Characters: Ryo, Dee.
Setting: Just after Like Like Love.
Summary: After a major fight with Dee, Ryo accepts a temporary position at Scotland Yard.
Word Count: 2465
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 168: City at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Despite being among the biggest urban areas in Britain, London seemed small compared to New York. For what felt like the hundredth time since he’d arrived a few weeks earlier, Ryo sat in his small apartment… no, the British called them flats, didn’t they? He sat in his cramped little furnished flat and thought about how he’d wound up in this city on the opposite side of the world to the place he’d always consider his home.
Bikky had been preparing to leave for college in L.A., so Dee had asked Ryo to move in with him. Ryo had said yes, and then… somehow it had all fallen apart.
Dee had always been suspicious of Berkeley Rose’s motives in everything where Ryo was concerned, and was jealous of the cautious friendship that had eventually developed between Ryo and their superior. They’d had a series of arguments about it over the years, but a couple of months back Dee had blown up over the amount of time Ryo was spending with the Commissioner behind closed doors.
Ryo had felt he shouldn’t have to justify those private meetings, or tell his partner what they were about; they were confidential and none of Dee’s business, mostly being to do with Berkeley and Diana’s relationship. In the end, what it came down to was that Dee didn’t trust Ryo, perhaps even suspected his lover might be cheating on him with Commissioner Rose, so they’d got into a huge fight one evening, Ryo had told Dee to go to hell, and had stormed out, slamming the door behind him. He’d expected Dee to follow him, or show up on his doorstep later to apologise with flowers and a bottle of wine, but there hadn’t even been so much as a phone call or a text message.
The following day, Ryo had approached the Commissioner about the other thing they’d been discussing, and had put his own name forward for the exchange being considered between the NYPD and Scotland Yard. Next thing he knew he’d been on a plane bound for London and a six-month stint learning British policing methods while his counterpart from Scotland Yard was heading across the Atlantic in the opposite direction to take Ryo’s place at the 27th Precinct.
Ryo didn’t regret accepting the placement; the work was interesting, and most of the people he was working with were pleasant enough, although there was one guy who was a closet racist and homophobe so Ryo was keeping quiet about being gay to avoid any unpleasantness. It was only for a few months after all. His new colleagues were good cops, for the most part, with that one singular exception; they’d made him feel very welcome and he already considered most of them friends.
It was exciting to be living in London, a city he’d long wanted to visit, so when he had time off he’d been doing a lot of sightseeing, but that had so far been less fun than he’d expected. Since his new friends weren’t particularly interested in visiting places they’d seen dozens of times already, he’d been doing the tourist bit by himself, but there was something a bit… deflating about not having anyone to share the sights with. In his mind he’d always imagined he and Dee would be sightseeing together.
As fascinating as London was, the more time that passed the more Ryo missed New York, and the more he missed Dee. How had everything ended up going so wrong between them when it had all been going so right before their fight?
‘Maybe I should have just told Dee what the Commissioner and I were talking about in all those meetings, even though I gave Berkeley my word that I wouldn’t tell anyone.’ Then again, he shouldn’t have needed to break a confidence just to alleviate his lover’s unfounded suspicions. ‘Why couldn’t he just trust me?’ Ryo had told Dee often enough that he wasn’t even remotely interested in the Commissioner romantically; shouldn’t his word have been enough?
They hadn’t spoken to each other since the fight; Dee had called out sick the following day, and Ryo had spent the rest of that week at home, getting Bikky off to college while packing what he’d be taking to London with him and putting everything else in storage. He’d thought, even hoped, Dee might still call or stop by to apologise, perhaps ask him not to go, but he hadn’t. Ryo knew he could have called his partner, but he hadn’t wanted to get into another fight with Dee, not while he was still feeling angry and hurt over his lover’s lack of trust. No, he’d been right not to call; Dee was the one who needed to apologise and ask forgiveness.
‘I didn’t do anything wrong,’ Ryo reminded himself. ‘All I did was help two of my friends sort themselves out and realise they belong together. It’s not my fault Dee’s so jealous and suspicious.’
Still, it had been more than two months now and there still hadn’t been a single word from his lover, or should that be ex-lover? Were they broken up or not? Ryo wasn’t even sure about that. He’d spoken to Diana over the phone a couple of times and she’d said Dee seemed fine. He’d spoken to Ted too, and gotten more or less the same response, which should have been reassuring but really wasn’t. Nevertheless, Ryo wasn’t about to break down and call his partner; he shouldn’t have to. The next move was down to Dee, if they still had anything worth salvaging, and if not… Maybe this temporary assignment could become permanent; it wouldn’t be a bad life here in England’s capital and at least he wouldn’t have to worry about running into Dee out with someone else.
For his part, Ryo wasn’t interested in moving on to somebody new; he still loved Dee even if he was currently angry with him. His partner could be so insufferably stubborn! ‘Maybe I’m being stubborn too, but I’m not the one who started this.’
And yet, if Dee was going to get in touch wouldn’t he have done so by now? It wasn’t as if he didn’t know Ryo’s phone number. The fact that he hadn’t called, or emailed, or so much as sent a letter… Ryo drank the rest of his tea and forced himself to stop thinking about Dee. He needed to get to bed; he had work in the morning.
Another week passed with no word from Dee, and then another. Ryo and the detective he was working with closed a case and went out to celebrate after work, so it was getting on for one o’clock in the morning by the time he got back to his flat and found a large lump on the floor outside his door. As he cautiously approached, the lump stirred, showing itself to be a man; a very familiar man at that, with long legs and artfully dishevelled black hair… The sight of that achingly familiar figure stopped Ryo in his tracks; he could scarcely believe his eyes.
“Dee? What are you doing here?”
“Hey. Sorry, prob’ly should’a called ahead, but… You know me. Impulsive; act first, think later, if I bother thinkin’ at all.” Dee tried to smile but it looked more like a grimace. “I would’a come sooner, but I couldn’t get time off since the old badger assigned me to teach your substitute the ropes. Talk about unfair punishment; guy’s dumb as a stump, it’s not surprisin’ Scotland Yard wanted rid of him.”
Ryo was still just standing there, staring in disbelief at the man he still loved despite everything that had happened, wondering whether he was dreaming as he had so many times since he’d left New York. He was just drunk enough that it briefly crossed his mind he might be hallucinating.
“Is this a bad time? I could come back tomorrow, or, y’know, in the mornin’ anyway…” Dee levered himself to his feet, still keeping distance between them. Ryo had forgotten how tall he was, and how vulnerable he could look on those rare occasions when his usual brash self-confidence deserted him.
“It’s been months; why didn’t you call?”
“I thought about it, a lot, I mean like all the time, but…” Dee shoved one hand through his hair, uncharacteristically awkward, fumbling for words. “Well, if you’re gonna shatter my heart by breakin’ up with me, which I’d totally deserve after the way I was actin’, I’d rather not have you do it over the phone.”
Ryo shook his head in exasperation. “You’re such an idiot.”
“I know. Ryo… I’m sorry, I was bein’ a complete asshole, I just… I was so jealous I couldn’t think straight, so scared I might be losin’ you I wound up drivin’ you away.” Dee hung his head, shuffling his feet awkwardly.
“Did I ever once give you any genuine reason not to trust me?”
Dee shook his head, unable to meet Ryo’s eyes. “No.”
“You know I’m not attracted to the Commissioner, I’ve told you that often enough.”
“You have, an’ I believe you, I just… I screwed up, but I really am sorry. I never expected you to take off like that, move to another city, one halfway around the world at that. I figured we’d give each other some space to cool off for a few days and then I’d apologise, but when I came back to work the Chief told me you’d been transferred to London! I didn’t know what to think.”
“The opportunity came up and I took it; you know I’ve always wanted to visit, see the sights.”
“And have you? I mean. You’ve been here a few weeks so I guess you must have.”
“Yeah, but… it hasn’t been all that much fun on my own. There’s been so much I wished I could be sharing with you.”
“Are you still mad at me?” Dee asked uncertainly.
“A little. Mostly I’m hurt that you couldn’t trust me. All I was trying to do was get Berkeley and Diana together, make him see sense before it was too late and Diana married someone else, but it was a delicate situation. As you’re not fond of either one of them, it seemed sensible not to involve you, and anyway I’d given my word. Commissioner Rose was also picking my brain over potential candidates for the exchange program, which was highly confidential and I was sworn to secrecy. I never even considered putting my own name forward until…”
“Until I behaved like a jealous idiot and drove you to it?”
“That was rather a strong incentive. I thought I was doing the right thing, that if you really loved me…”
“I do, that’s why I’m here, and believe me the Chief had to do one hell of a lot of string pullin’. I think he had to get Rose involved too, which probably means the bastard’s gonna expect a favour in return when I eventually get back to New York, but whatever. This is worth it.”
Ryo frowned; had he missed something? “I don’t understand.”
“The first exchange was workin’ out so well it was decided two might be even better, although the decision might’ve been partly motivated by the old badger gettin’ sick of me mopin’ around the squad room.”
“A second exchange? You?”
“Yeah, me, and they wouldn’t even let me bring my gun!” Dee sounded aggrieved over that. “Apparently British cops don’t carry ‘em. It’s okay, we won’t be workin’ as partners, I’m in a different department, and they’ve set me up in a place a few streets away, but… I was kinda hopin’ if I joined you over here that we could maybe start over…”
“No.” Ryo shook his head and Dee’s face fell. Realising how his refusal must have sounded to his partner, Ryo scrambled to explain. “I didn’t mean it that way, silly, I just mean… Starting over implies that we ended, and as far as I know, we haven’t, we just kinda took a few wrong turns and lost our way for a while. I’ve missed you.”
“You mean that? ‘Cause I’ve missed you too.”
“Good, I’d be worried if you hadn’t.”
“I swear not a minute’s passed that I haven’t thought about you, wondered if you were okay, if you’d ever want to see me again. It’s felt like I’ve lost a part of myself that I can’t live without and it’s been slowly killin’ me. Does that make sense?”
Ryo nodded slowly. “An empty feeling inside that never goes away.” He smiled faintly. “We can’t just pick right up where we left off though; I think we still have a lot to talk about, to clear the air, but… Uh… Maybe we should go inside. Can’t really stand out here all night. My place…” Ryo gestured to the door behind Dee. “It’s not much, but it’s cosy. Flats in London are really expensive, and a lot smaller than where I was living in New York.”
Dee shrugged. “Everything’s smaller here, the whole country’s just a tiny island and there’s a lot of people livin’ on it. Things are bound to be a bit cramped, everything scaled down to fit.” He stepped back away from the door so Ryo could unlock it. “You been drinkin’?”
“Just a bit. I closed my first case here today so a bunch of us went out to celebrate.” Ryo threw Dee a suspicious look. “You’re not going to get jealous and start yelling at me again are you?”
Raising his hands in surrender, Dee took a step back. “Never crossed my mind, I swear, I just don’t want ya to do or say anything you might not have done if you were completely sober.”
“Fair enough, but we’re only going to talk, Dee, I have no intention of falling into bed with you tonight. You can sleep over afterwards if you want, but if you do you’ll be sleeping on the sofa.”
“Not a problem, I can live with that.”
“Good.” Ryo led the way inside, flipping the light switch on the wall by the door. “Make yourself at home while I get coffee; then we can talk.” Without so much as a glance back at Dee, Ryo went into the kitchen and started coffee brewing. He still couldn’t be entirely sure he wasn’t dreaming, but it certainly felt real; Dee was here, in London, and from what he’d said so far, it looked like he’d be here for the next few months. That would give them plenty of time to talk things through and try to salvage their relationship. What they’d had was worth fighting for; maybe there was still hope for them after all.
Companion Piece: 'Consequences'