Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Stakeouts on bitterly cold nights are never fun, but warming up afterwards is much more enjoyable.
Word Count: 2477
Written For: Jae’s Monthly Drabble Challenge 155 – Warm Up. Also for Prompt 005: Gloves on my prompt table at 100prompts.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Stakeouts in this kind of weather weren’t fun; even at the best of times they were boring. Dee and Ryo sat in their nondescript vehicle, parked across the street from the target building, engine off so no heat, slowly freezing as a heavy frost rimed the other parked vehicles, the sidewalk, and anything else it could find purchase on. Their breath steamed in the cold air and they had to keep wiping condensation off the insides of the windows with the backs of their gloves, just so they could see out. Dee was starting to think it might be warmer on the street than in this battered tin can of a car turned icebox. At least there he’d be able to stamp his feet and move around.
“I hate winter,” he grumbled, not for the first time.
Ryo gave a soft huff of laughter. “Weren’t you the one complaining yesterday that we haven’t had any snow yet?”
“That wasn’t a complaint, just an observation. Usually there’d be snow way before this. Global warming’s makin’ the weather weird everywhere.”
“And yet there are still people, even politicians, who refuse to believe it’s happening.” Ryo sighed heavily then had to reach out to clear the misted windscreen again.
“They’re idiots, the politicians especially. Which isn’t any kind of surprise, I guess. Politicians are all idiots anyway.” Dee pulled his gloves off to blow on his fingers, pulled them back on again and tucked his hands in his armpits. Not that it made any noticeable difference. “How much longer do we have ta sit here freezin’ our asses off?”
Ryo nudged one coat sleeve up a fraction of an inch to check his watch, briefly pressing the button on the side to light up the display. It was closing in on midnight, when they’d be relieved by whoever was taking over surveillance, Martinez and Shaw if he was remembering the schedule correctly. “Twenty minutes, give or take.”
“Good, ‘cause I just wanna get outta here and go get warmed up. Hot coffee, hot food, then home for a hot shower and a good night’s sleep.” He hunched his shoulders and slid further down in his seat, chin burrowing into the front of his jacket, wishing he had a scarf on but knowing it wouldn’t be practical if the guy there were waiting for showed up and they had to give chase. Scarves could be a liability in a fight.
“Mm,” Ryo agreed. “Hot soup would be good.” They’d drunk the flask of coffee they’d brought with them by the time they were four hours into their six-hour shift. He pulled his collar up further, tugged his knit cap lower over his ears, wriggled his toes as best he could in his boots. He could barely feel his feet despite thick socks, and his knees were no better. Jeans just seemed to soak up the cold and hold it close to the skin. Shifting to one side and then the other, he managed to shove gloved hands under his legs, taking advantage of what warmth had built up between himself and the car seat.
The two detectives fell silent again, eyes on the building, occasionally scanning the street. Every so often they spotted a pedestrian scurrying along the sidewalk, wanting to get indoors out of the cold as quickly as possible, mostly shift workers getting home, but none of them were the man they were looking out for.
Time passed; frost was hazing the outside of the car windscreen by now, and starting to obscure their view of the street. Ryo was just wondering whether he should get out and scrape it clear when headlights turned into the street behind them and their radio crackled.
Dee snatched it up. “Yo, Martinez, that you? Might wanna turn your lights out before ya draw any unwanted attention.”
The other car’s headlights cut out, leaving the street dark again aside from the wan orange light from the few streetlamps that still worked.
“Yeah, yeah, Laytner, we’re not idiots.” Shaw’s voice came over the radio. “Any sign of our mark?”
“Not so much as a whisker. Tellin’ ya, there’s no way he’s showin’ up here on a night like this; probably holed up somewhere warm and cosy, hibernatin’ like the weasel he is. Okay if we get outta here ‘fore we freeze to death?”
“Yeah,” Martinez replied. “We got this now. Word of advice though; steer clear of the coffee back at the station, stuff tastes like roadkill.”
“Doesn’t it always?”
“Just don’t say I didn’t warn ya.”
“Catch ya later, if ya don’t freeze first.” Dee hung up the radio mike as Ryo started the engine, pulling smoothly away from the curb. He reached over and flicked the heat on full, then wound his window down a couple inches so the windows wouldn’t steam up too badly.
Ryo did likewise, flicking on the wipers to clear the light coating of frost from the windscreen then turning on the headlights.
“I hope we don’t have to come out here again tomorrow night.”
“You and me both,” Dee agreed. “Whaddaya wanna do now?” He peeled his gloves off and held his hands in front of the heat vent, feeling his fingers gradually starting to thaw. Too bad Ryo couldn’t do the same while driving.
“What d’you mean? We have to take this junker back to the station and clock off.”
“Yeah, but after that. I figured we could find some place still open, it’s not that late yet. Grab a bite to eat and get thawed out before headin’ home.”
“Suits me; Bikky’s sleeping at Melinda’s tonight because I couldn’t be sure what time I’d be home.” If the guy they’d been staking out the building for had shown up on their watch they might have been stuck at the precinct until morning. Arrests came hand-in-hand with a ton of paperwork and it wasn’t always practical to leave it until the following day.
“We can take my car, leave yours at the precinct, and I’ll drive you home after.”
Ryo knew Dee was angling for an invite to stay the night, but that was okay. They were working second shift again tomorrow, or rather today, so they could sleep in. It would be good to snuggle up together in his big bed once they were warmed up.
“Good idea.” He threw his lover a quick smile, letting Dee know he was up for whatever his partner wanted to do later.
Dee grinned back. Okay then, that’s settled.”
They didn’t hang around the station for long, and steered well clear of what passed for coffee; looked like it had about set solid anyway. They dropped off the car keys at the front desk and signed the car back into the motor pool, went upstairs to grab their scarves and wallets, clocked off and headed down to the parking lot, where they pulled the frost protectors off the front and rear screens of Dee’s car and tossed them in the backseat. Ryo threw a look at his own car, its windows iced over.
Following his gaze, Dee grinned. “Told you these protectors work like a charm. I can get you a couple if ya want. Guy in my building works for a place that sells ‘em, gets ‘em at a discount.”
“That’d be great, Dee. Thanks.” Having to scrape ice off his car windows in winter was a nuisance, especially when he was in a hurry to get somewhere.
“Anything for you, babe. C’mon, let’s get goin’, find someplace for a late supper.”
Sliding into the passenger seat Ryo buckled himself in as Dee started the engine and turned the heater up. Both men were still cold from spending six hours sitting in an unheated car; moving around had helped a bit, but what they really needed was something hot to eat and drink.
Dee picked an all night diner a few blocks away from the 27th precinct, where they knew the food was good and the prices fair. The parking lot out front contained only a handful of cars; looked like nobody was venturing out in the bitter cold unless they absolutely had to. The heat hit them like a thick blanket as they pushed open the door and entered. Inside there were more people than could be accounted for by the few cars, mostly public transport users on their way to or from work. There were still several vacant booths though and Dee made a beeline for the one farthest from the door, where they’d be well out of any draft. Shedding coats, hats, scarves and gloves, they slid onto the bench seats opposite each other, rubbing their hands together briskly to get some feeling back into their fingers before reaching for the menus.
Before long the waitress was putting their plates in front of them: burger and fries for Dee, hot vegetable soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for Ryo, along with steaming mugs of coffee.
Snagging one of his fries, Dee reached across the table to dip it in Ryo’s soup, earning an indignant protest.
“Hey! If you wanted soup you should’ve ordered some!”
“I don’t, just wanted to taste it. Not bad.” Picking up his burger in both hands, Dee took a huge bite, ravenous despite having just spent six hours doing practically nothing. Ryo took a more modest bite of his grilled cheese, interspersing bites of that with spoonfuls of soup, feeling tendrils of warmth gradually spreading out from his stomach, warming him from the inside out. By the time they finished eating they were both almost glowing with warmth.
“Wooo! That’s way better! Don’t know about you, but I feel almost human again.” Dee drained the last of his coffee and slumped back in his seat. “It’s good to be warm!”
“We’ve still got to go out in the cold again though,” Ryo reminded him, finishing his own coffee.
“Tempted to just stay here all night.”
“You can if you want, but I’m going home where there’s a comfortable bed to sleep in.” Ryo got up to pay their bill and by the time he returned to their booth Dee was on his feet, pulling his coat on, getting ready to venture into the subzero temperatures outside for what would hopefully be the last time, at least until they had to leave for their shift the following day.
It was a bit hot in the diner for being so wrapped up, but when they stepped outside the cold air bit into their bare faces and ate through the legs of their trousers, making them shiver. They hurried across the parking lot, slipping occasionally on icy patches, then had to clear the frost off the car windows before getting in. They’d been in such a hurry to get indoors they’d forgotten to put the covers back over them.
“Dammit!” Dee grumbled. Despite his thick gloves his hands were already half frozen again. Winter in New York could be harsh. “Much more of this and I’m gonna have frostbite.”
Back in the car with the heater turned up as high as it would go, they shed their now wet gloves, hoping their fingers would warm faster without them. As far as Dee was concerned, the sooner they got back to Ryo’s place the better.
Traffic was fairly light for the time of night, perhaps due to the freezing temperatures, but it was still getting on towards two in the morning before they pulled up in front of Ryo’s building. Despite the cold, they spared the time to put the covers back over the car’s windows before going inside and wearily climbing the stairs to the third floor.
Inside Ryo’s apartment it was chilly, so he turned the heating up before shedding all his cold weather gear, putting his and Dee’s gloves to dry by one of the radiators; they’d be needed again in the morning.
They hardly needed to say a word to each other, hustling into the bathroom and shedding their clothes before jumping into the shower, letting the hot water pour over them and chase away the chill as they took their time washing each other, then dried off with thick, fluffy towels from the heated rail.
Clean, warm and dry, they bolted for Ryo’s bedroom buck naked and laughing, and dived beneath the covers. The sheets felt cold against their bare skin, but they soon warmed them up. There was nothing like a bit of vigorous exercise to get the blood pumping, and fired up as they were from teasing each other to readiness beneath the hot water, ‘vigorous’ was probably an understatement.
Dee flopped down beside Ryo, spent and breathing hard, both of them hot and sweaty now. “Wooo! Best way I know of thawin’ out,” he gasped. “I’m amazed the bed didn’t spontaneously combust!”
“Wasn’t the bed I was worried about,” Ryo replied, sounding a bit dazed as he threw the covers back. “Now I’m too hot, and we both need another shower.”
“That can wait until tomorrow,” Dee said. “We should get some sleep soon as we’ve cooled down a bit.”
“Mm,” Ryo agreed. “Dee?”
“If we have to go back out on stakeout tomorrow night, we should take blankets and extra coffee with us, maybe a flask of soup too.”
“You’re thinkin’ about that now, after what we just did?” Dee sounded incredulous.
“I’m thinking that I don’t want to get so cold again that I lose all feeling in my toes and fingers like I did this time. It’s only now I’m completely warm that I realise just how cold I was.”
“Yeah, I guess we were a little unprepared. Didn’t know it was gonna be quite that cold out.” Starting to feel a little chilly again as the sweat dried on his skin, Dee pulled the covers back over them both again and snuggled closer to his lover, draping one arm over Ryo’s waist. “With any luck someone else will nab this guy before then, but if not, maybe we’ll take flasks with us, swing by the diner and have ‘em filled, grab a bite to eat before we get started.”
“That’s a good idea,” Ryo murmured drowsily.
“I do have ‘em on occasion.”
Stakeouts were boring, they always would be, but they were sometimes a necessity so if worse came to worst, they should at least take what precautions they could against freezing their nuts off.
Although getting warmed up again had been a lot of fun; he could stand six hours in a parked car, bored out of his mind watching a building, if this was the reward he got.
Dee yawned; sleep was calling him. “Night, babe.”
“Night, Dee.” Ryo snuggled in a bit closer, warm and relaxed.
Oh yeah, any day that ended like this was a good one.