A/N: I'm honestly not really flattered by the decrease in my writing skill. But my Eric/Ryan thing is ongoing and there's nothing better than crackship. For now, here's a drabble based off a daydream. AU, I guess.

If Eric had met Ryan earlier, in a slightly different way. And yes, this Ryan has the S4 Ryan haircut just because I think flat, short hair suits him best (though I don't oppose the way his longer hair was styled without the gel in S03 EP03 aka, the first episode with him in it.) 3x03 - under the influence.


Ryan was dressed in cowboy getup, tuning his guitar whilst sat on a stage. He didn't have a southern accent or a whole lot of height which he made up for with his singing. The young man had just finished college and was taking classes at Miami University to complete a course in Forensics. Since he worked full time at the local repair shop and did his schoolwork whenever he could - his free time wasn't exactly.. well, free.

He had agreed to dress up as a cowboy and entertain the daughter of his dad's friend for some extra cash on the side. This had required a lot of reordering in his schedule to not only perfect his performance, but also to make sure he still attended seminars, did his work and was never late to his shifts.

Getting a haircut for this gig didn't exactly amuse Ryan, but his father demanded that he did, in his booming GySgt voice. Ryan couldn't disagree. Coming from a military family sometimes hurt a lot. Knowing that his relatives had high standards and didn't care what he did as long as he wasn't in debt, involved in crime, stripping or being extorted.

"Unfortunately, I'm not from down south. Excuse the accent." Ryan said, hearing heavier footsteps approach his direction without even looking up.

"I know." The man replied wryly.

Intrigued, Ryan glanced up at the man stood in front of him. He carefully examined his features. Brown eyes, dark hair, caramel complexion, clean-shaven.. definitely Hispanic. The older man wasn't wearing something Wild Western, though his plaid button-up shirt and jeans could definitely pass him somehow. Wolfe put his guitar down, blushing slightly when he saw the way he looked at him. He looked familiar but Ryan couldn't put his finger on it.

"I want to say Eric, why?"

Eric chuckled. "Because we work at the same repair shop. I just wasn't sure if you'd recognize me."

"Well now I feel bad. What are you doing here, Delko?"

The Latino sat beside Ryan on the stage, observing the surrounding of people all doing their own things at the party. Kids jumping on the bouncy castle, adults hanging around by the makeshift bar and teens awkwardly talking indoors. Eric came to the party because his older sister, Elena, had dragged him to his second cousin's eleventh birthday as he bought all the alcohol. As unbelievable as it sounded, he just provided the dreading adults comfort with cocktails and an ice cold beer.

Ryan half-heartedly laughed. He couldn't fully laugh, because knowing his sister she'd probably do the same to him.

"So you're the amateur bar service?"

"Unfortunately. Meanwhile, you're Mr Cowboy over here about to sing. Better than Roberto the Clown last year.. mi tía sure did regret that waste of money. He scared the living daylights out of Mila."

The two spent the rest of Ryan's break talking about family, work and the antics of family members when drunk. Eric's uncle had gotten drunk and had started dancing to the Reggaeton music playing on the radio. The kids clearly didn't like the music genre, same with 80% of those that had attended the party.

Eric had to admit, Ryan suited the getup. Even the toy gun looked real. It must've been a challenge to get one of those without a gun license. And Ryan's haircut really did let his facial features take the spotlight that had originally been on his hair. For a cowboy with a thick Boston accent and being of 5'9" for height, he made it work.

"What song does your second cousin like? I know the notes to several country, alternative and RnB songs."

"She loves this song by Jessica Simpson, I think?"

Mila, Eric's second cousin and the birthday girl, ran over to the pair. She could tell that they knew each other, which is why she was smiling. "It's time for the song!"

"I think you're right. What song do you want, cutie?" Ryan responded, picking himself up and grabbing his guitar.

The little girl giggled. "I don't know! But can you sing with Uncle Eric?"

Ryan turned his head to the Cuban-Russian, who had no idea what the meant. He pulled him up and told him that he had to sing with him. Eric blatantly refused, insisting that he couldn't sing. Ryan thought it was BS. He took his hat off his head and placed it on Eric's head. "Get in the spirit, cowboy!"

"Now you wonder why everyone at the shop calls your sugar? You're about as intimidating as a cupcake."

"I'd punch you but then you'd have a busted jaw and girls wouldn't go for you then." Ryan remarked mockingly, pulling his to his feet. "C'mon man. For me?"

Eric rolled his eyes. He couldn't believe he was agreeing to this. Ryan placed the microphone stand in front of him, made sure it worked and then set his own up. The Latino wouldn't have taken Ryan for a musician. Or an expert in how all the equipment worked, for that matter.

He got handed a sheet of song lyrics, titled "I Could Not Ask For More."

"I thought you hated stuff like this." Eric whispered to Ryan, watching as he passed around the chords for the song. Ryan just chuckled. "It's your second cousin's birthday, I can make an exception for one occasion." He placed a hand on Eric's shoulder for a moment, rubbing it gently. To assure him it would be fine.

Eric didn't know why his touch made everything crumble. All those emotional barriers that he had up when it came to letting his emotions run wild. His heart raced with one touch.

The younger man handed his guitar to the hired guitarist. He figured he might as well sing alongside Eric. Makyla, Eric's cousin, gathered everyone by the stage for the performance. She apologised about the clown incident and introduced the boys.

"This nice boy, Ryan, will be entertaining you all with a song. I know his father, so don't worry. I've done the checks this time." Ryan waved to the crowd of friends and family. "And Eric, who I also happen to work with, will be singing with me."

Before Eric could protest, the band started the instrumental and Ryan did few mini vocal warm ups to himself. When it was time, Ryan started singing:

Lying here with you

Listening to the rain

Smiling just to see the smile upon your face

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive

These are the moments I'll remember all my life

I found all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more

Ryan tapped his shoulder, giving him the signal. Eric quickly swallowed his nervousness and carried on from Ryan.

Looking in your eyes

Seeing all I need

Everything you are is everything to me

These are the moments

I know heaven must exist

These are the moments I know all I need is this

I have all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more

...

[Chorus]

I could not ask for more than this time together

I could not ask for more than this time with you

Every prayer has been answered

Every dream I have's come true

And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be

Here with you here with me

They sang in perfect harmony, one voice complimenting the other. Wolfe didn't know Delko had it in him. Nevertheless, he was stunned. Singing with someone had never felt more real. The Cuban-Russian had vocals for days. So from then on, they continued to sing together confidently.

These are the moments I thank God that I'm alive

These are the moments I'll remember all my life

I've got all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more.

...

I could not ask for more than this time together

I could not ask for more than this time with you

Every prayer has been answered

Every dream I have's come true

And right here in this moment is right where I'm meant to be

Here with you here with me

..

I could not ask for more than the love you give me

'Coz it's all I've waited for

And I could not ask for more

I could not ask for more

When the song ended, Mila ran on stage and hugged both of them happily. She thanked Ryan for getting Eric to sing with him. It wasn't often anyone could really convince Eric to do something, which meant it came across as a surprise when Eric acatually sung with him. The family and friends thought it was strange. This guy, of all people, had that level of good influence on Delko.

"You know, Mila.. I teach Bridge guitar lessons." Ryan said with a smile.

The eleven year old gave him a look. "Y-you know Bridge?"

"Yeah. I said hi to him for you, on your mom's request, and his mom agreed to come to the party."

Mila looked to the back gate. Makyla, Mila's mom, was leading in Bridge and his mother. She was speechless. "Oh my gosh! I'm going to embarrass myself." "Don't worry. He came here for you." She gave Ryan on even tighter hug. Eric didn't know what Bridge meant to his second cousin, or why Ryan had done what he did. But it seemed to have pleased the birthday girl. Mila jumped off the stage to greet him, leaving the two men to talk.

"I know what you're thinking, Eric. But she really likes him, and he never stops talking about her. I just wanted to help out." Wolfe mentioned quietly, watching as the eleven year olds hugged each other. "Well.. I'm glad you did. She's smiling now."

"Sometimes, Eric.." Ryan started, grabbing his guitar. "..the least you could do is induce someone else's happiness. I'll see you tomorrow."

Eric nodded as Ryan headed to the gate. He said goodbye to Makyla and those who came to thank him for making the party enjoyable, which brought a smile to his face. The Cuban-Russian wished he'd said more, because Ryan seemed like a good converser. He didn't even have the guy's number. But he still had his hat.

Unknown to Eric, there was a small sticker stuck to his wrist with a number on it..

He grinned when he saw it. Maybe he felt something too.

See ya, cowboy.