Disclaimer: This story is written for the private entertainment of fans. The author makes no claims to the series' characters by the creation of this story. Fraser, Vecchio, Kowalski et. al. belong to Alliance, Paul Haggis and all the creative genius who made this show so special. No infringement of any copyrights held by CBS, Alliance, CTV, TNT or any other copyright holders of due SOUTH is intended. No money being made here.
Note to the Readers: Includes the poem, 'Flanders Fields' by Maj. John McCrae. Feedback is always welcome. 'Thank you kindly!'
By: Janice R. Sager
"...You can *see* the patch jobs!" Ray groused as he stood waiting for Ben to finish with the Dragon Lady so the two of them could go to an early lunch. Well, it was supposed to be early, but Thatcher had managed to tie him up until it was almost eleven now.
Turnbull, to whom Ray was pouring out his woes concerning the latest bullet hole repair job on the Riv, nodded in deep appreciation of his anger. "There is no excuse for shoddy workmanship," he agreed. "No excuse! A Civilian Employee is paid by tax dollars and must be held to a higher standard. The repairman should be severely reprimanded!"
Ray opened his mouth to continue, just happy to have a sympathetic ear even if it was Turnbull's as no one else seemed to want to listen, but then closed it again as the door to the Dragon Lady's lair finally opened and Ben stepped out. He was followed by his boss.
"I'll expect you in my office no later than six tomorrow morning to go over Sir Martin's itinerary again before leaving to pick him up at the airport." She spotted Ray and gave him a cool nod in greeting. "Detective."
He turned on the charm, hoping to deflect some of the icy fire in her gaze. "Inspector Thatcher." He smiled broadly.
It didn't work. "I'm letting him go with you today against my better judgment, Detective," she told the Armani clad Italian bluntly, completely untouched by the smile. "And then only because there seems to be a Canadian connection, dubious as it sounds." She shot Fraser a censorious glare as if she wasn't sure whether to believe his rather convoluted explanation of the investigation or not. "However, he has duties here tomorrow which will demand his undivided attention. See that you don't damage my Constable or keep him up all night on stake out."
Ray was nodding his assurance even before she finished, despite the fact that he was well aware that the only thing likely to prevent Benny from doing anything stupid and dangerous was... well, nothing he could think of! Ray would just have to trust to the powers of the Stetson of Invulnerability or something. He suddenly frowned as he glanced at the item in question. Was that a flower he had stuck up there?
In the hallway behind them, the old grandfather clock began to toll the hour.
Turnbull suddenly shot to his feet. "Eleven o'clock, ma'am," he told them unnecessarily.
To Ray's surprise, neither Fraser nor Thatcher seemed surprised or disconcerted by the announcement. Instead, they both drew themselves to attention and bowed their heads, while Turnbull held himself ramrod straight and looked like he was about to salute or something! The entire Consulate seemed to hold its breath.
Ray frowned and rolled his eyes. Something weird was going on, but that was hardly new. "O-kay..." he sighed, hoping for an explanation - instead, Ben shot him a frown and a loud 'shush'. As Ray was forced to stand in mute confusion, he noted that both Turnbull and Thatcher were also wearing the small red flowers...
Thatcher's head suddenly came back up. "Carry on, then," she ordered and turned back to her sanctum.
Turnbull also relaxed his stance and went back to finishing whatever paperwork he'd been doing before Ray came in. Ben glanced back up, relaxing as much as he ever did, and waved toward the front door. "Shall we?" he asked.
Ray waited until they'd exited the building and were sitting in the Riv before demanding an explanation, his confusion momentarily overriding his need to detail the horrors perpetrated on his beloved Riv. Even Dief in the back seat was wearing on of those flowers! "What was *that* all about?"
Ben frowned in confusion for a moment. "Oh, you mean the moment of silence?"
"Moment? It seemed to last forever!"
"One minute seven seconds," Ben corrected his friend. "Today is Remembrance Day, Ray. On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month, all across Canada, we pause to remember and pray for those who fought and died to preserve our freedoms and ideals. It's similar to your Veteran's Day, which by chance falls on the same date this year."
"Oh." Ray didn't know what to say. He'd forgotten all about Veteran's Day being today. Most people just thought of it as another day off. When he was asked to work it a couple weeks ago, he'd only thought about the time and a half overtime he'd get for working a national holiday. It was kinda embarrassing to be reminded of the importance of the day by a Canadian. He glanced at Ben's hat on his dash board. "What's with the rose?" he asked, realizing now it must have something to do with the day as well.
"Poppy, Ray," Ben corrected him again. "It derives from a poem written by Major John McCrae, a surgeon attached to the 1st Field Artillery Brigade in 1900 during the Battle of Ypres:
In Flanders Fields
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.
We are the dead. Short days ago
We lived, saw dawn, felt sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.
Take up your quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields."
Ben fell silent for a moment as his mind wandered the images of the poem. He suddenly gave himself a small shake and cleared his throat. "The poppy has become a national symbol of remembrance for us. They are sold throughout Canada by the Canadian Legion to help ex-service men and women in need. I believe the American Legion does something similar."
"Oh," Ray said again, suddenly finding himself thinking of his Uncle Lorenzo in the group home and remembering that he had served in the Second World War some place or other. He frowned as he realized he didn't know where and thought that maybe he should... "Remind me to stop and see my Uncle Lorenzo after lunch, Benny," he decided as he started the car. He could spare a minute to thank the old man for his part in preserving the rights and freedoms he took so much for granted. "I have something I need to tell him."
Ben nodded, making a mental note as the car slipped into traffic, and then turned his attention to the demands of their present case.