first fanfic. yea, sorry it's kinda long. but i decided it'd be better off as a oneshot.

rated T for language, mostly.

rights to O.C characters belongs to the director and producers and the studios and whoever else made the show possible. thanx guys.

Anyway: so, this is set somewhere in the fourth season finale, before the flash-forward. not really AU cause it's the O.C and this totally could have happened as a plot

and i never ended up seeing the fourth (or third, for that matter) season, so any O.C storyline screw-ups just tell me.

and...yea, enjoy. r&r, i guess.


Alex Kelly sat and stared straight ahead, arms crossed, legs crossed, heart pounding and teeth aching from her clenched jaw. She couldn't believe this. She just couldn't believe it. What the hell? How could this happen? How could-

"So," he finally said. Alex could feel him turning slightly in his chair. But she refused to look. If she looked she'd lose it. Any trace of self-control would be lost. "Um…" Ryan trailed off.

They were sitting back to back, on the two empty benches that faced in opposite directions, looking at opposite worlds, each lost in their own reeling minds. Ryan could barely believe it. Sure, they were similar, but he never would have guessed it went that far, hit that close to home. He could hear his sister breathing heavily, though with anger or shock or both he couldn't be sure.

"Now what?" The question was blunt but Alex didn't flinch. She was a rock. Or at least she hoped she was. She snorted instead, not sure how to answer…not sure that she could. She felt him move again, their backs no longer touching as he turned around, trying to get her to do the same. Alex readjusted her arms, rolling her shoulders but not moving her neck, not willing to crack, not yet. He sighed, and presumably ran his hand through his sandy blonde hair. Blonde hair. Alex scowled. How could they possibly be siblings? She and he…they looked so different. Her hair was a way brighter shade. Her eyes were a lighter blue. Granted, they were the same height…and had the same taste in girls. Alex's scowl deepened as she tried to erase the last thought.

"Come on, Alex," he said, gently and coaxingly. Alex finally gave in, turning her head a bit and glancing at Ryan, her adversary, her competition…her brother. She quickly turned away with what she hoped was a look of disgust on her face.

"Just a hint, Ryan, if you have to work that hard, it's not working," she said huffily, rolling her eyes. And although she refused to look, she knew he was smiling.

"Yeah, I guess," he muttered. Alex could feel his eyes on her, but she wouldn't say anything. What the hell. She knew she shouldn't be mad at him. It's not his fault that their parents liked to sleep around. It wasn't his fault that his mother and her father…Ryan couldn't be held responsible for the stupidity of adults. Alex sighed, and, swallowing her pride, turned around to face him. He was sitting awkwardly, facing the wrong way, elbows on his knees and hunched over. When he realized Alex had turned to him, he looked up and his eyes met hers. And they stared, stared like they had never seen each other before, like the other was a complete stranger, like two strangers who had just found out that they were in fact, brother and sister.

Ryan opened his mouth to say something when a look of hatred sped across Alex's features, and she spun back around.

"What the FUCK" Alex shouted, burying her face in her hands as she felt burning tears sting her eyes. She clenched her jaw hard and felt anger wash over her. Anger at her father, Ryan's father, at Ryan's mother…anybody.

Ryan sympathized silently as he looked at his sister. They had a lot more in common than he would ever like to admit. In fact, a part of him was surprised that he wasn't as angry as she was. But he wasn't. Instead he felt apathy towards the situation. And so he stood up from his bench and sat down beside his sister. He wanted to comfort her. But he knew that'd be awkward. And so he waited, contemplating all that had happened.

It started innocently enough. A trip to the doctor, a quick pinprick, and he was done. He was surprised when he ran into Alex, just entering. As he left, someone called after him to please wait, the test results would be out soon. Test results? For what test? But Ryan sat down. Alex came out, and the doctor followed. And he confronted them.

"My dad was such an asshole," Ryan commented finally, looking down at Alex for a reaction. "So, I don't know, I guess it makes sense that my mom would look for someone more…I don't know, less ass-hole"

To Ryan's surprise, a humorless laugh escaped Alex's lips. "You mean our dad was such an asshole," she muttered. Ryan thought for a minute.

"Well, I didn't mean my…our…biological dad, I meant the bastard my mom was screwing at the time," he murmured. Alex smirked against her arms.

"Story of my life," she muttered. Ryan couldn't help himself. He smiled at that.

Alex hated to admit it, but Ryan was an okay guy, considering his background. She finally lifted her head, her unshed tears retreating as she looked at him again. Ryan Atwood, her very own brother, messed up kid who managed to get rescued before he drowned in his own misery. Alex wished she'd been so lucky. She snorted to herself before looking at the floor, not ready to meet Ryan's eyes again.

"So…"Alex said finally. Ryan looked at her to see her gazing intently at the floor. "How the fuck did this all happen?" she asked, more to herself than anyone else. Ryan sighed and slouched back on the bench.

"Well, when a woman and a man love each other very much…" he took a stab at humor. Alex glanced at him, a smirk sliding across her lips.

"Haha" she said sarcastically, "like there was any love in it." She added seriously, turning her gaze back to the floor.

"Look, I don't know how it happened, what they were thinking or what they were on, but it happened so," he paused, "we'll just have to make the best of it."

Alex didn't react, just lifted her gaze from the floor to the wall her bench was facing. It was bare except for the two large plants at the tips of her peripheral vision, and was a strange shade of yellow. Cheesecake yellow. She thought absently.

Ryan glanced at the wall as well before looking back to his sister.

"Well, since we're not gonna get anywhere fast…" he murmured to himself. He sighed and stuck out his hand, to Alex's utter surprise.

"Hey, nice to meet you, I'm Ryan Atwood, your brother"

Alex gave him a strange look but accepted his hand nevertheless, shaking it silently before saying,

"Alex Kelly…erm, your sister?" she questioned, tilting her head and shooting him a "what are you doing" look.

"Nice to meet you, Alex."

"Yeah, you already said that." She pointed out, rolling her eyes. Ryan contracted his eyebrows questioningly. Alex threw her hands up.

"Okay, fine! Nice to meet you too." She said, rolling her eyes again and feeling rather lame.

"So, Alex, how's your life been?" he questioned. This time, Alex raised her eyebrow.

"What are you doing, Ryan?" she questioned, narrowing her eyes as she looked intently at him. He gazed intently back.

"Getting to know my sister." Ryan stated simply. His gaze never left Alex's as he leaned back on the bench.

"My life, you ask?" he said after Alex didn't say anything. "It's okay, I guess. The girl who had my heart from the minute I met her died a while ago. That was pretty bad. But I have a new girlfriend, and not nearly as much drama as the other one caused. But I know that I'll never stop loving her." He took a breath before he continued, "My adoptive brother may or may not be getting married to the girl he loved since he first saw her in freshman year of high school." Ryan sat up and leaned forward, placing his chin in his hands and his elbows on his knees. "To tell the truth, a piece of me always wished I had a sister... she would have been great for advice on girls." He added the last part, so as not to sound too sappy. Alex snorted. She felt a pang in her heart at the subtle reference to Marissa. Alex had never been more miserable than the day she found out that her ex had died. She received the news from the newspapers and refused to come out of her room for a month. Sometimes it was hard to even fathom a Marissa-less world. Finally, Alex sighed.

"I got kicked out of my house at sixteen for being myself, got emancipated, moved to Newport. I fell hard for this one chick who ended up breaking my heart. I told her I might go back to school. I lied. Kind of. I went, but dropped out. It was actually worse than I remember it being. I tried to reconcile with my parents. That was a laugh." She laughed humorlessly as though to prove her point. "They forgave me but I'm still not lawfully bound to them. I didn't forgive them. I moved back in with Jodie. We're just friends, I can't even imagine why I dated her for as long as I did, she can be such a bitch. I'm manager of a club despite the fact that I'm under age…" Alex hesitated before continuing. "I never wanted a brother," she admitted before turning away. She couldn't look at Ryan, didn't want to see his reaction. When she finally dared to look, Ryan simply shrugged.

"It happens," he said simply, and began to say something else, but was cut off by Alex.

"But that doesn't mean that I'm not happy to have one" she rushed to say it, causing Ryan to smile as Alex blushed.

"Awww, you're blushing!" Ryan teased, making a baby face and leaning in closer to Alex. Alex's blush deepened in hue as she shoved him away from her.

"Cut it out!" she snapped as he gave her a grin. He held his hands up in defeat.

"Whatever, sis." Alex smirked.

"Damn straight, little bro." she chided. Ryan stopped joking and sat up, looking questioningly at her.

"Little?" he asked. Alex chuckled.

"Well surely you don't think I'm the younger one?" she challenged him, sitting up straighter as well.

"And what if I did?" he fired back, narrowing his eyes, only half playful. Alex's eyes twinkled mischievously.

"Well, you're obviously not the eldest, as the eldest is more mature. Which would mean me," Alex argued. Ryan laughed at that.

"You're more mature? How are you more mature?" he inquired. Alex folded her arms in defiance.

"For one, I wouldn't get so hung up on 'little'…it's not like it's a bad thing." She added, loving the double meaning but hoping Ryan wouldn't catch it. He did.

"Oh, and you're more mature?" He laughed, "Not to mention, you're still arguing with me about it."

Alex rolled her eyes.

"Whatever, I'm older."

"What time were you born?" Ryan shot at her. Alex glared at her brother.

"Like it matters, I could be lying. Or you could be lying." She said back, making a "duh" look at him. Ryan scrunched his nose.

"Ugh, I hated that look," he said suddenly, abandoning the argument at hand. Alex stared at him.

"Thanks a freaking lot." She muttered. Ryan looked quietly at Alex before turning away.

"No, not when you made it…" Alex looked at him, "it's just, that's the look Marissa would get when she thought something was way more obvious than it was."

Alex stiffened at Marissa's name. A part of her wanted to remember the girl forever, put her memory on a pedestal for all to admire. But another part of her knew that she had to move on, no matter how hard it would be. And it would definitely be hard.

Ryan knew it was sensitive territory. Marissa wasn't on earth to defend herself anymore, and both of them had loved her. But, he knew that, eventually, they had to get over it sometime.

Alex finally spoke.

"You know, I was never a huge fan of that look either," she said thoughtfully.


hope you liked it, thanx for reading!