MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYONE! (PLEASE READ AUTHOR'S NOTE BELOW!)

Okay, now that's been said, I'm updating with another new chapter. I had a reviewer practically beg me for a new chapter before Christmas but unfortunately, I wasn't able to deliver due to my hours at work and preparations with Christmas at the time. I've been working a bit this week but I thought you guys deserved a new update because you guys are awesome and I love just how many people have favourited, reviewed and story alerted The Legacy Anodite! Thank you guys, you make me happy to get up and write everyday!

I have to say that I was a little disappointed by the small amount of reviews that I got but I guess it's just because this story is just starting off. I'm just glad that my readers are taking the time to review for me. I love you guys so much!

But as with any writer of a story, the more reviews I get, the more chapters that come out and the sooner they are completed and uploaded.

Enjoy the new chapter of The Legacy Anodite!

Chapter Three: Come on, Lover Boy.

Two hours later, Gwen and Kevin padded softly up the stairs in their bare feet. They'd decided to have a small nap on the couch before Kevin had to drop Gwen home. After waking up slowly in each other's arms, dipping for a slow, loving kiss, they disentangled themselves from each other and padded softly up the stairs, intent on saying goodbye to Ben and wondering if Ronnie needed a lift home.

What they found was both surprising and a little endearing.

Ben and Ronnie were curled up in each other's arms, breathing deeply. Their eyes were closed and both had a content smile on their faces. Any evidence of their earlier crying had evaporated along with the weight on Ben's shoulders. It was the first time Gwen had seen Ben sleeping peacefully since his secret was exposed and especially after Julie's betrayal. Gwen fumed at the black haired tennis player. Julie had always promised to be there for Ben, no matter what, even when his secret wasn't a secret anymore. But, like everyone else when they found out, she eventually turned on Ben when she felt like she wasn't the centre of his life anymore.

Gwen took to comforting Ben at night when he was afraid to sleep, terrified that the scene of Julie's betrayal would replay in his unconscious mind. It took some time but eventually, Ben began to put that horrible day behind him.

Gwen had to restrain Kevin from going after the little heartbreaker when Ben had called them in tears, wailing in agony as Julie ripped out his heart and dragged it all over town. While Kevin still upheld his rivalry with Ben (along with all the teasing), Ben was Kevin's best friend and if his best friend was hurt, someone was going to pay.

Ronnie suddenly shivered on the bed. Ben's slighly muscular arms that were around her tightened, bringing her closer to his chest and more warmth. Ronnie sighed with satisfaction. Her head was now tucked under Ben's chin and his nose was in her hair, inhaling her scent.

Gwen smiled at the sight while Kevin smirked. He was definately going to win!

Slowly, the two teens on the bed awoke in each others arms.

The first things Ben was aware of was the smell of roses wafting into his nose and something soft under his chin. He snuggled his head closer to the smell and further into the softness, content on just lying there. Seconds later, his sleepy glazed eyes fluttered open with the bundle in his arms began to move. As they focused, Ben saw that the softness he'd buried his head into was actually Ronnie's hair.

Sighing, Ben closed his eyes again only for them to snap open when his foggy brain realised that Gwen and Kevin were watching them from the doorway. Ben glared at the couple as Kevin smirked and Gwen 'aww'ed' silently.

Suddenly, Ronnie began thrashing on the bed. "N-No... No... Go away... Leave us alone!" She was screaming by the end. Sobs rose up in her throat and tears leaked out of the corner of her eyes. Ben, panicking as usual, shook Ronnie roughly, desperately trying to wake her up before she hurt herself. Despite Ben's efforts, she still thrashed hard, trying to fling Ben's hand off her shoulder. He wouldn't let go, using his free hand to grasp her other shoulder and try to shake them in unison.

"Ronnie! Wake up! You're safe, it's okay! Wake up!" Ben had to yell to be heard over Ronnie's screams.

"No! Leave me alone!"

"Ben, be careful. She might accidentally use her powers if she's in this nightmare too deep," Gwen said, concern rising in her for the girl that, although she'd known her for only a few hours, Gwen could feel just how much her presence had lifted Ben's spirits.

"I know what I'm doing, Gwen! I've had to wake an Anodite from a nightmare before, you know!" Ben growled, almost wrestling with Ronnie's flailing limbs to avoid being smacked, punched or kicked. Gwen flinched at the reminder of one of her more viscious nightmares three years ago that Ben had to awaken her from when they were on a family camping trip with their parents and Grandpa Max. She'd woken up and found someone over her, holding her down, and attacked, sending them flying through the opening and on a collision course with the tree just outside the tent's entrance. A moment later, her groggy brain had registered that the person who had awoken her was none other than her dweeb cousin, Ben. She'd rushed out of bed, apologizing profusely but Ben waved off her apologies, telling her that it wasn't her fault he'd scared her fresh from waking from a nightmare. Surprisingly, Ben hadn't been hurt from the collision, not a scratch on him. It had confused Gwen but she was more concerned about her nightmare.

She eventually told Ben that she'd dreamt that Vilgax had come back and killed him because he didn't have the Omitrix. She'd had to dream of his head rolling along the ground as Vilgax sawed it off. The part where she finally awoke was when Ben's bright green eyes, identical to her own, rolled in her direction, stopping on her tear stained face. The lips of his disembodied head moved as he whispered to her, "Why didn't you save me?"

From then on, despite Ben's reassurances, she'd constantly looked for any danger towards him, going as far as hanging around him at school. His friends had playfully teased him until Gwen put a stop to it. When Ben got the Omnitrix back, Gwen finally relaxed, content that Ben could hold his own with the very same device that had gained him those dangerous enemies across the galaxy, as well as some powerful allies.

But she still worried every once in a while.

"G-Go away!" Ronnie screamed, her voice broken by her ever existance sobbing. Ben tried once more to wake Ronnie before something happened.

Ronnie's eyes snapped open, glowing a bright striking purple. A vine of purple mana wrapped around Ben's waist, lifting him up off the bed. He was still for a moment, eyes glassy, before his eyes focused again and he struggled.

"Ben, don't struggle! It'll seem like you're trying to free yourself to hurt-" Gwen swiftly dodged as Ben's wiggling body was flung in their direction. Kevin caught Ben right before he hit the wall on the far side of his room, next to his wardrobe.

"-Her," Gwen finished warily, her point now useless. She crossed her arms and focused her mana, trying to communicate with the still unconscious Anodite. She send calming waves to Ronnie, being careful to avoid her mana vine that had begun to search out anyone who her instincts suspected of harming her. As Gwen dodged another of the vine's attempt to grasp her waist, the calming waves she sent to Ronnie were finally getting through. Ronnie slowly stopped thrashing and her mana disappeared. Her eyes faded back to their unnaturally bright blue.

"Huh?" Ronnie sat up in Ben's bed, looking around the room as she realised that the light coming from the window now was moonlight. She'd slept longer than she thought!

She spotted Gwen, Kevin and Ben along the far wall of the room, Ben absentmindedly rubbing his right shoulder which had connected with the wall, despite Kevin's attempt to prevent that. Kevin looked at her with sympathy and concern. He knew what it was like to have nightmares that kept you trapped within their grasp, no matter how much you wish you could escape. He'd had them alot in the Null Void.

Gwen looked at her with concern, sympathy and understanding. Knowing just how bad her nightmares could be, Gwen wondered what Ronnie was dreaming about to have such a strong reaction. Although, it seemed even though her unconscious instincts still threw Ben towards the wall, her unconscious mind seemed reluctant to attack Ben. It left something for Gwen to ponder over.

Ben looked at his best girl friend with tears in his eyes. When the mana vine had grabbed him, he'd seen some of her nightmare. Somehow, her powers had recognised him for a split second and shown him a vision of Ronnie's dream.

He saw Ronnie kneeling on the ground, her arms and legs tied together to stop her from running. Two shadows were holding her upright, making her watch the show going on below her. As the dream progressed, Ben saw Kevin, Gwen and himself in separate dens. Each den was over thirty feet tall and sixty feet wide. Gwen was in the far left, Kevin in the far right and himself in the middle. Each den had an entrance that was about eight feet high and curved at the top. It looked like the Roman Colosseum.

Through the entrances, three terrifyingly large lions stalked out. Their noses flared as they caught the scent of their pray. Gwen was huddled far away from the lion, a mana shield surrounding her. The lion charged at her with an almighty roar, easily slicing through Gwen's shield before closing it's jaws around her thin neck. She screamed.

Kevin dodged the lion like a bull-riding entertainer. The lion slammed into the concrete wall, momentarily stunning itself. Kevin heard Gwen scream and called out to her, tears springing to his eyes as her scream was cut short. Growling with a renewed anger, Kevin tried to absorb the concrete in the walls but the wall crackled with electricity and shocked his hand, rendering his power useless as the refreshed lion stalked closer. Kevin spun around, staring at the lion with thinly veiled fear. A second later, the lion had claimed its victim.

The third lion walked towards a distraught Ben, who had tears running down either side of his face. He'd just heard his cousin and best guy friend being attacked by the other two lions and he knew the others had not survived. Instead of preparing to use his Ultimatrix to stop the lion, the Ben in the den tilted his head back and locked eyed with Ronnie. The real Ben could see the crystal-like tears spilling over her lids and down her cheeks.

"Why couldn't you save us?" The dream Ben asked.

A moment later, the dream Ben became the latest lion victim.

Ronnie had thrown him then, the dream cut off. Seconds later, he was being held up by Kevin and Ronnie was stirring awake.

Ben walked over to his best girl friend and saw tears in her slightly red and puffy eyes. He took a seat next to her and brought her into his arms. "It's okay, you're safe now. That will never happen. We'll never leave you, not like she did," Ben whispered in her ear, rocking her lightly. He said the last word with a tone of disgust.

During their friendship with each other, Ben and Ronnie had gotten to know each other's back stories. Ben's parents were always a little too mellow, trying to hard to be 'cool parents'. His Grandpa Max was always fun to be around, despite his unusual taste in cooking ingredients. His cousin, Gwen, used to fight with him all the time, although they were family at the end of the day. But Ronnie didn't have such a happy back story.

Her parents had a happy relationship, a happy marriage. Then they had their little pride and joy, Veronica Alyce Myers. But when Ronnie was just four, her mother abandoned her and her father, saying that she was getting bored of living a human existance and decided to leave after not finding the Anodite spark in her daughter. She'd never returned.

Ronnie's father had allowed himself to be swallowed up by grief, leaving his daughter to fend for herself. Ronnie learned how to cook, clean and get to school by herself all on her own. One day when she was seven, Ronnie fell off the swing at the playground at school and broke her arm. It's what finally brought her father out from his shell of sadness and he'd been much better ever since. He still got sad on the anniversary of his wife's abandonment but he could see just how much better his daughter was knowing that it was her father who was looking after her now, not herself.

Gwen and Kevin watched on in sympathy. Although the sight was endearing, it was also sad. Finally, after Ronnie's tears had subsided, Gwen spoke in a quiet voice. "Ronnie, would you like a lift home or stay here?"

Ronnie thought for a second. She'd love to stay exactly where she was but her dad was probably worried sick about her. It was time for her to get home.

"If it's not too much trouble, could I get a lift home? My dad is bound to be worried sick," Ronnie said just as quietly. The more she thought about her dad, the worse she felt knowing that he would be worried because of her.

A rough hand was placed on her forearm. Ronnie looked up at the person who the hand belonged to. Kevin smiled softly at her. "We'll get you home in no time. I'm sure your dad knows you'd never abandon him too."

Ronnie smiled back, thankful for both the lift home and Kevin's words. She looked back at Ben, reluctant to leave. Ben smiled at her, silently reassuring her that nothing had changed. He was still her best friend and she was still his best girl friend. The best friends hugged each other again. At least until Ben was pulled up by the top of his ear.

"Come on, Lover Boy. Miss Ronnie here has to get home. Time to say goodbye," Kevin said, smirking when he heard Ben's whispered mantra of "owie, owie, owie," over and over.

Ronnie giggled lightly but Gwen glared at her boyfriend. Ronnie and Ben were having a moment and he totally ruined it!

Feeling Gwen's glared, the Osmosian let go of Ben's ear, watching as the brunette's hand jolted up to rub the abused part. Ben pouted, a tingling feeling at the top of his ear and a very different tingling around his left hand, which Ben realised Ronnie was holding. Together, the best friends walked down the stairs, silently communicating with their eyes. Gwen walked over to her boyfriend and watched the two leave the room, before slapping Kevin on the back of the head.

"Ow! What was that for?" Kevin grumbled, rubbing the back of his head softly to soothe the pain.

"They were having a moment and you had to ruin it by pulling on Ben's ear! Kevin, you really need to think before you do something," Gwen snapped, irritated with her boyfriend. She moved to the doorway and paused, turning back to a slightly stunned Kevin. "And the only one allowed to pull Ben's ears is me!"

Gwen hurried down the stairs, giggling to herself at the look on Kevin's face.