Author: Kat Allison
Fandom: Due South (tv show, 1994)
Warnings: explicit sex (gay), break-up fic, angst, homophobia, character injury, infidelity, hostage situation,
Other notes: portrait of a marriage in decline, heartbreaking, character study, realism
Length: Long, epically so.
Summary: You looked like you belonged here, like this was your landscape, your home. I began, in that moment, to dream things I never would have hoped for, in Chicago. Romantic delusions. Lies to oneself are the most damnable lies of all.
So, the first Due South fic I read, on a whim, was An Admirable Solution. This is what I said then:
And that’s a heck of a thing, for a fandom I know nothing about—by the end of the fic, I want them to have a good relationship, and I find myself worried about them traipsing off to live in a remote cabin based on emotional reasoning from a failed marriage.
Now, since then, I’ve not only read a ton more fic, I did start watching the show, slowly but surely. I’ve read about RayK going to Canada, and Benton coming back to Chicago, and every point in between. I’ve seen both characters stripped down and emotionally flayed and physically beat to crap. But the fandom is strong. Lots of people like this pairing, and most of what I’ve seen ultimately ends well.
But this fic? This right here takes every reservation and worry I had from that first fic and lays it out in brutal detail. More brutal than The Good Times Are Killing Me, which is the only other really painful break-up story I enjoy. Almost as traumatizing as Golden Boy, the fic I point blank cannot read again.
This fic will fuck up your day for sure.
it’s brilliant. But it will fuck up your day. Stomp on your soul. Lure you in with beautiful suffering.
Because it makes so much sense. It lays out so many ways that people can become divided, so many reasons why love can’t overcome everything, and honestly that’s a terrifying message. The odd thing is, I’ve read this before—many times, in fact. I’ve read about how Ray and Stella’s relationship fell apart, over and over again. Fraser and Victoria—that relationship was messed up from the start, and, again, I’ve read about the horrible aftereffects of that again and again. So it’s not like I went in to this story and read about a horrible break-up for the first time. I’m actually surprised at how affected I was, even though the story lays it out from the beginning: this is not going to be happy, this has already ended, and you can’t do anything to change it. (Polar opposite of this piece, if you need a pick-me-up).
I think part of it is the realism. Due South is not a terribly realistic show. I mean, you have the usual tv constraints of ‘lead character doesn’t get killed,’ ‘criminals caught in under an hour,’ and such. But beyond that, this is still a show where Benton tends to be protected by preternatural ability and competence. Things work out for him, because—well, he’s Canadian. “It’s Chinatown, Jack.” It’s just how things work, over there.
Except that in this fic, it doesn’t. Benton is an old-fashioned cowboy, suddenly, taking risks and getting chewed out by people instead of lionized. Money is an issue. Immigration status is an issue. It’s almost as if the fic is saying, you know, in the real world, the not-television world, the not-fantasy world—the not-fanfiction world, dare I say—there are consequences and growing pains and things that just do not, cannot work.
Ha. You know, having just written all of that, it crosses my mind that I grabbed this fic from someone else’s rec on the Due South Flashback comm—a rec I didn’t actually read. I just clicked the link. This is probably all stuff that’s been said before. Ah, well. Everything is new to someone, once.
This was seriously not a story to be reading late at night, tired, vaguely depressed and alone.
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