Characters: Ryo, Bikky.
Setting: Early in the manga.
Summary: Bikky tries to defy Ryo’s authority over him.
Written Using: The dw100 prompt ‘Child’.
Word Count: 810
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“You’re not my dad!” Bikky yelled in a fit of temper.
“No, I’m not,” Ryo replied calmly, “and I’m not trying to replace him either. I know you still love him, but he’s gone and I’m sorry, there’s nothing anyone can do to bring him back. You know that.”
Bikky glared defiance, but he looked so small and vulnerable Ryo knew it was just an act, like a defence mechanism. He didn’t want anyone seeing how much he was hurting inside.
Ryo knelt in front of the boy. “I may not be your father, but I am your legal guardian now. That means I’m responsible for looking after you and making sure you have everything you need; food, clothes, a roof over your head. It also means if you do something wrong I’ll be the one who gets the blame. Legally you’re a minor, you can’t be held responsible for you actions so if you steal, or skip school, social services might say I’m not doing a good enough job of taking care of you. Then they might take you away from me and put you in a foster home. Is that what you want?”
Bikky shook his head. “No.”
“It’s not what I want either. Bikky, I know this is all really hard on you, having to get used to so many changes in your life all at once, but I also know you’re tough and smart, and you will get through this. You’re not alone, you’ve got me, and I’ll help you in every way I can. It might not seem like it right now, but you’re going to be okay.”
Small shoulders slumped, all the fight going out of the boy. “I don’t feel very tough,” Bikky admitted. “I miss my dad.”
“I know you do, and that’s probably never going to change; I still miss my parents and they’ve been gone ten years. When you really love someone, that doesn’t just go away when you lose them. It leaves a hole, and it hurts a lot, but I promise it does get easier. In time, when you think of your dad it’ll hurt less. You’ll be able to remember all the happy times you shared and it won’t make you feel so sad.”
“Yes, really. I wouldn’t lie to you, Biks. You’re not going to feel better overnight, that’s not how grief works. It takes time, but you don’t have to pretend you’re not hurting, not to me. It’s okay to be sad; it doesn’t mean you’re weak, and it doesn’t make you less of a man. Your dad would understand.”
“Dad never cried, not even after mom died; he used to say crying was for babies.” Bikky wiped away tears with a grubby hand.
“I bet he just didn’t want to make you more upset by crying in front of you, he was trying to be strong for you. But you don’t have to be strong for anyone, least of all me. Understand?”
Nodding, Bikky wiped his nose on his sleeve. “Okay.”
Ryo handed him some tissues. “So, are you still mad at me for telling you off?”
Blowing his nose, Bikky shook his head. “I guess not. I’m sorry.”
“I know, and you’re forgiven. But no more skipping school, okay?
“Okay, Ryo. I’ll try, I promise.”
“If you don’t feel up to going for some reason, if you’re too upset or not feeling well, tell me; don’t just play truant. You need to get a good education if you want to do something worthwhile with your life when you grow up. I want you to have the chance to be anything you want to be.”
“Even if I want to be a basketball player?”
Ryo grinned. “Yes, Biks, even that, if it’s what you want. Dream big; after all, you’ll never know what you can do unless you try. Always remember that.”
Bikky smiled at his foster father. “I will, and I’ll try to do better, I swear; I’ll try really hard.”
“I’m sure you will. You do still have to go to school tomorrow, but I’ll write a note to your teacher, tell her you were having a bad day. I’m sure she’ll understand. Now, why don’t you go get freshened up? Then you can help me fix dinner. I thought we could have spaghetti and meatballs. Sound good?”
Ryo smiled to himself as Bikky dashed off to the bathroom to wash his face and hands, anger and tears forgotten for the moment. He was a good kid, just feeling lost and sad and confused, too young to know how to deal with everything he was feeling. The next few months would most likely be tough on them both, they each had a lot to adjust to, but he felt certain in the end they were going to be just fine.