Sometimes Vecchio convinces Kowalski and Fraser to come with him down to Chicago for Christmas. Or, rather, Ma Vecchio tells Vecchio that he's coming home for Christmas, and he's bringing the boys with him, and Vecchio is no good at saying no to his Ma pretty much ever.
So he buys the tickets home and then he tells the guys. Kowalski goes all narrow-eyed and cranky, but Fraser nods solemnly and says, "It's good to be with your family at Christmastime," and squeezes Vecchio's hand across the table. "Of course we're going."
Kowalski stays cranky, but he's pretty much always a little bit cranky, so it's no big change there. He packs, though, and when Vecchio sees him slipping brightly colored, badly-wrapped presents into his duffle bag, he stops folding his own sweaters and slacks and watches, grinning just a little bit in the dim light of the bedroom.
Kowalski looks up at him and scowls. "What?"
"Nothing." Vecchio holds up his hands, warding Kowalski off, but his grin gets wider. Kowalski, playing Santa, is a pretty damn funny image.
They make it down to Chicago a few days early, and Frannie is the one who picks them up at the airport. She's pregnant again, about five months along, getting big in the belly, but it's old hat by now, and it looks good on her. She's got that glow around her when she meets them at baggage claim, and she looks beautiful, and looks like a mom at the same time, and Vecchio has to swallow before he leans in and kisses her cheek, giving her a rough hug. He asks how the twins are, and she rolls her eyes.
"They almost pulled down the whole Christmas tree last night," she says. Fraser gives her a hug and offers her his arm, and she slides her hand neatly through the crook of his elbow, absently rubbing her stomach with the palm of her hand. "I thought Ma was going to have kittens." She tilts her head to grin up at Fraser, and Vecchio's glad he came home.
Kowalski is over-tired and needs a shave, but when they get to the house and Ma wraps her arms around each of them, kissing their cheeks and crying, Kowalski gets this flushed, happy look on his face, and gives her a hug right back. When he helps Vecchio carry the luggage upstairs, Vecchio waits until they've put the bags down before crowding Kowalski against the wall and kissing him soundly. Kowalski's hand comes up immediately to draw him in closer, and slips his tongue into Vecchio's mouth, and they stay there for longer than they maybe should.
Kowalski's flushed and breathless when they pull away. "What was that for?" he demands, and all Vecchio can do is give a slow shrug, unable to keep the smile from spreading across his face.
They go to bed early, exhausted after the long flights, and Ma has decided that Vecchio should take the guest room and give his room over to Fraser and Kowalski. "He has a big bed in there," she informs them, giving Fraser's cheek a pat. "You won't mind sharing, will you?"
"No, ma'am," Fraser says back solemnly, and you'd have to know him really well to see the tiniest rise of color in his cheeks.
So Vecchio ends up alone in the tiny guest room with the single bed that reminds him of nothing so much as Fraser's tiny bed back in that terrible apartment he had over on West Racine. He's tired, but wide awake, turning over again and again and punching the pillow. Finally, when it's late and the house is quiet, he gets up, shrugs a robe on over his pajamas, and pads softly down the hall, avoiding the squeaky floorboard, and quietly turns the knob to his own bedroom door.
The room is just the same as he left it, ready for him to come stay any time, his mother keeps pointing out. And yeah, it is a big bed, but Kowalski and Fraser are curled towards each other in the middle there, face to face and breathing quietly. Fraser pushes himself up on one elbow as Vecchio edges the door open, his eyes looking huge in the dark. "Shh," he murmurs, and inclines his head down towards Kowalski, who is down for the count, limp and completely sound asleep there, his face turned into the pillow.
Vecchio nods and slips the rest of the way inside, closing the door quietly behind him. He makes his way over to Fraser's side of the bed and Fraser turns over, reaching out a hand to draw him in. Vecchio sits down next to Fraser and draws his feet up, because man, the floor is cold. Fraser sits up a little, casting a cautious glance at Kowalski, who Vecchio is pretty sure could sleep through nuclear blast as this point. "Are you all right, Ray?" he asks softly.
Vecchio nods - he is all right, he's more than all right. He's happy, which should maybe be stupid, since he's sleeping alone in the guest room, and there are too many people in the house, and Frannie's snoring down the hall, and her kids will probably wake up way too early tomorrow. But he's filled to the brim with this sort of deep contentment, and he whispers to Fraser, "Thank you for this."
Fraser's face gets that sort of "ah" expression, and he gets this really soft smile on his face. "It's family, Ray." He looks down at Kowalski again, who snorts in his sleep, and both Fraser and Vecchio grin.
"Come here," Vecchio murmurs, and Fraser leans forward, wrapping one huge, warm hand around the back of Vecchio's neck and kissing him softly. Vecchio shifts forward a little, tilting his head, deepening the kiss, and Fraser makes this soft sound and his other hand comes forward to wrap warmly around Vecchio's waist. They kiss, right there in Vecchio's bed, with Kowalski sleeping beside them, for a long, long time.
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