Characters: Ryo, Dee, Bikky, Carol.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: Christmas is only a week away but Ryo and Dee aren’t feeling very festive.
Word Count: 1144
Written For: Jae's Monthly Drabble Challenge 178 - Festive.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
As he stared through the car windows at the twinkling Christmas lights and other decorations, Ryo sighed gloomily. “Everywhere looks so festive; it makes me feel guilty.”
Stopping at a red light, Dee cast his gaze though his own side window, taking in the crowds of shoppers laden with heavy bags, and the Christmas displays in store windows. “Yeah, I know what you mean.”
There was barely a week left until Christmas, but while everyone else seemed to have gotten into the festive spirit, homes and stores all done up for the holidays, Dee and Ryo hadn’t had the time or energy to even fetch the boxes of decorations out of the closet, never mind get themselves a tree. By now there probably wasn’t a halfway decent one left in any of the lots where they’d been on sale since the end of November.
Flu and other seasonal ailments had hit the NYPD harder than usual this year. So many cops were out sick that for the last three weeks the two detectives had been working twelve hour shifts most days, and on the two days off they’d been granted during that time they’d been too exhausted to do more than pick up essential groceries, do a bit of laundry, and fall into bed for some badly needed sleep. Christmas preparations had been pushed to the back of their minds. The festive season wasn’t proving especially cheerful for the handful of cops belonging to the Serious Crimes Unit who were still well enough to work.
Crime always went up at this time of year, the stress of trying to create the perfect Christmas driving some people to violence while others, aware that they were on the outside looking in and facing another lonely holiday, committed their own acts of desperation. On top of that, there were more muggers, pickpockets, shoplifters, and thieves doing the rounds, taking advantage of the crowds of distracted shoppers.
“So much for Christmas cheer.” The light turned green and Dee pulled away; he and Ryo were heading back to the two-seven from their latest crime scene to get started on the preliminary paperwork, which was another reason to feel less than festive. “Bah humbug.”
In the passenger seat, Ryo snickered, turning to grin at his lover. “Pretty good Scrooge impression you’ve got going on there.”
Dee managed a wry grin of his own. “When I was a kid, I used to wonder how anyone could NOT enjoy Christmas. Then I joined the NYPD and started to see the reality of some people’s lives; the loneliness, the homelessness, the abuse, the victims of assaults and robberies, the broken-hearted kids who had their presents stolen from under the tree while they were asleep in their own beds…” He trailed off, shaking his head. “When ya think about it, we’re still a helluva lot luckier than some folks. We’ve got steady jobs, friends and loved ones who care about us, a roof over our heads, plenty to eat, and we’ve got each other. We shouldn’t be complainin’ just ‘cause we haven’t had time to decorate a tree.”
“You’re right; we should be thankful for what we’ve got. Besides, there’s still time to put up a few decorations if we can summon the energy; maybe the apartment won’t look as festive as it did last year, but putting up a ton of decorations just means having to take them all down again in January.”
“Yeah, when ya look at it that way we’re just savin’ ourselves some work. Not like we need more to do right now.”
“That’s for sure. There aren’t enough hours in the day for everything we need to do as it is. Unfortunately that doesn’t mean we don’t still have to try our best to fit it all in.”
“Tell me about it; police work is not for wimps.”
The rest of their long and tiring workday dragged slowly past, with paperwork, autopsy results on their latest victim, and another crime scene to visit. This one was a store that had been held up by an armed gunman who’d apparently gotten away with money from the register and several sets of expensive ladies’ lingerie, although on investigation it turned out the manageress had taken advantage of the robbery to give herself a Christmas bonus as the missing items turned up in her bag. Arresting her was probably the highlight of the day.
Arriving home late and tired, wishing they’d thought to pick up something for dinner on the way, they let themselves into the apartment and stopped dead, their attention caught by the tall, beautifully decorated Christmas tree in the corner, the festive lights strung around the windows, and the aroma of something delicious cooking.
Ryo rubbed his eyes, wondering if he was seeing things. “This is our apartment, isn’t it? We didn’t go into the wrong building somehow? Only I don’t remember doing any of this.” Maybe he’d fallen asleep in the car and was dreaming.
“Looks like our furniture so it’s gotta be our place.” Dee snapped his fingers. “Christmas elves, that’s the only logical explanation. I’ve heard stories.”
There was a muffled giggle and then a door opened. “Surprise!” Bikky and Carol burst out of Bikky’s room, laughing.
“I was right,” Dee quipped. “Definitely Christmas elves. Hey, kids.”
“Bikky! You’re not supposed to be here until next week!” Ryo exclaimed, hugging his foster son.
“I know, but last time we spoke you sounded so down with all the overtime you’re stuck with, I decided to see if I could switch to an earlier flight. Figured you guys could use a hand getting ready for Christmas. What d’you think?” Bikky gestured at the decorations.
“I think it’s perfect. Thank you, both of you!”
“Yeah,” Dee agreed, smiling. “Couldn’t have done better ourselves. What’s cookin’?” He sniffed the air. “Whatever it is, it sure smells good!”
“It’s nothing fancy, just a pot roast and veggies,” Carol said. “We knew you’d both probably be hungry so we picked up a few things on our way from the airport. Why don’t you two freshen up and get changed? Dinner should be ready in about half an hour.”
“Don’t need to tell us twice,” Dee said, shutting the front door, hanging up his coat and pulling his boots off. Ryo did likewise, almost falling over as he took his shoes off because he couldn’t take his eyes of the sparkling lights. Dee grabbed hold of his lover to steady him.
“To think just a few hours ago we were feeling bad about not putting up decorations, and now this!” Ryo waved his arm in the direction of the tree, turning to Bikky and Carol again. “This is the best Christmas surprise ever!”
Dee nodded. “Yeah, you kids have outdone yourselves; we really appreciate it.”
Christmas was already looking a whole lot brighter.