Transatlantic flights were always exhausting, and this one had been made worse by Kevin's desire to return home to New York and his husband as soon as possible. The tedium of customs was enough to make him nostalgic for the days when a person's loved ones could meet them in the terminal, instead of the baggage claim.
Kevin scanned the crowds for Ray; when he didn't see him, Kevin waited by the conveyer belt for his suitcase to arrive. Finally, he saw it, but someone else reached for it at the same time he did.
Together, they heaved it off of the baggage claim. Kevin turned to his husband.
"Ray," he said, taking in the little changes the months had made in Ray: a few more lines on his face, an unfamiliar pair of shoes, a tad more gray in his hair.
"I trust your flight was adequate," Ray said, as they moved away from the flow of the crowds.
"It was," Kevin said.
"Cheddar has missed you."
"Only Cheddar?" Kevin smiled slightly.
"I…am glad to have you back."
Kevin pulled Ray toward him and kissed him. Under normal circumstances, they were both firmly against public displays of affection, but this was hardly a normal circumstance.
"I am extraordinarily glad to be back."
The drive home was quiet, as Kevin and Ray were both content to listen to smooth jazz on the radio rather than fill the air with meaningless chatter.
When they arrived at their house, however, Kevin was surprised at what he saw.
"Did you leave a light on?" That wasn't very like Raymond.
"No." Ray reached into the glovebox and pulled out his gun. Kevin pursed his lips; he disapproved of weapons on principle and disliked Raymond having to use one, but such was the nature of being married to a cop.
"Wait here," Ray instructed him.
Kevin watched as Ray crept up to the front door, opened it, and pointed his gun at the burglars. Eventually he holstered it and gestured for Kevin to follow him.
Although he was sure his husband would never lead him into a hostage situation, Kevin kept his hand on his cell phone, just in case Raymond had been tricked somehow.
When he entered the house, he saw Detective Santiago standing frozen on a chair, holding a banner that read "Welcome Back, Kevin!" Rosa and Detective Peralta had apparently been sorting through Kevin and Ray's CD collection, judging from the pile on the floor, and Kevin could only thank any deity listening that Ray's wayward detectives hadn't found the vinyl. The smell of something cooking wafted from the kitchen and Detective Boyle poked his head around the corner. A glass vase that had set on the end table for years had been broken into pieces. Sergeant Jeffords knelt next to it with a tiny tube of superglue in his hand. He shoved the glue in his pocket with a guilty expression, though it was too late for the vase; it had been transformed into either a monstrosity or a modern art piece.
"Hey, y'all," Gina said, from where she was lounging on the living room couch, apparently unaffected by the mass chaos surrounding her.
Kevin sighed. Perhaps he'd be less averse to Ray's co-workers if they weren't so inept.
Santiago sneezed as Cheddar ran circles around her chair.
"Surprise?" she ventured.
"Santiago, get down," Ray commanded.
"Yes, sir," she said.
"This is very delicate- just a moment-"
"Boyle!" Jeffords called, apparently deciding to take Ray's side after everything.
Detective Boyle scrambled into the dining room and stood next to Peralta.
"What were you thinking?" Ray asked.
"Amy just wanted-"
Peralta and Santiago began speaking simultaneously, frowned at each other, and dissolved into a side argument about whose terrible idea this had apparently been. At least, that was what it seemed to be about; Kevin couldn't follow an argument that consisted of two people snarking over each other.
Boyle took this opportunity to chime in. "We just wanted to do something nice for you. You were so lonely when Kevin was in Paris, we just thought-"
Despite himself, Kevin felt his heart warm a little. It was good to know that Ray's co-workers had been looking after him, no matter how intolerable Kevin found most of them.
"You thought you'd break into my house and surprise us," Ray surmised. There was a long pause as he evaluated his detectives.
"We didn't break in. Marcus showed me where you keep your spare key." Rosa crossed her arms.
Kevin wasn't sure that was any better, and resolved to find a new hiding spot for the key. Though he was fairly certain that wouldn't stop Rosa, if she was truly determined.
Ray finally spoke. "All of you, clean this up. Boyle, when you're done, I believe Detective Santiago knows where the Tupperware is."
This was news to Kevin; before he'd left for Paris, the only time Detective Santiago had been in their house had been that disastrous dinner party.
"I expect everything to be spotless by the time we return." Turning back to Kevin, Ray held out his arm. "Shall we?"
Kevin waited until they were outside to ask, "Where are we going?" Ray seemed to have taken the entire incident in stride.
"An excellent Thai restaurant opened down the street last month, if you are amenable."
"That sounds fantastic."