A/N: Hi guys! LOOK I POSTED A NEW STORY. Okay, this is going to be a seriously angsty one. Seriously. And a long one too – probably around 15-20 chapters. I'm not sure yet – let's see how it runs. xD

The title is inspired by the SONG "Lost" by Coldplay. (not by the tv show, in case you're wondering :p I've never even watched it xD )

This part is just a prologue, an intro chapt. of sorts, so there isn't much action just yet.

Summary: Who knew that a simple refusal could cause so many problems? Vacations are not always as pleasant as you think. Ben-Riley Friendship angst. Read and enjoy, please ^^

Riley goes on a vacation without Ben. Bad things happen. To sum it up, let me quote something Riley would say in an upcoming chapter: "Why does it always happen to me?"

Disclaimer: Don't own it. xD

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Riley entered the room quietly, clutching the two tickets and brochures behind him. He laughed to himself, and crept towards Ben, grinning madly.

Ben is so going to be surprised.

The idea had sprung up a few months ago. Riley and Ben were working on their own jobs: Riley with his projects from various clients and Ben with his teaching job at Georgetown University.

The idea came from this:

"The sun is shining, the birds are singing, so what in the world are we doing inside the house working?" The sun answered him with a blinding flash onto his polished laptop, and Riley squinted. The weather's mocking me. "Life just continues to mock me, doesn't it?" Riley mumbled, and turned to Ben. "I need a break."

"Then… have a break." Ben murmured from his desk, and took a drink from his coffee. "I can't afford a break – I need the lesson plan for this week and the exams prepared. And also, I – "

"Yeah, yeah, I know. I need to crack this system open before my deadline, too. But… a break. Dude, we need a vacation. A serious one. What are we doing working?! It's such a beautiful morning."

"We actually have real jobs now, Riley. I have a real job - classes everyday..."Ben replied, waving one hand, the other not leaving his keyboard. Ben faced Riley. "Face it Riley, we're busy. Vacations are out of the question." He returned to his work, and continued tapping away on his keyboard.

Riley blinked incredulously at Ben. "What about your birthday in a few months?"

Ben knotted his forehead. "Whose birthday?"

"Your birthday!" Riley laughed. "Dude, seriously. You need a break. Geez, Ben – you forgot your own birthday." Riley banged a hand on the table, making Ben jump in his seat. "Come on! Ben!" Riley waved at the air. "You've always been bugging me to go out diving or something… well this is our chance! Take some time off – your students would understand, just leave them some activity. I'll tell my clients that I have to go somewhere…"

"Riley, it's just not possible."

"Just us boys, Ben – Boys' day out." Riley did his famous puppy dog eyes – something he hadn't tried on Ben for a while – and smiled pleadingly.

"If you can get tickets, reservations…" Ben replied, shaking his head. "I really can't go Riley. It's… just, not possible. I'm too busy."

Riley chuckled. "This, is just a vacation. Not the Templar Treasure. It's not impossible - it would be fun!" Riley grinned widely, and gestured at Ben again. "If I get reservations, and/or tickets… Do it for me, buddy! In a few months. You're bound to be off the hook by then – classes wouldn't be that hectic. Please?"

"Sure, Riley, whatever you say." Ben said, waving his hand in a dismissing motion.

"Really? Promise me, Ben. I am really going to do this."

"Yes, sure, whatever you say."

Riley had the tickets now, placed the reservations and rented rooms; paid for almost everything they would need in advance. He decided to spring the surprise a week before Ben's birthday, so the big guy could have a couple of days in advance to pack up his stuff and fix his class schedules.

Riley's excitement caused a small fumble in his step, and he shook his head, grinning. It was Ben's birthday soon, and they haven't gotten together for a while… and he remembered that this was one of the places Ben had always wanted to go, but didn't have the chance to because of time constraints and/or fully-booked reservations. Ben would be happy about this.

Ben should be happy about this, right?

After all, he did promise Riley that he would go, and as far as Riley knew, Ben had never backed down from any promises he made.

Riley was about to learn that there was a first time for everything.


"BEN!"

Ben almost fell from his seat in surprise. "What the heck…" He turned to face the cause of his rude interruption, and was prepared to deliver one of his deadly professor glares when he saw that it was Riley. His expression softened just a bit, but the annoyance didn't leave any of his features. "What?"

"I have a surprise for you! Advanced birthday gift – "

Ben frowned, and waved at Riley. "Riley, not today. It's not a good time…"

"Aw come on, dude. It's never a good time for you these days." Riley sat on the desk besides Ben's laptop. "Come on! Just check it out and you'll see!" He held out an envelope, and grinned at Ben. "Take it. It's yours. And mine too – kind of – open it!"

"Later." Ben tossed it into a drawer, making Riley frown. Ben didn't notice, though, for he had started tapping away on his computer again.

Riley slid down from the desk, and proceeded to the coach behind Ben. "Come on… you did promise…" He whispered just out of Ben's earshot. He said louder, "Open it. Please?"

Ben huffed under his breath, and ripped the envelope open. Two tickets and brochures fell out, and Ben stared at them in disbelief. "Wha – ?"

"Happy birthday Ben!" Riley beamed and waved at the tickets. "Remember that 'Boys' day out' thing I was telling you about? Well, this is it! I gave it to you a couple of days in advance so you can get everything in order... We haven't seen each other for a couple of months now – busy schedules and all, and I thought this would be a great thing so we can hang out for a week or so. Besides, remember that you've been bugging me to go diving…"

Ben didn't hear the rest of Riley's words – he was too busy examining the tickets and brochures in disbelief. He remembered this place – he had always wanted to go to this part of Asia, and he heard island hopping there would be great… But no. He had too much work to do and – why the heck was he even paying attention to this? He a lot of things to do, he hadn't even finished his exams yet and grading the papers and finishing the lecture and researching and –

"No!" Ben suddenly snapped, cutting Riley off from his cheerful monologue. "Riley, you know that I just have too much to do. What are you even thinking?! I can't go with you!"

Riley blinked at Ben, his cheerfulness immediately draining out of his face. He was dumbstruck, and he couldn't say anything but: "If… then… what should I do with these?" He grabbed the tickets, and raised them for emphasis.

Ben waved a dismissing hand at Riley, every gesture conveying his annoyance at this seemingly unimportant news Riley presented to him. "I can't believe you'd bother me over something like this. I'm busy."

There wasn't any answer but a small click from the door. Ben frowned thoughtfully, and sighed. Honestly, he would love to, but there's just no time…


Riley left the history department's building without another word. He almost chucked the tickets angrily into the waste earlier, but then remembered how hard it was to get those tickets, so he stuffed them in his pockets instead.

He just couldn't believe that Ben could do that to him.

Ben never broke his promises with other people. Not even to his adopted nephews in Riley's family. Riley had never asked Ben for any promises, not until a few months ago. He placed it under lock and key in his head back then, thinking that Ben probably had his own promise inscribed in that brain of his and that Ben would probably even be the one to remind Riley.

But boy, was he wrong.

As far as Riley knew, this was the first time Ben ever went against a promise. Pity that it happened to Riley.

Riley resisted the urge to rip the tickets and brochure apart. Even if he was rich, it would be such a waste if he did that. But he just couldn't forget how Ben yelled at him.

He was just doing something nice for Ben! It is Ben's birthday, and I'm giving him a damned gift, so we could do something, stress reliever and all that crap, and this is what I freaking get? I did not deserve such rude treatment.

Ben screamed at him for no real reason at all. Riley knew that Ben was stressed out, but Riley was just trying to help, andwhat a damned rude response!

Riley kicked at a stone so hard that it hit a small bench and flew back at him, hitting his leg. Riley cursed loud enough for everyone to hear. He then sighed, and straightened the tickets, then pocketed them again with resignation.

So much for brotherly bonding. I wonder if Aly's free this week…

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extra A/N: aly's Riley's girlfriend - like in some of my other fics, but trust me, even if she's an important character, there wouldn't be much of riley and aly romance stuff in this story.

Review the short prologue please! More to come, I promise. The story'll pick up soon, really!

-Jaeh ^^