Disclaimer: I don't own Ben 10.
Ch8: The Start of a long overdue talk.
Shortly after Ben convinced Gwen and Lucy to go have lunch with the others a nurse pushing a cart with food trays on it entered the private hospital room. She had a short black hair and a pleasant smile on her face. "Feeling good enough that you might be able to keep your lunch down, Mr. Tennyson?"
"Um..." Ben looked at the tray, his eyes on the dry toast, apple sauce and small cup of pudding. He hadn't kept anything down since seeing himself get beat up on TV and finding out about the upcoming trial. "Leave it here... I'll give it a shot."
The nurse smiled and placed the tray on the nightstand. "I'll be back in a few hours." She informed him before leaving the room and making sure to close the door behind her.
Ben watched her go and then looked back at the plate with the toast on the tray. Sighing he reached for it and put the plate on his lap. Instead of eating it the teenager stared at his food, knowing he should try to eat it, but not having the appetite for it.
Shaking his head, Ben placed the plate besides him and reached for the black marker Lucy left for him while she and Gwen went to have lunch and started doodling on his casts. He started drawing the first thing that came to mind after than he moved onto drawing a cartoonish version of Feedback, and after that he started on his next alien.
"You are still not eating."
Ben tensed up for a few seconds before relaxing when he realized who had walked into his hospital room. "I was going to."
"You were?" Rook asked sitting down besides Ben. "Can you prove it?"
Rook's challenging tone got Ben to stop doodling and turn to his boyfriend with an annoyed look. "Dude... Stop it." He groaned, fully aware what Rook was trying to do.
"Stop what?" Rook asked, amusement clear in his tone. "It was just a question Smarahd."
Ben narrowed his eyes and held Rook's gaze for a minute before letting out a loud huff, grabbing one of the three pieces of toast from his place and angrily taking a large bite of it. He chewed slowly, rolling his eyes when Rook grinned happily.
"I am working towards it." Rook answered, smiling. His smile grew when Ben huffed and went back to drawing on his cast. "A Megawatt?" He guessed, his eyes on the half-finished drawing. "It looks very life-like."
Ben looked up in surprise. "Thanks..." He smiled at his boyfriend, before going to finish the small drawing of the alien. When he finished, Ben put the marker down and leant back against his propped up pillows. "I'll eat more later, whe-" Ben stopped talking when he noticed Rook was staring at his cast. "What?"
He followed Rook's gaze to the first thing he drew, 'Ben Rook' "Oh..." Ben cringed in embarrassment. "I'm not really subtle today."
Sighing, Rook settled down besides Ben and pulled the smaller boy close. "You never are subtle, my Smarahd." He told his boyfriend hit tone dry as he rubbed Ben's arm, displeased with how cold his boyfriend still felt.
"Guess, not." Ben shrugged hating how tired he already was. "I mean it though, and when I was yelling earlier... I meant it. It wasn't the best way of telling you, but..." He shifted so he could look into his boyfriend's eyes. "I love you."
For a moment Rook stared into Ben's eyes and without his consent, he started purring softly. "I love you too, Ben." The Revonnahgander whispered, brushing his thumb over Ben's bruised cheek. "I love you so, so much. When I believed I could lose you-" His shoulders slumped in grief. "I did not know what to do, and-" Rook stopped talking when Ben gently squeezed his hand.
"I'm awake now, Rook." Ben reminded his boyfriend. "You don't have to worry anymore."
"Do I?" Rook asked raising an eyebrow.
"Do I not need to worry anymore?" Rook clarified looking at Ben. "If you and I had not gotten together then you would not have been targeted by those men."
That startled Ben into a more awake state. Sitting up a bit more, Ben looked at Rook hoping he'd say more, his heart sank when Rook remained quiet, his gaze on bed. "You blame yourself for what happened to me." Ben stated only now realizing how rough these past days must have been on his boyfriend. "Oh Fuzzball..." Ben sighed, tiredly shaking his head. "This is so messed up."
Ben shook his head again. "How can this be your fault?"
Rook frowned. "I just told you, if it weren't for me then those individuals would not have believed they had a reason to attack you. "
"And I could have fought harder." Ben stated crossing his arms, wincing when the movement aggravated his ribs. "Heck, this whole thing might as well be my own fault."
At those words Rook inhaled sharply, a soft hiss escaped him and his pupils narrowed to slits for a few a seconds. "Do not dare to say such a thing!"
"Then why did you?" Ben asked, glaring at his boyfriend. "Me getting hurt isn't your fault," The teen sighed, his shoulders slumping. "And I guess it's not mine either…"
"It is not." Rook agreed, wrapping his arm around Ben again and pulled him close, both to comfort Ben and assure himself that Ben was alright. "Those men…"
"Deserve someone going hero on them." Ben told Rook. "Preferably Way Big style."
Rook chuckled, but his gaze traveled back to the tray on the nightstand. "Ben-?"
"Yeah, yeah, yeah. Hand me that applesauce."
Smiling Rook gave Ben the cup with applesauce and the plastic spoon.
They said in comfortable silence for a while, just enjoying each other's company. The peace was broken by the door opening and Ben's parents walking into the room.
Sandra's shoulders sagged in relief when she saw the way Ben was sitting. Leaning against Rook, eating again and for once he didn't look tense. In fact, Ben almost looked relaxed. Seeing her son like that made it feel like an invisible weight was lifted from her shoulder and gave Sandra hope for the upcoming trial.
There was no doubt in her mind that they would win the law suit against Harangue, it was everything around it that had the mother worried. Because even after they'd won and after Ben's attackers were brought to justice, the harassment wouldn't stop.
"Well aren't you two comfortable." Carl grinned when Ben turned beet red at his comment.
"Relax, we came with something for you." Carl chuckled as he reached into his back pocket and pulled out an envelope which then gave to Ben.
Sitting up Ben handed the cup of applesauce and took the envelope, looking it over curiously. His eyes landed of the post stamp, he easily recognized the green empress on it.
"Yeah you're mom and I didn't recognize the post stamp on it," Carl commented when he saw Ben looking as the post stamp. "so we asked your grandpa if he recognized it, and he said that you'd probably like to read it."
Now curious, Ben opened the envelope and held it upside down. A postcard showing of empress Attea standing proudly in front of a good view of her palace. Snorting Ben turned the card to read what frog had written.
-Sorry to hear that some of the apes on your planet are ungrateful bastards. Hope they didn't beat the fun out of you. –Attea.
When he finished reading Ben chuckled and handed it to Rook so his boyfriend could read it too. "When you told me that the clip was available everywhere you really did mean everywhere." To be honest, Ben wasn't sure how he felt about the letter, or the fact that someone he fought before had seen him get beaten up. But at the same time… Knowing that Attea apparently cared about his wellbeing even after she'd seen him like that was… It was nice.
"How did Attea gain your address?" Rook wondered grabbing the envelope and looking it over.
"Eh," Ben shrugged. "Looma probably told her where I live, no idea how she knew that though." Ben said as he put his cup on the nightstand again. "I've had enough now."
"Really?" The small group turned to the door to see Kevin, Gwen, Max and Lucy walking into room. "Then what do we do with all these extra smoothies?"
Ben's eyes widened when he saw the smoothies in Gwen and Kevin's hands. "I love you guys!"
Max chuckled watching Ben's face light up when he took the smoothie from Gwen and immediately started drinking his favorite beverage. "The police is finally doing something about the media circus outside."
"How about the people messing with the house?" Ben asked quickly going back to slurping his drink.
Max sighed. "We'll figure something out kiddo."
Ben lowered his gaze, suddenly finding the white bedding interesting. His thirst forgotten for the moment. "You'd think they'd at least wait till I'm back home before they start attacking the house."
"Ben-" Sandra sighed, she was worried about that too. Not for the same reason as Ben though. She wanted the house to be a safe haven for when Ben returned, but thanks to the attacks on her home Sandra was tempted to ask her father in law if she and her family could stay at Plumber HQ un till all this died down. Of course she didn't want to tell Ben that just yet. "Try not to think of it so much honey. Focus on getting better first."
Ben didn't react to her words and no one expected him too.
Rook felt a pang in his chest. It pained him to see his usual confident, cheerful boyfriend like this. Looking at the faces of the others in the room confirmed that he wasn't alone in feeling like that.
And honestly, after watching people attack the Tennyson's house, on the news earlier, Rook didn't want Ben to go back there when he was still healing. But if he didn't then where would he…. "May I make a suggestion?"
Carl blinked but nodded. "Sure Rook, what is it?"
"I did some research on… hate crimes." Rook explained, grimacing. "It is not uncommon for people who have been attacked in similar ways to Ben, to leave the country or go on vacation so they can prepare themselves for the upcoming trial and properly relax." Rook looked at Ben who had a small frown on his face. "I have already contacted my parents, and they would be glad to have you all stay in our home as we await the trial date."
Sandra happily clasped her hands together, but somehow Ben beat her to reacting.
"You want us to go to Revonnah?!"