Nikki Harrington


Set during The Pilot.

A missing scene. Ray thinks back on what his life was like before Fraser walked into it, how much it had changed and how much he missed him. And then he learns that Fraser has returned to Chicago.

A pre-slash story.

Written: October 2008. Word count: 3,375.



Ray Vecchio sat at his desk staring at the piles of files that covered it. No matter how hard he worked, the number never seemed to decrease; if anything it seemed to increase. But at least one case was closed. Although Ray was in two minds over the closed case: part of him was pleased that it was all sorted and that the murderer had been brought to justice, and part of him regretted the case had ended.


The case had been 'The Dead Mountie Case', one Robert Fraser of the RCMP. And it had brought his son, Constable Benton Fraser, also of the RCMP, into Ray's life for, what Ray now realized was, all too brief a time!


Ray wasn't quite sure when it was that Fraser first gotten under his skin, but he'd a sneaking suspicion it was the moment he'd first met him. As he sat there he started to think back over his life so far.


He'd been a cop for a number of years. Like all cops he'd started off walking the beat, and had then become a detective. And he'd worked hard at it, he really had. But somewhere down the line, he didn't really know when it was, he'd started to get tired; tired of the whole damned thing. He was drifting, disillusioned, and he wasn't sure that he was making a difference. For every perp he arrested, every criminal he helped put behind bars, there was another ten, twenty, thirty, or more ready to take their place. The streets were a mess, the criminals outnumbered the cops, and the best the cops could hope for was to catch the worse of them.


He did deals and he saw perps walk in order to get the bigger fish. It wasn't something he was proud of, but it was something every cop had to do. He carried a shield and two guns; he could fit in with the bad guys; he had snitches who were closer to him than some of his fellow detectives. On top of that, he had a family and home to look after. His pop had left him the house, but he couldn't sell it because his mother, Maria, her no good husband Tony, their kids and Frannie lived there.


Frannie, his baby sister, like Ray himself, was divorced, and when Ray thought about the divorces he often wondered just how Catholic his family really was. In spite of everything he was fond of Frannie, and he took care of her. Her then soon-to-be-ex-husband had once made the mistake of showing his face in a pretty run down area of Chicago, where Ray just happened to be following up a lead from one of his snitches.


It had been less than two weeks since Ray had discovered the bastard made a habit of hitting Frannie. No one ever asked where the bruises on Ray's knuckles and face had come from, or the sprained wrist, or why his best suit was torn and covered with blood. No one had ever asked, and he hadn't volunteered any information. He knew that his actions could have cost him his badge and possibly his freedom, but Frannie was his sister. Italians, even Italians born and raised in America, took care of their own.


And that wasn't the only time he'd broken the law. He did it most days; red lights, stop signs, leaning a bit too heavily on someone, the odd punch the lawyer or judge never saw. It was normal, just everyday dealings every cop did it. Or at least so he thought.


And then one fateful day, six weeks ago, Ray had found himself in a cell trying to entrap someone, someone it turned out who was from IA and who was trying to entrap him entrapping him, when Fraser had walked in. The Mountie had walked into the cells and asked for Detective Armani - and had saved his ass.


Ray had always had a big mouth, his mother had always told him that, and boy did he make use of it that day. Fraser had asked him about the case of the dead Mountie and Ray had made some cutting reply. But as he did he happened to glance up at Fraser and had seen a strange look pass over his face, only for a second, but it was there, a hurt, lost almost look. The pain and anguish of years yeah, he'd swear he did see all that in one look. And then it was gone, and Fraser had told Ray just who the dead Mountie was. His father.


Ray had felt bad about that. He had done some awful things in his time, but somehow this took some beating at least in his eyes. But instead of getting really angry or upset, Fraser had repaid Ray by telling him about the guy in the cell who wasn't a clothes dealer. And then he'd walked out, leaving Ray feeling very small.


It was not a feeling Ray liked, and he also didn't like being indebted to anyone or even people thinking that he was a heartless bastard. Then he had realized that it wasn't people he didn't want to think of him as a heartless bastard, but Fraser thinking he was a heartless bastard. So he did a bit of digging and found a couple of possible leads. The next day he'd gone to tell Fraser about them, he went to apologize too.


He'd found him standing outside the Consulate on sentry duty, guarding Canada from the US of A, cute that. And suddenly he got this overwhelming feeling that this guy was going to play a very important part in his life.


How wrong could he have been? The case was over; Ray had nearly died, albeit saving Fraser's life. To top it all, he'd left his hospital bed and traveled to Canada to find Fraser and tell him he knew who'd killed Fraser senior, only to be greeted by a seemingly serene Fraser who'd claimed to know.


The next few hours had seemed to pass in a blur, and the only things Ray really remembered was being more frightened than he had ever been in his life, realizing that the fear was for Fraser more than for himself, and somehow ending up on a sled pulled by dogs, helping to keep Dief alive until Fraser could get him to the vet. Then they had gone back for Gerrard.


Two days later, when Ray had found out the Dief was going to make it, he realized that he had not reason to stay in Canada. So he'd said his good-byes to a somewhat distracted Fraser and had returned to the city he had been born in.


Ray had wanted to say something about keeping in touch, after all Canada and the States weren't exactly the Moon and Saturn, but something had prevented him. Maybe it was the distant man Fraser had seemed to become, the man who despite having brought his father's killer to justice, seemed haunted by what he'd done. Ray supposed that it wasn't surprising, after all Gerrard was meant to have been his father's friend, and Fraser had looked up to him both as this and as a superior officer.


Yet at the same time, Ray also saw a kind of serenity on the face of Fraser that he had never seen while the man had been in Chicago especially not when he'd been seated around the Vecchio table. Poor Fraser, maybe that had been a bit cruel to inflict that on him so soon after his arrival in Chicago. Taking someone home to meet his family, was not something that Ray had ever made a habit of doing, most of his fellow detectives had never been inside the Vecchio house, yet he'd taken someone who was then, in all honesty, a perfect stranger home.


So Ray hadn't said anything about keeping in touch, and neither had Fraser; although he had seemed to hold Ray's hand slightly longer than was strictly necessary. But in the end Ray had gotten on a plane and had returned to the city, his family and his job.


All that had happened over four weeks ago, and still Ray was unsettled. He had to admit it: he missed Fraser; he even missed the damned wolf; he who didn't like dogs, missed Diefenbaker!

Stop it, Vecchio, he told himself for the hundredth time. He's not coming back. Hell, he's probably a hero now amongst the Mounties. He's probably got his 'catching crooked cops' badge or whatever it was called.


A couple of times during the four weeks, Ray had even reached for the phone, once even getting as far as calling the Consulate. But he'd hung up before anyone could answer. What was the point? Even if he managed to find where out where Fraser was, it was probably in some godforsaken place where there was no phone and no indoor plumbing.


And even if he did, by some fortuitous chance, track Fraser down, what was he going to say to him? After all, what had he, a brash, loud-mouthed, talkative, hard-nosed, disillusioned Italian American cop have in common with a softly-spoken, idealistic, good mannered, beautiful - where the hell did that come from? Canadian Mountie? Nothing was the sad answer, or at least not very much. They were both men, both in law enforcement, were just about the same height although Ray had about an inch on Fraser were both dark haired (what Ray had left of his), and there the similarities ended. Ray did not want to begin cataloguing their differences.


Finally, he pulled himself completely back to the present and glanced at his watch. It was time to call it a day. He shifted the piles of outstanding cases into one heap, and noted idly that there were still forty of them. It was as if the only case he'd solved in six weeks was the dead Mountie. Ray began to wonder if that was true.


He had just stood up and reached for his jacket when his desk phone rang. Swallowing a curse, he briefly thought of ignoring it and just going home anyway. But then something in his conscience got the better of him; odd that had been happening a lot in the last six weeks. Just like opening doors for old ladies and women with children had started to be an almost daily occurrence.


He swept it up. "Vecchio," he snarled. "What do you want?"


"And a good evening to you too, Detective Vecchio," came the voice of Thomas, the new duty desk operator. "I have someone here who claims to know you, and wants to see you."


Ray sighed to himself and wondered which one of his many snitches or loonies who seemed to hang around him from time to time had come to confess to something.


He was just about to Thomas to tell the person he'd already gone home, but he realized there was no point. Whoever was with Thomas would have heard him call Ray by name. And anyway, what did he have to look forward to if he did go home? Just another dinner and endless evening with his family. He loved his family but sometimes he longed for just one evening of peace and quiet in his own home. He supposed he could have called Susie, or Jane or Rosie, but somehow he'd lost interest in dating during the last few weeks, too much hassle. And besides, the person just might have something genuine to tell him.


So instead he said, "Yeah, go on then, Thomas, who is it?"


At Thomas's words he sank back down into his chair, aware that his hand was sweating and shaking and that the whole room seemed to have gone quiet. On the periphery of his mind, he noticed that Elaine was watching him.


"Who did you say, Thomas?" he asked, not certain that he'd heard correctly. In fact certain that he hadn't heard correctly; rather that he'd heard what he wanted to hear.


"I said," Thomas's surprisingly patient voice came back. "It's some guy with a hat, claiming to be a Mountie Ben something Favour of the RCMP and his wolf. Says he knows you, says you're a friend."


"Benton Fraser of the RCMP," corrected Ray automatically. "And the wolf's name is Diefenbaker." He still couldn't believe it. Fraser here? In Chicago? Why? And why would he come to the 27th Precinct anyway?


"Whoever," Thomas said. Then asked, "So do you want to see this guy or not?"


"What? Oh, yes, of course. Send them up." Ray finally managed to think coherently.


"Send. THEM. Up?" Thomas questioned.


"Yes, them. Look," he cut in across Thomas's objections. "He's attached to the Canadian Consulate." Well it wasn't a complete lie, Fraser had been attached to the Consulate and for all Ray knew any Mountie visiting Chicago was attached to the Consulate. "He worked with me a few weeks ago, and the wolf is quite safe housetrained too," he added with a grin. As he spoke he remembered how shocked he'd been when Diefenbaker had first jumped into his car and onto his lap, and all the thoughts that had gone through his mind. Firstly that he was going to be mauled to death, and secondly that his upholstery was going to be ruined. Now he found that he missed the white furball in the back seat.


"You'll have to take full responsibility, Vecchio," Thomas was saying.


"Yeah, yeah, I will. Now just send them up." And Ray hung up before Thomas could answer.


As he replaced the phone, he saw just how badly his hand was shaking. For Christ's sake, Vecchio, get a grip. He told himself over and over again. Stop behaving like a High School girl on prom night. He was now aware that not only was Elaine looking at him, but also Louis and Dewy. Damn!


He lowered his eyes, and grabbed at a file from the top of the pile. He'd look busy. He'd be nonchalant, he'd let Fraser come to him. He'd . . .


All good intentions fled as murmurs from the edge of the room started and suddenly a white shape bounded across the room and flung itself at Ray, paws on his lap, wet tongue going over his face. Ray's hands moved to automatically pet the wolf and to prevent being licked to death Dief was nothing if not enthusiastic. As he petted Dief he found himself thinking: he's not in quarantine. That means Fraser has been back in Chicago for a few days. I wonder why he didn't call me, or come to see me before. Maybe he felt awkward too; maybe he thought Dief would be an excuse. Maybe. . .


He broke off his thoughts as Fraser strode into the room, dressed in blue jeans, a checked shirt, and a leather jacket. He was carrying his Stetson and had a frown on his face. "Diefenbaker," he called. "How many time, have I. . ." He broke off, and just stared at Ray from across the room


Despite his vow to let Fraser come to him, Ray pushed the over-enthusiastic wolf from his lap, urged him in Elaine's direction, and was across the room in three long strides. The next moment, he had Fraser in his arms, and found himself saying. "I've missed you, Benny." Benny, Benny? Where the hell had that name come from? He'd meant to say 'Fraser'.


Fraser seemed momentarily stunned by the hug. But then his arms came up and he hugged Ray back and said simply, "I've missed you too, Ray."


The sound of a throat being cleared just behind Ray made him remember where they were and not without reluctance he released Fraser. He thought that he saw the same reluctant look in those blue eyes, but then it had gone.


"Constable Fraser, I thought we'd seen the last of you," Lieutenant Welsh's voice cut into Ray's thoughts.


"As had I, sir. However. . ." Suddenly Fraser trailed off and glanced at Ray.


Welsh seemed to pick up on the hesitation and filled the space. He reached out and offered his hand to Fraser. "Good to see, son. You and Vecchio did good work. I never did get a chance to thank you."


"Thank me, sir?" Fraser had taken the proffered hand, but looked surprised.


"Yeah, Vecchio now only had forty unsolved cases on his desk." To Ray's surprised Welsh was smiling as he said the words.


"Sir, I feel that I should have apologized earlier for the injury Detective Vecchio suffered as a result of assisting me. I believe that he could have broken his neck because of me."


"Pity he didn't," came a muttered voice from across the room.


"Gardino!" Welsh snapped. His tone made it perfectly clear to all his men, that Gardino had overstepped the boundaries.


Even Jack Huey muttered his partner's name, in a warning tone. Fraser looked distressed. Ray ignored it for now.


"Don't worry about that, son, Detective Vecchio was only doing his job," Welsh said. "He likes to do that occasionally," he added. Again Ray saw the look of distress flash over Fraser's face. Welsh must have noticed it to, because he stopped the teasing and said. "I am glad that you found your father's killers."


"Thank you, sir," Fraser said.


At that moment, Elaine called Welsh to the telephone, and with a nod at Fraser, the Lieutenant turned and went into his office.


Ray was suddenly aware that he and Fraser were still the centre of attention in the suddenly stifling room.


"Hey, Benny," he said, realizing just how much he liked the name. Far better than Benton or Fraser or even Frasier, as Ray liked to call the Mountie.


"Yes, Ray?" The guileless blue eyes stared at Ray, and suddenly the thirty-four year old, hardened, streetwise detective knew that he had fallen, truly fallen, in love for the first time in his life. Even his feelings for Angie did not equate to those he was feeling now.


However, he pushed them aside, buried them deep within himself and silently cursed himself. He told himself not to be so stupid; he told himself he wasn't feeling that way; it was just good to see Benny again. He also told himself that any hint that Benny might be having similar thoughts was just his over-active, over-furtive imagination. There was no way that the nice, clean-cut Mountie could possible entertain such thoughts. He was just projecting this own thoughts, his own desires, his own wants onto Benny. He had to stop; he had to. If he didn't, it would drive him insane.


The blue eyes kept on staring and he realized he hadn't answered.


"Er, how about dinner? Ma and the family will be pleased to see you. Dief too of course," he added.


"That would be very nice, Ray, thank you kindly. But are you sure your mother will not mind me arriving unexpectedly?"


"Benny, if I turned up with half a dozen people extra people for dinner, Ma'd feed them all without batting an eyelid, she'd find beds for them too if they needed it, and they'd still be plenty of food left over. I sometimes think Ma cooks for the five thousand every day. Come on, let's go." He caught Benny's arm to guide him out of the room, and quickly let go again as a surge of electricity went straight from his hand to his stomach, and threatened to go even lower.


Cursing himself silently, he hurried to the door, faster than was strictly necessary. He had to wait while Fraser called Dief, who was too busy reacquainting himself with several people he'd seemingly got to know during his brief visit to the Precinct.


Finally Fraser had to go to the wolf and almost drag him to the door. With a whine, Diefenbaker finally submitted to his pack leader and side by side the cop, the Mountie and the wolf left the building. Ray did not want to think about what was possibly being said in the room they had just left.



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