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dS snippet: When the Walls Close In

My Internet died a horrible death Saturday morning. I've finally made it back on, thanks to a new router and far too many hours on hold with various technical support lines. I'm not even going to try working my way back through my Friend's List, so if you've got anything nifty going on, feel free to link it to me. I've missed the deadline for the ds_snippets Big Anniversary Amnesty Challenge, but I'll be posting some fic for it anyway!

Fandom/Character: Due South; Ray Kowalski
Rating: PG
Length: 300 words
Summary: Ray isn't enjoying asylum in Canada.
Challenge: Written for ds_snippets Amnesty Challenge #10, prompt: box
Notes: I grabbed myself 3 betas for this one, raine_wynd, springwoof, and dessert_first. I couldn't fit all of their wonderful ideas into 300 words, but I much appreciated every one!


Ray prowled the halls of the Consulate. His life was going up in flames, and Ray was stuck in here. Turnbull kept following him around, offering tea, and snacks, and apologies for the thing with the TV remote. If Ray heard one more nutball remark, somebody was gonna get punched in the head. He waited until Turnbull was busy with some tourists, and then escaped into Fraser's office.

The room seemed smaller without Fraser in it. There were lots of filing boxes, but no photos. No personal touches. Ray poked around, opened a few drawers and peered inside. Office supplies, mostly. Nothing too exciting. Ray picked up an address book, which had some potential. He dropped it guiltily back onto the desk as a siren wailed outside.

Ray stretched out on the cot. Maybe he could absorb a little of that freaky Fraser-calm.

Hard, narrow cot. Scratchy wool blanket. When Ray looked up, he could see all four walls without even turning his head. Ugh.

Fraser's office might make a nice walk-in closet, but as a bedroom, it sucked. Ray felt like a rat in a trap. He'd go mental if he had to sleep in here.

Ray itched to get up, get out, do something. As he sat up, something caught his eye. Ray squinted at the ceiling and then stood up, hand on the wall for balance as the cot creaked under his boots.

Dots. The office ceiling was covered in tiny little pencil marks, laid out in patterns, as if Fraser had set up the world's most complicated connect-the-dots game, and then forgotten to connect any of them.

Weird. Must be some Canadian thing, he decided.

A year later, Ray would look up from a campfire into a limitless sky blazing with stars, and recognize Fraser's ceiling.

Comments

( 29 comments — Leave a comment )
zabira
Feb. 7th, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)
OH MY, keerawa! that was just perfect. i got the most amazing kick-to-the-heart feeling at the end, but also, the idea of mercurial!ray as a caged animal in the consulate rang so very true. and--come to think of it--made me even more sad for fraser than i usually am. still, somehow, at the end of this snippet i didn't feel sad, only LOVE-FILLED. \k/

ummm...while you were gone, i podficced my own story, which was very weird for me. i now have even MORE admiration for your ability to do it with such skill and aplomb than i already did...
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:30 am (UTC)
Caged!Ray makes for a powerful muse. I'm glad that the implication of how Fraser feels in that room came across, I wasn't 100% sure it would. I think it's a happy ending. By my standards, anyway *grins*

I've downloaded "Still", and I look forward to having a listen once my iPod's back from the depths of the repair service. (I seem to be working through some bad technology karma here.) I'll be having my first attempt at recording someone else's work either this weekend or the next, so we can compare war stories.
zabira
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:33 am (UTC)
I'll be having my first attempt at recording someone else's work

YAY for more podfic from you!!! and i'd love to hear what you think about the experience, for sure.
bertybertle
Feb. 7th, 2008 09:11 am (UTC)
Oh my God! That's beautiful and heartbreaking. What a punch from only 300 words. *applauds the to the very echo*
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
Thank you, berty! I like writing snippets - it forces you to head right for the heart of the story.
j_s_cavalcante
Feb. 7th, 2008 10:28 am (UTC)
Ooh...oh, my God. Fraser marked the ceiling like a prisoner or a monk in a cell.

You are brilliant. I love your shiny, shiny brain.

That image is definitely going to stay in mine. WOW. \o/
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
I picture Fraser lying there in the dark, unable to see the marks, but knowing they're there. Thank you, js!
vsee
Feb. 7th, 2008 12:39 pm (UTC)
Aw....*sniffle* This is great.
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:42 pm (UTC)
Thanks for the comment, vsee!
akamine_chan
Feb. 7th, 2008 01:44 pm (UTC)
Oh my god, K! I'm speechless! I have no words for how absolutely awesome this is. Wow.
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:44 pm (UTC)
Thank you, akamine_chan! I'm glad it made an impression.
nos4a2no9
Feb. 7th, 2008 03:54 pm (UTC)
Wow. And...wow. That ending was amazing. I did love the build-up, too, and the way Ray paces and rails against his cage (and feels sympathy for Fraser) but that ending made me gasp. Jesus. It's just such a lonely, homesick sort of thing for Fraser to do, and this reached in and grabbed me where I live and kinda, I dunno, shook me or something. Amazing.
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
that ending made me gasp
That comment makes me very happy. Thanks, Nos! Ray's narration has a bare-bones, almost stacatto sound to it. Partly a side-effect of cutting down from 387 to 300 words, but I like the way it shows Ray almost bouncing off the walls inside his own head.
isiscolo
Feb. 7th, 2008 04:01 pm (UTC)
Aw, I really like that closing line!
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:55 pm (UTC)
Thanks, Isis!
ithildyn
Feb. 7th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
That was great!
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 02:56 pm (UTC)
I'm glad you enjoyed it, ith.
brigantine
Feb. 7th, 2008 04:39 pm (UTC)
*loves* Turnbull trying so hard to help Ray feel at home, help him relax, and Ray just trying so hard not to punch Turnbull in the head. Cute and kind of sad at the same time.

And a year later, Ray remembers! I wonder what goes through his head at this moment of recognition? I'm thinking all those comments that folkette have left above, like how homesick Fraser must've been, and feeling trapped like a prisoner in a cell... and then Ray looks across the camp fire at Fraser and sees a whole new dimension to his friend.

Andthentheyhavesex. (sorry. girl hormones.)
keerawa
Feb. 8th, 2008 03:00 pm (UTC)
Turnbull really is trying to help, and it just keeps reminding Ray that he's under house arrest.

*nods* I left the ending there, open for a reader reaction, but I like your ideas about Ray's reaction. Feel free to pick it up and run with it, if you want! Oh, and have I mentioned recently how incredible your Men with Guns cross-over story is? I ran across a rec for it, and am really looking forward to rereading it.
slidellra
Feb. 7th, 2008 07:52 pm (UTC)
Dude, that's excellent. What a cool image. Yay you!
slidellra
Feb. 7th, 2008 07:54 pm (UTC)
Oh, and sorry to hear about the stupid internet meltdown! One of the things you probably missed was me musing over changing my username, and your old accidental name for me is in the running. *beams*
keerawa
Feb. 9th, 2008 03:37 am (UTC)
Glad you liked it, L. As for the new/old name ... malapropism for the win!
luzula
Feb. 7th, 2008 10:22 pm (UTC)
Oh, that's a wonderful image. And I like your twitchy, curious Ray.

(Also, while you were gone, I podficced "The Course".)
keerawa
Feb. 9th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
Thank you, luzula! Ray's curious. But he's also pissed off at Fraser, and intentionally trespassing because of it. Not sure if that comes across much in this version, but in my head, that's the way it is.

Oh my. You recorded "The Course"? That is a HUGE project, luzula! Well done! I'll definitely have to check that out once my iPod is up and running.
luzula
Feb. 9th, 2008 07:05 pm (UTC)
Huh, Ray being pissed off and trespassing makes so much sense, and I can see it on reread. For example, he's actually standing on Fraser's cot with his boots on...

Yeah, "The Course" was a big project, but also lots of fun.
cysefin
Feb. 8th, 2008 05:52 am (UTC)
AWWWWWWWWWW! that is all...
keerawa
Feb. 9th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC)
*grins* Thanks!
2_4_joy
Feb. 9th, 2008 12:54 am (UTC)
Wonderful! I'm not sure which of the two I feel more sorry for in this moment. I think Fraser, since his is a more permanent melancholy. And I like brigantine's solution to make them feel better. ;)
keerawa
Feb. 9th, 2008 03:42 am (UTC)
I have all kinds of deep thoughts about why Fraser stays in the Consulate. None of them are GOOD reasons. Because, really? It's an awful living situation. Thanks for the feedback, 24joy!
( 29 comments — Leave a comment )