Partner Perils

Pairing: Fraser/RayK
Category: AU, Humour
Rating: Very mild R
Summary: When the brass decides that Ray Vecchio needs an official partner, things get a little out of hand.
Thanks to: Ailaois for pointing out errors and kicking my bad grammar habits around
Notes: This is an AU. Ray Vecchio never went to Vegas, but stayed in Chicago.

On June 22nd, my partner, Ray Vecchio, was assigned a new partner. I was still unofficially liaison officer to the 27th precinct, but as Ray put it, 'The Brass wanted him to have an official American partner'...

I do get the feeling that Ray dislikes his new partner. I can not say why, although as mercurial as this detective is, I find him most intriguing.

The first time S. Raymond Kowalski saw the Mountie, he nearly walked into a lamp post. The second time, he nearly walked into the closed door to his new lieutenant's office. Damn, but that guy was distracting.

The Mountie, not the lieutenant.

Ray grinned to himself and watched his new partner's sour expression become even sourer.

"What's so damned funny, Kowalski?" Vecchio sneered. Actually, Ray figured Vecchio was a pretty handsome guy... when he wasn't sneering, growling or in any other way talking to him.

Outwardly Ray just smirked, but somewhere deep down he knew that he'd have to get along with this guy. He had to be able to trust him to watch his back... and Vecchio would have to learn that to Ray, whether he liked him or not, there were few things more important than the safety of his partner.

Even if said partner was a style pig.

"Hey Vecchio," Dewey's annoying voice cut across the room. "Is it true what they say 'bout your new partner?"

"That I'm as bent as a willow in a wind tunnel?" Ray answered when he saw Vecchio flinch. He wasn't the only one, but Kowalski never showed it. As long as he kept up the attitude it worked pretty well. Swiveling on his chair, Ray's grin died a little when he spotted his partner's unofficial partner staring at him from the door. Oh hell, judging from the look on the Mountie's face he was one of the few who didn't already know about Ray.

Vecchio followed his gaze and for a moment a look of resignation flittered across the sharp Italian features.

Wasn't like Kowalski had a chance with the Mountie anyway.

"Detective Kowalski," Fraser said, taking off his damned Canadian hat and nodding politely at Ray, then Vecchio.

Today Ray... my old Ray, took me aside to, as he put it, 'warn me about his new partner'. It seems he deems it necessary to 'protect' me from Ray Kowalski, who in turn has been nothing but pleasant and polite in his own way. At least to me.

I cannot begin to imagine what being openly homosexual among police officers is like, for I have never had that courage or for that matter, the opportunity. My own preferences have never come up in connection with the RCMP. Perhaps this goes a long way in explaining Ray Kowalski's attitude toward other officers of the law.

Ray eyed his watch with annoyance. Of course Vecchio had to have half the day off for some family stuff. Figures it'd be the time Kowalski's own snitch called in with some pretty interesting info... And here he was, partner-less and Welsh wouldn't let him head out alone.

"Detective Kowalski..."

Ray looked up and smiled. "Hey, Fraser. Vecchio's not here at the moment."

"Oh, I know," Fraser said as he stood at parade rest on the other side of Ray's desk.

Ray tried to squash his body's joy dance at that little piece of information.

"I am here to offer my assistance," Fraser said evenly.

Ray grinned and stood. "The Ice Queen giving you trouble?" He'd met Fraser's boss once or twice. She gave him the frozen vibes.

"Inspector Thatcher has indeed been... in a less than amiable mood today. Although Turnbull's mishap with lunch might have worsened it." Fraser's lips quirked a little at the corners and it intrigued Ray. So the Canadian did have a sense of humor, he'd just have to watch for it.

"Well, I'm glad to see you here, Benton buddy. We gotta go see a man 'bout some leads," Ray said as he pulled his jacket on.

The leads turned out to be more than they'd expected. A trap even.

Ray ducked behind the concrete column. He felt the metal vibrate under him as his assailants moved about. A bullet pinged off the stone somewhere above him.

That was when he heard it, the sound of a gun being readied nearby. There was very little light and Ray could hardly make out the silhouette. Next thing he knew, something heavy hit him and threw him over the edge of the walkway. As he hit another something, he felt everything around him give and his ears were assaulted by a cacophony of squeaky noises.

For a moment Ray panicked, then relaxed as Fraser whispered in his ear: "Lie still, Ray... please." Ray realized that the warmth along his side was Fraser. As he stopped moving the squeaky noise stopped too...

"Fuck... lot of wasted time!" Ray spat as he opened the door to the driver's side.

"Hmm," was all Fraser said.

"Hmm? What?" Ray sat back in his seat and was interrupted by a loud squeak. Reaching up under his jacket, Ray pulled a yellow rubber duck out. He didn't even try to stay angry, couldn't help laughing. He caught Fraser's confused look and it just made him laugh all the harder.

"Vecchio warned me that working with you was crazy," Ray hiccupped and dropped the rubber toy in Fraser's lap.

Fraser took the duck and Ray caught the twitch of the lips.

"Ah, to hell with this," Ray sighed and fired up the GTO. "How does pizza sound?" he asked before he could think about it.

Fraser hesitated and Ray figured he'd made a mistake. Jeez, wouldn't be his first.

"Would it be possible to go by the Consulate and pick up Diefenbaker?" Fraser finally asked.

Ray grinned. "Sure thing. Why didn't you bring him in the first place?"

Fraser looked a little ill at ease. "Ray... Vecchio, that is, isn't fond of the hair on his seats."

Ray smiled. "I've only heard about the wolf, I won't mind the hair."

Well, sure, he didn't mind the hair, but he could've lived without the licking!

"Fraser, get it off me!" Ray tried to fend off the wet hellos.

"I'm afraid he's deaf, Ray. You'll have to enunciate," Fraser said, trying to catch Dief by the scruff of the neck.

Ray twisted around in his seat and grabbed the muzzle. "Knock it off, mutt! Or there'll be no pizza for you."

The throaty whine was almost comical, but at least the wolf backed off.

As Fraser returned to the passenger side seat, Dief whined again.

Ray didn't miss the slight flushed look on Fraser. Turning to Dief, Fraser nodded. "It is quite fetching."

"What?" Ray asked curiously as he pulled the GTO out into the street.

Fraser pulled at his collar. "Dief finds your hair style rather intriguing."

"Does he now?" Ray said evenly, feeling quite tickled by the idea. Heh, Frase had called it 'fetching' -- couldn't be bad, right? Handing over his cell phone, he grinned. "Sandor's is on speed dial 4 -- tell him the usual, just double the order and tell him he won't get paid if there's no pineapple on it."

I find myself distracted more often than not, and having to endure Diefenbaker's snide comments makes it no easier.

I am of two minds. Do I tell Ray Kowalski how I feel, or perhaps simply that I am as he... What were his words? 'Bent as a willow in a wind tunnel?' I am, however, caught between him and Ray Vecchio. My old Ray knows of my preferences. Unfortunately, he does not like Ray Kowalski. And however heartfelt his concerns for me are, they are misplaced.

"Kowalski, I'm going to be in late tomorrow -- gotta go down to the DA's office and settle some stuff," Vecchio said as he leaned back in his chair.

Kowalski barely looked up. "Uh-huh," he muttered as he skimmed the file he was working on.

"Try to stay out of trouble, okay?" Vecchio sighed.

Finally looking up, Ray cocked his head to the side. "Aw, Vecchio. You worried about my well being?" he asked sweetly, hiding a grin as Vecchio's expression turned decidedly sour. "If I didn't know any better, I'd think you liked me."

"Don't flatter yourself, Stanley," Vecchio snorted. "You got in trouble the last time I left you on your own." He pointed at the yellow rubber duck that sat on top of Kowalski's computer.

"I had backup," Kowalski protested, twisting his mouth up into a grin.

"You dragged Benny into it, and I think I speak for both him and myself when I say 'back off'."

Kowalski lost his smile. Shit, so that's what it was all about? "Fraser is a grown man, as am I. I think we can handle it."

Not that there was an 'it'.

"It's not a matter of handling," Vecchio said in a low voice as he stood, leaning menacingly in over Ray's desk. "I don't want you handling him in any way."

"Jealous?" Ray purred, knowing damned well that he was pissing Vecchio off even more.

"Don't flatter yourself. Look," Vecchio said, obviously fighting to keep his voice low. "Benny's not your average guy. He won't turn you down if you... he's too polite to say 'no'."

Kowalski snorted with disbelief. "You're shitting me," he grinned. "I thought you knew Fraser better than anyone. Vecchio... he's not half as dumb as you seem to think he is."

"I know Benny," Vecchio sneered. "And I know that I want you to stay the hell away from him."

"Sure, I won't go chasing after him," Kowalski said evenly. He couldn't say the same for Fraser seeking him out, though. That other night with the pizza... Nothing had happened, but Ray had enjoyed it so damned much. So had Fraser, he figured, because although the Mountie seemed to have two settings, stiff and stiffer, he'd definitely relaxed on Ray's couch while they'd eaten and watched hockey.

He wouldn't be breaking any promises if Fraser were to ask him to spend time together.

"Why is it that I don't trust you?" Vecchio sighed as he straightened up and went back to his own seat.

"What, the famous Kowalski charm hasn't done you in yet?" Ray grinned as he leaned back in his seat, enjoying the annoyance that radiated off his partner.

Ray groaned. "This is such a fucking cliché."

Fraser's sigh was a blast of warm air against the side of his neck and Ray fought not to squirm.

"I am sorry that I did not see this coming," Fraser said in a low voice.

"You okay?" Ray asked worriedly. "You took quite a hit to the head."

For a moment Fraser's arms tightened around Ray's.

"Fraser, before I met you," Ray sighed as he let the pole they were tied to take a little more of his weight. "Before I met you, I never got into such situations." He sure as hell hadn't ever been tied front-to-front with someone before. Who did such shit?

"No?" Fraser asked, his voice warmer than Ray had expected. "I should think you would have. You are a brave man, a good policeman too."

"Flattery will get you far," Ray grinned, resting his chin on Fraser's shoulder.

"Those are the bare facts," Fraser said sternly. "In December 1988 a young boy was being held in a warehouse. You went in even though you knew your cover had been blown. You drew fire, you were wounded, yet you managed to rescue the boy. Your first citation. In December 1990, in a jewelry store you single-handedly held off three gunmen, saving four innocent lives. Your second citation. In September 1993 you faced down three escaped murderers and you brought them to justice. Your third citation. You're a good policeman, Ray. And I would be proud to call you my friend."

Ray swallowed hard. "You've been reading up on me," he said softly.

"As you have on me," Fraser said, and Ray could have sworn he heard the smirk in the voice.

Ray twisted his hands a little, feeling the plastic strips biting into his wrists. "You got any idea how to get out of this?" he asked. Being tied to a pole with his arms around Fraser wasn't all that bad, but they had bad guys to catch.

"Not currently, no," Fraser admitted.

"Well, I think I still have a small pocket knife attached to my key-ring," Ray said conversationally, trying to hide another grin. "But it's in my side pocket. I don't think they found it."

"Ah," Fraser said.

"Ah?" Ray repeated. "What the hell's that supposed to mean?"

"Let us hope we are both flexible enough for this, then," Fraser replied. "Which pocket?"

Ray twisted his left hip to the side. Fraser fought to get his hands down alongside Ray's body. The arms were almost painfully tight around Ray's, but he bit back his discomfort. The knife was the only way out.

Well, either that or wait until someone at the PD missed them and came looking for them. Ray'd really rather have the discomfort of this instead of the embarrassment of being found in this situation. Although it'd probably do his reputation good. Not everyone could bag the Mountie.

Hell, he was currently in a position that would turn half the PD green with envy.

Oops, Ray realized he'd forgotten that he'd dressed to the left today... The awkward angle of Fraser's hand and the heat from it had Ray squeezing his eyes shut.

For a moment Fraser's hand stilled. Ray heard the sharp intake of breath in his ear, felt it in Fraser's body. A shiver ran through the Mountie. Biting his lower lip, Ray strained to keep his breathing steady as Fraser exhaled torturously slow. Exhaled right against Ray's neck.

"You got it?" Even to Ray's own ears his voice sounded... strange.

"I believe so," Fraser said softly.

Ray felt how the keys were worked out of his pocket and he felt the heat of Fraser's hand retreat. Oh well, he'd just had his moment of complete embarrassment.

"I can't leave the two of you alone for one moment, can I?" Vecchio shook his head as he ran a hand through his thinning hair.

Kowalski shrugged. "We got a lead. You weren't here. The lead had to be followed."

"Ray is correct, Ray," Fraser said evenly as he rocked back on his heels, his Stetson between his hands.

"Benny..." Vecchio sighed. Shooting Kowalski an annoyed look, Vecchio grabbed Fraser's arm and dragged him off.

Kowalski followed along more sedately. He knew where they were going. He'd heard enough closet jokes since he'd started working at the 27th.

Sure, he was tempted to put his ear against the door, but he pretty much knew what was being said. He just couldn't figure out why Vecchio was so damned protective of Fraser.

Kowalski could hear Vecchio raising his voice for a moment, then the door to the supply closet was opened and Vecchio did a double take as he noticed Kowalski leaning against the opposite wall. Before he could say anything, Fraser was right behind him and Kowalski knew exactly what to do.

No one ever claimed he played fair.

Taking a step to the side, Kowalski grabbed Fraser's sleeve and marched him back into the closet, closing the door right in front of a very surprised Vecchio.

"Ray..." Fraser said, obviously trying to keep his voice even. Ray figured he could hear the exasperated amusement.

"Just messing with Vecchio's mind," Ray grinned as he reached up, winked at Fraser and turned out the lights.

Another click and the light went back on and Ray had a hard time not laughing at Fraser's stern look. Reaching up Ray turned the light off again.

Light flooded the small place a moment later as an annoyed Vecchio pulled the door open.

"Do you mind?" Kowalski said evenly, then took hold of the door and closed it.

"Ray!" This time there was no mistaking the amusement.

"Hush," Ray said with a small laugh as he reached out and found Fraser's mouth with his hand, covering it. "Vecchio needs to learn to calm down or his blood pressure will get him."

Fraser's breath tickled Ray's hand.

"So, how does hockey on TV and a pineapple pizza sound to you?" Ray asked conversationally. "Feel free to bring the wolf."

"There are days when I'm this close to shooting you," Vecchio ground out.

Kowalski shrugged. "I have that effect on people," he said with a grin.

Vecchio looked like he wanted to deck him.

"Gentlemen," Welsh said in a deceptively calm voice from behind Kowalski. "Don't the two of you have work to do?"

Vecchio straightened up and Kowalski stood aside, feeling like a little boy who'd been caught with his hands in the cookie jar. Welsh always had that effect on him.

Before he could apologize, Kowalski caught sight of Fraser, who was standing by the desk, toying with the yellow rubber duck. "Frase, no... don't lick that!"

Seemed everyone in the bullpen stopped what they were doing at the same time, staring at Fraser.

"There is something about this toy," Fraser said, either ignoring or not even aware of the looks he was getting. Sniffing it, he squeezed the body of the duck, listening to the long squeak.

"Benny, this isn't the time for playing with bath toys," Vecchio sighed.

"Frase?" Kowalski raised an eyebrow.

"There is something off about the sound," Fraser mumbled. "I did notice it the other day, but I forgot to check it."

"Off?" Welsh asked, giving Fraser a look that clearly said he thought the Mountie'd gone off at the deep end.

"Ray," Fraser said, turning to Kowalski. "Do you still have a knife?"

Kowalski felt his face flush a little as he dug his keys out of his pocket. "Here ya go."

Fraser unfolded the small knife and decapitated the rubber duck. Wrenching the head back on it, he pulled out a small plastic bag.

"Whoa," Vecchio exclaimed. "Is that the duck from the warehouse you checked out?" he asked.

"Oh yeah," Kowalski grinned as he watched Fraser holding up the small bag of uncut diamonds.

For the first time Vecchio shared his grin and Fraser looked like he was so damned proud of them.

"Nice work, gentlemen," Welsh said gruffly. He looked more than a little pleased with the trio.

"All in a good day's work, sir," Vecchio said. "And I think I owe Stanley here an apology."

Kowalski rolled his eyes. "No harm done, Vecchio," he said evenly. He caught Fraser's raised eyebrow. "Apology accepted," he added.

"A little fancy paperwork," Vecchio sighed as they left Welsh's office, "and we got 'em. I'm surprised they didn't cover their tracks better."

"They were about to," Fraser said. "But I believe emptying a shipment of toy rubber ducks takes time."

"Oh, it took enough time for us to catch them in the act," Kowalski sighed happily. He was feeling damned good. A clean bust and dinner plans with Fraser later.

"Look..." Vecchio stopped and turned to regard them both. "Why don't you both come over to the house on Sunday?"

"Huh?" Kowalski stared at Vecchio. Maybe he'd walked into an alternate reality or something.

"We have to work together," Vecchio explained. "Ma's been asking me to bring Benny over for Sunday dinner and you're as much a part of this strange partnership now as he is."

"Was that hard to say?" Kowalski asked, not as much taunt in his own voice as he'd expected.

"You have no idea," Vecchio sighed.

Kowalski eyed Vecchio for a moment. "Fine, invitation accepted. Sunday at noon?"

Vecchio nodded.

Kowalski shot Fraser a look. "Something wrong with your face?" he asked with a raised eyebrow. "Break something in it?"

Fraser's grin widened a little more. "No, I am merely happy that the two of you have finally become friends."

"Who says we're friends?" Kowalski snorted.

"Yeah, don't expect miracles," Vecchio agreed.

All that did was make Fraser grin even more.

Ray yawned and shifted on the bed, frowning a little as sleep lifted and he became aware of the heavy warmth against his back.

A stubbled cheek rubbed against the small of his back and Ray shivered as his sleep-heavy body reacted.

"I like your idea of hockey and pizza," Fraser mumbled against his skin.

Ray grinned into his pillow. "Hey, we ate pizza and watched hockey," Ray muttered with a sleep rough voice. "I waited until there was no doubt about the Hawks losing before I jumped you."

"Pardon me," Fraser said, licking the small of Ray's back. "But I do believe I was the one who did the jumping."

With a snort, Ray shook his head. "Maybe we should agree we did some mutual jumping," he said lightly. Damned good jumping too. Ray's entire body was heavy with the feeling of having had sex for the first time in a long while.

Fraser's warm hand traveled up the inside of Ray's thigh, making him whimper as his body reacted to the touch.

"I believe we can agree on that," Fraser mumbled as he continued to coax Ray awake in every way possible.

In the end, I have my old partner and my new one. Although the new Ray is a lot more than merely a partner these days. I hope eventually that Ray Vecchio will accept my relationship with Ray Kowalski. Not because they will ever be the closest of friends, but because I care deeply for the both of them.

The End