Characters: Ryo, Dee. OCs.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: It was such a stupid accident; surely Ryo’s injury couldn’t possibly be anything serious…
Word Count: 237
Written For: Challenge 205: Strain at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo cursed under his breath. He’d slipped, that was all; it happened to people all the time. Hell, it happened to him often enough, it was an occupational hazard in a job that involved a fair amount of running in all weathers and across all manner of potentially treacherous surfaces. He’d been ahead of Dee, chasing a suspect, going flat out when his foot skidded on a patch of slick mud, his legs shot off in different directions, and he went down, hard.
Dee had swept past him, continuing on after their quarry because stopping to check on him wasn’t an option, and Ryo had fully intended to jump up and follow, just like he always did whenever something like this happened. Falling was undignified, but he never stayed down for long because whoever they were chasing wasn’t going to just stand around and wait for him, only this time he found he couldn’t even get to his feet. The pain that seared through him when he tried took his breath away and he slumped back onto the damp grass, doubled over and clutching at himself.
By the time Dee returned ten minutes later, shoving his handcuffed captive along in front of him, the pain had eased enough for Ryo to stand, a little awkwardly but at least he was upright, more or less. It was a start.
“Hey, was wonderin’ where you’d gotten too,” Dee greeted him. “Not like you to take a timeout in the middle of a chase; you missed the best part.” He gave Ryo a considering look, taking in the way he was standing. “You okay there, bud?”
“I’ll be fine, just pulled something when I fell. You go on ahead and I’ll follow.” Ryo started forward, limping and wincing, taking ridiculously small steps because that was all he could manage without it hurting too badly, but he drew a deep breath and forced himself to walk more normally despite the pain. He’d probably be fine in a few minutes; he just had a muscle spasm, maybe a cramp of some kind that he could walk off. That had to be it.
Only it didn’t any get better as he walked, and gradually he was falling further and further behind his partner, the pain a grinding ache that radiated through him with every step. It forced him to go slower and take shorter strides, and by the time he reached the car he was limping worse than he’d been at the start. He all but fell into the front passenger seat, sitting down and then swinging both legs in before shutting the door. It was such a relief to be off his feet that he sagged back with a groan.
“Maybe we should swing by the ER first, get you checked out.”
Ryo glanced across to see Dee watching him from the driver’s seat, a worried frown on his face.
“Are you crazy? We have to get Lorenzo here back to the precinct for questioning. I told you I’m fine; all I need is to sit down for a little while and I can do that well enough in the interview room.”
“Well, if you’re sure…” Dee didn’t sound convinced.
“I am. I just slipped in some mud, Dee, that’s all. Not like it’s the first time; it’s no big deal.” Ryo wished Dee would just drop it. He felt stupid enough for falling over in the first place; talking about it in front of their prisoner was becoming embarrassing
“Okay, if you say so.” Dee started the car and pulled away, heading for the two-seven, and Ryo closed his eyes, trying to relax and will the deep, throbbing ache away.
He got though the rest of the shift by keeping off his feet as much as possible. A couple of painkillers helped bring the ache down to a bearable level, provided he didn’t move too much, but he knew the precinct’s hard seats weren’t doing him any favours.
When shift change finally arrived and he stood up he found he could barely walk at all, having stiffened up. He hobbled across the squad room heading for the elevator and had only made it a few steps before Dee was beside him.
“That does it; don’t even try tellin’ me you’re fine ‘cause you’re obviously anything but. I’m takin’ ya to the ER, whether ya like it or not, and I’ll carry ya if that’s what it takes. You know I can do it.”
And wouldn’t that be humiliating, being slung over Dee’s shoulder and carted through the lobby with everyone staring? The last thing Ryo wanted was to have more attention drawn to himself and yet he couldn’t just give in without a protest.
“Deeee,” he groaned. “Don’t make such a fuss. I’m sure I just pulled a muscle or something when I slipped. I’ll take a hot bath when I get home, maybe that’ll help.”
“Uh huh. Which leg is it that hurts? ‘Cause it’s hard to tell with the way you’re hobblin’ along like an arthritic ninety year old.”
“Don’t exaggerate; I’m not that bad.” Ryo handily avoided answering Dee’s question. He darted an uncertain look at his partner. “Am I?”
“You look like you should be usin’ one of those walkin’ frames.”
“Oh, thanks for that.”
“Hey, just tellin’ it like it is; thought you liked me bein’ honest.”
“I do, but there’s such a thing as being TOO honest.”
“Whatever. Someone’s gotta make ya see ya need to get your leg looked at. You might’ve broken somethin’.”
Ryo snorted. “Don’t be an idiot. If anything was broken I can pretty much guarantee I wouldn’t be walking at all.”
“Yeah, if you can call that walkin’. Look, just humor me; get checked out and then I won’t haveta worry myself to death. Please? I’m only gonna keep naggin’ ya otherwise.”
Ryo was too tired and in way too much pain to continue arguing, knowing that Dee would win in the end anyway. “Fine, you can drive me to the ER, but if they complain about having their valuable time wasted…”
“Let ‘em; better safe than sorry. In this job I need to know my partner can back me up in any situation and right now you’re not lookin’ too sprightly.”
Dee had a point; Ryo knew he wouldn’t be much use out on the streets as he was. Still… “They’ll probably tell me I just need to use a heat pad or put ice on it.” He’d pulled muscles and ligaments before; heat or cold, one or the other usually worked.
“We’ll see,” Dee said firmly. “Now c’mon, shuffle this way.”
“That’s right,” Ryo grumbled. “Make fun of your injured partner. See how sympathetic I am next time you get hurt.”
“I’m plenty sympathetic; draggin’ your ass off to get ya checked out, aren’t I? You’re the one keeps insistin’ it’s nothin’.”
Dee steered his partner into the elevator, then out on the ground floor where Ryo slowly limped his way to the precinct’s rear door, which led to the parking lot. Leaving Ryo just outside Dee jogged across the concrete to fetch his car then waited patiently as his lover laboriously eased himself into the front passenger seat and shut the door.
“Buckle up! Be at the hospital before ya know it.” Dee swung the car out onto the street.
“No need to sound so cheerful about it; you know we’ll be stuck there all evening, probably for nothing.”
“So what if we are? It’ll be worth it to get a professional opinion.”
Staring out the side window Ryo fell silent, resigned to his fate.
As expected the ER was crowded. Ryo checked in at reception, got a form to fill out, which he dealt with while leaning against the desk, then hobbled over to the nearest seat, sinking gingerly into it to wait his turn. Dee settled beside him, and the two detectives fell into the usual waiting room stupor of staring blankly at nothing. They talked sporadically but neither man wanted to get so caught up in conversation that they’d risk not hearing when Ryo’s name was called.
Almost three and a half hours later, a nurse came from the treatment area and called, “Randy Maclean?”
After Ryo had made three attempts to get out of his seat Dee eventually had to get up himself and pull his partner upright, sending him off after the nurse with a friendly pat to the butt. Ryo was so focused on keeping his guide in sight as she bustled away that he didn’t even bother saying anything, and he was still hobbling along when Dee appeared at his side, hooking one arm around his waist and practically lifting him off his feet.
“Dee! What’re you--”
“Relax, bud. Looked like you could use a little help.”
“I’m old enough to see the doctor by myself!”
“Never said you weren’t but first ya gotta get there and at the rate you were goin’ that would’ve taken all night.”
It turned out to be just as well Dee was there to help because there was no way Ryo could’ve gotten up on the gurney without help. Once he was settled Dee headed back to the seating area to wait.
After what felt like hundreds of questions, followed by a thorough examination of the injury site that involved the doctor groping him in places that made him blush, Ryo found himself being wheeled to x-ray, and from there to another room for an MRI on his leg. Back in the treatment area at last the doctor checked the test results.
“Right, it’s as I thought; no fracture but you do have a nasty groin strain, a tear in the abductor muscles here.” He indicated an area on the inside of Ryo’s right thigh. “Don’t worry, I’ve seen worse; you won’t need surgery; it’ll heal by itself with rest, but you’re going to find walking difficult and painful for a while. You’ll need to wear a compression bandage for a few days, and try stay off your feet. I’ll re-assess you in a week.”
“How long will it take to heal?”
“This kind and degree of strain, you’re looking at two to three months,” the doctor replied, busying himself with bandaging Ryo’s upper thigh.
“Strains like this don’t heal overnight. You’re going to need physiotherapy to gently stretch the muscle once the tear heals.”
“But I only slipped!”
“It happens, you were just unlucky in the way your leg twisted as you went down. It’s actually a fairly common sports injury. Do you play sports at all?”
“Uh, not really. I do karate, judo, tai chi…”
The doctor nodded. “Gentle tai chi exercises will help strengthen the muscle once it’s healing, keep the leg flexible, but the karate and judo will have to wait until you’re fully recovered. I’ll prescribe painkillers, but rest, ice, compression, and elevation are the key here.” He referred to his notes. “You’re a police officer?”
“Yes. Detective; major crimes.”
“Lot of legwork involved?”
“There can be.”
“Right, I’m signing you off for now, see how you are in a week; you might be able to return to work then, but desk duty only. You don’t want to do anything that might aggravate the injury.”
Once he was dressed again, Ryo hobbled back to the waiting room on crutches and when Dee spotted him approaching he leapt to his feet with an almost shocked expression on his face.
“I knew it! What’d ya break?”
“Nothing’s broken, just a grade two groin strain.” Ryo’s cheeks heated up as he said the words. “Torn my abductor muscle; apparently I’m looking at around two to three months recovery time, got to come back here in a week.” He sighed. “You were right about coming here. If I’d tried to carry on as normal I might have made it worse, and that could’ve meant surgery. As it is, just rest, ice, painkillers, and a massive bandage.”
“They bandaged your groin? How’d they manage that?” Dee’s face was a picture.
“No, they bandaged the top of my leg.” Ryo let go of one crutch briefly to indicate where the tear was. “It’s one of the muscles of the inner thigh.”
“Oh, that makes more sense.” Dee stared at that area of Ryo’s anatomy for a long moment, then looked up. “You ready to go home?”
“Yes, please. Just got to stop at the pharmacy, pick up some painkillers.”
“Okay, you wanna sit while I get ‘em for ya?”
Ryo shook his head. “I’d probably just get stuck in the chair again.” He started to limp in the direction of the hospital pharmacy and Dee fell into step, sort of, beside him.
“Did ya ask the doc about havin’ sex?”
“What? NO!” Ryo turned bright scarlet; that question had never even crossed his mind.
“Dumbass; you’d best ask next week, wouldn’t want to do anything might cause more damage. I could come with and ask for ya if you’re too embarrassed to.”
On the one hand, Dee asking the awkward questions would be marginally less embarrassing, but on the other hand, what would the doctor think if he brought his partner in with him?
“I’ll think about it. Right now anything like… that is off the menu; I hurt too much.”
“I know that; I’m not so self-centred I’d try to get laid when you’re in pain. I do have some self-control.”
“Sorry, I didn’t mean…” Ryo trailed off awkwardly.
“It’s fine. C’mon, let’s get your meds and get you home so you can put your leg up and get some ice on it. Don’t worry about a thing; I’ll look after you.”
“No thanks needed; you’d do the same for me if I was hurt.”
“No, I mean, thanks for making me come here. I know I can be stubborn--”
“You’re not the only one.”
“True. Anyway, thanks.”
Dee smiled, warmth and love shining in his eyes. “I’ve got your back, babe, no matter what. And the rest of ya too.”
Ryo smiled back, once again grateful to whatever fate or destiny brought Dee into his life; despite his injury, he knew he was truly blessed.