Work Header

Bus Ride

Work Text:

"So remind me again why we're taking the bus?" Ray pulls his cap down over his face as he follows Fraser down the narrow aisle toward what are the only pair of free seats available. What if someone recognises him?

Fraser is nodding and smiling at the passengers on either side and Ray marvels once again at the mountie's ability to ingratiate himself wherever he goes. He would have used the phrase 'fit in', but dressed as he is Fraser is never going to fit in anywhere.

Except with me, Ray thinks, and he allows himself a small smile. Me and Frase fit together very well indeed. In fact only just that morning Fraser had proved how well he could fit with Ray.

Reluctantly Ray drags his thoughts away. Pleasant as the memory is, now isn't the best time to revisit it, especially when he is walking past seated passengers with their faces at crotch level.

Finally they sit down, the bus pulls away with a growl and a jerk, and Ray is forced to steady himself against the back of the seat in front.

"We're taking the bus," Fraser says, "because I thought it might make a nice change."

"A nice change?" Ray would like to stare out of the window but it is too grimy for a clear view. "Frase, it's sticky and hot, and crowded. Think of all the other people's air we're breathing."

Fraser looks at Ray, clearly surprised. "I didn't realise you were so fastidious."

"I'm not." Ray is trying very hard to hide his disquiet from Fraser, but he probably isn't doing it very well. He never can.

"Ray." A slight pressure on his leg. Fraser, letting him know that he can tell that Ray isn't completely happy.

"When I was a kid I used to stay with my grandparents every summer. They didn't drive, so if we wanted to go somewhere we had to go by bus." Ray pauses, takes a breath. "One day we were all squeezed on just like normal, and the man sitting in front of me just went limp. He died right in front of me, Fraser, and nobody batted an eyelid. I remember when we finally got off, I turned around and there he was, slumped sideways." Ray shudders.

Fraser's voice is full of sympathy. "How old were you?"

"Eight or nine." Ray shrugs. "After that every time I got the bus I'd see that man, as though he was haunting me."

Fraser puts an arm around Ray's shoulders and for a moment Ray takes comfort from it. Then he pulls away. He thinks Fraser would like to say something, to offer him some piece of wisdom to make him feel better, but he can also see that for once Fraser seems at a loss for words.

Their destination isn't far away and Ray is more than happy to leave the bus. He steps back from the edge of the road and then as the bus, with a hiss of brakes, pulls away, he sees a man, head resting against the window, slumped and unmoving.

Ray shivers, and Fraser takes his hand, squeezes it, reconnecting him to the world, to life, and most importantly to love.