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06 October 2006 @ 01:19 pm
Fic: 'His Broken Twig.'  
Title: His Broken Twig
Fandom: Due South
Rating: (G)
Time Period: Immediate after Hawk & A Handsaw, first season.
Summary: The wolf let him have the bed.

Author's Note: Dedicated to the memory of a ‘Mountie’ I once knew.

All characters contained herein are the intellectual property of Paul Haggis; I am not affiliated with nor endorsed by him.


I am but mad north-north-west; when the wind is southerly,
I know a hawk from a handsaw.
Hamlet, Shakespeare; Act II, Scene 2

In his hands was a black, leather bound journal. Truthfully, it was between his hands, as he sat on the edge of the bed. For once, ownership of the bed wasn’t contested; such sacrifice wasn’t given the appropriate credit, so it was decided by the lupine occupant of the apartment that the bed would be reclaimed the following night. After all, a wolf had a right to be comfortable. Just tonight, the human would be allowed the bed; a wolf knew when not to press the boundaries of one’s territory.

Heavy with the memories contained in its thin pages, the book was surprisingly light, like the rest of its brethren. Anecdotes, contained in RCMP log books-cum-journals, of a life that was the same yet not since the man who’d written them hadn’t been transferred due south after angering the entirety of the RCMP above the border for solving a case on drowned caribou and bringing in his man – who’d been one of their own. A log book that’d become a memoir, again like its brothers, for the son left behind in life and death. Records of criminals caught and the innermost thoughts of a man he’d never truly known. With the cabin in the Yukon, they were all he had left of his father.

“Am I missing the code?” Fraser murmured as he studied the book in his hands. He could track a poacher across sheer ice. He’d followed the scent of Diefenbaker’s urine through a heavily populated city (the distraction of the Lhasa Apso for two blocks was never mentioned, in case word filtered back to the territories; he’d never live it down), but this? He couldn’t find the trail. He couldn’t crack the words to understand the language underneath. Setting the journal aside, his face fell into his hands. There was some clue he was overlooking; a footprint or broken twig that he’d missed. Quite simply, there couldn’t be nothing.

A newborn hope that’d been born when he’d found the drawing he’d given his father when he was six was now broken. It shouldn’t matter; it’d not bothered him all these years. He’d never questioned being left with his grandparents; his father had been a Mountie who’d always gotten his man. It was simply who his father had been and so, the questions that others would’ve asked had not been asked by Fraser of the man he’d rarely seen.

Now, it mattered and it bo— no, not bothered; that wasn’t the right word to describe how he felt. It frustrated.

It’d been Walter with his talk of finally missing Ty and having shaved his beard after five years. For Walter, the wind had been south and he’d realised he knew, again, the difference between a hawk and a handsaw.

“Why couldn’t you have given me this, dad?” His fingers interlaced as he leaned heavily forward on his knees. Raw need shook his voice as he stared at the air before him, almost willing his father to appear as he had at Christmas. Almost. He didn’t have the patience to deal with the stoic evasion that’d ensue if he asked why there was no mention of the woman who’d loved them both.

Fraser had been very young when his mother died. He didn’t remember much about the time except his father’s beard. How it became longer as his father grew thinner and stopped going to work. He’d still lived with his father, then, in the home he’d shared with his mother while his father was on the trail of one criminal or another; even then, his father had never been there.

That beard had grown but it was never lustrous or trimmed. Not a trophy of pride but a testament of grief. Fraser Sr. had stopped living the day his wife had died, leaving his son alone; absent that time, though he was physically present, because he’d lost the love of his life. He hadn’t known what to do next without his love by his side.

All these years later, sitting on a bed in a slum apartment, it was all Fraser still had of his father’s love for his mother: the beard. His father hadn’t talked of his wife to his son. No tears, until the morning the wind was south for him and there was a breakfast waiting for his son, of oatmeal and sliced banana. Then, he returned to work and Fraser lived with his grandparents. Slowly, the memories of his mother dulled and blurred until all he had left was a faded photograph of a smiling young woman holding a blue-eyed, dark haired young boy and a headstone that marked where she lay.

There’d been photos and news clippings of Walter and Ty; he’d seen them early in his investigation, when talking to Father Behan. Yet, for his mother, there wasn’t even a single mention in his father’s journals. Nothing except the —

His broken twig. The missed footprint.

It was the beard.

My mother died and my father stopped living. His own words haunted him, now. In many ways, he was like his father. Strong, with an ability to track someone despite impossible odds. Reserved, he understood the value of discretion. He’d not spoken of Victoria until a night during the stake-out and even then, he’d only told Ray who’d been asleep after a long night of poker and swapping love stories with Detective Gardino.

He’d carried Victoria and what’d happened for almost eight years alone, after betraying her by maintaining the right and observing the law by arresting her. He’d been silent.

His father had had the beard.

It wasn’t the same but it was all he had to try to understand his father’s silence, knowing he couldn’t begin to fathom the depth of his father’s pain.

“This,” he glanced to the wolf whose head had risen from his paws, “does not mean you can steal the bed.”

A slight whine in reply.

“The taffy pull was not my fault. I shaved you afterward.” The wolf eyed him, reproachfully. Fraser sighed. “You’re a wolf.”

Diefenbaker’s only response was to lower his muzzle and hide it under a paw.

Shaking his head at the reclining lupus, the book was picked up and held between his hands once more. His forehead rested against the cool leather of the spine as he leaned forward and his eyes closed. His father had left him with a memory of a testament of the love one person could feel for another.

For him, it wasn’t enough. He’d hoped for … needed something more. Written words or photographs, a way to know the wonder of the love shared by his parents. Something that’d tell him about the mother he could no longer remember. It wasn’t enough, but it would have to be.

A broken twig he’d hold onto when he needed it.
Armchair DMarmchairdm on October 6th, 2006 04:51 am (UTC)
Man, oh man. You always awe me with your stories. And you've done a fantastic job on this one - you've captured both the dramatic, serious tone - but also the comedic tone, and that's much harder to do. I'm just in awe. Peeking into his mind like that, it truly is very cleverly done.
F. J.: lantern & candlesmorethanacandle on October 6th, 2006 05:30 am (UTC)
Thank you kindly, for the kind words. To have portrayed this character with any form of believability is a true compliment as I didn't think I would be able to do so.