Characters: Ryo, Dee.
Setting: After Like Like Love.
Summary: With Bikky away at college in L.A., Ryo is suffering a bit from separation anxiety.
Written Using: The tw100 prompt ‘Distant / Distance’.
Word Count: 968
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
Ryo was sitting at his desk, paperwork spread out in front of him, pen in hand, but he wasn’t seeing any of it, not the desk, or the filing cabinets, the grimy walls, or his colleagues, beavering away at their own desks. His eyes held a faraway look, as if he was somehow trying to see beyond his present surroundings to somewhere else entirely.
“Earth to Ryo,” Dee tried, but there was no response. “Hey!” Dee leaned across his desk and swatted his partner over the head with a convenient file folder. “You still in there, bud?”
“Huh?” Ryo blinked and stared across at his lover, frowning indignation. “What was that for?”
“You’ve been just sittin’ there starin’ into the distance for a good ten minutes. Was startin’ to think you’d fallen asleep with your eyes open.”
Ryo’s frown deepened. “I don’t sleep during work hours; that’s your trick.” It wasn’t entirely true, there’d been times he’d been so exhausted that despite trying to shake it off by drinking several cups of coffee he’d still nodded off at his desk, but that was rare. Unlike Dee, he didn’t snatch naps when he was supposed to be working. It was a matter of principle; he wasn’t being paid to sleep.
“So where were ya?”
The frown melted into confusion. “What d’you mean? I was right here.”
“Your body, yeah, but your mind? That was miles away. Let me guess; you were thinkin’ about the brat again.”
“I wish you wouldn’t call him that, Dee. He’s got a name,” Ryo huffed, annoyed.
“Sorry, force of habit. So, am I right? You were thinkin’ about Bikky?”
“I suppose. He’s so far away, practically at the other end of the country.” Bikky had left for college in California less than a week ago. “What if something happens to him and he needs me?”
Dee shrugged. “Then he’ll call ya, you’ll take some personal time, and you’ll catch the next flight to L.A., be there in a few hours. It’s not like he’s on another planet, or even the other side of the world.”
Ryo sighed. “You’re right, I know, I’m just…” Helplessly, he waved the hand holding the pen, unable to put what he was feeling into words.
“I get it, you’re his dad, you worry; it’s only natural. When I left home for the police academy, Mother insisted that I phone her every day, and then she’d grill me on whether I was eatin’ properly, brushin’ my teeth, and gettin’ enough sleep. That’s the kinda thing good parents do, ‘cause they care.” Dee knew Ryo was the same; he was fiercely protective of his foster son. “But despite everything I say about him, Bikky’s a smart kid with a good head on his shoulders, and he’s like that because of you. When ya took him in, he was a juvenile delinquent in the makin’, a few wrong choices away from windin’ up like his old man, but ya did such a great job of raisin’ him, now he’s at college on a full scholarship.”
Ryo smiled and shook his head. “I can’t take the credit for that; it wasn’t down to me. Bikky worked so hard, keeping his grades up, and never missing basketball practice… He put in hours of studying for his exams, did better than either of us thought he would.”
“You still taught him discipline, gave him the advice and support he needed to get where he is now. Without you he’d have never had a chance, and he knows it. Whatever happens from now on, no matter how much distance there is between you and wherever he is, you’re always gonna be his dad, and he knows you’ll always be there for him, no matter what. Now quit your worryin’. There’s work to do, and I’m not usually the one has to tell you that.”
“You’re right, I’m sorry.” Ryo ducked his head, turning his attention to his neglected paperwork.
Dee snorted. “Don’t apologise, you dope! You miss the kid; I’d be surprised if you didn’t, he’s been a big part of your life for the past eight years, but he’ll be fine and so will you. We’re still on for the weekend, right?”
Ryo looked up, startled. “Of course! Why wouldn’t we be?”
“Just checkin’. Once you move in with me, you won’t have so much time to worry ‘bout the kid. You’ll be too busy tryin’ to keep me in line.”
“I’ll have my work cut out for me there.” Ryo grinned across at his lover.
“Nothin’ you can’t handle. You already tamed Biks; now it’s my turn.”
“I don’t know about that. Bikky was easy, he was just a kid, but you’re set in your ways.”
“You and me both are, but that doesn’t mean we can’t change and adapt. I know I have since I met you.”
Ryo considered that. “Mm, I guess I have too.”
“Yeah, you’re more comfortable with who you are, not so uptight. Still an airhead though; some things never change.”
“Oh, thanks! And you’re still a hornball.”
“One of my finer qualities.” Dee grinned smugly and Ryo threw an eraser at him, bouncing it off his head.
“Hey, no fair!”
“Just getting revenge for you swatting me with that file.”
“’Kay, when ya put it like that, guess I had it comin’.” Dee smiled wryly. “This how it’s gonna be when ya move in?”
“Maybe. Depends on how difficult you are to train.”
“Just so ya know, I respond better to positive reinforcement than to punishment.”
Ryo smirked. Like he didn’t already know. “I’ll bear that in mind.”
“You do that.” Dee wasn’t worried; he and Ryo were meant to be. Whatever the future held he had no doubt their relationship was strong enough to go the distance.