Characters: RayV, RayV/Stella mentioned, Welsh, Frannie, Fraser and Barbara Kowalski
Word Count: 2,061
Summary: Ray comes back to Chicago and just wants his baby
Ray was sitting in the back seat of Armando's town car. The red leather seats were hard against his back and the air was thick with the smoke from the cigars he smoked. The first time Ray had tried smoking a cigar he had choked and turned green, but now he smoked no problem.
If Ma saw him smoking she would probably have a heart attack. He could almost hear her saying that no son of hers was going to smoke. Benny probably had all kinds of facts about the harmful affects of smoke.
He had been in Armando's skin for months and sometimes it was scary just how easy it was to step into the role. If things had gone differently he might had ended up working for Frank Zuko.
He looked out the window as the lights of Vegas slid past. While Chicago was shades of brown and grey, Vegas was bright colours and neon.
Sometimes the bright neon lights made his eyes hurt and the noise of people and the ring of slot machines in casinos were a wall of sound. It was at times like that that he wished he could go back to Chicago and have a pizza with Benny. Sometimes it got so bad that he missed Benny's stories.
'How you doing back there, Mr. Langoustini?' Armando's driver said from the front seat. He was large man who didn't say much.
'I can't complain.'
'Do you want to eat out tonight?'
'Sure,' Ray suddenly realized that he was hungry.
They drove in quite. Once they were Armando's favorite restaurant Ray stepped out of the car.
Walking through the parking lot, he saw a flash of green. A green car slid into a parking space. He gasped. It might be a Dodge with a dented door and bald tires, but he could help thinking about his Riv.
He hoped that whoever went undercover as him was taking good care of it.
Months later, Ray stepped into the police station and just let the sights and sounds wash over him; People were rushing around the station, the air was full of noise. It wasn't nearly as loud as the din in Vegas and it felt strangely comforting.
Several people greeted Ray with high fives. Vegas might have bright lights and pretty showgirls, but it didn't have this.
He had been back several times, but it he still couldn't get enough of it. He had had enough of Dewey's smell those; he swore that guy smelled like a dirty jock strap.
He rubbed his aching side. He was still healing from the golden bullet he had coughed up, but he needed this. More importantly he needed to talk to Frannie about The Riv.
He felt bad about not seeing his baby sooner, but everything had happened so quickly that he hadn't had time.
He couldn't wait to get behind his baby's wheel and just drive. Maybe he would take Stella out for a drive; she would look good in the passenger seat.
As he walked through the station he saw that a guy in a chicken costume was being booked. Maybe it had been all the time he had spent with Benny, but that didn't seem strange at all.
'Hey, Ray,' Frannie came up to him and gave him a hug. He held her tight for several moments. Maybe it was because she was in the civilian aide uniform, but she looked older somehow. He wasn't the only one who had changed. No matter how old she got Ray would probably always see her as the little girl with pig tails and a missing front tooth.
Frannie let him go. 'You glad to be back?'
'Yep. I can't wait to get an extra cheese pizza from Tony's, but first I need to see my baby.'
Frannie rolled her eyes. 'What is it with men and their cars?'
'It's the same as you and shoes.'
'I have never once called a pair my babies or sang to them.'
'Hey! I only did one time to win a bet. By the way, where is my car?'
Her eyes went wide and she rubbed the back of her neck. 'Um... Hey look over there, turtles.'
He turned around. 'What? Where?'
Ray turned back around in time to see Frannie hurry away. Sometime was up and Ray was going to get to the bottom of it, he was a detective after all.
He saw Welsh standing in the middle of the station hold a Weed Wacker and went up to him. If anyone would know where The Riv was it would be Welsh.
'Ah, Detective. It pleases me to see you.'
'Thank you, Sir. Do you know where my car is at?'
'Come with me.'
They walked to Welsh's office and Ray felt his heart sink. Being called into Welsh's office was never a good thing.
Welsh went to his desk, the same desk Ray had stood in front of many times before and opened a drawer.
Ray's heart sunk even more when he was handed a folder. He opened the folder carefully, as if it was explosive and read about the last moments of his car.
He didn't know who Greta Garbo was, besides a movie star that was, but he hoped she got life for destroying his car. Well destroying his car and shooting Kowalaki.
Ray stood on the bank of Lake Michigan. His tears were threatening to fall, but he told himself he wasn't going to cry.
He stared out over the cold water as the sun shown down. He couldn't help but think that the sky should be grey. It was a funeral and the sky should be grey. It might be weird to mourn a car, but if Benny could have a funeral for his hat that had been shot, then Ray could have a funeral for his car.
He wanted to picture her has she had been, her chrome shining in the sun as he drove down an open road, not where she was. Somewhere under that water his baby was rusting.
It hurt more than when he had saw her blown up; at least then he had still had a frame to fix. Now he didn't even have that.
He saw a little yellow rubber duck bobbing in the water. Ray just stared at it. It's painted blue eyes looked sad.
'Bye Baby,' Ray said. He felt like he should have flowers to leave in the water.
He walked back to Frannie's car, a yellow Fait, and climbed into the passenger seat.
'You okay?' Frannie asked as the pulled out.
'You want to use my car until you find another one?'
He stared out the window. The city moved past him. He must be in bad shape if Frannie was offering her car. She hadn't let anyone use since Tony dented the bumper.
He looked over at his sister she was in profile.
'Maybe. I'll think about it. Thanks.'
Once they arrived at home. Ray got ready for dinner. He opened his closet and stared at the Armani suits that hung from hangers. He pulled out one and put it on.
Walking down to the kitchen he heard the noises of his family.
He sat down at the kitchen table, it was just as he remembered it, and watched his family. Tony and Marie were going on about their kids and Frannie was talking to Ma about boxing.
He had no idea that Frannie liked boxing.
Ray just sat back and grinned. He hadn't realised how much he had missed this until he had had it again.
After dinner he went to his room. the walls had been reprinted white and the carpet was now a light brown. The house had suffered some smoke and water damage after a fire. Ray had to admit he liked the new colors.
His bed was still wooden with four carved posts. He pulled off his clothes and laid down on said blanket. His blanket was soft, he buried his face in his pillow and breathed deeply the smell of laundry detergent.
He rolled over and stared at the ceiling. His eyes followed a crack in the plaster. He got up and went to his closet. In the back of the closet sat a shoe held together with duck tape. He opened the box and pulled out a picture.
The picture was of a seventeen year old Ray and his baby. Her chrome was glistening in the sun and Ray was grinning. He was wearing a bright red shirt and large bell bottoms; they both looked so young.
He brushed his thumb against the picture. He didn't know if he's be able to find a new Riv, but he was certainly going to try.
A week later, Ray was in a used car lot. Brightly colored balloons were attached to the antennas of brightly colored cars. A light rain fell and a gentle breeze blew.
He had gone to several different used car lots over the past week looking for a new Riv, but to avail.
Walking between rows of cars, he couldn't help but think about the time he and Benny had gone undercover as used car salesmen; it made him grin. Benny might be a great Mountie but he was a horrible used car salesman.
He walked to the end of a row and stood in front of a Riviera. The red paint was marred by rust and the windshield was cracked. He squinted at it trying to picture himself behind the wheel, but couldn't. He even tried to picture it green, but it just wasn't the same.
He walked back to Frannie's car and slid behind the wheel. He turned on the radio and drove home.
Once home he went to the living room and sat down on Ma's couch. The fabric was deep red and the cushions were lumpy. As a boy, he had spent hours on the couch reading comic books and watching cartoons on Saturday.
He heard a knock at the front door. Looking out the window, he saw a black GTO parked by the curb. He hoped he wasn't going to bothered by some punk kid trying to sell something; only a punk kid would have a car like that.
He walked to door and saw an old lady sanding on the porch.
'Can I help you?' He asked.
'Are you Ray?'
'Greatness. I have a package from Benton for you.' She held out a package and Ray took it.
'How do you know Benny?'
'Oh sorry. I'm Barbara, Stanley's mom.'
'Come on in.'
They walked back into the house and sat down on the couch. Ray opened the box. Inside was a letter written in Benny's handwriting.
I hope this finds you well. Ray and I have decided to stay in Canada and I just wanted to say it was wonderful seeing you again. I know you will probably be upset about your Riviera, but inclosed is the cigarette lighter I was able to save before the car went into a lake called Michigan.
I realize it won't bring back your car, but I know how important it is to you.
P.S. Dief sends his regards.
Ray picked up the cigarette lighter that was laying in the bottom of the box and held it. He smiled. To some people it might just be a lighter, but to him it was so much more.
Ray was so caught up in his memories that he forgot Mrs. Kowalski was still sitting next to him.
'Are you all right?' Barbara asked.
Ray was startled out of his memories.
'Yeah. Thank you.'
'You're very welcome. There is one more thing. Stanley told me to tell you that since he destroyed your car you can have his GTO.'
Ray's eyes went wide. 'That's Ray's car. I thought it belonged to some kid.'
'Oh it did. Do you want it?'
After Barbara left Ray went outside and slid behind the wheel of the GTO. The inside was just as black as the outside and the leather seats crinkled under his wieght. He gripped the wheel and couldn't help but smile. The GTO might not be a Rivera, but he could get used to it