Anyway, here's the chapter!
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
Rating: Chapter 13 is rated "Mature". Now don't you pervs throw anything at me when you hear this…but there's no sex in this chapter, either! Sorry. I think you'll find this chapter interesting, however, because since no one's being distracted by hot nakedness, all kinds of other stuff gets a chance to happen. Please read and review.
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 Abernathy, and he is not based on anyone living or dead. Cecile is from Book 2 of the manga series.
Author's notes: I believe in a strong and equal Ryo and Dee.
Beta: Blue Simplicity. Thank you Blue.
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
When Drake returned to the CI room, he was surprised to find himself suddenly staggering backward under the onslaught of a small, wiry form that launched itself at him wailing, "Drake!"
Drake sighed and gently disengaged JJ's arms from around his neck. "It's okay, buddy. I'm all right now. I'm sorry I lost my cool back there."
"You don't have anything to be sorry about! It's me who should be sorry!" JJ turned tearful eyes up toward Drake's face.
At that moment Ted, whose desk was nearest the door where they were standing, put his hand over the mouthpiece of his phone and said, "Hey would you guys mind? Geez!"
"Come on JJ. Let's take a walk."
JJ could barely contain himself. Words of apology and remorse continued to pour out of him all the way down to the records room. Drake just let him talk himself out. He knew from experience that when JJ was all worked up emotionally for whatever reason, it was best just to listen.
Finally when he thought he might be able to get a word in edgewise, he said, "JJ, dude, don't beat yourself up about this. I'm not upset with YOU. It doesn’t bother me when you leave the office sometimes and roam around the building looking for Dee. I don't mind if you don't always wanna do the dull stuff. It's easier for me to sit at a desk in one spot for a long time than it is for a hyper guy like you. I get that, and it not a problem for me.
"Yeah. Besides, you're much better than me at remembering details and keeping us on track with our cases. I'm really glad to have you as my partner."
"Oh Drake!" JJ flung himself on his partner again. "I'm so relieved. I thought you were mad at me. I thought you were going to request a new partner!"
"Come on now," said Drake soothingly and gave JJ's back an awkward pat, hoping the kid would let go soon. He looked around anxiously to see if anyone had noticed. Damn, there was Liz from the lab smirking at him. He sighed in resignation because he knew what she was thinking; Megan had pointed it out to him this morning. But there was no way that JJ could change the way he was. And he wouldn't hurt him for the world.
He felt much better after talking to Diana. He knew that when she wanted to she could be a bitch on a stick because he had seen her behaving that way to Dee, who probably deserved it, and even to her own men at times. But she had always been nice to him. She was loyal in her way, and surprisingly insightful about affairs of the heart.
Drake had really been knocked sideways by Megan's accusations this morning. He couldn't believe she actually thought he was gay! Just because he'd been too tired for sex the last couple of times she'd come on to him. Didn't that happen to everyone sometimes? Obviously the patrol units in her division weren't working hard enough if she couldn't understand that. But it did almost make sense that she thought he was somehow involved with JJ. The little guy was so affectionate, always pouncing on people and hugging them. And he had a flirtatious way about him. When Megan had said, "He talks to you like he's your girlfriend or something! And you're like 'Yes, dear.' How the hell do you think that looks?" Drake felt that was unfair. He had never called JJ 'dear'. But then she started going on about Dee and Ryo too. Drake had been surprised to learn that it was general knowledge amongst the females of several surrounding precincts that the entire Detective division under Lieutenant Smith of the 27th was considered to be gay. No wonder none of us can get a date nowadays, he thought. He wondered how Ted and Ryo would feel if they knew about the rumours.
Diana had asked him if JJ had any idea that he was the cause of Drake's latest romantic break-up.
"No," he had replied. "And I'm not going to tell him either. It would just make him feel bad, and he's usually too quick to blame himself for stuff anyhow. I don't have the heart to tell him."
Diana had gone on to say that she didn't think that Megan had a good enough reason for breaking up with him anyway. It wasn’t fair to end a relationship on the basis of gossip alone, and without any kind of chat first. At that, Drake had blushed and Diana had suddenly looked interested.
"Oh so there WAS a chat then?"
Drake had looked down, embarrassed.
"And you couldn't convince her you were one hundred percent straight?"
"Drake, ARE you one hundred percent straight?"
At that point Drake had finally looked up and replied with a query of his own. "Is anyone?"
"Good question," she said thoughtfully. "Anyway, just make sure you're not fishing from the NYPD pier when you catch your next girlfriend."
"IF I can find another girlfriend after this..." He looked at her dejectedly.
"What? A looker like you? Get outta here. You'll have another one before the end of the week. I'm counting on it. I'm sure I could introduce you to a couple of girls I know."
Yes, he felt much better now. Diana had shored up his battered confidence for him. Mentally, he blew her a kiss. It was too bad JJ didn't like her as much as he did.
"Come on, dude," he said to his partner as they arrived at the door of the records room. "Let's get in there and do some research."
"You got it, partner! And I'LL do the boring stuff this time, okay?" JJ sounded much more cheerful too. The storm had blown over at least for now.
When Detectives Laytner and Mclean returned from their meeting with Mrs. Abernathy, there was a message waiting for them that Andrea Fowler had called and would like to be called back.
"I think I should call her," said Ryo, taking the paper out of Dee's hand.
"Oh, absolutely. You're the one she's got a crush on."
"No, I'm the one who doesn't call her 'hon' and 'toots'. Let's find out if she's got anything for us."
"If so, that's really fast. Okay, fingers crossed. Go get 'er, dude."
"Hey, Andrea, we got your message. How are you doing?"
"Oh not so good, Randy. Don't ask. I'm about ready to throw that man out the window."
"Sorry to hear that. What's he done now?"
"Oh, he's just given me a stack of his dead files and ordered me to sort through them! Like I'm his freaking secretary or something. Anyway, enough about my troubles. I got something for you, but you heard it on the street, not from me. Got that?"
"Absolutely. Hit me."
"He's got a meeting with your Mr. Calvetti tomorrow morning at 9 am. Burger King on Turner. Try not to let him see you."
"Don't worry, he won't. Hey Andrea, thanks a bunch. We totally owe you one for this."
"Yeah, and I just might collect on that someday, if I ever get out of this office. See ya."
Ryo said goodbye and turned to Dee, grinning. "The universe has thrown us a bone," he informed him.
"THIS is dinner? Are we all suddenly on a diet or something?" Dee indignantly indicated the big bowl of green salad with chopped up chicken breast that was sitting on the kitchen table.
"No, silly," said Carol. "That's just a light snack so that Bikky’s not weighed down by a heavy dinner when he jumps at the hoop. We're all gonna have a real dinner together after the game."
"Oh, just because Monkey-boy's got a game, we ALL gotta starve?"
"Come on kids, eat up," said Ryo. "That includes you, Dee. That's all there is until 8 pm."
Bikky, Thomas and Carol all shouldered Dee out of the way and headed for the food.
"Hey!" Dee protested. "You bunch of starving animals. Yo, Twerp! Quit stealing all the croutons! They're gonna weigh you down."
Ryo put a jug of milk and some glasses on the table. "Dee, stop hogging the dressing. Give it to Carol if she wants it. Slow down guys, you're going to get indigestion. We've got lots of time. We don't have to leave for at least half an hour." He didn't understand why mealtimes had to be such a free for all, but he conceded that it was mainly Dee and Bikky. Carol and Thomas were relatively well behaved.
It did his heart good to see Thomas eating. He could almost swear that the little guy had put on a couple of pounds in the last 24 hours, and that was definitely a good thing. He watched Thomas surreptitiously, noting his fine-boned frame and the way he had tried to groom himself to look good for their outing tonight, even borrowing some of the hair mousse that Dee kept in the bathroom cabinet. None of Bikky's clothes would fit him, so he had been deeply grateful to Ryo for laundering his clothes for him last night. How could anyone want to deliberately hurt such a small boy? It was incomprehensible to Ryo. He wanted to talk to Dee about the results of Thomas' trip to see the doctor earlier, but he hadn't had the opportunity.
Before long everyone was piling into Dee's car for the drive to Tremayne Junior High where tonight's basketball tournament was due to take place. Bikky was psyched up about the opportunity to trounce the Tremayne Tigers on their home ground.
"They think they're so friggin' awesome. Just because they beat us by one point last time. One lousy point! Tonight is gonna be payback time, just you guys watch!"
"Go Wolves!" said Carol enthusiastically.
"This is great," Thomas said to her. "I've never seen Bikky play before, but everyone says he's an amazing player."
"Bikky's the star player for the team." Carol said. "He's not the tallest guy on the team, but he's always where the ball is. And no one’s better at three-point shots and boxing out."
"Wow," sighed Thomas. He had no idea what she was talking about, but it sounded cool. "I wish I was good at a sport."
"Hey, aren't you a runner? Eddie said you were on the team at your school."
"Yeah, I was for awhile," said Thomas, but he sounded so down that Dee changed the subject for him.
"Hey brat, try not to fall on your midget ass in front of Carol, okay?"
"Stuff a sock in it, Moron! Like that's ever gonna happen."
The game was in the third quarter and the Wolves were up by two points. It was a typical school gymnasium with terrible acoustics. The air was thick with shouts from the coaches, the whistles of the referees and the respective taunts and cries of excitement from the fans of both teams. Thomas sat on Ryo's right, and Carol sat between Ryo and Dee. Carol was alternately cheering madly for the Wolves and fuming about the fact that Cecile was one of the cheerleaders. She didn't like the adoring way that Cecile looked at Bikky.
"Why didn't he tell me she joined the cheerleader squad? She wasn't there for the last game," she grumbled. "I bet she-- YAY BIKKY! Go! Go! DO IT!--I bet she joined just so she could suck up to him. And prance around in that little skirt in front of him. I mean look at her."
"Is she the cute one with the red hair?" Dee asked.
"Cute? You think she's CUTE? Don't you have eyes?"
"Well, they're all cute to an old man like me. But not as cute as you, Princess."
"Okay, you have redeemed---STOP HIM! WHOOOO! Awwww..."
"Whoa, she's really into it," Thomas whispered to Ryo, who had kindly been explaining the rules and the plays. "Are they tied now?" he added.
"Yep," said Ryo. "The Tigers just got two points for that basket. Now it's going to get interesting. Look at Bikky. He's not going to stand for that."
They watched as Bikky ran up and down the court, maneuvering around bigger players and hip checking them out of his way. Some yelled threats at him, but he just laughed and taunted them back, all without breaking his stride.
Thomas sighed. "I wish I could be like Bikky. He doesn't take shit from anyone. If I could be strong and confident like that, I wouldn't have such a messed-up life."
"Well, what's the main thing that's stopping you from being strong and confident?"
"Not being able to fight mostly. I have to eat a lot of shit because of it."
"Have you been getting into fights at school?"
"Only when I can't make a run for it. And I always lose. But not Bikky. You know Bikky's a good fighter, right?"
"Oh yeah," said Ryo. "In fact he's grounded for that right now. I'm sure he told you."
"Yeah, he did. And I was there, you know. It was a totally awesome fight."
"You were there?"
"Yeah, with Karl. So were a lot of guys. Karl made a hundred bucks on that one."
"Huh? You mean Bikky's fighting for money?"
"No! Sorry. Some of the other guys bet, but Bikky doesn't like it. No, Bikky fights for different reasons."
"Let me guess. 'Respect'."
"Yeah, and sometimes he fights for someone else. Or someone's honour."
"Oh, you mean like Carol's honour?" Despite himself, Ryo was fascinated. Bikky would never have told him these details.
"Yeah, but he hasn't had to fight for her for a long time. All the guys for miles around know not to dis her. This time it was for you."
"Yeah, didn't he tell you?"
Ryo was shocked, but he quickly hid it because he wanted to hear more and he was afraid that if he answered 'no' to that question, Thomas would realize he had said too much and stop giving him information. What he was getting from Thomas was a rare glimpse into a part of Bikky's life he never had been privy to.
"Um, well, I guess I didn't give him a chance," he temporized. "I just started yelling and then I grounded him and sent him to his room."
"Oh, well, I'm sure you wouldn't have done that if you had realized he was only defending you," said Thomas innocently. To him, the thought of having someone willing to fight for and defend a person they cared about seemed like the most wonderful thing in the world. He wished he had someone like that in his own life.
"What happened?" Ryo asked, equally innocently.
Carol was too busy glaring daggers at Cecile to notice what they were talking about, but Dee's innate sense of trouble had alerted him that all was suddenly not quite right with Ryo, and he was now eavesdropping carefully without appearing to take his eyes from the game.
"Well, this guy, Aaron Brody, was saying bad stuff about you at school. You know, about your sexual orientation. Bikky basically told him to get stuffed, but Brody wouldn't shut up. And his friends started saying the same things. They said things like my mom sometimes says, like how it's sick and wrong and has lots of germs, and how you were going to go to hell and Bikky too for living with you. But Bikky beat the crap out of Brody and fixed everything! No one says any of that garbage now. Man, I wish I could do that."
"Really," said Ryo faintly. "I had no idea."
"Well, now that you know, maybe you could cut Bikky some slack and maybe let him go out with the guys sometimes, even though he's supposed to be grounded." There was a pause, during which Thomas glanced shyly at Ryo. He must have noticed that Ryo was looking a bit perturbed because he quickly tried to make amends. "I-I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. You're his dad, and it's all up to you."
"I'll...uh...think about it, okay?"
At that moment, the Wolves scored another two points, and the fans around them erupted in cheers. But not Ryo or Dee however. Ryo's face was hot and he was looking down at his shoes, quite distressed, and fighting to get himself back under control. Dee was watching Ryo, and his face, in stark contrast to Ryo's, had gone pale. Ryo obviously hadn't been expecting this one. Goddammit, Dee thought. This is why those kids at the bus station were looking at us funny the day we picked him up from camp.
In the car on the way home, Ryo and Dee barely spoke, but it wasn't especially noticeable with the way the three teens in the back seat were carrying on. Bikky was jubilant that his team had put the Tigers in their place. Carol was pleased that Bikky had said "Who?" with a look of genuine incomprehension on his face when she had demanded to know what he thought of Cecile's cheerleading abilities. Thomas was just happy to be associated with the star player of a winning team and his beautiful girlfriend.
"Wolves! Go Wolves! Got the Tigers on the run!" yelled Thomas. It was the rallying cry du jour of the Wilson Lloyd Junior High cheerleaders.
"Wolves! Go Wolves! Our team is number one!" Bikky and Carol yelled back in unison.
"High five!" Bikky stuck his hand between the driver's and passenger seats of the car, and Ryo and Dee both gave his palm a slap.
"Yay Wolves. You killed 'em, brat."
"Yeah, good job, B."
"You guys don't sound very happy," Bikky complained.
"Sorry," said Ryo. "I guess I'm just tired."
"Me, too," said Dee.
"Ohhh, you old people!" Carol teased and resumed the slogan. "Wolves! Go Wolves!" and Bikky and Thomas happily joined in.
When Ryo miraculously found a parking spot around the corner from his apartment building, Dee came around to the driver's side of the car to get the keys from him. Ryo seemed distracted, and although Dee wanted more than anything to kiss him goodbye and give him a hug, he didn't dare do it right there on the busy sidewalk and in front of the kids.
"Well, I'll just be going," he said.
"What? You're not staying for dinner?" asked Bikky incredulously. "Are you sick or something? I thought eating us out of house and home was your primary job in life."
"No, just not hungry. I guess that chicken salad was enough after all."
"Well, I should think so, since you ate half of it all by yourself," accused Carol.
"Dee? Are you going home?" Ryo's brain was definitely still in low gear, ever since he had received that disturbing piece of information from Thomas.
"Yeah. I think we could all use an early night. I'll see you tomorrow, dude." As he said those words, he was actually hoping that Ryo would override him, would insist that he stay.
But Ryo didn't. He just nodded vaguely and said, "Guess you're right. See you at work, okay?"
Then he turned away and shushed the kids who were trying to start the Wolves chant again right there on the street. Dee's shoulders slumped a little, and then there was nothing left for him to do but get into the car and watch Ryo until he and his small group had disappeared around the corner.
"Shit, shit, shit!" he snarled through gritted teeth as he pounded his forehead against the steering wheel. This was bad. Bikky had fought because the kids at school were teasing him about his dad being a fag. This was so much worse than that incident with those two gay-bashers outside the convenience store. He could beat the crap out of a guy with a big mouth and a bad attitude, and Ryo would forgive him. But the kids at school picking on Ryo's son? That wasn't something he could fight. He admitted to himself that he was terrified that Ryo might choose to end their relationship just so that Bikky could lead a normal life and not have trouble at school. If it came down to a choice between Bikky and him, Dee was very much afraid that he would lose.
~End of chapter 13~