Things That Go "Bump" In The Night...
...are, okay, just a bit of an acquired taste. Unlike say, things that go "bonk" in the night, which are universally popular unless you're among those happy few, the gen fen.
Let's face it, though, it's not as if canon doesn't provide us with "evidence" to suppose that due South is not set in a "rational universe". Even if we lay aside that Fraser seems to live to contravene the laws of physics, which in turn has helped give rise to the fanon "sacred stetson". (For the benefit of newcomers, this is the theory that the stetson confers invulnerability. When Fraser loses his hat, he gets hurt. For example, he looses his hat just before he gets stomped by Warfield's goons. It may well be that Speranza is playing into this myth in Beyond Embarrassment; thus making us expect that something bad has happened to Fraser and making his reaction more believable.)
The Mask, for instance, seems to want us to believe that the Trickster actually is at work in Chicago. While we might interpret it rationally in that Fraser and Vecchio chose moral right over legal right, the shadows and mysterious noises seem to imply otherwise. Say Amen and Mojo Rising both treat the matter in a surprisingly open-minded way. Even if we grant the fondness of some sections of American society for tele-evangelised miracles; we can hardly see this as a "courtesy" extended to this demographic when Voodoun is treated in a broadly analogous manner.
And this is ignoring the obvious examples, both of them.
Firstly, we have our favourite slothful donut-eater. No, not Dewey! Diefenbaker. It's part of the "magical realism" tag that dS gets landed with among critics and fan-theorists, that we do suspend our disbelief when it comes to Fraser's arguments with him. (And talking of fan theory, quite unrelatedly, I have come across the theory that Garfield of the eponymous newspaper cartoon doesn't actually talk at all, and that actually Jon is a desperate lonely man trying to make conversation with an animal who doesn't understand at all. Maybe not quite so unrelatedly.) There are some incredible Diefenbaker centric fics out there (allegedly, there's an archive, but I'm yet to find it) varying from A Day in the Life by celtiknot, which is just plain cutely doggy-centric to Speranza's About A Dog (which is, admittedly, a bit too much of a shaggy dog story for my tastes, not that it isn't good).
And then there's the other big issue: the paternal ghosts. Rather like Hamlet, Fraser is haunted by the spectre of his father. (Speaking of Hamlet, consider Slings and Arrows a moment.) And things between them are initially ambiguous, it could be that the whole business is just the product of an overwroght mind and Fraser's mannifold father issues, which are not helped by poor advice from beyond the grave. What was presented as wise words in the Pilot, when Fraser sits in the diner reading his father's diary, can easily be recast into the pompous and irrelevant stories with which Fraser is assailed. Fraser Senior, by his very presence, changes our opinion of him drastically. It also calls into question Fraser's honesty and makes us ask how much of what he says and does is a polite facade. I'm tempted to believe that the speech in Good For The Soul is not something Fraser would have said at the start of the series and is as much a product of paternally-orientated frustration as it could be the result of some "loosening up" inspired by the Ray Of Your Choice (tm).
What proves, in my opinion, the non-hallucinatory status of the late Sergeant Robert Fraser is Pa Vecchio's appearance in North. Anyone who over-characterised Ray Vecchio as "whinny" should be made to spend the day in the same room as this unquiet spirit. And while I want to leave asside the discussion of "father issues" (and why everyone in dS is haunted by the ghost of his father, even if said father is still alive) for now; I still have visions of it being Pa who persuades Vecchio on the Vegas gig.
On the subject of paternal ghosts:
I'm reccing this for the wonderful scenes featuring the Mounties and their fathers, particularly as they go out for Chinese and each hear one half of the ghostly father's conversation.
And having recced The Sweet Hereafter two weeks ago, here's the other bodyswap fic:
Being Benton Fraser by Theodosia
Fraser/Kowalski NC-17 320k
Everyone loves a gypsy curse (ask Buffy!) and this is the reason why I don't totally ♥ About A Dog. Theodosia does "unexpected gypsy curse" much better than Speranza and the plot is rather meatier. Plus, it isn't just our boys that get swapped, the Duck Boys do too, and well... if you don't know where Frannie ends up, well, I'm not going to spoil it for you. It's sparky and fun and Fraser's "rational explanation" is hilarious:
"We are both hypnotized," Fraser said, "or rather, that is what I theorize. We've been hypnotized to believe that we're actually the other."
I blinked and flashed on Eddie Murphy on Saturday Night Live saying "Help! Help! I've been hyp-mo-tized!" which didn't help much. "Okay," I said slowly. "So, really, I'm Fraser, I'm just imagining that Ray has possessed me?"
"Well, yes," said Fraser.
"And you're really Stanley Raymond Kowalski, only you're compelled to do your best approximation of Benton Fraser?"
"Essentially, yes," said Fraser. "One imagines that by now, I would have had a fair amount of exposure to Fraser's mannerisms, speech patterns and patterns of mental processing, picked up at an unconscious level."
"The sort of know-how that would let me recognize you if you were, say, in a different body?" I said sweetly.
"It is a hypothesis that certainly fits the facts," Fraser said. He took a sip of my coffee and stopped dead, eyes widening.
"Exactly," I said. "It's too damn elaborate, depends on a hypnotist getting it exactly right with the both of us, not to mention hypnotizing us in the first place, and then releasing us back into the wild."
"Occam's Razor?" Fraser said.
What is really scary is that Fraser does believe that this theory is the "simple" solution as opposed to Ray's opinion that it is a gypsy curse.
Having brought up Buffy, with all that talk of gypsy curses, I think I might entertain you with a couple of crossovers:
Denser Still The Snow by Jane St Clair
Fraser/Kowalski/Oz post-COTW 26k
Fraser and Kowalski get a werewolf caught up in their trapping line. Wonderful, wonderful characterisation and an Oz who is "here to go" and the incredible landscape make this a really good read.
(and if you like Jane's Oz, may I point you to Little Gods a 825k co-production with Te. It's an X-men crossover where everything is given to you on a plate, plus Nate is pretty much a god, so figure. I'm broadening your fannish horizons, honest, it's revenge for all the SGA.)
Infinite by LaT
Fraser/Kowalski (might make some of you go "urk!")
Kowalski's been away and he's bringing Fraser a present. Something a blonde man gave him in a bar. To say more would give it away.
Okay, and mentioning those, means that by the laws of fangirling I have to mention this:
Mountie Slayer by Magnes and Karra
Still longer than anything you have read, period.
The infamous soap opera AU has a new webhome and a revamp and update is on the cards. The key problem with Mountie Slayer (which is about a Mountie who Slays vampires, just to resolve any confusion) is the impossibility of explaining the damn thing. I mean, you start easily, "well, it's a kind of cross-over with the Buffyverse, and there are vampires, and you see, Marcus Ellery is one and he lured Ray to the cemetary to bite him, only Fraser was there and didn't quite save him, and well, Ray's turning slowly into a vampire but he isn't going to lose his soul, because Fraser's his soul mate. And Ray's kinda psychic and there's this thing with a psychic phone operator called Tom and a very likeable killing machine called James and they all team up to fight evil," and then you start on, "and it isn't just Buffy crossed with due South, Joe Dick's in it too and he falls for Jamey and Tom's daughter and everyone has kids except Ray and Fraser, who have Dief anyway and Dief's a werewolf but he's turning into a little boy who never grows up..." and by this point people are looking at you and wondering if they hit you over the head with the shovel, will anyone notice when they bury you in the Red Barn...
It's good, it's addictive, the first couple of installments are a little ropey, but it soon draws you in and the quality goes up really fast... and yes, Jamey is very sweet (unless you prefer Tom) and likeably Canadian (and seems to be based physically on Hugh Dillon). And if you've already succumbed, the latest instalment is Disco Inferno part one and part two in which we finally get Vecchio out of where Erkisgal put him, with Dance Dance Revolution.
Completely divorced from the Buffy-mileau now:
Vecchio returns from Vegas a changed man, we're all sure of that. But this is a different take, as Vecchio had a rather nasty encounter with a vampire in Vegas (try saying that three times fast) and finds that things have changed, not just with him, but with Fraser. And suddenly, Vecchio has a houseful of werewolves to contend with, some of whom are fonder than him than others. Unlike some threesome fic, this is comfortably awkward, starting as an issosoles triangle and moving slowly towards equality.
And to make you run screaming:
Ray's Glasses by MR
Every fandom needs a little Lovecraftian influence. Ever wondered why Ray hates his glasses? Wonder no more. I swear there's a sequel, but I can't find it. *pouts*
I'd also like to recommend the same author's Monster series, which is dark mc dark, so you have been warned. It is also deathfic.
Feel free to give me some shivers if you enjoy any of these links.
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