Characters: Dee, Bikky, Ryo.
Setting: Vol. 1.
Summary: While at Ryo’s place one evening, Dee catches Bikky in a lie.
Word Count: 1324
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Hold your horses, you little runt! I saw what you just did!”
Bikky froze before turning innocent eyes towards his nemesis.
“What d’you mean? I was only doing as I was told. Ryo said to take ten bucks from his wallet for lunch tomorrow ‘cause he didn’t have time to pick up groceries and we’re out of bread and stuff. I gotta eat, don’t I?”
“Told ya to take ten, did he?” Dee stared the boy right in the face, eyes narrowed suspiciously.
“Yeah. You can ask him yourself.” The man in question was in the kitchen, fixing coffee. He’d ordered pizza for dinner since the cupboards were practically bare, but it wouldn’t arrive for another fifteen minutes or so.
“Oh, I believe ya, but if he told ya to take a ten, why’d ya help yourself to a twenty?”
“I didn’t!” Bikky had indignant denial down pat.
“Yeah ya did, I saw ya, I’ve got eyes, and I know the difference between a ten and a twenty. Empty your pockets.”
“You’re not my dad, you can’t tell me what to do!” The mutinous scowl was something Dee was already familiar with, but it cut no ice with him.
“Yes he can.” Ryo came out of the kitchen carrying two steaming coffee mugs, handing one to Dee. “Pockets, please, Bikky. Now.”
Reluctantly, Bikky did as he was told, and there, among tissues, small stones, an acorn, a couple of sweets, empty wrappers, several elastic bands, a piece of string, and some loose change, was a slightly crumpled twenty-dollar bill.
The boy’s eyes went wide with feigned surprise. “Oh! Oops, I was sure I’d only taken a ten. Easy mistake to make though, right? They look practically the same.”
“Lucrative mistake, more like.” Dee glared down at Bikky.
The boy frowned. “What does lukative mean?”
“Lucrative,” Ryo corrected automatically. “It means very profitable.”
“You make a lot of money from doin’ it,” Dee added. “Makes me wonder how many times you’ve made that particular ‘mistake’.” He turned to Ryo. “Maybe the House Ape’s the reason I had to loan ya ten the other week when you didn’t have enough to pay for your groceries. I thought it was kinda odd at the time; you’re usually so careful when it comes to stickin’ to a budget.”
“I was sure I had five twenties in my wallet, just enough for the essentials. I just thought I must have miscounted.” Ryo turned to his ten-year-old foster son. “Bikky, tell me the truth; have you done this before, taken more than I said you could?”
Shuffling his feet, Bikky looked down at the floor. “Only once or twice. I didn’t think you’d notice ‘cause you’ve always got so much money!”
Dee snorted. “Yeah, well it’s not as much as it might seem, kid. Ryo’s not made of money, y’know. Cops don’t make the big bucks; we’re poorly paid public servants, and his wages haveta go a helluva long way. He’s gotta pay the rent on this place, which isn’t cheap, as well as the utilities; that’s water, electricity, gas, and the phone. On top of that there’s insurance, and he’s gotta buy groceries, gas for his car, clothes and school stuff for you, pay for internet and cable TV… It all mounts up, and trust me, neither of us is never gonna get rich on what we get paid.”
“Dee’s right; New York is one of the most expensive places in America to live, and I’m trying to save for your future as well. If you take more from my wallet than I tell you to, that means I might not have enough for something important. Bills won’t get paid, or like the other week, I won’t have enough for groceries. I already give you a very generous allowance; it’s disappointing to think you’d steal from me.”
The first time Ryo had given him pocket money Bikky had been over the moon at having so much to spend on anything he wanted, but there were always more things to tempt him; sweets, and cool toys, and computer games, and Ryo had suggested that Bikky set half of his allowance aside each week to save up for the more expensive things. Saving took so long though, and it meant he had less money for other things, so helping himself to a bit extra from Ryo’s wallet from time to time had seemed the perfect solution. He’d never thought of it as stealing.
Ryo was still speaking. “I thought I could trust you; clearly I was wrong.” He sounded so sad, and Bikky felt awful.
“I’m sorry, Ryo, please don’t be mad at me! I swear I’ll never do it again, not ever. Cross my heart!”
“I’d like to believe you, Bikky, but I’m not sure I can.”
“I’ll pay you back!” Bikky thrust the purloined twenty at Ryo. “I’ll pay for my own lunch tomorrow, I’ll use some of the money I was saving for the new Star Wars Lego game, and you can have the rest. I won’t even ask for my allowance this week! I just didn’t know you had to pay for so many things!” Small shoulders drooped. “I thought all that money you had in your wallet was so you could buy anything you wanted.”
“I wish!” Ryo smiled down at his foster son. “D’you know what the last thing was that I bought just because I wanted it and not because I needed it?”
Bikky shook his head. “No.”
“I treated myself to a bunch of flowers from a street vendor. That was… two weeks ago, I think. I wanted something to cheer myself up after a really bad day at work. They cost me three dollars.”
Thinking of all the things he’d bought himself recently just because he wanted them made Bikky feel even worse than he already did. He remembered the way Ryo had smiled every time he looked at the flowers, but they’d only lasted a week before dying, and he’d had to throw them away.
Meanwhile, Bikky still had everything he’d bought, except for the candy and sodas, yet he’d read the comics once, had hardly looked at the cool stickers, and the model cars had just gotten thrown in with his others. He wasn’t even sure now which were the new ones. Ryo had to spend so much money every day on the things that were needed, but he hardly ever spent anything on himself. Mostly he seemed to buy things for Bikky, little treats to reward him when he did well at school, and all the stuff for his room.
“I’m a horrible person.” Bikky was close to tears.
Ryo crouched in front of him. “No you’re not, you’re just a kid, you’ve still got a lot to learn about the way the world works. I am going to let you buy your own lunch tomorrow, and if you want your allowance this week then you’ll have to do extra chores to earn it, but I won’t make you give up the rest of your savings. Now, dinner will be here soon so you’d better get washed up, and after dinner you can finish your homework. No playing with your friends tonight, understood?”
“Yes, Ryo.” Bikky supposed he was getting off lightly; no playing with his friends, and more chores, but he could do that, and he wouldn’t complain, because his punishment could have been so much worse.
As he went to put some of his savings from his piggy bank into his schoolbag ready for the next day, he decided that on his way home he was going to get Ryo a bunch of flowers. His foster father deserved to have things that make him happy, and he shouldn’t always have to buy them himself. Bikky owed Ryo so much for taking him in and giving him a home; it was time he did something to repay him.