Characters: Bikky, OMC.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: It’s Career Week at Bikky’s school, but Bikky already knows what he wants to do with his life.
Word Count: 1595
Content Notes: None necessary.
Written For: Challenge 170: Goal at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Career Week wasn’t what Bikky would have called fun. He’d had to fill out a lame aptitude test with a ton of dumb multiple-choice questions, and he’d traipsed around the various booths in the school hall where people in different lines of work tried to persuade the kids that their profession was the most thrilling and exciting thing ever… How on earth could being an accountant, banker, stockbroker, or office worker ever be called exciting? As for being a cop, that might well be full of action and excitement but thanks to his foster father, Bikky knew just what a dangerous career it could be, so that was out.
Besides, he already knew the career he wanted to pursue, but there wasn’t a booth dedicated to professional sportsmen and women, which was a serious oversight in his opinion. None of the professions represented at the career fair stirred any particular interest in him; he couldn’t picture himself as a florist or a hairdresser, a plumber or a mechanic, although he’d picked up a fair amount about car engines from Dee and Ryo since passing his test and being gifted with his own car.
Halfway through Career Week, it was finally Bikky’s turn to sit down with one of the school’s advisors and go over possible future careers. He didn’t really see the point since he already had his life pretty much mapped out in his head, but it was compulsory, and maybe he ought to discuss his back-up options just in case his first choice didn’t work out. Not everyone with aspirations to play pro basketball could make it to the big leagues; a lot depended on catching the right breaks.
Arriving at the designated room, he knocked on the door and waited until a voice from inside told him to come in.
A thin, grey-haired man in an equally grey suit looked up through his spectacles as Bikky entered the small office and closed the door behind him.
“Ah.” He checked a list attached to a clipboard. “Victor, is it?”
Bikky winced inside at the use of his given name; nobody ever called him that, not even his teachers.
“I’m Mr Short, your careers advisor. Take a seat please.” Short gestured at the chair across from him.
While Bikky sat, Mr Short studied the contents of the manila folder he’d pulled off the stack to his right and opened in front of him. Already tall and lanky at seventeen, even sitting down on the opposite side of the desk it was easy for Bikky to get a look at the folder’s contents; unsurprisingly among the sheets of paper Mr Short flipped through were his school transcripts and the aptitude test he’d filled in at the beginning of the week.
“Right, well, first off, have you given any thought to what you might like to do after you graduate high school?”
That at least was an easy question to answer. “Yeah, I want to go to college and play basketball.” If Bikky was to have any chance at all of fulfilling his dream, college was a must; that was where the scouts for the pro teams would go looking for potential draft choices.
“College? Really?” Mr Short sounded dubious.
Bikky knew when it came to academic subjects he was far from the top of the heap, but he wasn’t that bad.
“I’ve worked hard the last few years and my grades have really improved,” he pointed out.
Short looked back at the transcripts, “Well, yes, you’re solidly and consistently above average…” Bikky scored mostly C+, B-, B, and sometimes B+; there was even an occasional A-… “Still, you must be aware these are hardly the kinds of grades colleges are looking for.”
“I’ll be applying for basketball scholarships,” Bikky explained. “That’s what I want to do, play pro basketball.”
“Ah, well… while we encourage students to be ambitious, we do suggest that goals should be kept realistic. Ambition is all very well, but aiming too high can lead to disappointment. Don’t you think you should perhaps set your sights on a more achievable goal? Frankly, judging by your academic records, yours are… perhaps a bit overly optimistic.”
Bikky frowned. “Don’t you think you’re being a bit defeatist? I mean, isn’t it your job to help us achieve our full potential? Do you even know anything about basketball? I’ve been a starter on the school team since my first term here. Coach says I have natural talent, and scouts for college teams are already showing interest in me. My grades are high enough to get me a basketball scholarship, but I’m not slacking off, I’m still working hard.”
“And if you do somehow manage to get a full scholarship, based solely on your basketball talent, but fail to make the grade and get picked for a pro, or even a semi-pro team, what then? It’s all very well to have big dreams, but you need to consider some more practical career choices as a fallback position. With your academic grades, I’d suggest perhaps something in the building trade, or parks services…” Short trailed off as Bikky shook his head.
“If I don’t make the grade to play pro ball, then I think I’d like to work with disadvantaged kids, maybe at an inner-city youth project, something like that.”
Short’s eyebrows crept up towards his thinning hair; clearly that wasn’t the response he’d been expecting. “Work with children? And what is it that appeals to you about that?”
Bikky almost smirked, oddly pleased to be confounding all of his advisor’s expectations, but he managed to keep his expression suitably serious; after all, there was nothing casual about his interest in helping other kids, any more than there was about his top career choice.
“It doesn’t say so in my transcripts, but I started out in a rough neighbourhood, and I didn’t have an easy time of it; lost my mom when I was five, and my dad when I was ten. He was a petty criminal and came to a bad end, killed by someone he was transporting drugs for. I didn’t have much going for me back then, was looking at a pretty grim future, so I get what it’s like for other kids growing up in similar situations. I was one of the lucky ones though; when my dad died one of the cops investigating his murder took me in, and he set me on the right path. He’s been incredibly supportive and encouraging, without him I wouldn’t be where I am now, and I’d like to… I don’t know, follow his example I guess, help other kids find their way to a better future the way Ryo’s done for me.”
“Well, that’s certainly a worthy ambition, but becoming any kind of youth councillor takes years of training. I still feel you’re setting your sights rather too high.”
Bikky was beginning to lose patience. “What d’you want me to say? That I want to quit school early and get a job at Burger King? I don’t. I’m going to graduate high school next year, and then I will go to college. I’ll graduate from there too; I plan to work hard and train hard with whatever college team I play for. Then, if I’m lucky, I might get to play pro, and if I’m not, I’ll do something else, work by day in some dead-end job if I have to so I can take night classes, but I know my dad will support me no matter what, and I will make something of myself. How’s that for a goal? Maybe you should worry more about the kids with no ambition, and no dreams. There’s no need for anyone to worry about me, ‘cause I’ve got plenty of both, and the determination to keep trying no matter what. If my first dream falls through, I’ll find another dream and work towards making that a reality instead.”
“Hm, well I applaud your determination.”
Bikky didn’t think Mr Short sounded very convincing, but he let it go.
“However, I recommend that you discuss what we’ve talked about here with your… er… guardian, and take these information sheets on other careers your aptitude test results and your… ah… academic grades qualify you for.” Mr Short plucked an assortment of leaflets from his desk drawer and handed them across to Bikky, who took them without so much as glancing at them.
“Thanks for your time. Can I go now?”
“Yes, yes, send the next student in.” Short closed Bikky’s folder and added it to the stack on his left before checking his clipboard and reaching for the top folder on his right. “That would be Marilyn Martin.”
Getting to his feet, Bikky left the office without looking back, thinking that maybe Mr Short was in the wrong career and should look into alternative employment himself. ‘I’d make a better career advisor than he does; at least I wouldn’t go around telling kids they’re aiming too high and trampling on their dreams.’
It didn’t matter what Short thought of him though; Bikky wasn’t going to abandon the goals he’d set for himself just because some guy who didn’t know anything about him thought he was being over-ambitious. Ryo had always told him he could be whatever he wanted to be if he was prepared to work hard for what he wanted, and even if he didn’t make it, he would at least know he’d tried his best. He’d take Ryo’s advice over Mr Short’s any day of the week.