Three on Three

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Seth has reasons not to tell Ryan.

One, Ryan is one cool guy. Cool people aren't attracted to dorkiness. Ryan likes him enough to hang out with him and tolerate his dorkiness, but attraction, definitely no.

Two, Ryan is quite clearly a ladies' man. The positive connotation of that word, of course. Beautiful girls line up for him, and Seth has seen him with them. Ryan looks good in a couple. Hot couples. Straight couples.

Three, Ryan is his foster brother. There can be two consequences to this: either Ryan will turn it down in order not to jeopardize the whole family thing, or Ryan will accept because he will feel ingrate otherwise. None of these is a desired effect. Not to forget he will still have to deal with his parents, who clearly won't be pleased at his abusing the boy under their charge.

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Ryan has reasons not to tell Seth.

One, Seth has been called a queer and has got bullied over it. Even if it doesn't make him overly defensive of his sexuality, surely Seth has no desire to turn that jeer into a fact and get bullied some more.

Two, Seth is quite clearly hero-worshipping Ryan. Ryan may have confused that with affection. Seth himself may have confused that with affection.

Three, Seth is his foster brother. There can be two consequences to this: either Seth will freak out and they won't be able to hold any normal conversation for years to come, or Seth will accept because he doesn't want to hurt Ryan and inadvertently force him to leave. None of this is a desired effect. And there's still this huge issue with Sandy and Kirsten, who clearly won't appreciate his corrupting their son.

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Seth has reasons to tell Ryan.

One, he is frustrated enough. He thought he could stick with Summer, but unrequited attentions kinda get tiring after a while. A very long while, at that. There's a flicker of hope once in a blue moon, and then there's disappointment after every blue moon, and he isn't sure they're getting anywhere.

Two, Ryan is getting all cold and indifferent after things screw up with Marissa, and Seth just has to pull him out of it. Now giving him a new thing to worry about may not be the best move, but he can at least let Ryan know that he cares, that life is still worth living, and keep the, um, lust-related addendum, to himself.

Three, and most of all, he is never good at keeping mum.

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Ryan has reasons to tell Seth.

One, he is frustrated enough. He's been riding the emotional ferris wheel with Marissa for some time now, and he just doesn't see it turning out any better in the near future, unless something morbid is to happen to Luke. Not that he's hoping or scheming for it, for goodness' sake.

Two, Seth is getting all self-deprecatory after being ignored by Summer -- again --, and Ryan just has to pull him out of it. Not that Seth should be thrilled about being an object of queer affection, but he can at least let Seth know that there are qualities Ryan really likes about him, and keep the, uh, other fascinations, to himself.

Three, and most of all, he is never good at hiding what he feels.

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It kinda figures that all is to come out over Playstation, what with the amount of time they spend on it.

Seth is the one who starts, which is quite expected, being the one with the gift of the gab. But halfway through he begins re-evaluating his choice of words, which has gained quite a bit of reputation, and ends up getting stuck at "uh".

Ryan stares at him, astonished. Given his own train of thoughts, one particular guess stands out in his mind about what Seth is going to say.

He tries to help, but rehearsals are never quite the same as the real thing, and he fares no better by getting stuck at a nerve-induced cough. Not even a syllable.

They stare on in silence for a while, until a loud death on the screen turns their heads.

"Oh, man," Seth groans, "and when I was about to kick your ass, too."

Ryan rolls his eyes and picks up his console. "You're clearly having memory problems, Seth."

"Ha! You dare say that to a guy who remembers all the episode titles of all Marvel and DC comics? Or perhaps I should recite to you one complete paragraph from 'On the Road' with the exact page number?"

They never do get to the actual words after that.

A good compromise, come to think of it.

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