Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: Working nights in a heatwave means attempting to sleep during the hottest part of the day.
Word Count: 1234
Written For: Jae's Monthly Drabble Challenge 149 – Season, Shift, Soft, Sprawl, Squirm.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Summer was neither Dee’s nor Ryo’s favourite season, especially not when it meant working on scorching hot days. In some ways, summer was worse than winter when they could bundle themselves up against the cold winds, rain, snow, and ice. Summer meant brownouts as the power grid that supplied New York struggled to distribute enough energy to serve the city’s needs. The power outages inevitably resulted in a rise in burglaries because of people leaving windows open in the hopes of a breath of breeze when they couldn’t rely on air-conditioning to keep their homes from turning into airless saunas.
Hot weather meant a dramatic increase in fights and road rage too, because overheated people tended to have short tempers, something both detectives could understand; working day after day in the blazing sunshine did nothing to improve their tempers either. The worst thing was working during second shift when the day was at its hottest; night shifts were preferable. When the sun set it got a little cooler, but that meant trying to sleep during the day, which brought its own problems.
Ryo squirmed uncomfortably; even with the air conditioning going, the heat was making him sweat, which in turn meant he was sticking to the sheet beneath him. That was all that was on the bed, it was way too hot to have anything covering them so the rest of the bedding was on the floor. Beside Ryo, Dee sprawled on his stomach, naked, his limbs shifting from time to time, seeking out slightly cooler spots on the bed, which soon stopped being cool as they soaked up his body heat.
“This is useless,” he groaned, rolling onto his side; he could actually hear his chest peeling away from the sheet. Everything felt unpleasantly damp and sticky. “It’s way too hot to sleep.”
“Tell me about it,” Ryo mumbled. They were both exhausted from chasing a man who’d been taking advantage of open windows to sneak into the homes of single women and attack them in their beds. They’d caught him, but practically given themselves heatstroke in the process. Sprinting in New York during a heatwave, even at night, was not the most sensible thing to do, but it wasn’t like they’d had any choice; they couldn’t let the bastard get away. Now he was cooling his heels in a holding cell while they were roasting in their own apartment, trying to get some badly needed rest in preparation for another night shift.
As soon as they’d arrived home that morning, they’d shed their clothes and taken a refreshing cold shower before grabbing a cold drink and a bite to eat, just a salad because adding to the heat in their already sweltering apartment by cooking wasn’t an appealing thought, and neither was eating hot food. They were more tired than hungry anyway. Soon after eating, they’d stumbled into the bedroom, too worn out to stay awake, only to hit their current snag.
Usually, the big, comfy bed Ryo had inherited from his parents was blissfully welcoming, an oasis of almost decadent luxury in their hard-working lives. But today, even with the windows and blinds closed, and the air-conditioning running, it seemed more like a torture device, sucking them down into its soft surface, absorbing the heat from their bodies and returning it to them with interest.
“If we don’t get any sleep, we’ll be useless at work later,” Dee grumbled, sitting up and turning his pillow over, then flopping back down again to lay his head on the cool side. Not that it would stay cool for more than a couple of minutes.
“Tell me something I don’t know.” Ryo huffed an annoyed sigh.
“How to keep cool enough to get some sleep?”
“If I knew that, I wouldn’t be lyin’ here awake, would I?” Dee sounded as grumpy as Ryo felt.
“There has to be something we can do!” Ryo flopped over onto his back and turned his head to look at his partner in the light filtering through the blinds.
“Maybe another cold shower would help.”
“Yeah, for about five minutes,” Ryo said dully. “We step out from under the spray and as soon as we dry off we’re hot again. Anyway, we can’t keep wasting water that way; there’s already a shortage.”
“Cold bath? We could run a few inches into the tub and sit in it. Leave the plug in and we might even be able to re-use it this evening for a quick bath before work, save some water that way, then use it to water the houseplants.”
Ryo smiled at Dee’s effort to embrace conservation of resources. “They could probably use it; the heat isn’t agreeing with them either. I’m game to give it a try if you are; anything’s better than lying here melting into the mattress.”
“C’mon then.” Dee unstuck himself from the bed and padded into the bathroom, putting the plug in the tub and turning on the cold-water faucet.
Ryo followed, gasping at the coolness of the bathroom tiles beneath his bare feet. It was a pity they warmed up so fast; otherwise, sleeping on the bathroom floor might have been an option. He’d willingly trade the softness of his bed for the hard floor if it meant not feeling like he was being cooked. “I feel sorry for lobsters.”
Turning his head, Dee snorted with laughter; tired Ryo could be delightfully random. “Where did that come from?”
“Huh? Oh, just if I feel a bit like I’m being boiled alive in these temperatures, how must they feel, being dropped in boiling water?”
“And suddenly I’ve gone right off the idea of eatin’ lobster. Not that I can afford to very often, but…” Dee turned off the faucet. Three inches of water should be enough; it was a big tub, but the level would rise when they got in.
“Mm,” Ryo agreed. “Maybe we should start a protest in support of the ethical treatment of lobsters.”
“Count me in, as long as it doesn’t involve marchin’ in this heat, wavin’ placards. You gettin’ in?”
“Hm?” Ryo frowned at his partner, his expression vaguely puzzled.
“The bath.” Dee pointed.
“Oh, right.” Stepping over the side, Ryo sank into the shallow water with a sigh of relief. “That feels good.”
“Here.” Dee passed his lover a folded towel. “Put that behind your head.” Clutching his own towel, he climbed in at the other end of the tub, once again thankful that while choosing their new bathroom suite, he and Ryo had been sensible enough to get a bathtub where the faucets were midway along the side instead of at one end. It made sharing the tub much more comfortable. Settling into the cool water, he stretched his legs out to either side of Ryo’s and tucked his towel behind his head, leaning back comfortably, closing his eyes and yawning. “We’ll just relax here until we cool off, then go back to bed and try to get some sleep.”
“Uh huh,” Ryo agreed.
So much for that idea; within a couple of minutes they were both asleep, and if they were both more than a bit pruney beneath their clothes when they arrived at the precinct that evening, it wasn’t as if anybody else was going to know. At least they could say with relative certainty that they were keeping themselves well hydrated.