Shay Sheridan

Fraser's got his mouth open, in shock, or surprise, or something. His eyes look like they're stuck open, and he's got a little crease thing going on between his eyebrows. I know a lot of Fraser's "looks," but I've never seen one exactly like this.


"Ray," he says, kinda tentatively, like he's never said my name before.

I don't answer him, because, frankly, my head really does hurt now, so I suppose I actually did get hit by a bullet, and those bozos are still shooting -- though I hear sirens outside, and loud voices, and there are other people shooting back at them now, so at least I don't have to stick my head out again. I gotta wonder why the bad guys don't just cut their losses and split.

But no -- they keep firing. So what with the bullhorns and sirens and both sides shooting over our heads and the pounding in my brain, it's getting pretty noisy here in the warehouse, and all I really want to do now is close my eyes. Not so much because of the noise. Mostly because of what I just did. I'd like to forget I did it. I'd like Fraser to forget it, that's for sure.

"Ray," Fraser says again. And then, "You, ah, um. . ."

Okay, it's definitely time to close my eyes. I try to do it, but the damn Mountie won't let me. He's got his hands on my shoulders and he shakes me a little. "Ray. Ray. Ray. Ray."

The shaking just adds nausea to my misery. I feel myself slipping down a little in Fraser's arms.

I half expect him to get all choked up and say one of those cliche things, like, "Dammit, don't you die on me!" or "Stay with me, buddy, help is on the way!" like we're in "Gunga Din" or something, but he never swears, and besides, I know I'm not hit that bad, just grazed a little on the forehead, though it hurts like a mother now, but what he does say is, "Ray, you. . . you licked me."

"No I didn't." Great Ė the first thing I say to him after I lick him, and it's a lie.

"Yes, you did."

Yes I did. Oh yeah, I did.

Okay, now I really need to lie down, because what can I say to that? Yeah, Fraser, I licked you, because you had this dirty smudge above your lip and it was driving me crazy? Or maybe, All I could think about was your mouth, so I had to lick off the smudge to get near it? Nope, no way, negatory, I do not think so.

But lying down seems like a really good idea just about now, since I can't think of anything to say, but mostly because my body does not want to sit up any more. So I just kinda slide down all the way, which takes Fraser by surprise and my head hits the floor before he can react, and it's lights out for Kowalski.

Wow. Thank goodness that was all a dream. A noisy, confusing dream. I have no idea what it was about. Just noise.

No, it's still noisy now that I'm awake.

Where the hell am I?

When my eyes open, I'm looking out a doorway, and I see a bunch of cops, and I hear radios, and off to the side, there's Welsh. I think. My eyesight's not all that good at the best of times.

Damn. Evidently the noise is inside my head. Maybe if I turn. . .

Shit. Do not move your head, Kowalski. Trust me on this.


Why do I bother to talk to myself if I'm not going to listen to myself?


Okay, I know that voice.

"Are you okay?" He's holding onto me again. No chance he'll let me crack my head this time. Prudent Mountie.

I must be okay because I'm sitting on a bench inside. . . an ambulance? I'm leaning against the wall, and no one is paying any attention to me. Except Fraser. So I can't be too bad off. Except my head. . .

When I reach up, there's a bandage on my temple and, oh, yeah, now I remember.

Now I remember.

Oh shit, shitshitshitshitshit. Just let me die.

"How do you feel?

Like an asshole, like a freak, like I wanna crawl back underneath some rock and disappear. "Uh, fine," I mumble. "I feel okay."


Okay, when he says it like that, in his "no bullshit, please," voice, I have some sort of automatic, no, wait, uh, sounds like atomic -- autonomic! -- response or something, and I have to look up. But I still can't speak.

"Ray, I think we should, ah. . ." Boy, he looks bad.

Man, he looks good.

Well, I can't actually tell how he looks. He's busy torturing his lower lip with his teeth, which is giving me the shivers, and which I really do not need to think about right now. "Did you. . ." He tries again. "I need to ask you, uh. . ."

If I weren't busy contemplating suicide, I would find this hilarious. He's priceless, really he is.

Finally he works himself up to it. "You licked my lip, Ray."

Too much to hope he'd drop it, I suppose. Well, what's the point in denying? He knows I did it, I know I did it, probably Keeler and his goons know I did it. For all I know, the video team from "Cops" caught it on tape. "Yeah, Fraser," I say, "I licked you. You see, you had a little smudge, and. . . and. . ." Okay, this sounds even worse than I imagined it would. ". . .Ah, forget it."

"I can't, Ray." He's still holding me, but he looks wild, like maybe he wants to bolt. "It was more than. . . it was like you, ah--"

Kissed him. I fucking kissed him. After I licked him. That's the whole thing right there. Can't mistake that.



Please stop, Fraser, you impossible pit bull. "Don't know why." Except I do.

"Maybe. . . it was your head wound."

"Head wound." Thank you, Fraser, for giving me an out. You are a prince. You are my prince.

He frowns a little. "That's probably what it was then." He's finalizing it. Case closed. Maintain the Right, Mr. Mountie.

My head really hurts and my heart is pounding along with it. "No."

Why did I say no?


"No, Fraser."

I said it again!

"No, what?"

"No, I did not lick your lip or kiss you because I had a head wound." Breathe, Ray. "I wanted to before I got hit, okay?"

"You did?"



Jesus! Is this 20 Questions? Am I that fucked up? Is he that thick?

No. Yes. No. "You're not stupid, Fraser."

"Thank you."

"Please -- just forget it."

"Forget I'm not stupid?"

Okay, first I kill him, then I kill myself. "No, Fraser. Forget it happened." God, I sound miserable. Thank God Welsh and the others are way over there by the warehouse so they don't have to hear this shit.

"Ray. I don't know if I can forget it."

My heart is really lurching now, and it's a sickening feeling. I can't look at him. I really can't. I have screwed this up. I have screwed us up. I'm so nervous now my voice is shaking. "I didn't mean to freak you out, Frase. It didn't matter."


I make myself look up. "Are you okay?"

He looks at me with another expression I donít recognize, and I feel so twisted up inside, I'm afraid I may throw up if he says what I am afraid he's about to say. "Frankly, I don't know if I am okay with this, Ray."

And there it is, goodbye partner, goodbye buddy, goodbye Fraser.

I gotta make an effort here, buck up, calm down, buckle up for safety, take it like a man, say thanks, been nice knowing you, give him a graceful way out. But I can't form words. I am so lame.

"So." He's chewing his lip again. Not a good sign. Wants to run. "So," he says again. "So--"

He is so fucking annoying sometimes.

I'm gonna miss him.

"So," he says again.

Christ, this hurts so bad. "So. . ." Now I'm doing it! "I understand, I really do, Fraser. You're not okay with it."

He's shaking his head. "I don't know if I'm okay with it. So. . ."

God, don't start that again!

"So, maybe you should do it again," Fraser says.

So. . . "What?"

"Do it again, Ray," Fraser says, leaning in. "Kiss me."

That's it. He's done it. He's finally killed me.

I know when I'm licked.

redchance @
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