A story about my top favourite Ben 10 pairing. Enjoy.
Chapter 1- A Whole New Romance
"Whoa! Ben, the way we took down that drone. You as Diamondhead throwing crystals infused with my mana. I didn't know we could do that."
Ben smiled blandly at his favourite cousin as they walked up the street towards his house after an entire morning of battling prototype military drones that had gone out of control, but just as quickly as he had brought the smile up, he let it fade from his face. He had to tell her. He had to. He had let the secret go on for long enough.
"Uh, Ben? Earth to Ben. We're here."
He blinked and looked up. Sure enough, he and Gwen were standing out the front of his house. Gwen was staring at him curiously, her left eyebrow raised high above the other. Ben blushed, grinning apologetically. Gwen's eyebrow lowered back to its normal height.
"Okay, what's up? I haven't seen you look happy all day. Couldn't even get one of your goofy smiles at Mr. Smoothies."
"Yeah," Ben answered, his face turning serious again. "That's because I said I would do something today, and I even meant it as a promise."
"Okay, so what is this thing you're supposed to do?"
"To tell you something."
"Well, hurry up and tell me. Remember, I'm spending the afternoon with Kevin."
You mean watching him tuning up a car at his garage, Ben thought but held it back from going to his mouth and saying it aloud. Instead he focused on what he had to say. It was now or never.
"I didn't want to tell you until I knew it was serious."
Gwen nodded, indicating for him to keep going.
"Well, uh, I'm kind of dating someone."
As he had expected, the expression on her face changed to one of joy. Gwen cheered and threw her arms around him, drawing him into a hug.
"You've got a girlfriend! That's great," she exclaimed. "Is it anyone I know? Is it Julie?"
"Then tell me."
Ben summoned up the courage he needed. "It's Hope."
"Hope?" Gwen replied in confusion. "I don't know anyone named Hope, except-
Ben didn't offer her denial and waited. He felt Gwen freeze and watched as she moved away from him. Her eyes looked into his in a scrutinising way. Memories of their summer trip from years ago came unbidden into his mind, reminding him that this was her waiting for his hidden but predictable punch line to a really bad joke. But it was no joke, and he had to let her know that.
"Charmcaster, Gwen. I'm dating Charmcaster."
Gwen eyed him with more scrutiny as he said it. Then the hardened gaze went away to be replaced by rising fury.
"You're what?" she exploded.
Ben cringed, closing his eyes tightly. There was the reaction he had been afraid of, the one he just knew from the beginning that she would make. But he strove on. The telling was done. Now it was time for the real trouble of convincing her that he knew what he was doing. He reopened his eyes and looked into her infuriated emerald ones.
"Benjamin Kirby Tennyson," she growled through gritted teeth. "You are going to see her and you are going to break up with her. Right. Now."
Both of her eyebrows rose. "Ben! Of all the girls, Charmcaster!"
"Her name is Hope," he replied with steady conviction.
"I don't care. You're going to break up with her."
"No, I'm not. I love her."
Gwen stiffened, and then clapped her hands over her ears. "I didn't hear that," she stated flatly.
Ben sighed exasperatedly, admitting to himself that he should have remembered that Gwen was almost always unreasonable to talk to whenever she got really angry with him. Uninterested in prolonging the evolving argument into a two-way tirade like all the arguments they had when they were ten had ended up being, he turned away and headed along the path to the front door. Gwen flinched and put her hands down in shock.
He kept walking away from her, pretending he didn't hear her mostly unspoken plea.
He stopped and turned back around, showing her the most serious stare she had ever seen on his face.
"I. Love. Her. I don't know where the feelings came from, but the last time we encountered her on a mission, something about her just seemed to click with me. Then, about a month ago, I ran into her while she was visiting Hex. She said she was looking for me. Turned out she had those same feelings about me."
He hoped that telling her how he and Charmcaster had fallen for each other would be enough and help ease her anger, but as he could see when he finished explaining, Gwen was still unmoved.
"And you've been going out since then? Behind my back? Did you forget the huge amount of trouble she gave us?"
Ben crossed his arms. "Forgetting about Kevin, are we?"
"So has she."
Gwen huffed in disbelief. Charmcaster turning over a new leaf? That wasn't likely. After all, she herself had given the rival sorceress plenty of chances to do so, and yet Ben only had to give her one?
"I refuse to believe that, Ben."
"Believe what you like, Gwen. She and I knew this was going to be tough."
"Tough!" Gwen shot up. "Tough? I'll make you go through hell if it makes you come to your senses."
Ben glared hard at her. Enough was enough. "Try as hard as you want. It'll just prove to you how strongly we feel about each other when it doesn't work."
He turned away again, uncrossing his arms and continuing on his way to the door until he reached it, opened and pushed it inwards, and went inside closing it behind him.
Gwen watched him go, defiance written all over her brow. She was silent until after he had closed the door.
"Oh, it'll work, Ben. It'll work," she whispered darkly.
Ben angrily shut the door behind him with a booming slam.
"Ben!" he heard his mother yell from the kitchen. "What have I told you about slamming doors!"
"Sorry, mom. Gwen and I had a bad argument."
Sandra Tennyson popped her head around the corner. Whatever anger she had felt the door slam had obviously vaporised as she was looking at him in concern.
"About Hope?" she asked.
"Don't worry about it. I'm sure she'll come around."
Smiling encouragingly at him, Sandra turned to go back into the kitchen but then faced her son again.
"Oh, by the way, Hope is waiting for you upstairs."
The look on Ben's face brightened. He went for the stairs.
"Hey!" his mother called after him. "No running in the- oh, never mind."
She stepped back inside the kitchen to finish cleaning up the breakfast dishes and began thinking of making lunch preparations. She made a note to ask Hope whether she would stay for it when the phone rang. She answered it.
Here we go, Sandra thought with a sigh.
"Hello Gwen. I think I know-
"Please listen. Ben is dating a girl who I know is dangerous."
"Gwen, honey. I've met Hope and she seems such a wonderful girl, despite her eccentricities."
"I'm sorry, but do you know what she's done in the past?"
"She and Ben have told me and Uncle Carl everything," Sandra replied, her voice growing stern. "I'll admit I was a bit worried knowing that, but she seems to have gone past that stage of her life entirely."
"Not you too, Aunt Sandra," Gwen groaned. "People like her don't change."
"Well, I think she has, Gwendolyn, and for Ben's sake, please get used to it. I don't want him to go through another bad breakup like he did with Julie. She makes him happy."
A long droning beep gave her her answer. Realising her teenage niece had abruptly hung up on her, she looked at the phone in annoyance.
"Nice talking with you, Gwen."
She raised her free hand up to the keypad and dialled in a set of numbers. She put the receiver back to her ear and waited for the person she was calling to pick up, speaking as soon as she heard his voice.
"Max, it's Sandra. I think you'd better come home. We've got a serious problem, and I'm certain it's going to get worse."
Opening the door to his bedroom, Ben's eyes immediately fell on the silver haired girl sitting on his bed reading a copy of War and Peace. The girl looked up at him with her violet eyes and smiled warmly.
"Hey," he said, leaving the door open as he stepped in. "What are you doing here?"
Hope chuckled and put the book down on the bed. She stood up, closed the distance between them and nimbly cast her arms around him. The palms of her hands gently met the back of his neck. Ben sensed his body heat rising under the sensation of her cool comfortable touch.
"Do I need an excuse to visit my boyfriend?" she whispered in his ear.
He let his hand running through her long hair be his answer. The nerves in the skin of her back felt the presence of his fingertips near them and wanted them to come closer.
"No, I like it when you visit. You're always so busy."
"So are you, with all your planet saving."
"Good point," Ben said in a small sigh.
Leaning her head back, Hope gazed knowingly into his eyes. "What's wrong?"
"I did what I said I was gonna do. I told Gwen about us."
"She didn't take it too well?"
"What exactly did she say?"
Ben shrugged his shoulders. "She said she would 'make me go through hell if it helps me come to my senses' if I stayed with you. Oh yeah, and she ordered me to break up with you."
Hope's eyes tensed in alarm. "And, are you?"
"Never," he replied, shaking his head. "Unless you want me to?"
The fear going away, Hope smiled at him . "Never."
They leaned in closer, cementing their love once more with a strong kiss. The both of them felt the hidden and restrained passion flow between their lips wanting to become something more powerful, but they knew in their minds that this was as far as they could take it for now. At seventeen, Ben was still a minor while Hope, being five years older than him, was recognised as a fully grown adult.. And also, they had promised his parents who had readily given the relationship their blessing that they would not take things to a certain point until Ben was at least of age.
Their lips pulled slowly and regretfully away. A pair of violet eyes stared wistfully into a pair of green ones. The green eyes returned the same feeling.
"So what do you want to do?" Ben asked.
"Just…stand right here and enjoy this," Hope answered, lifting one hand from behind his neck, sliding it across his cheek to cup his lower jawline in her palm.
"I just don't see what the problem is."
"Weren't you listening, Kevin? My cousin, your best friend, is dating Charmcaster!"
Kevin moved the dolly to out from underneath the car he was working on to look up at his red-headed girlfriend of two years.
"So?" Gwen growled furiously. "What? Remember how much trouble she's caused us?"
Kevin's black eyes turned hard. "I remember all the trouble I gave you and Ben when we were kids."
"That was different."
"No it's not. I was to Ben what Charmcaster is to you. A rival that was intent on beating you at every turn."
"She still is," Gwen argued.
"Not if she's in love with Ben."
"She's not! She's probably using him to get to me."
"And what if she isn't?" Kevin retorted. "What if she really does love him?"
Gwen's mouth fell open, horrified that the possibility of asking such a question had entered her boyfriend's mind. Oblivious to her reaction, Kevin went on.
"Look, Ben accepted me because he gave me a chance, one in a long line of chances that he had given me. I think all you have to do is give Charmcaster one more chance to prove her feelings about Ben."
Unable to come up with anything to say, Gwen groaned frustratingly.
"Fine! We'll see how it plays out."
"Okay," Kevin agreed.
He moved back under the car to continue his work, leaving Gwen to her thoughts.
See how it plays out, she repeated sarcastically in her mind. Yeah, right. Like I'm going to see Ben get his heart broken a second time when she shows her true colours. I've got a few calls to make.
Quietly she withdrew from the garage and found herself a secluded spot on the block. She fished out her mobile phone from her purse and began to set her plans into motion.
Okay, I need to know whether this story seems to be good or bad to you in case it is worth pursuing further. To those of you that think it is good, don't worry, I have the entire story all planned out.