Five Times Ben Went On The Adventure Of A Lifetime
…and the one time he didn't. Ben-centric Fic – obviously... :D
So we have another one-shot before I finish Proposals are Ugly Affairs, just because I couldn't let go of a little plot bunny. *huge grin* inspired by the "five times" stuff in the SW ffic section by Mathematica.
Well, enjoy anyway!
Disclaimer: As always, I don't, and most probably would never own National Treasure.
Ben's young eyes twinkled as he listened to his grandfather's tale. His imagination sparked images of battles and wars, voyages and travels, and treasures his mind couldn't even begin to name. There were soldiers storming castles, breaking down every door and opening every chest to look for riches and treasure… explorers sailing the seas, when a sudden storm hits them and a pirate ship comes out of the waves… kings and queens signing declarations on parchments and declaring wars….
He thought of a vast chamber filled with scrolls, gold, statues… He thought of following the path of the unknown until it leads to one of the greatest treasures in the history of America.
His grandfather finished with the clue "The secret lies with Charlotte." His grandpa always ended with that line, and it never ceased to ignite the sense of adventure in him.
Ben felt this pull, his curiosity peaking, and at that moment, he knew he was meant to find that treasure, and he wouldn't stop until he did.
His father would always arrive at that very moment, and insist that it was never true, that the treasure was just some legend not worth taking part in.
Ben didn't believe so.
His grandfather had knighted him, and he took on the task of looking for the treasure that would mark the Gates family forever in history.
And even though he knewthat the knighting ceremony wasn't for real, he took his vow seriously.
He was going to look for that treasure, no matter what happened, no matter what anyone said.
After many years, he fulfilled his vow.
Ben sat on his bed, trying to concentrate on what he was reading. He dashed over to his closet, grabbed a pair of earmuffs and put them on.
At least, even if he could still hear them shouting, he wouldn't understand what they were saying.
At least he could pretend he didn't know.
Day after day after day, he knew what it was about. They were fighting about the treasure again.
There were days when his mother would just lose it, screaming at his dad after he sharedthe latest news about the Templar Treasure. His dad would then answer, spouting reasons why he wanted to find this treasure and so on.
There were days when his dad would just blow at everything – thank God never directly at him – even his mom. And they would start fighting again. These were days his mom would tuck him in at night, run fingers through his hair and tell him his dad was just really stressed out, and that there was a problem with the treasure.
But he knew this fight was different. Last week, he heard threats of divorce fly through the air. He heard his friend's parents had a divorce, and his friend had to move out of state. To be sure, he even looked it up in the dictionary and a law book in the library. The first thing he thought was he didn't want to move out of state, and then he just broke down in tears when he realized that one of his parents was leaving him.
His worst fears were confirmed when his mom served him a heap of ice cream complete with chocolate syrup and whipped cream, and sat on his bed to tell him something important. He was handed an old dog stuffed toy that he named Captain after George Washington's hound. His mother explained to him that she was leaving, and a bunch of other stuff that he couldn't understand anymore because the words were broken by his mother's sobs and his own cries.
Ben buried that memory in the deepest corner of his mind a very long time ago. But like real Templar Treasure, he knew it would always be there.
Ben sat in a small café, waiting for his new contact and associate. He found himself thinking about the circumstances that led to finding the computer guy he desperately needed help from.
Ben met him when he was desperately looking for a computer guy that could help them find who, or what, Charlotte was. Someone who could bypass every security system (well, almost) in the government and search the dark nooks and crannies of the world wide web for different information.
The interviews didn't go so well. He asked a series of random questions, always ending with an obscure history related question.
Not one passed.
Now he was reduced to combing offices all around Washington, observing employees work and interact with people. Then he would ask them a random history question that would pop into his mind, such as "Give me 5 people who signed the Declaration of Independence". Nobody he talked to passed (bizarrely, Ben thought), making Ben reconsider the whole idea of looking for someone who cared about history. He thought of pulling some poor, random, innocent soul out of one of those soul-sucking, brain-eating windowless gray cubicles and just get the damned thing over with, as Ian Howe, his associate, so eloquently put it.
No one got anything right, not until Ben met him, anyway. Ben was scouting in one of the offices, peeping randomly into cubicles, holding a cup of iced latte when he bumped into a young guy in his early twenties. The guy almost fell down, and the drink was spilled all over both their shirts. The young man dropped his glasses, and made a glaringly sarcastic remark. The person stooped to pick them up, and turned to look up at Ben's startled face, and apologized sheepishly.
Something prompted Ben to ask one of his history questions again, and decided to raise the ante to all the Declaration of Independence signers. The young man answered with a look of confusion on his face, and after a series of vague computer related questions, Ben was convinced he was their guy. Ben gave subtle hints about what he was looking for.
"You're looking for a computer guy," The young man had stated matter-of-factly, "to help you look for something that may or may not contain a clue to a treasure."
Ben nodded cautiously. He thought he saw wheels turn in the young man's head, and a warning sign crawled into the guy's features. "You're crazy." The young man stated.
Ben's face fell flat.
"But count me in."
Ben looked up, surprised.
"Sir, I accepted a job from someone I don't know. May I ask who you are?"
Ben grinned, and introduced himself. "Ben Gates."
They shook hands. Ben started telling him the whole thing about the treasure, but stopped in his tracks when Riley interrupted, completing the Templar Treasure story without the part about the clue from Ben's grandfather. Riley provided his own ideas and theories about the treasure, and laughed at Ben's bewildered expression.
Somehow, Ben knew this friendship would last longer than this expedition probably will.
His gut feeling was right.
Ben was honestly surprised when he saw her sitting behind that desk. He had expected a spinster of sorts, with graying hair and glasses thicker than the one-way mirrors in interrogation rooms. He certainly felt like he was in one when she was firing seemingly innocent questions at him, and he answered with as much eloquence as he could afford without twisting the truth and meaning to his words.
He was actually astonished and impressed when she caught on pretty quick.
And even more so when he spotted that George Washington campaign button collection. Anyone who understood what they stood for, more so collected them, ranked pretty high in his book.
And to add a simple innocent observation: she was beautiful too. Ben could barely take his eyes off her. Those eyes…
Something just attracted him to her. Like a magnet, or an electric spark. It was hard to explain, and Ben wasn't keen on trying to find out what the explanation was. After all, he'd rather not associate with people who were close-minded to things that needed immense faith in the unknown.
He ate his words deep into his expedition, when he (or rather, they, he corrected himself, they – him and Riley) had to quite literally drag her along. But he saw that look in her eyes, and that was enough to spark a whole new chapter of respect (which would turn out to be subtle admiration, then full-blown attraction and the rest was history). They moved in and proceeded to live a life that Ben never thought could be his.
Afterwards, there were a few misunderstandings, fights, something that actually paved its way to a break-up, but they fixed everything and worked everything through. Hearts were broken, scars were acquired, but nothing they couldn't stick through.
He asked her to marry him one day, and God knows how that turned out. They got married and moved on, writing new chapters and creating new episodes that he never thought would even happen in his life.
He thought he would forever be stuck on finding treasures all his life and turning them over to the museums and proper authorities.
Well, he certainly found one. And this one, he would never give to anyone else.
Ben started this expedition because he wanted to clear his family's name. That was it. Not because of the promise of treasure or gold, not because he wanted to land a place in history (considering he already landed one) or anything like that. All he wanted was to clear the Gates' family name, to set things right. He wanted to prove that he wasn't guilty. The stories from his family were true. They were always true.
He guessed he should have expected a lot of risk and adventure – but he never thought that he would have to kidnap the president. But then again, he never thought he would steal the Declaration of Independence either.
He certainly didn't expect to tell his mother that he was looking for another treasure – he knew that would spark memories that he wasn't too keen on digging up. But then again, he never expected to drag his dad along the Templar Treasure ride.
Ben didn't expect to be caught in a tunnel in Mt. Rushmore, under Cibola, facing a rather glum death by drowning. He found himself in a 'small' situation, in which he almost had to sacrifice his own life to make sure everyone he loved would get out alive. He didn't even have enough time to say what he wanted.
Turned out that he didn't have to – he had plenty of time to do so when they got out. One of his associates (he refused to refer to him as a competitor, because all he wanted was his name written in history. And he did give up his life for them after all.) sacrificed his life to hold the stone door open as water filled the cavern, and he slipped under just in time. He was irrevocably convinced that God was watching over them in there, and that He sent Mitch to save them all.
He made it a point to tell everyone that Mitch Wilkinson saved them all and was one of his partners in finding the Cibola.
Whenever he thought about that small expedition, he felt a sense of utter peace and relief. It was not too late, they made it out, he got to spend more time with the people he loved – he learned not to take anything for granted.
And all that came from just trying to clear his family's name.
Ben held her hand as she screamed. He felt reduced to a blabbering mass of nerves, breathing in time with Abigail as she went through the wonderful miracle of childbirth.
"Benjamin Franklin Gates you are never ever touching me again!" Abigail screamed, making Ben jump and respond in a surprised and reflexive manner.
"That's not fair!"
Abigail squeezed his hand tightly, and released another scream.
"Here he comes! Push, mommy, push!"
Abigail groaned, and screamed again. "BEEEEEEN!"
He had half-a-mind to let go and run out of the room as fast as possible. Of course, Ben didn't actually do it, but instead stayed there frozen and breathing almost as heavily as Abigail, while she did all the work.
A sharp cry broke his desperately deflected thoughts.
"Would you like to cut his cord, Mr. Gates?"
Ben gingerly reached for the scissor-looking instrument, and cut the cord. He stared at the little thing, who was still screaming and kicking and crying. At first he wasn't really sure what to do with it – or rather, him, and Ben found himself scrutinizing the small bundle the doctor handed over.
He found it was rather smaller than he expected, and the more he stared at it, the more he saw who it was.
Look, you have your mother's nose. And her ears. Ben touched its cheek tentatively.
"Ben, let me see him."
Ben turned to his wife, and showed her the small bundle. "Charles. Charles Carroll Gates." Abigail had whispered. She smiled, and looked up at him with awe, her eyes asking him: Did we really make him? Is he really ours?
That was when it actually dawned on him. This little bit, little child, this baby, was his son. And his name was Charles. He never thought that the name would sound better when he actually says it in front of his son.
His son. Ben beamed at his wife, the doctor, at everything in the room. Riley poked his head through the door, asking, "Is it over?" and Ben could only beam at him. Ben nodded, and gestured at Riley to come closer. Ben glanced again at his son, who was now sleeping in his arms.
"You named him Charles, right?" Riley asked, and Ben just nodded. "Chuck. He looks more like a Chuck to me." Riley smiled, and reached for the tiny hand. "Hello, Chuck, I'm your Uncle Riley. And this, he's your Dad Ben, and that's your Mommy Abigail." Riley said in his best kid-friendly voice. "And you have your father's eyes."
Ben grinned, and just beamed at everything. He couldn't say a single word. All he could do was beam.
The doctor told them that Charles would be checked over by the pediatrician first, and would just be brought to Abigail's room. Ben placed him in his special bed, and waved good bye to him. I'll see you later, kiddo.
He couldn't believe that that bundle of miracle came from him. He didn't feel it was possible.
It was one miracle that he would never, ever forget. And he knew he was going on another adventure of a lifetime.
Gooey, sweet and fluffy. Review please…? xD