Characters: JJ, Ted, Janet, Chief Smith, Ryo, Drake, Dee.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: It’s all over the news; a cop has fallen to his death while chasing a suspect. The news reports are inconclusive; it could be Ryo or Drake, and JJ is desperate to find out for sure.
Word Count: 2174
Written For: Challenge 201: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge 43: Not What It Looks Like.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
JJ had just arrived at the precinct when the news broke. The news anchor said that a chase through the city had resulted in a New York police officer falling to his death when a fire escape he was climbing had given way.
Usually JJ and Drake worked the same shift, but not today. JJ had expected Drake to be there, waiting for him to arrive so he could fill his partner in on anything he needed to know before clocking off, but when JJ walked into the squad room, the only person present was Ted.
“Hi, Ted! Where’s Drake? I thought he’d be counting down the minutes until he could leave.” JJ slipped his jacket off and hung it carefully over the back of his chair.
“He went out earlier with Ryo,” Ted replied, sipping from his coffee mug and pulling a disgusted face. “Sheesh, how long has this stuff been brewing? Tastes like… No, on second thoughts there’re no words to describe how bad it tastes.” He took another mouthful. “Ugh! Ryo got a call concernin’ the whereabouts of a suspect, so he took Drake with him, hopin’ to bring the guy in for questioning. That was getting on for two hours ago though; they’re takin’ their own sweet time about it.”
“They’ll probably be back soon. You know as well as I do, suspects don’t always come quietly,” JJ grinned, making a mental note to brew a fresh pot of coffee as soon as he got a chance.
“Tell me about it,” Ted chuckled. “Anyone would think they didn’t like our company.” Giving up on trying to drink the vile sludge in his mug, Ted started out of the squad room, intending to pour it away and wash his mug, but only made it halfway to the door before Janet from the front desk burst in, her pretty face pale.
“Have you heard?” she gasped.
“Heard what?” Ted asked, frowning. Janet was usually a very levelheaded woman; it was unsettling to see her looking so distraught.
“There’s been a terrible accident,” she explained. “I was just watching the news on the break room TV.” She quickly filled the two detectives in on what she’d seen. “There was some footage of the chase, a bystander caught some of it on his phone. The police officers involved… It was Drake and Randy!” There were tears in her eyes and her voice cracked as she broke the news.
JJ’s heart seemed to freeze in his chest; bad enough when a fellow cop lost their life in the performance of their duty, but when it was one of their own… “Which of them was it that fell? Did the reporter say?” he asked, desperate to know the identity of their fallen colleague. His hands clenched into fists at his sides. “And how can the press be sure anyone even died? Have they found a body?” He was torn. If Ryo was dead, then maybe he had the chance of comforting Dee. He shook his head, immediately dismissing that traitorous thought. Ryo was a good cop, and sort of a friend despite everything. He wouldn’t wish that fate on anyone. But if it wasn’t Ryo, then it must be Drake. A cold sensation swept through JJ’s body and he shivered. Drake was his partner and his best friend. The thought of losing him, and in such a senseless way, chilled him to the bone.
“They didn’t say; nobody can get close enough to find out, it’s too unsafe, bits still falling. All they could say was that one of the detectives was chasing the suspect up the fire escape when it tore away from the building. I told Chief Smith, and he’s trying to find out more, but it could take a while. It looked like complete chaos on the news.”
Ted had put his mug down on the nearest desk and was speaking into one of the squad room phones; from what JJ could overhear, he was talking to Dee, who’d obviously seen the news too. “No one knows what’s goin’ on, Dee; the Chief’s tryin’ to find out. It’s all over the news. Look, hang up and I’ll call ya back as soon as I know anything. Okay?” Ted put the receiver down, picked up his mug again and drained the rest of its contents without thinking.
JJ ran both hands through his hair; he didn’t know what to think or how to feel. Everything was getting mixed up in his head. Ryo was Dee’s partner, so it wasn’t surprising Dee was frantic with worry, and on any other day, JJ would probably be concerned for the man of his dreams. But for some reason he couldn’t get Drake out of his mind. What if it really was Drake who’d fallen? What if JJ never saw his friend again? Why did Drake have to go with Ryo in the first place? He dismissed that thought as soon as it came to him. It was the job; nobody went to bring in a suspect on their own, you had to have backup, and with both their partners on different shifts it only made sense for Ryo and Drake to work together.
Oh, Drakey. Please don’t let it be you.
“I’m going down there,” JJ said, voice shaking slightly. Grabbing his jacket, he hurried from the squad room and almost collided with the Chief, who was coming out of his office.
“Sir, is there any news?” he asked quickly.
“Can’t find out a damn thing,” the chief growled. “They’re giving me the run-around, so I’m heading over there to find out for myself.”
“I could drive you,” JJ offered.
“You’re as white as a sheet, Adams. You’re more likely to pass out on me. I’ll drive myself, but you can tag along if you want. Can’t imagine you’ll get anything done if you stay here.”
The Chief was right about that; there was no way JJ would be able to concentrate on anything until he knew just what had happened and which of their colleagues had been lost. Maybe it had been the suspect that fell, or maybe there’d been a third cop involved, a uniformed officer perhaps… It was a slim hope, and JJ felt bad for thinking it anyway because how could he wish death on someone else just so his own friends would be okay? Everyone was somebody’s partner, or friend, or family member.
He trailed the chief down to the parking lot and scrambled into the passenger seat of the other man’s car. The Chief looked pale and strained too, but was holding himself together a lot better than JJ was. He’d probably lost his share of colleagues over the years; few cops made it all the way to retirement without losing at least one person they knew.
Too sunk in his own thoughts, JJ was barely aware of the drive, despite the sirens on the car blaring to clear a path for them through the evening traffic. Before he knew it, they were pulling in at the scene. He scrambled out as soon as the car came to a halt, before the Chief had even turned off the engine, and started pushing his way through the crowds, flashing his shield left and right, and getting quickly passed through the police tape cordoning the area off.
Spotting an ambulance, he made a beeline for it, but it was empty so he moved on towards the building, not really sure what he was going to do. He could already see the remains of the rusted fire escape hanging off the side of the abandoned tenement, and even as he watched it creaked and groaned in the wind, showering bits down into the alley between buildings. No one was going to be allowed anywhere near that to look for a body until it was made safe, but… Maybe if he went inside and upstairs, he’d be able to look out one of the windows.
He was almost to the stoop when the door of the building swung open and two people emerged, one dazed and groggy-looking, leaning heavily on the other. The injured man, with blood running down his face from a head wound, was Ryo, and JJ spared a second to think how relieved Dee was going to be that his partner was more or less okay. His gaze flicked to the other man and his heart leapt.
“Hey, JJ. Wanna give me a hand here? Ryo’s heavier than he looks,” Drake grinned.
Relief washed over JJ, making his legs feel suddenly weak. Drake looked just fine; as far as JJ could tell there wasn’t so much as a mark on him.
“You’re just a weakling,” JJ replied, laughing a little hysterically. Both his friends were alive; neither of them had been the one the reporters claimed had fallen to their death. Smiling so hard his cheeks hurt, JJ hurried up the stoop and got an arm around Ryo from the other side. Ryo blinked owlishly down at him.
“I’m fine, I c’n manage, if everything would just stop tipping sideways…”
“You’re the one tipping sideways,” Drake explained patiently. “Everything else is staying still.”
Ryo frowned. “Oh. Weird.”
“I’m thinking concussion,” Drake said with a sympathetic smile. “That’ll teach him not to go around head-butting pianos!”
“A piano did this to him? Seriously?” JJ peered past Ryo at his partner, wide-eyed, not sure whether to believe Drake or not. Everything seemed a bit surreal.
“That’s what he said when I found him coming down the stairs. Could be the concussion talking though, it’s hard to be sure.”
Together, Drake and JJ helped Ryo down the stoop and over to the ambulance, where the paramedics took charge of him. As soon as JJ had both arms free, he threw them around his partner in a bear hug.
“I was so scared, Drakey! The news report said a cop was on the fire escape when it collapsed and fell to his death! I didn’t know if it was you, or Ryo, or somebody else.”
“It’s okay. Wasn’t me, buddy.” Drake patted JJ’s back but made no attempt to extricate himself from the hug. “Fact is, I think the press made a mistake. Far as I know, nobody got killed. The guy we were chasing headed up the fire escape and Ryo followed him while I went inside and up the stairs. I caught our guy on his way down and cuffed him, but I didn’t even know about the fire escape collapsing at first. I just handed my prisoner off to a couple of uniforms, then went back up to see where Ryo had gotten to. From what I could make out from his ramblings, when the fire escape started to fall, he threw himself through the nearest window. Good thing it was him out there rather than me; he’s a lot more athletic than I am. Better reflexes too.”
All hugged out, JJ reluctantly peeled himself away from Drake, smiling at him. “I’m so glad you’re okay; I don’t know what I would’ve done if I’d lost you,” he admitted. “You’re my best friend!”
Drake beamed and ruffled JJ’s hair. “Thanks, buddy. You’re my best friend too. I wouldn’t want anyone else to be my partner.”
“Me neither, not even Dee,” JJ said sincerely. “You’re a lot more fun to work with, and a lot less grumpy. Plus you do your own paperwork.”
Drake laughed. “Nice to be appreciated. C’mon, let’s see if we can hitch a lift back to where Ryo and I left the car. I don’t think he’ll be in any condition to drive for a few days, at least not until he can see straight.”
Passing the ambulance, they saw Ryo sitting in the back, talking on his phone, probably to Dee if JJ had to hazard a guess. His eyes were closed and his face pale, but he was smiling. One of the paramedics was taking his blood pressure, but she didn’t look worried so obviously there was nothing seriously wrong with him. Even so, JJ knew from personal experience that their colleague would still be whisked off to hospital for a check-up. Even if Ryo tried to get out of it, the Chief would overrule him.
“How far away is the car?” JJ asked, walking along beside his partner.
Drake looked around, working out where he was. “Five, maybe six blocks. Something like that.”
JJ let out a low whistle. “That must have been quite a chase.”
“You have no idea! Plus trekking up and down those stairs twice and lugging Ryo around… I’m beat and I bet my legs are gonna ache tomorrow.”
“More than likely,” JJ agreed. “Don’t you worry though, I’ll take care of you; I’ll fetch your coffee, and your lunch, so you won’t have to walk too much.”
“Thanks, JJ; you’re the best.”
JJ beamed. “That’s what friends are for, right? Anyway, I’m just glad to have you back safe and sound.”