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Author: Tatau (kaffeewespe_la@yahoo.de)
Fandom: Due South
Pairing: Fraser/RayK
Rating: PG
Words: ~ 2.100
Disclaimer: Due South is the property of Alliance Atlantis. Written for fun not for profit
Notes: Written for the ds_aprilfools round 2011, Prompt 05: maple leaf
Summary: On the day Ray and Fraser are both going their different ways after the quest Ray has one chance to get together with Fraser… but he’s too late
Warnings: Angst but that’s it, I swear *Spoilers* Highlight to read: Ever saw the 1999 version of the Thomas Crown Affair? Remember that damn neat ending?

Feedback Welcome!

Ray was out of breath when he skidded to a halt inside of the Yellowknife Airport entrance hall. He looked around wildly for the familiar glimpse of red Serge or the Stetson but nothing caught his eye and there weren’t that many people there to begin with.

He couldn’t… he balled his hands into fists… he had missed him. Ray began to shake slightly. “Dammit!” he cursed softly.

A blonde, maternal woman came up to him. “Excuse me, are you alright? Can I help you?”

And Ray almost laughed. He couldn’t be helped anymore but at least the Canadians had tried till the very end. He would surely remember that.

“No, no. Thanks, I’m-I’m fine,” he mumbled and the woman patted his arm and went on her own merry, Canadian way.

Ray pushed his dark sunglasses onto his nose and took a shuddering breath. He could do this.

Ray approached the counter and handed the woman his passport. Her fingers clacked over the keyboard and a moment later she had his boarding pass in her hands.

“Welcome to Yellowknife Airport Mr. Kowalski,” she said.

Ah, yes… he got his own name back… he hadn’t even noticed, not much use for a last name when it had been just… him… and Ray.

“This is your boarding pass. Your flight number is FA 954 to—“

“Yeah, thanks. I’ll find my way.” Ray just wanted to be left alone. He didn’t care what it said on his ticket for it sure as hell didn’t say… Fraser. He took a deep breath.

He took his boarding pass and left the front desk. Ray chanced a glance at it and read Gate 3 (whole airport probably only had 3 Ray guessed). He wondered for a second because he had thought his flight was supposed to leave from Gate 1 but maybe had mixed that up.

All in all, he just didn’t care where he ended up. Of course, Welsh would be pissed off if he called from Calgary or something to say that he would be late because he was flying across the whole country before dropping by at the 2-7.

Ray went through the security check without any problems and he didn’t have more than one smallish bag of luggage which could pass as carry-on. Didn’t make much sense to bring all of his equipment from the quest back; it wasn’t much use down in Chicago.

Besides, most of it belonged to… him, anyway. Ray sighed… god, he ached.

He dropped into one of the uncomfortable chairs in the departure hall at his gate and waited for his flight to be called. He didn’t even bother reading the screen, what did he care when boarding began? It was too late to bring him back and it was way too early to leave.

Why couldn’t he have made it on time just once in his goddamn life?

Because he was a chicken, that’s why. Because he had been so afraid of what might happen that he had waited until the last second to decide. Because he had been a stupid, miserable, bastard not to jump into his arms the moment he had said:

“I love you, Ray.”

Ray’s throat felt scratchy… that was probably the reason why his eyes began to water.

He was so stupid… He needed a new word for the sheer size of his stubborn stupidity. Fraser would probably know one. He surreptitiously tried to wipe underneath his eyes.

Why hadn’t he said… he could’ve said… at least “Me, too.” But he hadn’t and Fraser had looked so lost… and had tried to swallow his hurt like that time long ago at the lake they call Michigan when it had come to blows because Ray had been too chickenshit to do anything then either.

But he hadn’t given up on Ray… he had always known that Ray was a coward… or maybe he had understood that Ray needed a bit of space to deal with the really big stuff.

“I can only assume that you need to think about this, Ray,” and Fraser had smiled that soft smile with which Ray had fallen in love right that first time he had seen Fraser sitting at a campfire underneath the stars.

“I’ll wait for you at the entrance hall of the airport until 3.30 p.m. You can give me your answer then.”

…only Ray had been too late… It couldn’t have been more than a few minutes, 10 at the most, but Fraser had already left for his own flight.

A flight that didn’t even go in the same direction; Fraser’s flight went due north, or as north as you could go. Ray had looked Inuvik up some time. It was pretty far away from Chicago. You couldn’t even drive up there. Not even with a long weekend. Not ever.

Ray cradled his head in his hands… He hadn’t even known what he had wanted to do about it. He had just wanted to tell Fraser that… “I love you, too,” and he had believed in Fraser to think of some solution for them, had to believe in Fraser with everything he had because lately Fraser seemed to be the only true thing in his life.

And he couldn’t lose him.

But he had.

For good.

Ray didn’t know if he could ever explain to Fraser that he had only been late, that he hadn’t meant not to come… that he hadn’t meant to imply that he didn’t want Fraser around anymore.

Suddenly a man spoke to him. “Excuse me are you also leaving from Gate 3? The boarding is almost over. I just assumed, well, there aren’t that many flights left that leave today, so I thought this must be yours as well.”

“Huh? Oh, thanks,” Ray mumbled and slung his bag over his shoulder.

He trudged through the airplane to his seat almost at the back, right at the window. Well, since there were only two seats he guessed the odds weren’t that unlikely.

It didn’t take the small airplane long to be fully boarded especially since Ray had already been one of the last passengers. But he didn’t take any notice of his surroundings; this was hell, no matter what it looked like.

It would only take one and a half hours to get to Edmonton. From there Ray would get on a connecting flight to Chicago. And then he would be home. Strange how hollow that sounded: home.

Ray looked out of the window and seeing Canada so far down below made him realize the full extent of his cowardice.

God… he had left… Fraser.

The one thing he knew for sure he couldn’t live without and he had… left.

Why?

They had been building up to this moment from the moment they had started on their quest. Heh, from the moment they met, probably. They had come so awfully close to kissing a few times… and the nights together in the sleeping bag had been unrivaled agony of the sweetest kind.

Ray had known about Fraser’s feelings… he had always known…

But the moment Fraser said them out loud Ray had to turn 14 again and ran in the other direction.

He wrapped his arms tighter around himself and heard something crunch in the pocket of his jacket.

Confused, Ray grasped inside and pulled the object out. It was a maple leaf… Ray had found it at the park where…

Where he had met Fraser for the last time. They had both arranged for their flights and their baggage and everything and they had just met up to say goodbye.

And Fraser had said “I love you, Ray,” and when Ray didn’t say anything he had left and Ray stood rooted to the spot for a long time and when he was able to take his surroundings in he had noticed the maple leaf on the ground.

It was of a beautiful red and gold color…

“It’s fall,” Fraser had said a few days ago. They had been gone for a really long time.

He stroked the leaf carefully, feeling its smooth texture and suddenly he couldn’t keep the sobs in anymore.

What was he doing here?

Ray should’ve never left. He should’ve taken the next flight to where Fraser was and apologize for being a dumb flatfoot with only half a brain.

A shudder wracked Ray and he tried to take a calm breath.

He was startled when a hand from the row behind him extended a handkerchief. He took it absentmindedly and mumbled “Thanks”.

Ray wiped his eyes with it and looked at it… it was made of cloth, he gave a watery smile. Fraser had always carried one of those. He disapproved of tissues because they single-handedly killed every damn tree in Canada or something.

He fingered the texture and came upon a little piece of stitching. It even bore the same initials, BF…

Ray whipped around in his seat. There was Fraser, sitting directly behind him with an apologetic smile on his face. Fraser lifted his hand as if to say “fancy meeting you here” and Ray couldn’t sit still anymore.

He scrambled over his seat and right into Fraser’s lap. The stewardess came in their direction to tell Ray off for inappropriate behavior but Ray was so busy fisting his hand into Fraser’s soft flannel shirt that he couldn’t care less.

“You set this up, didn’t you? Fuck! I can’t believe it, you bastard set me up!” He finally looked at Fraser and Fraser smiled back at him. Ray leaned over and kissed him. He didn’t care that there were countless strangers around them or that everyone could see.

At the moment Ray wasn’t on duty and Fraser wasn’t in uniform and even if he had to see every one of the goddamn passengers again for every damn day for the rest of his life he still would’ve kissed him.

And Fraser kissed him back.

The stewardess stopped telling Ray off mid-sentence and the people behind Fraser and in Ray’s row started to clap and cheer – no dirty jokes or whistling, apparently all of the passengers were Canadians.

The woman next to Fraser stood up. “You can take my seat. You seem to have a lot to discuss. I’ll take your seat instead, if you don’t mind.”

Gotta love those Canadians.

Ray slid from Fraser’s lap and onto the seat next to him.

“How, no first tell me why, no… what did you think… Fraser!” Ray exclaimed when he couldn’t seem to find the right words to express his surprise.

Fraser smiled in amusement.

“Yes, Ray?” he said, trying to hide the crooked grin that was spreading over his whole face.

Ray tried to get his thoughts into the right order.

“Okay, first: Where are we flying to?”

“Chicago,” Fraser said surprised.

“Oh,” Ray almost felt disappointed.

“And why are you flying to Chicago with me?” And wasn’t that the mother of all questions?

Fraser rubbed his eyebrow. Thank god, and here Ray had feared that this Fraser wasn’t the real one.

“Ah, you didn’t come to the meeting point and—“

“I’m sorry, Fraser,” Ray interrupted with force. “I was dumb, I—“ but Fraser held his finger to Ray’s lips.

“It’s okay, Ray,” he smiled slightly. “When the time was up I just… I couldn’t leave you. I thought you might need more time and it wasn’t fair to put you under this kind of pressure.

So I, ah… well, I called my superior officer in Inuvik and inquired when I was expected to assume my posting.”

“And?” Ray could barely hold still with all of this nerve-wrecking going on.

“Apparently they weren’t expecting me for another week.”

Ray was waiting for something more to follow but nothing came.

“You have to get back in one week?” Ray asked just to make sure.

Fraser licked his lip.

“Ah… I had thought it might take you a week to decide upon your feelings, but,” Ray blushed crimson and the man next to him on the other side of the aisle tried to hide his smirk – had Ray already mentioned that Canadians were a gift from the gods with all their politeness? Because he wouldn’t mind repeating, “it seems as if you already came to terms with them,” Fraser continued with a slight smile.

“Uh… so what now?” Ray asked.

“Now we have one week to decide what we want to do,” Fraser said confidently and something inside of Ray relaxed. This was him and Fraser, they had always conquered everything.

“What can we do?”

“Well,” Fraser rubbed his eyebrow, “there is the possibility of me transferring back to Chicago, and alternatively I am certain that we could find an arrangement where we could see each other at least now and then, or… you could come with me.”

“One week?” Ray asked just to make sure.

“One week,” Fraser confirmed with a smile at Ray’s determination.

One week was more than enough to decide.

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