Ben 10 UA – Unforgiven
West hill mental hospital 2:14 AM. Distant eyes look up at a full moon. An empty mind chased thought itself from a room with one tiny window. As ever he only succeed under the light of the moon.
Where am I?
Without what he could only just comprehend as a "door" opening he was no longer alone. A deep menacing voice filled the are.
"You are where the fools of this world leave to rot anyone with what passes for a third eye."
He looked up at his visitor, and saw a face painted like a skull under a red hood. He walked to the man anyway, fear a forgotten memory. He spoke again words lost on the rooms captive.
"Damien, I am known as Hex though in time you will call me Master. "
He tilted his head a bit "Damien" was familiar, but the concept of a name was beyond him.
"It is time boy, you to remember revenge."
The room filled with an unearthly red glow, and Hex voice echoed in the dark.
"Effrego signum quod suscitatio! "
Gwen Tennyson hefted a dusty box into a rented moving truck, and grunted with indignity.
"Uff. Kevin what have you got me doing on my Saturday?"
Kevin popped three boxes that size net to hers, and spoke.
"What this was all your idea? You where all "I want to see what you do Kevin?"".
She leaned on the side of the truck.
"Is that supposed to be my voice?"
He smiled laying on the roguish charm.
"Maybe, I'll admit it doesn't have that hotness to it, but yea."
She laughed out loud.
"HAHAHA that's laying it on a bit thick Kevin!"
"Hay that was a quality line! You get my best material you know? Granted . . . I did have my first date in the null void . . . ."
Gwen smiled though her exhaustion.
"That is the first time you really brought up your past like that. "
He put his hands around her waist.
"A slip, it won't happen again."
He was being sarcastic. He'd opened up so much the past six months, and she played along.
"Oh, don't be like that."
The pair kissed as a raven landed on the ground behind them.
It exploded like a hand grenade.
Five minutes later Gwen came too with Kevin looking down at her.
Her vision came into focus and she noticed the smoke rising off her boyfriends back.
"Kevin your on fire."
He looked at his shoulder like he was looking for a bit of lint before smacking the fire out with his bare hand.
"Usual evening with a Tennyson. You feeling OK? "
Pulling herself back to her feet Gwen sounded a bit shaken.
"Y-yea. So who was that, that hit us?"
"Truck is still here, and none of the stuff we loaded is gone. No offense but most of my enemies would have been after the payday, or at least want to keep me from getting paid. I'm guessing someone wanted to give us a nasty hello."
Gwen walked on charred ground, and bent down to touch it as another raven looked on.
"I'll never forget your mana Damien, and its all over this place."
"What did you say? My ears are still ringing a bit."
Gwen's eyes lit up as she cast a spell confirming her guess.
"I said we should get the truck some place, then start looking for whoever attacked us. "
Kevin put his hand on her shoulder.
"You know this is a storage place right? I bought the locker 'cause I got a tip it was full of alien tech. We could pull the truck into the locker and it's good."
She brushed him off.
"Right I've got some bad vibes of the spot were the blast came from. I need to pick some stuff up from my house and I think I can get face of the guy that cast the spell."
"Spell as in magic stuff? How are you sure that wasn't a concussion grenade?"
"I feel it Kevin. It's bad magic, just trust me on that."
He looked at her, and she could tell he knew she was holding back.
"OK what do we do?"
"Park the truck I need to get some stuff from home."
A teleport later Gwen was alone in her bedroom. The wards under the wall paper glowing a bit registering her entry by magic. They faded convinced she was who her aura said she was, and Gwen sat on her bed and started digging though a drawer. A pair of tin red lights light the darkness and Gwen tried to pull her hand out. She was too late.
A tiny viper with unearthly purple scales struck from the drawer and bit her on the wrist.
Gwen's eyes rolled back in her head as the venom took hold.
Three years ago Kevin Levin was a memory from a summer that changed her life, and the Omnitrix was a toy sitting in a box gathering dust. Ben was almost stand-able some days, he'd even begun to realize he needed to obey the laws of hygiene. Then there was Damien.
That spring day was all about choices. When she got out of the shower that morning she looked herself in the mirror, and chose to wear her new sun dress to school. It was against the school dress code, but this was the last week of school, and she was sure no one would care. She also chose to give Billy Jenkins a fat lip for commenting on it "being a bit nipplie out today". Her choices lead her to the bench outside the Principals office for the first time.
Damien was sitting on the other end of that bench. He was shy, kind of cute, and blushed a bit when he looked at her. Gwen chose to give him her email address, and that lead to the OTHER unforgettable summer of her life. Her first real boyfriend was lonely smart, and didn't come from the best family situation. When a pretty redhead that could honestly do better showed interest he was completely enamored.
As the world started spinning, she spoke though her delirium.
"It's magic, want to try?"
It was such an innocent idea in her mind. He needed SOMETHING to give him some confidence, and an eventual way out of that crappy life of his. His mystic aura was weak but it was stronger than Ben's at least. Then it all turned dark.
The cramps in her stomach snapped her back to reality just enough to see the snake perched on her chest looking her in the face. Out of pure spite, as if to flip off the snake for its presumption in violating her personal space and attack her in her room, and she shifted into her Anodite form. The enchanted creature dissolved as it contacted her impure energy being. The mystic venom showed inside her purple body as a black taint, and in trying to burn it off she glowed brighter.
A moment later she was human again, and with one hell of a headache. Gwen pulled the drawer out and dumped it on her bed out of anger.
Pulling out her cell.
"Kevin, I'm going to need a ride. They Keystone of Bezel it's gone. No Kevin . . please just don't call Ben!"
In Hex's mansion A boy fumed as a man looked on.
"It didn't work! Twice I tried, and she's still alive! The first time it was just luck that . . . guy was their sucking on her face, but the snake got her. WHAT IS SHE TO LIVE THOUGH THAT?"
Hex floated in the air his legs crossed, a rare smile on his face.
This one will work well if I can harness his rage.
"I have recently begun to ask that question myself, Apprentice. Once I would have said Gwen Tennyson was only a talented barbarian. However it would seem with the loss of my beloved niece more is the case. Though that misguided belief she fostered that this world may yet hold potential magic users did lead me to you."
The boy hung his head.
"I couldn't even get her with your help."
So lost and scared by betrayal. If only Charmcaster had this kind of blindness in her, she would have served so much better.
"Tell me Apprentice, why do you invest your magics with in the limited form of animals?"
"Simple, it's the easiest way to get a powerful effect. You shove a bit of your energy into an animal and it fights you for control. Big deal it's bird or a dog what can they do? Take them over and that bit you gave them gives you control over EVERYTHING they have, for a little while at least. Why not use it all?"
What a grizzly art you've discovered young one. Let us see what you can do with real power.
"It is a clever solution for one that does not know the fundamental mana building exercises of a true mage. In time if you give me your allegiance I WILL teach you. However in the mean time your enemy will come seeking you."
The boy spoke and Hex knew that he had him.
"Y-you woke me up. That means your going to help me right?"
Hex smiled an evil smile.
"Tennyson and her allies have bested me in the past. You have real potential, but we lack the time to realize it correctly. There is however a path to power both ancient and powerful. The token you stole from her is known as the Keystone of Bezel, and thanks to her it is a path I can no longer walk. You however it could make up for the time you have lost, if you do exactly as I say."
An hour later Kevin and Gwen where in an all night dinner run by an ex-plumber that catered to people in the "know" as it where.
An android waitress handed Gwen a cup of hot water and an uncooked egg. She started chanting and rubbing the egg over her wrist and her head. Kevin spoke.
"OK Gwen you need to start talking. Someones gunning for YOU, not me, and for once not Ben."
Gwen cracked the egg and glowing purple toxin making Kevin's stomach turn.
"Damien Sutherland, was my first boyfriend."
Kevin took it better than she though he would.
"I know what your thinking, you telling me something like that is going to make me want to pound the guy. Your wrong though, I want to pound him because he tried to kill me once, and you twice today. Now what did this guy do last time, that you don't want me to call Ben?"
Gwen whispered a spell and the looked into the cup.
"Nothing! He wasn't this good, hell I wasn't this good when I tough HIM."
Kevin took his cellphone out and put in on the table, as if to have it ready to call Ben if she tried to duck the question.
"Fine, I'll tell you everything."
On a hot humid summers night Gwen and Damien sat under the full moon. Summoning all his effort the boy managed to make a fist sized rock hover three inches off the ground.
"You're getting it!"
The rock dropped to the ground with a thud as Ben appeared behind him and screamed.
"Use the force LUKE!"
Ben plopped down between the two.
Gwen's face contorted with annoyance.
"BEN you broke his concentration!"
"Aunt Lily called thinking you where at my house for some reason. I covered, AGAIN."
Damien gave Ben a look.
"By covering you mean used it as an opening to come out here and bust my balls?"
"Listen Emo-boy I get that Gwen here has a huge need to spread her cooties to the world, and you're the only taker. But try to act the BOY in boyfriend OK?"
Gwen hoped to her boyfriends defense.
"You will be NICE Ben!"
"Whatever Freak, you're Mom wanted you home by 9, and my parents will be home in an hour. I can't cover after that"
The pair watched Ben hop back to his feet, and start for home.
Gwen and Damien both got up, and said their good byes.
"Can I walk you home girl?"
"We live on opposite sides of town silly."
Kevin cut into Gwen's story.
"OK so you tutored this kid in the black arts for what reason?"
"I told you his family was terrible the only reason he went to my school is because his Dad was a janitor there that got killed when some renovations on the place went bad and fell on him. He was the poor kid in the school with 2nd hand clothing no one wanted to talk to. I swear he never had a damn break that didn't double as another reason for him to feel bad. I thought if I let him in on the secret . . he could escape his life some how. "
Kevin raised an eyebrow.
"What secret? I feel like I'm walking in the middle of a the movie. "
"Sorry the big secret is what Ben and me used to call the Plumber thing. Aliens are real NASA are cave men with a dream we used to say. We argue about who owns a track of dirt while Vilgax floats over head plotting to turn the world into ashes. Did you ever just want to scream it in the middle of the mall? "
Her boyfriend smiled a little.
"And get locked in a rubber room no thanks. I do wish I could patented a few cheap ways most space freighters recycle everything half way eatable. It all tastes like crap with a capital C that and a bottle of vitamins and your good for food. Its like garbage tech that could make me a bundle one well-fair check at a time. "
He bit his lip realizing Gwen would take his head off for wanting to sell stuff to poor people. Her anger never came, she just continued her story.
"What I didn't know then, but learned later was Ben was trying to look out for me. When I learned what he was doing later I blamed him a bit like I would have noticed something if he didn't give Damien an extra reason to behave. The truth is it was MY fault. "
Bellwood mall. Damien walked around his pockets stuffed with a gameboy, a few candy bars, a really nice butane lighter and a cool looking knife.
An over weight security guard on a segway had watched him for the last five minutes, and he was looking for a distraction. Those jerk Cash and JT that made fun of them at the movies the other day Say Ben would be jealous Gwen was cheating. I mean he's a jerk and her cousin how sick can you get?
The boy focused on Cash's underpants sticking out of his sagging pants and whispered under his breath, and she struggled to force the spell into being.
The boys underwear shrunk three sizes and the delinquent fell to the ground.
"AAAA! GETUM OFF ME!"
As the security guards moved in to help the boy Damien walked out of the mall like he was the king of the world. Ben walked up behind the king, and knocked him off his throne by kicking his legs out from under him.
Ben looked down at him, and Damien saw everyone that ever picked on him rolled into one. He was close to Gwen the best thing in his sad little life, and as Ben spoke he made it clear he wanted to take that away.
"Look at you, you petty little emo punk. Ripping stuff off is one thing but if you did that magic crap wrong he could really be hurt. Not that you'd care, your just a user. Yea you got a bum deal but the name of that school of your on college stuff gets you noticed, not that you care it's just another reason to beg sympathy."
In the background someone called for a pair of scissors, and Damien's eyes glowed a light blue, and spat out a spell.
A whirlwind came from his out stretched hands and rolled over Ben like a strong breeze. Frustrated Damien screamed.
"You don't know me!"
Ben gave the young mage a look that made his blood run cold.
"Gwen's not like you she HAS a future so behave around her or else. "
Kevin ordered a coffee, as Gwen's story trailed off.
"So this guys a small time shop lifter so what? I mean no offense this guy sounds so pathetic I'm not ever threatened . . . . not like I would be if he was . . . ok keep going. "
Gwen smiled a tired smile, like she knew how this was going to end.
"No Kevin I was wrong about Damien, he wasn't what I though he was. I though he just needed that one break to really BE something. Without that summer with Ben and Grandpa I'd be . . . I have no idea where I'd be. . . but it wouldn't have anything to do with space or magic or anything that defines my life. He was just . . . one of them you know? Those people who work nine to five, and if they see something weird like well US fighting some guys in metal armor and ignore the entire thing. People like that ignore what they can't handle, like he did before he met me."
Kevin cut to the chase.
"Umm OK so how did this guy go from looser to threat?"
"By using stray dogs and cats to cast spells."
"If that's anything like this organ broker I used to know, that got busted for grafting cloned body parts into himself, I'm betting it didn't stop there."
She looked really sad as she continued.
"He always figured things out, maybe a bit slower than me or Ben would, but he wasn't stupid."
Gwen's bedroom, a later summers morning the day it ended. Ben was trying to protective.
"Listen to what I am saying your pet project is dangerous. He's like different when you're not there to hold his hand."
She was so full of herself she'd think looking back later in life.
"Oh Ben I know you've never been in a relationship, but it's totally normal to be on your best behavior around your girlfriend. "
Ben rolled his eyes.
"The EMT had to cut Cash's underpants off with wire cutters 'cause his legs went numb. Now I hate the guy more than most people but. . . "
Gwen cut in.
"You hung him and JT from a tree by their underwear once. I don't see that being worse, and even if it is I'll take care of it."
"Take care of it?"
"Sure, I got him to stop cutting himself didn't I? Oh wait. . ."
"What now? Gwen this kid needs professional help. . . "
"Why he's got me? I'm starting to think that's all he ever needed."
Kevin tried to get his head around the idea of a Gwen Tennyson half way between that summer when he met the Tennysons and when he fell for her. Somehow her being that full of herself just didn't fit, but then a gain he used to be a grade A nut case who was he to judge?
The pair pulled up in front of the burned out shell of a house on the wrong side of the tracks. Gwen got out and spoke.
"This is where it ended, he'll be here I can feel it."
Kevin got out of the car, and spoke as he armored up in green metal.
"I've been here before. Guy I know used to throw a raves here. Said the old-lady that lived here burned the place down. I'm guessing that's not what happened?"
Gwen answered him like she was a million miles away.
"When Ben showed up, Damien got angry."
On a late August night, the time for summer romance was coming to an end. One knew it, or was afraid he did, and the other still had no idea who she was really sharing her time with.
Gwen laid in front of the TV watching a movie on an ancient VHS player, and trying not to fall asleep. Her boyfriend had his arm around her wast she couldn't help but smile at the way his heart beat picked up, when she moved in closer. The fact that she was wearing her now favorite dress wasn't hurting either.
Oh yea he is so into me, totally sprung, no other girls need apply. He was cleaner and more polite than Ben when I met him, and a lot nicer. Love that cousin, but he had me thinking all guys where cave men. If only he where nicer to Damien, I was hoping it could be the three of us, once his magic got up to speed in a year or so.
Gwen rested her head on his chest, and started to nod off. Her head swimming with images of what Damien might look like after a year of her good influence.
A half an hour later the movie was over and the old VHS rewound the tape automatically, and the sound of it ejecting snapped Gwen out of her sleepiness. The sound of hushed words and flashing blue likes from the next room got her attention.
If he's trying to chill his drink and gets it wrong it'll spoil, I better help him.
Standing up, and shaking the cobwebs from her head she stood and walked to the hallway. Peaking into a side room he saw her boyfriend on the ground his mother standing over him.
"What are you doing you little freak? I slept all week again!"
He fired back his hands flashing a blue-green color.
"You sleep all week anyway, I saved you beer money idiot! SOMUS err SOMNUS!"
She fell over, and Gwen watched her boyfriend heft hes mother back into bed. After he pulled the covers over her, he turned to the door and saw Gwen standing there. The look on her face when their eyes met was a moment that would stick with both for them rest of their lives.
"Damien what did you just do to your Mother?"
He was lying and they both knew it.
"S-she drinks a lot. I figured if I gave her time to dry out. . . "
"Damien, even I can't keep someone out for days on end."
He looked so sad, like he was loosing everything, and in a way he was. Gwen cast a spell, and ended her first relationship doing it.
The spell of revelation complete bright green mana trails extended from Damien out of the room and down that hallway. She darted up that hall with him on her tail. Opening the door to his bedroom she found a horror show of dead animals, and worse live animals with glowing eyes.
"The familiar ritual you made it one-sided, their just puppet's you burn though for energy aren't they?"
"How was I supposed to keep up? I read that book of yours Gwen you blew the teaching times out of the water! I was afraid you'd find some one that . . . "
She cut him off.
"So you enchanted your mom and cut up the neighborhood strays? I got that book years ago its . . not like I. . . we can still fix this. We get ride of the animals and we talk to your mom. . . "
He spat back at her.
"She's have me locked up or make me pop pills like my old man!"
Gwen clamped her eyes shut and she felt the tears well up. Every reason she'd ever called Ben an idiot just rushed before her eyes.
"All of this is my fault, what did I do by teaching you?"
It turned to hate that fast. He started screaming, and pulled a knife.
"I knew this would happen! Every time I take a damn step I just get shoved back!"
He slashed her from shoulder to shoulder.
Gwen's story got interrupted one last time as Damien walked out of the burned out husk of a house. He was glowing a bright green, and the familiar glow of the Keystone of Bezel came from under his hospital scrubs.
"You look good Gwen. Hay this your latest project?"
"Well she does call me a "Real piece of work" all the time."
Damien spat out a spell as clumsy as ever sending a shower of sparks into Kevin's chest.
"Berdi Morado Mata! "
Gwen didn't bat an eyelash, she just walked forward her long red hair blowing in the wind.
"Damien I know your angry, but look inside! That charm is too much for you, your being used!"
He spat back at her.
"Nothing new there! KIMO CHAA!"
Bright yellow energy bolts raced at her, Gwen spoke like she was giving directions to someone on the street.
The energy bolts washed over her like rain on a windshield. Like a demon in the night Kevin was back on his feet and he jumped into the air grabbing Damien and dragging him down to earth. Gwen looked around like she'd lost her keys.
A complex web of magic filled the air between her ex boyfriend and what she now saw as Hex hovering invisible over the battle. His deep voice filled the air.
"You cost me an apprentice, and I had to find another. What do you think?"
"He's got potential, but you'll never see it. This is too far Hex you crossed the line, and you are going to regret it."
He smiled those skull tattoos of his making him look ominous.
"I think not, thanks to the boy I at last know the reason Charmcaster had such trouble with you. You have broken the old code, and walked in realms barred to your kind. I name thee Nephilim!"
A white-hot built from Hex's staff cut through Gwen like a knife to the soul.
"Nope sorry not a half angel. POTENTIA!"
Gwen let into the air and punched Hex square in the chest. Her hand hurt from the impact, and her eyes grew wide with the surprise. Hex mocked her and held up his staff.
"Close enough. Adficio maximus!"
Gwen felt the all to familiar feeling of all her power being drained away.
Twenty feet away Kevin was pounding Damien into the dirt while the younger boy grinned like a lunatic.
"Say green guy she still got that heart-shaped mole on her. . . "
Kevin shoved his elbow under his neck.
"Dude like a month ago I could have gotten away with icing you, but I'm off my energy binge so consider yourself lucky!"
Damien bit back.
"Weird cuz Hex over there is just getting started. You to know each other from rehab?"
Kevin forgot about his opponent and ran at Hex. Damien sat up and got ready to make his move.
Hex brimming with Gwen's power struck Kevin down.
"Tempestus Impaetus !"
Damien shuttered as he spoke. This time he needed to get something right.
"Reverto Ipsa Ops Suus."
Gwen's power surged back into her and Hex was in trouble. By the time they finished with each other he'd be gone.
Ben looked at both of them like they where crazy.
"Kevin when you started dating Gwen, their was this conversation we had. I'm glad to say I had your back even that early on, everyone did really. You just have to have that talk when Max Tennyson's grand-daughter starts dating an ex-con. However had it been Damien we'd have broken out the null void projector again."
Kevin looked been in the eye mainly because what he was saying was upsetting Gwen, not because he "went their".
"Tennyson you weren't there so you shouldn't be talking."
Ben started fiddling with the watch looking for the right alien. It was a habit he picked up when he was itching for a fight. Ben spoke
"This guys knows US he's nuts enough to turn his Mom into a fire-ball and he's out!"
Kevin's eyes got wide at that last detail.
Gwen stood up and raised her voice, Kevin feeling more and more like he's not really a part of this conversation.
"What do you want an other chance to go Ghost Freak and put the kid in a coma?"
"I lost control and he escaped again. Sorry I hadn't use the watch in three years, but I'm not sorry he was out of our misery till now!"
Kevin got up.
"OK that's it. I been in the middle of the movie all day. I got both your backs but no ones being straight with me on this kid. "
Gwen spoke with a labored voice.
"Kevin hang on."
He didn't turn to look at her or Ben.
"Someone needs to go looking for this kid. He's got no one and nothing left so if he gets to far we aren't finding him. You two don't have your heads in the game so it's all me. I get it whatever happened it was nasty, and you're not over it, but this guy is back and anything else he gets away with is on us."
Ben was silent, Gwen wasn't.
"I thought I was pregnant OK! Grandpa Max needed to hit me with a plumber med kit to get close that damn cut on my chest! Because of that my body was . . .I spent two months thinking I was pregnant. I didn't ask Grandpa, I didn't tell anyone but Ben. It is THE reason why he hates Damien so much."
Kevin turned around, as Ben quipped.
"No I hate him for a million reasons that's just in the top five."
Kevin sat back down, no one was going looking not tonight.
"Why don't you two start at the beginning."