Okay, that's enough of that! I know you guys came here for Chapter 30 of Justice, and that's what you shall have.
FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June), chapter 30
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, and they are getting closer all the time. Unfortunately, he has a gang of crooks and crooked cops who are helping him go after Dee, Ryo and Bikky.
Rating: This chapter is worksafe, however I believe there is some swearing.
Disclaimer: FAKE, featuring Dee, Ryo, Bikky, Carol, The Chief, Ted, Drake, JJ, and FBI Agent Diana Spacey, was created by Sanami Matoh. I make no claim on FAKE or Ms. Matoh or any of her characters. I write fanfiction with no expectation of monetary reward.
Author's Notes: Elena’s friend Karen, sisters Chloe and Gemma, Mike Abernathy, Thomas Abernathy, Tahawney, and Detectives Fielding and Clayton are all my characters. An A-bomb is drug slang for a marijuana cigarette with opium or heroin in it. And, because I haven't said it for a while, I'll say it again: I believe in a strong and equal Ryo and Dee.
Thank you to ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-reading this chapter for me.
Previously in Justice:
Diana has been working on finding the spy at the 27th Precinct and has narrowed down the list of suspects to two.
Dee and Ryo got some interesting info about Ja Romeo from Tyrone, who is the acting leader of the Stone Blood Boys while his father, Essien Ibo, recovers in the hospital from a bullet to the lung.
Thomas Abernathy, Mike’s 14-year-old son, recently found out that he has been chatting online with his mysterious wheelchair stalker, Tahawney, for months. Tahawney was the same person who caught Eddie’s laptop in mid-air back in Chapter 12 when Bikky and his friends were attacked in a subway station by Abernathy’s men. Bikky wants to get the laptop back, so he and Thomas are making plans to meet up with Tahawney. But first Bikky has to figure out how to escape from the K-Ray Horse Ranch without anyone noticing he’s gone. Ryo has promised Bikky that he will be grounded until Christmas if he runs away from there.
Detectives Hugh Clayton and Lonnie Fielding of the 7th Precinct are the two that arrested Bikky, Jill and Penny in Chinatown a couple of weeks ago. Hugh is calmer and more reasonable than the volatile Lonnie. Later, it was Hugh and Lonnie who showed up at Ryo’s apartment with a search warrant after Shantaya had gone to the police and sworn out a complaint about Ryo. Since then, Dee has done some digging on Lonnie and has discovered that Lonnie may have set up his former partner, Iona Smythe, in a similar way to what they tried to do to Ryo: i.e. planting stolen goods and illegal drugs in her car, and then lying in court. Ms. Smythe is currently serving fifteen years, whereas Lonnie got a commendation plus his gold shield for his work in exposing her ‘corrupt’ actions.
It’s a Sunday night in June, one week before Gay Pride.
Justice chapter 30
Ryo hung up the phone and said, “Marty’s checking into it. The autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.”
Taking a bite of his sandwich, Dee chewed it slowly, a thoughtful expression on his face. “Wonder what Rick’s connection to the corpse is?”
“I guess we’ll find out. But even if there’s a positive link, we still have to locate the guy. He might have left town.” Ryo opened the file cabinet next to his desk, and pulled out a battered old file. “Did Detective Clayton return your call?”
Dee nodded. “Yeah, he left me a message. Says he’s ‘up to his neck in work’, and he’ll call back when he has more time. Yeah, right. He’s probably up to his neck in his partner’s shit, not work.”
“Maybe I should call him,” suggested Ryo, looking hard at Dee.
“Hey, don’t go giving me the evil eye. I was polite. Charming, even. If I’m gonna bust his balls I’ll do it when we’re face to face.”
“Hmph.” Ryo turned back to his computer screen. “I suggest we find out when Clayton starts his shift tomorrow and show up at the 7th Precinct at that time.”
“Are you sure that’s such a good idea? Those bastards at the 7th almost got away with setting you up with stolen drugs and jewelry. If we walk right into the snake’s nest, someone might tuck a couple A-bombs into our pockets when we’re not paying attention. Or we’ll come back to our car and find a naked hooker in the trunk.” Dee cocked an eyebrow at Ryo before taking another bite of his dinner. He was only half-joking.
“They’re not all bad at the 7th,” Ryo reminded him. “Besides, I think we’ll catch our ‘snakes’ off guard because they won’t expect us to show up there.” He allowed himself a small smile, even though he was slightly irritated with Dee for conjuring up the shadow of his mistake in going to Shantaya’s apartment alone on Friday. “They certainly won’t have time to rustle up a naked hooker.”
“Especially since their cooperative-hooker-of-the-moment has gone AWOL.” Dee put down his water bottle and wiped his mouth with the back of his hand. “You think Rick and Shantaya are on the run together or separately?”
Ryo considered this for a moment. “Rick could probably hide better on his own. He can certainly run faster, as we have reason to know. But I’d say everything depends on how much she knows about what he’s been up to. If he bragged to her about murder and drug deals with the Devils, we’re not going to have any problem getting the details out of her if we pick her up first. Girlfriend or no, he might decide to silence her.”
“Well, we know he’s killed at least once before, even if Shantaya doesn’t. Perhaps twice, depending on whatever Marty learns from the stiff that was buried under De Luca’s tomato plants…” Dee’s eyes hardened. “She could already be dead.”
Ryo shook his head. “Ruth left me a message. Shantaya’s aunt confirmed that she talked to her early this morning. Shantaya claimed to be in Hoboken. Says she’s staying with a john and will be away for a week.”
“Did the 99th check that out with the phone company, or are they as short on manpower as we are?”
Ryo shrugged. “I’m sure they’re on it. I doubt she’s really in Hoboken though.”
“More likely in a Devil’s stronghold, chained to a wall while they discuss which way to ice her.” Dee pitched his empty water bottle into the trash can.
Ryo got up from his desk and fished it out before handing it back to Dee with a disapproving look. “Recycle that. You should know better.”
Dee did his best to summon up an approximation of an apologetic expression. “The trash can was closer.”
“The recycling bin is just at the end of the hall,” Ryo reminded him. “And don’t be so negative about Shantaya. She could just as easily be holed up in a hotel room or staying with a girlfriend.” He sat back down at his desk and glanced over at Dee. “We should be ready in case she reaches out to us.”
“All right, all right. But if she ‘reaches out’ while I’m not here, you make damn sure you take a couple of female officers with you.”
Ryo glared at Dee. “Can we just let that go already? I learned my lesson on Friday.”
Dee contemplated him for a moment before saying, “Let’s hope so.”
Tahawney stared grimly at the screen of his recently acquired laptop computer. So far, he had not been able to get through the whole video. He had seen a lot of bad things in his life— had endured terrible physical pain and heartache himself, but only ever as a man full-grown. His childhood had been happy; his parents had loved him and never raised a hand to him. To see that monster Mike Abernathy taking out his lamentable temper on Thomas was unbearable. The small boy’s thin legs kicked helplessly as he sobbed and writhed in the grip of his ‘father’, unable to prevent the whippy blows that slashed repeatedly across his bare thighs and buttocks. Tahawney stopped the video abruptly. He couldn’t watch it one second longer.
To think that cold bitch Isadora had gone off and left Thomas with this man. On the one hand he owed her for tipping him off. But on the other, he couldn’t forgive her for staying silent all these years. That poor child. No wonder he spent so much time looking for love and approval online.
When Mike and Isa had left Ireland with Thomas, Tahawney had been in no shape to do anything. He was facing major surgery and years of rehab. Following that, there had been the issue of trying to earn a living, since his former trade as a roofer was closed to him. Mike made his claim as Thomas’s uncle, and was willing, even eager, to go through the process of adopting the newly orphaned boy. Tahawney had had no rights to Thomas, none at all. As the months and then years had slipped by, he had taken comfort from the fact that Thomas at least had a stable home and a good life in the United States. Isa had always had money, and Mike became a cop in New York a few months after they arrived there. Tahawney knew those two would be able to provide the boy with food, clothes, a good education, a family. Mike hadn’t been so bad in those days; at least, nowhere near as bad as his brother Matthew or their father. But blood will out, as they say. The years went by and Mike apparently became more like his bastard of a father.
Tahawney wondered if either Mike or Isa ever truly loved Thomas. There seemed to be no gentle feelings in that family at all. Well, except for the ones that came from Thomas. Tahawney felt certain that Thomas loved both of his parents, despite his mother’s distant nature and his father’s frequent cruelty. The lad had a naturally loving and trusting heart, and it seemed to have gotten him into a certain amount of trouble, both inside and outside his home.
Waiting was hard. Thomas had said he wanted to check with his friend Bikky before coming out to meet his new/old ‘friend’ Tahawney. That was good. It meant the boy had obviously learned to be more cautious with regards to people he met online. Tahawney figured the next thing that would happen would be that Bikky would appear on the chat boards looking for him, which meant he had to stay online for the next few hours.
Tahawney knew he was taking a risk with these online communications on public chat boards. Fortunately Mike was no good with computers. Although a lieutenant in NYPD Internal Affairs, he had never gone beyond simple email and word processing. Tahawney suspected Mike didn’t even know how to use the text feature on his phone. Mike had banned Tahawney from his apartment and forbidden him to have any contact with Thomas, but it wouldn’t occur to such a tech-dinosaur that Tahawney and Thomas might conceivably meet up in cyberspace.
Tahawney was doing his best to make sure Mike didn’t find out where he was staying. Yesterday, a shifty little Asian guy he recognized as one of Mike’s contacts had followed him for eight blocks. He’d been forced to lure his pursuer into Fairway Market on Broadway and surreptitiously Taser him in the soup aisle. Back when he’d lifted that Taser from the cop who had been threatening Bikky at the train station, he’d known it would come in handy. Anyway, since that day Mike had known that it was likely Tahawney who had gotten away with the laptop during the kerfuffle. Even if Mike did succeed in finding him, there was no way that son of a bitch was going to be able to save himself now. Tahawney had backed up all the files. They had copies at headquarters, too, copies of everything, all those phone calls in which Mike had incriminated himself over and over. The only thing they didn’t have was this video of Mike whipping Thomas in a dark basement room somewhere. Tahawney wasn’t sure he wanted that video to be seen by countless LEOs on both sides of the Atlantic. Even though Thomas’s face couldn’t be seen, it was still like an invasion of Thomas’s privacy, an affront to the dignity the boy had never been allowed to have. Despite all the heinous things that Mike had done in his miserable life, to Tahawney, Mike’s sadistic habit of beating the spirit and self-confidence out of the boy he called his son was the worst.
Bikky had to wait for his turn on the complimentary computer Karen kept in a little alcove off the dining room. One of the other guests was using it, a woman from Canada who could barely speak English. That fact confused him. He didn’t know a whole hell of a lot about Canada, but he had been under the impression that they spoke English up there. She was having a loud conversation via Skype with various people, maybe her family members. Every time she said “Orv-Wa” and started blowing kisses at the screen, Bikky thought she was saying good bye and got his hopes up, but then yet another member of her endlessly huge family would appear on the screen and they’d start up all over again. Finally she ran out of kids and aunts and uncles and cousins and got the hell off the computer. Bikky glared at her departing form and sank into the still-warm chair with a feeling of irritation and relief.
Now he had to find some maps and plan how he was going to get all the way up to Manhattan and hopefully back here again without anyone being the wiser. He opened up two web browser windows so that he could hunt for Green OJ in one and research travel routes in the other.
“Hey Chief, you got a minute?”
The Chief punched the elevator button and glared at Dee. “Yeah, but just a minute. I told the missus I’d be home for dinner half an hour ago. I was supposed to drive the family to Coney Island today, but that fake video thing fucked up my family time.”
“Sure, I’ll be quick. Remember I told you about Wes Samberg, our friendly neighborhood Soho dealer? I need your approval if we’re going to set him up with a wire for his next chat with you-know-who. Small operation and no extra bodies like with the Hambler sting.” Dee took a quick look up and down the hall to make sure no one was in earshot. The closest people were a couple of Taru techs chatting down by the drink machine. He didn’t think they were close enough to hear anything.
“Okay, you got it,” said the Chief. “Get me the requisition first thing and I’ll sign off on it. When do you wanna do it?”
“ASAP,” said Dee. “Before Samberg changes his mind or Abernathy changes it for him. If we can get Mike’s voice on tape discussing the terms of his protection racket, it’ll definitely be enough to get us our warrant, even if his lawyer later gets the tape banned from our trial evidence.”
The Chief agreed and got on the elevator. As the doors closed on his tired and anxious face, Dee reflected that he had never seen the Chief looking so discouraged. Ted had hinted that IA had done a video on him, too. The Chief was a crusty old bastard, but he was a straight arrow and everyone knew it. On the other hand, it seemed to be human nature to enjoy a scandal and believe the worst of people. If those videos found their way out into the public domain, Dee had no doubt that all of their reputations would be shot to hell. All they could do at this point was trust Ted and the FBI to find a way to prove those interviews were fakes.
The thought of Ted made him remember that he needed to have a private conversation with his co-worker. Ted had evidently figured out that Dee’s relationship with Ryo had changed. They had a number of reasons for keeping their personal connection secret. Neither wanted to be reassigned to new partners, and besides, Ryo would freak if he got outed before he was ready. His partner was determined to remain a closet case for the time being, and while Dee wished Ryo would just stand up and be open about his orientation, it wasn’t his call to make.
He rode the elevator up to the computer lab, where he figured he would find Ted still slaving away. He needed to find out Ted’s terms for silence.
After dinner, which consisted of the most excellent fried chicken Bikky had ever tasted, the doorbell rang. Karen paused in the middle of loading the dishwasher and said, “Bikky would you mind getting that? It’s probably the girls.”
“Sure.” Glad of an excuse to leave his plate with its portion of uneaten broccoli, Bikky sprang up and went to the front door. Standing on the porch were two tall and slender black girls who definitely looked like sisters. They looked down at him with matching grins.
“Hi!” said the one on the right. “I’m Gemma and she’s Chloe! Are you a guest here? Is Karen in? She said she needed our help with the horses!”
“Yeah, come on in,” said Bikky, wondering if she’d maybe had a little too much coffee.
The other girl rolled her eyes. “Don’t mind her,” she said. “She’s high on sugar. She drank a giant cola slushee about fifteen minutes ago.”
Gemma giggled. “Sorry! It’s true! Too late now! What’s your name, anyway?”
“I’m Bikky,” he replied. “I’m stayin’ here for a while because my dad’s, uh, working.”
“Nice to meet you, Bikky,” said Chloe.
“Love your hair!” added Gemma. Her admiring gaze made Bikky feel a little self-conscious. Chicks always commented on his hair. Most of them seemed to think he dyed it. He hoped they wouldn’t have to have a conversation about it. Fortunately, their minds seemed to be on horses. What was it about girls and horses, anyway?
The girls followed him to the kitchen, talking. They seemed to be arguing about which of Karen’s horses was the cutest. That was a new one on Bikky. He had never thought of horses as having any claim on the word ‘cute.’ To him, they were big and bony and dangerous, not to mention that they totally stunk. Gemma and Chloe, however— they were his personal definition of cute. They were both wearing tight pants, too.
Karen welcomed them and offered iced tea, which both girls declined. She explained her problem with Pedrick running off suddenly.
“The horses need their evening meal,” Karen said. “Just hay this time, because they had their grain earlier. Ju-Jube and Bella really need to be exercised. They’re such a pair of lazybones. And wait until you meet Apollo. Remember, I told you about Apollo?”
Immersed in a cloud of horse-chatter, all three of them got up to head out to the barn. Bikky spent all of five seconds considering whether to go up to his room and make some progress on his schoolwork, or follow those tight pants out into the horse-zone. He reminded himself that he needed to learn more about horses if he was going to ride one out of here in a few days to go meet Tahawney with Tom. Besides, he needed to find out where a person could buy a giant cola slushee in these parts. Ever since Chloe had mentioned it, he had been craving one.
Chloe and Gemma went right up to the horses with a fearlessness Bikky envied. He offered to go up to the loft to get more hay for them, but Gemma scrambled up the ladder ahead of him. “Look out below!” she called out and then giggled madly at the yelp Bikky made when a bale of hay thudded onto the floorboards right in front of his feet. Karen and the girls fed the horses and then discussed which girl was going to ride which horse and for how long. Gemma wanted to ride Ju-Jube, but Chloe insisted that Ju-Jube was her favorite and she wanted to ride him. Finally they agreed that Gemma would exercise Bella first, and if there was time later, she would take Ju-Jube for a short gallop in the north pasture.
Chloe grabbed a brush and started grooming the horse they called Ju-Jube, talking softly to him. “Yeah, you love this, don’t you, Ju? Feels goooood, doesn’t it, my itchy boy!” She looked up and saw Bikky watching. “Hey, Bikky, why don’t you grab a brush and do his other side? We’ll get done faster.”
Bikky hesitated. “Um… I’ve never…”
“Really?” Both girls looked surprised.
Karen spoke up and Bikky was relieved when all she said was, “He’s from New York City. He hasn’t really been around horses before.” He had been afraid she would tell the girls he was scared or something.
Gemma slapped a horse brush into his hand. “Come on, City Boy, it’s easy. I’ll show you. She took up a position on the near side of Ju-Jube, and looked at him with her eyebrows raised.
Bikky’s male pride demanded he join her over at the horse. He hoped no one could hear how loudly his heart was beating. Ju-Jube was looking pretty relaxed— for a horse. Hopefully he wouldn’t bite or kick as long as he was getting brushed.
Karen went down the other end of the barn to feed Apollo, but not before Bikky had seen her quick smile. Again, he appreciated the fact that she didn’t join the girls in encouraging him. Maybe he’d shovel some more horseshit for her tomorrow.
Ted unfolded himself from his chair and stood up in front of the bank of terminals so he could stretch his arms above his head. A popping sound emitted from his back in two places and one of his knee joints joined in the chorus by cracking. His body was telling him he was going to have to get to the gym at some point in the next day or two. He had been up practically all night working on bypassing the security protocols in IA’s mainframe, and now the Chief and the Commish both expected him to keep right on going as though he were as much of a machine as the ones he was working on. A small sigh escaped from his mouth. A man had to sleep sometime, and eat, too. And maybe not lose his girlfriend because he had to work a whole pile of shitty extra hours and couldn’t spend time with her. Ted reached into his jeans pocket for his phone so he could send Ramona another apologetic text. She wasn’t too happy about the fact that he had missed dinner with her and her daughter this evening, and Drake had told him that whenever a woman wasn’t happy with you, one measly apology wasn’t going to be enough. You had to apologize at least three different times in three different ways in order to ensure peace. That was news to Ted, but on the other hand, he had to admit that none of his previous relationships seemed to last longer than a few weeks. He was willing to give Drake’s apology tactic a try.
There was a rap on the door about a half-second before Dee walked in. Ted could tell right away by the look on his face why he was here. He sat back down on his wheeled chair again and grinned tiredly at his co-worker.
“Dude, you still here?” Dee glanced at the clock on the wall which read eight-oh-five pm. “You’re racking up the overtime tonight.”
Ted decided to play along for the time being. “Got no choice until they get me some help with this thing.” He grimaced at the three computer terminals he was working at. “I found all kinds of shit on the Commish— audio only. He was in here earlier having kittens about it.”
Dee smiled. “I bet. I would’ve liked to see that.”
“Trust me, no you wouldn’t.”
“You think you’ll be outta here before midnight?”
Ted shook his head. “Nah. It’ll be one a.m. at least. I haven’t had any dinner, either.” He directed a pointed look at Dee, which Dee picked up on immediately. “But I bet you and Ryo had dinner. Together.”
Dee jumped right in without messing around. “So, look, I’m kinda getting the impression that you think there’s something goin’ on between Ryo and me.”
Ted smirked and cracked his knuckles. “I don’t just think it, man. Your dream came true, didn’t it? You finally wore him down.”
Dee eyed him warily, and Ted could almost see the wheels turning.
“Don’t bother trying to snow me, Dee. I’m one hundred percent sure. But don’t worry-- none of the others have noticed, and so far, anyway… I haven’t said anything to ‘em.” He grinned. “Even though I’m absolutely dying to.”
The muscles in Dee’s jaw bulged. He must have been grinding his teeth. Ted wanted to laugh, but didn’t quite dare. Dee was very much the type to knock a guy across the room first and give him a surly apology later. Ted hoped they could get through the coming negotiations without Dee finding it necessary to assuage his pride with a little gratuitous violence.
Dee took a chair next to Ted and leaned in close enough to make him nervous. “Has that bitch Tina Greenspan been gossiping about us?”
Ted was genuinely surprised. “No! Miss ‘I’m-so-hot’ won’t even look at me, let alone talk to me, probably ‘cause she hates you and you’re my co-worker. Why? Does she know?”
“Fuckit, Teddy, let’s get our cards on the table here. Me, I’m out and proud, you know that. I swing both ways and I don’t give a shit who knows it. But Ryo does give a shit. He’s still making up his mind how he feels about this. You know, the lifestyle, the discrimination, everything. You’d better not out him before he’s ready.” Dee jabbed a hard finger into the center of Ted’s chest.
Ted immediately rolled his chair back a safe distance and rubbed the sore spot on his chest where Dee had assaulted it. “No fair, Dee! Ryo’s busy outing himself on a daily basis, and you’re doing your best to help him along. It’s just a matter of time until someone else notices.”
Dee seemed somewhat taken aback. “Whaddaya mean, he’s outing himself? And how am I helping him?”
Ted rolled his eyes. “You guys really have no idea, do you? You’re so givin’ each other the goo-goo eyes nowadays. Before you two hooked up, he used to try not to look at you in case you came on to him and embarrassed him, but now he gazes at you all the time. Limpidly. Dude, he even checks out your ass when you turn around!”
“He does?” Dee seemed to be trying to keep his expression serious, but his face lit up with pleasure at this piece of information.
“Yeah. And you’ve changed your behaviour too.”
“I have not! I always hit on him a lot and checked out his body. I’ve been doing that for more than two years. Everyone knows that.”
“Think again, Dee. For the past year, you’ve been the picture of hangdog unrequited love, but now you’re walking around like a smiling Sylvester with Tweety feathers hanging out of his mouth.”
Dee stared. “Tweety feathers?” His mouth twitched like he wanted to laugh, but he managed not to.
“And,” continued Ted, “you’ve totally stopped hitting on him! Well, okay, maybe not totally, but significantly.”
Dee looked worried. “Dude, you could be right about that one.” He put a hand up to his forehead and pushed his hair out of his eyes. “Damn. I can’t believe I forgot to keep on hitting on him!”
Ted folded his arms. “Both of you are behaving differently. There’s a new closeness. Plus, before you got shipped over here to the Palace, you guys had started arriving at the Two-Seven together almost every shift. The old Dee Laytner used to be late a couple times a week. Now Ryo’s bringing him in either right on time, or an hour or two early. Suddenly you’re both eating identical homemade lunches too.” He shook his head, enjoying the uncertain expression on Dee’s face. “I give you guys until mid-July before the whole precinct knows.”
“Shit.” Dee sat back in his chair and stared at the wall.
“What you need,” said Ted shrewdly, “is an ally.”
Dee’s eyes flickered back to Ted. “How so?”
“You need someone to assist you in pulling the wool over all our co-workers’ eyes.”
“Go on.” He had Dee’s full attention now.
“Someone to say, ‘Hey Dee, who was that hot chick I saw you with last night?’ Someone who will kick you under the table if you start accidentally gazing at Ryo like you wanna have his babies.” Ted raised his eyebrows at Dee. “I’ll kick Ryo, too, if you think he won’t mind.”
At these suggestions, Dee became a little more animated. “Teddy, my man, that is a hell of an idea. If you could help us out like that, I know I would owe you, big time.”
“You’re gonna doubly owe me,” Ted informed Dee smugly, “because not only am I willing to lie to the whole of the 27th Precinct for you, but I would also like to point out that I didn’t rat Ryo out to the Chief regarding the bugs at the Two-Seven and the fact that Ryo knew before he did and didn’t tell him or the team anything about it.”
Dee’s smile faded and his frown came back. Ted could see that Dee was pissed off that Ryo had kept that secret from him.
“The Chief was right there,” Ted went on, “looking at the material and listening to the audio files, and he figured the only reason I knew about the bugs was ‘cause I hacked my way into IA. Everyone thought that, and I let ‘em think it. But in fact, I didn’t know dick about it until Ryo fessed up. I could’ve done a way more thorough search if so. So, there you have it. You are in debt and I am the bank, and there will be interest charged.”
“How much is this gonna cost me?” Dee asked grimly.
“Well, I wasn’t thinking strictly in terms of money,” said Ted. “I mean, cash has its uses and all, but favors are also a kind of currency.”
“Oh man.” Dee leaned back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling before clasping his hands in ostensible prayer. “Lord, please tell me I’m not gonna have to break Ted’s arm when this is over.”
Ted’s eyes narrowed. “You better not.”
“Ryo ain’t gonna be in the closet forever, dude. The minute he’s out, you better watch out.” Dee pushed himself out of his chair and poked at Ted’s chest again. “Think about it. And maybe tone down your list of requests.”
When Dee had left and the door had banged shut behind him, Ted reflected that the opening round of negotiations had gone rather well. He hadn’t been punched out and he had succeeded in planting the seed that Dee and Ryo might find his cooperation useful as long as they needed to keep their big secret. He liked the feeling of having Dee in his debt. This was going to work out very well for both of them.
Dee and Ryo were lying in wait in front of the 7th Precinct at 7:00 a.m. the next morning. Detective Clayton was due to start work at 7:30 a.m., like them, but Ryo had insisted they get there a full half hour early. Dee was grimly sucking on his second ice-coffee drink from Dunkin’ Donuts, hoping the combination of sugar and caffeine would wake him up a little. Transitions between second shift and third shift were always rough on the system. He and Ryo had finished work at 11:00 p.m. last night, gone home by midnight, got to sleep by around 2:00 and woken up at 6:00 a.m. He estimated he had had around four hours of sleep. So had Ryo, but unlike Dee, he wasn’t showing it. He seemed his normal self.
It had been a good thing Ted was working overtime at the Palace last night. He had discovered the existence of an extra hacker on IA’s video project, and he figured he knew who she was due to having had previous experience with her MO and the type of aliases she favored. She was the unidentified administrator, the only one who didn’t log in from IA’s mainframe. Ted had been under the impression that she was doing time-- if, indeed, she was the person he suspected she was-- but further investigation revealed that she was actually out of prison and living in Brooklyn. Naturally, the building manager at her last-known address hadn’t seen her for weeks. The FBI wanted her pretty bad. As soon as they had her, Diana’s team could move to shut down the fake video project. Hopefully that would be today.
Absolutely nothing happened at the 7th Precinct between 7:00 and 7:20, except a brief exchange of greetings between Ryo and a patrol officer he had once worked with. Dee was just thinking of lighting another cigarette when he heard a familiar voice behind them.
“What the hell do you two jokers want around here?”
Dee turned around and his eyes fell on Detective Lonnie Fielding, Clayton’s partner. The guy looked belligerent but wary. Dee gave him his trademarked evil grin. The sight of Fielding had sharpened him up like no coffee ever could. He flung his empty coffee cup away. “Well, if it ain’t Lonnie the Loser. How’s your habit, Lonnie? Keeping you up at night? Man, those random drug tests must be a bitch.”
Lonnie’s face instantly went red. “What the fuck is your problem, Laytner? You better shut your fuckin’ mouth and stop spouting lies.”
“What’s my problem? You really have to ask?” Dee took a menacing step forward, wondering what the smaller man would do. To his satisfaction, Lonnie stepped back.
Beside Dee, Ryo spoke up. “Actually, Detective Fielding, we’re not here to see you at all. It’s your partner we wanted to have a word with. Is he in yet?”
Lonnie’s lip lifted in a nervous sneer. “MacLean, you gotta know your luck is gonna run out one of these days. You just keep on slapping the girls around; you’ll see what happens to you.”
Now it was Ryo’s face that went red, and for a moment Dee thought that he might be the one doing the restraining for once. But then Ryo got himself under control.
“Detective, we didn’t come here to exchange insults with you. I asked you about your partner,” he said calmly. Dee thought he could detect an undercurrent of anger in his partner’s tone.
“He ain’t in today,” Lonnie said quickly. “It’s his day off, and besides, he wouldn’t wanna talk to you two clowns anyway.”
But it was too late. Ryo and Dee could see Detective Hugh Clayton getting out of a yellow taxi a short distance away. Dee waved to him, and yelled, “Detective Clayton! Over here.”
Clayton came up to them looking surprised and uncomfortable. He took a good long look at Ryo first, and then Dee. “Gentlemen,” he said stiffly and gave them a small nod. He did not offer to shake hands, and neither did the two detectives from the 27th Precinct.
“Detective,” said Ryo, “we’d like to talk with you about a case we’re working on.”
Clayton glanced at his watch. “Can it wait? I’ve got to go punch in, plus we have a team meeting every morning between seven thirty and eight.”
“Not eight, eight thirty,” said Lonnie quickly. “And right after that, we gotta go meet a witness. Remember, Hugh?” He seemed to be trying to communicate something to his partner with his eyes.
“Uh…” Clayton looked sideways at his partner, unsure for the moment how to respond. “Well, if you say so, Lonnie, I guess we do…”
Dee thought they’d better cut to the chase. “Clayton, you’re in trouble, and I think you know it. We came here to give you a heads up just in case you think it’s gonna stay a secret forever.”
Detective Clayton’s jaw tightened. “Now look, if this is about that warrant the other day, I’ll admit our two officers went a little overboard with their search— ”
Ryo shook his head. “It’s not about the warrant. We can talk about that another time.”
“It’s about your career,” added Dee. “We have information we think you oughta know.”
Lonnie was yanking on Clayton’s arm. “Come on, Hugh, we’re gonna be late for the meeting. Forget these jerks. They got nothin’.”
But Clayton was looking from Dee’s eyes to Ryo’s with a small frown on his face. “Okay,” he said. I can give you ten minutes. Come back at eight fifteen. I’ll come down.”
“Thanks,” said Ryo.
Dee gestured to Lonnie but didn’t take his eyes off Clayton. “Don’t bring him,” he said. “This is personal, for your ears only.”
“Fuck you, Laytner.” Lonnie flipped him the bird and turned away to enter the building with his partner.
Dee turned to Ryo and chuckled. “Think we rattled him?”
--end of Justice chapter 30--
end of chapter 30