A new sick Ryan story- yay!

Very early season 3. After everything Ryan's been through, from Kirsten's admission to rehab, his arrest, and Trey's departure, would he really walk away unscathed? sick/limp/withdrawn Ryan & then Ryan/Sandy bonding

"Come on Ryan- up and at 'em! It is a new day! Nay- a new, improved and drama free day!" Seth burst into Ryan's room far too early for Ryan's liking. Anytime before next week was too early for Ryan's liking. All he wanted to do was sleep. He was drained. Emotionally and physically. His head felt far too heavy, like the beginning of a nasty headache, and there was a feeling of unease in the pit of his stomach.

"This is Newport... How long do you really think we'll really stay drama free?" Ryan groaned as he crawled out from underneath his pile of blankets.

"Oh, I'd say..." He looked at the clock on Ryan's bedside, "We have about two hours."

"Two whole hours?" Ryan rolled his shoulders, there was an uncomfortable ache in them, like he had slept wrong or something. He sneezed.

"Bless you. Yes, two whole hours." Seth said. "Look, I'm even turning off my phone. You and I can sit by the pool and have our own private oasis and drama free zone." Seth suddenly stopped and looked at Ryan, "Are you okay, man? You don't look so good."

Ryan shook his head, "Just tired..."

"So, come on, you can sleep out by the pool, but you need some color in those cheeks. Now up and at 'em!" He yanked the covers off of Ryan's bed. Ryan glared at him for a moment, but his eyes and head hurt so he gave up, and got up off his bed, and stumbled off towards the bathroom. Moving made pops of light flash in front of his eyes, but he ignored them.

"Just gimme a min..." He muttered as he staggered towards the open bathroom door.

"Hurry... Hurry... Time's awaisting... One hour and 52 minutes left in our drama free time slot."

Ryan made it the bathroom and with a sigh of relief pushed the door closed, blocking out Seth's persistently cheerful voice. He glanced over at himself in the mirror. No wonder Seth thought he didn't look good. He was pale, and he had dark circles under his eyes. No surprise. He had lain awake half the night replaying everything over and over in his head. He turned on the cold water. Hoping that washing his face would wash away the gritty feeling of not sleeping. Suddenly, without warning he felt a wave neasea crash over him, he practically fell to his knees as he gripped the edge of the toilet and lost everything he had eaten the day before into it.

He waited until he'd stopped heaving, to climb back to his feet and flushed the toilet. He splashed some cool water on his face. The nausea had subsided, leaving him feeling even more empty and drained than before. He brushed his teeth, and then exited the bathroom, red in the face with embarassment. He was certain Seth had heard him, but apparently he hadn't because as soon as he reappeared Seth pick up his babble right where he had left off.

"Okay, one hour and thirty eight minutes left in the drama free slot. Alright, so let's pool it for an hour, then we have just enough time to get to the diner and grab some lunch before our time is up."

"What's with the time limit?" Ryan croaked, all he wanted was his bed. He eyed it longingly.

"What? Oh nothing... I just know how these things go. By noon something is going to go wrong... Or..." He lowered his voice conspiritorally. "Or, if we keep telling drama that we know we're looking for it. Maybe it'll stay away. You know how like, when people say like 'Well, at least its not raining or something.' I'm using reverse- psychology on the drama, since it always finds us when we're not looking for it. I say that by looking for it, we will avoid finding it." He nodded, pleased with himself. Ryan couldn't help but crack a half- smile.

"Okay... then do you think you can spare me another hour of sleep?"

"Huh?" Seth's cheerful face instantly dropped, "But I thought... Well, you and I haven't really gotten any Seth/Ryan time. And I mean Trey was here and stuff... I just feel like there's be a serious lack of Cohen Brother Bonding."

Ryan realized he was probably right, "Yeah, okay." And anyway, it was just lying by the pool, how much effort could that really take? He grabbed a pair of swim trunks and raised an eye at Seth, who obligingly turned around. They may have been Cohen brother's, but they hadn't grown up together, and there were still certain barriers that would probably never be crossed since they hadn't been raised in a bathtub together. Then he trudged out after an exhuberant Seth to the pool, and gratefully lay down on one of the chairs and closed his eyes. The sun had made his headache instantly worse.

"Hey guys!" Sandy popped his head out from the kitchen and called out to them cheerfully. "Who wants pancakes?"

"You made pancakes?" Seth was up like a shot.

"Yeah, I was waiting for you both to get up, and here you are. Almost two hours sooner than expected."

"Yes, well, we are savoring our drama free time."

"Drama free...?"

"Don't ask..." Ryan muttered, slowly rolling to his side and then pushing himself upright. He had to blink his eyes a few times to adjust them and focus on Sandy's face.

"Alright, well, pancakes are served."

By the time Ryan reached the house and had slid into his chair in front of the heaping pile of pancakes the pain inside his skull had doubled and just looking at the fluffy golden pancakes made his stomach a little queazy.

"Coffee?" Sandy asked, plopping a mug of the steaming dark liquid next to Ryan.

"S'great... Thanks..." Ryan managed to say, as he cut a small peice of the pancakes and forced himself to put it to his lips.

"So, boys, what are your plans for today?" Sandy asked, sitting down next to them with his own pile of pancakes.

"New mission: Drama avoidance." Seth said, remarkably concise now that his face was stuffed with food. Ryan managed to swallow his first bite and took a small sip of the coffee, mostly to avoid answering the questioning gaze that Sandy leveled at him, to elaborate on what Seth meant by "drama avoidance."

"Do you even know how to avoid drama Seth?"

"I'll have you know father, I am in fact a master of the drama avoidance. It's Ryan there that seems to attract the drama."

Sandy raised a questioning eyebrow, "I dunno... There was the Anna/Summer thing, then the on-again-off-again Summer thing, there was the Zack thing..."

"Okay... Okay... I get it." Seth said uneasily, "This is a joint pact between the two of us. No more drama."

"Well, I appreciate that." Said Sandy, smiling, "Cause you know, it's just me for awhile and I could really use you two..." He eyed them both, "To help out around here... And not get into any trouble. Think you could handle that?" Ryan and Seth exchanged a look and then both of them nodded. "Excellent, now I need to get to the office. So, promise me both of you will stay out of trouble?"

"I told you Dad- it's the drama free initiative!"

"Right..." Sandy said, shaking his head as he got to his feet. "I'll believe that when I see it."

"We'll show him, right Ryan?"

"Right..." Ryan said softly, he had managed three bites of the pancake, and now he was seriously regretting it. They felt like lead in his stomach. No worse than lead... He pushed back his chair and stood up hastily, "I'll be right back... I l-left the water running in the pool house." It was an unfortunate lie, it meant he'd have to actually walk back to the pool house. Forget walk. Run. He dashed out of the kitchen, just as Sandy came back in, briefcase in hand, ready to depart.

"What was that about?" He asked.

"Ryan's on a water conservation as well as a drama- free kick." Seth said, with a shrug of his shoulders. "By the way, Dad, these pancakes are delicious!"

"Thank you Seth, but flattery will get you nowhere. I mean it when I said I really need you two to stay out of trouble."

"We heard you... We heard you.."

"Good, I'll try to get home early tonight. Can I leave you in charge of dinner?"

"Huh? Ryan's the cook not me-!"

"I was thinking we'd actually try one of your mother's recipes."

"Oooh takeout, yeah that I can handle."

"Good, I'll see you tonight."

Ryan had just finished heaving into the toilet, when there was a gentle knock on the door. "Hey Ryan, I was just about to clean up the kitchen."

"Be right there..." Ryan managed to yell back.

"Okay..." Seth sounded a little uncertain, "You okay man?"

"Yeah, fine..." Ryan yelled back, another wave of neasea surfaced.

"Okay..." Ryan heard the door slide shut just in time. When it finally passed, Ryan felt so exhausted he wasn't even sure he could stand up. No, Sandy said he needed the kids not to get into trouble. He would just have to tough it out. It was a little stomach bug, nothing he couldn't handle.

He dragged himself back to his feet and took two Tyenol's. then after a moment's thought a third, and the smallest sip of water possible. He stared into the mirror a moment, praying that he wouldn't throw them back up. His face shone with a light layer of perspiration and he took a moment to wash it with cool water and gargled some mouthwash.

He made it back to the kitchen, where he slumped against the door frame, "Okay what's up?" He asked.

"Ryan... I didn't want to say anything in front of Dad, cause he has enough to worry about with Mom and stuff... But are you okay? You look kind of...awful..."

"I'm fine Seth," Ryan answered gruffly, like he needed the reminder that Sandy didn't need additional stress.

"Okay..." Seth said, "No need to bite my head off for being a concerned brother..."

"Right, sorry. What can I do to help?"

"Load the dishwasher?"

"Sure," Ryan agreed.

"Well, would you look at that?" Seth glanced at his phone. "Already 1pm, and we have officially been drama free for three hours."

"Mmph..." Ryan muttered half- asleep. The warm sun felt good on his tired, aching body. Inside he'd felt shivery and cold but he felt better now that he was out in the warm sun.

"What next? Maybe the movies? That seems like some good clean drama free fun..."

"Yeah, we could go to the IMAX, see that shark thing you've always wanted to see..." Sick as he was, Ryan couldn't resist making a joke. In truth, Ryan really wasn't interested in moving, or speaking. Every time he spoke he worried he might puke, but he knew Seth wouldn't be content to sit around by the pool forever, and Ryan was slightly worried he might get dehydrated if he just stayed there in the sun. Passing out from dehydration was not keeping out of trouble.

"Ryan, that was two years ago!" Seth chastised him.

"Oh, right..." Ryan smirked, and slowly sat up. "I need a shower,"

"Go for it, I'll go look up movie times!" Seth jumped up and ran off to investigate the movie situation as Ryan eased himelf to his feet and made his way back to the pool house. As he passed his bed, he thought longingly of collapsing onto it, but that would alert Seth who would alert Sandy, that something was wrong. He opened the cabinet to fish out several more Tyenol, and his gaze fell on the thermometer stashed there. He looked at it for a moment. Take his temperature and find out if he was really sick? Or just go on pretending that nothing was wrong? He decided that knowing whether or not he had a fever would do nothing for him, so he ignored it and closed the cabinet and stepped into the cool shower. A little too cool. He started to shiver almost instantly, and quickly turned the guage up to a warmer temperature. No good, he still shivered, and he sneezed several times.

Finally he gave up and climbed out, and wrapped himself in two towels and sat down on the toilet to wait for the shivering to subside and for his teeth to stop chattering. Every shiver seemed to set his nerves on fire and made his back, shoulders and neck ache painfully. He coughed dryly. He couldn't deny it anymore, he was really sick. Maybe he should just tell Seth... And then swear him to secrecy on pain of death... Or threat of infection. Threaten to breathe on him if he told. Another sneeze ripped through him, then several more coughs. On the plus side when he was sneezing and coughing his body stopped shivering. Finally he managed to stand up and dragged himself out of the bathroom. He got dressed and then made his way back to the house, where Seth was sprawled over the newspaper checking out movie listings.

"Bad action flick, 2:15, how does that sound?"

"Great Seth..." Ryan sneezed.

"Bless you. You got allergies or something?"

"Doe, why?" Ryan asked rubbing his nose and sniffing. "I think I just got water up when I was swimming."

"You didn't go swimming." Seth pointed out accusitorially.

"Oh right," Ryan sat down in the chair, he didn't have the energy to stay upright anymore.

"Seriously man, are you okay?"

"Seriously man, stop asking me. I just... Didn't get a lot of sleep last night."

"Oh... Look, we got all summer, and lots of time when we need to avoid drama. Do you wanna just... skip the movies for now?" It was a surprisingly thoughtful gesture coming from Seth, and Ryan was grateful. He nodded, then decided not to that anymore. Moving his head made his headache and neckache worse.

"I think I'm gonna go take a nap."

"Sounds good man," Seth only sounded slightly disappointed.

Ryan made his way back to his bed and quickly buried himself under a pile of blankets, as another wave of shivers took over. He sneezed and coughed several more times, before the exhaustion won and he fell into a restless, feverish sleep.

He woke up feeling no better, but when his blurry vision cleared he saw that two hours had passed. If he didn't get up soon and keep Seth company his cover would be blown. He shuffled to the house and found Seth playing video games. He slid down next to him, only to have Seth scoot away from him. "Dude, keep your sick germs to yourself."

"I'm dot sick..." Ryan muttered, he heard himself and cleared his throat, "I'm not sick." He repeated more clearly.

"Sure you're not."

"I'm not..."

"Well, fine, but something's wrong with you. You look like hell."

"Thanks Seth." His body betrayed him and he sneezed.

"Sick." Seth repeated. "You should be in bed. Need me to bring you some OJ?" Seth's eyes never left the television screen as he guided his character through battle.

"It's just a cold."

"Where did you find a cold in summertime?"

"I dunno... maybe jail?"

"Oh... Right..." Seth went silent. Ryan rubbed his nose. "Are you okay?"

"Yeah, fine."

"No, I meant, aside from your cold or whatever. Are you okay?"

"Yeah, I'm good."

"With Trey and everything though..."

"Seth..." Ryan growled.

"Sorry... Sorry... won't go there. But hey, if you wanna talk?" He paused the game and looked at Ryan.

"What would I wanna talk about? How my brother betrayed me and I ended up in jail? Or how he almost raped Marissa? Or how he tried to kill me?"

"Right... that stuff..." Seth looked away and back at the television. Ryan watched the character for a few moments, but it made his headache worse. He let out an involuntary moan as his fingertips went to his temples to massage them. Seth paused the game again and looked at the hunched over figure of Ryan. "Ryan... Look, I'm not gonna ask, but if you're not feeling well, it's okay."

"I'm fine." Ryan head popped up with a snap. "Just a little cold and a headache."

"Do you have a fever or anything?"

"No." Ryan answered automatically. "Just a little cold..." He repeated, as he dragged himself to his feet. "But I'm gonna go lie down..." Seth didn't bother pointing out that Ryan just had been lying down.

"Need anything... Lemme know." Seth said, turning back to the video game.

Shortly before Sandy got home, Seth braved the sick lion's den and shook Ryan awake. He felt immediate alarm at the heat that seemed to be radiating of Ryan's body. "Dad's gonna be home soon... If you want him to not think this is more than a little cold.." He explained. "But uh, maybe you should go to the doctor, you feel really warm..." Ryan silently glared at him, but the galre lost its usual force when he started to cough.

"If I still feel this way tomorrow I'll go," Ryan croaked weakly.

At dinner, Ryan could barely keep his eyes open as Sandy and Seth chattered away. Seth was clearly doing his best to keep Sandy from noticing Ryan's diminished state. Ryan was secretely grateful as he picked at his pad thai. Excused from dinner, and with everything washed, put away or at least in the dish washer, Ryan made his way back to his room.

The dinner and its subsequent cleanup- done under the watchful eye of Sandy had brought him to the absolute brink and drained him of any strength and energy he may have had left. He collapsed onto his bed, shivering and shaking as he pulled the covers up to his chin, not bothering to get undressed. Everything hurt. The coughs had started to grate against his throat. His muscles ached. His head throbbed. He moaned softly in discomfort, as the all-too-familiar neaseau rolled over him. He rolled out of bed and staggered towards the bathroom, regretting the the three bites of dinner he had managed to eat. He made it to the bathroom where he fell to his knees and crawled the rest of the way.

There was a knock on the door, "Ryan?" Ryan glanced at the open bathroom door, it was open, but there was no way he could move to close it. "Ryan?" Sandy called out again, his voice sounded slightly more concerned. He must have heard Ryan as he threw up in the bathroom, because he was there by Ryan's side in an instant as Ryan's body heaved and shook over the toilet. Ryan felt a hand slowly rubbing his back in gentle circles, then Sandy sat down onto the bathroom floor beside him. As Ryan's body finished its revolt, he pushed back from the toilet and felt Sandy's arms around him, supporting him. He buried his head in Sandy's neck and let Sandy hold him. They way he had when they'd watched the bus pull away.

"I'm s-sorry..." Ryan croaked.

"For what? Sandy asked, astonished.

"For getting sick..." Ryan said, he ast up and wiped his mouth. "I know you don't..." Whatever he was going to say was cut off by as a wave of bile rose in his throat and he reached out and clutched at the toilet bowl as he retched into it.

"Shh... It's okay..." Sandy said quietly, rubbing his back, "It's okay." When Ryan's body had finally finished heaving, Sandy helped Ryan to his feet, and brought him back to his bed. Ryan dropped into it gratefully, and didn't protest when Sandy tucked the blankets around his shivering body. "Jeez kid," Sandy moved a hand over Ryan's forehead, and winced in sympathy, the kid was burning up. He must have been feeling terrible. "How long have you been feeling sick?"

"Just since this morning..." Ryan croaked. "Didn't want... to bother you."

"Kid, you're sick, you're not a bother."

"But you have... Other stuff..."

"Ryan, your my son. There is no other stuff." Ryan curled into a ball and coughed and then moaned slightly. Sandy shook his head, the kid was in bad shape. He had probably been pushing himself all day, determined to put a brave front. Well, it looked like the virus had won, at least for now. "I should take your temperature," Sandy said, Kirsten would do that. Right?

"Dad?" Seth appeared in the doorway of the pool house. "Is Ryan okay?"

"He's fine Seth, he's just not feeling too good right now. Can you get me thermometer?"

"Bathroom..." Ryan croaked, "But don't go..." The toilet had never been flushed. "I'll get it," He struggled away from Sandy's hands and pushed himself to his feet. Sandy and Seth could only stare as Ryan's iron will power propelled him to the bathroom where he managed to flush the toilet and get the thermometer. He came back to the bed, and put the thermometer under his own tongue without being prodded. Then looked at Seth and Sandy as if to say, "See? I told you I don't need you." The thermometer beeped. Ryan pulled it out. "S'not so bad." He muttered, and then clicked it off before Sandy or Seth could look at the reading. Sandy and Seth glanced at each other.

"Oh no Ryan, just because Kirsten's not around doesn't mean you get to start treating yourself." Sandy decided to re-take control of the situation. "Back under." He said, handing him the thermometer.

"Yeah!" Seth said, standing behind his father, hands on his hips. Ryan just rolled his eyes, but stuck the thermometer back under his tongue. "We're going to take care of you Ryan, whether you like it or not!"

A/N: So, I can either keep going or call it a day and work on my other stuff... We shall see.