Characters: Ryo, Dee.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: On vacation in the south of England, Dee and Ryo take a long hike on a sunny day.
Word Count: 2202
Written For: Jae’s Monthly Drabble Challenge 150 – Burn.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Don’t forget to use plenty of sunscreen,” Ryo warned his partner as Dee came out of their holiday apartment’s small en suite bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist, and started to get dressed. “You don’t want to get sunburn.” Ryo, wearing only a pair of shorts, was busy applying the lotion to any parts of his own body that were likely to be exposed to the sun during their walk. The forecast was for a hot and sunny day, by British standards, although it was nowhere near as hot as the weather they’d left behind in New York.
“I’ll be fine; it’s not that hot here and I don’t burn the way you do; benefits of having a darker complexion.” Dee fastened his own shorts and paused to admire his lover. “Turn around and I’ll do your back for you,” he offered, picking up the bottle of sunscreen and pouring some into his hand.
“Thanks. I always have trouble doing that by myself, my arms just aren’t designed to bend that way and I always end up missing a bit.”
“Just one more reason you need me,” Dee grinned, setting to work spreading the lotion over Ryo’s back and shoulders and rubbing it in, relishing every chance he got to savour caressing his lover’s body, even when he knew it wouldn’t lead to sex.
“You should still protect yourself, even though it’s cooler here than back home; too much sun damages your skin and you don’t want to wind up all dry and wrinkly, do you?” Ryo said, only half joking.
“Ah, I suppose you’re right,” Dee sighed. “My arms are fine, they’re already tanned, but I guess I should take care of other places.” He slapped Ryo lightly on the butt. “You can put your shirt on now; you’re done.”
“Good.” Ryo tugged the t-shirt over his head. “I’ll do your back while you do the rest, then we can go.”
It only took a few minutes and when he was done Ryo put the cap back on the bottle and shoved it in his backpack, along with the other essential supplies for their walk. They had a picnic lunch he’d prepared before breakfast, plenty of juice and water to keep them hydrated, a blanket to sit on, and a long-sleeved shirt each in case it got chilly later. Their cameras and binoculars sat on the bed, waiting to be hung around their necks before they set off. Today they planned on walking over the downs to visit a quaint little village further inland, so they could take a look around the ruined castle that sat on a hill overlooking the small cluster of cottages.
Dee would have been just as happy lounging on the beach and swimming in the sea, the way they’d done the previous day, but Ryo had said when they booked this vacation that he wanted to see more than just the town where they were staying, and the nearest beach. Dee wanted his lover to be happy, and if that meant doing a lot of sightseeing instead of just lazing around, fair enough; it was a pleasant enough day for a hike, with a good breeze to take the edge off the warmth of the sun.
They caught a bus out of town, up to near where Ryo’s map said the footpath over the downs started, and soon they were climbing up a steep track worn by countless feet. Chalk pebbles pushed their way through the dry soil and the grass was cropped short to either side by the sheep dotted about the meadow. Near the top of the hill, they scrambled over a stile set into a hawthorn hedge and stepped out onto the downs, rolling hills ahead of them as far as they could see. Way down at the bottom of a fairly steep slope off to their left, they could see farm buildings and cows made small by distance. There was a road down there as well, along which cars that looked no bigger than toys moved silently back and forth, too far away for the noise of their engines to reach the two men. All they could hear from where stood were the breeze rustling in the grass and scattered bushes, and skylarks so far overhead that looking up they were no more than dark pinpricks against the blue of the sky.
“Isn’t it beautiful?” Ryo was just standing there, gazing around himself and smiling happily, breathing in clean, fresh air untainted by traffic fumes.
“Yeah, beautiful.” Looking at his partner, Dee couldn’t decide whether he meant the scenery or Ryo himself. Maybe it didn’t matter; the scenery made a perfect backdrop for the man he loved, and Dee flipped the lens cap off his camera to take a few shots. He wanted to capture Ryo’s happiness at this moment and hold on to it forever.
“You shouldn’t waste film on me when there’s so much else to take pictures of,” Ryo laughed.
“Digital camera, dumbass,” Dee teased fondly. “No film to waste, just practically unlimited memory.” He’d made sure to bring plenty of memory cards, not to mention spare batteries, so they’d have a ton of pictures to remind them of their vacation.
Ryo facepalmed. “I don’t know why I said that; must be getting old, my memory’s going.”
“Nah, it’s just force of habit. You’re still gettin’ used to your new camera.”
Up until last winter, Ryo had still been using his dad’s old camera, but it had been getting more and more difficult to find places that developed film, not to mention the cost kept going up, so Dee had bought his lover a digital camera for his last birthday, then had gotten himself a similar but slightly less fancy one when they’d started planning this trip.
Dee raised his camera again. “Say cheese!”
“Idiot!” Ryo grinned.
“Good enough.” Dee took another shot. “I guess we should make tracks. We’ve got quite a way to go.”
They set off along the faint path worn in the thin soil, pointing things out to each other, butterflies, and birds, and flowers, and enjoying the peace and quiet. There wasn’t another person to be seen, and there was no need to hurry so they strolled along until a little after noon, when they decided to stop for lunch, spreading out their blanket in the lee of some bushes to keep the breeze from blowing things about.
They had quite a feast, crusty rolls stuffed with corned beef and salad, tomatoes, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, apple turnovers bought at the bakers on their way to the bus, and a big bunch of seedless grapes. After eating their fill, they relaxed for a while, drowsy and content. Eventually Ryo stirred himself, digging in his backpack to retrieve his map and unfolding it to check their route. He estimated that they’d covered a little less than three-quarters of the distance to the village; once they got moving again they should reach it in less than an hour and have plenty of time to explore before they had to start back.
“Out here in the middle of nowhere, we could be the only two people in the world,” Dee mused, sprawled out in the sunshine, relaxing as Ryo put the map away and shoved the remains of their meal into his backpack. Rolling over, he pulled Ryo down beside him, kissing his lover and sliding one hand under his t-shirt.
Ryo squirmed. “Dee! What are you doing?”
“You know exactly what I’m doin’ babe. Why d’you think I picked this spot for our picnic? No one’s gonna see us here, even if there was anyone else about, which there isn’t. We’re all alone.”
It was true, they’d been up here on the downs for almost four hours and not seen another living soul, and the clumps of gorse bushes effectively hid them from view of anyone on the path several hundred metres away. The chances of anyone catching them were infinitesimal, so even though he knew he probably shouldn’t, when Dee started to unzip his shorts, Ryo made no move to stop him, even raising his hips so Dee could slide them off, suddenly glad he’d opted on the spur of the moment that morning to do what Dee usually did in hot weather and go commando. “Well, okay…”
“Woohoo!” Dee grinned, finding nothing but bare skin beneath Ryo’s shorts. “Never thought I’d see the day. Great minds, and all that!” He quickly shed his own clothes and pulled a tube of lube from his shorts pocket before turning his attention to enjoying his lover al fresco.
“Should’ve known you had this all planned,” Ryo grumbled before gasping as a warm, sticky finger penetrated him.
“Always be prepared,” Dee teased. “That’s my motto.”
“Only when it comes to sex.”
That was the last coherent thing either of them said for quite a while.
The village, when they finally got there, was even more picturesque than they’d imagined, all thatched cottages built of local stone, their tiny front yards ablaze with brightly coloured flowers, while similarly colourful hanging baskets supported by fancy wrought-iron brackets swayed in the breeze beside every front door. The village green had a small pond in the middle, where ducks and geese swam and dabbled, quacking noisily. A Row of quaint little shops sold local produce and crafts, as well as postcards and other tourist mementos. Ryo was soon snapping photographs of everything.
While the village itself exceeded expectations, there really wasn’t much left of the castle, just a few crumbling sections of wall sticking up out of the grass here and there on the hilltop, and yet despite that, the ruins carried a sense of age greater than any structure in North America could boast. Dee and Ryo took photos of each other standing in front of the largest piece of wall before returning to the village for ice cream, which they ate sitting on a sun-warmed wooden bench by the pond, watching the ducks. They couldn’t stay there forever though, much as Ryo would have liked to. Dropping their rubbish in a bin at the edge of the green, they slung their backpacks over their shoulders and set off up the lane that would lead them back to the footpath.
Three-quarters of an hour into their walk back across the downs, Dee dragged his lover back into their secluded spot among the bushes, saying they should take full advantage of the opportunity since with all the other places Ryo wanted to visit, they probably wouldn’t come back up here again. Ryo told Dee he was crazy, but otherwise didn’t protest, except to insist on getting the blanket out again. The short, drying grass was kind of bristly and uncomfortable to lie on. They couldn’t linger as long this time as they had after lunch, knowing they still had a fair walk ahead of them and they didn’t want to miss the bus back into town, so as soon as they were reasonably sure their legs would support them, they hurriedly pulled their clothes back on and set off. It was already early evening.
“Maybe we should have gone back to the village and caught a bus from there,” Ryo said when they’d been walking for about an hour.
“Too late for that; we must be over halfway by now, and it’s mostly downhill from here.”
“I know. I just hope you don’t miss the last bus because it’ll be a long trek back into town if we do.”
“Quit worryin’; we’ll be fine,” Dee assured him.
Despite Dee’s words, they ended up running the last half mile or so along the ridge top back to the stile, all but vaulting over it and jogging down the steep path, climbing over the gate at the bottom to save a few seconds, but they made it to the bus stop just as their bus came into view.
“That was cutting it a bit close,” Ryo panted as the bus pulled up in front of them and they climbed aboard, dropping coins into the ticket machine and making their way to a pair of empty seats. Ryo slid in first and Dee sat beside him.
“All that matters is we made it. How about we do something a little less energetic tomorrow though?”
A few minutes into the ride back to town Dee started fidgeting uncomfortably in his seat. Ryo frowned at his lover. “What’s up?”
Biting his bottom lip, Dee muttered, “Maybe I should’a listened to you this morning.”
“What d’you mean?”
Dee winced and shifted again. Keeping his voice low so the other passengers wouldn’t overhear, he murmured in Ryo’s ear, “I think my ass is sunburned.”
Ryo’s eyes went wide and he started to blush as he realised how Dee’s rear had gotten burned, but then he burst out laughing.
“It’s not funny!” Dee hissed, face flushing, glaring daggers at his lover.
“Sure it is! Maybe that will teach you the importance of using plenty of sunscreen on exposed areas. You only have yourself to blame.”
Dee gave a wry smile, knowing Ryo was right. “Totally worth it though.”