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Chapter 2 Borderland

At the Hour of Our Death

Borderland ….

Meg's eyes opened to look at the sky again. The same, dumpling clouds passed by overhead but the air was different. Cold, fresh air filled her lungs. Instead of a brick building, barren trees shielded her. Sitting up, Meg took in several inches of snow on the ground, barren trees and flat ground as far as she could see. The cold hit her when she realized she'd been lying on a dry sand bank near a swiftly flowing creek. The lady Mountie got to her feet and began looking around for any clue as to where this place existed. In the distance she saw a small cabin, smoke curling up from the stone fireplace. The scent of damp earth and evergreens filled the air.

Slowly, Meg made her way across the creek, toward the cabin. It seemed to take forever arrive at the large, flat stone that served as a door step. She hadn't smelled woodsmoke since her training days at Depot. Wilderness training was standard, so Meg had sucked it up and done it.

Meg knocked on the heavy front door of the cabin. Shivering and irritated, she wanted someone to explain where the hell she was. The last time she'd checked, she had been walking down the street toward the consulate, sweat pooling around the elastic of her bra.

“Hello in there!” Meg beat the side of her fist on the door again. She nearly fell inside when it opened.

“What in the devil!” An older man with mostly white hair and rheumy blue eyes exclaimed.

“May I come in?” Meg rubbed her arms, trying to warm herself. The older man poked his head out the door and looked around at the woods and the creek nearby.

“What are you doing here?” He turned those blue eyes on her. They blazed as he peered closer at the young woman standing on his door step.

“I don't know, I was walking up the street toward the consulate and,” Meg paused, what had happened next? “Anyway, the next thing I know, I'm looking up at the sky here. May I come inside, it's cold out here.”

Reluctantly, the older man stepped aside to allow her inside. The cabin was one large room with a fireplace off to the right. An armchair sat in the center of the room, beside a rough hewn table. Meg headed for the fireplace first thing.

“I'm Inspector Margaret Thatcher.” She stood warming herself, back to the fire. The older man closed the door and stepped slowly into the middle of the room. He wore a heavy sweater and a pair of khaki corduroy pants over heavy, leather boots. He appeared sturdy built and capable of taking care of himself.

“I'm Robert.” He shook Meg's hand politely then stood beside her at the fire, hands clasped behind his back.

“Where am I exactly?” Meg cut to the chase.

“Oh, there's no name for this place, I call it 'Borderland'.” Robert shrugged without looking at his guest.

“It's not Chicago, from the snow I would say I'm somewhere in the Northwest Territories. I'm not sure how that's possible though.” Meg ran her hands through her hair, desperate to remember what had happened on the sidewalk outside the consulate.

“Not likely, miss, this is a place where worlds blur.” Robert looked up from the flames to her face. He could see her struggle for some kind of explanation for her presence. The truth of the matter was, he didn't have one for her presence either, or his own for that matter. It was all an existential joke.

“Worlds just don't blur.” Meg contended skeptically.

“They do when you've been around as long as I have, Inspector.” Robert drew himself to his full height.

“How did you know I was an inspector?” Meg realized his slip up. Something about her host's bearing seemed familiar to Meg. The keen intelligence in his blue eyes reminded her of someone.

“I've seen you around.” The older man turned his back on her, studying the flames at his feet.

“But I've never seen you before in my life.” Meg's mind began to buzz with more questions.

“This isn't your life, Inspector.” Robert answered gravely, turning to meet her gaze.

“That's preposterous.” Meg stated, her dark eyes alive with suspicion and a touch of fear.

“Red suits you, Inspector.” Robert pointed to the red maple leaf on the left side of her RCMP shirt.

Meg took a step away from the fire, away from Robert, away from the thoughts just rising to the surface.

“I'm not …. You couldn't be. You're Sergeant Robert Fraser, you're Fraser's father, his deceased father.” Meg sat down in the arm chair, her face pale, hands shaking. “This is all a bad dream, I can't be dead.” she leaned over, elbows on her knees, face in both palms, stomach rolling.

“As far as I know, Borderland isn't the afterlife.” Robert continued to study the flames. They changed one way but stayed the same in others. “I've been here a year and a half, so I'm told.” He offered for comfort. The heavy sigh accompanied with it didn't soothe his impatience or Meg's disbelief.

“Why am I here, with you? Shouldn't I have my own Borderland?” Meg looked at the bare cabin around her. Couldn't she have gone to the beach along the French Riviera?

“I'm no expert, you'll have to figure it out for yourself.” Robert's tone grew testy.

“There's still so much left to do, I'm heading up the ranks, I'm young, attractive.” She whirled around when she heard Robert snicker.

“That's all well and good, but what have you left behind, subordinates that fear and loathe you, no husband, no children, who have you helped along the way?” Robert pointed out, speaking from experience. He could trade hindsights and regrets with her all day long.

“I'm a public servant, I serve my country, with honor.” Meg countered. Righteous indignation had begun to warm her from the inside out.

“Behind a desk, in Ottawa and Chicago, check again Missy.” Robert hooked his thumbs in his belt loops. He watched as Meg's eyes widened and her jaw clenched. Although he was, technically, a lower ranking officer, he's been with the Force longer than Meg had been alive, even at the time of his demise.

“I can see which parent Fraser takes after, and it's not you.” Meg turned back around, seething. Robert threw back his head and laughed. No DNA test need be done to prove Benton was his son, everyone who knew them both could attest to that.

Meg didn't like being laughed at. To the elder Fraser, she was an arrogant, little girl pouting over being in the Borderland and how that disrupted her precious life. In Borderland, rank didn't matter.

***

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dS Chapter One At the Hour of Our Death

Canadian Consulate, Chicago, Illinois …

Chicago in summer is only slightly cooler than the devil's griddle. Inspector Margaret Thatcher wondered if she could strip down any farther without being arrested for indecent exposure as she lay in front of the fan in her apartment. She hadn't been able to sleep for three days, not since the building's central air quit. The site manager had been called, the property owners and every HVAC company in Chicago. They were overworked during the heat wave.

“I might as well go to the consulate, the air works there.” Meg dragged herself up and went to her closet. The very sight of her business suits made her itch. A light weight pair of khakis and an RCMP tee shirt were as cool and professional as she could manage. Grabbing her purse, the Inspector headed to the consulate to cool off and get started on the next day's paperwork.

Ray Vecchio's House ….

“Frannie, get me another root beer.” Ray shouted from the couch where he and Fraser sat watching baseball on television.

“Get it yourself, Ray.” the detective's spicy, younger sister shouted right back, only louder. She walked into the living room and sat down on the arm of the couch, barely inches away from the misplaced, Canadian Mountie.

“Fraser, would you like anything to drink?” she offered, a hunger in her dark, brown eyes.

“No, thank you, Francesca.” Benton Fraser, Mountie extraordinaire, squirmed toward his unofficial partner on the short couch. It wasn't that he didn't like Frannie, it was that she liked him too much.

“I could make you a sandwich or something, just name it, Fraser.” Frannie tried again. She'd always heard that the way to a man's heart was through his stomach.

“No, thank you, I'm quite full from the lasagna you and your mother fixed for lunch.” Ben smiled up at her.

“Yes! Yes! Yes! Head for home plate.” Ray popped off the couch, rooting for his team, fists beating the air as the player raced for home plate. When the television and all the lights went off he stopped rooting and began fuming.

“Ray! Watch your language please.” Ma Vecchio shouted from the kitchen.

“Sorry, Ma.” he called back.

“I'll go check the fuse box.” the off-duty detective walked toward the kitchen where his mother already stood with a flashlight. Fraser nodded and followed him into the large space.

“Let me in there, Ma.” Ray edged her out of his way.

“It won't do any good, Ray.” Maria, his younger sister informed him as she walked in the back door.

“It's just a fuse.” Ray shrugged her off.

“The electric is out all over the neighborhood.” Maria made a face at her brother.

“I'll call the company, may as well listen to some elevator music.” Ma Vecchio said, wiping her hands on the white apron with a blue gingham border at her waist. The only time she didn't wear an apron was to Mass on Sunday. Once or twice she'd forgotten and worn one then too.

“Ray, I should go, I should check on the consulate.” Fraser pulled his friend out of the knot of Vecchios in the kitchen.

“Do you need a ride, traffic will be crazy.” Ray asked, barely able to make out the Mountie's face.

“No, I'll walk, thank you kindly.” Fraser assured him. In the darkness and noise of the Vecchio house, he didn't see or hear Frannie slip up behind him. He did, however, feel her finger pinch his tush through the brown uniform pants he wore.

“Oh dear.” Ben jumped, nearly knocking Ray over.

“Frannie!” Ray bellowed, hearing his sister giggle.

“I should go, now.” Fraser moved toward the front door to collect his Stetson and uniform coat.

“Yeah, maybe you'd better, or Frannie'll chase you around the house.” Ray didn't want to imagine what would happen if she caught him.

“Yes, she would. I should get going. Thank your mother again for me for lunch, it was wonderful.” Ben pulled his Stetson down and let himself out. Ray followed, an amused grin on his face. He kinda liked watching the Mountie squirm from time to time.

***

Ben walked to the consulate at his usual, ground eating pace. Diefenbaker had elected to stay in the cool, quiet building, despite knowing he would be slipped treats by the Vecchios if he accompanied Ben. The scorching heat wasn't worth the small bits of food.

In the alley between the consulate and the offices next door, Ben saw a pair of tennis shoes sticking out behind the dumpster. Listening closely, he heard someone moan in pain. Rounding the dumpster, he saw his worst fear, Meg lying in a pool of her own blood. The metallic scent hit the back of his throat and stuck. Her dark hair was soaked with blood from a head wound. The dark, browning stain on her red, RCMP tee shirt made Ben sick. Thankfully, there wasn't any sign of sexual assault. Ben checked her pulse and breathing. Both weren't what they should have been. He rolled up his uniform coat and made Meg as comfortable as possible before heading into the consulate to call an ambulance.

“There's been an assault outside the Canadian Consulate, I need an ambulance.” the Mountie closed his eyes as he spoke but all he could see was Meg lying in the alley behind the dumpster. He gave the dispatcher the address and quickly got off the line to go back outside.

Meg looked up at the clearest blue sky she'd ever seen. Dumpling clouded floated carelessly overhead, silver linings shining in the afternoon light. The shade of the building shielded her eyes as she lay on her back. It didn't occur to her to ask where she was or what had happened. Neither pain nor fear penetrated her brain.

“Inspector Thatcher, Inspector.” a familiar voice called from somewhere very far away. She liked that voice, it was comforting and inviting.

“Inspector, look at me.” gentle but strong hands lifted Meg's head a bit to look into beautiful but troubled eyes. They were filled with concern and something bordering on desperation. It was too much, looking into those Atlantic blue eyes. She wanted to see them smile instead. Meg let her eyes close, letting herself ease into the darkness, quiet, comfortable darkness.

“Inspector, please, come back.” that pleasant voice called, farther away this time. Somewhere a siren wailed incessantly.

****

Ray's cell phone rang as he paced the front porch, trying to catch a stray breeze from moving cars along the street. Most of his neighbors were doing the same thing. Everyone waited impatiently for the electric company to fix the problem.

“Vecchio here.” He spoke lazily into the phone. Thankfully, it still worked.

“Detective, there's been an assault at the consulate, you'd better get down there.” Welsh's voice sounded heavy and old over the line.

“Is Fraser okay?” Ray automatically asked, standing still.

“Yeah, it's the Inspector.” Welsh answered.

“I'll be there in five, Sir.” Ray hung up and hurried inside to tell Frannie he'd been called to work, but nothing about the assault. He took off in the Riviera, his dash light flashing frantically.

***

Ray parked his green gem across the street from the consulate and elbowed his way through uniformed officers to the scene of the crime. Fraser stood at the back of an ambulance, blood on his hands and uniform.

“Fraser, what's going on?” Ray walked up to him, using his pocket notebook as a fan.

“I found Inspector Thatcher unconscious behind the dumpster, she'd been stabbed, blunt force trauma to the head. I called 911.” Ben stared over Ray's shoulder, carefully reciting the events. His pale face was even paler, somehow.

“How is she?” Ray asked, concerned about his friend.

“I'm not certain, Ray, there was a significant amount of blood loss.” Ben shook his head. He'd been in dangerous situations before, been injured himself and helped others injured either deliberately or accidentally. None of that had prepared him for the sight of Inspector Thatcher lying on her back, looking up at the sky as if she were simply watching the clouds instead of bleeding to death. He'd felt the same when Ray had been shot and in the hospital after they'd first met. Somehow, this was different.

“She'll be fine, Fraser, she's a tough cookie, gotta be to be a lady Mountie, right.” Ray laid a gentle hand on his friend's shoulder.

“Yes, she's quite resilient.” Ben spoke but without conviction.

“Let me get the crime scene guys going on this and I'll be with you.” Ray pulled away, back to the job.

“I should go to the hospital with the Inspector.” Ben stood up straight, looking at Ray for the first time.

“You need to get cleaned up, I'll get one of the uniforms to take you.” Ray pointed toward the consulate.

“Thank you kindly, Ray, I'd very much appreciate that.” the Mountie turned and walked into the consulate where he kept a spare set of clothes in his office.

A few minutes later Fraser strode out of the consulate in a fresh uniform. Ray had been joined by Lieutenant Walsh. A team of technicians with cameras and equipment buzzed around the scene.

“Constable Fraser.” Welsh called him over, one hand waving. The older officer had sweat stains under each arm and his tie hung loose around his neck.

“Hello, Leftenant.” Fraser greeted him with a grim face.

“We're doing everything possible to catch this guy. We'll keep you informed, alright?” Welsh saw the haunted look in the younger man's eyes. He'd seen it too often in his career.

“Thank you kindly, Sir, I'll make certain to pass that on to my superiors.” the Mountie looked from Welsh to Ray.

“Officer Marks is ready to drive you to the hospital.” Ray walked with Ben over to a waiting squad car. “Benny, if you need anything, let me know, okay.” He offered in a low tone.

“Thank you, Ray, I will.” Ben stepped into the squad car and the officer took off. Welsh and Ray both watched him leave.

***

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Twentieth Anniversary Due South Re-watch

After taking a LJ break, I began re-watching Due South. It's the 20th anniversary of the show's first season. I look at recent pics of Paul Gross and DS episodes and he hasn't really changed a whole lot but he seems to have had such a baby face, handsome but so young.
Anyway, as I watch other shows I'm surprised who made the rounds. Gordon Tootootsis also guested on both MacGyver and Smallville.  There are a dozen other actors I've seen in other things and will in the future I'm sure. I can't see a white wolf on TV without thinking of Diefenbaker.
That's my observation for the day.
Thank you kindly for reading.
~ Robin

Twentieth Anniversary Due South Re-watch

After taking a LJ break, I began re-watching Due South. It's the 20th anniversary of the show's first season. I look at recent pics of Paul Gross and DS episodes and he hasn't really changed a whole lot but he seems to have had such a baby face, handsome but so young.
Anyway, as I watch other shows I'm surprised who made the rounds. Gordon Tootootsis also guested on both MacGyver and Smallville.  There are a dozen other actors I've seen in other things and will in the future I'm sure. I can't see a white wolf on TV without thinking of Diefenbaker.
That's my observation for the day.
Thank you kindly for reading.
~ Robin

Final Episode

I hate watching the final episode of any series. I hate for them to end for any reason, I miss them like you would miss a loved one.
The reason I'm saying this is, I watched the final episode of Due South last night, twice. While I love the story, I'm not such a big fan of the way they sent sent the characters off in a hundred different directions. As a fan fiction writer, it's frustrating. Turnbull as an elected official? Doesn't seem to fit. Frannie's 'six immaculate conceptions' ?? I guess it's the difference between the American and Canadian sense of humor.
Still, seeing Dief come down on a parachute is funny, no matter what. Sending Fraser off with Ray K to find the Hand of Franklin is a fan fiction writer's dream, of course they have to come back sometime. What happens after they do? Putting Thatcher undercover in the Middle East is a good one but taking her away from the gang and from Fraser is a bit too much for me to write. Ray V and Stella is a fan fiction writer's gold nugget. He is so different from Ray K.
I don't get into the whole controversy of Ray V vs. Ray K. I like them both and use them equally  in my writing, depending on the situation or setting in the show's run.
The one I love the best is Fraser Sr and his wife reuniting. I have always wished she had dialogue though. Just something short, to tell Ben she was proud of him, that she missed him, something along those lines. Ah well, maybe it was nonverbal.
Anyway, that's my take on the final episode of the show. It's hot and humid here so seeing them knee deep in snow was refreshing. I much prefer the cold personally.
Leave me a comment. Review with kindness as I try to do the same. 

Ben/Meg shipper



I'm a Ben/Meg shipper. If you have any interesting story prompts, let me know.

Fav Episodes

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What are your favorite Due South episodes? Is it All the Queen's Horses or Mountie on the Bounty?

New Community

Hello, glad to meet you. If you're here you'll find a little bit of everything. Mostly I like to post stuff about Due South. I have other interests, and they'll show themselves.
Due South is a quirky, Canadian show about a misplaced Mountie on the trail of those responsible for his father's death. He ends up staying in Chicago as the unofficial partner of a detective. It'll make you laugh, make you cry and make you wish they'd never quit making the show. More later.....
Thank you kindly.