“Is this your idea of a joke?”
Ray stood on the other side of the glass, his bare arms crossed in front of him, a deep scowl on his face. His skin and hair glowed purple in the strip club’s artificial light, the rest of his body swallowed by darkness. There were deep shadows under his eyes, and his chin sported a two-day stubble. He looked like he hadn’t slept, not since–
Fraser winced. The window muffled Ray’s emotions, which was precisely why Fraser had chosen this location in the first place, despite the memories. Ray’s body was clearly vibrating with fury and confusion, but all Fraser could pick up was a dull hum—background noise only, no clear thoughts or emotions. Ray would be safe, as planned.
His own heart was hammering wildly in his chest. His throat was tight, his hands clammy, and he could hardly breathe. How could he have been so stupid? So careless? Years of constant vigilance, of hiding who he really was, and then one inattentive moment and everything had gone to hell.
“You called. I came. Now talk.” Ray’s voice was harsh over the tinny loudspeakers. His glare was unforgiving, and it broke Fraser’s heart. What if there was no hope, what if the damage was permanent? What if their friendship could not be saved?”
Fraser took a deep breath, willing himself to remain calm. “Thank you for coming, Ray. I feel like I owe you an explanation, and since you weren’t inclined to listen last time—”
“Why didn’t you tell me?” Ray interrupted, his voice hard. “We’ve been working together for over two years now. After everything we’ve been through together, you didn’t think I deserved to know? You didn’t think it necessary to mention that you are a FUCKING MIND READER.” The last words rang out over the speakers, and Fraser flinched.
“That’s not what I am—” he began, but his words stuck in his throat. How could he explain? How could he make Ray see, make him understand?
“I fucking trusted you.” Ray ran his hands over his face and just stood there, utterly still, so very unlike him. When he finally spoke, his quiet disappointment was worse than his booming rage. “I trusted you with my life. How could you, Fraser? How could you leave me in the dark like this?”
Fraser placed both palms flat on the window, the glass cold beneath his fingers, his reflection staring back at him. He needed to be on the other side with Ray, needed to touch him, reassure him. But he couldn’t, not yet. He was responsible for this mess, he had to resolve it. He had to make Ray feel safe until they sorted this out. If that meant locking himself away, so be it.
“What could I have said?” he asked, sounding almost as wretched as Ray. “What I am, it’s not something one can just bring up over coffee. It’s not ... I’m not normal.”
“Bullshit,” Ray shot back. “Like I give a fuck about normal. You know me better than that. Apparently you know me a LOT better.” There was a new bitterness in his voice, a sense of betrayal, and Fraser hated it, hated having Ray’s ire directed at him. He couldn’t sense it as strongly through the glass, but it still pierced his soul. Why did it have to be like this, why couldn’t he be like everybody else?
“You don’t understand, Ray. This has nothing to do with you. Nobody knows. Nobody since—”
//soft warm love Ben my sweet take my hand love safe I am here Mommy//
“Fraser. Fraser? Are you ok?”
He shook himself, unsure how long he’d been standing there, lost in the past. Ray’s face was softer now, full of concern, and Fraser loved him so much in that very moment. As upset and confused as Ray was, he still cared for Fraser, cared for his well-being.
“I’m sorry, Ray. I’m so, so sorry. It’s just not something I have ever been able to share, not with anyone, not since I was a child. I never dared. She was the only one who knew. She was the same, you see?”
Ray nodded sadly. “Your mother?”
“Yes.” Fraser swallowed hard and took a step back to sit down on the round stool in the center of the booth. There was a certain irony in all of this—instead of women exposing themselves to the leering eyes of hungry men, Fraser was baring his soul to Ray, very close to showing more of himself than he had ever done before.
“She was like you?” Ray’s voice was gentle, coaxing, as if talking to a scared child. Which was exactly what Fraser felt like.
//warm smile blue eyes sparkling love come here soft hair hold me it’s cold out I have you Ben my love sing for me together//
“Yes she was. It was all I knew, in the very beginning. I didn’t know people could be any different. The way she touched my mind—” His chest tightened, he couldn’t speak.
“It must have been so hard, when she died.”
//cold sudden cold so cold it’s freezing so quiet why is it so quiet where are you why is it so cold empty cold Mommy?//
Fraser wiped a single tear from his cheek and swallowed the lump in his throat. “You know, I have no memory of the exact course of events. What happened with Muldoon, with my Dad. Nothing. A total blank. All I remember is the sudden cold – I was freezing, and my chest felt heavy, and everything was unbearably quiet. Until my dad-”
//howling grief pain no she’s gone never oh God my fault falling deep well dark shaking//
“I’m so sorry.”
Fraser looked up. Ray’s soft eyes were filled with compassion and sorrow, and Fraser knew his friend would do anything to help sooth the pain. And yet he was as helpless as Fraser was.
“Your dad, he wasn’t like you? A ... telepath?”
Fraser shook his head. “I’ve never really cared for labels. If you wanted to put a name to what I am, “empath” would probably be a closer fit. I sense emotions rather than thoughts. Though sometimes I pick those up as well, when they are particularly present in the other person’s conscious mind.”
“When they think too loudly you mean?”
Fraser hummed. “I guess you could call it that.”
Ray hooked his thumbs in the holster he is wearing over his black Chicago Bulls T-shirt and shot him a challenging look. “So what am I thinking right now?”
Fraser sighed, trying not to let his too much exasperation show. Ray had no way of knowing how any of this worked. He had to be patient. “I don’t know what you’re thinking. Even if the thought is clear enough, the glass muffles everything. Any solid barrier does. Which is why I asked you to come to this place.” He waved his hand at the walls, painted with scantily clad women and lit with stars in a mockery of the night sky.
Ray glanced around and huffed a small laugh. “Yeah, I was wondering about that. I kind of doubted you wanted to apologize by inviting me to a strip club.”
Fraser chuckled to himself. “Indeed. No, I chose this location for a different reason. It was useful to me before, several years ago. It allowed me to ... resist, when I couldn’t otherwise. I was in a bad state, twisted up with someone else’s emotions. Close to drowning. But the glass helped. I was isolated in my own thoughts, enough of my own person to say no, to let go.”
//so beautiful so cold so hard you must really hate me for what I did why why can’t we just be happy come with me I just wanted to be with you hate love that about covers it why did I why can’t we just go back help why do you hate me need love let go//
Ray cocked his head. “You’re saying you don’t know what I’m thinking right now? What I’m feeling?” He gestured at the window. “Because of the glass between us?”
“Yes, precisely. I thought I owed you that much. A sense of privacy. And an explanation.”
“Hmm,” was all Ray said. He ran his fingers through his hair, stepped back and leaned against the wall behind him. “That’s good. I mean, that you don’t, can’t, you know—” He made a circling movement with his right hand.
Fraser took the gesture for what it was, even if Ray couldn’t put it into words. “You have to believe me, it was never my intention to deceive you. And I don’t go around reading other people’s emotions all the time. I would go insane. I learned long ago how to shield myself.”
// no please Caroline why did you leave me dark cold one block of ice pain grief another block of ice why didn’t I see another block of ice makes a wall what should I do so alone a wall makes a circle so heavy so empty a circle makes an igloo I will be safe and warm inside//
“So you don’t—” Ray began, but his words faltered again. He was not equipped to handle this situation, but then who was? “You don’t know everything I’ve ever thought and felt?”
Fraser shook his head. “Of course not. It was different when I was a little child, I picked up everything. I was like a bottomless barrel, like a sponge. I soaked up everything. But when my mother died–” His voice hitched, his throat tight. “After she died, my dad almost went mad with grief. He withdrew into himself. He didn’t say a word, but I could feel the torrent of emotions pouring out of him. I could hardly bear it. I very nearly drowned. But I learned, slowly, learned how to protect myself.
“It was Innusiq’s father who gave me the idea. He didn’t know about my abilities of course, he didn’t need to. It was clear as day to him how I was struggling. He taught me how to shield myself from overwhelming feelings, how to visualize a block of ice, to feel it in my hands, the coldness, the weight. He told me to place it on the ground in front of me, and next to it another block, and then another, until I had built a wall. And it worked. It took practice, and at first I thought I was going to despair, but with time I could construct a whole igloo in my mind. It was my safe place, where I was alone, and warm.”
Ray remained silent, apparently lost for words. Fraser couldn’t blame him. His own heart was heavy remembering those long, turbulent, desperately lonely days.
“That ability came in handy whenever I went to an actual school,” Fraser continued. “I was ten, the first time. It turns out some children can be quite ... cruel when someone doesn’t conform with the norm.”
//what’s he doing here again can’t he’s just mind his own business freak who invited him laughter cunning watch me look at his stupid face freak is he crying//
Ray scoffed. “Yeah, tell me about it. Children can be assholes.”
“Sometimes.” Fraser absentmindedly rubbed his right shoulder, where the scar still hurt from time to time. “I had to learn to block not only one or two people, but a whole group. It wasn’t easy, especially when their focus was directed at me, but I learned. I had to. It was either that or go crazy. By the time I started training at Depot I had perfected the art of building a wall, hiding behind a perfectly constructed barrier of polite aloofness.”
That earned him a sad grin. “You know, Fraser, that explains so much. I never did buy the detached, innocent Mountie routine.”
//It’s like some kind of disease why are you shouting why can’t you just let me be I don’t understand I don’t want to hear it anger annoyance end of my rope I swear to God I will punch you right in the face why why fair warning why don’t you listen to me just think calmly PAIN hurt disappointment guilt shame why//
Fraser blinked, trying to shake off the unbidden memories bubbling to the surface.
Ray hadn’t noticed anything amiss. “You know, Fraser, it really isn’t fair. Why do you get all the superpowers? With the licking and the hearing and the smelling, and now this? What about me? Can’t I at least have X-Ray vision? Heh. Get it? X RAY.”
A little smile crept onto Fraser’s face. If Ray was making bad puns, they were perhaps getting somewhere. Not like two days ago, at Ray’s apartment, when Ray had torn out the door without looking back.
//anger confusion scared how do you know Fraser panic how do you know about Gary I never told a living soul oh god I did it I didn’t take care I was tired accusation my guard was down I will lose him what the FUCK fear how could you possibly know withdraw how did you DO that hide what ARE you//
Fraser buried his burning face in his hands. He had to stop, he couldn’t think about that now, he had to focus. He looked up at Ray. “You can rest assured, telepathy is the only special power I have, if you can call it that.”
Ray blinked, confused. “What do you mean? I saw you tasting and smelling enough stuff to last me a lifetime.”
Fraser sighed. Everything was coming out now, no point in holding anything back. “I don’t actually have any enhanced senses, Ray, not like you think,” he admitted. “You smell and taste and hear just as well as I do. It’s all the empathy, or telepathy, or whatever you want to name it. That’s how I get the information. But I have to find alternate ways to explain how I know things.”
Ray was gaping at him now. “So it’s all fake? The whole Super Mountie Tracking Specialist routine? It’s not real?”
That hurt more than he’d like to admit, that Ray thought he’s a fraud. He frowned. “No, Ray. It is very real, it’s just different from what you thought it was. It’s like in World War II, when the British cracked the Enigma code.”
Ray threw his arm up in exasperation. “Are you for real, Fraser? You’re going to give me a history lesson? In the middle of a strip club?”
“Please, bear with me. It is in fact a potent analogy.” Ray nodded silently and Fraser went on. “Once the codebreakers at Bletchley Park were able to crack the Enigma code and read German transmissions, it became vital that this fact remain a secret. For every bit of intelligence they were able to decode – or rather decipher—they had to provide an alternative method through which this information could have been acquired. If they had secret knowledge of tank movement, for example, the Royal Air Force sent reconnaissance planes to take photographs. The Germans would spot the planes and assume that is how the enemy knew the squadron’s location. The fact that their classified messages were being read remained a secret.”
Ray was listening intently now. “And so did they ever figure it out? The Germans? Did they find out their lines of communication were no longer secure?”
Fraser shook his head. “No. They had an unwavering belief in the power of the Enigma machine. They knew no human could ever compute the 3x10 to the power of 114 possible cipher patterns of just the simple three rotor model. That would be impossible, even for modern computing power, and it was unthinkable in World War II. In their eyes, the Enigma was unbreakable.”
“Like the Titanic was unsinkable.”
“Precisely. What they failed to realize was that it could succumb to a sustained mathematical attack. That humans could outthink a machine. Ironically, if the Enigma device had been used correctly, the cipher would never have been broken – if the messages had been entirely unpredictable, if the operators had always chosen truly random message keys. Human error and human folly were their downfall.”
Fraser fell silent. He knew what he was doing, using a story to escape. But no tale would come to his rescue now.
Ray pushed himself off the wall and began to pace back and forth in front of the glass, his hands stuffed into the pockets of his black jeans. “Ok, so you use your abilities to solve crimes. I can accept that. Do you use them for anything else?”
Fraser rubbed his eyebrow. “Well, I talk to Diefenbaker, obviously.”
That stopped Ray in his tracks. “What? So that is for real? I mean, he understands you?”
“Of course he does. I thought that much at least was obvious.”
“And you know what he’s thinking too?” Ray shook his head in disbelief. “I’ve got to hand it to you, buddy, this is all kinds of crazy, even for you.”
Fraser slid off the barstool and walked over to lean against the wall on his right. He was feeling drained, weak.
Ray pressed on, unperturbed. The detective in him was out in full force, which at least was better than his earlier rage. “Do you need a line of sight? Or is it enough to be in a room with someone? As long as there’s nothing solid blocking the emotions, like the glass?”
Fraser rubbed eyes and let his head fall against the wall. Exhaustion was catching up with him; two nights of barely any sleep, walking, searching for Ray, more desperate as the hours ticked by. “Being in the same room is sufficient,” he said. “Touch increases the intensity. Heat, too, like a sweat lodge.”
//pearls of sweat on my brow warmth you’re hogging all the room his back his legs so close can you move your leg no asleep his breath on my neck his body between my legs so close you are right behind me and I am right in front of you navigate by dead reckoning just once you trust me need want hunger too much must control burning desire my heart//
Fraser swallowed hard, willing his body to cooperate. He couldn’t react like that, not now.
Ray remained unaware of Fraser’s predicament. “So that’s why you don’t like women touching you. I thought you were, I don’t know, simply not interested.”
“It’s not just women,” Fraser admitted in a small voice. “I find touch ... challenging. It greatly increases the mental connection.”
Ray stopped pacing and shot him a shrewd look. “I touch you all the time.”
//crying shaking it’s all my fault oh God she almost died they almost killed her and it would have been my fault my mistake oh Ray don’t it’s not your fault grief sadness guilt she lost all those years in prison because of me I didn’t do my job I didn’t know let me hold you let me comfort you let me be here for you warm soft deep hole dark swirling pain//
Fraser tugged awkwardly at the collar of his shirt. “Yes, Ray,” is all he could say.
“What the fuck?!” Ray exploded, and Fraser doubled back, grabbed the wall for support.
“You’re telling me you’ve been spying on me all this time?” Ray shouted. “ The mental connection is greatly increased . Do you even listen to yourself?”
Fraser blinked hard. He felt unmoored. He’d let his guard down, had left himself vulnerable to Ray’s sudden rage. His legs trembled, struggling to hold up his weight.
“Why didn’t you just tell me not to touch you?” Ray demanded, pointing a finger at Fraser. “There was no way I could have known. What about my privacy, my own fucking peace of mind? You can’t just go digging in my brain without telling me, and think that’s OK! Don’t you see how wrong that is?”
Fraser held up his hands against the onslaught of emotions. He didn’t need his gift to feel the waves of accusation and fury crash over him. “I swear to you, Ray, that was never my intention.”
Ray smashed his hands against the glass so hard the window shook. “I don’t give a fuck what your intentions were, Fraser. You let me touch you, and you never told me, never let me know what I was opening myself up to. You played me for a fucking fool. You knew, you knew all this time–”
His voice caught, and he swallowed hard. “You knew that I wanted you,” he spat out, and Fraser winced at the venom dripping from his words. “You knew that I had the hots for you, that I wanted to jump your bones, that I—” He couldn’t go on. He tore himself from the window and disappeared into the darkness of the hallway.
“Ray! Ray, don’t go, please!” Fraser was at the window in an instant, pressing his hands and forehead against the pane of glass, desperate to catch sight of Ray. “That is not what happened. I told you, I have learned to block out emotions.”
Suddenly Ray was in his face again, and Fraser stumbled back in surprise. Ray’s eyes were hard, piercing. “Fraser, I’m going to ask you a question. Do not insult me by lying. I may not be a telepath, but I can read you—I know if you’re telling the truth.”
Fraser nodded dumbly.
Ray closed his eyes for a second and took a deep breath. “Could you sense that I desired you?” he asked and fixed Fraser with an icy stare.
Fraser sat down on the barstool hard. This was it. He could not lie now, whatever the consequences would be. “Yes,” he said hoarsely.
Ray didn’t even blink. “Could you tell when I was thinking about us, together? In bed? And other places?”
Fraser only nodded. He could no longer trust his voice.
//my body on yours my hands my mouth yes please do that again don’t stop//
Ray leaned in closer, his nose almost touching the glass. “How could you not let me know? How could you let me make a fool of myself like that? How could you just stand by and—”
“BECAUSE I FEEL THE SAME!” Fraser roared. He was on his feet and in Ray’s face, unable to hold it in any longer.
Ray took a step back, stunned. A shocked “what” is all that he could manage.
“Do you have any idea what torture this is? To see my desires reflected in you, to see you imagining what we could do together? To feel—” His voice broke. The proverbial floodgates had opened, and all he could do was hang on for dear life. “I feel it all, Ray. I feel everything. You wear your heart on your sleeve, how could I not? And even if I wanted to—” Fraser swallowed hard. Admitting this took every ounce of strength that he had. “I could not shut you out, Ray. I am as dependent on your desire as I am on air and water.”
Ray’s expression was one of utter disbelief. “Why didn’t you say something? Oh God, Fraser, if you knew, and if you felt the same, why the hell did you not tell me? Why did you not do something about it?”
Fraser couldn’t hold himself up anymore. He sank to the floor and buried his face in his hands. “You don’t understand, Ray,” he muttered. “I can’t subject you to that.”
“Subject me to what? What the fuck are you talking about? You think I’m some delicate flower that can’t handle your feelings? Do you know how arrogant that is?”
Fraser shook his head. “You don’t know what love is like for me, Ray,” he said quietly. “It is like an addiction. It is all consuming. Can you imagine what it is like, to love someone so deeply and feel that love returned? It’s an endless feedback loop, utterly overwhelming. Even if there’s no love, if it’s just plain desire—”
He looked up at Ray, gazing at his wide eyes, his flushed face.
“The first time I had any kind of sexual contact, I fainted.” Fraser had to keep talking, he couldn’t stop now. “It was just a quick mutual hand job after a hockey game. Mark was just a friend, I didn’t feel what you would call love for him. We were two horny teenagers, attracted to each other, nothing more. But the actual act was too much to handle. Everything looped in on itself—my feelings and his feelings, my body and his body, our arousal ... I was completely overwhelmed. I came and blacked out, much to my later embarrassment. And when it’s more than simple desire, when there’s love—”
//snow ice cold freezing death words that sweet voice safe don’t die live for me together falling endless snow life love burning growing can I see you did you think we could go back love pain betrayal lust body release love hate need oh God I need how could you why come with me why why I need love falling tumbling sinking drowning//
Ray nodded slowly. “So you’ve been through this before.”
The question was rhetorical, but Fraser felt compelled to answer. “Yes. Once. It did not end well. I lost myself completely, did irreparable harm to people I care about. And to myself. I got sucked in so deep, became so dependent on my feelings, on her feelings, as mixed up and twisted as they were.” He waved a hand as his surroundings. “This was the only place where I could say no, where I could resist. It wasn’t by design, it happened completely by accident. She ordered me to come here. Little did she know she was setting me free, even if it was only for a moment. I could be in my own head, in my own heart, long enough to say goodbye, to let her go. I tried to stick to it, when I saw her in person again. I tried to let go. But in the end, I failed.”
//PAIN sharp falling cold Oh God what did I do Benny Benny don’t die, guilt pain loss she’s gone he said get me to a hospital cold so cold snowing falling spinning hurt empty sinking gone//
Fraser rubbed his brow as a bone deep weariness took hold of his chest, of his body. “I said before that it’s like an addiction, and I wasn’t speaking metaphorically. As far as I’m concerned, that’s what it is. It becomes something I cannot live without, and it destroys any possibility of a healthy relationship, any hope for happiness. If I were to let go, if I were to let myself fall for you as deeply as I know I would, I would destroy you.”
Ray shook his head. He didn’t look angry any more, just disbelieving. “That is not up to you, Fraser. That is not your decision to make. I can handle it.”
Fraser scoffed. “You clearly couldn’t. I told you what I was and you fell off the face of the Earth for two whole days!”
“That’s not fair, Fraser, and you know it. You sprung it on me. You gave me no time to adjust. How would you feel if your best friend suddenly knew a guy by name who gave you blowjob half a lifetime ago, a guy you never told anybody about, ever? Can you even imagine what it was like to realize you were aware who Gary was and what we had done together? Even though there was no way that you could possibly know? That was enough to freak anybody out. And then you tell me you saw it in my mind? That you’re different?
Ray shook his head, as if he was still finding everything hard to grasp. “I had to get out,” he continued softly. “I had to drive, had to wrap my head around this whole thing. You cannot judge me for that.”
Fraser was shaking now. It hurt, it hurt so much, to be so close to what he desperately wanted, what he needed. To be so close and know that he could never have it. He clenched his teeth. “You misunderstand. I am not judging you. I simply realize that I cannot burden you with this.”
“Don’t patronize me, Fraser. You cannot decide that for me. That’s not buddies.”
Fraser scrambled to his feet and fixed Ray with his gaze. He had to make him understand. “This has nothing to do with being buddies, Ray. This is not a simple matter. I know myself, I know what I am capable of, and I know what I would do to you. And I cannot let that happen. I would never forgive myself.”
Ray put his hands on his hips, his face hard, determined. “Fraser. You have got to listen to me. I know that you have lived with this your whole life. I know that you have been through a lot. But you cannot let one experience determine the course of your entire future. It’s not fair. It’s not fair to you, and it’s not fair to me. Did this woman, the one you were in love with, did she know about you? About your ability?”
Fraser shook his head. “No. I told you, nobody ever found out, apart from my mother, but that was different.”
“Exactly. Exactly my point.” Ray punctuated each word with his outstretched finger. “You don’t know what it would be like to be with someone who is on the same page, who knows what you are. You don’t have to do everything on your own Fraser.”
He paused and cocked his head. “You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders, Fraser, even if it’s the weight of your own world. You can share the load.” He placed one hand back on the glass, his gaze serious. “Please, Fraser. We can figure this out. There will have to be boundaries, and we will need to learn how to be together. But don’t shut me out. Don’t deny us what we could have.” He licked his lips and stared deep into Fraser’s eyes. “Please, just let me in.”
Fraser’s heart was pounding in his chest. He couldn’t let himself hope, could he? The risk was too great. But what if ... what if he didn’t have to go it alone? What if Ray was right. What if they had a chance to be happy?
//warm burning love desire hot if only why is he so far away our bodies together flowing into each other our want our need our love our life//
Fraser carefully put his hand onto the window pane, just to the other side of Ray's. He didn’t say a word, and yet he knew Ray understood. Ray didn’t need to be a telepath to read Fraser’s response in his body, in his eyes, in his heart.
“How about we get out of this place. What do you say?” Ray sounded hoarse.
Fraser felt dizzy. His own emotions were enough to overwhelm him, the feverish excitement, the numbing terror. In all these years of loneliness, he had never dared to hope. And yet he couldn’t move, couldn’t speak, couldn’t take the first step.
“Trust me, Fraser, please. Trust me, like I trust you. We’re partners. We can do this.”
Fraser stared at Ray’s face, so open, so desperately vulnerable. And Fraser nodded. The movement was slight, almost imperceptible, but he saw Ray’s eyes go wide in understanding.
Ray cleared his throat. “I’m parked out back. Meet you there?”
Fraser still couldn’t answer, couldn’t get his voice to function, his body to move. His entire world was shifting below his feet.
Ray gave him a final nod and disappeared from view, leaving him alone with his pounding heart.
Fraser grabbed his hat and stumbled to the back of the booth, fumbling for the doorknob in the dark. Out one door, down the hallway, and finally the back door loomed before him. Ray was in the alley behind it, he could sense his presence. This was Fraser’s last chance. His head was screaming to resist, to stop while he still could. But his heart refused to listen. He swallowed hard and pushed the door open wide.
//love relief Fraser Ray oh my God why did you never say why why heart bursting breaking loving burning let me touch you don’t hide come to me falling tumbling spinning my world is your world now wild rush glowing sun your beautiful soul let me hold you let me touch you let me be with you//
Ray walked up to him and stopped a foot away, his expression cautious but hopeful. //so close almost there dizzy have to be brave for the both of us crashing waves hearts racing we can make this work Fraser// A shy smile crept onto Ray’s face as he reached out and gently stroked his cheek. Fraser closed his eyes, trembling, his heart ready to burst. //beautiful like the sun like the starry night like the endless snow like home//
“I know you,” Ray said. “I know who you are, and I won’t let you lose yourself. I won’t let you drown.”
//partner friend trust safe love//
Fraser opened his eyes.