Second, I mentioned in one or two earlier posts that I've been having some health issues this year. Well, the time has come to deal with those issues, so in less than a week I'll be going into THE (this 'the' is for the Americans who really feel it ought to be there, although Brits and Canadians can take it or leave it) hospital for a few days, and when I come out, I'll be off work for several weeks. Allow me to emphasize that I am NOT dying and will still be in possession of all my faculties when I come out, despite all the morphine which I have it on good authority that they're going to give me. Well, I hope so, anyway! When I'm released from THE hospital, I'll continue to work on my chapters as soon as I can sit in a chair and don't need to sleep all the time. I'm not too thrilled about the hospital, but I am looking forward to the part where I'll have extra time to read, write and get caught up with everything I've missed on yaoi_daily.
So wish me luck and keep watching this space! I'll post again as soon as I can.
Before you read, don't forget to check out the handy that my beta and buddy the_ladyfeather has so kindly compiled for all those readers who have (quite understandably, in my opinion) forgotten plot points that were planted in A New Day back in 2007 and 2008.
FAKE First Year Together: Justice (June)
By Brit Columbia
Pairing: Dee/ Ryo
Rating: Worksafe. Sorry! No one even so much as thinks a pervy thought in this one. But sometimes it's got to be about the plot.
Spoilers: To Volume 7
Timing: Set in June, a month or so after after book 7 ended. Dee and Ryo recently became a couple in May. A New Day left off on Sunday night. This chapter takes place a couple of days later on Tuesday evening.
Summary: Ryo is coming to terms with what it means to be a gay man in a straight world. He and Dee are also hunting the dangerous Lieutenant Abernathy...but who is hunting whom?
Disclaimer: I am not making any money for the writing of this work of fanfiction, nor do I own Fake or any of the characters created by Sanami Matoh. The Abernathy family is mine, however, and so are Officers Pettigrew and Fenton.
Author's notes: If you see a little asterisk like this * or a double asterisk like this **, it means there's a note at the end of the chapter that pertains to whatever the asterisk is next to.
Thank you to the_ladyfeather and jdr1184 for the beta help.
Justice, Chapter Two: The Den of the Dragon
At the door of 1214B, Dee took charge and tapped lightly on the door. "Police," he said in a low voice. "Anybody at home?"
The two uniformed police officers who accompanied him, Officers Pettigrew and Fenton, grinned at him and each other. He had filled them in on the situation in the elevator on the way up and they were fully behind Dee's need to get inside the apartment. The fact that Lieutenant Abernathy was an Internal Affairs agent had not won him any points with them.
"Jeez, no answer," said Dee, smiling wolfishly back at them. "Guess we'd better go in and make sure he's okay. You guys take the living room, and I'll check out the bedrooms."
Thomas Abernathy had left the door unlocked when he and Bikky had exited the apartment quickly at Ryo's insistence earlier, thus the three men were able to enter quietly.
"Sheesh, what a mess," muttered Officer Pettigrew, shaking his big blond head after a glance into the kitchen. One of the cabinet doors had been ripped off its hinges, and there was smashed crockery all over the floor.
"Wait 'til you see the living room," his colleague called softly from that direction. "Looks like the lobby of the Best Western after a Shriners convention." There was the sound of broken glass crunching underfoot. "Here he is, just like the kid reported."
While the two patrol cops were trying to awaken Lieutenant Abernathy, Dee was yanking drawers open in the master bedroom and rifling through their contents, with no regard for crime scene procedure. He felt the same sense of urgency that Ryo did. If Abernathy was so drunk that he couldn't walk or talk, he would be carted off to the hospital and they could search at their leisure. On the other hand, if the bastard woke up feeling feisty and able to speak coherently, this golden opportunity to hunt for incriminating evidence was likely to be rapidly cut short.
This room had not escaped the mayhem that the rest of the apartment had been subjected to, which made it easier for Dee to conduct his illicit quest. Without a warrant permitting a search, he couldn't really do more on a 911 type of call than to have a superficial look around, not that he gave a shit about that right now. He was looking for drugs and/or information. He wasn't the kind of cop who would go so far as to plant either of those items, but if he happened to find something illegal tucked away in the back of a closet, he certainly wasn't above hauling it out into plain sight and claiming his eye had just fallen on it while he was doing a routine crime scene check. At the very least, he hoped to find something that would provide grounds for a warrant-sanctioned entry at a later date. But of course what he really wanted was to find something so damned incriminating that Abernathy could be taken into custody before his head had even cleared. And of course, if it came to that, Dee would call Ryo to come in and perform the honors. After his partner's comments the other night, all Dee wanted to do was hand him the IA agent on a silver platter. Seriously, Ryo had said. Haven't you fantasized about the look he'll have on his face as we Mirandize him? When he knows it's all over, that he lost, that he's going to spend the rest of his life in prison for his crimes? Ryo obviously had a hard-on for this particular bust. Dee grinned savagely at the thought.
The ruined decor of this room was very feminine, obviously Mrs. Abernathy's doing. There was a big, romantic four-poster bed with a torn canopy perched raggedly atop it and pale pink and cream wallpaper on the walls. The room was practically empty except for shards of glass everywhere from a smashed mirror and a delicate little chair lying on its side. There was hardly any clothing in the two tall, lacquered dressers, and most of the shelves and racks in the adjacent walk-in closet were empty.
There was an adjoining bathroom which also showed signs of vandalism. The shower curtain had been torn down, and bottles of shampoo and cleaning products lay scattered all over the floor. Dee did a fairly thorough check of the back and the inside of the toilet tank and bowl, but his efforts went unrewarded. Frowning, he returned to the bedroom.
A quick look under the bed revealed nothing but a pair of lavender house slippers and some minor dust bunnies. Dee checked carefully between the mattress and the boxspring, but to no avail. Realizing that this particular room wasn't going to yield anything, he moved to the next bedroom.
At first he thought it was a spare bedroom, since the furniture all appeared old and mismatched, but as soon as he glanced in the direction of the open closet and saw a row of masculine suits, shirts and ties, he understood that the Abernathys did not share a bedroom. This was obviously the lieutenant's room, and, apart from being rather untidy, it seemed to have largely escaped the attack that the main living areas had suffered. Someone had busted a photo frame and there was some glass on the carpet, but that was about it. Before he started searching, Dee took a short 360 degree video of the room on his cell phone. He had done the same thing with the master bedroom. Ryo would be interested to see it later, since he couldn't be here himself. Dee scanned the room nervously, thinking now, if I were ol' Mike and needed a place to stash drugs confiscated from busts, where would be a good place to put them? A place the wife and child would never think to look... Christ, if he only had more time!
He could hear Mike Abernathy slurring angrily in the living room, and the voices of the two patrol officers patiently asking him questions. It sounded like Mike was telling them to leave.
Dee looked behind the two framed paintings on the walls, and pulled all of the books out of the small bookcase next to the bed. They were all real books, unfortunately, no fake books with hiding places inside them. Mike obviously had a penchant for gangster stories and...bird watching. A dog-eared copy of the Ireland Criminal Code briefly raised Dee's hopes, but there was nothing tucked within its 200-plus pages.
He looked longingly at the computer and printer on a desk in the corner, but he knew he didn't have the time to go poking through its files. If there was any sensitive information on the hard drive, he felt it would probably all be in encrypted files anyway, which would require someone with skill to get it out. Too bad Ted wasn't here. Despite being a beer-drinking, gas-producing, woman-repelling kind of a guy, Ted had a way of making computers sit up and beg that made most of the guys in the cybercrime unit look like amateurs.
Dee moved to check under the bed, but realized that it was an old fashioned waterbed, so there was no space under it. He sprang up and checked all the drawers in the heavy wooden dresser in the corner. Socks, underwear, tee-shirts, coins, and bits of paper yielded to his searching fingers, but he found nothing that looked incriminating. He swore quietly. Sweet fuck-all so far and time was definitely running out.
As Dee passed by the open bedroom door on his way to investigate the closet, there was a roar of impatience from the other room.
"How many timesh do I havta tell ye? I'm jusht fine! Now out wi' the pair o' ye!"
"Sir, it appears that your apartment has been vandalized," Dee heard one of the uniforms say. "Can you tell us anything about what happened?"
Dee stopped listening at that point and started rifling through the pockets of garments hanging in the closet. He knew he could trust the guys to keep Abernathy busy for as long as they possibly could. In any case, no one would be leaving before the ambulance arrived.
In one of the suits, he found a small police notebook which he pocketed, and a cell phone. Quickly, he checked its number. It wasn't the same as the one Abernathy had given them as a contact number. Ha! This one might have some info on it. He kept that too.
Loud knocking and the sound of voices in the foyer caught his attention, and he understood that the paramedics had arrived. Thereafter, Abernathy became even more unruly, insulting the antecedents and IQ's of everyone in the room and refusing to allow himself to be examined. The sounds of grunting, swearing and scuffling told Dee that a police-assisted basic examination seemed to be taking place anyway. Drunks didn't have as many rights as sober people, especially when there were no witnesses or cameras around. He wished he could see the look on Abernathy's face as he was manhandled, but he was alert to the fact that he didn't dare go out there. Mike would go ballistic if he realized who had been inside his bedroom.
The floor of the closet revealed no fewer than thirteen shoeboxes. Mikey obviously had a shoe fetish, Dee thought to himself, quite forgetting that he had at least that many pairs of footwear himself. He started methodically searching through the boxes, checking inside each shoe, just in case. One of the boxes revealed no shoes, but instead four bottles of different kinds of foot powder. Dee rolled his eyes. Yep, it made sense that Abernathy would have stinky feet. Maybe that was why his wife had kicked him out of their bedroom.
Dee sighed as he reached for the last of the shoeboxes. He was really batting a thousand here. If he didn't find something soon, he would have to face the possibility that Abernathy had gotten any and all incriminating stuff out of his place before he was to have left on vacation. Above all, Dee didn't want to have to give Ryo the news that would dash his hopes. Ryo had been so excited when the call from Bikky had come in.
The last shoe box was a big, heavy sucker. Had to be boots. It figured that a little guy like Mike would have a pair of big boots. But when Dee removed the lid, he saw that it wasn't boots at all. He gave a low whistle before a calculating grin lit up his face.
Dee went to the entrance of the living room to surreptitiously signal either Fenton or Pettigrew. Mike Abernathy was sitting hunched on the floor, all slack-faced and sullen, with the two paramedics kneeling in front of him. One of them was attaching a blood pressure cuff to his arm, and the other one was preparing a breathalyzer to analyze Mike's blood alcohol level. Pettigrew crouched nearby, keeping an eye on proceedings, while Fenton stood a little apart, writing in his notebook. Dee didn't make a sound, but he stared hard at Fenton, hoping to catch his attention without Mike noticing him. Unfortunately, some sixth sense made Abernathy turn his head just then and see him. The little man was unable to hide his shock. His mouth dropped open and all the color drained from his formerly flushed and angry face. Dee considered that this might very well have been the first time in his life he had seen a very drunk man sober up completely in less than seven seconds.
Officer Fenton looked up. "Yeah, Dee?"
"Got something here you ought to take a look at," growled Dee, with another quick look at Abernathy, who was starting to scramble to his feet, mouth working incoherently.
"Whoah, there, sir," said Pettigrew, catching him by the shoulder with one beefy hand. "Let the paramedics finish their job." He and Fenton exchanged glances as his partner followed Dee into the hallway.
"What the hell is that bashtard doing in me home?" bellowed Abernathy, struggling fiercely. "I want him out of here! Now!"
"Sir, your heart rate is going through the roof!" exclaimed the paramedic who was on blood pressure duty. "You must try and calm down. No one is here to harm you."
Abernathy stared wildly at Officer Pettigrew. "Whish---whish precinct are you from, lad?"
"We're all 27th--"
"OUT! Get out, the lot o' ye!" Abernathy's whole body seemed to convulse, and he tried to tear off the cuff, which resulted in his being put in a sort of headlock by the big blond officer.
Dee, who had turned his head just long enough to see this, muttered "Ouch," softly to Fenton. The other man snickered, to the accompaniment of muffled cries of rage coming from the living room.
"Okay, sign right there, you little brat," said JJ, pointing to the bottom of the statement sheet. "And no goofy stuff this time," he added sternly. "This is a serious police document."
"Hey JJ, did anyone ever tell you you suck at dealing with kids?"
"No," snapped JJ, "because all my other acquaintances are a hell of a lot more civilized than you are, even the parolees."
"I don't think he sucks at dealing with kids," said Thomas with a shy look at JJ. "He just sucks at dealing with you, Bikky."
This had the unintended effect of making both Bikky and JJ roll their eyes.
"Gee, thanks, kid," said JJ sarcastically before frowning at Bikky's grease smudged statement. "Didn't anyone at home ever teach you to wash your hands after eating French fries with your grubby little fingers? Honestly, I don't know what Ryo--" He stopped as he seemed to think better of whatever he had been going to say, and just shook his head in disgust. "How the hell do I get dragged into these things? I'm not even on duty right now."
It was true. He had been off duty for hours and his clothes reflected this fact. He was dressed for nightclub action in tight jeans, and a purple tank top emblazoned with the message 'Gay men suck... if you ask nicely'.
Thomas couldn't take his eyes off him.
"It's because you were stupid enough to come back to the station after you got off work," said Bikky smugly. "You shoulda just gone straight to wherever you were going."
"Hey Ryo, your annoying kid is telling me I should go straight," JJ called across the hall. "Would you mind explaining to him why that's not possible?" He rustled the two papers Thomas and Bikky had signed. "Here are your statements, come and get 'em. Can I go now? Bill's waiting for me."
Ryo emerged tentatively from his office and took the papers from JJ. He forced himself to meet the other man's eye, which was definitely preferable to looking at his clothes. During their work shifts, JJ was usually dressed somewhat conservatively, although he tended to favor bright colors and questionable patterns. Now however, in his nightclub regalia complete with heavy black eyeliner, he just looked so...well, gay. And that shirt! Although Ryo was determined not to let his eyes drop to JJ's chest to read the message again, he blushed anyway at the thought of it.
"Thank you, JJ," he said. "I appreciate your helping me out. I didn't realize everyone else would be out on calls. Normally Sheldon would have been able to take the kids' statements, but he's busy with the Battista murder suspect."
"Yeah, well, you owe me big for this," said JJ with another glare in the general direction of Bikky. "As in food and alcohol. I'm gonna take off now." He glanced at his watch, which was purple, like his shirt. "Crap, I'm so late."
"Sorry," said Ryo apologetically.
"Bye, JJ!" Thomas called after him. "Maybe I'll see you at Pride, huh?"
JJ raised a hand, but didn't turn around or respond as he walked briskly toward the stairs at the end of the hall.
"What's the big idea, Ryo?" Bikky demanded when he figured JJ was good and gone. "I thought you were gonna take our statements, and then you go and leave us alone with that disco freak. Did you see his shirt?"
"Uh, no," lied Ryo, hoping to avoid a discussion about JJ's shirt. "Sorry about that, Bikky, but this is quite a sensitive issue, considering how Thomas' dad feels about me. This way, no one can say I was guilty of coaching you guys on what to say."
"I didn't think he was a freak," said Thomas loyally. "He was really cool! I wonder where I can get a shirt like that?"
"Tom, don't you have enough problems already with guys wanting to beat you up and your dad not bein' down with the whole gay thing?" asked Bikky. "Besides, there's no way I'm even gonna stand next to you if you go around wearing a shirt like that in public."
"Well, I only wanted it for the Gay Pride march," Thomas mumbled defensively.
"I think you're a little young for a shirt like that, Thomas," Ryo said. "Why don't you get one with a rainbow or a pink triangle?"
"Aha, so you did see the shirt," said Bikky accusingly, and Ryo blushed again.
Fortunately, his phone rang at that point, which saved him from having to answer Bikky.
He could hear Dee's voice greeting him over a lot of furious shouting in the background, which, in Ryo's estimation, was probably coming from Abernathy. He wouldn't want to be in that man's shoes for any amount of money. It must have been like waking up into a real-life nightmare for a crooked cop like him to find an arch-enemy inside his apartment, within reach of all his dirty secrets.
"Dee!" he exclaimed, moving away from Thomas and Bikky. "What's new?"
Dee understood that what Ryo really meant was 'Did you find anything?' so he launched straight into that.
"No drugs," he said. "Just paraphernalia. Vials, little zip-lock bags, a scale."
Ryo felt his shoulders slump. "No traces?"
"Nothing visible. But it's dealer's paraphernalia, not user's. I think it's enough to try for a warrant."
"Where was it?"
"Officially, it was sitting in plain view on the floor of the open closet... I'll have to give you the details later."
"Nothing else suspicious? How about intelligence?"
"A couple things. We can talk about that later too."
It was obvious to Ryo that Dee couldn't speak plainly right at that moment, and that he would have to wait until they were face to face once again to get any details out of him. But by that time, it would be too late. If there was going to be any chance of finding anything else, it would have to be while Dee still had access to the apartment. Ryo did not share Dee's optimism that the paraphernalia alone would be sufficient grounds to obtain a warrant. Abernathy would almost certainly be claiming that he used it for weighing and apportioning food or vitamins.
"Dee, what about adulterants? Any suspicious liquids or powders around?"
"Nope, unless you include cleaning products or foot--" Dee stopped suddenly, remembering the foot powder in the closet. "Stand by. I'll call you back in five."
Ryo shut his phone and walked back over to where Bikky and Thomas were sitting in the CI room. They had picked Drake's desk for some reason, and were busy making a mess of his paper clips and pens. Bikky also had obviously had enough of hanging out at the boring police station, and seemed to be losing patience with Thomas.
"Look, Tom, get something through your head, okay? I am not gay and I don't give a shit about how JJ got purple hair. So let's talk about something else, okay?"
"Okay," said Thomas, looking a little hurt. "Like what?"
"Well, like sports or the newest games or school. Oh, hi Ryo. Any chance we could get the f--I mean the heck out of here?"
"Not yet, I'm afraid. I'm still waiting for Youth Services to get back to me with a bed for Thomas tonight."
"You mean I'm not staying with you?" cried Thomas, dismayed.
"I'm sorry, Thomas, but your father came in here last week and told our lieutenant that he didn't want Dee or me to have any more contact with you because he believes we're a dangerous influence."
"But--but that's just stupid!" exclaimed Thomas.
"Yeah," said Bikky, indignant on Ryo's behalf. "It's not true, either!"
"Well, we know that of course, but I think he would be really angry if he found out you spent the night with us, especially after he expressed his concerns to Lieutenant Smith," Ryo said. "We can't deny the fact that your father is your legal guardian, even if he believes things that aren't true."
"Well...in that case, where am I gonna sleep tonight, then?" asked Thomas uneasily.
"We don't know yet, but don't worry, we'll find you a place."
"I don't wanna go to one of those group homes where kids get abused," Thomas said, looking anxiously from Bikky to Ryo.
"Don't worry, Thomas, the staff are very well screened and trained--"
"It's not the staff he's worried about," said Bikky. "It's the other kids. Bigger kids. Right, Tom?"
Thomas nodded vigorously. Ryo didn't know what to say. Before he could gather his thoughts, Bikky jumped in again.
"We know a kid--Yanni, remember Yanni?" Bikky turned quickly to Thomas for confirmation, and Thomas kept nodding. "Anyway, last year sometime Yanni's dad took off and his mom went on a bender, so Yanni spent a week in one of those homes. Two older boys did all kinds of weird shit to him. He's still fuc--er messed up as a result."
"Oh dear," said Ryo. "I don't remember that. Was it in the news?" This sounded eerily similar to the case of the Baker boys, but he thought that it wouldn't be a good idea to mention that. *
"Yanni didn't want the whole world to know so he didn't tell anyone. But Eddie got it out of him a couple months back."
Eddie Calvetti had been a brain-injured junkie with a heart of gold where street kids were concerned. He had died recently from a gunshot wound, and although Ryo had no proof, he felt in his bones that Mike Abernathy had been involved.
"I'm scared that what happened to Yanni's gonna happen to me." Thomas sat tensely in his chair with his shoulders hunched and his eyes jumping from object to object around the room.
"Don't worry, Thomas, said Ryo reassuringly. "We'll work something out even if I have to send you home with our receptionist." He could see that it wasn't going to be easy to get Thomas into temporary foster housing tonight. Perhaps this fear of foster homes was one of the reasons why the boy had recanted his allegations of abuse at home and elected to return to his parents a couple of weeks ago. **
"Hey, what about that friend of yours from Karate?" said Bikky. "Maybe you can spend the night with him."
"Hiro? Uh, I haven't really known him that long..."
"Here, why don't you guys phone a few friends," Ryo suggested, pushing Drake's phone toward them. "If that doesn't pan out, I'm sure we can get Mother to take you at Saint Julian's."
"He has no serious injuries," said one of the paramedics to Officers Fenton and Pettigrew. "He's had rather too much alcohol, but not a life-threatening amount. We can't recommend hospitalization in this case, especially since he's so adamantly against receiving medical assistance. There's really nothing more we can do here."
Michael Abernathy, considerably more sober than he had been a short time earlier glared balefully at the two police officers and paramedics. "You hear the man? I refuse medical assistance and I do not require a police presence, either. There has been no crime committed here! I insist that you all leave immediately."
"No crime?" asked Officer Fenton, looking about him with raised eyebrows. "Looks to me like someone did a real number on your place."
"Yeah, you're gonna want insurance to cover the damage, aren't you?" Officer Pettigrew got out his notebook and pen. "We can take a quick statement and be---"
"Please LEAVE, gentlemen. And you, too." Abernathy glowered forbiddingly at the paramedics. He pushed past them into the bedroom where that black-haired bastard was snapping his cell phone closed. He knew the two uniforms were right behind him. Meddlesome sons of bitches. They were all in cahoots, that much was obvious. How dared they rifle through his personal possessions? It was bad that they had found the scale and the vials, but they hadn't found anything else-- yet. He had to get them out as soon as possible. It was his number one priority.
"Detective Laytner! I respectfully ask you to get the hell out of my home! You've no business to be here! This is a private residence and no crime has been committed!"
"Sir, it looks very much like you've been robbed," Dee said, wondering how he could get two extra minutes to take samples of the foot powder he had seen and earlier dismissed in the bottom of the closet.
"That is not the case! And what the hell do you think you're doing searching through my bedroom? I'll have you up on charges for this--this monstrous intrusion of privacy! This is nothing less than persecution!"
"I was looking for possible intruders who might be hiding on the premises, sir."
"And you didn't find any, did you? Hmm? No, you depraved aberration of nature! That's because YOU are the intruder here. Now, GET OUT!" Pointing at the door, Abernathy moved a trifle unsteadily to the side as if to let Dee pass. He suddenly staggered and then to Dee's surprise, emitted a harsh cry of pain.
They both looked down. Blood, lots of it, was welling up under the IA lieutenant's left foot. His slipper was half off and he had trodden upon a long, razor-sharp sliver of glass.
Their eyes met for a moment, and then Abernathy turned white as a sheet, his eyes rolled back in his head, and he pitched forward onto the floor. Dee remained where he was, and noted a faint crunching sound as the other man landed. More broken glass, no doubt.
Thank you God, Dee thought to himself, even as he yelled for the paramedics. They hurried in, the two patrol cops behind them.
"But he refused treatment," one of them protested. "He has a right to refuse treatment."
"That was when he was conscious," Dee reminded them. "He ain't conscious now, and he's got new injuries. Look at his foot."
The paramedics moved Mike back to the living room and put him on the sofa while they staunched the bleeding and patched him up.
Dee, knowing that Abernathy had only fainted and would be coming around any minute, worked feverishly to find the shoebox with the foot powders in it again. Like most detectives, he always carried small plastic bags in most of his pockets for evidence collection. He took samples from each bottle and made note of which bottle each sample came from. Old stinky-foot Mike had four different brands. He prayed they weren't really foot powder. He called Pettigrew this time to come and look at the bottles.
"I suspect this might not be what the labels say it is," he said. "But only the lab can tell us for sure."
"Might not be admissible," grunted Pettigrew, looking dubiously at the shoebox. "If I were you, I'd put it all back like it was and come back with a warrant."
"That's the plan, man. But I still might need you with me when we talk to the DA." He dropped to his knees and started stacking the shoeboxes neatly again.
"You got it, buddy. Uh-oh, sounds like he's waking up in there."
"Yep." Dee could hear Abernathy complaining that everyone was still there even though he had asked them repeatedly to go. In another minute or two when he got his strength back, he would be hollering again. "I guess we're gonna be leaving. Thanks for your help on this one, Rob. I owe you guys beer and wings for this."
"Sounds good! O'Malley's has a wing special on Monday nights, you know."
Dee grinned and stood up. "Don't I know it! Their buffalo wings are so spicy the Fire Marshall is trying to get 'em banned." His grin faded a little. "Looks like we're gonna have to wait until we're all back on day shifts, though. Come on, let's get back to the station."
They returned to the living room and signaled Officer Fenton, who look relieved at the prospect of leaving.
"But sir, your arm is bleeding," one of the paramedics was saying to Lieutenant Abernathy, who had struggled to a sitting position.
"I don't care! Out, out, out!"
"We're going, sir, we're going," said Fenton with a sigh.
"Good luck with the clean-up," added a paramedic.
Mike responded by calling the man's mother a very unflattering name. They could still hear his shouted curses as they closed the apartment door behind them and started walking toward the elevator.
When he was sure they had gone, Lieutenant Abernathy heaved himself painfully off the sofa and hobbled carefully to the door so he could lock it. A familiar burning pain began to spread in his chest, and he reached into his pockets for the antacids he regularly carried. Dreadful as it was, it was at least slightly more endurable than the throbbing pain in his head. He hurt all over, as a matter of fact.
"I know, Lord, I know. I dropped my guard there and those heathen bastards stole a march on me," he muttered, casting his eyes heavenward. "But they'll pay, that they will. We're not finished yet."
He took a pair of heavy rubber boots out from the hall closet. He rarely wore them, except in extreme weather conditions, but they would do to help him get around his apartment, what with broken glass and shards of porcelain everywhere. Plus, the bandage on his foot wouldn't allow him to wear any of his regular shoes for the time being, anyway.
He limped down the hall to his bedroom, eyes fixed determinedly straight ahead as he passed Isadora's room. He couldn't allow himself to think about her, not at the present moment when there were tracks to be covered and arrangements made. If he thought about her even for a moment, the madness that had taken him earlier when he had realized the enormity of her betrayal would start to swirl inside him once again. He needed to keep a cool head from here on in. His enemies were working against him, even now, and rage was a luxury he had better learn to do without.
Once in his bedroom, he assessed whether or not that bastard Laytner had found anything potentially incriminating. He had obviously been through the closet because he had found the scales, but the main stash remained safe. It had survived two home invasions today, one from a rag-tag little bunch of incompetents he recognized as remnants of the Stone Blood Boys, and a much more dangerous one from that Gomorrah of Manhattan, the 27th Precinct. Well, the Lord had been with him, today, that was a fact.
The Stone Bloods had been easier for him to get rid of than the police had proved to be. When their knock came, he assumed that it had to be one of his neighbors, since the doorman had not called up to ask if he was expecting visitors. If he hadn't been in a state of shock from just having finished reading Isadora's letter, he would have been a mite more suspicious.
But fortunately the three Stone Bloods had been amateurs; not a man of them over twenty, and one of them a beardless boy, at that. All the seasoned hands in that gang had ended their worthless lives in the big warehouse fire in Brooklyn last week. Now, with Essien Ibo, the leader of the Stone Bloods, languishing in hospital with a bullet wound to the lung, it appeared no one was driving the bus.
They had come in with big silencer-fitted guns and even bigger talk, making foolish demands and threats. He pepper-sprayed the lot of them before they had even gotten halfway through their list of requirements, and after a brief struggle, he disarmed all three, though not without the east wall taking a bullet from one wildly waving handgun. He lost no time in pitching the coughing, choking gang members, one after another, out into the hall, where he had given the biggest one a good ball-stomp to help him focus his thoughts.
"The stairs are that way, fellas. You've got about three minutes before the police get here, so I wouldn't waste time, if I were you," he jeered, then added in a low hiss, "When you three bunglers get your breath back, ask yourselves why you're not dead."
He was, of course, bluffing about the police. The last thing he wanted was for those three boys to be picked up and interrogated as to why they had come to his apartment and what they were hoping to find.
He had watched them stumble toward the exit that led to the back stairs and then he went back inside and tossed the three confiscated weapons into one of the empty kitchen drawers. Empty, because the bitch had taken the good silverware, along with the artwork, the Dresden figurines, and the best of the antiques. She must have been lurking around the corner with a couple of strong men and a truck, waiting for him to drive off to the airport.
Regrettably, he lost control after that and went on a bit of a rampage, hurling things around, smashing, breaking and tearing all the junk she had left behind. All the stuff that wasn't good enough to take with her. Like him. Like the boy. Damaged goods, the pair of them. It was enough to make a man take to strong drink, which he had suddenly conceived an avid thirst for in the trembling desolation of the aftermath. What an ignoble end to a day that he had begun with such high hopes and optimism.
And then, or course, there was the matter of Tommy. If he had heard those men correctly, it had been his own son who was responsible for bringing nosy, prying police bastards from the 27th into his sanctuary. Another betrayal from a member of his family. Would it never stop? Tommy had obviously come home, found his father snoring on the floor, and had created some foolish drama in his mind about it, weak-minded, faint hearted ninny that he was. He was exactly the sort to panic-- not an ounce of commonsense in him anywhere. Mike gritted his teeth at the thought of his son. He had been too lenient with that boy, too lenient by far. And where the hell was he, anyway?
He called his son on his cell phone and demanded that he return home.
"I can't, Dad. I'm with a social worker. She's taking me to some orphanage place for the night."
"You tell that woman to turn the car around and bring you right back home, do you hear me?"
Mike heard a brief, muffled exchange of words, and then a woman's voice came on the phone.
"Mr. Abernathy? I'm Laleh Feruzi, with Social Services. The police informed us that your apartment is a hazardous environment at the moment and that you yourself may not be in a fit state to look after your son, so therefore I wish to advise you that your son has been taken into the protection---"
"You wish to advise me? You wish to advise ME? I am a police lieutenant with the Bureau of Internal Affairs and I know my rights. You bring that child back to his home this instant, missy or your job is the thing that'll be needin' protection."
"Call our office tomorrow when you're no longer under the influence of alcohol, sir," she said coolly, "and perhaps then we can make arrangement for someone to come and assess whether the hazards have been satisfactorily removed from your home environment. Good night."
She hung up just as Mike launched into his next round of threats, and he was left sputtering into dead air. He tossed the phone onto the bed and clenched his fists. Forcing himself to count to ten had never been harder, and once he reached ten, he found he was just as angry as ever.
"You've got to come home eventually, Tommy, me boy," he muttered through clenched teeth, stroking his belt with his thumb. "And it's quite the little homecoming you've got waiting for you when you finally do."
Ryo jumped up from his desk when Dee walked into their office. He had an odd desire to greet his partner with a hug, which was something he shouldn't even think about when he was at work. He roused his self-discipline and ruthlessly fought down his personal feelings. "Well?" he asked. "Tell me everything."
Dee filled him in as quickly as possible, tossing both the purloined phone and notebook onto Ryo's desk. "Abernathy doesn't yet know I've got these, but he'll figure it out soon enough. If not tonight, then sometime tomorrow. Right now that asshole is too busy feeling relieved as hell that I didn't find more than I did."
"That means we should get started on this stuff tonight and get what we can before he starts calling contacts and warning them or shutting down their numbers." Ryo looked at the clock, which read ten minutes after nine. "Damn. I wish it was daytime. The DA's office is closed, and so is Verizon's customer service department. There's a lot we can't do until tomorrow. Show me the foot powder bags." He knew about the samples because Dee had called him from the car to tell him about Abernathy's fortuitous faint and his subsequent gathering of evidence. Dee took them out of his pocket and handed them to him. They both knew the bags of powder probably wouldn't be admissible in court, but if they tested positive for a schedule one or schedule two drug, it would strengthen their case for a warrant.
"I'm gonna take 'em down to the lab right away," said Dee. "If Liz is working, she'll help us out."
"I'm sure she will," said Ryo a trifle acidly. "Just keep telling her what great legs she has, and if that doesn't work, you can sniff her perfume and drool down her top."
"Aw come on, dude. That's not fair. You know I never drool when I look down someone's top!"
"Just go to the lab and get your butt back up here as soon as possible because we've got a lot of work to do," said Ryo. "I'm gonna call the Chief. It looks like the investigation is back on for sure, but we'll be needing him to give us the green light."
As if by magic, his phone rang at that moment. "That's him now, I bet. Hello, Chief?"
"How did you know it was me, Randy?"
"I just had a feeling. Listen, we need to talk to you---"
"I need to talk to you too. I just had an extremely unpleasant call from Mike Abernathy. He's claiming you two have trampled on his rights, entered his apartment without permission and kidnapped his son. What the hell is going on?"
Ryo sighed. "It's a long story."
"Gimme the short version right now 'cause I'm trying to watch a movie with the missus."
"Okay," said Ryo. "You've no doubt noticed that Abernathy seems to have changed his mind about going to Florida today. His son found him passed out cold in their trashed apartment, so Dee went there with Fenton, Pettigrew and some paramedics to check it out and snoop around a little. Dee found dealer paraphernalia, Abernathy kicked them out, and social services took charge of Thomas."
"What the---? Jesus Christ."
"Anyway, we think we've got enough to try for a warrant. Any chance you could set up a meeting with the DA tomorrow?"
"You're in luck, Randy. I'm meeting Aviva Cho at two because Marty also needs a warrant for another set of premises.You guys can come and pitch your story at that time too, if you want. But I'm gonna need to meet with you both beforehand to get the specifics. If what you've got is a pile of crap that's gonna waste everyone's time, that's gonna make us all look bad. I wanna be sure you got something real before I let you anywhere near the DA."
"We'll come in early tomorrow, Chief. Do you have time around noon?"
"Yeah, what the hell. Who needs lunch, anyway? I live on the thrills and excitement of my job," the Chief said sardonically. "Okay, gotta go. See you tomorrow."
Ryo hung up, knowing Dee was going to be less than pleased that he had just committed them both to coming in to work three hours early the next day.
Sure enough, Dee was glowering. "Noon?" he said. "I was planning to get out of bed around that time, since I'd bet my right arm that we'll be here until way after midnight tonight."
"Sorry, Dee, but you know this is important. We've got to get that warrant! Chief at twelve, DA at two."
"Okay, but I want a really good lunch in between," said Dee sulkily.
"Just get your ass to the lab and get those samples analyzed," said Ryo, who couldn't help smiling at Dee's food fixation. "We'll discuss lunch tomorrow."
"Anything I should ask her to test for?" Dee turned back at the door.
"Yeah," said Ryo, remembering how Tamara Stanley had died when she used the drugs that Abernathy had sent to Eddie Calvetti. "Fentanyl."
"What, oatmeal again?" Bikky looked at the brown sludge Ryo had placed in front of him.
"Oatmeal is good for you," Ryo replied almost mechanically. In Bikky's opinion, he looked none too awake. But then he'd come in after two last night.
"Yeah, yeah." Bikky rolled his eyes and reached for the brown sugar. He knew from experience that if he threw enough brown sugar into his bowl, his breakfast would get less oatmealy and more sugary and then later he could leave half of it and Ryo would be satisfied that he had eaten something healthy. He spooned at least one third of the contents of the sugar bowl onto his porridge and put the sugar bowl back with a thump.
"Got something to show you," Bikky said, pulling the picture out of his pocket and tossing it on the table.
Thomas had forgotten all about it in his anxiety over where he was going to spend the night, and Bikky hadn't reminded him. This was an interesting mystery that he wanted to keep between just Ryo and himself for the time being. He didn't want Thomas or even dorkhead to intervene yet.
Ryo, who was in the process of sprinkling cinnamon into his own bowl of oatmeal, glanced at the picture and then went very still.
"Where did this come from?" He was trying to sound casual, but Bikky wasn't fooled.
"You tell me."
"Bikky, I'd have to guess you got it from Thomas' apartment since you were there last night and this guy right here looks like a younger version of Mike Abernathy."
"And who does the guy on the right look like?"
Ryo took a silent mouthful of oatmeal, presumably to save himself from having to answer right away, so Bikky said, "Hell of a family resemblance there, Ryo."
"I agree," Ryo finally said, "but I don't know who he is. I've certainly never met him."
"Do you have any family in Ireland that you've been holding out on me about?"
Ryo sighed and pushed away his bowl. "B, you know I haven't been on speaking terms with most of my family members for a long time. But even back when I used to see them more regularly, I never met anyone in my family who looked like this. This guy looks like...like me."
Bikky nodded and picked up the photo. He figured Ryo was telling the truth. Ryo was more of an evader than a liar. "Do you think it could be some kind of strange fluke, then?"
"What I think is that I should give Aunt Elena a call. Maybe she can shed some light on this."
End of Justice Chapter 2
* something that happened in Poison, the prequel to A New Day. As of July, 2009, it has not yet been written. But I will. You can trust me, although it may take quite a while.
** See FAKE First Year Together: A New Day (May), Chapter 15