A/N: Just something I picked up on in the episode "Ben 10,000 Returns". Not the best episode in my opinion…

Disclaimer: I don't own anything.

The Future

To say he was distracted was an understatement; his mind was literally in another world, one that didn't yet exist due to the time continuum that he was in. Something about time, something about the future, something about the past, always seemed to trip him up. The only thing Kevin could ever be certain about was the present. It was the only constant in his life, the only thing that never changed, the only thing that could never be altered by anyone other than him. He wanted to be the one who controlled his world. No one else would touch his future. No one.

But here was the initial thought he'd had: why had nothing been said about his future? He'd heard that Gwen was going to be president of the world. Ben was going to be in control of the world, even if only for a little while. Ben. In charge of the world. That had horrible written all over it. Things could only go badly with that.

Gwen as president, that sounded great. Gwen was always organized enough to be president. Kevin had always thought she would live up to that perfectly. Gwen was perfect to begin with; being president was such a big responsibility and if she could manage tutoring him for his GED, saving the world, and keeping Ben from accidentally killing himself, there was no question about Gwen being president.

But how about himself? How was the future looking for him? Would he live up to what his teammates would become? Ben would always be a hero, that was a given. Gwen would be president.

Where did Kevin fall into this crazy dynamic of the future? How did his future work? The better question was did he even have a future? Did he end up dead? Did he end up as a hero like Ben? There was no way he was ending up as president like Gwen, but he wanted to be able to do something good.

Maybe he would be like Hulca and train Plumbers. Maybe he would wind up being away on some distant mission for the Plumbers. Maybe he would end up in a hut somewhere hoping that he wouldn't be killed. There were a hundred different endings to his life. That was that. Of course, he wanted to be on a mission, working for the Plumbers for the rest of his life. That was his ideal future.

"Gwen?" he asked as he sat in her room, watching her pore over a book with her jade eyes flickering across the pages and drinking in every single word. His dark eyes analyzed her slight frame as she looked up at him.

"What is it?" she asked, emerald orbs watching his face. Gwen had to take a second to refocus her eyes from the reading that she had been doing. The girl found herself staring at Kevin. She read his face immediately. Upon his face was written questions, some deeper than others. She knew him maybe a little bit too well, knowing he was slightly afraid while he was voicing her name. Gwen was able to pick up the nearly inaudible waver in his voice. He was thinking, and she could sense it.

Kevin was quiet for a little while, flipping a page in the book that Gwen was making him study slowly and deliberately. The boy had to take a few breaths in before he could ask his question in all sincerity. He didn't even really want to voice this comment, but he felt that he had to. This was something serious to him and only Gwen would understand it. She was the only one who ever really took him seriously. "Did you notice that no one said anything about my future?"

Of course Gwen had noticed; she had the uncanny ability to notice subtle little things. Little, little things. Even the lack of things that were said she had picked up on in that conversation. The redhead had noticed that her own future and her cousin's had been spilled (or at least bits and pieces of it had been) and yet no one had said anything about Kevin.

The girl had never been one to assume the worst. She usually considered herself to be a pretty optimistic person in comparison to her boyfriend. Her cousin's viewpoint usually varied on the day and his relationship status, but she was almost always very positive. That was how she used to see things.

Since thinking of the fact how Kevin's name hadn't been brought up by Paradox or Ben 10,000 worried her just a bit. She knew he had a dark past, and she knew Kevin's future didn't always look the brightest, but she at least hoped that he had a future. She had thought more than once that maybe the subtle implications by the lack of her Osmosian's name being mentioned was somewhat saying that maybe he wouldn't be alive in the future, but part of her was denying that even being a possibility. She wanted to be able to look at the world and imagine that her boyfriend was with her twenty years in the future, but she knew that not everything would work as she imagined it would. Gwen would only have to accept this as a fact of life.

"Yeah, I noticed," she said quietly, fingering the pencil that was curled in her hand. Gwen was quiet after that; her emerald gaze drifted from her boyfriend's perfectly chiseled features to the books that she had sprawled out in front of her. She had been helping Kevin study for his high school equivalency test for weeks now, and they were now on their final review session before he would head off to take his exam in the morning. "But that doesn't mean anything, Kevin."

He flipped another page of his book; his obsidian orbs didn't even graze the words that lined the pages. Kevin no longer felt the need to do all this studying. What would be the point if he didn't have a future? "And what if it does?" he countered softly. The Osmosian's dark gaze was level with that of the Anodite. "What if it means I'm not gonna make it to see a future?"

"Come on, Kevin," she said quickly. The girl didn't want him being negative again; he was already pessimistic enough as is. Gwen's gaze strayed away from the dark eyes of her beloved. "Don't look at it that way." Her posture was commanding. She was ready to take control if she wanted to show him that he was going to have a future. "Look at it like you don't know what you have to look forward to. I already know I'm going to president and that'll be boring because now I know what path I have to follow. Ben knows what path he has to follow too. You've got an open slate."

One hand ran through his ebony locks. Kevin quietly shifted from sitting up on his elbows to rolling onto his back, head then hanging over the edge of the bed so that he was looking at Gwen upside down. "I don't want an open slate. I don't like not knowin', Gwen." His onyx eyes fell shut and succumbed to the darkness that hid behind his eyelids. "I don't even wanna take this stupid test if I'll just die in a few years. I mean, look at my dad. He didn't even see it comin'. He probably thought he had a future too, but I'm already gettin' the heads-up that I'm not gonna be around, ya know?"

Gwen's face automatically grew morose and dark. A haunted look glazed her jade orbs. "Don't you dare think like that, Kevin Ethan Levin." Her voice held a harsh, demanding tone. "You've worked too hard on this test to give up now."

"I'm not givin' up," he defended weakly, now turning himself again so that he sat up on his elbows. Kevin was watching his favorite redhead with those dark eyes. "I just want to know what's gonna happen to me. Am I gonna end up with you? Am I gonna end up dead? Will I ever get to be a serious Plumber like my dad?" The boy flipped another page of his book. "I'm not givin' up, don't worry 'bout that, Gwen. I don't wanna give up yet."

This was a relief to Gwen. As long as he wasn't giving up yet, she was satisfied. The girl quietly twiddled the pencil that was nestled in the little pocket between her fingers. "Good." A nearly silent sigh slipped her lips; he wasn't giving up yet. That was what she wanted.

"I just wish I knew what's gonna happen to me, ya know? I don't wanna be wasting the time I've got left chasing dreams I'll never be able to fill." Kevin ran one finger along the top of a page, looking at the words but not soaking in any of the information. "We both know that the odds of me being dead or insane are pretty high." His words trailed off.

"Don't think about that," insisted Gwen, finally rising from the chair at her desk and moving over towards him. She fixed her skirt a bit before sitting on the side of her bed, close to him. "You're smarter than that. Look at all the things you've learned in a couple of weeks. You don't need to worry about the future. Not yet."

A thin smirk crossed Kevin's lips as one calloused hand reached up to tangle itself into the hair of the beautiful Anodite. "I should probably focus on tomorrow first, shouldn't I?" He knew he should've gotten right back to studying, but he was rapt with watching Gwen's lithe, gorgeous form. He knew that if he didn't have the future he was hoping for, he'd want every present moment he had with this redhead.

She returned the smile, hers more innocent and shy than his cocky grin. "Yes, you definitely need to focus. You have to be at the testing center in-" Her jade gaze flitted to the clock that shone its glaring crimson numbers on her bedside table. "-eleven hours."

Kevin threw his head back with one, lonely laugh. When Gwen raised an eyebrow at him, he just gave his coy answer, "Eleven." No matter where his future took him, he would always have these moments with his beloved to remember.

A/N: I liked this. The end was just something cute to wrap it up in. So review? Please?