Disclaimer: I own nothing.

AN: This is my first O.C fix, I live in Oz and have only seen two

episodes but fell in love. Tell me if this is crap and I'll re-work

it.

Rating:G

Spoilers: None, I'm working off my own twisted imagination.

Hope you enjoy, R&R!

Roads

Ryan sat completely still staring at the backpack stuffed with all

his worldly belongings and let his head fall into his hands. At

sixteen he had a decision to make and it would impact on most

probably the rest of his life so he had to be certain that it was the

right choice.

The choices were many, though they focused around two events, staying

where he was or leaving. To stay would be so easy, to leave would be

far more difficult. Ryan remembered the words of Robert Frost and

pondered the meaning of his famous poem for a moment, Two roads

diverged in a wood, an I - I took the one less traveled by, On the

one hand Ryan had a fairly clear idea of what would happen or might

happen in his life if he was to stay. Oh but if he could gather the

courage to leave, if he could only garner the strength to step out of

the world he had placed in and to find another.

The choice weighed on the boy, who was not only physically drained

from the past week's events but from the enormous stresses he had

placed on himself regarding both the past and the future. Massaging

his temples gingerly Ryan forced himself to concentrate even though

the late hour made demands on his body for sleep. But the decision

must be made now! Who knew what trappings tomorrow would bring, what

new hurdles would bar possible escape?

Pulling himself up into an exhausted standing position Ryan began a

gentle pace of the room he stayed in, stretching his sore and tired

muscles from corner to corner and in a lap around the furniture. As

he walked he muttered softly to himself, to help keep track of his

jumbled reasoning. Thoughts such as friends, family, school and even

work fluttered through his mind and all leading to one impossible

situation, a dead lock. There seemed to be in the mind of the

troubled boy just as much reason for going as there were for

staying.

His decision must be steadfast, if he were to leave he would never be

able to return. This he were certain of, this he was sure. They would

not have him back again and the thought saddened him. That if he were

to leave he would lose everything he was walking away from forever.

Was he willing to give them up forever? Or would it make no

difference? Would he lose them anyway even if he were to stay?

The people around now didn't even know who he was, they just came up

with an idea in there minds about him. An idea formed from where Ryan

was, where he lived, what he had been through. No doubt also who he

lived with.

" Dammit!" Ryan muttered angrily and leant heavily against the

closest wall allowing his head to knock against the plaster,

momentarily forgetting the latest gash on his forehead from fighting.

Wincing as the raw edges of the cut banged against the smooth

surface, Ryan pulled back and looked across the room to his

reflection in a mirror. The cut stood out angrily against the rainbow

of bruises that marred his face, purple around his eye and cheek, an

older bruise yellowing against his jaw line, a now scabby slash

through his eyebrow. Ryan wished he could use the violence as the

reason behind his decision but disgustingly he knew he couldn't count

on the violence to stop wherever he went. If it weren't through his

hot head and his fists in street fights and brushes at school, he

might almost be assured of not having to wake up and look at old

bruises in the mirror.

Ryan rubbed the old bruise along his jaw staring at his own eyes,

searching for the decision in his head. Breaking the contact with the

mirror Ryan took a deep breath and bluffing himself into thinking the

decision he had just made was the right one, he snagged the backpack

and practically ran through the door.

Ryan made it as far as the long drive before he slumped onto the curb

and dragged a cigarette from his pocket and after lighting it took in

a long drag. Ryan looked up at the house at the end of the drive and

pulled his backpack further onto his shoulder. Lighting the second

cigarette with the first he tried to work up the courage to move

further but by the end of the fifth cigarette he was still at the end

of the drive way.

" Ryan?" A voice suddenly called out in the darkness and Ryan jumped

and turned to see the moonlit form of Sandy Cohen standing several

feet away,

" Mr. Cohen," Ryan replied desperately sucking in smoke from his

cigarette one last time before he crushed the remains beneath his

boot and flicked the rubbish into the gutter.

" Sandy, for gods sake call me Sandy," Sandy replied as he moved

closer to the teen and slumped down onto the gutter a few feet away.

From his position in the street Sandy let his eyes examine the boy in-

front of him.

"You're out late?" Sandy asked and Ryan nodded staring down the

street for a moment before turning to look at the emotive face of

Sandy.

" You can come back Ryan, we'd like you to come back."

" I'd like to come back too," Ryan answered in a small voice and

Sandy looked at him, smiled and nodded.

" Welcome home."

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I - I took the one less traveled

by, and that has made all the difference. Ryan hoped Frost was right.

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