Seconds to Shatter

by thunder-fish

Being a continuation of what I started in A Moment of Silence. Yes, it's more Ben/Dexter slash, so if it's not to your taste, oh well. Fusion Fall and all the characters therein are the property of Cartoon Network and their respective creators.

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Trust takes years to build, yet seconds to shatter.

Chapter 1: Kiss and Tell

"You know, Tennyson, much as I love your cousin, there are time when I just don't get her."

"Like right now, I take it."

"Yeah."

"You mean Gwen - or women in general?"

"Yeah."

Ben grinned at Kevin's frustrated tone, sympathetic for his friend. Gwen certainly had her moments, and it seemed of late she'd had more than her fair share. He suspected it was because his cousin hadn't spent as much time around Kevin as she'd like and she took that resentment out on the very person whose company she wanted. More immersed in the Fusion Invasion than the two Plumbers, Ben hadn't been around so often to take some of the pressure off of Kevin, leaving the nineteen-year-old right in the cross-hairs.

"What's so funny?" glowered Kevin, catching sight of Ben's impish smile.

"You two are like an old married couple."

"I dunno if I'll ever live so long," muttered Levin, producing a chuckle out of Ben. He chose a wrench from the tools laid out beside him, pointing it at the brunet as he said, "You won't be so amused when you're getting serious with someone."

"Why does everything have to be serious?" challenged Ben, stretching his long legs out as he sat on the edge of a packing crate. As he spoke he thought of Dexter and the loving, teasing, give-and-take they shared. Most of what he and Dexter had was fun - they enjoyed one another's company, knew how to drive each other nuts, and when they disagreed (a rare event, and usually Ben did so to get Dexter's Irish up so he could enjoy the accented rants his boyfriend was so good at) they usually just agreed to disagree before carrying on a campaign to convert the other to their way of thinking. A faint smile lingered on his face as Ben remembered Dexter going on and on as to why Kirk was a better captain than Picard and how Ben was betraying good plots for special effects. The sputtering and indignation had been epic and Ben was pretty sure he'd be amused forever.

Kevin gave him a keen look, wondering at the statement and the smile. Ben spoke as if he had a clue, which was impossible unless . . . "What? You going out with someone that you'd know? Who?"

"Ah!" Ben raised his hand in an open-handed gesture of denial. He tried to brush off the very suggestion but Kevin wasn't the sort of person he could casually dismiss – he knew Ben too well. He'd known all along he wouldn't be able to entirely hide the fact that he was out of the dating pool from his cousin and one of his best friends. Still, there was no way he was going to mention what he and Dexter had together. He'd learned that lesson the hardest way imaginable and not for anything would he put Dexter at risk again. Besides, what was between him and the redhead was extremely precious and private and nothing he could share without permission. He could just imagine the look he'd get if he walked up to Dexter and said, Hey, Dex, okay if I tell Kevin all about us? The resulting glare would leave third-degree sunburns straight through his clothes. Aloud he said, "I don't kiss and tell. I'm just saying you should have fun with it."

"I don't believe you."

"Whatever." He shrugged. "That doesn't change anything."

Kevin stared at him, narrow-eyed. "What's her name?"

"Not telling," Ben replied smartly, mentally kicking himself. He should have known Kevin would fixate on this.

"What she look like?"

"Not telling."

"So how far'd you get?"

"Oh, I'm really not telling you that."

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"Nowhere, then."

Ben just smiled and shook his head and Kevin caught the faint smirk. It was a testimony to how well he knew Ben that the look gave him pause. No twitching left eye. No blushing. No stuttered excuses. He was too confident and smug - he was up to something . . . or someone. Kevin found himself staring, astounded at the notion of Ben Tennyson in a serious relationship. His mind raced through a dozen scenarios and imaginings, each more scandalous and charged (and patently impossible, given that this was Tennyson, the original girly nerd) than the last.

"Tennyson, you dog," Kevin finally sneered, playing for time and information. "You got one in every station, or what?"

"You trying to live vicariously through me?" He made a face and snorted softly in disgust at the suggestion. "Get a life, Kev."

"So what do you have, lover boy?"

Ben stood and displayed the clipboard he'd been given earlier by the KND second-in-command. "I have work to do. See ya."