Alien Force. Max watches his grandchildren. No pairings. Set before "Max Out", spoilers through "What Are Little Girls Made Of?". If it contradicts any episode after that sorry; they don't exist for me to fact check against!
Disclaimer: Ben 10 and its characters are owned by Cartoon Network, and I am using them without permission. Please don't sue.
You Do Not Touch Them
The summer before Kenny started school, his mother Lily enrolled him in a summer day camp to prepare him for school. The very first day, she had some type of emergency come up, and asked me to take him. When I tried to leave him there, he cried and threw a tantrum. I left him anyways, and half an hour later he was playing with the other kids and having the time of his life.
He never knew I stuck around, hanging around outside, watching him, making sure he was all right.
There is a special bond between a grandparent and their first grandchild. It also helps that Ken is such a wonderful kid. He is a perfect mix; he is well behaved, but knows how to push the rules and live a little. He has his father's easy-going nature. Frank has always taken everything in stride, even the crazy things like finding out he is half-alien and his nephew has a watch that lets him turn into aliens.
Neither Ben nor Gwen attended day camp, and I was off planet when they started school. I never had that kind of experience with them. Until now.
Watching my 15 year old grandchildren fight against the forces threatening our planet reminds me very much of that summer day over 17 years ago. It makes me so proud, seeing them shine like this. If I were to try and help, it would just hold them back. They are so much more capable than they know.
Ben is a very different person than his father Carl is. Carl was the wary one, the cautious child. He took things much harder than his younger brother. Ben is the very image of me at his age. Adventurous, full of energy, and if there is trouble to be found, Ben will find it. I can just imagine the kind of trouble I would have gotten in if I had the Omnitrix at 10. It was easy to bond with Ben.
Gwen was… more difficult. I had two sons and two grandsons; Gwen was the first girl I ever had to have a hand in raising. She was headstrong and opinionated. She didn't have my love of camping and adventures and would much rather have been reading or playing on her computer. But just because we had a harder time bonding has never meant I loved her any less. In fact, the whole reason I invited her along that fateful summer was because I wanted us to have more time to become closer.
I have lain awake many nights, wondering, if I had the opportunity to do it over, if I would have simply left them home. If I could, would I have spared my grandchildren the pain and danger of that summer? I think if I was a better grandfather I would. But more than likely I would have invited Ken along too, so he would have gotten to share in the adventure.
When Ben decided to remove the Omnitrix, I was a bit sad. It was good to know that he would be safer, but part of me was a bit disappointed that he wanted to live a more normal life. I had visions of him and Gwen as a new generation of Plumbers. So maybe I did leave that hollow viewer with a bit of the intention of getting him back in the fight. It was his choice, though, and I would still have respected him if he hadn't put the watch back on.
Watching him back in action, seeing him on the spy cameras I've hid at various alien bases, hearing reports about him from my sources, it takes my breath away. He has grown-up so much. He has such wisdom and manages to inspire his new "team". I am so proud of him. Gwen has grown too. She has a grace and strength about her that is almost palpable. Watching her brings both an enormous sense of pride and a bit of apprehension. She looks very much like her grandmother when she uses her powers. Although she will certainly be angry with me for keeping her heritage from her, it's best that she continues to believe her powers are from magic as long as possible. As soon as Verdona finds out about Gwen's abilities, she will whisk her off to Anodine. I want Gwen to get as much as her childhood as possible before that happens.
I also find myself having a strange sense of pride as well in the newest member of the Tennyson alien fighting squad, Kevin. It has been a long time since I looked at his as what he truly is, a child. A troubled child, surely, but still a child. At the time, he was trying to kill my grandkids, so I think its understandable that I didn't show him a lot of sympathy. But now I watch him put himself in harm's way protecting those very same kids, and pride somehow manages to creep in. I may not have a right to have pride in him, but as long as I've known him I've never seen anyone willing to step up and claim it, and now that he is worthy of it, maybe he deserves for me to give it to him.
The three have made their mistakes, sure. Morningstar's boy is a perfect example, and I'm not too happy about the Rust Bucket. But they seem to be learning, and more impressively they are balancing each other well. Ben and Gwen have come a long way since those two fighting 10 year olds in my RV. I feel as much pride in their friendship with each other as I do in anything they accomplish with their powers. Kevin offers a different perspective and irresponsibility essential to those fighting the forces of evil. A good a team as I've ever seen. They've managed to handle whatever's been thrown at them, which is why I've been content to watch from afar and continue my own work.
That all changed this morning.
The DNAliens have tried to do some pretty terrible things. Planning on "sterilizing" a whole town to keep their secrets is one of the worse fates planned by our enemies. But when they target MY grandson, my only grandchild unable to defend himself with powers, all bets are off. They made this personal, threw down a challenge. I am sending back my answer: Max Tennyson will not allow his grandchildren to be used in an attempt to get to him. He will bring down the fires of hell upon you; he will move heaven and hell to make you pay. You do not touch them.
I have faith that Ben, Gwen, and Kevin could handle this themselves. I'm proud to say they could. But this is personal, and requires a personal response.
So, to the DNAliens: Bring it on. You're going to regret ever crossing the Tennysons.
Author's note: Thank you for all the kind reviews! I'm having a strange amount of fun writing these; you don't know how amazing it is that I'm actually WRITING. And who knew feedback was such a drug? It's ADDICTIVE.
Having said that, I PROBABLY won't write anything else until I get some inspiration from new episodes. I guess I owe Gwen a story, but I'm finding it much easier to write others thinking about her than her thinking about others. We'll see what happens.