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The challenge was - "Want Ads: Canon or AU, your assignment is to combine B/K, or any of the Ozzies really, and the classified section of the paper"
Thanks to Catheights for the beta.
Liam lay in his bunk, staring at the newspaper. A simple newspaper, another thing taken for granted on the outside but a lifeline in here. As well as a reminder of what was lost, Liam thought bitterly as he searched the "For Sale" section of the classified ads. Liam had gotten his hands on a clean, complete copy of the paper, but had just learned it was better to be careful not to flaunt it in front of the guards. He dipped the corner forward every couple of minutes, peering outside the pod where people were still moving and scheming.
Ryan strode over, opening the door without asking, because it wasn't required when it came to Liam. He leaned his body forward in the partially open door, giving the frame a little thump with his palm. "What's up, man?"
Liam let the paper flutter softly to his chest, smell of newsprint hinting under his nose as he gave a half nod, inviting Ryan in. Not that he needed it, but Ryan was polite if he was just idling with no tasks for you, and he thought you were busy getting off.
"Reading the classifieds." Liam explained, lifting them up with a flap of air to offer them to Ryan.
Ryan just waved it off and came to sit casually on the edge of Liam's bed, making it dip. Solid heat against Liam's side as Ryan turned towards him, leg crooking up onto the bed. Ryan looked over, slightly interested, but he didn't steal the paper.
"Looking to put a couch in?" Ryan asked after seeing what section Liam was turned to. He raised an eyebrow and looked around the small cell. "I don't think it'll fit."
"Maybe a loveseat." Liam suggested sarcastically, pleased at the grin it got him from Ryan.
"A nice big flat screen along that glass wall for entertainment and privacy?" Ryan suggested with an expansive gesture.
Ryan could still laugh with him a bit, forget the shit with his brother for a second. It was a good sign. Ryan slid down a little, slouching back next to him now, a little laid out like Liam. More dip of that rickety cot, more pressing heat. Liam realized Ryan missed the casual comforting nearness of a brother, and Liam could help with that too.
"I'd be reading the personals, myself." Ryan added as he read the ads with slight interest, lips moving softly as he did.
Liam snorted. "I was. Mineo confiscated 'em. That's why I'm hiding in here now." Liam grumbled...and got a low laugh from Ryan that didn't quite shake the bed, but was felt.
"He's probably looking for a date." Ryan slid one finger down the paper as Liam read. "So, what? You're decorating an imaginary apartment in your fantasy instead?" Ryan asked idly.
Liam grinned bitterly. "Naw, my old lady said she was selling off my stuff. After I finally got her to answer the phone to tell her my parole was denied by that fuck."
"Since when are you married?" Ryan teased.
"It's a figure of speech. Definitely won't be now." Liam sighed with futile anger at that cocksucker on the board who'd denied him his fucking chance at a life on the outside any time soon, passing over his parole without any real consideration.
Ryan nodded in sympathy...but couldn't quite kill his smirk. Liam didn't mind as Ryan leaned closer, really reading now.
"Let's see...what's yours?" Ryan hummed contemplatively, as that short rough finger slid down the page, lips back to moving again.
Liam opened his mouth to answer - but got a hand over his mouth for it. "Nuh-uh. More fun to guess."
Liam nodded, surprised amusement trapped under Ryan's hand, until Ryan went back to tracing columns with it instead of muzzling Liam.
"Hah!" Ryan stopped with a quick crinkling jab to the paper and that smirk twitching the corners of his mouth with glee. "Paisley, Victorian style couch, extremely worn. That was yours." Ryan declared.
Liam rolled his eyes. Okay, "guess" apparently meant "make fun of". Liam was fine with that too. Ryan's fucking smart mouth and brain were fun to listen in on. Liam never minded much if it required him to laugh at himself, and Ryan usually let him dig back with friendly sarcastic remarks, as long as he was careful. Close enough to...actual friends in here...that it didn't sting. It just made them laugh a bit in a way that was usually denied to them.
"And this - this was definitely yours." Ryan said, pointing out another item.
Liam leaned his face closer, reading above that finger. "Neon parrot lamp?" Disgusted, yet awed, disbelief.
Ryan was just...infinitely amused. Seeing that made it worth it.
Liam turned a paler mirror of that smirk on Ryan with a haughty straightening snap of the paper in his hands. "Huh...looks like someone's selling your old stuff too - green leatherette couch, and a glass coffee table, with a black panther base."
"Ha ha." It was Ryan's turn to roll his eyes, not losing that little grin. He shifted to nudge an elbow into Liam's ribs, before he pretended to ponder. "I know people who like that shit. It sounds like some places I've been. In fact..." Ryan waited a beat, that chuckle poking out again through his sly words. "Does it say it's stained? I think I may have fucked on that couch."
The cot did shake this time, with Liam's laughter. As Ryan watched him with that amused, devil grin, Liam forgot for a second about all his old shit from the outside being put out on the curb. Hopefully, Ryan was distracted from the trauma with Cyril a little too.
Lying there on his cot in the warm shadow of Ryan and his grin, Liam wondered if they could find a way to snag those personals back.
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