Our Place in the Food Chain: Part I

Out there, in here.

The face that said those words was always the same. The mop of unruly blonde hair the color of Nebraska corn, the wide, almost goofy grin, the smattering of dark freckles that would never fade with age…

…the chocolate brown eyes that were so full of love and so full of hope as he said those words.

Those words!

Out there, in here.

Those words were special to her. They were the both an ending and a beginning. They brought an end to her childhood, to her selfish needs. They were the beginning or true love, the key to an epiphany that few were fortunate enough to even come close to.

Her dream played on in her head, his face, always the same, always there for her. She knew that face had changed, ever so slightly, but it was still the same. It was leaner now and it would look at her from slightly above, where once it had been even with her, very slightly below her. Love, admiration and hope were joined by wisdom in those eyes. She looked into those eyes, lost in them. His face was so beautiful to her now.

She danced with him, looking at his face, watching him as they stepped ever so slowly, the music soft and distant as if it was respecting their privacy. One hand was on her waist, the other on her shoulder while hers were clasped behind his back.

Ron was wearing his father's powder blue tux and she was wearing a shimmering blue gown with a charred and ruined hem. The dance went on and on, their eyes never wavering from each other as they spun alone on a dance floor they could not see.

Slowly he changed. Now he was looking slightly down at her, though he had not moved. He was wearing a dark suit while she was wearing her cream colored dress. His face was leaner now, just as it had become over the course of their long summer together. A slight fuzz had formed on his upper lip where he refused to shave, hoping a mustache would grow there. She smiled inwardly, knowing that very soon she would talk him into shaving it off. Not now, but soon. This night all she could do was look into those brown eyes.

His clothing morphed once more, as did he. Now he was wearing a black tuxedo with a white bowtie. His face was even leaner, more adult looking. He was actually looking down at her now, more than several inches taller. As he leaned over her shoulder, wrapping his arms around her more tightly she could see a satin white yarmulke on the top of his head. That's when she realized that she was now wearing a flowing white dress. Closing her eyes she got lost in his embrace as they danced.

When she opened her eyes again they were no longer alone. Other dancers had joined them. One couple moved closer and she gasped as she realized who they were.

It was Ron, wearing his blue and yellow cheer squad uniform, looking like he did when he was fifteen, short, round faced, hair tousled. He was dancing with a girl in a Middleton High School cheerleader uniform but her back was to her. Not that it mattered, she would have known the wavy platinum blonde mane anywhere.

Another couple danced by. Once again it was Ron, only very slightly older, wearing a white and black sweatshirt. He was dancing with a slight girl with dark brown, nearly jet blackhair and dark skin. Ron had his eyes closed as he danced with her, both hands on her tiny waist.

Kim's eyes moved to the next couple, already knowing what she would see. This time Ron was dressed in black ninja garb, holding his partner close as they swayed to the phantom music playing. She was dressed the same as him, her short, dark hair caught up in a red band. As they turned Kim could see her face, her eyes closed in utter contentment. Much as she wanted to, she could not look away from the young ninjas.

They finally moved away from them, her eyes now falling on another couple. This time it was her dancing with Ron, both of them wearing their Christmas sweaters, Ron once again his taller, older self. Their bodies were crushed together so tightly it looked like they were one person. Her hair was longer, hanging all the way down to her waist. The couple was kissing passionately, moving not so much to the beat of the music as to something in their hearts.

The next couple was them again, only they looked somewhat haggard. Her hair was even longer, as was Ron's. He was sporting a thin but full beard, his hair shaggy, looking like it was almost a month past needed cutting. They were both dressed like something from a medieval fair.

A final couple danced by them. It was Ron once more, older, his hair neatly groomed, his beard trimmed into a neat Vandyke. He was once again wearing a dark suit and of all things he was wearing glasses. The woman he was dancing with looked familiar but she couldn't place her. She had long, very dark brown hair and blue eyes. She wasn't dancing close to him, but he was looking at her with obvious affection. The girl looked like she might be in her mid-twenties while Ron looked much older, though it was clearly still him. It finally dawned on Kim that she was wearing a wedding dress.

The image of the other dancers started to fade, the music becoming more distant. Just as they faded from view, another man cut in, taking the brunette beauty in his arms. He looked a lot like Ron did now, only with reddish-blonde hair. It seemed that he was wearing the same tuxedo that the version of Ron she was dancing with now was wearing.

Then they were all gone. She was once again dancing with Ron, her Ron, the one she knew now. He wasn't wearing a suit or a tux or a ninja gi, he was just Ron, wearing his shabby old jersey over a navy turtleneck. He looked back at her, once again fixing her with his brown eyes.

"Out there…in here." He said softly as he leaned in to kiss her. She closed her eyes, losing herself in his embrace, feeling the touch of his lips as she responded in kind, her hand grasping the back of his head. His body pressed close to hers and she could feel his warmth mingling with hers, their bodies becoming one in an embrace beyond mere intimacy.

Kim opened her eyes again. She was lying on her side, the warmth her own, pooling around her body under the thick comforter she slept under, even here in the waning days of summer. Her arms were wrapped tight around her Pandaroo, clutching the little plush animal like it was her boyfriend.

The dream quickly faded once more into the back of her mind, the images she had seen lost to her subconscious, leaving her only the memory of the warm, loving embrace she had shared with Ron. She smiled broadly, holding on to the memory of his face, the look in his eyes warming her soul.

That was the look she had seen in his eyes the night before. If was the last day of their summer, the last date before returning to school. Sure, they would spend as much time together as possible, but it wouldn't be like those simple, carefree days where they could meet before breakfast and not part until he went home for the evening, or for the early morning as many of her dates with him had become until last night.

The curfew was back now. This one last summer date had to end by eleven, the evening being, of course, a school night and once the homework started rolling in, that deadline would likely be rolled back to ten, or even earlier as their schoolwork required.

Ron had taken her out dancing. This time instead of a romantic restaurant he had taken her to a club, the dancing much wilder, the music louder and faster, the crowd electric. He made no idle boast when he claimed to be a bon-diggity dancer. A slow dance was one thing. All that required was to hold your partner close and sway to the music. No, while that was wonderful, Ron had put on a show that literally stopped the crowd.

Her guy sure had the funk!

She was almost loath to leave the place, but there were other concerns. They had discussed at length how things would change once school was under way. They would be seniors and while that put them at the top of the most basic social structure where other students were concerned, that also put the greatest expectations on them from their parents and teachers. They had a great burden on them this year. Not only would she have to maintain her performance which, while always at the top of her class, she had give one-hundred fifty percent to achieve, but there was Ron to consider as well. He had finally shown during the last days of his Junior year that he was capable of so much more when he applied himself. Kim was not going to let him waste that effort or his potential. Sure, he had to do it himself, but she was going to help him as much as she could every step of the way.

Their relationship was not going to change, but the way they expressed it had to. There was now work to be done, meaning far, far less time for them to be together. Far less time to hang out, far less time to date…

…far less time to physically show their affection, their love for each other.

So, at the extremely early hour of nine she pulled Ron from the dance floor. Minutes later they were in the front seat of his mother's large car. They had come to an understanding of what would wait until they were fully adults, but everything else was allowed. That meant steaming up the windows of the ancient Pontiac and much roaming hands.

Slowly her eyes focused. It was still completely dark outside and the clock read only five am. The first thought was an extra hour of sleep and the possibility of another post-date dream, maybe even the kind she didn't discuss with him. Then she heard the sound.

She sat up in her bed, looking at her windows. The blinds were up, so she could see the rain pelting the glass. That made her slump down in the bed. She was so looking forward to riding to school on Ron's motorcycle. Now it was either going to be her Mom's mini-van or Ron's Mother's car. The latter was the better option, but still less fun than the bike.

Pulling the covers over her head she scrunched down in the bed. She was wearing Ron's old jersey as a nightshirt so she pulled the collar up to her nose, breathing his faint smell in, hoping for a little more sleep.

Hoping to dream again. Hoping to have the dream she hoped would go the rest of their lives.

Kim Possible and all related characters © Disney