Written for Misery Loves Fanfics. It was half her idea, any way.

I think my favorite word in here is "viridescent."

This thing started out as an idea Misery and I bounced around. She didn't have time to write it, so she let me have at it. It started out as a short thing: Kevin under his car, Ben walking in on him, lulz and hotness ensues. That was the plan. It grew into this. Misery let me borrow Gwen's mind reading powers that she created. Which is good, because those things come in handy.

Oh, and I told Misery it was two pages longer than anything else I have written. I lied. It's two TIMES longer than anything else I have written. About ten pages in Microsoft Word, single spaced.

******

Muffler Make Out
by Minty Chinchilla

"Hey Gwen, why is Kevin always working on his car? You'd think with all the time he puts into it, it'd be perfectly fine and he wouldn't have to do so much with it." Ben was confused. Not that this was any different from the usual.

"I don't know, Ben. Go ask him yourself." Gwen went back to her book, lifting it up to effectively cut Ben off. When her cousin left, she peeped over the top edge of the book and grabbed her phone. "Hey Julie, Ben's probably going to get a smoothie."

----------- x ----------

What Ben was right about was the fact that the car was perfectly fine. Kevin didn't spend all his time working on it to make it run, but rather to give him a cover under which no one else could see. While he worked on his car, Kevin's mind tended to wander. It'd go all over the place, but his train of thought always made its way to the same destination: Ben.

Today was no exception. As Kevin lay on the dolly under his car, he limply held a random tool in his hand. His eyes had drifted closed as he relived a dream from the night before…

Soft hands ran through his hair, gently stroking his scalp. A warm lean body nestled securely in his arms. A distinct, delicious scent drowned his senses. A pair of green, viridescent eyes looked into his dark brown ones. A pair of sweet lips begged to be kissed…

----------- x ----------

Ben walked down the street, hands in his pockets, on his way to Mr. Smoothy. But even the walk wasn't enough to distract him from thinking about the still convoluted reasons why Kevin's car was so important to the brute. Was it the most valuable thing he owned? Was it the one thing he put work into? Did he earn it straight, or did he steal to get it? How long has he had it? Was there alien tech in it? Why was it green? What did he keep in the trunk—?

Wait… why was Kevin's car green, anyway? Ben figured Kevin would be the sort of guy to have a black car, or maybe even a red or blue one. But green? That was Ben's favorite color. Hardly anyone else Ben knew liked green all that much. No one else in Bellwood had cars in that particular shade of green. That particularly familiar shade of green that Ben saw every day in the mirror. Well, wasn't that something? Why would Kevin's car be the exact shade of Ben's favorite color?

Ben shook his head to clear his mind before he got to the window at the smoothie stand. After ordering his mango-strawberry-avocado smoothie, he grabbed his drink and headed down the road towards Kevin's apartment. He was already halfway there, might as well ask Kevin about his car straight up, right?

----------- x ----------

Julie ducked behind the large mailbox as Ben turned in her direction. It wouldn't do to have him see her and Ship following him. But Ben was apparently too engrossed in his thoughts to notice the pink sweater sticking out from the side of the oddly black and green mailbox.

"Looks like he's going to Kevin's," Julie whispered. "Perfect."

Ship beeped happily in response. He separated from the mailbox and hopped into Julie's arms as the girl got up to follow Ben.

----------- x ----------

Those sweet lips caressed his skin as soft brown hair tickled his cheek. His hands drifted down green jacket-clad arms, searching for the zipper that kept the jacket on the lithe body that he ached for. The lips moved against his jaw, slowly shifting upwards, teasing. He wanted those lips, and as soon as they brushed his, he darted his tongue out to lick the metallic taste from them.

'Metallic?' Kevin jolted from his daydreaming. His eyes widened when he realized he was making out with his car's muffler. Its very greasy muffler.

He shot out from under his car, and sprang up from the dolly as soon as he was clear of the bumper (but still nearly hit his head in the process). Needing to get rid of the metal-grease flavor on his tongue, Kevin grabbed the first drink he saw and slurped at the straw. He almost puked as the greasy metal flavor was countered with an odd combination of mango, strawberry, and, oh god was that avocado? This was something Ben would drink! Why the hell would he have this in his garage? Kevin looked to his left, where he had snagged the drink from to begin with.

"GEEEARGH!" Kevin jumped about three feet in the air, barely staying in his skin. "HOLY SHIT! BEN! DON'T SNEAK UP ON ME LIKE THAT!"

Ben just stared at him like he had grown a third eye (which really wasn't all that impossible considering what happened that fateful summer five years back). Deftly catching the smoothie that Kevin had thrown into the air in his surprise, Ben couldn't decide whether it was safe to laugh at Kevin or not. Turned out, he couldn't stop himself from snerking at the brute's utterly shocked face. The snerk turned into (manly) giggles and from there into full-blown laughter.

"I know you love your car, Kevin, but really..." At Kevin's quizzical look, Ben laughed some more. "You've got grease for lipstick." Kevin hurriedly wiped at his mouth with the back of his hand, only succeeding in smearing the offending substance all over his cheek. Ben glanced down at his formerly airborne smoothie. "Dude. You owe me a new smoothie now. This one's contaminated."

"With what? It's not like I'm sick or nothin'."

"It's contaminated with your lipstick." Ben held up and wiggled the straw, now covered with grease where Kevin's grease-covered lips had smudged over it. Kevin raised an eyebrow at the red plastic dancing in front of his face.

"Fine, so I owe you another smoothie." Kevin shrugged. "Big whoop."

"You do owe me another smoothie." Ben stood up on his toes in order to meet Kevin's eyes at the same level. "And we're going to get it. Right now." With a little lift of his eyebrows and a smirk, Ben put the now useless smoothie cup in Kevin's hands and opened the passenger side door of the car.

"Uh… right. Lemme go change my clothes first. They've got, uh, grease on 'em."

----------- x ----------

Julie crouched behind a bush near the garage's open door. After overhearing that Ben and Kevin were going back to Mr. Smoothy, she put Ship down and gave him a grin.

"You stick to the car, and I'll follow where they can't see me, okay boy? You know what to do."

Ship beeped his salute and slunk into the garage. When no one could see him, he jumped and morphed into the trunk of Kevin's car. Julie ran back up the street, careful to avoid being seen by Ben.

Kevin came back into the garage, cleanly clothed, and started up the car. As he pulled out into the road, he didn't notice the flash of pink that darted around the side of a neighboring building.

----------- x ----------

Kevin and Ben sat on the hood of the car, waiting for their drinks to be made. Neither boy noticed Ship still attached to the trunk. Kevin was too busy trying to oogle Ben's ass without being caught and Ben was too busy trying to figure out how to ask the question that was plaguing his mind as he had gone over to Kevin's earlier.

"Hey, Kev?"

"Huh?" Kevin's eyes whipped up to Ben's face, hoping Ben hadn't noticed where they were focused previously.

"Why is your car green?"

"Um… I dunno. It just is." 'Smooth, Levin. Real smooth.'

"Really? 'Cause I would've pegged you as the kind of guy who'd have a black car." Ben poked at the black racing stripes that swooped across the hood.

Their drinks ordered up, so Kevin went to go get them from the window in order to buy some time. When he came back Ben was already back in the passenger seat, buckling up his seatbelt. Kevin handed him his drink and put his own in the cup holder. As Kevin drove up the street, Ship spread out to take over more of the vehicle's surface area.

Julie pulled out her cell phone. "Hey, Gwen? Operation Lock Down just went into action. Meet me at my house in ten minutes?"

----------- x ----------

Kevin stopped the car in a fairly deserted-looking area on the outskirts of Bellwood. He figured if Ben was asking about his car, and if he were actually going to tell him the truth, it'd be better to do so away from other people. Bring on less attention when Ben started yelling or freaked out.

"Soooooo, now are you going to tell me why you have a green car?"

"Yeah. Not like you wouldn't have figured it out eventually any way." Kevin slurped up some of his smoothie to wet his suddenly dry throat. "I think it was a sort of… unconscious decision when I first got it, you know?"

"Not really. I understand that I would unconsciously pick a green car," Ben pointed to himself, then to Kevin, "but you, not so much."

"Would you believe me if I told you green was my favorite color?" Kevin sent a sidelong glance in Ben's direction.

"Maybe. Depends on why." Ben tried to meet Kevin's eyes, but the raven-haired teen looked away.

"Uh… er… um…" Kevin tried to swallow, but his stomach was making a desperate bid to say 'hello' to his teeth. "I, uh, just… ah… well, you see…"

"Not really, Kev. I don't see." Ben gave a little nudge to the driver's shoulder. The touch sent a tiny shock of 'whoa' through Kevin's arm.

"Uh… er… arrrgh! It's 'cause of your eyes, okay? They're so fucking beautiful I haven't been able to get them out my head since I was eleven!" Kevin threw his arms up in defeat, and then hid his face in his hands.

"Huh?" Ben was not expecting that answer. Not at all. "My eyes? My eyes? My eyes?" The eyes in question widened in shock.

"Yeah. Your eyes." Kevin peeked out from in between his fingers to see how Ben was taking the sudden revelation. "I just can't not think about them. About you."

"I think…" Ben took a deep breath. "I think I need to think more." Ben reached for the handle to open the door, but it was locked. He clicked the button to unlock the doors, but the lock immediately locked itself back. "Kevin! Let me out!"

"I didn't do anything!" Kevin tried to unlock the doors himself, but they relocked themselves instantly. Both boys were a bit freaked out, and when Kevin turned the key in the ignition and the car stalled, they were very freaked out. An electronic, almost giggling, noise sounded from outside. Ben looked through his window, and caught a glimpse of the car door in the side-view mirror. There was something off about the paint job…

"Oh my god… Ship?!" The Galvanic Mechamorph beeped the affirmative. "Why aren't you letting us out? Or go anywhere?" Ship merely chirped back at Ben. "Ship! This is one of those awkward situations people need to get out of! Lemme out or let Kevin drive!" Ship beeped back in a fashion oddly reminiscent of a little kid saying 'nu-uh.'

"There's no way he's going to let us go anywhere, is there?" Kevin sat back in his chair. Ben shook his head 'no.' "What does he want?"

"No idea. I can't read him as well when he's taken over your car like this than I can when he's just a little blob."

Both boys just sat in the car, awkwardly avoiding each other's eyes. What a time to get locked in the car.

----------- x ----------

Julie and Gwen sat cross-legged on the floor of Julie's bedroom, next to a bowl of popcorn and a few cans of soda. A pinkish holographic screen floated in the air in front of them, displaying the familiar black and green interior of a '76 Camaro. Two boys were sitting in the front seat, both avoiding looking at the other, both twiddling nervously with half-empty smoothie cups.

"I can't believe it!" Julie wildly gestured at the screen. "What happened?"

"I have no idea. They should have been making out by now!" Gwen's eyes glowed pink as she adjusted the screen's size to make room for a series of floating files. She flipped through a few of them until she found the folder she wanted, Front of the Mind. Opening it up, she pulled and twitched individual documents around until she identified what was going on in Kevin's mind at that moment. "It looks like Kevin's freaking out about not saying the right thing. And he's wondering if he's screwed up his chances. That's no good!"

"What about Ben? Does he even understand how much Kevin likes him?" Julie peered over Gwen's shoulder. The redhead refocused her powers onto her cousin and pulled out his Front of the Mind folder.

"Oh no… he's so confused! Look at this, Julie!" Gwen pointed at the contents of the folder. "It's all a jumbled mess of thoughts and images!"

"Do you think you could organize them for him?"

"I've never tried, but it can't hurt, can it?" Gwen spread out the individual documents and began to reorganize them to push the 'what the fuck!' thoughts to the back so the 'maybe Kevin likes me and maybe I like him too' thoughts were on the forefront of Ben's mind. Both girls turned to look at the screen that showed the inside of the car, hoping for some kind of change. Ben shifted and looked over at Kevin, blushed, and turned back to his smoothie.

"Nuts. They aren't strong enough to convince him to actually do something. What about Kevin?" Julie pointed at Kevin's folders that were still floating to Gwen's side.

"No good. The only things in there are nerves and profanity cursing out Ship."

"Huh. Good thing Ship can't read minds, then. Little guy would be scarred." Julie and Gwen sat on the floor, looking at the screen more, willing the boys to move, but nothing happened beyond the nervous twitches and furtive glances. Minutes passed, then Julie sat up.

"Can you move a thought from one file into another? Like, can you take one of Kevin's daydreams and put into the front of his mind?"

"I think I can! I tried it on my dad last week to see if he would remember what he got Mom for her birthday last year!" Gwen pulled out Kevin's Fantasies folder and sifted through the video files. "Which one should we pull out?"

The two girls looked over the fantasies they had both watched numerous times since Gwen had developed her mind reading and they had uncovered Kevin's vivid imagination and desire for Ben.

"How about the 'First Time' one?" Julie pointed at one of the videos. "It makes sense considering their situation. It would let Kevin know what he could be getting if he got off his ass and convinced Ben that this whole thing isn't some trick."

"Hmmm… I don't know. It's Ben that needs to be convinced about his feelings. We know he likes Kevin, but he hasn't really acknowledged it to himself yet and he's scared. If there was some way we could get Ben to see what Kevin wants to give him…" Gwen trailed off.

"Oh my god. Gwen!" Julie's eyes sparkled with excitement. "Can you transfer one of Kevin's fantasies into Ben's mind?"

----------- x ----------

Ben and Kevin were still sitting in Kevin's car. Ship was still refusing to let them go. In an attempt to alleviate the awkward tension, Kevin started fiddling with the radio, mumbling to himself as he flipped through the stations.

"When I grow up I wanna be a star I wanna be famous—"

"Aww, hell no."

"… every time you're next to me. And when we're holding hands, it's like having sex to me. You say I am premature, I just call it ecstasy—"

"Weird ass shit, that."

"… you're scared but don't leave this place. Just turn around, and let me see your face and now you're crying and you hold me and you whisper in my ear: Whoa-ee-oh-ee-oh-oh! Oh-ee-oh-ee-oh-oh! Whoa-ee-oh-ee-oh-oh! I wish we were older!"

"Eh… kind of catchy…"

As Kevin continued to mess with the radio, Ben felt his mind drifting, as though something were making it harder for him to concentrate on what Kevin was doing at the moment. He leaned his head against the window and shut his eyes, hoping to clear away the slight haze. An image floated up through the darkness, and filled his mind's eye. Ben mentally pulled at it, trying to see it better.

What he saw was not anything he had ever thought of before.

He was looking at himself and Kevin, watching himself and Kevin. And if he wasn't mistaken, they were being rather cozy, for lack of a better word. And, oh shit! Where did his pants go? And what was Kevin's tongue doing to his neck? Was he moaning? And why was this so goddamned arousing?

Ben jerked out of the daydream? fantasy? He didn't know. But he did know that it certainly put a new spin on the stuck-in-the-car situation. The stuck-in-the-car-alone-with-Kevin situation. Little bits of the fantasy fleeted through his mind as he looked at Kevin. 'Well, it would certainly be something to make him say my name like that.'

Kevin felt Ben's eyes on him. He looked to his right and caught the green eyes that had been haunting him for years. Right when he made eye contact, one of his many fantasies about the brunet hero sitting next to him drifted into his thoughts. Ooh, this dream was a good one too. The one where Ben would smile sweetly at him. The one where Kevin would gently whisper Ben's name and other sweet nothings over and over again into his ear, turning the younger boy a brilliant shade of red. The one where Kevin would coax the younger into running his hands down his chest. The one with the slow, gentle kisses.

When Kevin's eyes refocused on reality, he was still staring into Ben's eyes. 'Damn, they're still pretty when I'm scared shitless.' And scared shitless he was, for he was about to do something that could very well kill any chance he may have had with Ben before.

"Ben, I know this whole thing is awkward and weird and not what you were expecting at all, but, god. Could I… I mean, would you let me… ah, fuck." Kevin swallowed his stomach back down. "I know you probably don't think of me the way I'm sure you now know I think of you, but… could you at least humor me? For a minute?"

Ben hadn't dropped eye contact yet, and he was still pondering that out-of-the-blue daydream. But it was gnawing at him, like a termite gnawing on a log. That daydream was going to be ingrained indelibly into his mind from then on, and he knew it. And maybe, just maybe… did he want it to be a memory?

Ben nodded his head, and gave Kevin a small smile. That smile. That sweet smile that Kevin had always imagined but never got to see in reality. That sweet smile that was sweeter when it was real. That sweet smile that was sweeter when it was directed at him.

Kevin slowly reached across the seats to brush his hand against Ben's cheek before holding it and pulling those emerald green eyes closer. He watched them drift closed before he closed his own and placed his lips on Ben's. It was so much better than any fantasy he had ever had. So much more real, delicious, and perfect.

Ben let himself give into whatever it was that was happening. He didn't know. He had no idea how much of an effect he was having on Kevin with the simple gesture of smiling at him. But Ben was certainly feeling something different. Something new, that he had never gotten close to feeling before. It was similar to those little crushes he had over the years, but it was so much stronger. So much more emotional, sensual, and tangible.

Kevin was afraid to take the kiss any farther; afraid he would lose Ben forever if he did something uncalled for. But when he pulled away, Ben followed his lips with his own. Kevin was pleasantly surprised by Ben's response. He caught Ben's lips again, this time gently seeking a deeper connection, slowly working his way into the younger teen's mouth, into his heart. Tongues softly brushed against each other, while hands sought purchase on shoulders or on necks or in hair.

When they could no longer withstand the lack of oxygen, Ben and Kevin broke apart with a barely audible, wet sound. Forehead to forehead, they gasped for breath. Brown eyes met green, and each could see the other's feelings on display in the little windows. Almost simultaneously the two teens smiled.

Neither was sure who was the first to lean back into another kiss.

----------- x ----------

Gwen and Julie's eyes were riveted to the energy screen Gwen was using to spy on the boys. The popcorn was long gone, but neither girl cared. Watching this was delicious. The two girls had squee'd with glee when Kevin finally made his move, and they had cooed with adoration when Ben let him. They shrieked when the boys kept at it, took things deeper and further. Their screams broke the sound barrier when the objects of their voyeurism moved to the backseat of the car.

"Best movie, ever," Julie giggled. Gwen couldn't help but giggle back.

----------- x ----------

"All right, Ship. We've been making out for," Ben checked the dashboard clock, "for over an hour now. Are you going to let us go someplace more comfortable?"

Ship beeped happily and demorphed from the car. He squeezed through the slightly open window and plopped into Ben's lap. He beeped again and nuzzled Ben's hand, nudging it on top of Kevin's. Ben and Kevin looked up at each other, and simultaneously intertwined their fingers.

"I take it that means he's letting us go home now?" Kevin nodded at Ship.

"I take it he's planned this all along," replied Ben. They reluctantly let go of each other's hand and settled back into their seats, Kevin revving up the engine and Ben buckling in.

As they drove back into Bellwood, Ben had to ask, "When I found you earlier, you weren't really making out with your muffler, were you?"

"No, I was pretending I was making out with you. The muffler decided it wanted some of the action." Kevin waggled his eyebrows at his newly gained boyfriend. Ben laughed at him.

"Only you would be able to entice a muffler."

"Well, I 'enticed' you, didn't I?" Kevin smirked.

"You sure it wasn't me who was enticing you?" Ben smirked back.

"You've enticed me for years."

"Lucky me you're not a mutant anymore. That'd be uncomfortable."

"Just you wait. I'll show you comfortable." Kevin pulled into his garage. Ship hopped off of Ben's lap and scooted around the floor. The two teens got out of the car and Kevin pulled Ben into the apartment, keeping the door open just long enough for Ship to squeeze through. Ben never did make it home that night.

Fin

*****

Right when I finished? Hoobastank's "Inside of You" started playing. Hot damn I love that shuffle button. It always knows exactly what I want to hear, when I want to hear it.

3/3/09 3:33 AM