Disclaimer: I do not own Lost. I just enjoy the show
In the need for more Little Ben stories (especially little Ben interacting with the future losties) I decided to write another. This one, as many of you should know, based on the infamous scene in season 4 "Cabin Fever" in which Hurley unexpectedly shares a familiar treat with the seemingly evil Ben Linus. It was such a weird and amusing moment for me. I decided to fanfic a little history as to why Hurley did it. Why did Hurely share his snack with the villian?
On a bright sunny day, two men found reasons to gripe as they lifted heavy boxes out of the back of a food van. They felt they had the right to complain about the amount of workload they'd been given in the kitchen for the afternoon. To Hurley, it was no big deal. He, along with Robert and Steward were unloading a new shipment of food and kitchen supplies for the Dharma cafeteria. Where the Initiative got it from, Hurley had no idea. Hurley didn't bother to ask. He simply did without bothering to know why. That was his philosophy afterall: Don't ask questions, just go with the flow. He, as he often saw himself, was the kind of guy who made himself a salad and moved on. Of course, that salad might have to be accompanied by a nice big slice of pizza, or a piece of fried chicken.
It sounded good at the moment. A big slice of pizza with everything on it, everything except the stamp of the Dharma Intitiative. A real pizza from Pizza Hut or any other pizzaria that was not on the island. But that was a minor problem. It was no big deal. He felt it was time to start watching what he ate anyways.
As he took a large box of canned vegatables into his arms, he looked over at Robert and Steward. They were still complaining.
"Can't believe that Rodney," said Robert. "Going to LaFleur, complaining how I don't pull my weight in the kitchen. I've done as much as he has. Now I got the rest of the afternoon to try and prove it."
"At least you don't have to clean up after all of them," said Steward. "Those tables get pretty nasty. Those slimballs don't give a damn about us. Just order us around. I have a good mind to go up to Horace and demand off this stinkhole island."
At least you guys aren't from the future, stuck in 1977, thought Hurley. Now that was something to complain about. At least it should be, but Hurley wasn't the kind of person to get too upset over spilt milk, especially when the spilt milk was a few extra hours in the kitchen. It sounded like heaven to him.
As Hurley moved back inside through the backdoor of the cafeteria, he thought how differently he had felt before he found himself in another time--before he found himself on the island again. He was happy. Or at least, he was trying to be happy. But the lying he'd been instructed to do by his fellow castaways was slowly consuming him. It wasn't a good life anymore, not like how it used to be; not even when he was living with the cursed lotto numbers. It was a lot worse. Either way, he would not and could not admit that the problem would be solved by returning to the island. That his destiny relied on him boarding Flight 316. He still didn't see it, or at least, he still didn't know the reason why. There was nothing and no one to tell them why they were here. The only person who probably could was Locke. Problem was, he was in a coffin. Out of all of them, he was the only one who ever really believed they had a destiny. Like he knew why they were here and why this island wasn't a stinkhole. That it was something special. Hurley thought he left those kind of thoughts behind when he boarded the helicopter headed for home, for his real life. But he hadn't, thanks to a stranger in a taxi who encouraged him to follow what Locke had later told him. That his purpose was here.
And that purpose was?...............He had no clue.
Until he did, he would not gripe like Robert and Steward. He would make the most of it. It would be like a silent promise that Jack and Kate and apparently Sawyer (now Lafleur) and Juliet made to themselves, even though they had no idea why they were doing what they were doing; living in 1977.
After Hurley unloaded the box into the kitchen, he went back for more. He just passed Steward on his way in with a box now that their agreed complaining was over. Robert was leaning against the van, apparently fed-up with the whole thing. Hurley went right on to doing what he needed to do. Of course he didn't have to do it, not this part of the job anyways. He was assigned as the Chef of Dharma by Sawyer himself. At the time, Sawyer's comments on how he was practically made for the kitchen rubbed Hurley the wrong way. But he knew it was just Sawyer being Sawyer, something he greatly missed since he sacrificed the opportunity to return home. It might not have ever happened. Hurley and the others might not have become Oceanic 6 if Sawyer hadn't jumped the helicopter and saved it from being weighed down when it wanted to crash. For that, Hurley felt he owed it upon himself to follow as Sawyer instructed. Not to raise any suspicions and, to his dislike, lie a little bit longer. No one was to know where or when they were actually from. In order to keep that lie and promise, Hurley needed to blend in and act like everyone else and especially not do anything he wasn't told to do.
"Hey Reyes," said Robert, who had been watching Hurley pile up two boxes together. "Why don't you go on back to the kitchen and leave the rest of this work to us. The old chefs around here never leant so much as advise, let alone a helping hand."
"No, it's cool dude," said Hurley. "I don't mind."
"Don't need you feeling sorry for us."
"I'm not. I just wanna help," said Hurley. It was true. He didn't have to do this part of the job, but he always took the opportunity to help someone. However, he had the feeling that Robert and Steward didn't want his help. He could be wrong, but he had a feeling they didn't like him. Some of their tastless jokes and complaints seemed to be directed at him. Sawyer and Juliet explained that it wasn't anything to worry about. It was just that the Dharma people weren't too trusting of outsiders, especially since they had the hostiles to deal with.
"LaFleur give you any extra chores for the day?"
"Of course not," Robert said, with that hint of his disliking him in his voice. "You're buddies aren't you." He moved away, purposely bumping into Hurley as he went back inside.
"Jerk," Hurley whispered under his breath. He gathered up the boxes and went back inside. Since both Steward and Robert were too busy feeling sorry for themselves, Hurley unloaded the rest of the van on himself. That is, until a few of his other co-workers in the kitchen saw him and decided to help out.
Ever since Hurley became a Chef, he had a newfound respect for all the chefs who worked in his favorite restaurant. Of course, he had worked around food as his first job, but was quickly fired for eating too much chicken and giving in to the customers' wishes. Sawyer assured him he could never be fired and found it surprising when he confessed about losing his job. Sawyer joked that if he ever had to fire him, he could work as his personal cook.
Hurley smiled at the thought as he sat on the steps of the larger cafeteria compound. It was 5:00, which meant his job was over for the day. He often spent it like this before going to his new home. Sitting on the steps, just thinking, and chewing on some snack from the kitchen which was always candy. This time, it was a rich, chocolaty, smooth Apollo bar. He looked down at it, turning it in his hands. He remembered specifically the last time he ate one of these.
"Come on you whimp! Stop acting like a baby!"
Hurley looked up at the sudden commotion that was happening before him. A group of boys had just shown up, not too far away from him and decided to put on a show of bullying. The bullyer -- a rather tall blonde kid with a bad attitude. The bully-ey-- a smaller, brown haired boy with glasses. It was the blonde haired boy who shouted and then pushed the smaller boy to the ground, violently enough to knock off his glasses and the books he carried in his hand. The other boys gathered around, laughing.
"Get up! Come on! I don't have all day!"
The smaller boy reached for his glasses and put them back on. From the look of his face, and his clothes, the bullying had started elsewhere and was picking up again here. He wiped his arm across his bloodied lip and cast a dark look at the blonde.
"He ain't getting up, he's too scared," said another boy.
"You're such a loser! Why'd you come to this island? Nobody wants you."
"Not even your dad wants you!"
Hurley frowned. Just as the boy seemed to be willing to stand up to them, his eyes saddened at the last remark. If there was any confidence in him at all, it was gone now.
Tired of waiting, the blonde boy reached down and easily lifted him by the collar of his shirt to his feet. Hurley got to his feet. He had seen and heard enough. He pocketed the Apollo bar and marched up to him. He knew he shouldn't be doing this. He knew he shouldn't get involved like the few workers nearby who thought it better for the kids to handle the situation on their own. Much like on the day when Sawyer and Jin fought and everyone else stepped aside to let them have it out. But not this time. He wasn't going to let that blonde kid beat the other to a pulp, regardless.
"Hey! What are you doing?"
They looked up, except the smaller boy who looked away in shame.
"Nothing," the blonde sneered, reminding Hurley of how Sawyer might have looked at his age.
"Yeah? Well it looks like you're doing something to me. Now get out of here, before I tell LaFleur and have you....fed to the sharks."
There were mixed expressions among them. Though none of them believed the bit about the sharks (what did he know about handling kid fights?), they did buy the part about LaFleur. The blonde let go of the boy and turned away, showing him that hateful look Hurley was used. Yep, every once in a while somebody hated Hugo.
Hurley watched the boys run off, before turning to their unfortunate victim. He was still looking away from him, at the ground, apparently too ashamed to look him in the eye. Too ashamed to be seen as weak, unable to fight back; at least, at this age. Hurley wanted to feel sorry for him, but there were reasons why he couldn't. He wasn't suppose to have interferred at all, not in this boy's life anyways. LaFleur had told him why. He knew who this was and that was the reason for it. But......it wasn't right. It wasn't right not to do anything to help him. He was just a kid after all.
Hurley approached him akwardly. "Uh, dude, are you all right?"
He didn't answer.
"You know I can go to LaFleur for you. Tell him about those punks." Still nothing from the kid. Remembering how kids felt about taddling he added more. "Or I could give them the crappy leftovers for their lunch tomorrow."
The boy looked around with no particular expression on his face. Except maybe he was a little curious. Hurley couldn't help looking at his bloodied lip. When the boy saw this, he wiped his arm across it again.
"They'll just do it again."
"Not if you.... you do something about it," Hurley said, suddenly feeling like he was influencing him, but he didn't catch the hint.
He moved past him and sat right where Hurley had been sitting on the steps. Hurley watched, the feeling of sorrow for the boy overtaking him. He had been there, bullied when he was a kid for his weight. To see someone else go through it was always unberable. He walked over and sat down on the boy's left. There was silence and the strange feeling of deja vu. Hurley chanced a glance at him. He could practically hear what he was thinking. The comment about his dad must have really struck him, though Hurley had never seen his dad, he couldn't believe it was true. Not even for this kid.
But then Hurley remembered his own old man. How hard it was when he could no longer spend time with him because he abandoned him and his mother. What it was like not having him in his life. Hurley knew nothing of this boy, soon to become a most hated man. He wanted to know, at the same time he didn't.
So the silence continued. Hurley needed to fill it. He wanted to fill it, but with the right words.
"You know, the same thing happened to me when I was your age. Kids used to tease me, beat me up all the time cause I was.......fat." Hurley looked down with thoughts of the dark memories and the boy looked up with an incredulous look. Hurley turned in time to see his eyes drift down to his midsection before turning back around. Hurley knew just the kind of remark he would make if he were a man. Was fat? Don't suppose you've looked in the mirror lately Hugo. That was just like him. He was as sarcastic as Sawyer, but full of lies. But today there were no lies. He was bullied as a young kid, but it wasn't as if anyone knew. Nor were there any reasons to ask.
"I didn't always have someone to stand up for me. Not even my old man."
Again the boy looked around. "What do you know about my father?," he asked misunderstanding Hurley's meaning.
"Nothing," Hurley hurriedly replied. "All I'm saying is, it's not always easy to deal with things on your own. I know what that's like....Ben."
The boy raised his eyebrows. "How do you know my name?"
Hurley shrugged. "I heard it around."
It was uncanny. His stare was just the same as it would be when he grew up. Fortunately he turned away again.
"I also wanted to say, that you shouldn't listen to what those kids say."
After a few moments, Ben answered. "But they're right. My father doesn't want me.....no one does."
"I'm sure that's not true. Your mom..."
"I don't have a mom. She.....she died when I was a baby."
An akward silence filled the air.
"So am I. I'd give anything to be with her, or away from this place, and him."
"Well, did you ever think of talking to him about it?"
"How can I? He's so drunk half the time, he probably wouldn't know what I was saying."
So that's it. That was the reason, or maybe part of the reason why Ben acted the way he did. Hurley knew how the situations of parents could affect a child all the way into adulthood. But this was still just assumption.
Another akward silence. This really wasn't turning out the way he expected it to. He didn't know what to say next. It probably wouldn't have mattered. Ben would still grown up to be a lying, manipulative bastard. But, he could still offer something.
"Look dude,...parents, make mistakes. We all do, and in time they start to realize it, like my old man. He ran out on me and my mom when I was little, but he came back. It wasn't for what I hoped, but in a way, he kinda helped me."
Hurley looked around and continued as he saw he had Ben's full attention.
"So, what I guess I'm saying is, people deserve a second chance. You might not understand that now, but, I hope you will when you grow up."
Hurley was meeting his gaze. No longer was there any intensity behind Ben's eyes. The kind that made you want to look away. They were soft and hopeful. They were innocent--a child's eyes. Hurley knew right then that he had done the right thing. That he was right in confronting his attackers and having a heart to heart talk with the future terror. Even though Hurley knew the fate of the Dharma Initiative (including Ben's father who he now knew was among them), he liked to think that there was some form of understanding and humanity that would exist in Ben because of this talk. Who knows. Maybe Hurley had always had this talk with Ben, because he was suppose to. Maybe it allowed him to have love for his daughter.
All he knew was that it was right to help those in need, because he wanted to and not because someone told him to; or in this case not to. It felt good.
Ben sniffed and rubbed at his nose. Hurley was sure of it now. Some of what he had said sunk through. Ben turned away again, but he didn't look down. He was looking straight ahead. He even sat up. It was just like in the future where they had sat, waiting for Locke to return from the cabin. It had been uncomfortable at first, but the moment became less tense with a certain truce.
Hurley reached down in his pocket and pulled out the infamous Apollo bar. He turned it in his hands as a smile came to his face. Ben looked around, just as before, curious. He looked at Hurley. Hurley looked at him, then down at the candybar. Without saying anything Hurley opened it up. Ben was still watching. Hurley carefully broke it in half (probably in the same place as last time, he mused) and looked around at Ben. He handed him the packaged half of the candy. With a minute's hesitation and a confirming look at Hurley, Ben took it.
But before Hurley consumed his bit, he watched Ben as he carefully pulled down the wrapping and wordlessly took a bite. Hurley gave a smile. There was the feeling that the reason for that moment, in the future, was understood.
Hurley then tossed his half of the candy in his mouth.
Thank goodness for Apollo bars.
He shared it because it was something he did in the past.
I love writing this and I hope to write more little Ben fics. I just loved the oddness of Ben and Hurley and I hope you do to. It was a bit challenging, considering what Hurley would say to help Ben, but he seems to have said it all with an Apollo bar. An icon of truce and friendships on the show. Be on the look out for possibilities of more.