Characters: Ryo, Dee, Diana Spacey, OCs.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Ryo’s undercover assignment as a chef ends up being more hazardous than he expected.
Word Count: 1478
Written For: m_findlow’s prompt ‘Any, any, purples bruises,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Dee winced at the sight of the livid purple bruises standing out against Ryo’s pale skin. “Jesus, what the fuck happened to you?”
“I’m fine.” Ryo managed a tired smile. “Honestly. It looks a lot worse than it is.”
“That’s not what I asked. I thought the Sea Hag said this guy wasn’t dangerous!”
“He’s not,” Ryo sighed. “During the raid one of Diana’s agents got a little carried away with arresting me.”
“And she let him?” Dee looked lie he was about to blow a fuse. “What’s his name? I’ll have his hide; and hers too!”
“I didn’t ask. Besides, it wasn’t his fault; he didn’t know I was an undercover cop. Relax, Dee; it’s just a few bruises and a couple of cracked ribs from being shut in a door. I’ll live.”
A few weeks earlier Ryo had agreed to help FBI Agent Diana Spacey on a case by going undercover to infiltrate a diamond smuggling ring that worked out of a high-end restaurant in the city. It was believed that the gems were being transported into the country hidden inside bottles of wine; the restaurant’s owner then sold them to the highest bidder at secret auctions, advertised as exclusive wine-tastings.
Because he knew his way around a kitchen, Ryo had easily gained employment at the restaurant as a chef. He was in his element preparing meals and all he had to do for Diana was keep his ears open and try to find out when and where the next ‘wine-tasting’ would take place. If he could, he was also to try to identify which shipment of wine contained the latest batch of smuggled diamonds. In order to get a search warrant, the FBI had to have probable cause, and the word of a reliable inside source, such as an undercover detective, that the gems had arrived at the restaurant would give them just that.
Things had been going smoothly, no one had suspected that Ryo might be anything other than a talented young chef looking to make a name for himself. The head chef had even indicated that he had a good shot at rising up the ranks to the position of sous chef if he continued to work as diligently as he was. It was hard work and long hours, but Ryo was used to that and anyway, he enjoyed cooking. If he hadn’t been so determined to become a cop, he might even have pursued a career in the restaurant industry. It was the most fun he’d ever had on an undercover assignment, and he intended to try out some of the recipes he was learning on family and friends once it was over.
He’d been able to keep an eye on things in the wine cellar by going down there to fetch wine to add to the various dishes he prepared. He needed the head chef’s authorisation to go down there, but that was never a problem. The man himself had shown Ryo around the cellar a few days into his employment, pointing out which of the wines were permitted to be used in cooking; everything in the cellar was good quality of course, but the most expensive wines were reserved for the refined palates of the wealthiest diners, definitely not for use in sauces, marinades, and soups.
The most exclusive vintages of all were stored in a locked section of the cellar, which was where Ryo thought the gems were most likely kept before being auctioned off. That area was out of bounds to him, but late one evening he happened to be down in the cellar when a man had approached him, wanting to know what he was doing down there. He’d explained that Chef had told him to check there were sufficient quantities of the wines that would be needed for a very important dinner party the following week.
“I would have done it earlier, but it’s been a very busy night. We have two chefs out sick.”
“Well hurry it up; I have a delivery to bring in.”
“I could help with that if you need another pair of hands…” Ryo offered.
“No, I just don’t need you getting in the way.”
“I’ll be out of here in a couple more minutes; just have to check one more item.” Ryo held up his clipboard, where he’d nearly written the number of bottles alongside each of the listed wines. “We’re short on a couple. Are you bringing in either of these?” He pointed to two items.
“Not on this delivery; I only handle the imported stuff.”
“I’ll tell chef they’ll need to be ordered in then.”
“You do that.”
The man had stalked off and Ryo had finished his inventory, heading back up to report to the head chef. Imported wines… Ryo had been pretty sure that meant a shipment of gems was being delivered, which in turn meant the next ‘wine-tasting’ would take place within two or three days. Diana had told him the diamonds were never kept at the restaurant for longer than that.
He’d contacted Diana by dead drop later, buying the early edition of the paper at a newsstand not far from the restaurant, as he’d done every night on his way home after finishing work. This time he’d handed a note across with the money before going to catch his bus.
Diana had arranged a raid on the restaurant for the following night, and that was when things had gone wrong for Ryo. When the armed FBI agents had burst in, he’d had the misfortune of being on his way up from the cellar with a nice burgundy. They’d run out in the kitchen and he’d needed some for the beef dish he’d been preparing. Not knowing what was going on in the kitchen, he’d pushed open the heavy cellar door and started through, only to have an over-zealous junior agent slam it on him. Somehow Ryo had managed not to drop the wine as he was grabbed, hauled through the doorway, and slammed with bruising force against the wall beside the door.
“Drop it!” the agent demanded, prodding Ryo forcefully with the barrel of his gun.
“I can’t! It’s an expensive bottle of wine! They’ll take the breakage out of my wages,” Ryo gasped out, determined not to blow his cover. “Do you know how much that would cost me?” Risky though it was, he’d figured it would be best to keep in character just in case Diana’s people didn’t find what they were looking for.
The agent had slammed him against the wall again. “Drop it before I drop you!”
Diana herself had saved the day, marching up and plucking the bottle from Ryo’s fingers. “While I applaud your enthusiasm,” she’d told the young agent, “there’s no excuse for wasting an excellent wine like this. You don’t need to be so rough with the staff either; he’s not exactly resisting arrest. Just cuff him and put him over with the others.” She’d set the wine safely on one of the kitchen worktops, out of the way, before leading several of her people down to the basement, where they’d found all the evidence they’d needed to shut the smuggling operation down for good. Ryo, in the meantime, had been slammed facedown over one of the counters, his arms wrenched behind his back and his wrists cuffed. Then battered and bruised, he’d been lined up with the rest of the kitchen staff, to be taken to the precinct and questioned later.
Now it was all over, and Ryo was at the hospital, getting his injuries checked out. Most of the kitchen staff had been released after questioning; they hadn’t had anything to do with the smuggling operation, that had just been the restaurant’s owner and a few of his closest friends, plus the heavies employed to transport the gems. Ryo felt bad for the people he’d been working with for the last few weeks; with the restaurant closing down they’d all be out of jobs now.
With Dee’s help, he got his shirt back on, covering the rapidly blossoming bruises on his chest, back, and shoulder. There was nothing to be done about the bruise running down the side of his face where the edge of the door had caught him.
“So much for your cushy undercover assignment,” Dee grumbled. “Next time the Sea Hag asks you for a favour, just say no.”
“It was fun though, right up until the raid,” Ryo admitted. “Hectic, but I enjoyed it.”
“So what, you thinkin’ of givin’ up police work to become a full time chef?” Dee asked, steering his partner towards the door of the examination room.
“No, I think I’ll stick to the job I already have,” Ryo said with a smile. “There’s too much competitiveness in the kitchen. It can be really brutal.”