Log in

No account? Create an account
04 December 2016 @ 10:38 pm
24 Gifts Of 2016 - Day Four - Not Temporary (Inside Out/Upside Down Verse, Ryan Atwood/Jess Mariano)  
'Inside Out/Upside Down' verse. That would be the one where Ryan Atwood and Jess Mariano met at a frat party and wind up building a while future together, overcoming soem pretty hefty issues together, and eventually being awesome parents to at least two kids. But there's a big warning on this one.

It starts out really heartbreaking, I think. This takes place while Ryan is battling cancer, a brain tumor that they can't just operate and remove. He's been sick for going on a year, getting worse all the time, and as this fic starts he is hitting a really low point. So he's sick and weak, physically and mentally exhausted, and he's having trouble believing there's any hope. But it turns happier by the end, and since there's been other fics taking place later in their story, with them together, happy, healthy, and with two kids, you know Ryan survives. But it's still... really sad and heartbreaking... and there's a big 'wham' line (to me at least) that just killed me to write because I kept picturing what Ryan was talking about when he said it, and... oh god...

Not Temporary

Ryan sat on the couch, looking over the ever mounting bills for his chemo and wondering if he and Jess could actually keep their heads above water without going to the Cohens for money. When the door opened, he looked up to see Jess coming in with groceries and tried to smile in greeting.

"What's wrong?" Jess asked immediately, putting down the bag and walking over. "Where's Becca, she's suppose to..."

"I'm not a child, I can take care of myself for a couple hours," Ryan interrupted, annoyed. "And we can't afford..."

"Yes, we can..."

"No, Jess, we can't!" Ryan said, lifting up the bills. "I can't focus on anything long enough to work so my bank account is pretty much the five dollars neccesary to keep it open, and your advance is almost gone paying for my chemo and our rent, but you're so busy taking care of me you can't get any writing done, and I hope you only bought food for you because there's no point in getting anything for me, I just throw it up five minutes later..." He buried his face in his hands, letting out a shuddering sob.

"Babe..." Jess began.

"Don't tell me it's gonna be okay, because it's not!" Ryan said. "I have a brain tumor, and the chemo is doing nothing, it's the same size it was six months ago, and I... I spent almsot an hour today trying to remember my little sister's name," he confessed. "I couldn't... this is not okay, it's not going to be okay, I'm... I'm dying. At this rate, even if they get rid of the tumor, I'm not gonna be me..."

"That's not true..."

"I'm bleeding you dry, Jess. Why are you even... what's the point? Why are you..."

"Stop," Jess said firmly, sitting down beside him. "I love you. No matter what, I love you. Even if you end up a complete vegetable and I spend the next sixty years spoon feeding you pureed carrots, I will do it because I love you. And I will fight for you even if you don't want to fight anymore."

Ryan shook his head slightly, then turned to bury his nose against Jess' shoulder, breathing in the familiar leather scent. "I'm scared," he admitted.

"So am I," Jess admitted. "But that doesn't mean we should give up, or let this win. It's not who either of us are. We fight for the people we love. So I am fighting for you, and I need you to fight for me, okay?"

"Okay," Ryan whispered. "But what I said about the money... we're broke, Jess. We can't... the rent is due in three days and... I don't know how we're gonna pay it..."

"I do," Jess said, leaning forward to grab his messenger bag from from where he'd set it as he came over. "I have been writing. When you're asleep, or spending time with the Nana, when you're in the bathroom pretending not to be throwing up and I'm trying to pretend I don't know that's what you're doing." Jess held a book out, it's covering reading 'evaluation copy' underneath the title, 'Not Temporary'. "I sent the first three chapters in to another publisher, and the advance they gave me was more than enough to pay back the first advance and the next couple months of bills. We'll be gold for a while. And it comes out in stores in a couple weeks."

Ryan took the book from his boyfriend's hands, shifting as Jess wrapped arms around him. "What is this?" he asked.

"Just read it," Jess replied.

Ryan slowly opened the book to find the dedication was actually printed in Jess' own precise handwriting.

'To Uncle Luke,
For giving me a home and saving me from myself.

To Liz,
For kicking me out, so I could go home.

To Ryan,
For never being even a remotely casual or temporary thing.'

Ryan leaned back against Jess. "What is this?" he repeated.

"It's us."

Ryan turned to the first page, feeling his breath catch as he read the first page.

'I always thought it was a bad cliche, an overused trope by unimaginative writers, but when the words 'brain tumor' came out of the doctor's mouth, the world really did seem to come to a screeching halt, I really did feel like all the air had been stolen from my lungs. It couldn't be true. He was healthy and brilliant, and only twenty five. He had a family that loved him unconditionally and would be devastated. He had me, who would be completely lost without him.

But even as my heart refused to accept it, my mind was racing, repeating over and over that Ryan would be fine, that he was strong, that he had me and I wasn't about to let him go. Because the moment I did, I would be giving up my entire world.'


"I know I should have asked, at least before I sent it in, but..."

"No, Jess... it's not to be cliched and unimaginative, but.... it's perfect."

Jess smiled slightly. "It goes back, talks about my teen years, how I was such a shit to everyone, how Uncle Luke helped me be a decent human being, how meeting you changed me... it covers all of that, works it way back to the present, or close to it. My agent said it's a natural 'sequel hook', whatever the hell that means."

Ryan laughed, then settled back more firmly against Jess as he kept reading.

'But this isn't that story. This isn't a story about loving and losing to cancer, or a triumphant story of overcoming a devastating illness. No, this is the story of how I got to that hospital room, this is a story of a boy who's mother didn't want him, but who's uncle loved him enough to keep him. A boy who loved a girl who tossed him aside. It's a story of two damaged young men who found, and fixed, each other. It's the story of why my world stopped the moment I heard those dreaded words.'

When Ryan turned the page, Jess shifted again, and started to read the words aloud, his vice soft, and Ryan settled back, content to listen to bit and pieces of Jess' life that he hadn't heard before, mixed in with the stories he knew by heart.

The End
The 'wham line' was Ryan saying he couldn't remember his sister's name. I kept picturing the utter despair on his face and in his voice as he said it, and even worse the horror and confusion during those five minutes, trying desperately to remember and the name not coming to him, even though he adores Sophie Rose, she means the world to him.

Like I said, this takes place before the stories where they are happy together, dads to two kids, and living in Stars Hollow.
garnigalgarnigal on December 6th, 2016 05:28 pm (UTC)
Oh, so lovely. :) I love broken Ryan, and him forgetting Sophie Rose's name is heartbreaking.