Title: The Pupil
Author: Simply Kelp
Rating: pg-13
Pairing: Riley/teacher, one-sided Ben/Riley
Summary: Riley frowned. The alcohol left him feeling very buzzed, and like half his brain was missing. Needless to say, the half that was missing was the one labelled 'Common Sense, and Discretion.' It had never been useful anyway.
Warning: slash, and references to paedophilia
Disclaimer: I don't own National Treasure, and just has to rub it in…
Note: Dedicated to HI MY NAME IS uncool for the neat suggestion. It took a lot longer than the first part (six days as opposed to about two hours), but I rather like it. Have to say that the drabble at the end was the hardest. I had intended it to have more of a Ben/Riley twist to it, but I couldn't really fit it in. So, it's kind of one-sidedness.


Ben, and Riley were drinking for no better reason than that they could. At least that was Riley's reasoning. He was not too sure about Ben. Abigail was away- somewhere, he forgot where. Riley had the vague impression that her leaving was not completely to do with business. But right now, he was a little too intoxicated to care about the melodrama that was Benjamin Gates' life.

Actually, Riley wasn't too drunk. He'd only had a few sips of beer. But he still didn't care about Ben's marital bliss.

"Our last argument was nothing like this," Ben muttered, after a particularly long gulp of beer. "Last time, I slept on the couch, and by morning we were okay. I never thought she would go to Los Angeles to cool off. It was only fortuitous circumstance that she found a business reason to make it seem more plausible that we weren't fighting. Since we aren't allowed to fight." He was rambling. And despite the fact that Ben was really upset about the situation, Riley found it vaguely amusing. Abigail, no offence meant, was really not suited to Ben. (Then again, the only person Riley thought was really suited to Ben was himself, but…)

This was going to be a long night. He gulped down the rest of his beer in no time, and quickly procured another. Ben was still prattling on about his petty problems with Abigail. Riley was tuning it out. Maybe he could think of some excuse to leave. This was supposed to be a fun guy's night, and Riley wasn't having any fun.

Suddenly, he realised that Ben was quietly watching him. He smiled weakly. "Sorry, Riley. I've been a little distracted. What's going on in your life?"

Riley frowned. The alcohol left him feeling very buzzed, and like half his brain was missing. Needless to say, the half that was missing was the one labelled 'Common Sense, and Discretion.' It had never been useful anyway.

"Well," Riley began in as thoughtful of a tone alcohol can provide. "I've spent the last week at home in an alcohol-induced stupor while having meaningless sex with random guys." That was oddly specific. He had meant to say something about how he lost a book (the Pupil: he had been in an oddly reminiscing mood earlier, and that book was so damned small he could never find it), but that just kind of slipped out. Damn him for always getting painfully honest while drunk. Maybe that was why he didn't drink often.

Ben sobered instantly. It was rather comical in a grotesque sort of way. His eyes bulged out, and he sprayed beer from his mouth like a whale. He looked absolutely appalled. And Riley didn't blame him. "What?" Ben managed to ask.

Riley smiled bitterly. "O, you didn't know?" He was mocking now, and he knew it wasn't very nice. It was downright mean, but he didn't care right now. All he wanted to do was get all his misplaced aggression out on the closest thing to him. And, unfortunately, that was his best-friend. "Yeah, I'm a faggot."

"Why are you saying this?" Ben was unbearably quiet. Riley would have preferred him to be yelling, or swearing, or- anything. Just not that quiet apprehension, and that searching look. Like Riley should have known better than to do all this. And he did. But he didn't care. Not really. At least, he didn't when Ben wasn't ogling at him.

Riley had to look away, because, even though he was drunk, he was suddenly feeling too sober to talk about this. He decided to stare at his shoes. They looked so pathetic. Just like him. "Because I lose all common sense while drunk, because I'm tired of living a lie, because I'm too worthless to have a real relationship, because- I don't know. Take your pick."

Ben frowned. His eyes looked glassy. Not like he was going to cry, but that he was really hurt. Riley felt guilty. The vague idea that more alcohol might dispel said guilt entered his mind. He tried ignore it. "Um, look, Ben," he began awkwardly. He couldn't think of anything else to say, so he just looked back down at his shoes.

After several long, and intensely awkward minutes, Ben spoke. "How did you… you know… find out?" Riley looked up. Ben was looking away now. Embarrassed. Riley couldn't help but smile a bit. An embarrassed Ben was a rare, and amusing thing. Even taking the current situation into account.

"Thirteen, taking Pre-Calc," he said quickly. "My teacher- can't remember his name-" and he was lying now, and pretty sure Ben had to know, "-was my first crush." Riley stared at the empty bottle in front of him. He wished it were full. He was laughing now. He didn't remember starting. "God, I hate him!"

"Why?" Ben prompted quietly. Riley almost didn't hear him. Perhaps the shock at discovering his best friend was secretly queer was too much for him. Especially considering he had no idea. Riley had only been giving hints at it since they first met, and all Ben could think about was setting him up with a nice girl.

Riley chuckled, and continued. "He didn't even do anything- that's the funny part. It probably would have been better if he had; then I could understand it…" He looked at Ben, and noted that he didn't look the least bit amused. In fact, he looked more concerned than Riley had ever seen him before. "You don't find this the least bit funny?" he managed weakly, feeling suddenly embarrassed with Ben's searching eyes on him.

"No." Riley knew Ben must have had at least the same amount of alcohol as Riley. How was it that he could sound so sober, and alert. "Have you told anyone about this?" His voice was dripping with concern. Were it not Ben, Riley would have called it patronising.

"No!" Riley said barely suppressing a laugh. "Do you think I'm crazy? I'm never telling anyone about it. Not in a bazillion years! They wouldn't believe me if I did, and I don't want to disappoint them."

"Disappoint how?" Ben prompted.

"I found out just recently that my uncle John is alive," Riley said. He knew he sounded shrill, and panicky, but he couldn't stop it. His heart was racing now, and his stomach felt like it had left his body. "He's living in New Jersey with his partner. Mom said he died in a car crash when I was little."

Riley yawned loudy. "So that's why I'm never gonna tell anyone I'm gay. 'Specially not Ben. I couldn't bear him hating me," he mumbled. He was suddenly very tired. And there was a perfectly warm pillow-thing (which he would later, upon waking with the mother of all hangovers, discover was Ben's chest) sitting next to him. Maybe he could just lie down for a second…


Ben watched as Riley slept on his chest. He looked so peaceful. So unlike he did just several minutes ago. He had never even fathomed what had just been revealed. Riley was so generally good-spirited, but he supposed it was just a cover. So that no one would suspect anything was wrong.

Ben had always thought that he could read the kid like a book. How was it then, that he had never seen any of this? Ben promised he would be a better friend from now on. He also promised that he would protect Riley from any more hurt.


Thanks for reading! I would love to hear from you!!!