Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: Early in the manga.
Summary: A bad storm is hanging over New York, battering the city.
Word Count: 1525
Content Notes: None needed.
Written For: Challenge 242: Eye at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Torrential rain and gusting winds had been hammering the city since sometime in the early hours, the noise it made waking Ryo frequently. It presented a bleak prospect for him, as he lay in bed staring at the rain streaming down the window, waiting for his alarm clock to go off and force him out of his comfortable bed to face a thoroughly miserable day. He loved fall weather most of the time, but no place on earth needed this much rain all at once, or gale force winds at any time.
Surely hurricanes never used to hit with this kind of force so far north. Although he searched his memory, he couldn’t recall anything comparable from childhood or his teens. The last few years though… Global warming was picking up speed, bringing more extreme weather every year. Anyone who denied what was happening had to have their head buried so deeply in the sand as to be completely divorced from reality. Times like this he wanted to grab those climate change naysayers and bang their stupid heads together; maybe that would persuade them to open their eyes and see what was right in front of them. Or maybe not, people like that only saw what they wanted to see; they were stubbornly blind to anything that didn’t fit their narrow vision of the way the world should work.
The alarm started its strident ringing, breaking Ryo out of his thoughts, and he rolled onto his other side, reaching out to shut it off so that once again the only sounds were the howling wind and the hammering of rain against the windowpane. He flopped onto his back again with a resigned sigh; mornings like this, finding the energy to get out of bed was the hardest part of the whole day.
Cloud cover was so thick and heavy that even though the sun was already up somewhere beyond the buildings it was still almost dark out. It made Ryo’s bedroom dim and gloomy, but he resisted the temptation to turn on the bedside lamp. There was no point; his eyes were already adjusted to the lack of illumination, light would just dazzle him. He could see well enough to find his way across his bedroom without falling over anything.
Reluctantly he threw the bedcovers back and sat up on the edge of the bed, sliding his feet into slippers and pulling his robe on over his pyjamas. His clothes for the day were ready and waiting; having seen the forecast the night before, Ryo had gone for weather resistant cosy casuals rather than a suit, and had stuffed a spare change of clothes and a couple of towels into his gym bag to take with him. Chances were he’d need to change into something dry at least once today so it made sense to be prepared. Gathering his clothes, he made for the bathroom to shower and shave before Bikky got up. At least a hot shower would chase away the chill caused by the dreary weather.
Twenty minutes later, dressed and as ready for the day as he could be, Ryo knocked on Bikky’s bedroom door before opening it. “Bikky? Time to get up.”
“But it’s still dark out!” The muffled protest issued from beneath the covers, which were pulled right up over the boy’s head.
“How can you tell from under there?”
A single startlingly bright blue eye peeped out and stared balefully at Ryo. “I looked when my alarm went off. Do I have to get up?”
“Yes. I don’t like it any more than you do, but you have school and I have work. Besides, isn’t it basketball practice today? You don’t want to miss that, do you?”
“I guess not. Fine, I’m getting up.” The rest of Bikky’s head emerged and he frowned at the solid sheet of rain pouring down the window. “Is it gonna be like this all day?”
“Not sure, but the late forecast last night didn’t look good.”
“This sucks! We’ll drown the minute we step outside! We get snow days so why don’t we get rain days? It’s inhuman making us go out in that!”
Ryo sighed and walked over to the window, trying to see through the rain. The wind was tossing the trees about and even as he watched, a torn black garbage bag flew past. Using an umbrella would be out of the question. “I’ll drive you to school. It’ll mean getting there a bit early, but that’s got to be better than getting there soaked to the skin. You’d best shove a towel in your bag so you can dry off if you need to.” The school was made up of several separate buildings and pupils often had to trek from one to another between classes. “Don’t be long getting up, I’m going to start breakfast. You want some oatmeal? We could both do with something hot to eat before going out in this.”
Oatmeal was usually reserved for the depths of winter, with a dollop of honey, of some fruit mixed in. Bikky wasn’t crazy about it, but he had to admit it did warm him up inside. “Yeah, okay; that’d be good.” He yawned, stretched, and rubbed his eyes before peering about in the faint light through his window. “Are you sure it’s time to get up?”
“Positive. Now hurry up.” Ryo closed the door behind him and made for the kitchen to get breakfast going; hot coffee for himself, cocoa for Bikky as a small treat, and oatmeal for both of them.
It was still raining heavily as they got ready to leave after breakfast, pulling on boots and coats in deference to the horrendous conditions outside. Slinging their bags over their shoulders, Ryo and Bikky trooped down the stairs and paused just inside the building’s foyer, peering out through the open door. The sidewalk and road were awash with water, transformed into a rushing river because the drains couldn’t cope with the downpour. It was probably no more than an inch deep but that didn’t make the prospect of walking though it any more appealing, especially considering the rain was still pouring down in a near solid sheet.
“Wait here until I unlock the car,” Ryo told his foster son, wishing his car had remote central locking. “You won’t get so wet that way.” Pulling up the hood of his coat, Ryo got his keys ready and plunged out into the rain, taking the stoop steps in two strides and splashing his way to his car at the kerb. Bikky followed as soon as Ryo had the doors open, diving into the back seat. Ryo slid behind the wheel and pushed his hood back. Firing up the engine, he turned the windscreen wipers and the headlights on; it wasn’t quite as dark out as it had been earlier, but visibility was still very poor. Nobody in their right mind would try to drive in such conditions without lights.
The drive to the school was made in silence, Ryo busy concentrating on the road ahead and the other traffic while Bikky peered out the side window at the water flowing past, but just as they pulled up in front of the school the rain eased off and the sky grew lighter, the clouds starting to break apart, allowing weak sunlight to filter through.
“It’s stopped raining!” Bikky threw the car door open and slid out, looking up at the sky, eyes wide with amazement at the miraculous turn of events.
“Don’t get your hopes up, Biks; it’s not going to last, we’re just in the eye of the storm.” Nevertheless, Ryo stood beside his foster son, drinking in the sunlight and the glimpses of blue sky visible through the tattered streamers of cloud. Even a brief respite from the storm was welcome. Before long the wind and rain would return and conditions would be a bad as before, but by then Ryo hoped to be safe and dry in the squad room. “You should get inside. Got everything?”
“Yep!” Bikky dragged his book bag out of the car. “Thanks for the ride. See you tonight, Ryo!”
“Have a good day.” Ryo ruffled the boy’s unruly blond hair and watched as he ran up the path towards the main school building, disappearing through the doors.
Getting back in the car and starting it up again, Ryo turned in the direction of the 27th precinct, keeping one eye on the sky. If he could just beat the return of the rain, reserve his dry clothes for when he really needed them… He wasn’t naïve enough to imagine New York’s criminals would take the day off on account of the weather; at some point today he was going to get a whole lot wetter than he’d like, but not just yet. As he drove though the puddles he smiled to himself; this wasn’t so bad, it was even kinda pretty, the drops of water clinging to everything twinkling like fairy lights. It was amazing the way a little splash of sunlight could lift the spirits, even on the stormiest days.