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09 August 2014 @ 06:29 pm
These Walls - Chapter Four  
Yes, this is really and truly a new chapter of one of my fics... These Walls was last updated like two years ago, but... lol... it's back!

Title: These Walls
Author: missmara
Fandom: The OC/OTH
Rating: R
Warnings: Angst. Mentions of child abuse, violence, possibly sex in later chapters.
Summary: A decade after being kidnapped by the abusive Atwoods, 15 year-old Ryan Cohen is coming home to a family he doesn't even remember.
Notes: So... I watched the first three episodes of the MTV show 'Finding Carter' and it reminded me of this fic, so I had to go reread the first three chapters, and then I wrote this chapter...

Entire chapter written last night in one go. Only waited to post so I could do a little spellchecking/editting this morning when I was awake and fresh. There's some moments I truly love in this chapter.

After Sandy and Kirsten showed him his room, Ryan pretended to still be tired so they'd leave him alone, but instead he stood and walked around, looking at the minimal furniture and belongings. To his surprise several things were familiar, and anything that seemed that way found it's way to the bed, where he lined them up and tried to make sense of the random objects.

The first was a framed picture, the same one Detective Overman had shown him at the police station. It didn't spark much memory, but it had made him remember Seth's toy horse, which was something at least. Next was an old, and clearly well loved, copy of 'The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe', which he'd always loved. He could almost hear Sandy and Kirsten's voices reading it, Kirsten's soft and smooth, like a storyteller in a movie, while Sandy would do voices for the various characters. As he held the book, flipping to the spot where the bookmark rested, he was certain he had always preferred it when Kirsten read it.

The third item was a little trophy with a soccer player on top, the name 'Ryan Cohen' engraved into it's plaque, along with the epithet of 'Most Valuable Player - Berkeley Junior Pee-Wee League', which looked and sounded ridiculous, but it still seemed familiar, a flash of scoring a goal and looking over at the bleachers to see Kirsten jumping up and down while Seth clapped loadly from his spot on Sandy's shoulders.

There were lego sets, a big collection of them neatly stacked on a shelf, and Ryan knew he had always insisted that no matter what he built and how many sets he used, when he put them away the pieces had to go in the right boxes so he wouldn't lose any. And he could remember Seth being angry at him and dumping everything in a big pile then kicking it across the room during a tantrum.

The last object as a small stuffed zebra, it's fur black and pink rather than black and white, and as he picked it up, he had a flash of comforting an upset Kristen by telling her he still loved his zebra, that it was still way cooler than Seth's stupid horse.

Ryan sighed and put the things back where he got them, all except for the zebra. He slowly took off his sneakers then laid down on the bed, zebra on his chest, and stared at the ceiling, whishing he had remembered more, but gratefully for the fact that at least now his own mind told him it was true, these people were his family. He remembered those little pieces, enough to know that he'd been theirs.

He laid there until he heard movement in the rest of the house, and voices rising slightly from across the hall. He got up, leaving the zebra sitting beside the pillow, and opened the door just as the one directly across opened as well, revealing who had to be Seth, looking like a taller version of the one in the pictures and from Ryan's only fragmented memories, Sandy and Kirsten moving into view behind him.

"Hey," Seth whispered.

"Hey," Ryan replied.

Ryan found himself moving forward slightly, Seth doing the same and they met in the middle of the hall, stopping a foot apart. Then, suddenly, Seth pulled Ryan forward into a hug. For a moment, Ryan was too surprised to respond, then he lifted his arms and returned it, holding on tight with his eyes squeezed shut. After a moment, Ryan pulled back slightly, though Seth didn't let go until Sandy tugged on the back of his shirt.

"Come on, boys, Rosa should have breakfast ready for us," Sandy said.

Ryan looked over at him, grateful for the save before things got awkward. It had felt right, like something missing had been put back in place, but for the longest time the only person he'd had who rea;y cared was Trey, and letting someone else into his personal space for longer than a few moments was too much, too soon.

Ryan was once again struck by how large the house was, the living alone being almsot as big as the house in Chino, and when they walked into the spacious kitchen, he was greeted by the site of a woman who looked to be in her forties, setting the table and muttering in spanish about not knowing what kind of food he liked. Ryan smiled slightly, answering her in Spanish. *I'll eat just about anything put in front of me, except for most tree nuts and strawberries, I'm allergic.*

For a moment, there was a surprised silence, then Kirsten spoke. "You speak spanish?"

Ryan nodded, ducking his head. "Neighbors in Chino, the Diazs. Trey was friends with the boy his age, Arturo, and sometimes he brought his sister, Theresa, over. They taught me."

"Dude, maybe you can help me bring my grade up in it," Seth said.

"Let's let Ryan get settled in before you ask anything of him," Sandy said firmly. "This is a lot for all of us to take in at once, and we're not the ones leaving everything we know."

"But he knows us..." Seth began.

"I know fragments," Ryan interrupted. "I know you had a stupid toy horse when we were little, and you once dumped all my legos in a pile and kicked it everywhere because you were mad at me. But I don't know what the deal with your horse obsession was, or why you were that mad at me." He sighed. "What I know is that... I don't know anything or anyone. Everything I thought was true, is actually a lie, and the one person who's always told me the truth as much as they knew, is sitting in jail because he stole food so we could eat. That is literally all I know."

"Ryan..." Sandy began.

"You'll learn more," Kirsten said firmly. "Even if you never really remember us from before, you'll learn about us now, and we'll learn about you. But just know that you are home now, and you're safe, and Sany's friend will help Trey as much as she can."

Ryan nodded again. "Yeah."

"Let's get some food in our stomachs, okay?" Kirsten said, gently putting a hand on Ryan's back to guide him to the table. "After we eat, we can figure out a plan for today, because there's lots we need to get for you."

"I don't really need..." Ryan began.

"You have one set of clothes and nothing to sleep in," Sandy pointed out. "And while us guys don't tend to obsess over outfits, you need more than that, kid."

Ryan chuckled slightly, then shrugged. "Okay, I guess. But... I could hear the chaos last night when we left the police station. There's no way those reporters aren't camped outside the gates here by now. And I really... I don't think I can take that."

"Okay, so we... tell me your sizes and I'll go..." Kirsten began.

"I could go," Rosa volunteered as she set the platters of food on the table. "The press will bother you, Mrs. Cohen, they won't bother to follow the maid." She carefully put the bowl of strawberries as far from Ryan as possible, giving him a slight smile as she did.

"Thank you, Rosa," Kirsten said. "So if you can give Rosa your sizes," she continued to Ryan. "We can get you clothes. And I guess everything else can wait or can be done online, but you should personalize your room, making it yours because it is."

Ryan shrugged. "It's fine the way it is..."

"Seth has posters, books, music, his computer," Sandy said. "You should have the same things in yours, just... whatever ones you like."

"I don't even know what I like," Ryan said.

"Then it's my mission to help you figure it out," Seth said.

"As long as it's what he likes, and not what you want him to like," Kirsten said firmly. "I know you, Seth."

"It's a complete madhouse out there," Caleb announced as he walked in.

"Is the doorbell broken again, Rosa?" Sandy said sarcastically.

Rosa bit her lip and turned away without responding, what was obviously a well practiced response. "I'll call someone to check on it, Mr. Cohen."

"We haven't watched the news this morning," Kirsten said. "How bad is it?"

"It's being spun exactly how it should be, that a kidnapped child has been found and returned home, I've made sure that Detective Overman is being hailed as a hero who never gave up the search, and they've been repeating the clip of my plea for everyone to give us peace to adjust, although obviously the media isn't listening," Caleb said. "My assistant and yours are both being flooded with requests for interviews, Kiki, both of us and of Ryan..."

"No way am I talking to reporters," Ryan said, shaking his head.

"Of course not," Kirsten replied immediately. "We will handle that. Right now all you have to do is... try to settle in. Take time to get used to all of us, to us... to being home."

"Detective Overman gave me this last night, he said to tell you it's from Trey," Caleb said as he offered a folded sheet of notebook baby to Kirsten.

She unfolded it and nodded. "It's a list of Ryan's sizes, favorite music, favorite songs, favorite movies..."

"I told you he took care of me," Ryan said, nodding. "Can I...?" Kirsten passed him the list and he read it over. "Yeah, he got pretty much everything," he agreed as he handed it back.

"We'll copy down the sizes for Rosa, and then later I'll order you some things online," Kirsten said. "So you can decorate your room."

"Okay," Ryan agreed. "After.. can I have that?" he asked, gesturing at the list.

"I'll go photocopy it for us," Sandy said, getting up and taking the paper.

"Why do you want some stupid list?" Seth asked.

Ryan shrugged, picking his fork up again to poke at his breakfast. "I just do," he said.

"Dad, why don;t you join us?" Kirsten asked. "Ryan recognized the name when i mentioned the Newport Group," she added.

"Oh?" Caleb asked.

"We actually... we met last summer," Ryan said. "You were checking out the site for the Civic Auditorium. I was working clean up on site, sweeping up dust and stuff."

Caleb inhaled sharply. "You were in the office... the foreman said your father worked for the company..." he said. "I didn't even realize..."

"Well, I may be kind of short, but I'm a little taller than I was when I was four," Ryan pointed out. "And you all thought I was probably dead, no reason to think you'd find me sweeping up dust on a construction site."

"I thought the Atwoods didn't let you out of the house much?" Sandy asked.

"During the school year, yeah. But during the summer... kids are always running around in the summer, they could say I was a nephew visiting if anyone asked," Ryan said. "Frank convinced the foreman to give me a job sweeping up after Trey took me to a party that got busted up by cops. He probably would have been busted then, but the cops bought drugs from him so he let it slide."

"Pretty sure you made it worse," Seth as the adults stared at Ryan in horror.

"You saw last night, Frank's being charged with murder. How is selling drugs worse?" Ryan asked Sandy, confused.

"It's the selling them to cops part," Sandy corrected.

"Yeah, because Chino Cops have such reputations as upstanding citizens," Ryan said sarcastically. "What with the multiple lawsuits for brutality and wrongful deaths, and lets not forget the favors from underage prostitutes."

*Not making it any better,* Rosa said in Spanish.

"He's right, though," Caleb said. "I believe I heard there may be a Federal Investigation."

"Here's hoping," Sandy said. "For multiple reasons, since it could take soem attention off us."

"Why don't we table all this for now," Kirsten suggested. "Just have a nice family breakfast?"

"I could go for that," Sandy agreed, looking around at his once more complete family.


After they ate, Seth showed Ryan his room, watching his twin wander around it looking at things. Seth was trying hard not to talk nonstop while doing so, but couldn't help babbling some.

"So, mom said there were movies on that list that Trey guy gave Grandpa? What movies do you like? And who's Trey anyway?"

"Trey's Frank and Dawn's son," Ryan said. "Their biological son. He took care of me most of the time. He was all I had."

"Well, now you've got all of us," Seth said.

"Doesn't replace him," Ryan said quietly. "Sorry, but... for ten years he's all I had, and now he's gone. I don't know if I'm ever gonna get to see him again."

Seth sat down on the edge of his bed. "Mom and Dad'll probably let you if you ask," he said. "They'd do just about anything to make you happy. I mean... they didn't forget about me or anything, but it just about destroyed all of us when you... when they took you. Mom and Dad were fighting all the time, and Grandpa was yelling into the phone at private investigators he hired... Grandma was blaming Mom and Dad for not moving back here to Newport as soon as Mom got pregnant because that 'kind of thing doesn't happen in Newport'." Seth looked down at his hands. "And my brother was gone and I didn't... I didn't understand. No one would tell me anything except that some bad people took you and they didn't give you back. I used to check your room every morning to see if you came back while I was asleep."

"I'm sorry," Ryan whispered.

"It wasn't your fault," Seth said. "And I mean... I know it was a lot worse for you, because you didn't have anyone. Except for that Trey guy... so I'm glad you had him."

Ryan walked over and sat besde Seth, taking a deep breath to steel himself for what he wanted to say. "Frank wanted to kill me, but Dawn wanted another son, so she begged him to let her keep me. But half the time she didn't want me, either. They'd both tell me that my real parents paid them to take me because I was nothing but trouble..."

"That's not true!" Seth protested.

"I know," Ryan told him. "But it's what they said. And I was four, I didn't... Trey told me that wasn't true, and when I got older he told me there was money, but he thought it was a ransom. But by then, I... I didn't remember our last name... I barely remembered anything... and I was scared if I told anyone... either they'd tell Frank and he'd get angry. And I knew better than to do anything to make Frank angry. Or they'd believe me but they'd never find my real family and I'd just be all alone without even Trey. I didn't wanna be alone, so... I didn't tell anyone."

"It's not your fault," Seth said. "I'm pretty sure you don't want random people to kidnap you."

"Wasn't on my list of life goals," Ryan agreed with a snort.

"You know, we actually had lists like that," Seth said.

"What? We were four."

Seth grinned and leaned over to grab a shoebox from under his bed and open it, revealing a bunch of random stuff. After a moment of digging through the odds and ends, he pulled out two scraps of paper. The first one he presented to Ryan. "My dream job," he said.

Ryan unfolded it and laughed as he saw a child's drawing of a comic book super hero. "And what was your special power gonna be?"

"That I don't remember," Seth said. "I gave up on it when I couldn't be the super hero and find you."

Ryan nodded sadly and folded the paper up again. "What's mine?" he asked.

Seth held out the other piece of paper and Ryan unfolded it to reveal a cityscape of sorts, each building in a different color from it's neighbor. "You wanted to build cities like Grandpa. And you wanted to be an artist like Mom."

"She's an artist?" Ryan asked, frowning. "I thought she said she worked in the residential division of the Newport Group?"

"She does now," Seth said. "But she used to paint. She had a gallery in Berkeley, but... everything changed, you know? For three years it was all about finding you, and then... Grandma got sick and we moved here, even though Mom was scared you wouldn't be able to find us. But yeah, she gave up the gallery and started working for Grandpa instead. But sometimes I still catch her doodling and she's good."

"Huh," Ryan said. "I saw all the legos in my room."

"You loved those things."

"Do you remember why you were so mad at me you kicked them everywhere?"

"It was because you called my horse stupid," Seth said.

"Oh. Sorry," Ryan said. "And... sorry I did it again earlier."

"It's okay... I called your zebra gay."

"What?" Ryan asked.

"It's pink!" Seth said in his own defense.

"I couldn't exactly get rid of it, mom felt guilty enough for..." Ryan trailed off as he realized what he was saying. "It's pink because she put something red in the washer with it," he said. "I remember that. She was worried I'd be upset, so i told her it didn't matter, I still loved it... and it was still cooler than..."

"My stupid horse," Seth said, grinning. "She was only a little upset before I called it gay, then she and Dad got mad at me for that, and you said that, and... I messed up your legos."

"You threw a tantrum."

"I threw a tantrum."

"As long as you've outgrown them now," Ryan said. "Because seriously, fifteen is too old to keep a toy horse on your dresser, man."

"Hey! You admitted to cuddling with your pink zebra last night!" Seth protested, laughing.

"I am a traumatized kidnapping victim who has socialized with a grand total of a half dozen people over the last decade and may very well be stuck at the 'psychological developmental age of four', as the police shrink said last night," Ryan said. "What's your exsuse?"

Seth was quiet for a moment. "Freaky twin symbiosis?" he offered.

Ryan looked over at him then burst out laughing, joined a moment later by Seth.


In the hall, Kirsten and Sandy couldn't help smiling as they listened to their boys laughing together, a sound they had never expected to hear again. "He's really home and safe," Kirsten whispered. "Sandy, our baby's home..."

Sandy pulled her closer. "Yeah, he is."

To Be Continued...

Most of the canon main characters (Cooper family, Roberts family, maybe Alex Kelly/Lindsay Garner/Zach Stevens) will eventually appear. But history is different here, so there may be some unexpected differences... just wait and see... I'm actually starting on Chapter Five right now, so... lol
Current Music: 8tracks Mixes
thekiller00thekiller00 on August 10th, 2014 08:16 pm (UTC)
I like how Seth and Ryan bonded at the end, with Ryan remembering something like that the more he talked with his brother. I'm looking forward to how everyone else will fit in and since this is a One Tree Hill crossover, I'm curious to see how Ryan meets Brooke.
steve_ski: ICON_Ryan2steve_ski on August 12th, 2014 03:05 pm (UTC)
Love it when one of your posts pop up.....as always great job. Looking forward to seeing Ryan meet more peeps and how they interact. Seems like trey is a good guy in this universe, hope to see more of him
beachtreebeachtree on August 14th, 2014 11:26 pm (UTC)
What a surprise, and what timing that I'd choose now to drive through randomly.

In a nutshell, I'm loving every word. This Ryan needs infinite hugs as much as canon!Ryan for the incredible deficit. His final sentence including the police therapist's words in priceless. One mystery solved with the disco zebra, anyway, but a gazillion others with the slippery slope and rocky road to come with everything that Ryan and his family will have to confront and come to terms with.

The rediscovery and reconnection has so much potential, but will also be predictably painful. Ryan's led such a different kind of life that he could never begin to explain and the others couldn't possibly understand.

Love the possibility of Ryan and Rosa bonding as well as Caleb. What a switch.

Awesome unexpected gift. Thanks!
crossover_fancrossover_fan on August 16th, 2014 01:04 am (UTC)
This is a sad story to see something like this happen to them, but it was sweet to Ryan and Seth bonding so easily. I'm wondering if Ryan will bond with his other family members just as easy.