Here's the address at AFF where you can find a list of my stories. Well, most of 'em. http://anime.adultfanfiction.net/authors.php?no=1296797775
And now, on to the chapter!
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
Rating: Chapter 12 is rated "Mature". Once again there's no sex in this chapter. No kissing either. No one even does anything vaguely suggestive with a chocolate bar. However, a lot happens and I’m quite sure you’ll enjoy it anyway. And by the way, if you enjoy it, please let me know! It would make me happy.
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. Oh, but I created Thomas and Mike Abernathy, and they are not based on anyone living or dead. If your name is Abernathy, sorry about that! Jim is Bikky's friend from Book 1 in the manga. He was one of the three boys who got pre-Camp bear-beating tips from Dee.
Author's notes: I believe in a strong and equal Ryo and Dee.
Thank you, Blue Simplicity, for beta-ing this chapter while in pain from a root canal. You really are Wonder Woman's younger (but more pierced) sister!
A New Day
"Who wants to know?" A short, muscular looking man looked up from his desk belligerently.
"I'm Detective McLean and this is my partner, Detective---"
"Laytner, right? How did I guess? I got nothin' to say to either of you, so you can just see yourselves out and let me get back to my work."
Dee's temper instantly flared up, and he said, "Look, asshole, we didn't come all the way over here to take that kind of shit from you. And you ain't the only one with work to do."
"Dee, let me talk to him," Ryo briefly laid a calming hand on Dee's arm, which felt as hard as a rock.
"If you're his partner, I don't have time for you, either, McLean."
"This won't take more than a minute or two," Ryo said smoothly. He didn't like the man any more than Dee did, but he knew he had to be the calm one since Dee was already riled up. "We wanted another shot at questioning a bust we made last Thursday, a Mr. Calvetti."
"So what? Guy made bail. Your tough luck." Detective Shaver didn't even bother to look at Ryo, as he copied an address from an open file onto a small piece of paper.
"The guy not only made bail, but he had dozens of charges commuted down to almost nothing. Your name came up."
"Detective McLean, I'm working on an undercover narcotics case. Even if I wanted to give you all the fucking details, which I don't, it would be unprofessional of me, don't you think?"
Dee cut in. "I'll tell you what I fucking think. I think Eddie Calvetti has no place in your set-up, and this is just a load of shit you're participating in to cover something up."
"Fuck you!" Detective Shaver glared at them and picked up his jacket off the back of his chair. "You got dick and you know it. You're just coming in here with this over the top crap 'cause you're pissed that your bust made bail and no one told you."
"A courtesy call WOULD have been appreciated," Ryo said quickly before Dee could launch into another round of insults.
"Not to mention professional," added Dee.
"Cry me a river," said Detective Shaver contemptuously, and made for the door. He paused and looked over his shoulder. "Our lieutenant okayed his release, and since he outranks you two losers, nobody owes you anything. We got lives on the line here. You boys should just grow up." Then he was gone.
Ryo and Dee looked at each other, then both nodded almost imperceptibly. Ryo had seen what Dee had noticed right away. Underneath his bravado, Ned Shaver had been nervous, especially when Dee had said straight up that he didn't think Eddie was part of the undercover operation.
A voice came from the corner of the room. "Sorry about that, Detectives. He's been under a lot of pressure lately, so he's not his usual charming self."
They glanced over to see a lanky, morose-looking woman who unfurled herself from a chair and came over to them hand outstretched. She was easily as tall as Ryo.
"Andrea Fowler," she said. "Remember me? I'm Ned's partner now."
"Lucky you," Dee muttered, shaking her hand.
"Hi Andrea," Ryo said with a smile. "Of course we remember you. We were a long time here at the 51st. It's nice to see you again. How are you doing?"
"I've been better," she said. "How about you?"
"Well, as you know, we've been breaking in our new precinct for a couple of months now," Ryo said. "It sure is nice to have our own space again. Not that we don't feel grateful to our friends here for taking us in back when our building got blown up."
"Yeah, we got our own office this time around," Dee added, making an effort to be cheerful, even though he was still bristling with anger at Ned. "Say, how long have you been partners with Mr. Congeniality there?"
"Oh, not that long. My last partner took early retirement and left the state a few months back. Right about that time, Ned's partner got shot, and the lieutenant put us together."
She looked so glum that Ryo was moved to say, "It's not working out?"
"Well, I think it could work if BOTH parties were willing to try a little."
"Sometimes these things take time," said Dee. "I had a partner once who I coulda sworn hated me just for breathing. But he saved my life when the chips were down."
"Sounds like you at least went out in the field together," she observed.
"Don't you?" asked Ryo.
"Nah," she said. "He's not too forthcoming with information. He's always saying it's better if I don't do too much on certain of his cases. But I didn't become a detective just to push papers around and do phone duty for my macho partner."
"Maybe he's still upset about his last partner getting shot," Ryo suggested.
"Maybe," she agreed.
"Hey, does the name 'Eddie Calvetti' ring a bell with you?" Dee asked suddenly.
"Never heard of him."
"Apparently he figures big in one of your cases."
"Well, he could be, but like I said, my partner hasn't been showing me his cards."
"Have you tried talking to him?" Ryo asked.
"You saw what he's like," she said. "He's a little nicer to me than he was to you, though. But only a little."
"Say, Andrea," said Dee in a velvet voice as he belatedly turned on the charm. "If by chance you learn anything about this Eddie Calvetti guy, we sure would appreciate a call on the quiet."
"Detective Laytner, just go back to your usual smartass self. That smooth gigolo act isn't going to work on me," said Andrea briskly, but her tone was mock-severe.
"No, huh? 'Cause being a smartass doesn't usually work for me, either."
"Andrea, we don't want you to betray your partner, and we don't want to interfere in your division's work. All we want is one more chance to question the guy if you guys happen to hear from him." Ryo was simultaneously earnest and professional.
Dee gazed at him from under his lashes thinking how irresistible he looked. Apparently, Andrea thought so too because she patted Ryo's cheek and smiled.
"You always were a sweetheart, Randy. A lot of us were sorry to see you go. I'll keep my ears open, but just so we're clear, I'm not promising anything."
"That's good enough for me," said Ryo smiling.
"Us," corrected Dee, leaning his forearm heavily on Ryo's shoulder and offering his right hand to Andrea. "Nice running into you, hon. And call me 'Dee' next time, all right?"
"Sure, as long as you don't call me 'hon'," retorted Andrea. "I've got enough patronizing males to deal with right here in this very office."
"You got it, toots," said Dee with a wink that earned him an annoyed look.
Andrea and Ryo shook hands and he gave her his card. "Say hello to Rob from me," he said, and he and Dee left.
"Who the hell is Rob?" asked Dee as they headed back through the still-familiar hallways of the Bronx Precinct.
"Her husband," said Ryo, slightly exasperated. "We sat next to them at the Christmas party, don't you remember?"
Dee looked thoughtful. "Mmm...Was that the chubby guy with the gold tooth?"
"No! That guy was one of the Bronx sketch artists. Rob was the guy with the moustache and the Burberry suit. What the hell kind of detective are you if you can't remember this stuff?"
"I'm the kind of detective who doesn't clutter up his brain with unnecessary crap about people I'm probably never going to see again," retorted Dee. "I need that brain space for important stuff like basketball scores and which bars have wings specials on which nights, and where the hell I put the TV guide."
He actually did remember the Burberry suit, though. Just not the man. Dee always noticed clothes.
"You're incorrigible." Ryo tried not to smile. There was nothing to smile about, after all. Just when they had new information to question Eddie about, he was nowhere to be found and the only person who might have a clue to his whereabouts was refusing to talk to them. Their clever plan to circumvent days or weeks of telephone tag by spontaneously driving over to visit Detective Shaver in person had not exactly been a success. He sighed.
"Yeah," said Dee, and sighed too as though he knew what his partner was thinking. "Maybe we'll catch a break in the next few days."
Ryo looked at him and nodded, enjoying the feeling of being on the same wavelength. It had always been one of the strengths of their working relationship. "Well, we might as well go back to the station and review the Lydgate evidence. I want to go over a couple of things with the lab, anyway. I have a feeling the chief is going to demand some progress on that at some point today. Especially now that we've found Thomas."
"Aha! Laytner, you bastard! So it's YOU who's been drinking my chocolate milk!" Ted snatched the carton from Dee's hand.
"Huh? It was yours?"
Ryo, who was watching from across the room, recognized Dee's expression all too well: fake innocence and surprise. It was really quite convincing.
Just then JJ appeared at Ted's elbow and whisked the milk out of his hand.
"Look in the fridge, Ted," JJ admonished him. "Your chocolate milk is still there. I'm the one who bought this for Dee. Here you go, Dee-Sempai."
"Oh," said Ted, looking in the fridge. "Oh yeah, there's my milk. Sorry about that, Dee."
"Don't sweat it, dude. Honest mistake."
"Dee-Sempai, how did you know this milk was for you? I was going to give it to you at lunchtime, which is now, I guess." JJ checked his watch.
"Huh? Oh...uh, Drake told me."
Drake looked up quickly from his newspaper with a slightly alarmed look.
Dee narrowed his eyes warningly at him. "Right, Drake?"
"Well how did YOU know, Drake? I'm sure I didn't tell you."
"Who the hell else would it be for, but the great 'Dee-Sempai'?"
"Drakey!" JJ was delighted. "Are you jealous? Do you like chocolate milk too? Shall I bring you one tomorrow?"
"No, it's okay. Just forget it."
"I'd be happy to bring chocolate milk or any kind of drink for my helpful, dependable partner."
Drake hunched his shoulders a bit and glowered back into his paper. "I said, 'Forget it', JJ. I don't even LIKE milk..."
"Drake, man, are you sick?" asked Ted.
"Yeah, I never heard you turn down anything free before," said Dee.
"Drake, have you eaten?" asked Ryo. "Would you like some of my--"
"Just back off, everyone, OK?" Drake snapped. "I'm the same old Drake you've always known. The same old Drake who has been lactose-intolerant all these years, not that ANYONE would ever notice or remember! Nor have I ever been seen eating chocolate, because I'm really not crazy about the stuff, but NEVER MIND!"
Drake stomped out of the break room, leaving four open-mouthed members of the CI Division behind him.
"Well, I guess it must be the wrong time of the month for him, or something,'" muttered Dee.
"'Never been seen eating chocolate,' my ass!" Ted snorted.
JJ wheeled on Dee and Ted. "Don't you go saying that stuff about my partner!" he yelled. "He's fine! He's just upset because nobody-- nobody notices how hard he works."
There was a slight break to JJ's voice on those last three words. He gave Dee, Ted and Ryo a parting glare, and rushed out of the room after Drake.
An uncomfortable silence hovered for a moment or two after he had gone, and then Dee glanced at Ted. "Ten bucks says Megan broke up with him."
"You're on, man. But you're gonna lose. Drake doesn't usually get that upset over chicks anymore. Lord knows he's been dumped often enough."
"Whatever." Dee smirked and turned his attention toward Ryo's food.
"Can I have whatever you were going to offer to Drake?" he asked, then picked up a piece of something green from Ryo's plate and popped it into his mouth.
"Dee!" Ryo exclaimed, but his face softened a moment later when Dee said, "I can't believe that was a piece of broccoli I just ate. How do you make even broccoli taste so good?"
Ryo could not resist the avid look that Dee directed towards his plate. He could never bear to see anyone hungry. He was also ever on the alert for opportunities to get healthy but unpopular vegetables like broccoli into Bikky, and that had kind of extended to Dee as well. Not that it was anywhere near the same battle with Dee that it was with Bikky. Even though Dee didn't enjoy all the members of the vegetable family, he was usually willing to eat anything that someone else had cooked for him.
"Oh, go on," Ryo said. "Have a bit more. You know you're going to do it anyway." He reached into his lunch bag and produced an extra plastic fork, which he handed to Dee.
"Thanks, partner!" said Dee. "You're the best."
"Yeah, you're a damn lucky bastard, Dee," muttered Ted resentfully, pouring himself a mug of chocolate milk.
"Hey, you just make sure you don't go drinking MY milk by mistake there, dude," Dee threw over his shoulder. "Can I help it if everybody loves me?" He winked at Ryo.
JJ felt terrible. His partner was upset and it was all his fault. He knew that whenever they divided their duties, he was guilty of frequently leaving all the dull work to Drake while taking the more interesting assignments for himself. He also knew that he bossed Drake around a lot more than he ought to, especially since Drake had more seniority than he did. He cursed himself for going overboard recently. He really should have treated his partner with more consideration. Good old Drake wasn't a complainer, unlike himself. He had complacently believed that Drake didn't mind. This was the first time Drake had ever blown up like that. JJ couldn't relax until he knew that everything was all right between them.
And now he couldn't find Drake anywhere. JJ tried the CI room, the roof, the shooting range and the lab. He called his partner on his cell phone but only got voice mail. He even called down to the front desk to see if Drake had signed out, but he hadn't. Finally in desperation, he had Drake paged.
A few minutes later, the phone on his desk rang with the single long beep that told him it was an internal call.
Even in the midst of his worry, JJ was still professional. "Detective Adams," he said calmly into the phone he had snatched up, thinking Please be Drake, please be Drake.
"JJ, it's me. What are you doing paging me like that? You know I wouldn't leave without telling you."
"Drake! I'm sorry I paged you, but I looked everywhere and I couldn't find you and I was so worried after the way you left the lunchroom...I really need to talk to you Drake, ASAP."
"Look, I won't be long. I'm in the commissioner's office right now with Diana. As soon as we're done, I'll come back upstairs. Can you handle things until then?"
"Er...Yes! No problem, take as long as you need. I...er...didn't know the commissioner was back." Diana. Drake was with Diana. JJ didn't like that woman. She was one of the few people he feared.
"He isn't. Our little break from his charming presence continues until Friday. Diana has just commandeered his office until she concludes her business here."
"Her business isn't with US, I hope," ventured JJ.
"No, no, nothing like that. Look, we'll talk about it when I get back upstairs, okay?"
JJ heard Diana's voice speaking loudly in the background. She was saying, "Don't worry JJ, I don't have any special little jobs for you this time!" Then she emitted that loud, raucous laugh of hers that always grated on JJ's nerves. He knew she was referring to her second to last visit to New York City, when she had ended up ordering him to squeeze himself into the rat-infested crawl space of a house to look for a dead body that she had reason to believe was there. Unfortunately for JJ, she had been right about the body. His Prada shirt had been ruined. The memory still made him seethe.
When JJ didn't offer any response to what Diana had called out, Drake said, "Uh...He says he was just happy to help."
He was obviously addressing Diana, who just cackled again and called out, "Like hell he does, but I love him anyway."
"Hold down the fort partner. I'll be back in a few."
"Sure, Drake-Sempai." He gritted his teeth as he hung up the phone. He hoped Drake would forgive him. At least his partner’s voice sounded normal now. Even if it was an act he was putting on for Diana's benefit, it was still a good sign.
Mrs. Abernathy, perfectly coiffed and manicured, sat across from Detective McLean in a busy upscale coffee shop in the Midtown area. Dee appeared and set down a mug of hot tea in front of her, which she viewed without enthusiasm. Next Dee put a tall cardboard cup of coffee in front of Ryo and said, "If that tastes sweet bro, it means you've got mine."
Ryo took a sip and winced. "Yep, it's yours. Trade you."
They switched coffees while Mrs. Abernathy waited quietly.
"Mrs. Abernathy," Ryo began. "Since we have found your son and I believe that there's a meeting set tomorrow for you and your husband to see Thomas again in our chief's office, I'm just wondering why you were so insistent on having this meeting with us by yourself, today."
"Thank you, Detectives, for making time for me in your no doubt busy schedule. I just wanted to have a word with you privately before the big meeting tomorrow."
"What's on your mind?"
"First of all, how is Thomas?"
Ryo grinned at her, relieved. He liked her better for asking and had been afraid that she wouldn't. Poor Thomas.
"Doing surprisingly well, considering what he's been through. But he can tell you about himself tomorrow."
"Ah, tomorrow." She took a tentative sip of her tea and stared at it in distaste.
"Something wrong with the tea?" asked Dee.
"No, no, I'm sorry. It's perfectly adequate for American coffee-shop tea. We Brits are very particular about our tea, you know."
"About tomorrow," Ryo said. "What were you going to say?"
"Well, you see, I'm not going to be at the meeting. It'll just be my husband, Thomas, Warren and you fellows."
"Well, I certainly don't mind keeping Thomas for another couple of days if you need to reschedule," Ryo offered, but he had a sinking feeling about what was coming next. "Thomas seems to be fine on the couch."
Mrs. Abernathy took a deep breath. "There's no point in my attending any meetings to determine Thomas' future, because I'm afraid I will be leaving my husband quite soon, under circumstances that will most likely enrage him. And Thomas will certainly stay with him. They'll be able to comfort each other. Despite the change in my feelings for my husband, I wouldn't like him to lose his entire family all at the same time."
Ryo looked at her in dismay. "But--But Thomas is your son. Don't you want him?"
She shook her head. "He's not my son. He's not even Mike's son. He's Mike's nephew. My son is here." She patted her belly, and for the first time Ryo noticed that it was a little more rounded than it should be, considering the size of her frame.
"Where are the boy's parents?" Dee asked.
"Dead and buried back in Ireland. Mike brought Thomas over to America shortly after we were first married, despite the fact that other relatives were willing to take him." A fleeting expression of annoyance intermingled with sadness passed over her face. "I learned later that it was because he knew he would never be able to father children of his own. I wish he had seen fit to tell me that before I married him."
Ryo looked away. Another orphan. And this one’s mother didn’t want him. He was almost afraid to look at Dee. "Does Thomas know that you're not his real parents?" he asked.
"No," she said. "He was just a toddler. He doesn't remember anything. His parents died separately under unsavoury circumstances. Mike thought it better not to tell him any of that."
"So, why are you telling us this now?" Dee felt bad for Thomas, but he had a sense that something more was coming.
"Two reasons, gentlemen. First of all, my husband is unaware of the fact that I will shortly be leaving him, and I would prefer him not to know until I am safely gone. Secondly, despite the lack of closeness between Thomas and myself, I still have some concern for him. If there are plans afoot for him to go into foster care, I would like to put forth the notion that I think it would be better for him to stay with his father, that is, my husband, for the time being."
"Why do you think he might be going into foster care?" asked Dee carefully.
She looked away. "Of course I don't know what he has told you, but I'm sure there have been exaggerations...hints of mistreatment."
"We have a 4 pm doctor's appointment for him today. Mrs. Abernathy, we have reason to believe that there might possibly still be marks on his body from a beating."
She was silent, but appeared to be thinking. Dee knew she was wondering whom Thomas might have received a beating from. And she might also be considering whether such marks might still be visible if he had received that beating at home. When her eyes flickered up and to the right, a sure sign of a person trying to remember something, he thought she was probably counting the days that Thomas had been gone and wondering if the bruises would still be there. Surely she must be aware of her husband’s views. But, maybe not. Abruptly, he decided to enlighten her.
"The kid says his father beats him when you're not home."
This shook her composure. "What? But that can't be. Mike lives for that boy."
"Perhaps he thinks that's the best way to make sure the kid doesn't turn out gay."
"I'm sure it's not as bad as all that," she said. "And hopefully Thomas is just going through a phase. I understand it happens to teens sometimes that they get confused about their sexuality and believe they're...homosexual for a time."
Dee didn't care for the way she had said 'homosexual', with dismay and disgust. He was afraid to look at Ryo. He hoped that hadn't upset him. He thought it best to conclude the meeting.
"Mrs. Abernathy, we can certainly accommodate you by not mentioning your personal plans to your husband. We wouldn't have, in any case. But I think you should know that we don't have much input as to whether the kid goes into foster care or stays with his father. It really all comes down to what Thomas tells the Child Welfare Authorities."
"Yes, I understand that, Detective," she said. "But I thought...I hoped that since you two seem to have developed such a friendly relationship with him, you might talk to him...you might explain..." She trailed off. "I just think that both of them would be better off with each other. And..." she looked directly at Ryo. "I'm sure my husband would be grateful for your support."
"What? Did he say that?" Dee asked with a sudden edge to his voice.
"No, he didn't. But he was very agitated the other night about the pair of you. Especially you, Detective McLean. I don't know what you did to upset him, but believe me when I tell you that it would be better for anyone not to have Mike as an enemy."
Both detectives stared at her.
"I thought you might appreciate a warning," she said softly.
~end of chapter 12~