Alliance Atlantis owns the characters and concepts of due South, created by Paul Haggis. No profit or copyright infringement was intended.
Set after the movie
Books. An oak dining set. A leather lazy-boy with duct tape holding the stuffing
in. It was all of Buddy's things and none of Carol's. "Buddy? Where - ah
- " Duck lifted the lid on the box under his arm, alarm clock, hand cream,
ties. "Where do you want the bedroom boxes to go?"
"The big room," Buddy said. The stairs creaked behind Duck and the
hallway smelled like the fresh paint he'd laid down yesterday. The master bedroom
was at the end, where the windows looked over the sea and the hardwood floor
popped softly under his feet. "It was my mother's room."
Duck had gone to the funeral. Everyone had gone to the funeral because it was
what you did. When someone died, you went to the funeral. If Dan had died -
Duck didn't know who would have gone to the funeral. Besides Duck. "It's
a good room," he said.
"Yes, it is," Buddy said at his shoulder.
They were emptying one house and filling another. They were emptying Carol
and Buddy's house and filling . . . Buddy's house. Buddy's house that had been
his mother's house and was going to be Buddy's house with no Carol in it. She
had left on the ferry yesterday, gone out over the water, and Buddy was paying
him forty dollars to help him move furniture today. The only thing ready in
the house was the picture in the hall, a view Duck knew; the view from the Watch.
He looked at the picture every time he passed it and Buddy looked out the windows
to the sea.
"Okay, that's all the heavy stuff," Buddy pulled out his wallet and
Duck folded the money, body warm, into the pocket of his coveralls. It was too
much money for an afternoon of work but Duck wasn't getting as much work as
he used to.
"Can I use your bathroom?"
Duck had things to do and it was getting time to do them. He'd brought a clean
button front shirt and, sniffing his pits - not too bad - he shucked his coveralls,
slipped on the shirt, tucked it in and that would have to be okay. Outside,
the sunlight was weak and Duck could feel the touch of fog in the air, a familiar
kind of night was coming - the fog would pull in settle around the houses, everything
would go quiet, even the sea would fall to a whisper. Sometimes, on nights like
this, Duck used go walking, sometimes he would go to the Watch but not tonight.
Not any night again. The porch stairs under his feet were worn and he figured
he'd been back on them again; Buddy would bring him back to fix the warped back
door, to paint the downstairs, maybe to replace the steps Buddy was sitting
on as he fished out a cigarette and watched Duck walk away.
Duck turned back and rubbed his neck and thought about the sea taste in the
air by the Watch. He thought about the fluorescent lights in the police station
and what it was like to stand under them at midnight, fingerprint ink drying
on his hands. He thought about the fresh scars on the wood of the old beams
in Buddy's parlor. "Thanks, Buddy."
Buddy only looked surprised then shrugged so Duck shrugged but he smiled too
as he turned away. He knew Buddy was watching him from the porch as he crouched
to pick the bachelor buttons blooming at the curb so he turned around and waved
with his handful of flowers. Buddy finally waved back, Duck could see it in
his rear view mirror as he climbed into his truck and drove to the hospital.
Dan was waiting at the curb.
Dan had been waiting for seventy-two hours, while the bruises around his neck
turned green and the social worker asked him questions and Duck visited every
day. Today was the last day, Dan was being released and Duck was bringing his
truck to take Dan . . . wherever he wanted.
"Hi," Duck offered Dan his handful of flowers then picked up his
bag. Today, Dan's smile was sad, it didn't reach his eyes, but he held the flowers
carefully, fingertips grazing the petals. Duck brought flowers every day, eventually
the nurses got tired of staring and they just brought an extra cup of water
to put them in. "Where do you want to go?"
"Back to the motel," Dan's voice was still scratchy. "I called,
they still have my things and I'll stay there until
"Okay," Duck said after a minute, when Dan didn't say anything more.
There were other places he'd thought about, places Dan might want to go and
the look in his eyes made Duck think of the ferry to the mainland. It made him
think of Buddy, watching the tide go away from the island. The motel was better
than that, the motel was good. "Okay. That's good."
They didn't talk. There was only the silence, filled with the rattle of the
ladder in back, the skip and rumble of the engine and the sound of Dan's breathing,
a little faster than his own. Duck pulled in next to Dan's car and set the brake,
gears grinding. He had new banners in the back and work to do, but he didn't
move, just rested his arm along the back of the seat, fingers a inch from Dan's
shoulder. The torn edge of vinyl was sharp on his palm and the beaky jut of
Dan's nose was edged with grayish light as the fog pulled in from the sea. Dan
didn't say anything, as he opened the door but he gathered Duck's flowers up
carefully and when he slipped out of the truck Duck followed.
The motel was the same. Dan got a cup of water for the flowers, Duck sat at
the foot of the bed - the same bed, the same place, three days later - and Dan
came to sit beside him. Their hands fell together, Dan's face didn't smile but
his grip tightened on Duck's fingers.
"I forgot to shave," Dan said. "This morning."
"Yeah?" Duck leaned in, a little closer, shoulder to shoulder and that was familiar. It was like the first touch of bodies at the Watch, a brush of a shoulder, knuckles grazing along the line of someone's fly. This time, though, it wasn't someone, it was Dan and it wasn't chilly and dark and wordless. It was warm and sheltered. They could talk. They could touch. They could - they could do anything.
"Not really," Dan said, his eyes slid to Duck, then away again.
Duck stroked his fingers along Dan's jaw, feeling the rough drag of stubble
and the heat of his skin. Dan's thumb, where they still heldhands against the
red comforter, pushed restlessly against Duck's palm. "I like that."
Dan's eyes finally lifted to his and, this time, when Duck leaned in to kiss
his cheek he didn't pull away. He kissed the corner of Dan's mouth hesitantly.
Then again. They hadn't kissed before. The Watch wasn't for kissing but this
wasn't the Watch. The feel of Dan's stubble was sharp against Duck's lips. This
was new, even with the familiar slow swell of his erection, this was different.
Dan stayed very, very still. But when Duck pulled back Dan's hand came up, palm
hot against his cheek and if his mouth still wasn't smiling, his eyes were.
When they leaned in again, they bashed noses. Dan tilted his head and Duck smiled
against his mouth and the next kiss was easier.
Duck wasn't used to kisses but he liked this; touch and breathe, touch and
breathe. He was as hard as he had ever been at the Watch. He licked his lips
to taste Dan on them then kissed him again. Again. They leaned back and back,
until they were lying on the bed, feet still on the floor, touching at knees,
clasped hands and mouths. When Duck licked Dan's lower lip, fine and soft and
edged with roughness, Dan rolled away, lying flat on his back and staring at
the ceiling. His pants were bunched at his crotch, he was hard too. Duck lay
on his side, shifting to give his dick room and rested his hand on Dan's chest.
If this had been the Watch, he would already be on his knees. If this had been
the Watch, they would never have kissed. If this had been the Watch, Dan wouldn't
have looked at him.
"Did you know?" Dan asked suddenly, Duck could feel the shape of
his words begin at the rise and fall of his chest.
"Yeah," he said, dick wilting under the memory. "I knew."
Dan looked over, startled. "Why didn't you try and stop me?"
"There isn't any way to make someone else live," he said. Under his
hand, he could feel the beating of Dan's heart. It was strong, it wasn't a heart
that wanted to die. He gripped Dan's hand tight. "I don't want you to die."
Dan's head rolled, side to side, slow. "I don't want to die," he
"But you got to want to live."
"I don't know how."