A big hearty 'Thank you!' to all who read & review my Reflections Universe stories, "Another Stoppable Day", "The Finals Straw", and "Missing You". Thanks also go to those who read them. You all rock in stereo! Thank you! (Big Grin)
Also thank you to those who archived "Another Stoppable Day" in your C2 archives. I'm honored you think the story is good to be archived. Thanks!
My thanks go to RedWingnut for beta reading this story. Thanks, man, for helping out. :)
Disclaimer: All Kim Possible characters are the copyright of Walt Disney Corporation. I'm just
borrowing them to write up a story with no intention of making any money. This is for fun. All other characters in my stories, that Disney doesn't own, are mine. :)
A/N: Well, as anyone would know after reading "The Finals Straw", Debra is hurting. How much? Well, read this story and find out.
I also like to say that I'm glad that I've posted "'Tis the Season" as my holiday story for December and gotten to write this story after the holidays. This story isn't all good feelings and cheerful to consider to be read during the December holiday season.
Story rating: Rated K+ (aka PG)
Written: February 2006
Summery: Christmas Day arrives; yet as the TUY gang celebrates with their perspective families, they all think how Debra is fairing after the painful events at the university ("The Finals Straw").
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Kim Possible: The University Years
Thinking About You
By JuPMod (aka JPMod)
From the air, it was a metropolis like any other. Cars, trucks, and other vehicles drove along the streets. People walked on the sidewalks to wherever they were going. The smell of exhaust fumes could be detected almost everywhere. Stores and other services were opened to serve the public. It was a busy city as most were in the world.
Yet this city has its own unique style and personality almost like no other. No other city in the world could match it for its size and majesty.
For this was New York City, the 'unofficial' capital of the world. Its title well deserved for it was home for various business headquarters, the UN Security Council and assembly, center of the world's financial institution at Wall Street, and many other reasons. Not only for it was the center of many establishments, but its residents came from all walks of life on the planet. It was almost quite literally a melting pot of the Earth's people.
Even on this day, The Big Apple was constantly on the move. For 'the city that never sleeps', very few things ever slowed it down, even holidays like Christmas Day.
Across the East and Harlem Rivers from Manhattan was the Bronx borough. Much like Manhattan, it too was busy somewhat today. Yet unlike the skyscraper-covered island, this northeastern borough wasn't in a rush, especially its people.
In one two-story, apartment-like house, settled in a nice neighborhood, a family was celebrating the holiday. Despite a cold, sunny day outside, it was warm and inviting inside. The kitchen was filled with delicious aromas of prepared foods, ready for the Christmas feast two hours from now at 6 PM. Sounds of holiday music was being played in the family room from the entertainment system, and the constant chatter of an extended family was heard in almost every corner of the house.
For the Brown Family, this was one of several days in the year when various members of the family gathered, from grandparents, uncles, aunts, nieces, nephews, etc. They wouldn't want any other way to celebrate today.
"I'm telling you, Loretta," an slightly chubby, African-American woman in a dress said at the kitchen counter as she chopped vegetables to make salad, "you should least consider coming back to New York to finish your education during your junior and senior years. What's good being nearly on the other side of the country away from your family? Least here you can intern at some accounting firm while in school."
Sitting at the kitchen table where various prepared food were waiting to be delivered into the dining room, Loretta Brown, wearing a nice black slacks and white blouse, rolled her eyes and grinned. "And you think they don't have accounting firms over there?" She picked up a small stick of celery from a platter and waved it in the air. "I will not change my mind, Mom. I'm staying at Upperton U until I graduate." She took a bite of celery.
Marcy Brown gave a small huff, but her lips quirked up. "I still can't see why you want to even be away from your family." She finished chopping and raised the tray to slide the chopped veggies into a large bowl.
"Give a rest, sister," another female voice sounded from the stove, where four pots were being cooked on top while a large turkey was being broiled underneath inside the oven. "I told you many times Lory wanted to get away and forged her own path." She turned to face Loretta and grinned. "Not to mention getting some breathing space from this family at times."
Loretta chuckled. "Thanks, Aunt Brenda." She took another bite of celery and spoke around her chewing. "Least there are some members of this family who understand."
52-year-old Marcy turned around and smiled at her daughter and little sister, who was 7 years younger than her. "Oh, you two. Sometimes I hate it when I get outnumbered in this family."
Her well-shaped body in a simple dress, Brenda waved a dismissing hand and laughed. "In this family, we're always getting outnumbered!" All three women laughed together, for it was the truth. It was hard sometimes to win an argument, knowing one could find support from some of the other family members.
From the family room, where most members of the large family were currently clustered, a tall, lean, brown-skinned man, in his mid-forties, walked into the small kitchen and grinned at the three women. With a mustache, goatee, and his black hair cut short, he casually strolled over to the table and picked up a small carrot stick.
"Hey!" Brenda mock-scolded. "Don't spoil your dinner, Charley!"
Charles Brown playfully pointed to himself. "Me? Spoil my dinner? With this?" He held up the carrot stick. "I don't think this will fill my stomach, Brendy." He smugly took a bite as Brenda came over and teasingly swatted his arm.
Keeping an eye on his niece across the table, Charles nodded toward his older sister. "I overheard your conversation. I wouldn't have mind interning you at my company if you stayed in New York for your higher education." Before Loretta could protest, he immediately raised a hand with a kindly grin to forestall her. "However, I do agree with your aunt. You're entitled to go where you want to go for your education."
Marcy placed a hand on her hip and waved the other hand in the air. "Oh, I give up!" she said in mock-irritation. "I know when I'm being tied-up tighter than a can of sardines!" The other three just smiled at her, which made her grin.
Turning to face her daughter, she sighed. "Yet can you blame me for wanting you here, Lory?" She walked over to the stove and inspected a pot of sauce. "I was worried sick last month when I heard the news that Lowerton, Middleton, and Upperton were being attacked by that raving, blue-skinned mad man." Seeing the sauce was nearly ready, she turned to eye Loretta again. "We were nearly shock out of our skin to see images of you on top of that firehouse nearly in the thick of things there!"
Not giving into the urge to roll her eyes, Loretta frowned. "Mom, we discussed this before. I want to help Debbie. As you saw, her plan worked."
"Yes, it did," Marcy admitted. "Yet if it didn't, that mad man could have blown you to kingdom come!" She let out a large breath of air before she grinned a bit warily. "Least you came out of that war okay."
"Yeah, I did," Loretta returned the grin before sighing and taking another bite of celery.
Seeing her thoughtful expression, Uncle Charles took a bite of carrot, chewed, and swallowed before asking his niece a question. "So, how's your roommate fairing?"
Blinking from being caught off guard from such a question, Loretta shrugged. "To tell the truth, I haven't heard from Debbie since that awful day." The three elder Browns didn't need to be told what she meant by 'awful day' for they were told by Loretta what had happened to Debra Oxford Tsuda on the last day of the finals.
Being comforted by Monique, Loretta had been there when Debra, in the company of Mrs. Tsuda, returned to the dorm room after being found by her parents in the university's clock tower. It was clear to the sophomore student that her roomie had suffered a large breakdown, and she had very much wanted to take the younger woman into her arms and hug her. Yet Mrs. Tsuda kindly prevented the comfort until the right time.
It had taken several hours to finish everything need to be done. With Mr. Tsuda, Kim, Ron, George, and Felix joining a few minutes after Debra had arrived, Debra told university security what she knew was the likely suspects. Only after the report was filed and the police have all what they had needed to launch an investigation, did they finally sort through the smashed items to find anything useful to pack.
With everything done, it was close to 1:30 AM when the Tsudas had their car packed with Debra's belongings, the ones that haven't been ripped or smashed to pieces. It had been quite a heart-wrenching good-bye for Loretta, when she finally was allowed to hug her roommate and felt her friend returned the crushing hug with flowing tears. The petite gymnast had given a hug to every one of her friends, yet she particularly crushed Kim and Felix. By the time the Tsudas left to return to Middleton, there wasn't a dry set of eyes among the small group of friends.
Loretta was broken out of her reminiscences when she felt a hand on her left shoulder. She looked up into the kind, sympathy eyes of Aunt Brenda, and turning her head she saw the same expressions on her mother and uncle. It was only then she realized the tears flowing down her cheeks.
Wiping the tears away with a hand, Loretta gave a thankful grin to her family. "It's still hard to remember that day without still seeing the pain on Deb's face."
Giving an understanding grin, Aunt Brenda squeezed her niece's shoulder. "It's okay, Lory, to feel this way. It's good that Debra has you for a friend."
Marcy nodded with a grin. "When the going gets tough," she waved a hand in the air before pointing to her daughter, "you can rely on your friends and family to be there to lend a hand."
"Yes, that's always true," Charles agreed. Giving small grin, he gestured with a hand to his niece. "How about you do this?" he suggested. "Later tonight, give Debra a call. I'm sure she'll be happy to hear from you, especially today."
Nodding, Loretta gave a heartfelt grin. "Yeah, I'll do that."
Seeing her daughter was going to be okay, Marcy approached the table. "Good, then it's settled," she grinned. "Now then… You," she pointed to her brother, "and you," she pointed next to her daughter, "take this," she pointed to the prepared food on the table, "out into the dining room."
The eldest of the three Brown women poked her brother in the chest and gave a mock-scowl. "And no more snacking for you!" She pointed to the carrot in his hand. "Eat that, and that's that!" She gave a huff as she returned to the stove, waving a hand in the air. "God help you burn through food fast like a subway train burn electricity!"
Finishing his carrot, Charles picked up the platter of sliced vegetables. "Well, least I don't get fat like my big sister does," he quipped with a smirk before leaving the kitchen into the dining room as Brenda and Loretta laughed.
"Oh!" Marcy gave a mock-annoyed look after her brother before turning to the other two women, who were still chuckling. "One of these days, that man will get his dues!" She smirked and raised a finger. "He'll be sorry then." With that said she returned to the stove and cooking food.
With a grin still on her face, Loretta finished off her celery, rose from her seat, picked up a basket of bread, and left the kitchen after her uncle, leaving the two women to continue preparing the Brown Christmas feast.
Many miles south of New York City laid the State of Delaware. One of the smallest states in the USA, it has a proud reputation of being the first state to ratified the United States Constitution way back in 1787. Yet despite it being a shore state, not much of its shore was good beach for tourists compared to New Jersey to the north and states to the south. Regardless it being somewhat being invisible to most people, its residents were proud to live here.
A few miles west from the shore sat a ranch-style house in a quiet town compared to the areas near the busy Interstate 95 highway more inland. It wasn't big or looked fanciful, but the house has the basics requirements for its residents to feel comfortable.
The day was overcast with clouds, given the boarder of a cold front coming in from the north was on top of the state. Yet the front hasn't yet passed south, so temperatures were on the mild side compared to areas north, which the front has passed over. It was this reason why a pony tailed; brown-haired man sat on the front porch's swing bench wearing only a light coat instead of a heavy one. The house's extended overhang over the porch protected him from the drizzling rain, which forecasted to turn to snow flurries later in the night when the cold front finally passed through.
The front door of the house opened, and a slender 23-year-old woman came out. With shoulder-length hair the same color as the man on the swing bench, she closed the door and approached the young man. "George, dinner will be ready soon," she said as she placed her hands in her coat's pockets.
George Castle gave a grin as he nodded. "Thanks, Shar." He returned to looking out at the neighboring houses and the drizzling rain. It was already dark given the sun had set nearly an hour and half ago, but the street lamps on top of the electrical posts provided light to see some things. Even the porch's illumination pierced the darkness somewhat.
Sharon Castle sat next to her brother and gazed into the darkness as well. "Escaping from Dad for a while?"
The youngest Castle heard the amused tone of his sister's voice, and in response, he chuckled and grinned. "For a while, yes. You know he can be a pain at times with his constant jokes."
Grinning, Sharon chuckled. "Yeah. Makes me glad we don't have any of the other relatives here for Christmas."
Chuckling again, George couldn't agree more. He was glad to have grown up with a small family, just his folks and sister. The rest of the extended family was pretty much scattered across the country, thus it was rare to have them visiting, particularly around Christmas. Christmas celebrated today was like most years for the Castle's, just the four of them. Sharon's boyfriend was celebrating the day with his own family.
Looking at her brother, the eldest Castle child knew him well enough to know he has something on his mind. "George, what are you thinking? It's obviously not Dad."
Giving a small shrug, George replied. "I was just thinking about how a friend is doing. Whether she will recover or might not be the same. Makes me wonder whether she will be coming back next semester."
"Who?" Sharon inquired in confusion.
"Debra," George clarified with a small grin.
"Ah," she said, finally recognizing what he was talking about. She and the folks had been told about Debra's ordeal when George had returned home days ago. "I'm sure she'll be okay."
Giving another shrug, the pony tailed man frowned a bit. "Maybe. It's amazing how some people in this world could be so cruel to others." Shaking his head, he gave a slight scowl. "I still can't see why those two sorority girls couldn't take 'No' for an answer."
Moving her hazel eyes from her sibling to look at the house across the street, Sharon shrugged her shoulders. "I don't have the answer to that question. Least those two girls are receiving their dues."
George only nodded in response, for what his sister said was true.
A couple days ago, his roommate, Ron Stoppable, had emailed him a link to an online article of the Upperton Gazette. According to the article, the two sorority girls would be charged for the crimes committed against Debra. Police had found Debra's stolen jewelry in the Tai Gamma Delta sorority house, and with evidence found at the crime scene as well as what Wade Load had provided, the police could file charges against the girls. Upon hearing about the charges and knowing the evidence showed the girls really had done the deed, Upperton University announced the two girls would be expelled permanently. Both the police and the university would continue the investigation on whether the sorority house itself sanctioned their two members' actions, and if so, more charges might likely be filed.
After a few minutes of silence, George broke it. "We certainly don't live in a perfect world. It was shocking to have seen Deb's side of her dorm room looked like a hurricane went through it."
"No, we don't live in a perfect world, Little Bro," Sharon granted. "Yet despite the bad stuff happening every day, we continue on with our lives." She turned her head to eye her brother and then gave a small, kind grin before reaching out to pat his hand. The action caused him to turn his head to look at her. "As I said, I have a good guess that Debra will be okay. She's with her own family and eventually this will pass."
Returning her grin with his own, George cocked his head a bit. "Maybe." His lips went from a grin to a frown. "Yet you weren't there to see how devastating Debra appeared. It might take a lot more than her family to pull her through."
Patting his hand again, Sharon rose from the swing bench. "Only time will tell, George." With a grin, she gestured to the front door with her head. "Come on, dinner should be ready by now, and we shouldn't deprive Dad of an audience for his jokes. You two were made for each other."
George sputtered out a laugh, which made his sister smiled. "Mom was the one made for him, Shar. Not me." He smirked. "I'm just one of his victims."
"You know what I'm talking about, smart-ass," she responded with narrow eyes and a tight-lipped grin. With that said, she turned and headed toward the front door.
Immediately following his big sister, George smirked as he pointed to her as she reached for the doorknob. "I might be a smart-ass, Shar, but Dad is the one who earns the title 'Extreme Smart-ass."
Laughing, she turned to face her brother with her hand still on the doorknob. "Don't say that to Dad. We'll never hear the end of it."
With that said, Sharon turned the knob and opened the door, and both Castle siblings entered the house to join their 'rents for the warm Christmas dinner with good cheer.
"Pass me the stuffing, Sis?" a boy's voice asked.
Monique Williams gave a small grin as she picked up a bowl of stuffing and handed it across the table to her 16-year-old baby brother. "Watch it, Jace," she teased, "or else you'll become a stuff turkey yourself."
Taking the bowl and scooping some stuffing onto his plate, Jason Williams shook his head with a grin. "Not me, Mon." He placed the bowl down and picked up his fork to pick up some of the stuffing. "Given how much I exercise at school, I pretty much burn off more turkeys and stuffing than you do." His hand placed the loaded fork into his mouth.
Snorting with a grin, Monique pointed to him. "Well, if you ever stop, you'll soon be a stuff bird alright."
"Well, I'm surprised you managed to maintain your figure, Mon," a male voice entered the conversation. "Do you find the time to exercise at Upperton U?"
The William Family's only daughter turned to look at her 23-year-old brother Mark, who sat besides her as he ate. "Well, duh, with a capitol 'D'. You know I've exercise a couple times of week along with watching what I eat. I don't exercise so often like my GBF." She chuckled. "She really sometimes seemed obsessed in keeping her kung-fu moves sharp as a razor blade."
As she forked some cut turkey in her mouth, another voice spoke up, making all three siblings turn to the head of the table. "From what I understand, Monique," Mr. Alexander Williams said, "Kim have good reasons to keep her skills sharp. Despite being retired for now, do you have any idea whether she will continue her work after university?" The middle-aged man forked some corn into his mouth.
Monique thought it for a moment and realized her father was right. Her best friend hasn't yet mentioned what she would be doing after graduating from Upperton U. She had hinted of maybe attending graduate school but nothing to say what kind of job she would likely seek. "You're right. Kim mentioned nothing on what she'll likely do after university."
"So it's possible she might continue fighting for good after graduating," Mr. Williams added with a grin.
Shrugging, Monique grinned. "Well, as Kim's family motto says, 'Anything is possible for a Possible.'" She took a bite of some corn before picking up her glass of wine.
"True, true," Jean Williams said, matching her daughter's grin as she sat opposite of her eldest son. "That young lady certainly can go with the best there is in the world. I would not be surprise if she rises to the top on whatever career she chooses."
Giving a nod and a grin, Monique simply continued to eat. She certainly agreed that her best friend and dorm roommate could do almost anything she wants.
For the 20-year-old Upperton U junior student, she was glad her family opted to just stay in Middleton and have a nice Christmas with just the five of them – her, her parents, older brother, and younger brother. It was sometimes too much for her to attend Christmases with the extended family in the Southeast, and there had been times over the years she came close to wanting to just run-away and hide until the holidays were over. Some of her uncles, aunts, and cousins were the kind that could drive a sane person to the funny farm.
"Speaking of kung-fu skills," Jason spoke while holding his glass of soda, "what about Upperton U's star gymnast? You've mentioned in your emails, Mon, that she works out with Kim in the university's dojo." He took a sip of his soda.
"You mean Debra?" Monique asked before giving a sly grin. "Debbie gives Kim a run for her money. Anyone who can hold out against Kim and impresses her definitely has to be good. All I know that Deb was taught by her adopted Japanese 'rents." Her grin became a bit devilish. "Deb exercises far more than Kim, given she also has gymnastic practice as well. Makes me wonder whether she is getting too much exercise." She scooped some corn with her fork before placing it on her mouth.
Mark forked some stuffing in his mouth and talked around his chewing. "You think your friend will be okay after her dorm room was ransacked? The way I see it, if she knows martial arts and is a strong athletic person, why does the sight of her room torn apart break her down?"
Monique frowned on that. "I don't know, Mark." She tore her dark eyes away from her brother to look ahead, not focusing on anything. "When I saw her, she looked more like a frighten child than the strong girl who smushed an annoying university jock's face into a bowl of potato salad. It didn't take much to figure something bad like that must have happened before to Deb." Her words brought a somber feeling to all.
Mrs. Williams gave a small reassuring grin. "Well, she's with her family now, and if her parents can teach her martial arts, I'm sure they'll able to help their daughter through this crisis. She also has friends, like Kim and you."
"Yeah," Monique grinned. "She also has Felix who is her BF now. Kim told me that Ron mentioned that Felix has been with Deb a couple of times since leaving the university." Her expression became thoughtful. "That wheel chaired boy certainly is there for Debbie. Maybe she'll pull through."
Mr. Williams grinned. "If she's a friend of Kim Possible, she'll pull through, Mon."
Monique couldn't agree more as she forked some food in her mouth, making everyone presumed eating as well. "Speaking of Kimmie," she gave a lopsided grin, "I know she and Ron are together now with their families. It still amazes me it had taken those two until the prom to figure out they were meant for each other." She chuckled. "I wondered how much more ribbing they have to take from her brothers before they are let off the hook?"
Mark chuckled. "Mon… From what you described Kim's twin brothers, I don't think they will ever stop teasing their big sister and her boyfriend even after they are married."
"True, true," Monique giggled, seeing in her mind's eye the jokes the Tweebs would still pull on their big sister at times.
So the William Family continued to talk as they eat their Christmas dinner. All of them consuming food until their bellies were full.
Continue in Chapter 2