Because Grandpa Max takes everything that's happened way too calmly. He has to be in the know.

Disclaimer: I do not own Ben 10. Nor California. I do own Professor Ha's statistic book and took liberites with the title. But those changes are implied in the subject matter. :P

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Guardian

By: gatogirl1

Rated: G

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Max Tennyson flicked off the light in the cabin of the RV. The miles slowly inched by today in their progress up the Californian coast. They'd not left until late afternoon from the famous San Diego Zoo, not with the elephant rides starting at noon. And by the time he'd managed to pull the rusty RV from it's double-space parking and back into the main flow of traffic, rush hour had already crept up upon them. Barely making it through Sacramento, Max had called it a night despite not reaching his cousin's home at their next destination in Lake Shasta, and had pulled into a gas station for some sleep.

He yawned as he moved back to check on his grandkids. And apparently they'd stopped none too soon. What with hearing the twos' symphony of snores, he himself was likely heading to dreamland faster than reading Professor Ha's Incredibly Cruel and Advanced Integrative Statistics. One of the kitchen drawers had jolted open; walking past it, he pushed it closed without a thought. Max walked two steps further; then paused. Turning, he reopened the drawer to check the contents. Inside lay several innocuous sets of silverware, the kitchen light glinting off the tines of the forks. He sighed with relief.

Reaching a hand into the back of the drawer, he felt for the slight bulge that indicated the drawer's hidden button. Pressing it, the entire kitchen unit released a hiss of compressed air the slight whirring. Looking back down in the silverware drawer, Tennyson pulled out the folder that had appeared labeled 'Omnitrix: Top Secret'.

He'd read the file enough to have it memorized; it contained a letter from his old boss, asking him to come back off his retirement/inactive status to take on one final case: protecting the alien device known as the Omnitrix from an old enemy until its rightful owners had prepared the appropriate protections and security measures for it. He'd been waiting for a signal that night Ben had run across a certain falling meteor; Vilgox had attacked suddenly and its protectors had been forced to step up their schedule and send off the device without Tennyson's exact coordinates.

That the device had attached to Ben, rather than his own wrist, was a constant worry. He was trained for situations like this; his work as Agent T in the Men in Black for over 40 years had taught him strategy and combat skills. Several years had been spent in extensive technological research, and he was fluent in enough languages to make his way through downtown New York, the biggest alien landing point in the world, without having to take out his translator. Ben had none of this. Not to mention he was a hyperactive 10-year-old with occasional heroic tendencies and a certain understandable fascination with the device- Ben found a new excuse weekly to try out the device, and due to Gwen's distaste in all things Ben, she always found some way to appear uninterested in the Ben's latest schemes…while all the while watching the proceedings.

On the lower bunk, Gwen lay on her back, letting loose unladylike snorts and whistles with every breath. He smiled as he kissed her on the forehead goodnight, lightly, so as not to wake her. Her light sleep was the only thing keeping Ben from waking before her in the mornings and hearing said snoring, which was bound to become heavy ammunition in their daily squabbles.

Ben on the top bunk was nearly falling out; his blanket had been pushed to his feet in the unfamiliar Californian heat and his arm and head were dangling dangerously off the edge. Tennyson shifted Ben back into the center of his bed, pulling up and tucking in the covers to prevent him from thrashing himself off the bunk.

Ben was just a kid; only 10 years old…what would he think if he realized he carried the fate of several worlds on his wrist? So for now, he let the two think the device was just a harmless gadget, a device to help Ben let loose his heroic impulses in a closely supervised manner. He was too young…they were too young to understand. So for now he would allow them their innocence.

Max returned the folder to the drawer, pressed the button, waited for the hiss to alert him that the change was complete, and then switched off the kitchen light. Soon, his own snores added to the cacophony in the vehicle as their guardian fell asleep.

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