Finally, I present to you volume three! OMG, this one was hard to write up. 'Malefactor' was simple enough, but I needed to come up with a decent twist for 'Arrested Development'. Hopefully you will enjoy this epically awesome volume. Remember to READ and REVIEW!
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
LOVE AFTER LOVE DRABBLES: VOLUME III
Episode 15: Malefactor
"This is the first public appearance I've done in months," Ben said, with both pride and trepidation; after getting used to the humility that comes with no longer being the center of public attention for a while, he was a little nervous about returning to it.
The annual 'Belwood Days' had come once more, and Ben was excited to show his Revonnahghander boyfriend yet another tradition. As they entered the gate, Rook looked to Ben and said, "Ben, are you sure you should be doing this? It doesn't seem right."
Ben caught Rook's eyes and said playfully, "I know, but I was asked nicely."
Rook raised an eyebrow, obviously not buying it.
"Think of it as giving back to the community. The proceeds from this fair go to community projects and charities!"
Rook sighed and said, "Very well." He then added with a smirk, "But let me remind you who will be shoving that 'Pie of Humility' down your throat when the fair is over."
Ben grinned and said, "First of all, it's 'Humble Pie'. Second of all, it might not be so bad being fed by you."
Rook stopped in his tracks and pulled Ben close. "Be mindful of your words," he said before pulling Ben into a deep and passionate kiss.
Ben and Rook broke apart and noticed the woman staring at them with badly hid disgust. Once she saw that she had the attention of the two young men, she planted a fake smile on her face and said with a sickeningly cheerful voice, "I'm Natalie Alverese, Deputy Director of Belwood Parks and Recreation, and the Event Organizer for this little shindig." As she quickly shook Ben's hand she added, "We spoke on the phone. I'm glad you and your...partner...could join us here, today."
Rook immediately decided that he did not like this woman. He placed a hand on Ben's shoulder and kept it there; if Ms. Alverese thought she could keep him and his human boyfriend from publicly displaying their feelings, then she had another thought coming.
"I wanted to get Kangaroo Kommando for this years festival," Natalie continued on conversationally, "but the kids were all, 'Ben 10! Ben 10!' don'tcha know?"
A few more pleasantries and Natalie lead them through the park, pointing out a few attractions here and there (Rook could now fully appreciate the name of Ben's hometown).
It wasn't until Ben found himself perched on a dunking tank that Ben's and Rook's facial expressions had swapped.
"There's got to be some kind of mistake here, lady!" Ben cried out, "I'm Ben Tennyson? Superhero? Saved the world, like, a billion times?!"
All that Natalie could offer Ben were meaningless platitudes and farewell hand wave. Rook, however, found the occasion needed commemorating...and so successfully threw a ball to dunk his boyfriend.
"It is for charity," Rook said in response to Ben's death glare.
And so the day passed on with random children commanding him to transform into an alien, and then attempting to dunk him. The worst had been the red-headed punk who managed to dunk Ben four times in a row, and then had the gall to say he was just a paid actor in a costume.
Ben had never been so happy to see Khyber's hound in his life!
Fighting Khyber's hound turned out to not be so much fun, especially after it transformed into a Psycholeopteran. Ben, as Big Chill, lead it on a chase across town before he got caught in its hypnotic gaze.
As the real world melted away into the fantasy world, Ben found himself on a stage surrounded by thousands of people from all walks of galactic life crying out his name in celebration...the same vision he'd had the first time he'd encountered a Psycholeopteran.
What made this one different, was a pair of hands grabbing his and holding them in a cherishing manner. Ben turned from the crowd and looked to his side to see Rook standing there. Suddenly, it wasn't a stage Ben was standing on, but on a daïs at the front of a church. He was wearing a tuxedo, and Rook was wearing the Revonnahghander equivalent.
Ben suddenly realized what this was, and smiled...this fantsy would be reality eventually; Rook had promised him.
Shaking himself of the vision, he starred at the large insect and grinned.
"Big mistake," he said.
As the sun set, and Ben and Rook were walking back to Rook's truck, Ben couldn't help but smile. Rook looked at him and said, "Ben, are you alright? Two of your enemies have returned in one day, and you allowed yourself to publicly humiliated at the dunking booth. I am not complaining, I am just confused."
"It's nothing big, Ben replied, "Just hope for the future.
Episode 16: Arrested Development
Ben and Rook had been patrolling the city when, out of nowhere, two robots from Dimension XII appear and start thrashing everything in sight! Ben quickly changed into Humongasaur (for once the omnitrix had given him what he wanted) and attacked. Everything was sorta going according to plan when a kind in a ridiculously preppy haircut and purple suit appeared.
"You forgot to say, 'It's hero time!'," the boy said with a wink and a grin.
"Sorry kid, I've got no time for autographs," Ben replied before marching back into the fray.
"Ben Tennyson, I demand that you-"
"Dude, I don't have time for fanboys right now!" This kid was really starting to get on Ben's nerves. But before he could do anything else, he found himself and his boyfriend/fiancé/Plumber partner cornered by the two mechs.
"Halt!" the boy commanded, as he stared at a pocket-watch.
And the robots did!
"Ben," Rook said, his voice laced with concern, "I do not believe this is a fanboy."
"Oh, I'm a fanboy alright," the boy said with a grin as he walked towards them, "As a matter of fact, I've been a fan of Ben for seven years! And now, as to the reason for all of this pomp and circumstance, I am demanding that you, Ben Tennyson, go out on a date with me!"
Ben and Rook stared at each other and just laughed.
"Uh, kid, not only am I too old for you, but I've already got a boyfriend," Ben said as he tried to catch his breath.
The kids grin grew and took on a sinister look. "I'm sorry," he said, "I didn't mean to give you the impression that you had a choice!" At the snap of the boys fingers, one of the robots lashed out with one of its arms and grabbed Rook, lifting him up to it's optical laser port.
"If you don't go out with me, Rook Lame-o is gonna be nothing but dust."
Now Ben was pissed, no one messed with his boyfriend and got away with it! Still in his Humongasaur form, he picked up the kid by the back of his jacket and said, "I don't know how you're controlling those things, but tell 'em to let my boyfriend go!"
The boy's backpack suddenly excreted two rockets from either side, sending the boy out of Humongasaur's reach.
"Unh, unh, unh," the boy said mockingly as he wagged his finger in a disapproving gesture.
The fight resumed, with one of the robots slashing through an adjacent building. Between a lucky shot from Rook, and a series of events that no one could have predicted, the two robots were destroyed. As a bonus, the strange kid was knocked out of the sky by some of the debris.
"Alright," Ben said, after the omnitrix timed out, "start talking kid. Now! Who are you?"
The kid picked himself up, dusted himself off, and then said, "Of course, you don't even remember me. Hello, I'm Billy Billions, we were in middle school together! I sat behind you in Mrs. Reall's class! I was the richest, and smartest kid in that school. I was practically running it! But the only person who never noticed me was the one person who I wanted to be noticed by most! You may have been a clueless dunce, but to me, you were my clueless dunce. Now do you remember me?"
"Um, no?" Ben said, cleaning out his ear with his finger.
Billy frowned, irritated that Ben was being so troublesome. "Then maybe you'll remember this! You were off, one night, running after a Synthetic Humanoid. You had managed to corner the criminal scum, and I had decided to follow you and help you out. A demonstration of my intellect and power in hopes that you would finally notice me! But, I had forgotten to add into my calculations your propensity to screw everything up!"
"Wait, so instead of zapping my baddie just so you could impress me, you got sucked into Dimension XII?" Ben asked.
Bill simply looked away in mild embarrassment.
Ben and Rook resumed laughing at Billy's expense.
"It's not funny," Billy growled out.
"Oh come on, man, you gotta admit it's a little funny," Ben replied.
"I don't gotta admit anything! I said it's not funny!"
After that brief interlude, Billy continued his monologue, which Ben zoned out of. "Huh? Sorry, what?" Ben said.
"Weren't you listening?" Billy screamed.
"When you're a world-famous superhero, you've heard one bla-bla-bla evil tirade, you've heard them all!"
"World famous?!" Billy exclaimed.
"Yes," Rook replied as he looked at Ben with both love and pride, "My Ben, the Bearer of my Hearts Flame, has saved the universe billions of times, at least, that's what he says." Rook gave Ben a playful wink.
"I see," Billy said, jealous of the look Ben was giving Rook, and wishing that the damnable young man would look at him like that. Walking over to a nearby pile of rubble, he picked up what appeared to be an energy weapon and pointed it at Ben.
"You are finally going to witness my power and intellect truly at work. You say you're too old for me? That will soon change. When you're ready for your date, you know where to find me," Bill said with a smirk before pressing down on the trigger.
"BEN, NO!" Rook cried as he rushed to grab his partner, but only allowing himself to be engulfed by the weapons energy as well.
"I feel...weird," Ben said, as he woke up. He raised up his left arm and thought it odd that the omnitrix no longer stuck to his wrist like glue. In fact, it slid down to his elbow! Ben immediately sat and exclaimed, "What's going on?!"
Ben leaned over to his partner and shook his foot. "Rook. Are you okay?"
"I am entirely not sure," Rook said as he sat up, rubbing his head.
His head! It had hair!
And was that a tail flicking back and forth behind him?
"Rook, you have a tail!"
"That is the only thing you notice about our predicament?" Rook responded, clearly not pleased.
"Your voice is kinda weird, but cute? But seriously, Rook. You. Have. A tail!" Ben exclaimed, grinning like a kid at Christmas before rushing over, grabbing it, and nuzzling it with his face.
Rook blushed and said, "A b'empac. It falls off at puberty."
"A shame; it's so soft and warm," Ben replied.
Rook rolled his eyes, but was nontheless warmed by Ben's ministrations. It really was a shame, since it appeared that Ben had the innate ability to tame something that would usually have a mind of it's own. Looking around, Rook noted that Billy was gone.
"Ben, my Flame, as enraptured as you are by my...tail...we must return to the matter at hand."
Ben sighed, but released Rook's tail. It twitched angrily at the lack of touch.
"He said that your age difference would soon change," Rook said, "And it has! He has somehow de-aged the both of us. Now he expects you to be impressed by this display and run straight to him." Rook said this last sentence with a touch of jealous anger.
"Well, he's got another think coming. I already belong to someone else," Ben replied before kissing Rook on the cheek.
After a trip to Plumber HQ, it was obviously Ben's and Rook's best bet to capture the De-Aging Ray from Billy. This meant going to Billions Technology Tower. As soon as Ben and Rook arrived, an explosion occurred from the top floor, and from it, Billy in the arms of his robotic babysitter.
As Ben and Rook stepped towards the pair, Billy grinned at said, "So, finally ready to ditch the alien-scum and spend the rest of your days in the lap of luxury?"
"Pfft, as if," Ben replied, "We want the De-Aging Ray. Give it up!"
"I'm afraid not," Billy said, as he stuck his nose up in the air and frowned, "Even if I wanted to, and I don't, it's no longer in my power to possess."
"Let me guess," Ben replied, "Dimension XII robots, plus big explosion, equals your super-genius brain screwing up royally!"
"I had everything under control!" Billy growled.
Afterwards, as Ben and Rook, restored to their normal age, walked away from Billions Technology Tower, Ben sighed in disappointment.
"Is there something wrong, Ben?"
"I'm kinda starting to miss that tail of yours."
Rook rolled his eyes, but smiled.
Episode 17: Bros in Space
Rook and Ben had been talking about for a while and at last, they were taking a trip together to Revonnah. Ben could finally meet Rook's parents and vice versa. Ben was excited about the trip, but also nervous; meeting the 'in-laws' had always been depicted by movies and shows as a scary and critical event. Hopefully, being the continual savior of the galaxy would help.
"There it is," Rook said with a hint of pride, "Revonnah."
"Bet your glad to get home, Rook."
"I am. I have not participated in the Harvest in some time. It will be good for you to immerse yourself in my culture as I have done with yours," Rook replied.
Ben chuckled and said, "Yeah, I suppose fair is fair. Just don't laugh at me if I screw up?"
Rook gave Ben a look which made Ben blush and look away. "As I recall, someone would often laugh or make remarks at me for my mistakes in attempting to to act like a Terran."
"Yeah, well..." Ben fumbled for an excuse but found none. Instead he hung his head and said, "Just don't be too harsh."
Rook smiled and leaned over to give Ben a kiss on the cheek. "For you, Flame Bearer, anything."
After landing and being introduced to Blanco's family (apparently Rook was the surname, and Blanco was the given name, but he would always be 'Rook' to Ben) Ben was presented with another surprise when, while eating at the dinner table, Rook cleared his throat and said, "Mother, Father, Sisters, and Brother, I have an announcement to make. I have presented my Heart's Flame to Ben Tennyson."
Utensils were immediately dropped, and an unsettling silence fell upon the house. Ben looked from one side to another seeing shocked faces from Rook's siblings, concern from Rook's mother, and anger from Rook's father.
"So, Rook Blanco, you have chosen to disgrace our people's traditions by presenting your Heart's Flame to an Outworlder?" Rook Da said with a scathing tone, "And another male, no less!"
"I have done only as my Heart's Flame asked of me," Rook replied, just as scathingly, "It burns brightly for Ben Tennyson, and nothing you say will change that."
"Then perhaps the matter is settled," Rook Bralla said, attempting to ease the tension and return focus to the evening meal before them. Once everyone began eating again, Bralla offered Ben a small smile. Ben looked around and saw that Shar, Shim, Shi, and 'Young One' were also smiling. Smiling back at them, Ben felt pleased that he had at least won the approval of Rook's mother and siblings. Obviously his father would be a harder nut to crack.
Ben's thrid surprise that night had been the arrival of two young women asking Rook to go with them to the Harvest Festival. A quickly whispered reminder of Ester (courtesy of Rook) kept him from losing his cool.
Just when Ben thought he'd won Rook Da's approval by showing his combat prowess with the flame-thrower, he managed to screw it up by accidentally setting one of the silo's on fire!
"The muroids, the Harvest, the entire Revonnahghander way has been corrupted! My own son is destroying a balance that has existed since history began!"
"You will not speak that way to my Flame Bearer!" Rook said, stepping between his father and his fiancé, "My choices are my own, and you will not place them before the one I love!"
"It's okay, Rook," Ben said, grabbing hold of his fiance's hand, "Why don't we just go track down the muroids."
"Good riddance!" Rook Da cried out angrily.
As it turned out, Ben won Rook Da's acceptance by playing a major role in the defense of Revonnah, as well as the rest of the galaxy. Da and Ben would never be close, even for in-laws, but it was a worthy start.
Later that evening, after Rook spoke with his father, Rook was torn between amusement and awe as he saw Ben dressed in the traditional female garments of the Harvest Festival. It was, therefore, not that great a stretch to imagine Ben in the traditional female garments of a bride to be wed.
END VOLUME III