Meghan Black, c. 1999

Disclaimer under duress: Due South belongs to Alliance, not me. I freely acknowledge that. I also freely play with their characters, namely Benton Fraser, Ray Kawolski and Diefenbaker the Wonder Wolf whenever I get a chance.

What can happen to an 'always in control' civilized Mountie when something he considers his is threatened? Warning for physical h/c avoiders. Sorry I hurt Ray, but I swear he's all better now. Rated somewhere between PG and R for violence and sexual implications between two men. A quick thanks to my betas, Kellie and Crys who came through on such short notice. Betas make the world go round...


Reaction would imply thought...insinuating a cognizant response to a recognized action...a passing acquaintance with control. Benton Fraser had none of these at the moment. If there was ever a time when he so little resembled the neatly starched and pressed RCMP officer he was known to be, it occurred the moment he learned that one Stanley Ray Kowalski was in imminent danger.

Images that made him wince flashed through Fraser's mind as he raced, literally to Ray's rescue. His partner was rash, foolish, impulsive...and his life and soul. Red, the color of his tunic, threatened to obscure his vision, causing his usually nimble feet to falter over rough, black asphalt, littered with bottles, cans and things he didn't even care to identify. The men who held his partner...his lover...would pay for their brashness. How dare they hurt his Ray. Civilization shed its dry skin, blown off in sheets with the wind which whipped past his face as he sped by yet another alley, eyes searching frantically. The frustration of not knowing the exact location of the meeting made Fraser want to howl in primal rage.

And what little rational thought remained was consumed with images of Ray...smiling, joking, teasing and loving...passionate, hot and sweating. The thought of never experiencing these things with his lover again was not acceptable. And Fraser would do all in his power to make sure that tomorrow arrived for them again...together.

When he glimpsed the small group all the way in the back of the fourth alleyway, Fraser's speed and determination were so great, he almost ran right on by. But, he did manage to stop. Stop for the split second it took to change course. And what his imagination had left out, reality filled in in vivid detail as Fraser rounded the corner to the sounds of Ray's 'Oomph'. It was a sound that only fueled the animal inside of him. He was Dief now...a wolf charging his prey and being a polite, civilized Mountie played no role in what he meant to do with Ray's assailants.

Before he could reach them, Ray huffed out another breath and groaned as he fell to the ground, curling into a fetal position...lying very very still. Just a few more yards... He ran forward at full tilt, his cheeks jerking which each footfall, his arms pumping that last effort needed to reach the crumpled form on the ground. The man who was helpless to fight back as the breath which threatened to leave him forever was knocked out of his slender frame time and again by the three goons working him over.

Only one of the trio had time to even consider defending himself. Fraser was on them like a pack of wolves, snarling and gnashing with every weapon of his not insubstantial personal arsenal. He'd been well trained...perhaps not to use his knowledge unfairly, but fairness was relative and had no place when dealing with Ray's attackers.

"Ray!" Fraser couldn't help but yell out, even knowing that the man on the ground probably couldn't hear him, or respond if he could. The single syllable was filled with fear. But Fraser was able to harness the fear and turn it...amplify the wrath the three men must now face.

The first to fall was the one who had been wielding his fists on Ray's face and stomach. The clatter of brass knuckles sounded harsh and overly loud next to the thud of the heavy body against brick and mortar. Fraser's fist plunged into soft tissue and brittle bone, and the blow was made more deadly by the fact that his victim's head had no place to go but further into the brick.

Blood flowed freely from both natural and manmade orifices. With a satisfied grunt, Fraser struck out again and again, only stopping when he realized that Ray was still in jeopardy, for two more remained. He let the first one slide unhindered to the ground, not waiting to see if he still lived.

One managed to escape while Fraser was occupied with strangling the second man. Through narrowed blue eyes he sat back on his heels when the stranger lay motionless, but still breathing. Fraser spent about five seconds trying to decide whether to let him live or not. The stranger lost the silent debate. With a quick motion, Fraser pulled his lanyard over his head and with slow, deliberate movements, crawled back atop the still body and wrapped it once, then twice around the darkly tanned throat of his victim. His teeth were bared and a soft, low snarl could be heard echoing down the alley.

He was the protagonist of anthropomorphic tales...some Inuit legend of old. A man transformed into animal...or an animal, sometimes exhibiting manlike traits? He neither knew nor cared at the moment. All Benton Fraser knew was that one of his own was threatened. This man...this Ray belonged to him and no one would take him from his side unwillingly. Not while he had one breath left in his body. So unlike the form which lay still in every way beneath him now.

It was the small mewling sound coming from his love which roused Fraser from his beast state. Immediately he was by Ray's side, hands fluttering above the beaten body, not sure where he could touch that would not do more damage than was evident. And the evidence was frightening.

Ray lay still curled in a ball, but he was rocking back and forth very slowly as if trying to roll over. His eyes had not opened yet, but he seemed to sense Fraser's presence.

"Are they gone?" he mumbled through swollen, split lips, already caking with his own blood.

"Yes," Fraser answered softly. "Two are...gone. The third will be soon." Of that there was no doubt. There still lived one who had hurt Ray.


This was too much for Fraser. The battle resumed between man and beast. The frustrated animal which had let its prey escape warred with the man who just wanted to take his lover in his arms and make the pain go away.

Fraser finally allowed himself the luxury of touching Ray. He laid his hand lightly on Ray's shoulder, then jerked it back when the man winced. Perhaps his hip. This seemed to work. Fraser squeezed slightly and tears sprang to his eyes as he took in his partner's condition.

His nose was obviously broken and both eyes swollen shut. His lip looked as though it would need stitches. And that was just what he could see. Fraser knew that the ones internally...the ones he couldn't see where much more life threatening.

This thought ignited him to action. He felt on Ray's belt for the cellular which seldom left his side, but the small clip was empty. Scanning the concrete alleyway, he saw the instrument, smashed on the ground. It must have been thrown against the brick wall intentionally.

Resolve to get Ray to safety and medical attention forced Fraser to ignore the moans of pain as he picked Ray up, as gently as possible, and cradled him against his chest. He crooned softly against the blond head he loved so...the styled spikes now caked with blood. "We'll get you some help, Ray. It won't be long now. You'll be fine...we'll be fine." It was his mantra and one he repeated often as he walked out of the alley into the dark Chicago night.

By Fraser's recollection, it was approximately 2.8 miles to the nearest hospital and not a taxi in sight. Hefting Ray's weight, he carefully readjusted his grip on the limp body and set off in the direction of their salvation.


Once inside the brightly lit emergency room, Fraser blinked and stood just inside the door, actually at a loss as to what to do. He knew Ray hated hospitals and yet he knew he did not have the wherewithal to treat him properly. The decision was taken out of his hands, literally, when nurses and one doctor finally noticed him standing in the double doorway holding Ray tenderly against his chest.

But...there was no way in hell or beyond that they could make him wait with the rest of the patients' friends and families while they tended to Ray's wounds. One nurse had obtusely tried to force him to stay outside the treatment room.

Fraser's eyes had hardened into light sapphires, but he'd managed to smile at the woman while saying, "I don't believe you understood me, m'am. I cannot leave him, nor will I. Now if you will excuse me..." and he'd pushed past her...politely. The woman was left standing, gaping after him. As Fraser leaned into the door where they'd taken Ray, he halted and half-turned back to face the nurse, a charming smile playing across his lips. "Thank you kindly." As if she had let him pass due to the largesse of her heart.


Fraser was sitting beside Ray's bed, where he'd glued himself for 14 hours. Ray had slept the whole time, partially from the beating he'd suffered and partly from the drugs they'd given him for pain. Either way, Fraser knew he would be there when Ray awoke, whether it be 14 or 40 hours.

When he saw Ray open his eyes, he squeezed his lover's hand and smiled brightly. The swelling had gone down considerably and Ray's face was discolored, but otherwise almost back to normal.

"Hey," Ray croaked, causing Fraser to jump up to get him a cup of water. When the straw was placed gingerly between his lips and he'd drunk his fill, Fraser removed the cup and settled on the side of the bed, to be closer to Ray.

They tried the conversation again. "Hey," Ray repeated.

"'Hey' yourself. How do you feel?"

Ray moved an arm experimentally, winced slightly, but was able to reach up and lay a bandaged hand on Fraser's arm. Fraser followed its course and smiled at the hand resting against the course red serge of his uniform. The same one he'd worn while beating two men to death.

"You scared me," Fraser said softly. It was a simple statement full of meaning. Fraser frowned slightly at the memory of the last day...of the fear instilled in him when he'd seen Ray fall to the ground and of the rage he'd felt toward his enemies. The men who would have taken his mate from him.

"Well, I wasn't exactly Mr. Calm and Collected myself," Ray quipped back. He squeezed Fraser's arm a bit and then let his hand fall back across his stomach.

Fraser laid his hand possessively over Ray's and the frown disappeared...until Ray asked the question Fraser was hoping to avoid for at least a little while longer.

"What happened to the goons? Did the backup show up?" Clearly Ray's memory of things was less than stellar.

"One ran off, but they caught him a few hours ago in an establishment on Fortieth street. He was trying to pawn the gun he used to force you into that car."

Ray nodded his understanding, but Fraser could tell he wasn't off the hook by the look on Ray's face as he searched for more answers. "And the other two?"

Fraser tried to ignore it for a moment...just long enough to frame his carefully crafted reply. He really should have been better prepared for this. He stalled by leaning down to kiss Ray softly on the forehead...the one spot he was fairly sure wouldn't hurt. Ray's skin was cool and soft against his lips and he couldn't help the desire to continue the show of affection, letting his mouth move now to Ray's temple, then up into the hair through which he loved to run his fingers.

"I love you, you know," he said against Ray's head. He needed Ray to understand why he'd done what he had. He wanted so desperately to be able to tell Ray he had taken them into custody and they would face the law legally and in safety. But he couldn't do that.

"Yeah, I know...but what happened to the guys...," Ray halted. "What aren't you telling me, Frase?" He squinted up at Fraser's face, like the drugs still had a hold and nothing was coming into focus quite like it should.

"Ray...I....they...." How did one tell one's lover one has committed murder for him? He wasn't sure at all that Ray would appreciate the gesture.

"They're dead aren't they?" Relief flooded through Fraser. At least he was spared the admission. That was something. But, following the relief, Fraser felt his face go warm with guilt.

"Yes...I'm so sorry. I don't know what to say," he squeezed Ray's hand harder and looked beseechingly into his lover's eyes. "I couldn't help it....could not stop myself." Blue eyes pleaded for understanding. For exoneration he could not give himself. How could he? "They were going to take you from me."

"You...killed them?" When Ray had guessed that the two remaining criminals were dead, it was clearly not by Fraser's own hand he imagined it.

"I know it is inexcusable and although Inspector Thatcher and Detective Welsh have both declared it an act of self-defense and simply relieved me of my duties for a few days, I know that was not the case." Fraser looked down, then away. He could not bear to see the accusation in his lover's eyes. How could Ray still love him now? How could he ever look at him the same?

"I tried to tell them what I had done...to arrest me as the law required..." he paused, still not looking at Ray. "...but I was weak. I did not want to be separated from you, so I let them convince me to leave it as it was." Fraser rubbed his hands across his face, then pressed his fingers firmly against his eyes, trying to blot out the image of the dead men in the alley.

Silence, except for the tick of the clock hanging over the bed, threatened to suffocate Fraser and he couldn't wait any longer. He chanced a glance down at the man laying in bed. Ray had not pulled his hand from Fraser's and that must mean something.

What he saw was not what he'd expected. The look on Ray's face told Fraser immediately that he'd been wrong in his assessment of Ray's reaction. There was understanding, forgiveness and love written across every feature. And Fraser knew the forgiveness was shown so clearly because he needed to see it the most.

"You don't have to look for absolution from me, ya know?" Ray began to curl his lips up, causing a brief stab of pain to flitter across before he brought it all under control. His bottom lip had indeed needed three stitches and they pulled slightly when he tried to smile. "Hell, I guess I'm flattered... and I know I'd do the same for you." This last said more softly, with emotion that wrenched at Fraser's heart.

After the initial confusion, this last comment caused Fraser to break the severe expression and flash a smile at his lover. He leaned down over Ray, intent on another kiss, but stopped when Ray reached up again, this time to caress the side of Fraser's face lovingly.

"Don't ever worry about that wild side Fraser," he said softly, reading his partner's thoughts. "We all got it and some of us just control it better than others. You? Well, I guess you got it so tightly under wraps that when it breaks loose you can't hardly keep up with it."

When Fraser would have spoken, Ray moved his fingers to his lover's lips to silence him. "You helped me control my wild side that day I told you...about Beth Botrelle. Remember?" At Fraser's nod, Ray continued. "I don't even want to think about how whacko I'd go if anyone hurt you...so you see...I *do* understand."

Fraser knew Ray was just trying to make him feel better, but he still wondered what his lover would feel if he'd actually seen the entire incident. But Ray had said everyone had a wild side? And hadn't Fraser seen many wild sides in his duty as a Mountie? Is that what it was? He'd always made himself stay calm and in total control. Very few times had he allowed his primal urges to take front and center. Only when he was with Ray could he feel even marginally himself. Ray understood the baser urges. Only when they... he stopped and regarded the knowing expression on Ray's face. The look of utter and pure love. It was Ray all along. Whenever Ray was involved, Fraser could count on losing some modicum of control. When Ray was in danger, Fraser could lay book on it. There would be no control to lose.

Then in a totally different tone...one full of teasing and love...one Fraser recognized immediately and which caused a warm rush to start somewhere in the vicinity of his groin, Ray spoke again, "And don't bury it so deep again, a'right? I want to see what other wild stuff you got hiding down there."

"Ray, I hardly think this is the ..." but his words were cut off by the softest of feather kisses against his lips and Fraser lost his train of thought as he envisioned Ray whole and well and in his arms once more.