It's finally here: the second chapter of "The Dog!"
Thank you all for your patience. ^ ^
This was not how I originally imagined the second part of the story. Well,.. I mean it is, but I didn't think THIS part was going to be this long. Between the first and second chapter, I've really only been using two pages of reference from the novelization. It's shocking how much stuff is left out in the original story.
Anyway, you probably just want to dive right into the story, so I'll stop typing. :)
Hope you enjoy it.
P.S. If you haven't already checked it out, I posted a Carlos's POV of chapter one on my page. It's called "The Chase." It's about what was going through Carlos's mind while he was being chased by our favorite little companion: Dude.
That was a special request one-shot, so I hope it met expectations. :)
UP A TREE
"No! Stop!" The shouts of terror could be heard louder and louder as Ben got closer to the source.
He had trailed behind them with a light jog, as they sped towards the woods. He knew that the poor villain boy was terrified beyond belief of his pursuer, but Ben also knew that he was in no real danger, even if Carlos thought otherwise. That brought Ben to another string of thought: Why was he so terrified by this harmless little guy, in the first place? Dude would never hurt anyone. It was out of character for a person who had lived on an island with the world's most notorious villains, who most likely had come into contact with far scarrier monsters, and yet a dog was more couldn't wrap his head around it, especially since he had already seen some of those nightmares from the island branded on Carlos's arms.
In a way, this situation was both entirely humorous and also incredibly sad, because even though it was completely silly to watch a nearly full-grown teenager run away from the world's sweetest dog, it was also a cold reminder to Ben of just how much Carlos had suffered, if his level of fear was any indicator. Ben didn't think he'd ever seen someone that scared before, let alone feel that degree of emotion himself. We really are from two different worlds," he thought solemnly. Everyone had tried to tell him, but until this very moment, he never truly believed any of them, not even his own parents.
As Ben slowed his jogging pace even more, he called out to the other teen, "Carlos!"
Instantly a reply came, "Ben! Ben? Ben, Help Me!"
As Ben turned the corner, he was caught off guard again and met with the most amusing sight he'd ever seen. Poor Carlos was half-way up a tree that was barely twice Ben's height. Even worse, he hadn't even managed to climb all the way to the top. If he wanted to, Ben could walk over to Carlos and tug on his legs easily. Dude, himself, could propbably jump up to meet Carlos in that tree, if he really wanted to. But the cute little guy with his scruffy rust-colored coat was only looking up at the villain with wide imploring eyes. His tail was wagging happily and his tongue was hanging out of his smiling mouth. The Dog couldn't be any happier than he was in this moment, clearly enjoying the game Carlos had unknowingly created. Ironically, the aforementioned boy couldn't have looked more scared if he tried. Thank goodness trees were normally so strong and stocky, because Ben was sure Carlos could have squeezed the life at out that plant otherwise.
Ben tried to suppress his smile as he walked closer to Carlos, really unsure of what his next move should be. "Uh, ...Carl-"
"Oh, Ben! Thank God you're here!" Carlos interrupted instantly, at the sound of his savior's voice. "This thing is a killer!" He cried out, managing only to ease up on his death grip long enough to point at the monrgel between them. "He's gonna chase me down and rip out my throat! This is a vicious, rabid, pack animal!" Carlos was quickly nearing hysterics at this point. If he didn't slow his breathing down, Ben would also have to figure out how to talk someone out of a panic attack.
Yet again, Ben couldn't get more than a few words in, before being interrupted by a very scared teenager, "You shouldn't get too close! Those beasts," Carlos spit that last word out with as much hatred as his scared, adrenaline-filled body could muster, "are unpredictable. Nature's perfect abomination: first, it'll lure you in with those doe eyes, then it'll try to lick you with its poisonous tongue-"
"Poisonous tongue?" Ben repeated in confusion.
Carlos, however, was speaking so fervently, that he hadn't even noticed Ben had spoken at all. Instead, he just continued on with is rant, "-in a sweet gesture, before it'll bite into your neck and rip out your jugular, leaving you to bleed out, while that monster tries to burry you alive!" Ben didn't think Carlos took a single breathe during that very elaborate description. Actually, the teen had almost lost his balance up there in that tree, a few times thanks to his wild hand gestures.
Again trying not to laugh at the young villain's very creative imagination, Ben tried to gain some control over this situation, before Carlos sent himself flying out of that tree in fear. Fairy Godmother might be renowned as a powerful wielder of magic, but even she is no miracle worker. Any injuries Carlos sustained if he didn't calm down would most definitely take months to heal. So Ben took a deep breathe, and tried talking to him, "Carlos, you seem to know a lot about these creatures, dont you?" In response, Carlos just nodded vigorously as he held on tightly to that tree with all his limbs wrapped around it. "I'm assuming you don't have dogs on the Isle, right? So how do you know so much about them? Who told you all that?" Ben was trying to get Carlos to talk... about anything really. If he could use questions to calm him down, maybe he could get through to him. Not only that, but Ben was also curious as to the source of this fountain of information. Clearly, there were no dogs on the Isle, otherwise Carlos would have known that everything he thought he knew about dogs were false. They could be rabid animals if trained to be, but normally they were just a man's best friend.
"My mother, of course," Carlos stated this so matter of factly, that this time, Ben was the one who was almost thrown off balance .
"Cruella? Cruella DeVil? She's the one telling you all this?" Ben asked automatically. He was too shocked to say much else.
"She's a dog expert. A 'dog yellerer,'" Carlos explained further as if it were the most obvious thing on the planet.
"Sure, what a great expert." Ben mumbled to himself sarcastically. "All she ever did was 'yell' at dogs." Ben had to restrain from rolling his eyes. He was far more upset about this nugget of information than he expected. I should have known it was her. How could she willingly tell such lies to her own son. She had to know how much she scared him. Ben couldn't help but picture a small child, no bigger than five, hugging a tattered blanket and shaking in fear, as his mother happily told him horribly exaggerated stories of dogs at their worst. She would laugh cruelly at her son in amusement, while he visibly grew three shades paler. At these mental images, the soon-to-be king could barely hold back his anger. What a mean-spirited thing to do, he thought.
"Uh, listen man." Carlos said hesitantly, startling Ben out of his mental soliloquy. In a quieter voice, Carlos mumbled,"I can't believe I am doing this," before continuing his exchage with Ben. "I appreciate you coming after me and all, but you should go."
At this, Ben couldn't help but produce a very confused expression. "Go?" he repeated. This made no sense; Carlos was clearly scared out of his mind. Why would he tell him to go? How would me leaving help him at all? Ben wondered.
Sounding a bit sheepish, as if he too couldn't believe the words coming out of his mouth, Carlos responded, "Yeah, go. Man, you should get your ass out of here before that mangy animal, decides to turn you into his next chew toy. It's a wonder he hasn't already, especially since you are so close to that... that... that thing." Ben could tell Carlos's anxiety was increasing, but the white-haired teen still kept insisting that he get away, and worst yet, that he leave said teen behind.
Was Carlos trying to save me? Ben was pretty sure his mouth was hanging open from what just happened, but he was to shocked with happiness to care. He knew that not everyone on the Isle of the Lost was evil, and he knew that out of everyone stuck there, the descendants, especially, should at least be given a chance to show the world who they are. After all, the only crime for which they were being punished was having villains as parents, and something tells Ben that that may be punishment enough. Although he knew in his gut that this was all true, it's something else entirely to witness the proof right in front of your eyes; not just a feeling of blind trust, but solid evidence that there was good in them. He knew this all along... well, 'hoped' is a more appropriate term. He hoped that good existed inside them, but to actually witness such a selfless act was more than he ever thought possible, especially in such a short time. This day can't possible get any weirder, if it tried.
Ben couldn't help the smile that formed on his face now. He wasn't even trying to hide it, as he walked closer to Dude and bent down to pick him up. The dog responded to this action by licking Ben's face fondly. It was very clear, that Dude was having a great time. It was probably the most fun he's had in a while.
Carlos's face went from confused to shocked to untilmately alarmed, as he feared for Ben's safety, "Why are you holding him? He's going to attack you!" At the bigger smile that spread across Ben's face, Carlos started to panic that the other teen was not understanding the urgency of the situation. "I am serious! Ben-"
This time it was Carlos that got interrupted, "Carlos, you've never actually met a dog, have you?" Ben simply continued to pet Dude's back, while allowing the dog to lick his face some more. His tail couldn't wag any faster if it tried.
"OF COURSE NOT!" Carlos answered instantaneously.
Ben let out a small chuckle at the other boy's intensity. "Carlos, I need you to look at me," because at that moment Carlos could not keep his eyes off the mutt. He preferred to stare daggers at it while waiting for the attack to come and wondering how he was going to be able to save Ben in time. At hearing his name, however, Carlos looked up at his soon to be mangled friend, in surprise. He didn't seem worried at all, and he was the one holding that damn thing. "Good," Ben said when Carlos met his eyes. "I know you're scared, but you can trust me when I say you are in no danger here." Ben said each word very slowly, hoping that what he was trying to say was getting through to the other teen.
Carlos looked skeptical and was about to interrupt, but Ben didn't let him, not this time, "Everything your mother told you about dogs is a lie. You don't need to be scared of them; they won't hurt you, especially Dude. That's his name by the way," Ben elaborated that last part when he saw a small smile appear on Carlos's lips after hearing the dog's name. "Oh yeah, you guys haven't been officially introduced, have you? Carlos, this is Dude. Dude, meet Carlos." At that last part, the dog gave a loud, energetic bark, as if he was trying to say "Hello." Even Carlos seemed to understand the little guy, because he managed another small smile. "He's the campus mutt... well, more like mascot." Ben gave a laugh at this, remembering how much the dog loved to be arround the students, and how, technically, no pets were allowed on school grounds, but he was the exception. "Making him the school's mascot," Ben explained, "was actually the only way we were allowed to keep him, given the school's rule and all. He loves it here, loves being around all the students and even loves to train with the team. Making him a mascot was the most obvious choice." Ben hoped that by telling Carlos all this, he would see how harmless the little dog really was. "We all love him and he loves us." As if he understood every word Ben said, the dog gave another happy bark and licked him all over his face. Ben, then, looked up at Carlos seriously and said, "And all this time that he has been with us, Dude has never hurt a single person. He hasn't even peed on someone yet, though I think some of my team members have tried to persuade him." Carlos barely suppressed the small laugh that escaped with a cough. "Not to mention, how many homework assignments they tried to have Dude chew up." Ben laughed at his own memory, "It never worked. Dude's too smart to fall for it." Yet again, the dog barked happily at being complimented, even Carlos could see the smile on that fury face.
"He doesn't look like a rabid pack animal," Carlos said tentatively, as he seemed to visibly relax. Ben continued to hug and pet the dog, in a gesture to show Carlos that there was nothing to fear.
"No, he doesn't," Ben replied, looking towards the little fur ball with much affection, as a smile crept onto his features. Ben clearly cared about the dog, it was obvious by the look on his face.
The sandy-haired teen was so focused on Dude that it nearly shocked him to see a very tentative hand reach out to stroke Dude's fur. That hand was accompanied by a very unsteady voice, clearly trying to stay calm, "I guess he's not too bad from this angle." Some time after Ben began stroking the dog fondly, Carlos had found the courage to leave the tree, and inch his way closer to the pair. Carlos was so mesmerized by the lovingly affectionate moment infront of him that he had unconsciously reached out. Carlos had yet to realise this, but deep down he too just wanted to be loved and cared for in much the same way that Dude was.
Ben followed the hand, that had joined him on Dude's back, to its owner. After the shock wore off of seeing Carlos actually petting the animal that a few minutes ago he swore would eat him alive, a truly happy smile spread across Ben's lips. This wasn't the same smile he gave Dude a moment ago. No, this was the smile of a person that had just gained a most precious gift, because in that moment, Ben knew that he had just gained a good friend. He had somehow unintentionally won over one of the villain kids.
"No. No he's not," Ben finally responded. He wasn't sure how he did it, but some how, Carlos had trusted him. Only three more to go, he added jokingly in his mind.
By now, Carlos had obtained more confidence with the dog. He even had the courage to stroke the spot behind Dude's ear, when just a moment ago, he was barely using the tips of his figures. Slowly, Carlos's fear was going away, as he realized Dude wasn't going to hurt him. "He's kind of cute," Carlos added, now using two hands to rub both sides of the dog's face, which Dude was very much enjoying.
Ben couldn't believe his eyes. Yet again, Carlos had surprised him by the sudden turn of events. If he didn't hold on tight, he was sure to wake up with whiplash tomorrow morning. You wouldn't know it from simply meeting Carlos, but the boy's very considerate of others and far braver than probably even he knows. After all, Ben had just witnessed great acts of kindness and bravery that he wouldn't even expect from the sons and daughters of legendary heroes.
"Yes. Yes he is," he responded to Carlos's comment. Eventually, Ben would regain his capabilities to string more complex words together to form a more intelligent sentence, but for now this was all his shocked brain could muster.
Believe it or not, this whole chapter was only meant to be about two paragraphs long, but somehow it kept growing.
I had to cut it off at some point, so I'm sorry for the cliffhanger. But hey, at least that means there will be another chapter to look forward to.
After all, I have yet to use Carlos as a medium to tell Ben about the horrors on the Isle of the Lost.
Until we meet again in the next chapter ;)