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25 October 2009 @ 03:08 pm
Fic: hand over your heart (let's go home), fraser/kowalski/vecchio, rated R.  
Title: hand over your heart (let's go home)
Author: sionnain
Fandom: due South
Characters: Fraser/Kowalski/Vecchio
Rating: R
Word Count: 11,015
Warnings: Cold Desert brought the angst. There is no angst here. They make me fluffy, okay?
Summary: This is a sequel to Cold Desert. In that story, Ray Vecchio returned to Vegas to testify against his former Mafia associates, with Ray Kowalski attending as his protective detail. When Fraser learned his Rays were in possible danger, he and Dief came to lend a hand (and, I suppose, a paw). After some angst, a lot of kissing, some misunderstandings and a foiled kidnap/murder attempt, the boys had a hot threesome, decided to give this wacky partnership a try, and Vecchio went to take the stand and testify.

This fic explores the relationship dynamics following the boys' return to Chicago. It's not necessary to read the first one, unless you want the backstory. :)

AN: For the polybigbang challenge! Fic title is from the Kings of Leon song Cold Desert. My thanks to inlovewithnight, meresy and spuffyduds for the beta. Additionally, thanks to snoopypez and andeincascade for the cheerleading! ::mwah::

Art: I received an awesome, fantastic fanmix (with gorgeous cover art omg!) for this story, courtesy of waltzforanight! It's amazing, and it fits the story *perfectly*. Thank you so much, Jen! <3333

we're all in this together




Hand over your heart (let's go home)


Prologue

The night they left Vegas, Ray Vecchio sat near the window and wondered what in the hell was going to happen when the plane touched down in Chicago.

They were booked on the same flight (Dief, to his displeasure, was flying in the cargo hold. Fraser tried calling it "lower level accommodations", but Dief wasn't fooled for a minute), three seats together in one row. Kowalski was in the middle seat, asleep, taking up too much room and drooling on Ray's shoulder. Fraser was trying to tell Ray all about the debate between physicists regarding air flight, Bernoulli's Principle and Newton's Laws of Motion, but he'd lost Ray somewhere around compressible flow. At one point, Fraser started using the SkyMall magazine to illustrate something supposedly to do with airplane physics, and flapping it like a crazy person while doing so.

All this did was wake up Kowalski, who blinked sleepily and said, "Vecchio, why's Fraser making that magazine into a bird?"

Fraser beamed. "Well, Ray, actually I was explaining to Ray here about the Kutta Condition. You see, that's what makes it possible to understand how air flows faster past the top of the wing--" He started flapping the magazine again in an attempt to explain.

"Oh, it's science," Kowalski mumbled, then put his head back on Ray's shoulder. "Wake me up if it's actually a bird next time, ‘cause I could make one too and they could have a battle," he said with a yawn, and went back to sleep.

Fraser did the crossword puzzle (in thirteen minutes), and Ray looked out of the window and thought going home. On his way out to Vegas to testify, he and Kowalski had flown the red-eye, armed with a tentative truce and a pair of discreet Federal agents. Now, he was coming back without the agents but with two boyfriends; one of whom used props to explain scientific principles, and the other who drooled in his sleep. Jesus, I could have just found a shotglass with a glowing cowboy on it and called it good, Ray thought to himself, looking over at the two of them. Kowalski had shifted so he was lying on Fraser now, his mouth parted in sleep, fabric marks from Ray's suit on his face.

Fraser was wearing his uniform (a few people thought he was the pilot, at the gate), his hat stowed in the overhead compartment, cheerfully flipping through the SkyMall magazine and despairing at the prices of the items. ("Sixty-five dollars for a pair of slippers? I think that quite misses the point of slippers entirely, don't you, Ray? Isn't the point comfortable simplicity?") A few times, Fraser looked down at Kowalski and smiled, and then directed that same smile--that blinding, devastating Fraser is happy smile--at Ray.

And Ray--God, he was happy. Sure, things had started between the three of them after someone had almost killed him, but Ray had pretty much decided that “normal” had gone out the window for him the moment he’d met Fraser. This relationship of theirs was—well, Fraser liked the word "unconventional" (Kowalski favored “freaking insane”), but it felt natural, somehow. Ray had no idea how that was possible, really, but it just did.

At some point while in Vegas, Ray had decided that life wasn't really meant to be understood but rather lived. And maybe that was because he’d just done something really scary with the testifying and all that, or it could be he saw that phrase on an inspirational poster in a gift shop at the Paris casino and decided what the hell, there are worse life mottos out there. Because if life handed him two hot boyfriends who were also into each other and willing to share--

They didn't have an inspirational poster for that (even in Vegas), but it seemed like pretty good advice to Ray.

So that was what he was doing. Going with it, going with them, and seeing where this would lead. There was always the possibility that it would end really badly, but there was a stronger possibility that it was going to be amazing, too. What was life without a little risk, right?

Because as much as Ray was really into this whole idea, it was still a risk. It wasn't even so much that Fraser and Kowalski were both guys; Ray had come to grips with wanting guys a long time ago. It was mostly that Fraser could be the most annoying man on the planet when he wasn't even trying (not to mention the fact Ray's car seemed to get blown up or drowned when the guy was around), and Kowalski was occasionally far too reminiscent of a teenage boy hyped up on sugar. Ray, well, he could grudgingly admit he wasn't perfect, either. The three of them had very strong personalities all right, and when Ray thought about how a relationship with the three of them would actually work--no doubt about it, that was the definition of "daunting."

Instead of worrying about it, though, Ray stole Kowalski's peanuts and took a nap with his head on Kowalski's shoulder. Plenty of time for worrying later, right?

At the baggage claim area, he watched Kowalski trip over his own feet and someone else's bag trying to get his duffel off the carousel. After he successfully captured his luggage, Kowalski immediately laughed and threw his arms up in victory, saying very seriously, "Winner and still champion!" with a triumphant smirk at the conveyor belt. He was conducting his epic battle while Fraser, who had managed to fit all his belongings into a carry-on (how that was possible, Ray didn't know--they'd been in Vegas for three months), was arguing with Dief by the automatic doors. "I'm very sorry, Diefenbaker," Fraser was saying, very seriously, looking down at Dief. "But they weren't going to allow you to--no, I was not going to pay for an upgrade, you know I find the system of assigning amenities to travelers that fall into the realm of basic human decency to be incredibly classist--"

Ray looked between Kowalski and Fraser and shook his head fondly. "Come on," he said, and he couldn't help but reach out and run a hand through Kowalski's crazy, sleep-tousled hair before patting Fraser on his back once they were all back together. "Let's get out of here."

Kowalski batted at his hand but he smiled at Ray, that sleepy, slow smile that was making Ray think improbable thoughts, considering how tired he was. As the doors opened into the warm Chicago night, Ray thought that he was a very lucky man; home safe, and with two people that might drive him crazy but might just be the best thing that ever happened to him.

*****
Sometimes, Ray Kowalski had to remind himself that he wasn't dreaming.

Which was a really fucked-up, maybe girly thing to say. So he didn't say it, he just sometimes...pinched himself. Which probably looked a little crazy, sure, but he couldn't help it. It wasn't even an "I'm really happy" kind of pinching—well, okay, a lot of it was that. Mostly, though, it was more the "when the fuck did I end up dating two guys?" kind.

Which was a special kind of pinching that Ray had possibly just made up. He was doing it enough that Fraser had examined him thoughtfully after Ray had taken a shower (which was really hot) and asked if he'd been "attacked by some sort of aggrieved, mutant lobster, Ray?" Ray had considered saying "yeah, actually," just to see what Fraser would do. Then he figured it would end up with him in some sort of ocean craft trying to net mutant lobsters, and...yeah, no.

It was just that when Ray's attention span wandered over towards the subject of his two boyfriends, he couldn't help but boggle at how weird it was.

Ray had gone to Vegas, cranky and mad at the world, and he really had just intended to get away from Chicago and out of his head a little. Then he'd fallen hard for Vecchio, and that was definitely not on his agenda for the assignment. (Not that Ray had much of one, save “keep Vecchio alive” and “see a show or two” and maybe “learn how to play blackjack without getting smoked.”) It wasn’t so much that Ray fell for a guy that shocked him—although, hey, that was certainly unexpected—it was more that said guy was Vecchio. And that was just not something Ray had signed up for, either the "fall for a guy" or "fall for Vecchio" thing. But suddenly there was sex involving a cock that wasn't his and Ray really liked it, and it turned out he really liked Vecchio, too. For stuff other than just sex, even.

Then Fraser had shown up. Ray, sometimes he still had nightmares about that: walking in and seeing Vecchio and Fraser kissing. (Well, all right. He only had a nightmare about the first time he’d caught them kissing, when he thought Vecchio was going to stop whatever thing he and Ray had going on to be with Fraser. Ray was absolutely one-hundred thousand percent okay with walking in on Fraser and Vecchio kissing now.) Ray had been expecting there to be a him-or-me showdown with him coming out the loser, because it had never in a million years occurred to him that this kind of thing would work.

"This kind of thing" being a threesome. Not just the sweaty-sex kind that involved a lot of scrambling around and trying not to fall off the bed (those letters in Penthouse always left out the awkward stuff), but the kind with...emotions. Feelings. All that girly crap that made Ray pinch himself and Fraser question if he’d been attacked by cranky crustaceans. Yet weird as it was, Ray couldn’t deny that it was working.

When they'd first gotten back from Vegas, Ray had been pretty sure it was all going to end really fucking badly, derailing like Amtrak and possibly injuring civilians in a fiery collision of awfulness. How could it not? Vecchio was in love with Fraser, Ray was in love with Vecchio--it was like one of those Lifetime movies, if Lifetime made movies about two Chicago cops and a Mountie having gay sex. While having feelings. (If Lifetime did make those movies...Ray would maybe watch it. Or, okay, fine--he'd admit that he did.) Despite that night at Caesar's where they'd laid the chips on the table and then laid each other, Ray was still pretty sure he was going to find himself out in the cold eventually.

Fraser and Vecchio were crazy about each other, that much was obvious. And sure, Ray knew Vecchio and Fraser had the hots for him, but that wasn't much compared to love, right? He'd been mostly expecting to get a call one day where one or both of them said something like, "It's been fun, but we're going to buy a walk-up and we've got no room at the inn for you, sorry, buddy."

This made him nervous and insecure, and that was by no means a selling point for "hey, be in a relationship with me,” was it? Fraser had seen Ray at his worst, after all, when he and Stella were first divorced and Ray was a little...intense...about her. What was going to make him think Ray would be any different with the two of them?

Besides, what if it was too soon for him to be in a relationship? Was getting divorced from the only girl he'd ever loved and/or dated and jumping into one with two other guys really that great of an idea? Probably not. Which meant that one night, in a fit of self-sacrificing angst that befitted the heroines of romance novels (Ray read them for the hot sex scenes, thank you), he went to Vecchio's and did what Vecchio would later call "Kowalski's Grand Moment of Martyrdom."

That night, Ray paced back and forth in the living room of Vecchio’s apartment, talking with his hands and tripping over his words until he had thrown something out there that was basically, "Look, I get that you two have got a---thing, y'know, like a shot at something, and I'm probably just in the way and I can't--I mean, the sex is great, really great, really, really great--like the other night, goddamn, Vecchio, that thing you did with your mouth, while Fraser had his fingers--anyway, that's not the point! The point is that I can't do this, 'hey, let's do great things to Kowalski with our mouths and nice fingers' if you don't--I mean, if I can't--I'm just not good at casual, okay? So if that's what this is, or what you want, then I'm gonna just...go." Ray cleared his throat. "Um. After we--I should probably get one last threesome in, 'cause I don't think I'm gonna end up in this situation ever again and I really like it."

Vecchio sighed. He was doing that thing, reclining in that relaxed sprawl of his, a few buttons of his dress shirt undone so Ray could see the glint of his gold cross lying against the white of his undershirt. And that just wasn't fair because Ray wanted to straddle Vecchio when he looked like that, straddle him and kiss him and finish unbuttoning his shirt. Then his pants. Because Vecchio's legs were spread, and Ray could easily get right there between them--

"Benny, you wanna know something I'm glad about?"

Fraser, who was sitting perfectly straight and not at all disheveled, but still looking entirely too hot to be considering dumping, looked over at Vecchio. "I would love to, Ray."

"I'm glad I got you to put up with this guy here," Vecchio said, jerking his chin towards Ray. "I think I might throw myself--or, actually, him--out of a window if I had to do this on my own."

Ray glared at him. "I'm trying to--whassit--bare my soul, here."

Vecchio grinned at him, slow and hot. "You could bare your ass instead, I think I'd like that better."

"Fuck you--"

"Ray," Fraser interrupted, and he was smiling. Why the fuck where they both smiling at him, didn't they get that this was hard? Was Ray going to have to get a mirror and show them both how hot they were and how the thought of walking out of the door to be the good guy was killing him? "Ray, no one wants you to leave. Certainly not me. This is a triad, a threesome. How would we do that if there weren't three of us?"

Ray raked a hand through his hair, annoyed. "You'd have a--dunno. Twosome. A--duad."

"A duad," Vecchio crowed, laughing. "Oh, man, Kowalski. Fraser's right and all, we like you, but I gotta say--I'd miss your made-up words almost as much as the way you suck cock if you actually went through with this ridiculous plan of yours. Oh, and you know, there's the whole part where I'm crazy about you, moron."

"It's not ridiculous, it's called noble," Ray informed him, but he cocked his head and grinned a little. "Really? You'd miss the--? I mean, Fraser's really good at it too," he said grandly, waving a hand at Fraser.

"I know," Vecchio said, standing up. "And now, see, I'm spoiled. I can't go back to just one of you, not when I got used to two. Besides, I'm crazy about you both. As in both of you. The duad of you, even."

"Ray," Fraser interrupted, before Ray could say anything to Vecchio for that little jab, "I think you’re being a bit callous about Ray’s feelings. Perhaps we should focus on those, rather than assuring him how enjoyable we find his sexual talents--."

"No, no, you should definitely do that," Ray interrupted. "The assuring. With visuals. And probably some demonstrations."

"I meant," Fraser said a bit louder, "that you need to understand you are a valued member of our unique partnership, and that without you we wouldn't be as strong as we are."

"Also, Benny'd drive me crazy," Vecchio added, coming over and putting his hands on Ray's waist. “I need you to help me put up with him. See? It works out great for me, Kowalski,” he teased, fingers sliding beneath Ray's t-shirt, thumbs rubbing slow circles over Ray's skin.

"Not like you're a prize to put up with either," Ray murmured, but he slid his hands around Vecchio's back and moved a little closer. He was also pretty sure he heard Fraser cough and say Amen, but he let that one go.

"I know," Vecchio said, after giving Fraser a look over his shoulder. "That's the thing, Kowalski. This works 'cause it takes all three of us to put up with each other. Capito?"

Ray looked at him, met Vecchio's steady gaze with his own. He remembered watching Vecchio on the stand, every day of the trial, and how proud he'd been of Vecchio for standing up to all those lowlife mobster scumbags. And if Vecchio could do that to the Mob, sit up there with his game face on and tell the truth despite the fact a lot of people wanted him dead for it, then he probably wasn't lying about wanting Ray to be there with him and Fraser. Also, Vecchio had really nice eyes, and Ray was getting a bit distracted because Vecchio was rubbing his hands up and down Ray's back, and what was he worrying about, again?

"Okay," Ray said, and kissed him.

Later, when the bed was a mess of tangled covers and Fraser was lightly drawing his fingers through Ray's sweaty hair, Ray said quietly, "I just wanted to do the right thing.”

"You did," Vecchio said on a yawn, sounding really smug. "Definitely. Especially that last thing you did, you know, I got no idea how you bend like that, Kowalski, but it's hot."

Ray leaned over Fraser to hit at Vecchio, but he ended up running a hand through the fuzzy hair on Vecchio's chest, which Ray really loved. "Not that--but, hey, thanks. I picked up that trick from gay porn. There's a lot of that on the Internet, did you know that?"

"Really? Wow. I had no idea."

"Shut up, you're gonna email me later to send you the link, don't lie. And I just want you both to be sure. I mean, I am annoying. And, um. Twitchy. And kind of needy, and I know this might shock you 'cause I got so much confidence, but I can be kind of insecure. And I'm--”

"Hot, brave, loyal, and you got a great car," Vecchio said, and he gave Ray that soft, fond smile of his; the one that made his green eyes bright and warm, and made Ray forget things like his name or where he was going or why that thing on the stove was on fire.

"I just meant that I don't want to mess up whatever you two got." Ray looked at Fraser, who was watching him with that serious I am listening and taking your words to heart and processing and coming up with an appropriate story about Inuit legends and poor doomed caribou as a response face, and Ray reached out to rub his thumb over Fraser's lower lip, waiting for whatever it was Fraser was going to say.

Fraser reached up and took Ray's hand in his, squeezing gently. He smiled, his eyes lighting up, looking happier than Ray would have ever thought to see him without snow and an avalanche and some kind of harebrained criminal with a nuclear warhead that needed catching. "What we've got, Ray," he said quietly, kissing Ray's hand and then settling it over his heart, "Is each other."

It was kind of hard to argue with that.

So Ray didn't follow through on his Grand Martyrdom Gesture, and instead, he settled down (as much as Ray ever did) and got used to having two boyfriends. Besides figuring out emotional stuff, there were all kinds of practical details he had to learn, too. Like how he had to leave the same voicemail twice but usually with different pertinent information when making or confirming plans. When he called Vecchio to meet somewhere, for instance, he just said the name of wherever they were going and where the best place would be to park the Riv (which Ray had started calling "Four") so that nothing happened to it. With Fraser, Ray lied about the time so that he and Vecchio wouldn't look like they were late all the time since Fraser insisted on showing up early everywhere, and then told Fraser whether or not the place they were going was wolf-friendly.

Ray didn't leave Dief voicemail messages, but he did sneak him donuts and tell him not to let Fraser in on the we tell him the wrong time thing.

They tried using a shared online calendar, but that didn't work. Namely because Ray would put things like, "Give Kowalski a blowjob!" as a repeat entry for every single day, complete with a helpful pop-up reminder. This reminder appeared, chiming merrily, while Vecchio was at his desk talking to Frannie. Which was why one day Ray signed on and the repeat message had been changed to, "Kowalski sucks Vecchio's cock and then does the dishes," which was so not buddies, even if Ray had no theoretical problem with doing the first part of that.

It turned out Vecchio had hacked his password, which he claimed was easy because Kowalski used the same one--gto67--for every single online account he had. Ray promptly changed it to vecchiosux in response, and Fraser just sighed and suggested maybe they should just stick to voicemails after all.

Ray learned--against his will, thank you--how to watch curling, and how to pass notes to Vecchio making fun of it when Fraser couldn't see (or, more likely, while he pretended not to notice) so that he didn't go out of his mind with boredom. And he might love Vecchio, but he was not learning to love the White Sox, ever. When the Sox played the Cubs, Fraser gave them a lecture about partnership and friendship and something else that Ray ignored but apparently involved fish and salmon and some kind of bear. When that didn't work, Fraser threatened to put on a Wonders of the Arctic DVD for Dief if they didn't stop with all the shouting.

That didn't work either, so Fraser took Dief for a walk around the block. When he got back, the game was over and Ray was giving Vecchio the blowjob he'd wagered if the Cubs lost. So that ended up okay.

He and Vecchio still fought, on occasion--actual arguments, too, not their usual affectionate bickering--and sometimes that bothered Ray, because fighting meant divorce, meant drinking too much and being sad and crazy and eating cereal for every meal and tackling people in public. Because ever since that night Vecchio and Fraser had told him in no uncertain terms that they wanted him to stay, that they were a triad, Ray had been invested in making this thing work. He couldn't bear the thought that it might end, especially not over the stupid shit he and Vecchio found to argue about. But they always made up (with mind-blowing sex, excellent), and eventually Ray came to appreciate that a lot about Vecchio--that they could argue and throw down and get red-faced and angry, and it always worked out all right in the end and no one got kicked out or had to drown their sorrows in cheap vodka.

Unless Ray was watching a Cubs game, but that wasn't the same thing.

It didn't hurt that one day in late autumn, while Fraser was busy liaising ("Oh, liaising. I always thought he meant leasing. You know, like we were leasing a part of Canada when he was around?"), he and Vecchio drove down Lakeshore in the Riv. They grabbed a pizza and ate it with the windows rolled down, while parked overlooking the lake. Vecchio leaned back against the seat, arms behind his head, smiling and saying, "I love this town, Kowalski. I love this car," and he looked so happy and peaceful and relaxed when he said it that it just made Ray's heart swell with affection. Like the Grinch, except with less of a problem towards holidays and better hair.

"I love you," Ray said, completely spontaneously, because he did.

And Vecchio looked over at him, eyes warm and bright, and said easily, "I love you, too, Kowalski," and there wasn't a single part of Ray that didn't believe him.

When he'd told Stella about him and Vecchio and Fraser, she'd been surprised, but mostly all right, except for a slight worry that Ray, who loved so intensely and completely, might not be able to feel that strongly about two people instead of just one. Ray himself had worried about that, because he knew very well how intense he got. This thing wouldn’t work unless Ray could love Fraser and Vecchio, and while Fraser was always saying things would come together eventually, Ray wasn't exactly BFFs with patience. There was no way to force feelings that weren't there, though, and maybe that nagged at Ray a little if he thought about it too much. He wanted to love Fraser, he did, and he wanted Fraser to love him back, too.

One night, Fraser was trying to explain cold fusion to Ray at Ray's apartment while they waited for Vecchio, who was late working on a case. They'd been watching that Val Kilmer movie The Saint, and Ray made some offhand comment about "why the hell is everyone so excited about cold fruition, anyway", and that of course led to a lengthy explanation from Fraser. Ray had been fixing chili in the kitchen, and Fraser was so earnest about his detailed explanation--"The principle is based on the work of two electrochemists, Stanley Pons and Martin Fleischmann, and the very existence of cold fusion is still hotly debated. The process of nuclear fusion that produces more energy than it requires to create would be beneficial for a variety of reasons..."--that Ray almost felt bad for ignoring him.

Almost.

When he walked into the living room to see Fraser standing there, at parade rest despite the fact he was in jeans and a white t-shirt, talking as if he were addressing a Panel of Important Scientists Who Were Smart instead of his boyfriend who barely knew the physics behind a hair dryer, it just made Ray realize something he'd never really thought of before. Fraser did this all the time, explained things--cold fusion, String Theory, dark matter, migration of Arctic terns, how they made Dippin' Dots and, okay, how the hair dryer worked--and he never seemed to care that Ray either tuned him out or lost him somewhere in the first six minutes. And sure, Fraser had a pathological need to explain things, just like Ray had a pathological need to tune him out, but right then it occurred to Ray that Fraser really thought Ray understood it. And that Fraser was the same with Vecchio, even though Ray knew Vecchio tuned Fraser out just as much--if not more--than Ray did.

Ray wasn't a genius, but he wasn't an idiot, either. He was a good detective, he was smart about people, he had sharp instincts and he was a very good cop. He just wasn't the most book-smart guy around by far, and that was okay, he'd gotten over that after one year in college. But Fraser honestly saw no reason whatsoever why Ray wouldn't get whatever it was he was explaining, if Fraser just kept talking long enough.

"Hey, Benton?" Ray said, interrupting, a smile so wide it felt like his face was breaking apart. Ray liked Fraser's first name, and had taken to calling Fraser that more often than not-- Ben didn't seem to fit, and Benny belonged to Vecchio.

"--so, you see, it's actually very simple as the neutrons--yes, Ray?" Fraser asked, cocking his head, waiting patiently for whatever Ray was going to do; tell him to shut up, make fun of him, ask three million irrelevant questions or change the subject entirely.

What Ray did, in fact, was step up and kiss him soundly. Fraser kissed him back immediately, making an mmmm sound against his mouth and running his hands up Ray's back. Fraser liked to be touched more than anyone Ray had ever met, even more than Ray himself; the guy was obviously starved for affection, and Ray and Vecchio had solemnly decreed to make up for the many years of Fraser-not-getting-touched by doing it as much as possible. Ray pulled back, put his hands on either side of Fraser's face, and said simply--"Hey. I love you. Okay?"

Fraser's smile--well, Ray didn't follow much in that whole explanation about nuclear fusion, but Fraser could probably have achieved it with that grin alone. "I love you too, Ray."

Ray's answering grin was just as bright. "Yeah?"

"Yes. Now, do you need any help with the chili?"

"Nah," Ray said, happy, going back into the kitchen. "I got it. You can keep telling me about morons--"

"Neutrons, Ray."

"Yeah, those. You can tell me about those some more, if you want," he offered, not because he had any clue what Fraser was talking about, but just because he figured Fraser would enjoy telling him.

Later that night when Vecchio came home, Ray was stretched out on the couch with his feet in Fraser's lap. Vecchio looked tired, his eyes shadowed, and Ray knew that the case Vecchio was working was a bitch; serial rapist, really nasty stuff, the kind that gave him nightmares he hadn't had in a while. Ray looked up and waved at him cheerily. "Hey, Vecchio," he said, putting his hands behind his head. "Guess what! Me and Fraser are in love."

Vecchio looked at them both for a minute, quiet. Then he smiled, and all the shadows in his eyes were gone. "I know. You guys save me any chili?"

Even with that settled, things weren't easy, but Ray figured easy was boring and he'd rather take complicated any day. When Ray had called to tell his parents about Fraser and Vecchio, Vecchio stood behind him, hands warm on his shoulders, Ray holding Fraser's hand in a death grip while he stammered and eventually got the words. Because no matter what happened, when he got off the phone, he had two guys who loved him and would be his family even if his other one let him go.

That was the thing Ray had learned from all of this, the thing that really mattered. Love wasn't about how many people were involved, or if they were guys or girls or space aliens or wolves or whatever. It was about not letting go no matter what. And that he had that, well--

That was pretty much greatness.

* * *

One thing Benton Fraser learned, as his relationship with his two Rays progressed, was that he could in no way imagine his life without them as a part of it.

This was, of course, the reason why he'd chosen to return to Chicago after Ray had finished testifying in Las Vegas. He was also quite happy neither Ray had fallen in love with Vegas enough to want to stay there permanently; his months in the desert had done nothing to endear the climate to him. While it had a certain stark beauty, Benton had been too immersed in the unending heat to really pay more than cursory attention to the dramatic nature of the landscape.

Vegas was not, in simple terms, Benton's cup of tea.

It would, however, always have a special place in his heart. It was where it came together, this triad of theirs, and while Benton didn't gamble and had no interest in the assorted vices available for one's pleasure in Vegas, he would always think of the place with a certain fond smile.

As long as he never had to go there again.

Chicago was home now, as busy and dirty as ever, but with the added benefit of Ray and Ray. Benton had happily accepted a position at both the consulate and as a liaising officer with the 2-7, and he spent his time split between Ray Vecchio and Ray Kowalski's apartments. This would not do for the duration of their relationship, of course, but things had progressed smoothly so far, enough so that Benton did not see a reason to change things until they were a bit more settled.

Benton knew he wasn’t the easiest man to be with, as Dief was constantly pointing out to him. He had some rather firmly-ingrained habits which were sometimes described as--well, "very annoying" seemed to be the majority opinion--developed over years of what was, in essence, self-sustainability. As it turned out, Benton was rather fond of being right and of having things a certain way, and rather accustomed to both of these things occurring (despite Dief's occasional protests) on a daily basis.

Of course, his partnership with both Rays--before anything of a romantic nature had occurred between them--had challenged this. He often found himself forced to explain his reasoning far beyond what Dief required, or having to abandon a perfectly good plan because "No, Benny, I am not jumping into that vat of gross stuff in this suit, are you crazy?" or "Fraser, I don't think you get what 'completely terrified of heights' means, buddy." Very frustrating for a man who was used to plotting his course without having to take into account dry cleaning bills or irrational phobias (hot air balloons were perfectly safe, as he repeatedly told Ray).

As it turned out, while there might be some satisfaction in having his own way all the time, it made for a very lonely life. It had never really occurred to Benton how isolated he'd been, both as a child and as a young man, until he made Chicago his home and opened his heart to his two Rays.

There was, quite simply, no way to be lonely around the two of them. It was novel and sometimes exhausting, though both Rays were very firm that he take time to himself when necessary. At first Benton felt guilty about this--they were a triad, it was important that they be together--but finally Ray Vecchio said bluntly, "Benny, we all love each other but we all drive each other crazy, sometimes, it's okay. Hell, there are days I take the long way wherever I'm headed home to avoid both of you."

Benton felt momentarily saddened by that, but Ray Kowalski simply snorted and said, "Those are the days the Sox lose and he knows I'm going to give him shit for it when he gets here," prompting Ray to hit him upside the head, which led to a brief battle involving far too much slapping to be entirely serious.

"Go take a run with Dief," Ray Vecchio suggested, having fended off Ray Kowalski's (entirely unauthentic) karate-chop-ninja pounce.

"Yeah, Fraser, or you could go sit in Canada with the air conditioner cranked up real high," Ray Kowalski suggested, trying in vain to get Ray Vecchio in a headlock. "That'll be, you know. Cold and stuff."

Benton had to think about that one for a minute, until he remembered Ray called the Consulate Canada, and was not suggesting Benton take a long trip to his actual home country. Right. "I don't think that is a good idea, Ray, that would be terribly expensive," he said earnestly, and then sighed when they both stopped their horseplay and looked at him, then burst out laughing. Which was something they tended to do around him a lot, actually.

"Perhaps I could borrow one of your cars," Benton suggested, straight-faced. "And take a nice, leisurely drive down by the lake they call Michigan?"

Then, he tried not to smile as they both went from laughing to horrified to apologetic in seconds.

In the end, he took Dief for a run in the park. Dief whined about it, having enjoyed much more Ray Kowalski's suggestion of going to the Consulate so that he could have a nap under the desk. Once they were engaged in their run, however, Benton could tell he was enjoying himself. When they arrived back at Ray Vecchio's, there was pizza and garlic bread, beer, and iced tea for Benton, and table scraps that Benton politely pretended he didn't notice Ray Kowalski was giving to Dief.

After dinner, Dief took a nap on the couch, much to Ray Vecchio's chagrin. Ray had purchased a large, soft dog bed for Dief in an attempt to keep him off the furniture. Benton had suggested an actual bed--Dief took offense to the part where the bed was for a dog--and Ray Vecchio had laughed even though Benton had, in fact, not been joking. So Dief had napped, his belly full of pepperoni and other things that neither wolves nor dogs were not supposed to have, and Benton went into the bedroom with Ray and Ray and enjoyed himself most thoroughly. And he realized that it was quite something indeed, that he could have his time to himself and return to this.

And then he stopped realizing anything other than that, because Ray Vecchio had a very talented mouth and Ray Kowalski had sinfully long fingers, and Benton was very fond of both of those things.

Ray Kowalski and Ray Vecchio were both very American. Meaning they were exuberant and loud a great deal of the time. While Benton loved this about them very much, it was easily overwhelming. Ray Kowalski and Ray Vecchio both seemed to find silence a mortal enemy that must be thwarted at all costs, and while Benton had become somewhat used to this during his tenure as partner with each of them, together they were a force to be reckoned with. A very talkative--often at the same time--force, at that.

"Benny, you aren't exactly quiet," Ray Vecchio told him, when Benton mentioned this casually over their who was the better James Bond? breakfast discussion. "You talk all the time."

Ray Kowalski had nodded in vehement agreement. "Yeah, Benton. You talk about caribou and legends with Inuits and Eskimos--"

"Aboriginal peoples, Ray."

"--yeah, them too. So you can't say it's just us that does all the talking, right?"

Perhaps that was true, but Benton didn't know how to explain the difference; namely, what Benton was trying to tell them was usually pertinent information he really thought they should know. When he finally managed to get that out--"I tell you these things because it's usually germane to the conversation at hand," both Rays had looked at him and said,

"What?"

"It's usually relevant," Benton had explained, thumbing at his eyebrow.

"Well, so's the stuff we talk about," Ray Kowalski said, arms crossed over his chest. Benton had been momentarily distracted by the way that pulled his t-shirt tighter across his chest.

"Oh, I--didn't say it wasn't, Ray, I--"

"Yeah, you did," Ray Vecchio interrupted, coming to stand behind Ray Kowalski and settling his hands on Ray's hips. He leaned forward, kissing the back of Ray Kowalski's neck, which made Ray suck in a breath and lean back a little. "That's what he said, wasn't it, Kowalski?"

"Yeah," Ray Kowalski breathed out, blinking, looking for all the world as if he'd lost the thread of the conversation. "That's what he--mmm--said."

"No, it really wasn't. I simply meant that you, Ray--and you as well, Ray--like to fill silences with anecdotes that do not pertain to anything we've been discussing previously--Ray, do you remember the other day when we were in the GTO on our way to meet Ray for dinner? You told me about bad Chicago drivers, two phone calls you'd received that morning, an annoying email that was homophobic in nature which was forwarded by your aunt in Colorado--"

"Oh, yeah, that stupid email. Vecchio, did I tell you about that? So you know my mom's brother, the one that died from that disease you get from--fleas? Or, wait, is it ticks? I can't remember, but he got it when he was a kid and it never went away. Anyway, his wife keeps forwarding me these emails about how same-sex marriage will destroy the foundations of the universe or something, and--"

"--and you switched the station four times and told me your opinion on the various early morning DJs," Benton interrupted, hiding a smile.

"Well, because most of them suck, Fraser--"

"And yet, I fail to see how any of that was topical to the question I asked you when you picked me up from the Consulate."

Ray grinned at him, his blue eyes bright with mischief. "Uh-huh, it was so."

"How? At no point did I say, 'Ray, please enumerate the things that bothered you in detail about your family's email proclivities, including your opinion on Chicago's radio personages and your uncle’s unfortunate battle with Lyme disease.'"

"Benny," Ray Vecchio said with a grin, giving Ray one last kiss on the particularly sensitive side of his neck. "I can guarantee that according to Kowalski, here, all that stuff was germa---whatever that word was you just used."

"Germane, Ray."

"Yeah, that." Ray walked around and was behind Benton, now, running his hands up and down Benton's chest, kissing at the back of his neck, and--oh, that was very distracting, indeed. "I wasn't there, but let me guess. You got in the car and said 'how was your day, Ray?'"

Benton leaned back against Ray, tilting his head sideways, one hand coming up to cover Ray's on his chest. "Ah. Yes, of course. I see your point, Ray. It's just that you are so very effusive--"

"That means you got problems knowing when to stop talking," Ray Vecchio interrupted helpfully.

Ray Kowalski moved forward, pressing against Benton's front just as Ray Vecchio was pressed against his back. "Nuh-uh, I know what effusive means. Means I'm excitable. Which I am." He gave a forward thrust of his hips at that, proving that he was definitely excitable. Benton was between them, feeling the warmth and the obvious affection they had for him and for each other, wondering for the thousandth time how he'd gotten so lucky. "S'part of my charm, Benton-buddy," Ray said, tugging his head down to kiss him.

"Well, I'm not sure it's charming--"

"Vecchio, time to play, 'shut the Mountie up'," Ray murmured against Benton's mouth, and before Benton could say a single word, Ray Vecchio's hand slid around and began undoing his jeans.

That was in fact a very good tactic, and worked quite well at ending the discussion. And at some point--perhaps later, when Ray Kowalski was asleep with his head on Ray Vecchio's chest, Ray's fingers smoothing easily through Ray Kowalski's hair--Benton said quietly, "Perhaps I do talk just as much as you two," in a concessionary tone.

Ray just laughed at him, shaking his head and leaning over to kiss him, sweet and easy. "You're something else, Benny," Ray said, smiling against Benton's mouth. "You know that?"

"Thank you kindly, Ray," Benton said, kissing him back.

Additionally, Benton found himself unaccustomed to the sheer amount of physical affection he received on a daily basis from both of his partners. Certainly he had begun to appreciate and enjoy the benefits in bed--at some point, he might have to write an essay for the Loving More magazine he'd found online about that very thing--but this was beyond the things they did to each other in bed. This was affection the likes of which still took him by surprise, and which Benton had never realized exactly how much he'd been missing until he was showered with it, times two, on a daily basis.

Ray Kowalski's version of physical affection was as exuberant as he was; he ruffled Fraser's hair, he called him "Benton-buddy", he kissed his forehead or slapped his ass--a few times in public. Ray held his hand when they watched movies (mostly horror movies), he sat on the floor with his back against Benton's legs on occasion, if they were all three trying to sit on Ray Vecchio's couch. If it were just Benton and Ray, Ray would lie down and put his head in Benton's lap, or his feet, or pat his own lap and tell Benton to "throw your legs up here," or "wanna put your head in my lap?" (the last usually had an eventual ulterior motive, which Ray was very bad about telegraphing). Benton didn't mind.

He and Ray had certainly never been standoffish with each other when they were just partners in the traditional sense, but this was something else entirely. Ray would fling his arms around Benton when he walked into the room, waltz him around, and kiss him with all that frenetic energy that was so much a part of Ray Kowalski's very being.

Benton found himself overwhelmed at first, but he'd become accustomed to it eventually. There was really no way to be with Ray Kowalski without eventually getting used to him.

Ray Vecchio was just as affectionate, though Benton had noticed it was slightly less frantic and a bit more deliberate; Ray was fond of slow, teasing touches, giving Benton that warm slow smile of his and backing him up, careful and unhurried, into a wall to kiss him breathless. When they were walking down the street, Ray was apt to bump shoulders with him and pat him lightly on the back.

In the morning, if he was out of bed before Ray Kowalski, he'd come and help Benton make breakfast; this usually meant a lot of casual touching while Ray complained about something, because if Benton had learned anything about Ray Vecchio, it was that he used complaints like other people used endearments. But Benton didn't mind, and sometimes they got a little carried away and Ray would get to his knees with Benton pressed up against the fridge, gasping, hands on Ray's shoulders while Ray went down on him slow and easy. Then Ray's talking was less complaining and more insistent, more teasing. "You like that? Seems like you like that. Dunno, can't really tell, maybe you could be a little louder-" and then Ray Kowalski would shuffle in, hair sticking up in ridiculous angles, yawning and wearing his glasses.

"Nice thing to wake up to," he'd say, then lean against the door while Ray brought Benton off, gasping and twitching and discovering some heretofore unknown enjoyment he had in being watched.

And when they decided to combine their penchant for affection--well, Benton was lost, unable to fend them off or protest that it was too much, because they were apparently convinced he'd been lacking in affection in his formative years and were determined to make up for it.

They weren't actually wrong about that.

Certainly his Rays were frustrating--they refused, for instance, to read the books Benton brought home about non-traditional relationships. Oh, Ray Kowalski had been intrigued by one until he'd found out what it was about, and then asked very seriously if maybe there was a summary of some kind he could read instead. "No, Ray, there are unfortunately no Cliffs Notes that I'm aware of for The Ethical Slut," Benton told him, and Ray had sighed and wandered off to read the sports section of the Tribune.

The websites he sent to them both earned a cursory glance at best--"Are there hot pictures, Benny? Me and Kowalski think we'd like these more if there were more hot pictures."--and his one attempt at registering them for the Loving More conference had produced rather emphatic no's from his partners. "I am not going to a conference full of hippies, no way, Benton, nuh-uh. Me and Vecchio got us all hockey tickets, that'll be a lot more fun."

In the end, the game had been fun, though Benton's highlight of the evening was what happened afterward in Ray Kowalski's bedroom.

"Can't do this at a Loving More conference," Ray Kowalski said, sounding very smug.

"There was supposed to be an informative session on the mechanics of group sex," Benton told him, and tried not to laugh when Ray demanded to know if he was serious or not. He wasn't making that up, though he'd fudged the name of that particular breakout session just a bit.

Both Rays were very prone to making fun of him, and had a very staunch resistance against Benton ever, ever driving their cars. It was really very ridiculous of Ray Vecchio to blame him quite so vehemently for the demise of Vecchio's third Riviera--as Benton pointed out, Ray Kowalski was driving when the car ended up submerged in Lake Michigan. This earned him a very dark scowl from Ray Kowalski, at which point Benton wisely escaped to the kitchen.

While neither man was necessarily what Benton would call messy, their standards of cleanliness were not precisely those to which Benton had always held himself. He supposed he couldn't argue too much, however, as he wasn't exactly a permanent resident at either of their apartments. Still, Sundays often found him sorting through a mishmash of laundry with a very loud sigh (or eight), while muttering to Diefenbaker about how he was glad Dief only had the one coat. "If I had to do your laundry, too, I think we would have to start some kind of chart before I lost my mind."

Dief just barked, then trotted out into the living room where the Rays were watching football and arguing about nothing in particular. Meanwhile, Benton tried in vain to separate Ray Kowalski's t-shirts from Ray Vecchio's white dress shirts and the brightly colored, printed shirts he had begun wearing recently. Ray Kowalski laughed at him the first time Vecchio strolled out into the living room wearing one, which might have hurt Ray's feelings, except Ray Kowalski had kissed Ray soundly and said, "That takes confidence to wear, Vecchio, and confidence is hot."

Ray Vecchio responded, "This from a man who has sixteen shirts with skulls on them," but Benton hadn't missed the way Ray had ducked his head and smiled a small, pleased smile. And while Ray Vecchio might tease Ray Kowalski constantly about his clothing, he and Benton both were very fond of the way Ray Kowalski looked in a t-shirt.

Sometimes, Benton dreamed about Canada and the wide expanse of frozen snow, and he woke up feeling homesick and out of place in this loud, noisy city with these two loud, noisy men. He thought about his cabin and solitude and quiet, and there were times he missed these things very much. But then he would be tackled out of nowhere by Ray Vecchio, or waltzed through the living room with Ray Kowalski, or forced to settle an argument between them like "Hey, Fraser, come out here and tell Vecchio he's stupid if he thinks this guy should take the Banker's deal on Deal or No Deal" (how Benton was supposed to know this, he wasn't sure), and would listen quietly to all presented facts and answer them in a way that would usually please neither Ray.

There were lazy Sundays with curling on the television and both Rays pretending they hated it, but actually getting involved in the game, much to Benton's delight. Later, they blamed this on the American male's fondness for sport of any kind. Benton wisely did not remind them of the twenty-minute case they had presented --Why Curling Sucks, by Ray Kowalski and Ray Vecchio--which had included the use of visual aids.

Ray and Ray might be two of the most vexing men to ever draw breath, but they loved him fiercely and without reservation, as passionately as they loved each other, and when he thought of it that way--

The pristine beauty of Canada had nothing on that, and Benton Fraser was very, very glad to be home.

* * *

Ray had never asked Kowalski or Fraser if they kept a mental list of the scariest things they'd ever done, but one day, he might. Kowalski's list was probably "every day I worked with Fraser" or "kissing you that first time in Vegas", which Ray knew because Kowalski mentioned those things as being frightening all the time. Fraser's list would be more carefully constructed, but Ray would have to provide more details and specifications to get one out of him in the first place ("Do you mean scariest physically? Mentally? What qualifications are we using, and what am I to consider the top of the scale? I may, perhaps, need to include a sublist in order to fully answer your question, Ray,") and that seemed like a lot of work for what was a pretty simple question.

Maybe it was easy for Ray, because he did have a list. Topping that would be the moment he walked into a meeting with the highest-ranking members of the Iguana family and Vegas' underworld as Langoustini. Waking up and finding himself tied to a chair and facing the barrel of a gun was pretty much tied, and taking the stand for the first time in Vegas came in right after that. That moment in the gym with Frank Zuko, which should have paled in comparison to some of the shit Ray'd had to do in Vegas, was definitely still up there. And yeah, rounding out the list would be standing in that hotel room in Vegas, laying it all out on the line, telling Kowalski and Fraser that he had feelings for them both and that maybe they should all be together, crazy as it sounded. And while other stuff happened after that--telling his family that he had not one, but two boyfriends, for instance--the top tier remained pretty set in stone.

Then, of course, there was a whole other list, which was comprised of "Stuff that happened when I was partners with Fraser where I was pretty sure I was going to die." He and Kowalski tried making up a drinking game to that, because Kowalski had a list, too. The rules of that game were still fuzzy, though, because it was one of the few times in his life Ray had gotten drunk. Which had happened really quickly after "bank vault" and "Russian submarine" were brought up, as that had resulted in them each finishing a beer simultaneously for the "drink a whole beer for the time you really, really thought it was over and were kind of kind of okay with that because Fraser was driving you crazy" rule.

The moment when Ray, Kowalski and Fraser walked into the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago to sign the papers for the house they'd bought...okay, yeah. That was scary, too. Scary because it was a commitment, buying a house together. In the year since they'd come back from Vegas determined to make this work, they'd had their ups and downs--more ups than down, which was definitely good--and had, for the last five months, pretty much been living at Ray's apartment. It wasn't that big of a place, and even a king-sized bed was starting to feel a bit too small. Besides, Kowalski was paying rent on an apartment he barely set foot in, and the lack of closet space was reaching a critical level, and really the next logical step was to find a bigger place.

Which, because they were all kind of contrary people, they'd avoided doing for reasons that really didn't make any sense. Finally, Ray had suggested maybe they should find a new place (with another bedroom, and maybe another bathroom, and holy mother of God, please, some more closets), and Kowalski who had said, all wound up and anxious like he'd expected them to say no, "Or, you know. We could get a...house."

A house. An actual house for the three of them, with closets and bedrooms and more than one bathroom. A mortgage, with all their names on it. Since they couldn't get married for obvious reasons, this was the highest level of commitment they could make to each other. There had been a moment of quiet as they all figured that out, and then Fraser had beamed and said, "I think that is an excellent idea, Ray."

Kowalski had grinned, bright and happy, and said, "Vecchio? What about you? You in?"

Was he in? Of course he was in. He'd been in this since he'd first suggested it in Vegas, and that wasn't going to change. Not now, not ever. Which, okay, he'd answered Kowalski with a laugh, a hit upside the head, and gruff "Duh, idiot," but hey. Same thing.

So, yeah. He was in, but it didn't make it any less scary. Of course, that might have had more to do with the real estate market than anything else.

House shopping might have been a pretty good test of their relationship, actually, but in the end they'd somehow agreed on their first three choices (albeit for different reasons). They were lucky enough to get their first choice, too. Of course, no one mentioned Fraser's bizarre questions to the poor real estate agent ("Do you know if there are ley lines nearby by any chance? Oh, you don't know what those are? Well, they are thought to be concentrated lines of energy which allow for supernatural occurrences. Saying one was prone to seeing--ah, manifestations of certain kinds--they may increase those chances--you don't think so, you say? Excellent.") Or Kowalski's weird insistence about wiring ("I'm just saying, guys, poor wiring leads to ninety percent of non-arson house fires!" "Your apartment is like ninety years old, Kowalski. You think the wiring is any better there?" "No, but I said house fires, Vecchio, not apartment fires."), and Ray's--well, he didn't think it was an obsession with closet space, not really, it was just that anyone who was currently trying to share one with Kowalski would understand his desire for more room.

The house they selected was an easy commute into work for the three of them, had three bedrooms, two baths, and a partially finished basement. ("A project!" Fraser had said, beaming, which made Ray and Kowalski groan in unison, even if it would be a great place for a pool table.) It was roomy enough for visitors, to have Christmas for the Vecchio clan, and had a two-car garage with enough room for the Riv and GTO to spend the winter out of the elements.

It was perfect.

So here they were at the bank, ready to sign papers and close the deal. And they were early, because someone had been anxious and slipped up and told Fraser the real time they were supposed to be at closing instead of the "time we tell Fraser so we don't have to be early" time, and that same someone was pacing around and acting like a nervous wreck.

"I'm just--what if they find something wrong with my credit?"

"Ray, we already worked this out through the proper channels," Fraser said soothingly. "Your credit score was not pristine, by any means--likely why I keep telling you that a large-screen television is, at this point in time, not a very wise investment--but it was certainly indicative that you are responsible enough for the immensity of the loan we have taken out. The bank trusts you to fulfill the years-long obligation you are about to make--"

"Thanks, Benny," Ray interrupted with a groan, putting his face on the desk for a moment. "That's helpful."

"Well, what if--hey, do we have the check? We need a check! Vecchio, did you remember the check? That's a lot of money, the closing cost check! Do you have it? Where is it!" Kowalski was wild-eyed and his hair was sticking straight up, as if it was channeling all of his nervous energy and reacting appropriately.

Ray sighed and used his Good Cop voice, which worked when Kowalski was as out-of-sorts as he was. "Of course I have the check, calm down. And by I have, I mean, I gave it to Fraser. He's the most trustworthy guy on the planet, Kowalski, you think he'd lose that?"

"Okay, good." Kowalski immediately started pacing again. "Well, what if we--"

Thankfully, the door opened and a cadre of people walked in, including their real estate agent, and Kowalski had no choice but to sit down and be quiet.

It took about an hour to close on the house. Ray signed his own name six million times and tried not to laugh when Kowalski signed something and then said apologetically, "We, um. Need another copy of this one," because he'd signed Vecchio instead of Kowalski.

After that minor mishap, things progressed smoothly. When it was all said and done, they walked out of the bank the proud owners of a thirty-year debt and three sets of house keys. In two days, just about everyone they knew would be converging upon Ray and Kowalski's old apartments to move their stuff into the new house, which was guaranteed to be a nightmare. Whenever Ray thought about his family, their friends, and Fraser's oddball coworkers from the Consulate in one place, he felt the strongest urge to lie down until the hysteria went away.

Not to mention, Kowalski had the weirdest ideas about home decorating--Ray was fine with the neon clock, but he'd put his foot down about bikes hanging on the wall--and Fraser was already driving him nuts with some idea for "a home organization system" which sounded suspiciously to him and Kowalski like a chore chart, and Ray was pretty sure even the "wolf-dog hybrid bed" wouldn't be enough to keep Dief off the furniture. This was certainly going to be an adventure.

But it would be home, their home, and that was really all that mattered.

Besides. He was really looking forward to all that closet space.

*****
Coda

On his last night in his old apartment, Ray Vecchio dreamed about Vegas, but it wasn't a nightmare.

Truth be told, he had very few nightmares about Vegas anymore, and sometimes it was very hard to remember he ever was a guy named Langoustini. Instead, he dreamed about Kowalski that night in their hotel, kissing Ray so hot and desperate. And Fraser, standing serious and sincere in his brown uniform, admitting that yes, he had feelings for Ray and then kissing the breath out of him. If there was a nightmare to be found in any of that, it was that it hadn't worked out like it had, and that he had somehow lost them both by being forced to choose between them. Because that was impossible, and the scariest thing Ray could imagine would be making that choice. Lucky for him, he didn't have to.

Next to him, Benton Fraser dreamed about his parents.

They were smiling and standing very close together, arms wrapped around each other's waists, watching him with identical pleased smiles. We're happy for you, son, they told him, though his father asked why, if Benton was determined to have not one, but two men with which he was desperately in love, one of them couldn't at least be a good proper Canadian. His mother told his father to shush and kissed Benton on the forehead, and Benton smiled in his sleep.

Ray Kowalski dreamed about Gillian Anderson, and fighting off Mansquitos who were trying to destroy Earth and steal his last piece of chocolate meringue pie.

Instead of being significant in any way, all that really meant was that the before-bed combo of dessert and Sci-Fi Original Pictures was probably a bad idea. He should definitely keep watching old X-Files re-runs though, because Scully, man--she was hot, even in his dream. And at some point, Ray woke up a little and looked around his darkened bedroom, sad that neither Fraser nor Vecchio were awake so he could tell them about his dream. I'll tell them in the morning, Ray thought, and went right back to sleep.

Dief, in the corner of the bedroom, dreamed about donuts.
 
 
touring: : home
 
 
 
Jimmy Petstore: dS | watch over mesnoopypez on October 25th, 2009 08:44 pm (UTC)
::BEAMS FOREVER:: I can't wait to reread this :D :D :D

omg just LOOKING at the last line makes me all flailteary.
inathunderstorm on October 25th, 2009 08:55 pm (UTC)
About Dief dreaming about donuts? YOU ARE EASILY MOVED TO EMOTION BY DONUT-EATING HALF-WOLF/DOG CREATURES.

:P

<3333

Thanks for being so enthusiastic about this, bb. It meant a lot to me! ♥
(no subject) - snoopypez on October 25th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC) (Expand)
(no subject) - inathunderstorm on October 25th, 2009 09:06 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Tarnish notte the majesty of my TOWER of HATS: F/K/Vmeresy on October 25th, 2009 09:00 pm (UTC)
You got my reaction in the beta emails and stuff but HEARTS. BIG SPARKLY ANIME HEARTS WHERE MY EYES USED TO BE. Oh, boys. ♥

*bookmarks and rereads*
inathunderstorm on October 25th, 2009 09:49 pm (UTC)
<3333333333333333333333333333

Thank you for the awesome beta, and for wrangling my italics. :D? (You were right, there was a lot. ::giggles::) AND ALSO FOR BEING AWESOME, FYI.

::twirls you::
(Deleted comment)
inathunderstorm on October 25th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Awww, yay!

And TY! <33
(Deleted comment)
inathunderstorm on October 26th, 2009 04:56 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you! I'm really glad you liked it! <3
in my plan we are beltless: (glee) responsible adultsariastar on October 25th, 2009 11:42 pm (UTC)
rskasjdsf. THIS. <333

Both Rays' sections had about a million lines in them that made me actually laugh aloud, but for some reason Fraser's section made my insides fill up with tons of warm glowy joy. This is just. I am made of little sparkly hearts.
inathunderstorm on October 26th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
<333333!

Thank you, darling! I was worried about his section, so I'm very glad you enjoyed it! Writing without a plot is kind of daunting, lol.
(no subject) - ariastar on October 26th, 2009 07:46 pm (UTC) (Expand)
LYING BOX OF FROGS: ♥maschalismos on October 26th, 2009 01:03 am (UTC)
I know I'm repetitive, but OH BOYS.

Also, I agree with the Rays. That is SO a hippie conference, good lord. I wouldn't go either for fear the patchouli would knock me out.

Edited at 2009-10-26 01:11 am (UTC)
inathunderstorm on October 26th, 2009 04:57 pm (UTC)
It's a real conference, too. ::snorts:: I think me and K. made fun of ever, ever going there. LOL!

And thank you <3
(no subject) - maschalismos on October 26th, 2009 05:08 pm (UTC) (Expand)
Sonia: Fraser gigglemrs_laugh_track on October 26th, 2009 02:40 am (UTC)
Awwwwwwww boys. Lovin' each other so much, talking, being happy weirdos and making things work. Just as it should be. ♥

Also this,

"A project!" Fraser had said, beaming,

is SO ADORABLE FOREVER
inathunderstorm on October 26th, 2009 04:58 pm (UTC)
<3333333333333!

Thank you, Sonia! I am very :D! that you liked it! :D! :D! :D!

Writing Fraser is hard! So is writing without a plot, lol. Am glad it worked it for you, thanks for reading <333!
deceptively normal: OT3photosmizface on October 26th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
OH I LOVED THIS SOOOOO MUCH!!!! (silly you for being worried)

You had me at RayK wanting a magazine-bird battle. Well to be honest you had me at the premise, because I loved Cold Desert so very much. But the flappy magazine had me laughing out loud, and clapping my hands.

Loved seeing all three perspectives. Loved Vecchio and his life saying, Kowalski and his attempt at martyrdom (and how they boys derailed it), Fraser's attempts to educate everyone on how to be a successful threesome... it was all super. Loved the voicemails (and the calendar), RayK learning from watching gayporn on the internet, Frasertime vs real time, and them buying a house together (with great questions for their agent). And the dreams at the end were so perfect! Ray's not-a-nightmare was terrific, Fraser's parents were poignant, and RayK's dream made me laugh and laugh (I think Mansquito is my favorite bad movie name EVER, and you used it!). and of course Dief dreams of donuts.

I know I said I'd quote a lot, but I think I'll just quote this one, which I loved. It made me all awwwww (and maybe a little teary-eyed):

Fraser reached up and took Ray's hand in his, squeezing gently. He smiled, his eyes lighting up, looking happier than Ray would have ever thought to see him without snow and an avalanche and some kind of harebrained criminal with a nuclear warhead that needed catching. "What we've got, Ray," he said quietly, kissing Ray's hand and then settling it over his heart, "Is each other."
inathunderstorm on October 26th, 2009 04:59 pm (UTC)
::blushflail:: Aww, thank you so much! I'm really happy you liked it. And I was mostly worried because it has no PLOT, okay. ::laughs::

::hugs you a lot::

And yes, that part, THEY MAKE ME SO SAPPY OKAY. I just. ::hands::

Thank you again! Your comment made me smile :)
sundayscatsundayscat on October 26th, 2009 04:54 am (UTC)
Awww so cute!
inathunderstorm on October 26th, 2009 05:00 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
Brigantine: pinky lovebrigantine on October 27th, 2009 03:24 am (UTC)
IT IS ENTIRELY POSSIBLE THAT THESE THREE MAKE ME FLUFFY, TOO! Entirely possible.

Also, this:

Ray cleared his throat. "Um. After we--I should probably get one last threesome in, 'cause I don't think I'm gonna end up in this situation ever again and I really like it."

Oh, Ray, you adorable little weirdo.

"How? At no point did I say, 'Ray, please enumerate the things that bothered you in detail about your family's email proclivities, including your opinion on Chicago's radio personages and your uncle’s unfortunate battle with Lyme disease.'"

"...I wasn't there, but let me guess. You got in the car and said 'how was your day, Ray?'"


BOYS!!!!
inathunderstorm on October 27th, 2009 03:34 am (UTC)
::beams::

i kind of love them! fluffy-making powers and all.

I am glad you enjoyed!! <333
Settiai: Fraser/Kowalski -- isiscaugheysettiai on October 27th, 2009 04:43 am (UTC)
Oh, this was adorable. *grin* I needed something like this after the day I've had.
inathunderstorm on October 27th, 2009 01:52 pm (UTC)
Oh, thank you! <333

I do like to provide happy things for bad days, yay! ::twirls::
busaikko on October 27th, 2009 08:34 am (UTC)
This was wonderful, thank you! I loved having the three different POVs. And the dreams at the end were perfect, left a smile on my face *g*
inathunderstorm on October 27th, 2009 01:58 pm (UTC)
yay! I'm very glad you liked it! Thanks so much for reading!!
wihlutawihluta on October 27th, 2009 09:05 am (UTC)
EEEEEEEEEEE!!!

A Sequel!!

*bookmarks for later reading*
inathunderstorm on October 27th, 2009 02:00 pm (UTC)
::beams::
Have Fun Storming the Castle!: DueSouth motionannieroo2 on October 27th, 2009 09:46 am (UTC)
*laughs* Oh this was so cute and so much damn fun to read. I must have laughed at least a dozen times if not more.

The ending dreams were like the cherries on top. :D
inathunderstorm on October 27th, 2009 08:01 pm (UTC)
Thank you!! I"m very glad you enjoyed it!

::stares happily at your blinking icon of awesome::

<3!
petronelle on October 27th, 2009 10:17 am (UTC)
This is adorable in all its twists and details. I may have shouted "Job wheel!" at one point, but you can't prove that.

I am terribly fond of your *everyone.*
inathunderstorm on October 27th, 2009 08:02 pm (UTC)
JOB WHEEL INDEED <3

I am terribly fond of *you*! ::twirls::