Bonded (Due South zine)
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Other information: No Fraser/Kowalski stories. Poetry by Sterling, Jane Mailander, Khylara, and Jeannie Marie. Contains colour photographs... ‘Bonded’ is formatted double column, 11pts type face, minimum white space. And a sticky wolf – of course.
Summaries are from the publisher:
- Bicker by Gillian Middleton (Post ‘Red, White or Blue’, Ray still isn’t talking to Fraser – a bit of fun for the boys. "You look like a hustler," Ray grinned. "A hustler," Fraser repeated slowly. "As a matter of fact," he paused and made a show of surveying himself in the mirror, "we could pass for a hustler and his pimp.")
- Waterfall by Barbara T (Ray isn’t sure what upsets him most, Fraser mistaking him for Steve, or loving him as Steve. (‘North’ to ‘Vault’) "Benny…" Ray said in horrified wonder. "Fraser, do you really want to die that bad, that you’d take me with you, now that you’ve got this lousy excuse about protecting some money?")
- Senses and Sensibilities by Mona Moore (No one can keep a secret around a trained nose like Fraser’s… "Oh, come on, Ray. Arousal, even suppressed arousal, results in certain hormonal changes clearly evident in the person’s pheromones. It’s been obvious for some weeks now. How could I possibly not notice?")
- Midnight Confessions by Mandy (Fraser sets Fransesca straight on a few points about her brother. "Yes, I know how he talks about my way of seeing things. Not to mention the comments he has made about where I live, or about the fact that I cannot rescue everyone. But you see, he does understand why I do it, even though he denies it, and when I get into trouble because of my convictions, he is always right behind me, helping me do what I need to do." "The way you talk about him, it almost sounds as if you’re in love with him. I’d watch it if I were you.")
- Brotherly Love by Quill (Ray’s brother is back in town. When they pulled up in front of the house, Al found himself mobbed by just about every member of the family. As he was being pulled into the house, Al flashed a look over his shoulder in time to see Ray and the Constable exchange a shrug and a warm smile. ‘Something is going on, but what?’ thought Alonzo.)
- Plus Ça Change by Lee Owers (Finding the right time to say he cares tears Fraser apart. "I suppose," the cop began, hands clasped around the Mountie’s waist, "I should find somethin’ faintly ludicrous about this." Fraser was the picture of innocence. "About what, Ray?" "Oh, you know," Ray shrugged nonchalantly, "Me, standing here, in the middle of my den, with a butt-naked Mountie.)
- Late-night Opening by Trish Darbyfeld ("Don’t be afraid," a soft voice whispered as the figure took one more step into the room and kicked the door shut. "I’m not afraid," Fraser answered in an equally soft voice. There were two more soft, barely-discernable thuds as jacket and trousers fell to the floor, followed by a sursurrant sound as the shirt whispered down the figure’s arms, then body, as it drifted to the floor in turn.)
- Objects in the Rear View Mirror by Laurie Taylor (Ray’s tormented past may prevent he and Benny having a future. Darkness. His father’s domain. Twenty years… Half a lifetime ago and yet so potent that every image, every scream and muffled cry was retained with damning clarity. His father he could feel above him, pressing down, reeking of alcohol and despair. Uncaring hands were raking over him, stripping away his clothes, denuding him of his only protection. And hot tears of fear, of impotence, were falling as he was flipped effortlessly over onto his belly like he was worth less than nothing.)
- A Crime of Passion by Mitch Hudson (A huge alternative third season novella. They sat in companionable silence, reading and munching on snack food. Benny’s hand lay on the couch by Ray’s leg. Ray studied the long fingers, the light skin for a moment, then lay his own over it, glancing at Benny to see his reaction. The Mountie didn’t look up, just kept reading the paper in the dwindling light. Awkwardly one handed, Ray turned a page then he felt Benny’s hand stir underneath his own. Benny turned his palm to Ray’s and interlaced their fingers. It was a good fit.)
- Shadow Puppet, a sequel to "Shadow on the Stone" by Jane Mailander.
- Silken by Jeannie Marie (poem)
- Acrostics by Jane Mailander (poem)
- Sweetest Dreams by Khylara (poem)
- Extensive letters of comment for Twogether.
Reactions and Reviews
Put out by IIBNF Press, just like 'Two,' this one isn't quite as good as that zine, but is still high quality and has some great stories. Mitch Hudson's novella "A Crime of Passion" is an angsty must-read, and the angsty and sweet stories "Midnight Confessions" (by Mandy) and "Plus Ça Change" (by Lee Owers) are stories to re-read and cherish. Gillian Middleton's "Bicker" was a unique first-time story. All in all, a damned good read! 
Reviewer's Disclaimer: You will agree with everything I say. You want to agree with everything I say. Cerulean, cerulean blue... Damn, it doesn't work. Ah, well, I'm not Svengali and while I've been called pushy, I have no twin, evil or no, as far as I know. As far as I can figure, the following opinions are mine and mine alone. And if I had Skinner under my mental powers, I can think of a number of things I'd like him to...um, sorry. Salt to taste.
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After TWOGETHER, I was really looking forward to this issue. Unfortunately, I have to say I was kind of disappointed. While there is at least one story I really liked and several stories that were okay, I didn't feel that the story quality was equal to past issues--and there was at least one story in here that I actively hated.
Bernice has again produced a good looking zine, physically. At least two color reprints of show stills which are still some of the highest quality I have ever seen in any zine. I'd take them over some of the stills I've found for sale, in fact. Otherwise, not any artwork to speak of in the zine, but I don't really mind that. Well, there is one kind of cute piece called "The Man in Black...Armani" by S.O.B.
(Keep in mind again that I don't review poetry. Just a personal thing.)
"Bicker" by Gillian Middleton--Set directly after "Red, White or Blue?", it's Ray and Fraser, well, bickering. My favorite story of the zine, it's just plain fun. Okay, I don't in a million years believe Fraser could fit into a pair of jeans that are tight on *Ray*, but I'll ignore that. :-)
"Waterfall" by Barbara T.--Set directly after "North", this deals with Fraser and Steve, er, Ray. Not my favorite of her stories, but well written.
"Senses and Sensibilities" by Mona Moore--Yet more proof that Fraser is a Sentinel! And there are certain things you just can't hide from a guy like that...
"Midnight Confessions" by Mandy--Dealing with Francesca's visit to Fraser at the end of "The Deal". While I like the last dialog exchange between Ray and Fraser, I don't care much for the story overall. Nothing I can put my finger on necessarily--maybe there's just too much Franny! :-)
"Brotherly Love" by Quill--Set after "Gift of the Wheelman", it involves Ray's brother returning home for a visit from college and not being crazy about the relationship he sees between Ray and Fraser. Not bad and has 'third party view of the relationship' for those who call it their kink, but it read a little too much like an After School Special: here is the person, he has a problem, realizes he's wrong, here's the message. Nothing necessarily wrong with that and nothing which makes it different from most tv shows even. Just seems not my cup of tea.
"Plus Ca Change" by Lee Owers--While repainting a room in the Vecchio house, Ray and Fraser, over several days start to come to a Realization. Actually, this probably vies with "Bicker" as my favorite story of the zine. I also think it's weird how slash writers sometimes seem to be channeling each other occasionally: This is not the first story recently to feature pool prominently.
"Late-Night Opening" by Trish Darbyfield--Another twist on the end scene of "The Deal". One of my lesser favorites of the zine. It's silly, which I know is part of the point, but it doesn't sound like Our Guys in a lot of it.
"Objects in the Rear View Mirror" by Laurie Taylor--I have been tainted by the Net; I see any kind of song lyrics anymore and I just clutch-up! Ray is trying to avoid Fraser the day after Fraser makes a pass at him, but it is soon revealed that he has a dark, hidden secret in his past. I have become more and more sure that I am not a h/c fan in recent years. I also have found myself reacting with more and more negativity to certain plots. Child abuse in a character's past being one of them. Did Ray's father really need to sexually abuse Ray? I know, that's not the point, but I think the fact that we know he physically and emotionally abused Ray in the past (and still does the latter!) is enough to explain at least some of Ray's character. Aside from not liking it particularly as a story line in general, I think it's a bit of overkill in this character's case.
"A Crime of Passion" by Mitch Hudson--Approx. 58pp, this is by far the longest story in the zine--and also by far my least favorite. Looking at Ray and Fraser's growing relationship and the relationship with others, this had several problems for me, some just involving personal taste (I don't care for recovery stories or incredibly domestic scenes), some character arguments (I don't believe for a second that Fraser would not only make Ray think he was seeing someone else after they were involved, but actually not even check and see if Ray's doing okay--even if only in secret) and some just plain bad plot moments (Ray's family is way, way, *way* to accepting of all of this--all of them). The melodrama is extensive and of the domestic variety for the most part ranging from Ray suffering from alcoholism to the rememberance of a particularly bad encounter between Ray and his father. The fact that the whole thing is intertwined with sap--and a *hugely* sappy ending--doesn't improve it for me. And more than anything, it's just over-long, over-wrought, over-done, and otherwise just plain *over*. The fact that it's the second to last story in the zine did effect how I thought about the zine, though, when I finished it.
"Shadow Puppet" by Jane Mailander--Sequel to "Shadow on the Stone" in TWOGETHER, this is just a page long--and I think I like it better than the original story. But then again, I'm sick sometimes...So, overall, I can't say that I'm terribly happy with the zine. A couple of stories that I liked, some that I didn't mind and one, big, long story that I could have definitely have lived without.