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03 September 2012 @ 05:52 pm
Fic: Take Me As I Am (Ryan/Summer; Heavily Broken Universe)  
So... yeah. Ryan/Summer ficlet. Takes place about 17 years after the 'Heavily Broken' ended, 13 years after Alone Again, Naturally, the Timestamp Meme Fic for the story, and it's helpful to at least reread that one, since several things from it are mentioned. HB ended very bittersweet in terms of R/S, with them broken up but with some hope for the future. AA,N was far more bitter, with revelations about Ryan being estranged from the Cohens, and Summer completely breaking his heart... and, yeah, Seth being dead of a drug overdose. This one, though, ends a lot more on the sweet spectrum.

A reminder before you click... Heavily Broken is the one where Ryan didn't call Sandy after getting kicked out by Dawn, and wound up spending six months as a hustler on the streets before being raped, at which point the Cohens got involved and took Ryan in, leading he and Summer to get involved. Near the end of the fic, Ryan was diagnosed HIV Positive, and he ended up breaking up with Summer. I know at least one person told me they couldn't take reading it (I'm spacing who now) because of Ryan's HIV status, so I wanted to make sure to warn that yes, Ryan is HIV Positive in this ficlet, but he is healthy and taking good care of himself at this point.



Ryan almost didn't go to his fifteen year high school reunion. He'd skipped the fifth and the tenth, not wanting to face the people and the town who had tried so hard to destroy him, and thinking the whole idea was ridiculous when most of them hadn't even left Newport. But now he could go back triumph. Yeah, he would always be the ex-hooker with HIV, but now he was also the architect who renovated buildings for New York's elite, and he had designed a half dozen vacation houses in the Hamptons. He had a loft apartment that he loved, and a had bought a place in the Hamptons a few years earlier at the urging of a friend and client. He was considered part of Manhattan's Elite, rubbings elbows with the Bass, Waldorf, and Van Der Woodsen-Humphrey families. He had plenty to be proud of, and he would rub it in their faces if they tried to make him feel bad about his past.

So, he went back to Newport, put on his best suit and tie, and walked into Harbor with his head held high. He was honestly surprised by how many people didn't seem to recognize him, but laughed when he was nearly tackled from behind by Holly and turned to give her a hug. "Long time no see," he said.

"Who's fault is that?" Holly asked.

"The girl who refuses to come to New York?" Ryan countered with a smile.

"The boy who never comes to California," Holly replied. "How's life treating you?"

"I made a list of top ten architects in the country," Ryan said.

"That's great!"

"Yeah, man, it is," Luke said as he and Taylor walked over, each taking a moment to give him a hug.

"Is there some sort of award, or..." Taylor asked.

"Just an article in an industry thing," Ryan said, shrugging.

"Can we get a copy for my scrap book?" Taylor asked.

"Sure, I'll send you one as soon as I get back," Ryan promised.

~~~

"Shit, is that Ryan Atwood?"

Summer didn't turn when she heard Chip's startled exclamation, part of her desperately hoping he was right, but the rest of her hoping he was wrong because she didn't want to face him after the last time they'd talked. She really didn't want to admit that her marriage had failed miserably because she'd still been hung up on him and Zach had been able to tell.

"I thought he'd died or something, since he never shows up," Hank whispered. "I mean, doesn't he have AIDs?"

"HIV, you moron," Summer said before finally turning to see that it was Ryan standing across the room talking to Holly, Taylor, and Luke, a smile on his face, looking healthier than he had the last time she saw him. It was like he felt her gaze before he looked up, catching her eye, and Summer offered him a smile and a brief wave. Ryan smiled in return and lifted his glass to her before turning back to the conversation, looking at pictures of Taylor and Luke's kids.

~~~

"You okay?" Holly asked when she saw who Ryan had just acknowledged.

"I'm fine," he said. "It's been like thirteen years, and I figured she'd be here. I just expected Zach to be glued to her side."

"You never told him?" Luke asked.

"We don't discuss her," Holly replied. "Summer and Zach split up a couple years ago. It was this huge... thing. She got blacklisted from a lot of parties that the Stevens' were going to be attending, then Caleb stepped in and insisted on inviting her to everything, and rumor has it, he had a talk with the Senator and the Mrs. about how the media would take it if he talked to them about how Summer was bullied into the marriage and then when it didn't work out she was treated horribly. After that, she was back on top within weeks."

"Huh," Ryan said, glancing back towards Summer again and catching her eye once more. he tilted his head towards the hallway and waited for her nod. "I'll be back," he said, leaving the others.

~~~

Summer wasn't sure what to expect when she joined Ryan in the hall, near the lockers. "Hey," she said.

"Hey," he replied.

"So... how are you?"

"I'm okay. Working, taking care of myself."

"Good."

"You?"

"Working, trying to pretend this town isn't full of liars and hypocrites."

"Same old, same old?"

"Pretty much."

"I... uh... I heard. About you and Zach."

"Yeah. We lasted almost a decade, then he accused me of being in love with someone else and had security escort me from our house."

"Ouch."

"Yeah. But I got the cool car in the divorce, so..."

"The car is the most important part," Ryan agreed. "But what do I know, I either take cabs or a limo if my client sends one."

"Ooh, clients send limos?" Summer teased. "You must be doing well."

"Pretty well. And really it's only one client that insists on sending a limo, and that's because he likes showing off."

Summer laughed, pleased when he joined her. "So... that taking care of yourself part..."

"I'm doing really good health-wise," Ryan told her. "Good doctors who pay attention to the little stuff. And I make enough money that if I get a cold, I can take time off to get medicine and get over it as quickly as possible before it becomes something worse."

"That's great."

"Especially since it lets me spend a week in my house in the Hamptons."

"Ryan Atwood, the punk from Chino, has a house in the Hamptons?" Summer asked.

"I was talked into it by a friend," Ryan admitted. "Who also happens to be the limo sending client. He found out that a neighbor was selling cheap because of money troubles and convinced me to buy it. It's a great place, though, right on the beach, room for a library, a studio, a home office... I've actually considered making that house my home and my loft into 'the place I stay when I have to be in the city', but... friends won't let me be a hermit."

Summer laughed again. "It sounds like New York has been really good to you."

"It has."

"So... anyone... special... in your life?"

"Lexie," Ryan said. "Keeps me warm at night, even though she steals the covers."

"Oh."

Ryan smiled and pulled out his wallet to open it and show her a picture. "That's Lexie," he said, showing her a golden retriever that had seemingly built itself a nest with Ryan's comforter.

"Oh!" Summer said. "She's gorgeous."

"Yeah, she is," Ryan agreed with a smile. "Funniest thing is seeing her with the cat, T-Rex is three months old and tiny, but bosses Lexie around like he's a lion or something. And she lets him."

"A dog and a cat?"

"Yeah. It gets kinda lonely sometimes, both in my loft and at the beach house. So... dogs and cats don't care if you've got a disease, or who you used to be. As long as you feed them and scratch them behind the ears and on the belly, and did I mention feed them? They love you forever."

"They're not the only ones."

"What?"

"It was you, Ryan. Zach realized I was still in love with you and always would be. That's why he kicked me out."

"Summer..." Ryan began, reaching to touch her arm.

"It's your fault, anyway," Summer said. "After the funeral, you said you never stopped loving me, and put it in my head, and... I never stopped loving you, either."

"I... I don't know what to say."

"Do you still love me? Even now? Even after everything I did?"

"I will always love you, Summer. I just... I'm not who I was even thirteen years ago. I'm... I'm not a scared, lonely, kid who doesn't know who he is. I'm the guy who goes to all the Upper East Side Parties, and has my business lunches at the Empire Hotel comped because I rebuilt the place after it burned down a couple years ago. I finally found who I am, not who everyone wants me to be."

"But... we're both single, right? Maybe... maybe it's fate. We both came here tonight, we locked eyes, we're both single, we still love each other."

"I just don't know if it's a good idea," Ryan said. "I don't want to end up being that scared kid again." He shook his head. "I'm gonna..." he said, gesturing back towards the reunion before leaving her alone.


~~~


It was a few weeks later that Summer got a call from Ryan. "Hey," she said.

"I got your number from Marissa," Ryan replied. "I... Look, I know what I said, but... I can't stop thinking about you, and I don't think I will until I admit that I don't want to lose my last chance. Our last chance. Have I?"

"No," Summer whispered. "You haven't."

"How would you like to spend part of the summer in the Hamptons? With me?"

"Really?"

"Yeah. We could... see where it goes."

"I'd like that."

"For the record, though, you will have to fight Lexie and T-Rex for any and all furniture sitting rights."

"I think I can handle that," Summer said.

"Okay. If you fly into New York, I can show you around my favorite places before we head out, if that sounds good?"

"Yeah, it does. I'll email you when I know details of date and flight number and all that."

"Okay, sounds good," Ryan said. "I... I do love you, Summer."

"I love you, too. And this... this is our second chance. I'm gonna do my best to make it work."

"Me, too."

The End

Yes, Ryan is friends with the Gossip Girl gang. Chuck is the client/friend who sends a limo to get Ryan when they have a meeting, and who convinced Ryan to buy a house in the Hamptons... Blair decorated his house in the Hamptons, against his wishes I might add, because he, and I quote "Has the taste of a street person" (and right after saying that she remembered that he WAS homeless for a while as a teenager, but thankfully Ryan was more amused than offended)...

There were a couple bits and pieces that didn't make it into the fic, like that Summer and Zach have two daughters, and Summer only gets them every other weekend and a couple weeks out of the summer. And Holly was one of the few who didn't turn on Summer after the divorce (they aren't best friends, but Holly was the only one who invited Summer to parties and didn't invite the Stevens'). And Caleb stood up for Summer because he knew that, despite everything, Ryan still cared about her and would want someone to do something. Ryan's cat is named 'T-Rex' because it acts all regal and dignified like a king ('Rex'), but then goes ont he 'attack' when it plays, so he he named it T-Rex.

 
 
 
steve_skisteve_ski on September 4th, 2012 01:41 am (UTC)
Nice epilogue ..... Would have been nice to see some Cohen interaction to see how that is..... BTW the link for your intermediate story is bad. Copy/paste of the first part gets me to a locked link
Maramissmara on September 4th, 2012 02:32 am (UTC)
Fixed the link... for some reason that keeps happening to me when i copy post links from the program I write in to LJ, and this time I forgot to fix it... I also unlocked the other one...
finleefinlee on September 4th, 2012 01:43 am (UTC)
Love it!
crossover_fancrossover_fan on September 4th, 2012 03:28 am (UTC)
This was a great one shot, but after reading what Heavily Broken was about, it sounds to sad to read. Although since you wrote it I'm sure it turned out really well.