Heero looked up from the report he was reviewing. His eldest was standing in the office doorway. Ben looked a little fidgety, but then again since he'd turned twelve Heero had ceased being able to follow his wild mood swings, so who knew why that was. He hummed an acknowledgement, waiting.
"There's a movie this evening. Can I go? It's a weekend so it's alright if I'm back by eleven, right?"
Shawn tramped down the corridor, screeching to a stop in the doorway. "Movie? What movie? I wanna go too!"
Heero didn't have to ask Ben what he thought about babysitting his eight year old brat of a brother, and the only way to prevent an eruption was to cut this off at the knee. "No, Shawn. This is Ben's evening out, not his babysitting night." He looked back to his eldest, ignoring the pouts and grumblings. "Where? I'll pick you up."
Ben grinned briefly in relief and then coughed and scratched his neck. "Nah, I can take the bus, I looked it up and the last one is at ten past eleven."
In a bus stop at night? Heero arched a doubtful eyebrow. "If you come back by bus, I want you here at nine. Your call."
"But I'm fourteen!"
"Almost fourteen. Alone. At night. In town."
"I've got my knife if someone tries anything --"
Heero shook his head no, once, gave his son a sober look. "A knife is a short distance weapon. If you're close enough to use it, you're close enough to be grabbed. The only way to guarantee you'd be let go without injury to yourself is to go straight for a killing wound."
"Call me. I'll pick you up. Who are you going with?"
"Just uhhm. Some guys."
Shawn burst into snickers, badly smothered by both his hands. He trotted inside the office and inched behind the desk. Heero frowned, recognizing evasive maneuvers when he saw them.
"Benny's got a DAA~ATE~"
-- oh. Heero blinked slowly. He hadn't seen that coming.
He did see his eldest coming at a run to grab his little brother over the desk, though. "Enough," he ordered, frowning. Ben looked back at him, managing to look both wounded and guilty. "Ben, don't grab your brother. Shawn, was that something Ben asked you not to repeat?"
The snickers behind his chair died down and Shawn sighed long and loud. "... Sorry, Ben."
"Mrgh. Whatever." Ben turned on his heel and stomped to the door, shoulders hunched as if that could hide how red his face had gotten.
Heero nudged his glasses down and massaged the bridge of his nose. Sometimes those two were such a pain -- wait a minute. Since when did Ben date? He was --
He was thirteen.
"Ben!" he called out, as the footsteps in the corridor had almost reached the end. "Did Duo get around to telling you about safe se--"
"DAAAAAAAAD!" came the anguished reply. "OH GOD, SHUT UP yes he did and never speak of this again."
"... oh. Good." He sat back down, still reeling.
Well. Dating and having sex were different things. But if he was old enough for one, he was old enough for the other. ... it just seemed so wrong that he would be old enough for either one.
Shawn propped himself up on the desk and peered up at him. "Se ... x?" The brat perked up, giggling in his hand. "Safe sex? What's that? I know safe driving is with belts, but--"
Heero blinked, and bit down on a burst of laughter he would have had a very hard time explaining. " ... No, that's... a little more advanced."
Feeling mocked anyway, Shawn scowled. "What is it then?"
"Safe from diseases and accidental babies," Heero replied, and wondered why it was so much simpler and less embarrassing to explain to Shawn, when he'd had to delegate Ben to Duo because apparently he and Ben delving on the topic would be the end of the world. "A teenager might be old enough to have sex, but they're not old enough to be a good parent."
"... Ooooh." A pause. "That's boring."
"Glad to hear it," Heero muttered.
Ben came back, and if Heero had doubted Shawn's intel before then, he didn't anymore. For the first time in his life Ben's hair was actually combed, and his jacket ... well, Heero didn't know much about modern fashion, but he still remembered that price tag. "Well then, I'm goi-- why are you laughing, shrimp."
"No reason," Heero retorted before Shawn could. "Have fun. Until eleven."
Ben gave a little smile and a "yeah, yeah, thanks Dad" and with a little wave he left.
"And don't come back with a baby!" Shawn yelled after him, eyes gleaming with evil mirth.
Heero sighed and tried not to understand the garbled words in the scream of embarrassment and rage Ben sent right back. He just hoped that by the time Shawn reached puberty Ben would be well over his own. Oh, and he was making Duo deal with it when when Shawn finally got around to ask about bondage.