Rainbow ~ Ryan side story

This site is..

Based on an original story and alternate future by Sonny & Ais called In the Company of Shadows.

The story contains..

Slash (M/M), het (M/F) and graphic language, violence and sexual situations. Not intended for anyone under 18!

Side Stories

The Beginning ~ Emilio, Sin
Minuet ~ Chingón, Gioia
Rainbow ~ Ryan
A Morning in Cedar Hills ~ Kassian, Boyd
Preface: Book 2 ~ Sin
Vanilla ~ Emilio, Carhart
Sideways ~ Emilio, Carhart
Fool ~ Emilio, Carhart
The One Left Behind ~ Blair
-somnia ~ Owen
Scrollwork ~ Vivienne


Around the Compound Stories, a Series of Events:
Incident #1 ~ Rebecca, Sin


Our AFFN profile


Ryan side story

Released 12/16/2007, written by Sonny

Notes: This is a Ryan point of view side story that takes place roughly in the fall of 2020 [While Boyd and Sin were in Monterrey].

The pitter patter of rain against the window was almost hypnotic and if his attention wasn't already drawn to the outdoors, the sound would have without a doubt caused him to look over. What seemed to be a never ending downpour of water splashed against the building, the trees, and caused the already dying leaves to fall to the ground from the force of the wind gusts which rattled the windows and the tree trunks alike.

The leaves were all different colors and round indigo eyes followed each before becoming particularly entranced by one that was fiery amber with golden yellow in the middle. Ryan's mouth absently turned up into a whimsical smile and he watched the leaf sail in the wind before spinning away into the darkness. He wondered how long it would survive before shriveling up into a brown, decayed version of its former beautiful self.

He'd always thought it was odd that leaves turned such beautiful colors before they died; since he'd been a child he'd always felt like the leaves blossomed in the fall and looked like thousands of tiny flowers flying high in the sky. The death of those flowers so soon after they blossomed seemed more than a little unfair to him but he supposed that was the way everything was in life. The brightest, most beautiful things were never appreciated entirely and even if they were, they never lasted for long.

Maybe that was why he couldn't remember ever seeing a rainbow.

He'd seen pictures of them in books, on television, in manga, and yet for the life of him he could never remember having seen such an amazing spectrum of colors in person. He doubted it would have meant as much to him as a child as it did to him now so that could possibly account for his lack of remembrance, but it was kind of disappointing. In a world that had turned drab, gray and grim, the minor beauties of nature both intrigued and excited him, especially considering how little he saw of the world outside the concrete compound.

Maybe one day the smog and the stained clouds would miraculously part and he'd finally get to see one. Although, the likeliness of that was up there with the likeliness that the pot of gold that the Lucky Charms leprechaun always babbled about would be sitting at the end of it.

...And what the hell had happened to Lucky Charms, anyway? In fact what had happened to all General Mills cereal? Had they gone out of business as well? God, life sucked.

Whoa, tangent.


It said something about a person when even their thoughts were scatter brained and incohere--

"Ryan, are you okay?"

His attention snapped back to Doctor Monroe and he gave her a quick, lopsided smile. "Sorry, got distracted thinking about rain and Lucky Charms... you know how that goes."

She raised one red eyebrow at him but despite her obvious attempts to remain serious, her mouth twitched into a small smile. "Lucky Charms, Ryan? My children used to eat those when they were very small, decades ago."

Ryan shrugged his thin shoulders expressively. "I get cravings. It's what gets me from day to day, you know?"

"Mmhmm." She shook her head and stared at him with an expression he'd come to know very well. It was with a strange fondness that she seemed to resent. It didn't surprise him or offend him though. She was an agent and all agents were taught to be cold when it came to their job and doctors never liked to get close to terminally ill patients. "We have to talk Ryan."

"That's what we're doing. Reminiscing about old times and what have you." He smiled wider, impishly, trying to crack the serious expression that was hardening her pretty features but this time it didn't work and he pouted. "Whaaat? I'm just playing. You know me."

Monroe was silent for a breath and then she leaned forward, elbows on the desk and red hair spilling over her shoulders. "I do know you, Ryan and I know you're capable of behaving like an adult. And right now we need to have a very adult conversation."

It took a moment for her words to sink in but when they did, the mirth and the good humor slowly melted from his youthful face and he nodded. "Okay."

Her shoulders slumped slightly and she sat back in her seat, looking down at the fat file before her as if it were a terrorist. "It's not getting any better."

No surprise. He'd never come here and heard anything else. "Well I figured that. I can't even walk up a flight of stairs without getting winded anymore. I figured it's my inhaler, not the pills though. I could seriously live ten millions more lives without taking those pills. I just need a stronger--"


He stopped in mid sentence and something in his chest tightened. "Yeah?"

"It's beyond our control now. At the present all we can do is ease the pain."

It was strange how loud heartbeats could sound sometimes. But maybe it was because everything else became muffled, as if Monroe was talking to him through a wall of cotton. And wouldn't that be funny? If they were having this discussion through a wall of pink fluff? "What's that mean?"

She shook her head, expression somber. "We've reached the height of our scientific ability to stop the disease from spreading, from growing worse. Our efforts, the medication, everything we've done up until now... it's only delayed what appears to be the inevitable unless tremendous progress is made in the next year which, mind you, is very possible. New discoveries are made every day and our own scientists--"

"Dr. Monroe," he cut her off, voice soft. "How long do I have?"

She finally glanced down at his file, unable to meet those wide, honest eyes anymore. "A year. Eighteen months at the most."

He nodded and finally averted his eyes, staring out the window once again and noting that the rain had picked up, that lightning was now occasionally brightening the sky. It always stormed so much in the fall, in the early stages of winter, and every time he went outside and some form of precipitation touched his skin, he had to wonder if it was clean or if it was like the poisoned, radioactive rain that had come from the sky in the hours after the nuclear bombs that had ravaged the northeast detonated.

And then he always began to wonder if it'd been the rain, the rain that he'd stupidly drank because he'd been so very thirsty, that had poisoned him or if it'd been the wind that had blown the fallout in their direction and that was why he and all the others who hadn't had the chance to hide underground had inhaled radiocontaminants that had damaged their bodies, his lungs. Sometimes he wondered why he lived for so long while others had died soon after. Why did his illness make him linger for years and years while hundreds had died the day after, hundreds who'd been in the same vicinity as he and his parents...

Sometimes he wondered if it was even a good thing that he'd lived for so long. Maybe it would have been better if he'd died sooner, been put out of his misery earlier. Maybe it would have been better if he'd been closer to ground zero, if he'd been consumed by the fireball that had vaporized everything in its path. Maybe then it would have been quick. Maybe then--

"--already spoken to your sister and she agrees with me that we must not let this discourage us. That even if nothing is in our sights now, you must continue to take your medication, to come in for tests and that we must continue to--"

Ryan blinked, coming out of the dark fog of bitterness that had briefly shrouded his vision, and stared at Dr. Monroe. "You've already spoken to Ann?"

Monroe stared at him for a moment before nodding. "Yes, just a few hours ago."

"You told Ann before you told me?" Disbelief crowded the feelings that had started to overcome him; disbelief that they thought he couldn't even handle hearing about his own sickness, his own weakness, something that was so personal to him...

Ryan shook his head and stared at her, eyes narrowing behind his glasses as his disbelief began to turn into frustrated anger. "I can't believe this."

She shifted in her seat and frowned slightly, as if seeing the direction the conversation was about to go in. "It was my decision to go to her first. It was only before this appointment that I spoke to her. I called her before you arrived to tell her that she might want to be here when our session ended for support. I was unsure of how you would take it and--"

"I'm not a child, damn it!" The outburst was so sudden, so out of character, that both of them seemed shocked afterwards. His eyes widened slightly, momentarily doubting that he'd just shouted at her, but he recovered and looked away as he swallowed hard. "She's not my parent. I don't have any parents. I don't need you telling her to be there to hold my hand when you give me bad news. It's my business. My life. It's not your right to decide who gets to know."

Dr. Monroe pursed her lips together and stared at him with a patient look on her face. "Now Ryan, I know you're very upset but striking out at me isn't going to solve this. What we need to do is work together to keep you as healthy as we can for as long as we can and hope that--"

"No!" Ryan sat up straight, anger building inside of him and wanting to be uncharacteristically displayed. "What you need to do is to listen to me, god damn it! I don't want you talking to Ann or her father, her father, about my problems! Is there no such thing as doctor-patient confidentiality in this place?"

There was a long silence and Dr. Monroe continued to watch him. It seemed as though she didn't really know how to handle his anger; he doubted that anyone would, considering how rarely he actually showed it. "They just want to help, Ryan."

"Well, I don't need their help and obviously I don't need yours either," he snapped, running a hand through his wild black hair. "All of you want me to keep taking these pills, this medication that turns me into a zombie and gives me all kinds of side effects when I'm apparently going to die anyway! Why do you keep telling me to hope? What hope? There is no hope, so stop trying to pretend there is. I don't need you to try to make me feel better. I don't need any of this." His breath was coming fast, erratically, and as he fumbled with his jacket he realized that his hands were shaking violently. There was a strange sound in his ears, like the roar of a train or a tornado passing through, and it overpowered whatever she was saying. He was glad. He didn't want to hear it. He didn't want to hear anything.

He left the office abruptly, bursting into the hallway with relief to finally be away from her and her words, but then he realized that Ann was standing there, waiting for him, and the anger swelled inside of him again. "Leave me alone!" he shouted and without giving it much thought, took off running down the hall. He could hear her calling after him, the clacking of her heels against the floor, but he didn't stop.

He ran past the receptionist and bypassed the elevator bank to go for the stairs. He should have known that it would be a bad idea, that it would wear him down, but he ignored it, didn't even acknowledge it, and flew down six flights. It wasn't until he finally reached the lobby that the abrupt explosion of adrenaline disappeared and suddenly it was difficult to breathe. He panted harshly, pressing one hand against the wall as sweat poured down his face and neck, trembling like the leaves that had been blown around by the wind, and began coughing so violently that everyone in the lobby stopped to stare at him.

He struggled to continue towards the front door but it felt like there was cement in his sneakers and he walked with a staggering, sliding drag that made him appear intoxicated. His face burned with humiliation, clinging to the wall awkwardly as he tried to make his way towards the exit, and in the back of his mortified mind he thanked whatever higher power existed that he wasn't in the main building and that the medical staff that frequented this specific clinic weren't people he saw regularly.

By the time he crossed the lobby, he was exhausted but he forced himself to shove his thin frame against the door until it opened. The wind and the rain assaulted him immediately, almost throwing him backwards against the building as the spray of water hit his face painfully, but he ignored it and staggered down the street and in the direction of his building. He didn't get far before he once again heard the sound of heels clacking against the concrete and Ann calling out to him.

"Ryan, what the hell are you doing! What's wrong with you?"

He ignored her and continued to walk, wrapping his arms around himself as he shivered violently but she was too fast for him and after a moment he felt one slender hand grabbing a handful of his jacket as she pulled him to a stop. "What do you want?" he snapped, teeth chattering as he glared out from under his wet bangs.

She stared at him in confusion, wet hair clinging to the sides of her pretty face as tried to open her umbrella and put it over him. "What did I do? Why are you so angry?"

Ryan shoved the umbrella away in annoyance. "I'm just tired of everyone trying to run my life-- tired of everyone thinking they know what's best for me! I'm twenty-six years old, Ann-- I'm not some little kid who you have to take care of. I'm not--" His tirade was cut off by a violent coughing fit and he tensed when she put a hand on his back in concern.

"I'm not trying to run your life!" She protested, yelling over the roar of the wind and rain. "I didn't know she would call me first-- I told her you would be upset about it. But I just wanted to be here for you anyway-- what's so wrong with that? You're my broth--"

"I am NOT your brother!" He shouted abruptly, cutting her off. "You have a sister, a father and you're about to have a husband. You have plenty of family-- you don't need to keep acting like I'm a part of that. My parents are dead. I don't have a family anymore so just leave me alone!" He ignored the stricken look on her face and turned away, hurrying towards his building once again. He thought that the adrenaline from his anger would spur him to move faster, get away quicker, but it didn't and so he stumbled his way through the gusting wind and rain and tried to ignore the fact that even though Ann had given up on speaking to him, she was still trailing behind him protectively.

Normally the action would have touched him, would have made him feel secure that she really did care about him, but this time it only fueled his anger. He hated how helpless he was and he hated how painfully apparent that was to the people around him. He hated that everyone who knew him, everyone who saw him, was instantly aware of how frail he was and how sickly he could get at the drop of a dime. He hated being weak; he hated that everyone knew he was weak. He rushed into the elevator and up to his apartment, fumbled with the keycard and finally burst into the privacy of his apartment, allowing himself to finally collapse to the floor.

He felt the tears burning behind his eyelids but he refused to release them and instead tangled his fingers in his hair and choked down the silent sobs that were trying to escape his throat. Frustration welled up inside of him and it was in that moment, that moment of shame and humiliation, that for the first time he really wished that he could leave.

For so long he'd thought of the Agency compound as a safe place for him, a place that would protect him from the outside world that seemed so big and so scary when he remembered everything that had happened just after the attacks had begun. For so long he'd been afraid of what was out there and had huddled in what he'd thought of as a safe haven but now he was beginning to think that he'd just shrink wrapped himself in a bubble that was slowly beginning to suffocate him.

Everyone on the compound treated him like a sick person, or worse, like a sick child. Everyone told him what he couldn't do, what he wouldn't be able to do, and everyone tried to tell him that as long as he stayed here and took his medication... maybe some day he would get better. But now he knew he would never get better. Now he thought about how much of life he'd actually missed and he couldn't stop thinking about the fact that it was too late. He was trapped in the Agency and he would never get to live a real life, he would never get to experience real things... he would never get to do anything or be around people who would look at him and see someone other than a weak, sickly boy who would never be as strong as the people who surrounded him.

Ryan pulled himself up and leaned against the door, taking slow steadying breaths as he took off his wet glasses and squeezed his eyes shut. And most of all he couldn't stop thinking about Boyd and how much he missed him. Boyd was the only person who'd never treated him that way... the only person who told him that he could turn his weak points into strengths, who showed him that he didn't just have to stay on the compound forever... the only one who told him he wasn't just a kid, that he was an adult. He was the only one who'd ever seen past the sickness and the frailty and treated him like a real person.

He wished that he could run away and go to Mexico and for a short time just be free of the Agency and thrive in the heat and the muted sunlight of Monterrey with Boyd. He wished that he could experience something, anything, and that he could be away from the compound as he did it.

But he knew it would never happen.

And worse, he wondered if Boyd's attitude towards him would change once he found out that he really was just a frail, sick person and that his time was quickly approaching.

The self-pity and self-hatred that burned inside of him was staggering. It built within him with a roaring crescendo that blocked out everything else and wild thoughts began to race through his head. For that moment, he embraced the idea of death and wished that it would come instantly. He thought of oblivion, of an end to all of the waiting and the stagnancy of his existence and wished that his lungs would suddenly collapse and that he would just die there on the floor, under the shadow of his action figures and retro sci-fi posters and just have it end. An impatience that burned like fire coursed through his body and suddenly he remembered the bottle of pain killers in his bathroom cabinet. He pictured the little white pills and as the possibility of a quick dreamy exit drifted through his mind, a calmness settled over him that he'd never experienced before.

Before he knew what he was doing, he was moving towards the bathroom as though he were in a trance and opening the door to the medicine cabinet. Dozens of pills spilled out into his open palm and he gazed at them silently before noting in the back of his mind that taking them all at once would only make him vomit. So he walked out of the bathroom with the same calm blankness and stood at the kitchen counter, arranging the pills into several neat little piles before getting a pitcher of water out of the fridge.

Ryan pulled five 8-ounce glasses out of a cabinet and filled them all with water, lining them up near the piles of pills. As he moved, as he made the preparations for his death, it was strangely empowering. The idea of finally having control over his own fate gave him a calmness, a peace of mind, that only motivated him to go through with the finality of his decision. No more waiting-- no more suffering-- no more having others decide how he would live the rest of his life.

As he swallowed the first group of pills, he couldn't help but wonder if there really was an afterlife and whether or not he'd see a rainbow there.