Thanks to conan98002, whitem, calamite, JeanieBeanie33, GargoyleSama, Darkcloud1, Classic Cowboy, daywalkr82, US.Steele, mattk, kemiztri, Molloy, Paulo-1983, surforst, Yuri Sisteble, Aero Tendo, Ace Ian Combat, Ezbok58a, momike, jasminevr, TAZER ZERO, campy, Zaratan, JMAN2.0, TexasDad, IncrediRaider8, and Brother to Vorlons for reviewing and to everyone for reading.
Write a review, get a response.
Thanks to campy, my ever-reliable beta and proofreader.
If you saw it on KP, it belongs to Disney.
Pim and Lon first appeared in chapter 14 of Epic Sitch. KP:1776 is part of the Epic Sitch universe.
He was in his early twenties, with straw-colored hair, blue eyes, and freckles that stubbornly refused to fade. He had always been conscious of those freckles, feeling that they made him seem more of a boy, but the thought of how the woman to his side found them to be alluring always brought a lop-sided grin to his face.
Aaron Stoppabilski and his bride Rachel, along with their young daughter and son, walked down the street of the sleepy college town. The stagecoach had let them off at the inn, where they had deposited their bags and been given directions to their destination.
The house was at the edge of the village. It was a large, well-manicured place. Yet it seemed forlorn. With a bit of apprehension, they proceeded up the walk to the front door. Aaron looked at the knocker, then at his wife, who squeezed his arm in support. Then he rapped.
The door opened to reveal a manservant.
"Yes?" he asked, apparently surprised by the appearance of a family of four at the doorstep.
"Good day, we are here to call on Madame Mankey. Might she be home?"
"Who may I say is calling?"
Aaron told the man his name.
It was not long before a petite, still attractive woman of about fifty with large, sorrow-filled green eyes and gray-streaked auburn hair dressed in black appeared.
"Lon? It cannot be …" she stammered as she stared at the young man. She knew it wasn't him; he was far too young and his eyes were the wrong color. But still she was struck by the overwhelmingly powerful resemblance to the boy with whom she'd fallen in love so long ago.
He knew that had been her special name for Zebulon. He dipped his head, then responded. "I am sorry it is not so; I am his son," he said in an English accent.
Pim continued to stare at her guests. Lon had a son.
"And this is my family …"
Lon had … grandchildren.
Pim regained her wits, then stepped aside from the door. "You must forgive me for my rudeness; do, please come in," she said as she led them into the parlor. "May I offer you some refreshment?" she asked.
"You are most gracious, ma'am. We should be most grateful," Aaron replied.
Pim rang a bell and a different servant appeared. She asked for tea to be brought out. "And some sweets for the little ones, please and thank you," she said, as she looked at the two fidgeting children, especially the boy, who had blond hair and brown eyes and was the spitting image of his grandfather at that age. Their host smiled in a way that made Aaron and Rachel think it had been a long time since she had last done that.
"And what would your name be, young master?" she asked.
He looked at her with confidence and replied, "'Tis Zebulon, ma'am."
Then she looked at the little girl. "And yours?" Pim inquired.
The child stood tall and, with a smile she had inherited from her father and grandfather, replied, "'Tis Priscilla. But my friends call me Pim."
Pim found herself struggling to maintain control of her emotions. Lon's granddaughter had clearly been named after her. She bit her lip, then said softly to the girl, "That, too, is what my friends call me. Perhaps since we share this in common we might be friends?"
"I think we should be bestest friends," the girl replied forcefully.
Pim smiled. "I should like that. Would you like to sit in my lap?" The little girl happily complied, scrambling up onto the older woman. Pim then looked at the adults. "It is a most pleasant surprise to be visited by you. What, may I ask, brings you to Princeton?"
"I do not know if you are familiar with London," Aaron answered. "'Tis a city of wonders, to be sure, but 'tis also not a city for those without wealth. Alas, I am not wealthy …" he said, sounding deflated.
Rachel reached over and placed her hand on her husband's arm. "It matters not, Aaron."
He smiled at his wife in a way that made Pim's heart race; that was how Lon used to smile at her all those years ago.
Rachel turned to Pim. "He frets so about whether he is a good enough husband or father because he cannot provide us with silver or fine lace. That he loves us, makes us laugh, even arranges a new beginning for us in America counts little in his estimation." Then, with a wicked yet clearly affectionate grin, she added, "He truly is quite the fool."
"You are most fortunate to have found such a fool," Pim responded, thinking wistfully of the fool she had lost so many years earlier. "May I ask where will you settle?"
"We plan to settle in the Ohio country," Aaron said.
Pim sighed as she was visited by the memory of her long-ago aborted plan. She had spent countless nights over the last three decades dreaming of what life with Lon on the frontier would have been like.
Aaron looked at the woman, suspecting what was passing through her mind. "It was a dream of my father's; one he deeply regretted never being able to pursue."
"Yes," Pim said softly. "I know of such dreams myself." She looked out the window, as if beyond its panes lay Ohio and Lon and a life that should have been. "And how, pray tell, is your father?" she inquired with trepidation, fearing she already knew the answer to the question.
Aaron grimaced. "I am sorry to report that Father has been dead these last fifteen years."
Pim nodded gravely. It was as she suspected. In fact, she was sure she knew the moment when he had died.
"Ma'am, perhaps you and I might talk … in private," he suggested.
Looking at Rachel, Pim said, "The orchards are lovely; perhaps you should like to stroll in them? I will have your tea and the children's sweets brought out to the arbor."
Rachel, clearly expecting this moment, rose; the promise of sweets and play were inducement enough for her boisterous children to follow their mother without making a fuss. The trio walked to the door; then the little girl turned and rushed back to Pim and wrapped her arms around her. Looking up she said, "Remember, bestest friends, forever!"
Pim smiled down at her namesake; the little girl had inherited her grandfather's ability to know when Pim needed comforting. "Yes, little one. Bestest friends, forever. Now go to the orchards, and play."
"You were always his first love," Aaron declared.
"As he was mine," Pim. "Indeed, he was the only one I ever loved."
"And, if I am truthful, you he," Aaron said.
"You do not seem to resent that," Pim replied. "That could not have been fair to your mother."
Aaron smiled. "He was a good husband and a good father. But Mother always knew that Father only entered her life because he was separated from you. Indeed, it was only because of a chance encounter whilst he was ashore that they met."
"I see," Pim said, momentarily disappointed with Lon for even talking with another woman, then annoyed with herself for being so selfish. 'Tis not fair, she thought, to dearest Lon's memory to resent his meeting someone who could offer him happiness.
"Madame Mankey …" Aaron said.
"No," Pim said forcefully, "that is the name of my late husband," taking Aaron aback by the venom with which she uttered those words, "and of my son, but it is not mine. I am a Possible." And in my heart I am a Stoppabilski, she added silently.
"As you wish, ma'am," he said. "You are surprised to learn that Father had a family?"
"Yes," she confessed. "He never mentioned it in his letters …"
"I believe that was because he felt guilty."
"What? That fool …"
Aaron could not help but smile; Pim clearly spoke as one who loved Lon enough to be put out by his behavior. "Ma'am," he explained, with sobriety, "Father loved you with all his heart. He knew from your letters how unhappy you were, especially in your marriage, and felt that he had failed you by being taken away. To tell you that he had found another, and had a family with her…"
"But I would not have begrudged Lon his happiness," Pim protested.
"I am sure. But this is the man who followed you everywhere, is it not?"
Pim nodded, memories of Christmas 1776 flooding back.
"You should know," Aaron continued, "that on more than one occasion Father tried to flee his ship, hoping, somehow, to return to you." A dark scowl formed on the young man's face. "Each time he was captured, he was flogged; he was lucky to survive."
Pim sat rigidly, the anger she had felt for Squire Mankey and for her father, resurfacing after having lain dormant for so many years. She clenched her fists so hard that her knuckles turned white. The idea of Lon being brutalized tore at her and enraged her. He had written her letters, regaling her with stories of his travels around the globe, trying to make what had happened sound like a grand adventure; he never told her of these punishments.
"He was trapped on that ship for five years," Aaron continued, "never once allowed to set foot on dry land; the letters you sent him were all that kept him from going mad. During those years he learned to cook and he learned to fight. He brought this into battle with him." Aaron stood up and withdrew a battered sword from the scabbard he wore at his side. "Father, as you know, was a gentle soul. But he also proved to be a fierce warrior."
"Yes, I can see how he would be," Pim said, carefully taking the weapon from Aaron. She looked at the blade, then closed her eyes, tightening her hand around the hilt, knowing that her beloved's hand had done the same countless times. "Lon was always scared. Yet he never once refused an adventure. I believe he was the bravest man I ever knew." She looked again at the blade. "Did not your mother mind this?"
"What, that father wielded a sword into which your name was etched?" he asked. "Good heavens, no. He had the sword before he met Mother. Besides, that was nothing compared with the cannon."
"The cannon?" Pim asked.
"Yes. The 'Fighting Pim.' That was the name he gave to his cannon after he became captain of the gun crew on the Perseus."
Pim could not help but smile at the many ways that Lon had kept her by his side. Still, she was troubled by something. "Tell me about your mother, please and thank you. I feel most sorry for her, living in the shadow of another woman."
"You need not, ma'am. Mother knew that she loved Father in a way that he never could love her; that she could share part of her life with him was enough for her. And Father did his utmost to make her happy …"
"No. Tell me about her. What did she look like? Where was she from? How did they meet?" Pim demanded.
"Mother was a lovely woman; she died last year of the consumption …"
"I am sorry to hear that," Pim said softly.
"Thank you. Thankfully, her passing was swift. She was a lovely woman, blond haired like Father, but with blue eyes. About your height, indeed your … shape. To be honest, you very much remind me of her." He paused, then continued. "She was a country girl, lost in the city. Father had finally been given leave to go ashore after all those years. Apparently, he really wasn't sure what do with himself. He was wandering the streets of Portsmouth when a young woman came running by, screaming in fear. Ruffians were in hot pursuit. He … intervened; much to his surprise, the woman reappeared, they began to talk, and well … They were married soon thereafter." Seeing the look of surprise on Pim's face, Aaron explained, "It was her idea. She had fallen in love with him almost the moment she met him and felt that he needed an anchor in his life; he was still lost in grief over you, unsure of what to do. He felt an incredible guilt being with Mother, trying to lay aside his feelings for you.
"Ultimately, Mother insisted that he not deny his still-extant feelings for you, that even if he could not be with you, he should not pretend that he did not love you. I believe that Mother's generosity in this regard was what allowed Father to build a new life. She found a broken man, understood his pain and honored it."
"I see," Pim said quietly, grateful that Lon had stumbled across such a remarkable woman. "I am in debt to your mother. It is clear that she took good care of our Lon."
Aaron grinned with pleasure. "She would have been pleased to know you feel that way."
Pim looked away from her young love's son and stared into the distance.
"How did he …"
Aaron closed his eyes. "It was during a frigate action in '91. He died a true hero, sacrificing himself to protect some midshipmen from French boarders."
Pim closed her eyes. "The 12th of September, 1791," she said softly, but not as softly as she intended.
Clearly shocked, Aaron blurted out. "How in Hades did you know that?"
Pim looked at Aaron and shook her head. "It will sound strange. But I had a dream that night; and in it Lon died. I have worn black ever since."
Aaron looked at Pim thoughtfully. This beautiful woman who had married and had a child had been in mourning for a decade and a half for a man she had last seen thirty years earlier. "Ma'am, I do not mean to intrude, but, pray tell me of your life in the years since the fateful night on which you and Father were separated."
She nodded and took a deep breath. Then she told her story.
Pim had yelled and screamed for help, but nobody came. So she stood at the end of the wharf, calling out to Lon that she loved him, watching the long boat pull away into the winter darkness. When finally it was lost to the night, Pim turned and mounted Artemis. What she wanted to do was drop to the ground and cry, but what she needed to do was return to Princeton. Squire Mankey had stolen her love from her and she planned to make him pay with his life.
Driven by fury, she spurred Artemis on. The horse, as if sensing Pim's urgency, gave all it had. They raced towards Princeton, finally reaching the large, comfortable house on the edge of the village. Pim climbed down, loaded her pistols and ran to the door. She looked at the knocker for a moment, then did something she had never done before. She pivoted on her left foot and kicked open the door with her right.
The butler, shocked, stared open-mouthed at Pim, who, brandishing her weapons, snarled a warning to get out of her way. She stormed into the library, where she found the Squire seated, still drinking his Madeira.
"So, my young wench has returned," he said.
Pim leveled a pistol at his head and cocked the trigger. "Prepare to die, you cur!" she snapped.
Much to Pim's surprise, he neither panicked nor showed fear. Based on events earlier in the evening, she had expected him to beg for his life
"I am prepared to do just that, Priscilla," the Squire said evenly. "But know this: if you pull the trigger, you will destroy your family. Your father. Your brother."
"They can live with the shame of a daughter and sister who, overcome with grief, killed the most loathsome man this town has ever known."
"Perhaps. But can they live with the reputations of being a traitor and son of a traitor to the Rebel cause?"
"What are you talking about?" she asked, suddenly caught off guard.
"Your young man, taken away by English marines. How do you think that was arranged?"
"You," she declared; that his hand was behind this was already known.
"It has long been rumored that I am loyal to the Crown," he said, ignoring her. "Many in the Jerseys are. But your father is proud to be known as an American, to be one of General Washington's most trusted aides. Imagine what would become of his name, and of your brother's, if it were to be known that he had arranged to have his daughter's friend sold to the English, because doing so would relieve him of a financial burden. At the least, I believe he would be denied his commission and subject to a court martial. At worst …"
Pim looked at Mankey with disgust. While her fury towards her father remained undimmed, and she wanted him to suffer for what he had done to Lon and to her, she did not wish him to die. And if his name was ruined, then so too would be her brother's. It was one thing for Phin to go through life without an education; it was another for him to be branded a traitor's son.
"The fate of the Possibles rests in your hands, Priscilla."
"What do you want?" she asked through clenched teeth.
"Nothing more than I wanted at the beginning of the evening. You will marry me and give me an heir."
"I hate you," she hissed
"That is of no matter. You know that it is not your affection I desire."
"So you married Squire Mankey?"
Pim sighed. "Yes. All of the dreams I had were turned into nightmares. Lon's letters were the only thing that kept me going. Even young Zebulon disappointed me."
Pim smirked. "I gave the Squire what he sought: a son. But I was determined that he would be like the man who should have been his father, and not the swine whose name he bore. So I named him Zebulon. And I did all I could to make him be a decent man. In that, however, I failed. I do not know if it was the humors he inherited from the squire or my parenting," she said, looking away from Aaron, as if the answer to that question might be found in a corner of the room. She then turned back to her guest. "My son is a dissolute and wayward wastrel. And like his late father, he blithely manipulates people for his own ends. He is currently in Philadelphia, where he is supposedly painting portraits but I suspect is actually carousing and seducing the local women, when he should be tending to his wife and young son."
Silence descended upon the room. Finally, Aaron spoke again. "May I ask what became of your father?"
Pim laughed derisively. "Father's reputation was secured; he served with distinction by General Washington's side throughout the war, then remarried. My brother Phin completed his studies at the College and is now an instructor there himself. He has a most ardent fascination with natural philosophy; I fear he will someday cause a great cataclysm with one of his experiments. I must confess that I am glad that he works away from his home and family."
Aaron and Pim sat quietly in the parlor. The afternoon sun streamed through the large windows, illuminating the dust motes as they played in the air. To Aaron, the melancholy and sorrow in the room was palpable. He felt that of Pim and Lon, it was she who had suffered more. His father, though star-crossed, had been a force for good in the lives of many; the orphan died knowing he was beloved by family, friends, and shipmates. And while Lon may have suffered both physically and emotionally during his time in the Royal Navy, he had lived a great adventure and did die a true hero. Pim, on the other hand, had been trapped, stuck inside a chrysalis of bitterness, deprived of every hope and dream she had ever had, forced to marry a man she despised and mother a son who had disappointed her tremendously.
Aaron looked at Pim and thought of his father and what he would have wanted for the woman he had loved until the day he died.
"If I may be so bold, ma'am, I should like to venture a suggestion."
"Yes?" she asked.
"It is time for you to take off the mourning black."
"I shall never do that," she said, her eyes flashing defiance. "Not until I rejoin Lon in the next life."
"But he would want you to enjoy this one." Seeing she was about to protest, Aaron raised a hand. "I told you before that he spoke often to Mother of you. He loved everything about you, but what he loved most was your free spirit. He said you were like a zephyr."
"A zephyr." Pim smiled. "Dearest Lon. He may not have been the most intelligent of men but he did have a facility with words. Did you know he used to write ditties?"
Aaron laughed. "And he sang them to us, too." Then he pointed at Pim. "… I believe Father would be horrified to see you in black. He would want to see you dressed in bright colors, enjoying this beautiful house with its gardens, riding your horse through the countryside. Ma'am, I am sure that when you do pass to that better place, you and Father will be reunited. But until that hour he would have wanted you to feel joy, not sorrow."
Pim sat quietly, thinking on Aaron's words. "It has been so long since I have felt joy," she finally said, her voice laden with sadness. "I do not even know if I am any longer capable of truly feeling it."
Just then, little Pim burst into the room, her mother in hot pursuit. The girl bounded onto Pim's lap. "You must come outside and play with us."
Panting, Rachel, with her son in tow, reached for her daughter's hand. "Do excuse us … we did not mean to interrupt."
The little girl hugged Pim. "But she is my bestest friend. She said so! Now she must come and play with us! It's what bestest friends do."
Pim began to stroke the hair of her lost love's granddaughter. She recalled playing with her 'bestest friend' long ago. Of kissing him. Of dreaming of their future together. That future had eluded her. But a part of him had returned to her in this family. It was not the same, but they were guides, surely sent by Lon, to lead her out of her despair. "You are right. That is indeed what bestest friends do. Come, and I will show you many fine places for bestest friends to play … but first, I think, I must change."
A few minutes later, much to Little Pim's delight and the shock of the others, Pim descended the stairs of her house wearing a loose cotton shirt, a pair of old breeches, and a warm, playful smile. For the first time in many a year, Pim Possible knew happiness.
After Kim and Ron Stoppable had finished reading the journals and letters of Pim Possible and Lon Stoppabilski, they sat quietly in their family room, looking at the moldy old books, yellowed documents, and antique sword. They were both stunned by what they had discovered about their past. Kim recalled consulting the family history after she and Ron had their Pim and Lon dream in Japan almost ten years earlier. All she learned then was that her great-great-great-great-great-great-great-great aunt had married and had a son; her husband's name was, or so they had all believed, 'Monk.' Ron, in turn, was amazed to learn that Aaron Stoppabilski wasn't the first of his ancestors to set foot in America. They were both dumbfounded, and not a little spooked, that their families had first crossed paths two centuries ago and that had things turned out differently between Pim and Lon, Ron would most likely not ever have been born.
They learned all of these things after a decidedly abashed and chagrined Josh Mankey, with whom they had remained friendly over the years, had brought the items over two days earlier. He explained that he had inherited an old family property in New Jersey and that on a recent visit back East, he had found some things that he thought would be of interest to Kim. She had been puzzled by Josh's comment, but when she asked what he meant, he would only say that he was sorry; that he was glad that, unlike others in the past, he hadn't gotten in the way of what was clearly meant to be; and that he expected she would understand once she and Ron had read the papers.
Having done that, Kim and Ron now understood what Josh had meant. The tragic story of Pim and Lon made the Stoppables appreciate what they had that much more. Kim snuggled closer to Ron, who began stroking her hair. They were sitting quietly, enjoying each other's presence, when Ron sat up like a bolt.
"What is it?" she asked her husband, surprised and concerned by the sudden appearance of his I-just-ate-bad-Tex-Mex face.
"You kissed somebody you were related to! That is so wrong-sick!"
"Dial down the drama, Ron," she said, rolling her eyes. "So Josh and I are like tenth cousins, twenty times removed. It's no big." Still, thinking back on what she had just read, Kim suddenly found the memory of kissing 'Cousin Josh' a bit, well, gorchy. Knowing there was only one thing she could do to banish the now very unwelcome recollection, Kim shifted and brought her lips to her husband's. They began kissing, slowly, then with increasing passion.
"Eww! They're doing it again!" Mim Stoppable, Kim and Ron's young daughter, exclaimed.
"Yuck! Mommy and Daddy have cooties!" her twin brother Jon Stoppable added.
The two parents broke their kiss and, still holding one another, smiled at their children, who stood in the doorway in their pajamas. Kim and Ron exchanged knowing looks; Ron got up, took the sword, and placed it safely out of reach. Then he looked to his wife and she nodded. Kim may no longer have been a teen hero nor Ron her sidekick, but she was a globe-trotting, crisis-solving doctor and he was still by her side whenever she went into the field. Years of teamwork had honed their reflexes. Kim and Ron were on their kids, tickling them mercilessly.
Joyous laughter and delighted squealing filled the room and the family enjoyed playing together for some time. But the hour was late, and the twins tired, eventually failing in their fight to fend off sleep. Kim and Ron gathered up their children, and put them back to bed.
After Mim and Jon were tucked in, Kim and Ron returned to the family room to put away Pim's materials.
As Kim gathered up the journals and letters, thinking of how the family's American Revolution Christmas Tree story would need to be revised, Ron hefted the sword and withdrew it from its scabbard. Looking at the tempered steel, he asked, "Wonder what Sensei would have said if I had etched your name onto the Lotus Blade?"
Kim smiled, put the things she was holding down on the table, and hugged her husband from behind. "I don't know. But, I think it would be a very romantic thing to do."
"Well, you know the Rondo's all about romance with his bon-diggity wife!"
"Spankin'," Kim said invitingly as she took Ron's hand and led him to their bedroom.
Nine months later, Kim gave birth to a second pair of twins. The Stoppables named their new children Aaron Zebulon and Priscilla, though, not surprisingly, they called the boy Lon and the girl Pim.