Greetings all Ben 10 fans! I cross-posted this on livejournal and decided to post it here too. Although it's in no way a crossover, I was inspired to write this after watching Practical Magic, Fullmetal Alchemist, and Ben 10:AF all in one go. This story takes place about a year after Ultimate Alien, so Ben and Gwen are 17 and Kevin is 18. Also, all the hype about Ben from Ultimate Alien has died down, but the characters aren't completely free of the media. That really won't go into affect for another few chapters though.
Also, a warning to you all, this is Bevin, meaning it's slash. It's nothing hardcore though, I couldn't write that stuff to save my life.
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the Ben 10 series. Don't sue me, I'm poor.
"Shit. Shit," Kevin swore under his breath, his grip on the steering wheel tightening as they sped down the road; going fast but not fast enough to become an immediate target on any nearby cop's radar. The last thing they wanted was to be pulled over, not when the backseat was all bloody. How they would even explain that... How they would explain Ben...
'Hope I can get the stains out after this,' he thought hollowly, because thinking such a normal, 'Kevin-like', thought almost made it seem like everything would work out in the end, as if, by the end of the night, everything would be back to normal and the only thing he actually did have to worry about was the upholstery in the backseat of his car.
"For fuck's sake, stop crying!" Kevin snapped, noticing for the first time just how much he swore in extremely stressful situations. "We'll fix this," he said, not sure who he was trying to convince more, Gwen or himself.
When the hero dies in a movie, it's always... Epic, for lack of a better term. There's some long, grand speech or at least a statement of some sort that sums up just how badass that hero is in a few short words. In many cases, there's an explosion, something bright and flashy that usually takes the villain out at the same time, be it some sentient enemy or a meteor hurtling towards the Earth. In almost every example of a hero's death, it's a sacrifice for the greater good, something that will save a bunch of useless civilian lives, and for some reason there's a lot of slow motion involved, as if time itself slows down to witness the hero's tragic, but noble death.
Kevin should have known better than to take anything American cinema has to say at face-value, but still, he hadn't expected it to be so quick, so... pointless.
It had started out as any normal fight (well, normal for them), with just him, Ben and Gwen faced off against a couple of rogue aliens in the usual abandoned warehouse setting. Kevin still couldn't quite recall what species of alien it was. At the time of the fight, he had been too busy fending off their attacks to care, and right now he was a little too preoccupied with cleaning up the mess left over to pay it much thought. It was a species he hadn't dealt with much, most likely only having seen them once or twice in passing without actually interacting with them until now. Koven-something. The only important thing to make note of with the species is their extendable needle- like fingers. Such an attack put up against Gwen's mana shields, Ben's aliens, and Kevin's ability to coat his body with steel (or any other strong material that was nearby) didn't make for much of a threat, so there really wasn't too much to be concerned about.
But then the omnitrix ('That stupid, fucking omnitrix.') timed out right in the middle of the fight. It had happened before, many times before, but for some reason the Koven-something aliens were quicker to react than any other alien in the past had reacted before when given a similar opportunity.
There hadn't been enough time for Gwen to put up one of her mana shields around Ben, there hadn't been enough time for Ben to give his usual words of protest whenever the omnitrix timed out, Ben barely even had enough time to frown when-
Five needle-like fingers pierced straight through his body like butter. One through his right arm, one through his abdomen, two through his chest (Heart and right lung respectively), and one straight the center of his forehead. The whites of his eyes turned red, blood dripped out of his nose while even more blood dribbled out of slightly parted lips. There were no last words, no heartfelt goodbye, just one split second after the omnitrix timed out and he was gone.
The world around Kevin became muted, Gwen's heart-wrenched screams even sounded dull to his ears. He couldn't seem to tear his eyes away from Ben's form, the way it slid forward slightly on the alien's fingers, the way it crumpled to the ground like a puppet with its strings cut when the alien retracted its fingers, the way it.. his... Ben's eyes, his reddening eyes stared sightlessly at the ceiling above while even more red pooled on the ground around him. Red... so much red... on the ground... on Ben's clothes... on the alien's fingers...
The red consumed Kevin's vision, and for a while, it was all he could see, it was all he was aware of. When his mind finally came back to him and his vision returned, he was standing over Ben and Gwen, and the Koven-something aliens were in pieces around him, their blue alien blood somehow making the red covering Ben stand out even more. Gwen was kneeling by Ben's side, hunched over him with her long red hair (more orange than red compared to Ben's eyes, Ben's clothes...) fanned out over his still form. Her fingers were bunched up in his stained jacket, her shoulders shaking with sobs.
Kevin's breath caught in his throat before he managed to find his voice.
"Don't," he started out quietly, "don't you have something in your spell book for this?"
Her sobs was her only response. She was either so caught up in her grief that she didn't hear him, or she heard him, but she didn't have a solution and she couldn't find the strength to tell him so. Whichever one it was, her crying wasn't a good enough answer to him.
"Gwen" he said, more persistently this time. "Come on! Snap out of it! There's got to be something we can do!"
Sniffling and wiping at tears that refused to stop, Gwen said quietly, "Kevin.. I.."
"Don't tell me that out of all your spell books there isn't something that can fix this, something that can make this better," he said, his own voice growing shaky, feeling like a lump was slowly growing in his throat.
"I think there's some stuff in Charmcaster's old books," she finally admitted. "But... but Kevin, any sort of magic like that will be really dark and-"
"So? What could be worse than this?" he shouted, a tiny bit of hysteria he would never admit to having creeping into his voice. Gwen's eyes fell back down to her cousin and her crying began anew. "Damnit, stop crying!" he snapped for what would be the first, but certainly not the last time that night. "There's still something we can do, and your spell books hold the answers, okay?"
Finally, she nodded, and after once again wiping the tears from her eyes, she looked up at him and said, "I'll try whatever I can."
"Good," he said, not sounding as confident as he would have liked about the whole thing. "Now get up. I'll carry him to the car. We'll stop by your place first so you can run in and get the spell books and then we'll head over to my place and do this there."
Having recently moved out of his mom's house, Kevin lived in a small one-bedroom flat up above an old, rundown garage. Kevin frequently worked down at the garage and in exchange for his services, the garage's owner let him live in the flat above for little to no rent. At this time of night, Kevin's home was the only place they could go without having to worry about anyone walking in and seeing what they would be doing.
Gwen raced off to where they last parked the car and Kevin knelt down next to Ben's side. As his knees hit the ground, blood immediately seeped into the fabric of his jeans. Swallowing thickly, Kevin ran a hand down Ben's face and shut the younger boy's eyes. He had hoped that that would make the whole situation a little bit better, as if Ben was just sleeping or something, but the blood he accidentally smeared down Ben's face from the hole in his forehead seemed to ruin the effect.
Pushing aside his turbulent emotions, Kevin swept Ben up in his arms in one quick motion. It was then that he noticed the change in the accursed omnitrix. The face of it which was usually lit up in red or green was now a dull, dead grey. That coupled with the feeling of Ben's dead weight against his arms, blood seeping through Kevin's clothes, really drove home the reality of Ben's condition to the ex-con. Unable to stop a few tears from escaping his eyes, Kevin had never felt more like a kid than in that moment, because despite everything they had gone through and all that they had experienced, the fact of the matter was that they were still a bunch of kids, just barely young adults, and each one of those aliens they had faced throughout their lives were very real threats that could kill them, had already killed one of them.
'He's only seventeen... and I'm only a year older than him' he thought. Blinking furiously, he forced any remaining tears back. There was no reason to be crying, not yet, not when there was still something to be done. Shaking his head, Kevin rose to his feet and took off out of the warehouse to where he parked the car. After carefully laying Ben down in the backseat, he hopped into the driver's side and took off back to Bellwood.
With each mile they traveled, Kevin could feel his agitation and anxiety over the whole thing growing to the point where he found himself muttering swears under his breath. Gwen's random bouts of crying sure as hell wasn't helping and neither was the scent of blood that permeated the car despite the fact that he had rolled down the windows five minutes into the drive. Gwen thankfully managed to gather enough composer to keep from crying long enough for her to be able to sneak in through her bedroom window to grab her spell books as well as a change of clothes and return to the car without her parents noticing.
Pulling into the garage, Kevin shut the large garage door behind him to hide their activities from the prying eyes of neighbors and passer-bys, all the while feeling grateful that it was late enough for his boss and landlord to have gone home long before. Scooping Ben back up into his arms, Kevin held back a cringe at how cold the younger boy had grown since the warehouse, and carried him up to his small flat with Gwen following behind. They laid him out on the kitchen floor, figuring it would be the easiest place to clean the blood up from later on.
Piling her spell books up on the kitchen table, Gwen took a seat next to them with her back to her cousin (not seeing him somehow made it easier on her. Whether Kevin could see Ben or not, the image seemed to have permanently burned itself into his head). Grabbing the nearest book, Gwen quickly became absorbed in its words, searching for a magical solution of some sort, and Kevin found himself at a loss of what to do. Magic wasn't his thing, so it wasn't like he could help her search, and now that he thought of it, he probably wouldn't be able to help out with the spell itself either. The next few steps would be all up to Gwen.
With not a lot left that he could do, Kevin found himself back down in the garage cleaning the blood out of the backseat of his car. If they wanted to avoid anyone asking any tough questions, the least he could do was make the car presentable for public eyes. His mind must have fallen into a daze because before he knew it, the backseat was clean and Gwen was knocking on the car window to get his attention. His gaze drifted over the bucket of red water and the stained rags scattered around it. As he listened to Gwen's brief explanation of the spell she found, he vaguely noted that he'd have to dispose of his stained cleaning supplies properly so that his boss wouldn't find out. When he finally looked up at Gwen, he was surprised to see that she had stopped crying. Her eyes were red and puffy ('Not as red as Ben's'), but they were dry. She looked as tired as he felt, too tired to cry anymore.
Following Gwen back up to his flat, Kevin's eyes widened at the sight of his kitchen. While he was busy cleaning out the car, Gwen had set up all the necessary variables for the spell. Painted across the floor was a series of symbols all perfectly woven together to form a circle and in the center of the circle was Ben.
"Is that... chocolate sauce?" was the first thing Kevin asked, eyeing the substance that the symbols were painted in.
"I didn't want to use a marker and, well, it was the best thing I could find," Gwen said tiredly, "My mana will power the spell, but it's going to take both of our energy to get it to work. Consider our energy being the shock of a defibrillator."
"Okay," Kevin said. "What do I do?"
"I'm going to need to draw this mark on your hand," she said, holding up her own hand to show a simple, swirling-type of symbol. "And then..." she hesitated for a moment before grabbing something off of the kitchen table. "Then, using the hand with symbol on it, we're going to have to stab him in the heart... these should work."
Held in her hand were two skewers one might normally use for shish kabobs.
"I told you any spell for this sort of thing would be dark," she snapped irritably. "This was the least dark one I could find."
"I can't stab Ben in the heart!" Kevin said.
It was a pretty ridiculous statement to be making considering that Ben was already dead. Still though...
"It's this or nothing," Gwen said. "Every other spell calls for a sacrifice."
'What sort of sacrifice?' Kevin almost found himself asking.
Growling in frustration, Kevin threw his arms in the air and shouted, "Fine! Alright? I'll do it. Never going to be able to look at a kabob the same way again and those skewers are going straight into the trash after this, but I'll do it."
He offered his hand forward and it took but a second to draw the symbol on it. Taking one of the proffered skewers with a cringe, Kevin took a seat on the floor across from Gwen just outside the circle of symbols.
"I'll tell you when to, uh, stab," Gwen said awkwardly before her eyes glowed pink as she began the spell.
The pink soon radiated from the rest of her body and as she began chanting the foreign words of the spell, the pink seeped down into the chocolate sauce symbols until they too glowed. It was all very... bright.
"Hold you hand out over the circle," Gwen quickly instructed, hold her own hand that had the symbol drawn on it out over the circle, skewer held tightly in its grip. Kevin's heart thundered in his chest, but he followed her example, and as soon as he did, the symbols on both of their hands began to glow. The pink from the symbols on the floor seeped into Ben like he was a sponge, somehow leaving nothing of the chocolate sauce behind.
"Now!" Gwen shouted, and though Kevin's stomach was in knots and his heart was in his throat, his hand somehow managed to sail down towards Ben at the same time that Gwen's did. With a sickening thud, both skewers struck Ben in the chest; morbidly enough, the entire task was made easier by the previous hole Ben's murderer had made.
The skewer burned hot in Kevin's hand before dissolving completely and with a blast of light which quickly turned to a dark red glow, Gwen and Kevin were thrown away from Ben by some unseen force. Hitting one of the kitchen cabinets hard, Kevin felt that same draining feeling he once felt when Morningstar fed on his energy a few years back. Squinting through the light, he could do nothing but watch as Ben arched up off the ground, his body going tense as the red light pulsed around him. There was one final blast of light, white with a green tinge this time, before Ben flopped to the ground and all went still and dark.
Blinking the spots from his eyes, Kevin slowly and cautiously shuffled towards Ben, Gwen following in suit. Kevin really didn't know what to expect from the spell, neither of them did, but at the sight of Ben's chest rising and falling with breath, along with the fact that his fatal wounds had completely disappeared, Kevin felt that things were ten times better than they were five minutes ago.
"Ben?" Kevin called cautiously, hands hovering near the younger boy.
Green eyes shot open. They were still bloodshot, but they were a hell of a lot better than the deep red they had been before. They waited for a moment for Ben to speak, but when no response came, Kevin tried again.
"Ben, are you okay?" Kevin asked, this time resting his hand on the younger boy's shoulder.
Ben didn't respond, neither to the touch nor to Kevin's voice. Instead, his eyes drifted over to his left arm which lay limply at his side. Kevin could only guess that he was looking at the omnitrix whose face now glowed red. Ben flexed the fingers of his left hand a few times, his face completely expressionless as he did nothing else but stare.
"Ben," Gwen tried this time, concern leaking through her voice. "Can you hear us?"
Kevin bit his lip as a hundred different thoughts raced through his head about what could have gone wrong, what negative repercussions the spell could have had, what-
"Yes," Ben finally answered, not a single inflection of emotion in his tone.
"Are you okay?" Kevin repeated.
"I suppose," Ben said monotonously after a moment's pause.
"You suppose? What is that supposed to mean?" Gwen asked.
"I was just dead, right? Or am I not remembering correctly?" he asked bluntly.
"Um, yeah," Gwen said hesitantly. "You were kinda dead."
"There's no 'kinda' about it," Kevin said. "You were dead as a doornail, Benji. Now explain what you meant before. Are you alright or not?"
"I'm just saying that I suppose for someone who was just dead, I'm doing quite well," Ben explained, his fingers curling into a fist before his eyes drifted up to stare at Gwen and Kevin before traveling back down, this time to look at the hand Kevin still had on his shoulder. "Although for someone who can't currently feel anything physically or emotionally, I'm sure there are some who might argue that I'm not what one would call 'okay'."
End of chapter one. I'll post the next chapter soon. Review please and tell me what you think!