Alright everyone, in case you aren't reading Vegas (which, btw, shame on you, go read it), I was really uninspired for one-shots, so I asked my readers to give me prompts. I'm going to try and do them in the order I get the requests for them, but I guess it all depends on how inspired I get.
If you have a request, drop it in a review, or a PM, or an email. I'd prefer it to be a one-word type deal, because they're easier to mold. I'll also take requests for particular ships or characters or missing scenes.
And if I just CAN'T write something in response to a prompt, I'll try and get in touch with you.
The title of the fic in general is a song by Bloc Party ('Little Thoughts' off the album 'Silent Alarm')
Music: 'Happy Birthday Girl' by Sondre Lerche, off the album 'Phantom Punch'
Notes: To Lori: I tried making this smutty, but it just didn't fit in with the timeline or my inspiration.
- For his fourth birthday, he got a scar.
Right above his knee, where mom said he fell and scraped it. He didn't remember that far back, but every time mom said fell, Trey would scowl, so he wasn't sure what really happened.
- For his sixth birthday, he got a bike.
But Trey stole that, told him it was too nice for him. He remembered Trey bending the front wheel when he tried to go off a jump that just didn't work out. Mom hadn't believed it wasn't his fault. He never got another.
- For his eleventh birthday, he got a beating.
He should've gotten a soccer ball, but Rick said he didn't deserve it. Not after he back talked his mom. He didn't remember back talking mom, but Rick did, and that was all that mattered. Rick had pulled him into the beat-up Chevy and drove him down to the dirty lake in the community 'park' and made him watch as he kicked his birthday present in. No one in the park had said anything, even though his eye was swollen shut and his nose was bleeding and broken and his arm was hanging limply at his side.
- For his fourteenth birthday, he lost his virginity.
In the back seat of her car while her boyfriend played beer pong inside. Trey had said it was about time - that the only way to beat the rumors of being a queer were to fuck as many girls as he could. So he went to the party with Trey, where all the girls called him things like cute and adorable, which didn't help his reputation much. He wanted to tell Trey he could just try for it with Theresa and not some girl that was four years older than him, but Trey cited the need for experience. He remembered getting high, getting drunk, and getting laid. What he didn't remember was who the girl was, or what her name was. She may have been blonde, though.
- For his sixteenth birthday, he was getting a party.
He'd never had a birthday party. Well, not exactly true – mom had tried when he was a lot younger, before dad left, but after dad she kind of gave up on the whole mother concept. But he wasn't with mom anymore. He was with the Cohens, and the Cohens liked parties.
Well, Kirsten liked parties, Sandy and Seth not so much, but for some reason, they seemed ultra-excited about this one. Seth was grinning ear to ear all the time, Sandy walking around with an evil glint in his eye. And Kirsten went about, smooth as glass, face not breaking its mask even when he asked about it.
Because – if he hadn't mentioned – it was supposed to be a surprise.
The Cohens sucked at surprises.
Really, Seth couldn't be more obvious if he wore a 'hey, we're planning Ryan's surprise 16th birthday party' sign on his forehead. Sandy was almost as bad. Kirsten, though… he'd have to hand it to Kirsten. When he'd asked her not to throw him a party, he was almost convinced they weren't planning one in the first place.
Then Seth had walked in the room and he knew she was playing him.
But for some reason, that didn't bother him. Mom used to lie all the time, but Kirsten hadn't lied. She'd been very specific not to actually lie. She was just very good at sidestepping the matter. She'd make a great lawyer, maybe Sandy should get her to change careers.
He was surprised, though, that they were still doing this. Even after the Oliver shit, even after the almost-fight with Eddie and the Theresa stuff, they were still throwing him a birthday party. Like they meant to keep him for good, or something.
Which is why he 'dressed up nicely' to 'go to the movies with Seth', even though he knew they were going to his surprise party. Why would Seth wear a tie to the movies? The boy avoided ties like the plague – calling them 'Newport nooses' and making gagging noises every time he had to wear one.
But he got in the car with Seth – and Seth's maniacal grin – and tried not to scowl too much as they drove – not to the movies, but 'somehow' ending up at the country club. But, as Seth said, they 'might as well stop in and get something to eat' while they were here.
He really had to teach the boy to lie better. That was a thin excuse if he'd ever heard one.
But he got out of the car, resisted the urge to run away, followed his brother to the doors of the eerily silent country club. He steeled himself when Seth 'dropped' something and told him to go on ahead. He balled his hands into fists at his side and went in, clenching his jaw when the lights turned on and what seemed like all of Newport popped up and yelled 'surprise!'
And he resisted the urge to turn around and leave, because the image of Kirsten standing on the stage – glowing – with Sandy behind her – proud – made him stay. So he ducked his head, hoping they would all think he was smiling and surprised. And he forced himself not to punch his brother when the boy came up behind him and clapped him on the back and said "we so got you".
- For his sixteenth birthday, he got more presents than he had for all of his other birthdays combined.
He wondered how they got this many guests. Most of Newport hated him – maybe they were here for Kirsten? But he knew the Cohens were here for him, and that was all that mattered. He didn't need anyone else.
Although the boost of Summer's support was nice, the lack of Anna mildly depressing. Marissa's presence wasn't something he wanted to deal with tonight. After the Oliver thing, he just couldn't… deal. Sleeping with Theresa had helped – it reminded him that Marissa wasn't the only girl in the world. But she was here, smiling at him, wishing him a happy birthday, confusing his head like she normally did.
Because if she wanted him, why would she go off with Oliver?
It wasn't just the Oliver thing, either. It was Luke, it was all the other guys at school that were her 'friends'. He didn't think she had ever cheated on him – because that would be 'wrong' – but he couldn't help thinking that if she liked him – if she really liked him – then he would be enough for her. He would be enough, and she wouldn't have to flirt and try to befriend every broken boy that passed by.
That's what bothered him the most – she'd wanted to befriend Oliver because he was troubled. He was a beaten puppy and she wanted to rescue him. The only thing that separated him from Oliver – besides the whole 'not being batshit insane' thing – was the fact that Marissa found him physically attractive. Because that's all he was, right? A beaten puppy she wanted to take care of, who she found attractive enough to date.
He couldn't deal with her, not tonight. So he went outside and leaned against a parked, tarp-covered boat in the back parking lot. He wasn't sure why there was a boat there, but it was a nice place to try and avoid people. He knew the Cohens would call him on it later, but it was his birthday, right? He could sulk if he wanted to.
Kind of like that song.
And he could smoke if he wanted to, too. Ok, now he had the song in his head, which wasn't helping the headache. He pulled out the pack of cigarettes he'd shoved in his pocket specifically for this occasion. It'd been a while since he smoked. The Cohens didn't look too fondly on it and for some reason, he wanted to be a good role model for Seth. Kind of a stupid thing to think, what with his predilection for getting into fights, but still.
The smoke filled his lungs and made his muscles relax. He took his time, relishing the cigarette – who knew when his next one would be? And even this, he'd have to try and avoid the Cohens as much as possible, or make up some excuse that he walked through a cloud of smoke from someone else's cigarette. The worst part was, the Cohens would believe him, because they trusted him.
The back door opened and he automatically ducked around the side of the boat, out of sight.
"Ryan," he heard Kirsten's voice call into the dark. "I know you're out here." Shit, his mind whispered to him as he threw the cigarette to the ground and snuffed it out with his foot. "Stop hiding."
He stepped out from around the boat, ducking his head guiltily. She sighed and walked over to him. When she got close her nose wrinkled in distaste and he knew he was busted. But she didn't say anything, just reached out to straighten his tie and brush some ash off his suit jacket.
"Sorry," he muttered, not meeting her eye. She sighed again, frowning.
"I thought you'd kicked the habit," she didn't stop fussing with his appearance, brushing the bangs out of his face.
"I did," he shrugged again. She must've caught some look in his eye, because her shoulders slumped a little.
"I know you don't like parties. Or surprises. But Seth was so insistent…"
"It's not the party," he cut in quickly, finally looking her so she would know. He wanted her to know that nothing she or Sandy or Seth could ever do would make him go back to smoking. "It's everything else."
"Seth wasn't sure whether to invite her or not," she caught his meaning, frowning again. "But we couldn't throw a party and not…"
"It's ok," he cut in again, shrugging. "I'm fine. And I'll stop."
"Good," she nodded, keeping her frown. "The last thing I need is a kid with lung cancer." She finally broke into a smile, placing her arm around his shoulders, "now let's go back to the party, so you can open your presents."
- For his sixteenth birthday, he got a family.