Characters: Dee, Ryo, OCs.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: New York and its inhabitants are sweltering, but is that a storm approaching?
Word Count: 1470
Written For: withasmile87’s prompt ‘any, any, the heat just before a thunderstorm,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
The air over the city is thick and stifling, heavy with both heat and moisture, and so still that walking through it feels like pushing through the folds of clinging draperies, or maybe steam-misted tropical vegetation. Dee lets his mind wander, imagining himself an explorer in a jungle somewhere, instead of trudging along New York streets. It doesn’t make him feel any less enervated, but at least the images in his mind are less boring than the familiar ones in front of his eyes. Plus, he can just picture Ryo, bare-chested, wearing nothing but shorts, boots, and a wide-brimmed hat, swinging a machete at jungle vines…
Damn. Unbelievable as it sounds, the sultry heat bearing down on him is interfering with his libido. Even thoughts of mostly naked Ryo are getting barely a twitch out of him. What he wouldn’t give for a breath of a breeze.
“Dee?” A hand grabs his arm, stopping him in mid-step.
“Huh?” Dee blinks, re-focusing his eyes on his surroundings.
“We’re here.” Ryo points to the corner store.
“Right. Yeah, sorry; think I was on autopilot for a minute there.” Dee offers up a sheepish grin.
“Good thing one of us is paying attention.” Ryo shoves limp hair back from a sweaty forehead; he looks as drained as Dee feels. Pushing the door open, he leads the way inside.
It’s only fractionally cooler indoors; the air-conditioning is labouring hard to keep temperatures at a bearable level. Dee tries imagining himself on a beach somewhere, dipping his toes into cool water, but his body isn’t fooled. He’s hot, tired, and footsore from pounding the streets half the afternoon; all he wants is to go home, strip off, take a cold shower, and relax. His head is starting to ache from the heat; black hair just soaks it all up and if he’s not careful his brain might start to boil. Maybe it already has, judging by the difficulty he’s having focussing his thoughts. Ryo seems to be faring slightly better, so Dee hangs back and lets his partner do the talking, questioning the shop owner, who thinks he may know the identity of their suspect. It’s the first stroke of luck they’ve had on this case.
He’s still standing there like an idiot, staring into space, when Ryo nudges him, pushing something cold against his chest. Dee looks down and smiles, taking the plastic bottle from Ryo, feeling condensation cool against his palm as he twists off the lid with his free hand and takes a long drink. Why does water always taste better on hot days?
“I got a name and address too.” Ryo holds up a slip of paper.
“Could be. Won’t know for sure until we check it out.” Ryo tucks the paper into his pocket, opens his own bottle, and drinks deeply. Dee pauses to watch, enjoying the view, and Ryo frowns at him. “What’re you staring at?”
“You.” It might be too hot to do anything much, but Ryo is always worth checking out. Dee tears his gaze away from his lover’s delectable attributes, and sighs, resigned. “Whelp, guess we’d better brave the furnace out there again.” It’s not an appealing thought, but they have a job to do and it’s still a couple of hours to the end of shift.
Out on the streets, it’s still baking hot, traffic fumes hanging low over the street, but through gaps between buildings Dee can see clouds starting to pile up in the distance, and his sharp hearing picks up what could be a far off rumble of thunder. He nudges Ryo and points. “Think that might be headin’ our way?”
Ryo peers at the distant clouds for a moment over the tops of his sunglasses before pushing them back up his nose. “We can hope.” As luck would have it, to get back to their car they have to head towards the gathering clouds.
If anything, the air seems to be getting hotter and heavier, pushed along before the storm front. Dee drains the last of the water from his bottle and wishes he had another, or maybe several. He imagines pouring the contents of one over his head, feeling the chill liquid soak into his hair and cool his scalp, trickling down the back of his neck. That would feel so good right now.
His shirt is clinging to him uncomfortably, his feet feel swollen inside his shoes, and as for his shorts, they’re sticking in unmentionable places, bunching up with every step. He usually likes hot weather, but there’s hot and then there’s this, which is like being trapped in a sauna with the heat turned up to maximum. No wonder there are so few people on the street, and those who are seem to be keeping to the shade wherever possible, not that it makes much difference temperature-wise.
Thunder rumbles again, closer and louder. Dee glances upwards again; the sky is steadily darkening off to the east. A sudden gust of hot, dry wind ruffles his hair. Beside him, Ryo is plucking at his shirt, unsticking it from his chest, and his stride falters momentarily as he tilts his head to the wind, but it’s gone as quickly as it arrived. Nevertheless, the hot air almost seems to crackle around them with the approaching storm. Dee’s lethargy starts to lift, as if he’s somehow being reenergized, and Ryo straightens out of the slight slouch he’d adopted, weighed down by the heat, pulling his shoulders back.
Another gust of wind whips past them, carrying dry dust and sending litter skittering along the sidewalk. Lightning flashes against roiling clouds and the sky grows darker; the storm front is moving in fast. Dee’s not sure exactly when they stopped moving, but they’re both just standing there, watching the storm approach, buffeted by gusts of wind. Everything seems to be waiting, like the city’s holding its breath.
A heavy drop of water hits the roof of a nearby car and bounces upwards, shattering into smaller droplets. It’s followed by several more, scattered across the street. One hits Dee’s bare arm where his shirtsleeve is rolled up; it’s wet and warm. Thunder cracks, almost deafeningly loud, and then the heavens open. Ryo flashes a grin at Dee, pulls off his sunglasses and tilts his head back, eyes closed, as rain pours down on his face.
Dee follows suit; this is even better than tipping a bottle of water over his head, except that they’re already soaked to the skin and it’s only been raining for a few minutes.
“We’re getting drenched!” he shouts at Ryo over the sound of raindrops drumming on parked cars. If their shirts were clinging to them before, now they’re plastered to their bodies, practically see-through. He grabs Ryo’s wrist, tugging him forward. “Car!”
Ryo nods and they break into a run, laughing, but as the rain comes down ever harder, cutting visibility to just a couple of yards, they give up trying to find where they parked and take refuge beneath an awning instead. Breathing hard, they stare out into the deluge, rain dripping from their hair and clothes, pooling around their feet.
“Well, I wanted a shower, but I’d planned on takin’ my clothes off first,” Dee laughs, standing on one foot to squeeze water out of his other trouser leg. “Even my socks are soaked.”
“At least we’re a bit cooler now,” Ryo points out.
The rain’s slowing, the storm already almost past, rays of sunlight breaking through the clouds and making the sidewalk and the cars steam. The two detectives leave the shelter of the awning and look around for their car, realising they ran right past it. Ryo sets off in the opposite direction.
“Hey! Where’re ya goin’?” Dee asks, pointing. “Car’s back that way.”
Ryo spins around, walking backwards. “I know, but the address we were given is this way.” He points over his shoulder in the direction he’s heading and stops, waiting for Dee to catch up. “Might as well walk and dry off a bit in the sun instead of getting in the car all wet.”
Dee shrugs; his partner is probably right, the idea of sitting down in sodden trousers… He wrinkles his nose at the thought and strolls up to Ryo. “Yeah, why not?”
The air is fresher now, the lower temperature much more comfortable, and there’s a breeze lifting their drying hair. It feels good. Dee’s brain is working again now, and other parts of him are perking up too. He rakes Ryo with an appreciative gaze, taking in the way his shirt and chinos are still sticking to him in places.
“Eyes front,” Ryo chides. “Work now, play later.”
“That a promise?”
“Maybe. We’ll see.”
Dee nods; that’ll have to be good enough. For now.