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dS Snippet: Outside the Tent

Fandom and Characters: dS, Fraser
Rating: PG-13
Length: 287 words
Challenge: ds_snippets Amnesty Challenge #4: tent, discomfort
Thanks: To my beta, nos4a2no9.


I emerge from the tent and take a deep breath. I've spent most of the past two days in a doubled-up sleeping bag, drowning in his scent and voice and nearness while the temperatures dropped and the winds howled overhead. So the sight of blue skies and pukak snow promises a welcome respite.

Diefenbaker shakes himself free of the snow surrounding him. I release him from the lead line and begin mechanically feeding the dogs.

I know the names for dozens of types of snow and ice. But I have no name for the feelings battering me from within. I've tried to catalogue them, and so tame them, but with little success.

A warm glow of affection. Finding joy in his laugh. The fierce need to protect. The deep ache of impending loneliness, knowing the void his absence will create. The jealous urge to stake a claim, keep him here with me. Desire like a fever under my skin, the rising, gnawing need to reach out my hand and touch and take what I want. I'm almost sure he wouldn't stop me. He couldn't. Not out here.

This isn't love. Nothing so noble. It's close kin to standing on a great height, and feeling the impulse to just … step … off.

It's almost a relief when I recognize what's going on. Some part of me, when faced with the loss of this one bright thing, would rather destroy it than let go. I've seen the marks of that dark fire's passage once before, in Victoria's eyes.

The important thing is to keep control, keep the floodgates closed for a few more weeks, until we can part as friends.

The tent flap zips open behind me.


ETA: And here is the sequel, Inside the Tent.

Comments

( 23 comments — Leave a comment )
akite
Jun. 22nd, 2007 01:25 pm (UTC)
The important thing is to keep control, keep the floodgates closed for a few more weeks, until we can part as friends.

Pfttt! Fraser, you don't have a chance. *g*
keerawa
Jun. 22nd, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
Fraser's desires vs. his self-control has that "immovable object and unstoppable force" feel to it. But since he considers himself a danger to Ray, here, I'd lay odds that Fraser could hold out. If Ray didn't get involved, anyway.
(Anonymous)
Jun. 25th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
Ray vs Fraser's will
As strong as Fraser is, if he already this close to the edge...well, what if Ray DID interfer? No chance for Fraser?
keerawa
Jun. 26th, 2007 07:54 am (UTC)
Re: Ray vs Fraser's will
Let's say it makes him a long-shot.
dessert_first
Jun. 22nd, 2007 07:11 pm (UTC)
Some part of me, when faced with the loss of this one bright thing, would rather destroy it than let go.

This is beautiful, this exploration of Fraser's darkness. Fascinating.

The tent flap zips open behind me.

Eeee! Looks like the one bright thing is about to make his own move.

Brilliant.
keerawa
Jun. 22nd, 2007 11:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you, dess! Actually, Ray is rather insisting on having his say. Now to see if I can a) Squeeze it down to 300 words and b) Finish by the deadline.
kill_claudio
Jun. 23rd, 2007 04:20 pm (UTC)
This isn't love. Nothing so noble. It's close kin to standing on a great height, and feeling the impulse to just … step … off.

God, that's got to be one of the most vivid descriptions of Fraser's feelings that I've ever read. You manage to pack so much into so few words.
keerawa
Jun. 24th, 2007 07:45 am (UTC)
Thank you, kill_claudio!
j_s_cavalcante
Jun. 24th, 2007 09:16 am (UTC)
Oh, oh...ow! That's amazing! You distilled an astonishing amount and quality of insight into Fraser...into so few words. Wow. Just brilliant work. I don't know what to quote. It's all wonderful. It scares me. It thrills me. I wonder what Ray is thinking...I guess what he's thinking. I dearly hope you write it.

Here's something I'll quote:

Desire like a fever under my skin

At the moment at which that simile appears, I thought you'd spent all your coin, that the emotion had peaked...but there was more. Wow. Fever is right...and then Fraser contemplates taking...Oh...oh...ow! I'm back to that. :)
keerawa
Jun. 24th, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
You distilled an astonishing amount and quality of insight into Fraser...into so few words. Thank you! In most drabbles and snippets I'm trying to capture a moment, but this one really feels like I'm telling a long story in a few words, and letting the reader extrapolate.

I wonder what Ray is thinking...I guess what he's thinking. I dearly hope you write it. I'm working on it. But if I don't, or even if I do, I invite you to write your own version.

I've got "Makeup" bookmarked for when I get back from the Pride festivites tonight.
fearlessdiva
Jun. 24th, 2007 01:35 pm (UTC)
Poor Fraser! See, this is the thing that I think many people who write Due South don't get, but the ones who write it well do: the dark side of a strong will is the temptation to force other people to bend to it. Fraser is highly motivated to do good, yes. But his very virtues carry their own dark sides. Considering the light tone of the show, I thought canon did a pretty good job of hinting at that. And of course Fraser would think that if he has some inappropriate desires, the desire to take advantage of Ray's vulnerability in the wilderness, the desire to remake their friendship in the image of his sexual fantasies without knowing Ray's feelings on the matter, then all of his desires are tainted. He's an all or nothing sort of person. But of course real love includes aspects of the ignoble; it's too strong an emotion to be purely benign. Poor Fraser doesn't get that, because his Daddy and his grandparents fucked him up.

What I love about this little snippet - aside from the sheer craft of the sentences, which are beautifully rendered - is the unreliability of Fraser's narration, and the way that unreliability makes an implied commentary on Fraser's psychology. This is absolutely what Fraser would be thinking, but it's also clear that he's completely fucked. He doesn't give Ray enough credit for being able to take care of himself, for one thing, as usual. But you do a great job of leaving the commentary subtle and trusting that the reader is getting the message.

I would *love* to read a Ray-pov companion to this. If he knew what Fraser was thinking, he'd be hella pissed off, for one thing. And this is why the characters work so well together, because Ray can offset Fraser's fuckedupness, and vice versa.
keerawa
Jun. 25th, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
You win a prize for feedback longer than the original piece!

the dark side of a strong will is the temptation to force other people to bend to it. Absolutely. Exactly. I have this experienced a touch of this, and my partner does to a frightening extent. Because sometimes when you feel passionately about something, you suddenly find yourself making people do what you want.

Thanks for complimenting my sentences! Fraser brings that out in me.

the unreliability of Fraser's narration, and the way that unreliability makes an implied commentary on Fraser's psychology. I am falling hard for unreliable narrators. I decided to leave off the summary and warning, because I really want readers thinking and wondering. I try for subtle. Sometimes it works, and sometimes, well...

The thing that makes F/K so appealing to write is that they both have massive issues, but they really are good for each other.
brigantine
Jun. 25th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC)
Argh, this is one of those where you love the guy for trying to do what he thinks is the right thing, but at the same time you wanna smack him - well done, there!

Fraser's attitude is so presumptive. Or condescending. Or one of those things that would annoy the hell outta Ray if he knew.

I mean, it's great that he wants to protect his friend and all that, even if it's from himself. Very cool. But Ray's a big boy, and he's got his own plans and his own reasons.

Plus Ray doesn't like it when Fraser puts himself down, and right here Ben's giving himself no credit at all for having the ability to love somebody in a healthy way.

And the Martyr to Love thing?
The important thing is to keep control, keep the floodgates closed for a few more weeks, until we can part as friends.
Can't see Kowalski having any patience with that.

Like fearlessdiva I'd love to see Ray pick up on what Fraser's thinking, get his reaction to it, watch the snow retreat from how incensed he'd be. *cackle*
keerawa
Jun. 26th, 2007 07:56 am (UTC)
Oh yeah, Ray would be pissed, on several levels.

Ben's giving himself no credit at all for having the ability to love somebody in a healthy way. Very, very true, and I hadn't really thought of it that way.

Thanks for the feedback, brigantine1!
nepthys_uk
Jun. 27th, 2007 10:45 pm (UTC)
Wow! Really powerful, and yet subtle and understated. I'm in awe that you can do so much with so few words!
keerawa
Jun. 29th, 2007 10:01 am (UTC)
Thank you, nepthys_uk! The sequel is almost done.
snarkyducky
Jun. 30th, 2007 10:27 am (UTC)
when faced with the loss of this one bright thing,

omg a shiver ran up my spine at "loss of this one bright thing".. i am in awe of your words that bring up deep turbulent emotions in so few sentences. the fierceness of his desire is almost tangible..
keerawa
Jun. 30th, 2007 05:42 pm (UTC)
Thank you, that's a delicious compliment. Fraser is terrified by the strength of his own emotions.
sam80853
Oct. 12th, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, Fraser ::sighs::. He's one silly man if he ever thinks they can part as friends.
keerawa
Oct. 13th, 2007 02:55 am (UTC)
He is particularly blind here, I agree. Thanks for the comment, sam!
ride_4ever
Oct. 2nd, 2013 07:06 am (UTC)
Stunning. Spot-on insight with the quality of massive-story, and you get right to it without length but with ALL THE DEPTH.

Oh Fraser, sometimes you are so good and so wrong at the same time!
keerawa
Oct. 2nd, 2013 08:07 am (UTC)
Thank you! I am so very proud of this particular snippet. Such a big story, with so many emotions and implications, in this tiny little package. Fraser is very wrong, indeed. Unreliable narrators are such fun.
ride_4ever
Sep. 12th, 2016 04:11 am (UTC)
Back for a three-years-later reread *points up to 2013 comment* and it affects me as powerfully as the first time.
( 23 comments — Leave a comment )