Fandom: due South
Word Count: 1010 words.
Notes: Thank you kindly to my wonderful beta-reader, bjohan57, who edited this extremely quickly for me and gave me fantastic suggestions (as well as telling me something I really didn't want to know... sigh.) I didn't know someone had already written a story with this title when I wrote it, believing myself the only person crazy enough to use the entire line. Sorry. Still, how many stories do you find with titles like "The Secret"? This isn't that much different, really. ;) ETA: I just found out the title actually isn't exactly the same. So yay! Er, this one's about Buck Frobisher and unrequited love.
April 23rd, 1957, sixty miles north of Destruction Bay. Yukon.
The wind was choppy. Extremely choppy for a rope bridge. Buck felt that life would be infinitely easier if there ceased to be such a thing as wind. It buffeted his body, pushing him backwards and sending him lurching towards the canyon he was currently above. Bob caught his arm.
“Just where do you think you’re going?”
“Nowhere, nowhere, just felt like a small stroll, that’s all.”
“A small stroll which would result in two-hundred-and-six broken bones.”
“That’s a biological impossibility.”
“No, it isn’t. You’d be dead, but you could most certainly break all the bones in your body.”
“Bob, as much as I’d dearly love to argue the case, you might notice that we need to do something about Caroline.”
“How much ammunition have you got left?”
“One cartridge. You?”
The Caroline in question appeared to have stopped struggling in the arms of her miscreant for now. If only she had gone quietly in the first place, chances were they wouldn’t have found themselves in this situation. She had not been best pleased about being hauled away by Macfadden, not best pleased at all. She had screamed, she had kicked, she had sworn black and blue. Buck had to hand it to her, the woman had an impressive vocabulary. He could see why Bob had fallen head over heels. He could also see why Bob thought he himself was raving in love too.
“I think we could take him down without harming Caroline,” Bob whispered, though he might not have bothered, given the impossibility of sound travelling to the assailant.
“With one rifle?”
“With one rifle.”
“And how do you propose we do that? Toddle on over and offer him a trade?”
“That’s just silly, Buck. I suggest we shoot him.” Bob was entirely serious.
“I’ve seen you in practice, Robert Fraser. You’re not that crack a shot.”
“I’ve seen you in performance, Duncan Frobisher. You’re not that crack a shot either.”
“That is my point exactly. We don’t have the requisite skills. And don’t call me Duncan.” Buck waved a hand in the air above his head emphatically.
“So what is your suggestion?”
“I don’t have one, do I? If I did, I wouldn’t have been standing here with you for ten minutes, trying to figure out how to save our dear girl’s life.”
Buck always felt it was easier going along with Bob’s illusion that he loved Caroline and was in competition with his fellow Mountie. It cut down on any confusion surrounding jealous glances and snitty remarks. He’d been quite amused by Bob’s accusation the first time he had brought it up, assuming his partner had known about his inclination.
Five minutes passed. Caroline was clearly starting to kick up a fuss again. She’d almost got an arm free and was wriggling from side to side. Macfadden had inadvertently chosen the wrong bank teller to take hostage.
“We have no choice, Buck. We have to at least try.”
“If we succeed, you realise what this means?”
“Hmm? We’ll save Caroline’s life?”
“Yes. And we’ll probably save our own too.”
“I don’t quite understand…”
“Caroline’s bound to fall in love with the one of us who rescues her.”
“Better give me first go, then.”
Buck took the rifle from his friend and aimed carefully.
“You need to aim higher.”
He aimed higher.
“Now tilt forward on your toes whilst bending your knees and veering to the left.”
“You’re just trying to get me to fall off this bridge.”
“No, I’m trying to get you in the right position to make the shot. I want Caroline to be safe, remember.” There was urgency in his voice.
Buck did as requested. He knew that, when push came to shove, he could make the shot. He knew that, when push came to shove, Bob could make the shot. He made the decision right then and there. Either he decided to spin a lie and ensure that his friend was miserable for the rest of his life, or he decided to spin a lie and ensure that he was miserable for the rest of his life.
He knew that there was really only one choice.
At the last second he eased the rifle westwards. The bullet inched away from Macfadden and embedded itself in the rockface.
“Damn. Right then. My turn.”
“Do your best, Bob. I believe in you.”
Bob moved in some ridiculous wiggling motion which Buck presumed was how he had looked following his directions. Buck smiled slightly as he realised Bob had closed his eyes. A bang. The familiar smell of acrid smoke, and it was over. Macfadden slumped to the ground, no longer in a position to harm another person, especially not one who had been jumping up and down and ostensibly screaming against a hand on their mouth.
“Congratulations. The best man won.”
“Thank you. No harm done, Buck.”
“Not to us!”
Caroline was not cautious in her pilgrimage across the bridge. She ran and launched herself into Bob’s arms, laughing and crying all at once.
“My hero, my wonderful hero,” she exclaimed in a voice which was half serious, half humorous, and completely relieved. Buck needed to break the moment a little as the two kissed.
“So what should we call it?”
“That thing, the thing you did with your gun, right there.”
“Oh, I don’t know, something ludicrous. Something long. Something about The Great Yukon. Maybe something about the rifle?”
“The Great Yukon, Douglas Fir Shot.”
“More. We need something else. Perhaps about the manoeuvre?”
“The Great Yukon, Douglas Fir, Double-Telescoping Bank Shot.” A pause. “How’s that?”
Buck knew that for the rest of their lives they would talk about this shot and the love it secured. The thing now was to steel himself for this eventuality, because the thought of all of the hopes lost and the unwanted situations gained caused a heavy feeling that sank deep down to the bottom of his laced-up boots.