Characters: Dee, Ryo.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: A summer storm has washed everything clean, and as the clouds break up, Dee and Ryo get on with enjoying their vacation with a stroll along the beach.
Word Count: 1563
Written For: Challenge 275: Cloud at fan_flashworks.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
By early afternoon the worst of the storm was past, but as it was still raining Dee and Ryo had opted to have a leisurely lunch in the hotel’s dining room to avoid getting wet. When they finally stepped outside just before three the rain had finally stopped and the clouds were being swept away by the brisk breeze. The air felt quite a bit cooler than it had that morning; everywhere was damp and dripping though they knew it wouldn’t stay that way for long, not with the sun starting to break through the tattered clouds.
Already, wherever the tentative rays of sunshine touched tendrils of steam were starting to rise as the growing warmth evaporated the puddles from the sidewalk, drawing their contents back up into the sky to become new clouds. It was recycling at its most natural, excess moisture being drawn up and transported by air to fall as rain somewhere else, hopefully somewhere that needed it. With climate change making everything so unpredictable, these days flooding was growing more and more common, while the places that desperately needed rain sweltered under cloudless skies, enduring prolonged, life-destroying droughts.
“Stop thinkin’,” Dee admonished. “We’re supposed to be on vacation, not worryin’ about the state of the world.”
“What? How did you know?” Ryo asked, perplexed.
“I know you, dumbass. I’ve seen all your moods, I can tell when you’re happy or bored or angry without you havin’ to say a word. I know when you’re thinkin’ gloomy thoughts too; you get real quiet, but not like when you’re content. Your whole face clouds over, like you’ve withdrawn into your own head. You do that when we’re workin’ a tough case and you’re doin’ it now, so quit it. This is no time to be all mopey and miserable.” He threw out one arm is an encompassing gesture. “Look around ya! The sun’s comin’ out, the air smells all fresh and clean, there’s a cool breeze takin’ the edge off the heat… And here we are, in a quaint little Devonshire coastal town, the other side of the world from all the worries and stresses of work. Plus, ya got me, and if that’s not enough to put a smile on your face I don’t know what is!” He winked.
Ryo couldn’t help but laugh, his expression clearing. “Sorry, you’re right, this isn’t the time or place to start brooding about all the things I can’t fix, it’s just, sometimes I start out thinking a happy thought and it leads to thinking about other things that are a lot less happy.”
Dee grinned. “Your brain is weird.”
“Oh, thanks for that!”
“I don’t mean that in a bad way! You’re just more… intuitive I guess. You make leaps that would never occur to most people. You can start out thinkin’ about… Well, what was it this time?”
“Uh…” Ryo struggled to remember. “I’ve lost track now,” he admitted. “Something about rain and the way the excess evaporates to make new clouds, like it’s being recycled…”
“See, that’s what I mean. Clouds are recycled rain; who else would come up with something like that?”
“You know, I wouldn’t mind being a cloud,” Ryo mused, looking up at the sky where the tatters left behind by the storm were continuing to break apart, scattering in the breeze. “Might be nice, just floating from place to place, seeing the world from above.”
“Rainin’ on it occasionally,” Dee teased.
“You’re making fun of me.”
“Just a bit. Could be fun though, rainin’ on all the people who annoy us.”
Ryo shook his head. “That would be a waste of water. I’d only rain where it was needed.”
“You’d be the responsible kind of cloud, I can see that.”
“You wouldn’t though. You’d pick someone you didn’t like, hang over their head, and rain just on them, everywhere they went.”
“You’re right, I probably would. I can think of a few people who deserve to get drenched by their own personal and very vengeful rain cloud. Shame it’s not possible; it would be a sweet way to get revenge.” By now they were walking along the promenade; Dee grabbed Ryo by the hand. “C’mon, let’s go down on the beach.”
“The sand’s still wet!” Ryo protested.
“It’s dryin’ out, just like everywhere else, and why should it matter anyway? We can take our shoes off and go barefoot; it’s been days since we’ve been on the beach.” It had been too hot during the heatwave to lie around in such a suntrap so they’d spent their time either exploring the small local towns or taking walks along the cliff tops where there’d been an occasional breeze, and the welcome shade cast by trees and shrubs to sit in when they got too hot. “It’ll be fun; we can see what got washed up by the storm.”
“Beachcombing?” It was an oddly appealing idea, not something Ryo would have thought of himself. “Okay, why not? Haven’t done that since family vacations when I was a kid.”
Making their way down the nearest steps, they sat at the bottom to pull off their sneakers, tying the laces together for easy carrying, then made their way across the sand towards the water’s edge, glad they’d pulled on light cotton shorts and t-shirts in place of their jeans before leaving the hotel. They’d dry faster if they got wet, which seemed inevitable; the sea was still a bit rough in the aftermath of the storm, small waves crashing onto the shore, sending up clouds of spray.
It wasn’t as hot out as it had been that morning, probably only in the low eighties at the most, hot enough that dipping their bare feet in the cool water felt good, but not so hot as to drain them of energy. They wandered along at the water’s edge, using bits of driftwood to poke around in clumps of seaweed, discovering the occasional small crab, or interesting shell, snapping pictures of their finds on their phones for later identification. Modern technology came in handy for all kinds of things.
There was litter too, scattered across the beach by the wind and washed up by the waves, so they started collecting that into a bag Ryo pulled out of his shorts pocket. He’d long since gotten into the habit of always having a couple with him for carrying anything he and Dee might buy, from souvenirs and gifts for friends back home, to sandwiches and drinks for an impromptu picnic. He could spare one as a trash bag so they could do their part in keeping Britain tidy, Ryo thought to himself. It was one small way in which he could make the world a slightly better place.
How long the two of them spent at their beachcombing they had no idea; they only stopped when they ran out of beach and had to turn back. By then, the sun was low in the sky, just beginning to turn the edges of the clouds pink and gold.
“We’ve come a long way,” Ryo noted. “We should head back and get freshened up before dinner. Probably better change too if we’re going to eat out tonight.”
Dee nodded. “We should. Race ya back?”
“In this heat? You’re crazy! You can run if you want, but I’m walking.” Ryo padded across the damp sand until the water was lapping around his feet, enjoying the refreshing coolness as he walked; even though he was getting hungry he was in no mad rush to get back to civilisation. Vacations were for relaxing, not rushing around; he’d just drift back along the beach like a cloud.
Dee fell into step beside him, so close their shoulders brushed; somehow he’d ended up carrying the trash bag, although Ryo couldn’t remember giving it to him. He’d probably put it down to look at something and Dee had picked it up.
“We didn’t get to swim,” Dee said, as if only just realising. “Damn, we should’a worn our trunks under our shorts, then we could’a swum back.”
“And what would we have done with our clothes?” Ryo flicked a glance in his partner’s direction, grinning.
“Ah!” Dee snapped his fingers. “Hadn’t thought of that.”
“If we get up a bit earlier tomorrow, maybe we could swim before breakfast. The beach shouldn’t be so crowded then.”
As they drew closer to the town, they passed more and more people who’d ventured back onto the sand now the storm was over.
“If we’re gonna do that, we should probably get an early night,” Dee said in a low voice, giving his lover a meaningful look.
“You’re insatiable! We just spent half the day in bed!” That being Dee’s idea of the best way to pass the time while the storm was raging outside.
“Is that a no?”
“I didn’t say that.” Ryo’s cheeks heated up. “Dinner first though, and then a walk.”
“Good thinkin’. Don’t want to give ourselves indigestion.”
Reluctantly they left the water, hand in hand, angling towards the promenade, still some distance away. Since they hadn’t brought towels with them they wanted to give their feet plenty of time to dry before they had to put their shoes back on.
Despite the storm, or maybe because of it, Ryo decided this had been one of the best days of their vacation.