Discl. I don't own anything related to the o.c. or the actors
Hugs and kisses to my fabulous beta, beabeabea, thanks hon!

The Wake-up

Alone with Ryan and her thoughts, Sophie's mind wandered to the tension she had felt in Ryan's room upon her arrival.

She had to admit Sandy's call had surprised her.

It was not many times before that she had heard a total and utter helplessness in her boy's voice. Sandy was a fighter, always has been. And if there was nothing to fight for himself, he fought for people who had given up.

Nothing like his father.

Every time she had visited Sandy and Kirsten, seen her grandson, she had experienced what wonderful parents they made. Sandy had turned into the father she had always known he could be, despite the bad example of his own genitor.

Sophie had been so proud when Sandy told her about Ryan. Going as far as to accept a stranger to their home, love him like their own, was something Sophie had never been able to.

It buried the risk of getting hurt, like she had been hurt when her husband walked out on her. She had never been ready to allow someone get so close again – until she was diagnosed with cancer.

But seeing Sandy, Kirsten and Seth welcoming Ryan into their family with open arms, giving him a real option to his messed up life, had moved her deep inside.

Maybe the life in the Bronx had made her too hard? She acknowledged that Sandy's accusations uncovered a bitter truth.

By working for others, abandoning her children, she didn't have to think about all the pain. The pain she felt when she looked into their faces, sensing them hurt over the lack of a father. When she watched Sandy it always stung, her eyes revealing that he was turning into the exact image of his father.

Sophie jumped a little when Ryan was stirring next to her, his breathing going faster for a few seconds before he calmed down again.

Brushing her hand over the dark blond hair of the kid, Sophie smiled.

Ryan had brought so much trouble to casa Cohen, but had at the same time saved them.

The first time Sandy had called to tell her about Ryan, Sophie had been stunned. Not by the news or the surprise about this step, but about the new warmth in Sandy's voice when talking about Ryan.

The kid from Chino had brought compassion back to the family. Had forced them to deal again with each other.

Again Ryan stirred, drawing in a sharp breath of air as if he was in pain.

Sophie stroked his arm tenderly, tempted to call the nurse to have her increase Ryan's pain medication. Watching the dark blond boy closely she saw his face relaxing again after a few seconds, the tension in his body subsiding.

Gently brushing a hand over Ryan's cheeks, Sophie noticed the change of colour and was not surprised when the heartbeat monitor registered a change in Ryan's aortic rhythm.

Ryan's was about to wake up.


The call was distant and hushed when it reached Ryan's comprehension. A second later he wasn't even sure, whether it had been an actual voice or just an echo in his mind, calling the name he was now surprisingly well accustomed to be hearing.

He hadn't ever been as tired as he was right now.

Ryan felt as if he was not connected to his body, his mind freely floating through a dark room.

When sharp pain shot through his guts, resulting in a small moan, Ryan had to reconsider.

Obviously there were limbs.

Even a head.

And it hurt.

He didn't fight the blackness any longer, but let himself come rushing back to consciousness with a gasp, sucking in air like he was on the verge of suffocation.

Ryan coughed at the intense pain when the air floated down his raspy, sore throat, expanding his lungs painfully.

His breathing came ragged and short, little explosions of pain going off in his head every time he gasped for air.

All he could feel at first was a rush of blood in his ears, nausea washing over him and he swallowed thickly. Something was covering his nose and mouth and it took Ryan a few seconds to identify it as oxygen mask. Although it felt odd and intimidating, Ryan was actually happy about the breathing aid, inhaling the pure air thankfully.

Laying still as he was too exhausted and drained to move if only the slightest, he focused on his body, trying to locate the pain, determine whether all limps still were where they ought to be.

As if the awareness of the situation had triggered his body to wake up, he slowly felt all his senses kicking in.

When his hearing returned, Ryan winced at the noise around him. It was beeping, clicking and humming everywhere, sending his already throbbing head into a new spiral of pain.

Telling himself to cam down, he took another few deep breaths from the oxygen mask before again focussing on his surroundings. Ryan grimaced when he realised that the intense smell of what seemed to be disinfectants triggered a new wave of nausea in his system.

Out of nowhere a hand was placed on his forehead and he slightly jerked away, the sudden movement sending a blinding pain through his skull. But the hand remained on its position and started brushing over his head, through his hair, indicating that it meant no harm.

Tensing when he still couldn't force his eyes open, he felt his heartbeat quicken, the pounding of his aortic muscle deafening his ears.

"Relax, Ryan, it's ok. You're fine."

Ryan wanted to laugh out loud but his mind was giving him a hard time, having him struggle to even fulfil such easy tasks as breathing.

So this is how "fine" felt like?

Once again his attempt to open his eyes failed and Ryan felt himself fading again. Enjoying the feeling of security and comfort the warm hand stroking his face, brushing through his hair, was providing, he let himself lull to sleep and blacked out again.

A/N: Thoughts anyone?