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21 July 2008 @ 08:05 pm
Luau Fic for Astra2104!  
Title: Wilted
Characters: Ben, Juliet, Alex
Rating: PG13
Words: 800
Warning: Spoilers for the S4 finale.
Summary: For Queen astra2104, who asked for ice and Ben went to fetch it for her.
 
x x x
 
“What? No ice?” Juliet jokes. She puts down the file folder she had been fanning herself with and picks up the glass of ice tea he poured. Ben clutches his thermos to his chest and watches a bead of sweat trail down her throat and disappear between her breasts as she swallows.
 
“I’ll be right back.”
 
It’s day seven of the heat wave and five days since they lost power. It’s the kind heavy humid heat that can drive a man insane. Ben realizes he must be close to crazy for even contemplating doing what’s he doing. Of course, the heat has little to do with his quest and everything to do with his feelings for her.
 
Ben drops by his house to pick up some supplies and leaves a note for Alex telling her he’ll be back later. He disappears into the jungle, where the dense cover from the trees traps the heat. He arrives at The Orchid hours later with the heady sensation that he’s a ham that just been roasted.  Without power, the elevator is useless and the descent down the narrow almost airless staircase feels as long as his trip through the jungle.
 
Inside the station’s musty inter sanctum, Ben cranks the generator, and the subterranean floor is flooded with light. He sits for a moment, catching his breath, enjoying the small movement of stale air as the ventilation system kicks in. When his heart rate has returned to something close to normal, he begins to move any metal objects he can find into the vault. He flips a switch and the entire station crackles with energy as the tunnel shifts into view. When there’s enough space for a man to crawl through, Ben turns off the machine, grabs a parka and descends into the cavern.
 
Such intense cold after such intense heat almost hurts. His teeth rattle in his mouth and the sweat coating his body feels like it turns to frost. Once he reaches the bottom, Ben works quickly. He removes the ice pick from his pack and carefully chips chucks off the wheel, making sure not to move it. He fills three thermoses full and places two large pieces of ice in plastic bags, hoping something will remain by the time he returns to the barracks.
 
When Ben surfaces, the stars are out and the temperature has dropped a few degrees. Even though the ice weighs him down, the image of Juliet pursing her lips and raising an eyebrow at his casual presentation of this bountry fuels his journey home. The barracks are quiet when he returns. Even the crickets must find it too hot to chirp, he muses. He contemplates a quick shower, but makes do with dipping his bandana into water from the well and wiping down his face, chest and arms. Inside the thermoses, the ice clinks reassuringly.
 
It takes Juliet a while to come to her door when he knocks. He imagines her sliding out of bed, skin flushed and sticky; her hair pulled off her neck in a messy bun. She’ll gasp at the sight of the ice and invite him in. As she adds the ice to two glasses of water, he envisions her holding one chunk to the back of her neck. As it melts, he would—
 
“Ben? What are you doing here?” Juliet appears at the door, hair hanging loose, one hand holding the neck of her robe closed. She looks more flustered than flushed, and that is when he spies an unlaced steel toed boot on its side, peaking out from the living room. Of course, he thinks. Of course.
 
“I was walking passed and heard a noise. Is everything alright?” he asked pleasantly, pleased that his question brings out a guilty look.
 
“No, everything’s fine.”
 
“Boy, this heat can make you hear and see things that aren’t really there. Sorry to bother you.” He gives her a little nod as he trots down her steps.
 
“Where did you disappear to this morning?” she calls after him.
 
“Oh, nowhere in particular. Good night, Juliet. Sleep tight.”
 
“Good night.”
 
Between her house and his, Ben’s head is filled with anger and shame at his own ridiculous behaviour and a renewed disappoint in Juliet’s continued dalliance with Goodwin. He leaves his dark mood at the door, and enters his sweltering house feeling renewed. Ben drops his backpack on the kitchen counter and removes the two plastic bags full of melted ice. He leaves them in the sink and gets two glasses from the cupboard. He fills one with the ice from a thermos and the other with ice and fruit juice and carries both to Alex’s bedroom.
 
His daughter lies asleep, flung across her bed in a t-shirt, her hair fanned out across the pillow, with the covers bunched in a pile at the foot. He places the glasses on her night table and kisses her hot forehead.
 
“Dad?” 
 
“I brought my best girl a present.”
 
x x x
 
 
Current Mood: bouncybouncy
 
 
aboutbunnies: all of us are lostaboutbunnies on July 22nd, 2008 04:56 am (UTC)
I really enjoyed this. I could feel the oppressive heat, and absolutely loved that Ben's immediate reaction to Juliet's comment about ice was to, obviously, go fetch some for her! That could definitely be canon. My favorite part, though, was the glimpse of softie!Daddy!Ben at the end, leaving his anger to give the ice to Alex. Great use of the prompt!
elliotsmelliot: fickle bitchelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 11:29 am (UTC)
Thanks! After Astra said ice, all I could think of was that damn frozen donkey wheel!
(Deleted comment)
elliotsmelliot: Julietelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 11:30 am (UTC)
Ben/Juliet totally crepts me out and I promise never to write it as mutual. Thanks for reading Ben's sick fantasy!
falafel_musings: Lost 1falafel_musings on July 22nd, 2008 08:02 am (UTC)
Very good/clever use of the prompt, even if I'm not convinced Ben was ever that nice and giving towards Alex.
elliotsmelliot: Benry vs danielleelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 11:31 am (UTC)
Thanks for reading! I thought the ending with Alex was sad because in my mind he had no intention of giving her any ice until Juliet broke his heart.
falafel_musings: Lost 2falafel_musings on July 22nd, 2008 12:13 pm (UTC)
Yeah, that makes sense. I don't really feel at all sorry for Ben, but you characterise his slimy fickleness very well.
elliotsmelliot: Benry vs danielleelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 12:50 pm (UTC)
I don't feel sorry for him either. He deserves whatever he gets. Though I am afraid that will be all good in the end.
the female ghost of tom joad: lost benjanie_tangerine on July 22nd, 2008 11:52 am (UTC)
Oh God, you actually made me feel sorry for Ben. Now that's a new thing. I mean, of course he would run to get the ice as soon as Juliet said the word. You could feel how oppressive the heat was and while one expected that Juliet would have been with Goodwin I still felt so really sorry for his crashed fantasy ;) while the ending actually did felt perfect. Soft!Ben makes me almost more scared than his usual self but here it just really worked. I really liked this!
elliotsmelliot: fickle bitchelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 12:51 pm (UTC)
Making you feel sorry for Ben was not my intention. Making you afraid of soft!Ben was one of them. Thanks for reading!
siluria: Lost_Jacketsiluria on July 22nd, 2008 04:55 pm (UTC)
Creepy Ben is kind of cute with the lengths he'll go to in order to win over Juliet. I like his comment to Alex about her being his 'best' girl. She may not be his favourite, but she's better in that she listens to him and what he tells her. Very nice fic.
elliotsmelliot: Benry vs danielleelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 10:46 pm (UTC)
Thank you! I'm glad you agree with me that his 'best girl' comment was not all that flattering for Alex. I'm so happy you enjoyed this.
The Dorkastra2104 on July 22nd, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
What a cool wayx to use the prompt - of course Ben would get ice from that room (although I wouldn't want THAT in my drink...)

I really liked the interaction between him and Juliet, Ben's crush/obsession with her and the way his mood and intentions can shift so quickly without anyone really noticing.

thank you very much for this, hon! ♥
elliotsmelliot: Juliet swimelliotsmelliot on July 22nd, 2008 10:47 pm (UTC)
I know! I so would not want to drink Frozen Donkey Wheel water. I imagine if you swallowed wrong, you could teleport somewhere. I'm so glad you liked this. I hope your sun burn is better.
elise: LOST GENERICelise_509 on July 24th, 2008 04:38 am (UTC)
Again, your ability to be absolutely and completely unique in fic astounds me. You always do such interesting things. I love Ben going through all of this to impress Juliet and then turning off so coldly when he is faced with her "dalliance with Goodwin". That he turns around and takes the gift to Alex instead is a perfect example of the duplicitous generosity, that two-sidedness of Ben. Making out like a sweet father when really the gift is second-hand, second-choice.

Wonderful story!
elliotsmelliot: 3 kinds of hotelliotsmelliot on July 24th, 2008 02:39 pm (UTC)
That's nice of you to say, but I don't think I am unique. I stick so close to canon, when I thought "ice", I thought of that stupid wheel. Most people do much better thinking outside the box. But I'm glad you liked this presentation of two Mr. Two Sidedness. He always has plan!
alemyrddin: HurleyDudeVanalemyrddin on July 28th, 2008 01:45 pm (UTC)
I loved the vivid description of the heat, and I felt almost sorry for Ben, he was only trying to do something nice.
The problem is that his concept of nice is very creepy. *shudders*
elliotsmelliot: Benry vs danielleelliotsmelliot on July 29th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC)
The problem is that his concept of nice is very creepy. *shudders*

OMG, that's exactly it! I'm glad you found this lived up to that side of him.
the story girl: Lost: Alexeponine119 on August 7th, 2008 06:32 pm (UTC)
Oh. This works so well because Ben is being so...Ben, and then the ending is so sweet. I love that last line.
elliotsmelliot: fickle bitchelliotsmelliot on August 11th, 2008 01:06 am (UTC)
Thank you! It's so hard to capture Ben being Ben so I really cherish your comment.
El: LOST numbers.starfoozle on August 13th, 2009 06:04 pm (UTC)
Oh, gosh, I love this. I feel bad for Ben's destroyed fantasy, but more than a little creeped-out. Yeesh.

The ending is sweet and sad all at once. At least the ice got put to good use, but Alex being second-best even though she was his daughter is kind of a typical Ben move.

Wonderful descriptions here -- I liked the baked ham line in particular. You can really feel the heat. Nice work. :D
elliotsmelliot: Ben Hamelliotsmelliot on August 13th, 2009 07:41 pm (UTC)
Even if Ben turns out to be vindicated for a lot of what he has done, one cannot deny the creep factor. I'm so glad this fic worked for you. It is such fun to get feedback on an old story. Thanks for reading and commenting.