Five Ways To I Love You
Five Ways To I Love You
by Caers Mane
Author's Notes: Thank you to Team Romance, who eased me back into challenges with graciousness and enthusiasm.
Five Ways to I Love You
'What would you do if I got infected?' Ray leans on the handle of his shovel and pushes down the scarf that covers the lower half of his face.
Ben looks out over the expanse of snow before them, searching for any signs of movement. 'I would kill you,' he states.
'Just like that? Kill me?' Ray jabs a thick-gloved finger in Ben's direction. 'I come up here with you to risk my life searching fucking snow for zombie's and it's over as soon as I get a little infection?'
'Becoming a zombie is far more serious than a little infection,' Ben reminds him, glad that his goggles hide the laughter in his eyes.
'Would you do it as soon as you knew I was infected, or after I died and came back?' Ray pushes.
'As soon as I knew,' Ben assures him. 'The incubation period for the infection varies, and I wouldn't want to wake up next to you with vital parts of my anatomy in your mouth for the wrong reasons.'
Ray's mouth drops open slightly and he gathers himself for a reply, but Ben is hurrying forward and clearing away snow; the crowbar crashes down on a partially exposed brain, inflicting enough damage to stop all movement. Ben takes out a brightly coloured stick and shoves it into the snow so that when this area thaws a little they can dispose of the corpse properly.
'It's only practical, Ray,' Ben points out, coming to Ray's side. He pulls his scarf down, smiling. 'But every zombie I would kill thereafter would be done in your name. I would rid the world of them in your memory.'
'Yeah, whatever. Not like I had a choice, coming here.' But Ray is smiling back. 'I mean, Chicago was overrun. This is peaceful. Almost got time to pull out the candles and shit, between patrols.'
Ben kisses Ray gently, then holds him close, buries his face in Ray's neck. 'I half wish it had been vampires, instead,' he says. 'I would become a vampire for you, but not a zombie.'
'So, drinking blood is okay, but not eating flesh?' Ray puts his arms around his lover, laughing softly, but his eyes never leave the uncovered snow. 'I love you.'
'Of course you do,' Ben replies. 'How could you not?'
Ray swears he hears his ankle crack as he runs down the alley after Fraser and the perp; his high heeled boots tap rapidly on the slick pavement and the stream of profanities running through his head never ceases.
He barrels out of the alley and dodges cars, eyes focussed on Fraser's back and not the road. He can't keep up, the boots too tottery, the miniskirt too restricting. Down another alley and he slams into someone, hits the pavement hard, lights flashing before his eyes.
'Perfect timing, Ray,' comes Fraser's voice through a starry haze.
Ray turns his head to see Fraser cuffing the perp, so he just lays there on the dirty pavement and stares up at the night sky until Fraser looms over him, head cocked to one side.
'What?' Ray snaps, putting that monologue of curses into a glare.
Fraser extends a hand, which Ray takes and uses to pull himself up. 'Eye liner suits you,' he notices, retaining his hold on Ray's hand, drawing him closer.
Ray glances to the entrance of the alley, hearing the footsteps coming; their backup, parked out by the club. 'Make me look fetching?' he returns; a part of him is wondering why now, why bring this up now, and another part is cheering that Yes! Finally! Finally Fraser got the hint.
'I wouldn't say fetching,' Fraser corrects. He clears his throat and lets Ray's hand go, takes a step back just a moment before Huey and Dewey run into view.
'Later,' Ray mouths to him behind the backs of the other detectives, who are hauling the perp off to the approaching squad car.
'I think that we will both be somewhat preoccupied later,' Fraser remarks, walking out of the alley with Ray. 'And may I request that you, ah, don't change before I arrive?'
'So look, all I'm saying is that there's this guy, right? And he's looking to get married, but the standing rule is that the princess has to complete a bunch of tasks' to prove herself worthy before this guy can court her. Now, I ain't much of a cook, or a seamstress, or whatever, so I gotta do different stuff before I get to marry him.'
Ray stares up at the scaly, scarred snout in front of him, stares nervously at the teeth as long as his legs.
'So uh.' He clears his throat. 'I mean, they counsellors and advisor's, they weren't happy that a guy came courting, you know? But this Prince, Benton, he was all for it. I completed all the other tasks, and it's taken fucking forever, but here we are, me and you, at the end. I've known dragons before. I ain't the kinda guy who rides up to lop off your head.' He indicates his dusty travelling leathers and his noticeable lack of a weapon or shield. 'And this Prince, he's a decent guy. No one wants to kill you, but no one wants you snacking on the people, either.'
The dragon pulls his head back and a tongue curls around its teeth.
'Uh, so we wanna negotiate,' Ray continues. 'Find some way to fix this. Hey, I don't want to kill you, and you don't want to stop me finding true love just cuz you wanna be all bad ass, right?' He rolls his shoulders, cracks his neck, bounces on the balls of his feet. 'Because we could fight. We can do that. But me, I wanna be friends. No pain, no fuss.'
Smoke trails from the dragon's nostrils and it huffs and Ray and rears up, head brushing the top of the cave.
'Here's my idea,' Ray begins.
'You expect me to listen to someone who bears the standard of a turtle?' Its voice thunders through the cave.
Rays frowns, taken aback by the comment. 'What's wrong with turtles?' he asks.
'Slow? Stupid? Just like you humans.'
'See, now that's rude,' Ray points out and gestures, sketches some symbol in the air. 'You goin' too far there.'
The dragon bellows fire, but light flares in front of Ray, deflecting the blast. The tattoo's on his arms glow and energy gathers around his hands, then shoots toward the dragon.
'You were told to resolve the situation peacefully!' Francesca cries out, running down from the dais.
On his throne, the Prince watches Ray kick the massive dragon's head viciously, then grimaces when blood splatters on the smooth marble floors, matching the smeared trail from the doors.
Ray thumps the turtle emblazoned on his tunic. 'No one insults the turtle. Stupid bastard got no idea that it's the symbol for a wizard.' He stalks across the floor, past the other advisor, and pulls Benton to his feet. 'I am done with your tasks',' he says, and pushes his hands into the Prince's hair, knocking the coronet to the floor.
'You failed this task,' Benton points out, his voice low, his eyes laughing.
'Yeah, and? Whatcha gonna do about it?'
Benton kisses him for it, then orders his advisor's to start the wedding preparations.
Ben is nearly out of his mind with boredom by now, and wonders just why he agreed to come up here. His duty was in Chicago, not up here as a guest lecturer. Not here in this bar with other speakers and teachers from the Depot. He misses Dief. He misses Ray more. He even misses his tiny apartment that is little better than his office/room at the Consulate.
He's startled when his cell phone vibrates, and he pulls it out, fumbles it open; he doubts he will ever get used to having it, but his position now requires it.
'Yo, Ben,' comes Ray's voice, a welcome relief, a salve on his nerves. Ben steps outside without excusing himself.
'Ray,' he sighs and sags against the wall. 'How are you?'
'Oh you know. Look, when will you be back?'
'Another week, Ray. I'm sorry, I know Diefenbaker--'
'Nah, he ain't no problem. Frannie's got him, anyway. Just wanted to make sure I had enough time.'
Time? Ben frowns and rubs his eyebrow. 'Ah. Time for what, Ray?'
'I got a new place, like. Bigger. Right? I got all my stuff moved in already. Welsh, the Duck brothers, they all helped.' There's a pause, then Rays swears volubly at someone. 'Anyway. Wanted to make sure I time to move your stuff in.'
'Move... Ray? I already have an apartment.'
'No, you have a shithole, Ben. It's time you stopped living like you don't deserve better. You got me now, and if nothing else, you think Dief likes that apartment? Anyway, hold on.'
Ben is more than slightly confused as he waits for Ray to come back to the phone. He's annoyed by a tap on his shoulder and almost snaps something rude as he turns; the phone slips from his hand in shock as he faces Ray, who catches the device quickly.
'So I got plans for this weekend,' Rays says, closing his phone, and Ben's. 'Provided you can get the day off tomorrow, cause I ain't rushing through the ceremony.'
'We can get married here, right? That's legal here. But I am not wearing the dress, Ben. Not a fucking chance.'
The smile starts slow, and ends up splitting Ben's face. 'I'll wear the dress,' he volunteers, and kisses Ray without a care who sees.
Fraser steps out from the wormhole and looks around, cataloguing all the details of the terrain. 'Spread out, give me a perimeter,' he says to his team. He starts up the overgrown dirt path that leads to Stargate, looking for signs of habitation.
He finds it in the form of a group of humans coming up the path to meet him. They look clean and fit, dressed in little more than tunics and kilts, though the material was slick and shining.
'I have seven individuals approaching, on the path,' he said into his radio. 'Lt. Vecchio, please rejoin me.'
The man at the front of the group motions for his people to stop, but he continues forward. His hair is pale, and stands up wildly, as if of its own accord; there is a thing line of black paint under his eyes, and tattoo's on each shoulder. He speaks and gestures to Fraser, who shrugs and asks' him his name.
The blonde man scratches his shoulder and glances behind him. Then he taps his chest. 'Stan,' he says, and points to Fraser.
Fraser grins, because some things are universal. He flattens his hand on his chest. 'Ben.' He turns to his Lieutenant, running up the path, and points to him. 'Ray.'
Stan nods and gives them each the once over, then winks at Ben. Fraser sucks down a deep breath, caught by the mischief and flirtatiousness in Stan's eyes.
'Hey, no flirting with guys,' Vecchio hisses. 'Man, the military will crush you!'
'Your military,' Fraser reminds him, and taps the maple leaf on the sleeve of his jacket. 'Not mine.' He smiles widely at Stan, and depresses the button on his radio. 'Thatcher, Gardino, please join us,' he relayed. 'I think we've found the welcoming committee.'
End Five Ways To I Love You by Caers Mane
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