Author: I came up with this after re-watching the episode in which Will Harungue was helping the Forever Knights. The media isn't fair to Ben, just like it would be in the real world, and I realized that because Ben's famous he would have to deal with lots of different reactions after he and Rook start dating. Not all of them positive...
Warning: This story deals with heavy subjects like homophobia and racism, if these subjects bother you it's best if you don't read this story or at least avoid the first chapter. There is a lot of violence and bad language in this chapter.
Disclaimer: I don't own Ben 10.
"Stay tuned for more pictures of the new couple-"
"It's outrageous! It's wrong and disgust"
"It's no secret that Tennyson's bi, but this is way worse than dating a man! It's not even a man! It's an alie-"
"Is Earth's hero tired of the same old huma-"
"Ben's betraying the human race by-"
This time Rook didn't bother changing the channel and just turned the tv off. He should have known better... The Revonnahgander cast a look around the HQ. The look in his feline-like eyes making it clear that he had plans for the first plumber who'd dare ask him to turn the tv back on.
A tense moment passed as all the other plumbers hurriedly went back to work.
Once that was done Rook's shoulders slumped and the angry look on his face was replaced by a worried one.
He and Ben had been together for almost a month and they had been so careful to not let the public know. At first Rook thought that Ben wanted to keep their relationship a secret because he was embarrassed or ashamed of them being together.
Rook now knew how wrong he'd been. If he'd got his hands on who ever leaked those photos...
Shaking his head, Rook made his way to where Ben was sitting on top of a desk. "I am so-"
"Ah aah." Ben silenced Rook by holding up a palm, not even looking up comic he was pretending to read. "I don't want to hear it."
Rook sat down on the chair in front of the desk, his eyes downcast. "But if you and I had not gotten together then-"
"Then the media would have made a big deal of whoever else I started dating. It's not you." Ben cut him off, his emerald eyes still on the comic he was pretending to read. He frowned. Why what language was this even... Oh.
Rolling his eyes at his own mistake Ben turned the comic book around. There. That should keep the facade up.
It was times like this that Ben didn't like being famous. They media took great pleasure in coming up with stories about him, and Ben didn't mind most of the time, he took great pleasure in being so famous, but it all got ten times worse when he was dating.
Rumors and lies were spread.
It happened with his first girlfriend Julie. And after that there was a whole media circus around him when he announced to the world that he was bisexual and the most ridiculous lies were spread when Ben got his first boyfriend Tom.
Rumors about Tom being a drug addict, an alcoholic and lies of Tom corrupting Ben. It had gotten so bad that Tom and his family had to move to another state to be free from the rumors.
Ben hadn't dated anyone for a while after that, not un till Esther. It had only been one date. A movie and they hadn't even bought pop corn, but hadn't that been a news item.
The media had mixed reactions to that one.
On the positive side, Earth's hero went out with a girl. A princess even. On the other hand... It was an alien.
Naturally Ben's new relationship with Rook was causing quite some uproar. It had only gone public yesterday after someone send a certain reporter pictures of the couple having a moment at Mr. Smoothies, in each other's arms sharing a deep kiss.
"But not like this." Rook pressed.
"But not like this." Ben agreed. "Some humans can't even stand other kinds of people, let alone aliens." He wasn't really seeing the pages of his comic. "Heck, on most parts on Earth people don't tolerate any other kind of sexuality than straight." He sadly shook his head. "Rook, it's..." Ben trailed off and it didn't look like he planned to continue talking at all.
Rook frowned. Ben had been unusually quiet all day. Acting withdrawn and even avoiding eye contact. Rook took a deep breath, trying to calm the uneasiness in his stomach.
It would make sense for Ben to end their relationship now. It would undoubtedly stop the media from spreading more lies. Ben's reputation would no longer be ruined and he and Ben would go back to being partners, good friends.
Could they even go back to being the way they were?
Being just partners?
He and Ben hadn't been dating for that long, both of them still unsure about their feelings, but Rook could not imagine going without those stolen kisses. Long nights spend drinking smoothies and talking, sometimes not talking at all. Just laying in each other's arms and enjoying each other's presence...
Rook did not want to lose that.
But if it meant that Ben would not have to deal with those disgusting lies then Rook would not fight.
"Ben? I would understand if you decide to end our relationship."
Ironically he spoke up on the same moment when Ben let the comic fall on his lap and finally looked at Rook as he continued speaking.
"It's okay if you don't want to go out with me anymore."
"What?" Again they spoke at the same time.
Rook held up his hand, silencing Ben before he could say something. "Why would I want to end our relationship?"
Ben shot his boyfriend an incredulous look. "Dude! You do not have to put up with being a called an 'it', just walk away from me and people will treat you like normal again."
"It does not matter what they think of me. It is you I am worried about. If you dated someone else-"
"But I only like you!" It was supposed to be a statement, but sounded more like a whine.
Rook couldn't stop a smile from forming on his face. That sounded much more like Ben. More so than he had all day. That soft smile still on his face Rook got up and moved to stand in front of Ben. Ben who looked at him from his spot on top of the desk, the teen's emerald eyes showing how nervous he truly was. "Then," Rook gently grabbed Ben's arm and pulled him from the desk. "why are we having this discussion?"
Ben allowed himself to be pulled close. "'Cause we're both idiots." Ben smirked, wrapping his arms around Rook's neck. He made humming like sound before kissing his boyfriend, it was a soft peck on the lips at first, but it grew into more and turned into something.
Kind of like their relationship...
"Alright you two, that's enough."
Dual sounds of disappointment followed immediately after Max's interruption and not even Rook managed to cover up his displeasure at being interrupted.
"Magister Tennyson." Rook straightened up.
Max smiled at the Revonnahgander. "At ease," he said crossing his arms. He looked at Ben who was now trying to hide behind his comic. "Nice try young man." He smirked when Ben gripped the comic and tried to inch behind his boyfriend. "Your mom, she's expecting you home for dinner."
Three hours later Ben was sipping a 'Peppered Cucumber, Pineapple smoothie' at Mr. Smoothies. He was also holding a more normal strawberry, cherry flavored smoothie to bring to Rook. His boyfriend was on monitor duty till late in the night, so if Rook couldn't go to Mr. Smoothies with Ben, Ben was going to bring Mr. Smoothies to Rook.
He was making his way across the parking lot when he felt someone tap his shoulder.
Turning around the hero was met with a fist to the face.
Stumbling Ben's hand automatically went for the omnitrix, he was about to press down and turn into Heatblast, when he saw who his attacker was.
It was a man, about his father's age, with dark hair. The man's face was twisted into a sneer.
"Hey!" Ben started messing with the omnitrix dial, the moment this lame guy realized who he was bugging then he'd run away and this whole thing would have just be a mild annoyance... And a bruised cheek as nice extra. "What the hell?!"
The man reply by roughly shoving Ben backwards, causing the teen to drop the smoothies.
Okay, maybe this wasn't the smartest burglar. Clearly Ben needed to give him a hint.
"Dude! Do you have any idea who I am? I'm Ben-"
"Yeah, we know who you are."
Ben blinked. It hadn't been the guy in front of him who answered. Slowly he glanced over his shoulder.
There were two other men standing behind him. Both middle-aged and looking... Well pretty ordinary. No signs of being controlled by an alien, brainwashed or a monster in disguise. Sure one of them was rather chubby looking, but that probably had more to do with drinking than aliens.
When Ben turned back there was another man standing beside the person who had first attacked him. This one was younger than the others and was wearing a short-sleeved white shirt.
"Okay..." So these man had waited for him here for a reason. Yeah, not good. Feeling like this situation would be far better as Big Chill, Ben reached for the Omnitrix again.
His wrist was grabbed by youngest of the four men surrounding him, before he even touched the dial.
"Hey!" Ben protested trying to pull away from the man's grip, but it was too tight. "What's the deal?! Let me go!"
The uneasy feeling in his stomach got worse when the two men from behind him started to come closer.
"Ben Tennyson," One of them said. He had curly black hair and blue eyes. If it weren't for the hatred in his eyes he would have looked like a decent guy. "Earth's hero." The way he said the word showed that the guy did not agree with the title. The mocking way it was said followed by the right corner of his lips twitching upwards made that pretty clear.
The shorter, chubby one of the four men scoffed. "More like earth's fag."
Ben's eyes widened at the word. "What?"
"It's more than that though," The first guy said leaning down to meet Ben's eyes, that angry sneer still on his face. "the boy's dating aliens. Like humans ain't good enough for 'im."
Ben didn't get a chance to try defending himself, not when the man suddenly delivered a hard punch to Ben's stomach.
Gasping for breath Ben fell to the ground, an arm wrapping around his stomach.
"Not so high and mighty now, are ya?"
A kick was delivered to his side. Ben didn't even see which of the four men did it.
Whimpering the teenager tried to get up, getting to his hands and knees.
This was what his attackers had been waiting for.
The chubby man stomped on Ben's hand, pressing it into the asphalt and crushing the boy's bones under his massive weight.
Ben cried out, desperately trying to pull his hand away.
His four attackers actually laughed at the teen's cry. "Not liking it when its normal folks that make ya scream, do ya?" One of them taunted delivering another kick to Ben's side.
"What do you have to say for yourself?" One of them challenged.
And Ben Tennyson never backed down from a challenge.
Forcing himself to look up, Ben met the older man's steel grey eyes. "What can I say guys," he tried lifting his hand and barely managed to suppress a whimper. Yeah, that guy had definitely broken something there.
Ben licked his lips and smirked up his attacker, showing off blood covered teeth. If these crazies thought that they had a say in who he should and shouldn't love than they were even crazier than Ben thought. "I like the best of all worlds."
All those words got him was a fist to the face with a force so hard Ben's vision instantly blurred.
Another kick to his stomach was delivered. Another one, again, and again and again.
Soon all four of them were of them were attacking Ben. Taunting and laughing as they delivered punches, and kicks to the 16-year-old boy.
Ben could do nothing but curl up on the ground and endure the beating. He should try and reach for his omnitrix again. He knew he should.
He should turn into an alien and fight back against these- these-
The people he protected...
The people he saved at least a million times...
One of them was stomping on his leg...
"Nothing but a freak of nature who can only get other freaks to love him!"
Another kick too his stomach leaving the sixteen-year-old desperately gasping for breath.
"-think you're too good for humans!"
A kick to the back of his head.
White dots danced across his vision and it took too long for it to clear again.
"We'll give ya what ya deserve! Smack some normality in ya."
A fist slammed against his chest.
Ben threw his head back and screamed.
The beating continued on for a good thirty minutes, but to Ben it felt like years. Throughout it all he lay curled up on the ground, his eyes clenched shut and tears running down his bruised cheeks.
Although the beating stopped the four men hadn't left yet. They stood over their victim, quietly talking to each other. Ben could occasional hear the words 'pathetic' and 'worthless' but he didn't have the energy to try and listening in to what they were talking about.
He had a pretty good idea what they were talking about anyway...
Ben closed his eyes, willing to let the darkness that was slowly closing in from the edges of his vision, claim him. He was almost lost to the sweet nothingness when something cold and sweet-smelling was thrown over him.
Ben whimpered as he instantly started shivering.
Turns out that there had still a bit of smoothie in the cups...
Well not anymore.
The cold pink liquid had unceremoniously been dumped over the beaten boy's head.
Ben gasped and sputtered. The smoothie was still cold making it feel like hundreds of tiny needles were stabbing at his bruised cheeks.
The men laughed. Not even typical evil laughter, Ben was familiar with that kind of laughter, but real 'ha ha something is funny' laughter. Those four men found real humor in beating him up.
At this realization Ben went limp. He forced himself to stop heaving, stop trembling and closed his eyes.
Not long after that the four men stopped laughing, it came to an abrupt halt and Ben didn't bother listening to them start to panic. Cursing at each other and fearing being put in jail...
It didn't take long till they ran for it.
Ben stayed absolutely still long after his attackers' footsteps could no longer be heard.
For fifteen minutes he just lay there, curled up on the ground. Bruised, bloodied, cold and alone.
When he finally forced his emerald eyes open Ben gazed at black sky. It was too cloudy for any stars to be seen.
No one would find him if he stayed here, Ben realized. Who besides him and Rook went out for smoothies at this hour? And if those men came back...
Letting out a sob that the young here could no longer keep in, Ben tried to sit up. He screamed bloody murder and fell back down, breathing hard and shallow.
"Oh god." Ben gasped out in pain, his voice and small.
Oh god it hurt. It hurt so bad. His whole body felt so heavy and...
Furiously blinking back tears Ben rolled onto his stomach. Letting out an occasional whimper Ben pushed himself for more. He managed to get to his hands and knees and started to crawl.
He crawled to the Ten Speed, where he let himself collapse. His whole body shook with pain as he tried to sit up and slowly lifting his arm. He pressed one button on the Omnitrix and let his limbs slump.
There was static for only a moment then-
"Ben, I have told you before that you should not call me while I'm on monitor duty."
Ben nearly sobbed relief. God Rook's voice was the best sound in the world right now. "...Hi." Ben's voice was hoarse and small. For a moment Ben feared his boyfriend wouldn't even hear him.
When Rook spoke again it was a far cry from his previous tone. "Ben?" Worry and fear danced together in his tone. "Ben? Are you alright?"
Ben didn't answer, his bleeding lips twisted into a small smile as Ben gazed forward, not seeing anything other than the blackness slowly closing in on him.
"Ben? Answer me! Please!"
"I..." Ben blinked, it took a while for his eyes to open again. "I need you Rook." He whispered.
And his eyes slid shut.