Fandom: The OC
Disclaimer: I own nothing related to The OC. How sad for me!
Beta: Nope! Feel free to point out any glaring errors and I'll gladly fix them.
Summary: Ryan needs some encouragement. Naturally Sandy is the best man for the job.
A/N: teachertam wanted someone to play with this idea so this story is dedicated to her. I hope you like it. I have a large, angst-fest story planned for this idea, but I needed something light hearted. Hopefully one day I'll get to it!
This is pretty short, but at least I've written something! That counts, right?
‘We’re cut from the same deck’. How many times had he repeated that sentence in his mind? How many times had he sought comfort in the idea that Sandy saw something in him that he couldn’t see? How many times had he prayed to a God he doubt existed that hopefully there was a chance that it might be true?
He trusted Sandy. He prided himself on his street smarts and definitely didn’t make a habit out of trusting just anyone, but the second Sandy rolled up in his fancy BMW to save a kid he barely knew from being homeless, Ryan knew he was sold. He tried to keep his distance, to feign aloofness, but Sandy managed to cut through his barriers quickly and effectively. He knew Sandy didn’t see it, it was probably better that way, but he’d follow that man to the end of the earth if he asked him to.
Trey had tried to each him to trust no one, to never put himself out there because sooner or later everyone lets you down, and up to this point everyone had. His parents ingrained that lesson in him, not by words but by actions. It’s true what they say; actions do speak louder than words. His so-called parents actions spoke volumes.
Sandy was different. Sandy was better than that. He was a man that went against everything Ryan had seen in his young life. He was funny, caring, and had a passion for protecting the underdog which was something Ryan respected and admired. He had invited Ryan, a complete stranger, into his house with his wonderful family. He had given him a roof over his head, fancy clothes, and a chance at a real future. A real future…
That was something Ryan had never imagined for himself. What was the point of even dreaming about it? College was always out of the question for him. People from Chino didn’t go to college. People from Chino didn’t dream about the future. Staying out of jail and figuring out where he was going to get his next meal was as far as he dared to think ahead.
“Whoa, there’s smoke coming out of your ears,” Sandy commented as he made his presence known. He had been leaning against the door watching Ryan for the last five minutes. It was obvious the kid was deep in thought, and if the classic deer in the headlights glance he got was any indication, he’d just interrupted him mid-brood. “Solving life’s major issues?” he asked conversationally as he plopped on the couch next to Ryan.
“What were you thinking about?” Sandy asked after it became evident that Ryan wasn’t going to elaborate. He didn’t make a habit out of pressuring the normally quiet teenager into talking, but he decided that sometimes ends justified the means. He had learned early on that if he didn’t ask, didn’t provide a little parental pressure, Ryan wouldn’t offer anything freely. It definitely wasn’t malicious. He figured this was the first time Ryan was around people that actually cared to hear what he was thinking.
“Did you mean it?” Ryan asked suddenly, blue eyes rising to meet his gaze.
“Did I mean what?” He racked his mind trying to think of something he might have said that could have upset the teenager. Seth was always so much easier to read. If his other son had a problem, he came right out and said it. Ryan preferred to dwell on it, mull it around in his mind, and if he brought it up at all, it was usually several months after the fact.
“Did you mean it when you said that we’re cut from the same deck?” The sincerity of Ryan’s words was evident in his tone, and Sandy didn’t take it lightly. If the kid was willingly discussing this with him, it was obvious it had been on his mind for awhile. The open question brought up another issue. Ryan cared about what Sandy thought. It was flattering, and it was a great responsibility.
“Of course I meant it, kid. We’ve got similar backgrounds. You know about my father and how he treated us. You know that I left home when I was sixteen and tried to make a life for myself.” Sandy tried to gauge Ryan’s reactions, to see if his words were somehow soothing the hidden fears. True to form, Ryan showed no outward signs of even hearing him, except for lowering his head and studying the carpet.
“What brought this on?” he asked curiously. He said that to Ryan months ago. He didn’t seem bothered by it then.
“Nothing,” Ryan said quickly as he pressed the flat of his hands against his jeans and stood up. “I’ve got some studying to do.” He offered a flippant smile, the one that he uses when he’s trying to act like he’s okay. Sandy learned quickly to recognize that smile, because it never reached his eyes. Ryan’s smile could light up a room; however this smile, the smile that spoke of a child desperately trying to hide his true feelings, made him want to cry.
“You’re going to be just fine,” Sandy stated as if he was speaking the absolute truth. Ryan paused in the doorway, slight tremors coursing through his muscular shoulders. “Trust me, Ryan. Even if you can’t see it, I do. You are going to be just fine,” he repeated in a voice that left no room for argument. If he was a gambling man, he’d put all of his money on Ryan. The kid was a sure bet. Ryan, if anyone, a kid who was loyal to a fault and had a heart of gold despite all the adversity he faced, was going to be just fine.
Ryan pivoted on his left foot, his gaze meeting Sandy’s across the room, and he smiled…his smile. For a second Sandy got to rejoice in the small victory.
That smile was worth it every time.