Chapter Rating: PG-13
Warning: AU, Sequel to Dirty Fangs, and Of Men, Lies and Dreams, 3rd in the series
Summary: Forced into a dream reality, Ryan must find his way out and alive. With his past catching up with him and Eric along for the ride, getting home seems harder by the minute. But what other mysteries must Ryan uncover while in this alternate reality? What exactly is Kendrel's secret and how does it affect Ryan?
A/N: I know! Long time! Things come up, chapters disappear, school and lack of job, but here's the ... second to last chapter I do believe.
Eric had fallen asleep in the chair next to Calleigh as they waited for the doctor to finish checking Ryan's eye. Several hours after arriving at the hospital, Eric had been cleared as being healthy, if a bit sleep-deprived. The nurses had eyed the group suspiciously when no one could give a straight answer as to why they were there.
Ryan sat at the end of the bed as the doctor retrieved the new meds that he would have to take. He wasn't sure what he would tell the others, but not the truth; he didn't want any pity or help from the others.
After cleaning around his eyes, the doctor had asked him how he had injured his eye. Ryan quickly made up a story about how he had taken a sliver of wood to the eye as part of his job. Ryan said that he was a police officer from Boston, and had become involved in a shootout nearby when a stray bullet splintered some wood and he had been standing too close.
Several tests, a MRI, and a X-ray later the doctor told him that he probably wouldn't recover sight in his right eye. He would have to stay on his meds for a month or two to fight off infection so that he wouldn't become completely blind.
“Alright, Mr. Delko,” Ryan looked up as the doctor returned with two bottles. Since Ryan Wolfe didn't exist, they had claimed that Ryan was Eric's brother. “You'll need to take both of these twice a day for three weeks, and then I want you to see an optometrist.” Ryan nodded, taking the bottles. “I'll send over your files whenever you go, and if they feel you need to continue your medications, you can just get a refill.”
Ryan nodded again, took the bottles from the Doctor's offered hand and slipped off of the examination table. “Am I free to go then?” All he really wanted to do was go to sleep.
“Just remember to change your bandage twice a day, and you're all set.” Ryan shook the doctor's hand and walked out of the room to where the others were waiting. Kendrel was the first one to notice Ryan walking down the hall and was up before the other three knew what was happening. Calleigh nudged Eric's arm, waking him up from his uncomfortable position in his chair.
“Alright, so what's the diagnosis?” Kendrel didn't mince words. She wanted the facts, and she wanted them now. “How much longer am I going to have to take care of you?”
“You don't have to take care of me, Kandy,” Ryan rolled his uncovered eye and shook his head slightly. He waited until his other companions came over before he relayed the doctor's orders. “I have to take these pills, and change the bandage, and I should be fine.” He had made up his mind not to tell them the whole story.
“That's it?” Calleigh raised an eyebrow at the brunette.
“Yeah, they're to fight off infection. He wants me to go see an eye doctor, but that probably won't happen.” He shrugged one shoulder and chuckled slightly. “I don't want many more people thinking that a Ryan Delko exists.”
Kendrel snorted and smirked. “Yeah, isn't one Delko bad enough?”
Eric shot a look at Kendrel then moved forward, a little hesitantly, and put an arm around Ryan’s shoulders. He could see that the younger man really just wanted to go home and sleep. Ryan flashed a small smile at Eric. “Come on, I’ll take you back to your place.” Eric suggested and he could see the relief fill Ryan’s eye.
“We should get back to the house, too,” Horatio said, standing next to Calleigh.
“Yeah, and I’ll call some kind of cleaning crew to get started on your apartment,” Kendrel offered to Eric. Eric only grimaced, and shook his head, leading Ryan towards the exit. When they were safely in Eric’s car with no one else around, Eric’s fingers intertwined themselves with Ryan’s.
“Are you really okay?” He asked as he started to car. Ryan sighed slightly, looking out the window with his one eye and nodded.
“I just want this all to be over,” Ryan said quietly. Eric nodded and took off for the highway back to Ryan’s complex. They rode in a comfortable silence, both men thinking.
As they walked into the elevator at Ryan’s building, Ryan turned his head to look up at Eric. He scrunched his forehead together in thought and let out a breath through his nose. Eric looked at Ryan and raised an eyebrow. “Are you sure you want to go out with me?”
Eric blinked, now it was his turn to be caught off-guard. “What? Where is this coming from?”
“I just mean, I’m not normal, in any way.” Ryan stepped off the elevator once the doors opened to his floor, leaving Eric to follow behind him. “I’m always being attacked, hurt, and on top of that I’m OCD.” He pulled out his keys to open his apartment door, leaving it open for Eric, too. Puff ran around the corner and started to twine herself between her master’s legs. “I just think that you would be happier taking out some other, normal, guy or girl.”
“If I had wanted normal I would already be going out with someone,” Eric said pointedly as he closed and locked Ryan’s front door. “When you came here, you had this strange aura around you that I just couldn’t help but be drawn to you.”
Ryan sighed slightly as he walked into the kitchen to give Puff some fresh water. “I don’t know Eric, I just think that we both should think about it a little more.”
“You’re not backing out on the date are you?” Eric moved closer to the younger man and took his arm gently in his hand. Ryan turned to look into Eric’s eyes, and shook his head after a second.
“No, I’m not. I’m just saying, let’s not rush into this.” Eric mentally sighed in relief. “You never know what’s gonna pop up and make you change your mind.”
Eric chuckled lightly and shook his head. “Come on you, doctor told you to get some rest.” He started to guide Ryan to the bedroom. “Tomorrow morning I’ll go out and get us breakfast while you sleep, and get you some more bandages for your eye.” Ryan nodded as they walked into his bedroom. He could feel the exhaustion settling into his bones and felt that he could fall asleep on his feet.
Eric helped him undress, folding his clothes and putting them on a chair and left so Ryan could change into his pajama’s, trying to give him some privacy. He wondered if he would be sleeping in the bed with Ryan once again, or if he should just tough it out on the couch. After a few minutes his question was answered as Ryan opened the door and beckoned Eric inside.
He quickly changed into an extra pair of sweats that Ryan had handed him and slipped under the blanket, next to Ryan, shirtless. Ryan was practically asleep before he had even gotten into the bed, and instantly turned into the warmth that Eric’s body gave off.
//\\// <(- -<) <(- -)> (>- -)> //\\//
Ryan slowly opened his eye when the bright afternoon sun peeked in through his window. He groaned and buried his head into his pillow, but eventually lifted his head back up. He yawned and sat up slowly and looked around, trying to remember where he was. Everything came back to him and he looked around for Eric, but remembered that the Cuban-Russian had said that he was going to get breakfast.
He sat up slowly and stretched his arm, feeling a slightly stiffness from the bandage that was over his eye. Ryan shuffled into the bathroom and noticed the medication and bandage supplies laid out on the sink counter. Ryan smiled gently, knowing that Eric had done that for him, and even his OCD was pacified for a short time.
After taking his pills, grabbing a quick shower and changing his clothes and bandage, he could smell the food from the kitchen of his apartment. He walked out and saw the back of Eric’s body in the kitchen standing over the stove.
“Eric, that smells good already.” He smiled as he got closer. “But then again, it has been days since we had real food.” A small shiver ran down Ryan’s spine, but he shook it off.
Ryan’s gut told him to stop before he got too much closer and he looked around the kitchen. Some of the drawers were open, but Ryan didn’t notice any plates, or food, or anything else sitting out on the counters. He looked at Eric closely and took a tentative step forward. Suddenly Eric spun on his heel and lashed out at Ryan with a knife in his hand.
Ryan’s eyes widened and jumped back as the knife made a small slice in his t-shirt. He stared at Eric as his breathing start to quicken. He scrambled backwards quickly as Eric walked towards with an uncharacteristically sinister smirk on his face.
“Eric! What the- omph!” Ryan almost fell forward when he backed into something sturdy and yet soft at the same time. He turned around and felt his eyes widen even more. Ryan felt like he was looking into a distorted mirror. Standing in front of him was,… himself. Only there was no bandage over his damaged right eye, and this Ryan’s eyes were an unnatural gold.
Ryan’s double smirked and then his hand lashed out and caught the real Ryan around his throat, lifting him up off of the ground a few inches.
“Sorry, my Delko likes violence a little too much for his own good.” Ryan was surprised to hear his own voice coming out of the double’s mouth. “We don’t want to kill you yet, we owe our existence to you.”
Ryan wanted to ask what he meant, what was happening, but could only gasp for air and scratch at the arm that was holding him in the air. Ryan kicked up his leg, hoping to get enough air, and landed a blow to his double’s shoulder. His grip faltered and Ryan was able to wrench his neck out of the vice-like grip.
He toppled to the floor but quickly got to his feet and ran towards the front door. Throwing the door open he ran into the hallway of his apartment, hoping to make it outside where he would be able to find one of his friends, because who really would help someone who claimed that his double was trying to kill him? Before he could make it too far, though, he was tackled to the ground and felt the cool, sharp, metal of his kitchen knife being held to his throat.
“That was a mistake,” he heard Eric’s voice hiss by his ear. Ryan didn’t say anything but saw a pair of feet walk into his line of vision. Glancing up he saw his double standing there, only this time there was a bandage covering his eye.
“Think you can keep him quiet for a few hours?” He felt the nod of the body on top of him and the Ryan’s double smirked at him. “Good, I’ve got an errand to run, and it would be so sad if he were to ruin the surprise.” He smirked once more and Ryan watched as his doppelganger walked over to the elevator and pressed the down button.
The Eric copy roughly pulled Ryan to his feet, carefully keeping the knife poised over his exposed throat, and pushed him back towards his apartment.
“We’re going to have some fun of our own.” Ryan shivered at the voice and closed his eyes briefly.
//\\// <(- -<) <(- -)> (>- -)> //\\//
Eric locked the door to his apartment and threw his duffel bag over his shoulder. It was going to take at least two days to clean up the mess that was in there, and he needed a few changes of clothes if he was going to be staying at Ryan’s to watch over him. Maybe if Ryan was feeling better they could come over and start on his apartment later today or tomorrow.
He smirked to himself as he walked to the elevator, remembering the innocent look that was on Ryan’s face as he slept that morning. He hoped that he was able to wake up to that more often and that Ryan would give their budding interests a chance to grow.
As the elevator doors opened, Eric was surprised to see Ryan already standing inside.
“Hey, you,” Eric smiled as Ryan stepped out and the doors shut. “You’re supposed to be sleeping you know. I told you that I would bring you breakfast.”
“I know, but I woke up and you weren’t there,” Ryan smiled at him slightly, almost shyly, and started to walk down the hall to Eric’s apartment, beckoning him to follow. “I couldn’t find my cell phone and I think that I left it in your apartment. Could we go in and check?”
Eric blinked a little but nodded and pulled out his keys. “I don’t know how long you’ll be able to stand being in there, it’s really dirty.” Eric warned as he unlocked the door, holding it open for Ryan. The brunette walked in but took no notice of the destruction that had transpired. He headed straight for the bedroom and looked around. Eric stood behind him as Ryan put one hand on his hip and sighed.
“Anything wrong?” Eric moved closer, dropping his bag on the bed, giving a glance for Ryan’s cell phone.
“I think that you should stay here, Eric,” Ryan’s answer surprised the Cuban-Russian.
“I thought we had decided that I was going to stay with you…,” Eric trailed off when he turned to face Ryan, the bandage gone from his face and he was holding onto the lamp from Eric’s bedside table. “Ryan?”
“Well, when I said think, I was really insisting.” Ryan swung his arms towards Eric’s head, the lamp connecting with his skull before Eric could make a move. Eric gasped as he fell to the ground, the edges of his vision becoming fuzzy. “I just don’t think this is going to work out between us,” he heard the malice laced voice of Ryan faintly.
His brain worked slowly, deciding that that was not the Ryan he had woken up to this morning. He was vaguely aware of his surroundings moving as his vision started to dim, unconsciousness creeping over him. He swore he saw a smile and a pair of golden eyes spark at him before darkness claimed him.