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Fandom: due South
Pairing: Fraser/RayK
Rating: NC-17 (for more than a little explicit slash)
Words: ~38.900 (10 Chapters)
Summary: Ray and Fraser go undercover. And then the assignment turns gay—but apparently, Fraser is quite comfortable with that. Which, as it turns out, comes as a real eye-opener to Ray.
Disclaimer: Nothing, absolutely nothing, belongs to me. I’m just having fun without making a profit out of it
Notes: The wonderfully thorough beta job was done by the one and only Ride_Forever. I’m claiming all remaining mistakes 😉 
Warnings: Clichés galore, most notably: gay!undercover. Also drug use, mention of sexual violence, and more slashy porn than can possibly be healthy.
 

RayK: “I don’t know who has less sex, me or you, but at least I’m still thinking about women. Do you think that’s better or worse?”

Fraser: “It’s an interesting question.”

            – A Likely Story

~*~

“Are you looking for this?”

Surprised, Fraser turned around and only had time to register the butt of a gun coming his way before everything went dark.

When he came to again, he found himself bound to a chair. Fraser moaned softly against the pain.

“For whom have you been spying?”

Fraser shook his head slightly, if to clear his head or if to show that he wouldn’t answer wasn’t even clear to himself at this point. 

“We could use him,” a voice whispered excitedly.

“I had the same idea,” another voice replied approvingly.

~*~

“Vecchio, Constable, in here if you please.”

Ray sighed. It was Thursday; so far this week hadn’t been all that bad. So far Welsh hadn’t asked them into his office either. Those two facts might be related. Fraser didn’t seem to have any misgivings about Welsh’s invitation and Ray envied him his good-world-expectations a little. Ray knew whenever someone wanted to speak to him in private he was in trouble. He just would’ve liked to know beforehand what they had done wrong this time.

He almost did a double-take when he entered his office and spotted two FBI agents; he caught himself at the last second, no reason to advertise his surprise. This didn’t bode well for Ray’s week.

“Gentlemen, we are required to offer our assistance in a federal investigation,” Welsh said, not without irony. The two agents didn’t look particularly pleased.

“This is a sensitive operation,” one of them said. Ray decided to call him ‘Smith I’ and his partner ‘Smith II’; they were just like the guys from the Matrix— they all looked the same. “We cannot risk any failure in this undercover operation—it has to be handled with the utmost care,” he sniffed haughtily.

Ray thought he saw where this was going. He wondered what he would have to do this time. Narcotics? Guns? Maybe he could use one of his old personas to get back into the groove—

“Constable Fraser, you fulfill all requirements,” Smith II said with a worried look at Fraser’s uncomfortably bright uniform.

Ray jerked in his seat.

“Fraser?” he intoned at the same time as his partner exclaimed, “Sir?” with a puzzled frown on his face.

“You will fill out the recently vacated position of head secretary at Meissner & Fish Inc.”

Ray wondered if the FBI had conveniently cleared that position or if that was purely coincidental.

“Fraser has no experience with undercover work,” Ray pointed out.

“On the contrary, Ray. I worked undercover as a teacher in an all-girls Catholic school—quite successfully, if I may add.”

“All-girls—?” Ray’s mind was still trying to come to grips with this part of the conversation when Welsh interrupted with a seraphic smile. “Frankly, we didn’t think your office skills were quite up to the task, Detective.”

“My office skills are just fine. Besides—”

“Besides that and your problem with authority we thought Fraser would feel quite comfortable with the cover part of his assignment,” Welsh’s tone brooked no argument.

Ray made a face. It wasn’t that he was keen on acting as secretary for some kind of company big jerk. It was just that Fraser was a shoddy liar; he worked like one of those big digital billboards, everything that happened inside got broadcasted loud and clear for everyone to see. Well, okay, he might’ve fooled Ray with that poker chick, but one poker game didn’t make you a good actor.

“I see. Of course, if I can be of assistance,” Fraser answered dutifully.

Smith I and II looked at each other and nodded. “You’ll start tomorrow. Meissner & Fish are under the strong suspicion of using the company as a front for developing synthetic drugs. So far we have been unable to trace the connection.”

“The name has come up over the course of our investigation,” Smith II added. “None of the suspects lived long enough to give us anything more definite.”

Smith II didn’t sound particularly grieved by this, more annoyed. This was another thing that didn’t sit well with Ray. The feds always messed things up. He didn’t want Fraser involved—had he not intervened at the poker game the feds would’ve waited for Fraser to be shot before going in.

“What do I do?” Ray asked with an edge to his voice.

Chapter 1

~*~

A chill crawled down his back as he listened. Stay calm, he reminded himself. At least they had no intention of killing him at the moment.

His head hurt where they had hit him. He looked around the dim room and realized that they must have brought him to the warehouse. He needed a plan.

~*~

“Oh you’ve got to be kidding me,” Ray groaned with a look at the mountain of case folders on his desk trying to turn into the next tower of Babel.

Elaine smiled sympathetically at him. “I’m sorry you couldn’t go in with Fraser. I’m sure he’ll be fine.”

Ray shrugged a little defensively, remembering the outburst he’d had when the feds left.

“Yeah, you know Fraser…”

They were both silent for a moment. Both knowing that Fraser always found trouble even when trouble was doing its utmost to avoid him.

“Maybe we could start on the McCallan case, the downtown robbery?” Elaine suggested in an effort to distract Ray.

Ray didn’t mind partnering Elaine for the duration of Fraser’s assignment. He just hated feeling this nagging worry eating away at his stomach lining whenever he thought of Fraser being stuck in a federal investigation without someone watching his back.

Ray swallowed a sigh and opened the uppermost folder. So, robbery.

It wasn’t before he consciously typed up his report that evening that Ray finally acknowledged that the gnawing inside of him was simply the feeling of missing Fraser. Ray sighed. It was weird. The man could drive him up the wall on the best of days, but now that he wasn’t there to annoy Ray with Inuit tales and freaky ear anecdotes Ray thought it was kind of too quiet.

He still managed to meet up with Fraser on some of the evenings after work. The fact that Fraser wasn’t all that enthusiastic about his new position as secretary was at least of some consolation to Ray. Even though Fraser had to spoil it a little by being very, very polite about his dismay.

It was on one of those evenings and Fraser was just relating how very similar his job at the Consulate and his current assignment were. And that’s just the kind of stuff you really don’t like, Ray thought with a sympathetic smile. I hear ya, buddy.

“…and there is simply nothing untoward happening at that office.” Fraser made a moue of disapproval. “The only thing I could find was an excessively high claim for a business dinner.” The way Fraser said ‘business dinner’ made Ray grin; it was full of righteous indignation.

“How so?” Ray asked, more to give him a chance to rant than out of any real interest.

Fraser frowned and touched his eyebrow with his knuckle. “I am taking care of the claims for the higher company members, mostly for business travel, restaurants or the occasional taxi to the office. I might not even have noticed this particular claim, but I was thinking how much good a company like that could do with the kind of money it paid their managers for eating at high-class establishments.”

Ray tried not to let the smile show. Benton Fraser, Robin Hood of the Great White North.

“This claim only listed three people—none of whom belong to the board of executives—but the claim was made out for $300 and there wasn’t an address given, only the name Skydeep.”

“Hmm.” It did sound a little weird. “Did you check it out?”

Fraser shook his head. “No, the personal assistant of Mr. Meissner, Sasha Peters, came to me and told me that the claim had ended up on my desk by mistake. I didn’t want to raise suspicion so I handed it back.”

“Maybe it’ll come up again?”

“I’ll certainly keep my eyes and ears on the alert, Ray.”

Ray had almost forgotten all about it when it hadn’t come up again. But he hadn’t expected it to crop up during one of his investigations – least of all in the fashion it did.

Elaine and he had just been on the way back from grabbing dinner when they got an anonymous tip that a murder was in progress at the docks. They were on the scene in a couple of minutes and at the mentioned location Ray saw a man about sixty flinging a huge bag into the water.

He toppled the man over and read him his rights and Elaine jumped into the water and retrieved the bag. She pulled it out, coughing and shivering and Ray draped his jacket over her and opened the bag. It seemed a little small for a body.

Surprised, Ray stared at the litter of kittens, meowing like there was no tomorrow, and for them there almost hadn’t been. Ray wasn’t sure if he was supposed to laugh or to be mad about the call.

“Elaine, you saved a bunch of cats.”

“What?” She extricated herself from Ray’s jacket and stood up to look across Ray’s shoulder “You weren’t joking,” she said with a look of fond disbelief on her face.

“I would never joke about kittens,” Ray said with as much of a serious face as he could muster.

Ray pulled the old man up.

“Why would you drown a bag full of kittens? This is the next millennium; we have places for unwanted animals.”

The old man didn’t seem to be all there. He scrutinized Ray. “Were you with those from the warehouse? I waited for you to leave.”

“The, uh, warehouse?” Ray asked, hoping it wasn’t some kind of code.

“The warehouse,” the old man barked, pointing at the warehouse next to them.

“Oh.” It was clearly abandoned. But now that it had been pointed out to him he had to take a look.

Ray went over and pulled the door open. It was empty. Almost… except for…

“Hey, are you all right?” Ray ran up to a man lying on the cold concrete. He was completely naked and Ray saw the shiver run down his chest as his lips tried to form words.

“Elaine!” Ray shouted over his shoulder. “We need that jacket.”

“Shh…” Ray said soothingly. “It’ll be okay.”

But the man had trouble focusing; his cornflower blue eyes stared vacantly into space.

An absent-minded smile graced his face and his eyes met Ray’s.

“Sky…” he murmured.

“Sorry, what?” Ray asked, bending lower to hear him better.

“…deep.”

“Sky deep? What’s that supposed to mean?” Ray asked. But he saw the smile freeze and even while his hands tried to find a pulse Ray knew that the man was dead.

Elaine came running with his jacket in her hands.

“He’s dead,” Ray explained and Elaine stared at the naked man.

While Ray waited for the autopsy, he thought about the last words of the dying man. Sky deep… he was certain he had heard that before.

Suddenly he heard Fraser’s voice: “There wasn’t an address given, only the name Skydeep”. When the post mortem came back and Ray stared at the ‘cardiac arrest due to an overdose of an unregistered synthetic drug’ on the report he was sure that he had just found a connection.

Ray came back up the stairs and addressed the night-shift in the bullpen at large. “Okay, it’s showtime, gentlemen. Whoever comes up with something to go along with the word ‘skydeep’ wins a free coffee from the break room.”

There was a collective groan and a mutter of “you could at least spring for a decent coffee”, but five minutes later Dewey exclaimed “It’s a club on West Ontario Street.”

“Really?” Ray said, sounding almost disappointed. This had been easy.

Fraser finally arrived right in the middle of everything. “Is there some competition going on?” he asked Ray in a confidential tone at seeing the participation of the whole station.

“Something like that. We found your Skydeep.”

“Oh?”

“Yes, seems it’s a night club—”

Ray’s explanation was interrupted by Huey’s hoarse laughter.

“What’s so funny?” Ray asked.

Dewey grinned at him. “I think this is just the right assignment for you two.”

Irritably, Ray shook his head. “What are you blabbing about?”

“It’s a gay club. You always wanted to show your true colors, didn’t you? I’m sure you and Fraser will make a wonderful couple. Let us know when the wedding is.”

Ray gnashed his teeth to the loud sound of catcalls and whooping from his fellow officers.

He stepped in Dewey’s direction, prepared to bash his head in, but Fraser reached underneath his arms to pull him away. Fraser dragged him outside until the GTO was already in sight.

“Let go of me, dammit,” Ray snarled.

Fraser released him and Ray smoothed down his jacket.

“I should go back and break his jaw,” Ray said, heatedly.

Fraser looked at him with sad eyes. “Can we please get in the car, Ray?”

Ray huffed, but opened the car anyway.

As soon as they were inside, Ray’s tirade broke loose.

“These stupid jerks—think they’re so clever, huh? Yeah, dead funny. I’m laughing myself sick over it—if I hear one more stupid joke I’ll—”

“Ray, please.”

“No!” Ray whirled around. “You don’t have to take their shit, okay? They just think they’re being funny. Next time I see Dewey I’ll—”

“Ray, it’s all right.”

“No-It-Isn’t! Don’t let them get to you—they don’t really think you or me are, you know—” Ray waved his hand aimlessly around.

“Queer?” Fraser said carefully, braced for another one of Ray’s eruptions.

Ray looked stricken. “I’m sorry, it’s just… cops are assholes, I guess. Next one to crack a line risks a broken lip, I swear.”

Fraser cocked his head to the side, quietly assessing Ray. “Does this assignment make you feel uncomfortable?”

“Uncomf—no, hey, it isn’t that. I’m an open-minded guy. I just—they should just shut their traps. I don’t want them talking shit about you.”

“Ray, I don’t think being called ‘gay’ is an insult.”

The silence lasted exactly one beat until Ray’s brain had changed tack.

“You don’t?”

“No.”

“Oh.” Ray was quiet for some time.

What kind of guy didn’t think it was insulting to be called queer? Well, Fraser obviously. Freak. Someone who actually was gay, Ray supposed.

The thought stretched into all eternity.

Count to three. 1 – 2 – 3.

But Fraser wasn’t… was he? …no way.

“Does that mean you’re—” Ray hesitated. You couldn’t just run around asking people if they were gay. It was… impolite or something.

“Gay?” Fraser asked with a look of trepidation aimed at Ray’s tense posture.

“Uh, yeah, that.” Ray was afraid to breathe.

“No,” Fraser said evenly.

“Oh,” Ray answered, confused.

“Not as such.”

Say what?

Fraser took pity on him. With a sigh, Fraser focused on Ray and caught his eyes. “I think the preferred category is bisexual.” Fraser didn’t look happy with that explanation.

“Huh?” Ray said intelligently.

“I have always been drawn to men, but not exclusively. It’s true that I have only loved one woman, but I have succumbed to female charms now and again; it just never led anywhere. I’m afraid my—I’m not very good at relationships.”

Ray just looked at Fraser. How could he have not known this about his friend? His supposed best friend?

“Is that a problem for you, Ray?” Fraser asked softly and Ray thought that the admission must’ve been harder for him than it had appeared.

“No… no, course not,” Ray said with a shy smile. This was weird. And he was used to a lot of weird, but this was something else.

“Are you sure? You seemed to feel…” Fraser licked his lips, trying to be careful. “Very strongly about the issue.”

“It wasn’t about the gay thing… just… guys get a reputation for this kind of thing and I was damned if I let them make fun of us for doing our job,” Ray explained, not entirely convinced. He had been enraged because it was meant as an insult and Ray didn’t allow anyone to walk all over him. Especially not all over Fraser.

The funny thing was it was only an insult as long as it wasn’t true. Saying “going undercover at a gay bar? Enjoy ogling the asses while you’re at it” probably didn’t mean much if it was said to a gay guy who might just do that… right?

Fraser looked dubiously at him and Ray really, really didn’t have the faintest how to put all of his crazy thoughts into words.

“Let’s get this show on the road, huh?” he said, unnaturally bright.

Fraser nodded, looking relieved but still a far cry from happy.

So… Ray kept his gaze focused on the road ahead as he navigated the GTO through the semi-busy streets of Friday night Chicago.

It was an almost palpable itch to turn his head and look at Fraser, but Ray resisted the impulse. He didn’t want Fraser to think that Ray was still trying to wrap his mind around this latest development. Ray wanted Fraser to think he was cool with it—hell, Ray was cool with this. It was just… unexpected.

Fraser was into guys. Huh, go figure. And here Ray had thought Fraser was more or less asexual—and how could he not have noticed that? He was a cop, noticing little details like that was what he got paid for, for God’s sake. But Fraser hadn’t been staring after nicely-built guys… then again he hadn’t spent a lot of time staring at women either.

Ray saw the neon lights of the club loom at the end of the street. How should they play this? They could go in as a couple he supposed, and Ray had to bite his tongue to keep from chuckling like a lunatic. Yeah, like hell they could.

From the corner of his eye he took in Fraser’s tense posture, rigid-straight, not a hair out of place. Ray didn’t think anybody would buy them holding hands let alone that they had the hots for each other.

“I think it would be best if people did not associate us with each other,” Fraser said quietly. His voice sounded a little rusty as if he had absolutely no spit left to talk with and Ray felt kinda bad for making Fraser worry about this.

“It’ll be easier to verify statements and to get into contact with people if we both went in on our own.”

Sensible Fraser. Trust the guy to never lose his head even if he just outed himself to his partner—his partner who didn’t do such a good job of reassuring him that this was okay.

“Fraser, listen,” Ray paused, trying to come up with a good explanation. “I didn’t handle this too well and I’m sorry, okay? I’m all right with this. And thank you, you know… for telling me.”

Fraser released a tiny sigh of relief. “I’m glad to hear it, Ray. I can understand if you think this changes things—”

Ray didn’t even let him finish.

“Don’t you dare finish that sentence! It doesn’t change anything—you’re my best friend, nothing’s going to change that.”

Fraser gave him a shy pleased smile and Ray resolutely squashed that little niggling voice at the back of his head that asked if really nothing had changed. Because this sure felt like something.

Ray parked the car a block away and gave Fraser a head start of a few minutes before he followed. He noticed that his palms were slightly sweaty and tried not to examine this feeling too closely because if he didn’t know better he would say that he was nervous about going to a gay club.

With a deep breath, Ray pushed open the door to the club and followed another guy down the black stairs that led to a glossy black table of some modern or puke-induced design that apparently already came equipped with a bouncer.

Ray swallowed a little nervously. It was ridiculous, but he almost expected the guy to take one look at Ray and tell him to back off, gays only.

He wasn’t sure if he was supposed to feel insulted when no protest came from the bouncer and the guy at the counter collected Ray’s ten bucks with a flirty smile and no comment on Ray’s obvious heterosexuality.

Guys, guys, and more guys. Ray had been to a lot of clubs in his time, but he couldn’t remember feeling anything like this. He half expected to find a stage with poles and female strippers in the middle of this mass of people there were so many guys in this room.

At least his expectations weren’t disappointed. Much.

There was a stage. And there were poles on it. Only the dancers were also male—and, hell, they could move. Ray stared a little awed at the fluently moving bodies. He felt watched and scanned the crowd as unobtrusively as he could. Fraser was looking at him from the other side of the stage, a worried frown on his tense face.

Ray smiled a little and shrugged, looking to everyone else like someone just getting rid of some tension, but Fraser got the message. He relaxed a little and moved further into the crowd.

Ray looked around the room. This really took some getting used to. He would’ve preferred to keep to the sidelines of the action at least for a while, but this wouldn’t work at all well with their investigation unless… Ray grinned. Yeah, unless.

He sauntered up to the bar and ordered a beer. The guy tending the bar looked a little harassed like all waiters at all bars at rush hour, but managed a friendly smile at Ray anyway. Ray felt a little jolt as he reached a decision and then he smiled back, making it a really lingering smile.

The guy stopped with Ray’s money in his hand and seemed to take him in with renewed interest.

“Say, could you use a hand behind the bar?” Ray asked.

Dark eyes crinkled with mischief and a sultry smile came out to play. “Sorry, no action during working hours, company policy.”

Ray felt the heat stealing up his neck. He hadn’t meant… damn it. He tried to recover as smoothly as he could.

“Too bad, what about some actual help tending the bar?”

“You’re interested? Cool. God knows I could do with some help. You’d have to ask Philly over there,” he pointed to a rather tall black man with short curly hair in an expensive-looking suit.

“Thanks,” Ray said and mustered another smile. He hadn’t felt this out of his depth going undercover on a drug bust—and one should think that acting a junkie would’ve been a lot more awkward than frequenting a gay bar.

The difference was, Ray mused as he swam his way through the crowd on the dance floor over to the DJ booth where ‘Philly’ was overlooking the action, that with the junkie gig he took on a completely different persona; different name, background, life story. It was more about getting into character than acting itself.

This here, well, this was pretty much Ray as he came in the basic version. So it was really Ray smiling at other guys and noticing guys giving him speculative looks, and that was just something that Ray had never thought would happen in his life.

Ray had no idea what Philly was looking for in a gay bartender, but Ray’d been to enough clubs to know what you needed to work a bar. So Ray got out his best people skills and tried to remember how a dazzling smile worked and approached Philly with a self-assured swagger in his step.

Philly – and Ray wondered if that was supposed to be an endearing version for Philip… at least Ray hoped so – noticed him before Ray had even reached him. Gotcha, Ray thought. Maybe he did know how to play this game after all… after a second of consideration Ray thought he should probably be scared by that.

Mhhh, my, my,” Philly said with a faint smile. “The last time a wild thing like you came at me with such purpose in his eyes we had a fire in one of the backrooms. What’s burning you?”

Philly’s dark soft voice made it sound like a purr.

“I’d like to work here,” Ray said with a careless shrug.

“Is that so?” Philly’s look turned speculative. “Do you have particular—qualities?” the word rolled from his lips like a drop of water spilling over the rim of a glass.

“Many,” Ray grinned outrageously figuring that more was more here. “But the only one you’d probably pay me for would be tending bar.”

“Oh, don’t be so sure about that,” Philly murmured with an amused smile. “But if I can’t interest you in something more personal I’ll take what I can get. Let’s see what those qualities are, yes?”

Ray was glad that Philly had already walked past him to cross the dance floor in the direction of the bar so that his flush didn’t register.

He’d never been hit on by a guy before. Somehow he had expected it to be weirder than this.

“Jack?” Philly called to the dark-haired man behind the bar. “Meet—I’m sorry, you must’ve neglected to tell me your name?”

“It’s Stanley. Stanley Smith,” Ray said, trying not to sound sour. He could still hear Fraser arguing with him: But, Ray, it makes sense to keep a name you would unconsciously react to if we don’t have enough time to prepare our characters.

Characters? Ray had wanted to shout. As far as Ray knew Fraser felt at home here like the proverbial fish in the sea. And Ray sure as hell would’ve liked to have a character to play. Just that no one had thought it was necessary. After all, Ray could be Ray – he just had to pretend not to be fazed by guys hitting on him…. which in all honesty Ray hadn’t even anticipated to happen.

“Stanley, this is Jack Johnson. Stanley here is going to give you a hand tonight, Jack. Be nice to him and don’t bite—I know,” Philly sighed a little wistfully, “it might be hard to resist. I’ll keep an eye out to see how he does.”

Ray felt another flash of heat shoot over his face.

Jack winked at him.

Ray felt seriously out of his depth here. Playing a junkie had been a piece of cake. At least he had been someone else then.

Behind Jack’s shoulder Ray suddenly noticed Fraser standing with his back against the wall, watching him with a confused look. Ray gave him a half-nod hoping it translated into all is going according to plan.

Okay… Ray took a look around the bar. At least this was something Ray knew. So Ray set to work.

The first time a guy really flirted with Ray it took him so much by surprise that his reaction was rather embarrassing. The guy seemed to find Ray’s stammer cute or something—heh, cute. Ray’d never been found ‘cute’ before.

After a while, Ray relaxed a little. Because once you got over the initial weirdness it was more or less the same pattern Ray was used to… except women usually didn’t try to pick him up and instead left all the work to him.

It was fun even. Ray knew enough about tending bar to know that a friendly smile helped you a long way. So Ray worked that smile a little and what do you know, now and again a guy would wink or nod appreciatively or offer to buy him a drink. This guy thing appeared to be a lot less work than dating chicks.

He kept an eye out for Fraser. Not too hard to do because the Mountie looked just as much out of place as he did in any other club. It didn’t deter the guys though, just as little as it had mattered to the ladies anywhere else.

The first time Fraser came to the bar to order a drink another man sidled up to him with a winning smile. Ray took his time mixing the martini someone had ordered; this he had to see. He’d expected Fraser to tug at his collar, make some polite excuse, and then look for the nearest corner in which to vanish. Just like he always did when some woman tried to make nice with him.

Ray almost dropped the vodka bottle in shock when Fraser did none of those things. Fraser turned with a politely inquiring look and once he had taken in the guy that had addressed him— he smiled. Just like that.

“Would you tell me your name? With a face like that I’d like to remember the name that goes along with it,” the blond man said.

“Of course, it’s Ben,” Fraser said.

The man smiled knowingly. “Just Ben? No last name to go along with it?”

Fraser’s blue eyes sparkled, amused. “Does it matter?”

And the man shook his head with a suddenly shy grin.

Ray stared motionlessly into the martini glass in front of him. He hadn’t—he just hadn’t thought—because suddenly he realized one thing: this wasn’t a new situation for Fraser. It might be one for Ray and he might not be used to being hit on by other guys, but Fraser sure was. This wasn’t the first time he had introduced himself like that. No way.

Fraser was a lousy liar and this came way too natural to him to be the first time. Which meant Fraser had practice. And Ray could really picture it, in a way. Fraser was a private kind of guy and he was probably careful about letting people know about his life—and this way he didn’t. And he didn’t even have to lie about it.

Ray shook himself out of his trance as one of the customers waved a ten dollar bill in his face to get on with his drink. Fraser hadn’t even noticed Ray’s confusion; he was deep in conversation with the man who didn’t need last names.

Fraser was kind of sweet about this gig—almost insultingly so. Since Ray’s outburst Fraser obviously believed that Ray had some kind of personal issue with his image or something so the man actually had the nerve to ask Ray again and again throughout the night if he was all right and how he was holding up.

Fraser did it in a really sneaky way, too, and Ray was kinda impressed how unobtrusive Fraser could be—then again working at the Canadian Consulate was probably the best practice for being inconspicuous. Still, Fraser drew a lot of attention—even worse than he usually did in his dress reds—and even Jack seemed to be interested in the dark-haired stranger with the baby blue eyes who smiled charmingly whenever he ordered another water.

How could Fraser even think that Ray wasn’t all right with this?

Of course Ray was all right. For God’s sake, the only difference was that the guys in this club fucked other men. So what? Ray didn’t have to do that so of course he was fine. Okay, watching two men kiss took some getting used to. It wasn’t disgusting or anything, just… weird.

Ray had also no idea how gay men could tell if someone else was gay or not on a daily basis. Sure, there were a few flaming queens in this joint, but there were also a lot of regular-looking guys. Men that could’ve worked in a bank or any white-collar office job and others that were hairy and built like a bear and looked as if they pulled trucks for a living and Ray wouldn’t have guessed that any of those were into guys.

Ray wondered if Fraser had a type for this kind of thing. Because a lot of different guys approached him and Fraser was the same smiling, talking stranger with all of them. It was so strange to see Fraser this calm. He got downright nervous the more direct the hunting female was, but with men he was… approachable.

But Fraser had said he wasn’t gay as such which meant he must’ve been interested in a few women in the past—and there was the Victoria chick, Ray knew that much. And the bounty hunter, Ray hadn’t imagined Fraser’s interest there. Lady Shoes also managed to get a kiss out of him so Fraser definitely had his fair share of female experiences.

…had Fraser even slept with another man? ‘Cause sure, he’d said he looked both ways, but from what Ray could tell he didn’t do much with the women. It was a good question therefore, if his interest in men was also more philosophical than physical. Ray really couldn’t picture it; Fraser having sex with another dude? He’d had trouble imagining Fraser and a girl, thinking about him and another guy was almost ridiculous.

But if he didn’t sleep with men then not for want of offers that much was sure. Ray got an uneasy tension in his gut whenever Fraser vanished out of his sight. He couldn’t really explain it either.

It was probably just fear that Fraser would get himself into trouble and Ray wouldn’t be there to watch out for him.

On to the next part