Characters: Ryo, Dee, OCs.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Hitting the New Year sales is a great idea until you’re loaded down with bags and you can’t find a taxi.
Word Count: 1988
Written For: Prompt 024: Taxi on my prompt table at 100prompts.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Never a taxi when ya need one,” Dee muttered as another one sailed on by, already occupied. He hitched up one of his shopping bags as it started to slip.
“It was your idea to hit the January sales,” Ryo reminded him, similarly burdened by an overabundance of shopping bags. “If you hadn’t decided to buy everything we wouldn’t be so loaded.” Not all the bags Ryo was carrying contained his own purchases; almost half were Dee’s because Dee didn’t have enough hands.
“I didn’t buy everything.” Dee shot his partner a look, then grinned. “Didn’t have enough money.” The grin quickly faded. “Man, I’m beat; if we have to walk much further my feet are gonna fall off, if my arms don’t beat ‘em to it.”
“Would you quit complaining? We could’ve gone home for a few hours’ sleep after seeing the New Year in, come back this morning by car, but no. ‘What’s the point?’ you said. ‘With everyone else heading in the same direction the subway will be packed. By the time we get home we’ll only have to turn around and come right back.’ If you’re tired you only have yourself to blame.”
“You tellin’ me you’re NOT tired?”
“Not as tired as you, apparently.” Ryo shrugged. “Then again, I walk more than you do, I go running, and I know how to pace myself. Maybe you should work out more.”
Dee scowled indignantly at his lover. “Hey, I’m in great shape!”
“Not as good as you could be if you got more exercise and quit smoking.” Ryo didn’t want to be a nag but since he and Dee had become a couple he’d become even more aware of how much his partner smoked, and had been encouraging him in his efforts to cut down.
“In the last six months I’ve gone from two packs a day to half a pack; that’s serious progress.”
“It is, and I’m proud of you.”
“But? I’m sensin’ a ‘but’…”
“It’s your body, I just don’t want to wind up outliving you, that’s all. I kinda like having you around.”
“Then if it’ll make you happy, I quit, as of now.”
“Just like that?” Ryo looked sceptical.
“January the first, baby; what better time is there? Besides, I kinda already did, it’s my New Year resolution. Guess with all the fireworks and the standin’ around in queues you didn’t notice I haven’t had a smoke since before midnight. That was my last one.”
“Yup! It’s nicotine patches all the way now; I’d show ya, but it’s cold out and I’ve kinda got my hands full… Oh, hey, TAXI! Damn!” Dee just managed to avoid dropping everything as he tried to hail a passing yellow cab, and swore colorfully as it swept past them without slowing. “At this rate we’re not gettin’ home until tomorrow.”
Ryo snorted softly. “Don’t exaggerate; it’s barely noon and we’ve only been trying to get a taxi for the last fifteen minutes, if that.”
“Feels more like an hour; my arms are nearly comin’ out of their sockets.”
“You should try carrying this slow cooker,” Ryo muttered under his breath.
“What was that?” Dee glanced his way.
“Nothing.” Ryo stopped and set some of his bags down. “Time to rethink our strategy.” He scanned the street; for a city with so many taxis there was a serious lack of yellow visible amongst the passing cars. Scooping his bags up again, he headed back the way they’d come.
“Hey! Where’re ya goin’?” Dee scrambled to follow, nearly tripping over his bags, and caught up as Ryo juggled with everything he was carrying in order to wrestle the door to a nearby diner open.
“I don’t know about you but I could do with a drink, and maybe a bite to eat,” he said, wedging the door open with his shoulder so Dee could squeeze past him. “All we’ve had this morning is coffee and a donut.”
“Best idea you’ve had all day.” As soon as he was inside Dee used his foot to hold the door so his lover could shuffle in the rest of the way and they made for an empty booth, shoving their bags in first, then following, flopping gratefully into the faux leather upholstery of the bench seats.
“Maybe we can re-pack our bags while we’re here, so we’re not trying to juggle so many,” Ryo said, making a quick grab as several started to slither towards the floor.
One of the waitresses bustled over to their table. “What can I get you boys?”
“Oh, uh… coffee, black, no sugar, and…” Ryo glanced at the menu. “Are you still serving breakfast?”
“All day long, honey. You want everything on it?”
Dee didn’t bother with the menu; he knew what comprised a full breakfast in places like this. “I’ll have the same, but hold the mushrooms on mine.”
“You got it, sugar. Be back with your coffee in a minute; food will be a bit longer.”
“That’s fine,” Ryo said with a smile. “We’re not in any rush.” As soon as the waitress had gone he turned his attention to reorganising his purchases, folding some of them up smaller to tuck inside other bags. “Some of this is yours, but we’ll just have to sort it all out later…” He paused and glanced across at Dee, frowning slightly. “In all the trying to get a taxi, I didn’t even think; are you coming back to mine, am I going back to yours, or what?”
“We should probably go back to yours, otherwise the House Ape’ll wonder where you’ve got to.”
“Carol’s aunt isn’t supposed to be dropping him home until this evening.”
“So? The way things’re goin’ he’ll probably be home before you are.”
“Dee,” Ryo laughed. “You’re getting to be as big a pessimist as Drake!”
“If I’m not quite my usually carefree self you can blame it on me quittin’ smokin’,” Dee joked. It was hot inside the diner so he unfastened his jacket and slipped out of it, bundling it up on the seat beside him before starting to sort out the contents of his own pile of shopping bags. “Y’know, I think I should’a got that striped shirt.”
“You did; I’ve got it in one of my bags.”
“You have? Oh, right! It was the other one I put back, wasn’t it? The dark grey.”
The waitress returned with their coffee and they gave up their sorting for the moment in favour of the badly needed refreshment. After a couple of sips from his steaming mug, Ryo realised he was getting hot and stood up to take his coat off.
“Finally! I was beginnin’ to think you were just gonna sit there with it on right through breakfast! You would’a melted,” Dee teased.
“I’m not that much of an idiot,” Ryo grumbled. He settled into his seat again, picking up his steaming mug and leaning back as he took another cautious sip. For diner coffee it was pretty good, way better than what was usually on offer at the precinct.
They sat in comfortable silence, their attention focused on their drinks, until the waitress returned with their food.
“Here you go, boys. One breakfast with mushrooms…” She set the plate carefully in front of Ryo, “and one without.” That one was set with equal care in front of Dee.
“Looks great. Thank you.” Ryo smiled at her.
She gestured to their almost empty mugs. “Ready for a refill?”
“I’ll be right back.” She hustled off to fetch the coffee pot while they dug into their food.
It was good; the bacon crispy, the sausages plump and juicy, the yolks of the fried eggs still runny, and the hash browns a light golden colour. There were beans and grilled tomatoes too, and on Ryo’s plate a generous serving of mushrooms. Best of all, unlike in some diners, it wasn’t swimming in grease.
“This is good,” Dee said, washing down his mouthful with a swig of coffee from his refilled mug.
“I know; I’ve been in here a time or two with Bikky on shopping trips. Why d’you think I picked this place?”
“I figured because it was there.”
Ryo shook his head. “There was another café just a few doors down in the direction we were heading, but I like this place better.”
“Well, I approve. I’ll have to remember where it is for future reference. Good place to stop for lunch.”
“Too far from the precinct to get here and back when we’re working.”
“Yeah, too bad about that.”
Meal finished, they took turns visiting the men’s room to save lugging their bags about, put their coats back on, left a tip for the waitress, checked they hadn’t lost any bags under the table or the seats, and headed out to continue their search for transport.
“We could take the bus,” Ryo suggested.
“Yeah, and change twice then have a long trek to your place from the nearest stop. This is New York; we’re bound to find a taxi if we just keep lookin’.” The rest and the food had improved Dee’s mood no end.
“Nice to see you’ve stopped complaining,” Ryo said with a grin, falling into step with his lover.
“What’s there to complain about? We’re well fed, it’s a beautiful day, and we got all these great bargains… Think of the money we’ve saved! We should start every New Year this way!”
“Beats starting it with a hangover.”
Dee snorted. “Like you ever get hangovers.”
“Just because I’m more sensible with my drinking these days doesn’t mean I always was. I’ve had my share. I just know my limits these days and try to stick to them.”
“I should probably do the same, but then I start drinkin’ and I forget,” Dee said wryly.
They strolled unhurriedly along the sidewalk, dodging other shoppers and keeping a look out for the telltale flash of yellow; they spotted two or three cabs, but they were all on the opposite side of the street.
“Maybe we should cross over,” Dee said. “We might have better luck.”
“Or not.” Ryo abruptly dumped half his bags onto the sidewalk and raised his arm, letting out a piercing whistle.
Dee flinched. “Jeez, if you’re gonna do that a warnin’ would’a been nice! Think you about deafened me!”
“Got us a taxi, didn’t it?” Ryo scooped his bags up again as the yellow cab pulled up alongside them, opened the rear door, threw most of the bags onto the back seat and scrambled in after them. Dee passed him the rest of their shopping before following.
As Dee slammed the door the driver twisted in his seat. “Where to?”
Dee gave him Ryo’s address, since Ryo was otherwise occupied, trying to make room for himself on the seat. He flopped back with a sigh as the driver pulled back into traffic; the best thing about taxis was that all you had to do was relax and be delivered right to your door. It certainly beat trying to squeeze onto a bus or into a crowded subway car.
“Y’know,” Dee said after a few minutes, “if we’re lucky we might be back in time to take a nap before Biks gets in.” He leaned his head against the back of the seat and yawned; the sleepless night was starting to catch up with him.
There was no reply from Ryo; head pillowed against a pile of shopping he was already asleep.
“If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em,” Dee muttered through another yawn. “Wake us when we get there?” he said to the driver. “Didn’t get any sleep last night. Just honk your horn, ‘kay?”
“You’re the boss.” The driver concentrated on wending his way through the heavy traffic; after all the rowdy partygoers the night before, transporting two sleeping passengers and a load of shopping bags was a pleasure.