Disclaimer: I do not own Fusion Fall.
No flames, this is a one-shot. Please review. That's all.
There is some Ben/Blossom romance at the end, but you can take it as Friendship. It's either one you want, so yeah.
Loneliness; the feeling that encased someone in times where they were alone, or, without human contact. Sometimes, loneliness could be so severe, it would drive someone in depression so deep, they'd end their life. Other times, it sent them spiraling into a mental state that was far too damaged to be repaired.
Sometimes, it was just too much.
Everyone felt lonely from time to time. It was a common feeling and usually, it'd go away once someone made contact with another. Usually.
Sometimes, one could be surrounded by people, yet, the feeling would not go away. It persisted- like a cramp in a muscle. It stung like a cut that refused to heal.
It burned like words filled with tragic memories attached.
It didn't go away.
"How... how long has he been out there?"
Blossom Utonium sighed, her gentle pink eyes swimming with concern for the teenager that sat, alone, outside. He stared into the night-time sky, obviously thinking about something. She felt a hand gentle squeeze her shoulder, yet, she didn't turn to look at them. She continued to gaze out at the teenager.
"He does require assistance..."
Blossom remained silent. She knew that he needed help- lots of it, to be exact. He needed not professional help, but he needed mental help. Help from a friend- help from someone who knew exactly what he was going through. So far, there was no one that was willing to help. No one that could help.
"I know," Blossom whispered. It wasn't that she was worried about him hearing; it was the only way she could keep her voice from breaking.
Dexter, also known as 'Boy Genius', merely glanced from the boy outside back to Blossom. He could see it in her eyes- she wanted to go out and save him.
"Why not go?" Dexter asked quietly. He didn't pretend to know her reasons, nor did he pretend to know her thoughts. He was a master of creation, a scientist of machines and mechanics. He was not a human psychiatrist.
Blossom blinked. She turned her gaze back onto Dexter, and rolled her shoulder slightly, as if just realizing he was holding it. "He needs time," she said as if it were the most obvious thing in the world.
Dexter sighed aloud.
He knew things would be difficult- that's why he never out-rightly accepted the position as the leader of the war. Fuse had easily identified a few loose-ends on leadership problems and had taken immediate advantage of said problems. Dexter, however, had become everyone's reference point. His knowledge mixed with his large influence was more than enough to sway people to listen- even if he didn't want them to.
Topping it off, he was adequate in combat and he had the spunk of a leader. He was the perfect candidate.
He decided to lead, just not claim ownership of the title. That was enough for the 'army' and over time, they'd become accustomed to referring to him as the head-honcho. He'd had to make some tough decisions, but this one was up there in terms of problematic turbulence.
And for once in his life, Dexter, boy genius, had no idea what to do.
"Does he? He's gotten plenty." Dexter was not one to beat around the bush. If an answer was in sight, he immediately pulled it into the open. Blossom shot him a quick look that bordered on a glare.
"What am I supposed to say? 'Hey Ben, I'm sorry your friends are dead. I know your town was destroyed... but hey, at least you're still alive!'" Blossom asked sarcastically, her pink eyes flashing with rays of annoyance. Dexter snorted, finding little comedic value, yet the whole situation was a slight bit humorous to him.
He knew quite well that Blossom was a sarcastic and very hard person to talk to when she was annoyed, angry or even worried. You had to be patient- the one quality Dexter had mastered due to his life with Dee Dee.
"No; that would be extremely ill-thought out," Dexter said, ignoring Blossom's scathing glare. Instead, he thought for a second. "Why not just go make small-talk? Keep his mind from the issue?"
Blossom's glare subsided as she looked away from the child-protege. Although he was extremely far from a child anymore, it didn't stop others from admitting he was a protege. Teen protege, however, didn't have the same ring to it.
"I just... I fight crime. I don't talk to people so well," Blossom begrudgingly admitted. Although she was an adequate people-person, she knew she'd never consulted anyone after they lost their family, friends and their basic entire life.
Dexter didn't say anything for a moment. "I don't either, you know. I'm a scientist, not a people-person. At all," he said with his thick accent. Blossom sighed and admitted, once more, that he was right. She knew all his attempts to talk to someone- especially Ben- resulted in a fight or someone getting offended. Only those that knew him well knew how not to offend him.
Ben was one of those people. Just not in this mood.
That was all Blossom needed to hear.
Blossom, shielding herself from the chilled winds, was beginning to have her regrets as she walked outside. Usually, she could've just floated or flew, but she felt like it'd be a bad way to start a conversation.
Even with Planet Fusion in Earth's atmosphere, the seasons came and went as if there wasn't a war going on. It seemed like that and the sunrising and setting were the only things that were still normal.
Blossom stopped in her tracks as she was a few feet from Ben. He was sitting lotus position, on a small wooden platform. Sector V was quite famous for their tree-house and this was where Ben was staying now. Blossom and Dexter had both decided to check in on him- only to see his rapidly deteriorating condition.
"Maybe I shouldn't be out here," Blossom thought as she looked at him nervously. It wasn't like her to be overly nervous. She was a Powerpuff Girl- their leader. She was supposed to be cool, calm and collected. Eager to fight any oncoming challenge with a game-ready smirk. Yet he made her feel like she was just a small girl in his presence. It wasn't just because he was had just lost everything- it was just because, quite simply, he was Ben.
Before Blossom had the opportunity to leave, she heard Ben's soft voice. "It's too late to turn back now."
Blossom had no idea what to say, so she remained silent. She was in a hole- no use digging herself deeper now.
Walking forward, she ended up taking a seat next to the teenager clad in green. Judging by his face faintly illuminated by the lights around the tree-house, it didn't look like he'd been crying or anything. It just looked like he'd been sitting outside, alone.
"So Dexter put you up to this?" Ben asked quietly. His voice wasn't rough, yet another sign that he hadn't been crying. Blossom blinked, not knowing how to respond.
"How'd you k-"
Ben cut her off. "I saw you two talking."
"Oh," Blossom said, before shaking her head, albeit, a bit late. "Actually, I came out here of my own power."
Ben raised an eyebrow, but didn't look at her. Taking his silence as a sign to keep talking, she reluctantly continued.
"I wasn't really sure if I should go talk to you or not. I thought maybe you wanted time alone," Blossom admitted. While she wasn't great at heart-to-heart conversations, so far, she thought she was managing it pretty well.
To her genuine surprise, Ben let out a dry laugh. "I have a whole life time to be alone."
Blossom frowned- at both her word choice and at Ben. She wasn't aware of his dry and rather depressing humor. She'd only seen him when he was annoyed (which was a bit often), cocky (probably more common the annoyed) and then just happy, carefree Ben.
"You shouldn't say that," Blossom said, trying not to sound too bossy. She knew she was failing the second the words tumbled out of her mouth, but she couldn't help it. It was just a part of who she was.
Ben shrugged his shoulders. "It's true though."
"That doesn't make it okay."
"What does it make it? Because, let's face it, it doesn't make it any less real. My town was just destroyed by Fuse. My family, all dead. My friends, gone. My life? It is now buried under 2 miles of fusion matter," Ben said irately. He finally made eye contact with her and Blossom gasped. Ben's usually vivid emerald eyes were dull, lifeless and swimming with unshed tears.
He looked absolutely awful.
Before Blossom could say anything in retaliation, Ben spoke again. "Everything I knew is now gone... I'm fighting in a war I didn't even want. All because I did what I was asked to do, my town ended up getting attacked. All those deaths fall on me! I always told myself that once things got serious... I would too. I'm sorry for everyone that's lost someone in this war... but this... this is beyond anyone. I don't want to wallow in self-pity, but this is big. I just let hundreds of people die because I wasn't good enough to stop something."
Blossom jumped to her feet, her anger itching at her surface. She refused to channel her anger at Ben, but she didn't refused to explode on him.
"How can you say that?! You had NO control over Fuse's actions!"
Ben got to his feet, his eyes shining with anger and anguish. There was emotion budding in the deep emerald orbs- Blossom just needed to get it out in the open. "I was a sway in his decision though! If I hadn't been a push-factor in the war, my town might still be standing!"
"And if you weren't a push-factor, countless more would be dead! You've saved hundreds- no, check that- THOUSANDS of lives! If you didn't do what you've done... it probably would've been my town that was destroyed... or the KND... someone would've lost their city. And you would've felt guilty- you know why?"
Ben didn't respond. He looked away, unable to face the girl scolding him.
"Because you're human, Ben. You're still human, and a great one at that. You take the blame when you don't have to. You are a hero... whether you believe me or not."
Blossom had the urge to walk away, the urge to leave the place she was standing. Her anger was still swimming beneath her skin, but she knew she couldn't just leave. Not while Ben was in this state.
She wondered if she was too harsh. One could easily argue that she was exactly how she needed to be, yet, she felt slightly guilty for blowing up on him like that. He'd just lost everything- maybe it was rational of him to be upset with himself.
But if you didn't tell him straight up... who would've?
"I... I just wish I could've done more."
Blossom blinked. "Excuse me?"
Ben was still unwilling to look into Blossom's eyes, so he looked toward the sky. The faint green hue of Planet Fusion tainted the night-time sky, with the occasional spawn being heard in the silent night.
"I watched Bellwood get struck down. I wish I could've done more," he said quietly. This time, Blossom was intent on not getting angry. Ben needed to be comforted- not scolded again. If he got mad, so would she. But since he only confided in her, she could be honest and caring with him.
"Ben... we all wish we could do more. I wish I could just fly up to Planet Fusion and pummel Fuse. But I- we can't. We need to work as a team and do what we can do. You really are only human; that means you have limits, as do we all," Blossom explained. Ben just snorted.
"No; I have limits. You all... you don't."
Blossom sighed. Out of the frying pan and into the fire.
"I know I do. Nobody is without limits. It's those limits that make us stronger though," Blossom explained.
Ben was silent a moment before he finally spoke. What he said was exactly what Blossom wanted to hear.
"I'm not just human though. I'm not just a small faction anymore. Fuse just brought out the big guns. If he wants to fight, I'm going to give him a fight," Ben said determinedly. His eyes reflected the crescent moon that levitated in space. For the first time since coming outside, Ben's eyes were alive again.
"That's," Blossom began, giving Ben a rare hug. She wrapped her arms around Ben's strong torso and squeezed. She sighed contently as she felt the warmth seep through his shirt, being a temporary relief to the cold. "What I like to hear."
Ben smiled- actually smiled. "Thank you, Blossom. I feel a little bit better."
Blossom raised an eyebrow. "Only a little?"
"It's a gradual process."
Blossom smiled. "And I'll be there, every step of the way."