Fandom: The OC
Word Count: 3670
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm making no money off of this.
A/N: My friend asked me today to write a post-finale, Ryan/Seth story. She wasn't picky about details. We were in the car for around six hours, so I wrote this in three. It's twenty hand-written pages, but I don't feel like typing the whole thing up right now, so I broke it up into five chapters. It's not too slashy yet, but it will be. Unbetaed. Characters not mine. Oh, and the title lies: it takes place over two days.
Seth watches out his window as Theresa drives Ryan away from his house. Away from his life. He wants to go back to his room before the car vanishes from view, but some masochistic part of him refuses to move until he sees that Ryan is really completely gone.
The car disappears and he cannot process the best thing that ever happened to him leaving forever. He hurries back ot his room before his parents can see him staring longingly after Ryan.
Seth throws himself on the bed and loses it. The tears flow steadily as images of Seth/Ryan time come flooding back. Seth kicking Ryan's ass at Gundam Wing. Seth and Ryan rescuing Aunt Hailey from the L.A. Seth waking up and finding Ryan sleeping at the foot of his bed after Theresa's first night in the poolhouse. Walking through school halls with Ryan, finally feeling like someone instead of the invisible, dorky nobody Seth always felt like before Ryan came. Of course, he's still the same dorky Seth, but somehow, around Ryan, he felt cool. No, not cool, but - accepted. Which is somehow so much better than being cool could ever be. Because, dude, it's Ryan, and around Ryan, Seth feels happy. The happiest he's ever been, really. Happier than Summer has ever made him.
Wait! Did he just think that? Seth doesn't know much about relationships, but he knows it's probably bad to be thinking something like that. It's kind of fruity, actually.
Seth realizes that when it comes to Ryan, he wouldn't mind being a little fruity. Maybe even more than a little.
He's thinking this when he hears a knock on his door.
"Seth? Can I come in?" It's Summer.
Oh, shit, Seth thinks, as he tries to block out all fruity thoughts and concentrate on the hot girl at his door. "Come in," he squeaks, hoping she will not figure out what he was just thinking.
She comes in holding out Princess Sparkles (A/N: Is it Sparkle or Sparkles?) like a peace offering. "I thought Captain Oats might like some company." She looks at his puffy face. "Have you been crying?"
"What?" Seth sputters. "No! What would give you that idea? I am so not crying over Ryan, because, dude, that would be completely minty, and Seth Cohen is so not minty. Just because I'm losing the best friend I've ever had and there are a few dirty tissues on my bed so does not mean I've been crying. Really, Summer. Why would you think that?"
She grabs his hand to shut him up. "You still have me."
Why doesn't that cheer him up? It should cheer him up. After all, Ryan's only his friend, but Summer's his girlfriend. His girlfriend! He should feel lucky and special around her, but all he feels right now is empty. And uncomfortable. "I know, Summer. But it's - I mean - Ryan's, well, Ryan, and I love you and all, but, dude, I still miss him." He can't keep the tears out of his voice this time. Summer's arms instantly surround him. He cries into her hair as she rubs his back. "It's okay, Seth. You'll still see him. Chino's only an hour away. It's not, like, China or something."
He is grateful for her words and her comfort, but suddenly on his bed in Summer's arms is the last place Seth wants to be. Guiltily, he pulls out of her hug. "Summer? I'm sorry. There's something I forgot to do, and, um, yeah, so, I'd better go. Thank you."
He leaves her sitting on his bed, stunned.
Seth walks down to the dock to look at the Summer Breeze one last time. For a long moment, he considers scrapping this plan and sailing away into the horizon, but decides against it. He doesn't want to give Ryan the satisfaction of actually putting that stupid map to use. Besides, he won't hurt his mother like that. She's already hurting enough.
So instead of escaping his pain, Seth sells his boat. He doesn't really want to do it, but it makes him feel less guilty, and it will help Ryan. Anything that will help Ryan makes Seth feel better.
He pockets the $600 and walks back home slowly, hoping Summer will be gone when he gets there.
No such luck. She's right where he left her, on his bed. Still holding Princess Sparkles. He takes a deep breath and wills himself to do this without being a jerk.
"Summer." She looks up. "Hey." Her voice is soft, and he feels bad about what he's about to do.
Seth sits down. "We need to talk." She just looks at him. "Um, okay, so I just don't think this is working. I mean, you know I love you and everything, but, see, the thing is, Summer, I think I'm in love with Ryan and I can't stop thinking about him and what it would be like to kiss him and... wow. You definitely didn't need to know that. Sorry. Anyway, this whole thing with us probably isn't a good idea because it's not right anymore, and I'm sorry and I still love you, but it's different, and, dude, I want Ryan."
She looks at him. "Seth Cohen." Oh, shit, he thinks. I'm really in for it now. "That might just be the hottest thing I have ever heard in my life."
"I'm sorry, see, I knew you would be upset, and -- wait. WHAT?"
He gapes at her. "I mean it. Of all of the ways you could have broken up with me, that was by far the hottest."
He's still having a hard time speaking. "You mean... you're not mad at me?"
"How could I be mad?" She says. "Besides, there's a gorgeous guy moving into Coop's old house next week. Maybe now I'll get to him first."
Oh, of course. That explains it. She's not mad because she's already go her next conquest lined up. Surprisingly, he's not even upset. At all.
"You should call him," Summer says.
"It's been over two hours. I'm sure he's there by now. You should call."
"Summer, I can't just call him. I don't know what to say. I'm sure he wouldn't want to hear from me anyway... Besides, even if I did want to call, I don't have Theresa's number."
"That's easy, Cohen," Summer snaps. "Tell him you love him and want to move to Massachusetts and get married and have lots of sex and babies. Well, if you want to adopt them, I guess. And stop being so damn insecure. Chino wants you just as much as you want him. I've seen the way he looks at you. And the way he stared at you when he decided to leave. It was so cute - it was like he was trying to drink you in so he could keep you with him. And, hello, phone books? Do you know Theresa's last name?"
Again, Seth's speechless. He stares at Summer, dumbfounded, amazed at everything coming out of her mouth. "Um, yeah, I do. Why didn't I think of that?"
"Duh, Cohen." Summer pats his head affectionately. "Because you're oblivious. But I love you anyway." She hands him his phone. He just looks at it. "Cohen. Hello. First you press the talk button, then you dial '411,' then you follow the prompts."
"Right," Seth says, embarrassed. He follows her directions. A minute later, Summer hears him gasp softly. "What?"
"No shit, Cohen."
"Hey, Theresa, this is Seth, how are you, I hope you're good, things are already majorly sucking around here but it's not your fault, and, yeah, do you think I could maybe talk to Ryan?"
She laughs. "Sure, Seth. Just a minute."
"Hello?" Wow, just the sound of that voice makes Seth's heart pound.
He begins shaking.
"Hello?" Then Seth remembers that he hasn't actually spoken yet. "Hey Ryan. It's me. Seth." He stutters. "I miss you."
Ryan sounds upset. "I miss you too."
"Really? Because I thought maybe it was just me, because, you know, of how I didn't say goodbye when you left, which was really stupid of me, and -"
"Why what? Why was it stupid, or why didn't I say goodbye?"
"Why didn't you say goodbye, Seth?" Ryan asks quietly. Seth feels like the Idiot of the Century. Or better yet, the Millennium. Why didn't he say goodbye?
"I was afraid to open my mouth," Seth admits. "I knew I'd ask you to stay, and I didn't want to do that to you." He is amazed to realize this is true as he says it. Summer hears the emotion in his voice and quietly leaves the room.
"I wish you had," Ryan whispers.
It certainly is a day of surprises. "What?"
"Yeah, I mean, I'm glad Theresa has someone to help her with the baby, and I'm going to love it to death, but," Ryan continues. "There's no Seth here."
Seth blinks. This is definitely not what he had expected. In a good way. "I miss you too," he whispers. "So much... I wish you were here." Then he shuts up so that he won't miss a single word Ryan says.
"Will you come visit me?" Ryan asks, so softly that Seth isn't sure if he's heard right.
"Tomorrow? If you're not busy? If you can get here?" Ryan sounds unsure, which is a first. It unsettles Seth.
"Okay, I'll see if I can get Dad to drive me," he says. "I'll call you tonight."
"All right," Ryan says. "Bye, Seth."
"Bye." Seth puts the phone down oh-so-gently.
Seth finds Summer sitting in the kitchen eating a bagel. She looks up when he comes in. "You know, this Jewish food stuff is actually pretty good."
"We're glad you like it, Summer," Seth responds sarcastically.
"So? What'd he say? What'd you say? Did you tell him?" She's suddenly excited.
"Not exactly," Seth says. "He wants to see me tomorrow."
"Tell him then." She is practically bouncing in her seat.
"Geez, Summer. Why weren't you ever this excited about us?"
"Shut it, Cohen. You broke up with me, remember? Inferiority complex kicking in again?"
Seth turns bright red and stares hard at the floor. "Anyway, I'm going to see if Dad can drive me to Chino tomorrow."
He can almost see a lightbulb light up above Summer's head. "I could drive you! Please, can I?"
"Okay," Seth says. "Why are you so enthusiastic about this, anyway?"
"I just think you and Chino would be adorable together," she says.
"O-kay," Seth says again. "I'd better at least tell Mom and Dad, though."
"I'll pick you up at ten," Summer says as her phone rings. "Hello? Daddy? What? Okay, I'll be right there." She turns to Seth. "Gotta go. Daddy wants me home. You can bring Princess Sparkles back in the morning."
"See you," Seth says.
"Later, Cohen." Summer sweeps out the door.
Damn, Seth thinks. That girl really knows how to make an exit.
Seth finds Kirsten in the poolhouse, sitting on Ryan's bed. Former bed. Ryan being gone takes some getting used to.
"Hey, Mom," he says. She looks up at him, tear streaks all over her face.
"Hi, Seth. What's up?"
"I'm going to see Ryan tomorrow," he says. "Can I?"
"Of course you can," Kirsten answers. "Please send my love. Tell him
Mom misses him and it's already not the same here without him."
"I will," Seth says. Wow, that's a weird thought. His mother is like Ryan's mother. But he's never really seen Ryan as a brother, so he supposes it's okay.
He skips back up to his room to tell Captain Oats that he's going to see Ryan tomorrow.
Seth is antsy all through dinner, thinking about talking to Ryan later that night.
"Be careful what you say to him," Sandy warns. "Don't get mad at him or beg him to come back. Ryan's just trying to do the right thing."
"I know, Dad," Seth says, exasperated.
"I know your mother's already given you a message for him, but please be sure to tell him Dad misses him too." Sandy tears up. Seth looks at Kirsten. She's also on the verge of tears.
Oh, man. Two crying parents in one day. Seth can't deal with it. "Guys? I'm full, so, uh, I'm going to go upstairs now, okay?"
"Okay," Kirsten says, so he clears his plate and goes back upstairs.
"Ryan, hey," Seth exclaims. "Summer's going to drive me there tomorrow at ten, well, I guess that would be eleven, okay?" He can feel Ryan pause.
"Yeah, dude, I mean, we broke up after you left today but we're still friends and she really wanted to drive me, for some reason, so..." Seth shrugs before realizing that Ryan can't see him.
Ryan breathes out. "Okay. I can't wait to see you."
"Yeah, man, me neither." Seth remembers the money, suddenly. "Oh! I've got something for you. Well, you and Theresa, really. I hope it'll help."
"Seth, you didn't have to -"
"I know, Ryan, but I wanted to, okay?"
Ryan sighs. "Okay."
"Hey, can you email Summer directions to your house? Her email address is firstname.lastname@example.org." He can hear Ryan digging around for a pen. Finally, Ryan says, "Yeah. Sure. I'll get right on it."
"Great." Seth grins. He has a feeling Ryan's grinning on the other end of the line.
"So I'll see you tomorrow, then."
"Yeah. Goodnight, Seth. Sleep well."
"You too. Goodnight, Ryan."
It's strange, sleeping in a house without Ryan for the first time in a year. Seth doesn't like it. He comforts himself with thoughts of seeing Ryan tomorrow, and finally drops off to sleep.
Knock. Knock. KNOCK!
“Seth! Summer’s here!”
“Yeah, yeah,” Seth mumbles, not wanting to get out of bed. “Five more minutes of sleep.” He rolls over.
“Cohen! We need to get on the road! NOW!”
Huh? On the road?
In a flash, Seth remembers why Summer is here. He is out of bed and dressed instantly. “Coming, Summer!”
“God, Cohen, what took you so long?” is the first thing Summer says when she sees him.
“You know, Summer, some of us need our beauty sleep.”
Summer smirks. “Right, Cohen. Let’s go. Bye, Mrs. Cohen,” she calls into the kitchen.
Kitchen. Food. Breakfast. Right. Breakfast would be good. Seth runs into the kitchen and grabs a bagel for the road. “Okay, I’m ready.”
She smiles. “Operation Tell Chino the Truth is about to begin.”
He groans and gets into her car. “You know, Summer, you’re beginning to sound like me.”
She smacks him. “Shut up! I am not!”
The directions Ryan emailed Summer are very clear, and they don’t hit any traffic, so they wind up and Ryan and Theresa’s door at eleven o’ clock sharp.
“Okay,” Summer says. “I’ll pick you up here in two hours. And you’d better have told him.” She glares at Seth before pinching him.
“OW! Okay, okay, I’ll tell him, Summer. No need to get violent.”
“Cohen, you haven’t seen violent yet. Just tell him, and you won’t have to.”
Seth rolls his eyes. “Bye, Summer.” He slams the door, and the car zips away.
“Seth!” Ryan is suddenly in front of him, and – Wow. Even though Seth saw Ryan only yesterday, Ryan got hotter since then, if that’s even possible. His hair is so golden and his eyes are this deep, deep blue that Seth never wants to look away from…
“Seth! Hello! Are you in there?”
“Wha – Sorry. Hey,” Seth stutters. He stutters a lot anyway (it’s a side effect of talking so fast), but being around Ryan makes him extra-stuttery. He wants to hug Ryan, but decides against it. That would definitely be a bad idea.
“Let’s walk,” Ryan says, and Seth falls into step with him.
“I have to tell you something,” Ryan says.
“Okay,” Seth squeaks. This sounds serious. Maybe Ryan found out the real reason Seth’s here and he’s going to tell Seth to go to hell. But that’s impossible. How would Ryan know?
“I think,” Ryan gulps. Seth realizes he’s nervous, too. What would make Ryan nervous? Seth has never seen him anything but calm and cool. “I’m in love with you, Seth. I just realized it yesterday, when I had to leave you and I just didn’t want to. I can’t picture my world without you, Seth,” he murmurs, and Seth is stunned. This is so not where he thought this was going. Not that he’s complaining. Nope. Definitely not complaining.
Ryan continues, “I almost kissed you yesterday. You looked so forlorn, and I wanted to make it all better. But you were so cold to me, and I just… couldn’t. I’m sorry if this is upsetting you. I needed you to know, and –”
“Shut up,” Seth whispers.
“What?” Ryan blinks.
“Shut up and let me kiss you.”
Ryan does. They turn to each other, drawn in as if by some magnetic force, and their lips come together. To Seth, it is pure magic. Nothing could possibly be more wonderful than this moment, with this boy. He moans into Ryan and opens his mouth to let the shorter boy in. Now he knows the meaning of the word bliss, he thinks, as Ryan’s tongue weaves around his and the rest of the world stops.
An hour and a half later, they begin walking back. Seth reaches over and grabs Ryan’s hand. The blond boy smiles up at him. Seth smiles back. So this is heaven. Who would have known?
Suddenly he remembers his parents. “Oh! Mom and Dad said to tell you that they miss you already. They specifically said to tell you it’s from ‘Mom and Dad.’”
A smile breaks across Ryan’s face. “Really?”
“I miss them too.”
“Then come home.”
Ryan looks at Seth intensely.
“Please. I can’t bear it there without you. You left us thinking about doing the right thing for Theresa and the baby, but what about the rest of us, Ryan? Huh? What are we supposed to do now? What am I supposed to do when Senior year starts and I’m alone again? You affected all of our lives, Ryan, and it’s unfair to think that you can just walk away and not worry about everyone you left behind. Mom was sitting on your bed, crying. Dude, I know Theresa needs you, but so do we. So do I. Please,” and now Seth is on the verge of tears, “Come home.”
Ryan keeps staring at Seth for a long minute, thinking it over. Finally, he says, “Okay.”
Seth jumps up and down like a little kid. “Really? Dude, this is the best day ever!”
Ryan is initially embarrassed, but Seth’s mood is so catching that it is hard not to be affected by it. Soon he is jumping up and down, too, not worrying about who sees them.
They go back to the house to get Ryan’s stuff and meet Summer. Ryan explains to Theresa that he needs to go back home to the Cohens. She hugs him and stoically accepts this news. She doesn’t even try to stop him.
If Summer is surprised when Ryan gets into her car with all of his stuff, she doesn’t show it.
“Hey, Chino. So Cohen told you?”
Ryan looks puzzled. “Told me what?” He looks at Seth quizzically.
Summer groans. “Cohen! You didn’t tell him?”
Seth smiles at Ryan again. “I didn’t have to. He told me first.”
“Aww!” Summer cries. She helps Ryan put his stuff in the trunk of her car. He climbs in the back with Seth, who says in a snooty British accent, “Take us home, chauffeur!” Summer hits him. “Ryan, did you see that? She just hit me!”
Ryan smiles. Seth and Summer’s camaraderie feels comfortable, like the breeze that’s currently blowing into his window. He leans back and closes his eyes.
Seth sees Ryan smile and grins at him. “Dude, home hasn’t felt right without you there.”
Ryan opens his eyes to look at Seth. Home. The word has never sounded better. Seth leans in and whispers, “I love you, too,” in his ear. Ryan grins. “I know.” He grabs Seth’s hand, never wanting to let go.
Seth forgets all about the money until a few days later, when he feels a wad of bills in his shorts pocket. “Fuck!” he exclaims. Ryan looks up.
“Remember how I said I had something for you guys?”
“Yeah…” Ryan has no idea where Seth’s going with this.
“Well, I thought you would need some money, so I sold the Summer Breeze right after you left. I was going to give you the money, but I forgot. I guess I could still send it to Theresa,” he muses.
The idea of Seth selling his beloved boat for him takes Ryan’s breath away. “You sold the Summer Breeze for me?”
“You needed the money, man. Anyway, don’t you know you’re far more important than a stupid boat?”
Wow. Seth just called his boat stupid. “I know how much you love that thing,” Ryan says. Seth looks at him. “Yeah, but I love you more.”
Ryan grabs his hand. “Well, you have me right here. This is ridiculous, Seth. Let’s go buy it back.” I hope they haven’t sold it to someone else yet.
Seth still looks doubtful. “What about Theresa?”
“I’m going to send her money as soon as I get a job. It’s really sweet of you to want to help, but Seth,” Ryan says, “this is too much.”
“Okay,” Seth grumbles, clearly relieved.
They head down to the dock, hand in hand. Thankfully, the Summer Breeze hasn’t been resold yet. So Seth buys it back eagerly, and he and Ryan head back to bed, to pick up where they left off.