Choose

By SinnamonGirl

Summary: An alternate version of Act 14, book 5. When Ryo comes onto Dee following his run-in with Leo, he forces the dark-haired detective to make a very difficult decision.

Rated T for mature situations and language.

I apologize for another out-of-character and hard-to-love Ryo, but I had to get the story out just the same! also, sorry the bedroom scene isn't much... but I wanted the emotions to mean more than the act.

Disclaimer: Fake belongs to Sanami Matoh.

The door creaked open and Dee thought that he really needed to remember to oil the hinges. Then the cold air hit him - the apartment was always cold in the evenings and he left the heat down when he wasn't home. "Hoo-wah! It's chilly!" He stopped at the table to undoe his tie and his gun holster, unbuttoning the top of his shirt. He hated work shirts, how they clung to his neck.

He turned to Ryo who was still in the doorway, hesitating on he threshhold. "Why don't you go warm up?" he asked his partner, seeing Ryo pale with his hair rain-slicked to his head."Take a shower or something.I'll lend you some of my stuff to wear." He almost smiled at the thought,knowing his sleeves would dangle past Ryo's fingertips and the edges of his pants would drag on the floor.

Finally, Ryo closed the door and came inside, the door protesting with its usual creak. "And if you're going to stay the night," Dee said over his shoulder. "Give Bikky a heads-up, okay? Don't want him to worry." He doubted his partner was ready to face the kid yet. Bikky was astute at reading human emotion (it was a survival skill for him) and would know at one glance that Ryo was upset. Beyond upset, Dee thought. I think he's in shock.

Seeing as no answer was forthcoming, Dee decided to step lightly around his partner's obvious distress and try to play things off as if they were normal. "Here, let me get you a towel or something. I think I threw one in this drawer." Living alone, he didn't have a designated place for any of the laundry - he simply tossed it here or there and then dug it back out when the need arose. He was sure there were socks or boxers pigeon-holed somewhere that he hadn't seen in years.

He turned, almost walking into Ryo, towel in hand. "Here ya go. I'll bring you a change of clothes la--" and his voice cut off as Ryo's hands grasped the edges of his shirt, as Ryo's blond head came to rest gently against his chest.Dee closed his eyes against his vulnerability as if against too strong a light.

"Dee... I..."

Dee barely caught the words. "What?" he asked, putting a hand around his shoulder - friend-to-friend. "I can't hear you, bud. Are you all right?" It was obvious that Ryo was anything but all right, but maybe if he voiced the question, his friend would open up to him.

"I want to stay the night. I want to stay with you."

They were the words that Dee had been waiting nearly two years to hear, but Ryo's tone - simultaneously dead and aching - only made his heart sink. "Hmm?" Dee murmured, caught off-guard. Ryo never asked to stay with him, and he certainly never put his arms around him without Dee embracing him first. "Well, okay, why don't you give Bikky a call and then - hey!"

The cry was involuntary, but Ryo was holding tight to him now, his wet clothes dampening Dee's shirt, his hips pressing into Dee's. And then Ryo's hands - his long fingers - were wrapped in the silky material of Dee's shirt, pulling him down, pulling him into a kiss. Ryo's tongue was in his mouth - testing, tasting, exploring.

"Ryo!" he tried to say more but it came out as a moan an he found himself giving in to the one kiss he had always wanted - Ryo's kiss given to him. He wrapped his arms around his partner and kissed back, holding him, smelling the rain on his skin, tasting the warmth of his mouth.

When Ryo drew back for a moment, Dee threw up a hand, catching him under the chin."Hold on a minute," he began, trying to pause a situation that was spinning wildly out of control."W-wait! Hold on Ryo!"

Dee pushed him away at last, Ryo's fingers still clinging to the edges of his shirt even as he backed away. "What's the matter? You're acting weird."

Ryo's eyes were on the floor. "Go ahead, Dee. Do it." It was an order, a command, a challenge and Dee stared, stunned, knowing (and hating the knowledge) that Ryo didn't love him.

"I don't mind," Ryo continued, eyes still turned, oblivious to Dee's pain. "If you did it to me now... I wouldn't care at all."

Dee passed quickly from stunned into angry and his fists clenched at his sides. He turned his head, smiling a bitter smile, and laughed, once, at himself. "Heh." Then his hand lashed out, breaching the distance between them, and his now-unbuttoned shirt flared with the violence of the motion. He heard his hand connect with his partner's face and saw Ryo's face turn with the force of the blow.

"Asshole. Didn't I tell you before never to patronize me?"

Ryo stood facing him, his cheek turning red. "Dee?"

Dee turned to find the towel he'd been holding and threw at his partner, shaking with burning anger and loss. He'd always held out hope for Ryo's affection and now even that was gone. "Now, go get in the fucking shower and stop acting like a whore when you're not one!"

Ryo dropped the towel to the floor and shook his head, pressing a hand to his aching cheek. "No."

"Yes," Dee told him, waving him off."Go on."

Ryo closed the distance between them, reestablishing his hold on Dee's shirt. "Make love to me, Dee." Dee struggled out of his hold, backing up until he hit a table. Ryo followed him, step for step."Dee, why are you running?"

Dee threw his head, tossing his hair from his face, trying to drive the smell of Ryo from his nostrils, to will the feeling of Ryo out of his flesh. "You don't love me! You just want me to help you feel better! I don't do pity-fucks, Ryo!"

Ryo's dark eyes had taken on a dangerous glitter. "All this time you've said you wanted me,"

Dee had never heard his partner sound cold or threatening, but he wasn't about to back down in the face of Ryo's anger. "Not like this!" he insisted. "I've never wanted you like this! You don't even know what the hell you're saying!"

Ryo seethed quietly. "I know exactly what I'm saying, Dee. Now, either do this for me, or I'll find someone who will." His words were soft, but deadly serious, a warning growl.

Dee almost laughed. His laughter would have held an edge of hysteria in it, but shock won out over dark humor. "What the hell, Ryo? Who are you going to find? I love you, Ryo. Don't look like that - you know it's true. If the man who loves you says no - who the hell are you going to get?"

"Commissioner Rose." He ignored Dee's gasp, reaching into his pocket. He held his cell phone up a minute later, Rose's name and number glowing on the screen. "Do you think he'll say no, Dee?"

Dee was visibly shaken; his olive skin had taken on a sickly green cast."R-Ryo?"

Ryo was already backing up; the gauntlet had been thrown.

"Rose doesn't love you!" Dee burst out, knowing the words for ridiculous before he even got them out.

Ryo shrugged. "And you do. But you don't want to make love to me."

"I do," Dee protested, feeling far more helpless than he had when he had held Ryo in the rain after Leo had driven away. Ryo was never cruel.

Seeing his hesitation, Ryo stepped forward and caught him lips again. Dee jerked away, stopping at arms length before caressing his cheek."I do want you. But not like this, Ryo. I'm not going to let you use sex to get away from your problems."

Ryo nodded, once, accepting. "All right. I'm going then."

Dee looked as if he might cry. "To Rose?"

"Yes."

Dee let him get out the door and halfway down the steps before giving chase. "Ryo - wait!"

The blond stopped, turned. "You can't let him win, can you?"

Dee knew that this was Ryo's way of slapping him in the face - of marking Dee the same way that Dee had marked him. "I won't lose you." He grabbed his partner's arm in a grip that was less than gentle. "Come back inside." If this is how I have to prove myself to you, Ryo, he thought, then I will.

"You'll do what I asked?"

"Yes."

Ryo followed him back up the stairs in silence.

Dee trembled in the darkness of his bedroom as he undressed. The shirt came off easily and he tossed it across the room, infuriated. He was angry with Leo for being the force that took his partner apart, angry at Ryo for his threats, angry at Rose for existing... and most of all angry at himself.

He's about to take everything from me,the only man I've ever loved, my best friend, and my self-respect. And I'm going to let him. Worse than that... I'm hard for him. He's taking everything I have, everything I am, and I still want him.

He knelt over Ryo, tearing away the sheet that covered his body. The young, half-Japanese cop was beautiful: lithe and muscled, but graceful as well. His skin shined porcelain in the dim. Dee rested his chin on Ryo's shoulder, frozen in the face of Ryo's beauty.

"I thought you'd be happy," Ryo said softly in the darkness, pushing away the guilt that sought to claim him.

"If you cared about me, I'd be the happiest man in the city." Ryo tried to say something, but Dee cut him off with a brutal kiss."You want to use me, Ryo?" he asked,clenching and unclenching his fingers around his partner's cock as Ryo gasped."Fine. I'll even give you that." He was opening him with sweat-slick fingers, causing Ryo to arch under him, moaning.He barely recognized the blond; just as he hadn't recognized the part of Ryo that had propositioned him, seeking an escape in his arms and his kiss, he didn't recognize the man in his bed, the man who had always resisted his advances, now so wantonly offering himself up.

"Dee, Dee..."

The first thrust was hard; Ryo was tight. "I'll be your goddamn escape," Dee said, driving into him, knowing Ryo was strong enough to take it. "I'll do whatever you say. I'll kiss you, I'll fuck you, I'll make you forget Leo ever existed.But I want you to know something before this is over, Ryo,"

His black eyes were open wide, and he shook under the force of Dee's thrusts. "W-what?"

Dee paused, frozen inside him, letting his partner feel all of him, feel his need. "You'll know that I love you, Ryo. You'll know it with your body even if you deny it for the rest of your life."

Maybe I can't get to your heart, but I can do this much. He began to move again, slowly this time, drawing sharp gasps from his partner.

Ryo's mouth found his and held it, his lips opening and closing. Dee felt his tongue delving into his mouth, hungry and controlling.

"Fuck me, Dee." He wanted to forget - needed to forget - Leo's face, his words. A mistake. My family taken from me because of a fucking mistake... The only thing that he could think of to take him away from his pain was Dee - Dee's body, his strength, Dee inside of him... When climax came, everything but his dark-haired partner ceased to exist. He barely registered Dee's orgasm at all, lost in the wave of feelings his partner had conjured in him.

The next thing Ryo heard was his partner's deep, uncensored sobs.

"Damn you, Ryo," he said into the dark, feeling tears slip down his cheeks to land on his partner's skin."Loving you is the most painful thing I've ever done."

Ryo said nothing as Dee eased off of him and left the room. When Dee returned, Ryo was gone. He lay staring into the darkness for a long time.

Two days passed before Dee had to look on his partner's face again, and he needed the time. He used it to adjust (as best he could) to a world in which there was no hope of ever winning Ryo. At least I got to love you, once. You took it as pity and as need... but at least it was something. If only you could have seen what I was trying to show you...

Some part of him even thought that it would be better if he had allowed Ryo to go to Rose. Maybe his courage would have flagged before he reached the Commissioner. Hell, maybe the Comish could actually have meant something to him.

Ryo said little to him at work; but his eyes kept going to his face, as if trying to read answers in Dee's eyes. When Dee left for his lunchbreak, Ryo followed.

"This seat taken?" he asked, standing at the edge of the bench where Dee had chosen to eat lunch.

Dee shrugged. "I guess not."

Ryo sat, shoulders hunched forward. "You don't want to talk to me, do you, Dee?"

"Not much left to talk about, is there? You told me no from the beginning, Ryo. I should have listened."

"I do care about you, Dee."

"Yeah," he crushed out a cigarette butt with his foot."I know. Same as you care for the Chief, or Drake, or anyone else. Hell - maybe even as much as you care for Cal or the brat." He looked Ryo in the eyes. "Problem is, Ryo, I wanted more than that."

"I-I shouldn't have done that." He swallowed hard, not wanting to say the words. "Used you."

"I let you. I thought, maybe..." he shook his head."No."

"What? What were you going to say?"

"I thought maybe it'd help you see me for once - what I feel. All this time, you've never really looked at me."

"Dee,"

"Look, apology accepted, okay? You didn't mean to do it. It's over now. Things can go back the way they were."

"But,"

"You want to do something for me, Ryo? Then do this. If you ever do want me - for myself, not as a distraction - the come to me, okay?" Then he stood to walk away, uneaten lunch on the bench beside him.

"Okay," Ryo said weakly to himself.

A week later Diana stared at Ryo across a cafe table, aghast. She always let her favorite detective team know when she was in the area and usually conned them (then Berkley) into being her lunch dates. This time, only Ryo had accepted her invitation, and when she'd asked about his dark-haired partner, the whole sad story had poured out -- about his parents, Leo, and his treatment of Dee.

"So I gave him an ultimatum," Ryo said miserably, fingers joined around the warmth of a teacup. "I told him I'd go to someone else. Someone Dee hates."

There could be only one solution to that little equation."Rose?"

"Y-yeah."

Diana resisted the urge to claw at Ryo's face with her newly polished nails, settling for tapping them on the tabletop instead. "Would you have done it?"

"I-I don't know... I was hurting. I think I said because I wanted him to hurt too."

"You don't think it hurt him to see you in pain?"

"I never thought about it," Ryo admitted.

She reached for his hand and squeezed it. "Ryo, you don't know Dee that well, do you?"

"What do you mean? We've been partners for over a year."

"Yeah. You know the surface stuff... but you seem so oblivious about other things. Anyone who's ever watched you and Dee together," (she thought privately that the two were a pleasure to watch, Laytner's attitude nonwithstanding) "can see how much Dee cares about you. Sure, he wants you, that's no secret." She stopped. "Sheesh, are you blushing you twit? You practically raped the guy and you can still blush!?"

"Rape - Dianna, what? He..."

"Was on top, sure," she replied, not missing a beat."But using force or compulsion to make someone have sex with you -- that's rape, isn't it? Did Dee want it?"

"N-no." He groaned and covered his head with his hands. "You're not making me feel a whole lot better, Dianna."

She took out a powder compact and daintily touched up her makeup. "Here's a clue, prissy - you just told me you tried to steal the man I want. I don't have to be too nice to you."

"Dianna, I'm sorry, I,I"

She placed the flat of her palm over his mouth."It's not me that you need to make up with, Ryo. Dee's the one hurting here. Imagine what you did to his ego for crying out loud! It's bad enough when men use women -- but when a man get's used? It's no wonder he's barely talking to you."

Ryo just sighed, not wanting to listen but aware that she was right.

"I know he pushes you, Ryo," the FBI agent continued. "It's in his nature to go after what he wants. He's never gotten anything any other way. But he does care about your feelings. Think about it - who else would have done what he did and given up their own happiness like that? You're very lucky to have that kind of friendship - that kind of love - offered to you, Ryo. Most people don't get that."

"And all I did was use him."

"Fix it, stupid. Otherwise, you're going to lose all that - for good."

"I don't know, Dianna... it's, it's just so hard..."

She raised an eyebrow at him, clearly not buying it. "You've already slept with him, and you didn't complain about it, so I'm guessing things are A-OK in that department." She almost smirked to see him go crimson again, but ignored it. She'd always figured Laytner was a good lover - anyone who looked at him could guess as much; he had an air of sensuality about him... well, when his partner wasn't beating his self-esteem into the ground, anyway. She softened her tone a little, letting exasperation leave her. "Look, Ryo. You know what he wants and what he's prepared to give you. If you have any kind of feelings for him at all, he deserves some kind of commitment from you. And I know you do have feelings for him - or you wouldn't be here."

"I'm just...scared," he admitted.

"You had sex with him - asking to be his boyfriend shouldn't be too difficult. Now, I have to get back to work." She stood and hugged him. "Let me know how it goes, huh? And stay away from Berkley, or I'll have to kick your ass."

She was relieved to see him smile a little. "I will. Take care, Dianna."

He knew that if he asked Dee to let him come over, he'd find some way around it, some excuse. So he didn't ask. He already had to ask for forgiveness, so adding another small offense didn't worry him that much.

He stood outside of his partner's door for several long minutes, listening. The TV was on inside - he could hear some sports announcer or another. Knowing Dee's habit for leaving doors unlocked, he grasped the handle and let himself in.

Concerned green eyes flashed toward the doorway as the door swung in, then flicked back to the TV. Ryo felt a sudden, unexpected jolt of pain strike him. Before he'd hurt him, Dee had always shown him nothing but welcome - over-eager, puppyish welcome, sometimes, but never this. He made his way to the couch and took a seat at his partner's side. A few beer bottles lined the coffee table; Ryo reached for one beaded with condensation.

"Hey," Dee protested, "that's mine."

Wow, he is angry with me, Ryo thought. Dee had never denied him anything. In fact, he's always given me the best of everything - including himself. Ryo replaced the beer on the table and reached for the remote, muting the sound.

"Hey!" Dee cried again. "What the hell?"

"I need to talk to you," Ryo said simply.

"So you come in uninvited, drink my beer, and turn off the game? What's so unholy important?"

"Us."

Dee groaned and stood. "I'm gonna need cigarettes for this, aren't I?" He crossed the room to rummage for them and returned, depositing an ashtray beside him. "Look, what do you want, Ryo? A pact signed in blood that I'll never tell anyone about that night?"

His words stung, as they were meant to, but Ryo took the verbal beating soundlessly, knowing it was nothing more than what his actions had earned him.

"Look," Dee said, lighting up. "You asked me to get you over a rough spot. I did. End of story. Can we please get on with our lives?"

"Not like this," he gestured and the gesture encompassed both of them, their situation. "Dee, I can't handle this. I know I did wrong by you - you have every reason to make me pay for it - but I can't stand not having you to talk to, not being able to hang out with you."

Dee tried to speak, but Ryo plowed on. "I know, I'm the reason things are this way between us. That's why I'm here. I want to fix it, Dee."

Dee shrugged as if to say "Fine, I'm game." "How?" he asked.

Ryo put a hand on his shoulder and watched Dee's eyes follow. "Like this." He pulled his partner in for a kiss, drawing his head up with his hand. Usually it was Ryo who left his eyes open, but this time Dee was looking at him, questions in his eyes. He looks so vulnerable... so young. Mother Lane's stories had conjured up a vision of a younger Dee in Ryo's mind, and for a minute it seemed like it was that Dee he was holding - that wounded child who always played it tough and always had to suffer with the knowledge that he'd been abandoned, given away.

When Ryo broke the kiss and drew away, Dee brought his fingers to his mouth, touching them to his lips as if he wasn't sure what had just happened. "Ryo? What?"

"You told me that if I ever wanted you for yourself, to come to you." He opened his arms. "I'm here, Dee."

Dee stood hastily, backing away from the invitation. "No, no, no." He shook his head. "I know what this is. You're feeling bad. You want things back to normal, and you're thinking sex is the best way to fix it. No, Ryo."

Ryo hadn't counted on rejection... but he knew that Dee was still hurting. He decided to carry on, to do all he could to reassure his obviously skittish partner. "Dee, that's not what I'm doing. I tried to fix one problem with sex and hurt you in the process - you think I'd do it again?"

"I don't know," Dee admitted. "I didn't expect it... before. I won't pretend with you, Ryo - you did hurt me."

Ryo dropped his head. "I know. And I'm sorry, Dee. But I do care about you - and not like I care about anyone else, not even Bikky. I need you in my life, Dee. I need you to make me late for work and to dirty every cup in the house before you do dishes. I need you for beer and basketball games.I need you to pounce me and talk me into things I'd never do with anyone else. I need my partner and my best friend -- and something else." He took a deep breath, readying himself to completely reorder his world. "I need a lover, Dee. Will you... go out with me?"

Dee trembled where he stood. Ryo walked forward and took him in his arms, meeting no resistance. Dee was rag-doll limp - eyes wide and unseeing. Ryo kissed his cheek. "I'm so sorry that I hurt you. Forgive me?"

"Y-yeah," Dee managed shakily. "Ryo - do you mean it? You want to date? To be a couple?"

The hope Ryo heard in his voice nearly brought tears to his eyes; he's always been too sentimental."If you'll have me. I'm sorry I made you choose like that, Dee. It was so wrong of me..."

Dee caressed his hair with shaking fingers. "If that's what it took to make you mine... Ryo, I'll take even that."

"I wouldn't have gone to him," Ryo said, feeling the need to reassure his partner on that one point.

"I know. And I'm sorry about Leo, about your parents."

"I don't have to face it alone anymore," Ryo said, tightening his arms around his partner.

Dee nuzzled into his neck. "No... you're not alone anymore."

That night, Ryo lay at Dee's side, an arm around him. His partner's chest rose and fell, and his deep, easy breathing told Ryo that he was asleep. No matter what the future held for them, no matter what part Leo had left to play in his life, Ryo was glad of his choice. He knew that he had made the right one.