Discl.: I don't own anything related to the o.c. or the actors
A/N: Written for nikki greenleaf because she wanted sick!Ryan. Not beta-read, all mistakes are mine.

Tummy bug

"Fuck" Ryan muttered when he got up and for the second time today felt dizzy, his vision slightly blurry, his stomach doing flip flops. Taking a deep breath he winced when his ears started ringing before he realized that it was actually the door bell producing the disturbing sound.

Scuffling through the living room he approached the door, opening it hesitantly, shielding his eyes at the bright sunshine outside.

"Pizza?" the teenager in front of him asked, smiling brightly and presenting the square, green box with the huge letters "Mario's" written across.

Ryan wanted to slap his forehead for forgetting that he had ordered lunch half an hour ago, but the fear of only adding to the stinging pain in his head made him over think this move and so he just nodded slightly while searching his pockets for money.

Handing the boy twenty bucks he mumbled "Keep the change" before slamming the door shut to get rid of all natural light sources that added to his pounding headache. Wincing at the deafening sound he scuffled back to the den, letting himself fall onto the huge, cream colored couch before sighing and closing his eyes.

He couldn't really remember why he had ordered food in the first place, seeing as he didn't feel like eating anything ever again. Probably it was the sound of Kirsten's scolding voice in the back of his head:

"While we're away, don't forget to eat boys!"

As if his stomach had its own mind it grumbled loudly, demanding food, but Ryan didn't agree, not finding the strength to overcome his feeling of nausea and stuffing some kind of Italian food into himself just for the sake of following Kirsten's order.

He shuddered as a wave of cold hit him and he wished his head would not hurt as much so he could go outside and lay down in the sun, enjoying the warmth of the hot Californian Summer.

Pushing himself up he disgustedly reached for the pizza box and schlepped himself out of the mansion into the blinding sunlight, his eyes half closed as he made his way towards the welcoming darkness of the pool house.

Dropping the pizza box to the ground he let himself plop onto the bed, carelessly wrapping the comforter around his freezing, shuddering body, hoping to find the welcoming warmth without having to deal with the discomfort of bright sunshine.

Closing his eyes the image of Kirsten appeared behind his eyelids. She would know what to do. She would take care of him, give him some aspirin, hover around him, keep checking on him. Ryan confessed to himself that he wasn't really the type longing for the care of a loving parent but right now he wanted Kirsten – or die, whichever was easier.

Sighing when he realized that it was impossible for Kirsten to know how he was feeling and that they had planned not to return before Sunday evening, which was 1.5 days from now, he wished he had never agreed to spend the morning all by himself, allowing Seth to sleep at Summer's now that the parental unit couldn't check on him in the morning.

Of course he had welcomed the chance to spend some time alone, without the noises Seth usually produced when he was within the closer surroundings, making it difficult for Ryan to hear his own thoughts.

Another shudder went through his body, his teeth clattering, still feeling cold but at the same time noticing that sweat was building on his forehead, trickling down his face.

Curled up into a ball, the comforter covering him up completely, Ryan wished for sleep to come quick and long, allowing him to block out all the pain he was feeling, the nausea still simmering in his throat, the increasing sick feeling in his stomach.

"Dude! Don't tell me you're still in bed! Come on, it's 4pm and I got the remaining weekend off as Summer has decided one full night with me was too much to take, considering I stayed until lunch, although, technically it wasn't really lunch anymore as we ate in bed and at 3pm but hey, I'm not the one who decided when and where the daily meals are to be consumed. Anyway, buddy, on the way home I stopped at Joe's and rented us some awesome movies – you up for a "Lord of the Rings" marathon? I got the special extended version, 14 hours of gay little men climbing mountains and fighting orks."

Seth wasn't even out of breath after his monologue but he was slightly upset when Ryan didn't even stir in bed, some strands of his shaggy blond hair sticking out from under the cover, the rest of his body fully hidden beneath the sheets.

Walking around the bed he softly tipped Ryan's shoulder, slightly scared he might wake up his brother and face "the rage" after repeatedly being told to not disturb him when he was taking a nap.

"Ryan, man, you awake? Don't tell me you've got a girl hiding under there? Fuck, Ryan, you dog! Where were you last night? I don't believe it, that's fucking unbelievable! Once you gotta tell me how you do it, going out and ending up having sex with some anonymous –

"SHUT – UP –SETH!" Ryan croaked, feeling as if every ounce of his living will had been sucked out of his body when Seth had entered the poolhouse and had started rambling.

"It talks!" Seth announced grinning and walked over to the ensuite bathroom, trying to stay as far away from Ryan as possible as he was wrapping himself out of the sheets.

Leaning against the door he watched Ryan swinging his legs out of bed, gently placing them on the ground and burying his head in his hands. Seth raised his eyebrow suspiciously when a moan escaped Ryan's lips.

"I wanna know everything, Ryan! Every single detail! Where have you been, when did you get home, who did you meet! I don't believe you went and got drunk without me, I thought we're brothers, man, you can't always – "

"Seth!" Ryan choked, his eyes bloodshot when he glared at Seth.

"Get the fuck out of the way."

"Oh no! You tell me first!" Seth countered, grabbing for the key on the cabinet and locking the bathroom door.

"Fuck, Seth! Open the fucking door!" Ryan croaked, feeling how all liquids were drained from his mouth, preparing him for the substances that were threatening to rush up his throat.

Seth's resistance crumbled, his eyes expressing confusion and slight fear when he realized that Ryan was more than pissed off, the serious tone in his friend's voice messing with Seth's chipper mood.

"Seth, now!" Ryan urged, making a gurgling sound in his throat, leaving Seth all nervous and clumsy.

While fumbling with the key he saw in the corner of his eye how Ryan got up and rushed to his side, his eyes never leaving the key hole, despair and fear clouding his vision.

"Too late" was all Seth understood before the liquids shot out of Ryan's mouth, splattering all over Seth's pants, leaving the black haired boy speechless and freaked out.

"Uhrrrggg… man! That's… disgusting!"

Ryan had meanwhile let himself slip to the ground, leaning against the wall for support, breathing heavily as he saw stars dancing in his view, sweat trickling down his back.

Finally catching on, Seth realized that something was totally wrong with Ryan, so he took actions into his hands. Recalling all the stuff his mum had usually done when he had been sick, his mind focused, ready to take care of his sick brother.

Turning around it only took him a few seconds to open the door, pushing it open and reaching for the closest towel before cleaning himself quickly.

"Come on, Ryan, let's get you back to bed" Seth mumbled, keeping his voice down.

He reached for Ryan's waist and his arm, pulling him upwards, surprised about the warmth radiating from the boy's body. As soon as Ryan was up in a standing position the dark blond boy stopped, choked a few times and then turned around, running towards the toilet, hastily opening the cover before vomiting down the bowl.

Seth followed slowly, knowing that Ryan would be embarrassed if someone was to watch him being sick. But Seth wanted to make sure Ryan was alright, knowing that he was the one in charge now.

"Feeling any better?"

Ryan produced an exhausted grunt and managed to heave himself up into a standing position, supporting himself at the wall.

Closing his eyes he tried to block out the dizziness he was feeling, the stars dancing in front of his eyes, the blood pounding in his ears. Swallowing thickly he wanted to warn Seth but his throat was dry, his tongue unable to form any kinds of words before he blacked out.

Grabbing for a washcloth Seth turned on the water, soaking it with the cold liquid before glancing over to Ryan just in time to see his brother slipping down the wall, crashing to the ground with a thud.

"RYAN!" Seth shrieked, his eyes wide, shock and fear visible on his face. Dropping the washcloth he rushed over to Ryan, letting himself fall onto his knees, his mind racing.

"Ryan, man, don't do this, come one!" he urged, starting to gently slap Ryan's face, hoping to achieve any result. When Ryan didn't react Seth jumped to his feet and hurried to the sink, filling a glass with water before crunching down again. Hesitating for a few seconds he nervously bit his lip before splashing the cold water over Ryan's face.

Ripping his eyes open Ryan stared bewildered at the boy in front of him, swallowing thickly as water was dropping from his nose and his chin.

"Ryan, holy Moses you scared me!" Seth yelled instantly, wrapping his arms around Ryan's neck, hugging him tight until he felt his brother stiffen. Letting go he grabbed both shoulders of Ryan, shaking him gently, rambling:

"Never, ever do that again to me, man! You scared me to death! That wasn't funny, not funny at all!"

Ryan blinked a few times, overwhelmed by the outburst of Seth and the return of the sick feeling in his stomach, before he gently pushed his foster brother away. Swallowing again he chocked:

"Could you… get me back… to bed, Seth?"

"Sure, sorry buddy, I was just… so thankful you came around again, I feared you were a goner, leaving me alone in the hell of Newport, bailing on College and all the cool stuff we're about to experience within the next few -"

A glare from Ryan's piercing blue eyes stopped the black haired teenager from babbling. Sheepishly grinning he offered Ryan his help to get up before gently guiding him back to bed, letting him slip underneath the covers, where the blonde boy instantly curled up into a ball.

Storming out of the poolhouse Seth hurried into the kitchen and turned on the kettle. Gathering some juices, a few slices of zwieback and toast and a mug out of the cupboards he ran off to his parent's bedroom, frantically searching his mum's medical cabinet for some aspirin.

Grinning triumphantly when he found the small box he returned to the kitchen and poured the boiling water into the waiting mug, before adding a tea bag. Placing everything on a tray he carefully balanced it over to the poolhouse, placing it on Ryan's night table.

Keeping his voice down he whispered: "I brought you some tea, juices and toast, Ryan."

Hurrying over to the pool house kitchen he filled a glass with water and returned to Ryan's bed, sitting down on the mattress next to the pale boy.

"Here, I got you some aspirin, should help against the fever and the headache" he advised, gently touching Ryan's shoulder.

Ryan turned around with a grunt, thankfully glancing at Seth and reaching out for the glass, swallowing the pill with a long gulp.

"Is there anything else I can do, buddy?"

Ryan let himself slowly fall back onto the pillow and shook his head no, croaking:

"Thanks, Seth."

Immediately drifting back to sleep he didn't feel how Seth tenderly touched his friend's forehead, careful as if not to wake the sleeping boy, knowing that Ryan wouldn't approve to be touched. Getting up Seth sneaked out of the bedroom and took his phone out of his pocket, dialing the number of his dad's cell.

"Sandy Cohen" the voice of his father boomed out of the speaker.

"Dad, hey, it's me" Seth whispered automatically.

"Why are you whispering, son?" Sandy's amused voice replied.

"Because I'm in jail and I don't want to raise the attention of the cons in my cell" Seth answered rapidly.

"Very funny, Seth. Why did you call?"

"Well, just wanted to let you know that Ryan's caught the flu or something, has puked his soul out earlier and is running a slight fever. Dad, he even PASSED OUT on me!"

"Kirsten!" Seth could hear Sandy calling for his wife before questioning, "Is he answering, Seth? Can you take him to the hospital?"

"I don't think it's that serious, dad. I gave him some aspirin, tea, juice and toast, I really think it's just a tummy bug, don't worry!"

Hearing his parents whispering in the background Seth winced when the shrill voice of his mum sounded through the receiver


Instinctively he pulled the phone a few inches away from his ear.

"Call Dr. Moreno, he must come over and do a quick check-up on Ryan, we're on our way back home!"

"Mum, calm down! It's really nothing serious and you don't have to come back, I have everything under control."

"Seth Ezekiel Cohen, call Dr. Moreno, now, and tell him to examine Ryan" the voice of Kirsten demanded sharply.

"Alright, alright, but jeez parents, where's the trust?" he joked, before promising to call them after the visit of the medic.

Slowly opening his eyes, Ryan blinked a few times before recognizing the two figures standing in the door frame.

Moving his head, Ryan could see Seth sleeping on the bottom of his bed, curled into a ball, a washcloth in one, a box of aspirin in the other hand. Rubbing his eyes he was surprised to feel that the pounding pain in his head had vanished and the sick feeling in his stomach was finally gone.

Pushing himself up onto his arms he grimaced a faint smile to the parents.

"Ryan, sweetie, how are you feeling?" Kirsten asked, concern traceable in her voice when she approached the bed.

"Better, thanks" he whispered, hoping not to wake Seth.

Kirsten brushed her hand tenderly through his sticky, shaggy hair before placing it on his forehead, checking, whether the fever was still in his system.

"Can we get you anything?" Sandy asked, following his wife to Ryan's side, softly patting his arm.

"I'm fine, really."

"Dr. Moreno said you have caught some random bug. Fever is down again today, so there is nothing to worry about. Seth obviously took good care of you" Kirsten smiled proudly towards her son.

"Yes he did, sorry you had to return earlier" Ryan blushed, guiltily glancing up.

"That's not your fault, Ryan. If one of our kids is sick we're too worried anyway to enjoy the break. Glad you're feeling better, son" Sandy advised, smiling, before also moving his hand through Ryan's hair.

"You should go back to sleep, you need rest, I will call the school, you two are off tomorrow. Seth looks exhausted and a day for you two and the playstation will have you both recovered in no time!" Kirsten laughed softly, before helping Ryan getting settled in bed again, covering him up with the comforter.

Sandy meanwhile placed a blanket over Seth and kissed the sleeping teenager before joining Kirsten at the pool house door, wrapping his arms around his wife. Watching as Ryan drifted back to sleep, Kirsten gave her husband a smile, her eyes mirroring his own pride and happiness. Sealing this perfect moment they leaned in for a kiss before throwing one last glance over to their sleeping boys and stepping out of the pool house, softly closing the door behind them.

The End