Fraser looked out of the window for a long time. He watched Ray getting into the GTO and driving off, awash with sudden disapproval that Ray would drive when he was mad. But there was nothing he could do to prevent him, was there? He was stuck in the wheelchair—he couldn’t even reach up to open the window to call down to Ray.
He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Silence. Emptiness. Calm. Fraser opened his eyes again and continued looking out; even though he wasn’t even seeing anything.
It was just looking for the sole reason that his eyes were open. He wasn’t interested in what the people in the street were up to. Frankly, he couldn’t care less.
Even after all the optimistic responses from his tests Fraser still couldn’t use his legs. Of course, the spasms were probably a sign of renewed nerve-activity, but it didn’t change much where his mobility was concerned.
He smiled darkly. Even if he managed to leave the wheelchair behind he might still be depending on crutches for the rest of his life. He supposed that should make it better. At the moment he couldn’t even see what the physio was supposed to accomplish.
Had it felt like this the last time, too? As if he would never be able to walk again?
Had Victoria felt satisfaction when he had gotten shot? ‘Love, hate, it’s all there,’ she had said to him at one point. He wondered…
Could that be love at all? Love and hate lay close to one another; it was probably the most-abused sentence in history, but what about both of them existing simultaneously?
Fraser knew he hadn’t hated her. But images played through his mind of a shattered snow globe, finding Dief shot… and he hadn’t come to the train station to ran away with her, had he? Not initially… he hadn’t planned that at all… until he thought he would never see her again— and then he ran.
Had he hated her for what she had done? No, he shook his head. He had felt too guilty to hate her. Disappointment, yes, that had been the most prominent emotion. And hurt, an ocean of it. And it had all been inflicted with intent. Was that love?
He sighed. He didn’t know anymore. She had been hovering around the fringes of his consciousness ever since the surgery and he wasn’t sure what to think anymore. It had always been about love in his mind. The bullet wound had been his well-deserved punishment for what he had done to her—no, not even to her. He thought she deserved to be delivered to justice for her actions; that was why he couldn’t have let her go. No, it had been his punishment for being able to do this to someone he loved.
What about that second time when she had appeared in Chicago? He tried to remember… picture it as clearly as he could…
He had still loved her when she came back. In a way he had even admired her for the lengths she was willing to go just to bind him to her. There was no crime horrid enough for her to shy away from as long as it would ruin another alternative for him.
Fraser began to laugh quietly. And wasn’t it sad? If she hadn’t done all this… he would have stayed with her. Gladly.
But what she had been doing wasn’t love. She hated him too much to trust him… or maybe she wanted to own him on her own terms, hurt him by making him let her go despite her crimes—even worse, by making him go with her despite them.
He would never know. All he knew was that this wasn’t love. He couldn’t love someone who left him no choice in the matter.
Did that make his current situation better or worse? Breathing was kind of hard to do with all the emotions clogging up his throat. He gripped the armrest of the wheelchair tighter. It didn’t make much difference, did it? Maybe she had achieved what she had tried to accomplish.
Fraser kept sitting at the window lost in thought for a long while. He remembered a German poem by Kaestner about a man who moves up to the uppermost room and closes the door forever. He continues watching the street and the people below from the single window, with no hard feelings that the world had apparently forgotten him, but now and then he would watch the afterglow of the setting sun behind the church steeple and he would wonder if the stream of time never ended anywhere.
After a while he noticed the first flecks of orange in the sky. It was winter; the sun always set early, but… how long had Ray been gone?
A worried frown creased Fraser’s forehead. Ray had been so angry when he had stormed off… he hoped Ray had driven carefully. He hadn’t meant to snap at Ray. None of this was Ray’s fault.
It shouldn’t be Ray’s burden that Fraser needed help with every little thing. He certainly didn’t deserve it that Fraser made it so hard on him. He just didn’t want to need help… Ray’s gentleness made this hard to bear at times.
It was just so painfully obvious how much Ray was trying to help him, even going out of his way to make it seem as if that wasn’t what he was doing.
Like suddenly reaching for a bottle of water and filling a glass with it and then acting as if he had just noticed that this wasn’t carbonated water. So he placed the glass in front of Fraser with a shrug, explaining that Fraser could drink it if he was thirsty and then getting up to get himself another glass.
As if the two labels on the bottles weren’t perfectly different and as if Ray mixed them up all the time. As if he hadn’t done it because Fraser preferred still mineral water.
It grated on his nerves, but it definitely wasn’t Ray’s fault. Fraser knew he should’ve stayed at the hospital… at least Ray knew now what he had signed up for. And Fraser wanted and didn’t want him to see the truth.
Ray opened the door unsure what to expect. He hoped nothing had happened to Fraser while he was away… it had been irresponsible of him and he had kicked himself in the head more times than he cared to count since he had realized how fatally this mistake could’ve turned out.
What if Fraser had tried another one of his stunts of getting out of the wheelchair by himself? What if he had tried to reach something too high up and the wheelchair had tipped? What if he had needed to go the bathroom while Ray was away? What if there had been a fire in the apartment complex? What if he had been too depressed and had swallowed a wild assortment of pills?—okay, okay, calm down, Kowalski.
He was even more freaked out because it had taken him over an hour before he realized all of this. He’d just been driving a couple of blocks and then he had parked the car, more or less illegally at the curb, and went walking aimlessly around. He didn’t even know why he had taken the car; all he knew was that he wanted to get as far away as possible.
And then, after an hour of walking, a woman in a wheelchair had crossed the street from the other side and suddenly all of those thoughts had sprung up in Ray’s head and he’d started getting really paranoid.
He wanted to call Fraser at home only to realize that he didn’t have his cell with him; it was still lying on the table back at the apartment. So he had driven back as quickly as the Chicago traffic allowed him and by then he had calmed himself down enough to think a bit more reasonably about this.
Fraser was insufferable, but he wasn’t stupid. And there was still Dief at the apartment. Ray hadn’t been gone longer than an hour and a half; Fraser should’ve been fine as far as necessities went during that time. And there hadn’t been a fire in the apartment building for as long as Ray lived there.
If Ray barged in now all worried like a headless chicken they would be right back where this whole thing had started and Fraser would be mad that Ray worried at all, and… Jesus, this was exhausting. Ray needed a break.
As soon as Ray turned onto their street and saw that there was no smoke coming from their building he relaxed a little further. He even managed to duck into the Chinese takeaway restaurant a couple of buildings up the street to get them something for dinner before he hightailed it back to their apartment.
His heart almost dropped into his pants with relief when he found Fraser in the exact same spot where he had left him and apparently none the worse.
Ray felt better now about being mad at Fraser… hard to be mad at someone when you were afraid something had happened to them. But since Fraser was fine there was really no reason to take his passive-aggressive shit.
“Hey…” Ray mumbled as he closed the door. He didn’t wait for a reaction from Fraser, though. Instead, he moved to the kitchen and dumped his bags of Chinese takeout on the counter. Ray tried not to turn to look over the kitchen bar at Fraser. “I brought food, if you’re hungry,” he said over his shoulder in the direction of the window.
Ray heard the movement of the wheelchair before he saw it.
“Ray,” Fraser said quietly.
“Yeah?” Ray asked into the plastic bag in front of him.
There was another bout of wheels moving. Suddenly, Fraser’s hand closed around Ray’s.
Ray turned to look at Fraser holding his hand.
“I’m sorry,” Fraser said.
Ray wanted so much to stay mad, he was still hurting as if someone had mottled his body with bruises, and he wanted to give Fraser a piece of his mind, but none of this would be fair. Ben couldn’t help it.
“I know,” Ray said instead. It didn’t make the hurt go away or anything, but he would take what he could get. “Let’s eat, okay?” he asked with an attempt at a smile. “You must be starving as well.”
The evening passed quietly mostly because Ray couldn’t face another argument and at the moment it seemed safer not to say anything.
Fraser was pretty quiet himself and Ray was really starting to fear that they were back at the depression stage of things and he didn’t know what he could do to make it better.
After the second time Fraser nodded off on the couch Ray touched his leg and couldn’t help but smile when Fraser registered the touch.
“Do you want to go to bed?”
“Ah, yes, I’m rather tired,” Fraser admitted with a yawn.
“No problem,” Ray said. He pushed the coffee table away and positioned the wheelchair. He bent down so that Fraser could sling an arm over his neck and waited until Fraser had a firm grip on one of the armrests with his free hand before he straightened to heave him up.
They did the same thing in reverse when they reached the bedroom and Ray helped to get Fraser settled.
“You can call if you need anything, right?” Ray asked carefully.
“Aren’t you joining me?” Fraser asked, surprised and a little hesitant.
“I—later, I will later,” Ray mumbled. He just… he couldn’t face anymore rejection today and he didn’t want to find out if today was another one of those nights where it was mostly Ray holding on to Fraser… or worse, if Fraser moved away from his touch. He couldn’t—he really couldn’t take this. Not tonight.
“Sleep well,” Ray said and switched the lights off.
Ray went back into the living room and considered opening a beer. In the end, however, he figured that he was already maudlin enough and if he added alcohol to the mix he might just as well end up crying and that would be more than he could handle.
Fraser didn’t feel at all equipped to begin with his physical therapy. He kept his thoughts to himself, though. It wasn’t as if he had a choice in this and Ray seemed to be really looking forward to it.
They moved along the familiar hospital corridors and were met by a rather large brunette who introduced herself as Linda.
“I’m only filling in for Craig today,” she smiled at Fraser. “He’ll be your physical therapist over the next few months. He’s still on vacation, though, but I’ll promise you we will get this done just as well.”
Fraser nodded politely and Ray promised to pick him up an hour later.
It was like being an infant again—only that you weren’t consciously aware what an odious task learning to walk was when you were a child. He remembered the exercises, lying on his back, his leg in a sling, just pulling it close with the help of a handle—and he could also remember how frustrating it had been.
Linda was chatty and she seemed to have an opinion on just about anything, but she made no comment as to Fraser’s condition or what she thought his recovery chances were. It was only fair, Fraser supposed, how could she guarantee anything at such an early stage?
It was embarrassing how exhausting such a little exercise was. Fraser felt as if he had run a marathon… he’d used to be in such good shape… and he wasn’t getting any younger. He knew that without everybody constantly telling him that his recovery would in all probability take longer than the last time. He had been about 30 when he had been shot… that was years ago. Muscles lost their definition much quicker now, it was harder to achieve the same flexibility he had had before, and his body didn’t recuperate as fast as it had when he was younger.
He knew all that. But it didn’t make it easier to accept his body’s failure. Ray Vecchio had the worst aim on this planet, he thought without any real bite. Fraser was glad that Ray had decided to stay in Florida for longer than originally planned. He didn’t want to put Ray through the guilt of shooting him a second time.
It was a strange parallel that, not so long ago, Ray himself had been in the hospital with a bullet that wouldn’t come out. Just like last time when Ray had gotten shot just when Fraser had been on the mend.
No doubt Ray Vecchio would find it amusing… in his usual exasperated way probably.
He just hoped that his friend would fare better with his hidden bullet than Fraser had.
It seemed to be the hand of fate that one of his Rays always had to suffer alongside whenever Fraser got hurt. If he could change one thing it would be that. And his Ray was probably hurting more than Ray Vecchio had to suffer during Fraser’s time in the hospital.
There just seemed to be so many expectations that he couldn’t meet… and, of course, Ray didn’t even voice most of them. Fraser frowned sadly. But Ray’s emotions… and thoughts… were written all over his face and body if you knew him well.
Fraser knew that Ray was an accomplished undercover police man; he had even heard a few stories about some of Ray’s undercover jobs, but his talent didn’t seem to extend to dealing with people he loved. Ray was never able to hide behind any of his personas, not for long, when it came to love.
It had been painfully obvious in Ray’s dealings with Stella and Fraser knew every expression on that face—even the fake ones.
Years of yearning and not being able to reach out for what one most wanted could do that.
So, yes, Fraser could read it in Ray’s body… how much he wanted… how much he hoped… how much he cared…
And Fraser was failing him so spectacularly.
He would have loved to tell Ray how much he wanted to give all of that back to him, but he was afraid that if he told Ray how little progress he was really making that Ray might give up hope as well.
Ray sat down on the bed and pulled Ben’s pillow close. He looked around and didn’t know what was more depressing, that everything looked just like it should or that nothing was like it should be.
It was the bed in which he and Fraser slept, but it certainly wasn’t their bed anymore. The same could go for the couch or just about any place in this damn apartment. They might inhabit the same space, but they sure weren’t in it together.
He wanted Ben back. He wasn’t even sure if he knew what kissing him felt like anymore. Fraser just seemed to be in a different space; quiet and withdrawn and when Ray touched him for no reason other than that he wanted to feel Ben it seemed to make him uncomfortable.
Uncomfortable? Ben? Ray wanted to laugh. For the first few months when they had finally cottoned on to the fact that they weren’t alone in this attraction thing it had been difficult to get Fraser to stop touching him. Ben had never shied away from Ray’s touch, he’d seemed to soak it up, and it had always produced a smile on his face.
Ray didn’t expect any smiles, dammit. He didn’t even expect him to be happy or anything. Just… Ray just wished he didn’t have to feel so alone in this.
Didn’t stuff like the surgery Fraser had gone through change people? Isn’t that what people said—they even made movies out of it, how you were a changed person afterwards? Maybe Fraser just didn’t feel the same about Ray anymore and didn’t have the heart to tell him.
Ray swallowed quickly and shook his head. No way…
He wanted to blame it all on the meds, but some bit of doubt always crept in anyway. The pills didn’t make one stop loving someone, right? Oh, and Ray was so not going there. If he started to think now that Fraser wasn’t… that he didn’t… he might just suffer a nervous breakdown.
Tiredly, he rubbed a hand over his face and looked at the clock. It was already time to fetch Fraser from the hospital… somehow he couldn’t see how physio could’ve improved his mood.
Fraser seemed mostly tired when Ray went to meet him, though. Linda asked Ray to stay for the next session so that Craig could show him a few exercises that Ray could do with Fraser at home and Ray thanked her and told her that he would be there on Monday.
After they had eaten and Ray had helped Fraser onto the couch, Ray sat down next to him and studied his hands for a moment, trying to make up his mind.
“Want me to massage your legs?” Ray asked finally, as casually as he could.
Fraser didn’t answer immediately and Ray’s heart sank another notch.
“You really don’t have to do that,” Fraser said.
“I know, but I want to,” Ray replied firmly and moved closer to stretch Ben’s legs out over his lap. Fraser heaved himself up a little so that he could sit a little sideways.
Gently, Ray began rubbing Fraser’s muscles. They were probably hurting after the strain of the physio, Ray thought. He could at least give that much back. Fraser groaned softly and let his head rest against the back of the couch.
Ray watched him and his heart squeezed tightly. He was so painfully in love with this man… there was really nothing he could do. Ray thought of the buttons in his pocket and leaned forward, very slowly, and then he kissed Fraser.
Oh. Oh.. Ben… lips so soft and pliant… Ray opened his lips a tiny bit to slip his tongue into Ben’s mouth. Ray felt himself running out of air, but he didn’t want to break the kiss.
But then Fraser pulled back a little, breaking the kiss, and giving Ray a small smile. For a second Ray expected him to come back for another kiss, but Fraser made no move and Ray got the message. Slowly, he pulled back himself. Mr. Excess-Lung-Capacity couldn’t have had a problem with his air supply yet.
Ray reached for the remote control and switched the television on in a simple excuse to have something to concentrate on because if he opened his mouth now to ask Ben what was going on he might just break apart. He blinked fast a couple of times and tried to breathe as evenly as possible.
Ray might have had some hopes for the next physio appointment, thinking it would help to learn a few exercises. Maybe it would give them something to do together?
He couldn’t help the blow to his confidence, though, when they were introduced to Craig. Gorgeous, was the first word that sprung to mind. The guy had the same hair color Ray had, but that was about the limit of their similarities. For one thing, the guy had really broad shoulders; he looked like someone who’d been on a rowing team back in school. He also had easily on Ray and almost as stunning eyes as Fraser had.
Ray also couldn’t help but notice the appraising look with which Craig took in Fraser from head to foot. Ray swallowed a snarl. Sure, half of Chicago was in love with Fraser, why should this be any different? Of course, the guy who would be touching Fraser for the oncoming months had to be gorgeous and had to have the hots for Fraser.
They all shook hands and Ray saw the small smile that Fraser bestowed on his therapist when their hands met. It was probably stupid and just in Ray’s head, but given their frequency Ray was a little territorial when it came to Ben’s smiles.
Craig waved them into the training room.
“So, you’re the best buddy that gets to get on his nerves with exercising those muscles at home?” Craig asked with a smile at Ray and pushed his glasses up his nose. He looked more like someone who had studied history or literature than someone who worked with his hands, Ray thought. Probably just the stupid, wavy hair that created that impression, Ray added bitterly.
“I’m his partner,” Ray said with an edge.
“Ah, right, you’re both police officers, I remember,” Craig said and Ray wasn’t quick enough to add that they were ‘partners’ in every sense of the word before Craig turned to Fraser and asked him after his well-being.
“Good, good,” Craig clapped his hands. “Now, let me show you how to do a few of these exercises.”
Ray followed the instructions beautifully, but he couldn’t help but wonder if it was just his own imagination or if Ben did indeed seem more relaxed with Craig than he had with Linda?
“Very good,” Craig praised them when they had gone through the last of the exercises. “Now, I know that you will feel like Don Quixote fighting against those windmills,” Craig addressed Fraser and if that wasn’t another small smile on Fraser’s lips then Ray didn’t know his own name anymore. “But this will get easier, I assure you,” Craig continued.
“Very well, Craig, I’m familiar with the procedure; I had to undergo the same treatment a few years ago. I do appreciate the sentiment, though.”
“An old veteran, eh?” Craig smiled. He turned to Ray. “Well, Benton and I will do a little more practice. Why don’t you get a coffee and I’ll get him back to you in one piece in, say, half an hour?”
“Sure, great,” Ray said and hoped that his grimace could’ve been taken for a smile.
Ray spent an extremely uncomfortable 30 minutes at the hospital cafeteria. When he came back he heard laughter coming from the training room. It was only Craig’s laughter, but still… if Fraser was witty enough to make the guy laugh he was apparently more relaxed than Ray had seen him in weeks.
Ray should’ve felt better about this—maybe even happy for Fraser. All he could think of, however, was that Fraser was able to relax around some other guy while he was tense and irritable with Ray.
Ray knocked on the door and came in finding Craig with his hands still on Fraser’s left leg. It felt like a punch to the gut to see someone touching Ben so casually when Ray had been fighting for every little touch over the last few weeks. Of course, it was a therapist and he was supposed to be touching Fraser— Ray just hadn’t thought it would hurt him to watch it. Maybe he would’ve reacted just as badly had it been the woman from last time, maybe it was worse because Craig was a stunning guy. All Ray knew was that it made him want to shout ‘unfair.’
At least he was the one who got to take Ben home. For however little that counted.
Around noon the alarm on Ray’s cell went off. Fraser sighed in resignation and Ray smiled apologetically as he shook out the contents of the compartment of the pill organizer that held Fraser’s noon dosage.
Ray had been delighted when he had discovered this neat way of keeping everything organized—probably a first in Ray’s life, Fraser assumed.
Fraser took the pills and swallowed. Ray smiled at him and took the empty glass from him. When he had turned around to place everything back on the table, Fraser reached into his mouth to pull the pills back out. By the time Ray had turned to face him again, the pills had vanished in Fraser’s pocket.
He knew it would worry Ray if he didn’t take them, but they made him depressed and he had wondered if a change in the medication had caused his… relapse. It was a mere experiment and he could deal with the muscle spasms. It had only been a day so far, though, so he couldn’t say if it was helping.
Ray offered to do a few of his exercises with him if Fraser was bored, but he didn’t feel up to it. He was too tired and he felt stressed out just thinking about it. Ray looked rather upset at his refusal, but Fraser really couldn’t face it—besides, what did one day matter in the grand scheme of things? Fraser sighed. He’d had two weeks of physical therapy already and couldn’t tell of any improvement. He hardly believed that one more exercise would make much difference.
Ray had taken up asking him about his physio, but even though Craig was a very capable therapist and he made an effort of being entertaining Fraser couldn’t say he enjoyed talking about it anymore than he enjoyed having to go through it. It was just another hour in which Fraser struggled against a mostly resisting body—what did Ray expect him to say? It was pointless to ask after any kind of progress and Fraser didn’t know what else Ray wanted to hear.
Fraser had another bad muscle spasm in the evening, but thankfully Ray was in the shower at that time. Fraser gritted his teeth and waited it out.
His mood didn’t lift over the course of the evening, though. Fraser had enough common sense to realize that he was irritable and tried to keep out of Ray’s way—something that’s rather difficult to accomplish when you’re in a wheelchair and depending on someone else’s assistance; even more so when you’re sharing the same apartment.
Unfortunately, his silence always had the negative effect of making Ray worried and Ray had the tendency to talk more when he was worried which in turn made it even harder for Fraser not to voice his annoyance.
He let Ray help him into bed unusually early just to find some peace. He didn’t know what made him so irritable today, but since he could take his pick from at least ten reasons Fraser didn’t bother finding it out. He was probably just tired.
The fact that he had to go through another hour of therapy didn’t help improve his mood either the next morning. Ray’s helping hands were constantly in the way and he needed it quiet—this was all drumming against his skull and it was driving him out of his mind—he needed to be left alone—
Ray froze with Fraser’s sweater in his hands.
Oh hell. Judging from Ray’s reaction that last part had not been inside of Fraser’s mind.
“I’m sorry,” Ray mumbled. He handed Fraser the sweater. “I—I’ll go make breakfast.” Ray vanished through the door as quickly as if he had been able to go through solid wood.
Fraser sighed. At least it was quiet in his head now.
Ray was quiet on their way to the hospital and Fraser was grateful for it. He knew he should apologize for his outburst this morning, but he was too tired for this conversation at the moment. He needed all of his energy to concentrate on the upcoming therapy session.
“Could I talk to you for a second?” Craig asked Ray after Fraser’s session was over. “I’ll only keep him a minute, Benton.”
Fraser nodded and moved outside in the direction of the entrance hall.
“What’s up?” Ray asked. He was exhausted, he was hurting, he was worried—he just couldn’t take any more shit.
Craig’s expression hardened.
“I’m not sure if you are aware under how much pressure Benton is at the moment—”
Ray gaped at him. The guy had to be kidding him. Who did he think took care of Ben 24/7?
“I just want you to know that it isn’t making it any better if you put your expectations on top of his own; I can assure you that Ben is trying as hard as he can. You are probably only trying to help, but if you push him too much he won’t be able to make any form of progress—”
“I’m—I’m not—I,” Ray fumbled to explain himself. “I’m not putting any pressure on him—I—I’m trying to be patient, okay? I—”
“Mr. Kowalski, Ray, I’m sure that it seems that way to you and I’m sure you have only Benton’s best interest at heart. But it’s been clear to me during today’s session that Benton is under a lot of stress at the moment and very short-tempered. I’m not saying that you are directly responsible for it,” he explained with a placating gesture as Ray opened his mouth again.
“However, it is my duty to look after the well-being of my patients and it’s vitally important for Benton’s recuperation that he can do that at his own pace and without any pressure from outside. I just want you to give him a little more room.”
“I’m trying to,” Ray almost shouted.
Craig’s smile was sympathetic. “I believe you and I trust you that you will heed what I’ve said. Just relax a little; he will come around in his own time. I know what I’m talking about,” he said gently. “Take it easy on him and I’ll see you again on Thursday.”
He patted Ray on the shoulder, took his clipboard and made his way back along the hallway.
Ray leaned back against the wall and closed his eyes, trying to swallow the hurt. That was a direct hit to the heart, Ray thought as he tried to keep it together.
More room? How should he give Ben any more room? He hardly touched him, he didn’t ask about the feeling in his legs, he didn’t try to push him into doing any exercises, he—Ray swallowed around a tight throat.
He shouldn’t have kept asking Ben about his physical therapy, probably. Ray sighed miserably. He’d just been… he’d just been jealous of Craig, he couldn’t help himself. And now it had to be Craig who told him that it was all Ray’s fault in the first place that Ben was so cranky all the time and… what else could Ray do?
Slowly, Ray balled his hand into a fist and drove it into the wall. Pain exploded bright and clear behind his eyelids. The wall had a small dent—whatever they had used to build this apparently hadn’t been designed to withstand crude force. Which was probably the only thing that had saved his hand.
Ray considered his throbbing knuckles. The skin had cracked in a few places, but he didn’t seem to have broken anything. He shook his hand out.
He stood there for a moment longer, trying to breathe through the pain.
When he felt a little more in control he joined Fraser in the entrance hall. Fraser was almost half-asleep in the wheelchair. The physio must’ve knocked the stuffing out of him.
Ray smiled sadly. Couldn’t he do anything right?
They made it home and Ray helped Fraser out of his sweater and the sweatpants and into bed for a nap. Tired and weary Ray left the bedroom to clean up. Having Fraser in a wheelchair at home really meant that Ray had to pick up after himself. He didn’t mind… just now he would’ve preferred wallowing in misery instead.
He put their breakfast stuff away and went to the bathroom to sift through their clothes. His t-shirt got thrown in the hamper and he folded the sweater Fraser had worn to therapy. He reached for the sweatpants that Fraser had been wearing this morning and decided they could do with a wash as well.
Ray reached into the pockets to make sure nothing ended up in the washer that didn’t belong there and made a puzzled face when something small went bouncing over the bathroom tiles.
He crouched down to figure out what had been hidden inside of Fraser’s pants and frowned when he came face to face with two small capsules. Confused, he held them in front of his face. Those were the pills Fraser should’ve taken this morning.
But… Ray had seen him take them… apparently, Fraser had hitherto unknown talents. Unswallowing pills seemed to be one of them— damn it, Ray should’ve known that. There had been this Vecchio file from way back, something about a mental asylum, and Fraser had managed to smuggle the pills out—whatever they had tried to feed him.
He hadn’t thought of that.
How long had Fraser been skipping on his medication?
Fraser was too resourceful to have hidden them inside of the apartment. He’d probably thrown them out on one of their walks—if he’d done it before, that was. His sleep on the drive back had probably kept him from getting rid of the incriminating evidence this time.
Ray took a deep breath. He really had too much on his plate. He threw the pants into the hamper and went into the living room to get the phone. He sifted through the cards in the bowl next to the phone and came up with the one from Fraser’s doc at the hospital.
“Yes, hello? I’d like to speak to Dr. Parker.”