Rating: G
Pairing: Kowalski/Veccio pre-slash
Thanks: Thanks to Sage and mergatrude for beta
Notes: For Xenocrate, for Out of Con.Txt

Starting Over

by china_shop

It was the first real day of spring and Ray, for one, was fucking glad to see the end of the snow. He'd had enough of snow for one lifetime. Plus Welsh had decided to team him up with the newly-returned-from-Miami real Ray Vecchio, on account of how Ray knew more about the last two years of Vecchio's life than Vecchio did, and if they wanted him to transition back smoothly from undercover blah blah blah...

Anyway, the combination of Vecchio and snow had made Ray want to drive a crampon into his own head on a regular basis, so sunshine was a blessing, and they'd finally run Jimmy "the Mongoose" Benanti to ground in his sister-in-law's hairdressing salon. "You have the right to remain silent," Ray was telling him, and then he looked around for where the hell Vecchio had got to, but Vecchio had disappeared. "Anything you say, can and, uh, will be used against you—" Ray continued, absent-mindedly, as he scanned the street for his AWOL partner.

"Chicago PD! Step out of the car," yelled someone a long way off behind him, and Ray swung around and squinted into the slanting afternoon sun to see Vecchio running up to a car that was stopped at some traffic lights, his coat flapping like wings, his long legs moving with more determination than Ray'd seen out of him to date. He was holding something out in front of him, but Ray was pretty sure from the way he was waving it around that it was his badge, not his gun.

Ray hauled Benanti to his feet, anyway, and reached for his glasses.

A middle-aged lady in a fur coat started to get out of the car, but the lights had changed, and everyone lined up behind her started honking. Vecchio bent and said something, and the lady folded herself back into her seat. Vecchio closed the door—Ray could tell he was being careful and respectful, even from here—and the lady pulled over to the side of the road on the other side of the intersection. Vecchio threaded his way through the traffic like a dancer or a hockey player, his attention fixed one hundred percent on the car, which was—

Ray felt a grin stretch his face wide. A green Buick fucking Riviera. It looked to be in pretty good condition, too, from what Ray could see, which was not a lot from this distance. Ray shook his head, still smiling to himself, and finished Mirandaizing Benanti, then hustled him into the waiting squad car. He folded his arms and lent on the Goat, waiting for Vecchio.

It was a pretty lengthy conversation Vecchio was having with Fur Coat Lady. Vecchio waved his arms in the air (it looked like he was describing an explosion), and then pressed his hands over his heart. Finally the lady looked at her watch and tucked her hair behind her ear, and Vecchio pulled a card out of his wallet, wrote on the back of it, and handed it to her. She tucked it into her handbag, handed him something, and got back into her car and drove off.

Vecchio came back over to the hairdresser's with a spring in his step.

For the first time, Ray let himself think that a Miami tan really suited Vecchio. It gave him an air, not that Ray would ever tell him that, no fucking way.

"What's your problem?" Vecchio said, when he was within speaking distance.


"Something's wrong with your face?" Vecchio stopped a couple of feet away and mugged at him. "For the first time in three months, you don't look like your dog just died."

"Har-de-har-har," Ray fired back, automatically.

"Whatever." Vecchio shrugged, and moved to the other side of the car.

They looked at each other across the GTO's gleaming roof. Ray lifted his chin. "Did you get her number?"

"Better." Vecchio showed him a business card. "She said fifteen hundred, but I talked her down. Said I could get her off her parking tickets." There were crinkles around his eyes when he smiled.

"Freak," Ray told him, trying to ignore the way his breathing had gone strained and uneven.

Vecchio grinned, not at all offended. "Come on," he said, jerking his head at the road ahead of them. "This is my lucky day. Let's book that scumbag and go for a drink. I'm buying."

Ray flicked his clip-on sunglass lenses down, and slid into the driver's seat, and thought maybe, yeah. Maybe a drink would be okay.

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