Title: Nerves

Rating: PG

Summary: Nothing less than cotton candy fluff.

Disclaimer: Ben 10: Alien Force & its characters belong to Cartoon Network. No flipping way this'll ever happen.

A/N: All I've written lately has been action. Just my luck, my part of the fic exchange would be fluff. While watching season 5 of CSI. I'm a nut, and this is doomed. For perhapsormaybe as my part of Abby Eon's gift exchange.

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Nerves
by Minty Chinchilla

Ben pulled his jacket over his shoulders. The green material caught the orange streetlight that seeped in through his bedroom window. Taking one last look out the door, he double-checked that his parents were still asleep. Certain he wasn't about to get caught by his father's snores, Ben climbed out the window and sneaked across the front yard to the car waiting at the curb. He poked his head in the open window.

"If I get in trouble, you are so buying me smoothies for a month," he hissed at the driver.

"Relax, Tennyson. You can just tell 'em it was an emergency alien thing." Broad shoulders shrugged.

"Kevin! I don't want to lie to my parents!"

"Not like they can tell when you're lying. Get in already, would ya?"

"You better get me back before they find out I'm gone." Ben's green eyes glinted with an unspoken threat. It soon faded away as the car drove. Lights from houses and buildings soon gave way to the darkness of trees and the glitter of stars. Ben normally would have been looking out the window at the changing scenery, but something was different. His eyes kept drifting to Kevin. He couldn't help but notice the way Kevin's usual grumpy face was missing, replaced by a more relaxed look, a calmer aura. It was an expression one would be hard-pressed to find on Kevin's face at any other time. Ben found himself wishing Kevin had more chances to look like this.

Ben's contemplations on Kevin's facial expression suddenly came to a halt as the driver's dark eyes met green ones. Said green eyes widened in surprise, accompanied by pink cheeks.

"I know I'm good-looking, but seriously Tennyson? Isn't staring a little too thirteen-year-old girl?" Kevin smirked as Ben quickly turned forward. His pink cheeks now burned red.

"Shut up Kevin. I was just noticing how you didn't look angry for once." Ben crossed his arms and resettled himself in the passenger seat. "Where are we going anyway?"

"I already told you this afternoon. I found something I wanted to show ya."

"That doesn't answer my question, Kevin."

"You'll see when we get there." Kevin's smirk had softened into a slight smile. Ben took it as a sign that Kevin wasn't planning to shove him off the edge of a cliff.

Ben reassessed that event's potential when the car came out of the woods and stopped near a cliff. The engine cut out and Kevin got out of the car. Ben followed suit and stood next to Kevin. He made sure to keep an eye on Kevin's hands, in case they decided to shove. What Ben wasn't expecting was a slight tremor to those hands.

"Hey Kev… are you okay?" At Kevin's confused 'huh?' Ben reached out to grab a trembling right hand. "You're shaking."

Ben could feel the jitters between his own fingers as he lightly held the larger hand in his own. He was genuinely confused. First Kevin had been happieri than usual on the drive up, and now he was nervous? Around Ben? It didn't add up. Ben tightened his grip on Kevin's hand, stilling the twitching fingers. Kevin made no move to shake Ben off.

"So, what was it you just had to show me in the middle of the night?"

"Well, why don't you look for it?" Kevin's nerves had calmed down and his usual confidence returned. Ben looked around. There were trees, the car, trees, a large rock, more trees, and the cliff. Glancing up at Kevin, Ben slowly walked to the edge of the cliff. As he drew closer to the drop-off, more of the land below became visible. City lights glowed and blinked below as the moon and stars shined and twinkled above.

Ben was so enthralled by the unexpected view he forgot he was still holding Kevin's hand. Until his hand abruptly pulled him closer to the stronger teen behind him. Ben tried to urn to face Kevin, but his back was pressed up against a black t-shirt. Four layers of clothing did nothing to shield the heat radiating from Kevin. Ben squashed down the sudden desire to just lean into that warmth and let it envelope him in that strange feeling of safety.

"Pretty good view, huh?" Kevin whispered into Ben's ear. Why he whispered the brunet had no idea, considering how there was no one around to hear them and especially how the warm breath instigated shivers down Ben's neck and spine.

"Yeah" Ben swallowed to try and steel his nerves (when did this switch occur?). "Really breathtaking. But, um… no offense or anything, Kev, but I can't help but think you should be sharing it with someone el—"

A hand across his mouth stopped the words on Ben's tongue. It turned his face towards its owner, and it moved to hold Ben's head in place. A place much too close to Kevin for this situation to even remotely feel like a casual field trip wit a friend.

"But I don't wanna share it with someone else. I wanna share it with you." Kevin's whisper hadn't changed in volume, but it had intensified. It wouldn't have mattered if Ben had tried to ignore any more-than-just-friendly connotations to Kevin's words. That hand holding onto his hand was clasped too tightly, and Kevin wasn't one for casual handholding. Kevin's left hand was still on Ben's cheek. Ben never knew he would enjoy the feel of Kevin's thumb moving oh so gently across his skin.

"Why with me?" Ben asked. His own voice dropped to match Kevin's volume. He looked into Kevin's eyes, eyes so dark brown they looked black in the low light of the barely new moon.

"Because it's you," Kevin replied. "And you're the only person I've ever met who ever understood me. Because I can't imagine being happy without you."

"I hate to break it to you Kevin, but I'm not fully understanding you right now." But Ben had a good idea. He was still deciding if he liked this new direction or not.

"Yeah, I'm kinda bad at saying stuff," Kevin muttered. "Can I just show you, instead?"

Ben needed to decide now if he wanted this new direction. His voice wouldn't work for a few seconds. Ben swallowed, and then he nodded.

"Okay."

The last thing Ben saw before he closed his eyes was a glimmer of reflected starlight in pools of dark brown, so dark brown they looked black in the low light of the barely new moon. The thumb rubbing circles on his cheek slowed and became a gentle pressure pulling Ben's face up. There was a brush of lips across his own, so very subtle he could have imagined it. The brush vanished, so Ben pressed back. That was all he needed to do. Kevin's lips quirked into a smile as he pulled back from the kiss, that unsure, timid, first kiss.

"You understand me now, Ben?" There was more to Kevin's smile than happiness. There was worry and hope in his eyes. Ben responded to the question with a hopeful smile of his own.

"I think I do." Ben brought his right hand up to Kevin's face and ran his fingers along the slightly scruffy jaw. Tangling his fingers in the surprisingly soft black hair, Ben pulled Kevin down into another kiss. He could feel Kevin's distinctive grin against his own smile. Ben could picture that grin. Kevin only wore it when something he really liked happened, when something great went his way. Ben had always loved it when he caused that grin. Maybe now he'd get to see it more often.

Five minutes later found the two heroes on the hood of the car, its paint job blending with Ben's green jacket. Two hands, one tan, one pale, were still holding onto each other with interlaced fingers.

Ben muffled a laugh. Kevin eyed him questioningly.

"What's so funny?"

"Who knew? Kevin Levin's a cheesy, sappy, hopeless romantic." Ben's free arm swept from left to right, indicating the whole situation: the view, the midnight sneak-out, the handholding, the kisses.

"Why you little—" Kevin rolled on top of Ben, effectively pinning the smaller boy beneath him. "I was trying not to scare you off! Would you rather I threw you in the backseat and had my way with you in front of Gwen?" (Goodness knows how often Kevin had to keep from doing just that.)

"Well, that is somewhat more your style." Ben smirked. "But I'd really rather you didn't do it in front of Gwen."

The smirk was contagious. And it apparently escalated to waggled eyebrows.

"Good to know, Benji."

Fin.

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Notes:

I just realized why I stopped writing fluff. It's fucking hard.

Kevin + Fluff = disaster. Just sayin'. I want to change it, but I don't know how. I tried to make up for the wackiness with some much more sensible "pin Ben to the hood and threaten to suck his face in public" approach. That strikes me as more Kevin. Maybe I should go back and have Ben instigate this. But he can't drive. SKJNKBVJNVKJN. This depresses me. Fluff makes so much more sense with different characters. NOT WITH KEVIN. SO. I WANT PLOT NOW. D':

In other news, I hope you liked it perhapsormaybe. Cuz I worked oddly hard on this. You can't really tell, since it's short, but I did. I think too much when I write, trying to make it "poetic" and all. Fffft. Poetic. As if.