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31 January 2010 @ 11:41 pm
The Truth Hurts - 7  
After two years... it's back!

Title: The Truth Hurts - 7
Author: Mara
Rating: PG-15
Warnings: God... mentions of violence, nothing too bad.
Summary: It's not the best result, but it could be so much worse... Kaitlin's POV
Notes: An AU to 'The Truth'. It's been over 2 years, but I recently reread the old chapters and decided to add a new one. Last chapter was Ryan's POV, and ended with Kaitlin coming to see him and telling him what had happened to Marissa, and them comforting each other. This one is Kaitlin's take on things, from before the shooting up until the 'present'. It fudges a few things (In canon, we never really saw Ryan and Kaitlin interact until Season 3, but... I'd like to think they did earlier), the quotes in italics are spoken by various people, ranging from Ryan, to Kaitlin, to Summer, and back around to Ryan and Kaitlin again.

The Truth Hurts - 7

Kaitlin had never really been close to Marissa, they were too different, Marissa as waif-like and fragile as Kaitlin was strong and a spitfire. But Kaitlin had liked Ryan from the moment she first met him. He'd smiled at her and introduced himself, and generally treated her like a person instead of an annoying little bug. If she was being honest, she'd had a crush on him after that first meeting and had fantasized about stealing him from Marissa. She might have been only 13, but she knew that you don't treat a guy like Ryan the way Marissa was treating him.

"Hey, she'll be okay, you know? Marissa's gonna be fine."

He'd been shaky when she first saw him after Marissa's overdose, pale and frightened, but he'd crouched down in front of her chair and taken her hands in his own, reassuring Kaitlin that everything would be okay. It had seemed, to her 13 year-old mind, that Ryan got her in a way no one else did. He teased her slightly, called her pipsqueak sometimes, always with the slightest wrinkling of his nose that told her it was meant as a term of affection not an insult, and called her 'Kait', which no one else was allowed to, not even her parents, under penalty of death. He helped her with her math homework a few times, even as Marissa stood nearby and sighed dramatically because he wasn't paying attention to her anymore.

"It's no fun being the younger sibling, huh?"

Kaitlin had been more upset about Marissa and Ryan's break up than Marissa was, sure that her sister was just being a selfish bitch. She'd snuck into Marissa's room to spy on Ryan from the balcony a few times afterwards, and had seen him sitting by the pool, looking sad. She'd wanted to go over and tell him he deserved better, maybe even suggest herself, but before she had the chance to make her move, the call had come and next thing she knew she was alone at the house while her mom rushed to Marissa's bedside. She found out via the news that Ryan had been shot and was comatose.

"You're a selfish whore and it's all your fault!"

If Kaitlin had known that she wouldn't see her sister alive again after that morning, she wouldn't have said it. Or at least she would have added a 'but I love you' to the end. Instead, after three days of boarding school, her dad drove up to get her, his eyes red from crying, and told her that Marissa had overdosed on pills and was brain-dead. Kaitlin hadn't cried, not even a single tear, on the drive back to Newport, and she'd just glared at Marissa's empty body for an hour before claiming she had to use the bathroom and instead sneaking down the hall to the room labeled with Ryan's name.

"I miss you more than I miss her."

Ryan was still completely comatose, to the point that Kaitlin knew doctors were saying 'persistent vegetative state', which an online search said was just a step above Marissa's 'brain-dead' diagnosis, but Kaitlin had climbed into a chair beside his bed and taken his hand, resting her head on the edge of the mattress and crying softly for the boy who'd been nice to her even when he own family couldn't be bothered.

"As long as I don't get kicked out, they couldn't care less what I do."

She smoked pot and snuck out to parties, but made sure no one could prove anything and kept her grades up, so no one really noticed or cared what she did. Her mom was too busy reinventing herself as Julie Nichols, Queen of Newport, and her dad was too busy spending every waking moment at Marissa's bedside, begging the girl to wake up. Most of the time, she was pretty sure they'd forgotten about her, especially when her only birthday present had been sent by Caleb's secretary under the man's instructions.

"Kaitlin? I thought you might wanna know. He woke up, Ryan's getting better."

She'd actually dropped the phone when Summer gave her the news, and then had to scramble to pick it up and demand details. It hurt to know that he was only half there, and only sometimes, but still, it was better than before. She wanted to be there, to see him and tell him how glad she was that he was okay, but her parents didn't give a shit. It took her almost a full year before she managed to convince Caleb to let her come home for a visit, and since the man took her straight to the hospital, she was pretty sure he’d figured out why she'd been so eager to come home. He'd even taken her straight to Ryan's room, without even making a show of taking her to Marissa's.

"Marissa... she took a bunch of pills. Brain-dead. She's been on a ventilator down the hall for a year."

For a moment, after she told him, Kaitlin had thought she'd fucked up and he couldn't handle it yet, then he'd turned back to her and made room for her to climb into bed with him, holding her as she cried. His tears had silently fallen into her hair, and she'd held on tighter while he stroked her hair with shaking hands, murmuring nonsense that she knew from Summer's updates was all he could really manage, and had sat up, offering a tight, sad, smile, and told him that he would be okay, he just had to keep trying. And Ryan had smiled slightly, taking her hand sin his own and squeezing them.

"I will."

The End

Yes, the last quote is said by Ryan. It's the first time, outside of telling Summer to go to hell after she told him to stop being a wuss over physical therapy, that he's spoken.

I really liked exploring what Ryan and Kaitlin's relationship in early Season One might have been. I can't imagine him ignoring her presence, and I can easily see Marissa getting annoyed because he'd pay attention to Kaitlin. I like the fact that even when he was shaky and scared himself, after M's Tijuana overdose, he still tried to comfort Kaitlin.

If the inspiration keeps up, Caleb's POV might be next.
Current Mood: accomplishedaccomplished
60schic60schic on February 1st, 2010 07:56 pm (UTC)
I still love this fic - the content, the format, the words - everything. I hope you will continue until you run out of character's POVs - and then start all over again. : )
beachtreebeachtree on February 4th, 2010 10:15 pm (UTC)
Thanks for not Dawning this and continuing to explore the story. I'm not sure exactly what makes it so compelling. It could be that the stakes are so high, that Ryan has such a monumental struggle, or that it's so hard to imagine what he could be thinking and feeling at any given time about what has happened to him, what could still happen, and if he'll end up alone and forgotten. He'd only been in Newport for about 5 months when his world exploded and imploded, and he was hardly on steady, secure footing before the shooting. I think what really resonates is how possible this scenario could be. It wouldn't have taken much for things to have turned out with Ryan horribly injured or killed, something no one seemed to grasp. Ouch for the guilt...

Thanks again for updating. Caleb? Now there's a very loaded question when it comes to perspective. TPTB tended to make him someone of absolute extremes in ways that were irrational when it came to Ryan- a 15-year-old vs. a 70-year-old? There's lots of wiggle room there, depending on how you'd characterize Caleb as more dimensional and human.

Good to read you.
oc_gambit2oc_gambit2 on December 2nd, 2010 05:07 am (UTC)
Hey- caught 'Breath' at theoc_fiction earlier today and it led me to dig around a little here. I'm not the best commenter anyway, and it's been a crazy year, but decided to friend you so I wouldn't lose track of your fic again....then interrupted before I could comment on anything. See you friended back already so I guess that was okay! : D

Maybe you don't always post at theoc_fiction because you do so many crossovers? Or I could just be ditzy, LOL. Point is, I heartily enjoy your work....and as devastating as this universe is, I love it. Your seem to have a gift for putting these characters in extreme, unusual situations yet keeping them true. I'm looking forward to re-exploring your site, at least after the holidays since I hope to write a bit for the advent drabble challenge. Happy Chrismukkah!
Maramissmara on December 2nd, 2010 06:57 am (UTC)
I forget to post at theoc_fiction half the time... and this is actually the first thing I've really written in MONTHS so... lol...

Thanks! I love this universe, mostly because as broken as Ryan is, I know that in the end I'll get him put back today. Maybe not good as new, there might still be some jagged edges, but he'll be okay.

I need to write for some of the advent drabble prompts this year... I never do, probably because I'm always doing my 24 Gifts thing, but the prompts are always fun...