Title: New Life, Past Mistakes
Timeline: Season 4
Summary: Ben and Michael talk about JR’s birth and past mistakes from Ben’s life which still haunt him. Written for the prompt 'Birth' at fanfic100 and the prompt 'Hurt' at 25fluffyfics
“I can’t believe how tiny she is.” I said to Ben as I climbed into bed, snuggling up against the warmth of his body.
“She’s only two days old Michael, of course she’s tiny.” Ben replied with a laugh in his voice.
“Yeah I know.” I answered, smiling up at him before continuing. “And I can’t believe I’m a father.”
“It’s pretty amazing isn’t it.” Ben replied, and I noticed a slight break in his voice when he spoke and knew immediately what was going through his mind.
“And you’re her father too.” I said, reaching up and dropping a kiss on his lips. “And the first word I’m going to teach her is….” I hesitated for a moment, thinking about what JR should call Ben. “I know! She’ll call you Dada!”
I felt his grip tighten around me and his hand squeezed mine “I like that.” He answered quietly, but I knew that the thought of becoming a father in the true sense was something he would never experience still caused him pain.
“I’m glad” I answered, moving even closer to him. “I wonder who she’ll look like?”
“Considering you and Mel are both dark, I’m fairly certain she will have your dark hair, and I hope your beautiful brown eyes.” Ben replied, running a finger down my cheek.
I blushed slightly at his words. He’d always told me that when he looked into my eyes he could see the window of my soul and those words always sent an overpowering surge of love for him through my body.
“We’ve never really talked about you not being able to be a father.” I whispered quietly, holding my breath waiting for his answer and hoping I would not open up old wounds but knowing it was something we needed to talk about. Maybe now, with JR’s birth, it was time to finish that conversation we had started long ago.
I peeked up at him and could see he was miles away, lost in his own thoughts perhaps or maybe trying to find the words he needed, so I rested my head on his chest and waited.
We often seemed to have deep discussions in the dark, sharing our fears and hurts wrapped in each others arms, the darkness somehow allowing us to say things that we wouldn’t in the cold light of day. These times, no matter how painful they could be, were locked in my heart.
“I guess not being able to father a child is just another thing that I have to add to the list of why I could hate this disease.” Ben said suddenly, breaking into my thoughts. “But it’s part of me, and hating it won’t change a thing, so perhaps that’s the wrong word. Maybe resent is better.”
I knew he had more to say so just lay still beside him, lacing my fingers through his, and waited.
“It’s taken away being able to plan a future together for us, because no matter how much I try to kid myself that we will grow old together, I know deep down it may not happen and that alone is enough for me to feel resentment. But I know I have no one to blame but myself.” Ben said quietly.
I wanted to tell him that it wasn’t his fault, but I held my silence.
“It was my mistake, trusting someone who I thought I loved.” He continued “But I know now it was never love. We were too different and the relationship would never have stood the test of time.”
“But we’re different.” I interrupted.
“In some ways, yes.” He answered, lifting my chin and looking into my eyes. “But in the ways that matter we are the same. I knew from the moment I met you that you wanted the same things from life that I did. Someone to love and be loved by; a home and a family. You bring out the best in me Michael. Your love of life is infectious, you always look for the good in people, and you fight for what you believe in.”
I felt tears sting my eyes at his words, but didn’t attempt to wipe them away because I didn’t want to break the moment.
“I always knew that no matter what we went through, and I know I’ve tested your love on many occasions, that we would survive because we love each other.” He continued. “And because of that I feel nothing but happiness for you being a father, and I am so very grateful that I am part of your life so that I can share that role with you.”
“But it’s not the same is it?” I asked quietly, watching him closely, and I saw a flicker of pain in his eyes.
“No, Michael it’s not.” He answered. “I would give anything to be able to turn back time and not make the same mistakes. I wish I’d met you then, that we could have those extra years together.”
“I don’t think you would have liked me much back then.” I replied. “I had a lot of growing up to do, and I made my own mistakes as well.”
“You mean David?” Ben asked.
I nodded and hesitated before continuing. This was something else we hadn’t really discussed over the years.
“I thought I was in love with him, but I think I was more in love with the idea. It wasn’t real, and I can look back now and realize it never would have worked. He wasn’t prepared to accept parts of my life, and I wasn’t prepared to give them up.” I said. “Even if Justin hadn’t been bashed, and Brian hadn’t called me to come back, I know the relationship was doomed before that.”
“I guess we both had to make those mistakes to finally realize what love was when we met each other.” Ben replied, lifting my chin and covering my mouth with his. My hands slowly caressed his face, and I knew when we finished this talk we would make love into the early hours. It always happened, both of us needing that intimacy to take away the thoughts of one day not being together.
Our mouths finally parted, and I snuggled back against his body, both of us lying quietly, lost in our own thoughts. Mine were leading in a direction I wasn’t sure I could share with him at this moment.
“Do you know what else this disease has taken away from me?” Ben’s voice bought me back to the present.
“What?” I asked quietly.
“The fact that we can never make love raw.” He replied, and it was as if he had read my mind.
My eyes met his and the love, tinged with regret that shone from them, sent a small shiver through my body, and I felt his arm tighten around me.
“I admit there is nothing I want more than to feel you bare and taste you, but I know and accept it will never happen.” I said softly. “You know how much I love you and this disease is part of who you are.”
“I just sometimes feel that I cannot give you everything you deserve.” Ben said.
“But you give me everything I need.” I replied.
“I love you Michael.”