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The Toybox

people for the conservation of limited amounts of indignation

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i cannot sleep, so i inflict the world with it
children of dune - leto 1

This is one of those things that happen at three in the morning.

Despite the fact this is a good four or five years before it hits mainstream internetz, I have this feeling that if asked, Ray would have said, with a straight face, "It was a social experiment" and be totally sincere about it.

Despite the fact I know that Ray really thought Fraser knew what was going on--it hit me while watching them that the behavior that's weird from Fraser's pov actually is exactly that weird from any point of view. There is no way it isn't just the strangest, most hilarious, and surreal set of situations ever. I mean, straight from the hug--which seriously, now I have to back and stare at that for a second, because really. Really--right down to Ray distracting Fraser to the point Fraser was following along with this vaguely shell-shocked fascination, because while the methodology is different, the concept is the same as what he does to people himself. And Ray is enjoying the crap out of it, and starts doing stuff just to see how Fraser reacts.

Which tells me two things--one, Ray didn't just read the Vecchio case files, he read between them and got a pretty decent idea how Fraser operated through how Vecchio described him, and two, all of Ray's issues with Fraser have zero to do with not being perfectly willing to ride the crazy train to crazyville and drink the kool-aid of crazy, because crazyville is some seriously awesome fun and Ray is not one to turn down fun, and completely with wanting to at least help pick their seats on the train.

Also, this.

seperis I mean, he assumed Fraser knew who he was.
seperis: That's what makes it so insane.
seperis: He wasn't trying to trick him. He was acting like that specifically to keep Fraser off balance.
winterlive: he did CHECK
winterlive: i mean
winterlive: _walsh talked to you, right? okay, great._
seperis: *nods* Yes!
seperis: So all of that--all of that--was specifically to fuck with Fraser.
seperis: The awesome is just through the roof.
winterlive: fraser eventually ups the ante, though
winterlive: once he figures out the game
seperis: They do that the entire ep.

If I think of season three as a long ass game of competitive crazy, with Fraser reluctantly coming to the horrifying conclusion that Ray Kowalski has no brakes and would probably run directly into a burning building if he could prove he could out-crazy Fraser (I mean that metaphorically, but then again, I wonder, because I was getting the impression near the end of season three that Ray was losing a lot of his normal inhibitions to avoid death just to damn well prove a point), Mountie on the Bounty is suddenly a lot more interesting, and it was damn interesting before.

Also weirdly interesting is that Fraser, who was used to Vecchio being the brakes and the mitigating personality, had to learn to be the brake himself. In Eclipse and in Asylum, a lot of his reactions seem to be feeling out exactly where he's supposed to fall on the Kowalski spectrum of human interaction and realizing that's like navigating by clouds. Vecchio, as a rule, gave him a fairly firm and unswerving definition of himself, and it didn't allow a lot of deviation from a specific--for lack of a better word, identity. He didn't have to do much but live in those parameters. Whereas Ray's tends toward the school of thought that if you're too consistent, you are living life wrong. Which makes me think this:

I have a very unprovable theory that Ray Vecchio spent most of season two ignoring as completely as possible the entirety of Victoria--it didn't fit, and it would never fit, and it was a lot easier to slot it into an unofficial parallel universe in his head than work it out, and also unprovable, Fraser did his damndest to do the same thing, because I bet he woke up nights wondering what kind of crack he was on and why in the name of God he thought it was the good stuff.

Randomly, I have to wonder how that would have gone down with Kowalski. For one thing, Kowalski would have recognized sexual obsession faster than Fraser could get his pants unbuttoned (as he can look in a mirror and see it pretty much twenty-four seven), and two, he would have known that at that point, he could trust Fraser exactly as far as he could see him and acted accordingly (see mirror, above). I also think--and this is really farfetched, but go with it--Ray would have realized what she was doing from what he does himself, not in the sense he has her lack of morals, but that in a world three steps over where he lost that inner compass and was, you know, armed with an evil goatee and some free time, he could set up a zero sum situation for someone he wanted that badly.

I don't know how it would have turned out, though; most of it was so much in Victoria's control that there's not a lot of wriggle room and it happened fast enough that it was pretty much purely reactionary to the end. There are only two places that I can see that it could make a difference and what kind, I have no idea. One of them is that Kowalski is as subtle as a freight train and takes being ignored as a sign that he needs to start the fireworks for attention, and he's conditioned Fraser into reacting when that starts before escalation procedures begin and the game of "Who is the craziest of us" takes off. The other is that Ray wouldn't have stood still waiting to take that shot from the sidelines--I'm pretty sure he'd be on the train with Fraser and Victoria, changing the parameters of Fraser's sacrifice of himself. It's one thing to go out in a blaze of glory, but quite another to have your armed and deeply pissed partner standing on one side and your psychotic girlfriend on the other and have to second thought it under a time constraint measured by whether or not Kowalski's wearing glasses while aiming a gun. You get a chance to think to yourself, okay, wait, what the fuck just happened? And possibly, I've had fantasies like this, but both of you were more naked.

And this is how I amuse myself when I can't sleep and editing a scene where I created a sentence that seems to have neither subject nor predicate, defying the laws of grammar and good taste.

Ray would have realized what she was doing from what he does himself, not in the sense he has her lack of morals, but that in a world three steps over where he lost that inner compass and was, you know, armed with an evil goatee and some free time, he could set up a zero sum situation for someone he wanted that badly.

Quite likely. Also, this would make a great AU.

It really would; I also like the idea of him setting one up unconsciously, which I think he actually *could* do fairly easily and as himself. It makes a weirdly fascinating thought.

Ooh, I like your BDtH theory. The one thing that has always tripped me is wondering what on earth is going on in Ray's head during it - I mean, we know what Fraser is thinking, but Ray sits there and eats a window putty sandwich and all he does is ask if Fraser has any pastrami instead!

But this:
Ray is enjoying the crap out of it, and starts doing stuff just to see how Fraser reacts
actually makes some sense of that.

I made need to go rewatch all of the Kowalski eps with the view of them as a game of competitive craziness now. What a hardship.

I have to admit I've never seen Victoria's Secret (I've just picked up stuff from fandom) but I would love to see a version where it was Kowalski and not Vecchio because that's the kind of fork-in-the-road stuff we live for, isn't it?

Ray's escalation through that in Fraser's POV is, of course, suspicious; through Ray's pov, it really feels like he's having a blast. All his wtf are based not on "This is really crazy" but "This crazy is not in my experience", which are hugely different things. With a large side of "Bring it on."

The problem with AUing that one is that I'm not sure it *could* happen in season three for the entire reason that Fraser isn't nearly as isolated emotionally or physically. Kowalski demands attention and maintenance that Vecchio never needed from Fraser; while the same emotional obsession for her would be there, there are far more barriers she'd have to work through, not least of which is Thatcher and Turnball are far more involved with, and have a stake in, Fraser's life.

Now, if he were originally partnered with Ray Kowalski in season one period--that comes up similar and maybe moreso, since Ray Kowalski would be barely a year into his divorce and the way to Fraser's heart is being needed.

It's a fascinating thought though; I don't think she could have carried out her plans the way she did, but she would have tried, and how Kowalski responds to pressure is far less predictable than Vecchio. And if he was newly divorced, just got a new partner, and someone showed up trying to screw with his partner and his life, he's not going to be thinking "this can't be happening", but more "oh hell no."

Randomly, I have to wonder how that would have gone down with Kowalski.

Write this. PLEASE.

Pretty please? With Ray on top?


I haven't said before, but how glad am I you finally fell to dS?


(is Child still riding the Vecchio train?)

He's mostly there, but resentfully admits that maybe it's okay if Fraser has people after Vecchio. Maybe.

God I love your awesome meta! One of my favorite lines from BDtH is "More fun than a barrel full of monkeys!" because Fraser is so getting into it. And the way he just stands back and watches Ray go off on Zoltan, long before Welsh assures him Ray's a good cop--that's some serious "let crazy happen" right there.

ITA that Vecchio sees Fraser a certain way and Fraser slots himself into that image, while Kowalski provokes and provokes to get Fraser to react, whatever form that reaction will take. From that perspective, Ray's frustration with Fraser in Mountie on the Bounty is that Fraser is spiraling off on his own crazy thing, but isn't giving equal time to Ray's crazy anymore.

And yeah, if Kowalski had been around when Victoria showed up, he would be all up in that. Again, Mountie on the Bounty, and his reaction to Denny Scarpa as well.

Edited at 2008-09-07 04:46 pm (UTC)

I loved him watching Ray with Zoltan like whoa. He knows Kowalski's put him in a position where he has no choice but to react exactly how Kowalski wants him to--he's being out-Frasered! It's a mystery and a challenge and weirdly, impossibly fun. They just keep upping it through the entire ep, and Kowalski won.

And yes, Bounty had a lot of that running through it--not "Jumping off roofs is crazy" but "Why can't I pick a few damn roofs?" In that ep they do pretty much carry on what started here, with what's got to be the longest game of poker in history.

I love you a lot right now.

And I'd like to read that story you're writing in your head. It's called, "Crazyville".

How did you know? It's a lovely place. It's where Ray says "You know, finding the Hand of Franklin is so insanely crazy, we could probably do it," and Fraser going "That's pretty logical. I'll get the pemmican."

Oh, I'm wishing like crazy *g* that you will write the VS AU with RayK. Because that is something I've thought about and kicked around in email, but it would by necessity be long (and I don't write long) and complicated and you have already done so much of the advance thinking! :D

And, okay, I'd just like to read it.

The thing that gets me every time in BDtH is that Ray says "I don't risk my neck for anybody" - TWICE - and while he doesn't run into the burning building on Fraser's heels at the beginning of the ep, by the end he's the one jumping in front of a bullet (vest or not, plus the whole he-can't-swim-very-well thing we don't know about at that juncture, but would be fairly significant).

In conclusion: Write it? :D

I'd love to read it. I just keep thinking that it wouldn't necessarily be better--I just think all things being equal, the real difference is that Victoria has to eliminate everything in Fraser's life for it to work, but Ray Kowalski would only have to eliminate her to stop her. And he doesn't have any firm concept that Fraser's different when it comes to women--he'd read the situation correctly from the get-go, which would look like overreaction right until it doesn't.

armed with an evil goatee and some free time

Jesus, this is the most brilliant description ever of a character contemplating doing something bad. Please, please, please can I use it in my current story? I'll pay you, like, royalties and stuff.

Okay, BDtH is probably my favorite episode just because yeah, it was so bizarre and such a change in the dynamic from the first Ray, and by the time they got to the ducks at the end, I was in love.

Of course what I really love is that I don't think there is any crazy that's too crazy for Frasier. So they're all 'free to be you and me' together.

God yes. There is no *too crazy*. There is only "Which crazy this week?"

"...while the methodology is different, the concept is the same as what he does to people himself."

--Yes! Yes, yes, yes! ♥ This is my thinking, but so much clearer and understandable.

I do so love good meta, and your dS meta has so much warmth to it for the show and the characters that I want to roll myself up in it like a fuzzy blanket.

Also, I'm eleventy-ing the pleas for you to write that AU, because the idea is just awesome to think about and reading it would SOMEHOW SURPASS THAT.

Thank you!

I--dammit. I'm thinking.

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Yes, this. She could work around a single person, but working around Turnball alone, much less Thatcher, would be an experience. Mixing Kowalski into it would be explosive from the get-go. If she's not stupid--and she's really not--she'd read him correctly, in which unlike Vecchio, he has so much more riding on Fraser in a personal sense.

And again, Kowalski's ridden the obsession train and has the visions of restraining orders dancing in his head--he would have picked up the wrong-wrong-wrong all over her.

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i think kowalski would see a lot of himself in victoria, to the point that i think he would see fraser's perpetual forgiveness of her as kind of a yardstick for how far he, himself, could push fraser.

i think if he'd been the one there for victoria, he'd have had her fucking arrested and in interrogation in a heartbeat - or at least tried. i think he would have been totally ruthless about her, because he would have known that he'd have to be to get the better of her. vecchio did a lot of trusting fraser's instincts, and i think kowalski would have instantly known that this was a situation where fraser would have to trust him. he does that, now and then - he gets the crazy eyes, and fraser has to downshift into being the one to placate the crazy man. usually this is over ray's own personal stuff, so fraser has no problem backing off it and playing the calming influence, but i have to wonder who would WIN that competition, y'know? crazy eyes ray, or vulnerable fraser-protect-me victoria?

Huh. I hadn't thought of that, but he would, not only of how much Fraser could forgive, but how much Fraser could stand to lose.

You know, Ray wouldn't win because Fraser trusts him more or isn't vulnerable to Victoria--Ray would win because he's had a lot more time to train Fraser into the reactions he wants from him to make it reflex, which Victoria doesn't have. Fraser changed himself for Kowalski, which is something that *really* shows--I think his reflex would kick in first.

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"Do not touch my inner thigh or calf!" The hot wax option. Dief and the fish. Elaine's gift. Sven's smell. Soooooo very crazy.

In RayK's monologue, while Fraser was crawling all over the front, back and sides of the car, he said he wasn't really prepared for the fact of Fraser and his half-deaf wolf - "this is not part of a normal desire." So, I'm not sure how deeply he delved into Vecchio's files. But certainly, RayK has no problem with crazy.

Victoria and Kowalski, hmmmm. Her plot to neutralize Vecchio was by taking away his home and destroying his reputation, but those aren't the things Kowalski cares about. As you say, RayK is in Fraser's space all the time, kind of like Dief, actually - and I think Victoris would decide she'd have to shoot RayK outright, just as she did to Dief.

He seemed to have them dead to rights when they were talking about suspects. His monologue is weirdly appropriate--I do think he expected Fraser at some point to start acting like a normal human being when he started upping the ante and Fraser just didn't.

I get the feeling that Kowalski, as much as Fraser, is pretty used to driving over people like a particularly crazy truck. Neither of them operate like normal person, so it's a shock when you get one of your own kind up against you. And fun.

And yeah, she really would have to shoot Kowalski to get him out of the picture, provided she figured out where is lines are and the fact he doesn't have many material ones. There's nothing she can take away from him that he cares about to use to get Fraser. It puts her in a bad position altogether.

*makes dolphin noises*

I really really love your Due South thoughts. They make me deeply happy and GLEE-ful. *glee*

Though I think, myself, that Ray would've altered the Victoria events pretty quickly by his presence and possibly have shot her - to kill, to flesh wound, whatever he figured would piss of Fraser less while hopefully snapping him out of it more. Not that I think anything less than Japanese rope bondage would've worked to snap Fraser out of it, since after all the bitch shot Dief and that didn't snap him out of it. (Part of me feels sorry for Victoria but nothing is enough to ameliorate or excuse her Dief shootage, hence "bitch".)

See, I don't know what would have tripped him on her, but something *would* have. It makes such a fun thought experiment. *glee*

I find this concept and the comments deeply intriguing.