Brooklyn unboxes Kenji’s feelings about a certain fanny-pack-wearing, Anky-loving boy they know… Inspired by @theswampspirit ’s post!
[FANFIC | Rated T for mild language. Spoilers for Camp Cretaceous S1!]
It was yesterday when they had found it. Footprints by the monorail, both that of small shoes and small dinosaur feet, trailed their way towards the main park. It was the first and only sign that their friend Ben had survived the attack by the pteranodons, and was still on the island with them.
However, despite their optimism, the kids had yet to find anything else. Rainfall soon after had washed away what remained of the prints, and even then, they were at least a day behind Ben - wherever he was going.
From the south dock, they traveled north to the golf course and reluctantly decided to settle there for the night. Small buildings, parking lots for carts, and rest stops for golfers dotted the grassy plains here. Brooklyn and Kenji remained at a concrete building, keeping the fire going as Darius and the others searched for supplies in the surrounding shops.
Brooklyn dipped a rag into a small creek and wrung it out slightly. Little bird baths like these were all the kids could manage so far. Unless they found some hot running water at the hotels in the main park, they wouldn’t exactly be at their freshest until they were rescued. Not the greatest state of affairs, but “kinda clean” was better than “brachy-behind air quality”.
To her right, Kenji sat, exhausted by their long day of travel. Brooklyn thought about the kind of person she had assumed Kenji to be when they first met, and then compared that to who he ended up being. Sure, he was still a jerk, but only sometimes. Perhaps the most surprising change was how distraught the boy had been after the group had lost Ben.
The fanny pack, previously dubbed “dork pouch”, was tied around his waist, where it had been for days now. He never removed it. Even when Yaz offered to carry it instead, he refused to give it up. At first it was just…sad…it stood as a reminder that they had lost a friend. Brooklyn had wondered if she was the only one who was tired of looking at it and being reminded of the guilt.
But then there was yesterday. Sammy had spied the prints in the ground and was tied with Kenji for being the first to utter the idea that Ben was still out there. Ever since then, Kenji seemed more like himself. More like everything was alright in his world.
“You really do miss him, huh?” Brooklyn asked, airing her thoughts in the vaguest possible way.
“What?” Kenji replied, baffled. “No! Who are we talking about? I mean, what kind of monster wouldn’t miss his friend-"
Brooklyn watched speculatively as the boy floundered at the question. It was hilarious, honestly, because who wouldn’t think that Kenji, the idiotically boastful yet resourceful smartass, struggling to respond to a simple question was funny? And let’s be real, that use of "friend” felt all the more ridiculous as Kenji’s hand instinctively rested on the fanny pack around his waist.
Brooklyn raised an eyebrow and returned to wiping the dirt from her face and hairline. In the past day, the chance that Ben might still be alive felt so much greater. And on another note, it brought her a lot of guilt considering how quickly she assumed the frail, clumsy germaphobe hadn’t made it. She had to hope that Ben’s feelings wouldn’t be hurt. But those signs they had found…it had to mean something.
“I’m just saying, you’ve seemed in muuuuch better spirits since yesterday,” Brooklyn replied, dragging her sneakers in the loose dirt and piling up a shapeless mound. “Out of all of us, I know you were the most…lost by what happened."
Kenji scanned Brooklyn’s face cautiously, some form of shock in his eyes. Maybe being raised a rich, only child with absent parents had something to do with it, but he always seemed so surprised by how well everyone read him. Maybe more so by the way no one took his bullshit for an answer.
"M-maybe,” he finally said. He rubbed a palm against his neck, his brows furrowing. “Maybe!” he said again, seemingly just in case Brooklyn hadn’t heard the first time. He looked at the ground, a smile coming across his face, but only briefly. “I wonder how he’s doin’ out there…"
Brooklyn rinsed the towel in the stream before snapping it dry and laying it out flat on the rail. "If I know him, he’s probably desperately searching for some sanitizer,” she joked with a chuckle.
“If he’s not camped out by a log he also tripped on earlier!” Kenji retorted, and the pair’s laughter echoed around the clearing, accompanied by the crackle of the fire.
However, it wasn’t long after that Kenji grew quiet yet again. Brooklyn could tell this was one of those rare moments where he actually thought before he spoke. Leaned over his knee, he propped his head up on his hand. “But I wonder if he thinks he’s alone here…”
That’s a lot of wondering he’s doing, Brooklyn thought. She had half the mind to make a joke about him using his brain too much, but that kind of sarcastic reply seemed more like Yaz’s territory. “C'mon, Kenji. If we didn’t send help back from the mainland, there’s no way his mother wouldn’t have. He has to know that."
Kenji nodded slowly, his thumb tapping the fanny pack yet again. "Plus he’s got Bumpy, right? Anky-saurus-es or whatever are tough! Not tough enough to take the Indominus, but…” he added.
“Right!” Brooklyn said with an affirming point of her finger. Whimsically, she plopped onto the concrete ledge across from Kenji and observed him more.
Now, she didn’t want to come off as too people-watch-y. That couldn’t be good for the size of Kenji’s head. He’d probably say something about how everyone looks to him for guidance or something else indicative of his constant attention-seeking behaviors. But even now, Kenji seemed well within his own mind.
Still thinking about Ben, she decided.
The two of them were pretty sweet together. Kenji liked to act like he wasn’t a fan of Ben’s cuddly and apprehensive nature, but surely he couldn’t have hated it that much. Why? Because any good content creator knows when there’s more than meets the eye. Maybe Kenji just needed a little push to make him realize. And Brooklyn was a master reporter, of course. If there was one thing she knew, it’s that people love to talk about themselves.
“Ben’s probably thinking of us too, don’t you think? If he’s out there, I mean,” she began, tipping her chin up to look at the glimmering stars. “Maybe even thinking of you right now."
Kenji stirred, a small, tired smile making its way into his voice. "What do you mean? After I was such a jerk to him, I kinda doubt it.”
“Really?” Brooklyn turned back to him, surprised.
Gesturing uncomfortably, Kenji seemed to regret his word choice. “Just that…you know, I yelled at him. Said that stuff about Bumpy.” His voice trailed off with a surprising guilt. “I - we took him for granted, and it was…shitty of us.”
Brooklyn nodded quietly. “Buuut, you also saved his life, you know. I think it’s pretty clear that you made him feel safer,” she stated warmly, pressing her hands together.
Kenji shuffled awkwardly, keeping his eyes on the dirt. “You think so?” he asked, before quickly adding, “Not that it matters to me, obviously… Wait, did he tell you that?"
Could he have been making it any more obvious? Brooklyn giggled, rolling her eyes. "You could call it intuition, or just common sense, seeing-things-because-I-have-eyes?” She lifted her legs onto the bench, laying with her back rested against the wall. “What do you think he’d be doing if he were here now, with us?"
"Besides churning up some kind of dino baby food for Bumpy?” Kenji said plainly, raising a brow. “He’d probably be flinching at every little noise, just like the rest of us, and clinging to m-” he cut himself off, a first ever blush faintly hitting his cheeks.
“Bingo…” Brooklyn exclaimed quietly with a wink. “Which brings me back to my first question, Mister Kon. You miss him, don’t you?"
Kenji frowned. "If he was here clinging to my side, I’d obviously tell him to relax and let up his superhuman grip!” He paused, drumming his fingers on his knee. “Except I am kind of cold anyway, so if he wanted to sit with me then whatever.”
“Soooo, you’re telling me if we did find him,” Brooklyn prodded. “You definitely wouldn’t sweep him up in your arms and smile like the kid with the most candy bars on Halloween?"
"No!” Kenji replied indignantly. A moment passed. “…Well. Ugh, don’t rule it out, I guess. Should’ve known you were just trying to get me to admit something embarrassing…"
She smiled softly, placing her hand on her chest proudly. "Well, Brooklyn is the name, annoying pestering is the game.”