Nikki Harrington


Set after Pizzas And Promises.

Warm and clean again Ray suddenly realizes that something was amiss with Benny. Unable to leave it until the morning to find out what, he goes over to Benny's apartment.

A first time story.

Written: October 2007. Word count: 1,500.



Benny was silent.


On the drive back to the Vecchio home, with Ray huddled under the blanket, the car heater on at full blast, Frannie talking incessantly, and Ray grumbling.


Benny was silent.


Ray just hadn't realized it at the time.


Benny was silent.


When they got back to the Vecchio home and Ma had fussed around him as though he was five years old again, one minute chiding him for getting locked in the trunk of the car, the next chiding Frannie for not being able to find the key, the next lapsing into Italian as she ‘babied' him and hustled him upstairs to a nice, hot bath.


Benny was silent.


Ray just hadn't realized it at the time.


It was only when he was warm and clean and had eaten a plate of his mother's homemade lasagna, and was considering seconds, that he realized that Benny wasn't there. "Where's Benny?"


"He went home. And before you ask, yes, I did offer to drive him, but he said he'd rather walk." Frannie flashed him her ‘so there' look.


"I asked him to eat with us, but he insisted on going home. He was very quiet."


And it was as his mother said the words that Ray realized. He realized that not only had Benny been ‘very quiet' since he'd rescued Ray from certain death, the time spent at Tex's aside, he'd also been silent.


"Gotta go, Ma," he said, standing up quickly and pausing only long enough to kiss her on the cheek.


"But, Raymondo, I –"


But Ray had gone.


Benny silent?


Quite, maybe. After all with Frannie's constant chatter, Ray himself moaning, and then Ma's fussing, it would have been difficult for Benny to be able to speak. But silent? Benny? No way.


Driving through the streets of Chicago on his way to Racine, Ray wished, not for the first time, that Benny lived somewhere more salubrious. He was never entirely certain that the Riv would still be in one piece, or even there, when he left Benny's apartment. In fact had it been anyone other than Benny, he wouldn't have left her unattended.


The sudden realization almost made him miss the turning. It wasn't just that he left the Riv outside Benny's apartment, something he wouldn't have done for anyone else, but all the other things he did for, or because of, Benny, things he wouldn't have done, had it been anyone else.


Like allowing a wolf in his car; like getting said wolf a wolf-permit; like working with said wolf; like driving a horse-drawn carriage; like going out of his way to help people, in ways he'd never done before, never considered doing before - and they were just the minor things.


Why did he do things like that? Sure Benny was his friend, his best friend, but even so. He'd had friends before, but it had never been like it was with Benny. He'd never felt . . . Well, he'd never felt like he felt about Benny, about a friend, before. It was as if . . .


He reached Racine and pulled up outside Benny's apartment, climbed out of his car and safely locked it – checking twice to ensure that she was locked. Then, after glaring at a couple of probable trouble-makers and standing watching them until they sauntered off, he went into Benny's building and up the stairs.


He knocked on the door to Benny's apartment and waited a second or two before it was opened.


"Ray?" Was it Ray's imagination, or did Benny sound slightly 'strange'?


"Hey, Benny." He didn't bother to wait for his friend to invite him in, he just went in. "You okay?" he asked, draping his coat over one of the wooden chairs.


"I am perfectly fine, thank you kindly, Ray. It is I who should be asking you that question. How are you, Ray?" The repetition of his name was slightly odd as well. Twice in one short comment? And, to Ray's ears, Benny was even more formal than he usually was. More stilted.


"Ah, I'm fine, thanks, Benny. Hot bath and Ma's lasagna, I'm as good as new."


"I am glad."


Ray looked at Benny, and as he did he was surprised to see Benny's gaze skitter away. He frowned and decided to jump straight in. "So what's up, Benny?"


"Up, Ray?"


"Yeah, with you. Ma says you didn't want to stay to eat with us. Frannie says you insisted on walking back here. And I want to know why you didn't say a word in the car, or when we got back home."


"You are Francesca were talking rather animatedly, if I recall, Ray."




"I . . ." Benny trailed off, and again looked away from Ray.


Now Ray was worried. He moved nearer to his friend and touched his arm. "Benny," he said, his tone soft. "What is it? Come on, you can tell me. I'm your friend, remember; your best friend."


For a long moment Benny was silent. Then he sighed and said, "I am rather ashamed of myself, Ray."


Ray blinked. "You? Ashamed? Why?"


"I am afraid that I was less than courteous to Francesca. I snapped at her."


Ray waved his hand. "Don't worry, Benny. I do that all the time." And then, because he realized it was somewhat strange asked, "When?"


"When you were trapped in the trunk of the car and I asked her for the keys to the Comet; she could not find them. And so I snapped at her. You were trapped, Ray. Trapped. And I thought –" He broke off, swallowed hard and said, his tone very quiet, "I do not wish to lose you, Ray. I . . ." Slowly he raised his hand and, just as he'd done after he'd rescued Ray, he stroked Ray's cheek. The touch was warm, gentle, soft yet firm.


Ray swallowed hard and against his will, he'd swear that under oath, he leaned into the touch. "Benny?" he whispered, his mouth suddenly dry.


"I –" And then suddenly Benny stopped speaking and snatched his hand away.


Except before he could move it far, Ray captured it and pushed it back onto his cheek. "You what, Benny?"


"I –" Again Benny stopped speaking. But this time he didn't try to move his hand away. This time he moved his hand and again stroked, no it was more than that: this time he caressed Ray's cheek.


Again Ray swallowed hard. "Benny?" He whispered. "Are you . . ." He trailed off. He couldn't ask; it was impossible. Or was it? And if he didn't ask, would Benny ever tell him?


Suddenly he knew the answer: no.


But could he say it?


Was it right to say it?


Was it right?


Was it what he wanted?


Was it what Benny wanted?


"Are you trying to tell me something, Benny?" he managed, silently cursing himself.


Under his gaze, he watched as Benny swallowed hard and nodded. "Yes, Ray," he answered.


Ray waited.


He went on waiting.


Still he waited.


Then softly he said, "Tell me, then. Tell me, Benny."


"I didn't realize it until you were trapped. Well I did, I just refused to allow myself to acknowledge it. And even when I saw the car go into the lake with you in it, still I refused. It was only after I had snapped at Francesca that I knew. That I really knew."


"Knew what, Benny?"


"Knew that I was . . . Knew that I was . . . Raymond Vecchio, I love you."


Ray let out a rush of breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding. "I love you too, Benton Fraser," he said; it seemed as if such a moment should be treated with formality. Then he leaned forward and kissed Benny's lips; they parted under his own.



Had anyone asked Ray, he'd have said that getting one person in the thing Benny called a 'bed' would be difficult, getting two in there, especially when sleeping wasn't the first thing on the agenda, would be impossible.


However, as he lay cradled in Benny's arms, his head on Benny's chest, listening to the steady heartbeat, he realized that he would have been wrong. Very wrong. Very wrong indeed.


And it was one of the rare times, although they had gotten a lot less rare since Constable Benton Fraser had walked into his life, that he didn't mind being wrong. He didn't mind at all. Not at all.


Nonetheless, as he attempted to snuggle down into the hardness of the bed, he was already making plans for 'improving' his lover's apartment. After all, he realized, he was going to be spending even more time there with Benny now, than he had done before. A lot more time. A heck of a lot more time. In fact –


But before he could complete the thought, he feel asleep, safely held, as he had been hours earlier, in Benny's strong arms. 



Feedback is always appreciated


Go to Due South Fiction Page

Go to Home Page