I hope you all had a satisfying Christmas and New Year and that the season brought out the best in you and all those around you.
I'm finally surfacing with the latest chapter of A New Day. I had originally intended to publish this chapter on January 2nd, but I've been getting over a nasty cold, which was an extra little Christmas present from my husband! Grrr! (I am considering various ways to return the favor) For three days I could barely focus my burning eyes on a keyboard or book for longer than thirty seconds. However, enough of that. On to the good news! In the city I live in, it's damn hard to find chocolate kirsch cherries even at Christmas time, when one's chances would naturally be assumed to be highest. At all other times of the year, it's impossible. But due to my putting the word out amongst my family and friends, and nagging, no reminding, them every couple of days, I now have 6 boxes and several bags of the drunken-fun-loving little critters! Yay! But somehow I gotta eat 'em all before I give up chocolate for 100 days, starting early next month. I wish I didn't have to quit cold-turkey, but I simply can't do moderation, and I am a full-blown chocolate addict. Whose pants are getting tight, I might add. But I still have most of a month left in which to revel, and revel I will, right up until the last possible minute. It's a damn good thing I can make myself exercise.
Okay, here we go with the story:
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
Rating: Worksafe, except for the swearing
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 (Mike Abernathy is mine, however). I receive no money to write this story.
Author's notes: Please read and review.
FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May)
"Lieutenant Abernathy," the Chief said. "What brings you here?"
"Lieutenant Smith, I came along to see you in person, since it was clear as daylight you weren't planning on returning your old friend's calls anytime soon." Abernathy stepped into the room and shut the door firmly in Leona's face.
The Chief's face went from incredulous to angry in a matter of seconds. "Mike," he rumbled, "What the hell's gotten----"
"Save it, Warren. I know you're probably busy, so I'll make this quick. And what I have to say, I want to direct equally at these two detectives here, particularly you, MacLean." Lieutenant Abernathy jabbed an accusing finger at Ryo, who looked surprised.
"I don't want you or your paramour here" --he jerked a thumb in Dee's direction-- "sniffing around my son anymore. Perhaps you think it's all right to be flaunting your unnatural relationship before your own child, but I won't have a man of your stripe encouraging my boy to walk your unGodly path. How dare you take him to a Karate class without consulting me? It's bad enough that you had him in your clutches for two nights last week. God only knows the extent of the harm that was done to him!"
"Lieutenant Abernathy," said Ryo in a hard voice, leaving the window sill and taking a step forward. "No harm was--"
Mike immediately interrupted him, his loud, accusing voice drowning out Ryo's. "No harm was done? No harm? That you can say that to my face without a blush is a miracle, it surely is! Why, the boy's come back more set on his destructive lifestyle choice than ever! He says he was inspired by the 'love' he witnessed between you two!"
Ryo thought he had never heard the word 'love' sound so dirty, especially as it was accompanied by a look of sheer revulsion from the Internal Affairs lieutenant. That look seemed to hit him like a blow.
"Now the fool boy wants to grow up to be like you. He says he doesn't believe in a God who would send him to hell for finding happiness in the arms of another male! He refused to attend church yesterday! And you have the balls to say to me that no harm has been done?"
"Mike, we all know that you've been having problems with your son," said the Chief. "But you can't lay the blame for a pre-existing situation on the two men who found him and looked after him."
"If you consider feeding him, giving him a warm place to sleep and laundering his clothes to be harming him, then I am guilty!" Ryo was angry. His face was as red as Lieutenant Abernathy's and although none there would have guessed it, he was trying very hard not to let go of his temper and punch the insufferable little man into the coat rack.
"We took him to a basketball game too," Dee added loudly. "By your twisted logic, I guess we're guilty of 'sports abuse', huh?"
"You can joke all you like, Detective Laytner. I wouldn't be expecting a man with no family of his own to have any understanding of these matters, particularly a man of such well-known dissolute and licentious proclivities! In fact--"
Abernathy stopped mid-sentence as Dee rose, cursing, from his chair, and seized him by the collar. Almost right away, however, Ryo was there between them, effectively preventing either man from being able to strike the other.
"Dee, let him go," he said, giving him a warning look. "This won't solve anything." He thought that surely by now, Dee's stitches must be reminding him of their existence.
"I'll thank you both to get your filthy hands off me! It shames me that the NYPD allows the likes of you two within its ranks!" Abernathy turned his head and addressed the Chief, who had risen to his feet behind his desk. "Warren! I don't know what you thought you were about, sending this pair of degenerates out after my boy. All I can say is you must not have been aware that these two are flagrant HOMOSEXUALS and not fit to be in the company of decent men, let alone children!"
Although Mike had more or less been shouting since he had arrived in the Chief's office, this last sentence had been delivered with extra volume, no doubt for the edification of anyone who might have been lurking outside in the hall. Ryo knew that Mike's dramatic door-banging entry had probably attracted interest from a variety of quarters. He didn't doubt that that particular detail, plus any other choice bits of information that had been overheard, would be all over the building by noon. But he couldn't think about it now. He had to not only get through the next few minutes without losing his own cool, but at the same time, somehow prevent Dee from punching out Abernathy.
"Decent men like you?" Dee snarled. "Decent men who beat their children and force them to run away from home to the 'safety' of the streets?"
Mike lost what last few traces of control he had been holding over his temper. "Unhand me, you unnatural freak! Don't touch me with the same filthy hands you touch your lover-boy here with. It makes me sick to even look at you!"
The Chief had to hurry out from behind his desk to assist Ryo in hauling Dee away from Lieutenant Abernathy.
"Aw, Chief, let me get just one shot in. Lemme send him to the dentist. You know he deserves it! C'mon, let me go," Dee insisted, struggling mightily.
"Stay away from my boy," Lieutenant Abernathy spat at Dee and Ryo. If you attempt to seduce his mind or any other part of him again, I will do everything in my not inconsiderable power within the NYPD to make sure that you regret it for the rest of your misbegotten lives!"
"Mike, you sonofabitch, that's enough!" bellowed the Chief. "This is my precinct, my office, my goddamned turf! And Laytner and MacLean are MY men, and damn fine detectives, at that. How dare you come in here throwing your weight around for all the world like you outrank ME? This 'distraught father' act simply doesn't cut it if that's your excuse for carrying out some kind of warped personal vendetta on men under my command. I find your behavior both incomprehensible and highly unprofessional."
"QUIET! You've had your goddamned say! You've made your little scene AND your point, at the cost of your credibility and mine. This ain't high school, you nincompoop; it's real life. IA is clearly not keeping you busy enough if you feel you got time to drive over here on a Monday morning to yell at me and my detectives over what amounts to a bunch of trumped up crap! I'll be writing this up, Mike. You can bet your ass on that."
Abernathy's face was still angry, but the Chief's words had quelled him somewhat. He drew himself up to his full, rather diminutive height and scowled at all three of them.
"I've said all I came here to say, and I'll be leavin' now." He stepped over to the door with his head held high. "But I meant what I said. Keep those two predatory popinjays away from my son, or so help me, there'll be hell to pay."
"It's not illegal to be gay, sir," snarled Dee.
"No, and more's the pity," Abernathy replied. "Good day, Warren." He walked out of the door, leaving it open.
Before either of them could say anything, Leona, who had obviously been hovering nearby, rushed in. Janet was there too, but she waited outside.
"Sir, I'm so sorry!" Leona exclaimed. "I tried my best to stop him, but he wouldn't listen to me."
"It's all right," the Chief said reassuringly. "I'm not blaming you. Lieutenant Abernathy can be a force unto himself when he's riled up about something."
"I just couldn't believe it when he pushed right past me-- I've never experienced behavior like that from a---Did you say he was a lieutenant with Internal Affairs?" Leona eyed Dee and Ryo wonderingly over the Chief's shoulder.
Ryo glanced at Dee. The Chief hadn't actually said any such thing – she had probably learned that from standing right outside the door. The two detectives waited silently as the Chief ushered her out, making reassuring comments and asking her to write him a report of her part in this incident, in her own words. When he had closed the door behind her, he came back in and returned to his desk with an irritable sigh.
"What the hell was that all about?" he asked the two angry-looking detectives.
"I think he came here to find out if we had told you about our suspicions concerning him," said Ryo, matter-of-factly. "He also wanted to provoke one of us into hitting him so that he could claim we were persecuting him in case he ever found us staking out his apartment building."
Dee looked at Ryo in surprise, but the Chief just nodded and picked up the cigar he had been forced to discard earlier when it had been necessary for him to help restrain Dee. "Good job, Randy. Bastard took a calculated risk. And whaddaya think now? Did he get the answer to his question?"
"I'm not sure, sir. A lot depends on how you guys used to interact. I don't know your history."
"Well, I'd say he knows. He's a smart man, except for that temper. The temper is his weak point. You should keep that in mind."
"He's not smart," said Ryo. "He's cunning. There's a difference. I believe he has made some spectacularly stupid mistakes in his life, and I want to be there when he makes the next one."
"We will be, Ryo," Dee said from his place beside him. "We're gonna shut that sonofabitch down." He was looking a little pale, and he stood with a hand resting lightly on his injured side, but his voice sounded strong and determined.
"He had another, more crass purpose in coming here today, too," the Chief said, looking at them speculatively. "Apparently he felt a burning need to inform me that you two are involved in a... personal relationship."
Dee and Ryo were silent, each fearful that their partnership was about to be broken up. Ryo was worrying what the chief would think of him now. He already knew that the Chief was tolerant of gays because of his experience with Dee, as a flagrant bisexual, and JJ as an even more flagrant homosexual, but he thought that the knowledge that HE was also gay would probably come as a surprise to the Chief. How's he gonna react when he finds out he has another one? he thought.
The Chief looked steadily at them for a moment, and then said, "Siddown, the pair of ya. I know what you're thinking."
They sat. Neither said a word.
"According to regulations, I should break you two up and assign you different partners, maybe even assign one of you to a different department."
Ryo slumped his shoulders; Dee looked angry.
"Just keep your trap shut, Laytner. I ain't done talking." The Chief took his cigar out of his mouth, turned it around and frowned at the end that was supposed to be lit, but wasn't.
"The fact is, yours is a successful partnership, one of the best I've ever seen. The number of crimes you two have solved together is, I think, way higher than what you could have achieved with other partners, or by working alone."
Ryo dared to raise his head and look at the Chief. He and Dee cautiously exchanged glances.
"You two are not married, correct?"
"Correct," said Ryo quickly, although he blushed furiously at the very thought.
"Not common-law? Not co-habiting?"
"Have you made any kind of public declaration about being a couple?"
"Not yet." It was Dee who answered this time, with a sidelong look at Ryo.
"Then I don't know shit," said the Chief, lighting his cigar and taking several long puffs. "All I've been told was some hearsay, some gossip about the personal lives of two of the guys on my team. There ain't nothin' here I have to formally act on."
Dee and Ryo broke into smiles of relief.
"But I don't want any crap, d'you hear me? If you're having problems with each other in your, ah, FRIENDship, I don't want that spilling over into your work life, capiche? I expect professional behavior at all times."
"Yes sir!" Ryo couldn't stop smiling.
"Now get back to work. Just because it's non-stop drama around here doesn't mean the Commissioner isn't breathing down my neck for a wrap on the Lydgate murder. Come on guys, Parker and Adams left you dead in the water on that one."
"Hey, you were the one who told us to drop everything and find that kid!" Dee grumbled resentfully.
"I didn't tell you to drop everything, I just told you to work harder. I don't know why I waste my breath, since slacking off is your number one talent, Dee. Now, like I said, get the hell out of here."
As they left the Chief's office, they found themselves under the surreptitious scrutiny of several interested parties. Ryo felt that he didn't want to look anybody straight in the eye until he'd had a chance to consider all the ramifications of what had just happened. He couldn't wait until they reached the relative privacy of their office on the fourth floor. But he was also concerned about Dee's injured side and whether he had done any further damage to it.
"How's your wound?" he asked under his breath as they headed down the long corridor that led to the stairs.
"Fucking killing me," Dee muttered back through gritted teeth. He was clutching his side as they walked.
"Is it bleeding?"
Dee lifted his hand and checked his shirt. "Possibly," he said. "It's either bleeding or seeping fluid, because I feel something wet down there, but the bandage seems to be soaking it up so far."
"Maybe we should get you to a hospital," Ryo said, frowning at him anxiously. "I knew I shouldn't have let you come to work today!"
"No! No more hospitals. I'll go to a clinic, but not anywhere where they might try to keep me overnight."
"In that case, let's not make you walk up four flights of stairs," Ryo said. We're already on the ground floor; let's just head out, okay?"
"Yeah, I'm all for getting the fuck outta here." Dee seemed to brighten up at the thought. "That was a heavy scene we just went through, and now everyone's gonna be bugging us to find out what happened. I could use a smoke too."
"Where's your jacket? Upstairs?"
"Yeah, but don't worry about it. I got it covered." Dee produced his cell phone and hit speed dial.
"JJ Adams, please," he said. A frown appeared momentarily on Ryo's face, but was gone by the time Dee glanced back at him, asking, "You need anything from upstairs?"
Ryo shook his head. "Not if we're coming back later."
"Hey, Drake," said Dee into the phone. "How ya doin'?" There was a pause while Drake spoke. "It sucked, man," Dee continued. "Yeah, tell me about it! Listen, I need JJ. Is he with you? Cool. Put him on, okay? Later, dude."
As Dee spoke with JJ on the phone, Ryo was approached by Kerry Bristow, one of the officers he recognized from the Juvenile Division. She was an attractive brunette, originally from one of the midwestern states. She greeted him warmly and expressed sympathy over what had occurred a short time ago in the Chief's office.
"I just happened to be here because I needed to talk to Sergeant Dyer about one of my regulars," she said. "But we could hear the yelling from Lieutenant Smith's office all the way out here in the hall. It must have been awful for you." She looked at him sympathetically. Ryo's heart sank. So much for getting out of there.
"It was...pretty bad. But Dee and I have to be leaving now. We've got an appointment." He glanced over at Dee who was saying, "...and make sure my smokes don't fall out of my pocket, okay?"
Kerry leaned in closer to Ryo and dropped her voice conspiratorially. "Being accused of homosexuality is probably the last thing you needed, especially after those rumors that your whole department is gay," she said. "Of course I'm aware that a lot of your co-workers have that little problem, but I don't know how people can say that about you when everyone knows you had a girlfriend a few months back. I just wanted to let you know that you have my support." She smiled reassuringly and patted his chest.
Ryo stared and felt the hated blush heating his cheeks. But this time, it wasn't entirely embarrassment. It was partially anger.
"Kerry," he said carefully. "What's wrong with being gay? My co-workers aren't hurting anyone."
She wrinkled her little nose in confusion. "Wrong? Come on. Ew."
Just then, Dee snapped his phone closed and moved to Ryo's side. "JJ's gonna meet us in the parking lot in five minutes or probably less, knowing him."
"Oh, don't let me keep you, then," said Kerry. "I've got to get going myself. Take care, Ryo." She turned away without acknowledging Dee.
"Bye," said Ryo.
"She's one of the minor harpies over at Juvie, isn't she?" Dee watched her go. "Guess she still hates me."
There had been a bad scene over at the Juvenile Division several weeks ago, wherein Dee had loudly criticized two of their number over how they had handled a badly botched case. The fact that he had been right and not the slightest bit tactful about it had sealed his fate as persona non grata at that particular department forever.
"Yeah, but what can you do? Let's get out of here before anyone else tries to pump us for information."
JJ met them in the parking area, carrying Dee's suit jacket and a multicolored paper shopping bag with handles.
"Hi Ryo! Hello, Dee-Sempai! I didn't get a chance to talk to you this morning -- How are you feeling?"
"I'm in pain, JJ, so no hugging, got that? Ryo's taking me to a clinic, so we can't hang around. But thanks for bringing me my jacket." He reached for it eagerly and liberated his cigarettes from the inside pocket.
While Dee smoked, JJ expressed concern for Dee's injury and chattered about the Lydgate case. Ryo was listening with interest, but Dee interrupted him mid-word and said, "What's in the bag?"
"Oh! I can't believe I forgot. Some treats for you in case you didn't get a proper breakfast and that gift you asked me to pick up."
"Food! Why didn't you say so? Hand it over."
Dee rooted through the bag and pulled out a chocolate croissant with an expression of pleasure on his face.
"Thanks JJ," he said, just before taking an enormous bite.
"Dee, do you need to take your meds?" Ryo asked.
"Nope, can't," mumbled Dee around a mouthful of pastry. "Just took em an hour ago. Gotta wait."
JJ beamed at the sight of Dee enjoying the food he had brought him and Ryo felt his usual vague guilt for always regarding JJ as a nuisance. He had recently been attempting to focus on his younger co-worker's good qualities, instead of his irritating ones. JJ had, after all, done many kind and thoughtful things for Dee over the years, and Ryo felt it was only fair to give credit where it was due.
"Looks like what JJ brought you is medicine enough," said Ryo to Dee, with a smile that included JJ.
Dee nodded and took another bite. "Let's go," he mumbled thickly and got into the car on the passenger side, still chewing.
As they pulled up in front of the clinic on First Avenue, Dee handed him the multicolored bag. "You can have the other pastry," he said. "And the mug is for you. I finally replaced it." He looked satisfied with himself.
Ryo gave him a small smile. He had half-expected this as soon as JJ had mentioned that there was a gift in the bag.
"Thank you," he said politely, and put the bag in the back seat without glancing at it.
"Don't you even wanna look at it?"
"I'm sure it's very nice. JJ has excellent taste."
"Yeah, he does. That's why I thought he should pick it out, not me."
There was quite a line-up at the clinic, but Dee's NYPD status got him promoted to the head of the line. As he was being seen to, Ryo sat in the waiting room pretending to be deeply absorbed in a magazine while he ran his mind rapidly over the scene in the Chief's office.
Now that the Chief, in addition to Commissioner Rose, knew that Dee and Ryo were a couple, would things stay the same in the CI Division? Whereas the Commissioner had always been quite frank with him with regards to his bisexuality, the Chief's attitude was more of an enigma. He was clearly a heterosexual family man, but Ryo honestly didn't know if he secretly harbored any negative feelings towards homosexuals. In the years that Ryo had known him, the Chief had never made any reference to alternate sexual choices at all, either supportive or derogatory. Even following Abernathy's rant, the Chief had not spoken a word in support of homosexuality, although that had been the basis of the IA lieutenant's complaints. The Chief had readily risen to the defense of his subordinates, however, unhesitatingly putting his former colleague in his place, but it had seemed to be more a matter of defending his territory, rather than speaking out against an extremely prejudicial attitude towards sexual preference. It was almost as though the Chief had simply decided to ignore the fact that so many members of his department were 'batting for the other team'. It was actually a little strange, when Ryo thought about it, considering how annoyingly open both Dee and JJ had been about their sexual preferences all along. Sure, the Chief regularly yelled and cuffed people, but it was always for laziness or insubordination, and Ryo did have to admit that there was a distinct undercurrent of rough affection in the way the Chief related to them all. Maybe he really doesn't mind, he thought with wonder and a faint dawning of hope.
But what would this mean now, with regards to the rest of their team? If Rose and the Chief both knew their secret, his best reason for keeping the nature of his relationship with Dee under wraps had just been taken away. Now that they didn't have to fear having their partnership broken up, there was a good chance that Dee would want to tell their close friends at the precinct, like Drake and Ted. He felt Dee would definitely want to let JJ know, too. Ryo frowned into his magazine, asking himself what he wanted. He felt that Abernathy's shouted accusations had probably been heard by enough people this morning that the news that he, Ryo MacLean, was gay, was probably being bandied all over the building. But then he reminded himself that this would not come to anyone's ears as a brand new rumor. Some would of course be willing to dismiss it, as Kerry had done. He and Dee would have to face the rumor mill when they got back -- it would be best if they were ready for it. They absolutely needed to talk beforehand.
Presently, a harried and youthful-looking doctor stepped out into the crowded waiting room and made a beeline for Ryo.
"Pardon me, sir," he said, "But are you by any chance Detective Laytner's partner?"
Ryo sighed. "Yes," he said. "Is he being difficult again?"
The doctor gave him a wry smile. "A little," he said. "I'm Dr. Stein, by the way. Nice to meet you, Mr...?"
"MacLean," supplied Ryo, shaking the man's extended hand.
"Your partner is refusing to take my advice, Mr. MacLean. I was hoping you could help me talk some sense into him. He gave me permission to come out here and fetch you. Would you come with me, please?"
"Uh, sure," said Ryo, wondering if he should start worrying.
He followed Dr. Stein into a small examining room, where Dee sat waiting on the examining table with his shirt off, a new larger bandage on his injury and a scowl that lessened somewhat at the sight of his partner.
Dr. Stein closed the door and turned to Ryo. "Detective Laytner has informed me that he has not taken any time off since being released from Bellevue on Saturday. It's my professional opinion that this man should not be at work, particularly in a physical job such as law enforcement. He has popped one of the sutures at one end of his wound. There's no blood, but the wound is seeping a little. There's an increased risk of infection, not to mention increased scarring, because we can't replace popped sutures. It is VITAL that he refrain from physical activity until this injury has had time to heal. If you have any influence over him at all, I suggest you bring it to bear in this case. Can his department not do without him for a couple of days?"
"Yes, we can," replied Ryo with a bright glare at Dee's sulky countenance. "I haven't been able to get him to stay home, though. But that's going to change as of right now, isn't it, Dee?"
"But nothing! I told you that you needed to rest. Do you think I can't meet with Detective Greenspan without you? I can't believe you popped one of your stitches." He turned to Dr. Stein who was looking unaccountably embarrassed. "How many days do you think he should be off and can you provide me with a note for our Lieutenant?"
"Oh dear, I'm terribly sorry," Dr. Stein said to Dee. "When you said your partner had brought you in, I just assumed... I didn't realize you meant your work partner. I would never have discussed your medical details with your co-worker if I hadn't thought you two were..."
"It's okay, Doc," said Dee with a big grin. "This guy knows everything about me. I don't have any secrets from him."
It had suddenly dawned on Ryo what type of misapprehension Dr. Stein had been under. Had he thought they were...married or something? He could feel his face getting warm. What a day this was turning out to be.
"I can certainly write you a note," Dr. Stein said, reaching for his prescription pad. I think two to three days off should suffice, but no active duty until Friday at the very least. And even then, it shouldn't be very active."
"Friday, huh?" Dee winked at Ryo. "I'm glad you said that, Doc, because I do have a little bit of mildly active duty planned for Friday."
Dr. Stein tore the note off the pad and handed it to Dee, apologizing once again.
Ryo promptly took the note away from Dee and put it in his pocket. As he did so, he suddenly came to a decision. He then turned to the doctor and took a breath. "Dr. Stein, please don't apologize," he said in a voice that miraculously didn't sound as nervous as he felt. "You were correct in your assumption about our relationship. Detective Laytner and I are partners on a personal as well as a work level. I'm glad you shared this information with me, because now I can do my best to make sure he gets the rest he needs."
Dr. Stein smiled gratefully at them and thanked Ryo for telling him. "I feel better now," he said. "But I'll be more careful in the future. I'll leave you to get dressed, Detective."
The door closed behind him, leaving the two detectives briefly alone. They looked at each other in silence for a moment, and Ryo was surprised to see that Dee's face was almost as flushed as his own face felt.
"Baby," Dee said softly, with wonder in his eyes.
Ryo felt embarrassed. "Just because I said it to him, doesn't mean I'm ready to tell the world, you know," he said defensively.
Dee smiled at him and got carefully down from the table. "Whatever. It means a lot to me that you said it to him. Pass me my shirt, would you? It's on the chair behind you."
When Ryo turned to get the shirt, Dee moved up close behind him and wrapped his arms around his lover's body. All the tension that had been building up in Ryo immediately left him at Dee's touch.
"It's okay, baby," Dee whispered. "Don't worry. It's all gonna turn out okay."
"How can you know that?" Ryo allowed himself to relax against Dee's warm, strong body. "Right now, all our co-workers are gossiping about us."
"Yeah," said Dee. "They are. But trust me, they're way more interested in the fact that Abernathy is from Internal Affairs than they are in any gay accusations, which are old news anyway."
Ryo realized Dee was right and it cheered him up a little. Then he was appalled with himself for being happier that all his co-workers thought he might be under the investigation of IA for some wrongdoing than that he might simply be gay. But of course it wasn't simple to be gay. How had Dee ever opened his mouth that first time, and all of the ensuing times and let people know he was bisexual? Ryo couldn't fathom it, unless maybe it had something to do with bisexuality receiving a slightly less hostile reaction than homosexuality. In any case, he just couldn't imagine himself announcing anything of the sort to his co-workers or friends.
"Dee, I'm sorry," he said.
"What for?" Dee was pressing slow, affectionate kisses on his shoulders, through his shirt.
"For not being as strong as you."
Ryo could feel Dee's body shaking with mirth against his back. "What's so funny?"
"Ryo my love, my adorable dork...Don't you know you're ten times stronger than me? I'm just noise and mouth and fists. You're the real deal, baby."
Ryo twisted around in Dee's arms and thrust his shirt at him. "I'm sure they want this room," he said quickly. "So, put your clothes on and let's get going." He couldn't imagine why Dee thought he was so strong. He sure didn't feel that way. He hadn't for quite a long time, truth be told. But he certainly wasn't about to show it. If Dee thought he was strong, then that was the face he would show him.
"Kiss me, first."
"Oh all right." Ryo leaned in and quickly pecked his partner on the cheek, figuring it was better to capitulate than to spend the next five minutes arguing about it.
"Oh no you don't." Dee caught hold of him just as he was drawing back and yanked him close again.
Ryo's protest was quickly stilled by a pair of very determined and skilled lips, working in concert with a creatively applied tongue. In addition to that pleasure, there was also a hint of a chocolate pastry taste still in Dee's mouth. At first Ryo tried not to respond in the hopes that Dee would give up and let him go. But as usual, that strategy was a dismal failure. Dee just redoubled his efforts, and in fact backed Ryo up against the examining table. Ryo's arms went around Dee and as his hands made contact with the naked skin of Dee's back and chest, his body went into foreplay mode, quite without his permission. Against his better judgment, he began returning the kiss in earnest and was only recalled to an awareness of his surroundings by a sharp knock on the door.
"Almost done in there?" called a female voice, no doubt one of the nurses.
"I need another minute," Dee replied, but he let go of the now struggling Ryo. His partner was glaring at him, but the embers of desire still burned in his eyes.
"You are such a bastard," grumbled Ryo, looking down with dismay at where his semi-hard penis bulged in the front of his pants.
"Yeah, I am," Dee agreed, quickly buttoning his shirt and smiling wickedly at him. "But it's your fault for being so fucking sexy."
"No really, I'm fine. It's just one train and a few stops from here. I'll be home in no time. Trust me, babe."
"Dee, I'm so sorry...Are you sure?"
"Yeah, Ryo, don't be late for Tina. She'll just lord it over you and expect you to kiss her ass if you are. Go on, now. Call me at some point, okay?"
"Okay." Ryo glanced at his watch at then back at Dee. His sixth sense was warning him that something was awry, yet logically, he couldn't put his finger on what it might be. What was he worried about? Did he think Dee wouldn't go home? Of course he would. He could play video games, order pizza, nap and watch TV. Left to himself, Dee was by no means a workaholic. "I'll call you, Dee. Take your meds on schedule, okay?"
"You got it bro. Now get going. Traffic's backing up behind you."
Ryo glanced at the rear-view mirror. Dee was right, dammit -- it was. He nodded at his partner, called out a final goodbye, and then sped off in the direction of Queens.
Dee watched him go, and then crossed the street. He had no intention of going home just yet. He was going to pay Detective Shaver a surprise visit at home. That bastard was up to something and they couldn't afford to lose him now. Sure Ryo would be pissed, but he would probably thank him later.
End of chapter 28