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06:15 pm: Fic: Life Without Fraser, or How Ray Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Moose
Title: Life Without Fraser, or How Ray Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Moose
Author: Littera Abactor
Fandom: due South
Pairing: Fraser/Kowalski
Rating: PG
Author's Note: This was originally commentfic; it's being posted here in a very slightly modified form because norah deserves to get her way all the time. It's dedicated to lyra_sena, who pretty much came up with the title and whose comment inspired the whole story in the first place. Totally un-beta-read and un-proofread; if any of the usual suspects wants to volunteer for that thankless task, I will be filled with fannish love.
Spoilers: Maybe mild ones for Call of the Wild.
Feedback: Please.



Ray didn't start out loving moose. The first time he saw one was his first week in Canada, and he made a lot of really good points to Fraser:

"I could make better horns than that out of cardboard. They look like the hand turkeys little kids make."

"Anything that big that eats that messy was designed to be way far away from Ray Kowalski all the time."

"Oh, jeez. See what I mean? You get that big, you spit out a gallon of snot every time you sneeze. Yuck."

"And if one moose is a moose, what's two of them? Mooses? Meese? I'm not kidding you here, Fraser. Only Canadians would love these things."

And Fraser just smiled, sort of half-smiled anyway, and that was that. Point made. Although a few minutes later he did say, "You know, Ray, moose are indigenous to much of North America, including areas that are within the borders of the United States." Ray had laughed, just trying to imagine a moose making it in the USA.

The last time he saw a moose was his last day in Canada. It wasn't a real one, just a picture, but the guy who drew it totally got the moose - how it might look big and dumb and Canadian, but it was, like, designed for the weather and the isolation and the tundra in a way Ray wasn't, could never be, no matter how much he might want that. In Chicago, he'd miss Fraser, but at least he'd be Ray missing Fraser, not just some guy with bad hair trying to live in a place he didn't belong with a Mountie he didn't deserve.

Actually, that was the last time he saw a moose until today. Dewey gave Frannie a baby present, and it turned out to be a stuffed moose. Frannie got a little teary when she looked at it, but that was nothing to how Ray felt - he had to go to the men's room and push hard on his eyes or he'd have been crying, fucking crying in the bullpen.

He calmed down, got himself the fuck back together. Washed his hands, splashed cold water on his face. And then he just stood there, staring into the mirror, thinking: I'm Ray. Ray in Chicago. Ray where he belongs.

But he just kept thinking of that moose, the little stuffed moose, how it was going to make it in Chicago, spend the rest of its life with some kid going to be born in a couple months, make that kid happy, get old and chewed and covered in spit by that kid, and be happy itself, even so.

And then he realized he was getting teary over the damn stuffed moose again, and he might not have a Mountie-sized brain but he could read signs when they were hitting him over the head.

So he went back to the bullpen and started sorting through his files. If he was leaving forever, the next guy would need notes better than "Saw M with F on 2/11: liar liar pants on fire" and "Yeah. Right. Fucker."

Was surprising how fast the paperwork went once he wasn't thinking about how much better Fraser would do it.

And now he's sitting in his apartment. All the lights are off, the stereo's off, the heat's off; it's cold and dark and Ray is all alone. And he's staring at the phone.

In his left hand, he's got the moose; Frannie gave it to him before he left work. She wouldn't say why, but he guesses that moose's destiny isn't to grow up happy with that baby after all.

In his right hand, he's got a piece of paper. He can't read the phone number that's printed on it in Fraser's neat script, but he's got it memorized, even though he's never dialed it. So he can do this, he can, he can, he just - what the hell does he say?

So it's cold and dark and Ray's alone. He puts down the paper, looks at the moose. Looks at the phone.

Takes a deep breath, picks up the phone, dials. When he hears Fraser's concerned voice on the other end - shit, it's almost two a.m. - Ray can't help smiling. "Hey, Fraser, it's me," he says. "Wanna moose?"

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Comments

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[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:21 am (UTC)
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Yup! Although I still reserve the right to rework it later, when my sanity returns.

If my sanity returns, I mean.

Because it's not like I've put out flyers or offered a reward or anything.
[User Picture]
From:delurker
Date:June 11th, 2005 04:47 am (UTC)
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Aw, moose. That's so cute! I love the fact that Ray had to go hide in the bathroom so he wouldn't cry - he's such a softy.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:29 am (UTC)
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Well, you know, inside he's a poet. But on the outside? Shake, bad guys, shake.

(And thank you!)
[User Picture]
From:minervacat
Date:June 11th, 2005 05:01 am (UTC)
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all seventeen of my stuffed mooses and i appreciate this story immensely.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:31 am (UTC)
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Do you really have seventeen?

*is in awe*

Please explain to them that I loved moose right away, from the moment I saw one preventing my grandfather's car from proceeding to the airport to meet the plane that was supposed to take me home. (They're big, those moose.) It's Ray who needed time to learn the Way of the Moose.

Because I don't want to hurt their feelings. They might be able to get word to their up-sized brethren, and, you know, now that I'm grown up I like getting to my plane on time.
[User Picture]
From:ficbyzee
Date:June 11th, 2005 05:05 am (UTC)
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Awwwwwwww!

So cute. Aww, Ray.

And I always thought that the plural of moose should be meese, too.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:33 am (UTC)
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Yeah, but if it was, there's the danger that English might begin to make some kind of sense to people. We can't have that. We have a reputation to uphold.

(And thank you! Glad you liked it.)
[User Picture]
From:sori1773
Date:June 11th, 2005 05:08 am (UTC)
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Whee! A *giggle* and an *awe*! This was wonderful!
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:35 am (UTC)
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Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:36 am (UTC)
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Well, if ever there was a man who needed a small stuffed moose, that man would be Ray.

And I'm happy you enjoyed the story. I come with a message of love and moose for all mankind.
[User Picture]
From:dzurlady
Date:June 11th, 2005 05:40 am (UTC)
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Moose! Ray! Ray and moose! *loves* And the title! *dies*
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:38 am (UTC)
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*revives*

Because, seriously? Anyone who appreciates that title must survive to continue the line. It was Lyra's, but I loved it so much that I stole it. Well, I mean, it was her title for this story, so I figured she wouldn't mind.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:39 am (UTC)
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Hail, fellow mooosefan!

*loves right back*
[User Picture]
From:bkwyrm
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:15 am (UTC)
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Oh God, that's so....sweet. I want a stuffed moose now.
And a Ray. And a Fraser. But I'll settle for the moose.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 06:42 am (UTC)
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I want one, too. But I have a stuffed llama, and anyone who has a stuffed llama has all a person could hope for.

Except for the people who have real llamas, of course.

And the people who have real moose.
[User Picture]
From:solo
Date:June 11th, 2005 10:40 am (UTC)
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Hi, I followed the rec by norah, and I'm so glad I did. This is sweet and so totally in character. I love the moose comments, and the thing about Fraser's phone number, and the thing with the files. And all the rest. *g*
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 08:23 pm (UTC)
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Hi! (In case you don't know - littera_abactor is the writing/personal LJ of thefourthvine. I tend to answer comments from TFV, though, because a) I'm always logged in as that anyway and b) I have lots more icon spaces to choose from.)

And I'm glad you liked the story. Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:brown_betty
Date:June 11th, 2005 01:53 pm (UTC)
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Heh. I have actually seen a moose up reasonably close, and wow, they are not graceful or fleet of foot.

Also, I loved the story.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 08:27 pm (UTC)
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No, they're really not graceful. I think they put all their effort into big, and just sort of hope their feet will figure it out as they go along. But, hey, if "big" is their goal, they've succeeded in reaching it. Oh, yeah, definitely.

(And thank you! Glad you liked it.)
[User Picture]
From:lamardeuse
Date:June 11th, 2005 02:06 pm (UTC)
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If he was leaving forever, the next guy would need notes better than "Saw M with F on 2/11: liar liar pants on fire" and "Yeah. Right. Fucker."

This is perfect Ray, and the whole thing was lovely.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 11th, 2005 08:31 pm (UTC)
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Ooo! Cool. I'm more secure in Fraser voice, so that's really good to hear.

Thank you!
[User Picture]
From:sanj
Date:June 11th, 2005 02:30 pm (UTC)
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That *adorable*. And really good.
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 12th, 2005 09:16 am (UTC)
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Thank you! Glad you liked it.
[User Picture]
From:fanofall
Date:June 11th, 2005 02:40 pm (UTC)
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It does not NEED a beta! (Although if you really feel COMPELLED, I would be more than happy to do it. Also also, whatever happened to the other one? Did we just decide to .... not?)
[User Picture]
From:thefourthvine
Date:June 12th, 2005 09:19 am (UTC)
(Link)
*waves hand vaguely at LJ*

Posted it. Been putting it off, but no longer. Thanks for, you know, prodding me. (Apparently my middle name is Recalcitrant.)

And, actually, I think this story needs some expansion or something; apart from anything else, I know some people are coming out of it with a totally different take on it, which I think means something about the pacing or time cues is off. So - once I do that, will you beta the expanded version? I'm seriously afraid of doing anything to a story that so many people already like, because...well, it just seems dangerous. So I will need much in the way of beta-ing.

*blinks hopefully*
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