Title: An Aftermath of Regret
Author: Remember Me Never
Category: Cartoon Network Universe: FusionFall (Retro)
Disclaimer: I do not, nor will I ever, own the rights to the above mentioned series.
Author Note: Somewhat inspired by the amazing lightning_bird (Dexter totally got adopted by the professor, fight me). Written for a fiction class a few years ago, and re-edited since I got bit by the inspiration bug a year ago.
In honor of FusionFall Retro, here we go.
- Remember Me Never (10/2/2019)
An Aftermath of Regret
It was the waiting that was the hardest. Sitting in a SCAMPER transport, clenching a ripped blanket to his torn up arm, hoping beyond hope that Nigel would get it over with, just come over and tell him just how badly he messed up and relieve him of duty. Around him, about fifty teen volunteer soldiers sat, quietly whimpering through the cold and pain of their injuries and trying to make sense of the absolute mess that was their failed attempt to save the Denver suburbs.
Surprisingly, nothing happened. No angry Nigel, no furious Wallabee, not even a message from a pissed off Mandy demanding his immediate presence. He was left alone during the entire flight, quietly sitting and psyching himself out about the battle. The only thing said to him was to get his "Hero butt down to Medical before they sicked Kuki on him" as they finally landed at headquarters nearly two hours later.
He went. He practically ran to the elevators. If they were threatening him with Kuki, that only meant that two of his best friend's sisters (one biological, one not) would be a few steps behind. Not even he could survive the three teen girls and their obsession with a children's toy line featuring rainbows and monkeys.
"Well, the prodigal hero has arrived."
He paused a few steps from the entrance of the Medical unit. "I really don't want to deal with you right now Kevin." Lately, he was never in the mood to deal with his cousin's boyfriend.
The nineteen year old easily stepped in front of him, blocking the doorway. "Nice screw up. What were they thinking when they put you in charge?"
"Get out of my way." He tried to step passed him, but the older teen wasn't having it.
"Yeah, how about no. Gwen's hurt. It's your fault."
He stepped back sharply, biting back a cry from his injuries being tugged and dragged against the fabric of his green cloth jacket. "She - Wait, she wasn't even supposed to be in Denver. Why was - Were both of you-"
"Trying to help? Uh, because that's what we do. What you used to do before you started following that psycho Mandy and the little Brainiac freak like a lost little puppy."
"Damn it Tennyson, if she doesn't wake up..." The man was furious. Not that he had to look at his face or even listen to him to have even the remotest idea. All he had to do was duck the first punch.
Kevin's fist flew out, narrowing missing his aching head. He stumbled to the side, using the wall as leverage as the world tried to spin. Yep, totally have another concussion. He pulled back to the next swing.
The sound of a clearing throat made both teens freeze. "Mr. Levin, is there any reason you're trying to take Ben's head off?"
Ben let his vision clear. Being vertical, dealing with Kevin's general annoyance, and trying to dodge his fists was definitely not the best thing for him right about now. "Hey Professor," he muttered, giving the man a small hint of a grin.
Kevin started spluttering. "We're just talkin'. It's a free country."
Professor Patrick Utonium walked up until he stood in between the teens. Taller than Kevin's six feet, he gave the young man an intimidating glare. "Talking doesn't involve swinging your fists like a Neanderthal, nor does it have anything to do with denying someone medical treatment." The professor let a growl settle in his voice, his "I'm a father to three superpowered teenage girls and a super genius do not fuck with me" voice that he only uses when someone threatens said family. And since Ben happened to be the best friend of said super genius...
"He got Gwen hurt!"
"You and Gwen were supposed to be in Atlanta, if I read the reports right. You two went to Denver on your own whim. Ben, did you know they were there?" Professor Utonium turned to look at the youngest teen, taking in the green jacket that now was starting to dot with flakes of red.
"Only towards the end. I thought I saw Gwen, but I was sure it was just a trick of light," he said. "Or just wishful thinking on my concussion's part." He mumbled the last part, just loud enough for the Professor to hear. He saw Utonium's mouth twitch, barely keeping a smirk off of his face.
Neither Ben or the Professor had to say another word. Kevin gave them a glare and started down the hall. Anyone who happened to be his way immediately moved, lest they be on the receiving end of his temper.
With the nuisance gone, Professor Utonium focused on Ben. "Alright, you've been held up enough. Let's get you bandaged up."
Ben gave the older man a small smile, took a step, and collapsed.
Opening his eyes, he wasn't surprised that he was staring at a bland white ceiling. He was stretched out on the comfy bed in the guest room of the Utonium apartment. A quick glance showed that he was only in his jeans, his shirt and jacket replaced with stark, soft, white bandages.
He took a deep breath and started pushing himself up. The second his back was off the bed, his arm gave out, sending him right back down. He bit his lip to keep from screaming in pain. What the hell?
It took a while for the room to stop spinning. "Alright," he murmured. "Maybe getting up isn't the best idea right now." When everything stopped looking like a painting from Picasso, he braced himself again. This time he just turned his head, ignoring the spinning sensation that it quickly brought with it.
Finally, he spotted what he was looking for: his green cell phone laying on the nightstand. He took a breath and reached out, his body screaming in pain from having to move to get the piece of tech.
Once in hand, he quickly sent a short text. 'How long was I out?'
Only a moment later, an answer appeared on the screen. 'Two days. Dad is on his way. Do not think of moving from that bed, Mr. Tennyson.'
Ben let a smile touch his face. It didn't matter how much pain he was in, how much regret tainted his soul. All he needed to do was make contact with the young man that had quickly become something like a brother to him, and everything felt a little less insane, a little more in control.
'The moment I can, I'm buying you chili fries at Mr. Smoothie.' He sent it just as the door opened. Professor Utonium looked better than before, a little less stress and sleep deprived.
"Hello Ben. How are you feeling?" He asked, approaching the bed.
Ben gave what he hoped was a reassuring smile. "Better than before, which isn't saying much. I think I got hit by Fuse's entire army," he grumbled.
The Professor shook his head good naturally and started changing his bandages. "Ben, did you know just how hurt you really are?"
The teen shook his head. "Um... concussion, a couple pulled muscles, and that giant scrape on my arm. I think that was it."
"You're forgetting the badly sprained ankle, the near-dislocated shoulder, the six gouges on you back that alone have nearly thirty stitches... How you were even walking, I have no idea."
Ben let his humor fade. "I honestly didn't know. Adrenaline does that, especially when half of those things are completely focused on you. I guess I just tuned out my body and just kept pushing." Another thing he messed up. If he kept this up, he'd be dead before he turned nineteen.
Utonium helped him turn over. He clenched the duvet tightly as he was moved, not wanting to cry out. Every nerve in his body was on fire, dulling out his consciousness and making it hard to even focus on the changing view. He was carefully settled on his stomach. Black stops started filling his vision, a roar overtaking the Professor's voice.
He let it all fade away. He just couldn't handle it right now.
The room was in shadows when he woke again. This time his body was screaming. Instead, he felt like he was floating on air.
"Ben?" A voice to his left tried to catch his attention, but he didn't turn. Things were slowly fading again. "Ben? Dad!"
A cool hand settled on his forehead. Fingers took his pulse. Voices spoke above him, fading in and out, never in any language he could speak. Sometimes there was laughter, but he wasn't sure.
Something was wrong, he was sure of it. He felt... drugged. Was he hallucinating?
The darkness tried to close in on him again. This time he tried to fight it, tried to focus. The voices were still jumbled. Some sounded frantic. Another was filled with fury. A female voice broke through, this one tainted by fear. The light touches became pulls and grabs. His body was in motion.
Everything spiraled away. His eyes flickered open long enough to see Dexter standing over him, horror filling his pale face.
The world went black.
It was the sound of a steady beeping that brought him back. The sting of an iv in the back of his hand gave him something to focus on. His eyes felt glued down.
"How is he?" A soft voice, one he grew up with, suddenly overtook the beeping.
"Ben is- healing. Slowly. It will be awhile before the doctors ease him out of the coma." That voice he knew. The Russian accent that was normally filled with an intelligent arrogance, now tainted by worry. But for what?
"Do you think he will remember what happened? According to Kevin, he was conscious for the first few days."
"He may, he may not. It depends on how resilient his mind is. They tortured him, Miss Tennyson, just form information. The fact that he survived the nine days..."
He made his hand twitch. Just a bit. A gloved hand carefully cradled it and lightly squeezed back. "In light of recent developments, I think Ben will be fine. When he wakes, we can tell him everything."
Ben opened his eyes.