Ryan is barely conscious by the time they get back to him.
Seth is out of Frank's car before it even stops moving. "Ryan," He says, and drops to his knees. Ryan had been sitting when Seth had left, but apparently that had become too much in the intervening minutes because now he's flat on his back, legs awkwardly extending into the road. Seth swallows and asks, "You couldn't wait up for me for like one more minute, dude?"
Ryan's eyes crack open, barely. Just enough. "Seth," He says. He sounds relieved. "You're back. No zombies?"
"I told you I'd be back," Seth reminds him, ignoring the zombie comment. That's a first for him.
Behind him, car doors open and close, and Julie gasps, and Kaitlin asks, softly and anxiously, "Is he okay?"
Ryan closes his eyes again. His hand comes up - the hand drenched in blood - and vaguely pats the air. "S'good," His words are slurring. "Thank you."
"No, Ryan," Seth grabs his hand, tries not to think about the sticky warmth. "You gotta stay with me, okay? I had an idea for another list."
Frank comes along on the other side. "What happened?"
"He's got glass in his side," Seth snaps. "Okay? We gotta get him to the hospital. Ryan - Ryan, with me, buddy, okay? I need to tell you something."
Ryan's eyes crack again. He grunts; his I'm not awake and you're being annoying grunt. But Ryan never goes back to sleep when Seth has something he needs to say.
Seth looks at Frank, who nods in understanding.
"Okay, here's what I was thinking," Seth says, shifting around to get a solid grip. "A list of the times you've saved my life."
"Seth," Ryan grumbles. His I'm losing sleep for this? grumble.
"I know what you're thinking, but it can't wait," Seth says and, making eye contact with Frank, heaves.
Ryan gets to his feet, but not easily. He moans and lurches. Frank doesn't let go, holds him tight so that all of Ryan's weight shifts into him.
Ryan blinks slowly. "Sandy?" He asks, pawing at Frank's jacket. That one word carries so much relief in it, like if Dad were just here, they'd be perfectly okay.
Frank looks stricken.
Too much to unpack right now.
"The list is Times You've Saved My Life," Seth says, in a bid for Ryan's attention. That works, as Ryan's eyes shift back to him, squinting.
Julie and Kaitlin have the car door open, and Frank starts maneuvering Ryan towards it, with obvious effort.
"First time might surprise you, Ryan," Seth says. "Remember that first morning, when you walked into the house? And I know what you're going to say, it's not like my life was in danger then, but dude. Really."
Ryan's face is pale. Each step makes him grimace as pain jostles through his body. Seth makes it to the car first, and slides into the backseat, helping navigate Ryan into it carefully, avoiding the glass, talking: "And of course, the first literal time, at the beach. Ryan, physical violence from Luke? Such a cliche. That guy was a walking cliche. Seriously. No idea how I put up with him in Portland."
Frank takes his hands away, closes the door. Ryan tilts towards Seth.
Seth takes the weight, because it's safer than risking him listing in the other direction and driving the glass up further. "And then you stayed," He goes on, as Frank climbs behind the wheel and starts driving again. "You could be in Texas right now, dude. Imagine. The cowboy hat? The boots? But you stayed in the model home instead."
"M'rissa," Ryan murmurs.
"Yeah," Seth swallows, because he sees Julie's eyes in the mirror and he feels Kaitlin tense up next to him and talking is easy for Seth, it comes naturally, but this is - it's their personal stuff, the stuff that made them brothers, and it's easy to forget sometimes that it's other people's personal stuff, too.
Ryan's breath is getting shallower.
"Yeah," Seth forces. "But remember that guy Donnie? Remember the gun? You totally saved my life there."
Ryan doesn't respond at first. Then, slowly, as if speaking through a daze: "Better… t'gether." A breath that turns into a cough. "Seth… thank…"
"Thank you, yeah, I got it, but I'm the one thanking you right now," Seth says. "So listen, okay?"
"What'mmmm good at," Ryan slurs.
Seth keeps talking. He traces their history, sometimes blinking away tears, sometimes wishing he could laugh around the lump in his throat, and doesn't think about the secrets he's giving away to the part of his audience not currently bleeding out, or the worried look in Frank's eyes, or how long it takes to get to the hospital. He keeps talking and talking and talking, until finally they make it to the hospital door and the words give out and so does Ryan.
A doctor comes out a while later, consulting with Frank in hushed tones after the man identifies himself as Ryan's father. Seth can't even summon up the energy to be irritated, to point out that they're his family, especially when Frank comes back over with that sad, exhausted look and says, "Ryan's lost a lot of blood, but they're having a hard time with everything - they're low."
"I'm O negative," Seth realizes, and clamors to his feet.
It's not much - it's really literally the least he can do - but now it's his turn to start his own Times I've Saved Ryan's Life list.