Disclaimers: First rule of copyright law; don't mess with the Mouse! Kim, Ron and supporting cast are owned by Disney Studios. I'm just having a little sport.
Spoilers: "So the Drama", plus a few references to other episodes.
Rating: PG. Not really much more than what you'd see in an episode of the series (at least when Season Four gets started).
Author's note: my first Kim Possible fanfic. Be kind. I took some liberties with the location and history of the Tempus Simia; it's been awhile since I saw "Sitch in Time". And keep in mind that due to the time-travel thing, Kim and Ron have no memories of their previous encounter with the Tempus Simia.
Summary: When Ron blames himself for nearly ruining a mission, Kim takes extreme measures to help her boyfriend overcome his fears. But will she go too far?
No Touchie the Monkey
only thing we have to fear is fear itself."
—Franklin Delano Roosevelt
is control over fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear."
The venerable old teacher sat in meditation, after reading and re-reading the scroll. He considered all the possibilities, every conceivable alternative, and ultimately came to an inescapable conclusion.
The time of the prophecy was coming soon. Very likely within the next year.
A slight tremor shook his being. He was forced to admit to himself that it was a heady experience, knowing that he would live to see the fulfillment of a prophecy which he was aware of for much of his life.
The aroma of Darjeeling and hibiscus tickled his nostrils, awakening him from his mild trance. He turned calmly toward the door of his apartment, and saw the young girl standing in the doorway, the tray in her hands bearing a porcelain teapot and two teacups.
"Master Sensei," the young woman bowed slightly, still holding the tray, "you had requested tea at this time."
"Many thanks, Yori-chan," Sensei nodded. "Please, sit with me."
"Hai." Yori, one of Master Sensei's most distinguished students at the Yamanouchi ninja school, took her place at Sensei's feet, sitting in lotus position. "You seem troubled, Master Sensei. "
"Not troubled, Yori-san," Sensei corrected her gently, "but concerned. I feel that the time will soon come when the true master of Tai Sheng Pek Kwar will face the gravest of threats.
Yori gasped. "Stoppable-san!" she whispered .
"Indeed," Sensei declared. "And as such, there is one final test that I must prepare." Pouring a stream of hot tea into Yori's cup and then into his own, he added, "I want you to write a statement to the international press; I have decided to grant the Tri-city Museum in Colorado permission to exhibit some of the treasures of the Yamanouchi Academy."
Yori's face bore a puzzled expression. "Master," she breathed as she held her teacup in hands both delicate and strong enough to break cinderblocks, "do you mean to include—"
"I do, Yori-chan," Sensei smiled affectionately at his favorite full-time student. "The time of the final testing draws near, and I require the pieces to be in play.
"Forgive me for asking, Sensei," Yori lowered her head, fearing the response she would get to her next question. "But is it necessary to test Stoppable-san again?
Sensei acknowledged her question with a knowing gaze, a smile playing at his lips. "Ah, but the subject of the test is not Stoppable-san, but his destined soulmate."
Yori lowered her head to her chest sadly. "Kim Possible.
Six weeks later;
Kim was relaxing in her usual seat on the couch, while Ron was assuming what had become his customary position, reclining on the sofa, his head in her lap, and an open text-book in his hands. Rufus was tucked away in his usual home, the lower right pocket of Ron's cargo pants, and he poked his head out to watch the young couple, occasionally offering commentary in the form of kissing noises.
"Shall I compare thee to a summer's day," the red-haired teen sighed dreamily as her hands lazily combed through his straw-colored hair. "Thou art more lovely and more—"
"More what, Kim?" Ron Stoppable rolled his eyes dramatically at Kim's poetic pronouncement. "Hot? Sweaty? Mosquito-infested? Please, babe, let's not bring Camp Wannaweep into this, huh?"
"Ron," Kim Possible mock-scolded her long-time best friend (and now boyfriend). "Serious up here. You only have three more days to memorize a sonnet for Mr. Barkin's Shakespeare class on Monday. And I always liked that one, I thought that might be a good choice for you."
Kim was understandably worried for her boyfriend; during his senior year, he and Kim spent much of their time between classes (while not otherwise busy stopping the elaborate crimes of assorted villains) studying together. And much to the delight of Kim's parents (and the disappointment of the Tweebs), most of the time was actually spent studying, with the occasional make-out session, usually as a reward for Ron's successfully acing a test or finishing a term-paper. As a result, his grades had improved dramatically from what he called his "Gentleman's C" level, but he and Kim both knew that he still had a way to go. Even after he surprised the school board by scoring in the top ten percentile in his SATs, he still needed to score at least an A-minus in English Lit to have a chance of being accepted at Upperton University. To that end, he accepted an extra-credit assignment that Barkin had offered the class; to memorize one of Shakespeare's sonnets and recite the poem in front of the class. Barkin, impressed with Ron's progress over his senior year, even announced to the former slacker that if he pulled off an A in his class, he would personally write a glowing letter of recommendation to the Upperton application board.
Unknown to both teen's parents, Ron and Kim had an ulterior motive behind his academic excellence; Kim had already been accepted at Upperton University, and Ron had every intention of being there with her. Kim and Ron both looked forward to attending the same college, rooting for the Upperton Mighty Ducks, attending campus functions, dances, studying together in either of their dorms—and of course simply being together without the constant threat of Ron being rocketed into a black hole by Kim's father or the steady drone of gagging sounds by the Tweebs. Just being with Kim. That's all he wanted.
"Alas, milady fair," Ron flashed Kim a lopsided smile, "Tara didst beat me to that one. But chill, KP, I managed to find a good one. I've been practicing it for half-an-hour every night for the last week. Trust me, the Ron-man's got the Bard down!"
"Spankin'," Kim exclaimed happily, bending her head to kiss the tip of Ron's nose. "So, you wanna tell me your choice?"
"No can do, KP," Ron shook his head. "Surprise and all. Trust me, you'll love it."
Kim regarded her boyfriend with a glare of mock indignation. She then relaxed her features, her eyes widened and her lower lip began to tremble slightly. Ron winced slightly, recognizing what was to come; the Puppy-dog Pout. As he witnessed Kim bringing all her powers to bear in an effort to wheedle the truth from Ron, his goofy grin returned slowly. "Sorry, KP," Ron announced, "but this time, I finally have the antidote to the dreaded Puppy-dog Pout."
"Oh?" Kim furrowed her brow slightly. "And what might that be-MPFH—" Kim's sentence was interrupted by Ron suddenly lifting his head off of her lap as his hands slid behind her head, pulling her down for a serious kiss. Kim considered pushing him away for all of a tenth of a second, but quickly allowed herself to enjoy the warm sensations of Ron's lips gently exploring hers, his hands running through her hair. Rufus simply made a rude face and squealed, "EWW!" before ducking back into Ron's pocket to avoid witnessing the private display of affection.
After ten seconds, Ron pulled away slightly, but his arms remained draped over Kim's shoulders. "Trust me, KP. Monday, I think you'll be impressed by my choice. Besides, I chose it just for you." Flashing Kim a cursory look, he added, "So, we all alone in the house tonight?"
Kim nodded. "Mom's got a late-night shift at the hospital, and Dad and the Tweebs are at a Rocket Camp retreat for the weekend, so yeah. How about your folks?"
Ron breathed a slight sigh of relief; the last thing he needed was to hear Dr. Mr. Possible's "Black Hole Deep" speech for the umpteenth time. "The 'rents are attending a 'couples retreat' led by Rabbi Katz, so I've got the house to myself until Sunday."
"In that case," Kim's lips unturned in a flirtatious smile, "maybe we could do some refresher study—y'know, basic anatomy, human relations—"
Ron lowered his eyelids slightly, waggling his eyebrows in his best approximation of a leer. "Boo-yeah," he growled as she wrapped her arms around Ron's torso, pulling him in for another kiss.
Ron and Kim suddenly pulled away as if her father and the Tweebs had caught them in the act. Kim looked at Ron, her eyes widened in silent apology. Ron smiled understandingly, adding, "This had better be good, Wade." Rufus, hearing the signal, scampered out of Ron's pocket and up his arm, resting on the young boy's shoulder as he watched intently. Kim and Ron both knew that Wade wouldn't try to contact them on their date night, unless the need was great. But still, the interruption grated.
Kim grabbed her ever-present Kimmunicator from the coffee table and switched it on. "What's the sitch, Wade?" she asked, almost but not quite successful in masking her irritation. "And keep in mind that if this involves Duff Killigan or the Senors, I'm hanging up."
Wade Load's beaming face lit up the screen on Kim's multi-purpose communications device as he sat behind his computer, a large soda on the desk within sipping distance. "Sorry if I interrupted anything—important," Wade grinned mischievously, causing Kim to groan inwardly, (Honestly, she thought but didn't say, he can be worse than the Tweebs sometimes!) "but I thought you should hear this. We got a few hits on your website; a figure was seen staking out the Tri-Cities Museum, and someone even provided a photo taken from a digital camera."
Wade's chubby fingers flew deftly across his computer keyboard, and his image was replaced by a grainy photograph of the museum garage. A solitary figure perched on a tree-limb outside of the garage, silhouetted against the parking lot lights. Ron tensed slightly as he recognized the figure's posture, especially the way his long hands dangled simian-like below the limb.
Wade continued; "Apparantly a new exhibit of ancient relics is opening tomorrow, including a few that are reputed to possess mystical powers. One of the reported artifacts is supposed to be something called the Tempus Simia."
"As in, 'Time Monkey'?" Kim translated. As the words left her lips both she and Ron felt a vague uneasiness, a strong sense of familiarity. Kim brushed it off easily, not putting much stock into deja-vu, but Ron was still apprehensive.
"Let me guess," Ron grumbled, "Monkey Fist wants to steal this Time Monkey?"
Kim placed her hand on Ron's shoulder sympathetically. "Maybe it's not Monkey Fist this time, Ron," she offered.
"Take a look at that pic, KP," Ron argued calmly. "Unless Shego's stopped seeing her manicurist, that's ol' Monkey Boy. Besides, it's a mystic monkey statue, of course he's gonna try and steal it; that's practically his signature piece. Don't worry, Kim, I'm mostly over my fear of monkeys."
"You sure, Ron?"
"Mostly sure," Ron hedged slightly. With more conviction he added, "And even if I wasn't, they could throw King Kong at me and I'd still have your back, KP."
Kim smiled warmly at Ron's assertion. "We got transport, Wade?"
"On it," Wade grinned. "I've been wanting to field-test those new anti-grav boogie-boards I was working on." Kim and Ron heard a sudden thud outside the front door. "That'll be them now. They're fitted with GPS chips, and I already set them with the coordinates for the museum. They'll get you there in minutes."
"Wade, you rock," Kim assured her tech-expert. She glanced a slightly disappointed look at Ron, and added under her breath, "Even if your timing doesn't." Kim shut off the connection and turned to Ron. "Let's go get suited up."
"Right, KP," Ron nodded, summoning his game face and heading for the main closet, where he had kept a spare mission suit. "Let's go spank that monkey!"
Kim turned sharply at her boyfriend, regarding him with a withering glare. Realizing his gaffe, Ron gulped and added, "Uh, that came out wrong, didn't it?"
Kim crouched on top of her anti-grav board, reveling in the feel of the wind on her face as she swooped over the rooftops of Middleton. Ron, on the other hand, clamped his hands onto the sides of his board in a vise-like grip, not trusting himself to fall if he tried to stand. Kim smiled sadly as she caught sight of her boyfriend's less than dignified approach to riding the boogie-board. No matter how many times she risked her life to save the world, she was glad that Ron would always be there for her, even when his fears threatened to overpower him. She mentally promised to make it up to him once the mission was over.
After a few more minutes, Team Possible had arrived at the museum, and lowered the boogie-boards to the ground. "Okay," Kim briefed Ron as they stashed the boards behind a nearby tree, "Monkey Fist is probably in there, probably backed by a squad of his monkey-ninjas. Wade contacted Global Justice already, and Dr. Director and Will Du will meet us here in half an hour."
"No muss, no fuss," Ron nodded, smirking slightly, "and home in an hour, so we can get back to our rudely interrupted make-out session."
"We'll discuss that later, Ron," Kim answered, feigning anger, but with a knowing smile playing at her lips. Silently, they made their way to the front door, which Kim noticed was ajar and slightly dented, as though kicked in. They slipped in silently, noticing that no alarms sounded at their entrance; evidently Fist's hench-monkeys had taken care of the alarms.
She pulled her Kimmunicator out of her pocket and flipped a switch. A bright halogen light flared to life from the base of the unit, stabbing into the darkness ahead. "Scanning the museum for heat signatures," Kim murmured as she waved the Kimmunicator in front of her, shining the light through the museum hallways. A sudden bleep sounded as the beam passed over a section of wall, near the 'Tri-City Expo' exhibit. She pointed quietly to Ron, and then to the hallway ahead. He nodded, comprehending, and steeled himself for the inevitable encounter with his least-favorite foe.
A manic cackle sounded over the smashed displays of Chinese and Tibetan antiques and artifacts. "At last!" Montgomery Fiske, the monkey-obsessed martial artist known to the world as "Monkey Fist" gloated as he approached the pedestal where the jade monkey idol rested. "With the power of the Tempus Simia, I will be invincible!"
"Oh, that trick again?" an all-too familiar voice chanted mockingly. Fiske turned his head and gazed on the figures of Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable rushing toward him. "You gotta get some new material, Fist," Kim added. "You're beginning to repeat yourself."
"So," Monkey Fist intoned darkly, "I should have known that I would find you here, Kim Possible. You and your monkey-phobic friend," he regarded Ron with disdain. "He still possesses the mystic monkey power that by rights should belong to me! But once I obtain the powers of the Tempus Simia, this shall change!"
Ron rolled his eyes at Monkey Fist's grandiose pronouncement. "Monologuing. I hate monologuing."
Kim raised her hand slightly to cut off Ron's complaint. "So this little carnival prize has some kind of weird monkey power, I'm guessing?"
"Astute observation, Miss Possible," Monkey Fist stepped forward. "With it, I shall possess the power of time travel. I will travel back to before I encountered you, and retrieve the monkey idols without your interference! Then I will kill your friend before his blundering derailed my destiny to become the True Monkey Master!"
"Well, good luck with that," Kim announced as she approached the would-be master of Tai Sheng Pek Kwar, her arms lifted in a battle-ready position. "I mean, it's probably going to be tough pulling off that True Monkey Master thing, seeing as how you're going to jail and all."
Ron stood behind Kim, attempting to mask his fear. Fist was right about one thing; Ron had spent much of his life dealing with an almost paralyzing fear of monkeys. But Ron stood stalwart beside Kim, his legs bent slightly, ready for action.
"I doubt that, Kim Possible," Monkey Fist sneered. Pointing at his two adversaries, the insane martial artist shouted, "Monkey Ninjas, ATTACK!" At his command, his minions lunged forward, toward Kim and Ron.
"Scatter!" Kim shouted, and she and Ron dove to opposite directions. Ron rolled clumsily as the ninja squad split into two units, each one targeting one of the two heroes. Ducking under and behind a fallen display case, Ron fumbled with a compartment in his belt where he kept a telescoping bo-staff, a new toy that Wade had invented for him. Unlatching the six-inch long metal rod, Ron pressed his thumb against a stud on the side, and smiled as it snapped open, elongating to eight feet in half of a second. "Boom, baby!" Ron shouted, striking a martial pose, holding the staff forward. "Didn't think I came prepared, Monkey-boy, huh?"
Ron spun the bo-staff in his hands, knocking out two of the ninja monkeys that tried to pounce on him. Kim leaped capably over the heads of her pursuers, taking a brief moment mid-flight to admire Ron as he handled the staff. She suppressed a smile as she watched, inwardly pleased that he seemed to be keeping his attackers at bay. She landed next to Fist lunged for him. Fist leapt away from her grasp and placed his simian paws on top of her head, leapfrogging over her and toward the idol.
"Ron!" she called out. "Can you get up here before Monkey Fist gets away?"
"I'm so there, KP," Ron smiled. He pushed aside another ninja, and held the staff forward. He ran toward Kim for several steps, then lowered the tip of the staff to the ground, preparing to use the staff as a pole vault...only to have the staff contract suddenly to its six-inch state just as he began his vault, carrying the hapless teen with it. Ron found himself plowing into the ground in an ungainly heap, and within seconds the ninjas literally monkey-piled on top of him. Ron seized up under the weight of his attackers, his legs and arms flailing helplessly, and cried out, "Get'emoffme, get'emoffme!"
"RON!" Kim shouted as she leapt toward her boyfriend, knocking out several monkey ninjas with seasoned karate blows.
"Excellent," Monkey Fist smiled cruelly as he rushed the dais on all fours, his mutated simian-like hands and feet propelling him at inhuman speed. "Now that the pretender to the throne and his rescuer are otherwise occupied," he announced as he snatched the Tempus Simia from its pedestal, "I shall retrieve my rightful prize! Monkey ninjas, to me!" The whirring sounds of a helicopter's rotary wings filled the air as a black shadow loomed through the skylight. One of Fiske's minions had clambered to the skylight, kicking out several panes of glass.
The monkeys jumped onto the dais as Monkey Fist pulled a grappler gun out of his belt holster and fired a piton into air where it connected with the helicopter, trailing a high-tensile line behind it, the other end of which Monkey Fist held with his free hand. The monkeys scampered up the line to the waiting chopper, with Monkey Fist fastening the rope around his waist, just as the chopper lifted him into the air.
"Farewell, Kim Possible!" he shouted over the din of the chopper, carrying the Tempus Simia in his arms like a cherished trophy. "When next we meet, I shall be all-powerf-AIIEEE!" As Kim steadied Ron to his feet, they turned their heads suddenly to witness the sight of Rufus biting down hard on Monkey Fist's hand, sinking his incisors deep into the hairy flesh before jumping off the arch villain. The sudden pain caused Monkey Fist to release his hold on the Tempus Simia, which fell to the ground. With practiced ease, Kim somersaulted toward the falling idol, catching it in her hands before it could hit the ground. Rufus rolled as he landed on the ground and scurried toward his master, nuzzling gently on Ron's cheek.
"Hey, Fiske!" Kim shouted, holding the idol before her. "You dropped something!"
"CURSE YOU, POSSIBLE!" Monkey Fist shouted as the helicopter shrank in the distance. "This isn't over!"
Kim smirked sullenly as Monkey Fist disappeared in the clouds. "Why do escaping villains always have to say that?" she asked no one in particular. She turned to Rufus, who was comforting his fallen master. "Hey, nice save, Rufus. Next batch of Nacos is on me." Rufus chittered a pleased response, lifting his hand over his brow in a snappy salute. "Ron, are you hurt?" Kim turned her attention to her boyfriend, who lay unmoving on the ground where he had landed.
"I'd say, 'only my pride', KP," he answered wearily, as he slowly lifted himself off the ground. "If I had any left, that is."
Kim patted his knee gently as she pulled out her Kimmunicator, switching it to the GJ frequency. "Dr. Director," she announced, "Monkey Fist got away, but we stopped him from stealing the Tempus Simia."
"Good work," the eyepatch-wearing figure on the Kimmuncator's monitor answered. "We'll be at the site in five minutes. Director out."
True to her word, Dr. Betty Director, head of Global Justice, and her top agent Will Du had arrived at the temple, leading a team of GJ officers to finish mopping up. "On the down side, Monkey Fist made his escape," Kim had briefed Dr. Director on the situation, "but on the up side, the Tempus Simia's safe."
"No doubt the mission wouldn't have gone south," Will Du added haughtily, regarding Ron with a sour stare, "if you'd have left that bungler Stoppable at home."
Kim's head snapped toward Agent Du, her eyes staring daggers at the overbearing agent. "You want to take this outside, Agent?" she snarled at Du.
"Face it, Kim," Du returned, "as long as you associate with that amateur, you'll never reach your full potential. I swear, that damn gopher has more brains than he does!"
Kim stood up, getting into the GJ agent's face. "You listen here, Will Doofus," she snarled, "if you ever dis Ron again and I find out about it, I'll put you in traction! And Rufus is a mole rat, not a gopher!"
"Neutral corners, children!" Dr. Director shouted, grabbing the attention of both Kim and Du. "Kim, you and Ron both did well under the circumstances," Dr. Director announced after a few moments of stunned silence. "Property damage seems to be at a minimum, and none of the exhibits themselves were stolen or damaged. I spoke with the curator of the museum just before arriving here; with Fiske still at large, we agreed it would be prudent to have a GJ agent standing guard over the exhibit until new security systems could be installed tomorrow morning." Glancing at her junior agent, she added, "And Agent Du just volunteered to stand guard tonight."
Will Du spun his head around in distraught surprise. "Wha-wha-when did I volunteer?" he stammered uncomfortably.
Dr. Director regarded him with the calm malice of a school-teacher catching her students cheating on a test. "Just now, when you treated Possible and Stoppable with contempt."
"But, I had plans for tonight—" he pleaded feebly.
"Well," his superior officer replied, "now you have new plans."
"Dismissed!" she barked, ending the discussion. Will Du snapped a salute and sadly returned to the exhibit hall, reluctantly preparing for his vigil.
Kim smirked at the discomfited agent as she and Ron left for home. "Bus—" she whispered mockingly. "Ted."
They mutually decided not to ride the boogie-boards home, and instead carried the lightweight devices as they walked home. The walk back to the Possible residence was relatively silent. Ron hadn't said two words since they left the museum, and Kim recognized the dark mood that Ron was experiencing. For all his easy-going laid-back charm, there was no one who was harder on Ron than himself. His clumsiness had caused him no end of embarrassment over the years, especially since he first joined Kim Possible in her world-saving activities. And she did have to admit that she ended up saving his life more often than not. But he had saved hers nearly as often, and it busted her butt to see jerks like Will Du (who, from Kim's recollection of the time they worked together, would need to hone his skills to qualify for 'inept') riding Ron like that. Bonnie Rockwaller didn't bother them, no matter how often she called Ron 'loser', but Will Du's taunts stabbed at them. He was supposed to be an adult, not an overgrown teen bully!
"Hey, Ron," Kim approached him slowly, "don't let Du get you down. You did good."
"Yeah?" Ron answered sullenly. "When exactly did I do good, before or after my bo-staff collapsed? Man, I came off looking like a prize chump!"
"Hold it right there, Ronald Dean Stoppable," Kim answered sternly. "Let's get off the self-pity fiesta now. Yes, there are still some bugs in the bo-staff, but I'm gonna chat with Wade later about that. I saw you handling that staff, and you looked pretty sweet. Just don't use it as a pole vault for the time being."
Ron shook his head sadly. "It's not the staff, KP," he muttered. "It was the monkeys. Every time I think I'm over that whole monkey-phobia, that ol' knuckle-dragger Monkey Fist shows up and it's 'Summer at Camp Wannaweep' all over again!"
Kim placed a reassuring hand on his shoulder. "It's okay, Ronnie. Okay, it tanks that Fist got away, but we stopped him from grabbing the Tempus Simia, so I'm putting this one in the 'win' column. Okay?" Ron's lips upturned slightly, but Kim recognized that the gesture was more for her benefit.
As they neared Kim's house, Kim turned shyly toward Ron. "We still have time for the rest of our study-date," she suggested.
Ron shook his head again, his hand massaging the back of his neck, a nervous tic Kim recognized as Ron fighting off humiliation. "I'm gonna pass on that, Kim. Sorry, but I just wanna crawl into bed for the night. It's not you, it's just that—I'm just exhausted, Kim. You wouldn't want me konking out on your lap, would you?"
Kim nodded, understandingly. "I understand," she said, stepping forward to give Ron a peck on his lips. "But we're still on for tomorrow afternoon, right?"
Ron furrowed his brow for a second, then said, "Oh, right. Lunchtime double-date with Monique and Felix. You sure you're up for that?"
"Up for a little Ron-shine?" she grinned coquettishly. "Don't worry, it'll be fun. We'll do a mall-crawl, pick up some new cargoes at Club Banana. Moni calls it 'retail therapy'. So I'll see you tomorrow, right?"
"Right," Ron answered as he turned around and headed for his home. "See ya there, KP." Under his breath he added, "That is assuming you want to be seen hanging with a loser like me."
He didn't think Kim heard him. He was wrong
Kim lifted her head from her pillow, wearily glancing at her alarm clock. The red LED display balefully showed 2:32. She allowed her head to fall dejectedly onto the pillow, and surrendered to the realization that she wasn't going to get any sleep tonight.
She had considered calling Monique and asking for some advice, but she figured her friend would be sound asleep. And her mother was still working the late shift at Middleton Hospital, so she wasn't available to talk to.
She pulled her Pandaroo toy close to her face and asked, "So, what do I do about Ron?" Her beloved toy remained silent, prompting Kim to glower slightly. "Lot of help you were," she chuckled ruefully.
She was worried about Ron.
He was hurting inside, and she didn't know what to do.
There was no doubt in Kim's mind that Ron was the sweetest, funniest, most sensitive person she had ever known. She could never hope for a better best friend, or a more caring boyfriend. And she also knew, even if Ron didn't always have a clue, that he had potential to become so much more. She thought back to the moves he demonstrated with the bo-staff, before his unsuccessful attempt at pole-vaulting. She admitted to herself that Ron could have handled the vault better, but for awhile it seemed to be working. If he trained with it a little more, she knew that he could wield that stick like a master. She knew he had the skills in him; she witnessed it more than once, notably when she followed Ron to Japan with that Yori girl, to save the mysterious Master Sensei from DNAmy, just before the junior prom.
There was a name she'd prefer to forget. She thought she had found The One when she met Eric. Sweet, witty, kind, and no hardship to look at either. He was too good to be true. Literally, as it turned out; before what became known as the Diablo Incident was finished, he stood revealed as nothing more than a synthetic man, a biogenetic Synthodrone designed by Drakken to seduce her and break her spirits when she succumbed to his charms. And it worked. Drakken had broken her. For the first time in her life, Kim Possible was truly defeated.
Until another young man reminded her that she was better than that. That she could find happiness with someone more deserving. Someone who was real, for one thing. Someone sweet, witty and kind, all the things Eric pretended to be.
"Ron, do you really think there's someone for me out there?"
"Out there...in here..."
It didn't fully dawn on her until a week after the prom, after she and Ron danced together and shared their first kiss. Drakken had created Eric to be Kim's ideal man, and the one person that he had reminded her of most, in his laid-back personality, quirky sense of humor and sensitivity, was Ron. He was all those things. And she had been standing too close to see that until it was almost too late.
More than anything else, Kim wanted the world to see Ron as she saw him now. No, that wasn't entirely true. There was one thing she wanted more. She wanted Ron to see himself as she did. But his old insecurities always came back to ambush him. His fears, she realized, were his greatest obstacle. The one thing that stood in the way of his future, of his happiness.
It all boiled down to those summers he spent at Camp Wannaweep. She knew the stories; he had told them so many times, whether she was interested or not, that she could quote them chapter and verse. Forced to share a cabin with an irate monkey, swimming in polluted water, mosquitoes the size of Vespa scooters—she suspected that last part was exaggerated, but still—if he had never gone to Camp Wannaweep, she reasoned, he would not be so afraid.
"Oh, Pandaroo," she whispered again to her cherished Cuddle-Buddy, "if there was only a way to go back there, to stop Ron from having to go to Wannaweep—"
As the words escaped her lips, an idea began to germinate. An outlandish idea. An idea that Kim began to dismiss as impossible.
Then her father's voice sounded in her mind; "Just remember, Kimmie-cub, nothing's impossible for a Possible."
Bolting to a sitting position, she retrieved her Kimmunicator from her nightstand and punched in the code she had committed to memory so long ago. The small screen flickered to life, and Wade Load's face appeared before her. "What's up, Kim?" the pajama-clad prodigy asked.
"Oh," Kim blushed slightly, "Sorry, Wade. Didn't mean to wake you."
"Don't worry, Kim," he answered. "I was up anyway. Late-night classic sci-fi marathon on cable tonight. 'Day the Earth Stood Still', followed by 'Forbidden Planet'. So, what can I do ya for?
"Wade," Kim asked quietly, "what can you tell me about the Tempus Simia?"
Wade pulled up a browser window on his computer. "Did a little research earlier. According to this one article, the Tempus Simia was one of a handful of monkey totems crafted around the same time as that monkey icon that Monkey Fist conned you and Ron into helping him steal three years ago."
"So it's tied in with that whole Mystic Monkey mojo thing, huh?"
"Right," Wade answered. "But according to the legends, this one is more powerful than the others. Legends tell of the Tempus Simia being used to change the courses of major battles during the Feudal era in Japan, by altering the outcome after the fact. The Tempus Simia was supposed to allow its possessor the ability to travel through time. But it was used only once as a weapon of war; evidently it ended up destroying both armies, and the few remaining survivors realized it was too powerful to ever be used again, so they kept it locked away in an abandoned monastery, near the Yamanouchi Ninja School. More recently, the head of the Yamanouchi School, Master Sensei, agreed to allow the Tempus Simia to be loaned to museums around the world, including the Tri-Cities Museum. No explanation was given for his actions so far."
Kim pondered Wade's words for a moment. It could work, she thought. It just might—
"Wade," she announced, "can you do me a solid?"
"Name it and claim it," Wade smiled.
"Can you give me a schematic of the Tri-Cities Museum?" Kim asked. "Especially the security lay-out."
"Any reason?" Wade questioned his long-time friend.
Kim paused for half-a-second. She was not comfortable with lying to a trusted ally, but she reasoned that the fewer people who knew her plan, the fewer people would be hurt if it went south. "Let's just say I'm worried about Monkey Fist. He's still out there, and with the broken skylight and the shut-off security alarm, it would be just like him to try and steal the monkey again now that it's unprotected."
"What about Agent Du? Isn't he on guard?"
Kim scowled. "Like I said, Wade. It's unprotected."
Wade chuckled knowingly. "Right. I'm downloading the information into the Kimmunicator. You should have it in ten seconds."
"Please and thank you," she responded brightly. When the download was completed, she smiled. "You never cease to rock, Wade."
"Kim," Wade said suddenly before she could disconnect the line. "—Just be careful."
Kim nodded, understanding Wade's concerns. He was no fool. "I will, Wade. Kim out."
Will Du continued his silent vigil, scanning the darkened hallways of the museum for any sign of Monkey Fist or any of his minions. For the hundredth time he sighted nothing. And for the hundredth time he grumbled about the poker game he was missing because of that upstart Possible and her stooge sidekick.
He groused slightly and returned to his duty. Another ten hours of guard duty before the museum opened. Ours is not to reason why, he reminded himself.
A faint creaking sound overhead caught the agent's attention. He primed his taser-rifle and followed the sound to an air conditioner vent in the ceiling. "Whoever you are," he announced, standing directly under the vent, "come down with your hands up."
"If you insist," a chirpy voice announced. A figure fell through the vent, kicking Agent Du hard in the jaw. A rapid karate chop to the neck knocked him unconscious almost immediately. As his eyelids closed, he thought he could recognize the intruder's long honey-red hair.
"Sleep tight, Will Du," Kim Possible whispered through to the prone agent. "You won't have anything worse than a headache when you wake up. And don't worry, I'm not here to steal anything. In fact, if I'm right, I can do what I came her to do without leaving the exhibit." The black-clad herione immediately strode toward the Tempus Simia.
Standing ten yards from the relic, Kim stopped and pulled a can of hairspray out of her equipment bag. After inhaling deeply, she pointed the can toward the icon and sprayed for five seconds. The mist coalesced over the floor of the exhibit room, and Kim smiled grimly as the spray particles revealed a web of red light beams. Obviously Betty Director had thought ahead and set up motion sensors around the perimeter of the exhibit.
Obviously, Betty Director wasn't expecting a cheerleader/gymnast to try and steal the Tempus Simia. Kim gauged the spaces between the motion-sensor beams, her mind doing the geometry, determining where and how to approach the monkey statue.
A sudden hammer-strike to the base of her skull sent her reeling, but she regained her composure quickly and landed on her feet with a quick roll. "What the—" she started but was unable to finish as her attacker lunged at her again. Able to see her attacker now, Kim was able to dodge another blow, executing a neat back flip and landing on her feet. She sized up her new opponent; her attacker wore black karate gi, head wrapped in a black mask that left only the eyes exposed. The form was lithe and slender, and judging from the curves on the form's body, female.
"Okay, sister," Kim snarled quietly. "If you're working for Monkey Fist, then you couldn't have picked a worse night to get on my bad side."
She crouched low before springing into the air and toward the ninja, her hands prepared to deliver a quick blow to her neck. The ninja dove out of Kim's reach easily, pulling something out of the cuff of her boot as she flew past Kim's body. A sudden slicing pain in her arm sent Kim sprawling to the ground. She looked at her arm and saw that the fabric of her sleeve was cut cleanly. A thin reddening line was visible on her exposed skin. She glared back at the ninja, and noticed that she was now brandishing two small metallic handheld fans. The edges of the fans looked to be honed to a razor's fineness.
Kim stopped short at the sight of the two fans. She only knew of one person who used such fans as weapons. "No," she whispered, "it couldn't be her." The ninja then removed the coverings over her head, revealing her pale olive-toned face and straight black hair. She regarded Kim with a look of calm defiance, and Kim blanched as her suspicions were confirmed.
"Forgive me, Possible-sama," Yori answered, her posture calm but tense, her face a grim mask of determination. "I have no wish to fight you, but I know what you intend to do, and I cannot allow you access to the Tempus Simia."
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