Best Man Standing

Warnings/notes: RayV/Fraser, ooc?

Disclaimer: I don't own Due South.

written at 16th march 2008, by Misura, for a request made by shanaqui in the livejournal-community ficondemand.

"Look, Bennie, you don't understand how serious this is," said Ray. "I show up at Cousin Renata's wedding without a date, and nobody in my family's going to talk to me again for the rest of the year - longer, if they don't need me to do them some sort of small favor."

"Favor?" Fraser asked absently.

Ray looked at Dief, who gave him the tail-wag that meant he would like a doughnut now, yes please.

"Oh, nothing important." Ray didn't think parking-tickets were very important. Fraser might, but then, every man was entitled to his own opinion, wasn't he? Besides, it had only been once, and Aunt Julia had been threatening him with her evil eye, so Ray didn't think anyone sensible would blame him for making one lousy parking-ticket disappear. "Just, you know, stuff."

"I didn't know you were any good at plumbing."

That made two of them, then. "But anyway, can we please get back to the problem?"

"We?" Fraser asked. Ray wondered what was on Fraser's mind - the guy seemed a bit out of it. With anyone else, he'd assume a hang-over or too little sleep, but this was Fraser. Mounties probably weren't allowed to have hang-overs.

"Yes, we. We're friends, remember? Best friends, even." And only God knew how that had happened, not that Ray particularly wanted Him to look in his direction right now. "You're supposed to help me."

"Oh," said Fraser, then finally, finally seemed to snap out of it. "Oh," he repeated. "Well, naturally, my skills and knowledge are at your disposal, although I have to admit I'm not sure how I could help you."

Ray shrugged, to indicate he didn't know either - about his sixteenth lie of the week, not that he was keeping count or anything. Dief barked to let them know that if they had nothing better to do, he was always up for a game of 'find the doughnut'.

"Have you considered asking Elaine?"

"What?" Ray sputtered. "No!" She was all goo-goo over Fraser - not that he ever noticed.

"You called me, Fraser?" She had ears like a ... whatever it was that was supposed to have really good hearing. Well, when it came to Fraser, at least; if Ray got a nickle every time she asked him to repeat his request for information because the connection was breaking up, he'd be able to buy a new car by now. A cheap, used one. Maybe.

"In fact, I didn't." Fraser coughed. "However, there's a certain something you might be able to help with." He gave Ray a meaningful look. Ray gave him a meaningful look back, which was met with a slightly puzzled expression. As usual, Fraser didn't quite seem to be on Ray's wavelength.

"Sure, why not," said Elaine. Of course. Everyone always wanted to help the Mountie, just like everyone always wanted to feed the wolf. And then people wondered why Ray was feeling left out sometimes.

"You see," Fraser took it upon himself to explain the situation, "Ray's cousin is getting married next weekend, and apparently, it's traditional for people to bring at least one guest."

"Are you asking me to be your date?" Elaine asked. Ray could tell she liked the idea.

"No," said Fraser, and was Ray a bad person for gleefully noticing the disappointment flickering over her face? "Ray's the one who - "

"Yeah, thanks for the offer, Elaine, but I'm not that desperate," Ray butted in quickly. "Now, I'm sure you're busy, so why don't you get back to work, eh?"

Elaine gave him a look - and unlike Fraser's, Ray understood hers perfectly. He felt smug for all of the three seconds it took him to find Fraser eyeing him with disapproval. "What?"

Fraser opened his mouth, and Ray realized that no, he didn't really want to hear. "Look, I'm sorry, okay? It's just that I'm under a lot of pressure here, and you're not really helping."

Unfair, perhaps, to blame Fraser for making Ray uncomfortable - because Ray was pretty damn sure Fraser wasn't doing it on purpose, what with being Canadian and a Mountie and all - but then, fairness was more Fraser's kind of thing. Ray prefered being practical over being fair any day of the week.

"Ray ... " Fraser said and damn, Ray wished Canadians were a bit more touchy-feely, because if they were, he'd have gotten a hug right there and then, he just knew it. "Perhaps you should, in fact, offer your apologies to Elaine in person?"

"You know what?" Ray said. "You're right. I'm on it, first thing, as soon as I've gotten some coffee."


"The thing is, I wouldn't really mind not having my family talk to me for a while - I mean, more often than not, they're driving me completely nuts," said Ray, five cups of coffee and one accepted-in-the-same-spirit-it-had-been-offered apology later.

"I understand." And that had to be the first time Ray had heard Fraser lie, because wasn't Fraser the one without any family left alive whatsoever? What would he know about annoying relatives?

Fraser's first lie, and it was to make Ray feel better. How sweet was that?

Ray blinked and decided to pretend he hadn't had that thought just now. His mother had told him not to fall in love with either prostitutes or nuns, and Fraser might be neither, but he was still a Mountie. On the scale of prostitutes and nuns, Mounties probably ranked a few rungs above nuns.

"But they're still my family, you know," Ray went on. Fraser nodded. "They expect things of me, like this bringing a date to the wedding stuff. I mean, even if I was seeing anyone, do you think I'd introduce them to my whole family?"

"You introduced me to them," Fraser pointed out, as Ray had hoped he would.

"You want to come to the wedding with me? There'll be lots of food and music and - " and lots of relatives who'd all want to pinch Fraser's cheeks and coo at him, " - things like that."

"Certainly," said Fraser.

"I mean, I'd understand if you didn't want to, because it'd be kind of weird, with me bringing you instead of a - " Ray's brains caught up with the rest of him. "Oh. Great."

Dief barked and wagged his tail.