The Pretender






Copyright September 2001 Bast


This work is not to be reproduced in any way or archived anywhere without the express written permission of the author


When Vecchio hugged Fraser, I… I… I just knew it was over between us. That Fraser and me wouldn’t be partners anymore. I mean, Vecchio is the real Ray. Me? I’m just Stanley Raymond Kowalski, a pretender. I pretended to be Vecchio, and fell in love with Vecchio’s partner, and that’s, that’s just bad. It’s bad ‘cause I can’t have Fraser. Vecchio’s got him. I want him – he doesn’t know that – but I do, God knows I want him.  I used to lie in bed at night, all alone, holding a pillow, imagining it was Fraser, just holding it, sometimes talking to it, and yeah, sometimes crying on it – damn, I’m babbling. To myself. Shut up. Just shut up.


I look at them and now?

Seeing Vecchio’s arms around Fraser?

God, it hurt. Seeing them together hurt worse than when Stella walked out on me. And when she left, it almost killed me.


I had to turn away.

I couldn’t stay. Fraser’s got what he wanted… Ray Vecchio. Me? I got nothing.


I left without saying a word.

Three Hours Later – Ray’s Apartment


Y’see, I should be glad. I should be glad that Fraser’s got Vecchio back. But the selfish prick that I am, I’m not.


I’ve known forever that Fraser loved him. Why? I dunno. Guess he sees something in Vecchio that no one else does. That’s the way it goes… everyone has hidden depths. Maybe Vecchio – no, I don’t wanna go there. 


Anyway, I should be happy for Fraser.


I know that.

But I ain’t.


Next Morning – Ray’s Apartment


Sucking down coffee for about an hour like there ain’t no tomorrow, I finally feel human enough to dress.


Finally feel up to facing this day. My stomach flutters a bit thinking about seeing Fraser and Vecchio together today, but… I can do it. It won’t even hurt… much.

Didn’t sleep worth a shit last night, couldn’t stop thinking of Fraser and Vecchio. God, I got it bad. I’m acting like some lovesick school kid. I’m a grown man, for chrissakes!


I oughtta just go bust Vecchio’s head. Nah, that’d upset Fraser. Don’t want to upset Fraser.


Looking at myself in the mirror, I run my hand through my hair, and smirk. At least I got hair.


Cheap, private digs against Vecchio are allowed.


I grin and put on my holster and head back to the kitchen for another cup of coffee.


Five Hours Later – 27th Precinct


I’m miserable. Watching them together is worse than I ever thought. Fuck it. I’m leaving. I push myself up out of the chair I’ve been sitting in and grab my coat, cursing under my breath at Vecchio for ruining everything.


“Ray?” Fraser follows me, and touches me, and I just freak.


I whirl around and get close to him, staring him in the eyes, almost nose to nose. The words just pour outta me and no matter what I can’t stop them – don’t know that I want to. “I don’t like him, Frase. I don’t want anyone to have you but me. I love ya, and can’t nobody love ya like I do!”

Leaving Fraser standing there, I stomped off, growling at anyone that dared get in my way.


That Night – Ray’s Apartment


I’m sitting here, staring down at the food on my plate, and I wonder where it came from. I don’t remember making anything to eat, but I must’ve, right?


I stand up and dump the plate of food into the trash and wash the plate. I clean up in the kitchen and then head on over to stare at the TV.

The screen’s blank, but I can’t be bothered to push the button on the remote control to turn it on.


So I sit there. And I think. And I keep thinking, and thinking and wondering…


Could I have done something better? Something to make him want me?


And with those fun fucking thoughts rattling through my brain, I head to bed. And you know what? That bed’s gonna be even lonelier tonight than it normally is. Why? Because my heart’s just realised what my brain’s figured out – that no matter what, I ain’t gonna be able to be loved by Fraser.



Someone’s knocking – pounding on my door – and I squint my eyes to look at the alarm clock. It’s two in the damn morning. “What the fuck?” I mutter as I slide out of bed and stagger out of my bedroom.


I peer through the peephole and slump against my door. Shit. I slowly unlock the door to let Fraser in.

”What?” I snap as I jerk open the door.


“Did you mean it?” he asks right off.


I run my hand through my hair and stare at him blearily. “What?”

His voice is quiet and he says, “I’ve been thinking all night, Ray. I’ve been turning it over and over in my mind. Do you love me?”


Shit. Shit Shit Shit and Double Shit!  Running my hand across my face, I realise I gotta say something. I got only myself to blame for this – me and my big mouth. Looking at him, I’m surprised at the intense look on his face.

”Yeah,” I finally mumble, stepping back to let him in. I may be a lot of things, but a coward ain’t one of them. “Yeah. I love ya.”

”You mean it?” He steps closer to me and I look at him, confused.


He’s on me then, his big, strong body pressing against me, his lips moving across mine and for a split second I’m too stunned to respond. But that doesn’t last long.

I grab the front of his shirt, my fists bunching up in the soft fabric, and I kiss him back, letting my tongue twist around his, almost moaning out loud from the hot slickness and the way he tastes.


We’re all but melded together when I think about Vecchio again.

”Wait,” I gasp. “Is this real? For me? Or you thinking about Vecchio?”

”What?” Fraser asks stupidly, looking mussed and dazed and fucking delicious.


I let go of his shirt and step back, panting a little. “I said…”

”I heard what you said, but why? Why would you think that?”

I stare at him good and long and he looks at me steadily. “I seen how you hugged him. I know you love him. I know… damn, Fraser. I’m just pretend.”


“You’re pretending?” He looks horrified and touches his lips.

I’m shaking my head. “No! Not about that! I’m not really Vecchio.”

He looks at me from head to toe and then up and down again, causing me to flush under his eyes. Damn. He’s all but undressing me right here with his eyes.


“Yes, Ray… I’m well aware you are not Ray Vecchio,” he says with a little twist of his lips, a small smile meant for me alone. “I wouldn’t want you to be. He is my friend. I would like to… hope… that you will be much more.”

”Oh yeah?” That kinda just warms me inside and out. But… “I know you loved him.”

Fraser shook his head. “Not like I love you.”


Holy – “Huh?”

”I said, not like I love you.” I musta looked like an idiot or something, because then he says, “He is my friend. That’s all. I never loved him, not like I love you.”



“Yes,” he says softly before pulling me close and hugging me tightly. “I want… I’ve wanted you for a very long time, Ray.” He pauses then says, “I’ve loved you for a long time.” His eyes are very serious and his face is very solemn, and I realise then and there I’ve got the ball in my court. Somehow I know that this is one of the hardest things he’s ever done. He’s showing me a side of him that no one sees.


This ain’t no pretending.


I think I’m gonna just choke to death on what I’m feeling, because that’s the best thing that I’ve ever heard. With Stella, nothing I ever did got that kind of reaction from her. Yeah, we was good together, but me and Fraser? We’re partners. And friends. And I guess we’re going to be lovers too. And I’m good with that. It’s great.


It’s what I’ve wanted for a long time.


”I want forever,” I hear myself say, and he nods.

”I can give you forever.”

We come back together and kiss again, and then he just holds me close. Just wraps his arms around me and holds me tight like nothing in the world can touch us – like forever is right here in his arms and he’s never gonna let go.


And you know what?


I’m gonna do my best to try for that forever.


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