Guys I am so sorry I haven't updated this in such a long time, but things have just been going so wrong. Things just have not been going my way, I've been so busy. So here's the chapter, I can't make any excuses for being gone so long.

Disclaimer: I don't own K.P. and Co., but Matthew Foxe belongs to me.

July 16, 2005

I.

When Ron awoke, he felt terrible. His bones felt like he had slept on the floor which, he quickly discovered, was true. Stretching, he found Kim on the floor next to him, noting her disheveled appearance. He stood up, noticing, that they were still in the research facility in Maine. The next thing Ron knew, he was thrown to the floor, and Kim was fiercely hugging him.

"Good morning!" exclaimed Kim briskly, and Ron groaned audibly. Here they had slept on a cold, concrete floor, and Kim was bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. "Here, eat this." Ron's eyes popped open, and he looked suspiciously at the box of food Kim had shoved into his hands.

"What is it?" Ron asked cautiously, peering at Kim. Rufus yawned as he scampered up on to Ron's shoulder, spotting the food.

"I didn't make it," replied Kim, slicing the plastic covering off her own breakfast with a pocket knife. Ron and Rufus immediately dove into their food. "It's army rations." Their frenzied ripping stopped abruptly. "Guys, it's not that bad."

"Kim, it's cardboard with gristle bacon to compliment the cardboard eggs," Ron complained, setting his breakfast down in his lap, where Rufus sniffed it reproachfully.

"I'll tell you what Ron. You eat this breakfast, and I'll buy you a grande sized naco platter, complete with nachos, later," urged Kim, scarfing down part of her meal to make a point. She gagged inwardly, momentarily wishing she could turn off her taste buds.

"Deal," Ron agreed. He took a bite of the eggs, then handed some to Rufus, who chowed down. Swallowing, Ron made a face. "It isn't so bad. Needs some..."

"Here," Kim stated, tossing Ron a juice box before sipping on her own. Ron gave a quick murmur of thanks, then the rest of the so-called breakfast was eaten in silence, save where Kim told Ron about the Shatride.

Resuming their climb upwards, the next seven floors were relatively easy, with a few simple laser grids and sensors in the floors. Floor ten, however, made Ron slap his forehead in disgust. The entire level was a gigantic hedge maze that reached completely to the ceiling. The room was very dark, with no light bulbs at all. In fact, the only way Kim and Ron could see at all was with the night vision on the Spectrometer Sunglasses, not a good sign.

"I'm not messing with this junk," Kim said savagely, pulling her backpack off and sitting down. She rummaged around for a few minutes before pulling out a wooden handle. "Here it is." Pushing a button, a wicked looking machete popped out that Ron recognized from... actually he didn't know where he'd seen it before, probably in some jungle he and Kim were trekking in... or parachuting into... Ron shoved the jumbled memory away as Kim began hacking a path through the virtually solid wall of shrubbery. It was tough work, and by the time they reached the exit, Kim was practically drenched in sweat, leaves clinging to her damp hair, twigs poking her in the scalp.

The next four levels were the same, so Kim and Ron took turns, working up quite an appetite and becoming soaked in perspiration. Pausing as they ascended yet another flight of stairs, the trio caught their breath. (Well, Ron and Kim did. Rufus refused to let on that he was quite handy with a machete.)

"What... floor are we on?" panted Ron, collapsing at the top of the stairs, his shoulders heaving.

"This next one is fifteen. It had better not be a maze. Which means we've got about eighty-five more flights to go," Kim lamented, sitting down next to Ron. Rufus poked his head out of Ron's pocket and eyed her. "You are so lucky Rufus. You don't have to hack through someone's crazed garden. We get through the next ten levels and we'll stop for lunch. How's your mystical monkey power?"

"Tapped. Still," Ron replied glumly, leaning against the wall. "Don't know if it'd do any good though. It comes and goes."

The three continued on, Rufus scouting ahead for hidden booby traps. At least he tried to, when he could slip away from Ron, who was acting like an overprotective mother hen. He managed to search the next two floors, his nose wrinkled, sniffing out possible unseen dangers, before Ron scolded him for worrying Ron so and placing Rufus back into the safety of his pocket, despite the naked mole rat's protests. Floor fifteen and sixteen were empty, completely devoid of all furnishings and decorations. The four walls were painted black, and one light bulb hung in the large room, producing eerie shaded areas where an enemy could easily hide, shrouded in darkness, just out of the line of sight.

Floor seventeen was the same, but halfway across the room, Kim was grabbed from behind and pinned to the floor. A moment later Ron joined her, and Ron got a good look at their captors as a third placed Rufus in a small, metal cage which he had no hopes of biting through anytime soon. Donned in black, the three were covered from head to toe in ninja outfits, shielding their faces. Struggling against her captor, Kim watched as a fourth ninja removed itself from the shadows and mentally kicked herself.

Gritting her teeth in frustration as the ninja removed all of their gadgets, Kim blamed herself. Instead of catching the ball and tossing it back to the plate, she'd let it roll by, possibly costing the entire game. Well, better late than never, Kim surmised, hoping to intercept and take the ball in for the winning basket. Kim tensed, then struck, lashing out with her foot into her captor, causing the ninja to topple and lose its grip. Out of the corner of her eye, Kim spotted Ron repeat her motion, and leap to his feet. The third ninja set Rufus down, well out of harm's way as the other three positioned themselves for a fight.

Ron detected motion on his left side and ducked just in time to see a fist punch the air where his head had been seconds ago. He reacted purely on instinct, performing a back flip with his feet aimed at the ninja's head. The ninja reacted quickly, and Ron's feet nearly missed their mark. Almost. As his feet passed by, the Velcro (Which he and Kim had decided would be less hazardous to his health than laces.) caught on the ninja's mask, and with a rip and a tear, the mask flew by. Ron rose to a standing position, his brown orbs wide and full of evident shock, the ebony mask hanging limply around his feet, still attached to his shoe.

"Ki-Kim," Ron stammered, his eyes not moving from his opponent. "C-could you c-come look at this?"

"What is it Ron?" asked Kim, watching as ninja after ninja appeared from the shadows. She walked over to where Ron was, keeping her eyes on the ninjas. Kim turned, focusing on Ron, then the ninja in front of her. "Honestly Ron, you sound like you've seen... me."

It was an exact replica of Kim, down to the highlights of light orange in her auburn locks. But her olive orbs were devoid of any emotion. The real Kim and Ron watched as every ninja in the extremely large room - a total of about fifty – removed their masks. While some were Kim, identical to the first one and the true Kim, others were exact copies of Ron. When the first one, the one Ron accidentally unmasked, spoke, the voice, though Kim's, was metal sounding in nature.

"Security Robot number thirteen has determined that the deoxyribonucleic acid is identical to that of Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, and Rufus. If Miss Possible and Mr. Stoppable are able to state their classified Global Justice security clearance override, further admittance will be allowed and Team Possible will be allowed use of the private elevator," droned robot thirteen. "Failure to name the correct override code for these two individuals will result in your forced removal off the premises." Kim took a deep breath before beginning.

"Kimberly Ann Possible of Team Possible, Global Justice call-in unit number zero-two-three; five star, level nine security clearance; appointed Global Justice override code is six-one-nine-two-A-five-seven-B-Alpha,"Kim recited, fiddling with her gloves, "of Civilian Rank." The drone nodded, then stared at Ron expectantly. He gulped, before starting.

"Ronald Stoppable of Team Possible, Global Justice call-in unit number zero-two-four; five star, level eight security clearance; appointed Global Justice override code is seven-two-zero-three-B-six-eight-C-Beta of Civilian Rank," Ron managed to recall from his brain, impressed with his memory.

"Accurate. You'll find the controls for the elevator behind a small panel next to a larger one at the end of the room. All security measures will be shut down within fifteen feet of your person, and no hostile action from the robots will be inflicted upon you," stated number thirteen, stepping back with the other robots to clear a path and removing Rufus from his cage. Others rushed forward and handed Team Possible their gear, a few muttering small apologies before seeping back into the shadows.

Kim and Ron made their way to the elevator, the robots swiftly moving out of the way. Rufus, still upset but safe in his owner's pocket, chattered angrily at the robots until they were out of sight.

"Amp down, little buddy," Ron chastised as the elevator door closed. "At least we're in the elevator. Kim, when's lunch?" A rumble from Kim's tummy was his response as the elevator reverberated the noise.

"Right now. But," stated Kim, "we're not eating too much. We might have a fight on our hands." She swiftly removed two packets of food, tossing one to Ron. He tripped, and the package landed securely into his hands.

"Ron Factor," replied Ron to her annoyed look, grinning at her. Kim simply rolled her eyes and settled down next to him, casting Ron a shy smile as she snuggled closer to him.

It was how things had been these last three months. There were gradual changes, a kiss in between classes here, some snuggles there for the sake of being together, but nothing too elaborate. Most of the time it was as if they still were only best friends, and only during a peaceful moment or under stress did they really appear to be more. Yet the signs of them being a couple were subtle, hidden amongst their long time friendship. Their love was a mutual one, radiating all the true colors of friendship and romance combined.

II.

"Will they hurry up, I can't wait around all day," fumed the mysterious boy on the top floor of the tower. "I have places to be if I'm to stay on my predicted schedule." He paced about restlessly, his movement making no noise in the cavernous room. "Well, if they're going to take their time coming to me, I'm just gonna have to force their hand." His gloved fist slammed down on a purple button, a grin sweeping across his face.

III.

"WHOA!" Ron yelled as the speed of the elevator suddenly increased drastically. He was thrown roughly into Kim, who collapsed under his weight. "What was that?"

"I'm gonna guess someone hit the 'max speed' button. Perhaps we took too long for their liking?" Kim replied sarcastically. Pushing Ron off of her, she stood up, regained her balance, and took a closer look around the elevator. Spotting the camera, she slapped herself on the forehead. "Ugh, why didn't I see that before?!"

Still, Kim and Ron were ready when the elevator hit the top floor, fighting stances assumed. The door opened with a 'ding!', and the teens braced themselves for an attack. When it wasn't forthcoming, Kim slowly stepped out onto the darkened floor, followed closely by Ron and Rufus. The lights suddenly came on, and Kim's arms went up instinctively to shield her eyes. A slight chuckle echoed throughout the room.

"Too bright?" asked an icy voice. "I can tone it down if you like." The three were immersed in darkness once more, and, with straining eyes, peered into the blackness, unable to spy anything. Kim and Ron planted themselves back to back in front of the elevator door, which had closed and appeared to have melted into the wall once again. "What's wrong Kimberly? Need your darling boyfriend to watch your back?" Kim's eyes swept over the room, piercing. She couldn't place the voice as familiar, so who they were dealing with was unknown.

"Just what are you doing here? Other than stealing stuff and being up to no good?" Kim shouted, her olive orbs still pacing about the room, ears perked for a rustle of clothing.

"Oh, on the contrary, I am up to good. Perhaps. You won't really know until I'm done, will you?" The voice echoed throughout the room, leaving Kim frustrated, unable to pinpoint its source. "It's no use straining your ears Kimberly, you can't hear me unless I choose for you to. How do you even know that I'm not a shadow, a wraith, an apparition, a haunt, a ghost, playing with your head? Perhaps I'm not even here, after all, what I've done so far could be done with some fancy technology. So, the world famous Team Possible has deemed it necessary to come defeat me in person, I feel so honored."

"Glad you realized you better just give up now," replied Kim, muscles rippling tense in her arms and legs. "Now, if you will just turn on the lights and come with us, we'll put in a good word for you with the police, provided you turn over the goods you've taken." Silence. "No gloating, nothing? Glad something shut you up. Now, you gonna turn yourself in or what?"

"Okay." Ron exchanged a look with Kim. It was never this easy. Sure enough, it wasn't. The lights flickered on this time, more gradually, allowing enough time for their eyes to adjust and for them to see the intruder. There was a balcony half way across the room nearly fifty feet up, and the boy was leaning against the railing, looking complacent. Short, spiky black hair fell forward, even messier than Ron's, but without a cow lick. The silver shirt glowed in the lighting beneath the ebony denim jacket, and so did the gloves, one of which was propping up his chin. Black cargoes were slack, and full of several pockets. "You two do make a cute couple, but will you in the future? Ah, well time will tell, perhaps sooner than you think. But who has the answers you seek?"

"Just who are you? You're no older than us, I'm surprised you could even break in here," Kim responded, her eyebrow cocked as she peered coldly upwards at the rogue teen. He laughed once again.

"You can't judge a book by its cover, have you never heard that?" The boy was now descending the steps of the balcony down to their level. "Just look at Ronald, who would assume upon outward appearance that he holds so much power within? Mystical power I might include," the boy added, his emerald eyes sparkling beneath raven bangs. Ron inhaled sharply, that wasn't info you could just look up on the Internet about him. "As for who I am," the boy was now ten feet away from Kim and Ron, "my name is Matthew Foxe, but you may call me Matt or Matthew if you prefer, perhaps even Foxe."

"Never heard of you," mused Ron as he and Kim shifted into a fighting position.

"You wouldn't have," assured Matthew. He surprised them by bowing, watching them with observant eyes. "Shall we?" The sudden shift in his stance signified his readiness, he was prepared to face them.