Apr. 17th, 2012

ever_lovin: (withdrawn)
[OOC: *This comic never existed and all the following is my canon.]
Buddy you're an old man poor man
Pleadin' with your eyes gonna make you some peace some day

You got mud on your face
You big disgrace
Somebody better put you back in your place

~ Queen, We Will Rock You

It's been hours since the world was saved and Ben is busy working with rescue workers; cleaning up and saving those that can be. He hasn't rested, hasn't allowed himself to rest and there is still so much work to do. So far he's been out here on his own; no other heroes have arrived but then a lot of them are far away right? He works deliberately and carefully, keeping his head down to avoid the stares of the people of Yancy Street. He can't ignore them but he can keep working. They leave him alone as they stare, seemingly unsure what to do, until an old woman marches right up to him and yells in his face, "MONSTER!" She spits at him and he just stands there exhausted and deserving it until a couple of kids from the Yancy Street Gang politely lead her away.

Ben takes a deep breath and gets back to work.

Reed and Susan are the first to arrive to help him. He knows they need to talk but the rescue and clean up effort takes all their attention. Later the rest of the Avengers show up and he can see in all their faces how tired they are, how much this fight took out of all of them.

The reporters and TV camera show up soon after and it isn't until the Yancy Street Gang forms a barrier between him and the TV vans that Ben is able to get back to work. He glaces over and sees the old woman who called him a monster being interviewed as well as a little girl who holds up a lost dog poster. Idly, he wonders where she found a copier to make them but when she comes up to him he sees that she drew each one by hand. "Have you seen Buster?" she asks him nervously and he leans in to get a good look at the border collie.

"Nah, but I'll keep my eyes open. When did he go missing?" He replies.

"Last night when the robots attacked."

Twilight comes and Ben still hasn't seen any sign of the dog and he fears the worst. All day he's seen the girl walking around with her flyer and asking anyone who would listen and his heart just broke ever time he saw her. He grunts as he carefully lifts a large slab of wall that's fallen on a subway entrance and almost drops it when he hears barking underneath. He lifts it the rest of the way and sees an excited Buster dance back and forth. "Come on boy," Ben says gesturing for the dog to join him as he looks around for the girl.

"Hello?" Calls a voice weak in pain and exhaustion.

"MEDIC!" Ben calls and races down the stairs to the dog and the woman Buster had been protecting and keeping warm. Her leg is broken pretty badly and she's pale. Kneeling Ben rests a careful hand on her shoulder to let her know it's going to be okay. Her eyelids flicker and she says, "Penny?"

The medics take her, Penny (the little girl with the flyers) and Buster away toward New York General and everyone goes back to work now that the excitement's calmed down. Ben makes it to an alleyway before he loses it, sobs breaking free. He doesn't hear the old woman come up.

"What are you doing?" she asks.

Startled he jumps and then glares. "Don't worry about it."

"You saved that child's mother and dog," she replies, ignoring his glare.

"What's it matter, I'm still a monster right?"

She laughs then. "What monster weeps for a little girl? Why do you weep anyway? The girl is safe, her dog is found and her mother is safe."

"I just...I spent all day convinced I had killed that girl's dog." He doesn't know why he's telling her this, likely because he hasn't really spoken with anyone all day. "Guess I'm just relived."

She nods. "I can see that. And no, you are not a monster. Not any more. As I said, a monster does not weep for a little girl. A monster does not work all day to fix what he has done. This morning maybe you were a monster but now you are a hero. It's like your Yancy Street boys have been telling any reporter who would listen, a man has a right to fix his mistakes and that is what you have done and will continue to do. Now come, I have food and then you can go back to fixing."

ever_lovin: (Default)
[OOC: *This comic never existed and all the following is my canon.]
And if I show you my dark side
Will you still hold me tonight?
And if I open my heart to you
And show you my weak side
What would you do?
Would you sell your story to Rolling Stone?
Would you take the children away
And leave me alone?

~ Pink Floyd, The Final Cut

Ben's been sitting in Alicia's hospital room off and on for nearly six hours now and Alicia is still unconscious. The doctors assure him she will recover, that it will just take time, but he's never really been one for waiting. He'd pace but knowing him he'd hit a wire or tube and mess something up, so he waits watching her breath.

The door opens and Susan pokes her head in. "How's she doing?" She asks as if everything were okay.

"Doc's say she'll be fine an' there's been a couple'a times she's almost woke up..." Ben replies his voice trailing off. He hangs his head down as he really can't met Susan's eyes.

"Good," Susan replies. "Come with me."

It's the last thing Ben wants to do but he has to face the music sooner or later. Sooner means he'll be able to get back to Alicia. Susan leads him to the next room where Reed waits. "Where're the kids?" Ben asks without thinking about it.

"Jen's watching them for us," Susan replies closing the door.

"Guys, I am so sorry. I'll move out..." Ben starts to say before Susan puts her hand on his mouth to quiet him. She hugs him and says. "Shh, we're just glad you're back."

Reed comes over and hugs them both. "I swear Ben, I have never made a device specifically targeted for you."

"And I have never blamed you for Johnny's death. I know you did the best you could and you would have taken his place if it had been possible."

Ben squeezes his eyes closed to hid the tears and hugs them back until his Avengers phone rings.

At the Avengers mansion all the various teams mill about not sure why Captain America called them.

"So until we get Stark Tower rebuilt, we'll have to share the mansion with you," Stark is saying to Luke. "Shouldn't take too long with Stark technology and Damage Control's manpower."

"Do we even have enough rooms?" Mockingbird points out.

"What about bathrooms? Are we going to need a schedule?" Spider-man quips.

"Guys!" Ben calls out to get everyone's attention. "I just wanna say it since everyone's thinking it, this is all my fault. If I hadn't picked up that dang hammer. But I did an' I'm sorry. I've just been havin' a bad time of it lately. I can pack up my stuff to make room.."

"That won't be necessary Ben," Captain America says grabbing his shoulder as Stark walks up.

"Can you guys give us a minute," Stark says to the room, before turning to Ben. "I heard about your plan to help rebuild and I and Stark Resilient would like to help."

"Sounds good," Ben replies still downcast. "But ya should talk ta Jen Walters, Danny Rand or Matt Murdock as I'm not in charge of it. I set them up so there's no conflict and they're setting up a legal trust to ensure folks what own property get a fair deal."

"Okay," Stark replies sounds slightly disappointed.

"Anyway Ben," Cap says with a slight glare at Stark. "Wait, can I have everybody's attention? Thank you. I would just like to say you all did amazing things and you have my up most respect. We saved the world," He turns to Ben then and salutes him, "and you saved New York, Ben. By stepping up and leading the heroes left in the city, you saved many lives, lives that would have been lost without you. And I would just like to say thank you. Thank you all."

Later that night Ben makes it back to Alicia's room just as she stirs. He freezes, scared of finally facing her. How can he ever account for nearly killing her?

"Ben?" she says to the room blindly.

"Yeah," he says, a bare whisper.

"Come here," she says sitting up, holding out her hands and like a puppet he comes and stands near her where she can reach him. She feels his face and chokes out a sob. "Oh it is finally you." Tears cascade down her face in her relief.

"Babe, I'm so sorry," he chokes out but she quiets him with a finger on his lips.

"Shh...I told you before, when it comes to us, you never have anything to fear. I love you and nothing will change that. You are back, that is all that matters."
ever_lovin: (FriendlySmile)
[OOC: *This comic never existed and all the following is my canon.]

When the time comes to end the fun,
I'm the one that gets the business done,
ain't no one in the world that can get in my way
Oh no!

I've found a place among my friends,
and I'll be there up until the end
the first family to make me forget I was so grim
That's why I finally feel like one of the guys...

~Kirby Krackle, One of the Guys

A week later and Ben is hosting a benefit concert She-Hulk set up as a way of fostering good will and raising money. He didn't think he had any good will to foster from folks but went along with it cause when Jen set her mind to something you just went along for the ride. He still hadn't moved back to the Baxter Building as while Reed and Susan forgave him, he was finding it hard to forgive himself. Plus Doctor Doom living there with his villain chums just sat wrong.

Alicia found Ben behind the stage as the final act played their last song. Using his shoulder for balance, she lowered herself to sit on the curb beside him.

"Sorry, the crowds were gettin' ta me," he murmured by way of explaining why he was hiding. She sat silently giving him the time to say what really was bothering him. "Will they ever trust me again?" he whispered finally.

She leaned against him and took his hand. "With time," she said with all the love she felt for him. "They thought they lost their hero but he returned. They need time to trust that and so do you." She stood then and pulled on him to stand as well. "They will forgive you and trust you. In fact, listen…"

Ben turned his attention from her and his thoughts to listen and heard the crowd, thousands of New Yorkers singing, "It's clobbering' time, it's clobbering' time..."

"Come on, they want their hero," she says pulling him up just as his phone rings.

"Hold on," Ben says pulling out his ear piece. "Yeah Reed?"

"Ben...we need you, can you come back?"

"'Course. How soon?" Ben replies unable to hide the thrill in his voice.

"About an hour?"

"I'll be there." He says to Reed hanging up. He stands and holds out his arm to Alicia. "Better not keep the crowd waiting."

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Benjamin J Grimm

September 2017

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