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Ahaha, so remember when I said I'd write drabbles for More Joy Day? Yeah. Here's the first one. "Drabble", lol.

Title: Sometimes You're Up, Sometimes You're Down
Author: [livejournal.com profile] waltzforanight
Fandom: Durham County/Due South
Pairing: Mike Sweeney/Ray Kowalski
Word Count: ~4,400 (again: loldrabble)
Rating: PG-13
Summary: Ray is having a very bad day, and it's all Mike's fault.
Notes: For [livejournal.com profile] sionnain, who wanted Mike and Ray! Set more or less in the what else would you have me be? 'verse.



Ray was not, it had to be said, having a good day.

It had started out way too early, for one thing. He'd woken up at six-thirty (in the morning, Jesus, that was unnatural) to the sound of Mike cursing a blue streak and hopping around on one foot. Which would have been hilarious under normal circumstances, but before dawn was not normal, so Ray was having some trouble with the laughing part. Also, maybe he was a little worried because seriously, what the fuck was going on?

It took a few minutes for him to work out what had happened - basically, Mike had stubbed his toe on the corner of the dresser and decided to act like a big baby about it. By that point Ray was pretty much done with worried and settled in on annoyed. He called Mike a few choice names, then burried his head back into his pillow and tried going back to sleep.

Tried being the key word there, 'cause it did not work. Ray was wide awake now, stuck listening to Mike's whining about his poor toe. He scowled and looked at the alarm clock - 6:43am.

Not. Buddies.

After he'd given up on sleeping, Ray tried having a shower. That had sounded like a great idea, but of course something had to go wrong. Namely, the fact that there was no hot water. And that meant that even with having the fastest shower of his life, he was still fucking freezing when he got out. His teeth chattered uncontrollably all the way back to the bedroom, where Ray was hoping he could lure Mike back to bed to help him warm up. (Not only was Mike hot in a physical-attraction kind of way, but he also radiated heat like a furnace, which had it's advantages.) But Mike was already putting his shoes on and getting ready to leave.

"Early meeting," he explained, and Ray was grudgingly pleased that at least Mike sounded sorry about not being able to stay. Still, a quick kiss and a smack on the ass goodbye was pretty disappointing after the elaborate plan he'd come up with between the shower and the bedroom.

Things had gone downhill from there. Ray had dressed without incident, but when he'd gone into the kitchen he discovered that the worst possible thing of all worst possible things had happend: they were out of coffee. There were no more Poptarts, either, but - coffee. That was a fucking crime, okay, a crime against humanity. Ray whimpered pathetically, glad no one was around to hear how lame that was, and wondered aloud what he'd done to deserve this travesty.

When he didn't get an answer - apparently the toaster wasn't at all sympathetic to Ray's problems - he decided that maybe it was just the apartment. Maybe it was, like, rebelling against him because he'd accidentally smashed that lamp the other day. (Which, okay, that was really Mike's fault, because he was the one who had tackled Ray to the ground and knocked him into the table, which had been what sent the lamp flying. See? It might have been Ray's hand that knocked the lamp over, but it was totally not Ray's fault.) Anyway, the point was, Ray thought that maybe things would start going better for him once he got away from their judgemental toaster.

With that in mind, he'd grabbed his keys and his phone, then headed out the door. He'd get to the 2-7 early, maybe get a headstart on some of their new cases... yeah, that was the plan. Feeling good, Ray stopped at one of the sixteen Starbucks between the apartment and the station. He ended up waiting in a huge-ass line for like twenty fucking minutes, only to be served the wrong coffee. They'd given him decaf.

That was about when Ray decided the whole entire world hated him.

He managed to get to work without hurting himself, or anyone else, which was a small victory. But the rest of Ray's morning was spent working on a purse-snatching ring. It wasn't that Ray was, you know, encouraging people to go around committing more murders or rapes or anything, but this was officially the most boring case in the history of really boring cases, and boring cases made him nervous. And that meant he got twitchy and spilled coffee all over his calculator, his case notes and the menu for the Chinese restaurant down the street.

Then there was Welker, Ray's newest partner, who maybe only got to be a detective out of sheer dumb luck 'cause he was completely useless. The guy made Dewey look like a genius. His idea of helping was to hand Ray a dirty napkin and to suggest that, just maybe, Cirque du Soleil was responsible for their purse snatchings.

Ray didn't even want to know how that made any sense.

So all that sucked, but Ray started to feel better after his fourth cup of coffee (the real, caffeinated kind) and getting a text message from Mike saying to meet him for lunch around one, at Carlito's. That brightened Ray's spirits considerably, because Carlito's, mmm, they had the best roast beef sandwiches in the city, maybe even in the whole state. Also, lunch with Mike often lead to making out in the backseat of the Mustang, and that would definitely cheer Ray up.

He left the station about quarter to one, leaving Welker strict instructions not to touch, break, set fire to or otherwise harm anything on his desk. His optimism lasted until he reached the GTO and discovered that some birds had used it as a litter box. (Had they no decency? Was nothing sacred anymore?) And as if that wasn't a big enough kick to the balls, he then got stuck driving behind a pretty redhead girl. That part wasn't the problem. It was that this girl, she drove about 20 miles under the speed limit - in a Honda - and turned her signal light on five blocks in advance, every single time. It didn't matter how hot a girl was, that was goddamn annoying.

By the time he got anywhere near Carlito's, Ray was back to being cranky (his mood not at all helped by the construction, the sumo wrestler dressed as a hula girl or the fact that people still drove those goddamn VW Bugs) - and almost ten minutes late to meet Mike. Grumbling to himself, he parked the GTO in the first spot he found - at least six blocks from the deli - and decided to walk the rest of the way. It had to be faster than driving around in circles looking for a spot in downtown Chicago, right?

Mike was waiting for him outside of the deli. Somehow the bastard had managed to get a parking spot right in front, which Ray knew for a fact was practically impossible, but apparently being Canadian meant having super parking spot powers. Because there he was, leaning against the hood of the Mustang and squinting at the tiny screen of his cell phone. Most people passing by, they probably thought he was doing something serious and important. That was just how Mike looked, in his suit and tie with the don't fuck with me vibe going in full force.

Which was all well and good for regular people, but Ray knew the truth: Mike was playing the music edition of Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? And if the little knot in his forehead was any indication, he was about to lose - again.

It was all Sadie's fault, of course. She'd called a few weeks back and mentioned that she'd been playing the game while she took the bus to and from school, then proceeded to brag about how she'd beaten the game and how it was so easy but you'd probably suck at it, Dad. Mike had taken that as the challenge it was, and had spent the last two and a half weeks trying to beat the stupid thing. He'd come close a few times, but the million dollar question always tripped him up. It only made him even more determined to win, and while Ray could, you know, appreciate the fact that Mike was a stubborn bastard, it was getting to the point where Ray was giving serious thought to staging an intervention.

Mike didn't look like he was paying any attention to the people hurrying all around him, but his posture changed somehow - eased up, maybe - as Ray got closer. By the time Ray was standing in front of him, he looked positively relaxed, except for the furrow in his brow and the frown on his face.

"Who the fuck are Westlife and why the hell should I know how many number one singles they had in the UK?" he demanded, without so much as glancing in Ray's direction.

"Hi, Mike, I'm great, thanks for asking," Ray replied sarcastically, folding his arms across his chest and leaning against the Mustang.

Mike just grunted and punched a button on his phone. There was a beat of silence, then a growled fuck. He gave the phone a dirty look, like it was modern technology's fault he didn't know anything about British music, then finally turned to look at Ray as he stuffed his phone back into his jacket pocket.

"What's your problem?" he asked, jerking his head towards the deli in a silent let's go.

Ray shot him a dirty look, but followed immediately because, well, for one thing he was kind of hungry. For another, Ray had a really hard time saying no to Mike, especially when he was still a little bit growly - left over annoyance from his failed game, probably. "I don't got a problem."

"Uh-huh," Mike replied skeptically, holding the door open while Ray walked through. "That's why you look like you've been listening to Dewey's stand-up routine all morning, then?"

Ray snorted humourlessly. "Yeah, right, something like that," he muttered grouchily, getting in line behind a biker guy who was about six and a half feet tall, with at least seventeen visible tattoos and greying hair that was braided into a ponytail. He made Ray feel like a dwarf, which was just one more thing to add to the list of Things That Suck Today. Ray sulked over that for a bit, then sighed. "Nah, just a bad day, that's all. Stupid case, you know, and Welker..."

"Is a fucking idiot?" Mike supplied, stepping forward as the line moved incrimentally.

"Yeah, that," Ray agreed, then proceeded to rant in extreme detail about all the horrible, stupid things that had happened to him since Mike had left that morning. (Because he was a heartless bastard, Mike laughed at the part with the decaf coffee.) By the time Ray reached the part about the Honda, they were at the front of the sandwich line. Ray still had a lot to say, especially about the parking situation and what would happen to anyone who injured his car while it was parked so far away, so after they placed their orders, he kept right on talking.

He finished right as the scary lady behind the counter handed over their sandwiches and empty Coke cups. "So, that's why today sucks," he said. "And why it's all your fault."

Mike, who must have been having a good day to have listened to all that without interrupting, put his wallet back into his pocket and gave Ray a funny look. "Me? What the hell did I do?"

"One, you woke me up at like, the ass crack of dawn," Ray replied, ticking off points on the fingers of one hand while he used his other one to pour his drink and hold onto his sandwich. "Two, there was no sex before you left. That was disappointing, because sex is the only thing that makes getting up that early worth it. And three, you didn't pick up any coffee when you did groceries last night. No sleep, no sex, no coffee. That's what started this, and all of those things are your fault. Therefore, you are to blame."

Ray's skills with logic were, in a word, flawless.

"Right," Mike agreed, but Ray couldn't tell whether he was being sarcastic or not.

He followed Mike over to a table near the door, sliding into the seat facing the window and setting his drink and sandwhich down on the multi-coloured tabletop. They were both quiet for a few moments while they got situated and dug into their food - Ray hadn't realized it, but he was starving - and then Mike spoke up. "You want to talk about the case? The one you've been working on."

Mike hadn't been Ray's partner in a long time, but they did that fairly often. It helped Ray to bounce ideas off of someone - someone with a brain, which disqualified Welker right away. Besides, whether he admitted it or not, Mike missed being a detective, and he liked helping Ray work through the stubborn bits of his cases.

But this time, Ray shook his head. "Nah, it's not - I know who did it," he said. "I mean, I got a pretty good hunch. Janitor. All the purse snatchings -"

"Purse snatchings?" Mike repeated, not bothering to try and hide his laughter. "That's what they've got you stuck on now?"

Ray glared. "Yeah, well, my partner thought it would be a good idea to, you know, fuck up the arrest of a serial rapist, so they don't trust us so much anymore. Fuck, I hate that bastard," he grumbled, picking violently at his sandwich. "Can't you bust him for something?"

"Unfortunately not. Being a moron isn't illegal," Mike replied, taking a sip of his Coke. "Incompetence, though, should be enough to get him benched. Why hasn't Welsh done anything about it?"

"Brass won't let him, says he hasn't done anything serious enough yet." Mike snorted sympathetically and Ray smiled, a silent thanks for getting it. "Yeah, I know. Anyway, all the purse snatchings, all the women live in these ritzy-fancy apartment buildings that are cleaned by the same company. They gave us a list of employees, and one guy's got a record. Theft charges as long as your arm." Ray shrugged and took a bite out of his sandwich. "Just gotta prove it."

"Ugh, do you have to do that?" Mike asked, making a face.

"Do what?" Ray asked, confused. "Prove he's guilty? Yeah, courts, you know, they sometimes like evidence."

"I meant talk with food in your mouth, you pig. Jesus, that's disgusting."

Ray shrugged indifferently, which launched Mike straight into a rant about manners, and how Ray didn't have any. That rant lead to one about littering, which lead to one about graffiti, which for some God unknown reason lead to one about Police Academy 5 and why the fuck does Steve Guttenberg still have a career? (Personally, Ray thought the better question was why did Steve Guttenberg ever have a career in the first place, but hey, it wasn't his rant.)

It'd taken Ray about six months to realize that this, the ranting about anything and nothing all at once, was Mike's way of being comforting. It was ridiculous, but he figured that if he ranted enough about something unrelated to what Ray was worried about, then it would distract him enough to make him feel better. Usually it just annoyed him to the point where he'd punch Mike in the jaw, but that still always made Ray feel better, so... maybe Mike's theory wasn't so far off after all.

Ray stared out the window, only half-listening to Mike's current rant (why do chocolate bars cost more than a quarter?). It wasn't like Ray didn't know this one by heart anyway. He was idly scanning the crowd of people outside, not really paying any attention, until he saw a familiar face. Familiar, but Ray wasn't quite sure where from. But he'd seen that guy, somewhere, and recently. He was standing about two feet away from a tall, pretty blonde woman who was talking on her cell phone, watching her like he was -

Janitor, Ray realized, immediately sitting bolt upright in his seat. Jesus, what were the fucking odds?

"There he is," he said tensely.

Mike looked annoyed for about half a second - he hated being interrupted, especially in the middle of his American money is stupid, what's so bad about colour, anyway? rant - but all he said was, "There who is?"

"Balfour. The janitor," Ray clarified, focusing in on his suspect. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw Mike whirl around to look out the window. "Fuck, he's - fuck," Ray swore, shooting out of his seat as soon as he saw the little punk grab the blonde woman's purse and take off running down the street.

Ray was out the door without another word, determined to catch the little bastard and be done with this stupid case. Easier said than done, though, because he was having some trouble weaving through the crowded sidewalk. He kept shouting things like move it! and police! and get out of the damn way!, but none of it did any damn good. He hadn't lost sight of Balfour, though, so at least there was that.

Eventually he was through the worst of the crowd and was able to put on a big burst of speed, closing some of the distance between himself and Balfour. Ray was so concentrated on not losing him that it took a few seconds to realize Mike was right beside him, matching his speed as he raced down the street. Mike's tie was blowing crazily off to his right (reason #224 why Ray never bothered wearing ties to work, unless work included going to court), and he really should have looked ridiculous but somehow all Ray could think of was Clark Kent turning into Superman and hey, that was pretty awesome -

Not now, Kowalski, he chided himself, forcing his attention back to Balfour, who was now well aware he was being chased and was looking desperately for a way out. Ray saw the look of triumph on Balfour's face as he come up with what he undoubtedly thought was a brilliant escape plan. But Ray knew this city like the back of his hand, and he had a pretty good idea about what Balfour was going to do.

"Go right," he told Mike, in between gasps for breath. Jesus Christ, when had foot chases become hard? Maybe acrobatic sex didn't count as exercise after all. "Next street over. There's an alley, three buildings up, between the strip club and the barber. That's where he's headed."

Mike nodded once, then swirved right to follow Ray's instructions. Fuck, that was hot, the way he didn't ask questions, just did as he was told, and -

Not now, Kowalski.

Ray shook his head and kept running after Balfour, following him around a large crowd of tourists and then grinning to himself as Balfour took the exact alley Ray had expected. Balfour glanced back over his shoulder to see how close Ray was to catching him. Unfortunately he didn't think to look in front of himself at all, and he ran smack into a solid wall of Mike. Balfour faltered, unable to keep his balance, and ended up flat on his ass.

"Hi there," Mike grinned at him, reaching down to pick up the purse he'd swiped while Ray handcuffed him and read him his rights. Looking the bag over, Mike tsked disapprovingly. "You know, Balfour - it was Balfour, right? - you don't really strike me as the Chanel type. Too classy for you. And you don't really look like... a Heather Sawyer, either," he continued, glancing at the chequebook inside the bag. "Unless there's something there you're not telling us? No? Yeah, I didn't think so."

Mike looked up again, and Ray immediately started laughing. Maybe it was the really horrible day he'd been having, but for some reason Ray couldn't stop, and Mike's annoyed expression only made him laugh harder.

"What? What?" Mike demanded, having gone from pleased with himself to irritated with Ray in under two seconds. "What the fuck is so funny?"

Ray shot him a wide grin. "You've got mustard on your chin, Sweeney," he replied, still chuckling as he reached out and wiped his thumb over the offending condiment. Not that it did any good. "Kind of ruins the Superman image."

"The what image? Never mind," Mike said, wiping roughly at his chin. "Is it gone?"

Ray shook his head, grinning as Mike scowled and tried again. Instead of pointing out that Mike was missing the mustard by about half an inch, he grabbed Mike by the suit lapels and tugged him forward. "Allow me," he said seriously, then leaned in and licked Mike's chin. The skin was rough and already stubbly underneath his tongue, and Ray hummed his appreciation before leaning back far enough to inspect Mike's chin for any lingering mustard.

There wasn't any, but he did notice a new flush in Mike's cheeks. Excellent, Ray thought. Very Clark Kent.

"Fags," Balfour muttered from where he was still face-down on the pavement.

To Ray's surprise, Mike actually pulled away from him at that. Which was weird because history had taught him that when people made offensive comments about them, Mike was more likely to start making out with him - really give them something to get offended over - than anything else. But this time Mike was backing away, and Ray opened his mouth to ask what the fuck that was about, when Balfour interrupted him.

"Hey! That's my elbow, you bastard."

Ray was momentarily confused - he wasn't anywhere near the guy's elbow, so what the fuck? He was about say as much when Mike flashed him a devious grin. That was also pretty confusing, actually, because Mike only ever smiled like that when he was about to either tie Ray to the bed and tease him to death, or when he was getting ready to delete Shark Attack 3 off the DVR without letting Ray watch it. Ray didn't think either of those things was about to happen, which meant now he was confused and disappointed (well, disappointed about the lack of sex, anyway - he was still pissed about the Shark Attack 3 thing. And the Frankenfish, RoboDoc and Python 2 things. Mike was an asshole), and also what the hell -

Ray looked down at Balfour, and finally noticed that it was Mike standing on the guy's elbow. Oh. That explained the grin, then.

"Oh, is that your elbow there?" Mike was asking Balfour, using this sugary-sweet tone that, frankly, gave Ray the fucking creeps. "I'm so sorry."

Personally, Ray thought the apology would have been more convincing if Mike had stopped stepping on the guy, but hey, maybe that was how they did things in Canada. He didn't know. It was possible, and Ray didn't want to appear, uh, unappreciative of the Canadian way of life, or anything like that.

"You know what I miss most about us being cop-partners, Sweeney?" Ray asked, stepping right up into Mike's personal space again and forcing Mike's attention away from the idiot perp on the ground.

Mike pretended to think about that. "Blowjobs in the supply closet?" he guessed.

"That's number two," Ray replied easily, angling his head so that his mouth was almost touching Mike's. "But the number one thing? Is that I miss watching you manhandle stupid fuckers like Balfour, here. Watching that? I gotta tell you, babe, that made my shitty day a million times better."

"Oh yeah?" Mike said with a small smile. "I'm-"

What Mike was, Ray didn't bother waiting to find out. Instead, he grabbed Mike by the back of the neck and closed the distance between them. That was good, that was greatness, the way Mike's mouth immediately opened underneath his own, and the sharp bite to Ray's bottom lip... Oh yeah. Ray got a little distracted after that, because he deserved this, okay, making out with his totally hot boyfriend after a really crappy day. This was his reward for not letting the day get him down, right?

Except that Mike was pulling away from him again, and seriously, that was not buddies. Mike was pulling his phone back out of his pocket, and he was not going to start playing that game again, was he? Jesus Christ, forget an intervention, this was - they were going to have to talk about this -

"Sweeney."

What? Who was Mike talking- oh. It hadn't been about that game, Mike's phone had actually been ringing - Ray hadn't even noticed.

"Yeah, sorry, I'm on my way back," Mike was saying. "Got held up downtown." He glanced up at Ray and winked. "Traffic. Yeah, it's a bitch. I'll be there as soon as I can."

Mike hung up and put his phone away, then gave Ray a rueful smile. "I have to get back," he said. "Sorry."

Ray nodded. "Yeah, I should go bring genius here" - he jerked his head towards Balfour - "down to the station. Maybe I'll make Welker deal with him. They deserve each other."

Mike laughed and straightened his tie, which was askew thanks to either the chase or Ray's roaming hands, he wasn't sure which. "Just make sure you're the one who fills out the paperwork this time, yeah? Otherwise they might bump you down to security guard next."

"Oh, fuck you," Ray grumbled, but secretly he thought that might actually be a possibility, since Welker was an idiot and all.

"Later, if you're good," Mike replied, finally taking his foot off of Balfour's elbow. He leaned in and kissed Ray one more time, giving Ray's hair a sharp tug, then started back down the alley. He stopped a few feet away and turned back. "If you're really good, I'll give you a replay of how I manhandled this guy," he called back, nodding towards Balfour.

"Sounds good," Ray said with a grin. He hauled Balfour to his feet with more force than was probably necessary, then pointed two fingers at Mike. "But if we break another lamp, I'm telling the toaster it was all your fault. I've done my time, Sweeney. It's your turn to deal with appliance karma."
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