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be running up that road

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It’s exactly 2.48am on a Wednesday when Ryan leaves. The bag in his hand is heavy, clothes and notebooks and school stuff all shoved together in a jumble of desperation. Except Ryan prefers to spell it like determination. Two sides of the same coin, really.

The strap cuts into his shoulder as he walks, his hands sweaty and shaking as he pulls out his phone, pressing speed dial 1.

“Hey?” Spencer’s sleepy voice picks up after two rings, achingly familiar.

Ryan finds he can’t actually say anything, words bunching at the back of his throat until he’s choking on them, breathing shakily down the phone.

“Ryan?” Spencer’s voice is sharper now, more alert. “Where are you?”

“I’m…” Ryan swallows, crosses the street and grips the phone tighter. “I’m… Can I come over?” he starts again.

There’s a rustling sound on the line, Spencer getting out of bed, pulling clothes on. “I’m coming to get you,” he says, “just hold on.”

Ryan nods, forces a quiet ‘okay’ past his lips when he realises that Spencer can’t actually see him. He could stop and wait by the curb, it won’t take that long for Spencer to drive over after all, middle of the night and no traffic.

Ryan keeps walking anyway, one step after another. It feels good, putting the distance between where he’s come from and where he’s going. This isn’t running away from home, this is running toward one.