Rating: More lemons! I don't know what's gotten into me recently. This chapter is pretty well half lemon. Be careful. I really have no idea whether to call this 'mature' or NC-17. Nudity and graphic sexual acts between two men in a committed relationship.
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 FAKE or any of the characters created by Sanami Matoh (Tina Greenspan, Eddie Calvetti, and Ned Shaver are mine, however). Nobody is paying me to write this story, although there might be those out there who would consider paying me to stop!
Author's notes: I stole a line from the wonderful RPG Fake 2nd chances! Fans of the RPG might recognize it. If you’ve never checked out this RPG, this is the address for the beginning. http://community.livejournal
It takes a few posts to get off the ground, but it's wonderfully entertaining, and absolutely hilarious! It starts from between volumes 4 and 5.
A New Day
Ryo straightened up from a crouching position in front of the bottom drawer of the file cabinet to find himself unexpectedly nose to nose with JJ.
"Ack!" he exclaimed, almost dropping his files.
"Sorry, Ryo. Didn't you hear me knock?""
It did not escape Ryo's attention that, despite the 'sorry', JJ's manner and tone of voice were completely devoid of any vestiges of apology. Worse, there was just the faintest hint of a smile playing about his lips. Ryo felt annoyed, but he kept his face neutral. He was also pretty sure the younger detective hadn't actually knocked.
"No, I guess I didn't," he replied. "Next time, please try knocking louder." He deliberately turned away without answering JJ's unspoken question.
JJ was obviously unable to go away without asking it. "Where's Dee? I thought he said he would be in today."
"He went down to records room two. He might still be there, especially if Annette's there."
"Annette?" JJ's voice rose slightly. "The one with the big...?"
"Yeah," said Ryo, opening the top drawer of another file cabinet. "That one."
"See ya, Ryo! Have a good night and everything, okay?" JJ exited the office rapidly with a determined look on his face.
Ryo pulled out one more file, transferred the whole pile to his briefcase and headed for the door. He was just switching out the light when he saw Drake coming down the hallway.
"Hey, Ryo," the other man said by way of greeting, looking delighted to see him. "How are you feeling? I heard you and Dee got into quite a brawl on Friday night."
"That's right, we did," agreed Ryo. "But I'm not the one who got shot. That was poor Dee."
"Yeah! JJ told me. That partner of yours is so fucking lucky, I don't know how he does it. He must have been born with horseshoes up his ass, that's all I've got to say." Drake shook his head in amazement at Dee's narrow escape. "The witness said he was shot at close range, less than fifteen feet. Jesus."
"Witness? What witness?"
"Guy that came in yesterday. Said he saw the whole thing. Seemed to be scared of JJ for some reason."
"Did he leave a name?"
"Yeah, but I forgot. It wasn't me who took his statement."
Ryo wondered if the witness had been Frank Marchall. Then he remembered that he ought to thank Sheldon on his way out. He had been the one who had processed the paperwork on the skinhead assault of Dee and himself late on Friday night. That bit of help had been what had allowed him to stay at the hospital overnight with Dee. He really did have great co-workers. Well, most of them, anyway.
"Walk with me, Drake. I've got to get going, but I wanna hear about that miracle you and JJ pulled off in the Lydgate case. Is it true what I hear?" He pulled the door shut behind him and he and Drake started strolling down the hallway together.
"Well, I guess that depends on what you've heard." Drake tugged restlessly at the knot of his tie.
"Only that you cracked the case. You nailed the bastard! We've all spent weeks spinning our wheels on that one. Way to go."
"Thanks," said Drake with a grin that looked more like a grimace. "But the guy's not in custody yet. We got a little more work to do first. We need that DNA test he's been refusing to submit to."
"You'll find a way to get it," Ryo said reassuringly as they started down the stairs.
"That's what Chief said. Only he added, 'Or else'."
Ryo grinned. "That just means he has faith in you, that's all. But seriously, you've done us all a favor."
"You think so? Say, maybe if that's the case, the rest of the CI division wouldn't mind springing for pizza tomorrow." Drake looked hopeful.
"Tell you what, " said Ryo, trying not to laugh at his fellow detective's predictability. "I will personally buy you and JJ matching pizzas the day Mr. Lydgate gets taken in for his arraignment. He'll never make bail if the evidence is as good as I've heard."
"You're on, dude!" Drake playfully punched his arm. "Hey, where's Dee? He around?"
"Well, I left him sitting in the car but ten to one he got bored and is yakking away to someone out front."
"Tell him to take it easy," Drake said. "I gotta go find JJ. Good night!" He took his leave of Ryo on the second floor.
After a detour to thank Sheldon, Ryo found Dee on the front step, smoking with a couple of the surveillance guys. They were all laughing uproariously. Ryo couldn't help grinning at him. Dee certainly had a way with a joke.
"Looks like your meds have finally kicked in," he observed good-naturedly.
"Nah, this energy is courtesy of Starbucks," Dee said. "Thanks for the coffee, bro." He raised his paper cup at Ryo. "You ready to go?"
Ryo nodded and they said goodbye to the other two officers.
"We're still stopping by my place, right?"
"If you still want to."
"Dude! I've been wearing the same shorts since Friday night. Of course I want to. And I want a change of clothes for tomorrow, too."
Ryo stood in front of Dee's closet, flipping through his clothes. Dee was getting changed behind him and he didn't want to turn around and look. Or more specifically, he didn't want Dee to catch him looking.
"Which suit do you want?"
"The grey one."
"That one's too nice for work. Pick another one."
"Well, that's the only one that's ready to go."
"What's wrong with your blue one?" There was a slight edge to Ryo's voice that caused Dee's ears to prick up warily.
"JJ tackled me when I was eating an apple. It needs to go to the cleaners."
"Your black one?"
"JJ tackled me when I was standing next to Ted. Bastard was drinking chocolate milk."
Ryo gritted his teeth and glared at Dee over his shoulder. "How about your brown one, then?" He turned back quickly because Dee was standing next to his bed wearing nothing but a pair of tight black boxers and an unbuttoned pastel shirt that contrasted beautifully with his olive skin.
"I hate that one," said Dee. "Brown is not my color. Besides, the lapels are two years out of style. I don't know why I haven't gotten rid of it."
"Well, we're bringing it anyway. Maybe you can wear it later in the week after JJ attacks you with a -- a cinnamon bun or something, and wrecks your gray suit too." Ryo could hear the resentment in his own voice and silently scolded himself for not being able to control it.
"Ryo, what's with you?" Dee was suddenly standing behind him, his hand lightly touching one of Ryo's shoulders. "Don't tell me you're jealous...of JJ?"
Ryo shrugged his hand off savagely, his face burning. He could hear the grin in Dee's voice and it infuriated him.
"I am NOT jealous of JJ!" he snapped, and continued to yank hangers to the left, one after another.
"Well, you're jealous of somebody," murmured Dee, pressing a kiss to the back of his neck. He crowded a little closer to his partner, who really had nowhere to go to get away from him except into the closet. Like a hound on the scent, Dee felt that an impromptu sexual skirmish would shortly be in the cards. His instincts were usually bang on about such things.
Ryo shifted his shoulders irritably and nudged Dee with his elbow on the non-injured side of his body. He wished he could elbow him much harder, but he refrained. His nudge didn't seem to have an effect, though, as Dee didn't budge. "Which shirt is your best shirt?" Ryo demanded.
"What the hell does that have to do with anything?" Dee slid his arm lightly around Ryo's taut abdomen from behind, and tried not to smile when he felt his partner struggle briefly against him. The struggle only resulted in Dee's groin being pressed up against Ryo's ass.
Ryo wriggled around in the tight space so he could see his partner. His eyes were baleful.
"I just thought you'd wanna be sure to wear it when we meet with that...that attractive Detective Greenspan tomorrow," he said.
Without a word, Dee sent his hand up to cup the side of his lover's face and the next thing Ryo knew, he was being kissed passionately and aggressively, with no warning and nothing held back. Dee's tongue tasted faintly of coffee and cigarettes and the promise of something sweeter.
"You..." murmured Dee between kisses, "...are such an idiot."
"Fuck you," Ryo retorted in a throaty voice, kissing him back and wondering why the hell he was responding when he was feeling so inexplicably pissed off with him.
"Idiot," repeated Dee, taking hold of his partner's necktie and kissing him again. "Dimwit. Doofus." He began to walk backwards towards the bed, towing Ryo with him by his tie, kissing him hungrily and murmuring tender insults into his mouth all the while. "Moron...Mmmm....Dork..."
"I should be saying those things to YOU," gasped Ryo. "What the hell do you...Mmmph...Ahh!...do you think you're doing? I'm mad at you, you know!"
"Yes, I know, my darling Dumbass." Dee stripped off Ryo's tie and rapidly undid the buttons of his dress shirt. "But you also want me to feel you up and suck your cock, don't you?" His hand slid inside Ryo's shirt and roamed up over his pectorals. Ryo's skin felt hot and Dee liked the way his lover's heart was beating excitedly against his chest. His nipples were already hard and when Dee tweaked one and began rolling it between his thumb and forefinger, Ryo uttered an angry little moan and trembled against him.
"No! I -- well, yes," he admitted and his mouth sought out Dee's again for a brief sucking kiss. "Why, Dee? What the hell is wrong with me?" He moaned again as he felt Dee's hand pass in a confident caress over the aching erection which was straining against the front of his pants.
"You love me, that's all," whispered Dee. "And you're a sweet, jealous, clueless airhead who doesn't even realize that that little bitch wanted YOU, not me." He continued to stroke Ryo's penis through his clothes.
"No she didn't," panted Ryo. "She kept staring at your shoulders and your face, and then your butt when you turned around." He frowned through his desire, feeling annoyed again.
"That's because you've got a smokin' hot boyfriend, baby." Dee's teeth flashed in a quick grin while his hands were unfastening Ryo's belt and tugging at the top button of his fly. "But she still decided on you in the end."
"No, I could see her smiling at you and trying to get you to look at her -- which you did! Did you have to flirt with her like that?" Ryo yanked the collar of Dee's open shirt off his shoulder and bit his neck, sucking hard and marking him possessively. "Why make her think she can have you? She can't have you! You're mine."
Dee felt an incredible thrill run through him at the sound of those words. His own erection throbbed madly at the way Ryo had just laid such fierce claim to him. No one had ever said those words to him before, and he suddenly realized that he had been waiting all his life to hear them.
"That's right," he whispered against Ryo's neck, dragging down the man's zipper and reaching for his sex, which all but leapt into his hand. "I'm yours, only yours, for as long as you want me."
"Dee!" Ryo groaned with the acute pleasure of what Dee's fingers were doing to him. "I want you..." His trousers had pooled around his ankles and he couldn't move. Dee turned him slightly and pushed him down into a sitting position on the edge of the bed, all without letting go of his penis.
Ryo lay back on the bed, still in his suit jacket, with his shirt open to the waist and his erection protruding from his shorts. Dee wished he could climb on top of him and apply lips, teeth and tongue to his partner's flat belly and beautifully sculpted chest. But bending at the waist was a bit difficult for him with a healing wound on his lower left side, and he decided not to risk it. He could kneel though, so he gingerly dropped to his knees in front of Ryo's open thighs and gently disengaged Ryo's dress pants from around his ankles so that he could spread his legs properly. He caressed Ryo's calves and thighs and rubbed his face reverently against his crotch, while the recipient of all his love and desire lay back on the bed, propped up on his elbows, panting with desire and watching him ardently. Dee could see that Ryo was waiting for the pleasure to begin, waiting for the intense sensual gratification, which both of them knew that Dee's hands and mouth would unfailingly deliver. He slowly tugged his partner's shorts down over his hips, enjoying the sight of his fully engorged penis and balls as they came into full view, just inches from his face. Ryo's testes were drawn up tightly to his body, and Dee smiled, thinking of the load he would shortly be draining out of them. He gave the whole package a sensual nuzzle before drawing back so that Ryo could close his legs long enough for his underwear to be removed. When the other man was fully naked from the waist down Dee bent his head to his work. Ryo's manhood, in its nest of chestnut brown curls, intoxicated him with its sexy, musky aroma, slightly spicy with sweat and hormones. He breathed it in deeply through his nose and the scent seemed to travel right down to his own penis, arousing in it the desire to climb on top of this stunningly handsome man on the bed and fuck him deeply and possessively in that tight, private channel hidden in the cleft of his buttocks. He knew that was out of the question, however, and he sent a silent message to his cock, ordering it to settle down and think about something else.
"Dee, how's your wound?" Ryo's voice was shaky with desire, but Dee knew he would shut things down without a second thought if he suspected that Dee was in any pain.
"Fine, love," he said. "As long as I don't twist or bend, I can do this. God, I want to do this..."
As he licked Ryo's testicles and stroked his hot, throbbing length, he could feel his mouth filling with the extra saliva that would enable him to get his lover's whole shaft into his throat. He loved sucking cock; in fact his body was now so trained to it that he often salivated just at the thought. He couldn't wait to get Ryo's dick into his mouth.
His formerly silent bedroom was soon filled with wet, slurping sounds, along with sighs and moans from Ryo that started out soft and low, but got louder and breathier as Dee took him closer to climax. He didn't allow Ryo to come as quickly as he wanted to, however. He brought his lover to the edge twice, backing him off each time, but it was mainly because he himself didn't want it to end yet. On the third time he led Ryo to the precipice, he let him go over, enjoying the way his moans increased in intensity until, with a startled shout, he flooded Dee's mouth with his slightly bitter, but to Dee, utterly erotic, ejaculate. The taste of it sent him hurtling headlong into his own orgasm, which he shuddered though silently on account of having swallowed Ryo's penis back into his throat again.
As the last tremulous spasms of pleasure fell away from him, a pressing need for oxygen caused him to draw his head off Ryo's member and take a couple of deep breaths.
His eyes met Ryo's and he tried for a grin. "Still mad at me?" His voice was a little hoarse, due to what he had been doing.
"No," whispered Ryo. "Love you too much." He held out his arms. "Come hold me."
Dee did, lying on his right side and caressing Ryo's body with long, loving strokes.
Presently, he spoke. "You're still hard."
"Yeah," said Ryo. "But it'll settle down eventually if we ignore it."
"I have no intention of ignoring it. For two and a half years I begged God to bring me this. It would be an insult to his bounty if I didn't get you off again..."
"Uh, Dee, I REALLY don't think God would mind if you just took a rest like you've been needing to do all day."
"You wish I could fuck you, don't you?"
Ryo didn't respond, but his cheeks went a little pinker and his penis got harder under Dee's idly stroking hand.
Dee sighed. "I wish I could fuck you too. But I think it would be asking for trouble."
"Maybe on Thursday or Friday," said Ryo without looking at him, "When Bikky's at school. You're off those days too, right?"
"I'm off Friday, not Thursday."
"Friday, then. We can try, anyway."
"Try, nothing. We're full-on doing it, no matter what my fucking stitches think. Now pass me that lube over there on the nightstand. I'm gonna beat you into submission. And take your jacket off so I can look at you."
Ryo didn't argue with him. For whatever reason, he was overflowing with sexual energy today and he knew that he needed another orgasm to completely calm himself.
At first, they lay on their sides facing each other, and Dee jerked him with a lubricant-slick hand while kissing him at intervals and describing in lurid detail exactly how he planned to fuck him next Friday. When the position became too difficult for Dee to maintain, he rolled onto his back and got Ryo to kneel beside him with his thighs spread apart. This allowed him to caress Ryo's left thigh and buttock with his right hand while continuing to masturbate him to completion with his left. When the moment came, Dee aimed Ryo's penis in the direction of his face, and managed to catch some of his seed in his mouth. The rest splashed across his throat and cheek, and some of it landed on the pillow.
When Ryo subsided, he stared at Dee's face in dismay and guilt. "Oh no, look what I've done! I'll be right back." He headed off to the bathroom on slightly shaky legs and returned with a warm washcloth, which he used to wipe Dee's face and neck. Then he dabbed at the pillow.
"You really ought to do laundry before you sleep here again."
"No way. That pillow, as is, is a wet dream waiting to happen."
"Dee, that's disgusting."
"Whatever you say, babe." Dee then horrified Ryo by hugging the pillow.
"Oh, hello there, Andrea," Dee said into the phone, sounding surprised. "How ya doin', hon?" He held the phone away from his ear, grinning at Ryo, while a screeching sound issued from it. He brought the phone back to his ear and continued, "Well, as much as I love our little conversations, it was actually Detective Shaver I was looking for. Has he come in yet?"
At that moment Ted pushed open the door and said with a grin, "It's Walrus time. He's ready for you guys. Looks crabby too. Better you than me!" He left them with a cheerful wave.
"I'll be sure to tell him, DETECTIVE Fowler," Dee was saying into the phone with exaggerated politeness. "Have a nice day, ma'am." He hung up and smirked at Ryo. "She said to tell you that your partner is an asshole."
"I'm sure she didn't mean that," Ryo said. "Come on, get your coffee. Chief wants us."
The left the office and strode down the hall together. "Shaver called in sick today," Dee said to Ryo. "And you know he didn't answer his phone both times I called last night."
Ryo nodded. "Something's up," he said. "You're gonna have to go and see him after our appointment at Bam's. If Abernathy decides to take him out too, we're screwed."
"Come in, boys," the Chief called out. "Commissioner Rose is probably gonna drop by for part of this meeting, so I just wanted to let you know that right off the bat. Dee, get that look off your face. He's in a position to fast-tracks funds and manpower for this case, and you should be grateful for that. No---" He held up a hand to forestall any smart remarks from Dee, who had indeed opened his mouth to deliver one. "Spare me the sass. Now, let's get on with this."
"Yes, sir," Ryo said, and launched into the newest development of the corruption case they were working on, which was that Lieutenant Abernathy had apparently called Detective Greenspan of the 99th to inform her of Bikky's involvement with Eddie and specifically, with the arrangement of the meeting that had led him to Bam's.
"I think that means he took the laptop from Eddie, Chief," Ryo concluded. "Contacting Detective Greenspan was a pretty confident thing for him to do. We'd probably had him scared there for a while when he realized that we knew about the laptop and he couldn't find Eddie. But now he doesn't seem scared anymore."
"Well, if that's so, it was most likely him that organized the hit on the junkie then," grunted the Chief. "I have yet to see a CSI report on the crime scene, though. Did Calvetti have any other enemies who might have done it?"
"Junkies always have enemies, Chief," said Dee. "Though, apparently this guy was an unusually enterprising and lovable junkie." He shrugged.
The Chief snorted derisively. "Yeah, right. Now tell me again Randy, how your kid came to be involved in this?"
Ryo explained patiently about how Bikky had known Eddie for years, and that it had been Bikky who had found Eddie in Queens and put him on the phone so that Ryo could warn him last Thursday night. During that phone call, Ryo had gotten phone confirmation of his suspicion that Lieutenant Abernathy was working with Eddie, and later Thomas had told Ryo that his father knew about Eddie's habit of taping phone calls. The night that Bikky had met up with Eddie in his hiding place in Queens, Eddie had sent him home with a cookware set that he expected Bikky to ship to whichever buyer might bid for it on eBay.
"Shit, eBay!" grunted the Chief. "I remember that part. Who would have thought a homeless junkie would be boosting high-end merchandise on eBay?" He shook his head.
"Like I said, Chief, he wasn't your average junkie," Dee put in.
Ryo continued with his summary of Bikky's involvement. "Eddie gave my son his passwords for eBay and the email address that was in his profile. Someone named 'Cindy', whom we think was most likely Abernathy, bid on the cookware set and exchanged emails with my son and his girlfriend respectively. They were both using Eddie's email address. 'Cindy' claimed she worked at Bam's restaurant and offered to pay cash if the cookware set could be delivered to her personally. Eddie was in great need of cash, so to him, it must have seemed like a godsend."
"What have you done to track down the IP address of 'Cindy'?"
"We've handed it off to the Cyber Crime Investigations department, but as you know they're pretty understaffed down there. We expect to get an answer in a couple of days," Dee told him.
"I wouldn't hold out too much hope on that one. Ten to one the email contact was initiated from a public place like the library. And 'Cindy's' email address will have been registered with fake everything."
"That's true." Ryo sighed. "But it's possible that if it was a public place like the library, Abernathy's face might show up on a security camera. It's a long shot, I know, but it's worth checking."
"Yeah, check everything," the Chief said. "Anytime you can get a perp on camera, it goes down good with juries. So if Cindy was really Abernathy and Eddie was really your son and his pal during the email exchanges, how do you think Mike got wind of the fact that your son was involved?"
"We can only speculate about that," Ryo said. "Abernathy might have gotten it out of Eddie verbally before he killed him, or, if he's got the laptop, he may have found voice files on there from Bikky."
"Chief," said Dee suddenly. "You've known the bastard for a long time. Do you think he might harm Ryo's son?"
The Chief looked thoughtful, but before he could answer, a smooth voice spoke from the door.
"Good morning, gentlemen. I trust I'm not interrupting?"
Commissioner Rose stood there, crisply attired in a pale spring suit that Dee's knowledgeable eyes told him had easily cost a thousand dollars. His lip had just started to curl in an instinctive sneer when Ryo kicked him gently.
"Of course not, Commissioner," said the Chief. "Please come in. One of you idiots give him your chair."
Ryo rose to his feet and shook hands with Rose. "Good morning, sir. Please take my seat. I've been wanting to stretch my legs anyway."
"Thank you, Ryo. If you're sure it's not a bother..."
Ryo just shook his head and moved to lean against the window sill, facing the room. On another morning, he might have added that it was a pleasure, but all he could think about at the moment was the crude power play that the Commissioner had tried to pull on him the last time he had been in the man's presence on Friday afternoon.
"How much time do you have, sir?" the Chief asked respectfully.
Commissioner Rose pulled back his sleeve with one perfectly manicured but powerful-looking hand and consulted his watch in a flash of platinum. "I can give you ten minutes," he said. "I'm due at the mayor's office in half an hour."
"Well, that'll have to do. Fill him in, Randy. You're lead detective on this one."
Detective Shaver lay on the sofa in his shabby bachelor apartment in the Bronx, wishing he had some coffee but not knowing if he could keep it down. Outside the sky was blue, the birds were singing and people were going about their daily business, buoyed by the natural optimism of spring. He honestly couldn't remember the last time he had felt that way.
His whole body ached. That had been quite a beating they had laid on him Saturday night. His kidneys had taken some damage and his piss had come out brown like fucking coca-cola all Sunday. He hoped he would be well enough to go into work tomorrow, but at the same time, he couldn't help wondering if there was any point.
And that cocksucker Abernathy hadn't been sympathetic. "Extricate yourself, Neddy," he had said. "A smart and savvy man like yourself ought to be able to find a way."
He knew what Mike expected him to do: go over to the Devils. It was quite simple, really. The Stone Blood Boys weren't looking out for him the way they should, and with them he was a lone wolf dealing with a pack. The odds did not exactly smack of success, certainly not in the long run. He had been a fool to think that his NYPD status had ever offered any protection. It had been an illusion, like so much of what he had thought was good in his life.
If he crossed to the Devils, Mike would be there with him, along with whomever else he had on board. He knew that Mike could do what he could not, which was to make dangerous criminals respect him. He would no longer be out in the cold. He would be part of a pack, united under a strong leader. Maybe life would get good again.
But no. There he was, getting caught up in illusions again. He knew he would never offer his services to the Devils. They had been wooing him right alongside the Stone Bloods, back in the good old days a scant year ago when he had been thinking that things were finally about to go his way. Everyone had wanted a piece of him then, and they were all willing to pay. He had chosen the Stone Blood Boys for one reason only, and that was that they didn't traffic in minors, whereas the Devils did. He'd been involved in a bust a couple of years back that still haunted him. The Devils had been getting set to move a shipment of merchandise across the state line, and his team had gotten wind of it. They arrived at the 'safe house', maybe only 5 minutes or so before the gang had high-tailed it out of there, leaving everything behind. The 'merchandise' had consisted of a hundred kilos of high-end cocaine and half a dozen freaked out looking teens. One of them had been a kid only a few years older than Kevin, handcuffed to a bed, naked from the waist down. Hard-bitten though he was, the sight of that boy had upset him. Essien Ibo, the leader of the Stone Bloods, was apparently an avowed family man who claimed to value children. He was scum, of course, but he had six or seven brats by different mothers that he took an interest in.
That had been his somewhat naive reason for the choice he made last summer, but he had other reasons now, even in addition to the fact that the Devils had practically put him in hospital the night before last. Both the Dyre Street Devils and the Stone Blood Boys consisted solely of lying, conniving, murdering, unscrupulous men without honor whom he wouldn't want to turn his back on in broad daylight. Come to think of it, that was a pretty apt description of his fearless leader, Mike, too. How had he come to get involved with such a collection of bastards?
His only hope now was that those two Manhattan detectives would be able to get him some acceptable terms in exchange for his cooperation. Although it kind of went against the grain for him to turn rat, he felt that the circumstances warranted it. He was caught between too many opposing forces, and if those he was considering ratting on had shown him just a bit more loyalty and respect, it wouldn't have become necessary. For a few moments, he allowed himself to dream of a future free of all this stress and danger, one where perhaps all this misery and uncertainty would finally be behind him. When Kev was a bit older, he would love to rent a boat and take him down the coast of Maine. He wondered if he could foster in his son the same love of the sea that he had.... But, shit. He was probably just dreaming.
When it came right down to it, he didn't trust Detectives Laytner and MacLean, either.
"Detective Shaver is not in a position to dictate terms," Commissioner Rose said. "If he thinks he can do as he did and not serve any jail time, he's dreaming. It's more a question now of his cooperation serving to mitigate the length of his sentence somewhat."
"Sir!" Ryo was frustrated. "He's our last living witness. We need him to lead us to a few more. As far as I understand it, he's quite adamant about not going to jail. He's quite naturally concerned for his safety."
"Yeah, I wouldn't expect the guy to last a week inside," Dee said.
"We can almost certainly arrange for him to have his own cell and take his meals separately," said the Commissioner. "But the man will be doing some time. If he assists us in our investigation and if he's lucky in his own trial, he might only have to do a couple of years. Can you imagine how this is going to look in the court of public opinion? Not only will the papers all be crowing about widespread corruption in the NYPD, but they'll also have a veritable field day with the fact that a former detective who has stolen drugs for resale purposes and participated, however unwittingly, in a drug murder disguised to look like an overdose, is to get away scot-free. I will not have it, gentlemen. I'm taking the long view here."
"Sir," said Dee. "As things stand now, this whole case pivots on him. If we can't get Shaver's cooperation, Abernathy just goes on doing what he's doing, building his little empire, bringing the rot further into the halls of the NYPD. If we don't take steps to stop Abernathy NOW, this thing will be so big by the time he finally does get taken down that the press circus will be ten times worse than what you just described."
Ryo gave Dee a quick admiring look from under his lashes. That was what he had wanted to say himself, except that he knew he was too angry to speak coherently right now.
The Commissioner, who had not missed Ryo's quick glance at his partner, remained unmoved. "Detective Shaver needs to be brought to understand that what he is facing now is a choice between doing ten to fifteen or two to five. There will be no free pass out of jail this time. Not for him."
"If I were him, I'd run," said Dee.
"Of course you would," murmured the Commissioner as he got to his feet, automatically smoothing the wrinkles from the front of his slacks. "But I think you'll find he won't."
"If I were him, I wouldn't trust anyone that promised me protection in prison," Ryo said quietly.
"Come now, Ryo, do you truly believe that prison guards and officials can't do the relatively easy job of keeping a man from harm when the police have made a deal with him?"
Ryo was silent, but his demeanor clearly showed that he disagreed with the Commissioner.
"Lieutenant, I hate to leave you, but I'm a bit pressed for time today. Detectives, I'm sure you'll find some way to represent the situation to Detective Shaver in its best possible light." The Commissioner paused a moment, and then added, "Play him if you have to."
Silence managed to reign for a full thirty seconds after he left before Dee couldn't hold it in any longer and exploded.
"Play him? That's his brilliant suggestion? Shaver's stupid, but he's not that stupid! Fuck, it's always La-La Land crap like this that happens when the top brass get involved in a case."
"Dee," said the Chief. "You've been around the block long enough to know that this is how the cookie crumbles sometimes. The Commissioner is adamant that the man must go to jail. Work with it. Try to salvage what you can." He turned toward Ryo. "He's given you the go-ahead for surveillance. I suggest you draw up a plan and a program for how you wanna conduct that. In the meantime, I suggest you..." His voice trailed away at the sound of raised voices in the hallway outside his door. He could hear the voice of Leona, the secretary he shared with Lieutenant Abrams saying, "Sir! I told you he's in a meeting. You cannot go in there until---"
At that moment, the door was flung open with such force that it struck the wall, and all three men in the room stared in amazement at the intruder.
Lieutenant Michael Abernathy stood on the threshold, and he appeared to be in a towering rage.
&^&^&^&^&^&^&^&^end of chapter 27
Additional author's notes: Some cliffy, huh? I'll be publishing the next chapter in the first week of January. Thank you all for reading!