For those who don't know, check my other Garou fic. For those from the other Garou fic, I have your feed, you piranhas. Thank the co-writer, Doodleboy565, for this miracle lol.

Within the glade under a full moon night, a pale green crystal structure stood on two legs. Its figure was slim, but their epidermis gleamed under the starlight, rippling with condensed strength. From neck to feet, a sleeveless skintight suit enwrapped her being - blue dominating her right while white her left, the former taking more space in her front as it infringed the circular dial embedded in her heart.

The back of its head was sharp, like the end of a thick spear. Its eyes were topaz yellow, pupilless, and it stared at the little boy with brown hair across it in narrowed slits. The being was Gwen Tennyson in another alien form, a crystalline warrior armored from the skin to bone.

"You sure you want to do this, Be-Garou? Last chance to back out before I give you butt whooping." Gwen's tone was more amazonian, deep, and baritone. Her alien form deepened her voice, making nearly unrecognizable to any stranger unaffiliated with her.

"I'll have you know," 'Ben' tapped his shoe on the dirt before he entered his stance. Fingers rent into gnarled claws as if ready to tear apart flesh, his left arm straightened forward with the other leaning over it, and his posture squatted slightly as his toes dug into the dirt and lifting the sole of his heel, "I've once shredded a tank single-handedly, and he was strong. Also, crystals break more easily than flesh."

Max stood on the sidelines, his eyes scrunched with compounded worry after what he learned about Ben's… no, Garou's situation. It was too much to take in, and that did not include that Garou was sparring with Gwen, the latter having no experience in combat.

"Well, diamonds can be pretty durable. Especially when you're dealing with the likes of Zirconia!" Gwen remarked competitively, her large emerald hands shifting into a pair of razor-sharp blades.

Garou twisted Ben's lips into a vicious grin. It had been a while since he felt excited, not because of overcoming a difficult obstacle, but from his curiosity in testing himself and his new… friend? He wasn't sure. As far as he knew, he was stuck with them, but they were good people.

"Hah! I could use the pocket change after I strip you for parts," Garou taunted, his words like nails striking Gwen's diamond skin.

"Oh, it's on, 'Hero Hunter.'" Dissed, Gwen decided not to hold back. Garou had proven himself strong enough to take a beating, anyways.

"Grah!" Gwen let out a battle cry, charging at Garou with the force of a stampeding elephant. She threw her blade at Garou, channeling all her might into her momentum.

But her response was a blur in her vision before she felt twelve concurrent impacts rattling her crystal shell as her world tilted out of control, the sky replacing the horizontal earth.

"Eh?" Gwen uttered as she saw the world flip over. To Max, he just saw Gwen suddenly launched into a back-flip the moment Garou blinked the distance.

Her bulky body landed on the dirt, a loud thud splashing dust and dirt as she stared up at the moonlit night, confused. She didn't even know what Garou did to her. As she stared at the sky, Garou walked into her vision, looking down on her with a damnable smirk.

"Like I said. I know how to shred tanks." Garou reminded as his fists radiated steam.

Hearing his cocky smarm irritated the smarter Tennyson, forcing her to pull herself up to make the Hero Hunter eat his words.

"That was a lucky shot. Time for Round-" The sound of constant beeping prevented Gwen from finishing that sentence. "Oh, man…" Gwen facepalmed, while a flash of red transformed her back to normal. She crossed her arms and pouted like a brat per her age.

As she pouted, Garou looked at his small hands. He could still feel them shaking from the impact. From this, he knew that he still had a long journey ahead of him before he could regain and then surpass his former glory.

"Careful with my grandson's body, Garou. I don't want you to cripple him after all of this," Max harshly critiqued in a warning.

"Speak for yourself. I am surprised that this slug can even withstand this much in the first place." Garou wondered if his healing factor also followed him. His high-speed recovery ability from eating as well.

"So, grandpa. You said you were going to tell us something?" Gwen recalled, brushing some excess dirt off of her pants and shirt. Max grimaced and motioned for them to sit down.

However, Garou's ears picked up something in the air. He looked up, hearing an incessant hum thrumming. He could not determine a viable approximation, but it was approaching fast.

"Yeah… maybe-" All of a sudden, a red laser beam rocketed towards the ground, producing a massive explosion that knocked Max and Gwen off of their feet. From within the forest, two UFO-like organisms hovered into view. They were orange and black, having four metallic pincers that each moved around in different directions. With his sharp eyes, Garou traced the trajectory of their consecutive attacks and determined their angling their aim towards Gwen.

"Gwen! Garou! Get bac-" Max shouted, though a sharp gust of whistling wind rustled the air.

Toot sweet, the two machines fell out of the sky, each carved into three pieces as they crashed into the floor.


When they looked at the source, they saw Garou in a lowered posture with his hands on the floor. Smoke steamed from his fingers, giving them a good idea of what happened.

"Garou, did you just…" Gwen's eyes glued to the dismantled machines littered on the floor, each one losing power simultaneously.

Garou shook his hands a little, flexing his fingers as he gazed at his fresh kills. "Yeah… like I said, I once hunted heroes before. And I've killed monsters."

Gwen nodded at this before walking up to get a closer look at the eviscerated robots.

"What were those things?" Gwen whispered with sudden unease.

Garou had no idea. He had only fought a cyborg before, not machines.

"No idea. Should've expected things to go south when you got that watch, though." Their arrival was too coincidental for them to be unrelated to the watch on Gwen's wrist.

"There can be more of them coming for us. We need to get out of here now," Max urged as he gestured them to follow him.

Max seemed too relaxed for Garou's liking. The way he looked at the robots only cemented Garou's suspicion. For now, he decided to follow the old man back to their vehicle.

'This day just keeps getting stranger and stranger.'

Garou had no idea that this was just the beginning of a long-running chain.

The three returned to the Rust Bucket, inside the cramped vehicle. Garou looked over his things… well, Ben's stuff in the process. In his hand was a game console. It reminded him of his childhood years, but he outgrew the need for them.

"About your hands. How are they sharp enough to cut stuff?" Gwen proclaimed with a neutral point at said appendages.

His were human fingers, with human nails, yet Garou could shred alien steel like paper with a blade.

"It's a technique. I copied it off my old mentor's brother." He summarized how he acquired it as he threw the console to the desk, already bored with it.

"Was he human?" Gwen asked curiously.

"Yeah, they're human. Superhuman. I am human as well before I got into this body." Garou rolled his eyes.

"I know. It's just crazy to believe that there are people capable of such power in the first place." Gwen thought wistfully, wondering what it would be like to live in Garou's universe.

"If you think that's crazy, you should meet the baldy." Garou scoffed with humor.

"Baldy? Is that one of those heroes?" Gwen already received a basis for that hero. She at least knew that he was without hair.

"Yeah. He is the one that managed to kick my ass. I still can't believe it even though it happened a few days ago." Garou grumbled as the picture of that man's stupid, bland face, boiled his frustration.

"Wow. Wonder what he's like." Gwen ruminated ponderously.

"He is a caped baldy." Garou succinctly pictured him with perfect accuracy.

"I meant personality-wise." Gwen deadpanned at Garou's unhelpful descriptive skills.

"No, he is a literal Caped Baldy. Even in personality. Everything about him screams normal on the outside and inside, yet…" Trembling in anger, Garou cut himself off as his memories flashed to where the annoying bald man confronted him, punched him to and fro into the earth and out into the sky, and even though he managed to awaken all of his might transforming four times, the baldy still beat him into the dirt. What the hell? No matter how he thought about it, it was stupidly unfair. That guy was broken no matter how he saw it.

"Did he send you here?" Gwen guessed based on this "caped baldy's" god-like strength.

"No… no, I don't think so." Garou couldn't picture that guy being capable of doing something like that. "Seriously, no matter what I did, he punched through everything I had…"

"Punched through? What did you try to do exactly?" Gwen encouraged him to explain more.

As they talked, Max listened in from the driver's seat, carefully intaking Garou's story with his full attention.

"Everything." Garou could not express his tale in a better word. "That guy is literally unfair as hell. Do you really want to hear me rant on how I lost to him?"

"There's nothing better to do, so shoot." Gwen did wish to know how the baldy taught Garou his lesson through violence anyway.

Taking a deep breath, Garou clenched his fists as he recalled everything that happened with vivid detail.

"The guy outmatched me in everything. He was faster, stronger, and even more durable than I was before I… achieved my ideal." If Garou were to return one day, he would pay the Baldy a personal visit if he managed to break through into his level.

"When we first met, it was after I defeated almost all of the S-Class heroes in an epic battle during their Raid into the Monster Association." That day was still fresh on his mind. The way the mightiest heroes fell one by one, how he decimated the Golden Teletubby, it was an eventful day filled with surprises indeed.

"S-Class? As in you single-handedly defeated the strongest heroes your world had to offer?" Gwen gasped heavily.

Max was starting to get more uncomfortable with Garou's presence, the more information he shared about himself.

"And the Strongest monster that survived… I had achieved a new level of power when I thought I became a monster when I was at my deathbed. I've survived through broken ribs, risk of incineration, psychic powers… it was after I defeated that tank I mentioned earlier. It was not easy." That memory was one of Garou's most celebrated achievements so far. He broke the body and spirit of Superalloy Darkshine.

"That's… it's a miracle you're still alive after all that." Gwen struggled to put her immense confusion into words. The logical side of her brain was struggling to keep up.

Garou paused for a second. In most cases, Garou should've died. But Gyoro Gyoro mentioned the secret of growth to him…

He could only answer with this, "I have defeated Death. From that battle, I dragged myself back to life and grew stronger."

"You don't mean that literally, right?" Gwen weakly giggled.

"It is more metaphorical than literal. All I did was clinging to life, after powering through the torment," Garou replied.

"Oh, so that's it." Gwen thought that Garou defeated the Grim Reaper for a second there.

"So what is it like to, uh, 'surpass death' as you said?" Gwen asked, wanting to know more about the drive behind Garou's power.

Garou could not explain it all in detail, but he could describe how he felt, "Well after I defeated the tankiest hero, something within me changed. It was… a strange feeling. I felt weightless as if my soul left my body. The disenthrallment was palpable as the cold night air."

"Like a ghost or spirit?"

"No. It meant whatever was holding me back… was no longer there. All I know is that the thing that left is what kept me weak." Garou could not phrase the feeling before any better. It was as if he had lost what kept him… normal.

"So, you had no weaknesses, yet… still lost." Gwen looked at Garou in awe-struck wonder.

"It was after I beat every hero still alive. I didn't even know he even existed… the Hero Association labeled him as a B-Class for God's Sake." Garou did not understand why that guy wasn't S-Class in the first place. Someone on his level should've been on the Hero Association's radar since their founding, so why?

"Seems like whoever was running that Hero Association had it out for him or had no idea what they were doing." Gwen quipped, knowing of many governments and organizations hampered by poor management.

"It was founded three years ago, so there are some problems… ugh. I don't want to talk about it. I don't know who the guy really is other than his stupid face and costume. I am done with him." His fingers twitched as if wanting to tear something apart at the mental image of the Caped Baldy.

Not wanting to delve into the subject further, Garou cut himself off, for now, wanting some peace from his worst day.

"That's fine. I think I got the gist of it anyway." Gwen soothed in a kind manner, deciding to end the conversation by navigating through her watch.

In the background, Max was trying to wrap his head around what Garou just shared. S-Class? Monster and Hero Associations? A Caped Baldy? Everything about his world seemed made up, but Garou's insane abilities proved otherwise. One thing left him increasingly scared, though. If Garou was able to travel to this universe without his acknowledgment, what was stopping others from ending up here as well? The thought sent a chill down his spine.

"What's our next stop, grandpa?" Gwen asked from her position on the couch. Max was about to reply but choked at the sight of what was near the campsite's parking lot.

Away from the neatly organized rows of parked vehicles, screaming pedestrians ran in fear at the sight of a giant orange robot with glowing red eyes. It had three metallic legs and a dark red chestplate, paired with long arms that housed four black claws each. Its body resembled that of a wasp in certain aspects.

"Hang on! I'm pulling over." Max yelled as he pressed his foot on the brake pedal and halted his RV to a skidding stop.

Gwen and Garou left the vehicle to take a look at the bigger robot. It was way more massive than the ones before.

"Whoa, what is that thing?" Gwen looked at the laser-shooting robot as it terrorized the area, blasting cars and vans while picking up random citizens.

"No idea, but it looks quite a bit high tech." It was definitely more advanced than Demon Cyborg in sophistication. It was utterly alien in design, as well.

"And big. Does your world have monsters this big?" Gwen asked.

"Heck, no."

Gwen was surprised.

"We usually have bigger."

And Gwen was no longer surprised.

"The fire breathing dog was bigger than this one too. And tougher."

A mix of curiosity and excitement flowed through him. Garou wanted to see if this bucket of bolts was stronger than the Demon Cyborg.

"Stay here. Imma go dismantle it." Garou wanted to see how it will break, his sadistic tendencies resurfacing in the time of crisis. However, before he could exit the door, Gwen objected to his decision.

"No way! This is my chance to be a hero for once. And I call dibs!" Gwen assertively demanded, activating the watch's dial with a battle-ready smirk as she ran out of the Rust Bucket.

"...dibs?" Garou quirked a brow at the unusual slang.

Gwen adjusted the switch about three times before deciding on a transformation. Hearing Garou's exploits when he was a villain and enduring his combat prowess had inspired her. Standing before her was a chance to take the first step in the path of a hero. She refused to let Garou dismantle her opportunity to use the watch.

"This will do." Gwen then slammed her palm on the button. Spreading from her watch, a multitude of pulsating veins extended across her arm to her facial area in seconds. Her body grew exponentially more prominent and more muscular in terms of stature, topped off with two more arms protruding from her torso. By the end of the transformation sequence, Gwen had red skin and four yellow slits with the same orange hair unique to her human form. The white hourglass was now on her shoulder, staying as Gwen's symbol of her identity.

"Whoa, check me out." Her voice was more profound, more amazonian. She flexed her thick muscles back and forth; they brimmed with energy.

"What will you call this one?" Garou asked, a little curious about her abilities.

"Hmph. I don't know. Maybe… Fourarms!" Gwen suggested with a wide toothy smile, flexing all of her arms as indicated by the name.

When she transformed, the giant drone set its sights on Gwen's Tetramand form outside the Rust Bucket.

"Heh, really? Well, I've heard worse names so…" Garou gestured towards the machine that was stampeding towards them.

"Care for a bet?" Garou offered.

"What do you have in mind?" Gwen crouched down for a moment to listen in on Garou's idea.

"If you beat that thing in one minute… I might teach you my killer-martial arts."

His killer moves… Gwen beamed a smile as her eyes sparkled for a moment at the prospect of learning the same skills that allowed Garou to beat most of the strongest in his world.

"Prepare some room in your schedule because you're about to have an apprentice!" Gwen cockily assured, cracking each of her knuckles for good measure.

"Hoh. Care to back up your words? I can kill this thing in less than a second," Garou boasted.

"Then it is time to smack some evil robots Fourarms-style!" With a mighty leap, Gwen stormed towards the drone, each of her footsteps shaking the ground.

The drone focused its lens at the white hourglass on her shoulder, gravitating to it like a magnet sticking to steel. Confirming that she was her quarry, the mechanical giant shot out a red blast of energy at the ground. This sent Gwen flying, smashing into a vehicle parked nearby. Gwen slowly got back up on her feet, massaging her aching scalp with an angry expression.

"Grrrr. Eat this!" Gwen yelled out as she picked up the scraps of a dismantled station wagon and tossed it at the robot. The drone easily deflected this attack but was left wide open for a fast-approaching Gwen. She jumped through the skies and crashed into the drone's face like a descending meteorite, the impact of her fist leaving a sizable dent as it was sent tumbling down.

"Hah, how do you like that?" Gwen chortled defiantly.

The drone removed itself from the pavement with a noticeably missing right eye. Due to its targeting system fractured into disarray, it began shooting lasers in all aleatoric directions in an attempt to strike its primary target. Its beams eviscerated various cars into a mass of fiery explosions, clouding the entire parking lot in a haze of orange flame.

"It can't see me. I could use this to my advantage…" Gwen perused the surrounding area for any weapons she could use. Dodging laser after laser, Gwen caught sight of a proximate lamppost residing near the pine trees.

"Jackpot!" Gwen whispered to herself, delightedly. She ran up to the post and effortlessly ripped the metal pole from its roots, using two of her hands to hold it like an Olympic javelin.

In Gwen's absence, the robot aimed its guns right at the Rust Bucket in its frenzy, firing a straight shot directly at Garou in Ben's body.

Max screamed in horror, "No! Be-"

He smacked the red beam away, deflecting it back at the turret, exploding its guns. Garou did not even seem fazed by the blast.

"Oh, right…" He forgot that Garou was in his grandson's body for just a second.

Max still could not get used to the current surrealism. But even so, it was the first time he saw a child repel a high-tech laser shot with their bare hands.

"Hey, Iron Giant!" Gwen bellowed its attention, sprinting back into view. The drone's static vision temporarily cleared up to reveal its intended target, ready to fire its beams at Fourarms.

"Here's a present for you!" With all of her might, Gwen threw the lamppost's lower end at the drone's chestplate. Before the drone could expunge another clip, the makeshift spear skewered the drone through the chest and dragged it along its flight. Losing its power and strength, it sent out one last laser beam that streaked obliquely across the sky in vain as it burned nothing but the air of the moonlit night.

"Hraaaah!" Gwen screamed as she jumped toward the discombobulated machine and smashed its head to pieces with all four fists. Once its central core was destroyed, a chain reaction of explosions annihilated the machine, leaving only crumbs of the advanced assailant.

"Whew, that was a tough fight," Gwen exasperated. She had never felt this much adrenaline coursing through her but she admitted that it was refreshing. She cranes her thick, red neck to Garou and flashed a confident smile.

"How long was that?" Gwen asked, wiping some sweat off of her forehead and taking a moment to breathe.

"Hmmm…" Judging by her display, Gwen's current strength was around Demon-level at best. As for how strong, he did not know. Probably around the lower levels.

"You were just one second away from failing." Garou scoffed as he tapped on his wrist to tease her.

"Still passed, though. Which means a deal's a deal," Gwen smirked.

"Yeah, but now that I think about it, how common is it for aliens to be seen by people?" Garou asked, taking the populace into account. Gwen's four eyes blinked a few times before she jerked her head to view the people she helped save.

With the rampaged ceased and peace returned, the civilians returned to the scene. They saw the result of the aftermath, cracked asphalt and vehicles burning black smoke surrounding an unidentifiable creature with red skin and four arms in the center.

"Um, no need to thank me, citizens?" Gwen shyly greeted with a good-natured waving of her bulky hand. Max, wanting to make sure they got out of this area as soon as possible, hopped in the Rust Bucket and made preparations to drive.

Garou found her predicament amusing. The sight of a hero trying to preserve their public image and convince the witnesses that they are not a monster. It was a sight he would never see back home.

"Have fun getting back at the campsite," Garou called out behind Fourarms as he returned to the Rust Bucket.

Fourarms turned to Garou as he entered the Rust Bucket. Did he just leave her to the wolves? She found her answer when the Rust Bucket drove off, leaving her alone as it exited her sight.

"Oh, I am so getting back at you."

Fire flickered, smoke rose from within an apartment. Glass panes fell in shards as explosions erupted within as the heat ignited the flammable gases inside.

Within the building, a mother and her daughter were trapped, the descending stairs collapsed into piles of tinder as the inferno cordoned their escape. The girl huddled into her mother's bosom as the air grew thick and thin. They were about to die, trapped in choking smog and hellfire with no path for the rescuers to come to their aid.


Gwen, in the form of Heatblast, dove down from the ceiling. Deep concentration contorted her face as she held up a piece of fallen debris overhead. The little girl was amazed by the spectacle standing before her.

"W-who are you?" The girl breathed out in sheer awe, her mother still clinging onto her for moral support. Gwen gazed down at the two with a determined frown that didn't signify any iota of vitriol.

"I'm here to help," Gwen replied as she discarded the slab scorched slab of wood without much effort. She then outstretched her brightly lit hands and absorbed the surrounding fire like a heat-centric vacuum. To the mother and child's combined shock, the doorway to their damaged apartment was now free to enter.

"Follow me." Gwen signaled for the two to get up, leading them to a staircase built near the hallway. However, much to the Pyronite's chagrin, it collapsed into pieces from the building's constant rumbling.

Just when she thought today would be no different.

"Don't worry. We'll take this way instead." Gwen assured them at the sight of a wooden door built into the wall. With an elongated blast of flame, minding the mother and child, Gwen tore out an entrance to the outside world.

"Stick close to me," Gwen ordered calmly, pointing to the right and left sides of her body. The mom, while slightly hesitant, followed the fiery life form with her daughter held in hand.

Toot sweet, Gwen formed a massive fire tornado around herself and the other two. It curved down to the sidewalk and safely placed them on top of the pavement. Due to Heatblast's control over all forms of heat, the mother, daughter, and surrounding populace were left unharmed.

"T-thank you so much… uh, ma'am?" The mother thanked her with some sense of uncertainty, not sure if fire monsters really had genders. The little girl also did the same, nodding her head up and down enthusiastically.

"No need to thank me. It's all in a day's work for a hero such as myself." She placed her hands on her hips, jutting her chest forward with pride.

Behind the crowd, the Rust Bucket drove silently. She could see Grandpa Max through the driver's window, but no sign of Be-no, Garou… she should really stop referring to him as Ben.

"Huh, wonder where he could be?" Gwen wondered aloud to herself, departing from the crowd to take a seat in the Rust Bucket. After making sure she was safe from public sight, Gwen sighed in relief as her timer went off, returning her to human form after her dial flashed constant red.

"Grandpa? Where is…. Well, you know?" Gwen asked.

Max pursed his lips as he stared at the front window.

"I had to take care of a problem." A familiar voice replied before Max could answer. Looking back, they saw Garou yawning, but his fists were caked in crimson. Blood was on his hands, and it was not his. Garou went to the sink and washed his hands, cleaning the bloodstains downed the drain with soap and water.

"What'd you do now?" Gwen sighed with crossed arms.

"Took down the guys that set the fire," Garou replied as he walked to the fridge, opening it to browse what was currently in stock. Gwen and Max shared a look, sharing a growing concern regarding Garou's mindset.

This wasn't his first time brutally punishing criminals. One time, Garou beat up three thugs because they were robbing an old lady. They have never seen someone's limbs twisted into a pretzel before, and it was a sad sight.

"Look, um, Garou. I know you're doing the right thing, but could you consider easing up on the violence a bit? It's getting out of hand really fast." Gwen chastised the Hero Hunter for the blood he inadvertently put on her cousin's hands.

"Hey, if you live in a world where people can turn into monsters and deaths come in daily, this much isn't considered as 'too far.'" Garou retorted, taking out a sandwich from the fridge.

"Yeah, but you're not in your world right now. We have laws against this type of stuff." Gwen was starting to question the laws and etiquettes of the heroes in his world. It could be unique to Garou himself.

"Well, the worse thing is the be thrown in prison with a hero that rapes men," Garou casually shrugged.

The image of a man doing that with another man crossed Gwen's and Max's mind. They did not like the picture as their stomach churned with disgust.

"Please don't put that image in my head." Gwen hissed in disgust, pinching the bridge of her nose with closed eyes.

"It's true… there is an S-Class hero like that. He is one of the more questionable hero-types." Garou continued before biting into his sandwich.

"What?" Gwen was confused. "Wait wait wait, are you serious? One of your world's best heroes is a sexual offender?" Gwen looked stupefied.

"Repeated sexual offender. Rumor has it he collects the criminals he caught to his prison cell."

"I have so much to say to criticize your world's ethics; I don't know where to start." Gwen retorted.

She decided to stop talking about Garou's insane world before she strayed from the topic too much.

"But that's beside the point. Just… promise me that you'll hold back just a little on normal criminals. For aliens, do what you want." Gwen pleaded earnestly, her eyes narrowed to show that she meant business.

Garou paused mid-chewing, silently contemplating her suggestion. While he had no tolerance for despicable acts, like bullying the weak, Garou did not have any real obligations to enact penance on the sinners. This was not his world… but in his heart, it did not matter anyway.

"...fine. I'll leave them on the floor, drooling." She reminded him of a mother, despite her age.

"Better… I think." Gwen did not know what he meant by 'drooling,' but it was a start.

On the other hand, Max sighed from mental exhaustion. Traveling with a stranger in his grandson's body was not in his expectations when he invited them on a summer trip.

"What'd you do to them this time?" He asked.

Garou turned to the Tennysons, his lips spread wide in a smirk.


The fire was just a diversion, noise to keep the eyes of the law from a simple crime. The cost was the lives of many for trinkets and gems, yet the thieves did not care. They sold the victims' to the devils' mercy, their reward was more time to flee with the wealth they harvested and the hope to return as rich men.

The two men drove from the jewelry store with breakneck haste, grinning in their hearts as they inwardly laughed. No sirens blared, no sight of striped cars in their rearview mirror, the absence of anyone chasing them brought the crooks much delight.

"Hey." However, they heard an unexpected voice in the backseat. Confused, the Driver tilted the rearview mirror down, seeing a kid in their car. He had brown hair and a white T-Shirt, his leggings were baggy dark-green jeans.

"Is that a kid back there?" The driver uttered.

"Look, kid, I don't know how you got in, but…"

The kid smirked as he pointed left. The crooks tilted their rearview mirror, catching a glaring hole in the handle of the van. The villains gawped at it for a moment as the kid started crunching his knuckles together.

"I've never hunted small fry before. But, since I've got time, well…" His grin widened into a wicked length, a mien promising pain and punishment for the ones in front.

Within the van, cries of pain and shouts for mercy resounded, the vehicle's trajectory thrown off its course as it crashed into the walls on the sidewalk. The pedestrians all fled from its path, with no casualties from the impact.

However, something odd happened. The door to the van fell off from its hinges splitting from the impact. What fell afterward were two occupants, each with faces bloodied and swelling black and blue under their ski masks.

"-and that's what happened." He narrated as he threw the last piece into his mouth.

"The police didn't see you, right?" Gwen asked nervously, guessing that her aunt and uncle would age sixty years if they saw that their only son was a wanted felon.

"Please, I'm faster than Lightspeed Flash despite the downgrade." Garou spread his arms, gesturing to his weaker body.

"Lightspeed Flash? And you say my names are bad." Gwen laughed at the mention of this person.

"I know, right? That guy boasted he's the fastest hero alive, but you know the story," Garou replied as he swallowed his meal.

"How fast are you anyway?" Gwen wondered, curious of his limits.

"Don't know. If Lightspeed Flash is as fast as he sounds, then consider me faster," Garou shrugged.

"Ohhh." A devious idea popped in Gwen's head. "If you're as fast as you claim, then wanna test it with XLR8?" Gwen challenged in a joking manner, displaying the shadow of a dinosaur-like creature.

"Hah! You think your cheap aliens can stand against me?" Garou dared.

"Afraid of losing to a girl?" Gwen quipped back.

"Oh, you're on." Garou accepted as he placed his feet off the table, ready to go whenever Gwen was.

"Not now, you two. We need to go to the local grocery store for supplies." Max lectured with little patience at the moment, looking at them through the Rust Bucket's rearview mirror.

"Ohhhhh. That's right, we almost ran out."

"Plus, with his appetite, we'll be there quite a lot." Gwen jerked a thumb towards said Human Monster with a mischievous grin. Garou was already digging for more food in the fridge, scouring the deepest corners of the freezing container. When Garou closed the fridge, he emerged with a jar of pickles in hand. He even had a pickle in his mouth.

"What?" He crunched the end off before swallowing. "Blame this body. It's not my fault this thing is poorly maintained."

"Watch it," Max warned. "That's my grandson you're talking about."

Max reprimanded Garou with a stern frown.

"'Grandson,' my butt. Is there anything redeeming about him?" Garou quirked a brow as he started munching on the pickles bar by bar.

"Well, there's quite a few actually. For one thing, Ben always had the instinct to help others. Apparently, he tried to protect someone from two bullies named J.T. and Cash," Max brought up.

"He got wedgied for that, grandpa…" Gwen reminded him with a mocking snicker.

Garou smirked in mocking victory over Max and his pitiful defense, "I rest my case." Garou finished eating all of the pickles; he burped into his hand as before giving Max his back.

"Hey, it's the thought that counts!" Max defended.

Garou found his argument weak and wearing thin. Before the argument can continue, they arrived at the grocery store just in time as Max parked the Rust Bucket in a free parking spot.

"Anyways, let's go. I am starving for some cola and pizza." Stretching his arms from the hours of the trip's dull idleness, Garou ran out of the Rust Bucket.

"Like you're any better…" Max muttered under his breath once Garou left, rolling his eyes as he proceeded the drive to M-Mart.

Gwen looked at Max, sheepishly grinning somewhat.

"...what?" Max asked, turning to Gwen.

"It's the first time I've seen you argue like this. It's kind of… cute." She smiled wider.

"Cute? That's the last thing someone would describe me as. I'm just… frustrated. That's all." Max denied distastefully, wondering where this summer started to go wrong.

"Come on, grandpa. You have to admit that Garou is better than Ben in some aspects. I mean, he's in shape for one." Gwen attempted to cheer up the elder Tennyson with some positives.

Max couldn't deny that Garou was helping Ben's body get into shape. His muscle tone was starting to show under his shirt, and it was developing at a noticeable pace.

"That's not the point, Gwen. I set up this vacation as a way of bonding with the two of you. As a family. With Ben gone, I feel like this summer won't be as enjoyable as it could have been." Max sighed forlornly with saddened eyes.

Gwen thought back for a moment, looking up. She remembered the exciting stories behind Garou's background, how easy it was to talk to him afterward, he was kinder and much less annoying to speak to, he was mature, he was fun to talk to… and he was strong as heck. Not only that, he knows how to fight very well. Garou even admitted his identity openly to them, sharing Max's desire to leave Ben's body.

"Just give him a chance, grandpa. It's not like Ben will be gone forever. We'll get him back someday. Plus, Garou wants the same thing… it's just a matter of getting used to him. He is kinda… fun." Gwen promised kindly, glancing back at Garou's form with a warm smile.

"You're right, honey. I'll work on it."

Max's frustration slowly bled from him. Dealing with Garou was a hurdle in itself, but that did not mean the man wanted to stay. He didn't ask for this, too, which made this problem even harder to handle.

"Let's go. What do you want to buy?"