It was a warm day at yet another campsite. Sweltering by anyone's standards. Needless to say, Gwen Tennyson was not one to have anyone's standards.
She liked her hair neat. Preferring to keep it shoulder-length and clipped to one side. Her clothes were to be neatly folded and always pressed. Not sweaty and distasteful like they were now.
The sun stood tall in a blue, cloudless sky. Keeping tabs on the shining side of the Earth for hours – making sure nobody could escape its tyrannical gaze. The trees around their campsite were erect, thankful for such light and no rain. Yet the humans hid under canapes and the metal roofs of RV vehicles. Though not Gwen.
There was only one thing, a sole living aspect, that kept her far from their Rust Bucket. To her, it was the living symbol of filth and putrid behavior. A constant in her equation of life that seemed dead set on ruining her perfect linear plans. And it was running towards her with a blue water gun.
A cold stream of aqua jetted onto the side of her face. Splashing into her green eye.
"Ah!" she cried, spinning to him. "Ben!"
"Oh yeah, baby!" Ben yelled to an imaginary crowd. "I'm back! And I'm bad!"
"You shouldn't have come back!" Gwen twisted her knees and stood without touching the warm Earth beneath her. With her slender legs, she took only a few steps until her arm length was able to catch, and take down, her cousin.
"See, I told you it would get you going," Ben said, taking yet another shot at Gwen. Another stream of water shot from the toy. Another stream hit her straight in the face.
Gwen made a sound that was in between an angry growl and an irritated mumble. She fell sideways to wipe her eyes, and Ben was able to get unpinned from the ground and haul himself back upright.
Standing tall, he held his arms in the air.
"Another win for Ben Tennyson." His voice smug, and his stance even more so.
Gwen still sat on the ground rubbing her eyes.
"Come on dweeb," she said between breaths and eye rubs, "I don't want to play. I came out here to be alone."
Ben was unconvinced. "Yeah right. You wouldn't come out here in the heat just to get away from me."
Gwen shot him a doubtful look. "Wanna bet?"
Taking aim at her face yet again, he replied. "I do."
"Don't you da-"
Before she could finish, two splashes of water came right in between her eyes. She yelled out, and Ben caught this noise as adrenaline for the little game he was sure they were playing.
He began to run as she came up, a second time, from the ground after he had annoyed her with the water.
Though, this time he was sure something was different. Her eyes were glistening with the water that she hadn't wiped from her eyes after he had just shot her. It was all still there, and her stare seemed more menacing.
The thought, he was sure, was just ruining the game. So he forgot about her look and took aim as they both ran in circles.
Now she's gonna get it, Ben thought and fired.
The water hit Gwen's face, but didn't seem to even make her flinch now. It was as if she had stopped being a water-sensitive witch and became the Hulk.
Seeing this, Ben continued to fire at will. Aiming no where else but the center of her dripping face. Jet after jet hit her nose, chin, mouth, and even her eyes.
Gwen felt the water seep into her mouth. It was sour and hot. Just like the air around her. Some of it slammed into her eyes. It stung.
And then, just suddenly, she stopped running.
Before realizing this, Ben had let loose two more streams of water at her standing figure. When he stopped hearing her angry growls, he too came to a stop.
"Gwen?" he questioned.
She stood with all her clothing drenched in water. Smelly water from the horrible campsite sewage system. Her clothes would have to be washed twice, and her smooth, orange hair would need to be brushed, and cleaned again. Those things all went against what she wanted to do. What she liked to not happen.
It was then that Ben realized the water around her eyes had not been from his gun. They were from her own body.
But still, what did he care?
"Come on, you're gonna act like a big baby just because of some water?" He held his arms out innocently, but she didn't look at him.
A few of the other campers glanced at the two. Some showed sorrowful expressions for the girl, and the others only shook there heads and mumbled things like: "boys" and "just for attention."
A stern, yet careful, voice came from the nearby Rust Bucket.
"What is going on out here?" Max Tennyson asked as he stepped from the vehicle.
Neither of the cousins responded. Yet, there wasn't a need to. Max looked at Ben's grip on the water gun and Gwen standing, head down, a few feet behind him.
"Look what you've done now, Ben. Gwen came out here to be alone from us for a little bit and you chase her and annoy her to tears?"
Placing two hands on Gwen's shoulders he started to guide her back to the Rust Bucket. "Sometime in your life, Ben, you need to realize the world doesn't revolve around you."
The two then disappeared into the RV.
"Well fine!" Ben shouted to nobody in particular. "When I start getting some respect," he yelled louder, "then we'll see if anyone else deserves it!"
Tossing the gun to ground, he walked towards the nearby forest – lined with luscious evergreens – looking for, just like his screams, nothing in particular.
. . .
Having walked but a few feet into the forest line, Ben came to sit on a rock. Still, he had view of the campsite and even the Rust Bucket., and it's interior glowed as nightfall settled in smoothly over Yellowstone Park.
It took nearly a minute for Ben to convince himself that Gwen's stupid teary eyes were not his fault. She shouldn't be so sensitive, he reasoned. Girls are afraid of water now?
But it was obvious that sitting on a rock was not in the energetic boy's taste. The trees were boring. The rock was boring. Everything was boring at the boring park.
Not his watch though. It was glowing a bright green and brought back memories of video games. Especially with alien tech.
In passed times, he loved messing with the thing, as he was doing now. Twisting and turning the foreign dial and watching as the gasses behind the clear screen heated to make different colors. There were no pixels or typical computer tech anywhere in range. Only millions-advanced alien tech.
So, he took to role-playing in his little mind game. Twisting the watch as alien images zoomed through – each one bringing back a memory soaring through his mind.
"But which to choose?" he mumbled.
Soon enough, however, that also got boring. Becoming aliens was fun, but he'd been doing it so long – there seemed like no more fun to have with them.
It's the most powerful weapon in the universe, he had thought, so there must be more things it can do then just make you an alien.
Of course, he was right, but it he would never realize it completely.
Banging on random spots and pushing buttons that never seemed to ever do anything, Ben's hands flew around like a fleet of military jets – save for the organization skills. Twisting and turning the dial while activating random modes, he began to hear beeps that never had emitted from the Omnitrix.
Without cue, and without any notice other than the rather odd beeping sounds, the Omnitrix's green aura exuded purple now.
Ben recoiled and nearly fell off his rocky seat. His heartbeat sped tremendously. What was this?
As if the situation wasn't weird enough, there was now a voice, yet it was in another language. Ben couldn't understand it.
"What are you saying?" he said calmly now, regaining his composure and beating on the watch as if it had done something bad.
Finally, he took to thinking that he had broken it once more.
"Never purple..." he muttered and turned towards the Rust Bucket to go make up some excuse as to why his alien gadget was acting so oddly.
As soon as he made eye contact with Gwen in the window of the RV, he began to feel a sharp pulse in the back of his eye sockets.
Squirming with pain, he fell to the floor. It was as if someone were trying to spoon the balls of his eyes out.
He screamed loudly, kicking and thrashing to the point where nearby campers rushed out of their vehicles. It didn't take long before Max had made it as well, along side Gwen.
The pain became overbearing.
"What's happening!" cried out the boy.
Yet he could not see them, a small crowd had formed around him under the dim moonlight.
"What has come over him?" asked one woman. And: "wasn't that the boy torturing that girl?" asked another.
Ben heard them, but not clearly. His eyes were on the edge of bursting – needle-like feelings poking into his pupils and flames arising from the bottom of his retinas.
There seemed like there was no time for thinking, and no time for action. He felt as if there was no time. The voices grew faint and all the cool air around him seemed to heat up. He couldn't regain himself or even think to know if he was going into shock.
Soon, his own screaming took to deafening out – yet he could still not open his eyes due to the immense pain.
Thrashing more violently, no longer could he feel the Earth beneath him. All senses dulled, save for the pain in his sensitive eyes, his body finally took to quitting and shut out.
. . .
Was it that he awoke? Was the pain finally gone? Such bloodthirsty and stabbing pains?
They might have been, but as Ben looked around, he was sure that he wasn't awake. Around him was what could only be described as a blue aura. It was glowing as if to encase him and he was traveling through this tunnel. It reminded him of what he would have thought a jump in hyper-space would seem like.
Definitely, he thought to himself, definitely not awake.
For a moment, he could relax, forgetting all about what had just previously happened. If the world could literally sit atop one's shoulders, and then be hefted off, this was it.
The moment it came, was the moment this sanctuary of feeling rushed away from him. Ben felt his breathing become, once more, abnormal. His chest heaved up and down like a candle blowing in strong winds. His heart smashed against his ribcage and his eyes shifted from one blue light to another. Faster and faster these actions increased.
. . .
With a heinous burst of coughs and a quick jolt, Ben jutted upright from a large bed in a dark room lit only by a dim moonlight from the window behind him.
Spurting out trapped air, he took enormous gulps of breaths at a quick pace. Holding on to his own head, he massaged his face in order to try and get a literal grip on reality. Rubbing his hands upon his cheeks, he began to feel something that shouldn't be there. Maybe it was the dirt from when he fell on the ground at the campsite. It was brisk, and felt as though he had facial-
"Ben? What happened?" spoke a warm, woman's voice from beside him.
In the suddenness of it, Ben jumped – startled by the fact that someone was beside him in the bed. He turned quickly, still sitting on the mattress.
It was still too dark to see who it was. The room was tinted a gentle blue from the outside moon. Nothing else.
"Why are you staring at me like that?" she asked him, beginning, herself, to sit up as well.
"W-who...are you?" was the obvious question he asked, yet he did so with the greatest hint of a stutter.
The figure seemed offended, appearing to recoil backwards as if Ben had hit her.
"You can't be feeling good," her slender hand moved to his forehead. "Ben...what were you dreaming about? Could it have been that bad that you've forgotten where you are? Or even who I am?"
The thought had crossed his mind, certainly. Yet, the answer to it was so far off, his guesses wouldn't even penetrate the memory.
Ben's body turned like a sentry, examining the room from the little bit of light. Metallic walls and electric sliding doors. It definitely wasn't his Bellwood room, or possibly not even Earth.
But yet, out the window was the one moon that he had always remembered. The buildings looked the same, although they were a bit more rounded on the tops.
He was in a city.
"What city is this?" he asked while brushing his face – feeling the hairs that had somehow spiked up in the minutes he had been knocked out.
"Why can't-" she started.
"Never mind I said that. Who are you!" he demanded, feeling afraid now. Here he was in a strange dark room with some woman, and he apparently had aged enough to grow a beard. There was answers to be had.
Again her hand reached for his face, but this time her whole body followed in the path. He legs began to tie up around his and her chest pushed him back onto the bed. Strands of soft hair fell to his face and tickled across his skin.
"You just need to relax. Those aliens you've been fighting have gotten to you, Ben."
There it was. She knew his name.
"You take too much responsibility for the Earth."
Her lips brushed the tip of his nose and started to slide down to his cheeks, playing with his senses.
That was it. He'd had it with the mystery and the disgusting girl that kept trying to avoid answering his questions.
Shoving her off of him, he bolted upright and off of the bed – heading straight for what he was sure was a door.
His push had been hard enough to knock her to the floor with an "oof!"
Ben felt around on the wall and finally found a light switch. Flicking it on, a bright bulb came on overhead.
Blinking a few times as his pupils dilated, Ben stared straight at the girl now rubbing his head from the fall.
As he noticed her features – curved face, almond-shaped green eyes, and deep-saturated orange hair – Ben's heart sank. He fell straight to the ground, crumbling upon his legs.
"No..." he breathed as he realized who the girl was.
This place, he reasoned, it can't be...
Taking another look around, his memory was able to build a bridge to a distant happening and a place that he had been before.
The room was definitely futuristic. But it wasn't foreign, or alien. It was Earth-born. The girl that he had shoved off of him was more proof than he needed. She looked just like-
"Ow! Ben! What are you thinking?"
She kept complaining. "I'm trying to figure out what's going on with you, and you go right ahead and just toss me right off the bed."
Ben was afraid. What if he was right...?
"G-Gwen...is that you?" the features on his face hung in the suspense.
"Of course it's-" she stopped as she noticed his expression. "Ben...don't you...don't you remember me?"
His head fell into his hands. Confused and lost. It was more than enough to brew into frustration. But he had to play along with it. He had to act as if he belonged and knew what he was doing. Just moments ago he was sitting outside the Rust Bucket after just soaking Gwen with a water gun. And now he was here.
Finally, he looked up. "What were you thinking? What if Grandpa saw us?"
Gwen gave him a puzzled look. "What do you mean? Grandpa doesn't live here. This is your tower, mister 10K."
Mentally smacking himself for not remembering he was an adult, he caught up on the final words she spoke.
"Yes, the hero of heros, the arrogant hothead. The Dweeb, as some of the more darker criminals call you." She gave a sly smile at the last remark, which caused Ben to physically back away from her a bit more. A very large bit more...