Characters: Bikky, Ryo, Dee, Carol.
Setting: Years after Like Like Love.
Summary: Bikky’s cat may be gone, but some part of her has never left.
Word Count: 618
Written For: My own prompt ‘Any, Any, The ghost of a pet,’ at fic_promptly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh
It’s been nearly a year since Bikky’s beloved little grey cat, Shadow, passed away at the age of fifteen. He knows she’s gone, he was there, and he buried her in his and Carol’s back yard, but at the same time he knows that she’s still with him.
So many times, when he’s been alone in the house, he’s seen a flash of grey out of the corner of his eye, but when he’s turned to look there’s been nothing there. Sometimes, late in the evening, as he’s turning off the TV before going to bed, he thinks he hears her purr, and then there are all the times he’s been in bed and felt the familiar weight of her small body tucked against his back as Carol sleeps beside him.
Ryo smiles sympathetically when Bikky tells him, saying that ghosts don’t exist and he’s just imaging the cat because he misses her so much. “You should get yourself another cat.”
“I will someday, but it’s still too soon; I’m just not ready to yet,” Bikky tells his dad.
Surprisingly, or perhaps not surprising at all considering the events in England so many years ago, Dee proves to be more open-minded.
“Doesn’t it bother you, havin’ a ghost around?” he asks, cornering Bikky in the kitchen while Ryo and Carol are elsewhere in the house.
“No,” he replies honestly. “She doesn’t mean any harm, she just always liked being near me. I guess some habits are hard to break even after death. In a way, it’s… comforting.”
“Not sure I’d feel the same way,” Dee admits. “Ghosts creep me out.”
“I think you would, if it was the ghost of someone you cared about.”
Dee gives that some thought. “Maybe. Probably never find out for sure though.”
Bikky knows Dee is thinking about Ryo, the non-believer in the family, because someone who’s so adamant that he doesn’t believe in ghosts isn’t likely to ever become one. Dee probably hopes that when the time comes, he’ll go first so he won’t have to live on without the man who means everything to him. “Yeah, some things it’s better if you never have to find out one way or the other,” he agrees.
He has good cause a few weeks later to be glad of Shadow’s continued presence. Deeply asleep one night, he feels a soft paw patting repeatedly at his face; it doesn’t stop even when he tries to push it away and go back to sleep, so after a few minutes he sits up. Carol is still sound asleep beside him; she’s seven months pregnant and needs all the rest she can get. The room is dark, Bikky can barely see the vague shapes of the furniture, but he clearly hears the soft thud of a cat jumping off the bed, and a faint scratching at the closed bedroom door.
Slipping out of bed, he goes to the door and opens it; that’s when he smells the smoke. He wakes Carol and gets her out of the house, calling the fire department on his mobile at the same time. They’re lucky, it’s only a small fire, probably caused by one of Carol’s scented candles accidentally left burning, but the smoke detectors failed to go off and if he hadn’t been alerted by other means, things could have been a whole lot worse. As it is, the front lounge, where Carol usually does her relaxation and pre-natal exercises will need redecorating, but that’s all.
First thing in the morning, Bikky is going to have the house’s smoke detectors replaced, but tonight he’ll just be grateful for the continued presence of a small, grey cat. He hopes she’ll always stay.