Usual disclaimers apply, I did not create these characters and simply borrow them for a moment each day, returning them unharmed.

Author's Note: It's always lovely to receive reviews, even if they are brief.

Spoilers: The truth.

Sinking onto the edge of his mattress, resting his elbows on his thighs letting his hands fall open and his face dropping into his palms.

He had been vindicated, proved right. Oliver had been everything Ryan had warned them about. So now everyone knew that Ryan had been telling the truth.

Sighing and pulling himself off of the edge of the bed and standing, walking into the bathroom splashing cold water on is face. Staring at his reflection in the mirror tracing the cool droplets of water with his eyes as they roll down his face and fall into the sink. Breathing out the water that trailed through his lips into his mouth.

Anger wells inside so quickly the normally stoic defences fail to prevent its explosion. A fist breaks free and smashes the reflection before him. Glass shatters under the strength of the impact, under his strength. Blood flows from a jagged gash along his knuckles. Letting the injured hand fall to his side not caring for the injury and allowing the blood to slide down his fingers and pattern the tiled floor. Staring at the ruined reflection mocking him and fleeing the bathroom.

The pool house is quiet the lights are all shut off, darkness penetrates every inch of his space, darkness that hides the blood congealing on the carpet. Darkness that hides Ryan as he reaches behind the plush couches and snags a hold of a battered rucksack. Darkness that makes choosing a jacket a guessing game, his fingers searching for a familiar texture unprepared to alert any alert member of the main house with even a slight beacon of light. Money from where he sequestered it in an old baseball cap resting on the top shelf of his open clothes organiser.

The blood from the wound on his hand has left a trail around the room and a pleasant throb emits from the no doubt broken knuckle. The pain lets him know he can still feel, that he hasn't suffocated and died here yet, that there is still time for an escape.

Slinging his belongings up onto his back Ryan opens the door to the pool house silently and steps out, walking away into the night. He has left no note because he doesn't want to say goodbye, no explanation for why he is running. No thank you for the days and months the Cohens have sheltered him, no mention of the love he felt for a brother not connected by blood.

An old cigarette is lit once Ryan is down the block, wincing at the fact that over the months of his forced smoking ban the tobacco has grown stale, useless. Flicking it away in anger, knowing precious money will be spent on a replacement.

Clenching his hand, watching the dried blood crack in the moonlight and feeling his fingers stiffen as they are cocooned by the drying blood, realising he has left his bike behind. Angry with himself but unwilling to return, the bike could be replaced his freedom might come at a higher price. Remorse at how Kirsten will react to the shattered mirror, to the blood that trails through her pool house.

Remembering the disappointment on the faces of those he lived with when he was suspended from Harbour. Remembering the anger and fear that welled inside of him since meeting Oliver, remembering not believing the lies the boy had spewed so easily. Remembering the look on Marissa's face as three guys strained to hold Ryan back, to prevent him from pummelling a fellow student. Remembering the fear in that room.

Knowing that at some point they had all feared him. That the family had been frightened of the boy in the pool house, suddenly unsure of what he was capable of. Knowing that the fear had broken his trust, that them being afraid of him was like a knife to the heart. Stabbing and ripping at his soul, unrepairable.

Stopping and sighing, turning to look at where he has come, a figure is crunching the gravel underfoot as they streak towards him. A robe open, the cord flapping in the breeze and the footsteps ginger as their bare feet hit the sharp rocks and stone.

Ryan waits, his body in darkness, unsure of if his pursuer knows his location or if his brother running after him is running purely on hope.

Seth calls out into the night, searching his tone pleading, needy. Again and again the voice cracking. A plea for Ryan to return. An apology. A threat. A joke. A question. Seth stops his head down, his chest heaves, lungs unused to being used in such a way. A sob. Wiping away the tears that refuse to stop falling.

Ryan turns away unable to see the normally cheery face morph into such a pained and saddened expression. Quietly walking slowly away, again escaping. Pausing as the broken voice yells into the night then turning once more, staring straight ahead unsure of his sudden choice.

" You can't stop me from finding you!"

END

R&R