Title: Oh Christmas Tree… Part 1/2
Characters: Ryo, Dee, Bikky, Carol, OMC
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: Dee is determined to make his and Ryo’s first Christmas together as a couple as memorable as possible and you can’t have a proper Christmas without a tree…
Word Count: 1828
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
A/N: Not sure now exactly where this idea came from, but it quickly outgrew the little ficlet I’d intended it to be.
Ryo glanced across at Dee as he got into his partner’s car and slammed the passenger side door.
“So, where are we going?”
“To get you a Christmas tree, dope. It is Christmas, in case you’ve somehow managed to overlook that little fact.”
“Very funny. I’m well aware that it’s almost Christmas, I’m not that much of an airhead!” Ryo grumbled.
“You managed to forget last year,” Dee reminded him.
“That was different, I had a good reason for trying to avoid thinking about it.”
Dee winced; he knew that Christmas always reminded Ryo of his parents’ death.
“Anyway,” Ryo continued, smiling, “this year I have an even better reason for remembering.”
“Good to know.” Dee smiled back at him. “I want to make this a Christmas you’ll always remember, and the first step is to find you the perfect tree. I just so happen to know the best place to get a tree in the whole of New York!”
“And where would that be?”
Dee winked. “Wait and see!”
The corner lot was packed with people, and with Christmas trees: small ones closest to the sidewalk and the tallest way in the back. Dee dragged Ryo straight past the smallest trees, not even sparing them a glance.
“Wha…? Dee! What’s wrong with these trees?”
“They’re way too small, babe. With the height of your ceilings, they’d look ridiculous,” Dee told him, casually overriding all Ryo’s protests. “You need something with a bit of size to it. Now that’s more like it!”
Ryo gave a sigh of relief; at least Dee didn’t seem to have set his sights on the tallest trees. Even so, the ones Dee was considering were easily twice Ryo’s height.
“Don’t you think these are a bit too tall?”
“Nah, one of these will look great in the corner of your lounge!” Dee strode along the row, examining each tree in turn, finally pointing at a particularly impressive specimen. “How about this one? It’s nice and bushy, and it’s got a good root ball, that’ll help keep it stable once we get it planted up.”
“But…” Ryo started to protest, but gave up almost immediately. It was clear by now that his concerns were falling on deaf ears. “I just hope the floor’s strong enough,” he muttered under his breath, eying the tree dubiously.
As he’d expected, Dee paid no attention to him, instead waving the tree seller over. “We’ll take this one, dude, and we’ll need a tub for it.” He handed over some money.
“I’ll bring the tub and yer change to yer car,” the seller told him, smiling. “Need a hand with yer tree?”
“We’ll be fine, thanks.” Dee turned to Ryo and carefully tilted the tree towards the horizontal. “I’ll take the root end, you grab the top and navigate.”
“You’re insane,” Ryo said, shaking his head, but he did as asked anyway and they reached the car without too many problems. The tree seller was waiting for them there as promised.
“There ya go, Detective, one tub and yer change. I’ve got the orphanage’s tree reserved for ya. Still pickin’ it up at the weekend?”
“Yep, that’s the plan! Thanks, Mike, you’re a star.”
“Anything fer Mother.” They shook hands and Mike returned to his lot and the task of selling trees.
“Right,” said Dee, “let’s get ‘er loaded up.”
The tub and other necessities were soon in the trunk; that part wasn’t a problem, but…
Ryo looked from the tree to the car and back again. The tree was massive, the car... not so much. Not that it was a small car, just the tree was noticeably bigger. Ryo had grave misgivings.
“Dee, there’s no way this is gonna fit in your car!”
“It doesn’t have to. Look, don’t worry; all we have to do is just tie it on the roof. It’ll be fine. I’ve done this loads of times taking Mother’s tree to the orphanage. Piece of cake, there’s always plenty of rope in the car.” Dee started digging about in the trunk.
Several minutes later, he emerged. There was no sign of any rope.
“I though you said you had plenty of rope!” Ryo gestured at the single length of strong twine Dee was holding.
“I usually do! I just used it for something else last week and forgot to put it back.”
“Brilliant.” Ryo folded his arms and just looked at Dee. “Well? Now what do you suggest we do?”
“It’ll have to go in the car. And before you say anything, don’t worry, it’ll be fine.”
“You keep saying that like you expect me to believe you, but so far you’ve been wrong every time.”
“Yeah, yeah. Look, all we have to do is open the rear window so the top of the tree sticks out.”
They tried, and it worked, sort of, aside from the part where it was the top five feet of a twelve-foot tree sticking out. Ryo was close to despairing. Why couldn’t Dee see there was a problem?
“There’s no way we can drive like that! We’ll be knocking down pedestrians like bowling pins! Not to mention what it’ll do to other people’s cars! I hope you have good insurance because you’re going to need it.”
“Oh ye of little faith. Just so happens, I’ve got an idea!” Dee waved the piece of twine at Ryo. “All we need is this!”
Dee tied one end of the twine to the top of the tree and the other end to the rear door handle on the other side of the car, so the tree curved up and over the roof.
“See? That’ll work! Gets it right out of the way.”
Ryo had to admit it was an ingenious solution. No one was looking, so he leaned in and gave Dee a quick kiss. “Guess I should’ve learned by now not to doubt you. Your methods are often unorthodox, but they usually seem to work out in the end.”
Dee shrugged. “I’m good at improvising, learned that at the orphanage. When you don’t have a lot, you learn to make the most of what you do have. You’d be surprised at what can be made from the things other people throw away.”
“You mean like some of your ‘furniture’?”
“Exactly! Come on, let’s get this tree back to yours.”
Arriving at Ryo’s building, they were confronted by their next challenge; getting the tree up three flights of stairs to the top floor. Once again, Dee shrugged it off with those famous words ‘No problem!’ and took the root end while Ryo got a good grip about midway along the trunk, thankful that he was wearing thick gloves; the tree was rather spiky as well as being heavy. Unsurprisingly, it proved harder work getting up the staircase with their burden than Dee, with his cavalier attitude, had anticipated; the worst part being trying to manoeuvre it around the hairpin turns at the end of each flight.
Dee shoved the tree up and to the side, trying to ease it around the next turn and there was a thud as Ryo, knocked off balance, collided with the wall.
“Ow! Dammit, Dee, be careful!”
“Sorry babe; can’t see where I’m going.”
“Well whose fault is that? You chose the tree.”
“Sheesh, I get blamed for everything!”
“Only when it’s your fault. Which it usually is,” Ryo grumbled.
“Quit bitchin’ and keep movin’,” Dee panted. “Gotta get to the top before I collapse from exhaustion.”
“Well if you’d picked a smaller tree, we wouldn’t be having this problem.” Ryo tugged and the tree slid around the bend.
“You’ll thank me later, trust me.”
“I’m not sure I’ll ever trust you again,” Ryo muttered, starting up the final flight.
“You say that now…” Dee somehow still managed to sound supremely confident; it was a trait Ryo often found himself envying. He wished he could be as sure of himself in all things as Dee always seemed to be.
Finally making it to the top floor, they hauled their burden to Ryo’s door. Somehow, with a bit of juggling, they managed to get the door open without setting the tree down and manoeuvred it through the doorway, root end first, setting it down just inside.
“I think we could both use a drink about now. I’ll make coffee.” Ryo headed for the kitchen.
“You can have coffee if you want, but after that, I think I’ve earned a beer!” Dee declared. “Loosen up, babe, let your hair down a little. It’s not like either of us is gonna be doin’ any more drivin’ tonight.”
Dee had a point.
“Okay, beer it is.”
“Set ‘em up, I’ll be back in a minute, just gonna get the rest of the stuff from the car. We can get the tree planted up and in position then decorate it after dinner. Seeing the place lookin’ all Christmassy will be a nice surprise for the rugrat when he gets back from his sleepover tomorrow. He didn’t say anything to you, guess he didn’t want to hurt your feelings, but I know he was disappointed about the lack of decorations last year.”
Ryo sighed. “I know, and I feel bad about that. I’m just used to spending Christmas with my aunt and uncle; there never seemed to be any point putting up decorations when nobody was gonna be there to see them. I just didn’t think.”
“I didn’t say that to make you feel bad, idiot.” Dee lightly touched Ryo’s face, delighting in the way Ryo leaned in to the caress; only as few months ago he would’ve stepped back, frowning at Dee, but not anymore.
“I know that too, but I can’t help feeling that way.”
“Well, you’re making up for it this year, with the help of yours truly.” Dee gave Ryo a quick kiss, a pat on the rump, and headed for the door. “I guarantee the house ape won’t know what hit him when he gets home. Leave the door open, I’ll be right back.”
Dee was as good as his word, returning a few minutes later lugging the big tub for the tree, and everything they’d need to plant it up. Ryo smiled, watching his lover with open appreciation as he set everything down in the corner he’d chosen for the tree.
“Don’t think I don’t see you checkin’ me out,” Dee said with a grin.
Ryo blushed furiously. Caught again, dammit! A beer in each hand, he walked over to Dee. “Need a hand?”
Dee smirked. “Maybe later.”
If anything, Ryo’s cheeks burned even hotter. “How d’you manage to turn everything I say into innuendo?” he muttered.
“Talent?” Dee took his beer and downed half of it. “Ah, just what I needed. Okay, this shouldn’t take long.” Setting his beer aside where it wouldn’t be knocked over, he emptied the tub and moved it into position. “About there, I think. Okay, let’s get this puppy planted!”