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Heart Shaped Box

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"Hey, Fraser, you home?" Ray paused at the kitchen as he waited for a reply. Silence. Shrugging, he dumped his keys on the counter top and relieved himself of his jacket. He went to drape it over the back of a kitchen chair only to stop himself and hang it up on the coat rack. Fraser would be so proud. 

Where was Fraser anyway? Ray frowned and pulled out a beer from the fridge. It was well past Consulate working hours and Fraser always told him if there was some special event he had to stay late for. Toeing off his shoes and kicking them to the side, rather than leaving them in the middle of the kitchen floor, he padded absently into the bedroom. 

Apart from Fraser's chest and large duffle bag, nothing was different. He'd known Fraser was officially moving in this week, but he honestly thought the guy would have had more stuff. Maybe he'd decided to actually use the drawers and closet rather than live out of a bag. Just as Ray was about to leave, he saw the closet door ajar and stopped. Oh no. 

Rounding the bed he stopped and gaped at the familiar old beaten box left open on the floor, some of its contents abandoned on the lid. "Shit." Ray sank down to the ground and gathered up the old wedding photos. Trinkets, ornaments and random crap had been pulled out and moved around. Ray rubbed his face. He'd been meaning to get rid of most of it. Surely Fraser knew none if it meant anything anymore? 

Ray could only accept the evidence that lay before him. Here was an open box of his life with Stella, and Fraser was nowhere to be seen. Ray's heart thumped in his chest. What if Fraser had seen all of this and changed his mind? Twenty years of memories was a lot to compete with. Not that there was any competition in Ray's mind, at least not now. Tugging at his hair, he swore aloud and downed a few mouthfuls of now luke warm beer. Fraser wouldn't think that though. Ray had never come out and said it. Never said the words. And Fraser had always been weirdly jealous of Stella. He denied it of course, who wouldn't, but he was definitely weird about her; he tensed up and got all snippy whenever Ray mentioned her. 

It was just like Fraser to run off half clocked without all the pieces, though. Get all sensitive, without talking to Ray first. 

Ray sighed and stuffed all his old shit back into the box and tried to shove it into the bottom of his closet. The bottom had collapsed though, and the cardboard was old so it didn't want to cooperate. After mashing his finger between a crumpled half of the box and his closet door, spilling out more of the contents, Ray gave up and stomped out of the room, a litany of curses in his wake.

****

His apartment was dark when Ray heard a quiet shuffling by the door. Reaching for his holster, he found it empty and sat up sharply, groggy and disoriented. 

"Ray?" 

"Fraser?" 

"Why are you sleeping on the sofa?" 

"Where the fuck have you been all night?" Ray retorted petulantly. 

Flicking on the light, Fraser blinked owlishly at him. "I apologize for not letting you know, I was called away on an emergency at the Consulate."

"You were?" Ray stared at him, feeling like a bag of crap. 

"Yes, Ray. I'm sorry to have worried you."

"Not worried," Ray mumbled sullenly. 

Fraser tilted his head and raised an eyebrow. "You're sleeping on the sofa, and you've had several drinks…evidently you had some concerns…" 

Ray sat up and scrubbed both hands through his hair. "I found my box of old shit…thought you'd had an epitome-" 

"Epiphany-" 

"What'd I say?" 

Fraser shook his head. "It's not important."

"Right. Anyway, thought you'd come to your senses and escaped to the great white North." Fraser was smiling at him now, and it made him squirm. "What are you grinning at?" 

"You." Fraser came over and pulled Ray up into his arms. "Your powers of deduction, while superior to many, do lead to some wild leaps of logic."

Ray resisted only for a second before pressing into Fraser's embrace. "What was I supposed to think?" 

Fraser pulled back and held Ray's face with both hands. "Ray, Ray, Ray, Ray, your past, your marriage, your love of Stella-" 

"Hey, I don't-" 

"Your love of Stella. None of it is new to me. Nor is it a threat." Fraser gave him that little smile of his then kissed him sweetly. 

"It's not?" 

"Ray, do you really think I would have agreed to move in if I thought I would be living in the shadow of your ex-wife?" 

Ray pursed his lips, and shrugged. "I dunno, you always seemed jealous…" 

"Wanting what you think you can't have and watching what you covet pine for a lost love, are far different than looking at memories of a past that no longer has any power over you."

Ray frowned and looked away. 

Fraser freed himself and picked up a sturdy looking box. "I also thought, perhaps, you might want a better box in which to keep your memories safe."

Swallowing around the lump in his throat, Ray touched the box and nodded. "Frase'...that's…thanks, Ben."

Fraser beamed and put the box on the sofa. Holding out his hand, he gazed at Ray warmly. "Let's go to bed. The past can wait."

Flashing him a coy grin, Ray took the offered hand and let Fraser lead him into his future. 

****