By Brit Columbia
Pairing: Dee and Ryo
Rating: We might be back to mature here, although there's quite a bit of violence.
Spoilers: to Volume 7.
Disclaimer: Dee, Ryo, Drake, JJ, Commissioner Rose, Diana and Ted all belong to Sanami Matoh, who created the popular manga, FAKE. But James, Lily, Niko, his EMO slaves, as well as Serena the cat-eared whip-mistress, Todd the bartender, Agent Boris Brasov the David Beckham look-alike, and Trevor and Cliff the palanquin bearers are mine. I was not paid in any way for writing this story.
Summary: Ryo and Dee attend Diana's Halloween party, dressed as a slave and a gladiator. The Commissioner has been roused to new heights of badness by the irresistible sight of Ryo in his skimpy tunic. Dee, naturally, takes exception. Whips are cracked.
Author's notes: I'd just like to remind everybody that I believe that Ryo and Dee are equals. I hope no one is disappointed that Ryo ISN'T curled up in a fetal position sobbing his heart out.
Thank you to mtemplar and the_ladyfeather for beta-ing this.
Slave to a Gladiator
As Ryo's fist sent the Commissioner reeling out of the alcove, Ryo himself lost his balance and staggered forward after him. They went tumbling against the curtain together and somehow managed to bring it down on top of themselves before the astonished eyes of the other party guests.
"What the - " Dee lowered his whip, his attention no longer on the can of club soda Jordan had launched a half-second before. Todd, who had just handed Diana a cell phone with one hand, stepped forward briskly and caught the descending can of soda in his other hand before disappearing back into the crowd. No one noticed because they were all staring at the heaving, roiling curtain on the floor in front of them.
There appeared to be two men under it, fighting...or something. The shrouded figures seemed to be struggling with each other, one cursing and one laughing. Were they wrestling? Then there was a thudding sound, like a fist making contact with flesh, and the laughing abruptly stopped.
"Outta my way!" Dee strode forward urgently. He had a feeling - a very strong feeling - that the mystery as to where Ryo and the Commissioner had gotten to was about to be solved.
"Berkie!" called Diana anxiously. "Is that you in there?"
"Yes, Diana," came the Commissioner's muffled voice. "If you would like to be of assistance, kindly get this curtain off Detective MacLean and myself before he does me an injury."
"That skulking, low-down, weasely scumbag!" Dee exploded, his face flushing with fury. "What the hell is he doing under that curtain with my Ryo?"
"When will he learn?" whispered JJ, rolling his eyes at Drake. "That sexless dried out stick of a man is nobody's Ryo. Dee-Sempai is just wasting his - "
"Shh!" said Drake. "I think he's gonna - oh shit -"
Dee took aim with his signal whip at one of the figures crawling on his hands and knees toward the edge of the curtain. That was where the Commissioner's voice had come from. Last time he had let the bastard off easy, but not this time. That son of a bitch had clearly had his slimy hands all over Ryo, and now he was going to pay.
"Dee, no!" yelled Diana and Drake at the same time as the whip went hissing toward its target, but they were too late. The end of the whip cracked as it struck the raised buttocks of the man who was within a couple of feet of being free of the curtain. This action promptly produced a loud "Yeeeee-ow!" of pain. A quick backhand snap of the wrist and Dee landed another blow. That asshole may have a fancy leather chair in his office, but he wasn't going to be able to sit down on it for a week, he thought maliciously.
The savage grin of triumph on Dee's face gave way to one of ludicrous dismay when he saw the face of his victim. Ryo shrugged the velvet curtain off his shoulders and leapt to his feet, yelling and clutching his buttocks with both hands.
"FUCK!!" he yelled, and then swore a blue streak while jumping around in pain.
"Some slave," muttered Jordan critically to Rowan, who nodded in agreement, arms folded.
Behind him, the Commissioner had also emerged from underneath the curtain, glasses askew and hair standing up, and he was staring at Ryo with his mouth open. He had heard the two whip cracks along with everyone else, although he hadn't been in a position to see what was going on. What the hell had happened to cause Ryo to start springing about, hollering, and holding his buttocks? Surely Laytner hadn't.... Oh, but he had. Laytner was the only person holding a whip, and the expression on his face was really something to see.
As Berkeley got to his feet, his glasses in his hand, Diana glided over to him and whispered, "Make yourself scarce for a while, Berkie. I'll do what I can."
Although he was loath to miss whatever was going to happen next, Berkeley deemed her advice to be his best possible course of action at that time. After all, Ryo's anger was positively incandescent, and although that fool Laytner appeared to have sealed his fate by inadvertently whipping his partner, Rose was sure that Ryo's thoughts would presently return to the role that a certain NYPD Commissioner had played in his current state of discomfiture. Yes, disappearing to the men's room at this point would perhaps be the wisest thing he could do.
Ryo eventually stopped all the hopping as the horrible, shocking sting of the lash simmered down from searing agony to a more bearable burn. At that point, his eyes lighted upon Dee, whose stricken face was advertising his guilt like a neon billboard in Times Square.
"Dee, you complete dickhead! I take it you're the one who's responsible for the un-fucking-believable pain I'm in right now?"
"Ryo, I'm so sorry! It was an accident - "
JJ listened indignantly as Ryo cussed Dee out. Couldn't that uptight, emotional retard understand the concept of 'accident'? How dared he spaz all over poor Dee like that! Dee's, and for that matter, the Commissioner's, attraction to Ryo continued to be a great source of mystery to JJ. From his perspective, the man had exactly two settings: dull, boring, self-effacing bump-on-a-log, and angry, scolding, violent freak. When he was in that second mode, he sure let loose with the swear words, though. It was always something of a surprise to hear such language from Ryo. JJ wouldn't have admitted it, but he was actually a little afraid of Ryo when he was in that state.
"Baby, I'll do anything, only pl - "
"Don't you 'baby' me! Give me that whip right now! This instant!"
Ryo snatched it out of Dee's hand and said, "Do you have any IDEA how much pain I'm in because of you?"
"Uh, well, yeah - "
"You think so? Well, you're shortly gonna be in that much pain, too! Turn around!"
"Ryo, no!" Dee's eyes widened in genuine fear, and he started backing away. "Those things do real damage, you don't understand - "
"Oh yes I do understand! My butt understands PERFECTLY! Now turn around!"
Dee did, but only to make a run for it. He would have made it to the door too, if Agent Brasov hadn't rather treacherously kicked a coffee table into his path, which caused him to lose his footing and wind up sprawled on the hard floor. Ryo caught up with him in a flash.
"Don't try to escape, Dee! I mean it! I'm not giving up until your ass hurts as much as mine. Turn over!"
"Help!" yelled Dee. "Somebody stop him, for the love of God! He's gonna send me to hospital!"
"You big baby!" snapped Ryo. "You can dish it out, but you can't take it, huh?" He swung the whip back, ready to strike.
At that moment, JJ flung himself bravely between Dee and the whip, his arms out.
"Stop, Ryo!” he cried passionately. "I can't allow you to hurt Dee-Sempai. I will shield him with my body, if necessary!"
An appreciative murmur at this act of heroism ran through the crowd.
Ryo regarded JJ through a jaundiced eye. "Fine," he said. "I owe you some payback for throwing fruit punch all over me, anyway. I suppose THAT was an accident too?"
"I did it for love!" JJ's voice rose in fear as Ryo snapped the whip off to one side a couple of times. "But love is something that a cold fish like you wouldn't know anything about!"
"You did it for love? What the hell are you talking about?"
"JJ, quit talking," said Dee quickly from his position on the floor.
"JJ," called Drake anxiously. "Come away from Ryo. Dee's a big boy, you know. He can take care of himself."
Ryo snapped the whip again, but more powerfully this time, and the crack it made caused everyone to flinch, including JJ.
"Keep out of this, Drake," he ordered. "JJ's not going anywhere until he tells me why he tossed punch all over my jeans and what love had to do with it."
"Oh my God," said Serena to Drake. "I feel bad now for thinking that JJ was exaggerating when he asked you to save him from this Ryo person!"
"Ryo's usually not like this," said Drake. "Only when he's really, REALLY pissed off. This is the first time I’ve seen him this mad. Most of the time he's a super nice guy."
"Man, this is the best Halloween party ever!" sighed Ted happily.
"Run for it, Mr. Sexy," JJ stage-whispered loudly to Dee, trying to sound more confident than he felt. "I'll cover for you."
Dee glanced at the door and saw that Agent Brasov had taken up an unobtrusive position next to it. There would be no quick escape that way. Damn it, he was going to get revenge on that FBI cocksucker if it was the last thing he did, and to hell with Diana. There was a large potted plant nearby, however. Maybe he could take refuge behind that. He just needed to keep himself shielded until Ryo's blood cooled. Man, his beloved could be scary at times.
"Ready, JJ?" Ryo raised the whip. "You still wanna take one for Dee? Here it comes!"
"EEEEEEEEEEK!" JJ's resolve abruptly crumbled and he scuttled off to one side, hurling himself straight into Drake's waiting arms.
Ryo snorted with contempt, and turned his attention back to Dee, who had slithered behind some kind of potted shrub and was now cowering there instead of coming out and facing him.
"Dee, get out here and take it like a man!" Ryo cracked the whip at the plant, shearing off the top twelve inches of its foliage.
"Not 'til you calm down, dude! Ack!" Dee ducked as low as possible as the whip next severed a branch near his head, sending a small shower of vegetation down on top of him.
Ryo tried to raise the whip again, but found that something was stopping him. He turned to see what the whip had gotten caught on, and saw a beautiful, slender woman wearing cat ears and a latex bustier facing him. One high-heeled black patent pump was firmly pressed on the tail of the whip.
"Detective MacLean," she said, inclining her head respectfully. Her voice was gentle and feminine, and her eyes were full of compassion. She held half of a raggedly severed soda can in her hand.
"Ma'am," said Ryo guardedly. "Would you mind taking your foot off my whip?"
"In just a moment, Detective. I certainly agree that Dee deserves a bit of pain for what he did to you - "
"A lot of pain!"
"All right, a lot of pain. But I can't allow you to cut his flesh open and leave him permanently scarred."
"What are you talking about?"
"A whip, especially one wielded in anger, can do serious damage. Easily. I'm talking stitches and scars. Do you really want to see your partner's blood all over the floor?"
"What? No, of course not..."
"Look at this." She held up the sliced soda can. "That whip you're holding did this while you were out of the room." Serena knew that wasn't technically true, as it had been the bullwhip that had done it, but she didn't think Ryo needed to be acquainted with that detail. Plus, from her own experience, she was aware that if cracked hard enough, a signal whip could do almost as much damage. "This soda can is made of metal and the whip cut it clean through. Imagine what it would do to human skin. Dee's skin."
Ryo's reddened face suddenly drained of its color, and his stricken eyes darted from the cat-lady to Dee to the whip in his hand. Abruptly, he flung it from himself as though it had burned him. "Oh my God," he breathed, his hand flying to his mouth. "Dee..."
Everyone crowded forward, all talking at once. Serena put her arm around Ryo and led him away, after asking Ted to keep the other guests back. Dee tried to follow them, but she gave him a look that warned him to keep his distance for now. She guided a dazed-looking Ryo to a nearby sofa and settled him down on it. Almost immediately, he sprang back up with a soft cry of pain, his hand once more on his backside.
Todd materialized with a packet of ice cubes wrapped in a linen napkin that was monogrammed with the initials of the hotel. He handed it wordlessly to Ryo and melted away.
"Let me see your injuries," Serena said gently, but Ryo shook his head rapidly. This night had contained enough humiliation already. He wasn't about to expose his thong-clad ass to a strange woman he had just met, no matter how nice she seemed.
"I'm an expert on whips." There was confidence, but also kindness in her voice. "You're looking at the three-time winner of the Tri-State Whipcracking Championships. I've also whipped rather a lot of consenting human beings," she added. "Recreationally, not professionally."
"Um..." Ryo's face got even hotter as he tried to digest this information. "All right," he finally said. "But not here, not with everyone so interested. Let's go to the coat check area where we can maybe find a bit of privacy. I think I'd like to put my coat on, too. I don't think I've ever felt so... exposed."
"Thanks a LOT, JJ," snapped Dee sarcastically. "'I did it for love!' Why the hell did you have to say that? Ryo's not stupid, you know."
"Hey, give JJ a break!" Drake protested angrily. "He was facing down an irate guy with a whip. Who cares what he said?"
"Thanks to you, I'm in even MORE trouble now," grumbled Dee.
"Thanks to yourself, you mean. I don't know how you get yourself into these messes. I know you were aiming for the Commissioner when you had whatever brain wave made you swing that whip, but if you'd gotten him, you'd be unemployed right now! At least there's a possibility that Ryo will forgive you. And you have the nerve to bitch at JJ for saving your sorry ass?"
"It was Serena who saved my sorry ass," muttered Dee ungraciously.
"Yeah, she may have scored the goal, but it was JJ who made the assist," said Drake, who was fond of hockey analogies. "And I think you owe him an apology." He folded his arms and waited.
"It's okay, Drake," said JJ meekly. "Dee's right. I shouldn't have opened my mouth like that. I was just so scared! I couldn't think straight."
"Okay, okay," said Dee irascibly, rolling his eyes. "I apologize, JJ. Thanks for tryin'. But next time, keep your mouth shut, okay?"
"Okay!" JJ brightened up considerably and gathered himself for a pounce. He stopped however, when he felt Drake's hand on his shoulder.
"Ahem!" Drake said meaningfully, a slight pinkness to his cheeks.
That reminded JJ of the night ahead, so he pounced on Drake instead. "Thanks for sticking up for me, Drakey! Come on, let's go. The night is yet young and we've got things to do."
"We sure do," murmured Drake in a husky voice that made Dee look twice at him. "Should we say good night to Diana?"
JJ shuddered. "No, let's just take this opportunity to escape. I wouldn't put it past her to hand me a mop and make me start cleaning up the spilled soda."
"You're right. Let's just get the hell out of here. Ciao, Dee! Good luck getting Ryo to forgive you!"
"Yeah, whatever. Fuck off, you guys."
"It's not too bad," Serena said encouragingly. You've got a couple of nasty stripes that are already starting to bruise, but he didn't break the skin. You're lucky you had that thick curtain protecting you, or you would have been cut for sure."
They stood between two aisles of coats in the coat check area. The lighting was not the best, but at least they had a certain amount of privacy for Serena to examine Ryo's weals away from prying eyes.
"That bastard! What the hell was he thinking?"
"I'm sure he wouldn't have done it if he'd known it was you," she said. "But it was a really stupid thing to do, and I don't think he should be allowed to get away with it, do you?"
"No, but what can I do? I don't want to injure him." Ryo spread his hands. "By the way, thank you for stopping me. I don't think I could have ever forgiven myself if I had really hurt him."
"You're welcome," she said. "But don't be thinking that there's nothing you can do." She leaned a little closer and dropped her voice just in case someone was lurking nearby and listening. "Don't forget that I'm an encyclopedia on the subject of punishment without permanent marks or health complications."
"Er... " Ryo blinked at her, feeling his face go pink again. "I suppose you are."
"Would you like a few suggestions?"
His mouth tightened, then twitched in a half smile. "Yes," he said. "I believe I would."
~end of Chapter 15~
Additional author's notes: The next chapter will be in either one week or two. I can't write during the week, so if I don't get it done this weekend, it'll be another week. Unfortunately I've got two Christmas parties this weekend, but I'm hoping to leave one of them as early as possible. We'll see how it goes. I'll post mid week to let you know.
Thank you for reading!