The next day
AN: Still don't own BTVS and The OC.
Also, thanks for everyone who's been clicking on this story. This bit of the story is done. Sort of the first meeting. I've other interludes and episodes from their relationship that I'm gonna be writing. Mainly, 'cause I have yet to deliver on the promise of the title. Ryan and Xander still haven't found their succour. And they must! The next day
“Hey, architect guy, how’s things? Ready to get started? I know I’m definitely ready to be doing some manly construction work. My crew is also more than ready to begin. Waddya say? Give us the green light.”
Ryan only grunted and nodded. He had talked on the phone with Seth this morning and the hurt of not having him there was fresh in his mind. Not that it was ever really all that distant. Seth had been a constant presence in Ryan’s life all through high school and Ryan missed him every single day.
Ryan also longed for a different relationship with Seth, one that had never been possible. One that he quickly pushed out of his mind, as he had been doing for years. It was just harder now that Ryan no longer distracted himself with women and the problems they always wanted him to solve.
Instead, he was often alone and the thoughts of Seth would crowd him. Sandy had once told him that helping people with their problems was part of who he was. Except, after he had given everything and no problems remained, who was he?
Xander only nodded at Ryan’s response. He was used to being dismissed and, while it used to bother him, it was like an old, comforting blanket. His eye and foot were a testament to Buffy’s wisdom: he should have stayed fray-adjacent.
In his stupid youth, he never took the time to consider the real consequences of fighting vampires and demons with no training or skills. To consider that his unwillingness to grow up meant his friends would leave him behind. To consider becoming too ugly to love when he left Anya at the altar. To consider that years of fighting, without rest, would leave him too damaged for normal, healthy relationships.
Now all he had was time. Hour after hour, day after day thinking about the knowledge that it had been him and his choices that ended his world. So Xander, nodded once again for effect, and got to work.
Neither talked for the rest of the day.