Fandom: The OC
Word Count: 470
Summary: The most essential things are often the things you have no control over.
Disclaimer: I don't own these characters and I'm making no money off of this.
A/N: For 15minuteficlets' Word 77 - essential.
In Newport it was essential to be somebody. Somebody who mattered. Summer, Marissa, Luke, Holly, they were all somebody. Seth was nobody. At least, until Ryan came and everything changed.
In Chino it was essential to survive. You fought for money for your house, for food. Even for drugs. Because sometimes the escape was necessary. It was a lesson Ryan, Trey, Arturo, Theresa and Eddie had all had to learn from day one.
In Pittsburgh it was essential to be yourself. It was a lesson Anna never had to learn, because she'd never known what it was like to be repressed. Self-expression was an art there, and she knew it. Had always known it.
In the Bronx it was essential to stay out of trouble. Even if your mother was gone all day and your father couldn't be bothered. Sandy learned to blend in with the crowd, to only get noticed for the good things. It wasn't easy.
In Portland it was essential to pretend that nothing got to you. You had to be easygoing and friendly, but know that you'd never become a big shot in a year and a half. Luke learned that he was on the bottom of the high school food chain, a position he'd never known. He learned how to be humble. He learned how to be invisible. How to be Seth.
In Riverside it was essential to marry and get out. That's what Julie had done. Why wasn't Marissa grateful for everything that she had never had as a child? Julie never understood it. Marissa took her life for granted because Julie never taught her otherwise. She wouldn't continue to make the same mistake with Kaitlin.
When Seth knocked on Luke's door at the beginning of the summer, Luke wanted to tell him that he understood, now, what it was like to not fit in. To be ostracized, bullied. To want the girl you'll never have, because the other kids have decided that you're not good enough for her.
But seeing Seth on his doorstep was too stunning, and Luke couldn't say anything. Instead, he silently motioned Seth inside, a gesture of acceptance that said, “I don't know what you're doing here, but you look like you need a friend.”
Seth did. Seth had learned, over the past year, that all of those Newport values weren't essential. Ryan was essential. Friendship was essential. Having someone who understood you and didn't mind your ramblings, who didn't have four plastic legs, was essential.
And now Seth had learned that sometimes even the essential things get taken away from you. So he rang Luke's doorbell and stepped inside when Luke held the door open, unafraid, for the first time, of what would happen next. Because the worst had already happened, and Seth had nothing left to fear.