Ben was walking with Joe through the Best of the West, admiring the many rides and giving way to the several wandering bone butchers. The breeze was soft and delicate; the winds being more gentle than they have been since the past frightful weeks. Of course, this was still the very beginning of the Sixth Generation and Ben's rule, so the winds could pick up much later that Fall.
One burst of wind came down and flew past them, heading towards the remainders of water in the Log Flume's pool. The force caused the water to splash up and sent thin layers of vapor through the skies. Some of the water sprayed towards the two traveling ghouls and caused them to become a little more cooler.
Ben shivered in response and tugged his indigo jacket closer to his chest. He couldn't believe how cold it was getting. Joe heard the little shudder that came out of Ben's dry lips and he smiled warmly, wrapping his arm around his quivering shoulders.
"I-I could've sworn I've been out here before.. But not in this weather." Ben admitted, desperately leaning into Joe's touch. "It's kinda scary actually.. Since w-we we're just sprayed with freezing water."
Joe rolled his crystal eyes and chuckled amusingly. Ben was adorable. He caresses his thumb across the dark fabric that layered over Ben's skin to comfort him in the cold air.
"You know, you're father loved this type of weather." Joe replied to Ben's words, gazing up at the bright blue skies and the fluffy white clouds. "He would always beg his own father, your grand father I mean, and run out into the cold air. He's usually go hang out with the Trail Leaders but who knows. Derek could have been playing in the snow."
Ben listened carefully and when he told him 'playing in the snow,' it prompted him to laugh a little. His father, the greatest king of the Fifth Generation, playing in the snow? Impossible. "He actually played in the snow? T-That doesn't sound like him at all." Ben said truthfully, stepping closer into Joe's side and hummed satisfyingly. "Not one bit."
Joe shook his head. "No, it doesn't. But that was before you were born, Ben. He was.. Different back then, very playful a and energetic…" He paused and several memories started to flash through his undead mind about Derek. Those made him smile in happiness and remember the good times in the park. The best of times. ".. Now he's so much more.. Dull."
"Guess all that king duty work got to him." Ben joked.
Joe laughed at the silly comment and gently pulled Ben closer, allowing him to get a little warmer in his presence. The breeze hit again and he felt his breath stutter out in an attempt to help his face warm. He couldn't understand how in the the world they lived through this coldness and performed on the Dead Man's Party stage. Possibly the amount of time they danced and moved around kept them warm? Or Ben just put a simple spell around the perimeter and helped the heat stay in the large space. Ben's purring broke him out of his thoughts and he lowered his head down to see the blonde nuzzling his shoulder. He stayed quiet and felt his lips perk up in a tiny smile.
"I'm glad you're here, Ben." Joe stated with honesty. "Ever since you were born, I admired you. I couldn't wait any longer and I just wanted to see the day where you would get older so you could join us on the stage."
Ben mumbled something and smiled, separating the side of his face from Joe's shoulder. "Thanks.." He replied, accepting the caring sentences he said to him. Then, he sighed, watching his visible breath fade out in front of him. "But.. I know I acted like I wanted to be king, yet… I didn't."
Joe raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"I wanted to you to king.. you're more responsible than me and you were my dad's mentor! You should've become-"
"Wait wait wait, Ben.. I'm not capable of that yet..
I may decide to but it's slim. You deserved it." Joe replied, struggling to comprehend what Ben was even saying. Besides, he never imagined himself being the king of any year. He couldn't hurt his friends, especially not Ben.
"My dad made me.." Ben said with a hint of guilt in his voice.
"He wanted me to take his place, so he made me fight him. I saw that he was faking his pain and the damage I was putting him in. It was all a set up for the audience." Ben repeated.
Joe's breathing accelerated and he looked away, feeling the sorrowful adrenaline run through his dead veins. That was the last thing he expected Ben to tell him. Why would Derek do that? Was he getting weaker? For his son to get all the glory? It was so confusing and maddening.
"I think you should take my place next year." Ben said, snapping him out of his thoughts once again. "Please, Joe.. You need some type of blessing for everything you've done for me and my dad." He added.
Joe stared into his violet-pink eyes and felt as if he was started to go into a trance. They were beautiful. He sighed and backed up, trying to rid his mind of the gorgeous color. "Alright, alright, I get you.. I'm sorry, maybe I'll try next year."
Ben smiled joyfully and wanted to start jumping up and cheering for his success. However, Joe stopped him by grasping his shoulders in a tight manner to halt his bouncing. "Whoa, calm yourself." He giggled. "Listen, I said maybe. That still doesn't mean I will do it."
"I know I know! I just got a little too excited." Ben replied, brushing his light-pink dyed bangs away from his sight. "S-Sorry."
"You're good." Joe murmured, brushing his fingers across his cheek. "You're just like your father, always getting to excited over everything you hear or see."
"It's in our blood!" Ben exclaimed proudly, then his eyes widened and he looked into Joe's. "Wait." He paused for a few seconds, rethinking what he was going to say. Then he blurted something out. "Does that mean you love me?"
"No." Joe simply said. Ben frowned but his lips changed to a beginning smile when he opened his mouth back up to say something. "It means that I adore you, you little honey badger."
Ben grinned at this. He noticed the pun Joe made by that. 'Honey badger,' which was his Potential, or so called 'Creature Clash.' He looked downwards when Joe started to wander off, gazing at the many rides still in testing like the Runaway Train and Medusa. It caught him way off guard and brought his attention back when Ben intertwined their fingers together in a 'hand holding' act.
"Maybe we can just have a nice walk around the park now. No talking.. Just looking." Ben told him, smiling shyly.
Joe shut his mouth so he wouldn't interrupt the gleeful moment. He just smiled and rubbed his thumb over the top of Ben's hand. There was a couple seconds in between the silence before Joe nodded acceptingly.
"Let's go then." Joe whispered and walked ahead with Ben, still having their hands locked together.