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FIC: A Willing Sacrifice Part 4

FIC: A Willing Sacrifice
Author: Nightrider
Fandom: The OC
Disclaimer: I don’t own anything related to the OC. How sad for me!
Summary: Seth begins to doubt his friendship with Ryan.
A/N: This was written for Brandy’s 15 minute challenge. I was supposed to use a sentence prompt, but it didn’t fit with the story I wrote. It’s rather odd because the quote gave me the idea for the story, but later didn’t fit. Go figure…

This is not betaed. I make a ton of mistakes and they are all my own. Feel free to point the errors out and I'll gladly correct them.

And on a side note, the parental Cohens are a bunch of morons. :)




Part 4

The doorbell rang and Sandy answered it quickly. He had gotten Detective Riley’s call that morning and had been expecting him. Ryan seemed disinterested when Sandy informed him that the Detective was going to stopping by to speak with him about what happened.

Ryan’s only commented had been an offhanded, “I’m surprised it took him this long.” Sandy grasped the Detective’s hand firmly and motioned for him to come inside. They exchanged pleasantries and the Detective handed him a copied DVD.

“Here’s a copy of the security tape you asked for,” Riley stated.

“I’m sorry I haven’t had a chance to come down to the station,” Sandy replied apologetically as he set the DVD on the kitchen counter.

“It’s important for you to be with your family,” Riley returned easily. “How are Ryan and Seth doing?” The detective seemed genuinely concerned for both of the boys which pleased Sandy. He’s seen too many hardened cops over the years that had lost their compassion and were in bad need of a career change. It was refreshing to deal with someone that actually cared about the people they were working with.

“I’m concerned about Seth. He’s been wound up since it happened. Kirsten and I are thinking about having him talk to a professional,” Sandy explained as he absentmindedly ran his hand through his hair. Seth hadn’t been able to calm down and it was pretty obvious he hadn’t been sleeping. The most concerning new development was now Seth was tactfully avoiding Summer’s telephone calls. Summer had been the teenager’s world for years, and now he was avoiding her.

“And Ryan?”

“He’s actually doing well. I was expecting him to lock himself in the pool house, but he seems to be handling everything okay.”

“Mmm.” It wasn’t much of a response, but Sandy could tell the detective wasn’t convinced. Oh well. He just didn’t understand Ryan like they did.

Sandy glanced at the closed pool house door before asking, “Have you heard anything about Trey?”

“He’s still on a ventilator. They’re expecting him to recover though. He’s got a laundry list of charges waiting for him as soon as he wakes up. I’ve got two officers at the hospital at all times,” Riley explained.

“I wasn’t aware he was even out of jail,” Sandy mused quietly. It must have been awful for Ryan to have his first meeting with his brother as a free man to turn into a violent battle for his life.

“He got out about a week before he held up the gas station,” Riley returned as he set a recorder on the table and opened a blank notepad. “I’m surprised you didn’t know considering Ryan was the one that picked him up from prison.”

"What?” Sandy’s eyes opened in shock as he stared at the detective. Why in the world wouldn’t Ryan have told them? The realization suddenly hit him like a bad snow storm in New York. Ryan had been borrowing the car that week and was busy with secretive errands. Why the hell hadn’t the kid just told him the truth about what he was doing? He could have helped.

“You sure don’t know a lot about what goes on in your own house,” Riley responded flatly. Sandy, not one to ever back down, glared at the other man. Who the hell did this guy think he was?

“I’ll go get Ryan,” Sandy offered for a lack of anything better to say. He didn’t need some street cop telling him how to be a parent. Truth be told, Riley’s little snippet of information had caught him off guard and he was horribly embarrassed.

He knocked on the pool house door, and Ryan emerged seconds later. He nodded at Sandy and started towards the kitchen.

“I’m going to be with you the whole time,” Sandy reassured him quietly. Ryan glanced at him sideways and shrugged. Everyone knew he hated talking to cops, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t used to it or that he didn’t know how to handle himself. “Just tell him the truth.” What exactly did Sandy think he was going to tell him? The whole thing was captured on video. He couldn’t have lied if he wanted to. Ryan dropped in the chair across from the detective.

“Hi Ryan,” Riley said politely as he reached to shake the teenager’s hand.

“Hey.”

“You obviously know why I’m here so I won’t waste your time by going over it again. I’d like for you to start at the beginning and tell me what happened. If you need to take a break, just let me know. You’re not on trial here,” Riley explained. He already had a few ideas about this kid, and even after pulling his criminal history all of his instincts told him that Ryan wasn’t a criminal. Ryan seemed more a victim of circumstance. He also had a horrible feeling that if some things about this kid didn’t change, he wasn’t going to see eighteen.

“I’ll be fine,” Ryan confirmed as he folded his arms on the table and studied his swollen hands. The bandages had been removed yesterday and the skin was still split. Due to the level of damage, he knew it was going to take awhile to heal. He lost of how many times he’d seen his hands like this. Riley started the recorder and offered Ryan a reassuring smile.

“So tell me how you ended up at the convenience store?”

“My girl friend wanted a drink so she stopped there. I saw the Cohens’ SUV parked outside and the man with the gun through the windows. I went inside and tried to stop him.” Ryan kept his eyes glued to his battered hands as he vividly remembered the feeling of knowing that Seth was trapped inside that store. “The police came after that.” Ryan shrugged as he tried to recount any specific details that might be useful. He didn’t think there was a whole lot to say. “I suppose that’s it,” he concluded.

“You said you saw the man with the gun. Did you know who it was?”

“No,” Ryan clarified. He wasn’t sure why that would make any difference. He also wasn’t sure why Sandy was holding his breath. “I only saw him from behind. I didn’t know it was Trey until I was already in the store.” It was hard for him to say his brother’s name. Trey had been his world for years. He was probably the single reason why Ryan had survived his childhood. Ryan would have laughed at the irony because this was how he repaid the favor.

“What did you plan on doing when you went into the store?” Riley asked. Ryan found himself shrugging again.

“Don’t know,” he returned as he rubbed his thumb over a particularly bruised knuckle. He hadn’t really thought that far ahead. “Get Seth out.”

“From the video I gathered that you kept Trey’s attention focused on you. The gun was knocked from his hand when you both fell on the ground. You told Seth not to touch the gun. Why?”

It was all Sandy could to do keep breathing. He should have watched that damn video before this interview. He apparently should have done a lot of things. The idea of Seth holding a gun was just as bad as the idea of Ryan standing in front of one.

“Seth with a gun?” Ryan whispered with a dark laugh. Those were two things that should never go together. “He wouldn’t have known how to use it.” That was a simple enough answer Ryan decided. Did that imply that Ryan knew how to use a gun? That was another question that Sandy had no desire to think about. He was sure Kirsten wouldn’t care for the answer either.

“I doubt that was the whole reason,” Riley mused as he thoughtfully studied the teenager who had yet to lift his gaze from his hands. “It seems that if someone had pointed a gun at Trey he might have stopped.”

Sandy glared at the detective. Was this man actually insinuating that Seth should have grabbed the gun? “Are you suggesting…”

“Seth’s prints on the gun would have confused things,” Ryan interjected softly. Sandy’s mouth snapped closed as he stared at his foster son. “Seth didn’t need to be anymore involved than he already was.”

“Thank you for clarifying that, Ryan,” Riley responded with an even nod. Sandy felt his jaw tightened. The more he learned about what actually occurred at the convenience store, the more ill he felt.

“Will tell me why you didn’t wait for the police to show up?”

“They certainly weren’t breaking speed records,” Ryan muttered. He started picking at the healing skin around his last knuckle.

“There was a possibly that Trey could have taken the money and left,” Riley stated. He kept his eyes glued to Ryan as he waited for his response. He didn’t want to upset the kid, but he knew these questions had to be answered.

“Anything’s possible,” Ryan murmured. He winced as the skin he was picking at tore, and he started bleeding again. “Trey was high. I waited as long as I could.” He felt Sandy pat the top of his hand before pulling it underneath the table.

“You told Trey that there were things worse than death. Would you care to elaborate on that?”

“Ryan was upset,” Sandy interjected. “He probably didn’t even know what he was saying. I’d like you to get to the point, Detective.”

“Have you read my file?” Ryan asked curiously as he lifted his head and met the Detective’s gaze. “All of my files?” he clarified. He was talking about more than just his criminal history. He knew his lengthy child services file could be subpoenaed. Riley nodded as he found himself staring at intense, blue eyes. “Then you tell me. Do you think there are things worse than death?”

Riley held the teenager’s gaze for several seconds. He silently wished he had been the detective assigned to one of the many call outs to the Atwood residence. Maybe things wouldn’t have turned out like this for either of the Atwood brothers. Who knew how things might have turned out if there had been intervention early on?

“I think we’re done for today,” Riley stated as he turned the recorder off. “I appreciate your time, Ryan.” He nodded towards Sandy. “I’ll be in touch if I have any more questions.”

“I’ll show you out,” Sandy offered. He tried to smile at Ryan, but he was looking at a bent head that was once again studying his hands.

“So were you trying to prove a point?” Sandy asked as he opened the front door. He was struggling to keep his voice neutral.

“You were right. Ryan’s a good kid,” Riley responded as he started walking down the driveway. “I’d like him to see eighteen.”

“So would I,” Sandy murmured after the car engine roared to life. He shook his head and closed the door. He walked slowly back to the kitchen and tried to gather his thoughts. He knew he was going to have to go about this carefully.

“How are you doing, Ryan?” Sandy moved around the kitchen slowly and poured two cups of coffee.

Ryan’s gaze flicked towards him before resettling on the table. “Fine.”

“I’m going to be honest with you, kid. I need to know if you meant that. From the way Detective Riley was talking, it sounds like you were trying to kill yourself or that you didn’t care if you died.” Again, Ryan would have laughed at the irony. Still, he knew what to say to get out of this. People didn’t want to talk about child abuse, death, or anything that mattered. Especially people in Newport. He learned that after Oliver and after Theresa lost the baby. Sandy was probably just worried that he had a mental case on his hands.

“I only said that because I knew it would rattle Trey,” Ryan said as he met Sandy’s eyes. “I knew how to get under his skin.” Sandy smiled and reached out to pat Ryan’s hand.

“Glad to hear it, kid.”

People in Newport were so predictable.


Part 5

Comments

( 33 comments — Leave a comment )
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teachertam
Nov. 13th, 2007 02:51 am (UTC)
Oh, wow. They *are* a bunch of morons! Yikes.

Poor Ryan. I just want to hug him.

:)

Which means that I really loved this chapter, too. Thank you!
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 02:56 am (UTC)
I know! I was shocked by the extreme level of moron-ness I've been witnessing while writing this story. :)

Ryan... *sighs* He needs a hug. I'm sure he'll gladly accept one from you. :)

Thanks for responding! It's wonderful to hear from you.
(no subject) - teachertam - Nov. 13th, 2007 03:49 am (UTC) - Expand
fifimom
Nov. 13th, 2007 03:25 am (UTC)
This is great but I have to admit you are kind of scaring me. Remember the rule, please. Thanks so much for the update, so looking forward to more.
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:15 pm (UTC)
LOL I've been reminded of the rule. ;) Don't worry though. I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I just have to drag everyone through the mud first. :)
60schic
Nov. 13th, 2007 04:16 am (UTC)
“I’m surprised you didn’t know considering Ryan was the one that picked him up from prison.”....Whoa! Did you just see my head spin around? I love how you followed this up with this: “You sure don’t know a lot about what goes on in your own house,” Riley responded flatly. Sandy, not one to ever back down, glared at the other man. Who the hell did this guy think he was?...obviously someone more attuned to picking up on unspoken language. Or one who actually cares to notice such things, you big moron!

Sandy felt his jaw tightened. The more he learned about what actually occurred at the convenience store, the more ill he felt....you should go with that feeling Sandy, and add in clueless and negligent. To be so worried about a frenetic Seth who is always frenetic is one thing---but then why not worry about a silent Ryan?

People in Newport were so predictable....or more precisely, 'The Cohen Parents'

This keeps on getting better and better, nightrider!

nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:28 pm (UTC)
hehehe I love how you word things. ;) I can picture you yelling "You big moron" at your computer screen. I got a chuckle out of that.

Thanks for pointing out the fact that Ryan picked up Trey from prison. I was wondering if anyone was going to catch that.

LOL Yeah, the Cohen parents *are* predictable. Ryan told him what he wanted to hear and Sandy backed down. Moron... *sighs*

Thanks for the lovely feedback! It's always so nice to hear from you.
(no subject) - 60schic - Nov. 13th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nightrider101 - Nov. 13th, 2007 08:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
zbyszko
Nov. 13th, 2007 04:36 am (UTC)
I really like your Detective Riley. The Cohens continue to astound-so clueless...
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:29 pm (UTC)
I had a good time with Riley. :) I work, well, I *am* law enforcement so I've met quite a few good cops over the years. I figured I'd do the good ones some justice with this story since they usually get the short end of the stick. :) Thanks for the feedback!
fredsmith518
Nov. 13th, 2007 07:53 am (UTC)
Goodness that was tense.
Very much like the detective Riley, well rounded oc.
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:30 pm (UTC)
I seem to be getting good at tense. I'm going to write myself a big, fat PWP or something once these angst-fest stories are over. :)

Thanks for the compliment on Riley. Law enforcement often gets written in a bad light. It was fun to do something different with this story.
brassebouillon
Nov. 13th, 2007 09:01 am (UTC)
Like it, like it, like it!!
I'm a Sandy/Ryan's junky, but this is great; Sandy who wants to convince himself that Ryan's ok and who hasn't a clue about what's really going on with his foster son is really interesting!
Great update
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:31 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I promise Sandy will *eventually* come through... It just might be later rather than sooner... :)

Thank you for the lovely feedback!
caligirl59
Nov. 13th, 2007 09:31 am (UTC)
i never thought i would say this but Sandy is a moron.i hope he comes to his senses pretty quick smart. this story is just getting better and better.
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
Sandy is a work in progress... I'm not sure how I feel about anyone at the moment. :) Thanks for the feedback! I appreciate it.
beachtree
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:13 am (UTC)
So much for sleep. It's highly overrated, right?

Do we think that Sandy maybe is taking the hint from Det. Riley and Ryan and buying a clue that Ryan might have a tiny issue with complete lack of self-worth here? He might possibly be conditioned to see himself as living in the context of others and as being expendable? Brother or not, Trey would have, and could have done far worse. Again, the light bulb flashed on briefly, but seemed to be extinguished when again, Sandy got what he wanted and needed to hear and ran with it. The skull, it is thick. It makes me dread to think what it will take before Sandy does have the epiphany- or some capable adult does, and begins to act accordingly. How high a price is too much to pay?

Again you've shown us both the dichotomy and inconsistency with how the Cohens perceive and treat Ryan vs. Seth. If Ryan doesn't show them the same outward signs as Seth, they don't respond. Yes, they've raised on kid for sixteen years, but that doesn't mean that all kids are the same- all adults aren't. One would think they might grasp that even two kids from the same parents who spent their lives in the same environment exposed to the same people and things wouldn't be identical, or even too similar, so why would a kid from different parents and surroundings with a history of which they have little knowledge and in which they've shown little interest, be like their own child and respond as he does? Detective Riley can see what the Cohens choose not to.

I had to laugh at the detective's pronouncement that Ryan was not a "hardened criminal" despite his "rap sheet." We know Trey had "quite an impressive record," but Ryan would have had only a misdemeanor offense recorded as the under-licensed-driver-aged passenger and unwilling participant in Trey's latest escapade prior to the armed robbery. If that's Riley's idea of a "hardened criminal," then the residents of Newport really ought to be worried.

Riley does earn points for asking about both boys and for making a point of asking about Ryan when Sandy doesn't elaborate beyond his concern for Seth. He gets more for observing that Sandy is far from involved in Ryan's life without being so bold as to outright call him negligent- which is the case. The bonus comes when he emphasizes the gravity of the situation with his desire for Ryan to live to be eighteen. He's got a better handle on the dynamics at work than those legally entrusted with providing structure and care.

The interview is revealing in a more subtle way than the news about Trey's release. Ryan's reaction to Riley's presence isn't what Sandy reads it as and the detached, impersonal way Ryan retells the series of events, as if it happened to someone else, someone who doesn't matter, speaks volumes. He does emphasize the importance of Seth's protection, innocence and safety. Without stating it specifically, he makes it clear- although not to Sandy, apparently, just what his place and job is.

You end by reinforcing the responsibility, blendability and invisibility factors. Ryan has figured out that it's all about appearances, and adapting to the expectation that everything should be status quo and easily addressed in Newport. There's no room or time for anything else. If no one has the heart for unpleasant subjects or imperfections from the "real" residents, then he, as an outsider on questionable footing, has to be held to an even higher standard. And the game continues with this casualty hurt even deeper and isolated further... Ouch.

Thanks for the disturbing, but very engaging update. I'm not quite sure what to prepare for next...
smc36
Nov. 13th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
kill
me
now.
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:17 pm (UTC)
Hm... I'm not sure if that's good feedback or not. :) I suppose it's "The Cohen parents are complete idiots" feedback. Thanks for reading!
malinr
Nov. 13th, 2007 05:35 pm (UTC)
So totally clueless. "The Moron of the year award" goes to Sandy Cohen. Thanks for your fast update. Biting my fingernails while waiting for more. Hugs
nightrider101
Nov. 13th, 2007 08:18 pm (UTC)
YAY for Sandy! He won an award! *wink*

Thanks for the feedback. :) Hopefully I'll get a chance to update again soon.
indigorayne
Nov. 13th, 2007 10:23 pm (UTC)
Sandy is a putz. I like the Detective, though. :)
nightrider101
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:21 am (UTC)
Sandy definitely isn't in the running for any parent of the year awards. :) I'm glad you liked Riley. He was fun to write. Thanks for responding!
ryanforever
Nov. 14th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
Wow

This is so good.

I'm interested to see Sandy and Kirsten's reactions once they've seen the video.

Hopefully they will finally realize a few home truths about their preferential parenting.
nightrider101
Nov. 14th, 2007 01:22 am (UTC)
Thank you very much! I'm glad you're enjoying it. :) Sandy and Kirsten are in BAD need of some enlightenment. I'm praying for sooner rather than later, but no one ever listens to me. ;) Thanks for responding!
knightdawn
Nov. 18th, 2007 09:49 pm (UTC)
i really want to KICK the cohens right now...GREAT STORY!
nightrider101
Nov. 19th, 2007 01:56 am (UTC)
You might have to get in line to do that. ;) Thank you so much for responding!
jujuberry136
Nov. 26th, 2007 11:50 pm (UTC)
I just found this story through theOC_fiction community, and I'm so happy I did! Wow, I'm really loving your look at Ryan's relationship with the Cohens. Why must they be so dense? Seth's trying, but apparently not doing so well, hopefully Officer Riley will help the Cohens understand what's going on.

Great job, I can't wait to see what you come up with next!
nightrider101
Nov. 27th, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
YAY! Thank you for the lovely feedback. :) I'm so glad you're enjoying the story so far. Exploring Ryan and the Cohens has been a lot of fun. Of course the parental Cohens leave something to be desired... ;)
oc_gambit2
Dec. 3rd, 2007 05:45 am (UTC)
Just running through again to make sure I hadn't missed anything new.

It's still so good *applauds* with your intuitve detective doing all he can within the bounds of his role. And you've captured out-of-touch S3-4 Sandy to a tee. Which raises the question: was Kirstens ever in touch? Not so much. I personally like to write them both as at least trying to pay more attention than they ever did in canon, but this scenario is a sadly quite believable exploreation of Ryan's ability to be a chameleon and not to draw attention to himself. They made it so easy....

I'm struck at how in this fandom our ideas bounce around the community...and I suddenly see how reading this Ryan helped set the stage for me to be able to write about his S4 depression in 'Running'....though I didn't consciously realize it at the time. So, thanks! *grin* He's a wounded animal, indeed. Your references to his layers of scars imply chilling backstory. His guardedness comes across as an almost feral wariness when so carefully balancing his answers to Riley in front of Sandy.

I loved these sections of the interview: "“Seth with a gun?” Ryan whispered with a dark laugh. Those were two things that should never go together. “He wouldn’t have known how to use it.” That was a simple enough answer Ryan decided. Did that imply that Ryan knew how to use a gun? That was another question that Sandy had no desire to think about. “Seth’s prints on the gun would have confused things,” Ryan interjected softly. Sandy’s mouth snapped closed as he stared at his foster son....

“Thank you for clarifying that, Ryan,” Riley responded with an even nod....The more [Sandy] learned about what actually occurred at the convenience store, the more ill he felt....

“You told Trey that there were things worse than death. Would you care to elaborate on that?”

Sandy interjected. “[Ryan] probably didn’t even know what he was saying. I’d like you to get to the point, Detective.”

“Have you read my file?” Ryan asked curiously as he lifted his head and met the Detective’s gaze. “All of my files?” he clarified. He was talking about more than just his criminal history. He knew his lengthy child services file could be subpoenaed. Riley nodded as he found himself staring at intense, blue eyes. “Then you tell me. Do you think there are things worse than death?”

Riley held the teenager’s gaze for several seconds."


It was tough to tell if Sandy was in 'lawyer mode' protecting Ryan, or whether he was defending himself! For that matter, why is Sandy the lawyer shocked that a kid w/ Ryan's background knows about wanting to keep prints off the gun? [Heck, my suburban kid got that much off TV.] And I must wonder, not for the first time, how the Cohens got guardianship of a boy with an apparently lengthy social service history without having any apparent awareness of at least his general issues. Sandy, especially. And yours is even more clueless than in canon.

I've known a few good cops myself. Uh, personally, not 'professionally'. *smile* No wonder you write this so well. This crisis point gives you- and us- a new window on the Cohens+1, and I'm looking forward to future installments. I sense dark times ahead for our boy, whether from neglecting his injuries or the feelings and memories spurred by dealing with drugged up Trey. Or both. And of course, dealing with more-than-canon-oblivious Sandy and Kirsten....
nightrider101
Dec. 6th, 2007 07:59 pm (UTC)
Wow! You must have been taking lessons from beachtree because your feedback has left me speechless!

I think you gave me the ultimate flattery when you said this story allowed you to write your Ryan in Running. Trust me, if I get more stories like Running, I'll gladly write you whatever you wish! Seriously... Running was amazing!

Thanks for pointing out all the lines you liked. You captured some of my favorites in there as well especially the discussion over Ryan's file. Detective Rily is quickly becoming one of my favorite original characters. :)

There are definitely dark times ahead. Once I get finals out of the way, I'm planning on coming back to this story. Your wonderful feedback has only inspired me further! Thank you so much!
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