Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Dee is new to camping and not at all sure he’s going to like being out in the middle of nowhere with no modern conveniences.
Word Count: 1112
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, any, A crackling fire,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo had made short work of erecting their tent. Figuring his partner knew what he was doing better than he did, Dee had just loitered nearby, holding things when Ryo asked him to, and hoping his baby would hit the tent peg rather than his fingers. Perhaps because Ryo was a sharpshooter, he’d never missed the target, and now the tent stood there in the clearing that Ryo had picked as their campsite beside a burbling stream, looking cosy and inviting. Their bedrolls were spread out inside it, and Dee was more than ready to crawl in there for some recreational fun. His hopes were dashed with Ryo’s next words.
“Now that’s done we’d better gather firewood while it’s still light enough to see,” he said, breaking Dee out of his reverie. “It can get chilly way out here at night, especially this early in the year, and anyway we’ll need the fire to cook dinner over. Come on, there should be plenty of dry brush and dead wood among the trees.”
“I thought we were done!” Dee said, sounding as disappointed as he felt.
“Hardly. We need to gather enough wood to last through the night, then build a fire pit and get the fire going, set water to boil…” Ryo grinned at Dee. “It’s not like we can just plug the kettle in and switch it on.”
“If I’d known camping was gonna be this much work, I’d have stayed home,” Dee grumbled, but he followed Ryo back into the woods anyway, helping to gather dead branches, twigs, and dry grass, hauling it all back to their campsite and piling it a short distance from their tent.
“That’s good. Now for the fire pit.” Ryo scraped a wide area of dirt clear of anything combustible then collected rocks, arranging them in a circle before laying kindling in the middle. Once again, Dee couldn’t help but be impressed by his partner’s quick efficiency. It was easy for anyone to tell which of them was the seasoned camper and which the rookie. Ryo didn’t need him to do anything, and it made Dee feel a little surplus to requirements.
Then Ryo looked up at him. “Did you bring your lighter with you?”
Dee had finally quit smoking a few months back during a bout of bronchitis, but Ryo had asked him to bring his lighter anyway. Dee had kept it for sentimental reasons, as it had been a gift from his lover.
“Yeah, I got it right here.” Dee pulled the monogrammed lighter from his pocket.
“Good. I brought matches, but they’re somewhere in my pack and it’s getting dark fast. Do you want to do the honours?” Ryo gestured towards the small pile of twigs and grass.
“It’s not going to be much of a fire,” Dee said dubiously as he crouched down alongside his lover.
“First we get the kindling burning, then we gradually add larger pieces of wood until we’ve got a big enough fire to cook over,” Ryo explained.
“Oh, right; I knew that. Okay, here goes.” Dee flicked his lighter on and held the flame to a clump of dry grass. It caught immediately, setting several small twigs burning and rapidly spreading through the rest of the kindling. Ryo started adding twigs from a pile beside him, and Dee followed suit. Soon the fire was crackling merrily, flames leaping up into the gathering dusk.
“Just don’t lean too close and set your hair alight,” Ryo teased.
“I’m not that dumb!” Dee protested.
“I know, but I figured a word of warning wouldn’t hurt. Could you fill the kettle from the spring while I start dinner?”
“Yeah, I think I can handle that.” Dee stood up and collected the small kettle from their gear, grabbing a flashlight as well before making for the little spring a couple of hundred yards away that fed the stream they were camped alongside. He was back in a couple of minutes. “Where d’you want it?”
“On that stone there.” Ryo pointed towards a flat rock at the edge of the fire, then went back to opening a large tin of stewed steak and another of mixed vegetables, dumping both into a saucepan that he placed on a metal trivet over the fire. He added some water to the pan from the kettle and gave it a good stir, before sending Dee back to the spring to fill a couple of large plastic containers they’d brought with them, so they’d have enough water for all their needs until morning. By the time Dee got back, the contents of the pan were starting to bubble.
“Smells good,” Dee said, setting their water supply beside the tent, out of the way, and joining Ryo by the fire. The sun was below the horizon by now and the sky was darkening rapidly. Soon the fire would be the only light there was, at least until the moon rose. They had flashlights and a lantern to use inside the tent if they needed it, but even to someone more at home amid the bright lights of the city, there was something oddly appealing about sitting around a crackling campfire surrounded by darkness.
“You think anything containing meat smells good,” Ryo laughed.
“Not true; I just like your cooking,” Dee insisted. “Even if it’s just out of a can. Besides, all that gathering wood and fetching water really works up the old appetite.”
When the kettle started to boil Dee made coffee in two camping mugs, using instant granules. It was nowhere near as good as they drank at home, obviously, but still better than nothing; the temperature was already dropping and a hot drink was very welcome, helping to chase away the nighttime chill while they waited to eat. As soon as it was thoroughly heated through, Ryo dished the makeshift stew onto two tin plates, and they ate in companionable silence, sopping up the gravy with chunks of bread, the heat from the fire warming their hands and faces as the hot food warmed their insides.
Above them the stars seemed to wink on like fairy lights, peppering the blackness overhead with diamonds. The stream burbled quietly nearby, and somewhere in the woods an owl hooted. Dee looked across the fire at Ryo and smiled, suddenly glad he hadn’t said no to his lover’s suggestion of a short camping trip. Even if they had to travel to the backend of nowhere, far from the comforts of home, to get a few days alone together with no interruptions, being with Ryo in this peaceful spot was already well worth all the things he’d have to go without.