The Wild One
by HYPERFocused

There's a week in which Ryan barely leaves the pool house, except to work his shift at the Crab Shack, and to go to school once the suspension is lifted. Even more silent than usual, he carries a cloud of bitterness everywhere he goes; much like Pig Pen is surrounded by a cloud of dirt. Despite Theresa's visit, and the reminder of happier times (he rarely thinks of any of his pre-Newport days as carefree), he doesn't feel much like doing a Snoopy dance.

Sandy brings him cups of coffee, and Kirsten even attempts mixing up a batch of muffins for him. They come out tasting like lemon detergent, because she doesn't quite get which part is the zest, but he appreciates the effort.

Seth tries bringing him comic books, and regaling him with tales of his new 'manly' status. Ryan pictures him flopping on top of Summer like an energetic and colorful cartoon fish -all arms and legs and enthusiasm. He wonders if Summer knows how lucky she is to have him, or if she wishes for someone with more experience. Ryan guesses she likes Seth just fine, for all the chances she's given him.

He's surprised to realize that what he's feeling is jealousy. He should be glad Seth finally has what he's wanted all these years. The fruits of his quest, like Moby Dick without the harpoons. For all the helpful advice he's given Seth about girls - though he doesn't feel all that much more knowledgeable - he's almost sorry Seth caught this one. Or, if the fish metaphor is to be stretched even further, that she's landed him.

Really, it isn't because he doesn't have Marissa anymore. He doesn't want her - much. She doesn't trust him, and he can't take on her problems and handle his own. She makes him feel like he's treading water - this close to drowning. Seth is the one at home in the sea.

When Marissa offers herself to him, that last desperate time, all Ryan can think about is her angular body, much too reminiscent of fish bones picked clean on a plate. It's all he can do not to shove her away physically, and not just tell her no.

Seth is all planes and angles, too, but it's a natural thing, like the long legged birds Ryan sometimes sees when he walks on the beach. Seth's skin feels as soft and cool as the inside of a seashell. He's as difficult to keep still as the waves that push the shells towards shore.

Ryan watches as Summer exerts her tidal pull on Seth, making Seth follow her in a dance men have done since the moon first tugged on the ocean. Her interest in him seems to wax and wane in similar phases.

He observes Anna try to build sandcastles to pry Seth's attention away from the sea, and sees how quickly the water destroys them before Seth notices their beauty.

Finally tiring of putting on a show for someone who barely notices, who would walk through her creation to get to Summer's siren call, Anna takes her scoop and bucket and goes home.

Ryan should be glad. It's one less distraction, one less obstacle in the path to Seth-Ryan time. It used to be Seth demanding his share of Ryan's day, whenever life got too busy for them to be together, to be whatever they were to each other. Less than brothers, more than friends. Now, Ryan is the one who wishes Seth were around more.

When Seth tells Ryan, "I felt like Nemo, and just wished I could find my way home", Ryan wants to tell him he is home. He's been Ryan's home ever since he held out his extra joystick, and said, "Want to play?" and one terrible summer day suddenly didn't seem so bad. He wants to say, "Seth, you're not a cartoon, you're the realest person I know."

It's nice to have Theresa back in his life. She's always been the one to call him on his shit, and that hasn't changed. After her catering visit to Newport she figures out he could use a friend, and invites him to visit her at home. See the old neighborhood. He figures why the hell not. He could use a getaway, and Seth is busy with Summer anyway.

There's no romance between them anymore, which he guesses is a good thing. She's just a link to the old and familiar. Right now that's comforting.

He can talk to her about anything; well, as much as he can talk to anyone. She's always known him better than he knew himself. Back in eighth grade, she was the one who figured out the reason Craig Jensen had gotten under his skin so much. "You don't want to fight him, Ry. You want to fuck him," she'd said, laughing. "Not that I blame you, he's hot."

When he tells her he didn't take Marissa back, she says, "It's not just about her, is it? It's about him." He doesn't deny it. Seth isn't the first guy he's ever messed around with, he has Craig to thank for that, but he is the first one Ryan's ever loved.

"She wasn't right for you. I could tell when you both showed up at the house on Thanksgiving. I mean, it was obvious she cared about you, but she acted like she wanted to spray the place with Lysol. You don't need that shit."

"So, what do I need?"

"Sounds like you need Seth."

He sighs. "It was a lot easier when I was the only game in town, and Summer wouldn't give him the time of day. Now that he's got what he's wanted all this time..."

"So what does she have that you don't? Besides a ridiculous name?"

"You've seen her." Even he has to admit Seth had good taste. "Besides, now I wonder if I was just a convenience for Seth."

"Have you looked in the mirror lately, Ryan?" Theresa sounds incredulous.

"I try not to." He never knows what to say when people compliment him.

"Are you blushing? Oh my god, you are! That's adorable." She slugs him on the arm. "Okay, we need a plan."

"A plan for what?" He asks her warily, remembering the ideas she used to get.

"To make you irresistible, of course."

"Oh, God." He can tell this is going to be hell.

"Don't worry, Ry. You'll be fine." Theresa pats the seat next to her. "Now, tell me about Seth, and we'll figure out what to do next."

"What do you want to know?"

"Well, what's he like? What's he into?"

"He's quirky and kind of funny, and not like anyone I knew in Chino." Ryan doesn't know what to say, exactly. Seth is just - special. "Um, he's into comic books, and skateboarding. And he likes a lot of bands I've never heard of."

"Ryan, you've barely heard of any bands." Theresa laughs. "But it sounds like you've really got it bad for this guy. Skateboarding and superheroes. We can work with that."

"He's just, I don't know. He's really good."

"He'd better be. You deserve the best." She hugs him.

"Thanks, Pats." Ryan uses his old nickname for her. Once upon a time they were Pats and Snoops, though only to each other.

"What to do" turns out to be raiding her brother's closet for his old leather jacket, and grabbing the keys to his motorcycle. He's gone for the weekend, and anyway, he owes her a favor. Besides, Arturo had taught Ryan to ride in the first place, and he'd be okay with Ryan borrowing it, as long as he got it back in the same shape.

"A motorcycle? Are you sure? I don't know if this is Seth's kind of thing."

"Trust me, babe. Guys on bikes are hot; and mysterious, kind of like superheroes. He won't be able to keep his hands off you."

"If you say so." He hopes she is right. He wants to get Seth's attention again, but he doesn't want to look like an idiot.

"How much money do you have?" Theresa asks him, looking further into her brother's closet.

"I don't know. I haven't cashed my paycheck yet. Enough. Why?"

"Because I don't think his boots are going to fit you, and you need some."

"I don't think I'm really the motorcycle boot type."

"Trust me, Ryan. Yes, you are."

He decides to trust her judgment, at least until she drags him into the bathroom, and tells him to close his eyes, but not too tightly. He flinches when he feels her writing on his eyelids.

"What the hell are you doing to me?"

"It's just a little eyeliner. Seth'll love it. Trust me."

"It feels weird."

"Don't be a baby. Now, hold still." She finishes with a deft hand. When she gives Ryan her permission to open his eyes, he has to admit it looks good. It's not something he'd ever considered before, but he's seen the guys on the posters on Seth's wall look like that; so maybe Seth really will like it.

Theresa takes him to the mall for some motorcycle boots before she sends him on his way. He notes that they're probably a third what he'd pay for the same thing in Newport. She makes him turn for her when he tries them on, and pronounces the look "perfect".

Sandy and Kirsten are out for the evening by the time Ryan gets home, and Summer has a rare family obligation, so Seth is there alone. He's engrossed in a comic book and doesn't pay attention to the unusual sound of a motorcycle pulling up to the house.

It's a long ride back to Newport, and Ryan feels gritty and a little bit mussed when he gets off the bike. He can still feel the engine under his thighs, and it doesn't hurt his mood one bit.

Seth doesn't notice when Ryan walks into the pool house, until he's standing right in front of him, the waistband of his jeans inches from Seth's face.

He waits for Seth to look up and notice him. Seth looks intent on his reading, curls messy, and one hand reaching into the open bag of Cheetos. He's making little appreciate murmurs, and comments. They're similar to the noises he makes when Ryan is touching him. Hearing them, coupled with the residual heat from the vibration of the bike has Ryan's jeans feeling tight.

Seth startles when he sees him, and drops the Cheetos, orange dust flying all over the rug. "R-Ryan?" Seth gapes at him, eyes widening. His voice actually cracks when he says Ryan's name.

"It really has been awhile if you're not sure you recognize me," Ryan says, amused. He takes the comic book out of Seth's hand and puts it out of reach. There's no need for distractions

"It's just --- you look different." Seth's gaze wanders up and down Ryan's form, finally stopping at the bulge in Ryan's jeans.

"You should close your mouth before somebody decides to put something in it."

"I know what I'd put in it," Seth says, under his breath. Then, louder, he adds "So, why the new look? Are you wearing eyeliner?"

"Do you like it? Theresa did it." Ryan shrugs, gesturing to the jacket and boots.

That seems to stop him. "Oh, are you guys...." Obviously he's misunderstood.

"Oh, no. I didn't dress up like this for her."

"Then why?"

"Because we haven't had enough Seth-Ryan time lately, and I missed it," he admits. "I had to do something to capture your attention. Theresa thought this would work."

"God, Ryan. It did." Seth reaches up to pull Ryan down on the bed next to him, and kisses him. "I'm sorry. You've been going through hell, and I've been a lousy friend. A lousy everything."

"Well, you were a little preoccupied with Summer."

"Can you blame me? It's Summer, dude. The girl I've wanted ever since I was like, ten."

"No, but she's not here now. So come on." He got up and grabbed Seth's hand, walking him outside.

"What's with the bike? God, my mom is going to freak. My dad is going to be jealous."

"It's just borrowed. I thought you and I could go for a ride."

"A ride? Heh." Ryan could practically hear the leer.

"Yeah, here." He hands Seth the other helmet, and motions him to get on behind him. It might be cooler to ride without them, but he knows Sandy and Kirsten would kill him if he brought Seth back brain damaged.

"Okay, Ryan? Any street cred I thought I might have had with the skateboard, dance moves, and my singular style - not to mention the hot babe? Gone now."

"Seth, you're a seventeen year old rich white boy from Newport. The only 'street cred', you've got is the kind you'll inherit from your grandfather's property ownership."

Seth laughs ruefully, and gets on behind Ryan, leaning in close.

The ride is incredible. It feels good to have Seth's arms wrapped around him, to feel his warm chest against his back, long legs surrounding his thighs. That, coupled with the bike's vibrations, and Ryan thinks he might get off on the ride before he gets off the ride.

He takes them down a fairly secluded path, hard to come by in a town that's so built up, but he'd really rather they not have any company on this trip. He doesn't answer when Seth asks where they're going, just says, "It's the journey, not the destination."

"You read that in a book, didn't you?" Seth laughs.

Ryan doesn't want to take Seth too far away. It's getting late, and there are things he'd rather be doing with Seth that involve getting off the bike and out of these clothes.

"Hold on tight, Seth," he says, putting on some speed to get them back home while there's still time. Suddenly the ride is too much for him, and all he wants is to get Seth alone and naked.

"Are we late for something?"

"Yes, bed."

"Oh." He can feel Seth's intake of breath at the idea.

They make one last circle around the block, finally pulling into the driveway. Luckily the house is still dark, Sandy and Kirsten are not yet home.

They're off the bike in a flash, and Seth has him up against the outside wall of the pool house a second later, too excited to even wait for them to get inside. Seth's hands are everywhere, like he doesn't know what to do first. Pushing Ryan's jacket off his shoulders, Seth shoves Ryan's hands away when Ryan tries to take it all the way off.

"Leave it on," he says, breathlessly. He reaches up to tear the wife-beater off of Ryan's chest, making Ryan gasp in shock. Seth isn't usually this aggressive.

"I'll buy you a new one," Seth says, tossing the tattered cotton to the ground and launching himself at Ryan. At first there's kissing - wet and messy and intense. Seth tastes like ocean air and smells like wind. Then he's trailing kisses down Ryan's neck, pressing them into his shoulder, and inhaling the scent of Ryan's leather jacket like it's something he needs to breathe.

By the time Seth has sunk to his knees on the concrete, Ryan has practically lost it. But he finds a last vestige of sanity, and says, "Seth, wait. We need to get inside. Someone could see."

Seth just looks up from his efforts, voice rough, "Fuck, I don't care. I've wanted to do this all night." Then he goes back to his work, mouthing Ryan's erection through his jeans, and unbuttoning them with his teeth.

Right now, Ryan doesn't give a crap if Sandy, Kirsten, or his school principal walk in and see them. He just wants Seth to continue. "Don't stop, Seth. God." He's got his hands in Seth's curls, trying not to pull as Seth sucks him. Seth has an amazing mouth; it's as if all that talking acts like training does for an athlete. But by the time Seth has him swallowed all the way to the base of his cock, Ryan is beyond such complicated analogies. When he comes, moments later, he's completely incoherent.

Seth stands up, and helps Ryan pull his jeans up enough to walk - shaky legged - into the pool house. Ryan can see Seth's erection outlined clearly against his chinos, early spurts of wetness darkening them even further. Obviously, there's some urgency if Ryan wants to do anything for Seth before he does it for himself.

Inside, Ryan pushes Seth down onto the futon, and climbs on too. He quickly pulls Seth's t-shirt and pants off, and Seth kicks off his boxers.

"What do you want?" He asks Seth. "Should I suck you?"

"No, it'll be over too soon." Seth just grabs Ryan's hand and places it on his cock. "You know what I like."

He does. It's one of the things he likes best about his relationship with Seth, and one of the things he's missed. There was never any awkwardness between them. They've always touched each other perfectly; no flailing about on the shore like Seth did with Summer, no deep water rescues like Ryan's done for Marissa.

Seth's cock is slick enough already to give Ryan the friction and flow he needs for the rhythm Seth responds to best. Up and down, medium speed, faster towards the head, slower away. Seth pulls Ryan down to kiss him, moaning into his mouth when he finally comes.

"That was amazing," Seth breathes, once he recovers enough to talk.

"You didn't feel like Nemo, this time?" Ryan teases.

"God, no. I felt like Aladdin, on the flying carpet. Or...or wait, I know. The Lion King."

"Shut up, Seth," Ryan tells him, kissing him soundly, and thinking he should suggest Seth stay away from the Disney movies for a while. He resists the urge to sing "Can you feel the love tonight?" He's thinking they might want to rent some old classics for a change.

Apparently Seth is thinking on similar lines. He grins and says to Ryan, "So. The whole biker get-up. What's with that? What are you rebelling against?"

Ryan puts on his best Brando voice, and says, "Whaddaya got?"

They're both too wiped to move, much. And really, it's not that big a deal for Seth to fall asleep in the pool house. They've done so over videogames and homework cramming sessions before. Seth does go over and flop onto the chaise cushions, just in case Sandy and Kirsten look in. Their still clasped hands are out of view.

Pouring the Cap'n Crunch the next morning, Seth is practically giddy, full of chatter and exuberant energy. Ryan is quieter, as usual, but even he can't wipe the smile from his face.

Sandy walks in, yawning, and says "That is one cherry bike out there, guys. Whose is it?"

"It's mine. Well, for the weekend. I borrowed it from Theresa's brother," Ryan tells him.

"Well, it's great. I used to ride one back when I was in college?" he notices Seth's not so subtle coughing when Kirsten comes into the room "... and I'm so glad I stopped before I got into a horrible accident, and you were never born, Seth."

Kirsten raises an eyebrow and says, "Before either of you ask. No, you can't have one, Seth, and yes, it's got to go back."

"It's okay, Mom. We both got a good ride out of it." Seth laughs, and squeezes Ryan's thigh under the table.

"Ryan, you'll return it? And until then you'll be extremely careful, right?" Kirsten worries. "I don't want to play cop about this, but I don't want to lose you."

"I don't want to lose him either, Mom," Seth concurs.

"It's nice to see you in such a good mood, Ryan. Looks like the clouds have lifted." Sandy sounds relieved. Ryan knows Sandy's hated the tension in the house just as much as he has.

"Yeah, it was a sunny ride, all the way home," he tells them all, but the relieved smile is just for Seth.


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