Characters: Ryo, Drake, Dee, JJ, Chief Smith, OCs
Setting: Maybe Vol. 6.
Summary: Ryo and Drake brave the blizzard to find their missing partners.
Word Count: 2631
Written For: lil_1337, who suggested a sequel or alternate POV to ‘Frozen’.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo checked his watch again. Dee and JJ had been gone longer than they should have, especially considering the weather. The snow was falling heavily by now and he couldn’t help but worry. Making up his mind, he closed the report he’d been trying to read and made his way to the Chief’s office, knocking on the door and waiting.
“What?” came a bellow from inside.
Ryo opened the door and entered. “Chief, I’m getting worried, Dee and JJ should be back by now.”
Chief Smith glanced towards his office window. “Looks bad out there. They went out to Central Park, right?”
“Yes, Sir, looking for shell casings at the scene of the Feldman homicide. Dee figured they could be there and back before the snow started, but…”
“Dispatch checked the GPS, it’s stationary near the park entrance they would’ve used.”
“Alright, sounds like they didn’t even make it out of the park before the snowstorm hit. Get Parker, grab some emergency equipment, I’ll assign some uniforms under your command. Go find them and drag their asses back here so I can chew ‘em out for taking stupid risks. And Randy? Make sure you and Parker wrap up well, I don’t need half the squad down with hypothermia.” The Chief was his usual irascible self, but Ryo could hear an undertone of concern in his boss’s voice.
“Right away, Sir.” He headed back to the squad room.
“Drake? Grab your coat and wrap up well; Dee and JJ may be lost in Central Park, so we’re going to find them.”
“Just the two of us?”
“No, the Chief’s assigning us some uniformed officers to help with the search. We’ll meet them downstairs.” Ryo made for the storage room where emergency supplies were kept, roping in a couple of civilian clerks to help him carry everything down to the front door. Thermal blankets, high-powered flashlights, ropes for tying the searchers together to ensure no one else got lost in the blizzard… He hoped his colleagues would be alright.
Drake was worried. His partner was out there somewhere in the snow, and JJ was such a little guy it wouldn’t take much to freeze him solid. Besides, he wasn’t dressed for these conditions! JJ sometimes tended to opt for style over warmth in his choice of outfit. On the other hand, he was with Dee and even though Drake knew that his partner rubbed the other detective up the wrong way, he knew that Dee wouldn’t just leave JJ to freeze. He was too honourable for that, so wherever they were, JJ was probably relishing the chance to snuggle with the man of his dreams. Drake was puzzled to realize he felt a bit jealous about that. JJ was his partner, dammit! If anyone was going to keep him warm, it should be Drake himself.
“Drake? Are you okay?”
He’d been so deep in his own thoughts that Drake hadn’t even heard Ryo come up behind him.
“Yeah, fine, just worried about JJ. And Dee,” he added as an afterthought. “What d’you think they’re doing?”
“If they’re out in the snow, then they’re probably huddling together for warmth. It’s the sensible thing to do.” Ryo frowned at the thought of Dee hugging JJ. ‘But it’s not like I want Dee to snuggle like that with me, is it?’ he told himself firmly. ‘We’re just partners. I’m worried because Dee’s my friend, that’s all. It’s only natural.’
Most of the drive to Central Park was made in near silence. The six uniformed officers were following Drake’s unmarked police car in two patrol cruisers; Dee had taken the car he and Ryo usually drove, so Drake was behind the wheel of his and JJ’s assigned vehicle while Ryo tried to reach Dee on his mobile. The heavy snow was making cell reception patchy at best, and there were reception black spots throughout the park anyway, so it wasn’t really surprising that he couldn’t raise his partner that way. It definitely didn’t mean that Dee was laying unconscious, or even dead, somewhere. There were plenty of far more plausible reasons why he wasn’t answering; he might not even have his phone turned on, or the battery might be dead, or maybe he left his phone in the car. No need to panic, Dee was bound to be fine.
“Try JJ’s number if Dee’s not picking up,” Drake suggested in a tight voice.
“I have; his phone’s going to voicemail too,” Ryo replied, frowning. “They can’t both have left their phones somewhere, it has to be the weather interfering with reception.”
“Bound to be,” Drake agreed, nodding. If he didn’t sound entirely convinced, Ryo pretended not to notice.
Arriving at the park, Drake pulled in next to Dee’s car, barely recognisable beneath its blanket of fresh snow. The only reason Ryo knew it was the right car was because the wind was blowing snow away from the rear of the vehicle, leaving the licence plate clearly readable. The two patrol cars pulled in behind them and everyone piled out, pulling on hats, scarves, gloves, and police issue overcoats against the icy, snow-laden wind that was gusting around them.
Despite wanting to start looking for his missing partner and their colleague immediately, Ryo forced himself to take the time to prepare properly. There was still a blizzard blowing and it would help no one if the rescuers themselves became lost and disoriented in the swirling snow. He made sure everyone was roped together, handed out blankets and powerful flashlights to all the searchers, and fastened one end of a spool of heavy-duty string to Drake’s car as a safety line so they could all find their way back. Then, treading carefully in the already more than ankle deep snow, he led the way into Central Park through the gathering dusk, heading in the direction of the crime scene that had been Dee and JJ’s destination earlier that afternoon.
Ryo let the spool of string unwind as he walked, looping it around convenient objects like lamp posts and trees whenever he changed direction. It was slow going; the ground beneath the snow was often uneven because it was impossible to see where the paths were and they kept wandering off them without realising. Everything looked the same, a featureless white expanse in every direction, broken only by trees, bushes, and the occasional bench. Even the footprints they left were rapidly being filled in with fresh snow, there was no way they could’ve backtracked along their own trail; soon there would be no sign that anyone had passed that way. Drake had been amused when Ryo had grabbed the string from behind the desk on his way out, but now he was glad; the other man always seemed to be prepared for any eventuality.
As they made their way further into the park, faces growing numb with cold and every breath creating a little cloud of steam in the freezing air, Ryo and Drake started shouting as loud as they could manage. Sound wouldn’t travel far, quickly swallowed up by the falling snow, but if there was any chance of their missing colleagues hearing them, they at least had to try.
“Dee? JJ? Where are you? Shout if you can hear us!” Each time they paused in their shouting to listen, the heavy stillness settled over everything again.
“Is it just me or is there less snow falling?” Drake’s voice reached Ryo, sounding muffled even though they were only a few metres apart.
“It does seem to be easing off a bit, but that probably won’t last,” Ryo called back. “We should take advantage of the lull, at least we can see a bit further.” They picked up the pace as much as they dared, everyone calling loudly.
Less than ten minutes later, they heard a faint answering shout. “Over here! By the rocks!” It was Dee’s voice and Ryo felt a surge of pure relief. Dee was alive, and he sounded pretty okay despite everything.
“Keep shouting so we can find you!” Ryo called back.
“Is JJ okay?” Drake yelled.
“I’m here, Drakey!”
“Thank God for that,” Drake muttered, reassured at hearing the familiar voice, even if JJ sounded a little less perky than usual.
Calling back and forth, Drake, Ryo, and the search party homed in on Dee and JJ’s position, seeing first the tall rocks looming out of the darkness and then their missing partners, huddled in the lee of one of the biggest rocks, clinging together for warmth. Well, to be fair, JJ was doing most of the clinging and once more, Ryo found himself ruthlessly shoving down the tide of jealousy that threatened to swamp him. ‘Dee’s my partner, not JJ’s!’ he thought. ‘Why can’t JJ just accept that and leave him alone?’
But even from this distance, Ryo could see the way Dee’s whole face lit up as he spotted the rescuers appearing like wraiths through the curtain of falling snow. No, not the rescuers; Dee’s eyes were locked on Ryo himself, as if no one else even existed. It made Ryo’s heart skip a beat. ‘Dee’s been out here alone with JJ all this time but it’s still me he wants to see.’
“Man, you’re a sight for sore eyes!” Despite his chattering teeth, Dee actually sounded happy.
Staring at his partner, Ryo’s teeth started to ache in sympathy as he took in Dee’s wide grin. “Thought we’d never find you. You okay?” He shook out the blanket he was carrying and passed it to Dee, who wrapped it around himself gratefully.
“Thanks, bud. Hey, don’t look so worried! Hot shower and something to eat and I’ll be fine. Not sure my feet will work though.”
Ryo took a second blanket from one of the uniformed officers, draping it over Dee’s head like a hood before tugging the ends around his partner. “That’s okay, you can lean on me.” He helped Dee to his feet, putting one arm around his partner’s waist to help support him, as Dee draped an arm over his shoulders.
“You’re far better to snuggle up to than JJ.”
It was a seemingly offhand comment, but it gave Ryo a warm glow inside and made his cheeks, already flushed from the cold, heat up. He wasn’t sure why Dee’s words should matter so much to him, but they did and the jealousy he’d been experiencing just minutes before melted away as if it had never existed.
A short distance away, Drake was fussing over JJ. “You should’ve wrapped up better before going out, didn’t you see the forecast? You might have frozen to death out here, all because you insist on style over practicality!”
“Someone has to keep standards up at the 27th.” JJ’s voice was muffled through the layers of blankets and the long scarf Drake had wrapped around his partner’s lower face so that only his eyes showed above it. “Most of you have no fashion sense at all. What must people think?”
“That we’re cops, not models,” Drake grumbled, adjusting one of JJ’s blankets. “When we get back to the station I’m taking you straight home. You need soup and a hot bath.”
“You’re sweet, Drakey.”
“Someone’s got to look after you if you won’t look after yourself.”
Ryo hid his smile and handed his ball of string to one of the uniforms as the rescue party turned to follow their lifeline out of the park. Drake, hustling a completely swaddled JJ along, took the lead, followed by Ryo with Dee beside him, limping slightly as some of the feeling started to return to his cold feet. The uniforms trudged along in the rear, talking quietly among themselves about wanting to get home where it was warm. They’d all had more than enough of being out in the bitter cold.
“You’re lucky we found you. If you’d been lost in the park all night in these temperatures…” Ryo couldn’t finish his sentence, not that he needed to; they could both fill in the blanks.
“Nah, no chance of that. I knew the Chief would send out a search party.”
“Only because I told him you weren’t back yet.” Ryo wanted that part made clear; it was important that Dee knew.
“You were worried about me?”
“Of course I was. You’re my partner and my friend.” Ryo risked a sideways glance at Dee; he was smiling slightly, looking oddly content considering everything he’d just been through.
“You’re the best, partner!”
“And don’t you forget it.” Ryo fell silent for a few minutes, then came to a decision. “I guess you’d better come home with me tonight, my place is warmer than yours and at least you’ll have a decent meal instead of takeaway.”
“Oooh, Ryo’s home cooking! What’s on the menu for tonight?”
“I’ve got beef stew simmering in the slow cooker, that should warm you up; there’ll be more than enough for all three of us.” In truth he’d been thinking about inviting Dee over for dinner even before his partner had gotten himself lost in the snow.
“Sounds good, I feel warmer just thinkin’ about it!”
Ryo smiled; with any luck they’d be home in an hour or so. Dee should probably stay over too, just to be safe, especially since Ryo’s place was closer to the precinct. In this weather, it was only practical to make sure they both had the shortest possible commute.
After what seemed like an eternity but was probably less than twenty minutes, the entrance to the park loomed ahead of them and moments later they reached their parked cars. Rescuers and rescued alike shook the snow off themselves, brushed the worst of the accumulation off their vehicles, and piled in, the rescuers shedding a few layers first. With the engines going and heaters warming up the interiors, they’d soon thaw out.
“I should warn you,” Ryo told Dee as he pulled carefully out onto the road, “you and JJ are going to get a chewing out from the Chief when we get back to the precinct.”
“Aw, man! What for? Rotten old badger. Can’t we just go straight to your place?”
“Sorry, but I promised I’d drag you back there first. He was worried about the two of you, Dee. You probably shouldn’t have gone out there, not with snow forecast.”
“That’s exactly why we had to, and you know it. What would be the chance of finding anything now, under all that?” Dee gestured out the car window. “The snow might not melt for days, weeks even, and when it does any evidence would most likely be washed away or too contaminated to be of any use.”
“You found something?”
“Two casings; I got photographs on my phone too, showing exactly where they were found. Got ‘em in an evidence bag in my pocket.”
“That’s another reason we have to go to the precinct first. You have to log the new evidence in.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Hadn’t thought of that. After being out in the snow for so long, I’d practically forgotten about them until you reminded me.”
“Understandable. Well, it was a calculated risk that paid off, that should count for something with the Chief, he probably won’t be too hard on you.”
“He should give us an award. Or a day off, that would be better. Maybe I’ll ask.” Dee fell silent, thinking of all the things he’d like to do with a day off. Most were impossible dreams that included Ryo rather prominently, but hey, a man could dream, couldn’t he?
Oblivious to what was going through his partner’s mind, Ryo focussed on the road ahead, content to know that Dee was beside him, safe and sound. Everything was going to be fine.