One of Bikky's most treasured possessions is a jacket that's never fit him properly. It's the jacket Ryo was wearing when Carol leapt out of a third-story window; it's the jacket he handed to Bikky to drape around her.
Bikky borrowed it often after that day, sometimes falling asleep in it. He's now larger than Ryo-- the jacket's seams would split apart if he tried to put it on-- but on bad days, he buries his face in its folds. It reminds him of Ryo, face white with terror but arms outstretched, doing exactly what Carol had asked of him.
It's the day after his last final: Bikky's painting his apartment so that he can retrieve his security deposit before he returns to New York for the summer. As he slaps beige latex onto a wall, he thinks of his room in Ryo's old apartment. Ryo had never once commented on the graffiti: as long as it wasn't something he feared Bikky had stolen, Ryo hadn't fussed over Bikky's decorating choices.
Bikky smirks, remembering the term "hands-on parenting" from his Family Studies course. Ryo hadn't bothered much with rules or penalties, but those hundreds of bops from Ryo's fist? Owwie.
A while back, Bikky realized that Ryo is nowhere near as articulate as people tend to assume. Sure, he knows how to write and speak correct English, but Ryo is way more comfortable with actions than words.
Bikky doesn't actually know when Ryo started sleeping with Dee-- Ryo's never volunteered the information, just as Bikky's never confessed how he and Carol celebrated her 18th birthday. There was no need-- not after Ryo's window planter appeared in Bikky's room, filled to the brim with condoms.
Bikky remembers gaping at the sight. He cherishes the memory of Dee next to him, speechless.
Bikky hadn't originally planned on becoming a teacher and coach, but he'd started mulling over his alternatives long before he wrecked his knee his sophomore year. He'd received just the one offer from the one college; it didn't require any mathematical prowess to calculate his odds against the players who'd been wooed nationwide by multiple schools.
Still, he'd allowed himself to fantasize about playing overseas; it hurt to have to let that go. But it turns out he's a damn good coach: when his star players start getting their choice of scholarships, he knows he's where he's supposed to be.
As he watches his girlfriend sign autographs for his students after a kick-ass presentation, Bikky thinks of his long-treasured copy of Diana Spacey's signature and lip-print. By now, he's come to regard Diana as an honorary aunt: after Carol decided to become an FBI agent, Diana had started showing up for dinner at Ryo and Dee's on a regular basis. He's grateful to her not only for mentoring Carol, but for the way she teases Ryo and heckles Dee without mercy: it's her way of looking after them, and that it makes Bikky laugh himself sick is a happy bonus.
Bikky enjoys being an adult most of the time, but when Ryo and Dee are ambushed, and they both end up in intensive care, Bikky hates the fact that he can't let himself ditch his classes and practices and meetings and grading, even though the thought of either man dying makes him feel ten years old again. What he wants to do is to camp out at the hospital and make them promise they'll never leave him. What he actually does is to visit them every night, and then he goes home and makes himself a cup of hot chocolate.
A year later, as Ryo and Carol cook dinner, Dee and Diana sit in the living room, smoking and exchanging gossip while calling each other names like "Godzillarina" and "Sewer-squid." Diana's husband comes by for dessert, bringing a bottle of port. Bikky agrees that it tastes pretty nice, but when Diana accidentally splashes some across Ryo's hand, it resembles blood. Bikky hastily excuses himself from the table.
He's unsurprised when Dee joins him a minute later. "Stop worrying, kid. Ryo's not allowed to die."
"Neither are you," Bikky reminds Dee. "I'll smack the shit out of you if you forget."