DISCLAIMER: Why do I keep saying this? Oh, yeah, that's right; to keep from getting my (censored) sued off! Not mine!
CHAPTER 4 QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Gwen sat in the back seat; Ben in the front passenger seat and Kevin in the drivers seat as the car remained in the parking lot of Mr. Smoothie. An air of eerie silence hung thick inside the car broken only by the occasional shuffle of movement and a slurp of drink.
I didn't actually know the man, but in a way, it felt like I actually do know him…the way he moved, the way he looked, that devious grin…just like…Kevin…
"Tennyson; you're staring again" Kevin grunted with a sneer while glaring the younger; snapping back to reality, Ben looked away.
"Sorry, I can't stop thinking about Kel"
"I thought you were going out with Julie. Uh-oh, is wittle Benji crushing on someone else?" this was followed by a cackling fit of laughter. Even though Ben looked away, Kevin could see a flush of pinkish red tint cresting his cheeks. Now that is Ben.
"I'm not crushing…I'm just wondering about all the similarities between him and you"
"Kevin, Ben's right. There are a lot of similarities between the two of you" Gwen couldn't help but interject her own opinion.
"Coincidence. Nothing more. You're seeing things that aren't there!"
Albedo dropped to his knees; everything around him was cold, white; uninhabitable. Under the glow of a dark red sky he threw his hands in the air before returning them across his chest to keep warm.
"One day Tennyson. One day I will get my revenge. I will get the Omnitrix. One day, you will pay for everything!" he grumbled as puffs of mist escaped his every released breath.
"Face it kid…" the deep rumbling voice of a tall alien being that was a cross between Four-arms, Jetray and Wild Mutt forded Albedo to look up "…there is no getting out of here. This IS prison" the being spoke before walking off.
A drift of snow sprinkled over Albedo's shoulders; looking towards the sky he found a guard - weapon in hand - tossing down what looked like a leg of a cow "Lunch time!" the guard walked off.
"BRING ME CHILI FRIES!" Albedo couldn't help but shout from frustration before his eyes fell upon the stasis shield over his de-activated Omnitrix.
"Kel, you're late…or is this thing running fast again?" Paradox quizzed glancing between Kel stepping from another bright blue vortex and his trusty golden pocket watch; even without looking, Kel could see Azmuth staring blankly but full of unasked questions.
"Mission accomplished" Kel grunted - boots thumping past the two; they stared in wonder at his departure as a slam of the door thundered. Making a move to go after him, Azmuth stopped himself with Paradox holding his hand out.
"No, let him have a little time to himself…" Paradox sighed slightly while sitting down on a rickety wooden stool "…poor lad just hasn't been himself since that day"
"I just can't stand to see one of my best hired muscles fall further into the black pits of despair"
In the center of town, Kel stared mindlessly at a massive marble statue of the late great Ben 10; although there was a flurry of activity around him, he felt as though it were just him with hands in the pockets of his duster, the statue and a light sprinkle of rain. Just as every single time he came here over the years, he let his mind wonder back to a time when everything was much simpler. Moments turned to hours. The light sprinkling of rain turned into a flooding downpour soaking everyone and everything.
One arm gently slipped over his left shoulder; another arm softly wrapping around his chest under his right arm; a chin resting on his shoulder and a soft breath whisking the sensitive skin under his ear. He knew the feeling well.
"How'd it go?" the brunet red haired woman asked almost too quiet to be heard.
"Just like any other time travel to a parallel universe" Kel responded taking a deep breath.
"It's okay; we all miss him" hearing this, Kel shut his eyes forcing a lone tear to escape, even without thinking of doing so, his hand raised up to gingerly grip hers at his chest.
"Ten years ago today…" his tone lowered "…but I can still remember what it felt like to have him die right there in my arms"
A light beeping from their pockets drew attention; both pulled out identical Plumbers badges to display a hologram grid of trouble brewing in the old quarter of the city.
"Come in, a good fight always seems to cheer you up" she grinned as they turned to run off to the scene of disturbance.
Ben tossed and turned. His subconscious mind recalling every aspect of how eerily identical Albedo appeared compared to his alternate red jacket and eyes with white hair. In the nightmare he currently suffered through, Ben could focus on nothing except those cold, lifeless soul-less eyes.
"Ben; Ben; Ben!" Albedo's voice echoed in his thoughts until he sprang up in bed - a cold sweat coving not only himself but his clothing and bedding, rapid shallow breaths lead to a lightheaded feeling as he stumbled for the door.
Ben listened to water running from the sink faucet; every cold droplet splashing against his face before falling to the basin refreshed his frayed nerves; alone in the bathroom, he glared to the mirror before drawing a deep breath and backed away. In the time it took him to blink, he saw his normal reflection, Albedo's reflection then his own again.
This is absurd! He's off in some ice mine on some distant plant in some far away galaxy, there is no possible way he could come back any time soon.
The moment Ben flopped against his bed and sighed, he raised his head to find Kel sitting on the corner of his desk. Instinctively he leapt back up with a scrunched face of concern, curiosity and a trace of fear.
"Kel! What are you doing here at this gawd-awful hour!"
Kel shrugged with a slight smile. "I…I just wanted to see you again, to hear your voice one more time, to have one last laugh at your expense"
"In the universe I'm from…in the future I might add, Albedo killed you and took over the world, then that wasn't enough so he went to tackle the universe. So Azmuth and Paradox sent me back in time to this reality to stop it from happening to you"
"You're some kind of special agent or something?"
"Top of the top"
"What about Gwen?"
"She's only got a few more days of battle left before she takes maternity leave…we're hoping it's a boy"
"Suicide; she just couldn't live without you"
"But…wait, hold on! I thought if we knew the future, the whole space time continuum would implode…"
"That's your future, which means since our realities are different, it's not going to do anything" Kel stood and opened a vortex on a far wall. "And in case you haven't figured it out, Kel is the first letters of my names to make a new name"
"Kevin Ethan Levin?"
"Bingo. And, Ben?"
Kel walked over to Ben before embracing him in a kindly friendship hug. "Take it easy on Kevin, he may be a punk, but his hearts in the right place" with this he let go and walked though the vortex.
Everything returned to normal; Ben sat on the edge of his bed and tried making sense of it all.
A/N: Hopefully this ties everything together into a satisfactory conclusion. And many apologies if I've offended anyone whom knows first hand the taboo subjects of death and suicide…it's a ghost of my past that just won't leave me alone!
Much appreciation to everyone whom reviewed and is going to review, you'z peoplez makes me unbelievably happy :}