A story wherein Ray Vecchio the former whines and whines...but secretly appreciates what happened.

Title: Not One More Word

Author: Lystykds

Rated: G.

Pairings: None.

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The silence in the RIV was deafening. Diefenbaker sat hunched in the back seat on the passenger side with his head as close as he could get it to a slightly open back window. Ray drove the car in stony silence, his beautiful green eyes staring directly at the road. Rays fingers on the steering wheel were so tightly clenched that the skin on his knuckles showed white. He muttered to himself in Italian as he drove. Not once did his eyes glance sideways to the passenger seat where Fraser sat with military correctness, his beloved Stetson on his knees.

As the Riv rounded the corner onto Octavia Street, Ray turned his head for the first time since entering the RIV 30 minutes before. The glare he turned on his partner was piercing. And for once, Benton Fraser, paled a little under that piercing glare. His cheeks turned slightly pink as he turned his eyes downwards before turning back to face Ray.

"Ray, I'm sure that it won't be like you think."

"Yea, Benny. On what do you base that remark."

"Well, Ray. There is a distinct difference in our bearings at the moment. And I don't see how your conjecture would be the correct one."

"Oh, it's distinct all right."

"Ray, I do think you aren't being fair. In this instance, I cannot see why you are being so stubborn?"

"You watch. Just watch. And if I am not right about this, I will not say another word."

"Ray, I still don't see how you can have a basis for your remarks."

Ray pulled the RIV into their driveway and turned the engine off. He turned sideways in the car and leaned towards his best friend and brother-in-law. "NOT ONE MORE WORD. Got it."

"Yes, Ray. But..."

"Benny, I said not one more word. What don't you understand about the word 'Not'?"

Ben picked up his hat as he stared with large disbelieving eyes at Ray. He started to open his mouth but closed it as Ray abruptly turned and climbed out of the car to slam his beloved RIVís door resoundingly.

The two men walked up the porch steps, Fraser walking slightly behind Ray. Dief had escaped the car with a joyful wolf leap and headed for the sounds of children's laughter in the backyard. As they had watched the wolf disappear, Fraser had muttered one word, "Coward."

Ray put his hand on the front door knob, took a deep breath and pulled the door open. In seconds the two men were standing in the foyer. Franny heard the front door as she exited the kitchen. She looked up at Ben and threw him one of her totally eclipsing smiles as she walked towards where they stood in the dim evening light. As she entered the front hall, she flipped the light switch and stood with her mouth hanging open.

"Ma! Ma! You gotta get out here." Francesca yelled then turned back to run her eyes over every inch of her husband. She ran up to him and ran her fingers over his red serge and planted a big kiss on deeply embarrassed face.

Ben had the good grace to look down at the floor, as Ray stood ominously silent next to him. Ben shifted from foot to foot in uncharacteristic cowardice. After Francesca assured herself that Ben was in one piece, she turned to face her brother. The livid look she sent Ray was positively riveting. Before she said one word, Mrs. Vecchio joined them in the foyer. She took one look at her son and turned to Benton. She ran her eyes over her son-in-law with a fine eye for detail.

"Ray, how could you?" Francesca said in a very loud whisper as she kept a tight grip on one of Ben's hands. "How Ray? You better have a good explanation."

Mrs. Vecchio ran her eyes over her son, "Raymundo, what did you do this time?"

Ray turned a glare of his own at Benny. "See I told you. They take one look at me and check to make sure you're ok. I am standing here covered in yellow dye. My suit is ruined; my hair is sticking straight up. My shoes are filled with yellow glop and my face is the only part of me that ain't yellow. I smell like a garbage skow and I have to look at you, Mr. Scotchguarded at birth, who has not a hair out of place. I told you they would blame me, not you. I told you!"

"But Ray," Ben said in complete befuzzlement.

Ray removed his shoes and socks and stood holding them in his hands. "I am going up to the bathroom. I am going to soak in a nice tub of warm water after I shower this goo off of me. And I don't want to hear one more word outta you, Fraser. Not one! Understood!"

"Ray, I think you're being very unfair." Ben got out quickly before he found himself eye to eye with Ray and Rayís ruined, dripping yellow suit dangerously close to the red serge. Ben tried not to move back.

"NOT one more word." Ray turned and stomped up the stairs.

"Raymundo, what dangerous place did you take Benton?" Mrs. Vecchio asked the retreating back.

Ray stopped on the first landing of the staircase and looked back over his shoulder. "See Benny, I told you they wouldn't think this was your fault. Everyone but Ma and Francesca knows you're a walking booby trap." Ray sighed and continued up the steps.

Ben looked down at his wife and mother-in-law. "Ray's right you know. This was my fault. I was the one that followed the purse-snatcher into the empty warehouse. I was the one who chased the man over a network of ladders and ropes over the dye vats. I was the one that cornered the man in such a way that he felt that walking on the edge of a dye vat was a good avenue of escape. Ray merely followed me and prevented the man from escaping. It was all my fault." Ben gave each of the women one of his most serious looks.

Francesca and Ma exchanged amused looks. "Not one more word, Ben." Ma said as she walked back down the hall to the kitchen. "Dinner will be ready in a hour. Go relax."

Ben turned a disbelieving look on Francesca. "But..."

"Not one more word, Ben. We just don't believe it. Ray has to stop dragging you all over the place. One of these days it won't be yellow dye you fall into."

"Francesca, really I must protest."

She stood on her tiptoes and kissed his cheek. "Not one more word." She pulled on his hand and dragged him protesting down the hall to their room.

Upstairs in the bathroom, Ray stood in the shower relaxing in the warm water. He smiled, the expression on Benny's face as he watched Ray yelling at him at been exquisitely disbelieving. Yep, maybe now Benny would understand his position in the family. Laughter filled the bathroom as he lathered his body one more time. Yea, he'd fall in another vat of dye if he had to, if it meant protecting the one they all cherished. But boy was he going to take it out on Benny. He finished his shower amid images of ways he could further embarrass the Mountie.



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