Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: After a long day at work, Ryo reminds Dee there’s still something that needs to be done.
Word Count: 1405
Content Notes: None needed.
Written For: Challenge 284: Decoration at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Dee shed his coat and boots at the door, slouched his way across the lounge and dropped bonelessly onto Ryo’s sofa with a heartfelt groan.
“Man, I’m beat! How come there’s always more crime around the festive season? What happened to peace on earth and good will to all men?”
“I guess the crowded stores make life easier for shoplifters and purse snatchers. Add to that tempers already frayed as everyone tries to do their Christmas shopping at the same time, usually at the last minute… It’s a volatile mix, sometimes people just snap.” Ryo made his way towards the kitchen. “Coffee?”
“Yeah, thanks, babe; I could use a caffeine boost after today.” Dee sat up straighter, reaching for the takeaway bag he’d dumped on the coffee table. “Food too; I’m about runnin’ on fumes.”
“You’re not the only one.”
Their eight-hour shift had wound up being more like eleven hours, and any hopes they’d entertained about taking a mid-afternoon coffee break in order to refuel after missing lunch had been derailed when a massive brawl had broken out in the vacant lot where Christmas trees were being sold. Two people had been carted off to hospital, and five more arrested for destruction of property and disturbing the peace.
Ryo returned from the kitchen after a few minutes with two steaming mugs, setting them down on the coffee table and flopping wearily onto the sofa beside his partner. Then he groaned and made to get up again.
Dee stopped him. “Hey, where’re ya goin’?”
“I forgot to bring plates.”
“We don’t need ‘em, we can eat outta the cartons; not like we’ll be settin’ a bad example for the house ape since he’s not here.”
Ryo didn’t take much persuading. “Okay, fine, just this once.” He smiled tiredly, accepting a carton and a set of chopsticks from his lover. “I’m too tired and hungry to argue.”
They ate in almost complete silence, not speaking except to ask each other to pass this carton or that, but at last they settled back, comfortably stuffed and feeling a lot better than they had when they’d first walked through the door. It was amazing what a good meal could do.
“Wooo, that’s better!” Dee patted his belly. “I almost feel human again.”
“Mm,” Ryo agreed. “I needed that. More coffee?”
“That would be great, but why don’t I make this round? Unless you wanna insist on bein’ a good host, this bein’ your place and all.”
“No, go ahead, I think I’m over that; you know where everything is. I’ll just sit here a little longer before I start getting the boxes out.”
Dee paused halfway off the sofa to frown at his lover, confused. “Boxes?”
“The Christmas decorations. Or have you forgotten your offer yesterday to help me put them up tonight?”
“Damn, completely slipped my mind. Blame the lack of lunch and the unscheduled, not to mention probably unpaid, overtime. You sure you wanna put them up tonight?” Dee didn’t particularly feel like having to do more work after the day they’d had.
“I arranged for Bikky to spend the night at Carol’s just so I could get the place decorated for the holidays without him getting underfoot, but you don’t have to help if you don’t want to; I can do it myself.”
“No, that’s fine, I already said I’d help and I’m not goin’ back on my word.” Dee scanned the apartment. “Somethin’s missin’ though; ya don’t have a tree. Does that mean we’ve gotta go out again?”
Ryo laughed. “Of course not; I got one and left it with Melinda next door, otherwise Bikky would’ve seen it.”
Eyebrows vanishing into his hair, Dee stared down at his lover. “You carried a Christmas tree all the way up the stairs by yourself?”
“It wasn’t difficult, it’s a lot smaller than the one you insisted I get last year, only about six-foot, and it’s wrapped so I didn’t have branches catching on everything.”
“Six foot? That’s not much of a tree,” Dee huffed.
“You want a bigger one for your place that’s up to you; at least your building has an elevator so you won’t have to wrestle it up the stairs. I needed something more manageable.”
“Fair enough. Okay, coffee and then decorations.” Dee headed for the kitchen with their mugs.
“I’d better clear this mess up and fetch the tree.” Ryo started gathering the empty cartons to go in the trash, cramming them into the bag to drop down the trash chute.
“Relax, babe, no need to rush; the tree can wait a bit longer. Ya don’t wanna wind up with indigestion.”
Ryo sank back against the cushions. “You’re right, but we should make a start soon; there’s a lot to do.”
“And it’ll get done, so quit stressin’. We got plenty of time; fifteen minutes of relaxation won’t wreck your plans.”
Deciding Dee was probably sensible in saying they should relax a while after their meal, Ryo gave in, settling comfortably and stretching his legs out. Soon Dee returned with the coffee and they sat in companionable silence, enjoying the peace and quiet after the noise and bustle of the squad room and the city streets. It was soothng.
Their fifteen minutes stretched to twenty-five before Ryo finally made a move to clear away the remains of their dinner. Dee took their mugs back to the kitchen then gave Ryo a hand collecting the tree and setting it in its tub at the far end of the lounge. Once the mesh wrapping was removed it bushed out nicely and didn’t look as small as Dee had feared it would; what it lacked in height it easily made up for in width.
“Still think I should’ve gotten a bigger tree?” Ryo asked, smirking slightly.
“Nah, I guess this one’s pretty good. We doin’ the tree first or the other stuff?”
“Tree.” Ryo opened one of the boxes he’d fetched from the top shelf of the closet, setting it on the sofa and starting to unpack its contents, boxes of baubles, sparkling garlands of tinsel, and a long string of lights.
Despite Dee’s initial lack of enthusiasm for the task he found himself enjoying putting up the decorations, the weariness of the long day melting away to be replaced by the beginnings of festive cheer. It was impossible to feel gloomy while hanging brightly coloured baubles on the sweet-smelling evergreen branches, and by the time it was done, the lights switched on and twinkling merrily, he felt reenergized. Or maybe that was the three mugs of coffee he’d consumed; it was hard to be sure.
Hanging paper chains and streamers across the ceiling took more effort, but it was like the icing on the proverbial cake; by the time they were finished the whole room seemed magically transformed from ordinary living space to festive wonderland in hardly more than two hours. It was almost a shame the decorations would only be staying up for a few weeks.
“Looks great, though I say so myself. Are we done?” Dee asked, stepping back to admire their handiwork.
“I think so.” Ryo checked through the boxes in case they’d missed anything, packing them inside each other ready to go back in the closet, along with the stepladder. “This is all that’s left.” He approached Dee with something in his hand.
“This.” Ryo held up something small and green, with just a hint of white, but before Dee could really take it in, Ryo was kissing him.
“Mistletoe,” Ryo said, drawing back after a few very enjoyable minutes. “It’s only plastic, but…”
Dee whipped it out of his hand before he could finish speaking. “I know exactly where this should go.” Grabbing Ryo by the hand, he tugged his lover towards the bedroom.
“Dee! I haven’t put everything away yet!” Ryo protested, torn between amusement and annoyance.
“Who cares? It’s not goin’ anywhere. ‘Sides, we’ve done enough work for today; I think it’s time we had some fun.” Dee dangled the mistletoe invitingly.
Ryo threw one last look over his shoulder at the stepladder leant against the wall, and the boxes waiting to be tucked away on their shelf until they were needed again, and half shrugged. Dee was right, they weren’t going anywhere; he could put them away later, or leave that job for tomorrow. Tonight he and Dee had way better things to do.