One Candle

by Kass

Written for Chanukah 2012. For Sihaya Black, who requested a Fraser/RayK story where Fraser puts lit candles in his window, but views them with a sense of happy contentment instead of sadness. .

When Ray arrives at the Consulate, Turnbull is wrestling with a giant pile of greenery.

"Good evening!" he puffs from behind his armload of fir branches.

"D'you need some help?" Ray doesn't really feel like spending his evening helping Turnbull decorate, but he feels bad for the guy. It looks like he's having a fight with a Christmas tree and the tree is winning.

"Oh, no, not at all," Turnbull assures him, sidling toward a ladder. "I'm just getting a head start on the festooning."

"Right," Ray agrees. "Festooning. You have fun with that."

When he approaches Fraser's door, he hears Fraser's voice. I appreciate the counsel, but I assure you, I don't expect to burn anything down.

"Frase?" Ray calls, through the door, and Fraser coughs and mutters something like Bother me later.

"Is this not a good time?"

The door opens. Fraser's face is slightly flushed and his hair is wet -- fresh out of the shower; Ray can't help regretting having missed that -- but his smile looks genuine. "No, no, this is a perfect time. Come in."

Fraser's room is as spotless as ever, the bed made with his usual precision. On his windowsill there's a single candle in an iron candle-holder. It looks old-fashioned: might be beeswax. And the candle-holder has one of those saucers to catch the wax, and a thumbring for carrying the thing up a set of stairs.

"Candlelight," Ray says. "Nice."

Fraser ducks his head slightly. "It's old-fashioned, I know. Most people today use electric candlabra. But I find myself attached to -- well, this," gesturing toward the light in his window.

Ray's chest feels too tight. He can imagine what it must've been like growing up in some clean fresh small town where winter smells like pine branches and woodsmoke and everybody puts a real actual honest-to-God candle in the window. And then to move to Chicago where the Christmas trees are fake and the lights never end but they're not holiday lights, not candles to light a traveler's way, just headlights and traffic lights and police lights and lit-up billboards.

"If you want to go somewhere, I can blow it out," Fraser offers.

Ray had been planning to drag Fraser out for dinner, but he can't stand the thought of Fraser extinguishing his one holiday decoration. "Nah," Ray says. "Let's order a pizza, hang out here."

Fraser's surprised smile makes Ray's heart do a somersault. And then Fraser's knowing smile makes his toes curl.

"Inclined to stay in, eh," Fraser says. His voice is lower than usual and there's intention in his eyes.

Never one to turn that down, Ray grins at him. "I figured, you lit a candle, made it all romantic -- how could I resist?"

Without looking away from him, Fraser reaches for his (old-fashioned but still functional) radio and turns the knob. Big band jazz pours out of the tinny speaker.

"May I have this dance?" Fraser asks, reaching out one hand.

"You bet your ass," Ray tells him, and reaches back.

The End

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