A/N: Alright, so I was in the mood to do something a little different... And I when I started working on a new story on fictionpress *insert shameless self- promotion here* about people with super powers and somehow I got to thinking about the OC meets the X-Men and how that would all play out and the AU where that would be happening. And that sort of evolved into this... I hope you all enjoy
Ryan was exhausted. The last day of finals for winter break had been brutal, and he was looking forward to going home and sleeping for a long- time. The Cohen's of course greeted him as if he had just made a trans-atlantic voyage home instead of just walking a few blocks.
"How were finals?" Sandy asked.
"Fine," Ryan said, he wasn't really in the mood to talk. In fact, all he wanted was his bed. "I think I'm gonna take a nap..." He said.
Sandy and Kirsten exchanged glances, "Are you feeling okay?" Kirsten asked, looking concerned.
"Yeah, fine, just tired... You know finals and everything..."
"Right of course," Her face relaxed. "Are you still feeling up to picking up Seth at the airport?"
Ryan nodded quickly, "Yeah, of course. Wake me up in an hour?"
"Sure," Sandy smiled at him. As Ryan left the room he could hear the Cohen's whispering.
"Do you really think he's okay?" Kirsten asked.
"Of course, like he said, he did just finish his finals." Sandy said.
"He looked a little pale..."
"He's tired sweetie, don't worry, you have two weeks to fuss over him- don't start yet."
Ryan was relieved that Sandy had managed to convince Kirsten not to hover. He went up to the bedroom he shared with Seth at the Berekly house, and crashed onto his bed, and fell asleep almost immediatly.
All too soon, Kirsten was shaking him awake, "Hey Ryan, time to get up... Do you want something to eat before you pick up Seth?"
"Ah, no, I'm good." Ryan said. He hadn't been hungry all day. As he left the warmth of his blankets he felt a sudden chill and decided that winter had officially arrived in California. He grabbed a sweatshirt and headed downstairs. Pausing only to grab his keys before he rushed out the door.
"Don't you wanna know what airline?" Sandy called after him.
"No- Seth's already texted me three times!" Ryan called back. Was he just imagining it or did his throat feel a little sore when he yelled. Ryan prayed to the combined dieties of Christmakkah that he wasn't coming down with something.
"Ryan!" Seth waved enthusiastically as he left the gate area. The two brothers embraced.
"How's school man?"
"Awesome. I'm surrounded by kids who are just like me and I think water polo players are actually banned from coming onto the campus. And my homework- is drawing. I think I should have just skipped the whole high school and just gone straight to college."
Ryan grinned, "Glad to hear it man."
"How's school for you?"
"Just good- no more details than that? Come on, you're Ryan Atwood. You're single. You're girl drama is thousands of miles away... And all you can say is 'good'?"
"Sorry man, finals wiped me out." Ryan shrugged.
"So there's no girls?"
Ryan smirked, "Maybe."
"Maybe? Come on Ryan what kind of answer is that? You do realize that my girlfriend is traveling around the country on a bus- and since we're doing that long- distance thing I'm left with only having the option of living vicariously through you. So come on! Give me something!"
"Alright, there kind of was a girl..." Ryan admitted.
"And... And nothing... We kind of saw each other... Then things just sort of fizzled out... Hey, do you wanna drive?" Ryan offered Seth the keys. He was tired and felt a headache building. That nap had not been long enough...
"Yeah sure!" Seth jumped at the chance and immediatly forgot all about interrogating Ryan about his girl situation.
Sandy and Kirsten greeted Seth at the door and then after they were done, looked around puzzled, "What happened to Ryan?" Sandy asked.
Seth pouted, "He fell asleep in the car..." Seth was annoyed. He had been right in the middle of a particularly scintilating anectdote about his obssessive- compulsive roommate when he had glanced over and noticed that Ryan wasn't listening and had in fact, fallen asleep.
"Well, I think he's pretty wiped out from finals. We had to get him up from a nap to go and get you..." Kirsten tried to excuse Ryan's behavior.
At that moment, a touseled look Ryan came up the path, blinking his eyes blearily, "Sorry man, guess those all- nighters caught up to me." Ryan smiled sheepishly. He hadn't in fact pulled any all- nighters but he still felt like he hadn't slept in days.
"That's okay man- we have three weeks right?"
"Right," Ryan was relieved that Seth was letting him off the hook.
"Are you hungry?" Kirsten asked.
"Starving!" Seth said.
"No thanks... I'm going..."
"To take a nap?" Seth suggested.
"Yeah..." Ryan shrugged, "Hopefully I'll be more awake by dinner."
Even at dinner, despite a three hour nap, Ryan still felt tired, and the headache seemed to be building strength. He had been hoping the nap and a double dose of Tylenol would have taken care of that.
He forced himself to take a few bites of dinner, even though he wasn't hungry, and forced himself not to cringe when Sophie banged her spoon loudly against her plastic tray.
Despite a strong desire to finish dinner and then head straight back to bed, he knew he would be required to spend at least a few hours playing video games with Seth. In a concialltory gesture, Seth offered him a choice between video games and a movie, but Ryan knew if they watched a movie there would be no way he'd be able to stay awake, so he decided that video games would be safer. He wasn't sure if Seth would forgive him if he fell asleep again.
However, after Seth kicked his butt three successive times, Seth turned to him. "What's wrong man? Out of practice?"
"Sorry, man." In truth, he was having trouble even keeping his eyes open enough to play.
Seth sighed, "Rematch tomorrow?"
"Sounds good..." Ryan said, getting to his feet. "I'm going to bed."
"I figured," Seth shrugged. "I'm going to watch a movie out here."
"'Kay, see you in the morning." Ryan waved and walked off to bed.
Kirsten and Sandy had just finished putting Sophie to bed when they came into the living room and found Seth playing video games by himself.
"Where's Ryan?" Sandy asked.
Seth shrugged, "He was tired. He went to bed."
"He went to be bed?" Kirsten and Sandy exchanged a glance. It wasn't even nine o'clock yet! And by there count, so far all Ryan had done since he had gotten home was sleep.
"Think we should check on him?" Kirsten asked anxiously.
"Well, if he's sleeping, he probably needs the rest... No point in waking him up right?"
"I guess," Kirsten nodded, but Sandy and Seth could tell she didn't really agree.
"Seriously Mom, let him sleep. We have a serious Doom Destructor 4 Challenge Match tomorrow- I need him at the top of his game." Seth defended Ryan. Seth had known kids who after long stretches of studying for days on end with little food and a lot of caffiene took a few days to recover. He saw nothing particularly abnormal in Ryan's behavior.
"Alright," Kirsten sighed, convinced she needed to give Ryan a pass for at least today.
"Well, well, sleeping beauty finally decided to join us." Sandy joked when Seth appeared in the kitchen at around 1pm the next day.
Seth shrugged as he opened a box of cereal and started to eat straight from the box. "Oh- no, you're in a house. Not a dorm. We're need to recivilize you." Kirsten snatched the box from her son's hand and poured him a bowl of cereal. Seth waited expectantly. Kirsten rolled her eyes, "You can get your own milk."
"Where's your partner in crime?" Sandy asked, "I thought you had some destruction and doom to get to."
Seth sighed and shrugged, "He's still asleep. I tried to wake him up and he almost bit my hand off."
"Well, did he say anything?" Kirsten asked, growing slightly anxious.
Seth shrugged and dove into his cereal, "Yeah- go away and leave him alone." Kirsten and Sandy exchanged worried glances. Such behavior was unusual coming from Ryan, especially towards his brother, unless something was wrong.
"Think I should check on him now?" Kirsten challenged Sandy.
"Go for it Mom, but don't blame me if you lose a hand."
Kirsten ignored him and swept up the stairs towards her sons' room. She knocked softly on the door, "Ryan?" She was unsurprised when there was no response. She tried once more out of curtosey and then opened the door. She walked over to Ryan and gently shook his shoulder. "Ryan?"
Blue eyes opened, and took a moment to focus- "Kirsten?"
"There you are sleepy head, I thought you might be hungry. I was going to make pancakes." It was a lie, but it was the only excuse she could come up with.
"No thanks. Not hungry." Ryan rolled over and away from her.
"Ryan, you've barely eaten anything since you got home. Are you feeling okay?"
"Fine, just tired." Ryan said, his eyes closed again.
"Ryan!" Now Kirsten was starting to feel a bit annoyed- Ryan had slept for almost 24 hours straight. "Look, if you're sick that's one thing, but otherwise I think you've slept enough. Sleeping too much isn't good for you either."
"Fine," Ryan groaned and sat up, and noticed a slight but unexpected pain in his left side. "I'll get up..." He muttered, "Could you give me some... privacy?"
"Oh right, of course." Kirsten flushed slightly, "I'll be downstairs."
"kay..." Ryan said, as he groaned inwardly, and wished for the peace and quiet of his dorm where he could sleep without being disturbed. He rolled his stiff neck, then noticed that he was freezing, and he shivered slightly as he pulled on his favorite hoodie and pair of sweatpants. Feeling warmer, but still a bit cold, he forced himself to go downstairs and make an appearance, as he inwardly wondered how long until he could go back to sleep. Even the journey from his bedroom to the kitchen had been tiring, and the steps reminded him of the pain in his side. Left side. Not appendix. That was good. He swallowed. The sore throat was getting worse. His Christmakkah prayers seemed to have gone unanswered. Maybe he should just admit to defeat now... At least he would be allowed to sleep. But as he appeared in the kitchen and the three Cohen's grinned at him, he decided he didn't want to let them down. Especially Seth who he hadn't seen in months.
"Mom's making pancakes!" Seth announced happily.
"Awesome," Ryan said, with as much enthusiasm as he could muster as he slid into a chair at the table and rolled his neck again, in attempt to loosen it up a bit.
"Neck bothering you?" Sandy asked.
Ryan shrugged and then turned into a shoulder roll, "Guess I slept on it wrong..."
"You've been asleep for about 15 hours straight, you were bound to sleep on it wrong at some point..." Seth muttered. Clearly he was a little bitter about Ryan's lack-of-enthusiasm so far towards anything except sleeping.
"Sorry," Ryan muttered. The kitchen was freezing, and he clenched his teeth hard to keep from actually shivering. "Is it cold in here?" He asked.
"Cold? Ryan my friend- you haven't seen cold until you've been in the North east. You want cold- I'm talking single digits man, occasionally double- but we're talking in the wrong direction, as in negative."
"Could have gone to school in California..." Ryan pointed out smirking a little.
"Ryan, are you coming down with something?" Sandy asked, moving towards him as if getting ready for a forehead- feeling. Ryan ducked away from him.
"Nah, just not used to this northern California weather."
"Could have gone to UCLA..." Seth retorted.
"Here boys," Kirsten put a plate of fluffy golden brown pancakes in front of them. A perfect pat of butter sat on top of them, slowly melting in a small pool.
"Wow Mom!" Seth said, as he dumped maple syrup over them. "This is awesome!"
"Yeah," Ryan tried to smile, but he had never had less interest in actually putting a bite of anything into his mouth.
"Well, dig in!" Kirsten said, as if Ryan was hesitating because he was waiting for her permission. Her and Sandy had their eyes locked on him. He cut a small bite and put it in his mouth. Chewed. And swallowed mechanically. It hurt to swallow. He looked with dismay at the two enormous pancakes sitting on his plate. He knew he had barely eaten over the last 24 hours and knew normally that his stomach would have been rumbling right now. Instead all he could think about was his bed.
He looked over at Seth who was wolfing the pancakes down with enthusiasm, and then at Kirsten and Sandy who were watching him expectantly. He sighed, knowing that with his next few words he was totally going to let them all down. He didn't want to be the one to ruin Christmakkah, but in all honesty, he just felt like crap, and all he wanted was his bed.
He pushed the plate away, "Sorry, I'm really not hungry." Everyone stared at him, "I- I'm not feeling well..." He admitted.
"Pay up," Kirsten said, holding out a hand to Sandy.
"Alright, you win..." Sandy fished his wallet out of his back pocket and handed Kirsten a five. "I thought he was going to hold out from admitting it for at least another three hours."
"What's-?" He looked back and forth between them confused, as Kristen walked over to him and put an arm around his shoulders and held him in a half- hug as her other hand reached up and felt his forehead.
"Yup, definitely feverish."
"Ryan man, why didn't you say you were sick?" Seth muttered down at his pancake. He was clearly not happy that his brother and friend was sick, but he was more hurt that Ryan hadn't said anything to him.
"I didn't want to ruin Chrismakkah..." Ryan muttered.
"Oh sweetie..." Kirsten kissed his hot forehead. "Let's get you back to bed. Hopefully this will be a quick thing, and you'll be fine by Christmakkah."
Kirsten got him settled in bed with a cool washcloth on his forhead, a glass of water and a mug of tea with extra honey and gave him two Advil. His temperature was at 101.2 and he knew he wasn't the only one hoping it wouldn't get much higher. "Aside from the fever and the tiredness... Is anything else bothering you?" Kirsten asked.
Ryan nodded, "My throat really hurts..."
"Hmm..." Kirsten reached under his jaw and felt his tonsils, "Your lymph nodes are a little swollen, you might have strep. I'll make an appointment with the doctor." Ryan looked like he was about to protest but Kirsten stopped him, "The sooner we get you on antibiotics, the sooner you can feel better.
"Hey, how are you feeling?" Kirsten gently woke him up around 9pm that night. He had been asleep since she had tucked him after his failed attempt at breakfast.
"Bad." He admitted.
"Well, we'll get you to the doctor tomorrow okay? Here, take some more Tylenol." She shook out two pills and handed them to Ryan. Ryan put one in his mouth and tried to swallow it, and then winced.
"Hurts..." He whimpered. Glad Seth wasn't in the room to see him act like such a baby.
"Drink some water." Ryan took a tiny sip and managed to get the pill down, then he looked in dismay at the other pill and up at Kirsten.
"I-I'll just take one... For now..." Talking hurt.
"Let's take your temperature, see how high it is, okay?" He was relieved that Kirsten had gotten one of those ear- thermometers now that there was a baby in the house. "103.2... Ryan, you really need to take this medicine, okay?" He nodded. Took the other pill and winced as he swallowed the cool water. The tea from earlier had gone untouched. "Don't worry, we're seeing the doctor tomorrow." Kirsten rubbed his arm reassuringly and took off to get a fresh wet washcloth for his head.
"Hmmm..." Ryan didn't like how the doctor kept saying "hmm." He had taken his temperature, it had climbed since the day before and was now at 102.7 and stubbornly hovering there even with regular doses of Tylenol. The rest of the night before had seemed like one long painful nightmare. The night before, in desperation, with his fever climbing above 103 and hardly able to drink anything because of the pain, Kirsten had taken several ice cubes and smashed them up for him to suck on. The doctor was prodding the lymphnodes in his throat now.
"Is it strep?" Kirsten asked.
"It might be... Ryan lie back." Without a word, Ryan obeyed, and lay back on the narrow bed.
"Aside from the fever, have there been any other symptoms?"
"Well, he's be exhausted... He's been sleeping almost non- stop."
"Any coughing or congestion?"
"No... None that I know of." The doctor had given up asking Ryan questions ater Ryan had complained of the pain associated with speaking. "Does that hurt?" The doctor lightly tapped the tender spot on Ryan's left side. How did doctor's always know exactly where to touch to make it hurt?
Ryan winced and nodded. "Hmm... I think we're looking at a classic case of mononucleousis."
"Mono?" Ryan moaned.
"Mono? The kissing disease?" Kirsten asked, looking slightly horrified.
The doctor chuckled, "It can be spead through saliva, it can also be spread through sharing drinks or even shaking hands."
"Soccer... we share water bottles." Ryan said weakly.
"Well, I'm sure there's a few kids on the team feeling just as terrible as you are right about now." The doctor smiled kindly at him, as if to reassure him.
Mono... Kirsten thought, So much for Ryan's Christmakkah. Hailey had gotten it when they were kids. She'd been laid up for nearly two weeks. She hoped Ryan's case proved to be more mild.