"I didn't say jealous. I said envious," Fraser corrects, the old snippy thing he does when he's bugged but doesn't want to admit it. "It's only that... "
He breaks off and lets out a little huff of breath, looks past me, toward I don’t know what, the cars across the street, the entrance to the park, the skyline behind us. "We'll be in our sixties before I've been with you as long as she was."
Then suddenly he blinks and he’s back, returning his attention to me, and his eyes are so lost, I don't even know what to say. It's hard to remember sometimes that for as smart a guy as Fraser is, he's like a babe in the woods when it comes to this stuff.
"Look, Fraser, you want to be the love of my life? It's simple. Just stick around. You got nothing else to worry about."
I don't know how else to reassure him, so I give his shoulder a squeeze. "You've got nothing else to worry about."
He lets out a dissatisfied sigh, but I know he gets it. Yeah, this is scary, and there's no way around it, gotta go through it, same as you do with a fire or a hail of bullets sometimes.
Most things don't last, but I could never tell the age of some of Fraser's stuff. Might as well all be antiques, got that same love-worn feel. Trunk lid opens easily, without a squeak, and the scent of the cabin -- pine, coffee, neatsfoot oil, woodsmoke -- wafts out and haunts the air with a special kind of warmth I haven't felt since we left.
If I close my eyes and breathe it deep, I can almost get there.
Almost. But not quite.
Open my eyes again and look down into the trunk. Neat stacks of journals from our first years together. Chicago, the quest, all that insanity. Books filled with pages and pages of his thoughts that my eyesight is too shitty now to make out, even with my good glasses. If I'd known, maybe I'd have been a better snoop back then.
One lift out tray compartment for RCMP crap, brass buttons, uniform patches, stupid pins they gave him way too late. Assholes. But he loved being a Mountie, so... Next to those, Dief's last set of immunization tags for Customs. I run my fingers over the embossed silver like I could read the serial number as Braille, and think about that crazy old wolf until the third step from the bottom groans, and suddenly I realize what a sentimental old idiot I must look like sitting here like this.
I try to jam the tags back into place quickly, but my finger gets caught on a pin sticking off one of those damned RCMP ceremonial doohickeys and I can't keep in a yelp of, "Shit!" as I yank my hand back and send half the stuff in the tray compartment skittering across the attic floor.
"Ray? Are you all right?"
"Yeah," I say, turning to face Fraser and trying hard not to sound like a twelve-year-old caught with porn. But since I'm going to need his help even finding all these little pieces of crap, I might as well accept getting busted. "I was just, uh..." Ah, fuck it. "Thinking about the old days."
Fraser looks over my shoulder toward the open trunk, and I swear I hear him sniffing at the air a little bit. "We've had a lot of fine adventures, hm?"
"The best, Benton buddy, the absolute best."
He looks back at me then, and an odd smile crosses his face.