Characters: Ryo, Dee.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Winter weather has come early to New York. It’s pretty, but dangerous, as Ryo discovers.
Word Count: 1479
Written For: Challenge 212: Ice at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
It was bitterly cold in New York. Overnight the temperature had dropped sharply and the previous day’s rain had frozen on every surface it touched. Icicles hung like elaborate Christmas decorations from telephone cables, and fire escapes, window ledges and street signs, while the streets and sidewalks were as slick and slippery as a skating rink. Ryo discovered that when he stepped out of the front door of his building onto the stoop and immediately skidded, falling heavily on his ass, and then proceeding to bounce down the steps onto the sidewalk, winding up in a dazed heap at the bottom.
After sprawling there on the freezing cold sidewalk for a couple of minutes while he regained his equilibrium, he attempted to get up only to wince at the flare of pain shooting through his left knee. Looked like his shopping trip might have to wait for a while.
He all but crawled back up the stoop and into his building again, finally managing to get to his feet once he was safely off the treacherous ice and could assess the damage. His pants were torn, and there was a long scrape on his thigh, which was oozing blood; he must have caught himself on the chipped edge of the top step. His left knee was most likely sprained; it already felt a bit puffy. On the plus side, he was pretty sure nothing was broken. Slowly he limped his way up three flights of stairs and into his apartment, relieved that at least there’d been nobody about to witness his fall from grace.
Hanging up his coat, hat, and scarf and managing to toe his shoes off, Ryo hobbled into the bathroom and stripped off his torn pants, dropping them to the floor. He’d throw them in the trash once he’d emptied the pockets; that was all they were good for now. Wetting a cloth, he cleaned the scrape on his thigh; it wasn’t deep, but he applied soothing antiseptic ointment and put a Band-Aid over the worst area to avoid getting blood all over his clothes, then took a look at his knee. It was definitely swelling, not to mention turning an interesting shade of purple in places. Perfect. Now he’d be riding a desk for at least a week while it healed, because right now he wouldn’t be able to pursue and apprehend a snail. Of all the stupid things to happen…
It was annoyingly ironic; he’d been on his way out to pick up groceries and shop for a new pair of boots, something with good grip in the soles to cope with the winter weather. Seemed the winter weather had beaten him to it, turning treacherously slippery before he could properly equip himself.
Picking up his ruined pants, he limped into his bedroom, emptied the pockets, removed the belt, and binned what was left. Too bad, they were a nice warm pair; he’d have to replace them now too. He dug a pair of sweatpants from a drawer and pulled them on, then took a detour to get his phone from his inside coat pocket on his way to the kitchen, where he put the kettle on for a cup of tea and fetched an icepack from the freezer for his knee. Another bit of irony there; ice caused the problem, and ice would be the best remedy, bringing the swelling down and easing the throbbing ache.
Mug of tea in one hand, ice pack wrapped in the tea towel in the other, Ryo hobbled back into his living room, set the mug down where he could reach it easily, and sank gratefully onto the sofa, putting his feet up and tucking a cushion under his injured knee. Tugging the leg of his sweatpants up above the swollen joint, he gritted his teeth and slapped the icepack into place. The coldness made him gasp and he picked up his steaming mug, cradling it in both hands to warm them while the icepack leached the heat out of the rest of his body.
“Should’ve brought a blanket with me,” he muttered. He wasn’t about to get up again now he was settled though. Freeing one hand from the hot mug, he dug out his phone and hit speed dial. “Dee?”
“Hey, babe! I was just about to call ya. You runnin’ late?”
“Hi, um, the shopping trip’s off, sorry. I had a bit of an accident.”
“Are you okay?” Dee was instantly concerned. “What happened?”
“I’ll survive, I just slipped on the ice outside the front door and fell down the steps. Sprained my knee.”
“I’ll be right over.”
“No, Dee, there’s no need…”
“Sure there is! Besides, where I am now, your place is closer than mine, and I can lend a hand so you can rest your knee. How bad is it?”
“It’s pretty swollen.”
“You should put ice on it then; that’ll bring the swelling down.”
“I already have. Last thing I wanted to do in this weather.” Ryo shivered.
“Okay. Good. Stay put and I’ll see ya in a bit.”
When Dee arrived twenty minutes later, he didn’t bother knocking, just let himself straight in, dumped a bag on the floor, pulled off his coat and boots, and padded over to Ryo, leaning down to kiss him.
“Hey. How’re ya feeling?”
“Fine; just a bit sore, and cold from the ice.”
“I can help with that. Stay there.”
“Like I’m going anywhere.”
Dee chuckled and vanished into Ryo’s bedroom, returning a couple of minutes later with Ryo’s warmest sweater, a thick pair of socks, and a cosy duvet.
“Anytime.” While Ryo pulled the sweater on, Dee helped him with the socks and took a look at his lover’s knee. “Ouch, what a mess! You don’t do things by halves, do ya? You sure it’s just sprained?”
“Positive. I can put my weight on it, and I walked up three flights of stairs. If it was anything more than a bad sprain I doubt I could’ve managed that.”
“That’s true I guess.”
Ryo’s curiosity got the better of him. “What’s in the bag?”
“Got ya a little something I thought might help. Be right back.” Dee went to the kitchen, fetched a glass of water, and returned carrying the bag. “First, painkillers,” he said, digging a pack from the bag and popping two out. “Wasn’t sure if you had any so I figured I’d better grab some. Take these.” He handed the pills and water over, waiting while Ryo did as instructed.
“Next, we have these…” Dee pulled something out of the bag, holding it up. “They fit over the soles of your shoes for grip in icy conditions, kinda like puttin’ snow chains on tyres. Figured they might help until you can get new boots.” He handed them over and dug in the bag again. “Last but not least, there’s this,” he said, unveiling the final item, a fold-up walking cane. “It’ll help ya get around until your knee heals, and because it folds up, you can shove it in your desk drawer when you’re at work.”
“You’ve really thought of everything, haven’t you?” Ryo said with a smile.
“I wouldn’t go that far, but…” Dee shrugged. “I’ve done my best. Now,” he dug out his notebook and pencil, “write down whatever you need from the shops and I’ll go pick it up.”
“I already have a shopping list; it’s in my billfold on the nightstand.” Ryo gestured towards the bedroom. “Are you sure you don’t mind doing the shopping?”
“Wouldn’t have asked if I minded.”
“Okay then, that would be a big help. You might as well just take my billfold; there should be enough money in it for what’s on my list.
“Fine; I’ll do that. Anything else you need before I go?”
“The book from my nightstand, and the TV remote?”
“No problem. I’d better switch your icepack for a fresh one too, and while I’m out I’ll get some bandages to strap your knee up for work.”
Once he had Ryo settled with everything he might need, Dee pulled his coat and boots back on. “See ya in a bit.”
“Dee?” Ryo called as his lover made for the door.
Dee paused and looked back. “Yeah?”
“Be careful out there. The ice is slippery.”
“I gathered that. Don’t worry.” Laughing, Dee headed out and Ryo relaxed; the painkillers were starting to work, reducing the throbbing pain in his knee to an insignificant ache.
I had been a stupid accident, but as he lay there Ryo realised how lucky he was. Not just because the injury was relatively minor compared with what could have happened, but because he had an amazing lover who was willing to drop everything to take care of him. It was almost worth spraining his knee to be reminded of that.