It started with chocolate. Of course, it didn't work. How was Fraser to know that extra chocolate would only result in a hyperkinetic Ray with no limits and no down time?
Was not the mass consumption of chocolate the given reason for overweight women? Fraser had thought it serendipity that chocolate was also the food of love.
Logically he should not have failed.
His plan had been simple - tempt Ray's sweet tooth with different forms of chocolates. Claiming the gifts to be in celebration of world holidays in Belgium, Holland, Germany, Canada and even Aztlán had been plausible enough for the blond haired detective.
Ray devoured the gifts greedily, then proceeded to bounce off the walls with renewed energy and spark, causing random harassment claims from suspects and a huge backlog in his paperwork.
But not a single extra millimetre was added to his waistline. Not a one. Fraser’s first plan had failed.
Constable Fraser wanted Ray Kowalski, and he was 95% sure Ray wanted him too. This had been obvious for some time now, and Fraser could not understand why he had been unable to begin moving their relationship to a more intimate, physical one.
Until one day several months back, when Ray caught the flu. Nursing tendances coming to the fore, Fraser had turned up with sympathy; berry flavoured crushed ice and a special ingredient soup - disguised skilfully as chicken noodle.
Ray had let him in, dressed in a tracksuit and wrapped in a blanked, the clothes falling off him, the blanket clutched tight. Coughing hard and moving like an old man he had turned and shuffled back to the nest he had made on his lounge-chair.
Fraser gave him the crushed ice and Ray shovelled a spoonful into his mouth, making thank you noises as he tunnelled back into his bedding. He looked - adorable. But it hit Fraser, probably not for the first time, but more seriously now, that Ray didn't have a lot of physical reserves. Back in Canada he would have to bundle up daily to keep safe and warm.
Which is when the idea of getting Ray from looking somewhat undernourished and frail (to Mountie standards, anyway) to well fleshed out and...eh…grab-able, had hit.
He had admired Ray since the first moment they had met, but something deep inside him, something primal and basic, worried he was too skinny to be truly considered as a mate. Ray was more along the lines of a skinned rabbit than the sturdy wolf partner he had always imagined himself living with.
But physical obstacles rarely came between Fraser and his goals. Finding himself inexplicably drawn to his energetic partner, and feeling a responding need from Ray, he set about finding a way through. Now that he had an objective, he would do everything in his power to achieve it.
Ray recovered from the flu and Fraser began his chocolate ploy, but it had decidedly not worked. Despair threatened, but then fate played her part.
Terry Malloy Kowalski - Ray's married with kids younger brother, came to visit his parents, and Ray was summoned to the parental caravan. Following motherly instincts, Mrs Kowalski invited her eldest sons’ friend along as well, to keep things civilised.
Terry would be on his best behaviour in front of his wife Alice and their children. Mrs Kowalski knew that Ray would do the same if Constable Fraser was also there.
"Oh, my!” Fraser said, eying the younger version of his partner through the caravan window. “Your brother is a fine specimen, Ray." Terry was lifting his sleeping daughter from their sedan, the back of his suite wrinkled and sweat stained from the long drive they'd had to get there.
"Specimen of what, geeks?" Ray asked, peering out the window at his brother as well. What was Fraser drooling at? Terry looked like a wrinkled dweeb. He still wore those coke bottle glasses of his everywhere and his hair was in the same dumb square cut he'd had since high school.
"He looks good. Very handsome." Ray stared incredulously as Fraser licked his bottom lip. "Ray, would you like another biscuit? Perhaps a muffin? I could go get you one from the deli we passed on the way here earlier - it would be no trouble."
Terry was becoming nervous. Ray's friend was watching every move he made with disturbing intensity. Ray was being especially snippy at him too, which wasn’t that abnormal, actually. Terry had always been the cooler one, no matter what Ray said, and his brother was jealous. He was still glad when the final slice of pie had been devoured and he and Ray were free to grab the plates and go do the dishes.
Ray, as usual, managed to get to the sink first, the smug smirk on his face declaring him the victor of the first round of the washing up war. Terry dumped an un-scraped plate of gravy and peas his youngest hadn't eaten strait into the suds, so Ray had to empty the sink and start again with clean water.
As Ray scraped peas from the sink plughole Terry's sneer proclaimed him winner of the second round of the washing up war.
Mr and Mrs Kowalski ignored the goings on in their tiny kitchen and encouraged the rest of their guests to the outside caravan patio, to enjoy the evening and a nice cool drink of lemonade.
Dennis was soon taken captive by his three grandchildren, holding the youngest on his knee and listening as the other two told him about their journey in the car and Jessie's new school and Pamela's new playgroup.
Kowalski was catching up with her mother-in-law when the sound of splashing and
cuss words came from the caravan behind them.
"Oh dear," said Fraser, but Mrs Kowalski put her hand on his sleave and told him to pay the ruckus no mind. Her boys were just re-aquatinting themselves with each other.
"Fraser has a few questions for you, my dear," she added to Alice and they were soon deep into discussing recipes and food preparation matters.
"What's that noise?" Jessie asked, looking up from describing the new lounge set they had - according to her it was the biggest one in the whole world, but the noise had interrupted her tale.
Fraser had been wondering too, it sounded like -
"Ah, they'll be fine now," smiled Dennis, nodding over at his wife.
"It's the way they've always done it," Mrs Kowalski agreed. "So long as we can get through the meal and to the washing up, they always work things out between them."
Fraser listened, enchanted, as Ray and his brother sang another chorus of ABBA's 'Waterloo'.
Welsh balanced the plate of tuna salad on the tips of his fingers while he opened and entered his office door, then cleared a space on his desk. He set the plate down and lifted a lettuce leaf smothered in mayonnaise to his lips. He paused, then put the leaf down again and clearing his throat.
"Is there something I can do for you, detective?" he asked the blond haired man that was crouched down by his door trying to look invisible.
"Is he out there? Is he out there with muffins?" Ray asked desperately.
"Fraser - is he lurking out there with some kind of baked products, possibly smothered in cream and jam?"
Welsh's mouth began watering and he looked at his salad plate with distaste.
"Uh, not that I noticed," he muttered, taking an extra big bite of tuna to block the thought of Frasers delicious cooking.
"Thank god." Ray threw himself from the floor to the couch, where he flopped in boneless exhaustion. "I mean, the guy has gone insane. Ever since he and my mom got together the other day. They've come up with some kinda plan to fatten me up. He's been forcing sweets on me till I feel like pukin' at the sight of a Krispy Kreme. What the hell has got into him - does he want to eat me or somethin’?"
An image entered unasked for into Welsh's brain and he choked, spluttering bits of tuna in every direction as he continued to gag and turn an alarming shade of purple.
"Lieu?" Ray asked concerned, getting up with a hand poised to slap at his superior's broad back should he need to.
Welsh was spitting up the offending chunk of fish when Franny, Dewey and Huey rushed in, having seen the chief's difficulty from outside.
"It's okay. I just said I thought Fraser wanted to eat me and he breathed in wrong." Ray explained. There was silence for half a second....
"Wow, Fraser. I never knew the guys at the 27th had such filthy minds. I made a perfectly innocent remark and they ran with it, totally out of context, in the dirtiest way possible." Ray shook his head and eased the GTO round a corner, flipping off a guy on a pizza delivery bike who skated past inches from his bumper.
"What was the remark, Ray?" Fraser asked, ignoring the interplay between the Chicago residents (the pizza delivery rider was goosing pedestrians as he weaved briefly along the sidewalk.)
"Well, I, uh. You know how my mum's kinda roped you into feeding me up? I sorta said ya maybe was like that wicked witch that fed up them kids and was gonna eat me." Ray shifted uncomfortably; he didn't want Fraser knowing he'd been whining about him to the Lieu.
Fraser coughed and winced, made an aborted move to rub at an eyebrow then clasped his hands together in his lap. "I see. Well Ray...talking of food, I happen to have found where they sell those panda bear cookies you liked so much the other day. Would you care for some?"
"Ah, I've just eaten..."
"They are the hazel nut flavoured ones," Fraser added.
"Okay, but only one or two."
"Certainly, Ray. Here, take the packet. Then you can decide how many you want yourself, without my influence. Your mother and I have your best interests at heart, you know that?"
"Yeah," Ray reached over and grabbed the bag of cookies. "I'll hold myself back from snurfing the lot, you can count on me, Benton buddy."
"I do, Ray. I do."
So far plan 'Biscuit Barrage' was working where ‘Chocolate Charge’ had not.
Ray's clothes were getting tighter on him. His belt had been let out by three notches. Fraser felt like celebrating. So he did, allowing himself to ogle (and yes the word was 'ogle', he supposed) Ray's body as they exercised Diefenbaker in the park.
It was a warm day and Ray had taken off his top two shirts, allowing Fraser to glimpse some rare flashes of skin.
It had been hard work finding so many different cookies high in nuts and coconut oil but low in sugar. But he had resources in the food preparation establishments in this town, and markers that he had not hesitated to call in. His plan had been successful.
And now he sat back and reaped the rewards from his efforts. Ray's face looked younger, his body firmer and more inviting. Fraser liked what he was seeing very much. Without thinking he licked his lips as he watched man and half wolf roll around on the park's grass.
They rolled on the grass, then into a park bench, knocking a back-pack off of it and onto the ground. There it sprang open, dispensing plastic baggies full of little pills and cash onto the grass, much to the distress of the young men it belonged to.
There ensured a brief chase, in which Ray took off after one set of malfeasance, while Fraser and Diefenbaker chased another. The Mountie, as most times, caught his man. Ray also caught up with his quarry, but the out come was not so fortunate, as the crooks had met up with more of their friends and Ray was soon outnumbered. He did manage to keep the gang busy and insisted he was still holding his own, right up to the point they had thrown him over a railing and into the park lake.
He'd gone over the edge with a terrible sense of déjà vu, a flash of red in the distance heralding his immanent rescue. Sure enough, as he descended under the waves for a third time Fraser had hoisted him back up again and towed him to the bank.
"I really need to learn to swim," Ray told his partner as they were pulled up the muddy bank to safety, his steel-toed motorcycle boots squelching with every step.
The Mountie just gave him a fond look as sirens sounded and back up arrived.
They made it back to Ray's place, the detective detecting that his friend needed a shower and a place to spend the night, it being quite late. Diefenbaker immediately made himself at home on the lounge, Fraser had a quick shower and put on spare casual clothing and ordered takeaway while Ray made love to his shower-hose, taking extra care to get all the lake muck out of his hair.
“You got practically a whole wardrobe here already,” Ray mussed on how Fraser had been able to find clothes to wear so easily as he exited the bathroom, “don’t know why ya don't just move in." He had mentioned this idea a few times now, always jokingly, afraid of being rejected.
"Perhaps I should," Fraser smiled, handing Ray the pizza that had arrived while he had been in the shower.
Ray blinked at the pizza for awhile, then grinned and collapsed onto an armchair, throwing the box open on the coffee table. "Yeah," he said, taking a bite.
He had been feeling like shit, battered and tired from the dog wrestling and the chasing and the fighting of crooks, not to mention the near drowning, but suddenly he felt happier. They would have to move stuff around, but Fraser was used to a smaller place. Maybe set up some rules about Dief staying away from the turtle – but this was going to be good, this was going to be the best! Oh, but there was one thing he should mention….
"You'll have to bunk in with me tonight, old buddy of mine. The spare bed is still outta commission after that little 'burning' incident."
"I assure you Ray, I had no idea that was going to happen, and it did delay the intruder long enough for..."
"Yeah, yeah - whatever. Come on, eat up, I'm tired and want to go to bed.” Ray hitched the sleep pants he was wearing up a bit as he settled in the chair and started in on the pizza.
He had to be careful not to drop anything on himself as he was shirtless. The night was still hot, plus he hadn’t been able to find his top anywhere, even though he was certain he’d seen Diefenbaker laying on it earlier. The shirt was gone now and the wolf wasn’t saying where it went. Damn animal. Ray made sure to smuggle him the smallest slice of pizza.
Fraser had taken the other armchair and was also eating, but his eyes remained fixed on Rays torso. Not a rib could be seen, just smooth skin. It was, distracting. As had been Rays smile when Fraser had said he wouldn’t mind moving in with him.
There was an obstacle to that though, and Fraser decided that now was the time to get it out into the open. If he were to be moving in then he owed it to Ray to find out if it would be as a house guest or as a lover.
“Ray, could we discuss something first?”
“Yeah?” oh, this could not be good. Fraser had that look in his eye, the one that said he had something serious to say, and Ray never liked it when that happened.
“Remember that time you said you loved me?”
“Yeah, and you said you loved me too,” Ray fiddled with a hole in the armchair fabric. He really needed to tidy the place up if Fraser was going to stay.
“I really do love you Ray. With all my being.”
“Uh,” Rays eyes were glued to the weathered material on the armchair. So, finally those words came back to haunt him. Not that they hadn’t already. Not that he hadn’t hidden his head under a pillow when he thought back on them and how terrible he must have seemed to Fraser, spouting off like that about love to someone who.…
Hey, wait – what?
“Is that a deckard-lation or something? Or you just hot for my bod?” As usual when hit with something overwhelming Rays mouth went into free spin.
“Declaration, Ray. And yes – I declare my love for you. Although, your body is also quite appealing. I want you to be aware of this before we discuss my moving in.” Fraser could feel his lips going numb, he was falling back into formality, when what he wanted to do was to recite love poems or make wild promises of fidelity.
“Damn right it is,” Ray smirked, mind still caught between facing up to his greatest secret desire and some odd fixation on moving his furniture. Could he afford a new lounge setting? Was he ready to touch another man’s penis? What would the turtle think?
“I’m not, I’ve never been with another guy Fraser.” The Mounties face began closing over and Ray had a terrible premonition that he was going to get up and leave, maybe never to return. “But like I said – I love ya. We can sort the rest out later, if that’s what you want.”
There, he’d said it. The words had been sitting like a boulder behind his thoughts like forever and now that he had said them in earnest he felt a million times lighter. Fraser looked better too. In fact, his friend looked amazing – there were things shinning in his eyes that made Ray feel amazing too.
And then there was talking. It was Fraser, so of course there was talking. Some of it went winging over Rays head as he sat and admired Frasers eyes, some of it was babble as Ray tried to describe his feelings and his real commitment to going forwards with this relationship, but mostly it was Fraser assuring Ray that they could take things slow and easy, and that he would remain good and not push things.
/We’ll see about that,/ thought Ray.
Eventually Diefenbaker yawned loudly and the two men got the hint that it was getting late and the half wolf wanted his sleep. They tidied up and Fraser cleaned his teeth while Ray emptied the rubbish bins outside. The turtle got his night snack of mealy worms then it was awkward o’clock and they met in the bedroom.
“You going to sleep in all them clothes?” Ray asked.
“I, no – unless you would feel…”
“Take ‘em off,” Ray demanded, so Fraser stripped down to his long-johns and stood nervously before his friend. They were both standing at the end of the bed, quite close to one another, so Ray moved in even closer and looked up into Frasers eyes.
“Hi,” he said.
“Hi yourself,” Fraser smiled, running his eyes over Ray's body.
"What?" Ray demanded, shivering.
"I can't see your ribs." Fraser told him, still smiling. "I wasn't sure it would be possible to get you into such good shape until I met your brother. But he gave me hope and now here you are - firmly fleshed and..."
"Edible?" Ray hazarded, feeling relieved that Fraser really didn't have a thing for Terry after all.
"Mmm," Fraser affirmed, looking steadily into Ray's eyes. Then he lent forwards and kissed Ray's lips.
Ray had thought he was going to do some typical weird Fraser thing, like lick his nose or chin, but the kiss was a nice surprise. His legs gave way and he felt himself fall backwards onto the bed, Fraser following him down.
Ray's little grunt of pain had been unintentional, but Fraser stopped what he was doing immediately and regarded Ray with concern.
"Bruises." Ray muttered, then got another surprise as Fraser grabbed his hips and rolled them until Ray was lying on top of the Mountie.
They kissed some more until Ray pulled his head back, reached over and kissed Fraser's ear and then his shoulder, then rested his head there and emotionally exhausted promptly fell asleep.
Fraser felt warm and trusted and slightly squashed and soon he too was fast asleep.
Ray woke up and squinted. Stella was wearing those pyjamas she'd brought on special, the ones that made her look all cosy and warm and casual - the ones that turned him on like nobody's business. Yeah, that was nice. He snuggled up thinking about baggy tops and pants that just begged for him to slide his hands inside and....
"Stella - why'd you dye your hair black?" he asked muzzily. He felt Stella straighten up under his hand and he immediately knew it wasn't Stella spooned in front of him, but Fraser. Oh, hell.
"Ben, that you? Sorry I called you Stella, but you're gonna have to get used to that until my sieve like mind catches on that it's not her I'm cuddling in the morning - huh?"
Fraser turned over and grinned at him. "So, we will be doing this again?" he asked.
"Um, yeah, of course." Ray's answer ended with a 'omph' as the mountie rolled completely over and seized him in a bone crunching hug.
"Fraser - is that what I think it is - poking into my side?" Ray asked cautiously, as soon as he had enough air to breathe with.
"Yes Ray, I have had a physical reaction to your closeness. Do not let it concern you, for although I would like a physical relationship with you, I will wait your readiness to attempt it. I understand you may take a considerable amount of time to reach a place where such intimate contact will be pleasing to you."
During this pre prepared speech Fraser moved his hips back so that his lower bodies enthusiastic 'hello' wasn't pressing into Ray any more. Ray decided that, okay, now was not the time to freak out. Maybe later on, when Fraser wasn't around to see him lose his cool.
"Okay then. Um, I'm gonna get up now. Want a coffee?"
"No thank you, Ray." Fraser said as Ray struggled free, sat up and swung his legs over the side of the bed.
"I find your naked back arousing," came Fraser's disembodied voice from behind him.
"Perhaps you could put on a shirt?" Fraser suggested, pleading just a little.
"Oh." Ray used his toes to scrabble up a shirt from the floor, then picked it up and struggled into it. His head popped out the top, hair wildly pointing in every direction.
He looked back at Fraser, who was laying on the bed still, looking embarrassed, one leg crooked up so that the sheets didn't tent over his still present erection.
"Fraser, do you ever get that thing where you wake up in the morning and your mouth tastes like the bottom of a bird cage?"
"No, Ray. I believe that insufficient ingestion of fluids such as water and..."
"Good." Ray interrupted, and he lent over and kissed him.