A/N: Wrote this while I was gone and Sarah was tending to my account, but I'm finally posting it now. I know I haven't been doing much Gwevin lately, but this is good, I think. Written based on "Absolute Power". Gwen's POV.
Disclaimer: No, I do not own Ben 10 or any associated characters.
I was worried.
It wasn't because he was a little bit quieter. It wasn't because he was a little more careful. It was because he was acting so normal about it all even though his behavior had changed so drastically.
Kevin had become cautious; he'd turned soft, to say the least. And that wasn't the guy I'd fallen in love with. I fell for a stubborn, bull-headed, pain in the neck with too much attitude and spunk for his own good. I loved a dangerous, cunning, charming, devilish, roguish Kevin. That was my Kevin.
Even since Aggregor had come into the picture, he'd been like this. He knew his limitations the entire time and said nothing, pretending like he was fine even though, inside, he was freaking out. It seemed like he was trying to keep a positive mindset while delaying the inevitable and subconsciously preparing himself for the worst possible outcome.
Despite how stupid he may act, he knows how to plan and how to work and how to deceive. Even how to deceive himself.
Because he was preparing. He was building himself to soften the fall. He shielded us from the worst of it by taking the burden of ruining Aggregor onto his own shoulders. He set himself up by giving Ben a car, by giving us the Rustbucket, and by always letting me know I was loved.
He was preparing us to take care or ourselves whether he knew it or not.
I think the hardest part about it all was that he did know. Subconsciously. All he thought was that he was taking care of what he had: friends, family, and the world. That was all.
But somewhere, in the darkest depths of his mind, there was a tiny seed of hopelessness that never seemed to go away. He couldn't stop himself from knowing that something would always go wrong in the world. He was waiting for it.
And now that it's all over, he's pretending like nothing happened. He's back to fixing his car and being obnoxious; it's like he was never insane. In his mind, it seems as though the confrontation with Aggregor never happened. He's moving on with life with no remorse.
Again, I can see it just as I could see him putting up the shields before. He doesn't know what he's doing, exactly, but he's doing it anyways. Now, a shadow of regret glazes his gaze whenever he's quiet and alone. He doesn't sleep much anymore, or at least he sleeps less than he used to. He avoids using his powers to a certain extent. He's falling fast and hard, afraid of the future and upset over his own actions.
Yet he doesn't realize it, doesn't talk about it, doesn't acknowledge it. He kind of forgets about it and ignores it. He pretends like it never happened.
"Are you alright?"
He tears his eyes away from the open garage door where he's been staring for the past five minutes. A cloudy haze clears from his obsidian orbs. "Fine," he says dully. After a pause, he purses his lips and asks, "Why?"
I slip my feet out of my flats and tuck my legs under me on the garage's couch; I avoid looking at him, instead choosing to brush a few strands of hair away from my face and keep my eyes on the floor. "Well, I'm worried about you. You don't talk about it or anything. It's just like it never happened..." I try not to specify.
Kevin, curiously, tilts his head to one side and gives me a questioning look. "Talk about what?" he asks, voice husky and gentle.
"About, you know," I continue, trying not to be too awkward. "About going insane."
He doesn't react for a long moment. He's quiet. He's dark. Kevin finally looks at me. "I don't want to talk about it."
I glance his way, concern written on my face. I can't hide it; I'm worried about him. "But you act like it didn't happen. And if you bottle it up-"
His sharp voice cuts into me like a knife. I try not to take offense. Kevin is the way he is and I'll never be able to completely change it.
"I'll bottle it up and eventually it'll get to me and blah blah blah. I'm aware, Gwen. What you don't seem to get is that I ignore it because I don't want to remember it." His eyes are dark, and his tone is serious. Those rough lips are set in a grim, flat line. "I hated how I was, and I never want it to happen again."
A pang of guilt hits me. I look away, trying not to let it get to me or else I know I'll tear up; the thought of him going insane always makes me want to cry. I want to keep it from ever happening again. I love him too much to want him to get hurt like that. No more.
"Some part of me still craves that power. It's in my DNA. I can fight it, but I can't change it." A sigh echoes through the darkness. Kevin moves away from the open garage door and out of the night air, nearing his car as he shoves his hands in his pockets. "The less I think about it and talk about it, the better. It's safer that way, especially when I'm around you."
Ben and I never considered that my mana would have lasting effects on Kevin. "But you're better now," I say. "You're strong enough-"
"Gwen," he mutters, "I don't want to talk about it anymore."
I open up my book again, swallow hard, and try to focus on the words through the tears that are suddenly burning in my eyes. And I don't even know why I'm crying, just that I am, and it makes me feel so weak... Maybe I'm scared that he won't be strong enough to resist, that he'll kill me, and-
One heavily calloused hand rests on my shoulder, and I look up quietly. "But I will promise to fight it. I regret everything I did, Gwen, and don't you ever forget that."
Because he's fighting himself, protecting us, and pretending like it didn't happen. So he doesn't lose his sanity again.
A/N: Review? Thanks for reading.