I have run a gazillion errands today and done almost that many household chores because I'm leaving town tomorrow for a few days. I'm in the middle of laundry, and I still have to pack. I baked a cake for my husband, but I still need to cut the cake into layers, whip up a big bowl of cream and then ice the cake with layers of whipped cream, marmalade, and raspberry jam.
About three hours ago, I fortified myself with a nutritious dinner that consisted of three ice cream sandwiches, but I really shouldn't have done that because now I'm hungry again. I'll go rummage through the fridge for leftovers after I have posted this chapter.
Re my Roman M/M story: I've hardly had time to work on it this month, but if some of you guys would endeavor to poke me about it once in a while, I promise I will bang off a minimum of 500 words for each poke! Like on my lunch break at work, for example. I'm not stuck or anything. Like with all my stories l've done my outline and I know where it's going. But I've been working late for the past couple of months and by the time I get home, get my workout out of the way, cook and eat dinner, and clean up at least part of the kitchen, there's really not much evening left. But at the same time, it doesn't take me long to write 500 words.
Has anyone heard of http://writtenkitten.net/? I learned about this a few months ago from dauphkantus. You get a new kitten for each five hundred words you write. I often do my writing in my written kitten box because the browser saves what I've written. Sometimes I'm ready to quit for the day, and then I look down and see that I'm only 40 or 50 words away from getting a new kitten picture, so I push myself to write a little more.
Well, enough rambling. Here's the chapter. It's worksafe!
FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), chapter 22
by Brit Columbia
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. They are slowly closing in on him, but he still has the 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: Alan Radley, his grandmother Mrs. Price, Rick Romero, Detective Lonnie Fielding, Officers Gordon Cooper and Cameron Bell are my characters, as is Annette, the Records clerk. If you're wondering what 'the Palace' is, its the way that police refer to One Police Plaza, where Dee and Ryo have a temporary office in this story.
Thank you to the_ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-reading this chapter for me.
Previously in Justice: This is still Saturday, the day before Father's Day. Bikky has been taken to the horse ranch and now Dee and Ryo are back in the city. Dee is working tonight. Lieutenant Abernathy, with the willing help of Rick and the unwilling help of Shantaya, made an unsuccessful attempt to set Ryo up with drugs and stolen property, but it didn't work because Dee and Bikky prevented it. A strike team went and raided Rick and Shantaya's apartment and got the green backpack Bikky described as once being the property of Eddie Calvetti. Neither Rick nor Shantaya were at home when the police arrived, and now there are warrants out on them both to bring them in for questioning. Just over a week ago in the chronology of the story, Dee and Ryo tried to catch Lieutenant Abernathy in a sting, in which they forced John Hambler, AKA 'Jackhammer', a paroled ex-con to help them. Jackhammer was shot by two patrol officers from the 7th precinct, Officers Cameron Bell and Gordon Cooper. IA is doing an investigation. In the story before this one, Lieutenant Abernathy beat up Alan Radley and tasered him multiple times in an alley. Later he went to Alan's home and terrorized him again in front of Alan's grandmother, Mrs. Price. He left them 'his' card, which indicated that his name is Randy MacLean and he's a detective at the 27th precinct.
Justice, chapter 22: Old Files
Drake looked up from his desk. "Dee, buddy. What the hell are you doing here?"
Dee strolled into the CI room. "I traded shifts with James. Poor bastard's stuck going to the opera tonight. Man, that new woman of his sounds like a pain."
"No, I meant what are you doing here instead of the Palace?"
"Oh, that. I need to check some old files that don't seem to have made it into the database."
"Not in the database? Are you sure they exist?"
"Well, if they do, Annette will help me find 'em, won't she?"
Drake grinned at him. "Wait 'til you see what she's wearing."
Dee's eyes sharpened with anticipation. "The leopard skin number?"
"No, I think it's a new outfit. It's a wrap-around thing with--" Drake cupped his hands in front of his chest-- "with ruffles. And a big sparkly pendant that hangs right in between 'em."
Dee whistled. "I'll make sure I compliment her on her jewelry, then." He and Drake snickered together in a moment of perfect accord. A moment later, however, a familiar cry of delight behind him wiped the smirk off his face.
"Mr. PERFECT!" This was accompanied by the sound of running feet.
Dee swore and leapt aside, but unfortunately for him, JJ had correctly anticipated which way he would go and full contact was achieved in the form of a flying tackle. Drake snatched up his coffee protectively as they lurched past him. They both crashed into the empty coat rack after passing a scant foot from the edge of Drake's desk.
When the dust cleared, Dee was on his back staring up at JJ with rage in his eyes. JJ was straddling Dee's hips and the coat rack lay across Dee's chest and arms.
"JJ, you dipshit, I swear if my hands were free, they'd be around your fuckin' throat! Get the hell off of me!"
"Oops, sorry Dee-Sempai!" JJ squirmed a little but did not actually get up. "I didn't mean to knock you down. I just wanted an itty bitty hug, that's all."
"Come on, little buddy, let the man up." Drake hauled JJ to his feet by one shoulder.
Dee flung the coat rack off his chest and scrambled upright. "Look what you did to my goddamn smokes! You got any idea how much cigarettes cost nowadays?" He brushed himself off with quick, angry movements.
"I'm really sorry." JJ gazed worshipfully at Dee, his expression the epitome of penitence. He shook Drake's hand off his arm with a small, impatient movement.
"Sorry ain't gonna cut it, dude. You better go next door and buy me a replacement pack right fucking now and bring them to me down in Records. And don't fucking tackle me down there, or I'll stuff you so far up one of the air ducts that no one will find you for a week."
"Yes sir, Mr. Sexy, sir! I'll be right back." Anyone else would have said that in a sarcastic tone of voice, but JJ tended to deliver such lines to Dee in a tone of enthusiastic, straight-faced reverence. He left the room at a trot.
Drake sighed loudly, which made Dee's grumpy gaze slide in his direction.
"What the hell are you sighing about? You're not the one with six new bruises on his back."
Drake just shrugged and went back to his report. "Say hi to Annette for me."
"How many years ago was it?" Annette asked. "Ten?"
"No, seven. Before my time here. But I have a vague memory of crosschecking this case once because of the gang members."
"Well, let's do a keyword search. Hopefully we'll find what you're looking for. Come sit here by me if you want."
Dee took a chair next to her, appreciating the three-quarter angle view of her impressive bust. "Thanks, doll."
Annette glanced sideways at Dee from under her lashes. "Still going to church, Dee?"
"Yep. Went the other night, as a matter of fact." He looked at the computer screen and then back at Annette's face. "We're needing info on Officer Iona Smythe. She went down for corruption after a sting in the Bronx."
"Do you know the borough?" Annette's fingers flew over the keyboard.
"South Bronx is all I know for sure. Possibly Mott Haven, but I'm just guessing there."
"Okay, here we go, Iona Smythe. Wow, her name comes up a lot."
"Yeah, she was supposedly a pretty good cop until she went bad. Lotsa busts and commendations. I'm looking for the case where she went off the rails."
"She was indicted?"
"Oh yeah. At least I think so. I heard she was doing time upstate."
"Hmmm. I'll try Bronx, south. Do you remember which gang?" Annette typed in a couple more words and the search narrowed down. "Was it this one, maybe?"
Dee's eyes flickered over the screen. "Yeah, that's the one... Millbrook gang... drugs and weapons... Keep scrolling down.... Indicted for corruption and assault.... Hey, is that all?"
Annette shrugged. "Looks like it. Isn't that what you wanted?"
"I wanted the undercover guy whose testimony nailed her. He's not mentioned by name in this file. Is there another one?"
Annette sighed for no discernible reason, and the large faux-diamond rose and fell, glittering almost blindingly as it caught the light. "Well, all we can do is keep looking. Maybe they didn't name him because he had to stay undercover for some reason."
"That's what I'm afraid of. But even a picture would be good. Can you find me some pictures?"
Annette stood up. "If you want pictures, follow me. We don't keep everything in the computer index. We'll find lots more info in the shelves, especially now that I know what you're looking for."
She led Dee on a short trek down the long corridors of hard-copy file shelves, before stopping and pulling open a drawer that looked exactly like all the other drawers. Minutes later, Dee and Annette were looking at pictures of Iona Smythe in her patrol uniform, then later in her ill-fated career, her mug shots, as well as several pictures of her in court, looking either defiant or defeated, depending on where in the time-line of the trial the photos had been taken. The arresting officers, Detectives Hammond and Nguyen were shown giving testimony. The third picture of the second file was the gold Dee was looking for, and when he saw it, he wanted to whoop.
In it Officer Alonso Fielding stood proudly in his dress blues while receiving his gold shield in an NYPD ceremony, on account of his good work assisting in a corruption trial. The specific trial was not mentioned in the photo's heading, but since it was in the file for Iona Smythe's indictment, it wasn't too hard to guess. Lonnie, you bastard, Dee thought. I got you.
He asked Annette to copy that picture, along with the ones of Hammond, Nguyen, and Smythe.
While they were at the copier, they heard the door bang open as JJ came running in. "Dee-Sempai! Where are you?" More running. "Ah-- There you are!" Obviously remembering Dee's earlier warning about the air ducts, he skidded to a stop at a safe distance from Dee, and handed over the cigarettes, while glowering at Annette.
"Hi JJ," she said perfunctorily. She had no smile for him, either.
JJ gave her the briefest of nods and then proceeded to ignore her. "What's going on, Dee-Sempai? Anything I can help you with?"
"Yeah, maybe." Dee glanced through the pictures, looking thoughtful.
The records desk phone rang, and Annette quietly excused herself to go and answer it.
JJ edged a little closer to Dee and peered at the pictures. He spoke in a low, husky voice. "Anything, Mr. Sexy. I'll do anything you want. You know how much I love working with you, don't you?"
Dee ignored the trembling passion in the younger man's tone. "Well, dude, if you really wanna help, you can call these guys Hammond and Nguyen for me."
JJ's face lit up with joy. "Yes, Dee-Sempai, I SO wanna help! I'll call them right NOW! I'll ask them....uhhh, I'll ask...um, what do you need me to ask them?"
"Let's go grab a coffee and talk about it."
"Excuse me, JJ?" It was Annette. "That was your partner on the line. He just wanted me to remind you that you guys have an appointment in Hell's Kitchen in forty-five minutes."
JJ waved a dismissive hand. "Thanks Annette. See ya later. Hey Dee, where do you wanna go for coffee?"
Dee raised an eyebrow at him. "If you and Drake have an appointment--"
JJ snorted with amusement and seized Dee by the arm. "Not with anyone important, Dee! And forty-five minutes is lots of time. Let's go grab a quick coffee, all right?" He all but hauled Dee from the room. As JJ pulled him through the exit, Dee looked over his shoulder at Annette, and called out, "Love your necklace, doll!" She simpered and blew him a kiss.
"Come on, Dee!" JJ heaved a sigh of relief as they gained the corridor and the door to the Records room swung shut behind them. "That tacky fake diamond she was wearing was giving me an even bigger headache than her el cheapo perfume!"
"I thought she smelled just fine," said Dee with a shrug, shooting a wicked sidelong look at JJ.
When Alan's grandma stumped her walker past the TV for the umpteenth time, Rick figured he had gotten the message. The old bat wanted him out of there. Well, he couldn't exactly say he blamed her. He had shown up at almost 2:00 a.m. after all, in trouble and needing a place to stay. Grandmothers and mothers always seemed to disapprove of that kind of thing. He had known Alan and his granny for quite a few years, as he and Alan had been making music together on and off since high school. He couldn't honestly say that he didn't know by now what Granny Price really thought of him.
He sighed and swung his feet over the edge of the sofa. Without so much as a glance in the old cow's direction, he strolled down the hall to Alan's room. He heard movement in there, so at least the guy wasn't sleeping. "Yo!" he said and pushed the door open.
Alan gasped and whipped around from where he was standing at the open closet. He was bare from the waist up since he seemed to be in the middle of getting dressed for that lame karaoke bar job he kept talking about.
Rick was brought up short by all the marks on the guy's torso. Faded bruises and angry-looking taser scars. "What the---?"
Alan snatched a shirt off the hanger and turned his back, shrugging into it as fast as he could go. But not before Rick caught a glimpse of a couple more marks on his back. Holy shit. Alan had told him about this, but he hadn't really registered what he was hearing. Now, seeing was believing. All at once he felt mad. Fucking cops.
"It ain't none o' your concern, Rick," Alan said quickly, buttoning up his shirt as high as it would go and then deftly wrapping a tie around the collar and knotting it.
"Why the hell not?" Rick demanded. This is the kinda crap I can deal with, yo? You already told me it was that cop MacLean who done it."
"Yeah, well do me a favor and fuckin' forget that, okay?"
"I can't just forget it. Maybe you think it's just one bullshit beating of a brother, but this guy is gonna do it again. Could be me next time, yo?"
"Look, I just wanna move on and put this behind me. That cop warned me he'd be back if I took any kind of action. He didn't hurt Gram last time, but you shoulda seen how crazy he was. I wouldn't put it past him to knock her down or something next time."
"I got a plan to get that fucker put away."
"Oh, like your last plan? Didn't work out, did it?"
"Naw, this one is better. Foolproof."
"Do you want this nut-job cracker off the street, or what?"
Alan opened a drawer and took out a name badge which he pinned to his shirt. He wasn't meeting Rick's eyes. Rick figured he was thinking.
"So the guy did something illegal to you and got away with it, right? He prolly does shit like that all the time and never gets caught. What the fuck does it matter if the thing he goes down for is something he din't actually do?"
Alan sighed and Rick could see he was wavering. "Look, bro," he said. "Me and my guys, we're gonna do this anyway. All you gotta do is enjoy the results. This is my gift to you." He slapped Alan on the shoulder and gave him a big grin.
"Well, okay then. But listen, I gotta go to work now, and Gram would like it if you went out for a while. I think she wants to watch TV and you've been on the sofa all day." He straightened his tie in the mirror. "You can prolly stay one more night before she gets antsy about it. You know?"
"Yeah, yeah, I got it." Rick felt disappointed that Alan wasn't more excited about the plan. Brother really ought to be more grateful. Oh well, maybe he'd be grateful later when the pig was in handcuffs.
Bo couldn't believe it when he heard her voice at the church door. "Miss Maria?" he asked, surprise and nervousness making his voice squeaking up in an embarrassing way. "Is that really you?"
"Yes, Bo, it's me!" The door rattled. "Can you let me in, please? I need to talk to you!"
Bo set his broom against one of the pews and hurried to open the door for her. There she stood, dressed in pale blue like the Virgin Mary, looking as fresh and lovely as he remembered her. The late afternoon sun shone behind her like a halo.
"Miss Maria! Welcome to my church. Come in, come in, please." He locked the door behind her and turned to gaze at her adoringly. "I can't believe you're really here."
She smiled tremulously at him. "It's me, all right. I just had to... had to see you again."
Bo's heart swelled at those words, although he wasn't sure quite why. She was just so darn pretty it was hard to think around her.
"Would you like to sit down?" He indicated one of the pews. "Sorry I ain't got nothin' to offer you."
"Oh, Bo, don't feel bad. This is a church, after all. I know we're not in a cafe." She perched on the edge of one of the wooden benches and gazed at him in such a way that his palms began to sweat. He picked up the broom again, just to have something to do with his hands.
She looked at the altar and then back at him. "I came to apologize to you for giving you those Doritos. I feel so guilty about it." She bit her lip and cast her eyes down. "I didn't have a choice, you know. There's this scary guy I know. He... he made me do it."
"I don't know why. He doesn't tell me everything. But I'm scared of him."
"Can't you go to the police, Miss Maria?" Bo knew what it was like to be scared of someone.
"He IS the police, Bo."
"Oh. I see." A frightening thought sprang into Bo's mind. "He wasn't one of the police officers who came to talk to me, was he?"
"No, no." She shook her head quickly. "He wouldn't have come. He likes to stay in the background. Those other police were just trying to find out what happened, you know, just doing their jobs."
Bo nodded and tried to look wise. "Yeah, you're right. They were just doin' their jobs." He brightened and added, "And they told me Bikky wasn't mad at me!"
She smiled again. "I'm glad, Bo, really I am. If anyone should be mad, it's you. You're not mad at me, are you, Bo?"
Her eyes were so sad and anxious that Bo couldn't stand it. He dropped to his knees before her and took both of her hands in his. "I could never be mad at you, Miss Maria. Never. You don't even have to ask for my forgiveness. Jesus, God our Lord knows that you have a beautiful heart."
She squeezed his hands with hers and whispered, "Thank you."
Dust motes swirled in the air around them illuminated by the shafts of light that shone through the stained glass windows. Bo felt happiness swirling around inside his head and chest, too. "Shall we pray?" he asked softly.
"In a minute. First I have to ask you something.... What did you tell the police about me?"
From his knees, Bo blinked up at her.
"I need to know, Bo. I'm afraid I'm going to get in trouble. That bad police officer is going to make sure that I get the blame if anything happens." She squeezed his hands again and then let them go.
Suddenly embarrassed, Bo rose to his feet. "I didn't tell them everything about you, you know," he said earnestly. "I didn't tell them that part-- about how you suggested I give the Doritos to Bikky, for example. I didn't want you to get in trouble. But I did tell 'em you're a good person." He stooped to pick up his fallen broom.
"Thank you." She stood up, too, and stepped toward him. "You're such a sweet boy. I just wanted to make sure you didn't tell anyone anything else about me, not even your friends. I'm so ashamed and scared right now, and I don't want anyone to know what I did. Can you understand that, Bo?"
"Can you, um, tell him 'no' next time?" Bo gazed at her quizzically." I mean, do you think he would beat you up or kill you?"
"No, I don't think so." She shook her head and her long, straight hair stirred against her shoulders. "He wouldn't have to. But, you see, he knows a couple of my secrets. He controls me with them. Once, I... I made a mistake. And that man knows about it."
"I'm sure that you never did anything terrible," Bo said firmly.
"No, it wasn't too terrible at first," she agreed. "It would have just gotten me fired, and maybe... maybe charged with a misdemeanor. But I was too scared to face up to it. This man offered to help me to cover up my crime, and then he started making me do things for him."
At Bo's shocked look, she said, "No, no, nothing like that! The man is married and he loves his wife. At least I think so. Anyway, some of the things he wanted me to do were criminal things, like holding onto stolen merchandise for him, sometimes drugs. And then he gave me those Doritos and told me to give them to you and make sure you understood to give them to your friend Bikky. I didn't ask what was in the second bag. But I kind of guessed. I've been feeling terrible ever since. I didn't want to make trouble for you."
"It's okay," Bo said. "Nothing much happened to me. I haven't talked to Wes yet, but I heard that he doesn't blame me." A thought struck him. "He might be looking for you, though! You should be careful. Wes is a dangerous kind of person." Bo stared fearfully at her, horrified at the thought that this beautiful creature might fall into Wes' hands.
"Well, he doesn't know what I look like, does he? No one does, right?"
"Nope," said Bo. "I described you all wrong for the police artist. The picture doesn't look like you at all."
Her eyes widened slightly. "A police sketch?"
"Yeah, yeah, but don't worry. The picture looks like that singer girl, Krystal Meyers, only with darker hair."
Maria was silent, and Bo got the impression that she didn't know who Krystal Meyers was. "Anyway, you and Krystal Meyers are totally different."
"Well, as long as you don't tell anyone about what I did, I'll be safe, won't I?" she asked, and seized his hand with both of hers. "From the police and from Wes, that drug dealer. Please keep me safe, Bo. I'm really sorry about everything."
His skinny chest swelled. "Don't worry, Miss Maria! You're safe in the bosom of the lord! And I will never do anything to hurt you." He patted her hand in what he hoped was a reassuring way. "Are you ready to pray now?"
"Oh yes!" To Bo's surprise, she dropped to her knees right there in the aisle, sort of pulling him down with her, since she still had hold of one of his hands. When she bowed her head, Bo did the same. With her hands clasped within his, he led their prayers with great joy for the next fifteen minutes.
Eventually, she disengaged her hands from his and looked at her watch. "Oh my goodness, is that the time? I've got to get going. My niece is expecting me." She then took her leave after very prettily thanking him for his kindness.
He waved goodbye from the church door, and told her to come back anytime, anytime at all.
After she had gone, however, and he was once more alone in the empty church, he found that he still had questions in his mind. Why did she look so familiar? At first he had thought she reminded him of an actress or a singer, but he didn't think so now. He knew he had seen her somewhere before, maybe two or three years ago, or longer; he just couldn't pinpoint the time or the place in his memory. Since he had started proselytizing, he had talked to so many people all over the city. It was hard to remember every face.
He went back to his sweeping, his brow furrowed in contemplation. Another thing that was bugging him was why the guy who was controlling her had told her to give the Doritos to him and not directly to Bikky. As far as Bo knew, he himself did not have any real enemies. If some cop had something against Bikky, why involve him? Was there some reason why Maria couldn't have approached Bikky herself? He shook his head at all the mysteries he was contemplating and went to get the dustpan and brush. He considered talking to Pastor Luke about it after dinner, but after a little more thought, decided not to. The less said about Miss Maria the better. He had promised to do his best to keep her safe, and it looked like the only thing he could do for her, besides praying of course, was to keep his mouth shut.
Anyway, now that he knew he was safe from Wes and safe from Bikky, he felt that he might be ready to leave his place of sanctuary in the basement of the church. He had been too scared to go outside for days. But he worried about all the hell-bound souls out there that he might have a chance of saving. He really wanted to go back out to the streets where he could continue his sacred work.
On his way out, Dee picked up his messages from Janet at the front desk. Usually she had a smile and a few flirtatious words for him, but not today. She seemed pretty stressed out, but then it was probably because she was working alone. Janet and Marianne were always complaining that the front desk was understaffed, but as usual, the brass never seemed to give a shit. Dee shrugged and continued to the door. Janet could handle it. She had been there a long time, and if anyone could do two or three people's jobs all at the same time, it was her.
~end of Justice chapter 22~