The End of the Road
|Title:||The End of the Road|
|External Links:||at AO3|
at kat allison's website (archived)
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In the story notes, the author writes, "There are a number of heartwarming, uplifting, happily-ever-after post-Call of the Wild stories out there. This isn't one of them."
Reactions and Reviews
I consider this to be THE fic of the due South fandom. I saved the best for last. Because of that, I'm going to write a little bit more than usual about what makes this story so absolutely amazing and heartbreaking. You know from the first few lines of this that things are not going to work out for Fraser and Ray. This story is told in flashbacks, juxtaposed with Ray and Fraser waiting in the airport for Ray's plane to leave Canada for good. Watching the slow demise of their relationship post-COTW, and how they can never quite figure out how to make room for each other is torturous, but only in the way that makes you not want to look away. If you have not yet read this story, you should immediately set aside a couple of days of your life for this. And don't give up even if it makes you sad, because Kat's unbelievable writing and Fraser voice, and the way she makes you believe this, is completely and totally worth the heartache. 
The One That Guaranteed I Could Never Read Anything About Arctic Survival Without Sniffling a Lot. The End of the Road, by katallison. Due South, Benton Fraser/Ray Kowalski.
Once upon a time, a young and innocent fangirl was getting into dS. She loved the fandom so much that she was not as wary as she could have been. Should have been. Would one day be. So she saw the warnings on this story and thought, hey, I can totally deal with less than cheery! Particularly in exchange for something so well-written, so good!
And so she read The End of the Road. And it destroyed her.
Now, here's the thing: I could say, "And that fangirl was me." She totally was me. But I'm not the only one who loved Kat's work, thought she'd take any of it that she could get, and then realized, way too late to save herself, that there was only so much reality she could take. This story taught a lot of dS fans of my generation two things:
1.For god's sake, know your limits. And live them.
2.Kat Allison can turn a phrase that will carve your soul from your body. Admire her! But fear her. And I have both admired and feared Kat ever since. (I've also learned that, while The End of the Road is perhaps the ultimate example of her essential Kat-ness, she's written this theme and concept in a number of fandoms. I handle every one of those stories better than I handled this one, because Fraser. And Ray. IN MY HEART THEY ARE HAPPY TOGETHER FOREVER. No, really. Even after they die, they are still together. Probably haunting some poor young relative who cringes every time he opens a closet because he knows there's a fifty-fifty chance he'll walk in on his crazy dead great-uncles fucking on a desk.)This story is brilliant. And it's heart-breaking, and that's largely because it's so believable, so real. Kat never writes angst. She only writes pain. And this story has brought glorious, glorious pain to many a dS fan. If you love unhappy endings, you'll love it. It doesn’t matter if you read in this fandom. This one's for you. 
Kowalski and Fraser try to make a new life together in Canada. This remarkable story is very realistic, and yet has a resonance that reminded me of myth. A memorable story. Far from an easy read. Highly recommended.