Not exactly the most original of titles, but I couldn't think of anything original.
Remember - this is set in Season 1, which isn't all that easy to write since those Cohen+1s just don't exist any longer. So sad, I miss them.

For annie35 who asked for "Ryan gets hurt at a soccer game but doesn't tell Kirsten and Sandy."


Ryan cursed under his breath as he made his way through the house and out the back – to the privacy of the pool house. Not his pool house. THE pool house. Despite what the Cohens were already calling it, Ryan still thought of it as part of the Cohens' house, and therefore not his.

As he limped into the room, Ryan realized that he was now slightly thankful Mrs. Ward was at the school when the bus returned from the soccer game so he didn't have to walk home on his sore leg. Mrs. Ward had been kind enough to offer him a drive home, which was nice except that it meant he had to discuss the game the entire ride.

Luke called it the game from hell. Everyone had said that Pacific was tough, but Ryan had no idea they could be that tough. Well, not tough to beat, since Harbor killed Pacific 6 – 0.

Brutal was more like it. Somehow, those Pacific kids just knew that Ryan wasn't really a Harbor Pirate. Despite the fact that he now attended Harbor and lived in Newport, somehow they knew he wasn't really one of them.

It was like they were aiming for him whether he had the ball or not. Hell, it was actually worse when he didn't have the ball since the refs were too busy watching the action and missed the Pacific players pushing and shoving him from behind. When it became obvious that they were going to lose, they seemed to give up on the soccer game and invented their own game of 'Attack the Chino Kid'.

The first time he was knocked down, he let it go as an accident, even with the additional kick to the back of his calf – not protected by his shin guard.

The second time at least the ref saw it – for all the good it did.

Ryan's third and final hit came right after he scored another goal – a record third in the first half for him. His third knock down, after his third goal. It would have been ironic, had the Pacific kid not intentionally kicked him again and then stepped on his leg, dragging his cleat down the back of Ryan's calf. With metal cleats. Illegally worn metal cleats that not only tore up his sock but also his leg. It was enough for the refs to finally kick the kid out of the game, but it also resulted in Ryan's removal as well.

Despite telling the coach he was fine and trying to assure him that in spite of the blood, Ryan's leg really didn't hurt, the coach refused to allow Ryan to play the second half. He was benched, next to the second string players, and that, Ryan decided, was even more embarrassing than getting knocked on his ass.

At least on the field, he could hold his own. He couldn't openly fight back, not without the risk of trouble, but at least he wouldn't be perceived as a wimp who needed to hide behind his coach.

The paramedic was finally called over when the cuts on Ryan's leg wouldn't stop bleeding. She cleaned and bandaged it, then told Ryan "One gash looks pretty deep. Your parents may want to get it checked out."

When she said "parents," Ryan noticed some of the second stringers snicker. To make matters worse, the coach also noticed and warned the losers that if they didn't knock it off, they'd be running laps for an hour. After that, he offered Ryan an apologetic smile – yet another reminder that absolutely everyone in Newport knew he had no family of his own.

Ryan tried to push the whole miserable incident out of his mind as he hobbled into the bathroom, thankful that none of the Cohens were at the game to witness his humiliation. Kirsten couldn't get out of some meeting her father arranged, even though he knew Ryan had a game; Sandy couldn't get out of court; and Seth had some kind of comic book thing that Ryan didn't bother to ask about.

At first, he was actually a little disappointed. At least one of the Cohens had made it to each of his other games - something Ryan never had before but quickly got used to. And liked. A lot. More than he would ever admit out loud to anyone.

Now he was glad they couldn't make it. What they didn't know couldn't hurt Ryan. There would be no embarrassing talks, no pity filled expressions, or worse, no disappointed looks when they realized that Ryan really couldn't get along with anyone in Orange County.

He also definitely didn't need to bother either one of them with being forced to take time off to take him to a doctor. Not for a few cuts on his leg.

Ryan cursed again when he pulled the bandage off, and it stuck to the dried blood, causing the blood to start flowing again. At least he was able to wash the blood off as he stood under the shower. That's when he noticed the dark bruises from the additional kicks.

He cursed again when he noticed that while drying off, he got blood on the towel. The very soft, obviously expensive towel Kirsten had put in his bathroom that was now hidden in the bottom of his hamper until Ryan could clean or replace it if the blood didn't come out. He just hoped he had enough money left over from his summer job.

Ryan mumbled a few more swear words when he couldn't find any bandages large enough in the medicine cabinet to cover the gashes. He decided to put the old one back on, but had no tape in the medicine cabinet. As a substitute, he pulled out one of his old wife beaters and cut it into strips to tie the bandage on.

While he dressed, Ryan realized that putting his sweats on before dinner would make the Cohens suspicious. He opted instead for a pair of jeans – black in case he bled through the bandage and grabbed some aspirin in the hopes of stopping the throbbing that he didn't want to admit was quickly getting worse.

The paramedic had said something about propping his leg up when he got home, but as Ryan looked at the bed, he couldn't bring himself to put his feet all over Kirsten's expensive feather pillows. Instead, he decided to lie on the floor and put his legs up on the bed. That had to be okay since his feet were on the bed at night when he slept. It didn't make studying easy, but it had to be good enough.

Ryan fell asleep within a few minutes of looking at his history book and jumped when he heard Seth's voice over his head.

"Yo, dude, what's up with the new study technique? Comfy?"

"Yeah." Ryan rubbed his eyes and slowly pulled his legs off the bed, stifling a groan when he realized how stiff his leg had become.

"So, I heard you guys won today."

"Yeah. Who did you hear that from?"

"Some guys at school. Said it was a slaughter."

Ryan suddenly got nervous. "Did they say anything else?"

"They may have, but I kind of lost interest. Plus, I didn't want to risk any celebratory pee-ed in shoes. Why?"

"No reason."

"'Kay. Dinner's here. Chinese."

Ryan followed Seth out without another word, concentrating instead on walking as normal as possible. Obviously not normal enough because he noticed Seth staring at him.

"Um, Ryan, are you limping for any particular reason?"

"I'm not limping. Just stiff, I guess."

"Yeah, remind me not to try your new study position."

"No problem."

Ryan ducked into the kitchen behind Seth and sat in the chair obviously set for him since it was the only place setting without chopsticks – something else Ryan needed to work on. The Cohens had Chinese enough that he really needed to learn how to use chopsticks.

He smiled slightly at Kirsten when she passed him the Moo Shoo Pork, and she took it as an opportunity to start the conversation.

"So, how was the game?"


"Did you win?"


Sandy passed the egg rolls and joined the conversation.

"How'd you do?"


"Score any goals?"

"Yeah – a couple."

"Congratulations," Kirsten said. "I'm sorry I missed it. I've already cleared my schedule and warned my secretary not to let my father schedule anything for me so I won't miss Monday's game."

"That's okay. Don't worry about it."

"I'm not worried, and it's not okay. I like being at your games. They're fun."

"Yeah, same here, kid," Sandy added. "I'm free Monday afternoon as well. Since it's a home game, maybe afterwards we can go out to dinner and celebrate."

"Celebrate what? We haven't even played the game yet let alone won."

"Well, we'll celebrate today's game and either celebrate Monday's or drown our sorrows in crab cakes."

Ryan nodded as he put his head down, and started to calculate in his head – it was Wednesday night. The next game was Monday afternoon. That was almost five full days for the cuts to heal and the bruises to fade, and his soccer socks would hide any of his remaining injuries. Except that's when Ryan remembered; he needed new socks to replace the one that was destroyed

Great, Ryan thought, it was becoming an expensive day. He knew he needed to buy bandages and peroxide for the cuts, he had to replace the bath towel if the blood didn't come out, and buy new soccer socks. Plus he was going to need more aspirin since his leg was once again beginning to throb, and he couldn't limp. Someone would notice if he limped and then he'd have to explain what happened.

Maybe he should quit the team and ask for his part time job back. But then he'd have to explain that. Not to mention the fact that the second he mentioned a part time job, Kirsten would again give him money and tell him they'd prefer if he concentrated on school. Of course, he could tell them that soccer was interfering with school. That would work, except for the fact Sandy would offer to get him a tutor.

Ryan continued to mull it over while lying in bed since the throbbing in his leg made it hard to fall asleep. He liked soccer. He liked playing soccer. He just hated the fact that everyone apparently knew he was not from Newport, and no one would let him forget it.