WHEN YOU LOSE SOMETHING THAT, YOU CAN'T REPLACE.

Disclaimer:-

I do not own the O.C. nor do I own any of the characters. They are courtesy of Josh Shwartz, merely borrowed so I can add my own little flash of drama to them. If I did own though, I would keep Ben McKenzie all to myself. He is delicious.

Summary:-

Wonder what would happen if Marissa goes after Ryan instead of Johnny after their fight on the beach in 'the Game plan'? Wonder what would happen if Marissa was the one to get into a life-altering situation? Would it bring them closer and make them face their issues once and for all or would it push them further apart?

A/N:-

Slated to be a short ficlet of about two, max three chapters. The first chapter will focus on their individual thoughts during this period of time. I do not believe that they are justified in thinking all this, (In particular, Ryan's guilt towards the end and Marissa's thoughts initially) but that said, I do think this is what went through their minds at this particular time.

The first part of the fic is angtsy, but it gets better with each passing chap. At the end of the day… I remain an R/M fan.

The initial part in italics are dialogues taken from actual show. They are just there to set the tone for the rest to follow.

Read and review!

"Is that what you think too?" Ryan asked, his words laced with incredulity, his voice having an angry edge to it. Marissa stared at him, not knowing what to reply or how to explain. Lately it seemed as if they always spoke two different languages.

"No, of course not." she shot him down immediately, before his eyes could turn even more furious. "It's just… complicated, okay?" she said softly, trying to explain.

"Right! You know what, why don't you guys talk or whatever? I am out of here!"

In one swift motion, he turned around, anger radiating from his every stride and all she could do was helplessly watch him leave. Involuntarily her hands raised to stop him, a reflex born out of desperation just like so many times before, but they fell away of their own accord. He wouldn't stop and He wouldn't turn around. She knew this as surely as she knew that he wouldn't listen to any explanations that she might want to give. He was too far away to listen…

In more ways than one.

She sighed, his angry face imprinted on her mind as her shoulder's slumped in defeat. She hadn't meant to hurt him. She never wanted to hurt him. She wished she could take it all back, but she needed him to realize what she was feeling right now. Things were just so difficult, she felt so confused - all the time.

Seth, Summer, even Ryan knew where they were going, what they were doing. They had a direction, they had goals, they had a stable platform on which they could build there future upon. They all had plans, except it seemed… her. And that message had never been as firmly driven home as when she had been sitting in that diner listening to all of them talk.

She felt apart from all of them, cut out from the group like a disused, gangrenous limb. She felt like she no longer belonged. In the midst of the three most important people in her life, the three people who loved her unconditionally… she felt all alone. Because, She could visualize them going to college, making new friends, getting on with their lives. She could visualize them moving on. But, however hard she tried, she just couldn't see herself doing the same thing.

Not when getting through a single day seemed like such a chore.

Dreams of a gunshot and blood and rape and screams and pain kept haunting her, refusing to let her go, refusing to let her live. They came in all different shapes and forms. Horror filled dreams of men and fights and a lover's last breath that woke her up sweating and screaming, terrorizing dreams of rape and murder and gory, smelling apartments that shook her to her very core, scary dreams that seemed more real than the reality of it all. She was pulled apart by who she had once been, and what she had become now.

A murderer…

The word was seared into her mind and written onto her skin with indelible ink.

A person who was willing to take away some one's life…

No truer words had ever been spoken.

Because the truth of the matter remained that she had done it. Picked up a piece of cold metal and tried to end it all. And that was a reality she would have to live with for the rest of her life. She was tainted with someone's blood, deafened by someone's screams, burdened with the sight of someone's bloody face to the point where living with herself was getting harder and harder with each passing day.

She needed someone to take away the pain. She needed someone to understand. She needed someone to share the burden that she was towing every single day. But more than that, she simply needed someone to listen.

She needed Ryan.

Yeah, right, like that's going to happen, a bitter voice inside her brain cruelly mocked her thoughts. Have you forgotten what had happened the last time you had tried to reach out? Wasn't it painful enough for you to be rejected once that you want to go back for more?

Go back to sleep…

The sentence haunted her almost as much as the nightmares she kept having.

She sighed ruefully to herself. He was hell-bent on avoiding the issue altogether, like he could simply make it disappear if they didn't talk about it, like the dreams that she had would simply go away if she hugged her share bear and slept at night. And sometimes it angered her that he would react to her problems so callously. But most of the times she just felt confused.

Because even in his silences, she could feel that he cared.

Then why? Was it just because he wasn't a very good talker, or was it because… did he… did he blamed her for everything that happened with Trey?

If he did, then she wouldn't blame him. he couldn't blame her more than she blamed herself, anyways.

She had shot his brother.

She was the reason why his only family was gone.

God, would he ever be able to forgive her?

All of a sudden she felt tired, worn out, like she wished she could be in anyone's shoes except her own.

Nothing really made any sense anymore.

Because the person who used to hold her entire shattered existence together like glue didn't feel like he was there with her anymore.

"I am sorry; I'll go after him." Johnny concerned voice whispered from besides her taking in her troubled face. Startled, she turned around. She had almost forgotten that Johnny was right there. For a moment, she was actually tempted to take the coward's way out and take him up on his offer of going after Ryan. However, she couldn't do that. She loved Ryan. She had to make things right with him. Besides, Johnny going after Ryan would complicate an already complicated situation- Ryan was furious with Johnny and she already felt guilty about this whole mess that she had gotten all three of them in to.

She offered him a small, wobbly, apologetic smile and shrugged dejectedly. "No, Its okay. I'll go…"

He slowly nodded in response, his warm brown eyes compassionate and understanding, as he placed his hand across her shoulder and gave it a gentle squeeze, offering her a reassuring smile.

Ryan used to smile at me like that.

The thought flitted across her mind from left field, surprising her with its suddenness and intensity and the fact that she had thought of it in the past tense. Quickly she pushed the betraying thought away.

Ryan used to comfort me like that.

The thought persisted. Common Marissa, you are being stupid now… she silently chastised herself, he did that when... uhhh…he did that...

Her mind drew a blank.

Ryan used to loop his arm around me and tell me everything was going to be all right,

Guess, not anymore…

She tried to resist it, to ignore it, to forget it, but finally she had to admit as the realization hit her like a fist in the gut and an intense pain shot through her heart.

They were no longer 'that Ryan and Marissa' anymore…

It was her last coherent thought before her world literally turned upside down and everything went blank.

Ryan stalked towards his car, not caring where he went or what he did, just that he got as far away from her as possible. He couldn't believe what he had heard. For a moment, he had actually thought that it was all a joke, that Marissa was going to laugh up at him and tell him that they were just kidding. He remembered that his eyes had rounded incredulously when he had seen the truth in her eyes. How could she think that he couldn't understand her?

He felt so fucking angry, so betrayed.

Ever since he had known her, she had always dreamed of going to college. And now she was telling him that she wanted to leave all of that, leave him, for a stupid surfing tour? And to think this was the same girl who had freaked out over the prospect of him spending two weeks on a boat. He really couldn't get what was going on with her these days.

And it wasn't just regarding this either. It was everything.

Ever since she had joined Newport Union and met… Johnny, they had been steadily drifting apart. It was like they were both trying to be something they were not. Her laughs always felt a little forceful to him, her words always felt like they were spoken out of necessity and not need. They had come a long way to get to this point, but now that they were here, it just felt like they would be better off at the starting point again. His girlfriend was with him, but he felt that the Marissa he had known was slowly slipping through the widening cracks in his fingers. And whatever he did, however hard he tried, it just wasn't enough.

He was so exhausted these days.

… exhausted with trying to put back the pieces of a relationship that already felt broken beyond repair…

And Who the hell did Johnny think he was, telling him that he freaking didn't get his own girlfriend? He knew nothing, absolutely nothing about them. He didn't know what it was like being 'Ryan and Marissa' or all the pain/anger/hurt/betrayal/love/companionship/friendship/trust that came with that title. He fucking should have kept his fucking mouth shut.

But the thing that irritated him the most and made his toes curl with contempt and his heart clench with an unreal amount of pain( although he would not agree to the last part) was the fact that Marissa had agreed. She had stood silently next to Johnny and nodded her head. Fuck, but that had hurt, more than he would ever allow himself to believe.

If that's what she wanted, then so be it! He was out of here. Angrily he pulled open the door to his car.

BAM! THUD! A sound of a body hitting against metal as screeching tires came to a halt.

For a split second the sound didn't register in his mind. Then, he heard Johnny's terrified scream echo through the suddenly silent stretch of the beach.

"Marissa!"

Ryan's hand literally froze on the doorknob. His heart in his throat he slowly turned around. And before he knew it, all his thoughts of leaving were forgotten as he ran towards the sound, harder than he had ever run before…

The sirens blared, the red lights flashed and revolved, and he felt as if his brain was spinning along with them. He could faintly hear the buzz of activity as the paramedics rushed, the blood, the pain, the twisted knots in the pit of his stomach, the gut wrenching fear that curled and made him think that he was going to puke, it was all sickeningly familiar. He had done this before, been in this situation once. But at this point he couldn't quite recall when it was.

It doesn't matter. All that matters is right in front of you and she is slipping away.

His earlier feelings of anger and hurt had vanished in a puff of smoke replaced by nothing else but worry and fear and guilt. Every molecule in his body was focused on the battered and bruised, unconscious girl in front of him. God, he would never forgive himself if something happened to her. He loved her so much… at this moment he would gladly allow her to go on that stupid surfing tour with Johnny, if only she would open her eyes and tell him that she was alright.

As gently as he could, he cradled her against him, his loving hands tracing every little bruise on her beautiful face. "Marissa, honey, wake up…"

"Don't you think that you've done enough?" Harsh words intruded upon his thoughts and his eyes snapped around to clash with Johnny's. Of all the arrogant things to say... He wanted to hit him point blank. Ryan's "It really doesn't concern you, so why don't you butt off?" he said angrily.

"It does now." Johnny surprised him by whispering firmly. "Every time she goes after you something like this happens."

For a moment Ryan was tempted, really tempted to beat Johnny to a pulp, but then confusion and curiosity overcame his simmering anger. "What's that supposed to mean?" he testily snapped.

Johnny held up his hands in defense and backed up a few paces. "Look all I am saying is, she was thinking about all this when she came after you. She wasn't really looking at the vehicle when it hit her. She could have easily avoided it, if she had. And then there was also the time when she had gone after you when you went after …"

Johnny couldn't complete the sentence, So furious was Ryan's warning glare.

Trey…

The word hung between them even though he didn't say it.

She had come after him that time too, and look where that had gotten her.

She had gone after Trey because he had asked her to, and look where that had gotten her.

All his anger deflated in a second and there was no place left for any other emotion except guilt.

Such overwhelming guilt…

Johnny was right. He was responsible for everything that had happened to her. She would never have O.D'd in Tijuana if he would have let her know what a scum Luke was, his earlier suspicion that his little tryst with Gabrielle had played a huge part in pushing her over the edge, suddenly seemed like a reality. She wouldn't have been drinking so heavily and having that affair with D.J if he hadn't gone off with Teresa, and she definitely wouldn't have met Trey if it wasn't for him, and Trey couldn't have…. His mind still refused to go anywhere near that issue but this time he forced himself to do that. The pain he felt every time was nothing compared to what she had gone through…. And now this.

All of a sudden, the beepers surrounding her body started buzzing loudly as if in response, the noise deafening in the silent van. There was flurry of activity surrounding him and all he could do was focus on her convulsing face.

"Wh… what's happening?" he asked brokenly, fearfully as his eyes took in the paramedics, pumping her heart, rapidly moving back and forth injecting various drugs through the frail vein that appeared entirely too blue to him.

Nobody bothered answering him as they rushed around, shouting orders to each other in their small van.

He couldn't take it anymore. She was lying there… right there… and there was just

so much blood. "Tell me!" he gritted out, gripping one of the meds by the scruff of his neck as he stared down at him forcefully. It was killing him, this anticipation… this helplessness. "Answer me!"

It was Johnny who held him back. "Listen mate…"

"Don't tell me to listen." He angrily shrugged him off. "She is there, right there… and they wont answer" he accused.

It was the raw fear and desperation on his face that finally seemed to have done the trick. The paramedic gave him a pitying glance. "I am sorry, but her heart stopped."

For a moment he couldn't believe what he had heard.

His legs slid out from beneath him, unable to support his flailing weight as he slowly, painfully slowly sat down on that rock hard chair, unaware that he had even done this. He buried his face into his hands, his voice dropping to a dangerously soft silky whisper that was more terrifying than his earlier shouts as every angry, unjust feeling that he felt was directed solely towards himself. "God, what have I done?"

The answering silence in the van was deafening.

…..