Disclaimer: I do not own FAKE. That right belongs to Sanomi Matoh. I don't profit financially from writing this story.
A/N: See notes at the bottom.

Dee hummed softly as he walked through the doors of the 27th precinct and into the warm, evening air. It felt oppressive after spending the last hour and a half of his shift in the coolness of the building, and the sweat immediately beaded on his forehead and all over his body. Dee, however, didn't mind, and he hurried to his car. He had plans for the evening, wonderful plans, and they included barbecuing on the roof of his apartment building with the neighbors. Ryo and the brats were already at the complex, adding whatever final touches they needed to and waiting for him.

The Fourth of July was a fun yet slightly bitter day for Dee. He loved watching the parade (when he wasn't working), and he loved the fireworks as they lit up around the Statue of Liberty, which he and his neighbors could see perfectly from the rooftop. They could even hear the concerts on Ellis Island throughout the day and generally have a good time without having to worry about driving home after the festivities were over. They were already there.

Still, a part of Dee found the day to have a certain kind of unpleasantness to it. The sensation stemmed from within him, the knowledge of his abandonment putting an invisible, slight taint to his joy. Dee knew nothing of his biological family, and it stung when he least expected it. He knew more about the military that fought for his freedom than he did of his birth parents. Had either one of them served in the Armed Forces? Did they fight for his freedom, his country's freedom, the way others did? He just didn't know, and it bothered him in ways he couldn't ever sufficiently explain.

'Ah well,' he thought, a smile lighting his face. 'I can always pretend that they're soldiers, somewhere, fighting the good fight. Like Ryo and me . . .'

It didn't take Dee long to reach his apartment building. Traffic had been light, and he tended to drive like a maniac in the first place. (Ryo had more than once jokingly told him the sidewalks were for pedestrians.) He wanted to take a shower and change his clothes before heading to the roof. While he wasn't exactly the neat freak Ryo was, Dee didn't want the stench of his day to follow him as he celebrated his freedom with his family. He hurried inside, grateful for the brief respite from the July heat.


The sun had started to sink into the west by the time Dee, Ryo, Bikky, and Carol reached the rooftop party, lugging some coolers filled with beer (for Dee – he intended to unwind), Coca Cola, potato salad, macaroni salad, and condiments for the burgers and dogs. They also carried bags filled with chips, cookies, and other assorted pastries to share with the neighbors as well as some fireworks for Bikky and Carol to set off.

The revelry had already begun. The neighbors wore shirts with the American flag gracing the fronts and backs, and beads of red, white/silver, and blue around their necks. A casual gathering of friends it was, and their general gaiety and patriotic mood created a party atmosphere. Someone had strung paper lanterns and streamers in their nation's colors from one end to the other and corner to corner. Smoke filled the air, the tantalizing aromas of seasoned, roasting chicken, beef, and pork tickling at their noses. Someone had wet down a large area of the roof with water, and they lit roman candles and firecrackers on the dampened surface. The few children living in the building waved around sparklers and morning glories, their faces lit with delight.

"Wow," Ryo murmured. "This is . . . better than last year. I didn't think there'd be this many people here . . . I mean, I know someone posted about it on the bulletin board, but . . ."

"It is a primo location," Dee said with a grin. "Best place in the city to be for the fireworks . . . next to being on the water, that is."

"Plus gas prices are high," Ryo muttered. "I can't blame anyone for not wanting to travel too far from home."

"Yeah," he agreed, sliding an arm around Ryo's waist, "but New York is the only place to be on the Fourth."

"Says you."

"Yep!" Dee grinned like an imp. "Says me! Now, let's get some chow and drink some beers. I'm starving!"

Ryo shook his head but smiled in return. His eyes sparkled with mischief and knowledge, and Dee's heart wanted to explode from his chest at the look his lover had just given him. Already, fireworks lit up his life, his day, and any feelings of remorse, wishfulness, and uncertainty about his heritage, about his parents, vanished. Before him stood a man, one of the most loving and generous souls he'd ever encountered in his life, that had capture and completely enthralled him. Ryo didn't judge him for not knowing anything about his heritage, just loved him for who he was and what he could accomplish. It felt good to know that.

'No . . . it feels more than good,' Dee thought, leaning in for a kiss. 'It feels awesome.'

A brief touch, and an overwhelming happiness filled Dee. He was where he was meant to be in his life, and it was all he needed. He couldn't ask for more, and he wouldn't ask for more.

"I thought you said you were hungry."

"I am."

"Then let's get some food already," Ryo said.

From there, they each made their rounds, visiting with the neighbors, laughing and chatting amiably and keeping an eye on Bikky and Carol. When darkness settled over the city, Dee drifted towards Ryo and his partner towards him. Their hands reached for each other, skin brushing against skin as the first round of fireworks lit up the sky. Many New Yorkers had shut off their lights for this moment, this one time where the only thing that matter to everyone was the love of country and honoring of heroes, both past and present. Dee and Ryo found a place to sit, hands clasped together and heads resting against the other. Bikky and Carol joined them shortly afterwards, and, for a moment, they knew peace, and it was an amazing celebration . . . until more than fireworks shattered the night sky and plunged the city into chaos . . .

Author's Note: I know wishfulness isn't an actual word. It works for my purposes.

This is a one-shot, my dear peeps, but the story isn't over. There are two ways that this story can end, and I leave it up to the reader to decide which route s/he wants to take. The choices are:

Curtains of Light (FAKE only)
In the Land of Zombies (FAKE/Speed Racer crossover)

Pick whichever story you want or read both. :)

I hope you've enjoyed this sweet bit of fluff. Thanks for reading!