However, I plan to make an exception for liqueur-filled chocolate cherries. *Sigh*. I love to suck their rounded hardness while they make futile efforts to resist. But despite themselves, they gradually get hotter and slipperier until there comes the inevitable surrender, followed by a rush of potent liquid sweetness...Such adorably strict scruples are made to be overcome! But one can get drunk on their juices, and therefore I caution you to slowness. And no teeth! Naturally, it upsets them.
Now don't rush out and buy them all, you chocoholic smut-puppies, you! Save some for me. I only got ONE box last year and it was gone in no time.
Here's chapter 25 of my epic Fake fanfic, FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May). Sorry about making you wait three weeks this time, but did I ever get busy there for a while! And sorry to disappoint, but it's worksafe yet again, so go ahead and click.
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
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: Once again, LEO is an acronym for law enforcement officer. Please read and review.
Thank you to Bluesimplicity and Mtemplar
A New Day
Detective Shaver sat in the park with his son, Kevin, drinking root beer and watching the kids and the dogs play. A half-eaten hot dog lay on the picnic table in front of him.
"What's the matter, dad? You seem kind of down today. Why don't you eat your hot dog?"
"Well, I'm thinking I could maybe stand to lose a couple of pounds. Your mom certainly thinks so." Detective Shaver tried to introduce a lighthearted note into his voice, but he wasn't sure if he was succeeding. It had been a hell of a morning. He had all but witnessed a murder, and had then been made into an unwilling accomplice after the fact when Mike ordered him to help with the body. In his mind he could still see the Internal Affairs lieutenant, down on one knee, wiping up the blood with a kitchen rag. Fortunately there hadn't been too much. With some types of gunshot wounds there was a self-cauterizing phenomenon that limited bleeding, and this had been one of them.
He picked up his hot dog as if to take a bite, but then put it down. There was ketchup gleaming on the surface of the meat. It was too...no.
"Maybe you're right." Kevin gazed thoughtfully at his own hot dog, which was almost gone anyway. "Mom thinks I should lose a couple of pounds, too."
"She does?" Ned took a fresh look at his son and wondered if his estranged wife had a point. The kid had inherited his sturdy build, but unlike his father, was growing up in a time of plenty with access to every kind of junk food imaginable. Ned had observed that although Kevin was only eleven years old, he tended to eat nervously whenever he was feeling fretful or tense. Thanks to the ongoing hostility between his parents, he had a lot to be anxious about. Perhaps he and Sheila could both try to cooperate on teaching their son about healthier eating habits.
"Yeah. But I don't always listen to her, you know." The boy raised large, searching brown eyes to his father's face for a moment. "Sometimes she says things when she's stressed...but she doesn't mean them, really. And later she feels a little bit bad about it."
"Oh, I think she means them all right. Your mom is a woman who knows her own mind."
"Well, what I'm saying, Dad, is that even though she sometimes acts like a b-- like a 'female dog', she's not really mean inside. Not in her heart."
Ned sighed. "So you overheard us, then."
"Well, yeah. It was kind of hard to miss. Plus, she was in a bad mood before you even arrived."
"I guess I deserved some of what she said. But not all of it. I was really sorry to be late today Kev, but I got a call to report to a crime scene this morning. I'm a cop -- I can't just decline to show up because it's my day off."
"I know. And I'm sure Mom gets that too, even if she doesn't always act like it. I--I just wanted you to understand that when she says bad things about you, I tell her if she can't say anything nice, she shouldn't say anything at all."
"Dad, I don't wanna say the details. We both know she...sometimes thinks you're a loser and that you picked the wrong job. She only said those nasty things today because I told her I wanted to become a cop and she's mad about that."
"You want to become a cop?" Ned turned his whole attention to his son, and for a few joyous moments, pride lit his heart. If Kevin became a cop, he would be the fourth generation of NYPD in the Shaver family. Ned briefly wished his old man could have been here for this moment. But then if he was going to be making wishes, he might as well wish his father hadn't died when he, himself, was still only a kid. Maybe everything would've turned out different. But who was to say whether death had been harder than the heavy load his old man had had to shoulder in life? He couldn't have had an easy time of it, supporting six kids and a wife on a beat cop's salary.
"Yeah. I wanna be like you, Dad. You're my hero, you know." Feeling slightly shy all of a sudden, Kevin felt he had to avert his eyes from the intense expression on his father's face.
Detective Shaver also looked away, fixing his gaze on the green leaves of a tree in the middle distance. His son was proud of him, wanted to be like him. Christ, if he only knew...
"No. Uh-uh. Not a fucking chance." Dee eyed the wheelchair that Ryo had brought in as if it were an electric chair instead, and he was being asked to participate willingly in his own execution.
Bryce and Ryo exchanged a glance that spoke volumes.
"Now Dee, you know you always lose this particular battle..."
"I do not. I only let them wheel me out in a wheelchair at New York East because that she-gorilla Nurse Emiry caught me with my guard down. If you recall, I walked out of Metropolitan on my own two feet."
"Officer Laytner, I'm afraid it's a regulation that you have to---"
"That's 'Detective' there, Bryce. And I don't give a shit about regulations, ANY regulations. Ask my partner if you don't believe me."
"Oh, I believe you, all right," said Bryce. "But I can't believe you're not motivated even for a... cigarette?"
Dee's eyes widened momentarily and then narrowed as his hand went automatically to the place on his chest where a shirt pocket might have been-- if he had been wearing a shirt. Instead, he was wearing a T-shirt from the hospital gift shop. It had a fucking kitten on it. His own shirt had not only been soaked with blood, but had been cut off him when he had arrived in Emergency last night. They hadn't cut his jeans, thank God. They were Seven's, Nolita boot cut. NOT cheap.
"Which one of you bastards has my cigarettes?" he demanded, glowering aggressively at Ryo and Bryce.
"I do," said Ryo calmly. He gave Dee a measuring look, which only served to further kindle the glint of challenge in the other man's eyes. "And you're not getting them until we're outside the hospital."
"Ryo," growled Dee dangerously. "Cut the crap and give me my fucking cigarettes right now, or so help me..."
Bryce looked nervously between the two NYPD Detectives, one hot and angry, the other cool and calm, but both equally stubborn. He hoped a fight wasn't going to break out. He certainly didn't want to have to call security, not for this pair who had been so loving, so concerned for each other last night. After they had got done yelling at each other of course. But maybe this was just the way they related.
"I'm not giving them to you because I wouldn't put it past you to light up right here. Now get your ass in this goddamned chair and stop being such a baby. I didn't sleep any better than you did; we both need a shower and a shave, and your childish tantrums are only dragging things out."
"I'm NOT leaving this goddamned hospital in a fucking wheelchair!" Dee roared, kicking the chair, and then wincing as a sharp pain flared up in his side.
Alarmed, Bryce sidestepped the chair, clutching his clipboard to himself protectively.
Ryo threw up his hands. "Fine," he said to Dee. "I'm going home. Call me when you're ready to act your age."
All the fight abruptly went out of Dee. He took a shaky step backward and sat down on the bed holding his bandaged wound. Bryce hurried forward to check it.
"Oh dear," he murmured. "I hope you haven't torn your stitches..."
"Ryo," Dee called from the bed, and Ryo paused at the door. "Don't go."
Their eyes met; Dee's unhappy, Ryo's impatient at first, then softening at the sight of his partner's woebegone but still obstinate face. He really is like a child sometimes, Ryo thought. What am I going to do with him?
He came back over to the bed and asked, "Are you going to behave yourself and sit in the wheelchair?"
Dee hesitated and a bit of the rebellion flared back up. "No," he said stubbornly, but his eyes seemed to plead with Ryo to understand.
Bryce straightened and informed Dee that his stitches were okay, but he mustn't do anything physical for a while because he had put a strain on the wound. "We'll leave the dressing intact," he said, "but I think we might need another bandage. I'll be right back."
Ryo folded his arms and stood over Dee. "You know I can make you sit in that wheelchair."
"Oh yeah? I'd like to see you try, because I'm telling you right now that not even God Himself could make me sit in that goddamned contraption." Dee muttered, casting a look of disgust at it.
After a quick look over his shoulder, Ryo suddenly took Dee by the shoulders and leaned down to kiss his neck. He noted with satisfaction that a jolt of surprise and pleasure suddenly went through his lover's body. Feeling bold, he kissed Dee's neck a second time, and then his ear. He drew back, gazing into brilliant green eyes that revealed a mix of desire and suspicion.
"What are you up to? Don't think you can get me into that chair with a couple of kisses. I'm not in the mood."
Ryo grinned at him. "Dee, I do believe you're lying."
Dee stared back at him, and all he could think was, Ryo kissed me! Almost in public! But he knew it would be fatal to let his elation show. He wanted to be kissed again. Ryo's face was close to his, and instinctively his eyes went to the other man's mouth. There was fine red-gold stubble coming up all over Ryo's chin and jaw and his hair was mussed. Having woken up beside him more times than he could count, Dee was no stranger to the sight of Ryo first thing in the morning before coffee, comb and razor. As usual, he marveled at how gorgeous Ryo always looked, under any circumstances, adverse and otherwise. His partner took one more furtive look around, and then sat on the bed very close to him. He pushed Dee's hair out of the way and then bit him gently on the back of his neck. His teeth and the tickly roughness of his whiskers sent goose bumps racing in all directions over Dee's skin. The younger man wanted to give way to shudders of pleasure, to let go and moan his lover's name into the sterile hospital air. However, he didn't dare in case Ryo deemed that he had done enough, and therefore stopped everything and ordered him into the chair. Instead, Dee kept still and silent and waited to see what happened next. Now, the tip of Ryo's pointed tongue was sliding along his neck to his ear. He did shiver a little, in spite of himself, when his lover's teeth sank gently into his earlobe and tugged at it. When his partner started whispering in his ear, at first he couldn't pick up what Ryo was saying. He made out his own name, and he heard the word 'love', but it was the next part that caused his body temperature to suddenly go up a few degrees.
"What was that? WHAT did you say? Could you repeat that one more time?"
"You heard me." Ryo was a little pink, and suddenly adorably shy.
Dee stared at him, a slow grin creeping over his face. "...If I sit in the chair...?" he confirmed.
Bryce came back into the room to find a newly docile Dee sitting in the wheelchair looking absurdly pleased about something, while his partner made ready to wheel him out. He couldn't imagine what Officer McLean had said to get that recalcitrant man to stop being so difficult, but he was glad to see that regulations were going to be followed at last.
"What do you want to do about this bandage?" he asked. "Do you still want me to put it on you?"
"Give it to him," Dee jerked his head at Ryo. "He's the guy in charge now. He's gonna take care of me reeeeeaal good." He grinned wickedly at the little embarrassed sound of protest that Ryo made. He didn't have to look at his partner to know that his face was flushed and that invisible but sharp kitchen implements were probably shooting out of his eyes. "Bryce, you've been great." He extended his hand to the nurse. "I'm sorry for being such an asshole. This is actually the best hospital stay I can ever remember having." He leaned back, grinning happily.
"The pleasure was all ours, " Bryce replied with a wry smile. He was in his third hour of overtime and feeling dead on his feet, but he was glad to have been able to help these two very attractive and obviously gay cops with their rather entertaining little crisis. "Come back anytime. Oh, by the way, somebody left a letter for you at the nursing desk, the one on this floor. Make sure you pick it up on your way out."
"It's probably fan mail," Dee assured him, grinning as Ryo wheeled him through the door with a nod of thanks to the nurse.
At the nursing desk, a muscular orderly introduced himself as Hammond and told them he was to take over the pushing of Dee's wheelchair. Dee tried to refuse his help, but the young man apologetically told him it was part of the regulations. Ryo forestalled a return of hostilities between Dee and the staff by remarking that it would be better if Hammond pushed the chair because "...then I can walk beside you and we can see each other." Since this last was accompanied by a gentle squeeze of his shoulder that felt almost like a caress, Dee was mollified. But he couldn't resist making a crack.
"How about you walk in front of me so I've got a view to fantasize about?"
Ryo turned indignant eyes on him. "Dee, when we get back to my place, will you by any chance be wanting a shower or bath?"
Dee looked wary. "Uh, yeah. Gonna help me, right?"
"Right. But all I want to say is that whether your shower is toasty-warm or icy-cold seriously depends on how much you manage to piss me off between here and the door."
"You're such a bully!” Dee complained mournfully.
"Oh my God, Dee, are you okay?" Tears sparkled on Carol's lashes at the sight of Dee's stiff movements and pale face.
"Why thank you for worrying, Princess. Come here and give me a hug, but not on my left side or I'll have to scream. The doctors say I'm basically okay but I'll never dance the hula again."
Carol giggled and hugged him, while Bikky protested. "Hey, no hugging! And that was NOT funny. Carol, why are you even laughing? Okay, sometimes the moron cracks a good one, but mostly he's just lame."
"Well, if that's so, I've got bad news for you, Biks," Dee said solemnly. "I'm afraid that bastard shot out my sense of humor. It's pretty well gone. They couldn't operate."
Bikky just stared at him for a moment and then yelled, "Ryo! Tell me the pervert ain't gonna be living on our couch and torturing me with his dorky sense of humor for the next two weeks!"
"Don't believe him," Carol whispered to Dee. "He was so worried about you."
"Yeah, but if he ever admitted it, he'd have to perform hara-kiri," Dee whispered back, smirking at Bikky's glowering face.
"Fine, if you guys are gonna be all cosy like that, I'm going to my room to listen to music."
"Oh, I've got some songs you should hear," Carol said, detaching herself from Dee. "But I can't stay too much longer. Liz wants me to meet her at one o'clock."
Just then they were interrupted by the sound of Ryo's voice. He had gone into the kitchen to see about lunch.
"Bikky! Is that pancake batter I see on the light fixture?"
Carol elbowed Bikky. "I TOLD you he'd notice!" she hissed.
"Uh...yeah, I guess it is. But it was an accident, Ryo..."
"Shit, who would have thought he'd look way up there?" Dee remarked sarcastically in a fair imitation of Bikky's voice, eyeing the kid's discomfiture with ill-concealed delight.
Bikky sat on the sofa flipping channels and ignoring Dee's requests while Ryo mashed potatoes in the kitchen. "No way, moron. If you wanna watch your stupid shows, go home and do it on your own TV. You're getting way too comfortable here. Don't think I haven't figured out that you probably only got yourself shot so you'd be able to hang out here sucking sympathy and food out of Ryo for as long as you can manage to drag this out."
"Don't be ridiculous, you brain-dead twerp. Now, shut up and go to WABC. All I want is the six o'clock news. Don't make me smack you."
"Get real. And you can forget watching the news. It's boring and depressing. Besides, it'll be on again later. It wouldn't kill ya to wait."
"You give me that remote right now, or I'll come over there and take it."
"Hah! You're no match for me, ya invalid loser. As long as I'm friggin' grounded and stuck in this apartment, I own the remote." Bikky switched the remote into the hand that was furthest away from Dee.
Dee dropped his voice. "If you don't give me that remote in ten fucking seconds, I'm gonna attack you for it. When my stitches start bleeding, who do you think is gonna get blamed?"
Bikky looked disgusted. "You would, too," he said resentfully. "Okay, I'll go to your stupid channel, but only for fifteen minutes and I keep the remote."
"Everything all right in there?" Ryo called.
"Just peachy," Dee called back.
"I'm letting Perv-man watch the NEWS," Bikky called out.
"That's very nice of you, Bikky." Ryo stuck his head out of the kitchen and smiled at his son. Bikky shot Dee a smirk.
"Supper's almost ready," Ryo added. "I want both of you at the table in two minutes. B, maybe you should go wash your hands."
But Bikky wasn't listening. He was staring at the TV with his mouth hanging open.
Dee started to make a sarcastic comment, but Bikky suddenly yelled, "Shut up! Shh!" without taking his eyes from the screen.
Dee and Ryo glanced at each other in surprise and then looked at the TV to see what had caught Bikky's attention.
An attractive reporter with a microphone stood in front of a police car, the red and blue lights flashing behind her. "The owner of Bam's, a popular restaurant in Queens Village, made the gruesome discovery when he came in to do prep work for the dinner crowd. He discovered a body in his walk-in freezer. The victim is a young male who appears to have ties to the drug trade. According to police, it is a homicide and will be investigated accordingly. The police know the identity of the victim, but are withholding his name pending notification of next of kin."
"Bikky? What's the matter?" Bikky turned toward Ryo looking so nauseous and terrified, that Ryo rushed over to the sofa. "Tell me!"
"I'm...I'm gonna barf," he whispered, and ran to the bathroom.
Ryo's eyes met Dee's with a question in them. "Maybe it's someone he knows. But I'm sure they wouldn't have shown the victim's face on TV..."
"They didn't," Dee confirmed. "But I think the kid knows who it is anyway. Damn. Wasn't Eddie in Queens?"
"Exactly what I was thinking," Ryo said. "Why don't you get on the phone and get the name of the vic?"
"I'm on it, dude."
Ryo stood outside the bathroom asking Bikky if he was okay. When the boy eventually came out, he looked pale and sick, but hadn't actually vomited. Ryo fussed over him and led him back to the living room, where Dee had already turned down the TV.
For a long time, Bikky couldn't speak. He just leaned weakly against Ryo on the sofa with his eyes closed while Ryo stroked his coarse blond hair. Eventually he sat up and looked at both Ryo and Dee.
"I think that was Eddie," he said quietly. "I sent him to Bam's for a 9:30 meeting."
Ryo's gaze sharpened. "Was it about drugs?"
"No! Nothing like that. Remember eBay? The pots and pans?"
Slowly, and with much backing and forthing, the story came out about how Bikky had brought the cookware set home the night he had found Eddie on the roof of a building in Queens. Fearing questions from Ryo, he had temporarily stashed it on the fire escape at the end of the hall. Eddie hadn't had Internet access at that time and needed Bikky to log on to his eBay account and organize the sale. Neither of them expected it to sell so quickly and at full price. When Bikky had been interrupted by Ryo in the process of closing the sale, he had called Carol and given her the password and the information. She had completed the sale and phoned him back with the information. The buyer, a woman named Cindy who said she worked at Bam's, was willing to pay cash if the cookware could be delivered to her quickly. It had seemed like the best solution. But Eddie's enemies must have followed him there.
"Well, it may not be Eddie," Dee said. "We'll find out in a minute. JJ's getting the info for me."
"Did you or Carol actually talk to Cindy?" Ryo asked. "Did you get her last name?"
"Nah, it was all by email. You can ask Carol 'cause she did the emailing. 'Cindy' was all I got. Jeez, I hope she didn't get hurt. But they didn't mention any other victims, so maybe she's okay."
Just then, JJ called back with the identity of the victim. Dee took the call in the bedroom.
"The vic is one 'Edward Carlo Calvetti'," JJ said. "Is he one of your contacts?"
"He's Ryo's. But if he's been whacked, that's just kicked the legs out from under one of our cases. Shit."
"I'm sorry to hear that Mr. Sexy. If there's anything else I can do for you, or anything I can look up...or bring you --"
"No, JJ, that's good. Thanks for the name, huh? Look, I gotta go."
"Wait! Detective Tina Greenspan is handling the case over in Queens. She wants to talk to you, so I gave her your cell number and Ryo's too. I hope that's okay."
"Yeah, no prob."
"Are you sure you don't need anything?" JJ's voice was wistful. "I could change your bandage for you, or bring you some food..."
"JJ, it's only a scratch. I'm fine, all right? Are you working tomorrow? Yeah? Well I'll probably see you tomorrow then. I think me and Ryo are gonna have to come in. Bye."
He callously hung up in the middle of JJ's ecstatic reception of that news, and went to the living room. Ryo and Bikky looked at him expectantly.
"Sorry, but yeah, it's him," Dee said. For a moment it appeared as though Bikky were about to burst into tears. But then in the next few seconds he somehow mastered the impulse and his face hardened as his youthful heart tried to absorb this latest bereavement. He bowed his head, eyes tightly closed.
"Dee, can you put the kettle on?" Ryo's voice was soft. "Let's all have some tea. Dinner can wait. Bikky," he turned on the sofa to face the boy and tilted his chin up with one gentle hand. "Tell me about him. Tell me who he was to you."
Dee went into the kitchen to do as Ryo had asked, full of admiration for his partner. Less than 24 hours earlier, Ryo had been put in charge of a huge corruption case that he had a personal interest in and now, upon hearing that a key witness had just been eliminated, not a trace of the disappointment he must surely be feeling was evident in his face or voice. Eddie's testimony and his evidence would have been vital if they were to have had any hope of nailing Abernathy. Ryo had just listened to his hopes for this case being blown apart, and yet all his thoughts were for Bikky. Dee thought about the various hats Ryo routinely wore. He went from being a hard, professional LEO at work, ready to risk his life on a moment's notice, to a kind, nurturing, yet frequently strict father figure at home. He was also a loyal and generous friend to those few he allowed close to him.
But he's all of the above for me, Dee thought to himself, and much more. He's always trying to whip me into some kind of shape for my own sake, as well as his. He opens himself to me, trusts me with all the hidden parts of himself, gives and takes pleasure from me, leans on me when he needs to. It was a revelation of sorts. In that brief moment he was amazed he had ever been jealous of Bikky, or anybody Ryo had given his time and energy to. He realized that he was the only one who saw the whole man, the only person in the world whom Ryo trusted to that extent. The next moment saw him whispering a silent and solemn prayer, right there in the kitchen, that he might always be a source of strength to that remarkable human being in the next room.
Bikky sat on the sofa, slurping his tea and telling Ryo about Eddie, who had been like an elder brother to him. The words tumbled out of him, one after the other in a desperate, breathless kind of way that Ryo recognized. He had been through this himself when his parents had died. After the initial shock had worn off, he had found himself talking about his parents to anyone who would listen, babbling like an idiot, mixing serious facts with inane observations, jumping from anecdote to opinion and back again. As long as he was talking about them, he felt that they were somehow still alive, still close to him. It was when he stopped that he felt them slipping away from him.
"Even though the dive neighborhood we lived in was mostly black, there were some Italian families too," Bikky was saying. "He used to take care of me whenever my first dad was away on business. Eddie had a hard life, but he was always tryin', you know? Before his head injury, he had hopes of going into the trades. He was real handy. There was a lot of crap busted around our shitty apartment, but whenever Eddie came over to babysit me, he would bring his tools and fix things for us. You know, broken drawer handles and furniture. Small repair jobs. He sometimes let me help. He even fixed the friggin' toaster one time. He was always lookin' out for the younger kids of the 'hood too, giving us advice and stuff. He'd give kids his jacket if they were cold, he'd rip off food for us if we were hungry. But after his mom got taken away to the nuthouse and a couple of the neighborhood brothers scrambled his brains with a baseball bat, the pushers got their hooks into him. He never really got back on his feet after that. But he still cared about the kids. He was always getting beat up for refusing to deal to first-timers."
"But he was willing to sell marijuana to you, wasn't he?" Ryo felt that had to be said, despite Bikky's current desire to lionize Eddie.
"That's where you're wrong, Ryo. He refused to sell to me. He gave me a lecture for even thinking about it. I came out of there empty-handed. You should know. You made me dump out my backpack and pockets, remember?"
Ryo remembered, all right. He had assumed that he had arrived in time to thwart the sale. It hadn't occurred to him that the sale might never have gone through anyway due to high principles on the part of the dealer.
Bikky's lower lip began to tremble; he paused in the telling of his story to get it back under control. "He gave me my first basketball. He paid for my Kung Fu lessons when my old man was too fucking broke to do anything and too stoned to care. He was a good friend to me."
"Well then, I'm grateful to him for looking out for you," Ryo said. "Did he have any family?"
"No blood left. He has an aunt somewhere in Queens, but she's not his real aunt. She was married to his uncle for a while before he had a heart attack. Now she's married to a new guy and I think sometimes she helps Eddie out, as long as he doesn't show up too often." He turned toward Ryo, anxiously. "What's gonna happen to his body? If he doesn't have family to claim it, what are they gonna do with it?"
Dee just shook his head in consternation as he listened to his partner promising to pay for a funeral for Eddie. He knew Ryo's famously soft heart where kids were concerned was about to cost him big bucks yet again. He was doing it for Bikky's peace of mind of course, but he wondered if either of them had any idea how much funerals cost.
"That's gonna be a hefty chunk of change, Ryo," he warned. "Maybe a little research is in order here."
"I know, Dee."
"How much is it going to cost?" asked Bikky.
"Thousands of dollars," Ryo sighed. "But don't feel bad. I'd said we'd give him a proper funeral and we will."
Bikky's shocked expression soon gave way to thoughtfulness. "I got an idea," he said after a moment. "Yeah, I'm s'posed to be grounded, but I know I can raise money for Eddie's funeral if you let me out. Really, I can! He had a lot of friends all over the place. Ryo, let me go do it!"
Dee doubted that the rugrat would return with more than twenty bucks for his efforts, but he was happy when his partner gave the kid permission to round up a team and go out fundraising. However, the conscientious parent in Ryo insisted that nobody would be going anywhere until they had eaten dinner.
After dinner, when Bikky had gone out to meet Carol, Thomas, and a few other friends that Bikky and Carol remembered from their days in their old neighborhood, Dee and Ryo settled on the sofa to discuss the ramifications of Eddie's death in respect to their case.
"Well, we still have Shaver," Dee said. "He's got some serious terms that the Commish won't like, but he's willing to wear a wire. He's not keen on testifying, though."
"Let's hope he's not the next one who turns up dead," said Ryo morosely.
"I have to say that's a real possibility," Dee said, and told Ryo everything he could recall about his meeting with Ned Shaver the night before.
"We ought to talk to the Chief and the Commissioner, ASAP." Ryo was frowning distractedly. "Eddie's murder is an important development. If I were in their shoes, I'd want to know."
Dee looked at his watch, which told him it was a little after seven pm. "You can call the Badger if you like, but the Commish is probably busy boffing the Sea Hag. Or if he's not actually boffing her as we speak, he's certainly wining and dining her in preparation for it."
Ryo hesitated. "Do you think we should wait until tomorrow?"
"Nah," said Dee with a grin. "Let's throw the bastard off his game. Pass me my cell phone, would ya?"
To Dee's disappointment, the news had NOT spoiled the Commissioner's evening. Furthermore, the detective had come off the worse in a verbal brawl with Diana when she had demanded that 'Berkie' hand her the phone. And to top it all off, Rose had ended the call by saying in a dismissive tone, "If you'll pardon me, Laytner, I don't have time for this now. Please give my regards to Ryo, whom I'm sure is proving a very able nurse to his fool of a patient. Sweet dreams to the pair of you." Then he hung up just as Dee was drawing breath to retort.
Dee sat glaring at the phone for a moment before raising his eyes to Ryo's. "I think he knows. About us, that is."
"Yeah, I've been meaning to tell you," Ryo said, and filled him in about the conversation he had had with the Commissioner in his office the day before. Naturally he left out the parts that would have sent Dee flying out of his chair in an incoherent and stitch-bursting rage.
"That rat bastard had better not be planning on breaking up our partnership," growled Dee when Ryo had finished.
"I don't think he will...at least not right away," mused Ryo thoughtfully. "He likes having something to hold over us. And he hasn't kicked us off the case yet, either. We still have a chance to stop Abernathy."
"I fucking need a cigarette," said Dee grumpily, and walked carefully to the fire escape down the hall.
The phone rang several times after that. The first call was from Detective Greenspan who wanted to know what they knew about Eddie Calvetti. Ryo was careful not to reveal too much, and they made an appointment to meet at the crime scene the next day. The Chief called --on Ryo's home phone-- to find out how Dee was feeling and when he was planning to come back to work. Bikky called close to eight o'clock and reported excitedly that he had pulled in almost three hundred dollars in the first hour and asked if he could stay out until ten. To Dee's relief, Ryo assented. This meant they had at least two more hours of time alone together, and injuries or no, Dee wasn't about to waste any precious 'Bikkyless' hours.
When Ryo hung up, Dee asked him, "Hey, when are you gonna tell me about your fan mail?" He was referring to the letter Bryce had directed them to pick up from the nurses' station. It had turned out to be addressed to Ryo, not him.
"Oh, you can read it if you want," Ryo said, getting up and fetching it from the pocket of his jacket. He explained briefly who it was from.
Dee unfolded the simple, badly spelled note, which had been written on a piece of hospital stationery, no doubt begged from the front desk. It read,
Dear Det. MacLane,
I am writting you to appologize for my behavior both times I met you. I admit I looked down on you for being a fag. I thought you were weak and disgusting. But I was wrong. You fought bravely and well. You are more of a man than me or anyone I know. My actions at the market were weak and disgusting, even though I am not a fag. I can't forgive myself for making those skinheads atack you. I was very scared and it was the only thing I could think of. I feel really terrible. I just wanted to say I'm sorry and I am wiling to be a witness if you need me.
"Shit, now I've seen everything," Dee said. "A gay-basher with a conscience. And look, he even left his phone number."
"Wait 'til you hear the second-best part of the evening," Ryo informed him. "That gay-basher has a conscience because he's secretly gay."
He told Dee about catching Frank reading a gay magazine, and as he had expected, Dee hooted with laughter. "Maybe we'll see him at the Gay Pride Parade," he remarked, and then added quickly, "The kids and me, I mean."
"Well, Thomas asked me to go with him to march in support of Gay Pride. It's in a couple of weeks. Carol, bless her, said she'd come with us, and Bikky REALLY doesn't want to go, but he's decided to come with us to protect Carol."
"Oh." Ryo felt somewhat uncomfortable. He didn't have any desire to go, but he thought Dee probably would like it if he did. It felt a little strange to know that the other three members of his 'family' were all planning an activity together that they hadn't consulted him about.
"Don't look like that, love. No one expects you to go. I know it's not really your thing."
"Is it important to you Dee, this Gay Pride Parade? Because I don't remember you going before."
"Well two years ago I went with a couple of friends because you had plans that day and were pissed with me about something, anyway. But I didn't go last year because you invited me to go to the gym with you, and doing stuff with you is always my first choice."
"I guess it's important to Thomas, huh?"
"Yeah. It's like this big statement he's making. His first Pride. He wants me there as his bodyguard in case someone tries to beat him up, which I gather is a regular occurrence in his life. He was hoping both of us would come, but I told him you probably wouldn't wanna go."
"Well...I'll think about it," was all Ryo would say, but he sounded dubious.
There was a brief silence and then Dee spoke in a deceptively playful voice that immediately caught Ryo's attention. He understood that his partner was fishing for something, and it was fairly clear what it was. "If catching that guy with the magazine was the second-best part of the evening, what ranked as the best part?"
"Discovering you still had a pulse, of course." Ryo smiled at him, and added, "Doofus," in such an affectionate tone that Dee felt warm all over. He honestly couldn't remember another time in his life when he had been delighted to be called 'doofus'. However, he forced himself to replace the foolish grin with a more seductive one.
"I sat in that stupid rickety wheelchair today because of you," he reminded Ryo. "Let's see if you can still call me a doofus when you're fulfilling your promise later. Oh, unless you have your mouth full, that is."
In spite of the sudden warmth in his cheeks, Ryo laughed. "Dee, I didn't necessarily mean tonight. I meant sometime in the near future when there's no chance of reopening your wound."
"Come here," Dee ordered him, from where he lay on the sofa. "I kept my part of the bargain and I want my blowjob. We'll be very careful, don't worry," he added.
When Ryo still hesitated, Dee held out a hand and said, "Come on, the invalid needs a little help here. You're gonna have to assist with your own seduction. Quick, before the monkey-brat decides to come home with a gang of kids who all want ice cream or something."
"Oh, I don't think there's any danger of that," said Ryo reassuringly as he moved closer to Dee. "He's been trapped in this apartment for weeks and he won't be back one minute before ten o'clock."
"Then kiss me. Please. I've been waiting for hours, ever since you got all naughty in the hospital today."
Ryo knelt on the floor next to the sofa and stroked Dee's hair and face. "Don't you ever stop being a horndog?"
"Not until I'm dead, baby." Dee chuckled and pulled Ryo's face down toward his. Their lips met like long lost lovers reuniting at last. The passion ignited instantly between them and Ryo welcomed it. An hour earlier, they had been planning a funeral. It could so easily have been Dee's! If not for luck, or the grace of God, or whatever people wanted to call it, he could have lost this vibrant, annoying, fascinating man beneath him. And he would have died doubting that he was truly loved. Ryo resolved then and there to tell him often that he loved him. And not just tell him, but show him.
He raised his head and looked down at Dee, drinking in the details of his handsome face. His abundant black hair had fallen away from his face, revealing well-kept eyebrows that swept back from the prettiest eyes Ryo had ever seen. They were ringed by thick black lashes, top and bottom, that any woman would have been jealous of. The irises they framed were, in low light, like the color of moss in a verdant and shady forest, but in strong sunshine their hue changed and became a lighter and more brilliant green that sparkled like emeralds. There were little silvery-green triangles of light toward the centre of Dee's irises that were only visible when his pupils shrank under bright illumination. Ryo had seen perfect strangers who passed Dee on the street do a double take and then stare when they registered how unusual his eyes were. He wondered if that was the reason why Dee so often wore sunglasses outdoors, even in the winter. But now those eyes were looking up at him in slight consternation.
"What is it, love?"
"You didn't die. I'm so grateful," Ryo whispered. "One of us – both of us could die at any time. I want to enjoy every moment of my life with you."
"Nothing's gonna happen to us, baby. But I'm all for enjoying every moment." Dee's arms went around him and caressed his back sensuously. "Now help me off this sofa and into the bedroom, would you? It's time for a little gratitude of the naked variety. And I'm sorry, but you're gonna have to do most of the work, on account of me being somewhat gimped at the moment. Think you can take the lead tonight?"
Ryo rose to his feet and pulled Dee gently into a sitting position, then up onto his feet. He put his arms around Dee's neck and pressed his body against him. Both of his nipples were erect with excitement and it felt good when he rubbed them against Dee's chest. "Fortunately for you," he murmured between kisses, "I'm not afraid of a little hard work."
"The harder the better, huh?" said Dee with a wicked smile, running his hands over Ryo's beautifully firm buttocks.
--end of chapter 25Author's notes: We'll open with a lemon next time, I promise!