FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
Rating: Okay, we're back to worksafe, kids. You can uncover your eyes now. Hope you're not too traumatized by that last lemon, but if you read it on FF.net, it was tamed down considerably, so you're probably wondering what I'm talking about.
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 trying to find enough evidence to expose a crooked cop. 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. I love both of them equally. Sometimes they may have misunderstandings, but I promise not to let them behave like immature idiots in any of my stories. Unless it's for comic relief, that is.
Ryo's mind tumbled awake to the shrill sound of the alarm clock. He reached out blindly to switch it off, his one thought being to make that aggravating noise stop. But the nightstand wasn't where it ought to be and Dee seemed to be in the wrong place. He sat up quickly and leaned across the slumbering man beside him. It took him a couple of tries, but when he had managed to hit the off button, and blessed silence had returned, he looked around him in some consternation. What was he doing on this side of the bed? And what was that gross-looking towel doing there? He lifted the covers and gaped in horror at the condition of the sheets, and as he did so, the memories of the night before rushed into his mind and his face heated with self-consciousness as he recalled how he had behaved. How on earth was he going to face Bikky? And the neighbors? What if someone complained? What could he possibly say? It seemed like he hurt all over. He put a hand to his head. He should have known better than to drink three glasses of red wine. He was okay with white, but red he had to be careful with, as it often gave him a headache unless it was organic. What had gotten into him?
But the duties of the day called and there was no time to beat himself up over what was done. He would just have to brazen through it somehow. He sincerely hoped he wouldn't have to, though. He must never let that happen again. He grabbed his robe from inside the closet and went to the kitchen to put coffee on before he started his shower.
At 5:45, he banged on Bikky's door and called to him to wake up. He did the same for Dee, and repaired to the kitchen to get started on breakfast. Whichever one of them could roll out of bed first could have first dibs at the shower. May the best man win.
It turned out to be Bikky, and as Ryo heard him running the water in the bathroom, he went to check on Dee who was still sleeping like a log. Dammit, he wasn't going to let Dee abandon him to face Bikky alone on this of all mornings. He shook him ruthlessly awake, and even the extreme tiredness in Dee's face and voice didn't arouse sympathy in him. He knew Dee hadn't been sleeping well recently, but he was not going to allow Dee to make him late.
Bikky stood sleepily in the shower, letting the hot water run over his face and hair and gradually wash his drowsiness down the drain along with the suds. Bikky was not a morning person, and he always hated the moment when the bang on his door and the shout from Ryo came. He especially hated waking up on mornings when Ryo was working first shift.
Bikky had a separate morning routine for each of the three shifts that Ryo was likely to work. When his foster-father was on second shift, he had a start time of three pm, but he got up in the morning to get Bikky up. On those days, it was Bikky's habit to lie in bed as long as possible, then rush to the bathroom to perform his ablutions as quickly and, according to Ryo, as messily as possible before dashing to the door and trying to leave without eating any breakfast. Ryo would always make him at least take a piece of toast or a fried egg sandwich with him. When Ryo was on third shift, he had a start time of eleven pm and he got off shift at seven am. He would usually take the double precautions of not only setting the alarm clock for Bikky before he left for work, but also calling him to wake up before he left the precinct to come home. Left to himself, Bikky was notorious for hitting the snooze button one too many times and then having to get ready in a mad scramble. Apparently, Dee did exactly the same thing and Ryo frequently lectured both of them about it. Ryo would usually arrive home at half past seven and throw some breakfast together for Bikky before the boy charged out the door at around eight.
However, when Ryo was on first shift, he had a start time of seven a.m. and Bikky hated those mornings most of all. Ryo would usually get up at 5:00 am, and do what he had to do in the bathroom first before anyone else woke up. (Dee, if he was there, as he so often seemed to be, was often still asleep) Then Ryo would prepare breakfast. He usually made sandwiches for Bikky or sent him to school with money for the cafeteria. He tried to make sandwiches though, because he felt there was more nourishment in homemade food. (Bikky still winced with embarrassment when he remembered the time Ryo had come to his school to inspect the offerings at the cafeteria and had found them nutritionally lacking.) On the dreaded first shift mornings, he made Bikky get up at 5:45 or 6:00 am and they all left the house together at 6:30. Due to one or two unfortunate incidents where Ryo had trusted Bikky to get himself to school on time and it hadn’t actually worked out that way, NOT leaving the house with Ryo at 6:30 had become non-negotiable. Bikky's classes at school didn't start until 8:30 and he only needed thirty-five minutes to get there on foot. He didn't relish the idea of arriving at school an hour and a half early. Some kids did, but they were dismissed as geeks. He certainly wasn’t going to risk getting lumped in with the geeks.
Pretty soon he had hit upon the idea of going to Carol's place and accompanying her to school. Carol was always delighted to see him, which was one of the many things he loved about her. Thinking about her now cheered him up considerably. Wait 'til he told her about the shit Ryo and the perv had pulled last night. That had been his DAD in there making all that noise! Even though Bikky was a child of the streets and by no means ignorant as to what lovers did in bed together, he still felt a little bit shocked. Somehow he hadn't expected that.
Ryo exited the bedroom with his chosen tie for the day hanging loosely around his neck. He always saved putting on his tie for the last minutes before leaving the house, because he didn't like to risk getting food on it as he prepared breakfast. To Ryo, a soiled tie was the essence of unprofessionalism. He encountered Bikky emerging from his room with damp hair, but otherwise looking more or less ready to go, and directed him to go and eat something. Ryo was trying his best to act normal. He was hoping that Bikky wouldn't say anything about any noises he may have heard the night before. He was almost afraid to look into his son's eyes for fear of the, in his opinion, well-deserved judgment and censure he might see there. Accordingly he kept out of the kitchen while Dee and Bikky eyed each other across the breakfast table. At first there was no talking as they munched toast and cereal and swilled coffee and orange juice, respectively. When Ryo appeared to pour more coffee into Dee's cup, Bikky threw down his napkin.
"How'd you guys sleep last night?" he asked with a challenging look.
Ryo flushed to the roots of his hair and Dee narrowed his eyes at Bikky. "Why, like a baby, monkey-brat. How'd the 'homework session' with Carol go, by the way?"
It was Bikky's turn to flush and his eyes flashed with anger. Fucking bastard. How did he always know?
"I shoulda got up and done some extra homework last night, since it was a sure bet no one on this entire floor was going to get any friggin' SLEEP until a certain pair of 'lovey-dovey' jackrabbits got their rocks off!"
Dee leaned back in his chair and gave Bikky an assessing look. Then he said over his shoulder, without really looking at Ryo, "You know, now that I think about it, since he's not really using those headphones, maybe you should confiscate them after all."
But he was arrested by the suddenly remorseful expression on Bikky's face as he looked past him to Ryo. Dee turned around and saw the mortification on Ryo's face, which was bad enough, but nothing compared to the self-recrimination in his eyes. Sympathy for Ryo, rage against Bikky and fear for himself all warred within him, and he turned back to blast Bikky, but found he didn't have the heart. The kid clearly regretted it. He was sitting very still, looking down at his plate in silence. Dee saw that it was up to him to break the unnatural silence that had descended.
"Well, if we're all done with feeling bad for the time-being, are you guys ready to go? Maybe we'll beat the cross-town traffic."
Dee glanced anxiously at Ryo as his partner drove. The man literally had not spoken a word since Bikky's outburst at the breakfast table, not even to say good-bye when Bikky had jumped out of the car across from the Lampson Street bus stop.
"You know he didn't mean--"
"Dee, stop." Ryo's voice was flat.
"I said stop." His voice was hard. Dee stopped.
Dee rolled down his window and reached with slightly unsteady hands for his cigarettes. He lit one and sucked the comforting nicotine into his lungs, grateful for the way it instantly soothed the rough edges of his jangled nerves. He leaned his elbow out the window and watched the buildings, intersections and traffic roll by, thinking, Come on Ryo. Get over it. He'll get used to it. This happens to straight people too.
Ryo's cell phone rang, but he ignored it.
"You gonna answer that?" Dee asked. Ryo ignored him too.
A couple of minutes later, Dee's cell phone rang.
"Dee, it's me." It was Bikky's voice, sounding unusually subdued.
"Yo," said Dee.
"Tell him...Tell him...Ah shit. Could you tell him I..." His voice trailed away.
"Yeah, I'll tell him. Happy hunting later."
"Yeah, see you."
Dee snapped his phone closed. "That was Bikky. He's sorry."
But nothing, it seemed, could break Ryo's silence or make him take his eyes off the road, even for a second.
"Dammit all to Hell!" The Chief was angry. "I suppose it would've been too much fucking work to get a warrant for this?"
"Sir, you know we didn't have the grounds to apply for one," Ryo replied heatedly. "No judge would've signed off on it. We weren't on a drug case and we didn't have more than a guess as to what was in that bag."
"Yeah, and you know it would've been nowhere to be found by the time we spent all day fucking around getting a warrant," added Dee.
"Shit," the Chief ran a hand through his greying brown hair. "You boys are right. But this means we got no case. Jesus, I hate a dirty cop. We could have nailed Detective Shaver. Actually, maybe I should give IA a call for this one."
Dee and Ryo glanced at each other.
"Uh, sir, we were hoping to nail a bigger fish than Shaver."
"And he's IA."
"Christ! You sure about this?"
"No, and that's why we need to pay Shaver a visit and see if he's willing to talk."
"Go get him, then. And don't blow this, or I'll have your asses in a sling. Meanwhile I'll talk to the DA and see if we got enough to proceed on Shaver alone. Even if we can't put him away, we can at least see about getting him drummed out of the force."
When Detectives McLean and Laytner walked into the 51st precinct in the Bronx, they identified themselves at the front desk and signed in.
"Shall I give Detective Shaver a call to say you're coming up?" asked the young male cop behind the counter.
"Nah, don't bother," said Dee with an easy grin. "We just called from the 27th to say we'd be over soon." It wasn't strictly a lie. They had called, but to speak to Andrea, not Ned. She had confirmed that he was indeed there and there had been no mistaking the curiosity in her voice.
"Okay, I take it you know your way up?"
"Like the back of my hand, buddy. Thanks."
They moved quickly up three flights of stairs, each looking forward to the coming interview, but for different reasons.
"Detective Shaver!" Dee called out jovially. "Long time no see."
The man's head jerked up from the file he was reading, and his lip automatically curled in an expression of disgust while suspicion filled his eyes.
"I'd say it hasn't been anywhere near long enough."
"Well, we were just in the neighborhood -- weren't we, Detective McLean? -- and we got to talking about you and stopped by to see if you'd like to go for coffee with us."
"Why the fuck would I wanna do that?"
"Oh, we heard you like the coffee at Burger King. The one over on Turner usually isn't too crowded at this time of day."
Shaver got it immediately, but Dee was disappointed by his reaction. He didn't go pale or look scared, nor did his mouth drop open. Pretty tough cookie.
"Why the hell not. I got a bit of time today." He stood quickly and tucked the papers back into his file. He turned to Andrea and called out, "Hey, partner, can you take my calls for me? I'll be back in about 45 minutes."
"Oh certainly," replied Andrea in a mock-eager tone that was completely wasted on him. "Would you like me to tidy your desk, too?"
"Yeah, sure, if you got nothing else to do," he said casually as he preceded Dee and Ryo out the door.
Ryo, who was last to leave, looked at Andrea with eyebrows raised in sympathy. She just rolled her eyes and shook her head angrily.
They sat in the back of a smoky little bar not far from the station, chipped brown mugs of dishwater-flavored coffee in front of them. It was much less crowded than the bustling coffee shop next door. Although it was only eleven o'clock in the morning, there were a couple of sad eyed regulars nursing drinks over by the pool tables. Ryo was interested to note that the bartender nodded to Shaver as though he knew him.
"What you got?" Shaver stirred his coffee and leaned back so he could look at both of them.
"A paper bag full of heroin and a dead prostitute," said Ryo.
He shook his head. "Fentanyl. And not just a kick. Enough for a guaranteed trip to the morgue."
For the first time, Shaver looked daunted, but only for a second. Dee wasn't fooled. He knew he was scared shitless.
"Someone must have really wanted Mr. Calvetti dead," he said leaning forward and blowing smoke in Detective Shaver's face. "But it's your prints that are on the bag."
There was a moment of silence and then Shaver pointed at Dee's cigarettes and said, "Mind if I bum one of those?"
Dee pushed smokes and lighter toward him and waited until the man had lit one and inhaled before speaking again. "Autopsy's tomorrow," he said. "But we already know the outcome 'cause we ran the drugs through the lab."
Shaver's eyes flickered from Dee to Ryo. "Warrant?"
"You got nuthin'." He tried to put some bravado into his voice, but it wasn't quite convincing.
"Not quite nothing," corrected Dee. "D.A. says we got enough to go to court." The second lie of the day. Only God and the Chief knew what the D.A. had said, because Dee and Ryo had not been present for that particular conversation.
"The evidence'll be thrown out."
"But WHAT a nasty black mark next to your name," said Dee.
"In addition to that other nasty black mark," added Ryo who had done a little digging on Detective Shaver. "And once we get IA going on this, who knows what else might turn up?"
Shaver snorted. "You're not going to get anything from them. They're not as competent as people think."
"Well, that's what we think too," said Ryo.
"What the hell do you want? Why are you telling me this, anyway?"
"You're looking at murder one," said Dee. "It might even stick. But Detective Mclean and me, we don't think you knew about the fentanyl."
"We've got a feeling you were set up." Ryo met Shaver's eyes frankly. "We're thinking that might have occurred to you too."
"And you can bet the people you're working for have covered their own asses," added Dee. "Another smoke?"
“Yeah. So, go on."
"Give us the guy you're working for."
Shaver paused in the act of lighting his second cigarette. "And?"
"And we'll do what we can to keep you out of jail," said Ryo. "As you said, the bag is inadmissible. You've got a shot here. Give us something real."
Shaver's eyes went to the walls, which were covered with old black and whites of NYPD officers from the forties and fifties. It was clear that this used to be a hangout for cops in fatter times.
"Lemme think about it," he finally said. "Give me a couple days to mull it over. What you're asking me to do could get me killed or worse."
Killed or worse? Interesting choice of words, thought Ryo, but aloud he said, "Call us on the weekend."
end of chapter 17
Additional author's notes: If you're a new reader and you plan to read the comments following this chapter, here's the address for the post where I address my use of non-standard shift times and non-NYC street names, just in case you (a) noticed and (b) care. Otherwise, on to chapter 18! http://brit-columbia.livejournal.com/31471.html#cutid1