Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: It’s almost Valentine’s Day but Ryo has a bad cold.
Word Count: 3107
Written For: Jae’s Monthly Drabble Challenge 156 - Cuddle, Hearts, Kiss, Red, Tease.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Valentine’s Day was just around the corner and usually Dee and Ryo would have had something special planned, a romantic meal at a fancy restaurant probably, or even an intimate dinner for two at home. This year would have to be the exception though, because Ryo was suffering from a bad cold and had little energy to spare for anything other than work.
Dee had tried to persuade his lover to take a few days off, but Ryo insisted he wasn’t sick enough for that; he was congested, sneezing, and coughing, but he didn’t have a fever and although he felt permanently worn out from not getting enough sleep, that didn’t mean he couldn’t pull his weight. The 27th Precinct was already understaffed thanks to several people being out with the flu, and he wasn’t about to add to their problems by taking time off for a simple cold that would clear up by itself in a few days, a week at most.
“How about we just stay home tomorrow night and celebrate with take-out and a cheesy movie?” Dee suggested, taking in his lover’s bleary eyes and red nose following another sneezing fit. “We can cuddle up on the sofa and just relax.” He hadn’t been sleeping much better than Ryo thanks to his lover’s congestion-induced snoring every night, not to mention the coughing fits. Ryo had offered to sleep in Bikky’s room so he wouldn’t disturb his partner, since the boy was away at college, but Dee wouldn’t hear of it. Living together meant sleeping together, or not sleeping, as the case may be.
“Staying home sounds good,” Ryo agreed with a weary smile, relieved at the thought of not having to traipse around the city after work; the weather forecast for the following day was abysmal and getting soaked wouldn’t do his cold any good. “But I could cook…”
“You can cook as much as you want to when you’re over your cold; right now you need to conserve your energy for work. We can order up a really hot curry; maybe that’ll clear your head for a bit.”
“I wouldn’t count on that, my brain feels like it’s stuffed with wet sawdust, but curry’s a good choice anyway; I might actually be able to taste it,” Ryo said with a wry smile before sneezing again.
“That’s settled then. Guess we’d better get to work. Sure you don’t want to stay home? I could tell the old badger.”
“I’m fine, Dee; I’ve had worse colds than this. My brain might be a bit slow, and chasing down criminals could be a problem because I get out of breath so easily, but I’m perfectly capable of handling paperwork and all the routine stuff.” That didn’t include visiting crime scenes because of the risk of contaminating evidence by sneezing on it, but that was fine by Ryo; deskwork was more his speed right now anyway. Anything that involved sitting down was welcome, especially if it meant being indoors where it was a bit warmer. He hadn’t fallen over from sneezing yet, but he couldn’t rule out the possibility; his sneezes were reminiscent of a force ten gale.
“Have it your way,” Dee sighed, “but if you change your mind or want to come home at any point, just let me know and I’ll make it happen.”
“That won’t be necessary, the cold medicine you got me is helping a lot, but thank you anyway. Now come on or we’ll be late. You’re driving though; I don’t trust myself behind the wheel. Sneezing while driving is hazardous.”
“Wasn’t gonna let ya drive anyhow.”
By the following day, Ryo’s cold was beginning to improve; although his nose was still red and sore and he was still sneezing and congested, he wasn’t coughing as much. Even so, he was glad when the workday was finally over and he and Dee could head home, as he’d about used up all the energy he’d been able to muster.
As soon as they got in, Dee sent his lover to take a hot shower, knowing the steam helped his breathing, and the hot water would relax him as well. While Ryo was in the bathroom, Dee phoned in their takeaway order before dashing downstairs to fetch the Valentine’s gifts he’d brought and hidden in the trunk of his car. Not that Ryo would ever go looking for presents, but some things could be a bit tricky to conceal.
Coming out of the bathroom, Ryo dressed in the comfy clothes Dee had laid out for him on the bed, jeans and his favourite warm sweater. They weren’t what he would have picked had they been going out, or even if he’d been cooking them a nice meal to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but they were ideal for slobbing on the sofa watching TV.
He left the bedroom to find the lights turned down low and tea lights flickering in coloured glass holders on windowsills, shelves, and the coffee table, giving their lounge area a warm and cosy ambience. A big red heart-shaped balloon bobbed at one end of the sofa, ‘Be My Valentine’ emblazoned on it in holographic silver letters. There was a small package tied to the end of the balloon’s string, resting on the seat of the sofa on top of an envelope, and a bulkier parcel nestled against the armrest.
“Happy Valentine’s Day, babe!” Dee grinned, straightening up from where he’d been perusing their DVD collection, looking for something suitable to watch while they ate.
“Happy Valentine’s Day! This looks wonderful!” Ryo exclaimed, giving his lover a quick kiss on the cheek. “Thank you, Dee!”
“Is that all I get? Just a peck on the cheek?”
“I don’t want to give you my cold.”
“Babe, we sleep in the same bed every night, not to mention we spend all day together too. If I’m gonna catch it, chances are I will whether you kiss me on the lips or not.” Dee pulled his baby in for a proper kiss. “You’re still the sexiest man I’ve ever met, even if you do resemble Rudolph at the moment,” he teased, pressing another kiss to the tip of Ryo’s red nose. “Come and open your presents.”
“Just a moment; I have to go get yours.” Ryo hurried towards Bikky’s bedroom to fetch the card and gifts he’d hidden there, coming back a few of minutes later with a couple of parcels wrapped in shimmering red foil, and a big red envelope.
They settled onto the sofa and exchanged gifts, Dee tearing off the paper as fast as he could and Ryo taking his time. Long ago they’d agreed to not go overboard for Valentine’s. Flowers and chocolates were allowed, along with small, not overly expensive gifts.
Dee set aside the big box of chocolates Ryo had given him, saying they’d share them once Ryo could taste them. Then he opened the slim box that had been in the second parcel. Inside was a small carved Jade dragon on a leather cord.
“It’s for protection,” Ryo explained croakily. “To keep you safe at work.”
Slipping the cord around his neck and tucking the dragon inside his shirt, feeling it cold against his bare skin, Dee leaned in to kiss his lover. “Thanks, babe; I love it. Now open yours.”
Ryo opened the large, squashy parcel first, finding a plush red heart-shaped cushion inside it, and chuckled.
“Just so even when I’m not home you always know you have my heart,” Dee said with a grin.
“Figured it might help when you have backache.”
Tucking the cushion behind him, Ryo leaned against it feeling the way it fitted neatly into the small of his back. “I think it will. Thank you, that’s really thoughtful!.”
“Open the other one.”
With painstaking slowness, Ryo peeled off the sticky tape, removed the paper, and opened the small box to reveal a flat oval metal keyring with the Japanese kanji meaning ‘forever’ cut out of the middle.
“That’s to help you keep track of your keys. You know you’re always losin’ ‘em.”
“It’s perfect, Dee.”
Just then the doorbell rang and Dee got to his feel. “That’ll be our dinner; I’ll be right back.” Picking up his wallet from the end table, he made his way to the door and paid the delivery guy, swinging by the kitchen on his way back to grab the plates and cutlery he’d got out earlier and setting everything down among the tea lights on the coffee table. “Shit, I forgot to ask what you want to watch while we eat.”
“I don’t mind, as long as it’s not a comedy; laughing makes me cough and I don’t want to choke on dinner.”
“Yeah, definitely don’t want that.” Dee turned the TV on and went back to scanning their DVD collection. “How about… Jurassic Park? That’s got a bit of everything in it, and you can’t go wrong with rampagin’ dinosaurs.”
“Good choice. Plus we’ve got the sequels too, if we haven’t had enough after the first one.”
“There’s that.” Dee took the DVD out of its case and slotted it into the machine, returning to the sofa with the remote control and flopping down beside Ryo with a contented sigh. The weather hadn’t been great all day and now rain was battering against the windows, driven by a strong wind. “Y’know, this is a lot better than havin’ to get all dressed up and go out again on a night like this. ‘Sides, I have everything I need right here.”
“I was just thinking the same thing,” Ryo agreed with a warm smile. “It was bad enough on our way home but now the wind’s really getting up. Anyone going out for dinner will probably be soaked by the time they get to the restaurant, not to mention practically blown inside out, and anyway, this, what you’ve done with the candles, is every bit as romantic as anything we’d get if we were having dinner out.” Ryo reached for a plate, piling rice onto it before adding the contents of one of the containers of curry. “This looks great!” Setting the plate on a lap tray, he settled back comfortably on the sofa as Dee started the movie and turned his attention to dishing up his own dinner.
“Damn! We don’t have anything to drink with it! I should’ve opened a bottle of wine.”
“It’s okay, I shouldn’t have alcohol with the cold meds anyway; says so on the packet,” Ryo pointed out. “I don’t want to knock myself out on Valentine’s Day. Wouldn’t be a very romantic evening.”
“True, but we should have somethin’ to wash our food down with.” Dee stood up again. “Any preferences?”
“Water’s fine for me, but why don’t you grab yourself a beer?”
“Sure you don’t mind?”
“I’m sure; even with the cold meds, I can’t taste much of anything anyway.”
“It’s only temporary, you know what colds are like.”
“Yeah, I guess.” Dee went to the kitchen, fetching a beer and a bottle of water from the refrigerator. “Here ya go.” Handing Ryo the opened water bottle, he sat down again, sliding close to his lover so their shoulders and knees were touching. Taking a swig of beer, he set the bottle on the end table and picked up his dinner. Ryo was already eating. “Can ya at least taste the curry?”
“A bit. It’s good and hot, better eat yours before it gets cold.”
“I intend to. Ah, this is the life!” Dee shovelled curry and rice into his mouth. “Mm, you’re right, s’good!”
They both fell silent then, their attention divided between their food and the movie, both of them hungry from a long day at work.
When the food was gone and the takeaway containers scraped clean, not a single grain of rice left lurking in a corner, they set their plates aside and leaned back, comfortably full.
“I’ll clear those away and make coffee in a bit,” Dee said, draping one arm around Ryo’s shoulders. “There’s no rush. Let’s just snuggle a bit first.”
Usually Ryo would have been eager to deal with the dishes as soon as possible, but not tonight; it was a special occasion, so the usual rules didn’t apply. Anyway, he was comfortable, warm and well fed, and enjoying the movie despite having watched it numerous times. “This is nice.” He slid down a bit and leaned his head against Dee’s shoulder, feeling relaxed and lazy.
“We should do stuff like this more often.” Funny how it took Ryo catching a cold to make them slow down a bit in their busy lives and just enjoy being together. There’d been a lot of overtime the last few months, thanks to a couple of big cases, and people being off sick or injured, plus they’d both volunteered for a few extra shifts, hoping to set aside the bonus pay to go towards their next vacation, preferably somewhere warm and sunny with beaches that went on for miles.
When they weren’t working, they’d spent their time helping redecorate at the orphanage, or working out at the gym, or catching up with the chores they hadn’t had time for because of other things… How long had it been since they’d last had an evening off, just relaxing together? Must have been Ryo’s birthday back in November, although even then they’d gone out to dinner. Thanksgiving and Christmas were always hectic, with all the cooking and entertaining and cleaning up. Dee had thought living together would mean spending more quality time together, and at first it had, but then life had started getting in the way.
“I didn’t make a New Year’s resolution this year,” he remarked suddenly.
“Huh?” Ryo lifted his head off his lover’s shoulder and looked at Dee. “You’ve only just realised that? New Year’s was weeks ago!”
“No, I mean I know I didn’t, I wasn’t plannin’ on makin’ one this year because I already did all the big ones; quit smokin’, cut down on the booze, eat less junk food, exercise more… I figured I’d already made all the changes in my life I needed to, but I overlooked the biggest one of all.”
“Spendin’ more time with you, dumbass.”
“We live together and work together; I don’t see how much more time we can find to spend with each other.”
“Yeah, but it’s quality that’s missin’, not quantity. I’ve just been thinkin’ we’ve been so busy workin’, savin’ towards the future, that we haven’t been makin’ time for stuff like this.”
Ryo considered that. “You’re right, I can’t even remember the last time we had an evening like this.”
“We’re usually busy in the evenings doin’ laundry, ironin’, cleanin’, and then our days off are spent at the orphanage, or the gym, or grocery shoppin’, or preparin’ meals to freeze for the comin’ week… We need to make more time to just… be together, appreciate what we have.”
“So you want to make a… what, a Valentine’s Day resolution?” Ryo teased.
“Yeah, why not? When better to look at makin’ more time in our busy lives for romance?”
“You’re crazy, but it’s a good kind of crazy,” Ryo said smiling softly. “I love you.”
“I love you too, babe. So, does that mean you agree?”
“It couldn’t hurt; it has seemed like lately we’ve hardly seen each other when we’re not working, which is weird since we live together.”
“Two weeks of workin’ different shifts didn’t help; you’d be comin’ in as I was goin’ to work.”
“I remember. We barely had time to do more than say hello as we passed in the hallway.” It hadn’t been quite that bad, but that was how it had felt.
“How about we set aside one night a week when we just do fun stuff together? Go to a movie, or bowlin’ or somethin’ like that, take a walk, slob in front of the TV like this… No housework, no work talk, no workin’ out.”
Ryo nodded. “I like the sound of that.”
“And it doesn’t have to be a set night or anything, just one where we’re both gonna be home at roughly the same time and not headin’ in opposite directions.”
“Mm,” Ryo murmured, settling himself more comfortably against Dee’s side. “The way our shifts keep getting changed, there’s no way the same night every week would work. We’ll figure it out.”
“We will.” Dee pressed a kiss into Ryo’s hair and tightened the arm he had around his lover, giving him a quick squeeze, before sliding down a bit further on the sofa, stretching his long legs out, completely forgetting he’d said something about making coffee. “Now we should probably get back to watchin’ the movie before we miss all the best bits.”
“Or we could always just start it again.”
“Y’know, you’re right! That’s the great thing about DVDs; get sidetracked and ya can just back up a bit or start over.” Picking up the remote, Dee started the movie again, this time settling in to watch it properly. He was pleasantly stuffed with really good food, had his arm around his baby so they could snuggle, maybe even make out a bit later, even though Ryo was probably too tired and drained thanks to the too long workday and his cold to feel at all frisky… Well, Hell, didn’t matter, they’d make up for it once Ryo was better. Getting constantly coughed and sneezed on took a lot of the fun out of sex anyway, and that was without the exertion making Ryo so breathless he’d almost passed out the one time they’d tried. Dee smiled to himself; he’d give his baby a nice relaxing Valentine’s blowjob later, when they went to bed. As much as he loved sex, it wasn’t like he was an addict or anything, and anyway, it worked way better when both parties were equally enthusiastic. Right now Ryo needed rest more than sex.
Halfway through the movie, Dee remembered about the coffee he’d promised, but by then Ryo was asleep with his head on Dee’s shoulder, making wheezy little snoring sounds and probably drooling on him. As much as Dee would have liked a coffee, there was no way in Hell he was disturbing his baby’s rest for something so trivial. Resting his cheek against the top of Ryo’s head and cuddling his lover closer, his eyes never leaving the TV screen, Dee smiled to himself; despite everything, this might just be one of their best and most romantic Valentine’s Days yet.