A/N: Partially inspired by Amy Raine's fic "Parallel". (Seriously, go read it.) I guess everyone kind of has those alternate universe thoughts where what if this happened, and yeah, I had that thought. We question these things, so why can't the characters? Just a little drabbling drabble for you. Enjoy!
Disclaimer: I do not own Ben 10.
A Hundred What Ifs
He had pondered over the meaning of life a hundred times.
He had looked at the same picture a hundred times.
He had seen a hundred different what ifs.
Kevin was never a thinker; he had always preferred to be a doer, to work with his hands instead of his mind. He was bright enough to come up with elaborate schemes and plan extravagant car blueprints, but never had he used his mind outside of that box. Until he had stared up into his dark ceiling and had a single twisted thought.
What if his father hadn't died?
Of course, the reality that he was living in was one of warped imprisonment. He was a captive of his own mind, of his own suffering. Kevin was never a thinker, but when he had one thought, it led into a dangerous chain of thoughts. That chain would lead into a train and that train would be faster than a speeding bullet. When that boy did think, his thoughts were deep and detailed. That was why he didn't think. He was almost afraid to see what his mind was truly capable of.
But that single thought was something that he realized could've pivoted his whole life in one direction or another. Maybe if the shot hadn't hit his father so badly. Maybe if it had only clipped him or something, anything. Kevin just wondered how many different ways the scenario on that ship could have played out. Hell, there were probably a hundred ways for that to have gone over. Kevin didn't even have to question it. Hundreds? No, probably more like thousands. The outcome could have only gone a few of those ways though.
But it wasn't just that that had ruined most of his life. What about Harvey? What would've happened if his mother had never married again? Kevin had hated Harvey with a burning passion for so long before caring about him that that seed of resentment built up again and bloomed into a toxic flower whenever the step had ever raised his voice. Kevin had never had the best self-control.
But of course, where had his self-control vanished? When had that happened? That little deciding factor of his behavior had been determined shortly after his father had sacrificed himself.
So many tiny details had factored into who he had turned out to be in the end... So many tiny, tiny details...
His father's death had resulted in him being picked on, him being short tempered, him being so vulnerable on an emotional level. Everything in his life had been determined by that one moment when a life he loved had been taken out of his grasp forever.
His mind kept whirling; thoughts were cranked out before he knew where the train was headed. And if he hadn't become a criminal after leaving home? He could've just as easily found a foster home and been taken in by someone instead of staying on his own and deciding to live a life of crime. What had influenced that choice? The fact that the law had taken his father. So he would fight the law.
And what if he had actually taken up on Benjamin Tennyson's offer back when they were kids? To go on that summer road trip with the family that had extended a hand of friendship? Maybe he wouldn't have gone to the Null Void. Maybe he wouldn't have been so tortured. Maybe he wouldn't bear so many scars. Maybe that part inside of him that had died would still be alive. Maybe he would've been able to trust people.
To flip that coin again, to take up that offer, would've meant being nearer to Gwen all those years. But the risk of that would've been the dreaded friendship status that is the barrier of all love. Kevin almost felt good about his decision of turning down Ben's offer as a child. Reflecting on it, he figured he had it better now than it could've been after being in that RV with the two Tennysons and their grandfather.
Because now he was faster, stronger, smarter, cockier. He had everything that he would need to be a hero now; he had the skills he never would've gotten had he not gone to the Null Void. Sure, there had been a streak of bad luck, but he still had the rest of his life ahead of him to fix that little problem.
Which led him to wonder what would have happened had he not met up with the Tennysons again. What could have happened had he not joined their side this time? They could have turned him to the streets again. He had a car. He had a license. He could get food, buy himself a place. There was no question as to what he could do if they cut him off of his criminal background, but what could have happened had they been less merciful? Kevin knew that his best friend was easily capable of killing him...
He shook those thoughts from his head. Kevin didn't want to relive those moments.
What if they hadn't hacked the Omnitrix? Well, he wouldn't have been a self-conscious mutated freak of nature. Maybe he would've felt more confident with himself. As if there wasn't already a self-loathing complex mixed into his already mangled personality, being a monster was not much of a help to him. Every day, he had thoughts less and less of himself until there was a point where he could go no lower, fade away anymore. He was cured now, but that didn't stop the shadow from his previous forms casting over his human skin and body.
Gwen... What if he had never been lucky enough to win her heart? What if he had never been good enough for her? He already knew she deserved better, but if she was sticking loyally by his side, who was Kevin to complain? He loved her more than the world; he wouldn't give her up for anything. Her life came before his own.
What if he hadn't saved his redhead from Morningstar? The guy was a complete jerk to his girl, and he had stood on the sidelines with his jealous heart and angry fists, waiting, watching, waiting, watching. Every other thing would just be an impulse, but there were some things that he could only step around carefully instead of jumping in headfirst. Morningstar was one of those things.
Kevin was glad that he had cut off that little problem before Gwen had gotten in over her head.
What if he hadn't absorbed the Ultimatrix? What if he hadn't saved the universe? He had been afraid. He had been horrified of what he could become. Reflecting on his childhood and how cruel he had been under the influence of the energy, he had resolutely resolved to never go back to that mindset. Yet he had. To save the universe. To save his friends. To save his mom. To save Gwen. The ultimate sacrifice. His sanity for his loved ones, if they would make it past his wrath. If he hadn't done that to stop Aggregor... would the world be in ruins?
He was cured now; the world was safe. But that didn't stop Kevin from wondering what the consequences of not acting would have been. Would he have lived to see another day? Would he have regretted living the rest of his life, knowing that he could've done something else to save them all? Just another what if in the hundreds of them that were fluttering about his mind like nervous butterflies in the warm summer winds.
What if he went back to his life of crime now? If he dropped his badge off the next day and took his car out of the shop and began trading tech, what would happen? Would he get another chance? He had screwed up so many of the others that he was almost afraid to mess up again. Kevin had tried to play it cool and calm for so long, but part of him was melting down inside. There was a fear of breaking down, of losing it just for being so good all along. If he left this hero business to return to stabbing everyone in the back...
It was just another what if in the long chain of his mind's quickly moving thoughts. He just wished he could stop thinking even if just for a moment, yet his mind continued to throw him more thoughts that made his stomach churn.
What if he had killed Gwen in his mutated form?
This thought made his heart drop. His blood turned ice cold in his veins. Because what if? If he had killed her, he would've had to kill himself right after. He never could have been in a world where there was no Gwendolyn Catherine Tennyson there waiting for him at the end of the day. She was his world. If his hands had ended her life, Kevin would have had to commit suicide right then and there. He had no place in a universe that didn't have his only soul mate. A heavily calloused hand ran through his ebony locks. What if he had been her murderer?
This one was, to his relief, only another what if.
There was a single soft footstep outside of his bedroom door where he lay in the darkness, contemplating his hundred what ifs. His ears traced the sound of the doorknob turning just as his orbs of obsidian caught sight of the slivers of light around his door shining a bit brighter as the big wooden door moved away from its friend the frame. Kevin could barely make out his beloved redhead's lithe figure in the doorway's golden glow, her hair as fiery as the red-hot sun in the cerulean summer sky. "Kevin?" came her whisper through the slight crack in the door. "Are you awake?"
He just shifted, knowing she would take it as an answer. His dark eyes continued to watch her as she pushed herself into the room through the tiny open space that the door allowed her to squeeze in through. Kevin's gaze followed her thin form as she delicately stepped over the junk that littered his floor while making her way towards her bed.
His mother was out of town and, not wanting to leave him home alone all weekend, the Tennysons had opted for a sleepover to keep their teammate company. Gwen had taken the couch while Benji had decided on a sleeping bag outside. There had been a bet and somewhere along the line, the brunette Tennyson had lost, leaving him outside in the pouring rain with an umbrella and a sleeping bag. The umbrella had been the Levin teen's act of pity.
Gwen finally found his bed in the darkness and gently lifted the blankets off of his warm body to allow herself under as well. Once comfortable, her body pressed tightly to his, the redhead asked, "What are you thinking about?"
He wasn't keen on telling her what he was thinking, but he would tell her anyways. Kevin was never one to like keeping secrets from those most important to him in the world. So he waited until she had snuggled in as close as she could get to him before telling her what was on his mind. He felt her heart beating in-sync with his own and that alone made him feel more reassured with his words. "What would you do," he asked, voice gentle, "if I hadn't been born?"
Not at all surprised by his question, the girl reached up with one careful hand and stroked his pale cheek with the pad of her thumb. "I would live alone, never having my only one."
Kevin was fine with her simple answer; he wasn't expecting a long one. So the Osmosian gingerly reached his hand up into the crimson mane of his Anodite, playing with her scarlet locks until he knew she had succumbed to her dreamland. And as he ran his calloused fingers through her vibrant red hair, he realized something.
No matter the hundred what ifs that had happened in the past, he was grateful that he had ended up in this future. He wouldn't change a thing.
A/N: I haven't written enough fluff for Gwevin lately. This idea popped into my head from Amy Raine's story "Parallel" (again, seriously, go read it) and whaddayaknow, I toss some fluff into it! Reviews are appreciated!