Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Ryo and Dee are on a driving tour of southern England, but things aren’t going quite the way they intended.
Word Count: 1850
Written For: My own prompt ‘FAKE, Dee/Ryo, Having to sleep in a car,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“I said I'm sorry, what more d’you want?” Dee grumbled, shifting about, trying to get comfortable. British cars were ridiculously tiny.
“What more?” Ryo turned to look at his partner who was crammed into the back seat. “Oh, I don't know, how about a bed? That would be nice. Better yet, a whole bedroom, in a hotel somewhere, with a shower and room service, or at the very least a dining room where we could get something to eat.” His stomach grumbled hungrily; it was getting late and lunch had been a very long time ago.
“It’s not like I meant for this to happen! The gas gauge must be faulty. Stupid rental car.”
Ryo supposed Dee had a point there; the gauge was still registering half a tank, but it had to be wrong because otherwise they wouldn’t be in this predicament. He still couldn’t quite get his head around how this could have happened; England was such a tiny country, distances between towns were nothing compared to the States, and yet here they were, stranded in the middle of nowhere, out of gas, in the dark. There wasn’t a road sign in sight, and they hadn’t seen one for quite a while, so they had no idea where the nearest village was, let alone the nearest gas station, and because they were in another country, they couldn’t even call Triple A for assistance.
The only thing left for them to do was spend the night in the car, then in the morning, as soon as it was light enough to see their surroundings, check their road map, try to work out roughly where they were, and start walking. Hopefully they’d find a village with a garage, or at the very least somewhere with a phone so they could call a tow truck. As things stood, their cell phones were pretty much useless; even if they had the number of a breakdown service, which they didn’t, anyone they called would immediately ask their exact location, and they didn’t have a clue. There weren’t even any useful landmarks that they could see. Not that they’d been able to get a signal on their phones anyway; they’d both tried as soon as the car had spluttered to a halt, but cell service must be spotty way out here and they’d failed to get any bars.
They’d been on their way to the town where they’d planned on spending the night when things had gone wrong; this early in the season they weren’t having any trouble finding small hotels and guest houses with vacancies. It was mid-May and the weather had been plenty warm enough during the daytime, but being outside at night was proving chilly and they didn’t have a blanket, only the clothes they had on, and what was in their suitcases. Ryo doubted either of them would be getting much sleep.
The silence inside the car dragged on until at last…
“Ryo?” Dee’s voice drifting from the backseat sounded hesitant, very unlike his usual brash confidence. “You still mad at me?”
Ryo sighed; he really shouldn’t be blaming his partner just because Dee had been the one driving when they’d broken down. “No, you were right, I was being unfair; this isn’t your fault, it’s just bad luck. I’m sorry, and I didn’t mean to zone out on you; I was just thinking, trying to figure out the best course of action.”
“Stay here until it gets light then try to find a garage?”
“That’s more or less what I came up with.” Ryo twisted around in the front passenger seat so he could see Dee where he was lying as best he could on the vehicle’s too small backseat, not easy for someone over six feet tall. “You know, I should probably have taken the backseat; you’re taller than I am, maybe I’d fit better.”
“I was the one drivin’, it seemed silly for both of us to get out and switch places.”
“Well, we could switch now if you want.”
“No, that’s okay. I just got settled. Try to get some sleep, okay? It’s gonna be a long night otherwise.”
That was for sure.
“You should sleep too. Goodnight, Dee.”
Ryo slid a little further down in his seat and closed his eyes, but between the chilliness and the hunger gnawing at his insides, sleep seemed unlikely. He cast his mind back over the last hour or so. It had already been almost dark when the engine of their rental car had spluttered and died. Thankfully they’d managed to coast down a slight incline and onto the grass verge, so they wouldn’t be blocking traffic, in the unlikely event that another car happened to pass by. He wished one would so they could maybe flag it down for assistance but they’d been the only ones driving along this stretch of road as evening set in. Probably the locals had more sense. Looking out into the darkness, not a single light was visible in any direction, aside from the stars scattered overhead. The moon had yet to rise.
On both sides of the road, heathland stretched out as far as the eye could see. For a forest, there seemed to be very few trees, which struck Ryo as odd. The signpost some miles back had said they were entering the New Forest in Hampshire. Dee had commented earlier that it must be very new considering trees were so few and far between. Ryo had just figured there’d be more trees once they got further in, but that didn’t seem to be the case, or not so far anyway. Maybe they should pick up a guidebook at the next town, if they ever managed to find one and didn’t wind up wandering in the wilderness for weeks.
He shook his head, smiling faintly at that ridiculous thought; this wasn’t Texas. The whole of the British Isles would fit into one corner of the Lone Star State. At the very worst, a couple of hours’ walking would most likely get them to civilisation of some kind; a town, a village, even a farm would do. At least they had the roadmap so they should be able to find their way somewhere once they had a better idea of where they were. They’d been managing fine up to this point.
The map was the one concession they’d agreed to, and they’d been using that sparingly, mainly just picking a direction and following road signs. Ryo had wanted to explore the country a bit, and Dee had declared that if they intended to explore, it might be more fun if they didn’t know too much about where they were going before they got there; that way they could find things out for themselves as they went along. It had sounded like a great idea at the time, but now Ryo was beginning to have second thoughts.
He must have managed to doze off at last because the next thing he knew, Dee was shaking him awake. He couldn’t have been asleep for very long though; it was still pitch dark out. “Whuh?” he mumbled, trying to get his brain in gear.
“Shhh, there’s something sniffin’ around outside the car,” Dee hissed in his ear.
Ryo froze for a moment, listening to the huffing sound that had disturbed Dee, then quickly checked that the car doors were locked. “We’re okay, nothing can get in.”
“What if it’s a bear, or a wolf?”
“I doubt anything like that could defeat a locked car door. Anyway, I’m pretty sure there aren’t any wild bears or wolves in Britain.”
“Oh. That’s good.” Dee sounded relieved.
“Maybe it’s a sheep, or something like that.”
“Sounds bigger than any sheep I’ve ever seen.” Not that Dee had seen a lot of sheep, at least not up close and personal, but they hadn’t looked all that big grazing in the fields as he and Ryo had driven past.
The moon must have risen by now, but it and stars were hidden behind clouds and a light rain was falling, trickling down the windows, making it difficult to see out. The glass was also fogged on the inside, and Ryo debated whether or not to wipe it clear and try to see what was out there, but decided against it; he wasn’t sure he wanted to know. Dee’s city boy nervousness was starting to affect him too. Maybe it was catching.
The rain started coming down harder, battering the roof of the car and driving hard against the passenger side as the wind got up; it was making too much noise for them to be able to hear each other speak unless they shouted so they remained silent, trying to at least relax.
Between the pouring rain and the mysterious, unseen creature nearby, neither man got much sleep after that, but by five in the morning the rain had stopped and the sky was getting noticeably lighter. They peered out into the greyness of pre-dawn to see if there was any sign of whatever had disturbed their rest, and Ryo couldn’t help laughing. Alongside the car stood a smallish horse, or a pony.
“Well, there’s our mystery visitor! It must have thought the car made a good windbreak.”
Dee perked up considerably. “If there’s a horse wanderin’ around out here, maybe that means we’re not too far from civilisation. We should go find out.”
Ryo was in full agreement with that. Together they scrambled out of the car, spooking the horse a little in the process, and locked up before setting off down the road in the direction they’d been going when they ran out of gas. They passed quite a few other ponies wandering loose, and after just three or four miles, reached the outskirts of a village. They strolled along the main street in the early morning sunlight; passing a cosy little café where they thought they might be able to get breakfast later.
Nowhere seemed to be open yet, which wasn’t surprising since it was still only a little after six in the morning, but they found a small garage at the far end of the street, with a couple of gas pumps and a tow truck parked on the forecourt, so they settled down on a low wall nearby to wait for it to open. The air was fresh and starting to warm up a little, and the sun was shining in a clear, eggshell blue sky, lifting their spirits further.
“You know, this isn’t so bad,” Ryo said, gazing around at the picturesque thatched cottages with their flower-filled gardens. “With luck we should be able to get the car gassed up, pick up some food, and be back on the road in a few hours.”
“Yeah, it’s kinda nice here.” Dee stretched luxuriously. “Looks like it’s gonna be a beautiful day too. Could’a done without gettin’ all cramped up sleepin’ in the car, but this makes up for it.”
Ryo laughed. “Well, we said we wanted an adventure, and we’re certainly getting one.”