Well, darling readers, here we are...the conclusion of Seduced!
Chapter 20: Endings and Beginnings
Seven Months Later…
Gwen narrowed her eyes at Kevin as he worked tirelessly on a universal translator. Ever since she came to his garage with Marcus four hours ago (AN: Marcus was first introduced in Chapter 12), the muscular teen had been ignoring them. Marcus told Gwen that maybe they should return later but Gwen was in a stubborn mood. She has reached her limit with patience and decided to yank the translator out of Kevin's hands with mana.
"Hey!" Kevin snapped. "Why the fuck'd you do that for?!"
"Kevin, Ben's been gone for months…maybe you should move on…" Gwen said, trying to keep her calm.
"Shouldn't have said that…" Marcus muttered to her. During the short time that he's known Gwen and the short introductions he had of her friends, he could tell that dealing with someone like Kevin required much tack…that or shut up.
"Move on?!"Kevin was bewildered. "I was in a relationship your cousin, Gwen — how the hell am I supposed to move on?"
"You could have started with that double date that I had set up last week with me, Marcus, you and Patrick."
"That obnoxious guy that works at Mr. Smoothy? Thanks but no thanks…"
"Then how about joining us to organise Charmcaster's baby shower?" Gwen pushed.
Kevin narrowed his eyes at the annoying redhead. "That's a chick thing…"
"Marcus is coming…" Gwen folded her arms in a stubborn manner.
"That's only because you probably threatened him…" Kevin retorted.
"That's true…" Marcus answered.
Gwen narrowed her eyes at her boyfriend. "Not helping, Marcus."
"Look, Kevin." Marcus said, deciding to finally get involved with the conversation and avoid the scary look that Gwen was giving him. "I didn't know Ben, like you do ―or did — but I'm sure he wouldn't want you sulk all day because he went away…at least consider attending the baby shower just for the fact of having Gwen stop harassing you and sending me death glares…" The last comment earned him a slap at the back of his head.
Kevin smirked, but tried to hide it. 'At least that got a positive reaction'. Marcus thought as he massaged the bruise.
"I'll think about it…" Kevin finally answered.
"We'll take that as a yes." Gwen smiled. After receiving Kevin's answer, Marcus and Gwen left to visit Charmcaster.
Charmcaster never believed that she would see the day where so many people would be at her home at the same time…
Evelyn, Cooper, Bruce, Gwen and Marcus came over to plan her baby shower; the young sorceress was now eight month's pregnant but only looked like she was five month along. "Is all this necessary?" She asked, as Gwen was reviewing the baby registry online that Evelyn and Phillip helped to set up months ago. The redhead already started to quickly click on several baby clothes to purchase for her best friend.
"Of course it's necessary, Sweetheart!" Evelyn exclaimed. "Every woman deserves to have a party to celebrate the new life she's bringing into the world!"
When Cooper spoke with his mother two nights ago, he explained that Charmcaster was upset – which was an understatement – about her uncle wanting nothing to do with her, not knowing that she was now pregnant and needed that extra assurance that family could give; Evelyn quickly suggested throwing her a baby shower as a distraction and to show that she has a new family that cared for her.
"I still don't see why we guys need to be here…" Marcus said. Even though his tone was indifferent, he was also clicking on baby necessities like bottles and bibs.
"Moral support…" Gwen answered and rested a kiss on his cheek.
"And save my brother from having this thing be too girly." Bruce muttered, which earned him a glare from his mother. He loved his family, but even he had limits.
As the afternoon progressed, the party plans were basically done. The party would be held in two weeks and the guest list would mainly be the Daniels Family, Gwen, Marcus, maybe Kevin, and a few junior Plumber agents that Cooper had introduced to Charmcaster. Finger foods have been decided to be served; it was only dessert that was left to discuss.
"I was thinking of chocolate cake as dessert." Evelyn pondered.
Charmcaster glanced at Cooper, who flinched at the suggestion; he hated chocolate. "Actually, I'm more partial to carrot cake…" She answered. Gwen quirked her brow at her friend; during the last few months, she has only seen the silver-haired girl eat chocolate. "With walnuts and raisins?"'Wait a minute…' the thought hit Gwen. 'That's Cooper's favourite dessert!'
"Of course!" Evelyn beamed. "Whatever you want!"
Gwen glanced at Charmcaster who beamed at Cooper; Marcus and Bruce also caught the gaze as well. They all shared the same thought: Charmcaster looked radiant as though in bliss; either it be from happiness by her relationship with Cooper or just the pregnancy glow. All three shared a look and smiled. Suddenly, Cooper's badge sounded a beep.
"Sorry, I have to go." Cooper gave Charmcaster a kiss and headed towards the door; Charmcaster, in turn, had a curious expression for the sudden run.
"What was that about?" Gwen questioned as she saw her best friend's inquisitive features.
"Just something I've been working on." Cooper responded; he wanted to leave the house quickly before Gwen ruffles through his mind telepathically and tells his girlfriend something that he did not want her to know. "I'll be gone for a while, but will be back as soon as possible." Before anyone else could question him, Cooper was gone.
When Ben first arrived on Anodyne, it was cause for celebration, for a male Anodyte hadn't been born in almost half a century. Ben was enjoying his extended family, meeting his father's half-brothers and sisters — even getting along well with his newly discovered romance-crazy cousin Sunny, but in Ben's heart, he still felt empty inside. Hearing Sunny's wild escapades with her lover, Antonio, made Ben miss Kevin every passing day. Even with his new extended family and some new friends practically showering him with compliments about how well he's adapting to his new powers and how well he has control over them, he longed to be with Kevin.
"You know…frowning doesn't look good on Anodytes…" Sunny joked, startling Ben from his thoughts.
Ben sighed. "I just miss Kevin…" he tried smiling for Sunny's benefit. "I guess I'll eventually get over it."
The female Anodyte simply scoffed. "Kevin's your sweetie back on Earth, huh?" Ben nodded. "And you gave him up to make Grandma Nutcase happy by training here?" With another nod from Ben, Sunny smacked him at the base of the back of his head.
"OW!" Ben rubbed the painful area. "Why'd you did that for?!"
"That's because you're an idiot." Sunny folded her arms. "Let me tell you something that I've learned from my boyfriend, Antonio — love is precious and fleeting; you have to embrace it and cherish it."
"That's actually…profound..." Ben mused.
"Yeah, I know. He's such a romantic!" Sunny gushed. "Now get back to Earth and give that lummox of yours some lovin'!"
"What about Grandma Verdona?" Ben questioned. He didn't want to upset or disappoint his grandmother.
"Leave Grandma Nutcase to me…" Sunny gave a mischievous grin and flew to where Verdona was conversing with her parents. "Hey! Mom, Pop, Nutcase!" The adults turned their attentions to the volatile young girl. "I'm heading to meet Antonio and try to make some babies!" She flew away, knowing that the idea of her carousing with the young troll-like alien would rile them up enough to follow her.
"What?!" The adults shouted. They took off, trying to stop Sunny. Yep, following her…so predictable…
Ben simply shook his head, almost laughing at his cousin's crass distraction for his escape. "Thank you, Sunny." He told her, telepathically. He felt her smile through their connection.
"Anytime, Cousin." Sunny responded. "Now a real thank you would be meeting your man and going on a double-date!" Sunny laughed, as she dodged Verdona's attempt to catch her, completely distracted from Ben's path to Earth.
As he travelled through the underground tunnels of the manor at the edge of town, Cooper knew that if Charmcaster found out that he was sneaking into Hex's home, she would freak out. With the baby due soon, Cooper figured he should try to talk some sense into the old mage about reconciling with his niece so that the child would know both sides of its family.
Travelling further into the tunnels, the temperature began to feel warmer, as though he was reaching an entrance. What he was not expecting was a blast of energy aiming in his direction, that he barely managed to dodge in time.
"Interloper!" Hex bellowed, glaring at Cooper. "You dare to enter my domain?!"
Instead of answering right away, Cooper pulled out a firearm and shot at Hex; Hex dodged easily, but did not expect the projectile to actually be a heat-seeking slug that entrapped him a neutralising energy net. "You can struggle all you want," Cooper stated coolly as Hex tried to escape. "But that net is Plumber-issued and designed to hold some of the most powerful energy users." The young blond moved closer to Hex, ready to have a serious conversation. "Now, about Hope…"
"The foolish child revealed her true name to a lowly being such as yourself?" Hex questioned. "She has gone soft."
"Well, considering that we're in a committed relationship and expecting our first child together…" Cooper answered.
"Hope is pregnant?!" Hex was perplexed over this news. "How far along is she?"
Hearing the softness in Hex's voice, Cooper knew this conversation would be civil and released the net. "The baby should be due in a few weeks, which is why I'm here now." Cooper steadied his gaze at Hex. "You're Hope's only living family and she misses you, a lot― you have no idea how upset she's been the last few months; you might not approve of me or her other friends, but do you think there's any way to move pass that and be there for Hope and our kid?"
Hex had a distant look in his eyes. "A baby..."
"Yeah,your grand-niece or grand-nephew," Cooper sighed. "Hope refuses to find out which it would be; she claims that we should be surprised when it's born."
Hex had a slight smile. "Hope is a powerful sorceress. It would not be surprising if she already knew."
Cooper held back a laugh, knowing that it could be true. "I know it would mean a lot to Hope if you came to her baby shower. It's in two weeks."
Hex began to walk away from Cooper, heading back towards the manor's underground entrance. "I will think about it."
Cooper simply nodded at the response; it might not be a direct yes ― could possibly be easily a no — but having the old mage talk to him civilly was enough for him ― for now...
Two Weeks Later...
"What am I thinkin' goin' to this thing?" Kevin mumbled to himself as he drove out of the Babies 'R Us parking lot and heading towards Charmcaster's baby shower.
Last night he was planning on spending the day working on a particle accelerator (more like moping about Ben) until he received a text from Gwen reminding him about the shower. As a means to avoid an annoying redhead coming to his door and harass/drag him to the party, Kevin caved at her subtle demand and woke up not long ago to buy some diapers, pacifiers and some toiletries for Baby Daniels.
As Kevin continued his drive, he spotted a spark of light crash into the woods. "Gwen can't kill me if I got too distracted by a shooting star or alien invasion..." He mused as he steered in the direction of the mysterious thing. Once he reached into the woods and parked his car, Kevin had a shock of his life, seeing familiar brown hair and toxic green eyes.
"Jeez, months of learning to fly on Anodyne and I crash returning home." The brunet mumbled, dusting off some dirt from his clothes.
"Ben?" Kevin called out, stirring Ben from his musings to stare back at him.
"Kevin?!" Ben ran from his spot into Kevin's arms, instantly relaxing in the warmth of the older teen's arms. "What are you doing out here?!"
Kevin pulled back from the hug to look at the smaller teen. "I should be asking you the same question."
Ben blushed. "I sorta...kinda...ran away ― or should I say flew away ― to be with you."
Kevin drew Ben back into the embrace. "You crazy kid ― everyone's gonna freak seein' you again. Actually I'm on my way to meet everyone now."
Ben glanced up to look at brown eyes, curiosity obvious in his eyes. "Plumber mission? God...I miss those..."
"Actually, I'm on my way to Charmcaster's..." Came the response. "It's her baby shower today." Kevin smiled down at Ben and steered the smaller teen towards his car. "Come think of it, this is the best time to spring your return to everyone." Ben laughed as Kevin escorted him to the car and drove to Charmcaster's.
During the ride, they caught up on each other's lives; Kevin telling Ben about his projects at the garage and with the Plumbers, while Ben told Kevin about his training on Anodyne and meeting his extended family. Before they knew it, Kevin pulled into the driveway of Charmcaster's home, getting his gift out of the car and dragging Ben alongside him to the door.
"I'm kinda nervous seeing everyone again." Ben confessed.
Kevin rang the doorbell before planting a kiss on the mop of brown hair that he loved so much. "It will be fine."
After a moment, the door finally opened. "It's about time you got here Kevin, I was about to send a search party―" Gwen started until her gaze changed direction. "Oh my God...BEN?!" She screeched and lunged at her cousin, wrapping Ben in a tight hug, as though she were afraid to let go.
"Hi, Gwen." Ben hugged her back.
"What ― Ben?!" Cooper called out and ran towards the door. "You're back?" Everyone else came running behind him, gapping at their returned friend.
Ben gave a shy smile. "Yeah, I'm back." He looked around the room, seeing familiar faces. "Wait a minute..." He paused, realising a missing face in the crowd. "Where's Charmcaster?"
"Coming!" Called out the silver-haired sorceress. "Just moving slower than usual due to the extra baggage." She smiled, rubbing her swollen belly.
Ben moved from Gwen and Kevin's side and hugged the pregnant girl. "Sorry for crashing the party..." He murmured. "By the way, you look radiant."
Charmcaster smiled at the compliment. "Thank you and don't worry about crashing. Evelyn provided more than enough food to feed an army."
Evelyn walked over, shaking Ben's hand and focused her attention on Charmcaster. "Only the best for my first grandchild," she said as she led Charmcaster back into the couch. "And how many times have I told you since this morning ― call me Mom or Grandma? I want to hear Grandma all the time!" This caused Cooper's family to laugh, leading others to laugh as well.
Cooper had an embarrassed expression and whispered to his friends. "Sorry about that...my mom is nuts." They all smiled, trying to placate the young blond Plumber as they followed him into the living room with the rest of the guests.
The party continued with much excitement; food was consumed and gifts unwrapped for the new parents to enjoy once the baby arrived. As the party began to unwind, the doorbell rang. "I'll get it." Cooper said as he got up to answer the door. As he opened the door, Hex stood, unsure if he should enter the home.
"Uncle Hex?" Charmcaster called out, shocked to see her uncle at her home.
"Yes, Niece..." Hex stated, hesitantly walking into the house and kneeled by Charmcaster's side. "Your mate had paid me a visit not long ago and told me about your...condition..." Charmcaster sat in her seat gaping between her uncle and her boyfriend. "And he said other things that made me realise that I've been an old fool. You are my niece; the last reminder of my brother and you are carrying the next generation of our family...and I would like to be a part of your life, as well as part of your child's life...if you'll let me..." Charmcaster couldn't say a word, tears flowing freely. She stretched in her seat to hug her uncle, finally feeling closure to the emptiness that she felt.
Upon seeing the family reunion, most of the guests decided to take their leave. Gwen, Kevin, Marcus, and Ben started to clean up the mess, while Hex and Charmcaster decided to catch up with their lives and introduced him to Cooper's family. As the conversation continued, Charmcaster began to flinch.
"Sweetheart," Evelyn gave Charmcaster a look of concern. "Is everything alright?"
"Yeah, I'm okay." Charmcaster responded. "Just a slight discomfort."
"Actually, I've seen you flinch a few times before." Ben said, also giving her a concerned look. "Are you sure you're not having contractions?"
"Possibly..." The silver-haired sorceress answered.
"If that's the case," Cooper said, helping her to stand and escort her towards the door. "I'm taking you to the hospital."
Without any argument, everyone piled into different cars and followed Cooper's vehicle towards the Plumbers base's medical centre.
"Cooper, you bastard! You're gonna pay for doing this to me!"
Everyone flinched, hearing Charmcaster curse Cooper for the fiftieth time as she entered her eighth hour of labour. Max eventually joined the group in the waiting room and tried to calm everyone as they waited for the birth to occur.
"Ben?" Max stuttered, stunned to see his youngest grandchild with the group. "When Gwen and Keith (AN: Cooper's grandfather was introduced in Chapter 15) told me everyone was here waiting for Charmcaster to have the baby, they never mentioned that you were here."
"Yeah," Ben gave his grandfather a sheepish look, then held onto Kevin's hand. "I missed everyone and just came back." Max gave Ben a knowing look, especially after seeing the grasp that the young man had with the older teen. He patted Ben's shoulder and took a seat next to him. "What did Verdona say when you told her that you were coming back?"
Everyone stared at Ben, waiting for an answer. "Yeah, about that..." Ben started, almost fumbling with his response. "I kinda just left...without telling her..."
"Grandma is so gonna rip you a new one when she realises that you're gone." Gwen stated, shocked at Ben's confession.
"You don't know the half of it." Came a stern voice from the hallway. "Young man, you have a lot to answer to for taking off the way you did."
"Grandma?!" Ben was ready to freak out, especially when Verdona marched across the room and grabbed her youngest grandchild by the wrist. "What are you doing here?"
"Taking you back to Anodyne." Verdona stated furiously. "Although you have become quite proficient in your powers, you're no way near the level to be considered as having complete mastery of your powers."
"I want to stay here, Grandma." Ben wretched his wrist away, leaning towards Kevin for comfort. "I want to be with my friends."
"Correction," Verdona glared at Ben and Kevin. "You want to be with him." She jerked her thumb at Kevin, not pleased with the upcoming argument. 'What is with these kids choosing love over mastering their powers?' Verdona thought.
"Before, you say or do anything rash, Verdona..." Max interjected. "Maybe we should talk ― in private?" Verdona sighed and followed Max out of the room.
"That was intense." Marcus muttered. Gwen simply nodded in agreement and turned her attention to Ben and Kevin.
Both boys had a worried expression, as though their future was hanging in the balance ― which it was, considering Verdona's involvement in the matter. Hopefully Max would be persuasive enough that Verdona would let Ben spend some time on Earth before taking him back to Anodyne.
Time just seemed to pass forever…Max and Verdona had yet to return from their chat and Charmcaster's curses at Cooper had reached an all new level as she had gone into her tenth hour of labour.
"Poor Coop…" Bruce said as he heard some colourful curses coming from the delivery room. "There's no way that chick's gonna let him touch her again."
The comment lightened the air a bit, until Max and Verdona re-entered the room, somewhat dishevelled. The Anodyte approached the young ones in the room, holding onto Ben's hands and lifted him off his seat.
"I've had a —lengthy—discussion with your grandfather just now…" Verdona started; Ben held his breath, waiting for the worst. "And we've come to an agreement that I'll be continuing to supervise your training..." Kevin got up from his seat, ready to argue, until Verdona raised a hand to calm him. "…here on Earth."
Ben couldn't answer; he wrapped his arms around his grandmother. "Thank you." He whispered, then threw himself into Kevin's arms. After so long, they would finally be together.
"What made you change your mind?" Kevin asked; he didn't want to look a gift horse in its mouth, but he had to know.
Max straightened himself as Verdona chuckled. "Max was very persuasive, as usual."
The room was quiet until realisation dawned on them. "Max, you ol' dog…" Keith quirked an eyebrow at his old friend and colleague, while the kids squirmed uncomfortably at the mental image that was conjured.
"Ahem…" A voice came from the door, interrupting the group. A doctor stood in their midst, ready to address the group. "Just to let you know, Mr. Daniels and the young lady had just welcomed their new baby into the world. I would like to invite close family members first in meeting the new addition."
"It's okay doctor." Cooper said, almost startling the doctor. "They can all come in; I'm sure Charmcaster would be okay with that." Cooper turned back into the room; his parents and brother following close behind, followed by Hex, Gwen, Marcus, Keith, Max and Verdona. Seeing that Ben and Kevin weren't following, Gwen turned to face them.
"Aren't you two coming?" She asked.
"We'll be there soon." Kevin answered.
"Yeah," Ben agreed. "We don't want to overwhelm Charmcaster so soon after giving birth."
Gwen shrugged her shoulders and turned to enter the room. Charmcaster looked exhausted, but happy as Hex held the small baby.
"What did I miss?" Gwen whispered to her grandparents; they looked mesmerised by the small bundle that was passed from Hex's arms to Cooper's.
"Everyone…meet Catherine Hope Anna Daniels." Charmcaster said, still exhausted.
"She's beautiful." Evelyn gasped, ready to hold her granddaughter. Cooper side-stepped from his mother, taking a seat by the edge of Charmcaster's bed.
He sat there, awe-struck by the new life he helped create. The small blonde baby, finally opened her eyes to reveal a soft lavender colour, speckled with sky-blue; it was like she had him in a trance. "Daddy's little siren, huh?" He said in a low voice.
"Siren…" Charmcaster mused, hearing the word from Cooper's lips.
"Congratulation," Hex said, patting the boy on his shoulder, effectively knocking him out of the trance. "You have continued a proud family tradition of a father gifting his child their spell-bound name."
The room was overcrowded with well-wishers, gazing at Catherine / Siren. The voices mingled, keeping to hush tones as Charmcaster finally succumbed to sleep and Keith took his turn holding his great-granddaughter.
"Hey," Marcus remarked. "Where are Ben and Kevin?" Everyone in the room began turning their heads — this way and that ― looking for the young male Anodyte and Osmosian.
"They should be here by now..." Gwen whispered. "What's taking them so long?"
Two bodies lay intertwined under a bed sheet of rough cotton in an unknown hospital room, away from prying eyes. After many hushed "I love you", moans and gasps, they finally separated from the afterglow of their first intimate encounter. Kevin pulled away, resting on his back on the lumpy mattress, then manoeuvred Ben close to him, the brunet resting his head on the broad shoulder of the larger teen.
"Wow..." Was the only thing that Ben was able to utter after catching his breath.
"Yeah, I know." Kevin breathed out, smiling like an idiot. "I'm awesome." Ben slapped him on his shoulder, making Kevin wince. "Okay! Joking..."
"So, where do we go from here?" Ben looked up at his lover, curious about their future together.
Kevin smiled, making Ben's heart swell. "In case the condom broke and I got you pregnant, I have a speech ready for your parents about askin' for your hand in marriage ― as long as your dad doesn't go all 'shot-gun in the back'." The comment earned him another slap on his chest. "Okay, another bad joke ― I'll stop ― but seriously?" he took Ben's chin into his hand and so that brown eyes gazed at green. "I don't know about you, but I'm in this for as long as you'd tolerate me..."
Ben leaned over to kiss Kevin. "Then I guess this is for the long haul..."
"I guess so." Kevin kissed back.
They continued to cuddle together, thinking about their future ― ignorant to their family and friends looking everywhere for them.
Here we are…finally the end of this tale.
In case you were wondering about the baby's name…Catherine was the name I was about to give Charmcaster as her true name until the episode "The Enemy of My Frenemy" was released; also, funny enough…the voice actor (actually actress) for Cooper from the original series was named Catherine!
Many thanks to everyone who has read, reviewed, favourited, from its conception in 2010. It's been one hell of a roller coaster ride writing this fic, but was worth it to make you guys happy.