Long hot summer Chapter one " Those Left Behind "

The middle of desert Utah.

Kevin walked in the dead of night under a moonless sky freezing the entire way. He walked past another cold war era heat sensor and decided absorbing all that ice he packed in his trunk was a good idea after all. Finally reaching a rusted chain link fence topped with razor wire with a faded sign reading RESTRICTED AREA GOVERNMENT PROPERTY.

Looking around he noticed a few dead burned birds in the area letting him know that the fence was electrified, and he cursed to the open air.

" Damn If I that redneck had more ice I could have brought my tools. "

Without another thought he planted two hands on the fence ignoring the danger from it and his plan, his body burned as he used his powers in a way that could be fatal. When the charge built to the right level he spat the electricity back out sending sparks flying!

Kevin's world spun as the ground came up and hit him. Rolling around on the he could smell the smoke coming off himself and he struggled to stand back up.

" C-come on !"

Looking down at his hands he saw burned flesh his body still numb he guessed the ice was all gone. He barreled to one of the four standing wooden structures, and kicked the door in. Ripping up a ratty carpet he found a spotless titanium alloy hatch leading down. Kevin grabbed it and instantly felt better when he used his powers the right way and absorbed the metal armoring himself up. He tore up the hatch and tossed it over his shoulder any stealth the ice had given him wasted effort the moment he touched the fence.

Jumping down the shaft the he landed on his feet a loud clang ringing out in all directions. Breaking into a run he smashed through a wall into a stairway. Making his way down to level four he was starting to think he'd get out of here without running into any real security, then he opened a door and took two bullets in the chest.

Feeling the welts form under his armor he was glad he didn't just armor up at the fence that ordinary steal would have been like paper to what he was guessing where armor perching rounds.

" Whoever whatever you are, you picked the wrong door to knock down. Get on the floor, or I keep shooting. "

Kevin looked up at the man with the pair of guns leveled on him. He had gray hair but want build like quarterback, and his guns though earth technology had definitely done some damage so far. Kevin charged bringing up his hands to protect his face and he screamed.

" AAAAAAAAAAA! "

He took three more bullets, one in the wrist and two in the stomach before he slammed into the guard sending him flying back into the wall. Much to Kevin's glee he didn't get up and was still breathing.

" Yo Joe old man. "

Fourteen hours later and three states away Kevin sat in a greasy diner covered in bandages staring at the menu like it held the meaning of life. Halfway between the burgers and the breakfast menu his minded drifted off again to that morning. He'd woken up to the sound of his badge ringing and Max Tennyson trying to tell him something and have an argument with someone in the background at the same time. He found the letter on his dresser before he'd called back, it told him everything he needed to know, Gwen was gone.

Dear Kevin

I need to go away for a while, and you of all people I owe more then a letter but you'd only try to stop me. There is someone I need to find, and for once in my life have to do this alone. This is not forever, and when I get back I know you'll be angry. Just please look after Ben till then and I promise I'll explain everything.

G

The waitress put a plate in front of him and he snapped back to reality.

" I didn't order . . "

" I did. "

He looked up and saw Shego her green skin looking strange in the bright daylight. Memories of his time working for Shego and Drakken until he got fired for sending mailbomb threats to a few local do-gooders loomed large in his mind. Just out of the void and he almost landed back in if is wasn't for her.

" How did you find me ? "

" Big Daddy called me, and when I turned down a train heist in Jersey, he told me he'd call you and see if you wanted " another job ". That's Brotherson's way of showing concern. I hear you blew up a TV stars house with the Saturdays for an in with the Legion of Garuda. The Doc will be crushed Weird World is over. "

Kevin couldn't look her in the eye.

" Scumbag kidnapped and almost murdered a kid, if I didn't have that Galven revival kit in my trunk he'd be a goner. You shouldn't be risking your pardon. . . "

Somehow Kevin wondered if Shego's " Mom voice " was harder to stand this his real Mothers or if he was just guilty.

" A pardon, got one of those yourself don't you? He also told me you broke into some cold war leftover and stole something. "

Kevin looked up and barked.

" I don't care, Gwen wouldn't just run off like this! I need to get what I need to get to track her down."

The women put her hand on his and he calmed down.

" Poking a sleeping dragon isn't a good idea Kevin. "

Their was a long moment of silence before he spoke.

" We've got history, and I owe you so I'm pick'in my word real careful. You couldn't pay me enough to give a damn what happens to me. Gwen's gone and I'm going to find her. Whatever that costs I'm cool with it. "

She just smiled like she'd seen this all coming.

" Kevin there's a time in your life to make changes and your in it. I spent my 16th birthday getting high breaking my first boyfriends heart and kissing four years of heroing goodbye. If your girl needs to do some soul searching let her, or she'll hold it against you. "

" I all ready told you, I'm cool with that. "

Four-arms ducked to his left as Captain Nemesis now called Overlord sent an energy blast his way. Ben pretended to hesitate waiting for the inevitable gloating filled opening.

Overlord cough him in the face with two high powered energy blasts.

" How does it fell Tennyson, now that the shock of the new has worn off, and your betters can see you on even ground? "

Ben jumped forward grabbing the fallen hero with all four arms and squeezed for everything he was worth. Overlords head popped off like a broken toy, and Ben screamed!

" Another robot you old has been ? Come out and face me!"

Another Overlord, the fourth one tonight descended from the darkness, and the Ultimatrix started to flash and buzz letting him know his time was short.

" I intend to, once your time is up. Oh and Ben a bit of advice don't let all your weaknesses get out on the internet. "

' Harangue ' Though Ben ' is getting a Humungousaur sized dump on his lawn if I get out of this. '

With two arms behind his back Ben ripped out a pair of bricks from the wall as he had the remaining two in the air as if surrendering.

" Listen Captain we are both reasonable guys, if a public apology will make us square then . . . "

Ben took a energy blast to his back pushing him the ground and crushing the bricks to dust. Three more Overlords circled him.

" Strength in numbers Ben I thought even you where smart enough to know that! "

Blinded with anger Ben smacked the Ultimatrix controls draining his power to almost nothing, and transforming.

" BRAINSTORM TAKES ISSUE WITH THAT COMMENT! "

Ben flooded the area with EM energy frying everything with a circuit on the over or under the block. He turned back to human in a flash, and walked over the fallen Overlords.

" Oh that one has no more eyeballs, his chest on fire and he's not moving, and those two just exploded. This is not over, and I am out of gas. "

Ben ran off down the now dark street fumbling for his cellphone the whole way. Kevin voice rang out in the dark.

" Leave a message or whatever. "

" One of these days I'm going to key his car I swear. "

Ben could hear the rumble of a sonic boom in the distance and could tell someone was running a search pattern of the area. He began jogging to his car and out of pure reflex he moved to dial Gwen's number but then he stopped himself. Gwen had left her phone on her desk the night she left for where ever. Overlord landed with a roar his armor visibly larger then the copies Ben quipped.

" What do you know the real one comes out to play. "

" Can you tell my armor's been upgraded by just looking? "

" No you look like you just had one face lift to many. "

The older man leveled his blaster, and without thinking Ben his " send " on his phone one last time. The ear splitting tone of Ember's breakout hit "Remember" filled the area, and Ben ducked as Julie clad in her Ship armor blasted Overlord in chest with a weapon about a century more advanced then the one he had.

" Julie watch it! It looks like he's got a power core on his back, and that shielding looks weak! "

Much to his chagrin she had it covered as her suits arms reached out and pulled the backpack power supply off the unconscious bad guy. Bright green lines covered it as Ship got a snack.

" SHIP! "

" You'd better not eat my TV remote again after this. "

" SHIP! "

Overlord powered down and his face went limp yet another android down. Ship then popped off Julie and ran around the paralyzed droid like an angry dog. She turned to be Ben and smiled but all Ben could think of was the time. It was an hour past her curfew, and she had a match in the morning. She spoke sounding so happy.

" That went better then the last time hu? "

Ben moved in for a hug feeling to guilty not to thank her.

" Yea that went great, thank you so much. "

Ben sat in his car on the back of a flat bed on the way to his grandfathers place. The watch was still recharging and he couldn't help but stare at the thing. Julie helping him was so great at first, Kevin hadn't gone looking yet and it was almost like Gwen hadn't left. Then Kevin started screening his calls being out all night with his girlfriend wasn't like having Gwen around at all. It was great until it finally sank in that Julie had a life she was ignoring to help him.

He pulled out a folded hand written letter from his jacket pocket.

Dear Ben

There is something I need to do, and it is going to get me in so much trouble doing it. I'll be gone by the time you read this, and I'll hope I don't need to explain to you why I've gone without telling anyone. Please don't hold it against Kevin if he's mad he's got every right to be.

This is not good bye

Gwen.

" I always hated being an only child. "

The tow truck pulled Ben's humbled car up next to his Grandfathers RV about dawn. Ben was unsurprised to find Grandpa Max already up cooking breakfast. He could see his Grandfather favoring his off hand still after that "minor" break he got fighting Seven-Seven months ago. He might be the greatest Plumber in the galaxy but at 65 Max Tennyson was getting older.

" Morning Ben car trouble? "

" Yea it kind of took the tail end of an EMP I had to use. "

The old man smiled.

" Well then we'll have to fix that, after breakfast. How much you owe the driver for the tow? "

" I got lucky he did it for an autograph. For once I will not complain about your cooking I'm starving. "

In a few minutes the driver was on his way, and Ben was eating what looked like eggs without asking what the crunchy bits inside where.

" You not complaining about my cooking so that makes an me think you might have more going on. "

Ben didn't even try to lie.

" I needed backup last night, Kevin wasn't around, and Gwen . . .well you know. I didn't have to call Julie she was already there. If she was born two months later she'd might have been an alternate for the summer Olympics this year, and she's running around all night with me. Grandpa Max I should WANT my girlfriend to be running around all night with me "

The Max didn't even blink, and spoke like he'd rehearsed it for years.

" I never told my sons what I do for a reason, this life is a hard one, and if you don't pick it on your own it can eat you up. Not that I wasn't glad you and Gwen ended up Plumbers but an old man worries some times. "

Ben listened to his mentor missing the point he was trying to hint at, so he decided to humor his Grandfather and ask a question he already knew the answer to.

" Do you know where she is? "

" No, but I spent a month on a Harley after NASA and before the Plumbers. She's looking for herself Ben let her. "

Ben remembered the day he figured out their was no Santa and when Gwen told him professional wrestling was rigged. The magic was just gone after that.

" If you're sure she's OK Grandpa lets just take our time getting the car running "

Kevin walked into the night club Brotherson had been holding court in for the past month. The bouncer had by now learned to just let him in without any argument, and with the box of cold war secrets under his arm he was glad for it.

Making his was to a poorly lite corner of the bar area he sat down next to Big Daddy.

" One box of dusty old garbage, as ordered. "

" Mister Levin on time, and with half the trouble I was expecting, kudos. By the way I'd say look out for their pet Ninja but what would be the point. "

" What-ever, just tell me where my girlfriend is. "

" I haven't the foggiest idea Mister Levin. "

Kevin stood up slammed his hands on the table and was about to do something stupid when the large man spoke again.

" I however know who does, and seeing as the agreed payment for retrieving this little bit of memorabilia for me was her location I will of course make the arrangements. "

He took a deep breath and tried to remember where he was, and who he was talking to.

" 'Kay, what do I need to do. "

The older man smiled and Kevin knew whatever his game was he was playing it till the end.

" Aaa yes it seems the disillusion of Global Justice and reshuffling of government resources in the wake of the foundation of Providence has caused a spike in the number of contractors being hired to fill the void. It's silly really one set of budgets is frozen until the job is complete, and when something unfortunate happens they must in list outside help from a budget they are free to use. In this case a contract for mercenary services. "

Kevin shook his head, his file at GJ was a terabyte thick.

" What do they need me to do? "

" It seems someone broke into a mothballed government base and stole the steal mask of Dest . . . "

Kevin snapped.

" You have got to be crazy! They want me to find myself, and get back what I just took for YOU? "

" If they track the theft back to you, they can easily track it me. You understand our dilemma don't you? Global Justice in its death throws will reach out to me for information as it has for the past 14 years. An entire new crop of officials will need to determine if my services are worth the damage the games I play so often cause. I will refer them to you siting your skills and background. For this you will get a lucrative contract from the government and avoid prosecution if only you can insure our involvement is never discovered. "

Kevin sat down put his head in his hands.

" This is nuts, you hand the thing back to them or have me do it and . . .oh forget it. You get me what I want to know or I walk them right to you understood? "

The old man looked at him strangely

" Of course. "

Ben walked into the Nasty Burger ordered a large Coke a small fries and smiled at the cutie behind the counter.

" Say umm Valerie is it? You wouldn't happen to have see a certain local celebrity around here today would you? "

She smiled polity despite Ben's less the subtle buttering.

" He does eat here some times but we respect his privacy . . . to the point where we drum up business by selling burgers to fan boys then its all fair game. Both in the back by the fire exit, if he walks through the wall do not set off the alarm trying to chase him for a autograph please. "

Ben blinked and stood weirded out for a moment at Valerie's smile like he didn't get the joke.

" Thanks . . .I think. "

He picked up his tray, his change and walked to the back of the place finding Danny, in a both with that Tucker guy right where he'd been told he would. Danny was eating a burger, Tucker was messing around with an Iphone.

" Hay there mind if I have a seat? "

Tucker spoke first.

" Why Ben Tennyson you wouldn't happen to have Jennifer Nocturne's number on you would ya? "

Ben sat down.

" Yea I do but she's in Europe with that emo looking guy from her last movie. Guys not even remotely interested if you get my drift but they have same agent so being seen together is good for business. "

" So she is technically single then! "

Danny cut in.

" Been awhile Tennyson a while hows the amnesia? "

Ben spoke guardedly

" I almost had to go to summer school, my girlfriend was pisses at me for a month and Elena . . . well I'm here on business. Umm Either of you two seen Kevin recently? "

Tucker looked around suspiciously, and Danny took a large bite of his burger.

" All transactions are confidential. "

Ben handed him the change from his meal.

" Nine hours ago he called from rt 66 heading east towards Middleton. "

Danny pulled Tuckers hat over his face and spoke in an annoyed voice.

" Nice Tucker whats next selling Paulina strands of my hair. "

" Sam said she'd kill me if. . . .I mean I'd never do that! "

Ben tried to get back on track.

" I could use some help with something, my team is kind of understaffed. My cousin Gwen well its complicated, but I'm short help and I've got a big bad breathing down my neck. "

Danny gave Ben a look, and he thought he was going to get shot down. Then for the first time since he'd known the half ghost he was really nice.

" Sure whatever you need, just call. Not just me Team Phantom is at your disposal. . . "

Tucker tired to cut in.

" Umm I have clients now . . . "

Danny ignored him.

" and they have to wait official hero business and all! "

Tucker loaded a mobile instant messaging client and typed a quick note while the two hero's talked.

Fryer_tuck: Sam Me & Danny are at n.b. Ben T is here . .

Goth_bird_of_happiness: I'll just say I told you so before you even get started.

Kevin looked over the contract again the pudgy middle aged government pencil pusher chirping at him every few minutes.

" Do I need you call your parents or something? "

" I'm emancipated GJ had a rep at the hearing. "

" I need to see documentation on that son. "

He rolled his eyes.

" No you don't because I'm a Plumber moonlighting under the Casey Kelly accords. Even an off duty Plumber must be treated without any local restrictions due to status. Look it up if ya want. "

The older man signed the paper work without realized the loophole Kevin just quoted was meant to protect off duty plumbers on planets with strict cast systems. Sooner or later this paperwork would make it's way off world, and Max Tennyson would get a call to confirm authorizing it. Max would be on the spot, and he'd better have something good to say by then.

" So I save recipes right? "

" No son you'll have to OK any expenses with you liaison to GJ. You will have a work statement telling you what you actions you can carryout. Acting outside your statement will not be tolerated. Don't worry its written in such a way as to allow you to do your job, and protect yourself. Keep track of millage on your car you'll be compensated. You are electable for workman's comp, you've got the option of health insurance at the standard rate. . . "

" Yea earth doctors no thanks. "

" And of course you'll need to stay in contact with the intern I'll be sending with you. "

He did a double take.

" What now. "

Kevin head the door open behind him as the paper pusher talked.

" Young man I've got what is either a memento hunter looking to sell something to a collector, or a nut in his early 50's that want's the gray days of the cold war back. What I have to find out with are unpaid interns in the archiving department, and budget Congress didn't lock me out of due to a typo. I'm told you've met. "

He didn't want to turn around, but he did anyway. This was for Gwen, and he was going to play nice even with HER.

" Hello Kim. "

It was Kim Possible, and something was wrong. She had bags under her eyes, and the cloths she was wearing didn't look clean pressed. ' People like her ' thought Kevin ' don't walk around fraying at the edges '.

" Hello Kevin. "

After a long aquard moment the paper pusher spoke up.

" Alright Kimberly you'll have a charge card to that account we talked about. If you need more then that for expenses call me. I do not want to get that call but if it gets this matter resolved I'll try. Any questions? "

Kevin didn't feel right. Working for the cops as it where didn't sit right, and working with an unpleasant reminder of a time in his life he'd like to forget was pushing it even for Gwen. He tired anyway.

" Listen you seem to be short on government cash, so how would you like to just pay me expenses? "

" Why would I do that young man? "

" A friend of mine took some time off work and dropped off the radar. I'm kind of worried about her checking the GJ grape vine to see if anyone has seen her has got to be a lot cheaper then paying me. "

The paper pusher looked at him disapprovingly.

" That would be illegal Mister Levin. "

" Her name is Gwen Tennyson, and she's on a ton of watch lists already I'm sure. "

" We'll talk. "

Danny rode shotgun in Ben's car he looked around nervously as they sat in summer traffic halfway between Amity park and Bellwood. Ben spoke.

" So Captain Nemesis has had it in for me for a while now. Taking the guy down is not an issue, but alone he just tosses goons at me until the watch times out. He's out of jail on bail for kidnapping Jennifer and Julie but with lawyers as big as his I can't get the guy arrested again with a few fried androids. "

The half ghost looked in Ben's rear view mirror and imagined he saw Gwen looking back at him. Unable to keep eye contact with his daydream he tried to make conversation.

" Can't you get him under your space cop law for assaulting an officer or something? "

" Grandpa Max tells me it's earth law all the way. He's no different then someone with a baseball bat and a grudge while that suits made of earth tech. This kind of needs to get taken care of before he figures out Gwen and Kevin are taking the summer off or he might take a pot shot at my relatives while I'm out getting a smoothie. "

Danny turned in Ben's direction without looking directly at him.

" Now that Tucker's not around I been meaning to ask about your lack of side kicks. "

" They both took time off, you don't want to be in on the drama trust me. All that matters is I've done a decent job of making people think I'm not without backup. If they figure it out their will be blood in the water. "

" You seem pretty worried about this. "

" Some clown tried it a few months ago, and kidnapped my Mother. We took care of it, but I'm a little worried about collateral damage. "

Danny tried to sound sympathetic.

" Yea happened to me a few times. Makes me glad my parents and always packing energy weapons. "

" How do they get away with that? "

" Reputation. So whats the plan? "

" I make myself a target. "

Next: Nightmares

Authors notes

Well here I am again writing what I thought I wouldn't write because I can't get a few ideas out of my head. It should be mentioned this time around the story is about change, and dealing with change. So give me a few chapters and anyone being OC should be understandable as to why they are that way. This does follow Clashing Ego's and Breaking the sky but I'm trying to write this in away that makes is another story with the same cast and not part 3 as it where.

Comments welcome.

DD