Global Justice agents swept through the entire facility. Drakken's mechanical hulk, remnants of Slade's equipment, every last little thing was being carefully logged and confiscated.
Even as the small army of government agents continued their work, a single figure in full GJ gear spoke into a radio whose frequency was not on any government channel.
"Tower, come in."
The voice on the other end was that of a middle aged man, carrying a frustration in its tone. "Hey Rob. What's going on, you're a half hour behind schedule. BB and Star already checked in…"
"Cy, listen. I found him."
"Slade! He's there?" The voice on the other end of the radio could be heard leaping out of its seat.
"He was. Near as I can tell, he's had at least four days to clear out since." The faux GJ agent could not hide the disappointment in his voice. "I'm going to try and pick up the trail, but I doubt he'll stick around the Middleton area for much longer, if he isn't long gone already. Even he can't be crazy enough to risk sticking around with all the attention he's earned for himself."
"I'll see if I can pick up anything on this end. Tower out." The voice faded in a quick burst of static, leaving the figure to make a discrete entrance.
One curious fact about the Middleton train station, their schedule was always off by at least twenty minutes, reliably so, ironically. Kim was starting to wish that she had learned this fact before wasting a solid thirty minutes sitting on a hard, cold metal bench near the platform so early in the morning. The station was largely empty, and surprisingly quiet. No loud announcements over the speakers because there were no trains coming, and no one else waiting on this particular platform apparently. The eerie silence tied even tighter knots in Kim's stomach than the ones already there.
Kim tried to pass the time by going over her inventory again. Ticket, check. Single duffle bag with just as many clothes as she could fit, check. Lack of any Kimmunicator, check. As much cash as she had been able to scrounge up on short notice, check.
Oh who was she kidding? Short notice! This had been on her mind for far too long. A thought that had eaten away at her for the last several days as she and Ron had both been restricted to the hospital bed. Kim's mother had personally taken over their care, but her professional experience came before her motherly instincts, and so she had arranged for Kim and Ron to have separate rooms during their recovery, at least at first, so as to facilitate rest.
It had made things a lot easier on Kim actually, as she thought back on it. She knew looking at Ron would only make this harder than it already was. As it was, all she could do to take her mind off his smile was to rub the bandages over her rib cage. They still itched from time to time, and Kim could think of no other way of passing the time than to simply scratch at them. She eventually became so absorbed in this that she paid no notice to the gentleman who had taken up the other half of her bench.
"There's a good reason why the five thirty train is never on time. It's because conductors actually have to sleep too!"
The voice brought shock to Kim's face as she looked over, scarcely believing that she hadn't noticed him.
"Ron! What… how on… when did you… how?" Kim tried to ask approximately seven different questions at once. The results were less than eloquent.
"Christmas, Kim." Ron answered simply.
"Christmas?" This only raised more questions, though Kim had given up trying to voice any of them.
"Christmas, a couple of years ago, when a resourceful and rather brash Kimmie Possible wired her parents living room so that she could see Santa come down the chimney and leave her presents." Ron recalled nostalgically. "You were so upset when you saw that it was your dad in a Santa suit that you rain straight to the Middleton train station to buy a train ticket to the North Pole, leaving on the earliest train out."
"I called you to tell you I was leaving. You came down in the freezing cold and brought me home before my parents ever even knew I was gone." A fond smile crept across the front of Kim's face as she finished the story.
"You're always running off somewhere Kim, but you always come back home in the end. It's what makes you Kim Possible." Ron paused for a moment before continuing. "So, where are we off to? We can't be gone long, I didn't have a chance to pack any clothes, and your stuff doesn't fit me, especially not anymore." Ron flexed his arm as if to illustrate his point. As he did, Kim couldn't help but notice him taking in the sight of his own new build as if it were a hideous scar.
A damn of tears threatened to burst behind Kim's eyes. She knew this was what she had to do, but to have to do it to his face was something she had hoped to avoid.
"Ron… I have to go."
"Yeah, I got that part KP. So, where are we going?"
Kim took in three extra breaths in less than second, cursing Ron silently for making her explain it to him when he already knew perfectly well what she was trying to do.
"I have to go, Ron. Not you, not us. Just me. I have to go away. And I can't come back, because it'll start all over again. You'll get hurt, my parents, my brothers… and I can't protect you." A spare tear moved down the side of Kim's cheek, leaving a trail of moisture across Kim's smooth skin, as if to herald the coming of its fellow kinsmen in force.
Ron stared at her blankly, his expression totally unreadable at first. "Ok, I'm going to assume that that's the bumps talking." Ron taped at a swelling on the side of Kim's head.
"Ron, this is serious." Tears began to burn down the side of Kim's face, and she simply gave up trying to hold them back. She already knew she didn't have the strength. "Slade was right. How many times are you going to get hurt because of me? I, I can't take that chance anymore." Kim struggled to divide her breath between speaking and crying, all the while totally unable to look Ron in the eye. "I can't just keep dragging you into god knows what kind of weirdness or trouble. It's selfish of me, and it's not fair to you."
A veritable river ran down Kim's face, yet she struggled to at least maintain her composure, if nothing else. Cruel silence reigned, yet she couldn't bring herself to take in Ron's reaction before continuing. "I'll… I guess I'll keep doing what I do… helping people. But I can't take you with me anymore. I have to do this alone, because I can't loose you Ron. I could never live with that. I'd never forgive myself if anything happened to you."
For a moment, Kim expected Ron's protest, pleas not to leave, arguments that she would need backup to save the world, something. Yet when he said nothing, when his voice refused to fill in the terrifying silence, she finally forced herself up to see the look on his face. At first, his expression was completely devoid of any expression, as if every word she had said had flown through one ear and back out the opposite and into the wind, into nothingness. Then, in what seemed like a stretched out eternity, as he gathered his breath, he spoke.
"You know something KP; you have got to be the dumbest girl I have ever met. You're even worse than Bonnie; at least she's consistently obnoxious!"
Of all the times that Kim had rehearsed this conversation in her head, all the different scenarios and exchanges she had imagined in her mind, never once had she conceived of anything like this. Ron's words tore through Kim like a serrated blade, yet he went on.
"Since when did you drag me anywhere? I mean, do you honestly think I have no spine at all? That I wouldn't have said something after all this time if I wanted to?"
Kim finally understood what Shego must have felt as Slade's nanomachines tore apart her insides. Every barrier within her had long since collapsed, her insides ripping themselves to pieces in the most grueling agony imaginable. Yet Ron showed no mercy.
"I mean what, some weirdo in a mask shows up, we have a close call or two, do a spot from an old Star Trek episode with the whole 'best friends forced to do battle' thing and then all of a sudden it's 'So long Ron. Nice knowing you. I'll write you from whatever third world country I'm off saving with no one to watch my back. So long to thirteen years of friendship and two months of dating; it was fun while it lasted, but all good things, etc, etc.'"
"B-but Ron, I… I almost killed you." Kim could barely choke out the words.
"And that's something new for me? Maybe it's escaped your notice, but I'm just old enough to shave, and I've already been in more life-and-death situations than most Navy Seals! My life is not normal KP, I've actually been haunted by a mutant fish boy from my old summer camp! I've switched bodies with my girlfriend, got turned into a super villain, and fought mutant snowmen. I even have my own arch enemy who's a ninja master with a thing for monkeys…. I hate monkeys!" Ron's voice spiked for a minute at this last bit, and then almost immediately softened, his tone shifting from its harsh sting to a gentle caress. "And I never would have been through any of that if it weren't for you. You have no idea how much that means to me." Ron reached out softly, taking Kim's quivering hands in his own.
"Ron…" Kim couldn't finish. Thankfully, Ron spared her from having too.
"You may be the leader of this team KP, but I always made my own decision every time I followed you. I knew what I was getting myself into each time Wade called up with a mission and I never once doubted that if you were going, I was going too."
The storm of tears pouring down Kim's face slowly subsided as she allowed herself to just be carried away in Ron's gentle words.
"And it's not like it was all bad, you know. I mean ok, the death traps, the super villains, the monkeys, those weren't fun." Ron admitted. "But I've seen and done things most grown men never even dream of. Guys my dad's age dream of saving up enough over their entire life and visiting places that I go to over the weekend. I've met celebrities, super heroes, countless scientists whose work I'm sure I'd be very impressed with if I didn't have to help get it back from the mad scientist of the week, heck; I'm a warrior hero in Japan." Ron beamed proudly. "But most of all, I have someone so special, someone who has been there for me no matter what. Whether it's homework or saving me from some freakish mutant killer dolphin, I know she will never let me down."
At this, Ron reached over, pulling Kim closer to him. Kim's insides melted at the very touch, her tear soaked face falling into Ron's chest, sparing his cast shoulder.
"And the last thing I'm going to do is let her walk into her own hell all alone. Wherever you go, I go." Ron spoke tenderly, even as he began gently stroking her hair.
"It's what makes you Ron Stoppable." Kim added from within Ron's shirt, her face resting comfortably against his new taught chest.
Ron smiled, then hoping that Kim didn't notice, took in a quick whiff of her hair, allowing the scent-induced memory to lift him into the sky for but a moment before returning to earth, speaking again. "We had a close call there, KP, and we will probably have a few more in our lives, but we'll handle them like we always do; together."
For a moment longer, there was silence. Perfect, blissful silence. A calm tranquility that either of the pair would have given anything to prolong; to remain inside their shared bubble, cut off from the outside world, contained eternally in each other's heavenly embrace.
The locomotive's cold howl tore their bubble mercilessly apart. Kim looked up to see her train had arrived for boarding.
Kim looked up into Ron's gentle gaze, then over to her bag. Letting out a gasp for air that she hadn't even realized she needed, Kim got up and lifted her bag from the side of their bench. Taking Ron in hand, she led the both of them away from the platform, leaving the conductor to call out for boarding passengers that didn't exist.
"So how did you get to be such a perfect boyfriend anyway?" Kim asked as if in a trance.
"Well you know how it is KP. When you got the perfect girlfriend…"
Author's Note: Well, this concludes my first fanfic ever. I had a blast writting it. I want to sincerely, from the bottom of my heart, thank all those who offered critical reviews as well as those who offered praise. You gave me the encouragment I needed to see this through. I hope you had at least half as much fun reading this as I did writting it.
I may yet update to edit a few things here and there but this is the end of the story. Thank you again for your time.