Characters: Ryo, Aunt Elena, Dee, Bikky.
Setting: Before the manga and after Vol. 7.
Summary: Home had been the house he grew up in, but after losing his parents Ryo found new homes.
Word Count: 1038
Written For: Theme Prompt: 075 – Hearth And Home at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Home for Ryo had always been the small suburban house he’d shared with his parents. Even when they’d been away on their frequent buying trips he’d felt safe there, cosy and warm, curling up in front of a blazing fire on cold winter evenings, watching TV and talking to his folks on the phone, catching them up on all his news.
Then they’d been brutally, senselessly murdered, gunned down on their way home for Christmas, and home hadn’t felt like home anymore. All the warmth and comfort of the house he’d grown up in evaporated in a heartbeat, leaving the place feeling cold and alien. Even a blazing fire in the hearth couldn’t seem to warm the empty rooms.
His parents had been labelled criminals by the police, and even by family members who should have known better. The one exception had been Aunt Elena, his father’s youngest sister. She and her husband had come to his rescue, welcoming him into their home, and gradually he’d begun to feel safe again, as if he had a new home, somewhere he belonged where he was loved and always welcome. It had been good, but even then he’d known it couldn’t last forever. He was growing up and soon the time would come when he’d have to go out on his own, no matter how difficult and scary that might seem.
He’d attended a local college while living with his aunt and uncle, gotten the qualifications he’d needed to apply to the police academy, and been accepted; that was when the day finally came that he’d been putting off, and he packed to leave the house that had become his home over the past three years.
“I don’t want to go,” he admitted to his aunt the night before he was due to leave for the academy.
“I know, and your uncle and I don’t want you to either, we’re really going to miss having you around, but this is what you’ve been working towards and we’re not going to hold you back. You know we’ll always be here for you, no matter what. We’re only a phone call away if you need anything at all.”
“Thank you. For everything. You took me in when you didn’t have to, gave me a home…”
“No thanks necessary. We’ve loved having you here, Ryo. You’re family. Just don’t forget about us.”
“As if I ever could. You and Uncle Rick are all the family I have left, the only ones who didn’t disown me after mom and dad were killed.”
“We black sheep have to stick together.” Elena winked and grinned. She always knew how to make him laugh.
At the academy, Ryo felt like a fish out of water for the whole first day, but he settled in surprisingly fast, enjoying the classes, learning police procedure, hand to hand combat, the use and maintenance of his handgun, and so much else it almost made his head spin, but being a cop was what he wanted and he threw himself into his studies while still talking to his aunt and uncle at least once a week. It brought back memories of the phone conversations he used to have with his parents and surprisingly those memories hurt less than they had.
He graduated a rookie cop, was assigned to a precinct in the city, moved into a tiny one-room apartment, and got used to living alone although he still went home to his aunt and uncle’s place for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays. It always felt good spending time with them and he did his best to make it over there for Sunday dinner every month or too. Work was busy though, with different shifts, sometimes working days, sometimes nights. Being a beat cop wasn’t the highpoint of his ambitions however. Upholding law and order was all very well, but what he really wanted was to investigate crimes. When he got his promotion to detective third grade, the first people he called with the news were his aunt and uncle. They couldn’t have been prouder.
Promotion meant a new assignment, a new precinct, a new, bigger apartment to turn into a home, and he was able to get more of his parents’ furniture out of storage. There was no fireplace, but that was okay; his new place was in a better neighbourhood, and there were two bedrooms as well as the living room, kitchen, and bathroom. It was quite a step up. He thought it might be a bit big for one, but soon he found himself single father to a young boy, and sometimes his work partner slept over as well. On mornings when all three of them were trying to get ready for work or school, the spacious apartment started to feel a bit cramped. It was home though, and a mostly happy place.
Then Ryo’s work partner became his lover, and he realised one day that he had a family of his own. Maybe not an entirely conventional one, but what did the word ‘conventional’ even mean these days?
“Aunt Elena and Uncle Rick have invited us to their place for Thanksgiving this year. Is that okay?”
“Why wouldn’t it be?”
“Well, I didn’t know if you already had plans.”
“I do. I plan on bein’ wherever you are.” Dee grinned at his partner from where he was lounging on the sofa. “Long as there’s you and food, I’ll be happy. I suppose we gotta take the brat too though.”
“Bikky is invited, yes.”
“Guess I’ll just have ta put up with that then.”
“Hey!” Bikky shouted from his room. “I heard that!”
Ryo just laughed.
Two weeks later saw Ryo at his aunt’s house, Dee and Bikky in tow. Somehow the place seemed smaller than it used to, even though he’d only visited a few months back. Perhaps it was because it was so full of people and laughter.
Although he had a home of his own now, this house was home too; he’d made good memories there after losing his parents, and now he was making more. Sitting in front of a roaring fire surrounded by his loved ones, he knew what he was thankful for.