Characters: Ryo, Bikky, Dee.
Setting: Early in the manga, Vol. 1 or 2.
Summary: Ryo comes home to find the apartment in a mess again.
Word Count: 1464
Written For: The dw100 prompt ‘Scattered’
Disclaimer: I don’t own FAKE, or the characters. They belong to the wonderful Sanami Matoh.
It was probably true to say that Ryo had always been a bit house-proud, keeping his home neat and tidy, a place for everything and everything in its place. Even as a boy he’d seldom left things lying around. The same definitely couldn’t be said for Bikky.
Coming home from school, he’d kick off his sneakers, drop his book bag on the floor somewhere, throw his coat at the hook on the wall, missing it more often than not, and head for the kitchen to grab a snack before starting his homework, usually leaving crumbs scattered everywhere.
When Ryo arrived home from work, he’d have to set the sneakers side-by-side, hang up Bikky’s coat, and clean up the crumbs. By this point the boy’s schoolbooks would be scattered all over the coffee table and floor while Bikky himself lay on the floor, chin in hands, watching TV and occasionally doing homework during the ad breaks.
As for Bikky’s bedroom… He had plenty of storage space for clothes, but drawers would get left half-open with everything inside jumbled up and random items of clothing hanging over the edge from where he’d dug around trying to find what he wanted. Pants and shirts would end up on the floor of the closet while a row of empty hangers graced the rail above them. Ryo was often hard pressed to figure out which of Bikky’s clothes were clean and which needed washing, and as if that weren’t bad enough, toys and games always seemed to be strewn everywhere.
Today was no exception; Ryo let himself in, moving carefully, and stopped dead, just staring in dismay at the chaos surrounding him. He was starting to despair of every being able to keep his home tidy again.
“Bikky, do you always have to leave such a mess everywhere?” he asked wearily. It had been a tough day at work and the last thing he needed was to find a pile of housework waiting for him now he was home, but it seemed that was what he’d got.
“Huh?” Bikky asked, not looking away from the cartoon he was watching.
Walking across the room, Ryo turned off the TV.
“What did you do that for?” Bikky complained, looking up at his foster father indignantly. “I was watching that!”
“Have you seen this mess?” Ryo asked him. “Everywhere was tidy when I left for work this morning and now look at the place.” Cushions on the floor, crockery underneath the coffee table… At least that meant Bikky had remembered to use a plate for once, not that it had kept crumbs from escaping… “No more TV until you’ve cleared all this up.”
“But I’m doing my homework!”
“That’s not what it looked like to me. I’m going to get changed and start dinner; I want the living room clean and tidy by the time it’s ready. You can finish your homework after we eat.” Ryo turned his back and headed for his bedroom.
“This is so unfair!” Bikky grumbled. “Why do I have to do it all?”
“Because you’re the one who made the mess. It’s about time you learned to clean up after yourself. I just got off a tough eight-hour shift and I’m tired. Is it too much to ask you to help out a bit?”
“I suppose not.” Reluctantly, Bikky started putting the room to rights. He hadn’t got far when there was a knock on the door. Opening it, he found Dee standing out in the hallway. “Oh, it’s you. What d’you want?”
“Is Ryo home yet?”
“What’s it to you?”
“Just wanted to make sure he’s okay after what happened today.”
Bikky frowned. “What’re you talking about?” He was starting to get a bit worried.
“He’s had a rough day, a suspect resisted arrest and took a swing at him with a baseball bat. His ribs aren’t broken, just badly bruised, but it’s gonna hurt like hell for a while. So where is he?”
“In his room, changing.” Bikky left Dee at the door and went back to tidying up, this time putting some effort into it. Dee shrugged and stepped inside, closing the door behind him and making his way across the living room to Ryo’s bedroom. Knocking on the door, he entered without waiting for an invitation and found his work partner struggling to get a t-shirt over his head.
“Idiot,” he accused. “Even if you do by some miracle manage to get that on, how d’you think you’ll get it off again?” He tugged it all the way off and tossed it on the bed, turning Ryo slightly and wincing at the ugly purple, red and black bruises marring the pale skin over the left side of his ribs. “Sheesh, what a mess. Here, put this on.” He pulled a casual shirt from Ryo’s closet and helped him into it. “Should be a bit easier than a t-shirt to take off later. How’re ya doin’?”
“I’ll be okay, as long as I don’t have to life anything heavy.”
“Why didn’t ya tell the kid what happened?” Dee folded his arms across his chest and glared at Ryo, who suddenly looked alarmed.
“You didn’t tell him, did you?”
Ryo sighed heavily. “I didn’t want him to know.”
“You really think he wouldn’t have noticed something?”
“I figured if he asked I could get away with saying I pulled a muscle or something.”
“Yeah, right. Like that would work. Look at ya, you can hardly move. How’d you even get back here? Don’t tell me you took the subway.”
Ryo shook his head. “I’m not that much of an idiot. I took a taxi. I was doing okay, but I think the local they gave me at the hospital is wearing off.”
“They give you any painkillers?”
“I’ve got a prescription, but there was a queue a mile long at the hospital pharmacy and I needed to get home for Bikky.”
“Gimme.” Dee held out his hand. “I’ll pick them up for ya.”
“I can do it myself later.”
“Ryo, so help me…”
“Okay, fine. Here.” Ryo got the prescription from his jacket pocket and handed it over.
“Right, now you’re gonna take it easy and I’ll be back in a bit. I’ll pick up takeaway for dinner on my way back; last thing you need is to be movin’ heavy pans around tryin’ to cook.” Dee was out the door before Ryo could draw breath to argue.
Out in the living room, Bikky had just about finished sorting out the mess he’d made, and was sweeping up the last of the crumbs from the bare boards of the floor. “Is Ryo okay?”
“Mostly just tired and sore. I’m gonna pick up painkillers and something for dinner. Any preference?”
“Ryo will probably kill me, but okay.” Dee left, taking Ryo’s keys with him so he could get back in without making his partner get up.
When Ryo emerged from his bedroom, the living room was almost as tidy as it had been when he’d left for work that morning. “Well done, Bikky, you’ve done a really good job.”
“Why didn’t you tell me you were hurt?”
“I probably should have, but I didn’t want to worry you. I’m fine, Bikky, just a bit bruised, that’s all.”
“Ryo? I’m sorry about being so untidy, I just never thought about… y’know, you working and then coming home to more work. It’s just, things get messy and then when I get up in the morning everything’s tidy again. I guess that means you must stay up late putting things straight.”
“Sometimes, yes. Or if I’m on a late shift I’ll clean after you go to school, before I go to work.”
“That can’t leave much time for having fun.”
“No, I suppose it doesn’t, but I guess that’s part of being grown up.”
“I’ll try to be tidier and help more in future, I promise.”
“Thank you, Bikky, I’d appreciate that.”
“But I want you to promise something too. If you get hurt again, tell me, don’t try to pretend you’re okay when you’re not. Deal?”
Ryo smiled at the boy. “Alright, deal.”
“Good. Now go sit down and I’ll get you a cup of tea, then I’d better finish my homework before Dee gets back. Oh, and we’re having pizza for dinner, hope that’s okay. Dee said you’d probably kill him.”
Ryo chuckled. “Maybe not this time; pizza sounds pretty good to me.”
Sinking down onto the sofa, Ryo leaned back against the cushions and closed his eyes. For the last few years, he’d grown used to taking care of himself and everything else without help from anyone; now maybe it was time he realised he no longer had to, because he wasn’t alone anymore.