A/N: I have no idea what I'm writing. It's late and I'm a little overtired, but the plot bunnies attack. (…Where did that phrase come from anyway?)

Summary: Riley thinks back on all the time he's ever spent with Ben. Slash.

Disclaimer: NT—nt mine. RWE—also nt mine. (pun intended)

I remember reading something in high school by Ralph Waldo Emerson that said "To be great is to be misunderstood." It also said something about how even if what you say today is completely the opposite of what you say tomorrow, you should speak both as boldly as possible.

This is Benjamin Gates in a nutshell.

He was more passionate than anyone I've ever met in my life, that's for certain. From the moment I met him, I was consumed in the treasure—and not because I had any personal stock in it at all. The way he told the story captivated me, made me want to help… He pretty much had me convinced to join his crazy crusade in three sentences.

The first was "Are you Riley Poole?"

My response: "Yes…"

The second, "You're good with computers, right?"

My response: "Of course."

The third, "Can I offer you a job?"

And I was hooked. He hadn't even told me about the treasure yet.

It was strange at first, working with a bunch of people I'd never met. I instantly distrusted Ian and his… friends? Cronies is a better word. But Ben I liked. He was crazy, yes, but it wasn't a bad crazy.

Somewhere between his finding me and our discovery of the Charlotte, we became friends. We could talk about stuff, you know? A lot of the time it was just him talking history that was way over my head, but it felt nice that he confided in me. By the time Ian and cronies blew up the Charlotte, we were best friends. It risked his life for me, and no one had ever done that before.

So despite my fears of being arrested and getting killed, I helped him steal the Declaration of Independence. To date, the riskiest thing I've ever done, and the worst driving I'd ever imagined. I had my doubts, but the thing about best friends is that even when the other comes to you with the most hair-brained idea you've ever heard, you do it anyway.

We escaped police officer after FBI agent, but when I saw him in custody, I was more terrified than I had been even when Shaw was pointing the gun at my hand. When Abigail suggested we contact Ian, I practically threw the phone at her. Anything to save him.

We made it out alive—somehow—and Ian was arrested. Everything was happy and I had a Ferrari. That was a nice touch. But somehow I still couldn't get over the fact that just three months after they'd met, Abigail and Ben were living together. It bothered me more than it should have.

About there is where I realized I had deeper feelings than just friends. I said nothing, of course—it was obvious he loved Abigail. And I didn't have a problem with that. She made him happy, and I guess that's what I wanted.

Except that, when he was with her, he never saw me. He sort of threw me aside for her, and I really hated that. I kept reminding myself that he was happy. But honestly, when he did see me and told me that she'd kicked him out, I was ecstatic. I realized that the only reason he was even talking to me was because he needed something computer-related, but he was talking to me nonetheless.

Then we went to Paris, and I got a ticket while he kissed the police officer's ass, and then we went to London, and then Abigail was there again. Damn her. Could she not leave him alone?

And again, she replaced me. I could tell Ben missed her when she wasn't there, and I understood. I think. Sometimes you'll do anything to be with the one you love.

It hurt when I figured out that he'd never read my book. That was when I really understood that I was just a pawn, easily replaced. But I bit my lip and forced a smile, and then he wanted to kidnap the President. I wanted to prove my worth, and I instantly volunteered.

And then crazy Mitch almost got us all killed in Cibola. I was absolutely terrified when Ben volunteered to stay behind. And I knew that he was volunteering because Mitch was holding a knife to Abigail's neck, and I couldn't help but wondering…

If the knife was being held to my neck, would he have cared?

The thought was dismissed as soon as it flickered into my mind, but for that instant I wondered.

Ben and Abigail got back together. So did Patrick and Emily. So I was the only single one, the only one suffering alone. Awesome.

In the end, I think, it wouldn't have mattered to Ben if I stayed or not. Without telling anyone, I packed up my stuff and left Washington, returning home to Seattle. It was rainy as hell there.

He called me a few times. The first I wasn't home, and he left me a message wondering where I'd gone. The next few times I just didn't answer. I didn't want to talk to him, really. He eventually stopped calling.

I heard he proposed to Abigail. It was all over the news, and I couldn't escape it. I sort of wanted to puke. But I got over that part, I guess.

What I couldn't get over is him. Still, I loved him, and it was stupid and I couldn't get it to go away. Eventually I stopped trying. I got a dead-end job doing computer work and I still live in Seattle.

I think about him all the time. It's sort of hard not to, considering that he's always plastered all over the news. But I try like hell to forget.

And I know I never will.

A/N: I just decided this will be a two-parter. Ben is next, of course.

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