As always big huggles to Eljay for being my Beta!!!


Pain coursed through his body. He groaned despite himself. He blinked clearing his eyes.

Suddenly he was nose to nose with his offender. He was close enough to feel the dampness of the concrete against his check.

He glared at it. It was just a stupid puddle. Shit! A stupid freaking puddle! How was he going to explain this? He swore again when her realized everyone was asleep. Great!

Pain rumbled through his body again. His knee ached but mostly the pain seemed to be coming from his arm. He tried moving it and had to stop as his sight started to go red around the edges. His cast was broken. It was possible he had damaged his arm again. He wanted to scream with frustration.

He had to get up. He couldn't stay here all night. Maybe if he could get to Seth. Seth could take him to a clinic to get his cast fixed. They could be back before anyone knew. Plus, He really didn't want to have to explain to anyone why he was afraid of a puddle. A.J. used to beat the snot out of me but other then a few nightmares and a bit of paranoia I'm fine.

Ryan took a few deep, breaths preparing himself. He could do this, he was in control, and he could do this. He shifted bracing his good arm against the ground with a deep breath he pushed up. The world spun and he bit his lip until it passed. He was sitting up--he was halfway there. Ryan looked around for his crutch. It was at the very edge of the pool. Swell.

Okay, so should he crawl or walk? He decided that walking was more dignified. After a few moments of pain and precarious balance he managed to stand. That felt better.

Hopping carefully on one foot he went towards the pool. Don't think, just go. Don't think, just go. He paused and took a deep breath. Don't think, just go. Don't think, just go! Sharks! No! Don't think; just go. Don't think! Just go!

Then he was there. He smirked a little triumphantly. He was in control.

He heard a small noise behind him. Despite all the things he just told himself, his instincts said shark. He whirled around, his heart in his throat.

"Hey, dude, what are you doing out here? It's like three in the morning." Seth stood there rubbing sleep from his eyes.

Ryan teetered off balance. He was falling. He reached for Seth to steady himself. He thrust his arm out and managed to catch the sleeve of his foster brother's t-shirt.

Unfortunately for the both of them, Seth may have been taller, but Ryan was heavier.

There was a loud splash and the water closed in over Ryan's head. Ryan pushed off the bottom with his good leg and came sputtering to the surface.

Seth that ass! He was furious as he watched his broken cast dissolved in to mush. There was no way to hide this from Sandy and Kirsten. He'd have to go back to the hospital and probably the shrink again.

Seth swam over to his side with concern. "Dude, are you okay? Did you hurt yourself?"

Ryan snarled at him. "I'm going to hurt you!"

Seth put his hands up in mock defense. "Hey, it wasn't my fault I wasn't the one hopping around the pool. I just came to see what you were doing."

"What did you think I was out doing, looking for Nemo?!" Ryan roared.

Seth sputtered out a laugh. "God, I hope not."

Ryan couldn't help it. He grinned. "You're a moron."

"Hey, I'm not the one that has a thing for Disney films."

Ryan grabbed his brother's black curly hair with his good arm and dunked it under the water.

Seth surfaced still laughing. "And you do realize you're swimming don't cha?"

Ryan froze for a moment. Seth was right. But he wasn't afraid. No sharks. No pain actually either. He wasn't in control; if he was, he wouldn't be in the pool. Yet, everything seemed okay. "Seth help me out of the pool," he whispered.

"Sure thing, it's what big brothers do." Seth spoke quietly with a small smirk.

"What?"

"Nothing."

"Don't make me dunk you again, Dory."

Seth gasped, "Dude I am so not Dory. Bruce, maybe but not Dory."

They continued the debate as Seth was helping Ryan but they both froze as the kitchen light flashed on.

"Oh, oh," Seth moaned. "Do you think they will buy the Nemo excuse?"

"I doubt it."

Kirsten and Sandy came out on to the patio; neither looked impressed.

"Just what they hell do you two think you're doing!" Kirsten started. "You should both be in bed, I nearly called the police thinking you were some serial rapist or something!"

Seth smirked in spite of himself. Ryan nudged him; they were in enough trouble.

"Ryan, your cast!" Sandy admonished.

Ryan cast a quick glance at his arm. It did look kind of bad. Why did Seth's smile seem contagious?

"Um, yeah sorry. It was an accident."

Kirsten put her hands on her hips. "Please will you tell me how this could have possibly been an accident!?"

"What were you two thinking!?" Sandy shook his head.

"We were looking for Nemo." Seth answered so innocently Ryan almost believed him. Ryan lifted his hand quickly to his mouth in a vain attempt to hide his smirk.

Kirsten grabbed Seth's arm and directed him to the house. "You won't think it's so funny when you get up to go to school in the morning for school. Change. Then bed now!"

For a split second Ryan thought he might be off the hook as Kirsten followed Seth in to the house. But then Sandy took his arm to help him towards the house as well. "Kitchen Now!"

Ryan sighed, resigning himself to his fate.


Ryan seemed more relaxed as Sandy sat him on the kitchen stool. A wet, injured, relaxed mess. "Care to tell me what exactly just happened?"

"I'm not sure I can."

"Well you better start thinking of a way," Sandy warned.

Ryan opened and closed his mouth a few times obviously trying to find the right words. He finally came up with, "I slipped."

"You slipped all the way from the den into the pool?" Sandy couldn't help but smile a little.

Ryan smiled then too but kept his eyes lowered. "Yeah, well a few things happened in between too."

Sandy grew serious then. "Are you okay? Did you have another panic attack?"

Ryan frowned. He never would want to admit to a weakness but Sandy really needed him to start talking.

"I-I was trying to suck it up." Ryan finally whispered.

"Suck it up?"

"You know--deal with it." Ryan tried to explain.

Sandy put his arm on the boy's shoulder. "Ryan this isn't something you have to deal with alone."

"I know."

"Do you, really?" replied Sandy doubtfully.

"It's okay now, well not okay but better. Seth helped me sort of."

Sandy couldn't help but be surprised. The boys were close he knew but Sandy had never been sure if they spoke of serious things. "He did?"

"Look Sandy, I know you guys are worried about me but I'll figure this out."

"That's just it Ryan, you do need to work this out. In the past you had to figure stuff out on your own. But you're not alone anymore."

Ryan looked up at him and gave a wry smile. "Sometimes I forget."

Sandy pulled him in to a soft hug. "It's okay, we'll help you remember. But I would still like you to talk to the doctor."

Sandy heard Ryan mumble in to his shoulder. "Okay, I'll-I'll give it a try.

After a moment they pulled apart and Sandy smiled, "That's great kid, really it is. I know it's hard for you but I think it will help. Plus I'm here for you anytime… day or night."

Ryan gave a small nod.

Sandy ran his hands over his shirt and gave a soft laugh, "I'm all wet."

Ryan let out a barked laugh. "Sorry."

"You don't look sorry," Sandy joked. "So can you change in to some dry clothes and we'll take you over to emergency and get you a new cast."

"Can you help me to my room?" Ryan asked hesitantly.

"Kid, I'll help you with whatever you need."

Ryan smiled again.

His smiles were becoming less rare. It was a nice thing to notice. Sandy took the boy's good arm and Ryan leaned on him as they traveled down the hallway. "Hey, I was going to ask you has Seth been hassling you about being older?"

"Yeah, he thinks I don't know."

Sandy laughed, "So you do know? Why are you playing along?"

Ryan shrugged "It makes him happy. It gives him something to think about so I don't have to listen to anymore reasons about why DC is better than Marvel."

"Very shrewd Ryan, very Shrewd."

The End.


I just wanted to give a huge thank you for all of you who reviewed. Coming from a different Genre I wasn't sure anyone would be even interested in this story. Thank you so very much for your humour and support.

((((hugs))))

-Parisindy