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01 December 2010 @ 04:11 pm
Fic: Breathe (The Rewrite) - Chapter One  
Title: Breath (The Rewrite)
Author: Mara (missmara)
Fandom: The OC
Rating: Hard R.
Warnings: M/M Rape (Non-graphic), violence, suicidal thoughts, really harsh language.
Summary: This wasn't suppose to happen to guys like him, guys who everyone saw as tough. He should have been able to fight Volchak off, to get away. He should have gotten a beating, but not... not that.
Notes: So, this is actually a rewrite of an earlier fic that ran out of steam because I pretty much got rid of what could have been a major point of conflict at the end of the 1st chapter. So, after over 2 years of sitting there, now I'm rewriting it, and only keeping the first little bit (mostly) the same, the rest will be different.

I know some people liked the original, but honestly the reason it sat so long without being continued was the fact that I was at a loss for where to go with it. This one I'm fairly confident about my direction.


Breath - Chapter One

Ryan stumbled into the pool house's bathroom, his stomach churning, and dropped to his knees as it emptied into the toilet. When he stopped gagging, he sat back on his heels, taking a deep, gulping, breath, then leaning forward to vomit again as he caught a whiff of Volchak's sent, cigarettes and booze, on his own clothes and skin. This time, when he was able to straighten, he started yanking off his clothes, shoving them as far into the corner of the bathroom as he could before almost throwing himself into the shower and turning the hot water on full blast.

He started scrubbing, need to get the smell off of his body, needing to smell like himself again, without the immediate memories of what had happened. When the soap hit the base of Ryan's skull, it stung, and he carefully moved his fingers over the torn skin, feeling the knot that was still oozing blood. Ryan told himself that the only reason Volchak had managed to overpower him was that he'd been disoriented from the blow to the head, that he'd been barely conscious as the other man had... had...

Not so tough now, are you?

Ryan fought down the urge to vomit again and leaned against the wall, letting the scalding water wash over him as he let out an almost silent sob and slid down to sit on the floor of the shower. This wasn't suppose to happen to guys like him, guys who everyone saw as tough. He should have been able to fight Volchak off, to get away. He should have gotten a beating, but not... not that. He was 17, he had gotten into more fights than he could count, he'd even gotten Volchak to back down once before. But this time... this time he'd been stupid, trying to be the bigger man and walk away without getting into a fight.

Instead he'd wound up face down on the floor, too numb with pain and shock to struggle, his dress pants shoved down and his shirt and jacket hiked up, with Volchak's hands on his back and their bodies pressed together as Volchak shoved in, never stopping the string of insults.

Tighter than that bitch's pussy.

Marissa.

God, Marissa... what was he suppose to say to her? Yeah, he got the prom money back for Taylor, all it cost was getting fucking raped on the floor of that piss hole Volchak called a home.

With that thought, Ryan couldn't keep himself from gagging again and had to leap out of the shower, surprised there was anything left in his stomach to come up. When the nausea subsided, he crawled back to the shower, letting the water wash away the blood and the smell, wishing it could wash away the memories.

~~~

Some time later, when the water turned cold, Ryan pulled himself up off the floor and stepped out of the shower, staring at his bruised and battered reflection over the sink for a long moment, realizing that he would have to tell the Cohens something, because there were too many bruises on his face, neck, arms... He began to feel sick again as he realized just how many bruises there were, how obvious it would be that something other than a normal fight had happened.

"Ryan? Are you in there?" Kirsten called through the bathroom door.

"Yeah," Ryan replied, hearing the break in his voice.

"Are you okay?"

"Yeah," Ryan said. "Just tired."

"Are you sure? You don't sound..."

"Really, I just... I'm just really worn out."

"Okay," Kirsten finally acquiesced. "Get some sleep, okay?"

"Yeah, I'm going to bed as soon as I'm done," Ryan replied. "Can you do me a favor and close the blinds? I kinda want to sleep in tomorrow..."

"Sure, honey," Kirsten said. "I'll tell Seth that he's not to come out here until he sees the blinds go up," she added. "Sleep well."

"Thanks," Ryan replied. He waited, listening until he heard the door to the poolhouse open then close again, then opened the bathroom door enough to stick his head out and make sure she was gone and the shades were down. Once had confirmed both facts, he moved as quickly as he could, trying to ignore the aching pain that seemed to radiate out from his stomach, and grabbed clothes, sweatpants and a wifebeater, along with his old grey hoodie, the one that had been Trey's before it was his. It had been washed too many times to still smell of engine grease and marijuana smoke, like it once had, but it was still familiar, comforting.

He went to the doors, making sure they were all locked, then returned to his bed, burrowing under the covers and still feeling cold even though it was a warm evening. He closed his eyes, hoping for sleep to come, hoping it would relieve the pain and ease the disgust.

~~~

Sleep did come, but not for hours and it was a fitful one, each toss and turn shaking Ryan from his nightmares into a world of pain. It seemed to take forever before the sun began to come up, and Ryan realized that not only did sleep not provide a refuge, it had stolen the only time he had to come up with a story to tell the Cohens about the bruises. So, he lay staring at the ceiling, knowing that none of the excuses that came to mind would work, until there was a soft knock on the door.

"Ryan?" Kirsten called, trying to open the door. "Are you okay?"

Ryan sighed and sat up, getting up too quickly and stumbling as a sharp pain seemed to tear through his abdomen. He hadn't even realized he'd made a sound, let alone passed out, until suddenly he was opening his eyes to find paramedics hovering over him and Kirsten looking pale and shaky in Sandy's arms while Seth stood nearby, an expression of horror on his face. Ryan let out a pained gasp as one of the paramedics lightly pressed on his chest, presumably checking his ribs.

"Ryan, are you awake?" the female paramedic asked, leaning over his face and removing the oxygen mask so he could be heard.

"Hurts," Ryan gasped out, one hand weakly gesturing towards his chest.

"I'll bet, you're pretty banged up," the paramedic said. "We're taking you to the hospital, okay?"

"No... no hospital..." Ryan began.

"Yes, hospital," Sandy said firmly, lightly pushing Kirsten towards Seth so he could crouch down at Ryan's side. "Kid, you're hurt, you need to see a doctor."

"No..." Ryan mumbled as he began to lose consciousness. "They'll... Don't want..."

"He's not lucid enough to make the decision," the female paramedic said after a glance towards her partner. "We're taking him in," she continued as she moved the stretched closer.

"Can I ride with him?" Kirsten asked, stepping away from Seth. "I... I don't want him to be alone if he wakes up again."

"Sure," the male paramedic said.

~~~

He didn't wake up again until after the exam was over, but the treating doctor refused to discuss his injuries with the Cohens until she talked to Ryan. Once she had introduced herself to Ryan and then cleared the Cohens from the room, Dr. Sarah Julian took a seat next to the bed, clipboard in her lap.

"Besides the bruises and the fractured ribs, I think you know what I found," she said softly.

"Yeah," Ryan replied.

"Your family said they have no idea what happened, so I assume you want to keep this confidential."

"I don't want anyone to know," Ryan said. "I'm over 18, so they can't pull the guardians card, right?"

"Right," Sarah replied. "They were able to give consent for care because of the emergency, but they aren't entitled to any medical information."

Ryan nodded, wishing he felt relieved. "Am I..."

"Physically, I think you'll be okay. There's a lot of bruising, and we had to put in a few stitches..."

Ryan winced, knowing that none of the visible injuries had been bad enough for stitches. "Did you... run tests?"

"A full panel," Sarah said. "The results won't be back for a few days, though."

"Thank you."

Sarah was quiet for a long moment before she spoke again. "My professional advice is that you should tell your family and make an appointment with a counselor," she finally said. "They can't help you if they don't know what's wrong."

"I tried to fight, and I couldn't," Ryan whispered. "He smashed the back of my head with something, and... I couldn't focus..."

"It's not your fault," Sarah said. "It's not. The man who did this... he's a monster. And you need to file charges so he can be locked up for a long time."

"I don't want anyone to know," Ryan repeated.

Sarah said. "File assault charges, then. Leave out the rape, and file charges for the beating. It won't put him away for as long, but he'll still get locked up."

"I have a record, and a history of fighting... I attacked a kid in the school lounge a few years ago, I got expelled for punching the school Dean last fall," Ryan said. "All he has to say is that I started it, and he'll get a slap on the wrist."

"If you hadn't gotten medical treatment when you did, you could have died," Sarah said. "That's worth more than a slap on the wrist, even if you had started it."

"I just want to forget it ever happened."

"You can't do that," Sarah said. "Even if you don't press charges at all, you need to be careful, take it easy, let your body heal."

"I will."

"I'm going to give you a phone number," Sarah said, quickly writing it down and pressing it into his hand. "This is a friend of mine, she's a very good counselor, specializes in helping victims of sexual assault get past the trauma. I want you to promise me you'll at least think about calling her."

Ryan nodded, glancing at the slip of paper. "I'll think about it."

"That's all I ask," Sarah said. "You live with your family still, correct?"

"Yeah," Ryan said.

"There's a few instructions I'd like to go over with you and them together. Things like keeping an eye out for signs of brain trauma. We did an MRI, but there's always a slim chance that we missed something. Is that okay?"

"Yeah, as long as you don't mention... it."

"I promise, Doctor/Patient confidentiality means I can't."

"Okay."

~~~

Ryan slept more in the hospital, the painkillers and antibiotics making him drowsy, but each time he woke up a Cohen was there immediately, asking if he needed anything. When he woke up midway through his second day and Summer was there instead, he couldn't help a sense of relief that he wasn't immediately being crowded.

"Hey," he whispered harshly.

"Hey, Chino," Summer replied, putting down her magazine and pouring him a glass of water, then holding it steady until he could get a good grip on it. "How do you feel?"

"Tired, sore," Ryan replied. "Where's..."

"Talking to the police," Summer said. "Sandy and Kirsten are freaking out that someone did this to you."

"This?" Ryan questioned, for a moment terrified that they somehow knew.

"Beat you up? Put you in the hospital? Almost killed you?" Summer said. "Take your pick?"

"Right," Ryan said, nodding, as he pushed himself upright, wincing painfully. "I'm not really thinking too clearly," he added lamely.

"Yeah, well, concussions tend to have that effect," Summer said, helping him get settled comfortably. "You really scared us, Chino."

"I'm sorry," Ryan replied. "I didn't... I didn't think it was that bad."

"You should have told them you were hurt immediately and let them decide about how bad it was," Summer scolded sightly.

Ryan wanted to tell her to get out, leave him alone, but he knew it came from a place of worry, and instead simply nodded. "I know," he said. "Are they mad?"

"Not at you," Summer said. "I think the guy that did this better hope the cops get to him before Kirsten does, because she is in full on mother bear mode."

"Oh, good, your awake," Sandy said as he came in, followed by a police officer. "Detective Overman wanted to take your statement..."

"I..." Ryan began, not sure what to say. "I don't really remember much," he lied. "I don't even know if I knew the guy or not..."

"Anything you can tell me," Overman said. "Height, weight, build, skin color?"

"I... I really don't know," Ryan said, looking down and hoping neither Sandy or the detective would see through the lie. "He hit me on the back of my head, and I really... it's just a blur."

"Okay," Overman said. "If you do remember anything, your dad has my card. Just give me a call, even if it's three in the morning. I want to catch this guy before he hurts someone else."

"Okay," Ryan said softly, waiting until Sandy and the detective had left again before closing his eyes and leaning his head back against the pillows.

"Why are you lying to them?" Summer asked. "I know your tell, Chino, and you were lying."

"Summer, please..." Ryan begged.

Something is his voice must of struck a cord, because Summer nodded, reaching to cover one of his hands with her own. "Okay," she agreed.

~~~

"He's lying," Overman said to Sandy as soon as the door had closed between them and Ryan. "I'm not imagining that, am I?"

"No, you're not," Sandy said, rubbing a hand across his face.

"Why would he protect the son of a bitch that did that?" Overman asked.

"If it was his brother, he would," Sandy said. "Ryan was our foster son," he explained. "His biological brother is bad news, there's a history of violence between them, but if Trey's back and he did this... Ryan would protect him."

"I'll look into that," Overman said. "Is the last name on him Atwood, too?"

"Yeah," Sandy said. "I... I'd appreciate it if you didn't tell Ryan that you're looking for Trey as a suspect. Either way it'll upset him."

"I won't mention it unless he asks," Overman agreed. "Call me if you get anything out of him."

"Thank you," Sandy said, shaking the detective's hand before turning to watch Ryan and Summer through the window into the room. He could see the worry on the girl's face, and the defeated slump to Ryan's shoulders. He could also see that Ryan had a white knuckle grip on Summer's hand and the girl was taking it in stride, even though it must have been at the very least uncomfortable if not outright painful. With a sigh, Sandy braced himself and went back into the hospital room to talk to Ryan about when the doctors said he could go home.

To Be Continued...

I can tell you now that this will NOT be a Ryan/Summer fic in terms of romance. I'm leaning towards there not really being any real romance for Ryan in this fic, except maybe a hint of one far down the road, near the end. He might try, but he's a little too broken. That's one thing I dislike about how I wrote 'Heavily Broken', Ryan jumped into the relationship with Summer so quickly, and he probably wasn't ready for a relationship even as that story ended. So, in this one, Ryan may try to date but it won't really work...

BUT there will be a lot of Ryan&Summer friendship, because Ryan desperately needs that.
 
 
 
chrisearchrisear on December 2nd, 2010 02:17 am (UTC)
love it... love the kirsten/ryan interaction
zbyszko: Maddiezbyszko on December 2nd, 2010 03:28 am (UTC)
Am really liking your rewrite.
indigorayne: runningindigorayne on December 2nd, 2010 03:36 am (UTC)
I'm really looking forward to reading more. Love mama-bear Kirsten!
ihearttwojacksihearttwojacks on December 2nd, 2010 05:51 am (UTC)
I rally liked the original Breathe, but I like this one even better. Great job!
garnigalgarnigal on December 2nd, 2010 03:27 pm (UTC)
This is wonderful. I like that Summer is so supportive and I'm getting definite friend vibes, not romance, so you've got that nailed.
Maramissmara on December 2nd, 2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Good, because that really is all I intend for them in this fic... because god knows Ryan needs a friend who actually listens to him instead of making him listen... and who talks TO him instead of AT him... gee, you think I have issues with Seth's brand of 'friendship'? lol
(Anonymous) on February 19th, 2011 06:39 am (UTC)
This is interesting. :D