I guess this could take some time after the first season ends if you pretend Ryan and Seth never left and that Teresa person never existed. And though I don't remember if Summer and Seth were still together, we'll just use a bit of imagination to make it work. I'm not all too concerned with the when's of the story, and if thing don't make since I'll accept all the blame if you'll accept that I'm not changing them. I'm lazy. So nah.

Disclaimer: Story mine. Character not. I don't own O.C. Blah. Blah. Blah.

&

He couldn't deny it anymore. When Summer had broken up with him she had spoken of someone else. She had accused him of being in love with someone other than her. He had never been able to discern what she meant until very recently. At first he thought that she was accusing him of cheating on her, but Summer assured him that she knew he was being faithful to her, just not to his heart. He denied it, saying she was the only one he loved. She laughed and told him that's what she used to think, too. Now, he couldn't deny it anymore. This person, though… This person he was in love with was most definitely nothing like Summer. It wasn't even anyone of the fairer sex. And until just very recently he couldn't figure out who it was for the life of him.

It all started with the dreams. Even before he and Summer broke up, he had these strange dreams. They were always of him and some mystery man. They were earth shattering. Full of hot skin, flesh-to-flesh, kissing, touching, grinding. He found himself cleaning sheets and taking cold showers more and more often, and no amount of sex with Summer could stop the onslaught of what he had come to know quite fondly as his "big minty dreams." Because, despite how confusing and unethical he found them, he still enjoyed them very, very much, much to his dismay. What nagged him more than anything, though, was that his dreams were always with the same guy, and, up until very recently, he simply couldn't tell who it was. Now that he finally knew, though, it scared him more than anything.

&

"Seth," Kirsten yelled from downstairs, "Ryan's home!"

Seth sighed. Ryan has been spending two weeks in Chino with his mother, who was finally beginning to sober up and straighten out her life. Summer had broken up with him three days after Ryan left, and Seth had been staying up in his room for the past eleven days, only coming down for food or if Sandy or Kirsten called him down to do something for them.

As Seth came down from the stairs to see Ryan standing in the hallway, bags on the floor and being enveloped in a tight hug from Kirsten, Seth realized just how much he had missed him. Ryan. The object of his most erotic fantasies for the past month and a half.

"Hey, man," said Ryan as he let go of Kirsten.

"Hey," Seth said, wrapping his arms around Ryan much like Kirsten had done only moment before.

"Well, Sandy and I better get to work," said Kirsten as she looked at her watch.

"You can tell us all about your visit when we get home," Sandy smiled as he followed Kirsten out the door. Ryan nodded before picking his bags up off the floor.

"So," Seth said as he followed Ryan out the screen door to the pool house. "You'll never guess what happened while you were gone."

"What?" Ryan asked, stepping into the pool house and tossing his bags on the floor.

"Summer and I broke up," Seth said, looking down a bit.

"Why?" Ryan pressed, sounding a bit curious, if not confused.

"Well, um," Seth stumbled over his words.

"She said I was in love with someone else." This time Ryan's confusion was clearly evident. Who could Seth love more than Summer?

"Who?" Ryan asked.

"Well, aren't you full of one word responses," Seth said good-naturedly while avoiding answering Ryan's question, or at least trying to.

"You're avoiding the question," Ryan pointed out.

"I'd rather not say," Seth said, his face flushing from embarrassment.

"Well now you've got me interested," Ryan smiled. Seth blushed even redder.

"Believe me," Seth mumbled. "You don't want to know."

"It can't be that bad," Ryan said.

"It most definitely is." Seth wouldn't look at him.

"Come on," Ryan urged. "Marissa? Holly?" Seth cringed. "It can't be any worse."

"You're not even close," Seth sighed. "It's not any of the girls that go to our school."

"Apart from me, you don't even know anyone outside of school," Ryan laughed. Seth eye's widened as he realized the error in his words. Ryan noticed and stopped chuckling immediately.

"I, um, have to go," Seth said, beginning to retreat from the pool house. Ryan grabbed his arm.

"Wait," Ryan said, pulling Seth back into the pool house. "We should talk about this. You know, get it out in the open."

"Okay," Seth said uneasily. He still wouldn't look at Ryan, but he appeared less tense.

"So," Ryan said after a moment of silence. "Are you gay or bi?"

"I'm not really sure," Seth mumbled. "I mean, I've been finding more and more guys attractive lately. I still like girls, just not really as much any more. But it's really just one guy that I really like."

"How long?"

"A month or so, I guess…"

"Seth," Ryan said sternly, watching as Seth's face slowly began to flush again and he kept his gaze fixed on the floor. "Look at me." Seth looked up at him slowly and Ryan saw that his eyes were slightly glazed over, as if Seth was on the brink of tears.

"I'm sorry," Seth said quietly, looking away again.

"It's okay," Ryan assured him. "Nothing's going to change. We're still friends."

"Best friends?" Seth asked with a small smile. Ryan nodded, returning Seth's smile with a similar one of his own. Seth walked a bit closer and tentatively wrapped his arms around Ryan in a small hug, which Ryan returned without hesitation.

"Do your parents know?" Ryan questioned as the thought occurred to him.

Seth pulled away and gave Ryan an incredulous look. "Dude, I wasn't even going to tell you. And it's not exactly something you can squeeze into a conversation. I can see it now. 'Hey, mom, I'm slowly turning gay and have been having wet dreams about another guy on an almost nightly basis the past month and a half. By the way, how was your day?' Yeah, that'd turn out great."

"You can leave out the part about the wet dreams," Ryan said. "You really do need to tell them, though."

"I know," Seth said before suggesting they continue their conversation in the pool.

&

"So, how was your trip?" Seth asked Ryan from his place on the pool float.

"Fine," Ryan replied. "Couldn't have been better, actually."

"You don't sound too happy about it," Seth said, noticing the subtle undertone of his voice.

"It just seems too good to be true," Ryan confessed. "A part of me wants to believe she's changed, and another is waiting for her to screw up again."

Seth didn't know what to say, so he just nodded and concentrated on not staring at Ryan's broad shoulders, muscled arms, and finely chiseled abs.

"I'll be right back," Seth said quickly, climbing out of the pool and running into the house as a painfully detailed flashback of one of his more recent dreams forced their way to the surface.

'This is ridiculous,' Seth thought to himself. 'I can't even look at him without his shirt on without thinking of those big minty dreams.' He walked over to the fridge and pulled out a drink while trying to think of something to calm down his nether regions.

"Mind pouring me a glass?" Ryan asked, stepping into the kitchen, dripping wet and with a towel around his waist.

'So not helping,' Ryan thought to himself as he poured a second glass of tea.

"Thanks," Ryan smiled. Seth just nodded and put the tea back.

"What's up?" Ryan asked. "Your silence is beginning to scare me."

"You know how you're acting all accepting about the gay thing?" Ryan nodded. "You'll be okay with any minty comments I make then?"

"Sure," Ryan shrugged.

"Well, don't hold his against me, but if you don't put a shirt on soon I'm going to have the worst case of blue balls ever."

"Oh, sorry," Ryan said, quickly turning around and throwing a 'be right back' over his shoulder as he headed to the pool house. He came back in a typical wife beater and pair of jeans to find Seth in one of his vintage T-shirts and a pair of jeans that were ripped in the knees. He looked a great deal embarrassed and awkward when he saw Ryan come back in.

"Dude, I am so sorry," Seth said with a blush. "I swear I wasn't coming on to you or anything."

"It's fine," Ryan said, interrupting what he knew would've resulted in a long ramble.

"No, man, it's not okay," Seth continued. "I should be able to control things like that. I mean, Summer's boobs don't even turn me on the quickly. It's official. I really am gay."

"It's not the end of the world, Seth," Ryan said as Seth sat down and let his head fall on the counter.

"Isn't it ironic, though, dude, that as soon as Luke stops calling me a fag, I turn into one," Seth said, not bothering to lift his head as he spoke.

"Fag's a harsh word," Ryan said nonchalantly.

"But it's true," Seth replied desolately, lifting his head up briefly before sighing heavily and letting his head fall down again.

"What's true?" Kirsten asked as she walked into the kitchen, placing a few bags of take-out on the counter next to Seth.

"Nothing," Seth said quickly, snapping his head up.

&

"Cohen, how are you supposed to get over Chino if all you ever do is talk about him?" Summer asked, irritated.

"I'm not supposed to get over him, Summer," Seth said dejectedly. "I'm supposed to spend all day with the guy, wallow in my misery, dream about him, wallow some more, and then repeat the process until summer is over.

"That's it," Summer said. "You're going to the party with me, and Ryan, and Coop, and you're going to enjoy yourself."

"I'm perfectly miserable where I am right now, thank you," Seth said, turning onto his back to stare up at the ceiling from his place on the bed.

"I'm getting you out of this house if it's the last thing I do," Summer said, placing her hands on her hips determinedly.

"Good luck with that," Seth said without even blinking at her.

"I'll tell Ryan," Summer said threateningly.

"I don't believe you," Seth said in a tone he hoped would make him sound nonchalant.

"Ryan," Summer yelled loudly, "Seth wants to tell you something!"

"Like he's going to hear that," Seth scoffed. "How do you even know he's in the-"

"What's up?" Ryan asked as he opened the door, effectively cutting Seth off.

"Dude, how did you get here so fast?" Seth asked, sitting up slowly.

"I was just about to come up before Summer yelled," Ryan said. "So what did you want to tell me?"

"Seth's coming with us tonight, aren't you Seth?" Summer smiled at him in a way that clearly stated, 'I win.'

"Against my own will," Seth said, glaring at Summer.

"Hurry up and get ready," Summer said, ignoring his glare. "We'll be late." Ryan noticed the trade-offs, but said nothing as Summer pulled him out of the room.

&

OOC? If so, oops. I've seen the entire first season, but I haven't really watched the O.C. in a while and have only seen about four episodes of the second season. Yes, poor me. But knowing my O.C. obsessed sister she'll have the entire second season in no time. R&R! Please and thank you. Constructive criticism cherished. Flames ignored.