Notes: For Brynn, with thanks for the prompt: "It's not so bad, being stuck here."
"This sucks." Ray leaned back on Maggie's couch and put his feet up on her coffee table. The phoneline was staticky and unclear, probably because of the snow, and Vecchio seemed a thousand miles away. Which he was. "If you'd come with me, at least we'd be stuck here together."
"Yeah, it's all my fault," said Vecchio. "You want to blame me for the weather, too? How about world poverty and unrest in the Middle East." He sighed. "Maybe you should count your blessings. I've got nieces and nephews singing the Twelve Days of Christmas every hour on the hour. One more goose a-laying and I'm gonna throw myself under a sleigh."
"I spent all morning listening to the history of Nunavut," Ray countered. At least you could tune out Christmas carols. At least they were festive, not educational. Ray loved Fraser like a brother, but there was only so much instructional conversation a guy could take before he had to resort to alcohol, and Maggie didn't have any booze in the house. "I'm pretty sure I'm getting a lecture on the art of ice fishing with my Christmas dinner."
Vecchio laughed, and Ray felt a pang. It was stupid being this far apart at Christmas. They should be watching sappy holiday movies together and drinking eggnog, opening each other's presents and making out under the mistletoe. Not snowed in, Vecchio with his family in Chicago and Ray up in Canada.
"I got a thirty minute rundown on the latest craze in Barbie dolls," Vecchio told him. "Plus Frannie's varicose veins are giving her grief. Ice fishing would be a blessing."
"Hey, any time you want to show up here, that's fine by me." Ray slouched deeper into the couch.
"Wish I could," said Vecchio, softly. "You sound like you need to get laid."
Ray's breath caught, but he swallowed it, refusing to be won over. He had a right to his disappointment, dammit. "Please tell me you're not having this conversation in your family's kitchen."
"The landing at the top of the stairs. Everyone's in the living room watching Snoopy's Christmas." Vecchio sounded drowsy. Ray could picture him clear as day, sitting on the floor at the top of the stairs with his legs stretched out in front of him, head leaned back against the white painted walls. Eyes half shut. "I've got about thirteen minutes before the kids start singing at the top of their lungs again."
Ray snorted. "Maybe it's not so bad, being stuck here." At least Fraser only sang sea shanties and folk songs about people dying.
"At least the phone line's still up." Vecchio was silent. "Where are Fraser and Maggie, anyway?"
"They went to dig Mrs. Katsuku's door clear so she can get to her mother's." Ray had offered to help, but Fraser only had two shovels, and Ray had figured a break from each other now would mean Vecchio didn't have to come up and investigate a triple homicide in a couple of days time.
"You've got the place to yourself?" The phoneline buzzed, and for a horrible moment Ray thought they'd been cut off, but then there was a cough or a crackle, and Vecchio said, "We could — you want to do something?"
"What, like— what?" Ray wriggled his toes in his thick woolly socks.
"You know. We could— if we can't do it, at least we could talk about it." Vecchio sounded embarrassed but dogged.
Ray shut his eyes. "You're on the landing in your mom's house, and I'm sitting on Fraser's couch. Does any of this spell seduction to you, Vecchio?"
"Hey, pardon me for trying to salvage a little quality time, here." Vecchio sounded like he'd gotten to his feet now. "Man, I don't think it's ever gonna stop snowing. I can hardly see my car."
"It has to," said Ray determinedly. "Or else I'm going to spend the next years of my life inventing a wood-powered snow tunneller, and I'm going to drive it all the way down there and rescue you from the arms of your loving family."
"Or die trying." There was a smile in Vecchio's voice. "I might have to meet you halfway."
"That could work." Ray listened to Vecchio breathe — or maybe it was just white noise. Snow on the line. Snow everywhere. "You got any mistletoe there?"
"Are you kidding? Frannie didn't just deck the halls, she decked everything. Why?"
"'Cause I need you to stand under it and shut your eyes, and just—" Ray felt stupid, but he said it anyway. "Uh, think about kissing me."
"You heard the part where I'm sitting on Maggie's couch, right? I'm not having phone sex on Maggie's couch, with two Mounties probably going to walk in on me just when it's getting embarrassing." The thought made Ray squirm.
"But phone kissing's okay."
Vecchio's voice sounded like home. Ray's throat ached. "Yeah." He shut his eyes. "Okay, so—"
Ray pictured Vecchio, eyes bright with laughter, familiar teasing smile. He imagined leaning close, breathing him in. "You smell good."
"That's why you love me." Ray focused in on the picture again, Vecchio's eyes falling shut, the soft press of his mouth. He sighed. "Jesus, I miss you."
"This is better than phone sex, how?"
"Less chance of interruptus." Ray rubbed his face. "I don't know. I just— it's bad enough already. I don't want to end up sticky and alone." The whole point of sex, most times, was getting up close and personal with another warm body.
"Hey, it's only a week, at most. You'll be here for New Year." There was a piercing squeal in the background, and then a lot of high-pitched shouting. "Aw, jeez."
"Snoopy's done his dash?"
"Yeah, prepare for invasion of the ear-shattering midgets."
Ray laughed. Vecchio's long-suffering tone was belied by the fact that he'd spent more time and money Christmas shopping for his nieces and nephews than Ray had known was possible. "You love it."
"I survive." The shouting got louder, and Ray could make out Gina's bossy tones and Charlie arguing back. "I should go."
"Yeah, okay." Ray took a deep breath and let it out. "Happy Christmas, Vecchio."
"You too. Keep warm. I'll see you soon." Vecchio sounded distracted, understandably.
"Yeah." Ray pressed the phone more firmly to his ear, reluctant to lose the connection. "Yeah, see you soon."