Characters: Dee, Ryo, Ted, Bikky, OFC.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: Ryo gets injured during a raid to catch an arms dealer.
Word Count: 3318
Written For: Challenge 141: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge #55: Bruise.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
When the shooting finally stopped, the silence was almost deafening. Dee poked one finger in his ear and wiggled it; maybe he really had gone deaf. Glancing around, he saw the 27th precinct’s other detectives slowly straightening up, wary and cautious, not completely certain yet that it was over.
The man they’d been after, international arms dealer Rodrigo Martell, and his two goons lay where they’d been dropped, most likely dead though no one had so far made a move to check on that. The operation had been successful up to a point; they’d prevented the sale of a massive consignment of weapons and taken the potential buyers into custody, but the deaths of Martell and his people meant that they’d lost the best lead they had to his suppliers. It wasn’t a complete disaster, there were other ways of tracing the origin of the guns and missiles Martell had been about to sell, but it wasn’t the outcome they’d been hoping for either.
It was no one’s fault; they’d had good intel and surprise on their side, but Martell and the others had reacted to the raid fast and with deadly force. Bullets had started flying the moment the cops had announced their presence and things had quickly escalated into a full-scale firefight. In the end there’d been no choice, the police officers had been forced to shoot to kill or risk being killed themselves.
Only a few seconds had passed since silence had fallen. Dee, who had taken point on the raid, scanned the area, making sure all his colleagues were okay. He could see Drake, JJ, Ted, Marty, the four detectives from the neighbouring precinct who they’d been working with on the bust and whose names had once again slipped his mind, but where was Ryo?
Moving out of cover, Dee scanned the gloomy, half-lit interior of the warehouse a second time, opening his mouth intending to shout his partner’s name, but the words died unvoiced and he froze, his heart in his mouth as he saw the crumpled form, bright hair visible even in the poor light.
“Ryo!” Dee broke his paralysis and ran, heedless of potential danger, skidding the last few metres to drop heavily to his knees beside his fallen partner, reaching out to check for injuries then hesitating, unsure where to start and afraid he might cause more harm by moving him. How badly was he hurt? At first glance Dee couldn’t see any injuries, but then he realised there was blood trickling down Ryo’s face from a wound mostly hidden in his hair. Had he been shot? Before Dee could even move, Ryo stirred, groaning, rolling onto his back.
“Easy, babe, don’t try to move. Where are you hurt?”
“Yeah, babe, it’s me.”
Dark eyes blinked a few times as Ryo tried to focus on Dee in the dimness. “I’m okay, couple of rounds hit my vest. Damn, what kind of ammo were they using? Felt like being kicked in the chest by… I don’t know, ostrich maybe, something that kicks really hard anyway. Knocked me right off my feet and I guess I hit my head.” Ryo sounded a bit woozy but mostly coherent, even if he was rambling a bit.
”Yeah, your head’s bleeding so keep still, you probably have a concussion.”
“Don’t think so, I think I just clipped the edge of a crate on my way down, most likely just a scrape; you know how much scalp wounds bleed.” He paused to breathe. “Might have cracked a rib or two though.” Ryo laid one hand over the right side of his chest, wincing. “That’s gonna bruise.”
“Paramedics are on their way.” Ted crouched down beside Dee. “Is he okay?”
“I’m right here, and I can speak for myself.” Ryo peered owlishly up at Ted, who was just out of his line of sight.
“Sorry, Ryo. How’re you doin’?”
“I’ll be fine; I was lucky.” Ryo managed a faint smile, which was meant to be reassuring but was a bit too pained to make the grade.
“Or unlucky.” Dee frowned down at him. “We all took cover the moment they opened fire, how’d they manage to hit you? If you hadn’t been wearing your vest…”
“Don’t go there, Dee. No one comes on a raid like this without their vest on. I took cover, behind those crates over there, but they weren’t much protection.” Without moving, Ryo flicked his gaze to the stacked crates he’d taken refuge behind. There were several big holes punched right through them.
As he stared at the perforated crates, mentally gauging the distance between them and where his partner had landed, Dee’s mouth went dry and chills ran down his spine. “Shit! Martell must’ve thought he was huntin’ elephants! Whatever he was usin’, it must pack one hell of a punch to cut through crates stacked three deep and still reach the target with enough force to knock a man back nearly twenty feet.”
“It does,” Ryo agreed with feeling. “I should know; I was the one on the receiving end.” His voice was tight with pain, but he still managed a wry smile. Dee felt a surge of pride in his partner. Because of his mild demeanour, some people made the mistake of thinking that Ryo was soft, but he was easily as tough as anyone Dee had ever worked with, a smart and capable detective, and one of the two top marksmen in the city, maybe even the state.
But now here he was, injured, and still trying to joke about it. ‘Just to make me stop worrying,’ Dee thought. ‘So not working.’
Sirens sounded, rapidly getting closer, and a few moments later the paramedics ran into the warehouse, stopping dead when they saw the carnage.
“I don’t think there’s anything we can do for these guys.” The younger of the two medics sounded dubious.
“They’re not the reason I called you.” Ted got to his feet and beckoned them over, gesturing towards Ryo. “Those goons took one of ours down; even his vest couldn’t protect him.”
“Okay, let’s see what we’ve got here.” The senior medic opened his kit and started checking Ryo over.
“I’m fine,” Ryo repeated, for what felt like the umpteenth time, not that anyone was listening.
“I’ll be the judge of that. What hurts?”
“Mostly my ribs, right side.”
Ten minutes later, Ryo was in the ambulance, on his way to the hospital to have his ribs x-rayed and his head wound stitched. Dee went with him in spite of Ryo telling him it wasn’t necessary. He didn’t care how it looked; Ryo was so much more than just his partner. Besides, someone needed to take custody of Ryo’s bulletproof vest once it was removed. During their examination the paramedics had discovered that at least one of the slugs embedded in it might have penetrated deep enough to draw blood. Not much blood, it was true, but still they decided to err on the side of caution and leave the vest in place until they reached the hospital. Dee wanted to get his hands on it as soon as possible; they needed to know what that ammo was and whether any was already out there on the street, because if it could penetrate a standard-issue vest, it would be bad news for cops if the wrong people got hold of it.
At the hospital, Dee paced back and forth outside the treatment area, unable to relax. As suspected, one bullet had slightly penetrated Ryo’s vest, but the wound revealed when the vest was removed was insignificant. The bruising that had been revealed was a different matter. Even though less than an hour had passed since he’d been shot, the entire right side of Ryo’s chest had already been turning rainbow colours; Dee had seen that before he’d been ordered out of the room. He hadn’t wanted to leave, but he’d been getting in the way and the doctors had quickly gotten tired of trying to work around him.
The waiting was driving him nuts. Realistically, he knew Ryo’s injuries were relatively minor, but dammit his partner, his lover, was hurt and Dee wanted to be with him, even if just to hold his hand while he was being patched up. Not that Ryo needed his hand holding, he handled pain well, probably better than Dee did most of the time, but being there and seeing what was happening would’ve made Dee feel better.
Dee spun around at the voice to face the woman doctor who’d been in charge of Ryo’s treatment. “How is he?”
She smiled reassuringly. “Your partner is a very lucky man. You saw for yourself, the bullet wound is barely more than a scratch, but he does have extensive and severe bruising to the right side of his chest, more bruising on his back from where he hit the ground, plus two cracked ribs. The head injury looked worse than it is, I’m sure you know scalp wounds always bleed a lot. It’s fairly shallow, but I put in a couple of stitches; it’s in a bad position, right above his hairline. He’ll need to avoid washing his hair for a few days, the wound needs to be kept dry, and besides, getting anything in it would sting like crazy. The good news is there’s no sign of concussion, it was likely only a glancing blow, enough to break the skin without causing any jarring of the brain. I’ve prescribed painkillers and rest, but that’s really all that can be done for him.”
“Okay, thanks doc.”
“I understand he’s single; is there anyone who can stay with him for a day or two? With the bruising and cracked ribs, he’s probably going to find everyday tasks hard to cope with at first. In my experience, people usually adjust quite quickly, find other ways of managing that avoid aggravating their injuries, but the first few days tend to be difficult and frustrating.”
“He has a kid, a teenager, but I can stay over for a while and help out too.”
“He looks too young to be the father of a teenager.”
“He’s the boy’s foster father. Kid was orphaned and Ryo took him in.”
“Oh, I see. It’s rare for a single man to take on such a responsibility. Does he have a girlfriend?”
Dee bristled, not liking the interest the rather attractive doctor was taking in his partner. “No. He has a boyfriend.” He glared daggers at her. “Now, can I take my partner home?” He put added emphasis on the word ‘partner’, hoping the doctor would get what he meant without him having to spell it out.
“Yes, of course. I’m sorry, I should have realised from the way you were hovering.”
“I don’t hover!”
The doctor hid a smile at Dee’s indignation. “Could’ve fooled me. Here’s a prescription for painkillers, you should get it filled as soon as possible; your partner’s going to need them.”
“I’ll stop by the hospital dispensary on the way out.”
“That’s fine. Give this to your chief.” She handed Dee an envelope. “My recommendation that Detective Maclean takes a week or so off work and stays on desk duty for at least a month on his return. He should refrain from physical exertion too; no running, heavy lifting, or anything that might put strain on his ribs for the next few weeks. I’ve seen cracked ribs turn into broken ribs because people have tried to do too much.” She lowered her voice discreetly, “And no sex; that counts as physical exertion.”
“Duly noted.” Dee sighed heavily; that would be difficult, but Dee wasn’t about to do anything that would hurt Ryo more than he already was. A few weeks of celibacy wouldn’t kill him; he’d gone without for far longer back when he was first trying to get Ryo into bed.
“I’ll want to see Detective Maclean in three weeks to check how his ribs are healing but bring him in sooner if he has excessive pain, develops a fever, or has difficulty breathing.”
Dee nodded. “Will do; thanks, doc.” He waved the prescription. “Think I’ll get this filled before I get Ryo, then he won’t have to stand around waiting.”
There was only a short queue at the dispensary due to it being the early hours of the morning, so Dee was back at the treatment room in less than ten minutes, where he found Ryo sitting up and trying to put his shirt on. He wasn’t having much success.
“Hold still, doofus, you’re not gonna manage that on your own.” Dee took over, easing Ryo’s arms into the sleeves then stooping down in front of him to fasten the buttons. “Just so you know, I’m stayin’ over at your place for a few days.” Before Ryo could protest, Dee shushed him. “You’ll need a hand for a bit, you just proved that, so no arguments. Besides, I know you; you’ll try to do too much if no one’s around to stop ya. Doctor’s orders, no physical exertion, that means no cleaning, lugging stuff down to the laundry room, changing sheets… You can’t rely on Bikky to take care of all that, so I’ll be there to help out. Got it?”
Ryo sighed and winced. “Okay, I guess you’re right. Thanks Dee.”
“Any time, babe. C’mon, let’s get you home. Better if Biks finds out about this from us; if he hears it on the morning news he’ll freak and start thinkin’ the worst. Besides, we could both use some sleep. You look like you’ve about had it.”
“Yeah, it’s been a long day.”
“Tell me about it.” Dee helped Ryo up and led the way outside where an equally tired looking Ted O’Neill was waiting with a car. Dee had called him for a lift while Ryo was being patched up.
“Thanks for this,” Dee grinned, helping Ryo into the back.
“When you called me it didn’t sound like I had any choice,” Ted grumbled. “Okay, Ryo?”
“Couple of cracked ribs and some bruises, that’s all; nothing to worry about.”
“Are you goin’ back to the precinct?” Dee asked.
“Well, I wasn’t intending to. Why?”
“Got a note for the Chief, and forensics should probably take a look at Ryo’s vest.” Dee held it up, bagged and tagged as evidence. “Any news on the ammo Martell was usin’?”
“High-end armour-piercing rounds.” Ted looked at Ryo. “You’re lucky they went through a bunch of packing crates before they reached you; probably saved your life.”
That sobered them all and they made the drive back to Ryo’s apartment in near silence.
Dee and Ryo stepped through Ryo’s front door shortly before six in the morning. Bikky, not usually a light sleeper, came out of his bedroom at the sound of the door closing.
“You’re late, I was gettin’ really worried. Is everything okay?”
“Have you slept at all?” Ryo asked, avoiding Bikky’s question for the moment.
“Yeah, I dozed off about nine while I was revising. Woke up about an hour ago and you weren’t home even though you said you should be back by four. What happened?” He stared at the darkening bruise on Ryo’s temple.
“I’m okay, there was a firefight and my vest took a couple of rounds, knocked me off my feet and I bumped my head. It’s nothing to worry about.”
Bikky looked dubious; he’d seen how awkwardly Ryo was moving. “What aren’t you tellin’ me?”
“He’s got a couple cracked ribs and a lot of bruises,” Dee put in quickly before Ryo could brush the boy’s concerns aside. “Bulletproof vests only protect up to a point, the impact can still do some damage, but it’s fairly minor, just painful. Regular bullets would’ve probably just caused bruising, Ryo had the bad luck to be on the receiving end of something with more of a kick so he’s not goin’ to be able to do much for a few weeks while his ribs heal. He’s right that there’s nothin’ to worry about though, bruises fade and ribs mend pretty fast; as long as we don’t let him overdo it he’ll be good as new in a few weeks, so while I help him get into his PJs, why don’t you warm some milk for us all? It’ll help us sleep and the calcium will speed up Ryo’s healing. Good thing we can all sleep in.” It was Saturday so there was no school, and both Ryo and Dee had been due for a few days off anyway.
“I feel like I could sleep for a week,” Ryo admitted.
“Same here. We must be gettin’ old.” Dee steered Ryo towards his bedroom as Bikky scurried into the kitchen, glad there was at least something he could do for his foster father.
It wasn’t long before the three of them were sitting on Ryo’s bed drinking hot milk and munching cookies. Ryo felt more comfortable supported by a pile of soft pillows, it took the strain off his ribs and allowed him to relax. It wasn’t the first time he’d cracked ribs and he knew better than to lie flat because getting back up again without help, while not impossible, could be excruciatingly painful. He’d get more rest propped up like this than lying down anyway. He drank the last of his milk and handed the mug to Dee, yawning drowsily; he wasn’t going to have any trouble getting to sleep, that was for sure.
“Better get off to bed now, Biks,” Dee said quietly. “Ryo needs his beauty sleep.”
“Can’t I sleep here tonight?” It had been quite a while since he’d slept in Ryo’s bed, really he was too old for that now, but seeing his foster father injured made him feel like a scared kid again.
“The way you flail around in your sleep? No way, the last thing Ryo needs tonight is you usin’ him as a punching bag!” Dee sounded horrified at the very thought.
Bikky bit his lip; he knew Dee was right, but he was still reluctant to return to his own room. “How about if I grab my sleeping bag and camp out on the floor?”
“Your bed would be more comfortable, but suit yourself. Just try not to snore and keep the grown-ups awake.”
“I don’t snore!” Bikky threw over his shoulder as he left the room, returning a few minutes later with his sleeping bag and pillow, carrying on the conversation as if it had never been interrupted. “I’d know if I did!”
“How? D’ya listen to yourself in your sleep? ‘Cause that would be quite a trick. Now shut up and go to sleep.”
Ryo smiled to himself at their familiar bickering; it was oddly comforting.
Bikky slid into his sleeping bag and lay down. “’Night, Ryo.”
Dee took the empty mugs to the kitchen, checked the apartment was locked and turned out the lights. Closing the bedroom door, he made his way to the bed, switching off the bedside lamp and plunging the room into darkness except for moonlight streaming in through the window. Climbing over the end of the bed, he crawled beneath the covers, plumped up his pillow and settled down, moving carefully so as not to bounce the bed.
“You okay, Ryo?”
“’Kay then, sleep tight, wake me if you need anything.” Even though Ryo couldn’t see Dee, he knew his lover was smiling from the tone of his voice.
Ryo sighed softly, content despite his injuries. Bruises and broken bones were a minor inconvenience; they’d heal before long. In the meantime, he was blessed with two people who loved him and would take care of him for as long as he needed. ‘I really am a very lucky man,’ he thought as he drifted off to sleep. ‘Life is good.’