A/N: I'm not really that pleased with this chapter again but I would like to get this story completed though the next chapter could be a long wait. This chapter is Seth/Ryan time. I may include a discussion with Marissa/Summer or just go straight ahead and tidy up stuff between Ryan/Marissa. The thing is, I'm not overly keen on writing discussions since it's mainly speech and I don't think I do it very well. If people would like to see a discussion between M/S then let me know in the reviews and I'll think about it.

Ryan walked to the pool house having successful sneaked through the kitchen. He runs a tired hand through his hair as he prepares to enter the pool house; he's not in the mood for intensive questioning from Seth but it's inevitable.

"Oh, look who finally turned up."

"Hi Seth." Ryan replies wryly before sitting down on the bed while Seth sits opposite on the armchair.

"So..." A mischievous smile forms on his face, "where should we begin?"

Ryan groans in the anticipation of the onslaught of questions awaiting him.

"Could we please just do this quickly Seth?"

"Oh c'mon, where's the fun in that?" The statement only gets an angry stare from Ryan causing him to swiftly change tact. "Okay, first question and this should probably explain a lot, where were you?"

Ryan deliberates for a second then finally decides honesty is going to be the best policy here.

"I was with Marissa."

"Ah, of course who else? So what happened to moving on man?"

"It's not that we're back together. Nothing happened."

Seth gives him a sharp look.

"Nothing? You spent a whole night with Marissa Cooper and you really expect me to believe nothing happened."

"We...may have almost had sex but the important thing is we didn't."

"C'mon man you know better than I do that being with Marissa will sooner or later suck you into a dark, drama-filled hole. She's nothing but trouble."

"Seth." Ryan snaps, "Cut it out."

Seth raises his hands feigning defense.

"I'm sorry."

"Me and Marissa...it's just not that simple and she doesn't deserve all the blame. And last night, she asked me to stay at the party but I chose to go with her. I wanted to."

Seth thinking what he has said over asks, "Well what happened that made you want to go? I can't understand how you went from seriously considering not inviting her to your birthday to almost having sex with her."

Ryan sighs deeply in anticipation of what he's about to say.

"It kind of turned out that Marissa was pregnant."

"Pregnant? Like with child." Seth exclaims before grasping the crucial tense in that sentence. "Hold on, what do you mean she was pregnant? Did she get an abortion?"

Ryan shakes his head slowly before replying, "She lost it."

"Wow, I'm sorry man." Seth responds quietly as he's reminded of a same situation two years ago and like then, he's not really sure how to act in this situation. "Are you okay?"

"I'm doing better than I was."

"What about Marissa?"

"I think she's doing better too but I still worry."

"Is that why you spent the night with her?" Seth asks with a severe look on his face.

Ryan reclines back on the bed pondering the question, "No. I mean part of it, yes I wanted to make sure she was ok but mostly because I didn't want to be alone myself."

"You know, you wouldn't have been alone. There's me, mom and dad, even Sadie."

"I know but," Ryan stops thinking about how to phrase the next part without hurting Seth's feelings, "I don't have to explain with Marissa. We're in the same situation; it's easier."

"That makes sense," Seth says cautiously, still wary of where the line lies when talking about Marissa. "I just think, whatever it is you're doing with Marissa you should be careful. Make sure you're doing it for the right reasons," he pauses waiting for a response from Ryan and when he doesn't get one, he continues, "like you're not with her just so you can save her."

"No that's not it." Ryan protests thought not with absolute confidence. He shuts his eyes, trying to work out what exactly it is that he feels for Marissa. He can't deny that so much of their relationship seems built on him saving her, since that first night he spent in Newport but that's just what it seems like. Their relationship is a delirious blend of feelings and to pinpoint one superior feeling is a futile task.

"So tell me," Seth offers in an attempt to move on to slightly lighter topic although with Ryan and Marissa, nothing ever feels light, "how exactly did you go from discovering you may have conceived a baby together to almost attempting to conceiving another one? You know after your last pregnancy scare, Summer issued a total sex fatwa…only I sailed away before I could see it in action."

This morning.

The thought alone still puts a smile on his face. Whenever he thinks back about their relationship and he remembers the fights about Oliver and Trey and Johnny, he resolves that being with Marissa is the hardest shit in the world. Then, the moments like this morning, sneak up on him and it's just him and her; their kisses are divine, their minds in sync and in that moment everything is perfect. The happiness is blinding and irreplaceable. Yet, the most striking feelings come in the aftermath when the recreation of that moment feels so explicably possible. He wants her, he wants her so goddamn much and maybe she wants him too. And then maybe they can be together and it won't be like the last time and they'll feel those perfect moments all the time and just maybe...

There are so many maybes in their relationship, all these various moment which he can pick out and wonder what could have been. He's always wondering with her, sometimes about her feelings and sometimes about his but as he finds Seth's questioning eyes pried on him, the maybes fade until only absolution is left.

"I love her."

It's that simple, only he knows it's not in reality. It has never been simple.

"You love her?" Seth repeats dumbly. "I'm feeling a deja vu moment coming up...ah yes New Years Eve 2003 in this very pool house, we had a eerily similar conversation. I hate to break this to you buddy but your great epiphany isn't much of a revelation."

"I know but for a while back there I thought maybe I didn't anymore or she didn't and I thought I could move on and it would be ok."

"But it's not." Seth completes for him.

Ryan nods and then somewhat nervously asks Seth, "Do you really think we're just a 'dark drama filled hole'?"

"No, of course not man." Seth says quickly. "It's just that well, last year I kept pushing you to be with Marissa even when you asked me not to. Then you two finally got together and look at all the crazy shit that went down. So, this time I don't want to push you and until today, you seemed like you really wanted the break-up so I was just trying to support you with it."

Even though his logic may be slightly unusual, the intent is well-meaning.

"Thanks but Seth, as bizarre and crazy as it may be, I do care about what you think."

"That's a really bad idea."

"I know, but what do you really think?"

"I..." Seth bites his lip, trying to find the answer to the question, "I want you guys together, 'course I do. Maybe it's just a childish fantasy but I like to think it's meant to be me and Summer and you and Marissa - the fantastic four. But you two have a shitload of problems…"

"I know but she'll do something, say something, maybe just smile at me and the problems won't matter anymore."

"God, you're so whipped dude." Ryan blushes uncontrollably from the statement, thinking he must have sounded like the sappiest guy ever. "I think it's quite obvious want you want."

With those parting words, Seth leaves the room a little grin finally appearing on his face. The fantastic four may just be becoming fantastic again.