Characters: Ryo, OFC.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Ryo explains the realities of life as a homicide detective to his new neighbour.
Word Count: 1120
Written For: Challenge 214: Murder at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“So, Randy, what do you do for a living?” Terri Jackson asked, smiling brightly up at Ryo.
Terri had recently moved in to the apartment next door to Ryo’s and was hosting a small party in order to get to know the building’s other residents. Not wanting to be rude, he’d gone next door to socialise despite being tired and depressed from a rough day at work, hoping the festive atmosphere might lift his spirits a bit. It had almost worked too; he’d been able to push the day’s events to the back of his mind until her question had forcibly reminded him of everything he’d been trying to forget about.
He took a slow sip of his drink before replying, still on his first because drowning his sorrows in alcohol never worked and he didn’t need a hangover on top of everything else.
“I’m a homicide detective.”
“Really?” Terri sounded impressed. “Wow, that must be so exciting!”
“Exciting? That wouldn’t be how I’d describe it. There’s no fun to be found in examining the bodies of people who used to be someone’s child, or parent, or partner, then having to break the news to their loved ones before questioning them when all they want is to be left alone to grieve in private. There’s even less fun involved in spending months piecing together a case, gathering witness statements, interrogating suspects, arresting the murderer, then watching him walk free from court because the prosecution’s main witness suddenly changes their testimony at the last minute, but you can’t prove witness tampering took place.”
At the stunned look on Terri’s face, Ryo deflated. “Sorry; bad day at work. I shouldn’t have come.”
“No, I’m the one who should be apologising. That was a thoughtless thing to say, I guess I’ve never given much thought to the realities of police work, just… TV makes it seem so glamorous.”
“TV makes everything seem glamorous, but being a cop is anything but. It’s long hours of witnessing the worst things people can do to each other and facing an uphill battle trying to make sure the guilty pay for their crimes. It’s heartbreaking, and frustrating, and every time you solve one murder, two more are committed and you have to start all over again. It never ends.”
“So why do you do it?”
“Why? Because people who commit murder can’t be allowed to get away with it, that’s why. They don’t just destroy the lives of the people they kill, but everyone who knew and loved them. The families of murder victims deserve to know why their loved ones were killed and who was responsible, and whenever possible, they deserve to see the murderers locked away. It’s small consolation for them, but it’s better than never knowing, and it gives them some degree of closure. Just because the job isn’t fun, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth doing, and I honestly can’t imagine doing anything else with my life. Putting criminals behind bars means the streets are a little safer for everyone else. It’s just, some days make me wonder if I’m making any real difference at all, especially when witnesses can be intimidated or bought off so easily.”
“But that doesn’t happen every time, surely. You must have put quite a few murderers away.”
“Yes, quite a few, and some of those will spend the rest of their lives in jail. Others will serve their time and be released back into society, and some of those might kill again while others will become model citizens; there’s just no sure way of telling the ones who might still pose a danger from the ones who won’t.”
“I don’t think I could do what you do,” Terri admitted. “Seeing so many terrible things.”
“It’s not for everyone,” Ryo agreed. “So, to turn your question back on you, what is it you do?”
“Nothing exciting or glamorous either; I work in a bank, mostly handling loans. And yes, it’s as dull as it sounds, but someone has to do it.”
“At least you get to work indoors and don’t have to be out in all kinds of weather,” Ryo said with a wry smile.
Terri laughed. “That’s true I guess. Nights like tonight, it’s good to be indoors.”
Beyond the apartment’s windows, rain was pouring down.
“I know what you mean.” Before Ryo could say anything else, his phone buzzed and he pulled it out of his pocket, checking the text he’d received. He frowned at it, a host of emotions vying for supremacy.
“Is everything okay?” Terri asked, concerned.
“The murderer who got off this afternoon has been found dead. Murdered.” He sighed heavily, already knowing what that likely meant.
“Isn’t that a good thing?”
“Not for whoever killed him; just because he was a murderer doesn’t make killing him any less of a crime, and guess who gets to investigate.” Ryo offered Terri a tired, resigned smile. “I have to go; my partner’s on his way to pick me up. It’s still our case.”
“Of course. I don’t envy you going out in this rain. I hope you’ve got an umbrella.”
“Yes, good thing you reminded me.” Ryo managed a more genuine smile. “It was a good party though. Thank you.”
“Thanks for coming. Listen, if you’re not busy over the weekend, perhaps you’d like to come over for dinner one evening?”
Ryo smiled and shook his head as Terri walked him to the door. “I don’t think my boyfriend would be too happy.”
“Oh. Just my luck; all the nice guys are either gay, spoken for, or both. It’s tough being a single girl in New York. Still, don’t be a stranger; if you ever just need a friendly ear, you know where I am.”
“I’ll remember that. Goodnight, Terri.”
“Goodnight. Be careful out there.”
“I always am; goes with being a cop.”
Ryo stepped out of Terri’s apartment and made for his own to change into something more suitable for the weather, and to grab his badge, gun, coat, and umbrella before heading downstairs to wait for Dee to arrive. He had mixed feelings over this new twist in events, part of him relieved that the man who’d got away with three murders would never get the opportunity to kill again, and the rest of him already resigned to the probability that he’d have to arrest and charge a family member of one of the murderer’s victims.
No, there was nothing remotely exciting about being a homicide cop, because every case brought grief and loss to someone, but as long as people kept on killing each other someone had to bring the murderers to justice, and he intended to keep on doing just that.