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|Wednesday, December 9th, 2009|
Believe it, or believe it not, Fraser does occasionally spend time outside of the Consulate, and indeed away from the 27th Precinct for reasons that don't involve chasing someone down, or causing someone to run off the road to avoid an overly large pothole, or finding dead bodies in extremely unlikely places. Tonight finds him sitting in a local diner, his shirtsleeves rolled up to his elbows, reading while he nurses a mug of tea.
Much has happened recently. He's seen his father's cabin buried under an induced avalanche of snow. He's seen his superior officer go through a disturbing period of amnesia brought on by an assault. There's much that came after that particular incident, implications on a deeply personal level he continues to wrestle with.
And this latest case, the article about which lies before him on the diner's table, has given him much more to think about. Fraser's never given much thought to the future-- his future, that is. He's learned to live day to day, knowing that life is short, and that the needs of the community he serves are far more important than his own. Legacies are valuable, he knows; but they've also been something of a millstone around his neck. Held up next to his father, he was never more than adequate, classified as eccentric and naiive, Fraser has been at a constant disadvantage the moment he stepped onto Depot's grounds.
Fraser reads the article over again. What will he leave behind, he wonders? Will it have been worth it?
|Monday, August 31st, 2009|
Deep dish isn't that hard to find in Chicago. While they're waiting for the prints to come back, Ray has time to procure a small feast and introduce Bailey to temporary housing for the night. With new sheets, a poor excuse for a clean kitchen, and instructions not to touch the stereo or answer the door for anybody but himself or Fraser, their lead witness and self-appointed detective is settled into protective custody.
|Monday, May 11th, 2009|
Fetch and Carry
Fraser leaves Ray in the parking lot of the Summerland residence-- unwilling to have him encounter the manager after that earlier exchange in the office-- to retrieve Diefenbaker, who has no doubt managed to gain at least two kilos since he left him in the courtyard with his newest fan.
If, that is, 'fan' is an appropriate term for a woman who's eighty-five years old and suffering from some form of dementia.
He removes his Stetson as he enters the building once more, tucking it under his arm as he considers the time frame Mr. Whaley has had to apparently dispose of the evidence. He had not caught a glimpse of anything suspect in the office trash can, and the very miniscule, trace evidence would soon be gone from the bathroom. In the time between his and the detective's arrival, he had a very small window of time with which to deal with the poison-- but the man knows the layout of the place, despite his clearly amateurish criminal activities, and he shouldn't be underestimated.
Fraser pauses briefly at a large corkboard in the hallway, which displays a large number of photographs of the residents, both past and present. Mr. Hughes is among them, with Don Bailey, enjoying a mutual game of checkers. And so is Diefenbaker's newest treat dispenser -- Gloria Helm.
With some members of the younger generation of her family.
He can't help but look closer, though his thoughts and focus turn inward once more. To what he might leave behind-- if anything. Sometimes-- but only sometimes-- he understands why his father keeps posthumously bothering him about grandchildren. It's not so much for his father's benefit, he now realises. It's for his own.
|Thursday, May 7th, 2009|
Room 360: One life, not included
"I just wish you'd let us know you were coming," frets Nurse Townsend as she watches Ray and Fraser search the room of the late Mr. Hughes. "Any change in routine can be very
disturbing to our residents."
"Funny thing about search warrants," replies Ray as he sorts through National Geographic
magazines. "They don't work so well if people know they're coming. Kinda like surprise inspections. You have those here, right?"
"Well, yes, but--" The nurse twists her fingers, looking over her shoulder. "Mr. Whaley really
should be here. He likes to stay informed."
Ray straightens up. "Ma'am, he could appear in a poof of smoke right now and all he'd really
be able to do is read the search warrant and stay out of our way."
|Tuesday, May 5th, 2009|
Fraser's arms are folded over his red serge as he observes Mr. Bailey, the self-accused poisoner from the senior residence, in the interview room from behind the one-way glass. If only that self-accusation were so simple; but as with just about everything in Fraser's life, nothing's ever so straightforward.
For instance, why was Mr. Bailey looking for someone over his shoulder as he moved with his dead companio in the wheelchair, if being caught was in fact his intention? And why would he be so intent on claiming responsibility for Mr. Hughes' death, but unwilling to tell of the poison used? The latter is clear-- he didn't know the method of execution, because he was not the killer. But he was aware of the cause, which leads Fraser to think there is something far more potentially sinister lurking beneath the pleasant facade of Summerland.
|Monday, May 4th, 2009|
Growing old is mandatory; growing up is optional
"I just wanna say, for the record--again--that I am doing this under protest," Ray announces as he begins the delicate process of parking his Pontiac GTO. Very important to park it where no scratches, dings, or dents can happen. A luxury he can't always take, so he enjoys it when he can. "It's not like we know anyone here, right? This isn't part of a case? I know you can't be doing it to rack up points to get into heaven. You already get the Mountie discount for that, right?"
He stares glumly at the nursing home sign: SUMMERLAND RETIREMENT VILLAGE: A HOME FOR YOUR GOLDEN YEARS.
|Saturday, February 28th, 2009|
It's only coffee
Meg Thatcher sleeps well the night she regains her memory, though she is still stiff the next morning. The aftereffects of Hillman's assault will linger. Stilll, she will not be thwarted in her determination to resume Consular business as usual.
Some concessions must be made, of course. The healing abrasions to her face mean that she must eschew cosmetics for the time being, and she finds herself selecting her wardrobe not by her mood or meetings, but by what is easy for her to wear and move about in. Despite these concessions, she is at her desk at her usual time, making her usual ruthless charge through the paperwork and correspondence that has piled up during her hiatus.
The hours pass by quickly, until finally she looks up and realises that it is time for Fraser to take her out. For coffee. Characteristically, he does not take her to one of the larger coffee houses in Chicago, especially not one of those that is a franchisee of a larger national chain, nor does he take her to the sort of establishment that is obviously a teetotaler's substitute for a singles bar. Instead, this corner storefront is a quiet neighborhood fixture, with a building dating back to around the time of the Chicago Fire, still with its pressed-tin ceiling above hardwood floors, with a choice of couches or cafe tables and chairs while one sits and sips, or sits and sips and converses.
What, she wonders, will they have to talk about?
|Friday, February 27th, 2009|
One Bad Apple
The large, cast bronze lions standing guard in front of the Art Institute of Chicago bear silent witness to the varied but well-dressed attendees streaming inside. Within the large reception hall, red, white and blue streamers twist across the ceiling, and banners declare the mid-afternoon event to be a noteworthy occasion for raising funds courtesy of Chicago's social elite for medical missionary work in South Africa: the keynote speakers including one André Agnant.
|Thursday, February 26th, 2009|
To Catch a Thief
The 27th Precinct is, as usual, abuzz with activity; even this early in the morning. Fraser removes his Stetson as he holds open the door for Thatcher, and then negotiates the bullpen with ease, stepping aside and around Elaine as she passes by with the morning coffee. Diefenbaker seems entirely at home here, making his rounds of the desks-- not so much out of a need to socialise as he is seeking leftover doughnuts, or in Detective Huey's case at least, half of his turkey club. The proceedings are a distinct melange of ringing phones, constant voices of varied accent and tone, in direct contrast to the relative quiet of the Canadian Consulate.
Fraser's attention is focused solely on one thing, however: Answers, specifically why someone named André Agnant would want his superior officer incapacitated, and what is so significant about her non-attendance at the diplomatic function they both had been scheduled for.
|Wednesday, February 25th, 2009|
Good morning, who am I?
Waking up in unfamiliar surroundings is never pleasant, and Meg Thatcher finds herself lying in bed for a while gazing sleepily around the Queen's Bedroom. Unfortunately, as she searches her memory, she discovers she only remembers it from the night before. No recollections of what the bedroom had looked like before--what had Ben said? Before it was restored? She wonders briefly what had happened to it and what it had looked like previously, then her stomach informs her that it has been hours and hours since she ate Chinese food.
Obediently she slips out of bed, feeling rather waif-like in the blue-checked flannel shirt she slept in, and opens the door a crack to see if anyone else is still awake. Immediately she is greeted by the sight of a recumbent Arctic wolf, stretched out across the doorway.
"Good morning, Diefenbaker," she says, then remembers he's deaf and waves her hand, hoping to attract his attention in a non-threatening manner. "Good morning, Diefenbaker," she enunciates more clearly.
|Tuesday, February 24th, 2009|
The knock-on effect
Fraser passes Diefenbaker as he's sprawled in the hallway downstairs. As the wolf lifts his head to look at him quizzically, he presses a finger to his lips for him to be quiet.
"Rrrrf," replies Diefenbaker, getting up.
Fraser shakes his head. "Oh, no. You snore."
The wolf chuffs, then shakes himself out, setting loose a brief flurry of shed fur. His human companion makes a faint moue
of irritation in his general direction, before he heads for his office on the first floor to call Ray.
This hasn't been a good day in any sense of the word, he thinks as he reaches for the receiver. In fact, he'd be hard-pressed to think of any days that have been worse in recent years-- the news of his father's death aside. He places the receiver to his ear, and instinctively begins dialing.
His fingers pause over the rotary dial. Something in him is registering wrongness.
He doubletakes, and frowns as his conscious thought processes take over, giving him cognition.
There's no dial tone. He moves the receiver away from his ear, and reaches to press down on the handset. Upon release, he cants his head and listens for the tell-tale click
and live buzz that indicates an active connection.
His frown deepens as he heads back upstairs to the Inspector's office to confirm or deny his suspicions.
|Sunday, February 22nd, 2009|
The Consular kitchen is much like any other institutional culinary space, but the two Mounties have no trouble setting up for dinner. Meg Thatcher nearly inhales the first half of her meal, but manages to slow down after the first few bites. "This is delicious," she tells Fraser once the edge of her hunger is blunted. "What did you order? Were you ever posted in a Chinatown? This doesn't look as boring as some Chinese meals I've seen."
She can't keep her eyes off him, even while she's devouring her ... whatever it was he got for her.
|Friday, February 20th, 2009|
It's well past Consular office hours when Ray drops Fraser back at the Consulate, promising to follow up whatever he can. He sets the stack of papers in his arms down on a side table, takes the Stetson from his head and locks the doors securely behind him before he allows himself to let the set of his shoulders drop, his head lowering, resting against the impeccably polished walnut. Their excursion to the hospital has turned up nothing: no material evidence, other than the open window whoever it was used to gain entry and exited through after the scuffle, and the security footage was limited-- the Inspector had indeed left under her own steam, but there was no way to know if she was followed.
Fraser had since requested his friend turn over the remaining challenge coin research materials and leave him here so he can contact the higher authorities in Ottawa. This has gone far beyond his personal jurisdiction now. Even his pride has limits, and when it comes to the Inspector's life being in the balance ...
He won't permit himself to think the worst.
|Thursday, February 19th, 2009|
Back at the two-seven
"Man, and I thought mug books could be boring." Ray scrubs at his face with both hands. "Least with mug shots you know where you stand. Y'know? Coins don't got real faces."
It's been several hours, now, longer than that when measured in cups of coffee consumed, and the detective is starting to feel pessimistic. "Maybe we'd be better off goin' down to the VA or the Legion Hall, see if any old soldiers know what this is. All it would cost us is listening to a couple dozen war stories."
|Wednesday, January 14th, 2009|
What's done is done
"Yes," said the man a little impatiently, glancing into the nearby mirror to see if his nose was still bleeding. "No. I told you it wouldn't be any trouble."Goddamned split-tail broke my nose, but I'm not telling you that, you soft-handed bastard.
"I'm not a doctor. I don't know
how long she'll be out. She was out cold when I left." He's growing impatient now and doesn't bother hiding it. "Look, if you wanted her out, I would've taken her out. You're the one who set up the mission parameters." And you're the one who said it would be easy, because it's not like she's a real cop any more. Just another desk jockey with a badge.
"I want the other half by the end of today." Any other messes you want me to clean up for you are going to cost double from now on.
He can still taste blood in the back of his throat. Weren't Canucks supposed to be polite? Stupid Mountie bitch should've gone down with the first hit. At least she'd had some real
money in her wallet along with that Monopoly-looking money they carried up there. Plus the jewelry. That might make up for the trouble she'd been.
"Good. We're done." He hangs up the phone and examines himself more closely in the mirror. Well, another break in his nose wasn't going to hurt his rep, as long as nobody found out who gave it to him. With grim satisfaction he starts going through the spoils. Couple twenties, a ten, a few singles, and one of those funny bills with a bunch of horsemen on the back. Her little lady's watch. A broken necklace. Some kind of Canuck costume jewelry--that wouldn't be worth much, especially since the pin was bent and some of the rhinestones were missing.Definitely
not enough to make up for the trouble she'd given him. He scowls, then automatically pats the small pouch hanging around his neck for reassurance.
Wait a minute....
He fumbles at the cord, pulling the pouch out from beneath his shirt. It had come out during the fight, he remembered, but--dammit! In utter disbelief and shock, he fingers the torn seam of the pouch. Just wide enough for the contents to slip out. Somewhere.Bitch got my coin!
It didn't matter if she had it on her--she'd taken
To hell with what that seat-polisher had said. If he couldn't get it back, he'd pay her another visit, and this
time he wouldn't have to follow any dumb-ass plan dreamed up by some little boy who thought being rich made him a man.
|Tuesday, January 13th, 2009|
Piece by Piece
Fraser's call to Ray was brief, and lacking much detail besides the facts: The Inspector had been mugged outside of her apartment building that morning, and he needed Ray to take him to go see the crime scene for himself to try and find out who'd done it. It's probably his brevity and his lack of real conversation Fraser offers in the car that will tip his friend off that there's something more to this than meets the eye: he's far more buttoned up than usual, and that-- more often than not-- means something serious is going down.
Fraser wastes no time in getting out of the car once Ray pulls into the parking garage of Thatcher's apartment building, his breath clouding in the chilly January Chicago air. Current Mood: moody
|Monday, January 12th, 2009|
No rest for the righteous
Inspector Thatcher still showers at Depot speed in the mornings, though she no longer has an imaginary stopwatch spurring her on when she gets dressed. No. Ever since she earned the right to wear civilian dress rather than a uniform, she has taken great pleasure in dressing according to the needs of her own schedule.
Unfortunately, when her schedule is as full as today's is, it's hard for her to tell the difference. Still, she tells herself, the impetus is internally motivated, not external. That counts for something. As she puts the finishing touches on her make-up, she reviews the plan for the day. She catches herself frowning in the mirror as she realises she may not have built enough Turnbull space into the schedule, but perhaps Murphy's Law will be active in some other part of Chicago, for once. Or she can delegate the Turnbull-watching to Fraser. Or maybe to the wolf.
At times like this, she finds herself missing Cooper.
No more time to waste her energy on nostalgia. Thatcher examines herself one last time in the mirror, nods in satisfaction, and heads to the parking garage of her apartment building.
The man's voice is the last thing she hears before the sudden explosion of pain on the side of her head.
|Saturday, January 10th, 2009|
We'll take a cup of kindness yet
Perreault had displayed a remarkable vocabulary when he had been arrested. Some of the words he used Thatcher hadn't heard since her days at the Sorbonne, particularly that time when her fellow students decided to commemorate the anniversary of May 1968. It had taken her weeks to get the paint out of her hair....
Her part, and Fraser's part, in this matter is concluded. Chicago is grateful, the press has been appeased, and so forth. Mayor Daley himself gave a small speech on the theme of the friendship between their two nations and deploring the perpetrator's actions.
," she says aloud. "Though not the usual sort."
|Friday, January 2nd, 2009|
Should old acquaintance be forgot
If it's one thing the Windy City knows how to do, it's throw parties. This time of year is no exception, and though most media eagles turn their eyes to Times Square, Chicago has its own brand of glitz and glamour to offer everyone.
This particular engagement is a veritable tapestry of glittering evening dresses and tuxedos, the upscale Congress Plaza Hotel near Grant Park hosting a high-level diplomatic function that anyone who is anyone in politics-- and even the odd Mountie-- is attending. It's clear no expense has been spared, as evidenced by the gold and silver themed decorations, featuring most prominently in the main ballroom a massive ice sculpture of Poseidon, replete with trident and wave-formed horses.
Not for the first time since he's been thrust into this world of diplomatic functions and its associated excesses, Fraser feels distinctly ill at ease. But as usual, it's his duty to be here; and, although strictly speaking he shouldn't be armed and he doesn't technically have the rank to wear it, there's a ceremonial RCMP sword slung at his left side in accordance with formal ceremonial dress.
|Monday, December 22nd, 2008|
It can't last. Thatcher knows that. Certainly she has heard of Members who have bent or broken this particular set of regulations for years at a time, and she assumes there are others who have been even more discreet, but she has no wish for their names to be dragged through that particular mud puddle. Aside from any repercussions it would have on their future careers, it could call past performance into question. Every case they had ever worked on together would be brought up for fresh scrutiny ... and some of those cases were barely able to withstand the initial scrutiny.
No. It can't last. The only question is when will it end.
She finds herself studying the slope of Fraser's shoulder, as if the answer is written there in muscle and sinew.