Fandom: due South
Characters: Ray Vecchio's perspective, with cameos from Ray K, Benton and Lt. Welsh.
Word Count: 700 words.
Notes: Over at ds_flashfiction they have a songfic challenge where the task is to use a song as a theme for the entire scene and the title of the song as the title of the piece. I wasn't entirely satisfied with my effort, mainly because I think I'm probably the only person in the world who would use music by Sarah McLachlan as the soundtrack to a hockey scene. Anyway, I was listening to "The Wrong Man was Convicted" by Barenaked Ladies today and realised this song was one I adore for a reason. So I wrote a little something with this as its theme. Hahaha. dS is such a muse. This is fic number 5 if you include the challenge fic I did.
I can't help but feel out of place. Lt. Welsh is walking around and barking orders as usual but he's not barking them at me. It's just not normal. Benny's smiling at me, he's so happy. I can see it in every movement he makes. It's like he's supercharged. He's bopping from one place to the next. It's nice to know he missed me but it doesn't seem like enough. I mean, I gave everything up. Everything I ever knew. I was playing this part, and it was like it was going to last forever. But it didn't. Suddenly, after all this work, I'm back here. Back here, and nothing's the same. Elaine's gone, Francesca's working at the station, and Benny… well, Benny's just the same but he's not if you know what I mean.
I see the looks that pass between him and the blond and I can tell there's something more there. Something I couldn't be a part of even if I tried. Kowalski's got something with Benny that I only ever imagined us having. A bond of friendship which runs deeper than nicknames and comforting pats and money lending. And of course, I only have myself to blame because I was the one who left him without saying goodbye in the first place. Why wouldn't he have made friends with the new guy? If I'd been in his situation I probably would have… well, no, I wouldn't have, because you couldn't replace someone like Benny, not even if you searched a thousand years.
I lean against the table and cross my arms. I try to think. I can't quite reconcile the life I was just leading with the life that stretches out before me. Especially since, despite the fact he's happy now, I can tell Benny isn't going to be there for me in the future. He's heading back, it's obvious, and he's not going to be alone. Kowalski's skulking in the corner. For a cop he's not very perceptive. He can't even tell that Benny's most definitely his. And that's what gets me, okay? What's so special about Kowalski that makes him the one? How come they have a natural affinity and I was just a friend?
I've gotta give this up. Stop feeling bitter and just get on with my life. Others have done it before me, so I don't see why I shouldn't be able to. Hell, I've even done it before, before Benny, before being a cop. I got on with it and succeeded, and made something of myself, despite what my father said, despite being scared to death. I can do it again, no troubles. All it takes is some objectivity.
I just have to realise that I can be glad Benny's happy and it was never gonna work out to be the same as before. You know, I know it's true. I know, deep down, that this is what I always expected. Maybe not him and Kowalski, but at least that we couldn't go back to the comfort of earlier. I've changed. I'm not the same person I was before I left and I couldn't go back to being who I was no matter how hard I tried.
That doesn't happen in reality. In reality you get one chance, and if you blow it, that's it. There's no turning back the clock and staying. I did what I thought was right, and I was doing a good job too. I had style. My cover was blown for reasons entirely unconnected with me. I was cruising along. As usual it was Benny who turned it all upside-down.
We walk out the door, Kowalski following with his head down. He's in a serious funk. His favourite pet just died or something. He's doomed to spend the rest of his life taking a math exam. His heart's going to be broken by the only man he'll ever love. It would almost be funny if it wasn't so God-damned depressing. He thinks he's about to be left by the wayside, and I know it's just not true. The wrong man was convicted. I'm the one who's not needed. I'm the one who's out of place.