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Published by Khaman
While Ben may hold a very important captive, the real prisoner might be said to be Ben himself.

Takes place during late season 3.
While Ben may hold a very important captive, the real prisoner might be said to be Ben himself.

Takes place during late season 3.

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Published by: Khaman on Jun 24, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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XenogenesisHe is young. The bright blue eyes have not yet narrowed into calculation and coldness. Themouth can still smile, though he does this but seldom. It is a shame, his teachers mutter to each other.The smile lights up his face when it happens, and he looks purely innocent. A bright child, they say.So much aptitude. But he socializes poorly. That's what it says on all his reports. The teachers writethem and then send them to his father – Roger, his mind emphasizes.
It lets him pretendthere's distance between them. But they write their reports and it's him that reads them and forges hisfather's signature and sends them back and tries, a little, to live up to what they want. It isn't what hewants, he just wants to get away, and he feels weak and pitiful for how much he knows he whines tohimself about this.There are years yet, before he becomes what fate has said he must be, though he does notknow this. The dark man's words whisper to him out of his memory, the smell of the jungle stillfresh.
“I don't want to go back there! I hate it there! Take me with you.”“Maybe that can happen, maybe. But if that's what you really want, Ben, if that's what youwant, I want you to really think about that. And you're gonna have to be very, very patient.”
He is young, and he tries not to think about how lonely he is, and he tries to look at the photograph of his mother as seldom as possible. He practices patience, in the only ways he can think of; by measuring his meals out, by pacing books he wants to rush through, by stopping to think for long pauses before answering any question he is asked. He doubts this is what the dark man meant, but it's all he's got. So he's got to try.He is lost in thought, math book open before him, his pencil hovering over long division. Thenumbers blend together, mostly unseen. He is not thinking, or so he would tell himself. He is tryingso very, very hard not to think that memories and resentments are all but bursting out of him.Down the hall, Roger Linus continues to vomit into the toilet. He curses, then retches again,the sound dry and hollow. The smell of sour ick and beer is unmistakable in the small home.Ben blinks, and then finally bursts into silent, frustrated tears. He is angry with himself for not being strong enough to disregard his humiliating family state. He is angry, because he can't yetseem to be patient enough to look at his fath – at Roger – for more than the space of seconds beforeeverything begins to boil up in him again. He is angry, because he can't stop how lonely he feels.There is a word, a word he's plucked from many a pulp tale, tales where man reaches the stars,where man outstrips everything others have told him he cannot do. Xenogenesis. He clutches at thisword like a talisman. Xenogenesis. Like the cuckoo. The child is not like the parent.Young Ben hitches a shuddery breath and puts his homework away. He hides himself, not justunder a great pile of covers, but inside, inside where the Dawn Treader still sails, where the Ring stilltrudges towards its destruction, where polecats can be gods and magic can still be whispered. He'sstill just a kid, he knows. Maybe he could yet be some forgotten prince, and these parents of his justsome great gag. Maybe he can be free.He thinks of his mother who would be casually tossed aside in this miracle daydream andloses himself in more sobs. He tries to silence himself, but cannot. He would be comforted to knowthat Roger could never hear him. Roger has passed out on the cool tile next to the toilet.* * * *Ben Linus is regarding a bound and dirty man without active thought. He examines hiscaptive clinically, without real regard for the being as a human. His cold eyes narrow and his lips purse. He looks down at a file in his hand, rereading what he has already read a dozen times. Hecould recite it now, from memory. And yet the act of reading has always been something of a
comfort. An actualization of facts.The file is a set of police reports from all over the world. There are connections andinterconnections made between this man and many others, mostly by way of harm. Much of it hedisregards as simply interesting trivia. But the clearest facts of all are the most important to him. Hehas John Locke's father. Finally he smiles. It is very thin. There is no humor in it, and no innocence.It does not touch his eyes.“Mr. Cooper,” he finally says. “Welcome to my island.”“Go fuck yourself.”Ben's gaze doesn't waver. “I apologize for your current state. But if you saw matters from my perspective, I think you would understand why I'm unable to treat you less poorly.”Mr. Cooper is boring, he ultimately decides. The man's second response is the same as thefirst. Unimaginative. Ben gestures to Tom, who clubs the man's skull with brute skill. Mr. Cooper would likely have much the same to say about the act.“Leave me with him a moment, Tom.”The burly man hesitates, looking at his leader with careful disbelief. “What for?”Ben jerks his head sharply and gives Tom a cutting glare. “Because I said to.” He returns togazing at Mr. Cooper, and does not glance back when the door to the brig clicks shut.* * * *It has been a week since his last birthday. Ben is certain that the yearly hurt has not left hiseyes, and so he keeps his face down, his manner entirely aloof, his mind traveling the seas aroundMelnibone. The last few children that might have yet accepted him into their circle are disgusted bywhat they see as his haughtiness. They call him the little prince, and there have been crimescommitted against his lunches and his textbooks. The teachers, attention now full with increasingHostile incursions, let the matters pass. He presents himself as so self-sufficient, they reason with brief and hurried consideration. The boy will handle it fine. He seems so very strong about suchthings, and so patient. They look no closer. Ben tells himself that he prefers this.Roger sleeps on the couch most nights. His mouth is wide open, and he snores so loud thatBen wakes in the morning still heavy with weariness. Many times Ben stands in the living room for up to an hour, watching Roger's slackened jaw, a thickly corded pillow clutched in his hands. Roger has begun to look more like an insect to him, he tells himself. Something distant. Somethingforgettable. He never notices the way his hands wring around the pillow, writhing in something likeagony. He decides that this, too, is a way of practicing patience, each time finally putting the pillowdown on one of the chairs and stalking away.Ben still cries frequently, but now he does it in his sleep. He ignores his wet pillow as aninconvenient fact and tells himself that he no longer weeps. He is growing very good at lying. He ishis own best practice.* * * *Long moments pass before Ben begins to speak to the senseless man. “You're even moreworthless than I had expected. You're stupid and base. You do harm with no thought of why or whatit gains except money – money of all ridiculous things. You've wrecked entire lives with the sameregard as a child tearing the wings off a fly. You broke your own son because it was
toyour wishes.” He is unaware of the sudden heat in his voice. If it were pointed out to him, he wouldhave called the reporter a liar. He surely has defeated his own past, so he tells himself.“Well. As it happens, what you have done has repercussions, has left patterns. These thingsmust be addressed, of course.” Ben sounds faintly pleased with himself. “Your son will be healed,despite what you did. He will come from this much stronger.” He pauses. “Or I will know he is too

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