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Could Be Worse

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one.

Ben checks in on Luther a little more regularly than the others. Which is kind of ridiculous, he’s aware—Klaus aside, Diego’s the one most likely to get himself killed, Vanya doesn’t even have locks on her windows, Allison’s got an adorable baby, and Luther...Luther’s still himself.

But maybe that’s the thing that draws Ben in. Luther hasn’t left home. Even Klaus eventually left, the prospect of a warm bath and a roof over his head slowly losing out to the promise of no Dad. No Dad or Mom or Pogo. Klaus avoids all three, for vastly different reasons that nevertheless all boil down to fuck this shit I’m out.

Ben, though. Ben stayed, too.  Right up until he died.

So Luther...Luther gets his loyalty, a bit. Because at least Ben wasn’t alone when he died. Luther’s never been perfect, but he was there.

Ben’s visits to Luther are shorter than his visits to the others, though, because not even Klaus can waste an entire two hours riding a bike in circles. Jesus Christ.

 

two.

He catches Diego in bed with a woman who is way out of his league and sees far more than any man should ever see of his own brother.

This happens more than once.

All of that pales in comparison to the time Ben walks through the door and catches Diego cracking a raw egg into his mouth. What the actual fuck, Number Two?

 

three.

Allison develops a secondary superpower at some point: she has celebrity senses.  And she can feel when he's watching her.  Which sounds creepier than is entirely fair, given he's a concerned brother and not an obsessed stalker.

Allison's sixth sense would be insanely cool, except she's convinced he's paparazzi.  She goes a little wild-eyed when he spends too much time around her or Claire, and Ben's not going to be the reason his sister and her daughter feel unsafe.

But Ben can still see her movies.

They’re awful. Not Allison—she’s fine in her first film, good in her third, fantastic in everything after her fifth. But a ghost can only take so many overwrought romantic soliloquies before he starts wishing he’d gone towards the light all those years ago.

God, imagine if he had to suffer through the making of this shit.

(“Wasn’t it incredible?” Klaus sighs happily as they leave, Ben already doing his best to block out the memories.

“It was terrible.”

“Oh, without question. We’re getting the DVD.”

“We don’t even have a TV,” Ben points out, like he always does, because Allison’s movies are always terrible and Klaus always wants them on DVD.

And like always, Klaus scoffs. “Well, Mama certainly raised one quitter.”

Klaus steals the DVD when it comes out; Ben’s the lookout. Just like last time, and the time before.)

 

five.

Ben hates his statue. He hated it the moment he first laid eyes on it, and the more time passes, the more he wants to smash it to pieces.

But he kind of likes Five’s portrait. He looks young and cocky and entirely too aware of his own intellect, and it’s so…

It has personality. It has the right personality, almost.

On the other hand, a ghost can only spend so long staring creepily at a painting of their dead brother before it becomes too much. Ben can safely say that he’s found the one thing more boring than watching paint dry: watching dried paint gather dust.

 

seven.

He respects what Vanya’s doing with her life—she’s got her own place, a career, a passion. It’s a hell of a lot more than Ben ever managed.  She hasn’t just made a life for herself outside the Academy. Vanya’s actually gone and grown up.

She’s also got a bunch of overly enthusiastic nine year olds for students, and Ben is never sticking around for another of those lessons. Once was so much more than enough.

 

(four.)

“Holy shit, we just TP’d the mansion.”

“Hell yeah we did.”

“Pogo’s gonna be pissed.”

“...Shit.  Run.”