Characters: Bikky, Ryo, Dee.
Setting: Around Vol. 2.
Summary: Bikky’s school is out for spring break and he’s looking forward to having some free time. Ryo and Dee aren’t so lucky.
Word Count: 1174
Written For: Challenge 203: Free at beattheblackdog.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Free at last!” Bikky yelled exuberantly, tearing into the apartment like a small whirlwind on legs, slamming the door behind him and dropping his book bag onto the floor to yank his sneakers and socks off before dashing to his room to change.
Leaning against the kitchen counter, keeping Ryo company while his partner made them both a coffee, Dee snorted with amusement. “Anyone would think school was out for summer, not just for spring break.”
Ryo chuckled. “I bet you were just the same, celebrating any time you got off school, even when it was only for a week. I know I was.”
“You? Seriously? I figured you for the school swot.”
That comment was treated with the derision it deserved. “Just because I got reasonably good grades doesn’t mean I didn’t welcome time away from school, even if there was always a pile of homework to get done before classes restarted.”
“Yeah, that was always the worst part of vacations; it was like the teachers didn’t want us to have any time for fun, and then on top of everything else Mother would rope us in to fetch groceries, do the cleanin’, help with the younger kids…” Dee picked up the mug of coffee Ryo set down by his elbow and took a cautious sip, wincing slightly when he found it was way too hot to drink and setting it back down on the counter.
“You still got to hang out with your friends though, didn’t you?” Ryo made for the refrigerator, filling a glass with milk for Bikky and putting a couple of cookies on a plate before rejoining Dee and setting the cookie jar where they could both help themselves; it was still too early to start cooking dinner.
“Yeah, long as I snuck out before Mother could rope me into doin’ more chores.” Dee grinned, taking a cookie and biting into it. “What about you?”
“I had chores to do too, cleaning my room, mowing the lawn, putting the trash out, washing the car, stuff like that. It’s part of growing up, preparing kids for life as an adult.”
“I guess. Still doesn’t make chores fun.”
“If they were fun they wouldn’t be chores,” Ryo pointed out.
Dee laughed at that. “You got me there.”
Bikky zoomed into the kitchen just then, making a beeline for his milk and cookies, where Ryo had left them on the kitchen table, but skidded to a halt when he spotted Dee, glaring at his nemesis.
“What’s the perv doing here?”
Ryo smiled at his foster son. “Dee’s helping me decide what chores to set you while you’re off school,” he said, calmly sipping his coffee. “So if you’re hoping to have any time left over to spend with your friends you might want to mind your manners.”
“Um…” Bikky swallowed hard, visions of his free time disappearing in an endless round of forced labour filling his head.
“Did your teachers set you any homework?”
“Then I suggest you get started with it. Better to get it done right away rather than leaving it until the last minute.”
Nodding, Bikky took his snack and headed for the lounge, putting plate and glass carefully on the coffee table before fetching his book bag, his earlier good mood deflated.
“Sneaky,” Dee murmured. “Never thought he could be tamed.”
“I doubt it’ll last, but we might at least get through dinner without him kicking you under the table.”
“That would make a welcome change.” Dee still had bruises on his shins from dinner at Ryo’s place earlier in the week.
Bikky was still subdued when he joined them at the table for dinner. Halfway trough the meal he finally spoke.
“Ryo, are you really gonna make me do chores right through spring break?”
“Well, there are plenty of things that need doing, like giving your room a thorough clean, helping with the laundry, and taking out the trash.”
“But I already take the trash out!”
“When you remember.”
Bikky looked so woebegone Ryo couldn’t help laughing.
“Relax, Biks, I’m not a monster; as long as you do what I ask you to when you’re asked to do it, you’ll still have plenty of free time, but you can’t expect to get a spring break bonus added to your regular allowance without doing anything to earn it.”
The thought of having a bit of extra money to spend perked Bikky right up again. “Yay! Thanks, Ryo!”
“I still want you to get your homework done first though; if it’s not all done tonight you’ll stay home until it’s finished. Understood?”
“Yes, Ryo. I’ll get on with it right after dinner, I swear!” Bikky sighed. “I hate being a kid. I wish I was a grown up already; then I could do whatever I wanted all the time.”
“That’s what you think! You’re lucky you’re still a kid,” Dee said. “Least you get spring break, a whole week with no school. No free time for Ryo and me; we still have to work.”
“Plus our shifts at work are longer than your days in school, then when we get home tired after a long day, we still have to fix meals, wash dishes, tidy up, do laundry and ironing…” Ryo trailed off with a heavy sigh of his own. “Sometimes I envy you; not even my weekends are free what with grocery shopping, paying bills, cleaning the apartment… It’s never-ending.”
Dee nodded. “You think you’ve got it tough now, you should try bein’ an adult and see how you like it.”
“Not only do we not get spring break, there’s no long summer vacation, and half the time we don’t even get Thanksgiving or Christmas off work,” Ryo added.
Bikky frowned. “I hadn’t thought of that.”
“Maybe you should.” Dee gave a wry smile. “While you’re enjoyin’ your free time, spare a thought for Ryo, workin’ like a dog to keep a roof over your head and food on the table while you’re out with your friends havin’ fun. When you’re all grown up you’ll realise nothin’ in life is free, and bein’ an adult is nowhere near as much fun as you think it’s gonna be.”
“I guess maybe I don’t wanna be an adult just yet after all,” Bikky said. “Still wish I didn’t have piles of homework though.”
“That’s the one thing I don’t miss about bein’ a kid,” Dee said. “Homework sucks all the fun out of life.”
“No one enjoys homework,” Ryo agreed, “but it’s a necessary evil.”
“It’s like removin’ a Band Aid; do it fast and it hurts less.”
Ryo laughed. “That’s one way of putting it.” He set his knife and fork down on his empty plate. “Who wants dessert?”
Two hands were eagerly raised, and Ryo set about clearing the table. Maybe Dee was right and nothing in life was free, but times like this, enjoying good food in the company of two of his favourite people, were worth whatever price he had to pay.