An alternate ending to Act 6. What if Dee hadn't listened to Ryo's pleas? What if the bullet had hit Ryo, instead of the wall?
Torn apart by guilt, Dee can only watch as the trust he shared with Ryo crumbles away, leaving their growing relationship a broken and shattered one. And when Ryo announces that he's leaving, it looks like all of Dee's hopes for a future with the man he loves have become impossible to achieve. With only himself to blame for the turn of events, Dee searches frantically for Ryo, only to find that his old partner seems to have disappeared for good. Is this the end of their crime busting team? Has Dee's mistake cost him his dream of being with Ryo?
As events unfold, two hearts are broken….
Chapter Eight; Alcohol And Kisses
Dee entered the building that was home to Star Investigations less than gracefully that morning. Stumbling up the stairs, he groaned quietly, pressing a hand to his head as if it would shut up the marching band he was sure was playing in there. He felt like crap…and having Bikky and Carol in band uniforms, hammering away at those drums, wasn't helping any.
Of course, he reflected, maybe if he'd actually got any real sleep last night he wouldn't have been feeling quite as close to a vampire bat this morning. But hearing your true love tell you he practically hated you and that he'd never love you didn't really bring on the most brilliant dreams in the world.
Dee had finally given up on getting any sleep at around 1am…at which point he'd found himself ringing Amanda's hotel room and asking her to come over. To her credit, the blonde had turned up at his door less than five minutes later, despite her previous threats of what would happen if Dee rang her after midnight.
A few tears and quite a few mumbled curses later, Dee had finally poured out the whole sorry tale to Amanda, who'd just sat there for a moment, mouth open. Dee had just been wondering what was meant to happen next when he'd had a bottle of beer shoved into his hand. Looking up, he'd been faced with the sight of Amanda practically emptying his minibar, and with a shrug he'd simply downed his own drink, deciding that it would be far more fun to join her than sit here moping all night.
Which led him up to the present. Waking up after passing out sometime after his 12th bottle, Dee had found himself alone with a note from Amanda saying that she'd gone back to her room to change and she'd pay half the drinks bill when the hotel sent the tab.
It definitely wasn't fair, he mused. He'd never thought he'd see the day when a woman outdrank him, and for her to then merely go to work the next day hangover-free was simply a kick in the…
His thoughts broke off as he heard footsteps, and he glanced wearily up the stairs to see Alex coming down, file in hand. Catching sight of his new colleague, Alex shook his head, sighing.
"Drinking with Amanda, right?" He said simply, not really needing to say anything else. Dee nodded glumly, cursing when the movement sent a sharp spike of agony through his poor brain.
"Yeah…how did you know?"
"Trust me, if you'd seen Amanda this morning you wouldn't need to ask." Alex snorted, carrying on down past him.
Dee brightened slightly at the words. So she hadn't got away scot-free after all? There was indeed a God!
"Oh, and by the way, I'd speed up if I were you. Randy can't stand people being late, even if he likes them. So in your case…." Alex didn't get a chance to say anything else. Dee was already up the stairs like a rocket, hand clapped over his mouth in an attempt not to throw up.
"Wonderful. Not only do I get saddled with you as my partner, I have to put up with you turning up late with a hangover too." Ryo commented scornfully, lips curled in distaste as Dee stood there awkwardly. He guessed the other man didn't really know how to react around him after yesterday's little episode, but found himself unable to particularly care. If he had the gall to turn up to work 15 minutes late looking like he was going to collapse any minute, then he definitely didn't deserve even the smallest shred of compassion from him.
"Well, what have you got to say for yourself? And you'd better have read that file I gave you!" Ryo said threateningly, glaring at his dark haired partner. Dee's head shot up at his words, an indignant expression on his face.
"Of course I did!" He protested hotly. "Believe it or not, I know when you've got to take things serious…ow! My head…"
Watching Dee wince and collapse back into his chair groaning, Ryo sighed and moved to his desk, pulling open a drawer and beginning to rummage through it. Finally locating what he'd been searching for, he pulled it out and tossed it to Dee. Automatically raising a hand to catch it, Dee blinked as he saw what it was.
"Aspirin?" He questioned. Ryo shrugged, dropping down into his own seat.
"Extra strong. They'll get rid of the worst of your hangover for sure. Just trust me on this." Dee frowned slightly at the certainty he heard in the other's voice, but dismissed it, tipping two pills out of the packet and swallowing them without water.
"Thanks." Throwing the packet back to Ryo, Dee smiled at his old partner, even when Ryo only gave him a cold look in return. Ryo had cared enough to put him out of his misery, and for now, that was enough for Dee.
"I know you're just going to jump down my throat for saying this, but…why do you accept all these cases? I mean, fair enough, some of them are important. But ones like this!" Dee gave the file he was studying a disgusted look.
Waiting for the short, icy comment he was sure was going to come from Ryo, Dee was surprised when the blonde simply chuckled lowly, raising his head from his own work to regard Dee.
"I have to admit, I agree with you about this case." He confessed. "I don't think that someone being paranoid that their husband is stalking the neighbour's dog really merits our attention, but we have no choice. Star Investigations never turn down a case."
"Do you always get cases this weird?" Dee asked hesitantly, afraid that he'd just said the wrong thing and that this friendly moment was going to suddenly end. But to his relief, Ryo merely shook his head, not looking like he was going to bite Dee's head off anytime soon.
"No. My last one was a routine mugging case. The police gave up on it after only a few days of investigation, so the victim came to us for help. I tracked down the mugger and arranged for the police to arrest him, handing over my information for processing. Although…"
"Although?" Dee prompted, not wanting this to end.
"…although, you should have seen the case we got a few weeks before that. A guy was convinced that his girlfriend was a drug addict, and asked us to trail her and find out who her supplier was, so that she'd be forced to go cold turkey."
"And?" Dee asked, not sure why Ryo thought this case was weird.
"Well, when we asked him why he thought his wife was on drugs, he told us that he'd found cranberry juice in her refrigerator. He thought she was drinking it to cover up a drugs test." Ryo finished, his mouth quirking into a smile.
Dee stared at him for a moment, before starting to laugh uncontrollably, breath hitching from the force of his laughter.
"You're kidding me!" He gasped. Ryo chuckled, shaking his head.
"And you seriously accepted that!"
"Well, we didn't really put a whole lot of effort into it, if you know what I mean. We had Lisa trail her for a grand total of two days, and told the poor guy a week later that she hadn't been anywhere near drugs whilst we were trailing her, and that he must have been mistaken. But that's not the end of the story."
"There's more?" Dee choked out, briefly wondering if your sides really could split from laughing too much.
"Well, a few days later, we had the girlfriend come in saying that she'd felt like someone was watching her a few days back, and that she thought she was being stalked. Turned out that Lisa's really bad at trailing people, and that she was the 'stalker'." Ryo laughed.
That was it. Dee couldn't take it anymore. Clutching at his stomach, he laughed so hard that he fell off his chair, where he curled himself into a ball on the floor, still shaking helplessly with the strength of his giggles.
"Dee? Are you alright?" Ryo asked, standing up quickly to see.
Dee nodded, pushing himself up into a sitting position.
"Yeah. Yeah, I'm fine, buddy. I missed you, you know?"
Ryo froze, dark eyes widening as he suddenly realised what was happening. For a moment, it had almost felt like they were back at the 27th precinct, and like a fool he'd let himself believe in that illusion. But it wasn't like that now, was it? Slowly sitting back down, Ryo absently fingered the scar on his chest through his shirt, expression almost visibly closing off.
"We haven't got time for this. Get back to work, Dee." He said shortly, turning to his computer and focusing all of his attention on the words dancing on the screen. Dee's laughter instantly died, and he got to his feet, staring awkwardly at Ryo.
"For the last time, it's Randy now."
Dee sat down and got back to work without another word.
The rest of the day passed agonisingly slowly for Dee, each second seeming to last a lifetime. The other man seemed to have decided that treating him more coldly than ever would make up for the brief moment he'd let his guard down earlier, and Dee had been forced to feel like the chewing gum stuck on someone's shoe ever since then.
"You're free to go now, Dee. Workday's over." Ryo said, looking up from the mass of paper he'd surrounded himself with and saying the first civil words he'd said to Dee since that morning. Dee nodded, standing up and grabbing his coat from the peg in the wall. Pausing, he turned to face Ryo questioningly.
"You're not coming?"
"I have nothing to do, so I might as well stay here and get a little more done." Ryo replied expressionlessly, jotting down a few notes on a piece of paper.
"Not even a date?" Dee asked warily. Ryo's head shot up, and he was opening his mouth to say something that from the look on his face wouldn't be pleasant when they were suddenly interrupted.
"Randy Maclean, on a date? Don't make me laugh. In all the time he's worked here, I've never heard of him dating even one girl." Daniel smirked, leaning against the doorframe as he ignored the poisonous look being sent his way courtesy of Ryo.
"Oh come on Dan, be fair. I'm sure he's gone out with a few. Like….umm…or…..oh. I think you were right. He hasn't dated anyone." Andrew said thoughtfully, allowing his boyfriend to wrap his arms around his waist and pull him back against him.
"Thanks Andrew, for your spirited defence of me." Ryo said sarcastically. Andrew shrugged, a faint blush spreading across his cheeks as Dan leaned forward to nip at his ear.
"Sorry, Randy. But it's true – you haven't gone out with anyone. And we should know, being your best friends and all."
"Yeah, about that…why exactly are you here?"
"Oh, Andy! Randy doesn't care about us anymore!" Daniel wailed, burying his face in Andrew's shoulder. Dee sweatdropped, wondering how on earth two people so different could possibly be a couple.
"Come on Dan, just answer the question." Ryo groaned, waiting for his friend to surface. From the way Andrew was beginning to squirm, it appeared that hiding wasn't the only thing Dan was doing there.
Finally pulling back, Dan shrugged, a wicked grin dancing over his lips.
"We were just going to ask if you two wanted to join us tonight. Everyone's going out for drinks so that we can get to know each other better, so we were wondering whether…"
"I'm in." Dee grinned, last night's hangover a distant memory due to Ryo's miracle-working aspirin.
"Great! Randy?" Andrew inquired, looking at Ryo pleadingly. Dee was about to jump in and say that Ryo had never gone out with the guys and got drunk, so there was no point asking, when Ryo suddenly shocked him beyond all reason.
Wheeling round, Dee gaped at his old partner.
"What the…you hardly ever touch the stuff!" He gasped. Dan laughed.
"Are you sure you have the right person? Have you ever seen him drink?"
Dee's mouth worked silently as he tried to take it all in. Ryo just smirked, brushing a few golden strands of hair out of his eyes.
"Things change, Dee. We going now, Andrew?"
"Hey! Why didn't you ask me? I'm the one in control here! Andy's the submissive one!"
"Dan…" Andrew whimpered, hiding his face in his hands.
"You really just don't get the term 'too much information', do you Dan?" Ryo commented, shaking his head slightly.
"So this is Silk, huh?" Dee commented, glancing round at the elegant bar interior. "Nice." He wasn't trying to suck up to his new friends – Silk was genuinely a nice bar. With its classy black décor, Silk somehow seemed more exclusive than other places, whilst at the same time maintaining a sense of casualness and relaxation. There weren't too many people here either – hidden down a narrow, winding flight of steps in the middle of the street, most people would have completely missed Silk. If Dee hadn't been with the others, he was sure he would have too.
"Hey, they have a dance floor!" Amanda grinned, tossing her hair back over her shoulder. Alex smiled at her excitement.
"Yes, it was only added recently. And because its not too busy here, you can actually dance without getting shoved over by some overenthusiastic couple…in other words, Dan and Andrew."
"Hey, we told you were sorry!" Dan protested, wrapping an arm around Andrew's shoulders. "It only happened once!"
"Trust me, once was more than enough. I had bruises for a week!"
As the two men argued, Drake and JJ shot each other a look that told the other in no uncertain terms that they'd be out there tonight, one way or another.
"So where are we sitting? Usual spot?" Andrew asked. Alex did a quick head count and shook his head.
"No, our table's not big enough to fit eight people there. We'll have to use one of the booths at the back."
"It's a good thing that the others couldn't come – we'd have had to use two tables. And that defeats the point of getting to know each other." Dan observed.
"Yeah, why didn't they come?" Dee asked, moving towards the back tables with the rest of the group.
Andrew shrugged, holding up a hand and beginning to count off.
"Well, Jake and Sarah wanted to finish up their paperwork…Matthew didn't come in today because he was sick, and as for Lisa and your friend Ted…let's just say that I'd pray for him if I were you."
"Well, when Lisa told Ted earlier that she went to a club every Thursday night, he jumped all over the idea, and made her promise to take him with her. I don't think he realised that she was talking about the Intensive Body Combat course at the gym." Andrew explained. Everyone from the 27th precinct groaned, thinking that that was just like their flirtatious, yet not overly bright, redheaded friend.
As the group slid into a fairly large booth at the back, Dan stood up and waved the waitress over, winking saucily at her when she came immediately.
"Hey, Rosalyn. Good night tonight?" He asked. The girl laughed, shaking her head at the playful tone he'd adopted.
"If I didn't know you were gay, Daniel Parry, I'd have thought you were flirting with me! Now what do you and your new friends want to drink?"
"I'll have a Bloody Mary tonight, and Andrew wants a…"
"Right…and the rest of you?"
"White Russian for me please." Alex decided.
"I'll take a Vodka Martini, if you do them." Said Amanda.
"Plain beer for me, thanks. Cocktails don't do anything for me." Drake chuckled.
"Same for me." JJ murmured, shooting Drake a shy smile.
"Right…and the last two?" Rosalyn asked, jotting down the requests on a pad of paper.
"Beer for me too, please." Dee grinned.
"Normal please, Rosalyn. I'll start off with a Vana Tallinn." Ryo stated.
As the waitress bustled away, Dee turned to Ryo with a confused look on his face, forgetting for a moment that he was probably going to get his head bitten off again.
"Vana Tallinn? What's that? I've never heard of it before."
"It's a type of Estonian liquor, a sort of herbal spirit." Dan jumped in before Ryo could answer. "It's the strongest alcohol in the world – 98 percent."
"98 percent!" Drake yelped in shock. "That's crazy! How can you drink that?"
"Randy here's the only one in the group who can." Andrew said almost proudly.
"Hey, it's not like that's all I drink! That would be suicide! I just start off with one before moving onto the other drinks…" Ryo protested.
They carried on talking until their drinks arrived, where the members of the 27th precinct watched in awe as Ryo downed his drink in two gulps, shuddering as the strong liquor blazed its way down his throat.
"Ok…that was good. Think I'll go order another drink now." He smiled, getting up and moving over to the bar.
To most of the group's surprise, after Ryo got his drink he stayed there, seating himself on one of the stools next to the bar and drumming his fingers to the music playing. Seeing the four bewildered expressions, Alex simply shook his head, shrugging.
"He always does that. Randy seems to prefer drinking alone most of the time. Whenever we go out, he'll have the first drink with us, then spend the rest of the evening at the bar."
"And you're ok with that?" Amanda asked.
"Sure. If that's what Randy likes best, then let him. It's not like he ignores us after that first drink – if we go over to talk to him, he'll answer. It's fine." Andrew claimed.
"Well, except for that one time some idiot tried to spike his drink. Luckily, we realised what was happening before the guy got him out of here though, so nothing happened." Dan murmured. Dee bristled in anger at the thought of someone trying to take advantage of Ryo, but quickly got himself under control, reminding himself that Alex, Andrew and Dan had been there to look out for him.
"But anyway…cheers guys!" Amanda said brightly, raising her Vodkatini.
"Shouldn't we stop him?" Dee asked a few hours later, glancing over at Ryo in concern. The blonde had been steadily downing drink after drink since they'd got here, and by now most people would have been on the floor. However, even if Ryo hadn't collapsed yet, he was still slouched over the bar, swaying dangerously back and forth on his stool.
"He'll be fine. He always does this when we go out. If we went out more often, I'd be worried, but since we don't…he's not an alcoholic or anything. He just goes a bit crazy from time to time." Daniel said confidently.
"But seriously! He's fine? He's just had more than two week's worth of units in one go!" Dee exclaimed, shooting Ryo another anxious look. The Japanese-American's head was dipping now, and Rosalyn was moving over to him.
"You ok, Randy? I think you've had enough for tonight." She murmured gently. Ryo shrugged, shakily pulling out his wallet.
"Just one more, Rosalyn. Van…Vana Tally, Vana Talon…Vana T, please." He slurred. Rosalyn raised an eyebrow.
"You're sure, Randy?"
"Hey Dan…maybe he's not fine after all. I mean, another Vana Tallinn…?" Andrew said nervously. Daniel snorted.
"Relax, Andy. Randy will be fine…" He smiled, gesturing to where Ryo was just pouring his newly arrived drink down his throat.
"See? Totally…whoa!" Dan yelped as Ryo suddenly started to slip back off his stool, the three men still seated at the table rushing forward to catch him before he hit the floor.
"Ok, so maybe not fine." Daniel said sheepishly, laughing nervously in the face of both Andrew and Dee's fiery glares.
Shifting Ryo in his arms to get the blonde into a more comfortable position, Dee shot his colleagues a questioning look.
"So now what? What usually happens after Ry…Randy collapses?"
"We normally all get a taxi home, and drop him off at his place on the way." Andrew murmured, frowning slightly. "But we can't all fit in one tonight…we'll have to take two."
Leaving Ryo with Dee and Dan, Andrew moved through the bar to get to the small throng of people on the dance floor, squeezing past the moving couples to find his other four friends. Amanda had dragged Alex out there earlier after Dee had declined, and Drake and JJ had quickly followed, laughing and pretending that it was all a big joke.
"Guys! Alex! Amanda! Drake! JJ! Dan and me are heading back now with Randy, ok? See you tomorrow!" Andrew called.
"Sure thing, Andrew." Alex panted, trying to desperately to keep up with Amanda's wild movements. "We probably won't stay that much longer anyway."
Nodding, Andrew squeezed his way back to the other three, experienced eyes easily seeing the way Dee held Ryo, as if he could protect him from everything.
"They said it's fine. You coming with us, Dee?"
Dee nodded, gazing down at the limp form in his arms.
Halfway through the taxi ride, Ryo woke up, although he didn't pose much trouble to his three mostly sober friends. He just sat there quietly leaning on Daniel's shoulder, chuckling softly to himself every now and then, or occasionally murmuring something too quiet to really hear.
When the taxi pulled up outside the first address Andrew had given the driver, Dee instantly opened the door, getting out and indicating for the other two to pass Ryo to him.
"Uh, Dee? You don't even know which one's his apartment." Andrew gently reminded him, even as Dan started coaxing Ryo out of the taxi.
"Well, tell me and I'll take him up for you." Dee grinned, silently sending up a prayer. If he could just know where Ryo lived, maybe one day he'd be able to accidentally meet up with him and make amends somehow.
"I don't know…he's clearly not that comfortable around you, so you knowing his address may freak him out…" Andrew said uneasily. Dan paused, clearly starting to think around his boyfriend's line of thought.
"Um…well…if you let me take Randy up, you and Dan can have some time to yourselves!" Dee finally crowed triumphantly, practically seeing the way Daniel's ears perked up at the idea. He hadn't been able to really do much with Andrew all night, so…
"Come on, Andy, it won't hurt to let him."Daniel said hurriedly, quickly hooking one of Ryo's arms round Dee's shoulders and pushing the blonde gently into Dee's waiting arms. "Apartment 501."
"Thanks." Dee grinned, beginning to slowly guide Ryo across the pavement and into the building. Behind him, he could hear Andrew hotly protesting to Daniel…however, those protests were cut off with a squawk only moments later.
"501…501…ah! Here it is!" Propping the compliant Ryo against the hallway wall, Dee smiled apologetically at him and stuck his hand into the blonde's trouser pocket, rummaging around for his keys.
"They're in my coat pocket." Ryo murmured, dark eyes twinkling with amusement as Dee hurriedly withdrew his hand to search in the right pocket.
"Right. Sorry about that." Dee muttered, blushing slightly as he unlocked the door and helped Ryo inside.
"I'm not." Dee didn't have time to wonder what Ryo had meant before lips were suddenly crushed against his, their owner wrapping his arms around Dee's neck. For a moment, Dee instinctively welcomed them, loving the way Ryo tasted after all this time.
But then he tasted the alcohol in Ryo's mouth, and despite how every part of his body called out against it, he pulled back, shaking his head.
"No…stop it, Ryo…you're drunk…" He protested quietly, gently pushing Ryo away. Ryo frowned, trying again.
"'M not. And why should it matter?"
"Because you'll regret this in the morning." Dee said firmly, guiding Ryo to sit safely down on the couch before the blonde could react. Ryo stared at him, dark eyes almost impossibly wide.
"You don't want me?" H whispered, seemingly stricken. Dee was at his side in an instant, wrapping a comforting arm around Ryo and placing a soft kiss on his forehead.
"Of course I want you, Ryo. I've wanted you ever since I first met you. But if I went ahead now, it would be wrong. It may not feel like it now, but trust me, you'll hate both me and yourself in the morning."
Ryo blinked, gazing quietly at him for a moment before smiling softly.
"Ok. Night, Dee." He murmured, lying down. Dee chuckled, getting up and draping the throw over Ryo. Taking one last look at the unguarded Ryo, he left the apartment, locking the door behind him and posting the key back through the letterbox.
"Dee? Are you ok?" Andrew asked in concern when Dee finally arrived back at the taxi. "You look a little flushed…"
"I'm fine, Andrew…just…let's just go home." Dee said quietly, gazing out the window as the taxi pulled away, eyes never leaving the window that belonged to Ryo's apartment.
Well...after several months of solid exams, coursework and revision, I'm back everybody! I'm so sorry for leaving this on hiatus so long! In case anyone was wondering, the Vana Tallinn is actually a real drink. And that story about the husband being so suspicious over cranberry juice is also real - it actually made it all the way to court. On the subject of Dan and Andrew...I've fallen in love with my own characters, LOL. The more I write them, the more tempted I am to write a spin off series on them. Which would never work, but hey, a girl can dream.
Please read and review - the more work I have to put in replying, the better I feel. And question...would you guys prefer that I keep posting replies here, or reply directly to you?
Blood Tears Dying Angel - Oh yeah - Ryo's definitely warming up now...just look at the end of the latest chapter!
Dementia-12 - I'm so happy that you like it! And I'm sorry I left you hanging so long!
Lady-Willowish - Yes, Ryo is being a bit on the dumb side, isn't he? And I actually really enjoyed writing in Ryo POV. But since I seem to write better when in Dee's, I think I'm stuck in it now. Boo.
AeryonSun - You liked? That makes me so happy! And I included that chapter to show what Ryo's actually like, so I'm glad it went over ok!
yaoinut - Sorry I kept you waiting! And will they get back together? The answer is...I can't tell you. You'll have to keep reading.
sohma-kitty-10-14 - No problem! DrakexJJ is a couple that grew on me over time, and I just had to include them here. And Ryo? Jealous? Never...he was never jealous in the manga, was he? (winks)
GreenEyedFloozy - Sorry I didn't update very quickly...and oh. Thanks for the explanation. I feel a failure as a female now...but since I'm fairly lucky in that department, I guess I have an excuse.
CosmicEssence - I hope this wasn't crappy...I really do. I'm glad you liked that little exchange as well...Ryo's definitely a master at fooling himself, but hopefully he'll get a clue soon!
Ryo - Sorry I keep taking so long to update! Thanks for your comments, and I'm glad you like it!
Time-Again - I am happy to inform you that I have just got out of hospital after last week's attack. I am considering a restraining order too, LOL. Wolfe, however, gets a cookie for saving me! Glad you liked it!
Anime-Lover-95 - ...Oh no. I took so long to update...are you still alive? And you're not a murderer now are you? (Hides)