A/N: Sorry again for the late update, but I hope you forgive me with this long chapter =)
". . . So, I'll see you tomorrow then?"
"Uh, yeah alright." Ben replied, hearing a satisfied sigh emit from the other end of the cell phone. He waited until his cousin dropped the line first before closing his phone himself.
What a way to spend the weekend.
Ben fell down on his bed, clasping his hands under his head and stared at the white ceiling above him. After Gwen had called him to hang out at Mr. Smoothies with Kevin, Julie and herself, the teenage hero felt slightly restless. Not because of the idea itself, but because of the fact that he would confront his red-headed cousin in quite a long time.
Damn, stupid dreams! Why the hell – about your own cousin! Aagh, stupid hormones!
The same dream had been plaguing him for a few weeks now, ever since he and Gwen found themselves mysteriously fainted in the dirty alleyway behind Mr. Smoothies. Since that strange day, he would have his perfectly normal dreams suddenly interrupted by random flashes and visions – all related to Gwen.
The first time, he had a dream that he was in some spaceship and was hugging a shaking Gwen for comfort.
The second time, he had Gwen crushed between a wall and his own body, and the horrifying part was that they were actually kissing.
The third – well, he dared not think about that. He had never blushed as much as he would at the thought of these dreams before in his life!
Ben sighed, turning over on his stomach and burying his face in his pillow. He knew they were just dreams, but he couldn't help it. He was somehow afraid that if he would come face to face with Gwen, she would be able to extract out his thoughts – whether through a simple eye connection or by telepathy. He shuddered at the latter.
"Ugh, I feel like a pervert or something," he mumbled into his pillow.
After trying to suffocate himself in his own pillow unsuccessfully (as a form of punishment about thinking stuff), he flipped on his back and stared outside his window. The full moon was so bright and beautiful, its light shining over half of Ben's bed. The brunette just turned his head to stare at the unoccupied side, imagining his own cousin lying down beside him.
She was so beautiful when asleep – no frown lines marring her innocent face. Ben stared as she lay on the pillow, her red hair fanned around her pillow like fire.
"It's a special secret between me and you." Gwen whispered, her eyes blinking sleepily.
"What –" Ben sat up quickly, feeling his heartbeat increase ten folds. He rubbed his face and stared at the moonlit spot again, afraid Gwen might still be there. "Ugh, just another vision. God, when will it stop?"
After a few moments of silence, his heartbeat finally went back to normal. As he lay back on the bed, his thoughts became more and more troubled.
It's not just visions – they feel more like Déjà vu or something. Shit, how will I face Gwen tomorrow?!
He had a strong feeling these visions were related to that strange night almost three weeks back. Somehow, he wanted to talk to Gwen and ask her about it.
Maybe . . . she had these strange visions too?
With that comforting thought, Ben let his eyes gaze unseeingly at the bright moon, waiting patiently for sleep to finally claim him.
Not so far away, staring at the very same moon was a fiery red-headed Tennyson with similar troubling thoughts.
Only, they were not as similar as the brunette's.
Gwen cuddled her pillow as she snuggled deeper under her covers, half happy and half nervous for tomorrow. Happy, as finally after weeks the four friends would be able to spend time and catch up with what was happening. Nervous, because of Ben.
Ben, who seemed hell-bent upon avoiding her for some reason.
She was determined to find out what was bothering her cousin. After that strange day, when they both found themselves in the dark alleyway, Ben seemed distant from her. He rarely called her anymore and whenever she called him, he would make an excuse and hang up. Not only did his behavior make her annoyed; it also hurt in some way. After all, they were close to each other for seven years – they were not only cousins, but partners.
Gwen sighed, watching the moon hide behind clouds and eventually peep back out in its full glory. When had been the last time she saw him? Ah, yes, two days after the incident. Ben and his parents had come over for a small family gathering. The dinner was normal, and Ben seemed to smile and talk properly. However, whenever they were suddenly left alone, he would become quiet and cold. He would never even look her in the eyes anymore. A thought suddenly struck her, causing her to fiddle with her fingers nervously.
Did Ben sense something wrong with her? Could he notice the way she blushed whenever he looked her way?
Gwen hoped not.
Ugh, stupid dreams! Or nightmares . . . hallucinations . . . whatever!
Gwen felt heat rise in her cheeks at the mere thought of Ben ever finding out what kind of perverted hallucinations she seemed to be having recently. But she couldn't help it! She was more than baffled at her situation.
Maybe . . . just maybe Ben has such hallucinations too?
Gwen felt her heartbeat increase gradually at the mere thought. Although it was embarrassing, she was curious to know about her cousin. She was one hundred percent sure that this craziness started from the day she and Ben found themselves in the strange back alley.
Yup, it has something to do with the night before. I just can't remember what.
The place was filled with all sorts of noises – children screaming, parents scolding their kids, teenagers laughing together in groups, and waitresses moving to and fro, their high heels clicking on the tiled floor of Mr. Smoothies. Overall, the atmosphere was noisy, albeit interesting and cheerful.
To one corner of the rather busy shop, four teenagers sat in two pairs, both facing one another. Kevin and Gwen sat together, the former laughing loudly at some random joke and causing the small square table in front of them to shake.
"I don't see what is so funny, Kevin," Julie, who was sitting beside her boyfriend Ben, said with an amused smile. "You've told us this joke countless times before, you know."
Kevin sobered up at once, mock hurt on his face. "Julie! How could you say such a thing? You hurt my pride in front of my girlfriend!" He glanced to his side as he said that, expecting Gwen's affectionate eyes to stare back at him. Therefore he was slightly annoyed when she didn't respond, instead staring out of the window at the darkening sky.
Kevin sighed, slumping back into his seat and crossing his arm over his chest. His eyes slowly moved from Gwen to her brunette cousin, who was currently helping himself to his fourth Banana and strawberry smoothie on the opposite side. Kevin wondered why both cousins were acting so formally with each other, not making eye contact and exchanging few words when only necessary.
"So Kevin," Julie's voice pulled his attention away from the strange Tennysons, and he focused on the pretty Asian instead, "Ben told me you did some new modifications to your car. What exactly did you do?"
Kevin stared at the raven-head silently for a few seconds, wondering how and when she became so interested in car mechanics and alien equipment. He assumed it was because Ben wasn't paying much attention to her (or anyone at all) that she wanted to start a decent conversation with him.
Well, he was fine with that. Besides, he did love to talk about his car.
The two raven-haired teens chatted away, their voices surrounding the small table accompanied by Ben's occasional slurping sounds. The only one who remained silent was Gwen, who kept staring out the window in deep thought. Her hands fiddled nervously with the hem of her blouse and she willed herself to relax.
She knew she had to stop chewing her bottom lip furiously for two main reasons: One, it would fall off, and Two, Ben's attention was constantly diverted to her actions, his green eyes sliding back and forth from his smoothie to her lips within seconds.
She felt flustered for some goddamn reason, and she needed to get to the bottom of this madness!
"I want to order another smoothie," Gwen suddenly stood up, causing the others to look up suddenly.
"Babe," Kevin said uncertainly, "You don't have to go. We'll just call a waiter –"
"No," Gwen interrupted him sharply. Then, with a softer tone she said, "I want to walk for a moment. My legs are tired from sitting."
"Should I come with you then?"
Gwen laughed lightly, rolling her eyes as Kevin moved aside to let her pass. "No thank you. There is no danger here. Besides – " Gwen threw a meaningful glance at her cousin, " – Ben is coming with me. He wants another smoothie too."
Ben stared at his cousin in slight confusion, quickly closing his mouth before he could deny the red-head's exclamation. Gwen stared at him in a Come-with-me-NOW look, so he had no option but to follow.
"Yeah, I need one more smoothie. We'll be back soon." Ben stood beside his cousin, wondering why she suddenly planned to speak with him. Was she not avoiding him before? Actually, he was also avoiding her, so he was equal to blame.
Did she read my mind? Ben suddenly thought in panic, as he followed Gwen to the front of the shop. Oh no, no, that should not have happened! God, if you are listening, kill me now.
He was too preoccupied in his worrisome thoughts that he didn't notice Gwen leading him away from the counter and towards the back of the shop, where there were more secluded spots for customers. Once she finally stopped and he accidentally bumped into her back, he noticed his surroundings.
"Sorry! Wh-why are we here?" Ben asked in confusion, his gaze sweeping across the small tables with partitions in between to offer privacy. He felt heat creep up his neck as words like Alone . . . Gwen . . . Kiss . . .sprang up in his mind. He shook his head to clear his perverted thoughts, focusing on his cousin instead.
Sadly, it was a mistake. Gwen looked pretty lovely this evening, dressed in a red silk blouse and long black skirt, looking so feminine compared to Julie. Ben couldn't help but let his eyes run over her form in appreciation and . . . lust?
Her red hair was tied into a messy bun, few tendrils escaping and fluttering around her pretty face. Her eyes were like gleaming emeralds, her pink lips looking so soft and warm, almost swollen from her constant biting. Ben let his gaze wander lower, appreciating the graceful dip of her neck to collarbone. Her skin looked so smooth, and Ben suddenly wondered what it would feel like to mark that unblemished skin.
Wait . . . what?
"Ben, are you listening to me?" Gwen's voice penetrated his hazy mind and he bleatingly realized that she was clutching onto his right arm. As though her touch burned, Ben quickly removed her hand and took a few steps backwards. He did not miss the hurt look that passed on the pretty face.
Never before did he want to destroy something big and heavy as he did now.
"Sorry," Ben sighed, running a hand through his hair. "What were you saying?"
"I was saying," Gwen started with a sigh, "that I feel you seem to be avoiding me lately! Why?"
"Funny," Ben replied with a raised eyebrow, sitting on top of one table, his arms crossed over his chest, "I thought the same about you too."
"Me?" Gwen looked flustered for a moment. She quickly regained her composure before staring down at her cousin. "N-No. I'm not avoiding you at all! It's just – I don't know – W-what – ?"
Ben reached out and caught one of the lithe wrists in his hand, causing Gwen to go silent. She felt her heartbeat suddenly increase, and she scolded herself for behaving like an idiot.
It's Ben, BEN. You're annoying, pompous cousin!
Ben was just grinning at her, making her feel like a cornered animal. A couple walked past them, throwing them knowing smiles before disappearing out of sight. Gwen huffed in annoyance. Obviously people thought them a couple about to indulge in some private moments . . .
Flashes of her hallucinations flew past her mind, making her blush harder.
No, stop thinking about that! Think about Ben – his annoying smirk which I would love to wipe off from his face. Or about his hair, nice soft hair – did he actually brush it? He looks nice today, wait – is that the shirt I gifted him?
Gwen stared at his white, long-sleeved shirt, which had a black skull print in the middle. It went well with his black jeans. Gwen was impressed. Who knew her immature, doofus cousin cleaned up well? No to mention, he smelled quite nice too.
Okay Gwen, stop right there.
"Uh," Gwen frowned suddenly, aware that her wrist was still in Ben's grasp. Her emerald eyes darted between Ben's face to where there hands touched. She saw the brunette smile at the apprehensive look in her eyes. "Ben," Gwen started softly, trying to pry her wrist away to no avail, "I want to know what happened weeks back. You know, the morning we found ourselves in that alley?"
Ben stubbornly kept his grip on Gwen's wrist, refusing to let go. The simple, innocent touch gave him tingles down his spine, and he knew their contact made her nervous. That thought was quite pleasing indeed. Besides, he had this feeling that if he would let her go, she would leave. So instead of paying attention to his cousin twisting her wrist weakly in his hand, he focused on her question.
"Hmm, me too."
"You mean you don't remember anything as well?"
"Nope," Ben shrugged, loosening his grip on her and beckoning her to sit on the bouncy-cushioned chair near the table. "I don't know anything and I, like you, want to know what happened."
Gwen unconsciously let Ben set her down on one of the chairs present, wondering why both of them couldn't remember a thing. She glanced at Ben, startled lightly at now their switch of positions. He was still sitting on the table top with his legs crossed, staring down at her in curiosity. Gwen didn't know whether to scold the brunette to get off the table from the ridiculous position, or simply laugh. She cleared her throat before leaning back in her chair and speak.
"Let's start from what we can remember, okay?"
Ben shrugged. "Yeah, okay. I remember that night we dropped Kevin off to his favorite mechanic shop –"
"– and it was just me and you then. Yeah, I remember." Gwen said, her eyes glazing over as she tried her best to remember.
"I wanted to go to and parked under my very favorite cherry blossom tree!"
Gwen rolled her eyes at his exclamation. "Yeah yeah. And then there were strange noises coming from the left alleyway, right?"
"You know Gwen," Ben suddenly said, his green eyes full of confusion, "I feel as though we had this type of conversation before. I just can't remember where."
"Really?" Gwen stared at Ben.
"Yeah," Ben replied, a frown on his boyishly handsome face, "But whatever. Anyways, yeah, I remember the weird noises. I still think they were those rats I keep telling you about!"
"Ben, there are no such things as three-foot long – You know what?" Gwen suddenly said in confusion, "I also think we had this same conversation before."
Both cousins stared at each other in silence. Ben took the silence and moment to innocently let his gaze wander over the red-head once more, admiring her looks and well – her. Gwen, though, stared at the brunette in genuine puzzlement. Why was this so familiar?
"I followed into the alley after you, and I just remember seeing a pair of golden eyes before blacking out." Gwen started slowly, biting her lips once more.
"Me too. I mean, I blacked-out in that alley after seeing a hooded person. Next thing I know, I'm sprawled across the dirty street at dawn with you on top!"
"Wha – I was not on top of you!" Gwen spluttered, pink tinting her cheeks.
"Yes, you were," Ben said solemnly, enjoying his cousin's reaction. "I don't remember what happened during that five-hour time lapse though."
"Ugh, me too," Gwen held her head between her hands, feeling annoyed at the lack of memories. She slowly looked up with a troubled expression. "But, you know Ben, my gut tells me it's better to forget what happened."
"Mmm, really? Then I guess I shouldn't tell you about some things . . ."
Gwen sat up, staring at her brunette cousin curiously. Ben just gazed up at the ceiling, his Adam's Apple bobbing up and down as he swallowed with difficulty. He slowly met her gaze, and she could see worry and confusion in his eyes. He ran a hand through his hair – a gesture he got into a habit of doing when he was nervous.
"Should I read it off your mind?" Gwen asked softly, her eyes suddenly glowing magenta.
Ben swallowed again, more nervous than before. He had a furious battle in his mind, debating whether he should let Gwen know about his visions or not. Gwen was curious, though. She desperately wanted to know something about their missing memories, and Ben realized that maybe it would be better to tell her everything. So, instead of speaking, he nodded and leaned his head lower. He felt Gwen's fingertips lightly touch his cheek, triggering his eyes to close and the troubling visions to surface. All of the scenes, some which he hadn't even seen before, flew past his mind's eye like a silent film.
Gwen crying, clutching his shirt tightly . . .
Strange hooded creatures, one of them injecting something inside his arm . . .
He, cornering Gwen to a wall in a dimly lit room . . .
Gwen, lying down on a bed, her red hair sprawled around her head and his chest . . .
Gwen released Ben's face, her magenta eyes slowly fading back to green. Ben kept watching her, yet she could not look him in the eye. How could she, after what she had just witnessed? It was beyond embarrassing, to know that Ben had been plagued with such kinds of visions. It was enough that she suffered through them.
Ben sighed, shaking her softly by one shoulder. "Gwen, c'mon, say som –"
"S-Stop!" Gwen threw his hand off with a strong force and got up. "I think we should f-forget everything."
Ben quickly seized her hand, pulling her back so that she crashed back onto her chair. He placed a leg on either side, effectively trapping her.
"What? Forget everything? Gwen, we don't even remember anything yet!"
"Well, let's not try to remember!"
"You were the one so eager to –"
"Yes, I was!" Gwen shouted, staring up at her cousin in unexplainable anger.
"Look," Ben said quietly, raising his hands up in defense, "Those visions you saw, they are not my imaginations! I seem to be having them frequently since that night." He leaned his head lower so that he was eye-level with his cousin. "And I want you to honestly answer me. Do you get them as well?"
Gwen didn't speak for a few seconds, her anger turning into shame.
"Yes," she whispered, looking away. When Ben didn't answer her, she glanced back up at him, startled to see him smirking. "What?"
"And here you accusingly look at me as the pervert."
"Sorry, sorry." Ben slowly became serious, pondering on a thought. "I guess we were kidnapped by some aliens or something that night."
"Maybe," Gwen replied, "And they must have removed our memories before dumping us back in the alley."
"And whatever happened must have been crazy. I mean, in most visions you seem to be either squirming under me or kissing me."
"Ben!" Gwen punched his shoulder in mortification.
"I swear, Gwen." Ben had a lot of difficulty in maintaining a cool pose, his face threatening to break into an evil grin. "I'm sure you saw some scenes in which you weren't even wearing –"
"– anything on. Come to think of it, neither was I."
"Benjamin Tennyson, stop this instant!" Gwen's eyes glowed an omnious magenta, causing Ben to go silent. Yet he couldn't help grin at his cousin's red face and eyes that were full of embarrassment.
"It must have been fun," Ben started slowly, gazing at his red-head cousin from the corner of his eye in case she punched his face or used her power. "I mean, you were moaning an – mmph!"
Ben was sure he was dreaming. How could this be true anyway? One moment, he was teasing his cousin, and in the next his mouth was under attack.
Dear, sweet God!
Gwen pulled the brunette lower, her arms encircling his neck as she kissed him with total abandonment. All frustration, anger, confusion, desire . . . everything poured out into that kiss. She smiled against the boy's lips as she felt him shiver slightly.
"You asked for it, Ben," Gwen said breathlessly, as she released him from her arms. She laughed at Ben's dazed look, his mouth slightly open. "I see a simple kiss made you finally shut up, didn't it?"
"W-what?" Ben murmured confusedly, lips still tingling from the kiss. He slowly let a naughty smile grace his face, "Ah, so you have been battling with your inner feelings for me, have you now Gwennie?"
Gwen pushed aside his leg and stood up gracefully. "In your dreams, hero boy." Her sarcastic smile slipped away as she said in a more serious tone, "I don't know what happened, Ben, but maybe it is better that we don't remember. Look at the fragments of memories that we have!"
Ben stood up as well, frowning lightly. "Maybe you are right. But," He cheekily wrapped his arms around the red-head's waist, causing her to gasp. "You can't deny your feelings for me after whatever must have happened between us. Not after that kiss!"
"That was simply to shut you up," Gwen pushed at his surprisingly hard chest, blushing furiously, "I can never fall in love with you! You're my doofus cousin."
"Oh yeah?" Ben released her slowly, an unreadable expression on his face. "We'll see about that."
Gwen rolled her eyes before making her way back to Kevin and Julie, wondering what excuse to make for their long absence.
"Is something wrong, Kevin?" Julie asked softly, rubbing her hands together.
"Wha – No. Nothing," Kevin shook his head at the Asian girl, smiling in a reassuring way. "Why do you ask that?"
"Oh, it's just you went to check up on the other two and came back all silent." Julie frowned lightly, "Are you sure everything is fine?"
Kevin swallowed, smiling lightly. "Yep. Nothing's wrong, Julie. They said they'll be back in a few minutes."
"Oh," Julie settled back and started on her second smoothie.
Kevin's smile slowly slipped away, as he stared out of the tinted windows.
Nothing's okay, Julie. And if you witnessed what I just did . . .
Deep down, Kevin always knew that Ben harbored different feelings for his cousin. And tonight, his doubts were confirmed. All he did was walk to the counter, and not finding them there, walk to the back. Lo and Behold! The two were kissing . . . kissing like long lost lovers!
He felt crushed, angry and sad.
Yet, surprisingly it was as though he anticipated such an occurrence to show. From the start, when he newly joined the team, Kevin knew that there was something more to those two cousins than it looked. Ben was over-protective of Gwen, a main reason she was single in High School. It was not that guys didn't approach her with love confessions – Heck no! Kevin knew her locker was mostly always filled with love letters and chocolates from secret admirers. It was the simple fact that to get Gwen, there was a barrier named 'Ben' to pass through first.
And Ben did all he could to make the enemy lose.
Kevin was actually surprised when Ben accepted him dating his cousin without much fuss. He had to know better – Ben would never leave them alone much at all! He was like a constant presence, like an annoying itch on the bum. But once Ben started dating Julie, things turned better.
Kevin sighed. Yes, Ben always had deeper feelings for Gwen. It was there, especially the time when he had broken up with Julie, only to be infatuated by Eunice.
Eunice – who had Gwen's frigging DNA!
Kevin knew that what occurred at the back of the shop was not an accident and such. Soon, he was sure, he would be like the third wheel. Not Ben.
I love Gwen, but if she's happy, then it's fine by me. Kevin swallowed a lump of despair, trying to look on the bright side of things. And it's not like I'm bad-looking! There are plenty of fish out in the sea.
"Sorry for being late!"
Gwen's overly cheery voice made him snap his head up.
"What took you guys so long?"
"Oh," Ben replied slowly, "there was quite a crowd. So we figured that it's better to go back home as it's getting rather late."
Kevin nodded silently, staring at Ben's smiling face. No matter how hard he'd try, he couldn't really hate the brunette hero.
Damn, I'm going soft.
As Kevin engaged Julie in a conversation and led them out of the shop, Ben chuckled lightly. Gwen slapped his arm.
"So you think it's funny to have made them wait so long?" She hissed, walking towards the exit slowly, "Imagine if they knew what happened back there."
"Oh c'mon," Ben raised an eyebrow, "Just admit that you wished we had more alone time to ourselves."
"Pervert," Gwen blushed, frowning. "As I said before, I kissed you to shut you up! I am not and never will be in lo –" She abruptly stopped talking when she felt a strong hand grip her arm. She found herself suddenly pressed up to the darkened windows by the exit. "Ben, what are you doing?!"
"Oh yeah?" he asked softly, leaning lower so that their lips were inches apart. "Then pray tell why your heart is beating so incredibly hard right now?"
"B-Because," Gwen shifted, trying to push her cousin backwards like before. It was useless, and it felt like pushing a brick wall. "What if they see us like this?"
"No, they won't," Ben smirked, his green eyes boring into hers deeply. "You wanna know why? Because, doofus, the windows are tinted!" He laughed softly before grabbing her chin between his fingers for a kiss. Her lips were so warm and spongy as he nibbled on them, and he almost laughed when Gwen let out a badly disguised moan.
"N-No! Stop it Ben. Not here."
Ben lifted his head up, staring down at the flushed face of his sweet, innocent looking cousin. "Not here? You mean there will be a next time, huh?" He smiled widely before leaning down to whisper in her ear, "And you said that you can never fall in love with me. Stop lying to yourself, Gwen."
You wanna play cat and mouse, Gwen? Fine. But I assure you that you're gonna lose.
He smiled as he saw her shiver and straightened up. He swiftly took a few steps away. "I'll be seeing you soon, Gwen," he threw her a cheeky wink before sliding his hands in his pockets and exiting the shop.
Gwen just stood there, breathing deeply. She stared at her reflection in the windows, her lips red with Ben's abuse. Slowly, a joyful smile spread across them.
Never before did she feel such warmth in her heart as she did now.
This did not turn out as I expected. I know I might have made Kevin OOC, but I honestly didn't know how to write from his POV. I haven't even watched the series, so forgive me *Bow's head in despair* But I sincerely hope this chapter makes you all happy!
I can't believe my first ever story published on here is complete! :D To top it all, I got so much love from you guys and that was the sole reason my motivation stayed within me. So, thank you to all the people who alerted/favorite this story. SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL THE REVIEWERS:
BlindMaster, all the 'Guest' reviewers (seriously at least write a name xD), JojobaxP, ddk, charly824, Dark Lelouch3221, Sheer-Despair, xxxThom creedxxx, Nightwing 509, Alex654, Miroir Twin, Mira-Princess, s0mb0dy, Black Elegance, LesMustaches, Josh Spicer, Jack, kitkat2150, ZanaZ, Grue, Mr. BG (I was truly honored to see you read my story!), Alex, Traitor of All Traitors (Happy? ^^).
But don't forget to review one last time. Who knows, I may plan to write another Bwen fic? *Wink* Until next time ^-^