So I had posed this as a challenge and then thought about it a bit and decided to write what I first thought of, though others are certainly welcome to come up with a story for Ryan McCarthy based off the song "Secrets" by One Republic. Such a terrific song! This takes place right after the final fight with Jake. Read and enjoy!

Code Green

Secrets

I need another story...

A shout of rage and frustration echoed through the empty gym, resounding from one wall to the other like a tidal wave, the results of a dam broken down, of a wall shattered, of a pent up pain withheld for far too long. The fighting and aggression had always been the results of a broken heart, the beer and drugs a short-term solution for a damaged soul, and the girls a fleeting antidote for a lonely spirit. Only in fighting did he feel free, as though he could overcome anything and fool the world into thinking he was something that he wasn't. Only in sweat and blood could he pretend he was far away, a different person in a different world, a conqueror. Except that tonight he hadn't overcome; he hadn't won, and he hadn't been able to hide behind his mask anymore.

Something to get off my chest.

My life gets kind of boring.

Need something that I can confess.

He didn't regret screaming like an animal at his surrounding audience only thirty minutes before. They were the animals. They thirsted for a fight that meant nothing but harm; hungered for blood and broken bones like a famished man for a piece of food. A yelp of pain or a cry of agony was what fueled their fire, just as it had once done the same for him; or at least he had thought so. Every punch wiped away the memory of verbal abuse his father had spat at him; every lunge erased the piercing agony of his mother walking away, turning her back on her son and never looking back. Bruises were the means of escape; blood and cracked ribs a handy way to forget about internal pain for a bit and focus on the present and physical. Better a night in a hospital, with doctors and nurses tending to him, than a night at home in a healthy body with the father drunk and screaming insults at his son.

Till all my sleeves are stained red,

From all the truth that I've said.

Come by it honestly, I swear.

Thought you saw me wink, no, I've been on the brink, so...

Baja. There had been another broken human, someone in need of comfort, and for a short time, he had thought that she was the answer to his problems, the solution to his internal hurt. He had thought, once, that she could see the pain in his eyes, shining out from his heart, but she had turned the cold shoulder, hadn't seen him for what he really was. And what was he really? A boy, no, a man, plagued by memories of violence and hurt; a man who found relief in physical pain and action, for it was a distraction. He didn't value bloodstains and hurting others anymore than she had admired him for it. Many a night he had prayed, shouting up to the heavens, that she would see, that she could rescue him from his living hell, but in the end, she was a reminder of his mother, turning away and not looking back.

Tell me what you want to hear.

Something that were like those years.

I'm sick of all the insincere,

So I'm gonna give all my secrets away.

This time, don't need another perfect lie,

Don't care if critics ever jump in line.

I'm gonna give all my secrets away.

Only in fighting was there a trace of truth, a hint of honesty. There was nothing hidden or concealed about a left hook or a sharp snap of a hand. A punching bag couldn't talk back or mock. Another fighter could only concentrate on preserving his strength, but underneath The Terror's fist, no strength could be maintained by another fighter. Not until tonight. Tonight, McCarthy had gone too far, and he knew it. The eye gouge was only a small thing in comparison to the raging inferno within him. He was tired of fighting, tired of hiding his pain, tired of trying to please his father by beating others to a bloody pulp. He winced even now, thinking about his father's pride, how he would throw a huge party at the house in honor of the fact that his son wasn't a born loser. Well, there would be no fight tonight. Ryan McCarthy was a loser. Couldn't even win a fight that had been spoken of for months. He couldn't do anything but use his fists. He'd flunked out of two grades, the only reason he hadn't yet graduated at nineteen, and up until tonight, he just hadn't cared. But something about losing...Something was blazing inside of him, and it wasn't pain and it wasn't despair. It was something that forced him to fling another punch at the punching bag before him, and he watched it snap back viciously from the blow. What was this something he was feeling, this light glowing inside from his failure?

My God, amazing how we got this far.

It's like we're chasing all those stars,

Who's driving shiny big black cars.

In losing to Jack Tyler, he had gained something, and it wasn't shame. Why did he not feel like a failure anymore? What was this odd feeling stirring in his chest? Dark blue eyes lit up with a passion, but not the passion to hurt or beat something. It was a passion to be something else, a passion to move on in life and leave the pain behind. Sure, blood was dripping down his face even now and his knuckles were raw and stinging from abuse, but a peace was seeping through Ryan, a feeling that he had never understood. A fight, his first failure, his first fighting loss, had shown something to him. There was more to Ryan McCarthy than the bully he had tried so hard to be. There was more to him than the kid that sat lazily in the class room and winked at the pretty girls. He wasn't defined by his nice car, by his extravagant parties, by his peers, or even by his physical strength. No. He was so much more. So much more than just a first class fool. Life wasn't about fighting. He was tired of fighting in every way.

And every day I see the news,

All the problems we could solve.

And when a situation rises, just write it into an album.

Singing straight to cold?

I don't really like my flow, no, so...

Ryan lowered his fists and breathed deeply before looking about him to realize that he was alone in the dark gym, that not another single soul was here. He stood here alone, dressed only in his shorts and fighting gloves, though the fabric was now abused to the point of no recovery. He then reached over to his left hand with his right and unstrapped the gloves. There would be no more use for them. They'd done enough damage. They had only covered up something that he shouldn't have been trying to hide, something that no fight could solve.

Got no reason, got no shame, got no family I can blame.

Just don't let me disappear.

I'ma tell you everything.

The gloves fell to the blue matted floor of the gym, the only sound in the lonely building. Hope. That was what was flowing through the ex-fighter, the ex-loser. It flooded his heart and soul. He could be better. He could prove to everyone that he wasn't a bully, that he had a heart. It caused him to raise his head high. He stood up straight, his eyes gazing straight ahead. It was time to leave the fight scene. There were people he owed serious apologies to, and he would do it, though it cost him his pride. The only way to erase the pain of the past was to push it away and focus on something else, on something that didn't cause pain, on others. And he, Ryan McCarthy, "The Terror," could do it. He cleared his throat and then exited the gym, closing the door and not looking back.

Tell me what you want to hear,

Something that were like those years.

I'm sick of all the insincere,

So I'm gonna give all my secrets away.

This time, don't need another perfect lie,

Don't care if critics ever jump in line.

I'm gonna give all my secrets away.

Secrets by One Republic