The little devil and angel that sit on my left and right shoulders respectively, both had their say.
"Buy the heels!" said the devil. "They're sexy! You've been neglecting your sexy side. It's time to reclaim it!"
"Get a grip," said the angel. "You get on and off a bicycle four times a day! Your foot ligament injury took ten months to heal completely."
Which ones do you think I ended up going home with? And what would you have done?
Slave To A Gladiator
By Brit Columbia
Pairing: Dee and Ryo
Rating: Still worksafe, sorry! However, we are working our way toward the bedroom.
Spoilers: to Volume 7.
Disclaimer: Dee, Ryo, Commissioner Rose, Diana and Ted all belong to Sanami Matoh, who created the popular manga, FAKE. Serena the cat-eared whip-mistress, Cliff the palanquin-bearer, and Niko and his EMO slaves, Rowan and Jordan, are mine. I was not paid in any way for writing this story.
Summary: Dee has promised to be Ryo's slave for the rest of the evening, but Ryo's really got his hands full with this willful and headstrong slave.
Author's notes: Please read and review. And, just in case I haven't mentioned it recently, I believe in a strong and equal Ryo and Dee.
Thank you to the_ladyfeather and tripple_p for beta-ing this.
"Ryoooo," sang Diana. "Berkie has something he wants to say to you."
Dee's body quivered and the muscles in his midsection tightened in response to his great need to jump up and start throttling. Or pummeling. Stomping would also have been extremely satisfying. Unfortunately, Ryo somehow seemed able to sense these tumultuous feelings, and responded by tightening his fist still harder on the leash. Dee felt beads of sweat break out on his brow.
"What have we here? My, my, my." There was a gloating smile in the Commissioner's voice, but Dee could no longer see him once he had moved around the sofa and stood so that he could face Ryo.
Ryo didn't answer, and for the first time, Dee became aware that he was not the only person who was tense. As gently as he could, he set Ryo's foot down and gave his rock-hard thigh what he hoped was a heartening squeeze.
"Berkeley!" Diana hissed into the growing silence, and elbowed the tall man at her side sharply.
"Ow! Er, ahem," the Commissioner said. "Ryo, it is my very great hope that you will do me the signal honor of hearing me out. You see before you a man awash in contrition."
At this point, he paused to try his best to adopt a penitent expression, while ensuring that he had everyone's full attention. He was certainly not averse to apologizing whenever he felt he was in violation of his own code, which, in this case, he certainly was. It was only when he found himself in contravention of someone else's code that he didn't like to apologize. This had been a recurring point of contention between himself and Dee-Dee for as long as he could remember.
He was more than willing to apologize to Ryo, who, rather interestingly, appeared to have ended up in the gladiator costume previously worn by his partner. There had obviously been some kind of role reversal since he was last in the room. The Commissioner smiled with appreciation. Although he preferred Ryo in the micro-short slave tunic he had been wearing earlier, he had to admit that, as a gladiator, Ryo was probably awakening fantasies all over the hotel.
His eyes flickered over Laytner, who was on his knees before Ryo with what seemed to be Niko's other slave huddled behind him. It took every ounce of self-restraint he had not to burst out laughing at the sight. To see the loud-mouthed, arrogant Dee Laytner brought so low was not something he had expected to see this evening. The slave costume formerly worn by Ryo didn't fit him at all. Not only was it very short and very tight, but he was also wearing-- was that a collar and some sort of abbreviated leash? Well, that idiot deserved everything he had brought down upon himself. Imagine picking up a whip to chastise one's enemy and whipping one's lover instead! There was just no excuse for that kind of stupidity.
He wished that Ryo would allow Dee to turn around and face him. There was a dark, black and red part of him that felt that if he could just once, even for a split second, make eye contact with Laytner in his newly-humbled condition, he would be happy enough to ask no more of life for this calendar year. Except, perhaps, a really good stock tip or two. At that moment, another sharp prod from Diana knocked his thoughts off those two tracks.
He brought his attention back to the tight-lipped Ryo and took a deep breath. "I was rude and insensitive earlier, Ryo," he said. "I did and said some things that were highly inappropriate and out of line. Unfortunately, what's done is done, and I cannot undo them."
Dee listened angrily, breathing heavily through his nose, his lips clamped together against the torrent of angry and sarcastic words that were threatening to fly out of him. That damn rat-bastard with his oily apologies and his fake regrets! He wasn't sorry at all. But he was going to be, if Dee got even the faintest shadow of an opportunity. But how? He could feel the strength with which Ryo held his leash. If he tried to jump up now, he would pull Ryo with him, and he wouldn't get even two steps toward Rose before Ryo probably took him down with one of those Karate throws he did so well. Dee was so frustrated he felt like he was going to explode.
Now wait a second...what was Niko's little slave doing? Something interesting was happening at the nape of his neck. It seemed that somebody's nimble fingers had crept up his back and were now slowly, subtly, working loose the buckle of the collar around his neck. A glimmering of hope stirred within Dee. Meanwhile, Rose continued his little speech, going on about the respect he had for Ryo and how he hoped bygones could be bygones, yada, yada, yada, while Dee held his breath.
Ryo, whose attention had been on the Commissioner along with everyone else's, suddenly, to his astonishment, found himself holding an empty collar and leash as Dee surged to his feet and lunged at the Commissioner. Fast though he was, Diana was faster. She intercepted him just before he reached his target and successfully used his momentum against him to toss him against the opposite sofa, which, fortunately, was unoccupied. He crashed into it with such force that it tipped over backward, taking him with it, and spilling him onto the hard marble floor.
There was a stunned silence for a moment following this sudden and unanticipated blur of physical violence, and then Serena let out a cheer. "FBI! FBI!" she cried, and every woman in the room broke into applause for Diana, who grinned and performed a slight curtsey.
"Thank you, Dee-Dee," said the Commissioner mildly, removing his glasses and polishing them with a fold of his cape. "Laytner, you're fired."
"No, he's not," said Diana.
"I beg your pardon?" Rose attempted to skewer her with an autocratic stare.
She rose to the challenge and locked eyes with him, putting all the force of her personality into it. For a moment, it appeared as though she were going to say something else, but then the moment passed and she tossed her head. "Berkie," she warned in that little-girl voice she often used with him, "don't you dare fire anyone at my party! Especially after you've been drinking, you bad boy."
"Very well, I'll fire him tomorrow morning."
"If you do, you'll have to deal with Ryo," she said guardedly, and the Commissioner's gaze automatically went to where Ryo stood regarding him with the coldest eyes he had ever seen. Ryo, in a flushed and angry state, he had some experience with, but this icy, controlled fury was something entirely new. It struck him like a physical blow; he felt a small, odd pang just above his heart.
While the two men stared at each other in silence, Dee clambered onto his knees behind the overturned couch and opened his mouth to speak. He got as far as "Hey, asshol--" before Ted seized him in an NYPD-approved hold and quickly clapped a lion paw over the lower half of his face. Muffled swearing and scuffling ensued and they disappeared back behind the toppled sofa.
"Sir," said Ryo quietly, "as I'm sure you can imagine, I have a great deal to say to you about your behavior toward me, not only tonight, but over the years I've known you. If you feel you have the right to fire Dee for his conduct while expecting to be forgiven for your own, then I consider that to be the height of hypocrisy."
"Detective MacLean, in case it escaped your attention, your partner just attacked me! And not for the first time, either. I believe I am well within my rights to fire him, if not bring him up on charges--"
Ryo interrupted him. "Ah, charges!" he said. "That would be the operative word, wouldn't it? Because if you'll recall, you've done some attacking of your own this evening."
The Commissioner hesitated, speechless. Was Ryo actually threatening him?
A loud yell from Ted distracted everyone. "Ow! You bastard, that fucking hurts!" He popped up from behind the fallen sofa and tried to clamber over the front of it, but Dee yanked him back by his lion-tail.
"Oh, Ryo, sweetie," said Diana. "I think you'd better go take charge of your slave before he does any damage to Ted. I did my best not to hurt him last time, but if he goes after Berkie again..." She shrugged casually, but her meaning was clear.
Ryo nodded grimly, and strode around the back of the sofa to where Dee was straddling a prone and groaning Ted, while twisting his arm.
"You gonna jam me up again, Teddy-boy? Huh?" demanded Dee.
"Dee, let him go and get off him right now!"
Dee looked up and said "Uh-oh," at the sight of Ryo's wrathful expression. He reluctantly got to his feet, his eyes immediately darting about in search of the Commissioner, who seemed to be having an urgent tete-a-tete with Diana some short distance away.
"Don't even think about it," warned Ryo. "Ted, are you all right?"
"No, not really, but don't worry about me.... I've got private insurance on top of Blue Cross," groaned Ted.
"He's okay," said Dee dismissively. "If I'd really wanted to hurt him, he'd be too busy screaming to think about cracking jokes."
"Dee, do you realize that the Commissioner wants to fire you?"
"What? I never even got a shot in! If I'm gonna get fired, I might as well go and break both his arms so I've got something to show for it."
He spoke in tones of bravado, but Ryo thought he looked a little worried. However, he didn't feel that he could trust that Dee's desire to remain employed by the NYPD would trump his almost primal desire to assault Rose. He decided the best thing would be to get Dee back into that collar and leash again as soon as possible, before anyone's limbs got broken. He had no idea how Dee had gotten free, but he wasn't going to let it happen again.
Serena noticed Ryo casting about for something, and she correctly guessed what it was. "If you're looking for the collar and leash," she said, "I think you'll find it over there."
His eyes followed her pointing finger to where Rowan peeked out from behind a pillar. "Ah-ha," he said softly, and then asked Serena, "What's that one's name again?"
"Rowan," she said. "Niko's been having a little trouble with that particular slave. Jordan is much better-behaved."
"Rowan," called Ryo kindly. "Would you mind coming back over here with that collar?"
Rowan's head shook rapidly and mutinously.
"Ryo." Serena met his eyes patiently. "Politeness and a soft voice won't be terribly effective in this situation. Rowan will only obey if you speak like a master."
"I understand," said Ryo and looked at the recalcitrant slave with the same hard eyes he had used on Dee. "Rowan!" he barked. "Get your butt over here right NOW!"
Several heads turned, and the vehement conversation between Diana and the Commissioner faltered.
Rowan slunk over to Ryo, eyes cast down.
"Kneel," ordered Ryo, and watched in satisfaction as the slave immediately dropped to the floor, both hands clutching the leash. "You've created a great deal of trouble this evening, Rowan. In fact, you've been extremely disobedient. Why did you remove this collar from my slave?"
"My collar," mumbled Rowan.
"Not right now, it isn't. Your master told me that you would have to earn back your collar and leash because your behavior has been very bad and-- and-- un-slave-like," said Ryo, who was groping for the kind of words that a master might use. "He gave it to me for my use for the next twenty-four hours."
Rowan's lower lip protruded and began to quiver.
"Take it off immediately and put it in my hand," Ryo demanded, "or you can be sure your master will hear about your latest, um, piece of naughtiness."
Rowan sniffled pitifully and complied, shoulders hunched in dejection.
"Now, go and stand in that corner and wait for your master to return," said Ryo, and quickly turned away to find and secure Dee.
He was not a moment too soon. Dee was stalking purposefully toward the Commissioner like a dominant buck who had spotted another rack of antlers in his territory. Diana was in the process of inserting herself between the two men, and Ryo, frankly, feared for Dee.
In four quick strides, he caught up to his partner and spun him around.
"Ryo," growled Dee warningly.
"Master," corrected Ryo, and, seizing the fabric of the slave costume, he used his right foot to sweep Dee's legs out from under him, producing a very satisfying yell of surprise from the larger man. He kept hold of Dee's sleeve to control his descent somewhat, and then brought his knee down firmly on Dee's hip to hold him in place, rendering him immobile. He still had the collar and leash in his left hand, but he made no move to fasten it in place just yet.
"Slave," he said, "were you, by any chance, thinking of fighting me?"
"Um, no, Master," said Dee cautiously.
"That's good because you gave me your word that you would obey me for the rest of the evening, and you haven't exactly been doing that, have you?"
"Well... not really, Master. I'm sorry." Dee, hyper-conscious of the presence of the Commissioner just a few feet away, was grateful that he couldn't see Rose's face, because if he detected a smirk there, he was going to have to kill somebody.
"We'll soon find out how sorry you are," said Ryo. "I want you to understand something. If there's any more trouble from you at this party, I'll be moving into the CI room tomorrow and booking my vacation with Aunt Elena by the end of the day. Is that quite clear?"
Dee sighed in defeat. "Yes, Master."
Satisfied, Ryo let go of Dee's sleeve and used both hands to buckle the collar around his partner's neck. He was finding this whole master/slave-business quite wearing. Both Dee and Rowan were behaving like overgrown children. Obviously that spanking had not had any kind of significant or lasting effect on Dee. He really wanted to leave, but he suspected that Diana had been trying to talk the Commissioner out of his decision to fire Dee, and he felt that he couldn't go home until that issue had been resolved.
Before he took his knee off Dee, he decided to take a precaution that would hopefully head off further trouble with the Commissioner. "Slave," he said, "we are about to stand up. I order you to keep your head bowed and your eyes on the floor. If you raise your eyes and look at anybody, it will constitute disobedience, and you will have to endure some very embarrassing consequences. Do you understand?"
"Yes, Master," said Dee in a subdued voice.
"Good." Keeping tight hold of the leash, Ryo rose to his feet and directed his slave to do the same. He saw that the Commissioner and Diana were both regarding him with admiration. Ryo didn't like the way that Rose was looking at Dee, however. If Dee disobeyed him by looking up and happened to catch sight of the delighted derision in the other man's eyes, it might be next to impossible to control him.
"Nice take-down, Ryo," said Diana approvingly.
"NYPD! NYPD!" yelled Ted, pumping his fist in the air. This brought a smattering of applause, but it seemed as though most of the NYPD guests had gone home.
"Berkie, maybe this is a good time for you to tell Ryo what you've decided." Diana gave him a gentle nudge.
"Ah, yes, Dee-Dee. Indeed, you're right." The Commissioner took a step toward Ryo, looking rather misty-eyed. "Ryo, my dear," he said, "I want you to know that I value my association with you every bit as much as you hope. I--I had no idea you felt the way you do about me. You're always hiding your true feelings from me, and I don't know why. I hope you realize that I was only joking when I threatened to fire your partner."
"What.... Sir?" Ryo was both confused and alarmed by the Commissioner's words. What was that about hiding his true feelings? Also, had he heard right? Had the Commissioner just addressed him as 'my dear' in a public place?
"See, Ryo?" said Diana encouragingly. "It was all just a silly Halloween joke. Kind of like a trick instead of a treat, you know what I mean?"
"Um, yes, um, I think so." Ryo frowned in confusion and looked from her to the Commissioner. "So, you're definitely not going to fire Dee?"
"Certainly not. I have no wish to cause you any more distress than I already have." The Commissioner gazed at him benevolently, his expression almost, well... tender. Ryo began to suspect that Diana may have told Rose a couple of ego-stroking things that could conceivably bring difficulties for him at a later date.
"So, Ryo, will you shake my hand to let me know that you forgive me and that I am no longer occupying a place of shameful distinction in your bad books?"
For the moment, Ryo withheld his hand. "You're not going to fire Dee next week or next month or anytime in the near or far future?"
Rose shook his head. "Not unless he does something serious like shooting the mayor," he said with a smile. "And perhaps, not even then. Deal?"
"Deal," said Ryo firmly, feeling the warmth of Rose's large, masculine hand as it clasped his own. Just as Niko had done earlier, the Commissioner held on a little too long, while gazing silently at Ryo with a meaningful look in his eyes. He seemed to be trying to communicate something without words, something new. Ryo had no idea what that was, but it was making him quite uncomfortable. He had to talk to Diana as soon as possible. When the extended handshake was interrupted by the sudden ringing of Rose's cell phone, Ryo was unable to stop a little sigh of relief from escaping him.
"Excuse me." The Commissioner reluctantly let go of Ryo's hand in order to check his call display. "Ah," he said as he recognized the name he saw there. "I was wondering where he had gotten to." He turned away, saying, "Hello, Cliff? Are you still in the hotel?"
"What did you tell him?" Ryo hissed at Diana.
"Never mind. I just embroidered the truth a little. At least, I think it's the truth. Anyway, the main point is that he's not going to fire Dee now. You can thank me by buying me lunch next time I'm in town."
"Sure I'll buy you lunch, Diana. But I really need to know what you--"
"Diana!" said Niko in his booming voice, as he strode toward them. "I seem to be missing a slave. Have you seen my Rowan?"
"Why yes, Niko, darling. Look over there in that corner and you will see a sniffling and repentant little person who was absolutely crushed by the horrible experience of being ignored by you."
"Oh dear," said Niko, his eyes concerned. "Rowan does tend to be emotional. But SO full of mischief. I think the trouble is that I've gone too easy on..."
"Yes?" prompted Ted who was suddenly standing beside Diana, listening with evidence of great interest. "Him? Her? What? I'm dying to know."
"What do you mean?" demanded Niko, looking offended on Rowan's behalf. "Isn't it obvious?"
"Yeah, Ted." There was amusement in Serena's tone of voice. "What's the matter with you?"
"Ted always was dense that way." Diana grinned and smacked his shoulder.
"Oh, come on! " Ted's eyes went from one woman to the other. "Don't pretend that you can actually tell which sex those two slaves are. No one could!"
"Detective, you are an extremely rude man!" declared Niko, while patting a crestfallen Jordan comfortingly. "There, there, Jordan. Don't listen to this ignoramus."
"But, what's wrong with androgyny?" asked Ted helplessly. "Did I say it was a bad thing? I just want to know what sex they are, that's all."
"Ted, Ted, Ted." Serena sighed. "We'll forgive you because you're a detective and of course it's your job to ask nosy, prying, and occasionally hurtful questions. But some questions are definitely not okay in a social setting. Didn't your mom ever teach you that?"
"Yeah," said Diana. "Would you ask someone how much money they make? Would you ask someone you didn't know well how much they weighed or who they voted for?"
Ted spluttered in his own defense, but Diana wasn't really listening. The fact was that she had one uneasy ear on the illuminating conversation that Berkeley seemed to be having with Cliff. Uh-oh. She knew what that sharp look in Berkeley's eyes meant. He was probably putting two and two together.
"Excuse me, Diana," said Ryo, "but it's getting late and Dee and I have to go to work tomorrow morning. We just wanted to thank you for a wonderful party and say good-night."
"What? You're leaving?" asked Serena. "But what about Dee's latest disobedience?"
"Yeah," murmured a couple of other female guests who had been sticking fairly close in case Dee got bent over a sofa again.
"Aren't you going to... whip him?" one of them asked hopefully.
"No, I'm not," said Ryo firmly. "I've already demonstrated that I am not to be trusted with a whip."
"Maybe Serena could whip him for you?" suggested the nearest woman, a middle-aged blond who was dressed like a pop star. She licked her lips and glanced at Dee.
Dee dared to raise his eyes and look appealingly at Ryo. Please, no, his mute face seemed to be saying.
Ryo looked back at him while he pretended to consider it. "Hmm," he said thoughtfully. "Slave, I bet Serena could teach you how to behave in a more obedient and submissive way than you have so far tonight. And unlike me, she could use that whip to give you some wonderfully educational pain without permanently damaging you."
"Oh yes," said the blond breathlessly. "Educational, that's what it would be! He still hasn't learned his lesson, has he?"
"No, he hasn't," giggled her companion. "He's been so baaaaad."
"Well?" Ryo asked Dee. "Should I ask Serena to punish you?"
"No, Master!" Dee said quickly. "Your slave would much prefer it if you would punish him yourself."
"Keep your eyes downcast, Slave," Ryo reminded him sternly.
"Perhaps you could whip him again with your sword," suggested the blond hastily.
"No, your leather sword-belt," said the other woman. Then she looked at her friend and they both tittered excitedly.
"What's this?" asked the Commissioner, who had snapped his phone closed and stepped forward. "What's this talk of whipping? And did I hear you say you were leaving?"
"No, no, we hope he's not," said the blond pop star. "He's just deciding how best to beat his slave."
"I voted that he should use his sword belt," added the other woman.
"But we'd really like to see him get whipped," added the blond, glancing hopefully at Ryo once more.
"He kept pretty quiet when you whacked him with the sword," said Serena, playing along with Ryo. "I bet I could get some noise out of this tough guy."
"Oooh!" exclaimed the blond woman, looking around her for support. "Wouldn't that be exciting?"
"Why, yes," murmured the Commissioner, a slow smile spreading across his face. "It certainly would be."
~end of chapter 18~