I leveled up and now this is Retta tweeting (and not Donna) - just pretend that she actually got really into Arrow and watched all of the episodes in one day - I'm sure she'd love Diggle.


Pushing Parks / Chapter 9

Chapter 9

When he was nine years, thirteen weeks old, Ben Wyatt was playing husband to his next door neighbor Cindy Eckhart. From where he was lying on the grass, Cindy’s blonde hair shone in the sun, giving an effect of a halo, proving Ben’s hypothesis that she was an angel.

Cindy held out her arm for Ben to hold to lift himself up, but instead Ben pulled her down and she fell atop him. Ben was laughing, unable to believe the fact that his crush was lying on him while Cindy Eckhart was hitting him with closed fits and screaming. The happiest moment in Ben Wyatt’s life was the worst in Cindy Eckhart’s. She jumped to her feet and ran to her house, and Ben Wyatt did not talk to her again until he became the mayor of his town and asked her to the prom, only to be turned down.

“Good lord.”

Leslie held her breath and looked at Ben from the rearview mirror who was looking outside. She had just hit someone. She unfastened her seatbelt and got out of the car immediately to do something. She ran and found a woman lying on the ground. All the bad possibilities popped to her mind. Squinting her eyes, she tried to see Ben in the car through the headlights.

“I’m sorry, Leslie. I should have looked where I was going.” came the voice of Shauna Malwae-Tweep. Leslie Knope finally let out the breath she was holding. Before she knew it, there were voices coming around her and figures stepped in.

“I’m a nurse, let me through.” Ann Perkins shouted as she made way and knelt beside Shauna.  “Okay, can you sit up?” she helped her. “Follow my light. Not with your whole head, just your eyes.”

Leslie moved closer to the car. Ben was already out of the car, looking at the scene from behind the crowd.

“How many fingers am I holding?”

“Ben, stay behind.” Leslie whispered to Ben Wyatt. The last thing she wanted after hitting the city’s nosiest journalist with her car and causing a scene was bringing the attention to Ben.

“She is okay, nothing here to see people.” shouted Ann Perkins as she helped Shauna Malwae-Tweep stand and lean on the hood of the car that had just hit her moments ago.

“Is she going to be okay? Ann talk to me. Is she okay?” Leslie rushed the beautiful ex-nurse. “Are you okay?”

“It’s nothing major, just some bruises. You were really lucky Shauna.”

“Thank you, Ann Perkins.” Shauna smiled her bright smile at the ex-nurse. “And Leslie, I am sorry for causing you trouble.”

“There is no need to apologize Shauna, I am sorry for hitting you.”

“Oh my, is that Ben Wyatt?” Shaun Malwae-Tweep pointed at the Teen Mayor who was standing behind Leslie in the dark. “I haven’t seen you in days.”

Ben Wyatt shyly stepped out of the dark and walked towards Shauna. “Hi Shauna.”

Leslie Knope remained in her place by the car, looking at Ben Wyatt and Shauna Malwae-Tweep fall into a familiar conversation. Something broke in her as she watched Shauna touch Ben’s shoulder.

“What is going on, Leslie?” Ann Perkins came over.

“They are going to have sex in five minutes.” replied the Waffle Maker, confusing both Ann Perkins and herself.

“I don’t think so, Leslie.” Ann commented. “They are simply catching up. Like you and I should.”

Leslie looked at her friend and gave a half smile, nodding her head. “I’ll tell you everything, I promise. But not right now.” She went back to watching Ben and Shauna. Shauna’s hand was now on Ben’s wrist, she was laughing at something he said. Just the slightest act of her hand touching his skin almost made her cry. “I know how this works. She smiles and they fall in love and she changes her name to Shauna Malwae-Wyatt. Or he is going to be very progressive and change his name to Ben Wyatt Malwae-Tweep. I am so annoyed that he would hypothetically do that.”

Ann Perkins had never seen her best friend jealous before, even when Mark Brendanawicz had asked her on a date. “Leslie, what is going on between you and Ben Wyatt? Are you sleeping with him?”

“No.” Leslie protested. “It is complicated. We are friends. We are roommates with benefits.” she tried to explain but realizing how she sounded, she tried to fix it. “We are roommates who benefit from the fact that we are also friends.”

“I don’t know what that means.” Ann said, baffled. “But it is obvious that you like him, which is a good thing.” She was now smiling.

“What? That’s disgusting and wrong. I don’t even get… why would? I have never liked anyone, anywhere. It’s none of your… you have the nerve, the audacity. Ben is my roommate, technically and he is terrible, face-wise. And how… how I know frankly that you don’t like him? Maybe you like him? Maybe you are trying to throw me off? Check and mate.” Leslie rambled on, but Ann would not budge. “This is an outrage!” she shouted. “Who do I call?”

“Leslie, ready to leave?” Ben came and asked at that moment. Without saying anything else or looking at anyone, Leslie moved towards Ben with her head down and walked back to her car.

She drove them silently to her house, still not looking at him. The silent was unbearable, but she could not say a thing. She was just rambling, admitting words to her best friend that denied her feelings towards the Teen Mayor. She unlocked the door, feeling Ben’s eyes burning a hole at the back of her head. “I am sorry if I kept you apart from Shauna. I can drop you back.” she offered, breaking the silence finally, taking a hesitant step towards the stairs.

“Leslie, wait.” Ben said instead. He was looking at her directly, his eyes unreadable. Leslie saw his one arm reach out to hers and stop abruptly, realizing what he was doing.


“I… I, um.” Ben started, stammering. Leslie gave him a look. He cleared his throat. There was now a stern look on his face. “In my time in the government, I’ve been sent to many towns. I tried to make amends for my failure as a mayor. Then I came here to fix the town and resolve the corruption and then I got killed and I realized, all this time, all these things, it all lead me to you. I know I could never touch you, but I’d rather spend a lifetime being with you and never getting to touch your hair than to be with someone else for a second.”

a/n: nope, this story wasn't dead, life was just busy.

(ff) Of Greek Gods and Men

Of Greek Gods and Men

“When I asked you to go see the movie with me, I wasn’t expecting that this would happen.” Ben says as he parks the car in their driveway.

“Huh?” Leslie replies, not completely hearing what Ben was saying. “Sorry, I didn’t hear what you said.”

“Never mind.” he shrugs, turning off the engine. His wife of seven months gets out of the car without even glancing at him. The nerd in him is glad that he has a wife that willingly goes to see a comic book movie with him. But the rather protective and touchy man in him… well, that’s another story.

“I’m going to take a shower.” Leslie shouts already from their bedroom as he walks into their house. He follows her into the bedroom, only to hear the shower already running and finding her nightstand drawer wide open. He huffs, falls on to the bed. He never thought he would one day feel jealousy after something everyone considered nerdy: going to the new Superman movie on opening night.

Then again, it is not his fault that a character he likes so much is now played by someone who resembles a Greek god.

He takes his shoes off, takes his pants off, and gets ready for bed. He lies down on his side of the bed, turns the lights off, only to hear Leslie making noises in the shower. He feels like she is cheating on him as he hears and understands what she is doing. It more or less sounds like the noises she was making next to him at the movie theater.

He is already drifting to sleep when Leslie comes out of the shower with her hair wet and in his boxers and shirt. She soundlessly gets under the covers and turns her back to him. There is no sign of their usual good night routine, with her scooting next to him and him wrapping his arm around her shoulder. He decides to ignore it and manages to fall asleep.

In the morning, he finds himself alone in bed, not that it isn’t the first time, he has gotten used to waking up alone since his wife only sleeps four hours, maximum. The difference is that there is no breakfast smell coming. He rubs his eyes with the back of his hands and walks to the kitchen, only to find it empty and spotless. He opens the fridge and grabs a piece of sliced bread and runs the coffee. He walks around, only to find his wife in their study, before her laptop with headphones, watching something with that usual dedication and concentration of hers.

“Good morning.” he says, gets no reply. He touches her on the shoulder and she jerks and tries to turn the screen off.

“You scared me.” she takes off the headphones. “Good morning.”

“What are you doing?” he asks, trying to see what is on the screen, but Leslie covers it with her body.

“Just some work before going to work.” she stammers, but Ben is quick to grab the mouse to recover the screen. There are some ten tabs open on the browser, with similar titles, five of them being YouTube videos.

“I didn’t know you had work related to British actors.” he comments, one eyebrow raised.

“He is from Jersey Island, it is a crown dependency, he is not technically British.” Leslie quickly responds. “I’m trying to get history of Britain as a selectable class in Pawnee schools, nobody in this town knows about the crown dependencies.”

“That’s a good idea.” Ben responds, trying to hide his disappointment in the fact that his wife secretly watches videos of another guy and already knows his background. “I made coffee.”

“Thanks, babe, but I need to run.” She places a quick peck on his cheek and leaves the room.

When he comes back from work, he has already forgotten about the whole ordeal, but is quickly reminded when he finds his wife before the laptop again, this time with her best friend.

“The real accent, definitely the real one.” Ann says.

“The British one isn’t bad, either.” Leslie comments. “I wouldn’t mind either of them.” she laughs and his heart breaks into pieces.

“How do you do?” He fakes a British accent to get their attention. He immediately makes a mental note of never faking a British accent again.

“Oh hey, Ben.” Ann greets him. “I just came from the movie, it was so good!” She basically chirps. For someone who had teased him numerously about his tastes before, he momentarily feels victorious that Ann likes something he likes. He then immediately realizes why she liked it.

“Nah, it wasn’t that good. Too many plot holes. And that whole destruction of Metropolis was completely unnecessary.” he argues. “I should also add that the books never make that many Christ-allusions, it was just over the top.”

“I liked it.” Ann shrugs.

“There is some lasagna in the oven.” Leslie says, ignoring him completely otherwise.

He turns on his heels with his head down, goes to the kitchen and eats his dinner alone before the TV.

He hears Ann leave a couple of hours later, his wife does not join him until he is already in bed, about to fall asleep. He cannot take it anymore. “Do you wish I were more muscular and taller?”

“What?” Leslie responds, her eyes large in the light coming from the bedside lamp.

“Because I watched that guy’s work-out videos, that’s never going to happen with me. I need to work out like 24 hours a day for ten years to be in the shape he is.”

“Ben, what are you talking about?” Leslie asks, looking at him.

“Your crush on Henry Cavill, the new Superman. It’s understandable. I mean, the guy is gorgeous.”

“I don’t have a crush on him.” She dismisses, but he doesn’t believe her. “Ben, I do not have a crush on him. Yes, he is very good-looking, but I don’t have a crush on him. I really liked the movie, and not because of him.”

“What about the noises you were making? In the movie theater? And then in the shower?”

“Oh my god, you thought?” she laughs. “No, I was not masturbating to his image. I had some… intestinal problems.”

“Then what about the secret YouTube videos? And your talk with Ann?” he asks, desperate.

“I really liked the cast, so I was watching videos of their press tour. The guy is the lead, so he happens to be in them. And Ann and I were discussing Amy Adams. She is so talented, a national treasure and such a good role model for young girls!”

“So you weren’t discussing Henry Cavill and his unworldly physique?”

“No, we weren’t, I promise.” She pats his shoulder. “I do not have a crush on him. I just never watched any other Superman movies and really enjoyed this one so I was doing some research. I found a few comics of yours and read them.”

“I am such an idiot.” He slaps himself on the forehead. “I am married to the best wife on earth, and try to accuse her of having a crush on a Greek god.”

Leslie laughs again. “And I am married to the best husband on earth who is a bit of a nerd.” she says, nestling in his arms. “And I think I should be careful, you are the one who sounds like the one with the crush.”

Ben smiles. With his wonderful wife in his arms, he drifts off to sleep.

Pushing Parks / Chapter 8


Chapter 8

Keeping Ben Wyatt a secret from her best friend, the beautiful ex-nurse Ann Perkins was one of the hardest things Leslie Knope ever had to do in her life. It seemed even harder than keeping her strange power secret from everyone.

Ever since he had come to her diner with Ann Perkins and punched Ron Swanson, Ben Wyatt was all Ann Perkins was curious about. She would try to corner Leslie, asking all sorts of questions about him: When did they start going out? When did he move in? Was she aware of his presence when he would come to the diner for lunch every week? Was his hair always styled like that? Where did he learn to throw a punch like the one he threw on Ron Swanson? How did he manage to manage odd colored plaid shirts with skinny ties and still look stylish? The last question was actually from Ton Haverford who seemed to be as interested in Ben Wyatt as her best friend was.

Leslie had been trying to keep silent on the subject of Ben Wyatt and was keeping him out of sight, hidden her house. She had forgotten that her best friend also was going to The Dwyer-Ludgate Ludgate-Dwyer show. She was in line with Ben who was wearing sunglasses and a bandana as part of his disguise, and was out of excuses about the presence of Ben Wyatt in her life when her best friend beautiful ex-nurse Ann Perkins approached them.

“Leslie, what a surprise! You didn’t tell me you were coming to the show.” Ann greeted the duo.

“Oh, hi Ann, I didn’t know you’d be here.” she greeted her friend back, albeit a little hesitantly.

“And who is this?” Ann asked.

“This is my nephew… Torpel.” Leslie made up a name and realized immediately that she was failing miserably at lying. Ann gave her a look. “That’s not a name. I don’t have a nephew.” Leslie took a deep breath. “This is Ben Wyatt.”

“Hi Ben Wyatt, we meet again.” Ann shook hands with him. “The bandana and the sunglasses are a nice touch.”

“Yeah, I wanted to give off a summer vibe.” Ben lied, too. “Nice seeing you again.”

“So, we should get to our seats.” Leslie chimed in. “I’ll see you inside, Ann.” she said and cleared her throat in an attempt to usher Ben away from Ann. As much as she loved her best friend and wanted to spend time with her, she hated lying to her and the more she kept her in the presence of Ben Wyatt, the more she had to lie.

Ben led Leslie to their front row seats and sat down. He looked around to see anyone suspicious but didn’t see anyone looking at him except from Ann Perkins on the opposite side of the pool. He did not see a pair of eyes that was looking at him.

Inside their dressing room, from a window overlooking the crowd, April was looking at the audience with a smile on her face that she tried to hide. “Babe, he kept his promise.” she called out to Andy who was still trying to open the hair gel jar.


“Ben. He is there, right where he promised he’d be. And he is actually sitting next to that waffle lady he is obsessed with.”

“Are you serious?” Andy rushed to April’s side and leaned to see where April was pointing. “It’s really him. And the Waffle Maker from JJ’s Waffle Haus. Why is he wearing sunglasses?”

April didn’t answer Andy’s question immediately since she was happy to see Ben despite his ridiculous outfit. “See, you were worried for nothing, he was busy shacking up the waffles lady.” she told Andy who nodded in agreement.

“Let’s go.” Andy said and cannonballed into the swimming pool, starting their show.

Another pair of eyes was watching the Waffle Maker and the Teen Mayor who was supposed to be dead. He nodded, pretended to watch as the Dwyer-Ludgate Ludgate-Dwyer duo swam to one another from opposite ends of the pool and secretly took photos of Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt in disguise.

At the end of the show, Leslie Knope felt her hands aching from all the clapping she did. The show was spectacular and it felt like the duo had gotten even better and more unsynchronized during their hiatus. Next to her, Ben Wyatt was also applauding wildly, appreciating her former roommates.

"We should go to the backstage." Leslie leaned over to Ben and whispered. "They were incredible and you should go celebrate them. And tell them where you have been the last week."

Ben was taken aback. "Are you sure? Isn't that against our rules?"

"Ben, we are already against the rules by being here. They are your friends, you should be with them now."

A wide grin crept on the Teen Mayor’s face. "Thank you, Leslie."

He led her behind some doors and through some corridors and Leslie knew that it wasn't the first time he had been to a Dwyer-Ludgate Ludgate-Dwyer show even though he didn't admit to liking them.  He stopped before a door and looked at Leslie. "Are you sure, Leslie? We can't go back after this."

Instead of replying, Leslie Knope knocked on the door and opened it.

"Ben, dude!" she heard a voice shouting and the next thing she knew, Ben Wyatt was wrapped in a bear hug by Andy Dwyer. "So psyched that you are here." Leslie moved around them in order to avoid being wrapped into a hug herself and entered into the darkly lit room. "April, honey, look who is here!" he shouted back, letting Ben go.

"Cool, whatever." April said, not lifting her head as she toweled her hair.

"Ben, who is this?" Andy asked, still holding Ben through the arm, as they moved together to where Leslie was standing. "Not to disrespect because you are my friend and she is your lady-friend, but I'd totally hit that."

Leslie couldn't believe her ears and was even more surprised when she heard April. "So would I."

"April, Andy, this is my..." he paused and looked at Leslie. “This is Leslie Knope, she is the owner of JJ's Waffle Haus."

"She is the Waffle Maker, duh." April commented. "Where the hell have you been the last week? We ran out of milk. And clean dishes."

Leslie sat down on the one chair that was not cluttered with clothes. Ben sat down next to April on the couch and Andy sat down on the tiny space between April and Ben. "That's why I actually came over." Ben started. "But first, you two were amazing out in the pool."

"We know. Where were you?" she demanded.

Ben didn't know how to begin so he looked at Leslie Knope for encouragement. "Something terrible happened to Ben." she said, speaking for the first time since they entered the room.

"I, uh, I got in some trouble." Ben stammered.

"Did you get caught stealing money from Leslie?" Andy cut in.

"No, Andy, no. I got... I got killed."

Andy and April just looked at him as if they were waiting more on the story.

"Somebody murdered me last week in Ramsett Park. Leslie saved me." he said. He didn't want to give specifics on how Leslie saved him. He wasn't sure they would understand.

"Dude, shut up! That's awesomesauce!." Andy exclaimed.

Ben was astounded. He had thought about various reactions but that was not one reaction he had expected. "Andy, how is that awesomesauce? Somebody tried to kill me… killed me."

"You are here and alive, so that's what makes the sauce so awesome."

"Yeah, you don't look dead to me." April agreed, her tone not giving any indication as to how she felt. Yet as Leslie looked at her, for a brief second she could see April looked genuinely sad as Ben spoke about being killed.

“So, um, I have been staying with Leslie to hide.” Ben tried to explain.

“More like shacking up.” April commented in her usual sarcastic tone.

“I can assure you, there has been no touching.” Leslie mumbled under her breath. Nobody heard her.

“Anyways. So, over the next few days, if anyone asks about me, just say you don’t know. Don’t tell anyone about where I am or what I told you. Can I trust you on that?” Ben asked in desperation.

“Of course, buddy, you can count on us.” Andy said as he pulled the Teen Mayor into another bearhug with his wife. After saying their goodbyes, the Teen Mayor followed Leslie to her car.

“There is a 30% chance they’ll both spill out my secret.” Ben told Leslie as he opened the door to the backseat. Leslie’s rules had included Ben not to sit in the front seat in case something happened so he was following that. “But I am glad I told them, I feel relieved that my friends know what happened. Well, not exactly, but still.”

“I am glad you saw them.” Leslie said as she turned on the engine. “Their show was amazing.”

“Yes, it was. Thank you again, Leslie. Thank you so much.”

The Waffle Maker met the Teen Mayor’s eyes through the rear-view mirror. “You are much welcome.” she replied as she hit the gas pedal. The gas pedal would not be the only thing Leslie Knope would hit as a dark figure suddenly appeared before the car and hit the hood of the car. The sound of screeching brakes was the only sound in the empty parking lot.

Pushing Parks / Chapter 7

pushing parks2

Chapter 7

“Honey, where is Ben?” Andy Dwyer asked his wife of one year. Their internet was down and usually their roommate Ben would fix it within the ten minutes it was down and it had been three days and the internet was still down and the dishes in the sink were as dirty as Andy had left them.

“I don’t know, maybe he is shacking up with his gay lover.” April suggested as she came into the room and sat cross-legged on the sofa next to her husband. “We are out of milk.”

“Honey, he is not gay.” Andy said as he pulled her close to him and placed a peck on her cheek. “And even if he was, which I know he is not because I know things, he would tell us if he was going to disappear for days.”

“If you are so worried about him, go look for him and have his gay babies.” April suggested nonchalantly.

“I shall.” Andy replied, jumping to his feet. “You are a genius, honey. This is just the case for Burt Macklin.” he tried to do a somersault but instead felt face forward and his legs smashed into their cheap coffeetable, breaking it into pieces. “I’m okay.”

“We won’t be able to do this week’s show because of you.” April scoffed. After a break of six months spending Ben’s money, the Dwyer-Ludgate Ludgate-Dwyer unsynchronized swimming duo was back to do a show in the upcoming weekend. She didn’t say it out loud but April wanted Ben to be back because he had promised he would watch the show at the front seat. And also she wanted to get fifty bucks from him to buy a more expensive waterproof hair gel.

“I’ll be there at that show. With my trunks. With or without Ben. But first I need to wash my trunks in bubble bath.” Andy said as he went to Ben’s bedroom. The bed was unmade and his laptop was still on. There was a coffee mug on his desk that was going moldy. He checked the laptop’s screen to see what his roommate was working on before he disappeared and after getting bored with the notes and numbers on the screen, he instead turned on a game of solitaire.

On the other side of Couer de Pawnee, Ben Wyatt walked into the kitchen to find Leslie Knope gone, a waffle already cold waiting for him on the table with a note: Have a nice day. Ron said he’d drop by. DON'T LEAVE THE HOUSE!

Just moments after he was done with his waffle and the dishes, there was a knock on the kitchen door. Ben Wyatt let Ron Swanson in who had confided in him that he loved riddles and solving a murder was almost like solving a riddle for him.

“Son, were you working on something else that would threaten somebody?” Ron Swanson finally asked the one question that had been bugging him for days. He felt like the Dead Boy was hiding something from him.

“Yes.” Ben simply said. He did not want to talk anyone about his side project that was likely what had gotten him killed in the first place.

“Dead Boy, you need to tell me what you were up to. For your own sake. For Leslie’s sake. The people who killed you are still out there. They did it once, I am sure they won’t hesitate again. And this time
it is not just you, but Leslie Knope is in this as well. I do not agree with Leslie most of the time and I might like solving murder mysteries but that does not mean that I would like to solve her murder.”

“You are in this, too.” Ben added but Ron Swanson simply shook his head. “I do not want Leslie to be in any trouble. But I am not sure how to say this. There was a reason why I came to Couer de Pawnee. Do you know my past?”

“I don’t know and I don’t care.” Ron replied. “I do not care about other people’s personal lives. I had a colleague I worked with for three years and never learned his name. Best friend I’ve ever had.”

“Wow, that’s… encouraging.” Ben said. “I came to Couer de Pawnee to solve the corruption. It took me a year and three months to find the source of the corruption. I was in that park that night to meet an anonymous source who was going to give me the concrete evidence I needed. Then the next thing I know, I was looking at Leslie. ”

The facts were these: Unbeknownst to him, while looking into corruption in the government of Coeur de Pawnee, Ben Wyatt had also made some enemies both in the government and outside the government. There were some people who were against the research Ben Wyatt was doing on the government of Coeur de Pawnee’s corruption. And those were some powerful enemies.

The candy maker company of Coeur de Pawnee called Bittersweetums was also the richest family in Coeur de Pawnee, if not the most powerful. They had made their wealth through making candy and providing jobs to the city and also through making sure the government of Coeur de Pawnee supported their wealth. They had friends in high places and their friends at those high places made sure that Newports, the family behind the company, were able to put other friends to other high places.

“So the Newports are responsible for your death?”

“Probably, I think.” Ben agreed. “I had found dirt on then. Nobody would believe me and the dirt without proof because they run this town.”

“We need that proof. Now.” Ron exclaimed, jumping to his feet. “Does Leslie know this?”

“No, I didn’t tell her. Bittersweetums provide the candy she has in her diner.” he answered. “She would be devastated.”

“She needs to know that you and Jerry died because of them, son.” Ron insisted.

Ben ran his hands through his hair, letting out an uneasy laugh. He found himself nodding. “Alright, I will. Tonight.”

“Good.” Ron gave one of those grins that made Ben completely uncomfortable. “Now, if you will excuse me, I’ll go home and eat some bacon and drink some scotch while watching ‘The Bridge on the River Kwai’.”

“Why, is it your birthday?” Ben asked.

Ron Swanson eyes grew wider and he groaned. “Who told you that?”

“No, nobody told me that.” Ben mumbled, scared. “I just made a guess.”

“I don’t like people having personal information on me.” Ron Swanson said and pointed his finger at Ben. “Do not tell anyone what you know.”

“I… I won’t.” Ben stuttered. “Happy birthday.” he said under his breath but looking at Ron’s face, he hoped Ron didn’t hear it.

Following Leslie’s instructions and not wanting to cause further trouble, Ben decided to stay at the house until Leslie returned. He decided to watch some TV but watching murders and mayhem on TV did not seem to be a suitable pastime given he was murdered himself only a few days ago.

Sitting alone on a couch eating soup didn’t make time go faster. He didn’t know when Leslie was coming back. He decided go around the house, looking at all the items the Waffle Maker had in her house.

He did not want to make the same mistake and admit Leslie was a hoarder but in truth, she quite was. One corner of her living room was completely filled with stacks of newspapers, the oldest stack dating back to the 70s.

Trying to get one of the stacks with more recent dates, he hit and dropped one box. Ben Wyatt kneeled to pick up the box, only to notice a smaller box next to it. Curiosity got the best of him and he opened it, only to find himself staring into the face of his 18 year old self on the cover of a magazine. He lifted the box and brought it to the couch and started emptying out its contents. Ben Wyatt surprised to find clippings of his short time as the mayor of his hometown. He never knew if anyone actually had these, he was astonished to realize that Leslie Knope actually had them and kept them. Even his parents had gotten rid of the newspapers long befpre his college graduation.

Below the two copies of a major magazine with his face on the cover with a headline saying ‘Young and Reckless – The Story of how Ben Wyatt Became The Youngest and Shortest-Termed Mayor Ever’, Ben Wyatt found a yearbook. It took him only seconds to realize who it belonged to. Under her photo, a black and white photo where she was giving a wide, earnest smile, there was a quote from Eleanor Roosevelt. He looked at the photos, discovering how Leslie was not only a member but also a founder of more than five clubs and was nominated ‘the best likely to become the first female president’ and felt his heart pang. It was amazing to see the woman he liked as a teenager.

He heard keys turning and he instinctively tried to close the box and put it back to its place, but did not account for the box opening at the bottom, all of its contents scattering around on the living room floor. He felt himself caught red-handed when the Waffle Maker entered the living room and looked first at him, then at the floor.

“I thought I was being sneaky by trying to hide that.” she said before moving to collect the scattered magazines.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want to intrude your privacy, I was bored.” Ben admitted and tried to help.

“It’s fine.” Leslie uttered, looking at Ben. She waited for him to put the magazines back into the box before following suit in order to avoid accidental touching.

“I can’t believe you have these.” Ben told her, looking into her eyes, not breaking contact.

Leslie felt herself getting embarrassed and exposed. It was true that she had followed the Teen Mayor’s short but important political career intently when she was a teenager and had the biggest crush on him. Having the said Teen Mayor in her house, having him look at her the way he was looking at her was undoing her. She felt like she was a teenager for a second. The more she spent time with him, she felt the crush she had on Teen Mayor Benji Wyatt turn into a crush on the now adult Ben Wyatt. To break the tension, she immediately took the box in her arms and carefully put it back to its place.

After dinner, they were sitting opposite to each other in the living room. Ben Wyatt was reading the day’s newspaper for a change to get himself ready to tell Leslie the truth while she was making a shopping list. Ben saw a small ad.

“Good lord.” he exclaimed. “My roommates. I forgot.”

His short sentences did not make any sense to Leslie Knope. “What about your roommates?” she asked.

“The Dwyer-Ludgate Ludgate-Dwyer show is this weekend. I had promised to them that I’d be there.”

“Ben, we can’t. It’s going to be their biggest show, it’s going to be crowded.” Leslie said softly. “We can’t risk it, your murderer might be there.”

“I know the risk, Leslie.” Ben replied. “They are my friends. I didn’t even let them know that I… died. They must be worried about me. And I promised them.”

“Ben…” Leslie pleaded.

“I will wear a wig or a costume, like you suggested to Ron.” he said. “I have front-seat tickets. Well, had. They are in my drawer at my desk at the City Hall.”

Leslie remained silent for a few seconds, thinking. She knew the risk but also tried to put herself in Ben’s shoes. He had simply dropped off from his own life, seeing some old familiar faces would do him good. And to be honest, she was really looking forward to the comeback show of The Dwyer-Ludgate Ludgate-Dwyers. She had always loved a good comeback story.

“Okay.” she said with a smile.

Ben smiled back. “If I could, I would hug you now.” he said.

Leslie looked at him and with a wider smile, she hugged herself, pretending to hug him. At that very moment, Ben was hugging himself, pretending to hug her, too.

AN: Hello lovelies! I am sick at home, spending the night away while it is raining like crazy outside. Leave a comment and make my week!

Pushing Parks - Chapter 6

pushing parks
Chapter 6

At this very moment, Leslie Knope laid awake in her bed, just adjacent to the guest room where the Teen Mayor Ben Wyatt was sleeping. After two days of investigation into his murder, they had come to a dead end when they looked into all the departments in the government of Coeur de Pawnee and were unable find anything. She did not want to call what they were facing a dead end in order not to disrespect Ben Wyatt who had been dead himself for a night only a few days ago, she pretended that it was just another obstacle.

She laid awake thinking whether the Teen Mayor was able to dream and if he was, what he was dreaming of. She pondered whether his dreams were different now that he had been dead once and not anymore. She thought if the dead dreamed and if yes, what a person who had come back from the death dreamed about. And also how they felt about coming back from the death. Her thinking came to a pause when the man she was thinking about started knocking on her door lightly, calling out her name softly.

She grabbed her robe and put it on before walking to open the door. Ben Wyatt was standing on the other side of the door. Even in the darkness of her apartment, she could see the concern on his face.

“I’m sorry if I woke you up, I couldn’t sleep.” he whispered.

“I wasn’t sleeping.” she replied. “And you don’t have to whisper.” she added.

“I just can’t sleep, it’s horrible.”

Leslie turned the light switch on and they both squinted their eyes, trying to adjust to the light. “Wanna Boggle?” she suggested and Ben Wyatt gave her a curious look. “It’s an entertaining and educative game.”

“Sure, why not.” he smiled and took a step aside, giving way to the Waffle Maker. He watched as she entered into the room he was sleeping in and came out in a few seconds holding the box game. He followed her downstairs slowly, making sure he was at least two steps behind her. After the incident with the waffle iron, Leslie had come to his room with a binder she had prepared on their housing arrangement. One section listed a number rules to avoid physical contact which included not drinking because she thought they wouldn’t be able to control their movements intoxicated and he could touch her by mistake and die. He promised her that she would follow the instructions carefully and so far had been successful at it.

He had never been to the Waffle Maker this close in his life as whenever he went to JJ’s Waffle Haus, he would sit at the farthest table from Leslie’s section but now even living under the same roof, he felt very distant to her. He had thought that after coming back to life thanks to the arms of Leslie Knope, he was given a second chance that he would use to be with her but coming back to life thanks to arms of Leslie Knope was keeping them physically apart. He did not mind it though, being in the proximity of her was enough for him.

He sat down cross-legged on the floor opposite to Leslie Knope in the middle of her living room with a smile. He couldn’t help but look at her naked legs and red-painted toenails momentarily and hoped that he didn’t offend her somehow by being only in his boxers and a shirt. He also noted that he needed more clothes since he didn’t want to be in the clothes he was killed in anymore even though Leslie had washed them twice. He would talk to her about it later.

“You know the rules so I don’t need to repeat them. Let me grab some pencils and paper.” Leslie excused herself and moved away immediately in order to prevent him from seeing her blush. They were in the middle of her living room in their sleepwear. Given that they were unable to touch, the last thing she wanted was to lust over the Teen Mayor’s skin. She told herself to get a grip before returning to the living room with the pencils and notepads and was relieved to see Ben under the blanket she usually kept on her couch.

“It’s cold.” Ben explained before she could even ask.

Leslie Knope realized that she had finally found a worthy opponent for Boggle after two hours when they were at a draw. She was tired and had a diner to open in the morning but she simply did not want to go to bed.

“Do you want to call this a draw? Otherwise we will be up all day trying to win.” Ben suggested.

“Yes, please.” Leslie answered and put down her pencil and paper. “So, how do you feel?” she asked, wanting to learn more about Ben Wyatt. She had known all about him when he was the Teen Mayor but did not know much about the adult Ben Wyatt with whom she was sharing her house.

“I’m not cold anymore.” he said and saw Leslie give him a look. “Oh, you mean how I feel? About not being dead and all?” he asked to clarify and she nodded. “It’s strange. I mean, I had no idea I’d die in the first place. Then you came and here I am.”

“How was experiencing death like?” she asked, her blue eyes staring into his brown.

“Not pleasant.” he responded immediately. “It was a little painful, being killed. It’s why I can’t sleep. The moment I fall asleep, I feel someone is trying to suffocate me and I wake up immediately.”

“I’m so sorry to hear that.” Leslie said.

“Don’t feel sorry, it’s thanks to you I’m alive. Leslie, I don’t think I actually really thanked you.” he said. “Thank you, Leslie. You saved my life. Literally.”

“My pleasure.” she smiled.

“Why did you do that?” Ben asked. “I mean, keeping me alive? Jerry had to die because of me.”

Leslie was silent for a few seconds, kept her head down. “I just thought my world would be a better place if you were in it.” she muttered shyly and faked a yawn. “I’m heading to bed, I’m so sleepy.” she added as she got on her feet.

“Sure, you need to go to work.” Ben said. He faked a yawn himself and dropped his blanket.

Leslie got a glimpse of his abdomen when he was stretching to yawn. “You are not perfect.” she said.

“Excuse me?” Ben asked, curious.

“Your scar.“ Leslie pointed. “That is the little scar you got when you were nine and you fell off your bike.” she stated all too confidently.

Ben just looked at her, feeling a mix of terror and amazement. He wondered to himself why it was always a mix. “You know?”

“I did watch your national TV meltdown, yes.” she simply said. “Cindy Eckhart had just turned you down for prom.” she added. “You almost called her on the show.”

Ben laughed nervously. “I feel so embarrassed.”

“Don’t be.” she reassured her and wished she could hug him or at least pat him on the shoulder now because from the look on his face, it was obvious that he still carried the weight of his short political career. “Not everyone becomes a mayor at 18 and then have a meltdown on national TV after they are impeached, consider yourself special.”

“I didn’t think like that back then. Thank you, I appreciate it.” he said. “Anyways, have a good night Leslie. And thanks for tonight. And for everything.”

He lingered a little longer in the living room after Leslie excused herself to her bedroom and tried to catch his breath. She knew of his teen political career and quoted his exact words and was still talking to him. She was not embarrassed of his past failures. He had had a crush on her ever since he saw her sitting on the bench before the wildflower mural in the city hall and now that crush was turning into something even bigger. And now he was staying in her house, sleeping just in the adjacent bedroom and was so close to her but that was the closest he could get. He didn’t remember a time he felt happier than that moment.

Pushing Parks - Chapter 5

pushing parks

Chapter 5

For all of his swagger, Tom Haverford never thought that he would one day end up being the cook of JJ’s Waffle Haus. He was the most stylish man in Coeur de Pawnee and after his green card marriage ended, Tom Haverford was sure that life would finally work out for him, especially after he met the only other guy in Coeur de Pawnee who had as much swagger as him. When Jean-Ralphio Saperstein offered to partner up with him to build Coeur de Pawnee’s first and only entertainment emporium after he got flushed with cash when a Lexus ran over him, Tom Haverford was sure that he would become a successful, amazingly dressed man by the end of that week. Only two months after Entertainment 720 opened, the company burned down to the ground, literally, when a fire broke in the building after a flame-thrower malfunction and so did Tom’s dreams.

Unemployed and unable to get money from the insurance company for the fire, Tom Haverford entered JJ’s Waffle Haus after seeing the ‘help wanted’ sign and never left since he was also evicted from his house. He had been a cook doing everything but the waffles and also taking shelter in a small backroom ever since. The one great perk to his job, apart from the health and dental coverage, was working side by side with the beautiful ex-nurse Ann Perkins who kept turning him down day after day.

“How amazing was that punch?” he exclaimed as Ann came into the kitchen after the Waffle Maker and the mysterious narrow-framed punch-throwing guy left JJ’s Waffle Haus. “The guy has no swag but he took Ron Fucking Swanson down.”

“I know, it looked so hot!” the beautiful ex-nurse agreed. “I have seen him come and go here but have never seen him with Leslie before.”

“Who is he?”

“He is apparently a friend of Leslie’s, he was at her house this morning.”

“Our girl is doing the nasty behind our backs. I am glad to call her my friend.” Tom Haverford said as he rang out the order.

“I have never seen her with a guy before since I moved back. The last date she was on was with that hundred year old guy her mother set her up with.” Ann Perkins commented as she picked up the order. “She is full of mysteries, first she keeps disappearing with Ron Swanson and then she is hanging out with a guy who punches Ron Swanson. It seems like she loves secrets and wants to marry secrets and have half-human half-secret babies.”

“She is the Waffle Maker, that’s like being a super hero in this town. With great power comes great responsibility. And secrets. Have you never read a comic in your life?”

“You sound like a big nerd, Tom, it isn’t a good look for you.” Ann told Tom Haverford as she left the kitchen.

At that exact moment on the other side of town, Leslie Knope was pacing around in her living room while Ben Wyatt was looking at her.

“You are going to leave a trail on the floor.” he said. “I am sorry, I didn’t mean to punch Ron Swanson, I told you, it was like a gag reflex. He called you a bitch.”

“And you punched him. In the middle of my diner.”

“And I apologized.” he repeated himself for the fifteenth time since the said event took place. “And I am sorry I left the house though you told me not to, I just couldn’t stay here alone.”

“Because it is a hoarder’s nest?” Leslie Knope asked angrily as she finally stopped and stood before Ben Wyatt.

“No, because I didn’t want to stay away from you.”

Leslie looked at Ben Wyatt who was looking right back at her from where he was sitting, unable to formulate a response. A rush of warmth enveloped her, eradicating her anger. She would later describe this feeling as joy. Just when she finally opened her mouth to say something she didn’t think about, there was a knock on her door.

The Waffle Maker rushed to the door, only to find her partner Ron Swanson on the other side of the door holding a piece of red meat to the spot where Ben Wyatt had punched him.

“Knope, I am ruining this wonderful piece of meat from Mulligan’s just because your dead-alive friend punched me. Yet I am willing put it behind us. I want to help you solve his murder.”

“Thank you.” Leslie said but hesitated to invite him inside.

Suddenly a figure appeared by their side. “Ron Swanson, I bring you the saddest news.”

“Hello Chris.” Ron acknowledged Chris Traeger, the temporary Mayor of Couer de Pawnee though Chris Traeger didn’t seem to acknowledge Leslie Knope. Ron Swanson had a rare moment of gratitude for Chris Traeger’s inability to focus on more than one thing at once.

“I was on my daily 10K when I saw you drive here.” he said. “Jerry Gergich of your Parks department sadly passed away. It is literally the worst news I have ever had. He was walking outside yesterday around noon next to Ramsett Park and had a fart attack.”

Ron looked angrily at Leslie who glimpsed at Ben in the house sadly who bowed his head down in what felt like defeat.

“He was old. And like everything he was to die. And this makes me think about my own mortality. And this makes me sadder than humanly possible. I’m going to finish my daily 10K now.” he said. “Ron, great job on Ramsett Park though, it is literally the best looking park in this wonderful town.” he added and left as suddenly as he first appeared.

“Dammit Jerry.” Ron exclaimed. “It just had to be him.”

“I’m so sorry Ron. This is my fault.” Leslie said, inviting Ron in.

“We need to find out who killed your friend.” Ron suggested.

“Ben. My name is Ben.”

“It is of no importance, Dead Boy.” Ron said as he sat down opposite to him. “We need to solve your murder so Jerry’s death will not be in vain. And yours too.”

Leslie joined them. “Ben doesn’t know who killed him, how are we supposed to find it out?”

“Son, did you have any enemies, anyone who wanted to harm you?” Ron Swanson asked.

“I received at least a dozen death threats ever since I moved to Coeur de Pawnee because I wanted to cut down the budget. I guess you can say yes, I had enemies.”

“Then we need names, phone numbers and motives.” The Waffle Maker exclaimed. “It is a start point.”

“You are the numbers robot guy, right? You wanted to gut the government’s budget with a machete. I am a big admirer.” Ron said with a glimpse of a smile that scared Ben Wyatt.

“Surprisingly you were the only one who supported me.” Ben Wyatt concurred.

“Let’s start within the government, we need a list of names of everyone whose budgets you wanted to slash.” Ron suggested. “I had ‘slash it’ banners I was bringing to the meetings, I still keep them in my trunk.”

“I remember very well, you were quite cheery.” Ben replied. “Leslie, do you mind doing this? I know you have a diner to run.”

“I brought you back to life and kept you alive so it is my responsibility to find out who is responsible for taking your life. And Jerry's by proxy.” The Waffle Maker said as she joined Ron Swanson and Ben Wyatt.

Two hours later, they were writing on the last page of a legal pad.

“Son, this is a lot of enemies.”

“There were too many things to cut.” Ben offered. “Leslie, you know everyone in this town, you can go through the list and take out who are harmless.”

“I can’t think of anyone in this town who would want to murder someone.” The Waffle Maker said. “Half of the town cannot even get off from their couches, let alone murder you.” she added. “How about something you were doing recently that pissed somebody off?”

“I was working on the sanitation department just before I was killed.” Ben suggested.

“I’ll go question Sewage Joe, you two stay here.”

Ron Swanson left the Waffle Maker and the Teen Mayor alone and silence filled the room. Leslie looked at Ben Wyatt and the legal pad before them. “I’m going to make color-coordinated binders for these so that we can find out the killer more easily.” she suggested, to break the silence and walked to the heap of folders she was keeping in the next room with Ben Wyatt’s eyes on her. She brought five binders and left them on the coffee table. “I’m going to make some waffles.”

“I’ll help.” Ben Wyatt said and followed her to the kitchen. Leslie already had the ingredients ready and was trying to reach for her favorite waffle iron on the overhead cupboard. Ben Wyatt came behind her and reached, over, almost touching her hand. Leslie immediately pulled her hand away and herself and the iron fell on the floor, between them.

“Don’t touch me.” she mumbled. “I’m allergic to fingers.” she added.

Ben Wyatt looked at her, puzzled. “No, you are not.” he protested.

“No, I’m not.” she admitted, looking up to him. “But I don’t know the full extent of my power. No, it’s not a power. It’s a… it’s… my thing. I can touch you and kill you. Again.”

“I’m sorry, it won’t happen again.” Ben uttered sincerely and bent to pick the iron up. He was glad it wasn’t broken. “Here.” he said as he extended the iron, not keeping his eyes away from her.

Leslie did not break his gaze as she reached out and picked the other end of the iron. She thought how funny it was that there would always be a physical barrier between them and now that barrier was one object she loved the most and started with the waffles.

AN: These two idiots are now married! And Veronica Mars movie, ftw!