Pairing: RayK/Fraser - Due South
Spoilers: Pretty much all of Seasons 3 and 4.
Notes: Thanks to http://www.trinityslash.com/trans/ for DS episode quotes, http://www.geocities.com/nuckie3/tvfilm/art/elmstreet-pg.html for Elm Street magazine interview quote, http://www.callumkeithrennie.net for screencaps, brooklinegirl for the beta, and spren_cious for organizing, running and asking me to be a part of this wonderful community! Thank you, dear!
…And they lived happily ever after.
No - really. They did.
See, us Due South fans are lucky in the fact that, while some shows get cancelled mid-stream, leaving their fans kind of twisting in the wind, we lucked out. Sure, Due South was cancelled. Numerous times, in fact. But when the cancellation really counted - when it was finally time for Benton Fraser to return to the Great White Nothing, he did it in style.
He did it on a sled, in the snow, with Ray Kowalski.
"And as for Ray, or should I say Stanley Kowalski, Sergeant Frobisher geared us up with tack and tallow, and, led by Diefenbaker, we set off, Ray and I, on an adventure. And when we looked below, he saluted."
"And off we went to find the hand of Franklin. Reaching for the Beaufort Sea. And if we do find his hand... The reaching out one... We'll let you know."
Except - no.
They're not going to let us know. And do you know why?
Because they set off on their adventure, one hundred percent truly, blindingly in love with each other, and are still living in a cabin up in the Great North someplace, not giving one whit about letting us know a damn thing.
Don't believe me? Well get a load of this.
"I'm sorry. I don't mean to be rude, but I rarely forget a face and I am very confident that you and I have never met. Now, my name is Constable Benton Fraser, Royal Canadian Mounted Police. I first came to Chicago on the trail of the killers of my father and for reasons that, well, they don't need exploring at this juncture, I have remained attached as liaison with the Canadian Consulate, and over the course of my time here I have formed what you would call a duet with the person that I am currently looking for, one Raymond Vecchio, detective first grade, Chicago Police Department."
By the time season three of Due South rolls around, we know quite a bit about Benton Fraser. He's a Mountie, who holds the ideas of truth and justice in a very high regard. There are very few things more important to him than duty. His mother was killed when he was very young, and his father pretty much left him to be raised by his grandparents, who were traveling librarians.
When Due South starts, Fraser's father has been killed, and he tracks his father's killers to Chicgao. While there he meets Ray Vecchio, (who, for reasons that don't need exploring at this juncture, is no longer on the show by season three) and they form a sort of partnership; Ray being a detective, and Fraser being the liaison between the police department and the Canadian Consulate.
Ray Vecchio and Fraser are friends, but our new season starts with Fraser in Canada on vacation, and Ray Vecchio not being able to pick Fraser up at the train when he returns. We see Ray Vecchio walk out of the police station one night, and by the time Fraser makes it back to Chicago, his apartment has been burned down, his dead father is speaking in odd riddles (again), and he finds quite a surprise when he gets back to the 27th precinct.
"Raymond Vecchio, detective first grade, Chicago Police Department. Everyone here knows who I am, Fraser, how about you?"
Burning Down the House, (Episode 1, Season 3) is filmed brilliantly, in that we, the audience, are Fraser. He doesn't know who this guy is and, well, neither do we. He doesn't believe this guy is Ray Vecchio and- hey - guess what? Neither do we.
But the guy (who's smirky and blond and attractive in a way that is just 7 millimeters smaller than the real Ray Vecchio) keeps insisting he is, in fact, Ray Vecchio, and we do what Fraser later instructs Diefenbaker to do and just - play along.
This Ray smiles. And snarks. And stands just a little too close to Fraser. And by the end of the day Fraser (and we) don't really care anymore who he is, we all just want to get to know him a whole hell of a lot better.
"Look, I'm not Ray. I mean, I am Ray, but I'm not Ray Vecchio. I'm... Kowalski. Stanley Raymond Kowalski."
Stanley Raymond Kowalski. Spiky blond-haired and blue-eyed. Wearing jeans and sport jackets and flip-up sunglasses. Ex-husband of Assistant State's Attorney Stella Kowalski. Dancer. Driver of a very hot, very black GTO.
We learn a lot about Ray Kowalski as the season progresses. He met Stella when he was 12, and their first "date" was a day spent in a bank that was being robbed. They got married and then divorced and Ray hadn't talked to his father in years, until he and Ray's mom show up at the precinct, trailing the GTO behind their motor home.
Ray is loud and brash and sometimes not all that open to compromise. Where Ray Vecchio would sometimes let things slide with a whine and a complaint, Ray Kowalski is, quite vocally, the opposite of that. He and Fraser have more flare ups and arguments than Fraser and Vecchio, but in the end, all that means is that when they get along it's that much sweeter. (Or hotter. Yeah. Definitely hotter.)
"Partners, Fraser. Partners"
I think the main thing that works so well for Ray and Fraser is that there's a general feeling of rightness to them. You feel like, hey, these two guys really like each other. They want to work together, and eat together and hang out together, and hey. Wow. There comes a point where that friendship could maybe transform into something more and you don't even have to stretch that far to get there.
Ray says it best. They're partners. A duet. Fraser sets them up and Ray knocks them down. Fraser is the one who thinks, Ray is the one who acts.
And if it makes us happy to have Fraser being the one who has issues about letting people in, and Ray being the only one who can break down those walls, well, even better.
"Do you find me attractive?"
You want text in canon? Oh, we got your text in canon, baby.
Ray asking Fraser if he finds him attractive. Holding hands in Odds. Buddy breathing in Mountie on the Bounty. You'd probably have a harder time proving that these two guys aren't in love with each other than proving that they are, and that right there is a hell of a feat.
I mean - really - just kiss him already, ok? You know you want to. Look, Fraser, he rides motorcycles through windows for you. And falls through skylights - what more do you want?
And do we find him attractive? Hell, yes. We find Fraser attractive, too. But it's not just the way these two guys look that lends them so well to the hundreds of slash fics out there dedicated to them. It's the way they move around each other. They way they look at each other.
It's speculated that some of the subtext in Due South between Fraser and Ray isn't all that coincidental. According to an article with Elm Street magazine back in October 1997 (before Season three had started), Paul Gross was aware of what slash fiction was, and was even given a story to read, and he had this to say:
"I tell you, slash fiction is going to go crazy when they see the new guy. He is really good-looking and sexy, the dangerous side of Fraser. It will be totally homoerotic."
Yeah. No kidding, Paul.
The Ray Kowalski episodes of Due South bring us Strange Bedfellows, which has Fraser comforting Ray when he's upset after seeing Stella dating another man (and a little car-door to the new boyfriend's groin never hurt anyone. Except, uh, the new boyfriend). Jealous much, Frase? Bounty Hunter has Ray jealously watching Fraser flirting with Janet Morse. Odds had Ray jealously watching Fraser flirt with Lady Shoes. Are we seeing a pattern here?
Mountie on the Bounty has them punching and arguing and breaking up before finally making up like every couple does, and Call of the Wild has them riding off into the sunset together.
"I'm telling you a ghost story. It is customary to exchange ghost stories around a campfire in the wilderness."
I came to the Due South fandom fic first, honestly, by following authors that I liked from The Sentinel fandom.
My rendezvous with The Sentinel was brief, but thorough. I read lots and lots of fics and watched lots and lots of episodes in a very short period of time. And I kept noticing that many of the authors I was reading in The Sentinel were still active in Due South.
Well, what's Due South? I asked someone.
Oh, a show about a Chicago cop and a Canadian Mountie.
Huh. Well. I have no idea what this is all about. Maybe I'll just click here…
My first Due South story ever was Four Virtutes by cesperanza. My second was Beyond Embarassment, also by cesperanza, and my third was Adorned by resonant8.
I dare anyone to read those stories and not think, "Oh my god. Those guys are so very in love."
And that's what really gets me about Ray and Fraser. Because as much as they are guy guys (and they are! Punching and arguing and fighting!), they can also be just two guys who are really very in love with each other.
lamardeuse once said that she loves writing Ray and Fraser because they're two of the only men that you can write as snarling manly men in one story and then have them dancing together, their socks gliding along the floor of a Canadian shack, in the next, and I think that's a BIG part of the draw for Due South and Ray and Fraser in particular.
As tough as they each are, they both also have a very damaged, broken part of themselves that fic lets you fix in a way that canon never could. We can help Ray get over Stella (because he's in love with Fraser). We can help Fraser learn to trust people after Victoria (because he's in love with Ray). We can do things with them that other fandoms just don't allow, because as tough as they are, they're damaged just as much, and we (as writers) can fix them. They may have ridden off into the sunset together, but we take care of them after they pull away.
"All right. Ray, my friend, I'm going to endanger your life in a wildly bizarre way. Step back. Follow me."
Due South is such an active fandom right now, I barely know where to begin as far as recs go. A few stories I'd rec to someone new would be (in no particular order):
Eight Sessions by cesperanza Ok. You want a long, plotty, amazing story, filled with angst and wonderful characterization and really, really, really hot sex? Click here. Now.
American Way by resonant8 Another long, plotty story by Res, which manages to capture the humor and quirkiness of the actual show, while again giving us amazing characterization. (And Really, really hot sex.)
How Ray Got His Groove Back by Bone and Aristide. HRGHGB should be required reading for the Due South fandom, as far as I'm concerned. The voices are so amazingly spot on the whole thing reads like an episode from the show. Except for the fact that it's All. About. Sex.
Unplanned by bethbethbeth I always come back to this story because it just feel like a perfect Ray and Fraser moment to me. Nothing forced or strained, just them being them and it's really just perfect.
Old Lock, New Key by thisisbone One of my favorite stories showing a very new Ray and Fraser, still trying to feel the other out and see just who the heck this guy is. Amazing writing, (as always, with Bone) and really, just a wonderful fic.
Excitable by shrift. What can I really say. Shrift writes fic that literally melts your eyeballs out of their sockets. This is no exception.
As far as websites go, there are so very many for Due South.
Fiction archive sites:
Transcript and general info sites:
justacat has an amazing rec site here:
And she also links to all sorts of vid sites and individual author sites here:
Rather than listing them all separately, I'll just give you the link and you can wander around there yourself. Make sure you've got lots of time, you're going to need it.
And, of course, the Due South lj communities:
ds_discourse for show discussion.
ds_flashfiction for fiction writing challenges.
ds_flashback for classic fiction recs.
ds_icons for icons.
ds_writers for story writing help.
men_of_duesouth for artwork.
crack_van for new story recs.
ds_noticeboard for new story and news posting info.
No matter where you go though, or what you decide on reading, it all comes down to this:
…And they lived happily ever after.
And they do. See?