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dS snippet: 'Shelter from the Storm'

Fandom/Characters: Due South; Bob Fraser
Rating: G
Length: 300 words
Challenge: Written for ds_snippets challenge #3_2011, prompt "pandemonium".
Notes: Thanks to my beta, akamine_chan, for poking many needed holes in my first draft.
Summary: Every man builds his own hell.

Sergeant Fraser built his shelter with the fierce focus he’d always found in a crisis. The storm shrieked all around him. Blizzard. Pirrtuk. But this was the Borderlands, and the storm was a more than physical threat. Pandemonium. Ragnarok. Caroline had always said there were voices in the wind. He could almost hear them now, like the howls of a starving wolf pack out on the ice.

Bob built his cabin out of honor and routine, loyalty and guilt. The boy was living in his office, now. He’d given up any attempt at a life beyond his work. Benton’s sense of duty provided the strong fourth wall that made this shelter possible.

He ignored the wailing of the storm and nailed a final board into place. There. Bob stepped inside the cabin and slammed the door closed behind him. The interior reminded him vaguely of his last post. A fire crackled in the stove, but the room was still bitterly cold. So cold that it hurt to breathe.

He made his way to the desk, covered in stacks of papers. Bob Fraser was a man of action. He’d always despised paperwork, but this could stand between him and the chaos beyond the walls. He stripped off his mittens and picked up a pen. The metal was bitingly cold. He grimly closed his hand around it. Bob licked the pen; heated it with breath and body heat to start the frozen ink flowing. Form 1024-B. Form 715-C. His hand cramped, handwriting an illegible scrawl. Requisitions and reports, regulations and requirements. Bit by bit the storm receded, until it was just a distant, regretful sigh.

The sigh reminded him of Caroline’s soft goodbye when he left on patrol, but Sergeant Fraser didn’t let it, or the cold, distract him from his duty.

Comments

( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
plotbunniofdoom
Jan. 31st, 2011 12:17 pm (UTC)
I like this. Very powerful.
keerawa
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, plotbunny!
sl_walker
Jan. 31st, 2011 12:24 pm (UTC)
Oh, nicely done. Subtle in all of the very best ways, the parallels between father and son.
keerawa
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
*beams* Thank you so much! I wasn't sure if that parallel was coming across clearly.
luzula
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:45 pm (UTC)
Interesting interpretation of why he keeps doing paperwork despite being dead. And I liked this sentence, too: Benton’s sense of duty provided the strong fourth wall that made this shelter possible.
keerawa
Jan. 31st, 2011 02:57 pm (UTC)
Thank you! It's rather striking that Bob doesn't build his cabin until Fraser starts living at the Consulate. And I suddenly wondered, what if that's not because of Bob's sudden burning desire to connect with his son, but because Fraser is the anchor that makes that type of permanency possible?
thursdaynext_27
Jan. 31st, 2011 03:50 pm (UTC)
I really like this perspective on why Bob built the cabin.

Along with the fourth wall line, I also loved He’d always despised paperwork, but this could stand between him and the chaos beyond the walls.

Edited at 2011-01-31 03:50 pm (UTC)
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
Thank you, thursdaynext!
isiscolo
Jan. 31st, 2011 04:11 pm (UTC)
What an interesting idea! Nicely done.
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 02:12 am (UTC)
*preens* Glad you enjoyed it, Isis!
spuffyduds
Jan. 31st, 2011 04:53 pm (UTC)
Oh, Fraser. Leave your office and make your dad's cabin fall down.

Beautiful.
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 02:13 am (UTC)
Hells to the yeah! They'd both be better off.
brigantine
Jan. 31st, 2011 05:36 pm (UTC)
Oh, ouch. This The boy was living in his office, now. He’d given up any attempt at a life beyond his work. almost makes this Benton’s sense of duty provided the strong fourth wall that made this shelter possible. feel like Bob's turned into a sort of parasite. I mean, I feel for the guy, I do, but eeewww!
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 08:39 am (UTC)
*nods* And that he's maanged to break his son in the same way he's broken.
gloriana
Jan. 31st, 2011 09:57 pm (UTC)
Lovely image, of Fraser's narrowing of his own life providing the shelter for Bob in the afterlife.
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 08:40 am (UTC)
Sheltered, and trapped, by the same sense of duty. THanks you, gloriana!
exbex
Feb. 1st, 2011 01:01 am (UTC)
Wonderful story; it says so much in so many layers.
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 08:41 am (UTC)
Thank you, exbex, I'm glad it worked for you!
hazelwho
Feb. 1st, 2011 01:49 am (UTC)
I don't know who I'm more sad for in this - Fraser who's life is so narrow, or Bob, who has no respite from blizzards or paperwork even in the afterlife.
keerawa
Feb. 1st, 2011 08:42 am (UTC)
Thanks, hazelwho! And the really important detail, that I think is as unclear to readers as it was to Bob, is that it's not the storm that's cold. It's the cabin.
teslaesque
Feb. 3rd, 2011 07:22 am (UTC)
This is just breathtakingly perfect.
keerawa
Feb. 3rd, 2011 02:43 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, teslaesque!
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )