Characters: Ryo, Dee, Bikky.
Setting: Before the manga, and during Vol. 1.
Summary: Monsters are real, they just look like everybody else.
Word Count: 846
Written For: Challenge 321: Amnesty at fan_flashworks, using Challenge 85: Monsters.
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo knew he’d been lucky; throughout his early life he’d had loving parents who’d reassured him whenever necessary that monsters weren’t real. There was nothing nasty lurking under his bed or in the closet, nothing in the dark that wasn’t there in the light of day. Looking back, his childhood had been as close to idyllic as he could imagine; he’d always felt safe, protected, and loved. He was his parents’ only child, not by choice but by circumstance, so he’d never had to compete for their attention, and he’d never wanted for anything, or at least nothing important. There’d been toys he’d desperately wanted that he’d never been given, but it had taught him that no one could expect to have everything. That was just greedy.
Dee had a very different perspective on the world; he’d grown up knowing without a doubt that real monsters existed. They might not live under the bed or in the closet, but they were out there. He knew that from the kids who came to stay at Mother’s orphanage, kids whose parents had been cruelly taken from them, or who’d been monsters themselves. He’d learned early that people could look just like anybody else and yet still be monsters inside. Nevertheless, he’d been sure that Mother and Jess would protect him from the monsters of the world. Unlike a lot of the other kids, he had nothing and no one he needed to be afraid of. He was one of the fortunate ones; between Mother with her prayers and Jess with his gun and badge, the monsters of the world couldn’t touch him.
Or so he believed.
As he grew older, he encountered his share of monsters, and while they didn’t harm him directly, they did succeed in taking away people he loved. He lost one of his best friends because evil people coerced him into doing their bidding and then killed him. Then, while he was still reeling from that, he lost the closest thing he had to a father in a similar way, although it turned out that Jess wasn’t the paragon of virtue Dee had always believed him to be. Turned out evil could corrupt even decent people like Jess, and monsters were everywhere. They weren’t creatures like the ones in TV shows, but cruel men and women, and even kids. They were the criminals, drug dealers, and bullies, the ones who delighted in, and profited from, the misery of others.
Ryo had to face up to the reality of monsters when he chose to become a cop. Growing up he supposed he’d led a fairly sheltered existence. Like too many kids, he’d encountered bullies at school, but had always stood up to them; his karate training had helped with that because any bully who knew about it steered well clear of him, while those who didn’t know soon found out, and wisely left him alone after he demonstrated what he could do to them.
Then he’d lost his parents, violently gunned down for reasons he didn’t understand. It had affected him deeply, not just the loss itself but the sheer randomness of the act that had taken them from him, and yet he’d still dismissed the notion of monsters out of hand.
That had all changed when he’d put on the uniform and gone out on the streets of New York as an idealistic rookie cop. It had been quite an eye-opener, and he’d been shocked by how many monsters there were just in the small section of the city he and his more experienced partner were assigned to patrol. Drug dealers, pimps, muggers, pedophiles, abusive parents and spouses, murderers, rapists… the list went on and on. They may not have possessed horns or tails, multiple eyes or vicious fangs, but they were monsters nonetheless, and the worst part was that you could pass them on the street and never know.
It shocked him to realise how naïve he’d been, believing monsters were just fictional creatures, but that just made him more determined than ever to protect the innocent from the criminals who stalked the streets. After all, that was why he’d joined the NYPD in the first place.
Bikky had always understood about monsters; they were an unavoidable fact of life. He’d seen them all the time as he was growing up in rundown neighbourhoods and on the street, and he’d learned young how to protect himself from them. But he hadn’t been able to protect his mom when she’d gotten sick and died, or his dad when he was shot and killed. Tough as he’d made himself, Bikky was still just a little kid. The monsters weren’t gonna get him though, ‘cause he was street smart, quick-wited, and fast on his feet. Besides, now he had Ryo and the Perv looking out for him, and only an idiot would mess with them. They weren’t just cops, they were the good guys, the heroes who saved the day.
The way he figured it, maybe now it was the monsters who needed to be scared.