Science Fiction

Written for c_regalis, with the prompt, "Due South: Frannie, Welsh, science fiction."

Frannie waited to come back in after Fraser, Ray and Inspector Thatcher had gone to investigate some more, and parked a hip on Harding's desk. She flipped through the post-its on his desk, tapped them against her fingers, and cleared her throat. Harding looked up at her in that way he had where he wanted you to think that you weren't welcome, but she knew he was really just a big softie underneath that hardened cop exteriant.

"May I help you, Miss Vecchio?" he asked through pursed lips.

Frannie gathered her thoughts and asked: "So, do you think it's possible for a person to actually have been abducted by aliens?"

Harding stared at her long enough for Frannie to shift around on the desk and try not to drum her fingernails against the grimy surface. It hadn't been that odd a question.

"Miss Vecchio. When I ask you this next question, please understand that I am coming from a vastly different place than wherever it is that you inhabit."

Frannie nodded.

"Have you completely lost your mind? Or have you been dabbling in a bit of science fiction?"

Frannie huffed and turned to face the lieutenant more fully. "I do not read science fiction. The Sword of Desire is not science fiction. It was just that Fraser had mentioned something about Ray having been abducted by aliens at the age of ten and--"

Frannie found her torrent of words pulled up short as Harding raised his palm to face her. "Francesca, Vecchio doesn't know what the hell he's talking about. And neither do you. Get outta here."

Frannie settled more comfortably on the table - she always knew Harding had a soft spot for her - and began to elucidate.

"No, lieutenant, you see, I've been thinking. If Ray said this under hypnosis, it must mean that it actually happened, I mean, he can't exactly lie when he's like that, right? Or can he?"

Frannie ignored Harding's gusty sigh and the clatter of his pen against the desk, and hopped off. She began to pace back and forth across the office.

"I mean, okay. So, say, he can lie under hypnosis. Why would he lie about that? I mean, wouldn't you be embarrassed? He's never mentioned it before, why would he lie about it when he's not conscious? Which means - which means! - he wasn't lying. And he was abducted by aliens at the age of ten." Triumphant, she whirled to face Harding again, daring him to question her in the face of logic. He wasn't so much questioning as rubbing his eyes with his hand, but Frannie figured it was helping him think.

"Miss Vecchio," he said finally, "Where is all this leading, if I may ask? And is there a happy ending in my future?"

She smiled and sat back on his desk. "Well, see, here's the thing. If it's true that Ray was abducted by aliens, shouldn't it also be true that anybody could have been abducted by them at one point or another?"

"Why, Francesca? Do you think you were abducted by aliens? Because, if that's the case, I may even start to believe your theories."

Frannie waved an impatient hand. "No, no, not me, geez. Fraser. Fraser must have been abducted by aliens!"

Harding blinked at her, groaned, leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. "And what makes you think this?" he asked, without looking at her.

"Well, he isn't exactly normal. Look at him - he's all...polite, and nice, and he never looks where you want him to look, and --" Frannie broke off, feeling herself began to flush. "He's just-- he isn't like a normal guy, that's all."

She didn't look at the lieutenant when he answered. "Vecchio isn't exactly your picture of politeness, you know. What makes you think that Fraser isn't just like this naturally?"

Frannie picked at the pages of some report lying around Harding's desk, and sighed. "I guess I just know... There has to be a reason that he-- well-- never mind." She patted down the papers and hopped off the desk again. Harding was watching her from his chair like her uncle used to when she was younger - all exasperated and big. She pointed a thumb at the door. "I'll go fill out those reports you wanted, lieu."

She watched him nod, moved toward the door and clutched the handle, ready to turn it.

"Francesca. If you happen across a cup of coffee on your way out, do me a favor - show it in here."

"No problem, lieu," she grinned. "One cup of coffee, coming right up."

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