let down
by Pares


"It only takes a moment--"

"Shut up!"

Both Rays had barked it in tandem, and they looked to be nearing the end of their patience.

Ray Vecchio threw his hands in the air and dropped to his knees by the hotel door. Fraser wrung out the rather luxurious bath sheet and handed it to Ray Kowalski, who handed it off to the kneeling Ray, all the while still scowling at Fraser.

Ray Vecchio jammed the wet towel into the narrow space above the door jamb, and let his hand hover near the doorknob.

"It's already hot," he reported. He sounded both aggrieved and unsurprised.

Ray Kowalski apparently took that as his cue to rant.

"I do not believe this! What is it with you and pyros, Fraser?"

"It's 'cause he looks like a fire hydrant in that jacket." Vecchio, intent on his task, didn't look up, and Kowalski didn't appear to have heard his answer. He continued, warming to his theme.

"And you just had to hold the door for her on the elevator--"

"And the hall door. And the hotel room door," Vecchio supplied, getting to his feet and brushing at the knees of his elegant suit and coming to stand beside Ray.

"Yeah, and the taxi door, too, and do you see a pattern here?"

"I was merely--"

"Okay, you're Canadian, I get it, you can't help yourself, but you're like Sherlock Holmes about everything most days, and even Vecchio could see she was carrying a gas can--"

"Cram it, Kowalski. You were the one who handed her the fuckin' welding torch."

Kowalski hunched his shoulders slightly but gave no other sign he'd heard Vecchio, advancing on Fraser and thumping his chest with a stiff finger.

"She's. A. Psycho!"

"She told me she was filling the emergency back-up generator," Fraser began, before being interrupted by a high pitched whine from Dief. Black smoke was creeping into the room along the seam of the doorframe.

"Look, you can pick fights later, Blondie. We gotta get out of here before Miss Molotov decides to fry us up personally--"

There was a dull boom and a redoubled roar of flame behind the hotel room's door.

Kowalski crossed to the window and tried to pry it open. Vecchio followed him and set his shoulder to the task as well.

"Great. This is greatness! I'm gonna get toasted like a fish stick because some fatcat greased the fire inspector--"

"If I die, Ma's gonna kill me. I knew it, I knew it, Fraser, I'm gonna buy it 'cause you had to take a moment--"

"Allow me." Fraser, eyes now tearing from the smoke, chose a particularly sturdy looking desk chair from the handsome set provided in the suite and tossed it through the hotel bedroom window.

"Please mind the broken glass." He held a hand out, indicating the jagged shards if they were a vacation destination.

Vecchio rolled his eyes.

"I'll do that. Right before I jump out the window!"

"Really, Ray. We're--"

"Sure, maybe we get out alive now, but then you're gonna have to go running back in to rescue somebody's barky little poodle or something, and Vecchio's as dumb as me, and we'll both have to back you up--" Kowalski was shaking his head, clearly envisioning their impending, if heroic, demise.

"Ray, for goodness sake! The hotel has been closed for renovation, and as it's after hours, none of the construction crew is on the premises, so obviously there won't be any guests to rescue. Or dogs, for that matter."

Dief chose that moment to bound neatly through the shattered glass. Kowalski then attended to kicking the remaining glass out of the window with one thick black boot and a healthy spirit of application, and Vecchio was warily peering outside over Kowalski's shoulder. When Kowalski had cleared the glass as well as could be expected, he and Vecchio shared a look Fraser was unable to interpret.

"After you," said Fraser.

His friends grinned at him.

"No, after you." Vecchio got him in a headlock and Kowalski grabbed his ankles. The window was quite wide enough for the two of them to swing Fraser over the window ledge. They lowered him carefully... until they let him go. About a foot above the hotel's manicured lawn.

He landed with a surprised little "oof" and Vecchio stepped over the sill and took a deep breath of the smoke-free breeze while straightening his tie. Kowalski vaulted over the ledge and dropped into a crouch to rub Dief's ears. Dief was nosing Fraser, who was still stretched out in the grass.

"Kinda anti-climactic, what with us being on the first floor and all," Kowalski mused.

"Yeah. Still, let me remind you that we could have all been burned alive!"

"There is that." Sirens whooped in the distance and Dief licked the tip of Ray's nose.

"Hey. You doin' okay down there, Benny?"

It sounded more like a cough, but both Rays could make out Fraser's winded "Fine. Thank you kindly."

END


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