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Acceptance and Abandonment

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The night they got back from the future, Ben couldn’t sleep. He couldn’t stop thinking about Mina. He was a woman and a recognised superhero in the future, but the former excited him more at the idea of than the other, which put him into deep thought.

‘So, is this why I’ve felt different all my life?’ He asked himself. ‘Am I really a girl born as a boy? That really can’t be it… I’m gonna wake up and have this all be a crazy dream…’ He tried to convince himself half-heartedly. After a minute, he shook his head. ‘No… I know it wasn’t…’ He sighed. ‘I’ve gotta let this go… I can’t kick badguy butt without sleep…’ He got comfortable and yawned, but he was up for a few hours thinking about everything. Many nights after this one were spent much the same way…

---

About a week later, Ben sulked in the Rustbucket after a particularly hard battle against the Limax who survived after the events at Aunt Vera’s retirement community. ‘You could’ve done more if you were not so tried!’ He mentally berated himself. ‘YOU let those people get hurt because YOU weren’t fast enough!’

Gwen walked up to him “Can we talk?”

He sighed. “Like I would stop you right now…” He sighed.

Gwen sat at the table with him. “Ben, it wasn’t your fault.” He looked at her surprised, then looked depressed again and opened his mouth to respond, but Gwen held a finger up. “Neither are those sleepless nights you’ve been having.”

Now Ben just looked dumbfounded. “You know about that?” He asked sheepishly.

“Yes, because I’ve been having them too.” She responded somberly. “Last week was a lot of information to take in.”

“You’re telling me…” He sighed. “How am I supposed to handle this?”

“How about talking out your thoughts on it?” Gwen replied. “As much as I antagonize you, I’m still here for you. Now why don’t we start now?”

Ben sighed and smiled a bit. “Thanks cuz.”

“No problem... Doofus.” She jabbed jokingly.

Ben chuckled a bit. “Dweeb.”

They laughed for a minute before talking about this for a good hour before dinner.

---
1 year later

Ben walks out of the Rustbucket into the campsite they are at and walks up to Gwen. “Hey Gwen, you find anything in your book about you know what yet?”

She sighed. “Sorry Ben, still nothing but bodyswap spells that would seem to do the trick so far.” She replied.

Ben nodded and sighed in defeat. “Okay… Well, I guess that theory is done…”

“Ben, we’ll find something.” Gwen replied.

Ben nodded. “Yeah…” Ben sighed. “Um… I was wondering something else… Could you call me Mina and use she/her in private now?”

“Of course Be- Mina.” She said.

---

“Mina, I think NOW would be a good time to go hero!” Gwen called out, holding back an attack from Sixsix with a mana shield to protect her and Grandpa Max.

Mina, adrenaline pumping, failed to notice how Gwen didn’t shout her deadname (Max did notice however), fiddles with the Omnitrix, trying to get it to recharge quicker. “I can’t, it’s still red!” She notices the strain Gwen is in. “Come on stupid watch!” She screamed, and it went green within a couple seconds. “Okay, great! Let’s see how buckethead over here can handle Diamondhead!” She slams the dial down and transforms into a new alien. This alien was a short, effeminate, blue skinned and hair fairy-like alien in a white and black skintight suit (like all her transformations).

“Woah, new alien.” She says in a high pitched, purring voice. She flies forward. “Let’s see what this one can do.” She generates a dust-like substance and flings it at Sixsix, knocking him out once he breathed some in. “OOOOH! I can put my enemies to sleep?”

Gwen sighed as she let the shield dissipate. “Good timing Ben.”

“Yeah, no problem!” She replied.

Max got up. “Yeah, good job Mina.” He said smiling a bit.

“Thanks you… Wait… Dammit!” She stuttered out realizing what he said. “I guess I have some explaining to do…”

Max shrugged. “Let’s get back to the Rustbucket first.” Both girls nodded, Mina giving Gwen a little bit of stink-eye.

At this Gwen mouthed “I’m sorry…” to her, and she nodded and smiled lightly.

---

After Mina explained everything, Max smiled. “I had suspicions about that day, you both getting so little sleep and all. And I did find that dress you have under your mattress in the Rustbucket, so this is not much of a surprise.” Mina blushed at the mention of the dress, it was just a modest sundress that went to her knees, nothing to be ashamed about, but after hiding this for 2 years, it is embarrassing that Max had known this long.

“And… What do you think about it?” Mina asked scared.

“I think you’re still you, and I’m glad I have another granddaughter.” He said smiling.

This put a smile on Mina’s face. “Just… Don’t tell my parents or anyone else please.” She asked. “I know how people react to things that are abnormal…” The smile lessened as she remembered people ostracizing her hero forms before and after saving people.

“My lips are sealed.” He said back.

---

Mina was sitting in her house’s kitchen in her purple sundress, really glad that her parents were going to be gone all day so she could be herself. As she was preparing some lunch for herself, she heard the door open and froze.

“I’m home early Ben!” Her father called from the entryway.

‘Shit! Shit! Shit!’ was all she thought as she rushed to get to her room to get out of the dress, but her father caught her in the hall.

“What the FUCK is this Ben?” Her father asked in shock and annoyance. This pissed Mina off, but she kept quiet. “Why the HELL are you dressing like a girl! Are you some kind of tranny freak?”

Mina couldn’t hold back now. “Fuck you too Dad, for the first time in my life, I’m genuinely happy with myself and you have to go and ruin it! I’ve always been a girl, it just took me time to figure it out.”

He backhanded her across the face and she started tearing up. “Don’t you dare talk to me like that young man.” He yelled.

She didn’t heed his warning and got in his face. “I was hoping you’d be understanding, after all I’m your ONLY FUCKING CHILD!” She screamed. “But of course you wouldn’t understand, you’re too pissed about Grandpa Max’s old career with aliens to understand anything that’s even remotely different!”

He grabbed onto her by the front of her dress. “What has that old man been telling you boy? He the one filling your head with this shit?”

Mina was reaching for the Omnitrix, but stopped as she saw Grandpa Max standing there.

“That’s enough Carl!” Max said sternly, Carl hadn’t noticed him come in. “Put your daughter down and stop being so bigoted!”

“How I deal with my SON is my business old man.” He said, but let go of Mina and turned to her. “Go pack your shit kid, you’re not welcome in this house anymore.”

Mina just looked at him in shock and ran to her room crying.

Max looked at his son, very disappointed, and wordlessly followed Mina.