Disclaimer: Fake belongs to its creator Sanami Matoh. I don't own it. No profit is being made from this fanfiction.
- Icewind -
Notes: This was a holiday fanfic I completed a very long time ago. I updated it a few years ago and decided to upload it here. Dee & Ryo fluff. Enjoy!
Part Two: "Angels"
The city streets seem to come to life; exuberant colours were cast from decorative lights while carollers performed song and dance. People walked and chatted amongst each other, children laughed and played together, but the troublemakers that filled the void in New York City still ran rampant. Fortunately, Ryo encountered less hostility and maliciousness on the streets. In fact, things appeared to be very festive as people celebrated the holidays. With a few packages in hand, he walked down a busy street on his way home. He was just turning a corner when he bumped into a small child who was running in the opposite direction. The boy fell on impact, knocking the gift-wrapped boxes from his hands.
"Are you okay there?" Ryo kneeled down to see if the boy was hurt.
"Yeah. Sorry `bout that, mister. I should watch where I'm going." As the child began to gather the scattered gifts Ryo noticed he appeared to be a few years younger than Bikky. He wore an old tattered shirt underneath a jacket along with baggy pants and matching sneakers. His hair was tucked in a blue winter cap that covered his ears from the cold.
"Here ya go." The child stood up abruptly, hands trembling as he handed the gifts to Ryo. He held his head down, refusing to look the man in the eye as he spoke. "I-I'm really sorry for bothering you…"
"It's fine. Really, no bother." Ryo laughed softly as he took the gifts. "Accidents happen. You'd be surprised at how many people I bump into." His face softened in concern when the boy's hands hadn't stop shaking. Noticing the look on Ryo's face, he folded his arms in a tight embrace away from the cold. "Are you alright? Where are your parents?"
The boy frowned and spoke hurriedly, "I gotta go. I'm really sorry, mister." And before Ryo could say another word, the child took off in a wink of an eye. He sighed and stood up, dusting the snow off his pants when he noticed one of the packages were gone…
"Oh no..." With a sick felling in his stomach, he checked his back pocket only to realize his wallet was missing as well. 'Nice, Maclean. When it comes to children you can be so damn gullible.' He turned in the direction the boy had run off. "Hey! Stop!"
The child gave a frightened look before he broke into a sprint. He ran as fast as his small legs would carry him and Ryo chased after boy, hot in pursuit.
"Wait! I want to help!" The child ignored him, running as fast as he could. Tears began to slide from his eyes and he wiped at them blindly. He dodged his way through a crowd of people and rushed through an intersection on a red light.
"No!" Ryo watched, completely powerless, as cars zoomed by the boy, blowing their horns angrily in passing. The child panicked, eyes wide and frightful and he froze dead in his tracks. A loud blare came from behind him and he turned to see headlights from a truck rushing towards him at an alarming speed. Completely paralysed in fright, the boy's heart iced over with a numbing fear as he stared at the bright beams, knowing that he was about to die.
There was a yell in the distance followed by a rush of air from his lungs as he was pushed out of the way, hitting the ground with another body. He stayed there for a moment, afraid to open his eyes or move an inch.
"Are you okay?" Ryo was breathless as he examined the boy. Narrowly missing the truck as he leaped out to save the child had his heart pounding in his chest. He was just smoothing a hand over the boy's forehead when the hat fell off, revealing a mane of long brown hair. He blinked. Apparently, the child was a young *girl*.
"I…" The girl shivered, her lower lip trembling and a few tears sparkled in her eyes. She remained motionless even as Ryo gently took her in his arms. Unable to keep in the bottled emotions much longer, her small body convulsed as she sobbed against his chest, clutching at him as if he were her lifeline. Ryo held her and spoke in a dulcet tone, trying to calm the girl.
"It's alright. The danger is over." She sniffed and stared at him with green eyes that strangely reminded him of Dee. "What are you doing walking around by yourself, Little Miss?"
The girl smiled at the name but it vanished as her eyes darted around them nervously. Ryo followed her gaze and realized there were a few people gawking, most likely from the earlier commotion. He coughed loudly and the small group began to clear out. The girl's eyes shifted to her hands settled in her small lap.
"I was looking for someone," she said simply. Ryo stood and helped her to her feet.
"Who? Your parents?" Again, the girl frowned when her folks were mentioned.
"I don't have parents anymore. I was looking for my angel." Ryo visibly blanched and she continued, oblivious to the reaction. "I'm sorry for taking your things, mister. I couldn't afford to buy presents so…" she trailed off and wiped a tear from her eye. Ryo sighed. `So, she's an orphan,' he thought. His eyes wandered back to the street where he had dropped his own gifts in a hurry to save the girl, and frowned as tires of passing vehicles flattened the boxes.
"I'm really sorry." The small voice drew his attention back to the girl who held out the package she had stolen from him earlier along with his wallet.
"Don't worry about it." He accepted the wallet but didn't touch the gift. "You can keep this so you'll have something to give to your…um… angel." The girl's eyes brightened and she beamed at the words. Ryo returned the smile, feeling his heart swell at the hopeful expression on her face. "Just promise not to do that again."
"I promise." The girl stared at the gift, grinning from ear to ear. "I can really keep this?"
Ryo nodded and glanced at the package he was going to give his lover. "I don't think Dee would mind." He extended his hand to the girl who accepted it with her own. "How about I take you back to the orphanage? Penguin and the others are probably worried about you."
Time seem to pass by rather quickly on their way to the orphanage. The two of them made quite a pair, chatting back and forth to one another as if they had known each other of years. Ryo found it was almost like talking with a younger version of Cal. This girl, Nina, had been with Penguin for as long as she could remember along with her older brother. The two siblings were involved in a brutal car accident that took the lives of their parents. The incident occurred during the holidays and many claimed it was a miracle that both children had survived the wreckage. Nina believed she was saved by a guardian angel and that he was still watching over both herself and her brother.
Ryo sighed as they approached the orphanage. Nina's story about angels brought back old memories. Since he lost his own parents, he developed a more pragmatic view of the world. And although he didn't out-right not believe in angels, he didn't hold much faith towards such things either. Watching Nina now, he almost envied the way she spoke of them, as though she had no doubt of there existence and that they were as mundane and real as any regular person. The innocence of youth…
"I'm here!" Nina announced her presence as she burst opened the doors to the church, running down the main hallway and around the corner. Ryo jogged a little to keep up to the rambunctious girl. When he heard the small voice cry out `Mother!' he expected to be greeted by Penguin as he made his way around the bend. He didn't anticipate the presence of the other person that stood by the elder woman as she held the child in her arms.
"Dee?" Ryo blinked and approached them. Although unexpected, he couldn't be happier to see his partner. "What are you doing here?"
Both Penguin and Dee were startled when the young girl ran up to them and grasped the nun in a tight embrace. When Ryo's voice drifted in the hallway, Dee stared at him, stunned.
"I could ask you the same question, baby." His expression softened into a smile. "Not that I'm complaining, of course."
"Let me guess," Penguin spoke up, eyeing the girl in a scolding manner. "Nina got herself into trouble and you brought her back here for her own safety." Both Ryo and Nina exchanged knowing glances before Nina averted her gaze, staring at the ground. Ryo gave a small smile, confirming the nun's suspicions.
"I think it's fair to say that sums it up." Penguin sighed and grasped the child by the ear gently. She yelped as woman led her down the hall.
"Nina, I seem to recall telling everyone not to wander too far after dark? And not only do you get into trouble, you have the police escort you home!"
"Wh..wha?" Nina's eyes widened. "It's not like that! Aw, cut it out, Mother!" Penguin continued to lead the girl away with a hidden smile on her face and shook her head disbelievingly. When she waved good-bye to both Ryo and Dee, Nina managed to escape the nun's grasp on her.
"Bye Ryo!" she called out, waving frantically. "Thanks for the present! I'm sure Angel will like it!" And with that she dashed down another hall, causing Penguin chase after her with a weary expression. Dee smirked and glanced at his partner.
"Nice kid," he said with a sly grin. "She seemed like a handful."
Ryo shrugged, heading for the exit. "According to Penguin's horror stories, she wasn't nearly as troublesome as you use to be."
Dee blinked and followed Ryo, bemused. "What horror stories?"
"Like the time you pulled that April Fool's joke on a friend but destroyed the main hall in the process."
"It wasn't destroyed! Just covered in whip cream. And that was an accident!" Ryo snickered and shook his head. Together they made there way out of the neighbourhood and walked down a decorated street, on the way to Ryo's apartment. There was an odd silence and Dee dared a glance at his lover.
"What did she mean?" Ryo blinked and looked at Dee, confused.
"About that stuff on angels." Dee paused for a moment, thoughtful. "Its not every day I hear kids talk about things like that." When Ryo hesitated and averted his gaze, Dee's senses told him something wasn't right. "Ryo?" he persisted.
"She lost her parents when she was really young," Ryo said suddenly. "She has this notion that a guardian angel has been looking out for her."
Dee eyed his partner curiously. "And?"
Ryo hesitated again and regarded him uneasily. "It just reminded me of some things I'd rather forget," he said, and then asked sincerely, "Do you believe in angels, Dee?"
The question seemed to come out of no-where, leaving Ryo's mouth before he even thought of its implications. Dee gave his partner a concerned look but answered truthfully. "Yeah sure. I grew up in a church after all." When Ryo fell silent Dee let out an exasperated sigh. "Are you going to tell me what's wrong?"
"I…" Ryo laughed quietly. "It's nothing, Dee. I guess listening to the way Nina spoke about them brought me back to when I used to feel the same way."
"Kids will do that to ya." Dee shrugged and then added teasingly "Some of us just get more pessimistic in our old age." Ryo's eyes narrowed to little slits.
"What? I'm not a pessimist! Besides, I've only got a year on you, Dee."
Dee grinned, sensing a challenge. "Prove it." He nearly laughed at the bewildered look on his lover's face. "Prove that you're not such a pessimist."
Ryo snorted derisively. "And how would I do that?"
"Well…" Dee shrugged. "Do something spontaneous and carefree. Something that you wouldn't normally do."
Ryo stared at him for a moment and then shrugged. "Fine, I think I will take you up on that challenge, Dee."
Dee grinned toothily. "It'll be good for you. You'll see."
The two made it back to Ryo's building fairly quickly. When they approached the door to the apartment Ryo's face darkened from the rather loud shouts coming from inside.
"I only left them there for less than an hour," he muttered as he fumbled for his keys.
"Maybe it's not as bad as it sounds," Dee remarked. But somehow Ryo doubted those words as he opened the door. They were greeted by the sight of both Bikky and Cal fighting over Christmas gifts underneath the tree. Ryo looked ill as he watched the tree stagger back and forth, on the verge of tumbling over.
"C'mon Bikky! We both know it's mine!" Cal exclaimed, tugging on a wrapped package from one end.
"No way, it's mine!" Bikky snarled back, pulling on the other side. Their struggle caused the sparkling tree to totter dangerously close to falling over.
"What the hell is going on here?" Dee shouted above uproar. Ryo quickly made his way over to steady the tree and eyed both children with a glare that made Bikky's hair stand on end.
"Uh… well…" Bikky flattered under the unusually harsh expression on Ryo's face. "You said that Cal and I can open one present on Christmas Eve so…"
"… we were trying to decide what belongs to who," Cal concluded looking down at her hands. "But I guess we got a little carried away."
"Sorry Ryo," Bikky said apologetically. Ryo sighed, the harsh look on his face softening as he folded his arms across his chest.
"No harm done, Bikky." He glanced at his watch. "It's Christmas Eve for another few minutes. Why don't you go ahead and open one."
Bikky blinked, amazed that he had gotten off so easily and watched as Ryo headed out to the fire escape to get some air. He glared at Dee accusingly.
"What's wrong with Ryo?"
Dee raised an eyebrow. "Don't look at me, brat. Coming home to the racket you guys made probably wasn't very pleasant for him."
Bikky's eyes narrowed defensively. "As if spending the evening with you were any better!"
"Would you two knock it off?" Cal intervened. "I doubt fighting on Christmas Eve would make Ryo very happy. Try to be civil to each other."
Bikky sighed, irritated beyond belief, and fell back onto a pillow, covering his face with his hat. Dee held back his insults and took a deep breath in an effort to stay calm. He eyed the spot where his lover had disappeared to and, after a moment, decided to join him on the fire escape.
Ryo was leaning against the brick wall, lost in thought as he stared out onto the busy streets below him. His smooth honey-brown hair stirred gently in the breeze, and Dee couldn't help but smile as he approached him. A few blocks away, the deep ringing bells of the town clock sounded and Ryo chuckled lightly, leaning into Dee who now stood close to him.
"It's midnight," he said, his eyes never leaving the streets down below.
"Merry Christmas," Dee replied, wrapping an arm around Ryo's waist. "You know, Rose got you a present."
"He did?" Ryo looked at Dee, eyes wide.
"I dumped it by the tree before I came out here." Dee shifted a little, thinking of his next words. "It bugged the hell out of me at first."
Ryo smiled. "Jealous?" he teased gently.
"Of that blond-haired baboon? Not likely," Dee retorted, and then added reluctantly, "Ryo… I just didn't know what to give you. I wanted it to be special—"
"Don't worry about it Dee," Ryo interrupted with a soft laugh. "It looks like we both lucked out there."
Dee stared at him, his green eyes intense as if trying to see right through his lover. Ryo blinked, wondering what was going through Dee's mind when a hand suddenly pulled him closer and Dee touched his forehead to his.
"Close your eyes," he said simply.
Ryo blushed. "Dee?"
"Just do it," he replied with a laugh. Ryo sighed but complied with the wish and shut his eyes. He felt Dee take his hand, put something in his palm, and closed his fingers around the object.
"Open them," Dee said, smiling at the expression on Ryo's face when he did so.
"I can't keep this, Dee." Ryo stared speechless at the shiny object he held, knowing full well how much it meant to his lover.
"It belonged to a good cop and someone I loved. I'd say that description is a perfect match for you." Dee grinned and ran a hand through his hair. "Jess was a rascal, but his heart was always in the right place. I want you to keep this, Ryo."
Ryo smoothed his fingers over the silver watch, studying it in detail. His dark eyes misted over as he looked at Dee. "I don't know what to say. I mean I gave your gift to—"
"It doesn't matter," Dee interrupted.
"It does to me," Ryo murmured beneath his breath. He sighed and turned his gaze onto the streets below when a thought occurred to him. He looked a Dee with an odd smirk. "Maybe I can make it up to you?"
Dee blinked. "Wha?"
"That little challenge you mentioned earlier." Ryo approached the edge of the fire escape, gripping onto the top of the metal bars with both hands. "'Do something spontaneous and carefree'?"
"Uh… Ryo?" Dee said, a little worried. Nothing prepared him for what Ryo did next. He watched in wide-eyed astonishment as his shy lover yelled out over the ledge.
"MERRY CHRISTMAS, NEW YORK!"
"Ryo!" Dee stared, aghast. "What the hell are you doing?"
"WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?" he yelled for all to hear, cheeks colouring on his next words. "BY THE WAY, I LOVE DEE LAYTNER!"
Down below, a neighbouring window opened and an old man's head stuck out. "Maclean! Are you drunk or something? Shut the hell up you lunatic!"
Dee broke out in a fit of laughter at this as Ryo's face turned a deeper shade of red. He walked up to his lover and embraced him from behind. "SORRY, MR. MCCARTHY!" he yelled over his shoulder.
"What the hell's going on out there?" Bikky shouted from inside. Ryo laughed lightly, embarrassed.
"So much for a quiet night," he said, turning to face Dee.
"You started it," Dee chided with a soft smile. "You know, that little stunt said a lot more than you probably realize. You're not one to announce something like that to the entire neighbourhood."
Ryo chuckled but said nothing, content to stay there with Dee and watch the snowfall. Couples walked by down below and Ryo held onto Dee even tighter. Spending Christmas with him was all that he really wanted. And Dee felt the same way.
Author's note: Let me know what you think if you read the story. I like feedback!