My thanks to campy and TexasDad for beta-reading this story. Campy also gets my thanks for proofreading.
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If you saw it on KP, it belongs to Disney.
Kim Possible was doing what she loved doing most – after lip-smacking her boyfriend, Ron Stoppable, that is – and that was helping people. At that particular moment, she was helping her Middleton neighbors by picking up litter in Middleton Park. She waved and said hello to her fellow citizens as they passed by. Children, adults, singles, couples, all cheerfully returned Kim's greetings. It was hard not to, given the joyous expression on her face. Everybody in town knew why she always seemed so happy these days: Kim had a BF. And not just any BF, but a BF who was also her lifelong best friend and sidekick in saving the world.
As she went about her work, she thought of the tow-headed young man. She wished he were at the park with her, but while she was picking up trash, he was helping Mr. North do yard work. Kim grinned at the thought – two things were guaranteed to get Ron to step up his game and put in extra effort: one was getting a chance to drive the Ferret Mobile. The other was the promise of some five-alarm KP kisses. Ron loved those kisses. Almost as much, she suspected, as she liked giving them – though she was looking forward to the day they could do more, much more than kiss, however. For while they were only high school seniors, their relationship had become serious enough that they had already begun dancing around the issue of when Ron might propose to her. They knew they needed to turn eighteen first, and were definitely not ready to get married; but they had been together since the age of four and knew in their hearts that they would spend the rest of their lives together.
As she recalled the song they danced to at their junior prom, Kim marveled at how this glorious day would be yet another wonderful start of the rest of their lives. She smiled as she looked upwards, enjoying the view as a few postcard-quality clouds scudded across a cerulean blue sky. After more than two weeks of far too much rain and raw wind, the sun shone bright and the temperatures were in the low seventies. That evening, she and her beau would go to their Senior Prom as a couple. No synthodrones, no whack take-over-the-world schemes, no hidden feelings would be a part of this special occasion. It was just going to be about an average teen age girl and her goofy, unique boyfriend having a ferociously good time together.
Kim spotted a Styrofoam cup by a copse of trees and decided she would pick it up, then be on her way home to meet Ron for lunch. She was daydreaming about slow dancing with Ron when she heard rustling from the leaves behind and above her. She turned, looked in the tree and was shocked to see in the branches someone with a blow-dart gun pointed at her – and poised to be used. Her eyes opened wide as she recognized the figure. Then she felt something prick her neck.
Before she could say anything her eyes rolled back into her head and she collapsed.
Kim Possible was dead before she hit the ground.
The figure watched from the trees with satisfaction as the target fell to the path, dropping her trash bag and tool. Kim's killer took a moment to savor the tableau: the fallen teen now lay sprawled lifelessly, surrounded by litter. The so-called Girl Who Could Do Anything had been able to do nothing to protect herself.
Ron couldn't – no, wouldn't – believe it.
It couldn't be true.
Kim, his Kim, couldn't be dead. She was Kim Possible. She could do anything. Anything was Possible for a Possible. She knew sixteen kinds of kung fu. She was bulletproof. She was supposed to be immortal.
But she wasn't. She was gone and he was alone, alone in a way he never imagined possible.
He sat in the breakfast nook, in the spot he usually took when he and Kim sat at the table to do their homework. He so wanted to believe that the redhead by his side was Kim. But he knew otherwise; it was Mrs. Dr. P who sat beside him. He was lost in his thoughts, and really didn't even notice the arm of a concerned and distraught Mrs. Possible wrap around his shoulder. Kim's mother, as devastated as she was, was still worried about Ron. The vacant expression on his face frightened her.
All Ron could think of was the moment he turned onto Kim's street and saw the police cruisers. He knew then something was wrong.
He broke into a sprint, running toward the house; one of the cops tried to stop him.
"Sorry, kid, the street's closed …" the man said, stepping into Ron's path.
"Dude, get out of my way!" Ron demanded, before he zigged to the policeman's right. He was not happy when the beefy officer grabbed his arm. Ron stared at the man through narrowed eyes. "I'm telling you, if you don't let go of me, you are going to be so sorry …"
Officer Hobble, who was climbing out of his cruiser, recognized the young visitor. He hurried over to his fellow officer and Ron.
"Let him go, Barry," Hobble ordered in his Irish brogue. "He's her boyfriend and sidekick." Normally, Hobble would have excluded a boyfriend, but he had come to know enough about Team Possible and the Possible/Stoppable family dynamics to know Ron was a surrogate member of Kim's family; Kim had actually listed Ron as one of her next of kin on the emergency services paperwork that GJ suggested she and Ron each file with local, state, national, and international law enforcement agencies.
The other officer looked at Ron for a moment then reddened. "Oh yeah, you're the guy who usually goes with her on missions."
"Thanks for recognizing me, Sherlock," Ron snapped with asperity, not caring that he was sassing a policeman. The bad feeling he had rounding the corner had only worsened. Looking at Hobble, he asked, "What's going on?"
Hobble sighed. "Why don't you come with me," he said in a weary voice, before he turned and walked up the path.
Ron was never going to be mistaken for a genius, but the expression on Hobble's face told him Hobble was there to deliver bad news of some sort.
That had been thirty minutes ago.
Ron remembered walking in with Hobble. The whole family had been there, awaiting Kim and Ron's arrival for lunch. The officer gently yet firmly suggested that Jim and Tim go outside to play. Mr. and Mrs. Dr. P exchanged glances, then looked to Ron, who shook his head, indicating he, too, was waiting for the news.
Hobble didn't beat around the bush. With a heavy heart, he reported that Kim had been found dead in the park; a small dart was found embedded in her neck.
The three of them stood there in stunned silence for a moment before Kim's mother began to cry softly. The quiet tears soon turned into sobbing. James was stricken, and suddenly seemed to age twenty years.
And Ron Stoppable's world came crashing down as his reason for living had been taken away from him.
Ron stood in the pulpit of the National Cathedral in Washington, looking out at a sea of faces. He recognized some: Kim's family, his family. Wade. Friends from Middleton. The President of the United States and some world leaders they'd saved. Yori and Sensei, who'd come from Japan. Akut, Heinrich, Bernice and others who had provided rides. Ron was touched, though not surprised, that all of these people had come from around the world to honor Kim. The whole situation was surreal.
He took a deep breath and gave the eulogy for his best friend, his girlfriend, his world, professing his love and admiration for her. Most every eye in the cavernous sanctuary was moist when Ron finished.
He descended from the pulpit and made to go back to his pew, stopping at Kim's casket. He stood there silently, his right hand placed on the flag, lost in his thoughts, shutting out the 2000 people in the church and the millions more watching on television. Finally, he turned and walked back to the Possibles. Those who could see Ron's features thought he looked like a dead man walking.
Things that day continued to pass in a blur for Ron. Carrying the casket to the caisson. The procession to Arlington National Cemetery. The nineteen-gun salute, the Global Justice hoverjets passing overhead in the fallen man formation.
His Kim had received a hero's funeral; Ron knew she deserved nothing less. But he wanted it to be over.
He wanted to go home to mourn on his own.
The days passed without meaning for Ron. His first temptation was to end it all so he could be with Kim, and he'd come close to doing so one night, when he wandered out to the bridge over the Middleton River. He'd gotten as far as climbing onto the railing, imagining that in a few minutes he'd be reunited with Kim in heaven.
But then he wondered if by killing himself he'd guarantee himself a trip to hell, ensuring that he and Kim were separated forever. Ron wasn't much of a theologian, but that prospect scared him.
Then it occurred to him how, even if he did go to heaven, Kim might react to his premature appearance. He knew in his gut that she'd give him what for for ending his life prematurely and then be angry with him for all eternity.
He climbed down off the railing and resolved to do what Kim would want him to do, as best he could. He couldn't be happy, but he stopped shutting out Rufus, Wade, Felix and Monique. He buckled down and studied, trying to maintain the GPA he'd worked at improving because that was what Kim expected of her Potential Boy. He even went to graduation, as difficult as that was, and went up on stage to collect not only his diploma, but also the one granted posthumously to Kim.
He tried to move on.
But he couldn't. Not yet.
He spent a lot of time in the days and weeks after graduation at the Possibles'. Mr. and Mrs. Dr. P knew that Ron was even more affected by what happened than they were – they had lost a daughter, which was terrible enough, but they recognized that Ron had lost his soul mate. He would join them for meals. He would watch TV with the tweebs. And he would go up to Kim's room and look at her things, at pictures, scrapbooks, and mementoes.
The family was not yet prepared to pack away these reminders of Kim's life, not as long as Ron clung to them like a man gripped the edge of a life raft in stormy seas. Sometimes he'd go up to the loft, lie on Kim's bed clutching Pandaroo and cry for hours. It would break Mrs. Dr. P's heart to hear the muffled sounds of Ron's anguish; she found herself on more than one occasion daydreaming that instead of cries of pain, she was hearing cries of passion from Ron and her daughter. That would have driven James crazy, but it would have been a sign that happiness, and not sorrow, resided in the loft.
Ron, as had become his wont, was at the Possibles' watching TV Trash Heap with the tweebs when an unexpected visitor arrived one Saturday afternoon.
Mrs. Dr. P. went to see who was calling. She opened the door and found herself looking at a stranger.
"May I help you?" she asked.
"Yes, I believe you may," the visitor replied. "I am looking for Stoppable-san. His parents said I might find him here."
"Come in," Mrs. Possible said, showing her guest in. She could not help but notice that the young woman was quite attractive. She wondered how she knew Ron. Mrs. Dr. P led her to the family room.
"Ron, you have a visitor."
He turned and looked up, surprised by whom he saw.
"Y-Yori?" he stammered.
"Hello, Stoppable-san. I was hoping we might talk. Alone. It is very important."
Ron looked to Mrs. Dr. P, who nodded, then told the boys she'd take them to the Rocket Supply Mart. As she left, Mrs. Possible hoped that the attractive visitor might be able to help Ron get his mind off his sorrows.
He got off the floor and sat on the sectional couch. Yori joined him.
"You miss her, Stoppable-san," she stated.
Ron sighed. "Yeah. It's like my whole world's gone dark. I feel like ending it all."
"Is that what she would want?"
He sat quietly. "Nah, but I can't help it. What's the point of even going on? I have no reason to care anymore."
"I disagree, Stoppable-san," Yori said. "What if I told you there was a reason?"
Ron looked at Yori skeptically. "Look, Yori, I know you want to help and all, but I really don't want a lecture about wasting my life or living for Kim and me –"
"I believe we know who killed Possible-san …" she interjected.
Ron's eyes grew wide and his heart raced.
"… Yamanuchi, as you know, has many resources. We were able to secure the dart that was embedded in Possible-san's neck. Tests revealed traces of a rare toxin – one from the viper monkey."
"Viper monkey? That just sounds sick and wrong," Ron exclaimed. "Who would … Monkey Fist!"
"Yes. We believe that since Monkey Fist was unable to defeat you in battle, he killed Possible-san to strike out at you."
Ron felt his blood run cold. "That monkey-fisted freak is going down!" he growled. "I'm going to find him and kill him!" he snapped as he began to rise from his seat.
Then he felt Yori's hand on his arm.
"Stoppable-san, wait. Monkey Fist has become more dangerous, more cunning. Think of it. He was able to defeat Possible-san," she paused, giving Ron an opportunity to digest the implications of that statement. "You are not yourself, lost as you are in your grief. And you are out of practice. It has been many weeks since you last went on a mission, has it not?"
Ron thought about the last time he and Kim had been in the field. The mission was an easy one, involving Chester Yapsby and some mutant caterpillars. The most memorable part of the whole incident was all of the plane time they'd had for making out. The two teen heroes had actually had a quiet spring, work-wise. Then Kim … and that had been seven weeks ago. He realized he hadn't been on a mission in nearly three months.
"Yeah, it has," he said quietly, thinking of how much he missed seeing Kim in her belly-baring crop top.
"Possible-san would not want you to go into combat under such circumstances," Yori said flatly.
"Well then, what do you want me to do, Yori?" Ron asked peevishly. "Sit around and let Monkey Butt get away with what he did?"
"No, I want you to train," she said. "Sensei has said you are welcome to come to Yamanuchi. We will prepare you so you can defeat Monkey Fist."
Ron thought about what Yori was offering. He was tempted, sorely tempted. But that would mean leaving Middleton and the Possibles.
"I'll have to think about it," he finally said.
Yori nodded in acknowledgment.
"She would want you to go, Ron," James said.
"You think?" he replied. "I mean, what about you guys and college and everything?"
"Ronald, let me honest with you. You're not ready for college …"
James held up his hands to ward off Ron's protest.
"… You're still grieving and, as Kim would say, your head's not in the game. Some time away would probably do you some good. You can always come back and enroll next year."
Ron thought about that possibility. Still, he wasn't sure.
"Ron," Ann said, "James is right. This is what Kim would want. She'd be so proud of you, knowing you were going to carry on the fight against evil. It's the most meaningful thing you can do to honor her."
Mrs. Dr. P's comment helped Ron make his decision. "Okay, I'll do it," he said with resolve.
The Drs. Possible embraced Ron. They had fervently hoped he would accept the invitation for the reasons they had mentioned – and one they'd kept to themselves: they hoped something might happen between him and Yori, and that was much more likely to occur if he was far away from Middleton and its many reminders of Kim. They had been delighted when Kim and Ron began dating, and as things became serious between the two life-long best friends, began entertaining fantasies about Kim and Ron getting married someday and giving them grandchildren. But that wasn't going to happen now, and they hated seeing the young man they had come to love and had once hoped would be their son-in-law mired in grief. They wanted Ron to begin living again, and they fervently hoped that Yori could help him do that.
Ron looked at his family and friends who had gathered at the airport to see him and Rufus off. He was moved by the size of the crowd and wished they were getting together for a happier occasion. He wished Kim were among their number. Of course, if she had been, he wouldn't have been at the airport. He'd be staying in Middleton. And he'd be happy. But she wasn't, so he wasn't, he mused. He needed to stop thinking.
The time came to go through security. He said his farewells and made his way through the screening device, not knowing when he would return home. After he was cleared, he retrieved his small duffel bag, turned and looked back towards his family and friends, who smiled and waved at him. He returned their waves, then headed to his gate.
Ron's flight was called; he boarded the plane and settled into his seat. He looked around the spacious first class cabin, mildly amused by his surroundings. Yamanuchi had arranged for his transportation. He reflected on how this was so different from the way he and Kim usually traveled. He would have given anything then to be beside Kim in the cargo bay of some old, rickety transport.
He noticed that the plane had finished taxiing and was ready to take off. He looked out the window as the 747 roared down the runway, gained lift and rose into the sky, heading to Japan where his future – and his chance for vengeance – awaited him.
Ron had been training furiously for nearly a year. Everyday he rose at 4:00 am to begin his regimen and worked until late into the night. He mastered the Lotus Blade and developed his abilities in Tai Shing Pek Kwar and the arts of the ninja. The pace was grueling. He had one goal, and that was revenge against Monkey Fist. He planned to have every tool available at his disposal when he confronted the freakish English nobleman.
While Sensei worked with Ron on cultivating and mastering his mystical monkey power, Yori trained him in the martial arts. They spent hours together each day. Ron was grateful to her for being such a good friend and teacher. He enjoyed the time they spent together and, without noticing, he slowly let Yori into his heart.
He had resisted at first, feeling that he was betraying Kim's memory. But he recalled a conversation they had had about how should anything to happen to one of them, the other should be free to find happiness with another. And he remembered the talk he and Mr. Dr. P had the night before he'd left for Japan.
Kim's father had begged Ron, if only for his daughter's sake, to share some of his Ronshine with someone, perhaps Yori. James said that it would have delighted Kim to know that all of Ron's love wasn't staying bottled up inside an embittered heart. Ron had been unable to even envision the idea of being happy, let alone being with someone, that evening.
Now, much to his surprise, Ron could smile and laugh. And he found excitement and happiness in Yori's welcoming arms. He was amazed that he could feel alive again.
But he wouldn't truly feel that he had rejoined the living until he had avenged Kim's death.
Monkey Fist, wondering if he was imagining things, turned back to his amulets. For a moment, he thought he had heard something. But he was positive there was no way he could be found. He had made sure of that.
Then he saw the shadow fall across the monkey altar and the blue aura fill the chamber.
"It's over, Monty."
Fist recognized that voice. It belonged to the Pretender. But there was something different about it. Something cold and chilling. The monkey man turned and looked at Ron.
"Stoppable," he said, trying to sound nonchalant. "Whatever are you talking about?"
Monkey Fist had tried to keep the awe out of his voice. He was amazed by what his visitor was doing: Ron was letting the mystical monkey power flow through him freely. As a result, he was enveloped in shimmering blue light. Monkey Fist was sure he saw small monkey-like apparitions floating in the penumbra. Ron was doing something he could only dream of.
Ron looked at Monkey Fist with menace and hatred. "Don't try to play me, Monkey Butt. It's payback time. You took the most important thing in the world from me …"
Fist's eyes grew wide as the Lotus Blade appeared in Ron's outstretched hand.
"… And now you're going to pay for killing Kim."
The would-be ultimate monkey master's mind told him to run, but he was too terrified to move. Ron's aura had grown brighter, the air around him began to crackle, and the room was filled with the angry chittering of spectral monkeys.
As Ron brought the sword down with a vicious sweep, Monty began screaming. His last thought before it was over was a question to which he'd never know the answer: Why on earth does he think it was I who killed Kim Possible?
The old man looked at his student through hooded eyes.
"You have done well. You are not only a true ninja, but you have shown yourself worthy to someday succeed me as master of this school."
"I thank you for your compliment, Sensei."
The wizened ninja master stared at Yori for a moment, then handed her a scroll. "You have completed your studies, Yori. Now you will train others in our ancient ways."
"It will be my honor," she replied with a deep bow to her teacher.
She turned to leave her master's cell.
She turned and looked at the man who had taught her since she was a child.
"… I am sorry that you cannot fully share this triumph with Stoppable-san."
"As am I. But, for obvious reasons, that is not possible."
No, it would not be possible, Yori thought as she walked across the courtyard. There was no way she would ever tell Ron that she was the one who had ended Kim Possible's life.
Part of the ninja's craft was the art of assassination, and for her graduation project, she had to kill someone. She chose to kill Kim, just as Ron, who was convinced to become a ninja himself, had chosen more than a year later to kill Monkey Fist. Fortunately for Yori, only the Sensei of the school knew the identity of the ninja aspirant's victim, and while in some cases, like Ron's, everybody knew who the victim would be, in other instances the identity of the person to be killed would forever remain a mystery, known only to the assassin and the master of Yamanuchi. Yori fully intended to keep that knowledge restricted to herself and Sensei and was confident she could do that, now that she was on the path to becoming the old man's successor.
It had been a challenging assignment, but it had also been satisfying. Yori had never felt the auburn-haired girl deserved Ron's affections and could never fathom why he was so devoted to her. Indeed, Yori actively disliked Kim, believing her to be cocky, self-centered, and shallow. That Kim had been utterly devoted to Ron during the year they dated and made him happier than he ever thought possible meant nothing to Yori. The young Japanese woman feared that someday Kim would betray Ron's love, leaving him with a broken heart. And even if Kim didn't hurt Ron, she'd prevent him from achieving his full potential as master of the Lotus Blade – Yori suspected that Kim would one day choose to be a normal American woman with a family, at which time she'd lay aside her mission clothes and Ron, following her lead, would turn away from the path of the warrior hero – not to mention keep him from her, and Yori believed that she, not Kim, was meant to be Ron's partner in life.
Simply put, Kim Possible was an obstacle that had to be removed.
So Yori proposed Kim to Sensei as her target. At first he had been surprised, but when Yori explained how the death of Kim Possible could lead to Ron's embracing his destiny at Yamanuchi and spur him to eliminate Monkey Fist, thus ensuring the Lotus Blade's safety forever, the old man readily gave his assent. He admired the elegance of Yori's logic and the challenge she had set for herself. And, knowing she was also motivated by her feelings for Ron, Sensei was impressed by just how ruthless and driven Yori could be when she had a goal. She had all the qualities of a superb ninja master.
Yori left Sensei. As she crossed the courtyard of the ancient school, she listened to the leaves rustling in the evening breeze. The sound brought back memories of the sight of Kim Possible's lifeless form, lying on the ground in a suburban Colorado park. A small smile formed on Yori's face, and with a deep sense of satisfaction, she looked at the star-dappled sky, then resumed her walk towards Ron's cell.
A/N: If you post a review, please do not reveal the ending!