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FIC: A Willing Sacrifice Part 6

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…

“Ryan, you up yet?” Seth asked as he threw open the door to the pool house and ambled inside. The mass huddled underneath the blankets was a clear indication that Seth’s query was not awake. He reached out to touch Ryan’s shoulder, but memories flooded his mind of being thwacked with pillows and fists alike so he opted for another approach. “You can’t sleep the day away. We’ve got women to woo, jocks to punch… Well, you’ve got jocks to punch.” He moved around the room opening window blinds as he went. “Ryan, are you listening to me? Ryan?”

“What do you want, Seth?” The voice that emerged from underneath the pillows sounded perfectly alert and rather annoyed. Seth definitely wasn’t fond of Ryan’s new habit of staying in bed until well into the afternoon. It was seriously cutting into the infamous and much needed Seth/Ryan time.

“Didn’t you hear me? We’ve got women to – “

“I heard you, Seth. People on the east coast probably heard you,” Ryan interjected. He made no effort to push aside the blankets.

“So why aren’t you getting up? The girls will be here soon. You know how much Summer enjoys waiting.”

“I don’t feel like going anywhere.”

“That’s what you said yesterday,” Seth replied as he crossed his arms over his chest. Even though Ryan couldn’t see him, Seth hoped his death glare was seeping through the quilt. “Come on, you can’t hide out here. It’s not healthy. You’re going to become one of those creepy hermit guys like they have on the Discovery channel.”

“Go without me,” Ryan encouraged. “You’ll have more fun anyway.”

“What’s been up with you lately?” Seth asked. “Are you still upset about that shit that happened at the gas station? That was almost two weeks ago.”

Ryan apparently missed out on the grieving time schedule that was allowed for such events. He knew Seth didn’t mean anything by it. Hell, Seth rarely did. He was just one of those people that walked around with his foot permanently implanted in his mouth. Still, Ryan was extremely pleased that Seth appeared to be on his way to getting past what happened. Ryan made a special point to stick close to Seth until Seth bluntly pointed out that he didn’t need a babysitter.

“I’m not feeling good,” Ryan stated and an unsubtle coughing fit soon followed.

“You’re sick? Why didn’t you say something? You might have infected me!” Seth yelped as he backed up to the door. “You want me to get mom for you? I think she’s still home.”

“No,” Ryan said in a rush. “No, don’t bother her. I’ll be fine.” Kirsten had decided to work from home after everything happened so she could be close in case one of the boys needed something. The last thing Ryan wanted to do was bother her when she was trying to get something important done. He knew how vital her work was to her. She’d worked hard for her career, and Ryan would be damned if he was going to keep her from getting her job done.

“I’ll tell the girls you’re sick and keep them away. I can’t have you infecting all of us and possibly ruining what’s left of the summer.” He was going for humor, but Ryan saw only truth in his flippant remark. This was the second summer he’d managed to botch up which was quite an impressive record considering it was only his second summer in Newport.

“Tell Marissa I’ll call her.”

“Will do. See you later, Ryan.” The sound of the pool house door closing echoed across the room, and Ryan pushed the pillow off his face. Seth hadn’t bothered to close the blinds so warm light filtered across the bed. Despite the near constant ache in his muscles, the sunlight felt good and seemed to lift his spirits.

He found himself wondering if he should have agreed to go to the mall with Seth and the girls. It was becoming pretty obvious that he’d been avoiding them. If anything, they’d been good friends to him, better friends that he’d ever had before. They deserved more than his inconsistencies and depressing mood. One trip to the mall wouldn’t kill him. Yes, he could do that much for his friends and who knows? Maybe he’d have a good time too.

He reached over to grab the phone off the nightstand. He’d heard the telltale signs of a mustang drive away a couple of minutes ago which means they’d already left. He was sure Kirsten would let him borrow a car. They’d been encouraging him to leave the house lately. Apparently it wasn’t normal for a teenage boy to stay holed up in a pool house for five days. In Chino, he doubted absence would have been noticed. In fact, he’d been gone for well over three weeks and Dawn didn’t say a word when he came home except to ask if he managed to make some money while he was gone. Trey hadn’t been impressed with his antics, demanding to know where he’d been and promising to beat his head in should he ever disappear like that again without so much as a word or a note.

Trey. Times had changed. God, how they’d changed.

He pressed the phone to his ear to before dialing the Seth’s cell phone, but the sound of Sandy’s concerned voice caused him to freeze.

“I appreciate the call, Detective Riley. I’ll be sure to let Ryan know,” Sandy stated. Obviously Ryan’s intrusion hadn’t been noticed, and he couldn’t bring himself to hang up the phone.

“I figured he might want to know because Trey is going to be discharged into our custody tomorrow,” Detective Riley explained.

“Good riddance,” Sandy muttered.

“Well, I just wanted to pass the information along.”

“Yeah, thanks for calling.”

“Sure, and tell Ryan I said hello.”

The sounds of both phone hanging up echoed through the receiver and Ryan found soon found himself listening to incessant beeping of a dead phone line. He replaced the phone quietly, his brain now awash with questions and fears.

There was an endless stream of questions filtering through his mind as he showered. Trey was awake which obviously meant he’d recovered especially if he was going to be discharged tomorrow. Being discharged tomorrow meant he was immediately going to jail where he was going to be formally charged. He’d sit in jail and await trial. The trial would be short because of the video footage, and Ryan’s testimony would be required. He’d have to testify against his own fucking brother. Then Trey would go to back to prison for god only knows how long.

Ryan found himself wondering how long it would be before he saw his brother outside of a metal cage. Trey used to be the most important person in his life, but times have changed. Ryan had to change. The most important question, was he a better person because of it or just a traitor? Was he just a conman trying to make a cookie cutter life work?

He dressed quickly, his jeans hanging low on his hips and his shirt swallowing his torso. Pausing to glance in the mirror, he was pleased to see the bruises had nearly faded. You’d have to be paying close attention to notice the small discoloration on his cheek.

He found Sandy milling around the kitchen. “Hey,” Ryan said and raised a concerned eyebrow when Sandy started.

“Hey kid,” Sandy returned with a smile. “You surprised me.”

“Sorry.” They stared at each other for several seconds. Ryan was expecting for Sandy to launch into the debate listing all the reasons why he should go visit his brother. Sandy didn’t say a word and seemed content to study his coffee.

“So I was wondering if I could borrow the car,” Ryan began as he came to the realization that Sandy wasn’t going to tell him that Trey was awake. He wasn’t sure how he felt about that. Sure, he didn’t want to see him, but he thought he had a right to know Trey was awake and was going to be alright.

“Why?” Sandy asked, his voice becoming concerned.

“Seth and the girls went to the mall. I figured I’d catch up with them,” Ryan explained. “If that’s okay with you.” A lazy smile appeared on Sandy’s face and he tossed him the car keys that were lying on the counter.

“Sure thing, kid. I think that’s a great idea.”



He wasn’t sure how he ended up at the hospital. He didn’t remember driving there or parking the car in the garage. He didn’t remember walking to the reception desk or asking for Trey’s room. He wasn’t sure who pressed the button in the elevator to take him to the sixth floor where Trey’s room was.

He did, however, remember the nine police officers barking orders and demanding that the hospital be locked down because a potentially dangerous criminal had escaped.

Part 7


( 34 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 31st, 2008 12:18 am (UTC)
Nice installment, but *killer* cliffhanger there.

Great job, I can't wait to see how it all gets resolved!
Jan. 31st, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)
Thank you! I wasn't feeling very confident about this chapter. I'm glad you liked it. :)

If it makes you feel any better, I do have some idea where this story is going.

Thanks for the lovely review!
Jan. 31st, 2008 12:51 am (UTC)
Ah, interesting cliffhanger...thanks for updating.
need to sleep now - no time for a longer comment, sorry.
Jan. 31st, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
No worries. :) The fact that you're still reading this story makes me happy!
Jan. 31st, 2008 12:57 am (UTC)
Nice cliffhanger- looking forward to seeing what you have planned. : )
Jan. 31st, 2008 01:23 am (UTC)
Thanks! I've always been a fan of cliffhangers. lol I'm so glad you liked the update.
Jan. 31st, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
When you said you were updating "later this week," I guess you meant it, huh? And instead of being one of the last people to comment on this chapter, or the last, I may be among the first... Now, what was it you suggested I say for chapter 5? "This chapter doesn't suck?" Hmmm...

I love how well you capture so many of the trademarks of the very unequal, but predictable, Ryan/Seth relationship. So much of their familiar dynamic is on display before Ryan even responds verbally. Seth's lack of respect for boundaries (which maybe he doesn't even see as Ryan's since it's "his/the Cohens' property and home" even unconsciously) and singular focus on himself is so not a surprise. Once he got what he needed and was given the reassurance he had to hear, all was right in Seth's world. His is not one of responsibility, consideration or consequences. Those burdens belong to the people he depends on. And, while he shouldn't be able to ignore or deny that Ryan was much more physically and emotionally hurt and traumatized from the experience, he either discounts and minimizes that, or refuses to acknowledge the possibility.

Now that Seth, like a trusting child, has shifted the load to someone else or others, he wants Ryan to transition from protector and supporter to the on call companion he currently just "has" to have. And if Seth sees any indication that Ryan might be reeling from the violent encounter with Trey, there's no allowance for empathy. This isn't about Ryan. This about what Ryan is supposed to be doing for Seth. That trumps all else. Seth is such the generous friend!

Considering Ryan's tendency to take the weight of the world on his shoulders, it doesn't take much of the disappointed chastisement at his rare resistance to Seth to send Ryan spiraling into even more doubt, guilt and self-beratement. If it's not over not being Seth's constant companion and trusted protected, it's over what happened Trey and all that unleashes, or failing to insure that Seth isn't upset as a result. Now, what resonates most powerfully is the comment about Ryan "infecting everyone," which Ryan takes literally- and with much deeper implications. That one reference is so loaded for Ryan, who certainly sees himself as tainted, disruptive, and someone who is to blame as the cause of all the pain around him.

It seems as if none of the Cohens have made any progress with Ryan in the days following the crime. Seth is the way he is for multiple reasons, including parts nature and nurture. And if Kirsten worked from home, I'm guessing it wasn't to be a supportive presence to help Ryan heal, not based upon her single cool assessment before sending him to do her bidding as parental stand in with Seth when he was obviously in no condition. Another strike against the model guardian...

You have Ryan questioning so many of his motives and essential things about himself, which is so in character, but just so sad. He really has no model, no foundation, and no source for positive reinforcement that he can rely on. By bringing his background and all of baggage along for this ride, it really gets dicey and his sense of perspective is as skewed and shakey as his sense of self.

The scene with Sandy appears so simple, but you've incorporated some of their subtle circling and non-verbal communication very effectively. In addition, there's the information Sandy chooses to withhold, which has often been the case with him, usually with someone paying a fairly high price. At the very least, for Ryan, it compromises trust, no matter how he acquired his knowledge. There's always a sort of mood and rhythm to their interactions and this feels very real.

You leave us guessing just when Ryan becomes compelled to change course and go to the hosptial. You also leave us guessing about so much more. How long can the facility refuse patients and the admittance of necessary staff? How long will they search for Trey? What will Ryan tell Sandy when he calls to relay his whereabouts? Was Trey trying to avoid incarceration only, or was he going to even the score with Ryan- and then some before heading off on his great escape? Da-dum!


Jan. 31st, 2008 01:27 am (UTC)
Wow! It let you post the first time around! Amazing! :D Maybe our luck is changing for the better.

I didn't expect to finish the chapter tonight, but I ended up arriving at a natural stopping point and figured I'd run with it.

I actually feel bad for Seth. I think he's a true product of his environment, his upbringing as you've pointed out in your response. Not having a lot of experiences with friends, he just naturally assumes that the world, as it always has, will continue to revolve around Seth.

Yes, it does compromise trust, the fact that Sandy withheld that information. That's going to come up later. Why should Ryan share with them when it's obvious that they can't be bothered to be honest with him in kind. Sandy thinks he's doing the right thing, but Ryan isn't a typical child by any means.

I'm so glad you pointed out the infected line. I was hoping people would see the double meaning with that line. I should have figured that you'd pick up on it easily. You're a very intuitive reader. :)

As always, thank you for the kind, generous review. It means the world to me.
(no subject) - beachtree - Jan. 31st, 2008 01:47 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nightrider101 - Jan. 31st, 2008 02:57 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - beachtree - Jan. 31st, 2008 03:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Jan. 31st, 2008 01:50 am (UTC)
oops and oh f**k!!
Jan. 31st, 2008 02:50 am (UTC)
My thoughts exactly! :)
Jan. 31st, 2008 02:05 am (UTC)
Damn girl, you sure know how to spin a story. I'm glad you know where you're going with this and I'm glad I don't. I love all the surprises and cliffhangers. Thanks for another great update.
Jan. 31st, 2008 02:51 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! I do have an idea at least on the next two chapters. :) You've been so supportive since the beginning and I thank you for it.
Jan. 31st, 2008 04:50 am (UTC)
Nice twist---I didn't see this one coming.
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
YAY! It's always nice to catch people off guard. :)
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:01 am (UTC)
oo, cliffhanger!

and Seth with foot in mouth, that really made me smile:)
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:28 pm (UTC)
I think Seth has his foot permanently stuck in his mouth. I often suffer from a similar ailment! Thanks for the review. :)
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:31 am (UTC)
Great update and evil, evil, evil cliffhanger!
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
LOL Yeah, it was a pretty rough cliffhanger. I would apologize except I did it on purpose. ;) Thanks for taking the time to respond!
Jan. 31st, 2008 10:01 am (UTC)
That was unexpected, and just as things were settling down for our poor Ryan. Yay - more angst ahead! Thanks for the update :)
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:29 pm (UTC)
Another angst fan, I see. :) You're in good company, my friend!
Jan. 31st, 2008 02:03 pm (UTC)
I don't know how I missed this story, but I'm very gad to have found it! You've got me hooked.
Jan. 31st, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC)
Oh, welcome! It's always nice to have a new reader join in. Thanks for taking the time to let me know you're enjoying the story. :)
Feb. 1st, 2008 07:09 am (UTC)
great chapter, is Ryan going to be reallly sick?
Feb. 1st, 2008 07:14 am (UTC)
Thank you! As far as Ryan - nuclear meltdown will eventually ensue. It's inevitable!
(no subject) - chrisear - Feb. 16th, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - nightrider101 - Feb. 16th, 2008 08:30 pm (UTC) - Expand
Feb. 12th, 2008 03:30 pm (UTC)
I knew....I KNEW...that things would get worse before they got better! Ack. Talk about a cliff hanger.

This is going to sound odd...but I think my fav part about this chapter was how canon you got the part about Seth talking to Ryan about "getting over" the shooting because it had been 2 weeks ago.

Seth is ready to move on so in Seth's world....Ryan should be ready. Seth just can't see outside of himself long enough to realize that Ryan might need more time...especially given the role that Ryan played in the robbery versus Seth. It reminded me of when Trey was shot on the show....and Ryan was left to grieve on his own.

Looking forward to an update.
Feb. 18th, 2008 06:22 am (UTC)
hehehe The plight of an angsty story. Things always get worse before they get better. ;)

It reminded me of when Trey was shot on the show....and Ryan was left to grieve on his own.

God, that broke my heart. Ryan was left to do far too many things on his own. I suppose that's why we try to fix things using fanfic. I'm not sure what I'm fixing with this story. Actually, I'm probably just making things worse. ;)

Thanks for the kind review. It's always nice to hear your thoughts.
Feb. 21st, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Sorry for the very late comment.

This story is great!! Things can only get better!!!!!?. No!
After reading this cliffhanger,I think you should have a warning note......I can almost feel the impending DOOM and that things are going to get much,much worse.LOL

Loving it*nods*.. We want more!!.Don't leave us "cliffhanging" too long? That would be evil!!!! Yee.
Feb. 21st, 2008 09:26 pm (UTC)
No worries on the late feedback. It's never to late to respond!

hehehe We shall call this chapter Cliffhanger of Doom!!

Hopefully I'll be able to update soon. RL is going full tilt, but comments like this are very encouraging. Thanks again!
Feb. 22nd, 2008 12:06 am (UTC)
Heee!*blushes* You're welcome and greatly appreciated.Hugs
( 34 comments — Leave a comment )


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