Characters: Ryo, Dee
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: The best place to be when it’s cold out is indoors with the one you love.
Word Count: 1285
Written For: Challenge 141: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge #28: Warmth.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Outside it’s bitterly cold and snowing heavily, fat white flakes drifting down like feathers, making the city look cleaner than it really is, and muffling sound. Ryo leans on his bedroom windowsill, watching, half hypnotised. As beautiful as it looks, he’s more than glad to be indoors at last where it’s toasty and warm instead of still out there with freezing feet and no feeling left in his nose. He’s not a big fan of winter.
He sips from the steaming coffee mug he’s holding cupped in both hands to chase the last of the chill from his fingers. As soon as he’d arrived home from work, he’d turned up the heating, jumped in the shower to thaw out, then pulled on his biggest, warmest sweater, track pants, and the thickest socks he owned, and made himself coffee. This is his second mug and he’s finally starting to feel warm. The duvet he’s got tucked around himself is helping too.
The sound of someone banging on his door breaks him out of his drowsy reverie and he places his half full mug on the windowsill, reluctantly leaving the snug nest he’s created to venture out into the chilly living room. Opening the door, he finds Dee standing there in the hallway, snow melting in his hair, a bag slung over his shoulder and a pathetic look on his face.
“The heat’s out at my place, can I stay with you until it’s fixed?”
Ryo nods. “Sure. Get in here so I can shut out the cold; you look half frozen!”
“That’s because I am.” Dee’s teeth are chattering and he’s shivering convulsively as he steps inside, letting Ryo close the door behind him.
“Come on, I’ll run you a hot bath. Did you bring clothes?”
Following Ryo into the bathroom as his partner sets the bath to filling, Dee slides the strap of the bag off his shoulder and holds it up. “I grabbed enough for a few days.”
“What happened?” Ryo asks over his shoulder.
“The super says the furnace packed up, the whole building’s colder than the inside of my freezer. It’s almost warmer outside.” Dee sheds his coat, which is dripping melted snow all over the floor. “Sorry about the mess.”
“Don’t worry about it, I’ll mop up in a bit, once you’re getting warm.”
“Thanks, Ryo. For lettin’ me stay here, I mean.”
“I’m hardly going to let you freeze to death with no heat. Get in the bath; the hot water will soon thaw you out. I’ll fetch you a coffee and put soup on to heat.”
“You’re the best.”
“And don’t you forget it!”
Dee wastes no time stripping out of his clothes. His jeans are wet with snow up to the knees and he can’t feel his feet at all. The small room is warming up as steam rises from the bathwater; he dips a cautious toe in and pulls back with a yelp. It’s a little too hot to be bearable, even in his current state, and he has to add cold water to bring the temperature down to something that won’t cook him alive. Even so, it’s only a matter of minutes before he’s sinking gratefully into the warmth, letting the water lap up around his chest.
Despite being immersed in heat, there are still chills running up and down Dee’s spine when Ryo re-enters the bathroom a few minutes later carrying a mug of hot coffee and a cloth for mopping the floor, but he’s stopped shivering and he can feel his toes now.
“Much better. Thanks.” Dee accepts the mug Ryo holds out to him and sips at it, sighing. “Oooh, that’s good.”
Ryo chuckles as he stoops to clean up the snowmelt before either of them can slip in it. “I know how you feel. I had to pick up groceries on the way home; by the time I got here, I was nearly as cold as you. I’d just about managed to get warmed through when you arrived.”
“I hate winter.” Dee peers at Ryo over the rim of his mug. “Y’know, we should ditch everything, take off for somewhere sunny and warm for a week or two.”
Looking up from his task, Ryo smiles wistfully. “Tempting idea, but it’s term time, I can’t take Bikky out of school. Besides, I doubt the chief would let us take time off at such short notice.”
“Yeah, you’re probably right.” Dee sets his empty mug aside and slides deeper into the still hot water, soaking up the warmth. “Speaking of the house ape, where is he?”
“Spending the night at Carol’s, she’s helping him study for a test.”
Dee snorted. “Studying. Yeah, right. They’re probably outside havin’ a snowball fight.”
“Rather them than me,” Ryo says firmly. “Snow is for kids.” Straightening up, he heads for the door. “Don’t stay in there too long. The soup will be ready soon and you’re not eating it in the bath.”
“Whatever you say, babe.”
Less than ten minutes later, Dee emerges from the bathroom, dressed in dry clothes. He’s warmer than he was, but still colder than he wants to be. There’s a delicious aroma coming from the saucepan simmering on the stove, but no sign of the cook. It’s not a big apartment; Ryo can’t have gone far.
Dee follows his lover’s voice to the bedroom, pausing in the doorway to just stare. Ryo’s piled the pillows up against the headboard, added an extra duvet to the bed, and set up a table alongside it with napkins, cutlery, two lap trays, and various other items.
“We’re eating in here?” Dee’s surprised; Ryo usually frowns on food in the bedroom unless someone’s sick and confined to bed.
“It’s warmer in here at the moment.” Ryo gestures at the bed. “Get settled and I’ll fetch the soup. We can watch the snow fall while we eat and think about how lucky we are to be somewhere warm.”
“I like that idea.” Dee crawls up the bed and burrows under the duvets. It’s deliciously cosy, and he can’t think of anywhere better to be right now, not even on a tropical beach. Beaches are great, and he hasn’t entirely given up on the idea of a tropical vacation, but there’s a lot to be said for snuggling in a warm bed while watching winter happening outside the window.
Then Ryo returns with steaming bowls of soup and a plate of crusty bread, warmed in the oven. Dee’s stomach growls; now that he’s warmer he’s suddenly very much aware of how hungry he is. Ryo passes him a tray and climbs under the duvet beside him, picking up his own tray. Neither of them speaks as they eat, savouring the hot, homemade soup, so thick with meat and vegetables it’s almost a stew. It’s filling, and by the time they set their dishes aside they feel pleasantly stuffed and glowing with warmth from head to toe.
Snuggled together, they watch they snow falling and make idle conversation as they digest their meal. It’s still early, only just after eight in the evening, and they’re on second shift tomorrow so they can stay in bed until getting on for noon if they choose to. Later, no doubt Dee will suggest they make the most of Bikky’s absence by having loud and energetic sex, but for now they’re both content to just luxuriate in the warmth that comes from having full stomachs.
“Y’know, I’m kinda glad my heating broke down,” Dee murmurs to a pleasantly drowsy Ryo. “Being together is way warmer than being alone.”
Ryo smiles against his lover’s shoulder; he’d been thinking exactly the same thing.