FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), chapter 20
Pairing: Dee and Ryo
Timeline: Set after my big story FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May). Both Justice and A New Day are set after Volume 7 of FAKE.
Summary: Dee and Ryo are hunting the dangerous and corrupt Lieutenant Abernathy, but he'll take them down first, if he can. It's been Cat and Mouse so far, with no side emerging with a clear advantage.
Rating: This chapter is worksafe.
Disclaimer: FAKE, featuring Dee, Ryo, Bikky, Carol, The Chief, Drake, Ted, JJ, Diana, and Berkeley was created by Sanami Matoh. I make no claim on FAKE or Ms. Matoh or any of her characters. I just write fanfiction about them because I love the FAKE world so much.
Author's Notes: Shantaya, Rick Romero, Eliza, Sheldon, and Detectives Fielding, Clayton, Greenspan and Massey are my characters.
Thank you to the_ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-reading this chapter for me.
Previously in Justice: Purely by chance, Bikky learned of a plot to set up Ryo with stolen merchandise. Together, he and Dee thwarted the corrupt Lieutenant Abernathy's dastardly plans-- and all before Ryo got home.
Justice, chapter 20: Reputation Bleeds in Every Word
Dee and Bikky gave Ryo an outline of the events of the day, and long before they got to the end of it, he felt shaken to the core. He actually started trembling when they told him the part about the Ecstasy.
"And the drugs were in your room, B?"
"Yeah, under my bed."
"Oh my God." The fact that Lieutenant Abernathy had once again tried to get Bikky in trouble for illegal drug possession brought Ryo to a new level of awareness of how completely and utterly ruthless the Internal Affairs agent was. He was now more determined than ever to send his son out of that evil man's reach. He could feel both terror and rage welling up inside him. It was a bad combination, and he closed his eyes and fought it down. Not now, not now, he thought, trying to get some control over his breathing. He had been lucky today, outrageously lucky. They all had.
"You okay, Ryo?" Dee was peering at him. "You just lost all your color. Bikky, get him some water."
"What in?" asked Bikky. "The cups and glasses are all over the floor. In pieces."
Ryo put his head in his hands. "I can't believe this."
Dee laid a hand on his shoulder. "Believe it, dude. The Bad Lieutenant has upped the ante. But the good news is that he must be feeling that we're closing in on him. I think we've finally rattled the bastard."
Ryo shook Dee's hand off and stood up dazedly. "Oh I forgot to put the steaks in the fridge." He didn't know how he was even going to begin cooking dinner, considering what a terrible, disorganized mess the kitchen was in. He hadn't yet gone into any of the other rooms in his apartment, either. If his bedroom was as bad as the kitchen, he might want to go down to the Seventh and shoot somebody. He wouldn't actually do it of course; he had himself back under control now. But just thinking about it gave him a certain amount of grim satisfaction.
"Don't worry, sweetheart. We're all gonna pitch in to clean this place up, right Bikky?" Dee reached for one of the two brooms that Ryo kept near the door.
Bikky made a noncommittal sound that could have been either "Yah" or "Nah", and didn't exactly leap up to start helping.
Ryo was squinting at the fridge door. What had they spilled? It was dark red, but definitely not ketchup. It looked like... blood! But there hadn't been any red meat in the fridge when he left this morning. Were his steaks leaking? Maybe the plastic packaging had been punctured. There appeared to be more redness on the counter next to the fridge. But these stains were almost dry. And, when he checked, he discovered that his steak packaging was intact.
"Dee," he said, "is this-- is this blood on the counter and the fridge door?"
"Oh that," said Dee. "Sorry about that. I meant to wipe it up, but Lindsay was filming, you know..."
Bikky started snickering, and Ryo gave him an exasperated look.
"What's so funny?"
"Uh, one of the Seventh guys," said Dee. "It's his blood."
"What?" Ryo's hand recoiled from the counter where he had been touching the stain. Human blood! In his kitchen!
"He's the guy who chipped the toilet tank," said Bikky, "and busted your flowerpots. Look what he did to the cookies!" He gestured to the crumbling remnants of a package of much-stepped-on oatmeal raisin cookies. "He totally had it coming."
"What did you do to this guy?" Ryo's eyes traveled from the cookies to Dee.
"It was an accident." Dee was now wearing his most artificially innocent expression.
Ryo shook his head. Despite everything, he couldn't seem to stop his lips from twitching. He knew his partner well enough that he could almost guess what was coming.
"The douchebag was busy yanking everything out of the fridge." Dee's hand indicated the jumbled mass of broken jars and open cartons on the floor. "He was kind of enjoying being an asshole, making a big mess and busting stuff. You know the type," he added. "There's one in every precinct."
"More than one, I think," Ryo admitted.
"Anyway, when he stood up again, he kinda hit his head on the freezer door... Okay, that was my fault, but it really was an accident! How was I supposed to know he was gonna stand up right when I was opening it? Poor guy." Dee made a half-hearted effort to sound sympathetic, but didn't sound very convincing. "Looked pretty painful."
"And?" Ryo had a feeling that the story was far from over.
"And then a roast fell out of the freezer and somehow got him right in the groin." Dee affected a confused expression, as if wondering how on earth that could possibly have happened.
Bikky was laughing so hard he was pounding the table.
Ryo folded his arms. "Dee, that doesn't sound plausible at all. The law of gravity-- oh, never mind. Is there any more?"
"Yeah. Then Officer Douchebag stomped on a squeeze bottle of Creamy Italian that he never shoulda tossed on the floor in the first place, and ended up slipping in the dressing! But as he went down, he hit his head pretty hard on this here drawer," said Dee, "which was open. But, hey, that was thanks to his general carelessness. Don't worry, I'll fix it for ya." He patted the drawer confidently.
Ryo recoiled at the sight of the splintered wood on the edge of his Tupperware drawer, and the largest bloodstain yet.
"It was the funniest thing I've ever seen in my life!" gasped Bikky, clutching his stomach. "Like a friggin' Jackie Chan movie!"
"No, Bik, not Jackie Chan. He's not big on blood in his movies." Dee was trying very hard not to look pleased with himself. Bikky was unable to answer due to the fact that he couldn't stop giggling.
"Did he have any blood left in his body when he finally went back to his precinct?" asked Ryo. "Or did he leave it all here?"
"Who cares?" demanded Bikky, hiccuping a little. "The point is, he's gone. And he learned a lesson." He shot an admiring look in Dee's direction, which took Ryo aback a little.
Dee finally stopped pretending to be innocent and allowed himself a satisfied grin. "And I believe they all left a little earlier than they were planning to, on account of the fact that he was bleeding all over the place. Plus, Lindsay was making them pretty nervous, as well."
"That was funny, too!" said Bikky, who, now that the worst of the stress was over, seemed to be rather enjoying the drama in retrospect.
"Clayton's heart wasn't in it, anyhow." Dee frowned thoughtfully. "That boy and I are gonna have a little talk sometime this weekend, whether he wants to or not."
"Yeah. And Abernathy. And the career-killing quicksand Clayton is slowly sinking in, and whether he'd like a hand out of it before it closes over his head."
"Randy, I'm done recording the damage," barked Lindsay Masters as he walked into the kitchen behind Ryo. "I must say, I feel that what happened today was a deliberate targeting of your family by the NYPD, and is almost certainly related to what happened to Bikky in Chinatown last week. The fact that they think they can get away with these things is in itself an appalling miscarriage of justice. They have shown nothing but contempt for the law at every turn! The NYPD is going over the top with these shocking abuses of power, and you'd better believe me when I tell you that it'll only get worse and will likely cause harm to other innocent people if you don't take a stand to stop them now."
Ryo blinked at him unhappily. Although Lindsay hadn't said so directly--yet--, he understood that his lawyer was talking about suing the NYPD. No matter which way he looked at it, Ryo just didn't feel right about that. In his heart, he was convinced that the NYPD, taken as a whole, was an instrument of good. He needed to believe that. Lindsay was talking about the NYPD as though it were an evil and corrupt organization that had to be punished for its misdeeds, and Ryo couldn't bring himself to agree. He had become a cop for altruistic reasons, which mainly boiled down to protecting the public from the dangerous criminals that preyed upon them. He wasn't ready to accept that he might belong to a group that was just as bad as the criminals. It was a concept that shook the entire foundation of his existence.
"Lindsay, I..." he began and then trailed away because he couldn't seem to marshal his thoughts.
"Ryo, I'm hungry!" said Bikky suddenly, which effectively saved him from having to answer. Dee shot the boy a sharp look.
"Oh dear," said Ryo, glancing from his son's face to the disarray of the kitchen. "And this kitchen's not fit to prepare food in."
Lindsay followed Ryo's wandering gaze, and nodded. "All right, Randy, I daresay you've got a few other priorities right now. Your kid's hungry and I'm sure you're pretty upset about what those bastards did to your home. But come and see me on Monday, hear? We really do need to talk further about this. There are steps we can take--legal steps-- to prevent anything like this from happening again in the future. After all, the restraining order kept Detective Fielding from entering this apartment today, right? You owe it to yourself to hear me out."
"Yes... all right," said Ryo vaguely. "I start work at seven a.m., so anytime after three is good."
Lindsay reached into the breast pocket of his expensive suit and produced a Blackberry, which he started tapping on. "How's four o'clock?"
"Fine." Ryo's eyes roamed over the kitchen again. It looked as though the police from the Seventh precinct had dragged everything out of his cupboards and fridge and then thrown it all on the floor with never a moment's consideration for the human beings who actually lived in this place. They sure hadn't wasted any of their valuable time putting anything back. They had even opened cereal boxes and bags of flour and tossed the contents around. And of course, the human blood on his fridge and counters was the most disgusting thing of all. Suddenly he wanted nothing to do with those steaks he had bought, or for that matter, anything that had blood in it.
"Can I come to the meeting with Lindsay, too?" asked Bikky hopefully.
Ryo sharpened up again. "No," he said quickly. "You won't be in the city."
Bikky's face immediately fell. He swore, and kicked the table leg.
Lindsay's keen eyes missed nothing of this. "You're sending him out of town, then? Somewhere safe?"
"Yes," said Ryo firmly, at the same time as Bikky said, "Not really!" in a very sarcastic tone of voice.
"Hey, Bik, not now, okay?" said Dee softly, which earned him a glare from Bikky. It looked to Ryo as though the odd Dee-Bikky camaraderie may have run its course.
Ryo thanked Lindsay for everything he had done that day, and they all shook hands before he left. Then everyone silently started cleaning up the kitchen. A lot of things needed throwing out, and Ryo soon realized that it wouldn't be long before he ran out of garbage bags. He was just remarking on this to Dee, when they heard a knock on the door. Bikky froze and looked anxiously at Dee and Ryo.
"Who is it?" Ryo called.
"It's me, John Humphries," a voice called back. "I'm here with the locksmith."
Bikky relaxed, and went back to sweeping up spilled rice and flour, while Ryo went to the door. The building manager stood there, with an attractive, dark-haired young woman beside him.
"Hi!" she said. She pronounced it 'Hi-yeee.'
"This is Karly." Mr. Humphries indicated her with one hand. "Karly, this is Randy MacLean."
Karly beamed at Ryo. "I'm here to change your lock for you."
"Uh, hello Mr. Humphries, um, Karly. Thank you." Ryo eyed her, thinking she looked way too young to be a locksmith. In fact, she looked like a high school cheerleader, if cheerleaders were in the habit of wearing loose, checked shirts and work jeans in their off-hours. But her hands looked strong, brown and capable, and she carried a large toolbox.
The sound of a youthful female voice drew Bikky like a magnet. "Hey," he said, gazing at her with an expression that was both appreciative and shy. "Can I watch you change the lock?"
"Sure!" she gave him a friendly nod. "Wanna learn how to do it?"
"You bet I do!"
Ryo stepped out into the hall to give the two young people room to work, and also because he wanted to talk to Mr. Humphries about the fire in the building earlier.
"What did the firefighters have to say?" he asked. "Was any damage done?"
"Well, now, that was the strangest thing," Mr. Humphries replied. "It turned out there weren't no fire. It was a couple of smoke bombs, if you can believe it! At first I thought it might have been kids, but then didn't your partner say something about how strangers tried to rob your place? The police were here for a long time."
Caught off guard, Ryo wasn't sure how to answer. Finally he said, "Well, I just got home, so I don't know if anything has been taken, but yes, it appears that someone got in here who shouldn't have been here. I'm afraid there's been some... some damage done. I haven't really had a chance to look in all the rooms yet."
"And they had keys?"
"That's how it looks, but we don't know for sure. The lock wasn't broken or forced."
"Well, that's why I called Karly, here. I think in light of the smoke bombs, we can make a case to get approval from the building owner to change the front door key, too. " He scratched his balding grey head. "That's gonna cost a bomb. But hey-- not our money, right?" His perfect dentures showed themselves in a friendly grin.
"Uh... right." Ryo tried to give him an answering smile, but couldn't quite manage it. The stress of the day was starting to catch up with him. He wasn't able to imagine getting that mess in his apartment cleaned up before midnight at the earliest.
Mr. Humphries seemed to understand. "Anyhow, I guess I'd better let you deal with your apartment. At some point this weekend when it's convenient, I'd like to come in and make a list of the damage done."
Ryo nodded vigorously. "Sure," he said. "I understand. Maybe on Sunday?"
After exchanging goodbyes with Mr. Humphries, he was just about to go back inside his apartment to once more face the tragedy the Seventh Precinct team had made of his kitchen, when he heard voices coming up the open stairwell in front of his apartment door. To his surprise, a large group of familiar faces from the Twenty-Seventh Precinct appeared. They were carrying mops, buckets, brooms, and other cleaning products and implements. The Chief was in the lead.
"Randy, how ya doing?" said the Chief. "What happened today with the Seventh was a big deal, and we need to have a team debriefing. But first we're gonna have a team cleaning session. Right, people?"
"It was my idea!" sang out JJ. "Wasn't it, guys?" He swiveled his head around, looking for support.
"It was everybody's idea," said Eliza firmly.
Ryo stared at his friends, feeling overcome with gratitude. "Thank you," he said hoarsely. "I-- I don't know what to say."
Eliza hugged him with her free arm. "Don't say anything except where you'd like us to put stuff."
"Why don't you say you'll be ordering order pizza for us!" suggested the ever-hungry Drake as he went by.
JJ thumped him. "Drake! I don't think Ryo should have to pay for pizza after the terrible day he's had. We'll all chip in."
Last to file past Ryo were Detectives Tina Greenspan and Ruth Massey. "Hi, Randy," Ruth said in a voice that revealed some uncertainty regarding their welcome. "Thought you could use two extra pairs of hands."
"Um, Ruth, Tina....Thank you very much for coming," Ryo said a little stiffly. He wasn't sure how he felt about having Detective Greenspan in his personal space, although he had nothing against her partner. But Ruth was right. His apartment had been turned upside down today and he could use all the help he could get.
JJ was terribly curious about Ryo's bedroom. He had only ever been in it once before-- that time when he had caught Dee and Ryo sitting on Ryo's bed rather disquietingly close to each other, about seven or eight months ago. He still didn't like to think about why the door had been locked and what might have happened if he and Bikky had not arrived right at that moment. But at least they hadn't been naked or anything. JJ's official theory about that night was that Dee was attempting to put the moves on his dull stick of a partner, who was probably rejecting him as usual. JJ just couldn't imagine how anyone both human and normal could possibly resist Dee in make-out mode, but apparently Ryo had all the sex drive of an ancient sea slug in a freezing cold ocean, and had only ever been known to date women anyway.
Well, one woman. That skinny granola thing who used to go running all the time: a fellow dull stick who would have been perfect for Ryo. JJ couldn't remember her name, but didn't feel that anyone could legitimately be expected to. After all, in addition to being not all that memorable in the first place, she had, unfortunately for all concerned, broken up with Ryo and taken herself out of his life forever many months since. JJ had been quite disappointed when that happened, because if Ryo had just gone ahead and married her, Dee would have finally given up on him. There had been an intriguing rumor at that time that Ryo was actually considering marrying her... but obviously she found out about his sea-sluggish sex drive in the nick of time and decided that if she wanted to have sex more often than two or three times a decade for the rest of her life, Ryo was clearly not the guy for her.
JJ frowned at a haphazard pile of bedding on the floor. Hopefully Ryo would soon turn out to be 'the guy' for some other lucky woman, provided he got off his workaholic ass once in a while and actually started dating again. As JJ tossed pillows back onto the bed, he wondered if he knew any women he could introduce Ryo to.
Drake had once offended JJ by wondering out loud if Dee was making any headway with Ryo.
"What do you mean?" JJ had demanded, appalled. "Ryo's not gay!" Because, God, if Ryo was gay, then he and Dee might possibly.... No! That was too horrible to contemplate.
Then Drake had offended him even further by shrugging and acting like the jury might be out on that one. They had finally compromised on Ryo being kind of asexual. Nature had gifted him with above-average looks, but he consistently gave the impression of not being interested in sex, period. Both males and females hit on him all the time, but Ryo always acted unhappy about it. JJ rolled his eyes as he tugged a pillow case over a ruptured pillow. What a schmuck his co-worker was. JJ loved being hit on. It told him he was desirable, he was a hot commodity, and as long as he could contrive to remain so, he would never have to go without dinner dates or orgasms. If he lived to be eighty or ninety years old (and he sincerely hoped he wouldn't), he would never understand Ryo.
Anyway, this was a good opportunity to snoop, and JJ couldn't afford to waste a second. After flinging the pillow onto the bed, his sharp eyes roamed over the items on the floor, looking for something interesting. He picked up the partially full plastic garbage bag he had brought into the bedroom with him and half-heartedly thrust some broken lamp glass into it, mainly because he knew he needed to look busy in case someone came in. It looked as though the Seventh personnel who had searched in here had just pitched everything out of Ryo's dresser drawers onto the floor. All the clothes had been yanked out of his closet and heaped on the bed, too. JJ started hanging Ryo's clothes back up again, checking labels as he went. As he had suspected, most of it was good quality, although boring. He was more interested in Ryo's casual clothes, since he had already seen most of Ryo's suits at work. When he picked up a sexy sleeveless top with a zipper up the front, his mouth dropped open in amazement. What was Ryo doing with something like this in his wardrobe? Was this what sea slugs wore on those rare occasions when they went out looking for a mate? JJ tried, but he just could not get a clear mental picture of Ryo dressed in this top. It must have been a present from someone. Please, not from Dee. But on the other hand, maybe it belonged to Dee.... JJ's hands tightened on the fabric for a moment before he got himself under control and stuffed it into one of Ryo's drawers.
When he stepped back from the dresser, he trod on something hard. What was that? It felt like a book, but it had a sweater on top of it. Aflame with curiosity, he bent and picked it up. It was a book indeed-- it was Ryo's journal! How very interesting. JJ hesitated. He had an almost overpowering need to snoop inside it, but at the same time he was hampered by a rather deeply-held belief that it was wrong to snoop through people's journals. But what if... maybe Ryo had written something about Dee? JJ had a feeling that if Dee made a pass at Ryo, Captain Sea Slug would be sure to make indignant reference to it in his journal. This would be one way to find out, once and for all, what exactly was going on between those two. His fingertips caressed the surface of the book lightly. Should he or shouldn't he?
"There you are, JJ."
JJ started and almost dropped the book. Something fell out of it, though, and landed on his foot. He glanced up to see his partner looking anxiously from the book to his eyes. Sometimes he had the uneasy feeling that Drake could somehow read his mind whenever he was contemplating doing something he shouldn't.
"Come on, little buddy. We need your expertise regarding what Ryo should do about the broken tiles in his bathroom."
"Sure, Drake. I'm coming." JJ prayed that the pinkness of his face wasn't as noticeable as it felt. Whew! That was close. Luckily, it had only been Drake. Ryo would have been pissed if he had found someone fingering his journal, and, well, rightly so. Before leaving the room, he glanced down to see what the item was that had fallen out of the journal. It looked like... Could that be lingerie? He bent and picked it up. It was a lacy, red, stretch women's thong, size hefty. Well, well. A memento from a lover, perhaps? What a thing to find in Ryo's bedroom.
"Dude, drop it and come on," Drake said, glancing over his shoulder uncomfortably.
JJ waved the panties in Drake's face with a grin before tossing them back on the floor. Yay! Ryo was heterosexual after all. Not that he'd ever had any doubts.
Bikky never expected to be allowed to sit in on the cop meeting that everyone had in the living room after the clean-up was done. He had been all set to take a few slices of pizza to his room, where he was planning to call Carol on his cell phone and tell her all about the crazy day he'd had and the excitement she'd missed by refusing to skip out of school with him earlier. But when that old guy they called the Chief told him to stay, it made everyone stare at him.
"The kid's connected to all the key players in this case, and he's been targeted twice in eight days. He's got a right to join this meeting, and we're probably gonna need some more info from him anyway."
Ryo had tried to protest. "Chief, with all due respect, Bikky is only a--"
"Can it, Randy. Bikky's in this thing up to his neck. We can't pretend otherwise."
Ryo reddened and sat back down with his plate on his knee. "Well... all right then, but I don't want any of you guys swearing in front of him!" He glared at assorted people in the room. Some people got longer glares than others.
"Aw, phooey, Ryo, you know we never swear!" Eliza grinned at him and took a bite of her slice of Hawaiian.
"We all gave it up after the first time we heard you cussin' up a blue streak," said Sheldon dryly. "We know when we're in the presence of the Master."
Bikky stared around him, wide-eyed. "Does my dad swear at work?" he asked. Everyone laughed and Ryo got redder.
"Everyone swears at police stations, brat," said Dee. "Even the women." He lowered his voice to a stage whisper. "Eliza is the worst."
"Waaaa, poor baby, did I shock you?" Eliza pitched a piece of pepperoni at Dee. He dodged and it landed on the carpet. Bikky saw Ryo's eyes nervously following where it landed.
"Like you're the first dame who ever talked dirty to me," teased Dee.
"Dee!" hissed Ryo.
The Chief smacked the coffee table a couple of times. "Come on, people, let's eat and talk. This is a meeting, not a party. Half of you are still on shift, and if we're gonna follow up on what we learned today, there's a shitload of work ahead of us tonight."
Bikky noticed that Ryo glowered at the Chief for saying 'shitload', but he couldn't very well complain about it since the guy was his boss.
Everyone was very interested in the discovery of Eddie's backpack, especially Detective Greenspat, who was easily the hottest female in the room. Bikky was feeling better disposed to her now than he had previously. She had apologized to him very nicely for the behavior of that asshole-jerk guy from her precinct, the one who had accused Carol of being an accessory to the murder of Eddie. Then she had helped him clean up his room. He had enjoyed that very much, especially when she helped him put his bed back together. Man, what a rack that chick had on her. He was amazed that the other guys in the room could look anywhere else. It was really taking all his concentration not to stare. He noticed that Ryo didn't talk to her very much, though.
The Chief was saying how they were going to apply for a warrant that very night to go fetch that backpack, and take Rick in for questioning. Hah. Bikky liked the sound of that. Maybe they could keep him for a while, like ten or fifteen years, and Shantaya could get a break from him.
But then they started talking about bringing Shantaya up on charges for lying to the police, and Bikky got upset enough to interrupt them.
"Hey, it wasn't her fault!" he insisted. "Don't you guys get it? Rick owns her. She has to do what he says or he beats the crap outta her. He takes her teeth and he takes her medications, too."
"She doesn't have to do what he says." JJ gave Bikky a superior look. "She could always pick up a frying pan and knock him out cold."
"Yeah, and then who's gonna protect her when he wakes up?" Bikky's eyes blazed at JJ. "You? Like hell. You'll just be the guy who writes up the report about another dead hooker in the city."
"She could leave!" snapped JJ. "No one is forcing her to stay in a shitty situation like that."
"Aw, what the hell do you know? You probably always had money in the bank and a place to go." Bikky threw down his pizza in disgust.
JJ appealed indignantly to Ryo. "Is this how you teach your kid to talk to guests in your home?"
To Bikky's great surprise, Ryo did one of his rare flare-ups and took JJ on. "Like the Chief said, this isn't a party, JJ! We're having a team meeting, and against my wishes, my son is present and is a contributing member. Don't think for one second that you get to play the outraged guest card today of all days!"
Dee dove in. "Yeah, JJ. And the kid's made a point we ought to look at. If Shantaya can be leaned on to give us Rick, that's the way to play it. She doesn't have to end up doin' time."
"That will depend on her priors, if any," said Sheldon.
Bikky spoke up again, "Look, it's not fair to arrest her. She never woulda gone to the cops if Rick hadn't made her."
Dee turned to Bikky and said, "Bik, don't forget that she went to the police and lied about Ryo. She swore out a false statement that he beat her up, sexually assaulted her and stole her jewelry and drugs. That's pretty heavy stuff, don'cha think?"
"Well..." Bikky couldn't argue with that. Dee had a point.
"So she can't get away with that, right?"
"But she's the one who told me what was goin' on! And it wasn't her fault!"
"Maybe not, but she went along with it, and if we hadn't been very, very lucky today, Ryo would be suspended right now, and facing charges. In any case, she still nailed his reputation to a cross with the lies she told. No one gets away with doing that shit to Ryo, got it?"
"Or anyone at the Two Seven," put in the Chief.
"Honey, if we don't make this right, your dad will always be talked about as that guy who beats up hookers and gets away with it," Eliza said, her eyes sympathetic. "We need to clear his name." She paused and then added, "So we need you to keep everything you hear tonight confidential, okay? Don't call Shantaya to give her a heads up or anything."
"Yeah," said JJ. "Or she'll tell Rick, and the two of them will pack up their belongings in that green backpack and skip town, and we'll never see them-- or it again."
Bikky dropped his half-eaten slice of pizza onto his plate, his appetite gone. He felt bad for Shantaya. For all the years he had known her, life never once cut her a break. And it looked like that wasn't going to change.
"Bikky, please tell us everything she told you," said Ryo softly. Bikky glanced his way and saw that his dad's eyes were gentle and sad. "Anything that you can remember about today, even if it doesn't seem important. I promise you that I will do my best to protect Shantaya."
end of chapter 20