Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: Around Vol. 3 or 4.
Summary: After a week of heavy snow, Ryo wake to an unexpected but very welcome sunny morning.
Word Count: 1180
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 138: Sunny at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
It wasn’t even halfway through December but New York was already deep in the grip of winter. The snowplows were out, doing their best to keep the streets passable, but it had been an uphill battle since the snow started falling almost a week ago. Not blizzard conditions thankfully, there’d been scarcely a breath of breeze, but while the still air had prevented a complete whiteout it had also meant that the snow-laden clouds had just sat above the city, steadily unloading their burden, covering everything with a blanket of white that built up faster than it could be cleared away.
This morning had brought a change in the weather. Ryo had woken to weak sunlight filtering through the blinds and had thrown the covers back, hardly noticing the chill in his bedroom, as he scrambled to the window to look out.
The snow was still there, grey and sludgy on the road, grey and lumpy heaped up in the gutters, packed solid on some parts of the sidewalk while other sections had been scraped mostly clear. It gleamed whitely on the roofs of buildings and cars, and on tree branches. Later on, if the sky stayed clear it would be blindingly bright in the sunlight.
There was no doubt it was still bitterly cold out; even this early Ryo could see people down on the street, bundled up in thick coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and boots, their breath steaming in the air. Still, seeing a hint of sun after several days of wintry gloom was all it took to lift Ryo’s spirits; at this time of year, sunny days were a blessing.
The sunshine probably wouldn’t have much impact on the snow, except for causing it to slide off sloping roofs onto the unwary people passing by below, but it was a welcome reminder that winter would eventually pass, taking the snow and the cold with it.
Scrambling off the bed, Ryo shoved his feet into slippers and pulled his robe on. For the first time in days he actually felt eager to be up and out instead of just wanting to pull the covers up over his head and stay in bed where it was warm and cosy.
Heading for the bathroom, he rapped on Bikky’s door. “Time to get up, Biks. The snow’s stopped; looks like it’s going to be a beautiful day!” He didn’t bother poking his head into the room; he’d roust the boy properly after he’d showered.
The snow hadn’t been falling heavily enough to close the schools down, much to Bikky’s disappointment and Ryo doubted his foster son would share his enthusiasm for the sunshine, knowing that it obliterated any hope he may still have had for a snow day, but it was Friday and the weekend lay ahead so hopefully there’d be fewer complaints over breakfast this morning.
A warm shower left Ryo feeling refreshed and ready to meet the day; he shaved quickly then went to make sure Bikky was stirring. Surprisingly, the boy was already out of bed and staring through the window.
“Bathroom’s free. Better go shower and get dressed.”
Bikky didn’t budge. “It’s not snowing!”
“I know, I already told you that. Good thing too, or the whole city might’ve vanished underneath mountainous drifts,” Ryo joked, going to stand at the window beside Bikky and looking out. The day was gradually getting brighter and the sky was already turning a clear pale blue overhead, with hardly a wisp of cloud in sight. “It’s good to see the sun.”
“But it’ll melt the snow!” Bikky protested.
“A little perhaps, but it’s nowhere near strong enough to clear it. I’m sure there’ll still be plenty for you to play in over the weekend. Now go and get ready for school, I’m going to start breakfast; if you don’t hurry up you’ll wind up with cold pancakes.”
That threat finally got the boy moving. “Okay! I’m going!” Grabbing his clothes, he dashed from the room.
Chuckling, Ryo followed, making his way to the kitchen where he put the coffee machine on and started to mix the pancake batter, humming happily to himself.
The stack of pancakes was just about ready when Bikky practically skidded into the kitchen and threw himself into a chair at the table, snatching up his knife and fork and waiting impatiently to be fed. Ryo piled pancakes onto a plate for the boy then went back to the stove to use up the last of the batter before joining his foster son, who was shovelling food into his mouth at an alarming speed.
“Slow down and chew your food or you’ll choke,” Ryo admonished.
“Sorry.” Bikky slowed a bit. “I’m just hungry and you make really good pancakes.”
“At the speed you eat I’m amazed you can even taste them, looked like you were swallowing them whole. We’re not in that much of a rush.” He took a sip of his coffee. “I can give you a ride to school this morning if you like.” Ryo’s shift was starting an hour later today thanks to a bit of unscheduled overtime the night before.
“No, that’s okay, I don’t mind walking.”
“Just be careful who you throw snowballs at then.”
Bikky looked up, eyes wide. “How’d you know?”
“Believe it or not, I was young once. I used to do the same thing walking to school in the snow when I was your age.” Ryo stood up, clearing away the empty plates. “Finish your milk and go brush your teeth.”
By the time Bikky left for school the sun was up far enough to be visible and the colour of the sky had turned a deeper shade of blue. Fetching the shovel, Ryo cleared the stoop and the sidewalk fronting his building. The snow had still been falling when he’d gone to bed the night before and several inches had piled up since the last time he’d cleared it. With luck there wouldn’t be any more snow and he’d be spared that chore for a while. Job done, he returned the shovel to its place, stepped out onto the stoop again and just stood in a patch of sunlight, head titled back and eyes half closed against the brightness, soaking it up.
There were months to go before winter would give way to spring; snow and ice, hail, wind and rain no doubt lay ahead with precious little sunshine and even less warmth to be found, so days like this had to be cherished. They happened all too rarely. Maybe today, instead of joining the crush of people riding the subway he’d stay on the surface and take the bus; it should be running. This wasn’t a day to be stuck underground if there was a better alternative.
Reluctantly he turned to go back indoors and get ready for work. If he hurried, maybe he could even walk part of the way; the exercise would do him good and despite the cold he’d soon warm up. He intended to make the most of the sunshine while it lasted.