Before Dawn (due South story)
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online at AO3
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Reactions and Reviews
This is a sweet and sad story in which Ray wakes early, breaks a lamp, and startles Fraser awake. Everything builds from the small-slice-o'life beginning into a delicate emotional and sexual balancing act. Not many authors (professionally published or not) could handle the kind of juggling Mia executes with this story: her Fraser and Ray are fragile and beautiful, compromised and innocent, crushed under the weight of past disappointments and borne aloft by what they find with one another. This story has always made me think of waves lapping on a beach: pain surges and recedes, old heartaches and difficult new truths are introduced, and then the tides turn and Fraser and Ray are washed back to where they started.
This is a short story, sure, but Mia somehow finds the time to examine what Ray's low self-esteeme and that clingy, needy side of himself he can't quite conceal have cost him. Fraser's sad romantic history is nodded at but not dwelt upon, and there's a wonderful, delicate tenderness between the characters that comes through like the clear, sweet peal of a bell. This story makes a good case for the notion that even painful experience can be worthwhile if you learn something from it, and that kind of thinking would probably appeal to two guys who have had their hearts crushed a couple of times and are just learning to reconnect.Anyway, this story offers pretty much everything you could want in a Fraser/Kowalski fic: beautiful writing, insightful characterization, and some almost indecently sexy NC-17 action. I promise, after reading you'll be left with that good kind of ache that settles deep in your chest. Y'know, that one. The one that you get only after you've finished a great story. 
- 2007 rec at Crack Van