When a new tour guide is employed at the Port Arthur Historic Site, will he get through to Ryan Ross, a man with more secrets than the penitentiary? ::Ryden.:: *Update: Note. AND ANOTHER ONE.*
The ever-present grey fog that lingers mysteriously over the frozen grounds of Port Arthur has just settled down for the weary morning. It doesn't ever appear to disappear - it stays round, a reminder of the aching tragedy and brutal violence that was conducted on these very grounds. Some say it provides an air of mystery - some say it foreshadows more bloodshed.
Patrick Stump's beaten-up old pickup truck is pulling slowly into the Visitor's Centre parking lot. 8 AM is too early for him - far too early. An earthquake shiver runs down his fault line of a spine as he reluctantly leaves the warmth of his car, the shocking Tasmanian cold seeping its way through the carefully thought-out layers he's worn. The dark, ominous sky is drizzling slightly but to him, it could be a full-on storm. There is not a hint of warmth left in Patrick's shell of a body as he wearily drags himself to the misted glass doors that hold a world of history - and more importantly, heaters. Frozen fingers fumbling for the cold keys that will unlock the door, a rough voice sounds from behind him.
Pete Wentz' titanium words bring an electric shock and the younger male almost jumps right out of his icy body. He unlocks the door and steps inside, beckoning Pete inside with a hurried gesture of his hands, the warmth of the heater already finding it's way to his bones and he's thawing out at a rapid pace. Shaking his hair once he's inside, Pete leans up against the wall, arms reaching out for Patrick. The blonde glances round before slipping forward, letting himself fall into Pete's warm embrace.
"Missed you," the tattooed elder whispers softly into his boyfriend's pale ear.
"I was gone for one weekend." Patrick rolls his eyes slightly before straightening his back up, slender hands finding their way to Pete's hips.
"I know. I still missed you," Pete muses, eyes rolling in a way that mimics that of his boyfriend's. A quiet chime of the door announces the presence of another frozen being and the two lovebirds pull violently away, both blushing like maniacs.
The third human being is Ryan Ross. Ryan Ross is an odd case round Port Arthur - he works at the old penitentiary, but he always ends up spending his days wandering the cold stone relics, touching the fallen walls and crying silently for the innocent souls kept captive within. He goes home with red eyes and raw skin every night without fail. Ryan Ross is an odd case - almost as odd as some of the mysterious surronding his workplace.
"Hi," he murmurs softly to Patrick and Pete, burnt-honey eyes downcast on the floor that has yet to be trodden by freezing fathers, manipulative mothers and their inattentive offspring.
"Hey, Ry." Patrick's voice is gentle as he speaks to the younger man. Patrick is one of the few that seem to understand Ryan. It's almost as if he can see under Ross's pale façade and peek at the tortured artist trapped inside pointless layers of polyester and cotton.
"Have a good weekend?" Ryan asks, merely out of politeness. Usually, he keeps out of Patrick and Pete's way, but he knows that both like to have a good chat now and again. Ryan has a theory that all receptionists do - Patrick runs the front desk, along with a tall brunette boy named William who's fresh out of university. Pete works at the gift shop, constantly asking customers if they'd like their purchases wrapped or if they'd like to use their credit card. All three of them - William, Pete and Patrick - can gossip like old ladies when they want to.
"Yeah, alright. You?" Patrick's eyebrows raise slightly as he glances quickly at Ryan's slim frame. His dark hair is cut - styled completely different, too. Usually, it's long enough to fall over his eyes, and it curls round the nape of his neck. Now, it's cut shorter. Ryan's fringe is brushed sideways so that it frames his face. Patrick has to admit, he looks good.
"Went down to Hobart, nothing special." Ryan shrugged, peeling off his sodden grey duffel coat to reveal that he's dressed exclusively in black. A long-sleeved black v-neck dips down to expose a sliver of pale chest. A beaten-up leather jacket adorns it, while tight black jeans cling desperately to Ryan's skinny legs. The gap between the younger male's thighs seems to grow every week and to say that it scares Patrick would be an understatement - it terrifies him.
"Cool. Oh, hey - there's a new kid coming to work the tours, can you look after him? Just for today?" Patrick nodded his head at Ryan as his eyes scanned the note left on his desk by none other than Mr. Way before he left last night.
"Sure." Ryan is nonchalant and distant as he ghosts away and Patrick knows he's already enamoured and lost in the ruins of what once held thousands of victims and tormentors.
The 'new kid' in question is Brendon Boyd Urie. He is Ryan's character foil in every way - while Ryan is quiet and conservative, Urie is loud and brash. Where Ryan is content to let things be, Brendon is inquisitive. He has spent almost an hour trailing hopelessly after Ryan, babbling question after question at the frustrated tour guide.
"Who carried out the massacre here?"
"Martin Bryant. He's carrying out 1,035 years and 35 consecutive life sentences in prison with no chance of parole - can you leave me alone yet? You're bothering the spirits." The irritation in Ryan's voice cut through the chilly air like a diamond-edged knife.
"The spirits?" Brendon's eyes widen, silently pleading for Ryan to explain.
"This place is as old as all hell, kid. There are ghosts everywhere you look. Evidently, you don't feel them but I do and right now, they're telling me to kick your ass all the way to Exeter and back but for the love of my job, I'm going to restrain from carrying out that lovely little pleasure. Now, shut up and follow me."
"This is the Seperate Prison. Prisoners who rebelled against the rules were often brought here. The cells have such thick walls that no sound can get into them, and there isn't a window for twenty miles. They'd only be allowed out for an hour a day, and that was only to go to church. A lot of the men who were sent in here came out stark raving mad." Ryan's fingertips brush the cool stone as he explains some of the history of the building to his new recruit. Brendon nods quickly, scribbling the information down on a pad of paper.
"Now, next door is the Asylum. Funny how that works, isn't it?" A rueful laugh escapes Ryan's chapped lips as he leads the other male through the corridors that would take them out of the buildings.
"Now, the Asylum's been turned into a museum now, but I'm pretty sure you can tell what it was used for. It held all the lunatics," Ryan explains, eyes narrowing at the way Brendon was writing. "Neaten up your writing, kid, it's a wonder you got through university."
Brendon rolls his eyes at Ryan's snarky comment, allowing his hand to shake so that his writing became sloppier and even harder to understand, which had the desired effect. Ryan's nose scrunches up before he presses a slender hand to his forehead, groaning and snatching the pad away.
"You're doing it wrong," he murmurs before ripping the page out and balling the cheap paper up, shoving it into a nearby litter bin which boldly proclaimed DON'T BE A LITTERBUG!
"Now, let's do this again, but write neater this time. You've got to have this memorized and I hardly think you can decipher your own writing, much less memorize it."
It takes two hours, ten sheets of paper and multiple angry outbursts on Ryan's part but he's finally done with Brendon, and he won't admit it but he's slowly warming up to the kid. He was like a little puppy, a hyperactive little housepet - not dissimilar to his own little pet, Captain Knots. Together, they trek across the grounds to the Visitor's Centre. Ryan briefly stops to give the current tour guide an appreciative smile - her name's Elizabeth, and she and Ryan are fairly close. Jogging to keep up with Brendon, he lets out a soft huff, the breath freezing in the air like a cloud of cigarette smoke. In silence, they make their way up the stairs and take a seat at the small cafe, ordering two hot chocolates (with extra milk on Ryan's, thank you very much).
"You really love it here, don't you?" Brendon raises a quizzical eyebrow at Ryan, whose eyes are trained on the drizzling rain that dribbled listlessly down the large glass window panes.
"I do. It's my favourite place," he admitted with a soft, shy smile. Looking up through his damp hair, Ryan notes a dreamy smile present on Brendon's lips.
"What did you do before you started working here? Like, I mean, what's your story?" Brendon asks, sheerly and utterly out of genuine curiosity.
"Well, uh, my parents and I were here at the, um, shooting. My dad was shot, and so was my mom. I was put up for adoption round these parts, even though I'm actually American. I wasn't happy in any of the foster homes and I missed my parents so much, I turned to.. darker vices." Ryan speaks the last two words with a vicious snarl.
"When I was 17, I met Pete. He was my dealer for a little while. He told me about Patrick and how much he loved it here, and I told him that my parents died in the massacre. Patrick and Pete took me round for the first few times, like I did with you today. I guess I cried and threw up a lot when it came to the site of the murder, but that's kind of what you'd expect.
When I was 18, I quit the drugs and the suicidal bullshit, and turned all my attention to working here. I didn't want the ghost of the massacre hanging round my head forever, so I told Pete and Patrick. Patrick got me a job, and I've been here ever since. And you know what?"
"What?" A sinking feeling makes it's way to Brendon's chest as he listens to Ryan speak.
"I've felt my parents' presences. Sometimes, before we close up, I go down to the memorials and I just sit there and I sing the same song I did right before they died. Sometimes I feel my mom's arms wrapping round me, sometimes I smell her jasmine perfume. Sometimes, I feel my dad ruffling my hair and sometimes, I hear him singing back to me. All I know is, they're still here and they care about me and that's all I want, y'know? I've craved their existence for so long and I finally have it. More than that, I'm happy - the happiest I've been for a long time."
Really? Fucking really? I worked fuckin' hard on this, I'm investing a helluva lotta emotion in this fic and you rate it down? Fuck you too, mate. I bet ya' read 50 Shades of Shit and Twiljght and think they're great examples of literature. If you have a problem with me/my writing, leave me a little comment, don't fuckin' rate it down. I'll hear you out - I'll come right back with somethin' sassy, but I will listen. I was havin' myself a fine old morning till I checked here. Yeah, fuck ya', mister.
OH MY GOD IT CHANGES POV'S HALFWAY THROUGH THE FUCKING FIC I'M SO SORRY OH MY GOD I'VE FIXED IT NOW BUT OH MY GOD WHAT DID I DO.