Title: Promises
Author: Alatri ^..^ alatri@yahoo.com
Type: slash
Pairing: RayV and Benny
Categories: episode AU sap
Rating: G
Spoilers: Pizza & Promises, They Eat Horses Don't They, Free Willy
Warning: none
Feedback: Comments, critiques, suggestions, etc, all welcome. ;-)
Disclaimer: Only mine in my dreams. They belong to each other otherwise. ;-)


{grin} I just can't leave that "almost" moment alone. ;-) ;-)


Air. Ray tried to hold onto it, tried to not think about taking another breath, tried not to count the time... How long could someone hold their breath underwater? Benny would know. But how long could *Ray* hold his breath?

This was a stupid idea. He hated small areas, he hated the dark. He hadn't hated water before, but he thought it was going to start topping the list after this. Where was Benny? How long could he hold his breath. Don't move. Moving takes air. Not that there was any place to move to...

It should have worked. It had always worked before. Well, most of the time. Okay, sometimes. But he hadn't been able to get the electronic tracker from his friend in logistics, and he couldn't bare the thought of Benny looking at him with those big wide eyes that said, 'I know you did the best you could,' but his best still wasn't enough when he let Benny down.

His lungs were burning. Burning in flames in the midst of all the water... it must look real spectacular if there were any onlookers; burning in water.

Well, even if Benny didn't get to him in time, he'd get to him shortly after, and loss of consciousness and stoppage of breath from drowning was one of the more hopeful revival situations. Benny would just give him mouth-to-mouth, and then he'd cough up the water, and would be breathing again and it would still be okay. He wouldn't have to worry about the last of his air as long as Benny was coming after him. But he better hold it as long as he could anyhow. Who knew how long it would take to follow him? How long had it been? Ray didn't know anymore. There was only the water, and no air...

Water everywhere. Water in his lungs, dripping off his clothes. Ray coughed, trying to get it out of his lungs, grateful for the air that came back in instead of more water. Falling back, down... but he wasn't allowed to rest as hands pulled him up. Ray wanted nothing more than to just sink back down again.

Somebody was calling his name in the distance and a strong hand was holding his face. Ray looked woozily into the concerned eyes of his friend, realizing that he was really there. “Fraser.” The last thing that he'd said before the radio drowned came back to him. Ruefully, he remarked, “Fraser, I don't think that was a carwash.”

“No, Ray,” Benny solemnly answered in kind, though his eyes sparkled with relief and the hand on Ray's cheek softened to a gentle caress instead of the urgent hold it had been. Turning his head to one side, he fixed his gaze on somebody and said in a voice that was just shy of an order, “We need a blanket.” It sounded like Benny was talking to Dief, but Ray didn't have the energy to move his gaze to look.

Mystery solved as Ray heard his sister's voice protesting weakly, “Well, I only have my good one...”

Ray almost grinned. He was okay, his sister knew he was okay, and here was Benny asking for Frannie to sacrifice the great seduction blanket... As Frannie had talked, those blue-grey eyes had returned to gazing at Ray, and Ray could tell by the way lines were snapping down around those eyes that Fraser was less than pleased with Frannie's answer. Hurriedly, he intervened, “Get the blanket.” She wouldn't argue with him. At least not right now. Why couldn't he take his eyes off Benny? Benny was staring at him so intently...

Benny's hand moved from his cheek, down to his shoulder, gentle, a feel of relief in the way he held him. Then the grip tightened, “You okay?” Benny's voice had gone all soft and yet there was a firm note in it that Ray knew he'd better not lie to. And something in that voice that Ray couldn't quite identify... Concern, relief, somebody held tightly in control.

It was pretty warm all around him with his friend so near. A hell of a lot warmer than the lake. When was the last time anybody had asked him with such sincerity if he was okay? Ray smiled, relaxing and knowing he really really was okay, with Benny there. “Yeah.”

Something within Benny also relaxed, relief and joy showing on his face so plainly that Ray's heart ached for him. I'm sorry, Benny...

And then Benny was leaning in close, closer, close... his lips were touching Ray's and Benny's arms were around him and there was a tongue in his mouth and it had to be Benny's but it couldn't be Benny's because... What the hell?

Space. There wasn't anybody kissing him anymore. Instead, a pair of rueful looking changeable eyes were staring at him and he could vaguely hear a voice in the background calling him again. “Ray?”

Ray blinked. Did I die? He blinked again, cautiously. No, he was still dripping wet, and Fraser was dripping wet, and the hard metal he was sitting on was the hood of his car... “Frannie, where's that blanket?”

“Here, Ray.” His sister's voice was somewhere between shocked and subdued. Well, Ray felt about the same. She handed the blanket over to Fraser, and Benny occupied himself tucking it around Ray, fussing with the folds and wrapping him in until Ray didn't think he could move. What the hell had just happened?

“We gotta go after them.” Ray stumbled off the car, supported by Benny's hands. Yeah, that was it. Be angry. That was easier than trying to think about what had just happened... “Arrest the whole darn lot of them!” Ray threw off Fraser's support and moved to the driver's side of the car.

Frannie took one look at him and climbed in the back seat. Her, “Where are we going?” overlapped with Fraser's, “That would be an injustice, Ray.”

Ignoring Fraser, Ray started the car with a jerk, “You're going home!” No way was he taking his sister with them to go after some deranged people who would drown a cop just for a minor car racket deal! He hadn't even wanted her along in the first place. Simple cases changed to complex ones every time Fraser got involved with something. And simple actions were suddenly weird. Did Benny really kiss him? What the hell was up with that? That was a kiss, wasn't it?

Pulling up in front of the house, Ray went in with his sister. He couldn't move in the wet clothes. Fraser occupied himself with tidying up the spilled supplies and cleaning the car outside. Ray let him do it.

“Ray...” Frannie hesitated in the hallway between their doors, “I'm sorry I couldn't find the keys.”

“Hell with the keys,” Ray wasn't even sure what keys they were talking about, but he did know one thing, “I'm just glad you're okay.”

“Me?” Frannie blinked a couple of times and then she threw herself into Ray's arms where they clung together for a long moment. After they'd had their fill of sibling comfort, they moved back. Frannie shook her head, “Ray – did Fraser kiss you?”

Involuntarily, Ray touched his lips, trying to find the answer there, “I think he did. I don't know. Did he?”

“It sure looked like a kiss to me! Did you know he was gay?”

“Hadn't a clue.” As the implications fell down on him, Ray blanched. “He kissed me... Benny kissed me.”

Frannie giggled, “I can think of worse things to happen.”

Ray shot her a dirty look.

“Ray, if you could see your face right now...” Frannie giggled again, then sighed, “Ah well, best man wins and all.” She winked at him and went into her room, closing the door behind her.

“But...” Ray protested, ages too late. Maybe a kiss means something different in Aluvik. Or Tuktoyotik. Eskimos don't kiss, do they? He'd seen something a long long time ago, something about noses. Ray couldn't stand the look of reproach he knew Fraser would be giving him, “Alright, alright! Inuit. Not Eskimos anymore, they're Inuits. Geeze...”

Resisting the temptation to slam his door behind him, Ray changed quickly into dry clothes and went down to meet Benny and pursue the bad guys.

Ray stared at Fraser, his anger surging forth, “What is wrong with you?”

Benny's movements stilled as he turned to face Ray in disbelief, “Pardon me?”

Ray handed him the cuffs as he berated his friend, “What the hell is wrong with you?!” Ray's heart was in his throat as he spoke and though Benny accepted the cuffs, he didn't take his gaze off Ray. Ray went on, “She almost killed you in there,” he gestured towards the building, “didn't you think she'd flatten you here?”

As soon as Ray started the second sentence, the tension in Fraser's body vanished and he leaned in through the car window to handcuff the suspect. When Ray finished speaking, Benny looked back to him, “Oh, I knew she was prepared to kill me,” his voice matter-of-fact and questioning the problem with that.

Ray had a big problem with it, “Well, then why did you stand there?”

“Well, I heard you coming.”

Ray stared, shocked into silence.

Fraser continued, a hint of... something like affection in his voice, “I had to keep her attention focused on me long enough so that you'd be able to intervene.”

“But what if I didn't?” The sight of Benny standing there, the car barreling towards him... Ray had the car petal floored and still wasn't sure if he'd make it in time. And here was Benny, telling him it was deliberate?? Because he trusted me... At the same time as that made Ray feel good, it made him scared. Nobody should trust somebody else that much.

They were sitting next to each other, together on a hood of a car. It was still the same moonlit night it had been earlier. And Benny was doing another one of his convoluted explanations. “Well, I knew that you would take the car parked next to hers, and the Plymouth accelerates two seconds faster over the quarter mile than the Cadillac.”

As soon as Fraser said 'Plymouth,' Ray's heart sank into his shoes. Oh God, Benny... He waited for the end of the Fraser Explanation. “I took the Chevy!”

Fraser looked him in the eyes for a moment, disbelief written plain upon his face, before he turned to inspect the car they were sitting on. “Oh.” After a moment he turned back, completely nonchalant, “Oh well. You know you should really tell me next time.”

Here we go again. Fraser had put his life in danger yet again, and again wasn't about to admit there was anything wrong with doing so. Instead, he was back to playing around again. Ray wanted to scream. Instead in a tightly controlled voice he asked, “Tell you what?” His irritation was evident in his voice and he made sure Fraser couldn't miss it.

“Well I mean if you're going to,” there was a slight hitch in his voice before Fraser continued on, “change a plan like that... I *was* standing in front of a car, Ray.” Fraser slid smoothly off the car and started to walk away.

Ray scrambled to follow him, “Plan? Plan? What Plan?” Fraser drove him nuts! What was he trying to do now? “You mean...” Ray advanced on Fraser, who stopped where he was and waited for him, “There were two cars to choose from, alright? Are you telling me I took the wrong car???” How could Benny *possibly* blame this one on him?

Face to face, they stared at each other for a moment, and Ray could see the twinkle in Benny's eyes as he didn't quite laugh.

“No apologies necessary,” Benny reached out and gripped Ray's shoulders, running his hands up and down his arms, “It's already forgotten.”

Ray stared at him, remembering another moment less than an hour ago. Forgotten? I don't think so. As he followed Benny into the office, he was furiously thinking. He'd gotten himself in trouble, and Benny had to rescue him. So in apology, Benny put himself in danger so Ray could rescue him? That was just stupid. Maybe it hadn't been that intentional... Ray glanced over to Fraser while he talked to Tex. Nah. Benny had done it on purpose alright. Just as he'd kissed him on purpose? Ray slammed the phone down as he hung up. Fraser glanced over curiously.

“The first car we called for got pulled off for a shooting on 23rd. A different car will be here shortly to pick these idiots up.” Personally, Ray thought that he was the idiot for getting himself talked into one of Fraser's schemes again. Hadn't he learned after nearly freezing to death in a locker full of horse meat? Oh, no. All it took was Fraser pulling a transparent fast one on him and he was out there again, risking his life for a kiss. Damnit.

The police came, they saw, they took the prisoners away. Ray shook his head at all the paperwork this one was going to take. When Fraser was involved, not only did the cases get more complex, so did the amount of office junk he had to take care of.

Driving back to Fraser's apartment, Ray was silent. The long night was starting to catch up with him now that the excitement was over and he longed for his bed. There was just one more thing he had to find out first.

“You're coming up?” Benny's surprise was obvious.

“You got a problem?”

“Well, no,” Fraser hastened to assure him, even as he anxiously watched Ray stumble up the steps, “I just thought you would want to go home...”

Ray glared at the concerned look and walked into Benny's room. No locks, no bullets, no lies. Damn, he had an odd friend. “Where's Dief?”

“I left him with Willy, since I didn't know how long we'd be on this case.” Fraser's voice turned worried, “I hope Willy remembered to use the vitamins on Diefenbaker's food. I know he doesn't like it, and Willy is particularly susceptible to Diefenbaker's attempts to get out of what he knows is good for him...”

Ray rolled his eyes and cut off the rambles as it looked like Fraser wasn't ever going to stop. The man just didn't know what a simple answer was. “What have you got to eat in here? I'm starving.”

“Well,” Fraser fought to keep the giggles out of his voice but didn't quite manage, “There's some left-over pizza in the refrigerator.”

Oh, yeah, real funny, mister wise-guy. Ray shot his friend a particularly annoyed glare and dug out the pizza box, “I spent a night locked in the truck of a car. I missed dinner, nearly drowned, and then I took the wrong car. Next time, *you* call for the pizza! And pay for it too!”

“Yes, Ray,” Benny was leaning against the wall, watching him eat with a smile in his voice and eyes. Damn Canuck. Didn't he know by now that politeness didn't get anybody anywhere in Chicago? Except they all kept falling for it. Even Ray... “Fraser, was that a kiss?”

Benny sobered up immediately and turned away, walking to the window and staring out.

Thought so. Benny, those impulses of yours are going to get you in trouble someday. If they hadn't already. Ray poured himself more milk and drank it down gratefully. The smooth richness felt good on his sore throat. I wonder how long I was down there? “Benny, how long was I down there?”

Fraser didn't turn around. “Two minutes, twenty-two seconds.”

“That was all?” Ray was surprised. “It felt like forever.”

“Yes. It did.” Stiffly controlled, the voice still let out a depth of pain and anguish that had Ray wincing.

“You kissed me because I scared you, because you thought I was going to die.”


“I can't hold my breath as long as you.”


“I can't survive in freezing temperatures as long as you either, and if you'd tried holding me, all it would have done would be to ruin your chances of surviving.”

Benny finally turned around, “Is that what you were doing, Ray?”

“You know damn well it was.”

Benny raised his right hand to his face and delicately rubbed the back of his thumb over his eyebrow, lowering his eyes as he did so.

“There's a lot of things I can't do as well as you can, Benny, but it doesn't mean that you have to pull any stupid stunts just so I can have my chance to save you too.”

His hand freezing, Fraser looked up sharply, “Is that what you thought I was doing?”

Ray looked at him steadily, “Wasn't it?”

Benny walked over to the table and pulled out a chair next to Ray, sinking down in it and continuing the downward motion until his head was resting in his hands, his neck and shoulders bowed. “I don't know. It seemed reasonable at the time. I could hear you coming and I knew exactly what you were planning to do...”

“I took the Chevy.”

Raising his head, Fraser gestured expansively, “Well, obviously I need to recalculate. I was sure that you would take the one next to hers because it was the closer one, but upon consideration of the choices, I presume you took the one that was more familiar to you. That was information that I didn't have before, having only seen you drive the Rivera and that departmental car you had when we first met. Next time, I'll take that into consideration before I make any plans based on expectations. Familiarity will outweigh convenience.”

“And if you don't know what I'm familiar with?”

“Then I'll leave my plans more flexible.” Benny shrugged, “It worked out just fine with the margin of error that I had already left in—”

“Stop it, Benny!” Enough was enough. “Just stop it.” Ray took the empty box and threw it in the trash. Coming back, he stopped so that he was standing near Fraser, who hadn't moved. That was a kiss. With a trembling hand, Ray reached out to touch Benny's shoulder. Benny jumped; and turned wide eyes in his direction.

“Benny, what was the kiss for?”

With a gulp, Benny shoved the chair back and tried to get up. Ray moved in front of him and pressed his legs against Benny's, trapping him where he was, the way that Benny had supported him on the car hood. Ray looked at his hand resting on Fraser's shoulder. Slowly, he brought his other one up to touch Benny's cheek, gently. Still smooth. I wonder how often he needs to shave. He probably does it every morning anyhow, but I bet he could go for a few days without showing a shadow.

“Ray, Ray, Ray!” Benny was babbling, his eyes locked on Ray's, his fear evident.

Sighing, Ray backed off, walking over to Benny's window and resting his head against the frame. There was a breeze wafting in. Not the freshest of smells, but fresher than all the years of accumulated emotional crap they'd both been through.

What was one little kiss anyway? It wasn't like Ray had ever thought anything about it before. Not with Benny. Not with a guy.

But Benny wasn't like any other guy he'd ever met. Benny reached into your heart and pulled out the gut strings, tangling duty and honor with richer and happier thoughts of friendship and here was somebody that he could give his loyalty and love to and never be disappointed. Irritated to heck, sure. But disappointed, never.

Ever since that moment he'd been shown what true and absolute fear was only to have it turned back in his face and sincerely told that he hadn't had to worry... Damn, but Ray didn't know what to make of that moment still. Once he'd given his heart and loyalty to the Mountie, Fraser seemed to accept it completely, not even questioning why. Except the tone of voice that Benny had used when saying, 'my best friend, I'd have to say,' – a little wistful, a little uncertain, a little hopeful; his back to Ray and walking away as if so not to see Ray's face as he was saying it... that moment showed that this solid and stable Mountie was somebody who had never really known friendship before. He didn't know how badly he'd scared Ray, because he'd never been scared like that himself. He'd never been hurt by friends because he hadn't had any worth the name. Ray's heart bled for a man who had lived for that many years and only now found out what a friend was.

And love? It stood to reason, if he didn't know friendship, he didn't know love. Or at least not the type that ran solid and deep. Ray wouldn't put it past his friend to have had some whirlwind romances that would knock his socks off and steam up the windows. But not the type of love that was built on friendship and drew from it, thriving with the tests and the loyalty as they drew closer together. Ray still remembered his ex-wife fondly and with longing. They had been so close... but hadn't quite made it there.

Ray hadn't ever thought about Benny... but that kiss showed that Benny had thought about Ray. You don't kiss your best friend out of sheer relief they're alive. You hug them, you go into hysterics, you hold them close and don't let them go... but you don't kiss them. Not on the lips, and not with a tongue down their throat. How come I didn't notice that Benny was falling for me? But Benny didn't want it known. And if Fraser didn't want something known, it wouldn't be.

Obviously, in his book, love was a weakness. Men didn't cry when their daddies left, and men didn't admit to feelings. Ray had seen that one too often in the force to be impressed with it. That attitude was more likely to get people killed as they barreled into situations without admitting to fears that would make them hesitate.

Benny, don't you know I'd do anything for you?

“Well, yes... I do know. And it scares me.” Benny's voice was very quiet, simply stating a fact.

Ray blinked. He hadn't known he'd said that out loud. Pushing away from the wall he'd been leaning against, he swayed and would have fallen if Benny hadn't caught him.

“Ray!” Benny held him close and looked him carefully over. “You're exhausted, Ray.”

“And whose fault is that?” Ray wondered woozily. He shouldn't have tried moving.

“Mine. It's always mine,” Benny responded ruefully.

“Hey! Knock that off, Benny.” Ray tried to stand up, but found it easier to stay in Benny's arms. “I make my own choices, Benny – and following you is one of them.”

“And dying for me?”

Benny tried to make Ray move a few steps before he obviously gave up and simply swept Ray up in his arms and walked over to the small bed, lowering Ray down into it.

Ray clung to Benny's neck and shoulders and wouldn't let go of him. It was rather nice being held and he didn't want to give it up just yet. If he couldn't make Benny admit to love, he'd at least get a moment of comfort.

“Yes, Benny. Dying for you is a choice I'd make any day. I said I'd do anything for you, and I meant it.”

There was a sound suspiciously like a sob from the upright Mountie as he drew in a breath of air. “Oh, Ray...”

Suddenly, Ray wasn't clinging to a form that was trying to get away, but instead was being pushed back into the mattress and pillow and being very thoughouly kissed. And I thought I'd been kissed before, Ray thought bemusedly as his mouth was invaded by a searching tongue sweeping through and exploring every millimeter of teeth and gums and cheek and his tongue was being played with, and... Ray made a mewl of disappointment as Benny drew back, siliva dripping from his mouth and his tongue darting out to sweep it up, licking around his lips before going back inside his mouth. The pizza Ray had eaten obviously wasn't enough food as hunger pains assaulted him.

“Benny, get back here.”

Benny was breathing heavily, the back of his hand to his mouth and his eyes focused so intently on Ray that Ray wasn't even sure that he was the one being stared at. “Benny?”

“I'll hurt you, Ray. I don't want to hurt you. Never you...”

Oh God... Ray really was too tired for this, but damnit he wasn't going to let Benny down now. “You will anyway, Fraser.”

Already moving away, Benny whipped around at that and stared at Ray, aghast.

Ray shook his head against the pillow, “It doesn't matter if you ever lay a hand on me, it doesn't matter if you never kiss me again. If you go running up North to escape it, or if you stay here and deal with it. I'm going to get hurt. That's life, Benny. That's love. I already love you with all that's in me, and so no matter what you do now, I'm going to hurt from it. Your only choice is whether I should be alone through it without anybody to help me, or if there'll be somebody by my side to soothe the pain.” A little emotional blackmail wouldn't hurt here, and might speed things up. Not that Ray had spoken any untrue words – Fraser would have picked up on that. But if he hadn't been so sleepy, Ray might not have gone that far that quickly.

Fraser was grinning at him.

Ray looked up at him suspiciously, “Benny?”

With a little laugh, Benny moved back to the bed and reached a hand down to gently brush at Ray's hair. “Go to sleep, Ray. I'll be here in the morning.”

That wasn't any sort of an answer. Ray opened his mouth to protest but his mouth was overlaid with a pair of lips he was starting to get familiar with. The kiss this time was gentle, just stopping his words and brushing on the outside. No tongue. Ray missed the tongue.

“Go to sleep, Ray,” Benny's soft voice murmured against his ear as his cheek was stroked with gentle sheer touches. “I promise. I won't leave you alone.”

“Promises,” Ray snorted. “I get pizza and promises from you. Well, it's a beginning.”

Benny's laughter followed him into sleep.