Characters: Dee, Ryo, Mother.
Setting: Vol 2, Act 6.
Summary: Dee and Ryo salvage what they can from the wreckage of Mother’s orphanage.
Word Count: 1029
Written For: Challenge 333: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge 286: Box.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“Do you think this will be enough?”
“Hm?” Ryo’s voice pulled Dee out of his gloomy thoughts. He dragged his attention back to the task at hand and looked at the stack of flat carboard boxes Ryo had collected. “I have no idea. Guess it depends on how much is salvageable.”
He felt cold inside; the kids at Mother’s orphanage had little enough they could call their own to start with, but after the bombing… He supposed he should be thankful all the kids had been outside playing when the bomb went off, that Mother herself had been the only person to be injured in the blast, but even though she was expected to make a full recovery, it was difficult to be thankful about anything. Recent events had hit him hard, and he wasn’t looking forward to what he needed to do now.
Ryo smiled sympathetically. “Well, I guess I can always scrounge up some more if we need them. Come on, we should get going; we have a lot to do.”
The orphanage had been made as structurally safe for the moment as possible, the damaged walls braced, and the worst of the debris cleared. They would still need to be careful, and wear hard hats, but the men who would be in charge of the building’s demolition had agreed to help Dee and Ryo salvage as much as possible before they finished the job the bomb had started.
Dee did his best to pull himself together. “You’re right, we’d best get this show on the road. The longer we wait, the more unstable the place is gonna get.” He slammed the rear door of the truck he’d rented and climbed up behind the wheel.
Ryo climbed in beside him, watching his partner with quiet concern. He hated seeing Dee so down. Not that he felt much better himself; he remembered only too clearly how devastating it had felt packing up his parents’ things after their deaths, leaving the place that had been his home. At least Mother was alive, that was a blessing, but Dee was still facing the loss of the home he’d grown up in, with all its memories, good and bad. This wasn’t going to be easy for him.
It was a grim little party who scoured the rubble downstairs before making their cautious way to the upper floors, packing everything they found into an assortment of cardboard boxes, wooden crates, and black bags. They’d have to sort everything out when they got to the orphanage’s new premises, wash the clothes and bedding, repair what they could, and throw out anything that was too damaged, but all that would have to wait. Right now, it was a case of grabbing anything that wasn’t nailed down, and doing so as fast as possible.
The demolition crew dealt with the furniture, carrying it out to the street. Dee wasn’t at all sure everything would fit in the truck, they might have to make several trips, but as long as it was all out on the sidewalk, ready and waiting, he figured they could manage well enough, although how much would get stolen before they could transport it was anybody’s guess. This wasn’t a particularly good neighbourhood; most of the people were poor and would see unattended furniture as a chance to improve their own living conditions.
Dee hesitated in the doorway of the room that had been Mother’s, suddenly feeling awkward at the thought of packing up her personal items. She wasn’t just his mother, she was a nun, and it seemed… almost sacrilegious to go through her closet. It was built into the room though, not free-standing, so he couldn’t simply move it with everything inside. But he couldn’t leave Mother’s belongings behind either, she was going to need them when she got out of the hospital, and packing them up was a task he couldn’t hand off to someone else. Having strangers handling her clothing would be even worse than if he did it, so he steeled himself and set to work, folding her spare habits into a bag, and trying not to look at her undergarments as he swept them off the shelves into another bag.
Right at the bottom on the closet, tucked away behind Mother’s sensible shoes, he found several old shoeboxes tied with string. The string on one had broken and overcome by curiosity, he peeked inside. It was full of photographs and childish drawings, wonky clay ashtrays, and other, less identifiable creations. All the things the kids in Mother’s care had made for her over the years, the things she must still cherish above all others to have kept them for so long. Tears burned his eyes when he pulled from right at the back a box simply labelled ‘Dee’.
‘My life here reduced to a shoebox,’ he thought. And yet, unlike most of the kids who’d passed through the orphanage’s doors, he’d never completely left; he kept coming back, the one kid Mother had never managed to get rid of. That brought a smile to his lips; looked like she was stuck with him. Dee scanned the pile of boxes, deciding he could use another pair of hands.
“Ryo?” he called out, hoping his partner was within earshot.
Almost immediately a familiar head poked in through the door. “Everything okay?
“I guess, but can ya give me a hand with takin’ this stuff out to the truck? Just be careful with the boxes; they’re special, all Mother’s mementos.”
“Sure. We can pack them in one of the crates for safety. I think there are still a couple of empties.”
“That would be great. Thanks, bud.”
“No problem.” Carefully picking up several of the boxes, Ryo left the room. Dee loaded himself up to follow, feeling a little better about the whole situation.
When she got out of the hospital, Mother would find all her most precious possessions tucked away safely in her new closet. Furniture, clothes, and toys could be replaced if necessary, but it was reassuring to think that even after the old building was gone, the memories that had been made here would live on.