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dS Snippet: Ends and Means

Fandom/Pairing: Due South; Fraser/Kowalski
Rating: PG
Length: 300 words
Challenge: Written for ds_snippets Amnesty challenge #9, prompt:
so i hold my breath 'till my heart explodes
cause this is how it is and this is how it goes

- Billy Talent, “This Is How It Goes”
Notes: Thanks to my beta, llassah. This snippet is a sequel to Accessory. It's the short version. The long, serial-killer casefic version is resting quietly in my WIP folder.
Summary: The second time Fraser lied to protect Ray.

"Anything to add, Corporal?" Lieutenant Ganesh asked.

I was glad that Lieutenant Welsh had retired last year. He had always had great faith in Ray, in me, in our partnership. Too much faith, perhaps.

Details imprinted themselves on my consciousness. The squeak of the fan. The scent of Turkish coffee and the Lieutenant's cologne. Ray, seated on the couch, eyes downcast, shoulders tensely screaming out a mix of fear and desperate hope. I was inescapably reminded of Victoria, when I took what we had between us and burned it to ashes.

I opened my mouth to confess. What emerged was, "No, sir."

I couldn't do it. I simply could not. Every man has his limit; this was mine. I could not sprout wings and fly, I could not hold my breath for an hour, and I could not betray Ray. I could not cause the loss of his reputation, his future, possibly even his freedom.

I automatically followed Ray into the men's room once the Lieutenant dismissed us. He pushed me into a stall, whispering exultantly, "It's over, Frase, we did it! That monster is never gonna hurt another little girl."

I had nothing to say.

Ray was wrong. It was far from over. I would lie to the district attorney, to internal affairs, on the witness stand and under colour of authority. There is this to be said for a lifetime's habit of honesty – when one chooses to lie, everyone believes you.

Ray took me home, pressed me up against the door, and gave me the kiss I had so long anticipated. I found myself silent, passive, unable to reciprocate. Ray was … well. Disappointed, certainly, when he left.

I don't blame Ray. He had only acted according to his nature. But I – I was drowning.

Comments

( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
spuffyduds
Dec. 22nd, 2007 07:22 pm (UTC)
OH. Ouch. Lovely, though.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 12:36 am (UTC)
Thank you, spuffyduds!
tanisafan
Dec. 22nd, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
I think you just broke me.

There is this to be said for a lifetime's habit of honesty – when one chooses to lie, everyone believes you.

It physically hurts me that Fraser lies for Ray's sake and with the thought that it will make things better, while in reality it will be what tears them apart.

Curse you! *shakes fist impotently*
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 12:37 am (UTC)
Yeah, that is the worst part. *tries to look sorry, but fails*
zabira
Dec. 22nd, 2007 09:58 pm (UTC)
you do know how to hurt a girl, keerawa! and you twist the knife so skillfully and beautifully that we keep COMING BACK FOR MORE.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Sounds dysfunctional. I like it. Thanks, zabira!
viciouscats
Dec. 22nd, 2007 10:25 pm (UTC)
Ouch. Great snippet.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 01:02 am (UTC)
Thank you, viciouscats.
vienna_waits
Dec. 23rd, 2007 03:55 am (UTC)
*makes grabby hands*
Brilliant. I want to read the long version of this fic, like, YESTERDAY. I want to know SO BADLY why Fraser lied and hear the whole thing in context.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 05:54 am (UTC)
Hey there vienna! I'm glad to hear that you liked it, and are looking for more. I'm sorry to say I don't think this particular WIP will be finished anytime soon. Hence the snippet approach.

2_4_joy
Dec. 23rd, 2007 05:22 am (UTC)
Ouch! This is a painful catch 22 you have created. He will destroy Ray if he talks, but destroy himself if he lies. Keep chugging away on that WIP, because you've made us all want more.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 06:00 am (UTC)
Nicely put, 2_4_joy!

I don't have the emotional fortitude to delve into the serial-murder case and the effect it has on Fraser and Ray. But I'm sure I'll be up for it at some point, and the half-written scenes and snippets of dialogue are sitting in the WIP folder for when that day comes.

Thank you for the feedback!
luzula
Dec. 23rd, 2007 12:56 pm (UTC)
Oh, you're such a tease... now I want more. But yeah, I can see how this would be hard to write.

It's painful how their first kiss is poisoned by the lie.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 07:08 pm (UTC)
It's painful how their first kiss is poisoned by the lie.
It really is! Thanks for the comment, luzula! I don't mean to be a tease, really. It just sort of ... happens.
akamine_chan
Dec. 23rd, 2007 02:33 pm (UTC)
Oh, keerawa, what have you done to the boys?

I was inescapably reminded of Victoria, when I took what we had between us and burned it to ashes.

I love this line, and I'm terribly curious why Fraser is so strongly reminded of Victoria. From both this snippet and Accessory, it's clear that Fraser's developing a habit of lying to protect Ray. I have to wonder why Ray needs to be protected so much. Or is it just Fraser's view of things?

Either way, I eagerly anticipate more, even if it's only in snippets and drabbles. Great work.
keerawa
Dec. 23rd, 2007 07:13 pm (UTC)
Team Angst, yo!

It's the mixture of fear and hope. I think that at Fortitude Pass, Victoria didn't really believe that Fraser would turn her in, not until the last moment. In the long-fic version, Ray is pretty messed-up at this point. But I think that Fraser just tends to be protective of people he cares about.

Thanks, akamine_chan!
hurry_sundown
Dec. 24th, 2007 02:40 am (UTC)
I don't blame Ray. He had only acted according to his nature. But I – I was drowning.

This hurt so much I couldn't comment on it when I first read it. Awesome, baybee. I hope someday you'll write the long version.
keerawa
Dec. 25th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
That's quite the compliment, hurry_sundown, thank you!
mlyn
Dec. 25th, 2007 08:07 am (UTC)
I can handle a lot of different kinds of angst, but Fraser sacrificing his own moral code for another person just KILLS me.
keerawa
Dec. 25th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC)
*offers a gingerbread latte in amends*
(no subject) - mlyn - Dec. 25th, 2007 08:25 am (UTC) - Expand
springwoof
Dec. 25th, 2007 10:24 am (UTC)
oh! the heartbreak! poor Fraser.
keerawa
Dec. 26th, 2007 06:27 am (UTC)
It's a painful scenario, which makes it hard to find a happy ending for them. THanks for the comment, springwoof!
j_s_cavalcante
Dec. 4th, 2009 04:11 am (UTC)
Ow ow ow...I'm actually rather glad I never saw this back when you posted it, because wow, that hurts. I was scrambling to finish fic and close to starting art school at the time. Don't remember why I didn't see it. Anyway, this packs a hell of a punch. I'm not sure I buy what you imply strongly here: that Ray killed a bad guy in cold blood or in some other unauthorized manner. I think I'd need to see the long version to believe how Ray got to that point.

It's interesting (in the sense of the Chinese curse, I think) that Fraser makes the opposite choice here that he made with Victoria, and he still loses everything. He can't win! In fact, now that he has lost his own respect--and probably blames that on Ray, or at least isn't going to allow himself to "profit" from this choice by having a future with Ray--he is finally, really beyond redemption. I imagine suicide-by-perp or simply burying himself in a Fortress of Solitude somewhere in the North will be his future.

Ultimately he's a more tragic Fraser than almost any we've yet seen. I'm not sure whether Busaikko's "Ordinary Days" is more or less tragic. (I reject any deeply tragic vision of him for myself, but it's certainly a valid, if terrifying, interpretation.) I said in my comments to the original that this could go either way: it could redeem him or it could break my heart.

Why am I not surprised you chose heartbreak? :)

Damn, Keera. You are a formidable talent.
keerawa
Dec. 4th, 2009 02:56 pm (UTC)
Hey JS! Got to love the snippet-length response to my snippet. This one IS deeply tragic. I's a long and nasty trip to get Ray to this point. (Among other factors, the perps chosen victims remind Ray strongly of Stella at that age.) It took shape in my mind, but I don't want to invest it with the energy of writing it down, giving it form, and testing Ray and Fraser to destruction like this. Hence the permanent WIP status of the long-fic. The snippet was just to get the story to stop yanmmering at me.

I love your Chinese curse comment - it's exactly right. Busaikko's "Ordinary Days" is less tragic, to my mind. There is redemptin to be found there, and a particular joy. Here? No.
cynaravurzyn
Nov. 16th, 2010 01:49 am (UTC)
I have to believe that there was something (placed too high, some sort of technicality, whatever) that meant the perp was going to walk and was Going To Do It Again.

I could see that as Ray's price, where not Doing Something would leave him feeling dirty.

My interpretation on Fraser lying for the first time (in the preceding fic) is not wanting to let on that The Mountie has been broken.

Here, it's the man broken. He's saved Ray but in needing to do so he's lost too much, which Ray doesn't realize.
keerawa
Nov. 16th, 2010 07:18 am (UTC)
*nods* Ray absolutely feels he has acted in the right. I agree with you. Fraser doesn't recognize this version of himself, and I think he's more than a little terrified. Thank you for the feedback!
erops
Jun. 23rd, 2012 08:15 pm (UTC)
I started into dS a year ago & just found this story. Unlike some other opinions, it's perfect the way it ids. Filling in details would, I think, taker away the punch.
I'm a fan & now going to read everything else you wrote.
keerawa
Jun. 23rd, 2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much, erops! Due South was a fun show, but it raised all of these darker questions about identity, loyalty, what it means to be a good man. I enjoy exploring them.
mayamaia
Mar. 2nd, 2016 05:29 pm (UTC)
I'd be very curious to read that WIP
keerawa
Mar. 6th, 2016 08:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, the WIP is just fragments. I doubt I'll ever finish it, since both Ray and Fraser are in such a very dark place. Ray is driven to plant evidence, to convict a serial killer who is very, very good at covering his tracks. Fraser helps him cover it up. There is SO. MUCH. ANGST.
(no subject) - mayamaia - Mar. 7th, 2016 04:14 am (UTC) - Expand
( 32 comments — Leave a comment )