brit_columbia (brit_columbia) wrote,
brit_columbia
brit_columbia

FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), Chapter 21

Hello Justice readers! I normally post in the wee hours, but I'm able to post a little earlier today. I have a lot of things to do this afternoon, one of which is braving traffic to ride my bike to Wal-Mart where I will buy several 1.5 litre glass carafes with lids. I want to make the special water described in the story! I had it at a restaurant a few months ago and was so impressed. I've never gotten around to making it, though.

FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), chapter 21


by Brit Columbia

Fandom: FAKE
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, and Detectives Greenspan and Massey are my characters.
Thank you to  the_ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-reading this chapter for me.


Previously in Justice: The corrupt Lieutenant Abernathy of Internal Affairs and his flunkeys planted the stolen belongings of Shantaya, the hooker-girlfriend of Rick Romero (AKA Ja Romeo) in Ryo and Bikky's apartment. Rick forced Shantaya to go to the police and swear out a complaint that Ryo had beaten and sexually harassed her, as well as stolen her jewelry and prescription drugs. Fortunately, Bikky learned of the plot in time and he and Dee were able to find Shantaya's things in Ryo's apartment before the police officers from the 7th precinct arrived with their warrant. Because Bikky saw Eddie's old backpack at Rick and Shantaya's apartment, the CI team at the 27th obtained a warrant. Today is Saturday in mid-June, the day before Father's day. Bikky is horse ranch bound.


Justice, chapter 21: Snips and Snails and Puppydog's Tails

Detective Ruth Massey beamed at her young partner, despite the other woman's gloomy expression. It had been a successful raid in that they had found the backpack exactly where that MacLean boy said it would be. They had also found a small collection of Ecstasy hits, a couple of ounces of marijuana, and two grams of cocaine. It was unfortunate that Rick and Shantaya had both been out at the time of the raid. It was hard not to wonder, if despite his promises to the contrary, young Bikky MacLean had perhaps called his friend Shantaya to tip her off. Ruth, for one, had been shocked at Lieutenant Smith's decision to allow a boy as young as that to participate in their top-secret meeting. However, she had to admit that Detective MacLean's son had given them some highly valuable information that they wouldn't have been able to get anywhere else.

"Why the long face, Tea? We did pretty good tonight, didn't we? First real break in weeks."

"I know!" Detective Tina Greenspan sighed. "I was just so hoping we would be able to get our hands on Rick Romero that's all. I wish I could ask that man how Mr. Calvetti's backpack ended up in his apartment. I was hoping I could... watch his face as I asked him. But--ughh! He wasn't there."

Ruth shrugged. "That's the way the cookie crumbles sometimes, hon. He'll get picked up sooner or later." She turned back to her computer screen and highlighted the heading on the report she was typing. "Detective MacLean warned us we probably wouldn't get him with our warrant tonight. Seems that Mr. Romero's a real slippery one." With rapid keystrokes, she inserted appropriate capital letters into her heading and then saved her work before glancing back up. "Looks like you've mended your fences with Bikky MacLean, though. The kid seems quite taken with you."

Tina removed a brown plastic hair clip from the top drawer of her desk and nodded at her partner. "Yes, I'm glad about that. Scott really jammed me up when he alienated both Bikky and Carol during that awful questioning session at the Twenty-Seventh last month." She deftly twisted her mass of auburn waves into an elegant updo and clipped it in place. "But, hey, at least one member of the MacLean family no longer thinks I'm the Devil incarnate."

"You ever gonna tell me why you and Detective MacLean cause a minor cold snap whenever you're in the same room together?" Ruth noticed that Tina blushed and pretended to hunt in her desk drawer for something else. "I mean, it would sure be helpful if you guys could get over it, whatever it is."

"Yes. Yes, it would," agreed Tina. "We're both at fault, although I must say that I hold him slightly more responsible than I do myself. I've tried apologizing, you know, but it didn't do any good."

"He didn't accept your apology?"

"I apologized in an email, but he didn't respond. But, you know, I really think he ought to apologize, too." Tina tossed her head and looked annoyed. "But if the second person doesn't feel like acknowledging the first person's apology, then what else can the first person do?"

"Hmm..." Ruth gave her a searching look. "Seems like you might have offended him... maybe seriously."

"Yeah." Tina's defiant confidence slipped a fraction. "I guess I did."

"What exactly did you do?"

"Ruth, I'd rather not talk about the details. Suffice to say that Detective MacLean is apparently gay, and I kind of found out in a pretty shocking way, and I'm afraid I couldn't hide my-- my distaste." Tina's words came out in a rush.

Ruth shook her head and the corner of her generous mouth twitched in a tolerant smile. "Gotta get over that, girl. This is New York City, not Wichita Falls. Lot of that goin' on here. Don't let your feelings get in the way of work."

"Ruth, I know that. I just can't help it, sometimes. I can't help the way I was raised. But I'm trying, you know. I really am." Tina looked at her, all woebegone face and big blue eyes, and Ruth felt it work on her just like all the other times. Just like all the other people it worked on. But  Ruth didn't really mind. Her kids did the same thing, and she was used to it. Tea was a bit silly sometimes, but she was basically all right. She reached out to pat her partner's shoulder.

"Try harder, Tea, honey. You've been doin' so well. You've really learned a lot these past six months. Just keep on doin' good."

"Thanks, Ruth. Your support means a lot." Tina quickly rose to her feet. "Listen, I'd better get home. I'm afraid I've left that little animal by himself for almost six hours. I hope he hasn't done anything to get me evicted."

"I hope so too, hon. That was really sweet of you to take that little puppy in."

When the other woman had gone, Ruth looked thoughtfully at her computer screen. So Detective MacLean was gay. Well, if so, then why would the man have a pair of lacy red panties in his bedroom? She had seen them on the floor in there, one more piece of flotsam in a sea of chaos. Thinking of his son, she had quickly put them in one of the drawers. If a man was going to hang onto such things, his child ought not to know about them. Perhaps this meant that Randy wasn't all-the-way-gay, then. But whatever his orientation, it was nobody's business but his own. It was Ruth's personal opinion that Tina had set her cap at him and had taken it personally when she got rejected. Her partner was a very pretty girl, of course, but if a man was any sort of a man, he wouldn't encourage a pretty girl if he already had a lover in his life.

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

"This looks like it." Dee squinted up at the sign overhead as they drove through the open gates of the ranch. It read K-Ray Horses.

"It has to be it," agreed Carol, barely even raising her head from the plethora of Internet printed papers she had brought with her. She took her duties as a navigator very seriously. "The last place was too close to Peach Drive, and didn't have a sign or a number."

"Nothing out here seems to have a number," remarked Ryo. He was looking about him with pleasure. Far more than any of his three companions, he loved being out in the countryside. He leaned out of the open car window and took a deep breath of the fragrant air. He wished they could stay a little longer. It was too bad Dee had to work today at three o'clock. It was pushing eleven now, and he knew they wouldn't be able to spend more than an hour seeing Bikky get settled in. But it had been kind of Dee to offer to drive them.

They bumped along over a tree-lined gravel drive, which offered glimpses of green fields through the leaves and branches. At one point Dee braked to avoid hitting an animal that chose the wrong moment to run in front of the car.

"Was that a cat?" Carol asked excitedly.

"Nah, too big for a cat," said Bikky. "It was probably a wolverine."

"Oh, no! You think so?" Carol moved closer to Bikky, her expression apprehensive.

"Bikky, I'm sure there are no wolverines around Devon," said Ryo confidently, although he really had no idea.

"I hope you're right," Carol said. "Wolverines are scary. We watched a documentary about them a couple of years ago."

"Whoa Nelly!" exclaimed Dee, looking out the driver's side window. "There's a wolverine running alongside us!"

Carol squealed and practically crawled into Bikky's lap.

"He's looking up at me with hungry yellow eyes, too!" added Dee. "Better roll up your windows in case he jumps right into the car."

Carol made a muffled bleating sound and buried her face against Bikky's chest. Bikky slung a protective arm around her, and grinned for the first time that day. His grin was for Dee, who winked conspiratorially at him in the mirror.

Ryo, who had missed the significance of the exchange, told Dee to stop scaring the kids. "No animal could keep pace with a car, especially with the way you drive. Besides, I'm sure that creature than ran across the driveway was just a raccoon," he said. "There's nothing to be scared of, Carol." He turned around in his seat and smiled at her encouragingly.

"Okay, Ryo," she said meekly, disengaging herself from Bikky, who let her go with reluctance.

"Look, here's the house," said Dee. "Big, ain't it?" He slowed the car and pulled around to park next to a pair of sedans and an SUV.

"Eeeee, it's so gorgeous!" Carol exclaimed. She was practically hanging out the window, the 'wolverine' forgotten. "Look at the big veranda. Oh my God, those gables."

"Looks like it's got enough rooms, huh, brat? Guess they won't make you sleep in the barn."

Bikky gave Dee a withering look and stared apprehensively at the house. He didn't seem to want to get out of the car, although Carol was already swinging her door open and scrambling out.

"It looks exactly like the picture we saw on the website, doesn't it?" Ryo asked him in a cheerful tone. He didn't like to see Bikky looking so uncertain. The house was large and white, maybe three floors and very pretty. Hopefully Bikky would enjoy exploring it. Ryo had arranged with Elena's friend Karen that Bikky would get his own room. K-Ray Horse Ranch was basically like a B & B for people who liked horses and wanted to spend time riding. There was a barn and a series of outbuildings over to the right of the yard. From somewhere in that general direction, a rooster crowed. They could hear a dog barking somewhere nearby, and another one yapped excitedly from the vicinity of the barn.

The front door of the house swung open and a yellow Labrador retriever bounded down the porch steps toward them, barking excitedly. It made a beeline for Dee, who greeted it with delight. "Hey boy, what'cha doin', huh?' He squatted down to be at the dog's level and scratched its floppy golden ears. "Good boy, good boy!"

Ryo smiled affectionately at the scene. He and Dee both had soft spots for dogs, and Dee usually got along well with them, winning over even hostile or frightened dogs with his self-assurance. Ryo was a little more cautious in his approach. He didn't trust them from the get-go the way Dee did.

He looked up and saw a stocky silver-blonde lady coming toward them. She was perhaps sixty, or thereabouts, but it was hard to tell because of the weathered appearance of her skin. She looked like the type of person who had spent much of her life outdoors.

"Hello, welcome!" she called. "I see you've met the ferocious guard dog. Which one of you is Elena's nephew Randy?"

"That's me." Ryo stepped forward, smiling shyly. "You must be Karen."

"Nice to meet you, Randy." She shook his hand and then her eyes went to Dee. "Is this your husband?"

Ryo did a double take and went temporarily tongue-tied, but Dee's eyes began to dance. He walked up to Karen and shook her outstretched hand. "Nah, he hasn't made an honest man out of me yet, but it's possible that he occasionally fantasizes about how awesome it would be to be married to me. I'm Dee Laytner. Nice to meet you."

Karen turned back to Ryo, whose face had gone quite pink. "Sorry about that, Randy," she said, genuinely chagrined. "Didn't mean to put you on the spot. But I think we can blame your aunt for that one. She described you guys as 'an old married couple'."

"Oh, I'm sure she did that on purpose," said Carol. "She's probably killing herself laughing about it!"

Grateful for the interruption, Ryo admired the way Carol confidently introduced herself and told Karen how lovely she thought the house was. Carol had perfect manners and social poise, and adults always approved of her. Ryo was still hoping that some of that would eventually rub off on his son. He cleared his throat and waved Bikky over. "Come and meet Karen, Bikky." 

Bikky slouched forward looking sullen and defiant. "Hi," he said shortly. He didn't offer his hand, but when Karen offered hers, he took it after a moment's hesitation. "Um, nice to meet you."

"Welcome to K-Ray Ranch!" Karen gave him a big smile. "I hope you'll be happy here, Bikky. Do you like horses?"

"Nope," said Bikky and flinched when Ryo nudged him and Carol gently kicked his ankle at the same time. "Er... yes."

"No? Yes?" Karen looked a little confused.

"He has mixed feelings about them," confided Carol diplomatically.

"That's 'cause he's scared to death of them," said Dee.

"What the hell do you know, loser!"

"Bikky!" Ryo glared at him. "Watch your language. Dee, don't bait him."

"Well, that's understandable," Karen said to Bikky. "They're pretty big animals, after all. If a horse is scared of you or angry with you, you have to be careful around him. But the horses we have here are nice, gentle creatures, Bikky. You'll see."

"Will he be able to learn how to ride?" Ryo asked.

"Of course!" Karen eyed Bikky. "If he wants to, that is."

"I dunno," muttered Bikky sullenly, looking at the ground.

"Karen, could I learn to ride?" Carol was looking up at her beseechingly. "Please? I think horse-riding is so cool. And horses are such beautiful animals."

"Well, sure you can, Carol," Karen answered, glancing over at Ryo. "But I don't know if you guys are going to be here long enough to try it today. Randy told me on the phone that you wouldn't be staying long."

"That's right," Ryo said. "Dee has to work today at three, so we'll have to get going in about an hour at the latest."

"Well, what if I come back up next weekend?" Carol asked. "Could I come for a visit?"

Bikky perked up for the first time since the wolverine incident in the car and looked from her to Karen with hope in his eyes. "Don't you have to work?" he asked Carol.

"I don't start at Bead World until the 26th," she said quickly.

"Carol, you may certainly come for a visit," Karen said. "Now why don't you all come inside the house? I'm sure Bikky would like to see his room."

They went up the wide steps to the veranda and entered the house through a huge Dutch-style half door. They found themselves in a large foyer with a mudroom off to the left. A gleaming red oak staircase waited opposite them. They followed Karen up the stairs to the second floor, where a skinny girl with bad skin was doing a rather desultory job of vacuuming the hallway.

"Della, would you mind leaving the vacuuming for now?" Karen asked her. Della pretended not to hear, and quickly turned her back to the group so that she could continue aimlessly pushing the vacuum cleaner around. Karen was forced to stride up to her and tap her on the shoulder. She repeated the request and after spending a moment apparently considering it, Della finally leaned down to switch off the vacuum. She then heaved a big sigh and drifted away down the far end of the hall without once having acknowledged the little group. Karen returned to them, looking annoyed. "So! Bikky's room is that one behind you to the left. It says 'Traveller' on the door."

Carol who had been looking around her curiously, remarked on the names of some of the other rooms. "Zenyatta, Clever Hans... What do these names mean?"

"Famous horses, right?" Dee asked.

"Yes sir! You obviously know a thing or two about equine history." Karen opened the door of Bikky's room and ushered everyone inside.

"Nah, I'm just a good guesser." Dee dazzled her with one of his big, white grins. "Wow, Biks, nice digs, huh?"

The room had an unusual floor plan, since it obviously had one of the gables they had seen on the front of the house. The back part of the room had normal straight up-and-down walls, but at the front by the window seat, the walls slanted inward at about shoulder height and met at the top in a narrow curve. There was a bunk bed on one side of the room with cheerful blue bedding on it. A short-haired white and orange cat occupied the window seat. It blinked at them sleepily.

"Kitty!" Carol exclaimed delightedly, but the cat raised its head and hissed at them all.

"Don't be such a crab, Buster, you bad cat!" scolded Karen. "Go on, get out of here if you can't be polite." Buster hissed at her too, then hopped down from the window seat and slunk under the bed.

"Oh great, there's a desk here," remarked Ryo. "Look, Bikky, this is where you'll be doing your schoolwork."

Bikky grunted and shot the desk a look of loathing.

Karen explained that there was Wifi if Bikky needed it, and that there was a TV in the common room. "If you have any favorite shows you want to watch, you'll have to write the show and your name in the right time slot on the booking clipboard." Then she showed them the locations of the two bathrooms that were on the second floor before inviting them downstairs for a quick lunch.

Ryo tried to protest that it was really too much trouble, but his voice was drowned out by Carol and Dee's enthusiastic acceptance. Bikky didn't say anything, but his stomach emitted a long-drawn-out rumble which made everyone laugh.

Lunch turned out to be stromboli with cheese, meat and vegetables, accompanied by a large crisp green salad. Karen poured milk for Bikky and Carol and coffee for Dee and Ryo. She set a glass pitcher on the table that contained ice water with whole blueberries and slices of lemon and cucumber floating in it. Carol stared at it in fascination and quickly drank up her milk so that she could try it.

Bikky wolfed down his stromboli as well as half of Carol's. Then he sat at the table fidgeting restlessly until Karen suggested that he and Carol run out to the barn and look at the horses.

"You'll find Pedrick out there," she said. "He takes care of the barn and the animals. He's also our riding teacher. Tell him I sent you."

Carol jumped up. "Come on, Bikky! I want to meet the horses." She grabbed his hand and the two of them hurried outside.

When she was sure that the kids were out of earshot, Karen turned her attention to more serious things. "Tell me again about why you need to send your son out of New York City for a while. Elena mentioned something about how a man you're investigating has threatened Bikky and followed him around taking photos of him?"

A haunted look crept into Ryo's eyes. "Yes. This man has made several threats. He's hoping we'll abandon the investigation."

"But we can't exactly do that," Dee said. "The whole department has gotten involved now. Even if him and I back off, the investigation will continue. We're not sure how far this guy might take things."

"Elena told me that Bikky has been quite stressed out about it." Karen gazed at Ryo sympathetically.

"Oh, he has," Ryo confirmed, "He tries not to show it, but it's really taken a toll on him."

"He's been a lot more jumpy lately," said Dee. "He might be acting like more of a little punk than usual, but he's basically a good kid, so please go easy on him."

Ryo squeezed Dee's knee under the table in gratitude and asked Karen to call him right away if she had any trouble whatsoever from Bikky.

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Tina gritted her teeth and tossed her three-hundred-dollar Italian slingbacks into the trash. That little monster had only chewed one of them, but he had mangled it beyond recognition. The other shoe in the pair, still a sleek, sexy example of the shoemaker's highest art, was a reminder of how beautiful the other one once had been. But what good was one shoe? And more importantly, what was she going to wear on her feet for work? Her Manolo Blahniks were only slightly nibbled, so they were still wearable, but they looked like hell. Her white Kate Spade sandals were also toast, since she had found one of them inexplicably floating in the toilet. Of course That Animal hadn't chewed her Nine West sensible block heeled pumps. They had only cost $45 on sale. No sirree. He apparently went for quality. He had even had some fun with her Nike running shoes, which at a replacement cost of at least $125, was the least expensive item of her footwear into which he had deigned to sink his puppy fangs. She could hear him yipping sadly in the bathroom, where she had banished him. He was going to have to stay there for her whole shift at work. She had learned her lesson about letting him have the run of her apartment.

In addition to the wreckage he had made of her shoe collection, he had apparently spent an enjoyable time yesterday afternoon and evening transforming her bedroom, living room and kitchen into his own personal playground. She had returned from work late last night to find that he had shredded the bottom two feet of the living room drapes, gnawed one of the legs of her coffee table, knocked over two potted plants and tracked the dirt all over, nibbled several holes in her bedspread, and feasted upon the contents of the laundry basket. After crunching her cell phone charger to bits, he had vomited. The dried puddle of vomit contained bits of black lace. She hated to think what it might have been from. He had also peed on the kitchen floor, but at least it had been on a linoleum surface and not anything upholstered or carpeted. Her nose informed her that the puppy's bowels had been busy, too. Had he done his revolting business on the newspaper sheets she had laid out for him in the bathroom? No, of course not! Two little piles of puppy poo turned up in the living room and bedroom.

The ridiculous creature had been so thrilled to see her, too. Capering, wagging and yapping in delight at the sight of her. Well, she could accept that he had probably been lonely. She understood that he was technically only a baby. However, she had been so angry and dismayed at all the evidence of his considerable powers of destruction that she had yelled at him and smacked his nose with a rolled-up copy of the Queens Chronicle. She felt sort of bad about that now, but what was done was done. She reasoned that if he was going to end up traumatized for life about something, it was more likely to be from seeing his mother shot in front of him than being whacked with a newspaper.

She put on the Nine West pumps, which were totally wrong for both the season and her outfit, and glumly surveyed her tired face in the mirror. Sleep had been intermittent last night, thanks to her unwelcome canine guest. He didn't want to sleep in his little bed in the living room, even though she had donated one of her nice spare towels to line his box. Banksy had warned her that the puppy might cry for his mother the first couple of nights, but she hadn't had any idea that he meant ALL night. God. She had finally had to let the little bastard sleep on her bed with her just to get a bit of peace and quiet. Well, that wasn't going to happen again tonight, dammit, even if she had to drug his kibble.

Damn that Agent Spacey. Tina was still baffled as to how that woman had maneuvered her into this. It had been a persuasive mix of guilt and flattery, combined with assurances that it was only for a couple of days. According to Diana, the Commissioner was a huge dog lover and was in the process of arranging for this ugly little mutt to be adopted by one of his friends. Tina had believed that assertion at the time Diana had said it, but now she had to admit that it sounded a little far-fetched. After all, she couldn't remember Berkeley saying anything whatsoever about dogs in the times she had spent with him thus far. But on the other hand, she had only been with him two or three times and the last time they had barely done any talking at all. Thinking about that made tendrils of desire flutter in the pit of her stomach.

Tina had agreed to take in the puppy, on a temporary basis only, with several vague hopes in her mind. She presumed that this business of Berkeley's friend allegedly being willing to adopt the puppy might serve as a way to bring Berkeley back into her orbit again. He had been rather elusive recently, and she wasn't happy about that. She was also concerned that if Diana told Berkeley about how Tina had been found lying on the floor trying to fire her gun without having removed the safety, she was going to be really embarrassed and Berkeley might start thinking she was an idiot or something. But if, in the same breath, Diana told him how Tina had adopted the newly orphaned puppy, it might redeem her in Berkeley's eyes somewhat. Especially if he was as big a dog-lover as Diana was implying.

She picked up her purse and left her bedroom. As she walked past the bathroom, the puppy cried twice as loudly as before, and she could hear the scrabbling of his little nails on the door. He'd probably take all the paint off it at puppy-level in the hours she was at work. Tina scowled as she let herself out of her apartment and locked the door. At least he wouldn't be able to chew the toilet or the tub, not without cracking one or more teeth. That particular thought almost stopped her in her tracks. Please, God, don't let him chew the toilet, she prayed. She didn't want any hefty veterinary bills on top of everything else.

All things considered, she couldn't wait to get him out of her life.

..:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Bikky stood in the driveway with a heavy heart and watched Dee's car drive away. There went his safety, security and happiness. How could they leave him alone here in this strange place with a woman he had only just met? This brought back unpleasant memories of his younger years when Social Services would occasionally catch up with him and stick him in some home with strangers. Usually it happened if his dad was doing one of his stints in jail, but sometimes it happened just because. Maybe his name periodically popped up on some social worker's list, or something. He eventually got quite good at escaping from the places he didn't like, though.

Earlier in the week, he had threatened Ryo with escaping from the horse ranch, but Ryo had promised him that if he did that he would be grounded until Christmas. He didn't know if escaping was worth the risk. He would have to see. Right now he was too depressed to think about it.

Karen, who had been standing beside him waving, finally dropped her hand and looked down at him sympathetically. "You know, Bikky, I imagine this place seems kind of dull to you right now, but we have guests coming and going all the time. It really gets quite interesting as the summer goes on."

Bikky shrugged. He couldn't bring himself to answer because there was a very large, very unmanly lump in his throat.

"We've got a family coming next week with three kids. One of them is a boy about your age. You'll have a good summer here, son. You'll see."

Her kindly-meant words went right over Bikky's head. Who cared about kids who came from far away, stayed a short time and then went back to where they came from? What about real friends? Man he missed his friends so much already, and he had only seen them yesterday at school. It already felt like it was weeks ago.

.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.:.

Ryo and Carol were very quiet on the way back. Dee tried without success to engage them in conversation, but finally gave up. There were almost palpable waves of guilt coming off Ryo. Dee had a feeling his workaholic partner was going to want to work even longer hours when they got back to the city. Ryo would be feeling that it was the price he had to pay to get Bikky back. Work sixteen or seventeen hours a day and catch Abernathy: it probably seemed to Ryo like it was all he could do.

Well, Dee wasn't going to let him do that. Grinding himself into the ground wasn't the answer. There were a lot of people working on this case now, and everyone would shoulder some of the load. It shouldn't be too much longer. Dee figured they would get Shantaya first, who would give up Rick to save her skin. Rick would subsequently give up Abernathy in exchange for a few years off his sentence, or a chance to serve it at a cushy place like Otisville rather than a hellhole like Rikers Island.

Dee didn't know how IA was making out with Officers Gordon Cooper and Cameron Bell, the guys who had taken out Jackhammer, presumably under orders from Abernathy. That must be causing some divisiveness back at IA Headquarters. They were probably already putting ol' Mike's records and movements under more scrutiny than they had previously. Abernathy had stuck his greedy fingers into too many pies and had employed too many losers in the process. One day soon, one of them would sell him out. Dee hummed to himself, feeling optimistic. Too bad he couldn't shake Ryo out of his cloud of gloom.

Of course, once they caught the Bad Lieutenant, another kind of stress would begin. There was no way Ryo would be able to remain in the closet once the trial started. There was also a very real possibility that Dee and Ryo's detective partnership would be broken up. Dee hoped not. He intended to fight that tooth and nail if anyone tried to suggest it. He hoped the Chief would back him up on that one.

Carol's head appeared between the two front seats of Dee's car, her long blonde hair swinging.

"Why hello, Princess. Have you decided to come out of your iPod and grace us with your presence again?"

Carol ignored the question. "Oh, Dee, I feel so bad! Did you see his face when we drove away? Did you?"

Ryo, who had been staring out of the passenger window for the last forty miles turned toward them. "Carol, don't remind me," he said. "It's all I can do not to run right back there. And it's Father's Day tomorrow, too."

"Hey now, you two, don't work each other up. It's not forever, it's just a little while. We'll go up and see him next weekend and he'll be back before we know it. Right Ryo?"

Ryo sighed and resumed staring out the window. Carol slumped back into her seat and put her earphones back in.

Dee just drove the car and thought his own thoughts. He smirked to himself when he remembered the red panties. They had finally surfaced in Ryo's sock drawer, of all places. He wasn't surprised that the Seventh officers had managed to miss them. The uniforms seemed to be less concerned about conducting an efficient search than they were about doing maximum damage to someone's living environment. The female uniform had been almost as bad as the man, especially after she saw her bleeding and injured partner. Detective Clayton had been quite civilized by comparison. He even bitched to the other two about how they needed to keep on track with the search and be more systematic. Needless to say, neither of them listened to him.

Anyway, luckily for everyone, the panties had been missed in the search. But man, was Bikky ever going to be surprised when he found them in his suitcase.

end of Justice chapter 21

Thanks for reading!
Tags: fake, justice
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