Title: End It
Summary: Missing scene from 'Mountie on the Bounty' part one. Ray wants Fraser to hit him back.
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Author's notes: As far as character insight goes, this story owes both Te's Bitch and AC Chapin's Wednesday Morning.But it was LaTonya's Punch that got me started. Thanks to Resonant for beta'ing.
This is where it started, he said. So this is where we'll end it.
You were standing here, I think, said Fraser, so Ray moved, and didn't even see it coming-- a brick-solid haymaker of cold reality. He doubled over, and tried not to puke. It was a beautiful punch, really. Even in the glittering dusk, Ray had seen the reckoning in the Mountie's eyes, the caution. He still hadn't pulled it much, though. Just enough to keep Ray conscious.
I should've have known, Ray thought, a star of pain stabbing outward from his jaw at all points. Of course the Mountie's got just one punch. His best effort. The knockout. It wasn't Fraserlike to hit someone just for the purpose of causing them pain. Not like Fraser at all.
Ray poked at his teeth with his tongue, testing for looseness. He tasted blood, but not much. All right, then. It was done with. Time to walk away. His jaw hurt like hell. But his hand didn't hurt any more.
After the arrests that afternoon, Ray had finally ended up back at the station. His hand ached as he wandered towards his desk. Welsh is apparently requiring his presence. Must've heard about him socking the Mountie. Shit, this isn't gonna be pretty. But Ray knows he deserves whatever the Lieutenant is going to dish out.
Stalling, he perched on the edge of Francesca's desk for a moment. She'd take his fucking head off if she knew-- Frannie's a tough little cookie, now. But still, something about her tipped Ray off almost from the start. That appraising look in her eye, that kind of feral sixth sense that you can sometimes see telling her exactly how far she can push. Who was it she pushed too far, once? Her dad, maybe, or that ex-husband, neither of whom Ray's ever heard much about.
Ray felt a sting of rage towards whoever it was. The fact that now he's one of them makes him feel sick. Hell, being a cop, hasn't he seen enough of it? Dead, split lips with bright blood leaking from peeling white cracks, new bruises layered on old in all the colors skin shouldn't be: faint stained blue, squash yellow and indigo. Goose-egg lumps on the forehead, the jaw, more horrifying than any Hollywood monster made of latex and slime.
Fucking Fraser, if he could just listen for a fucking minute-- but Ray cut that thought dead as he got up and headed into Welsh's office. She started it. Oh hell yes. He's heard that one before, from six-foot-five bruisers with hands like hams and skeletal, mute wives who haven't looked at anything but their slipper-clad feet in years. She started it, officer.
All he can think of as Welsh offers him the transfer back to his old precinct, back to his old life, is how sometimes you can't go back, ever. Some types of innocence you lose for good. Take enough domestic violence calls, and your average rookie will lose a lot of faith; there were days when Ray felt like screaming to the sky: listen, lady, he's gonna kill you. Pack up your kids and get the fuck out. Social worders would talk about codependency and self-delusions and cycles, but Ray never understood until the night when Stella hit him.
It was no little "how-dare-you" girlie-slap-- no, this was beyond dramatic gesture, in the moment when she'd given up trying to make any kind of point. Stel just whacked him a good one, hard and fast and meant to hurt. Ray was still feeling the blow next week, the muscles of his neck creaking when he'd try to look the other way too fast. The sting of Stella's wedding ring was a cold bite he can still feel.
They didn't talk about it, and that night she came into his arms, kissed him all over except for his face. And for the very first time with Stella, Ray kept his eyes closed, and for the first time it wasn't glory, wasn't worship, it was just fucking, two bodies in the dark. And maybe she took forgiveness from it, and maybe he got some comfort, but it didn't put his mind at ease.
He'd kept his eyes closed. And maybe that was why he heard those sounds, when he'd never really heard them before: the bedknobs rattling loosely, metal on metal. The slow, rhythmic thump of the headboard against the wall. The press and creak of the mattress against the box springs. It all sounded like some huge animal coming for him. The rattle was claws, the weight and scuff were heavy paws, the thump was some huge, slow, infinitely patient heartbeat.
He wasn't afraid she'd seriously hurt him. Wasn't afraid that she'd pitch a lamp or use a belt next time instead of her open hand. And she never did-- not the next time she hit him, or the time after that. Three times. She'd apologize, always, and they'd fuck. And then things would be good again. For a while. But those good times never lasted, although every time, Ray believed they would. And then one night as they were on the downswing, Stella did the thing that Ray had feared the most. She left.
It was dark by the time he got over to the Consulate. He stood in Fraser's doorway, staring at that dark head bent over a deskful of papers. Waiting till the Mountie looked up.
You gotta hit me. he said quietly.
Fraser tilted his head slightly, as if distracted. As if some detail on one of the myriad forms on his desk had just become utterly puzzling. Ray shifted impatiently, and Fraser gave him an eyeblink's worth of attention. I can't do that, Ray.
Can't. Not won't. It's the wrong thing to say, especially right now when Ray needs to know that Fraser's not defenseless; that Ray didn't just strike out at someone who isn't even capable of hitting back.
And then Ray sees the helpless spread of Fraser's fingers, the slightest tremble as one finger traces the lines of a blurry fax, and he knows. Why Fraser won't hit him and why he needs to more than ever, now. It's cosmically strange, like a funhouse mirror image, but Ray knows what Fraser is feeling, because he's been there. It's like the floor dropping out from under your feet, when you realize that you can't just turn it off-- can't stop wanting, can't stop loving someone who's betrayed you, hurt you, hit you...
Love will fuck you up, Ray knows that. He doesn't know how far he would have fallen if Stel hadn't stopped it by walking out, hadn't left before the fights could get quite that bad once more. She'd had her reasons, too-- rational ones that didn't have anything to do with sounds half-heard between rough breaths at midnight. But sometimes there was fear in her eyes when she spoke, and sometimes her hands would dance at her sides, like she was afraid to lift a finger even to brush her hair back from her face. So maybe she'd heard the same sounds, maybe she'd felt it coming for them too.
Jesus. Fraser. Ray never saw that one coming, and since when has Fraser felt-- but first things first. Please, said Ray, and Fraser's eyes flicked to his own, startled, and stayed. Ray parted his lips a little. He knew how to do this; knew Fraser. He couldn't provoke the Mountie into doing it, but he could ask politely. I need this, Fraser. Please. You have to.
Fraser's eyes locked on Ray's, and Ray was almost dizzied. There were depths there he'd never dreamed of falling into. You might be interested to know, Ray, that I have recently been offered a post in Ottowa.
No shit. Ray shifts against the doorjamb. You gonna take it?
Fraser looked at him. Looked at him as though the answer were written on his face, and Ray grimaced and broke eye contact. Hey, you're not the only one. End of this week, I'm headin' back to my precinct. Stanley fuckin' Kowalski rides again.
I see... And then Fraser was standing, talking quickly, as though trying to convince himself. Although I wouldn't usually-- I-- perhaps in the interest of closure--
It looked as though it was almost fucking painful for Fraser, not being able to finish the sentence. When Ray interrupted it was more in the way of being a charitable act.
Well, come on if you're comin', then.
He drove them back to the water's edge in silence, trying not to think of what might've been.
This is where it started, he said. So this is where we'll end it.