Fandom and Pairing: due South, Fraser-centric with another character (reader's choice!) implied
Length: 288 words
Author’s Notes: due South is not mine. Many thanks and hugs to akamine_chan for a wise and helpful beta.
He opens the newspaper and goes straight to the personal ads, like he always does. Even from here, I can see he’s tense as he starts to read. I think I know what he’s looking for, but I don’t know why...and I never ask.
It began in the hospital, after...well. After. He’d woken one afternoon to the end of a movie whose flimsy plot hung on the characters communicating through a series of messages in the personals section of a newspaper. In what probably had been a pain-medication-induced haze, he had convinced himself that she would contact him in the same way. One of the nurses got him a Sunday Tribune and he’d studied the random announcements and cryptic messages but found nothing. Disappointed and frustrated, he’d obsessively re-read the personals that day, determined that the meaning of one of those indecipherable messages would reveal itself to him if he just studied it enough. He had no idea what code she would use – he just had to trust he would recognise it when he saw it.
Each new day brought another paper, another search.
Years later, he is still looking – just in case – but things have changed. He isn’t looking for a connection now; now he looks for a warning. Unlike the last time, he wants to see her approach, wants to be ready to protect the new life and the new family he has made for himself. He finds comfort in the patterns he sees in the daily notices – repetition, recognition, rhythm – but vigilance while tracking is important, even in the most familiar of landscapes.
Nothing. Today is safe.
He hasn’t found anything. His shoulders sag. I hope it’s relief, but I’m afraid it might be disappointment.