The Long Haul
Author's Notes: For antichris, who asked for F/K in Canada. I hope this meets your holiday wish.
Thank you to my wonderful beta, Maverick, for cheerleading, idea bouncing and keeping me in line.
The cacophonous howl of the pack sends Detective Kowalski spinning and breaks Benton and Inspector Thatcher apart quicker than a bucket of cold water ever could.
"You always were a romantic," Bob says, appearing at Buck's side.
"Yes, well, someone had to have the right mind about all this," Buck answers matter-of-factly, touching the brim of his hat as Thatcher tromped off toward her tent.
"And a good friend, too."
Buck turns his head--Bob looks slightly washed out, dimmer in the firelight. When he speaks, there was a hitch in his voice and his eyes feel just the slightest bit bright. "It's coming to the end, isn't it?"
"Didn't think I'd ever make it this far."
"You'll see her soon, my friend. And don't worry, I'll keep an eye on Benton for you." In the distance, Buck can see Kowalski standing by his tent, looking back toward the fireside, where Benton sits. "And I daresay I won't be the only one."
Looking to his side, Buck finds empty air.
He strides toward the remaining Fraser and claps him on the back, breaking him out of what appears to be deep thought (but may just be gas). "Best be getting some sleep, son. We have criminals to apprehend tomorrow and rest is needed for such heroics. And you have some business to finish up, so best get to it."
He doesn't have to watch as Benton stands up and heads toward the row of tents, but he does note with some sense of satisfaction that he's not lost his touch when he sees which tent Benton approaches.
The metallic sound of the tent flap being unzipped accompanied by a rush of cold air wakes Ray from his albeit light sleep. Turning his head slightly, he catches glimpse of Fraser's fur coat, dark hair and a determined look on his face.
"Fraser, what the hell?" Is the best Ray can think to say as Fraser closes the tent flap again and lets his jacket slide off his arms.
And then Fraser is leaning down, one hand supporting his weight while the other cold hand cups Ray's face, his thumb sweeping over Ray's rough cheek, brushing over Ray's lips.
"It's you, Ray. I meant you. I want you," Fraser says, leaning down the rest of the way and covering Ray's mouth with his own.
Not one to look a gift horse in the mouth--especially when that mouth is hot and teasing Ray's mouth open against it, when it's Fraser's mouth-Ray slips his arms out of the sleeping back and wraps them around Fraser's neck, kissing Fraser with enthusiasm, desire and not a little desperation.
"Ray," Fraser repeats, over and over, unzipping Ray's sleeping bag while Ray scrabbles for the buttons and zippers at Fraser's clothes, pushing and tugging until there's only thin layers of clothing between them.
"Fraser," Ray echoes, hissing when a cold hand reaches into his boxers and wraps around his erection. It takes a couple of strokes for Fraser to get the rhythm, but like everything else about him, about them, it's perfect and like second nature.
He's not going to last much longer, not with Fraser's hand on his dick, touching him in ways that he'd thought would never happen outside of his fantasies, and when Fraser's tongue paints a swatch up the side of his neck and jaw, teeth gently closing on his earlobe, it's all over but the shouting.
"Fraser," Ray says brokenly, clutching at the bunched fabric at Fraser's back as he comes over Fraser's hand.
"I need you."
Ray's not even sure Fraser knows he said that out loud, but the words go straight through Ray, hitting him in the big three-heart, gut, and groin. He laces his fingers through Fraser's hair, bringing Fraser's face back to his. "You've got me. Jesus, you've got me."
Fraser's breath stutters as he thrusts up against Ray's thigh. Breaking their kiss, Fraser kisses a sloppy trail to Ray's shoulder, his hands finding purchase at Ray's hip as he shifts, his erection pressing into the groove of the other hip.
"I'm..." Fraser's voice is tight, and Ray knows he's on the edge.
"Yeah, yeah, c'mon Fraser." Ray urges, pushing his hips forward.
That's all the urging Fraser needs. His rhythm picks up, the thrusts growing quicker and little wilder until he surges one last time, biting the skin at Ray's shoulder.
"I got you. I've got you," Ray whispers, smoothing his hand over Fraser's hair.
"That you do, Ray," Fraser answers, lifting his head and smiling that broken faced smile again.
"A success like this calls for a celebration," Buck announces to his troops once Bolt and his men have been rounded up and carried away and Muldoon arrives, tied up and more than a little woozy, talking about ghosts. "Detective Kowalski, as the greenest member of this troop, you're in charge of procuring our fuel. Once we've made it back to the outpost, Constable Fraser will provide you with an axe and can show you where we get our wood."
He may be a man in his more mature years, but the double entendre of his statement did not escape Buck's notice. The choked sound that Kowalski makes could be a result of that, or not, but he is fairly certain the redness of Benton's face means it didn't escape his attention either.
Subtle sexual allusions aside, when the everyone has returned to the outpost, Buck hands Benton the axe and points them in the direction of some newly fallen trees, and in an hour's time the first load of firewood arrives.
Three trips later, Benton is seated at the table, a mug of tea in hand and looking none the worse for wear. Ray Kowalski, however, is another story. His face is flushed, there is snow and bits of twigs along his back and he has leaves in his hair.
"Everything okay, Detective Kowalski?" Inspector Thatcher asks, hiding her smirk behind her coffee mug.
"Everything okay? I'm cold, I'm tired, I'm sore in places I didn't know could hurt." Ray drops the last pile of wood on the ground in front of the fireplace and looks around the room-Frobisher's cooking something that makes the room smell like feet, Turnbull's into round whatever in challenging the baby Mounties at arm wrestling, Thatcher's looking like she's going to plan world domination over a cup of coffee-until his eyes rest on Fraser, who's pink-cheeked and relaxed and who's smiling at Ray like Ray just made him the king of all things Canadian. "Everything's perfect."
And it gets even more perfect later that night, when they take Dief outside to let him run and it's just the two of them, finally.
"Ray," "Fraser," They say, simultaneously, and stop, smile. Ray extends his hand, indicating Fraser start first.
Taking Ray's outstretching hand, he does. "You said, if we made it out alive, you wanted to go looking for Franklin."
"I seem to recall that, yeah." Ray squeezes the hand holding his.
"What if we don't find it? What then?"
"We find another adventure. It's you and me, everything we do is an adventure." Given this newfound permission to touch, Ray lets himself indulge, sliding the fingers of his free hand through Fraser's hair. "Just as long as it's together, I'm good to go."
"Even if I do lead us into trouble more times than not, and make you want to kick me in the head sometimes," Fraser asks with a smile that does nothing to hide the question in his eyes.
"That's what partnership is."
"My father once said that partnership was like a marriage."
"I like that. And he was right, you're stuck with me for the long haul, Benton buddy."
Fraser pulls Ray into a hug, his face pressed tight into the crook of Ray's neck. "No one's...I've never had the long haul before."
"See? The adventure's already begun and we didn't even need any tack or tallow." Ray kisses a cold cheek. "C'mon, let's get back inside, they're going to think we got lost out here."
The surprised smile that spreads over Fraser's face warms Ray from the inside out. He makes a note to do whatever he can to bring that smile to Fraser's ... no Ben's face whenever he can.
Whatever it was that Fraser wanted to say is lost in a kiss.
At the side of the outpost, Buck sees the two men embracing, their kiss outlined by the light of the moon.
"Quiet down," he says to the team, tossing some food onto the ground. Looking back toward the hilltop he smiles. "Good boy, Benton."
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