Came Sickened to Your Shores
by Lorelei Jones
First in the Some Blissful Dream multi-fandom series. Betaed by the utterly fabulous Eliza, Em, and D.
Ben lets Lucas brood for three days before he decides enough is enough. He finds Lucas on the beach, of course, staring morosely out to sea, and plops down close enough to jostle Lucas' elbow.
"You know, I can think of better things to do on a deserted Hawaiian beach than mope."
Lucas spares him a glance that's less irritated than it is tired, and says, "I'm not moping, Ben. I'm thinking."
"Uh-huh." It's the perfect opening. "About Sandra?"
Lucas scowls at him, but Ben's not put off. "Come on. If you didn't want to talk about it, you would have found somewhere else to spend your vacation."
"It's not a vacation." The growing irritation is a good sign. "It's forced leave, and it was the Captain's idea. As was the location."
"Right," Ben says, glancing out to sea himself. "And you would never refuse to go somewhere Bridger wanted you to go."
The silence is expected, considering that Ben was the one who helped Lucas hide the last time he refused to go where Bridger wanted him. Lucas finally sighs, and drops his head.
"How much did the Captain tell you when he called?"
"Just that you needed a few days off, somewhere you could think. With a friend nearby, in case you needed to talk."
"So he didn't tell you I resigned? Or tried to, anyway."
That's a surprise. Ben catches the news, pays special attention when his old crewmates are mentioned, and so he knows the public version of what happened with the People's Liberation Army. He also knows Lucas, and has his own idea of the truth, at least as it pertains to Sandra Kirby. Still, he didn't think Lucas would resign for her. Not after turning down the chance to work side-by-side with Julianna, back at a time when Lucas' love for his life aboard the seaQuest was so much less certain.
"I take it the attempt didn't go over well," he says at last.
"The Captain refused to accept it. Even when I left the boat with no intention of coming back, he sat on the paperwork."
"Yeah, that sounds like him." Ben grins a little, then turns his head to catch Lucas' eye. "You sorry he didn't process it through?"
Lucas shrugs and looks away. "Not really. I mean, the reason I turned it in turned out to be pretty pointless, anyway."
Lucas starts digging one toe into the sand, and it seems to require all of his concentration. "But, I guess I got lonely."
Ben understands where he suspects most people wouldn't. Hundreds of bodies, living and working in close quarters, and Lucas even has a roommate now. But Ben remembers the way Lucas would look sometimes, remembers the way some of the crew would look at Lucas, like they weren't sure he was even the same species they were.
He doubts two years have made all that much difference, especially not when Lucas is still so young, and youth was always part of the problem.
"Still feeling like the resident alien, huh?" he asks jokingly. Lucas goes completely still, then turns his whole body so he's facing Ben, one hand pressed to the sand right by Ben's knee.
"You could say that," he husks at last. "Only now there's no xenophile aboard to make it a good thing."
Ben meets his eyes for a long moment, then leans in until their faces are almost touching. "Hey, watch the big words, bud. You're going to ruin my reputation if people realize I understand you when you talk like that."
Lucas grins at that, but his eyes are still serious. "You always did understand me."
"I like to think I get the gist of what you're saying." Lucas leans a little closer, and Ben leans back enough to maintain the same amount of distance between them. "This is one conversation with no room for misunderstanding, though. Doing this because of Sandra is a bad idea, Lucas."
The smile leaves Lucas' face. "Did it occur to you that Sandra was because of this?"
"Are you sure of that, Lucas? I mean, it could seem like that in retrospect, but really--"
"Why do you think I haven't been talking for three days?" Lucas' mouth twists a little. "I was so relieved when it turned out she was with those terrorists, and it surprised the hell out of me. I'd convinced myself I loved her. I barely knew her. I was just so happy to have someone to talk to again, someone who didn't make me feel like a freak, or their kid--"
"And the fact that you were attracted to her didn't hurt," Ben interjects, and Lucas sighs. This time, when Lucas moves to press their foreheads together, Ben lets him.
"Just another way she reminded me of you." It's barely a whisper, and Lucas' eyes are huge this close. "Is that enough true confessing for now?"
"It'll do." Ben takes pity and makes the first move, intending the kiss to be more friendly than anything. But Lucas tastes like pineapple and strawberries and salt, and Ben doesn't think he can be blamed for lingering on a combination like that. Certainly he can't be blamed for taking advantage when Lucas opens his mouth, just a little, and inside tastes even better.
Lucas shifts a little, putting one hand in Ben's hair, and that's all the invitation Ben needs. He puts his own hand at the nape of Lucas' neck and wraps the other around Lucas' waist. He leans forward, and Lucas goes with it, until he's got Lucas tucked under him on soft black sand and he's got warm Hawaiian sun on his back and really, this is much more along the lines of what he feels Hawaiian beaches are for.
Eventually he needs to breathe. He pulls back just enough, keeping his forehead touching Lucas', and Lucas breaks out into a smile as soon as their mouths are disengaged.
"Should I be worried that you're smiling?" Ben asks, feeling a grin of his own touch his face.
"I don't know, should you?"
"Maybe I should just keep your mouth occupied for a while. Then I won't have to think about it."
"You always were resourceful."
"It's what got me this job." That sobers him for a moment. "You're going to have to go back to the seaQuest, you know. I know you love it, and I'm not going to let you resign because of me."
"The stupidity of a moment, Ben." Lucas rolls his eyes. "I'm all better now. You might want to stock up on guest towels, though. The UEO is very generous with vacation time. And you should think about what you're going to give me as a souvenir."
"You can't buy your own Hawaiian hula dancer lava lamp?"
There's a light in Lucas' eye that's more worrisome than any of his smiles. "Oh, I can do all kinds of things for myself. I was just under the impression that you might want to...lend a hand."
Ben blinks. "Was that innuendo? I seem to remember a boy who couldn't even say the word 'condom.'"
"Blame my roommate. Shy and Piccolo don't mix." Even so, Lucas squirms a little, and his blush is irresistible from this close.
"I'll buy him a 'Thank You' card when I get your lava lamp," Ben whispers, and presses in to keep Lucas' mouth too occupied for an answer.
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