Author's Note: Well, right after I finished Changing Times last night, I started thinking. I was surprised by how many people asked for a sequel, and I may go back and do one later (though I feel that all the situations were wrapped up quite nicely, so it would most likely just be my view of their future lives). What made me decide against it for now was that more than a few readers were kind of sad Julie wasn't in the last chapter, and as much as I love it, Gwen/Kevin does seem to get a lot more stories. So I wanted a plot I could use to try to play both sides evenly, concentrating on Ben just as much, if not maybe a bit more, than Kevin. (Which is hard. I adore Ben, but Kevin's character has so many facets to it that it can be too much for a writer to pass on). With that in mind, and contemplating how my old high school boyfriends all acted, this story came to me. I'm hoping for it to be much longer than Changing Times, but we'll see. Plus, I didn't get as much of a chance with humor in Changing Times as I normally like…and I've always loved writing comedy.
"Tennyson, you're letting him get away!" Kevin growled, trying to wrestle a DNalien to the ground. Ben, however, seemed frozen. He was in the form of Big Chill, but he just hovered in the air, trying to decide something. "Any day now, Ben!"
Finally coming to a conclusion, Big Chill took off. In the exact opposite direction of the High Breed Kevin had been spurring him after.
"Oh, c'mon! He's like, eight feet tall!" Kevin shouted, punching the DNalien's lights out, "Don't tell me he thought he should be chasing some other alien freak."
"I'm sure Ben has his reasons," Gwen said calmly, lassoing the remainder of the alien-human hybrids with her power. She held them all there, her fist clenched tightly. "Ben wouldn't run out on a fight for no reason."
"I didn't say 'no reason', but it could still be a bad reason," Kevin pointed out. Gwen rolled her eyes.
Her green eyes searched the dark factory, looking for any sign of her cousin. She sighed. It was not easy holding this many aliens in place for so long. If Ben didn't come back soon, she was going to have to release all of them.
Thankfully, Ben returned a moment later in his human form, a very confused man at his side. "Sorry, guys," Ben apologized. "But I noticed this guy was acting weird during the fight…thought I could get the xenocyte out of him, and well…it worked!"
"Thank you," The man said, giving Ben an impromptu hug before running off, shouting the whole way "I'm free!". Gwen released the Dnaliens from her energy, and they all ran off, presumably to join their master again.
Kevin looked livid.
"What's wrong with you?" Ben asked.
"What's wrong with me? What's wrong with you, man?! You had a chance to capture a high breed, one of the main big bad guys, and you chose to go after a dnalien instead?"
"I had to," Ben defended himself. "It was just like that time with Tyler. That guy was fighting back. He wanted to be human again."
"You could have waited. We could have found him after we got the big baddie, but no, you had to run off and play 'noble' hero, without even bothering to tell us. What if Gwen got hurt?"
"Um..I'm fine," Gwen pointed out, reluctant to get brought into the fight.
"Gwen's a big girl," Ben gestured towards his cousin, "Something you've obviously noticed! She can take care of herself, and you know that!"
"Seriously, guys, leave me out of this," Gwen threw her hands up in surrender, wishing they would stop.
"It doesn't matter if she can or not. The odds were way against us, and you still ran off and left us to fight an entire hoard by ourselves! Next time, think the whole thing through!"
"Oh, look at that, the ex-con is trying to tell me to think things through!" Ben returned acidly.
Kevin glared. "Well maybe that's why you should listen to me. I know how bad guys think-"
"Yeah? Well maybe that's because deep down, you're still one of them!"
Kevin's hands were clenched into fists. Ben's hand was slowly reaching towards his omnitrix, but Gwen raised her arms, forcing an energy shield between the two teenage boys.
"All right, that's enough!"
"He started it!" Both Ben and Kevin said at the same time.
"I don't care who started it!" Gwen yelled, "I'm ending it. Kevin, Ben just wanted to help an innocent person out. There's nothing wrong with that." Ben smirked, assuming his cousin had sided with him. "But Ben, you still shouldn't leave us alone like that, especially not without warning us where you're going."
Ben's smirk fell, and Kevin seemed to somehow gain it.
"I don't want to hear any more from either of you on the ride home," Gwen threatened, making her way back towards the car.
Ben and Kevin exchanged looks, but immediately both remembered they were still mad at the other. "Now look what you've done," they said in unison.
"Okay, that does it!" Gwen stopped ahead of them, turning on her heel to face them again. "You two are so unbelievably immature. Ben, you're a nice guy, but sometimes I swear, it's like we're back on the Rust Bucket and you're still ten years old," Kevin snickered, and Gwen rounded on him. "And you! You're no better…you might even be worse! Instead of arguing over things like this, why can't you both just be happy that we stopped the plan for tonight and another human's been saved from being a dnalien?"
"You're calling me immature?" Kevin asked, seeming both annoyed and confused by Gwen's monologue.
"Imagine that," Gwen spat with sarcastic venom. "Why do I bother? You two are never going to grow up. You may be the most immature people I've ever met."
"Hey, that's not true!" Ben claimed, "I mean, you've met Cash. He's pretty immature."
"I don't risk my life on a daily basis with Cash," Gwen returned.
"Technically it's more of a 'nightly' basis," Kevin pointed out.
Gwen sighed. "Not what I mean."
"So, what, just because Ben and I don't use four dollar words like you do, we're immature?" Kevin asked. He seemed to have completely forgotten that it was Ben he was fighting with only moments ago.
"That's not why. It's just the way both of you act!" Gwen crossed her arms. "Let's just go."
"No. Not until you take it back," Kevin said stubbornly.
"Well, then, we're going to be here all night," Gwen matched his stubbornness perfectly at times. Ben sighed.
"I'm not that immature," He finally spoke up.
"All right, Ben gets a ride back," Kevin said, crossing his arms, trying to lay down the challenge to Gwen. "Anyone else is going to have to walk unless they say the magic words."
"No such thing as magic," Gwen imitated Kevin.
He glared. "Oh, whatever. Stop being such a prissy princess and just say that you didn't mean it."
"I don't want to lie," Gwen said, looking away.
Ben felt he should do something, but he was still a little hurt that his cousin had called him immature. He really felt he'd done a lot of growing up in the five years between the first omnitrix version and the new one. He knew he was being a little stubborn, probably even proving his cousin right, but he couldn't bring himself to voice it.
"All right, all right," Gwen agreed. "I'll take it back,"
"Finally," Kevin muttered.
"After you prove it."
"You heard me. Both of you, for one week…I want to see both of you act like mature adults. No more placing the blame on each other, no bad imitations of me when you think I'm not looking," she narrowed her eyes at Ben, who suddenly became very interested in the floor, "you both have to actually act like your age."
"And if we don't agree to this?" Kevin asked, sure the red head wouldn't come up with anything horrible enough to agree to it.
"Then you don't get a prize," Gwen knew exactly how to tailor this competition so that neither boy would want to back out. "You finish out the week, and Ben…I'll pay for your next five comic books."
"Deal," Ben agreed.
"I'm not so easy to buy," Kevin pointed out.
"Wouldn't dream of it, Kevin," Gwen smiled, seeing an extra little opportunity in the bet. "How about…a date?"
"I don't know," Kevin looked away, pretending to be thinking it over. "What makes you so sure that I'll play for something like that?"
"Because you like a challenge," Gwen said, as though it were completely obvious. But Kevin hadn't masked his excitement over the prospect. She could hear it in his voice.
"All right, I'll play your little game," He agreed.
"Oh, quid pro quo though," Gwen added.
"….A what now?" Kevin asked.
"Well, first of all, there's one rule. Either one of you fails, you both fail," Gwen smiled. She was in control now. "And of course…if you lose, you have to give me something."
"And what is it that you want?" Kevin's eyes were narrowed suspiciously, but Ben didn't seem bothered by it.
"You'll find out when you lose."
"Then we won't be finding out," Ben said, coming forward to shake on the deal. "Sorry, cous, but you're going down."
Gwen reached and shook first Ben's hand, then Kevin's. The deals were sealed. "We'll just see about that."
Author's Note: No Julie so far, but she will be here later. At first, it was going to be a competition between Kevin and Ben, but I decided it was more fun if they had to depend on each other. I know Ben has grown up, but we've still seen that he can be a bit immature from time-to-time, and I'm sure sometimes, between being around him and Kevin, Gwen probably wants to scream in frustration. The date wasn't going to be the prize for Kevin, but I honestly couldn't think of anything else he'd want from Gwen (except maybe a kiss…)