Ray Kowalski/Stella Kowalski (cliche: makeup sex)
A Canadian blizzard is the loudest thing that Ray has ever heard in his life, nothing but one long, bad note playing endlessly on a scratched vinyl record.
Chicago doesn’t drown it out, and so he seeks Stella out, because she embodies everything he remembers loving about the place. To his surprise she wants to be with him, minus the commitment. “You’re still the most decent man I’ve ever met,” she tells him.
There has never been a time when he hasn’t felt completely right with her surrounding him, but when he sees his own reflection in her eyes, he gets it, and he has no business trying to make a relationship work when he has yet to really know who he is.
“I wouldn’t have let you go if I didn’t love you,” she reminds him, more beautiful than she was twenty years ago.
“Yeah I know,” he gives her a peck on her forehead and steps away willingly for the first time ever.
Renfield Turnbull/Ray Vecchio (cliche: sharing body heat to stay warm)
"I’m not going to say that this is the worst Christmas Eve ever, but it’s pretty close.” Ray shivered as Ren wrapped his arms more tightly around him. Outside of the windows of the Riv, the blizzard howled.
“And here I thought coming back to Chicago would be a reprieve from this kind of thing.”
Ray turned his face toward Ren and grinned. “We’ll be alright, though.”
“We always are.” Ren dropped a light kiss on his lips.
Ren waited until the breathing finally stopped. His fingers drifted up to feel for a pulse.
Finding none, he unfolded himself with some difficulty, wincing at the arthritis in his knees, and called for the nurse.
It would be a long winter.
Ray Kowalski/Meg Thatcher (cliche: making out in secret)
It’s possibly the cleanest washroom in the entire city of Chicago, so what disconcerts Meg is the way she looks in the mirror. Not because she dislikes the way she looks, but because she catches how damn happy she is, and how good she and Ray both look with disheveled hair and flushed skin.
And she wonders why they’re furtively sneaking around anymore.
She smoothes his hair back. “We need to go out. On a proper date.”
Ray’s hesitation is rather funny, considering where his hands are. “Um…”
Meg raises an eyebrow. “You’re not ashamed of me are you?” She can barely keep a straight face while saying it, because it’s terribly funny the way he stutters. She kisses him to stop the stammered explanation. “I want people to see you on my arm.”
Just as she’s about to wonder if she’s said the wrong thing, he gives her the fiercest hug she’s received in years. “Okay,” he whispers in her ear. “Anything you want.”
Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski (cliche: purple rose concerning eye color)
Ray’s eyes were the clearest of blues, like the sky breaking through the clouds after a long grey winter.
The color was the only thing that Fraser could focus on. To look at his surprisingly graceful hands, or that wicked hair, would have been overwhelming.
Still, he knew he should reach over and close Ray’s eyes. It was the right, dignified thing to do. And he knew if he stared into their lifelessness much longer, the thought of facing Ray’s parents and everyone else back in Chicago, the thought of even returning to a Chicago absent of Ray, and he wouldn’t bother getting up the next morning to begin the rest of the damn journey.