?

Log in

 
 
16 April 2012 @ 11:08 am
The Fall of Camelot [The OC; Ryan/Kirsten]  
TITLE: The Fall of Camelot
PART FOUR
FANDOM: The OC
PAIRING: Ryan/Kirsten
SPOILERS: Season three AU
RATING: PG
SUMMARY: Even now, sitting in the pool house Ryan just vacated for good, Kirsten had no idea how she truly felt. She ached, though she didn’t know if the ache was because he was gone or because her life was officially at a crossroads.


*****

Kirsten figured that was when things began to really unravel. Sandy’s dealings at the Newport Group, doing everything in his might to get the new hospital built, began to morph him into somebody she didn’t even know. He became indifferent about everything that wasn’t work, even expressing ambivalence where there was once concern over what had happened to his former partner.

Seth had his own issues that he wouldn’t talk about at the time -- difficulties getting into Brown. His relationship with Summer fell apart as a result and he flung himself into adolescent despair.

And then, of course, there was Ryan. It seemed the complications in his life increased tenfold the moment he turned eighteen. He had Sadie, but that unfortunately couldn’t withstand the complexities of simply being Ryan Atwood. He grappled with playing the hero for Jess, a young woman that had been involved with Trey. And as usual, he did his best not to get sucked back into all the drama surrounding Marissa Cooper.

But despite all that, he still found time to be there for her. And she for him, despite the crumbling of her marriage. And in those moments, a bond had formed. She and Ryan began to understand each other better than ever. That ability had been both a blessing and a curse. Being able to read the look in his eyes also meant understanding the implications behind it. But she never questioned him about it. Questioning him could have lead to revelations, which in turn would have forced her to figure out how she felt about it -- about him. Those thoughts had been too tumultuous at the time.

Still were, as a matter of fact. Even now, sitting in the pool house Ryan just vacated for good, Kirsten had no idea how she truly felt. She ached, though she didn’t know if the ache was because he was gone or because her life was officially at a crossroads.

She wanted to drink the confusion away, but didn’t let herself. No, she backslid into that for a short time and didn’t wish to repeat the bad behavior. She didn’t want to think about that transgression -- driven to her old habits by the thought of her husband turning into her father. By the realization that maybe her marriage was, in fact, on life support.

**

”Y’know, they say when you grow up you marry your father,” she spoke clearly and with a purpose, all eyes at their private table at the Yacht Club fixated on her. A facetious smile escaped as she commented, “I thought I’d escaped that,” and then promptly left the table.

She felt all the eyes still following her, heard the shocked murmurs and felt Sandy’s heavy gaze boring through the back of her head, but she didn’t care. She’d had enough. A dinner in honor of her husband, what a crock. Yes, in honor of his shady back-handed dealings in getting the new hospital built. In honor of his carelessly tossing aside his business partner, with only dollar signs in his field of vision. In honor of his complete neglect of his marriage and his family. Yes, a celebratory dinner was certainly well-deserved.

What happened next was beyond her control. She was striding quickly for the front doors and saw it in her periphery. She grabbed it by the rim and held it down by her side, concealing it until she got outside. Then she pulled it up to eye level and stared at the glass of white wine as if studying an old friend. Her brain waged war with her impulses - showed her images of her son softly telling her she needed to get help for her addiction, of Ryan telling her he loved her. But it was the final image, of Sandy’s almost smug smile as they congratulated him on a job well done that pushed her over the edge, and with one gulp she had downed the glass of wine in its entirety.

Ashamed with herself, she fled quickly; she got in the car and drove home, not caring if she left Sandy without a ride. Surely one of his many admirers would be happy to chauffeur him home. Surreptitious glances in the rear-view mirror every few seconds assured her that she would not get pulled over. She knew she was nowhere near the legal limit after having just one glass of wine, and yet that did nothing to assuage her irrational thoughts that the Newport police somehow knew she’d had a drink.

As soon as she arrived home, she strode through the house, not bothering to turn on any lights, and went straight to the pool house, hoping for Ryan to be home. But it was dark and he was nowhere to be found. Then in all her anger and irrational fears, she remembered where he was -- with Theresa, likely finding out if the baby Kirsten saw her with was his or not.

Sighing, she dropped down onto his mattress, propping her elbows on her bent knees and resting her forehead on the heels of her hands. Tears stung her eyes and she began to cry, still never moving from the darkened pool house; almost preferring it, rather, to the emptiness of the master bedroom.

She wasn’t certain how long she sat there with tears streaming down her face. It could have been a few minutes or a few hours. But eventually, she heard footsteps, heard the door to the poolhouse opening, and soon there he was, turning on the light and flicking his brows upward in surprise at the sight of her sitting there. “Kirsten.”

“Hi,” she said, feeling suddenly silly and unsure of herself. “I don’t know what I’m doing here.”

Ryan cracked just a hint of a smile, a lopsided halfway smirk. “S’alright. I didn’t ask.” He picked up his duffel bag, the one he’d taken with him to Berkeley before her news drew him home, and brought it over near the shelf of wicker drawers that was his makeshift dresser. Kirsten watched him for a moment, wondering why he was so comfortable with her just randomly invading his space. Wondering why he wasn’t questioning the tear tracks on her face, or why she was sitting on his bed in a cocktail dress. Almost as if none of it mattered.

“How’s Theresa?”

“She’s good,” he commented, studiously putting away his clothes. “Doing pretty well for herself. She’s got a pretty good career going in the hotel business.”

“That’s good.” She just kept watching him, wondering when they would start to talk about the things they were very pointedly not bringing up.

When he was done putting away his clothes and storing his duffel bag, he came over and sat beside her on the bed, just a foot away. Close, but not too much so. He bent his knees and draped his arms over them, one hand clasping his other wrist. He pressed his lips together and looked over at her, managing a small smile before ducking his head. Kirsten did the same.

“I, uh... I met Daniel.”

That drew her gaze, though his was still downcast. “That’s her--”

“Son? Yeah.” He met her eyes, searched them back and forth and must have seen the question there, for he quickly added, “He’s not mine.”

“Oh.” Kirsten felt a wave of relief hit her.

It must have been evident on her face; Ryan exhaled a chuckle. “Yeah.”

“Ryan, I’m really sorry that I--”

He shook his head, cutting her off with a soft, gentle voice. “I’m glad you told me, Kirsten, I really am.”

“But I made you come home for nothing.”

He smiled. “You didn’t make me. I wanted to come home and get this sorted out.”

“But you should’ve been having fun out at Berkeley, enjoying the--”

“What, the rain?” He made a face, shaking his head. “Nah. I was needed here.”

“By who?”

He looked over at her and tilted his head just slightly. “When I said on the phone that you didn’t sound ‘fine,’ I kinda thought it was more than the whole Theresa thing.”

Kirsten sighed, looking down at her lap and resituating her dress over her legs. “Really.”

“Mm-hmm. And... I know I’ve kinda been gone a lot, and I’m really sorry. I feel like I should’ve been here, y’know...” He chuckled, just barely, “...protecting the kingdom.”

Her answering smirk was rueful, eyes still on her lap as she murmured, “Yeah, well... not much of a kingdom to uphold these days.”

He nodded slowly, the two of them looking out the pool house doors and across the yard, watching the lit-up ripples on the pool’s surface. A long moment passed before Ryan spoke again, softly... gently, as if not to pry or push her. “You wanna talk about it?”

“I drank,” she confessed without preamble.

Ryan looked over at her in surprise, but he didn’t say anything. She just watched his eyes dart back and forth across the air in front of him, processing the information she’d just dumped in his lap. Then, he turned to watch the pool again. “Things really getting that bad?”

She nodded, a lump rising in her throat. “I don’t know him anymore,” she whispered, emotion starting to get to her. “And... there was this whole dinner thing for him at the Yacht Club tonight, and that just riled me up. I stormed out, and on my way to the door, I grabbed a glass of wine...”

“Oh, Kirsten,” he sighed, and she couldn’t tell whether it was disappointment or empathy in his tone.

“I know.” Tears sprang to her eyes again. “I’m so sorry, Ryan, I don’t know why--”

“Hey, hey.” Gently, he reached over and caught a couple stray tears with his thumbs, cupping her face afterward and forcing her to meet his eyes. The look in them was intense... almost a little bit stern... as he told her strongly, “You have
nothing to apologize for. Y’hear me? Nothing.”

Kirsten nodded, her face still held captive in his strong, yet tender grip.

He shrugged, offering her a slight smile. “You’re just... going through something.”

Slowly, he let go of her, and Kirsten realized in that moment that she’d been holding her breath. Her heart was beating a strange rhythm and her face tingled where he had touched, though she tried to ignore it. “I didn’t want to disappoint you.”

Ryan shook his head. “You can’t.”

His words, simple but succinct, touched her in a way she’d been needing, and again tears came to her eyes. Slowly, she leaned toward him, resting her head in his lap and curling onto her side. She felt his hands hang suspended in the air, momentary confusion overtaking him, before he cupped her shoulder with one hand and gently stroked her hair with the other.

“I’m so tired, Ryan,” she cried softly. Physically, mentally, and emotionally, she was exhausted. Tired of fighting a losing battle with keeping Sandy’s head above water. Tired of trying to salvage the wreck that had become her marriage. Tired of trying to figure out if her son still cared about anything other than Summer Roberts, and tired of trying to figure out what Ryan Atwood meant to her in the most basic sense. She was just tired of it all.

“So sleep, Kirsten,” he answered her, a soft hand trailing through the ends of her long hair. “I’ll look after you.”

Those were the last words she heard before she allowed herself to drift away.


**

Kirsten remembered that night crystal clear; she remembered waking up sometime in the middle of the night with her head still in Ryan’s lap. He had fallen asleep sitting up, his elbow propped on one knee, head in his hand, while his other hand remained entangled in her hair. She remembered the warmth, the rush of affection, she felt for him. He’d always been so gallant. And even when she had told him weeks ago to get out of his habit of being the hero, he didn’t hesitate to help her when she was the one needing to be rescued.

She remembered urging him to climb into bed, insisting she would be fine. Being Ryan, he resisted, putting her needs first. But when she laid a kiss upon his cheek and told him, ”Rest, Lancelot,” he had relented and closed his eyes.

Three days went by and they didn’t talk about what happened. What she’d told him about her small transgression had remained between them, for which she was grateful. And there was no mention of the fact that they’d fallen asleep together -- that she’d gone to him under duress at all. She had been unable to figure out at the time if it was because there was really nothing to tell, or because there was, and both of them were too uncertain of the implications.

Either way, they pressed on for three days as though nothing had happened. Sandy had given her the silent treatment for awhile after the dinner at the Yacht Club, but Kirsten couldn’t bring herself to care. From then on, she and her husband walked on eggshells around each other, just barely keeping things civil. Seth saw what was happening to their family and opted to ignore it, instead burying his head in the “sand” of the Roberts household.

Hell, even Sandy had seen what was happening to their family and he couldn’t be bothered with it. Not when he’d been so close to breaking ground on that damned hospital. Instead, he buried his head in his own version of sand; namely, his office, where he began to spend his nights. On the rare occasion that he did come home, Kirsten shut him out. Or, more specifically... locked him out.

**

Kirsten watched the clock on the wall reach 1a.m. as she heard his car pull into the driveway. She was in the kitchen, in complete darkness, awaiting the show. What she had done was incredibly petty of her, but she didn’t care. Sandy needed to be made aware that she was no longer going to put up with the ‘new’ him. Holding her breath, she listened to the sound of his key in the lock, the door swinging shut behind him.

Predictably, he headed straight for the master bedroom, and she ducked her head, out of plain view as she listened to his string of soft curses as he realized the door had been locked. His footsteps came back the way they had gone and she sat ramrod stiff, just watching. He went outside through the French doors in the living room, and Kirsten watched through the window as he made his way around the pool, to the master bedroom’s own pair of French doors. She had pulled the blinds, locking those as well. She watched another string of curses leave his lips as he stuffed a hand through his hair.

He banged on the door, then, shouting at her. “Come on, Kirsten, I know you’re in there! Let me in. You can’t lock me out of my own bedroom.”

Sure I can, Kirsten had thought wickedly, now peering out the window by the sink. If you can choose your work over your marriage, I sure as hell can lock you out of your bedroom.

Sandy pounded on the door a few more times before giving up; Kirsten held her breath as he made his way around the pool again, re-entering the house through the living room. From there, she watched him head straight for the door, allowing it to slam behind him. For a moment it was quiet, until his car started up and she heard him pull out again.

She thought of the look on his face; the pure anger as he banged on the French doors of the master bedroom. His adamant demand that she couldn’t lock him out, when he didn’t even acknowledge how seldom he came home anymore. How he didn’t even apologize for not coming home until 1 in the morning.

How dare he. That was the main thought in her head as she turned on the kitchen light and bent down to the cupboard under the sink. How dare he.

How dare he make such a racket in the dead of night, with Ryan sleeping just yards away. If Seth would have been home, it would have been even worse. All the noise surely would have woken him up; he would’ve wandered downstairs and asked what was going on, and Kirsten knew she wouldn’t hesitate to tell him exactly what was going on.

She pulled out the bottle and set it on the counter, grabbing a short glass from the cupboards overhead next. She went to the freezer and grabbed a couple of ice cubes, listening to them clank against the glass as she broke the seal on the bottle and popped it open; she stared at the frosted glass and geese design along the side as the smell of vodka stung her nostrils.

How dare he make her do this.

She poured herself a glass, the ice cracking and splitting as the liquid consumed them. She stared at the glass, almost transfixed by the slow circular rotation of the cubes, set in motion by the vodka. Her hand shook as she picked it up.

How dare he ruin us, she couldn’t help but think, as she raised the glass to her lips, not feeling the presence in the room until it was right beside her.

“Whoa, hey!”

The glass was knocked suddenly from her hands toward the sink. She watched it hit the porcelain and shatter, the sting once again invading her nostrils. Her heart thudded in her ears, the incident so jarring that it disoriented her for a second. Then she looked up and saw Ryan standing beside her, gaping at her.

“Kirsten, what the hell are you doing?”

His voice was hard, not soft like it was when he normally spoke to her. His eyes were lit with panic and Kirsten searched them frantically as if the answer to his question was hidden somewhere in his blue irides.

“I -- I don’t...”

“Why were you going to drink that?” He grabbed the bottle of Grey Goose, shaking it in her face. “Why do you even have this at all?”

“I just...” But she was left without an excuse, without a reasonable explanation as to why she was about to drink an entire glass of vodka. So instead she just stood and watched as Ryan poured the rest of the bottle down the drain, his jaw clenched.

He slammed the empty bottle down on the counter, popping the top back on before he chucked it in the recycling bin. He cleaned up the remnants of the broken glass and deposited the shards in the garbage, cleaning up the sink afterward and washing away the acrid stench of the alcohol. Kirsten just watched it all play out silently, as if viewing the situation from somewhere outside of herself, the enormity of what he’d stopped her from doing hitting her like an express train.

When he turned to look at her again, his expression had softened. His eyes were no longer filled with panic or accusation, just confusion and concern. The adrenaline from the jarring confrontation left Kirsten all at once and she felt herself deflate like a balloon. She slumped against the counter, a lump rising in her throat.

“Kirsten...”

She turned to him and they searched one another, each trying to read the other. Finally, Ryan spoke again, his voice soft but firm. “You have to stop this.”

“I know,” she whispered, tears coming to her eyes. “I know.”

When she broke down, Ryan immediately wrapped his arms around her, offering comfort. She buried her face in his neck and wept softly, her hands clinging to him. “Thank you for saving me,” she murmured, knowing he would infer the drinking.

He nodded against her, his voice wry but solemn at the same time. “At your service.”

She chuckled mirthlessly through her tears and hung onto him tightly. “I don’t think I can do this.”

“What?” He ran a hand down her back.

Kirsten ignored the shiver that stirred up as she replied, “What it’s going to take to really stop this.”

At that, Ryan pulled back, reading in her eyes the meaning behind her words. He took a deep breath. “You think you’re going to keep having these... urges?”

“It’s been getting worse since the Yacht Club, Ryan,” she sighed, still not moving from his embrace; instead, allowing him to wipe the few tears that had snuck their way down her cheeks. “I don’t see how we can go back.”

He nodded his understanding, releasing her gently. Now they just stood a foot apart; Kirsten leaned against the stove while Ryan leaned against the countertop. She ducked her gaze, admitting softly, “I don’t think I
want to go back.”

That drew his attention. “What?”

She held his gaze as she dropped the final bomb -- a shock for both him, and the part of herself still in denial. “I don’t think I want to be with Sandy anymore.”




TBC


{x-posted to rystenlove}
 
 
 
thekiller00thekiller00 on April 17th, 2012 05:21 am (UTC)
This is getting so much better with each and every post !
a.: newport | do anything to keep you hereregalish on April 26th, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC)
Heeee, thank you so much!! Got a little busy last week, so sorry for the delay! The next part has just been posted. :D