Characters: Ryo, Dee, Bikky.
Setting: Throughout the manga and after Like Like Love.
Summary: Ryo’s life hasn’t gone at all the way he’d expected when he was younger.
Word Count: 999
Written For: Challenge 4: Change at slashficlets.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Life is all about change; there’s no getting away from it. You grow up, leave school, maybe go to college, graduate, get a job, fall in and out of love a few times until you meet the right person, get married, move house, raise a family, maybe change career a time or two, get promoted or transferred, move again, eventually retire…
Not everyone does all those things, but Ryo had assumed his life would run in a similar vein, right up until his parents were brutally murdered when he was eighteen, just because they’d mistakenly picked up the wrong package at the airport.
They couldn’t have known such a simple error would cost them their lives, but with their deaths Ryo’s life had changed irrevocably. He’d discarded his college plans, enrolling instead in the police academy, slowly working his way up from uniformed patrolman to detective, accepting a transfer to another precinct and moving to a new apartment, closer to where he was now stationed.
On his first day he’d met Janet, a pretty red-haired desk officer, and she’d definitely been interested in him. If things had been different, would he eventually have asked her out? Might they have married, maybe started a family? He’d never know, because that was also the day he’d met Dee Laytner, the detective assigned as his partner, and been dragged headfirst into his first major case, the murder of a known transporter of illegal drugs. So much for getting acclimatised to his new position first.
What a change in his life that case had made. It had led to him becoming foster father to the victim’s ten-year-old son, and any thoughts of dating had flown right out the window. Or that’s what he told himself. In reality, he spent the next couple of years fending off not Janet’s advances but Dee’s. His work partner, it seemed, was even more interested in him than the desk clerk had been, and not at all shy in going after what he wanted. There were days it was like wrestling with an octopus, and if not for his foster son, Ryo might not have been able to resist Dee for as long as he did. Bikky was very protective.
Still, as much as he’d protested he wasn’t interested in Dee that way, Ryo had known all along that wasn’t strictly true. He was attracted to his partner even though he would have preferred not to be. He’d only ever wanted to conform, be like everyone else, and ever since he’d been old enough to realise it, he’d hated knowing he was nowhere near as straight as he pretended to be.
Dee had seen right through him of course; those green eyes saw everything, gazing right down into the depths of Ryo’s soul. There seemed no way of hiding anything from him, and inevitably he’d worn down Ryo’s resistance until he’d had to admit that he was head over heels in love with Dee.
That was so not the way he’d seen his life playing out; a single father in a committed relationship with another man. There were days he still found himself wondering how the hell it had happened, when he’d slipped off the path he’d expected to follow and wound up somewhere he’d never planned to be.
Life was also full of surprises.
He didn’t regret it though, not any of it, except perhaps for making Dee wait so long. Having the other man in his life was a blessing, and raising Bikky was a privilege. So what if the boy wasn’t his own blood or that Ryo hadn’t moulded and shaped him from birth? That didn’t make Bikky any less his son. What did it matter that he’d become a parent before getting into a serious relationship? For that matter, why should anyone care that he was dating a man? It wasn’t against the law, no matter what some people still thought.
But now there were more changes on the horizon. Bikky was eighteen and would graduate soon, and unlike Ryo, he was going to college, on a full basketball scholarship. California was so far away though; Bikky wouldn’t be dropping by on weekends, or bringing his laundry home, they’d be keeping in touch via email, phone, and text.
Ryo couldn’t say he was looking forward to rattling around the apartment by himself, counting down the days until his son’s next visit, even though it would mean he had more time to spare for his lover. So if he was a touch gloomy, surely Dee would understand. Bikky had been such a big part of both their lives. It was hard watching his kid grow up and leave the nest, hard knowing Bikky no longer needed him the way he had when he’d been a scared and grieving ten-year-old. He had his own life now, which meant in turn that Ryo’s life would soon be his own again.
Dee, it turned out, understood more than Ryo had thought, because while Bikky was getting ready to leave for college, Dee was making his own plans, springing his suggestion on Ryo so unexpectedly that for several minutes all Ryo could do was stare at the man he loved. Really, though, it was the logical next step. They’d already been together almost five years, and with Bikky leaving there couldn’t be a better time for moving in together.
So here he and Dee are, loading Ryo’s things into a rented truck for the trip across town, just another one of life’s many changes, and it won’t be the last. The future is unmapped and unlike when he was younger, Ryo has accepted that no matter how hard you try you can’t really plan the way your life will go. No one can see the future; all you can do is make the best choices you can, and follow your heart. If you’re really lucky it’ll take you exactly where you ought to be.
Ryo wouldn’t change a thing.