Self belief must be a wonderful thing.
Immediately after "Seeing is believing." Ben gets some light shed on Thatcher's descriptions and some theories of what they might mean.
"Egg plant." Fraser said in the middle of Inspector Thatcher telling him off for not being quick enough to follow her to the car.
"Of course, if you'd like to stay here and talk to your friend, that would be fine too," she replied, evidently a post-hypnotic programmed response.
Fraser and Kowalski looked at each other, smiled and walked down the corridor away from the squad room.
"That's uh – a neat trick you got there, Fraser." Ray said.
"I find it to be useful sometimes," replied Ben, "Although I'm not certain I'll be thanked for it if she ever remembers."
"Oh, I don't know, you have a uh, natural hypnotic effect over that woman." Stated Kowalski, referring to Thatcher's in-depth description of Fraser running after the purse snatcher. "It's no secret she has a thing for ya."
"A thing, Ray?"
"Yeah, you know – she likes ya. She's got the hots for ya."
"Ah." Ben replied, not sounding entirely shocked that Ray had noticed.
"So you know?"
"How long have you known for?" asked Ray with a grin.
"A long time now."
Ray looked across at his partner, recognising there was something he was missing.
As they approached the car, Ben spoke. "If I tell you, Ray, will you promise to keep it a secret?"
"I promise – scouts honour."
"Ok." Ben said.
The two men got into the car. Fraser waited till the doors were shut before he started.
"We were preparing to be filmed, a promotion video for the R.C.M.P."
Ray nodded, he was following so far.
"Only the film crew wasn't really a film crew."
"Oh my God," Ray said, taking his eyes off the road to look at him. "So that was the train? I've heard you talk about an incident on a train, I didn't know you meant that train. That was what you were talking about? What happened?"
"As you know, from reading Ray's files," Ben said referring to the real Ray Vecchio, "I chased one of the terrorists to the top of the train. As we fought his back was to the edge of the train car. Inspector Thatcher had climbed the ladder, she hit the terrorist in the back of the legs sending him falling into the ravine below. However, as he still had hold of me, I fell also."
"Yeah, I read all that in the files. So then what happened?"
"The last thing I heard was her shouting my name. I grabbed a branch as I was falling, breaking my descent."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah – I know all this. What happened between you and The Ice Queen?" Ray asked, impatiently.
"After I had managed to make my way back onto the train, she found me. She looked at me with such… force. She told me she had grieved for me, albeit briefly." Ben said remembering how his heart had skipped a beat when he had heard those words.
"She grieved for you?" Ray said, hardly believing what he was hearing.
"Yes. But we didn't say any more about it, we had to stop the train."
"So that was it?" asked Ray with disappointment. "That's 'the incident on the train'?"
"No, Ray," Fraser continued. "We moved though the cars and when we knew we wouldn't be able to move through the next car, we climbed up the outside of the train and ran along the top."
"Canadians – you're always climbing and leaping and bounding."
Ben ignored this comment.
"She stopped and turned to face me. She asked me if I thought she was cold, if I thought she had any feelings, and, if I thought her heart was made of stone."
"What did you say?" asked Ray, suddenly intrigued.
Fraser blushed so his face was the same colour as his uniform.
"She told me that we were the same. That I graduated the top of my class, and so did she. That I wore red serge and so did she. She told me the only difference between us was that she was a man and I wasn't."
Ray looked at Fraser wondering if he'd heard him right.
"I said that I thought she had that the wrong way round. She was frustrated with me for being so precise."
"I know what that's like," Ray said as he took a right turn, followed by a quick, "Sorry."
Fraser paused as he remembered the look on Meg's face as she had waited for him to say something.
"So… then what?" Ray asked, impatiently.
"I told her I knew she wasn't made of stone- that I knew she had a heart, and… and…"
"And…?" asked Ray, almost shouting.
Fraser blushed again. "And that I thought it beat the same as mine. That it was racing… a runaway."
"Please don't tell me that's it?" Kowalski said, fearing that all 'the incident' would have been was talking.
"No, that's not it. Then we…um… kissed."
"What?! You kissed? Right there on top of the train?"
"Was it good?"
"Ray! I can't answer that." Ben replied, but from the look of remembering on his face, Ray guessed that it was.
"So, uh, are we talking about a quick peck or something a bit longer?"
Ben smiled just a little. "It was long enough for us to pass under a bridge and have the tip of my hat off."
"Wow… so then what?"
"We were interrupted. Buck Frobisher shouted us and we had to get back to work."
"Never to happen again?"
"Did you want it to?" asked Ray.
"I'm not sure."
"She does though. She's got it bad for ya, Frase."
"No, I mean she really has. But I uh… guess it'd be difficult with her being your boss and everything huh?"
"Yes. Perhaps that's why nothing has ever come of the incident on the train."
"Well, either that or maybe I'm just not… well nothing more than…perhaps I'm not good enough for her."
"Not good enough? What the hell are ya talking about?"
Fraser took a deep breath and contemplated what he had just said. The feeling that he was not good enough for Meg Thatcher was one he had become familiar with since he had first met her. It had seemed evident that as an officer he did not meet her ideal standards, and that since they had kissed his subtle attempts to raise the subject had been met with a firmly closed metaphorical door.
"I just think I'm not what she would consider a good choice."
"What's choice got to do with it? Every time I see you two in the same room she's ready to jump ya."
"But perhaps that's all she'd want from me." Ben replied, feeling like all that Meg Thatcher was interested in was satisfying some physical needs she may have.
"I often think that kissing her, and she kissing me, only happened because she thought I was dead."
"And that what she may want from me is physical, rather than emotional. I'm not a suitable choice."
"You keep saying that."
"Well, I'm a Constable, a lower officer. She couldn't consider a relationship with me due to the fact that I'm not her equal."
As Ray pulled the car over he looked at Ben, the look on his face made Ray think that Ben was so upset he was close to tears.
"But you're a much better person than she is. You go out of your way to help people."
"But she finds it irritating."
"Are you in love with her?" asked Ray. "I mean you mentioned that she might not want anything emotional from you – does that mean you want something emotional from her?"
Fraser opened his mouth to speak but found he couldn't.
"Wouldn't you want to keep it just physical? No hang-ups?" Ray quizzed him.
"I'm not sure I'm capable of that, Ray. And I don't know if I'm in love with her. It… whatever it is… isn't the same as when I was last in love with someone." Ben said, remembering Victoria and comparing the two.
"And you're not sure she could ever be in love with you? Ray asked.
"I don't think she would ever consider me in that context, Ray."
Ray sighed. "Fraser, let me tell you something. It's not many men who can say that they can have any woman they want, but you're one of 'em. I know you haven't had much luck with women but you can't let that affect your confidence." Ray paused, looking to see if Fraser was taking any of this on board.
"Take me, for example," he continued. "I know I'm not the biggest, strongest or nicest haired man in the world, but I make the most of what I've got. And I know that once, one woman found me sexy, irresistible even. So it sorta works that other women might not think I'm that bad."
"Self belief must be a wonderful thing," Ben said quietly.
"I guess." Said Kowalski, wondering how this mountain of strength and knowledge when it came to every other aspect of life could be so fragile when it came to women.
"She must have really screwed you up." He said, thinking out loud.
"Who? Inspector Thatcher?" Ben asked, surprised at Ray's remark.
"Well, both of them… her and Victoria."
"Oh Ben," Ray said – deliberately using his partner's first name for emphasis – "We're gonna have to get you sorted out."
"What would you suggest?"
"Well, first, have it out with The Ice Queen. Find out what it is she's really after – relationship or just sex. Then figure out what you want and we'll take it from there."
"Yeah – what else are best friends for?" Ray replied with a smile. "C'mon Fraser, lets go get something to eat."
"I'd like that, Ray." Said Ben, suddenly feeling lighter in his heart knowing his best friend was going to help him. And with Ray's skills with women being better than his, Fraser was glad of the opportunity to learn.