Summary: A few weeks after Devlin is adopted into the Tennyson family, Gwen is to return home from her off-world mission. Devlin is nervous about meeting the sorceress, but she is nothing like he expects.

AN: Y'all voted, and here it is! The beginnings of my Ben 10,000 Universe Fic! The winners of the poll were both "Really Long OneShot" and "Medium Multi-Chapter Story". Obviously, I opted to go with the second winner. See the end author's note for more details regarding the writing of the story.

IMPORTANT: This is all assuming that the events of Ken 10 occurred (though in this I changed it so that Julie is Kenny's mother), as well as all of Ben 10: Alien Force. I tweaked it so that Gwen is off on an off-world mission during the occurrences of Ken 10, and that she has never met or seen Devlin. Oh! And Devlin has the material absorbing powers that Kevin has in BTAF, as well as the electricity ones from the original series. The only reason that he is amalgamated in Ken 10 was because he absorbed those aliens in the Null Void. Gwevin as always, with a bit of Benlie.

Disclaimer: *sigh* I don't own Ben 10… *sniffle*

1. Nightmares

"Out of my way, boy!" A long, black tentacle wrapped itself around Devlin's waist before hurling him across the room. He gasped in pain as he hit the wall, tears staining his dark eyes. His own father didn't want him. Kevin 11,000 advanced towards his enemy, Ben 10,000, ready to exact his revenge; a feat that proved more important than the safety of his own flesh and blood.

There was a slam, and suddenly the room was filled with a bright light. Devlin rolled over, covering his face with his pillow as he squeezed his eyes further shut. "Go away," he mumbled sleepily, though silently thankful that his intruder had awoken him from his nightmare.

"Get up, you sleepyhead!" Kenny, his adopted brother, shouted, leaping onto Devlin's bed.

"Go away, Kenny!" he moaned, burrowing further into the warm sheets.

"But today Aunt Gwendolyn comes home! You have to get up and help us clean the house!" the brown-haired ten-year-old whined. Devlin sighed into the covers.

"Fine; now get out before I throw you out!" he said, looking up. He lifted his head to see feigned fear across Kenny's face. Devlin attempted to scowl back, though it came out as more of a smile.

"Okay, okay; I'm gone," Kenny said, sliding off the bed and backing away, his hands rising in surrender. "Dad wants you downstairs by nine, though," he called as he closed the door behind him. Sitting back against the headboard of his bed, Devlin sighed again. Aunt Gwendolyn, the only Tennyson he had not met, was coming home from her off-world mission today. Actually, she was their cousin, but she and Devlin's adopted father, Ben Tennyson, were so close that it had been decided long before his time that she was to be called 'aunt'.

He felt a tingling feeling in the pit of his stomach, and he wondered why he was so nervous. The rest of the family had accepted him readily, and Gwendolyn was expected to be no different. He had heard the stories, though; things that had happened so far in the past that they might have even be considered legends. Things that people had said about the time before Kevin Levin had turned on the Plumbers, things that had to do with the Tennysons. He had always wondered why they had been so ready to adopt him, someone they barely knew, and someone who had tried to kill Kenny at least twice.

Devlin pushed those thoughts aside and threw off the covers, heading for his shower. Kenny had said that Ben had wanted him down on the lower level at nine to help clean the huge house, and he dared not be late.

After he was dried and dressed, he opened the door to his room and dashed down the flight of stairs that lead to the kitchen. His adopted mother, Julie, was waiting with a toasted bagel in hand and a smile on her face. "Morning, Devlin!" she greeted cheerfully.

"Good morning, Julie," he replied politely. "Do you know where Ben is?" After being adopted, Devlin had decided to take advantage of the few manners that he had in his arsenal. Luckily for him, this made him easily loved by all of the Tennyson and Yamamoto family.

"Last time I saw, he and Kenny were attempting to vacuum the living room," Devlin turned to dash out, but Julie caught him by the collar of his shirt. "No work before breakfast. We don't want anyone getting too tired before the party later." She said, handing him the bagel. Devlin thanked her and sat at the kitchen table, chewing thoughtfully and silently thanking Karma for letting him land in a family who cared for his well-being.

There was a lot of stomping coming from the other room, and the door to the kitchen burst open to reveal a dust-covered Kenny. "Hey mom, have you seen – oh, there you are!" he said, noticing Devlin sitting at the table. "Can you come help us with this?"

"Sure; I'll be right there," he replied, swallowing the last bit of his breakfast. Julie was snickering behind them, and she broke out into a giggling fit as soon as Ben appeared behind his son, covered head to toe in the black soot-like substance.

"The great Ben 10,000 can't figure out how to work a vacuum-cleaner!" she gasped, before collapsing into a fit of laughter. Ben smiled devilishly and walked past his son towards his wife.

"Does someone need a hug?" he asked, grinning evilly.

"N-No!" Julie giggled, tossing a dishtowel at her husband to slow him down and running to the other side of the room. Kenny only sighed and rolled his eyes, though he was smiling at the sight of his parents being silly. Devlin couldn't help but find himself smiling, also.

"Come on, Devlin. Maybe you can figure this out," he grabbed Devlin's hand and pulled him out of the room, leaving the sounds of laughter behind them as Ben continued to chase Julie around the kitchen. When they reached the living room, Devlin had to gasp. It was a mess! There was dust and dirt all over the floor and tabletops, and most of the chairs were black.

"Uh… What happened here?" he asked. How were they going to clean this up in time?

"The vacuum bag, um, kind of exploded," Kenny answered, looking down at his feet.

"…Nice…" was all Devlin could reply, sarcastically, of course.

"Would you just help?" Kenny asked, exasperated.

"Sure; it's not like I have anything better to do," he replied, grinning at his best friend. "Why don't you go grab the broom while I try to revive the vacuum."

"Awesome! Thanks, Devlin!" Kenny ran off in search of the cleaning items, and the black-haired eleven-year-old made his way over to the fried electric appliance sitting rejected in a corner. He crouched beside it, carefully removing the torn-apart cloth bag, hanging limp from under the handle of the machine. He got up and walked to the closet, and upon finding a new one to replace it, he returned to his spot. He attached the new bag, and then positioned the vacuum so that it was facing towards him. Carefully, he shocked it with a bolt of electricity, and it roared to life. Just as it started, Kenny came running back with the broom and dustpan, and they commenced cleaning the living room back up to its former glory. Devlin wouldn't let Kenny touch the newly restored vacuum, though.

Once they were finished, the room looked fantastic. Ben came walking in just after they had brought the last pan-full of dirt to the trashcan, and he congratulated them on their good work. He was leaning on the doorway, surveying their work, when Julie came in behind him and announced that tonight's welcome-home dinner was in the oven. "Looks like you guys worked really hard; the room looks great!"

"Thanks!" All three – Ben, Kenny, and Devlin – responded at the same time. Kenny glared at his dad, a little irked that he and his brother had done all of the work.

Julie noticed this, and began to smirk at her husband. "You didn't help, did you?" she asked.

"Uh… I did… kind of…" Ben responded, rubbing the back of his neck nervously.

"Uh-huh, sure," she rolled her eyes and proceeded to drag Ben out of the room with her. "In return for all of your help in cleaning the living room, you get to clean the bathrooms." The boys heard him groan, and they were satisfied that they had gotten their revenge without lifting a finger.

They finished cleaning the house around noon, and then started preparing the food for their big welcome-home dinner. After the food was all set out and the rest of the family and friends had arrived (both human and non), they all sat in the spotless living room waiting for the guest of honor to arrive. Everyone was talking excitedly, and Devlin felt slightly out of place among the tight-knit hero family. He was left to himself to contemplate the nervous fluttering in his stomach, and silently dreaded meeting the one Tennyson that still intimidated him. After thinking that, he began to wonder what he had to be afraid of. He realized that it wasn't the meeting itself, nor the actual woman, it was what she would think of him. He had heard wonderful stories about Gwen from both Kenny and Ben, but he had no idea what they had told her about him.

His thoughts were interrupted by the doorbell ringing, and the room was quickly silenced as they awaited the expected visitor. Everyone was nervous to see Gwen after such a long time, and because they had received no news on her condition or how she was doing, they were slightly worried if she was injured during the mission. Ben rose and made his way to the door, everyone's eyes following him as he walked. He turned the corner and left their field of vision, and everyone strained their ears to hear the first signs of the redhead. There was the sound of the lock turning, and then excitement in the room could almost be felt literally. They heard the door swing open, and Ben give an uncharacteristic "Oof" as he staggered backward into the awaiting family's view. The tall, redheaded sorceress had Ben locked in a bone-crushing hug.

"Ben! I'm so happy to see you!" she squealed before pushing him away. "How have you been, doofus?" she laughed. Ben joined her, and before he had a chance to answer, she turned and saw the rest of the crowd. "Hi everyone!" she greeted excitedly. Her parents raced to her and embraced her simultaneously, and Max was next in line.

"Good to see you, pumpkin," he smiled, the corners of his eyes crinkling with his jolly attitude.

"How's that arm of yours doing, Grandpa?" she asked, rapping her knuckles against the metal of Max's artificial limb.

"Still holding up!" he said happily, pretending not to notice the brief flash of sadness in his granddaughter's eyes.

That was how the beginning of the evening went; family members greeting Gwendolyn, asking how she was doing, if she had a successful mission. There was so much chaos that she seemed not to even notice Devlin leaning in one of the dark corners of the room. When it was time to eat, Julie entered the room; her pink apron smeared with a sauce of some kind, and banged a wooden spoon on one of her clean metal pots. "Dinner is served!" she announced, the happy feelings radiating from her warm smile into the dishes she had cooked.

The dining room table was just large enough for the huge crowd, and it was piled to the brim with what could be considered an early Thanksgiving feast. There was a huge roasted chicken in the center, surrounded by mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, green beans, rolls, salad, and baked beans. At one end, there was an assortment of Asian foods, such as chicken lo-mien, spicy green beans, sugar snap peas, and rice. At the other end, there was a large bowl of soup surrounded by more culinary excellences.

Devlin stood and gaped at the massive amounts of food, never having even dreamed of being able to participate in something like this in the past. As everyone found their seats (thanks to name cards set at every place) Gwendolyn gave Julie a hug after she had removed her apron. "You really have out done yourself this time, Jules," she gushed as she gazed across the table. "Ooh! You made my favorites!"

Once everyone was seated, it was harder for Devlin to avoid Gwen. She sat at the head of the table, able to see everyone. Thankfully, for him, Ben and Max took the seats next to her, her parents took the next two, and Kenny and Julie sat in the next several. When no one was looking, Devlin switched his name card with another one of the huge family, enabling him to sit by down at the other end of the table amongst the adults. He watched Gwendolyn silently, smiling to himself as she told everyone about her mission.

Sometime during the dinner, both Gwen and Ben reached for the macaroni spoon at the same time. Several members of the family watched (others too absorbed in their own conversations) as her eyes began to glow pink and Ben's hand hovered over the Omnitrix for a second. After a few seconds, they burst out laughing and Ben retracted his hand. "You are the guest of honor." He said.

"I think you're just scared you would lose," Gwen replied, scooping a helping on to her plate.

"Am not!" he whined back. In response, Gwendolyn flicked a cheesy noodle at him and smirked. Wanting to avoid an all-out food fight, Max cut in.

"Now kids, let's not start," he warned.

"Yes, Grandpa," she chimed, not taking her eyes off Ben and still smirking evilly. Devlin had to chuckle to himself about how much the cousins acted like children. Maybe Gwendolyn wasn't as bad as he had thought.

It was late when the last of the relatives departed, leaving only Gwendolyn, Ben, Kenny, Devlin, Julie, and Max. Kenny had fallen asleep on the couch sometime after dinner and was now on his back, a trail of drool dripping from the corner of his open mouth. Gwen, Ben, and Julie were in the kitchen cleaning up, and Gwen peered through the doorway at her nephew. "Now who does that remind you of?" she asked Ben, chuckling slightly.

"I never drooled," he stated simply, walking past her with a few more dirty plates. Devlin had managed to stay out of sight, and Gwen had not seen him the entire time. He had begun actually hiding as the family began leaving, and was now crouched behind the couch listening to the adults talk and watching through the cracks in between the cushions.

"Sure you didn't, Ben," Gwendolyn laughed, Julie joining in. The conversations after that became boring, consisting of random things about her mission, Ben's hero work, and how Max was fairing. Devlin was beginning to drift off to sleep in his hiding place, when Gwen asked a question that peaked his interest. "So where is the newest member of the family?"

"I'm not sure," Ben replied. "He is probably off somewhere sleeping, like Kenny. You can meet him in the morning." Devlin felt himself give an inaudible sigh of relief at the fact that they were not going to come looking for him.

"So he really his Kevin's son?" she asked, not in her normal happy tone. She sounded tired and slightly sad, and Devlin wished that he could see her, but she had moved out of his hiding place's field of view.

"I'm afraid so," Ben sighed, also not as perkily as usual. Devlin grew a little sad at the way that they were talking about him. He knew that he had done some bad things, and that his father had also, but that was no reason to judge him… right? He sighed inwardly and continued listening.

"Do you think there's any way that…?" Gwen asked; the fleeting hope for something lost was evident in her voice.

"I don't think so, pumpkin," It was Max who now spoke, his tone comforting. Devlin heard what sounded like a faint sniffle, possibly a quiet sob, before Kenny gave a loud yawn and stretched, rolling off the couch. Devlin quickly lay in position and pretended to be sleeping as Kenny startled up.

"What?! What happened?!" he gasped, jumping to his feet. Julie was holding back chuckles as she came walking quickly to her son.

"Are you okay, sweetie?" she asked, finally managing to calm herself.

"Uh, where'd everyone go?" he asked, still not fully awake. Devlin felt it was his turn to enter the picture, and pretended to sit up groggily.

"What's happening?" he asked, raising his head above the back of the sofa. He attempted to slur his words with sleep, and succeeded in fooling his family.

"Hey, Devlin; we were just wondering where you had ended up," Julie said, turning to her other son.

"I must've fallen asleep back here. What time is it?" he asked.

"It's around eleven. You two really should go up and get ready for bed," she answered. Kenny attempted to stand, obviously still in a dreamy state as he stumbled. "Devlin, can you help Kenny up the stairs?"

"Sure, Julie," he replied, standing and walking over to his best friend. "Come on, Kenny," he gripped the brown-haired boy's shoulders and guided him towards the stairs, careful not to look into the kitchen as he passed the doorway.

"What about Aunt Gwendolyn's presents for us?" Kenny mumbled sleepily, attempting to turn around. Devlin held firm and continued to lead him up the stairs.

"If she brought you any- and I thought I raised you better than to jump to conclusions like that- you can get them in the morning. Now go to bed," Julie called, as the boys were now on the upper level of the house.

After Devlin got Kenny ready for bed and under his covers, he commenced his nightly routine as well. Once safely tucked in the warm sheets of his bed in his own room, he began to think about the days happenings. What had Aunt Gwendolyn been asking about regarding him? More questions swam through his head, though as minutes ticked by he began to realize just how tired he was. Soon, he found himself sound asleep, hoping no nightmares haunted him tonight.

AN: Hope y'all enjoyed! I won't be posting many author's notes after this, but I just wanted to say that yes, I know I should be working on "Deep Shades of Violet", but I have kind of hit a brick wall with that one. This is something I had stashed deep in my hard drive, and I decided to dust it off to get rid of the writer's block. That's why I closed the poll early. It's not my main focus at the moment, but if y'all like it, I'd be willing to pick up the pace with it. :)