"Come to the Middleton Fall Fair, this Saturday!"
It was the battle cry of an overly perky teenaged volunteer, announcing to anyone who passed her by on the sidewalk of Main Street in downtown Middleton that it was time once again for one of the town's annual traditions. The fair was everything that one imagined it would be, from the hayrides to the carnival games to the petting zoo. This time of year, there was a buzz of excited anticipation in the air as everyone in the entire tri-city area was gearing up for what was sure to be a great time.
Everyone, that is, except for one forlorn individual who found herself walking aimlessly around the streets of her hometown. As she passed by the human advertisement, the perky blonde shoved a flyer for the fair into her hand. "Make sure you come to the fair this Saturday!" she all but screamed at the redhead. "It going to be a blast!"
The redhead stopped for a moment, pausing just long enough to take a quick look at the bright, multi-colored paper in her hand before a multitude of memories rushed to the surface of her mind, assaulting her already delicate emotional state. She was reminded once again of happier times when her life had been good and all was right with the world. Moments like this had happened to her a lot over the course of the last two weeks since it had happened. This time, she was taken back to last year's fair, enjoying the hayride with someone whose hair was the same color as the straw they sat on, his arm wrapped around her shoulders and laughing at something he said. It was enough to bring a small, nostalgic smile to her lips before she remembered once again that there would never again be a time like that in her life.
The teen heroine slowly looked up from the flyer to the other girl who had lost some of her perkiness at the sight before her. As her eyes met the volunteer's, the blonde girl recognized the other woman as none other than Kim Possible, world famous heroine. She was just about to introduce herself (it wasn't everyday that she met a celebrity like Kim) when a voice inside her held her back. There was something about the cheerleader that didn't sit right given all that she had heard about the redhead. She was dressed, not in her standard green top and blue capris, but in long jeans and a light grey hooded sweatshirt. Her hair was pulled back into a severe ponytail and it look as though it was losing some of the luster that she had seen on television. Her expression was one of fatality, as if she had accepted some harsh truth in her life and was now preparing for the consequences of that truth. But what struck her most were Kim's eyes. The blonde girl had always imagined that her green eyes would be full of life and determination, but now that she was looking at the redhead in real life, all she saw in them was a profound sadness and loss.
After the briefest of moments had past, Kim almost whispered to the other girl, "Thank you, but I think I'll be skipping the fair this year." She looked down once more at the flyer before she let a small sigh escape from her. Without looking back up at the blonde girl, she handed the flyer back to her. Sensing that Kim was in a depressed state, the perky blonde was about to say that she should come to the fair anyway, that it might cheer her up. But just before she was able to say anything, Kim looked up once again and a single tear dropped onto her cheek. The other girl, so taken aback by the show of emotion from the heroine in front of her, simply stared back with an open mouth. Kim once again became lost in her thoughts and took this opportunity to take her leave of the volunteer.
She had been walking for over an hour, seeing nothing and hearing nothing except for those images provided to her by her memory. Every one of them was a variation on a theme, one of her and her best friend at their happiest. Her subconscious showed her the two of them at the Bueno Nacho opening, only to replace it with Ron as the Middleton Mad Dog, only to replace that with the sight of Ron and her at their high school graduation. This last one reminded her that the three weeks that the dean at Colorado State University had given her off were almost up and she would be heading back to campus soon. Only this time, she was headed back alone.
The thought of having to return to her life at college, to go back to her classes by herself, to hit Bueno Nacho after a tough day by herself, to face the evil of the world by herself brought up a wave of emotion that threaten to have her break down in sobs once again. She sat down on a bench outside of the post office and willed herself not to remember how she had landed in this sitch in the first place. But in her current state, she simply did not have the mental strength to force the memory from her mind, the memory that had haunted her for the last two weeks and would surely haunt her for the rest of her life. The last memory she would ever have of Ron Stoppable.Two Weeks Ago
"Remind me again just what we're doing here, KP?" Ron Stoppable asked his partner.
"There was a report of a suspicious green glow coming from the office of the plant supervisor, so just to be on the safe side, they asked us to check it out," Kim replied.
About an hour ago, the familiar four tones of the Kimmunicator informed them that Wade had another mission for Team Possible. Apparently, one of the guards at the Middleton nuclear power plant had spotted what he described as a 'green light' coming from one of the restricted offices. Since this meager description fit only one known super villain, the call went out to get Kim and Ron on the case.
"Ya know, it could have just been some plutonium that was accidentally put in the office," Ron volunteered, hoping they wouldn't have to go up against Shego this time.
His partner turned to him with a look of absolute incredulity. "Umm, Ron... I would much rather it be Shego that we find rather than some exposed radioactive material. Do you want to glow in the dark for the rest of your life?"
She smiled slightly as the gears in Ron's head slowly ground away, finally turning on the light bulb, as Ron understood just what it was that he was hoping for. "Good call. Although using Rufus as a night light would be convenient," he smiled at his little friend who was poking up from his pocket.
"Hey!" the naked mole rat replied as he blew a raspberry at his owner.
Kim's smile grew at the thought of a green naked mole rat, but she quickly dropped back into mission mode when her ears picked up voices from up ahead. She pressed a finger to her lips to indicate to Ron to be quiet and proceeded down the hallway that they were in.
The corridor ended at the main control room for the entire power plant. A quick glance through the window in the double doors that led to the interior of the room showed that it was indeed Draken and Shego behind this plot. The green and black girl had subdued the entire staff along with the guards, who were tied up in the corner looking frightened out of their minds.
Ron, who had been looking over Kim's shoulder, taped her and pointed away from Shego and over towards Draken who seemed to be fiddling with the controls to the power grid. Kim saw that Shego had a rather bored expression on and guessed that Draken was just starting his traditional rant. The redhead reached out, grabbed the handle to the control room door, twisted it, and cracked it open.
Instantly, both members of Team Possible were greeted with the shrill voice of Draken. "This is my greatest plan yet, Shego!" The mad scientist gave a look over at his 'sidekick' who was about to say something but he cut her off. "And before you say something sarcastic like, 'Yeah, cuz the bar was set so high,' save it. This time it's going to work."
Shego was completely nonplused. "Sure, whatever, Doctor D."
At that, Draken began to develop a nervous twitch under his left eye and started to stammer, he was so full of rage. "Why...how...just...look, it's going to work this time, alright?!" he shouted at Shego.
"And just what exactly is it that we are doing here?"
"Its simple, Shego. I'm going to threaten to create a meltdown of this power plant unless I am made King of Canada!"
Shego had to stifle a laugh at her blue skinned boss. "Still on your Canada kick, huh? Pretty lame."
"I'd have to agree. But it doesn't matter anyway, Draken, because we're going to stop you." Kim had figured that this was an opportune time to make her entrance and get underway with defeating Draken once again.
"Kim Possible! What are you doing here?" the Doctor asked his arch-foe.
"Simple. One of the guards caught sight of your helper over there and called us," Kim replied as she pointed at Shego.
For the first time since she had lost his body in the mix-up with the neutronalizer, the villainess actually looked apologetic. "Ah, sorry about that, Dr. D." Then she turned to face Kim and Ron. "But let me fix my mistake right now," she growled as she brought forth the green plasma that was her special gift. She leapt straight at Kim and began throwing a flurry of punches and kick that kept the teen heroine engaged. Thus, she was unable to see that Draken had begun to enter the final commands to begin the nuclear meltdown. Ron, however, had little to do once Kim started fighting Shego, so he ran over to stop Draken.
And he couldn't have gotten there a moment too soon. Just as Draken was about to push the final button that would engage the overload, Ron grabbed him from behind and threw him away from the console that he was working at. The blue skinned madman landed some ten feet away from the teen and crashed into a stack of crates.
"Well, that was easy," Ron commented to his pet that was currently sitting on Ron's shoulder. He then turned to look at the almost two story tall wall of dials and gauges and started thinking out loud. "Now, how do you suppose we shut this thing down?"
Unfortunately, Ron had turned his back to Draken having mistakenly thought that the mad genius was out for the count. The teen hero learned otherwise very quickly as he was shoved violently from behind as Draken lowered his shoulder in Ron's lower back. This sent the blonde careening into the very control panel that Draken had been working at before Team Possible had broken up his little party and, at one of the worst possible moments in his life, his 'Ron-ness' kicked in and he landed on the button that started the meltdown.
Instantly, an alarm began blaring out of the Public Address system in the plant, and a prerecorded voice sounded, ordering the evacuation of the building. Ron got up off the instrument panel and looked over towards Draken, who was jumping up and down in jubilee.
"Draken, how the hell do you stop this thing?" Ron demanded.
The blue skinned scientist looked back at Ron with a crazed expression. "That's the beauty of it! You can't!"
As Draken was making his fatal pronouncement, Ron felt like all the blood was drained from his body only to be replaced with ice water. He ran over to where Draken, who obviously didn't realize the danger that he himself was in, was still dancing and grabbed him by the lapels of his blue lab coat. "You maniac! Don't you realize that if we can't stop the meltdown, everyone in Western Colorado will be dead?! Including you!"
That got Draken's attention. He stopped dancing suddenly, his joy turning to confusion that turned to pure terror when he finally put two and two together. He began to panic, screaming like a little girl and flailing about like a fish out of water. Mercifully, Ron put him out of his misery with a swift hit to the man's jaw.
During this entire time, Kim had been fully engaged in keeping Shego at bay. She had heard the alarm go off, but didn't have time to wonder about it as she dodged another strike from the villainess. But when Ron started to frantically call out her name, she knew that something was wrong. And she didn't want to think about what could go wrong in a nuclear power plant.
Unfortunately, she couldn't help Ron at that moment as Shego was putting up quite the offensive. So, in between blows from the other woman, she grabbed her Kimmunicator out of her cargos and tossed it in the direction of Ron's voice. "Sorry, Ron, I'm a little busy here! Call Wade, he'll help you out."
The blonde caught the small communications device and quickly hit the button to establish the link. The ten-year-old genius quickly answered but was surprised when he saw that it was Ron on the other end of the line. "Ron, what's going on?"
The blonde wasted no time. "Wade, Draken's started an overload here and I need to know how to shut it down now!"
Wade began to pound away at the keyboard in an attempt to find a way to undo whatever it was that Draken had done to the complex machinery. After a few seconds, he had located the answer to the problem, the only answer to the problem. But that didn't mean he liked it.
He turned to look at his friend at the other end of the Kimmunicator and lowered the bad news. "Ron, there is only one way to stop the overload at this point. You have to trip the main circuit breakers to the plant. That will kill the power to the entire facility and the backup emergency systems will come online. They will drop al the control rods into the core and stop the meltdown."
Ron breathed a sigh of relief at hearing that he could stop the meltdown. "That sounds easy Wade. Where's the breaker box located?"
"Ron, there's something else you need to know," Wade began with a look of sadness and anxiety. "The circuits are channeling almost twice the normal amount of electricity as the normally do. Anyone who touches the circuit breakers, like someone who is trying to trip them, will be electrocuted."
It took him a second to process what he had heard, but when he did Ron went deathly pale. His mind began to refuse to believe what he knew was the truth of the situation. In a last ditch effort, he turned to Wade and ask a question that he already knew the answer to but he had to ask it anyway. "Wade, what if we just evacuated the place? Get everyone far enough away from the blast?"
Wade just shook his head. "You would need to evacuate all of Western Colorado to Nevada in the next five minutes. Not possible, even for Kim," he told Ron, with a small smile at his little joke.
Ron knew what he had to do. It couldn't be Kim, she was too important in saving the world. Shego would never help them and Draken was out of it. That only left him to perform the last task he would ever do. The one that would save about a million people. The one that would save all his friends and family. And, most importantly, the one that would save Kim.
His mind made up, he reached into his pocket and took out Rufus and told him to go to Kim. He saw Rufus run over to where the redhead was still fighting Shego, wishing he had more time, and turned to head in the direction that Wade had told him.
By this time, Kim had gained the upper hand and finally had cornered Shego so that she had nowhere to go. It was then that they both realized what the automated voice was telling them and both looked at each other with pure panic. They both forgot their fight and ran to grab their partner in an attempt to make their getaway. But when Kim turned away from Shego, all she could see was an empty control room with a rather excited naked mole rat trying to get her attention.
She bent down to get closer to Ron's pet. "Rufus, have you seen where Ron went?" The naked mole rat began to jump up and down and pointed towards the hallway that Ron had disappeared down. She picked him up, put him in one of her pockets, and took off down after him.
It only took her a minute to find where he went. The surrealistic blue glow that the breaker room had from all the extra electricity running through it instantly drew her attention. She burst through the door and found Ron, standing near what looked like a large circuit connector, holding the Kimmunicator. He looked like someone had just passed a death sentence on him, he looked so pale and frightened. He hit the button to turn off the Kimunicator, placed it on the ground, and reached for the connector.
"Ron! What are you doing?!" his redheaded best friend called out to him over the loud whine of the machinery. She could tell that there was enough voltage flowing through the metal connector that if he were to touch it, he would instantly be killed.
The blonde quickly turned to where that familiar voice had come from. This would have been easier if she wasn't here, but fate, it seemed, was not on his side that night. He looked at her, a million and one things that he would have liked to have told her but time had seemed to have run out on him. So, he settled for telling her what he was about to do.
"Kim, the plant is about to go critical. Wade says that if we don't throw this switch, everyone within five hundred miles is going to get killed. Including you and me."
But Kim wasn't about to let him go that easily. "There has to be another way, Ron! Maybe Wade can short it out remotely, or, or..."
Ron just gave her a sad little smile. "Kim, don't you think I already asked him that?" he asked gently. "This is the only way. And before you go getting any ideas, you're not going to do it. You're too valuable to lose whereas I on the other hand..." he shrugged.
Kim was on the verge of absolutely breaking down. This was just supposed to be another mission where they defeated the bad guys and went home safe at the end of the night. But now, things weren't looking so good for a certain member of Team Possible. "Ron, please don't do this..." she began to plead with him.
"Sorry, Kim, you know its the only way. I'm sorry. Take care of Rufus for me, will you?" He turned back to the circuit breaker and brought his fist up just over top of it. He knew that he was going to have to hit it as hard as he could to knock it down and break the connection. He glanced back at her once more, wishing that he could be there for her in what he imagined was going to be a very tough time. And he decided that there was one more thing that he needed to say before he went.
"Love ya, KP. I always have and I always will. Remember that." And with that, he brought his fist down.Present Day
Kim gasped as she sat bolt upright on the bench that she had been sitting on. She looked around, realizing that it was later in the day and that she must have dozed off. The temperature had dropped about another ten degrees since her last conscious thought, and she crossed her arms around her, almost like she was hugging herself. The loss of the most important person in her life once again hit her and she felt like crying again. But that wasn't going to help matters, and besides, it wasn't something she was used to doing.
She sat there for a little while longer, watching all the happy people go by, with thoughts of Halloween, or football games, or the Fall Fair on their minds. When she finally saw a couple who looked to be about her age go by, holding hands and laughing at something the other had said, she hung her head in sorrow. She needed to talk to Ron again, just to hear his voice once more, to see that goofy grin he always had. She wanted to be close to him again. So, Kim made the first concrete decision of the day and headed off in the direction of Ron's final resting place.
It wasn't a far walk from where she was, and she supposed that on a subconscious level, she had been headed there the entire time. The redhead walked through the old part of Middleton cemetery until she came to the newer section. She had been to Ron's grave at least a dozen times since the funeral, and knew the way by heart now. She kept her gaze aimed steadfastly at the ground until she was almost upon the site and then she looked up, expecting to find herself alone with no one but Ron.
But that wasn't the case today. Standing over Ron's grave was a young woman, most likely her age with short black hair, that she didn't recognize. She was dressed simply in a modest black skirt and a black blouse, obviously here to pay her respects. The woman seemed to be saying something in Japanese, but Kim couldn't tell. Besides, she was sure that Ron didn't know anyone who spoke an Asian language when he was alive. "Maybe she has the wrong grave?" Kim wondered. She wanted to go over to her and ask the girl if she was lost, but something held her in place.
The woman finished what Kim assumed to be some type of prayer, and bent down to place a single white rose at the foot of the grave marker, giving the stone monument a gentle touch before rising again and turning away. Kim could now tell that the woman was indeed of Japanese origin, and had been crying. After a few steps, the other girl looked up and her breath caught in her chest. She stared at Kim with a look of surprise; possibly she didn't want her to know that she was there? But the other girl quickly regained her composure and walked with purposeful strides towards the redhead.
When she was close enough, the Asian girl smiled and bowed slightly. "Kim-dono, it is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Yori Aiemi and was a friend of Stoppable-san's. I am truly sorry for your loss."
Kim smiled back at Yori, hiding her confusion from the other girl. "I thought I knew every friend that Ron had. Me, Monique, and Rufus. So, who is this girl?" Kim wondered. But she kept those feelings to herself for the time being and simply replied, "Thank you. It's nice to meet another friend of Ron's. Especially now."
Yori held a sad expression on her face, but in her eyes there held another emotion that Kim had not felt in the past two weeks. It was hope, and what Kim did not know was that Yori was here to bring it back to Kim Possible's life.
"Kim-dono, I wish there was more time so that I could gain your trust before I tell you what I must tell you but, I am afraid time is a luxury that we do not have."
At this, Kim could no longer hide the confusion and surprise that she was feeling and voiced her emotions. "I'm sorry, I don't understand. We just meet. What is it that you could possibly have to discuss with me?"
At this, Yori gave Kim a small smile, a hopeful smile. "It concerns your friend, Ron Stoppable, and his future in this world."
Author's Notes: The other night I watched "Exchange" just before going to bed and that night I had a dream about the founder of Yamanuchi. It was about how he had come to be a Ti Shing Peck Quar master and the founding of the ninja school. It was a really cool dream and I decided that I wanted to tell the story as I had dreamt it. But I figured that everyone would want a Kim and Ron connection so I created a story around the story. This chapter is, obviously, not part of the dream; that will start in Chapter Two. If I am right, there will be about five chapters to this story.
On a side note, I personally dislike stories where either Kim or Ron dies. Not that I am opposed to the concept, its just that its been done before. Unfortunately, I was unable to find a way to tell the Yamanuchi story without having Ron die first. Sorry to you Ron fans out there, but don't give up hope yet. Ron might make an appearance later on in this story.
Also, I have borrowed something from one of my favorite writer's here at fanfiction.net, Geor-sama, and that is his idea on what Yori's last name is. George, if you are reading this and want me to take it off, please let me know. And to everyone else, go read some of his stuff. It's fantastic.