Wheel In The Sky
by HYPERFocused

Ryan should have just said no. He could have endured Seth's taunts: the pokes under the table, the "loser" uttered just under Seth's breath. It would be nothing new.

Seth had said "We should play something more your speed, make it a fair fight. Tell you what, higher Tetris score gets what they want." Ryan never expected Seth to want this.

Ryan thought he'd had a chance. He'd had years of practice on the ancient 386 one of his mother's exes had left with them. But no, Seth's manic fingers meant he was even good at that.

He had nothing to prove. He was Ryan Atwood. He wore a wife-beater like Brad Pitt wore a tux. He said more with a look than Seth mumbled in a hundred words. He wasn't afraid to stand fist to face against ten drunken water polo players. He wasn't afraid of anything. Hardly.

But here they were, with only five people in line ahead of them, waiting to get on the closest thing to hell Ryan had ever seen: the Ferris wheel. So what if small children -- and their elderly grandparents -- were eagerly waiting to get on it? Ryan knew the truth.

It looked a hundred feet tall, and was probably made out of toothpicks. Surely it should have been condemned by whatever safety council was in charge of such things, assuming there was one.

He had to laugh, though, at the sight of Seth bouncing beside him. If anyone belonged at a cheesy fair like this one, it was Seth. Cotton candy in one hand, funnel cake in the other, he looked like a ten year old on a sugar high. Ryan wasn't sure he ever came down. There was a smudge of cheese sauce from an earlier pretzel on the side of his mouth that Ryan was tempted to lick off. He wouldn't; this was hardly the place for it.

"Here. Hold this a sec," Seth said, handing Ryan the cotton candy. "You can have some, if you want." He reached into his pocket for the tickets, making Ryan admire the way his long legs looked in those jeans.

"That's okay. My stomach is already doing flip-flops. I still don't know why I let you convince me to do this." Ryan looked warily up at the behemoth, not liking the way the tin foil chairs swayed wildly in the near tornado like wind.

"It's a light breeze, today. Should be nice up there." Obviously all those hours at Playstation had affected his senses, instead of honing them to razor sharpness, the way he'd insisted all that joystick time had done. Clearly Seth had no idea what constituted dangerous weather.

"It looks pretty windy to me. I bet they close the ride down." At least Ryan hoped they would, but he didn't expect that kind of luck. Seth just sighed, and looked at him.

"Dude, it's fine. You're fine. I promise." He put a reassuring hand on Ryan's arm, and nudged him forward.

Too quickly, it was their turn to get on the ride. He sat, white knuckled, while the operator pulled down the metal bar that was their only barrier to certain death. It was going to be the longest five minutes of his life - and possibly the last.

"This is going to be great, Ryan. Don't worry." Seth enthused as the Ferris wheel slowly rose. It wasn't as bad as he'd expected. "Good for you to get back on the horse, so to speak."

"I'd still rather be home with you and Captain Oats." Ryan didn't think Marissa would like the comparison to the little plastic horse, but he knew what Seth meant. At least Seth didn't make him feel as confused as Marissa had. Seth would never flake out on him like she had.

"I'd like that too," Seth leaned in and told him. "Have to do something to work off the cotton candy and caramel apples and cheese pretzels and..."

Knowing they were out of view of the fair-goers, Ryan kissed him before he could go on with that stomach churning description. "I don't think you're in any danger of losing your boyish figure, Seth."

His feelings of security stopped as the wheel reached its maximum height, and then halted. "Seth?"

"Don't worry. They just like to give people a good view. It'll come back down in a sec." When nothing happened, Seth admitted "Okay, it should be moving by now. But we're perfectly safe. I promise."

Ryan practiced the deep calming breaths Kirsten had tried to teach him to use when he got stressed. It helped, but not enough. kriiink kriink went the car as it rocked gently in the autumn breeze. Tap tap tappity tap went Seth's feet as he wiggled and wriggled and expended his nervous energy. Not that Seth was anywhere near as nervous as Ryan.

"Could you not do that?" Ryan begged him. He could practically feel the screws loosening. Too scared to face another look down at the ground so far below, Ryan closed his eyes, and waited for it to be over.

"C'mere." The bench started rocking a little more, as Seth scooted closer.

"What are you doing?" Not that it wasn't obvious, he could feel Seth's warm hand on his thigh, but he still didn't want to open his eyes.

"Dude, if you can't tell, I must not be doing it right. I'm trying to distract you." He turned towards Ryan, leaning over to kiss him while he carefully unzipped his jeans.

Seth didn't seem to be stymied by the steel bar impeding their movements, or the large crowd gathering below them. Actually, that part was kind of hot. And it wasn't like anyone could really see what was going on up above. The angle of the car hid them from view.

Now, as Seth's blissfully talented hand increased its pace and pressure, Ryan forgot his fear of heights. He just hoped this ride wouldn't end before he did.


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