Jao: Welcome back to another. I know I said Clean was my last, but this was a rabid fic bunny. You know, those little ideas that come when you're doing something else. Those sparks that make you go, "Hmm, might make a good story."

Engineer is slightly AU, meaning you'll have to bare with me. It'll pull from the show heavily, but go against it a bit too. Take Secrets for example. Explained the absence of Ron's parents, but was also slightly far from the show, seeing they really seem to be decent people in the what? Two episodes and cameo in Sitch in Time and the Mother's Day episode?

Anyway, that said, I shouldn't have to put up a disclaimer, you all know I make no money nor claim that Kim Possible is mine.

Enjoy!

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Mrs. Stoppable felt awful as she looked at her child, her little man. As bad as it might sound, it was weird having him home. The worst part was there was almost nothing to say. Actually there was, but it never was her skill to talk about touchy subjects such as fitting in, finding yourself, or…relationship break offs. She sighed and sat next to him on the couch, looking sadly at his reflection on the blank television screen. He had sat there like that all this afternoon, and every afternoon for the past week. No mission, no nothing; hardly a trip to that fast food restaurant of his. It was making the family worry.

"I was so stupid," he finally said, not looking at her reflection but at the darkness behind it. "I should have known it wouldn't work." Ron could feel his mother hesitantly place a hand on his shoulder.

"You didn't know, son. I'm sure in a few days things will--."

"Be just like before? Yea. Doubt it." He had to admit, it was courage on his mother's part to talk to a son she didn't know about a subject like this. But right now…right now he needed to be anywhere but here, anywhere but Middleton. He stood without another word, swallowing a growing lump in his throat. He wasn't going to cry in front of his mother, she'd never let him leave. No, Ron straightened his back and walked to the door, turned the knob and left into a painful world.

Engineer

Chapter One

Kim opened her closet. Today was another day. In five minuets she and Monique were going to the mall and Kim had to get ready. Thumbing through the clothes she smiled, after all, that—that was part of the fun being single. To dress up now and then…turn some guys' heads. She sighed. Why was she doing this again? That's right; get her mind off things, to meet some new people, have new people meet her, do the new people thing…

But something felt wrong. It wouldn't feel like meeting new people, oh no, Kim knew better than that. It would feel like replacing an old one. Inwardly she frowned. She could never; ever replace… Kim flopped on her bed, settling on her normal green tank and navy Banana Club pants, a hand running through her now almost-shoulder length auburn hair.

"I was so stupid…"

3 months ago

May afternoons at Middleton High weren't that bad. At least they had air conditioning; not like the schools in Lowerton who had to fight the heat the old school way: box fans and opened windows. Kim gripped her locker in the girl's locker room and opened it half singing to herself. Josh had asked her to talk to him after cheer practice, so life it's self seemed almost complete. All there was left was for him to propose and to raise some kids of her own. If it were a girl she'd be named…Alice, or maybe Elizabeth. And a boy?

"Earth to Kim, are we going to start cheer practice or are you going to stand there and drool all day? Ew." Kim turned to see Bonnie, her hands on her hips, and that awful smug face of hers. No, Kim knew worst off all was that constantly whiny voice of hers.

"I wasn't drooling, Bonnie."

"Whatever. Just get out here so we can get started, I'd like to actually do something today. Oh, and for the last time, CONTROL that freaky friend of yours or me and the other girls are booting him off the team, got it?!" Oh yea, it had to be the voice. Kim grimaced at every word, finally slamming her locker shut, but rather pointlessly argue with Bonnie she scoffed as she passed and opened the locker room door. To Kim's surprise there was Josh sitting in the bleachers.

"Hey KP, I was thinking after cheer practice…KP?" Ron waved a hand in front of Kim's face, causing her to jump.

"Do you see who's sitting in the bleachers?" Kim asked it like Ron hadn't said anything before. He sighed, tucking the mascot head between arm and hip.

"You mean Monkey? He's been sittin' up there since school let out. Probably waitin to get a peek, you know a—." Ron shut his mouth, recognizing Kim's don't-you-say-another-word look. "Anyway, after practice do you wanna go to Bueno Nacho? They're havin' a bon-diggity sale on chimmeritos! Buy one get two free! Rufus and I are gunna grande size the house, baby!" Kim didn't even look his way, nor did she see his disappointment when she shook her head.

"I have to talk to Josh after practice. Maybe some other time." Ron dropped the mascot head, walking into her view.

"But Kim! The sale is TODAY ONLY!" Josh waved to Kim and she side-stepped Ron to wave back. Ron frowned, she didn't need to say anything else, he got the hint. He picked up the mascot head and put it on, trotting out on the basketball court.

Cheer practice went unbelievably slow and Kim had missed a few steps, being as distracted as she was. And of course Bonnie came over to complain, but Kim hardly heard it. Bonnie on the other hand had it up to here. Little miss perfect was long overdue. Reaching into her pocketbook she pulled out a pack of gum, chewed it to just before it lost it's flavor and planted it deep in the back of Kim's hair with a smack. A little dirty, she had to admit, but to her, Kim deserved much worse.

"Oh Kim!" Bonnie yelped in mock worry. "You have some gum in your hair, hold still, let me help you!" Bonnie grabbed and pulled, stretched and messed, all while Kim thrashed to get the girl off of her. By time Bonnie had let go, the gum was deeply routed. "Oops, I think I might have made it worse…" Kim cracked her knuckles, enjoying the sudden look of fear on Bonnie's face.

"You did NOT just put GUM in my hair…" Bonnie took a step back; each word that was spoken was much more of a growl than spoken language. As soon as Kim took a step forward, Bonnie was out the door and cowering behind Mr. Barkin.

"What is going on?" He commanded as soon as Kim appeared out the door.

"That-that bitch put gum in my hair!" Everyone gasped, even Mr. Barkin was slightly surprised to hear the word from Kim. Bonnie smirked to herself, knowing she was the reason why. It was an honor.

"Now there will be no profane name calling, Possible. You should go home and get that taken care of, as for Rockwaller." Bonnie stepped forward, but still safely away from Kim. "Do you know how many demerits gum-in-the-hair gets you? Do you private?"

"What are you going to do? Demote me?" It gained a small chuckle from the squad, and Bonnie loved it. Kim was smoldering, everyone was laughing, and best of all Josh was watching her, not Kim. Could life be any better?

"You are suspended from the team, Rockwaller!" Bonnie's face dropped.

"What?"

"You heard me! Two weeks suspension starting tomorrow."

"But the cheer-off against Upperton-I can't--." Barkin leaned forward, his face inches from hers.

"You wanna make it four?"

"No-no sir." Kim wasn't paying attention to Bonnie and Barkin at the moment. She was looking up at Josh, who was watching Bonnie despite her reprimanding. Kim quickly made her way to Josh, sitting next to him.

"Hey Josh." He wasn't paying attention, his eyes were on Bonnie.

"Can you believe that? She—oh hi, Kim." He smiled at her before turning back to Bonnie. "That takes some guts to do that to you, what with all your kung fu and all. Wow." Kim sighed, could this get any worse? Waving a hand in front of him called his attention back.

"Hey Josh, um, there's a sale at Bueno Nacho, you wanna go with me?" Josh only blinked and laughed.

"You're kidding, right? You have to go home and get your hair chopped. Why don't you go with that weird guy, you know the loser who hangs out with you? I'm sure he'd love to go."

Before Kim could respond Josh got up and bounded down the bleachers and met up with Bonnie and even from up there Kim could hear him mention those freakin chimmeritos to her. That jerk! She sighed, her hand touching her hair painfully. Everything from her ears down would have to go. Kim could feel tears form, but she blinked them away. She wasn't going to cry over some hair…or losing the boyfriend of the year to some snot nosed brat who uses playground tactics. No she was going to keep perfect composure…right? Things could not be worse, even Drakken would be sure to make fun of her now.

Kim jumped when a hand touched her shoulder.

"You ok, KP?" She wiped eyes and nodded.

"Yea, I-I'm fine."

"I think you'll look great with short hair." Ron said, sitting down next to her at the top of the bleachers. She smiled at those sincere eyes, taking his hand.

"Really?" He shrugged.

"Looks good on your mom, and hey, Rufus is bald! Shot hair is in." Rufus popped out nodding his head to assure her, and both boys were rewarded with a laugh.

"And after my mom's done butchering my hair, you wanna stop by Bueno Nacho?"

"You got yourself a date, KP."

"Nice date there, Kim." Bonnie called when the two of them got to the bottom of the bleachers; Ron had to step between them. "Going out with the school loser now? Well I guess you better get used to it, because when you step back in here with that new haircut, you'll be the laughing stock. Then maybe you two won't be such an odd couple after all, loser and loser."

"I'll show you laughing stock when you don't have any teeth, Bonnie!" Kim's threat echoed through the gym but did little to scare Bonnie this time. She had Josh by her side and right now she was feeling mighty invincible. Ron was doing all he could to keep Kim back, even as Bonnie laughed and walked away with Josh on her arm. When they finally left Kim pushed Ron from her.

"Why did you stop me? You heard what she said!"

"That's it, Kim. It's just words. Not worth being suspended for. Believe me, I'd like to get back at her too, but right now isn't the place." Kim sat on the bottom bleacher, looking up at Ron in confusion.

"How can you just let her call you that? Don't you ever get fed up?" Ron almost laughed, sitting next to Kim.

"Are you kidding? KP, that's just Bonnie. The whole school calls me that. You…you kinda get used to it after a while." Rufus again popped out to agree and scurry to perch on his shoulder.

"Not like you'll have to worry about it," He continued when he saw Kim's face fall. He sat next to her offering a goofy grin. "I mean, you'll still be Kim Possible, no matter what your hair looks like. You know, crime-fighting, cheerleader extraordinaire?" He looked away, focused on the door Bonnie and Josh left through. "And if some jerk like Josh doesn't want to date you, then that's his loss."

"Thanks Ron," he heard but before he could spin around, Kim had her arms around him, her chest pressed tightly against his back. He was glad she couldn't see his blush.

"N-no prob, KP. Umm, what do you say we get going?" Kim let him go to stand, offering him a hand up.

"See? It's not that bad, Kimmie." Mrs. Dr. Possible said brightly as she handed Kim a mirror. Unfortunately for her, her hair didn't act like her mother's, it poofing a bit out in the back and sides. Both Ron and Mrs. P gave each other a worried look. "Um, why don't I go get some styling gel? I'll be right back." The woman was clever, Ron thought.

"This has got to be the worst day ever. When I get Bonnie alone she is so dead."

"KP," Ron said gently, taking the mirror from her. "It's what she wants. If you beat her up, then everyone's going to feel bad for her. Could you just see it? 'Poor Bonnie, she got beat up by big mean Kim Possible.'" Kim blinked, imagining it, then shoving it away with a shutter.

"There's got to be some way to get back at her." Ron pulled up a chair in front of Kim's and sat down.

"Let her keep Josh."

"What do you mean, 'let her keep Josh?'"

"Josh is a player, Kim. In a week or two he'll be going out with someone else, and poor Bon-bon will be left in the dust. I think that's a little more harsh than anything we could do." Kim looked at him a bit annoyed.

"Josh is not a player, Ron. He's sweet and caring—"

"Like he cared about your feelings today at cheer practice? One moment he's got his eyes on you, and then he walks out with Bonnie on his arm. KP, that guy is a P to the L to the A to the Y-E-R and he's only got one thing on his mind." He held up one finger, a completely straight face on. She sighed, running her hand through her floofy hair.

"Not like it matters, no one's going to want to go out with me with hair like this…"

"I'd go out with you—" Both just kinda froze before Ron turned and cleared his throat. "I mean—hey, I wonder what's taking Mrs. P so long with that gel? I'm—I'm going to go see if she needs any help." With that he made a hasty retreat up the stairs, leaving Kim alone.

Did…did Ron say what she thought he said? Nah, she shouldn't read so far into it, after all was there even such a thing as a date between them? They went to movies, and dinner and this and that together all the time. Well, maybe not as much as they used to with like boyfriends and such to think about, but… Her mind wandered on that, a grin coming from the memory of his face after he said that. Maybe…maybe Ron was right. Maybe Josh wasn't the right guy for her. She'd need someone who wouldn't care what she looked like. Someone she could always depend on. Someone like…Ron.

Wait no! She shook her head. Ron was her friend. F-r-i-e-n-d. Friend. What if…what if things didn't go right? What if they broke up? What would happen to their friendship? Could she really risk something as great as a mostly life-long friendship for a relationship? Besides, it's not like she loved him that way, anyway…right? Right? It was all so confusing and it didn't help when he came back downstairs with her mother. He still had a little bit of a blush on his cheeks. It was so cute. No, it wasn't cute; this is Ron for crying out loud.

"The straight look looks good on ya, KP." Kim blinked, not even realizing her mother had done anything to her hair, much less that she was finished. Ron held up the mirror for Kim and she smiled. It did look good. Her eyes traveled up to his, only for Kim to feel herself blush and turn away. What was happening? Kim stood.

"I, um, need some fresh air, I'll be right back." Kim hurried outside, a breeze blowing her now straight hair. She inwardly laughed, even with it this short it'd get in her face sometimes. It wasn't long before she heard Ron sit next to her on the curb just outside the house.

"Is this about what I, um, said back there? BecauseIfItIsICanTotalyExplain—"

"Ron." Kim slowly looked his way, trying to keep the short strands from flying past her eyes. He looked so worried…she never wanted to see that look on his face again, not as long as she could help it. Her hand fell on his. "Just…how do you feel about me?" He swallowed hard, taking his hand and folding them in his lap.

"I-um-what do you mean?"

"I mean do you like me? I mean, like me, like me."

"Like you, like you?" Worried was so clearly replaced with nervousness. "I-I guess I l-like you like you, but—."

"But what?" Kim crossed her arms more from the wind than from the situation.

"But I was always worried that you didn't umm…like me, like me too. Besides, I didn't want to ruin our friendship…" Kim smiled, leaning her head on his shoulder.

"Ron, nothing can ruin our friendship, no Drakken or…or even a break up could separate us."

Kim fought back tears, sitting up when she heard Monique's horn. She had lay there and reminisced all this time of a day she'd regret. She was sooo naïve to think nothing would happen between them if things didn't work out.

Dating Ron had to have been her biggest mistake ever.

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Jao: OMG, how did that Hey Arnold reference work it's way in there? In case you didn't catch it, Engineer is post K/R meaning it happens after the relationship…but you guys know me, there's more to this fic than just their relationship. Just like Paragon, I felt I should set up the K/R conflict before throwing the gruesome stuff at you.

I wanna thank my friend Dia who has helped me be sooo much more IC with the characters through our many KP RPs via AIM. Without her, both Ron and Bonnie wouldn't be nearly as IC as they were, even tho they both had their strangely OOC moments.

Anyways, chapter 2 coming soon, you guys know me and my quick updates.