situation's tolerable by Sionnain

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Title: situation's tolerable
For: mizface
Pairing/Characters: Kowalski/Vecchio
Warnings: R
Vidder's/Author's/Artist's Notes:
Thank you very much to my fantastic betas, S. and J! Also thanks to J for the cheerleading! Mizface, I hope you like this story and that your holidays are happy and bright.
situation's tolerable

The blizzard hit late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, while they were on their way to the airport to deliver a suspect to the Feds.

Okay, it probably wasn't an actual blizzard--Ray saw so much snow in Canada that anything less than sixteen million feet seemed like a dusting--but the way Vecchio was bitching about it, it sure seemed like the Blizzard of the Century had just shown up in Chicago, intent on destroying them all.

"...and you do know that no one in this city can drive in the snow, don't you? We're probably gonna get stuck on the way home, Kowalski. The snow removal people are actually hamsters, so the roads will be clear by, oh, I don't know, Valentines Day--"

"Vecchio," Ray interrupted, looking over at his partner. "The only two people in this entire city who can drive worth a damn at any time are sitting right here in this car." Ray looked in the rear-view mirror at Richard "try a more creative fake name" Jones. "In the front seat," Ray clarified briefly, lest the scumball thought Ray meant him. Which would be dumb, 'cause if Jones--who was caught by police while trying to flee a bank-robbery--was a better driver, he wouldn't be in the back of Ray's GTO on his way to a special holiday meet-up with the Feds, now, would he? "That's true every day, so the snow isn't really going to change that."

"No, but it'll make all the other drivers even worse," Vecchio grumbled. "And you know what the salt does to the tires on the Riv? Do you? It's not pretty, Kowalski. It'll make you weep."

"Good thing you parked her in the garage, then," Ray said idly, trying to sneakily turn down the heat from surface of the sun to warm, because he was starting to feel like he was in a sauna, here.

"Yeah, but we're supposed to go to Ma's for Christmas dinner!"

Wow, Vecchio must be wound up if he was mentioning Plans They Had Together As Boyfriends in front of the suspect. (Jesus, what was it about Vecchio that made Ray think about things Starting with Capital Letters? It was like being in love with the guy turned Ray's brain into the Chicago Tribune's headline department or something.) "I can drive us, Vecchio, it's okay."

"How sweet," Jones sneered, which--what, seriously? Unsuccessful bank robber, boring fake name criminal guy was giving Ray shit?

Oh, I do not think so, pal, no I do not.

"Better than where you're spending Christmas," Ray said coldly, then sighed as he saw Vecchio reach out and crank the heat up again when he thought Ray wasn't looking. Vecchio was wearing his wool coat and a scarf, gloves, and the fuzzy hat that Ray made fun of but actually really liked. Ray was wearing his leather jacket and fingerless gloves. Who should be adjusting the heat, here?

The traffic crawled to a halt, and Ray suddenly had a horrible thought. "Vecchio," he said, because Ray Kowalski did not understand the concept of not-sharing when it came to horrible thoughts (or any thought, really), "What happens if this loser misses his flight? We got to take him back to the station, or what?"

"You mean if you can't get to the airport in time, I don't gotta get on a plane with two federal agents?" Jones started singing Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow, obnoxiously off-key and loud.

Ray and Vecchio exchanged a look. It was the same one they gave each other when Fraser tried to talk them into a little hike when they visited him in Canada last spring, or when Maria's kid asked them why "Uncle Ray moving in with Other Uncle Ray is making grandma cry." Ray reached down to turn the radio up, effectively drowning out Jones' horrible rendition of traditional Christmas carols and allowing Ray to say to Vecchio under his breath, "I am getting that prick to the freaking airport if I have to haul the bastard there on my back. Like that part in Day After Tomorrow. Except Jake Gyllenhall is way hotter than our bank robber, here."

Vecchio nodded, huddled a little more in the seat and said solemnly, "You do that, and I'll call for backup. From the car."

Ray snorted a laugh, but they both knew Vecchio wasn't kidding. Ray didn't want anything to happen to the GTO while he was doing said perp-lugging, did he? Vecchio would just stay there and keep an eye on it, and stay in the car so the motor didn't freeze or anything. He'd work that angle until it sounded like he was doing Ray a favor, because Vecchio was good at that. And Ray would fall for it, because Ray was good at falling for Vecchio.

* * *

They got to the airport with little time to spare, so Ray parked illegally and made Vecchio and Jones wait in the blustery cold while he rummaged around to find the detachable police siren in his trunk. It was pretty stupid, because the windshield would just end up covered in snow, but hey. He was an officer of the law. He at least had to try to make it legitimate when he blatantly broke traffic laws.

At least this time it wasn't just that he was late for work and wanted a peppermint mocha from Starbucks, without having to wait in the drive-thru or parking sixteen miles from the door.

It took some badge-flashing and Ray's bad-cop to get them to the gate on time (okay, it took Ray's bad-cop and Vecchio's to get them through security, who apparently thought "police" and "detective" and "bad guy who needs to catch his flight" meant stop and examine everything in Ray's pockets, to the delight of Jones-the-suddenly-fond-of-the-Transportation Security Administration). Eventually, they handed Jones off to the tired-looking Feds at the gate.

"Hope that land yacht of yours makes it back to your Mom's for Christmas," Jones said snidely, and Ray was too outraged at the slight against his car to think of a clever comeback.

As always, though, Vecchio had his back. "Hope the next time you try to rob a bank, you have more sense than to try and get away in a Geo Metro."

"You know, Vecchio," Ray told him as they walked back towards the airport entrance, "I love you for a lot of reasons." He held up a hand and started ticking them off on his fingers. "One! You're really good in bed. I mean really good." Ray leered at him. "Your mouth makes me think very bad things."

Vecchio stopped his fast-paced walk towards the doors and gave Ray a small bow. "Thanks, Kowalski."

"Hey, no problem. Two, you're the only other guy I know who doesn't drive like someone's grandma. You understand how to drive and you got a car that doesn't suck."

"Really, stop, you're making me blush."

"Bullshit, I know what it takes to do that. And I can't get in that position standing up or with all these people around, we'd get arrested, so you're gonna have to wait for that, you dirty freak. But--what was I saying? Oh, right. Reasons I love you. Three--hey, is that Jerry Springer?" Ray asked, distracted as he caught sight of a guy heading back towards the gates. "Doesn't that look like him?"

"Nah, that guy's stockier and he's got longer hair. Besides, I'm pretty sure Springer travels by Greyhound. You know, so he can find guests for his show. Seriously, Kowalski, you want to finish whatever you were saying?" Vecchio shoved his hat on his head and wrapped his scarf tight around his neck. His expression was one of grim determination as he geared himself up for the four seconds they'd be outside, but man, did he ever look hot in that coat. "If not, could we move? I'm like a human bowling pin, here, geez, you see how many people just bumped into me?" Someone did it again, and Vecchio scowled and called out, "What, they don't teach you manners where you came from?"

Ray let Vecchio work through his ire and stared up at the ceiling, seeking to recapture his earlier thought. "What--oh! I was going to say I like it when you defend the GTO's honor. Like with Jones, back there, and that one guy who asked me at the grocery store last month what year my Plymouth Barracuda was." Ray scowled at the memory. "Idiot. A Plymouth."

"Oh, God, that guy. I had to say something, I thought you were having a stroke with all that sputtering. And I like that car, Stanley, what can I say. Especially 'cause it's got a heater. So if you're done declaring your love for me at O'Hare, can we maybe go home now?" Vecchio's voice was rich with his customary sarcasm, but he was giving Ray that little half-smile of his with his eyes all warm and green, and that made Ray decide he was going to do that thing that made Vecchio blush three times in a row when they got home. Christmas was a time of giving and hey, Ray was a giver.

Except it appeared he was going to have give something else, first. Like an earful to whoever towed his car, what the hell? Ray left Vecchio standing next to the baggage carousel and stomped around angrily on his cell phone, shouting and waving his hands to no avail. The guy at the towing company said he were very sorry, but if they'd only known Ray was a detective engaged in a prisoner transport, his car never would have been towed in the first place.

"Well, didn't you see the light? I had a light! A...siren, thingy," Ray said, frustrated. "On the dashboard. It was right there! Beneath the snow, sure, but is it too much to ask for a little effort before you tow a guy's car away?"

"Sorry, sir, our towers usually aren't on the lookout for siren...thingies. Usually police cars have the sirens on top."

"Are you mocking me? You are, aren't you? It's Christmas, and I just turned over a bank robber to the Feds. And you know, he was robbing banks in Chicago, maybe your bank--no, seriously, where do you bank? Because I bet that was the place this guy was robbing and maybe it was your money and that's the thanks I get? Towing my car? Do you hate goodness and--and Christmas and law and equality, Walter--it was Walter, right?--because I really think that you do hate those things, that is the impression of you that I am getting right now, I just want you to know that."
Surprisingly, this argument got him nowhere. Or maybe it got him somewhere he didn't want to go, because for some reason they couldn't tow the car back because of the weather, even though that hadn't been a problem when they'd towed the car away in the first place.

It must be a Christmas miracle. The kind that sucked.

"Just sit tight, Detective Kowalski. We'll have your car back to you as soon as we can."

Ray chewed on his lip as he realized two things--one, he was going to have to tell his boyfriend they were stuck at the airport until the weather let up (so, possibly April), and two, his beloved car was spending Christmas alone in a tow-lot somewhere near the airport. "Would you--hey, could you just make sure she's okay? My car, I mean."

There was a pause on the other end of the line. "Um. Sure. What kind of car was it, again?"

"A black Pontiac GTO."

"Oh, right. Saw that one come in. Kind of looks like a Plymouth?"

Because it was Christmas Eve, Ray pressed the end call button on his cell phone without saying a single unkind word, and went to find Vecchio.

* * *
Due to the high volume of canceled flights, the airport was pure chaos.

Luckily, Vecchio talked them back into the concourse so they didn't have to spend Christmas Eve at Auntie Anne's pretzel shop next to the baggage claim. (Ray liked pretzels, and so did Vecchio, but they each their reasons for wanting to get back to the gates--Ray wanted a beer, and Vecchio wanted to be someplace far away from the automatic doors leading outside.) This took some doing since TSA officials were the most suspicious people on the planet (anyone who actually thought you had a bomb cleverly hidden in a flip flop or bottle of water...yeah) but Vecchio had amazing smooth-talking skills and was good at caroling people to do what he wanted. Or whatever that word was that was like caroling but meant talk people into stuff. Ray's vocabulary went out the window during times of stress, and thinking about the GTO being alone on Christmas--definitely stressing him out, here.

"It's just that I was going to put in that new nine-piece hardtop door set," Ray said sadly, slouching down lower in their booth at Johnny Rocket's, located For Your Convenience in Terminal Two. "For the weather, you know?"

"I know," Vecchio said, his voice kind, and he reached over and patted Ray on the hand. "I know, Ray."

Ray sighed for the fifty-sixth time, only slightly mollified by Vecchio's gesture and calling him Ray. "Bet you're glad you didn't drive today," he muttered, looking up at Vecchio with a scowl.

Vecchio grinned. "Yup," he said, completely without shame. "Sure am."

"I hate you."

"Hey, wait a minute, here." Vecchio gave him a wide-eyed, shocked look that was totally fake. "You hate me now? What happened to all those reasons you loved me that you counted off earlier? You telling me our relationship isn't strong enough to withstand your poor parking judgment and a tow truck?"

"Don't forget Walter the car-knowledge-impaired who hates goodness," Ray added. "Who apparently keeps all his money in a jar under his mattress."

"What?" Vecchio asked, laughing. "That doesn't even make sense, Stanley."

Ray looked up and scowled. "Neither does your face," he shot back. "And you would've parked in the same place, and you don't even have a not-working siren to put on your dashboard that no one would notice."

Vecchio just rolled his eyes and stole a fry off Ray's plate. "You want to go through a list of reasons you hate me? Will that make you feel better?"

Ray nodded.

Vecchio waved a hand graciously. "All right. My ego can take it, go ahead."

"You're--you're really--smug." Ray pointed across the table at him. "And your car is in a garage, all warm and safe-like. Stop smiling at me like that, Vecchio, it's not fair. You know you'd be acting the same way if it was the Riv out there in this weather, you know it."

"Of course I would," Vecchio said, as if that were the most obvious thing in the world. "And you'd be acting like a dick just like I am, and you know that. The Kowalski I know and love would not let this situation go by un-mocked, that's all I'm saying."

"Yeah, but I'd only be doing it 'cause it'd make you mad and then you wouldn't be having a hissy fit and worrying about your car---oh," Ray said, lifting his head and giving Vecchio a slow, bright grin. "Oh. Also I love you 'cause you're sneaky."

"Good job, detective. Now stop smiling at me like that, it makes me want to get on my knees and give you a blowjob under the table."

"Okay," Ray said immediately, perking up. "That'd make me think less about the GTO and more about why I love you." He snorted. "Also it'd be funny, y'know, 'cause of where we are."

Vecchio blinked, obviously confused. "O'Hare?"

"Johnny Rockets," Ray said, snorting. "Rockets. Heh."

Vecchio threw his napkin at him, complete with a patented Vecchio-eye-roll, but he still laughed. "Moron."

* * *

Neither of them were laughing a few hours later, though.

They'd been kicked out of Johnny Rockets, though sadly it wasn't because Vecchio was doing unspeakably hot things to Ray beneath the table. Which he wouldn't have done anyway, because the day Ray Vecchio got on a dirty floor, willingly even, to suck Ray's cock was the day Ray was going to start cheering for Detroit--that day being never. No, they were kicked out because they were taking up space and there were approximately six thousand people in line, wanting to do the same thing he and Vecchio were doing (the eating, probably not the cock-sucking, though statistically there had to be a few) and escape from Lord of the Flies out there in the terminal.

Ray tried to drink a lot of coffee to give them an excuse to keep their table, but after his sixth refill, the nice waitress brought him a to-go cup and pointed at the door with a firm sort of expression and a reminder that people were waiting and probably very hungry. Telling her but my car is outside in the snow and it makes me sad! wasn't going to win any sympathy votes, so Ray and Vecchio left her a ridiculously large tip and left the restaurant to rejoin the madness.

"If we don't make it through this alive, just remember that I love you and that you have to get my car out of hock," Ray said grimly to Vecchio, as they were nearly run over by a stroller, one of those airport carts that drove people around and beeped until you wanted them to flip over and explode in a satisfyingly fiery fashion, and two people with carry-on luggage that would so not fit in the overhead compartment on any airplane that wasn't owned by the US Army.

They spent some time in the various shops by the gates, but those were crowded and also, overpriced and very boring because they all had the same stuff in them. Finally, in the last store they stopped in, Ray bought a crime novel and Vecchio bought some overpriced bottled water and a pack of cards.

"This is when you're going to use all those skills you picked up in Vegas, and win us enough money to get a few snowmobiles?" Ray asked, once they had shouldered their way back to the main walkway.

"Yeah, that was exactly my plan," Vecchio drawled, hitting him in the back of the head. "No, we're just gonna need something to do. I know you, and you just had six cups of coffee and you can't sit still even without that much caffeine."

"Hey, I got a book," Ray protested, holding up the novel.

Vecchio stared at him.

Ray sighed. "Okay, yeah, point." He raked a hand through his hair and checked his cell phone. "It's almost time for my hourly call to the towing people. Should I bribe them this time with sex? Maybe Walter swings that way."

"You want to go to jail for solicitation?"

"If it'd get us out of this airport, sure."

Vecchio looked thoughtful for a minute as he considered that. "I don't think that Walter has that kind of power, even if he does swing that way. Come on, let's find someplace to go sit down."

This was easier said than done, because all the flights had been grounded (except the one with Jones on it, thank God, that one had apparently been the last to take off before the airport-wide shut-down, meaning the universe wasn't being a total bitch) and every single gate was crowded with unhappy travelers. Which was O'Hare on a good day, really, but just with a higher volume of said unhappy travelers. Ray and Vecchio walked up and down the concourse three times in a row, looking for a couple of empty chairs in which they could out-weather the weather.

No dice.

The line at Johnny Rockets now approached close to a zillion, so going back there was out. They could try another terminal, but it was probably just as crowded considering every single flight was grounded, so what was the point? Ray called the towing place twice and Vecchio called Frannie, who said there was no way anyone could make it to the airport to pick them up, didn't Vecchio know the highways were shut down from the snow? Why were they at the airport anyway, they weren't going anywhere. Why did Kowalski not take the airport parking pass, for goodness' sake, didn't he know that's what it was for?

Vecchio had to calm Ray down after he learned that bit of news, and he only did so by saying, "Walter probably just has it out for you and would've pretended not to see the pass, Kowalski."

"You're only indulging my paranoid allusions because you love me," Ray said with a sigh, and Vecchio rubbed his back and smiled and didn't argue.

The only place that seemed to have any room to sit down was the Admiral's Club, to which neither Ray nor Vecchio were a member. Ray suggested they pretend they were there undercover to make a bust, but sadly they came up with this plan after Vecchio tried to talk his way in and failed.

Which meant they were both in a bad mood, and Walter asked Ray to please not call during his lunch break, and Ray was cranky and he wanted to go home and he wanted his car and his boyfriend and a blowjob and some ice cream and the Cubs to win the pennant and why was everything so hard? Eventually they found a bit of floorspace next to a restricted area door, and that was good because it was at least in a small hallway off the main corridor that afforded some privacy and a respite from the noise.

They sat across from each other and played cards for a little while to waste time. They started with War because that suited Ray's attention span. Ray was convinced Vecchio managed to sneak all the high cards into his own hand and leave Ray with thousands of twos and fours, because he lost pretty quick. Then Ray put a card on his forehead and tried to make Vecchio think really hard about what the card was, to see if Ray could figure it out from Vecchio's mind. He was 0 for 20 before Vecchio refused to play anymore, bitching continuously about sitting on the dirty floor. When Ray offered to switch and let Vecchio read his mind, Vecchio said, "All that's usually in there is porn and sports and sometimes monster movies you think The Sci-Fi Channel should make," and Ray couldn't really argue with that so he didn't even try.

Finally Ray gave up trying to make a house out of the cards (those stupid fucking carts with the rolling and vibrating the floors, and the loud beeping that startled would-be card-house architects!) and moved to sit next to Vecchio, resting his head on Vecchio's shoulder. "I'm sorry," he said, miserable and tired and really, really bored.

"What? Because the snow is your fault, of course. Wow, Kowalski. I had no idea you were a powerful wizard. Did you miss your Hogwarts letter? I bet you were in Hufflepuff."

Ray looked up and scowled, then hit Vecchio on the chest. "Shut up, and nothing's wrong with Hufflepuff, they were nice. Besides, you know as well as I do that we'd be in Gryffindor with Fraser and probably have to fight Voldemort, even though I'd just want to watch Quidditch and make girls skirts fall off with magic, and you'd...want to do the same thing I did, but we'd go after the evil wizard because we're chumps when it comes to the Mountie." Vecchio laughed, and Ray relaxed a little. "Who is the person we're supposed to get in these situations with, you know, not each other."

"No," Vecchio said, shaking his head. "If it were with Fraser, there would be a high probability of death by water. Or ice. Maybe both."

"Right." Ray snapped his fingers. "But we'd be somewhere more exotic. Like a submarine. Or...Canada."

"Exactly." Vecchio laughed. "This? Snowed-in-at-O'Hare? This is just frustrating and inconvenient and annoying. Definitely more Kowalski-and-Vecchio style."

Ray smiled, bumped Vecchio's shoulder with his. "Hey, I like Kowalski-and-Vecchio style. It's my favorite."

"Sap," Vecchio asked, but he bumped Ray's shoulder and smiled back at him. "I like it, too. Less chance I'll end up shot."

"Vecchio!"

"What? It's the truth, Kowalski, you know it is. Who wouldn't rather be annoyed and inconvenienced than trapped in an air-tight vault with rapidly rising water? I'm just saying."

"You only like me for my statistically lesser chance of mortal peril, this is what I'm hearing?" Ray gave a pretend wince. "Ouch."

Vecchio laughed. "I also like your taste in cars, how hot you look in a shoulder holster, how good you are at handjobs and the fact you're double-jointed. But okay, not ending up dead with you is pretty nice, too." Vecchio leaned forward and pressed his forehead to Ray's. "You're a dork. I love you, idiot. I guess annoying, inconvenient and frustrating is my type."

Ray huffed at that. "Name me one time I've ever been inconvenient, Vecchio."

"True. You're pretty easy. But you're inconvenient at other times that don't involve sex, you know."

Ray pulled away and smacked him lightly on the chest before settling back down next to him and putting his head on Vecchio's shoulder again. Ray reached out and started playing with Vecchio's tie. "I should've taken the squad car. Then we'd be home and having sex and not sitting in a hallway by the--" Ray peered at the door. "Area 903 Sub-Level D."

Vecchio made a horrified noise. "What? No, you weren't going to take the squad car, Kowalski, don't be crazy." Vecchio ruffled Ray's hair. "It's okay. Really. We'll laugh about it one day. After I make you pay the dry-cleaning bill for this suit and my coat."

Ray shifted closer and wrapped an arm around Vecchio's middle while slinging his other around Vecchio's neck, hugging him tight. "It's Christmas Eve," Ray reminded him, face pressed against Vecchio's shoulder. "Is this where you wanted to wake up on Christmas morning?"

"Yeah, actually," Vecchio said, his voice husky, and Ray was confused for a second and thought he meant O'Hare, until he realized what Vecchio really meant.

Ray smiled against Vecchio's shoulder, pleased, a rush of warmth going through him. "Now who's the sap?" he asked, and squeaked like a girl when Vecchio pinched him hard on the side.

"Oh, sorry, you want me to complain some more? Because I can, you know. I was just being nice, but hey, Kowalski--I got a running list in my head, so I could start sharing it. Like how this floor is probably filthy and I can't believe I'm sitting on it, or how cold the car's gonna be after sitting outside for so long, or how I was looking forward to that leftover Mostaccioli Ma sent over with Frannie, or how we're gonna be too tired when we finally make it home to have sex--"

"Hey, don't worry about that last one. I'm convenient, remember?" Ray leaned up and kissed him, intending it to be quick. Instead, he ended up half-sprawled on Vecchio and kissing him hotly, Vecchio's hand in his hair and Ray's fingers deftly loosening Vecchio's tie and undoing the top button of his dress shirt. Ray got Vecchio's gold cross out of his shirt and started playing with it, because Vecchio liked that a lot.

They stopped kissing when they had to breathe, and Ray put his mouth next to Vecchio's ear and said dirty things in a low, suggestive voice, grinning when he felt Vecchio panting against his neck in response. "Gonna suck your cock like I suck on your cross. You like that, don't you, when I suck on your cross while you're fucking me? I see you watching me, know you like it, want me to do it now?"

"Kowalski." Vecchio was pushing at his shoulder, which made Ray grin and nip sharply at Vecchio's ear.

"S'that a yes? 'Cause I can, you know. Suck on it."

"Yeah, I know. Believe me. Never going to argue about how good you suck on things." One of Vecchio's hands was running up and down Ray's back over his shirt, but the other was sliding under the hem in the front, fingers brushing lightly against the hot skin of Ray's stomach and then moving lower. This was much better than playing cards, man, they should have been doing this all along.

"Good." Ray started licking Vecchio's neck, working his way down to the cross, rubbing his suddenly-very-hard cock against Vecchio's hip. He gasped a little at how good that felt as he lazily flicked his tongue over the cool metal of Vecchio's cross, forgetting the crowds and the noise and the fact they were in public and kind of technically at work.

"Yeah, fuck, but--mmm, Kowalski, want you, God, you're--wait, wait, stop--it's your pocket." Vecchio's hands were on Ray's shoulders, pushing like he was trying to shove Ray away from him. Vecchio didn't seem to care much about Ray's hand rubbing over his dick through his suit pants, though.

"Yeah, it's 'cause I'm happy to see you, babe," Ray said, grinning against Vecchio's warm skin as his mouth closed over the cross and he began sucking, moving a little so Vecchio could look down and watch him, pressing his palm harder against Vecchio's dick and making a small noise deep in his throat as he felt Vecchio shudder and heard him moan in response.

"I--ah, yeah, harder, I--I mean--Kowalski, your phone is ringing."

Ray looked up at that, and he swore with the cross still in his mouth before moving away and fumbling for his phone. Hard to do when he was twisted like an Auntie Ann's pretzel around Vecchio, one leg thrown over Vecchio's lap (when had he done that?) with the top button of his jeans undone (and when had Vecchio done that?) and a raging hard on that did not seem to care about Ray's ringing phone or his car or the fact Area 903 Sub-Level D probably was not airport-code for go ahead and give your boyfriend a handjob here, no one will care.

"Detective Kowalski?"

"Yeah?" Ray managed, breathless, and he took one look at Vecchio and--bad idea. Vecchio's lean body was sprawled out right there, legs spread, face flushed and breathing hard while he stared at Ray with hot, drowsy eyes. Jesus he was so hot and--

"--Detective? Did you hear me? Is everything all right?" The voice became concerned. "Have you been kidnapped?"

That was so random, it startled Ray into paying more attention to the phone call and less to the hot, disheveled Italian across from him. His hot, disheveled Italian. "What? No, I'm in the airport--is this Walter?"

"Yes, Detective."

"Walter, A--why are you still at work? B--why would you think I got kidnapped?"

"Because the roads are closed, Detective, and because you're a cop, and it's Christmas, and this is an airport..." Walter cleared his throat. "Maybe you were captured by Hans Gruber."

"Yipee kai-ay," Ray drawled, delighted by the reference. "You been watching Die Hard, Walter?"

"Well, it's on TBS quite a bit this time of year, Detective. I started calling you John McClane to the other people in the office, and you know, my imagination just sort of went a little wild...anyway, we've sorted everything with your car and we think we can get it back to you in an hour or so. If you would wait next to the exit by baggage carousel B, our driver will come in and find you. Again, we really do apologize."

"Nah, it was my fault," Ray said easily. "Should've probably gotten the pass, even if no one told me we had one until today, or taken the squad car."

Walter cleared his throat. "Or you could have parked in the garage."

"Well, yeah, or that," Ray said, exasperated, but he was filled with happiness that his car was going to be returned to him and he and Vecchio would make it home at some point, and then Ray could finish that handjob and there was nothing wrong with the world, nothing at all. He sprang to his feet and started pacing the length of the small hallway. "Hey, Walter, thanks. Oh, and I'm sorry I said that about you not supporting truth and justice or whatever."

"Equality and goodness, Detective."

"Yeah, that. Sorry about that. And for um, calling you every two hours--"

"Every hour, actually."

"Was it? Huh. It's like a time warp in here. But, yeah, thanks. You're a top-notch guy, Walter. Top-notch."

"Thank you, Detective. And thanks for keeping us all safe from the bank robbers. You're like George Bailey, saving us all from Mr. Potter."

"You gotta stop watching so many Christmas movies, man." Ray thanked him again and hung up, then turned to Vecchio and held his hand out to help him up. "He says it'll be an hour, but I'm guessing two. Wanna go get a pretzel?"

Vecchio reached up and took hold of Ray's hand, letting Ray pull him up off the floor. Ray wrapped his fingers in Vecchio's loosened tie and yanked him close. "Ooor, d'you wanna go find some other restricted Sub-Area and make out some more, instead?"

"Yeah," Vecchio said immediately. "Definitely that one. Sub-areas get me hot, Kowalski."

Ray leaned in and kissed him again. "Hey, don't knock my plan. You never know. I might let you in to my Restricted Area if you say please."

Vecchio huffed out a laugh and shook his head. "C'mon, Stanley. I'll buy you a pretzel."

"With cheese sauce?"

"Jesus, you're a pain," Vecchio said, but hey, that wasn't a no.

* * *

By the time they got home, it was almost two in the morning--Christmas morning, at that. Ray made good on his comment about being convenient and sucking on Vecchio's cross (as well as other things) in the shower, and Vecchio took up where he'd left off with that handjob from earlier. That was a pretty good way to start off Christmas, all things considered.

Afterwards Vecchio got into bed, wearing his goofy striped pajamas, mumbling, "S'late, Kowalski, what are you doing? Are you--who are you calling? You don't have to call Walter, babe, the car's in the garage. Remember? We drove it home?"

"My attention span is bad, Vecchio, but I'm not that guy from Memento, geez. I'm calling Walter's supervisor. I want to say how much I appreciated his help and he should get a raise. And get the address 'cause I'm gonna send the guy all the Die Hard movies in a box set for Christmas."

"Stanley Raymond Kowalski, there are very few people like you left in the world," Vecchio mumbled. "Thank God. Can't you do this in the morning?"

"I guess, yeah, no one's answering anyway. Hey, you can park illegally after two in the morning, is that what this means?" Ray padded over to the bed, climbed in and pressed up against Vecchio's back. He immediately put his cold feet against Vecchio's calves to warm them up. Vecchio made a sound like a girl, Ray laughed at him, and then Vecchio elbowed him in the ribs. Pretty standard night-time routine stuff.

"I think it means it's Christmas and everyone's asleep. Just like we should be."

"Hey, Vecchio," Ray said, ignoring that completely, "You know what would be really freaking creepy?"

"Is your answer silence and that's why you won't stop talking?"

"Ha, ha, funny. No, what if I called tomorrow and there is no Walter. You know, like he's Clarence! From It's a Wonderful Life?"

"Wait, so now Walter is an angel sent to tow your car?"

Ray bit Vecchio lightly on the shoulder. "Hey, maybe. Isn't that what angels do? Come down and teach you some kind of lesson about...something? Did I learn any kind of lesson, d'you think?"

"Definitely not if it was about being quiet and letting your boyfriend go to sleep."

"Maybe it was about getting the airport parking pass!"

"Right, that's exactly why angels descend unto man, Kowalski. To remind them to grab parking passes from their offices. How did we miss that important lesson in church? And hey, aren't you agnostic? Because I think the angels probably fix problems for actual Catholics who go to Mass before they get to the ones who shack up with other guys and sleep in on Sundays."

"Okay, yeah, you're right--unless, you know, angels gotta work up to the other stuff. Like you start with the agnostic, guys-who-like-guys-and-forget-parking-passes, then you move up to ...world peace, or showing people why jumping off a bridge is a bad idea, et cetera. Clarence could've helped an agnostic lesbian remember to bring her grocery list to the store before he got that Bailey gig, Vecchio. You don't know."

Vecchio snorted. "You are a special snowflake, Stanley. You know that?"

"So you tell me." Ray closed his eyes and yawned, throwing an arm roughly around Vecchio. "M'ry Christmas, Vecchio," he murmured sleepily, face pressed against Vecchio's neck.

"Merry Christmas, Kowalski."

Ray was quiet for approximately four seconds, and then something else occurred to him. "Walter could be a ghost! I'll call there tomorrow and they'll tell me he died seven years ago on Christmas Eve! But man, that sucks, spending your afterlife at work. It'd be like purgatory, you know?"

"Oh, I know," Vecchio said wryly, sighing. "Inconvenient, frustrating and annoying. Just like I said."

Ray was going to point out that Vecchio could be all of those things, too--and point them out in detail, with relevant examples--but he was tired, and hey, it was Christmas. He was a generous guy. He'd save that for the morning, over coffee, because then he could use the white board on the fridge for diagrams and relevant pie charts while Vecchio made them omelets.

Excellent.

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13 Comments

THIS WAS SOOOOOOOO WONDERFUL!!!!!! I laughed aloud, and clapped, and pointed at the screen goiong "Yes! That is SO THEM!" and just love this beyond words (but I will give you a lot more anyhow).

Where to start? Your Rays are perfection - the voices just right, and I could see this so clearly. the situation was perectly them, too - and I loved how that was acknowledged, and how they both knew if Fraser had been there it would have been deadly, instead of annoying. The banter made me smile so much, and the easy way they interacted, the strength of the relationship, made me awwww. And the hotness was, well, hot. And you had Kowalski sucking on Vecchio's cross! The yum factor for that is incredible!

Some more specific bits I adore (in order of appearance):

You had me at Vecchio bitching about the roads, and I laughed a lot at the hamster thing.

the levels of heat in the car (and the never-ending back and forth of changing it)

Capitalizing is sooo a Thing I Love. Seriously - I clapped when I saw that bit

Ray was good at falling for Vecchio awwww!

Airport security searching Kowalski made me grin, mostly because of his interpretation

Vecchio defending the GTO!!!!

Kowalski knowing what makes Vecchio blush

Vecchio's voice was rich with his customary sarcasm perfect description, pus I just love how he keeps complaining

Kowalski's entire rant at Walter, especially this: Do you hate goodness and--and Christmas and law and equality, Walter--it was Walter, right?--because I really think that you do hate those things, that is the impression of you that I am getting right now, I just want you to know that

Kowalski being worried his car was alone - awwwww!

The love and hate and love again lists (and Vecchio being sneaky)

"All that's usually in there is porn and sports and sometimes monster movies you think The Sci-Fi Channel should make, I laughed so hard when I read this

The entire Harry Potter exchange

Vecchio trying not to complain non-stop (but it's still there in his head)

the make-out session!!

Area 903 Sub-Level D probably was not airport-code for go ahead and give your boyfriend a handjob here, no one will care. LOL!

Walter saves the day! And references lots of movies! (okay, this whole fic is peppered with pop culture references, which I utterly and completely love!)

Kowalski wanting to call Walter's supervisor is too sweet

The entire ghost or angel? thing - oh my was that wonderful, especially hwo angels might have to work their way up

And truly, you summed it up perfectly with th elast line. Excellent, indeed!

Thank you thank you thank you seekrit santa!!! This is the best gift!

Sonia Author Profile Page said:

IT'S LIKE YOU WROTE A LOVE LETTER TO EVERYTHING THAT I PERSONALLY FIND AMAZING ABOUT RAY/RAY. They are both just so ROMANTIC and big open dorks about how ridiculously IN LOVE they are. "Now who's the sap?" BOTH OF YOU. YOU ARE BOTH BIG SAPS AND THAT IS ONE OF THE MANY REASONS YOU ARE THE BEST.

And god, there were so many laugh out loud moments in this. And your twisty perfect Kowalski thought process is a thing of beauty. And VECCHIO. I can not even deal with how much I love Vecchio in this fic. And I mean, just in general too obviously. LOTS OF LOVE. But you just capture the Vecchio factor that makes me all flaily flail.

He'd work that angle until it sounded like he was doing Ray a favor, because Vecchio was good at that. And Ray would fall for it, because Ray was good at falling for Vecchio.

ME TOO KOWALSKI. ME TOO.

Anonymous said:

OMG THIS IS SO FABULOUS! THEY ARE SO THEM AND THEY LOVE EACH OTHER THE MOST AND I JUST WANT THEM TO DORK AROUND FULL TIME FOR THE REST OF THEIR LIVES. LIKE IT GIVES ME HOPE FOR HUMANITY TO KNOW THAT SOMEWHERE, KOWALSKI IS SAYING A NON SEQUITOR AND VECCHIO IS BITCHING AND THEN THEY ARE MAKING OUT.

Jade Lennox Author Profile Page said:

Ray was cranky and he wanted to go home and he wanted his car and his boyfriend and a blowjob and some ice cream and the Cubs to win the pennant and why was everything so hard?

*pets Ray and his adorablness*

I love what you've done here - given us a little slice of life of Ray and Ray...There's so many great lines here, so many quotable ones.

But what I really love is the sense of partnership, of togetherness, of through-thick-and-thin that's here. It puts a smile on my face and gives me the warm fuzzies.

omens Author Profile Page said:

Beautiful! Great character voices and so funny (and hot!)... favourite bits: Kowalski and his list of love, and his time required for winding down at night (Walter toooootally died seven years ago on Xmas Eve!!!) and the way they get to be SO GROUCHY with each other all the time, because they love it and like to be. :D

Awwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. And, you know, awwwwwwwwwwwwww. I loved this! I love flaky, totally-in-love Kowalski and resigned, totally-in-love Vecchio. I love how TOGETHER they are and the sheer amount of love and affection between them. I love their snarky banter and their hot kissing and Kowalski's inability to let anything go ever and Walter the not!ghost and this line And Ray would fall for it, because Ray was good at falling for Vecchio. Because yes, yes, YES, a 100000000000000 times YES.

(catwalksalone)

df,fsdm oh my god I can't stop laughing. This is brilliant, and if you are not who I think you are, anon, I will eat my invisible Stetson.

Favourite lines:

Vecchio stopped his fast-paced walk towards the doors and gave Ray a small bow. "Thanks, Kowalski." Because that image is just -- oh VECCHIO.

"Don't forget Walter the car-knowledge-impaired who hates goodness," Ray added. "Who apparently keeps all his money in a jar under his mattress." That is perfect Kowalski-not-making-sense.

"You're only indulging my paranoid allusions because you love me," Ray said with a sigh, and Vecchio rubbed his back and smiled and didn't argue. It warms my heart that Vecchio didn't even think of bothering to correct him. Aww.

My attention span is bad, Vecchio, but I'm not that guy from Memento, geez. Nah, Ray, you're that other guy from Momento! :D

I feel like I might become thousands of little paper hearts at any moment. YAY.

"Bullshit, I know what it takes to do that. And I can't get in that position standing up or with all these people around, we'd get arrested, so you're gonna have to wait for that, you dirty freak.

Heeeee! I was gonna pick out a lot more quotes, but I figgered I'd pick just one, and tell you I love the whole snarky-schmoopy thing. Which I do.

Oh wait, but then there's this:

"Hey, Vecchio," Ray said, ignoring that completely, "You know what would be really freaking creepy?"

"Is your answer silence and that's why you won't stop talking?"

And a lot of other great stuff. Now I'll shut up. \s/

Thanks for such a sweet, funny story.

...when Maria's kid asked them why "Uncle Ray moving in with Other Uncle Ray is making grandma cry.

I love the idea of the kids calling for "Uncle Ray" and "Other Uncle Ray" at family dinners.

Thanks for such a sweet, funny story.

...when Maria's kid asked them why "Uncle Ray moving in with Other Uncle Ray is making grandma cry.

I love the idea of the kids calling for "Uncle Ray" and "Other Uncle Ray" at family dinners.

spuffyduds said:

How the heck did I miss this at Christmas? It's delightful. *pets and cuddles the story*

blueteak said:

Here via thursdaynext_27's rec. and so glad to have been linked to this!
The "things I love about you" speech being interrupted by a potential Jerry Springer sighting, the suspect's teasing about the car... ♥ this.

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