Title: Breaking Down Walls
Characters: Dee, Ryo, OC
Setting: During Like Like Love.
Summary: Dee gets an offer he can’t possibly turn down. What will it mean for his and Ryo’s future?
Word Count: 1639
Written For: Challenge 136: Hit The Wall at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
A/N: Some of the dialogue borrowed from the manga.
Dee’s landlord stopped him as he arrived home, tired from working a double shift.
“Hey, Detective Laytner, spare a minute?”
“Sure, Harry. What’s up?”
“You hear about your neighbour in 5B movin’ out?”
“Huh. Wondered why he was being so quiet lately. Haven’t had anyone hammering on my wall and yelling at me to keep the noise down for at least the past two or three weeks.”
“Yeah, seems the stairs were gettin’ too much for him, he’s moved out to Yonkers to live with his daughter. Thirty-some years he lived here.” Harry shook his head. “I always figured he’d die up there and they’d have to cart him out in a body bag. Never thought he’d leave of his own free will.”
“Good luck to him, can’t say I’m sorry he’s gone. You lookin’ for another tenant then?” Dee lit a cigarette and leaned against the wall.
“Thought about it, but good tenants, they’re hard to find. Even with references up the wazoo, you never know what you’re gonna get stuck with. It’s a hassle I’d sooner avoid, but I don’t want the space sittin’ idle either. So I was thinkin’. You pay me another fifty bucks a month, I’ll let you have both apartments, you can knock through the dividing wall, have yourself some extra rooms for when you got friends over. Whaddaya think? Interested?”
Dee took a long drag on his smoke and thought hard. Fifty bucks more a month was just about doable on his salary, more room would be good, and with Bikky off to college soon… Maybe he could persuade Ryo to spend more time with him. Better yet, maybe if Dee asked him he’d even consider moving in.
Straightening up, he stuck his cigarette between his lips and held out his hand. “You got yourself a deal, Harry! Is the place empty yet?”
“Yep! Last of the old guy’s stuff was hauled away by the Goodwill people yesterday. He and his daughter already took everything he wanted to keep. Lemme go get the key, then ya can check the place out, decide whatcha gonna do with it.”
Ten minutes later, cigarette finished, Dee was letting himself into the apartment next door to his own. It was pretty much a mirror image of his, with a living area and kitchen at one end, bedroom and bathroom down the other end adjoining his place. He’d have to take care removing the dividing wall, but it was the top floor so the only thing above was the roof. He didn’t think it was a load-bearing wall, but to be on the safe side he’d get a reinforced beam in there and it should be fine. He’d done some construction work to help pay his way through the academy, he still knew a few guys in the business, so it shouldn’t be difficult to source what he needed. It was an exciting prospect and with ideas whirling through his head, he could hardly wait to get started. It would be hard, physical work though, and right now he was hungry and beat, plus it was getting late, so Dee decided to call in sick the following day and make a start then.
Next morning, Dee got up early and got the phone call to the precinct out of the way before breakfast, then made a few other calls while he ate. By ten he’d picked up construction materials, tools, and some heavy-duty bags for the rubble. The next step was to move the furniture and other stuff clear of the wall and lay down dustsheets, which didn’t take him long at all.
After a brief break for coffee and a cigarette, he tied an old dish towel bandanna-style around his head to keep the dirt out of his hair, hefted the pickaxe he’d borrowed, picked his spot and, putting all the pent-up frustrations and annoyances that were part and parcel of being a cop into it, swung at the doomed wall with all his strength.
It was tremendously satisfying to feel the impact through his arms and up to his shoulders as the tip of the pickaxe bit deep into the plaster and the solid cement wall beyond. The interior walls were pretty robust in these old brownstones, even though they were far from soundproof; it took several powerful blows before he broke through to the other side, but once he had a hole all the way through, the job got a bit easier. Swapping pickaxe for sledgehammer and settling into a steady rhythm, he set about reducing the wall to a pile of rubble.
He had to stop pounding away at the wall every so often in order to bag up the debris, setting the bags at the side of the room, out of his way, but by late afternoon, the major work was done, the supporting beam was in place thanks to the assistance of a couple of his old construction buddies, and most of the rubble had been carted away, leaving only a half dozen bags to be shifted later. There was still neatening up to do, he’d have to go at the edges around where the wall had been with a hammer and chisel before he could touch up the plaster and paint the walls, but there was no real rush now, all that could wait for another day. Pleasantly tired and feeling the stirrings of his nicotine cravings, Dee decided it was about time for a well-earned cigarette break.
Settling cross-legged on the dustsheet, he lit up a smoke, and surveyed his handiwork. He was hot, sweaty, dusty and aching, but more than happy with what he’d managed to achieve, mostly by himself. He was still sitting there smoking when a familiar voice came from his front door.
“Dee, are you here?”
Ryo! Dee grinned to himself, looking forward to seeing his lover’s reaction.
“Yeah, c’mon in! I’m in the back room!”
Distantly, he could hear Ryo muttering about the mess, but he didn’t blame his lover for sounding a bit bemused; he’d had to move most of his stuff out of his bedroom before starting work on the wall, which had left the rest of his apartment looking cluttered and untidy. Footsteps approached the bedroom door.
“I knew you weren’t sick, you liar. You sound pretty perky to me… Oh? What on earth are you doing in here?”
Dee smiled at Ryo’s confusion and hurriedly explained about the unmissable opportunity he’d been offered.
“What a bargain, huh? I couldn’t say no to that price! This way I get three rooms and two kitchens!” Dee couldn’t help his enthusiasm, though he wasn’t really too sure what use having two kitchens would be… Ah well, right now, that wasn’t important; he could figure it out later. And then Ryo gave him the perfect opening for what Dee really wanted to ask.
“Sounds like you made a good deal, but won’t this place be a little too big for one?” Bless Ryo going straight to the practicalities of the situation.
“Well, um…” Dee felt suddenly nervous; this was it, now or never, do or die, speak up or… “…Why don’t you move in?”
“What? You want me to move in here?”
Oh, thanks babe, no need to sound so shocked! Way to shoot a guy down. Dee scrambled to cover his suddenly sinking heart with some sensible logic in a last ditch attempt at persuasion, even though he was pretty sure he was doomed to failure. So much to do with Ryo made him feel like he was forever banging his head against a brick wall.
“Look, Bikky’s gonna move away, so that means it’ll be just you in that apartment, right? I just got to thinkin’… About what you said, y’know, about getting lonely… Well, it sure won’t be as lively as with that brat, but it beats being all alone, doesn’t it? Being with me, I mean...”
The silence from Ryo was deafening. Dee couldn’t bring himself to even look at the man he loved so much it hurt. He had to speak again just to fill the silence as his heart sank so far he was sure it had reached his boots.
“W-Well, of course, if you think you’ll be fine on your own, then…” Dee berated himself for being dumb enough to get his hopes up, even a little. He wanted to just curl up in a big ball of woe and wallow in the crushing disappointment. You’d think by now he would have known better than to expect…
“How about next month? You’ll help me move in, won’t you?”
Dee sat up straight, staring at Ryo is disbelieving hope. Had he really just said what Dee thought he had? Was that really a yes? Overcome by a surge of wild exuberance, Dee responded in the only way he could under the circumstances. Ryo had said yes! That merited an almighty pounce, with some serious groping thrown in for good measure.
Next month! Just a few short weeks and he’d get to spend every night sharing a bed with his baby, wake up to Ryo all warm and mussed and drowsy every morning, go home together every night. They’d have all their meals together, slob about on the sofa in the evenings, get hot and heavy with each other whenever the mood struck, which Dee was pretty sure would be every night…
After all this time, the last of the walls Ryo had put up for Dee to constantly run into was finally coming down, and Dee wanted his partner to know just how happy he felt about everything. Ryo’s protests about cleaning up first fell on deaf ears; that could wait until after he showed Ryo how much he loved him.
Living together was going to be amazing!