See the AN in the first chapter for the whole explanation.

For: keydazy

Prompt: security blanket

Rating: T

Music: 'Public Pervert (Carlos D Remix)' by Interpol, off the album 'Antics'

Notes: I'm really sorry if I didn't pick your prompt, but I got the idea and this one worked. I know there are people who prompted that I haven't written anything for and again, I'm so sorry. I hope you all still enjoy this and maybe someone can guess where I got my inspiration. Also, I only have one more chapter after this and I already have the prompt picked out, but thank you all so much for making them in the first place. (oh, and I have no idea what happened to my so-called 'hiatus')


It was late and they were drunk when Eddie's jacked '68 Camaro hit the curb and rolled up onto the Vogel's front lawn.

"Shit," Anthony whispered as the car came to a stop.

"Do you think she's up?" Wayne stared at the house "I heard she's easy."

"Don't let 'Turo hear you talking like that," Eddie said back, scratching at his chin, where he was trying to grow a beard.

"Fuck 'Turo," Anthony said, but it was just drunken bravado.

"Fuck his sister," Wayne said, still staring out the passenger side window. "Who's going in?"

There was a pause before he spoke up.

"I'll go." They turned to him and he shrugged. He wasn't sure if it was the alcohol or something else, because he didn't ever volunteer for the suicide missions. "Trey and 'Turo are friends; I know her."

The others nodded and he got out of the car, unsteadily, as the alcohol tilted the ground. His bare feet padded across the Vogel's lawn, over to the Diaz's. The grass under him was cool and it calmed the fuzz in his brain and he wondered, not for the first time, what he was doing here.

Not here in particular, now standing at her back door and knocking softly, but here, with his friends, doing suicide missions. But his mom was at home, drunk and fucking her new boyfriend and Trey was out, probably with 'Turo, who hated him. 'Turo hated him and Trey needed his crew more than he needed a little brother, so Ryan had to find his own friends. It had started easily enough, with Eddie, who was usually nice. Then came Wayne and Anthony and the suicide missions.

Riding their bikes off insane ramps, pipe bombs in the school toilets, dares that could get them in trouble, or arrested, if anyone ever knew it was them.

A light in the hall clicked on and he saw a girl in a fuzzy yellow bathrobe walk toward him.

Was that Theresa? He hadn't seen her in two years, since the Diaz's moved to a nicer piece of shit house on one of the nicer shady streets. Through the glass, she glared at him, and he knew it was her. She unlocked the door and slid it open, narrowing her eyes at him.

"What are you doing?" she whispered, accusing, and he forgot, for a moment, why he was here.

"Hey," he said, lamely, wishing he'd run when he had the chance. But on the other side of the house, on the Vogel's lawn, Eddie, Anthony, and Wayne were waiting for him and he couldn't back out now.

"You're not wearing shoes," she said, looking down, then up. He looked down as well, as if he'd just realized now that he'd been running around in his jeans and a wife beater and bare feet.

"No," he said, looking back up at her. "I'm not."

She frowned at him for a while before stepping back. "Wanna come in?"

He nodded and followed her in, keeping quiet because he remembered that Mrs. Diaz had a set of lungs on her and she was damned fast with a butcher knife. He kind of liked his fingers. And his junk. Plus, 'Turo hated him and even though he didn't think the guy was home, better safe than sorry. Theresa led him down a hall and he watched the way the hem of her bathrobe caught on her pajama bottoms as she walked.

Her room was blue and green and a statue of The Madonna stood on her dresser. She had a copy of Borges's Seven Nights on her nightstand and the covers on her bed were thrown back, with an indentation in the pillow that made him blush.

"I haven't seen you around in a while," she said, sitting on her bed and tilting her head at him.

"Sorry I'm not wearing shoes," he said back, scratching the back of his head. "I don't know where they went."

He vaguely remembered spilling beer on them and, per Eddie's suggestion, taking them off and leaving them in the garden behind Wayne's house.

She frowned at him again and he realized that she hadn't asked about his shoes in the slightest. Through the alcohol in his brain he realized he should go before he made a bigger fool of himself than he already had, but the threat of his friends kept his feet planted on the ground as he stood in front of her, shoeless.

"So what are you doing here?" she asked, staring up at him, not offering him a seat or, perhaps, a pair of her brother's shoes.

"Wayne heard you were easy," he said and he realized when she raised an eyebrow at him that it hadn't been the smartest thing to say. "He wanted to come see if it was true. I told them I'd talk to you."

"Right," she said, not smiling and he wondered if she bought it. "So basically you're here to save me from your perverted friends."

"I don't know why I'm here," he said and he didn't mean in here in her room.

He didn't know why he was still in Chino; why he hadn't taken that lawyer guy up on his offer of a place to stay after mom kicked him and Trey out a couple years back. They'd been thirteen and mom's boyfriend of the week had robbed a convenience store. His mom had been angry, taking it out on him and Trey, and Boyfriend's court appointed lawyer had given him a card with a name and a phone number and an offer of help, if he ever needed it. Then mom had thrown them out after Trey made a comment about who she was gonna fuck now that Boyfriend was in jail. They'd been walking the streets and he'd taken the card out of his pocket but he hadn't called, because Trey was there.

Mom had let them come back, which was good, because who would've taken him in? He'd been thirteen, it wasn't like anyone wanted to adopt a full grown kid with bruises and most likely psychological problems.

That was all after the Diaz's had left and he was fifteen now and he wondered, not for the first time, if it would be weird if he called the lawyer up now and asked for help. It didn't matter, the lawyer guy had probably been shitting him, anyway.

She stood up and frowned at him, still, tilting her head like she was studying his face.

"Are your friends here?" she asked, calmly, which surprised him because he figured she'd have started yelling by now.

"Out front," he answered, which was the wrong answer again, he should've told her no. Eddie would've said no. Trey would've. They were better with girls.

"And they're waiting for you to come back and tell them how you scored with me," she guessed and he could only nod, trying to find a place in the room to look at that wasn't her face or the indent in her pillow or The Madonna on her dresser.

He was surprised, though, when her lips touched his, and the warm fuzz of her pajamas was soft under his arms.

When she pulled away he remembered how to breathe and she tilted her head again. "Do you have a condom?" she asked, not blinking, not blushing in the slightest.

"Are you serious?" he asked, not sure why he felt disappointed. Had Wayne been right?

"I always liked you," she said. "You're cute and honest. And Arturo doesn't like you," she added and he had a sinking feeling that that was all it was. But if he left now, his friends wouldn't ever let him forget it.

When he didn't answer, she sighed and reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He didn't stop her as she leafed through it, for the condom that he knew wasn't there, and he only started to protest when she pulled out the worn white business card that was the only thing in there besides his cigarette money.

"What's this?" she asked, frowning at it and the handwritten home phone number on the back.

"Nothing," he said, grabbing his wallet from her hand, then the card and he made sure it went back into its appropriate slot. Only then did the weird buzzing in his head stop and he closed his wallet and put it back in his pocket. "I should go."

"Fine," she said, still frowning at him and he turned and left her room, making sure to be quiet because he remembered Mrs. Diaz had a temper.

When he got back to the car, the three were passed out and he got in the back and slammed his door shut and woke them up.

"So?" Eddie asked, sounding like he didn't want to know and Ryan remembered that Eddie'd had a crush on Theresa, back when she'd been in school with them.

"He's only been gone for ten minutes," Wayne said as Eddie started the car again and the dashboard clock came on. "That's weak, man."

"We didn't," he said, feeling the shame rush through him. He couldn't tell if it was because he'd left or because he'd even gone in the first place or because she'd offered it to him. He couldn't tell which disappointed him more. "She's not easy," he said, to make himself feel better and to make Eddie feel better, and maybe even to shut Wayne and Anthony up the next time they saw 'Turo, so they wouldn't get their asses beat.

Eddie drove them back to Wayne's where he grabbed his bike and told them he'd ride back home. Wayne didn't care and Anthony was too drunk, but Eddie frowned and asked if he was sure, to which he replied yes and rode away. The alcohol made him swerve and a couple times he had to put his feet down before he tipped over, but he made it home and slipped in the back window because mom had deadbolted him out again.

He threw his wallet on the bedside table and took off his pants and got into bed and stared up at the ceiling, but he couldn't fall asleep. Something in the back of his head was bothering him and eventually he rolled over and picked up his faded leather wallet and opened it, feeling the relief rush through him when he saw the familiar faded business card.

It was still there.

He put his wallet under his pillow and shut his eyes and thought that maybe tomorrow would be the day he finally called the lawyer to get him out of this place.