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18 December 2016 @ 08:51 pm
24 Gifts Of 2016 - Day Eighteen - Finding Home (The OC/Queer As Folk)  
So, I've had this sitting on my hard drive since forever, and I sorta love it even though it's short. Michael and Ben from Queer As Folk are living in southern California and wind up becoming foster dads to Ryan. Enjoy!


Finding Home

"I think I have a foster child for you," Angela Parker said as she sat across from Michael and Ben Novotny-Bruckner in their living room. "I know you were hoping for a baby, or at least a toddler, but..."

"No, we want to help any kid who needs it," Ben said. "Our adoptive son was fifteen when we took him in."

"Which is why I think you might be the best option for Ryan," Angela said. "He's fourteen, and has had some pretty... bad experiences. Both biological parents are drug addicts, as are most of his mother's boyfriends. Ryan was at the very least physically abused in their homes, but there's some reason to believe he was molested as well. He's been in and out of foster care since he was an infant, and two of those situations later had allegations of sexual abuse, though Ryan denies any knowledge of it."

"Jesus," Ben muttered.

"It gets worse," Angela said. "For the last six months he was living with his mother and her boyfriend again. Last week, they were buying drugs from a dealer and offered Ryan as part of the payment. Luckily, the police were investigating the dealer and had an undercover officer present, and his superior chose to move on what they had and make the arrest before much could happen." Angela sighed. "Ryan is extrememly aphephobic. The idea of being touched, especially skin to skin contact, is terrifying for him. And actual skin to skin contact... he's described it as feeling like his skin was being burned, and the sensation is so strong that he will sometimes actually develoip welts and hives."

"That poor kid," Michael said.

"We put him in a placement the same night as the arrests, but unfortunately the foster parents were religious and that they could banish Ryan's 'demons' by a laying of hands."

Michael glanced at Ben, who nodded quickly, then back to Angela. "If you think we're the best option for him, then we'll do it. We'll take him."

"I really do," Angela said. "Ryan's a good kid. Smart, brilliant actually, if he put his mind to it he could probably test out of high school entirely. He just doesn't have the motivation when he's just trying to get through each day without a panic attack."

"Does he have problems with seeing other people touch?" Michael asked. "Because Ben and I tend to, you know, reach out to touch each other's arms while passing by, or give each other quick hug and kiss when saying either 'hi' or 'bye'."

"He doesn't," Angela assured him. "It's only people touching him that he has a problem with. So if you can avoid that..."

"Absolutely," Ben said.

~~~

"Here we are," Angela said as she pulled up in front of Michael and Ben's house. "They're a very nice couple. Been together for a decade, married for 7 years of that. They've been foster parents before, adopted the foster son, who's in college now..."

"Do they know..."

"They've been told that you don't like being touched..."

"Do they know it's more than a preference?" Ryan countered.

Angela sighed. "Yes, they do. With your... issues, I had to fill them in on everything so they'd know what they were getting into. I'm hoping to avoid moving you again anytime soon."

"Okay," Ryan said, watching as the door opened and two men stepped out, looking friendly but nervous.

"The taller one is Ben, he's a professor at UC Newport, the shorter one is Michael, he... writes a comic book."

"A comic book..." Ryan said slowly.

"Give them a chance," Angela scolded lightly. "They're nice."

Ryan nodded and slowly got out, grabbing his backpack and holding it against his chest like a shield.

"Michael, Ben, this is Ryan," Angela said cheerfully. "Ryan, this is Michael and Ben Novotny-Bruckner."

"It's nice to meet you, Ryan," Ben said with a smile.

"Welcome home," Michael added.

Ryan nodded slightly. "Thanks," he said. "You've got a nice home."

"And now so do you," Ben said.

The End