Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: Just after Like Like Love.
Summary: Bikky has left for college and Ryo finds his apartment is far too quiet without his son there.
Written For: The dw100 prompt ‘Silence’
Word Count: 802
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Bikky had left for college two days ago, independent enough that he’d insisted he didn’t need Ryo to fly to California with him.
“I’m old enough to travel without adult supervision, Ryo. It’s not like I’ve never done it before.”
“I know,” Ryo had replied, remembering the year he and Dee had gone on vacation to England only to have Bikky and Carol join them, having decided to tag along. “I just can’t help worrying about you. It’s what parents do.”
Shaking his head in fond exasperation, Bikky had told his foster father that he worried too much, but had agreed to let Ryo drive him to the airport and get him checked in. It had been a bit of a mad rush, making sure Bikky had everything, but they’d arrived in plenty of time and he’d hugged his boy goodbye at the departure gates, managing not to embarrass them both by getting all teary. Driving back into the city though, he’d felt sort of hollow inside. It was the end of an era; the little boy he’d taken in almost eight years ago was all grown up now and no longer needed him the way he had. Although Ryo was proud of the young man Bikky had grown into, he’d realised he missed the boy his foster son used to be. Unsurprisingly, reminding himself that all parents probably felt the same way when their kids left the nest hadn’t helped one bit.
The past two days had dragged. As promised, Bikky had called from the university as soon as he’d arrived, to let Ryo know he’d gotten there safely after an uneventful flight, but since then there’d been no word from him. Dee kept telling him every time Ryo checked his phone during their shift to give the brat a chance to settle in, it had only been a couple of days, but Ryo felt oddly adrift. California was such a long way away.
He sighed heavily. This felt entirely different from all the times he’d seen Bikky off to summer camp. The apartment had always seemed empty without the boy around, too quiet and still, but all Bikky’s things had still been there, and Ryo had been able to find some comfort from sitting in his son’s room whenever he got to missing him too much, but now… Bikky had taken a lot of his things with him, or rather they’d been shipped by road a few days earlier so they’d be at his dorm when he arrived. The rest of the boy’s things were all boxed up ready for the move next week, and the apartment felt somehow alien, not quite like home anymore.
Silence settled around Ryo as he sat at the table in the kitchen, drinking tea while he waited to dish up his dinner. He’d done this right after he first moved in here, before Bikky had come to live with him, and for a moment he felt a weird sense of dislocation, making him wonder whether the past eight years had ever happened, or if he’d simply dozed off sitting here and dreamed the whole thing.
Pushing his cup aside, Ryo jumped to his feet and prowled the apartment, checking everywhere, even opening a few of the packed boxes stacked against the walls, reassuring himself that everything he remembered was real. When the timer on the stove went off, he almost jumped out of his skin.
“I’m being silly,” he told himself out loud, hurrying back to the kitchen, dishing up his meal and sitting down to eat, but the silence was weighing down on him and hearing his own voice didn’t put the slightest dent in it.
He ate quickly, and as soon as he’d finished, he washed and dried the few dishes and put them away. In a few days he’d have to pack all of those into boxes as well, but they were still needed at the moment.
Going into his bedroom, he got out a bag, threw a few clothes into it, added his shaving kit, then pulled on his coat and shoes; he simply couldn’t bear spending another evening by himself in these too silent rooms, and he knew Dee wouldn’t turn him away. They’d be living together in just over a week anyway.
Checking he’d switched everything off in the kitchen, Ryo turned out the lights, locked the door behind him, and made his way down the stairs. Dee’s place was still in a bit of a mess from the work that was being done in it, but that was all the more reason for him to go over there and spend the evening helping with whatever had yet to be done. It would be far better than sitting around listening to the unnatural silence of an empty nest.