brit_columbia (brit_columbia) wrote,

FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), ch 24

Dear Fake readers,

I'm publishing this chapter a little later than I expected because my husband did not go to work until 11:00 P.M.! The minute he left I sprang to my computer and began tweaking the chapter. It took me until now to work most of the bugs out of it.

In other news, I had an unsatisfactory experience with a psychic today, which I will detail in amendments to this post once I get the story up. Have any of you ever gone to a psychic, Tarot card reader, etc.? Just wondering.

FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), chapter 24

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. They are slowly closing in on him, but he still has the advantage.
Rating: This chapter is worksafe.
Disclaimer: FAKE, featuring Dee, Ryo, Bikky, The Chief, and Ted, 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: Lieutenant Abernathy, Alan Radley, his grandmother Mrs. Price, Rick Romero (AKA Ja Romeo), John Hambler (AKA Jackhammer), Wes Samberg the drug dealer, Officer Gordon Cooper, and Officer Cameron Bell are my characters.
Thank you to ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-reading this chapter for me.

Previously in Justice: The evil Lieutenant Mike Abernathy is building his underworld crime empire while maintaining his facade as an investigator in Internal Affairs. Dee and Ryo are after him. They attempted to take him down in a sting involving a stolen car, illegal drugs, and one of his old street contacts, Jackhammer, the week before. Unfortunately, Abernathy was one step ahead of them and ordered a patrol car to intercept them and kill Jackhammer. The two patrol officers were Officers Cameron Bell and Gordon Cooper. Internal Affairs is now investigating both of those men.

A few weeks ago, Lt. Abernathy beat up musician Alan Radley, while impersonating Detective Randy MacLean (Ryo). Alan's friend Rick, (AKA Ja Romeo) believes that Ryo was the cop who beat up Alan because Alan showed him the card left by Abernathy, which read "Detective Randy MacLean, 27th Precinct, NYPD." Rick works for Abernathy, but Alan does not know this. At the same time, Abernathy does not know of the connection between Rick and Alan. He just wants to take down Ryo and Dee before they expose him and he gets arrested for corruption. 

Alan has met Ryo-- the real Detective Randy MacLean-- only once, and that was back in Justice, Chapter 7. Dee introduced him as 'Ryo' and before Ryo could state his whole name, they were interrupted. In Justice, Chapter 11, Dee met with Alan and his old grandmother at their home in Brooklyn, and talked about his partner. "Ryo, right?" asks Alan. Dee replies, "Yeah, Good memory."

So you see, my dear readers, there is a very big misunderstanding going on!

Wes Samberg is a drug dealer who almost got caught back when Abernathy and crew tried to set up Bikky and Wes for drug trouble. Wes is being shaken down by Lt. Abernathy and he doesn't like it. He might be willing to help Dee and Ryo get rid of Abernathy-- if they can guarantee he won't get killed...

Justice: Chapter 24

"Dude, what the hell happened to your face?" Dee punched Ted's shoulder lightly.

Ted swatted Dee's arm away. "Good to see you too, Dee, buddy," he said sarcastically. "I'm technically still on medical leave, you know. My head hasn't stopped feeling like it's gonna explode, but thanks for asking."

"I know the feeling. I've had two concussions in the last three months, don't forget. Your headache will go away eventually. But let's get back to your face."

Ted rubbed his chin. "Had a reaction to the glue I used for my disguise at the sting, so I decided not to shave for a few days. Ramona says I look all stubbly and manly."

"'Ramona says', huh?" Dee slung an arm over Ted's shoulder. "Heard you're getting laid, man. She any good?"

Ted grinned back at him, pleased. "That woman could suck the chrome off a tail pipe. Let's leave it at that."

"Good on ya, Teddy. I know it's been a while for you. Let's eat, then go see what we can get outta Cooper."

Ted looked at his watch. "I can't wait," he said, his tone grim. "Goin' down for a shot he claims he didn't fire? Guy's not only a douche, he's a patsy."


Bikky had offered to help load the dishwasher after dinner, but as he managed to drop a water glass and break one of the handles off a serving bowl while doing so, Karen had cut her losses and sent him out to the barn with instructions to help Pedrick.

Bikky didn't think Pedrick was gonna be thrilled to hear that. When he and Carol had come out to the barn earlier, Pedrick wouldn't let them touch anything, although the grumpy old coot eventually thawed somewhat toward Carol.

Bikky found the Almighty Head Groom of K-Ray Ranch sewing away on a coarse blanket by the light of a big brass lantern. He flopped down on a bale of hay opposite him. "Whatcha doin, man?"

Pedrick's lip curled but he did not glance in Bikky's direction.

"Fine, don't talk to me." Bikky heaved himself to his feet and began to wander restlessly about the large, badly-lit barn. Adults treating him like shit was nothing new to him. The only good thing was that it had been happening less often since Ryo had taken him on and gotten him cleaned up and enrolled in a decent school and all. However, it still happened fairly regularly.

Of course when Bikky was in the company of white people, like Ryo, Dee and Carol, it was almost like having a ticket for acceptance, at least among others of their kind. But Pedrick wasn't altogether 'white', himself, so Bikky didn't know where the guy got off acting like this. Maybe he just hated kids.

Bikky turned around at the ladder to the hay loft and gazed at Pedrick assessingly. Hmmm, neither white nor black. He could have been anything. Native? Bollywood? Bikky really had no idea.

"Hey, are you Mexican?" he asked the groom.

"Not today. Mind your own business, punk." The man didn't bother to look up from his diligent sewing. His face didn't change. There was a touch of an accent, but Bikky hadn't been able to place it earlier; couldn't place it now.

He remembered how Karen had said that this guy gave horse-riding lessons. It was hard for Bikky to imagine such a grouch being patient and encouraging like teachers needed to be. Maybe he just yelled at people until they got out of his line of sight and figured it out by themselves, sort of like Mr. Jenkins, Bikky's sixth grade science teacher. Some people were just assholes.


Iggy's was packed with middle management types in suits, none of whom seemed to be watching the ATP tennis game being broadcast on the sports screens. There were hardly any women in evidence, a fact which made Ted's eyes sharpen in suspicion.

"Hey," he remarked. "Did Iggy's become a gay bar in my absence or something?"

Dee rolled his eyes. "Dammit, Ted, grow a brain. Gay guys don't wear cheap gray suits from JC Penney. Look at the waitresses." He indicated one who strutted past them in high heeled black boots and leatherette hot pants.

"Oh," said Ted, and then to Dee's surprise, turned away and shrugged. "Meh."

" 'Meh?' "

"Ramona's got way better tits. That's Cooper over at the bar, right?"

"Yeah. Let's go get him." Dee set off in that direction, and Ted hurried to keep up.

"Officer Cooper?" Dee did not extend his hand. This patrol dickwad and his partner had wronged the Twenty- Seventh, particularly Ted, and it was up to Cooper to stick out his hand first.

"Oh, hey, Detective Laytner!" Cooper looked pathetically glad to see them. He pumped first Dee's hand, and then Ted's. "Call me, Gordon. Or Gord, whatever suits you. Thanks for coming, guys."

"You said you got some concerns about your partner and the IA investigation?" Ted got right to the point.

The nervous grin disappeared from Gordon's face. "Concerns? Yeah, that's putting it mildly. I've worked with Cam for two years, you know? We were pretty close. I never thought he'd screw me like this. And those sons of bitches at IA-- it's like they're workin' from a fuckin' script!"

"We get it," Dee said. "With what's been goin' on at IA lately, we don't trust 'em either. I take it you've met Lieutenant Abernathy?"

"No, I haven't, actually." Gordon took a pull on his bottle of Michelob. "But Cam said he was the guy that called in the intel about the stolen car in your sting. He's Internal fucking Affairs! Can you fuckin' believe that?"

"Oh, yeah." Dee ordered a pair of ginger ales from a balding bartender with moles in all the wrong places. "We know this guy very well. The sting was all about him, as a matter of fact."

Gordon looked at him unhappily. "Yeah, I heard. Later. But at the time, I didn't know shit, but what Cam told me."

"Did Cam tell you to smash my head in?" demanded Ted.

"Yeah, he did." Gordon eyed Ted apprehensively. "But he didn't tell me you were a cop! He said you were a lowlife. Honest! I'm real sorry, man. Didn't mean to knock you cold."

Ted did not look mollified.

"Did he tell you he was gonna blow the back of Hambler's head out?" Dee pushed a ten at the bartender and passed one of the drinks to Ted.

"No! Jesus Christ, that was fucked up!" Gordon's voice dropped and he looked around the bar nervously. "All he told me was that we were gonna 'take care of' you guys, him on Hambler, me on the sidekick. I assumed he meant we were gonna, er, you know, rough you up a little before booking ya." He looked hopefully at Ted and Dee. "I mean, shit, this is New York City. We all do that sometimes, right?"

They stared stonily back at him, so he withdrew once more to the refuge of his beer. There was a short silence, and then he came back from the original direction. "I now realize, of course, that by 'take care of', he meant something totally different."

Dee and Ted locked eyes for a moment and then Dee spoke.

"Look, man, I get it. Sometimes, as cops, we're, um, caught up in the moment, you know? And things can get a little... 'murky' in the heat of the action. But I don't get how Bell and his friends think they can get away with hanging this on you. I mean, Cam was the guy who shot Hambler, right?" Dee put his hand on Gordon's shoulder and gave it a little shake. "Not you."

Cooper seemed to squirm on his bar stool. He tried to drink from his beer bottle, but found it empty. After signally broadly to the bartender, he turned his attention reluctantly back to Ted and Dee.

"I've been such an idiot," he said at last in an oddly bleak and broken voice. And then his face crumpled.

He was still sobbing softly when the bartender brought him his next beer.


"Did you get anything good outta him?" asked the Chief.

"Some," said Dee, speaking softly into his cell phone. "From the looks of this place, Cooper's been drinking all day." He glanced around Officer Gordon Cooper's disordered apartment. There were eleven dead beer bottles on the coffee table and a half-full forty pounder of Jamaican rum on the kitchen counter. Funny, Cooper hadn't seemed that far gone at the start of their meeting in the bar. "Ted's trying to get him to drink some water."

"Think you need an ambulance?"

"I dunno. He said he doesn't want one. But listen, Chief, that's gotta be someone else's call." Dee looked at his watch. "I got a meeting in twenty minutes with a guy who claims he picked up some dirt on our target. But I don't wanna leave Ted alone here. A public bar is one thing but this is the guy's apartment. Can you send someone else down?"

"Good call, Laytner. What with the recent set-ups, none of the team should be alone at any time they're on duty, especially in a private home. What's the story on your meeting?"

"Not a private home. I'm meeting the guy in a busy restaurant, not a dark alley."

The Chief hesitated a moment, and then said, "Okay, then. You always were good with the street contacts, Dee. I'm gonna trust you on this one. Tell O'Neill to get another glass of water into Cooper if he can. I'm sending a squad car down. What's the address there?"

Dee told him, and then said, "Hey, Chief, I gotta run. I'll report back after this meeting."

"Report to Sergeant Romano. I'm already an hour late for dinner. Take O'Neill out with you. He can wait on the street for the car to arrive."

Dee said that he would and hung up. "Come on Teddy-boy. I got a meeting and Chief says you can't be alone here."

"Wait... Are you guysh leavin'?" quavered Gordon. He still had the slur in his voice which had become apparent back at the bar. He tried to rise to his feet, but swayed violently and found he had no choice but to flop back down on the sofa. "Don't leave yet, okay? I don' like bein' alone here."

"Hey man, don't sweat it. I'm coming right back," Ted said. "I wanna talk to you some more. Take another sip of your water, okay?"

Gordon did so, slopping half the contents of the glass all over his shirt. "That'sh good because I gotta lot to say. Fuckin' bastards, trying to hang it all on me."

"Exactly," agreed Ted. "That's why I need a statement from you. We're not gonna let 'em make you take the fall for this."

"Dude, come on." Dee held the door open.

"Ten minutes," Ted told Cooper, and walked out the door past Dee.

As Dee pulled the door shut, his last glimpse of Cooper's face showed him that the guy didn't believe that anyone was really coming back to talk to him. He looked like a kid who knew he was being fobbed off with fake promises of a trip to Disney World.

"What a loser," Dee muttered to Ted as they strode down the hall together. "Still pissed at him?"

"No," said Ted, his hand going to the sore spot on the back of his head. "He ain't bad, just stupid. Can't hate a guy for being stupid."

"Sure ya can, bro. You're just living in a hearts and flowers world because you finally got a woman to put out for you."

"You're kinda in a hearts and flowers world too, lately," Ted retorted. "How's Ryo doing?"

"Missing his kid," Dee said quickly, looking over toward the elevator. He didn't like the insinuation he heard in Ted's tone. Did Ted know something? Ryo would kill him if anyone else found out. His partner had been quite clear about wanting to remain in the closet for now. Dee looked at his watch again. "Shit, I gotta be at Circo on Avenue B at eight. Think I'll make it?"

"Nope, you're gonna be late," said Ted dismissively. "But you're always late, so no one's gonna be surprised."


"Chili prawn?" Wes nodded at the half-empty platter in front of him and kept on chewing.

Dee demurred and pulled out his notebook. He loved seafood, but he made a point of never eating while questioning street contacts. Drinking was risky enough, but you had to do it sometimes just to get the rapport going. The regulations allowed plainclothes cops to have one alcoholic drink on duty in the pursuit of work-related information, and Dee usually stuck to light beer. This restaurant didn't have any good light beer, though, so he was drinking black tea. It worked because Wes was not drinking either.

"So you say you got some info about Mike?"

"Yeah, but obviously I don't wanna get shot, so I'm not about to make any formal statements or appearances at the cop shop." Wes took a bite of a paella croquette, obviously savoring the flavor, because he was completely silent until he had swallowed his mouthful. "I wanna know how close you are to nailing this guy. He's pushing into my territory, and I want him out of my hair."

"You talked with him?"

Wes didn't answer. Instead he placed his cell phone on the table and pressed a button. Instantly Abernathy's smooth, rolling tones filled the space between the two men.

"You're a businessman, Mr. Samberg. You understand the costs of doing business. If you've never had to pay protection before, you can call yourself lucky. It's a fact of life on the streets of any big American city nowadays-- once an operation like yours reaches a certain size and level of revenue, someone's bound to notice."

"I think your fees are high," came Wes's voice. "And I'm not clear on exactly what you're offering me for two grand a month."

"Two grand a month is a bargain, laddie. I'd estimate conservatively you make eight or ten a month after expenses."

"I already pay for protection from Alicia Grant."

"Yes, I'm aware of that," Abernathy said briskly. "Several of her other subsidiaries pay us too. We can offer you something that Ms. Grant can't."

"And what would that be?"

"A life out here in the world, rather than in a six by eight cell for the next five or ten years. Freedom to pursue your business and pleasures the way you see fit. Wasn't exactly like that in Brooklyn Correctional, was it?"

There was a silence, and then Abernathy continued. "In addition to that, of course, we require a small sampling of your merchandise, already prepped for sale. I'll send a man to you weekly."

Wes could be heard asking, "How much is a small sampling?"

"Eight grams of heroin, two of cocaine, and five percent of anything else you have on hand."

"Eight and two? Are you serious?"

"Dead serious, lad."

"How am I supposed--"

Wes pressed a button on the phone, effectively cutting himself off mid-sentence. His calm eyes met Dee's, which were blazing with excitement. Dee would have been willing to bet his favorite D & G jacket that ol' Mikey had no clue whatsoever that his pitch had been recorded for posterity.

"There's more of course," Wes said. "Inadmissible, I know. But I'm due to make my first 'protection' payment next Friday, so I doubt we'll run short of opportunities for him to increase his terms."

"You'll wear a wire?"

Wes ate another chili prawn with deliberate slowness, and licked his fingers thoroughly before answering. "That depends."


"Small operation. You, me, your partner, your commanding officer. Not your whole department. No guest cops like whoever you had watching me from behind the glass that time at the plaza."

Dee scratched his head. "Look, I don't know if we can make it that tight..."

"You better. I heard what happened to Jackhammer." Wes tossed the prawn tail onto a side plate and reached for another croquette. "You guys fucked up big time, and he paid the price."

"We did not fuck up!" Dee felt himself getting hot under the collar.

"Yeah, you did." Wes shrugged. "So what? We all fuck up sometimes. Even me. But you had too many people involved in that sting you pulled, and your prep went on too long. This Abernathy dude has ears and eyes everywhere."

"Oh yeah? Well, maybe he's got eyes here, too." Dee indicated the restaurant with a hand gesture. Actually, he was wondering how the hell Wes had gotten his intel on the infamous sting.

Wes shrugged fatalistically. "Maybe. But I don't think so."

"How do you know that?"

Wes took a sip of his coke. "Lieutenant Abernathy was right about only one thing about me: since I got out of jail, I've become a very cautious man. Back to business, Detective Laytner."


Dee called Ryo with his exciting news. "Hey babe, guess what? Wes played me a recording on his phone..."

"Dee, thank goodness you called. I was just about to call you."

"You were?" Dee couldn't help feeling surprised. Like that ever happened. Ryo must be running out of coffee or something, and needed him to make a grocery run.

"Yeah. Were you with Officer Gordon Cooper earlier?"

"Yeah, I was. I tried to tell you that when I called earlier--"

"Okay, whatever. The point is, you should give Ted a call."

"How come? Is Ted okay?" Dee felt a sudden attack of guilt. What if Ted had been hurt again?

"Yes, he's fine. It's Cooper who's... not okay."

"What? How bad is he?"

"Um, pretty bad. He's, er, dead, actually."

"What the fuck?" Dee realized he was gripping the phone hard enough to break it. He forced himself to concentrate on loosening his fingers on it, one by one.

"Dee? Are you there?" he could hear Ryo's voice coming loudly out of the phone. "Dee? Answer me!"

Dee put the phone back up to his mouth. "Yeah. I'm here. What'd they make it look like?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"Cooper's death. How did they do him?"

"Cause of death is inconclusive at this point," Ryo replied. "But it looks like some kind of O.D. Or maybe alcohol poisoning. The autopsy will tell us, but that could be a week or longer."

"Damn it!"

"Oh, and there's one more thing...." Ryo's voice was apologetic.

"What now?"

"IA wants to talk to you and Ted. Apparently you were the last people to see him alive."

"Well, ain't that a fucking surprise."


Dee found Alan, as directed, out in the alley off the kitchen door of the Karaoke joint. It was dark out there and stank of garbage and piss. The night air was warm, bordering on muggy, which never did good things for garbage.  Dee tried not to breathe through his nose. It was criminal what the bylaws were doing to smokers nowadays. Soon there would be nowhere left in the city where it was legal to smoke. Dee's unknown forbears had blessed him with a DNA package that came with pretty good night vision, so despite the dense and pungent darkness, he was able to make out a shadowy figure leaning against the concrete wall off to the right of the door.

"Thought you didn't smoke."

"I do now." Alan's voice sounded flat. Dee shrugged and accepted the younger man's tacit warning not to press him further on that subject.

"Wanna talk to you about Rick." Dee reached for his own cigarettes.

"I told you I ain't gonna say anything about him."

"Did you know that he and Shantaya set up my partner yesterday by planting shit in his apartment? In addition to the jewelry they stashed in his bedroom, they also put a big bag of Molly in Bikky's room." Dee lit his smoke with his lighter, but the light it cast was too weak to tell him anything about Alan's reaction.

Alan was silent, but Dee could see the cherry on his cigarette flare up briefly. It brought the lower half of Alan's face into view while it lasted, but his eyes remained in shadow.

Alan blew the smoke out of his lungs before he answered. "Bullshit."

"Hey, Alan, this is me, Dee from the 'hood, son of a nun, the guy who calls it like he sees it. You think I go around lying?"

"Dee, I think--" Alan cut himself off. "Never mind."

"Oh no you don't. You don't get to call me a bullshitter and then say 'Never mind'. Explain yourself, bro."

"I ain't your bro, white man. You may be Dee from the 'hood, and you may be able to quote bible verses to impress old ladies, but I, for one, never forget for one Goddamn second that you are a cop. And your kind and mine don't mix, man." Alan threw down his smoke and pushed past Dee to get to the door.

Dee grabbed Alan's arm with his free hand and jerked him around to face him. "Listen up, kid. We got a witness who overheard Rick telling Shantaya, 'We gotta get rid of this guy. I owe it to my buddy, Alan.' " Dee paused and looked hard at the younger man through narrowed eyes. "You got anything you wanna say about that? Because, bro, you're about six seconds away from taking a trip downtown with me."

Alan jerked his arm out of Dee's grasp and swore, but not before Dee had seen his eyes go wide with fear. "Dee, I don't know what you're talking about. So what if Rick was overheard talking about some guy named Alan? How does it follow that in a city this size, there's only one 'Alan' Rick could be talking about, and that has to be me?"

"I didn't say it definitely was you. But it's likely to be you, since you're the guy who does music with Rick and used to go to high school with him. There's also the fact that all his other friends seem to have names like Afroman and Lil' Shizz, according to his Facebook page."

"Look, I think there's some kind of misunderstanding here. I've met your partner. Ryo, right? He seems like a good guy. If he and Rick have history, that ain't something I know about." Alan held Dee's eyes with his own. "Honest."

"He and Rick don't have history. They've never even met. Your buddy Rick's being worked by a dirtbag crooked cop. Together they've got some kind of arrangement with the Dyre Street Devils. Up until Friday, all we wanted to do was talk to Rick. Now we've got a statewide warrant on him."

Alan didn't respond, but Dee felt he looked even more scared than before.

"So, Alan, you can bet we're gonna get Rick sooner or later. Personally, I'm betting on sooner. It would be good for you if you could arrange not to be with him when the NYPD catches up to him. You know how those SWAT teams tend to go overboard with their take-downs."

"What's the..." Alan's voice came out a little squeaky. He licked his lips and tried again. "What's the warrant for?"

"He's a person of interest in a murder."

"Murder?" Alan's eyes went so wide Dee thought they might pop right out. "Rick?"

"Yeah. Rick. Your good buddy." Dee finally let go of Alan's arm. "We want him, and the cop who's running him. They know we're after them and that's why the pair of them tried to set up my partner. Like I said, Ryo and Rick don't have history. Rick was just following orders. But you can understand how, for us, it suddenly got a whole lot more personal."

Alan looked away, his expression showing how stunned and confused he was. "Oh my God," he said. "Rick's in major deep shit, ain't he?" He swayed a little on his feet and then sank down to sit on the ground, his head between his knees.

"Yeah. Look if you change your mind about being helpful, gimme a call." Dee handed Alan his card. He didn't want to press the younger man any further. He regretted having to go all hardass with him, but it had been necessary to shake him a little. He figured if he backed off now, Alan would come around when he'd had time to take it all in. "In any case, I think you better start looking for a new music partner."


Alan waited until he was sure Detective Laytner was gone before he phoned Rick. He sneaked into the men's room and locked himself in a stall before pulling out his cell phone. He had to keep his voice down because his break was technically over, and Timmy, the owner of the bar, expected him to get back out on the floor and see if anyone in his section wanted fresh drinks and more snacks. But he was still shaken up by what Dee had said, and he needed to talk to Rick.

"Rick, man, you never told me they had a warrant on you for friggin' murder!"

"What? Murder?" Rick sounded surprised, but he also sounded scared. "Is that why they wanna talk to me?"

"Apparently, yes." Alan couldn't help remembering the conversation he had had with Tyrone Ibo not long ago at Concrete when he had shown up in daytime hours hoping to practice Steelshot's new songs with Rick, but had found Tyrone waiting for him instead. Tyrone had warned him that Rick was pushing for membership with the Devils, and that there was a rumor that Rick had killed a junkie in Queens as part of his initiation. Tyrone had been pretty drunk at the time, and Alan well knew that there was no love lost between Rick and the son of Essien Ibo, so he hadn't been sure whether to believe it or not. More to the point, he really hadn't wanted to believe it. But now it had been confirmed by the NYPD. " You told me they were after you because you tried to set up that asshole Detective MacLean."

"Look, that's what I thought that raid on my place was about. Revenge, 'cause I went after one of their own. What the FUCK is this about murder?"

Alan felt that Rick sounded a little too... aggressive. Something was not ringing true here. He decided to take a chance. "You know, Rick, I gotta say, this ain't the first time I heard this."

"What you sayin', man?"

"I'm saying there's a rumor I heard 'bout a kid junkie in Queens." Approximately three seconds after those words had left Alan's lips, his ear was filled with loud music. He recognized the discordant off-key tones of Muscleboyz, Sonny's crap house band. Sonny let them play whenever the DJ took a break. Rick was evidently at Concrete.

"What's that Alan? Cain't hear ya, man! Gonna have to call back!" Rick shouted, and his voice was barely audible over the noise. The line went dead.

Alan shook his head and put his phone away with trembling hands. He was sure now that Rick had gotten himself mixed up in a murder. Jesus. And Rick had his spare key to the apartment he shared with Gram. He didn't think Rick would do anything to ensure his silence... or would he? Alan felt his gut clench with self-recrimination. Why had he opened up his big mouth? He and Rick had a long association, sure, but he had never really trusted him. What if Rick decided that he and Gram were a danger to him?


Dee left One Police Plaza at 11:01, pleased with the way the night had gone. He and Ted had successfully evaded IA for the time being, although tomorrow was another story. Ted had also whipped out his computer skills and showed Dee how to download speech-to-text software onto his phone that would allow him to make his report verbally and end up with a typed text version when he was done. Not the greatest typist in the world, Dee had been delighted at how much time this saved him near the close of his shift.

Now his mind was on Ryo, who was hopefully in bed, and hopefully naked. Well, maybe that was too much to ask. Dee would settle for almost naked. It was a warm night, after all.

He let himself into Ryo’s apartment, calling his lover’s name softly. All was quiet and most of the lights were off. He found Ryo sitting up in bed with pillows stacked up behind him, and a photo album propped up on his lap. It took him a moment to realize that Ryo had fallen asleep in that position. Dee chuckled, and sat down on the bed. The slight creak of bed springs and the shifting of the mattress caused Ryo to awaken with a soft snort, which Dee found both hilarious and adorable.

“How ya doin’, babe?”


"Miss me?" He leaned in and kissed Ryo's nose.

"Maybe," said Ryo softly and reached for him.

~end of chapter 24~

Tags: fake, justice

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