By Brit Columbia
Timeline: Set after Justice in July of the FAKE First Year Together series. Also set after Volume 7 of FAKE
Summary: Drake has recently started seeing a new woman, of whom JJ disapproves.
Rating: This whole story is worksafe. There's a bit of swearing in this chapter, though.
Disclaimer: FAKE, featuring Dee, Ryo, Bikky, Carol, Ted, Drake, and JJ, 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: Detectives James Chang and Eliza Austen are my characters. So are Lily and her brother, and Bridget, James’s girlfriend.
Bridget first appeared in FAKE First Year Together: A New Day, in Chapter 6. She was interested in Ryo, but later when she showed up at the station looking for Ryo, Dee managed to deflect her onto James instead.
Lily has appeared twice before in my FAKE stories. She was first introduced in Chapter 15 of A New Day when Ryo had lunch with Drake at a Chinese restaurant. Later she appeared about halfway through Slave to a Gladiator.
Dragon Lady, Chapter Six
Everybody moved at once, shouting and pushing their chairs back as they made haste to get away from the immediate vicinity of the table. Before Bikky could be prevailed upon to describe exactly what he had seen, the kitchen door hit the wall with a bang and this was followed by the sound of Lily’s familiar stomping footsteps.
Instead of saying thank you like a normal person, Lily barked an accusatory question at him, pointing to the group’s suddenly vacant table. James replied in English for the benefit of the others.
“There’s some kind of animal under the table. Bikky, didn’t you say it was a dog?”
Bikky shook his head rapidly. He had taken up a protective position in front of Carol, who was staring intently at the space between the floor and the hem of the tablecloth, just in case something moved down there.
“What did you see, Bikky? Is it something scary?” Carol asked. She was practically vibrating with curiosity.
JJ thought that it must indeed have been something scary because Bikky’s brown face was paler than usual and his eyes looked huge in his young face.
The thing under the table huffed again and bumped into one of the table legs, which made the whole table shake.
Lily became very still at the sound, and gave the recently vacated table a sharp look. “Uh-oh. Flank? Is that you?”
“What the fuck is that?” In a flash, Dee had whipped his nine millimeter out of its holster and had it pointing steadily at the creature. His eyes flickered briefly to Ryo’s. “Dude, get the kids out of here, now.”
Carol darted out from behind Bikky and got herself into a position to see what was going on. “Oh my God!” she squeaked. “It’s a Komodo dragon!” She promptly ran back behind Bikky just in time for Ryo to start herding both kids toward the door.
“Dee, try not to shoot that thing,” said James over his shoulder as he trailed after Ryo, carrying Bridget’s limp form in his arms. “Komodos are an endangered species.”
“If it comes at any one of us, it’s gonna change from endangered to dead,” muttered Dee, not taking his eyes off the big lizard.
“Don’t shoot Flank,” begged Lily. “Please! He not bad. Just hungry.” She looked around, her eyes darting everywhere. “Where is Yang Yang?”
“Honey,” said Drake with a fleeting sidelong glance at Lily, “who is Yang Yang?” Like Dee, he kept his eyes on the dragon. His hand was resting on his holstered weapon, and when Lily registered this fact, she gave him a look that ought to have raised blisters on his skin.
“No gun, Dick! Too many guns this place. No shooting! Bad for business.”
“I would guess Yang Yang was perhaps that rabbit Carol was holding?” JJ whispered to Eliza, but found she was ignoring him in favor of signaling to the older gentleman who had only recently received his lunch.
“What’s going on over there, young lady?” he called gruffly to Eliza.
“Sir, I must ask you to leave the restaurant,” she said to him, flashing her badge as she did so.
Lily’s head whipped around at that and she pointed a peremptory finger at the man. “Pay first!”
The Komodo emerged fully out from under the table, revealing itself to be roughly the size of a German Shepherd, and a gasp went up at the sight of it. Dee thumbed the safety off his weapon. Unaware of the danger it was in, the Komodo stalked over to the adjacent table where James had set the hot plates of ginger beef. It then climbed up onto the table via one of the chairs and flicked its tongue over the nearest dish in an exploratory manner.
Lily tried to remonstrate with the creature, flapping her hands at it. “No, Flank, don’t eat. Spicy no good for you.”
This made JJ roll his eyes. Didn’t Komodo dragons regularly eat rotten carcasses? He was sure Flank’s digestive system was more than up to the task of digesting Lucky Peking’s house special.
Ryo stuck his head back in through the door and announced that he had just called animal control. Bikky and Carol had their excited faces pressed up against the glass of the restaurant’s main picture window. They both looked as if they were standing at the gates of Disney World with a fistful of tickets and a bloodstream full of sugar. This unsettling sight made JJ resolve for the hundredth time never to have kids of his own, nor to maintain a close association with anyone who did.
There was a shout behind them as Lily’s brother charged toward them wielding his cleaver in what may have been a vaguely threatening manner. This did not sit well with Dee, who whirled and levelled his gun at the man. “Stop right there, buddy or I’ll blow your goddamn head off!” His eyes flickered to Drake and he gestured with his head. Drake nodded his understanding, and drew his gun to cover the dragon.
“Drop the weapon, shithead,” ordered Dee between clenched teeth, his beautiful green eyes fierce, and every line of his body taut with tension. JJ couldn’t help running an admiring eye over him. God, that man was hot. One of these days….
Meanwhile, the elderly gentleman was moving slowly toward the door with the aid of his cane, casting apprehensive glances over his shoulder at the fearsome tableau behind him. Lily made one more futile demand that he come back and pay, and for a moment JJ entertained a vain hope that she might run after the old dude and bop him one, but apparently the fact that her brother’s head was in imminent danger of being blown off by Dee trumped her desire to make the old man cough up a few bucks for his abandoned lunch. She transferred her ire to her hapless brother, who had not, in fact, dropped the cleaver. His eyes were darting nervously between Dee and Flank as Dee repeated his command as well as his earlier threat.
Lily pointed to the cleaver and snapped an order in rapid Cantonese to her brother. He blinked nervously at her and licked his lips. Then he said something back, and glanced over at Flank.
“Shoot him in the leg, Dee,” suggested JJ helpfully. “What if he throws that thing?” He drew his own weapon, determined to protect his idol.
The bell on the door jingled cheerily as James re-entered the restaurant, sans Bridget. He, too, shouted something in Cantonese, and Lily’s brother finally took notice.
As the man slowly crouched down to lay the cleaver on the floor, Yang Yang the rabbit chose that moment to streak out from under a table and make a break for the front door, which, unfortunately, was just starting to close behind the man with the cane. Flank promptly heaved himself off the table and went after the terrified creature.
Everyone shouted and moved at once. Drake’s gun barked as he pulled the trigger, and he hollered in pain as Lily karate-chopped his wrist in almost the same moment. The shot went low and Flank’s life was spared. Things looked bad for Yang Yang, however. The door swung closed just as the rabbit got there. It scrabbled against the door, actually squealing in terror as the dragon advanced.
Bikky’s face vanished from the window and reappeared at the glass of the door. There was a wild jingle of the bell as he shoved the door open just enough for the rabbit to squeeze through, then yanked it shut in Flank’s face. The Komodo roared in frustration and rammed its ugly head against the door. JJ turned back from this fascinating scene just in time to see Lily’s brother try to snatch up his cleaver once more, an act that got him kicked in the head by Dee. Lily folded her arms and made approving noises.
“Seriously, dude,” said Dee, one of his knees pressing hard in the middle of Brother’s back, as he snapped handcuffs around the guy’s wrists, “who brings a meat cleaver to a gunfight? You been watching too many of those lame martial arts fight movies where everyone tosses their guns aside and fights like two hundred years ago. You’re lucky I didn’t blow a hole in ya.”
Lily turned unsympathetic eyes onto the prone figure of her brother who appeared to be still stunned from being kicked in the head. “He always stupid,” she said, as if that settled the matter. Then, without warning, she stomped off to the kitchen.
James rapped out a command to Lily’s rapidly disappearing back, which caused JJ to raise an eyebrow. He had gotten so used to James’ constant pussy-whipped moanings and groanings in recent weeks that he had forgotten his co-worker could do the authoritative, hardass cop-thing with the best of them.
Lily threw James a look over her shoulder that could only be described as come-hither, and kept right on going. She disappeared through the swing-door of the kitchen, only to reappear a couple of moments later with a big pot containing something brown and sludgy, which she set down in the far corner. “Fla-a-a-ank! Food for you! Yes, dear, come here!”
The Komodo immediately stopped trying to ram its head through the heavy glass door and trotted over to the pot of food. James strode toward Lily and took her gallantly by the arm, leading her to safety.
Meanwhile a crowd had gathered outside, and sirens could be heard approaching. They were not loud enough, however, to drown out the sound of Bridget’s renewed hysterics. Having recovered from her swoon, she was apparently really pissed off about the fact that James had had the temerity to lay her down on the pavement under Eliza’s guard while he went off and did his job as a police officer.
Lily looked out the window at Bridget, her face carefully neutral, and then shot the briefest of speculative glances at James from under her lashes. James caught it, but kept on trying to look grim.
Drake, solid cop that he was, kept the dragon covered, even though he seemed uncomfortably aware that he wasn't winning any points for doing this. Neither Dee nor he had holstered their weapons, and this fact did not please Lily who, after one more ferociously disapproving glare that went from Drake’s face to his weapon and back again, had commenced ignoring him in favor of whispering softly in Cantonese to James.
“Honey,” said Drake, trying to get her attention back, “did you know there was a Komodo Dragon in your restaurant?”
“Never mind what she knew about the animals,” complained JJ peevishly. “She assaulted a police officer! I saw her hit your gun hand, Drake. I hope that someone is planning to arrest her! If you can’t bring yourself to do it, I will!”
He was astonished when both Drake and James wheeled on him.
“She is a victim, not a criminal!” exclaimed James.
“Can it, little buddy! That’s my girlfriend you’re talking about!” growled Drake.
Lily didn’t say a word. She just pulled her huge, stained smock-like apron over her head and threw it on the floor, revealing a tight little body in low-rise baggy pants and a midriff baring top.
JJ suddenly realized that her scowl had been gone for a while and he couldn’t pinpoint exactly when. She seemed like a totally different girl without it. All traces of crazy bad temper had disappeared like they had never been there at all. What the hell was she up to? He couldn't forget she was a psycho. Did Dee have that downed meat cleaver under control? Narrowing his eyes, JJ surveyed the scene. Dee, one foot on the cleaver, one hand holding his weapon trained on the brother, was busy lighting a cigarette with the other in direct contravention of the bylaws. As for the other players in the game, Drake was looking extra-unhappy, James was looking extra-manly, and Bridget was still outside and currently being strapped to a gurney by sympathetic paramedics who were giving her oxygen.
For her part, Lily stood hugging herself and gazing trustfully at James, somehow managing to look all small and feminine and not at all capable of holding a person’s hand down in a crab tank—which is what JJ felt sure she had done to her brother earlier.
Nonetheless, he suddenly felt as though he could forgive her everything. Whatever the hell had just happened here, everything had shifted and he felt in his gut that Drake was now safe. The world seemed like an infinitely brighter place as he turned to Dee and said, “Hey Dee, I know you and Ryo are not even on shift yet. Why don’t you let Drake and me take care of booking this guy? Making sure you get full credit, of course.”
“Why, thank you, JJ.” Dee prodded Lily’s brother with his foot. “Ryo is going to want to get the kids home anyway. How’s about we get back to you later with statements and corroboration and all that shit?”
“Now, wait a sec there—“ protested Drake, who was still nervously trying to catch Lily’s eye.
“Don’t worry, Drake, it’s not that much paperwork,” said JJ cheerfully. “And I know you haven’t had lunch yet, but don’t worry!” He held up his phone. “I just texted a rush order for spicy ginger beef to ChaCha Wong’s.” He ignored the hissing sound that came from Lily’s direction.
Despite himself, Drake’s eyes couldn’t help sharpening in interest. “ChaCha Wong’s? Shit, JJ, they charge fourteen bucks a plate! At lunch!”
JJ waved a dismissive hand and perjured himself without hesitation. “Don’t worry about it. I’ve got a gift certificate, so it’s on me, okay?”
If Lily had had anything extra to say about ChaCha Wong’s, the fact that there were uniforms suddenly spilling through the door like cowboys with their guns drawn and mostly aimed at Flank, shut her down like nobody’s business. She and James were so busy trying to explain to trigger-happy NYPD folk that Komodo Dragons were on the endangered species list that JJ was able to sidle closer to Drake and add, “I also ordered a huge side of fried rice and some spring rolls.”
“Really?” Drake holstered his gun. “The meat kind, or the vegetarian kind?”
“The meat kind, of course! I think we just burned at least ten thousand calories worth of stress here today. We need the meat kind, Drake.”
“Damn right we do, little buddy.” Drake clapped him on the shoulder, but then glanced uncertainly over at Lily and James, where both of Lily's tiny hands were resting on James' arm as she stood on her toes to speak urgently in his ear. Drake frowned at this, but said, “I guess James is the best guy to handle the questioning here… what with the language and all.”
“He sure is,” said JJ firmly. “He’ll get more out of them than we would. And I think he’ll make sure that Lily doesn’t get in trouble for whatever crap her brother has been up to here.”
At this Drake hesitated. “Are you sure? She’s my girlfriend, dude. I have to make sure that nothing bad happens to her…” Of course, being Drake, he stood there like a lummox wondering what the heck to do next.
“Just a sec, partner!” JJ dashed over to James. “Hey, James, can we count on you to get Lily out of this, or do we have to come along and help you with the questioning?”
James was exactly the same height as JJ, but somehow he managed to look older and taller in that moment. “You can count on me, JJ,” he said gravely. “She already told me some things… this guy is not even her brother! Did you know he threatened her---“
“Yes, yes, actually I suspected as much,” said JJ, cutting him off quickly before James could embark on what would no doubt be a long and tiresome story of Lily’s alleged victimhood at the hands of the poor schmuck on the floor who was apparently about to take the fall for whatever it was they had both been up to together. Drake was better off out of it in his opinion, and Lord knew James needed another focus to take his mind off Ms. Diet Plate in an Oxygen Mask out there with the paramedics. "Anyway, we leave it in your capable hands! We’ll be back at the station house if you need us for anything!” He hurried back to Drake and urged him to leave before the Animal Control team got there.
“But, wait, I thought you ordered food from ChaCha—”
“Yeah, I did. But not for here, dummy, what with rabbits and lizards and guns and stuff. I asked for them to deliver it to the 27th precinct.” JJ looked at his watch. “It should be arriving in about five minutes.”
“What?” Drake snatched his jacket from the back of the chair he had been sitting on earlier. “We’d better get moving then! What if Ted intercepts it before we get there?”
“What indeed?” muttered JJ, hurrying after his partner as he bolted out the door. He was one with Drake in his assessment of the Ted-factor.
They passed a harassed-looking Ryo, who was standing protectively over his brat and brat-ette, as a SWAT team arrived and started pushing past everyone, bristling with weapons.
Bikky shot JJ a gleeful look and gave him the thumbs up. “Awesome lunch, JJ! I owe ya one!”
Carol held up one of Yang Yang’s traumatized little paws and made it wave at him.
Barely repressing a shudder, JJ saluted them with a scowl. He couldn’t wait to get back to the relative peace of the CI room.
---End of Chapter six—and no the story is not finished yet! One more chapter should do it. Thanks for reading. Don't be shy about commenting.