Ain’t No Rest, part 10/? (2015-10-16)

All of this is very surreal, Ben thinks, as he carefully pokes at the scrambled eggs in the frying pan in front of him. Him, in pajamas, standing in his kitchen cooking a very late breakfast. His ex-girlfriend, perfectly dressed, sitting poised in one of the tall chairs for his dining table across from his current houseguest. An escapee from the Isle of the Lost.

“The season that you took over was my favorite, really,” Carlos says candidly, before smearing a thick layer of jam on his toast and shoving half of it into his mouth.

An escapee from the Isle of the Lost who is somehow better at media runaround than Ben–even though he’s been trained on this since childhood and again as part of Knight lessons.

“I’m not surprised, that season was the most popular even in other countries. A fresh face does wonders for a dying series. Although, I didn’t know you got reception on the Isle,” Audrey preens, delicately sipping at her no-pulp orange juice and leaving a pink lip stain on her glass.

Beneath the table, Dude has settled into a reluctant silence, his Audrey-induced growling abated mostly by Carlos’ gentle and rhythmic foot nudging.

Bemused, Ben turns back to the frying pan.

“We don’t. Well, not really. It’s more like we don’t have TVs on the Isle to receive signal. But I’m pretty good with machines,” Carlos says through a mouthful of food.

In disgust, Audrey looks away, “I suppose you don’t have manners on the Isle, either?” Half-heartedly she adds, “Is that why you left?”

Even Ben knows how much of a reach that was, and he figures the eggs are as good as they’re going to get. He turns off the heat, scrapes them onto two plates, and sits himself at the table as well. One plate goes in front of him, the other in front of Carlos.

“You sure you don’t want any, Audrey?” he asks, mostly sarcastic.

“As if,” She scoffs, “If I remember your cooking correctly, those eggs are probably somehow runny, rubbery, and burnt all at the same time.”

And… well… she’s not wrong. Ben pushes around the mess on his plate.

“They taste okay to me,” Carlos volunteers, after trying a bite. It must not be a lie because he keeps eating them, but Ben can’t help but mirror Audrey’s skeptical expression.

“Really?” Audrey asks, no longer a reporter but a person honestly mystified.

“They smell okay, so it’s already a lot better than the eggs on the Isle,” Carlos says with a shrug.

“Okay as in what?” this time, Ben asks.

“Okay as in not rotten,” Carlos clarifies, “Eggs are kind of a luxury on the Isle–non-spoiled ones, anyway–they are a good source of protein and all that. But they aren’t all that high a priority during barge runs, even if we’ve been getting first pick. And it’s rare to actually find a non-broken, non-spoiled egg so…” he shrugs again, though his shoulders don’t quite come back down after, and focuses on his breakfast.

Ben and Audrey look at him, then at each other, ill at ease. Of course rubbery, burnt eggs would taste okay in comparison to rotting food. Having no TVs is one thing. But not having edible food? Barge runs?

What–

“What was life on the Isle like?” Audrey breathes out, horrified, somehow thumbing guiltily at the condensation beading along her glass of orange juice.

Carlos glances towards Ben for something like reassurance, then faces Audrey, “Is this still off the record?”

Audrey hesitates, and for that second Ben earnestly shoots her a glare, but she rallies herself. All of her emotions–her shock, her pettiness, her concern–tucked away behind pure professionalism. “Do you want it to be?”

Carlos answers.

~

A/N: I swear to god this story! Argh! Literally every chapter I have one thing planned and instead it goes in a completely different direction. I am barely stringing together a sentence when suddenly my brain goes–oh, wait, what if instead of that thing you already plotted out I did this thing instead? WHYYYYYY BRAIN WHYYYYYY.

That being said, because I have no idea what this story is doing I am even more invested in writing this because I AM SO CURIOUS AS TO WHAT IS HAPPENING.

Ain’t No Rest, part 8/? (2015-09-29)

Carlos wakes up to a persistent ringing noise, a small furry face huffing dog breath right into his nose, and in a bed that definitely isn’t his. He’s not sure which problem to fix first–isn’t sure if he should even bother to fix anything. He’s on the edge between sleep and wakefulness and it’d be pretty easy to slip back down into sleep.

Except for that damn ringing noise.

Carlos groans, alerting Dude to his conscious state, and he has to move his head away from Dude’s well-intended but currently unappreciated doggy kisses. Might as well stick his head underneath the pillow to muffle the noise as well.

Prey having escaped, Dude jumps down off the bed and out the slightly ajar door. The doorbell, for that’s what the ringing must have been–though the doorbell at Hell Hall sounded different than that–stops, too, leaving Carlos in peace.

For about three seconds.

Because then Dude starts barking and growling, and then there’s the Knight’s voice saying something, and someone else’s voice–a woman’s–shouting back and nope. No way is Carlos going to be able to sleep through this.

Quietly–not that he would be heard over the ruckus happening outside his room–he tiptoes out of bed, straightening the sleeping clothes Ben loaned him as best he could. Without the tough leather of his jacket, or his steel-enforced boots, he feels soft. He feels vulnerable with his gang so far away–they’ve never been so separate before, even before they became a gang, the Isle is so small.

But Evie said he would be safe with the Knight, with Ben. He smooths his hands over the soft, plain shirt, before stepping closer to the bedroom door.

The voices become more distinct–actual words instead of just noise–and eavesdropping is a perfectly legitimate form of information gathering.

The woman’s voice curls around Dude’s continuous barking and growling, “–can’t believe you still have this mutt. This whole kind to animals phase was acceptable in high school, maybe, but we’re adults now, Benny–”

“Dude isn’t a phase!” Ben interrupts, almost a growl of his own, “And how did you even get in?”

“You gave me a key, Benny-boo, don’t you remember?” The woman says, high, lilting, like she owns the place.

Carlos can feel his muscles tense, preparing to flee. It reminds him of their mothers, back on the Isle, how everything they wanted was so easily taken.

“That was when we were still dating, Audrey, I asked for my spare key back.”

“And I gave it back,” the woman, Audrey, responds coyly, “After I made a copy, of course…” And maybe that was meant to be flirtatious, the pause in conversation implying some kind of seductive motion that Carlos can’t see, but instead:

“Will you shut that mongrel up!” She shouts, clearly irritated by how unromantic a barking dog can make a situation.

For some reason, it almost makes Carlos smile, even though he peeks out the door in concern for Dude. He knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of that kind of irritation. Knows what it’s like to be on the wrong side of that phrase, actually.

The apartment size and layout being what it is makes guest bedroom door visible to the rest of the apartment. Extremely so.

So despite how quiet Carlos is in comparison to their argument, his movement is still very obvious. Three pairs of eyes catch on him and immediately Carlos regrets his actions.

To be honest, Audrey doesn’t look like much of a threat; she doesn’t look real–all pastels and perfectly put together–it’s entirely different from the world Carlos is used to on the Isle. Where grays and browns are the default, and colors are bright and loud and poisonous.

But Dude runs towards Carlos, wheeling around and standing guard, hackles raised and growling in her direction. Even Ben, from his spot further away, takes a few steps closer.

“Carlos–”

But Audrey is already near, and Dude not much of a deterrent. She turns towards Carlos, and smiles.

“Carlos, is it?” She asks, and there’s something in her hand, something she’s pointing in his direction. “Benny didn’t tell me he had a guest over.”

“Damn it, Audrey, I said no comment!”

But Audrey ignores him, focussed entirely on Carlos, “How about an interview?” She asks, recorder already on, “An escapee from the Isle of the Lost? My ratings will go through the roof!”

~

A/N: Ta-da! Ain’t No Rest update.

Surprise, Audrey is in journalism.

Also, bigger surprise, I actually barely made my midnight deadline! Wooooow.

Ain’t No Rest, part 7/? (2015-09-22)

Ben has no idea what the hell he is doing. Stopping a prisoner from getting harassed, sure, okay. Offering his own home as a place to stay? What.

“What am I doing?” Ben exhales, hands tightening their grip around the steering wheel. It’s six in the morning, the sun peaking over the horizon, and the roads are beginning to fill with other cars–early commuters, or morning deliveries and the like.

Carlos, who got a few hours of sleep in the holding cell, is nonetheless dozing in the passenger seat, head lolled back against the window. With his hair drying out into fluffy tufts, he doesn’t look like a threat to Ben who, even running on fumes, is a highly trained Knight.

Then again, it wasn’t Cruella de Vil’s physical prowess which made her so fearsome.

It’s very possible that Ben might die today.

“Fuck it, I’m too tired.”

Ben pulls in to his assigned parking spot, thankfully not stolen by anyone–though, really, who would that early in the morning. He hesitates for a few moments, unsure exactly how to wake up his passenger, before reminding himself that he is in fact a fully trained Knight and probably has several inches and several pounds worth of muscle on Carlos. There’s nothing to be worried about.

As it is, when Ben gently nudges his shoulder, Carlos’ reflexive flailing does manage to smack Ben in the eye. He ends up banging his own head into the window, though, so the two of them spend the next couple of minutes moaning in pain.

“Ow, okay, well. We’re here,” Ben says, inanely, rubbing gently at his eye. Oh god, he’s so tired.

Carlos says nothing in response, but follows Ben to his apartment easily enough, yawning all the way.

Ben’s apartment is on the third floor which, normally, means an invigorating walk up the stairs but at the moment is a gruesome climb that has both he and Carlos dragging their feet, nearly misstepping, and tripping on multiple occasions.

“Welcome to my apartment,” Ben says around a yawn, scrounging for the dregs of manners buried deep beneath the heavy weariness. Carlos, too, looks just as ready to go back to sleep.

Until Ben opens the door, that is; at which point Carlos screams and throws himself backwards until he hits the wall of the hallway with a loud bang.

Alert now, Ben scans his apartments for threats, sees nothing, looks again for anything even remotely scary, and only sees his apartment. Kind of messy, but not too bad.

Oh, and Dude who, being so small kind of just… walked below Ben’s line of sight to leave the apartment and sniff in interest at Carlos. Carlos who appears to be scrabbling at the walls in an attempt to climb out of reach.

Confused, but strangely, a little charmed, Ben reaches out to lift Dude up and away. “It’s just Dude. He won’t hurt you. He’s my dog,” It might be more accurate to say, he was a stray dog that wandered the campus of Ben’s high school until Ben decided to just take him home after graduation.

Carlos does not look at all reassured.

“Have you… not seen a dog before?”

“There aren’t any on the Isle. Mom says–” Carlos starts, only to cut himself off with a shuttered expression. Probably deciding it’s for the best not to bring up his mother, cop killer, around someone who works in law enforcement.

“Well, I don’t know what you’ve been told. But this particular dog is friendly. He’s just curious. Here, do you want to pet him? He likes it when you scratch behind his ears.” Ben says, carefully stepping closer so Carlos can reach easily.

It seems to work, Dude licks playfully at Carlos arm and the boy smiles back. Ben can feel the brief rush of alertness fade away, back to the persistent sleepiness.

“Okay, let’s get you settled inside, so all three of us can hopefully get some rest,” he says, about to lower Dude to the ground but deciding instead to hold him out to Carlos. Tentatively, Carlos reaches out, and Dude transfers easily between them.

Dude stays in Carlos arms the entirety of the quick tour–guest bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, living room–and when Ben retreats to his room, no more self-appointed obligations in sight, he sees Carlos set Dude gently into his doggy bed in the living room, only for the dog to hop back out and follow Carlos to the guest bedroom.

Well, they do say dogs are a good judge of character.

~

A/N: ARGH, okay, okay. I don’t know why this series is so frustrating to me. BUT I’M GOING TO DO THIS… BELIEVE IT.

I have maybe been reading too many Naruto fanfic. But is there really such a thing as too many?

Untitled Benlos drabble (2015-08-11)

The C in ‘Plan C’ does not stand for coronation.

Plan A had always been their parents’ plan. Brute force, obvious, simple: use the magic mirror to find the wand, steal it, take down the barrier. It was luck on their part that the wand was being displayed in a building so close to campus, with such lax security. Even if they did have to retreat and scrap the plan after the alarms sounded.

Plan B, well, that had been in action since the very beginning. It was more their style than their parents’, a little more subtle, and maybe with time it might have worked. Carlos had been making pretty decent progress.

The B in ‘Plan B’ does not stand for Ben. But it might as well have.

Carlos just really enjoys sex, okay? He’s a teenage boy and it feels great and it’s fun to make other people feel great too. He just doesn’t like the implications that come along with it. They say he’s callous, but it’s not because he’s a snobby sadist like his mother. He’s actually rather nice–charming, one might say–it’s just that after he’s had his fun, well, he’s not obligated to fulfill any expectations, okay.

Their gang of four are notorious on the Isle–if the girls haven’t asserted their dominance over someone, or if they haven’t been robbed by Jay, then Carlos has probably seduced them then jumped out the window at the first opportunity.

To him, people are as easy to program as machines. Easier even, maybe. While Jay likes to base his flirting on his lack of sleeves, gorgeous body, and raw predatory sexuality, Carlos likes to take a more controlled approach. With Jay’s targets, if they’re not even the tiniest bit attracted to him at first sight, then there’s no helping it. Jay doesn’t chase after anyone who doesn’t want it.

But for Carlos, that’s all just part of the game. Actually, he specializes in making those who don’t want to be chased do the chasing instead.

There are a few tricks, easy body language stuff, that Carlos uses, but the bulk of his seduction is actually neuro-linguistic programming. It requires having a little knowledge on the mark, though, and since cold-reading is always a risky venture, he tends to keep first impressions… vague. Sexy, but vague.

Eye contact is an obvious one, a person can fall in love just by gazing into someone’s eyes for long enough. Not Carlos, but he’s heard it’s happened–has made it happen before. So when they are first introduced to the crown prince, Carlos makes sure to match eyes with him, gaze steady and open. But while eye contact is necessary for a good seduction, that alone is not sufficient.

Everyone knows that mouths can be the most suggestive body part, and Carlos knows his is more so than others. It’s so simple to draw attention to his mouth–smeared with that delicious sweet stuff they found in the limo. Sure it implies he’s a messy eater, but sometimes messes can be fun. How a mark decides to clean up a mess is a fantastic insight into their personality.

Ben makes it so easy, too, his fingertips automatically going to his mouth instead of the more proper option of a handkerchief or even the unrefined but impersonal wipe onto his clothes. Mimicry is another effective tool for seduction, and if Carlos’ own hand to mouth action is a little more obscene, well, like he said–messes can be fun.

It’s pretty easy to get a read off of Ben–he’s not interested in Jay’s overt masculinity, or Evie’s upfront femininity–in fact, Carlos’ biggest competition for Ben’s attention is Mal, who could not be less interested if she tried. But that in itself is informative. Ben wants to prove himself to Mal; he wants her to want his help. Ben is a provider, a protector… a hero.

Carlos can easily be someone who needs saving.

A yelp at the statue’s transformation is enough to bring Ben’s attention back from Mal onto Carlos and it starts building foundations in Ben’s mind.

Carlos needs someone to help him, to make him feel safe. Maybe that someone could be Ben.

As it turns out, Ben is almost ridiculously susceptible to neuro-linguistic programming. Or maybe just susceptible to Carlos.

After that first tourney practice, which Carlos was unsurprisingly terrible at, the coach recommended Carlos quit the team. Which would have been stupid, considering his mark is one of the players.

He had honestly expected to have to suffer through a few more such practices, pretending a steady disheartening before shyly approaching Ben for advice. After Jay’s performance during that first skirmish, Carlos would hardly have to explain why he’d decided to turn to Ben for help first.

But immediately, with barely effort on Carlos’ part, Ben volunteered himself.

An additional hour alone with his mark every day? Almost too easy.

The thing with Dude was brilliant, if Carlos may say so himself. Unplanned, of course, but still absolutely brilliant. The fleeing in fear bit was completely truthful, not just an exaggeration to foster more protectiveness in Ben. The fact that it did, though, was very helpful. Vulnerability can be attractive, Carlos knows, but he’s never encountered anyone on the Isle as attracted to it than Ben.

And “good boy?” Carlos could not have planned that any better himself. With such delicious Freudian slips like that, it’s best not to disrupt the mark’s train of thought, let them stew in their own wild imaginings with a few visuals tossed in. Carlos doesn’t get belly rubs, maybe he would like them; any positive physical contact, really, and praise is always appreciated. Carlos hasn’t been appropriately cared for, doesn’t he deserve to be cherished? Wouldn’t Ben be the best for that job?

From that point on, Carlos keeps Dude with him. Not solely for seduction–because Dude is adorable and adoring and lets Carlos hold him and pet him and dress him and Dude is Carlos’ now–but, like Dude’s introduction into Carlos life, the association of pleasant feelings and protectiveness is an excellent bonus. 

Given more time, Carlos is sure that Plan B would have worked. Hell, if the goal were just to sleep with Ben before the coronation, Carlos probably could have done it. But to make Ben so obsessed with Carlos to the point that he would not only break up with Audrey but officially declare Carlos his boyfriend? In a week? Impossible.

He says as much to the rest of the gang, a little ashamed but mostly frustrated. The coronation is their best opportunity, and Mal is the best choice to have at the front. Not only because she’s actually a girl and her gender won’t inspire political backlash–her parentage, sure, but not her gender, not like Carlos’–but because, if there’s a need for it, she can actually use the wand–again, not like Carlos.

Love potion it is, then. Carlos tells himself that its the use of magic that bugs him, not the fact that it’s Mal instead of him. He’s definitely not relieved when Evie suggests he stick close anyway, just in case.

The song was… well… ridiculous. But it may have also been the most fun he’s had since leaving the Isle, possibly the most fun he’s had without sex being involved, so he just gives in and enjoys singing and dancing with Ben while he can. 

Carlos has to coach Mal in seduction for her date, which is honestly not something he ever thought he’d have to do. Not just because people don’t date on the Isle, but because Mal has always been as uninterested in sex as Carlos has been in romance. But in such a short time, lust can be confused for love; though, with the potion is already in effect, the seduction is more of a safety net.

She’ll have to use slightly different techniques, though, because her relationship with Ben is different from Carlos’. Not that Carlos and Ben had a relationship; Carlos doesn’t do that.

Anyway, while Evie prepares Mal’s outfit, Carlos prepares her. Having been friends since they were children, Mal knows at least some of Carlos’ tricks, even if she needs a little help in polishing them up for her own use.

Eye contact? Yes. but in Mal’s case, turning away every so often might be best. She has to make Ben feel like he needs to earn her attention, either by talking more or reaching out to touch her–both outcomes are good.

Accentuating her mouth? Also a yes. Makeup can do some of the work, which Evie eagerly breaks out her lip glosses to test colors at the suggestion, but if she can add some kind of action that would be even better. Carlos is a big proponent of sensual eating.

But the hardest part for Mal? Hints of vulnerability. It goes against her nature, and Carlos has no idea how to teach someone vulnerability. But maybe in this case truth is the key.

Carlos leaves before Ben is due to pick Mal up from the girls’ dorm room. No need to complicate matters.

After the coronation, as the fireworks go off and everyone is dancing, Carlos stands aside. It’s kind of warm. He just needs some air, is all, too many people trying to breathe the same oxygen. And he didn’t get much sleep last night, so he’s a little tired and his eyes ache.

He wants Dude now.

Evie, taking her own break from dancing, stands beside him and follows his gaze. “They look good together,” she says gently. And Carlos wants to agree, wants to compliment Evie on putting together Mal’s gown because it is honestly some of her best work.

But instead, purple and blue blur together in his eyes, and Evie silently draws his face to her shoulder. It’s just the fireworks, the smoke and the light probably too much.

When Carlos composes himself, he manages to say without his voice trembling, “I guess we don’t need Plan B anymore.”

“Did you want to?” Evie asks carefully.

“I think it would have been decent,” he answers, but then they both reconsider. It’s highly doubtful Ben and Audrey have ever had sex, considering how high society Auradon acts with each other. Certainly not good sex, with the way they were both so willing to end their relationship. Carlos and Evie know Mal hasn’t, doesn’t want to.

“It would have been fun to teach him,” Carlos amends, which is in itself a confession.

“Okay,” Evie says simply, letting them stand off to the side for a few moments longer, before dragging Carlos back into the fray.

A lot of good came out of tonight. Carlos knows his future has changed for the better, there’s no need to ruin it with melancholy and random regrets. 

A few weeks after the coronation finds Carlos hanging out in the girls’ dorm room with Evie, helping out with her latest project. She’d been draping what looks to be a jacket of some sort over a chair before he came in, now Carlos is being used as a live mannequin instead. It looks more like a Lost style jacket, leather and asymmetric cuts, different than her more recent works which have been trying to incorporate Auradon’s aesthetic. But the color scheme is sea foam green and a soft maroon, more pastel than any of their gang’s colors.

“Hold still,” Evie says, when Carlos’ mind drifts away and he twitches out of her careful positioning.

“Sorry,” Carlos sighs, moving back to the original configuration, “I’ve been kind of restless recently. It’s probably because I’m not burning off so much energy at tourney practice anymore.”

“I thought you enjoyed the Future Engineers Club,” Evie says, pinning in one more fold before carefully peeling Carlos out of the jacket.

“I do,” Carlos says, because he does, “Just, you know, in comparison to running up and down a tourney field, tinkering isn’t as physically draining.”

“Are you sure it’s not because of the dry spell you’re in? It’s been a long time since the Isle,” she says. A long time since your last sexcapade, she doesn’t say.

“It’s not a dry spell, I’m just focusing on other things right now, okay. I have my whole life in front of me,” he says, and it might have been somewhat convincing if he hadn’t added, “And no one has really caught my interest… and plus, everyone has roommates.”

Her raised eyebrow is enough to show she’s unimpressed with his excuses. Especially since he’s just been repeating the same things every time he gets asked.

Doug knocks on the door, a little unnecessarily since it’s open, to get their attention, “The FEC meeting is in ten minutes.” Doug, also a member of the Future Engineers Club, has been very helpful in getting Carlos transitioned from tourney player to… well… nerd.

Fondly, Evie waves the both of them off, eager to return to work on the jacket. Now that Carlos has the answer in front of him, it’s not too difficult to figure out who it’s for. He knows that Doug and Evie aren’t dating–she wants to revel in her independence–but it’s not just friendship, and it’s clearly not sex. Carlos wants to ask, but he decides to wait, thinking he’ll have the opportunity to do so after the meeting.

He does not.

Because as the meeting lets out, Ben is standing there; far enough away from the door that the rest of the club members can leave, but close enough that he can easily see every member exiting. And every member exiting can see him.

They’re a little unnerved, because for all that Carlos is a Lost kid, he’s still a ginormous nerd who likes to build stuff out of other random stuff. He’s one of them. In comparison? Ben is the king. More than that? He’s the captain of the tourney team. He’s a jock. A nice jock, yes, but still a jock. Never mind that a few weeks ago Carlos was a jock too.

With a sigh, Doug manages to wave the rest of them off before turning to look between Carlos and Ben. Neither who have said a word since their eyes met.

“You okay?” Doug asks Carlos, reaching out for his shoulder. Suddenly, Ben looks at Doug’s hand like it had personally offended not only him but his entire kingdom.

“Yeah,” Carlos says, then, because Doug is actually very observant, he repeats more confidently, “Yes. I’ll catch up with you later.”

“Okay,” Doug nods, careful to make slow motions as he pulls his hand back and walks away.

Carlos and Ben stand in silence for a while longer, this time both looking at where Doug disappeared, before almost reluctantly dragging their eyes back to each other. Well, it’s reluctant on Carlos’ part, that’s for sure. He’s been trying to reign back all of his flirting, but it’s difficult. A lot of it is just automatic and he doesn’t know how much interaction is expected for just friends–or at least, friends you haven’t grown up alongside and committed burglary with. He doesn’t know how much eye contact or touching is allowed, so he kind of just… hasn’t.

“So, you and Doug have gotten pretty close,” Ben says, which Carlos is confused by but goes with because he doesn’t know what else to talk about.

“Yeah, he’s been a big help in getting me into the club, even if it was after sign ups for the year. The other members are pretty great, too. And, uh, Mr. Gepetto has a lot to teach us. I mean, he says I remind him of his son which is a little weird but, yeah…” Carlos trails off, uninterested in his own rambling, “I… what are you doing here?”

Because there’s no reason for Ben to be here. Carlos has been backing off. They still eat at the same table, sure, but Carlos has been practically neat in comparison to before, and he always makes sure there’s at least one person between them at the table. Unless…

Ben shrugs, mouth open to say something before his expression twists, “No, you know what. I’m going to be honest.” And when Ben stares into Carlos’ eyes, he can’t help but match it, “It kind of feels like you’ve broken up with me before I even knew we were dating,” Ben steps closer, near enough that either of them could reach out and touch the other.

… Carlos has accidentally been pulling an apathetic seduction. The sudden absence of flirting making Ben want to get Carlos’ attention, the same as Mal looking away causes Ben to reach out.

“We weren’t,” Carlos spits out, because he never dated, he’d know it, and he sure as hell wouldn’t have let go if he had been dating Ben.

Ben steps closer, hand reaching out to land on Carlos’ shoulder, thumb lined up with his collarbone. Ben has yet to look away, and so Carlos hasn’t either.

“It was just part of the plan, okay, I was supposed to seduce you to get the wand. But then there was the coronation and you needed a girlfriend not some fucktoy,” Carlos blurts, throat going tight, “It had to be Mal, not me. So I’ve stopped, okay, that’s all.” His eyes are starting to sting, and there aren’t any fireworks to blame.

Ben steps even closer, other hand cupping Carlos’ cheek, “I know,” Ben says, simply, easily, as if Carlos hadn’t had to tear the truth out of himself.

Carlos lets himself close his eyes, unable to handle Ben’s stare anymore, and the motion lets a tear escapes.

“What I want to know,” Ben murmurs, thumb swiping across Carlos’ cheek to intercept that fallen tear, “is if you actually like me,”

"You’re dating Mal,” Carlos says, which is not an actual answer at all. And can’t stand up against Carlos’ nod, the way he leans into Ben’s hand.

“Who do you think told me about the plan?” Ben asks, a smile in his voice, and now both of his hands are cradling Carlos’ face, “Carlos, open your eyes” he says.

Carlos does so, eyelashes heavy with nearly shed tears. This close, and with their height difference, he can’t help the way his gaze goes to Ben’s mouth; can only feel a thrill up his spine as that mouth edges sideways into a smile.

“I learned a lot from you,” Ben begins, leaning forward so that he can lower his voice and still be heard, “I’d like to learn a lot more.”

Carlos’ hands clench into the fabric of Ben’s shirt, unsure whether to pull him closer or push him away because they are still in the middle of the hallway. But then, Ben says six words that makes the decision for him.

“I have a private dorm room.”

~

A/N: I dedicate this to jalencolbert and awesomestlonerever because this wouldn’t exist without either of them. Like, literally, I would not have thought of this. But with awesomestlonerever’s gifset and jalencolbert’s comment in this post my brain just went into overdrive and I had to analyze EVERY interaction between Ben and Carlos as Carlos deliberately seducing Ben. And it was so easy to do, I can’t undo it. Damn it! What happened to my precious adorable baby? Now he’s all grown up and seducing kings.

Uh, so yes. Neuro-Linguistic Programming is an actual thing, but as the hyperlink will show you I’m using the Leverage version of it so I cannot say whether or not my portrayal of it would actually be successful. A lot of it has to do with associating yourself with something they find pleasurable, but also letting them do most of the talking. Any talking on the seducer’s part is more to prompt certain thoughts or connections.

I don’t know, I’m hella ace, flirting and seduction is just this whaaa~? kind of thing in my mind. I can appreciate it from a psychological point of view but in action I just… uh, no thanks. I’ll stand way over there.

But, yes, ~SEDUCTION~ and the seducer falling in love with his target, then the target seducing the original seducer. That’s totally a thing, right?

edit: can now be found on ao3 here, under the title “(This Feeling) Without A Name” since… well… I still don’t know what to call it.

Only Fools Rush In, part 12/12 (2015-08-10)

Carlos joins him in bed again that night, and for many more nights after that. Not all the time, and not always heady make out sessions. Sometimes they do actually just sleep next to each other, and sometimes they talk instead, whispering secrets to each other beneath the covers.

One night, Ben admits that he doesn’t feel ready to be king. He’s only sixteen, he’s not even finished with school yet, how could he possibly rule an entire kingdom? But he doesn’t say this for reassurance, he just wants a safe place to voice his fears without judgement.

Carlos spends the rest of the night doing his best to hold Ben, both sets of limbs wrapped around Ben’s torso.  He still moves around in his sleep, so the next morning Ben finds himself half way off the bed, but it’s the thought that counts. It was a very well-meaning aggressive snuggling, so Ben’s not even the tiniest bit angry.

On a different night, it’s Carlos who confesses: Before coming to Auradon, he had taken the barrier down around the Isle. But he panicked, hadn’t known what to do, and so the breach had only been temporary. The truth of the matter was that he had been scared of what might be beyond the Isle, had been raised on tales of vicious creatures and human beasts.

But he’s glad that Ben reached out, had given them the opportunity to leave the Isle. Carlos loves his life now. He likes that he and the other Lost kids are finally thriving, not just clawing out their continued survival. Instead of being something to fear, Dude is a stalwart companion Carlos wouldn’t give up for anything. And Ben… makes him happy. He’s happy because of Ben, and he’s happy to be with Ben.

Carlos still can’t quite say he’s in love with Ben, but it’s early days yet. They are happy together and that is enough.

“I can’t believe we’re going to be late!” Evie exclaims, fussing over her dress before holding a napkin out, just as the limo makes a turn. The soda sloshing out of Jay’s cup lands on it exactly.

“You made the both of them change like five times each,” Mal reminds her. Unlike the other passengers, she is completely calm; partly because she’s already been to one such family dinner before, unlike the other three Lost kids, but also because she’s not the one who’s going to inform Ben’s parents about his nontraditional take on relationships.

Although, to be fair, Jay’s energy has less to do with nerves and more to do with the amount of sugary limo snacks he’s been consuming. Maybe spoiling one’s dinner isn’t something that’s warned against on the Isle.

“That’s because he kept trying to wear shirts without sleeves,” Evie says, one thumb jerked at Jay beside her, “And this one apparently doesn’t own actual full-length trousers,” she continues, nudging Carlos playfully with her shoulder. That sets off a miniature domino reaction as Carlos then bumps into Ben, who then sways into Mal.

Carlos, normally exempt from Evie’s fashion scoldings, can only shrug sheepishly in response.

Evie sighs, as if greatly inconvenienced, when everyone knows she had been the one most enjoying the impromptu fashion show earlier, “I can’t believe we’re going to be late for dinner with a queen and king,” she repeats.

“I’m a king and you have dinner with me all the time,” Ben says, just to be cheeky.

Evie looks at him, flatly unimpressed, before breaking her composure and smiling.

“I can’t believe Carlos brought Dude,” Jay says, not because he actually can’t believe Carlos would bring Dude along, but more to make a point.

“Ben said it was a family dinner, if you’re coming then Dude gets to come, too,” Carlos responds. In his lap and being treated to a two-handed head scratch is Dude, decked out in a matching outfit to his chosen human.

“This is going to be hilarious,” Mal says in general, then taps on the chauffeur’s shoulder and asks him, “What do you think, Chip?”

“It’ll be more interesting than the last one, that’s for sure,” he says without turning around. Before he can explain, the limo approaches the drive, “Clean it up, ladies and gentlemen,” Chip advises, before stopping the car and exiting, coming around to hold the door open for them. The five of them, plus Dude, manage to exit the limo on their feet, at least, if not gracefully. Chip snickers before he leaves, muttering about the kitchens being the best vantage point and helping his mother.

Rather than waiting inside, Ben’s family have come to the front door to greet them, pushing introductions sooner than Ben expected.

“Everyone,” he says, addressing the Lost kids, “this is my mother, Belle, my father, Adam, and my grandfather, Maurice.”

Beside him Carlos hisses a breath and tries to subtly elbow him in the ribs. He’s not very successful on the subtle part, but fortunately for him, that’s not the biggest reveal of the night.

“You know Mal, my girlfriend,” Ben says, this time to his family, “This is Evie, Jay, and Carlos. My boyfriend.”

His parents, somehow still not used to how unorthodox their son is, stare in silent shock. Grandfather, on the other hand, laughs uproariously, mustache quivering like mad.

“Considering the lack of imprisonment, this is still better than how I found out about your parents,” he assures before turning to Carlos, “Don’t think we won’t continue our discussion on pneumatic cylinders from earlier today, my boy, but first let me see this dog of yours.”

Obediently, Carlos holds out Dude.

“Looks a bit like my old footstool,” Grandfather says, a little nonsensically, but completely understandable, “Come along then, kids, dinner’s waiting, and I know Lumière has prepared a bit of a performance. He makes new ones every time, you see,” the Lost kids, taking the hint, follow after him, leaving Ben and his parents alone. In the silence.

“Mom? Dad?” Ben prompts, worried but unafraid.

His mom shakes off her stupor, before smiling softly at him, a hand reaching out to cup his cheek, “I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised, you really are my son.”

“Actually, I think in this case I’m more like Dad,” Ben says, which finally seems to get through to him.

His Dad asks, “How so?”

The answer is easy, “I’m lucky to have found love.”

~

A/N: !!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!

WHAT?! I finished a multi-part story?! WHAAAAAAT?!

Holy smokes, I don’t even… what?!

!!!!!!!!

Okay, well… uh… congratulations Descendants fandom, you are now the recipient of the first ever completed multi-part story by jacksgreyson/jacksgreysays.

If anyone would like to be a beta and help me polish this up so I can post it onto AO3, just send me a message/ask. Because… this would also be my first AO3 fic if I do that.

And maybe be a beta to help with future BenxCarlos endeavors (BECAUSE I HAVE SO MANY IDEAS BUT NO ONE TO RANT ABOUT THEM TO).

I just wanted to say, this was an absolutely fun nine days of being obsessed with a DIsney Channel Original Movie based on second-generation fanfiction. Absolutely fantastic. Writing this series was kind of the highlight of my week and I probably wouldn’t have been able to get so far (TO THE POINT OF FINISHING?!?!) without so many enthusiastic readers.

Stay rotten to the core, fandom 😉

Only Fools Rush In, part 2/12 (2015-08-01) [2]

There seems to be a disconnect between his conscious and subconscious mind; because while he still finds it extremely difficult to verbally ask Carlos out, his subconscious seems to be completely on board with the seduction.

“Good boy,” Ben murmurs into Carlos’ ear after he’s finally made a goal during one of their tourney practices. One of Ben’s hands is curled possessively around the back of Carlos’ neck, the other strokes down his stomach, pulling away just before it hits waistband. Belly rubs indeed.

Carlos, distracted by the joy and pride of his first successful shot, only smiles at Ben gratefully. The same as he always does during their personal training times.

Outside of those, Ben’s opportunities to ask Carlos out (continue seducing him) drops to zero. Because for some reason, even though all of them know he’s trying to date Carlos, the three other Lost kids do not leave him alone.

“Associating yourself with endorphins and exhilaration? It’s a good start,” Evie says with a wink–how does she know these things–at lunch one day. Thankfully, Carlos is not in earshot of their lunch table, opting to spend the rest of his free time playing fetch with Dude, but still. He’s right there.

“Carlos loves chocolate,” Mal mentions pointedly, both helpful and despicable, as Ben’s mind goes full throttle down a particular road. Blood rushes elsewhere in addition to his face.

“Still don’t need to hear this,” Jay grumbles, and steadfastly ignores everyone else at the table.

“Hear what?” Carlos asks as he rejoins them, Dude loyally following at his heels. He plops down into the space next to Ben; and Ben has apparently lost all control, automatically leaning towards him.

“Nothing,” the girls say, giggling to one another. Jay continues to ignore everyone.

“Ookay?” Carlos responds, and if Ben is maybe thrilled by the slightly breathless way he speaks, panting with exertion, well. No one else needs to know. Certainly not Jay.

One would think that, after years of looking after Dude, it would have earned Ben some loyalty; or at the very least some kind of leeway. But when it comes to the dog’s favorite human, apparently even past generosity means nothing.

“I fed you steak,” Ben hisses, feeling betrayed, when Dude growls at what he apparently deems an inappropriate proximity to Carlos.

It’s a Friday night, and Ben and Carlos are finally alone–thanks to Evie and Mal literally dragging Jay out of the boys’ dorm room–and they’ve spent the last two hours playing video games.

Not that he hasn’t enjoyed spending time alone with Carlos without the pretext of tourney training. Or, nearly alone with Carlos. But he was kind of hoping to elevate their relationship to the next level. Or at least bring up that possibility.

Instead, Dude has been acting as chaperone for this not-date (would be a date, if Ben could actually ask), bodily going in between the two of them whenever Ben tries to do anything.

He has never been more aware or more frustrated by the presence of a bed in his entire life.

So what if Dude dooms this particular night to a strictly platonic hang out? It’s not exactly a hardship to interact with the boy he likes.

“Again?” Carlos pleads, even though Ben has lost every single round thus far and he’s kind of getting bored of the game. But Carlos asks, hardly even needs to pout or widen his eyes or tilt his head beseechingly, and of course Ben is going to say yes. Though all of that certainly doesn’t hurt his case.

And, well, so what if Ben loses yet again? Carlos’ delighted grin is an excellent consolation prize.

~

A/N: WTF! Are you kidding me? I literally could not fall asleep because I was thinking about this. Whhyyyyyy? I did not sign up for such a disproportionate amount of feels.

And I’m hinting at puppy play between two next generation Disney characters. Oh my lord, I might as well fling myself into the sun, I’m probably going to some level of hell.

Direct sequel to this.

Also, maybe I should come up with a title for this if it’s going to be a series…

EDIT: IT’S CONTINUED HERE. WHY AM I BEING COMPELLED TO WRITE THIS?

EDIT2: NOW WITH A TITLE! CHECK OUT MY “ONLY FOOLS RUSH IN” TAG FOR MORE INSTALLMENTS.