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The Colours of Pain caused by a Comic Book

Title: The Colours of Pain caused by a Comic book (6/10)
Rating: PG-13
Word Count:1,975
Beta:erynnbeth Thank you so much for your help and patience :)
Summary: Well, I felt like writing some hurt/comfort and it involves Ryan, Seth, worried Sandy and Kirsten, the rover and a cliff!
Author's Note: Thanks also to beachtree who gave me some very useful medical information on head injurys. I just hope I used it correctly...

For previous chapters, click on the tag.

Chapter 6

“Oh, he’s asleep again,” Kirsten commented, and Sandy could hear the disappointment in her voice.

Sandy gave her a grim smile. “He should be up again soon.” He nodded at Seth who was watching from the doorway. His brown eyes were focussed on Ryan, and Sandy noticed the lost look in them.

“He’s okay, Seth” he said quietly and Seth turned towards him but before he could open his mouth to speak, Kirsten interrupted him.

“Is he okay? Definitely? Did he know who you were? Have the doctors said anything?” Once she had snapped out of her disappointment, Kirsten began with the multitude of questions.

“Doctor Logan checked him over when he woke up. He didn’t seem too bad. He couldn’t remember the accident, but the doctor didn’t seem too worried.”

“He didn’t remember the accident?” Seth asked, his voice rising a few octaves. “What does that mean?”

Sandy sighed. “The doctor said that he thinks he should remember what happened with time, and if he doesn’t then we can deal with it.”

He watched as Kirsten sat down in a chair and reached for Ryan’s hand.

Seth remained by the door, his arm in its sling and large black circles standing out from under his eyes.

“Come on Seth, you can sit here. I can go find another chair for me.” Sandy stood up and Seth hesitantly stepped forward.

Sandy bustled off to get a chair for himself. When he got back, he found Kirsten whispering quietly to Ryan while Seth sat back, picking at a thread on his sling. They both looked so sad and Sandy plastered a smile on his face and rolled back his shoulders. He knew had to be strong for them.

“Got one,” he said, trying to be cheerful as he entered the room again.

He tried to keep his tiredness at bay as he sat down a little way away, allowing his wife to have some time with Ryan.

He couldn’t remember the last time he’d slept through the whole night and it was steadily catching up with him.

Kirsten kept her contact with Ryan, speaking steadily and soothingly. He watched the way she kept straightening out his blankets. He could see how worried she was. She hadn’t yet seen Ryan awake, and although it seemed to Sandy that Ryan looked a lot better now, he knew that it was probably different for her.


It was a few hours later when Ryan finally awoke again. Sandy had moved closer to his bed, and was mindlessly flicking through a book that had been on Ryan’s night stand.

The moment he heard a moan from Ryan’s bed, he hastily placed the book back on the stand and moved closer. He felt Kirsten perking up beside him.

“Ryan?” she whispered hopefully.

But Ryan didn’t open his eyes; he merely began squirming around in his bed, a hand rising to his head.

“Ryan, what is it?” Sandy said, keeping his voice down.

He felt that same heart stopping pain, watching his son writhing about.

Two cloudy blue eyes appeared.

“Mom... hurts...” the words made Sandy frown and he looked over at Kirsten, worried. She, too, was wearing the matching expression. Sandy could tell that as much as they were both hoping Ryan was calling out for Kirsten, sadly, she wasn’t who Ryan wanted.

Sandy didn’t know what to think.

“Seth, get a nurse,” he said abruptly and Seth hurried off.

“Ryan?” Kirsten took his hand and Sandy saw her grimace slightly as Ryan gripped on tightly to her in response.

He groaned and curled in on himself, Sandy could see his teeth gritting and he could feel himself doing the same in reaction.

“Where’s that doctor?” he asked to no one in particular, the frustration evident in his voice. He put a hand on Ryan’s arm, trying to give him as much comfort as he could.

The sight of Ryan frightened him. His eyes looked distant and so pain filled. He didn’t know how much more of this he could stand. He couldn’t bear seeing someone he loved in so much pain.

They held him as he moaned and begged for his mom to come and help him. Sandy looked up worriedly at Kirsten to see how she was reacting to this. He could see her desperately fighting for control over her emotions and trying not to let the fact that she wasn’t the one Ryan wanted get the most of her.

They continued to hold him as the doctor came in and injected something into his IV.

Sandy could feel him slowly relaxing against them. He pretended not to notice Kirsten brushing a stray tear away from the kid’s face.

Seth stood by the door, looking terrified and ready to flee.

Sandy took Kirsten’s place when she hurried off to the bathroom, her eyes suddenly filled with tears. She looked distraught and he wanted to go after her but a faint pressure on his arm made him stop.

He looked back at the bed to find Ryan watching him with two confused, clouded over eyes. His pale hand was locked tightly over Sandy’s arm.

“Where are we?” Ryan asked, shakily. His voice was still husky from the tube.

“In the hospital, kid,” Sandy said, fighting to keep his voice calm.

He sensed Seth watching them and he looked up to find him hovering by the doorway. He felt a small sense of pride for his son. The old Seth would have run away the moment Ryan had begun whimpering.

Ryan was beginning to look around the room with his eyes and Sandy could see his panic rising.

“What happened?” he asked. He locked eyes with Seth, and Sandy saw his son take a step back.

“How’s your head, Ryan?” Sandy asked, changing the subject slightly and successfully returning Ryan’s gaze to him.

“Hurts,” he mumbled, and Sandy rubbed Ryan’s hand gently with his finger.

“Yeah, I bet it does. You hit your head pretty hard.” He smiled down at the confused boy in front of him.

“What happened?” Ryan asked again, and Sandy chuckled softly. Not that it was funny, just because he knew there was no way he could get out of not answering the question.

“You’re not going to stop asking me, are you?” he asked.

Ryan shook his head and grimaced with the pain it caused.

“What do you last remember?” Sandy prompted. The doctor had told them that they should try and get Ryan to remember himself before they told him what had happened.

Sandy watched as Ryan frowned and began moving restlessly in his bed.

He didn’t say anything for a while, and Seth slowly entered the room further to sit in a chair.

Ryan followed him with his eyes.

“What happened?” Ryan asked Seth, and Sandy sighed softly.

Seth looked anxiously at his dad.

“Ryan? What can you remember?” Sandy prompted again.

The same expression came on to Ryan’s face but like the last time, it didn’t last long.

Sandy frowned as Ryan shifted on his bed.

The three of them were interrupted by a man in a white cloak coming into the room. He introduced himself as Dr. Mountcastle, and began examining Ryan.

“Sorry, Ryan,” he said, although he didn’t sound sorry at all as the poor kid flinched away from the light that was being shone in his eyes.

“Okay, I hear that you’re having trouble remembering what happened. Is that right?” the doctor spoke to Ryan, but Sandy answered, jumping in for him.

“That’s right.”

“What’s the last thing you can remember?” Ryan looked frustrated at being asked that same question again.

He seemed to be thinking for a few seconds, but then his attention was lost again. He looked out the window instead.

“Ryan?” the doctor called, recapturing his attention.

“I tell you what, try and keep thinking. I really want you to be able to remember on your own. However, after a couple of days, if you still don’t remember then we’ll fill in the blanks for you. How about that?”

Ryan looked down at his blanket.

“Have you been experiencing anything else? Any nausea?”

Ryan nodded, still looking down.


Again Ryan nodded.

“You had a bad headache earlier, have you been experiencing a lot of those?”

Ryan shrugged.

“Have you been experiencing anything like blurred vision or any slurring in your speech?”

“No,” Ryan’s voice was quiet and all Sandy wanted was to scoop him in his arms and tell him everything that had happened. He looked over at Seth and saw him shaking his head slightly, his brown eyes so filled with guilt and sadness.

“Okay, I’ll leave you in peace. Mr Cohen? Could I speak to you outside please?”

Sandy nodded and waited for the doctor to shake Ryan’s hand before following him into the hall. As he left the room, he saw Seth take up the abandoned chair and begin talking to Ryan.

He closed the door behind them, and Sandy swallowed his worry over leaving the two of them together, alone, for the first time since the accident.

“How’s he doing?” Sandy asked nervously.

“I’d say on the whole, he’s not doing too badly. He was nauseas when he woke up the first time and that seems to still be bothering him a little. I can give him something for that though. He knows who you are, and it looks like the only main thing he doesn’t remember is the accident. I am concerned a little over his attention span and how clearly he’s thinking. Lack of concentration or the lack of thinking clearly is something that occurs commonly amongst head trauma patients. Hopefully it will clear up with time.”

He paused for a moment, giving a chance for Sandy to digest the information.

“So, we’ll keep an eye out for those nasty headaches he’s been getting and the nausea. I’d like to keep you on the alert for any unusual behaviour or anything out of the ordinary, and alert me if anything comes up.”

“Sure, okay.” Sandy answered, trying to go over in his head what he had just been told.

“I’ll check in on Ryan, later.” Dr. Mountcastle shook Sandy’s hand.

“Thank you,” Sandy said quietly.

He watched as the doctor walked off down the hall before taking a deep breath and returning to the room.


Kirsten stared at her reflection in the mirror.

She tried to steady her shaking hands.

She’d never seen someone in that much pain before, and she had had to get away.

Hearing Ryan calling out for Dawn, had hurt her more than she would like to admit. It sounded silly, but she’d never really considered the thought that sometimes Ryan would want his mom. The woman had abandoned him and yet he still picked Dawn over her when he was in pain and it hurt. She began wondering whether they should have tried to contact Dawn through this whole ordeal and that maybe they were selfish not to.

She knew she had to be strong. As hard as this was for her, it must be even worse for Ryan.

She splashed water on her face and tried not to look at her watch. She didn’t know how long she’d been in the bathroom but she could feel time slipping away from her. She knew she had to go back.

She willed herself to gain control again. She had to look after her son.

She’d been waiting so long for him to wake up and now he finally had.

In one swift movement, she slammed off the faucet and wiped a tissue over her face.

She took one last deep breath before checking her reflection in the mirror and walking out of the room.

She could do this. She knew she could.


Thanks for reading


( 22 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 10th, 2008 10:19 pm (UTC)
very tautly written, Philippa, confusion clearly shown, sounds wrong that!
Feb. 11th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks Fred :)

Feb. 10th, 2008 11:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks for updating.
Wonderful new chapter.
Feb. 11th, 2008 07:46 pm (UTC)
Thanks, I'm glad you liked it. :D
Feb. 11th, 2008 09:13 am (UTC)
Great an update! I've read the first two chapters and thought that you've abandonned it! I'm so glad to see you haven't and I've read all the chapters!
I love how you pictured Kirsten's feelings!
Feb. 11th, 2008 07:48 pm (UTC)
I'm really glad you're on board and enjoying. How's "A brand new life" coming on? I do love that story :)
Feb. 11th, 2008 05:36 pm (UTC)
I like the way you set the stage with the Cohens interacting with one another first. It's an effective way to showcase each of their own unique perspectives. They all obviously feel a certain amount of guilt, with the adults demonstrating more of an indirect type for somehow failing to keep both boys, but especially Ryan, safe. Obviously, conditions and events were beyond their control, but, for Sandy especially, there's that constant nagging that he brought Ryan into their home and lives in part to keep him safe and to give him a better life. For Kirsten, this takes more the form of regret for the distance she imposed from the beginning and the lack of connectivity. Although it's trauma and confusion that have Ryan not recognizing her through the pain, at least a part of her has to be blaming herself for not embracing a more active and invested role.

And for Seth, there's a more direct sort of responsibility, especially as he compares both the memories of Ryan not breathing and so close to death after the crash and his serious injuries and intense pain now with his own minor injuries. Just the concepts of guilt and responsibility on any level, regardless of intent, are new to Seth and enough to frighten him. The sight of Ryan struggling in multiple ways is far to real to trivialize or ignore.

You've captured and conveyed Ryan's pain convincingly and stressed the bond between Ryan and his guardians as they suffer right along with him, feeling so powerless to provide comfort, reassurance or relief that makes any measurable difference. Not only is Ryan enduring the effects of being tossed about with the damage to his body in general, but specifically to his chest and head- two areas where pain is most intense and debilitating and where some of the most basic functions become compromised. It's apparent that his memory is somewhat affected and that his ability to concentrate and process information is an issue too. He's just after immediate relief, and disoriented enough that he even tries to believe that his mother would be able or willing to give him that. With all of the confusion, Ryan just isn't able to do more than call out for the person he thinks should be within earshot, even if he knows she won't answer that call. Not even his most hopeful self trusts Dawn to put him first, but he's desperate and in another place and time.

Having the Cohens witness that uncertainty as Ryan grasps for the person he thinks is closest and seeing Kirsten's hurt at what she first seems to perceive as rejection, rather than understanding that Ryan isn't lucid enough to notice his surroundings or make that sort of choice, adds another level of pain and confusion.

I hope Kirsten is able to pull herslef together and not make this about her. I was glad that Ryan was able to reach out to Sandy and keep him from following. He needs Sandy far more than Kirsten does right now and he definitely needs someone to support him and help him come to terms with everything that's bombarding him. If nothing registers clearly with him, he has to be terrified, however he masks it, and that means someone else has to help him get his bearings- even if that means repeating and reinforcing constantly.

By isolating the dynamics as Ryan wakes, you have us witness what hits each of the Cohens hardest, along with how Ryan still seeks out and relies most on Sandy. That's the bond that comes to the forefront once again.

I'll be curious to see how they all handle a much more vulnerable Ryan and how they respond to his pain and various side effects, and how their establishesd relationships and perceptions all factor in to any interactions, especially under duress. Ryan might be a master at covering his fear and hurt when he's coherent and in control, but much of that has been altered by trauma, pain and medication. The Cohens aren't accustomed to hiding reactions or censoring themselves. It seems they're going to have to tread carefully around Ryan in a way they never have, especially if they are scared or upset.

This could be a bumpy road, but, as Kirsten seems to remember, the one with the deep wounds and facing the hardest journey is Ryan.

Thanks for the update!
Feb. 11th, 2008 08:03 pm (UTC)
Was my medical stuff convincing? I made a list of all the things from the information that you sent me that I want Ryan to suffer :P Thanks so much for that. He's going to be vulnerable indeed once I'm through with him *rubs hands together evily.*

Thanks for another wonderfully thoughtful comment. I'm trying to bring other Cohens like Kirsten into my stories more because people on fanfic.net have been asking about the lack of her in my stories. I think my Sandy/Ryan father son relationship obsession has begun to take over. That is why in this story I brought in Kirsten and Seth a bit more. I still forgot about Seth at one point and Erynnbeth had to remind me that Seth was still in the room hehe.

Oh and you know what? I still can't find that gag reel. I searched the disk your friend said and all the other disks that went with season 4. I almost threw the thing on the floor before I gave up. So, since spending almost £100, I have received absolutely zilch special features.

Thanks again for the comment :)
Feb. 13th, 2008 01:46 am (UTC)
Yes, I'd say the medical components worked, and I hope my comment conveyed that. I was just a little, okay- a lot, sleep deprived. The disorientation, memory loss, inability to focus and concentrate, and the lack of lucidity were all clear and used well. You worked in how much pain he was in well too and how he reacted to that in his hurt, medicated, confused, and on the verge of consciousness state too. In addition to Ryan's perspective, you provided each of the Cohen's perspectives as well as they reacted to Ryan's appearance and to how he was suffering and behaving too.

Vulnerable and compromised = so much opportunity. Lots to explore and ways to show new sides to characters and their relationships and dynamics...

You don't have to apologize for any Sandy/Ryan emphasis to me. It's not about me, obviously, but I consider it to be the most compelling and most important of the relationships and bonds. Supposedly Josh did too, although you wouldn't really know it, since he was all about the couples. I'd always hoped for more from Kirsten than the painful, measured distance she kept from Ryan physically and emotionally. Awkwaaaaaaaaard. That always struck me as so cold, but also calculated and proof of mistrust, lack of investment and had me wondering if she really wanted him around- or if she was only placating her husband and son. So, if you are keeping your characters close to their canon versions, I wouldn't accuse you of minimizing Kirsten. Her contact and involvement with Ryan on the show was random and inconsistent. She went long periods where she barely acknowledged him unless circumstances dictated otherwise. However, I always welcome a kinder, gentler, more engaged and maternal version of her too. It's what we missed out on.

As for Seth, I'm not a fan, and other than the one liners/comic relief, I usually have little use for his self-absorbed and insensitive nonsense. It gets old real fast. The rambling and buffer role he plays by demanding center stage is a distraction that is welcome briefly and occasionally, but not for long. In this case, what is important is that he is at least realizing his pattern of behavior. He's now aware, at least in the moment, that he always only thinks of his expectations, wants and needs and simply assumes and even demands that anyone/everyone else complies. Certainly, he didn't intentionally drive off the road and he didn't intend to nearly kill Ryan or hurt himself, but this has shaken him up enough and scared him enough to take a look at himself too. Ryan basically died and was revived. He's still paying the price and will for quite some time. What happened was an accident, but Ryan was in that vehicle because of Seth's pressure and insistence and Ryan's sense of obligation to him. That should have Seth at least evaluating the dynamic and very unequal relationship with Ryan. Time to take a good hard look at himself... So, yeah, he needs to be present, but it's your call how much. If you feel more comfortable focusing on other characters and it works effectively in the story, then follow your instincts while including some bits of Seth where it's realistic and necessary. But you know that!

I don't know if the U.K. version is different from the U.S. version. I don't want' to put anymore money in Schwartz's pocket anyway, but especially if there isn't anything extra worth viewing. Now, if we knew that Ben got a sizable cut and Peter... I do know she said it wasn't listed anywhere, but it was on that disk. Hmmm...
Feb. 13th, 2008 01:47 am (UTC)
And that, obviously, was my reply. I just had logged in, but I guess LJ decided to boot me back out again.

Feb. 21st, 2008 01:34 am (UTC)
Seems to me LJ likes to pick on you beach.*scowls at LJ*!!!!
Feb. 21st, 2008 02:48 am (UTC)
I won't be paranoid. I'll attribute it to bad timing.
Feb. 21st, 2008 01:30 am (UTC)
Your medical stuff was spot on and I've experienced,head trauma etc first hand. I was in a coma for 3 weeks and you got the panic with the removal of the throat tube spot on.

I can still feel the soreness from that tube. You've given me an insight as to what was maybe going on around me while I was in the land of nod. The attention span deficit is well written too.

My attention span is okay now but please,please,Purrlease up date soon.!!!?:D
Feb. 11th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC)
Awesome. Love the confusion. Love the angst. Love the hurt Ryan - the poor puppy.
Feb. 11th, 2008 08:04 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)

Aww that's what Ryan is- a poor puppy.
Feb. 12th, 2008 01:43 am (UTC)
Your head injury stuff seems dead on to me. I like that he isn't miraculously healed.

Cohens plus one...I shall never get sick of. So heartbreaking...Ryan wanting Dawn...but totally understandable. I hope Kirsten doesn't take it too personally. And Sandy...sniff.

And Seth...I like how you are showing his emotions...scared....guilt...and still hurt himself.

Nice job. This is your first story...right? I hope you realize you are doing a great job.
Feb. 12th, 2008 08:58 pm (UTC)
Phew... the only medical knowlege I have is what I see on ER! :) Luckily beachtree sent me some information.

Thanks for the kind comment. I'm really glad you like it.
Feb. 12th, 2008 05:14 am (UTC)
Ouch! I also find your medical 'stuff' quite credible. One thing I know is that short term memory loss is very common in head injuries, so Ryan not remembering the crash would be expected.

Nice update. You've captured the Cohens' feelings well.
Feb. 12th, 2008 08:59 pm (UTC)
Thanks :)

Luckily I have beachtree who is willing to send me information about head injuries.

I'm glad you liked it.
Feb. 13th, 2008 12:44 am (UTC)
Others have already said it, so I'll just join the chorus: I love your Cohens+1 interaction, especially guilt-ridden Seth--and confused, hurting Ryan, of course!
Feb. 13th, 2008 05:49 pm (UTC)
Thanks chazper :)

I'm glad you like it.
Jul. 24th, 2008 11:01 pm (UTC)
aww some really great scenes,
it's all taut and perfect
( 22 comments — Leave a comment )