Kirsten studied the thermometer and frowned, "Guess we pushed it a little with that outing, huh?"

"How bad is it?" Ryan asked. Kirsten had insisted on his taking his temperature the moment they'd walked into the house. Ryan blamed himself for falling asleep on the car ride home. As soon as they had reached the driveway Kirsten had hustled Ryan inside the house and onto the couch.


"S'not that bad..." Ryan muttered, "Rather that than be cooped up here..." Kirsten raised an eyebrow and Ryan shrugged. "It was good to get out..."

"And see Marissa you mean?" Ryan flushed, slightly. "It's okay, we've all done crazier things for love than drag ourselves from our sickbeds." She patted him on the shoulder. Ryan was surprised, he would have expected a lecture. It was hard to imagine Kirsten doing anything too crazy... Or being madly in love. "You know, she's helping lead a ballroom dancing class before Cotillion, maybe if you actually rest between now and then you might even be well enough for that." Ryan looked up, a little too expectantly. Kirsten smiled at him, and Ryan smiled back, realizing she had noticed his enthusiasm, but then he shrank back into the couch.

"Doesn't matter anyway..." he sighed, "She's with Luke."

"And has been forever," Seth chimed in. "Since like, the sixth grade. But me thinks she likee Ryan."

Kirsten scrunched her nose, "Seth, don't say likee."

"Why not?"

"It's just- weird." Ryan chuckled to himself, and snuggled deeper into the blanket drifting off to sleep to the sound of Kirsten and Seth bantering.

He knew he was dreaming. Not like last time, no, this was a dream. He was standing on a road somewhere. Marissa was standing next to him. She turned to him, "You're going to lose me."

"Huh?" Ryan was confused.

"Right here." She told him, looking to the highway above them. "You'll save me once, only to lose me here."

"Save you? From what?"

She smiled at him, "From myself... But Ryan..." She stepped towards him, her hand cool as it brushed his bangs off his face, "Who will save you?"

He looked at her, "I've already been saved. The Cohens... Sandy... Kirsten... They saved me."

She studied his face, "Maybe, but you know what I've learned." She looked up again at the steep drop between the two roadways, "Really in the end the only person you can really save is yourself."

"Are you saying I shouldn't have come today? That I shouldn't go to Cotillion?"

"Ryan?" A voice interrupted Marissa, and Ryan jolted awake, gasping and then coughing. He looked around, confused.

"Sorry Kirsten... I fell asleep..." He said hoarsly.

"That's okay... We were about to have dinner- do you want to join us?"

"Okay..." Ryan said, sitting up, still confused by his dream. What did it mean? He shook his head, noticing a headache coming on, it was just a dream. Dreams don't mean anything. Except... He looked into the kitchen, the perfect tableau of a family. Their eyes turned toward him.

"Come join us," Sandy gestured smiling.

"Yeah, come eat!" Seth said.

"It's great to have the whole family around the table again," Sandy said, smiling, as Ryan said down with them. The family? Ryan looked at Sandy in wonderment. "The whole family," Sandy repeated, smiling, "Do you want some peas?"

"Peas, would be great." He met Seth and Kirsten's eyes. They both smiled. A family. His family. Not just on paper.

A/N: Okay, so I started writing this chapter with no intentention of finishing the story- but then, it ended. I hoped you like it, yes I know lots of problems aren't resolved, but well, it's still season 1 isn't it? ;)