Author: Kat Lee
Challenge/Prompt: fffc r18.18: Hardship
Warning(s): Spoilers for the first magna
Word Count: 1,088
Date Written: 30 September 2018
Disclaimer: All characters within belong to their rightful owner, not the author, and are used without permission.
“I still don’t believe you took that twerp in,” Dee commented, leaning back against Ryo’s couch, after Bikky had skated out of the room. He raised an eyebrow at his new partner. “Do you have any idea just how much trouble he’s going to cause you?”
Ryo smiled. To Dee’s surprise, he didn’t try to deny that the boy would be troublesome. Instead, with a small smile curving his very kissable lips, he replied softly, “Not nearly as much as you think.”
Dee shook his head. “No one else would’ve done that.”
“Which is precisely,” Ryo said, sitting down beside him with his back to the arm so that he was facing Dee, “why I did it.”
“That makes no sense,” Dee complained.
“It makes perfect sense,” Ryo argued, his smile still in place. Dee had to make sure he wasn’t watching that smile too closely or he’d give in to temptation. Ryo had already been trying to run from him and the passion that was steadily building, like a volcano getting ready to explode, between them. The last thing he wanted to do, when he had him so close, was to scare him off completely.
“Ryo, this city isn’t like what you’re used to. It can be harsh -- “
“I’m perfectly aware of the hardships, Dee. It isn’t just this city that’s a harsh place to grow up in. It’s the world we live in.” Dee’s eyes widened in silent surprise. “It makes it easier when you have somebody,” he added quietly, “and you’re not alone.”
“That’s why you did it? So the kid wouldn’t be alone? We could’ve thrown him into juvie -- “
“Dee!” Ryo cried.
Dee shrugged and grinned back at his partner. “Well,” he countered, “he wouldn’t be alone.”
“That’s not the point I was trying to make, and you know it! You throw that kid in juvie -- “ Realizing his voice was easily carrying up to the next floor where Bikky’s new bedroom was, Ryo lowered his tone to a hushed but shocked and angry whisper. “You put that child into juvenile court, and you might as well be taking away any chances he might ever have of living a real life!”
Dee shrugged again. Just to further irk Ryo, he said, “It’s not like he’s not going to end up there one day anyway.”
“I wouldn’t be so sure about that. There were people who thought I’d end up there.”
“Yes, me! And I didn’t have anyone who cared enough to take a chance on me. If I had, my life would have been a lot easier. As it was . . . “ He looked beyond his partner’s shoulder, his eyes glazing over with a faraway look. “I was alone,” he whispered, choking back emotions, “and I found out too well and too fast just how hard this world can be on those of us who are alone.” He blinked rapidly, looking as though he was barely holding back tears. “I wouldn’t wish that on anyone, especially not a child. Everyone deserves to have someone.”
“You have someone now,” Dee whispered, leaning closer to him. He reached out and touched his tense shoulder, his fingertips caressing his muscle through the thin fabric of his uniform shirt. “You never have to be alone again -- “
“Dee!” Ryo cried, pushing him away. “What are you doing?!”
Dee grinned. “What does it look like I’m doing?”
“Here I am sharing a very private confession with you, and you -- you -- You try to take advantage of me again?!”
Dee shrugged, his cheeky grin still in place. “Can’t blame a guy for trying.”
“Actually, I can.” Ryo sighed, his shoulders slumping. “But I won’t. People are too quick to judge a book by its cover. That’s another reason why I know Bikky needs me and why I know I can help him become a better man than the type of character you, and others, already have him cast as. I’m going to help that child, Dee, in every way I can.” He stood up. “And there’s nothing you can do to stop me, even though I do believe there is some small part of you that understands where I’m coming from and why I’m doing this.” He turned his back on him but paused before he headed up the stairs to his own room. “Good night, partner,” he called over his shoulder.
Despite his better judgement, Dee let Ryo walk away. He slumped back into the couch. He’d slept on couches before, but that’s not what was bothering him. He was even beginning to come around to Dee’s insistence in helping the little, snot-nosed brat, despite still believing that his partner was opening himself up to being hurt and used. If the kid proved to be the type of juvenile delinquent he thought he was, he’d make certain Bikky ended up in juvie before he could hurt Ryo too much.
But Ryo had already been hurt, Dee realized, recognizing what was bothering him so much. He’d been hurt a lot. That’s why he didn’t trust him, and why he was so determined to help the child. Nobody else would help him -- that much was true --, but Ryo would stop at nothing to help others, despite having been so hurt himself. Dee closed his eyes for a moment. His head ached from all the emotions and stress of the day, but there was one thing he wanted his new partner to know perfectly clearly. “You’re no longer alone,” he whispered just as Ryo reached the top of the stairs.
Ryo looked back down at the handsome man who was quickly making him question almost everything he’d thought he knew about himself. He’d heard his whisper and smiled. “Neither are you,” he whispered and then finished walking away to his bedroom, leaving Dee behind him on the couch.
Dee flopped around, folded his arms underneath his head, and leaned against the arm of the couch. He’d heard Ryo, and his partner’s statement was doing a funny thing to his heart. He hadn’t felt it flutter like it was doing now since the first time he’d kissed a guy, and that guy had been nothing compared to the beautiful, both inside and out, man who had just walked away from him. He’d wear him down, Dee promised himself. He’d wear Ryo down. He’d get him right where he wanted him, and then neither of them would ever have to be alone again. He grinned. Maybe the world wasn’t such a bad place after all!