Do You Get Gooseberries In Canada?

This was, in fact, my first due South story and was written for the Double Take Challenge on ds_flashfiction.

Iíd just got back in the door when I found I had a problem. When Iíd gone outside to do my, uh, business (dammit Kowalski, youíre becoming as bad as Fraser for euphemisms). Okay, strike that, when Iíd come back from the bathroom (smart, Ray, like thatís any better. There is no bath in the freaking outhouse and we are so getting indoor plumbing. Yeah, even if Fraser wants us to get solar panels first. Iíd rather piss in the dark than piss in the cold any day) I had two mounties in the cabin. When I left there was only one; my fricking mountie.

Now, as I said, I have two fricking mounties. (Sitting on the wall, two fricking mounties sitting on the wall, then when one fricking mountie accidently fallsÖ Shuddup, shuddup, shuddup; no funny. Iím trying to deal with unexpected mountie here.) Actually new mountie (heís old) looks kinda familiar but wrong. What else seems familiar, something does; familiar and old, musty like a coat stuck at the back of a closet?

Itís Fraser. Heís laying into the other mountie; hard and fast (Kowalski, youíre making it sound like sex and something just screams gross). And Iíve heard it all before. But Iíve never seen Old Mountie (heck I canít think of a better name right now) before, thinking about names, maybe Sucking Lemons Mountie would work, sounds kinda Indian, strike that, First Nation or Inuit (right, Fraser? See, you can teach an old cop new tricks. Or at least better than Dief) but he ainít. Old Mountie has killer posture, just like somebody I know real well. Heís currently yelling (yeah, yelling) at Old Mountie about how he thought he (Old Mountie) was happy in the Hereafter with Mother and how he (I think thatís my Mountie but itís hard to follow and not making much sense. Since when did I expect anything with Benton to make sense) is really fed up with him poking his nose in at inopportune moments (okay, I was right) and if it is going to continue, would he kindly not materÖ matrelÖ materialise in our fricking bedroom. Thank you kindly.

Old Mountie froze up on this one. He had been trying to interrupt and that, but now the saucer was flying but the aliens were communing with the Loch Ness Monster. His mouth just kept doing this cute gulping thing like The Turtle (Fraser once asked me about my love for the definite article, I asked if he wanted one, he said no.) and then a thumb comes up and strokes his eyebrow. Oh Damn. I thought everything was getting too normal. Like the silence though. Fraserís just watching Old Mountie like heís about to start poaching Caribou, and Fraser Seniorís still having an, uh, senior moment.

Yeah, Fraser Senior. I like the silence itís giving me time to put all the weird together. Yeah the shouting sounded familiar, like back when Fraser would start talking into space, Ďcept clearly he wasnít. He didnít just go to Chicago in search of his fatherís killer, he took his fatherís fricking ghost with him. (Maybe took is the wrong word, it doesnít sound like Fraser was entirely happy about it). Right. Score Detective First Class Kowalski-Vecchio. And Fraser thought he wouldnít be back because he went home to momma. And now he is.

And now he is looking right at me. Heís finally unfunked (not that Iíll believe that any relation of Fraser can funk Ėor groove- ever except maybe that Uncle Tiberius I keep not hearing about) enough to look across the cabin at me.

There is one real problem with this little family picture, beyond the Iím just about to meet my boyfriendís (weird word) my mountieís (better) undead father, itís summer in the Territories and believe it or not (this so should make Ripleyís) it is actually damn hot here, and Iíve just crawled out of bed (sure Fraser might get up at some ungodly hour but me, hell no!) and the thing is, the thing isÖ ermÖ (Kowalski, repeat after me, you are not Benton Fraser, you do not have weird hang ups)Ö okay, you ready for this, I went to the john butt naked. (Chicago Flashback: Fraser says its scientifically been proven that men run faster in the Greek fashion Ė he means au naturel, nude, naked, bare Ė and I ask from what? If he can run that fast in The Serge, God help any perps who get naked mountie on their ass, because a) heís fast and b) Iím the jealous type) Flashback induced bliss has not made it better, Iím standing minus clothes plus tattoos in front of Fraserís father, Fraserís fell out of a time warp from some time in the nineteenth century father. This is so not greatness.

And then poof (bad choice, there, but itís my onomatopoeia. Hey, Fraser doesnít have a monopoly on polysyllabic epithets.) and heís gone, off to parts unknown. I donít really need my detective skills to know that was one pissed undead mountie ghost guy. Problem: detective skills suck beyond suck when it comes to detecting Benton Fraser.

ďYou okay?Ē Dork beyond the valley of dork here, but any question would suck really and while Fraser might speak in many tongues (trust me, Iíve checked that out) non-verbal is not one of them

ďHeíll come round eventually. Or mother will talk some sense into him. You missed quite a bit. She doesnít think he should be interfering in my life, weíre going to have quite enough time to catch up later.Ē Iím so not trying to think about the last bit, moody fatalism creeps me out. I think I like Caroline Fraser though.

ďHow come I can see your dad now, but not in Chicago?Ē Pushing it, but I have to know.

ďBecause youíre family now. ĎCome live with me and be my loveÖíĒ

What a choice, let the romantic mountie who grew up in a library quote me poetry, or lean in and take him in my arms and kiss him like this and show him that there is someone who will always love beyond words and deeds and reason.

***

Well, I hadnít been sure about this ocean cruise thing, when Julie had suggested it to me. To be frank, I hated the idea. But, then, I thought, I might as well take all my paid leave before they boot me out to fend for myself. And there was rather a lot of it; a good quartermaster is very good with figures. A little bit here, a little bit there, it all adds up. Worked out when it came to kit for young Bentonís little honeymoon, Iím not entirely sure of the attraction of the honeymoon (I call it as I see it; it darn well felt like one to me) or the intended (Benton would be contrary enough to get that in the wrong order but I suppose their situation isnít conventional); point is, putting a little aside worked fine with stores and itís working fine with leave.

To my surprise, the cruise has been turning out quite nicely. Rather like my visit to America. Iíd have never considered either of them; you hear things and you think that youíd rather die than do that; and then you do and itís surprisingly pleasant. When I think about it, a lot of my preconceptions were down to Bob Fraser. It was he who claimed Americans were unpleasant, that retirement and sea cruises were for vegetables and so many more things besides. Donít get me wrong, Bob was a true and valued friend; itís just in hindsight I find his opinions rarely equate with my experience.

Take this cruise, itís actually quite enjoyable. The people Iíve met actually want to hear my stories, they like them, my stories, not Bobís. Itís not like back home where they ask what it was like to work with Bob Fraser; here they ask what it was like to be me. I feel like Iíve been set free, I no longer feel so old. And most of all, they actually find my stories interesting, especially Annette. Sheís a handsome woman, Annette, and everyone hereís been saying that retirement isnít an end just a new beginning and I feel so young around her; when she suggested that we meet up for drinks, just the two of us, I just thought Iíve always been getting my man, nowís the timeÖ

ďBuck, weíre all going to hell in a handcart!Ē

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