Characters: Ryo, Ryo’s parents, Dee.
Setting: After the manga.
Summary: Shot, alone, and bleeding out, Ryo has a strange dream, or is it a dream?
Word Count: 1218
Written For: Theme Prompt: 015 – Fever Dream at fandomweekly.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
‘It wasn’t supposed to end like this.’ The hazy thought drifted like smoke through Ryo’s mind as he lay on the filthy floor of the abandoned warehouse, slowly bleeding out from a bullet wound to the chest. ‘We were supposed to have more time.’ He and Dee were still just getting started with their life together; they should have had many happy years ahead of them, time to see Bikky perhaps fulfil his dreams of becoming a professional basketball player, time to see him marry and have kids of his own, time to grow old with the man he loved with all his heart, but instead…
How had things gone so wrong? He should have left word of where he was going; nobody knew where he was, so no one would be coming to save him. He knew he should get up, at least try to get out of the building in the hopes that someone might see him and call the police, but when he tried the pain was so bad and he felt so dizzy that he immediately slumped back onto the cold concrete and passed out.
“It’s not over yet, son.” He heard his father’s voice so clearly but knew he had to be dreaming because his parents had been gone for more than a decade, gunned down in a tragic case of mistaken identity. Nevertheless, Ryo forced his eyes open; if he was dreaming, the least he could do was try to see the man he was dreaming about. It had been so long since he’d last seen his father’s face.
“Dad?” he mumbled, trying to turn his head in the direction the voice had come from. Why did he feel so weak?
“We’re right here,” the familiar, much-loved voice told him, and they were, both of his parents kneeling beside Ryo, smiling down at him. A slight frown creased his father’s forehead. “Don’t give up, my boy, not now; it’s not your time.”
“You still have a lot of living left to do,” his mother agreed. “You must stay strong and be patient. The world turns at its own pace, it cannot be hurried.”
“I’m scared,” Ryo whispered, feeling foolish. He wasn’t a child any longer; he was a grown man and should be past turning to his parents for comfort, but right at that moment he needed so badly for them to make him feel safe. He couldn’t quite remember why he was scared, just that he was. “Am I dreaming?” That was important, although he couldn’t have said why.
His mother brushed the hair back from his forehead with cool, gentle fingers, just as she’d always used to whenever he’d been unwell. “Watashi no saiai no musuko.” My beloved son: she hadn’t called him that since he was a small boy. “No, you’re not dreaming, and there is nothing to be afraid of. Everything will be alright.”
Ryo moved slightly, felt the deep, gnawing pain in his chest, and suddenly remembered why he was afraid. He’d been shot.
“Am I dying?”
Taking his hand, his mother pressed something into it. “No, this is not where your life will end. I promise you that. You just have to hold on a little longer.”
“I’ll try. I miss you.”
“I know, but we are never far away, always watching over you.” His mother squeezed his hand.
“Are you ghosts?”
“Does it matter?”
Ryo smiled faintly. “I guess not, but why have I never seen you before now?”
“Because you never truly needed to until now.”
It was such a logical answer that Ryo simply accepted it without question.
“We’re so proud of you, son. Never forget that. You’ve grown into a fine young man.” His father’s smile widened and the frown vanished, leaving his forehead smooth and unlined. “When you were young, you could never make up your mind what you wanted to be when you grew up, but now look at you; a detective!”
“A noble profession, but a dangerous one, and not to be taken lightly,” his mother chided.
“I know; I got careless. I’m sorry.”
“Learn from your mistakes, then you will avoid making the same ones again.”
“I will; I promise.”
He could hear voices somewhere nearby, and there were footsteps approaching; Ryo half-opened his eyes, which was odd because he didn’t remember closing them. Someone shouted, “I’ve found him! Call an ambulance!”
Another voice, closer still and vaguely familiar, was muttering, “Jesus Christ, there’s so much blood! Gotta stop the bleeding. Hang in there, babe.” Then agonising pain swept through Ryo’s body and he passed out.
There was an insistent beeping coming from somewhere nearby and Ryo wished someone would turn it off, but no one did. How was anyone supposed to sleep though that? A thought gradually filtered through his muzzy brain. Oh, maybe it was his alarm clock. Dammit, he didn’t want to wake up; he was so tired. He cracked his eyes open, turned his head, looking for the clock, tried to lift his arm to turn the damn thing off, and gasped at the sudden pain.
Dee shot upright in the chair beside the bed, eyes red rimmed with exhaustion. “Hey, you’re awake! How’re you feelin’?”
“Dee? What happened?” Ryo’s voice came out as a croak.
“You decided to follow a suspect by yourself and got shot, you goddamned idiot; you’re lucky you didn’t get yourself killed. Thank God you had your phone turned on so we could track ya.”
Which was insane, because Ryo knew damned well his phone had been off. He hadn’t wanted anyone calling him while he was tailing Renfro, didn’t want the distraction.
“Tried to call ya and got worried when ya didn’t answer; figured ya might be in some kinda trouble so the Chief authorised a trace.”
Ryo barely heard what Dee was saying, it was too hard to concentrate. Spotting something out the corner of his eye, he turned his head a little more to see an origami crane sitting on the cabinet beside the hospital bed. It was just like the ones his mom used to make.
“Where’d that come from?” he murmured.
“What?” Dee followed Ryo’s gaze and shrugged. “Damned if I know. You were clutchin’ it in your hand when we found ya. Had a devil of a job gettin’ ya to let go of it. Figured it must be important, so I held on to it while you were in surgery.”
The fog in Ryo’s brain was slowly clearing. He remembered talking with his parents back at the warehouse, his mother slipping something into his hand, but that couldn’t have happened, could it? His parents were dead, had been for more than ten years…
Dead, but not gone; if he could believe what they’d told him, and he could see no reason not to, they were still watching over him. No matter where he went or what happened, he was never alone.
“I had the strangest dream, only I don’t think it was a dream.” A small smile curved Ryo’s lips. “You were right all along,” he told Dee drowsily, “ghosts are real. I’m sorry I didn’t believe you.” With that he closed his eyes and drifted off to sleep, knowing with absolute certainty that everything was going to be fine.