Disclaimer: due South belongs to Alliance Atlantis and some guys called Paul. I'm just playing.
Notes: Written for ds_flashfiction's Fantastic First Line Festival and uses the first line from KassRachel's Greenery.
It took them over an hour to wrestle the damn thing up the fire escape.
Ray collapses gracelessly onto his couch and wheezes in a pathetic manner. After a long moment in which he gets absolutely no sympathy from Fraser or the wolf, Ray sighs and props his feet on the edge of the new turtle tank that is taking up a large part of his floor space.
Christ only knows that Ray was expecting some things to change when he invited the Mountie to be his room mate. Two things that immediately spring to mind are the wolf hair over pretty much everything and the frequently mind blowing sex (not at the same time).
Both of these things Ray can cope with, the latter significantly more than the former. He can also deal with Fraser’s lack of possessions; it made moving him in a cinch. One trip in the GTO, and Ray barely had to sort through his crap and chuck stuff out to make room (Ray still mourns some of the things that fell victim to co-habiting with the Stella).
Ray can even cope with the fact that his kitchen cupboards are now full of boxes that claim to contain cereal, loose tea and wholemeal pasta (chipped wood, twigs and dried mutant beetle shell respectively) and that his fridge looks like a satellite colony of the Amazonian rain forest.
Causing him to practically stroke out hauling a giant glass box up the fire escape on what feels like the hottest day of the year? In Ray’s book that is so not buddies.
The fact that Ray had agreed to this whole thing means that he can’t even get pissy with Fraser for being a basically nice (and freaky) person.
Although, to be frank, Ray is pretty sure that the conversation that led up to this attempt to kill him happened three mornings ago when Fraser insisted on wandering around the apartment, just after taking a shower, barely wearing a towel. And honestly? Ray was distracted enough that he would have agreed to dye his hair pink and change his name to Shirley as long as it meant getting laid right there and then.
“Drink, Ray.” A glass of water, clinking with ice, appears in front of Ray’s face and he snatches it. He does try to make his appreciative grunt sound thankful, though.
Fraser sits next to him on the couch and doesn’t prop his feet up on the glass tank. He also drinks his water in a way that doesn’t bring dying men in the desert finding an oasis to mind.
“It is rather bigger than the advert would lead one to believe.” Cautious tone, as if Fraser’s not too sure of how Ray’s going to react (what with all the swearing and threats to kick the tank in the side that happened on the fire escape). Something that’s borne out by his uncertain expression— that is to say, Fraser-uncertain, which would be practically invisible to anyone else, but Ray’s been studying. Up close and personal.
Ray allows his head to sag back against the back of the couch and bumps one of Fraser’s knees with the heel of his left hand.
“Na, it’ll be good— expand Turtle’s horizons.”
Fraser relaxes slightly and his expression changes to pleased.
If Rays arms and legs didn’t feel like wet noodles (and the less said about his back, the better), he’d give some serious thought to jumping Fraser’s bones.
“Ah, good. Well, this tank won’t disinfect and set itself up.” And off springs Fraser, not showing the least sign that he’s either 1) about to have limbs drop off, or, b) horny. There’s just no justice in the world.
Ray drowns his disappointed sigh in the last of his water. “Hey, want another drink?”
“That would be very nice, thank you.” Fraser doesn’t even look up from the bags of vivarium sand and bark chippings that he’s examining.
Ray watches him for a moment— because hey, hope springs eternal, right?— but all of Fraser’s attention is focused on Turtle’s new home, so Ray gives up and heads to the kitchen, their glasses dangling loosely from one hand.
The pitcher of water is actually in the fridge door for once, meaning that Ray doesn’t have to fight the little Amazon for it (and, seriously? Ray would swear under oath that there’s stuff living in there— and not just the bastard offspring of the milk that used to hang around long enough to turn green and chunky before Fraser moved in).
Ice cubes are a different matter, and it’s with some trepidation that Ray opens the door to the freezer half of his fridge. Again, it’s nothing like before Fraser moved in (and expressed vocal, rather than quiet horror), where every so often Ray would haul out some ice or a pizza and also end up with something small and frozen that kind of resembled the preserved remains that archaeologists were always digging out of glaciers on the Discovery Channel.
Now? Now everything’s wrapped up properly and labelled. It’s the labels that freak Ray out slightly. Pork, chicken and mixed vegetables Ray can cope with fine. It’s the caribou and the stock offal that he has issues with. If Fraser’s going to insist on having that kind of crap around, Ray would rather be ignorant of it.
Luckily the ice cube tray is on the top of the contents of the first drawer Ray looks in. There’s even enough ice for two glasses.
As he’s clinking cubes into the glasses, Ray can hear Fraser talking away in the living room. Even though it’s entirely possible that Fraser is including Ray in his running commentary, Ray’s made out the words salmonella, povidone-iodine and zoonosis so he’s not really listening. Besides— one turtle (lazy) and one wolf (half… and also lazy) does not a zoo make, whatever Fraser may think.
Rummaging in the freezer drawer in order to fit the ice cube tray back in, Ray makes a happy discovery; half a packet of cookies that he’d tried to rescue from having all the chocolate melt out of them the day before yesterday. The twinge in his back is definite justification for a cookie.
(“—irradiated to make it sterile, how interesting—“)
Trying to be quiet— not to avoid alerting Fraser, but the other Canadian in this relationship. The hairy, four-footed, donut-stealing one— Ray extracts a cookie. The packaging makes barely a crinkle and suddenly Diefenbaker has gone from being spark-out in front of the air-conditioner to leaning against Ray’s leg, whining pitifully, without seeming to cross the intervening distance.
“No,” Ray says.
(“—per cent solution should be most efficacious—“)
Dief whimpers and Ray stares down at him.
“No,” he repeats. “You know Fraser’ll just make you run an extra mile and chocolate’s bad for you— probably make your nose drop off or something.”
Dief makes it quite apparent that not having a cookie right now will make his nose drop off. Ray caves in.
They share the rest of the packet in silence.
Afterwards, Ray brushes away the crumbs, chucks the wrapper in the bin and trails back through to the living room with the water glasses. Dief is in close attendance, just in case Ray suddenly exhibits some latter-day messiah traits and turns water into donut jelly.
Fraser is happily scrubbing at the glass with some awful smelling brown stuff and Ray takes a moment to set the drinks on the coffee table before helping him fix up the tank.
The turtle isn’t the only one getting its horizons expanded.