“Ben Tennyson,” Albedo said turning towards the group, “we meet again.”
“Albedo?” Ben asked with surprise in his voice, “What do you think you’re doing?” He asked putting his hands on his hips.
"I was about to go out for some chili fries, care to join me?" Albedo asked while gripping the sides of the replica of Ben’s jacket he was wearing, pulling it down, and grinning.
Ben stared at Albedo while raising an eyebrow.
"Okay," Ben replied.
"Wait what?" Albedo questioned.
"I said okay," Ben said.
"Are you insane?" Gwen asked, confused by her cousin's reply.
"What?" Ben asked turning towards Gwen, "I'm hungry,” he said shrugging before turning to face Albedo again, “and Albedo offered."
"I thought you were pissed about him pretending to be you," Kevin said.
"Oh I am," Ben said crossing his arms, "and he can pay me back by buying me chili fries from the money he's making by using my name and likeness," He said before staring directly at Albedo, "Right?"
Albedo blinked. He didn't expect that reaction out of Tennyson when he threw out the offer. He certainly didn't expect the brown haired teenager to actually agree to go get chili fries with him. He turned around back towards the mirror and took out the fake contacts he was wearing. All the trio did was stare at Albedo putting back the contacts where they belonged. When Albedo was done, he turned back towards the group to address them.
"As I was saying, I'm going out for some chili fries," Albedo said making his way past the trio and out the door, "Join me or don't, your choice."
When Albedo was out the door, Ben left the room to follow him. Gwen and Kevin stayed in place, they were too shocked at what just transpired.
“Yo dude wait up!” Ben exclaimed, trying to speed up to Albedo.
“So you decided to join me Tennyson?” Albedo asked, slowing his pace to let Ben catch up to him.
“I’m still pissed about the show, why’d you have to write me like that?”
“Well I couldn’t exactly ask you how you wanted to be written.”
“You could’ve tried,” Ben said, shrugging.
“And besides my fans loved it.”
The two of them made their way out of the theater and out into the parking lot.
“I don’t know this town, where’s the best place to get chili fries?”
“You’re useless,” Albedo said, rolling his eyes.
Albedo grabbed Ben’s wrist and started dragging him.
“Hey dude, what the hell?”
Albedo dragged Ben down the street into one of the fast food restaurants. Once they were inside the restaurant Albedo let go of Ben’s wrist. They made their way to the counter.
“Oh hey Albedo, and Ben Tennyson… wait, the real Ben is here?” The cashier asked.
“I’ll take my usual, but double,” Albedo said, ignoring the question.
“Alright, that'll be $10,” he said.
Albedo pulls a 10 out and gives it to the cashier. He steps back to call out the order. While waiting for their food, Albedo leaned against the railing and crossed his arms. Ben, without realizing it, does the exact same thing.
“Is that Ben 10?” Someone asked.
“Aw f-” Ben tried to say before Albedo put a hand on his mouth.
A little girl walked up to where they were standing with, what they assumed was, her father.
“I am such a big fan!" The little girl squealed, "I saw your show tonight and it was amazing!”
“It's all she's been talking about,” Her dad replied.
“Yes it is I, Ben Tennyson!” Albedo said dramatically to hide the fact he was lying.
“No, I'm Ben Tennyson! This is my real hair and eyes!” Ben said, pulling his hair to show it wasn't a wig and pointing to his green eyes.
The little girl looked between the two and pulled out a notebook and a pen.
“Can I have your autograph?” She asked with pleading eyes.
“Anything for one of my-” Ben said while reaching for the pen before getting flicked.
“No, not you!” She said, glaring at Ben, “Him!” she exclaimed looking star struck at Albedo.
Albedo started laughing.
“Yes, anything for one of my adoring fans,” Albedo said while kneeling down to the little girl's level and showboating a little bit.
While the little girl was giving all her attention to Albedo, Ben looked at him with a glare. Albedo responded by giving Ben a shit eating grin. Ben wondered how anyone could not realize that he was the real Ben 10. Albedo wasn't even wearing his brown wig and green contacts. The only thing that could've fooled the little girl was the fact Albedo was still wearing a replica of his own jacket. Maybe he should get that jacket copyrighted, he'd have to see if his uncle Frank could do that. He is a lawyer after all.
Albedo signed the little girl's autograph book with Ben's name, before he could stand back up she hugged him. He stayed knelt and felt awkward for a second, but returned the hug until she pulled back. When she let go, Albedo stood back up.
“Thank you Mr. Ben 10!” She exclaimed before leaving with her dad.
Once the two left the building, Ben spoke up again.
“I can't believe she thought you were me!”
“Oh yes, what a shame that I stole your thunder. Boo hoo,” Albedo said, rolling his eyes as if he was annoyed.
“Hey Albedo, your food is ready!” They heard the cashier say.
Albedo came up to the counter and grabbed the tray of two large chili fries and two sodas.
Albedo went away from the counter and went into the dining room of the restaurant. Ben followed behind him.
“Can we sit there?” Ben asked finding a spot that looked good.
“No,” Albedo said, continuing to walk.
“What about there?” Ben asked, pointing to another spot.
“No,” Albedo replied again while smirking.
Ben sighed and rolled his eyes. After walking around in circles all over the small dining room, Albedo set the tray down at the first table Ben suggested.
“You’re a little shit,” Ben said while he was sitting down, “You know that right?”
Albedo laughed and sat down in front of Ben. Ben grabbed one of the trays of fries and put it closer to him so he could eat without having to reach for them.
“You know, these chili fries aren’t half bad,” Ben said with a mouth full of chili fries.
Albedo swallowed the food he had in his mouth before replying to Ben.
“At least have the decency not to talk with your mouth full Tennyson," Albedo said.
“Nothing is going to beat Burger Shack though,” Ben said, continuing to talk with his mouth full.
“There’s a few places here and there I’ve been to that had better chili fries,” Albedo said while holding a fry in the air, “Almost makes me enjoy having this disgusting craving you gave me.”
“Dude, liking chili fries is not cause of my DNA,” Ben said, “Get over it dude, they’re amazing.”
Albedo knew his chili fry craving wasn't because of Tennyson's DNA, but he didn't want to admit it. They ate their fries in complete silence, too busy enjoying the taste of them to even speak. If anyone was looking at them, they'd realize that the two ate their chili fries in a similar way. Maybe with a glance people would think they were fraternal twins, since they looked similar, and their facial expressions and actions were accidently in sync. They even unintentionally drank their sodas at the same time. As they ate their chili fries, they both looked at each other waiting for the other to say something.
“You got chili on your face,” Ben said breaking the silence and looking at Albedo's cheek.
Albedo put a hand to his face to wipe it off.
“No, not there,” Ben said, leaning his hand over, “Let me get it,” he said, using his thumb to wipe the chili off Albedo’s cheek.
Albedo pushed Ben’s hand off his face.
“I’m very capable of getting chili off my face thank you very much,” Albedo said with his cheeks turning red and wiping the part of his cheek Ben touched.
“Man it’s so easy to rile you up,” Ben said bending his seat back from laughing so hard.
Albedo rolled his eyes at Ben's laughter, but continued to eat his chili fries. Ben continued to bend his seat backwards as he was laughing. Before Ben could realize it, the chair started to fall backwards. All Ben could do was yelp as the chair fell backwards to the floor. Albedo leaned his head to the side to see Ben on the floor.
“And it’s so easy for you to embarrass yourself,” Albedo said with a smirk.
“Okay, yeah I guess I deserved that,” Ben said from the floor.
Ben laid on the floor and looked at the ceiling. He leaned back further with his hands on his head and laughed again.
“Did you go crazy from that fall?” Albedo asked with confusion in his voice and with a raised eyebrow.
“I’m fine,” Ben said.
Ben got up from the floor and picked up the chair so it was properly up again. He sat back down once it was in the right position.
“Man, haven’t had a good laugh like that in a while,” Ben said while still laughing a little.
“You would’ve earlier if you actually enjoyed show business,” Albedo countered.
“Okay, yeah, we’re addressing that alien in the room,” Ben said with his tone turning serious, “Why the Ben 10 Live show?”
Albedo looked away from Ben. Out of all the responses Ben expected, him ignoring the question wasn’t one of them. Albedo looked down, grabbed his drink, and sipped it while looking at Ben with a solemn expression on his face.
“Would you believe it if it was just a ploy to get you to have chili fries with me?” Albedo whispered while putting his drink down.
Ben barely heard him, but that couldn’t be right could it?
“Yeah, as if,” Ben said, rolling his eyes, “You had to have some motivation to use my name and image. You wouldn’t just be doing this show just for my attention. What’s the real answer, Albedo?”
“Oh yes the great Ben Tennyson can’t believe that I just wanted some goddamn chili fries,” Albedo said, staring at Ben’s annoyed face, “Is that so hard to believe that I didn’t have a motivation for the show besides getting your attention?”
“You’re always working an angle.”
“I would think the person obsessed with all the fame would be flattered that someone made a show about him,” Albedo said before sipping more soda, “It was only a matter of time before someone did. Better me than some random person.”
“I don’t even like being famous,” Ben yelled before slamming his drink on the table.
Ben pulled his chair back and stood up. He leaned across the table with his hands on it and glared at Albedo.
“I hate the fact that my identity got exposed, and you making a mockery out of me isn’t helping!”
Albedo looked around to see that there were other people looking at them. People in different booths and tables were looking over to see what all the yelling was about. Ben kept his focus on glaring at Albedo and didn't notice he was attracting an audience.
“Sit down before you attract more attention,” Albedo said not knowing how else to respond.
“I want a straight answer,” Ben said, not moving from his position.
Albedo didn't respond. He continued to look around the restaurant to avoid Ben's glare. He noticed that they still had an audience. It's as if they didn't have anything better to do than to gawk at these two teenagers having what looked to be an argument. Albedo looked over to the other side of the room and saw a few people with cell phones in their hands angled towards their table. They weren't trying to be subtle about trying to film Ben Tennyson arguing with him, they probably assumed he was Ben's brother. Before anyone could get anything else on their phones, Albedo got up and grabbed Ben's wrist. Ben tried to resist being pulled by Albedo, but somehow the Galvan stuck in a human body was able to keep hold on the teen's wrist. He dragged the green eyed teen out of the restaurant without another word.
Albedo dragged Ben inside an alley away from anyone that could record them. Albedo lessened his grip on the brown haired teen's arm and stopped in place. Albedo was bored in between shows, and explored this town. He knew where there weren't any prying eyes.
“What the hell was that about?” Ben asked, yanking his hand back when Albedo stopped dragging him.
“Did you want your adoring fans to film you going off like that?” Albedo asked while leaning against a building. He bent one of his legs and leaned his foot against the wall before addressing Ben again. “That idiotic reporter in your town doesn’t need more ammo.”
“Since when do you care about my reputation?” Ben asked.
Albedo turned away from Ben and shrugged. He didn't have an actual reason why he pulled Ben out of the restaurant like that. He knew that if he didn't deescalate the situation, there'd definitely be video of it on the extranet by the next morning. Despite detesting the fact he's in this human body, he really didn't want to see Ben yelling at him online for all of eternity. Ben stared at Albedo waiting for a response. Albedo crossed his arms and kept his face turned to avoid Ben's gaze.
“I found a way to turn back into a Galvan,” Albedo admitted turning back to face Ben, “That was the main motivation for the show other than providing for myself. I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted chili fries with you, but that wasn’t the full truth.”
“How?” Ben asked, shocked.
“All that money we got from doing those shows bouncing from one town to the next every weekend. Got the materials I needed to make a device that can make me back into a Galvan,” Albedo explained.
“Am I supposed to believe that?” Ben asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Why else would I use your disgusting form for my benefit? I needed a way to make money when you stranded me on this planet.”
“You did that to yourself when you were working with Vilgax!”
“I just wanted to go back to normal!” Albedo said uncrossing his arms and stomping his foot on the ground, “Not any good that did me since the Ultimatrix was synched to your old Omnitrix, and you still haven’t unlocked a Galvan,” he said, crossing his arms and leaning his foot on the wall once again.
“This wouldn’t have been an issue had you not tried to make your own Omnitrix. You could still be out on Galvan Prime living your little life away from me.”
“You think I wanted to be stuck like this? I was trying to show Azmuth he was wrong in letting you keep the Omnitrix.”
“What because he didn’t give it to you?”
“What?” Albedo asked, shaking his head, “I never wanted the Omnitrix for myself.”
“Then why did you create your own?”
“I wanted…” Albedo tried to start but words weren’t coming out.
Albedo slid down the wall and sat on the ground with his hands around his knees. Ben stayed standing looking down at Albedo. Ben didn’t say anything further, and waited to see if Albedo would continue his thoughts.
“I wanted to show Azmuth that the most powerful weapon in the milky way galaxy shouldn’t have been put into the hands of a human child,” Albedo said after a few minutes of silence.
“And instead of talking to him you what-” Ben said raising his hands, “Made your own to use? You couldn’t have talked to him?”
“I tried!" Albedo said with desperation in his voice, "Azmuth didn’t care. He knew his device was in ‘safe’,” he said, making finger quotes when he said safe, “and capable hands. He thought I was crazy for speaking up and trying to convince him to give it to your grandfather, or wait until you were way older to use the Omnitrix. You were just a human child Benjamin. A human child who had no business dealing with alien threats.”
Ben didn't expect that reply out of Albedo. He was shocked that Albedo wasn't just out to get the Omnitrix for himself. All Albedo was trying to do, in his own way, was protect him. He was used to people not thinking he deserved the Omnitrix, and it usually it was because he was an immature kid. Everyone would always say that it should've went to his Grandfather because of him being a Plumber. Most people who thought he didn't deserve the Omnitrix weren't trying to protect him, they were trying to protect the device that was forced on his wrist. They cared more about the watch than the person who wore it. It was the first time Ben looked at Albedo with understanding in his eyes.
Ben made his way over to the wall, and plopped himself next to his unintentional twin. He sat close enough that their shoulders were touching, but Ben said nothing else. He wanted Albedo to continue his train of thought without interruption. Albedo looked at Ben and Ben made a motion to continue, he wasn't going anywhere. Albedo looked at Ben and continued.
“I never wanted to use the Omnitrix, but if no one else was going to try to keep you away from this I guess it had to be me," Albedo said leaning his head back against the wall. He put a hand over his forehead before he spoke again, "I had no clue that Omnitirixes would always be synched to your DNA, and I got stuck in this repulsive body. The entire time I’ve been on this asinine planet, my goal was always to get back in my original body, but every single time my plans got ruined.”
“Why didn’t you just talk to me when we met up at the Forever Knights’ castle?”
Albedo moved his hand from his forehead, and looked straight ahead.
"You didn't remember who I was from the last time we met when you were a child."
“We’ve met before?”
Albedo turned his head and raised an eyebrow.
“I’m kidding,” Ben said with his hands in the air in defense, “I didn’t realize it until Azmuth explained that you used to work for him. By that point it was kind of too late to do anything. Everything just got crazy the next time we saw each other because you kidnapped Gwen and Kevin, and I gave Vilgax the Omnitrix. I really didn’t mean to forget about you after I got the Ultimatrix, but new watch, having to stop Vilgax, and the ship crashing, it just sort of slipped my mind you were still there.”
“Cause that makes me being stranded on a crashing ship so much better,” Albedo said, rolling his eyes.
“How’d you even survive?”
“Would you believe that Vilgax had an escape pod? I was able to use it before the ship crashed into the ocean, but ended up stuck here.”
The two sat in silence for a few minutes.
“So that’s all you wanted to do, go back to being a Galvan?”
“And you don’t want to take over the world?”
“And you’ll leave me alone afterwards?”
“I don’t know, annoying you has been fun the last couple hours,” Albedo said smirking, “Might be fun to get on your nerves when I’m back to being a Galvan.”
“What were you going to do had I not got chili fries with you?”
“Toss a sound wave grenade at you, make my escape, and have Hugh, Swamps, and Fridge attack you and your friends.”
"The alien actors that were in the show," Albedo said, "Did you not wonder how I was able to 'transform' without a watch Tennyson?"
"Yeah now that you're saying it-" Ben started to say before Albedo continued.
"There was a subspace communicator in the escape pod," Albedo said, "Pretty convenient right?" He asked, "I sent out a message across the galaxy for those that looked like your aliens to audition for the show that you saw. There were multiple aliens you transformed into that auditioned, but the three you saw were the ones I picked. They are your most popular transformations based on what the extranet says."
“Why didn't you just leave with those you sent away? Surely they could've taken you off the planet.”
“And go out into space looking like you?” Albedo asked. He wrapped the replica of Ben's jacket around him more, “That's a death sentence.”
“I can't be that bad.”
“Do you know how many aliens you've tangled with since you were a child who would use me out of revenge because I look like you? Vilgax only used me because of my connection to Azmuth and you. I still don't know how he found out about me.”
Before Albedo could continue Ben’s phone rang, he saw it was Gwen. Ben put it up to his ear.
“You've reached the great Ben Tennyson,” Ben said with a smirk.
“Where are you? ” Gwen asked with worry evident in her voice, “ You've been gone a few hours.”
“Hanging with Albedo in an alleyway.”
“You're not hurt are you?”
“Gwen, Albedo is powerless and I can transform. I'm fine. We pigged out on chili fries and had to ditch the paparazzi.” Ben explained choosing to fib a little bit about what really happened, she didn't need to know about Albedo being the one to drag him out of the restaurant.
“Well while you've been shoving your face with gross food Kevin and I have been lurking around trying to figure out Albedo’s plan.”
“Gross food? You eat chili fries too-” Ben started to say before the phone was ripped from his hand.
Before Ben could finish his thought, Albedo reached over and swiped the phone out of Ben’s hand.
“Gwendolyn I'd advise you to stop lurking around where you don't belong.”
“What? You don't get to tell me-”
Albedo sighed and decided to explain what he just told Ben.
“What you'll find is a device that can turn me back into a Galvan and alter my DNA at will. Nothing more. I just got done explaining to your cousin about it.”
“You didn't explain the DNA alteration at will part!” Ben said.
Albedo ignored Ben to listen to what Gwen had to say.
“Hugh said that it was a bomb to turn everyone into clones of Ben, but your explanation makes more sense. You're already stuck with his DNA. I didn't think you'd turn everyone else into him.”
“He said what?”
“We met up with him, Swamps, and Fridge after you two left. We talked for a bit. Kevin and I were about to go looking for Ben then Hugh stopped us. He explained about it being a bomb.”
“If you don't believe me, have Levin check out the machine. I'm sure his feeble little mind could figure out the true purpose of the machine.”
“Hey!” Another voice shouted.
“His eye isn't twitching," Ben said, piping up and leaning forward so Gwen could hear him. "He's telling the truth."
“Oh right, forgot that little thing I've acquired from stealing your DNA,” Albedo said.
“Alright fine, but if you're lying-” Gwen started to say.
"Like Tennyson was explaining, I'm harmless," Albedo said, "I explained my motivations with the machine. If it still hasn't stuck, feel free to stick around to watch me use it. Just stay out of my way."
The line went dead and Albedo gave Ben back his phone. If things went according to plan, he'd be a Galvan by the end of the night. Tennyson and his friends already knew of the plan, the actors knew too. Yet Albedo couldn't help but feel like this was going to backfire on him based on what Hugo told Gwendolyn and Levin. Why would he do that? Was he trying to sabotage Albedo's chances of becoming a Galvan again?
"Ready to head back to the theater?" Ben asked causing Albedo to be pulled out of his thoughts, "From the sound of it, you'll be able to become a Galvan again."
“As long as you and your friends stay out of my way, I'll be done with this human body once and for all.”
“For what it's worth, I'm sorry.”
“I don't need your pity.”
“It's not pity, I should've tried to help you after being reminded that you actually were a Galvan,” Ben said, “Pretty shit that Azmuth left you like this since Galvans live what hundreds, thousands of years?”
“Azmuth is over 1700 years old, least by human calendar standards if I did the conversion properly,” Albedo said, "Galvans have a different calendar system, so I could be off."
“He's that old???”
“His father is older, maybe 2500 years?" Albedo said with uncertainty in his voice, "But he also put his mind into a younger body to live longer, so who knows how old he actually is.”
“So that's why he looked younger than Azmuth, Human life barely reaches a hundred, I couldn't imagine living that long.”
“I'm well past that.”
“How old are you?”
“About 200 of your earth years.”
“Man compared to Dadsmuth, you're a child.” Ben said chuckling, “No wonder you reacted how you did.”
“I stopped being a child after I passed the tadpole stage.”
“You guys really are frogs.”
“Don't compare me to those animals, Galvans are way smarter than those pathetic creatures.”
“Are you going to be this easy to rile up as a Galvan?”
“I'll have my normal brain back that's not infested with human emotions, I wouldn't give you the time of day to reply.”
“Aw, but you're so fun to banter with.”
Albedo stood up and started to make a motion to walk out of the alleyway. When he didn't hear footsteps behind him, he turned to see Ben still sitting on the ground looking up at him.
“You coming?” Albedo asked, “I can finally go back to being a Galvan, I'm not wasting any more time with this drivel.”
“I just got used to you being nice,” Ben said standing up to follow Albedo, “It’s gonna be a shame that you’ll leave after we just started to get along,” he said, placing a hand on Albedo’s shoulder, “you’re really not that bad,” he said with a grin. After a moment, he removed his hand and the two of them made their way back to the theater.
After a few minutes of silence while the two were walking Albedo spoke again.
"I actually didn't have a plan on what to do after I became a Galvan again," Albedo admitted, "I wanted to leave this planet so badly and go back to Galvan Prime, but I doubt Azmuth will be too happy about that. Knowing him, he'll haul me straight back to prison for defying him."
“I can talk to Azmuth.”
“You’re his golden boy,” Albedo said while rolling his eyes, “Of course he’ll listen to you.”
“I’m actually not, he’s only recently stopped being pissed at me.”
“Him? Mad at you? Please, as if you can do anything that would displease the great First Thinker,” Albedo said with his voice laced heavily with sarcasm.
“You know how Kevin was mutated when I had the old watch?”
“With him looking like a bunch of materials were haphazardly forced on him?”
Ben ignored the question in order to ask another one.
“Did Vilgax ever tell you about how he was forced off of Earth and wasn’t ever supposed to step foot here again?”
Albedo shook his head. He didn't recall anything like that ever coming out of Vilgax's mouth when the alien conqueror broke him out of prison. Vilgax used his ship to travel to Earth, and his actions were those of someone who acted like he owned the planet.
“Months before Vilgax came to Earth and issued a conqueror’s challenge to me. Kevin had this machine he was working on over the years that could hack the Omnitrix in order to give me master control,” Ben explained.
“Hacking the Omnitrix and you do not belong in the same sentence together,” Albedo said, chiming his two cents in, “Levin I can see, but you?”
“Can you save your comments for the end?” Ben asked, “Anyway. As we were hacking the Omnitrix, Azmuth called and demanded I stop what I was doing. Kevin and Gwen tried to convince me to stop as well, but I didn’t listen. I thought Azmuth was just testing me.”
Albedo raised an eyebrow, but didn’t say anything to let Ben continue to explain.
“I ended up taking matters into my own hands,” Ben said, putting a hand behind his head and letting out a chuckle, “I ended up overloading the watch. Kevin came over to try and help me get the watch off, but it was in vain. His garage exploded, a few of my aliens escaped, and Kevin ended up looking like that. Azmuth called and he was the most pissed I ever saw him, even worse than when he came for you originally.”
Albedo hmmed in response. He’s seen Azmuth mad over the years, even before he left. How bad did Tennyson mess up that Azmuth was mad at him?
“I don’t think my attitude back then helped with the situation,” Ben explained, not realizing Albedo was lost in thought, “I won the Highbreed war and I showboated a lot. Even now I still tend to showboat a bit, but that’s all for show. Everyone expects that nowadays, but that’s beside the point." He said trying to get back on the topic at hand instead of going on another tangent, "I don’t think Azmuth fully forgave me till I needed his help with Aggregor. Maybe he did when I needed help with Vilgax, but you know Azmuth.”
“He’d hold a grudge until the end of his lifespan if you let him,” Albedo said finishing Ben’s thought, “And even then some if he put his mind in a younger body like his father.”
The two of them continued to talk about their experiences with Azmuth as they made their way back to the theater. Before Albedo could go on a rant about Azmuth, they were back at the theater and saw familiar faces. They saw Gwen and Kevin looking inside the window with Hugh standing behind them.
“You have to stop him,” Hugh said, “He’s making a device to turn everyone into Ben Tennyson.”
“I don’t appreciate you spreading lies about what this device is Hugh,” Albedo said. He continued walking until he was standing in front of Hugh, “I gave them permission to look at the device,” he said, looking up and glaring.
“But-” Hugh tried to say.
“Why are you trying to sabotage my chances of becoming a Galvan again?” Albedo asked.
“I don’t want you to leave. I’m a nobody on my homeworld,” Hugh explained looking remorseful, “But on Earth I’m a celebrity," He said before turning around and noticing Ben looking at him, "or at least look like one.” He said turning back to face Albedo, “I had friends, and I didn’t want to lose you guys.”
Albedo stopped glaring after Hugh’s explanation.
“You wanted to stop me because you consider me a…a f-f-friend?” Albedo asked not expecting that explanation out of Hugh.
“We all do. We’ve been doing these shows for months, we’ve been bouncing around the country together. Swamps and Fridge didn’t want to stop you because you seemed so miserable, but I wanted to try,” Hugh said, “I thought all you needed was a friend.”
Albedo stood there and didn’t respond.
“I think you broke Albedo,” Ben said. He walked over to Albedo and stood next to him. Albedo seemed like he was frozen from the words that Hugh said, Ben started flicking his arm to try and get Albedo to move.
“I don’t think Albedo knows what a friend is,” Kevin said, chuckling.
“Me turning back into a-” Albedo started to say while Ben was flicking him, “Would you quit it?” Ben stopped flicking Albedo, “As I was saying, me turning back into a Galvan won’t stop us from being…” Albedo tried saying before stopping. Friend was never a word he used to describe someone he knew, he only ever had colleagues.
“Friends?” Hugh said.
“Yeah that,” Albedo mumbled before looking to the side. He crossed his arms and his face turned red. He was grateful that Hugh finished his thoughts for him but didn't want to show it. Ben threw an arm around Albedo.
“Wow you’ve learned to make friends,” Ben said with a grin, “I’m so proud.”
“Get your hand off me,” Albedo said while trying to get Ben’s arm off him.
“Hugh, we told you not to try and stop Albedo,” A new voice said.
Everyone looked behind Hugh to see Swamps and Fridge walking towards them.
“I’m sorry Swamps, but someone had to try,” Hugh said, turning to face them.
“We all agreed to let Albedo do this,” Fridge said, cloaking his cape.
Albedo put a hand to his face and pinched his nose.
“How do I put up with you guys?” Albedo asked with a sigh.
“Because you love us,” Hugh said, turning back around and ruffling Albedo’s hair.
Albedo glared at Hugh until he took his hand off Albedo’s head.
“I just got done explaining to Hugh that our association with each other doesn’t have to be terminated because I’m back in my original body,” Albedo said, “The show might be over, but our partnership doesn’t have to be.”
“In actual terms Albedo is trying to say he loves you too,” Ben said, throwing an arm around Albedo again.
“Would you quit that?” Albedo asked while shoving Ben’s arm off him once again, “I’ll be so glad when I get my original form back so I don’t have to deal with being touched anymore.”
“You’d just be easier to pick up in the palm of my hand,” Ben said laughing, “I used to do it to Azmuth all the time, especially when I was a kid.”
“Does them interacting make you want to grab some popcorn and sit back?” Kevin asked looking down at Gwen.
“Kind of,” Gwen said with a shrug.
“We’re standing right here,” Albedo and Ben said, both turning to Gwen and raising their eyebrows.
Before anyone could react to Ben and Albedo simultaneously answering the same, Albedo walked to go inside the theater. He didn’t want to waste anymore time.
“Follow me or don’t,” Albedo said without turning back to face the group, “But I’m going back to being a Galvan, I’ve spent way too long in this hideous form. I'm not about to ruin my chances when I can finally get what I've been wanting for months.”
The group followed him without a word. Everything was quiet as Albedo was prepping the machine. The only noises was the last few adjustments Albedo needed to make sure the machine would work properly. He had no doubt that things would go smoothly, he just needed to make sure everything was right. Everything seemed too easy, but Albedo wasn't going to question it. Tennyson and his friends stood there, along with his own... friends just watching him do everything. Was he going to be able to become a Galvan again without anyone messing things up for him?
He finished the last minute tinkering and prepped himself for the machine. He put on a shielder that would target the machine towards him and nothing else in the room. If things went according to plan, which they should, the DNA altering should only affect him. He should be able to become a Galvan again when he thinks about it. The shielder had the Omnitrix symbol on the front, and it wrapped around his back. It was almost like a backpack that was worn backwards. Albedo made his way up the machine on the lift he stepped on. Once at the top, he hesitated for a moment. He turned around to look at the group below him. Despite everything, Tennyson and his friends just gave him an eager look and seemed like they were encouraging him to continue what he was doing. His friends were also watching him with anticipation. He pulled the replica of Ben's jacket tighter around himself and turned back around.
It was time to actually see if all his hard work was worth it. Despite his reservations on whether or not this would work, Albedo took a step forward until he was in the middle of machine. The force field activated, and he could feel it around his body. It almost felt like he had an Omnitrix or an Ultimatrix again. He felt like he was transforming into something other than his human body. He felt different, but before he could even look at himself his world went black.
A scream made Albedo's eyes shoot open. Everything felt tight around him, as if all his organs were squished together. He looked around and everything seemed bigger.
"That machine didn't disintegrate him did it?" Another voice asked. Was that Hugh speaking? Albedo couldn't tell, he was still trying to figure out why everything seemed fuzzy. A flash of green made Albedo turn his head towards the light. He heard footsteps coming towards him and looked up.
“Guys, Albedo’s fine!” The same voice that caused him to open his eyes said, “The machine turned him into a Grey Matter!”
Albedo sat himself up and looked to realize that the voice belonged to Ben Tennyson. Ben was way taller than him now.
“I’m Galvan again?” Albedo asked finally hearing his own voice coming out of his mouth over Ben's.
“Dude you’re cured!” Ben exclaimed.
Albedo jumped up and Ben opened his hands to catch him. Ben looked at Albedo with a goofy grin on his face.
“What’s your plan now?” Ben asked.
“Well my first business in this body is getting down from this machine,” Albedo said, “And since you’re easier to travel on as opposed to walking.”
“You’re making me regret using Big Chill to fly up here to make sure you didn’t disintegrate yourself from this dude,” Ben said, rolling his eyes but smiling.
Ben, with Albedo in his hands, walked towards the platform Albedo was using. Albedo explained how to lower the lift. Ben moved Albedo to his shoulder so he could have his hands free to work the platform. They stayed silent as it lowered them back down to the ground towards the rest of the group. When it reached the bottom, Albedo hopped off of Ben's shoulder and walked ahead a little bit. A flash of red light appeared around him and Albedo was back in his human form.
“I thought you were cured?” Ben asked with concern and confusion in his voice.
Albedo didn't say anything as a red light surrounded him and he transformed himself back to being a Galvan. Another flash of red light and Albedo was a Vaxasaurian. Another red flash and Albedo was back to being a Galvan.
“I don't need an Ultimatrix anymore,” Albedo said, “I can alter my DNA at will so I can stay a Galvan for however long I want but I still have access to your other forms.”
“Is that why you're still red over being green like Azmuth?” Ben asked.
“A minor inconvenience from the alterations my body went through," Albedo said with annoyance in his voice, "Still better to be in a Galvan's body over yours any day, even if it's not my original body.”
“Would this make you Azmuth's evil twin then?”
“I wasn't evil, don't compare me to Azmuth.”
“You were wrong,” Ben said before Albedo looked at him with the Galvan equivalent of raising an eyebrow, “You're still easy to rile up as a Galvan.”
“I hope I never have to see your face again, in the mirror or otherwise.”
“Aw come on dude we bonded over chili fries!”
Albedo growled, but it sounded different since he was a Galvan. He looked over to Hugh, Swamps, and Fridge. Swamps and Fridge both had grins on their faces, but Hugh looked sad. Albedo made his way over to the Vaxasaurian and looked up. He jumped up and Hugh opened his hand to catch him. Albedo barely took up half of Hugh’s hand and he was able to sit down in his palm.
“Now, let’s get out of this dump,” Albedo said with a grin.
“You’re staying with us?” Hugh asked, shocked.
“I did say our partnership wouldn’t be over didn’t I?” Albedo asked looking up at Hugh, “I have no other plans at this time. I just want to get away from here for a bit so I don’t have to see Ben Tennyson’s face any more.”
“Hey!” Ben exclaimed, taking offense to the statement.
“Looking at you is giving me flashbacks,” Albedo explained looking at Ben’s offended face, “I do not want to deal with that right now. Try to find me in about a month, we can go for chili fries again or smoothies. Maybe next time you won’t embarrass yourself.”
“How’d he embarrass himself?” Kevin asked, raising an eyebrow in interest.
“Oh that’s an interesting story-” Albedo started to say before Ben came over and put his hand across his face.
“Don’t you dare,” Ben threatened while keeping his hand there.
“Ben Tennyson falls on his back in a fit of laughter at the local burger joint,” Gwen said. She was looking at her phone. “It’s all over Twitter," She said looking at the numerous tweets. There currently was a hashtag going around with #Ben10Falls and numerous videos in different angles of her cousin falling backwards at the restaurant him and Albedo were at. "People on twitter even started making memes out of it."
Ben groaned and moved his hand off of Albedo’s face.
“Those damn vultures,” Ben complained.
Kevin walked over to the machine.
“Hey if you’re done with this machine, think I can nab it and take the parts from it?” Kevin asked looking at the device as if it was the best thing since sliced bread, “I could probably find some poor sap willing to pay way more than what it’s worth.”
“Do whatever you want with it,” Albedo said, “I got what I wanted from it and have no plans to use it again. Just give me some of the profits.”
“You got yourself a deal,” Kevin said with a grin. The gears in his mind were already turning about who he was going to sell the parts to.
Ben turned to the other aliens.
“If you guys get into trouble, find a way to contact us,” Ben said with a serious tone in his voice, “It's the least we can do.”
“All I need to do to get your attention is do another show,” Albedo said with a shit eating grin across his Galvan face.
“Write me better next time,” Ben said, rolling his eyes.
“We'll see,” Albedo said, “Now let's get going.”
The three aliens and Albedo made their way out of the theater with the trio watching as they walked away.
“He is totally going to get himself into random shit and we'll have to bail him out isn't he?” Kevin asked.
“Probably,” Ben said with a shrug, “Let's get out of here too, I could use a smoothie.”
“Didn't you just pig out on chili fries with Albedo?” Gwen asked not believing that Ben was in the mood for a smoothie.
“My stomach is a bottomless pit,” Ben said before turning around and walking backwards towards the exit, “You know this,” He said laughing. He turned back around and walked straight in order to leave the theater without bumping into a wall.
Kevin and Gwen followed him, and the three made their way out of the theater to try and find Ben a smoothie.