Author's note :Here's a story that came to me out of the blue. There were so many positive feedbacks from my first story that the muses got working on this one and then kept rattling in my head until I wrote it down. It came after reading the many wonderful fanfiction that came after the episode when Kevin wore a suit. Here's my take on that aspect. I just hope I did justice to the wonderful pairing that is Kevin and Gwen. Feedbacks not only make my day, but inspire stories as well. And yes, I simply, for the life of me, cannot give a suitable title for my stories.
Disclaimer:Ben 10 does not belong to me. I am sad.
**Thoughts in italics.
~~~ THE BEST MAN~~~
Catching his reflection on the glass window of the church, Kevin Levin had to admit to himself that he looked pretty good in the suit he was wearing. Even the distortion of the stained glass window could not deter the fact that he looked good wearing tails…
Pretty darn good, actually.
Ben, standing next to him, rolled his eyes. And then went back to his preoccupation of shifting his weight from one leg to another. At another place or time, that action would have caused Kevin to deck the younger guy, but today, he decided to just let it pass.
Before he could persist with his narcissistic thoughts, however, the music switched from toned down pop love songs played on piano to the 'Blue Danube'. And on cue, Gwen (who had requested for this song) appeared at the doorway into the church, looking as if she had gotten ready with the aid of angels and all things pure and sweet and simple. Her off-white, Empire-waist dress had looked plain when she had found it at the vintage store; but now, coupled with three white roses pinned to her hair, subtle jewelry and a killer pair of stilletoes (both as a weapon and to accentuate the fact that Gwen was perfect from head to toe), the dress was a knock-out. As was the redhead wearing it. She wore no make up, but then again with skin and complexion like hers, she could single-handedly bring the cosmetics industry to its knees. The pure white rose against her flaming hair was a master stroke. Never has a rose looked more beautiful.
Compared to the goddess now standing at the doorway, Kevin was nothing.
Suddenly, it felt too hot in the church, never mind that it was in the middle of winter and the church furnaces were not working the way it should.
She was looking straight at him. She was smiling, but Kevin knew from experience that the delightful glint in her emerald eyes was anything but delight.
Gwen was ready to kill someone, or at the very least, unleash some serious manna on someone.
Said someone being Kevin.
She began walking down the aisle, her eyes still locked unto Kevin's, who was to mesmerized to break her gaze. It was too fascinating for Kevin; perhaps the sort of thing one would feel before a Bengal tiger pounces on them.
Oh, what a breathtaking creature…Shit, why is it biting my throat…
"Wow! Gwen looks…Gwen is so…" Ben displayed the best of the male trait; of being loss for words when it matters the most. He was still trying to articulate his appreciation for the unbelievably gorgeous vision of Gwen when Kevin elbowed him sharply, all the while still staring at Gwen.
"Ouch!" Ben said, rubbing his side, glaring at Kevin, who may be all flesh and bones at the moment, but was unbelievably strong even without absorbing matter. But he could say anything, because Gwen was now standing at the altar with them.
Ben did manage to give Gwen a smile before turning towards the doorway again.
The 'Blue Danube' was replaced with the mother of all exciting classical compositions; never mind how corny it can get, 'The Bridal March'. The doorway swung open again and Julie Yamamoto, perfect in a Vera Wang wedding dress and all the happiness and radiance of a young bride, walked down the aisle with her father.
"You're still staring, Kevin," Gwen tried to speak with her lips still curved into a smile. Her whisper carried across Ben and the priest, who stood between them at the altar.
"So?" was Kevin's reply.
"You look hot."
The priest cleared his throat and perhaps the presence of a mature adult seemed to have brought some sense back into Kevin. He snapped out of whatever the trance he was in, and straightened himself.
"Sorry," he managed to look sheepish. Gwen offered an apologetic smile of her own…
My ape has not been trained in human etiquette yet.
"But she is hot, isn't she?" Kevin just had to speak.
The priest looked annoyed, but he could not say anything, because Julie was now already at the altar. Ben took her hand and they turned to the priest. Gwen and Kevin took a step down from the altar; each standing beside the bride and groom respectively, a few paces apart from each other.
Kevin has resumed staring at Gwen.
"You're doing it again," Gwen whispered to Kevin, her eyes on the priest who was beginning the solemnization of Benjamin Maxwell Tennyson's marriage to Julie Sayako Yamamoto.
"Well, it is for my benefit, isn't it?"
Gwen could not believe what she was hearing.
"Seriously, Kevin. Can you even get more delusional than that?"
"Come on, Gwen," Kevin smirked; the infuriating gesture of the man which made Gwen both wanting to smack him across the head or kiss him until he asphyxiates. "No bridesmaid looks that hot. Hel.."
He wanted to say the word that implied the place that was opposite of Heaven, but a sharp glare from the priest made him shut up.
Not for long.
"You upstaged even the bride."
This time, Gwen stared at Kevin, who managed to take one step back to avoid Ben's elbow. Julie looked over Ben's shoulder and mouthed the word, 'Idiot'.
"You're unbelievably…" Gwen began, but Kevin was quick enough to provide the finishing touch to that statement.
"Uncouth," Gwen corrected. She pointedly ignored the summersaults her stomach was doing and the fact that her knees were joining the ranks of jelly from the moment she saw Kevin standing at the altar, wearing tails and a 'come hither' look on his face…until his jaw dropped to the floor when he saw her. Which was exactly how she had been hoping he would react when she woke up this morning at three to get ready for the wedding.
"And don't bother looking it up, it means rude …" She just had to keep on talking with him; it was a reflex borne from the fact that if Kevin Levin was in the same room as Gwen Tennyson, she needed to look into his dark eyes to get some sort of bearing as to where she is.
"You look stunning…" Kevin said, as a reply to her implying he was an idiot.
"Beautiful. I envy the roses."
"Barbarian. Thank you, the roses were from a bouquet from someone who is way more rom…"
Way to put a foot in your mouth, Gwendoline.
She should have known Kevin was behind the early morning flower delivery. When the delivery guy gave her the bouquet, she had been too busy with her hair to pay any attention to it. The was no card, perhaps the delivery guy had made a mistake; five in the morning was hardly a good time making deliveries. She thought maybe it was from Ben, thanking her for agreeing to become Julie's bridesmaid. Last evening at the rehersals, things had gotten a little…harrowing; with Julie wanting something and her family wanting something else and Ben wanting to eat. Kevin did not make it to the festivities, a small Forever Knight skirmish (one Knight sort of 'interupted a particularly lucrative transaction that Kevin had going on that was going to pay for his wedding gift to Ben and Julie, which was a fortnight's stay at a swanky beachfront hotel in Maui) kept him busy halfway across the town. When he did turn up, he saw Gwen talking to one of Julie's cousin (male) and decided he was tired after all from the fight. He grabbed a tray of cucumber sandwich and left the church. Gwen saw him leave, but did not go after him. She was sort of annoyed with him. Ben certainly did not ask for the expensive gift and was mighty pissed when he found out Kevin had taken the Knight on by himself.
Gwen's annoyance, of course, was tinged with irritation she felt for herself.
Why should I care what Kevin Levin does during his free evenings?
Truth to be told, she cared…way too much that was actually healthy for them both. She was afraid he could have been hurt. But that did not make her go after him. It was kind of a punishment for him for not coming to the rehearsal. Ben could have used Kevin's support as his best man; Julie was great and all, but her brothers and male cousins can be a little intimidating, even for the Omnitrix-wielding superhero.
Of course, by the time the evening ended, it became more of a punishment for Gwen than it should have been for Kevin. It would have been fun if he had been around, so Gwen was left with swirling thoughts of 'what-ifs'.
What if he had been there?
What if I gave him a smack on the head?
It just never occurred to her that Kevin might actually try to apologize for his no-show the previous evening. And with the most gorgeous flowers, no less.
He is so sweet.
Kevin smirked as he saw Gwen coming to the realization of the early morning flower delivery.
So intensely irritatingly sweet.
"I…" Gwen wanted to say something to totally wipe that smirk from his face…
I love you would be akin to a punch in the gut at the rate Kevin Levin was wooing her.
But she was spared the agony of a good comeback line when someone walked into the church, asking for Ben. It was a fishy-looking alien (think large eyes on the verge of popping out of its sockets and a weird mouth), wearing the official uniform and badge of a Magister.
"Ben Tennyson?" the alien asked, looking at Ben and then at Julie.
"We're both legal to marry," was Ben's greeting to the uninvited guest. Kevin and Gwen edged closer to Ben as Grandpa Max stood up from his seat at the pews.
"Magister Renwick, what seems to be the problem?" Grandpa Max spoke, aware of the fact that every one of the hundred or so guest from Ben's side had their hands on an ion blaster. Julie's family member, who thought Ben and Kevin were weird, looked at as if they were going to pass out any minute now.
"In this quadrant, yes," the alien replied, unruffled by the people staring at its gills. "But not in the seven hundred and forty six other quadrants in this part of the Milky Way."
"We haven't planned any space travel in the near future," Julie spoke, trying not to look too annoyed. She wished she had Gwen's powers; unleash some of that manna on this Halloween freak trying to ruin…wait a minute…who had ruined her wedding. Julie actually sounded sarcastic, but the rest of the Plumbers looked concerned. She should not rule out something like that; who knows what kind of trouble they might have in Pisciss Volterra.
"Perhaps," Magister Renwick said. "All the same, I would like to ask of you to please sign a few forms that would have you recognized as Ben Tennyson's wife in seventy hundred and forty-six quadrants."
"What about the sixteen thousand eight hundred and forty-five other quadrants?" Julie was no longer hiding her sarcasm.
Magister Renwick did not even blink (he did not have eyelids) when he replied, "An official from the other quadrants will be coming over in the next few months to meet you both."
"Can't you wait?" Ben said, glancing at the priest, who was holding the cross from his rosary in front of him as a protection from a creature he has never ever seen even in his worst nightmare.
"Sure," Magister Renwick replied, with all the cunning of a sly bureaucrat. "If you don't mind the space ship parked next to the reception tent."
Julie groaned and glared at the alien. "Let's get this over with," she said, pulling Ben's hand at as they followed Magister Renwick into the adjoining chamber.
Kevin watched Ben and Julie go. He turned his glance to the priest who looked as if he did not want any explanation as to what was going on. Then, Kevin's glance shifted to Gwen. Then to the empty altar and back to Gwen again.
He smirked, his midnight gaze unwavering on her.
Gwen saw the look on Kevin's face and immediately became wary.
"Don't even think about it, Levin!" she hissed at him, frowning.
"Think about what exactly?" Typical. Trust Kevin to turn this back to her.
"Empty altar. A priest in the ready…"
How romantic would that be?
Your grandfather married me on an impulse that day…
"Tennyson, I think you should be aware of two things about me," Kevin's voice broke through the photogenic haze of dark-haired, green-eyed cherubs. Gwen turned to him, frown in place, just so that he would not be able to figure out her thoughts. "First, I cease thinking when you are in the same room as me…"
"That explains a lot," the priest murmured, his expression as bland as his voice.
Kevin ignored the priest; he is having a hard time trying to deal with the fishy alien that just walked into his church. "Two, whatever is it that you are thinking I am thinking," Kevin leaned closer towards Gwen. "I am not."
That felt like bucketful of water being emptied over head.
"Because," Kevin was not done yet. "Whatever I am thinking has no place in a holy place like this. Backseat of a Camaro, maybe. Not in church."
Gwen blushed a shade of red so deep that a new species of tomato could have been declared. She was saved the trouble of replying to this worryingly delightful quandary when Ben walked out of the adjoining chamber and looked at Kevin and Gwen.
"Um…we need a witness," he said.
Kevin and Gwen looked at each other.
"One who is not wanted in three hundred and eighty seven quadrants," Ben added, eyes twinkling.
"Three hundred and eighty eight," Kevin corrected him, a smug look on his face. "That's your cue, Gwen. Go on."
Gwen went off to join Ben and Julie in the adjoining room. The priest watched Gwen go, let out a deep breath and made himself comfortable on the chair facing the congregation. The rest of the wedding guests had whipped out their mobile phones and alien tech communicators to blog about this incident. Kevin sat on the stone steps that led to the altar, leaning back on his elbows casually, his legs stretched out in front of him.
"Does she know you like her?" the priest spoke suddenly, looking at Kevin. He did not seem so irritated anymore. A little tense for the wedding being held up, but otherwise comfortable.
"She calls me an idiot, doesn't she?" Kevin replied, smirking. "A futile defensive mechanism against my irresistible roguish charm."
"I am sure she regards you as a very modest young man," the priest said, drily. "Have you ever told her you like her, inappropriate innuendoes notwithstanding?"
"She calls me an idiot, doesn't she?" This time, the smirk was gone. "Gwen is the smartest person I have ever known."
"Why don't you tell her that you like her?" The priest could not help himself; teenage drama has that kind of effect of people.
"And risk ruining everything?" Kevin shot back. "No way. This is good. This, I can handle."
"But you were, for a moment there, thinking of you and Gwen taking Ben and Julie's place?"
Kevin looked at the priest, awed.
How did he know that?
That is some serious mind-reading.
Kevin gave the priest a smile as his gaze rested briefly on the cross that hung above the altar.
Never doubted Your powers for one bit.
"Even if I was," Kevin was bringing things back to a lighter note. "This whole church thing…it just doesn't cut it for me, you know? I am more of a Vegas kind of guy. Unless you can do an Elvis, then I'm in!"
The priest could not help himself as he laughed. Standing up as he saw Ben, Julie, Gwen and the fish alien coming out of the adjoining room, he said, "Gwen might think you're a barbarian, but I think there is purity in you, son. Especially when it concerns her." Kevin smiled when he heard the priest. "Perhaps you should do something to let her know how you really feel."
Kevin mouthed a silent maybe just as Ben, Julie and Gwen took their places. Julie did not look so annoyed, Ben was beaming and Gwen…
Gwen was glaring at him now.
"What did I do?" Kevin whispered, feeling the full force of the emerald green eyes on him. He felt like drowning, but that felt good too.
"Nothing," Gwen snapped back, turning back to the altar, where Ben and Julie were exchanging their wedding vows.
"…I have been bestowed with a great gift, but without you, my life would be empty. You are the best thing that ever happened to me…"
Ben's simple wedding vows made Julie and most of the women in the church cry.
How did he do that?
How did he put into simple words how he felt for Julie?
Kevin knew he could never the words to express what Gwen meant to him. She understood him without him explaining things to her. She knew when to leave him alone and when to stand by his side. They had both saved each countless times; he was bound by his honor as a man to protect her. She did not have to save him…but each time she did…
He was saved over and over again from the pain of loneliness, simply because she chose to be with him.
He was saved over and over again from the judgments of those who did not understand, simply because she understood him.
It felt great to be Kevin Levin because it was even better with Gwen Tennyson around.
The thought made him smile; not smirk, but a genuine smile. He turned to Gwen, still smiling.
Gwen smiled through tears in her eyes (it was a wedding, after all), the love she felt for Kevin evident through her emerald eyes.
"You may kiss the bride…" the priest announced after the rings were exchanged.
Kevin closed in on Gwen and pulled her towards him. Initially surprised, but before irritation could take over, Gwen's inhibition gave way and she yielded to him.
Needless to say, the bride and groom were upstaged by the best man and the bridesmaid.
Ben and Julie were not too excited about that, but they had seen this coming a long time ago, so they let it pass. Everyone needs a happy ending.
The guests threw rice as Ben and Julie ran out of the church, laughing. Soon, the guests began to leave for the reception. Gwen and Kevin pulled apart when breathing became necessary.
"When I told you to do something, I did not mean a full make-out session in the church, young man," the priest's voice tore their gaze from each other.
Kevin and Gwen laughed, unable to find anything to say.
"Well, good luck to the both of you," the priest said, as he gathered his Bible and glasses. Looking up at Kevin, he pouted his lips in that familiar gesture of the man from Memphis and added in a manner not unlike the King, "Anytime you need me, son, you know where to find me."
Gwen thought it was the worst impersonation of Angelina Jolie she had ever seen, while Kevin just burst out laughing. She turned to her man, love swelling by the mere sight of him happy.
"What was that all about?" she asked, as she hooked her arm into his. They made their way through the empty church towards the reception tent.
"Nothing," Kevin replied, kissing Gwen's forehead.
"I think Ben is upset we sort of ruined his big day," Gwen said, as they walked down the aisle, in the opposite direction of the altar.
One day, I will be doing this right.
Kevin looked down at Gwen, smiling as if he could hear what she was thinking. He gave her hand a squeeze, assuring her that he shares a similar dream as her.
"When we get married, he can be my best man as Big Chill or Ghostfreak or anything," Kevin shrugged.
Gwen stopped on her tracks.
On my wedding day?
"It's my wedding too, you know," Gwen pointed out. And then, added, "Of course, it is hard to get married to the guy who has never said the three most important words."
Somehow Kevin knew he would not be getting away with that. But that did not stop him from teasing her just a bit.
"The magic words, huh?" He appeared thoughtful, looking at the church's ceiling for inspiration. "Lower the hemline?"
"Try again," Gwen could not keep the smile from her face.
"Let's get naked?"
"Kevin!" Gwen was horrified. She took his arm and quickly led him out of the church. Kevin was laughing as he followed her out. "I cannot believe…"
"I love you."
She forgot what she wanted to say. And she forgot she was standing at the doorway into a church when Kevin kissed her again.
Someone yelled for the best man to give his toast, so Kevin reluctantly let go of Gwen. "Ben's big day. Can't spoil everything for him."
Gwen nodded. Before they walked into the reception tent, she looked at Kevin and said, "I love you."
Kevin kissed the back of her hand and led into the spacious tent, where everyone was waiting for the best man's speech.
But just before he went up to give his speech, he asked Gwen, "Why do you think about Vegas?"