Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: During the manga.
Summary: A blown light bulb gives Ryo far more trouble than it should.
Word Count: 1052
Written For: Challenge 259: Light at fan_flashworks. Also for the ‘Step’ square on my bingo card.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Arriving home late and feeling worn out after an even longer than usual day at work, Ryo wearily let himself into his apartment, flicked on the light switch, and cursed under his breath. Not so much as a glimmer, the bulb must be dead
“Dammit! That’s the last thing I needed tonight.” Shrugging out of his coat, he hung it on one of the wall hooks and, leaving the door open so he could see where he was going by the light filtering in from the hallway, he made his way to the kitchen to fetch the flashlight he kept in a drawer for emergencies such as this. He hadn’t used it in months, so it didn’t come as much of a surprise that when he turned it on it failed to light up. That was just the way his whole day had been going; why should his luck improve now he was home?
Still, a bit more rummaging around in the drawer netted him a new pack of batteries so that was something; at least he always remembered to buy more before he ran out. Taking everything back to the front door, he switched out the dead batteries for fresh ones and tried the flashlight again, breathing a sigh of relief that this time it worked. At least he’d be able to see what he was doing.
Now all he had to do was get a new light bulb from where he kept them at the back of one of the kitchen cabinets, fetch the stepladder from the closet because the ceilings here were too high for him to reach the light fitting by standing on a chair, and he’d be in business.
Shutting and locking the front door, he fetched the bulb and put it safely on the sofa where it wouldn’t get broken, then opened the closet to find so much stuff had been crammed in there it took him a good ten minutes to shift enough of it that he could get at the stepladder. Hauling it out over the top of several boxes, he carried it to the middle of the living room floor, having to shift the coffee table out of the way before he could set it up, climbed the steps, and found he was in the wrong place, the light fitting well out of reach several feet to his right. Figured.
Down again, move the stepladder, climb up… and he still couldn’t reach.
“I should’ve just stayed in bed this morning,” he muttered as he returned to the floor, shone the flashlight upwards to check where the light fitting was, and moved the stepladder again before stomping his way back up it, his shoes clanking against the metal steps… Third time lucky! Buoyed up by his success, he gripped the flashlight in his teeth to free up both hands and unscrewed the dead bulb; then he remembered the new one was still on the sofa. With an exasperated sigh, he climbed back down to get it, leaving the dead bulb on the sofa in place of the fresh one, and clanked his way back up the steps yet again.
“Ryo? Is everything okay?” Bikky’s voice drifted up to Ryo from where the boy stood in the doorway to his bedroom, rubbing his eyes.
“Mph,” Ryo replied unintelligibly around the flashlight. He took it out of his mouth. “Everything’s fine, Biks, sorry if I woke you. The light wasn’t working and it’s not easy changing a bulb in the dark.”
“Um, why didn’t you just turn on the kitchen light or the table lamp?”
At the top of the stepladder, Ryo paused in confusion, flashlight in one hand and light bulb in the other. “Uh…” That was a good question; why hadn’t he? It was the obvious thing to do, but instead here he was up a ladder in the dark, messing about with a flashlight. He shook his head. “I have no idea.”
Snickering, Bikky padded barefoot across the living room and turned on the lamp, illuminating the room brightly enough that Ryo no longer needed the flashlight to see what he was doing. He switched it off and stuck it in his pocket, screwed the new bulb in, and made his way back down the steps.
“In my defence, it’s been a really long day, I’m tired, and I’m not thinking straight.” Ryo crossed to the light switch and flicked it on before folding the stepladder, lugging it over to the closet, and shoving it past the boxes to the back where it belonged.
Bikky helped him pile everything haphazardly in behind it and with a sigh of relief, Ryo closed the door. The closet was badly in need of a good clearout, but there was no way he was doing that tonight; it would keep for another day.
“You’ve got school in the morning; you should get back to bed,” Ryo told his foster son. “That’s where I’m headed as soon as I finish clearing up.” He moved the coffee table back to its place, turned out the lamp, and took the dead bulb to the kitchen, tossing it in the trash and returning the flashlight to its drawer. Back in the living room, he took off his shoes and left them by the front door, turned out the light, and made his way through the darkness towards his bedroom.
“Y’know,” said Bikky helpfully as Ryo passed him, “you could’ve just left changing the bulb until morning. It’s not like we need the light tonight.”
Ryo groaned; Bikky was right, he’d just spent half an hour changing a light bulb he could have easily managed without until tomorrow. “Please don’t tell Dee about this,” he pleaded. “He already thinks I’m a complete airhead; this would just confirm it. I’d never hear the end of it.”
Taking pity on his demoralised foster father, Bikky nodded. “Not a word, I promise. ‘Night Ryo.”
“Goodnight, Bikky.” Ryo traipsed into his bedroom and shut the door; all he wanted was to fall into bed and sleep.
Bikky went back into his room and climbed under the covers; he wouldn’t tell Dee, he kept his promises, but he was sure Carol would think Ryo’s bulb-changing escapade was hilarious when he told her about it at school tomorrow.