First Breath

a due South story

by dirty diana

I wake up as the bed creaks and dips, and a warm, heavy weight gets in beside me. "Frase?"

"Mmmmn?" He's been working all day, and he's tired, already half-asleep.

"How'd it go?"

"Quite well. The party was a success. As a matter of fact, the ambassador was most pleased with..."

"Not that, Frase." I can smell fruity, expensive perfume in my bed, all over him. I have a pretty good idea what the ambassador was most pleased with.

As if to reassure me, he leans forward, draping one arm across my body, settling comfortable and strong on my hip. He snuggles in against my back, and I feel him losing the conversation, falling asleep.

"The other thing," I say, loudly enough to bring him back to full consciousness. "Did you talk to Frannie?"

He exhales, his breath warm on the back of my neck. "Yes. I did."

"And? What did she say?"

I can hear him blushing, in the dark. "I'd rather not repeat what she said, Ray. But I did notice that she didn't appear to be entirely surprised, the situation. She was upset that we...that I hadn't explained it to earlier." His voice dips low on the end of that sentence, sounding genuinely sorry.

And I am too. Genuinely sorry. It's not like I don't know how much it hurts sometimes, being in love with Fraser. "What did you tell her?"

Fraser stumbles a bit, confused by the question. "Tell her? I told her that I love you, Ray."

There's a weight off my chest suddenly, I'm breathing easier, like an elephant that I didn't know had been sitting there just got up and walked away. "Yeah?" I ask him.

"Yes," he answers. "Was that wrong? I didn't think that..."

"No," I interrupt him quickly. "It wasn't wrong at all."

He shifts a bit in the bed, finding his comfortable spot. His hand slides down onto my thigh. "Goodnight, Ray."

"Night." After a pause, I add, "next time I'll make sure I lock the door."

"That's probably a good idea," he agrees.

"Or I'll talk to Ma Vecchio. She shoulda taught Frannie how to knock."

"Even better idea, Ray," Fraser whispers softly. And just like that he's asleep, wrapped around me.