Fandoms: Due South and Highlander
Characters: Harding Welsh, Benton Fraser, Ray Kowalski, Cory Raines
Length: 1125 words
Alternate Link: AO3
Author's Notes: Dear god, it's been a long time since I posted any fic. To celebrate my authorial re-hymenation, have a cross-over between my first two fandoms! Thanks to gryphonrhi for both the prompt and the beta.
Summary: Lieutenant Harding Welsh was not a devout man, but he prayed that the Universe would allow him to retire without having ever called upon the Constable's wolf as a character witness.
"So, to recap: the alarm went off, and the suspect was found in the vault with the open deposit boxes, but he denies stealing the jewelry," Welsh said slowly. "And ... you believe him?"
"Well, sir, Diefenbaker insists he's telling the truth."
Welsh rested his eyes, just for a moment. Constable Fraser was still standing there when he opened them. "And is there any evidence of the alleged bank robber's innocence, beyond the wolf's testimony on his behalf?"
Fraser cleared his throat. "There is the fact that Mr. Raines was still in the vault, while the jewelry was not. It seems highly unlikely that he would have stolen the items, left the bank to hide them somewhere, and then returned to set off the alarm, thereby trapping himself in the vault."
Welsh nodded patiently. "However, given that he did, in fact, break into the vault, I think we have to consider the possibility that Raines intended to rob the bank, no matter how incompetent the execution of his plan. He might have had an accomplice who escaped with the jewelry and locked him in there."
Fraser reviewed the man's testimony in his mind, and realized, to his chagrin, that while Cory Raines had denied any interest in the jewelry, vociferously and at length, he had never actually said that he wasn't there to rob the bank of the more mundane items, such as bills and bearer bonds. And really, Fraser had more reason than most to view an amiable young bank robber's protestations of innocence with skepticism.
"It is certainly possible," Fraser conceded uneasily. "However, he claims to have been looking for someone. A woman."
"Of course he was," Lieutenant Welsh interrupted. "Because, facing a lonely Saturday night, where else might an aspiring bank robber go to meet a kindred soul?"
Fraser flushed. "Mr. Raines claims that the woman in question has a long-standing interest in these specific pieces. He characterizes her as a rival, rather than an accomplice," he said, holding out the manila folder he'd brought into the office with him. "I've found some corroborating evidence of her existence that is, well, unusual, certainly, but I think-"
There was a sharp rap at the door.
"Enter," Welsh called out.
The door opened. Ray's head appeared at the edge of it. He glanced around the office, then opened the door and walked in to check behind Lieutenant Welsh's desk.
"Vecchio," Welsh said, shoving himself backwards in his wheeled chair until his back hit the filing cabinet behind him so that Ray could peer into the space under his desk. "I have a feeling I'm going to regret asking this, but what, exactly, are you looking for?"
Ray straightened up into a sad parody of the Constable's parade rest. "I was working on the paperwork for the bank robbery when I noticed Dief was gone, sir."
"And you wanted to check if he'd followed the Constable into my office?"
"Yeah, well, first I decided to check if maybe he was with the suspect, in Interview Room Four. But, umm, he ain't there anymore."
"The suspect. So, Fraser," Ray asked, glancing sideways at his partner, "did you maybe move Raines to a different room, or put him in a holding cell, or something?"
Fraser shook his head no, licked his lips, and then opened his mouth to answer.
Welsh raised his hand. "Stop. Not another word. I don't want to hear it. Go forth, and do not return until you have the missing jewelry, a credible suspect in custody, or preferably both."
Fraser nodded, tucking the folder tight against his side. Cory Raines bore an uncanny resemblance to a man who had been on the FBI's Most Wanted list in 1926, a fact that would not have pleased Lieutenant Welsh. That suspect and his female accomplice had died in what reports described as a 'hail of gunfire' – on no less than eight separate occasions.
What's more, given that the resemblance had been pointed out to Fraser by his dead father, bringing any of this to the Lieutenant's attention seemed a bit like throwing rocks at glass houses.
Diefenbaker had apparently aided the affable man (who had somehow not aged a day in the past seventy years) in his escape, which meant that Fraser would need to have another long talk with him about the difference between natural justice and the social institution of law. Last month's discussion of Hobbes had left Dienbaker yawning, but perhaps the works of John Rawls would have more of an impact.
Ray closed the office door behind them and then fell into stride beside Fraser. "So, Frase, where we off to first? Should we go after Raines, or try to track down Dief?"
Fraser winced. Diefenbaker had adopted the back streets and alleyways of Chicago as his territory. If he had gone to ground with Mr. Raines, the two of them would be difficult to find.
"Neither," Fraser said, pulling a faded newspaper clipping from the folder. Ray scanned it and whistled. "I think our efforts might be best spent seeking this woman. Mr. Raines referred to her as 'Amanda.' She's likely travelling under an assumed identity. However, given his description of her tastes and habits, she's likely checked into one of the most exclusive hotels in the city, and a woman of her distinctive appearance won't be quickly forgotten by the staff."
Ray nodded, apparently ignoring the peculiar age of the photo in question. "Sounds like a plan," he said, striding ahead down the stairs.
Fraser found himself following at a slower pace, studying the photo of the attractive, Tommy-gun wielding woman with trepidation.
Ray was reaching for the handle of the door when Fraser stumbled off the bottom step of the stairway. Ray paused, forehead crinkling with concern, then released the door and nudged Fraser into a corner, out of the flow of foot traffic, with a graceful sway of his hips. Having effectively trapped Fraser in the corner, he looked him in eye, searchingly, before raising a hand to his shoulder.
"Breathe," Ray ordered quietly, taking one deep, slow breath after another. Fraser eventually found his breathing falling into the same pattern.
"Don't you worry," Ray said in an undertone. "We'll find Dief; bring him back safe and sound." The hand on Fraser's shoulder tightened for a moment before releasing him.
The door to the outside world was flung open and Ray stepped out the door, calling to him, "Come on, Fraser! The sun is shining, the pigeons are cooing, and there's a hot, rich bank robber chick out there for us to catch!"
Fraser followed Ray, grateful beyond words that the city of Chicago had blessed him, not once, but twice, with a true partner.