Christmas Countdown: December 20
Due South

By Juli

December 2008

Ray Kowaksi watched Benton Fraser move through the crowded squad room. The Mountie was unfailingly polite, yet managed to navigate through the busy area without losing a step or causing a fight to break out. It was just one of Fraser's many talents.

Ray could see why Vecchio had Fraser as a friend. The Canadian's persistent perfection could be a pain in the ass, but Fraser was a good guy. Ray wasn't quite sure why Fraser wanted his friendship for real, but of all the perks of impersonating Vecchio, he had to admit that hanging out with Fraserw as at the top of the list.


Looking up, Ray realized he'd been distracted by his thoughts. Fraser was standing in front of his desk, his red uniform looking particularly pristine compared to the everyday grunge of a Chicago police station. Fraser had his Mountie hat in his hands.

"Yeah, Frase."

Fraser rubbed his eyebrow and Ray sat up a little taller in his seat. Frase only did that when he was stressed.

"I was hoping, if it wasn't too much of an inconvenience, " Fraser stated, "that I might beg your indulgence for some assistance."

It took a moment for Ray to process the fact that Fraser was asking for help. "Sure, Frase, whatever you need." He grinned at the way his ready agreement caused Fraser's face to light up. "Uh, what do you need?"

"Dancing lessons," Fraser answered promptly.

Oh, crap.

"Dancing?" Ray protested. "You've got to be kiddin' me. I know you can dance."

"That is correct, Ray, but this is for an official function, a formal Christmas ball" Fraser explained. He was blushing ever so faintly. "Inspector Thatcher has informed me that I am expected to be in top form and I'm told that the dances are likely to be more modern than I am accustomed to. I have been practicing with Diefenbaker, but of course he always insists on leading."

"Of course," Ray agreed, but rapidly questioned his acceptance of the statement. "Wait a minute. Your dog dances? I thought he was deaf."

"He is," Fraser solemnly stated. "But like most individuals who have lost the use of one sense, another becomes more acute in its place. Diefenbaker is very sensitive to sound vibrations. He can follow the beat of the music through the pads on his paws."

"Yeah, well, I'm not sure I should be the one t'give you lessons," Ray tried to get out of it. "I'm kinda used to leading too."

"Please, Ray," Fraser asked again.

A smarter man would have said no, realizing that the temptation of being so close to Benton Fraser, not to mention having the man in his arms, would be too much to handle. Ray Kowalski was not that smart, unfortunately, leastways as far as Fraser was concerned.

"All right," Ray gave in. "Be at my place at seven."

"Thank you, Ray," Fraser tipped his head at Ray before placing his hat back onto his head. "I promise to be prompt."

Of that, Ray had no doubt. He stifled a groan as he watched Fraser leave. What the hell had he gotten himself into?

The day seemed to both fly by and drag along, depending on how Ray felt at the moment. A part of him really looked forward to the dancing lesson, but another part had the sinking feeling that he'd manage to screw things up. Royally.

Finally, will he or nil he, the appointed hour arrived and, precisely on time, there was a knock on Ray's door. Sighing, he muttered to himself as he went to answer. "Buck up, man, it's only for an evening. You can control yourself for that long."

That conviction lasted until the moment that Ray opened the door. Fraser wasn't wearing his Mountie uniform. Instead, he had on well- worn jeans that hugged every line of his ass and legs. Worse yet, it was paired with a soft, flannel shirt that was the precise color of Fraser's eyes.

If there was one thing more beautiful than Benton Fraser in uniform, it was Benton Fraser out of uniform. Ray had the sneaking suspicion that Benton Fraser in nothing at all would be more beautiful still, but he tried not to think about it. Wasn't gonna happen, not in this lifetime.

"Thank you again, Ray," Fraser said as he entered the apartment. "I appreciate you taking the time to offer me assistance, particularly so close to the Christmas holiday."

"Not like I had anything better to do." Ray shrugged off the thanks. "Besides, if there's one thing that Stella said that I did right, it was dance."

Fraser frowned. "You can do more than one thing right, Ray."

"Sure, sure," Ray waved off the comment. He turned on the radio and lively Christmas music started playing. "Come on, show me your moves."

Fraser held out his arms. "The one giving me the most trouble is the polka."

"Polka?" Ray's eyebrows raised in disbelief. "I thought you said it was the modern dances that you had a hard time with?"

"It is," Fraser replied, with that faintly confused expression that Ray found utterly adorable.

Ray didn't tease. "Okay, polka it is." He managed to keep his hands from shaking as he put one on Fraser's waist and held the other with his own. "And a one and a two. . . ouch!"

"I'm sorry, Ray," Fraser apologized, stepping back as Ray grabbed for the foot that Fraser had just tromped on. "This is precisely why I need to practice."

Ray looked at Fraser askance; he wasn't used to the Canadian being less than perfect at something. "The thing about the polka is to time the hops right. Let's try it again."

After four more tries and four more stepped-on feet, Ray was beginning to feel a little suspicious. Fraser was just the smallest bit off and Ray's feet were never stepped on badly. For a tall man, Fraser was light on his feet.

"Perhaps we should try something else?" Fraser suggested.

Just then a slower Christmas carol came over the radio. Winded, Ray nodded.

"Let me try leading this time," Fraser suggested.

The Mountie held out his arms and, like a dream, Ray stepped into them. Unlike with the polka, Fraser moved with 100% certainty. Soon they were gliding over the floor in a stately waltz, with Fraser humming under his breath. Ray didn't want it to end, but the song finally did. Fraser, however, didn't release him.

"The best Christmases are white," Fraser stated. "Although the snow here in Chicago gets dirty so quickly. You should come with me to Canada and I can show you how snow is meant to be."

Ray looked up and found that Fraser was looking at him tenderly. "You know how to dance, don't you?"


"You lied to me?" Ray felt a little hurt, even though he wasn't unhappy with how things were turning out.

"I most certainly did not," Fraser protested. "I indicated that I knew how to dance, but that I was woefully out of practice. Which I am."

"I like dancing," Ray stated tentively.

"Yes." Fraser nodded. "And I like dancing with you."

Ray blinked. "You do?"

"Most especially," Fraser replied in a firm voice. "In fact, Stanley Raymond Kowalski, would you do me the honor of being my escort to the Christmas Ball?"

There was only one answer Ray could give to that. He didn't care if it screwed up his career, although that seemed unlikely. Canadians were more liberal about same sex pairings and, besides, it was unlikely that other Chicago cops would be there. "Yeah, Frase, I will."

"Good," Fraser kissed him. "I'm glad, Ray."

"Me too," Ray grinned broadly. "Just stay off my feet, big guy."

"I will endeavor to do so," Fraser vowed. "Shall we dance again?"

"Don't mind if I do," Ray replied, letting Fraser take him in his arms again.

And, together, they kept perfect time to the music.

~the end~


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