Characters: Dee, Ryo, Mother.
Setting: After Vol. 2, Act 6.
Summary: The new orphanage premises have an unexpected bonus; enough land for a garden.
Word Count: 1051
Written For: Jae's Monthly Drabble Challenge 172: Garden, Gaze, Ground.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
S Corp had used dirty tactics trying to get Mother Lane to move out of the building that housed her orphanage. On a number of occasions they’d paid thugs to shoot up the front of the building and when that hadn’t worked, they’d hired Ben Lloyd to blow the place up. Not that any of it could be proven in a court of law; Lloyd had given up the guy who’d hired him, some fixer name of Ira Jessy, but when he’d been brought in and questioned he’d denied everything. With no concrete evidence, and no way of tying Jessy to S Corp, the investigation hit a brick wall. All they could prove was that S Corp had approached Mother on multiple occasions, trying to buy the land the orphanage was on, and she’d refused to sell.
There’d been no choice after the bombing though, the building had been declared unsafe, would have to be demolished, so S Corp had won. The only good thing that had come out of the whole mess was that in order to avoid any more bad publicity, S Corp had found and bought new premises for the orphanage, financed all the necessary renovations, and paid for the move before handing the title deeds to Mother. They were even paying the taxes, probably a drop in the ocean considering how many billions the corporation was worth.
The new orphanage wasn’t too far from the old one but it was in a better part of the city. More spacious and modern, it stood on its own grounds, not a huge piece of land but big enough to create a play area for the kids, and a modest garden.
Donations had poured in after the devastating explosion, and a good chunk of that money had gone into the play area, with swings, slide, climbing frame, a sand pit that could be kept covered when not in use, and a special safety surface to protect the kids against injury from falls. Mother had hired a specialist company to do the work and they’d done a great job; the kids were over the moon.
The garden area was another matter. Mother had originally intended to use a landscaping company, but Dee had put his foot down, saying the ground just needed to be cleared and dug over, and some plants put in, maybe a small lawn. How hard could that be? He’d do it himself, he’d said, and save her the money. Everyone knew landscapers charged an arm and a leg; they could get away with it because many people would rather pay than put the effort in themselves.
Naturally, Ryo had found himself volunteered to help, but he’d had no objection. Growing up he’d always enjoyed helping his parents with the gardening, and he’d been full of ideas, putting together lists of the equipment and supplies they’d need, buying the garden tools himself as his contribution to the project.
“Once we clear the weeds and trash there’ll be room for flowerbeds, a lawn, even a vegetable patch where the kids can grow their own food,” he’d told Dee enthusiastically. “It’s going to look great one we’re done.”
It was backbreaking work, far harder than Dee had anticipated, clearing rocks and rubble, digging out massive roots and the stumps of a couple of sickly trees that had needed to be cut down, levelling the ground for the lawn and laying out the rolls of turf. Flowerbeds were marked out and neatly edged, the vegetable plot was laid out as a series of raised beds to get extra depth for the root crops, and a trellis was erected against one wall for espalier fruit trees to be put in; apple, plum, pear, and cherry.
Dee had thought they’d have it all done in a couple of weeks, carrying out the work in the evenings and on their days off, but it took almost two and a half months, working in all weathers. The hedge that ran along one side of the garden had almost beaten Dee until Ryo suggested cutting it right down to a height of five feet, tall enough to provide protection for the garden and nesting places for the birds, but short enough to be cut without needing a stepladder. It looked a bit bare and straggly at the moment, but Ryo assured Dee it would soon start producing new shoots. It just needed to be clipped regularly to keep it from getting out of hand again.
“Was it worth all the effort?” Ryo asked as he and Dee stood with Mother, admiring their handiwork. They’d just finished bedding in the last of the plants and although it would be a while before they bushed out to fill the beds, what had once been a patch of overgrown wasteland now looked like a proper garden.
Tearing his gaze away from the colourful display, Dee turned to his partner, nodding. “Yep, gotta say all out hard work’s paid off, and I couldn’t have done it without ya. I would’a never thought of half this stuff. The veggies, the fruit trees, that edgin’ stuff you got for around the flowerbeds…” He grinned. “The kids are gonna have a lot of fun out here, not just playin’ but gettin’ involved.”
Ryo smiled. “I’m sure they will. It’s a shame we couldn’t get everything ready soon enough for them to grow anything from seed, but next year will be a different matter.”
“Well, I think it looks wonderful, and growing some of our own vegetables will certainly save money.” Mother beamed up at the two men. “I can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done. You know, the Lord works in mysterious ways; if those people hadn’t been so determined to get their hands on my little patch of land despite my refusal to sell, then the children wouldn’t now have all this!” She gestured at the gardens, the play area, and the big, solid building, with its wide windows and well-lit rooms. “We have a great deal to be thankful for.”
As far as Dee was concerned, the thing he was most thankful for was that Mother had made a full recovery from her injuries and was back to her usual formidable self. He smiled down at her.
“Yeah, we do.”