Characters: Ryo, Dee, OCs, Chief Smith, JJ, Drake, Marty, Janet.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: The news of Dee’s death has already reached Ryo’s fellow detectives.
Word Count: 1241
Written For: Challenge 16: Reverse Fandom House M.D. at ficlet_zone, using ‘Words And Deeds’.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo didn’t remember arriving at the hospital. There’d been no transition as far as he was aware; he’d simply been in the ambulance and then he was just… here, sitting on the side of a gurney in one of the curtained off treatment areas, a doctor asking him if he remembered what had happened.
He did, but he shook his head, not wanting to accept it. “Dee. My partner. He was shot…”
“Yes,” the doctor agreed.
“Is he…?” Ryo wasn’t sure what he was asking.
The Doctor shook his head gravely. “I’m afraid there was nothing the paramedics could do; Detective Laytner was already gone by the time they got there. I’m sorry for your loss.” The words sounded perfunctory to Ryo. How could this person be sorry? He’d never known Dee, had no idea how much Ryo loved his partner, or how devastating it was for him to lose the cornerstone of his life. Ryo wanted to be angry, but he was too tired, too defeated.
“Thank you.” It was the polite thing to say, and Ryo always tried to be polite, that was something Dee often teased him about, but his voice was flat, emotionless.
“How are you feeling?”
Ryo wondered if the doctor was a psychiatrist of some sort, evaluating his mental condition in the aftermath of… what? Emotional trauma? Something along those lines. Maybe he should lie, say he was fine, but he didn’t.
“It was my fault.”
“No it wasn’t.”
Ryo’s head jerked up. How was the Chief here? Then he remembered; he wasn’t in the hospital anymore, he was back at the precinct, in the Chief’s office. He’d been discharged after being treated for shock, and been given a lift back by… someone. He couldn’t remember who, probably never got their name. He thought maybe he’d been in a patrol car, but he wasn’t sure. The memories were oddly hazy, unreal. Had the doctor given him a sedative? Was that the usual treatment for shock? Maybe. Or maybe the paramedics had; that would explain why he kept zoning out. Chief Smith was still speaking and Ryo dragged his attention back to his boss.
“It’s the job, Randy; sometimes it takes good men and women from our ranks, and there’s not a damn thing any of us can do to prevent it, no matter how hard we try.” Chief Smith sounded like he was speaking from prior experience. How many good men and women under his command had he lost? Dee was merely the latest casualty of the war against crime in this corner of the city. Instead of making Ryo feel better, it just made him feel worse.
“If I’d been there, if we hadn’t split up, maybe Dee would still be… here.”
“Or maybe you’d both be dead.”
Ryo flinched at the Chief’s use of the word he’d been trying to avoid; it felt like a knife to his heart.
“Listen, Randy, I know you and Laytner were… close.” The way his boss said it, Ryo was sure he must have known or at least suspected he and Dee were more to each other than simply partners and close friends. “You’ve told me what happened, and I have corroborating witness statements, so there doesn’t need to be an investigation. Why don’t go home, take some personal time? I’ll have someone drive you.”
“I have to write my report and… and someone needs to tell Mother Lane.”
“That’s already been taken care off; I sent O’Neill. As for your report, there’s no rush, you can write it up when you feel ready; I know all I need to know for now. Go home, Randy; get some rest.”
“Yes, Sir.” Ryo got to his feet, shoulders bowed, heart aching, throat tight and eyes burning, but he wasn’t going to cry, not in front of the Chief. There’d be time enough for that later.
The others were waiting outside Chief Smith’s office. Drake, Marty, Janet from the desk, and JJ; only Ted was absent, not back from Mother Lane’s orphanage yet. Ryo had half hoped he could avoid his colleagues; that he wouldn’t have to face them until he was more composed. To his surprise it was JJ who made the first move, his usually cheerful face oddly solemn, tears spilling from blue eyes. As soon as the office door closed he lunged forward, wrapping his arms around Ryo in a tight hug.
“I’m so sorry, Ryo. I loved him too, but it’s going to be okay; we’re all here for you, if there’s anything you need, anything at all.”
Drake and Marty were nodding, reaching to squeeze Ryo’s shoulders, Drake awkwardly patting JJ’s back, trying to comfort both his friends at the same time. Janet had one arm around JJ and the other around Ryo. In any other circumstances it might have been funny, a bit like an upright version of twister, everyone trying to comfort everyone else, but there was nothing remotely amusing about shared grief.
Tears stung Ryo’s eyes. “I should have been there, I should have protected him…” It was the same thought that had been whirling around in his head since the moment he’d burst out the back door of the building to find Dee crumpled on the ground in a rapidly spreading pool of blood. He didn’t realise he’d spoken out loud until his words were met with a flurry of denials.
“You didn’t do anything wrong,” Janet told him.
“You couldn’t have known what would happen,” Drake insisted.
“Dee knew what he was doing; hell, we’ve all done the same,” Marty said firmly. “Sometimes you gotta split up in these situations.”
“I know you tried to save him,” JJ said, voice muffled against Ryo’s shoulder. “Dee was always too impulsive though, throwing himself into danger. So determined to catch the bad guys, too fearless for his own good.”
Ryo was stunned; how could they be so generous and caring? They’d all been friends with Dee long before Ryo had met him. He didn’t deserve their kindness, their understanding, their sympathy.
Drake tugged gently at Ryo’s arm. “Come on, I’ll drive you home.”
“We both will,” JJ agreed, disentangling himself from Ryo and wiping his eyes with the back of his shirtsleeve. “Do you want someone to pick Bikky up from school?”
“No.” Ryo shook his head; that was one thing he was sure of. He needed time to compose himself before breaking the news to the boy, and anyway, he didn’t want to pull Bikky out of school just to mope around the apartment with him. Better his foster son should finish out the school day; there’d be time enough to ruin his day later.
“If you need anything, give me a call,” Janet said, shoving a piece of paper into Ryo’s hand.
“Thanks.” He stuffed the scrap into his pocket without looking at it, knowing he wouldn’t call her. Did she know about him and Dee? His fellow detectives did but they’d kept quiet about it. Not that it mattered anymore who knew about their relationship. He let JJ and Drake lead him towards the stairs, wishing in vain that he could turn back time and start the whole day over, erase the last few hours from existence and do things differently. It didn’t matter how many times people told him it wasn’t his fault, he knew they’d never convince him or lessen the guilt he felt.