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Finding Family

By vic32

Children / Drama

Full Story

Tough Cases’

Vic32

Summary:

Back in the Northwest Territories, Fraser is suffering after a case goes badly. Ray K goes north. Will he be in time to bring Fraser the solace he needs?"

Notes:

I don't own these guys I just borrowed them just for a tiny bit.

Tough Case's

Ray sat as he had done for the past year and a half at his desk. For months now Ray had that feeling that he used to get chasing Fraser down a blind alley where a gun wilding maniac would be waiting for him. Why would he have this feeling now? With Fraser up North and himself down here in Chicago.

Lt Welsh looked out his office window and frowned as he saw yet again Ray sitting at his desk with that look on his face. Fed up of this he made the decision to ask Ray about it.

"Detective Kowalski my office now, Lt Welsh shouted from his office door.

At hearing his name been shouted Ray swung around and got to his feet, "Yes sir". Ray answered back as he headed for his boss's office. Wondering what he had done now. He had been real good since he got back. So sitting waiting to be shouted at Ray as usual was jittery.

Nervous as hell Ray asked, "What's up Lieu"?

Welsh studied him for a moment, "Detective is there something wrong, you've been sitting there for weeks now like someone has died, is there something bothering you"?

Ray was not expecting this. Although Lt Welsh was a tough boss he also cared a great deal about the people who worked for him. That's why Ray liked to work for him.

Shifting in the chair Ray begun, "Sir you know I-I don't know sir I just have this feeling something is wrong"

Welsh still looked at him, "Ray and to who or what do you think something is wrong"

Still not staying still Ray looked at him, "I think oh I don't know it's the same feeling I used to get when I thought that Fraser was in trouble or needed my help somehow".

Welsh nodded, "Have you spoken to Fraser lately"?

Shaking his head Ray said, "No not he's been out on patrol he is home last night but I"

Leaning forward Welsh spoke, "Look if you still feel this way in the morning ring his secretary maybe they could help put your mind a rest"

Smiling Ray said, "Thanks I will I'll just go and finish up the last of those files so sir". With that Ray left for his desk.

Welsh knew that Ray missed Fraser like you'd miss your right arm. Ray couldn't hold onto a partner for more than five minutes. No one clicked with him like Fraser did. Welsh hated to admit it but Ray would be better off going after Fraser maybe do a liaison thing up there with him. They were so meant to be together it's just they were so blind to it. Maybe someday they'll see and they would both find the happiness they both deserved. It's not the done thing in the force but if anyone could do they could. Welsh was very fond of them both felt like a father to them so all he wanted was for them to be happy and if that meant losing his best Detective so be it.

Sitting back down at his desk trying his best to compete his files. Francesca came over to his desk with a cup of coffee for him. "Hey Bro, she said with a smile. Even though he was back to been Kowalski she still called him that and Ray liked it a lot.

Still talking, "You ok there though you might need this, and handed him the coffee.

Taking the coffee Ray smiled, "Thanks Frannie, Ray sipped the coffee and smiled with surprise, you put chocolate in it"

Sitting on his desk Francesca said, "Yep Ray, Fraser said if I ever saw you down or upset to give you coffee with at least eight M'&'M's in it"

Raising his eyebrow and his heart melted, "He did, did he"

Patting his hand Francesca spoke softly, "Look ring him ok I can see that look in your eye Ray I worry about as well ok come on your bringing me down". With that she went back to her own desk.

Ray drank his coffee with a warm heart. Even though Fraser was thousands of miles away he was still looking after his skinny ass. Just as he finished his coffee Ray's phone rang. Not really wanting to answer it Ray was going to leave for another Detective but something in him twisted. Ray knew before answering it was going to be Fraser or about Fraser.

Picking up, "Detective Kowalski how may I help you"?

A woman's voice greeted him, "Oh thank god this is the same Detective Kowalski that was partnered with Benton Fraser, when he was in Chicago right"?

Ray's heart skipped a beat voice shaking now, "Yes ma’am is something wrong with Fraser, and do you know him"?

With a clearing of her throat she started, "I'm sorry I'm Gillian Moran, I'm Sergeant Fraser's secretary, and I’m ringing because I'm so worried about him. He is so cut up about his last case and I'm so afraid he is going to hurt himself. I heard so much about you Detective I thought I'd turn to you before I had to take the next step".

Ray could hardly hear from the pounding of his heart, "What do you mean, hurt, himself take the next step what happened"?

With sobs she spoke, "It was real bad a little girl fell from his grip and died there is so much more too much to say over the phone is there any way you can get up here as fast as possible. I don't want to have to report this if I don't have to"

Ray tried to calm her and himself, "Look I'll try, and can I ring you back ok with the details later today. If I can leave look don't tell Fraser I'm coming ok I'll surprise him tell him it's a vacation or something ok"

With a sigh of relief, "That would be great sir I'll be here late tonight do you still have the number"?

Ray answered, "Yes Mrs Moran, I'll ring you later". With that they both hung up.

Ray was right something was wrong.

Ray got up from his desk and headed for Lt Welsh's desk. Knocking and going straight in not waiting to be called in. with a strained voice Ray started, "Sir we have a problem I need time off staring now I don't care if it's paid or UN paid but I need it now"

With a concerned face Welsh asked, "Why is that Ray who was that on the phone"?

With a heavy sigh Ray went on to explain but Ray just wanted to get out of there and get to Fraser as fast as he could.

After hearing what Ray had to say Welsh sat back in his chair, "So I guess your hunch that something was wrong was right then? Ok fill out that request for leave I'll finish it later. While you’re doing that I'll ring the airport and see when the next flight out is ok"

Ray racked his hands through his hair, "Thank you sir I just hope I can help".

Ray went back to his desk and filled out the request for leave. His boss was a good man cared very much for the people who worked for him. Within a few minutes Welsh called Ray back in. "Ok Ray I have you booked on a flight to Calgary at five and a connecting flight to Yellowknife there is a plane will take you to Norman Well there you'll have to hire a car or something is that ok Ray"?

Ray stood there and thanked him, "Sir where in the airport where do I pay for this oh god I hope I've enough in my savings for this".

Lt Welsh looked at Ray as if he were nuts, "Ray I'm not letting you pay for this. One of our men is in trouble so this is on the Chicago PD alright. Now go home and pack and Ray keep me informed all right". Handing Ray the paper with all his flight information.

Ray turned to leave saying, "Thank you sir I'll ring as soon as I get there thanks, Ray's voice very shaky at this point.

What Ray didn't know was it was not been paid for by the Chicago PD but Lt Welsh himself. He could not sit back and rest when one of his own yes one of his own. He considered and still considered Benton Fraser as one of his own men.

It was the fastest ever that Ray packed. Francesca promised to look after his turtle. Ray was at the airport in no time at all. It was only when Ray picked up his tickets that he saw that it was Lt Welsh that paid for them and not the Chicago PD. That warmed Ray's heart right up and tears threatened to spill.

With a little bit of time before boarding Ray picked up the phone and rang Fraser's secretary, "Hello Sergeant Fraser's office Mrs Gillian Moran speaking how may I help you"?

Taking a breath, "Hi Mrs Moran, this is Ray Kowalski, look I'm on my way ok my flight leaves very soon how is he now"?

With what sounded like relief on the other end, "Oh thank god Mr Kowalski, thank god Sergeant Fraser, and at the moment is beating the hell out of a punch in the gym. Look, have a safe trip and ring when you get to Yellowknife and tell me your flight time to Norman Wells so I can get my husband to pick you up there ok".

Ray was nervous, "Thank you so much my flight is been called so I'll call you soon ok thanks".

Ray was even more nervous now. To hear that Fraser was beating the hell out of a punch. That was something he just did not do. I'm sure there was that one time we almost spared but he didn't want to hit me. When he did that one punch it hurt. Then there was that really hard punch by the water front that I really want to forget. No wonder he never wanted to hit me my god he could pack a punch. The faster I get there the better Ray thought to himself.

Sitting on the plane, Ray was worried sick not knowing exactly what was going through Fraser's head or what he was going to do about it. It had to have been so bad for his secretary to ring with worry. God a million and one thing ran through Rays head. Causing his emotions to spill over looking out the window of the planes tears fell freely.

A woman's voice broke Ray out of his spell, "You ok there young man". A gentle hand touched his arm.

Ray turned his head to meet an elderly lady with very kind eyes. "Yes Ma’am I'm, but Ray couldn't finish.

As she patted his arm he laid his own hand over hers. She continued to speak softly, "What's upsetting you so much young man maybe I can help you it might help to get it off your chest"?

Ray didn't know what came over him but he told her everything, "I'm going to Canada to help my friend he's in trouble and everyone in the village is worried about him. I got a phone call from his secretary saying during a case he was on a little girl fell from his grip and died and he is not coping well and she's afraid he'll hurt himself. You see my friend is Benton Fraser; he is a Mountie my former partner from Chicago. And I miss him so much and you know it hasn't been the same since he left and I never got to tell him" Ray said all this through his sobs.

She startled him, "You never got to tell him that you love him right"

Shook Ray just nodded his head. So she continued, "Look you go up there and do whatever you have to help him ok. Fraser is a good man and deserves love"

This made Ray confused but she laughed. "Perhaps I should introduce myself I'm Tilly More, I'm the doctors secretary up there I also work part time for Fraser. So you must be the famous Ray Kowalski, he never stops talking about you know".

Ray sat dumbfounded, "He dose"

She laughed again, "He dose May I ask how you getting all the way"?

Ray ran his hands through his hair again, "I've a conceiting flight to Yellowknife then to Norman Well's then Fraser's sectary told me to ring and her husband will pick me up"

Still holding his hand, "Ah Frank, Ya good man look when we get to Yellowknife ring Gillian and tell her you met Tily and she's taking you instead ok there's no need for Frank to come all that way when I can take you ok. Dose Fraser knows that you're coming"

Ray smiled and looked away, "No Ma’am he doesn't I only got the call a few hours ago so no"

With kind eyes and voice, "Fraser was right you are a very kind a loving friend and that's why he loves you"

That made Ray's head snap back, "He loves me he told you that"

Handing him a hanky, "Oh yes but like you he's afraid. So don't let this slip by don't wait till it's too late ok grab it with both hands".

Ray felt warmness from her motherly love. Fraser was really lucky to have people who cared about him like that. Ray just hoped and prayed that he could help and be able to tell Fraser how he felt Tilly was right he was not going to let slip by.

The journey was nearing an end and the small village near. Tilly stood him outside Fraser's post and wished him luck and insisted on making them dinner soon. With a kiss and a hug she left. Leaving Ray standing there waiting to go in.

Ray did not know how long he stood there willing himself to go in. His ass was frozen his feet were cold despite his layers of clothes he was wearing. Eventually Ray found the will and pushed through the doors of the detachment. It was a lot bigger inside then it looked from the outside. A big room with a desk over the side and huge fire place with a nice fire in. There was a number of doors leading off in different directions on near Ray was looking at had Sergeant Benton Fraser RCMP.

Ray was startled out of his reserve by a lady's voice, "Hi sir can I help you"?

Ray turned to see what he would call a goddess. A lady a tall lady with caramel colour skin long black hair that looked like pure silk and a body that a super model would die for. She continued as Ray realised he was staring, "You ok sir can I help you"?

Shaking himself off Ray took off his hat to reveal his blond spike hair, "Yes ma’am I'm Ray, Ray Kowalski"

Her face lit up and pulled him into a fierce hug. "Oh thank god you made it you are a good friend aren't you would like tea or coffee perhaps" still in the hug.

Ray was surprised by the hug, "Thank you must be Mrs Moran right"

Pulling back from the hug. "Yes Mr Kowalski, I am but please call me Gill, everyone dose"

Ray smiled a big smile, "Ok Gill but then you call me Ray, and Mr Kowalski is my dad".

They sat at her desk after she made him some coffee. "So where is Fraser, Ray asked?

Taking a sip of her tea, "He's down in the gym again should be here in an about ten minutes so that gives me time to tell you properly about what happen".

So she began, "Well this actually started the week Sergeant Fraser started here. It was his first case here he was called to a domestic disturbance. It was very clear that Mrs Coyne had been worked over by her husband. Sergeant Fraser brought him in but she wouldn't press charges so had to let him go. You see he was the only one working and their little girl Lucy was on medication that was very expensive, she had something wrong with her heart I don't know what it was. This went on for a while he kept beating her even when she became pregnant. Sergeant Fraser tried his best to get her to go to a safe house to do something but she was so frightened. The last straw was three weeks before her due date he beat her again but this time he hit Lucy as well. So when he went to work Mrs Coyne put Lucy in the car and headed for Sergeant Fraser".

She paused to compose herself.

Ray leaned forward asking, "So what happened then"

Wiping her eyes, "On the way it was snowing heavy and her tyre blew out so she had to pull over. Only then to make it worse her contractions started must have been the stress that brought them on. She started to freak out lucky Sergeant Fraser was passing and saw her car and stopped. He had to deliver the baby there at the side of the road there was no time to get her to town, she had a little boy".

Ray took some of his coffee, "So was he ok been early and all"?

Gill smiled, "Oh yes he was perfect sergeant Fraser radioed ahead and we had thing ready for them when they got here. He got them to a safe house only her husband is a very clever man and found them we don't know how only official people know where this house is".

Shaking her head Gill continued, "You see Mr Coyne and Sergeant Fraser have a history they knew each other growing up. Mr Coyne was kind of the class bully and well let’s just say that Sergeant Fraser would try and protect those been bullied took most of the beatings meant for others".

Ray laughed, "Ya that is Fraser did that working with me as well even back then he was protecting people just his nature I guess. Sometimes I wanted to kill him for getting himself beat jezz. But I wouldn't have changed him".

Still Gill went on with the story, "Any way Mr Coyne found them and kidnapped the kids in their sleep. Oh Mrs Coyne was frantic. Sergeant Fraser and constable Tully tracked them up on a cliff edge. He was threatening to throw them off. Lucy was screaming ` Sergeant Ben, Sergeant Ben I'll be good I promise don't let daddy hurt me please I'll be good I promise' she said it over and over. Anyway Sergeant Fraser talked him begged him to see sense not to hurt his kids. Eventually he handed over the baby by putting him in the snow so they couldn't grab him and bring him in. but he refused to hand over Lucy. Sergeant Fraser handed the baby to Constable Tully and went back to plead for Lucy. He tried he really did but the dad; oh he got so angry and turned a gun on Sergeant Fraser and shot him in the arm. Lucky he was a bad shot and just grazed his arm. But then oh god the father threw Lucy over and then jumped himself".

Ray's eyes widened with horror, "Oh my god he did"

Wiping her eyes again, "Yes Sergeant Fraser ran to the edge to see that Lucy was hanging onto a branch that was sticking out. He tried he really tried but he was injured and weak from it he was reaching for her. She was screaming `Sergeant Ben please I'll be good I swear please help me sergeant Ben' her grip slipped from his because she was struggling so much he had to watch her fall from his hand, oh my god what he must have seen her eyes looked at him all the way down there was nothing he could have done then she was gone".

Ray's stomach turned he knew case's involving kids where hard but to have one die in front of you to have one fall from your hand and die. Ray didn't think he could cope he was just glad to be here to help. With a strained voice Ray asked, "And the father what happened"?

Meeting his eyes Gill said, "He didn't fall far he hit a ledge. Just had a few broken bones where Lucy lost her life. Sergeant Fraser went to retrieve her body and I really wish he hadn't. When he found her, her eyes where still open locked with fear. Her neck was broken so he wrapped her in a blanket and brought her back. Her mother of course was devastated but did not blame Sergeant Fraser for her death. She thanked him for trying and for saving her baby. The funeral was so sad Sergeant Fraser carried the coffin it was so small in his arms so small. Gill's tears flowed more, he is not eating right I know he isn't sleeping right either I think he is drinking but I'm not sure. He fainted a few time please I hope you can help him we can't lose him here he is the best we've ever had and he is such a good man".

Hearing Fraser's footsteps Ray would know them anywhere, Ray reached over and patted her hand, "Look I'm here for as long as it takes ok I'm not going anywhere till I help him ok".

On hearing the door open behind him Ray stood to greet the man he hoped to help. Fraser on seeing Ray was frozen to the spot. A huge smile crossed his face and a signal word passed his lips.

"Ray"

Ray shot him back just a big a smile as the one Fraser gave. "Hey Benton Buddy how the hell are ya"?

Before the two of them realised they were in a bone crushing hug. All the emotion of seeing each other or not seeing each other in such a long time went into that hug.

Feeling Fraser tremble Ray pulled back from the hug and looked Fraser in the face. "Hey what's wrong you not happy to see me" Ray asked.

Fraser smiled, "Of course I am Ray that's just silly I'm just so pleasantly surprised that's all. You never called to say you were coming. You ok is something wrong"?

This made Ray smile even wider typical Fraser always thinking about others. "Na Frase I'm fine, Welsh told me Kowalski use or lose your vacation time, so I'm here just wanted to surprise you. By the look on your face I guess I have right".

Fraser laughed, "As always Ray you never cease not to surprise me. You must be tired come let’s get you home so you can rest you must be hungry".

Picking up his bag Ray shook Gill's hand and said all he wanted to say with. And she understood it all even without words. Ray turned to Fraser, "Ya Frase I could do with a bite and to rest a bit. Where is fur face anyway"?

Saying goodbye to Mrs Moran Fraser went on to say, "Oh Diefenbaker is visiting his off spring down the road we'll pick him up on the way home".

Barely down the steps of the detachment were they greeted by the screams of two little boys? Who broke free from their mother's hand shouting? "Sergeant Ben, Sergeant Ben, Sergeant Ben and they both jumped into his arms.

Ray thought jezz even up here woman and kids love him.

Fraser smiled a smile he never saw before which was nice. Fraser greeted them, "Hi Billy, Hello Ben how are you today"? Billy spoke first, "Oh we're good we made you cookies".

Then little Ben spoke, "Ya your favourite oatmeal and there is some for Dief as well"

As they hugged the life out of Fraser their mother came up. "Hi Sergeant Fraser so sorry for intruding on you and your friend, boys get down".

Fraser hugged the boys back, "its ok Mrs Tully their fine. Oh I'm sorry I'm so rude let me introduce you this is my partner from Chicago Ray Kowalski".

As her face lit up strange warmth came over Ray as he was left out of some joke or something or a story he didn't know about. As Ray shook her hand he said, "It's very nice to meet you Mrs Tully".

She looked at him hard, "So you're the famous Ray Kowalski eh I should have remembered your face from all the photos and stories".

Fraser felt his face heat up and Ray also felt his heat up as well. Feeling embarrassed Ray said, "Oh I hope it was all good"

She laughed, "Of course all good"

The kids as usual took to Ray straight away asking him to visit and tell him stories about his adventures with Sergeant Ben. As they gave them the cookies they gave instructions for him to visit not to forget.

It made Ray happy to think that Fraser was clearly loved and cared for. It was no wonder they wanted to help him so badly and wanted to keep him so much. The people here were so happy.

Picking up Diefenbaker Ray was greeted very enthusiastically getting kissed all over. Walking in silence for a bit glancing at one another as if to make sure nether one was dreaming. Ray spoke first, "So Frase you happy here"?

Glancing to Ray, "Yes Ray I am you know they've made me feel very welcome here"

Giggling Ray said, "Ya I saw that when you were jumped by two very excited kids and a hot mom"

With a big "RAY" from Fraser. Ray thought boy it was good to hear that. Ray felt that maybe he could help him it would just take time.

Still giggling, "Ah I'm just yanking your chain Frase, so how far to your house"? Kicking the snow with his feet

Fraser pointed, "Not far you see that house facing the village that's mine".

Ray looked, "You mean the one all that land around it and the barn garage and horse's in". Shaking his head

Fraser said, "Yes Ray that one"

Ray was amazed, "Wow Frase you did good buddy but don't the horse's get cold in the snow".

Ray I can assure you there barn is heated and I ride them regular so there fine"

Ray stood by the fence and looked at them, "So what they called"

Fraser stood next to him, "Well the gold colour one she's called solas that means light in Irish and the dark colour one well he's called am he's called Ray"

Ray looked at him, "You’re kidding me"

Fraser smiled, "No Ray I'm not, I asked the children around what I should call him, and they said he looked strong and brave so I should call him Ray after you, so I thought it was perfect"

Ray felt very flattered by this but couldn't stop his yawn; it had been a long day.

Fraser seeing this said, "Come on we'll go inside".

What Ray knew was this happy face that Fraser was showing was his Mountie; Ray knew that was just a mask. Ray was going to get behind it and make him face it so he could help him deal with it. Just like Fraser helped him with the Beth Brotrell case. Fraser wouldn't give up and nether was Ray.

Once through the cabin door's Ray saw the Mountie mask slip straight away. Fraser's shoulders slumped and his steps became slow. Still with that painted smile on Fraser spoke, "Make yourself at home Ray and I'll just go change out of my uniform"

Ray looked him with a worried look, "Ok Frase"; Ray took off his own coat and hung it up on a peg by the door.

The cabin was lovely a nice size, two bedrooms a kitchen dining area with a living room off it. There was a lovely huge fire place and Ray also saw that Fraser had TV and a CD player that was not Fraser like. Walking around taking it all in Ray did not hear Fraser come back in, startled to hear his name called, "Ray would you like something to eat I have stew I can heat, Fraser asked Ray.

Turning around Ray was shocked at what he saw. Fraser's clothes were hanging off him. What were once perfectly fitting was nearly falling off. Ray moved closer to Fraser, "Oh Frase you've lost so much weight you been sick or something"?

Fraser stayed quiet and sat down. So Ray moved to sit by him. It's then Ray noticed just how worn and tired Fraser really looked. Fraser had dark circles around his eyes and he was really pale.

Ray reached out and put it over one of Fraser's, "Ah Frase what happen eh what's wrong you know you can tell me anything right, we're partners always right"?

Fraser half laughed, "Ray you know me so well don't you but would you mind if we waited till tomorrow to talk it's been a long day and I'm sure your tired and hungry but I promise I'll talk tomorrow ok"

Ray knowing you don't argue with the Mountie with that look on his face Ray said, "Sure thing Frase so were this famous stew".

The stew was ate in near silence Fraser could feel himself been studied by Ray. Ray had such a wonderful heart, he did not need his vacation ruined by his not been able to get over his last or was that why Ray was here. Ray always seemed to know when Fraser needed him. Fraser was also aware of the hushed phoned call's his secretary had been making, he was sure he'd find out in time.

Settling into sleep well not sleep well, more like resting. Ray noticed that everything smelled like Fraser and this made him feel warm and safe but mostly happy. Eventually Ray drifted off to sleep only to be woken by cries of terror from the other room.

Fraser was having a nightmare he was screaming, `Hang on Lucy', and then a very loud, 'No please god no'.

Ray ran to Fraser side shaking him awake, "Fraser, Fraser come on buddy you're having a bad dream come on buddy"

Fraser woke with a start and immediately started to sob and tremble as Ray held him tight. Ray tried to calm and sooth Fraser. After a while the trembling calmed and the sobs stopped to be replace by deep long breathing Fraser had fallen asleep in Ray's arms so Ray had no choice but to stay with Fraser as he slept.

Ray once again hoped and prayed he could help Fraser get through this. This was Benton Fraser, everyone's super Mountie. They needed him here; this place would be lost without him. The world needed him, hell Ray needed him. Ray felt his own tears fall as he fell into his own sleep.

Fraser woke the next morning alone in the bed. Fraser could barely remember last night but he did feel that Ray had been here last night. The smell of cooking welcomed him to the kitchen. As Fraser paused in the doorway he saw Ray swaying to the music coming from the CD player and talking to Dief. It brought back some very welcome memories for Fraser from their time back in Chicago.

Ray turned to see Fraser standing there and got a fright, "Christ on a crutch Frase you gave me a fright Ya want some breakfast all cooked come sit eat"

Ray was all smiles but what Fraser could tell that Ray was up to something.

Fraser sat, "Thank you kindly Ray ah Ray I'm.. I I'm sorry about last night, Fraser said in a voice Ray never heard before.

Ray put his hand on Fraser's shoulder, "Its ok Frase, ok look we'll talk after you get back from work alright. You're off tomorrow right can we go fishing or horse riding or something"

Ray looked so hopeful, "That would be very nice Ray", Fraser said as he ate some of what Ray had made.

Ray noticed that Fraser hardly ate anything and just was so worried about how pale and worn Fraser looked. Ray planned on walking into the village maybe meet some people and try and see if he could get more info on how to help Fraser.

Ray was still tired after breakfast so after Fraser left for work Ray lay down and got some sleep. Ray woke around lunch time. So decided that he'd head into the village and pick up some food to cook Fraser his dinner and hopefully get the info he needed to help Fraser.

Donning his warmest coat hat and gloves Ray set off for the village. Ray saw Fraser's horse's running happy in the field even the though the snow was almost gone it was still very cold. Ray wondered how the hell they could be so happy running around in this cold then again they were Fraser's horses of course they'd be happy.

It didn't take long for people to start starring and pointing at him. Ray figured that they must not get many new faces around here so he didn't mind. Ray could hear the laughter from the kids on their lunch break from school and the chatter from the people around. As Ray walked around he liked the place more and more.

Entering Anna Wright's food store Ray was almost immediately jumped with a hug which startled him to no end. The rumour mill around was fast and Anna had already known that Ray was in town.

Anna started, "Oh hello young man you must be Ray our Sergeant Fraser's friend from Chicago"?

Looking into smiling eyes and a little freaked out Ray said, "Am yes ma’am I am how are you"?

Anna answered, "Oh I'm fine and none of this ma’am business it's Anna ok now what can I get you"?

Taking off his hat Ray went on, "Just here so I can get something to cook for Fraser's dinner you know".

Just as he said that another lady entered the store. Anna greeted her, "Oh hi Linda look its Ray, Sergeant Fraser's friend"

Ray was again pulled into another strong hug. Ray thought they must be going for some kind of record on hug giving jezz..

Linda introduced herself, "Hi I'm Linda Meade, I'm the school teacher, you here to help Sergeant Fraser, and oh I hope you can the kids miss him so much at school. They keep asking when he is coming back they miss his class's so much"

Ray stood in shock, "Excuse me did you say his class's what do you mean"?

Before they continued Anna made them all coffee and tea and even brought out some cakes for them. Ray had to stifle a laugh he felt like one of those town gossips you always hear about. But this was perfect he would find out all he needed to know to help Fraser or he hoped to.

Linda went on, "Sergeant Fraser teaches two classes a week at the school, the whole school attends even us teachers do all ages are welcome. Anyway he teaches us sign language and French it's really fun the way he teaches it. Even the bigger kids that have to go out of town for school have asked if he can put class's on for them in the summer. But since we lost Lucy he hasn't done them. The kids they miss him so much. I've told them that he is just not well at the moment and he'll be back but I think if he came back it would really help him you know. He was close with Lucy, she wasn't well and she'd only let him give her medication even on the days he wasn't teaching he'd come in to give it to her. Lucy thought of him as a super hero".

Ray sat taking all this in and was amazed at how much the village is effected by Fraser and how well loved he is. This made Ray more determined to help him no matter what.

Sitting and chatting and exchanging Fraser's stories. Them telling Ray that sometimes they'd get him to join their poker night and how Fraser would bake cookies for it.

They laughed and said, "Well us girls do need a little eye candy as well Ray. We know he's you know but doesn't matter to us we love him all the same".

Before Ray could ask what you mean by that a man came into the store. Tension filled the air straight away. So they kept the chatter down a bit while Anna's daughter tended to the man. All of a sudden Ray heard the man say, "They talking about Benton fucking Fraser again god dam super Mountie ya right couldn't even save a six year old girl how pathetic is that"?

Ray wiped around, "What the fuck did you say"?

Anna grabbed Ray's arm and made him sit. She whispered to him, “Don’t Ray he's an ex Mountie I'll explain just don't ok Sergeant Fraser won't thank you for it".

So Ray sat wanting to kick him in head but Anna was right. Fraser would not be happy. But the man was not finished and in Ray's face, "So you must be the famous Ray Kowalski our Benton fucking Fraser's partner from Chicago hey. Oh I bet you're the Mounties bitch am I right" he said laughing into Ray's face.

Anna kept a tight grip on Ray's arm to keep him still. She could feel Ray getting madder and madder. Ray knew if he indeed kicked this guy in the head he'd be arrested and that wouldn't help Fraser get back to himself.

Anna stood, "Look I think you should leave Tom ok we'll send your stuff up so just go".

Tom gave one last snarky look at Ray and left and said on his way out the door, "See you around" with he left.

Ray was practically shaking with anger.

Anna got him more coffee, "You ok Ray I'm sorry about Tom he really is an ass"?

Ray smiled at that, "Who is he anyway what his problem with Fraser is"?

Anna sat and began, "That is Tom Cassidy, and he was Sergeant here before Fraser came. Tom had to retire due to injury. Let's just say he is NOT happy that Fraser was posted here. They were at the academy together and I guess that Fraser always out did Tom there. So Fraser taking this post was kind a like the last nail in Tom's coffin. But to tell you the truth I think there is more to that story but neither one will say".

Moving from the conversation Ray began, "Well Anna and Linda thank you for the coffee and cake and thanks for the info on Fraser it will help me to figure out how to help him. And Linda I promise to get Fraser back at the school. Fraser is really good with kids. Hell all woman and kids you should have seen him in Chicago the poor guy couldn't walk ten yards without someone throwing themselves at him"

They all laughed.

With that Ray left with the food for Fraser's dinner with a better idea on how to help. But was still reeling with anger at this Tom person and hoped he didn't meet him on the way because he might not be able to control himself.

Ray entered the cabin after a brief chat with the horses; he swears he's turning into Fraser more and more. Ray put the food down on the table and put on some music. Then proceeded to light the fire to make the place warm and cosy for Fraser when he got home from work. Taking the food out the bag Ray DID NOT want to know what kind of meat it was. All Ray was interested in was how to cook it; it was cook on 140 for two hours that's all he needed to know.

Almost two hours later Fraser was welcomed into the cabin by the smells of cooking. Again Ray did not hear Fraser come in because he was so lost in the music playing in the back ground. So when Ray turned around he nearly jumped out of his skin, "Christ on a double crutch Frase jezz give a guy a warning will ya".

Taking off his coat Fraser said, "I'm sorry Ray I didn't mean to frighten you. Ah I see you've been busy. You know you didn't have to cook you’re on your holidays Ray"

Smiling and wiping his hands on a towel Ray went over to Fraser, "It’s ok Frase, I wanted to kind a like a thank you and I'm sorry coming unannounced ya know"

Shaking his head Fraser said, "Ray, Ray, Ray don't be silly of course your welcome here anytime you know that".

Dinner was eaten in near silence only the odd word of thanks from Fraser on how lovely the food was. Fraser knew what was coming next. He was going to have to talk. He had promised Ray that he would and no matter what he did not want to upset Ray. Or as Ray would say I'll kick ya in the head Frase and he did not want that to happen.

After clearing up the dishes and settling themselves in front of the fire. Ray took a side ward’s glance at Fraser, "Well Frase you going spill or what"?

Fraser opened his mouth and closed it again.

Ray put it hand over Fraser's, "Look Frase it's better to talk about better then to hold it all in, you look you helped me with the Beth Brottell so I'm helping you. And I'm not helping you just because you did it for me. I'm doing it because you're my best friend my partner and because I-". Ray wanted to say because I love you but he said, "I care about you Frase and I want to help ok so please let me help ok".

Fraser pulled his knees to his chest and wrapped his arms around them and started, "Ok Ray well it all started about the first week I started here. I was called to domestic disturbance. When I got there it was very clear what had gone on. Mrs Coyne was cut and had lots of burses some old some new and Mr Coyne's knuckles were cut. So I took him in but since Mrs Coyne refused to press charges I had to let him go. I was called a few times to that house Ray. I tried to get her to go to safe house but she wouldn't go. But it got so-so much worse she became pregnant again and three weeks to her due date he beat her again only this time he hit Lucy as well that his little girl. That was the last straw I guess. When Mr Coyne left for work Mrs Coyne put Lucy in the car and was headed for my office. Only on the way her tier blew out and she had to pull over. Then to make things worse her contractions started. Lucky I was headed back in that way and saw her car I had to deliver the baby there it was coming to fast to move her. I radioed ahead had a doctor waiting and they checked out fine and I go them to the safe house".

After taking a breath and a drink of water Fraser went on, "Two days later I got a frantic phone call from Mrs Coyne saying her kids were missing. Apparently Mr Coyne found out where the safe house was and kidnapped them in their sleep".

Ray interrupted, "How's he find where they were"?

Fraser shook his head, "Don't know only myself and Constable Tully knew where the safe house was. Like you Ray I could trust Constable Tully with my life. So we both headed off to find them. We found them at the cliff edge"

As tears filled his eyes and his voice shook some more Fraser went on, "Ray he was threatening to throw his kids off the cliff. He said if he couldn't have them no one could. So as instructed by him I put my gun down and started talking hoping to calm him. Asking to see sense to not hurt his kids that he really didn't want to harm them did he. So eventually he put the baby in the snow for me to take but stayed way back still holing Lucy"

Pulling his knees tighter to his chest, "He- he wouldn't hand her over. He suddenly became angrier because Lucy was screaming. She was oh god Ray she was screaming, `Please Sergeant Ben, don't let my daddy hurt me I promise I'll be good'. She said it over and over looking at my with those eyes tears falling Ray. God Ray her eyes where so full of terror. I tried Ray I really tried but he kept going closer and close to the edge. The next thing I knew he rose his gun and took a shot at me lucky he only hit my arm. When I looked up he- he". As sobs racked his body Fraser had to stop for a moment.

It tore Ray up to see Fraser like this normally it was the other way around. Fraser was the one that was always there for him now it was him there for Fraser it was about time someone put Fraser first.

After a few minutes Fraser was able to go on, "Ray he threw her over, his own little girl. Then he jumped himself then. To be honest Ray I didn't care if he lived or died. I just ran to see where Lucy had fallen. She was hanging onto a branch. She was crying and struggling and saying again,' Please Sergeant Ben I'll be good I promise help me please'. Ray I reached down the angle she was at I had to use my bad arm I had no choice. The pain in it was blinding. She took my fingers but she was struggling so much. Her grip she-she", Fraser started to sob even heavier all of the pain and emotion was coming out. All Ray could do was hold him and comfort him as best he could rubbing his hand up and down his back as he held him till Fraser calmed down.

After a bit Fraser wiped his eyes and carried on, "Ray she fell from my fingers I-I could see her eyes all the way down looking at me as to say why didn't you help me. She was so frightened I couldn't help her Ray she needed me and I couldn't help her".

Ray kept a hold of Fraser, "Frase you did what you could do. You were shot and in a lot of pain. No one but no one could have pulled her up with that injury Frase. What happened to Mr Coyne"?

Keeping into Ray's comfort, "Mr Coyne only fell a few feet landed on a ledge. Just ended up with a broken hip and arm. But Lucy lost her life. Do you know what's funny Ray, her mother actually thanked me for saving her son and for trying to save Lucy. Some Mountie I couldn't save a six year little girl. So I went alone to recover her body. Her eyes where still open locked with fear and her little neck was broken. So I wrapped her body in one of my grandmother's quilts that she made and brought her home. Do you know they buried her in it? Her mother had me carry her coffin. She said that Lucy loved me and would love it if her...hero carried it".

Fraser laughed through his sobs, "Ya some hero I let her down when she needed me the most Ray. Mrs Coyne comes by every day brings dinner she thinks I'm not eating. And for me to see how Benton is doing. Ya that's another thing she called the little boy after me. It's a tradition in her family they say if an angel is sent to help you that's the name meant for the child. She said I was her angel for helping her".

As tears claimed him again Fraser started to tremble. Ray helped him by holding him tight. As tears threatened his own eyes to see his friend in such pain. After some time Fraser quietened and fell asleep in Ray's arms.

Fraser woke a little while later still in Ray's arms and looked around. Pulling out and sitting up Fraser, "I'm so-so sorry Ray I'll just".

Ray pulled him back, "Its ok Frase you needed to let all that out believe me it will help you. It will help you to heal. So why don't we put the horses and dogs into the barn and have some tea before bed ok. What do you say"?

With a half-smile Fraser's heart ached for Lucy. Ached for her mother and brother. But mostly it was filled with the warmth and love that came from Ray. So Fraser said, "Yes Ray that's a very good idea".

After the horses and the dogs where back in the barn. Fraser and Ray say on the porch for a while. Fraser turned to Ray, "So what would you like to do tomorrow would you like to go fishing or horse riding"?

Thinking about it Ray said, "Am horse riding am I think it might be too cold for my skinny ass for fishing Frase"

Grinning at Ray, "Very well Ray horse riding it is".

Fraser and Ray headed back in. Ray saw immediately the Mountie mask and the painted smile come back on Fraser's face. Ray knew that Fraser was putting that on for him. To make Ray think that he was now calm. But Ray knew Ray could see right through it. And Ray was not letting keep that mask again. Ray made the tea while Fraser had a shower and came out looking a little brighter. After their tea they settled into bed. Ray still slept in with Fraser to keep him calm from his nightmares. They were friends and that's what friends do for one another after all Fraser would do it for him. As Ray held Fraser as he slept tears flowed from his owns eyes to what it must have been like for Fraser to those eyes of that poor little girl as she fell to her death.

Ray woke once or twice during the night to calm Fraser's nightmares. But they didn't seem to be as bad as the night before. So when Ray woke for the third time he was alone in the bed. So getting up and after using the bathroom Ray headed for the kitchen.

Fraser stood at the stove cooking the breakfast and talking to Diefenbaker, "Yes Dief I'm happy Ray is here no I don't know how long he is here for. Don't be silly Dief Ray won't want to stay for good ya I'd like it if he was to but Ray has a job in Chicago"?

Ray smiled as he watched them, "Talking to the wolf again Frase"

Slightly flushed Fraser turned around, "Sorry Ray, Diefenbaker was just wondering about you that's all"

Crouching down by Diefenbaker ruffling his fur, "Hey Dief I'm here for a while ok buddy"

Dief licked him with delight and went off to the living room.

Fraser poured Ray some coffee and sat down, "Breakfast is nearly ready Ray and then we'll head out".

Drinking his coffee Ray studied Fraser. Fraser was less tense today so maybe getting all that off his chest last night did help a lot, "Thanks Frase can't wait".

After breakfast they headed out to the barn to saddle up the horses, standing in front of them now very close Ray saw exactly how big they really were ok not big massive.

Ray paled, "Am Frase there kind a massive aren't they"

Fraser was somewhat amused by Ray, "Their big alright ok Ray, which one would you like to ride"?

Standing in front of them Ray looked from one to the other, "Am I think Solas because I don't want to say I want to ride Ray, Frase that's just too weird"

That made Fraser laugh the first real one Ray heard for a long time, "Very true Ray so I guess I'll just have to ride Ray then, Fraser said with a side ward’s glance and grin.

Ray blushed like nothing else but tried to cover it up, "Very funny hardy har, har come on pitter patter or we'll never get it on I mean out"

Ray prayed Fraser didn't pick up on it but could swear Fraser was flirting with him or was that just wishful thinking.

After they were all set Fraser had packed a picnic and of course since it was Ray, they were going with a first aid kit. Somehow one was always a good idea to have on hand when Ray was around.

Ray had forgotten how much he enjoyed horse riding. It's been so long since he did it. His dad used to bring him and his brother Paul every week. Even said he'd buy them a horse when they became stronger riders. And true to his word he did. There dad got a very beautiful black horse they called him Midnight. But after a few years money became very tight and they had to sell their much loved horse it broke their hearts. The family who bought him didn't live too far and allowed Ray and Paul to come by and ride him when they liked. Ray smiled at the memory.

As they rode Ray filled in Fraser on the entire goings on in the 27th. About Huey and Dewey's club going down and they coming back to the station. About Ray and Stella having twin's god love them. And of course about Francesca and all her babies.

Ray turned his head to Fraser, "You want to know what she called them"

Fraser smiled, "Yes Ray dear god what did she call them"?

Ray went on, "Ok but don't mad or upset alright she called the three little girls Caroline, Rose and Isabelle the little boys she called Benton, Robert and Elvis"

Fraser looked flushed and you serious look on his face at the same time, "Why did she do that"

Looking across Ray said, "Well Caroline after your mum she said she'd like to do it for you Robert well after your dad and Benton because she loves you Fraser, you're her family and she really cares about you"

Fraser couldn't believe someone would do that for him, "I can't believe she did that Ray that is just so generous but Elvis"

Ray laughed, "Ya poor kid".

They rode for a while before coming to the river and got off to rest for a bit and have something to eat while the horses have some water. Sitting on a rock looking at the beauty of the land that surrounded them. So Ray chanced his arm next step in helping Fraser, "So Frase tell me what Lucy was like I mean the real little girl what was she like"?

Fraser paused for a few moments, "I'm not sure I can Ray"

Turning to face Fraser, "Try Frase next step in me helping you"

Ray's eyes danced with hope love and caring. Fraser knew that Ray was right if it was Ray sitting here in the same place he'd do the same for him. He already felt like a bit of weight was taken off his chest last night by talking so he could do this.

Pulling a leg to his chest Fraser begun, "Very well Ray"

Smiling as he started. "Lucy she was a wonderful little girl so full of life despite her heart condition. It never stopped her from doing what she wanted. Even though she had to take a lot of medication. Did you know I was the only one she'd allow to give them to her outside her mum? I didn't mind of course I usually did on my lunch when I wasn't teaching. I know Anna told you about that she tells everyone".

Taking a breath, "She was my best student she was even better than the teachers at picking up the sign language and French. A real natural. Lucy made friends easy. She used to make these friendship bracelets made me seven said I could wear a different one everyday some she made to match my uniforms".

Getting more comfortable Fraser went on, "Lucy even begged her mum and dad for me to go on holidays with them. I knew I couldn't really go but she was so hopeful. She was devastated when her dad said no as in no way. Mr Coyne never liked me not even as kids I knew him growing up. He was the school bully guess he still is. Ray I wish you could have met her she wanted to be a Mountie girl she always said".

Ray smiled at that and put his hand on Fraser's arm, "She sounds like she would have made a great one to I would have loved to have met her Frase feels like I have the way you talked about her"

Fraser nodded, "She was wonderful and she would have been a fine officer".

So Ray chanced his arm again, "So Frase this teaching thing can I sit in on your next class". Fraser took a deep breath, "I haven't gone back yet Ray doesn’t know if I can"?

Ray understood but also knew it was something Fraser had to do. "Frase, I really think you I really think it would help you. I met Linda the teacher there and she said the kids are missing you like crazy. They can't wait for you to come back. Look if I fell off that horse what would you say to me you'd say Ray you got to get back on that horse or you never will. Am I right so come on Frase get back on that hose".

Fraser could hear himself saying that to Ray and he knew Ray was right. Ray really did know him very well. It was going to be very hard but Ray by his side he could do it. "Ray if I do this will you come"

Ray's eyes lit up, "Sure thing Benton Buddy sir"

Fraser was nervous, "Ok Ray I'll ring Linda when we get home. I suspect we should be heading back soon Mrs Coyne will be calling at seven no doubt. So will get to meet Mrs Coyne and Benton I look forward to you meeting them".

After ridding for a bit longer Fraser and Ray where soon back and had the horses settled in the barn with their food and water. The sled dogs were happy running in the field with Diefenbaker keeping watch over them while Fraser and Ray were off ridding.

It was six o'clock by the time they got back into the cabin. The snow maybe gone but it was still like a freezer to Ray. Fraser turned to Ray, "Well Ray we have an hour before Mrs Coyne arrives I think we should maybe get cleaned up before she and Benton arrives"

Ray smiled and smelled himself, "God your right I smell like horse sweat you want to go first or shall I"?

It took a few seconds for Fraser to answer, "Ray you may go first I'll light the fire and start the water for tea and coffee"

Ray rubbed his hands together, "Ok greatness I'll try not to waste all the hot water Frase". With that Ray headed off to the shower.

Trying to block out the image of a naked Ray in his shower using his towels Fraser went and lit the fire and put the water on for the coffee and tea.

On cue at seven a knock came to the door. Ray looked at Fraser, "Jezz is she's punctual isn't she"

Fraser got up to answer the door his mood tightened and body tensed, "Right you are Ray that she is".

In came another goddess Ray was starting to think they breed them up here and kept them to themselves. She was carrying a carry cot must be Benton, Ray thought. Fraser took the cot as soon as she came through the door. "Good evening Mrs Coyne how are and Benton this evening", Fraser asked?

Throwing her eyes to heaven she responded, "Its Laura, Ben come on already and we're getting better thank you kindly"

Seeing Ray she went over straight away introducing herself, "Hi I'm Laura Coyne how are you, you must be Ray, and our Ben's partner from Chicago heard a lot about you". With that she pulled him in to another big bear hug. Yep Ray thought definitely a competition on hugs going on up here.

Ray got out of the hug eventually, "Yes ma’am I'm pleased to meet you and Benton"

Laura saw the glint in his eyes and chuckled, "Come on dinner is getting cold I made plenty heard you were here Ray come on"

Dinner wonderful Ray thought very tasty but they ate in silence. Once dinner was over Fraser as always found himself with a handful of baby. Which brought a huge smile to Ray's face? Seeing Fraser like that was nice.

Laura said, "Come on Ben you know Benton always sleeps better after you've fed him". Blushing Fraser continued to feed Benton.

Ray took this opportunity to tell Fraser stories from their time together in Chicago. Knowing there was a very contented looking baby in Fraser's arms and he could shout back or tell him to stop Ray talked and talked. Ray couldn't help see that the baby didn't take his eyes off Fraser once. Then smiling like not he'd ever seem before after Fraser had finished feed and burping him they were real smiles coming from the baby.

They laughed about Fraser endangering his life in wildly bizarre ways and the other stuff they got up to. It was quite refreshing Laura said to Ray to laugh again.

Laura continued, "You know Ben, I was thinking well more now since I had that dream last night".

Fraser's heart started pounding and Laura looked at him sensing it. So she spoke, "Its ok Ben, not a nightmare this time there slowing down that's to the consular you set up. I was dreaming about my uncle Tiberius".

The name made Fraser sit up and ask, "I'm sorry did you say Uncle Tiberius".

Laura looked at him, "Yes you have one well mine died wrapped in cabbage leaves how about yours"?

Fraser's face went pale, "Actually yes well that was the rumour anyway"

Laura shook her head laughing, "All this time Ben and we're related who knew"

Fraser just said, "Indeed".

Shaking it off Laura went on, "In the dream he said for me to go back to my madin name start my life fresh and that's funny because I was thinking about doing that since as you know I'm getting Benton blessed next week and well I'm going to give him my madin name. The dream made it easier to decide you know. You still standing for him I hope Ben"

Looking into her eyes and then Benton's Fraser answered, "Yes of course I am". Handing Benton over to Ray, Fraser made his excuse and went to the bathroom.

In the bathroom behind closed doors Fraser let his tears fall. Thinking how Laura can be so kind to him and now it turns out their family. That Lucy was family all this time. It made his heart ache more. But the fact she was showing him so much love and compassion he's try.

Meanwhile Laura and Ray chatted and Benton gazed into Ray's eyes.

Ray spoke first, "He's a beautiful baby you got here lovely blues eyes just like Ben"

Ray realised what he said and saw her reaction and tried to cover it up but his blushing didn't help.

Laura helped and just kept talking, "Ya they must run in the family I guess. I really happy Benton will have family as his god parent you know. Actually Ray I'd like you to stand as well. I know I know, I only just met you but I got no other family. Ben now is the only one left and from what I heard about you and your love for kids you're perfect please say you will. I can't say why not yet but I need to know he'll be loved and looked after I know you'll be in Chicago but you'll be a help all the same. Bedside’s I got a real good feeling about you".

Ray did not like the look in her eyes and if he said no it would crush her. He didn't know what was going on behind those eyes but it was something and needed this reassurance.

Ray answered, "I'd be honoured thank you". Laura sighed and gave Ray a huge hug, "You've no idea what this means to me thank you".

When Fraser came back from the bathroom it was clear that he had been crying but neither Laura nor Ray said anything about it. As soon as Fraser stepped into the room little Benton sensed it and turned his head towards him. So Ray handed him straight over to him. Benton immediately began smiling big smiles and making lovely baby noises up to Fraser's face.

Laura turned to Ray, "Watch this in about five minutes Benton will be fast asleep it happens every time he holds after feeding his last feed at night and he won't wake till morning". Sure enough Benton was asleep in five minutes.

Ray chuckled, "Jezz Frase you're a natural sleeping aid for that child or what"

Fraser had a sweet but sad smile on his face said, "Ah I do think he was just tired Ray". Fraser voice sounded so tired and sad.

Laura shook her head, "No Ben you know Benton only sleeps well after you feed him like that. Well I must confess when we can't get here Benton sleeps with the top you wrapped him in when you delivered him Ok, he sleeps with it every night goes nuts if it's not in his cot it`s like his security blanket"

Fraser looked at her with disbelief.

Not thinking clearly and forgetting where and who he was with Ray responded, "Ya I do the same"

Fraser and Laura turned to him.

Ray blushed even worse than he had in a long time and tried to cover it up, "Am I mean I used to have one of those as well". Hoping they were convinced at what he said.

Laura sensed it was time to leave and had Fraser put Benton in his carry cot and they made their goodbyes and left.

Fraser sat on the couch still reeling from the information that they were family. That made him feel happy and sad it was almost too much. Ray sat beside him and gently touched his arm, "You ok Frase kind a lot to take in there hey. Finding out there family and all. You're going to be a great god daddy you know that. Did Laura tell you she asked me to stand as well"?

Fraser turned and smiled at Ray, "That's wonderful news Ray"

But Fraser's voice betrayed him all shaky and full of pain and on the verge of cracking again. Ray still held on rubbing his hand up and down Fraser's arm, "Look Frase you want to talk"

Fraser rubbed his hands over his face, "No Ray I'm just tired. I'll be fine. Look why don't we just go to bed I've work early in the morning. Would you like to come observe for the day or go into town"?

Ray didn't even have to think, "Def observe Frase thanks", with that they headed for bed. Ray still stayed in the bed with Fraser since he ended up there anyway from the nightmares Fraser was having.

The night past very quickly. Fraser only woke once during the night from a nightmare but this was a pretty bad one. It made him fall out of the bed from screaming in his sleep. Ray lay, the rest of the night just holding. Wishing he was holding him in bed for another reason. Ray swore he'd tell Fraser soon before it was so late.

As Ray had done for the past few days Ray woke alone in bed to the smells of breakfast cooking. It was way to early an hour for any sane person to be up. Then again this was Fraser and he was going to work up here in Fraserland. Ok Fraser had work today Ray was just going to be the looky loo.

Sitting down for breakfast Ray noticed that Fraser didn't look as bad as he thought he would. Fraser seemed oddly calm. Ray took a sip of his coffee and spoke, "You ok Frase come sit and have some breakfast"

Fraser looked at Ray and sat down, "I'm sorry Ray about last night. I guess finding out they were family well it threw me a tad. I didn't know that Laura's maiden name was Fraser you know so I guess when she has Benton blessed she`ll have her name changed back to Fraser which means oh dear he`ll be Benton Fraser"

Finishing off his coffee Ray put his hand over Fraser's rubbing his thump over the back of it, "Look Frase its ok you had a lot to take in. Hell I would have been worse. Come on let's get washed and off to work. Sure what harm having two Benton Fraser`s in the world when this one here is great".

Putting the breakfast ware in the sink Fraser still talked, "We'll have to head in early Gill called and said that Mr Coyne will be brought to the detachment today for questioning and formally charged. Your welcome to sit in and I mean sit in no talking". Fraser said that with a flirtatious tone and a glint in his eye.

So Ray teased back, "Ok so no kicking him in the head or no shake bad boys shake look no noting ah Frase but I guess I'll settle to see what kind of monster you're dealing with. I know you'll do great you always do god I miss you working with me"

Fraser looked over, "And I you".

Feeling his face Ray felt he needed a shave. His face felt like sand paper. So he asked, "Am Frase would you have a spare razor I kind a forgot mine and I don't want to go out looking like this you know all rough and ready"

Fraser smiled, "Ah Ray but you look good all rough and ready. And no I don't have a razor but I have this"

Taking out his cut throat that he uses. Ray's eyes nearly pop out of his head, "Am Frase that's a freaking blade you want me to cut my throat open. Are. You. Crazy"

Laughing Fraser shook his head, "Ray, Ray, Ray I use it all the time. I can assure you if you do it right you'll be fine. I can shave you if you like"?

That sent shiver's to Ray's happy place as he calls it. The thought of Fraser's hands so close to him. Shaving someone was a very intimate act.

Ray stayed so quiet for so long just starring at Fraser that Fraser thought he was sick or something. Fraser moved closer, "Ray, Ray, RAY"

That snapped Ray out of his trance, "Am Ya Frase that would be great thanks. Just no funny business alright. Don't want to ruin my pretty face ok" Ray said that with mischief.

Putting his hand on Ray's shoulder very close to his face close enough that his thump was rubbing his neck, "Ray I would never ruin your very handsome face". With that Fraser left to get the rest of the supplies to shave Ray's face.

Millions of thoughts rushed through Ray's head, `Ok, Ok Fraser just rubbed my neck. Fraser just told me I was handsome again. Oh god he is going to be so close to me please body don't betray me not now`.

Sitting there with a towel around him. Ray was well aware of their closeness. Ray could feel Fraser's breath on him. Fraser sent was so strong and so welcoming it all about sent him over the edge. But Ray fought to control his body. His eyes focused on Fraser the whole time. Watching Fraser concentrate at what he was doing as he used the cut throat blade on him. It was odd Ray though he didn't feel a bit of the blade. Just the brush of Fraser finger tips and Fraser's hand as he held his face. He could hear Fraser take an intake of breath every now and then as the shave went on. And at the end as Fraser dried Ray off he was so gentle and careful. Fraser looked into Ray's eyes, "Now Ray as handsome as ever". But didn't move held on to the eye contact for a moment longer.

Ray grabbed Fraser's wrist and rubbed his thump across it, "You think I'm handsome Frase". Still holding his eyes Fraser, "Very much so". Breaking their eye contact was the sound of Fraser cell phone ringing. Both groaned at the sound of it. But Fraser knew he had to answer it.

Picking up, "Sergeant Fraser"

It was Gill the secretary, "Good morning sir just thought you'd like to know that Mr Coyne will be here in an hour. If you want to come in sir to prepare"

Rubbing his forehead Fraser went on, "Thank you Gill we'll be right in there Ray will be observing today. So could please have some coffee ready for him he's terrible first thing without it"

Ray threw a cushion at him. Fraser went on laughing slightly, "Sorry about that we'll be right there". Fraser hung up and threw the cushion back at Ray, your encourage able aren't you".

Going into the detachment Gill was sitting behind her desk, "Good morning Sergeant good morning Ray, the coffee and tea is ready and waiting on your desk as is Mr Coyne's file sir"

Fraser replied, "Good morning Gill and thank you kindly"

Ray made his greeting and followed Fraser into his office for the first time.

Ray stepped in and looked around, "Wow Frase this is nice"

It was a large office with a big fire place a huge desk with a computer on. There were the photo's everyone was talking about there was lots of them. And of course a lovely couch all cosy. But the site of the photos of then together really warmed Ray's heart up.

Sitting drinking there drinks Ray spoke, "So Frase you going to be ok seeing him today. This going to be your first time since it all happened"

Meeting Ray's eyes Fraser, "Yes Ray and believe you me he'll pay for what he's done"

Something in Fraser's voice frightened Ray. It was a tone Ray had never heard before. "Am Frase you’re not going to do anything silly are you"?

Locking his eyes with Ray, "No Ray I'll make him pay with the law".

Just then Gill knocked at the door, "Sir, Mr Coyne has just arrived shall I put into the room for you"

Fraser stood, "Yes thank you gill we'll be right there".

Fraser and Ray entered the interview room. To see Mr Coyne sitting there in his wheelchair since he still had the cast on from his broken hip. He was sitting there laughing and smirking, Ray just wanted to wipe it off.

Mr Coyne spoke while still smirking, "Hello Ben, so we meet again super fucking Mountie. The super fucking Mountie that couldn't save Lucy a six year old how pathetic"

That made Ray madder and madder but he promised Fraser he'd hang back and just be a looky loo.

Not letting the words get to him stay eerily calm it seemed to Ray. Fraser sat in front of Mr Coyne, "That's Sergeant Fraser to you Mr Coyne and this is Ray Kowalski my partner from Chicago"

Still with that look on his face, "Ah come on Ben no Alex any more now it's Mr Coyne so formal aren't we"

Mr Coyne turned his attention to Ray, "Did you know that Ben used to get his ass kicked every day in school. And it was on purpose taking beatings meant for other people. Even then Ben was Mr Goody two shoes didn't you Ben".

Fraser opened the file, "One more warning Mr Coyne, its Sergeant Fraser, Now Mr Coyne answer me this there is no way you were acting alone in this. There must have been somebody to tip you off as to where Mrs Coyne and your children were been kelp in the safe house"

It was all a joke to Mr Coyne, "Would you like to know would you really like to know Sergeant"

Fraser was having none of sarcastic tone so prompted, "You do know if you don't tell me who gave you this information you'll take the charges for that as well. While they get off Scott free. And you cannot claim this on mental instability as I got back your report on that and it was clear that you were fine acting in your full wits am I making myself clear Mr Coyne"?

Mr Coyne thought about dragging it out but the look in Fraser eyes frightened him like nothing else. Plus the fact that Ray just kept pacing and glaring at him and not saying a word was very unnerving. Taking a sip of his water Mr Coyne went on, Ok, Ok if you really want to know what you can do for me".

Fraser moved the file a bit, "Well Mr Coyne you'll still be charged with murder attempted murder of an officer and kidnapping. It will be in your best interest to give us that information the judge will take it into account what is the name of the person"?

Mr Coyne knew he had nothing to lose now. Taking a longer drink of his water he spoke, "Ok I got the information from Tom Cassidy, the former Sergeant here"

Fraser sat stunned not believing what he just heard. So leaning forward Fraser asked, "You sure it was Tom Cassidy"

Mr Coyne just nodded. Closing the file and then instructed Constable Tully to take Mr Coyne back to his cell.

Fraser and Ray left to get a warrant for his arrest. Ray turned to Fraser, "This is going to be bad isn't it". Fraser nodded and said, "Indeed".

Coming out if the interview room to get Gill to ring Judge Ford for the warrant for Tom Cassidy. They see that Gill is already on the phone to someone. She's speaking slightly annoyed, "Yes Ger I'll ask him I don't know I'll ask jezz Ger, I'll ring you back ok" and hangs up, "That man I swear"

Fraser approaches wondering, "Everything alright Gill"?

Gill looks up at Fraser, "Yes sir that was cousin Ger, he wanted to know if he could store his horse at your place while he went to Yellowknife to get the something I don't know what for the horse for the race next week"?

As if sharing a joke they both laugh. Fraser says, "Of course he can is it My Face, he is using for this race"?

Throwing her eyes to heaven, "Yes sir and their still trying to get him change his name but you know Ger".

Straitening up Fraser went on, "Gill can you phone Judge Ford to fax on a warrant for Tom Cassidy please ASAP we need to move today"

Looking not so surprised Gill said, "Always knew he was a bad egg sir I'll get right on it. Why don't you go home pack your gear and I'll call when it's through"?

Picking up his hat Fraser and Ray made their way first saying," Thank you kindly Gill oh tell Ger, that Billy is around for the horses just let him know My Face is there ok". With that they left.

Going back to the cabin to pack some gear for a possible long search for Tom. Ray turned suddenly to Fraser, "Am Frase did I hear the name of that horse right My Face"

With a bemused look on his face Fraser answered, "I'm afraid so yes believe me the board is trying to get him to change the name"

Ray looked puzzled for a moment then it hit him and he burst out laughing. Still laughing and trying to talk, "You mean to tell me that-that oh god that at races people are shouting oh god shouting `Come on My Face' that's so funny oh god your killing me". Ray all but fell down from laughing so hard with tears streaming down his face.

Fraser found himself laughing along with him, "I'm afraid Ger has a very strange sense of humour Ray".

Getting himself together eventually they managed to pack all they needed. Just then Gill rang to say the warrant was in and they could go ahead and get him. Fraser and Ray headed back to the detachment. Fraser insisted that Ray wear a vest and since Ray's gun licence that Fraser had gotten him the first time he was up was still valid he could carry his gun. Which Ray was VERY thankful for?

Standing outside the detachment they got word that To Cassidy was not at home which meant that he was hiding in one of his two cabins. So Fraser and Ray and Constable Tully along with volunteer Frank Moran to go on the search. Fraser and Ray went west while the other two went east. So they all headed out in their separate directions with instructions to stay in contact.

Curious Ray asked, "Frase why we going west and their going east"?

Fraser was driving like a bat out of hell which meant he was very nervous and mad as hell. Fraser answered in a strong tone, "I do believe that Mr Cassidy will be in his cabin west it's by the river so if he wants to make a getaway he'll use his boat Ray".

For once it was Ray that was hanging on for life, "Am Frase I know that I like driving fast an all but could you may be slow down a bit I'd like to be in one piece when we catch him"

Fraser gave a sideways glance, "Looks who's talking Mr Bat out of hell GTO"

If Ray didn't know any better he'd think this was pissy Fraser but the glint in the eye gave it away this was Fraser's idea of a joke or flirting he'd take either right now. Then they both laughed and Fraser did slow down but not by much. They soon reached the parking area at the edge of the woods.

Standing at the clearing to the woods Fraser turned to Ray, "Ok Ray this is not like our adventure alright. If I say drop down I mean drop down straight away. If I say stop I mean stop dead. Watch out for bears and mountain cats alright although they are a rare sight but they are there. Ok now let’s get moving while it's still day light we want to get him before night falls"

Ray stood there frozen to the spot. Ray found his voice, "Am Frase are you freaking kidding me bears and mountain cats you're just joking right"

With half smile and a half serious face Fraser answered back, "No Ray I'm very serious ok just listen to my instructions and you should be fine ok come on let’s get going you to Diefenbaker".

The dense woods were very unnerving but having Fraser there helped a lot. To ease the sounds of the woods that where putting the fear of god into Ray and made him jump at every turn. Ray, `thought jezz what a great help I am'. Ray could face murders drug dealers and every criminal but tress and sounds he couldn't see where making him well wet himself.

They were walking what seemed like forever. Fraser could see that Ray was getting tired so they stopped for a break. Ray was so grateful for it. Sitting and eating his sandwiches Fraser had made Ray his chocolate laced coffee that went right to his toes. Ray turned with a shit eating grin to Fraser, "Frase this is s'good thank you I'd marry ya now for the coffee buddy"

Fraser could feel his face flush and so could Ray because he realised what he just said but was not prepared for Fraser's answer, "And I you Ray" Fraser said it with a wink. Ray blushed even more.

Ray was wondering about Tom Cassidy, "So Frase this Tom Cassidy what's his deal"

Drinking his water Fraser answered, "Well Tom and I went to the academy together. He was always trying to prove something. Always acting tough picking fights mainly with me. How he was allowed to stay in the academy I don't know. I guess it got something to do with the fact that his dad and granddad were big names in the RCMP that helped. He didn't like that it took him longer to get his shooting badges and I graduated top of the class. One of my superiors told me in confidence after graduation of course that he should never have been allowed to stay in the academy but then it was too late bad for your career if you did anything I was told I was fresh and didn't want to disappoint my dad I guess".

Ray wondered, "Then why was he allowed to stay I know you said about his granddad and dad but that's no reason"

Fraser raised his eyes and said, "Money and power".

Before they could continue to talk a noise interrupted them. Picking up the gear and rifles they headed towards. Ray asked, "What do you think it is Frase"?

Fraser whispered, "Sounds like footsteps stay low and follow me and remember to listen to me your on my turf now Ray"

Ray smiled, "Right you are Frase I promise I'll listen mom". They set off in the direction of the sounds.

As they approached the sounds of the step's Fraser checked the track marks that where left. They were not covered well. Fraser pointed to Ray at the direction of the sounds. Ray got closer, "That him"?

Fraser nodded, "Now Ray up a head is a drop to the river he will more than likely head that way. Do not follow me you follow Dief. Do I make myself clear do not follow me"

Ray was puzzled and frightened but agreed.

They got closer when Fraser stood and spoke, "Hold it right there this is the RCMP you under arrest put your hands up and don't move"

The man turned it was Tom Cassidy he just smiled and ran just like Fraser said he would. Tom ran towards the boat skidding down the side of the cliff to get to it. Fraser ran straight ahead leaving Ray all the stuff to carry. Ray grabbed them and followed Dief just like promised Fraser he would. Ray got there just in time to see Fraser jump off the cliff. Ray nearly died a sudden death when he saw that.

Ray's heart was pounding out of his chest so hard that he thought it would burst right through. Ray ran to the edge and looked down saying to Dief and any god that was listening, "HE DID NOT JUST JUMP OFF THAT GOD DAMMED CILFF THAT CRAZY MOUNTIE"? Running after Dief they managed to get the water to see that Tom had a gun in Fraser's face just as he was about to fire it the boat went over a waterfall. Fraser flicked his eyes to the side and it distracted him long enough for him to get the gun out of his grip before they went over the edge.

Ray thought, `Jezz could this get any more like a TV show'.

Ray once again found himself chasing after Dief to get to Fraser. Talking all the way, "I'm going to kill him if the fall didn't kill I will crazy ass Mountie think's he wears a god dammed cape I'll kill him". Ray got to the water edge to see Fraser arresting him. Ray was frightened angry and relived to see Fraser was ok.

Going up to them Ray raised his voice, "Fraser are you out of your mind jumping off that cliff. That's what 50 feet are you crazy you could have been killed you-you could have died you-you crazy Mountie you"

As Fraser was cuffing Tom he turned to Ray, "Ray, Ray, Ray I'm fine and it was 56 feet not 50"

Ray just stood there still shaking really from what Fraser had done, "Fraser you could have killed yourself and what would I have done then they tell me"?

Fraser cocked his head to the side," I'm sorry Ray I-I'm really ok I won't do it again ok. Now let's get him back".

They were very thankful that it didn't take as long as expected to catch him. Fraser radioed ahead to Constable Tully and Frank Moran to tell them they got him and also to Gill to prepare. Fraser knew he had not heard the last of this from Ray. Ray was going to let him have once they got back to the cabin about his little stunt.

Sitting in the interrogation room Fraser began, "So Mr Cassidy, can you tell me why you ran from me when I gave you clear instructions not to"

Tom grinned; "Why sergeant I just thought you wanted to be alone with your bitch" he said looking a Ray.

Ray made a move towards him but Fraser held up a hand to stop him and Ray did.

Fraser went on," Mr Coyne has given us your name as the person who gave him the whereabouts of his wife and kids is that true"?

Smiling again at Fraser cocky as you like, "Yes everyman should know where his family is sergeant".

Fraser ignored his comments didn't let them get to him because that's just what he wanted. Fraser went on, "You information Mr Cassidy has gotten a little girl killed endangered a baby and nearly killed a RCMP officer what do you have to say for yourself".

Tom sat back, "That officer would be you right. You were always playing super Mountie weren't you Benton. Super fucking Mountie my ass"

Fraser opens the file, "Mr Cassidy you are under arrest delivering information, accomplice to murder for endangering an infant. You have the right to remain silent if you do say anything it may be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to counsel if you cannot afford one will be appointed do you understand these rights"?

Laughing as if it was a joke, "Yes Benton I do". Again Fraser instructed Constable Tully to bring Tom Cassidy to the holding cells till the trial.

Finished for the day Fraser and Ray made their goodbyes to gill and the others and left. Ray turned to Fraser, "Fraser doesn’t think I've forgotten about your little stunt. Don't think you've gotten away with. I'll deal with you when we get back home. And I've something else I need to discuss with you am I clear Fraser"

Fraser gulped, "Yes Ray". And under his breath Fraser said, "Oh dear".

As they drove back to the cabin Fraser could feel the anger and tension radiate through Ray's body. They rode all the way in complete silence. Fraser knew that he was getting Ray's famous shake bad guys shake look and that was NOT good.

As they stepped through the cabin doors Fraser made a move to speak, "Ray I". Before Fraser could go on

Ray turned and held up a hand, "You go have hot shower get out of those wet clothes I'll make some supper then mister we're going to talk got it"

Fraser swallowed, "Ah understood". Fraser headed to the bathroom after that.

Fraser could hear Ray clattering around in the kitchen and muttering and talking to Diefenbaker, words like `Crazy, Stupid, Invincible'. Fraser prepared himself to be put under the spot light when he came out of the bathroom.

Coming out of the bathroom dressed in his RCMP sweats Fraser approached Ray with caution. Speaking with caution as well, "Hi Ray look I'm really sorry"

Ray turned and pointed to the chair, "You sit eat your supper and drink your tea. Then you do not say a word till I finish what I have to say. I've something to ask you as well something important ok"

Fraser didn't say anything just nodded staying quite.

Finally finishing their supper Ray was up and pacing. Ray was pacing and flaying his arms everywhere to show his emotions. Pointing at Fraser, "You what the hell where you thinking. Do you think you can fly? Do you wear blue tights and a red cape? AH NO. So why"

Fraser made a move to speak then remembered it was dangerous when Ray was in this mood.

Ray was still pacing and waving his arms and pointing, "You could have been killed Fraser. You could have fucking killed yourself. What would I have done then hey? I'd never have got to tell you that I that I love you. That I love and not like a brother or symbolically either that I LOVE YOU with every part of my heart and soul. Ya funny right as you could love this". Ray waved his hands over his body.

Fraser chuckled and shook his head.

Ray frowned, "What's so funny you can speak now Fraser"

Fraser smiled and not just any kind of smile but a shit eating big smile the kind that would melt an ice burg.

Fraser finally opened his mouth, "Ray I have loved you from the first day we met. I've wanted to tell you for such a long time. But I was afraid I was reading things wrong but I do. I love you Stanley Raymond Kowalski with all my heart and soul"

Ray sat dumbfounded, "You do you love me"

Fraser smiled back, "Yes Ray very much. Now what was it you wanted to ask me"?

Ray drank some water, "Well I want to kiss you first is that ok"?

Fraser moved closer, "Very nice idea Ray", they shared a very loving and tender kiss the kind that would make your toes curl. Pulling back they just looked into each other eyes. Fraser brushed his fingers over Ray's face then his lips brushed over Ray's lips again then sat back down to listen to what Ray had to say.

Ray sat smiling like a loon, "Very nice ok Frase, oh or can I call you Ben now calling you Frase, after that is just weird"?

Clasping Ray's hand, "Ben would be lovely thank you Ray"

Gripping tighter Ray went on, "Ok Ben, now that I know that you feel the same way it makes this easier. I don't want to be a cop any more Ben I'm burned out. I knew for sure I didn't want to do this full time any more about two months ago. Welsh called me into his office telling me I should take the lieutenants exam. Ya right me funny right. I don't want to be stuck behind some desk pushing papers still at this job all my life that's not for me".

Fraser leaned in, "So what it is that you want to do"

Still smiling like a loon and thinking his stuck that way now but didn't mind Ray went on, "Well I". Ray paused.

Fraser clutched his hand, "Go on Ray you can tell me".

So Ray did, "My dream I feel stupid saying this. But my dream was to come up here tell you that I love you. That I want to marry you. Open my own business and live happy ever after. I know stupid as if I could ever have a happy ever after".

If Ray thought the smile he got before was big enough to melt an ice burg. The one he got now could melt all the ice in the world.

Ray asked, "What you smiling so big for"?

Fraser came to Ray's side on his knee, "Will you Stanley Raymond Kowalski do me the honour of marrying me. Come live here and have a happy ever after with me"?

Ray's mouth opened in shock, "Fr-Ben I-I yes Ben oh Yes, Yes, yes I'd love to. You’re not just yanking my chain are you cos that's just plain cruel"

Fraser laughed while pulling Ray in a big bear hug, "No Ray I'm not Yanking your chain as you say but I will yank something else later if you want" Fraser said wiggling his eyebrows.

Ray shouted "BEN" and a slap on the arm. That got him a big hug back and a very passionate kiss that left them both gasping for air afterwards.

Fraser pulled back to look in Ray's eyes, "So I gather your happy about this Ray. Or would you prefer I go ask your parents’ permission for your hand in marriage first"

Ray laughed, "Ah no Fr- Ben are you nuts but we will have to tell them. I want them here to share in our happy day. I think they'll be fine after the shock wears off they love you so that's a start. They were always telling me what a good influence you were on me. Even they don't expect it I don't care because I love you"

Fraser held Ray by the waist, "And I you Ray".

The next day both Mr Coyne and Mr Cassidy where transferred to Yellowknife until their trail was to start. Their they'd stay in the long term holding cells. Fraser was glad to have them out of the way.

Today was also Fraser's first day back at the school as well. Fraser was very nervous but after their morning love making Fraser knew that Ray would be his rock through this now that they were going to spend the rest of their lives together. It was going to be hard still even walking across the road was going to be hard. To see the faces of the kids and the adults that attends the class. Fraser was going to start with sign language they loved that so that was the best way to go. Ray noticed his unease and kept a hold of his hand until they were to be there at twelve for the start of class.

Twelve o'clock came and Fraser and Ray stood at the doors to the class room. Gripping Fraser's hand Ray spoke softly, "You'll be fine Ben they can't wait to see you. I'll be there the whole time ok"

Fraser held on tight, "Thank you Ray I'm sure your right" Fraser said with a nervous smile.

As they entered the class room Fraser was immediately surrounded by all the kids hugging the life out his legs and talking excitedly. There was big banner across the wall that read, `WELCOME BACK SEGEARNT BEN'. Ray beamed for Fraser at the love that was been shown to him. Fraser upon seeing it and the kid's reaction to him he had to fight off tears that threatened to spill.

The teacher stood clapping her hands, "Ok class settle down and leave Sergeant Ben and Mr Kowalski sit down. If you want to ask a question you raise your hands ok"

All the class sat smiling widely they were thrilled to have their Sergeant Ben back. Fraser and Ray sat side by side at top of the class. Fraser spoke, Good morning class thank you very kindly for the wonderful sign. If you have any question as Mrs Meade has said put your hands up ok".

A little girl about six raised her hand Fraser saw and said, "Yes Jennifer"

Standing up Jennifer asked, "You feel better now Sergeant Ben"?

Fraser smiled at her question, "Why yes thank you kindly Jennifer"

Another child raised their hand this time a little boy aged six also, Fraser asked, "Yes Innusiq", Shuffling his feel the little boy asked, "Is he your boyfriend Sergeant Ben"?

Fraser felt his face blush, "What makes you say the Innusiq"

Talking more quietly, "Because I saw you hold hands and you look happy it's nice"

Before Fraser could answer a little girl piped in, "You going to get married you should that would be really nice and really cool".

Mrs Meade moved in, "Class it's not nice to ask such personal question. I'm sorry sergeant Ben and Mr Kowalski"

Ray gave Fraser's shoulder a squeeze to let him know it was ok to answer the question truthfully.

Fraser spoke still blushing, "It's quite alright Mrs Meade. I'll answer. Yes Innusiq Ray and I are to be married and thank you I'm very happy. It was very nice of you to say so".

All the class squealed with delight including the adults. The kids started chattering to them both, "Can we come to the wedding Sergeant Ben this is so cool"

Ray laughed and whispered to Fraser, "They really are different up here aren't they very open minded its great"

Fraser smiled, "Indeed".

One of the adults finally stood up and spoke, "I can honestly speak for all of us here Sergeant Ben that it's about time you look after yourself. You're always thinking of others. You look happy now and we want to wish you and your husband to be all the love and luck in the world"

Both Fraser and Ray blushed like nothing else, "Thank you kindly Mrs Snow we hope so to", Fraser replied.

Fraser stood clapping his hands together, "Ok class time to get started we'll start today with your favourite sign language"

Ray sat amazed at how good the class was at everything they were doing. The kids actually out did the adults at everything which was fun to see. Ray was enjoying himself so much he found himself joining in. Ray thought to himself once I move here I'm joining this class.

The class was soon over to everyone's disappointment. The kids were heading out for their lunch break. Before Fraser could leave a little girl ran up to him. So Fraser crouched down so he was level with her and they all watched to see what she was up to. Once Fraser was eye to eye with her he asked, "You ok Carrie"?

Her eyes were sad, "You really ok Sergeant Ben. You miss Lucy. I miss her to. But you were really brave to try and help her". With that she gave him a big hug and a kiss and the cheek and went outside to her friends.

Fraser was frozen to the spot so Ray pulled him up and before speaking to him he wanted to get him away from people. So Ray managed to get him back to his office and into his chair. Ray looked into his eyes, "You ok Ben. She didn't upset you or anything did her"

Fraser looked at him with tear filled eyes, "No not really Ray. It's just their hurting as well and I didn't see it you know. And now I'm just so happy with you and their happy for us. No one is disgusted by our love they just happy for us I just never had that before".

Moving to Fraser's side brushing his finger through Fraser hair "Bit much for one day hey. They love you Ben and they don't care that you're marrying a man. Their happy you're happy and that's great"

Fraser leaned into Ray's touch, "Your right Ray and to use one of your terms it's greatness".

Just as they were settling a knock came to the door Fraser spoke, "Come in". It was Tilly. Fraser and Ray stood when she came in, "Hello Tilly to what do we owe this pleasure"

Nodding to Ray she went on, "Oh thank you I just wanted to invited you boys to dinner tonight and I won't take no for an answer. So I'll see you both at seven. And don't worry Miss Fraser, will be there with Benton. Oh her name change came through. So no worrying you'll miss her calling. I know she brings your dinners she loves to cook for you always asking your favourites. And before you say anything I know you were just friends see you later don't be late"

Ray found this very amusing, "Thank you Tilly we'd love to".

Tilly left and Ray could not help laugh at Fraser's face, "Relax Ben or you'll blow a gasket I need that mouth later"

Fraser shouted loudly, "RAY" that only made Ray laugh more.

Time for dinner came really quickly and they found themselves seated at Tilly's table along with the now Miss Fraser and Benton was in his carry cot. As usual starring up at Fraser smiling.

Tilly started, "So you boy's getting married eh. When is the wonderful day? Oh I insist on doing the catering in fact I know all the parents in the school will want to help you just lets us know my dears"?

Laura had her say then, "Yes most definitely they will and Benton will be both your godson by then as well it will be great".

Fraser and Ray looked at each other, "We're not sure when the date is yet. Ray has to go back to Chicago to sort out something's and of course I'll be going to help him and all"

Before Fraser could continue to babble on Ray piped in, "But once we know we'd love your help thank you won't we Ben"

Fraser blushed again and was glad Ray was happy about this about them wanting to help, "Yes-Yes we would love your help thank you kindly".

Dinner was fantastic chatting a little about the wedding. Tilly enjoyed Ray's stories about Fraser in Chicago. After dinner as always Fraser found himself with an arm full of Benton. Ray felt a bit of unease at the look in Laura's eyes it was if she was telling them something. It was if she was saying goodbye and wanting to capture this moment in her mind.

Ray snapped out of his trance by Laura, "So Ben and Ray you all set for the blessing. I do have something I want to ask you both. I need your permission to it. I've chosen Benton full name I want to have him blessed with. I want him to be blessed and named Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser. It's just your both our angels and its only right he should be named as such"

Both were stunned speechless but somehow Fraser found his voice, "Ray, Ray, Ray". That snapped Ray back to listen. Both looked at each other and a silent agreement was made.

Ray spoke for them, "Am that would be great that would be total greatness thank you it's an honour thank you"

Laura got up and kissed them both on the cheek, ""Your welcome our angles". With that Laura picked Benton and made their goodbyes leave two very stunned men.

Sitting in bed that night just holding each other, Fraser and Ray chatted. Ray laid stroking Fraser's arm, "So Ben how you really doing your still not eating are you"?

Fraser sighted, "I'm doing better. I think that it will just take time Ray. You're helping though".

Ray leaned in and kissed Fraser on the temple, "I'm glad I'm here. I must admit to nearly having a heart attack when Gill rang me and told me that you were beating the life out of a punch bag. That frightened me"

Leaning into Ray's embrace, "I'm sorry Ray but I'm glad that Gill rang I saw her hovering over your number for a few days I knew she was up to something".

Ray smiled, "Always the mother hen with you hey. Can you show me this gym maybe we could spare a bit or something"

Fraser returned the kiss that Ray put on his head, "I'd love to Ray".

Fraser was sleeping soundly and Ray propped up on his elbow watched him sleep. While stroking his fingers through Fraser's hair Ray whispered, "I love you so much you know. I hope that I can make you feel as loved and happy as you make me feel. I'll spend my life proving it. I love you always and forever can't wait to marry you Benton Fraser".

Sitting at breakfast table Fraser and Ray talked about their plans for the day. With a mouth full of oatmeal Ray spoke, "So Ben you going sort out your leave for coming with me to Chicago to help me pack up"

Grinning at the fact that Ray still talked with his mouth full Fraser answered, "Yes Ray I'm going to have it arranged for just after the blessing. I'll be going half officially any way as I'll be arranging your immigration and your work permits".

Ray took a sip of his coffee, "So do you think it will be hard. I mean I know what I want to do be a mechanic I just need to find a premises is there one here I can buy"?

Smiling widely, "Yes Ray it won't be a problem since same sex marriages are legal in Canada you'll be my spouse so that's that problem sorted. As for your business you can use the lager out building it has its own entrance and big enough area for a car park for your customers. There is landing strip behind the house that no longer used for official purposes the new one is the other side of town you could use that to fix light air craft. So you'll have plenty of customers".

All the while Fraser was talking Ray sat with his mouth wide open, "You, You serious Ben we can marry for real like husband and husband". With that light up the world smile,

"Yes Ray we will be married for real"

Ray's face lit up, "That's greatness Ben and I can really use that building. But where will you store your jeep and stuff"

Shaking his head, "Ray, Ray, Ray that building is empty I must confess that when I bought this property I had dreamed that someday I need it for you, for either a car or a business. It's wired for electricity and it has a bathroom. So all you need is to get your tools and licence I can help there as it would go through me anyway".

Clasping Fraser's hand, "God I love you Ben and I cannot wait to marry you and start our lives up here. Ok let's get you to work and I'll head into town and get something special for dinner and a present for Benton's blessing what you think"

Squeezing Ray's hand back," That's a fine idea Ray ok let’s pitter patter then Ray"

Ray slapped Fraser on the arm, "Hey that's my saying".

While Fraser sat filling out his dally reports and dealing with parking fines and complaints. His mind kept wondering to what Ray was up to and how he looked as he slept this morning Fraser was glad he woke first to see such a beautiful sight. Fraser managed to get cover for a month’s leave since he had plenty of time off saved up. So he could go with Ray to Chicago and help him pack and sort out all his legal requirements for moving up to Canada.

Meanwhile in town Ray was happily walking down the road with Diefenbaker by his side. Diefenbaker hadn't left his side since he came into town. This pleased Fraser as he knew Diefenbaker would keep Ray safe.

As Ray was passing Anna's store he heard her call, "Morning Ray would you like to join me for coffee and scones I'm just about to have some"?

Ray moved as quickly as a cat over to her, "I'd love to thank you Anna warm me right up".

Enjoying the warmth of the coffee and scones and of course the company Ray knew he was going to be pumped for information. So Ray was ready for the chat. Before they could start Linda Meade came in and joined them for her lunch break.

Anna was not afraid to speak out, "So Ray you and our sergeant eh. I think its wonderful pity but still wonderful. I wanted to chase you myself Ray you could have been my toyboy"

Ray blushed, "Ya Ben and me sorry Anna but the Mountie stole my heart"

That got a collective, "Ahh" not just from Anna and Linda but everyone in the store. Ray thought his face would burst into flames from blushing so hard.

Anna took pity on him, "Sorry Ray we are really happy for you both. The whole town is talking about it"

Ray found himself using one of Fraser's sayings, "Oh dear".

Putting his cup down Ray asked, "Really your all ok with this I mean if we did this back in Chicago one of us would probably be dead. It's just so nice to feel so accepted you know"

Anna gave Ray a reassuring smile, "Yes Ray everyone is fine with it. The only one that wasn't was Tom Cassidy and we all know what we think of him he is an ass. So relax Ray and enjoy it ok".

Linda piped in, "So Ray when you heading back to Chicago to pack up"?

More relaxed now Ray answered, "We're heading back after Benton's blessing"

Moving forwards a bit, "And I'm terrified of coming out when I go home because no one knows".

Anna and Linda exchanged looks, "No one knows. You come all this way declare your love and no one you know knows wow", Linda said.

Ray chuckled, "Ya wow. But I'm pretty sure my Lue knows or suspects at least pretty told me. But other than that no, no one’s knows. I'll have Ben with me I'll be fine. Then I'll come back here marry my Mountie and open my business".

That sparked curiosity, "Oh Ray what kind of business you going to open", Anna asked. Smiling,

"Mechanic it's the only thing I know outside of been a cop"

Clapping their hands Anna spoke, "Oh that's great because Sam White is retiring in a few months and we were worried as to who would take over. No one wants to stay in a place so remote you see. Oh it will be great to have a handsome mechanic to bring our stuff to. Can't wait to break my car" Anna said the wiggling her eyebrows.

They chatted for a while before heading back to work. Ray headed into town. Ray bought Benton a lovely blanket and the Girl in the store sowed on a B.F on to it in blue Ray hoped Ben would approve.

Fraser got home just as Ray was finishing up with getting the dinner ready. Turning, "Hey Ben welcome home". Giving Ray that ice melting smile,

"Ray what smells so wonderful and I". Before Fraser could continue Ray's lips were on him giving him a toe curling kiss to welcome him home.

Pulling back for breath, "Hi Ray well that's a welcome home I could get used to".

Smiling into Ben's face, "You better, now go get changed dinner is just about ready and I want to hear about your day"

Giving Ray one more very passionate kiss, "As you wish Ray".

Fraser was out the shower and sitting down for dinner faster than Ray had ever seen anyone do before. Eating dinner Ray required about Fraser's day, "So Ben what ya do today any major crimes international disasters"

Looking up from his plate, "Ah no Ray no major crimes or international disasters thank you very much. But I did get my leave to come with you for a month. Since some will be official I can take longer if I need it".

Ray was around the table fast hugging Ben, "That greatness Ben that's really great". They ate there dinner grinning at each other like love sick puppies.

Lying in bed Ray suddenly got up, "Oh Ya Ben look what I Benton for his blessing present". Holding up the blanket Fraser's face fell pale. Ray ran to his side, "Oh did I do something wrong Ben don't you like it"?

Taking it from Ray rubbing his fingers over the lettering, "No Ray it's perfect, it's- it's just". Fraser got out of bed and went to his trunk and pulled out similar one just a different shade of blue writing. Handing t to Ray, "Ray my mother made this for me it's all I have left from her. I used to sleep with for a long time when I was a child it had her sent for a long time till my grandmother washed it"

Ray Hugged Ben, "Oh I'm sorry Ben do you want me to change it"?

Hugging back tighter, "Oh no Ray its perfect just brought back some nice memories that's all". They shared a loving kiss and got into bed and fell asleep holding each other.

It was the day before the blessing and Ray was sitting on Fraser's desk. Ray still felt guilty about the blanket and wanted to ask Fraser about it. Figgling with everything and anything on Fraser's desk. Fraser inquired if Ray was alright, "Ray is everything ok you seem to be a bit down"?

Looking into those baby blues, "Ya Ben I'm fine. It's just. I'm sorry I upset you with the blanket. I can get something else if you like. If it would make you feel better".

Coming around the desk to sit in front of Ray and taking his hands in his. Fraser spoke, "Ray, Ray, Ray I love the blanket. It just took me by surprise that's all. I haven't thought about it for such a long time. It really is perfect Ray". Even though they were in Fraser's office Fraser pulled Ray into a loving kiss.

They parted company and Ray headed back to the cabin to sort their clothes for the blessing. Laura had left them the reading that they were to do at the blessing. She also left them some forms they were to fill out which puzzled Ray. There were forms for next of kin in case she couldn't be there custody forms in case something happened to her. Also Benton's passport with them down as the guardians just in case. She told them she had him on hers this was a just in case one. Fraser had already signed his part so Ray did the same. Ray's instincts were kicking in but he could not put his finger on it.

Fraser arrived back from work to be welcomed home with that greeting he was told to get used to. This made Fraser give Ray one of those ice melting smiles. Taking off his coat and going to change Fraser found himself smiling again. Ray had his dress uniform hanging up and perfectly ironed waiting for him to wear at the blessing. Ray also had his dark navy suite hanging up with the lovely blue shirt that brought out his eyes Fraser loved that on him.

There tea went the usual way grinning at each other like love sick puppies. They were also excited because Laura has asked them if they could look after Benton for a few days. As he has to go out of town on some business and didn't want to upset Benton by dragging him a long on this long trip. They wondered what she was business she was leaving for but they were really looking forward to looking after Benton. Laura had already dropped off Benton's cot his real one not the travel one which Ray thought was strange but Fraser said maybe she just wanted him to be comfortable. She also dropped off far too many clothes and supplies of food and nappy stuff for a two day trip. This unnerved Ray but put it down to his over working mind. It was nice to be trusted to look after Benton and to be his godfathers.

Standing in the church packed full of people Fraser and Ray found where Laura and Benton where waiting for them. Laura had Benton in a lovely white suite and wrapped in the blanket that Ray had bought for him. The blessing was beautiful. Laura had Fraser hold Benton while Father Byrne blessed Benton with the holy water he spoke, "I bless you Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser in the name of the Farther the son and the holy spirit amen". Every one clapped and welcomed the m into the fold.

Photo's where taken a few with Laura in with Benton and Ray. One on her own with Benton but mostly of just Benton with Fraser and Ray. Ray thought that strange. Then again he was still getting used to the way people up here did things maybe this was just something they did.

At the community centre Laura had arranged lots of food and drink for the guests. Ray watched her closely. The way she greeted everyone what she was saying to them she got some strange looks and lots of hugs. But the day was coming to an end and Fraser, Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker would soon be heading home while Laura headed off on her trip. But before all that Laura got the attention of the room.

Raising her glass, "I'd like to thank everyone for coming and for making this a special day. I'd love to thank Ben and Ray for accepting to be Benton's Godparents. I know they'll do a fantastic job in looking after him as if he were their own. So raise your glasses to Benton, Ben, Ray and of course Diefenbaker". Everyone raised there glass's then applauded.

Everyone parted ways then. As Fraser, Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker headed back to the cabin. Fraser was the first to speak, "Ray did anything about Laura's behaviour seem strange to you"?

Ray turned to look at Fraser, "Ya I got that as well. It was like she was saying goodbye for good or something".

They drove a bit more, "It did seem like that I agree Ray. I found it a little strange with the custody papers in case something happens to happens to her and she brought what I think is far too many clothes and other stuff for a two day trip".

Sighing, "Ya I noticed that as well. Look maybe it's noting maybe it's just the cops in us looking at trying to find something"

Squeezing Ray's tight, "Agreed".

The first night went well after a feed and a lavender and camomile bath Benton slept soundly with Diefenbaker under the cot keeping watch. Fraser was glad he was glad he was on leave so he could have time with Benton and Ray on their own and enjoy having him around. Fraser was loving the look in Ray's eyes while he was holding him and feeding him Ray was a natural father and this was the closest they were going to get.

The first day however was funny. Trying to change a nappy was the funniest thing Ray thought he ever did. Ray thought how could something so small produce so much well you get the picture won't go into details but just picture night after booze up and a vindaloo wow.

They took Benton out for walk in his push chair around their land. When they got back to the cabin they feed him and lay on a blanket in front of the fire playing with him. Listing to the wonderful happy baby sounds he was making. It was a long and tiring day but one they really enjoyed.

By the end of day of day two they were starting to worry. Something was not right. Laura had not rung them to see how they were getting on with Benton or even just to say how she was getting on. Fraser and Ray both agreed that was strange.

It wasn't till the next morning their fears where confirmed. A knock on the door woke them Fraser answered, "Ah Constable Tully what brings you here". Looking very solemn, "May I come in sir I need to speak to you and Ray"

Ray came out of the bedroom, "What's up guys". But stopped dead when he saw who was there in full uniform so this had to be bad when Fraser was on leave.

They all sat around the table Fraser made tea and coffee before they had to hear what Constable Tully had come to tell them. Whatever it was there blood was already running cold and he hadn't even spoken yet.

Fraser asked the silence was defining, "So Constable what is it that you wanted to talk to us about"?

Not meeting their eyes this was hard enough for him, "I'm afraid I have some bad news. I got word this morning that Laura Fraser passed away last night from a brain haemorrhage I'm so sorry I know how close you all where she was in a hospital in Whitehorse for the past few days ". Silence rained again.

Both Fraser and Ray sat frozen in their chairs. Ray somehow found his voice although cracked and shaky, "You you're serious but how she looked so well at the blessing"?

Fraser took Ray's hand in his, "she knew didn't she, that she was going to die that's why all those forms I should have seen this. That explains all those headaches she kept having. She just told me it was migraines that she suffered from. I should have seen it" Fraser said.

Ray looked from Fraser to the Constable, "Why didn't she tell anyone I mean we could have been there for her. She didn't have to go through that alone I-I".

Constable Tully could see that they needed to be alone so he handed them an envelope that arrived for them to read from Laura.

With the Constable gone they sat alone at the table. They were now fathers for real to this little boy how just lost his mother. They couldn't get their heads around the fact that Laura was dead.

Fraser sat looking at the letter in his hands. Ray encouraged him to open it, "Open it Ben let’s see what Laura had to say". Fraser opened it and it read:

To my Two Angels and my dearest Benton

I'm so sorry I had to do this way. I didn't want you to see me die that way. I've been sick for a while now. I can rest knowing that my ex-husband no longer has custody of Benton and never will. I know that my two Angel's will I know with all my heart and soul that Benton will have best life with you both. Weather you stay here or in Chicago I know you'll what is best for him. I know Benton will be happy with you.

I've a box in my house I'd like you to collect along with everything else that belongs to Benton. In this box is a birthday cards for every year till Benton is 21 there is a letter in each of them there is also Christmas cards as well could you please give them to him. I made a video message for him as well so he'll know my face and my voice.

There should be enough money in his account for a while. I sold everything even the house. You still have time to pack everything before the new people move in I've already informed as to why they understand. You will never know how much it means to me what you're doing for Benton you're truly blessed for doing this.

And Ben I want to thank you. My brave Mountie. You went above and beyond trying to rescue my Lucy and I want to thank you for that. You helped me though some very tough times. I could not have done it without you. Lucy thought you were a super hero and she was right you are.

To Ray thank you. You're like a breath of fresh air to this town. So full of love and light. You look after my Ben for me you hear.

Take care of each other and I wish you a very happy and long marriage.

Thanking you and loving always

Laura

Xxxxxxx

Fraser and Ray clung to each other and cried. They cried for a long time before heading into Benton's room.

Standing there into that innocent face. Fraser and Ray held on to each other to keep each other from falling like a life line of support. Dief winded in morning he could sense what was happing and could feel the mournful mood in the room. They were a family now and had their lives to live. And as promised they would do everything in their power to make sure that Benton knew how much he was loved and that he knew who is mother was. That Benton would want for noting and they would give him the best life he could possibly have.

Even though it was morning Fraser and Ray went back to bed feeling as if they had a long hard day. Tomorrow they would add Benton to the flight plans and head for Chicago after the funeral. They would have a lot more to explain to the people back in Chicago but they had one another and there love would get them through it.

Finding Family

Vic32

Summary:

After helping Fraser through his crisis and discovering the true nature of their feelings, Ray returns to Chicago with Fraser to see family. The strength of family will see them through the challenges they still face

Notes:

Disclaimer: I don't own these guys just looking after them.

Author's Notes: The same as Tough Cases for Niente you know I can't do without ya. And to my beta ds-Tiff couldn't do it without you xxx

Finding Family

Having completed all they needed for their trip to Chicago and having added Benton to their plans and now their lives, Fraser and Ray sat on the couch leaning on one another, hands intertwined as they gave each other the support they needed. Ray was the first to speak. "So Ben, you going to be OK tomorrow at Laura's funeral?"

Bringing Ray's hand to his lips and kissing it, Fraser replied, "It won't be easy Ray. It's still quite a shock. I should have seen it Ray. I mean those forms for Benton's custody and having to sign the Birth Certificate. I just should have seen it?"

Ray turned to face Fraser taking both his hands in his. "Ben, no one saw anything. I didn't. Sure we both thought it was odd, Laura was acting strange. We put it down to all the stress she has been under. Ben she had you sign the Birth Certificate as another way to not have her husband have any control over Benton. The judge has made it clear that he won't and that we have Benton for good Ben. We'll face tomorrow together with Benton and we'll get through Chicago as a family. It will be scary as hell, but we're a duet remember? Hey, but now we're a trio!"

Fraser smiled a sweet smile gripping Ray's hand tighter. “We are indeed a trio now Ray, plus Diefenbaker of course. I understand that Laura was just trying to protect Benton. We'll make sure he knows her. He has been through so much in just his three months on this earth, you know?"

They sat for a while longer, snuggled up together, listening to one another's breathing. Diefenbaker was in his new spot under Benton's cot, keeping watch and protecting his new pack mate. After a while Fraser and Ray headed for bed, but not before checking on the new family member. It was going to be a very long and stressful day tomorrow.

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Morning dawned and they were in their new routine. While Fraser prepared breakfast Ray took care of Benton, cleaning and changing him before his morning feed. After burping him and settling him into his chair they ate their own breakfast. This time it was eaten in silence, both of them were just as nervous as each other. Their suits hung ready for them to wear and the flowers were picked from their garden that were going to go down with her. Ray thought photos from Benton's blessing should go down with her as well. One of just her with Benton and another of all of them together. Fraser had some of her with Lucy that could go down as well. It was agreed they would place them in the coffin before it was closed.

Standing in the funeral parlour Fraser was holding Ray's hand in his right while holding Benton in his left arm. The rest of the village waited outside leaving them to say goodbye on their own before they closed the coffin to be carried to the grave site to be buried with Lucy.

Ray spoke gently to Laura it seemed silly, but right. "Hey Laura, you look good. God that was a stupid thing to say, but you do. We brought Benton to say goodbye. Ben and I promise we won't let you down with him. He will know who you are. We brought some photos from Benton's blessing and Ben got some of Lucy, thought you'd like them." Ray placed the photos in the coffin along with the flowers.

Fraser stepped forward. Here he was yet again burying yet another Fraser. Of course he hadn't known she was a Fraser until recently and he wished he'd known sooner. Fraser found his voice although it was shaky. "Thank you Laura for trusting us with Benton and for not blaming me for Lucy's death. I know I let you down, but you never believed that even though I know I did. I hope you are with Lucy now and have peace. Don't worry about Benton, he will be fine." With that, Fraser nodded and the coffin was closed and placed into the horse drawn carriage that waited outside to take her to her resting place.

The skies were clear, but it was frosty cold as they all sat at the grave side. Father Byrne preformed the ceremony, said the prayers and blessed the coffin with incense and holy water as he spoke. "We bless your body and your soul as we lay you to rest. May you have eternal rest and peace? May the Lord guide you and keep you safe. God bless and Amen."

Father Byrne asked if anyone would like to say a few words, so Fraser stood up and went up front. Looking nervous and shifting his feet, he said, "Laura was a wonderful woman, strong and brave. She had such wonderful children, she'd be so proud. Sadly Laura had to see Lucy die which is the hardest thing a parent can go through. And now Benton, he is such a lovely little boy who Laura has entrusted on Ray and myself. We promise not to let her down. Rest in peace Laura." Fraser wiped a tear from his eyes as he stepped down to stand by Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker.

They watched as the coffin was lowered into the ground including everyone from the village and the all the children threw a single flower into the grave. Anna and Linda and the children from the school sung Amazing Grace as they did so. Everyone left for the community centre where there was food and refreshments waiting for them, leaving Fraser, Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker to say a last goodbye.

Fraser and Ray dropped off Benton at Tilly's as she was looking after some of the younger children from the village whose parents were attending the funeral. She pulled them both into huge hugs. Tilly's eyes glistened with tears as she spoke. "Oh my brave boys, how are you keeping? I'm here any time you need me OK. You are so strong and so brave for taking Benton. I know you'll both give him a great life." With some more hugs, they were off.

Fraser and Ray made their way to the hall while Diefenbaker played outside. Both didn't feel like going, they just wanted to go home with Benton and Diefenbaker and make sure everything was packed and ready as they were flying out tomorrow.

Everyone more or less said the same thing to them. `Sorry for your loss and if you need anything you know where I am.' They all meant well, Fraser and Ray knew this, but they just wanted out of there.

They were just too tired and quite frankly still in shock. Everything had come at them so fast. They were glad to see Anna and Linda, they had been a great help to them.

Anna asked, "Well boys, you all packed and ready to go or would you like a hand with that?"

Ray smiled. "Nah, we're good. Ben did it last night; we just have to check it. Thank you anyway." They chatted for a little bit longer.

Fraser and Ray managed to drag themselves away after a bit. It was just too much for them and they wanted to be alone with Benton and Diefenbaker as when they were going to be in Chicago they would be surrounded by people all the time. The stress of having to not only explain Benton, but their relationship too and the fact they were getting married and that Ray was leaving his job and moving to Canada to start a life with his new family. It was a lot and it was catching up with them, they needed rest before it all happened.

They arrived at Tilly's to pick up Benton and she brought them in for some tea. On seeing how tired they were she said, "Oh my boys, come sit and have some supper so you can go straight to bed when you go home. You're flying early right?"

With a half-smile Fraser answered, "Yes Tilly, we're flying out at nine in the morning."

As they sat and ate their lovely supper Tilly spoke, "I know you're probably sick of hearing sorry for your loss and I'm here if you need me, but I really am. Any time you need a break I'll take Benton for you. Go home and get yourselves to bed you, look dead on your feet."

Fraser and Ray answered together, "Thank you Tilly you're a very good friend." With more hugs and kisses they were on their way home. They were soon back at their cabin. With the last checks on their bags and making sure their tickets and passports were in order they went to bed.

Ray turned to face Fraser, "Ben please tell me you packed the disposable diapers and NOT the cloth ones, because I'm telling you now I'm not using them, not while we are travelling, now way no how."

Fraser silenced Ray by putting his finger to Ray's lips. "Ray, Ray, Ray I did and I agree it will be easier while we are travelling."

Ray nodded and kissed Fraser long and deep. "Thank God," he mumbled. They shared some more lazy kisses and cuddled into each other as they drifted off to sleep, ready to face the long trip to Chicago and all that came with it.

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Their morning routine started earlier than usual, since Fraser's friend Eric was picking them up in his light aircraft at their landing strip behind the cabin and taking them to Yellowknife to catch their plane to Toronto before going onto O'Hare. Eric had told them he was going there anyway so it would be no trouble but, Fraser suspected it was just a rouse, but then Eric was a good friend.

Ray was dressed and ready, muttering and waving his hands everywhere. "OK, OK Ben, we have our bags, we have our passports and tickets, and we have you Benton and Diefenbaker and our money. What are we forgetting coz ya know, I KNOW we are forgetting something?”

Ray continued to pace and mutter while Fraser tried to get his attention. "Ray, Ray, Ray, Stanley!"

Ray turned, "What?" Ray then realised that Fraser had called him Stanley. Staring at Fraser, "Ben did you just call me Stanley?"

Fraser smiled a cheeky smile. "Yes Ray I did to get your attention. I thought about giving you one of Benton's pacifiers. I thought it might calm you down. Do you want one?” Fraser said, holding one up to Ray.

Ray finally sat down. "Hardy har har Ben, I'm just nervous. It's going to be a very stressful trip Ben. Is Turnbull still picking us up at the airport? Oh god that means he's the first one we have to tell all this to isn't he."

Fraser covered Ray's hand with his. "Ray, Turnbull is a good man and he will take it well, so don't worry."

With an hour to go before Eric was to arrive for them, Billy and his brother James arrived. They were staying at Fraser and Ray's cabin to look after the horses and sled dogs while they were on their trip to Chicago. Billy and James usually looked after the horses anyway and were very reliable young men. Ray made them some coffee to greet them. "So Billy and James, ya up to the task? Now no wild parties or girls up here. Our babies are in your care." They all laughed Ray was calling the horses and sled dogs their babies since he knew he was staying.

Billy spoke, "Don't worry Ray, we'll take good care of them and the cabin. If there are any repairs that you need doing while you're gone, we can take care of those for you and we promise no wild parties or girls or boys up here!" That was said with a wink.

Fraser chuckled. "Thank you boys, I know we can trust you. It means a lot to us that you're doing this for us. There are a few repairs that need doing so anything you can do really is a great help."

Billy and James both blushed. "It's no problem Sergeant. It's our pleasure after all you've done for our family it's the least we could do. Sir I think your ride is here." Billy pointed out the back at the light aircraft landing.

Fraser stood. "Please call me Fraser when I'm not on duty and thank you again for this, I mean that."

As they sat in Eric's plane just about to take off Ray suddenly jumped up. “Ben, Ben did you bring..." but before he could finish Fraser held up the ear plugs for Benton's ears to protect him from the noise of the plane. Ray sat and smiled. "Ya read my mind Ben, guess we still have it."

Fraser leaned over and kissed Ray. "Never doubt it Ray." As they took off for Yellowknife Benton slept soundly.

It wasn't long before Eric dropped them off at Yellowknife airport. "Well boys, you going to be OK? Just give me a ring when you're coming back and I'll pick you up and take you home. Have a safe trip and good luck." They both thanked him and he was on his way. They got Diefenbaker safely on in his cart and themselves on the plane for their very long trip ahead.

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Travelling with a baby was not easy. Between the carry cot, the portable cot for sleeping in and the nappy bag and everything that went with it, it was quite a show. Everyone kept making goo, goo eyes at Benton and at Ray's Mountie. Ray did not like that at all. It was on their connection flight from Toronto to O'Hare that they were met with the SMELL. As Ray was seated on the outside seat he had no choice but to be the one to change Benton. Benton had a whopper of a nappy. This made Fraser smile to see the look on Ray's face and those of the people on the plane that got a whiff of the smell.

As Ray picked up Benton and the nappy bag he leaned towards Fraser, "Ben don't think I'm going to forget this. I will make you pay." Ray throws him one of his most cheeky grins.

Fraser whispered back, "Understood," and gave back an equally cheeky grin of his own.

Ray found that the changing tables were in the disabled toilets and they were not easy to use. Benton was in one of his wriggly moods, but also one of his smiling and cooing ones so it was OK, Ray didn't mind so much. On his way back to his seat with Benton, Ray apologised to everyone for the smell because let's face it, it was that bad. They would be glad to reach Chicago at this rate.

Ray and Fraser were never so glad to reach Chicago in their lives. It had been a very long trip and they were worn out. Once off the plane they needed a plan. Fraser turned to Ray, "Ray why don't you take Benton and go collect Diefenbaker and I'll go get our bags, Benton's stroller and travel crib and we'll meet back here."

Ray nodded. "OK Ben, good plan, see you in a few minutes, pitter patter!" They were faster than they thought. Diefenbaker was first out, he was so glad to get out of that crate and all their bags and even Benton's pushchair and cot were out first. Fraser and Ray thought and hoped that this was not the calm before the storm.

Coming through arrivals Ray wondered what the hell they looked like. Two men a wolf and a baby and a whole lot of bags, sounds like a TV show. Coming through the doors to the people waiting for the arriving passengers, Ray and Fraser both knew that Turnbull would not be hard to miss. Ray was right; there he was standing there looking like something off a Christmas tree as Ray would say. Ray found himself smiling as he remembered that he thought that about Fraser the first day he met him.

Turnbull stood there with a huge smile on his face so big that Ray thought his face would break. As they got nearer they saw he was holding a big sign that read, `WELCOME HOME SERGEANT FRASER'. Turnbull was jumping with glee, "Oh welcome home Sir and Detective Kowalski!” Bending to look into the carry cot that Fraser was holding, he continued, "and who do we have here young man?" Before they could answer him Diefenbaker barked. "Oh and Diefenbaker, welcome home." Turnbull scratched behind his ears and Dief whined in pleasure from it.

Fraser answered, "It's nice to be back Turnbull thank you. We do have some thing's to tell and it does involve the baby, but we'll tell once we get to Ray's apartment if that's OK?"

Turnbull looked concerned but nodded, "Very well Sir, the car is just outside, come along."

They headed outside and Fraser had thought that Turnbull would be using his own car to bring them home, but no, Turnbull had brought the Consulate car. Fraser turned to Turnbull, "You brought the Consulate car?"

Turnbull blushed, "Ah yes Sir, my new commanding officer insisted I did when he found out it was you I was picking up Sir."

This puzzled Fraser and Ray. They both looked at each other and back at Turnbull. So Fraser asked, "Ah Turnbull, who is your new commanding officer?"

Turnbull smiled happily. "Ah Sergeant Shee Sir."

Fraser thought for a moment, remembering the name. "Turnbull is that Sergeant Robert Shee?"

Turnbull nodded his head excitedly. "Why yes Sir it is, do you know him?"

Fraser smiled at that. "Yes Turnbull, he was one of my closest friends at the Academy, he was a good man. I hope he is a good commanding officer?"

Turnbull replied happily, "Oh yes Sir, he is a very fine one, no collecting dry cleaning!" He said that with a wink. This made them all burst into laughter.

Then another show getting everything into the car. Ray was beginning to think that everything that they did from now on was going to be a show. Looking at his watch Ray saw that they'd make it home just in time for Benton's next feed. Unless Turnbull drove like Fraser used to.

Opening the door to his apartment Ray was glad they made it one piece. Turnbull drove like, well there are no words for it, let’s just say NOT good! Ray put the bags down. Turnbull had the carry cot and Benton's pushchair while Fraser had Benton and the nappy bag. The apartment smelled clean and fresh and aired out. Francesca most defiantly had been doing a good job. He'd only asked her to look after his turtle he didn't expect her to do all this. Ray went to check on his turtle, he looked good except when he looked closer he saw two in the tank. Before he freaked out thinking he'd lost his mind Ray saw the note that was left.

Hi Ray,

You're probably wondering about your new room-mate. I thought your little guy looked kinda lonely so I saw this little one in the pet shop. He looked alone also and I couldn't leave him there. They now have each other for friends. His name is Steve by the way, enjoy!

Love your sis,

Frannie

Tears stung Ray's eyes as he read the note and thought about how much he loved his 'sister', she was family now and Ray felt it. Fraser got worried seeing Ray's eyes and ran to his side. "What's wrong Ray? You OK? Did something happen?”

Ray handed Fraser the note. "Nah, just Frannie being Frannie. Come on coffee, er, tea and we'll spill the beans to Turnbull."

Hugging Ray first, "Right you are Ray,” smiled Fraser.

Finally they all sat there just looking at each other. Turnbull was getting worried. "Sir is everything alright?”

Fraser and Ray met his worried gaze. Fraser cleared his throat and answered, "Well yes...ah, no...Ah, OK..." Finally finding his words Fraser went on, "What we tell you now Turnbull you must keep to yourself as we would like to tell people ourselves, is that understood?"

Turnbull grew even more worried. "Yes Sir, certainly Sir."

They stayed quiet for a few moments. Taking a deep breath Fraser told the tale of Laura and Lucy, his voice cracking now and then, but now it came to Benton. "Turnbull, Ray and I...well, we're getting married and Ray is leaving the force and moving to Canada."

Turnbull looked from one to the other and then with such glee in his voice, he said, "Oh Sir that is wonderful news, I'm so happy for you both."

Turnbull proceeded to hug the life out of both of them. Ray blushed, "Am, thanks Turnbull...ah Ben, what about Benton?"

Fraser went on, "Oh yes, now as for Benton," pointing to the baby, "his mother was Laura the lady I told you about. She gave Ray and I custody and asked us to be his guardians. She hadn't told us that she was dying; it was after Benton's blessing that she passed away. She blessed him Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser. You see, I didn't know that she was a Fraser, I only knew her as Mrs Coyne. It hasn't been easy, but we won't let her down. I did once; I won't let myself do it again."

Ray was by his side in an instant. "No Ben, you did not let her down. Lucy's death was NOT your fault. Laura didn't think so, the village doesn't think so and I don't think so. So stop beating yourself up over this." Looking into Ray's eyes and seeing only the truth in them, Fraser nodded.

Turnbull was quiet for a moment, but then he said, "Sir if I may, I know you and Detective Kowalski will be excellent fathers," he paused, "you were very good to me Sir, you looked after me very well. I heard what Inspector Thatcher used to say behind my back, that I was hit by the dumb stick, but you stuck up for me and that meant a lot Sir, thank you and if anyone can do it you two can.”

Ray and Fraser met his eyes and Ray answered, "Thank you Turnbull that means a lot to us and Turnbull please call me Ray, OK?"

Turnbull continued, "Thank you Ray. Sir if you need anything while you're here either with Ray's papers for moving to Canada, or a babysitter for Benton, I'm your man. I mean that Sir, anything you need." Looking at his watch Turnbull stood up, "Sir I'm very sorry, but I must be going, Sergeant Shee has a meeting across town soon and I have to drive him."

Both men walked him to the door. "Thank you kindly for your help,” said Fraser, “and we would be very grateful for your further help." With that, Turnbull left and they were alone and very tired. They would have a nap after they'd fed Benton, have pizza, which Ray had missed and then get ready for whatever was ahead of them and they would do it as a family.

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Sitting at the breakfast table, Fraser had finished feeding Benton and so began to drink his own tea. Benton, as usual, lay in his arms staring up into his face. Fraser found comfort and peace in this and the baby seemed so happy and relaxed. Fraser was pondering how to approach the telephone call he'd just gotten from his superior officer in Ottawa, Superintendent Brian Waters. He'd told Fraser about a new cross border programme they wanted to set up. They were already trying this in the larger cities, but not in the Northwest Territories and Superintendent Waters wanted Fraser's Detachment to be the first to do it, to bring an American Detective to liaise with them. Waters asked Fraser to ask his former partner Ray Kowalski, as he was a huge admirer of Ray's. Waters was hoping that Ray would be willing to do this and he made it clear to Fraser that Fraser would be Ray's boss, he would pick his hours; call all the shots and he could stay for as long as he wanted. Fraser thought this might be a great idea as Ray would not lose his pension or benefits.

Ray stirred in his sleep waking for a moment and just for a few seconds not remembering where he was. Ray then noticed that he was alone in the bed and that Benton was not in his cot. Glancing at the clock Ray saw that it was after ten in the morning. He jumped out of bed. "Shit, shit! Why'd he let me sleep so late?" Ray muttered to himself. After going to the bathroom, Ray headed to the kitchen and paused in the doorway. Ray was looking at a marvellous site. Ben and Benton were sitting at the kitchen table and Ben was telling Benton their plans for the day. Ray laughed quietly to himself at Ben saying; "Now Benton, you be good today for Daddy OK? No stinky diapers, you did enough of that on the plane." Fraser began making the puffin face which made Benton coo even louder. Finally Fraser caught Ray out of the corner of his eye and blushed. "How long you been standing there Ray?"

Ray moved closer. "Long enough to hear you say the word stinky," Ray said through giggles. He leaned down and gave Fraser a very good morning kiss, “Morning Ben," then kissing Benton's head, "Morning buddy." Not forgetting Diefenbaker, he scratched behind his ears. "Morning number one son.” Dief licked his face in response.

After getting his morning coffee and his customary candy in it, Ray sat down. He took a sip and sighed in contentment. "Ben why'd ya let me sleep so late? I could have helped you with Benton. There was no need to do it alone.”

Fraser covered Ray's hand lovingly. "Ray you had a very long day yesterday and you needed your sleep."

Shaking his head, "Ben you had just as long a day as I had," sighed Ray.

Drinking his tea, Fraser replied, "I'm fine Ray, but I do have a proposition for you."

Ray wriggled his eyebrows, "Oh ya?"

Fraser giggled, "Ray!" and put a now sleeping Benton back in his chair. Fraser sat back down and looked at Ray and then cleared his throat. "Ray I got a telephone call this morning from my superior officer in Ottawa, Superintendent Brain Waters. He offered me the chance to be the first in the Northwest Territories to start a cross border programme that would bring American Detectives to liaise with us and he asked if I'd approach you, he named you specifically. He said that I'd be your boss, I'd pick your hours and such and you could stay for as long as you wanted to. You wouldn't lose your pension or benefits plus we'd be partners again."

Ray sat staring at Fraser. "Am Ben, you serious? I mean...what?"

Fraser was getting nervous. "Ray you don't have to do this if you don't want to. It's just he admired you so much and thought you'd be perfect to be the first."

Ray was in shock, "OK, OK, let me get this straight. I could get a transfer and work for you. You pick my hours. You'd be my boss. I wouldn't lose my pension or benefits and he asked for me first? If I did this, could I do it part time and still, you know, look after Benton and have my business like we planned?”

Thinking for a moment, "Yes Ray,” Fraser nodded, “I can arrange so you could do it part time and still have the other stuff we planned. I could make it so you're just on call, come in when we need you, so you could still do what you wanted to do." Ray couldn't help the smile from coming across his face. Fraser went on, “Ray you don't have to decide today, but we do need to know soon so you could talk with Lieutenant Welsh about getting it sorted out?"

Ray just kept saying over and over, "Yes, yes, yes Ben, I'd love it, it's perfect. I know I said I was burnt out down here, but that's a new challenge, so perfect!" Then grinning, Ray said cheekily, "Yes Sir."

Fraser pulled Ray into a passionate kiss, whispering, "Love you Ray."

Ray murmured against Fraser's lips, "Love ya Ben.”

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Now they all stood outside the 27th just looking at the building. Fraser had Benton in his carry cot and Ray had the nappy bag flung over his shoulder. Fraser leaned into Ray, "Ray we're going to be fine."

Ray gave a nervous smile. "Ya I know, but Ben what will we tell Frannie? Will we tell her now, or with the family and what about Vecchio if he sees us?”

Fraser stood in front of Ray to look him in the face. "Ray we will take it as it comes. If Francesca is there then we will tell her and the same goes for Ray Vecchio OK? So relax, we can do this together, let's go in."

They made it almost all the way to the bullpen before Francesca spotted Ray. She ran to him, "Oh Ray, you're back! How was Benton, was he OK? Ray you look like shit, what happened?”

Ray got out of her grip, "Geez Frannie, thanks, you look good too and why don't you ask Fraser yourself?”

Just then Fraser came into view carrying Benton, after getting away from the girl at the front desk. Francesca's face lit up and turned puzzled when she saw he was carrying a baby. She went to him, "Hi Benton, you're back, you look good. Whose baby is that?" She hesitated as her heart speed up, "Is it yours Frase?”

This was moving faster than Ray thought it would. Ray placed a hand on Francesca's shoulder. "We need to talk Frannie." He led her along with Fraser, Benton and Diefenbaker into one of the interrogation rooms.

Once in the room Frannie sat down on one side of the table with Ray and Fraser on the other side, while Benton, who was now wide awake, was placed on the table. Francesca was worried. "Guys what's going on? Is something wrong and whose kid is that?”

Ray smiled. "Same old Frannie. Look, what we tell you now you have to keep to yourself as we want to tell people ourselves OK? Can we trust you not to tell Frannie, not even your family? Please Frannie?”

Seeing the looks in their eyes she nodded, "OK I won't tell I promise, but you're freaking me out guys.”

Benton began to fidget a bit too much and was on the verge of crying so Fraser took him out of his chair to cuddle him. Pacing helped calm him, so they both watched as he walked up and down talking to him softly. This made them both tear up. Fraser looked so content doing it.

Benton was still awake, but settled so Fraser sat back down. Ray started fidgeting with his fingers, "Ok Frannie you know we both love you, right? That we wouldn't hurt you, right? It's just Ben and I; well...that is to say we're... Ben?" Ray looked to Fraser for help.

Fraser kept a hold of Benton. "Francesca, Ray and I are getting married."

Francesca went pale and very quiet at first. She looked from one to the other. All of a sudden she was out of her chair and around the table hugging the life out them and kissing them both on the cheeks. Her face flushed, "I'm very happy for you guys. I mean I know I love you Frase. And well, you love me like a sister, so I guess if I have to lose you to anybody I'm glad it's Ray. OK now about the baby, who wants to explain that?”

Francesca sat back down watching the three of them. She watched how the baby gazed up into Fraser's face. She wished it was their baby who was doing that. She was brought out of her musings by Fraser clearing his throat. Fraser told her the whole story of how it came to be, his voice cracked from time to time and that he and Ray where now sole guardians to Benton.

Francesca was shocked. "She really must have cared for you both to trust you like that and she blessed him Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser. Geez Frase that must have been a shock to find out she was a Fraser. God how are coping? Look I'm here for both you OK. I promise I'll keep my mouth shut 'til you say so."

Fraser wiped his eyes, "Ah thank you kindly Francesca."

The bullpen was crazy so it was easy for them to get to Ray's desk without being cornered. Ray put the bag down. "Look Ben, would you mind if I went to Welsh on my own about the transfer thing? I owe him that much. We can do the, you and me thing together OK?"

As Fraser sat he answered, "That would be fine Ray. I don't mind really, besides I want to give Benton the rest of his feed, he didn't take it all this morning."

Ray smiled his smile reserved only for him, "Thank you Ben."

Fraser watched Ray disappear behind Welsh's door. Looking into Benton's eyes he whispered, "Hope your Daddy will be OK."

As Fraser heard Ray close Welsh's door, he took Benton out of his carry cot to feed him, looking into those baby blue eyes as he did. "Now young man, are you going to finish your bottle for me?" he asked. Benton gave a gurgling sound. "I'll take that as a yes then."

While Fraser was feeding Benton, Detective Dewey came over to say hello. "Hello Red, how are things in the great white north?”

Still feeding the baby, Fraser replied, "Hello Detective Dewey. Ah they're fine thank you kindly." Fraser gave a smile to try and say that was true, but Dewey saw behind this, but didn't push it.

Dewey sat beside him, "So you and Ray, about time I'd say."

Fraser turned a sharp look at him, "How'd you...how did you know?”

Dewey laughed, "Relax Red, I won't say a word although we all pretty much know. Well we have had a pool going to see how long it would take you two to figure it out. So, that your son?”

Still in shock from what he heard, Fraser answered, "You had a pool going I...I don't know what to say? But I would very much appreciate it if you didn't tell Ray Vecchio, as we would like to tell him ourselves, if he doesn't already know...does he? As for Benton here, in a manner of speaking yes, he is my son, but he is also Ray's son. His mother, before she died, made us his guardians in case something happened to her. She didn't tell us she was dying." Fraser's voice cracked at that point.

Dewey put his hand on Fraser's shoulder, "I'm sorry Fraser I didn't mean to upset you and no, Ray Vecchio doesn't know, he's only been back at work here a few days. So, are you and Ray happy? He's moving north I guess? Look in case you're wondering, I've got no problem with you two. I know being a gay cop is not good in most places, but I'd be a hypocrite if I was...well, since my brother is married to a guy named Paul and they're off on their second honeymoon and I'm looking after their kid!"

Fraser began to burp Benton, "Thank you Detective Dewey, Ray and I are very grateful. I do believe that Ray is moving north. We have a lovely property with lots of land so Ray can open his own business if wants to. We're very happy. I didn't know that your brother was gay. How old is their child?”

Dewey smiled, "She's six, she goes to a special school, and she has Down's syndrome. My god though, is she clever. They adopted her when she was new-born; her parents were only teenagers and knew they wouldn't cope, poor kids. They picked my brother and his husband Paul themselves; saw the good in them I guess?"

Handing Benton over to Dewey, Fraser smiled, “They sound like great parents and very lucky to have you to help them and support them."

Smiling into Benton's face, "I'm the lucky one,” replied Dewey, “they let me help them and her. I love spending time with her. My thinking is when it comes to my brother love is love. It shouldn't matter whether it's two men or two women or a mixed pair. Love is love and if it works, more power to them.” With that, Dewey handed Benton back as his phone was ringing. With polite goodbyes he went to answer it.

Fraser was surprised at how open minded Dewey was. He was also very surprised they had a pool going on them, how many knew before they knew themselves?

Meanwhile in Lieutenant Welsh's office, as Ray sat down, Welsh said, "Good morning Ray, how was your trip to the great white north and how is Big Red?”

Ray sat deeper in the chair. "Sir, my god Fraser was a mess. He has lost so much weight. The case has hit him really hard. It turned out the little girl that died was family to Fraser, he didn't know 'til afterwards. Sir, I've been offered a transfer to Fraser's detachment; it's a new programme their starting and I'd like to take it. There is more to tell about us, but we want to do that together."

Welsh eyed him up. "That must have been really hard to walk into Ray. God that poor guy can't cut a break, as if he hasn't had enough suffering and punishment in his life. So this transfer, you sure about this and this other stuff? So when is Fraser flying in to talk about this?"

Ray's face lit up and he pulled back the blinds to reveal Fraser and Benton sitting at his desk. Welsh stood behind him. "So he came with you and whose kid is that?"

Looking out at them, Ray replied, "Ah Sir, that's part of what we have to talk about."

Welsh opened his office door. "Big Red, baby, my office now."

At seeing Welsh's face Fraser found himself smiling and made his way to the office. "Right you are Sir."

Entering and sitting down, "Hello Sir so nice to see you again, sorry it has been so long," said Fraser.

Shaking his hand, "It's OK Cons...What is it now? Sergeant, right, and this is..." Welsh said pointing to the baby.

Fraser and Ray looked at each other, "Ah yes Sir I am a Sergeant now,” Fraser confirmed, “and this is..." Fraser hesitated, looking down at the baby and then at Ray for confirmation it was OK to go on and getting a nod to do so, "this is Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser."

Welsh went silent. Ray figured Fraser was tired of telling the story, so he did, he told it all. The story left Welsh speechless for a bit. When he finally found his words, "My god Fraser, why didn't you phone us when this first happened? When one of my men is hurting I want to know and help them." This made Ray smile, Welsh still thought of Fraser as one of his.

Fraser didn't know quite what to say at first. "Sir I was lost after it happened. I didn't speak to anyone. If it wasn't for Laura I probably wouldn't have eaten much either. She didn't blame me. My god she gave us custody of her son and blessed him after us both.” Fraser felt tears sting his eyes, but willed them not to fall.

Welsh nodded, "You're a good man Fraser. You did everything that you could do. Stop beating yourself up over this. Now you're punishing yourself by marrying Kowalski here." This lightened the mood and they laughed. Ray swears that even baby Benton giggled at this.

Fraser turned to smile at Ray, "Sir I love Ray very much and it's going to be an honour to marry him. We hope you will attend?”

Still nodding, Welsh replied, "Of course, I wouldn't miss it for the world. Now this transfer, come back in two days and we will start the paperwork." Welsh's phone started ringing so they made their goodbyes and promised to come back.

Finally, after collecting the GTO from lock up and doing a little bit of shopping, they were back at the apartment. Ray closed the door, "My god Ben what a day. OK I'll put Benton to bed, you wash out his bottles, and then we will have tea and order pizza, what d'ya say?"

Putting the bags down on the counter, "That's a fine idea Ray," nodded Fraser.

Ray headed off putting Benton to bed and Fraser put away the shopping then started on the bottles. Fraser was not feeling too well, but he knew if he told Ray, Ray would freak out. Fraser listened to Ray singing softly to Benton to get him to sleep; he thought that Ray had such a sweet voice.

Just as Ray entered the kitchen to see Fraser at the sink, he saw Fraser sway and go down. Fraser went down hard. Ray shouted, "Ben! Oh my God, oh my God Ben!"

Ray was frantic patting Fraser all over. Fraser came around very quickly. "Ray what happened? Ah, I think I fainted, I think?"

Ray sat cradling Fraser on the floor giving him chocolate and water. "Ben why didn't ya tell me you weren't feeling well? I know you're still not eating right Ben. You're going to have ta, ya know, you're going to have to do better. We have Benton now, you have to do it for us, I can't do this alone, and you’re going to talk to someone, OK?”

Fraser looked into those worried eyes, "You're right Ray, I'm sorry. I promise I will do better and I will talk to someone. I'm sorry I caused you pain, it won't happen again."

Ray got him to his feet and onto the couch, "You'd better mister, I want my husband to be alive when I marry him. Now sit still and I'll make tea and I'm ordering two pizzas and you're going to eat every bit of it, got it?"

Fraser smiled, "Got it Ray."

Ray went back to the couch with phone in hand and kissed Fraser long and hard, with more passion than ever before, to show Fraser just what he'd be losing if he didn't help himself. Fraser caught on, "Right you are Ray and I love you."

With one more peck, "Love ya too Ben." Ray went and ordered the pizzas and Fraser swore he was not losing this; he would do whatever it takes.

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Morning dawned and today was the day Ray Vecchio and Stella were coming for dinner at Ray's apartment. Ray had made the phone call before he and Fraser went to bed, saying that they had something to discuss with them both. They wanted to do it at Ray's apartment because Fraser still wasn't feeling well enough to go out for dinner. To say that Stella demanded to know what they wanted to talk about was an understatement. Before Ray hung up Stella finished with, "God Ray you're still a stubborn piece of sh..." Ray hung up and cut her off. She still had the power to make him feel an inch tall.

Now Benton was ready in his pushchair and Diefenbaker was at Francesca's because he missed Ante, so with a final check on the apartment they set off to buy what they needed for the dinner.

As Fraser pushed the trolley, he asked, "Ray does Stella have a preference what she'd eat for dinner?”

Guiding Benton's pushchair, Ray replied, "She likes pasta and chicken, oh ya and veg I guess, but it's been awhile ya know.”

Fraser took note of Ray's tone. Ray was still withdrawn from the phone call last night. Fraser prayed he could keep his mouth shut during dinner for Ray's sake. He did not like this woman, the way she treated Ray was unacceptable. "Ray, Ray Vecchio likes that also, so that would be just fine. Perhaps we could make some pineapple pizza as well, give them a choice?”

Ray smiled, he knew what Fraser was doing, "Thanks Ben."

They were pretty tired from shopping, but had to get down to cooking. As Fraser insisted on cooking the pizzas from scratch that left Ray to chop the vegetables and cook the pasta and chicken. Ray was so nervous that he cut his fingers a number of times. Eventually Fraser suggested that Ray feed and play with Benton before their guests arrive, that way they hoped he'd sleep through the meal at least, as Benton would be the last thing they'd talk about.

Pacing while holding Benton, Ray said, "Sorry Ben I...I know I must be driving ya nuts. I'm sorry it's just a big deal ya know. You must be just as nervous telling Vecchio an' all. I know, I know I was married to Stella, you worked with Vecchio...unless Ben, do you have something to tell me?" Ray added wriggling his eyebrows at him.

Fraser giggled, "Ray, Ray, Ray you're incorrigible!"

Fraser went back to cooking and Ray went to feeding and playing with Benton. Sitting on the floor, he spoke to the baby, "OK Benton, now rules for when our guests arrive. You stay quiet OK? No crying, no giggling until we come and get you OK? OK Benton we'll play a game, Simon says be quiet." Ray swore he saw Benton throw his eyes to heaven as if to say 'duh Dad'.

A few hours passed and food was ready, wine was breathing and table was set. Benton was thankfully sound asleep in the bedroom, so there was no visible evidence of a child there. It was going to be hard enough explaining their relationship and moving to Canada, to add Benton to it was going to be very hard indeed.

Just before they arrived Fraser pulled Ray into an embrace and a long and deep kiss. Pulling back to look Ray in the eyes, "We're going to be fine. We're in this as a family OK? Just know that I love you."

Ray pulled back into the hug, "God I love you Ben, so much. Together forever."

Finally the knock came to the door. Ray opened the door, "Hey Stell, Vecchio, come in.”

Stella wasn't even in through the door when she started, "Ray what is it that you want for god's sake?"

With a sigh Ray just said, "Can I take your coats and we will talk after dinner. Ben is in the kitchen, so go on in and I'll just hang these."

Vecchio handed him his coat, "Look Kowalski, is everything OK?” he asked quietly. “Sorry about Stella, she was up all night worrying about this."

Ray just shrugged his shoulders, "Look we'll talk alright. Go on in, Ben is really looking forward to seeing you again."

Ray Vecchio was worried, but pushed it down and headed for the kitchen. Vecchio stood for a moment just looking at Fraser. He was at the oven bending down taking out the bread. It was when Fraser stood that Ray Vecchio saw just how much weight his friend had lost and he was shocked at it. Finding his voice, "Hey Benny, how are ya?"

Fraser turned with a light up the room smile. Before Ray knew it he was in a tight hug. It was something that Fraser never did, but it had been a while so maybe Fraser had changed somehow? "Good to see you Ray, you look great,” said Fraser in a shaky voice.

Ray got out of the hug, "I'd love to say the same thing Benny, but you look like hell, what happened?”

Fraser paled more. "Ray we will talk, just please after dinner, OK? I promise. It's important.”

Stella stood behind her former husband, "Well Ray what's this all about? You love drama don't you?"

Doing his best to keep a steady voice, Ray replied, "No Stell, I do not love drama and I think only while you're here ye should call me Stan, or Kowalski, or something. Just so there's no mix up, but only while yer here."

Throwing her eyes to heaven, "Very well Stan,” she said with a sarcastic tone.

Sitting at the table everyone was tucking into their food and they all seemed to be enjoying the food. Deciding to try and break the tension in the air Ray Vecchio spoke. "Nice spread, who cooked?"

Fraser and Stan looked at each other, "Ben cooked the pizzas from scratch and I did the pasta, chicken and veg, no big deal."

Ray Vecchio smiled, shaking his head, "Don't sell yourself short Stan, it's really good, almost like Ma's."

Stella gave a snort and they all looked at her, she didn't speak just continued to eat, but it wasn't long before she did, "I see you're just as clumsy as ever Stan. Did you manage to cut all your fingers?"

Pushing his plate away, "No Stell, I had other things on my mind,” Ray snapped, “I'm sorry I'm not as good as you. Oh sorry, you're chief." She didn't reply back.

The rest of the meal was eaten in silence and dessert went down a treat. Stella was getting restless, "Come on already, tell us now, or we are leaving.”

Grabbing her arm Ray Vecchio said, "Stella just be quiet, they will tell us in their own time.”

Fraser mouthed the word, "Thanks," then, "Coffee, tea, and then we will sit and speak."

Tea and coffee were made and now they all sat around the table looking at each other, but before Fraser opened his mouth Ray Vecchio did. "Look Benny before you start, there is something I want to ask you if that's OK?”

Fraser looked at him curiously for a moment, "Very well Ray that would be fine.”

Ray Vecchio held his coffee mug, "Benny, can you explain how a $200,000 dollar mortgage disappeared and how, all of a sudden, trust funds with $10,000 for Maria's two and Francesca's little one turned up? The lawyer just said they were a gift from someone. Would you know anything about that as I'm very confused and Ma won't tell me? I know she knows."

Fraser was looking very embarrassed and blushing terribly, "Ray I...I..."

Ray sat back, "Yeah I thought as much. Now what I want to know is why and how did you get that much money Benny?”

All eyes were on Fraser, waiting for answer, "Ray I would have paid the mortgage as soon as you took it out, but it was tied up for a bit and wouldn't be released for a while. It was my fault you took it out. I put you in that situation Ray, I nearly ran off with her. If you hadn't shot me I would have cost your family a home. I couldn't have lived with myself if I did." Ray tried to interrupt, but Fraser held a hand up to stop him. Fraser went on, "No Ray it was my fault. I used the money my father left me, the money from the dam. I was never going to use it on myself; I wanted to put it to good use. As far as the trust funds, well college is expensive Ray; I didn't want them worrying about that. It should build up more before they get their money; it goes in once a month.”

Ray finally got a word in, "But Benny I did that for you. You're my best friend. I would do it again for you in a heartbeat. Ma knows doesn't she, that it was you. Did you tell Maria and Francesca yet you gave those trust funds?”

Fraser cleared his throat, “Yes Ray, your mother knows. She came by the Consulate with a copy of deeds to the house and Ray, she hugged and kissed me. She told me there was no need for me to have done that, that she was not mad at me for almost going with her. I didn't know she knew. Then your mother ordered me to Sunday dinner, said she wanted all her family there, that included her Mountie son and her other Ray."

Ray Vecchio looked at Stan, "Ya Benny, Ma loves you both. I don't have enough thank yous to say for what you too did for my family, sorry, our family while I was gone and you Stan. It was you I bet that paid all those bills that never showed up, only the receipts from them, am I right?" Stan blushed just as much as Fraser had done. That was enough for Ray, "Thank you,” he said.

Stella was sick of waiting, "OK, OK, enough. Now Stan, get on with what you want to tell us.”

Stan took a breath, clutching his mug for dear life. "OK Stell, I was thinking of leaving of leaving the force, but I...I was offered a transfer to Ben's detachment. It's a new cross border programme and I took it.” Stella went to speak but Stan stopped her. "Stell please wait 'til I'm finished OK? Anyway it couldn't have come at a better time. I've recently decided to act upon my feelings I have for someone. Stell I'm in love again. I never thought in a million years that I would be again, but I am and I'm getting married. I'm marrying...I'm marrying Ben, Stell. I hope you can be happy for me, 'cos I'm happy for you and Vecchio?"

Stella was stunned. She suddenly stood up sending her chair crashing to the ground. The noise thankfully wasn't loud enough to wake Benton. She just started shouting, "Are you crazy? Are you just plain stupid? God I knew you were dumb Stanley. You're not gay, or was our marriage a sham? Did you screw men behind my back while we were married Stanley? God my parents were right, I should never have married you, stupid son of a..." Ray Vecchio stopped her. Stella was surprised by her husband grabbing her arm, "Don't tell me Ray that you condone these...these faggot cops?"

Stan’s eyes were filling with tears. "Stell please don't. I never once, not once cheated on you, not even after I caught you with my best friend. I'd never do that, I loved you too much you know that? I only ever had two lovers Stell, you and Ben. How could you say that?”

Ray Vecchio picked up her chair and sat her back in it. Then he said, "Stella that was totally uncalled for. From what I heard, Kowalski is a very loyal person and Stella, you should know better."

Ray look from Fraser to Stan. Fraser looked horrified and Stan looked broken. "Benny let me ask you, are you happy? And I mean really happy to be marrying Kowalski here and starting a new life with him up in Freezerland?”

Light came into Fraser's eyes as soon as he spoke. "Ray I can honestly say I've never been happier, I didn't know love could feel this strong, or this good and Ray I hope you don't hate me, or are disgusted by my relationship with Stan, but I'd love you by my side as my best man on our wedding day?”

Ray smiled a sad smile, "I was worried about you after Victoria. I was worried that she scarred you so much that you'd never find love, but now you have. I can see it your eyes Benny when you say his name and no I'm not disgusted by your relationship not even a little bit. Who else would stand up there with you Benny? I'd pop you if you'd have asked anyone else.” With that, Ray came around the table and gave both Fraser and Stan a hug. Ray whispered into Stan's ear, "You hurt him, I'll kill you.”

Stan let out a breath, "Thanks Vecchio, it means a lot to us. We will let you know all the details of wedding when we do. The village is kinda running it."

Ray laughed, "OK thanks.”

Stella was horrified at her husband and starting to shout loudly again, standing and sending her chair crashing again. That made Stan do the same, "Please Stell keep your voice down or you'll..."

Stella kept shouting over him, "Or I'll what Stan? I can't believe this! You know your dad stopped talking to you for eight years because you joined the police. What is he going to say to this? You're just so stupid. I don't even know how you get dressed in the morning!"

Finally Fraser couldn't hold back any longer. He stood and shouted, "ENOUGH ALREADY!" Everyone stopped in shock. Fraser never got angry. Fraser went on, "Mrs Vecchio, I'm sick and tired of listening to you cut down Stan. I can't hold my tongue any longer. I'm sorry Stan, sorry Ray, but I have to say this." They all stayed quiet. "Mrs Vecchio I've listened to you for three years cut down this man every chance you got. You didn't even care who was around or what it did to him. Do you know how hard it was not to...I won't go there, but I wanted to make you stop? Stan is a good, kind, gentle and loving man. You didn't know you had a good thing, but do you know. I'm glad that you didn't because I would never have had the honour or never have had the chance to be marrying him."

Stella rose to her feet as she had sat in shock at Fraser getting angry. "Hold on a god damn minute Constable."

Fraser cut her off, "Sergeant."

Stella frowned, "What?”

Giving a wicked smile, Fraser replied, "I'm a Sergeant now Mrs Vecchio."

Just then a wailing cry came from the bedroom. Stan looked at Fraser, “Great timing hey?"

All looking at each other, as Fraser headed down the hall to the bedroom. Ray leaned forward and asked, "What was that?”

Stan just said, "You'll see.”

Stella and Ray went completely still as they saw Fraser come down the hall holding a baby. "Sorry about that, he woke, he must be hungry. Stan could you get the rest of Benton's feed for me please?"

Ray leaned in, "Am Benny, whose baby is that? Oh God, are you a father and never told me?"

Stan handed Fraser the feed, "Thank you kindly," said Fraser. As he began to feed Benton, he explained. "Ray this is Benton. His mother was Laura; she was one of my first cases up there, domestic abuse. I tried so hard for her to get help for herself and her daughter Lucy and to press charges, but she wouldn't. Until one day it went too far. He hit her while she was pregnant and then he hit Lucy. She left and came to me finally for help, only on the way her car broke down. Luckily I was coming down that road. I had to deliver her baby at the side of the road and then I got them to the safe house.”

Fraser took a breath. "Only Mr Coyne, that was her husband, found the safe house and kidnapped the children. We tracked them to the cliff. I tried to get him to hand over the children saying he didn't want to hurt them, but he put Benton here in the snow and threw Lucy off the cliff and shot my arm before jumping himself. I ran to see Lucy, she was holding on, the angel she was and I had to use my injured arm. I couldn't hold her she was panicking too much and she fell from me. Ray I saw her eyes looking at me all the way down. She was only six and I couldn't save her. She thought of me as a hero, some hero I turned out to be and Mr Coyne only fell a few feet, landed on a ledge, only got a broken hip and legs, but Lucy...she died.”

Stan rubbed his back as Fraser went on. "It turned out the former Sergeant gave Mr Coyne their whereabouts. Laura never blamed me; she thanked me for saving Benton and for trying with Lucy. She'd bring Benton over every night and dinner and she asked if I'd be his godfather. Then Ra...Stan came up and they became friends she asked him also. I she knew of our...my feelings for Ray, so you know. She got us to sign custody papers; just in case anything happened to her we'd get him straight away. Even the birth certificate I signed so the father couldn't touch him." Fraser's voice was cracking. "At his blessing she blessed him Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser. That's the funny part Ray, turns out she was family, a Fraser, and she changed back before she died. She didn't tell us she was dying; well she did, two days after Benton's blessing. Now here we are a family."

The room was very quiet before Ray spoke. "Jesus Benny, I'm so sorry. I don't know...my god Benny, from what you tell me you did everything that you could. You tried to warn Laura and she didn't listen. It was not your fault that Lucy died it was her Dad's fault. Laura obviously cared a great deal about you both to give you such a precious gift Benny. I'm so proud of you Benny."

Stella was furious, "Let's go Ray. I will not stay here and listen to this crap."

Ray snapped, "No Stella, you go. I want to spend time with my friends, I've not seen them in ages and how could you be so insensitive? Oh go home and I'll see you later.”

Stella put on her coat, "Don't bother Ray." With that, she left.

They all stared at the door as Stella stormed off. Fraser felt really guilty. "God I'm sorry Ray, should I go after her or something and apologise?”

Both Stan and Ray looked at each other and said at the same time, "Oh no, you don't mess with THE STELLA!"

Stan got a beer for himself and Ray and water for Fraser and sat back down, thinking how much Stella can still affect him which was nuts, they'd been apart a long time? Now this new Ray was going through what he did with The Stella.

Ray sipped his beer slowly. "So Benny how are ye handling the daddy thing?”

Both men smiled sweet smiles and Fraser replied. "Fine so far Ray, thank you kindly."

Ray kept talking, "Benny I hate to say this, but you look like shit. You've lost so much weight. That case really hit you hard didn't it, are you seeing anyone about this Benny, you know, getting help?”

Fraser had finished feeding Benton and was now burping him, "No Ray I'm not seeing anyone right now about it, but I will. I'm trying to get better. Stan has already warned me, so don't worry."

Putting both his hands on the table Ray began, "Benny, but I do worry about you. You're going to have to try Benny, you have a family now. What happens if you get really sick over this? What happens then?”

Stan put his two cents in. "He is right Ben. I mean, you've already fainted on me the other night and Gill told me you've fainted a few times up there. We'll help you, Ray and I, but you also have to help yourself. As I said before I want the man I'm going to marry to be there on our wedding day. Look, we're not ganging up on you; we're just worried about you."

Ray was horrified, "Jesus Benny, you're fainting? For god's sake you go see someone tomorrow, or so help me God I'll set not only Ma on you, but I'll set Francesca as well. So what do you have to say to that Benny?”

Stan chuckled and Fraser swallowed. "OK, OK Ray, I promise I'll go see someone as soon as I can, but I can't go tomorrow. We're seeing Stan's parents and yours tomorrow."

Ray laughed, "Geez guys, yer really making work for yourselves aren't ye."

Ray kept looking at Benton. "Would it be OK if I held him Benny?” he asked.

Without hesitation Fraser handed over Benton. "Benton, this is your Uncle Ray so be good, OK?" Benton just giggled up into their faces.

Ray smiled beautifully at Benton. "Ah guys he is one cute kid. Benny I swear he really is a Fraser; he has the Fraser blue eyes. Well, your blue eyes." Stan was so happy. The fact that Vecchio didn't react badly and that he was being supportive not only of Ben and Benton, but of himself as well.

Drinking his beer, Stan said, "Ya he does doesn't he. Thank God because I've seen his...I wouldn't call him 'dad', but a sperm donor and there is no way he is growing up like that. He is growing up looking like my Ben." Stan then blushed to high heaven at the words that spilled out of his mouth.

Ray noticed that Benton had one of Fraser's shirts wrapped around him. "Am Benny; is this one of your shirts?"

Fraser took a look. "Ah yes. It's the same one I wrapped him in the day I delivered him. Since that day he won't sleep without it. We found out the hard way the other night." Fraser shook his head. "Poor Dief jumped a mile high." They all laughed and looked around for Dief, then remembered he was with Francesca.

Benton had fallen asleep in Ray's arms. Fraser smiled at this. "Ray you seem like a natural. You'll make a great father someday." Stan and Ray shared a look; they both knew the same argument. Stella would say, "You know it's not the right time Ray. I'm just getting ahead Ray." It was always about her needs and not about his needs or even their needs together.

Ray answered in a sad voice, "Ah I don't think so Benny. Stella I think will never want to have children and after her behaviour here tonight," Ray paused, "I'm not sure I'd want them with her, or even to stay married to her. Would you want Benton here to grow up with kind of prejudice? I don't think so."

Fraser and Stan looked at Ray open mouthed. Stan started, "Ya mean you'd leave her after what happened here tonight? After one outburst?” Fraser watched them. He thought it best to stay quiet; after all they were the ones that knew Stella the best. Stan went on, "Vecchio, make sure you've thought about this. Don't make your mind up based on what happened here tonight. I'm sure it was just shock or something. Well she was always trying ta make me feel an inch tall, but that was just Stella.”

Silence reigned for a bit before Ray spoke in a sad tone, "Well you see Benny, Stan, it's not just what happened here tonight and I tell you I'm never going to forgive her for the way she treated you both. That was unacceptable. No one should be spoken to like that; I mean for God's sake she didn't even ask if you were OK Benny! How you were coping with that little girl’s death, I...I just...I'm so disappointed in her right now.” Ray still held Benton, it made him sad that he may never have this of his own, but still he continued, "You see this isn't the first time, she's used derogatory remarks before. Used names I didn't like. I mean, I know I'm Catholic and I may follow some of the teachings, but not this one. I mean, if God didn't want two men to fall in love then he wouldn't let it happen and I can see it pour out of you two. Now how can that be wrong? I don't think so."

Stan spoke softly, "Ya Vecchio, now that I think about it she used to do that when we were married as well. I hated it. That's why I was nervous telling her. I was nervous for Ben telling you over you being Catholic and all, well I'm Catholic, but as you can tell not a practising one. Now I'm babbling sorry, I'm sorry, I'll shut up now."

They chatted for a while longer. Ray glanced at the clock. "Guys, it's been really great, but I think it's time I went home and faced The Stella. Before I do, can I give you a hand putting Benton to bed? Since I may never have this myself.”

Stan was clearing the table, "Sure Vecchio, go ahead. Why don't you and Ben go ahead and do it while I clean up here?" Stan waved them off.

Once alone in the bedroom, Ray changed Benton into a clean nappy and his night clothes then tucked him into bed. Fraser put his hand on Ray's shoulder, "Ray you really are a natural at this. I truly hope you have this one day.”

Ray sighed, "Me too Benny, me too." Then Ray faced Fraser and grabbed him by the shoulders. "Really Benny, why didn't you call me, Ma, or Welsh when all this happened? Any one of us would have helped you, you know that don't you? Well know this Benny my friend; I'm here for you now. I'm always going to be here for you no matter what and that goes for Stan as well, OK?"

Fraser ran his thumb over his eyebrow, "I'm sorry Ray, I didn't talk to anyone and well, Gill my secretary rang Stan to come. Well she had been hovering over his number for days, I knew what she was going to do, but I'm glad she did, or I wouldn't have all this now, a family.”

As Ray put on his coat to leave, "One more thing guys, would you like me to be at Ma's tomorrow when ye break the news to her and the, especially Francesca? You know, a bit of support?”

Fraser and Stan said at the same time, "Oh god ya!" They made their goodbyes and watched Ray leave.

Fraser asked, "Do you think that they'll be OK Ray?”

Ray let out a breath, "Ben I couldn't really say, but I wouldn't say it looks good. Stella is as stubborn as a mule.”

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Ray Vecchio finally made it home. The apartment was in darkness. Ray knew that Stella was home as her car was there and her coat and bag were in their usual spot. Ray started, "Stella, Stella, I'm home, can we talk? I need to know why you acted like that, how could you be so cruel?"

There was quietness for such a long time that Ray thought that Stella either just took another coat and went out, or she was just been stubborn. Ray knew she wouldn't be sleeping at this early hour. He was getting exasperated now, "Stella for god's sake get out here and TALK.”

Stella stormed out of her study come home office, "What the hell are you doing here Ray? I told you not to bother coming home did I not and you come in here shouting? I was on an important call Ray, so say what you have to say and leave for heaven's sake."

Ray kept his coat on. "Stella keep your voice down. I just want to know how you could be so cruel to Benny and Stan. Tell me, explain that to me, why Stella?”

Stella just stared at him as if he had two heads "Cruel? You're saying that I was cruel? Ray those two are fucking queers, how can you stand there and condone what they're doing? Are you telling me you don't see anything wrong with that picture? Two men getting married for Christ's sake and raising a little boy, now tell me that's not sick?”

Ray thought Stella couldn't get any crueler. "Stella how dare you say that! They are doing a fantastic job with that child. Laura would never have given them custody if they weren't good enough Stella and as a matter fact no I don't see anything wrong with them getting married. They're in love and if you couldn't see that pour out of them tonight then you're blind.”

Stella was furious, "Blind? You're calling me blind? I was married to that dumbass Stanley for fifteen years; I know how that idiot thinks. He was always jumping into things. What the hell is he thinking marring that stupid Canadian? I bet he brainwashed him, he was always filling his head with crap about how clever he was, how good he was. How clever? Ya right."

Ray stepped closer to her, "Stella are you listening to yourself? How can you talk about your ex-husband like that and about Benny? How dare you! I will not stand here and let you say things like about them."

Putting her hands on her hips, she said, "You won't let me. You won't let me, OK Mr ex-Detective. You tell me what's what if you're so clever."

Ray was red faced with anger. "Stella you didn't even ask Benny if he was OK. You could see it on his face how much that little girl's death affected him. Instead you said 'I'm not listening to this crap' and left. For too long now Stella you've acted like this, not just about Benny and Stan, but you've made remarks before. I don't think I can put up with this. You either change or I can't stay in this marriage Stella."

Stella glared at him. "Well Ray I'll make it easy for you. That call you interrupted, that was me filing for divorce. I was thinking about it for a while now. I did not sign up to be married to a cop again. You could harm my career by going back, but you just helped more by your behaviour tonight."

Ray nodded, "If that's the way you feel Stella very well, but I'm telling you, I'm not lying on the divorce papers. Everyone will know on record that you're a bigot." Stella slapped him hard across the face. Ray just grinned at her giving her no satisfaction and headed for the bedroom and packed a bag. Glancing around the room there was not one bit of his tastes in the whole place, it was all Stella. Ray took off his wedding ring and placed it on the dresser and left.

An hour later Fraser and Ray sat on the couch cuddled up to each other, still reeling from Ray's and Stella's visit. They were saddened by Stella but delighted in Ray Vecchio's reaction. Just as they were wondering how they were getting on, a knock came to the door.

Ray answered it. Ray Vecchio stood there with bag in hand and Ray Kowalski saw that he had no wedding ring on any more. Knowing what had happened, he said, "Come in Vecchio it will be OK I promise.”

Ray Vecchio shook his head and came in. "Thanks Kowalski, hey Benny.” Both Fraser and Stan hugged him. They would be there for him just as he was there for them.

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Ray Kowalski woke to a smell that welcomed him, coffee. Glancing at the clock he saw it read eight a.m. Ray looked over and saw that Ben was still in a deep sleep. Yesterday had been a tough day and today maybe tougher. With a soft kiss to Fraser's temple Ray got up and after the bathroom, made his way to the kitchen.

Ray Vecchio sat in the kitchen looking tired. He turned to the sound of someone coming in, seeing a sleepy, rumbled looking Stan was very amusing.

Ray Vecchio spoke first, "Morning sleepy head, coffees up, hope you don't mind? Couldn't sleep."

With a wave of his hand Stan poured himself a mug and sat. "That's no problem Vecchio, make yourself at home.”

Shaking his head Ray replied, "Na I'll get out of yer hair today, I'll find a hotel or something."

Looking at him straight in the eyes Stan said, "Oh no you don't, you're staying right here. You were there for us; we're going to be there for you. We won't take no for an answer. So how are you keeping this morning, sunk in yet?”

Taking a long drink of his coffee, "Thanks Kowalski, I knew you must be a good guy. My Benny wouldn't have given you his heart otherwise, not after her. You sure it's OK I stay coz I can find somewhere?"

Ray was stopped by Stan waving his hand and saying, "Shut up."

Ray mimicked Fraser, "Understood," and they both laughed.

Stan rubbed his hand through his hair, "Really Vecchio, how ya holding up? I know Stell, she can be...well she can be pig stubborn."

Ray sighed and rubbed his hands over his face. "To be honest Kowalski, if she hadn't filed for the divorce I would have after last night. I'm so sorry for the way she spoke to ye. I mean, as I said she has made remarks before, but this was past the point of no return."

Pouring fresh coffee for them both Stan sat back down. "So what are your plans for today other than coming with us for support later? Oh I should tell you that Frannie...she already knows about us and Benton. Well we really didn't have a choice to tell her, she kinda cornered us at the station."

Ray laughed, "Sheesh ye were brave. How'd she take it?”

Stan smiled. "Actually she hugged and kissed us both. She said if she was to lose Fraser to anyone she was glad it was me. I tell ya Vecchio, she freaked me out.”

Ray still laughed. "You sure it was Frannie? Anyway I have a meeting with Welsh today. I'm going back; I can't not be a cop. You know it's all I know and love. I think that's part of why Stella is doing this; she just wouldn't listen to what I had to say about why I wanted to. I never said anything about her opening her own practice."

Stan nodded. "Ya I get ya. I'm glad I'll still be doing that when I move up north. Ben will be my boss so things are good. Never mind Stell, if it's not about her it's not important.”

Drinking his coffee Ray spoke, "You're a brave man Kowalski having Benny as a boss.” They laughed. "Listen, I'll be back later after my meeting, why don't I take Benton for ye, give ye a break? Maybe go have a meal together, or see a movie? Have some alone time, between yer visits I'm sure ye need it. Besides you'll have everyone around all the time here and at home I bet, so let me do this for ye.”

Stan replied, "You want to mind Benton? Jeez Vecchio that would great. I mean, you sure you don't mind? To be honest I think Ben needs the break. He's not well, other than the weight loss. I think he has been taking his pain killers. He has been holding his back a bit lately.”

Ray rubbed his face again, "Shit, shit he has been having back pain. Fuck, do you think it's my bullet?”

Stan hadn't thought of that. "Oh I never thought about that Vecchio, but I don't think so. I think it's down to stress, or it could be the fact that he jumped off a freakin' cliff to catch a criminal three weeks ago?"

They were interrupted by Benton crying, so Stan hurried to get him before he woke Fraser up, but Fraser was in such a deep sleep that hadn't heard Benton crying or Stan come in to get him.

Stan came back into the kitchen with Benton. Benton's crying had stopped right away. Ray asked, "Well, did he wake?”

Stan shook his head, "Na Ben is still out of it. Here can you hold him for a minute while I fix his bottle?"

Ray took him, "Sure, would you like me to change his diaper while you do that?"

Stan smiled at Ray's eagerness and it was obvious that Ray should be a dad someday. "Sure please Vecchio if you'd like, there is some in that bag over there and fresh clothes as well, thank you."

Ray took Benton and got the bag with the nappies and clothes and went about changing Benton. Ray spoke softly to Benton, "So young man, you going to be good for your Uncle Ray? No peeing into my face OK?” Benton giggled. Ray smiled, "I'll take that as a yes shall I?"

Stan smiled as he made the bottle, listening to Ray talk to Benton. He wished Stella could see this that she could see how wonderful a child can be, how wonderful Ray was with a child. She was really missing out on something really special.

Ray finished changing Benton without getting peed on thank God and into fresh clothes. He sat down just as the bottle was ready. Instead of handing him back to Stan to be fed, Stan handed him the bottle, "Why don't you feed him? I'll go wake Ben he won't want to sleep late."

Ray took the bottle, "You don't mind? Sure I'd love to feed him thanks. Ya Benny isn't great at sleeping in so go change and wake him. Make yourself presentable for your parents.” Stan headed off and Ray began to feed Benton.

Stan took a shower and changed before calling Fraser. Stan sat at the side of the bed and kissed Fraser on the head. "Hey Ben, Ben time to get up. Gonna meet the parents today Ben.”

Fraser slowly opened his eyes and glanced at the clock and saw it was half past nine. Fraser sat up fast, "Good god Stan you let me sleep in so late! I'm sorry I must have been tired. I'll get up now and help you with Benton, I'm sorry.”

Putting his hands on Fraser's and holding him there, "Hey slow down there Ben. It’s OK, ya needed ta sleep. Anyway Vecchio is helping; he has already changed him and is now feeding him. Think we can hire him as a nanny Ben?”

Fraser smiled, “Ra...Stan, Stan, Stan you're terrible. How is Ray this morning?”

Rubbing Fraser's arms, Stan replied, “Actually Ben, Vecchio is fine. He is going back to work at the 27th. Oh ya, he has offered to look after Benton today for a while so we can have some alone time. He is great with Benton I must say."

It wasn't long before they were all seated around the table. Ray still had hold of Benton in his arms. Benton seemed to be enjoying it because he couldn't stop smiling, or cooing up in to Ray's face.

They chatted for a while before it was time to leave. Ray headed for his meeting with Welsh and agreed to look after Benton later that day. Fraser and Stan got ready to leave for Ray's parent's house.

As they sat in the GTO Fraser took Ray's hand. "Ray we are going to be fine. Your parents are good people OK?"

Ray held his hand tight, "Ya they are and they are going to love you coz I love you and they'll love Benton as well, another grandchild, what's not to love right? OK let's get going then.” They headed off still not letting go of one another's hands.

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They pulled into the driveway of Ray's parents’ house. Ray's parents had moved into a house and out of the trailer a little over a year ago. They still had their trailer in case they wanted to travel which suited them perfectly. The four of them sat in the GTO starring at the house. Ray was a nervous wreck. Fraser spoke softly, "Ray we are going to be fine. Your parent’s love you and I'm sure they are going to love Benton as well, so come on, let's head in.”

Ray's hands gripped the steering wheel as if it were a lifeline. "Ben I'm scared, what if what if they leave me again just like they did when I joined the academy? I couldn't bear that Ben; I just couldn't, not again."

Fraser took Ray's hands off the steering wheel. "Ray, Ray, Ray listen, your parents love you, they won't leave OK? Come on and we'll go in, anyway your mother just saw us and is coming this way."
 
Ray squeezed Fraser's hands, "OK Ben pitter patter let’s get at her." Ray said that in a worried tone.

Ray got out of the car as did Fraser. While Fraser got Benton and Diefenbaker out whom they picked up on the way there, Ray ran to his mother. Mrs Kowalski ran to Ray, "Stanley! Oh my Stanley, so good to see you my boy."
 
Ray picked her up in a hug and swung her around. Putting her back down, he smiled, "Hi Mum, good to see you too. Ben and I have some news, is Dad here?”

Ray's mother frowned. "Stanley my dear, is something wrong? Has something happened? Oh Stanley, your father is inside with Jess, Robbie and Sam. Your brother is here, you timed it perfectly."

Ray smiled a nervous smile. Fraser approached carrying Benton in his carry chair. Mrs Kowalski beamed, "Oh Fraser, Fraser so good to see you. Are you visiting my boy?" She then noticed the baby, "Oh my, such a darling baby, is the baby yours Fraser my dear?"

Fraser looked at Ray, but Ray spoke first, "Mum can we go in so we can talk please? I think it's a good idea that James is here, get it over with.”
 
Taking his arm his mother asked, "You're frightening me Stanley, get what over with? Something's wrong, something bad, oh my god Stanley are you sick?"
 
Patting her hand, "No Mum nothing is wrong I promise and I'm not sick. Let's go get dad and James OK and talk.” They headed inside. The house was beautiful. It had a wraparound porch with seating. Inside was warm and cosy and very homely.

They were no sooner in the door when Ray was attacked by three children. All shouting, "Uncle Ray, Uncle Ray, Uncle Ray!"
 
Ray bent down to greet them all, hugging them tightly, "Hey guys so good to see ya, missed ya.”

The three kids then spotted their favourite Mountie and wolf. All ran to greet him being careful of the baby, "Hi Ben nice to see you again and hiya Dief." All hugged Fraser's legs and Dief around the neck.

A voice sounded behind Ray, "Ray, Ray is that you?"
 
Ray turned, "James, oh god James." Ray ran and hugged his brother tight, both shed tears. Ray hadn't seen his brother since he buried his wife, the mother of his children. They were childhood sweethearts. She was tragically killed by a drunk driver six months ago.

Pulling back, Ray asked, "Hey bro, how ya holding up?"
 
James wiped his face, "Not so good, but I have to keep going for the kids ya know. So what brings you here Ray?"
 
Ray cleared his throat, "We need...we all need to talk, get Dad and join us. Leave the kids to play with Dief, we can tell them later OK and before you say anything, it's not bad news and I'm not sick.” James nodded and went to get their dad.

After Ray greeted his Dad they all sat around the dining room table. Ray held Benton in his arms. Ray needed him to keep him grounded.

Ray looked at Fraser and smiled. Taking a breath, "OK Mum, Dad, James, you know I love you all right, so please don't hate me OK? OK, OK I was thinking of leaving my job. I had been thinking about it for a while, but in the past, well, few weeks I got new hope for a great future. I've fallen in love. I mean real love, stronger than the love I ever had for Stella and I'm getting married."

Ray's mum spoke, "But why would we be mad at that Stanley? If you're in love is this not a good thing and getting married? Who is she who stole your heart?”

Ray's brother knew right away that it was the Mountie. In fact James was the only person who knew of Ray's preference and had been there for him and supported him greatly as did James' wife when she was alive. Ray glanced at James and James smiled and nodded, showing Ray he knew and approved so that gave Ray the strength to go on.

Ray cradled Benton. "OK, OK, god, OK I'm marrying...I'm marrying Ben. Mum, Dad I love him and I'm marrying him. I've a job working at his post, a cross border exchange thing, I'll be working for Ben and I've a new son which I'll explain in a minute, but please don't hate me, don't leave me again...Mum, Dad?"

Silence reigned for just a moment. Ray was shocked that it was his Dad not his Mum who spoke. "Raymond is this true that you are marrying Fraser and moving to Canada and you have a son? Are these not important things your family should know about Son?"

Ray's eyes teared up, "Yes Dad, it's true.”

Mr Kowalski smiled. "OK Fraser, do you love my Raymond?"

Fraser looked at Ray, "Oh yes Sir very much so, with all my heart and soul. If it wasn't for Ray I...I may not be here. I...well, he saved my life Sir, in more ways then you'll ever know."

Mr Kowalski continued, "Raymond, thank God, is that all you wanted to tell us? Thank God you're finally admitting your feelings for Fraser and marrying him. For God's sake Son, it was obvious. Every time you spoke about the boy you lit up like a Christmas tree for heaven's sake!"

Ray sat open mouthed. Ray's mother chuckled and James hid his grin behind his hand. Fraser was proud of Ray's parents and his love for them grew even more.

Ray's voice was shaky, "Ya mean, you knew? You don't mind? You don't hate me? Are you happy for me, or mad at me?”

Mr Kowalski spoke, "Of course we are happy for you both Son. That Stella was not worthy of your love, Fraser is and has always been and Fraser, I think you can call me Dad if you like Son? OK Raymond, you mind telling us about your son now?"

Fraser answered, "Thank you Sir...Dad." Ray's eyes watered up at this.

Ray handed Benton to his mother, "Mum, I'd like you to meet your grandchild Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser." Ray set about telling them the full story of Fraser, Lucy and how they got custody of Benton. Ray shed some tears as he told the story, as did his mother, while James and their Dad hid their tears behind clearing their throats.

Mrs Kowalski stood and handed Benton to her husband. She came round the table and hugged and kissed both her boys. "Oh my Stanley, my wonderful boy and Fraser, my brave boy. You call me Mum OK? You're our family OK? My new boy. I get a new son in law and a grandchild, this is a good day, and we must celebrate.”

James came round the table to Fraser and held out his hand. "Welcome to the family Fra...Bro!"

Fraser shook his hand tightly, "Thank you James."

James came to Ray and hugged him and whispered in his ear, "Bro, you're not meant to marry someone prettier then you."

Ray laughed and smacked his brother playfully. "Very funny, hardy har har."

James clapped his hands together, "OK, I'll go fetch the munchkins and let them meet their new cousin. Back in a minute."

Mrs Kowalski went to kitchen to make tea for the kids, so that left Ray, his Dad and Fraser at the table with Ray's Dad still holding Benton. Ray's Dad was gazing at Benton as he spoke, "Son, I must say I've never been so proud of you. I said that when you joined the academy that you'd have a stink of bad people on you, but don't you pass all that out. You came out with this gift, someone finally worthy of your love and this beautiful child. I'm proud of you my boy and you Fraser, you look after my Raymond up there, but I know I don't have to say that because you always do. Always have and I never thanked you for that, so thank you. So when is this wedding up in Freezerland and how do we get there?”

Both Ray and Fraser were lost for words for a moment. "You mean that Dad?” Ray asked, “Thank you. I do love Ben so much and he does look after me so well and we do have a great gift in Benton."

Fraser cleared his throat. "Thank you Sir...Dad. I'll always look after Ray; there is no need to worry." Fraser looked at Ray and smiled at the fact that Ray's Dad also called Canada Freezerland. "S...Dad, I'll send you all the arrangements as soon as we know. The village is kind of running it."

Ray's Dad laughed. "Ah it's good that people love and care about you up there.”

Just then the three kids ran in. "Is it true? Is it true we have a new cousin and a new uncle, Uncle Ray?"

Ray moved around, "Ya guys, let me introduce you. Jess, Robbie and Sam this is little Benton.”

The kids beamed, "Oh Uncle Ray, he is so cute."

Jess she was the oldest. "Uncle Ray how are we getting a new uncle? You finally marrying Ben?”

Ray looked at Fraser and blushed then slapped his forehead, geez even the kids knew before he did. "Ya guys, I'm marrying Ben. You like Ben don't ya? Do you mind me marrying Ben?”

Jess, Robbie and Sam looked at Ray straight on, hands on hips, "Don't be silly Uncle Ray. We love Ben, Ben is cool and he loves us and he loves you, so that's good right?”

Ray swallowed, kids saw things with such innocence, "Ya guys, he does love us doesn't he. Thank you guys."

The kids now turned their attention to their Dad. "Daddy can we go to Uncle Ray's and Ben's wedding please? We'll be good we promise."

Ray started to say how far it was, but was cut off by James. James smiled, "Of course we're going to go, wouldn't miss it for the world."

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The morning flew by after that. The kids helped feed Benton and played with Dief and Fraser. Ray spent some alone time with his Mum and Dad, who reassured him of how much they loved him and Fraser, how proud they are of him and how much they looked forward to coming up for the wedding. It wasn't long before they were back in the GTO heading back to the apartment.

Fraser asked, "You OK Ray? You’re very quiet.”

Ray smiled a sweet smile, "Ya Ben I'm fine. I guess I'm just in shock, I never thought they'd act like that ya know. I'm just in shock. God Ben, I can't wait to marry ya."

Fraser smiled back, "I loved them as well Ray and I love you and I can't wait to marry you either." Hands joined they headed home.

They arrived back at the apartment around one o'clock. As they came through the door they saw that Ray Vecchio was back also. He has his head in a stack of files. Ray raised his head to greet them with a smile. Ray spoke, "I see that yer still alive, and things went well I hope. I made coffee, would ye like some?”

Stan put down the nappy bag. "Actually Vecchio, things went shockingly well. They took the news real well. My brother and his kids where there.” Fraser and Stan sat, "For God's sake even the kids said to me are you finally marrying Ben. I mean geez, even they knew before me!"

Ray poured coffee for them and tea for Fraser. Ray looked from Fraser to Stan and laughed, "Sheesh guys, that is funny. I bet ye were shocked. I'm glad things went well for ye. Yer good men, ye deserve happiness. Look, go change and pack an overnight bag OK?"

Stan and Fraser exchanged looks. Fraser asked, "Ray why would we need to pack an overnight bag?”

Ray sat back in the chair, "I'm going to give ye more than just a couple of hours break guys for lunch or a movie before we go to Ma's house. I've booked ye a room in a hotel downtown to give ye a night off as well. I'll look after Benton and if I need help I'll call Frannie. Just call it part of an engagement present."

Fraser and Stan looked at Ray, not quite believing their ears. Fraser sounded surprised, "Ray you don't have do this, it's..." but Ray cut Fraser off.

"Oh yes I do Benny. It's not nearly enough to pay back for what you both did for me so please, let me do this for you?”

Stan spoke, "Thanks Vecchio we...thanks very much. We accept don't we Ben."

Fraser nodded and smiled, "Yes, thank you kindly Ray."

Both Fraser and Stan showered and changed. They showed Ray where all Benton's things were. Bags were packed and they'd pick them up and Benton along with Ray later on before going to the Vecchio house.

Fraser and Ray had a lovely break. They enjoyed a lovely lunch and a long chat of how they'd like their wedding to be and they agreed to let the village help like they wanted to, they know that they have their best interests at heart. After lunch they enjoyed a walk in the park before heading back to pick up Benton and Ray.

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Ray Kowalski pulled up outside the Vecchio house with Fraser, Benton and Dief at his side. Ray Vecchio pulled up in his own car. They couldn't pause in the car because Ma Vecchio heard them pull up and had come out. She started towards the car right away so they all got out.

Ma spoke excitedly, "Oh my Raimondo how are you?”

As she hugged who had protected her boy, Stan hugged her back tightly.

"I'm fine Ma” replied Ray, “I brought you some visitors and we have news, is all the family here?"

Ma looked at him, then past him to Fraser and ran to him. Hugging, taking care of the baby she said, "Oh my Caro, my Benito, how are you my dear? Oh you have a bambino my dear! Is something wrong my boys? Come talk, tell us your news. I've just made supper. My Stan, you're still too skinny tut, tut, come on." She called him Stan because her other Ray was there and she didn't want to get confused. They all headed inside. The house was just as they remembered, very welcoming and homely with lots of pictures. Stan was shocked to see some of him, but not surprised to see some of his Ben.

They all sat around the dining room table. Somehow this was more nerve racking then being at Stan's parents’ house. This time it was Fraser who had to explain and this time it was he who held Benton to ground him.

Fraser cleared his throat, "Ma, Francesca, Maria, Tony and Ray. I...well, that is...I've some news. I hope that it's not bad news and that you won't think any less of me once I've told you?"

Ma took a hankie out just in case, it was something to hold onto, “What could be so bad that you're this nervous about telling us my boy? You're not sick are you?”

Fraser smiled, "No Ma, I'm not sick. I'm in love and I'm getting married."

Ma gasped, "But that's wonderful Caro! You're getting married, who is it you're marrying? They must be wonderful if you're marrying them.”

The table was quiet with everyone listening. Fraser and Stan looked to Ray and Francesca who were their support and lifelines at the table and they were glad of the smiles on their faces showing it.

Fraser continued, "Ma the person I'm marrying is a wonderful person who I love with all my heart and soul. Ma I'm marrying Stan."

Ma smiled sweetly, "Is that all my Caro? Oh I knew you loved him so it was only a matter of time before you both worked it out. Come give your Ma a hug."

Both Fraser and Stan hugged her. Fraser was surprised, "You knew Ma? How? I never...I mean..."

Ma patted his hand, "A mother knows when her sons are in love. OK, now are you going to introduce your Ma to this beautiful baby?"

Stan took over here. "Yes Ma, I guess this is your grandchild. Meet Benton Raymond Kowalski Fraser."

Ma gasped and held him. "Hello my boy, such a beautiful face you have. Welcome to the family."

Stan sat and told the story. Stan told of how he was called to Canada to help Fraser. About Lucy, Laura and how they got custody of Benton. By the time he finished he had shed more tears, as did everyone around the table including Tony.

Ma spoke in a sad tone holding Fraser's hand. "Oh my Caro, you went through that alone before Stan got there? Why you not call your Ma? I would have come up and helped you."

Fraser's voice was low. "I'm sorry Ma, it was so hard, but I was glad that Ra...Stan came and now I'm the happiest I've ever been."

Tony spoke, "So you two finally are getting hitched. So when is the big day up in the great White North?"

Stan answered, "We're not sure yet. We'll let you know. We hope you all can come up for it.”

Ma smacked his hand, "Of course we'll come up for it!"

Fraser smiled and spoke again. "Ma there is something I'd like to ask you. You don't have to but I'd...I'd like it very much if you could give me away.”

Ma shed tears of joy. "Oh I'd be honoured my Caro, oh thank you so much."

Fraser hugged her once more. "Thank you Ma."

The rest of the evening was great. Lots of laughter and joy. Maria and Tony's kids enjoyed meeting their new cousin, but Fraser has always been Uncle Ben to them.

Fraser and Stan took Ray and Francesca out to the porch to talk. Stan spoke softly. "Look, we just wanted to thank you both for your support, it really means a lot to us. It's been hard and we were nervous about this, but we have a good family here. I'm glad that I'm a part of it; I would have missed out on something special here. The only wish I have is that Ben's mum and dad could be here to see and be part of all this."

All looked to Fraser. "Stan I'm sure my parents will be there in spirit and I know they would have and will love you,” he said.

Francesca moved forward, "Stan you looked after my brother's cover so well and us. You did things not part of the cover. You took Maria's kids some weekends, gave them a break. You baby sat at least once a week. You went above everything and we are never going to forget that bro.”

Ray spoke in shock. "You did that? Wow Kowalski, I mean..." Instead of going on speaking, Ray just pulled Stan into a bear hug. It made both Fraser and Francesca laugh at the look on Stan's face and they both joined in the hug.

The evening was moving on and Ray finally got Fraser and Stan to leave for the hotel. After their goodbyes and the promise to come by before they go back to Canada, they left. Francesca saw that Ray still held Benton, "Hey bro why do you have Benton? Did they forget him or something?"

Ray shook his head. "Na Frannie, I got them a hotel room. You know, give them the night off. Benny isn't looking too good and he needs a bit of rest."

Francesca patted his back. "You're a good brother to them Ray." She went back inside the house and Ray headed back to the apartment with Benton.

Fraser and Ray entered the hotel room, or rather the suite. It was huge. The bedroom was separate from the living area and it had a huge Jacuzzi tub. Ray spotted a note on the dresser for them both.

Hey guys hope you enjoy the room. Get some rest. I've booked you both a massage which should be there at eight. Remember guys; don't do anything I wouldn't do!

Yours,

Ray V

They made the most of it, had a lovely massage and headed down for dinner. Soon they were lying in bed in the huge bed. God they needed the rest. They cuddled up to each other, kissing and whispering to each other, "Love ya, love ya, love ya,” over and over before falling asleep wrapped in each other’s arms.

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Today was the day Ray would start his paperwork for his move to Canada. First stop was to the Consulate, then onto the 27th district to get everything in order. Pulling up outside the Consulate felt weird. Ray had visited Turnbull every now and then. Ray liked the guy, he had been a good friend while Fraser had been gone, but pulling up there now with Fraser and Fraser not working there was strange. "So Ben, feel weird being back?"

Looking at the Consulate Fraser answered, "Yes Ray, a little bit I must say, but it will be nice to see the place again and Turnbull and Rob, I haven't seen him in years."

As they headed through the doors to the Consulate they greeted the guard on sentry duty. Ray always made a point of doing it, it was only right they should be not ignored. Turnbull jumped from behind his desk to greet them. "Oh Sergeant Fraser, Ray, how are you? Welcome to Canada. Are you here to start your paperwork?"

Ray shook his hand, "Hiya Turnbull. Ya, here to start the ball rolling. Big boss man around or can you do the paperwork for me?"

Turnbull gushed, "Oh I can certainly do the paperwork for you Ray, but I think Sergeant Shee would like to meet you and Sergeant Fraser again, wait right here."

Turnbull rushed off to fetch the boss. Ray smiled to Fraser, "Nice to know some things haven't changed hey?"

Fraser laughed, "True." Out of the kitchen came a very tall, very handsome man. His face lit up when he saw Fraser.

It was Sergeant Shee. He spoke as he came forward, "Ah Ben, my god how have you been? Long-time no see."

Fraser greeted him with a warm hug, "Hi Rob, how are you? How did you end up here?”

Robert laughed, "I pissed off a few people up north Ben, sure you know the story? So I hear you're here to start some paperwork or something? Turnbull wouldn't tell me all the details."

Fraser and Ray were happy that Turnbull kept his word and told no one. Fraser answered, "Ah yes Sir.”

Robert held up his hand. "Ben, no 'Sir' please, you are older than me and we are friends and I'm not my father Ben-ton."

Fraser laughed, "Right you are Rob." Fraser went on, "We are here to start the paperwork for my partner Ray's move to Canada. We are getting married. Ray has taken the transfer to my post in the cross border programme."

Robert slapped Fraser's back. "So Ben someone finally stole your heart and it wasn't me? I'm hurt. Only joking don't worry Ray. So you're the famous Ray are you? Turnbull always talks about you and Ben talks about you in his letters. Since you're friends with Turnbull I'll let him sort your paperwork. Since you're marrying a Canadian citizen that will make things easier. Ah Ben, is that your baby, or Diefenbaker is he your puppy?" Dief whined at this.

They all laughed, "No Rob this is our son Benton,” and Fraser told the story as they had so many times over the past few days. It left Robert dumbfounded.

"Jesus Ben why the hell did you not call me for fucks sake? I would have come. I was in the next time zone. You were always so stubborn, but I still love you, you big dummy. Listen, go with Turnbull and I'll take Benton give you some peace to do it. So, I'll see you before you leave, well I will if you want this cutie back." Ray and Fraser thanked him and handed over Benton and went with Turnbull.

Ray whispered to Fraser, "Ah Ben something I should know. Were you two an item?”

Fraser laughed, "God no Ray, just best friends. Rob was always teasing me like that. Anyway, I think his wife and kids would have something to say about that. I was best man at his wedding and I delivered his kids."

Ray breathed out a sigh of relief, "OK, OK good, good, sorry just I want ya all to myself."

Fraser kissed his ring finger. "You do Ray my love, you do."

Turnbull turned out to be very efficient at the paperwork and it was done in no time at all. Turnbull marked where the lawyer had to sign and the paperwork for Lieutenant Welsh as well. Turnbull stood and shook their hands. "Ray I just want to say good luck up in Canada. I will miss your friendship; you've been a very good friend to me. Please keep in touch."

Ray blushed, "Thank you Turnbull, I'll miss your friendship as well, but we will visit and we hope you will visit us as well. You will come to the wedding won't you?"

Fraser spoke then, "Turnbull you have been a very good friend to us both and please do keep in touch, you're welcome any time."

Just before they went to leave the Consulate a dizzy spell hit Fraser. Luckily Robert was by his side and caught him and put him in a chair. "Jesus Ben what happened there? You OK?”

Ray was by his side fast and Turnbull went to get him a glass of water. Ray spoke, “Ben has been having dizzy and fainting spells. The case really got to him. Ben hasn't been eating or sleeping well, but Ben why didn't you say you weren't feeling well? I could have come on my own, or put it off 'til tomorrow Ben."

Fraser drank his water. "Sorry Ray, but I was feeling fine up until an hour ago. I'm fine now though so don't worry Ray. I'll get an early night tonight I promise. Ray we really should get to Lieutenant Welsh."

They all shook their heads. They knew they couldn't change the Mountie's mind once it was set. "OK Ben, if you're feeling unwell at any stage you say and we go home OK? I mean it Ben, you tell me or else OK?"

Fraser nodded, "OK Ray, I promise." They headed off and they were a step closer to Ray's move to Canada.

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Parked in the parking lot of the 27th district, Ray took the keys out. "Ben you sure you're up to this? I mean you can go home and I'll talk to Welsh on my own?"

Looking at Ray, Fraser replied, "Ray I'll be fine really. It's just been a long few days. Really I'll be fine."

Nodding, Ray said, "OK Ben. Ya tell me the second you're not feeling well right?"

In a soft tone, Fraser said, "Very well Ray, I promise." They headed in together.

Walking through the bullpen a few people stopped and talked to them. A voice from behind them caught their attention. "Big Red, is that you?” It was Detective Huey that was calling him.

Fraser went over. "Hello Detective Huey, how are you?"

Huey looked Fraser up and down, "Jesus Fraser you've lost so much weight, are you OK? Are you sick or something is there anything I can help you with?”

Fraser was surprised by his concern, "No I'm not sick, I've just had a few tough months, I'll be fine, thank you kindly."

Huey went on, "So Red is it true? You marrying Kowalski?”

Fraser's eyes widened, "Ah how did you hear that?"

Huey looked embarrassed, "Look sorry, but I overheard you talking to Francesca. I'm sorry, but I haven't said anything to anyone. So is it true?"

With a huge smile, Fraser replied, "Yes, yes it's true and this is our son Benton."

With a slap on his back, Huey said, "Well congratulations finally."

Ray came over, "Ben, what did Huey want?"

Leaning into Ray, "He just wanted to know if it was true I was finally marrying you. He said congratulations."

"Thank God,” said Ray with relief, “Huey is one of the good guys. Come on let's see Welsh."

The meeting with Welsh didn't take long. All the forms were signed and stamped; it just had to be looked at by a lawyer now. Welsh bid them good luck and promised to visit and keep in touch. Welsh could not wait for their wedding.

Fraser held Benton in his arms as he and Ray spoke to Huey and Dewey. "So guys when ye heading back up north?" Dewey asked.

"I have to get a lawyer to check out and sort these papers out then we can head back," Ray answered.

Dewey smiled, "Ray maybe I can help there, my brother is a lawyer and he is just back from his honeymoon now. I'll give him a call tonight for you and sort it out if you like?"

Ray was warmed by this gesture, "Jeez Dewey that would be greatness thanks."

As they were talking they were unaware that Fraser was sweating more and calling Ray because at first it was soft. The calling got louder, "Ray, Ray, RAY."

Ray turned, "Ben, Ben what's wrong?"

Fraser's voice was funny sounding, "Ray please take Benton, I think I'm..." Ray took Benton, that's when Fraser grabbed his left arm. "Ray I think I'm...I think I'm having a heart attack!" Fraser fell to the ground before anyone could catch him.

Francesca ran over at Ray's cries of, "NOOOO!" and took Benton off him. Huey and Dewey started CPR as Fraser had stopped breathing.

Ray was by Fraser's side wiping tears and shouting, "Don't you leave me Ben. Don't you fucking leave me! What about Benton hey? What about the horses and sled dogs? Jesus Ben we're getting fucking married, you don't leave me."

Huey and Dewey got him breathing again just as the paramedics arrived and took over. Ray went with him in the ambulance and Francesca and the Duck Boys followed taking Benton for Ray. On the way in the ambulance the medics asked the usual questions, "Is he allergic to anything? Is he a drug user?"

All Ray's answers were, "No." Too many questions. Fraser was brought in to be looked at while Ray had to yet answer more questions and fill out dumb forms. Ray paced in the family waiting room. They didn't even blink when he explained who he was to Fraser and were sympathetic.

Francesca arrived soon after along with Lieutenant Welsh and the Duck Boys. "Oh Ray how is he? Is there any news? How are you?" she asked.

Hugging her, Ray replied, "Oh Frannie I can't lose him. Oh Frannie what will I do if he dies on me? They haven't come yet with any news.” wiping the tears that fell fully again.

Ray saw Benton and took him out of the chair and into his arms, cuddling him to his chest listening to his heart beat. "Hey buddy, Daddy will be fine. The doctors will make him all better."

Welsh put his hand on Ray's shoulder. "Ray sit down before you fall down OK. I'm sure Fraser will be OK, he is a strong young man, now sit." Ray sat down still cradling Benton in his arms.

It seemed like an eternity before a doctor came in. "Ray Kowalski?" she called.

Ray looked up, "Yes ma'am I'm Ray Kowalski."

The doctor came over, "Hi Ray, I'm Doctor Cartledge I'm looking after Mr Fraser."

Ray looked into her eyes his red rimmed from crying. "Doctor how is Ben? Tell me he is going to be OK."

Dr Cartledge asked, "Has Mr Fraser being under any unusual stress lately?"

Ray laughed behind his tears, "Ya, you could say that. How about trying to get a woman who is being beaten daily by her husband to press charges, but she won't. He continues to beat her while she is pregnant then starts on their six year old daughter as well. She gets away and goes to my Ben for help, only breaks down on the way. Ben has to deliver her baby at the side of the road. Ben gets them to a safe house only the father finds out where this safe house is and kidnaps the kids, puts one in the snow to freeze, but my Ben gets him out. He then throws his little girl off a cliff, but she holds onto something shouting for my Ben. The man then shoots Ben in the arm and jumps himself. Ben then goes to pull up Lucy, but he has to use his bad arm and he can't hold her because she struggling so much and she falls from his grip and dies. Oh the funny part? The father only falls a few feet and only gets a broken hip and leg and later Ben finds out that Lucy was family, a Fraser, so yes I'd say Ben was under unusual stress lately. Sorry for sounding snappy, I'm just worried."

Dr Cartledge patted his arm. "It's OK my dear, I'd be worried if it was my other half as well. This your son? He is beautiful. Listen, Mr Fraser has had a very mild heart attack brought on by stress, but other than being a little underweight Mr Fraser is healthy. He just needs some rest. I don't see any long term damage here and he should be back to normal in no time putting bad guys behind bars. So this little guy can rest knowing his Daddy is protecting him and his other Dad. You can go see him in a few minutes; they are just settling him in his room."

Ray locked eyes with her. "Thank you doc, that means a lot. Ya this is Benton, Lucy's brother, the little guy from the snow. His mum died and gave us custody, we're doing our best."

Dr Cartledge spoke softly, "Well my dear, I can see you are doing a great job." She smiled and left.

Ray breathed out a breath, "Oh thank the Lord. Did ya hear that Benton? Daddy is going to be fine. See told ya the doctors would make him all better."

Francesca, Welsh and the Duck Boys were thrilled as well and let out the breaths they didn't know they were holding. Francesca came over, "Ray here, give me Benton, go see Fraser OK?"

Ray spoke shakily, "Thank you Frannie.”

Just as Ray was about to go to see Fraser, Ray Vecchio came in a panic. "Is it true; is it true Benny had a heart attack? Jesus how can Benny have a heart attack?”

Stan looked at him and broke down again hugging Ray, "Vecchio he did. He just handed Benton to me and went down. If it wasn't for Huey and Dewey he may not be here. Look, I'm just on my way to see him. Give me a few minutes then you can see him, OK?"

Ray hugged him again, "Sure Stan, go on."

Stan walked down the corridor to Fraser's room. Ray turned to Huey and Dewey, "Jesus guys, what happened?”

Huey moved closer, "God Vecchio it was horrible. One minute we're just talking, the next Fraser is shouting for Kowalski to take Benton off him saying 'I think I'm having a heart attack'. Then down he went, we couldn't catch him he went so fast.”

Shaking his head, Dewey said, "I tell you Ray, I never want that cry of pain to come out of Kowalski again, it was just...it will haunt me. I never want to hear it again."

Stan entered Fraser's room. Fraser's face was ashen colour. Monitors were beating in steady beats. The doctor's words 'he's going to be fine' were going around in Ray's head, it was the only thing keeping him from freaking out more. Taking Fraser's hand, "Jesus Ben you scared me. I knew we should have gone home, or to a doctor like Vecchio said. It doesn't matter now, as soon as you're out of here the paperwork will be done, then we are going home to Canada. The papers will be official then Benton Buddy senior." Ray kissed his forehead softly.

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Days passed quickly and Fraser got stronger and there was nothing but good news from the doctor. The doctor did issue more time off, he was to rest. She said that she would know if he wasn't as she was moving home to Canada and taking over as doctor there which was his and Ray's home village. Stan made plenty sure that Fraser heard every word the doctor told him.

On the day Fraser was getting out of the hospital Stan broke down a bit. "Ben please don't do that again OK? You frightened the life outta me."

Kissing Ray's ring finger, Fraser replied, "I promise Ray I won't and I'm sorry for frightening you. Come on, let's get going."

Huey, Dewey and Ray were at the apartment chatting to them. "So Fraser, what do you do up there other than the Mountie thing?"

Instead of Fraser answering, Stan did. "Ben teaches in the school, sign language and French. He also will teach you to horse ride if you want it. There is plenty to do up there."

Ray spoke, "You teach? I didn't know you teach Benny, wow."

Stan laughed, "Ya you should see it. The youngest in the class is four and she is real good, better than the adults in the class. It was funny, the kids thought it was cool we were getting married. The adults were starting to organise it even before class finished. It's going to be very interesting living up there with people don't judge, thank God."

They all had a good laugh at that. Huey spoke for all, "Well for one thing, we do wish you both well up there. If anyone deserves happiness you two do. Fraser sorry, but for that bitch Victoria and you Stan for that she-devil Stella, sorry, but she was. Listen, if ye need anything you know where we are OK?"

Fraser cleared his throat and spoke. "Thank you kindly. We...I...we...sorry, I'm just tired." Fraser was too tired to find his words.

Ray stood, "OK guys, get going. I'll leave ye to rest, just take it easy OK? I'll just go for a walk; I'll take Dief and leave ye to get to bed OK?" The guys left and Ray took Dief for a walk while Fraser and Stan went to bed. By the time Ray got back, there they were.

Finally in bed Ray watched Fraser sleep. He whispered to Fraser, "Ben I'll look after ya my love. We'll be getting home tomorrow and everything will be OK. Love ya Ben." Ray kissed his forehead once again.

Fraser in his sleep said, "Love you Ray." Ray held Fraser, cuddling him protectively.

Now And Forever

Vic32

Summary:

True love finds its happy ending among family and friends. Sequel to Finding Family.

Notes:

I don't own these guys they guys at Alliance to, I’m just looking after them.

Thank you to my beta ds-Tiff I’ve no words enough to say to you. xxx

Story order is Tough Cases then Finding Family and Now and Forever to finish. The tags didn't go in right for me sorry.

NOW AND FOREVER

Ray Kowalski was up early and he had already dressed and fed Benton. It had being a few days since Fraser was released from hospital after suffering a mild heart attack, Ray still could not believe that his Ben could have had one. Fraser, at the moment, was still sound asleep.

Ray was soon joined by Ray Vecchio who had gone out to get fresh rolls for breakfast. Ray looked up at him as he came in, “Morning Vecchio.”

Ray replied with a smile, “Morning Stan.” After setting down the rolls and getting a cup of coffee for himself, Ray sat down at the table with Stan. For the past few mornings Ray and Stan have had some good chats over breakfast, they had become fast friends.

As they were talking for a bit Stan asked a question that had been on his mind. “Vecchio I hope you don’t mind me asking, but a while back I had heard that you and Stella were having twins. I didn’t know if it was true or not?”

Ray laughed. “Ya I heard that as well. No, not true. Stella had been stung by a bee and well, she swelled up in all the wrong places and while at the hospital she visited a friend who had just given birth and someone saw her come out of the maternity ward and so put two and two together and got five.”

Stan laughed at this. “Bet Stell wasn’t happy about that hey?”

Ray shook his head, “You’ve no idea”.

As Benton lay gazing at his mobile and Diefenbaker guarded, Ray and Stan talked on. “Vecchio, I was just wondering if you’ve found an apartment or something to live in/” asked Stan, “because if you haven’t this one is available once we leave in a few days. I’m leaving it fully furnished, I’m only taking some stuff like my CD's and DVD's and stuff, but everything else is staying. It’s a nice area and the landlady is pretty cool?”

Ray replied with a slight chuckle, “Do you know that I was just going to ask you if you knew of any apartments coming up for rent in this building anytime soon. I must say I do like this place. So you think your landlady will go for it me taking over this place?”

Nodding, Stan answered, “Sure she will. Another cop, quiet and clean, she’ll love it.”

Ray looked at Benton as he had done about ten times since he came back from going to the shop. Ray was smiling sweetly at him; this didn’t go unnoticed by Stan. “Ray go ahead, pick him up. I’m sure he’d love his Uncle Ray to hold him?” Stan said softly.

Ray immediately picked Benton up. “Hey little guy, how you doing today? All smiles and giggles I see.”

Ray sat with Benton in his arms. He saw a very amused looking Stan watching him. Ray spoke with a laugh to his voice, “What you grinning at?”

Still looking amused, Stan replied, “Nothing Ray. It’s just it suits you, is all. Ya listen ta me. You find yourself someone you can have this with; you’re meant to have this Vecchio.”

Ray found himself doing Fraser’s puffin face to Benton. “You know I didn’t think I wanted kids. They never seemed to like me much; well maybe because Benny was always with me and they always loved him, but you know I do, I do want kids of my own so much.”

They chatted for another half hour before a sleepy, ruffled looking Fraser came into the kitchen. Stan was straight up, “And what do you think you're doing out of bed Mister Mountie?”

“Ra...Stan, I’ve slept in late enough. My god its half past nine already!” Fraser said sounding whiny.

Slapping his forehead Stan went on, “Ben, Ben, Ben you just got out of hospital after having a heart attack! You were ordered to rest. Now if you want tea I’ll bring you tea, if you want breakfast I’ll bring you that. So back to bed Ben, Dr Kowalski’s orders, got it?”

With pleading eyes to Ray Fraser hoped for back up, but Ray agreed. “Sorry Benny, but Kowalski’s right, you should be in bed. Don’t worry we’ll keep you company during the day so you won’t get bored.”

Giving in, Fraser turned and headed back to the bedroom muttering, “I’m not a baby and it was only a mild heart attack, “but out loud for them to hear he said, “Very well Stanley, Ray.” Both Ray and Stan threw their eyes to heaven, as did Benton and Diefenbaker. Stan playfully slapped Fraser on the arm for calling him 'Stanley'.

Settling him back into bed and sitting him up against the headboard, Stan covered Ben back up. “There you go Ben. I know you don’t like staying in bed, but you need your rest Ben and the doctors gave you orders. Anyway you’ll need your strength, we are visiting Mum and Dad and the Vecchio’s before we leave and I think Welsh wants us to drop by the 27th as well, so rest. I’m leaving in a few minutes to collect my final papers from the lawyers; they are ready so you’re officially my boss. Lucky for us this new programme allows married couples to work together.”

Fraser laced his fingers with Stan’s. “Stan I just don’t like staying in bed, but I understand so, for you Benton and of course Diefenbaker, I will and yes we are lucky about this programme allowing us to work together. We’ll make it work, show them it can be done.”

Stan kissed Fraser’s hand. “We sure will Ben. Look, I’m taking Benton and Diefenbaker with me for some fresh air, but Vecchio will be here going over some more files before he starts back tomorrow, so if you need anything just ask him alright? Oh ya, he is taking over the apartment when we leave so it’s all good.”

With a bright smile, Fraser replied, “That’s wonderful Stan. This is a lovely area so Ray will do well here. Take it easy now Ok and be careful, I love you.”

Going out the bedroom door, Stan said, “I’ll just get you some breakfast my love and I’ll be off OK? Now remember you stay there, or I’ll give Vecchio permission to cuff you to the bed!”

Fraser laughed a hearty laugh, “Understood.”

Stan came back in and joined Ray and Benton. Ray asked, “Well how was he about being sent back to bed?”

Stan sat and chuckled, “Pouting. Believe me; a pouting Mountie not good, but I’m telling you Vecchio, Ben is not used to being the one looked after. He is always the one doing the looking after. If I had one wish I’d go back in time and give a piece if my mind to everyone who has ever hurt my Ben. I mean how can you look at that smiling face and want to hurt him?”

Cradling Benton, Ray replied in a hush tone, “Ya Kowalski, you're right. Even after the Victoria thing he didn’t really want help. Tried pushing me away, he kept saying sorry like it was his mantra. I never really blamed him...OK maybe for a second, but she had him, she had him hook line and sinker, but you’re good for him. You know what to do how to handle him. Just watch for his nightmare, Benny had quite a few bad ones in hospital after Victoria.”

Stan let out a heavy sigh, “Funny you should say that Vecchio. Ben did have a few while I was up in Canada with him, but the one he had the night of his heart attack just about done me in. God Vecchio, his voice was childlike and crying. He kept saying over and over, ‘Sorry Daddy, sorry Daddy I couldn’t stop the bad man. Sorry Daddy I could stop Mummy bleeding. I tried Daddy; I tried to be brave just like you Daddy’.” Stan took a breath. “God Vecchio, I think he must have seen it all happen, his own mum getting killed. No child should see that, he must have blocked it out?”

Ray paled, “Jesus Stan, he has never spoken of that so he must have blocked it all out. What should we do about it?”

Stan nodded sadly. “You're right Ray because he didn’t remember the dream the next morning at all. I didn’t say anything, but I will when the time is right, when he goes to see the shrink, or something?”

Stan got up and packed Benton’s nappy bag with all he needed for his few hours out. He took Ben his breakfast and joined Ray again. “So Ray will you be OK while I’m out?”

Ray waved his hand, “We will be fine. I’ll be reading these files and I’ll keep my eyes and ears out for him don’t worry.” With that Stan left with Benton and Diefenbaker.

Ray checked on Fraser every now and then, but Fraser mostly slept, only waking to use the toilet and to have tea and something to eat. Ray sat in the chair beside the bed as he handed Fraser his latest cup of tea. Ray leaned back in the chair, “Benny you do know that you gave us all quite a fright don’t you?”

Drinking his tea, Fraser replied, “I must confess I scared myself. I thought just as I got everything I’ve ever wanted it was gone again, you know. Just like everything else...everyone I love gets hurt or dies.”

Ray looked at Fraser with sad eyes. “Ah geez Benny, now you listen. You follow the doctor’s orders. No playing the super Mountie, you hear me? You take your family home got it and you enjoy it and treasure it.”

Fraser nodded. “You're right Ray, I will. I will always treasure it.”

Meanwhile Stan hurried around. First picking up his final papers from the lawyers office, then he had a cup of coffee in his favourite place, then he bought something nice to make for their dinners. From now on, with the exception of one or two days, they would eat healthily. Now Stan headed home to the man he loved more than anything in this world and that included his beloved GTO.

+++++

It was around midday and Ray Kowalski was about to head out to the post office. Ray was posting all his worldly belongings that he was taking with him to his new home in Canada. Earlier that morning, Ray Kowalski’s parents picked up Benton so they could spend the day with them. This trilled Ray and Fraser, Benton was having a day with his grandparents. Unknown to Fraser, Ray had organised a surprise for him which he’d find out about by the end of the day. Lucky his parents thought it was a marvellous idea and kept it quiet. Ray had arranged a photo session for Benton where he would be dressed up for them. It was going to be a perfect surprise for his Ben. Ray was sitting on the arm of the couch. “So Ben, will you be OK here on your own while I go out for a bit?”

Looking into Ray’s eyes, Fraser replied, “I’ll be fine Ray. Ray Vecchio will be home very soon anyway. Remember his work date was changed for starting, so don’t worry I promise I’ll just sit and read OK?”

Ray was satisfied with Fraser’s answer. “OK Ben, but remember I have my spies.”

Fraser laughed, “Mountie's honour Ray.” Giving a cheeky grin Ray leaned down and kissed Fraser goodbye.

Stella sat in her car watching her former husband leave his apartment building. Stella had been waiting for the opportunity to get Fraser on his own. Stella wanted to have it out with him. She has been trying for the past ten days, but there had been no sign of them anywhere, not even her current husband. Oh she had gotten messages on her phone from him for her to phone him, but Stella just thought he wanted to get back with her and that was out of the question, so she never returned his calls. Stella had no idea that Fraser had suffered a mild heart attack, so once the coast was clear Stella headed up to the apartment.

Fraser, as promised, remained on the couch and settled back reading his book. It was strange, Fraser thought, Ray Kowalski and Benton were only a part of his life for such a short time, yet now he was alone in the apartment he missed the noise, or just the feel of someone else there with him. A knock to the door broke Fraser out of his thoughts. Fraser made his way slowly over to answer the door. Even though Fraser had been out of the hospital for a few days now, his movements made him tired and his chest still hurt. H He opened the door and to his surprise Stella Vecchio stood outside it. Fraser found his voice to be hoarse. “Hello Mrs Vecchio, I’m afraid neither Ray nor Stan are here at the moment.”

Stella looked at him with cold eyes. “Yes Fraser, I’m aware they are not here, I am here to speak to you. Can I come in, or do you want to do this on your doorstep?”

Fraser had no idea what she wanted, or why she was been so cold. What had he done? He had done nothing to her current husband or her last as they had only recently gotten together. He stepped aside. “Oh of course I’m sorry; please do come in Mrs Vecchio. May I offer you some tea or coffee?”

Stepping in, Stella snapped. “No that won’t be necessary Fraser; I just came here to talk to you.”

Leaning against the counter Fraser regarded her, “What is it that you’d like to talk to me about Mrs Vecchio?”

Before speaking Stella just looked at Fraser. Something seemed off. His movements were slow and careful and Stella noticed that he was paler than usual. Stella sat down. “I came here to get you to see how stupid this relationship you have going with Stanley is. I mean for God's sake, he wasn’t even gay, what did you do to him? Did you trick or brainwash him in some way?”

Folding his arms and leaning back against the counter Fraser spoke in a calm voice. “Excuse me, but I did not trick or brainwash Ray as you say. If you must know it was Ray who declared his love for me first Mrs Vecchio.”

Stella turned her glare on Fraser. “I don’t believe you. The Stanley I knew would never do anything like that?”

Fraser smiled. “The RAY you knew. Did you know Ray? The Ray I know is loving and giving.”

Stella let out a short laugh. “Yes well the Stanley I knew was needy. Always going on about wanting children, settling down with a house and a garden. He wanted a dog. Stanley had no regard for my career, or his own. He never really wore the clothes I bought him unless he had to for a party; he was always going around dressed like a waste of space for God's sake!”

Fraser could not believe what he was hearing coming out of her mouth. “Excuse Mrs Vecchio, but you obviously didn’t know Ray very well. Ray is the least needy person I have ever met. Ray came up to Canada on a phone call from my secretary to help me. Ray gives whole heartily to everyone he meets. As for Ray’s dress style, it’s his own and I like it. If Ray is comfortable that’s all that matters. As for children Mrs Vecchio, we have Benton and if Ray wants more he shall have more. My sister has already told me if I ever needed a surrogate she’d do it for my partner, or if Ray wishes to adopt instead I’ll support him in that as well.”

Stella was now furious because she was not getting to the Mountie. Now in his face, her voice rose. “You goddamn stupid Mountie. You think you're all that, but I tell you you’re not getting your hands on my Ray!” Stella stopped when she realised what she had said. Fraser’s eyes widened in surprise at what she had said as well.

Fraser was smiling now. “You’re Ray? I thought your Ray was Ray Vecchio who you are currently divorcing? To be honest Mrs Vecchio, I can’t understand what either Ray saw in you? Both have loving hearts, both have generous spirits and you are just cold.”

Stella was so angry at Fraser’s words and the truth in them that she just lashed out. She slapped Fraser hard across the face just as Ray Vecchio walked through the door. Ray Vecchio was shocked and stopped dead. He found his voice a few seconds later, “Stella what the hell do you think you're doing? Benny just got out of the hospital after having a heart attack Stella!”

Ray moved to Fraser’s side while Stella stood shocked at what she had just done. The words had hurt more because Fraser was right; she had been talking about Ray Kowalski and not Ray Vecchio. She was still shamefully in love with Ray Kowalski and it pained her that Fraser had come in and given him the love he needed and a child, with the possibility for more. She gave him nothing but heartache.

Ray Vecchio sat Fraser down, “Sheesh Benny you ok”?

Fraser sat. “I’m fine Ray, I should be apologising to Mrs Vecchio. What I said was uncalled for; I hope you can accept my apology?”

Stella found her voice. “I...I’m sorry Fraser, I didn’t mean to strike you, I don’t know why I did it? Of course I accept, but there is no need for you to say that.”

Ray wouldn’t let up, “You know Stella, you're very lucky it was me and not Kowalski that came through that door because there is no doubt it would not have been pretty. Why did you hit him?”

Stella struggled to reply. “He just made me so mad. I really don’t know? I didn’t know about the heart attack, I’m sorry, I’ll just go.”

Ray looked coldly at her. “Ya Stella I think that would be for the best and if you had just returned my phone calls you would have known. Stella you’ll be pleased to know that I signed and dropped off the divorce papers this morning, so just go Stella.”

Stella held back her tears and left saying, “I’m sorry,” once more and closed the door behind her.

Meanwhile Ray Kowalski had just finished at the post office and headed to meet his parents. They were meeting at Happy Days Picture Studios to have Benton’s photos taken. The photographer agreed to do some of Diefenbaker as well. The photo session went great. Benton was on his best behaviour as was Diefenbaker. Ray also got photos done of Benton and Diefenbaker with his parents. They were so happy with their grandchild. It didn’t matter how this gift came into their lives, he was a blessing to their family, or that their son was marrying a man. Their son was really happy and that to any parent is all that should matter. So at the end of their day out Ray headed home with Benton and Diefenbaker and his Mum and Dad headed home to their own house.

Back at the apartment, Ray Vecchio was trying to make sense of what had gone on. Fraser had told Ray what he had said to Stella and Ray didn’t think that it warranted her hitting him. The thing was, there was no way to hide it from Ray Kowalski because there was a hand mark on Fraser’s face where she had hit him, plus her ring that she was wearing had cut his face. Ray Vecchio asked, “So Benny, so what you going to tell Kowalski about this?”

Fraser looked sadly, “The truth.”

Ray Kowalski came through the door carrying Benton and followed by Diefenbaker. He immediately sensed the air in the room, but still shouted, “Honey I’m home!”

Ray Vecchio came out from the kitchen, “Hiya Kowalski.”

Stan heard the tone in that and put Benton down to sleep before coming back in. Taking off his coat, “OK what’s up, what happened?” That’s when he saw Fraser’s face. He ran straight over, “Jesus Ben, what happened? Who did this to you? Did you call it in?”

Fraser spoke softly, “Stan I’m fine. It was my own fault; I shouldn’t have said those things to Mrs Vecchio. She was just reacting to the things I said.”

Stan was stunned, “Mrs Vecchio? Do you mean Stella? Stella did this to you, what the hell was she thinking? What could you possibly have said to make her hit you Ben?” Fraser told him all what had happened. Stan got up. “That’s not enough for her to hit you Ben. I’m going to see her, that’s not right.” Before Ray Vecchio or Fraser could stop him, Stan was out the door and mad as hell.

Ray Kowalski jumped into his GTO and gunned it into action. On the drive to Stella’s place his head was buzzing and his body fuelled with anger. How could she have done this? If Stella wanted to say something, why say it to Fraser and not to him? Stella always has to take it one step too far. This time Stella had stepped way over the line. Finally reaching her door, Ray took in a deep breath and knocked. Stella was not surprised to see that Ray was standing there when she opened the door.

In a masked voice, she asked, “What are you doing here Stanley?”

Ray was fuming, “So I’m Stanley now? Fine, but Stella what the hell do you think you were doing hitting Ben like that?”

Stella cut him off, “Please come in, we don’t want to air our dirty laundry in public do we?”

Ray snorted a laugh, “Ya Stell, as if we haven’t done that before. Besides you can only do that with your husband and from now you have no husband?”

Stella interrupted, “How dare you! Why are you here anyway?”

Smirking at her, he said, “If you have to ask Stell, you’re really acting stupid. OK if you must know, what the hell got into you? Why hit Ben? The man just got out of the hospital after having a heart attack Stell! If you wanted to talk to someone about this, you should have talked to me not Ben. Have you any idea what that man has been through? For God's sake a little girl fell from his grip and died, a little girl who turned out to be family Stell. How would you have felt if that was your niece Rosie? Just think about that. You didn’t even ask that night you came for dinner how he was coping, you just said 'I’m not listening to this crap' and left?”

Stella just sat there and listened. “Ray I honestly don’t know why I did that. I think it’s because I realised how much I’m still in love with you, how much it hurts. I know I’m never going to have the same love from you ever again, that you have everything you have ever wanted and it’s with a man for Christ’s sake?”

Ray smiled. “Ya well Stell, you're right, you’re never going to have my love back, and not the way you want it. I will always love you in some way, but not like that and do you know yes, I am truly happy now, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been. I have a man who loves me for me Stell. He doesn’t want to change any part of me. I still have my job as a Detective part time. We have a son with the possibility for more kids. We have a fantastic cabin and a hell of a lot of land. We have two horse and sled dogs. I’m opening my own business. Me Stell, skinny ass Ray Kowalski, his own business, who would have thought that? Do you know, no one up there bats and eye at us. If anything, they have opened their arms to us fully and I love it up there. I hope someday you take your head out of your ass and grow up. Stop putting your career first because I tell you, you have no idea what you’re missing out on.”

Stella was stunned by his words; Ray had never spoken to her like that before. Stella spoke softly, “I...I’m sorry Ray, I don’t know what to say. So I gather I’m never going to make you see sense? That this is all so very stupid, because it is and you know it”

Ray threw his hands in the air. “Oh STELLA get over it! I hope and pray to God I don’t see sense. I’m in love and I’m loved and I’m NOT giving that up for no one, not for anyone. We will be sending you a wedding invite, but it’s up to you. I'd better be going; my family is waiting for me. Good luck with your career because that’s all that matters right?”

With that Ray left shutting the door. Stella sat at her kitchen table all alone in her empty apartment and looked around at it. Ray was right Stella thought, she was only interested in her career. She could never see herself with a family and yet she yearned for Ray Kowalski. She’d lost two Rays, both with huge hearts and they were extremely happy and it didn’t include her. Stella steeled herself and got up and left for her office to prepare for her next case.

Ray got back into his GTO and headed to Happy Pictures Studios to pick up the photos. Ray had paid extra to have them done the same day. He'd had one of the pictures framed and it made him smile. Nothing was going to get him down. He had a wonderful family waiting for him and not even Stella was going to ruin that for him.

Ray was now back his apartment door, letting out a breath to get rid of the last of his anger towards Stella. So going through the door once again singing, “Honey I’m home,” he saw that both Ray Vecchio and Fraser were looking at him from the couch. Stan walked over leaving the surprise by the door. Putting his hands by his side, he said, “OK guys, before you say anything, everything is fine. I didn’t do anything stupid OK? It is over and done with, don’t want to talk about it again OK?”

Both Ray Vecchio and Fraser stayed quiet and just nodded their answer. Smiling happily Stan went on, all excited. “OK good. Now Ben I have a surprise for you. Vecchio you can stay for this, its fine, you're family anyway. Today I met up with Mum and Dad and we had a photo session done with them and Benton and Diefenbaker as a surprise for you. I had to pay extra to have them done on the same day, but it was worth it, I hope you think so?” Stan hurried and got the photos, sitting on the couch with Fraser and Ray who was holding a now awake Benton with Diefenbaker smiling happily at their feet.

Fraser smiled sweetly taking the photos. Stan handed them to him keeping the framed one 'til last. The photos were beautiful. They showed Benton looking cute dressed up as a bumble bee sitting on a flower. Others had him sitting with Ray’s parents and some with Diefenbaker. Now Stan handed him the framed one which was wrapped up. “I saved the best 'til last Ben.”

Fraser opened it carefully. On seeing the photo, tears of pure love and joy filled his eyes. The photo showed Benton dressed as a Mountie with Diefenbaker by his side smiling. The backdrop was just like their home, a cabin and snow-capped mountains. Fraser’s voice was shaky, “It’s beautiful Stan. I don’t know what to say? Thank you, this is the nicest thing I’ve ever...just thank you, my love.”

Ray Vecchio had tears in his eyes also. “Sheesh Kowalski, didn’t realise you were a romantic?” Seeing they wanted to kiss, Ray said, “Kiss him for God's sake, I’ll close my eyes I promise.”

With that Ray covered his eyes and Stan kissed his Ben, sweetly whispering, “Love ya Ben, and never forget it.”

Fraser whispered back, “Never.”

Stan picked up Benton, “Here, I’ll just give him his bath; I’m sure that little Benton is sticky from his busy day. I’ll leave you to look at your photos. Oh, I’ve arranged for Buck to send one of your Mum and Dad, the photographer said he can make you a beautiful photo with Benton in with it. I’ll make tea when I come back OK? You two rest, got it?”

Fraser and Ray smiled, “Got it,” they both said.

Stan hurried to the bathroom with Benton. Diefenbaker insisted on joining them, which left Ray and Fraser alone.

Ray kept looking at the photos and the look of pure joy and love on Fraser’s face. Placing a hand on Fraser’s arm, he said, “Kowalski really loves you doesn’t he Benny and you feel just as strong don’t ya?”

Not taking his eyes off the photos, “Yes Ray. You know, if you had told me I'd have all this someday I wouldn’t have believed you, but now I do. I just keep thinking I’m going to wake up and it’s all just a wonderful dream and do you know, I hope I never wake up. I never want to lose this, is it real?”

Ray smiled, “Ya Benny it’s real and you deserve it buddy.”

+++++

It was just before the babysitter would arrive at the apartment, as Fraser and Ray had a party to go to. The guys at the 27th and their families had organised a going away party for them and they were sitting around having tea before she arrived. Ray Vecchio cleared his throat, “Guys can I ask you something?”

Fraser took a sip of his tea, “Of course you can Ray, and you can ask us anything.”

Clasping both hands together, Ray continued, “OK, OK listen, Welsh told me...well I don’t have to start work for another month, so Welsh suggested more or less I get away for a bit for a break. So I was wondering, or...well, hoping I could come up North for bit with you both. You know, support you during the trial. I could look after Benton so you’d have one less thing to worry about. Are there any good hotels or inns or something I could stay in?”

Fraser and Stan looked at each other and nodded. Stan spoke for them, “Vecchio, we’d love you to come, but staying in a hotel or anything is out of the question. Family stays in the guest room, got it? And yes we’d love your support and help, wouldn’t we Ben?”

Smiling, Fraser said, “Ah yes, yes we would. You know you're always welcome Ray. Your help and support is very much appreciated.”

Ray smiled broadly. “Great, thanks. So I’ll just go phone and get my ticket in order. I’m looking forward to seeing where you live and I hope this time our plane doesn’t crash or you go blind or lose the use of your legs Benny. Oh and do not get shot as that would be nice change Benny!”

Stan chuckled, “Just watch out Vecchio, they have some sort of hug competition going on up there or something.”

Ray looked confused, but Fraser explained, “Stan, they are just friendly. Ray, you’ll be fine.”

Just then the landlady’s daughter arrived to babysit Benton. She often helps the people in the building by babysitting. She used the money to pay for her books and school trips as she wanted to pay her own way with them. She felt her mother had enough to pay for with her brothers and sisters. They were happy with her so, leaving her with all the contact numbers, Fraser and Ray headed for the party.

The room hired was filled with all their friends and family. Even some of the people from Fraser’s old building turned up. The guys from the 27th went to a great deal of trouble decorating the hall, it had both the American and Canadian flags hanging up and photos taken of them over the years were displayed around the room. You could tell a lot of love and care went into the room. Everyone was having such a great time. The DJ played all their favourite songs and the food was going down a treat. Fraser and Ray could not believe that their friends and family had done all this for them.

Fraser stood and watched his Ray dance with his mother with happy, but sad thoughts going through his head. He was broken out of his thoughts as Huey spoke to him, “You doing Ok there Red? You looked miles away, penny for 'em?”

Smiling, but not breaking his gaze from the dancing pair he cleared his throat. “I’m sorry, I’m fine. They look good dancing together, I’m just worried that Ray doesn’t know what he is giving up to marry me and move to Canada?”

Huey looked as well, “Fraser, Ray loves you, anyone can see that. I know he wouldn’t be doing it if he didn’t want to. Ray loves whole heartily, so I’d say he knows exactly what he is doing so don’t worry.”

As Ray danced with his mother, she could see the love he had for Fraser and the happiness it brought him shining out of his eyes. Looking into her son’s eyes, “Stanley my dear, why don’t you ask Fraser to dance?”

Ray blushed, “Mum we wouldn’t want to make anyone uncomfortable.”

Shaking her head, Ray's Mum replied, “Stanley my dear boy, all these people are your friends and family and are here for you both. They wouldn’t be here if they were uncomfortable with you both, or they wouldn’t all be going all the way to Canada for your wedding now would they?”

Ray knew his mother was right. “You're right Mum; I’ll ask him after this dance. Thanks Mum for not hating me. I love you, we both love you.” Ray kissed his mother's cheek and continued to dance. Once the dance with his mother was over Ray went over to the DJ and requested a certain song to be played and asked for it not to be started until he nodded to him. The DJ was more than happy to help him out. Ray made his way over to Fraser and held out his hand, “May I have this dance?”

Fraser blushed, “You sure Ray, you wouldn’t be too uncomfortable?”

Giving Fraser the look, “Ben come on, I requested a special song. Dance and listen to the words. Come on, I love ya.”

Smiling the brightest smile, Fraser said, “I’d love to Ray.” Ray took his hand and guided him to the dance floor and nodded to the DJ to start the song.

“Us against the world
Against the world
Us against the world
Against the world

You and I, we’ve been at it so long
I still got the strongest fire
You and I, we still know how to talk
Know how to walk that wire

Sometimes I feel like the world is against me
The sound of your voice, baby
That's what saves me
When we're together I feel so invincible

'Cause it's us against the world
You and me against them all
If you listen to these words
Know that we are standing tall
I don't ever see the day that
I won't catch you when you fall
'Cause it's us against the world tonight

Us against the world
Against the world

There’ll be days
we’ll be on different sides but
That doesn’t last too long
We find ways to get it on track
And know how to turn back on

Sometimes I feel
I can’t keep it together
Then you hold me close
And you make it better
When I’m with you
I can feel so unbreakable

Cause it's us against the world
You and me against them all
If you listen to these words
Know that we are standing tall
I don't ever see the day that
I won't catch you when you fall
Cause it's us against the world tonight

We’re not gonna break
Because we both still believe
We know what we’ve got
And we’ve got what we need alright
We’re doing something right...

Cause it's us against the world
You and me against them all
If you listen to these words
Know that we are standing tall
I don't ever see the day that
I won't catch you when you fall
Cause it's us against the world tonight

Us against the world
You and me against them all
If you listen to these words
Know that we are standing tall
I don't ever see the day that
I won't catch you when you fall
Us against the world
Yeah it’s us against the world, baby
Us against the world
Tonight

Us against the world
Against the world
Us against the world”

(“Us Against the World”, Westlife, 'Back Home' album)

Once the song was finished, Ben and Ray just stood looking into each other's eyes. Ben’s eyes were filled with tears of joy. “That was beautiful Ray. Thank you.”

Ray kissed Ben gently on the nose, “It’s my pleasure, Ben love.”

Everyone had more food and drink and enjoyed the night. No one gave a second glance at Fraser and Ray if they held hands or hugged, even a kiss on the cheek and if they did look it was to see how well they fitted together. It was love all the way and it made them feel better seeing it.

It was the end of night and Fraser and Ray stood on the DJ’s platform. Getting everyone’s attention Ray spoke, “Everyone listen up will ya.” Everyone stopped what they were doing and turned to them. Smiling, Ray continued, “Thank you. OK, first off Ben and I would like to thank you for tonight, we really had a great time and secondly, Ben and I would like to thank you for your support. For those of you who wish to remain unknown, you’ve no idea how thankful I am. Just thanks to you all. You know, it’s not easy coming out like this, being a cop and on the wrong side of thirty something. Well once again, thank you and we hope you can all make it to the wedding.”

Everyone raised their glasses in a toast led by Ray Vecchio. “May your future be filled with everything you dream and wish for? To Benny and Ray.”

Everyone echoed that, “To Benny and Ray!” and they raised their glasses. Fraser and Ray blushed and laughed at the use of their names.

+++++

Finally they sat in the airport waiting for their boarding call. As usual Ray Kowalski was pacing, he was a nervous flyer. Ray Vecchio whispered to Fraser, “Kowalski always like this Benny?”

Watching him pace, Fraser replied, “I’m afraid so yes, but I think being a nervous flyer is partly my fault Ray.”

Vecchio looked at Fraser with a confused expression. “Why would you say that Benny?”

Fraser sighed, “Well Ray, I did push him out of a plane into snow with no parachute. I think that’s what set him off.”

Finally called for their flight, Fraser carried Benton while Ray carried their bags with Ray Vecchio tagging behind. Ray Vecchio laughed. Fraser turned to him, “What’s so funny Ray?”

Still laughing, Vecchio replied, “I’m just thinking we look like that Tom Selleck movie, you know, Three Men and a Baby!”

Looking at how they looked, Fraser laughed. “True Ray, but we have one difference, we have a wolf.” All three laughed at that as they made their way to their seats. This time Ray Kowalski took the inside seat, he did not want to deal with the smell again on the plane if he had to and anyway he told his Ben he wasn’t getting away with it, so this was payback.

Heading off to their new life in Canada they couldn’t stop smiling. Ray noticed that Fraser was thinking. He snapped out of his thoughts when his Ray spoke to him. “Penny for them Ben?”

Fraser gazed lovingly at his Ray, “Sorry Ray, I was just thinking.”

Using his coy voice, Ray asked, “What ya thinking about Ben?”

Using his stern voice, but not very well, Fraser answered, “Ray I was just thinking, it could be my ears, but at the party your mother called your brother Paul not James, or was I hearing things?”

Ray laughed, “No Ben you heard right. OK, as you know, I’m Stanley Raymond Kowalski right; well my brother is Paul James Kowalski. He goes by James, he likes it better.”

Fraser laughed. “So you’re like two peas in a pod Ray.”

Ray chuckled, “Ya, but hear this, my dad is Marian Damian Kowalski, go figure? You think that my dad would have learned and just called me Ray to start with?”

Taking Ray’s hand in his and kissing it, Fraser said, “I love your family Ray, you’re unique. I can’t wait to add Kowalski to my name.”

That made Ray gasp and smile even wider, looking forward even more to starting his life in Canada. Closing his eyes he drifted off to sleep, still holding Fraser’s hand in his.

Ray Vecchio watched from across the aisle at the happy pair, knowing his Benny chose well this time, plus praying they landed soon as the big guy next to him seemed to think he was a pillow.

+++++

It was dark by the time they reached the cabin. All but Fraser had slept all the way in the SUV from the airport to the cabin, which was lucky because he was the one doing the driving. Pulling up at the cabin and looking at his sleeping friends and lover, Fraser really didn’t want to wake them, but of course he had to, they couldn’t freeze in the SUV all night. Finally finding his voice, “We’re home, time to wake up.”

Waking slowly and looking around, they felt embarrassed that they slept all the way and left all the driving to Fraser. Ray Kowalski managed to speak, “Awe geez Ben I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to sleep all the way, why didn’t ya wake me?”

Looking into his lover’s eyes, Fraser replied, “Ray, Ray, Ray you were tired and had a long journey. Come on now, let's get inside.”

Ray Vecchio was still coming round, “So ah, we’re here, right?” he said in a sleepy voice.

Smiling tiredly, Fraser answered, “Yes Ray, we are here.”

They all headed inside. Billy and James had already headed home because Fraser had rung them to say they were on their way home and if they wanted to go home before it got dark that would be fine, which they were happy to do as it was harder to drive at night.

Each took in the bags while Fraser brought in Benton and put him into bed with Diefenbaker as usual going under his cot. The cabin was warm because Billy and James had lit the fire and had left dinner for them ready to eat. Ray Vecchio stood in the middle of the sitting room looking around the place, seeing both Fraser and the other Ray were watching him.

Smiling, Ray spoke. “Benny I got to tell ya this place is beautiful; a lot better than your father’s cabin. It has power and running water, is that allowed Benny?”

Coming to his side, Fraser replied, “Ah yes Ray, I thought I’d try these new fandangle inventions.” Ray saw the teasing laughter in Fraser’s eyes and laughed. They were still laughing when Ray Kowalski joined in, they may have been tired but it was always good when Fraser pulled your leg.

The night passed quickly and morning dawned. It found them all sitting at the kitchen table having breakfast. Clasping his cup, Fraser was bright as a button, “So Ray, I thought I’d show you around town today if you’d like?”

It always amazed them that Fraser could say Ray and they would know exactly which Ray he was taking to. They tried Stanley and Stan but it didn’t really work as Fraser kept going back to using Ray.

Vecchio nodded into his cup, still trying to wake up. “Ya Benny I’d love that”.

Fraser turned his head to his Ray. “What are your plans for the day, would you care to join us?”

Waving his hand, Ray said, “Am no Ben, I think I’ll just unpack and get the clothes washed, then I’ll head to Billy and James’s place and give them their money for helping out here. Even though I know they won’t take it, I’ll do it anyway.”

All headed in their separate directions for the day. Fraser and his Ray didn’t part without a very loving kiss. As Fraser and Ray Vecchio walked side by side in step with one another just like when they were partners, they chatted comfortably. They were brought out of their conversation by two kids shouting excitedly. Ray Vecchio saw two kids running towards them shouting, “Sergeant Ben, Sergeant Ben!”

Ray smiled and Fraser crouched down as the two boys got to him. Fraser hugged them to greet them. Looking into the little boys eyes, “Hi Billy, Hello Ben, how are you today and where’s your mother?”

Both boys pointed to the shop. Just then a very angry looking woman came out, but on seeing who her boys were with her face softened. She came over, “I’m so sorry Sergeant Ben. Billy, Ben, you should know better than to run off like that!”

Biting their lips, “Sorry Mum, we were just so happy to see Sergeant Ben again.”

Fraser smiled and put his hands on the boy’s heads, “It’s quite alright Mrs Tully, I’m sure they won’t run off again. I’d like to introduce you to my other former partner from Chicago, Ray Vecchio. Ray this is Mrs Tully, Constable Tully’s wife and these are their wonderful children.”

Mrs Tully blushed and Ray held out his hand and shook hers. “It’s very nice to meet you Mrs Tully.”

They chatted some more before heading for the detachment. On entering the building they were immediately greeted by a very happy Gillian Moran, hugging the life out of both of them. She spoke with bright eyes. “Oh Sergeant you're back!” Frowning at how pale he was, she started feeling his forehead. This made Ray laugh. With her hands on her hips, she asked, “OK Sergeant what happened and no saying 'I’m fine Gill', spill.”

Blushing and fiddling with his Stetson, Fraser knew that there was no getting around Gill, she could spot a lie a mile off. Sitting her down after introducing her to Ray, he began, “First Gill, I’m fine now, but while I was in Chicago I suffered a mild heart attack.”

Gill gasped, “OH MY GOD Sergeant! How? I mean, I knew you should have taken time off sooner, I should have insisted on it, this is my entire fault. God I’m so sorry. How are you now?”

Fraser cut off her babbling by taking her hands. “I’m fine now Gill. I’m off work for another few weeks, but I’m fine. I just came in for the notes for the trial. I’m allowed to attend it. Well, I have to anyway.”

Gill was still in shock. “I really am sorry Ben.” Gill got up and kissed him on the cheek and went to get the notes. As the trial was less than a week away, Fraser wanted to refresh all the facts, not that he could forget them.

While Gill was gone Ray asked about her. “Sheesh Benny, they all like that up here? Knockouts and huggers? Is she single?”

Shaking his head, Fraser replied, “Ray, Ray, Ray, Gill is a happily married woman and expecting their first child. As for knockouts, as you say, I’m not sure; I’ve only eyes for my Ray.” They both laughed and Fraser continued, “And Ray...my Ray, thought the same as you when he came up here. Ray thought that there was some hugging competition going on.” They laughed again and Gill came back with the notes and with strict instructions for Fraser to rest. They left to see rest of village.

Walking down the main street heading towards the cabin, a voice took their attention. “Sergeant you're back.” Turning their heads, Fraser saw Anna standing in her shop doorway.

Going over to her Fraser greeted her warmly. “Hello Anna how are you today? Anna I’d like you to meet my friend and former partner, Ray Vecchio.”

Ray smiled at her and shook her hand only to be pulled into another hug. “It’s nice to meet you Anna,” Ray managed to say through the hug.

With kind eyes she asked, “Would you boys like some tea or coffee? Linda is here on her lunch break, I’m sure she’d like to know you're back. So you can say when you're going back teaching. The kids missed you.”

Shifting on his feet, Fraser answered, “Well I do need to speak with Linda. I’m not allowed to work for a few weeks.”

Anna was concerned and now looking worried. “What’s happened my dear? I thought you looked a bit off. Come in, tell us what happened.”

Linda greeted them warmly and Ray was pulled into yet another hug. Ray’s hug lasted much longer then Fraser’s. Linda was blushing, “It’s a pleasure to meet you Ray,” she said, never taking her eyes from his face.

After a few moments Fraser sat them down. Anna patted Fraser’s hand. “OK Ben, now tells us what’s has happened my dear?”

Smiling and trying to hide his emotions, Fraser said, “Just know I’m fine now, but while I was in Chicago I suffered a mild heart attack, so I’m sorry Linda, I won’t be able to work for a few weeks. Please tell the children I’m sorry.”

Both Anna and Linda gasped in horror and tears sprung to their eyes. Anna wiped her eyes, “Oh my god Ben! I knew you were under so much stress; we should have helped you more. I’m sorry Ben.” Linda echoed those words.

Patting her hand back, Fraser smiled. “It’s not your fault, it’s my own. I should have seen someone sooner myself, but I’m fine now and I will see someone.”

Ray piped in, “Don’t worry ladies; I’ll be here for a while. Kowalski and I will make sure that Benny is OK.”

Both Anna and Linda chuckled at the pet name Ray used. “We know you will my dear.”

Just as they were heading out the door, Linda called Ray back. “Ray are you...am...going be here for a while?”

Smiling widely, Ray replied. “Yes I am. I’m here for at least a month longer if Benny needs me. Why?”

Biting her lower lip, Linda asked, “I was just wondering if you’d like to have dinner with me one night?”

Wondering why someone as beautiful as Linda was asking him out, Ray was taken aback. “What would your husband say?”

Linda smiled, gazing into his green eyes, “Oh I’m not married. People call Mrs Meade, but I’m really Miss Meade don’t know why they do that though? So would you like to?”

His eyes brighter than ever, Ray replied, “I’d love to, it’s a date.” Ray kissed her on the cheek softly. Fraser and Ray left for the cabin.

All of them sat around the table having super. Benton was happy in his bouncy chair with Diefenbaker sitting by his side protectively. Ray Kowalski was laughing at Ray Vecchio telling him about Linda asking him out. “Geez Vecchio, you move fast. So, you like Linda do you?”

Flushing, Ray replied, “Ya I do and I’m looking forward to it.”

Fraser spoke using a teasing tone. “Linda did seem quite taken with you. I've never seen her look at anyone like that; she couldn’t take her eyes off you. Linda is a wonderful person; I know you will like her.”

Vecchio sighed contently. “Ya I think I will,” he said. Then he grinned, “You never know, if it works out you might have two Rays living up here in Freezerland?”

All laughed at that. Ray Kowalski spoke, “I gave Billy and James their money. Boy was it hard to get them to take it. I mean look at this place, they did a damn fine job, and they even added the room we were thinking of. I’m mean geez, how the hell did they do that? They are great kids Ben.”

Looking at his lover, Fraser replied, “That they are Ray. I agree they did a fantastic job. I think we should keep James on until he goes back to college, we could use the help 'till I’m fully back to work.”

Ray kissed Fraser on the cheek. “That’s a fine idea Ben.”

Putting the ware in the sink, Ray said, “OK Ben, Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker, we have an early start if we are to prepare for the trial. I want you all to rest, so bed, pitter patter.” Ray Vecchio and Fraser looked at each other and shook their heads, but with that started to prepare for bed.

Lying in bed in the warmth of each other in a loving hold, Ray turned and kissed his Ben. “Ben you going to be OK? You know, seeing him again, going through all the details? Remember not to push yourself OK. If you need a break you take it, you hear me?”

Rubbing his hand up and down Ray’s arm, Fraser said, “I’ll be fine Ray. I’ll have you there for support, so don’t worry and I promise to rest when I need to.”

Relaxing into one another with one last kiss they drifted off to sleep, while Ray Vecchio slept deeply with Benton and Diefenbaker at his side.

+++++

It was the day of the trial and Fraser was a bag of nerves. Of course he tried not to let them know just how nervous he was, but his Ray, Ray Kowalski, could see right through it all beyond the Mountie mask, which wasn’t easy unless you knew him.

As Fraser was getting dressed and refreshing his memory of the notes for the trial in the bedroom, Ray Kowalski paced the life out of the sitting room leaving space for his Ben to get ready in peace. Ray Vecchio sat on the couch holding Benton watching the other Ray pace. After the hundredth turn of the floor Ray Vecchio spoke to him. “Kowalski would you sit down you're making me nervous. How do you think Benny will do seeing these guys again today?”

Still pacing Ray talked at the same time, “These guys are sick. That Coyne creep actually laughed during his interview, he goddam laughed. He killed his little girl and laughed, oh and get this, he actually called Ben to his face...” Ray Kowalski pointed to Benton, “Cover his ears first will ya. “ So Ray Vecchio did, not knowing why and Ray Kowalski nodded his thanks. “Thank you...he actually said to Ben, 'Benton Fucking Fraser goddam super Mountie'. Ya right, I mean, I wanted to punch him so badly.”

Ray Vecchio uncovered Benton’s ears, “So how did Benny react to that?”

Ray Kowalski smiled, “He didn’t, just kept talking, read him his rights and walked out. I tell you Vecchio there is no way I would have been able to do that, I would have kicked him in the head, whether he was in a plaster cast already or not,” Kowalski went back to his pacing, “and the other guy, Tom Cassidy, he was the same. I mean, he was an ex-Mountie and he willingly put people lives at risk and that risk caused one to die. How messed up is that?”

Watching Kowalski, Ray Vecchio said, “Look Kowalski, look we just have to be here for Benny and I’ll be here if you need to talk. Don’t think for a second I’m letting you go through this alone.”

Just as Kowalski was thanking him Fraser came out of the bedroom dressed and ready to leave for court. Fraser was looking OK. That was because his Mountie mask was on, but the Rays both knew different. Fraser didn’t say a word and just walked over and picked Benton up out of Ray Vecchio’s arms. Fraser walked, still not saying a word, to the other side of the cabin. Both Rays looked at each other, then to Fraser, but then they heard Fraser talk to Benton. Cradling Benton in his arm Fraser spoke softly. “Now Benton, your daddies have to go out for a little while OK. Your Uncle Ray is going to be looking after you so be on your best behaviour. I love you Benton.” Fraser kissed Benton on the cheek and went back across the room and put Benton back into Ray Vecchio’s arms. Straightening up, Fraser asked him, “Are you sure you’ll be Ok with Benton? I’m not sure how long this will take, or if it will go on for days or be finished today.”

Looking up at Fraser, Vecchio replied, “I’ll be fine Benny don’t worry, just go and put them away for this little one OK and be careful you two.”

Rubbing Benton’s head one more time, “I’ll put them away for you Benton I promise. Thank you Ray.” Fraser’s voice was strained as he said that.

With that Ray Vecchio and Benton watched as Fraser and Ray Kowalski left for court. “Don’t worry, your Daddy will do it for you, he always gets his man,” Ray said, hoping it would turn out with the right result.

+++++

On entering the court house Ray saw Fraser’s whole demeanour change. Only if you knew him well could you see it and this set alarm bells off in his head and his blood ran cold. Ray knew without a shadow of a doubt that his Ben was holding everything in and if he didn’t watch it, the dam in Ben would probably burst and not in a good way. Ray managed to get the seat right behind Fraser. Just before the judge came out Ray leaned forward and whispered into Fraser’s ear, “You OK Ben? Just know I’m right behind you if you need me. I love you Ben?”

Fraser managed a tiny smile, “I love you too Ray.”

As the trial went on and the evidence was read out in every horrific detail, Ray could feel the anger and hate radiate throughout his body. Ray listened to the two men say what their involvement was in what went down. They showed no emotion, no remorse for what they'd done; it was like a big joke to them. At times they were laughing as if this was waste of time. It took every bit of strength that Ray had not to jump up and just plain kick them in head for what they did. Ray hated them for what they did to his Ben. They had crushed his spirit and that had hurt him very deeply. Ray never saw Fraser move so much, the nervous energy ran right through him like a river. Ray just prayed that the jury wouldn’t take too long to deliberate on this.

As the jury went to decide the fate of these two men, the court was let out waiting on the result. Ray found Fraser in the bathroom splashing water on his face. Placing a hand on his shoulder, he asked, “You OK Ben?”

Fraser was looking tired and pale, “I don’t know Ray. I just want the right result here, and then I’ll know if I’m OK Thank you for being here with me.”

Since they were alone in the bathroom Ray managed to kiss Fraser on the cheek. “No problem Ben. Would you like some tea and something to eat while we wait?”

It took less than an hour for the jury to come back with a verdict. Neither Fraser nor Ray could tell if this was a good thing or a bad thing, but they were both overwhelmed with relief when they heard two Guilty verdicts. The courtroom was silent as the two were led away to jail. Both got maximum sentences and would never see the light of day again.

Slipping out the back way to avoid the press that were following this case, Fraser and Ray made their way back to the cabin, they had great news for Benton.

Ray Vecchio had been following the case on TV and was filled with pure anger and hate for the two men. If you could call them men, more like animals. Ray couldn’t believe how they acted on the stand almost laughing. The camera had kept sweeping to Fraser. The good thing was they kept referring to him as a hero, but Ray felt so much pain watching Fraser grow more and pale as the trial went on, but when the verdicts came through the look of relief was a fantastic thing to see. Looking down at Benton in his lap, he said, “See I told you your Daddy would get his man.”

Ray Vecchio stood right away when Fraser and Kowalski came through the door. Handing Benton to Kowalski, Ray Vecchio pulled Fraser into his arms. “I knew you could do it Benny. I’m so proud of you.”

Tears of relief flowed from Fraser, “Thank you Ray.”

Fraser took Benton into his arms and kissed his cheek, “I told you I’d do it for you. You are safe now, are you tired?” Fraser headed down the hall and put Benton to bed, delighted in the fact that Benton was safe for sure now.

++++++

Fraser lay in bed in his Ray’s arms and let all of his bottled up emotions flow from him. Ray stayed silent letting him let it all go, rubbing Ben’s arms in loving patterns. When it seemed that Fraser had fallen asleep Ray placed a kiss to his forehead. Looking at his sleeping lover, he whispered, “I love you Ben. I’m so, so proud of you. I knew you could do it. Now we can concentrate on getting married and you know, I just can’t wait Ben love.” Ray let himself fall asleep in the comfort of his lover.

Ray Vecchio had gotten up to use the bathroom and paused at their door which was ajar. Looking at the sleeping pair Ray knew his Benny would be fine. This Kowalski was a kind hearted and loving man, perfect for his Benny. Ray closed the door and went back to bed.

+++++

It’s had been less than two weeks since the trial ended and both men had been put away for life. Fraser and Ray Kowalski were getting down to planning their wedding. They were not alone in doing so, no way. Not only did the kids at the school want to sing at their wedding they wanted to help with the decorations as well. Fraser and Ray were very grateful for their help and were more than happy accept their offer of singing. They had wonderful voices and they could help with some of the decorations as well. Now that they had set a date for their wedding it was something fantastic to look forward to. They set the date for July 7th. The number seven had been a lucky number for them both and when Father Byrne had said that July 7th was available they took it like a shot.

Ray was so happy to see that his Ben was looking calmer and less strained now. It was like a huge weight was lifted off his chest and he could finally breath again which meant so could Ray and they could both start to enjoy what they had now properly and enjoy raising Benton and possibly add a new brother or sister in the near future. One thing was for sure, they did not want Benton growing up an only child.

Ray Kowalski picked up the phone and dialled the number excitedly. The call was answered on the third ring, “Hi Mum.”

Ray Kowalski’s mum squealed with delight, “Oh Stanley, my Stanley how are you my dear? How are Ben and Benton?”

Ray could see his mother's smiling face in his head. “We’re great Mum. Benton is starting to roll over now and smiling and laughing more. Ben is doing better, he is more relaxed and happy and I’m greatness. We’ve great news for you; we set a date for the wedding. We set it for July 7th Mum.”

Talking even more excitedly, she replied, “Oh my Stanley that’s wonderful and it’s only a few months away. Now I insist on doing the cooking my dear unless you have already have a caterer and I’ll contact Mrs Vecchio, I know she will want to help cook as well and Son, you'd better keep your eye on Benton now he is rolling over, accidents can happen.”

Ray was smiling from ear to ear listening to his mum speak. He still couldn’t believe how accepting his parents had been. Fraser had overheard that Ray’s mum wanted to help with the cooking, so Fraser mouthed to Ray that if that’s what he’d like it would be fine. Fraser had learned very early on since he met the Vecchio’s and then Ray’s mum, you don’t say no to an excited mother who wanted to help. This made Ray very happy and gave him the thumbs up that he was going to tell her that would be great.

Ray was still listening to his mum talking very excitedly, “Mum, mum, listen, Ben and I would love it if you and Ma Vecchio helped with the food. We will of course let you pick the food and we will pay you Mum.”

Ray could see her starting to plan it in her head already, “Oh Stanley that is great, I’ll call Mrs Vecchio right away and nonsense Son, you will not pay us. Listen, I must go, this phone call must be costing you a fortune. Please give Ben and Benton my love and a hug and kiss from your Father and me.”

Ray felt a tear drop from his eye, “I will Mum. The same from us. We love you, take care, bye Mum.”

Smiling into the phone listing to her very happy Son, she replied, “Bye Stanley dear.”

Ray joined Fraser and Benton on the play mat on the floor. While playing with Benton, Fraser asked, “So I gather your Mother was happy at us accepting her very generous offer of help?”

Rubbing Diefenbaker’s head, Ray replied, “Ya Ben, she was very happy, I think we made her year. She sends her love and Dad's too. Oh get this; she’s phoning Ma Vecchio to help as well.”

Fraser looked at Ray, “Oh dear.”

Ray laughed, “Ya oh dear is right. Don’t worry Ben; our Mums won’t let us down.” Ray saw a flash of pain cross Fraser’s eyes and Ray knew what was going through his head. Still rubbing Diefenbaker’s head, he said, “Ben I was thinking, I’d love to visit your parent’s grave. You know, thank them for bringing you into the world, and then thank them for bringing you into my life. I know this might sound silly, but I want to invite them to the wedding. Just because they are passed doesn’t mean we can’t invite them to their son's wedding? I’m sure they’d be there anyway in spirit, but I still want to ask them in person, you know. Does that sound silly Ben?”

They locked eyes and such joy spread through Fraser’s eyes at Ray’s words. Smiling brightly, he said, “You...you mean that Ray? You really want to do that and I don’t think it’s silly, I think it’s a wonderful idea! What did I ever do to be so lucky to have you in my life Ray?”

Ray leaned in and kissed Ben sweetly, “I think I’m the lucky one Ben.”

+++++

Meanwhile in Chicago, Mrs Kowalski and Mrs Vecchio sat at the Vecchio kitchen table to start on the plans for their sons' wedding. Mrs Kowalski sipped her tea, “This is very good tea Rosa. Have you heard from our boys as well?”

Mrs Vecchio chuckled, “Oh yes, my Raymond has been seeing a young lady up there. Her name is Linda Meade. He is quite taken with her, three dates in two weeks.”

Mrs Kowalski laughed, “We might be planning two weddings then!” This made them laugh harder. It was funny how well they both got on. Both mothers loved their sons very much. Mrs Vecchio always thought of Fraser as her son and always will.

Pulling out all the cook books and note pads they got down to picking out recipes and trying to pick food people would like to eat. Both Mrs Kowalski and Mrs Vecchio agreed that there was nothing worse than going to a wedding and not liking the food, so they went with a buffet with lots of choices, so people could eat what they wanted and how much they wanted.

+++++

Back in Canada, Ray Vecchio had just come back from yet another date with Linda. They had grown very close in such a short space of time. He came through the door wearing a huge smile on his face. This highly amused Ray Kowalski. “So Vecchio, I take it your date with Linda went well?”

Ray was still smiling as he sat on the couch, “You could say that Kowalski.”

Ray Kowalski knew that Vecchio was leaving at the end of the week and it must hurt him to have to leave Linda, they seemed to hit it off really well. Handing Vecchio his cup of coffee, Ray said, “So Vecchio, what you going to do when you go home? You're going to miss Linda aren’t ya; I can tell that you clicked?”

Drinking his coffee, Vecchio explained, “Actually Kowalski, Linda is coming with me for a two week vacation. The school is closing for some holiday or something, so that’s good. I don’t really want to leave her you know, I feel as if we've known each other for years and as you said, we clicked and it just feels like she’s my soulmate you know?”

Watching Vecchio’s face, Ray said, “Ya I know what you mean, it was the same for me with Ben. I should never have gone back to Chicago after our adventure searching for the Hand of Franklin; I missed out on so much. I could have helped with Lucy, maybe even stopped it happening you know, but I was so afraid to admit my feelings just in case, but I should have known better. So think hard Vecchio, if this is right and you're right and she is your soulmate, don’t miss out because it could be the biggest mistake of your life. Linda suits you so think hard, because happy is good.”

Vecchio looked at Kowalski, “I will don’t worry, I don’t intend to miss out, not if this is right.”

+++++

There was only a day to go before Ray Vecchio was to go back to Chicago. There was a heavy snow storm coming so his flight was moved forward a day. Ray Vecchio was very sad to leave, but excited that Linda was coming down for a two week holiday. Before he went home Ray Vecchio really wanted to see Fraser teach one of his classes, so Fraser being Fraser arranged to go back to teaching early. Fraser had felt well enough to do so, so arranged to teach his sign language class.

Sitting at the table drinking his morning coffee with Ray Kowalski, Ray Vecchio asked, “So Benny, what are you going to be teaching today? I can tell you, I’m really looking forward to seeing you teach.”

Fraser was preparing Benton ready for them to go out, “Ray, I’m just going to go over what they know and maybe do a song in sign language as well. They are ahead in their French, so we can leave that for this lesson.”

They all finished off their breakfasts and put on their coats. Ray Kowalski got his notepads and pencils as he was taking the class and looking forward to every minute of it.

They were greeted at the classroom door by Linda, “Oh Sergeant Ben, welcome back, the kids are really looking forward to seeing you. They were so worried about you and made you get well cards come in, come in.”

Then Linda’s eyes locked with Ray Vecchio’s and sparks flew. This made Ray Kowalski laugh and he patted Vecchio on the back. “Vecchio, remember there are kids around, save the sappiness for Chicago.”

Ray Vecchio blushed and headed in the door. Ray Kowalski followed carrying Benton. Fraser was already talking to the class and thanking them for their cards, waiting for the others to join him. Just as they stood at the top of the class and Ray Kowalski made his way to his seat, he crashed his toe into the leg of the table. He let out a scream of, “Dammit!”

The whole class including Fraser said, “Language Ray!”

Ray Kowalski looked up and turned a dark red, “Sorry,” then he sat down feeling really embarrassed, but Ray Vecchio cracked up laughing. He knew he was going to like this class. He also noticed that the class contained parents and other teachers and was really impressed by Fraser.

After the giggling from the kids stopped Fraser introduced Ray Vecchio. The kids thought it was very cool that both partners were called Ray. One little boy put his hand up and Fraser saw this, “Yes Innusiq?”

The boy stood up, “Sergeant Ben, can I ask Ray a question please?”

Looking at Ray Vecchio to see if it was OK, Fraser replied, “That would be fine Innusiq.”

Still standing, the boy asked, “Sir, were you Sergeant Ben’s first boyfriend?”

Ray Vecchio coughed and looked to Fraser for help and Ray Kowalski was doing his best to control his laughter. “Am no son,” Vecchio said, “Just work partners and best friends.”

Innusiq smiled, “That’s good Sir, we do like that Ray very much as well. We can’t wait for their wedding. Did you know that we are singing at it? Are you coming as well Sir?”

Ray Vecchio nodded, “That’s good because Ray does love Fraser and is a good man and yes, I am coming back for the wedding. I’m very sad to be going home.”

Innusiq put his hands on his hips. “Sir then why are you going home? Why not work for Sergeant Ben, or do something else?”

Ray Vecchio was lost for words. Ray Vecchio thought of that old saying, 'Out of the mouths of babes...' Seeing that Ray Vecchio was lost for words, Fraser got on with the class. Ray Vecchio was amazed to see how at ease Fraser was teaching and how well the kids and adults responded to his teaching. The longer he was in the class watching Fraser, Ray Kowalski, Linda and the kids the more he didn’t want to go home and now he was starting thinking about what Innusiq had said, ’Why are you going home? Why not work for Sergeant Ben, or do something else?’ Ray Vecchio thought maybe he could move here and do something else, maybe open a private investigator business or something. Ray Vecchio’s options were still open as he had not yet signed the final papers to go back to work, so it was possible. All he’d have to do was to get a work visa, a place to live, and a place to open his business and prove he would not be living off the government.

With the class over they headed back to the cabin so they could have some dinner. Ray Vecchio felt as if he was missing something that was going on, he knew once they got back to the cabin he would find out. He knew they were going to ask him something which made him nervous because he didn’t know what it was going to be.

After a lovely dinner they settled in the sitting room and Ray Vecchio steeled himself for whatever it was they were going to say. Fraser cleared his throat and looked at Ray Vecchio. “Ray, Ray and I first would like to thank you for your support of us. It truly means the world to us to both of us for what you did for us in Chicago and for looking after Benton, you’ve no idea what that meant. Then to come up here and support us through all of this as well...” Fraser paused. Starting again, “Ray, Ray and I, as you know, were given custody of Benton, but we both know that it is very important for Benton to have godparents that will look out for him, someone that would love and care for him and bring him up with no prejudice and be open minded and would treat him as if he was their own child and we know you would. So would you accept to being Benton’s godfather?”

Ray Vecchio was shocked that they would have chosen him to be Benton’s godfather. After all he was a single man living in another country, possibly only for now, but still it was a massive thing for him to be asked such an important question. Eyes glistening, he said, “You really want me to be Benton’s godfather?”

Ray Kowalski smiled looking from Benton to Ray Vecchio, “Ya Vecchio, we do. Who better? The kid loves you.”

Looking down at Benton, Vecchio replied, “I’d be honoured. Thank you for trusting me with the most important thing in your lives.” Ray Vecchio still spoke on, “Guy’s, would it be OK if I took Benton out for a walk? I’m going to meet Linda in the village to have one last look around before I leave.”

Fraser and Ray Kowalski didn’t need to ask one another if it was OK, so Ray Kowalski answered, “Sure Vecchio, go for it, enjoy!” Ray Vecchio picked up Benton and got him all wrapped up and ready to go. Diefenbaker was hot on his heels wanting to go as well.

Meeting up with Linda in the village, she saw the sad look on his face. Rubbing his cheek with the back of her hand, she asked, “What’s the matter Ray? Why the sad face?”

Ray leaned into her touch, “I don’t know Linda, and I guess I’m sad to be leaving this place. I love the life up here and the feel of the community you know and well, you live here and I know you're coming down to Chicago with me for a two week vacation, but I really think we have something, or am I just imagining it all? Just feels so right, like everything has just clicked.”

Smiling her sweet smile, Linda replied, “No Ray, you’re not imagining it, I feel it as well. It’s like everything you’ve been looking for you found in one person and BAM, it hits right between the eyes!”

Linda and Ray along with Benton and Diefenbaker had a lovely day, saying goodbye to Anna, Gill, Tilly and Constable Tully before going their separate ways to pack. There was a lot of snow headed their way so their flight was move up a day. Ray was gutted and really didn’t want to leave and he thought he’d never say that about leaving the great white north, but he will be returning for the wedding and may not return to Chicago after that.

Ray Vecchio and Linda were on the descent to landing at O’Hare airport in Chicago. Linda held Ray’s hand, “Well Ray should I be nervous having heard all the stories of your family?”

Laughing lightly, Ray replied, “Na, what’s to be scared of? Meeting a big Italian family, they only hold torches for the one’s they love. They’ll love you, you’ll be fine.”

After collecting their bags they headed towards the arrivals gate. There was no mistaking the Vecchio family; you knew them right away when you saw them. They were immediately surrounded. Linda was hugged to within an inch of her life. Listening to them talk excitedly made her smile. Ma Vecchio took her hand, “Welcome Linda dear, don’t worry we mean no harm,” she said with a giggle. “Come now and we’ll get you home to rest. I’m sure you must be tired after your long trip my dears?”

Ray was pushing the trolley which had their bags on, “Ya Ma, we’re very tired and sore. A kid kicked the back of my seat nearly all the way.” Ma patted his back and they headed for the car.

+++++

After a good night’s rest, Linda and Ray sat at the breakfast table with Ma Vecchio and Francesca with two of her kids. The rest were still asleep, it was best to feed them in shifts. Ma Vecchio put fresh coffee on the table, “So Caro, what are your plans for the day?”

Drinking his coffee, Ray replied, “I thought we’d head into town; show Linda the sights and maybe some dinner?”

Linda smiled, “I’d like that. I’ve never been to Chicago, plus I’d love to see where you worked.”

Ray nodded, “Sure no problem, I’d love to show you.”

After breakfast Ray and Linda headed into town, first hitting the shops. Ray really didn’t see the appeal of shopping so much. Sure Ray loved a good Italian suit, but all his were tailor made. Shopping like this? God no, but Linda had a huge smile on her face all day and that made Ray feel great. As they strolled hand in hand in the city centre, out of nowhere a guy rushed past grabbing Linda’s bag off her shoulder and knocking her to the ground. Ray asked, “My god Linda are you alright?” Linda nodded unable to speak, so Ray was off and running after him, chasing him across the street and down an alley. Ray wished, not for the first time, that Fraser was with him because this guy would not get away from Fraser, but Ray caught him by going down a shortcut and knocking him down. Lucky there were cops passing and Ray told them what happened and they took him off to the 19th precinct to be sorted out.

Going back to Linda who was now being helped by others, she pulled him into a hug, “I’m fine Ray, let’s not let it spoil our day.” Ray nodded and stayed quiet; this made him want to leave Chicago for Canada even more.

Before going for dinner they headed for the 27th so Linda could see where Ray had worked. Standing outside, she said, “So this is where you worked eh Ray. Are you coming back to work here?” The last part was said in almost a sad whisper.

Ray took Linda’s hand, “Before I met you my answer would have been yes, straight out, but now I’m not sure. Like I said up in Canada, I think we have something. I can’t explain it, but I really think that we do so I’d love to see where it goes you know?”

Linda’s face lit up, “Ya I feel it as well. I really do as well and I would love to see where it goes as well.”

Entering the bullpen they met Detectives Huey and Dewey, “Hey Ray who is this lovely lady?” asked Thomas Dewey.

Gesturing with his hand, “Jack, Tom, I’d like you to meet Linda. Linda this is Jack Huey and Thomas Dewey.”

They chatted for a little bit, telling the tail of what happened in town and of course they were concerned about it, but let it drop since Ray and Linda wanted to. Of course Ray was teased about how he could have gotten such a beautiful woman, but they wished them luck and reassured Linda that they were just teasing, but they were interrupted by Welsh calling from his office door.

Sitting in front of Welsh, Linda felt like she was in the principal’s office, but when Welsh smiled he had a really kind face that relaxed her. Sitting behind his desk, he said, “So Vecchio you're back. Everything go OK up there?”

Nodding, Ray replied, “Ya those pricks got life each. Sorry about my language Linda, but they should have gotten worse Sir.”

Hands on his desk, “Ya Vecchio I agree. If they were here they may have gotten the needle. So anyway Vecchio how did you end up with such a beautiful young lady”?

Linda blushed and so did Ray, “I couldn’t tell you Sir. I just know that I’m lucky.”

Welsh knew what was coming, “So you’re not sure about coming back right? Look Vecchio, you do what you have to do. Sure you’re a great detective, but if you have found something special don’t let it go. You could always open your own P.I. business?”

Ray laughed out loud, “Sir that’s exactly what I was thinking of doing. Well, one possibility. Look I’m sorry if I’m letting you down, but I really believe I have found everything I’ve ever wanted.”

+++++

Meanwhile back in Canada the preparations for the wedding where in full swing. The whole village was buzzing. The kids, even though on holidays, turned up to practice the music chosen by Fraser and Ray. It made the kids feel important to be included. It was going to be a big deal especially if the press found out that a Mountie and a Detective were getting married.

Sitting at Anna’s dinner table, she asked, “So boys what flavour cake would you like for your wedding cake?”

Fraser and Ray exchanged looks, but Ray had a huge grin on his face. Fraser knew right away Ray’s preference. Shaking his head and smiling as well Fraser answered, “Anna I believe chocolate would be perfect.” Anna straight away started making notes; she wanted this right for her boys. Anna loved them like they were her own sons and they treated her like a mother, always looking out for her and looking after her.

The next day they found themselves at Tilly’s dinner table with lots of pictures of flower arrangements. Tilly had done flowers for people's weddings before and loved doing it. “So my dears, which do you like? I don’t know what colour you’re going for, so what do you think?”

There was so much to choose from, their heads were spinning. Ray picked up some pictures, “Gosh Tilly I’ve no idea? I mean I’ve no clue about flowers, do they have to match what we are wearing?”

Tilly smiled at them, “Sometimes people do go for that. What are you wearing?”

Scratching his head, Ray replied, “I don’t know? Ben what are we wearing?”

Looking from the photos to Tilly then to Ray, “Ray I don’t know? What would you like me to wear? Would you like me to wear the red serge?”

Ray’s whole face lit up then blushed, “Well Ben, I fell in love with you with you in it, we had our first kiss with you in it, so ya I’d love you to wear the red serge.”

Thinking and tilting his head, Fraser said, “Ray I was wearing this blue uniform when we had our first kiss.”

Shaking his head, “Na Ben, you wore the red serge on the Henry Allen. You did that so-called buddy breathing. I’d consider that to be our first kiss, coz I tell you Ben, buddy breathing does not include tongue. It saved my life, made me love you more.”

Turning deep red because Tilly was sitting watching their exchange, “Understood Ray. Made me love you more also and Ray I’d love if you wore your dark suit, it looks really good on you, brings out your eyes. If you don’t mind?”

Ray smiled an enormous smile, “Sure thing Ben.”

After some time they finally told Tilly to surprise them, there was just too much to choose from. Tilly was more than happy with that. She said she would talk to the kids to see what colour the decorations where going to be and talk to Francesca to see what the flower girls were wearing and James, Ray’s brother to see what the page boy was wearing. Tilly was going to make it good for them.

+++++

Back in Chicago Linda was having blast enjoying Ray’s company more and more. She’d never want to leave him. Ray Vecchio was really enjoying being with her as well, but could not help feel how much he did not want to stay in Chicago anymore. It was too noisy and full of smog and everywhere you looked you saw a city that was damaged. Sirens blasting every few seconds, watching the news more murders, rapes and robberies, Ray wanted to pack up now and just go, not wait for the holiday to be over or the wedding, just go.

Ray sat with his mother, “Ma can I talk to you about something important?”

Patting his hand, “Sure Caro, is this about you wanting to move to Canada to be with Linda?”

Ray was shocked and the look on his face said it all, “How’d you know?”

Chuckling, Ma Vecchio said, “Caro a mother know these things. A mother sees love in her son's eyes. You go to Canada be with her, we will be fine and they have airports in Canada don’t they? Go follow your heart Caro.”

Looking down, Ray replied, “Thanks Ma, I love you and I promise to visit you all the time. It won’t be easy leaving you all, but I have to do this Ma, it feels right.”

She smiled. “I know Son, I can see it too now, and I’ll make coffee.”

Ray made his mind up, he was moving to Canada. He had talked to Linda about it and the thought thrilled her. If they lived in the same place they’d have a better chance of making their relationship work. So when Linda went out with the family, Ray headed for the Canadian Consulate to get his paperwork started. He filled everything out and produced all the documents that he needed and Turnbull told him he’d contact him as soon as they were ready. Since he had good credentials and could prove he would not be living off the government it should not be a problem, since he was bringing money into and not out of the country. Ray was buzzing because Sergeant Shee had pushed his paperwork through and got all his visas sorted in no time at all, so Sergeant Shee faxed the info on the new resident of the Fort of Good Hope to one Sergeant Benton Fraser, RCMP.

+++++

Meanwhile back in Canada, Fraser was sat at his desk when the fax came in. Gill brought it straight to him, “Sergeant, I think you’ll want to see this.”

Taking the fax, Fraser replied, “Thank you kindly Gill.”

Looking at the fax Fraser’s eyes widened. He couldn’t believe it, Ray Vecchio was moving here. He'd already bought a house and office space to open his P.I business. Fraser smiled, knowing his friend was finally going to be OK and he couldn’t wait to show this to his Ray.

Entering the cabin Fraser was welcomed by the smell of cooking and a huge kiss and bear hug before he even got his coat off. Pulling back to look Ray in the face, he said, “I love you too Ray.”

Ray kissed Fraser again, “How was work, anything exciting?”

Fraser grinned, “Guess who is moving here?”

Looking at Fraser, Ray asked, “Who?”

Fraser was still smiling, “Ray Vecchio.”

Hugging each other, Ray said, “That’s so funny Ben, both your partners living here who’d have thought? I hope Linda and Vecchio make it, they are good together.”

Fraser kissed him sweetly, “That they are, come on I’m starving.” They moved toward the bedroom for a different kind of meal, dinner could wait.

+++++

Fraser, Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker stood at the graves of Fraser’s Mum and Dad. Ray took Fraser’s hand in his, “So Ben, this is where they are resting in peace. Do you get to come up here often?”

Squeezing Ray’s hand, Fraser replied, “Yes this is where they are resting. I thought it a beautiful spot; it’s where they met for the first time. I can’t come up here often, it’s too hard.”

Putting his arm around Fraser, “Ya I get that.” said Ray.

Ray then bent down and placed flowers on the grave, “Hi there Mr and Mrs Fraser. I’m Ray Kowalski, the guy that’s going to be marrying your wonderful son. Don’t worry about him, I love him and I’ll take care of him and your grandchild. We hope you can make it to the wedding?”

Fraser embraced Ray, “Thank you Ray. I love you.” They stayed for a few more minutes before heading back. The families and other guests were arriving that afternoon, as the wedding was now only two days away.

Ray drove their SUV all the way home, giving Fraser a much needed break. Ray was pleased to see that he had fallen asleep along with Benton. Ray was humming along to the music on the radio and was rewarded for his efforts by a lick on the face from behind from Diefenbaker. Ray reached back and rubbed his head, “Thanks buddy” and went back to driving his family home.

+++++

Ray Vecchio was on hand with Linda to greet the guests when they arrived. They brought them to wherever they were staying. Ma Vecchio, Francesca and her kids along with Maria, Tony and their kids were staying with Ray in his new house. The Kowalski’s were all staying with Fraser, Ray, Benton and Diefenbaker. The rest were staying in the guest houses in the village. All tired from their trip all just had something to eat and went to bed.

The next morning Ray Kowalski sat at the breakfast table with his Mum while Fraser took Ray’s Dad, James and his kids out horse riding. Fraser had borrowed horses from neighbours so they could all go out together. This made the kids very happy and James and Mr Kowalski even more so, they were like big kids in a candy store.

Mrs Kowalski set her son’s coffee down, “There you go Stanley. How are you my dear?”

She made his coffee just how he likes it, laced with chocolate, “This is great Mum, thanks. I’m fine Mum, excited and nervous. I can’t wait for tomorrow to come.”

She rubbed is head, “You were never good at waiting were you Stanley.”

Ray laughed and drank his coffee, “No Mum, I wasn’t.”

+++++

It was busier in the Vecchio house with kids running everywhere and the adults chattering it was like a mad house. Ma Vecchio was the first to have her coat on as Linda was picking her up to go to the hall where the reception was to be to use the kitchen there to cook the food. On the way they were picking up Mrs Kowalski, Tilly and Anna as they were helping out.

On entering the hall they stood still at what they saw. The children had already decorated the hall and it was beautiful. Paintings were done of Fraser and Ray and some of Diefenbaker and some of Benton were hung around the room. There were also lovely coloured streamers hung around and wild flowers done by Tilly that all made the place look and feel loved. It was just so special that this was done for them by people who loved them and you could see that in the way it was done. Ma Vecchio turned to Linda, “Wow this place looks beautiful. They boys will love it. The kids must have worked really hard.”

Linda smiled looking at their work, “Oh yes. They worked nonstop since I came back. They stayed after school and weekends, they wanted it just right. They are crazy about Ben and Ray.”

Ma Vecchio eyes filled with tears of pride, “It shows.”

The kitchen was a buzzing place when Ray Vecchio popped in to see if they were OK. He was cornered by Mrs Kowalski, “Now young man, you make sure my Stanley and Ben don’t come near this place and tell Damian to get his backside over here and set up those tables. See if you can’t get that man away from those horses. Good luck my boy.”

Ray Vecchio kissed her cheek, “I’ll do my best Mrs Kowalski and I promise to keep those two away from here. Benny is staying with me tonight anyway. Can’t have those two seeing each other before their wedding now can we!”

She patted his cheek, “You’re a good boy. Now out of this kitchen, we have lots of work to do.”

+++++

It was late evening and Ray Kowalski and Fraser sat having one last supper as two single men. “So Ben, you nervous?” Ray asked with his mouth full.

Smiling at Ray, Fraser replied, “Not nervous no, I’m excited. I can’t wait to say 'I do' to you.”

Grinning like a Cheshire cat, Ray said, “Ya me too Ben buddy, me too.”

Ray Vecchio came and dragged Fraser off with his clothes, giving him just enough time to kiss his Ray goodbye, leaving Ray Kowalski in the hands of his family.

+++++

Next morning nerves where rampant in both houses. After having breakfast and showers they set to get dressed. Fraser was sitting on his bed polishing his boots for the hundredth time. Ray Vecchio stopped him. “Benny, you get those boots any more polished and you’ll blind the guy! Relax, you’ll be fine, after all you’re marrying someone you truly love right?”

Putting his boots down, Fraser said, “Sorry Ray, you're right, I do truly love him, I just want to get there now.”

Ray Vecchio laughed and left him to finish getting dressed and of course to get dressed himself, making sure he had the rings and his Best Man speech in his pocket.

Meanwhile in the Kowalski house, Ray was dressed and spiking his hair for the hundredth time. James came up behind him, “Bro, you get that anymore spiky and you’ll poke the guy’s eyes out! Come on, relax. You're finally marrying someone who you truly love and who loves you for you.”

Ray turned and smiled at his brother, “Ya I am, I just want to get there now.”

+++++

The wedding was taking place at the back of their property which Tilly had lined with wild flowers and tall candles, it looked so beautiful. Everyone was in their places waiting on the men of the hour. Both Best men stood by the priest watching first Ray Kowalski been led by both his parents and ahead of them was Benton been pushed by Sam who was the pageboy. The music played softly and the kids sung beautifully.

Ray was handed over and now waited nervously for his Ben to come into view. Then there he was, looking like Prince Charming with a smile on his face that could light up the universe, arm in arm with Ma Vecchio. Ray could have sworn he could see a beautiful woman with red hair wearing mukluks and a man who looked like Ben's dad following his Ben down the aisle smiling broadly. They came after all for Ben, Ray thought to himself.

Ma Vecchio handed him over with a kiss on the cheek and whispered to Ray Kowalski, “Look after my boy.”

Ray kissed her cheek, “Don’t worry Ma, I will.”

Now stood facing each other in front of all their friends and family, they thought their faces would break from smiling. Taking each other’s hand they held on for dear life. The priest smiled at them and started. “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to join these two souls in holy matrimony,” the priest's words flowed and everyone did their piece. Fraser saw that Maggie had made it at the last minute, she wasn’t sure that she could as she was leading a major crime in Inuvik.

The priest turned to Ray, “OK, I believe you’ve written your own vows, would you care to say them?”

Ray took Ben’s left hand in his, “I have loved you from the moment I saw you. Love at first sight and it happened to me. You endangered my life in wildly bizarre ways, but it made me love more. You brought the light and colour back into my life and I can’t wait to start the rest of my life with you and our son. I love you Ben.” With that, Ray placed the ring on Ben’s finger.

Now it was Fraser’s turn. Everyone was wiping their eyes after hearing what Ray said in his vows, they wondered what Fraser would say in his. Taking a breath and taking Ray’s left hand in his, “Ray I too have loved you from the moment I saw you. You hugged me that first day and stood in front of a bullet for me. You backed me up even when you thought I was wrong or unhinged as you say, but it made me love you more. You saved my life in more ways then you’ll ever know. I love you Ray and can’t wait to start my life with and our son and hopefully more children someday.” With that, Fraser placed the ring on Ray’s finger and kissed it afterwards.

The priest then turned to them and said, “You may now share your first kiss as a married couple. I now present to you Mr and Mr Kowalski-Fraser.” Everyone stood and clapped as the two shared another kiss.

Fraser whispered to Ray, “Kowalski-Fraser?”

Ray grinned, “Surprise! I changed it last week, seems you had the same idea huh?” Fraser blushed and kissed him again as they walked hand in hand down the aisle.

The photos took forever because the photographer made sure to get every shot possible with everyone, but Fraser and Ray didn’t mind, they knew it would be worth it in the end, but what they really wanted was something to eat, they were starving. The food went down a treat everything was eaten with much fervour, which was really unusual as usually at weddings there is a lot of food left over?

It was time for the best man speeches and Ray Vecchio stood up and silenced the hall. “I’ve known Benny a long time now and I got to tell ya, I thought I’d never see this day. I thought my sister Frannie would get her claws into the poor guy.” Everyone laughed. “No really, Benny is a good man, too good to have anything bad to happen to him, or have anyone hurt him and he has brought colour and life into all our lives. Benny has showed us how to be good people and showed me why I became a cop in the first place; I had forgotten that till he showed up. So raise your glasses to my brother and now brother in law, Benny and Ray.”

Everyone raised their glasses. “To Benny and Ray!”

It was James who stood next. “Well my brother has done it again, got hitched, but this time bro you got a good one, even if he does endanger your life in wildly bizarre ways. You’re wildly bizarre anyway, so what’s the difference?” Everyone laughed at that. “Really bro, I’m proud of you. You have someone who loves you and a wonderful son, I hope you have more someday; you’ll be a wonderful dad as will Ben. So once again I ask you to raise your glasses to my brother and brother in law, to Ray and Ben.”

Everyone stood and raised their glasses again. “To Ray and Ben!”

The cutting of the cake was followed by more photos as the music played. It was coming up to their first dance as a married couple. The song they had picked was now their song, Something Right by Westlife. It was theirs.

The DJ announced, “Let’s welcome to the floor Mr and Mr Kowalski-Fraser for their first dance!” Fraser and Ray made it to the centre of the dance floor and the music started.

“Never thought that I'd be so inspired
never thought that I would find the higher truth
I believed that love was overrated
'Till the moment I found you

Now baby I know I don't deserve
The love you give me
But now I understand that

If you want me I must be doing something right
I got nothing left to prove
And it's all because of you
So if you need me
And baby I make you feel alive
I know I must be doing
Doing something right

It's because of you I feel so lifted
I've been looking at my life from higher ground
Never thought that I'd be so elated
You're the one who turned it all around

Now baby, I didn't know myself
Until you changed me
And made me understand that

If you want me I must be doing something right
I got nothing left to prove
And it's all because of you
So if you need me
And baby I make you feel alive
I know I must be doing
Doing something right
Ooohh

And baby I know I don't deserve the love you give me
But I don't really care, cause

If you want me I must be doing something right
I got nothing left to prove
And it's all because of you
So if you need me
And baby I make you feel alive
I know I must be doing (I know I must be doing)
Doing something right (Doing something right)

Doing something right
(Yeah yeah)
Something right

So if you need me
And baby I make you feel alive
I know I must be doing (I know I must be doing)
Something right
Yeah yeah yeah yeah
Something right”

(“Something Right”, Westlife, 'Back Home' album)

After the music finished and they stopped gliding around the dance floor which they did beautifully and everyone was clapping them, they shared a long loving kiss. They were now starting the rest of their lives together. Both whispered at the same time, “I love you,” and shared another sweet kiss.

THE END...FOR NOW


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