Characters: Dee, Ryo, Dick the dog.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: The boys need to get some rugs for their apartment to protect their temporary guest from slipping on their polished floors. Where better to find what they need than the market?
Word Count: 1620
Content Notes: None needed.
Written For: Challenge 303: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge 179: Dog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
The park a couple of blocks from Dee and Ryo’s apartment was already one of Dick the dachshund’s favourite places to be, and playtime lasted longer than the two men had intended, partly because the little dog was having a good time but mostly because although cool out it was a sunny day and the air was autumn crisp. It was late enough in the morning for the mist that had shrouded much of the city earlier to have burned off, and quite a few people were already out and about, enjoying the good weather.
Dick scampered back and forth on his short little legs, tail wagging madly, enthusiastically chasing whatever his temporary owners threw for him, and playing tag with a couple of other dogs. If there were rules regarding who chased whom, Dee couldn’t figure them out, but as long as the dogs were enjoying the game he figured it didn’t matter. It was all good exercise, and with any luck it would mean the mutt would be tired enough by the time they got home that Dee might get to finish reading the paper.
When Dick finally trotted back to the bench they were sitting on and flopped at their feet, worn out and panting, they stayed put for a little while longer so the little dog could catch his breath and have a drink, then Dee clipped Dick’s leash back on and the three of them headed home to fetch Dee’s car for their trip to the market.
As it was Saturday the place was bustling, with rows of stalls selling all manner of things already surrounded by eager shoppers and bargain hunters. Ryo carried a shopping bag, intending to pick up some fresh fruit and vegetables while they were there, and Dee carried Dick so he wouldn’t get stepped on or fallen over. The last thing they needed was for someone to sue them because the mutt constituted a tripping hazard. Besides, they’d only brought the dog along so that Dee and Ryo could pick out some rugs he’d show up against; they didn’t want to fall over him either, but the polished wood floors of their apartment were a slipping hazard for the boisterous young pup so covering them seemed like a sensible thing to do.
They browsed the stalls at a leisurely pace, Ryo seeming to have forgotten about the housework waiting for them back home. Dee had no intention of reminding his lover; it was pleasant to be out together doing something as normal as wandering around an open-air market. Ryo filled his bag with an assortment of fresh produce while Dee nosed around a stall selling old vinyl records, and then both men spent a while at a bookstall. Dee had to set Dick down for that since he needed both hands free, and unsurprisingly Dick took up his favourite position, sitting on Dee’s foot. It wasn’t very convenient for Dee, especially when he wanted to move, but at least it kept the dog out of everybody’s way.
It took them almost an hour to make their way through the crowds to the stalls selling rugs, but when they got that far they found themselves spoiled for choice. There were rugs of every kind, from doormats to massive things that looked more like rolls of carpet, and from deep shag pile to delicate woven affairs that looked more like wall hangings than something you’d spread on the floor and walk all over.
“Deep pile is out for a start,” Dee said firmly. “We’d lose the damn dog in it.”
Ryo snickered. “He’s not that short!”
“He’s not short at all; lengthwise there’s more than enough of him, he’s just lacking in the height department.”
“That’s not his fault; it’s characteristic of the breed.” Ryo tossed a smile Dee’s way. “I wasn’t going for deep pile anyway, it’s impractical. What we need is something that’s easy to clean, hardwearing, and heavy enough to stay where we put it. We don’t want it sliding all over the place every time someone steps on it.”
“We can use some of those anti-slip things,” Dee said, pointing towards a display with his free hand. The other was holding Dick in place with his front paws on Dee’s shoulder, which would have been fine if the dog hadn’t kept affectionately licking his ear. “Cut that out, will ya?” Dee ducked his head to one side trying to evade the insistent tongue. “Got nothin’ against Ryo doin’ that, but his oral hygiene’s a damn sight better than yours! You smell of dog butt! And quit laughin’ at me!” That last was directed at Ryo who was finding Dee’s predicament highly entertaining.
“You want me to take him for a bit while you carry this?” Ryo held up his heavy shopping bag.
“Nah, it’s okay. No sense both of us gettin’ slobbered over.”
Ryo hid a smirk; he’d known Dee would refuse. Despite any claims he might make to the contrary, he was already growing attached to the dog. Ryo didn’t blame him; he felt the same way. Dick was a charming and comical little animal and it was going to be a wrench when the time came to return him to his elderly owner.
“Okay; rugs.” Ryo dragged their attention back to the task at hand. “See anything that takes your fancy?”
Dee scanned the bewildering assortment on display. Some were in plain colors, others were patterned with bold geometric shapes or floral patterns, and still others had weirdly psychedelic designs like a migraine waiting to happen.
“Didn’t think there’d be so much choice; guess we’d better start by narrowing it down a bit.” Dee ran his eyes over the various racks. “Okay, so anything brown’s out, we’re not testin’ the dog’s camouflage abilities, and not green either ‘cause we don’t want his royal longness mistakin’ it for grass. Oh, and nothin’ too bright; some of those are enough to give me a headache just lookin’ at ‘em.”
Ryo nodded agreement. “Light colors are out too; it would be impossible to keep them looking clean with a dog about.”
That narrowed their choices down quite a bit; they were able to disregard almost three quarters of the rugs on display and wandered back and forth for a while, comparing the ones that remained for thickness, texture, and size, discarding anything too thin, too rough, or too small. Eventually they were left with a shortlist of about half a dozen possibilities.
“How many d’you think we’ll need?” Dee asked. “Two or three?”
“Let’s just get two for now. If it turns out we need a third we can always come back next week.”
“Yeah, good thinkin’.” Dee turned his attention to the dog in his arms. “So, whaddaya think? You like any of these?”
“You’re letting the dog choose?” Ryo couldn’t keep from laughing.
“Sure, why not? He’s a lot closer to the ground than we are; he should get a say in what he’s gonna be walkin’ and layin’ around on. We’re gettin’ them for his benefit more than ours.”
“That’s true, but how d’you expect to tell which he approves of? He’s a miniature dachshund, not a pointer,” Ryo teased, grinning at his partner.
“Hey, don’t be like that! He’s smart. For a dog. ‘Kay, let’s try this.”
Dee held Dick within easy sniffing distance of each rug in turn. The dark grey got no reaction, barely a sniff, and the same was true of a quite attractive mottled dark blue rug, but the deep claret received an enthusiastic sniffing. A geometrically patterned grey and black rug was rejected, but Dee hadn’t much liked that one anyway. As Dick sniffed and wagged his tail at a rug that was black with deep red swirls, Dee grinned back at his partner. “You were sayin’?”
“Okay, you were right; looks like those two are dog-approved. He’s got good taste, they go together pretty well and they’ll blend in with our furniture.” The three-piece suite, cabinets, and shelves they’d picked out when furnishing Dee’s expanded apartment were all basic black. “We could put the claret one between the sofa and the TV, the other one off to the side.”
Dee nodded. “Yeah, that should work out pretty well. We’re decided then?”
“I think so.”
Ryo paid the stallholder and arranged for delivery that afternoon; the rolled up rugs were too heavy and bulky to be carried through the marketplace, especially as they had other shopping and a dog to contend with. Fortunately delivery wasn’t too expensive and as the rugs were seconds with minor flaws in them they were very reasonably priced.
The two men made their way back through the market, browsing stalls as they went and picking up a few oddments; locally grown honey, freshly made peanut brittle, so much better than shop bought kind, and a small antique photo frame. Ryo intended to put a couple of pictures of Dick in it; he’d give it to old Mrs Holloway, the dog’s owner, so she could have it standing by her bed in the hospital. Something cheerful for her to look at while her broken hip healed.
Eventually, loaded down with their purchases, they headed home; it was well past lunchtime by now and they still needed to get everything ready for the arrival of the new rugs. Furniture would have to be moved, and then there were the chores they’d abandoned earlier still waiting to be done.
Well, maybe those could be left until tomorrow; after all, when you had an animal living with you, even temporarily, its needs had to come first. That was the first rule of pet ownership. Hopefully Dick appreciated their efforts.
TBC in ‘Clever Dog’