Characters: Ryo, Dee.
Setting: Before the manga and after Vol. 7.
Summary: Ryo spent a long time looking for love, but he found it where he least expected to.
Word Count: 1080
Written For: Theme Prompt: #093 – True Love at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
For years as he’d grown towards adulthood and watched his friends pairing up, Ryo had waited to be struck by love. He’d dated his share of girls, not as many as some of his friends but enough, and he’d liked them well enough, but somehow he’d never experienced that elusive feeling his friends spoke of. His heart never skipped a beat, and he didn’t feel any more excited at the prospect of seeing his girlfriend than he did when he was going to spend time with his friends. Love, it seemed, was something that happened to other people.
If he was honest, which of course he hadn’t dared to be, despite being a teenage boy at the mercy of raging hormones, feelings of lust towards the girls he dated weren’t exactly overwhelming. He could only assume everyone else was exaggerating what that it like, because his own experiences fell well short of the all-consuming passion they described. His girlfriends thought him a gentleman compared to other boys their age, because he wasn’t constantly trying to push things further than they wanted to go.
He enjoyed their company and conversation, liked holding hands, and the kissing was okay. Nothing earth-shattering, but he assumed that must be because he wasn’t in love yet. His friends fell in and out of love all the time, but Ryo always said he hadn’t found the right girl yet. When he did, he’d know.
It didn’t happen, and by the time he graduated high school, it still hadn’t. Were some people simply destined never to find true love, never to find the one person whose heart beat in time with their own? He didn’t stop dating, but he did grow increasingly disillusioned as he watched the kids he’d grown up with get engaged, marry, and have kids of their own. Was there no one out there for him?
His parents, back before they’d been murdered, had enjoyed such a happy marriage, and Ryo had sometimes daydreamed of his own future, with a loving wife and maybe a couple of kids. But he could never picture the woman he’d one day settle down with. Unlike his friends, he didn’t seem to have a ‘type’ he was attracted to, unless it was that he liked girls he could talk with.
He began to focus on work rather than dating. When he’d joined the police force he’d never intended to remain in uniform for the duration of his career, had always planned on becoming a detective, and his hard work paid off. He was twenty-seven when he was promoted to detective third grade, and it was one of the proudest moments of his life, except that he had nobody to share it with. No wife and kids, not even a girlfriend. No parents either, of course. His aunt and uncle congratulated him, and he knew they were proud of his achievement, but it wasn’t the same.
Then he’d been assigned to the twenty-seventh precinct, met the more experienced detective who was to be his partner and show him the ropes, and his life had started to change. The job was stressful and demanding, being a single parent to the orphaned boy he took in was a daily adventure, and his new partner was… Dee, all hands and lips, inappropriate comments, and complete disregard for personal space.
Maybe it’s true that you can’t choose who you love. Ryo certainly doesn’t remember choosing, as such. What he remembers is trying to fight off Dee’s advances by any means necessary, getting annoyed at the tall, black-haired, green-eyed man’s persistence, and frustrated by Dee’s apparent inability to understand the word ‘no’.
He remembers feeling helpless to comfort Dee after the woman who’d raised him was seriously injured. He remembers the heart-stopping terror of knowing his partner was trapped in a building wired to explode. He remembers all the strength going out of his legs on finding Dee alive and mostly in one piece amid the rubble, remembers clinging to him and telling him he never wanted to feel that way again.
He remembers the two of them saving each other’s lives on countless occasions, bickering, laughing, teasing, arguing, celebrating solved cases, and commiserating over every failure or disaster. He remembers Dee fussing over him when he was sick, and himself returning the favor, remembers each of them lending a hand when the other was injured, remembers getting drunk together, horsing around together, working out together…
He doesn’t know when he fell in love, can’t pinpoint the precise moment, it simply… happened.
Ryo understands now that he was always more attracted to men than to women, he simply didn’t want to accept it and so did his best to ignore those feelings. No wonder he’d failed so completely at finding love when he was younger; he’d been looking in all the wrong places.
One thing he does clearly remember is the moment he told Dee he loved him, more than anything. If he closes his eyes, he can still see the expression of sheer happiness on Dee’s face as the confession had sunk in. Everything that followed that night is a disjointed blur, but that moment beneath the streetlight stands out clear, as though it’s been indelibly etched on his memory.
If anything, Ryo loves Dee even more now than he did on that magical evening. How could he not? Every day that’s passed since then, despite their occasional disagreements, fights, and misunderstandings, has only served to prove to him how lucky he is to have Dee in his life.
Now he lies in bed beside his lover, one hand resting on Dee’s chest, feeling the steady, reassuring heartbeat thrumming beneath his palm. He’d almost lost Dee today, could have seen the man he loves with all his heart wiped out of existence right before his eyes if some unexplainable instinct hadn’t alerted him to danger, and if he hadn’t reacted accordingly. Both of them were slightly scuffed, a little singed around the edges, but otherwise fine.
“You okay, babe?” Dee’s voice, drowsy but concerned.
“I’m fine. You?”
“Still in one piece, thanks to you.”
“Not me; our guardian angels, maybe. Someone must be watching over us.” Leaning in, Ryo kisses Dee lightly on the lips. “Go back to sleep.”
“Mmm.” Dee doesn’t need telling twice, snuggling closer and drifting off.
Ryo smiles in the darkness; this is where his heart belongs. It took a long time, but he finally found his true love.