Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: Around Vol. 3.
Summary: After a severe snowstorm, Bikky and Ryo go outside to have some winter fun.
Written For: The tw100 prompt ‘Drift’
Word Count: 1273
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
The snowstorm the night before had left massive drifts everywhere. Coming out of his apartment building, Ryo saw he would have to push his way through knee-deep snow outside the door, and as for the steps of the stoop, they weren’t even visible, looking more like a ski slope than anything else. He hefted the shovel in his hands; this was going to be a pretty big job. His landlady was too old to deal with this much snow, but since he had the day off he’d volunteered to shovel the steps and sidewalk outside the building. A bit of physical exercise in the crisp winter air would do him good, especially as there was no way he could go for a run in this weather.
“Wait for me, Ryo!”
He paused just inside the door and looked back into the foyer to see Bikky hurrying down the stairs, all bundled up in his winter clothes. “I thought you were going to have a lie in today, since it’s the weekend.” Like most kids, Bikky never wanted to go to bed at night and then usually didn’t want to get out of bed in the morning. Not that Ryo could blame him on that score; he had a lie in whenever he got the chance and had allowed himself an extra hour this morning, getting up at eight instead of seven.
“That was before I knew it’d snowed.” The boy dashed past Ryo and out the door, shouting “Geronimo!” as he leapt from the top of the stoop out into the snow, vanishing from sight, only to reappear, floundering his way free of the deep drift, laughing with delight. “This is brilliant!” He dived back in again and Ryo shook his head. Small boys and snow; had he ever been that young and carefree? It was hard to remember.
Gripping the shovel firmly in gloved hands, Ryo began to clear the snow from outside the door while Bikky bounced about where it was deepest. A couple of days earlier he’d been complaining that he was twelve now, almost a teenager, and Ryo didn’t need to treat him like a little kid anymore. It was good to see that he wasn’t too grown up yet to enjoy playing in the snow. He was growing up way too fast.
“Ryo! Wanna help me build a snowman?”
They’d done that together the first winter Bikky had been living with him, but last year there hadn’t been enough snow, or the right kind. The sprinkling that fell had been too dry and powdery to stick together. This year was more than making up for it.
“Okay, sure, we can use the snow from the steps.” Ryo began to shovel again, clearing mounds of snow off the stoop and piling it off to one side at the bottom, where Bikky patted it firmly into place to form the snowman’s body. When he decided it was tall enough, the boy set about rolling a big snowball for the head, which Ryo lifted up and held in place while his foster son stood on the steps and filled in the gap between ‘body’ and ‘head’ so the head wouldn’t fall off.
“Wow! Look at that! It’s huge!” Bikky stared up at the snowman, which was taller that Ryo. “Just needs a face now. Be right back!”
The boy dashed back indoors, trailing snow, and charged headlong up the stairs. Ryo could hear the pounding of Bikky’s boots and knew he’d have to mop up melting snow when he went in before anyone could slip on it. Bikky was back a couple of minutes later with a carrot for the snowman’s nose, and two bottle caps for its eyes, pressing them carefully into place before standing well back to admire their handiwork. “What d’you think? Doesn’t he look great?”
Moving to stand beside Bikky, Ryo studied their handiwork and had to agree. “Must be almost twice as tall as the last one.” Stamping his feet to get the worst of the snow off, Ryo headed back up the stoop. “Wait there, I’ll get my camera and we can take some photos of him.”
Ryo shook his head as he trekked back up the stairs. He was turning out to be just as much of a kid as Bikky, playing in the snow, but maybe that was no bad thing. At work, he had to witness many of the worst things humans could do to each other; it could weigh a man down. Days like this, playing with his kid, were a welcome escape from the grim reality of his working life and other adult responsibilities.
Returning with his camera, Ryo snapped off several shots of the snowman from different angles, then several more with Bikky posing alongside it to provide a sense of scale.
“Awesome!” Bikky grinned. “Now I should take some of you with him.”
“Well, okay, but be careful you don’t drop the camera.”
“I’m not a kid,” Bikky reminded Ryo with a roll of his eyes.
“No, you’re not, but if my hands are cold yours must be too, and it’s hard to grip things with numb fingers.”
“Yeah, I guess that’s true.” Pulling off his wet gloves, Bikky blew on his fingers to warm them before letting Ryo hang the camera’s strap around his neck. That way if he did lose his grip on it, there was no chance of it falling to the sidewalk and getting broken.
“You know what to do?”
“I’ve used a camera before, Ryo. Just look through this bit and press that button there, right?”
“Right. Okay, where d’you want me?”
“That side first.” Bikky pointed to the snowman’s left. “And then standing on the bottom step.”
Ryo stood where his foster son told him while Bikky took a bunch of photos, enjoying the boy’s enthusiasm. “Okay, that’s enough,” he said eventually. “I still need to clear the sidewalk and scatter some grit, but I want to take the camera back inside first.
Bikky handed it back. “Y’know, if I wasn’t going to be a basketball player I could be a photographer.”
“It’s always good to have a backup plan,” Ryo agreed, thinking maybe he’d get Bikky a camera of his own for Christmas. “And even if you don’t make a career out of it, photography is a great hobby.”
“It’s fun taking pictures of cool stuff. You want me to start with the grit while you take the camera upstairs?” Bikky offered.
“Thanks; that would be a big help. Then after we finish out here we can go back inside and load our photos onto the computer, see how they look. I’ll make pancakes for breakfast, and hot chocolate. How does that sound?”
Heading upstairs, Ryo thought once again how lucky he’d been to have the boy come into his life. Being a single father was often difficult, juggling parental responsibilities with a stressful job, but it was a privilege to have a hand in moulding a young life, and besides, Bikky was a great kid. If it weren’t for him, Ryo would have simply shovelled the snow without pausing to have fun with it. Perhaps there was such a thing as being too much of a responsible adult. Having a kid was a reminder that it was okay to have fun; not everything in life had to be taken so seriously. Dee had told him the same thing a while back, and though Ryo hadn’t paid much attention at the time, maybe his partner was right; there was a lot to be said for staying young at heart.