I have yet to start my post-Christmas diet. There are a thousand reasons for that, among them that I still have Brie in my fridge, and at some point around Christmas, I bought 8 boxes of Hershey's Almondilloes, which are my number one, top-favourite chocolate of the non-gourmet variety. I also received many more boxes of chocolates from friends and admirers! Could YOU start a diet with that much chocolate in the house? If I start my diet, it follows that I have to stop eating chocolate, and I'm just not ready for that. In fact, I feel the tearing pangs of withdrawal symptoms just thinking about it. Another reason is that I just discovered a totally delicious type of pizza at my local pizza joint called "All Canadian" or something similar. It's got bacon, ground beef, onions, cheddar, and ketchup on it. I rejected it for a long time on account of the ketchup part. I'm not a ketchup person. But did I mention it has bacon on it? Bacon is the main thing that prevents me from becoming a vegetarian. The bacon on this pizza is plentiful and very crispy. I think I have a new addiction. I had one slice last night, woke up thinking about it this morning, so I dragged my father there at lunchtime and ate two more slices.
In non-food news, I went to the gym and did machines and sit ups just to prove to myself that I'm not totally degenerate. I did lots of laundry, went food shopping, and did assorted chores around the house. Oh yes, life is a party around here.
But I guess you'd like me to stop rambling and get on with the story! Okay, here goes.
Pairing: Dee/Ryo Rating: Chapter nine is rated "Mature". There's no sex in this chapter. Just some kissing, groping (and swearing. But there's sex in chapter 10! Yes there is, and it ain't just oral this time! Spoilers: To Volume 7 Timing: Set in May directly after Book 7 ended Summary: Ryo is coming to terms with the changes in his relationship with Dee, as well as his new sexual identity. Meanwhile, Dee and Ryo are searching for a young runaway. This story explores homophobic attitudes but is primarily a love story between two men. Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They are the property of Sanami Matoh. I am not making any money from this. Author's notes: I believe in a strong and equal Ryo and Dee. Beta'd by the tough, smart, funny, and exacting Blue Simplicity. Thank you, Blue!
Rating: Chapter nine is rated "Mature". There's no sex in this chapter. Just some kissing, groping (and swearing. But there's sex in chapter 10! Yes there is, and it ain't just oral this time!
Spoilers: To Volume 7
Timing: Set in May directly after Book 7 ended
Summary: Ryo is coming to terms with the changes in his relationship with Dee, as well as his new sexual identity. Meanwhile, Dee and Ryo are searching for a young runaway. This story explores homophobic attitudes but is primarily a love story between two men.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters. They are the property of Sanami Matoh. I am not making any money from this.
Author's notes: I believe in a strong and equal Ryo and Dee.
Beta'd by the tough, smart, funny, and exacting Blue Simplicity. Thank you, Blue!
A New Day FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
"Ouch!" said Carol, peering at Bikky's face. She ran her fingertips lightly over the bruised skin around his right eye. "Did you get some ice on that? Does it hurt?"
Bikky enjoyed her concern, and the gentle touch of her fingers, even though it made his face throb a little more. "Yes to the ice, no to the pain." Of course he was lying about the pain, but she didn't need to know that he wasn't made of steel.
Carol looked doubtful. "Well, it sure looks painful."
"You should ask that asshole Brody if he's in any pain today." Bikky grinned irrepressibly. He took Carol's backpack and swung it onto his own shoulder. She had long ago given up protesting about this little habit of his.
"What did Ryo say when he saw your eye?"
"Nothing, because he hasn't seen it yet."
"Huh? Did you actually get up early and sneak out of the house?"
"Something like that."
"Well, don't you think that's going to make him suspicious? You never get up early."
"Not true. I have been known to get up early for basketball games. Anyway, I left Ryo a note saying I had to meet a friend."
"So you've got until dinnertime tonight to think of something."
"Actually, I got a bit more time than that. Because of those two NBA games tonight, Ryo and Dorkhead switched shifts with two of their co-workers. Ryo won't be home until after eleven. I think I can avoid him until tomorrow. Maybe by then my face will be a little closer to normal."
"Hmm." Carol looked at him critically. "I wouldn't bet on that."
"Hey, do you think I could cover it with make-up?" Bikky sounded hopeful.
Carol burst out laughing. "Bikky, you live with a cop! Do you think he wouldn't notice?"
"Aah, yeah, you're right. Well, I'll just have to think of something good."
"It better be. He's probably already on his guard because (a) you got up unusually early and (b) you left him a note saying you were meeting a friend."
"What's the problem with meeting a friend?"
"Hello-o! Seeing as how you're grounded yet again, isn't meeting friends a no-no?"
"Nah, I got it covered. I said I was meeting a friend to get some math pointers."
"Bikky, he'll never go for that! That's so lame. That's not you at all."
They were heading towards the steps of their high school. Heads turned as they passed. At fifteen, Carol was well on her way to becoming the reigning beauty of the school.
She waved at a group of her friends whom Bikky knew were watching them with interest. He always felt so proud to be seen with her, and he knew himself well enough to know it was written all over his face, no matter how detached he tried to make himself appear. He had taken enough flak for it over the years, that was for sure.
"That's where you're wrong. This is the new improved me."
"Well, was that thing about the math friend actually true then?"
"Sure it was!" Bikky pulled out a crumpled paper. "Can you just check that I have the decimals in the right places? Thanks, you're a real pal."
"Bikky G, you never change," said Carol. But she was smiling.
Ryo spooned extra spinach onto Bikky's plate. "Tell me again how you got that black eye, but this time without the BS. Come on, out with it."
Bikky sighed and took a tentative mouthful of the spinach. Just as he had suspected, it was foul. He couldn't understand why the pervert was eating it with such gusto. He chewed it as slowly as he could, then swallowed it with a grimace. Maybe he should just tell the truth now, get yelled at and sent to his room, and then he wouldn't have to eat the rest of his vegetables. He took a sip of his juice and swished it around in his mouth to get rid of the spinach taste.
"Bikky, you can't stall forever."
"Okay, okay. I'm sorry I tried to snow you, but I didn't think you'd be happy with the truth. I got in a fight."
"Oh, some smartass dissed me and we went at it. It's no big deal."
"B, you've been fighting more and more. We talked about this last time. You promised me you were going to try and tone it down. Did this happen at school?"
"No. Don't worry, I haven't been expelled or anything."
"Yeah, but if you don't start learning to walk away every time someone insults you, that's exactly what's going to happen. You've got to work on your self control."
Bikky looked down at his plate. This was going better than he had expected. It didn't seem like Ryo was going to start yelling anytime soon, since he appeared to be in lecture mode. Guess that meant he was going to have to eat that spinach after all.
"I been trying, Ryo. But sometimes...Sometimes a guy's gotta fight."
"Nonsense," said Ryo. "Let me see that eye." He pushed Bikky's hair gently up off his face and inspected it, clucking disapprovingly. "You know if you'd put some ice on this right after it happened, it would've helped a lot."
"I would have, but we didn't have any," protested Bikky, pulling away from Ryo. "Anyway, it's just a little shiner, that's all. No big woop."
But Ryo's hands had gone still. "We do have ice. I filled the tray yesterday morning...Say, when exactly did this fight happen?"
"Hey Ryo," said Dee. "This spinach isn't bad. It was much worse last time. At least you didn't overcook it today."
"I didn't overcook it last time." Ryo's eyes were boring into Bikky's. "When and where did this fight happen, B? You better answer me right now."
Dee ate steadily throughout the ensuing yelling and scolding. He had never been one to let a noisy argument or another person's fit of temper come between him and his lunch. Mealtimes had often been clamorous and full of strife during his youth in the orphanage, and had been likely to end abruptly with everyone being sent to their dorm rooms if Mother lost patience with them all. He had learned early on to keep his head down and shovel food into his mouth while it was still on the table.
Accordingly when Bikky had trudged off to his room and Dee's turn came, he didn't have to endure Ryo's displeasure on an empty stomach. He could have used a cigarette though.
Ryo's eyes were like two hard black stones. "Spill," he said.
Dee was indignant. "I can't believe the monkey brat sold me out!" He sputtered. "After all the things I do for him--"
"He didn't; I just figured it out. Tell me what could have possibly been going through your mind to let him go out at one a.m. so that he could keep his 'date' for a fight with an older, bigger boy?"
"Now, now, come on, dude, you're not gonna go all postal on me, are you? I know I shouldn't have let him go, and I know I should have told you, but, shit, it's like he said, sometimes a guy's gotta fight."
"Dee, I trusted you! I can't believe you let me down like that. What if something terrible had happened, huh? What if we'd gotten that three a.m. call saying 'come to the hospital' or worse, 'come to the morgue'?"
"That call could come for any of us, at anytime, Ryo."
"Stop making excuses for your irresponsible behaviour," Ryo snapped. "You're supposed to be an adult, dammit. Sometimes I feel like you and Bikky are exactly the same age and I have to be the parent for both of you! I can't BELIEVE you did that to me."
Dee hung his head. "Ryo, I'm sorry."
"Sorry doesn't cut it. This is serious, Dee. All these years I've been feeling like we were kind of in this with Bikky together. Of course, you've spent lots of time acting like an idiot child around him, so I don't know why I'm so surprised now. But I thought that with the big stuff, I could count on you, that you'd back me up -- Shit, I guess that makes methe idiot, doesn't it?"
Ryo was angry and clearly felt betrayed. Dee didn't mind the anger so much. He thought it was quite justified. But he didn't like Ryo to feel that he was unreliable.
"Now, Ryo, that's not fair. I've always backed you up and I always will. You know you can count on me. But I don't regard a scrap between two boys to be 'big stuff' even if it did take place at one a.m. with my knowledge and consent. Sometimes...it's necessary to fight. Bikky has to fight to protect himself from future fights and he does that by letting them know right at the beginning that they can't push him around. You should be glad that he can defend himself. Come on, you must have some idea what it's like out there for a kid like Bikky."
"I think I live with him, Dee."
"Yeah, but kids don't tell their parents everything."
Ryo was silent.
"He didn't exactly volunteer to tell me either," Dee went on warily. "I just caught him sneaking out, that's all. I let him go because in my estimation this particular fight was inevitable, since it was about respect. If a guy's absolutely gotta fight, then sometimes it's better if he can control the time and place so as to minimize fallout."
"What do you mean, it was about 'respect'?"
"The guy that Bikky fought -- now he and his whole crew will leave Biks alone. They'll find someone else to pick on."
Frowning, Ryo thought about it. Finally, he said, "Dee, that may be true, but I just don't think fighting is the way. I want Bikky to step away from that life. I want him to learn other ways to settle disputes than by simply using his fists. And I want him safe in his bed late at night, not roaming around the streets." Wounded dark eyes met Dee's steadily for a moment. "And I want to feel like -- like you're not working against me... that you're willing to help me. I need that, Dee."
Dee's expression was such a comical combination of shame and pleasure that Ryo might have laughed had the circumstances been different.
"Ryo, you can absolutely count on me. It's true I sometimes act like a kid. I know that, and I know I gotta get over it. It's just that..." He groped for words. "I look at Bikky's situation from a different place than you do, and until I get better at this, I guess sometimes I'm gonna make a bad call." Sighing, he ran a hand through his glossy hair, leaving part of it sticking up.
Mollified, Ryo reached out a hand to smooth it down. "You and me both," he said. "Bikky didn't exactly come with a manual, did he?"
"If he did, the brat would have probably tossed it off the Brooklyn bridge before we ever got a look at it. So...am I forgiven? Are we good?" Dee looked at him hopefully.
"Well, yeah, I guess so. But you have to promise never to do anything like that again. Or...or I'll let Bikky loose in your closet with a glue gun and a pair of scissors!"
Dee's eyes widened in horror. "Dude, not my clothes! You know, you can be kinda scary. But fortunately I can handle scary...Come here."
Dee pulled him into his arms, and after a momentary hesitation, Ryo decided not to fight it. He closed his eyes and let Dee hold and caress him. It felt so good to allow himself to rest against Dee's warm, strong body.
Ryo was silent for awhile. Finally he spoke, his voice just a little hesitant. "Some blow-up that was at Mike Abernathy's office yesterday, huh?"
"Shit, yeah. I thought the guy was going to rupture something."
"Yeah, he sure was mad."
"Why'd you go after him like that, anyway?"
Ryo was glad he wasn't looking at Dee. "I-- I'm not sure. It was a combination of things. What Eddie told us, for one, and his attitude for another. It was almost like I couldn't stop myself. I was trying to keep it in my head that he's IA and therefore dangerous, but --"
"But when he started talking about strapping children's behinds, well I just...couldn't let that go by."
"Yeah, that was interesting, wasn't it? What a team those parents are. No wonder the kid took off."
"Dee, I've been thinking about Abernathy and me. Are we so different? I mean...I've smacked Bikky a few times, just like my dad did to me whenever I got into trouble as a kid. If he's smacking his kid too, maybe he's just doing it out of love."
Dee looked surprised. "YOU got into trouble? And here I had you figured for a goody-goody golden boy who never put a foot wrong."
Ryo's eyes showed a hint of irritation. "Don't change the subject; I'm trying to be serious here. Abernathy is a product of his upbringing just like everyone, and whatever it is he's doing to Thomas is probably only what his own father did to him. He's repeating a pattern. But I want it to be different between Bikky and me. If I’m going to break my own pattern, the time to do it is now."
"You know, some kids just need to be smacked. I was one and Lord knows Jess smacked me upside the head pretty well whenever he saw me. I think Bikky is that kind of kid too. And, Ryo, despite what you think, you don't really hit Bikky. What Jess used to do to me, now THAT was hitting, and I can't say I didn't deserve it. What you do to Bikky is, at worst, a bop on the head." Dee paused and chuckled softly. "Of course the rugrat deserves an Academy Award for all the wailing and cringing. I wonder if that would have worked on Jess?"
"Well, I don't think I should do it anymore. He's learning from me that when you're pissed off at someone, it's okay to hit them. I want him to learn a better way." Ryo looked down at his hands.
"Dude, I'm sure his life now is a thousand times better than it was before you came along. Don't be so hard on yourself. You're doing great." Dee picked up one of Ryo's hands and kissed his fingers. The tension had returned to Ryo's body and Dee wanted to do whatever it took to get him to relax again. He knew his partner had a lot on his mind. In addition to the usual Bikky problems and anxiety about being a good parent was added the new worry about a possible retaliation from IA.
"Ryo, come to my place," Dee said suddenly, impulsive as ever.
"What the hell for?"
"You know what for."
"Don't you ever stop thinking about...sex?" Ryo lowered his voice on the last word and practically looked over his shoulder.
"Course not. Especially now that I'm finally getting some. And you don't need to worry about the brat; he can't hear you. He's in his room with the door closed and he's probably listening to music."
Ryo's lips pressed together in a thin line. "Oh yeah, that reminds me. I'm confiscating his iPod." He jumped to his feet, but Dee reached out a hand to stop him.
"Please don't. Dude, think about it."
Ryo hesitated, staring at Dee. Abruptly, understanding dawned, and a light blush crept across his cheeks. Then he glared at Dee.
Dee was used to this. Often if Ryo was feeling angry or helpless about something else, he unconsciously took it out on his partner.
"Fine I'll take away his gaming stuff instead. But what about you, huh?"
"What do you mean?" Dee was wary.
"Well, I can ground Bikky and take away his toys, but what can I do to you? Don't forget that I'm still pissed off at you."
"No you're not. You forgave me, remember? You can't take back forgiveness."
"Just because I forgave you doesn't mean you should get off scot-free."
"Dude," Dee said gently, "You CAN'T really punish me unless you're prepared to resort to head games, and I don't think you are." Dee stood up and faced Ryo. "Come on, just accept my apology and stop talking about punishment." He hesitated. "If you really want me on board as a kind of parental assistant, and believe me, I want that too, then you have to start trusting me. Give me a chance, here."
Ryo scowled. "I don't like that you kept a secret from me that concerned Bikky."
"Yeah, I know and I don't blame you. I screwed up. It was a mistake to keep Bikky's fight from you. I should've been honest with you and I get that. But... do you think I would ever have let Bikky go that night if I'd thought he was in any real danger? That kid's got iron-clad street smarts and he's a damn good fighter for his age and size." He took a deep breath. "Perhaps one of these days you'll finally notice that I love that annoying brat just as much as you do." His words were simple, his tone determined. The way he was standing showed that he was bracing himself for Ryo's reaction.
Ryo was speechless. Dee's words had knocked the resentment right out of him. It meant everything to him to hear that Dee loved Bikky. He really hadn't been sure. He had known there was affection there, but Bikky had caused Dee a lot of grief over the last couple of years. He hadn't known until this moment that this was something he had needed to hear.
"You...you love him?"
"Like a little brother, like a son. Like he's a part of me."
"Dee." Ryo was moved. He felt simultaneously overjoyed and deeply relieved. "For his own sake? Not just because he's part of the package that comes with me?"
Dee nodded. "Yeah. Even when he's a snarky, disrespectful foul-mouthed little shithead. Even when he's marking up my favourite jacket or trying to plant his foot in my face." He looked at Ryo in genuine wonderment. "Haven't you ever noticed?"
"Well..." Ryo groped for words. "I knew you cared, but...I didn't know how much. You know me. You're always saying I need to have things spelled out for me..." He suddenly realized that for some reason he was standing quite close to Dee.
"I suppose I wasn't exactly making it obvious," said Dee, gallantly taking some of the blame onto himself. He caressed Ryo's face softly with the back of his knuckles and looked at him with tenderness in his eyes. "You and me and Bikky...We're a family. A family of orphans. We've been a family for a long time."
"I guess we have," whispered Ryo, who caught Dee's hand in his own and raised his lips for a kiss.
It began sweetly with a gentle touching of lips and tongues and soon turned hungry. It was Ryo who was the aggressor this time, moving his mouth almost urgently against Dee's, sending his tongue in deeper and exploring every surface inside. Dee encouraged him by moaning softly and sucking on that demanding tongue and running his own tongue underneath and over it. Ryo finally ended the kiss by gently biting Dee's lower lip and pulling back.
"Dee," he whispered. "I'm sorry. I want to go to your place, but you know I can't."
"Not even for an hour?"
"No. You know I have to stay here with Bikky. He'll be ready to talk later. He's feeling so bad in there by himself."
Dee privately doubted that, but knew there was nothing he could say as long as Ryo believed it.
"Okay," he sighed. "Can I stay for awhile then? And can I just hold you, like this?"
"Yeah," Ryo breathed. "I'd like that. I feel so...happy when I'm with you."
Dee’s mouth curved in a smile against his partner's pale cheek. Those words brought him a sensation of relief. I hope I can always make you happy, he thought. Please stay with me.
~~end of chapter 9~~