Disclaimer: Completely and utterly the property of Alliance.
Summary: Long live Ray Vecchio.
Warnings: Takes place during Call of the Wild. We all know what does (and doesn't) happen in Call of the Wild, right?
Gratitude: To anne, for the beta-reading.
Ray Vecchio was not thinking about his doppelganger when he stepped in front of Muldoon's gun. His thoughts, those phrases that managed to form in the brief instant between realizing where Muldoon was aiming and hitting the floor with a bullet in his chest, were along the lines of Benny-oh-my-god-no and Jeez-the-things-I-do-for-that-stupid-Mountie.
Then there was a certain interval during which he thought mostly about the floor, which was hard, and his chest, which was starting to hurt rather a lot.
About the time that he noticed that the floor, while still hard, was getting slippery with blood, someone turned him over and began doing something to his chest, which still hurt. He hoped it was emergency medical aid, of which he probably needed a great deal, and he tried to open his eyes to see who was doing it. He couldn't seem to focus on anything, though, and just the effort was exhausting him; he subsided quickly and decided to concentrate instead on the suddenly impossible task of breathing. Whoever was above him seemed to be swearing at him in a choked-up, vicious Southside Chicago accent, which meant that it wasn't Fraser, and it was that which started him thinking about Ray Vecchio.
Not, of course, that it would be the Ray-Vecchio-who-wasn't kneeling over him now crying and trying to hold his blood inside of his chest. That Ray Vecchio was exactly like Fraser, scarily like Fraser: bulldogs, both of them, when they got their teeth sunk into a case. They probably had Muldoon by now. Ray was rather selfishly glad of that, that it was the two of them on the trail of the guy who'd just shot him, especially since it was getting horribly cold and dark on the floor here and that meant that Muldoon had not only shot him but apparently killed him as well.
Anyway, if it were Ray Vecchio he ought to swearing in Italian. Ray always tried to swear in Italian when he was upset; it didn't come naturally but it did wonders for his image. If this other guy wanted to be Ray Vecchio, he was going to have to remember things like that. This other guy -- Stanley Kowalski, divorced now from his Stella, they said, and allowed to roam free to keep the streets of Chicago safe for small children and undercover Italian-American cops -- could those be his hands on Ray's chest? Ray decided to pretend that they were. He was floating now, barely able to feel the floor underneath him, but he latched on to the profane litany above him:
"Damn you, not after all this you don't, you bastard!
"Don't you fucking die on me, Vecchio.
"You hear me? Don't you god-damned up and die after everything I've done.
"Keep fucking breathing, come on, asshole, come on...."
Actually, all things considered, that was close enough to be a pretty good Ray Vecchio. It could be that he'd been lying here bleeding on the floor for a while, so maybe they had taken care of Muldoon already. Maybe Vecchio had come back for him, to fall down beside him on this blood-slicked floor and press both hands to the bullet hole in his chest and rage because he was dying.
He wasn't thinking about Fraser at all anymore. He spent the last of his thoughts on the floor (still hard), his chest (not hurting anymore), and Raymond Vecchio (the only one left now, who was just going to have to be good enough).
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