Author's note: Please know that because I think Kevin will be back to normal within the show soon, this will reference his 2nd transformation, but he's in his normal human form. Okay? Not a mutant.
"She's been going out? Why?" Ben demanded. Manny crossed both sets of arms.
"Because, man, you got her locked up in your house for days. She got bored. Wouldn't you?" Ben didn't answer him. "Besides, she's not going after Kevin. Gwen knows that's a bad idea. She's just helping the team out with missions. Simple ones we don't think Kevin's behind."
"But he could figure it out. He could be waiting at any one of those missions! I told you guys, it was only two days ago that he said he's three days from cracking Grandpa's code-"
"Which is why we changed it and reinforced it," Cooper reminded him. "And Gwen's smart, she's stayed away from any missions that have any links to Kevin. When we fought Argit a week ago she didn't come for that reason."
Ben rubbed his temple.
"If you're worried about her, go talk to her," Helen said, placing a hand on Ben's shoulder. "You won't even look her in the eye since the last time you ran into Kevin. I get that you feel guilty that you didn't get him then, but…"
Ben let out a hollow laugh. He hadn't bothered to make a cover story. They'd all just assumed he was jumpy around Gwen because he'd failed to stop the guy who wanted to kill her.
None suspected for even a moment that it was because Kevin had kissed him. And he certainly wasn't about to tell them.
He sighed. "Fine. Just keep doing it how you are, but I want an alert any time Gwen goes with you, just to be on the safe side. Send out a message to me using your badges from now on, and let me know exactly where you're going to be."
"Do we let Gwen know?" Pierce asked.
Ben shrugged. "Knowing Gwen, she'll understand why we're doing it. She might be annoyed with it, but she'll allow you to do it. I'm going to go look for leads."
That was what Ben kept calling it. Looking for leads was code for him going out to the scummiest places imaginable, hoping to run into Kevin. He had been avoiding this fight, trying to put it off…until that kiss. Now it seemed imperative that he find Kevin and sort everything out.
Distance always allowed Kevin to regain just a bit of his sanity. Enough to know that what he was doing was wrong, enough to know that it wasn't who he normally was. Not enough to stop him, to make him go back.
That was why he was staring absentmindedly at the wall of Argit's latest hangout – just a little lean-to on the river front. It had been crowded up until Argit's latest arrest, but it was comfortable for one person. Which was probably why Kevin hadn't bothered with fulfilling his promise to bust Argit out.
His thoughts now were on Ben. He knew, of course, why he'd kissed him. He hadn't loved Ben. It was Gwen he'd always thought of in that way. But that kiss hadn't been out of love.
It had served its purpose. Ben had collapsed to the floor and let Kevin escape, either too embarrassed or overwhelmed to go after him. There had been no need to exchange blows. A kiss can be a more powerful weapon than any gun, if used the right way…or even the wrong way, as this case proved.
Still, Kevin felt a pang of guilt about it. It wasn't fair for him to upset Ben that way. He'd been his best friend…
"Some best friend," Kevin snorted, talking to himself. "What has he done to help since I went crazy…Nothing but come after me and try to fight me. You'd think a buddy would want to talk it over at least…"
Kevin could acknowledge how strange his logic was, how incredibly lacking it was, but he still could not admit that he was wrong. In his own mind, this was Ben's fault. Just like back when he became a monster. Both times. If he hadn't ever gotten involved with Tennyson, hadn't tried to help him….
He bit his lip, gnawing at it until it turned red and raw. His thoughts whirled, a fierce debate going on in his head.
A new idea was forming.
He still wanted Gwen dead. He knew that much. But didn't Ben Tennyson owe him something after changing him into a monster? After throwing him into the null void? For all the times Kevin had saved his sorry ass?
Kevin could taste his own blood, but he ignored it. His only thought now was that Ben owed him. And the price Kevin wanted was Ben himself.
"Gwen? Are you all right?" Cooper asked, sliding into the table across from her. Gwen smiled.
"Yeah. I'm fine. Thanks for asking..."
"I know you're lying. I know you're not fine...I wouldn't be either. You're really strong to go through all of this, you know? I'm glad you keep fighting with us. I guess it's got to be hard to fight your boyfriend, but..."
"He wasn't my boyfriend, Coop."
The glimmer of hope in his eyes was unmistakeable. "So then, you two were only friends?"
Gwen blinked, and shook her head. "No. No, we were more than that. We went on dates, but we just never got to the girlfriend boyfriend stage," she looked at Cooper, studying him. "Oh. I...Cooper, you're sweet. Really. But I'm not ready to move on right now. I'm not even sure I'm ready to give up on Kevin yet. ...Can you understand that?"
"No," Cooper admitted. "But it's for you, so...I'll do what I can to help. We'll get him back to the good side, I promise. But, Gwen?"
"If we get him back, and things don't work out...I'll always be waiting for you."
"I hope that isn't true, Cooper," Gwen said, reaching out and patting his hand. "You should get on with your life. Find a girl who shares your interests. You shouldn't wait around for a girl ...." she almost said 'for a girl like me', but she knew Cooper would vehemently disagree with her telling him that he was too good for her. Instead she ended the sentence and then shrugged.
"All right," Cooper looked defeated, but hopped up from his seat, "But I don't think I'll give up on you Gwen. Ever." With that, he left. Gwen sat by herself for a minute, contemplating. Finally, she sighed.
"I wish you would, Cooper. Maybe if you get over me, you can tell me how I can get over Kevin..."
Author's Note: I'm not a fan of Cooper/Gwen. I don't know why. I just don't like it. And the parallel at the end between Kevin/Gwen and Cooper/Gwen is that I believe both are just sort of juvenile infatuations. Yes, I write Gwevin, but the series as a whole disappoints me with the way they write it. Yeah. That's my two cents. Take it or leave it, or throw flames at me because of it.