|A Very Stoppable Christmas Night
Author: Slipgate PM
For WhiteM's second annual Snow Daze contest. What does a 'Very Possible Christmas' look like several years after the series?Rated: Fiction K+ - English - Family - Kim P. & Ron S. - Words: 4,539 - Reviews: 12 - Favs: 7 - Follows: 1 - Published: 12-25-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7671631
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Title: A Very Stoppable Christmas Night
Story summary: For WhiteM's second annual Snow Daze contest. What does a 'Very Possible Christmas' look like several years after the series?
Disclaimer: This story uses characters owned by Disney Corporation but does not profit from doing so. Beyond that, to be honest, much of this draws on either personal experience or childhood desires. And I think it's okay to say I own my own personal experiences and childhood desires. Nyah.
Playlist: For the purposes of this story, imagine that the radio is going on in the background of the Stoppable home. Use a playlist that includes a good version of Do You Hear What I Hear?, Josh Groban's Oh Holy Night and You Raise Me Up, and, well, Madonna's La Isla Bonita. Maybe also Kim Possible (the character's) own attempt at Oh Holy Night could be included. Emphasis on Do You Hear What I Hear? – might work to loop a good version of that one while reading.
A Very Stoppable Christmas Night
Though it was early afternoon, James Possible indulged himself with a little mug of eggnog. "This stuff is always so thick," he thought, "that at first it hits you but then you become okay with it and want more. Until you regret it because of how heavy it is…"
It was December 24th. As James settled into one of Ron's eclectically chosen armchairs, he reflected on the past. 25 years ago, he'd finally started getting a clue what Kim and Ron might mean to each other, even if they hadn't known. The reason he had even half a clue, though, was due to his dear lovely Anne, who chose to sit on the arm of his chair instead of the other one nearby.
The two of them felt those 25 years keenly. They were in their 60s, after all.
Kim and Ron, on the other hand, were busy doing what Anne and James had once done thirty-some years ago. Trying to keep their kids entertained.
They'd found an interesting Christmas activity book several days ago, and instead of just a few lame things like a tile-sorting puzzle in the shape of a Santa face and nothing else, there was actually quite a lot to do in this book.
Right now, Kim was in the kitchen with eight year old B.A. Stoppable, drawing a Santa pattern on gingerbread cookies that were then headed for the oven. The pattern had been suggested by the book. It was a Santa face on a gingerbread cookie – white beard along one side, cropped hat along the other.
There were other little crafts in the book, too, which Kim and Ron intended to employ to keep sane.
Ron was hanging a themey ornament he'd gotten off EBay on the tree. It was a 'Shuttle Galileo' ornament from the 80s or 90s related to the original Captain Constellation, including a voiceover from Nimoy Leonard playing Science Officer Snark. He was amazed it still worked, but it was just a little kitsch he'd wanted to add to the tree, just a bit of flair. James had definitely not minded, and Anne and Kim had both decided kissing their husbands was a good way to stop the burgeoning discussion on all things Constellation. (They were right.)
However, Kim and Ron's older child Steve was not going to lack for attention indefinitely. Not that he minded fully – he'd been working extra hours and not been home recently, and he both appreciated the break and feeling like he was actually getting to see his kids again. Hopefully they liked their gifts in the morning. Right now, those were hidden away in the handprint-opened chamber Kim had transplanted to their new home and usually associated with a certain piece of mission wear.
"What's this, Daddy?" Steve asked, pointing at a page of the book. Ron stooped to take the book and looked at the proffered page.
"Instructions to make a set of paper reindeer," he read. "Fold a piece of paper in half, and draw this reindeer pattern as many times as you can on the page."
"Why fold?" Steve asked, even as he whipped his paper and pencil from the table. He folded the paper quickly and didn't actually end up with a straight fold with the edges meeting.
"Whoa, hold on, kiddo," Ron said, kneeling down next to the table as well. "Here, let's straighten that out." Ron unfolded the paper and folded it properly. Then Steve took his pencil to it and drew three reindeer on it, spaced far apart, looking constantly to the pattern on the book page to get it right.
As Steve worked, Ron watched and reviewed the instructions on the page so he'd know what to expect. "So why fold?" Steve repeated.
"By drawing on one side after folding the paper, when you cut it out you'll have another reindeer of the exact same shape – they'll line up." Ron explained from the book instructions. "You'll have sets of matching reindeer, like if one is Dasher the other is Dancer."
"So wait, there's Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, Blitzen?"
"Yeah. I'd say you need to draw a fourth reindeer here so we have eight, Steve."
"What about Rudolph?"
"Let's do these first and then see what the book says about Rudolph."
As Steve drew the fourth reindeer in some space he had left, Ron was amused to see he was forced to draw it a little smaller since he'd drawn reindeer without thinking of how many he'd need to fit on the page.
"So now we cut them out?" Steve asked, once he was done.
"With safety scissors," Ron read, "cut out your reindeer. If you want to decorate them or color them in, feel free, but if you intend to decorate them, keep in mind that they're going to be pieces of small paper and will rip if something tries to hang off them."
Steve had already started cutting them out. Soon he had eight small paper reindeer shapes. He started filling in the antlers black with his regular pencil on both sides of each of the eight. "Want me to handle a few?" Ron asked, watching.
"No Daddy, let me draw."
Steve finished by filling in the bottoms of the feet with black and then just put smiley faces and oblong eyes on the faces.
"With your parents' help, string or yarn can be used to hook the reindeer together. Take the ones that were based on the same cutout since they'll look best side by side. Extend lines between the two laterally and back as well. Don't use anything too strong or the paper will rip."
"Daddy, what does laterally mean?"
"I think they meant for you to ask Daddy for help here. Laterally means side to side or side by side."
"So why didn't they just say that?"
"These instructions are probably written by someone in their thirties who hasn't been a kid a long time, Steve."
"You watch your language, Steven Ron Stoppable!" Kim's voice called from the kitchen.
Ron winced. "You know, honey," he called out, "I'm starting to think I shouldn't have used my name as Steve's middle name. When you scold him I shudder like I'm getting scolded too!" A bemused laugh was the only response.
"Anyway, here, let me show you Daddy doing a little sewing, okay?"
A few minutes later found Ron sitting cross-legged after having retrieved the thread and needle from the bathroom closet. "Now, this is a needle, son, so let me get this started. See how there's the little hole in the base? You need to get the thread through that hole."
Ron threaded the needle and began running threads that connected pairs of reindeer to each other (poking the needle through their rear ends). At first he was answering questions from Steve… his favorite had been 'why did you put the thread in your mouth?' before he'd threaded the needle. He'd started by going through one and then its companion, then he went back thinking he could zig and zag the thread back and forth to create the set of reindeer the way they should be. He'd quickly realized this would lock them together too much. It would have to be separate lengths of thread attaching each pair and another separate set of threads joining them as a line. He started gradually letting Steve feel like he was doing some of the work of pulling the needle from one reindeer to another.
Once the four sets were done, Ron looked at them for a bit, trying to decide how to do the next step. The book apparently assumed mom or dad was Betsy Ross reborn. Finally, he took a length of thread and ran it down the line of reindeer, looping it around the horizontal threads in turn and cutting it off at the first set and last set, tying it at those ends.
"What do you think, Steve?"
Steve eyed them critically. "If they're going to have white strings attaching them, I want to color them in brown now!"
"Okay, as long as you're careful with the threads." Ron said.
Steve got his crayons out and started drawing on their outer sides. He re-did the smiley faces and eyes with a marker since the original pencil work didn't show up well underneath the brown crayon.
Ron returned his attention to the book, and read aloud, "If you try to draw a Rudolph to lead off the set, be aware that it'll be a little different for Rudolph since he'll be on his own at the front."
Ron looked up to see that Steve had started cutting out a Rudolph, which he'd already given a red nose and other tell-tale signs. Ron took Rudolph and in a moment of inspiration tied one end of a piece of thread to Dasher and Dancer's line, then brought the other end through Rudolph with the needle and back to tie it onto the same line again. He'd successfully centered Rudolph at the head of the pack.
When Ron returned to the book, he found to his chagrin that it read, "Run a piece of thread through Rudolph, and take both ends and tie them to the strings that are keeping Dasher and Dancer together at the front of the set."
Steve laughed and said, "Daddy didn't realize the instructions told him how."
"That's why you always need to read all instructions before doing something, Steve. Just in case."
"My teacher gave us a test like that earlier this year. Some of the kids were doing all these crazy things like hooting like monkeys or writing things on the blackboard before they reached the end."
"And were you one of those kids?" Ron asked, grinning slightly. "They still do that to kids?" he thought, shaking his head.
"That's a secret!" Steve said, but the sudden reply kind of gave him away.
Ron heard the oven ding that its pre-heat cycle was complete. He got up to head into the kitchen, but somehow Steve's body decided that the sound was the cue to take off running around with his newly constructed reindeer fluttering from his grip.
"I'll watch him, Ron." James said, feeling comfortable and more than a little sappy after having watched them.
However, James quickly learned a lesson Nana had started facing over twenty years previous. Ron was busying himself in the kitchen, and without the parents to help even just one child was overwhelming to handle at his age.
Even, as he quickly found out, with Anne's help.
After the oven had been loaded with their planned Christmas dinner by Ron, and Kim and B.A. had brought their gingerbread cookies out, the grandparents Possible and Stoppable as well as Kim and Ron sat reclined and watching the snow fall outside the recently replaced Upperton Creek brand window. The promise of cookies had let a tired James Possible return to his armchair, and he was embarrassed to admit that he was looking at his daughter more gratefully than he recalled even doing the few times she'd saved his life in her teens.
"These are wonderful. Thank you, Kim. Thank you Rebecca Anne!" Anne said, after biting into one.
"Call me B.A. Gramma Anne!"
"Oh, honey, that's your mommy and daddy's special name for you. I couldn't possibly take that away from them. You don't see anybody but Daddy call Mommy KP, do you?"
"I guess not," she pouted.
"Just think how special you are that Mommy and Daddy have a special name for you that others don't use," Anne continued. This had the girl's features brighten up considerably.
After munching idly on one or two cookies, B.A. began flipping through the activity book. "What's this, Mommy?" she asked her mom.
"These are instructions to make yourself a Santa mask, honey." Kim said after scanning the page.
"Can I? Can I?"
"Of course, honey."
They looked at the book. "Get a friend's or a parent's help holding a piece of paper up against your face?" Kim read, a little incredulously.
"Have them draw the outline of your face on the paper while it's held up. You just need the basic oval shape." B.A. continued where her mother left off, as if nothing was amiss.
"Do this out of construction paper of the right color," Kim read, and already she was standing to go fetch the construction paper.
She came back with pink construction paper. "Is this okay, honey? I wanted it to be pink like the drawings of what it should be like look."
"This rocks, Mom!" B.A. said as she grabbed the paper from her mom and muffled her voice with it. Kim dutifully took a pencil to the paper tracing the outer edge of her child's face.
"Now cut out the face shape on your construction paper with a pair of safety scissors," Kim read, and B.A. began doing that with the pair of scissors her brother had discarded earlier.
"Put it up against your face again," Kim instructed, "and while keeping your eyes closed, your friend or parent will help figure out where your eyes should be. Cut nice big holes out for your eyes once you know where they go."
B.A. had jumped ahead, though, drawing big circles on the front of the paper sight unseen in the area of her eyes. Kim inspected where they were in relation to her daughter's face and decided to run with them. She'd see through those holes, and it would make B.A. happy to not have her mom re-doing the things she was attempting to do on her own.
"Note: In order to cut the eye holes out, get a parent's help," Kim read. "Safety scissors won't poke through the way you need in order to cut out the eye holes."
"Be right back, honey." Kim said, rising to her feet again. "Is this a crafts project for me or B.A.?" Kim mused. "You, other honey!" she directed at Ron.
"Oh no, now I'm just the other honey! I knew it couldn't last."
"Right, that's why we've been married twenty years." Kim replied drolly. "Anyway, I need you to keep an eye on them both while I get the other scissors out from on top of the closet."
"Aye aye, mission leader."
"… anyway, thanks."
Shortly after that, Kim returned with nice big holes where B.A.'s eyes would go on the unfinished mask.
"Mommy, why do you still keep the regular scissors out of reach like that?" Steve whined.
"You may be old enough to use them but you're not the only one here, Steve! Remember the baby door example?"
"Yes, I remember." Steve sulked.
When Kim looked like she wanted to say something, Anne chimed in, "Mommy, I want to stay with you and Daddy and my baby sister."
Kim looked at her strangely. "What, you don't remember that?" Anne asked with a broadening smile.
"Yes, I do, but… oh. Is this something like 'kids will be fussy about having their way'?" Kim asked, giving her mother a fish-eyed look.
"Even the best of kids."
That simple statement seemed to stop the room for a moment. Then Kim smiled a small smile and mouthed, "Thanks."
They were checking the mask against B.A.'s face when suddenly Steve came by and tried to grab the book. "I want to see if there's another mask in there. Maybe Rudolph!"
"Steve!" Ron chastised. "Your sister and mom are in the middle of using that book. Wait your turn."
"Yeah, you big dummy!" B.A. cried.
"Rebecca Anne Stoppable!" Kim rounded on her.
"I'm sorry Mommy."
"Steve?" his mother asked, turning her ire on him now.
"I'm sorry Mommy."
"Maybe we should have bought two copies, Kim." Ron sighed.
Meanwhile, the grandparents looked on, feeling a little foolish. They'd tried to engage in the small ball tossing and other stuff that had kept Steve busy recently but they didn't feel like much help. "How is it that we used to handle Kim, Jim, and Tim Possible at their most hyperactive and now we can't?" Anne whispered to James. He just shook his head, his eyes staring out at the grandkids.
They checked the mask against B.A.'s face and the holes were plenty big for her to see out of. Kim went back per the book's directions and included a mouth. Ron went back to keeping up with Steve's playing.
"Have a bunch of fluffy cotton. Lay some glue above the mouth and glue and a little of the cotton so that it can be like Santa's moustache. For Santa's beard, use a lot of the cotton. And if you have enough fluffy cotton that's all stuck together, you can glue it near the bottom of the mask while hanging down. Don't be surprised if Santa's beard breaks up if you do that, kids. This is a Santa beard you really can't pull on!"
B.A. fetched glue from her room while Kim went to the bathroom closet again to find the cotton they just happen to keep there. As she was grabbing the bag, she reflected that the book might've been well-served by notifying parents what would be needed in advance… what would happen if someone didn't have cotton like this on hand? "Actually, why do we have cotton like this?" She'd have to ask Ron.
As B.A. and Kim worked together, they attached a beard. B.A. was the one who said it would look too much like a guy if the beard hung down… she was fine with the cotton just being under the hole for her mouth. Kim tried a shared quick look with Ron as if to ask, "And a small beard would look normal on a girl?" but he'd gone to the kitchen to see how the food was doing. B.A. started attaching cotton above her eyes as well. It took a moment for Kim to realize she was imagining bushy eyebrows there.
According to the book, they needed to now use red construction paper in order to make a hat glued in place on top of the head. The picture was flat so it looked straight but Kim was dubious about how well it would work since it would just flop onto the hair if it stuck upwards from the mask. Kim added her own little modification – she grabbed a popsicle stick (her kids liked their homemade treats) and glued that to the face sticking up from the center in such a way that she could cover it from view with where the hat was getting glued in place, and could glue the hat to it from the other side – it would stay essentially hidden from view and would give the hat a backbone. It was just an idea, anyway. B.A. seemed to be okay with it when Kim did it.
With the mask essentially done except for the cord that would go around behind a child's head, Kim read on. "Have your parents use some yarn or ribbon to go from one ear of the mask to the other so that you can put the mask on and have it stay on. Note to parents: Make sure you make it loose enough that it's not hard for your child to take off and put on, but make sure it actually makes it stay in place, especially if they have a hanging beard! If it's very loose, you might need to make sure it drapes over your child's ears."
She looked up to see that Ron had fetched some yarn from the kid's play things for her. Gratefully, she worked with him to snip the ends and glue them to the mask. "Try that out, honey."
"You can't be Santa, you're a girl!" Steve called out as she put on the mask, but she either didn't hear him or blissfully ignored him.
They seemed to have lucked out on the fit – luckily, as Kim realized she'd used the easily at hand glue instead of the possibly wiser choice of tape. B.A. seemed thrilled even if you weren't going to mistake her for Santa in a million years.
"Can I try my Rudolph mask idea now?" Steve said after B.A. had run around a bit going 'Ho ho ho!'
James, Anne, Dean, and Dana were immensely grateful when B.A. sat down next to them and flipped on the TV, then became engrossed in, of all things, the Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer stop-motion special. Anyway, it meant she was doing something they could do and keep up with, and that let them feel like they were bonding with their grandchild while also letting Kim and Ron deal with the grandchild that was being fussy at the moment without other distractions.
After flipping through the book, they didn't see a Rudolph mask idea.
"No big," Steve said. "I've got a plan I've been thinking of."
"Bro," B.A. suddenly asked, "Can I hang your reindeer on the Christmas tree?"
"Sure, Beck. I didn't even think of that – that would look cool. Need any help?"
"No, I've got it!" B.A. ran over to the table, grabbed up the string, and then tied the loose end of thread at the back of the procession to the three and used the space between Rudolph's front and back legs to get the other end to stay in place.
"Should we string that up like we would a paper chain somewhere?" Kim wondered.
"No, I like it on the tree for the moment." Steve replied.
"So what was your plan for a Rudolph mask?" Ron asked.
"Dad, you know the milk bottle we finished earlier today? Can you wash it out and cut off the top part that curves inwards and has the cap?"
Ron stopped to think. "What would I use to cut it, Kim?" he asked.
"A carving knife," Anne interjected from the couch she'd settled on.
They looked at her. "You may not, but I remember the times in elementary school where you needed to get the top of those bottles for a craft project."
"OK, well, I can try. What's the plan?"
"Same idea like the Santa thing Beck did, but use brown construction paper for the face. Put that bottle shape on the front and the cap can be the red nose. Cover it in brown construction paper too."
"That… that might sag down due to the weight of the bottle nose taped to nothing but a piece of paper on your face, honey. Maybe even tear the paper of the mask." Kim said cautiously.
"But Mommy you've always told me you can do anything. I know you can figure out how we can make this work!" Steve said. He was just at that age that at first Kim wanted to assume she was being snarked (like she usually was when someone brought that back up against her) but she realized that Steve might be in that odd area where part of him is sincere with it, part of him is challenging her to meet it (like Ron or her parents had done on occasion) and part of it could be snark. "And if I say no right now, it might all be snark very quickly. Ah, cursed by my own self-pep speech… how the cheerleader has fallen." She wished it wasn't early afternoon so that the bell of the oven announcing the turkey was done would save her. No such luck.
She looked up to see amused looks from the grandparents and from her husband. "All right, well, we can try honey. And I'm not doing this alone. Why, don't you think a master chef who is also the king at arts and crafts, a rocket scientist, a brain surgeon, an actuary and an accountant can help us put our heads together and make your idea work?" Kim was laying it on thick and relished it.
"Dad and Grandpa P could probably help make it work. I don't think it has a brain though Mommy. Or money. And I still don't know what an actuary is."
Even those who were being conscripted laughed.
"All right," Kim announced, clapping her hands to gain attention. "Let's get started you two. How do we attach half a plastic bottle to a paper mask without it tearing the mask or sagging it down? Let's hear some ideas. Let's hear from your Daddy first. Daddy?"
"If I have to go down, I'm taking you with me, Ron." She could always make it up to him after Santa's visit tonight, after all. A spoonful of sugar…
Author's Notes: Thank you for reading this small effort. I hope you enjoyed it. I'd love to hear from you in a review – positives OR negatives welcome. I really appreciate reviews and respond to all of them. I want to thank Pinky Jo Curlytail for confirming for me (or rather, for my Kim) that a certain craft idea wouldn't work. I'd also like to thank WhiteM for running this contest. Bet you wish you'd specified feel-good as a contest rule like you had last year, huh?