Characters: Ryo, Dee, OMC.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: England is experiencing a mini heatwave. Ryo and Dee can take the heart, but the humidity is getting too much for them.
Word Count: 1500
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Amnesty at beattheblackdog, using Challenge 20: Sticky.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo usually enjoyed hot weather, at least when he wasn’t working, but there was hot and then there was this. The air felt thick and heavy with moisture, humidity levels had to be up near one hundred percent, maybe even higher. He felt as though he was trying to breathe underwater and he could imagine his lungs soaking up the moisture like a sponge, drowning him. He shut that image down fast.
All he had on was a loose t-shirt, a pair of shorts, and sneakers, but everything was clinging to his skin, made damp and sticky with sweat, while his butt was glued to the car seat. It was crazy! This was the south coast of England, not the tropics, but according to the weather forecast the temperature was in the high nineties and likely to stay there for at least the next couple of days. They were calling it a mini heatwave, and it was only June… If this didn’t convince people that climate change was real, what would?
He stared listlessly out the open passenger side window of their small rental car, not speaking, occasionally sipping from a bottle of water that had been icy cold no more than ten minutes ago when they’d brought drinks at a shop in the small town they’d just left, but was now best described as tepid. Give it another half hour in the heat and it would likely be coming to the boil.
Up until now, Ryo had been thoroughly enjoying his and Dee’s vacation. The weather had been good, pleasantly hot and sunny by day and cooler at night, with gentle, cooling breezes, occasional light showers, and one heavy downpour… It had been humid of course; they were on the coast of an island with a lot of water about, but not to the point where breathing started to be an effort. It was now.
They’d tried driving with the windows closed, but the air conditioning in the car wasn’t equal to the task of keeping them cool with the sun beating down on the metal roof and they’d soon started to feel like they we roasting in an oven. At least with the windows rolled down there was a bit of a breeze as long as the car was moving.
Ryo glanced across at Dee, who was looking as hot, dishevelled, and uncomfortable as Ryo felt.
“You okay?” he croaked out. Speaking was an effort too.
What they needed was shade, and maybe a dip in cold water, if they could find any…
The last time Ryo had felt this hot had been the previous summer in New York, when he and Dee had been canvassing for witnesses to a murder on one of the hottest days of the year. Back then, they’d found a small, shady park with a fountain, and had indulged in a water fight, winding up soaked to the skin, but feeling much cooler. It hadn’t been anywhere near as humid as this though.
The car laboured up a hill, where the sun seemed to redouble its effort at melting them. At the top, the road wound along for a while before dividing, the left fork dipping downwards, taking them into a valley. Ryo could just make out the faint silvery strand of a river at the bottom, and silently pointed.
Ten minutes later, the road turned parallel to the river, really not much more than a wide, shallow stream, which was burbling over half-submerged rocks. Half a mile further on, it turned and crossed a quaint little hump-backed stone bridge. Dee drove across, pulled off the road at the far side, onto a stretch of grass shaded by a cluster of trees, and turned the engine off. The car needed to cool down as much as they did.
It was marginally cooler in the shade. Ryo shoved his door open and peeled himself stickily off the car seat while Dee did the same, leaving the door open and flopping onto the grass a few feet away, puling his t-shirt over his head, tossing it carelessly aside, and laying on his back. Ryo trudged around the car to join him, dropping his t-shirt on the ground and lying face down so he could rest his cheek against the cool of the grass, close enough to the stream that he could feel the occasional spray of water. He still had his half-empty bottle of water clutched in one hand because he wasn’t at all sure he could let go of it even if he tried; it felt like it was fused to his palm.
How long they lay their soaking up the relative cool, occasionally shifting to a fresh patch of grass, they didn’t know and honestly didn’t care. It felt way better than cooking inside the car, and Ryo thought he could happily stay there until the weather cooled off, although he knew he’d get hungry before long. Maybe they napped, and maybe they didn’t, but they were pulled back to awareness by the sound of a car slowing down, tires crunching on the gravel at the roadside, and then footsteps.
Ryo rolled onto his back, cracking his eyes open, to see a figure standing over him in dark pants, white shirt, and a peaked cap. Squinting, he realised it was a uniformed local police officer.
“Some people passing along the road up top spotted the car with its doors wide open and two bodies lying alongside and called it in; thought we’d best check it out. Are you two alright?” he asked.
Dee levered himself into a sitting position. “Fine, just tryin’ to cool ourselves and the car off a bit.”
“Aren’t you hot dressed like that?” The words were out of Ryo’s mouth before he could stop them.
“I am now I’m out of the car,” the constable replied, taking his cap off and wiping sweat from his forehead. He eyed the bottle still gripped in Ryo’s hand. “Have you two been drinking?”
Ryo had all but forgotten the bottle was there. With a grimace he peeled his hand off it. “Just water.” He started to hold the bottle up for the constable to see, then realised most of the label had come off it and was now stuck to his hand. “Oh.”
Peeling the label off his skin, he showed that to the police officer before wadding it up and stuffing it in his pocket to dispose of later.
“You can breathalyse us if you want,” Dee offered, “but we know better than to drink and drive, and anyone drinkin’ alcohol in this heat is an idiot.”
“We’re cops too,” Ryo explained. “Back home in New York.”
“Oh yes? Liking it over here are you?”
“Until the tropical heatwave kicked in,” Dee said. “The humidity is doin’ us in. Beautiful country though.”
“Should cool off a bit once the sun goes down. Where’re you staying?”
“Don’t know yet.” Ryo took a swig from his water bottle and pulled a face; it was hot now. “We’re touring, stopping off anywhere that catches our interest. It seemed like the best way to see as much of this part of the country as we could in three weeks, but I think we could do with a couple of months at least.”
“We were headin’ for…” Dee paused, scrunching his forehead up as he tried to remember. He turned to Ryo. “What was that place called again?”
“Um… St. Austell? Does that sound right?” Ryo asked.
The constable nodded. “You’re heading in the right direction, it’s about another ten miles from here. You should be able to find rooms there for the night.”
“Good, thanks. We’d planned on going inland from there, I wanted to see Bodmin Moor, but I’m not sure that would be such a good idea in this heat.”
“You could skip across the peninsula to Newquay for some surfing, then cut across to Bodmin in a day or two once the heatwave passes.”
“Surfing? Sounds like a good idea, thanks for the tip.”
“You’re welcome. You take care now.”
As the police car drove away, Dee reluctantly rose to his feet. “We should probably get goin’ again soon.” He checked his watch and discovered it was just after four. “First though…” Kicking off his sneakers he headed for a shady spot on the riverbank, where he sat on a rock and dipped his feet in the water.
Ryo shook out his and Dee’s t-shirts, hanging them over the car’s open doors to air off a bit before joining his partner to cool his aching feet, groaning with pleasure as the water lapped around his calves, its coolness spreading deliciously along his veins.
The day was still hot and humid, but resting in the shade had helped; both men were beginning to feel almost human. With a bit of common sense and a lot of luck they might even manage to survive the heatwave.