Fraser kept to his word and together he and Ray walked down to the police station. Frannie looked up in concern when she saw her pale and almost trembling 'brother' come into the station.
"Fraser?" she questioned in concern
"Ray was getting restless at the consulate so I said that we should come and se how you and the lieutenant are doing. Unfortunately it seems that my decision was unwise as Ray's injury is still incapacitating him" Fraser told her, his own concern evident. Frannie placed down her notebook, on which she had been making notes and went over to see how Ray was doing. She then insisted that Huey and Dewey run the two of them home. She picked up her notebook and took Ray gently by the arm and left for home. When they got back to Ray's apartment she placed her notebook in the kitchen drawer and settled Ray down on the sofa, she pulled his legs up, covered him in a blanket and placed a pillow under his head, within minutes he was asleep. She kissed him gently on the forehead, then went to lie down in the guestroom.
About an hour later Ray woke up, with a pounding headache, so he went to find his pain medication. He went into the kitchen and began opening up various cupboards and drawers. He opened one drawer and was surprised to find a notebook with unfamiliar writing over it. He picked it up and read it.
"Look in my eyes, what do you see?
Can you tell what you mean to me?
Your pure blue eyes, your short blond hair
All reminders of how much I care
The way you look, the way you talk
The way you glide when you walk
The way that you dance on your living room floor
The way you get mad and punch the door.
I love the way you protect your best friend
The way you'd die for him, or stick with him till the end.
You have no idea how I feel for you
You have no idea that my love for you is true
After all you've been through in the last few days,
Your life must feel like a haze.
I'm sorry you don't feel the same way about me
Because I know our love was meant to be.
So Ray I must tell you now, I love you
Don't say you love me I know it's not true.
Love Always Frannie"
Ray gasped as he completed reading the letter from his friend. He had no idea that she felt that way about him, but he knew that he wasn't meant to read the poem. He placed it back in the drawer and sat back down heavily on the couch and pulled his uninjured hand gently through his hair, where it was not covered with bandages. He sighed as he thought about the consequences of Frannie's feelings for him. He decided it was best if he just went to sleep.
His sleep was once more haunted by images of Daniel hanging over him, tying his hands, and pressing his knife in harder against Ray's throat. It was at this point that Fraser came into the apartment and woke Frannie up. Together they went to check on Ray, they were horrified to see him writhing about, as white as a ghost and sweating heavily. He screamed out, an agonising sound wrenched from his very soul. Frannie and Ben both moved immediately to shake him awake. He screams stopped, but he flinched away from Fraser, Frannie recognised the fear in Ray's eyes. He was now shivering uncontrollably, so Frannie reached out and hugged him, trying to ignore the flinch when she touched him. A long time went by, before he settled down into her arms and once more went into a fitful sleep.
When Ray eventually awoke late the next morning, Welsh, Ben and Frannie were all starting to get concerned. Ray had been asleep for eighteen hours straight, which was very unusual considering that he had recently sustained a very serious head injury. When he finally did get out of bed he still looked tired and weary. He made his way silently into the shower. Ben immediately put a pot of coffee onto the heat ready for his friend. When Ray emerged from the shower, he looked a lot better, he was still very pale, but it was still a vast improvement. His eyes were reddened and Frannie noticed that he had obviously been crying, but refrained from mentioning it in front of the others. Ray flopped down onto the sofa, and en handed him a mug of steaming coffee, before nodding to the others to leave. Ray muttered his thanks still refusing to make eye contact. Frannie and Welsh exchanged worried glances whilst Fraser's undivided attention was still on Ray. Welsh nodded to Fraser before leading Frannie out of the door. Fraser turned his attention back to his friend, they both knew that they needed to talk. Fraser placed a hand on his friend's shoulder and tried to hide his hurt when Ray flinched.
"Ray are you all right?" he asked gently, Ray just glared at him "No of course you're not all right, admittedly that was a stupid question to ask" Fraser continued and even he was aware of the fact that he was rambling.
"Look Fraser it's not your fault, it's just that all this is stirring up old memories and feelings, that's all" Ray told Fraser, trying to help him. Fraser nodded and put his arm around his friend, he was surprised and pleased when Ray accepted the gesture and leaned against him, his relief ebbed away when his friend let out a series of agonising sobs. When Ray had cried himself out, Fraser released his vice like grip and allowed Ray sometime to compose himself while he made coffee.
Two weeks later Ray was still on edge, but everyone around him seemed to be quite relaxed. It had been three weeks since the attack, and he was feeling ready to go back to work. He mentioned this to the others and they all disagreed with him.
"Ray, it's only been just over a fortnight since you were lying unconscious, you can't even think about going to work yet" Frannie told him.
"I agree with Francesca, Ray, you've been under a great deal of strain lately both physically and emotionally. I think you need the time off to relax and recover properly.
"Please. I think I need to. I need to keep myself occupied." Ray argued back.
"How about a compromise?" Welsh cut in, all eyes turned to look at him automatically. "If, and I do mean if, Ray gets cleared for duty by the doctor, then he can come back to work. This is only on the condition that either me or Fraser are with him at all times, what do you think?" Ray nodded eagerly; the others exchanged glances before agreeing. Frannie called the doctor immediately to make an appointment, and then she drove Ray to the hospital. The doctor hesitated before clearing him for duty, but eventually signed the relevant paperwork. Ray was a very happy man.
The next day, Ray rose from bed early, made a fresh pot of coffee and got straight into the shower. He was quick in the bathroom, and then went to get dressed. He shrugged on his shoulder holster and loaded a fresh clip into the butt of the gun. He moved into the living room, and shook Fraser awake, Fraser was the only one staying with him now, and even he was moving back to the consulate the next day. Ray and Welsh believed that the danger had passed, but Mrs Kowalski remained doubtful, but she herself had returned home only on the condition that Ray phoned her every evening to ensure he was okay. Frannie had gone back home, but visited on a regular basis, she was going with Ray to his hospital appointment, where he would hopefully lose his cast, later the following afternoon.
Ray picked up his car keys and handed them to Fraser, as he himself was still unable to drive. Fraser washed and dressed quickly, then drove Ray down to the precinct. Ray still walked gingerly, but he looked so much better than he had a week ago. He went straight into Welsh's office; the lieutenant looked up straight away when he saw Kowalski standing in front of him.
"Hey Ray, you okay?"
"Yep, I'm good sir" Ray replied with a grin.
"Okay, now we're keeping it light for a few days okay?" he waited for Kowalski's nod before continuing "Right you can help clear up the mess out there, there's a load of minor offenders out there that can be got rid off, you fit to do that?"
"Okay then get on with it" Welsh told him good-naturedly. Ray nodded to him then promptly left the room, remembering a similar situation when he and Fraser had discovered a body in the interrogation room, and made a new friend in Stanley Smith.
The day seemed to last forever, as Ray interviewed suspect after suspect for minor crimes that he had little or no interest in. As much as he tried to act normal, his mind kept wondering elsewhere. He kept thinking about his sister. Even though she had been dead for a few years, he still missed her. He blinked back his tears as his thoughts once more wondered back to the times he had spent with his sister. He had always been close to Julia, closer than he had ever been with Daniel or John. Him and Julia were the same, not just in looks, although it was easy to tell at a glance that they were brother and sister, but their personalities were also similar. They had fights like all siblings, but when it came down to it they loved each other and would die for each other, as it turned out Julia had.
When Fraser called round to check on Ray later that evening, he entered the lounge to find Ray sound asleep on the sofa, clutching a photo frame close to his chest. Fraser didn't reach out to take it, as his instincts told him that it was something special to Ray. He packed his things together silently, and when he had finished Ray was just waking up. He explained that he was ready to go and was amazed when Ray enveloped him into a hug and thanked him for his help.
The next day Frannie took Ray to the hospital as promised to get his injuries looked at and hopefully have the cast and bandages removed. Ray was quiet the whole journey, and only used monosyllabic words. When they pulled up, Ray climbed out of the car and Frannie followed, they walked through the corridors of the hospital in silence, until Frannie could take it no more.
"Have I done something to offend you?" she asked, Ray looked at her in shock.
"No, no of course not" he stammered in reply.
"Then why are you so quiet?" she asked concerned
"Um, well it's just I've been a complete basket case for the last couple of weeks and I was kinda worried that you wouldn't wanna talk anymore" Ray replied, not making eye contact.
"Of course I do. You mean a lot to me Ray" she responded, tilting up his chin so that he was forced to make eye contact. He nodded, and she could have sworn that she saw tears in his eyes. They kept walking and once they had arrived for Ray's appointment it didn't take long. The cast was removed, and the wrist was strapped into a soft support bandage. The stitches were removed from his head, and just a small plaster was placed over the wound, although the doctor did advise Rat to wear a hat for a week or so. His dose of medication was also dropped drastically, for which Ray was relieved about, as it made him feel out of control.
As they walked out of the hospital Frannie put her arm through Ray's, and she felt electricity at the touch. She could never tell him how she feels, but at least she could help him and show him that she cares. Ray's breath caught in his throat as Frannie out her arm through him, and he tensed up, but after a moment or so he felt more comfortable, so he didn't object when Frannie suggested going to a nearby restaurant for lunch. They ate a pleasant lunch together, and Ray finally relaxed, as they had a light conversation. Frannie was pleased to see Ray happy, it had been a long time since she had seen him this comfortable and relaxed.
When they had finished eating they made a detour to Ray's apartment, before going back to work. He felt self-conscious about having a couple of bald patches, so he wanted to pick up a baseball cap to cover up his head. They arrived at the station a short while later, Ray with the cap pushed firmly on his head, despite the fact that it felt sore to the touch. Frannie went straight to her desk and Ray walked over to his, hoping to catch up on paperwork. He'd only been writing for about five minutes when Welsh came out and called him into his office. The look on his face had Ray very concerned, and his concern was only elevated when Welsh told him to take a seat. It was only then that Ray noticed Fraser standing in the corner.
"What's wrong?" he asked, and he couldn't help the tremor that crept into his voice.
"We think that we've found your brother" Welsh told him.
"Where?" Ray questioned.
"Just outside town. A local beat cop found him"
"What do you mean found him?"
"He was dead" Welsh told him, and Fraser's hand rested onto his shoulder.
"Where is he?"
"He's with Mort"
"Was there any ID?"
"No but he matches the description"
"I have to see him" Welsh simply nodded, he had been expecting that. He just squeezed Ray's shoulder before leading him down.
When they entered the morgue Mort looked up with sympathy, he pulled back the sheet, and Ray ran from the room. He threw up as soon as he reached the male toilets. Fraser and Welsh followed him in.
"Was it him?" Fraser questioned gently. Ray just shook his head to the negative. Fraser breathed a sigh of relief, although he still didn't understand Ray's reaction.
"Detective are you all right?" Welsh asked with concern.
"Is it wrong that a part of me wished that it was him? I mean what sort person does that make me to want my own brother dead?" he asked, then walked off before receiving an answer. Fraser and Welsh exchanged glances, both concerned for Ray. Fraser left the room, and saw Frannie staring after Ray he decided she might be the best person to go to talk to him.
"Frannie would you go after Ray please?" he asked and she practically sprinted down the halls after Ray. When she caught up with she found him sitting on a bench across the road from the precinct holding his head in his hands. She gently put her arms around him, and received the expected flinch in response, but after a few seconds he leaned into her embrace and she hugged him.
"You wanna talk about it?" she asked. It was a few minutes before he responded.
"They thought that they had found Daniel. Dead. I had to go and identify him."
"Oh I'm sorry Ray" Frannie said, not sure if she really was after all the hurt he had caused Ray.
"It wasn't him"
"Well that's good"
"Is it? You see some part of me wanted it to be him" Ray explained unable to make eye contact.
"And you're wondering what kind of person that makes you to wish your own brother dead right?"
"Yeah, that's it exactly" Ray replied in surprise.
"Then I must be the same type of person"
"Huh?" Ray replied genuinely puzzled.
"Well I mean I don't wish Ray dead, but in some ways I'm kinda dreading when he comes home." She told him, but Ray was still confused and shot her a questioning look, so she continued "Well when Ray comes back where does that leave me and you?" she asked with a hint of a smile. Ray looked up in surprise he never realised that Frannie felt anything for him other than annoyance.
"What, what do you mean?" he stammered.
"I mean that I don't want you to leave me, I love you Ray" she told him with sincerity. He looked up at her in shock, before running his hands over his face. He couldn't believe what he had just heard, despite having read the poem. He nodded to Frannie then walked away.
Two hours later Ray sat at home, feeling like the biggest jerk, he had left Frannie sitting at that bench all alone, because he didn't have the guts to tell her how he felt. He pulled a can of lager out of his fridge, hoping to forget the day's events. Eventually he fell asleep on the couch.
Meanwhile at the station, Welsh and Fraser tried desperately to locate Frannie and Ray. They had just received word that Daniel Kowalski was in fact still in Chicago and living in the apartment just below Ray. They were already organising SWAT teams to go in and take the man, but the decided that they'd feel better if they knew exactly where Ray and Frannie were. Their rushing about was interrupted when Frannie walked through the door. Her eyes were red and swollen and she looked like she had been crying.
"Frannie where's Ray?" Fraser asked gently, she shrugged her shoulders before telling them that she thought he had gone home. Fraser picked up the phone straight away and dialled the number of Ray's landlady. She confirmed that a Daniel Kowalski was renting the apartment below Ray's and that he had told her that they were cousins and he was planning a surprise for Ray. She also told him that Daniel was not in his apartment, and had only rented it for a month. Fraser looked worried when he hung up the phone, which immediately alarmed Frannie.
"We need to find Ray" was all he said and both Welsh and Frannie got the message.
"I'll phone him" she told him, when she sensed the objections being formed she continued "It would seem less threatening if Daniel answered the phone and heard a woman's voice" Welsh nodded and told her that it was okay as long as she kept the call on speaker phone. She dialled Ray's number and wasn't surprised to see her fingers shaking. It took six rings before Ray answered the phone.
"Vecchio" he answered in a sleepy voice.
"Ray, it's me Frannie" she told him in a shaky voice
"Frannie, I was gonna call you. I'm sorry about earlier, you just took me by surprise that's all" he told her, praying for her forgiveness.
"It's okay Ray. Now Ray you have to listen to me. You have to get out of your apartment?"
Instantly alert Ray questioned her "Why, is it Daniel?"
"Yes it is" came a voice from behind him.
"Oh shit!" Ray muttered, just audible to Frannie and the others at the precinct.
"Ray, what is it?" she asked in a high pitched shriek.
"Hi Ray long time no see. So how's life since you arrested me? You know it's been great for me, people just love convicted rapists on Death Row. It's been fantastic I've been badly beaten three times and stabbed twice. Not bad huh? So what have you been upto? That's a nasty looking cut! How on Earth did you do that?" Daniel said in a voice that could only be described as evil. He never once stepped out of the shadows. Everyone at the station held their breath, waiting to hear what was going on.
"What do you want Danny?" Ray replied when he finally found his voice.
"Oh you know what I want 'Stanny'" Daniel replied "Or should that be Ray now?"
"No I don't know, what DO you want?"
"I want to finish what I started. What I would have finished all those years ago if Julia hadn't interrupted. Shame, she could have lived if she hadn't been so damn protective of you" Daniel continued. Ray had to hold back a sob. He knew he couldn't let his 'brother' know that he was getting to him. Frannie put her hand over her mouth to stop the gasp from escaping. She wasn't totally sure what Daniel meant by finishing what he had started, but she also knew that she probably didn't want to. Welsh already had the tape recorder going, so that evidence was being built up already. Ray seemed to suddenly realise that he was still holding the phone and that everybody was hearing this conversation. He went to hang the phone up; he couldn't stand the humiliation of everybody knowing what had happened and what was about to happen. It was bad enough having to testify to it all those years ago.
"No 'Ray' don't hang up the phone, let all your little pig friends hear this. Maybe your little girlfriend will enjoy this, it might be the closest she comes to ever having sex with you" Ray visibly paled at that comment and at the same time back at the station Frannie, Fraser and Welsh followed suit.
"Look Danny, just let me put the phone down 'kay? They don't need to hear this, it's personal!" Ray stammered, with his voice rising above it's usual pitch, he really didn't want to beg like last time.
"Na they want to listen, they want to hear you beg me" Daniel told him with malice. Francesca felt the tears come to her eyes. Ray swallowed down the bile that had risen in his throat. Daniel walked towards him and for the first time Ray saw his face. It wasn't the face of the brother that he had built a tree house with when he was five or the brother who had walked him to school. This was a monster. There was something in his eyes that didn't seem quite right. He leaned into Ray and whispered in his ear.
"So Ray, did you enjoy my last little visit?" then laughed a harsh laugh before resuming his position in the shadows. Ray visibly shuddered, and bit his lip so hard that he drew blood, he finally prepared himself to speak.
"So we just gonna stand here all night?" he spoke cockily, as if to show he wasn't scared, even though he was shaking inside. Frannie shook her head, back at the station and muttered a no. She knew that Ray was trying to move out of the apartment so that no one would hear what was about to happen. Welsh shook his head hoping that Daniel wouldn't take the bait.
"Oh no you don't Ray, we're staying here for the time being, so your little cronies can listen to the delights that are about to occur" A tear slid down Ray's face, as he tried to steel himself about what was about to come. Frannie began talking to Welsh frantically.
"Sir, you have to do something!"
"Send in SWAT, anything but you have to stop this!" she shrieked at him.
"Don't you understand this is turning into a hostage situation. Under the regulations we are not allowed to do anything that could risk the life of the hostage, besides we don't know what sort of weapons he has or anything. We have to play these things by ear." Welsh explained appreciating the concern of Francesca. He himself was very concerned for the young detective all he could do was order the SWAT team to stand fast outside the apartment.
Meanwhile back in Ray's apartment Daniel had once again walked across the room to his brother. He placed his hand against Ray's cheek causing the younger man's breath to catch in his throat. Frannie gasped as she realised what was about to happen.
"Ah Ray, don't be scared, we've been here before" Daniel hissed. A sob escaped Ray, before he could stop it.
"Please..?" he begged as he was pushed down to the floor.
"DO SOMETHING!!" Frannie screamed at Welsh. They both looked round and for the first time noticed that Fraser was no longer at the precinct.
"Where's the Mountie gone?" Welsh questioned Dewey "And where the hell is Huey?"
"They refused to just sit around and do nothing. Now are you coming?" Welsh nodded and the three of them left in a squad car to Ray's apartment despite the orders sent down to Welsh to steer clear. When they arrived a mere five minutes later, Fraser and Dief were standing outside the building waiting for them to arrive. Huey was also leaning nearby.
"Ah so you're ready to help Ray now?" Fraser asked almost angrily.
"You know the score Fraser!" Welsh cautioned him. They devised a plan, Welsh and Dewey would go in the front way, Fraser and Huey would go in through the fire escape and Frannie would wait in the car. SWAT would only offer assistance in an emergency.
The attack was perfectly timed and all four officers entered on time, unfortunately they were expected and Daniel pulled a weak Ray up and held him tightly as a human shield with a gun pointed to his head.
"You'd better let me walk else he's gonna die" Daniel said menacingly, and all four officers knew he was serious. Welsh looked at Fraser, and Fraser knew that he was looking for suggestions, but for once he didn't know what to do. Before he could think the gun had altered it's target and was now pointing at Fraser, Ray seemed to be aware enough to elbow his brother hard in the stomach, Daniel immediately doubled over moving the gun away from Fraser. Huey, Dewey and Welsh saw an open shot and took it, each hitting Daniel right on target. He hit the ground hard taking Ray with him. Fraser moved straight away and rolled Daniel off of his fallen friend. Ray was covered in blood, some his own and some of his brothers. He was shaking violently, and it seemed to Fraser that his friend had been raped. He closed his eyes against the tears, he knew that he had to be strong for Ray. He looked up when he heard a feminine gasp and looked directly at Frannie. She made no comment but walked straight into Ray's bedroom and pulled some blankets from the bed. She went back into the main living space and wrapped them tightly around Ray as Fraser cradled him gently. Ray hadn't spoken or uttered a sound. He just lay back in Fraser's arms and clung tightly to the red serge. He didn't even have the strength to open his eyes. When the paramedics arrived they couldn't convince Ray to let go of Fraser, until Fraser promised never to leave his side. They strapped up the more obvious injuries and loaded him into the ambulance, with Fraser following close behind. Welsh had to stay on the crime scene, but Huey drove Frannie down to the hospital.
It seemed to be a long time before the doctor came to give the group the news on Ray. By this time Welsh had arrived, and was anxious to find out how his detective was doing. Frannie, Fraser and welsh sat close together when the doctor finally arrived.
"Are you waiting for news on Detective Vecchio?" she questioned. All three nodded at the same time, immediately alert. "Well, he's critical, but stable. I'm sure that you are all aware that Detective Vecchio was viciously beaten." At their nod he continued. "he has a punctured lung, a serious concussion, which may have hindered his previous head wound, a broken left wrist, several broken ribs, several wrist and ankle abrasions and a number of bad cuts and bruises. He has a total of 267 stitches 22 of which are internal." All three looked at the doctor in shock. When they had found Ray, they weren't aware of all of these injuries.
"Is he awake?" Fraser asked when he finally found his voice. The doctor shook her head.
"He was very disoriented and agitated, so we were forced to sedate him" she said.
"Well can we see him?" Frannie asked, desperate to see him, touch him or just to be in the same room as him. The doctor gave her consent and the three of them went into Ray's room. Ray was flat down on the bed, he had a heart monitor connected to his bare chest, stark bandages around his head, a hard cast on his arm and so many bruises around his stomach and chest that Frannie winced in pain for him. In short he looked dreadful. His chest barely rose, and when it rose fully the breath caught in his throat. He had a drain inserted into his chest to drain the blood from his lung. Frannie pulled a chair up to the bed and clutched his uninjured arm. The doctor escorted Fraser and Welsh into a nearby relatives room.
"Right, your detective is very ill, and it's not going to get better for a very long time. He'll wake up and be able to move, but for a long time he'll have shivers and depression. When he sleeps he'll almost certainly have nightmares and night terrors; he'll wake up in need of support and comfort. That is where you come in. He needs a lot of support and hugs, not to mention that you have to keep assuring him that you are there for him and that his life is worth something. As hard as it may be, you have to be strong for him, else he may not make it" Both Fraser and Welsh nodded. "If you are not going to give a hundred percent then don't bother at all, it is all or nothing" she continued.
"Well I'm more than willing to give my all" Fraser stated firmly, and Welsh nodded aswell.
"How about Miss Vecchio?" the doctor questioned.
"I'm sure she will too, they are very close" Welsh told her honestly. She nodded convinced, and led the pair back to ray's room. Frannie had drifted off with her head lying gently on Ray's arm.
The next day, Ray was allowed to come out from under the sedation. Dr Anderson checked on him every fifteen minutes and Frannie was continually by his side. It was two in the afternoon before he started to come round. At first it was just a soft fluttering of the eyelids. Suddenly his eyes sprung open in fear, and he edged away. It took his a few minutes to register where he was. The realisation of what had happened to him suddenly hit, and he found himself, sobbing his heart out in Frannie's warm embrace. Frannie held him tightly as he exhausted himself with the deep sobs. Fraser looked on in concern, soon the crying was replaced by violet shivering, Frannie did the only thing that she could think of, she climbed up onto the bed, being careful not to disturb any machines, and hugged Ray, until he once more dropped off into a fitful slumber.
When Ray next woke up several hours later he was slightly more lucid. He was able to answer the doctor's questions, although he couldn't stop the tears from flowing. Eventually he got round to asking the question that Welsh had been dreading.
"So where's Daniel?" he asked. Before Welsh could answer, the doctor cut in
"He's in the next ward" she stated without hesitation, despite the fact that she knew he was dead. Ray simply nodded at the news, before leaning back and once again going to sleep. As Dr Anderson left the room Welsh followed.
"Why the hell didn't you tell him?" he questioned.
"He doesn't need to know that his brother is dead. It could seriously hinder his condition. Besides it's more his mental health that I'm worried about at the moment." She concluded.
"He'll have to know sooner or later"
"Yes, and we can know when he is strong enough to handle the news."
"You do realise that it was the brother that assaulted him don't you?" she nodded and he continued "Well don't you think that he'd be happy to know that his attacker was dead?"
"Under normal circumstances yes, but a sibling, no matter what a sibling has done, in still family. I suspect that Ray would load the guilt over his brother's death onto his own shoulders and that would definitely not be good" she argued back, and Welsh took the point no further he just turned back to see Ray once more before going back to the precinct.
"Fraser I'm going back to the precinct, okay?" At Ben's nod, Welsh added "take care of him, he's a good man" Fraser smiled weakly and nodded once more. Welsh left again. Fraser once more sat by Ray's side and clutched his best friend's arm. He hoped that he would recover fully. He couldn't bear to see him suffer like this. Ray seemed to be sleeping soundly, but he knew that inside Ray was fighting his own demons. He didn't really know how to deal with this, he dearly wasted to be with his friend, and he know that he wasn't on his own, but as Ray's best friend he felt that somehow he was responsible. He felt that he should have been keeping an eye on Ray, his best friend and his partner. He found himself talking to Ray.
"I'm sorry I let you down Ray, and I am truly sorry about your brother. I should never have let it happen. I'll stay with you I promise" Fraser told him and was surprised when Ray replied.
"You didn't let me down Frase, it wasn't your fault, it was mine" he told him, his voice sounding scratchy.
"How is it your fault?"
"I shouldn't have let it happen." Ray replied refusing to make eye contact with Fraser.
"How could you have stopped it?"
"Daniel's my brother. I should have known. I should have..." Ray stopped himself, not willing to reveal too much. "Anyway what did you mean 'you were sorry about my brother'?"
"Oh nothing, just that I'm sorry about what your brother did to you" Fraser lied, not looking at his friend. Ray seemed to accept this, or so Fraser thought until Ray continued talking.
"He's dead isn't he?" Ray asked, and Fraser breathed a sigh of relief as the doctor entered the room at that moment.
"Ah detective, you're awake. Now how do you feel?" She asked.
"Daniel's dead isn't he?" Ray asked refusing to answer her question. She looked up at Fraser, but got no assistance there.
"I'm sorry" was all she could think of to say.
"Why did you lie?" he asked unexpectedly. She looked up in surprise.
"Um.. I didn't want to slow down your recovery" she replied honestly.
"And you think that finding out later would have made it easier to accept?" he asked. He didn't sound angry or bitter, just curious.
"Maybe not. But the state that you're in. You've been through a lot and I didn't want to add to your burden" she replied. "Now I'll leave you two alone for a while" she said before walking out of the door. As soon as she left, Ray screwed his eyes shut and Fraser noticed a tear running down his cheek. He placed his arm on Ray's forearm.
"Ray, I'm so sorry" Fraser told him gently.
"You knew didn't you?" Ray whispered.
"And you didn't tell me?"
"Because the doctor said that it could hurt you if I told you, and I'd never want to hurt you" he told him honestly. Ray nodded before falling into a fitful slumber.
When Frannie returned later that evening, Ray was still asleep, so Fraser told her what had happened in her absence. He immediately noticed the tears springing to her eyes. Her hands gently traced the tear tracks down Ray's cheek. Fraser placed a hand on her shoulder.
"He'll get through this you know?" he told her.
"How do you know that?" she asked with a trace of anger evident in her voice.
"Because we'll make sure he does" he assured her, and he really meant it.
The next day Fraser was later getting to the hospital than usual, as he approached Ray's room he heard shouting and a crash. As he walked in Ray was being held down to the bed, and a nurse was clearing up bits of food and broken plastic. Fraser walked up to Ray cautiously; he was shocked to see tears streaming down his friend's face.
"What happened?" he asked the nurse gently and for the first time noticed Welsh standing in the corner. Welsh came forward and offered an explanation.
"The male nurse was doing meals this morning. He came in and shook Ray awake, to give him breakfast. Well after everything that has happened you can imagine how Ray reacted to waking up and finding a man looming over him"
"He freaked out?" Fraser asked
"That's an understatement. He saw him and started screaming and shouting, then he tried to get away. He pulled out his IV and knocked over the food in the process" Welsh told him. Fraser nodded understanding. "I mean it wasn't Ray's fault, it was the nurse. He should have known better. The doctor's coming to check Ray out shortly" Welsh continued. Fraser and Welsh both looked over at Ray, he was sobbing quietly, Fraser couldn't help walking over to him.
"Ray?" he asked gently.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry" Ray kept repeating. Fraser just held him as he repeated his mantra over and over, the fear still evident in his voice. Welsh stood by the bed, placing an arm around Ray's shoulders hoping to offer any comfort he could. He felt tears coming to his own eyes as he watched the detective helplessly.
By the time Frannie arrived, Ray dropped into a fitful sleep, still clutching tightly to Fraser. Fraser held him as everytime he moved the frantic movements increased in magnitude. The doctor had been and gone, the Nurse had been given a verbal warning. Ray had been re bandaged as he had caused some of his injuries to re-open. Fraser told Frannie what had happened, and she immediately sat on the bed besides Ray. Welsh had left a short time before promising to come back later in the evening. Frannie never took her eyes off of Ray even as she spoke to Fraser.
"So what did the doctor say?" she asked Fraser
"Hmm, it shouldn't make much difference to his physical health, mentally and emotionally she doesn't know. He was so scared, he just kept telling me he was sorry. He repeated it over and over until he fell asleep" Fraser told her, wiping the tears away from his own eyes. His attention was caught as Ray tossed and turned in the bed once more, moaning in his sleep. He found himself gently stroking Ray's arm, a gesture that any friend would do without thought. Frannie watched as Ray moaned and groaned fighting off his demons in his sleep. She couldn't even imagine what he was going through. She wished that she could help him in some way, but wasn't sure how, or what she could do to lessen his pain. He was writhing around on the bed in a harsher manner by now, and Frannie decided that now would be a good time to wake him up and end his suffering.
"You'd better take a step back" she warned Fraser. He looked at her in confusion, before understanding what she meant. He obliged by moving out of Ray's view to the other side of the room. Frannie gently shook Ray awake.
"Ray? Ray it's Frannie, come on wake up" she whispered. She was relieved when his eyes fluttered open.
"Frannie?" he questioned when he finally recognised her.
"Yeah, yeah it's me Ray" He shook his head, trying to banish his nightmare out of thought. The images just kept coming back to him whether he was asleep or awake, but at least he had more control over them when he was awake. He squeezed his eyes shut before once more turning to look at Frannie. "Are you okay Ray?" she asked, he rolled his eyes. "I'm sorry, stupid question, I mean are you okay to talk?" she told him. He paused before responding with a nod.
"What do you want to talk about?" he asked her.
"Anything that you want to tell me" she replied trying not to push him, but willing him to open up to her.
"Nope, you talk I'll listen" he told her quietly, silently begging Frannie not to make him talk. No matter how much the doctors told him he'd feel better if he got it off his chest he didn't feel ready to discuss his feelings with anybody yet.
"Right, over the last few days I have been very worried about you, in fact we all have. I've sat back and watched you suffer since you were raped" his eyes shut and a lone tear slid out as soon as she had uttered the word "To be honest I can't do it anymore. I'm not going to leave you. I'm not ever going to leave you Ray Kowalski, but you are going to talk to me. You are going to tell me what's going on in here" she said taping his head "and more importantly here" she continued taping his chest to indicate his heart. He closed his eyes, and when he opened them he made eye contact with Frannie for the first time in days.
"Thank you Francesca" he whispered.
"For what?" she asked confused.
"For being here"
"Are you going to talk to me then?" she asked crossing her fingers behind her back.
"Well to be honest I have no idea what's going on in here" he told her taping his head, "And there is so much going on in here it is hard to talk about" he replied honestly, indicating his heart once more.
"Just talk to me. Tell me how you feel"
"Well your brother for starters" she ventured praying that she wasn't pushing too hard. Ray closed his eyes and seemed to think for a moment.
"Well it's complicated. I know he's dead, and he can't hurt me now, but I still feel.........."
"Afraid?" she finished for him and he nodded. "That's nothing to be ashamed of. You just have try and move on" she told him squeezing his hand to punctuate her words and let him know she was there. She looked over to the corner and locked eyes with Fraser who nodded with encouragement.
"Is it wrong to be glad he's dead? I mean after all he did to me, after all he did to my family, he was still my brother, and I still loved him. What sort of person does it make me to be glad he's dead?" he replied, repeating his earlier words.
"A real person" Frannie replied "I'm sure most people would feel the same way" she continued trying to find a way of saying what she was thinking. "If Ray had killed Maria, and raped me, I'd have mixed emotions about him aswell. I mean I'd love him because he was my brother, but hate him for what he had done. I guess I'd be glad if he'd died because it would mean that I didn't have to be afraid anymore." Frannie concluded, hoping Ray would understand. She looked up and he nodded, so she assumed that he had understood.
"For years I lived dreading the day he was escaped, because I knew what he'd do. That's why I was kinda glad when this undercover work came up because I thought a change of name might help me to run from him. Last time, when I arrested him and he escaped, I was in hospital and it sounds weird, but I knew he was coming. He got here, and he pinned me to the bed, I had never been so scared in my life. He just wasn't me brother anymore. Julia had been dead a matter of days. I didn't believe it at first. She died trying to stop him. He had already done it once, he was holding me against a wall, I was trying to fight him off, but he's always been bigger than me. Julia came up behind him and tried to pull him off. He spun round and grabbed her by the throat. He pushed her to the floor and ripped her dress open, he started touching her. I tried to stop him I swear to god I tried, but I couldn't" at this point the tears were streaming down Ray's face. "He raped her right there in front of me, then he pulled out this knife and just kept hitting her with it. The blade went through her so many times, I saw the life flowing out of her" It proved too much for Ray and he turned his head to the side and attempted to empty the contents of his stomach. Unfortunately he hadn't eaten anything for days, so all he could manage was range of painful dry heaves. Frannie sat by his side and rubbed his back gently. She shut her eyes, feeling guilty for pushing him. Ray lay back against the cool sheets of his hospital bed; okay so maybe the doctor was right, he did feel a little bit better now that he had talked about it. He had been keeping the events of his sister's death to himself for too long. He took a deep breath then surprised the hell out of Frannie by continuing with his story. " Anyway when she had died, he continued with me, right there in the same room. It was like I was drugged up or something, because I didn't feel a thing. I don't remember it either, I guess I zoned out. After that he left me lying there and ran off. Mom found us, she rung the police, she nearly had a heart attack, she saw Julia lying there dead, and me bleeding and unconscious. Next thing I knew I was in hospital, I expected to be a suspect, but apparently I'd been out of it for quiet a while and they had already done all the tests and found out it was Daniel. I checked out AMA about three days later got the body released much earlier than it should have been and went to the funeral. I don't really remember the funeral I was on so many drugs anyway as soon as it was over I went after Daniel. I remember finding him in this old hotel, I pulled my gun on him, I was gonna blow him away, I swear I was. He looked so shit scared; it was good to see it. That face will stay in my memory forever. Anyway I cuffed him and soon the boys in blue came in. Shortly after I collapsed and when I next woke up he was looming over me in hospital. You know the story from there" Ray replied, and he actually felt better for telling someone.
"It's good that you've spoken about this Ray. It'll make it easier in the long run" Fraser said from the other side of the room, Ray turned round sharply, only just realising that Fraser was in the room the whole time. Ray nodded before closing his eyes and promptly drifting off to sleep.
"Can you believe he just told me all of that?" Frannie asked Fraser incredulously. He shook his head.
"No I can't to be honest, I thought it would take a lot more to get him to talk. It's good that he did though, it helps him start the healing process" Fraser couldn't help the twinge of jealously that he felt at Ray talking to Frannie and not him.
"I'm sure he'd have spoken to you if he'd realised you were there at the time" Frannie told him, as if reading his thoughts. Fraser sent a weak smile at her, grateful for her words, but not convinced. In his mind he knew it was probably true and that Ray would have spoken to anyone that was there at the time and cared enough to push, but in his heart he wished that Ray would open upto him. He looked down at his friend and longed to just brush all the hurt and pain away. He knew he couldn't, but it was a nice thought. Fraser just sat back in the chair and watched Ray sleep, he was disturbed when Ray kept tossing and turning, occasionally he would cry out. It pained Fraser that there was nothing he could do for his friend, apart from give him moral support.
Days went by, but for Ray they felt like weeks. Most of the time he was asleep, but when he woke up there was always someone by his side waiting to talk, whether it was Frannie, Fraser or Welsh. HE hadn't seen his Mum, and hoped that that was because she didn't know.
Frannie watched Ray as he slept peacefully for the first time in days. He still had nightmares, and depressions. He spent a lot of time crying, or screaming, but the doctors said it was normal after a week had gone by Ray finally asked the dreaded question.
"When's the funeral?" Everyone in the room turned to look at Ray, Frannie was the first to speak.
"What do you mean?"
"When's Daniel's funeral. I mean he is having one right?"
"So when is it?" Frannie looked towards Welsh for assistance.
"Detective the funeral is on Thursday, but you can't expect to go"
"Why not?" Ray questioned, with his anger beginning to flare. He had always had a short fuse, but since the attack his temper picked up easily.
"Because firstly there is no way the doctors are going to let you, and I don't think it's a good idea anyway"
"Screw the doctors. It's my life, and he was my brother" Ray replied, before turning away, therefore closing the subject. Welsh sighed then went to find Ray's doctor. When he located her he got some advice.
"Ray's talking about going to the funeral, do you think it's a good idea?" he asked her. She remained silent for a few moments before responding.
"Yes and No. It could help the recovery process by bringing closure, but it is his brother, which could bring emotional upheaval. I think he should go, but with support" she told him "I checking on him now anyway, I'll have a chat" she replied with a wink. After a while it was decided that ray could attend but only if Fraser, Frannie and Welsh remained by his side throughout. He agreed after much debating.
The day of the funeral arrived quickly and everyone was tense, most in concern for Ray. Ray was very quiet, and barely said a word. The service was attended by few, although the majority of the few attendants were victims or family of the victims. The service was very brief, as few people had good things to say about the decease, it was at this point that Ray surprised everyone, by asking to say a few words. He staggered up to the front of the chapel and began quietly speaking.
"Many of you have had many bad experiences with Daniel Kowalski, my brother, and I suspect that very few of you have actually come here to pay your last respects, but instead to ensure that he was actually gone. For many of you this brings a sense of closure, in a way that is why I am here too. Daniel hurt many many people, not just the people he murdered or raped, but their families, but that isn't the Daniel I remember. I don't remember a brother that would hold me down at knife point and rape me till I screamed for mercy, I remember the brother that taught me to box, the brother that built me a tree house and the brother that held me when I was scared. I know that Daniel did unforgivable things, and I'm not asking you to forgive and forget, or even to understand, because I can't myself. Over ten to twenty years I saw my brother change from a caring loving person, to a vicious, malicious violent person. At the time he was branded evil, and then I said no, not my brother, you see after everything, after watching him murder my sister right in front of me I still loved him. I didn't like him, in fact I hated him, but I still loved him. You see he was my brother. It's because of this I don't consider him evil. I know that he showed no remorse for what he did, he wasn't even slightly sorry of what he had done. I know that the crimes he committed made him feel powerful and alive, which just shows how sick he was. He hoped to ruin people's lives, which is why I am speaking today. I don't want you to waste the rest of your lives feeling angry about what happened. Whatever wrongs my brother did to you cannot be reversed now, it's too late, so please don't wasted your lives with anger and hate. Use today to end it all. That's the purpose for me. When this coffin nters the ground, please think of it as the past being buried, that's what I intend to do." With that Ray turned and went back to his pew. His voice had cracked seveal times during his speech and tears were streaming down his face, but he felt better than he had in a long time.He felt like it was the end. He knew he had a long way to go, but it was definitely the beginning of the end.