sprawled back into the snow, feeling the grit and ice
soaking through to his cold skin. How the hell did he miss
that punch? Jeez, he needed to get back in the ring, he
thought as he fingered his jaw gingerly. And more
importantly, why the hell—
sat up swiftly, staring back down the bridge. Thompson –
Donen? – was running along it, the knife clutched in one
you’ve screwed things up now, Kowalski,” he shouted
back at Ray as he reached Fraser, who now seemed barely
conscious, barely holding himself up, head lolling, a
streak of drying blood snaking down the side of his face.
had me a nice little plan,” Donen continued, “All
worked out and complete with Mountie hostages – ok, so
one of them was me, but still, would’ve kept me safe.
Then you come along and cause problems for everyone.”
Ray stood up quickly and went to run along the bridge.
Donen quickly raised the knife to Fraser’s throat.
“Wouldn’t do that, if I were you,” he drawled.
“Not if you want to keep your boy here.”
paused, wondering how quickly he could reach for his gun.
But he didn’t have his glasses and the snow was thick
enough to make that a major issue. He might hit Fraser, or
nothing at all, and he didn’t know how many bullets he
had left. God, he was so off his game.
now, looks like I have to think ‘outside the box’.”
Donen sketched an air quote with his empty hand, then
slowly began securing Fraser to the bridge with two pairs
of handcuffs, locking ankles and wrists to the old ropes,
keeping a careful grip on the knife.
wouldn’t have hurt him, you know,” he laughed
slightly, raising his voice over the howling wind. “Well
apart from the gaping head wound. But still, I’d just
have kept him with me for as long as necessary, then
dumped him somewhere. People might have found his body.
Then he’d have been fine. I’m not a bad guy,” he
said winningly. Ray felt nauseous. “But when I’m in
the middle of a storm in the fucking Yukon – ”
his voice rose and Ray caught the first glimpse of
psychosis in his face “ - well, you do what you gotta
do. And now, I gotta skidaddle, so if you wouldn’t mind
staying on that side of the bridge–” he started to
back away “– we’ll be good to go.”
turned and ran down the bridge, and Ray jumped onto the
old wooden slats and began to follow. Donen, hearing his
footsteps, turned and viciously shook the bridge. Ray
sides, and as Donen shook the bridge again, Fraser’s
body slid dangerously to one side, foot slipping off the
Donen reached the far bank of the ravine and turned again,
leaning nonchalantly against the stakes of the bridge.
one last thing,” he shouted. “Just in case you take it
into your head to follow me…” He held Ray’s knife
against the taut ropes of the bridge. “Thanks for the
knife, by the way! Didn’t expect the Mountie’s
girlfriend to be carrying such fun toys around!” he
shouted merrily as he started to saw.
what Fraser would do, thought Ray, and pulled out his gun.
This would have to be good, heck, this would have to be
spectacular, he realised, flicking open the bullet
chamber. Two bullets left, no glasses, no visibility. He
could see Donen in the Mountie red, could see him hacking
away at the ropes, the bridge swaying in one huge motion
as the first cable started to give. Suddenly snapping, the
whole bridge sagged to one side, and Fraser’s body
slipped further sideways and down, hanging on only by his
fumbled with the gun, trying to get a good sight on Donen,
his fingers frozen and stiff. He looked at Fraser hanging
there, woozily opening his eyes and looking back at him,
and took a deep breath.
he thought. You can do this. It’s just like that
double-dougal-fur thing. No problemo. He raised his
gun, focused on Donen, then on where he thought Donen was,
then on Donen again, and, feeling the wind lifting up his
round the canyon. Bang bang bang… it sounded like
he was shooting repeatedly, firing wildly, but a shower of
rocks down into the crevice below confirmed that he’d
hit fuck all. Shit! He could hear Donen laughing on the
other side of the rocks.
one more go, Ray thought, pulling himself together. He
focused carefully on the movement over the bridge, holding
the gun in both hands. Please, he prayed, I swear, if you
give me this I won’t ever ask for anything ever again.
Ray carefully squeezed the trigger.
desperately looked over the bridge. There was no ominous
shower of rocks this time, and he looked hopefully to
where he thought Donen should be. He squinted carefully
but—suddenly the bridge heaved again and twisted, the
horizontal planks now vertical, Fraser hanging down over
the crevasse, binds biting heavily into his wrists where
they held his weight.
kid,” Donen barked across the canyon, “better luck
next time.” The snow cleared briefly and Ray saw Donen
tying up his backpack and slinging it over one shoulder,
tucking the knife into his boot. “Now you got something
to occupy you, I’ll be leaving.”
nearly threw down the gun in frustration. Donen was going
to get away and the bridge wasn’t passable. He didn’t
even have clue how he was going to get Fraser back onto
solid land. Then he felt the weight of the gun in his
hands. Who the hell throws a gun?! he could hear
his own voice saying, months and months ago. Oh screw
it, he decided, why the hell not?
closed his eyes tightly and, putting all his force into
it, hurled the gun across the canyon. The fates were
smiling on him; a gust of wind came from behind, so hard
that Ray stumbled forward with the weight of it, and the
gun soared across the canyon and crack!— did he? He
couldn’t see! Then the snow cleared again and he saw a
flash of red, lying on the ground. Ray grinned
triumphantly. Hah, he thought, shake, bad guys,
Donen pulled himself upright, slowly, clutching his head,
and stumbling on the rocky ground. As Ray watched, Donen
tottered and fell headlong over the edge of the canyon.
shout echoed down through the trees, and Ray looked over,
expecting to see crocodiles snapping up his body like in
that Indiana Jones movie. Hell, like all Indiana Jones
movies. But Donen wasn’t a body on the rocks, he was
suspended underneath the bridge, hanging on to the
dangling rope by one hand, the wind buffeting him against
the cliff face.
he yelled. “Please!”
yeah,” Ray called back mockingly. “At this stage what
I’m looking for is politeness.”
carefully pressed a disinfectant wipe to the side of
see, Frase,” he said teasingly. “This is what happens
when you don’t do that five-p’s thing. I thought I’d
taught you better than that.”
Fraser said, eyes closed, head back against the couch
cushions. “I’m afraid I was lax in performing my
duties to the best of my ability.” He winced slightly.
“I shall try to do better in the future.”
and what felt like half the town had piled into Ray and
Fraser’s little cabin, fire roaring, people chattering
excitedly. The rescue party was drinking most of
Fraser’s good whisky, and the film crew was triumphantly
filming the after-show-down party, all except Carla, whose
exultant return with everything caught on tape had earned
her a night off. She was sitting on the sofa feeding chips
to Dief, who was feeling very sorry for himself, pawing at
the bandage over his right ear.
Inspector, when did you first realise that Donen was, in
fact, masquerading as your newest recruit?” Susan asked,
gesturing for Steve to get the camera in as close as
said Fraser, sitting up slightly. “I would have to say
right around the time he hit me over the head with a
rather large rock. That provided me with all the pertinent
think?” Ray grinned.
what will happen to Donen now?”
he’s in our rather small but perfectly secure holding
facility, and as soon as this storm passes someone from
Yellowknife will be by to pick him up and take him away to
face the consequences of his actions.”
not until I’ve kicked him in the head a few times,”
Ray said seriously. Fraser smiled at him, but he looked
tired. Ray clapped his hands, “Ok, everybody out, the
Mountie needs his beauty sleep.”
was a collection of the usual polite protests, and then
people started collecting coats and partners and shuffling
out slowly. The film crew took their time putting away
their equipment, and by the time they left Fraser was
listing to one side on the couch, nodding off.
Ray said softly, tentatively putting one hand on
Fraser’s shoulder. He shook lightly. “Hey, Frase,
c’mon – up and at ‘em.”
blearily opened his eyes, taking
in the empty room, then rubbed his face decisively
and sat up. “No, I don’t want to go to sleep just yet,
took a step back and casually crossed his arms. “Uh, ok,
well what do you want to do? Electricity’s out, so no
Fraser said simply.
coughed lightly into his hands. “Talk. Ok,” there was
an awkward silence, and Ray leant back against the
mantelpiece. “Quite the storm we’re having,” He
attempted. “Hey, remind me never again to complain about
tipped his head to one side, “We’re talking about the
sure, why not? That storm saved your life.”
thought that was you,” Fraser smiled.
Ray shook his head decisively.
very well then. That was excellent weather. You should
never again complain about it,” Fraser said teasingly.
pulled at a loose string on the hem of his sweater,
causing it to unravel all along the hem.
don’t you sit down?” Fraser asked, shifting to one
side of the couch. Ray
looked up quickly, and then back down, slowly pushing
himself away from the mantel and walking across the room,
sitting down as far away as possible.
need to talk about other things than the weather, Ray,”
Fraser said, and Ray wondered if he had consciously used
the four words no one ever wants to hear. Is that the sort
of thing Fraser knew about? Ray thought probably not. We
need to talk. He shivered.
You’re too tired. You should go to bed,” he insisted,
not making eye contact, his hand drumming a persistent
beat on the arm of the couch.
said Fraser firmly.
sighed. “Fine. You go first.”
Fraser nodded and turned slightly to face him. He slid
swiftly along the couch, invading Ray’s personal space,
and pressed the nervously tapping hand firmly into the
cushions, stopping the motion. Ray turned his head in
surprise, and fuck he hadn’t realised Fraser was so
close, their noses were almost touching, and geez Stella
would kill for those eyelashes— and then suddenly Fraser
closed the space between them and kissed him.
froze briefly – fuck, this was nothing like last night,
this was fully-lit and awake and – he moaned slightly,
gaspingly, opening his mouth and leaning greedily into the
kiss. Fraser groaned at the capitulation, pushing into Ray
with his mouth, with his tongue, with his whole body,
kissing him with all the intensity that it had taken Ray
an age to coax out of him last night.
he pulled back, Ray’s mouth following blindly, swollen
and wet. Leaning his forehead against Ray’s, Fraser
muttered, “Why didn’t you tell me?”
you what?” Ray panted, still focusing only on Fraser’s
it was that you wanted. Why you were here. All of it.”
stiffened and pulled away. “Hey, I’m not just here
‘cause of you, y’know,” he protested angrily. “I
have stuff going on. I like the… weather. I’m not
some— some poodle that follows you around the frozen
never suggested that you were,” Fraser said soothingly.
“I only meant that you should have told me how you felt.
It would have made everything much simpler.”
you can’t sit there and tell me you felt the same way.
You had no fucking idea what was going on.”
I will admit that I was somewhat blind to my— to the
‘somewhat blind’,” scowled Ray. “You could say
just because I’m not as in touch with my emotions as you
appear to be—”
could you make me sound more girly?” Ray stood up and
paced back over to the mantel.
no reason to protest now that I am finally… coming
around to my true feelings.”
feelings? Fraser, you’re straight.” Ray flung his arms
wide in exasperation, almost knocking a hideous stuffed
owl that had belonged to Fraser’s dad off the mantel.
a somewhat restricted view of the situation, Ray. I have
never believed one should confine oneself to an outmoded
populist view of the socially acceptable—”
stood up angrily, then swayed, his face paling. Ray rushed
over and grabbed his arm, muttering about ‘taking things
too fast’ and ‘serious head wounds.’
stopped him fussing by slinging an arm around his waist
and pulling their bodies firmly together, leaning on him
slightly. Their eyes met. “I want you,” Fraser said
urgently. “I want you more than anything. If you’re
not happy here we can go back to Chicago, or Florida or
anywhere you want. I just want you.”
blinked slowly, inhaling Fraser’s scent, carefully
avoiding the ugly gash on Fraser’s head. “I— yeah, I
want you,” he breathed. “I love you.”
I you, Ray.” Fraser smiled, and kissed him again.
sat back down on the sofa, arms around each other.
Ray said, after a short pause. “Florida huh?”
it was just an example, Ray,” Fraser said nervously.
don’t know,” Ray looked up and met Fraser’s eyes,
smiling. “It sounds like an idea with potential. I could
do with a change of scene.”
Fraser cracked his neck uncomfortably. “If you are
interested in moving on I’m more than happy to. More
than happy,” somehow, Ray didn’t believe him. “Of
course, due attention should be paid to locality, weather
conditions, the feasibility of one or both of us finding
yeah – sun, sea, sand… sounds good to me.”
is also the case of my current contract here. It may not
be possible for me to move on so quickly.”
better than the weather here, after all,” Ray grinned.
paused. “I believe this is where I am supposed to tell
you that you are not to say anything against the weather
here ever again.”
got it,” Ray looked around at the sparse furnishings,
the candles making up for the lack of electricity, the
old, rattling window-panes. “After all, why the hell
would I want to give all this up?” he asked, and kissed
Fraser once more, lingeringly.
in the snow, Susan gestured for the crew to cut.
“Ok, guys that's a wrap," she said, brushing the
snow from her eyelashes. "I think we’ve got
everything we’ll need.”