Huis Clos

by Speranza

Note:  Dedicated with great affection to Beth H. and inspired by her Flashfiction story Small World.  More precisely, inspired by her comment therein.  For the Door Challenge.

The Valet led him to the end of the richly carpeted corridor, pulled a large, golden key from his pocket, and unlocked the door. Benton Fraser wasn't at all surprised to see that both Rays had gotten here before him and already entrenched themselves in the room.

"Get your feet off the freakin' sofa," Ray Vecchio said, arms crossed over his chest.

Ray Kowalski was sprawled, loose-limbed, on a large velvet sofa that was, rather shockingly, lime-green. "Are you my mother?" Ray Kowalski asked. "Because you don't look like my mother—"

"I'm not a slob, is what I'm not," Ray Vecchio retorted. "Unlike some people."

Ray Kowalski lifted his motorcycle boots onto the sofa back and crossed them daintily at the ankles. "Bite me hard, style pig."

"Benny!" Ray Vecchio had spotted him now, and his face had lit up with a familiar joy. "Oh, thank God. Hey, it's good to see you, man."

Ray Kowalski quickly propped up himself up on his elbows. "Fraser, hey," he said quietly, and anxiety had crossed his fine features. "I was afraid you weren't coming."

Ray Vecchio glared at Ray Kowalski. "It's nothing to you if he comes or don't; Fraser is my partner, okay? A part of my life, which you're gonna have to get through your thick skull, Stanley. Game over, you're fired, go home."

"Me, I am home," Ray Kowalski said, and while he was talking to Vecchio, his blue eyes were fixed firmly on Fraser. "Home as I'll ever be."

"Get out of my life, get out of my life, get out of my liiiife," Ray Vecchio moaned, like the incantation might suddenly make Ray Kowalski disappear entirely.

Fraser turned to the Valet. "Please," he said, swallowing hard. "Isn't there anywhere else?"

The Valet showed him a thin smile. "I'm afraid not, sir."

Fraser turned around just in time to see Ray Vecchio hauling a surprised Ray Kowalski off the sofa by the collar.

"Ray, don't!" Fraser protested, and not a second too soon. Ray Vecchio had already drawn back his fist, which now hovered, threateningly, a foot in front of Ray Kowalski's face. But Ray Kowalski didn't look afraid; instead, he lifted his chin defiantly.

"Go ahead," Ray Kowalski whispered. "Hit me. You been aching to do that since even before we were dead." His lips twisted into a wry, sexy smile. "You been aching for something, anyway..."

Ray Vecchio's green eyes blazed into Ray Kowalski's blue ones for a long moment, and just as Fraser was despairingly sure that Vecchio was going to release the pent-up tension of that fist and smash it right into Kowalski's face, Vecchio suddenly hauled Kowalski close and kissed him. Kowalski draped his long arms loosely around Vecchio's neck and rubbed the frayed fly of his jeans against the pleated front of Vecchio's Armani pants.

"Please," Fraser begged, turning back to the Valet, "there must be somewhere..."

The Valet shook his head in apparent sympathy. "Terribly sorry, sir, no."

Fraser shot his former partners another glance; Vecchio now seemed to be humping Kowalski up against the wall. Fraser looked away again quickly and fixed his eyes on a sign on the opposite wall. No Smoking, it said, and then beneath, Defense de fumer. Apparently nobody had bothered to inform the Rays, who were now rubbing against each other so hard that flames were doubtless to be expected.

"Victoria Metcalf must be here somewhere," Fraser suggested in some desperation. "Perhaps I could share a room with her, a loaded gun, and a ravenous polar bear?"

"Nice try, sir," the Valet said, ruefully shaking his head.

There was a crash—Ray Vecchio had abruptly sent Kowalski flying into the sideboard, and Kowalski had inadvertently broken a horrible looking pink glass sculpture. Vecchio was panting, and tightly clutching the gold crucifix around his neck in one hand.

"Ah, heck," Kowalski said with a sigh. "Another attack?" He rolled his eyes and looked at Fraser. "He's had three since we got here."

"Attack?" Fraser looked at Ray Vecchio with some concern; he seemed to be gasping violently for air. "Epilepsy? Asthma?"

Kowalski shook his head. "Catholic guilt," he explained.

"It's wrong, I just know it..." Vecchio moaned, clutching the crucifix in his palm. "I can't do this..."

Kowalski shook his head in frustration, then turned around and punched the wall behind him. "What're you gonna do, Vecchio, go to hell?" Ray asked sarcastically, sucking sensuously on his scraped knuckles. "Cause not to break it to you, but—"

"Ray does have a point," Fraser said, hoping to make Ray Vecchio feel better. "Questions of personal morality are now, alas, moot, though I don't see why we shouldn't continue to be courteous toward each other."

Fraser suddenly found himself with an armful of as-yet-sexually-unfulfilled Kowalski. "Oh, I can do courteous," Ray murmured against his mouth. "I can do you any way you want—" and oh dear, but Ray's lips were soft against his, and his kiss was damn near irresistible.

He was brought up short by a wail from Ray Vecchio. "He stole everything from me," Ray Vecchio said in a ragged-sounding voice. "He stole my name and my family and my car. He even stole you, Benny..."

"He even stole you, Benny..." Ray Kowalski mimicked in a small, mean voice.

"Ray, no..." Fraser broke away from Ray Kowalski and went to Ray Vecchio, clasping him heartily on the shoulder. "That's not true, I promise you. People aren't interchangeable like snowmobile parts. No one—no one could ever replace you."

Vecchio pointed savagely at Kowalski. "Tell him that."

"You stole my wife," Kowalski shot back, stabbing a finger at him. "You stole my Stella."

Oh Christ, Fraser thought, feeling his eyes go wide with horror. He'd thought things had gotten as bad as they could possibly get, but now realized that nobody'd yet mentioned the S-word. Stella.

"I didn't steal her," Vecchio protested angrily. "She was free. She left you—"

Kowalski raised his hands to cover his ears. His eyes were bright with unshed tears.

"—which is yet another thing you've got to get through your thick skull, capiche?"

Ray Kowalski, chest hitching for breath, whirled around to face the wall, and Ray Vecchio touched Fraser's arm, taking advantage of the sudden privacy. "He's trouble, Benny; he's a head-case, ain't got no sense of family. We had a good thing, you and me, and that guy there, he ruined it for us." Ray Vecchio leaned in to whisper, and his breath was hot and sweet. "But he ain't worth going to war over, okay? We can ignore him, pretend he never happened," and then Ray's lips were pressing a kiss to Fraser's cheek. Ray's eyes were beautiful, so very green. "It can be like it used to, between us."

"I—" Fraser's throat felt tight; he didn't know what to say. Certainly, he loved Ray Vecchio, the man who had helped him hunt his father's killers, the man who had been his lifeline in Chicago. "Ray, you must know what you mean to me..."

"It's okay," Ray Kowalski's voice was hoarse. "You just go on and choose him. I don't need you. I don't need nobody..."

Fraser's eyes went blurry, and when he could focus again, he saw yet another sign tacked to the wall. No Vacancies, this one said, and underneath that, Complet. Blinking rapidly now, Fraser noticed that another sign was tacked to the lavatory; this one said Out Of Order, and below it, En Panne.

And then Fraser understood, and for the first time since he entered this place, he truly despaired. "Ray!" he said. "Ray!" and they both looked at him, eyes reddened and teary. "Don't you see what this place is? There's no need for fire and brimstone, for red-hot pokers! Hell is—" and here Fraser lifted his hand and pointed at the bilingual sign over the door which read, No Exit /Huis Clos—"in Quebec!"  

The End

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