Justifying the Means

"Hey, Ron," Kim said as she joined him at the lunch table, "What's up? You've got your 'deep thoughts' face on. Thinking about the lunch lady conspiracy again?"

"No, I cracked that a month ago," he said.

"You finally cracked the lunch lady conspiracy?" Felix asked in disbelief. "Shouldn't you have called in the police or armed forces or something?"

"I would if they were doing something wrong," Ron said with a shrug. "Turns out the lunch ladies in cities with no budget were having a hard time getting the food they needed to serve breakfast, much less lunch, so they reached out to those in better funded areas for help. Anyway, long story short, the food sucks because they are cutting corners and shifting things around to make sure no kid goes unfed and if the choice is between some kid going hungry who relies on a school lunch for the majority of his daily eats and the Ron-man eating the mystery meat loaf… I'll just eat the meatloaf."

"Seriously?" Kim asked.

Ron nodded. "Is it illegal? Probably, but it's certainly not immoral. Turns out a lot of the conspiracies I was seeing involve things like that. The librarians do something similar as well as collecting massive amounts of data on the students. Still not sure what that's about, but I'm pretty sure if I found out it would turn out to be something similar."

"Oh," Kim said and poked at her own mystery meatloaf with a fork, trying to decide if she was hungry enough to eat it. "So what was with the thinking face?"

"I was thinking about when I was blasted with Drakken's gizmo that turned me evil," he replied.

"That wasn't you," Kim quickly assured him, "that was all the Drakken-ness that was pumped into you."

Ron shook his head. "I'm not so sure."

"H.G.W.U.?" Monique said as she slid in next to Kim. "I swear the food they serve us is designed to help me stick to my diet."

"We're lucky to have it," Felix said firmly.

"I guess… if you included the word UN in front of it," Monique replied, wondering why he was defending the borderline edible food in the cafeteria.

"We eat like this so other kids don't go hungry," Zita told her.

"Why aren't you sure?" Kim asked Ron. "I mean, you built weapons of mass destruction, enslaved Shego, called yourself Zorpox and your skin turned blue. Seems pretty obvious you weren't… you."

"Are you talking about the time Ron almost took over the world?" Monique asked, deciding not to poke at the food issue.

"It was the tri-state area at most," Ron defended himself.

"Well, Zorpox behaved completely un-Ron-like, so why are you blaming yourself?" Kim asked.

"Oh, I'm not blaming myself," Ron assured her, "Drakken and Shego are obviously responsible there. No, I'm just looking at the things I did while under the influence and wondering why Zorpox set himself up to fail."

"Set himself up to fail?" Kim asked in disbelief. "That was one of the hardest battles I've ever been in and we almost lost, even with Drakken and Shego on my side!"

"Yeah, we set it up that way," Ron agreed. "Shego betraying us was part of our plan so we could pull a Xanatos gambit, but that's because we deliberately pushed her buttons so she would do so and really we could have disabled you all pretty easily or added a third stage to the plot that you wouldn't have had time to stop. So the question is… why did we set ourselves up to fail?"

"You really think Zorpox lost on purpose?" Kim asked with a frown.

"I know he did," Ron assured her, "and I think I've figured out why."

"Okay, then why do you think he did it?" Monique asked. "I mean, he is you and you should know."

Ron nodded. "That's what I've been working out. At first, I was thinking that ruling everything would be a lot more trouble than it was worth, but I could just make Shego do all the grunt work, so it's not that. No, I think I was just making a point."

"Making a point?" Kim asked, confused.

"Yeah," Ron said. "Shego never took me seriously, always referring to me as sidekick, so I made her my sidekick and terrorized her. Drakken could never remember my name so I gave him a name he will never forget… even with therapy."

"What about me?" Kim asked. "What point were you making to me?"

"Are you sure he was making a point to you?" Felix asked. "Sounds more like it was about them and not you."

"Maybe it's my ego talking," Kim admitted, "but Zorpox was all about being three steps ahead of us and doing the whole Xanatos thing, so if I was there, I was there for a reason."

Ron slowly nodded. "That's what I'm trying to figure out. You already know I can fight, have brains, and what my name is. So… what was the point?"

"Maybe you just wanted her to see what you could do if you put your mind to it," Zita suggested.

"Nah, the Naco covered that," he waved it off.

"How does the Naco cover that?" Monique asked.

"I wanted to make the big new thing in Mexican dining and I did," Ron said. "I made millions and it's still selling well today."

"But you blew all the money, what Drakken didn't steal anyway," Kim pointed out.

Ron laughed. "I got a nice chunk up front and had fun with it. I got to see how the other half lived. I did everything I wanted to do with it, besides I still get a nickel for every one sold. The money wasn't the point, but it's still coming in."

"Seriously?" Monique asked, surprised.

"Yeah," Ron said with a smile. "I decided to do a Brewster's Millions kinda thing. It was fun and I've got it out of my system now."

"Brewster's millions?" Kim asked.

"Please don't tell me you've never seen one of the classic Richard Pryor movies," Monique said with a sigh before turning to Ron. "You're falling down on the job."

"Hey," Ron defended himself, "half the movies we watch are her choice, that slows down getting her educated in the classics."

Kim rolled her eyes. "I've seen Silver Streak, The Toy, and Superman II, I know Richard Pryor, I just haven't seen all his movies yet."

"Oh," Monique said with a pleased smile. "Well, Brewster's Millions is about Richard Pryor inheriting three hundred million dollars, but to get it he has to spend thirty million dollars in thirty days without gaining anything substantial in the way of material goods. It was supposed to make him sick of spending money so when he got his inheritance he wouldn't waste it."

"Sounds like a good movie," Kim said. "Let's grab that for our next movie night."

"Will do KP," Ron agreed cheerfully.

"Okay, I can see where that would apply," Kim said, "but we're getting off topic. What was Zorpox-you trying to show me?"

"That the goal may not be what you think it is," Felix said. Everyone turned to look at him. "I think I've got it. Kim is a Type A personality, goal oriented, while Ron isn't."

"Yeah, kinda obvious there," Kim agreed.

"Right, so Zorpox was showing you that winning isn't everything," he explained. "The goal for Zorpox wasn't to take over everything, it was to teach Shego, Drakken, and Kim something. Kim always goes for the win, but just because that's her goal doesn't mean it's everyone's. Zorpox accomplished his goals by losing."

"Winning would have seriously cut into our movie time," Ron said with a smile. "I think you got it."

"So the only reason Ron isn't ruling half the US is because he likes to watch movies with Kim?" Zita asked.

"Pretty much," Felix agreed.

Kim downed her juice and piled everything on her tray. "I've gotta go reschedule a date. Ron, we're still on for movies on Saturday?"

"Of course, KP," Ron said cheerfully.

"Good, bring Brewster's Millions," Kim said. "Late."

"Did Zorpox develop a Xanatos gambit to torment two supervillains just to make Kim stop skipping movie night to date the flavor of the week?" Monique asked in disbelief.

Ron tilted his head and considered the question. "That… was probably part of it," he admitted.

His friends all turned to stare at him.

"What? You gotta admit it is annoying," he said.

Felix burst out laughing and Zita giggled.

"Only you, Ron," Monique said with a grin. "Make sure she watches all the classics," she ordered. "Can't have my BFF being uneducated."

"I'll do my best," Ron agreed with a smile, his eyes flickering blue for a split second.

Typing by: Abyssal Angel

AN: I like having this group discuss things over lunch just to see where it goes.