Discl. I don't own anything related to the O.C., but I do own the typing errors, as this is un-betaed

Just a short drabble about what could have happened after "The Shape Of Things To Come"

Feedback is always welcome...


Journey

Marissa stopped walking and watched Ryan rushing by, throwing one last angry glance back to the Carnival, the people staring at them, whispering.

She wished it'd be that easy for her. But this Carnival, the excitement in the air, the people talking, had been her life. Her life she saw fading away now, forced to forever turn her back on.

Marissa slowly shifted her glance back to the festival compound, taking in the students and teachers staring at her. At her, Marissa Cooper, the girl who used to be responsible for the Kick-off Carnivals, used to arrange and organise all major school events, who was now expelled from school over shooting her boyfriend's brother.

How could she just walk away from her life? Would she ever be allowed back in? Back in a routine she had hated as much as loved?

Tears were filling her eyes when she realised, that this was final. That tonight the last straw had been pulled and that there was no way she would ever be a part of them again.

A knot started forming in her stomach, her heart heavy, fear entering in her mind. She was alone. All of her friends and colleagues, her favourite teachers, were behind the separating fence that reflected her life.

Panic started filling her system when a strong arm was wrapped around her shoulder, squeezing her softly. Without looking at Ryan, Marissa instantly sensed his tension, rage but also confidence simmering inside of him. She relaxed for a few seconds, leaning herself against his body to regain some strength.

Strength to walk away, leave everything and everyone behind. They both looked up to the ferris wheel and gave Summer and Seth one last glance, nodding slightly, before turning away and walking towards the car park.

Reaching the black Range Rover, Ryan opened the door and gently helped Marissa climb in, her mind still blank, too shocked to take note of anything around her. When Ryan climbed into the car as well and started the engine, Marissa turned her head and locked eyes with him for the first time.

She immediately detected rage in his deep blue eyes, but also fear and regret, his knuckles white from clenching the wheel furiously. Marissa slowly lifted her arm and reached for his hand, wanting to feel the touch of his warm skin.

"You ok?" Ryan finally asked, the engine running but the car resting in the parking lot. Concern flashed up in his eyes for a second and he quickly inspected her body.

"Fine" Marissa replied, her voice sounding strange to her ears, different than she remembered.

Ryan nodded relieved, his eyes turning dark again, pulling the car backwards before driving down the street, heading to the beach.

They say that the road
Ain't no place to start a family
Right down the line
It's been you and me
And lovin' a music man
Ain't always what it's supposed to be
Oh girl you stand by me
I'm forever yours...faithfully

Journey, Faithfully

"Ryan" Marissa softly spoke, waiting for his gaze to meet hers.

"Let's go to the pool house…"

Ryan didn't react, neither agreeing nor disagreeing to her suggestion, but silently driving the car further down the road. Marissa again touched him softly, startling him with her presence, pulling him out of his trance. Ryan blinked once, before he turned his glance to her, nodding slightly and turning towards the hill at the next crossing.

Nobody spoke for a while, both too busy with their own thoughts, pondering about the effects their latest decisions would have on their lives.

The house was dark when Ryan stopped the car, turning off the engine, looking at the girl next to him.

Marissa slowly opened the door, hopped outside and walked around the car, waiting for him to do the same.

They entered the mansion together, not turning on any lights, but walking straight to the pool house, closing all the sheds, before switching on the little lamp on the beside table, sparely illuminating the small room.

Watching Ryan clenching his fist, Marissa silently stepped out of the pool house and walked over to the kitchen, opened the fridge and grabbed for a pack of ice.

When she returned Ryan was sitting on the bed, his head hanging low, his jaw tensioned.

Handing him the package, Marissa placed herself next to him, before laying down with a sigh.

Ryan thankfully nodded and wrapped the cold bag around his hurting hand, before rising from the bed again, pacing silently through the room.

"I'm sorry…" he finally said, stopping and looking at his girlfriend, searching for her eyes.

"Ryan… I already was expelled…" Marissa softly answered, her eyes sad and tired.

"I…I screw up…. Big time…." He replied, again pacing the room.

Marissa stayed quiet, unable to think of what to say.

"I lost it… I didn't think… he tried to hurt you…"

"I know Ryan…" she replied and got up, stepping up to him, blocking his pacing.

"I don't want anyone to ever hurt you again…"

"I know…"

"Trey hurting you was my fault… and I'll never let anything happen to you again…"

As you search the embers
Think what you've had, remember
Hang on, don't you let go now
You know, with every heartbeat, we love
Nothing comes easy
Hang on, ask the lonely

Journey, Ask the Lonely

"Ryan" Marissa stopped him, placing her index finger over his lips, forcing him to look into her eyes.

"We will get through this…"

"I just…"

"No Ryan, listen to me…. We will work this out… Like we always did…"

Nodding uncertainly, the dark blonde boy turned away, needing some space to gather his thoughts.

"Sandy's gonna kill me…"

"We'll tell him together."

"You don't have to do that…"

"But I want to Ryan. Because it's you and me now. You and me against the rest of the world. 'Cos that's how our relationship works, right? We are standing up for each other…"

"Thanks…"

Marissa nodded slightly, watching him standing in a corner of the room, his deep blue eyes dark and absent, avoiding her eyes.

A rush of emotions ran through her body, the urge to go over and hug him, help him grew. Suddenly she remembered and the words just blurt out of her:

"I love you…"

She held her breath when she realised what she had just said.

Ryan stayed quiet, absorbing her words, letting them echoing in his head. Lifting his head and looking into her eyes he detected hope. Hope that he would not reject her, that everything would turn out good, hope that they had a future together.

So now I come to you, with open arms
Nothing to hide, believe what I say
So here I am with open arms
Hoping you'll see what your love means to me
Open arms

Journey, Open Arms

Ryan slowly put the ice bag down and wandered to the middle of the room, holding her gaze.

Softly touching her cheek with his palms, he realised that she was right. He had fucked up his life many times, but this was the first time he was not afraid of the future. Not afraid of Sandy, afraid of the consequences, 'cos he knew they would face it together. She had saved his life by shooting his brother, but also by showing him, that they belonged together.

They might be expelled from Harbour, forced to go to a public school, forced to fight harder for their future. But at least they were together, connected by their love for each other.

"I love you too…"

One love feeds the fire
One heart burns desire
Wonder who's cryin' now

Two hearts born to run
Who'll be the lonely one
Wonder who's cryin' now

So many stormy nights
So many wrong or rights
Neither could change
Their headstrong ways

In a lover's rage
They tore another page
The fighting is worth
The love they save

Journey, Who's Cryin' Now

Wrapping his arms around her waist he gently pulled her near, their eyes still locked. When their lips connected both closed their eyes, enjoying a kiss so sweet as if it was the first time. Marissa soon pressed harder, forcing him to open his mouth, slipping her tongue inside. A groan escaped Ryan's throat when she started playing with his tongue, eyes still shut.

Breathlessly they pulled away after what seemed an eternity, opening their eyes, smiling at the intensity of the moment.

"Maybe you should leave now…" Ryan told her in a husky voice, not suppressing his passion for her.

"I know…"

Pulling away she walked towards the door, taking a deep breath, before she stopped and turned around, facing him again.

"But maybe… I should sleep here tonight… You now, for talking to Sandy tomorrow…"

"Ok…" he replied, inhaling deeply, forcing his mind to focus on something plain boring. A picture of Captain Oats popped into his mind.

Ryan took the two stairs and walked to his closet, grabbing a pair of his pyjama pants and a t-shirt, before shuffling over to Marissa, handing her the clothes.

"Thanks…." She smiled nervous, starting to undress.

"Wait… maybe you better use the bathroom… Better for both of us…" he grinned uneasily.

"Sure…"

When she reached the bathroom door she turned around again, asking.

"Why is this so strange? It's nothing we haven't done before…"

"I know… I just… let's not rush this, ok? Our minds are too swamped right now to enjoy this moment…"

Marissa nodded and disappeared into the bathroom, closing the door behind her.

Ryan was already lying in bed when she returned, Journey softly playing in the background. She walked over and let herself plop onto the mattress, shyly lying down next to him. Ryan reached over and turned off the light.

Silently listening to her breaths he was surprised when she rolled over, placing her head on his chest, wrapping her arm around his waist.

He hold on to her, reminding himself that she needed him to be close to her as much as he needed to feel her next to him.

They soon fell asleep, holding each other, knowing that life was manageable, now that they were facing it together.

Lying beside you, here in the dark
Feeling your heart beat with mine
Softly you whisper, you're so sincere
How could our love be so blind
We sailed on together
We drifted apart
And here you are by my side

Journey, Open Arms

FIN