AN: Hi readers. I wasn't gonna put this up for a while as it's the only chapter I've got for this story at the moment and the plans for this aren't as concrete as they usually are when I start posting, but I wanted to test the waters. I've got multiple plans and a basic idea of where to take it, so if it's approved of on here, it shouldn't take too long to develop and tie them all together.
The stories based off the fact that Ben is the only one harnessed for a long period that was mentally normal and that just didn't seem right. going from a hive mind like he'd had with the harness to an individual one would be terrifying and extremely difficult to handle at all and would take a great deal of time to fix. I wanted to put some focus on that transition.
Disclaimer: Not sure why we bother with this so much because obviously if it's on fanfiction, I don't own it, but yeah, only the plot is mine. If I owned Falling Skies, Jimmy and Rick would be alive and well, so clearly I don't.
Quiet. Empty. That was the first thing Ben noticed as he stirred. They weren't there. His guardian, his brothers and sister. He could always hear them, always felt them in his mind for as long as he could remember. But now it was like his mind held nothing but empty space. Nothing but a distant noise at the back of his head.
Where are you? He cried out mentally, confusion filling his heavy, drowsy mind. Where have you gone? Why did you leave me? He tried as hard as he could to reach them, focusing as much as his disoriented mind could on the feeble, static filled sound that had once been his connection to the others only for his panic and confusion to grow as he got no response whatsoever. Did he do something wrong? He didn't think so, he'd done everything his guardian had asked of him. So why did they abandon him?
Hang on...did they? Or was he the one that left? He wasn't where he remembered falling asleep. He'd gone to sleep on the hard floor, gathered snugly with his group, but the surface below him now was soft, especially under his head. Something warm was draped over the top of his legs, but his upper body was completely exposed to the cool air and his back...felt far too exposed! The familiar weight of the harness was gone! Why? Where did it go, who would have...
The boy! And that guy with the girl beside him. Their faces swam around his mind as the fogginess of sleep started to fade. He remembered being confused as another boy joined his group. A familiar boy, though he wasn't so sure where he knew him from, besides when he'd brought Karen to his masters. He didn't let it worry him though, his guardian seemed fine with it. But something had stirred him as they were falling asleep and when he'd opened his eyes, it was to find the boy...Hal. He thought. His name is Hal...holding up a knife to kill his guardian. The...Hal had noticed he was awake and stopped in shock, giving Ben plenty of time to warn the others. He remembered now, grabbing...Hal with the others, following his master's wish and trying to protect him only for two more people to come in and help kill his guardian.
He remembered the pain now. The anguish his guardian had felt as he died and the sudden, almost painful disconnection from him. At that moment he was lost, hurting, didn't know what to do. How could he know what to do now that his master wasn't around to tell him?
"Ben? Ben? You're gonna be ok. I got you." That other guy, another familiar guy, grabbed him just a moment later, forcing their eyes to meet as Ben stared forlornly down at his master. Looking up, Ben had been confused at the time as to why he was talking to him, but he didn't think anymore of it as the man dragged him to his feet and guided him towards the window. He didn't want to go, he wanted to stay with his master, but he didn't know how to stop this man from taking him. His master wasn't alive to tell him what to do and he didn't know how to do anything on his own. So he had no choice but let this man...Dad...be his knew master and take him away. It wasn't what he wanted, he wasn't a Skitter, but he was telling him what to do, giving him direction. He guessed that was the best that he was going to get. He remembered the man holding him close before carrying him out of range of the Mech, four other people including...Hal carrying his brothers and sister, but after that his eyes grew heavy and he'd passed out.
They'd captured him! They'd taken him away and taken his harness, his connection! Why would they do that? Without it, he had no idea what to do. How was he supposed to be guided, how was he supposed to feel the others' presences and feelings, how was he supposed to do anything? He didn't even know how mo...hang on, he was moving! He was shaking his head all on his own.
"Dad." A loud whisper called from close by, scaring Ben. He wasn't alone. He couldn't feel anyone, but there were people around him, moving, fiddling. For a moment, he was terrified, his heart pounding in his chest. What would they do to him next? Would they hurt him now that he couldn't call for help?
However, as the tapping of quick feet met his ears, he realised that he recognised the voice. It was Hal's. His...brother's! His genetic, big brother! He remembered Hal. They'd never gotten along for one day of their lives together, but he loved Hal. Hal would fight and argue with him all the time, but he'd never hurt Ben.
Wanting to see Hal, he groggily opened his eyes just as the footsteps stopped right in front of him and surprised himself as he raised his head curiously, without anyone directing him to do it. Looking up, he caught sight of Hal next to him, but it was another, much older face that he stared up at. The guy who'd taken over guiding him like his master did. He was...
"Dad?" The word slipped off his tongue before he'd even thought to move his lips. It just popped out as soon as his recognition kicked in.
It seemed to be the right thing to do though. As soon as he said it his guar... his Dad's face turned from slightly worried to joyful. Huge smiles had grown of both his and Hal's faces. Why? What had he done to get that reaction? Was it just because he was here and awake or did he do something special? Confused, he just rested his head on the pillow and contemplated everything as his dad moved around him and sat down with another small boy standing beside him, also beaming at him. Matt. That was his name. His little brother. The one who always came to him and begged him to help with homework.
His family. His first family. They were all there with him...no, one was missing. A female. M-m...Mom. That was it, Mom, Dad's mate. He had two masters before being harnessed. A painful sensation went through his heart as he remembered her face, smiling at him affectionately. Why wasn't she here?
"Are you ok Ben?" Matt asked, pouting worriedly as he moved in front of Ben's face. "You don't look to happy."
Ben just stared at him confusedly for a moment, unsure why he'd asked, before he remembered that he wasn't connected to Matt's mind. He'd never been connected to any of them. There was no way for Matt or the others to feel what he was feeling. The realisation unnerved Ben a little to be honest, he was used to feeling others' emotions and having them feel his, making each other feel better.
But his first family, this family, did it differently, he remembered a few seconds later. They could tell when something was wrong through talking and observing his body. It wasn't as simple or effective, but it had always helped. And the physical comfort he remembered always felt nice. Focusing on Matt again, who'd only seemed to grow more worried during his bout of silence, he decided to try talking on his own again. It was still a foreign thing to do for him, but he'd done it before meeting his guardian all the time, right? He could get this. He could.
"I-I...I'm lost." He stuttered. Man this was a strange thing! It felt so weird and scary to him, but at the same time, he felt free. He wasn't sure if he wanted to test all of this new individuality or hide back in the safety of the minds of his group. But since the latter wasn't an option at the moment... "I'm confused. I...memories keep appearing, and I'm separated, I don't feel my si...siblings and no one is guiding my actions and I...I..." His panic grew as he talked, causing his words to pick up speed. He was hyperventilating by the time he stopped talking, not sure what to say or if he'd said too much. Then there was the sense of isolation rearing its ugly head again. He needed them! He needed to feel the others, he needed that familiar reassurance right now!
"Easy Ben." His dad muttered soothingly, resting a hand on his head and ruffling his hair. "Just relax. Everything will be ok." The reaction was immediate. The soothing sound meeting his ears, the familiar, relaxing sensation of having his head rubbed and the command. That's what he needed. Affection and being told what to do. That was familiar, no matter what memories he looked at. Following commands from his guardian was what he did every day without hesitation and that made it easy to follow a command like this even without the emotional support of his siblings. His body immediately relaxed and he rested his head on his pillow. Taking a few deep breaths, he slowed his heart rate back to normal and let his mind go blank, almost sighing at the pleasant feeling as his dad continued to play with his hair.
"Everything will be clearer to you in the morning. I'm sure of it." His dad said confidently, smiling warmly and chuckling as Ben confused himself as he let out a large yawn. "You're tired. Go to sleep son. You'll feel better in the morning."
Again, he responded immediately. Closing his eyes, Ben moved his arms into a more comfortable position and closed his eyes. A small smile grew on his face as he was quickly consumed by darkness. No confusion followed him, just a sense of bliss.
His dad said that everything would be understood in the morning. So it would.