Debut -- Killed By Death (Season 2)
Last Seen -- Same Episode
Buffy first sees Ryan when she's in her hospital bed..he's walking by and kind of peers into her room. Actually she's really out of it, it could be while she's in dreamland that she sees him being pursued by Der Kinderstod. Either way, she does run into him and another kid later on.
Ryan's the one who lets Buffy know that strange things are afoot at Sunnydale General. He tells her that the thing comes at night and that grownups don't see it. When she asks what he means, he says, "Death." Yow. You have to freak about that.
Later, Buffy goes in to get some more info. from Ryan. He's drawing a picture...the kid's pretty good with a box of crayons, y'know? Plus it gives him an outlet. I mean, he's drawing a picture of Death, and that's a good thing..partly because Buffy can use it and partly because hey, it's not good to keep these things inside, y'know? Anyhoo, while he's drawing it, Ryan tells Buffy that she shouldn't be there, because he's contagious. It made me think that this kid's a considerate person. I mean, I can really see him using Purell when he gets older.
Anyhoo, Buffy tells Ryan that she believes him, that Death is a monster and that she can fight it. But Ryan tells her that she can't fight death. Smart kid.
Ryan has the misfortune to witness the death of Dr. Backer. Later, he and the kids escape the ward and retreat to the basement. Again, Ryan plays the polite caring kid who gives a girl his robe when she says that she's cold. Aw.
As a bonus for his kindness -- hey, only the good die young, right? -- he gets grabbed by Der Kinderstod and is about to get the life sucked out of him when Buffy arrives to take care of business.
Ryan is cool for many reasons...he didn't scream as much as those other annoying kids, he talked to Buffy a lot, and he was a cutie-pie. Plus, he kept in touch with Buffy, too. I mean, he sent her a drawing in the mail, of her vanquishing Der Kinderstod. You can glimpse it above. Note his attention to detail...he even drew in her cross! I think that Ryan and Billy Palmer might have been friends had they been in the hospital together.