Fake Fan Fiction ❯ The Unexpected II ❯ After the Honeymoon ( Chapter 34 )

[ Y - Young Adult: Not suitable for readers under 16 ]

March 17, 2006
The phone was answered on the second ring. Without preamble, before giving a chance to properly answer the phone, the voice on the other end simply stated, “This is a bad idea.”
“It's a little too late to be backing out, isn't it?” came the reply of the one who was called in a condescending sneer.
“I'm not backing out. But I'm not going to allow three dumps at one time.”
“We set our terms. Dee Laytner is still a detective, last I checked. Not one word from the NYPD about his being relieved of duty. Not even a word about the note from them. Tomorrow will be a week since our warning. I expect to follow through with the threat. Do you hear me? Or am I not paying you enough?”
A derisive snort came through the line. “I don't need to be paid to rid this planet of those godawful creatures. However, the money is a nice bonus. It helps me do my work with more precautions taken. And that's what I'm getting at. I don't want any slip ups that could lead the police to me. Besides, you need me, because you don't have the guts to do the job yourself.”
“I am in a position where I cannot. We won't mention how you are careful not to get blood on your hands. Now, do you have three of those freaks ready for delivery?”
“I do, but so far I only have two being prepared for next week.”
“Then get two more.”
“I can only go by whatever contacts we get through the site. I have just one meet up for next week, and there's no guarantee a move could be made at the time. I also hear that cops have been snooping around the lot, and asking questions. I need to use more caution in screening inquiries now.”
“Take only the obviously pregnant ones, as usual. The ones six months and over. All else, have them pumped for information. Keep them around if they are nearing six months. Have them spread the word while waiting. And make sure there are four drop offs by no later than next Monday night. If by that Tuesday, we don't hear anything from the NYPD about releasing Laytner of duty, there's going to be a little leak about the note to the press.”
“And then if they still don't?” I'll be lucky to have four to deliver for that Monday. I don't see how I can get five for next week unless we start to randomly pick off the streets.”
“That's too dangerous. You need to start advertising yourself, but still use discretion.”
“Do you hear yourself? If I want to remain discreet, I can't do a major campaign.”
“There are ways. You have proven yourself adept with business. So get the word out about the site. Go outside New York City if need. I don't care. As long as there are bodies and the dumps are within the city limits. If they don't relieve him, I want Laytner to feel the guilt of what he is inflicting. I want him to suffer, knowing those deaths are his fault. And I want to make an example of him to all civil servants who dare think to create those monster babies while being paid on taxpayers' money. Do I make myself clear?”
“Very much. But I can't make any promises. If no one emails the site, then we have nothing.”
“Find a way to get them to respond. That's your problem.”
“Or what?”
“Let's not have it come to that, shall we. I expect a delivery of three dead Carriers by Monday. If nothing by the following week, then four more. Should the NYPD come to their senses, we'll take a break and start collecting those freaks. We still have a few more demands to be made. Not to mention still need to clean the streets of freaks.”
“I'll do my best.”
The phone hung up before there was a chance for further comment.
“Damn you, Dee Laytner. Mr. Police Celebrity because you dare to get yourself knocked up. But soon you will realize the errors of your ways. And your husband too.”
~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~
March 22, 2006
JJ looked up from his notes when he heard someone enter the squadroom from the office that had been unoccupied for almost two weeks. With a wide smile, he jumped up from his chair and charged for the door.
Ryo let out a yelp of surprise as he found himself being pinned to the wall and hugged enthusiastically by the man who was once his rival. “JJ!” he cried out, but could not help laugh.
“I just missed you,” JJ remarked, pulling away from Ryo, but still standing close.
“Nope! I'm not giving up any explicit details of the honeymoon, so don't try,” Ryo remarked, with a roguish grin.
JJ threw his head back and laughed. He hugged Ryo again. “Just welcoming you back.” He glanced up at Ryo with hooded, teasing eyes. “But I man could always hope, you know.”
“Nice try, JJ.” Ryo patted JJ's shoulder. “But down now. Okay?”
“Well, all right.”
As JJ started to back away, Ryo lunged and pulled JJ into a hug, making the smaller detective squeal with surprise.
“Hey, hey!” Drake's voice called out as he entered from the other door. “What the hell are you two doing? Ryo! You're a married man now, so off of JJ!”
Ryo and JJ looked at each other and laughed. “It's okay,” JJ assured Drake with a smile. “If you think this is something, wait until Dee comes in tomorrow.”
Ryo gave JJ a mock frown. “Remember there's a baby that will be in the way,” he stated.
JJ chuckled. “So that's how it went.”
“JJ!” Ryo remarked, scandalized, then laughed. He lifted his left hand to push wayward bangs out of his eyes.
JJ smiled, grabbing the hand and admiring the white gold and diamond geometric band, then looked up to Ryo's face, studying the taller, brown haired man. “Marriage suits you, Ryo. I can already see a difference.”
“A good one, I hope.”
JJ nodded vigorously. “Oh very good.” He winked at Ryo. “It's kinda sexy too. Especially with that tan thing you have going on. Very nice.”
“JJ!” Drake snapped.
“Oh relax. Ryo may be sexy, but I can't have him anymore than I could have Dee.”
“So you might as well settle for second best, huh?”
“Oh, don't start so early in the morning, Drake. At least let Ryo have his first cup of coffee before involving him in the drama, huh?”
Drake shook his head. Pointing a finger at JJ, he said, “You just back down and behave already, huh? And while you're doing that, let me welcome Ryo back.”
Ryo braced himself, after JJ's welcome, but Drake came over and clapped a friendly hand on Ryo's shoulder, and grinned at him. “Welcome back, dude.”
“Thanks,” Ryo laughed.
“So how was the honeymoon, sparing us certain details,” Drake inquired, guiding Ryo over to the desks.
“Very nice, for the most part,” Ryo replied. “We encountered some assholes on the flight out of JFK and at the hotel in Atlanta, but we sorted that out well enough. Miami was great. And Nassau was just amazing.” His grin grew. “It was just what we needed, especially Dee. You can see the visible difference having none of the stress he dealt with here. Which is why it's a shame we have to come back.” His smile faded a little.
JJ directed Ryo to sit in the seat he vacated. “Well, we have a whole bunch of bad news, but on the other hand, we have some good news that I think will make a huge difference for Dee.”
“Oh?” Ryo asked, looking from JJ to Drake.
Drake nodded. “Oh definitely. For one, which they told us you two know, Dee will be having more of role in investigations. Hopefully that will relieve a lot of the stress he was feeling thinking he was demoted to unit admin.”
Ryo nodded. “Yeah, Dee was excited about that. Especially when he found out that he'll be actively talking to victims.”
“Yeah. When I heard that, I thought he'd like that,” JJ said.
“But he'll still have to be limited to where he goes out of here and still need bodyguards,” Ryo said, frowning a little.
“Maybe,” Drake stated. “I think the only `bodyguard' Dee will need to have is his partner, along with whoever else happens to also be needed to go out on a call.”
Ryo looked thoughtful. “I'm Dee's partner,” he pointed out.
“We're all each other's partners,” Drake corrected. “And you and Dee are still very much in charge of this unit. But yes, there are some things that Dee shouldn't be charging out to handle, but you can. So until after Dee comes back from baby leave, you will have another main partner, more or less. Not that you and Dee still don't have things you need to do together, like speaking to victims' families. Sorry, that's a shitty task, but you and Dee are the best suited to handle it.”
“It is a shitty task,” Ryo agreed, “but one Dee and I accept, no matter how tough it is.”
“I don't envy you,” Drake sighed. “JJ and I had our share while you two were honeymooning, and it sucks more than your average situation to speak to survivors.”
Ryo sighed. “I know. But….” Ryo shrugged. “Maybe because Dee and I are thankful it's not one of us someone is talking to? I don't know, but we did talk about it while taking a nice walk along the beach in Miami the other night. It's just something we accept as our duty, so yeah, it's shitty and it sucks, but we want the job.”
JJ nodded. “Speaking of, we have more news that I think you'll be happy to hear. Well, at least relieved. Apparently we can give Dee a little more freedom than we've been giving him.”
“Oh?” Ryo asked, glancing hopefully at JJ. “Please tell me you caught our killer while Dee and I were flying into New York.”
“Can't give you that, buddy,” Drake said gently. “But we can tell you that we know for sure that all our victims were not randomly grabbed off the streets.”
“Huh? So we need to make sure Dee's not being watched, or followed or stalked?” Ryo asked.
Drake sat on the corner of the desk, and picked up a folder from the surface, dropping it before Ryo. “The report on how our victims were lured. There's this website that we managed to link each and every one of our vics to, along with some of our missing persons. Unfortunately, that means we know those particular missing persons will end up being a victim, unless we can find out who is killing them before then.”
Ryo took a deep breath and opened the folder. JJ and Drake watched on as Ryo read the report written up by Drake and JJ. When he closed the folder, he looked up at the two men. “Thank you,” he said softly. “It's very thorough and researched and I feel confident that as long as Dee doesn't have contact with someone from that site, we can let him out in the streets more.” Ryo rested his hand flat on the folder. “But that doesn't mean I want him to be out in the streets by himself. I promised Dee that we're going out of town for one weekend a month, just far away enough that he can have the freedom to walk around by himself for a while. He did some of that in the Bahamas and it also did him a world of good.”
Drake nodded. “Understood. I don't blame you. But I think you don't have to be so paranoid when you're out in the streets with Dee. Hey, look. Chief wants to speak to the three of us, which is why we're here to welcome you. The others are already out and about on the case. This website is giving us hope of having a collar soon, but it's taking a lot of hard work.”
Ryo glanced at the pile of folders. “Is this all on the case?”
“Yeah,” JJ replied as Ryo started to look through them. “Dana, one of the new detectives, and who will be working with Dee, already has two additional cases that Dee will be involved with when he comes back.”
“Oh?” Ryo looked up interested.
“One is domestic violence,” JJ replied. “Boyfriend goes ballistic when boyfriend comes home announces he's pregnant. Turns out ballistic boyfriend is one of those queers who hates Carriers.” JJ grimaced. “Case number two is a couple with a young baby, who had slurs and threats grafittied on their property.”
“Nice,” Ryo commented, then looked thoughtful. “So Dee will be working fully on those cases?” he asked. “With Dana, that is.”
“Yes,” Drake replied. “As well as working with the rest of us in finding our killer. But Chief will fill you in on all that.”
Ryo sat back in the chair and gazed up at Drake, and then JJ. “Don't take this the wrong way, but I'm glad to be officially back on this case.”
“We're glad to have you officially back,” JJ said. “At least Rose and Chief saw the errors of their ways.”
“When they first told me we were off the case, I pointed out that we have parents working with cases that have child abuse, so what was the difference?”
JJ smirked and Drake shook his head.
“What?” Ryo asked.
JJ looked at his watch. “Oh lookie that! It's time to go say hello to Chief. Come along, Ryo. You don't want to be late to a meeting with the Badger, do you?”
Ryo glared at JJ, knowing a diversion, but Drake and JJ were already on their way out of the office. Ryo figured while it was still a diversion, apparently it was a legitimate one, so he stood up and followed his fellow detectives out of the office.
~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~
“Come in,” Chief Smith grumped when JJ knocked on the door. “Oh good, all three of you fatheads decided to make it on time. Nice to see that lounging around idly with that other slacker didn't put too much of a crimp in your style, Randy.”
“Thank you, Chief,” Ryo replied with a smirk. “It's good to be back too.”
Drake snorted as Chief glared up at Ryo, then “harrumphed”. “Sit down everyone. Did you and Dee have a good honeymoon?” he asked.
“Very good,” Ryo replied, grinning.
“Good, `cause slacking time is over. I hope you and Dee rested good, because you're going to find yourselves very busy.”
Ryo nodded. “I understand, sir. Dee and I are anxious to get back into the swing of things.”
“We'll see. Now we're going to make sure we don't wear Dee out, but he has his work cut out for him. I know that bastard is stubborn when he gets caught up in a case, so I'm going to depend on you to know when Dee needs to back down a little. Got it?”
“Of course, sir.” Ryo couldn't help but smile at Chief's admitting that Dee can work harder than the rest of them when he wants justice served.
“I need you to keep your head, Randy. You're going to face up to a lot of assholes along the way. I can't have you slugging them all. Unless they make a move first. Understood?”
“Yes sir. I understand.”
“Bad enough I had this one just walking out of an interview,” he indicated JJ. “Even if Adams most probably had a right.”
“I'd have knocked both their heads together if I stayed, Chief,” JJ stated.
“I know, Adams. Randy, take example from him. If you feel your fists clenching, excuse yourself and walk the hell out. Got it?”
“Yes sir.”
“You'll all be working in pairs, so whoever you're with will carry on the interview while you cool down. I'm going to give Dee the same advice. Actually I had to also give the talk to Ted and Dana. Dana is the new girl around here, and will be Dee's primary partner for the next couple of months.” Chief raised a defensive hand. “We're not splitting you and Dee up. You're all going to be working together in this unit. But you will be taking on some tasks that Dee shouldn't in his condition. Dana is a seasoned detective who recently got her gold shield and was allowed to pick her next assignment if she wanted to leave her old unit. Meanwhile, you, Randy my boy, will get to break in the rookie. Andy finally got moved into the Detective Bureau from C.S.U. So while he's the new guy in what you do, I'm sure he'll be full of advice and experience from his three years in C.S.U. Guide him, and listen to him. I'm putting my faith in you, Randy.”
“Yes sir.”
JJ rolled his eyes and chuckled. “This is going to be interesting.”
“Quiet Adams,” Chief warned him.
Chief guffawed and Drake groaned.
Chief put his beefy arms on the desk and leaned toward Ryo. “Andy is a good kid. He's already proven himself able to work within this unit.”
Ryo caught an edge to Chief. “But?” he prompted.
“This is going to sound like a damn strange thing coming from me, but I'm hoping you'll teach him to loosen up a little.”
“L-loosen up?” Ryo looked startled.
“Andy, well, he's all by the book,” JJ stated. “He thinks within the book.”
Chief nodded. “It's good to know the rules and how to play with them, but you've been a detective long enough to know when the rules need to be bent a little to get the job done. I also trust that you know just how much to bend without going too far. Which is why this task is on you. Show Andy the ropes, and how to loosen that noose of his.”
Drake laughed.
“Oh… Is he really that bad?” Ryo had to ask.
“Definitely. Look Randy, between the three of us in this office, Andy can make you look your worse on your best day. Unfortunately, that means he's lost opportunity where a little side serving of bullshit could have taken him far. Your assignment, and you have no choice but to accept, is to get him to think outside the box, while not losing sight of the rules inside that box. Got it?”
Ryo nodded, not sure what to say. He decided to just wait until he met his new partner and take it from there. He was certain Dee would be highly amused that Ryo was, in essence, tasked to corrupt the rookie.
“Now about Dee's new partner. Dana will be with us for only a few months, then she'll be off for two months. She'll be back not long after Dee's scheduled to deliver,” Chief continued.
Ryo's eyebrows rose at that. “Don't tell me that you have Dana taking cases with Dee because she's ready to drop her litter?” Ryo asked.
Chief laughed. “Does Dee know you're talking about delivering babies that way?” He waved off any reply. “No. Not Dana. But her husband is, and of course, she'll be taking 6 - 8 weeks baby leave when he delivers.”
“Oh.” Ryo thought of the woman he had met in the boutique the other month, and her explaining how she could not have children so her Carrier husband did the in vitro method. That he was to work with another woman in that situation fascinated him. “I'm looking forward to meeting her,” he stated with a smile.
“Good. You'll most probably start meeting the others later in the morning. Now onto some of the nasty things you need to know,” Chief said.
Both Drake and JJ looked uncomfortable.
“Commissioner Rose wanted to be present for this, but unfortunately a matter came up that he had to take care of. Look Randy, no beating around the bush here, okay?”
“Sure. Just spill. I'm ready.”
JJ looked at Ryo with an uneasy glance.
“Randy, you know about those two dumps on your wedding day.”
Ryo nodded.
“And I'm sure by now you heard about the three dumps between Sunday and yesterday?”
“Yes. Just get to it already, Chief.”
“Inside the remains of our Corona victim, there was a note - sealed in a Ziploc, of course.”
“A note?”
Chief picked up an envelope and withdrew some photos. “The note clearly stated that unless we relieve Dee of duty, the deaths will increase by one each week that he's still an active MOS.”
Ryo's mouth hung open.
JJ saw the slight shiver that ran through Ryo and placed a comforting hand on his shoulder.
“So far we can see no threat to Dee physically,” Chief explained. “Whoever this psychopath is, he has a bitch against an active duty pregnant Carrier. We've been watching activity around your apartment and no one has seen any suspicious characters. We're going to continue to monitor, but as of now, we don't believe Dee's life is in danger.”
“That was on our wedding day?” Ryo asked, his mind racing. “One of two victims? And as of yesterday that made three victims after this Sunday?”
Chief sighed.
“Because Dee's still active duty. Right?”
“That's correct,” Chief Smith replied. And he's going to remain so. No one remotely considered making him turn in his shield and gun. We're not in the business of giving into some idiot's demands, not matter what his methods. And I'll be damned if I'm going to make one of my best damn detectives give up his career for that asshole. So Dee's not going anywhere, but working on cases with Dana.”
Ryo snorted as he took the photos from Chief. As he studied the black and white exhibits of the note, some in the gory plastic bag and others out of it, he shook his head. “I know Dee enough to know he'll say otherwise.”
“We know that, too, Randy. Which is why we're depending on you to help us keep him on the force.”
“Chief,” Ryo snapped, his eyes going to the Chief. “Three Carriers died because Dee's resignation wasn't announced by, I'm guessing Saturday. You tell me how he's going to take that? And then four next week? And five the week after that? How do you expect Dee to live with that?”
“I expect Dee to realize that he's not at fault for those murders. That Carriers were being killed before that. From what we figure, the killer saw Dee at the press conference and got bent out of shape that the NYPD dared to make an active Carrier its poster boy for justice.” Chief stood up from his seat and leaned imposingly over his desk toward Ryo. “And I want you to think long and hard on this, Randy, then you tell me that if Dee resigned do you really believe the killing is going to stop?”
Ryo sighed again, knowing the answer already. “But Dee won't see that right away.”
“Then we all need to make him see it. And if we can't, then we have an alternate plan,” Chief remarked, sitting down.
“What's that?”
“Let him resign. Or at least let him believe he is. Only we won't push the paperwork through. Because once the first body shows up after he thinks he solved the problem by quitting, I trust Dee enough to be enraged. To realize the fool he got played for. And to want to come back with a vengeance. And his shield will be waiting for him to realize that.”
Ryo blinked, then stared at the Chief. “And you want me to keep this from Dee? Chief, I just got married. And you're pushing this shit on me to keep from my husband?!?”
“Yes, I am. For your husband's sake. If you want, no one will ever mention that you were told. Besides the three of us, the only other person who knows what I just told you is Commissioner Rose. Because it is his idea.”
Ryo shook his head. “No. If it comes to that, and when Dee decides he wants his shield back, I'll tell him the truth first, if that's okay with you.”
“We can do that.”
“He'll be pissed at first, maybe even still feel like he was played, but once he has his shield back with no red tape and settles down, he'll come to see it was all for his best interest,” Ryo said.
“Of course. We're going to talk hard to keep him from resigning. He's even going to be recommended counseling to deal with any false guilt he might encounter. But if it comes down to the situation being too much to handle, and threaten the baby's health, we'll let him, quote, unquote, resign.”
“Understood, Chief.” Ryo looked deflated. While he was still gloriously tanned a golden bronze, he appeared to lose the glow he had when he first entered the office.
“I'm sorry that real life had to invade so shortly after your much needed time of relaxation, but you can understand now why we hoped you and Dee had much relaxation and unstressing during your honeymoon,” Chief said.
Ryo looked at Drake and JJ. “I just realized that I saw a five on one of the victims on our wedding day, and it was signed by Drake. Did everyone know about this then?”
JJ nodded. “Unfortunately, yes. Drake and I were called out early in the morning to Flushing Meadows Park and then as we were heading back to Manhattan, we got the call for the one in Battery Park City. The Commissioner decided it was best we didn't ruin your big day, so we all kept quiet about it. Drake and I barely made it back in time to be dressed for the ceremony.”
Ryo studied JJ, then Drake. “Thanks,” he said softly. “I know it might sound cold, but thank you. I wouldn't have dealt with it that day, and Dee definitely wouldn't have.”
“We know,” Drake said. “That's why it was an easy decision. Keep it from you two until you got back.”
“Actually no one knew about the note until you had already left for your honeymoon,” JJ said. “Well, Rose knew by the time he showed up for the brunch, but he didn't tell us until later that afternoon.”
Ryo studied the photos again before handing them back to Chief. “Is there anything else, sir?” he asked.
“Just get yourself acquainted with the advances made on this case, as well as with your new partner,” Chief said. “And don't tell Dee about the note until he comes in tomorrow.”
Ryo bit his lip. “That's going to be hard, but yeah. You're right.”
“Be prepared to work hard, Randy. More than ever before.”
“No problem.”
“And as strange as this sounds, but unless something goes down that absolutely has to be attended to, tomorrow the entire unit will be going out for an extended lunch. I want all of you to spend a little time together outside of the work environment and get to know the newbies. You'll be mostly partnered with Andy until you go on baby leave. When you come back, you'll be working with Dana. When Dee returns, you and Dee go back to being primary partners, and hopefully Andy and Dana will be ready to work together as a team. But most important of all, you all need to be able to work with any one in this unit in pairings, and as a whole unit. The lunch will include Diana and Dominic, who are the FBI agents in the unit.”
JJ snickered. “Dana is a sweetheart, but she has a few strange ways about her that take some getting used to.”
Drake laughed. “And we're still getting used to it.”
“As long as it doesn't get in the way of your jobs,” Chief stated. “And no more screw ups like the last couple of days from Andy. And that will be your responsibility, Randy.”
Ryo found he could grin at the Chief. “Chief, you just gave me carte blanc to corrupt a rookie. How bad can that be?”
Drake and JJ broke out in laughter.
“That's all. Get out of here, you slackers,” Chief dismissed the three.
As Ryo started to leave the office, Chief called him back. “Oh Randy?”
“Yes, Chief.”
“Welcome back, Detective Laytner-MacLean.”
Ryo saluted the Chief smartly. “Glad to be back, sir.”
“Now get out of here and do some work.”
Ryo chuckled as he joined Drake and JJ and headed back to their area. The two detectives set him up in the office he shared with Dee, with all the files on the case and coffee, while they went back to finish up the reports they were working on when Ryo came in.
~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~
Ryo looked up when a sharp knock came on his office door from the squadroom. The door was already opening and Drake was sticking his head in.
“Ryo, your minions have returned, and they bring decent coffee with lunch,” Drake remarked, looking amused.
Ryo closed the folder he was reading, and picked up the notepad he was making notes on. “Some people just have way too much fun at work,” he remarked, trying but failing to keep the grin from his face. As much fun as he had during his honeymoon, he had to admit times like that were to be only a respite from his otherwise hectic lifestyle. It felt good to be back.
Drake laughed. As Ryo approached the door, the taller blond haired detective called out, “People, the man you've all been waiting to see!”
Just as Ryo walked through the door, giving Drake a slap on his arm, he heard someone called out, “What if it's Dee we're waiting to see?”
“I thought I was your cutie pie,” Ryo remarked to Diana with a smile. He suddenly found himself being hugged by the vivacious blond FBI agent.
“Oh but you are. But we haven't seen Dee in almost two weeks. I'm sure he's going to look… different, by now,” Diana said, kissing his cheek. “Welcome back, sweetie.”
“Oh my!” Ted remarked. “Ryo, you got this sorta skin color change thing going on.”
Ryo smirked as he looked over to where Ted's voice came from. “It's already fading. In another week or two, I'll look like I haven't seen any decent sun in forever. How's it going, Tedster?”
“Fine, just fine. Looking forward to finally having a day off around here once you and Dee are fully back in the loop,” Ted remarked. He came over to shake Ryo's hand. “I take it you enjoyed yourself while you were gone?”
Ryo nodded his head. “Very much. In fact, Dee and I decided that as soon as the baby is old enough to travel, we're going back for another week.”
“That doesn't sound very romantic, having a baby crying on a second honeymoon,” Ted remarked.
“Romantic can be many things,” Ryo replied. “Enjoying a relaxing vacation in a beautiful setting with your husband and infant can also be romantic, you know. That family thing and all.” He winked at Ted, who shook his head.
Marty laughed. “Aw, look. Our little Ryo is all grown up now. Spoken like a true family man, Ryo.” He came up to shake Ryo's hand. “Glad to see the honeymoon did you some good.”
Ryo grinned. “Marriage is doing me good. You know, I've been together with Dee almost three years, and we've been living together since the summer, so I thought it wouldn't feel any different. But it does. When I look at Dee now, I see my husband. I know for certain that he's going to be the one with me when we're old and gray and the kids are hopefully looking out for us.” He smiled.
“Good on ya, pal,” Marty stated. “And yeah, it does that. Darla and I were high school sweethearts, but from the day we said our vows to each other, I did see her differently in a good way. By the way, that tan does look good on you.”
“Thanks,” Ryo remarked with a grin.
“What I want to know is if there's a tan line,” Diana said, tugging at the waist of his pants.
“Hey! That's only for my husband to know, you wench. Let go!” Ryo complained, trying not to laugh. “Now where are all these new people I've been hearing about.” He glanced around the office as Marty and Drake pulled a still giggling Diana away from Ryo.
“This is your new partner, Andy Rozinksky,” Ted introduced, from his place standing next to Andy. “Andy, Randy Laytner-MacLean, but you can call him Ryo. The rest of us do.”
“Besides, we really don't need this Randy and Andy thing going on around here,” JJ remarked with a snicker. “Anyway, we have enough `D's around this place now.”
Ryo gave JJ a mild glare, while the shorter detective laughed.
“They tell me you're Japanese,” Andy said as Ryo came over to them.
“My mother is half, yes,” Ryo replied. “And I spent time growing up in Japan. In fact, my grandmother is still here from Japan. Nice to meet you, Andy.” He put out his hand to shake the other man's.
He noted that Andy was about his height with sandy brown hair and gray eyes.
“Glad to finally meet you,” Andy replied. “You can't spend time around here without hearing much about you and Dee. It's almost as if I'm meeting a legend,” he laughed.
“No legends here. They just like to talk about us a lot, try to make us look bad,” Ryo remarked.
“I have to say I admire Dee for staying active during his pregnancy,” Andy stated. “I took a leave of absence to have my son back in my uniform days,” he said.
“Please, don't put Dee on a pedestal for just doing his job. I don't think he knows how not to be a detective, since it was his dream since he was a teen. He really had no choice. Nor about becoming pregnant, I'm afraid to admit,” he added ruefully.
“Oh, he had a choice all right,” Diana giggled. “He could have just said no and kept his front to you.”
“Diana!” Ryo squawked, horrified. “I'm going to get you for that comment. You won't know when, but it'll happen. Don't worry about that.”
“Yeah yeah… and I'm still waiting for all the revenge from all the other times going back to when we first met. Empty threats,” Diana stated.
Ryo opened his mouth to start to say something, then thought better. “I'll deal with you later.” He smirked. “Sea Hag.”
Diana's mouth dropped as the men Ryo knew from CI started to laugh.
“So moving on,” Ryo remarked. “Who's next?”
Dominic came over to him. “Special Agent Dominic Romano,” he said, holding out his hand. “Pleased to meet you.”
JJ cleared his throat. “Dominic remained active duty while carrying his babies. Three times.”
Ryo's eyes took in the man who was Dee's height. He had sable brown hair and hazel brown eyes, his skin tone that of a perpetual tan. He definitely fell into the category of not looking like the type to Carry, but Ryo had long learned there was no stereotype to the type of man who would. He smiled at Dominic. “It's a pleasure to meet you, Agent Romano.”
“Please, call me Dom. And I'll call you Ryo. Deal?”
Ryo smiled at the easily likeable man. “Deal. So how old are your children?” he asked.
“I have a 7 year old and 3 year old, both girls. My youngest is 16 weeks,” he remarked. “I had just returned from baby leave when this assignment came up. As you may guess, I knew it was one I had to be part of. We're actually from Philadelphia, but the family is settling in nicely here in New York. We're renting right now, while we look for a house to buy.”
“Well, welcome not only to the 2-7, but to New York City,” Ryo remarked. “And congratulations on the newest addition.”
Dominic smiled. “I have experience trying to do my job to the fullest without compromising the baby's health, so I'll be honored to pass on any advice to your husband.”
“I know I'll appreciate it. Thank you, Dom.”
Drake cleared his throat. “One more and then we can move onto business.”
“Yes, of course. I heard that Dana's husband is Carrying,” Ryo started, then looked over to notice the petite blond woman. His smile was wide after a momentary look of amazement. “You have to be already living in the city,” he said to Dana. “It's nice to see you again.”
Dana studied Ryo. “We know each other?” she asked.
“I was just going to say the same thing,” JJ said, “But then I don't recall seeing her at the wedding.”
“We met in that Carrier boutique on Spring Street last month. We were both waiting outside the dressing room.”
Dana's eyes went wide. “Oh! Yeah, I remember now.” She laughed. “Yes, that was me. Imagine that, us talking and both being detectives. Small world.”
“Yeah,” Ryo agreed. “But I'm starting to learn that when it comes to Carriers, the world is smaller.”
“Indeed it seems to be,” Dana agreed as Ryo took her hand. “While it's quite common, it still seems to be such a big deal. Particularly for a heterosexual man.”
“Well, I have lots of respect for your husband. And I'm looking forward to working with you,” Ryo replied as they shook hands. Her shake was firm and strong, which was incongruious to be coming from such a delicate small hand. From the strength of her grip and the fire in her eyes, Ryo knew that even though he towered over Dana in height, that Dee was in good hands having her as a partner.
“I'm sure we'll also be able to commiserate with each other, both of us having pregnant husbands,” she said with a grin. “And I promise to take care of Dee. I know how I'd feel if it was my husband out there in a dangerous line of work.”
“So what does your husband do?” Diana asked.
“Construction. But since the procedure, Jack had to take on the admin work. It's hard on him. He's used to being up there on the grids, setting steel beams into place, not pushing paper. As much as he's glad to be Carrying our child, I know he can't wait until he's certified fit to go back to what he loves to do for a living. Dee's luckier than he is, but I'll make sure he remembers he can't do everything he used to until after the baby.”
Ryo smiled at her. “Thank you. I appreciate it.” He looked around at the assembled team. “Well, this is the new CI huh?”
“Actually we're not really CI for the time,” Drake informed Ryo. “Our unit is going to be called CHCI. Carrier Hate Crimes Investigation.”
“I like it.”
“Good. After all, you're one of our bossmen,” JJ said with a snicker.
“Behave,” Ryo warned. “So I guess I get filled in by everyone now on where we are. I also have some notes about some details I'd like to have more input on.”
“That's our Ryo,” Ted quipped with a smile. “Always ready.”
“Oh, and before I forget,” Diana said. “There's Starbuck's coffee there on that file cabinet, and lunch is on its way. I took the liberty of ordering lunch from that café on Broadway that we like to go to for lunch sometimes.”
“That's fine, Diana. Thank you,” Ryo said, as everyone sat down at their desks. Ryo pulled an extra chair next to Drake's desk and sat down. “While we're on the subject of going out for lunch, I guess first order of business is for everyone to put in a suggestion of somewhere we all can go out to eat for lunch tomorrow, Dee included. I'll review them later and make reservations. Actually it might come down to where I can get reservations for all of us during lunch. Just email me anytime this afternoon. Now, onto the dirty work.”
The newly formed unit easily fell into their first formal meeting with one of their supervisors, filling Ryo in on the case, and answering questions he had.
~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~ ~+~
Ryo entered the apartment he shared with Dee. He immediately noticed there was music playing softly, and not much else noise. He recognized the music from a Kabuki soundtrack. He had just hung up his coat on the coat rack when his grandmother rushed over to greet him.
“Ryo, how was your first day back at work. They treated you well, ne e?” she asked.
Ryo hugged her. “Very well, ObÄsan,” he said smiling. “We have some interesting new people in our unit.”
“That's nice. Be quiet now. Dei fell asleep just about 15 minutes ago. Bikky called asking him if he could go with friends for a while after his practice. Dei told him it would be okay.”
Ryo smiled at the elderly Japanese woman, and with an arm around her, they walked over to the couch, where Ryo noticed Dee laying on his side, and covered with the throw they kept on the couch. He wanted to lean over and softly kiss Dee's cheek, but was afraid the sleeping man would wake. Instead, he allowed his grandmother to lead him into the dining room.
“You'll want to be getting comfortable, ne e?” she asked as they sat at the table.
“In a few minutes,” Ryo said, loosening his tie and opening the first two buttons on his shirt. “Now did you and Dee have a good day?” he asked, removing his tie and placing it in his jacket pocket.
“Very good day. Dei's friend Barry came over this afternoon and we went out shopping for a while. Before that, I made Dei some lunch. Some `pregnancy sushi' as I call it. He enjoyed it very much. He said there was a restaurant at the resort that had something like that which was very good.” Akira smiled wider. “He said it was good, but mine is much better.”
Ryo laughed, taking his grandmother's thin wrinkled hands in his. “Thank you, ObÄsan. For being so good to Dee.”
She shook her head, gazing up at Ryo. “I don't do this for you, Ryo. At first, I liked Dei very much for you and for your mother, but I got to know him. I do this for him because he's an Aoki now.”
Ryo's smile was sunny. “Of course. I'm going to miss you when you leave on Saturday.” He squeezed his grandmother's hand before bringing it up to his lips and kissing it.
“I will miss you and your family very much too. After the baby is born, you need to come to Kamakura for a while. Last week, while we talked, Bikky told me that he would love to see many of the things I told him about. And I know Dei would love to return to Japan again, after so long.”
“I would love to go back myself. It's been too long. And that's my fault.”
“It will be a good time, I know. Before that, I told Dei today that I intend to come here for the baby's birth, and stay a few weeks. I would be glad to help out, if you do not mind.”
“I'd love it,” Ryo smiled. “As long as you don't overdo yourself. But I would be honored to introduce you to your newborn great-grandchild.”
Akira got up to hug Ryo. “I am so excited. I do wish I was able to stay another week, but your uncles can't do without me,” she remarked.
Ryo laughed. His two uncles and their families lived in the large traditional family home in Kamakura with Akira. The house had been in the family for many generations before Akira. His aunt and her family lived in another family home in the Mount Fuji area, and he had many cousins who lived in Yokohama and Tokyo as well.
“I would have loved to be there for the sonogram. So you and Dei will have to call me right after,” she said.
“I'll do you better than that,” Ryo said. “We have cams on our new PDAs we got as wedding presents. We'll make sure we know how to use them by next Tuesday, and we'll call you. And send you live video.”
Akira hugged him again. “I would love that. Yes!” she exclaimed excited. “Now why don't you get comfortable, and I'll make you a nice snack to hold you over until dinner.”
“You're cooking?” he asked.
“Of course. I cook as long as I'm in this house. I made that clear to Dei this afternoon. You can help sometimes. I plan on making all your mother's favorite meals while I'm here. At least the ones that Dei could also eat.” She gave him a sly wink. “But I'll slip some things he cannot eat in your lunch.”
“ObÄsan, you're too much,” Ryo laughed. “But I love you.”
“I love you, too, Ryo.”
All his other relatives had gone back to Japan the past Saturday, spending the week after the wedding sightseeing. From reports they got during their daily calls to Bikky while on their honeymoon, when Bikky got out of school, his grandmother was waiting for him, and he would take on being the family's tour guide. While the other members of the family would go back to their hotel, Akira went back to the apartment and slept in the guest room. Carol was also invited to join them, and they were surprised to hear that they had also managed to get Mother out and around a few times. From what Ryo and Dee had gathered speaking to both women, they had become close. It made both men glad to realize that.
With a smile he decided to go into the bedroom through their private bathroom from the hallway instead of risking waking Dee up to get changed into jeans and a sweater. As he reached the hallway, he could already hear his grandmother in the kitchen.
It was going to be a good week at home, Ryo knew. He was glad to have his grandmother there with them for the time. When they entered the carousel area for luggage in the arrivals area of JFK the day before, they found Bikky, Akira, Mother and Carol waiting to greet them home. Much to their surprise, the Bentley was waiting outside, and they were informed that it was previously planned to make the trip complete for them.
As much fun as it was to be catered to, and being driven around in a Rolls Royce and Bentley, earlier that morning it felt good to Ryo to take on the subway to work, and once again join the working class. He knew he would turn to his rich grandparents for favors only if absolutely necessary, but now that they were back from their honeymoon and their dream wedding was now cherished memories, life was going to go back to what it had been for him and Dee. It was strange at times during the day, Ryo being amazed at how quickly he had become used to being catered to. He wondered how Dee would feel the next day. Especially should there be something in the subway train that would not agree with Dee.
As Ryo got changed it reminded him of the one thing him and Dee had talked about during their honeymoon, and decided once his grandmother had gone back to Japan, they would sit down and see how a used car would fit into their budget.