Anyway, after laundry and the baking of two fruitcakes for my father, (I know, I know, but he loves them for some strange reason) I went back outside with my shovel and cleared my across-the-street-neighbor's walk, her driveway, and her tenant's parking spot. l also I shoveled our driveway, and I widened our walk. Another neighbor helped me for a short time, until my father opened the door and lured him into the house with promises of hot rum! But the neighbor left me his shovel, which was a much better one than mine. Took me 50 minutes to do all that. Although, speaking as a cyclist, I hate snow, I kind of like shoveling it! That's what I did, twice in fact, instead of going to the gym today. It's a very satisfying activity.
All last week, I was limping around, but now I have my mobility back, which is wonderful! I've always been a physical person. I also believe that the regular hits of exercise-induced endorphins I've been getting all my life have enabled me to maintain a more or less positive mindset in the face of extreme provocation from family members.
But you didn't come to my LJ to read about me and my handy snow shovel, did you? You want to read about Dee and Ryo and that damned whip! All right, here it is. It's still worksafe, but for a bit of swearing.
Slave to a Gladiator
By Brit Columbia
Pairing: Dee and Ryo
Rating: I regret to report to my loyal perv-fans that this chapter is worksafe.
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, Gwen the hairdresser, and Trevor and Cliff the palanquin bearers are mine. I was not paid in any way for writing this story.
Summary: Dee's in big trouble with a very disgruntled Ryo, but it's his own damn fault.
Author's notes: Please read and review. I don't know when the next chapter is coming because I really want to work on A New Day. I'll do my best to write as much as I can this week. I'm off, but I have evening engagements on Monday and Tuesday, and then it's Christmas eve, and in pretty short order, Christmas. Plus, it won't stop snowing!
Thank you to mtemplar and the_ladyfeather for beta-ing this.
Slave to a Gladiator
"Whatever you're doing down there, it sure looks hot," drawled Diana.
Ryo yelped and whirled around, hugging his coat tightly closed against his body, his face the very picture of mortification.
Serena remained on her knees and smiled wickedly up at Diana. "Perhaps you'd like to come down here and help me."
"Maybe I would. It looked like you had a magnificent view there until he went apeshit and covered it up."
Ryo's mouth gaped open as if he might perhaps have something to say, but nothing managed to find its way out.
"Well he's a little skittish right now and I can't say I blame him," said Serena with a sympathetic glance up at the extremely embarrassed NYPD detective. "You've got to admit - he's kind of had a lousy evening so far."
"Yes, he certainly has," Diana agreed. "And it's pretty well all Dee's fault."
"Agent Spacey, a moment?" Todd was back, standing attentively at the end of the aisle they were in.
"Yes, hon, what is it now?"
"The banquet manager and his assistant are re-hanging the curtain for now, but they say it's going to have to be replaced. The whip apparently cut two slashes in the fabric."
"Crap! Can't they patch it?"
"Patch it?" Todd drew himself up, looking shocked. "The New York Palace Hotel? Impossible!"
Diana sighed. "How much?"
"It's a twelve foot high Venetian velvet curtain. Terry says at least a thousand dollars. Maybe more."
"What? I'm gonna KILL that Dee! Todd, tell you what. Please ask the hotel to send the bill to the 27th Precinct, attention Dee Laytner, spelled A-s-s-h-o-- "
"Wait, Diana. You know Dee will only ignore the bill and it's just gonna come off your credit card," Ryo said. "Am I right? This room is your responsibility, isn't it?"
"Yes, dammit." She ground her teeth. "But I'll beat that money out of your partner if it's the last thing I ever do."
"That'll be kind of hard, considering you're on the West Coast most of the time. I've got a better idea," Ryo said grimly.
"What's that, sweetie?"
"Make the Commissioner pay for it. He was the one that brought the curtain down, after all. Tell him if he doesn't pay for it, I'm going to file charges against him for sexual assault. He won't enjoy the publicity, I think."
"You sure, Ryo? 'Cause I think you won't enjoy the publicity, either."
"Just tell him." Ryo's voice was as hard as granite. "He'll pay. Hell, he probably spends almost as much as that on an evening out, considering the size of the entourage he finds it necessary to drag around. Tell him it was my idea too," he added savagely.
"Well, you're right," mused Diana. "I think he probably will pay. I'll get him to settle it up with the hotel tonight. And I'll pass on your little message, too, if you want me to."
"Thank you. I do."
Todd bowed gracefully and disappeared.
"You know, you're lucky that curtain was there," Serena said to Ryo. "The whip would have cut you instead of the curtain if you hadn't had that layer of protection in place."
Ryo just looked at her while thinking to himself that if the curtain hadn't been there, Dee would have been able to see whose ass he was aiming at and he wouldn't have been whipped at all. He was too much of a gentleman, however, to point this out to her.
"Well, as you said, it hasn't been my lucky night. It was pretty crummy even before Dee went and laid a whip across my behind in front of thirty-odd people," he said bitterly. "It started going wrong even before we arrived, but I think the moment of no return was when JJ doused me with a whole bowl of pomegranate-raspberry punch! At first I thought it was an accident, but now I'm not so sure."
"Oh, that was no accident, sweetie." Diana dropped down next to Serena and reached for the tube of ointment that was in her hand. "What's this? Special salve for whip disasters?"
"Actually it's called 'Arnica'," said Serena. "It's an excellent anti-bruising agent, and contrary to what you might be thinking, I did NOT arrive with it stashed in my evening bag tonight. Your assistant brought it. What's his name? Todd?"
"Yes, Todd! He thinks of everything, and he's cute, too. Isn't he wonderful? I think I'd like to marry him if I didn't have at least ten years on hi- "
"Now, just wait a New York minute!" Ryo broke in furiously. "What did you mean when you said it was no accident that JJ got me with the punch?"
"What I said, pretty boy. And I'll tell you everything I know if you let me stay down here next to Serena while she puts that Arnica stuff on your perky little butt."
"Rowan, where's your collar?" Niko's voice was stern and the slave cringed.
Todd strode up, balancing a tray of drinks with professional grace on one palm. In his other hand he held Rowan's missing leash and collar. "The gentleman dressed as Batman gave me this before he left, sir," Todd informed Niko.
"Oh, er, thank you." Niko took the collar and turned back to Rowan, demanding to know how the slave's collar had ended up in the possession of another man. He trailed off when he realized that the bartender was still standing there. "Was there something else?" he inquired stiffly.
"Yes, sir. The Commissioner is waiting for you in the lobby. He asked me to tell you that since he lost his first cigar in the excitement of the whip-cracking contest, he would be obliged if you would join him in the courtyard ASAP and provide him with another."
The frown disappeared from Niko's face. "The Commissioner, eh? Just the opportunity I've been waiting for." He turned and snapped his fingers. "Jordan, bring the cigars and come with me. Not you, Rowan. You stay here and contemplate whether you truly want to continue as my slave. We'll be back later."
Niko tucked a folded bill into the breast pocket of Todd's black vest before bustling away with Jordan. Rowan stared after them, stricken. Niko had taken the collar and leash with him.
"Here, drink this. It should settle your stomach." Todd held out a small glass of thick pink liquid, which Rowan accepted hesitantly.
"Um...Thanks," whispered the slave and sipped it absently, while watching the departure of Niko and Jordan with tear-filled eyes.
"Niko, you're not leaving are you?"
"Serena, what are you doing hiding in coat check?"
"Well, I was about to put this bandage on Detective MacLean's bruises, but the minute he saw you coming, he dived between these coats here and disappeared."
"Detective MacLean is in here with you?" Niko seemed delighted. "Randy? Are you there? I want to apologize to you."
"You do?" Ryo's suspicious face popped up over the top of a rack of coats. "What for?"
"The way I spoke to you earlier. I mistook you for a submissive. But when I saw you cracking that whip over Dee's head just now, I realized I had been wholly mistaken. You have the makings of an excellent top."
"Er...um, ahem! Ah...Thanks, I guess..."
"You had every woman in the room palpitating at the sight of your magnificent, wounded fury. I think you're a natural, and should you ever wish for a mentor - "
"Now, now, Niko. I saw him first! Off you go, now. Jordan's got your coats. Where's Rowan?"
"In the doghouse. I'm going outside to smoke with the Commissioner, but I've told Rowan to wait here. Honestly, I don't know what's gotten into that child tonight. Drinking alcohol without my permission, running back and forth from the restrooms also without my permission, daring to remove my special monogrammed collar..." Niko shook his head and tsked sadly.
"Niko, a slave's behavior is always a reflection of their master's management. If you're not able to control Rowan, it's your fault." Serena folded her arms and looked at him unsympathetically.
"Hmm, you may have a point there. Do you think - "
Ryo cleared his throat rather loudly and said, "Niko, isn't the Commissioner waiting for you?"
"Oh! Yes he is. Thank you for reminding me. Serena, could we possibly discuss this later?"
"Yes of course, Niko. But before you go, do you think that Detective MacLean might borrow Rowan's collar and leash? Just for tonight?"
"I don't see why not." Niko handed it over. "Rowan will have to earn it back again, anyway."
Diana walked up to Cliff, who was sitting somewhat dejectedly on the palanquin, no doubt waiting for Berkeley's return. He seemed mostly sober, unlike the other three bearers who were sitting cross-legged on the floor nearby, singing an off-key rendition of 'Margaritaville'.
"Cliff, doll, is this your phone?"
He looked at the phone in her hand, while compulsively feeling in the pocket of his tight leather pants. "I guess it is. I must have lost it."
"I guess you must have," Diana agreed. "One of the guests gave it to me. Apparently, it's been buzzing a lot. Seems like someone really wants to get a hold of you."
He thanked her and flipped it open. She left him checking his messages, and had to practically clench her hands into fists to keep herself from dusting them together. It wouldn't be long until he was out of her hair.
"WHAT?" Dee stared at Serena and Ryo with incredulous eyes. "This is all your doing, you witch! What kinds of things have you been filling his innocent head with?"
"Those are the terms," Ryo said. "For starters. And just so you know, Serena talked me down from something much, much worse." That wasn't exactly true. He had been ready to give up all claim to revenge out of remorse for how close he had come to drawing Dee's blood in his wrath. But then Serena had made several rather interesting suggestions, and when Diana had offered yet another damning indictment against Dee, he had found himself in complete agreement with the two women that Dee needed to be taught a lesson.
"What could be worse that me having to wear that tiny slave costume of yours? It doesn't even fit me! My ass is gonna be hanging out the back, for fuck's sake."
"You're just lucky I'm allowing you to cover your ass with underwear, you son of a bitch. When you manipulated me into wearing this stupid... thong, I think you already had a plan for getting me out of my jeans. Am I right about that?"
"What? You mean you're actually giving some weight to that crapola that JJ was spouting? Come on, Ryo, since when do you listen to him?"
"When my 'spidey-senses' are tingling, that's when." Ryo gave Dee a long, piercing look that caused a faint flush to rise on his lover's cheeks. "What do you have to say about my jeans? Go on, give me whatever lame excuse you've got ready for that one. I'm waiting."
Dee hesitated and then quickly said, "It wasn't my fault! Diana was the one - "
"Yes?" said Serena sweetly. "What did Diana have to do with it?"
Dee's suddenly suspicious eyes went from Ryo's face to Serena's and back again.
"Spidey-senses, my ass. That shit never worked on me, and you know it. You've been talking to Diana, haven't you?"
"Yes, we have," said Ryo after glancing at Serena. "And it just so happened we talked to her right after she had learned a couple of interesting things from JJ. Luckily, she caught him before he and Drake left for the night."
"JJ! That fuckin' traitorous little blabbermouth! Just wait 'til I catch him at the office tomorrow! I'm gonna stuff him head first down the trash chute! And then I'm - "
"Dee, just can it for once." Ryo's voice was brusque. "You screwed up big time, you got caught, and now it's time to make it right. That is, if you've got the guts."
Ryo took a step back and looked Dee up and down, arms folded.
"Whaddaya mean, 'if I've got the guts'?" demanded Dee. "When have I ever been short of guts? Huh?"
"When it comes to being honest with me, if you really have to be told."
"Aw baby, you know - don't tell me you don't know by now - that I'm always honest with you about the big things."
"Dee, what is this if not a 'big' thing? What we did earlier, before we came to this damn party...that was - that was- " Ryo looked away before continuing, a slight tremor in his voice. "That was pretty big for me. But what was it for you? A casual seduction game, that's all. You let me think it meant more to you than it really did. Then, thanks to you, I got stuck wearing this demeaning costume in a highly public place. And if that wasn't enough, you manipulated me into this friggin' thong, and conspired with JJ to take away even the small amount of dignity my jeans were able to offer me." He stopped to look accusingly at Dee, who was watching him with a slowly dawning expression of understanding.
"Then you pretty well abandoned me while you went to play whip games with your friends, so when the Commissioner came looking for me, I had to deal with him on my own." Ryo flung up a hand to forestall Dee from speaking, as his wide-eyed partner had suddenly opened his mouth. "Let me finish, Dee! Anyway, that's okay, I don't need your protection. I was doing all right with that situation, although certain things probably wouldn't have happened if you'd been watching my back for me like you usually do. But right in the middle of me letting the Commissioner know he couldn't treat me like his own personal plaything, you had to take it upon yourself to whip the hell out of my totally innocent and already sore butt."
"Baby, I'm - "
"Shut up. I'm not done. I really don't care how sorry you say you are at this point. I'm interested in a real apology, not a bunch of meaningless words."
"Meaningless? How can ...?" Dee looked at Ryo, his hands reaching out toward him in misery and confusion.
"Yeah, meaningless. You jerk me around and you think all you've got to do is smile and act like a big, overgrown puppy dog and say, 'Sorry, babe!' and tell me a couple of lies so I'll forgive you." Ryo slapped Dee's reaching hands away. "And that's another thing. In addition to my other terms, I want complete honesty from you for a change. You're always going on about what an honest guy you are and how you have the courage to tell the truth when others don't, and all that." He glared grimly at Dee, who was looking down despondently at his sandaled feet. "But you've been dishonest and sneaky with me on several occasions today, resulting in discomfort and humiliation for me. Me, not you! Don't you feel the least bit ashamed of yourself?"
"Yes, I do," muttered Dee bleakly, lifting his head to meet Ryo's eyes.
"Good," said Ryo. "You should. But I still feel like I need a rest from you after tonight. I don't wanna see you for a while, Dee. Not even at work. I'm thinking about using those vacation days I was planning to carry over to the new year. It might be a good time for Bikky and me to go and visit Aunt Elena for a week or so. And I don't wanna see you for a while after we get back, either."
"What? But you were gonna use that vacation time to go away with me after Christmas! It's gonna be our first real vacation together as a couple. Don't you wanna go to a hot, sunny place together? I mean, what do you want from me? I'm sorry, okay? Really, I am! I know I've been an idiot."
"What do I want? I want you to prove to me that you're sorry and that you're not going to pull any crap like this again."
"Okay, I will. Whatever you need from me. I'll do anything - anything - if it'll make you forgive me."
"Do you agree that you deserve to be punished?"
Dee nodded. "I let you down big time. Yeah, I deserve to be punished."
"All right then. We're gonna go to the men's room and switch costumes. Then you're going to put this slave collar on yourself and hand me the leash, along with your free will. Understand?"
"Yeah. But just so we're clear on the details, I have to wear this costume and leash for the rest of the night, and that's my punishment, right? After that, you'll forgive me? You won't use your vacation days to go stay with your aunt like you threatened, and you'll still come to Jamaica or somewhere else hot with me in January? You won’t shut me out?"
"Yes Dee, I'll forgive you and we'll still go on our vacation together. But you're going to have to endure a little more than just simply wearing a slave costume and a leash."
"Uhh...Like what?" Dee looked at him warily.
"You'll find out shortly. I'm afraid the costume and the leash are just the beginning of your punishment."
Dee gazed at him for several long seconds, as if trying to gauge how sincere he was.
"Aw hell," he finally said quietly. "You're serious, aren't you?"
~end of Chapter 16~
Thanks for reading! Season's Greetings to you all.