Characters: Dee, Ryo
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: Dee shows up at Ryo’s place to find the door open and immediately fears the worst.
Word Count: 1519
Written For: Challenge 185: Open at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
The door to Ryo’s apartment was open when Dee arrived earlier than planned; not just unlocked, as it so often was despite Dee telling his partner over and over to keep it locked, but actually unlatched and ajar. That was enough to set warning bells ringing in Dee’s head and he slipped his police-issue revolver from his shoulder holster, wishing yet again that the Chief hadn’t taken his automatic away from his on account of him using more bullets than the rest of the squad put together. Not knowing what he might be facing when he stepped inside, he would have been a lot happier with more than the six shots he had at his immediate disposal
Being cops, both Dee and Ryo had made their share of enemies, having put a significant number of criminals behind bars, some of whom had since been released, either on parole or because they’d served out their full sentence. Any of those might be looking for revenge, or alternatively Ryo might have been targeted by either a family member or partner in crime of someone who was still in jail. It was also possible that whatever was going on had nothing to do with Ryo being a cop, just an opportunistic burglar who happened to have come across an unlocked door, in which case it might convince Ryo to actually start locking his door in future. As a cop he ought to know better.
Dee cautiously put his ear to the narrow gap between door and frame, listening carefully. He couldn’t hear any suspicious sounds coming from within, but that didn’t necessarily mean anything. With no sure way of knowing whether or not the burglar, or whoever had left the door ajar, might still be silently lurking inside, keeping to one side, out of the line of fire, Dee pushed gently with one hand, inching it further open, gun at the ready, sneaking a quick look around the doorframe but poised ready to jump back out of sight if someone took a shot at him.
As far as Dee could tell from his brief glimpse, everything looked normal, but that didn’t mean anything either; a burglar might have bypassed the living room and gone straight into one of the bedrooms to begin the search for valuables there. Both bedroom doors were partly open, although the bathroom door was shut. While he couldn’t completely overlook the possibility of somebody hiding in there, it seemed unlikely; no self-respecting burglar would willingly shut themselves in a windowless bathroom from which they’d have no other avenue of escape besides the door they’d entered by, so…
Slipping his shoes off and leaving them just inside the front door, Dee padded barefoot and silent across the living room. Bikky’s bedroom was closest so he’d check in there first. Stealthily he eased his way around the doorjamb, scanning the room, at first thinking it had already been tossed, then he spotted the kid’s laptop and boom box on the desk and realised the room was just its usual degree of messy. Like most teenage boys, Bikky seldom picked up after himself. Nevertheless Dee took a quick look behind the door, in the wardrobe, and under the bed. He knew from experience not to leave potential hiding places unchecked; that was just asking to be attacked from behind, but he found nothing worse than some comics and a stray dirty sock.
Exiting the room as silently as he’d entered it, Dee carefully closed the door behind him and approached Ryo’s room, already dreading what he might find there. If this was just a common or garden burglary, maybe the room would just have been ransacked, but if it was a revenge thing and Ryo had been home when the attack came, which he was supposed to be since it was his day off… Dee shook his head, forcibly shoving images of his lover lying dead on the floor out of his mind; it was no use getting ahead of himself.
This time Dee opted for a surprise attack, shoving the door wide open and bursting inside, all in one movement, hoping to take whoever might be there by surprise. His eyes quickly taking everything in, he was the only one to be surprised; the room was as immaculate as ever, the bed neatly made, all the drawers and closet doors closed. Nevertheless, Dee opened them one after another, got down on hands and knees to peer under the bed, and got back to his feet utterly baffled, shoving one hand agitatedly through his hair.
On the one hand it was a huge relief that his worst fears were unfounded, but on the other, where the hell was Ryo? Maybe he’d been abducted, but if that were the case there should at least be signs of a struggle. Ryo was not the kind of guy to give up without a fight, and with his karate skills he wouldn’t be easy to subdue. Plus he was always saying the walls here were paper thin so surely if there’d been a fight somebody would’ve heard and phoned the police; Ryo was well-liked by his neighbours.
Returning to the living room, Dee checked the bathroom, which was as empty of dangerous criminals as he’d expected it to be, and then the closet, even though there was so much crammed into it anyone trying to hide there would have had to turf half the contents out just to get inside, which obviously wasn’t the case. Frustrated, he put the safety back on his gun and holstered it. None of this was making sense! He couldn’t even call Ryo and find out where he’d gotten to because his partner’s cell phone was sitting on the nightstand in his bedroom, charging.
Exasperated, Dee scanned the living room again, looking for clues. He was a detective, dammit! He should be able to locate his missing partner or what the hell use was he? Pacing back and forth, racking his brain for the answer to this confounding mystery, Dee became aware of a scratching sound coming from the other side of the apartment door, which he’d closed behind him when he’d first entered. Approaching it, he grasped the handle and jerked the door open, only to stagger backwards, trying to fend off… a pile of laundry? Reflexes kicking in, he managed to catch most of it before it could fall to the floor, ending up with a double armful.
“Dee? What are you doing here?” Ryo’s dark eyes were peeping over the top of the still seriously overfilled laundry basket. “It can’t be seven already!” That was the time Dee had said he’d be there for dinner.
“No, you’re okay, it’s not even five-thirty yet. I got off work early so I came straight over and found your door open!” Dee glared at his lover, although Ryo didn’t appear to notice.
“Oh. Usually I leave it on the latch when I go downstairs to get my laundry out of the drier, saves having to put everything down to unlock the door, but the catch keeps sticking and I’ve run out of oil, so I just left it ajar this time. Thought the wind must have blown it shut. D’you mind in I come in? This is kinda heavy.”
“Right, sorry.” Dee stepped back, juggling his own armload and stooping to snatch up a couple of Bikky’s t-shirts that had fallen off the top of the pile before Ryo could step on them and slip. “Where d’ya want me to put these?”
“Sofa, thanks. I can sort everything there before putting away anything that doesn’t need ironing.” Ryo headed that way himself, lowering the laden basket onto the coffee table with a sigh of relief then straightening up, rubbing his back with one hand. “I really wish this building had an elevator; carrying this lot up four flights from the basement is exhausting, and then finding the door shut…” He trailed off breathing hard.
“Yeah, sorry about that, I didn’t know where you were. Y’know, it’s really not a good idea leavin’ your door open; anyone could just walk in.” Dee set his burden down on the seat of the sofa. “I was worried somethin’ might’ve happened to ya.”
Ryo started sorting the laundry into piles. “Well, as you can see I‘m perfectly fine.”
“One of these days you’re gonna come home and find you’ve been burgled.”
It that thought worried Ryo, he didn’t show it. “I lock my door when I go out, just not when I’m down in the laundry room.”
Dee sighed; they’d had similar arguments before and nothing ever changed, so he gave up. “Want me to make coffee?”
“That would be great. Thanks, Dee.” Ryo smiled warmly at his partner before turning his attention back to his laundry.
Shaking his head in resignation, Dee headed for the kitchen. Maybe he wouldn’t tell Ryo about how he’d come in here, gun in hand, fearing the worst; he doubted it would change anything. His lover was fine, and right at that moment, nothing else mattered.