Characters belong to Sanami Matoh except for Dave and Mrs. Mills.
Timeline: September to October following Volume 7
Ryo is slowly learning new things about his new 'partner'.
BEFORE I'M THIRTY
Ryo watched as the flatbed operator unloaded the crumpled bike to the shop floor. It looked really bad to Ryo, but Dave had assured him that it was mostly superficial, he could have it looking like new in no time.
"Man, Dee's gonna love you for this, like he doesn't already. He's been hanging with the cycle crews for so long, drooling over their bikes, threatening to get a license just so he can ride with them. Not that he can't ride, he can, he just ain't legal. I've seen him test drive a few on the police track. That guy was born to ride a bike. I don't know why he didn't just join the cycle corp. He always said he'd get a bike before he hit 30 – just don't think he counted on someone buying it for him."
Anyone that had been around Dee for more than a 24 hours knew how he felt about Ryo. The smart ones, like Dave, knew the true situation between the two partners, but no friend ever voiced that thought aloud. Ryo knew this and smiled at Dave.
Turning his attention back to the bike, Ryo sighed, worry lines appearing on his forehead. He circled the bike, still concentrating on the damage. "I hope you can fix it. It didn't cost as much as I thought, due to being old and all the damage. It sat out in the weather for a few years, too. And you did say it was worth it." Ryo looked toward Dave for some sort of confirmation.
"It's just metal that's crumpled. The brakes went out and that caused the crash, but the engine is sound. The rims aren't damaged, nor is the fork or frame, a bit scratched but I should be able to buff out most of it. Those items are your money items to replace. Rust can be sanded and removed. What I need to fix this is a lot less than you paid for it. You really got a sweet deal with this one. Doesn't have all the extras, but then Dee has to personalize it for himself, right?" Dave gave the bike another loving pat. "And it's a Harley Road King too. Wish I had someone who loved me enough to get me one of these babies."
Ryo still wasn't convinced about the repairs. "But Dave, look at it. You've got to put quite a bit of work into it just to get it street-ready. And then it has to be painted ...." Ryo suddenly looked even more concerned. "You will have enough time to get it painted for his birthday, won't you? I know those custom paint jobs take a lot more time to do. I don't want to let it go until Christmas, it'll be too cold and icy for Dee to take it out. And it wouldn't look good if I gave him an un-painted bike."
Dave laughed. "I've been doing the police bikes for how many years? What looks like lots of work for you is a piece of cake for me. Don't worry, Ryo, I'll make you look good. And anyway, I don't think that would phase Dee the slightest bit– it's a bike, his bike, from someone special to him."
"OK Dave, I'll try to calm down a bit. It's just that I want this to be perfect – I've haven't had someone that I wanted to do something special for …." When Ryo realized what he was saying he stopped, but not before the blush started across his face. Dave just looked at him and smiled knowingly.
Ryo had only recently found out about Dee's love of motorcycles. He had seen him wistfully watching a big hog go by, but even he could admire a nice piece of machinery. He just didn't realize how deeply this admiration went. They had been out shopping in New Jersey when Dee spotted a diner surrounded by bikes. Dee reverted to a 5 year old in 2 seconds flat.
"Ryo, stop the car! Pull in over there! Look at the bikes, oh Lordy, look at all the bikes. Hot damn, look at the blue and silver one. With just a tinge of red in the flames…. One of these days I'll own one. C'mon, hurry up and park. I wanna talk to these guys. Wish I was wearing my Harley outfit."
Ryo had no sooner pulled into a parking spot when Dee was gone. Ryo didn't go over, he didn't know one end of the bike from the other, parts-wise. To him, they were handlebars and wheels attached to 500 pounds of chrome and noise. He was content to sit in the car and watch.
And watch he did. Dee had a child-like delight in his eyes and actions. Several of the bikers allowed him to sit on their bikes, to rev 'em up, and just soak up the reverberations issuing from the raw power between his legs. He spent at least a half hour talking with them, heartily shaking hands with them all before he slowly wandered back to Ryo and the car.
The ride home was non-stop bike talk. Ryo didn't understand half what Dee said, but he understood 100% of what Dee felt. Dee wanted a bike. When Dee finally started to run out of steam, Ryo asked him about the 'Harley outfit'.
Dee looked at Ryo, his eyes unreadable, but his face held traces of a foreign emotion – a slight look of embarrassment. Finally he said the next time they go out clubbing he would wear the outfit, but only for him. Ryo was still unsatisfied – the look and answer had raised other questions.
The following weekend they were going to check out a new club Dee's friends had found, fairly deep in the Village. Ryo wasn't sure what to wear, but Dee said to go 'neat casual'. After lots of thought, Ryo pulled out his white v-necked sweater and his favorite jeans. He was still deciding whether boots or shoes were best when he heard the doorbell.
When Ryo opened the door he was stunned by the vision that greeted him. Ryo whistled at him and grabbed him by the arm. "Get in here before I jump you in the hallway. Where have you had this hidden? I don't think I want to take you out dressed like that. I'll have to fight for your attention every where we go. Why have I not seen this before?"
Dee was dressed in a most seductive outfit: a silver-grey satin shirt, unbuttoned halfway, with the cuffs rolled back, and well-fitting black jeans that left little to the imagination. He held the matching denim jacket rakishly over his right shoulder. Around his neck was a silver chain that matched the one on his right wrist. Harley boots polished to perfection and a wide black belt with a Harley belt buckle completed the look. Ryo couldn't believe how sexy Dee looked.
"So this is the Harley outfit? What's the story behind it? There has to be one." Ryo was having a hard time keeping his hands off Dee. A very hard time. Somehow all the buttons were undone on the shirt now, and the shirttail mysteriously had come loose too. Both of Ryo's hands were under the shirt, running his fingers up and down Dee's sides and back.
At first Dee was reluctant to tell him, but with Ryo damn near seducing him to force him to tell, what could he do? Dee was so surprised at Ryo's actions he couldn't do anything else but tell him.
It was Dee's turn to blush. "I've always had the outfit. It was my signature 'on the prowl' outfit. When I wanted a little action, I'd wear this and hit the clubs. The outfit never failed to attract someone." Dee let out a small laugh. "Your reaction right now is proof of how well it works. But once you came along, I put it away. I didn't need it anymore, I'd found my heart's desire."
Ryo decided right then and there that he had to get a similar outfit, he couldn't let Dee be seen in such an outfit without having something equally attractive on his arm. Ryo felt he was fairly good looking, so he had to be able to find something just right, to pull off a similar look. He didn't think he could ever match Dee's outfit, but maybe Dee could help him find something to compliment the Harley outfit.
For some reason, they never did make the club that night, they had more important things to do. They rescheduled for the next night they had off.
The more Ryo thought about it, Dee's birthday had to actually be in the previous month or so. From what was recorded of his weight and physical condition, he was a month or two old when found, putting him in September sometime. Not that a month or so would make a difference after this many years. He'd still get his bike before he was 30.
The bike was almost ready, all that was left to do was apply a few more coats of clearcoat. Ryo had remembered the bike that originally attracted Dee at the diner in Jersey. Midnight blue with shaded silver flames, lightly accented with fine red streaks. As his gift, Dave had thrown in two helmets painted to match, with their names stenciled on the back in red. Now the dilemma was how to get the bike to Dee.
He carefully checked the garage under his apartment building and found a suitable corner to put it, hiding it under a full bike cover. If Dee noticed it, there were enough people in the building to say it belonged to one of them. He would just have to keep him from 'sneaking a peek' at that other person's bike.
The guys in the CI Unit had arranged a bring-in pizza party for Dee at lunch. As much as he complained about them reminding him of his increasing age, Dee deeply appreciated the fact that they remembered every year to celebrate with him. They had all become his extended family somewhere along the way, even JJ. While they had family to go to and celebrate, he had no one but Mother. And that party was planned for the weekend.
No, that wasn't quite right. This year he had Ryo and Bikky as family – close family. Carol too, in a way. They were doing dinner tonight for him. At the ripe age of 12, all Bikky could really cook was pasta, but with Carol's help it would become a meal to look forward to. Along with the wine Ryo would undoubtedly buy, a mean green salad, and freshly baked garlic bread, it would turn into a gourmet feast.
Dee wondered what Bikky would get him this year. Somehow, to Ryo's dismay, Bikky had gotten hold of some rather 'risqué' magazines, featuring lots of women in all states of undress, among other things. A note on the top magazine read, 'This is what you're s'pozed to go after, not my Dad!' He never did 'fess up' to how or where he got them. Resourceful little character, if nothing else. It also proved he was trustworthy to keep a secret.
Ryo hadn't told the kids about the bike. If Bikky knew he'd be worse than Dee. Selfishly he wanted to make it special, just between him and Dee, and alone that night. They would deal with the kids the next day. He had something to give Dee after dinner, other than the bike, when the kids were going to give Dee their gifts. But once Carol had gone home and Bikky was in bed he would take him down and reveal the bike.
As predicted, the meal was first class all the way. All four of them were stuffed to capacity, no room, well maybe a little, for the Italian Rum cake Ryo had gotten. Evidently the trouble he had gotten into the previous year stuck in Bikky's mind, and he had gotten him a very nice sweater. It did come with the comment, 'If you need something to warm you, use this, not my Dad.', which garnered some ominous looks from Ryo. Carol had bought him a very nice shirt, and Ryo had bought him a Harley Davidson sweatshirt.
They all watched a movie before Carol had to go, and soon after Bikky headed for the bathroom to take a shower before hitting the sack. Ryo was fidgeting noticeably, and Dee made a comment, "Something up? You're awful antsy tonight."
Ryo could hear Bikky in the shower, so he needed a few more minutes to kill. "Well, I'm gonna have to take you home soon, and it's been kinda nice tonight. We can't do anything with Biks here, and, well, you know...."
"Aw, Ryo, you want to give me a 'private' birthday present? I'd like that too, but we're just going to have to wait. That is, unless you want to come to my place for an hour or three? Bikky'll bitch, but that's normal. What'cha say?"
Just then Bikky exited the bathroom, in his pajamas, a towel thrown around his neck to catch the drips from his hair. It was getting rather long, and Ryo wondered if he should have him get a trim. He thought better of mentioning it right now, not when he wanted a favor. "Bikky, I have to take Dee home, and I may stay for a bit. Will you be OK for a while? I'll have my cell on if you need me, and Mrs. Mills will surely help if you have a real emergency."
"Yeah, yeah, I get it. You're going over his place to do all sorts of pervy things together for his birthday. I don't want details from you perverts." He glared directly at Dee, who had a very devilish grin on his face and looked like he was about to say something instigating. "I'll be OK. But don't stay all night or you'll have some 'splaining to do at breakfast."
Ryo wasn't sure how to take the comments, but before he could construct an appropriate answer, Dee had grabbed him by the arm and started tugging him toward the door. "See ya later, Goldilocks. And no staying up to watch TV all night, Ryo'll check the TV for warm when he gets back, you know."
"Perv, and stop calling me Goldilocks!"
"OK, brat. Let's go Ryo."
As they were entering the garage Ryo told Dee to wait a minute. He said he had another gift in the trunk that he had forgotten about.
Dee, in normal Dee fashion, quipped, "Oh, something you don't want the kiddies to see, um? Naughty Ryo."
Ryo smiled. "Yeah, something like that. I know you're gonna love this." He popped the trunk to remove a large box, which he handed to Dee. "This is part of it. You'll get the other part once you open it."
Dee cocked his head at Ryo, not sure quite what he meant. It couldn't be too kinky; Ryo would never do anything in a place as public as the garage, even this late at night. Placing the box on the now closed trunk, he opened it.
The gasp that issued from his mouth put a large grin on Ryo's face. Dee looked at him in disbelief. "Wha... what's the other part that goes with this?" he stammered.
"Why don't you check over in that corner. I think that's where I left it."
Dee's eyes riveted onto the bike shaped cover in the far corner, the quickly returned to Ryo. "Did you do what I think you did?"
"Maybe, go take a look."
Dee slowly walked toward the covered bike, half afraid that it wouldn't be what he thought it was. He very carefully lifted the front of the cover, then excitedly ripped it completely off the bike. His one hand ran across the handlebars with a loving touch, while the other caressing the leather seat assembly. His eyes were taking in every detail of the bike, from the chrome exhausts to the custom paint job. This was a Road King, and old one, the kind the police cycle units used. It was gorgeous. He had just straddled the bike when he was interrupted by a coughing sound.
He turned to see Ryo rattling the keys, and holding two matching helmets in his hand.
Ryo held out one of the helmets. "I know you don't have a license, but if you be real good and be real careful, I'll let you take me for a spin."
Dee dismounted the bike and walked back to Ryo, taking the offered helmet in one hand. With the other arm he pulled Ryo close to him, and gave him a kiss that they both felt to their toes.
"Where did you get this bike? How did you get it? Ryo, that's an expensive gift – you can't afford that ...."
"Dave at the motor pool helped me immensely. I had half of it saved already. Plus you didn't see the shape it was in when I bought it. Anyway, after I saw you with that group of bikers, I knew what I had to do. Why didn't you ever tell me of your bike fetish?"
"I didn't think you'd understand or care. I don't know how to thank you Ryo, this is just so unexpected .... Damn, I love you." Once again he pulled Ryo tight, kissing and caressing this dream that was all his.
As they came up for air, Ryo asked, "Then how about you take me to your place and see if we can come up with an appropriate thank you?"
Bikky had been impatiently waiting out on the fire escape, watching for Ryo's car to leave so he could turn on the TV. No sense chancing him to pull a fast one and pop back in just to catch him. But with as long as he'd been waiting, they were probably making out in the car. Eeeeew! Now he needed some brain bleach.
Suddenly he heard what sounded like distant thunder, only to be quickly followed by a headlight flash from a totally awesome bike bursting out of the garage. The throaty rumble could be felt even at this distance, and the riders were two men dressed somewhat like his Dad and Dee. He couldn't tell the faces because of the helmets.
Maybe he was more tired than he thought, and the cold of the night air was slowly seeping into his body. He had the feeling that they weren't leaving any time soon, the perverts. He'd better hit the sack, rather than watch the Lakers/Knicks basketball game.
There was an emotional chill in the air at breakfast the next morning. Bikky was angry – he heard Ryo when he came in, and it was much more than an hour after he left. In fact, it was only about two hours ago he came in. He COULD have stayed up and watched the game.
But the real clincher was that Dee was here. He never took him home. He didn't want to think what they were doing in the car all night. That was just – WRONG. How was he supposed to sit in the back seat again, knowing that they .... ewwwww. Don't go there.
They, on the other hand, were in their own little world, smiling, giggling, sneaking glances at each other. Even the girls at school weren't that weirdly mushy. Grown-ups aren't supposed to act like that, especially when it's two guys. He flopped down in the kitchen chair, noisily placing his cereal bowl in front of him.
Dee, seeing a chance to aggravate Bikky, reached over and ruffled his hair. "What's the matter Goldilocks? Somebody eat all your porridge?"
"Don't touch me, you pervert. I don't know where that hand has been. And I don't want to know either. What are you doing here anyway? Ryo was supposed to take you home."
Turning toward Ryo, he started venting at him. "And you, I heard you when you came in. I thought you weren't staying the night?. Liar! I don't want to hear it the next time I come in late. If you don't follow the rules, I don't need to either."
Dee winked at Ryo. "Well, despite his rude behavior this morning, I guess we should let him know, eh? I could be mean and not tell him, just let him accidentally find out one day, in a few weeks or so."
Ryo was stifling a laugh, which made Bikky even angrier. "Let me know what? You pervs get married or something?"
Dee looked thoughtful. "No, but that's not a bad idea, right Ryo? Anyway, we'll discuss that later. Finish your breakfast, we have something to show you. And it's not perverted."
Bikky scowled. "Yeah, I bet. And I ain't getting in the back seat."
After a short pause, a raised eyebrow, and a quick glance at each other, both Dee and Ryo started laughing until tears ran from their eyes.
Bikky wondered what was so funny, he hadn't made a joke.
Bikky gasped at the birthday present his Dad had given Dee. "Guess this has gotta be the best birthday gift you ever got, right?"
Dee winked, "Not only the best, but the most surprising one I've ever gotten. Your dad is a very thoughtful, caring person. He may seem really strict with you, but he has a heart of gold. Don't ever forget that."
Bikky was totally floored by the bike. He had never seen one so nice, not this up close and personal. He circled it like a shark, just round and round, taking in a new detail with each revolution completed. Dee let him touch it and sit on it, pointing out all the small details and dials, explaining what each part did.
"You got a license to ride this baby? Can you take me for a ride? Please Dee? I won't call you a perv for a whole month!"
"Sorry, Goldi, I don't have a license yet. I kinda broke the law by taking Ryo out last night."
"Then it WAS you two I saw leaving the garage last night." All too late Bikky realized he just put the noose around his own neck.
Ryo turned to face Bikky, hands on hips, and put on his best 'annoyed father' look. "And what were you doing on the fire escape? That's the only way you could see the garage exit. Making sure I left before you turned on the Knicks game?"
How in hell did he know? Had to be something with the detective skills. Well, he was one of the best. He just couldn't put much over on Ryo, and Dee didn't help either by making that comment before they SUPPOSEDLY left last night. This really sucks.
Bikky dropped his gaze from Ryo to the floor, shuffling his feet as he did so. "All right, I admit I was gonna stay up and watch the game. But I never saw you guys leave the garage, at least at the time I didn't think so. And I was getting cold, so I came in and went to bed."
Dee smirked. "Not gonna do that again, are you Goldi? At least, not for a while, if I know you."
Bikky harumpfed and totally ignored the new nickname that Dee had come up with for him. Wanting to change the subject he quickly asked, "Can we get Carol and show her the bike? I think she'll like it too."
Ryo smiled as he answered. "Yes, we can do that. I was going to take all of us out for a special birthday lunch with Mother. We can swing by here after picking Mother up. Maybe she'd like to see what her boy got for his birthday, too."
Dee pulled Ryo close, wicked thoughts dancing in his eyes.
"As long as we just show her the bike, and not detail that 'personal' gift you gave me last night."
Bikky watched as his dad went beet red, and very quickly.
"Damn, you guys never quit, do you? Both of you are pervs any more." At that, he turned and headed back to the apartment to call Carol. He had the feeling those two would be drowning in mushy, perverted looks all day, and Carol would be a beautiful, well needed diversion.