Only Fools Rush In, part 5/12 (2015-08-03)

If asked for which moment Ben fell in love with Carlos, he wouldn’t be able to say. There was no single moment, but a collection of moments, and the gradual learning of who Carlos was as a person.

It might have begun that very first day, a wide-eyed boy with chocolate smeared all over his face and hands. Lost and scared in a strange new world, not hesitating to reach out for comfort when startled.

Or maybe it was the following day, when, instead of giving up in the face of Coach’s discouragement, he stayed. Even if he didn’t have Jay’s natural talent, he still wanted to try, would have extra practices to improve.

It definitely included that first extra practice, if something interrupted in the first five minutes could be considered such. Despite the fear of dogs so ingrained into him, he had made himself vulnerable at Ben’s reassurance. Had reached out a fearful, trembling hand to touch a creature from his nightmares because he trusted Ben. Trusted him enough to share what life was like back on the Isle.

There are many more moments after that, more than Ben could differentiate between and say “There, then, that’s when I fell in love.” Small moments, fleeting moments, smiles and laughs and wide eyes and tentative, shaking hands; more than Ben even remembers.

Here is one such moment:

Many people forget, for all that Ben is a king among princes, he has a fairly humble heritage. Yes, his father was royalty, and his father before him. But his mother? She was not. And her father? He was considered the village lunatic.

People remember his father’s physical metamorphosis; when prompted they can also remember his behavioral change. But more and more often his mother’s willingness to think differently, to be different, has been brushed aside. And his grandfather is hardly ever mentioned at all. So it’s a surprise when someone actually talks to Ben about his grandfather; especially when it’s without the context of being his grandfather.

Ben is waiting out on the tourney field for Carlos, fidgeting with impatience. He’s not annoyed, he’s eager. He always looks forward to their private training, though this is before he realizes why.

Ben is considering leaving–to search for Carlos, because maybe he’s gotten lost, the Lost kids are still fairly new to campus–when he hears Carlos’ voice call out. He’s running out of the locker rooms, practice uniform only partially on and completely askew. Ben can’t help the smile that curls onto his face at the sight.

“I’m here, I’m here,” Carlos yelps, voice muffled through his shirt, still curled up over his head.

“Let me help you with that,” Ben murmurs, reaching over to help tug clothes into their proper places, until Carlos’ flushed face peeks out.

“Thanks,” Carlos says, smiling, and Ben has to say something, anything, or else he’ll end up just staring.

“What happened? You didn’t get lost, did you?”

“No, well, sort of–earlier I did,” he stammers, “I found this shed full of stuff, but then I got caught–I mean, then I met this old man, Moe. He’s an inventor…”

“Moe?” Ben interjects, wondering.

“Well, he said to call him Moe. Anyway, he showed me some of his machines, and I guess I got caught up,” Carlos explains.

“Oh,” and because he couldn’t help himself, Ben asks, “What do you think of Moe?”

He’s preparing himself for something unflattering, like what he usually encounters, so he isn’t surprised when he hears–

“He’s a little weird…”

–but then when Carlos concludes–

“… and absolutely brilliant.”

Carlos has no idea who Moe, Maurice, really is, or who he is to Ben, and so his oblivious admiration is all the more honest. Ben can’t help but be charmed.


A/N: Uhh…. um. First off, let’s pretend it’s before midnight still. And, second, let’s also pretend like part four wasn’t a cliff-hanger involving Chad and instead have this rambling interlude about Crazy Old Maurice for part five.

I don’t know?! I wrote myself into a corner with part four and I was like… what do I even know about Chad? NOTHING. Then I was like, what do I even want him to be like? AAAAGH. So I just… pushed that Ben – Chad confrontation to later 😛

Mrghle. Just… feel free to ignore this installment.

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