Title: Clothes Make The Man
Characters: JJ, Drake
Setting: Throughout the manga, and after Like Like Love.
Summary: Although JJ likes his new partner, Drake Parker’s fashion sense leaves a lot to be desired. But what can JJ do about it?
Word Count: 1450
Written For: My own prompt ‘FAKE, JJ/Drake, JJ despairs of Drake's fashion sense,’ at hanamipromptfest.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Detective Adams, meet Detective Parker. You’ll be working together.”
JJ still remembers that moment in the Chief’s office with startling clarity; it was his first meeting with the man who, though he didn’t know it at the time, was destined to become the most important person in his life.
It wasn’t a particularly auspicious first meeting. There JJ stood, dressed as smartly as could be for his first day at a new precinct; three-piece suit in the latest style, crisp white shirt, and carefully knotted tie. And there stood Detective Parker, looking like a mobile fashion disaster. The brown suit he was wearing was at least five years out of date and hung off his skinny frame as if it were a couple of sizes too big, his blue shirt was creased and clashed with the suit, and his tie was half undone. He should have been arrested on sight for being an eyesore!
Still, the guy inside the ill-fitting clothes was okay. He was friendly, kind, and pleasant company despite being something of a natural pessimist; JJ couldn’t help liking his new partner.
Before long they’d become firm friends, JJ lending an ear as Drake Parker bemoaned his horrendous luck with women, and Drake in his turn providing a well-worn shoulder for JJ to cry on whenever Dee, the object of JJ’s misplaced affections, was being mean to him. The clothing situation didn’t improve though.
JJ liked to look fashionable; he wouldn’t be seen dead in last season’s colours and styles. After all, he had a reputation as a snappy dresser to keep up. Drake, on the other hand, wouldn’t recognise fashion if it bit him. He wore off-the-rack suits with whatever shirt and tie happened to closest to hand, meaning that everything he wore on any given day was likely to clash in a way that often made JJ’s eyes water. On casual days, he wore jeans that had gone out of fashion decades ago, often with truly ugly shirts, or in winter, horrible, shapeless sweaters that looked like they might come unravelled any minute out of sheer shame. JJ could only conclude that his partner must be color-blind.
Things came to a head one night when the pair were getting ready for a stakeout. They stopped off in the locker room to change out of their suits into something more appropriate and as JJ turned from his locker, dressed in tasteful slacks and a color-coordinated shirt and sweater combination, he was met with a sight that stopped him dead in his tracks.
“Drake, what on earth is that you’re wearing?”
Drake turned to JJ with a frown. “It’s a hoodie. Why, what’s wrong with it?”
“How about everything? It’s all baggy, much too big for you, and the color is completely wrong for your complexion. Don’t you have any fashion sense at all?”
“But it’s comfortable…”
“Believe it or not, it is possible to be comfortable and stylish at the same time. Take me for example.”
Drake eyed JJ’s outfit. “Um, no offence JJ, but I’m a cop, not a fashion model. I couldn’t pull off the kind of clothes you wear even if I could afford to dress like that. Which I can’t.” The only thing as predictable as Drake’s appalling taste in clothes was his constant lack of ready cash. JJ didn’t know what Drake spent his wages on, but he regularly ran out of money well before his next paycheck was due.
“Maybe not, but that’s no reason for you to dress like a homeless person.” JJ folded his arms over his chest, cocking his head to one side, a pained, long-suffering expression on his face. “I’m almost ashamed to be seen with you, dressed like that.”
“It’s a stakeout, JJ. The whole point of it is to avoid being seen or standing out in any way. And I don’t look like a homeless person.” Drake looked down at what he was wearing then checked his appearance in the mirrors over the sink, frowning. “Do I?”
“Well, maybe not, but that’s not through lack of trying. You really should take more care with your appearance. Then maybe you wouldn’t have so much trouble finding and keeping girlfriends.”
Drake shook his head. “Most of the girls I’ve dated seemed to like buying me clothes.”
“That was just their way of telling you that the way you dress is horrible, and judging by what I’ve seen you wearing over the past months, their taste in clothes wasn’t any better than yours. I’m sorry Drakey, I don’t want to hurt your feelings, but I simply can’t keep quiet any longer. You know, if you only dressed better, I think you could be quite nice looking, but your choice of clothing lets you down.”
“Um, thanks, I think. Look, not everyone’s cut out for being some kind of style icon. I’m just an ordinary guy.”
“Well, I wouldn’t go that far.” JJ smiled at his partner. “Look, why don’t I come over to your place sometime, maybe at the weekend? We can go through your closet and I’ll show you what shirts and ties go together and which combination looks best with each suit. It won’t fix everything, but at least it’ll be a step in the right direction. What d’you say? Maybe I can help you look more presentable.”
“Sure, okay, if it’ll make you happy.” One of the best things about Drake was that he was so easygoing and open to suggestions; he seldom took offence.
“It will.” JJ beamed at his partner. “And it’ll be good for you too; you’ll see!”
Sorting through Drake’s closets almost had JJ in full despair mode again, but he squared his shoulders, put on a brave face, and did the best he could with Drake’s random assortment of clothing. The task tested his clothes sense to its limits, but eventually he managed to come up with seven or eight halfway decent outfits for Drake to wear, even though they still weren’t a good fit, and he even managed to persuade the other man to throw out a couple of bags full of the most offensive garments, including the oversized hoodie.
Better yet, as Drake’s birthday was approaching, JJ was able to drag his protesting workmate to a small, exclusive men’s outfitters that he frequented and pick out a couple of new shirts and a nice sweater for him. Drake seemed to appreciate the gift and it gave JJ a warm glow every time he saw his partner wear the new clothes. After that, he added to Drake’s wardrobe on every occasion that could conceivably require the giving of gifts, and if Drake tried to protest at his generosity, JJ just hushed him and told him he liked giving him presents. After all, it was the truth.
By the time they started dating, JJ had Drake looking more or less presentable most of the time, and before long he was picking out what his lover would wear each day, explaining that it was the best way to make sure their outfits didn’t clash.
Drake just shrugged with a bemused smile. “Okay, as long as you don’t mind.”
JJ never minded; he liked looking after his boyfriend. He’d been right about what he’d said all that time ago; dressed nicely, Drake was really a very attractive man, it was just that it had been difficult to see past the clothes he used to wear. More importantly, once they became a couple it meant, at least in JJ’s mind, that he was free to give the man in his life a complete makeover. It was good to know he’d never again have to feel ashamed of being seen with Drake.
They’ve been together almost a year now, and Drake still has no fashion sense; left to his own devices he’d just throw on the first thing he came across in his closet each day, and JJ will never trust him to shop for clothes on his own. But that’s okay, because nowadays he doesn’t need an excuse to buy Drake a new shirt when he sees one that he just knows would be perfect with the slacks he brought for his partner the week before. Drake always just smiles and thanks him with a kiss and a hug, chocolate brown eyes full of warmth and affection.
This is why they work so well as a couple; Drake Parker is hopeless at taking proper care of himself, someone needs to look after him, and who better than JJ, who has always just wanted to be needed? Neither of them has ever been happier.
JJ thinks they must have been made for each other.
Sequel: 'Admiring Glances'