Before the Cold Catches You

"How are you not freezing?" Ben asked incredulously, furiously rubbing at his arms in an attempt to get warm. Winter had come to Bellwood faster than its inhabitants had expected and Ben had not been ready for the weather shift—especially a change as drastic as this one.

Rook looked over. "Are you cold?" he asked, not having noticed Ben shivering and rubbing at his limbs since they left Plumber Headquarters.

Ben shrugged, knowing that "Earth body language" was not something that Rook had grown accustomed to yet. "I don't know how you do it, Rook. We were out all night with no sleep and it's freezing out—all you're wearing is your plumber suit; how are you still standing?!"

The alien turned and really looked at his partner. The boy was wearing his usual attire, brown pants and his black and green shirt, with the addition of his white sweater. He was shivering slightly and rubbing at his arms, staring straight ahead now, but Rook could also make out the bags under his eyes. "Is it really so cold?" the Revonnahgander asked, looking around him as though that would give him a clear indication of the temperature.

Ben stopped walking, causing Rook to do the same a couple paces later. "Don't you have winter on Revonnah?"

"Well, yes, but the people of Revonnah are well prepared for the weather change." Green eyes looked at him curiously and Rook took this to mean that he wished to hear more information on the matter. "Our fur increases in thickness during the colder months."

"Oh," Ben replied simply, not being able to find a response to this new information and just finding himself staring sideways at his partner as they began to walk again.

Rook ignored Ben's staring for a good long moment before finally giving and turning to meet the other's gaze. "What?"

Ben hesitated before asking, "so, are you poofed up right now?"

Rook looked alarmed. "We do not 'poof up', Ben," he said, as though it was extremely important that Ben was not confused by this misinformation. "Our fur simply thickens. But, yes, I have synced with Bellwood's weather patterns since being re-stationed to Earth."

Ben 'humphed' and tightened his arms around himself, still trying and failing to warm himself up.

Rook looked around them at the other humans walking around on the street and noticed something. "Ben, why are you not dressed like these other humans? You lack protective outerwear."

"Yeah, that's why I haven't been complaining about how cold it is this entire time," Ben drawled sarcastically.

"But you have been complaining the entire time," Rook noted, staring down at the other skeptically, "and you are shivering." The look Ben gave him gave Rook his answer, "Oh," he said, "this is what you humans call 'sarcasm'?"

Ben pulled on his sweater sleeves so that his hands were covered by the cuffs before crossing his arms once again. "I need a new jacket—my other one got ruined during the summer."

Rook shot him a questioning look, so he continued.

"This alien blew up our garage and all of our winter stuff was stored in there. I was going to get a new one soon; didn't expect it to get cold so fast."

He looked around them again. Everyone else seemed to be decked out, not only in proper winter jackets, but also scarves and gloves. "Why did you not say something before?"

"We're almost to your apartment, right?" Ben said, yawning. He didn't really need an answer, as he knew Rook's place was on the next block, but knew that Rook would answer him anyways. He had yet to understand when someone was being rhetorical.

"Yes, we are almost to my lodgings. Let us hurry so that the cold does not catch you."

"Rook," Ben said, raising an eyebrow at his partner's attempt at the English phrase, "you catch a cold, it doesn't catch you."

The Revonnahgander looked confused by this new information. "Why would someone want to catch an illness, is it not something that happens against one's will?"

Ben opened his mouth to answer, one hand raised, pointer finger directed at Rook, as if that would make his argument more effective, but stopped, realizing he had nothing to say that would make "catching a cold" make sense to the off-worlder. "It just is?"

"Ah, right." They had arrived at Rook's apartment complex, a building rented specifically to aliens who lived in Bellwood but didn't reside in Undertown, and he held the door open for Ben to enter first, "this would be one of your earth expressions."

"Yeah," Ben stated, agreeing with Rook more for his sake than the alien's—Rook seemed to find Earth customs fascinating and enjoyed talking about how nonsensical certain things were.

Rook let them into his apartment and set his keys on the table. Ben kicked off his shoes, and made his way over to the couch, slumping down onto it. He grabbed a nearby blanket—there mostly for Ben's benefit as Rook had his fur to keep him warm—and snuggled up with it, trying to return some heat to his body.

Rook leaned on the door frame of the living room and watched as Ben rubbed at his nose pathetically before sneezing. He blushed when he realized Rook was staring.

He sniffed, and fell over sideways on the couch, bringing his legs up onto the cushions and curling in on himself, still wrapped in the blanket.

"Are you alright, Ben?" Rook approached the other hesitantly. He was met with a groan and a half muffled request for sleep. "You should move to the bed; I do not think my couch is a suitable place for resting."

Green eyes could be seen from underneath the blanket and they stared up at Rook pathetically. "I don't want to move," was the, again, muffled response.

The alien sighed and knelt down, picking up Ben with the blanket still tucked around him. The boy squeaked.

"Rook!" he practically shouted and began to squirm. "Put me down!"

"I am simply relocating you to a more comfortable location." Despite all of Ben's squirming, Rook didn't seem to have a problem carrying him across the apartment and placing him on the bed in his bedroom. He pulled back the blankets, and stood by as Ben got underneath them and pulled them up to his chin. "Get some sleep. Hopefully you will be feeling better when you awaken," he said, flicking off the light. He closed the door but did not shut it completely, leaving a thin line of light coming in from the hallway, and made his way back towards the living room.

Warm in Rook's bed, it didn't take long for Ben to doze off.

When he awoke, the sky was dark outside the window and he could hear Rook watching re-runs of soap operas in the living room (he liked to watch them—he said they helped him grasp human behaviour, and Ben didn't have the heart to tell them they weren't really the best example).

He pulled back the blankets and got out of bed, socked feet meeting the cold floor.

He exited the room and made his way towards where he could hear Rook in the living room, talking to the characters on the program as if they could hear him. He stopped midway through a stretch when his eyes landed on what was on the table in the kitchen.

Some time when Ben had been sleeping, Rook must have gone out because on the table lay a new winter jacket, gloves, and matching hat—all green, of course, with accents of white.

Peeking into the living room, he found Rook staring intently at the screen of the television. "Ben!" he said when he saw he was up. "What is with your Earth women?" The green eyed teen just raised an eyebrow in response and the alien continued, "this woman is married to this man, but is having a child with another! Surely she must have known her husband would not be happy by this news." Indeed, the man on the screen was yelling obscenities at an attractive blonde woman while she cried hysterically.

Ben plopped down on to the couch next to his partner, amused.

The Revonnahgander looked down at the boy and started, shocked at himself for not asking sooner, "are you feeling better?"

"Much better," Ben replied, smiling. "Thanks, Rook," he said, before adding, "for everything."

"You are most welcome." Rook said with a grin, all teeth, and Ben couldn't help but return the gesture.

They spent the rest of the day curled up on Rook's couch watching bad soap operas—Rook completely entranced by their content, and Ben laughing at Rook's apparent obsession.

When Ben finally had to brave the outdoors once more, he was decked out in proper winter gear. When he arrived home he was still toasty warm—the cold from earlier that day completely forgotten. A soft smile took its place, his mind too preoccupied with his partner for anything else.

Uhg. This was SO short. One-shots are the death of me. I'm so BAD at them.

Despite my lack of one-shot-ing ability, though, there needs to be more Ben & Rook fics. I don't understand how there isn't more.

This is the first in a series of prompts I'm planning on doing, so hopefully there will be more coming soon.

This was complete fluff, as I've never written anything for Ben 10 before, but yes.

Anyways, thanks for reading. :D I hope you enjoyed.