Chapter 10: A Sorta Fairytale

The Mechamorph sped over the vast field of plains, slowing down to descent upon isolating the strange feedback of technology from his detection signal. A streamlined jet sat on the plain, caressed by the blades of grass flapping in the wind. The place was silent except for the hum of the plane's engine.

Ship transformed back into his original form, plopping on the wet grass. With his head tilted curiously to the side, he decided to bound towards the jet to inspect it even more. He slid through a crack under the closed door.

---

Crouching down to peer directly into the writhing boy under his foot, Albedo cracked his knuckles audibly.

"Resistant as always," he muttered exhaustedly, stepping much harder on the teenager's vulnerable middle which caused him to cough up blood. "If you will not be convinced to remove the Omnitrix of your own will, there is the alternative of demise. Any final words, Ben Tennyson?"

The radio transmission rang tauntingly in Ben's ears, inducing the electricity of adrenaline to rage down his veins. Even the imagination of what could possibly be causing her agony made the relatively calm boy consider rearranging his clone's face so extensively until they no longer resembled. Head sideways on the floor with eyes that looked into a vague distance, he discreetly wedged the edge of the Omnitrix on a crate's sharp corner to turn the dial. Red liquid trickling down his cheek, he murmured coldly against the puddle forming on the floor, "You hurt Julie."

"What is that?" Albedo snapped, further irritated by the incoherent grumbling as if it was a personal insult. Clenching his right hand into a fist, he grabbed the black shirt of his opponent via the collar.

"Hero time," the savior of the Universe gargled through the blood that collected on his throat, smiling forebodingly to himself as he slammed the Omnitrix against the edge of the crate.

The flash of light startled the red clothed figure, forcing him to use his punching hand to shield his eyes. Thrown forcefully backwards from his position, Albedo struggled to remain upright as he landed on his feet. A roar of the word, "Rath!" echoed in the cavernous warehouse.

"Let me tell you something, Albedo of the Galvan!" shouted the orange creature that emerged from the transformation. He spat the blood on the floor as if it was as inconsequential as water.

Charging towards the stunned copy, Rath seized the collar of the white shirt and one black adorned leg. "Torturing! Girls! Is! Not! Cool!" he screamed at the top of his lungs, as he heaved Albedo's body over his head and threw it with great force at the other end of the room. Elongating the claw in each paw, he ambled towards the now fallen aisle with crushed crates in the middle. He growled, "I'm going to pound your head in so bad your face is gonna come outta your butt!"

A trembling hand reached out from the wreck, slapping the Omnitrix weakly.

The Methanosian that materialized quickly dispersed the rubble around him, declaring flatly at his enemy, "Yes." He stepped outside the mess of broken wood. "Decrease what passes for your intellectual capacity to absurd lows."

"What's that!" Appoplexian shouted in decibels that shook the age-weakened timber supports on the roof. "Did you just call me stupid!" Growling ferociously, he rushed to the Methanosian in a few steps and ripped off the pliable plant arm before anyone could blink. Without further ado, he proceeded to repeatedly beat the Methanosian with his own severed arm. "Who's stupid now! Huh!"

Successfully dodging the latest hit, the Methanosian slid down the hardwood to place a distance between him and the rampaging Appoplexian. Before the enthusiastically raging creature could come closer, the Methanosian threw seeds with the one arm left. The seeds immediately dug into the soil underneath the floor and rapidly grew, creating a blockage around Rath's way. In the eternally angry creature's exasperation, he threw the arm at the direction of the plant being's forehead.

"You are," was the simple answer, while the Methanosian extended vines from his severed arm to connect and regenerate the arm flying its way to him. After the reattachment, he clenched the fist as if to confirm its functionality.

The explosion of bits of plants was completely unexpected, some sections splattering on the Methanosian's face.

---

Eternity. That was how long it felt like. The surge of electrocution that travelled like a second heartbeat through her body had been the only thing she could think of. When the torture passed, her head lolled down in exhaustion. The areas around her body that had restraints still felt raw. At the corner of her eyes - eyes that desperately forced themselves to remain open - she could distinguish the red burn marks underneath the shackles.

After all that, numbness had set in. Her mind was just completely blank for the moment while she tried to wash the memory of the hurt away.

Then she registered the slowly spreading familiar black and green design that engulfed the previously white interior.

"Ship?" she hazarded, an unpredictable glimmer of hope blooming in her chest.

For a short time, only silence greeted the girl. Eventually the engine purred much louder and the console to her side lit up with a neon green color. The Mechamorph responded with bubbling eagerness, "Ship!"

Blissful laughter burst out of Julie, rejoicing at the sound of her pet's technological voice.

The shackles over her limbs and head unfastened with a snap. Gingerly lining the row of blisters that dotted her skin with her finger, she commented dryly how ugly the red belt shaped marks over her wrists were. Though upon raising her head upwards, her eyes glittered with delight.

She stood up and made her way towards the exit. Unlatching the door, she stepped into what she assumed was the main control room. The Mechamorph greeted her again, moving a chair closer so that she would seat herself on it. Following her pet's request, she stared at the interior of the ship with awe and wonder. Julie could see through the view outside that the plane had lifted off and was already travelling in the sky.

Dwelling on what may be occurring to Ben at that time, she hoped dearly that he was doing fine.

"Take us to Ben, boy," she instructed nicely, stroking the console in front of her. She smiled in excitement, able to dismiss the pain on her limbs. "Let's get to where the action is." She wanted to be useful.

---

"Ugh!" the quarter Anodite - currently completely human - girl cried out in exasperation, kicking the door uselessly. "How did we fall for that trap?" the peeved redhead asked her indistinct reflection on the window, her green eyes glaring so fervently she detected the light from it bounce off the glass. "I feel so blind!"

The black-haired teenager lounging on the wall decided to slide down loudly on the ground. As if it would somehow amend their lapse in sensibility, her companion stated from the floor, "He's getting better at acting, d'ya notice?"

Turning back to face the crouched figure of her boyfriend, she placed her fingers underneath her chin contemplatively. With a shrug, she added to his point, "Well, Ben also refers to himself in third person nowadays so they're getting pretty similar."

"Wait, hold up," he tutted, his hand raised like a child asking for attention from a teacher. With a raised eyebrow - so very human eyebrow, he verified incredulously, "Did you just say Ben's getting smart?"

"…" Gwen stared blankly at him for a while, then sighed, "I knew there was something wrong with how I phrased that." Boring imaginary holes through the ground with her glower, she imagined that her wish would actually come to life so that they could dig themselves out of their entrapment. "With any luck, Ben's not losing."

"Why is that whenever we're fighting this guy, we're always trapped?" Kevin asked the room in general, not really expecting an answer.

"Maybe your roguish charm attracts bad luck, who knows?" she bit petulantly, placing her hands on her hips.

Without missing a beat, he replied coolly with, "Nah, you're hotter. It's gotta be you."

A mischievous smile slowly appeared on the redhead's lips while she warned coyly, "Careful there, Kev. You might give people the impression that you like me."

"What people?" he snorted derisively, rolling his eyes to the ceiling at the frustration in their situation. They were like sitting ducks, simply waiting to be shot.

"Sorry to interrupt," Julie perked curiously, preventing the smile that was practically spilling from her lips. "but do you guys need any help?"

"That one," Gwen retorted simply, before turning to the pink clad girl that had miraculously appeared. "Do you think you can open the door?"

"I don't think so," Julie replied, tugging with all her might at the handle. "I think it's like the others that only works on a voice prompt. I don't speak whatever he speaks and I don't sound like Ben, so…" She stared up questioningly at the girl inside the room. She offered, "Maybe I could use Ship to blast open the door."

This was apparently alarming enough a suggestion that the elder boy quickly intervened, "Unless you want everyone else close by to go up in smoke, you won't do that."

Both the girls' eyes widened.

"Okay," the black-haired girl agreed, dragging out the last syllable as she considered another solution. Pursing her lips, she tried again, "What about merging Ship with the tech? Maybe he can unlock it like that." The Mechamorph in question was bouncing up and down playfully, waiting for any instructions.

"This room's kinda well protected," Kevin started to explain, rising from his position to get much closer to inspecting the tech outside. "If Ship does deactivate the tech he's gonna join that in tech afterlife." He was slapped at the side for daring to joke about that. "I got a better idea. You do it."

Julie's eyes widened in disbelief, her mouth stuttering, "M-me? I don't know anything about mechanics, let alone alien tech."

"Follow my instruction and we won't blow up," he announced confidently. He paused. "Maybe."

"Well, that's not very reassuring," the girl grumbled to herself, her pink clad shoulder drooping in dismay. Examining the confusing series of buttons, panels, wiring, levers and plugs around the tech, she thought that it was possibly the most complex puzzle she would ever have to solve.

Squaring her shoulders, her dark eyes took a determined glow. "Let's do this," she accepted, nodding her head towards the tech. All the while, Ship observed the conversation with great curiosity.

---

The Appoplexian had burst through the barricade of trees that the Methanosian produced and had readily punched a hole through the plant organism's middle.

"Phew!" Rath exclaimed in disgust, slapping a hand over his face at the smell. "D'ya just let loose!"

Jumping backwards away from his opponent, a grimace adorned the plant creature's face at the insult. A hand clicked the center of the core, light engulfing the Methanosian in the process.

---

"That smell is starting to bother me," Gwen muttered to herself, pinching the bridge of her nose lightly.

As if the older boy only noticed recently, he started sniffing the air. Black eyes enlarging in alarm, he insisted at the girl fumbling with the wiring, "Hurry up!"

Julie's panic only made her fingers seem to tremble more, swearing to herself when the object she was supposed to detach dropped back into the maze of wiring. The urgency of dismantling the machinery was growing, placing unwanted pressure on her shoulders.

"Maybe you should get her to turn off whatever's releasing the gas first?" Gwen insisted shrilly, behind both hands clamped over her face.

"Can't. Only when the room opens will the gas release stop," he clarified grimly, sharing the frustration that Julie was expressing openly. "If not, we're screwed. All the tech is to make a sure kill. He doesn't wanna go with us so opening the room's gonna stop it."

Thoughtfully, the redhaired girl mumbled, "How do you know about all this anyway?"

"Seen it in action. Long story," he replied concisely, pointing at another wire from the one Julie was trying to cut. "Not that one!" He fielded through the memories. Middle man. A transaction. Decommissioned Plumber. Product testing for the buyer. Some careless idiot dropping clues for authorities to see. High-end buyer liked the outcome. Successful deal. Through it all, he barely felt anything. Maybe a little bit of enjoyment over the pay out, but nothing human like sympathy and all that.

Right now, he wasn't exactly thrilled to follow the careless idiot's footsteps.

Julie became visibly apprehensive enough at the correction that her hands started shaking again.

Gwen observed the emotion that flashed on his face after his reply. It was so fleeting she wouldn't have noticed it if she didn't care. The emotion was detachment. Strangely enough, there was something distressing about that. She was supposed to be fearful of when he was angered, right? Instead she was fussing over his indifference. Compelling herself to dismiss her worries, she returned to more critical matters.

"Calm down, Julie," she soothed, upon seeing the wire slip on the nervous girl's hands again. "You're doing great."

Her boyfriend's eyebrow was raised as if to ask how she presumed to know that. Gwen just looked at him flatly.

---

Suddenly, Rath was slammed against the wall and his body was quickly being covered in spider webs. As he tore through the first layer, another batch came shooting forward that ultimately pinned back his arms again. Growling, he struggled constantly at the ever increasing ball of webs around his form.

"How disturbingly easy, Ben," the Arachnichimp taunted, using six limbs to amble much closer to the stuck Appoplexian. The raised tail continued to shoot webs. "Are you insulting my capabilities?"

Being captured in a pink circular disc made the Arachnichimp stop releasing the spider webs.

"No, never," the quarter Anodite responded sarcastically with a devious smirk on her face, her outstretched hand finally releasing the manna to bind their enemy.

Kevin chuckled in appreciation at her surprise attack. Forming weapons with his fists, he readied himself for any possible retaliation. Though he was quite convinced that they had the guy under their metaphorical thumb.

The transformation back to his original form was something no one saw coming. Besides pivoting to inspect the ragtag team that have arrived as Ben's reinforcements, he remained motionless.

Julie automatically hovered a hand over her wrist protectively, the sting from the blisters quickly informing her to stop touching her arm. The Galvanic Mechamorph on her side hung on to the arm when she placed it down her side, slithering upwards and settling on her shoulder.

The Appoplexian was screaming incoherently under the bag of spider webs that completely covered him. The words were mostly composed of asking to be let out and wondering what was going on.

"It appears that I may have to resort to more drastic measures," the figure in the red coat mumbled deeply, smirking behind the deathly white curtain of hair that fell around his lowered head.

Gwen finally noticed the small metallic device that glimmered within his hand, more delayed than she should have. The device was pressed before she could use her manna to pry it from his fingers. Tiny gray boxes in the surrounding area suddenly burst forth, unfolding themselves until they converted back to their robot form.

Blindly, the robots jumped in to attack the huddled group. The redhaired magician had to pull away her control of the pink disc, giving their enemy the chance to slam himself against the nearest wall to break the restraint with an impressive shatter.

Ship took the attack as a cue to form the armoured suit around his owner, who immediately fired against the nearest robot attacking. Punching and pushing the fighting machines out of the way, she focused the cannon towards the side of the spider web that encased creature on the wall. She mumbled pleadingly to its general direction, "Please stop moving too much, Ben."

Ship made a noise to confirm that he was ready to fire. Trying to forego her hesitations, she discharged the beam. Slamming her elbow against the robot that launched itself from her side, she kept her view clear to find out what had happened to her shot. The spider webs burst open with a flash of light, the creature that released itself from the Omnitrix leaked out from the hole.

"Goop?" the green blob gargled in confusion, staring at himself. Tapping the core to check for malfunctions, he grumbled, "I wanted Humongousaur. Stupid Omnitrix."

A large fist smashed down on his place, missing the anti-gravity disc by only a few centimeters. "Your wish has been granted," the looming Vaxasaurian rumbled, his shadow darkening the area around Goop considerably.

In the meantime, the three other teenagers were being overwhelmed by the number of robots that seemed to appear from every corner of the room. Smashing one of them with his mace fist, Kevin glanced at Gwen alternating between using barriers to create some distance between her and the attackers to throwing circular blasts of manna to destroy them.

"They're not sentient," she declared through the din of metallic scraping and smashing, "so the only advantage they have is numbers."

Grabbing two machines assaulting him from both sides, he slammed them against each other until they both shattered. "We can take 'em," he gritted, a manic smile gracing his thin lips as he charged at a group of robots ready to hack at him.

Julie was making sure to take down a group with one shot instead of firing at them individually.

The Polymorph evaded another attack smoothly, throwing acidic slime at the Vaxasaurian on his way to reaching the anti-gravity projector.

With a hiss of pain, he slid his large arm against the edge of a crate to remove as much of the goo as possible. The Vaxasaurian clicked the core, transforming to an Aerophibian. With his neuroshock blast, he shot at the anti-gravity disc. Managing to nick it at the side, the object flew across the room and left Goop to become inert.

"Uh-oh," the puddle on the floor said.

Red wings spread out to use the vulnerability to his advantage, he was unable to see that a cannon had been focused him. It was fired before he lifted off. The Aerophibian tumbled off the crate, surprise flooding his face at the strike.

The armored Julie placed her cannon down, checking if the anti-gravity disc was fine enough to travel back to Goop on its own. When it began hovering, she became comfortable enough to return her attention to destroying the robots assaulting them.

The number of robots were thinning out, though the three teenagers were starting be overcome with exhaustion at having to fend off their numbers.

Out of the blue, the doors of the warehouse exploded open and causing the large wooden objects to recoil off the aisles of crates they had slammed against, splintering the wood. Two members of the Plumber organization stepped into the warehouse, their badges on show. Upon noticing the commotion, they quickly assisted the teens with handling the robots.

While Julie seemed preoccupied with slamming her armored arm against the machine to her side, the Aerophibian had risen from his fall and was contemplating whether to attack or not. Rationalizing with his conflicted mind that he was about to attack the Mechamorph instead of the girl inside, he readied himself for the strike. These precious seconds of delay obliterated his chances. From out of nowhere, the Polymorph wrapped itself around him to limit his movement.

The Polymorph gargled privately, "Don't event think about it," in a tone Albedo was surprised to hear from someone other than himself.

The last robot fell, Kevin's fist had destroyed it to minute pieces on the ground.

One of the Plumbers, a male Kiniceleran, sped towards the two Omnitrix wielders. Coincidentally, they both timed out and was returned to their default forms.

"Finally, we gotcha," the Kineceleran chuckled, grabbing the red coated version of Ben roughly through the back of the coat. Before Albedo could so much as raise his hand to punch the Plumber, his hands were cuffed together. "Making us run 'round for you like that was a big fat waste o' time."

Turning to the grinning Ben, who was evidently proud of his work, the Kineceleran simply dropped him a, "Uh, yeah. Good work, kid." The Plumber patted the teen's brown haired head awkwardly, ruffling it much to Ben's annoyance. After having done so, the Kineceleran went towards his Arachnichimp partner.

Gwen went behind her boyfriend, who was enjoying the activity of kicking the bits and chunks of the robot remains all over hardwood. He turned to her once she tapped his shoulder. Caring little for the other people present in the scene, the two embraced ardently.

The Mechamorph had removed itself as Julie's armor, dropping into her open arms after he transformed himself back to his original shape. Squeezing her pet in a tight and comforting cuddle, Ship responded by rubbing his head against her cheek.

Gawking incredulously at the scenario, Ben switched his gaze back and forth at the pairs hugging. "Nobody loves me!" he shouted vindictively, shaking his fists overdramatically into the air to mock-mourn his miserable situation. He muttered to himself how saving the world had no rewards.

The symbiote slithered down the floor and followed his owner as she walked closer to the complaining hero. Julie giggled at his display, staring at him fondly while he feigned blubbering. Fluttering her eyelashes cutely even if he was busy pouting at the floor, she invited sweetly, "Come here," as she opened her arms.

While she had her arms encircled around him, he noted the tinge of jasmine wafting into his nose while she dug her head into the crook of his neck. Sighing miserably, or pretending to anyway, he murmured, "I bet this is a pity hug."

"You want me to stop?" she responded teasingly, raising her eyebrow and loosening her arms as if she was about to let go.

Reciprocating the hug with a goofy grin, he amended swiftly, "No, no! Pity hug's good."

He recalled what he was supposed to do when the notebook pressed against him while they were hugging. "Oh," he started bashfully, scratching the back of his head as he pulled out the notes from his jacket. "Thanks for letting me borrow your notes."

She received the notebook with a smile. "You're welcome."

Gwen and Kevin had already stepped out of the warehouse to follow the Plumbers so Ben and Julie also exited.

The sun was sinking into the horizon, peeking through wispy clouds that seemed almost painted on in their lightness. The eyes of the figure confined by the Plumbers seemed to take on a more fluid red, glowering at the green clothed teenager who once again defeated a threat. His eyes shifted towards the girl standing beside Ben Tennyson. She met his intense gaze for a second, before quickly averting it. Julie tugged at her long sleeve to try to hide the blisters, not from him but from herself.

Ben noticed the stare, making him feel the same protective surge in his chest even after the Plumbers and their prisoner flickered back to the Plumber jail in the Null Void.

Upset, he hadn't tried hiding his discomfort at it. "What was he staring at you for?" he asked at the empty part of the lot where the Plumbers used to be, even though the question was directed at Julie.

The girl at his side just looked perplexed, but his cousin slapped a hand on her forehead in response.

"Unbelievable!" the red-haired girl grated out, knowing that whatever may come out of his mouth next might instigate another fight between them. She decided to stop it with her dry comment, "Stop being jealous of everyone, Ben!"

Flustered, his face colored so much that he was competing rather well with the color of the sunset.

Instead of being annoyed, Julie laughed. After all that had happened to her, it was really difficult to be angry of something so mundane. The concept of the Galvan being remotely interested in her was also so preposterous to her. This just increased how funny it all was and made her laugh longer.

"Can we go?" Kevin intruded impatiently, waving his hand pointedly at the direction of his car.

The teenagers started walking.

Ben felt the need to stop to be able to finally make amends for his last mistake with her. The pink clad girl halted as well, asking concernedly, "Ben?"

"I'm sorry," Ben apologized sheepishly, staring at the ground to avoid having to look at her. "For what I said last time. I didn't mean to suggest," he sighed painfully, "well, what I did. You fought really bravely that day and I acted like such an insensitive jerk. I didn't really mean it, I was just worried about you. I'd totally understand if you--"

There was the feeling of arms wrapped around his body.

"You have a good heart, Ben," she responded mysteriously, staring him in the eyes. At the closeness they were in, he felt himself return to the shyness he had around her before he had asked her out. "I forgave you a long time ago."

The brunette breathed out in relief.

There was a playful teasing twinkle in her eyes, she added, "But that was really mean of you. It broke my heart, you know. Tiny little pieces and everything."

"I know," he winced visibly, not noticing the expression she was showing.

She laughed, sounding for all the world like breezes playing with wind chimes. To Ben, the entire world suddenly smelled of jasmine. He eventually joined in her laughter.

Upon approaching their ride back home, Julie saw the large dent on the trunk of the Dodge Challenger. Incredibly curious, she decided to lampshade its existence through asking, "What happened to your car, Kevin?"

She didn't miss the pointed glare directed at the Mechamorph bounding at her feet. Since Kevin refused to unglue his glower on his own, Gwen decided to elbow him to stop him. His reply was a grouchy, "Long story." Then his memory seemed to click information into place. Kevin turned with a dark grin towards Ben, who stopped walking to the car altogether. The older teen declared decisively, "Since you owe me, you're paying for repairs."

"W-what?" Ben stammered disbelievingly, fumbling around his jeans pockets for his money. "I don't think my allowance can even--"

"Better start saving then," Kevin advised with a shrug and entered the car.

"Great," the savior of the Universe mumbled, dwelling on the possibility of being paid for saving the world. It really should be classified as a job at that point.

Remembering something as well, Julie stopped in her tracks and turned to her boyfriend with wide, worried eyes. "What am I going to tell my parents? I've been missing for three days." Groaning, she placed her face into her hands. "I have no believable excuse!"

Patting her back consolingly, the mellow green eyes of the boy with her reassured her, "We'll think of something."

She raised her eyes to peer into his, while he stared back at her with an equally nervous smile. "I'm going to be grounded forever," Julie sighed dejectedly into the sky.

They continued to stroll anyway. The scenery was awash with fiery colors, glowing like the fire of life. The colors tinted the car with an unnatural, dream-like atmosphere.

Striding towards the car, his pinky finger reached out and curled into her own pinky. There was a quiet understanding being passed in the mere connection of their fingers. They walked together into their sunset, like some sort of fairytale.

---

The creator of the Omnitrix, Azmuth, marvelled at the painstaking effort to contain the forged version of his device under wraps. The computers within the laboratory were extensively protected. Passwords upon passwords, firewalls with each step taken; all such things enforced before the blueprints and information could be accessed.

Allowing the hardcopy of the blueprints to fall down from his hands, he stepped outside of the laboratory and waved away an offered accompaniment. When he had finally arrived within the cockpit of the ship he was to use to visit Primus, he let himself observe the flickering red and yellow reflecting on the surfaces of the surrounding buildings. Another chunk of the laboratory structure descended. More flames licked at the edifice, swallowing it whole. Plumbers cleared out the scenery. By the end of the process, nothing was left.

Everything in a pile of ash.

---

Flung gracelessly through the jail, the red jacketed figure stumbled inside and actively prevented his collision with the wall. The door slammed shut behind him. Cursing through gritted teeth, he patiently sat himself down on the uncomfortably solid chair.

The Galvan was certain the new prison cell was smaller than his previous. Noting belatedly that he was scratching himself again, he removed his hand from the evidently inappropriate place and stared angrily at the door.

The most recent incident simply added another reason to the ever increasing list of justifications for wanting to kill Ben Ten. He forced himself not to think of black hair or dark eyes. What irrationality descended on him that made him believe that it was a good idea to enact his plan in that manner?

Not too long however, he was interrupted from his thoughts when a Plumber stopped by his cell and dropped a holo projector through the small opening. "Message," was all that was said. The clanging sound of the device on the floor filled the silence that followed after.

From the construction of the projector, it wasn't a recording. Plucking the device off the floor, he examined the machinery for a few moments before activating it. He had placed the projector on a table beside the chair, his fingers forming a loose steeple in anticipation.

The image that greeted him was unexpected, to say the least.

A creature, chin bordered with tentacles and a body heavily altered with technological and physical enhancements, looked confidently from the holo through to Albedo. A Chimera Sui Generis whose name echoed through the galaxies, followed directly by trepidation and horror, stood within the small projector that misrepresented the intimidating size of the figure.

The fingers originally intertwined in front of Albedo's face loosened, revealing the thin lips partially opened in revelation. "Vilgax," Albedo pronounced carefully, his head rising a nudge in barely veiled surprise.

"Albedo of the Galvan," the Chimera Sui Generis greeted smoothly, a deep voice that rumbled with hidden twisted amusement. "I have a proposition." Albedo's eyebrow raised. "With regards to Ben Tennyson."

Upon the mention of this name, fury bubbled like a cauldron in the chest that was similar to Ben's own, searing hatred raged inside the veins opposing the kindness that the real Ben radiated with. The pale fingers unwound themselves from one another to pierce the skin of his own palms.

"You have my attention," Albedo responded simply, his quiet voice echoing in the dark Plumber prison.

The End.

---

Author's Notes: Thank you to everyone who reviewed and followed this story regardless of the horribly done romance and poor excuse for a plot. I feel like I should have done better considering how predictable the direction was. The original intention of the story was to flesh out the respective personalities of the central characters within the story. Every other aspect of the story fell by the wayside. Though I'm rather overjoyed about one thing about this project: I finished. While I enjoyed cracking my head at this challenge, hopefully I was able to give you a blockbuster, brainless source of amusement during the process.

Love you all! And Happy Valentine's Day! I hope this is a passable enough gift.