Courage and Fear

Notes/Disclaimer: Short, sweet, and VERY sappy. Hope you like it anyway. Sanami Matoh owns FAKE, not me, but you probably already knew that.

Dee flinched as the medic pulled the final loop of the bandage tight around his ribs and tied it off neatly. "There you go," the woman said cheerfully. "That should heal in no time and probably won't give you any trouble. Just don't do any heavy lifting for a while, 'kay?"

Dee nodded and stood, wincing slightly. He thanked the woman and walked back over to where Ryo was waiting with the car. "All set!" Dee said with a smile, opening the passenger side door and sliding in.

Ryo was a little slower in entering the car and when he finally did, he sat stiffly in the driver's seat and stared straight ahead, his hands clenched tightly on the steering wheel. Wordlessly he shifted the car into drive and pulled out of the parking spot, heading home.

Dee watched what was left of the crime scene as they passed it. Everything was pretty much wrapped up now, and the Cheif had told him to go home. There was nothing more that he could do. The blue and red flashing lights of the ambulance illuminated the side of Ryo's face as they drove by, and Dee noticed again how stiff he looked.

"You okay?" Dee asked.

Ryo gave one sharp shake of his head, but didn't reply verbally. Dee took this to mean, 'Yes, but I'm driving now so we'll talk about it later.' Even though he and Ryo had only been lovers a short while now, it was getting really easy to read him. Dee thought that was a good sign. This, however, was probably bad. Dee wondered uncharitably what he had done wrong now.

When they reached the apartment, Dee followed Ryo up the stairs and into the room in time to see Ryo slam the bedroom door shut. He winced. He had been hoping to get a little sympathy loving because of his wound, but it didn't look like that was going to happen any time soon. He sighed and went over to the door, knocking lightly.

There was no answer, so Dee went in. Ryo had already changed into his pajama bottoms and had removed his shirt, exposing the lean expanse of his back to Dee. It was a pleasing sight, one that was becoming familiar as Dee got to know Ryo's body better. He smiled to himself before schooling his expression so that Ryo wouldn't have another reason to yell at him.

"So, what's wrong?" he asked.

Ryo pulled on his night shirt angrily and whirled around. "You!" he said. "You and your stupid risks! I can't believe you went and got yourself shot like that. You're such a fucking idiot!"

Dee was slightly confused. Okay, so he had to admit, provoking a man who was waving a gun around probably wasn't the smartest thing he could have done. But it was obvious that he didn't have the nerve to really kill anyone, and after shooting Dee he had been so jarred by the sight of blood that he had given up not only the location of the drugs, but the names of a bunch of higher-ups, too. So it had been a success in the end.

"It was just a grazing," he said patiently in the face of Ryo's fury, "barely a scratch. And it got the job done."

"It was still an incredibly stupid risk! One you could have easily avoided!"

Dee rolled his eyes. "Ryo, police work is dangerous, especially in New York. You know that. And I'm the kind of cop who takes big risks. No risk, no reward. You also know that. So what's your problem?"

"God, I can't believe you don't get it! You're such a fucking moron!" Ryo turned away from him again and sat on the edge of the bed, radiating indignance.

Dee rubbed at his temples. Sometimes Ryo could be worse than a woman. Especially when he was offended. He sighed and sat next to Ryo on the bed, putting a hand on his shoulder. Ryo shrugged it off.

"Look," said Dee, "we both know I'm an idiot. So how about you give me a break here and explain it in simple words?"

Dee tried again to place his hand on Ryo's shoulder, and found to his surprise that Ryo's whole body was shaking. He started to get worried. "Ryo?" he said softly. "Come on, man. Tell me."

"It's... it's stupid," Ryo muttered. "You'll think I'm overreacting."

'I already think that,' Dee wanted to say, but he figured that wouldn't go over well. Instead he said, "Well, we'll never know until you tell me what's bothering you. So spill it."

"It's just..." Ryo turned to face him, and to Dee's dismay he saw that his lover looked honestly scared. "What if he had shot you?" he said, his voice urgent. "What if it hadn't just been a grazing? I don't... I care about you, Dee, a lot. You know that. I just... I don't know what I'd do without you if you died. And I know police work is dangerous and all that, and it's stupid of me to worry about it, but you practically jumped in front of his gun! I mean, is it too much to ask for you to be a little bit careful? Doesn't..." and here his voice dropped to an embarrassed whisper, "doesn't it mean anything to you that you have someone to come home to now?"

Suddenly Dee felt like a real heel. "Aw geeze, Ryo," he said. "Look, I... I didn't mean that I don't care about you or anything. You know me. I just act on impulse. I know it was stupid, but I do that kind of thing because it works."

Ryo said nothing, just stared at the floor as though the carpet would reveal some huge, important secret to him.

Dee moved his hand to Ryo's other shoulder, wrapping his lover in a partial embrace. "Look," he said quietly, "if it makes you feel better, I promise I'll try to be more careful, okay?"

"It would," Ryo muttered. "Make me feel better, I mean."

Dee smiled and kissed his cheek. "Okay then. So, are you still mad at me?"

He could see Ryo's resolve weaking as he fought between his love for Dee and his desire to stay angry. The love won out.

"I guess not," he said.

"Good." Without warning, Dee pushed Ryo down onto the bed and gave him an intense kiss. "Because all this emotional talk has made me horny."

Ryo rolled his eyes. "You're always horny," he said. "Didn't that paramedic tell you not to do anything strenuous?"

"Nuh-uh," said Dee. "She just told me not to do any heavy lifting. And since you're going to be on the bottom, I don't see where there's any problem with that."

Ryo flushed crimson, his eyes roaming over Dee's body. They paused when they got to the bandage, and he reached out lightly to touch the wound. "Does it hurt?" he asked softly.

Dee reached over and took Ryo's hand in his, kissing the knuckles. "I'll be fine," he said, staring into Ryo's eyes. "I promise. I'll be okay."

"I love you," Ryo said suddenly.

Dee smiled and leaned down to kiss him. "I love you too."

Oh God, that was hideous. Take me back.
Oh God, that was hideous. Let me complain to the author.