Ben knew, before he ever even met Leslie that he was going to have to fire her. And his first impression of her confirmed that he was making the right decision. She was beautiful and kind- she would do fine after all was said and done. He would come back years from now to find her married with kids, happily unemployed, and working on the school board to get her feeling of self importance. But like everything Leslie, she refused to do what she was supposed to. She couldn't just stay in some tiny compartment in his brain. As soon as he had labeled her a pushover, she started yelling at him in a frenzy of controlled passion. He had never seen anything like it.
Maybe it was because he was sitting facing the window, but it was like the light coming in from the window was instead coming from her, turning her blonde curls into a halo. Ever her blue eyes seemed like a laser beam of light. He had to blink twice. Once from surprise at her outburst, and twice at the image. An image he stored away because he knew it would make good inspiration for his fanfiction stories later. But then, as soon as the thought came, he corrected himself. She was no hero. She was an angry office employee yelling at him for doing his job.
This wasn't a new position for him. Well not entirely new. But typically the women who yelled at him, he could peg them as being yellers before they began. They gave off an aura of distaste, and would start fights for the sake of fighting itself. They didn't ever look like they walked around in a ball full of sunshine. And that bothered him.
Something about the way she viewed him bothered him. She treated him like she stood in the path of justice, and she would take him, the villain, down to save her people. But their life wasn't a comic, and he wasn't the bad guy. Still he couldn't shake the feeling the rest of the night that his skin was tainted with her laser glare of Sunshine. She was Sunshine Girl, with the power to turn a man into a villain with just a look.
After going to the club to try to get her to revoke "a look", and instead getting beamed even more- he went back to his motel. He tried to find his argument, his confidence that he wasn't her arch nemesis in the bottle of beer cans. After one too many he found himself on the phone with Brian. Yes Ben had friends. Take that Leslie Knope. He had some humanity. Granted, all of them were from college and were married, but he had people. After explaining the situation to Brian, in his most articulate drunk ways, he found himself not on the end of agreements, but instead laughter.
"Dude you've got it bad." Silence. Silence Ben should have used to form an argument stronger than 'What? But I…no! Did you hear what I said?"
"Yes you have spent an hour trying to tell me how frustrating this woman is, but also felt it important that I know she is attractive and has something to do with sun powers. Does Benny Poo have a little crush on an office employee?"
"Pfft. NO. She's got..." But at that moment only positive words filled Bens brain.
"Passion it sounds like." Brain offered for him. " I think Allie would like to meet her. Considering you somehow find a way to not fire her. That tends to put a wrench in any future relationships. " After arguing for a while longer, and getting nowhere with Brain, Ben gives up. He is now, more than ever, ready to fire Leslie Knope. Her blonde curls be damned.
But then Sunshine Girl does it again. She saves the day. But this time it's even worse because she has an accomplice- Puppy Dog Ben. A man whose super power is an affinity for her smile, and a wallet with four hundred dollars missing from it. Once again, he consoles himself that night with the knowledge that she has to go. And he will be brave enough to make it happen.
Yet the next day when Ron comes to plea with him, Puppy Dog Ben makes a reappearance.
"If you fire her, she will come to every public forum and make my life a living hell. You fire her and she will find a way to do her job regardless, and she will do it better than the people who are actually getting paid for it. That job is her life. And without her that department is useless. So fire me, if you have to fire someone." She even made other people into heroes.
"Well that literally makes me the saddest I've ever been. Ben Wyatt. Are you sure there isn't something we can do?"
Ben knew the script. He knew that now was when he channeled his bad cop and forged ahead. But there was something rising to the surface. And before he could stop himself he found himself saying "I agree. She's too valuable. We will find other ways to get the money. Resigning isn't necessary."
Ron gives him a knowing nod, and leaves him alone to face Chris blank stare. Somewhere it registers to both of them that this is the first time Ben has ever shifted away from his assigned role.
From then on Ben Wyatt feels himself turning into Jekyll and Hyde. Mean Ben is always fighting with Puppy Dog Ben. But when she fixed him with her Puppy Dog eye attack (how fitting for him), or her Excitement Fury, it was no surprise which one would surface. Every hand touch, casual brush, admission of feelings, gaze across the room, spontaneous make out session, left him completely at her mercy. He was her Puppy Dog Ben, and there is no one he would rather be.
It shouldn't surprise him that when Ron somehow lets it slip that Ben had once tried to get her fired- Leslie went off the handle. Suddenly he was trying to go out of his way to prove he wasn't mean Ben. But all the tricks in his arsenal, she was immune to. She scoffed when he played JJ Waffle attack. She deflected his baby monkeys in diapers move. She even withstood his copious amounts of whipped cream. No amount of apologizing could make her forget Mean Ben, the one who almost took away the thing that was most important to her. The nights without her in his bed were the longest, and he even found himself praying, to a deity he didn't know if he actually existed, that she would return. And she did. She showed up at his house with a thousand apologies and they fell into each others arms. As their bodies intertwined he swore he saw stars, the moon, and the sun. Right as he was about to fall asleep he murmured into her hair.
"Good night Sunshine Girl."
He heard a muffled giggle and she turned to look at him.
"Sunshine Girl?" she asked teasingly.
Ben Wyatt found himself trying to stay awake but his eyelids wouldn't listen. They kept closing no matter how hard he tried to open them. "You're my superhero." He said lazily while trying to pull her closer to him. She could never get close enough for his liking.
"Well what's your superhero name?" She asked, snuggling forward to help him out.
"Sometimes I'm your villain, Mean Ben. And otherwise I'm just an adoring fan. Puppy Dog Ben." He mumbled. She tried to ask him another question, but to her dismay, sleep won and he woke up never remembering their conversation until a week later on his birthday.
He woke up in her bed to a cape on top of his face that said "HF Man." And he couldn't for the life of him figure out where it had come from, or what it meant. But he did know that he smelled something that smelled an awful lot like burning plastic coming from his kitchen. He trampled out of bed to find her, cursing some ingredient in a bowl. She was covered in flour, and spaghetti sauce, but what was even stranger, was that she was wearing a tight leather body suit of Gold and a cape. Moments went by where he just blinked at her in shock. This was weird, even by Leslie Knope standards. When she finally looked up and caught his eye she gave him a small smile.
"I'm making Calzones." She offered and moments went by. His mind still confused and blank.
"For Breakfast?" He asked.
"I eat waffles for every meal, I figured the same might be true about calzones for you." She said with a small smile. "When you love something enough…" She trailed off nervously.
"And the outfit?" He stammered; Not being able to get past how hot she looked in a body suit, standing in thei-her kitchen. He didn't care why she was wearing it, but he never wanted her to take it off. No. Not true. He wanted to rip it off her right now because he liked her in it so much.
"I'm Sunshine Girl." She offered with a little curtsy.
Suddenly he remembered the conversation a week before, the cape on his bed. HF man. What did that mean. Handsome friendly man? Human Finance man? Humping Ferrets man? "You don't have your outfit on Hydrogen Fusion man." When he cocked an eyebrow she smiled.
"Well, when you were telling me about my superpower I thought about what yours might be. And I did some research. I know I don't understand a majority of it, and I might be getting it totally wrong… but Hydrogen Fusion is what keeps the sun together." And with this, Ben started getting closer, needing to be touching his beautiful girlfriend while she explained. " It's what makes the sun brighter. And without it the sun would collapse on itself and kill everyone." He couldn't keep his smile from spreading and she looked up to him. He could see vulnerability in her eyes but also a faith, in him. Then she continued on gently. "That's what you mean to me. I need you for myself to survive, and thrive. The more of you I have, the brighter I shine. And everyone else would be a whole lot more miserable because of me, if I didn't have you."
And that moment, he didn't care about the fact that she had gotten the science of the sun wrong. About the fact that she was covered in flour. Or the fact that the kitchen smelled like a Frisbee with spaghetti sauce being cooked. He knew that he would spend the rest of his life being this girls super hero, if he could. And having her be his. They made a good team. Andy's speech about wanting to punch anyone that hurt April came to his mind. And unplanned and unprepared he got down on his knee.
"Leslie Knope I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Please say yes. I don't have a ring. We can pick one whenever you want, but I need you to know that I can not spend another minute with you, without you being fully aware that I want to spend forever with you. I can't live without you. This is a word jumble, and I'm rambling but I lo-" and before he can finish her mouth is on his and they are making out on her kitchen floor, with her randomly yelling yes in between breathes.
And Ben has never been more thankful for saving her job, because she did something more important. She saved him. Damn her and her sunshine powers.