AN: Another chapter for you all. It's getting harder and harder to write this story, but I am determined to finish this. So PLZ R&R!

Disclaimer: See earlier chapters.

Chapter 19: Breaking News

"What's going on, Sandy?" Kirsten got up from the table and joined him at the counter.

"Well, Rachel's PI found Dawn. She was in Texas." he sighed. "We gave her a copy of the paperwork we had drawn up. As soon as she saw what they were, she flipped out. She says that she's not giving up Ryan under any circumstances."

"Oh, boy." Kirsten sighed. "So what now?"

"Rachel's already scheduled a court date for next week. Hopefully, we'll be able to get her rights revoked and we'll be well on our way to adopting Ryan."

"Is there a chance that her rights won't be revoked?"

"There's always a chance." he told her. "But we'll use everything we have to get her rights revoked."

"We need to talk to Ryan about all of this first." Kirsten reminded him. "He'll never forgive us if we just go in there and try to-"

"I know, honey." he went around to the other side and held her. "I have some worst news, I'm afraid."

"What else?" she looked at him.

"Well, when your father got that facility shut down, the authorities got involved." he started. "The DA has been building a pretty good case for weeks now."

"What does that mean exactly?"

"It means that they're trying to track down every former resident of that awful place to try to talk them into testifying."

"Oh, god. They want Ryan to testify in open court?" she demanded. "They are going to force him to relive those moments over and over again, as our hard work the last few weeks goes up in smoke?"

"Pretty much." he sighed. "I was just informed today."

"I can't believe this." she sighed.

"We'll figure out a way to tell Ryan when he gets home." Sandy told her. "As for right now, I have a phone call to make."

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Seth and Summer sat on a bench before the batting cages as they waited for Luke to arrive. Seth glanced a little distance away as he saw Ryan talking with Taylor.

"That sure looks like an intense conversation." Summer commented.

"Yeah. It does." he mumbled.

"You know what they're talking about, don't you?" she looked at him.

"Maybe."

"So what are they talking about?"

"I'm sorry. I can't tell you. I promised my parents. If Ryan wants you to know, he can be the one to tell you."

"Ok. I understand." she took his hand and squeezed it tightly. "I know you worry about him a lot, but I'm positive that you'll get back to the way you guys were."

"I really hope so."

Ryan finally stopped talking and shot a nervous glance at Taylor as she continued to be strangely quiet. Finally, she looked over at him and offered him a small smile.

"I knew you weren't telling me everything," she started. "I never imagined it would be something like this, but I'm glad you felt comfortable enough to tell me. And I promise that no one will hear a word of this from me."

"And?" he looked at her.

"And what?"

"And how do you think of me now?"

"I think of you the same as I did before." she told him. "In fact, I think you're a lot stronger than I thought you were. Because only a very strong person could get through what you have more than once."

"You really think so?"

"Of course."

"Hey." they looked up as Luke approached them with all his gear. "Are we going to do this or not?"

"Yeah. Let's go." Ryan picked up his bag of gear and followed Luke into one of the cages as they took turns swinging and Taylor sat with Seth and Summer as they all watched on in amazement.

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Sandy climbed out of the car and adjusted his back after the hour-long drive to Chino. He walked into the prison and checked in with the bailiff. He was directed to the visitor's yard where he was told that he would find Trey. He found him sitting off by himself at one of the tables with his hands folded in front of him.

"Trey Atwood?" Sandy approached him.

"Who wants to know?" he regarded him with a hooded look; not unlike the one Ryan had when he first met Sandy as well.

"I'm Sandy Cohen, Ryan's legal guardian at the moment."

"Is he ok?" Trey immediately let his guard down as Sandy sat before him.

"At the moment." Sandy sighed.

"What's the mean? Is he in trouble or something?"

"I'm just going to cut to the chase. Something happened a few weeks ago that made us realize how much Ryan means to my family, so we're currently taking the steps to make him a permanent part of our family. But we're going to need your help with that if you're willing."

"How can I help?"

"Well, we've already gotten your father to sign over his rights. But your mother is not going to make it very easy. She's not giving Ryan up without a fight."

"So how can I help?"

"There's going to be a court hearing where a judge will determine if Dawn will have her rights taken away. I think if the judge hears your side as well, then we'll have a chance to give Ryan a better life than he's had up until now."

"If you think they'll listen to me, I'll do it." Trey told him. "But why is it so important that you do this so fast? What happened to Ryan that made you decide to rush this along?"

"The same thing that happened to him when he was a kid. Not long after your father was sent to prison." Sandy sighed deeply.

"What? It happened again? How could you let that happen to him?" Trey started to raise his voice until he saw a guard approach them. "You were supposed to be good people. This wasn't supposed to happen under your watch. He was supposed to have a better life than he's had so far."

"Believe me, my wife and I have beaten ourselves up over this since it was revealed. We're trying to get Ryan to cope with this-"

"He's not going to want to cope with it. He never wanted to when it happened before."

"We figured that." Sandy sighed.

"But if you need my help, I'll do whatever I'm able to for my brother."

"For right now, all we need is your statement when we go to court to get Dawn's rights taken away."

"Just tell me what I have to do." Trey told him and Sandy took some papers out of his briefcase.

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After Ryan and Luke spent a couple hours hitting baseballs, they all decided to get some lunch. After they finished eating Luke had to go home, so the remaining four went to see a movie. Ryan seemed to relax with not only Taylor, but Summer as well as the day went on. They all finally called it a night around ten o'clock and Ryan and Seth started for home.

Kirsten and Sandy were waiting for them when they finally made it back home. They were relieved to see Ryan joking with Seth as they walked in, meaning that he had a good time that day.

"Hey, fellas." Sandy greeted them. "Did you have a good time today?"

"Yeah." Ryan looked at them.

"What's going on?" Seth looked at their serious faces.

"Seth, we need to talk to Ryan alone." Kirsten told him. "Would you please go upstairs and not listen at the top of the stairs?"

"Ok." he gave Ryan a look as he left the room and they heard him ascending the stairs.

"What's going on?" Ryan echoed Seth's question once he was sure that he was upstairs.

"Sit down, please." Sandy told him and he took a seat at one of the bar stools at the counter. "I'm not going to sugar-coat any of this for you. We were able to locate your mother. She's in Texas. Rachel showed her the papers that we want her to sign-"

"And she refused." Ryan finished for him, surprising them both. "I didn't really expect it to be so easy with her. My dad didn't really have a choice, he'll be in lockup until after I'm out of school."

"The next step would be for us to get her rights revoked in a court hearing."

"Oh."

"What we want to know, is if you really want this." Kirsten spoke up. "We want to very much make you a permanent part of this family, but if you're having any doubts at all now is the time to speak up."

"She's my mom." Ryan said simply. "She gave me life, but that's as far as it went. She never did anything for me unless she got something out of it too. So I want you both to adopt me. If that means that we'll have to revoke her rights, then I will testify if I have to."

"Ok. I'll take the first steps on Monday." Sandy assured him.

"So can I go now? I'm sure Seth is bouncing off the walls up there waiting for me to come up and tell him what happened down here."

"Actually, there's more." Sandy sighed. "It's not the best news, and we're not sure how you'll take it."

"What is it?"

"When my father got you out of that place and shut it down, it raised a few eyebrows." Kirsten told him. "People started asking questions, and the authorities have been investigating it."

"What's that mean?" Ryan looked at them.

"When they found out what had been happening inside that place, they started tracking down all the former residents to see if they'd be willing to give statements against everyone that worked in that place."

"So what? I have to give a written statement?"

"Well, there's going to be a court date." Sandy started.

"Wait. I have to describe what happened in open court?" Ryan said softly.

"Not if you don't want to." Kirsten rushed to assure him. "We will not force you to relive it if you don't want to do this."

"But if I can make a suggestion; If it was me, I wouldn't want them to get away with it. I'd want to make it so that this doesn't happen to anyone else put in the same situation."

"Yeah. I guess you're right." Ryan mumbled.

"But you don't have to make a decision about this right now." Kirsten told him. "Think about it for awhile, and tell us when you make a final decision."

"Ok."

"Go on upstairs if you want. That's all we wanted to tell you."

"Thanks." Ryan slowly walked out of the room and started upstairs.

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Two am found Ryan having another nightmare. This one was a lot more vivid than all the others. He heard every little sound; the booted footsteps of the guards as they walked down the hall when they did bed checks, the creaking of the door as it opened, the groaning of the mattress.

Ryan bolted out of bed and started to make his way downstairs like he always did after one of these dreams. He started to go into the kitchen, but stopped when he realized that he wasn't the only one awake at the moment. Kirsten was set up at the table with a bunch of papers all around her as she made some notes.

"Ryan?" she looked up at him as he stood in the doorway, deciding if he really wanted to take the risk of coming in. "What are you doing up?"

"Couldn't sleep." he mumbled as he went to the sink and got a glass of water. "You're doing work now?"

"New contracts." she watched him as he finished the glass of water and put it back in the sink.

"I-I'm just going to watch some TV until I get sleepy again." he told her.

"Ok." she watched as he went into the den, turned on the TV, and lay down across the couch.

Ryan had only been laying there for about five minutes when he heard a noise and a few moments later, Kirsten sat at the end of the couch near his head.

"What-" he looked up at her.

"I need to get sleepy, too."

"Kirsten-"

"I know you had another nightmare, Ryan." she told him. "Sandy and I were expecting it after all the news we had to tell you earlier."

"I'll be fine. I'll handle it myself like I always do." he mumbled.

"You shouldn't have to handle something like this by yourself." she explained to him. "So Sandy and I want you to go to a meeting."

"What kind of meeting?"

"It's a support group; with other people who have experienced the same thing you have."

"I don't want to."

"Three sessions, is all we're asking. If you're not comfortable with it, then you don't have to go back after those three sessions."

"No cross-examination from either of you?"

"No. You share with us what you're comfortable sharing with us."

"Ok. Three sessions." he agreed.

"Good. There's one tomorrow afternoon."

"You mean, this afternoon?"

"I guess so." Kirsten looked at her watch.

After that, they were both quiet. They settled in to watch an old black and white movie that was so cheesy they were both laughing throughout the entire thing.

AN: So what'd you all think? I know in this chapter, Ryan seems a little out of character especially with the talking and opening up. But I believe that the therapist is good and Ryan realizes that it's not so good to keep everything bottled up inside. Hopefully, the next chapters will be a little more angst-ridden and explain a few more things for all of you. Anyway, PLZ R&R!

Again to anyone that's interested, I do have a story going on fictionpress as well. It's not fanfiction in any way, but it has three chapters posted and I would love your guys' feedback on it as well as this one. My username is the same as the one I use on here. Also, I'd like it if you joined my livejournal community. My username on there is bobbiejod1.