Disclaimer: Fake belongs to Sanami Matoh
Summary: Dee gets invited to stay over... but things are not exactly as they seem. Will Bikky and Carol leave our detectives with only dashed hopes (again)?
He was practically panting as he vaulted up the steps. Breaking one of the truest rules for New York City, he left his key in the door. His hands shook as he threw things into a duffel bag that he'd retrieved (dust bunnies and all) from under the bed. Standing in the doorway for a moment, he quickly ran over a mental checklist: wallet, pajamas, toothbrush, clothes for the next day, deodorant, cologne. Everything seemed to be in place. Ryo had actually invited him to spend the night! In Dee's mind, it was a huge step in the right direction for their relationship. He wasn't even sure if it could properly be called a relationship, come to think of it, but neither of them was seeing anyone else. As he let his long legs carry him down to the car, he decided he didn't care what anyone called it. He'd be Ryo's partner, his friend, his roommate if that was the way he wanted it -- just as long as he could mean something.
In record time (and running a few red lights for good measure) he pulled up in front of his favorite apartment building. The doorman waved him through with a smile; he was as used to Dee stalking the occupant of 412 as Drake or JJ would have been, and secretly, he was rooting for the dark-haired detective. Dee was smiling when he knocked... and frowning when Ryo opened the door.
"Hey Dee," said the blond, obliviously. He had flour on one cheek and his characteristic I'm-whipping-something-up apron tied around his slim waist. Dee, dressed to impress the man he hoped to make his lover, usually wouldn't have been deterred by a little bit of flour - but there, beyond Ryo's shoulder - there was Bikky and Carol... and sleeping bags! He felt like dropping to the floor and banging his head against the boards right then. "Welcome to our slumber party!"
"Our?" Dee asked weakly, following him through the door with a hang dog look.
Bikky bounded up to him. "Right - our. We're gonna play twister and eat junk food and stay up real late watching movies. Isn't that great?"
"Great," Dee seconded, all visions of roses and candlelight and soft moans floating right out of his head.
"I didn't want to invite you," continued the hyperactive platinum haired child, skating around him. Dee wondered why Ryo was letting him wear skates in the house.
"But Ryo made us," Carol finished, coming up to kiss Dee's cheek. She always greeted he and Ryo that way - even if she'd seen them the day before. He figured it was the only kiss he was going to get all night.
"Thanks, partner," Dee said - meaning it, but fighting hard to keep the sarcasm out of his tone. He was glad Ryo had thought to invite him - but what was he supposed to do!? Ryo knew he hated kids.
Ryo patted him on the shoulder. "You'll have fun. We've got all kinds of movies and snacks."
"Just no chick flicks," Dee growled, feeling truly downhearted. He wanted Ryo all to himself and if he couldn't have him, he sure didn't want to watch anything where love actually was requited.
"Bikky gets the first pick," Ryo explained. "Then me, you, and Cal will draw straws or something. We're going to try to get through four."
Damn! That meant he couldn't even hope the rugrats would crash early! Four movies would put them at at least 1 AM. "Do you need help with anything?"
"Sure, you can give me a hand getting things on trays. Bikky, Cal - you wanna set up Twister?"
"Yeah!" Bikky gave an air punch and Carol did a happy somersault. Dee wondered how much sugar they'd already consumed.
"So what's all this about?" Dee asked as he followed his blond partner into the kitchen, admiring the view of his sexy behind the entire time. Eventually, Ryo was going to figure out why he walked behind him all the time - but so far, so good.
"What do you mean?" Ryo asked, withdrawing a pan of brownies from the oven. Dee was happy to see the chocolate. He never would have told anyone about it, but he had exactly the same relationship with the stuff as Cal did. It cheered him up and eased his desires... well a little.
"The movies, the games," Dee elaborated. "Bikky roller-skating around the living room. Did report cards come back or what?"
Ryo pulled a chair out to sit down, chuckling. "Actually, it's your fault."
"Huh?" Sure, he knew he was a bad influence - no question - but he didn't remember authorizing skates in the house.
"Don't you remember? Just last week you were ragging me about not being spontaneous at all. You said I'd never just pick up and go do something."
Dee rubbed a hand through his hair. "Geez, Ryo, I was just picking on you. I,"
"No, Dee, it's okay. I'm not going to start sky diving or paint the walls different neon colors. I just got to looking around and I realized you were right. In a lot of ways I do things by schedule, by design, in a pattern. I knew Cal would be over tonight to see Bikky, so this morning I decided we'd all do something different. Since you got me to rethink things in the first place, I thought you should be here too."
"And here I thought you invited me over for my witty conversation," Dee teased.
"Well, sometimes you're a level above the kids - but not always."
"If you guys are kissing in there," Bikky called in a warning tone.
Ryo laughed, rolling his eyes prettily at his partner. "I guess we'd better get moving. The natives are restless."
That night, Dee realized that he'd do just about anything to be with his partner. After all, how many men played Twister when they were on their way to thirty? Also, he never would have admitted it, but he was having a good time. Ryo was the spinner (Bikky had caught Dee trying to use the contortions of Twister to his advantage and had voted that Ryo sit out just to annoy him).
"Right hand blue," Ryo called.
Carol happily occupied the far side of the board and so had all kinds of options. Dee and Bikky had chosen to compete with each other, of course, and were hell-bent on slamming hands and feet down on the same squares at the same time. As a result, Carol always won.
Once everyone was breathing hard - either from laughing or from the game - they all settled down to watch a movie. As the credits rolled, Dee flipped through Cal's digital camera. She'd been playing paparazzi all evening and had gotten some killer shots.
He nudged Bikky with his foot. "Sure there's no naked monkey pictures on here?"
Bikky snarled around a mouthful of M&Ms and threw a handful of popcorn at his dark-haired nemesis. "It's a good look for you," Ryo offered, taking a seat beside him picking the kernels out of his hair.
"There's some good stuff on here, Cal," Dee told her, pausing at a picture of he and Ryo laughing at something together. "You've got an eye for good pics."
"Thanks, Dee." She beamed up at him. Bikky scowled.
"Think you could email me a couple of them?" he asked.
They all got quiet and looked at him. "What!?" he cried; it wasn't that weird of a request.
"I didn't think you knew how to turn a computer on," Ryo said, beginning to laugh. "You sure as hell never type our reports in at work!" Dee threw a pillow at him. Bikky and Cal were still staring.
"Dude," Bikky said, "I'm with Ryo - I didn't think you were smart enough to use a CP."
"Says the monkey brat extraordinaire. You're the one who's still evolving, kid, not me."
"Besides," Bikky continued, suspiciously, "Why would you want pictures of us, for? Or are you just being a perv again?"
Dee sighed. "Where's the trust, huh? Even if I am 'the Perv,," he made quotations in the air. "Ryo's still my friend, y'know? And you guys - monkey brats or not,"
"I look nothing like a primate," Cal sniffed.
"Are the closest thing to a family I've got," Dee finished.
"Aww," Carol fluttered. "Look, Dee's being sentimental! Now we all need to get a picture done together!"
Ryo was smiling; it was a smile Dee had never seen before, like something he'd lost and mourned had been unexpectedly returned to him. "I think we should," he said. "On Monday - we'll go after work. Hit Walgreens or Wal-Mart or something."
"Just as long as I don't have to stand next to the perv," Bikky grumbled, turning back to Monty Python and the Holy Grail - his choice for the night. Ryo knew that he and Dee would be trading lines (well, insults really) back and forth all week.
Carol hopped up on the couch. "So what's your email, Dee?"
He thought about it for a moment. "I'll make a new one."
"Bet it's something perverted," Bikky offered, before joining in with the coconuts scene.
Dee tossed another pillow, glad that Ryo had such a thing for stacking different shapes and colors of the things. Bikky caught it and tucked it under his chin.
Cal won the next movie choice, deciding on You've Got Mail. Dee groaned and complained, but secretly, it was one of the few romances he could get behind. Tom Hanks was just too funny. "I'd buy you a bouquet of freshly-sharpened pencils," he told Ryo, when the line came up.
To his surprise, Ryo slung an arm around him, leaning into his shoulder. "You're too good to me."
"Well, you do write most of the reports - it seems like a romantic gift to me."
The pillow he'd thrown at Bikky came flying back. "No mushy stuff, you perv."
"Pipe down, pisqueak. You're just pissed that I whupped your ass at Twister."
"Yeah, like it was at all legit. You've got like ten foot legs!"
"The better to carry out perverse activities with... or is that something else?"
The kids cried out in mock disgust, and Ryo flushed a little, but he left his head on Dee's shoulder.
By the time Dee's movie came around - V for Vendetta - Cal had coerced Bikky onto her bean bag chair and Dee was free to put his arm around his partner without receiving negative commentary. Ryo said nothing - not a syllable of protest - and Dee smiled through the entire movie.
As the credits rolled, Cal jumped up. "Oh no! Everybody's falling asleep! You know what happens to the first person who falls asleep at a slumber party, don't you?"
"I'll go make coffee," Ryo said, privately deciding to hide any shaving cream or whipped cream. Spontaneity was one thing - but the apartment was going to be hard enough to clean up without any added messes.
Dee followed him. "I'm going to need a cup. These kids are kicking my ass!"
"They're young - and they had a head start on you on the sugar."
"Yeah, I don't think I ever wanna see another Dorito. And you're going to be eating cookies for a week. When you bake, man, you bake!"
"I'll send some home with you. So what was that email address?"
"Why, you think it had something to do with you?"
You're falling for me, aren't you? Ryo remembered him asking. "It did, didn't it?"
"No." Dee mumbled.
Ryo knew when he was lying. "It did too! Dee Laytner, you're crazy, you know that?"
"It's been said." He was surprised that Ryo didn't sound upset - he actually sounded kind of... pleased.
In the other room, a radio kicked on, oldies blaring. "We better go see what they're doing," Ryo said.
"And get them to turn it down," Dee seconded. "It'd be kinda funny to get the police called on us."
In the living room, Cal and Bikky were dancing to "Sugar, Sugar."
"Gone old school, haven't we?" Dee asked, readjusting the radio to a reasonable volume. "How do you guys know the words?"
Cal shrugged. "I dunno. Just do. When in doubt - shoobie-doo-wap works, too."
Ryo laughed. "But this is before even us. What about you, Biks?"
"Sometimes dad would sing this stuff when we were driving. You just absorb it I guess."
Dee thought how often the lyrics of 50s and 60s pop songs had made him think of Ryo. For a week straight, he'd been tormented by such lines as "Sooner or later, love is gonna get you," and "It's not unusual to fall in love with anyone," floating out of the Chief's office. He acted hardcore, but Chief Smith was as susceptible to "shoobie-do-wap" and "na na na na" as anyone else. Right at that moment, Ol' Blue Eyes crooned across the speakers and Dee found himself about to have a moment.
Playing an imaginary piano, he lifted one of Ryo's fake flowers to serve as a microphone, and began to swagger and sing. "Out of the tree of life I just picked me a plum. You came along and everything started to hum,"
Carol retrieved her camera. With Dee in his dress clothes - tie loosened around his neck - he made the perfect Sinatra impersonator. And to make it even better, he was all about doing hand motions to accompany his singing. He mimed drinking for "we're going to drain the cup dry," embraced himself during the line "wait til' your charms are ripe for these arms to surround," adding the suggestive growl at the end of the word. He flapped his "wings" when Frank sang "you think you've flown before" and got down on one knee with arms extended for "wait 'til I draw you near." All the while, he was singing to Ryo. By the end of the song, everyone was laughing.
"I didn't know you had it in you, Dee," Ryo said, tears streaming down his cheeks from laughing too hard.
Taking their cue from Dee, Carol and Bikky did the next song, "Ain't no mountain high enough" with all possible hand motions. They even got Ryo to join in a little bit. Dee manned the camera throughout, especially liking the shot where the three of them spread their arms for "ain't no river wide." When the songs slowed down, Cal forced everyone to slow dance with her - even Bikky.
Dee surprised everyone when he tapped Bikky's shoulder at the end of "Earth Angel." But instead of cutting in, he asked for permission to dance with Ryo.
"C'mon - you got to wear skates," he pointed out. In his mind, one abnormality deserved another. And Bikky letting him touch Ryo without at least trying to break his fingers would be an abnormality.
"Aw, c'mon," Carol said, still holding onto Bikky's shoulders. "We'll be right here. How much can he do?"
The pressure of Cal's hands was apparently winning out. "Awright," he agreed at last. "He invited you - he can dance with you if he wants." His eyes said, clearly, "Don't try anything."
Suddenly feeling excited and nervous at once, Dee turned to his partner, eyes shining. "Whaddaya say?"
He entered Dee's embrace easily, all of his usual hesitation replaced by a sense of rightness, of fit. Dee belonged with them - with Carol, and Bikky, with him. They spun together slowly, and Dee let his head rest on his shoulder like a lover might. Even when Cal snapped a picture of them - a picture that would document, forever, that he, Ryo McClean had danced with another man - he didn't worry. Dee's arms felt so good around him that he simply didn't care. When the next song played, they were all dancing together - one big, happy, dysfunctional family - and Ryo felt lifted up on their laughter. He felt Dee watching him and gave his partner a smile, a real smile, meant just for him. Dee held Bikky up over his head, sending him up to meet "The Spirit in the Sky."
When the music faded into commercials, the exhausted quartet found their way back to the couch. It was Ryo's turn to choose a film. He surprised himself by choosing Vanilla Sky. The movie was strange, for one; he was sure he'd have to talk Bikky and Cal through it. Also, the end always made him cry. In fact, it was almost a chick flick. But for some reason, he found himself wanting to watch it with Dee.
Surprisingly, neither Dee nor Bikky voiced any protest. Bikky, because he was almost asleep; Dee, because he was too grateful for the night's gifts to bother with his facade of perpetual crankiness.
"Every passing moment is another chance to turn it all around," said Sofia Serano, onscreen.
Dee repeated the words to himself. "I like that," he said turning to Ryo.
"Me too." He surveyed the wreckage of the living room; nothing was moving. "I think they're asleep."
Dee yawned. "Looks like it. Thank goodness for caffeine, hey?"
"Yeah. I'll get Biks - you wanna grab Cal and put her in her sleeping bag."
Once the kids were settled in, the two made their way to the kitchen, loaded down with cups and bowls and trash. "I'll help you clean up more tomorrow," Dee said, rinsing out a few dishes.
"Thanks. No sense worrying about it tonight. They'll be out 'til at least 11. We can make grilled cheese or something for lunch, then clean."
"Thanks for inviting me, Ryo."
"Your welcome. You know the door's always open." He thought that when they went to get their picture done, he should get his key copied for Dee. He'd had a key to Dee's apartment for a long time.
"Yeah, but it was different this time."
Ryo nodded. "Yeah, it was. Did you mean it? What you said about us being your family?"
"Of course. I was there the day you adopted Bikky, and we met Cal together. And you, well, you already know how I feel about you." He didn't think the words would antagonize Ryo too much - he'd let him dance with him after all.
"I didn't think I'd ever feel like I had a family again, not after mom and dad died," Ryo said softly, voice brimming with emotion. "You helped give me that back tonight, Dee." He stood on his toes to kiss his partner's forehead. "Thank you."
Dee brought his fingers to the place Ryo's mouth had touched, stunned. "You're welcome," he managed to get out.
"So, do you want to stay with me tonight? Have a slumber party of our own?"
"Well, I did bring hot pajamas..." So they weren't going to go to waste after all!
Ryo rolled his eyes and grabbed Dee's sleeve. "C'mon, horndog."
As they made their way down the hall, he couldn't resist asking again, "So what was that email address?"
Dee just groaned.