Title: Seven Deadly Sins (Night One)
Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Pairing: Vecchio/male
Category: drama/series/AU
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I
do not make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans
of the show.
Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoiler: none (This takes place before the pilot.)

Night One (25th of October)
Ira (Anger)

"Wow, Ray, that's the first time I can recognise the colour of your
desk. What's got in you?" Elaine had silently made her way over to the
Italian detective who stood in front of his desk, a wide smile of
contentment on his face.

"Elaine, give me a warning next time, willya? Just right now the
prospect of dying of a heart-attack is not very promising. You are
talking to a man who has come to a turning point in his live. This is
not the old Ray Vecchio."

"I can see that, Ray." Elaine's voice dropped considerably as she tried
to ban the amusement that she'd felt only a moment ago from her voice.
Despite his choice of words Ray had sounded serious, very serious. This
was a rare thing. Ray Vecchio, for once not trying to keep her at a
distance with a smart remark, but letting glimpse at his real self.
Elaine decided not to let that opportunity slip apart. "Could the new
Ray Vecchio explain what's the occasion? You never bothered to tidy up
your desk before." Normally Elaine would have done this a bit slower but
she feared Ray would shell himself again before she could riddle the
puzzle he confronted her with.

A radiant smile lit up Ray's face like a boy on Christmas morning who'd
just unwrapped the present he'd most desired. "I never saw the need for
it. Never imagined that it could be... important... or of significance,
you might say. All this... my desk... the paper work... the filing..."
With that he pointed over to the cabinet and Elaine followed his
gesture. Yes, he'd also had a hand at that. He continued, "I always
thought of it as something keeping me from the real work. Ya know,
something to pester me. Something for Welsh to get at me. Boring.
Annoying. Pain in the ass."

Elaine nodded, grinning at the detective who waved his arms while he
tried to drive his point home. Once again she wondered if he would go
mute if they tied his arms. "I got the picture, Ray. What changed your

Ray's smile turned into a grin that nearly split his face. "Not what,
Elaine. Who! I had a... discussion with a friend about this. In the end
I had to admit that a well-organised workplace lets you see things that
are right in front your nose and that a sophisticated filing system even
helps to see connections between different cases."

"I see, Ray. Discussion with a friend. Interesting. What makes me think
it was more an argument than a discussion?" Elaine studied the slender
man before her. Ray had put his hands in his pockets by now and started
playing with his keys. He refused to answer her and just kept grinning.
"And what about your former credo that a good detective never relies on
the benefits of paper work?"

"I dumped it." Ray's bluntness finally managed to make her laugh out
loud. "Hey, Elaine. It's me. I'm an intelligent person. And if this
makes me a better cop I go for it. Anything wrong with that?" He stopped
playing with the keys of his car and looked at Elaine expectantly.

Elaine hesitated for a moment. This new Ray was quite disarming. Oh, the
old Ray had had his charming ways. But still... this was different.
There was something new about him. Something in this amazing green eyes.
At the next moment Elaine suppressed the urge to slap her own forehead.
Ignoring Ray's question she asked in a low voice, "Ray, are you in
love?" She didn't want the whole squadroom to know. At least the old Ray
wouldn't have had that. And she couldn't be sure about the new one.

"Strike!" He nearly yelled it. Several heads in their direction, just in
time to see Ray Vecchio drawing a dumbfounded Civilian Aid in an tight
embrace. "What are you staring at?" Ray shouted at them over Elaine's
right shoulder. Although he frowned his voice didn't show the tiniest
trace of anger, Elaine noted. "Never saw a beautiful girl in the arms of
a gorgeous guy? Well, enjoy the show!" With that he released Elaine from
his arms. He bent slightly forward placing a tender kiss on her mouth.
"Okay, get on with your work. That's all you gonna see for now."

Elaine needed some time to recover from Ray's revelation, the embrace
and the kiss. She stared at the detective's back since Ray had turned
and was putting on his long, dark coat. After taking in some deep
breaths she tapped on Ray's shoulder. "Do I know her?" Ray swirled
around and took her right hand into his. He brought the back of her hand
to his lips and brushed it lightly.

"No, Elaine. But I appreciate your interest..." He gave her another full
smile and she couldn't help but return it. Ray's mood was quite
infectious. He let go of her hand. "Maybe one day... but it's too early
now. Not even my family knows yet."

Elaine couldn't believe her ears. "They don't know? And you're telling

The detective took his car keys from his pocket, then he switched of the
desk light. A shadow fell on the right side of his face. "You asked. And
I am grateful you did. I was about to burst with it. Thank you, Elaine."

Without thinking she replied. "You are welcome, Ray. And I hope this
will work out for you. For both of you." That got her a third kiss. This
time on her forehead. For a second she wondered if she should tell him
to stop it. This was getting a bit embarrassing. Though... it felt...

"Thank you again, Elaine. Did I ever tell you that you are a wonderful
woman?" With that he left her standing at her desk and made his way to
Welsh's office door. Elaine felt the blood rising to her face and
involuntarily cast her eyes down. Now this was embarrassing. She felt
the looks of her colleagues but she was unable to face them. The shrill
ringing of the phone on Ray's desk made her jump. She looked over to
Welsh's office and just saw Ray disappear into it. With two steps she
was at the desk and answered the call.

"Elaine? Where's Vecchio?" The man at the other end was nearly shouting.
"Jack, no need to yell. I can perfectly hear you. Vecchio's in Welsh's
office. He's about to leave."

"Get me through to the Lieu's ASAP." Despite her reprimand the detective
still shouted. She sighed and made the connection. The phone in her
superior's office rang once.

"Welsh." Elaine refused to be taken aback by the harsh sound of the
Lieutenant's voice.

"Sir, here's a call for Vecchio. On two. It's Huey." She waited for
Welsh taking the call, then put down the receiver.


Ray picked up the receiver Welsh handed him over the desk. "Vecchio."

"Ray, you better move your ass over here. We are at a restaurant, "Il
sole e la luna". There has been a shooting. One guy dead, two severely
injured. The dead guy has no ID with him. But Gardino found your card in
his pocket."

"Hold your horses, Huey, I'm on my way. And stop yelling. What's all
this about, anyway? I mean the guy can't escape even you two anymore."
Ray almost chuckled. Even the prospect of a crime scene couldn't break
his high spirits. He raised his shoulders in response to the puzzled
expression on his superior's face.

Huey sighed audibly. "I'd preferred to tell you this in person... One of
the injured guys is... well, let me put it mildly... an old acquaintance
of yours. It's Zuko. He was shot by the dead guy before one of his goons
could take him out. Maybe it's a mob thing."

Ray felt a knot twist in his stomach. He hadn't seen Frank Zuko in
years. Well, that wasn't correct, he saw him on a regular basis in
church. And on any social event in his own neighbourhood. They always
kept a considerable distance between them. For the good of both of them.
Luckily, the Zuko empire was out of his jurisdiction so there never had
been a confrontation on a... professional basis. It seemed that finally
fate had decided to ignore the boundaries of jurisdiction. The
restaurant the shooting had taken place was only a quarter of a mile
from the 27th precinct. "I'll inform Welsh." He killed the connection by
placing the handle back on the phone.

For several moments he chose to ignore the gaze of his superior officer.
Ray's buoyancy was gone now and he pondered over what he had just heard.
Frank Zuko had been shot and the assassin was dead by now. Why didn't he
just ignore the whole thing and wait till both sides had decimated
themselves? Sighing Ray looked up. "Well?" Welsh brought him back to the
matters at hand with that one short word.

"There has been an incident in an Italian restaurant. Probably a mob
thing. Frank Zuko has been shot and the attacker is dead now." It was so
easy to get this out. Much too easy. He should feel more concern for
this case.

Welsh's face flushed a little. "And how do you come into this, Vecchio?"

Ray eyed his superior officer warily. "The dead guy had my card, Sir."

The other man let out a weary sigh and shook his head. "I fear there is
no way to keep you out of this case, Vecchio. I just can order you to do
this professional. Keep your personal feelings for Zuko out of this,
Detective. If you screw this up I will have your ass. Understood?"

"That's an all clear on my side, Lieu. I want Zuko convicted as much as
you do." Ray folded his arms behind his back, meeting the stare of Welsh
without even blinking once.

"Don't you forget, Vecchio. As far as we know Zuko is the victim here.
And now get going." Welsh gave Ray a final nod, then he returned to the
files he had been working on.

"Yes, Sir." A second later he stood outside Welsh's office. Elaine came
over to him.

"You okay, Ray?" Concern was clearly detectable in her voice. Ray gave
her a what he hoped to be a reassuring smile.

"Just another case Huey and Gardino can't handle on their own. What else
is new? I'll join them and wrap that little baby up in no time." Ray
could see that Elaine wasn't convinced, but he couldn't change that.
There was no time. "I'll be in later, if..." He hesitated for a second.
"If there are any calls..." Ray broke off.

"Ray, get going. I am perfectly capable of taking messages for you."

The Italian nodded and smiled at her again. "Good girl. Thank you,
Elaine." He could barely hide his nervousness. Then he turned his back
on her, fumbling for his cell phone in his coat. While he made his way
out of the precinct he already tipped in a number. When the connection
was made he raised the phone to his ear.

When Ray came to his car, a green 1971 Buick Riviera in mint condition,
there still hadn't been an answer. Ray wasn't surprised. It was still
early. No wonder Mark wasn't home yet. They had an appointment at eight.
Ray wished Mark wasn't so peculiar about cell phones. He just refused to
get one, in total ignorance of its advantages. Maybe he should try once
more to convince him. He brought the engine to life and pulled out of
the curb. He concentrated on the matter that lay before him. This would
probably keep him busy the whole night. Mark would kill him.

Ray smiled. He had met Mark in a bar when he was watching a basketball
match. Mark's enthusiasm during the game had first drawn his attention
and then fascinated him. He shouted and cheered and booed all the time,
to the amusement of the other guests and to the anger of the owner of
the bar. When one of the referees made what he thought to be a decisive
mistake he threw a handful of peanuts at the screen. The owner gave him
a final warning and Mark flashed the angry man a toothy grin before he
took his drink and settled down at a table in the far corner of the
room. It seemed that his interest for the game had totally vanished. Ray
had surprised himself by joining the man. He had congratulated him on
the performance and it took only the quarter of an hour until he felt
he'd known Mark all of his life. They were dating now for three weeks
and had seen each other about half a dozen times. They had become
intimate after the third date and Ray knew he had fallen hard, very hard
for the man. He still didn't know much about him, but being with Mark
was so right that he didn't have many questions.

It took Ray only five minutes to reach "Il sole e la luna". He had been
there before. It wasn't one of his favourite places to dine but it was
in a convenient distance to the precinct and the food was okay. And
Angelo, the owner, was a nice enough guy. It was not his fault that his
pasta couldn't compete with that of Ray's mother.

Ray stopped in front of the building the restaurant was located in. He
got out and passed two patrol cars and Huey's and Gardino's car. Two
ambulances and the coroner's vehicle stood as near to the entrance as
possible. When he was nearing the place he pulled out his badge and
flashed it before the uniformed officers who were busy to get rid of the
crowd of onlookers that had already gathered. The officers only nodded
and waved him through.

The premise was a total chaos. It took Ray some time before he could
make out the details. Upturned tables and chairs, glass and broken
dishes littered the floor. Carefully he made his way to the middle of
the room where Huey and Gardino were talking to Angelo. The Italian had
difficulties to keep himself under control. He looked relieved when Ray
joined them.

"Ah, Detective Vecchio. Please could you tell your colleagues that I am
an honourable man. This..." he looked around himself in near panic, "I
can't believe what happened here. Oh, madonna mia, this is going to ruin
me. No one will come to a place where they have to fear to get shot by

"Angelo, I am certain Detectives Huey and Gardino are fully capable of
handling this. And no one will suspect you're part of this crime. Just
tell them what happened. You help us and we can help you. And don't you
worry about business. As far as I can tell this will only attract more
people to your place."

The sparkle in the short man's dark eyes told Ray he had succeeded in
calming him down. At least for the moment. He pulled Huey to the side.
"Now, Huey, fill me in."

"Well, there's nothing much to relate here. Zuko and two of his goons
had just sat down at a table at the rear end of the restaurant. It
cannot be seen from outside. Angelo was taking their orders when the
back door opened and the attacker ran in, his weapon already in his
hand. He fired the gun three times at Zuko. He hit him and the man
sitting at his right hand side before Zuko's other man shot him. He was
dead on the spot. Hit him in the head with one shot." Huey nodded to his
right side. "Zuko and his men are over there, the medics are still with
them. I think their injuries aren't as bad as they first looked. Much
blood, but no vital organs are affected."

Ray gave Huey a clap on his back and went over to Frank Zuko's group.
The medics just finished bandaging the two injured men. The third man
stood as he got sight of Ray and came over to greet him. "Ray. It's good
to see you again. But what are you doing here?"

Ray ignored the outstretched hand. "This is my district, remember,
Charlie? You got yourself killed around here, I will have the honour to
deal with the mess. How's Frankie?" He and Frank Zuko had been friends
when they still were boys. That was about twenty years ago. Now they
were clearly fighting on different sides.

"He will be fine. The fellow was absolutely no hitman."

"I think that's why he's dead now, Charlie. Was it necessary to kill
him?" Ray looked at the older man. He didn't expect an answer. And he
didn't get one. Charlie had been Frank Zuko's right hand man from the
beginning. He had already worked for Frankie's father. When Frankie had
inherited the Zuko Empire, Charlie had been part of the inventory. A
valuable asset. Ray left him standing and seated himself next to Frank

"Ray, what a pleasant surprise. I should have known you'd turn up. Don't
worry about me, I'll be as good as new in no time." The Italian beamed
at the cop. His face was pale, but his eyes vivid. Ray couldn't hinder
to admire the man's spirit. Or maybe this was some weird kind of shock.

"He must have hit you worse then you think, Frankie. What makes you
think that I could worry about you?" Ray had no difficulties to give his
voice an icy tone. Although there had never been an evidence, he knew
that under the jovial and well-mannered surface Frank Zuko was one of
the most reckless and cruel mob bosses of the whole of Illinois.

"Ray, Ray, Ray. Maybe I should point out to you that I was nearly shot
by a lunatic. Face it, I am the victim here."

"Don't get any funny ideas, Frankie. And don't try to play any games
with me. You know and I know that you're no more a victim than that dead
guy over there. I will play this by the book, but if you think that'll
keep me off your ass, you made your final mistake." Nothing had changed.
Ray still had the involuntary need to challenge the mob boss; like it
had been when they had been kids. "You know your attacker?"

"No, never saw him before. This must be a coincidence. I didn't even
plan to dine here. It was just a decision of the moment. We were driving
through this street and I liked the name of this place. I was just
curious about the food." Frankie gave him a level stare.

Ray didn't buy his show for a second, but decided to deal with the
business Zuko had had on his agenda later on. He called over to Charlie,
"And what about you? You know the guy?"

"No, Ray, I saw him for the first time in my life. And for the last time
in his life."

"Yeah. Sure. Whatever." Ray was furious and felt helpless. With an
effort he reminded himself that Zuko and his goons actually were the
victims in this case and that he could do nothing about it. Not yet,
that was. He had orders to follow. He turned to the medics. "Will these
men be fit to come to the precinct tomorrow morning?"

One of them nodded confirmation. "Nothing to worry about. They have to
check with their doctors, but they will be okay now. We gave them
painkillers and that should bring them through the night. As I
understand this man," he nodded in Charlie's direction, "can drive them

"Thanks, guys." Ray turned to Frank Zuko again. "I'll see you first
thing in the morning. We'll need your testimonies for the record. You
know the drill."

"How should I know, Detective? I am an honourable citizen of this town
and my dealings with law enforcement are well assorted. Just last
Saturday I had lunch with the DA at my place." Frank Zuko's smile didn't
reach his eyes. Ray knew when to hold himself back. He didn't always act
upon this knowledge, but he did this time. He wouldn't risk to screw
this case up just for the benefit of a smart remark that would infuriate
Frank Zuko.

"I'm sure it was a pleasant occasion. See ya in the morning, Frankie."
With that he stood and went over to the back door where a corpse lay
sprawled on the floor. The Coroner who knelt beside the body looked up
and raised himself, thereby blocking Ray's view. "Detective Vecchio.
Zuko's bodyguard did a really good job. One shot and he was dead on the
spot. You'll have my report first thing in the morning."

Ray nodded slowly. "Looks like a suicide to me, Doc. Or the deed of a
lunatic. He only scratched Zuko and his man. Definitely not a hitman.
Let me have a look at him."

The Coroner knelt down again and pulled the blanket back to uncover the
dead man's face. Ray took a step closer and bent forward. His stare was
attracted by the hole in the man's forehead and he shook his head
slightly to break his look free. As he saw the dead man's eyes he
stomach turned. Sweat broke out on his face and he gasped for breath
frantically. His legs went weak and he nearly sagged to the floor. Just
in time the Coroner jumped up to grab him at his arms and steadied him.

"Whoa, Detective, surely this is not your first corpse. You okay?" With
the Coroner's help Ray stumbled over to one of the upturned chairs. The
Coroner put the chair on its legs with one hand, the other hand holding
a firm grip on Ray's arm, and then he pushed Ray down on it. The
detective trembled and shivered. He hugged himself firmly and stared
over at the still body.

Suddenly Gardino blocked his view. "Vecchio, you seen a ghost?" the
detective asked him with a clear trace of amusement in his voice. Ray
just looked up at his colleague, shaking his head. He saw Gardino's
expression change in the fraction of a second. "Oh, Jesus, he had your
card. You know this guy, don't ya?"

"Mark. It's Mark." And Ray's mind kept repeating it. It's Mark... it's
Mark... Next thing Ray knew was that Gardino shook him by his shoulders.
"Hey, Ray, snap out of it. Who's the guy?"

"My lover," and Ray broke of again. He couldn't any longer repress the
urge to retch and jumped out of the chair. He didn't even make it half
way to the toilets. He clutched to the back of chair, bent over it and
threw up. After a couple of moments he straightened carefully, wiping
his face with the sleeve of his coat. Then he felt Gardino's arms around
himself and was led over to another chair. He still couldn't stop

Gardino knelt in front of him and searched for his eyes. Ray couldn't
avoid his colleague's stare any longer. Then someone grabbed his hand
and placed a glass in his hand. Ray turned his head. It was Huey who
nodded at him. "Drink that, Vecchio." He eyed the colourless liquid
suspiciously. "For God's sake, man, that's only water." He took a slow
slip, then some more until the bitter taste in his mouth finally

Gardino tried again. "Vecchio, let me get this straight. The dead man
over there is... was... your lover?" Ray chuckled humourlessly at the
incredulous tone of Gardino's voice. No one knew. Not his family, not
his colleagues. There never had been the need nor the opportunity to
tell them. He never imagined to have a coming out like that. Then he
remembered Mark's eyes again. His dead eyes. Still he had the impression
they focused on him. He shuddered. Out of the corner of his eye he saw
Huey walk away, only to return a few moments with one of the medics. A
blanket was placed around his shoulders. It felt like a burden.

He swallowed hard and his first words came out shaky. "Right. Met him
three weeks ago. In a bar. His name's Mark Simpson. I teased him about
his surname. Told him it was quite fitting with that yellow hair of

"I'm sorry, Ray, but could you explain us what possible reason he had
for this? Any connection with Zuko?" Gardino was interrupted by the

"I think the detective is in no state to answer any..." Ray lost track
of the starting discussion. Zuko. This was all Frankie's fault. Had to
be. There was no way that he was an innocent victim while Mark was a
lunatic killer. 'There must be. And I'll find it out.' He shrugged of
the blanket and jumped from the chair, thereby pushing over Gardino. He
ignored the cries of his colleagues and the medic and made his way over
to Frank Zuko and his men. They stared at him, stunned, having witnessed
the events of the last minutes.

Zuko made a step into Ray's direction. Ray welcomed him by hitting him
in his face with his right fist, sending the other man down on the
floor. Then he hauled him up again, grabbing at the lapels of his
jacket. "You pay for this, Frankie. You killed him and now I kill you."
He hit Zuko again full force but he didn't get another chance. Gardino
and Huey pulled him back and pinned him on a chair. He struggled
violently, but in vain. All he could do was yelling and that he did.
"You killed him. I make you pay, Zuko. You'll have to watch your back
for the rest of your life. You hear me, Zuko. You'll die for this."

Gardino turned to Zuko. "Get out of here, Zuko. Now!" Ray fought
helplessly against his two colleagues and watched Zuko leaving. He let
out a final scream before he finally sagged in the chair. Exhausted he
closed his eyes. His mind felt like it was on fire. Burning with rage
and anger.

End of Night One

Title: Seven Deadly Sins (Night Two)
Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Category: drama/series/AU
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I
do not make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans
of the show.
Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoiler: none (This takes place before the pilot.)

Night Two (26th of October)
Invidia (Envy)

Dead eyes. Again. Just like yesterday. They even had the same colour. No
wonder. After all she was Mark's sister. For a long moment Ray had the
impression of a deja vu. That impression vanished as he inspected the
dead body before him for the second time.

The young woman who lay dead in her small apartment had been the victim
of a brutal killer. All visible evidence indicated that she had been
raped and then stabbed to death. Ray looked at her wounds, her torn and
blood-stained clothes, her dishevelled hair... He stretched out his
right hand to straighten the long blond strands that hung into her face,
but than he stopped himself. The nightmares would be bad enough without
touching her. Instead he stood, walked over to the next wall and slammed
his flat hand on it. "If he'd only told me... Maybe I could have
prevented..." He broke off.

"Ray," Huey tapped him on his shoulder and he turned to face his
colleague, leaning with his back against the wall. "You have no idea
what happened here. I mean, we don't even know if those two crimes are
connected. Maybe it's just a..."

"A coincidence? No chance in hell, Huey." Ray knew that Huey was only
trying to keep him in check, but still he couldn't hold back his retort.

"Still, we have no idea about the kind of connection we have here. The
blood is dried and her body is ice cold. She must be dead for several
hours. We have to wait for the Coroner's report before we draw any

The impatient tone told Ray that his colleague's nerves started to wear
off and wondered why the other man still bothered talking to him. But
then he could also wonder why he was still on this case. After his
behaviour at the restaurant Welsh had had enough reason to confine him
to his desk for several lives to come. Ray had snapped out of his frenzy
just in time before Huey and Gardino had started to handcuff him and
brought him back to the precinct as a present for their superior
officer. Nonetheless they'd given Welsh a detailed report. The stare Ray
had got from the Lieutenant had told him that he was out of the game.

Not so. Welsh had sent out Huey and Gardino and hadn't even lectured him
on his behaviour. He'd just offered Ray two alternatives. "You have the
pick, Detective. One: You get your ass out of my office and join Huey
and Gardino in the investigation, showing me, the rest of the world and
above all yourself that you are a good cop who can handle his personal
involvement in a case professionally. Two: If you decide to make up your
own rules, you still get your ass out of my office and out of this
precinct until further notice - without your weapon and your badge that
is. Your choice, Detective."

Of course both of them knew that there was a third alternative. And Ray
had every intention to take it.

They had found a key in Mark's apartment, belonging to a safe deposit
box. The box had contained papers that revealed Mark's true identity,
several savings books, shares and bonds. Ray had learned that he had
been wrong when he thought he knew very little of his lover. He knew
absolutely nothing about Markus O'Reilly who called himself Mark

Mark - or Markus - was a rich man. The value of his possessions was
about a quarter of a million in total. Lonegan, expert for white-collar
crimes at the 27th, still worked himself through the notebooks that had
also been in the deposit box and which contained information about
Mark's financial transactions. One thing was certain. There was no way
that Mark had earned all his money at the place he had been working.

That was the only fact that turned out to be true about him. Just like
he had told Ray he had been a teacher in a small community in the
outskirts of Chicago. There he had taught the children of some families
who lead an alternative life and refused to send their children to a
public school. They had paid him well, but not well enough to enable him
to gather this fortune.

While Ray had found the deposit box Huey and Gardino had interrogated
Zuko and his men. Ray hadn't been surprised to learn that their
testimonies didn't offer any new information. After he had left Lonegan
to deal with Mark's financial affairs he'd settled down to study the
Coroner's report. The cause of death being obvious there wasn't any
surprises in it. Mark had been in perfect health. No traces of drugs
whatsoever. Ray had silently cursed. That would have been a possibility.
Although he couldn't imagine Mark being a junkie. But then again he
couldn't imagine him being a killer either.

Then Elaine had turned up with the address of Mark's parents. Ray had
stared at the piece of paper until Huey had snatched it from him. "I'll
do that. You check out his workplace and Gardino can question his

Ray still marvelled how relieved he had been that Huey had taken that
decision from him. Mark had never spoken of his family, despite Ray's
weak attempts to find out something personal about his lover. He had
suspected that they weren't happy about Mark being gay. Or maybe they
didn't even know it...

He had been on his way back to the precinct from the community. The only
unusual fact about the last day had been that Mark had left earlier. He
had asked for it two days earlier without giving any explanation. But
since he hadn't talked about his private life at all with his employers,
they hadn't been surprised. They'd described Mark as nice, competent and
keeping to himself. Nothing in his behaviour had indicated the tragedy
that took place only hours after he'd left work.

While Ray had been pondering about possible explanations for his lover's
actions Huey called and informed him that he was on his way to Mark's
sister who also lived in Chicago. The parents had tried to contact her
but she hadn't answered the phone. Ray had felt uneasy about this new
information. He'd asked Huey for the address and told him to meet him at
the apartment.

That had been about twenty minutes ago. He and Huey had nearly arrived
at the same time. When no one had answered their call they'd broken the
door with combined forces, guns in their hands. It had been a horrible
sight. It still was.

Ray looked at the body that had once been Mark's younger sister,
Catriona. "Tell me everything you know about her." He looked at his
colleague, trying to ignore the helplessness he felt.

Huey shrugged. "As much I can gather it from what her parents told me,
she was the only one who had accepted her brother's sexual orientation.
Their father chooses to ignore the fact that his son was gay and the
mother just seems to be too dominated by him to say otherwise. Catriona
decided two months ago to leave for Chicago as well. The first two weeks
she stayed with her brother before she found an apartment of her own.
From what the O'Reillys told me I got the impression that the two
siblings were really close."

Ray wasn't exactly addressing the other detective when he said, "He
didn't even mention her to me. There were no pictures or letters...
Nothing. Nothing personal at all."

"So?" Huey asked carefully, as if he feared to break Ray's line of

"I mean it's like he was a man without a past, without roots. On the
other hand, he was so alive when we were..." Ray broke off as he
realised that he had spoken aloud. 'Yes, everything was all right when
we were together. Mark lived for the moment, not caring where he came
from or where he was going.'

As the forensics team and the Coroner showed up, he made his way out of
the apartment. "I'm on my way, Huey. I just check with the precinct and
then I'll go home." He didn't even wait for Huey to answer. He nearly
ran down the stairs of the apartment building, got into the Riv and sped

Ray needed only a few minutes when he reported to Welsh. The Lieutenant
didn't comment on his lack of discipline. Still, Ray was aware of the
fact that he didn't approve. But he couldn't care less. Huey could deal
with the formalities. He clearly had no mind for this.

During the drive to his neighbourhood he thought about the possible
connections between the two crimes. Catriona O'Reilly had been murdered
and probably raped. The deed of a lunatic? Ray started at his own
thought. That was exactly the expression Frankie had used for Mark.

Could it be possible? That Mark had also murdered his own sister? Even
raped her? No, that didn't make sense. If he had run amuck after he
killed Catriona he would have ran into the next public place and started
shooting without thinking. No way that he would drive a few miles, pick
out the "Il sole e la luna", enter from the back and shoot at Frank Zuko
who had been present by sheer coincidence.

Ridiculous thought. Ray was still convinced that Mark had wanted to kill
Frank Zuko. But where was the motive? There could only be one
explanation. If Catriona was dead long enough for Mark to have found
her, dead or dying...

Ray brought the Riviera to an abrupt stop, nearly causing a collision
with the car behind him. Mark must have had reason to believe that Zuko
was responsible for his sister's death. That was the motive he had
looked for. Ray knew he had no evidence and he was certain that it would
be hard to come by. But it was enough for him to try an attack on his
own. He was tired to wait for others to act, leaving him only with the
option to react. Although he only had a fraction of the puzzle's pieces
he was determined to give it a try. Maybe he could get a reaction from
Zuko. Shake his confidence...

Ray was aware of the risks. He could lose his job. He easily ignored
that fact. It was worth it. For a second he wondered about the
possibility that he could screw up the case this way. No. Frankie wasn't
so stupid. There won't be any evidence that the Zuko Empire was be
related to a murder case.

Still, it was a blind shot. Ray had absolutely no idea of Frankie's
motives - if he was in this at all. Ray sighed. It was such a long time
since the two of them had been friends. He shook his head. He just had
to do something. All this hesitation didn't help a bit.

Ray started his car again and drove over the Zuko residence. He stopped
in front of the impressive building, killing the engine. He remembered
it well. Too well. The ghosts of his past were still with him. Playing
tricks with his mind. Again he could hear Frankie's gentle voice, trying
to humour him enough to follow Frankie's lead. "Come on, Ray, it won't
kill you. We'll be in and out of it in no time. It'll be fun. Just wait
and see." He remembered clearly the boy's face back then, smiling and
eyes sparkling. Ray had lost count how often he had let himself be
persuaded to take part in one of Frankie's adventures. And it hadn't
been always fun for them.

Ray banned his memories to a remote part of his mind and looked over to
the house again. It was near dark now and nearly all the windows were
lit. It seemed to be such a warm glow... The door opened and a man came
out. He made his way over to Ray, leaving the door open. He came up at
the driver's door. It was Charlie. Ray wasn't surprised and opened his

"Mr. Zuko wants you to join the family, Ray. They are just about to
begin with dinner." Ray studied the man's expression, trying to
calculate his intentions. But all he could think of was that he was
reacting again, instead of acting himself.

"I'm coming. Lead the way." With that he got out of the car and followed
Charlie to the house. He knew every inch of it. It hadn't changed a bit
in the last twenty years. Expensive carpets, heavy and richly ornamented
furniture, old paintings depicting the late family members. And every
single room was lit by candles and candelabra.

They entered the dining room, Charlie still in the lead. Yes, the whole
Zuko family was present. Not so different from the Vecchio tradition,
but clearly different in style. All were dressed up to the occasion. The
table was perfectly set and at the sight and scent of the food Ray's
mouth watered. It had been more than a whole day since he had eaten
something decent.

Ray forced himself to concentrate on his plan. Plan! That was such an
unfitting expression for what he was going to do. But he wouldn't back
off now. He just couldn't.

"Ray, what a pleasant surprise to see you again so soon. You know my
family. My mother, my..." Frank Zuko stood and smiled at him with his
usual radiant smile, pointing out his family members.

The detective had no mind for this. "Stop this, Frankie. I'm not here to
exchange pleasantries with you. Excuse me, Mrs. Zuko, I have business
with your son, so if you excuse us, we..."

Frankie wasn't to be stopped it seemed. "Ray, you can't do this to me.
We can have dinner together just like in the old times. Then there will
be still time to talk. Charlie, get Ray a plate."

Ray wondered for a second if he should play along. Then he remembered
Mark's and Catriona's eyes. "No, thank you, Frankie. No dinner for me.
Let's get it over with. It won't take long. Can we go to your office?"

Frankie slowly shook his head. "What a pity. But since you insist..." He
left the dining room through a second door, leaving it open for Ray to
follow. Ray entered the study that was used as an office. He closed the
door behind him, shutting it right in front of Charlie's nose.

"How rude, Ray." Frankie grinned at him humourlessly.

"Yes, I know. But as I said I have no mind for games right now. I just
returned from another crime scene."

"And?" Frankie's expression was pure innocence.

"The victim was Catriona O'Reilly. She's the sister of the man who tried
to kill you yesterday." Ray heard that his voice shook a little with
anger. 'Damn, you are supposed to play this cool.'

"And?" Frankie repeated, still smiling.

"There's only one possible explanation for Mark's attempt to kill you.
He must think you're responsible for his sister's death." As Ray had
expected Frankie broke into laughter.

"That's crazy, Ray, and you know it. Where's your evidence? Where's your

"You don't deny it?"

"What? That I'm responsible for this crime? Why should I? You wouldn't
believe me anyway, would you, Ray?" He had stopped laughing by now.
"Ray, why don't you give up this little game of yours? You know you
can't win this. All those years since you left..." Frankie shook his
head in a gesture of regret. "And still you can't accept the fact that
you're fighting a war you can't win."

"One day I will, Frankie." Finally his voice was firm.

"Not if you're playing by their rules."

"What makes you think I will play by their rules forever, Frankie?" Ray
stared at his opponent. "I've learned a lot of your rules as well. Maybe
it's time for me to use those."

"Don't be ridiculous, Ray. As soon as you ignore police regulations you
lose your fight. It would be a final defeat for you." Ray couldn't reply
to that. "You know I am right. Do you know what you are? You are
jealous. You envy my power. You envy me because I have no qualms to
destroy people's life. To destroy other people and walk away and go on
with my own life."

And Ray realised that Frankie was absolutely right.

End of Night Two


Title: The Seven Deadly Sins 3
Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Pairing: Vecchio/Zuko
Category: drama/au
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I
do not make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans
of the show.
Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoiler: none (This takes place before the pilot.)

Night Three (27th of October)
Avaritia (Greed)

"Mama, I'm back." Ray closed the door behind him with a loud thud and
leaned against it, exhausted. It had been another long day at the
precinct, full of routine police work. Being out on the streets couldn't
be more tiring. Right now the O'Reilly cases had come to a standstill.
Just more and more reports without any revealing truths. Apart from two
things - Catriona O'Reilly had been raped and had been killed some time
between 3 and 6 p.m. on the 25th. Both facts fitted Ray's theory
perfectly - along with Frankie's reaction to his accusations.

His mother poked her head out of the kitchen, giving him a warm smile.
Ray returned it, "It's good to be home. I could need some of your magic
soup, Mama."

"Just get changed, Raimondo. It will be ready in no time." She eyed him
suspiciously. Ray knew he must look like hell. He'd only slept a handful
of hours in the last two days and he feared that won't change in the
near future. If it wasn't the case that left him restlessly, it surely
would be some new nightmares featuring Ray Vecchio and his very special
bunch of demons and monsters. Ray made his way over to the staircase.


"Yes, Mama?" He turned once more to his mother.

"It's good to have you home, caro." She was worried about him. And she
had every right to be. The stress he had been under had made him nervous
and irritable, and the short time he'd spent home he'd mostly quarrelled
with his younger sister Frannie or had whined about the impossibility to
find some peace under his own roof.

"I better change now." With that he left her standing and got up the
stairs. One more look into his mother's face would make him ran over to
her, hug her and burst into tears. And he couldn't risk to lose that
energy. Not before this case was closed.


The window in his room was still open and it was very cold. In the
already dim light he went to the window and started to close it. He
could here children's voices down below and bent slightly out of the
window. "Michael, are you boys still outside? Dinner will be ready in no

"Uncle Ray! You home already?" Ray couldn't make out the expression on
the young boy's face, it was getting dark now rapidly, but could hear
the enthusiasm in his voice. He already regretted to have made his
presence known to the boy. As Michael ran in the house - leaving behind
him the neighbours' kids - Ray closed the window and switched on the
lights. He changed into sweater and jeans. Better prepared for an
adventurous eight year-old who was about to attack him.

He didn't have to wait long. The door was pushed open and Michael nearly
threw himself into Ray's arms. The detective gave the boy a hug, then he
grabbed him at his shoulders, knelt down and looked into the huge brown
eyes of his nephew. "What about a proper greeting, Michael?" He tousled
the thick brown hair affectionately.

"Hi, Uncle Ray! Do you gonna play with me?" Michael gave him a toothy

"It will be pitch dark after dinner."

"We can turn on the lights." The boy's smile turned into a mischievous

Ray looked incredulously at his nephew. "Lights? Does that mean your
father finally got to fix them?" Michael nodded eagerly. Ray chuckled.
No more excuses. "Let's have dinner first, okay?" That was all the
confirmation the boy needed. In a flash he was out of the room again,
storming down the hallway and the stairs. Ray stayed kneeling for some
more moments. He was grateful for the distraction. Having a little
workout after dinner would do him good.


Dinner was another welcome distraction. Ray pushed back all thoughts and
enjoyed his mother's cooking. He sat there, taking in all the noise that
was an inevitable part of a real Vecchio dinner. Normally he would have
joined the teasings and arguments but tonight he was just glad to be


Ray looked at his mother. "Yes, Mama?"

"You're not eating. Is anything wrong with the veal?" Ray could tell by
the expression on her face that she knew that there was nothing wrong
with it.

"Of course not. I was just... Maybe I'm a little tired. I'll go to bed
early I promise. Right after teaching the kid a lesson in basketball.
Eh, Michael?" He gave his nephew who had been following the short
discussion between his grandmother and his uncle a light slab on the
back. Then he returned his attention to the food once more. All the time
he saw out of the corner of his eye the concerned glances his mother
gave him. She still didn't know about Mark or the case. Ray wasn't sure
if he should tell her. No, that could wait. Until the moment the case is


They had only taken some shots as a warm up when Ray started at a sound
in his back. He swivelled around and saw a dark, looming figure. "What a
touching scene, Detective. I hate to interrupt you, but Mr. Zuko wants
to see you."

Ray swallowed hard. He turned to Michael. "Get in the house, kid. I'm
sorry but this is important."

"But you promised." Michael stamped his right foot onto the concrete,
clutching the basketball in his arms. He frowned at him and Ray sighed.

"Yeah, I did. But this is my work, got it? Now get inside to your mother
and grandmother." He placed his hands on his hips and waited for the boy
to disappear into the house, who slammed the door shut behind him. Then
Ray turned to his visitor. "What does he want from me?"

"That's of no concern. You just accompany me." The man came a little
nearer. Ray recognised his face but he didn't know his name.

"And if I do not?" Ray knew the answer but he just wanted to buy some
time. To what use that would be he couldn't tell.

"You know very well that there are means to persuade you to change your
mind. Detective, why don't we stop playing games and you just go with
me? You'd make my boss happy." The man smiled at him and Ray could tell
that the guy was ready to act on his words.

"I'll tell my family not to worry. You don't want to have my mother
inform the police about my disappearance, do you?"


Ray stood in Frankie's study again, waiting for his host to appear.
Frankie's man had led him here and then left without a word. After about
five minutes Ray went over to the comfortable-looking armchair that
stood to the left of him. He slumped down onto it. He turned his head
and eyed the books on the shelf next to him. Most of them looked as if
they never had been touched, let alone read. He stretched out his left
hand and pulled out a copy of what turned out to be "Treasure Island".
He leafed through it, taking in the comforting scent of it. He searched
for the scene where the blind guy gets killed. The book had been one of
his favourites when he was a young boy and that scene had given him
shudders whenever he'd read it.

Before he could start reading, the door opened and Frankie came in, with
Charlie in tow. Ray was surprised to see that he was dabbing the right
corner of his mouth with a blood-stained handkerchief. "Frankie! What
happened? A discussion with your wife about who's top or bottom? I hope
you won."

Frankie shot him an icy stare. "Shut up, Vecchio, or I'll make you. I
have a present for you." He tossed an envelope towards Ray who caught it
with his left hand, his right still holding "Treasure Island". Ray
stared at the letter intently. It was crumpled and there were brown
stains on it. He turned it and it was bearing his name, followed by the
address of the 27th.

Ray straightened in the chair, closed the book and placed it down on the
floor before him. Then he turned the envelope in his hand again and
again. It was already open. He stared at Frankie who seemed to be very
busy with nursing the bruise that started to develop in his face.

Finally Frankie seemed to feel Ray's gaze on him and looked up. "Don't
you want to read it, Ray? I can promise you it will be very...
interesting." He started to smile but then he took in a sharp breath,
his hand touching the wound carefully.

"You read it." It was not a question.

"Of course I did. I am concerned about your well-being, Ray. I always
have been. The... circumstances under which I got hold of this letter
were rather unusual. I feared that its content could endanger your
career or even worse, your life."

Ray pulled out the letter. He checked for the signature. "Mark." His
heart skipped a beat and he closed his eyes for a second. The letter
dated the 25th of October. The day his lover died. Ray wondered for a
second if he should just tear it to pieces. The fact that Frankie gave
it to him for reading was definitely a bad sign. Nothing good could come
out of this.


When you read this, I have left Chicago. I should have done so three
weeks ago. The day after I first met you. It would have been easier
then. But I didn't know then. Simply couldn't know.
And there was the money. More than I ever dreamt of. I found out that
Frank Zuko is a generous man when it comes to pay quality work. He paid
well. He paid me a fortune - for seeking you out, for becoming your
friend, for being your lover.
I have no excuse for my actions. At the beginning it was just a job. No.
Not just a job. It was the opportunity to get me all the money I ever
longed for. I told myself that I did it to become independent. To enable
me to live a life regardless of other people's opinion.
Now I know I lied to myself. To calm my scruples. It was simply greed.
Ray, it was you who made me realise it. You showed me a different kind
of greed. Your passion for life and love simply blow me over. I fell in
love with you. I hope you can believe me.
When I realised what happened to me I tried to get out of the deal with
Frank Zuko. But I underestimated the man. Or his hate for you. Ray, I
have a sister. Catriona. He threatened to hurt her, to kill her, if I
didn't go on. He told me nothing of his motives. He just told me he
wanted to bring you down. "A gay detective... mixing with a hustler...
that should end his career."
I can't be part of this any longer. So I decided to leave you. Catriona
and me will be out of Frank Zuko's grasp by now.
Ray, I wish I had never met you. No, that's not true. I wouldn't miss
the last weeks.


Ray had the impression that he'd heard his dead lover's voice when he'd
read those last words. "I wouldn't miss the last weeks." He suppressed a
shudder as folded the letter again and put it back into the envelop.

"Why?" He looked up at Frankie who stood with his back leaned against
his desk.

The mob boss shrugged. "I wanted to get you off the street, Ray. My
business is expanding, you know. My associates agreed with me that it
would be a good strategy to take over another neighbourhood."

Ray nodded. "Your visit at Angelo's place was no coincidence." Frankie
lifted his hands in a apologising gesture.

"What went wrong?" With an effort Ray held his growing anger in check.

"With Mark's little sister? That was an accident. A regrettable
accident. I had got the impression that Mark would need some more
enthusiasm and encouragement. But good personnel is hard to come by
these days. The man I sent to her got carried away a little. I will see
to this later."

Ray he ld up the envelop. "How did you get your hands on this?"

"The man who killed the girl brought it to me. Mark lost it when he
found her."

"How did Mark know where to find you?" Ray had the impression he was
holding an interrogation here. But nothing of the information he
gathered here would be of any worth outside this room. He stood up and
started pacing the study.

"We had an appointment. To clear some details."

"Details about how to bring me down." Ray had stopped his pacing and
turned to Frankie. "Why don't you just kill me? It would spare you a lot
of fuss." 'And me too,' he thought tiredly.

"Maybe you're right, Ray. But then... the price for killing you would be
very high. First, it's bad for business to kill officers. Second..."
Frankie broke off.

The detective closed the gap between them and stared down into Frankie's
eyes. "Yes?"

"Second it would spoil all the fun."

With a scream Ray was at the other man's throat. His hands seemed to
express all the emotions that had built up inside him. Frankie stared at
him with his eyes wide open, his arms flailing helplessly. With a thud a
blow connected with the back of Ray's head and the detective sagged
against Frankie, his hands letting go of his throat. Frankie pushed him
back and he fell onto his back and his head bumped onto the carpeted
floor. His vision blurred and he had to fight to stay conscious. A
feeling of nausea washed through him and he barely avoided to throw up.

Ray was yanked up to his feet by Charlie who grabbed him by his sweater.
He had difficulties to stay on his feet and Charlie held him upright
from behind, turning him so that he faced Frankie. He blinked some times
to clear his vision. Frankie's face was red and sweaty and his breathing
came ragged. "You... you will pay for this. How do you dare to touch
me?" he yelled, his face only a fraction distant from Ray's.

Without thinking Ray retorted, "There had been a time when you wished
for nothing else, Frankie."

Frankie hit him in the face with the back of right hand. Once. Twice.
Ray closed his eyes, preparing himself for the next attack. But the
third blow never came. "Ray, Ray, Ray. Why do you do this to yourself?
To us? Things could be a lot easier." Frankie's voice had dropped, was
nearly a whisper now.

Ray opened his eyes warily, all the time expecting another hit. Instead,
Frankie raised his right hand and touched Ray's left cheek. The
detective pulled back his head. "Hold him steady," Frankie ordered and
Ray felt an iron grip in the back of his neck. Then another grip got
hold of his wrists, pinning them together. Ray increased his efforts to
break free.

"That won't do." Frankie grabbed Ray by his sweater, turned him around
and slammed him with his back into the shelves behind him. Another wave
of nausea hit him and he coughed. He let his head hang down on his
chest, trying to regain his breathing. "Get something to tie him."
Frankie nearly yelled again.

Ray lifted his head and observed Charlie leaving the room. He stared at
the open door until the man returned, with a rope in his hand. Frankie
made Ray bent forward slightly, so that Charlie could get hold of his
hands. All the time Ray tried to regain some control over his mind, let
alone his body. He wasn't able to think of a strategy, he wasn't able to
fight back.

When his hands were tied on his back Frankie ordered in a sharp voice,
"Leave us alone." Ray watched numbly as Charlie opened the door and got
out in silence. As soon as the door was closed Frankie slammed Ray into
the shelves again. Ray lifted his head in defiance, gathering the poor
remains of his spirit. "What would your father say if he could see what
you are doing to his precious collection? Remember when you spilled hot
chocolate on his first edition of Huckleberry Finn?"

That got him another blow in the face and his head bumped on the shelve
behind him. This time Frankie had used his fist. Ray felt his legs go
wobbly and the blood trickling down from his nose. He closed his eyes,
trying to ignore the dizziness in his head. He concentrated on the touch
of Frankie's hands that rested on his chest, holding him thus upright.

Frankie's voice was a hiss in Ray's ears. "My father is of no concern
here, Ray. Don't you speak of him ever again."

Ray forced himself to smile. "Whatever you want, Frankie. This is your
territory after all, isn't it? You rule." He opened his eyes. He had to
blink several times to get a clear view of his opponent.

"Did I finally get some sense in that thick head of yours, Ray? You
should have learned that a long time ago."

"Well, Frankie, you know that I'm a slow learner. Always been." Ray
coughed again. "Could we end this, please? I have to get up early. There
is a case waiting for me. Why don't we call it a day, Frankie?"

"We, Ray? There hadn't been a 'we' in a long, long time. I think it's
time to refresh some memories." Ray tried to evade the touch of
Frankie's hand again, but Frankie didn't heed his efforts. He stepped
into Ray, pinning him against the shelves. Ray started breathing
heavily. Frankie raised his left hand and started to caress Ray's other
cheek as well. Then Frankie pulled his head down, until he could reach
Ray's lips with his own.

Ray pressed his lips together tightly, struggling against Frankie's
tongue that tried to enter his mouth. Finally Frankie just pressed
together Ray's nostril's until the detective had to open his mouth to
suck in breath. Frankie's tongue darted forward and entered Ray's mouth.
'Bite it off,' flashed through Ray's mind, but the thought was forgotten
the fraction of a second later. He nearly gagged, but the gurgling sound
deep down in his throat turned into a moan when Frankie's tongue slit
along his palate, like a caress.

Without thinking Ray let his own tongue got entwined with Frankie and he
felt himself relax against the other man. The next moment he pulled back
his head. 'What am I doing here? This is the man who killed Mark..." He
tried to say something but his voice failed him. He could just gasp for

"No, Ray. This is my game. I started it. And I will end it." Ray stared
at Frankie and realised that he was serious. In vain, he struggled
against the rope. It cut into his wrists, making him gasp in pain.

"Damn you, Frankie..." Finally he found his voice. But his curse was
stopped by another blow in his face. Frankie let go of him and he fell
heavily down to the floor, onto his side. A second later Frankie was on
him, turning him on his back. He started to kiss him again and Ray's
resistance rapidly faded. He felt too numb now to fight back. The
probing of Frankie's tongue was disgusting and delightful at the same
time but soon the feeling of disgust withdraw to a small and distant
part of his mind and then the was only the pleasure left.

Ray answered Frankie's kiss now, heightening his passion and desire. His
subconscious seemed to have taken over, as he wished his hands to be
free, so that he could touch Frankie in turn. By now Frankie's hands
were travelling down Ray's writhing body. Frankie had pulled up Ray's
sweater and whispered a curse when he found out that he couldn't pull it
over Ray's head because of the bound arms. Then he started to massage
Ray's chest and Ray felt his nipples get hard. He moaned into Frankie's
mouth and then he pulled his head to the left. Both man gasped for air
in unisono.

"Please, Frankie... Stop it. I don't..." Frankie shut Ray's mouth by
covering it with his left hand, his right continuing the massage.

"You lie, Ray. You don't want me to stop. You still desire me... as much
as I want you." He placed a light kiss on Ray's forehead and then he
slid down until his mouth touched Ray's chest. He licked his skin and
then he started to suck at Ray's right nipple. Ray yelped, but then
started pleading again. "No, please, Frankie. Don't." The last word came
nearly out as a scream as Frankie pinched the nipple.

Ray heard Frankie's soft laugh that seemed to come from a place far
away. Then Frankie started licking again. Ray's already aching groins
responded and his erection nearly became unbearable. "Frankie, now! I
can't stand it any longer..."

Frankie fumbled for the button of the jeans and finally opened it. He
pulled the zipper and then the jeans off and Ray's penis popped free,
commented by a throaty moan from Ray. "Yes, I want to hear you, Ray. I
want to feel you. Show me your greed, your greed for life and love..."

Ray lifted his head and watched Frankie opening and pulling of his
pants, revealing his erected penis. Ray could just stare and breath
unsteadily. He was too confused by now to know what he should do.
Frankie will tell me. Just listen to Frankie.

"Turn over." With that Frankie knelt beside Ray and grabbed him by his
right arm, then pulling him over so that he lay on his stomach. Ray
turned his head to the right, resting a cheek on the carpet. He waited
for Frankie to make the next move. "Spread your legs." That was simple
and Ray followed Frankie's instructions. He closed his eyes, sighing,
when he felt Frankie's fingers probing between his buttocks. First it
was only one finger sliding into the hole, then a second. Ray hissed in
pain as the third finger glided into him.

"Ray, try... try to relax. You... you do f... fine." Frankie's voice
sounded husky and his breathing came fast. Slowly he pulled his fingers
out and started caressing Ray's ass cheeks. Ray started moving and
moaned as his cock rubbed against the carpet beneath him.

Frankie got behind Ray and pressed his erection against his ass. Slowly
he guided his penis into the cleft and slid inside Ray. Ray arched up
into a kneeling position and Frankie pushed forward. A few seconds they
joined in a smooth rhythm of rocking. Frankie reached for Ray's erection
and took the penis in his right hand. Slowly he started to pump and Ray
let out a long throaty moan. Passion and heat built up between them.
They continued to rock and pump in perfect harmony, finally reaching the
peak almost at the same time. Ray felt Frankie cumming into him and then
he screamed as his own semen splashed on the carpet. Exhausted he
lowered his head  - which he had thrown back when he had cried - back
onto the floor. He closed his eyes and wished he would never have to
open them again.

End of Night Three

Title: The Seven Deadly Sins 4
Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Pairing: Vecchio/Zuko
Category: drama/AU
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I
do not make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans
of the show.
Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoilers: None (takes place before the pilot)

Night Four (28th of October)
Luxuria (Lust)

Half past eight. He had checked the clock for the fourth time in barely
five minutes. Ray sighed. It shouldn't take him so long. Impatiently he
jumped out of the bed, not bothering to put on the robe Frankie had
supplied him with.

'Frankie.' Ray sighed audibly and he started to pace the nearly dark
room. The little light came in from the streetlights from below the
windows. Ray moved over to them and looked down on the street. The
window was streaked with rain and the few people outside hurried, some
carrying umbrellas.

'Not a good night to be outside.' He leaned his forehead against the
cold glass and closed his eyes. 'Not a good night to be inside, either.
Especially if you cannot leave if you want to.'

Although he had given Frankie his word that he wouldn't leave, Frankie
had given him a smile that was distorted by the dark bruise that showed
now in his face. "Ray, I can't possibly trust you, can I? And I can't
let you go, not now." As Ray had asked why not Frankie had just shaken
his head and left, locking the door from outside.

Not that Ray couldn't have fled if he really wanted to. That was what
puzzled him most. What made him stay here. What had happened last night
had been... humiliating? No, not quite so. It was more like an
embarrassing revelation. Of his own feelings, his own emotions. Frankie
and he had been close when the were still very young men. Very close.
After the break-up Ray had divided his former friend as best as
possible, denying all tender emotions that he knew had been in him all
the time. When time had gone by he had started to believe what his mind
had tried to convince him of. That Frankie was a heart- and soulless
killer and criminal. And he - as a police officer - had committed
himself to fight crime.

Yesterday's events had brought Ray back into his own past. Into this
house, into Frankie's arms. Afterwards... yes, afterwards he had felt
like shit. When Frankie had made him watch burning Mark's letter, he had
felt like he had betrayed his lover. How could he have enjoyed Frankie
taking him if he had really loved Mark?

Then Frankie had brought him into his bedroom and he hadn't loosened the
rope before he had ordered Charlie to lock the door from the outside.
They had slept in one bed, without making love. Ray still wondered why
he hadn't killed Frankie right there and then. He couldn't explain his
emotions but he had to accept that they existed. He had called the
precinct this morning and excused his absence. Ray had had the
impression that Welsh had sounded relieved when he had accepted his
explanation of total exhaustion.

Passion and desire? Yes, without doubt. Love? Ray didn't dare to answer
that. He refused to think about love. It wasn't possible. Mark was dead
only two days and he thought about a relationship to the man who was
responsible for his death. What about his oath to kill Frank Zuko?
Didn't he have a bit of honour? It can't be love, it must be... lust.
Yes, lust. That's it. And lust can be overcome. He just needed enough
willpower. Ray snorted. 'Willpower. You sound like a woman's journal
telling you, you could lose 20 pounds in two days by the sheer force of
your mind. This is the reality. You couldn't resist him yesterday and
now you're here, waiting for him to end his appointment, waiting for
Frankie to come back to you.'

"I am sick," he said it aloud to convince himself of this truth. But all
he could think of was the tenderness of Frankie's touches, the sweetness
of his kisses and the fire of his thrusts. Ray sat down on the bed,
closed his eyes again and remembered the hours he'd spent with Mark.

Where Frankie was demanding, Mark had been giving. As he had written in
his letter to Ray he felt the greed that was in Ray and now Ray knew
that Mark had fed that greed constantly. And now he hadn't even the
possibility to tell Mark how much he had meant to him. The irony of the
situation was telling. 'A fantastic way to show that you loved Mark and
mourning for him.' A shiver ran down Ray's spine and he cuddled under
the covers again.

He awoke with a start when Frankie lay a hand on his chest. His touch
was warm and soft and after Ray had pulled back for the fraction of a
second he now leaned back into the other man. Ray could feel Frankie's
erection in his back and noticed only a second later his own arousal.
Frankie placed his left leg over Ray's thigh and started kissing the
back of Ray's neck.

Ray was still a little dozed from his sleep. "Frankie?"

"Yes, Ray," Frankie mumbled between two kisses.

"What time is it?" Ray had difficulties to keep his voice level. Then
Frankie directed his attention to Ray's left earlobe and he moaned with

Frankie just stopped for a heartbeat with his caresses as he looked at
the alarm clock that stood on the nightstand on the other side of the
bed. "It's a quarter past eleven."

"What? I nearly slept for three hours! What took you so long, Frankie?"
Ray was wide awake now. He had spent the whole day in this room, doing
nothing all the time. How could he have become so tired?

"None of your business, Ray. What is the fuss about anyway? I'm here
now. And there is still time for everything you want me to do." Again
Frankie kissed Ray's throat, then he started licking it.

Ray fought for control. 'This isn't love. This is lust. You can't betray
Mark. You can't betray Mark.' All the time he knew he was belying
himself, but he couldn't stop the litany he repeated silently over and
over again. On the contrary, it helped him to concentrate on Frankie's
closeness. His smell, his touch, his voice.

"Ray, what a waste it has been. All this time without you. Pretending to
be a loving husband, a caring father, a devoted family man - without
even the chance of being with the only man I ever desired. Of course
there have been others. But I always smelt you, touched you, talked only
to you." Frankie was kissing him with his voice and he took in every
word with relish.

Once there had been a time when Ray would have given his life to hear
those words from Frankie. But it surely was to late now, wasn't it? This
couldn't possibly work out. It had to be a dream that would soon turn
into a nightmare. Everything concerned with Frankie turned into a
nightmare sooner or later. It had to be this way. If not, Ray had lived
in a lie for nearly twenty years.

The dream didn't stop, though, and Ray drank in every detail of their
love-making. Frankie made his way down Ray's back and let his tongue
lead the way. After a few minutes Ray gave up his hesitation and let out
moans and sighs that spurned on the other man's efforts. Finally the
tongue reached Ray's lower back and it slid into the cleft between Ray's

"Yes, Frankie... Don't stop now." Ray's voice was a mere whisper. He
thought his heart would stop beating as he shuddered repeatedly under
Frankie's tender caresses.

"Move around, Ray." Frankie didn't wait for Ray to follow his order, but
turned him around himself. With his left hand he continued to massage
Ray's ass cheeks while he started to lick Ray's fully erected cock. Ray
gasped, gripping with his right hand into Frankie's hair. Then his grip
relaxed again and he began stroking the damp mop of full, dark hair.
When Frankie's tongue touched the tip of his cock he arched against him
and Frankie welcomed his penis with his mouth wide open. He closed his
mouth around it and started to suck. Ray responded by a rocking in a
steady rhythm. It took him only a few seconds to come and he emptied
himself into Frankie's mouth. The other man swallowed the cum and then
let go of Ray's now depleted penis.

"Taste yourself," Frankie whispered and turned Ray onto his back,
lowering himself upon him. Ray greeted the other man mouth with lips
slightly parted. As Frankie's lips touched his own his tongue darted out
and slid into Frankie's mouth. The scent and the taste made him dizzy
and he drew in a deep breath as if he tried to capture every particle of
himself that was to be found in Frankie's mouth.

It seemed to have been ages when Frankie finally pulled back. "Your
turn, Ray." Ray wouldn't have needed the invitation. The taste and smell
of his own semen had broken his last reservations. As Frankie lay on his
back, he just slid down till he was on eye-level with Frankie's
erection. Ray didn't have the patience to go slowly. He stretched out
his tongue and teased the tip of the cock only once. Delighted by
Frankie's yelp he took the whole of the penis into his mouth and started
sucking immediately. Frankie pushed frantically against him, his moans
and sighs coming in the same rhythm as his body's thrusts. When Ray
tasted the precum he sucked involuntarily even harder, making Frankie
cumming only seconds later. He swallowed all of it.

Ray released Frankie's cock, sated for now. He lay down on his back, his
left arm touching Frankie's right. Both men's chest heaved up and down
in harmony. Ray smiled as he tried to picture the two of them from
above. They were so different. Both in outer appearance and in their
characters. Friends had named the two of them 'The Bold and the
Beautiful' and the two boys had spent hours discussing who was the bold
and who the beautiful.

The detective was stunned how fast his hate and disgust for Frankie had
crumpled. What was it with him? This could not be happening. He lay in
Frank Zuko's bed and started thinking happy thoughts about the man he
wanted to kill not 24 hours ago. He reached out for the light on the
bedside table and switched it on.

"What now? Switch it off, for God's sake." Frankie's voice sounded
irritated but Ray chose to ignore it. No need to start a fight. He had
to get himself some answers and it wouldn't do if he challenged Frankie
with another argument. He had to get out of this before he went insane.

"What do you plan, Frankie? Why am I still here?" As he had spoken the
last words he felt the irony of this situation once more.

Frankie turned his back on him, pulling his blanket over his shoulder
and grunted. "I like your company, Ray."

Before Ray had the chance to react to Frankie's repelling gesture shouts
could be heard from behind the door. Both men sat up in the bed. "Mr.
Zuko, it's Charlie. They found Nico."

Frankie was out of the bed in a flash. "I'm downstairs in a minute."
Then he turned to Ray. "Get dressed. I think you might be interested."
Ray had no idea what Frankie was talking about, but his curiosity won.
And it was a chance to leave this room after nearly 24 hours.


The study again. Ray followed Frankie into the brightly illuminated
room. Charlie was there, of course, and two more of Frankie's goons who
held a third man, with his clothes torn and crumpled. His face was
sweat-covered and smeared with blood and dirt. His short black hair
glistened in the light. His head hang down on his chest.

"Nico. You're back. I was worried about you. About your state of mind."
Ray's stomach clenched at the sound of Frankie's voice. He knew what to
expect when Frankie sounded that way. The cheerier his tone the more
annoyed and irritated was Frankie. "Look at me." There was no reaction
from Nico. Frankie only nodded once and the man to Nico's right grabbed
into Nico's hair and pulled back his head. Nico gasped in astonishment
and pain.

"There. Why did you run away? You hit me. I have to know why. Please
tell me, Nico. I want to understand you." Frankie let his voice drop and
he crossed his arms before his chest. "I'm waiting," he added when he
got no reply.

Nico blinked rapidly as more sweat trickled into his eyes. He swallowed
hard and then brought out. "I thought you would kill me, Mr. Zuko. I
know I made a mistake, but I didn't want to kill her. It was... an
accident. She screamed so loud I wanted to make her stop..." He let his
eyes drop, thus trying to escape Frankie's stare that belied the jovial
tone of his voice.

"And stop her you did. Nico, Nico, Nico. What can I do now? You leave me
no choice. My instructions were clear. I can't work with men who can't
accept orders. I possibly cannot." Frankie shook his head and sighed.
For a short moment Ray had the impression that his men would imitate the
gesture and the sigh. He shifted uncomfortably. He knew the rules of
Frankie's game good enough to know what would follow now.

Nico seemed to know it, too. He let out a wail. "But I came back. I
brought you the letter. I came back..." His last words nearly ended in a

"You are right, Nico. I owe you." Ray saw the spark of hope in the young
man's eyes at Frankie's words. "That's why I thought about a special
treatment for you." Frankie turned to Charlie and stretched out his
right hand. Charlie put a hand into the inner pocket of his jacket and
brought out a handkerchief. He placed it onto his boss's palm. "Thank
you, Charlie. Ray?" Ray stepped forward and Frankie unfolded the white
linen. "Do you recognise it?"

Ray gasped in shock. It was his own gun. "How... Where..." He broke off,
panic and confusion making him unable to form a coherent thought.

"Minor details, Ray, not of any interest. You wanted to know what I
plan. Nico here will be an important part in the next scene of our
little game. He will make such a fine corpse. Killed with the gun of a
police officer. What do you say, Nico? Isn't that a wonderful way to
leave this world? You'll be serving me and my plans even after your
death." At the same time as Nico started screaming, Ray hauled himself
at Frankie Zuko. Both men went down on the floor. Ray tried to get back
on his feet. But before he was on his knees a blow landed on the back of
his head and his mind filled with blackness.

End of Night Four

 Title: The Seven Deadly Sins 5Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Pairing: Vecchio/Zuko
Category: drama/AU
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I do not
make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans of the show.

Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoilers: None (takes place before the pilot)

Night Five (29th of October)
Gula (Gluttony)

Note: The definition of gluttony given by Father Behan is a quote from the
medieval theologian Thomas Aquin.

Ray relaxed with his back against the church door, breathing hard. Again he
wondered if he should have taken the Riv after he had fled from Frankie's
house. No, there hadn't been the time. It had been easier for him to disappear
in the dark by fleeing on foot. He knew the neighbourhood by heart and it had
been easy enough to leave his pursuers behind. He couldn't stay here long,

At the sound of a door at the other end of the church he held in his breath.
The door closed again and steps could be heard. The next second light flared
up and Ray blinked rapidly. As he had adjusted to the brightness he could see
a man nearing him.

Father Behan. The priest of St. Michael's. "Raimondo." The man stopped and
eyed Ray with astonishment. "What are you doing here?" Ray tried to smile at
the priest, failing miserably. "Are you okay?" Father Behan's voice sounded
concerned. Ray realised that he probably wasn't looking too good.

"No, I don't think so, Father." He brought up the gun that he had been holding
in his right hand all the time since he had made his escape. He dried his
sweaty left hand by rubbing it against his thigh. He took the gun into his
left now and then dried the right hand. He transferred the weapon to the right
hand again.

"What happened, Raimondo?"

"Not much, Father. I'm on the run." Ray smiled humourlessly at the priest's
exasperated expression. "Long story. I haven't much time. But then... a
confession would be appropriate." Ray had no idea where the urge to talk to
the priest came from. All he knew was that he trusted the man with all his
heart. And that Father Behan probably knew more about his relationship to
Frankie than anyone else.

"Let's sit down, Raimondo. It's still an hour before mass will start." They
moved over to the stalls and sat. Ray gazed at the gun in his hand. And then
he began...


"When I came to about eleven in the morning, I was in Frankie's bed again.
Frankie sat in an armchair and smiled at me. He told me that Nico had been
taken care of by now. His men would dumb his corpse, get rid of my gun and
return. He expected them any minute. I wondered what I could do and I found I
didn't have a clue. His men returned, Frankie left the room, locking me in. I
considered to flee through the window but decided against it. Somehow I still
hoped it was all a trick Frankie played on me."

"But it wasn't?" It was the first time the priest interrupted Ray's story. Ray
studied his expression. There was no sign of disbelief.

"No. He kept me waiting for several hours. It was already getting dark outside
when he returned. I had dressed by now and was pacing the room. Frankie
informed me that everything was prepared. An anonymous call had been made to
the precinct. My colleagues knew by now where to find Nico, my gun and myself.
Frankie grinned as he told me what a perfect motive I had for killing Nico. He
was the murderer who killed my lover's sister and thereby caused Mark's death.
He brought out a gun and forced me to leave the room. We were half down the
stairs when I turned around, hauled myself at Frankie and grabbed the gun out
of his hands. I knocked him down with it and ran out of the house. I still
have no idea where Charlie or the other men were at that time. That saved me.
I never would have escaped with all his goons around. The timing was
exceptional. Just at the moment I left the house, two police cars stopped in
front of it. I just ran. Now I'm here."

"They will come for you." The priest merely stated a fact.

Ray nodded. "I will leave soon. God, how did I get myself into this mess." He
placed his elbows on the bench in front of him and buried his head in his
hands, pressing the gun to the right side of it. It was not a comforting

"It's Frankie. It's like it was twenty years ago." Ray flinched slightly as
Father Behan placed a hand on his back.

"What do you mean?" He lifted his head again and stared at the priest.

"Raimondo, it has always been like that. Remember how often you came to me.
How often did you try to leave him, to end your... your... No, it wasn't
friendship between you. It was an obsession. You hated yourself for every
second you spent with him. Nonetheless it took you years to realise that he
was destroying you." The priest placed his hand on the detective's short-cut
hair. "Raimondo, you are still obsessed with him. After your lover was killed,
there was a void in you and you filled it with Zuko again. You have to free
yourself of him. Or you'll end up in a disaster."

"Or in hell. It's already too late, Father. They'll sentence me to life. I
won't survive that." Ray's voice nearly broke as he spoke out his worst fears.
"And I still cannot hate him. I still... I still... love him." He finally said
it. Accepted the truth.

"You have to turn yourself in, Raimondo. This is the only possible way to end

"I can't. I'd rather die." Ray voice sounded harsh in his own ears.

"There is more at stake than your life, son." The priest spoke gently now, as
if Ray was still a little boy.

"What? More than my life?"

"It's your soul. You have to free yourself from Frankie. By facing the
consequences of your actions you can end your... relationship." Ray stared
into the priest's dark eyes. He found serenity there. Father Behan meant every
word he was saying.

"My soul?"

"Gluttony is a deadly sin."

This was more and more confusing. "Father, I have no idea what you are talking

"'Gluttony denotes, not any desire of eating and drinking, but an inordinate
desire... leaving the order of reason, wherein the good of moral virtue
consists.'" The priest looked at Ray. "You're relationship with Frankie has to

Ray jumped up, pacing up and down the church aisle. The priest was right. He
had to end this. He had to get rid of this demon. Abruptly he stopped his
pacing. "Father. I see you agree with me. Frankie is my problem. I'm gonna fix
that." He smiled at the priest.

"How so?" Father Behan asked suspiciously. "Will you call your colleagues

Ray brought the gun level with the priest's eyes. "No need for that. I'll deal
with my problem personally. You won't stop me, Father. I think I could need a
car. You drive." Father Behan stood and moved out of the stall.

"Raimondo, you wouldn't kill me." The priest slowly stepped back a few paces
until he was distant enough to ignore the weapon and stare at the detective.

Ray admired his spirit. "But I would hurt you, if I must. As long as you
follow my instructions both alternatives will be of no concern to us, don't
you think?" Now that he had made his decision he felt totally relaxed. All
would end soon. He had nothing to lose. And he could win so much. He would be
free of Frank Zuko. Free of his past. Free to leave or to stay. "Get outside.
And don't forget your keys."


Ray was out of the car in a flash just at the moment Father Behan stopped. He
opened the driver's door and grabbed the priest at his left arm and nearly
yanked him out of the vehicle. Without letting go of the priest's arm he
hurried towards the Zuko house. He was stunned to see the car of his superior
officer parked in front of it. Welsh was still with Frankie. That worsened his
odds, but didn't diminish his determination.

Hoping that no one from inside had seen them, he stood with his back against
the wall to the left side of the door and motioned with his gun in the
direction of the doorbell. Father Behan nodded and pressed it. Inside Ray
heard a melodious sound and Ray prepared for action. As the door opened he
whirled around and pushed the priest violently inside and Father Behan
stumbled forward. The priest tried to keep his balance, thereby grabbing at
the man who had opened the door. Zuko's man lost his balance as well and Ray
had no difficulty to knock him out with the barrel of his gun. He was glad
that the thick carpet muffled the noise considerably.

Dinner time was well over and he would find Frankie in the study. For a second
he hesitated what to do with Father Behan. "You come with me," he finally
hissed. Ray knew he hadn't much time. If the guard didn't return there would
be another one to check what was wrong.

With the priest in tow he moved down the hallway. He peeked around the corner
and found the door closed, another guard in front of it. He turned to Father
Behan. "Distract him or I have to shoot him." He saw the priest pondering his

"Let go off me, Raimondo," he said. Without thinking Ray released his grip.

Father Behan walked around the corner and called over to the guard. "Could you
help me, son? I think your colleague at the door isn't feeling well." Ray
grinned; the priest turned out to be a valuable asset in his plan.

The guard pulled out his gun and ran towards the priest. "What happened,

Before Father Behan could answer Ray moved around the corner and hit the man
at his left temple. He sagged to the floor, unconscious. Ray didn't wait a
second longer. He grabbed the priest again and moved to the door of the study.
He knocked once.

"Yes?" came from the inside.

"A visitor, Mr. Zuko. It's the priest from St. Michael's."

"Bring him in."

Ray opened the door and pushed Father Behan inside. Frankie sat behind his
desk and jumped up at the sudden intrusion. Ray stood in the doorway, his
right arm raised and aimed the gun at Frankie. Out of the corner of his right
eye he saw Charlie and another man reaching inside their jackets. "Don't even
try." Ray's voice sounded casual, like he was commenting on the weather
outside. Both men dropped dead. "Get all behind the desk, where I can see you
properly." He nodded to the fourth man, standing to his left. "You too,

When his instructions had been followed, he entered the study and closed the
door behind him. He moved over to the right, so that he would be shielded when
the door would open again. Ray settled his gaze on Frankie. "I found a
solution for my problems. With the help of a priest. Father Behan made me
realise what created my madness. I'm going to end this now. Perhaps you want
to say a little prayer? Or make a last confession?"

"Ray, listen to me. This is just a misunderstanding. I never meant any harm.
You are my friend. I love you as I would a brother." Once again Ray was
astonished how convincingly Frankie could make up the most outrageous lies.

Irritated, he repeated, "Misunderstanding? You set me up. You destroyed my
life. As you did with Catriona's and Mark's. People are nothing to you. This
has to stop." He tried to keep calm.

"Ray, Zuko is right. This is a misunderstanding. He just exonerated you." Ray
jerked his head to face his superior officer. Welsh met his gaze levelly.

"What?" Ray couldn't believe what he had just heard. This must be a trick. To
make him surrender.

"You are about to shoot the man who's giving you an alibi." Ray stared at the
Lieutenant. He hadn't the impression that Welsh was lying to him. As far as he
knew he had never lied to him.

"Ray, I just told the Lieutenant that you spent last night in this house.
Would you please tell me what made you run away in the first place?" Frankie
stared at him, folding his arms over his chest. His voice sounded like that of
a father lecturing his disobedient son.

Ray retreated back, until he touched the wall behind him. He concentrated on
holding the gun; his hands had started shaking. "No, Frankie, don't do this to
me. Not again. Stop playing with me." He saw Frankie's face go white, his dark
eyes large and fixed on Ray's trembling hands.

Welsh moved and Ray turned his head slightly to observe his actions. His
superior officer walked past the desk and came over to him, his right hand
outstretched. "Ray, you can trust him this time. We have his testimony. You
are free to go." Ray had never heard the Lieutenant's voice so gentle before.
It was unfamiliar, but he liked it.

Ray blinked as sweat from his forehead trickled into his eyes. He resisted the
urge to wipe it away and stared hardly at the still approaching man. "Don't
you move any further. I..."

The door of the study flew open. Ray jumped to the right, just in time before
he would have hit by it. Charlie and the guard pulled out their guns and took
aim. Simultaneously Welsh jumped at Ray and the detective's shot went wild. He
gasped in shock as he felt as a searing heat shot through his right shoulder
and arm and Ray let go of his gun. Both he and the Lieutenant went down hard.
The fall knocked the breath out of Ray.

He closed his eyes, blinking away unwanted tears. His shoulder burnt like
fire. Welsh lay still half on top of his left side. Ray struggled to get free.
When the weight was lifted away, he forced his eyes open. Welsh stood before
him, breathing heavily and shaking his head. "Call an ambulance." He didn't
even turn his head to check if his orders were followed. Ray could just lay
there and stare at his superior officer. He heard the calm voice of Charlie as
he spoke into the phone.

"Ray, are you okay?" Frankie shoved the Lieutenant aside and settled down at
Ray's left side. Ray was stunned to see concern in Frankie's eyes. This had to
be another nightmare. "Madonna mia, you're hit." Frankie pulled out a
brilliant white handkerchief and pressed it to the bleeding wound.

The detective winced, then let out hissing sigh. "Be careful with me, willya
Frankie? That hurts," he nearly yelled.

Frankie just smiled at him. "You'll survive. I will take care of that
personally." Ray stared at him incredulously. This would never stop. The worst
part was that he didn't want it to stop.

End of Night Five

Title: The Seven Deadly Sins 6
Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Pairing: Vecchio/Zuko
Category: drama
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I
do not make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans
of the show.
Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoilers: None (takes place before the pilot)

Night Six (30th of October)
Superbia (Pride)

Just in time before the doctor entered his room Ray finally managed to
keep the shivering under control. He straightened as the short man
addressed him rather harshly. "Detective, I still recommend to stay here
for some days."

Ray answered the doctor's worried look with a level gaze. "It's just a
graze, Doctor Coolidge. You said so yourself. I am fit enough to leave."

"You lost a lot of blood, Detective, and in no state to be on your own."

"Get serious, Doc. You have met my family." Ray chuckled. "Knowing my
mother she'll be preparing for battle right now. Heating my bedroom,
fetching additional blankets, cooking tons of my favourite food, sending
my sister's family on vacation - preferably to the other side of the
galaxy - so that I can get my beauty sleep..."

The other man doctor waved a hand in submission. "Okay, I get the
picture. I'll send a nurse with the papers you'll have to sign. Then you
are free to go."

Ray stretched out his left hand. His right arm was firmly secured in a
sling. "Thanks, Doc, for fixing me up. What about that?" He lifted his
right arm only a fraction.

The doctor squeezed the offered hand firmly. "We have to check the wound
in a few days. Come back here on... yes, on Tuesday. Up till then you
should go easy on that arm."

"What? No trick or treating this year? I promised my nephew we'd go
together. You can't disappoint a little boy's heart, Doc." Ray stared at
the doctor in mock panic. "I was going to ask my sister to make a
special costume for the man without one arm."

"Now, which little boy are you talking about right now, Detective? I'll
see you on Tuesday. Good evening, Detective Vecchio." He gave Ray a
smile, then left.

As soon as the door closed Ray shuddered again. He was still chilled to
his bones. Hopefully Frannie will bring with her some warm clothes. He
suppressed a yawn and checked the watch. It has been almost an hour. She
should have been here by now.

Another shudder. With a sigh he brought the blanket up to his chin. He
glanced over to the chair the nurse had placed the bag with his clothes.
There was no way he could still wear those. He hadn't changed them for
almost two days. And they were full of bloodstains right now. Ray closed
his eyes. Yes, Frankie hadn't entirely been able to stop the flow of
blood. The memory sent a shiver down Ray's spine. Not because of the

The pain had fast subsided to a throbbing in his shoulder. Or in his
upper arm. Ray hadn't been sure about the exact location of his injury.
As the pain decreased he'd become aware of his surroundings again. Well,
at least some of his surroundings.

Frankie's face. Pale. His eyes staring at him, dark, but somehow
burning. Another man's voice. Welsh. "Let me have a look at him."

And Frankie's yell. "No. Get out. All of you. Out." Then his eyes again,
blinking away tears now. Ray's cheeks flushed now at the memory. All he
had been able to do had been staring. Staring in wonder and amazement.
Marvelling at the firm press on the wound while Frankie's other hand had
caressed his damp cheek. Stunned by Frankie's voice that had transformed
in a second from a yell into a soft whisper. "Ray, I'm sorry, I'm
sorry..." Ray hadn't dared to make a sound, fearing he could awake from
that wonderful dream...

He had been with him all the way to the hospital. They wouldn't let him
accompany him into ER, blocking his way. "Don't you worry, Ray, I'll be
here waiting..." But after the treatment he had been gone. The nurse
hadn't been able to answer Ray's questions. She had told him to relax.
He had fallen asleep almost immediately.

When he'd awaken the nurse informed him that his family had been there
and sent away again. Ray had spoken to the doctor and told him he would
go home. Then he had called home. Francesca had nearly screamed when she
had heard his voice. She'd promised to be at the hospital in no time.

Ray snorted to himself. Probably his little sister was still wondering
what to wear and if she'd see her hairdresser before she would come for
him. A hospital wasn't a hospital in his sister's eyes. It was a haven
for young, and handsome men just waiting to be conquered by a gorgeous

A short knock brought him out of his musings. "It's about time. Come in,
Frannie." The door opened and Welsh stood in the doorway. "Geez, Lieu,
I'm sorry. I thought it would be my sister."

Welsh nodded and closed the door behind him. "Thought as much. How are
you feeling, Vecchio?"

"Not too bad considering the circumstances, Lieu." Ray shrugged. "I'm
leaving any minute now. How are things at the precinct?"

"You mean your case." Without waiting for Ray's confirmation Welsh went
on. "Zuko turned up this morning, his lawyer in tow. He made his
testimony, giving you an alibi for the night Nico Antonelli was killed.
There won't be any charge against you from him. Neither from the priest,
Father Behan. He testified just an hour ago."

"Nico Antonelli... did he murder Mark's sister?"

"We have positive evidence of this."

"Any clue who killed him?"

"Nothing. Zuko denies any connection to the crimes. And I think his
lawyer is doing his best right now to prove that we have no case against
Frank Zuko." Ray couldn't hold Welsh's gaze any longer and cast his eyes
down. He knew what would come now.

"Ray, I need to know what really happened. Why did you threaten Frank
Zuko?" Welsh moved over to Ray's bed, grabbed an empty chair and sat
down on it.

"I thought he set me up. When he told me you were coming for me... I
think I just panicked and ran. Then I wanted to force him to tell the
truth..." Still, Ray couldn't lift his head.

"And you want me to believe that? Well, it looked like a set up for me,
too. Until Zuko gave you an alibi."

"Yes, Lieu, until he gave me the alibi." Ray looked up. He hoped that
his face gave nothing away.

Welsh opened his mouth for another question when Frannie stormed into
the room, not bothering to knock. "Sorry, Ray, I ran out of gas and took
me half an hour... Oh, excuse me, Lieutenant, I didn't want to
interrupt." She ran her left hand through her dishevelled dark hair.

"You already did, Frannie," Ray said impatiently. Before he could go on
Welsh stood from his chair and silenced him with a gesture of his right

"Don't you worry, Ms. Vecchio. I was leaving anyway. Detective, I need
your report..."

"ASAP, yes, Lieu. I'll come to the precinct tomorrow." Ray tried not to
show his relief.

"That reminds me. Markus O'Reilly's parents have arranged the funeral
for their children. It's scheduled for tomorrow morning. Here are the
details. I thought you'd might be interested." Welsh reached into his
coat pocket and fished out a note. He handed it to Ray who read over it.

"Will it be okay if I come to the precinct in the afternoon? I would
like to... to..." Ray broke off.

His superior officer nodded understanding. "Tomorrow afternoon would be
perfect. Detective, Ms. Vecchio."

Ray waited until Welsh had left and closed the door. Then he turned to
Francesca. "Frannie, have you brought my clothes?"

"Thank you, Ray, I am fine. And yes, that is a new skirt. A truly nice
welcome! I don't know why I am bothering myself with..." Francesca shot
him a furious look as he interrupted her.

"Snap out of it Frannie. I have no mind for that now. Just give me my
stuff and get out of here."

Francesca grimaced and eyed the bag she held in her right for a few
seconds. Ray had the impression that she would have thrown it at his
head if he hadn't been injured. So she just came over and handed it to
him. "Does it hurt much?"

Ray knew that was meant as an offer of truce and he accepted it gladly.
"I think the painkillers they gave me are still effective. Don't worry,
Frannie, I'm fine. Ready to go home."

"The sooner we get there the better. Mama is already... You know her,
Ray. It was hard enough to make her leave your side. She was so relieved
to learn that you will be all right..." Frannie reached over to touch
Ray's left hand. Involuntarily Ray let go of the bag he was still
holding, took her hand and squeezed it once.

"Thanks, Frannie." He paused for a moment, then grinned at his sister.
"And could you leave now. Give this man a little privacy." Frannie
pulled her hand out of his grip.

"You sure you won't need any help with that arm of yours?"

"I will take care of this." Startled, Ray stared at the doorway.
Frankie. He didn't even hear him enter.

"Frankie Zuko! What are you doing here?" As she got no answer she turned
her gaze to Ray.

"Frannie, could you leave us alone?" Ray's voice sounded a little shaky
in his own ears.

"With him? No way..." She stemmed her hand on her hips.

Ray coughed once. "Please, Frannie. I will do fine." He locked eyes with
his sister. Finally she nodded.

"Whatever you want, Ray Vecchio. At least we're already at the hospital.
That will spare you the ambulance." She shot Ray a furious glare and
then she almost ran out of room, nearly knocking Frankie over. Ray let
out an audible sigh.

"She hasn't changed a bit." Frankie smiled at him.

"I'm glad she hasn't. I wouldn't have her any different." Ray had no
intention to return the smile. "She has a talent to ask the right
questions at the right time. What are you doing here?"

"I help you dress." He took the bag from the bad and pulled out Ray's
clothes. "Come on, Ray, no need to be shy with me." Frankie grinned at
him, but Ray shook his head.

"I'd rather do this alone, Frankie. You can leave me alone." What he had
intended to become an order turned out like a weak suggestion. Frankie
just ignored it, unfolding Ray's underwear. Ray sighed again and gave
in. He pushed back the blanket and sat on the edge of the bed. Frankie
opened the hospital shirt and helped Ray out of it. He just tossed it to
the floor. He gave Ray a hand with the shorts and the pants. Then he
knelt in front of Ray pulled the socks on his feet. Ray stood and
slipped into his shoes.

"Do you just want it around your shoulders or..." Frankie looked at the
silk shirt he was holding.

Ray thought for a moment. "I think it's okay to let go of the sling for
a moment. Then I can put it on..." He hesitated and then continued, "if
you give me hand with it."

Frankie's head jerked up and the man stared at the detective. Ray could
see a glint of amusement flicker in those eyes. Before he could say
anything Frankie throw the shirt on the bed and put his hands and Ray's
hips, pulling him close. "I will give you anything you want, Ray."
Frankie's lips were on Ray's a moment later. Without thinking Ray opened
his mouth and he welcomed Frankie's tongue that darted forward with a
deep moan of pleasure.

All chilliness left him in the wake of that searing kiss. Ray tried to
entwine Frankie's tongue with his own but the other man tried to evade
him. It was like a chase, Frankie's tongue exploring the depth of Ray's
mouth and Ray's tongue trying to block it's attacks. Finally Ray had to
pull back and he sat down breathlessly on the bed.

"How... How was that for a st... start?" Frankie looked at Ray intently,
breathing hard.

"W..well, you took me by surprise, Frankie. Expect... expect my
revenge." Ray winced at his own words. "What are you doing here,
Frankie?" The spell was broken and Ray fought back his way to reality.

"As I said, I help you dress." He pulled the sling over Ray's head,
steadying his arm by holding his right hand in a firm grip. With his
free hand he grabbed for the shirt. He helped Ray to get his arm through
the right sleeve. He held it up so that Ray could slip in his other arm.
Frankie knelt down again and closed the buttons. All the time Ray could
just sit and stare.

"Stand up, Ray." Ray rose like he was on autopilot and Frankie opened
his pants once more, tuck the shirt in and closed them again.

Ray looked up and searched for Frankie's eyes. "Thanks. Frankie, what
are you doing here?"

The other man didn't even try to avoid Ray's gaze. "I am here to bring
you home."

"Home?" Ray repeated tonelessly. "Frannie's here, you don't have to go
all the pains..."

Frankie stopped him with another kiss, this time on his right cheek.
"Not your house, stupid. Mine."

Ray had expected this answer. Nonetheless, it hit him like a blow. "No,
Frankie. I can't. My mother..."

"You can talk to her later. For now you have to be with me." Another
kiss on the other cheek. "I need you, Ray. And I know you want to be
with me. Your eyes... When Charlie shot you last night I thought I would
die. But then I saw it in your eyes. That you still feel the same. After
all those years."

"No, Frankie. I was in pain. I had lost blood. I do not need you. I
cannot love you..." This time Frankie kissed his mouth again, but it was
just a chaste kiss. Ray could have screamed in frustration as Frankie
pulled back only a moment later.

Frankie's expression was serious. "This isn't the place to discuss those
matters. You come with me. We have to talk. Give me one night, Ray. You
can go after we talked, okay? Just one night, Ray, and I will let you go
if you still want to."

Ray feared just that. That he wouldn't want to go.

"Since when are you a coward, Ray Vecchio?" Frankie's voice had taken on
a teasing tone.

Ray shook his head. "No need to challenge me, Frankie. I give you one
night." And this time there was no frustration in the kiss they shared.


Dinner had been spectacular. And to his own astonishment he hadn't been
in the least embarrassed that Frankie had insisted on feeding him. They
had been alone. Charlie had brought several trays, laden with various
delicacies. The two men had settled down on the large bed and Ray had
been fed with small bites of antipasti and sweet kisses. They had shared
a portion of pasta and when tomato sauce had trickled down Ray's chin
Frankie had been there with his adept tongue to lick it away before it
could drop down on his shirt.

With an effort they'd returned their attention to the food and the
delicious red wine. When they'd been finally sated, Ray had watched
Frankie clear away the dishes, placing the trays on a broad sideboard.
Frankie had settled himself beside him again.

They lay there in silence for several minutes. Ray tried to move into a
more comfortable position, involuntarily trying to use his right arm. As
he hissed in sudden pain, Frankie sat up in alarm. "Careful, Ray. Do you
want the painkiller now?" The packet, the nurse had supplied them with,
lay on the bedside table.

"No, it was nothing, Frankie." Ray waited until Frankie had settled back
on the sheets. He then moved over to him, laying his head on Frankie's
right shoulder. The other man placed his right arm under Ray's neck,
careful not to touch the wounded shoulder. He placed a tender kiss on
Ray's head.

Ray let out a contented sigh and closed his eyes. Just for a few moments
before he would ask Frankie. He listened to Frankie's heartbeat, beating
in a constant and calming rhythm. If he could turn back time. Not much.
Say, only twenty years. It was too late now. Too late to make a dream
come true.

Frankie had started stroking his head. Suddenly he changed his position,
without moving his left arm, until his face was level with Ray's. Ray
didn't wait for Frankie to take action. He placed a feather-light kiss
on the other man's lips that parted immediately in response. Ray pulled
back, teasing, challenging. With his free hand Frankie grabbed his chin
tightly and kissed him. Hard. Setting his entire body on fire. Frankie's
tongue danced in his mouth and it was like he ignited small fires of
passion and desire.

Ray moaned and Frankie let go of his chin. His left hand fumbled for
Ray's shirt buttons and deftly opened them. Frankie's hand wandered over
Ray's chest, caressing first, then messaging. As he touched Ray's
hardening nipples Ray gasped and pulled back from  their seemingly
endless kiss. Thus freed Frankie's mouth searched and found a new
target. When he started sucking Ray's left nipple the detective arched
up. Ray felt a hot burning in his groins now and with his left hand he
tried to open his pants, to free his growing erection.

Frankie came to help and finally Ray's penis popped out. Frankie took it
in his left hand and started stroking it. Ray started pushing into his
hand. Frankie was pumping fast now and Ray cried out as he finally came.
Semen shot out, splashing over the two men's bodies.

"You... too, Frankie." Ray managed to get out. Frankie let go off Ray's
now depleted shaft and opened his own pants. "Get them off." Frankie did
as he was ordered. Ray sat up and settled himself between Frankie's
legs. With his left hand he caressed Frankie's right thigh. Frankie
arched under his touch, moaning in pure delight at the gentle contact.
His penis was fully erect now and Ray bent down - only supported by his
left hand - in a fluid movement to capture it in his mouth.

"Yes, Ray." Frankie lifted himself into a half-sitting position, taking
Ray's head into his hands. Ray sucked Frankie's shaft in a slow rhythm
and Frankie started thrusting. It wasn't long before their movements met
in perfect harmony. Just a second before he started cumming, Frankie
cried out Ray's name and it was like a warning. Ray swallowed Frankie's
semen and closed his eyes in satisfaction. Then he let go of Frankie's
shaft and settled back on his heels. Frankie sat up fully, breathing

"Give... m...me back so...some," he uttered. Ray cupped Frankie's cheek
with his left hand and kissed him thoroughly. The shared delight seemed
to intensify his own emotions and a blinding white light filled his
mind. Ray broke free as he feared that he could faint. He lay down on
his back again and tried to regain some control over his breath. Frankie
settled beside him, snuggling against his body. Frankie felt warm and
soft and the physical contact gave Ray the feeling of security. He
closed his eyes, his breathing becoming calmer with every heartbeat.

Ray couldn't tell how much time had passed when Frankie finally spoke
up. "Can't you see that we belong together, Ray? This is heaven. I want
you to stay with me." Ray didn't open his eyes. He knew he had come to
the point where he couldn't avoid making a decision, but as long as his
eyes were closed... He knew it was just an illusion but it was such a
sweet dream that he didn't want it to end.

"I need an answer," Frankie continued. Ray wasn't sure, but he thought
he could hear his voice tremble a little. This wasn't hard for him
alone. He opened his eyes and sat up, supporting himself on his left

"Why, Frankie? Why Mark? Why Nico Antonelli? I was ready to kill you."
Ray knew that was the truth as he said it aloud. Only a day ago he had
been prepared to send Frankie Zuko - and probably himself - to hell.

"I love you, Ray. I needed you to come back to me."

Ray stared incredulously in Frankie's dark eyes. "By setting me up?"

The other man nodded slowly. "It's your damn pride, Vecchio. I had to
break your spirit. You would never have come back on equal terms. All my
life you let me know that you felt superior to me. I couldn't threaten
you. Your pride kept you from accepting the truth. That you love me.
That you need me."

Ray settled on his back again, staring at the ceiling. He started to say
something several times and each time he didn't knew how to say it.
Finally he sat up, still staring ahead. "You say, you love me, Frankie."
The other man only nodded. "You are a liar, Frank Zuko. You cannot
possibly love me. Not if you are prepared to destroy me."

"I didn't...." Frankie broke of as Ray let out a loud yell. The
detective pulled the sling over his head and tossed it away. Pain seared
through his shoulder, but Ray just ignored it. He grabbed Frankie by his

"You didn't? You did, Frankie! You humiliated me, you broke my spirit.
You took my pride from me. You destroyed the man you pretend to love.
What's going to happen next? What are you going to take from me next? My
loyalty for my family? My job? Yes, of course... A cop couldn't possibly
be a mobster's lover. Don't you see what you're doing, Frankie. You try
to strip me bare of all the things that make me. And by that you kill
the man you want to conquer."

Frankie stared at Ray open-mouthed. Ray watched as the other took in
what he had just said. Yes, Frankie understood now. He had got the
answer he wanted. And Ray had got his. He let go off Frankie and
buttoned his shirt and pulled up his pants, buttoned and buckled them.
Without another word he got out of the bed, slipped into his shoes. He
moved over to the chair where he had placed his coat. He hesitated
shortly and stared at the stains on his shirt. Shaking his head he
pulled on the coat, buttoning it.

As Ray reached the door he turned back once more. "I never felt superior
to you, Frankie. Not now, not then. Especially not then." He ignored the
pain in his shoulder and in his heart as he opened the door and left. He
started to run and only stopped when he was at the front door. He opened
it and was out of Frankie's house. Out of his life. He shut the door
with a loud thud and went on to the pavement. Ray fished the keys for
the Riv out of his coat pocket. It was only two hours ago that Frankie
had given them to him. Ray turned and looked up at the windows of
Frankie's room. The light that streamed through them was like a promise
of warmth and happiness. A promise that would never be fulfilled for

End of Night Six

Title: The Seven Deadly Sins 7
Author: Birgitt Schuknecht
Fandom: due South
Rating: NC17 (slash)
Pairing: Vecchio/Zuko
Category: drama
Disclaimer: The characters used in the following story are not mine. I
do not make any money out of this. It's written for fun and for the fans
of the show.
Feedback: birgitt.schuknecht@uni-essen.de
Spoilers: None (takes place before the pilot)

Night Seven (31th of October)
Acedia (Sloth)

Ray looked outside. It was getting dark by now. He hoped he would be
home in time to spend the rest of the day with Michael. The boy would
never forgive him if he missed the trick or treating.

"Vecchio! Did you even hear my last question?" The voice of his superior
officer sounded clearly impatient.

"What? Oh, sorry, Lieu, I... I..." He stopped in embarrassment. He
hadn't heard anything of what Welsh had said.

"I wanted to know if there's anything you want to add to your report."
As always Ray was astonished at the Lieutenant's ability to sound so
angry while speaking so calmly.

"No, that was all." Ray straightened in his chair. Half an hour ago he
had returned to Chicago, after he had attended the funeral of his lover
and his lover's sister. What had seemed a good idea this morning had
turned out to be another disaster.

"Detective, try to concentrate on the matters at hand, for God's sake.
You're not the only one who wants to be home on time for the Halloween
party." Welsh let out a sigh of exasperation, shaking his head.

"I'm sorry, Sir, I wasn't thinking about Halloween. Well, to be honest I
did but..." Welsh raised a hand and stopped him from going on.

"Enough of that, Vecchio. I have a question or rather a comment to what
you just told me. Are you aware of the fact that your story of what
happened in the last two days doesn't show you in a particular bright
light?" Ray stared at Welsh blankly. "I mean, an alibi given by a
mobster saved your neck. Just think about it. I bet IA won't be too
thrilled by this."

Ray had feared as much. He would have to answer some nasty questions in
the near future. But there was no evidence to prove his report wrong.
Only his own knowledge...

"And let me add something. I personally do not believe one word of what
you have told me." The lieutenant stared hard at him and Ray could
barely keep his calm. "I fear I cannot trust you as much as I should,
Vecchio. And I think it will be a long time before you can prove me
wrong. I assigned you to a special assortment of cases. Miss Besbriss
will have put the files on your desk by now. Dismissed."

At the last word Ray nearly jumped. This was worse than he'd expected.
Since he had left Frankie last night his life seemed to disintegrate
into tiny pieces. When he had returned home last night he had avoided
his mother who had still been up. He had just gone into his room and
locked the door. He had ignored her knocks and questions. He had not had
the strength to talk to her or to look into her eyes or to endure her
embrace. So he had ignored her.

At the funeral Ray had kept himself distant from the other mourners.
Other mourners. Ray had discovered he still hadn't been able to mourn
his dead lover. There hadn't been any tears. After all others had left
he had moved over to the graves and had stared down at the many wreaths
and bunches of flowers. He had marvelled at the intensity and brightness
of the colours. He had been certain that nothing could have any other
colour than gray or black on this chilly October day. He had tried to
say a little prayer, tried to remember what he had learned to be an
appropriate farewell. Words hadn't come and so he had just stood there
until he had started to shiver from the cold and his right shoulder had
started to throb rather painfully.

When he had arrived at the precinct there had been stares, but no
comments. At least not when he had been looking. But he had been sure to
have heard whispers as soon as he had turned his back. Without
acknowledging Elaine's attempt of a greeting he had moved over to
Welsh's office.

Ray had expected... Well, he didn't know what he had expected from the
Lieutenant. But it was sure it wasn't this open display of mistrust.
There was nothing he could do about it, though. He could just leave.

When he opened the door Welsh said, "Vecchio!"

Ray looked back over his shoulder. At the stern look Welsh gave him he
turned around fully. "Lieutenant?"

"I need a written report ASAP."

"Understood, Sir." Ray fled out of the office, closing the door rather
loud. He made his way over to his desk. There lay a pile of files. He
took the first one in his hand and leafed through it. He took the next
and repeated his inspection. After he had browsed the third he sat down
on his chair and hid his face in his hands. Tedious work, with no
promising outcome. Burglaries mostly. Lists of stolen goods to be
checked, interrogation of victims and possible witnesses.

A soft voice brought him out of his brooding. "Welsh wants an update on
those on a regular basis. A weekly update that is. Written." Elaine lay
a hand on Ray's shoulder and Ray blinked up at her. "I'm sorry, Ray."

"Yes, we all are. Thank you ever so kindly." Ray was stunned at her
shocked expression. Those words had come out harder than he had
intended. Before he could apologise Elaine had turned and went to her
own desk. She never looked back.

'Damn.' For a second he wondered if he should follow her. Then he
shrugged and turned to his files once more. He counted them. Fourteen.
He tossed them into his inbox, disgusted. Right at the moment he
couldn't care less. For his job. His family. His life. Fourteen unsolved
cases. As far as Ray Vecchio was concerned it could as well have been
forty-one. What was the difference? The next moment the door to the
squadroom flew open and a white-furred figure jumped in, howling like a

'Yeah,' Ray thought. 'A Happy Halloween to you, too."

End of Night Seven