Just a few notes, first:
Note One: I changed a bunch of little things here and there, so I've labeled it AU to avoid any tomatoes for trashing canon. The biggest thing I changed is that the OC character Whisper is the only one that went to the future and recieved a Nanocom, and that she told Dexter about Buttercup being alive in the future (it bothered me that no one remembered this in the game).
Note Two: There will never be a romance between Whisper and any of the canon characters. She works a lot with Dexter, and even develops a friendship with him, but I will never pair them up. In fact, if I ever do write any romance between anyone, it will most likely be Blossom and Dexter (I blame Bleedman).
Note Three: Although each 'chapter' (there's nine planned in all, I have four written out) is a stand alone, it has an over all plot, so I'm grouping them together. I'll mention at the beginning of each chapter how much time has passed so there will be no confusion, so look out for those.
Note Four: (final one) This is unbeta'd. If anyone ever wants to volunteer, please tell me. I'd love the help.
Disclaimer: Everyone belongs to their proper owners. Crysania belongs to B (author name: Crysania Fay). Whisper is the only thing I own.
The town had been devastated in an attack that had rendered the town all but uninhabitable. Toxic fusion matter hung in the air like a grissly fog, casting the town in a sickly green glow. Not many people would venture into the city unless they had to. Even then, it was the more braver individuals that actually went in.
Whisper was hardly the bravest, but she was one of the faster and was often opt to running errands for people. It was one such errand that brought her to Endsville that day. It wasn't of urgent matters, really it could have waited until tomorrow, but Whisper wasn't one to let things sit when she was more than capable to do it today. So, there she was, a good mile into the town staring wide eyed at another good mile filled with Fusions.
This... was going to make things very difficult.
Whisper edged around an abandoned house. She prayed she wasn't seen before she got out of sight. She wasn't sure she was *that* prepared for a conflict and she wanted to be absolutely sure before she headed out into that.
Safely ducking around the corner, she released a silent sigh of relief. Much better, she thought with a nod. She peaked around the corner. As far as she could see, Joke-o-Lanterns and Bloodsuckers roamed the streets and the immediate vicinity surrounding the roads. She did a mental inventory. She had more than enough potions to keep Nano Eddy alert, and she knew he would keep her going. She should be able to pass through them with minimal loss to her stock.
It was then that she saw her: Fusion Buttercup.
All certainty flew out the window, and Whisper's eyes widened, and then narrowed. What was *she* doing here? Endsville was no where near important enough to warrant the attention of one of Lord Fuse's heaviest hitters. There was no reason, that Whisper could think of, for Fusion Buttercup to be here.
So caught up in her gawking, she almost missed the tell-tale raising of the hair on the back of her neck - a sure sign that someone was right behind her. So ingrained was her training, she was swinging her mace before she even thought to do so.
Whisper was expecting many things - a Fusion; a kid that had strayed too far from safety and was just realizing how stupid he or she was - but she wasn't expecting the very human hand that caught her wrist, nor the equally human hand that whispered in a hurried manner.
"Whoa! Whoa! Easy! Don't want to take an eye out."
Whisper stared. Eyes wide, she whispered, "Ben 10?"
The dark haired boy rolled his eyes at the old nickname. "Ben Tennyson, or just Ben, actually." He grinned amused with her surprise. "10 doesn't really cover it any more."
Whisper recovered, her mouth snapping shut with a click of her teeth. "What- ...What are you doing *here*? I thought you were further down south?"
Ben's good mood vanished. Instead of answering her, stepped closer to the building to give her a look behind him. Whisper gave up all pretenses (and hope of that day making any sense) and simply gaped.
Red hair tousled, his normally spotless (at least every time she had seen him in public, rare as that was) white jacket covered in dirt, and one of the lenses of his glasses cracked, stood none other than perhaps the most important person to the resistance.
Fusion Buttercup suddenly made perfect and a sort of sickly sense. She was here on an *assassination* attempt!
Whisper whirled on Ben. "What is *he*-" She pointed at Dexter, "-Doing here?!"
The red head's frown deepened and Ben looked too haggard to be sheepish. It was Ben who answered. "We almost had Endsville back. We were making progress when a vital sensor went out." He paused, as if he was making sure the terms he was using were correct. He seemed satisfied with them, for he added, "We came to fix it."
"You couldn't send a less... *obvious* target? Or at least bring it back to you?" She didn't mean to ask it, but the words were out of her mouth before she could stop them.
Dexter piped up for the first time since she'd arrived. "The equipment is too delicate to move."
Whisper blinked at them. She could feel the confused expression on her face. "So, just the two of you came?"
Ben's expression was grim. "Not originally."
A chill ran down her spine and all she could say was, "Oh."
There was a moment's pause, and then she asked, a bit tentatively, "Does anyone know you're here?"
Their expressions said it all.
Whisper removed her Nanocom and handed it to Ben. She glanced at Dexter, despite her promise not to do so. She hadn't seen him since that first week she'd gotten back from the hellish future his ruined experiment in time travel had accidentally sent her to. She had grown so used to simply getting seemingly random emails from him (most of which sent her to Blossom for more training or the occasional mission), it was almost weird to see him in person.
She noted, albeit a bit late, that he was favoring his left arm. Just barely visible under his hand was what should have been, from the start, a very noticeable bloodstain. "You're hurt," she stated, worried. How big had that battle been, and how had she failed to hear about it?
As if in answer, she heard Ben sigh. "You com is almost dead."
Oh. That would be how. Whisper had the decency to look sheepish. "Can you still send for help?"
Ben shrugged, out of his element, and handed the device to Dexter. Whisper didn't miss the wince as the need for both hands forced him to move the injured arm.
Whisper pursed her lips and then reached around Ben to snatch Nano Eddy from where he'd been hovering. The tiny Nano puffed his cheeks in an almost dignified huff. She faced the Nano in Dexter's direction and allowed the Nano's programming to take over. Dexter glanced at it as it went to work and she could see some of the strain smooth from his brow as the wound vanished. Nano Eddy sadly could not erase the blood stain.
Nano Eddy did a twirl of satisfaction as he gravitated back to Whisper's side. He stuck his tongue out at Nano Buttercup as if to rub in that he was more useful than her. Nano Buttercup punched a fist into her open palm - a sign of how she'd show him personally just how useful she could be.
Dexter finally shook his head and handed her back the com. "It is too low on power," he said. His disgust made his impossible-foreign accent thicker. "It can not send the signal."
Whisper took the Nanocom back, muttering a "sorry" under her breath, and hoped her cheeks weren't as red as they felt. She silently swore never to let it get too low again. Trying to save a little grace, she asked, "What now?"
Before either could respond, a blast of fusion matter flew by them, just barely missing Ben's shoulder. It crashed into a tree behind them sending splintered wood flying in every direction. The trio spun around to see Fusion Buttercup readying another attack.
Whisper was already switching to her long range weapon - a Sister T.H.U.M.P.E.R. - even as she turned. She set off two shots in succession. One caught the next incoming attack while the second caught Fusion Buttercup dead on. The Fusion copy-cat almost growled. She apparently hadn't been expecting any long range weapons.
Unexpectedly, she pulled back.
The move was so uncharacteristic, it took the trio a full minute to realize what she was doing.
"She's calling reinforcements!" Whisper exclaimed. Between herself and Ben, Fusion Buttercup didn't stand a chance. Between Fusion Buttercup and a whole army of Fusions and Whisper and Ben didn't have a prayer.
Ben said something he only could have learned from the older kids. Altering the Omnitrix to the setting he desired, he turned to her and said, "Whisper,-" She glanced at him, surprised he knew her name. "-Get Dexter to the safe point. There's a warp there."
Both Whisper's and Dexter's mouths dropped open in protest, although for very different reasons. Whisper beat Dexter to voicing her protest before him, which was an honest feat. The red haired genius' temper was legendary. "Just me? But they'll be all over us the moment we're out there. The Fusions are swarming from *everywhere* in the vicinity."
Ben's expression was disapproving, and more than a little angry. "We're in the middle of a war, and you're worried about yourself?"
Whisper frowned at the misunderstanding. "I meant that wouldn't it be better if we went together. I don't think I can protect Dexter against an army."
Dexter's voice was thick with barely patient indignation. "I can protect myself."
Whisper threw him a look and then looked from Ben to the still motionless Fusion Buttercup. She made her choice. Ben was right. Dexter had to get back alive and in one piece. She turned back to Ben. "You sure you got this?"
The dark haired teen's lips curled into a confident smile and he gave her a thumbs up. With that, he slammed his palm down onto the Omnitrix. A bright flash of light and in his place stood a dinosaur like creature. If she was correct, it was a Homongousaur.
She took in Dexter's lack of weapon. It was with a little regret that she relinquished her shotgun over to him and pulled out her Subatomic Meta Mace. It didn't last long as the comfortable weight settled in her hand. Melee weapons had always been her preferred choice after all.
She searched the area to get her bearings. "The safe point is..."
Dexter pointed to their left. "That way."
She blinked and squinted in the direction he'd indicated. It looked about right. She'd only been out this way once before, so she couldn't be too sure. However, she trusted her guide too much to second guess him. Knowing Dexter, he had the whole town's layout memorized.
Whisper nodded, giving Ben and Fusion Buttercup one last look. Reinforcements would arrive any moment now. They had to run while the could. "Just come back alive," she said, the sentiment echoed in the worried concern on Dexter's face.
The massive creature grinned, the expression looking strange and out of place on his face.
With one last sigh to steel herself, Whisper took off running. She could hear Dexter hot on her heals.
Noticing her prey was escaping, Fusion Buttercup came to life. She didn't get very far as Ben leapt for her. The fleeing pair could hear her furious bellow as they went down.
Whisper and Dexter didn't get very far themselves before they discovered Fusion Buttercup reinforcements. What had to be two and a half dozen Joke-o-Lanterns were headed straight for them. Whisper let out a hiss of restrained horror. She spun on Dexter. "Detour! We need a detour."
The boy genius continued to stare a head of them, his eyes a little too wide to hide his own horror. When he spoke, though, his voice managed to stay even. "Detouring would take too long. The will be mostly like this too."
Whisper didn't like this, at all, but she knew he was right. "The we fringe them and pray they don't all notice us."
Dexter's brow furrowed, but he didn't argue with her. The two took off again, sticking as close to the houses for cover as possible.
It was really inevitable that they were noticed. A Joke-o-Lantern, just on the outer most side of the group, spotted them passing between houses. A pumpkin smashed into the side of the building somehow managing not to splatter the tail of Whisper's hoodie as she vanished around a corner.
She looked ahead of them. There were no more Joke-o-Lanterns in sight, but then, there were no more houses either. She glanced back at Dexter and saw a similar expression to mirror the one that must have been on her own face. They would have to make a break for it across open, unprotected ground from here on out.
The Joke-o-Lantern appeared around the corner of the house. He was barely in time to see them racing off. It let out a horrible crow of a sound, it's futile attack easily missing them. Unfortunately, the cry drew the attention of just about every single one of the nearby Fusions.
It was instinct, like with Ben earlier, that had her suddenly spinning around. Dexter gave a shout of surprise as she tackled him, sending both of them toppling to the asphalt. The red head opened his mouth, perhaps to protest, but shut it as a pumpkin went flying threw the space his head had just occupied.
Instead of thanking her, Dexter responded by rolling them to the side, this time saving Whisper from an attack.
Whisper leapt to her feet, taking in the approaching mass. "Would it be terrible of me to say," she said, waiting long enough for him to get to his feet before setting out again, "That you must be doing something right if they're this determined to kill you?"
Dexter snorted at the halfhearted attempt to lighten the mood, but, if she wasn't mistaken, he looked almost pleased with himself.
The pair made it the last block to the safe point, Whisper all but diving for it as they passed through the unseen barrier erected to keep the Fusions out. In fact, she very well would have, if not for the smell. It hit them like a wall and for a moment she was sure they were in the wrong place. Smoke was the strongest smell, but under it she could make out the reek of Fusion Matter. The ramifications of the smell left her floored.
The safe point had been compromised.
Dexter walked past her, his mind going to work. She noted how pale he was, the only thing that gave away how much the destruction was effecting him. His blue eyes took in everything with ruthless attention and she would have bet a whole year's worth of allowance he almost, if not completely, knew what had happened here.
"This is why they didn't answer," he murmured. He moved further in, eyes roaming over every scorch mark that littered the square to the still smoking remains of various equipment.
"How could we not know about this?" Whisper breathed, her voice trembling slightly.
Dexter voice was as solid as ever, but she could still hear the underlying fear and, most of all, anger. "They left no survivors."
Again, the chill ran down her spine. It was days like these she felt old and oh, so very tired. She would never say it out loud, but there were days she wished the adults would finally see this war for what it was and lend a hand.
When she focused on her guide again, he was bent over the warp station. It wasn't smoking like some of the other pieces of technology, but it didn't look functional either. "Can you fix it?"
Dexter snorted, as if it were obvious. Aloud, he said, "With enough time. It was damaged, but not made inoperable."
She tried to take hope from it. She couldn't help but wonder how long they had before the Fusions remembered this was no longer safe ground.
Beside her, as if effected by the tension, Nano Eddy and Nano Buttercup had taken to squabbling with each other. They were flexing their muscles (or, in Nano Eddy's case, trying to make it look like he had muscles) at each other. Nano Buttercup gave a hearty laugh that made Nano Eddy's face turn an amusing shade of red.
Whisper watched them, taking comfort form the every day normal routine. She was also thankful for the distraction. Keeping her Nanos from killing each other seemed so mundane in their present situation. She nearly jumped when she felt her third Nano settling on his usual perch a top her head.
She felt the small swell of pride this Nano had a tendency to instill in her whenever he was around. Nano Dexter, her twenty-second Nano, was her newest - he had only been her for four days now - and if nothing else he was a badge of her progress. She was also very fond of how he (usually) made it easier to avoid Fusions.
Out of the corner of her eye, she caught Dexter peering at them from the corner of his own eyes. She had no doubt which of them he was really looking at. He'd done it the first day she'd returned, too.
She half tilted her head, mindful of the Nano perched up there. He gave a soft trill of irritation, but didn't fall off. "You never explained why I couldn't tell them."
Dexter didn't insult her by pretending he didn't know what she meant. They both knew she was referring to his strict orders not to inform Buttercup's family that she had been alive in the future. She was also to never have the missing Power Puff Girl's Nano counterpart out around them.
She could still remember his reaction to the Nanos. In the present, they just an idea on his drawing board, nowhere near ready for development, but in the future? They *worked*. She was suspicious the only reason Dexter hadn't taken the Nanocom apart that first day was because the Nanos almost constantly needed it's energy to survive. Even so, it had been days before she was allowed to have them back. During that time, she'd lost count of how many times she had explained what had happened in the future and how she had acquired the com and Nanos.
Upon receiving them back, her Nanos dancing and twirling with joy to see her, Dexter had given her the very strict and puzzling orders. At the time, there hadn't been an opportunity to ask.
Dexter adjusted something as said, "We do not know where she is, nor the true effects of my sister's tampering had on the time machine. You may not have even arrived in our future."
Whisper frowned as she struggled to comprehend the true meaning behind his words. "You mean... I might have landed in an... alternate reality or something?" Absently, snatched Nano Buttercup out of the air before she could attack Nano Eddy for whatever he had done to annoy her this time. He stuck out his tongue at her, while Whisper could hear Nano Dexter's soft, squeaky laughter.
She shook her head, the movement somehow not dislodging the Nano. The prospect of landing in another reality was beyond her. Mostly to herself, almost as a reassurance she was right, she muttered, "But they were expecting me."
Dexter said, "Most likely it was ours. But until we find her it is best to keep it quiet. What do you think Bubbles and Blossom would do if they knew?"
Whisper knew what he meant. "They would go looking for her, for sure."
Dexter nodded. "Yes. They would."
Whisper didn't like it, but like so often in this war, she didn't question her orders.
There was another stretch of silence as Dexter continued to work. Whisper occupied herself with keeping an eye for Fusions on the Nanocom and keeping her Nanos from killing each other.
It wasn't much longer until Whisper heard Dexter exclaiming "A-ha!" in triumph, followed by the hum of the warp coming back online.
"You did it!" Whisper exclaimed, so excited she released her hold on Nano Eddy and Nano Buttercup's clothing. They flew into each other, dropping a foot in a tangle of limbs. The two separated, all but hissing at each other as they did so.
She approached the console, peering at it. It looked like it had seen better days, but it worked and, in the end, that's all that mattered.
Dexter gave it another once over before nodding in satisfaction. "We will have to go on at a time, or the system will overload, but there is enough power for two transports."
Whisper studied the console. It didn't make much sense to her, but if she knew the right buttons to push... She said to him, "Tell me what button to push."
He gave her a suspicious look, like he already knew what she was going to say. Most likely, he was right. "What?"
She pointed back the way they had come. "My com's almost dead, but the radar's still working. We have *minutes* before they get here. You need to get out of here. *Now*."
He frowned at her, something - regret? guilt? both? - flickering in his eyes as he debated her words. She could tell he agreed with her - he was more important than she was - but he didn't seem to want to actually put his life above hers.
She smiled in what was supposed to be a reassuring way. "Besides, if Ben doesn't track me if I lose you, Mandy would kill me for going back without you."
The corner of his lips twitched at whatever images her comment had conjured. Mandy may very well track her down and do something particularly horrible to her, keeper of the most sophisticated Nanocom or not.
It was with great reluctance that he pointed to a series of buttons. "This one," he pointed at the fourth one in the set, "Takes us to Sector V." He pointed to a bigger, more prominent button set apart from the others. "This one activates the warp. It'll warp anyone standing on the platform."
Whisper committed the location and colors of the buttons to memory. She then tried to calculate the distance between the platform and the controls. If she was very careful not to come down too hard, she could reach the transport button with her mace.
She said, "Got it. Now, go." She glanced at the entrance to the safe point. Through the smoke, she could see figure's appearing on by one. Grimly, she added, "They're here."
Dexter's expression was unreadable - the glare of his glasses hiding his eyes - as he looked from her to the entrance, and then back at her. His lips twisted with concern and Whisper was grateful for it. Finally, without a word, he stepped onto the platform.
Whisper pushed the first button. She could hear the gears churning inside the massive vehicle-turned-computer. Next, she pressed what she dubbed the 'go' button. For an agonizingly long moment, nothing happened, and she despaired that the effort had been for not.
Then, with a loud kick, the transport came alive. She looked over her shoulder just in time to see Dexter vanish in the familiar flash of the warp. Whisper felt a wave of relief knowing that Dexter was safely out of here. Now, it was her turn.
Whisper set the first button and stepped onto the platform. She did a quick check to make sure all three Nanos were accounted for and tucked securely under her free arm. It was a stretch, but the mace made the distance. She brought the weapon down as gently as possible, but the console still creaked warningly and dented as she nearly toppled over making the reach. She winced, thinking she had hit it too hard, and it wouldn't work, but in the same time it had taken to effect the first time, the machine came alive.
As the warp took her, she stole a glance at the entrance, to see the first Joke-o-Lanterns fully appear from the smoke. She couldn't help but smile. The Fusions may have won this battle, but they hadn't won the major one: they're boy genius was far away from here and, with any luck, so was Ben.
It looked like there was something to be thankful for today after all.
The warp lights vanished and Whisper let out a massive sigh of relief. It was over - at least for the moment - and she could breathe again. Turning, she looked to see how Dexter was doing, and was startled to see only empty air. Alarmed, she searched the area only to discover something... odd.
This wasn't Sector V. This was City Square.
She laughed, ignoring the strange looks she received from the KND members stationed there. It seemed she'd hit more than the 'go' button and it wasn't Dexter that was lost - it was her!
She wiped a tear from her eye, still chuckling, and considered her next course of action. She could have taken the warp to Cul-de-Sac, and from there to Sector V, but she ultimately decided she would rather take the City Bus to Pokey Town South and walk from there. It would take longer (a whole hour, instead of just a few minutes), but she wanted to time to think. In light of everything she had learned, there was much to think about.
She had a feeling she wouldn't have much time for thinking when she got back.
Plan in mind, she set off, hoping they wouldn't worry too much before she got there. She'd have to see if the City Bus had a working comlink. If not, well, she had enough to occupy her time.
It was going to be a long trip back.
-end of chapter one