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The Ryan Effect (Possession [2008]; Roman & Ryan, Roman/Jess; Explicit)
leeeeeeee, good man, that last drop of water
innie_darling
Hi, everybody!

So Yuletide reveals just happened, so I thought I'd make my posts. I wrote my assignment and four treats this year, and had an absolute blast.

This is my assignment. I got matched with redcandle17 on a movie that very few people have even heard of, Possession, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Lee Pace. I'm a huge wimp and would never have even watched this movie (billed as a horror movie) were it not for the aforementioned LEE PACE.

This was the request:This movie wasn't what I'd expected and I loved it. Then I saw the alternate ending on the DVD and I loved it even more. To put my feelings in modern fandom parlance: this is an id thing for me. It puts together a lot of tropes and themes I love and packages them well.
Give me Roman/Jess, please! Feel free to treat the alternate cut as canon - that's what I do!
Smut would be very welcome. What's it like the first time Jess has sex with what she thinks is her husband in his brother's body? And does Roman do what he wants or what he thinks Ryan would do? Maybe he forgets his pretense and is a little rougher and more dominant than usual?
Non-smut relationship fic or even a character study of either character about the things that lead them into this twisted romance would be great. Just give me Roman/Jess and I'll be happy.
Do Not Want: first person POV, fluff or anything too light-hearted


And here's the primer that I sent to my wonderful beta, htbthomas, when I asked for her help, knowing she hadn't seen the movie: Jess (Sarah Michelle Gellar) is the main character, and the movie opens with her and her husband Ryan (some generic white dude) celebrating their first anniversary. She's a lawyer and he's a sculptor. She forgot the anniversary but he says not to worry about it, he loves her, she's perfect, etc. He gives her her mom's old silver necklace with a glass pendant he's made for her. They start to make out, but are interrupted by his surly, violent younger brotherRoman (LEE PACE), who's been living with them (in their ENORMOUS house in San Francisco) for the past 18 months. It turns out Jess was his lawyer when he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault (he attacked someone or someones with a hammer, apparently), and Ryan is his only family, so he was released into Ryan's care (on a 36-month suspended sentence). (The movie makes note of the fact that Jess only met Ryan because she wasRoman's lawyer.) Anyway, Roman has a surfer girlfriend, Casey, who's clearly madly in love with him, but he treats her badly, apparently because he'll never have Jess. Meanwhile, Jess's necklace breaks and Ryan says he'll fix it, but in the meantime hide it so well she'll never find it. (?)

So one day soon after that, Roman hears Jess telling Ryan that she wants their house back, that she wants it to be just the two of them again [which, I don't think the timelines work out, so WHATEVER, MOVIE], and Ryan at first says he can't kick out his brother "after what our dad did" (no explanation is given) and then agrees to send Roman to a halfway house. Roman overhears this and, when Ryan's out, grabs all of his stuff and takes off in his car. Jess sees him leave and calls Ryan because she's worried Roman will cross state lines, which he can't do while he's on parole. Ryan gets in his truck and goes after him. Somehow, they end up in a head-on collision that throws them both clear of their vehicles, and they are shipped to a hospital that keeps them in the same room. They're both bandaged up, so it's hard to tell who's who (except that Lee Pace is like a head taller than the other dude), and they're both in comas. After a month or more, Roman wakes up, and he says he's actually Ryan - that Ryan's soul woke up and found its way into Roman's body.

The hospital sends Roman home with Jess because she's now his only family, and she's creeped the hell out. He kind of backs off from insisting that he's Ryan, but every time she looks at him, he's doing something that Ryan would do - gardening, sculpting, writing her love letters, putting the toothpaste on her brush, making nice with the dog, etc. She makes him see a hypnotist, butRoman keeps giving Ryan's answers. They keep having these "I'm him"/"no you're not" conversations, with him recalling all sorts of things only Ryan knew, and then finally she asks him what he (Ryan) whispered in her ear as their picture was being taken, several months ago. Roman gets it right, and Jess believes that it's really Ryan. They start sleeping together. Roman gives her the silver necklace back, saying he's finally fixed it.

[Okay, here's where things diverge. The original ending (which I saw once, a long time ago) had Jess discover that Roman was faking all of it to be with her, that he'd killed Casey, and that he was going to kill her too if he couldn't have her. Ugh. My recipient says she'd rather have the alternate ending, which goes like this.] Casey shows up and says Jess is silly to believe Roman about anything, and Jess is getting the same grief from her co-workers. Jess ends up getting pregnant. On the day they're supposed to go for the initial ultrasound,Roman calls and says he's got a flat and apologizes for not making it, but Jess's doctor says that Jess's rash might be from the cheap metal of her necklace, or just a response to new hormones. She and Roman just keep living their lives, getting stuff ready for the baby, etc. She goes to the hospital to wish Ryan (still in a coma) a happy anniversary, and some weeks/months later, she and Roman are there to take Ryan off of life support. Jess quits her job against the advice of coworkers. Soon after, she discovers the necklace (the real silver one) that Ryan hid, so she understands the one she's wearing is a fake, and that means Roman's not really Ryan. She goes to find all of Ryan's love letters and realizes all of the things Roman said to convince her were from the letters. She freaks out and grabs a knife and finds Roman hard at work making a cradle for the baby, and she says, "I think it's good" when he asks what she thinks. So she's decided to stay with Roman, that he's made himself into someone new through force of will, and that's good enough for her. The end. WHAT?!?

And, now, finally, here's the fic.

"The Ryan Effect"


The first time he met her, he smelled coffee on her breath and stale smoke in her hair, the workaday fragrances of her startling in the sterile concrete confines of his holding cell. He opened his eyes - he'd been replaying all of it in his mind, how the hammer had jumped into his hand just when Sully started going too far, trying to prove he was cock of the walk - and saw her.

There was something about her face that suggested it was made to be serious, that getting her to put on a smile would be an effort. He didn't think he'd bother. Those eyes were already judging him, cataloging the lumps in his left cheek where Sully or one of the other guys got a good hit in, and she nodded like it was just her luck she got landed with him as a client. Fuck her, anyway.

He wasn't innocent, but he wasn't an animal either - Sully had asked for it, and she didn't even want to hear his reasons.

Seriously, fuck her.

*

The second time they met was two days later, and she clicked into the holding cell on her spindly high heels, looking all lit up and wearing some kind of flowery perfume. He knew what she would say before she said it - "I just met with your brother" - because he recognized the Ryan Effect. One meeting with Ryan turned everybody's lives around, made them better, and it had even worked for him, because now that she'd met Ryan, she was eager to do her best to get him out of jail.

He thought fuck you all the same, even if he didn't let himself say it. He wondered if she wanted Ryan to fuck her. He bet she'd be sweet, and tight, and all little moans, turning Ryan's name into an opera, even if Ryan was as vanilla as he'd always seemed.

Roman wished she still smelled like him, like cigarettes and caffeine, and not whatever she thought his brother wanted. He was the one on trial, but it was Ryan who mattered. Ryan would stand up for him in court and say that yeah, he had a temper but he didn't have a bad bone in his body, that as long as he could live under his big brother's watchful eye, he'd be a productive member of society, a model fucking citizen.

He tuned her and her courtroom strategy out. He bit at his tender lip, his teeth feeling like needles in the swollen flesh, until it gave, and he swallowed the hot rush of blood that flooded his mouth.

"Roman," she said, like she'd been saying it for days and was worn out by him. "Roman, are you hearing me? You need to look presentable for your court appearance. No tattoos showing, hair combed."

Not a word about what he'd done or why he'd done it, not a moment to explain that hearing Sully laugh about how hot his stepdaughters were brought back the touch of Dad's heavy hand on his neck.

Not a word about any of that. It was all about appearances.

Let Ryan ride in and save the day; it was what he did best.

*

She wasn't nearly as wild as she liked to think she was - he saw clear through her whenever she came to Ryan's apartment. She'd have her hair pulled back in a little librarian bun, but it never came down. Her jewelry was small and classy, her clothes were prim. She was so fucking beige it made him sick.

Between her and Ryan, that bed probably saw no more than some standard missionary, breathless whispers of "I love you," and a lot of looking deep into each other's eyes. He heard them through the wall and when he took himself in hand just to give himself something to do in this shitty apartment where he didn't even have a bed, her little fucking sighs kept interrupting his rhythm.

Well, there was no law saying he had to stay there, was there? Not when his shitty lawyer kept coming over and Ryan fluttered like a fifties housewife around the apartment, cooking her elaborate dinners and making sure there were fresh flowers on the coffee table. It really had been an accident the first time he'd kicked them over – a man had a right to put his feet up and relax at the end of a long day.

And she never seemed to appreciate any of it, to pause and smell the perfumed roses Ryan had bought, or to wonder where they were getting the money to buy her fucking capons. She just took those things as her due. Ryan deserved better.

*

So he was the thing messing up her perfect life, apparently. It wasn't enough that he'd stayed away from their stupid wedding – Casey had been so very sweet to fuck that night – or that she was the one who'd gotten him out of jail to stifle under Ryan's supervision.


I want him gone.


It wasn't like he was sticking around for his health.

*

Ryan was lying in the bed next to his, looking small and broken. He wasn't the student council president or Dad's golden boy or Jess's pussy-whipped husband, lying in that bed; he was Roman's brother, the first and only person Roman could ever remember loving. No one else had any right to him.

He snarled at the nurses who came in to check on them for touching Ryan with impersonal hands. It wasn't their life on the line when they handled him like dead weight, shifting him to make the bed around him, talking like it didn't matter if he could hear them.

Ryan drained of all his strength was barely Ryan. He was just a guy, someone Roman would never have noticed. Hell, he'd make a better Ryan than Ryan could right now.

*

Being Ryan got his heart rate down, lightened the weight on his shoulders. The taste of clay on his tongue as Jess's sculpted head took shape under his fingers was curiously grounding, as surprising as the fact that Ryan's talent had found its way to his hands. Jess said she was wary, but she came closer, craned her neck uncomplainingly to meet his eyes. Even the dog trotted up to him, tail wagging like they'd never snarled at each other. Casey was the only one whose smile was bitter and knowing, but he didn't give a flying fuck what she thought of the way he was mourning his brother.

It wasn't about getting Jess into bed. It was about her believing him, showing him what Ryan had had, what he could still make his way back to.

When Jess kissed him, she chased the taste of clay on his tongue.

*

He opened her up with careful fingers, aware that she had none of Casey's rangy strength, but the breath punched out of her lungs anyway. That pained gasp was electrifying – before he knew it, he had her on her hands and knees and he was shoving his way inside her, his teeth in her neck. She shuddered and rocked back against him when he lifted her, forcing her weight down. Her cunt was hot and swollen as he pounded into her, but she wasn't complaining. He'd never heard her scream before, but she did then, the name on her lips his.

"Ryan," she cried, but she drew his hand up from her tender clit to bite on his fingers, fingers that could never have been as smooth and cautious as his brother's.

"Jess," he said, his voice rough and deep, and she twisted, surprised, and caught his eye.

"No," she said, turning back around and pushing back against his body, trying to pick up the pace.

She writhed like his cock was going to split her in two. One for each of him, he thought, and drove in deeper.

Ryan, he thought, is this what you wanted? He drilled up into the hot suction of her body – she was so small, so suited to Ryan – and got one hand around her throat, feeling all the words trapped within.

He didn't want to hear anything but her screams.

*

Jess had held his hand when they took Ryan's body off life support but kept angling her head away from him. It surprised him, how unpleasant the absence of her gaze was.

He pulled her into bed and put her on top of him. He teased her wet in the way she liked best, the rough pads of his fingers skating along her slick flesh, and watched her succumb, meeting his eyes at last. She was biting her lip hard enough to draw blood, and he soothed her lip away from her teeth with his thumb.

She latched onto his wrist, keeping his hand cupped around her cheek. "Tell me," she said.

The glass teardrop pendant he'd made for her swung in the air between them as she rocked on top of him.

"Tell me," she insisted, as if any words would change the fact that it was now just the two of them, that Ryan was irrevocably gone.

"You tell me," he challenged, but she didn't falter.

"I love you, Ryan," she said out loud.

I love you, Ryan, he said inside his head, then flipped them over and fucked her in earnest.


++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
As always, I'd love to hear what you think.

This same entry also appears on Dreamwidth, at http://innie-darling.dreamwidth.org/447726.html.

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