Characters: Dee, Ryo, OCs.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: Ryo has never been superstitious, but this is a less than pleasant way to learn that some superstitions are best taken seriously.
Written For: The tw100 prompt ‘Swear’.
Word Count: 1175
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo didn’t tend to swear much, and when he did, it was generally in Japanese, so when Dee arrived home one day to hear a constant stream of profanity, in English no less, pouring out of the bathroom, he was more than a little surprised.
“Yo, Ryo, you okay in there, babe?” he called through the closed door.
“Dee! You’re home! Oh God! Whatever you do, don’t come in here!” The panic in Ryo’s voice was clearly audible.
Dee frowned at the door. “Why not?” He’d been kind of amused at first, but now he was starting to get worried.
“Because it’s stupid and I don’t want you to see me like this! I should know better!”
“About what? C’mon, babe, spill; what did you do?”
“I walked under a ladder, and you know I’ve never been superstitious, but it’s not just superstition because it really can be bad luck, just not in the way people think… On shit! Not again!” Ryo’s tone went from annoyed to despairing in nothing flat.
That was enough for Dee. “You’re not makin’ sense, babe. I’m comin’ in.”
“No!” Ryo squeaked in panic.
But it was too late; Dee had already pushed the door open and stepped inside. “What the Hell?”
Ryo looked awful; his hair was matted to his head, bits of his shirt still clung to his body, while the rest of it was in a trash bag on the bathroom floor, and he had a pair of scissors in one hand. Or rather, stuck to one hand. “I told you not to come in,” he said pathetically, looking mortified.
Dee was speechless, trying and failing to make sense of what he was seeing, but after staring in disbelief for a moment he finally found his voice. “How the hell did walking under a ladder do…” he gestured helplessly at his lover, “that?”
“There was someone up the ladder putting up posters,” Ryo explained in a defeated voice. “Just as I passed underneath it, he knocked his bucket of glue off the ledge and…” He gestured at himself. “This happened. I swear I’m never walking under a ladder again for as long as I live, no matter what I have to do to avoid it. I’ve been trying for over an hour, but I can’t get the glue off!”
The stricken expression on Ryo’s face was enough to keep Dee from laughing; as comical as the situation seemed at first glance it really wasn’t at all funny.
“They don’t use water-soluble glue on billboards, babe; otherwise the posters would peel off every time it rains,” he told Ryo. “The only way any of that is comin’ off is with the proper solvents, and you know what that means. I know you don’t want anyone seein’ you like this, but I gotta take you to the ER.”
“What?” Both of Ryo’s eyes would have sprung wide with horror if one hadn’t been glued half shut.
“You can’t stay like that, babe; you know I’m right.”
Ryo sagged, giving in to the inevitable. “Why me?” he groaned. “Can today get any more humiliating?”
“I’ll find an old sheet to wrap around ya so ya don’t have to go outside half naked.” Dee left the bathroom, returning a few minutes later with a pair of sheets neither of them was keen on. He shook one out and wrapped it around Ryo’s shoulders, crossing the ends over his chest, concealing the shreds of shirt still stuck to him. “I’ll spread the other one over the car seat, so you won’t get stuck to it.”
“Thanks, Dee. That would be all I need.”
On the journey to the hospital, Ryo grew increasingly uncomfortable as the glue set harder in the warmth of the late afternoon sun, pulling his scalp tight. As soon as they arrived, Dee pulled up at the edge of the ambulance bay and abandoned his car, flashing his shield at a nearby traffic warden and telling him it was a police emergency before helping Ryo from the passenger seat and ushering him into the ER waiting room, where he told the receptionist that someone had thrown a tub of glue over his partner. He didn’t care that it wasn’t entirely true, it was close enough, and because some of the glue was affecting his eyes, Ryo was rushed straight to a side room for treatment. There he spent a gruelling three hours being treated with solvents that left his head and most of his upper body dry and raw. Despite the efforts of the doctors and nurses, quite a lot of his hair had to be snipped away in the process, which just made him feel even more miserable.
“Bikky will think it’s hilarious,” he sighed gloomily. “Like father like son.”
Dee didn’t agree. “What happened to the brat was his own fault,” he said firmly. “This wasn’t your doing, just a random piece of bad luck. Could just as easily have happened to me.” He wet a spare sponge and began helping the nurse gently wash away the last traces of solvent, noticing that Ryo couldn’t keep from wincing even at the slightest touch. “You okay?”
“Yeah, just feels like the top few layers of my skin have been scoured away.”
“You’re going to be very sore for a week or so,” the doctor said, looking up from her clipboard. “I’m prescribing you drops for your eyes and lotion for you skin; you’ll need to apply it to your scalp as well. I’ve made an appointment for you at the dermatology clinic in a couple of days, but if you have any problems at all before then, you’re to come back here immediately. In the meantime, take painkillers as needed, and rest. Cool baths or showers should help with the soreness and itching, just don’t rub your skin; pat dry, and avoid using scented products. I’d recommend baby shampoo for your hair, and an unscented soap.” She handed Dee the prescriptions, since Ryo’s hands had been affected too when he was trying to get his shirt off. “I’ve signed you off work for a week; Doctor Stark in dermatology will decide when he sees you whether or not that will be long enough for your skin to heal. I’m afraid you’re not going to find clothes very comfortable for a while.”
“Thanks, Doctor.” Ryo slid off the gurney he was sitting on, wincing a bit as Dee helped him into the loose shirt he’d brought with them.
“’Kay, bud, you’re good to go. Let’s pick up your meds and get you home.” Dee held the treatment room door open for his partner.
Ryo nodded tiredly. “After this, all I want is a cool shower, something to eat, and an early night.”
“That I can arrange,” Dee told him, leading the way towards the hospital pharmacy. Looking at the state his lover was in, Dee made up his mind that like Ryo, he was never walking under another ladder again either; sometimes ignoring superstitions just wasn’t worth the risk.