Today's theme is one of my lasting joys, fucked up Fraser.
On the surface, Fraser is the perfect individual. Plato would ask him to join his Republic in a heart-beat, he is insanely good, conscious of others, and tells stories with good morals at the end with none of the licentiousness Plato criticised the Greek ones for. (Okay, there probably are licentious Inuit tales, but what is the likelihood of Fraser telling those ones, I ask you.) He is courteous, well-behaved and erratically educated in ways that prove fortuitiously useful.
Fraser is a character of extremes and this cuts both ways. All of the above good points could be constructed as a (rather extreme) reaction to influences earlier in life. It's open to question whether Fraser actually had a bad childhood the way Ray Vecchio did with his father, but there is certainly some level of privation there, and an absent father and a dead mother. Fraser's "forgiveness" speech in Good For The Soul can either be constructed on face value, "I've learned to forgive all of that. Most of all, Christmas is about forgiveness." or that "the sense of horror" is still with him and his preoccupation with the sense of forgiveness is that he won't forgive himself for the blunder with Warfield and forgives his grandparents in lieu.
Also in Good For The Soul we have this interchange:
Fraser [to himself]: I was selfish, I know, my, my feelings above everyone else's. Dad? Huh, you're ignoring me now. That's great. That's great.
[Fraser passes carolers. Robert is among them; he walks to Fraser while singing Holy Night]
Fraser: Oh hi. Do you think I'm being selfish and single-minded?
Robert: Oh, you're more than that son. You're obsessive, overbearing, possibly even arrogant.
Fraser: Well, thanks a lot dad, that, that makes me feel a whole lot better.
We are reminded that we are dealing with a man who writes his own reprimands and ultimately punishes himself more strictly than anyone else does. Compare this with Fraser's indifferent behaviour during the obligatory start of season overfishing/littering scenes, where he responds to a dressing down by ignoring that it's a dressing down at all and waiting for the superior to realise it isn't one either.
It remains though that Fraser is unnecessarily hard on himself and preoccupied by being selfless in order not to be selfish. One wonders what was said when he did feed that book to the walrus. It's hard consequently to tell how much of Fraser's selflessness and diffidence is genuine. Or what goes on under the surface at all.
What is the attraction of this? Firstly, we have brought down an angel to a more human, more understandable and arguably more interesting level. Secondly, and more personally, it might be that in Fraser's flaws we see a mirror of our own.
And now for some Fraser-psyche searching recs.
Prolix by Dira Sudis
Fraser/Kowalski, G-rated, short
I seriously heart Prolix, it's a multilayered examination both of why Fraser talks the way he does, Fraser's childhood, and most of all the knots in Fraser's head, which only Ray can untangle to find the truth. It's also sweet and funny and romantic and proves that it's not just Fraser with all the vocabularly tricks
"So, you use big words to hide the fact that sometimes you don't feel like the Perfect Mountie Poster Boy?"
"So, the less perfect you feel, the more perfect you talk?"
The Distance Between by Aukestrel
HCL-crossover NC-17 Fraser/Dick long
One of the initial attractions of this fic is, of course, wondering how the hell Aukestrel is going to pull this off. Of course, she does.
And so I kneel here, in both a literal and figurative sense, where it all began. In this place, where redemption is probably no more than a fantasy and there is instead only repentance and punishment, it ends. Or, rather, continues. More fitting, in fact, that it should continue, time without end, amen: the crown of thorns is mine and mine alone. For many reasons, I find the opiate of the masses seductive - unconditional love and forgiveness in return for mere belief is in many ways a simple choice. That path is not mine, however, as much, as desperately, as I may want it to be.
The link between The Distance Between and Prolix is Fraser's self-inflicted punishment, but the difference is between innocence and experience. Fraser, waiting in a stall in a men's room in one of the nastier ends of Chicago reminding himself of what he "almost became for... her" kneeling and waiting for the proffered pennance.
And he gets Joe Dick, and Joe brings something else with him: a sort of redemption, an escape from thought. Anythign else I could say would sound like a joke; a penitant Mountie and a violent nihilist punk meet in a bar...
When I got this assignment, I swore I wasn't going to rec any Speranza, not because Speranza isn't totally and utterly amazing, but because the chances you haven't read her stuff are perfect fuel for an Infinate Improbability Drive or something. Honestly, if you haven't read it, develop a case of pinkeye (which we all know is a serious disease) and take a few days off.
Of course, it couldn't be done. Speranza's Frasers are amazing.
I might have pointed you to Eight Sessions Fraser, with his amazing fatalistic filibuster on how the only choice he had was to be a Mountie. And I could point you to Scrabble, where Fraser Loves Death, or so says the ouija Scrabble board.
But what I want you to read is:
An Admirable Solution by Speranza
Fraser/Kowalski, sex and then more sex, 150k
This whole thing is wonderful and kind of disturbed, as Ray gets increasingly freaked by his and Fraser's rapport and the whole sort of broken wrong-headed romance between them.
"I mean, this is wonderful, Ray," Fraser said in a voice like melted chocolate. "I couldn't be happier."
And Ray didn't know why, but somehow this gave him the chills.
However, as all good Speranza stories it ends good and sweet (and a Canadian shack might be involved somewhere)
Headtrip by lamardeuse
This seems an odd choice in that it is largely told through Ray Kowalski enduring an absent Fraser, but the scene where Ray dreams of Fraser out-of-condition insomniac jerking off to the video of Ray's homerun as if it will make everything alright shows one of Fraser's worst flaws. He puts everyone before himself and inevitably considers his own needs and desires selfish.
"He doesn't believe that he deserves you either!"
Ray stared at the old man, who flung an exasperated arm at the dark screen. "Benton grew up isolated, with few friends of his own age. His ideal of love was one he couldn't imagine for himself. One of a deep and abiding concord so intense that one would die for the other without hesitation."
Schisms by Rushlight
Fraser/Kowalski NC-17 longer than long
It's hard to work out what to say about Schisms beyond that it is perfect and terrifying and edge of your seat. Fraser and Ray are part of a task force investigating a serial killer, but Fraser's distracted, he's been having dreams of dark tunnels and there's something terrible in the light. And now the nightmare is following him into the daylight and he doesn't quite know when he's dreaming and when he's not.
"I mean, the way you described that, you made it sound like you were actually there."
"It was a very vivid dream, Ray..."
"You ever been anywhere like that?"
"Like what?" Fraser's eyes were widening again.
"I don't know." He shrugged. "Somewhere underground, with those cave paintings you saw."
"I don't ... I don't think so."
Ray felt a tingle of unease move through him. "You don't think so? How can you not remember something like that?"
He half-expected Fraser to get angry at the question, but instead, he just looked confused. "No, I... I've never been anywhere like that." Still, he sounded none too sure.
Ray stared at him. "Uh-huh."
Fraser shook his head and turned away. Letting his breath out softly, he admitted, "I seem to be having trouble telling the difference between my dreams and reality lately."
The Sweet Hereafter by China_shop
Fraser/Kowalski R long
This is the most amazing and complex bodyswap story ever, including cursed Indian artifacts, confusion and attraction. Fraser and his father swap bodies, cue confusion by all parties as Fraser Snr and Kowalski struggle to work out what's going on and Fraser is trapped as a ghost. It's a great twisty story, but that's not why it's on this list. No, it's here because of Fraser's heartbreaking and wrong decission that his father deserves a life more than he does:
Fraser watched the sky instead. His situation was plain: if his father wanted another chance at life, and fate had so conveniently handed him one, Fraser could not deny him. It was his duty. Fraser’s jaw clenched automatically, and his muscles tensed in a facsimile of his accustomed stoicism. Robert Fraser had been betrayed by his friend, but he would find that he could, at least, depend on his son.
Fraser considered his other obligations: the Consulate would barely miss his presence; the 27th Precinct would either have his father as a replacement or, more likely, would soon find another officer to pick up any slack; Diefenbaker had always been a free agent; and Ray would—
Fraser paused. He closed his eyes and a barrage of echoed sensations flashed through his mind: the dazzle of blue skies and sun bouncing off a Chicago pavement; the pulsing rush of chasing after a criminal; the feel of Dief’s coarse fur, and the wet rasp of his tongue on Fraser’s hand; the warmth of Ray’s smile, the weight of his hand on Fraser’s shoulder. All the small amenities and pleasures, the moments, the jokes, the shared teasing and understanding. Ray.
Fraser swallowed his despair, and tried to think logically. It was his duty. His own needs were, as always, of secondary importance.
One last rec and then I'll leave you to your regularly scheduled Thursday:
The Way we Used to be by Starfish
Fraser/Kowalski R part one of "The Bar AU" another long one
After the events of Bird In the Hand went terribly tragically wrong, Fraser fled Chicago. This story is about his return both to Chicago and to a life truer to himself.
I took a sip of my own drink, which I had been neglecting. "So why leave? I don't get it."
He looked me right in the eyes then, and I could see how he was hurting. "Because I was glad. I wanted him dead so badly, wanted him to suffer for taking my father from me . . . so how can I be sure I didn't do it on purpose? It haunts me - the look on his face when he realized what had happened. It took him only five minutes to die. And - I just watched."
He tossed back the rest of the Laphroiag and set the glass back down carefully. "And after that I found I could no longer perform my duties as a member of the RCMP. So I left. Now aren't you glad you took the time to get to know me? Thank you kindly for the drink."
And of course, Ray Kowalski is the man to save Fraser from himself.
little-b buzzing off
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