A/N: OK. Due to the tremendously beautiful response to my last BeVin fic, I've decided to do another for fun. Keep in mind though, this one's a little… weird. But I'm fond of it, and I've found one like it in almost every other fandom but Ben 10, so I figured, 'Why not?'.
Ummm… yeah. Kind-of AU. Just before Ben goes off on summer break and gets the omnitrix- that's right! My young!Ben muse strikes again with a vengeance! Uuhhhhh… warnings, warnings— oh yeah, Kevin's a two thousand pound alien feline (he has the potential to shapeshift, though! He just… doesn't know how yet). And Cash gets hated-on. Yeah. Sounds odd, I know. Bear with me, though, because I rather like this oneshot.
"Now class, we are all guests of the Jamenson Wildlife Reserve and Zoo, so I expect everyone to be on their best behavior. That means following all of the rules, and listening when you're spoken to, alright? Now, I'm going to list off-" Ben promptly made a point of cutting off his teacher's tirade, focusing his vapid attention span elsewhere. This trip to the zoo was supposed to be fun- go see the mutant animal they're hosting, get out of three hours of school! Nobody ever mentioned anything about rules. He fiddled absently with the corner of the signed permission slip in front of him, trying to ignore the brutish laughter of Cash and JT behind him.
Green eyes scanned the exited crowd of his homeroom. That one kid who used to pick his nose, the weird girl who read comic-books all free period; Julie. Julie, who was looking at him! And smiling! Snapping out of his stupor, Ben smiled back goofily as she began to giggle. Her friends were giggling too, though- what was so…?
"Uhm… *tee-hee*, Ben? You've kinda got…" She motioned to her face with her hands, and he quickly realized with belated horror he had been holding a blue Crayola marker in the hand his face now rested on, elbow on the desk. Turning to see his reflection in the glass window, he nearly fainted when he realized random lines of washable ink littered it. Ben furiously rubbed at his face while the females continued to laugh mercilessly.
'Smite me now~'
Yeah. This was going to be a great day, he could just tell.
The bus ride was hot, cramped and sweaty, doing nothing to sweeten Ben's mood. Finally though, after what seemed like hours of being stuck between that one kid who oozed over his own seat onto Ben's and the girl across the isle that wouldn't shut up, they arrived.
Their teacher, bless her heart, was trying to force feed as much education down their throats as she could before they overrode her control, and made a beeline for the 'special exhibit'. Rumor was, this place was hosting a rare animal for rehabilitation; some sort of giant mutant cat they found injured, from some obscure island.
The students had bravely put up with three-toed sloths and an array of birds that didn't even look exotic before somebody brought it up. Once the idea was breached, the agreements spread like wildfire, and Ms. Sioui relented, looking defeated. Their tour guide (looking to all the world like she'd rather be on manure duty than hosting a group of fifth-graders) quickly re-routed, and after an annoying walk through the sun they reached a small enclosure, at least thirty feet down beneath them with the back half encased in shadows.
They stopped, and everyone crammed closer to the short wooden fence, peering down and squinting for any sign of life, the flick of a tail or whisper of breathing. Nothing at all. The guide had started talking again, something about 'leopards' and 'wild animals'. All of the initial excitement had died down into a dull buzz, each of the students having deflated after realizing their chances of actually seeing anything today were slim.
It was then Ben heard Cash, a few feet down from him, complaining loudly to JT.
"Stupid animal! Too scared to even come out of its hole!" Cash shouted, throwing disrespectful handfuls of popcorn into the bottom of the enclosure while the tour guide wasn't looking. It made Ben want to gag. Jesus, no wonder it didn't want to come out!
"You're the stupid one. I wouldn't come out either if I had to see your ugly face!"
The slightly older boy turned, happy for the distraction. "Ooohhh, Tennyson, watch your manners! You wouldn't want to wake your little friend down there up from his nap, would you? Planning on joining the rest of the filthy, stinky animals, are ya? About time!" JT laughed obnoxiously, and something sparked in Ben's chest, anger igniting his words.
"Aren't you one to be talking about dumb animals!" Ben rebuked, and Cash growled.
"Is that a threat?!" And, without warning, he leaned over to push Ben roughly. Ben quickly lost his footing on the dusty ground, and realized with terror he was falling. Desperate, he grabbed the front of Cash's shirt in an attempt to steady himself. Not so. JT, who had had his hand clasped around Cash's shoulder in a congratulatory gesture, begin falling with Ben, all three of them slipping foreword and over the railing of the enclosure, fall broken by soft grass and bushes.
With a roar of fury, Cash lunged himself at Ben.
Curled up in a graciously provided cave at the very back of his temporary enclosure, Kevin had been trying his damnedest just to ignore all of the moronic two-legged mammals coming to gape; he knew he was impressive, but this was just ridiculous. 'Two weeks,' he reminded himself steadily, 'two weeks of recovery and I'm outta here. That's what the anaconda told me. Back to the wild.'
Fucking snake didn't have to be so smug about it, though. The hulking black liaton (an off world species of large mammalian feline; resembling a much bigger leopard) stretched his monstrous paws out in front of himself, face splitting in a yawn that revealed two and a half inch canines designed for ripping and tearing. For all of his bitching and moaning however, he wasn't entirely un-fond of this planet he had been transported to for medical care. There was something oddly appealing about the mile high concrete structures of this 'city', and the explosion of color intrigued him to no end— a welcome contrast to the dull browns and greens his home planet had confined him to. Liatons were, and still are, an extremely rare sight on any planet, almost extinct due to over-poaching and theft of cubs for exotic pets (right up until they reached their full grown weight of two-thousand pounds, at which point they were written off as a liability).
Unfortunately, that was actually why he was stuck here. Lazing about on a rock (for, while his species prided themselves in being excellent climbers, there weren't really any trees sturdy enough to bear his full weight), he had been shot in the paw by an nervous, amateur gunman looking for a quick way to make a buck. A sand-papery purr rumbled in his chest as the scene once again played itself out in his head.
"Kinda chewy, but definitely worth it.'
Much to the contented liaton's dismay, locals had heard the shot and called authorities. Apparently they had thought his species to be completely extinct for seven years. This put his minor, inconsequential injury at top priority for them, and they wasted no time in tranquilizing him and sending him to the best quadruped hospital within four galaxies, located here, on this backwater little organic planet. They even had the nerve to tear him from his mangled, cooling meal. He hadn't even gotten to eat the heart. Kevin was pretty sure the entire process was utterly ridiculous though. Even with his limited knowledge of medicine, Kevin imagined this scratch could've been easily taken care of at any slightly proficient medical facility.
'They just want an excuse to stare' he thought moodily.
From what the local fauna he had encountered earlier (behind thick iron bars; for their protection) had told him, this place got almost no off-world traffic; it was the minority of citizens who even knew there was off world traffic.
'Mmmhhmm… citizens. Wonder how they taste on this planet?'
He quickly stowed that thought however, since attacking the locals was probably not the fastest way to get out of here. 'Sleep easy, zookeepers. Today's not your funeral.' More of those flashing lights popped and 'chink'ed outside of the secluded cave, and he put his paws mournfully over his ears, wincing as the white bandage on the left paw was nudged. 'Shoulda eaten the whole damn dude when I had the chance.'
They had marketed him as a freak-of-nature leopard on this planet. In order to keep the alien thing low key, they had said. In order to bring in more tourists, he thought. They had been hounding him day and night, relentlessly staring and studying. They probably would've started poking and prodding if they didn't think he had every intention of biting their hands off; which he did. Rolling lazily onto his side, he wished he had been taught how to shapeshift. It was one of the many hidden talents of his species, and at the age of eleven he should be mature enough to pull it off. If he could just turn into one of the two-legged things and climb carefully out of here at night…
But no one had ever bothered to teach him, so he couldn't. Fully, anyway. His mom had been too preoccupied with his father, and his dad…
He wanted none of it. He saw Kevin, with so much potential to be such a prize specimen, as a threat. The inky youngling had been cast out in early cubhood, crying for his mother who didn't have any intention of contesting his bastard father. They had imagined he'd have died within the first three days alone, still wet and eyes barely open. But he hadn't. If the animal rights activists hadn't mentioned he was most likely the last of his species, he'd have gone out and killed the lousy asshole by now. He remembered how big the male had seemed back then, and how much smaller he would be now.
More small children baying in his general direction, coaxing the adolescent carnivore to come out into the open. Yea—No. Not gonna happen. A static filled voice amplification, one of the park's tour hosts no doubt, filled his sensitive ears once again, their half hourly-rounds almost welcomed in favor of the whining kids and the peanuts they threw at him.
"Here we have an unusual panthera pardus, or leopard, staying with us until he recovers from an injury to his left front paw. For reasons yet to be classified, he is nearly three times the size of the average leopard, weighing in at two thousand one hundred and fourty-six pounds; healthily. Since they are primarily nocturnal creatures, he's currently residing in a small enclave at the back of the enclosure. He will most likely become more active around dusk, if you wish to—" There were three seconds of unusual scuffling, and the sounds of arguing going on from above him where the homo-sapiens stood. "Young sir, I need to ask you to step away from the railing. This is an unusually dangerous and very wild animal that we are only hosting here until it's rehabilita-" A scream, and more shuffling feet, as well as an exclamation of something that sounded suspiciously like 'Dumb Animal!'. "Somebody get them away from there, and quickly, before—!!"
More screams, louder and more widespread than before. Then three, dull thuds and exclamations of pain were uttered. Three others had fallen into his enclosure. Kevin's ears pricked, and he rolled happily to his feet, standing nearly nine feet tall at his shoulder and large enough to but a Clydesdale to shame. Maybe he would change his policy about staying out of the public eye…
The three creatures that had fallen haplessly into his cage were, in fact, humans, and young ones if he had anything to go by. A whole flock (Pack? Pride? Gaggle? Kevin wasn't quite sure what to call them) of the adolescent humans stared down now at their fallen comrades, looks of shock and horror on their faces. Only one of the three males seemed to realize the plight they had fallen into: the stout, chubby one who reeked of days unwashed and adrenaline fueled sweat. The others were too preoccupied brawling, throwing each other in dizzying circles on the floor as the larger of the two, with ugly brown eyes and egg-shaped head proceeded to beat the stuffing out of the other one. They hadn't seen him, because he didn't want to be seen- yet.
The portly one was now yelling, frantic, at his two angered comrades, but they continued to ignore him. The ugly one had the frail, pale human pinned by his legs, and was leaning down onto him with elbow jabbing into the losers ribcage.
This was as perfect timing as any, Kevin figured. Maybe this would be fun after all…
He stepped, one giant paw in front of the other, into the arena, the pandemonium hushing into complete silence at the sight of him. The only two who didn't seem to notice were the fighting couple not ten feet away from him, the victor now jeering while the lithe, cordy human (who would've been dead meat where Kevin came from- it's a wonder he'd lived this long) struggled to break free. The third boy, still sitting at the edge of the ring, wet himself. The smell was pungent and putrid on the air.
Finally, sensing the stillness around him, the dark-eyed kid looked up, straight into Kevin's fanged face. The alien grinned at him. While the disgruntled gamma still struggled angrily for freedom, every muscle the bully's body froze, pupils dilating into pinpricks. And in a sudden, fear driven move, he yanked the smaller boy closer to Kevin and dove backwards towards the cover of some meager foliage next to his friend. Gamma-boy, obviously confused but seeming relieved to be released, proceeded to brush himself off and opened his mouth to yell something at the others. Right up until he felt Kevin's breath on the back of his neck.
The being's entire body started trembling wildly as large, green eyes were turned up to his face. Then it hit Kevin like a freight train: the fear. It was now rolling off of the kid in waves, becoming tangible in the very air they breathed as the pretty-eyed human continued to gape up at his monolithic form, not two feet from where he sat, sprawled awkwardly in response to the manhandling.
Kevin was a carnivorous creature, designed for speed and efficiency, nothing unneeded on his body as it would slow him down. He was nature's machine of precision, standing loftily at the top of the food chain on his home planet and almost every other. Born and bred for situations like these, the single focus of hundreds of years of evolution was survival. He stalked, hunted and slew prey regularly, feeling no remorse (because that was just they way things had always been, and the way they were supposed to be). He had faced down prey too terrified to form a coherent thought without batting an eyelash. But this was goddamn ridiculous.
Seriously. Nothing had a right to be this scared.
The boy (in about the same stage of adolescence he was, Kevin mused) was shaking like a leaf in a winter wind, eyes wide enough to dominate the better portion of his face as his locked elbows failed him and he nearly fell sideways— eyes never leaving the feline face not two feet from his. Those eyes grew shiny and wet as moisture gathered there, dripping silently down his face while the kid continued not to notice, now shaking to hard to accomplish anything.
Kevin had a sudden, overwhelming surge of guilt overcome him just looking at the thing. He hadn't even done anything yet!
In an unexpected break of the horror-stricken silence, a little sob escaped the lips of the smallish mammal, and an entirely uncalled for wave of sympathy took hold of the liaton. And then there was another strangled noise behind the fragile, soft one. Egghead was smiling. He had seen the tears, and he was smirking.
Kevin's tail lashed out behind him, causing the green eyed local to sob a bit more. This was getting out of hand. Everything he knew about the world was being challenged, and he had put an end to this stupidity now.
He leaned in nearer the crying kid, mouth opening with single minded-determination—
and licked the tears off of his pale face with a rough tongue.
There were a few seconds of confused stillness (Was he tasting the kid?) before Kevin leaned in again and butted his head against the pretty humans chest, making what he hoped were non-threatening noises. All he got was more terse silence, nobody, (least of all the kid) daring to hope. God, everything about this runt was screaming 'protect me!'. He obviously couldn't protect himself for the life of him, and had absolutely no idea what the general protocol was for being in the presence of something who has every reason to want to eat you. ('Hey, maybe he does!' A sarcastic part of his mind cried, 'Whatever he's doing, it's working on you!') And, he's not smart enough to stay out of fights he couldn't win.
But he was pretty, seemed decent enough, and maybe if Kevin really decided to stay on this planet any longer than necessary he might not make a shabby companion. Maybe. At least he'd certainly be better than the repulsive, smelly weaklings cowering behind him.
'C 'mon, kid, get with the program. This is where you realize I'm not trying to kill you so I can stop acting embarrassingly nice.' Kevin mentally prompted, butting his head once again against the small one's chest and breaking out into a rumbling purr that shook his body.
Musical vibrations rang out through the air as the still shaking (leftover adrenaline) human lifted a hand to bury it in the soft fur of Kevin's neck, laughing in an incredulous, unsteady voice. His eyes were still just as wide, but they were filled with an awe now that made Kevin preen happily under the attention. Trebling arms were wrapped around his muzzle in a brief hug, less affection than it was 'oh-my-god-I'm-not-being-eaten', but pleasant none the less. A couple of the members of the nearly forgotten crowd 'coo'ed, and the zookeepers still stood by helplessly, knowing no sedatives from this planet were potent enough to knock Kevin out, or really do anything other than piss him off.
But the moment soon ended as asshole-human stood up, looking indignant.
"The thing's just an overgrown housecat! Wild?! Dangerous? It couldn't even take down Tennyson-" And in one of the most profoundly stupid moves of his young life, Cash strode over to the large feline and smacked Ben's hands away, burying his own rough, dirty fingers into the dark fur on Kevin's lower shoulder (the highest place he could reach now that Kevin had raised his head again) and staring at his classmates above with a 'Yeah,-I've-Got-Balls' expression on his face.
Kevin raised his good right paw and, claws still sheathed, smacked the annoying human so hard he went flying through the air and across the pen, hitting the adjacent concrete wall with an unpleasant 'smack' before falling limp. Before 'Tennyson' had time to react with fear again, Kevin scooped him up carefully between his paws and laid down, licking the boy's wayward hair away from his face in a sort of peace offering. Mustering the will to shape-shift, he managed to reshape his vocal cords into something a bit more suitable just long enough to get his point across.
"Name's Kevin, kid. If I get my way, you'll be seeing a lot more of me. Around my neck, feel-" And the kid, looking like he was just smacked in the face with something cold and wet, disbelieving (animals sure as hell couldn't talk), did as he was told. His hands made purchase around what felt like a string buried under all of that fur, and followed it around to a pendant dangling off the bottom. It was a necklace: a little lock, hidden underneath all of that midnight fur.
He looked back up at the absurdly large creature, and it winked at him—but no more human words passed it's lips.
'I've gotta start working more on that shape-shifting thing…'
Eventually someone had found a ladder long enough to reach down into the enclosure, and, to everyone's surprise, the 'leopard' had placidly allowed them all to climb out- well, allowed Ben to climb out, and JT to struggle with dragging Cash's concussed body up the ladder. Nobody was sued, (since a couple of passing tourists had gotten Cash's deliberate baiting of the animal on tape, nullifying his case) and the unscathed 'leopard' had been released back wherever it came from just a short week from when they visited, making a miraculously fast recovery.
Two weeks later, Ben had almost started to let himself believe it really was just a hallucination, caused by extreme stress and panic-
"Class, we have a new student joining us today from Alaska; I'd like you all to give a warm welcome to our newest peer, Kevin."
With midnight hair and even darker iriss', as soon as he walked in his eyes darted straight to Ben's. A little, silver lock glistened on a black chain around his neck as Kevin smiled, with canine teeth just a bit too sharp to be normal.
A/N: Liatons were made up on the spot by me, because Kevin is far too cool to be an average, run-of-the-mill leopard. NO, Ben is NOT a crybaby, but I think anyone would be sobbing if they were within a forearms length of a wild cat bigger than a moose with no cage between them. Silly Ben. Kevin'd never hurt him, the big softie!
I have no idea where on his home planet Kevin would've gotten the lock. *shrugs* Ah well. IF ANYONE DRAWS ME LIATON KEV I WILL LOVE YOU FOREVER.
…Yeah. I warned you this'd be weird. It was helluv fun to write, though. Written primarily during the commercials of the Hugh Jackman Show—I mean the Oscars. xD
Review please, or more poachers will shoot Kevin's feet!!! D:
X-Posted to the Ben10xkevin11 livejournal community.