Characters: Dee, Ryo, OC.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Dee and Ryo weren’t looking forward to the long drive anyway, but they could have done without breaking down miles from nowhere.
Word Count: 1038
Written For: Challenge 87: Mechanical at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Dammit,” Dee muttered, bent double with his head under the hood of the car they’d been assigned that morning. “Some days I wish I’d paid more attention in class way back when. I know what most of the parts are called, but damned if I can figure out why the stupid car won’t go.” He straightened up, wiping his hands on a rag. “I really didn’t wanna wind up callin’ a mechanic. Means we’ll be stuck at the side of the road until the tow truck gets here.”
It wouldn’t have been so bad if they’d been in the city when the engine died; there were plenty of garages in Manhattan. But as luck would have it they’d been on their way to the Attica Correctional Facility to interview the former cellmate of an ex-con suspected of being behind a series of violent armed robberies. So, here they were, stranded, still over a hundred miles shy of their goal, with no choice but to call Triple A.
Dee slammed the hood harder than was strictly necessary, and leant against it while he called for assistance. Ryo got back in the car and put a call through to the warden of the prison, explaining what had happened and rearranging their visit for the following day. He was just hanging up when Dee slid back into the driver’s seat and slammed the door hard enough to make the car rock.
“They’ll have someone out to us in the next two to three hours,” he fumed, “meanin’ we’re stuck here twiddlin’ our thumbs. “Damned stupid car! You know the worst part? It’ll probably turn out to be somethin’ totally obvious that could be fixed in about five minutes if I knew what I was doin’, but instead we’ve gotta sit around half the day like a couple of idiots, miles from anywhere, waitin’ to be rescued!”
“It’s not your fault, Dee. Not everyone can be mechanically-minded.”
“But I should be! Would be, if I’d spent less time starin’ at the teacher’s ass and more time listenin’ to what he was sayin’.” Dee flushed guiltily and glanced sidelong at his partner.
Ryo merely smiled and said, “It’s easy to be wise in hindsight.”
“Yeah, just not when in sight of his behind. He was my first crush on a guy, and all because of a pair of tight jeans. There should be a law against good-lookin’ teachers; they’re way too distracting.”
That got a snort of amusement from Ryo. “I can’t see that idea taking off.”
“I guess not,” Dee agreed. “Just like bein’ a cop, teachin’ is something you have to WANT to do. Cops and teachers, we all have to deal with a ton of crap.”
They were lucky in a way that the stretch of interstate they were on wasn’t all that busy, but nevertheless, they left the car and got off the road, just in case some motorist didn’t see it there on the shoulder and rammed into it, which wasn’t beyond the realms of possibility since the hazard warning lights weren’t working either. Sitting on the grass partway up the slope beside the road, they watched the passing cars and talked idly, glad that the weather was dry and warm, until at last a tow truck pulled up behind their car. Scrambling back down to road level, they approached the mechanic, flashing their shields so he wouldn’t be alarmed at their clearly visible shoulder holsters and sidearms.
“Little outta your jurisdiction, ain’t ya?” he asked, giving them a curious once-over.
“Tell me about it,” Dee grumbled. “Drivin’ out to Attica sucks even without breakin’ down, but the department won’t spring for air fare.”
“I hear ya. Let’s see what I can do to get ya back on the road then. Pop your hood.”
Dee did as requested, then he and Ryo stood off to the side watching as the mechanic poked about in the engine.
After a few minutes he stood up and gave them an apologetic grin. “Well, I can tell ya what the problem is, but ya won’t like it. Alternator’s shot; hasn’t been rechargin’ ya battery, so now that’s dead as a doornail. Ya won’t be goin’ anywhere in this car anytime soon. I can tow it to the nearest garage for ya, but might take a few days to get it fixed. Prob’ly have ta order the parts.”
That was that then. Not having any other option, they accepted the tow, and once they’d arrived at the garage and had a word with the mechanic, Ryo called their boss and explained what had happened.
Chief Smith wasn’t happy, but he authorised the repairs and arranged to have the car picked up and returned to New York once it was fixed. Meanwhile, the two detectives had to find somewhere to stay overnight, and the following morning they rented a car to take them the rest of the way to the prison, then back to the city once their business was concluded.
The visit to the prison failed to yield much in the way of useful information, making the whole trip a gigantic waste of time, but there was no point getting mad about it.
“I’ve been thinkin’,” Dee said as Ryo drove them back down the interstate, heading for home.
“Should I be worried?” Ryo teased his partner.
“I dunno. Maybe. Could be I’m outta my mind, but I think I’m gonna find an evening class on car maintenance and repair. I know the alternator was pretty major, couldn’t have fixed that on the side of the road, but think how much time and money we might save if I could fix the simpler mechanical stuff.”
Ryo looked thoughtful. “That’s actually not a bad idea; I might even join you if we can fit it in around work.”
“Why not? It would be good not to have to rely on mechanics all the time.”
Dee grinned. “That’s settled then; soon as we get home I’ll go online, see what I can find in the way of classes.”
With a bit of luck, next time they broke down in the middle of nowhere they’d know exactly what was wrong, and how to fix it.