Characters: Dee, OC, mentions Ryo and Bikky.
Setting: After Vol. 7.
Summary: Overtired from overtime, Dee only wants to get to bed, but his day isn’t over yet. He still has to prepare for tomorrow…
Word Count: 1880
Written For: Challenge 53: Pink at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Working overtime played hell with keeping on top of routine chores, Dee thought to himself. Double shifts and no days off for two weeks had meant all he’d had the energy for when he got home from work had been grabbing a bite to eat, then crawling into bed and sleeping like the dead, and it still wasn’t over. Wouldn’t be until they caught the gang of home invaders who’d been striking seemingly at random across the city.
To make matters worse, now he was out of clean underwear and he knew he didn’t have a single wearable shirt to his name either. At any other time, that wouldn’t have been a problem, he could’ve gone commando and worn casual clothes until he got around to doing the laundry, but he’d just found out his presence was required in court the following morning, which meant wearing a suit, which further meant he needed a clean shirt. Exhausted though he was, he realised he couldn’t put off doing the laundry any longer. He’d have to get that done tonight before bed.
Just to add insult to injury, the elevator in his building was out of order when he arrived home. Typical. Wearily he trudged up the four flights to his apartment, hung up his jacket and made a beeline for his bedroom; better get a washer load on right away. Gathering up all the light-colored shirts, t-shirts, socks, and underwear from in and around his overflowing laundry basket, he hauled them all the way back down to the basement, where the washing machines and driers lived, and crammed everything into the first empty machine he came to. He poured detergent and fabric softener into the drawer, set the wash cycle for cotton and pushed the start button before dragging himself all the way up to his floor again.
Back in his apartment, Dee kicked off his shoes, dug a frozen ready meal out of the freezer, shoved it in the microwave to heat, and went back to his bedroom to pick out the rest of his attire for the next morning. Black socks, a stylish but sober grey single-breasted suit, black belt and shoes, understated silver grey tie; nothing the judge could take exception to. Add a white shirt and he’d look the very image of the serious and professional detective.
The microwave pinged and Dee returned to the kitchen to retrieve his dinner, turning on the TV and throwing himself down on the sofa to eat. Used to be, he practically lived on ready meals, with takeout as an occasional treat, but these days they were reserved for emergencies. Just as well, considering how bland and tasteless the roast beef dinner was. He’d become thoroughly spoiled by Ryo’s delicious home cooking and wished he could be at his partner’s place enjoying a stir-fry, or a pasta dish, or one of those hot and filling slow cooked casseroles Ryo was so good at creating, instead of choking down something with the texture and taste of cardboard. Still, food was food, and he needed it to keep his strength up, so he ignored the lack of flavor and kept eating.
Ryo wouldn’t be cooking tonight anyway; he was every bit as tired as Dee was, and would probably order takeout for himself and Bikky. ‘I should’a done the same, even if it meant waitin’ to eat until it arrived,’ Dee thought morosely, swallowing the last mouthful of his meal. ‘Would’a been a whole lot tastier.’ He cleared everything away and made coffee; at least that was of a decent quality, and hopefully it would help keep him awake until his laundry was done and dried.
Checking his watch, he realised he still had more than half an hour to kill before the washer load would be ready for the drier. No point taking a nap, so he busied himself tidying his apartment, sorted another load of laundry, all the dark stuff this time, and lugged it down to the basement, stuffing it into a second machine and setting it going, then slumped in a chair to wait for the first load to finish.
Just as he was beginning to doze off, the machine beeped, startling him awake again. Getting up, he opened the door and started to drag everything out; that was when he noticed something wasn’t quite right. For a moment he assumed he was emptying the wrong machine, but only two were in use, the one he’d just loaded and the one he was emptying. Trouble was, even in the dim light of the basement, he could clearly see that all his clothes were now pink, from a pastel shade, through what looked like a particularly hideous streaky tie-dye effect, to a colour as bright as Ryo’s face when he blushed. Dee groaned, shaking his head in disbelief; this was a disaster! How had it happened? He knew he hadn’t made a mistake when sorting his clothes for washing. Hell, he didn’t even own anything that could’ve done this!
There was nothing he could do about it right now. Muttering curses under his breath, he transferred the washed garments into one of the driers, and as he did so, he spotted something. Pulling it free, he stared at it in disgust; there was no doubt this was the culprit, a single, bright red, child’s sock. Dee shoved one hand agitatedly through his hair. Whoever used the machine last must have left the sock behind by accident, and he hadn’t thought to check it was empty.
“Just what I didn’t need. The judge is gonna kill me!” Judge Warner was very strict about what was acceptable in her court and what wasn’t, particularly when it came to the dress code of police officers giving testimony. She insisted on smart suits, white or light blue shirts, and a plain or striped tie, no loud colors. Dee didn’t own anything light blue, the color didn’t suit him, so he always wore white for court, no matter which judge was presiding; it saved having to worry. Now because of this stupid accident, he’d be in for a reprimand at the very least for showing up wearing pink. Perhaps if he set out early enough he could pick up a new shirt on his way to the courthouse…
For the moment, all he could do was get the laundry dry and a shirt ironed for morning. He started the tumble drier and slouched disconsolately up the stairs yet again, deciding he’d check his closets just in case there was a shirt tucked away that he’d overlooked. At least the judge wouldn’t be able to tell he was wearing pink boxer shorts under his suit. In future, it would probably be better it he only bought black underwear.
A thorough search of all his closets revealed only one other white shirt, shoved into the farthest reaches because one night with Ryo a few weeks ago, in a slightly inebriated fit of machismo, he’d torn it off himself and lost most of the buttons. Wearing that one was obviously out of the question. He put everything away again; it was already almost midnight and all he wanted to do was fall into bed and sleep until his alarm went off at seven, but first he had to go back down to the laundry room, fetch his clothes from the drier, and replace them with the second load. Then it would just be a case of picking out the palest of the pink shirts and ironing it, which meant it would probably be another hour before he got to bed. He didn’t get paid enough for this!
Dumping the basket full of clean, dry laundry onto his sofa, he went through the contents, folding everything ready for ironing, which would mostly have to wait. He looked moodily at his shirts; they were all the same hardwearing poly-cotton blend; there was little point in buying anything too expensive to wear for work considering how often things got ruined even without taking laundry malfunctions into account, which meant they were now all more or less the same shade of pink. Shrugging tiredly, he picked one at random and ironed it. If anything, that just made it look pinker; not that he had anything against pink, and it wouldn’t look bad on him, but that really wasn’t the point. Sighing, he put in on a hanger, ironed a pair of shorts, turned the iron off and went to bed.
Waking up the following morning, he found himself hoping that the events of the previous night would just turn out to have been a bad dream. No such luck, the moment he opened his eyes he caught sight of the pink shirt on its hanger, hooked over the top of the closet door, and his heart sank. He briefly wondered if it was too late to call in sick, then pushed that thought aside. He needed to shower, shave, dress, grab a quick breakfast, and then head for the nearest men’s wear store. He could change shirts at the courthouse once he’d bought a replacement.
On his way across town, that idea quickly went out the window; traffic was moving at a snail’s pace and he barely made it to the courthouse on time. The case he was testifying on was the first on Judge Warner’s docket so he had to go straight to the bench outside her courtroom and wait to be called in; it wasn’t a long wait.
Making his way to the witness box, he was duly sworn in and took his seat. Judge Warner peered over her glasses at him, disapproval clear on her face.
“Detective Laytner, is that a pink shirt you’re wearing?”
Dee felt like a kid called before the school principal. His shoulders slumped.
“Yes, your honour; I apologise. No disrespect intended, but somebody left a red sock in the washing machine; I didn’t see it and now all my white shirts are this color or worse,” he admitted sheepishly. “I was going to buy a new one on my way here, but the traffic was so bad there wasn’t time.”
“I see.” To Dee’s amazement, the old battleaxe actually smiled faintly; he must have caught her on a good day. “I think we’ve all had that happen a time or two. I suppose it could be worse; at least your shirt goes well enough with your choice of suit. Very well, I won’t make an issue of it this time, but perhaps in future you should check the machine more carefully beforehand. I suggest you try soaking the affected items in a bleach solution.”
“Yes, ma’am, I’ll try that. Thank you.”
Dee felt a wave of relief wash over him; he’d dodged the bullet, although it looked like he might be wearing a lot of pink for a while, at least until he could either bleach his ruined clothes or buy replacements. On the bright side, maybe he could persuade Ryo to go clothes shopping with him once they were back on a more normal work schedule. He sat up a fraction straighter as the prosecuting attorney approached him; there’d be time for daydreaming later, right now there was a court case to win.