This is my first Due South story as I have written SG Atlantis fic. I apologize to any expecting an SGA fic but I had rediscovered Due South back in June and remembered why I loved that series, a certain Mountie and really all the characters. This is a challenges writing non science fiction, but the characters and relationships are truly wonderful. It is a bit of a sad story and I am trying to figure out characters so to DS fans please forgive any mistakes in characterization. I will try to get it right in the future. For SGA folks, I do have ideas for future stories including EH III just needed felt compelled to write Due South story. I appreciate any feedback. Not betaed so all mistakes mine. Only so many times one can read to fix!
Disclaimers: All the usual disclaimers. Other than any original characters none of the others belong to me. I just do this for fun.
"You just can't go around helping every orphan Fraser," Vecchio said despite knowing it went on deaf ears.
"Ray it's Christmas, and Rebecca …Rebecca has a foster family."
"Well her family sure seems to be unavailable most of the time. They haven't adopted her have they?"
Fraser looked through the window of the department store. He sighed as he looked at Vecchio. He knew what the detective would say. "No they haven't. And from what I can tell, it would probably be for the best. They don't seem to watch after her very well."
Vecchio shook his head. "So you gonna help every unwanted kid?"
Fraser wished he could. "No Ray. Don't be ridiculous. That would be impossible." He walked inside the store and did not notice all the eyes batting at him as he walked by. "But I can be nice to this one child Ray."
Vecchio shook his head. "Alright, you know the squad sponsors a few kids every year. I can add her name to the list. We throw a party every year for them." Fraser's eyes brightened. "Thank you Ray. That…that is very generous of you."
Vecchio didn't think it was generous at all. No, what Fraser was doing was really in the spirit of Christmas or in the spirit of just plain goodness. The squad did this every year. Fraser looked completely lost in the department store. "Why do you do this Benny? Help people like this."
Fraser looked at him quizzically. "What do you mean Ray? You help people."
"Yeah, cause I'm a cop, but not the way you help."
Fraser shrugged slightly and continued to look around. Vecchio waited for an answer but did not get one. "Well?" he prompted.
Fraser sighed and his shoulders seemed to slump just slightly. He turned and faced his friend. "Because helping one person can make all the difference in the world to that person and sometimes that is the only thing we can control."
Vecchio was going to say something when an older woman came by and interrupted them. "Excuse me young man," she said to Fraser. "You appear lost."
Fraser smiled. "No ma'am. I am not lost. Just befuddled."
Vecchio groaned. Befuddled.
"Well how can I help you?" the distinguished looking woman asked.
"Well I don't seem to know what to buy for a 10 year old girl," Fraser admitted. "Usually I carve out gifts from wood, but well, I think she deserves something a little more than that."
"Well what does she like?" Vecchio heard the woman ask as she led the Mountie away.
Rebecca fled her apartment. Her foster father had started drinking again, and soon the shouting would start maybe even progress to hitting. The only good thing about being foster kid to those two was that she lived next to Constable Benton Fraser, the kindest person she had ever known. Of course she had a crush on him but what decent girl wouldn't.
She sat on the stairway and waited it out. It should only last an hour or so then her foster father would probably fall asleep.
She woke when she felt something cold and wet on her nose. She opened her eyes with a smile. "Hi Diefenbaker." The dog licked her until she finally looked up and saw her Mountie looking at her concerned. "Are you alright Rebecca?", he asked quietly. She saw that his arms were full of packages. "Oh I just wanted to wait for you and say good night."
He squinted his eyes. He could not yet decipher when she was telling the truth or not. Usually that came easily to him but with children it was difficult. But this time he sensed she was not telling the whole truth. "Is everything alright?"
She stood and nodded. "Oh yes. Everything is fine." She self-consciously rubbed her slightly torn and dirty dress. She wished she could look better for him. He always looked so spotless and perfect. "I wanted to ask you if you would walk me to Church tomorrow. I like to go, but…but I don't like to go by myself at least not in this neighborhood." She didn't mention the bullies she ran in to the last couple of times and it got scary last weekend.
He cocked his head to one side then looked up toward her apartment. "Your foster parent's don't go?"
She looked down at her shoes. "No They don't like to go. They don't like to do much of anything."
Fraser frowned. He was still singing in the choir at Vecchio's church. "Well I will ask your parents but if you are inclined to do so, you can come with me and my friend Ray. He picks me up at 0900 sharp."
Her eyes brightened. Constable Benton Fraser talked kingly-like almost all the time, but he never talked down to her like other adults did. She also liked Ray Vecchio as, he was the kind of person that pretended not to care but she could tell he was a softie. "Since I sing in the choir," Fraser said, "you will have to sit with Ray and his family if that is okay. "
She nodded excitedly. She had only lived here for four months but she was glad for it. It was better than the other homes. There was nothing to look forward to like there was here. She hoped her foster parents had stopped their fighting and that Benton actually talked to her foster mother. She wasn't mean like her foster father, just indifferent.
Fraser dropped off the packages in his room then went with Rebecca to her apartment. A woman answered. "There you are, Becky. Where have you been?"
Rebecca shrugged. "I was just sitting down there on the stairwell."
The woman looked over at Fraser running her eyes from head to toe and grinned at him in a way that had become more obvious to him. "And who is this," the woman asked.
Fraser extended his hand and the woman shook it. "Constable Benton Fraser, ma'am. I was wondering if I could ask your permission for Rebecca to attend church with my friend Detective Ray Vecchio and myself. She stated that she would like to attend."
"Yeah, yeah sure. That's fine. As long as she is with you and the cop I don't mind how long she stays out."
Fraser nodded. If he had a daughter he would be concerned. Even police officers would be thoroughly investigated. "Oh the squad invites local children for a holiday celebration. It will be next Tuesday. There will be food and drink and perhaps presents." The woman's face softened as she looked from Fraser to Rebecca. "Yeah sure, Constable," she said softly. "Every kid deserves Christmas. I'll make sure her best dress is ironed and ready to go for tomorrow."
Fraser nodded. Rebecca squeezed his hand and smiled. As she headed in toward the door she looked back at Fraser. "0900 sharp."
Fraser nodded and winked before making his way back to his apartment.
"Fraser, she is not a pet, you can't just bring her along you know like you do Dief," Vecchio said as they walked out of Fraser's apartment.
"I know Ray, but she wanted me to take her to church well even on Sunday this neighborhood is not so safe. Her foster parents apparently don't go. I….I."
Vecchio raised his hand up and put it on Fraser's shoulder. No use making the Mountie try to awkwardly explain since Vecchio was probably not ready for another parable or Inuit story. "It's alright Benny. Maybe we can hook her up with the sisters. They work a lot with orphans and foster kids. You know make sure they have clothes, food, friends."
Fraser looked at his friend. "Well thank you Ray, but…why are you doing this?"
"I've got a bleeding heart okay Frase…" Vecchio was looking after Fraser. That was the bottom line. Damn the Mountie for caring so much about everything but if he could find a way to get this kid more help then maybe Fraser wouldn't get so caught up. "But you know Fraser, not every kid, or person is a problem for you to fix."
Fraser shrugged. He knew Vecchio was trying to watch out for him. Perhaps he was getting too wrapped up in the situation but he did not understand how the community could care so little for its abandoned children. Perhaps this was not his own hometown, but it was his neighborhood.
Rebecca answered the door. "Hi Benton. Hi Ray."
"Good morning Rebecca. You look lovely this morning."
Rebecca beamed. She had on a yellow dress finely pressed with white socks and black shoes. The shoes were old and Vecchio could tell they had been handed down many times as had the dress but she looked beautiful. Her brown hair had been combed and put up in a braid and like every one else of the female species she batted her bright blues at Fraser. The constable nodded politely at the foster mother and Rebecca ran after Diefenbaker followed by Vecchio and Fraser.
Vecchio sat next to Rebecca. The little girl had obviously been to Church at some point and had made her communion because she knew what to do. Vecchio's nieces and nephews were on the other side of Rebecca followed by his sister, brother-in-law, mother and Francesca. Frannie decided she would rather listen to Fraser from down here. Vecchio looked back briefly. Fraser was at the front singing as he did everything---from the heart, with passion and humility. Vecchio had to admit some envy in his wish that he had a voice like Fraser's. A few young men who had seen the hoard of women surrounding Fraser had the bright idea that if they joined the choir, they might have a chance of their own after the women tired of trying to obtain the unobtainable Mountie. But Fraser stuck out in voice and looks, and manners and every other impossible measure of an ideal that few men could achieve. Just once Vecchio wished he could see a vulnerable Fraser, just a chink in the armour to show Fraser was not Superman. That came close during and after Victoria, but just up to the line. Yes the choir had improved significantly since Fraser had joined. Vecchio smiled and gave thanks for a good friend. Overall a lot had improved.
After Church, Rebecca was content to play with the other orphans under the sisters' care and a few foster kids and Fraser left with the promise to return in a couple of hours.
Fraser enjoyed Sunday afternoons at the Vecchio household. As chaotic as it could be it was nice to be amongst a family. It was strange to be alone in the world, no family. Even though an adult, in some respects he could identify with Rebecca. He was fortunate to have been raised by his grandparents, but in a sense they were foster parents.
Fraser was careful not to indulge in all of Mrs. Vecchio's great cooking although Diefenbaker did not seem to have a problem with it.
Fraser looked down at the wolf. "You are going to regret that you know."
The dog seemed to snort at him.
Fraser shrugged. "I'm just telling you, if you eat too much then you are not going to be feeling well."
Diefenbaker stood and shook himself then walked off leaving a few scraps in his bowl.
Fraser shook his head. "Yes well I don't want to be picking up after you."
"Talking to yourself again Benny?"
Fraser smiled. "No Ray, just warning Dief to not eat too much."
Ray nodded as he grabbed his and Fraser's coats. "Well think we should head back?"
Fraser stood and grabbed his coat. "Thanks Ray. I think we should."
"Okay. I just need to stop by the store, but we should pick up Rebecca first since she is on the way."
Rebecca talked excitedly all the way to the store. Vecchio decided that this had been an entirely great idea and promised she could return every Sunday when they went. Outside the store they stopped for hot chocolate. Fraser was frowning at Dief who was looking pointedly at Rebecca's cookie when he heard a scream and a man with a knife exited the same store they had just been. Fraser looked at Vecchio then down at Rebecca. Vecchio nodded and grabbed her hand while Fraser and Diefenbaker took off in pursuit. "Come on Becky. Lets go take a look at the store real quick." Vecchio watched Fraser leap over some stacked boxes and down into the alley after the suspect. He could hear the wolf barking in excitement. Vecchio checked with the owner who was shaken but fine. "Becky. Don't move from here, do you understand me?" The girl nodded looking frightened. "I'll watch her," the storeowner said. "Thanks Mrs. Mercado," Vecchio said as he took off in pursuit of Fraser.
Sikes looked at the wall in front of him and to the left and right. There was no where for him to go. He could hear the footsteps of his pursuer approaching. He would be around the corner soon. Sikes backed up against the sidewall and waited. When he heard the footsteps closer he clutched the wood tight in his arm and swung as hard as he could. He heard a grunt and the force of the strange clothed policeman falling forward nearly pulled him down as the wood broke in two.
Fraser grabbed his midsection as he rolled to a standing position and ready for a fight. The suspect looked shocked a moment then angry as he struck out with the knife. Fraser was able to sidestep it and get a punch in but Sikes was on him again and again. Fraser realized that the man must be on drugs. His eyes looked wild and there was also anger in him. Fraser ducked one blow but he took one to the top of his right eyebrow. He punched the attacker again in the mid-section , but Sikes slashed his arm. It caught him on the top of the wrist. Fraser cried out but focused on getting a kick in. Anytime Dief, he thought to himself. The dog had been dancing around them trying to find a way in but they had been too close together. Fraser realizing his mistake, stepped back several steps and the wolf took care of the rest.
Vecchio was soon upon them and Fraser called the wolf off of the assailant. Sikes was thrashing but settled when the wolf bared his teeth inches from his face.
"You okay?" Vecchio asked. A streak of blood oozed from Fraser's right eyebrow down his cheek. The detective had become accustomed to looking over the daredevil Mountie. Vecchio's eye caught Fraser's arm and the small pool of blood that had accumulated on the concrete. "Jeez Fraser your bleeding."
Fraser lifted his hand and brushed across his eyebrow. "So I am."
Vecchio stepped away from Sikes and pulled out a handkerchief and gave it to Fraser who wiped his face. "I don't think that is going to work on that arm."
Fraser looked down at his arm. It smarted but nothing more than an annoyance now. "No…no it should be fine just a scratch."
Vecchio rolled his eyes. "You could have cut a major vein or an artery."
It was Fraser's turn to roll his eyes. Americans seemed so intent on injuries. "Ray, it did not sever anything vital. I would know that. It cut the top and is only moderately deep and should not even leave a scar."
"Yeah well I hope it does!" Sikes shouted out before Vecchio could respond. The detective turned back to Fraser but said nothing as the Mountie had already tied the handkerchief around his wrist. He pulled his coat down over it. "Do I look alright?"
The question astounded Vecchio. Fraser was not a vain man. "What do you mean do you look alright?"
Fraser leaned in close to Ray and whispered. "I don't want Rebecca to see that I was slightly injured."
Vecchio smiled in understanding. "Well your face looks normal just a little cut but it's not bleeding anymore and well your arm is covered so yeah I guess."
Fraser stood straight, nodded at Dief who turned off his Cujo impersonation and they both walked away. Well guess that is that, Vecchio thought as he picked up Sikes and walked him back toward the store. Fortunately, the storeowner had called the police and there was a vehicle pulling into the entrance of the alley. Fraser talked to the officers a moment then headed up the block toward the store.
Vecchio handed Sikes over to the officer and gave a quick report. "Bose is taking the statement from the store owner so we got it covered if you want Detective." the officer said after putting Sikes in the squad car.
"Thank Keith. Need to get Fraser home before he gets into more trouble." The officer laughed. The Canadian Mountie's reputation was becoming legendary.
Vecchio saw Fraser at the front of the store on one knee and Rebecca had a hand on each of his shoulders and appeared to be inspecting him. Finally she nodded and Fraser stood up. Vecchio came up behind them and patted Fraser on the back. "Well we should be going now don't you think?"
Fraser nodded. "Well come on Rebecca. I think that was enough excitement for today don't you."
The girl nodded but did not say as much. It was far too much excitement. Benton Fraser could not get hurt. She held in her concerns and smiled for him as she climbed in the car then allowed Diefenbaker that last bit of cookie she had saved for him.
"You sure you alright Benny?"
"Yes of course Ray. This is just a scratch. I will take care of it right now."
Vecchio shrugged. "Okay. See you tomorrow."
Fraser did as he promised and cleaned and bandaged the wound. Diefenbaker growled and whined for a second and looked intently at Fraser. "I know Dief. I should have moved back quicker. I just didn't think. Sorry. You probably could have prevented this," he said raising his arm up. Diefenbaker stood and put his head in Fraser lapped. Fraser rubbed his hand over the dog's fur for a while until the wolf raised his head and snorted slightly.
"Yes of course. Time for dinner. Although I don't know how you could possibly fit anything else in that stomach of yours."
"What do you mean he made bail? They guy is a nutcase on drugs. He attacked Benny and robbed a store."
Lt. Welsh frowned. "He made bail. They have a case on him Vecchio, witnesses so I expected he won't do so well in court."
Vecchio shook his head. "Yeah if he shows." Things like this were frustrating to Vecchio. "Fine I'll go tell Benny that the guy who nearly cut his arm off is out again."
"There is nothing we can do about that Ray. It's the system of justice," Fraser said from behind Vecchio. "Besides he did not almost cut off my arm. See." Fraser extended his arm beyond his coat and there was barely a pink line. It had only been three days. "What did you put on that?"
Fraser smiled. "Well it's a mixture I made myself from the powder from the horn of…"
Vecchio raised his hand as he scrunched his nose. "Never mind, Frase, I don't want to know, it's probably disgusting."
Fraser raised his eyebrows and looked from Welsh to Vecchio but said nothing. Welsh suppressed the urge to laugh. The Mountie's expression of tolerance of Ray Vecchio was there very subtly but it was clear sometimes he just did not understand his partner, particularly when the detective asked a question then did not want an answer.
"Well, I will leave it to you all to get the Christmas tree for tomorrow so you better head on out."
"Yes leftenant." Welsh could hear Vecchio complaining to Fraser on the way out how he could not understand why they just couldn't buy it at the local store. The patient reply was barely audible but something about the spirit of Christmas. The lieutenant wondered how those two actually could be friends.