Ray Kowalski (ray__k) wrote,
Ray Kowalski
ray__k

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[For Fraser - Friday]

If Ray lets himself think about this thing too much, he's gonna make himself sick, which is why he's humming along loudly to the radio as he waits in the Goat just outside the Consulate. His fingers are drumming against his thigh nervously and he sips his coffee compulsively, not really tasting the bitter precinct coffee as it burns down his throat. It's almost time for their meeting with Laura and her lawyer, so Ray's swung by the Consulate to pick Fraser up and get going.

They've got plenty of time and this is the last thing in the world Fraser would ever be late for, but Ray keeps glancing at his watch anyway, then returns his hand to his leg where his fingers once again pick up an erratic beat. "C'mon, Fraser," he mumbles to himself, then starts to hum along to the song on the radio again.

They're gonna be fine. They're nice people and they aren't weirdos or nothing, so Ray thinks they're gonna be just fine, but it's still nerve wracking. The process hasn't been easy and they're not home free yet, but they're getting closer. They just have to make this lady believe they can be good for her baby once it's born and Ray thinks they can do that.

God, he hopes they can do that.
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Before Fraser even manages to open the door very wide, Diefenbaker rushes by his feet, squeezing himself through the small opening and bounding down the stairs and then barking at the passenger side door of the Goat as he waits to be let in. Fraser had tried to get him to stay at the Consulate with Turnbull, but he wasn’t having any of that. Even after Fraser had explained to him that he was only going to be left in the car when they got there, he still insisted. Not wanting to argue the matter, Fraser folded.

Letting Dief into the car, the wolf hops in, immediately shoving his nose in Ray’s ear and then giving his cheek a few licks before climbing his way into the back seat. Maybe it was a little weird, but Fraser thinks he might be excited for them, even if they’ve still got a ways to go yet. This was another step closer, though. A big one - one that made Fraser more nervous than he thinks he’s ever been in his life.

Shutting the door once inside, he casts a nervous smile at Ray and sets his hat on the dashboard. "Ready for this?"
"As ready as I'm ever gonna be," Ray answers with a soft laugh, reaching over to take Fraser's and briefly and he squeezes gently, just wanting to have that connection, even for a moment. He's compiled a list of name he likes in his head, just in case Laura asks him what his favourite names are and he's also come up with a bunch of things he'd like to do with a kid; camping and fishing and all kinds of sports, whatever they wanted. Boy or girl, he knows they're taking that little kid camping.

"You nervous?" he asks as he pulls the Goat back out into traffic. He thinks it's kind of a silly question, he knows Fraser has to be just as nervous as he is. If he's not, he's got way more control than Ray has.
"You'll be fine," Fraser assures him, smiling gently. They both would be. Even if they're both a little scared and on edge, they'd be okay, Fraser was sure of it. All they could do was be themselves, and when last he checked, they were both pretty good at that.

"More than a little nervous, yes. I think that's only normal, though." Not that he'd know. This wasn't something he's had much experience with in the past; it's all brand new territory. But if anyone did go through this and remained completely calm the entire time, then his hat was off to them because he couldn't do it.
"We'll both be fine," Ray decides, turning the corner to take a quicker router to the restaurant they're meeting at. He's not sure why they're meeting in a public place, but maybe it's better for the mother, maybe it's to make her more comfortable. Ray's never really looked into stuff like this, he isn't sure how it works.

"We're not gonna be late or anything either, right?" he asks, glancing at the clock. They have plenty of time, but he's still so nervous about all of this.
"No, not at all," Fraser says after checking the clock on the radio and then his own watch to compare. "We should make excellent time, actually."

It was still early in the afternoon, too, so they didn't have much traffic to battle against, thank goodness. Fraser hated being late for anything, but to not be on time for something like this...? It's too important.

If they had been running late, Fraser may have even encouraged speeding. But they aren't, so he doesn't have to worry.
"No harm in bein' a bit early, right? I mean, that's a good thing, we'll look punc... punctured." That's not the right word and at least Ray knows it, but he's too nervous to spend the time trying to find the right one. Then again, maybe he should be concentrating on finding the right words so that Laura doesn't worry she's giving her kid to someone stupid.

"On time," he adds lamely a moment later, feeling a weird flush creeping up the back of his neck. "Jesus, Fraser, what if she thinks I'm too dumb to give her baby to?"
Fraser says nothing at first, just frowns a bit, glancing over at Ray. He isn't about to bother correcting him, either. "Don't say that." He needs Ray to hold it together, to keep paranoia at bay and not second guess himself. If he started, it was just going to spread. If he didn't think he was good enough, why would Laura?

Fraser didn't just think it, he knew. Ray was more than good enough, and he was going to make a excellent father. He just needed someone to give him the chance. "You're plenty smart, Ray. Confusing a word or two doesn't make you dumb. I didn't marry an idiot."
For a long, silent moment, Ray just looks forward as he drives, his hands tight enough on the steering wheel to turn his knuckles white, but as he coasts to a stop at a red light, he looks over at Fraser. "Thanks," he murmurs quietly, because he's worried if he says much more than that right now, he's gonna end up a complete and total wreck.

It's not until he's pulling into the restaurant parking lot that he speaks again, clearing his throat. "You think the lawyer'll be nice. She seemed nice on the phone." He doesn't like most lawyers, but he's willing to give this one a chance.
"I'm sure she will be." He has no reason to think otherwise. Fraser wasn't the sort to assume the worse of people, and he can't bring himself to start now. He'll only make himself more nervous if he does.

They have to prove themselves to both Laura and her lawyer. If they impressed Laura but left her lawyer a bit skeptical, they could end up dead in the water. It was her job, after all, to help people throughout the process of making these decisions -- probably the most important decision anyone can ever make -- and if she doesn't like them, they may be back at square one again.

"She's an adoption lawyer, not a criminal lawyer." He and Ray had dealt with the latter somewhat frequently at work. They could be a bit... difficult, at times, but this was different. He hopes.
Ray nods as he turns off the car and takes the key from the ignition, holding it in his lap for a moment, still nodding slowly. He feels sort of dumb for a moment, like he isn't sure what to do, but then he turns and smiles at Fraser, reaching over to squeeze his hand. "Tell me we're gonna do real good," he requests quietly.

He's smiling, but he's nervous and he's scared and it has to be obvious. Fraser knows him better than anyone else and he has to be able to see just how terrified Ray is by all of this.
Fraser returns the smile warmly as Ray takes his hand, unable to ignore the small ache in his chest at his plea for assurance. "I'll go a step further and say that we're going to do great," he says in a tone that matches Ray's. "All you have to do is be you." It's what had won Fraser over, after all.

Shifting, he leans over in his seat, pressing his lips against Ray's and kissing him gently. With his thoughts all over the place and more nervous energy than he thinks he's ever dealt with, for that brief moment, he's centered, he's focused, even if he's still scared out of his mind. Dief may have grumbled in the backseat, but Fraser didn't pay him any mind.

"Come on," he whispers quietly. They couldn't convince anyone of anything if they were to stay in the car all afternoon.
Kissing Fraser back, Ray's grateful for the reassurance and he nods before he squeezes Fraser's hand once more and then unbuckles his seatbelt. "I thought of a bunch of names I like. If she asks, I mean. Or do you think she'll get to name the baby?" he asks as he gets out of the car, making sure to crack open all the windows so Diefenbaker won't get too hot while he waits.

"I didn't think about how that works," he admits, frowning a little. "I mean, it's her baby, she should get to name it, right?"

But what if they hate the name she picks? They're the ones who have to live with it, after all. Well, them and the baby.
Stepping out of the car, Fraser nods thoughtfully. Naming a baby seemed like something that was already a bit of an undertaking while operating under 'normal' circumstances, never mind when adoption was involved. "By law, she does hold the right to name him or her whatever she'd like, but there's no law against your suggestions. She might even prefer something you've chosen, rather than naming it herself." There was no way of knowing, really.

He keeps close to Ray's side as they head to the restaurant, trying to remember everything he had read about the process. Well, nearly everything. In the grand scheme of things, he knows it didn't matter, but the fact that only one of them would be allowed to sign the adoption papers due to their marriage not being recognized in Chicago was one of the details he hadn't really needed laid out in front of him. He knew that. And he knew who'd be signing.

"Technically speaking, though, once everything is finalized and custody has been shifted from the birth mother to the adoptive parents, all rights transfer as well. Including the right to change the name." Though Fraser doubts it will come to that. It seems a bit drastic and he's sure that, if they're chosen, they could come to some sort of agreement before the baby is born.
Before Ray can really say anything else, there's a petite brunette woman walking briskly toward them and she offers Ray her hand even before he realizes what's going on.

"Hi, you must be Ray," she says as she shakes his hand firmly and he likes her already, just based on her handshake. A moment later and she's turning to Fraser, offering him her hand as well. "And judging from the uniform, I'd say you were Benton," she adds, smiling. "I'm Meg Young, we've already spoken on the phone a few times already. Laura's really looking forward to meeting you both."

Hearing the lawyer say it is even more of a reassurance and Ray flashes a smile at Fraser.
Nodding in response to her deduction, Fraser smiles, accepting the hand extended out to him. "I am indeed. It's a pleasure to finally make your acquaintance," he says, polite as ever. And as nervous as he is, he does manage to hide the fact well enough. Just well enough to fool a perfect stranger, at least. Ray knows him inside-out and forward and back by now, though; if anyone could see past the facade and read into exactly what his body language was saying, it was Ray. He was the expert when it came to such things, after all.

"And I'm sure I speak for Ray and I both in saying that we've been looking forward to meeting her as well." He couldn't be more sure, actually. This was big, huge -- this was someone genuinely considering them as potential parents for their baby. And seeing Ray smile just brightens his up that much more.
"She's right over here," Meg tells them, ushering them toward Laura, who's pretty, with dark hair and blue eyes and still so young. Ray barely remembers being that age, but he does remember enough to know that he'd have been terrified if Stella had been pregnant.

"I have to tell you both, she's a little nervous," she adds and Ray laughs at that. He has to.

"We're both a little nervous, too," he admits and when Meg smiles at them both, it puts him a little more at ease. She seems genuinely interested in the baby and she seems to like them, which makes Ray feel better about the whole thing. As they approach the table, he gropes for Fraser's hand, squeezing it tightly.
Fraser could feel his heart thundering in his chest, he could practically hear it in his ears. He keeps hold tightly to Ray's hand once he's taken it, smiling at his confession. As they approach the table, his smile turns to Laura, and he's all of a sudden wondering if he should have changed before he left. The last thing he wanted was for this to come off as some sort of interrogation.

He knows it's completely silly to worry about something like that, but he just wants this to go well, for all of them, but her especially wants her to be comfortable during this.

"Laura," Meg begins, addressing the girl and gesturing to each of them respectively as she introduced them. "This is Ray Kowalski and Benton Fraser. Gentlemen, this is Laura."

"It's a pleasure to meet you Laura," he says, still smiling, shaking her hand gently before he lets go of Ray's, his hand moving to rest gently at the small of his back so he can introduce himself properly.
"Hi," Ray says, his voice a hell of a lot softer than it usually is, but he can't help it. He's really, really nervous and he can feel his palms sweating and his hands trembling, but he shakes Laura's hand anyway and he notices she's trembling just a little bit, too. She must be so scared, he figures, and he wishes, just for a moment, that he could take care of her, too.

"Hi," Laura echoes and then looks at the empty chairs. "You should sit down. I think we're all kinda..." She trails off and offers a lopsided grin that Ray finds really endearing, so he looks at Fraser and nods.

"Yeah, let's sit down before my legs give out and I fall on the table," he agrees, heading for one of the chairs.
Fraser quietly watches the exchange with a small, crooked smile. They both look so terrified, which isn't to say Fraser's not, but he's simply a bit better at holding himself together. He wishes he could make this whole thing easier for them, for all of them, but he can't, and he knows it. Of course, he also knows that something like this shouldn't be easy - they were asking this young woman for her child - but he wishes it anyway, even if it was impossible.

Once Ray is seated, Fraser takes up the seat beside him, giving his knee a gentle, reassuring squeeze from beneath the table. "Thank you, for agreeing to meet with us," he says. Much as he hates it, Fraser is aware that there might have been others who reviewed their file, others who passed them up because something or other in their information packet didn't sit quite well with them. And that was completely their prerogative, too. It could have been something as simple as their age, their careers, but it also could have been the fact that they weren't exactly the most... conventional, as far as couples went. But Laura had at least been willing to hear them out. "We've been really looking forward to finally meeting you."

Laura smiles, and it's still very nervous around the edges. "Me, too. Scared, a litt-- a lot, but I've wanted to meet the two of you, in person."
"Us, too," Ray tells her, smiling nervously over the table at her, his hand falling to Fraser's hand on his knee, grateful for the weight of it there. "Both things, I mean. Scared a lot, but we wanted to make you in person, too."

Meg is watching them and although he doesn't think she's looking down at them, he knows that it's her job to look out for Laura and make sure that they're not creeps. It's her job to judge them, he figures, and then do all the paperwork, too.

"Is there anything you wanna ask us? Any, um... questions? About where we live or our jobs or anything like that?" he asks.
"Oh, God, tons," Laura answers, shifting and tucking her hair behind her ears. "I'll probably forget most of them, but that's what Meg is for." She smiles at the other woman before turning back to the pair across the table.

"And we're here to answer them, whatever they may be, so by all means ask away," Fraser insists, happy to have Ray's hand in place over his. It's a simple gesture, but it's a comfort nonetheless.

"Okay. Um, I know you worked together first, but how long have the two of you been together, exactly? And did both of you want kids before then?"
"Oh, man," Ray says, blinking at the first question, because he doesn't remember just how long it's been anymore. "I think it's been two years now. And we've been married for a year just about. I guess... this sounds weird, I know, but it feels like longer 'cause we worked together for almost four years before we got together and I... was kinda in love with him the whole time."

It sounds just as silly now as it does in his head, but Ray doesn't mind admitting that. He figures that no one here is gonna think he's all that ridiculous.

"I wanted kids all my life. I was married before and we talked about having kids, but she never really wanted to have a family," he admits.
"Doesn't sound weird at all," Laura says, and Fraser's busy looking over at Ray as he spoke, and even if there's nothing said that he hasn't heard before, he smiles, probably looks like some love struck puppy, too, but there's no way to prevent that. The smile does take on a mildly sympathetic edge once Ray answers the second question, though. Even if that too isn't something he's never heard before. Then he figures he should probably answer the question for himself.

"I... never gave it much thought." Not unless his father was pressuring him to, meddling, as he tends to do. "Not before Ray. It wasn't until him that I've felt I was in the type of relationship with the sort of stability and security necessary for children to even become an option. Not only does it feel like an option now, but it's something I really and truly want. I do want to raise a family, and I want it to be with him."

The young girl seated opposite them nods slowly, seeming satisfied with their answers. “Wow. Alright. Um, okay, what about where the two of you live? Is it a good neighborhood? Do you have any pets? The space for a new addition?”
For a moment Ray doesn't answer, he's too busy staring at Fraser with something akin to awe on his face. He hasn't heard that before and it hits him deeply, makes him feel like a good person like no one else has ever managed to do anymore.

That's something. That's something.

"Uh," he says a second later, then blinks at Laura and grins apologetically. "We got an apartment right now with a dog and some turtles, but we been thinking about maybe getting a house. The apartment's pretty good for a brand new baby, but once he or she gets bigger it'd be nice to have more space."

Laura nods at that, seeming satisfied by the answer and she looks over at Meg, trying to remember what's next.

"What are your families like?" Meg asks, prompting Laura gently and the girl looks back at them with a smile.
At the question, Fraser begins to pluck absently at the folds of fabric of Ray’s pants, just at the bend of his knee. He isn’t sure why it makes him so nervous, it wasn’t like his father would just appear out of nowhere if mentioned. He hoped.

“Well, neither of my parents is currently living, unfortunately, but I do have a sister. She’s a member of the RCMP as well, though she's stationed up north. She’s been very supportive of Ray and I since we told her that we were together. And she also completely behind our decision to adopt.”

Maggie had also agreed not to tell their father, should he pop in for a visit, which he appreciated. Fraser hated keeping this from him, but he knew it was necessary. He also hated having to force Maggie to keep it from him, too, but he had to tell her. She was the only real family he had to share this kind of news with, even if she was miles away.

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