Characters: Bikky, Ryo, Dee.
Setting: After Vol. 7
Summary: Ryo’s invited his lover over for the evening and Bikky is being a brat, giving Dee a hard time just for being there.
Word Count: 2340
Written For: Challenge 173: Side at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Bikky kicked savagely at Dee’s foot in passing, catching him hard on the ankle. There was no reason for it; even though Dee had his long legs comfortably stretched out as he relaxed on the sofa there was plenty of room to go around him.
“Ow!” Dee pulled his leg in and rubbing at his abused ankle. “Cut that out, squirt!”
“What’ll you do to me if I don’t, you stupid old perv?” Bikky sneered, aiming a kick at the other ankle but missing this time when Dee quickly moved his foot out of the way.
Ryo came storming out of the kitchen where he’d been checking on dinner. “Bikky! Stop that right now! If you can’t behave in a civilised manner and leave Dee alone, you can go to your room and stay there for the rest of the evening, no TV, no computer games, and no phone!” he snapped, his patience at an end.
“What?” Bikky asked incredulously. “How come I’m the one in trouble?” He pointed dramatically at Dee. “Blame him! He started it!”
“And exactly how did he do that, when all he’s done since we got in is sit quietly on the sofa watching the news?” Ryo stood, hands on hips, glaring at his foster son.
He couldn’t recall Dee doing anything since they’d come through the door that could have possibly annoyed Bikky. In fact now that Dee was Ryo’s lover instead of just his work partner, and was no longer getting physically attacked every time he dared to so much as lay a finger on Ryo, he’d mostly stopped pushing the boy’s buttons. Always before he’d been driven to retaliate on account of Bikky’s determination to defend Ryo’s virtue by any means at his disposal, which had usually meant kicking and punching.
“He’s here again, isn’t he?”
Ryo bit back an exasperated sigh; apparently Dee’s presence was now all it took to annoy Bikky.
“We have work matters to discuss,” he explained with strained patience.
“It’s the fourth night this week he’s had dinner here!”
“I know; I was here doing the cooking each time. Dee has every right to be here, Bikky,” Ryo said firmly. “He’s my partner. This is still my apartment; I pay the rent, so I get to say who can and can’t be here. When you have a place of your own, then you can set the rules, but not before. Dee is here because I invited him over and I expect you to accept that and mind your manners. You’re fourteen, not a little kid anymore, to be throwing tantrums over anything you don’t like. It you want to be treated like an adult and have a say in things that might affect you, then you need to start acting your age.”
Bikky scowled mutinously at Ryo. “That’s so not fair! Whose side are you on?”
“Nobody’s; I don’t take sides,” Ryo said, wearily shoving one hand through his hair and massaging his forehead. “The only side I’m on right now is my own. You know I love you both, just in different ways, but I will at the very least have some peace and quiet in my own home. I’ve got a headache and all your yelling taunts and insults at Dee isn’t helping, so you can either sit here quietly and get on with your homework or spend the whole evening in your room. It’s your choice.”
Bikky scowled at Dee. “What did you do to my dad to give him a headache?”
“Dee didn’t do anything. Final warning, Bikky!” Ryo snapped. “I’m not joking. Do you want to go without dinner as well? Because that could be arranged.”
“Fine.” Bikky slumped onto the floor beside the coffee table and started in on his homework, but he positioned himself so he was facing Dee, glaring daggers at his nemesis every time he glanced up from his schoolbooks.
With a heavy sigh, Ryo made his way back to the kitchen. His shoulders were tangled knots of tension and his head was pounding to the rhythm of his heartbeat. What a day! Work had been rough; a young Asian woman, the victim of a violent assault in broad daylight, had died on her way to hospital. There’d been at least half a dozen witnesses to the attack, but not one of them had lifted a finger to help her. Worse than that, her attacker was still out there somewhere, probably gloating over what he’d done.
As far as Dee and Ryo had been able to determine from talking to the witnesses who’d come forward, it had been a random hate crime; the attacker hadn’t known his victim, she’d merely been a target of opportunity, someone he could unleash his rage and hate on. Now he’d done it once and believed he’d gotten away with it, he would no doubt strike again. It was only a matter of time. They really needed to track him down before he could hurt or kill anyone else, but they didn’t even know where to start. All they had to go on was a vague description from the witnesses and some very grainy CCTV footage captured by a security camera on the other side of the street, frequently obscured by passing traffic.
“Hey. You okay?”
Ryo looked up to find Dee had followed him into the kitchen and was leaning against the cupboard beside the stove.
“Tired, hungry, stressed.” Ryo gave a wan smile. With everything that had happened there’d been no time for lunch; all he’d eaten since breakfast was the candy bar he and Dee had gotten from the hospital vending machine with the last of their loose change and shared between them. He was well aware that his headache was at least partly due to hunger. Add in a more than usually stressful day and the gremlins with pickaxes pounding away inside his skull were practically inevitable. “Dinner’s almost ready; that’ll help.”
“Want me to give you a shoulder rub while we’re waitin’?”
“Bikky will probably go ballistic, the way he’s acting tonight.”
“He can feel the tension radiatin’ off ya; he’s reactin’ to that. Probably thinks I’m to blame so he’s takin’ in out on me.” Without waiting for an answer to his question, Dee moved around behind his lover, resting his hands on Ryo’s knotted shoulders. He hissed sharply between his teeth. “No wonder you’ve got a headache, carryin’ this much tension around with you.”
“I can’t help it,” Ryo murmured, somewhere between a sigh and a groan, his head dropping forward as Dee dug his fingers into the bunched muscles and started trying to loosen some of the knots. “I keep thinking about her. She was nineteen, not much more than a kid, a college student with her whole life ahead of her, and now that maniac… I want him, Dee. I want to get him and I want to make him pay…” Anger boiled up inside Ryo and he straightened up so suddenly he accidentally head-butted Dee right in the mouth.
“Ow! Careful there! We’re supposed to be on the same side, dammit!”
Ryo whirled around, eyes wide with horror. “Oh God! Dee, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to…”
“I know, it’s fine, babe. Guess I’m just the designated punchin’ bag this evenin’.” Dee licked blood from his split lip, the tip of his tongue probing the small wound. “It was an accident, no real damage done, but ya might wanna save the acts of violence for the one who deserves them.”
Ryo shook his head, pressing a piece of kitchen roll to Dee’s lip. “Much as I might like the idea of beating him to a pulp, it would make me no better than him, and I’d probably wind up in trouble for using excessive force.”
“Depends on whether or not he comes quietly when we go to arrest him. If he puts up a fight… anything goes.”
“I almost hope he does, just so we’d have an excuse, but I don’t want to risk anyone else getting hurt.”
The timer went off, making Ryo jump, and Dee moved back quickly to avoid further unintentional injury. Ryo grinned sheepishly. “Sounds like dinner’s ready.”
“Great, I’m starvin’. I’ll give ya a hand dishing up, and after we eat, I’ll give you that shoulder rub.”
“After we eat, there’ll be the dishes to wash.”
“So the House Ape can take care of ‘em; might make him think twice before bein’ a brat in future.”
“Tempting idea.” Ryo turned towards the living room, where Bikky was eyeing them suspiciously over his schoolbooks, having changed position so he was facing the kitchen. “Go get washed up for dinner, Biks,” he called. “I’m dishing up in a few minutes.”
The boy got up without a word and headed towards the bathroom, keeping his eyes on Dee for as long as possible.
“Maybe he thinks I’m monopolisin’ your time, feels like he’s gettin’ pushed to the sidelines. I have been around here a lot lately,” Dee mused.
“He needs to get used to sharing me. He’s growing up, he doesn’t need me quite as much as he used to.”
“Still needs to know his dad’s there for him. Maybe you should spend some time with him over the weekend.”
“He’s got plans with his friends both days.”
“Next week then, I’ll keep outta the way so you can spend some quality time with the kid.”
“Maybe. If you’re sure you don’t mind.”
“Wouldn’t have suggested it if I did. I mean, I’d spend every minute of every day with ya if I could, but I get that the kid still has to take priority.”
“I want to have enough time for both of you, and for work of course.”
“I know, it’s sort of a jugglin’ act, but no one ever said bein’ a single parent would be easy, and the teenage years are a nightmare for parents, or so I’ve been told. If it’s any consolation, I was way worse than Bikky at his age.”
“Thanks for the encouraging pep talk,” Ryo said wryly. “Nice to know what delights I’ve got to look forward to. It’s not your behaviour that’s the issue right now though. With all the stress of this case, the last thing I need is to come home and have Bikky acting out just because I bring you home with me.”
“What case?” Bikky’s voice came from right behind them as the boy snuck into the kitchen.
“What have I told you about not listening in to private conversations?” Ryo said, turning to face him.
“A nineteen year old girl was beaten to death in broad daylight. There were witnesses, but none of them even bothered to call the police until it was too late to do any good. You happy now you know why Ryo’s so stressed tonight?” Dee stepped forward to confront Bikky, who stood his ground, looking from one adult to the other.
“Dee, you know I don’t want Bikky hearing about our cases!”
“Yeah, I know, but it’s about time he realised the kinds of stuff you have to deal with every day at work. What we do is no picnic; you shouldn’t have to deal with more stress when ya get home.”
“Nobody did anything at all?” Bikky asked in a small voice.
“They did one thing,” Dee corrected. “They stood around and watched while she was killed.”
“Why didn’t they help her? I would have!”
“They didn’t want to get involved, Bikky,” Ryo said quietly. “They were scared, they thought if they tried to do anything the girl’s attacker might turn on them next. As soon as he ran off, one of the witnesses called the police and an ambulance, but by then it was too late.” He sighed, shoulders sagging. “Look, I get that you don’t want Dee here all the time, you want my attention yourself and feel like he’s cheating you out of it, but sometimes I need to be able to talk about work with someone who knows what’s going on and feels the same way I do. Can you understand that?”
Bikky nodded slowly. “I guess. I’m sorry I was such a brat earlier, I didn’t know…”
“You didn’t know because I didn’t want you to know. I try my best to keep my work and home lives separate, I don’t want you having to be burdened with all the terrible things I see. You’re still a kid; you shouldn’t have to deal with the darker side of life, not for a few years yet. I want to protect you as much as I can for as long as I can, because that’s what parents do; you’re my responsibility.” He ruffled Bikky’s hair. “Come on, we should eat before dinner spoils. Dee and I haven’t had anything since breakfast.”
Plodding over to the table, which Dee had already set, Bikky sat down.
“Oh, and Bikky?” Ryo said as he began to dish up.
“No kicking Dee under the table. Looks like we’ll be doing a lot of legwork on this case and I need him able to walk.”
“Hey!” Dee protested indignantly, taking his seat across from Bikky. “I thought you were on my side!”
“Didn’t I already say I’m not taking sides? You two will just have to work things out between you. I have a headache; all I want is food and a shoulder rub.” He fixed Bikky with a stern look. “As your punishment for earlier, you’ll be washing the dishes after dinner. Got that?”
“Yes, Ryo,” Bikky said meekly, not even considering complaining about the unfairness of having to do both homework AND chores.
“Good.” Ryo sat, picking up his cutlery, and looked at the other two. “Well? What are you waiting for, an invitation? Let’s eat.”
They all dug in, and if Bikky was quieter than usual throughout the meal, keeping his eyes on his plate, no one mentioned it. The boy had a lot to think about.