The choice had come sooner than they wanted.
Fraser's leave was up and Ray had to decide... well there were choices to be made. Where they lived, came almost secondary to anything else.
They'd been living in a bubble for months. A happy, happy - fucking freezing - happy, bubble. Were no one was around to judge or stare or pass comment on their relationship. Deifenbaker after all, could really care less that they zipped their sleeping bags together at night, as long as he was able to sneak into the tent, for his own warmth.
But then reality had to set in and Ray had to decide what to do now that he was no longer 'Ray Vecchio'. And unlike last time the choice had almost happened upon him, there was no instant answer, no immediate 'this is where Stanley Raymond Kowalski will go with his life next' offer on the table.
It was more than a little terrifying and exhilarating to realise he could do - be - anything. That just because it was what he'd always been... he didn't have to keep being a cop.
Fraser would support him regardless of his choice. In fact as long as his choice remained legal, Fraser would probably support him in everything up to and including starting his own 'matchstick portraits' business in the middle of the smallest, coldest place they could find that was still called a town, which in Canada could be very small and very cold.
Ray wasn't going to go quite that far, but he half knew, even before Fraser has asked, even before he'd really had to make the choice, that whatever he did... they were staying in Canada.
He didn't care where he lived and however much Ray taunted Fraser about never settling in to life in America, he knew his partner would never be happy there. Not like Ray, Ray could be happy anywhere there was Fraser. And Fraser was born to live his life in the snow and the ice.
The small house they rented near Yellowknife, with its two bedrooms and a bathroom just about large enough to swing a cat in, if it was a very small cat, was what the rental ad had called 'cosy' but what Ray called 'friggin' small'. Big enough for them, but if Diefenbaker wanted to bring home a lady wolf, he'd better be prepared to pay for the extension.
Fraser was going to build a lot of their furniture, so they were going to be camping inside for the first few months, their bedrolls and sleeping bags laid out across the wooden floor of the living room, passing for both sofa and bed. Ray was glad at least that he'd convinced Fraser into having a TV even if it was pretty boring without cable, but Ray thought he could talk him around to that once he was working and earning his own pay check with which to pay for it
It wasn't going to be the life he was use too. The places, or people, or anything. But there was Fraser and Diefenbaker and this cosy little house of theirs.
Maybe it had never been a choice.
Maybe from the moment they met they'd been on this path.
Maybe from the moment Stanley Kowalski had decided he needed to be someone different...
And now he really was. A whole new man with a whole new future to explore and he'd gotten to bring the most important part of his old life with him.
If it was a choice, it was the easiest one he'd ever made.