Disclaimer: I do not own The O.C. or any of its characters. Everything belongs to FOX and Josh Schwartz.

Ryan's POV

I sat in class across from Luke as the teacher gave a lecture. I could barely keep my eyes open. My head was pounding. I couldn't tell if it was from the bright lights or just the fact that I didn't want to hear a lecture on The French Revolution; but either way, it hurt like hell. I put my jacket on as I felt shivers go up and down my spine. I felt like I was freezing. Do they have to blast the air conditioning in this place?

"Dude, how are you not baking?" Luke asks me and I shrugged. I didn't even attempt to give me an actual reply. I didn't feel like talking. Though that wasn't unusual, it was even more-so at the moment.

"Hey." Marissa gets my attention; she was sitting across from me, next to Luke. "Are you okay?" I nodded, though I regretted it as it seemed to increase the headache that was coming on. "You sure?" She asks.

I nodded again. "I'm fine." I eventually spoke, hoping it gave her more reassurance.

After first period ended, I went back to the pool house. I couldn't stand having to listen to another lecture. I could bare to stand up or try to stay awake any longer. I needed to lay down. Sandy and Kirsten were at work, so they wouldn't have to know. And maybe if I was lucky enough, the school wouldn't call. Maybe after getting some sleep, I would feel better. And if not, I could at least put on façade better than I could at the moment. I didn't need them to worry about me. It wasn't their job to worry about me. They had done enough with taking me in.

Seth's POV

I hadn't seen Ryan all day since breakfast. Well actually, I saw him this morning right before Marissa came to give him a ride to school but now that I think about it he didn't eat any breakfast. Now thinking about it, it's kind of strange for Ryan; he always has cereal. And also not seeing him in class or at lunch made me a little bit concerned.

"Hey Marissa, have you seen Ryan?" I asked as I walked by her and Summer in the hallway.

"No, not since first period." Marissa told me.

"Well do you know where is?" I asked and Marissa shook her head in response.

"Maybe he left." Summer suggested.

One could make that assumption; though you'd think he would have said something to someone. "Yeah, well I guess it's safe to assume since he's not here." I remarked.

"He didn't look so good this morning." Marissa added. "Maybe he's sick."

I shook my head. I didn't believe that. Ryan couldn't be sick. Though I am sure it is possible to catch something between all the possible diseases that are brought throughout the school, I just couldn't see it. And even if he was sick, I doubt he'd let a little cold or something make him miss school. Especially since Dr. Kim would kill him for ditching.

After school Marissa gave me a ride. I had wanted to go earlier but I didn't want to have to face Dr. Kim for ditching. And if I turned out to be wrong, I didn't want to waste that act of rebellion on that. When I got home, I found Ryan asleep in the pool house. I pulled up the chair and stared for a moment; mostly because I couldn't believe it. Ryan Atwood, asleep in his natural habitat and during school hours. I do not see how catching up on beauty rest qualifies for a good reason for ditching school. Ryan has to know that Dr. Kim will talk to my parents about it.

"Ryan." I said. It didn't wake him. I don't know why I thought saying his name in normal tone would wake him up; it would take more for me to be woken up. I repeated his name again. This time louder and multiple times until something came out of him in a mumble.

"Dude, I get that sleep is awesome but I don't think it's worth having to deal with Dr. Kim when she finds out you ditched today, And it's only what? You're second week?" I pointed out and then some sort of moan—or groan—came out of Ryan, in response. "Dude, what's wrong with you? You sound like you're dead—well dying because you know, dead people don't make sounds. Or maybe you sound more like the living dead—"

"Seth." Ryan finally spoke, cutting me off from my ramble. "Do me a favor."

"What?" I asked

"Shut up."

"Noted." I nodded awkwardly as he began to cough.

"You sound awful." I noted.

"Thanks." Ryan sarcastically replied. "Are you going to comment on my looks too?"

"Well, you look terrible—maybe even worse than how you sound, which like I said is pretty awful—" I cut myself off at seeing the glare from Ryan. "Right. Okay. I'll shut up now." I scratched my head. "But seriously, are you sick?"

"I'm not sick." Ryan claimed, his voice sounding hoarse. He then propped himself up with one arm and then he began to cough into the sleeve of his shirt.

"Yeah, here's the thing, based on how you look, sound, and that cough, I am inclined to disagree with you. Now it isn't a problem, my parents—"

"No, you're not telling your parents." Ryan protested.

"I should. Trust me, you'll thank me later—" I attempted to argue.

"No, Seth, I'll be fine. Just—let me be." Ryan insisted as he slowly laid back down. I disagreed with his choices and I knew that somehow they would figure it out. But I knew it would pointless to argue so I just nodded. I wouldn't say a word. If Ryan wanted to suffer on his own, I would have to let him. But only because I knew it was only a matter of time before my parents figured it out.

A/N: This chapter has been edit and slightly rewritten as of February 2020.

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