Disclaimer: I do not own Ben 10 or its characters. Which sucks; cuz how cool would it be for someone to say that they owned Paradox? He's awesome.
This was one of those things that I just started writing and it wouldn't let me stop for a while. The Kevins, especially, ran away with it and had a little too much fun. But I enjoyed it, and I hope you will, too. :3
Paradox checked his watch. He could have sworn he was supposed to have met up with Ben about three seconds ago. And yet he was still standing alone on the sidewalk, staring from his watch to the path in front of him and back again.
Time traveling does not help with patience.
If that wasn't obvious.
Ben was still late.
A full thirteen seconds later, he showed up, he and his group obviously surprised to see the time traveler. That brutish one, Kevin; he seemed to be halfway between irritated to see Paradox and still grateful that he'd essentially gotten a new car out of their last meeting.
Paradox shook his watch. Maybe he would have to get the thing fixed somehow. If only he could figure out what moment in time he'd broken it…
"Paradox, what are you doing here?" Ben asked.
"Ah, so we have met! It's always so hard to tell." He pocketed his watch and approached the group.
"What are you doing here?" Ben repeated. "Is there some kind of danger? Some future-altering thing that we need to prevent?"
Cheerily, Paradox replied, "Exactly! That is what I'm here to do."
Kevin pounded his fists together. Always a little too eager to get into trouble. "We get to actually kick some butt this time?"
"That is precisely what we will not be doing," the time traveler replied, just as cheerily as before. "No, no; this time things are very simple." He paused. "In fact, I think this is the only time things will be simple at all," he mused lightly. Kevin frowned.
"Then I want no part in it," he said. Gwen and Ben both glared at him.
"Oh, I think it would be in your best interest especially to come along," Paradox told him. "Because if you want to get to your best possible future, you're going to have to see it."
Now everyone looked at Paradox, who sighed inwardly. Looks like that meant that he'd have to answer questions. And answering questions wasted time. He didn't like to waste time.
"So we're going to see our best possible future?" Ben asked, obviously a little excited. The time traveler supposed he couldn't be blamed for that.
"What happens if I don't see it?" Kevin asked, sounding slightly apprehensive.
"Yes, we are; the best possible future for you all," Paradox replied. "And if you decide not to join us, young Kevin, then I'm afraid you will be back in the Null Void before you reach your mid-twenties." Kevin paled at that.
"Right, then. Any more questions? No?" He ignored Gwen as she opened her mouth to speak. "Then let us take a look at the future!"
The first thing Ben and Gwen noticed was a familiar control room. It was the one they'd seen when they'd traveled to the future five years ago.
The first thing Kevin saw was a man with long black hair leashed to a post in the middle of the room.
"What the hell…?"
The man looked up at the sound. His eyes moved from Kevin, to Gwen, to Ben, to Kevin again, and then to Paradox. He gave the time traveler a distressed look.
"You brought me here?! Right now?!"
"Blame yourself," Paradox answered casually, "you were the one who was late." He looked around the room. "By the way, where is Ben?"
The black-haired man tossed his head in the direction of the door, the collar around his neck clinking as he did. "He had to take care of some negotiation between the Piscciss Volanns and the Pyronites. Things were starting to get hostile." He turned his attention back on Kevin and made a face. "Can't believe you had to bring me here…"
"Wait a second." Kevin's eyes widened. "Is that…seriously me?" The man turned away and pouted, confirming this. Ben and Gwen started to laugh.
"What did you do, Kevin?" Gwen asked through giggles.
The man, now officially established as Kevin, sighed a little. "I kind of let the kids play a little too close to the teleporter. Kenny nearly got sent to some high-gravity planet. Very bad."
"What?" Kevin, the younger one, looked a little stunned at this. The other two were a little surprised as well, and Gwen had turned quite pink at the mention of kids. "You mean you didn't steal anything?"
The older Kevin blinked at himself. "I haven't stolen anything in years."
"Not even weapons?"
"I can make my own shit."
"Wow." Ben folded his arms over his chest, looking at Kevin proudly. "Looks like a good future to me. A clean record and a family. I'm impressed."
"But I'm tied to a post. Why am I tied to a post?"
"That should be explained in a few minutes," a voice from behind them said. Everyone turned around to face the woman that was undoubtedly Gwen; or in this time, Gwendolyn.
"Ah, Gwendolyn!" Paradox closed his watch, which he had been checking every couple of seconds out of habit. "Ben will be here shortly, then."
"And then," Gwendolyn sighed, laying a hand on her younger self's shoulder, "you'd better brace yourselves, because you're in for a bit of a shock."
Kevin saw himself smiling sheepishly in his corner and he frowned. What took place next took a long time to sink in, but when it did, it completely floored them all.
The first to rush in was a small, tan-skinned boy that looked a lot like Ben when he was ten years old. He ran straight to Kevin in the corner shouting, "I'm back, Dad!" Kevin hugged him tightly.
"Hey, kiddo. How'd the negotiations go?"
The kid shrugged. "Fine. It was just another silly territory thing, like usual."
"Your pop still mad at me?"
"Not really. It was partly my fault anyway."
Kevin ruffled his son's hair. "Nah, I shouldn't have let you guys play in there in the first place."
A little stunned by this exchange, Gwen leaned over to whisper to Kevin and her cousin. "Ben, that kid looks like you."
"But he called me 'Dad,'" Kevin put in.
They all looked at Paradox, who was fiddling with his watch, and at Gwendolyn, who smiled at them awkwardly.
Shortly after this, the much older and definitely less scrawny Ben 10,000 strode in, followed by what looked like a carbon copy of Kevin. The boy ran towards his father, who hugged him and then looked up at Ben.
"You gonna let me off the leash, now?" he asked; and he jerked his head towards the teens. "We're here."
The older Ben looked over at the group just as the younger Ben blurted out, "Are you two together?"
"Excellent deduction, Ben!" Paradox cried; and Ben could hear the bit of watered-down sarcasm in the time traveler's voice. Kevin stared in shock at him, having only just caught on.
"What? Why? How? Gwen?" He looked at Gwen, who just shrugged.
Gwendolyn sighed a bit. "How do I put this…? Let's just say…we didn't work out."
"I did mention that you could have ended up in the Null Void by your mid-twenties," Paradox piped up, throwing a very particular glance at Kevin.
"So I have to be with Ben or I'll end up in the Null Void? What?"
"I don't get it either," Gwen said.
"I'm still on a leash, here!" the older Kevin cried through the jumbled conversation, waving his arms.
Ben 10,000 smiled softly. "Sorry, Kevin." He leaned down and pressed a button on the side of the collar. It immediately released Kevin, who quite un-Kevinly leapt on the hero and nuzzled his cheek.
"We can have this explained properly now, right?" Ben asked, unable to wrench his eyes away from the lovey-dovey scene. He felt a little dizzy. Kevin felt a little sick.
"I'd like to start with why the hell was I on a leash?" the younger mutant added.
Hanging over Ben's shoulders like some baby monkey, the older Kevin answered, "Ben likes to humiliate me when I do something bad." He pouted a little. "Although this time it ended up being public humiliation."
Ben kissed his cheek. "I'll make it up to you later."
"And here's where explanation number two comes in," younger Ben said, making a face. Seeing himself making kissy-faces with Kevin was disturbing. "How am I supposed to end up with Kevin? And why are you all so fine with it?"
"That's more than one explanation; but allow me," Paradox offered neatly, stepped forward as if into some invisible spotlight. "As it turns out, the only possible way for young Kevin to stay on the correct path and not horribly disrupt the balance of time is if he becomes Ben's…oh, shall I say…husband."
"The short version of it," Gwendolyn added, "is that while Kevin and I tried to go out, in the end, Ben just made him happier. I was the first one to realize this, of course." She tried to say the last part casually, inspecting her nails as she spoke as though it weren't a big deal. But everyone could tell she was proud of herself. The older Kevin rolled his eyes.
The explanation seemed to have stopped there, so Ben cleared his throat. "Um, what about my other question?"
Ben 10,000 shrugged, causing Kevin to cling more tightly to his shoulders. "It's been so long; I suppose we're all used to it."
"And seeing as this keeps the passage of time from becoming unstable, I am actually quite happy with it," Paradox put in. He really was. "Is that all the explanation you need?"
"One more question," Kevin said, "and this one's a big one." He then pointed to the two children standing on either side of the strange couple and came out with, "How are those two even possible?"
"I'm wondering that too," Ben said thoughtfully. "After all, Kevin and I are both male; we shouldn't be able to have kids."
Paradox smiled. "Oh, of course. You're welcome."
The three teenagers turned to him. "Huh?"
"Kenny and Devlin were actually born on an entirely different timeline," Gwendolyn explained. "They were future products of Big Chill that Paradox brought back here so you two," here she pointed at the younger Kevin and Ben, "could raise them. They do have your DNA."
Kevin nodded. "Well, so long as Ben's the mom, I'm satisfied."
Both Bens glared at him. "Hey!"
The older Kevin nuzzled his husband's cheek, trying to bring the attention back onto him instead of his rude younger self. "C'mon, Benji, don't be mad at me; I was stupid back then…"
Kevin glared at himself. "Hey!" His older self stuck out his tongue. Kevin started to grumble, "God-fucking-damn it; I'm so whipped…"
Bringing out his watch again, Paradox finally decided that the teens had all experienced enough of their future for one day. "All right, I believe we've all had our fair share of excitement for the time being."
"I've got to leave myself," Gwendolyn agreed; and a proud smile broke out onto her face. "Cooper is teaching our little Demi to cook, which means that mommy has to make sure they don't burn down the kitchen." She giggled to herself and turned out of the room. Nobody else seemed to pay her any mind except Gwen, who looked entirely stunned.
"All ready? Good!" Ignoring Gwen as she opened her mouth to speak, Paradox brought them all back to what they would all normally call their present. Then, with a wave and some babble about "more important time-traveling ventures" he left.
"Great," Kevin sighed, "so my best possible future is as Ben's kiss-ass husband. Just great." He started to walk towards his car. "I'm goin' home to sleep. Benji, you're comin' with me." He grabbed the younger boy by the arm and Ben stumbled after him.
"Hey! No sex until after we're married!" he shouted in a panic.
"Well, we gotta get to work on those kids, don't we?" Kevin shouted back.
Gwen stayed behind, ignored, and frowning.
"Why did I marry Cooper?"
END. Poor Gwen.