Characters: Dee, Ryo, Bikky
Setting: Somewhere between the end of Vol. 4 and the beginning of Vol. 6, I think. Huh. Guess that would be Vol. 5 then….
Summary: Ryo’s gift to Bikky causes a minor disaster.
Word Count: 853
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
“I can’t believe you bought that house ape a chemistry set! What were you thinking?” Dee asked when they’d finally managed to put out the flames. He opened the window to let the smoke out and shoved the hair out of his eyes with one filthy hand, leaving a streak of soot behind.
“He was flunking science, I thought it might help. How was I to know this would happen?” Ryo waved his hand helplessly at the mess. “It said on the box that it was suitable for children!”
“Ryo, I know he looks like a kid, but trust me, it’s no good treating that little brat like other kids. He’s a trouble magnet, a disaster waiting to happen! You’re lucky we got off work early, otherwise you might not have a home.”
Smudged with smoke and soot, and looking thoroughly bewildered, Ryo sank down on the sofa and put his head in his hands.
“I just don’t understand how this could’ve happened! There wasn’t anything flammable included in the set; I checked!”
Dee sat beside him and patted him consolingly on the shoulder. “Don’t blame yourself, bud, it wasn’t your fault. Our little juvenile delinquent probably ‘borrowed’ some stuff from the school labs; you know what he’s like. Look on the bright side; at least nothing irreplaceable got destroyed. There’s a bit of smoke and water damage, but it’s only in here, and now you know the sprinkler system works. Okay, so your table looks a bit… black and crumbly, I think you might need to get a new one, but it could’ve been a lot worse.”
Ryo raised his head and smiled wanly at his partner. “I guess you’re right.”
“Or course I am! C’mon, cheer up; it’s not so bad. Bikky and I will help you clean up the mess. Isn’t that right?” Dee turned to glare at the open apartment door, where Bikky was just poking his head back in to see if it was safe to return yet. For a moment, Dee thought the boy would make a run for it, but instead he meekly stepped inside, hands jammed in his pockets, head bowed, and one sneaker scuffing at what had once been a polished floor.
“Yeah, okay, I’ll help. I’m really sorry, Ryo, I didn’t know that would happen or I wouldn’t have tried it.”
Ryo sighed heavily. “I know, Bikky. I think maybe we should forget about chemistry sets though. Some subjects are better suited to being studied in the school labs under proper supervision; it’s just safer for everyone that way.” He fixed the boy with a stern look. “I hope you’ve learned your lesson.”
Bikky nodded, eyes wide. “I have, honest! Are you mad at me?”
“Yes, but mostly I’m just glad no one got hurt.” Ryo pushed himself wearily to his feet. “Well, this mess won’t clean itself, we’d better get started. I’ll order pizza for dinner later; for some reason I don’t really feel much like cooking tonight.”
Much later, when everything was clean again, the pizza had been eaten and Bikky was in bed, Dee sat beside Ryo on the sofa, sipping coffee.
“I hope you’ve learned your lesson too.”
“Huh?” Ryo gave him a confused look.
“Don’t give the house ape educational toys, it’s just asking for trouble.”
“I guess it wasn’t one of my better ideas, was it?” Ryo smiled wryly. “It’s just… I just want Bikky to do well in school. A good education is important, I have to think about his future.”
“I know, but some kids just aren’t cut out for academic brilliance. He’ll find what he’s good at and he’ll be fine. You’re doin’ a great job with him. He’s lucky to have you, and he knows it.”
“The pep talk. How do you always know what to say?”
“It’s a gift.” Dee flashed his most dazzling smile, before turning serious again. “Besides, I didn’t tell you anything you don’t already know. Look, it’s late, I should be going; you’ve had enough excitement for one day. Get some rest, I’ll see you in the morning.” He stood up and picked up his jacket.
“Okay. Goodnight, Dee.”
As he closed the apartment door behind him, Dee sighed sadly; Ryo was wrong. If Dee always knew what to say, then why couldn’t he convince the man he loved that they belonged together? He knew he could make Ryo happy if he was just given the chance, but it looked like Bikky wasn’t the only one who just didn’t understand chemistry. Maybe he was a fool to keep hanging on when most of the time it was obvious that Ryo saw him only as a good friend and colleague, but every so often he’d see a brief flicker of some other emotion in those dark eyes; tenderness, affection, something that could almost be love, and it kept him hoping. Because if that tiny spark ever caught hold, it would start a blaze that neither one of them would ever be able to put out, and that would be worth any amount of waiting.