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for Sophomore Year

3/9 c5 ginger198
Hoping and praying you will continue this at some point please!
11/27/2022 c5 Guest
You are scarily true to your word in the intro and summary. I kind of wonder how much different this is than dozens, or more of traumas before. The difference might be that Ryan is basically on his own and not trapped by the Atwoods and at their mercy and the other violent criminals with them who attacked and hurt him like it was a hobby. He isn't walking on eggshells on borrowed time in Newport with Julie and her crowd or the Nichols, meaning Caleb and Kirsten for the most part, scrutinizing him and having him feeling like one wrong word or move could spell disaster. My take is that his life has been a constant series of traumas and the series of crashes each time he managed to pick himself up and regroup or recover from the latest injuries, physical, psychological, emotional, or the whole package. He might have started to think that he could repay Sandy by demonstrating that he could do what Sandy seemed to believe he could. How much he really believed it was true or if he was just playing a part is hard to know. He can't deny how one of the past childhood traumas keeps encroaching and triggering more despite trying to deny it. It's a losing battle.

Now he has a new battle to add, and if any doctor or doctors get some of his history, they should be worried about the number of similar trauma Ryan has had to contend with already. You mention at those closest to him, so that has to be Sandy, in my book, and maybe Luke as his best friend and roommate. After Kirsten's fight and realization with Sandy and talking with Julie, I hope that she backs off and doesn't cause more upheaval or put more pressure on Ryan to figure out why she has been the way that she has been. That was her call, so I'll be counting on wise heads to prevail and know that more confusion and guilt are the last things that Ryan needs. I'm worried about everything that he'll be facing just guessing at the nature of his injuries and new emotional trauma to bring his PTSD to a new level that will be so hard to cope with at the same time.

My heart just breaks for him, but Sandy seems to be terrified by the unknown and deeply committed, which should be clear signs of how much he cares about Ryan and that he'll do any and everything. I have a sinking feeling that Ryan is definitely going to need him.
11/26/2022 c5 Guest
How did I not read this chapter sooner? I must have looked right before you posted.

Before I got to the ending, what I was going to emphasize was how good it was for Ryan not to be misjudged or discriminated against or unwanted and rejected outright for so many wrong reasons. It goes without saying that having him not living in fear 24/7 always looking over his shoulder or waiting to be hurt emotionally or physically would be a big relief, even though he's really fighting hard to keep just a little of all of the emotional trauma under wraps. I think it's obvious that's only the tip of the iceberg, but something has to be what finally becomes too much.

Reading about Kirsten and Julie got me thinking, and it could just be me, but they both get off far too easy when it comes to Ryan. Julie would have had no problem with Ryan being killed, locked up, or sent away. None of it would have phased her and probably pleased her. I don't get the feeling that she's been held accountable, but not the story here. As for Kirsten, she thought that Ryan was, as she actually told him, "her worst nightmare." Talk about cruel. She didn't have to say it because he already knew. It wasn't subtle even if he couldn't read everyone so well. She was opposed, but Sandy obviously was persuasive and Seth wanted to leave for boarding school, so any agreement wasn't for Ryan, and maybe not for more than a few months. Definitely, Caleb was against all the way, but he wasn't involved at first. I'm not sure what to make with using him as an excuse. Kirsten should be making her own decisions and seems to have been. I'm not on the attack, it just struck me when she also said that she'd been busy with Sophie and I couldn't figure out when she hadn't just had small talk with Ryan and was actively involved. I'm glad that Sandy's urging has her doing what she should have, but I really hope that it doesn't become Ryan's responsibility to make her feel better and change the lack of a relationship that she established. He would be obedient. She would be in control. Putting something new on him at the best of times would be wrong, but to do it now would be more than he could handle.

I already said that I was starting to think that Ryan was in a safer place, at least without the people he lived with looking for the opportunity daily to use and hurt him. His latest attacker is an unknown, but it doesn't make a difference. Maybe that means there would be a different kind of emotional damage since he's a random target, but the physical trauma and everything that will result is the same. I can't not be worrying about how times in the last few years and during his life he's suffered head trauma too.

Sandy has to be so frightened. He has no idea what he's going to find out, just like I don't. I want him to be better than his character was written on the show and be the Sandy I'd always wanted him to be.

Just picturing Ryan on the concrete is a cliff hanger with an extra push.
11/25/2022 c5 Guest
It's actually Black Friday and my first, gut reaction is what a black Friday for Ryan in the truest, worst sense of the word!
11/24/2022 c5 Guest
I wish that I had more time. I already read the final part with Ryan over and over and over probably 5 times. I think the best thing to say, especially today, is thanks for giving! Now I hope that it's the gift that keeps on giving. You've opened up so many possibilities with everything that Ryan will have to be facing, whatever you have in store. I hope that Sandy isn't distracted and can be 100% for Ryan.

Thanks very much for the emotional ride here and I hope that you've had a good holiday.
11/21/2022 c5 Guest
Reading about Ryan getting attacked so viciously and suddenly just about knocked the wind out of me. You caught me off guard too. He's been targeted too often by too many people in his young life. He never gets his head above water or has scars start to fade before it all begins again. Some of the invisible ones, the emotional kind, are too deep and have never gotten any treatment. Now there's more new, serious trauma that I'm scared to think about all of the ripple effects. First, I'm just so worried that he survives. Then there have to be so many daunting battles.

Please update and keep on the honest and realistic path that the actual writers wouldn't follow.

Thanks for having me hooked and desperate to learn more.
11/19/2022 c5 Guest
You definitely don't hold back with the details when Ryan's life that he's been trying so hard to build and maintain is shattered so tragically. He was already shaky behind the facade and now whatever comes next will be a series of painful, hard fought battles. It's like he's been caught in the vicious cycle that the Atwoods had him trapped in and being abandoned didn't end their control, or others have stepped in too. He can't seem to escape it.

If you want me to be frightened for Ryan, that's an easy answer. Just like with all of the earlier traumas he's had to endure, physical and emotional, at some point, something becomes too much (even if certain writers on the show during its run just ignored all of it).

Please don't leave me hanging!

Thanks for going where the show's writers wouldn't.
11/19/2022 c5 Guest
Oh God. I literally froze when Ryan was attacked. All I could think was how many times does this make in some way or another? Does Ryan even know? The poor kid never had a place to live that was safe until Newport, and that wasn't always true either. Then I thought about what you wrote and what Ryan flashed to with the pistol, and that might have been the most recent time with one of the ways Trey was going to kill him, but couldn't have been the only time with guns used violently during his life.

The dread, fear, confusion and pain are all so vivid. You have me seeing it like I was an actual witness and I'm feeling Sandy's anguish too. I'm relieved that he seems so determined as a sign that he fully views himself as Ryan's father without a second thought and that this should mean that he do everything that Ryan needs to do.

I have such a sinking feeling with Ryan having more head trauma when he's had many injuries like it already and when he's been in an even more vulnerable place lately, or less able to hide it.

Please keep on writing. This is like the end of season cliffhanger with a summer of waiting and wondering.

Thank you.
11/17/2022 c5 Guest
Everything that I was going to mention pales in comparison to what happened to Ryan and all of the uncertainty, other than that he's badly hurt and will be paying a very high price again for doing nothing wrong and only trying to do everything right. As if the poor kid wasn't traumatized enough repeatedly and hadn't been attacked too often too, although this time it seems like the culprit who would have easily killed him isn't a biological family member or one of their group.

Sandy has to be on the verge of despair and reading between the lines because the information is pretty clear that Ryan was unconscious and in bad shape.

This could go so many ways and all are going to be very difficult for Ryan, but of course I need to follow every step of the way. I feel like I'm still back at the scene of the attack and frozen.
11/16/2022 c5 Guest
What an amazing new chapter. You do what certain paid TV writers never did and start to shine the light on really important issues that were too easily ignored, neglected and maybe conveniently forgotten. More background to get a feel for Ryan's life as a student is great for context and to learn about him in this newest time and place. It also helps to see how he's trying to keep up a facade and doing well enough most of the time. Of course that's a different matter when he's overcome and someone has to know what to look for, like Sandy, unless it's so obvious and extreme. By the end, it's so emotionally charged when everything takes a sudden painful turn. If Ryan was struggling and overwhelmed occasionally before, I'm shuddering at what he has to deal with now and what's coming. The physical and emotional trauma are a package that will fuel each other. Sadly, it won't be the first, second, or even third time. I know that Ryan has been resilient, either by nature or because he's had to be, but I am counting on Sandy to be there like never before.

A big thanks for writing this and so vividly. Please keep it coming!
11/13/2022 c5 Guest
Your story summary all makes sense now. First the PTSD that Ryan was struggling with that only Sandy was really aware of and trying to figure out what might be involved and what to do. When it comes to all the unknowns and the possible known events to choose from, there isn't any shortage. That's pretty overwhelming for Sandy, so for Ryan...

As always, Ryan tries to juggle everything, keep up a good front and not let on just how much he's being torn apart. To his new friends who have no idea about what his life has been like, they'd never guess how hard every day is for him or why. it takes so much energy, and he's already taking a challenging course load and working on campus and off and volunteering, not to mention trying to do whatever babysitting is necessary to earn any keep when he might be at the Cohens' house instead of in the dorm and for payback in general.

It's definitely way past time for Kirsten to have a better idea of how her choices have been viewed by Ryan and Sandy. Ryan would never believe that he had the right to say a word and would only follow her lead and hope that he didn't upset her. For Julie of all people to state the obvious has to be an enormous pill to try to swallow, although boy does that bring up too many issues and questions about her and what she spent years doing to Ryan. Kirsten certainly never held her accountable. Did Sandy? Will he?

The show's writers had that nasty, disappointing habit of never following through with anything emotional or physical with Ryan. It was like there was some giant rug with a bottomless pit to sweep all of the emotional trauma under and his injuries were just supposed to magically heal and fade in minutes. I'm relieved that you're really exploring this and how everything past and present, physical and emotional and psychological are intertwined. If poor Ryan was on a tightrope off-balance with PTSD before, he's really in for it now, especially with another head injury and how head trauma, and anything else, will impact previous injuries and circumstances. Please don't let him down, Sandy. If he ever needed someone trustworthy and dependable to support him patiently and kindly without judging, it's now. His newer friends might not be close enough, but they would help him feel less alone just by having had contact with them. Luke has grown up and they seem like real friends with a solid foundation too.

I confess that I'm scared for Ryan and all that he'll contend with, but it's the harrowing journey that will be an amazing read from such a good writer like you. Thanks for giving us what we couldn't get on screen!
11/12/2022 c5 Guest
OMG. There's so much to explore and tie together before what happened to Ryan at the end. I'm so happy for him that his friends see him for who he is, with none of the prejudice. No, they don't know what his life has been like, but it's not important to them. They see him as an intelligent, kind, thoughtful, decent person. His new friends and classmates don't seem to know how much he's struggling and why, so he's been able to keep that to himself no matter the toll it's taking more and more.

Kirsten and Julie and the conversation about Ryan has so much potential to put both of them on the spot. Obviously, Julie has gone out of her way to hurt Ryan in horrible ways without a second thought. She even calculated more than once. With Kirsten, it's a lack of honesty, being evasive and putting up walls that get harder to break down, but she put them there and kept them.

I'm relieved that she's finally going to think about changing herself to undo some of the damage and find a way to do better by Ryan however long it takes. Good for Sandy for finally giving her a push despite the friction. It should have happened years ago. Who knows if she never thought that Ryan wouldn't be in their house for more than months, or a year at a time, or finally, if he made it there through high school. In her mind, was that it?

Now for the most important part. For every step or so that Ryan takes forward and if he ever dares to try to feel a little comfortable, he gets slammed back. Painfully. I hurt for him thinking about what he'll be facing and what he'll have to go through. I've read the attack scene over and over and I keep getting chills each time. Then I picture Sandy and what he must be fearing and what he knows has happened too many times already and is again, but it could be worse. Like us, he doesn't know and that has to worry and scare him.

Thanks for bringing the characters to life and for leaving me clamoring for more. I have to know what happens to Ryan.
11/10/2022 c5 Guest
And where to start? I can't believe that I didn't come looking sooner. Butch could have been in Fresno or Chino, ironically, but definitely not Newport Beach. Reno or Vegas wouldn't be surprising.

Sandy upset about the conflict with Kirsten has to be about more than just arguing, but what the clash reveals. He hasn't wanted to address many things about how Kirsten has always behaved towards Ryan. I'm sure he was relieved that she agreed to sign on the dotted line and he was willing to go it alone with Ryan with little input from her, unspoken arrangement or not. At a number of levels over the last few years, he's had to be bothered by it, but didn't want to make things worse for Ryan if he pushed too hard. He could have done more about it and for Ryan overall, but he also has seemed to dabble in certain projects and move on to the next. I'd always hoped that he didn't see Ryan that way, but he has seemed to redeem himself since Newport.

Kirsten was also under Caleb's thumb which continued after his death even while Sandy had to be careful with his own standing with him. The more time that has passed with Kirsten reluctant, distant, removed and pretty consistent with that regarding Ryan, the more that would have been the lasting message. Ryan certainly would have known it from the beginning. Sandy knew it. And if Julie noticed? Wow! I know this isn't the story, and a scene here can't begin to do justice to what Julie has done and intended to do to Ryan. She comes close to brushing it all off, as if it has all been sorted out with Sandy, because not with Kristen just going on their conversation by itself. Was there ever any attempt is for another time. I would have loved to have had that in the show and really go into it with Sandy going down the long list and not holding back. Julie can't judge Kirsten with her track record, but if she can make her think, that's something, even if Kirsten doesn't call her out too, which says plenty. Just because Kirsten recognizes how big of a problem she's created and let grow doesn't fix anything, but admitting could be the first of many, many steps that will take years, at least as many as she's wasted so far. Nothing quick. That's not reality and Ryan has trust issues for very valid reasons.

Having Ryan not being seen with disdain or suspicion and not being good enough to belong is all new. Having him maybe think that he isn't a burden anymore and if he does his jobs and his work, he can't be tossed out on the street for the smallest or even imagined infraction is all new for him too. That has to be a big load off of his shoulders that he's carried all along. Finally, he might not be living in fear of not just being cast out while in school, but he probably began to not to worry about being a target for violence, which was still going on in Newport, just less frequently. And then as he tries to get his life on this track, he is targeted and attacked again. Maybe it's not by someone he knew or should have been looking out for him like most of the times before, but the result is still that no matter how hard he's worked and tried to do everything right, he pays the price again.

I'm so concerned about Ryan and his injuries, especially the fact that he has another head injury following so many previous ones. He's also having enough difficulties coming to terms with unsettled events and memories. I also have to wonder how scared Sandy is. He has to be making the worst leaps with no other information and trying to prepare himself for whatever he'll find out at the hospital. I truly hope that he's up to being who Ryan needs.

Thank you for a very detailed and vivid update. I'll definitely be looking for the chapter 6.
11/8/2022 c5 Guest
I really need a distraction with elections, so I'm so glad that I came wishing and hoping that you'd been writing. I've been so missing this! I meant to say earlier on that something that definitely was standing out was a call back to the show's pilot where Ryan says the "Whoever you want me to be" reply which is so, so telling. It's not some kind of lame attempt or just copying what he's heard, but it's like the story of his very traumatic, very conditional, complicated life that he's never had control over or very few choices. To try to avoid the worst of the hurt or drawing attention or causing more anger and violence, he always had to do what he was forced to do or what was safest. It was always that way and he was at such a disadvantage never knowing anything else and being too young with no options. Now, at this next stage, he could finally start to try to be someone on his own. He's in a place where only Luke knows him already and they have a real friendship to build on. He could begin to figure things out for the first time where he wasn't labeled, judged, under scrutiny.

On campus, he could at least pretend that he belonged even if he wasn't convinced. Maybe he could believe that he was doing things not just for others, although he would be still trying to please Sandy and signal that he hadn't made a huge mistake by helping him and even trusting him. He wouldn't want to disappoint Sandy no matter what. To have Ryan get the highest grade and a position of responsibility in the dorm and he's helping kids are more than giving back, but also a way for him to help pay his way and a show of some confidence.

What a jolt to have Ryan attacked. It's not that he lets his guard down. Some part of him must always be on alert after so many years of being on edge 24/7 and still in Newport, but less. He grew up not safe wherever he lived and slept. What's different here is that his greatest threats before were usually from inside, from the closest, starting with Atwoods or whoever they were with and brought in. This is a stranger, even if he was watching and waiting for someone alone after closing.

You sure succeeded in scaring me and having me scared for Ryan. Going through the attack and each step with the responder had my heart in my throat. Poor Ryan had been working and trying so hard and now it's not just erased, but he's in so much jeopardy again. Worst of all, he's had too many of these kinds of traumas and he's been struggling with emotional trauma more recently. This will be so much to contend with. I only hope that Sandy doesn't fail him and has become both the father and friend that Ryan needs and that Luke has grown as much as he seems.

I'll go cry now.

Thanks for writing. I'll have to read this again until the next part.
11/6/2022 c5 Guest
Just when I think that there isn't another chapter, I end up missing a post! Now I don't have time to leave a comment to do this justice. I never saw this twist coming. The part with Seth sort of lulled me into a false sense. Now my heart really breaks for Ryan. He was already overwhelmed and juggling so much and now he has a new battle to fight, which I can only guess will pose a number of challenges that beyond the physical, which is one part of many when it comes to head trauma, especially with his history of too many similar injuries at a young age. Each would take a toll and add to the other. That makes me worry and so does the emotional side of the coin. Buckling up! You really had me by the throat when Ryan was on the pavement, although the switch to calling him "sir" all of a sudden from "kid," seemed a little strange. But you had me feeling like I was hovering nearby and just shocked and scared.
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