Alliance Atlantis owns the characters and concepts of due South, created by Paul Haggis. No profit or copyright infringement was intended.


Change of Days

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.

"Forgot? Really?"

"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 echoed.

"But you got to want to live."

"I don't know how."

TBC (032805)