Dr. James Timothy Possible had a motto: "Anything is possible for a possible." His daughter, Kimberly Ann Possible, agreed with him completely. She'd just started at Middleton High School, but her grades were flawless so far. She'd made the cheer squad and the swim team, and she had a host of other activities to keep her busy.
What's more, her babysitting website had gone from a job to an adventure. A few of her customers were a bit surprised at being protected or rescued by a teenage girl, but they got over it. It was a bit harder than making sure none of the bullies of Middleton Middle gave Ron any trouble for his weirdness (none of the physical bullies, anyway. Bonnie Rockwaller was a natural force of nastiness) had been, but she could do it. She could do anything.
Anything, that was, except get out of the fetal position and get off her bed.
She'd had her first period a little over a year before, and it - and every one since - had been torture. It wasn't just the crippling, near-constant cramps. It was the headaches. The nausea. The mood swings that left her weeping at things she would normally say "No Big" about and left Ron and Rufus scrambling for ways to cheer her up. Unfortunately, their best guesses usually involved chocolate, which didn't help with the pimples or the bloating.
She didn't even have the comfort of knowing when it was coming. She'd lost some of her favorite clothes, and suffered more than a little public embarrassment, due to "ambush periods". More than one had come two weeks after the last one had ended (something that had worried her mother into giving her iron pills), while this one had been about thirty days late. Good thing she was barely even kissing boys yet, or she might've been worried. That was the only good thing, though. With an extra thirty days of buildup, this one was really tearing her up. All she could do was curl around her pandaroo and try not to die.
She was just wondering whether death would really be so bad when there was a knock at her door.
"Who is it?" She called tiredly.
"It's me," her mother answered. "Can I come in?"
Mrs. Dr. Possible entered, quietly closed the door behind her, then crossed to her daughter's bed. She sat down and began to stroke Kim's rich, but currently unkempt, auburn mane. "Aren't you feeling well, honey?" She asked.
Kim shook her head.
"Is it your period?"
Kim didn't even think to ask how she knew. She just nodded. "I try not to be one of those girls who makes a big drama over something that happens every month, but..."
"But it's a drama whether you want it to be or not."
"And it doesn't really happen every month, either."
Kim blinked and stared up at her mother. "How did you know?"
Dr. Possible grinned down at her daughter. "I pay attention," she said. "It's not hard to figure out. Besides," Her grin faded to a sympathetic sigh. "I was the same way at your age."
Kim sat up - she didn't uncurl from around her pandaroo, so she wasn't entirely looking her mother in the eye, but it was an improvement. "You were?" She asked.
Dr. Possible nodded. "If it's any comfort, it does get better with age. After a few - or more - years, your body gets used to it. It comes more regularly and it hurts less, so it's just a nuisance instead of a torture."
Kim grinned weakly. "Sorry. No comfort."
"I didn't think so," her mother said. "That's why I brought you this." She pulled a small pink packet out of her pocket and handed it to her daughter.
Curious, Kim opened the packet and pulled out what looked like a plastic dial with twenty-eight pills in it: four green, four yellow, four brown, four white. Confused and more than a little surprised, she looked back up at her mother. "Mom, are these...?"
Dr. Possible nodded. "Birth control pills," she said. "They work by controlling your hormones, so they should help. I want you to read the instructions carefully, though, especially the health warnings, and let me know right away if you notice anything strange."
Kim had gone past surprised to genuinely stunned, a state that was rather uncommon for her. "Wow, Mom, I...uh..." Searching for something to say, she blurted the first thing to pop into her head: "Does Dad know about this?"
Her mother nodded. "He knows what he needs to. He doesn't want to know more. As far as he's concerned, this is in the same category as pads and tampons - which he already knows more about than he wants to."
Kim blinked again, more confused than ever. "How?"
Dr. Possible shrugged. "I try not to do it to him often, but sometimes I need him to get them for me."
Kim's eyes went very wide. "And he does?"
Her mother grinned. "He generally buys a half dozen other things that we don't really need as 'camouflage', but he does it. And after twenty years, he doesn't even need precise instructions anymore. My Stayfree Secure Fit Supers with wings are waiting for me when I get home." The grin turned to a fond smile. "If you're ever looking for a sign that you've found a good man, honey...that's one."
"I'll remember that," Kim said, silently vowing to try as hard as she could not to. Hearing what her mother found romantic about her father was liable to make her even sicker.
Unfortunately for her, her mother seemed to know exactly what she was really thinking. "He's done it for you, too, you know," she said. "He's almost used to doing it for me, but needing directions again, getting something new and knowing who they must be for, it freaked him out all over again."
"Eww, mom, way TMI."
"That's what he was thinking, I'm sure. And why he just nodded and agreed and wandered away as quickly as he could when I mentioned this to him."
Kim couldn't help giggling at the thought. "And here I thought this would freak him because he's always talking about me and boys."
Her mother's face turned severe. "Kimberly Ann Possible, you are fourteen. These pills," she tapped the packet. "And boys should have nothing to do with each other for a few years yet."
"Of course not, Mom, I - "
"And when they do, you should read those instructions again, to see what those pills won't protect you from."
"Mom, I wasn't making a connection, I was just saying I thought Dad would."
Mrs. Dr. Possible regarded her daughter carefully. "Just so we're clear on that."
"We so are."
"Good." She paused, and her face softened. "He isn't so obsessed with keeping you away from boys that he wants you to suffer, honey."
"I hadn't thought of it like that," Kim said. She said it with the same wonder that children always use when they get momentary hints that their parents might be human...and a little bit of shame.
Sensing her daughter's discomfort, Dr. Possible changed the subject: "You just started today, right? You seemed to be feeling fine yesterday."
Kim blushed. "Right."
"Why don't you take one of the brown pills, then? They're the first week."
Kim obeyed, shaking the pill out of the dial, popping it, and washing it down with a swig from a nearby water bottle.
"I don't think it'll help much this time," Dr. Possible said. "But it should get better from now on. And at least your cycle will be regular." She pointed at the green pills. "Those are just sugar pills. They're just there to help you keep count, so you don't skip too many days. From here on out, you'll have your period during 'green week'."
" 'At least'?" Kim said. " 'At least'? Mom, a regular cycle is a wonder undreamed of." Impulsively, she came out of her tuck and hugged her mother. "Thanks, mom."
Mrs. Dr. Possible patted her daughter's back. "Glad to help, honey." Then she gently disengaged and stood up. "I should go, though - and you should hide that pack and run a brush through your hair."
"Why?" Kim asked worriedly.
"Ron is waiting," Her mother answered.
The worry turned to alarm. "Ron?"
"He's downstairs with Rufus, a bag of Hershey's kisses, a heating pad, and the biggest jar of Midol I've ever seen."
Kim squawked and leaped out of bed, limping and running about the room as she dealt with the most immediate and serious risks for embarrassment as quickly as she could.
With a knowing smile, Dr. Possible left her daughter's room, closing the door behind her.