Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: Early Vol. 1.
Summary: Bikky has a lot to learn now he’s living with Ryo, but he’s not the only one.
Word Count: 1125
Written For: Challenge 96: Mess at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Arriving home tired after a long shift, Ryo entered his apartment and stopped dead in his tracks, staring around himself in horrified disbelief. His nice, tidy home looked like a bomb had hit it! He’d never seen such a mess, and it certainly hadn’t looked like that when he’d left for work that morning.
Right in the middle of the chaos was the cause of the devastation; a small boy sprawled facedown on the floor, his eyes glued to the television, which was blaring out cartoons. Right, of course, there was a child living here now. How could he have forgotten that?
They’d fetched all of Bikky’s belongings the day before from the apartment where he and his father used to live, putting them all away in the boy’s bedroom, but it looked like most of his things were now strewn across the living room floor, along with his school books and all the cushions from the sofa.
Picking his way carefully across the disaster zone, Ryo turned off the TV.
“Hey! I was watching that!” Bikky complained.
Ryo glared down at his foster son, hands on his hips. “Would you look at the state of this place?” He gestured to indicate the room they were in.
Bikky sat up and looked around; it seemed fine to him. “What about it?”
“What about it? It’s a mess! You can’t leave your things lying all over the floor like this, Bikky.”
That was news to Bikky, and he frowned up at Ryo, confused. “Why not?” His real dad had never minded him being untidy. Then again, his real dad had been just as bad, leaving his things all over the place too. Housework had always been kind of an afterthought with him. He’d try to tidy up occasionally, but would quickly lose interest and either give up and watch TV instead, or go out. Bikky could just about remember things at home being tidier before his mom died, but that was such a long time ago he wasn’t sure he was remembering right.
“Why not? Because someone could trip, or step on something, and get badly hurt.”
Bikky’s eyes widened in horror. Could that really happen? Thinking about it, he supposed it could because, unlike at his old home, the floors were polished wood rather than cheap carpeting. Not only that, but shoes weren’t worn in Ryo’s apartment, so stepping on a toy soldier would hurt a lot, and then if Ryo stepped on one of Bikky’s cars and it rolled away… That was a worrying thought. Ryo was being so kind to him, had bought him lots of awesome things for his bedroom, and gave him an allowance so he had money of his own without having to steal stuff. If Ryo got badly hurt because Bikky had left his toys lying around, then Bikky might lose his new home and have to go into an orphanage, or foster care, and then he probably wouldn’t get to keep all the cool things he had here.
“I never thought about that,” he admitted in a small voice. “Dad never cared if I made a mess.”
Ryo crouched down and ruffled Bikky’s hair. “I know you’ve got a lot to adjust to, but I don’t want either of us getting injured. I don’t mind you having a few things out when you’re using them, I’d just like for you to put things back in your room when you’re done with them before getting something else out, and to keep the path from the front door to our rooms clear. Is that too much to ask?”
After a moment’s consideration, Bikky shook his head. “I guess not.”
“I’d also appreciate it if you’d leave the cushions on the sofa where they belong, and not turn the TV up quite so loud. The walls here are pretty thin and I’d rather not have the neighbours annoyed with us.”
Bikky smiled; Ryo had said ‘with us’ like Bikky really belonged here, was properly family and not just a guest!
“Okay, I guess I can do that.”
“Can I have one cushion on the floor to lie on when I’m watching TV?”
Ryo gave that some careful thought. “How about I get us two or three big scatter cushions for floor use so the sofa cushions don’t keep getting dirty?”
“But until I get them, you can use one off the sofa. Come on; give me a hand clearing this mess up. Have you done your homework?”
“Um, not yet.”
“Right. Gather up all you school books and put them on the coffee table while I put the cushions back, then we’ll put your toys back in your room. You can have some out again after you’ve done your homework. Sound fair?”
It did, actually, so Bikky nodded. “Yeah.”
“Once we’ve tidied up, I want you to do your homework while I fix us something for dinner. And if you get stuck on anything, you know you can ask me, right? I’m not saying I’ll do it for you, but I’ll try to explain anything you don’t understand.”
That was a whole lot more than Bikky’s dad had ever done. Of course, Bikky had skipped school a lot, and hadn’t used to do his homework anyway; maybe if he had his dad would have helped him, but he’d never know now. Unlike his dad, Ryo was strict about school and homework, but that was kind of okay, especially since Bikky went to the same school as Carol now, so he got to see his best friend all the time.
Picking up a couple of cushions, Ryo got to his feet. Bikky stood up too, impulsively throwing his arms around Ryo’s waist in a tight hug. “Thanks, Ryo, you’re the best, and I’m really sorry about the mess. I just didn’t think, but I’ll try my hardest to do better, honest I will.”
“I’m sure you will, Biks. I should have said something yesterday when we brought your things home instead of just expecting you to know. Sometimes I forget you’re only ten. You’ll have to be patient with me; I’ve never been a parent before so I’m learning as I go, and I’m not always going to get everything right, but I’ll try my best if you promise to do the same.”
That was something else that had never occurred to Bikky; just because Ryo was an adult didn’t mean he knew how to look after a kid, but it hadn’t kept him from offering to let Bikky live with him. If Ryo was willing to learn, then how could Bikky not do the same? “I promise.” Perhaps he and Ryo could learn together.