Can You Stand The Rain

Author's Note: Yes, guys! I know it took a long time to update! Haha, but really, if you guys follow my Spider-Man story, I already explained that college has started back up for me again, and I was recovering from surgery which was the main thing affecting my time/energy. I'm good now, though. Hopefully I'm not too rusty!

Oh, there's a quick review I would like to reply to from the most recent guest. Yep, in the series, Ledgerdomain is a dimension. However, for my story, I intentionally changed it into a planet. Why? Well, I don't wanna spoil the goodies! Lol. The fanfic itself is still going to be darn near accurate to the show, don't worry guys. As always, thank you guys for all your support. Now, let's dive in!

Intro Music: Ben 10 Original Theme

Chapter 4: Trust Issues


It was the perfect plan.

Ben was going to let Charmcaster experience the supreme goodness of chili fries for the first time in her life, especially since Sandra Tennyson, Ben's mother, proved once again she can't cook.

The problem in this so called perfect plan?

Ben had no car.

To his embarrassment and Charmcaster's slight annoyance in him not fully thinking this through, Ben had to call Kevin to pick them up.

I mean, Kevin picking them up isn't too bad, right?

Well, maybe if it was just the three of them.

With Gwen finding out about this whole thing, she insisted on going with the gang as well. This usually isn't a problem since… Well, she, Kevin, and Ben are always together. But when you add her archrival to the equation, then things get complicated.

Really, really complicated.

Ben, Gwen, Kevin, and Charmcaster weren't saying a word to each other, officially making it the most awkward car ride in history. Kevin and Gwen were in the front, while Ben and Charmcaster were in the back. Everything felt off.

Kevin said he would trust Ben's judgement on Charmaster, but it's harder to do so when his girlfriend supposedly despises her. Same goes for Ben. He's really close with his cousin who feels more like a sibling due to how close they are, but her dislike of Charmcaster is even making him quiet.

Gwen wants to trust Ben on this whole thing, but then there's another side of her that would rather not and blast Charmcaster into magic oblivion.

Then you have Charmcaster herself, being in the middle of it all as she could practically touch the tension in the car. She was literally the very definition of uncomfortable right now.

As the silence persisted while they were on their way to Burger Shack, somebody had to break the ice. This can't go on anymore.

Ben awkwardly coughed to break the silence, starting up some form of conversation. "So, uh… Kev, I'm surprised you're not playing any music." he pointed out, Kevin now looking at him in his rearview mirror.

Ben would try to give him some ideas. "Music would be good right now. You know, to get people in a better mood." He was edging Kevin to turn on his radio, but hey, it was for a good reason.

"I do like my music," stated Kevin, now turning on his radio and fully agreeing with Ben. The vibe needed to be changed now, and music can change vibes in the blink of an eye.

It can either bring people together, or even farther apart than what they already were.

With Kevin going from station to station, he stopped on one where a nostalgic song was being played. "Hey, I remember this song!" he explained, a smile forming on his face. "You remember this song, Ben? It's from that movie we saw when we were kids!" He started to think really hard on what the name of the movie was. "Gah, what was the name of it again?"

"The only movie I remember as a kid is when you tried to kill us during summer vacation. The movie had a lot of sequels, too." Ben joked, pretty much saying the multiple sequels were the amount of times Kevin tried to kill them.

Kevin could only roll his eyes, but he wasn't offended by it. It shows how far Ben and Kevin have come in their friendship. Now, if only the two women in the group could do the same.

"Oh haha, very funny." Kevin said sarcastically. Afterwards, he started to hum the song, and as for Ben…

He would actually start singing.

BGM: A Goofy Movie – On The Open Road

"Do you need a break from modern liviiiiiin'?" Ben began, his singing voice being absolutely terrible, but he didn't care. Everybody sings terrible in the car. "Do you long to shed your weary loaaaad?"

Charmcaster turned to Ben in disbelief, not believing what the heck she was hearing. "What is happening?"

"I'm asking myself the same question." said Gwen. Mark it in the history books, folks. This is the first time Gwen and Charmcaster are on similar wavelengths when it comes to Ben's antics. Heck, this is the first time they're on a similar wavelength when it comes to anything.

"If your nerves are raw, and your brain is fried," Kevin added, joining in on Ben's singing for the most ridiculous music duo in history.

"Just grab a friend and take a ride," Ben said.

Now the two of them would be in unison for this part.

"TOGETHER UPON THE OPEN ROOOAAAAAD!"

Gwen was trying to keep a straight face the entire time, but the last part almost broke her when Ben and Kevin sung together. Same thing goes for Charmcaster. The young sorceress may have expected this doofus behavior from Ben, but she had no idea Kevin could be such a dork. How much has he changed since those summer vacation days?

It wasn't so much about the change, however.

Ben and Kevin were intentionally singing this together to show an example on how Gwen and Charmcaster should get along. A method to their madness, really. Would it bring the two girls together?

Time to find out.

"Your turn, Gwen!" Ben called out.

Gwen sighed deeply. "I don't remember the words like you two do!"

"Okay then. Charmcaster, you take over!" Ben told her.

"I've never even heard of this song!" Charmcaster yelled, not really wanting to be a part of this ridiculousness. Even if she did, the fact remains that she still wouldn't know the lyrics to the song. But when has that stopped anybody from singing terribly in their car before, eh?

"All in all, I'd rather turn this song off," Gwen started, being in her own singing voice but it was to mock Ben and Kevin's ridiculousness. "All in all, I'd rather eat Grandpa's fooood."

"I'm about to lose my mind," Charmcaster said, but her tone unknowingly went with the song.

"TOGETHER UPON THE OPEN ROOOAAAD!" Ben and Kevin exclaimed together once more, but after that, Gwen turned off the radio.

Kevin looked at his girlfriend, raising an eyebrow. "What gives? We were all just starting to get along!"

"Maybe in an alternate universe," Gwen sarcastically said, rubbing her head due to the recent madness because she had to compose herself.

Hearing this response put a frown on Ben's face, and soon afterwards, he would receive a slight nudge from Charmcaster. "Look, I know you're trying to make Gwen and I get along, but the truth is I'm not sure if it'll ever happen. You know our history." she spoke in a whisper, Ben now turning to her.

"Come on, if Kevin and I can do what we just did considering the history we had, you and Gwen can become best buddies too." Ben said, his voice being hopeful.

Charmcaster had a deep sigh, deciding not to say anything for the rest of the trip and look out the window.


It wouldn't be too much longer before they made it to Burger Shack. With Kevin parking the car, Gwen and Charmcaster would be the ones to get out first, both of them walking far apart from each other. Ben and Kevin got out the car next, seeing what was going on for themselves.

"Were we this bad?" Kevin asked out loud, referring to how Gwen and Charmcaster felt about each other. "Like, that's an honest question, were we really that bad?"

"Ohhhh yeah," Ben confirmed, folding his arms. "Probably worse, to be quite honest with you."

A sly smirk then formed on his face. "But look at ya now, you're willingly embarrassing yourself with your best friend by singing songs on the road."

Kevin would try to refute this statement. "Willingly?! Oh, you gotta be kidding me! I only did it because I knew you were trying to show some buddy example to Gwen and Charmcaster! You started singing first anyway!"

The sly smirk on Ben's face didn't go away. "Yes, but the fact is you still started to sing with me. Heck, you were excited when it started playing on the radio, wayyy before I began singing. Who knew that the cool Kevin 11 could be such a dork?" he added, Kevin now looking embarrassed.

Dang it, he was right.

"This never happened." Kevin said seriously, pointing to Ben.

"Oh, it happened." Ben replied, trying his hardest not to chuckle but failed miserably.


Burger Shack

Once the gang were inside Burger Shack, they all began to order their food. Kevin and Gwen ordered burgers, while Ben would order chili fries of course. Charmcaster felt a bit out of place, because… well, she didn't have any money, and she didn't want to admit it either.

Even with her not wanting to admit it, Ben would do his own thing. "Oh, and another order of chili fries for my friend." he said, Charmcaster's eyes widening at this action.

"Ben, you don't have to do this," she told him, but Ben shook his head.

"Nope. You're gonna see a thing called kindness, which is something you haven't seen for years." He was stern with his reply, meaning every word he said. Charmcaster was kinda taken back by this, but it was for good reason.

I mean, Ben was right. Does Charmcaster even know the definition of kindness?

The cashier took Ben's money, and their chili fries were soon brought out. Once they were brought out, the man gave Ben a wink. "Trying to impress your lady friend, eh?" he said slyly, a smirk coming on to his face. "I know it when I see it."

"We're just friends." Ben replied, taking his chili fries while Charmcaster took hers. He didn't wanna think about those types of things, especially since his past relationship with Julie didn't end well at all.

Besides, there's no way Ben and Charmcaster would ever get together. It doesn't make any type of sense.

"Ben," Charmcaster said, catching Ben's attention.

"What's up?" he replied, wondering what she wanted to say.

"Thank you for paying back there. It means more to me than you know." she told him, showing a genuine smile.

Ben smiled back, but then… his thoughts started to wander off somewhere else.

Just as he was thinking there was no possible way he and Charmcaster would ever get together, it's like he got lost into her light purple and pinkish eyes. Her purple lipstick went so well with her features, along with her long and pretty silver hair.

Ben has always acknowledged Charmcaster to be attractive, but when he really got a good look at her…

Good grief, she was freaking stunning.

"Y-Yeah," Ben managed to say, still kinda being in his own world. "No problem."

It was at this moment that Ben became unaware of his surroundings, tripping over something in the restaurant. He let out a yell, realizing he was about to fall to his doom until he felt a hand come onto his chest, essentially stopping his body from falling.

It was Charmcaster's hand, to be specific, while still having her chili fries in the other hand.

"What the heck was that? Did you zone out or something?" asked Charmcaster, Ben now being embarrassed at the entire thing. Boy, real smooth, Ben. Real smooth.

But hey, he had a firm grip on his chili fries, though. Even if he fell flat on his face, his hand would've still been holding up his chili fries.

"I must've tripped over something." Ben quickly said, making Charmcaster look at the floor, and seeing there was nothing to trip over.

This made her connect the dots for herself.

"Wait a minute… Did you trip over your own feet?" she asked, an evil grin showing on her face.

"Whaaaat?! That's crazy talk! I definitely tripped over something!" Ben retorted, trying his best to recover.

Charmcaster slightly laughed at Ben's clumsiness. "Well, whatever you tripped over must be invisible, because I sure can't see it."

Ben slouched in defeat, sighing deeply. "Let's just meet up with the others…" he said, not wanting to talk about it anymore. While he went back into his own thoughts, something came into his mind.

Oh God, was he developing a crush?

"No, no, no, no, no! You're losing it, Ben!" Ben thought to himself, denying the whole thing altogether.

Once they met up at the table Kevin and Gwen were sitting at, they all started to eat together.

In silence.

Boy oh boy, this would be a whole lot simpler if Ben and Charmcaster were able to do this on their own.

What do these guys even talk about?

Once again, it was up to the leader to figure things out.

"Sooooo… How're the chili fries, Charmcaster? Everything I cracked em' up to be?" he started, breaking the ice.

Charmcaster gave a confirming nod. "I have to say, these things are tasty."

Ben pumped his fists in victory. "Yes! I knew you would like them!"

But then after that, silence once again.

Awkward, awkward silence.

Looks like Ben has to carry this whole conversation.

"You know, we gotta cherish this time together." Ben told them all. "Enjoying good food while being together with family. How can it get any better?" he spoke cheerfully.

"Charmcaster isn't family." Gwen was very serious when it came to her words, meaning everything she said. Charmcaster would look down, avoiding eye contact with all of them.

However, Ben would try to defend Charmcaster. "Come on, Gwen. You gotta at least give her a cha-"

"No, Ben. She's right. I'm not family." Charmcaster said, her voice showing hints of sadness in there but tried to be strong for her own sake. "Besides, it doesn't even make sense. I've spent one day at your house, and now I'm suddenly family. Don't you think that's too fast?"

"Finally, we're able to agree on something." Gwen added.

Wow, twice in the same day she and Charmcaster agreed with each other.

"I'm just trying to hel-"

Before Ben could finish, Charmcaster would cut him off.

"Trying to help, I know. But notice what's going on. You're the only one trying to break the ice while everyone else is as quiet as a mouse."

"Gee, why do you think that is?" Gwen pointed out, her tone dripping with sarcasm. "Honestly, it's a miracle you've gotten this far! I personally still can't believe everyone is willing to accept you with open arms! Somehow, you managed to trick Grandpa, you managed to trick Kevin, and you managed to trick Ben! Their trust wasn't even earned, it was given to you!"

Charmcaster gritted her teeth, trying to hold her anger back. "Okay, so why don't you trust me like everyone else?"

"Because I know you, Charmcaster." Gwen explained, continuing her assault.

But that comment would piss the young sorceress off.

"You don't know me, so why don't you mind your own business!"

Kevin would try to break this up before things got out of hand.

"Okay, okay guys, how about we all take a chill pill and-"

Gwen and Charmcaster proceeded to cut Kevin off, not listening to a word he was trying to say.

"Oh, I know you! The Charmcaster I know wouldn't come out of the blue at the Plumber base and randomly talk about some bullcrap apology for all the things she's done wrong without an ulterior motive!" she spoke loudly, the people at Burger Shack now paying attention to the argument that was going on. "You may have everyone else fooled, but you can't fool me."

"Fool you? You think I'm trying to fool you?! After everything I've been through?! After I lost EVERYTHING!"

Ohhhhhhh crap.

"I realized all the crap I did, and I'm trying my best to turn my life around, but your conspiracy nonsense is making this a whole lot harder than this needs to be!"

"It isn't a conspiracy if there's already been a pattern!" Gwen shouted, refusing to believe Charmcaster.

"Look, I'm sorry for everything I did! I was on the wrong side for years! But unlike you, I lost most of my family! I know my Uncle wasn't the greatest example, but he was the only family I had left! Unlike you, I never had a stable home after my parents died! Unlike you, I never had your Grandpa Max or Ben to come to whenever I needed help!"

Gwen scoffed at this notion, as she began to let out a laugh. "Are you serious? You had our support once! A long, long time ago during that summer! And what did you do? You blew it!"

Kevin's ears perked up at this, not hearing of this story before. Charmcaster was with the group during that iconic summer vacation? "Wait, what happened?"

"It's a long, long, long story." Ben said, knowing it was only a matter of time for Gwen to bring that up.

Maybe one day, the story will get told again.

"You think I don't know that?! Why do you think I'm trying so hard now?!" Charmcaster pointed out, her anger now reaching its limits. "I know I blew it once! For the first time ever, I felt accepted, I felt like I had actual friends, but my Uncle's influence made me ruin all of that!"

"Oh sure, always going back to your Uncle's influence." Gwen dryly said. "Never put the blame on yourself for your actions."

"I AM putting the blame on myself. And since he's out of the picture, I don't have him constantly in my ear anymore! I'm able to make my own decisions, for my own happiness! But if you can't seem to understand that, then a brick wall might be better to talk to at this point!"

Ending on that note, Charmcaster got up and exited Burger Shack, leaving the group since she felt like she needed some space before she did something she would regret.

"Charmcaster, wait!" Ben called out, running after her.

With the argument being over, the two who remained in Burger Shack were obviously Gwen and Kevin, who now had an entire audience of people looking at them like they were psychos.

The topic needed to be changed.

"How about those chili fries, huh? Something's gotta be in those things to make people act like that, am I right?" Kevin tried to joke with the people, but it didn't stop the stares whatsoever.


Outside

BGM: Am I Dreaming – Ol Skool ft. Xscape, Keith Sweat

"Charmcaster!" Ben called out, continuing to run after her. Hearing her name being called, Charmcaster reluctantly stopped.

Heck, she probably only stopped because she knew it was Ben's voice, but she wouldn't face him, still having her back turned to him.

"Ben, I appreciate you trying to defend me and everything, but this whole group thing… It isn't working out." she said, feeling absolutely crushed.

"It isn't working out for one person, which is the person everybody expected to have the most trouble accepting you in the group." Ben clarified, but Charmcaster was silent. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath, still refusing to look at Ben.

"Maybe Gwen is right… Maybe all I'll ever be is a criminal. Maybe all I'll ever be is a person who's made some bad choices that I can never come back from."

Ben got closer to Charmcaster, placing a hand on his shoulder. "Stop. You're more than that. I know you are. Gwen just has you thinking about every bad thing you've done right now."

"You'd like it if that were true, wouldn't you?" responded Charmcaster, finally turning around to face Ben. "But the truth is, I think about all the terrible things I've done every day, even without Gwen shouting in my ear."

Charmcaster rubbed her forehead, showing signs of frustration. "I'm going to be honest. After everything I've done to you and your family, while keeping the recent talks we had in mind, I still don't know why you're so willing to trust me."

"You fought by my side, you saved me, you've shown me you have a good heart, but everything got messed up for you because of all the things that's happened in your life." Ben told her honestly.

"Unless you're trying to make me look like a complete fool, which I know you aren't, I'm not giving up on you."

Whether it was his hero complex or good heart, heck, maybe it's both, Ben said his words loud and clear.

And he wanted to prove more than ever he was being honest.

Catching Charmcaster completely off guard, Ben began to hug her. "B-Ben?! What are you doing?!"

"I'm trying to show you I mean what I say. I'll be here to help you." Ben repeated, Charmcaster's cheeks having a faint tint of red on them.

But… the warmth, the reassurance, the honesty Ben was showing was really… comforting.

She hasn't felt comfortable in a long time. Heck, when was the last time she was actually hugged? When her father was alive? Did Hex ever hug her in the first place?

Not knowing how to respond at all to this moment, Charmcaster was kind of frozen. The reason why is this feeling, a simple hug, felt so foreign to her.

She tried to snap herself out of it, and for a moment, it looked like she was improving. She would reply with hugging Ben back, which at first, she couldn't believe she was doing it in the first place, but…

It started to feel… normal?

Dear Lord, she feels like she could cry right now.

Was she dreaming?

"Thank you, Ben…" she managed to say, the two continuing their warm embrace.

But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

Ben's Omnitrix started to beep, catching the attention of Ben and Charmcaster. The hug would stop, much to Ben's and Charmcaster's dislike. Ben had his own reasons, Charmcaster had hers.

"Hold on, getting a message." Ben told her, turning the dial to accept it.

What appeared over his Omnitrix was a hologram of Azmuth, the creator of the Omnitrix. Tiny, gills, sticky skin, looks sorta elderly, big green eyes, four thin tendrils coming out his lower jaw, two coming out his upper jaw, and a bit grumpy at times, there was no doubt about it.

"Azmuth?"

"Tennyson, we have a problem."


END OF CHAPTER 4: TRUST ISSUES

BGM: Ben 10 Credits 2005

Ben: Azmuth, what's happening?

Azmuth: Something terrible.

Ben: How terrible?

Azmuth: Very terrible.

Charmcaster: Woooowwww, real specific for a preview, eh? You're a troll of the highest order.

Kevin: I still want to know what happened with you guys on that summer vacation!

Next time on Can You Stand The Rain!

Back to the Past

Gwen: I really don't want to explain this story!

Author's Note: After a long wait, chapter 4 is finally done. WOOOOOO. And yes, the next chapter's title is essentially the opposite of Back to the Future, lol. Get ready, guys. Next chapter is mainly going to be a flashback chapter, as we go back to the original series timeline where Ben was 10 years old. Now you guys will truly find out exactly why Gwen doesn't trust Charmcaster. Along with that, Azmuth has some terrible news, which will be explored next chapter. Go crazy with your predictions!

Also, be sure to check out my newest Spider-Man and X-Men crossover fanfic, Spider-Man & The X-Men: Dreams and Nightmares. Yes, I have another fanfic. Yes, I have too many to update, lol. Leave me alone! But anyway, if you guys like what you read, leave a follow and a favorite! Don't forget to READ AND REVIEW! Thank you guys for all your support, and peace out!