“…if you look at the horizon you’ll see that it actually touches the ground. So if you think about it, wherever you go, you are actually walking in the sky.“
The first time Fraser had talked about the horizon Ray had simply thought he was a little unhinged.
After a while, though, Ray kinda saw a pattern here.
“You know Ray, it wouldn’t hurt to broaden your horizon a little,” Fraser chided him when Ray had flat out refused to eat something as disgusting as slugs on the sole principle that they were flabby as well as slimy – which Fraser assured him they weren’t but, yuck.
You had to draw the line somewhere.
“Fraser I do not need any new horizons, I like the one I have just fine,” was Ray’s reply – which was perfectly sensible, thank you very much.
Ray figured, Fraser had a thing for horizons and new ones at that – which was weird in itself but Ray was willing to overlook it since Fraser was already a pretty weird guy himself.
Fraser, however, worked like a force of nature. So over time Ray grew accustomed to testing his own boundaries.
It all started with learning to speak Canadian. Ray had had no ambitions to learn a second language. Mrs. McDevitt, his English teacher in Junior High, had seen to that. She had made sure that Ray had his hands full just learning to speak plain English.
But then Fraser came and suddenly Ray needed to know what Fraser meant when he said ‘malfeasant’ or ‘nefarious’ and someone had to interpret for Welsh when Fraser wanted him to ‘elucidate’ so that the Lieu knew that all Fraser wanted him to do was explain something.
Ray was kind of proud of his language skills after a year of working with Fraser. Maybe this broadened his horizon a little but Ray didn’t think twice about it.
But by then Ray was used to working with Fraser and a duet did the old give and take so Ray got Fraser to eat greasy fries and hamburgers at grubby diners and Fraser in turn got to drag Ray to one of those ‘delis’ where everything on your sandwiches was still more or less alive it was so damn healthy.
And this might have announced to Ray that he had a new horizon coming up but he stubbornly ignored it because that’s what he did, that’s what he excelled at.
But then he had to go to Fraser for protection with the Volpe affair and Fraser – plotting Canadian that he was – wasted no time introducing Ray to curling. Ray had no possibility to leave which made it a rather dirty trick on Fraser’s part.
Ray would have completely ignored this whole ‘broadening’ and ‘horizon’ stuff hadn’t he started to spend time, well, outside. Like, without reason. He wasn’t lazy; he walked if it was convenient.
But he had never, not once, spent his afternoon as a grown man walking the streets and the parks for no other reason than walking itself. But suddenly there was Fraser and Fraser was such a lonely guy that Ray wanted to be there for him and Benton Fraser liked to be outside.
Ray wasn’t sure if that was because it brought him closer to the wide open spaces of Canada or because living in his office sucked that much – he never had the courage to ask him, he was too afraid that Fraser would confess how badly he wanted to leave – but since then Ray had started to walk alongside.
Diefenbaker was happy enough and Ray didn’t even mind… but it did broaden his horizon somewhat. So much even that Ray wasn’t sure if he shouldn’t just start naming his horizons differently in order to make it easier to distinguish them.
He should’ve known that the nature part would be his downfall. A few weekends after he had started to spend time outside with the wilderness-duo Ray started to talk to the wolf. Half-wolf. Deaf half-wolf…. or if you asked Ray, the half-deaf half-wolf or even the not-so-deaf half-wolf.
This, he couldn’t ignore. Talking to animals was as bad as talking to inanimate objects. Especially when they talked back. This was a new horizon alright.
Ray should’ve known that it wouldn’t stop there.
Next was the swimming thing. He had never intended to learn how to swim. If asked, he would’ve assured anyone that he intended to stay as far away from any body of water as he could.
But suddenly he was out there in the middle of the ocean and the only thing keeping him alive was this bloom-close-kick’em-in-the-head-thing.
The moment they shot out of the hold of the ship with fire extinguishers strapped to their backs at the latest alerted Ray to the fact that things were definitely starting to look weird. You didn’t trust someone to behave like McGuyver… not without some serious protest.
So Ray was already starting to count how many horizons he possessed when everything went downright freaky.
There was this buddy breathing thing and if Ray had ever encountered any fishy business – the damn trout not withstanding – this had been it. No way was that standard procedure… or at least not like that, not for them. Ray wasn’t sure if ‘horizon’ was a big enough word to cover the magnitude of this revelation.
But it didn’t end with this, oh no. Ray hadn’t honestly believed that it would. After almost one and a half years of working with Fraser he had a feeling in his gut about this sort of thing, and this wasn’t finished, no way.
The next eye-opener was that card-dealing chick. Ray didn’t care who someone dated, wasn’t his business so he didn’t ask. But Fraser? Fraser was different.
It wasn’t the fact that Fraser seemed to have the hots for this chick. It was the fact that it drove Ray insane that Fraser did that was the broad hint. Ray was pretty sure that it opened multiple horizons at once the moment Benton Fraser confessed to kissing her.
And suddenly the epiphanies seemed to accumulate. There was the time Fraser got beaten up and Ray had felt his heart beating in his chest as if it was trying to compress all of its remaining years into the frame of a few hours. God, he had been scared shitless. Realizing just how important Fraser’s well-being was was just one more horizon Ray had to discover.
Just when Ray thought that he couldn’t take any new horizons, that he had all the broadening that he could cope with, Fraser had to play dead. And Ray hadn’t even given it a second thought ‘cause, after all, it wasn’t real. But suddenly he was looking at Fraser lying in a coffin and a priest was delivering the funeral eulogy and Ray started to freak out.
So, okay, this was like a real epiphany. Because not wanting your partner dead and freaking out even though you knew your partner wasn’t were two different things.
So when Muldoon was caught and Fraser suggested an ‘adventure’ Ray had signed up immediately.
They way he saw it he already had enough horizons to never need to go for a holiday because he already knew every sunset and sunrise from every place of the world. He also figured that he could create a whole new universe from the sheer number of horizons he possessed.
Nothing could surprise him anymore.
Or so he had thought.
Until he spent four months on the ice with Fraser and nothing but Fraser and the dogs for company.
Because that was when Ray realized that there were still enough horizons left to broaden. It was in the way Fraser looked at him over the light of the fire with nothing but snow for miles and miles or in the way their sleeping bags lay snug against each other in the dark of night.
So it should have come as no surprise when Fraser kissed him for real, one night under the northern lights.
But somehow it did; because Ray had been so busy preparing for this moment that he had kind of missed it.
Ray felt a little poleaxed by this occurrence. But after all this time with Fraser Ray felt as if this was just one more repetition of “are you ready for it?” – A question that he had endured from the start. And Ray had always come out on top.
Ray had already encountered so many new horizons, what did one more matter?