A Sort They Call Despair by Azurine


"In his dreams, he is always normal."

Since so much of Ben's physiology hasn't been explained in the Ultimateverse, I just let my imagination run. I make no claim that this is canon.

Date Completed October 21st, 2004.

There's Grief of Want -- and Grief of Cold --
A sort they call "Despair" --
There's Banishment from native Eyes --
In sight of Native Air --

From "I measure every Grief I meet" by Emily Dickinson

In his dreams, he eats apples. Apples, and cheeseburgers, and ice cream cones. In his dreams, he holds them in five-fingered hands, and eats them with a mouth that can taste. A mouth that can smile.

He misses smiling. And shaving. And the feel of the wind stirring the hair on his head.

He misses papercuts and bruises and stubbed toes. He misses sore muscles, and bee stings.

He misses the feel of a soft T-shirt on his back, and the tingle sunburn on his skin. He misses the itch of beach sand on his feet and the sting of salt water in his eyes.

In his dreams, he is always normal, always smooth-skinned and fleet-footed. He swims and he runs and he touches people without fear.

In his dreams, his hands don't leave purple welts, and his hugs don't endanger bones.

This tough hide he wears now keeps him safe, but it also keeps him separate. He can't feel anything, except in the broadest sense. A hand on his arm registers as vague sensation, and that's all. An impression that something is happening somewhere on his body; something that doesn't hurt, but doesn’t feel good, either.

He misses feeling good.

He misses being tickled.

He misses his eyelashes, and his bellybutton.

He misses hangnails and blisters, and leg cramps.

In his dreams, his football-injured knee aches when it rains, and he still has a skateboarding scar on his chin.

In his dreams, hot showers still feel good, and biting tinfoil still feels bad.

In his dreams, he still has a funny bone.

In his dreams, he wears his favorite jeans, and those boots that were broken in just right. Sidewalks don't crack beneath his feet, and pretty girls still smile at him.

He misses girls, and kissing, and sweat cooling on his skin after sex. He misses feminine fingers unzipping his fly, and making someone moan in his ear, and open-mouth kisses on his belly.

He misses the way women taste, and the way it feels to be inside them. He misses the way they used to act around him.

In his dreams, everyone still acts the same, and everything is how it used to be.

In his dreams, his eyes can still shed tears over the fact that *nothing* is how it used to be.

The End

I measure every Grief I meet
by Emily Dickinson

I measure every Grief I meet
With narrow, probing, Eyes --
I wonder if It weighs like Mine --
Or has an Easier size.

I wonder if They bore it long --
Or did it just begin --
I could not tell the Date of Mine --
It feels so old a pain --

I wonder if it hurts to live --
And if They have to try --
And whether -- could They choose between --
It would not be -- to die --

I note that Some -- gone patient long --
At length, renew their smile --
An imitation of a Light
That has so little Oil --

I wonder if when Years have piled --
Some Thousands -- on the Harm --
That hurt them early -- such a lapse
Could give them any Balm --

Or would they go on aching still
Through Centuries of Nerve --
Enlightened to a larger Pain -
In Contrast with the Love --

The Grieved -- are many -- I am told --
There is the various Cause --
Death -- is but one -- and comes but once --
And only nails the eyes --

There's Grief of Want -- and Grief of Cold --
A sort they call "Despair" --
There's Banishment from native Eyes --
In sight of Native Air --

And though I may not guess the kind --
Correctly -- yet to me
A piercing Comfort it affords
In passing Calvary --

To note the fashions -- of the Cross --
And how they're mostly worn --
Still fascinated to presume
That Some -- are like My Own --

Leave a comment for this story

All recognizable characters belong to their creators. These works of fan fiction are not intended as an infringement upon any copyrights, and no profit is made by the writers. Do not archive these stories elsewhere without permission of the authors.