Blue Eyes, Shining
Disclaimer/Author's Notes: Kim Possible and all the characters of the show are owned by the Disney Company. All other characters can be blamed on the author (he, however, is not responsible for all of their actions at all times, being barely responsible for himself most of the time….). This is a strictly not-for-profit, just-for-fun work.
To everyone who continues to read and review: danke, arigato, thank you,
It's the final chapter, and it's neither short nor light, so make sure that you have plenty of tissues handy, grab yourself a fresh carton of ice cream and a big spoon (maybe even two spoons, so you can share or have a backup), sit back, relax, and get ready for the ride.
Enjoy! Please read and review.
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Chapter 9: In the rain
(From the archives and logs of Dr. Wade Load.)
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"Cousin Kim, thanks for inspiring me to be more than I was before. Without you, I wouldn't be standing here," and she reached over and pulled me to her side, "and I certainly wouldn't have my Wade here, either," and she grinned. Her Wade: Ron grinned when he heard her comment.
Kim was visibly touched by all of this, but she had one burning question:
"So, Joss, what are you planning to do with all of this?" Kim asked. Joss turned to me, kissed my cheek, and turned back to Kim with a big grin.
"Well, Kim, let me tell you," and she picked up the remote and brought up a map of the Pacific Northwest.
"As you may or may not be aware, the entire Pacific Northwest is a major concern area for drug trafficking to and from Canada," and she showed the known drug routes by shading the map, "along with possibility of terrorist movements through the area, given the current border 'sitch.' If you take these issues and add the search and rescue activities required up here during the year in both the US and Canada, there's enough work for a team to stay busy.
"S&R isn't just people, and it isn't just avalanches: earthquakes, fires, floods, mudslides, rustlers, you name it:" and each item was identified with an additional color on the map showing the most recent events, "we've got it to deal with up here. Add to that, the need to train people to be prepared that will have the same impact in Pacific Northwest that you've made in Colorado and other parts of the US, Kim, and there's a 'load' of work to be done."
"Hey!" I gave her my own pout.
"Sorry about the 'load' of work, Wade," and she kissed my cheek, "but I just couldn't resist it. The Montana DCI would kill to have access to the resources that the big cities have, but the Homeland Security funds rightfully go to the locations needing them the most, now; it's not driven by politics anymore. Helena has less of a need than Los Angeles, but the need remains, and sooner or later we've got to close these gaps: we can begin to do that by staffing up and training our team, and use them to provide additional intelligence to Global Justice, the FBI, and the surrounding state agencies."
"wow," was Kim's response.
I came in. "We're not in the super-villain arena, Kim," and Ron and Betty both noticed my choice of pronouns, "That's GJ and Team Possible. There's enough villainy to go around for everybody, and if we can stop some of it before it reaches the super level, we may have a better chance for us and our kids to grow up in a better and safer world than we've experienced.
"Information, tolerance, and understanding are the keys.
"We can't assume that everything that we do is in the best interest of the world, nor can we assume that everyone sees our points of view. 9/11 has taught us that, so we must learn before we can teach.
"The new Team Possible, Kim, must learn before we can teach and act. We will engage in some rescue efforts to start, but Joss and I and the rest of the team need to learn how to survive survival efforts and react in today's conditions. We'll assist the other agencies with information and analysis on the drug trafficking in Montana, to start, and work our way up to missions as we master the skills needed."
"We may not even be a 'Team Possible', Kim; I don't know, yet," Joss concluded. "Like Wade said: we're not you and Ron, and I've learned not to repeat my mistakes," and she grinned at Kim, who caught the reference and grinned back. "Someone wise told me that I need to 'blaze my own trail,' and that's what we're going to do," and Ron and Betty and Kim all caught the change in perspective, and again smiled.
"Looks like some people have been putting a lot of work and thought into this plan," Kim smiled as she spoke. Even their smiles were genetic, so similar were they, but I already knew that.
"Very interesting perspective, Joss, Wade," Rebecca Jane said. "Count me in." and Betty looked surprised for a moment, then thoughtful.
"I will need a liaison with this new team," she mused out loud, looking at Rebecca Jane stoically.
"But, of course, that person would have to have successfully completed their GJ training, and be willing and interested in the long-term assignment. I wonder where I could find such a person," and she rubbed her chin with her thumb and forefinger.
Rebecca Jane couldn't stand it any more, and she almost came out of her chair when Betty mentioned that she might have to ask around.
"Ma'am-" and Betty cut her short.
"Yes, Rebecca Jane, you're my choice, so sit back and relax, I was just messing with you," and Rebecca Jane sat back shocked as Betty laughed with her, not at her.
An almost inaudible chirp came from Betty, and she pulled out a handset.
"Do you want him there?"
"Give me 3," and she disconnected.
She turned and looked at Slim. "They have more questions, Slim, and they need answers, now. Can we use the videoconference link in your office?"
"'Mi casa,' Betty."
"Thanks, Slim. Come on," and the two of them left right after Betty said, "Go on without us; we'll be awhile."
"Well, why don't Arnold and I take Kim on the tour, Joss?"
"Sounds like a plan to me, Rebecca Jane."
"Kim, this is still a construction site where we're going, so you'll need this," and Rebecca Jane handed her a hard hat. That in itself wasn't the problem:
The construction company colors were green and black, as were their hard hats. Kim held it like it was an anaconda, or a giant black widow. "Riiiggghhhtt," she said, but Ron solved the problem. "KP: it's better than the hairnet that Barkin gave you," and Kim slammed the helmet onto her head.
"Spankin' look, KP: maybe we should get these for all of our missions," Ron said cheerfully.
Kim just growled at him and said "ROONNNN!" Then, she looked at his face.
"Gotcha, KP," and he clicked the camera to capture a picture of Kim, Rebecca Jane, and Arnold all three helmeted, Kim growling and the other two smiling.
"Well, at least you're smiling, now. So, who's up for the tour?"
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Ron made sure that Rebecca Jane and Arnold took Kim out of the room, then went over to Joss and whispered something to her; she blushed, came over to me and whispered "I'll be back in 15 minutes," kissed my cheek and walked out. Ron came over after she left.
"What did you say to her, Ron?" I inquired.
"I just told her that her 'man' had a surprise for her and she needed to go and change for an outdoor 'affair,'" and Ron grinned.
"But I never told you where."
"Talking horse, Wade, remember?" Ron replied. "I asked Tornado, he told me, and he took me out there already. Everything's set up, and the food basket will be waiting by the corral for you; I've already worked out a harness for Tornado."
"Did you get the items that I asked you about after our 'O-BOYZ' call last night?
"'Those words hurt,' Wade," Ron did a perfect Dr. D., then grinned again. "Yellow and red, just as you asked. Your table is prepared and waiting, monsieur," and Ron gave me an exaggerated bow.
"Danke, Ron," I replied with a bow of my own.
"How'd you get so lady-savvy?"
"Dad trained me well; I just had to watch how he treated Mom."
"Wow. She's a lucky lady, Wade."
"No, Ron, Dad tells me all the time how lucky he is, and now I'm beginning to understand what he means."
"Get out of here, and go enjoy your lunch," and Ron shooed me out of the bunker. "I've got to go and catch up with the tour before Kim goes medieval on Arnold."
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I got to Tornado before Joss came out, and I strapped the basket to Tornado's side (I love robot horses: no need for feed…), and I sat and waited for Joss. She didn't disappoint me.
Now I knew why she looked happy to see her dad leave with Betty.
She came out in a shirt that would have made Tara jealous: pure working cowgirl and fashionable, pure comfort, pure joy, at least for me.
She wore a pair of jeans that were perfect for her and the shirt, and she had on her red boots, again.
I almost forgot the hat: she was, after all, a working cowgirl. And her face….
She came over and smiled, then twirled. "You like?" Only she could pull that off in jeans….
"Joss, you could wear a potato sack and I'd like," I answered honestly.
"Flatterer," and she brushed my cheek. "What's Tornado doing here?"
"It's a surprise," and I produced the blindfold from earlier, and covered her eyes. I pushed her towards Tornado, and she mounted him. I got on, and told Tornado: "Tornado, Wade 1."
"Yes, Wade," and we took off at a comfortable trot. Did I mention that I loved robot horses?
Good news: Joss was not wearing a crop top.
Bad news: this was worse than a crop top: tight, silky….
No banging the head this time; I just grinned as we rode and Joss hummed. I wished that I could remember that song….
- - - - - - -
We arrived, and I grinned:
'Ron is all that, Dr D,' I thought.
He had somehow (Mystical Monkey Power, most likely) positioned a flat-top boulder as a table in front of the natural bench framed by the trees; our backs would be to the canyon, this time. A vase of long-stemmed yellow roses sat on the tabletop, and red rose petals led up to one side of the table. A champagne stand was next to the table on the other side, and a bottle sat, chilling, in the bucket. Plates, silverware, champagne flutes, and water glasses accompanied the table setting.
I jumped down and reached up to Joss' hand to help her down (she was good: she had not tried to remove the blindfold, although I'd heard about it in mumbling as we got closer to the spot), and I guided her to the bench and sat her down, telling her to leave the blindfold on. I got the basket from Tornado and placed it on the ground next to the table where I would sit. Then, I sat..
"Ok, you can take off the blindfold, Joss."
"It's about time, Wade. What in the world were you trying-" and she stopped as she pulled the blindfold off and looked at the table. Her face was pure surprise, pure shock, and pure joy.
"Wade, when-" and she turned to me and saw the long-stemmed red rose that I had in my hand. I smiled.
"What is this?"
"Gee, it looks like a rose, Jocelyn," and I handed it to her. "Although," I added, "it's a tough room for a rose."
"Because you are here, oh tea so sweet," I replied, and I handed her the rose; she turned redder than the rose.
"When-" and I stopped her.
"Less talk, more lunch," I interjected as I stood and lifted the basket to the table. She squealed with glee.
"Let's see what chef Ron packed," and I opened it and pulled out the first packages, and I laughed.
"What's so funny?" and I showed her the label on the package: Peanut butter and grape jelly sandwiches for two, crust trimmed.
"Channeling Kim, I see," I remarked as I put the package down and reached in for the next package. The package was still quite warm, and I wondered if Ron had managed to do it….
I opened the container, and the sweet smell of Mexican spices assaulted the forest air. Ron had indeed done it. Joss sniffed, and smiled. "What is that?"
"Ron has delivered the ultimate luncheon meal: Ron's original recipe 'Nacos,' not the watered-down recipe that Bueno Nacho sells, but the adult version with the chipotles and the full range of spices."
"It smells wonderful," she replied, and then she pulled me back down and kissed me like she'd never kissed me before (before you ask, it was all 'G:' we were 13 and 14 then, remember!).
When she came up for air, I asked, "What was that for?"
"All this," and she waved her hand. "Why?"
"After two nights that you've had, you deserve a good memory on the third day," I replied, and she grabbed me and kissed me again.
Breathing time again, and she sniffled back a tear. "No one's ever done anything like this for me before, Wade; thank you. This is a first for me."
"First what, Joss?"
"No one's ever bought me flowers, no one ever gave me roses, and no one's ever given me a personal picnic. How did you know?"
"I didn't, until now. You deserve this, Joss; just enjoy it and try not to over-think it; believe me, that thinking thing is sometime way overrated," I replied, and I managed to serve her a Naco onto a plate before she kissed me again.
When she came up for air again, she asked me. "Wade, how did I get this lucky? How was I this lucky to find you at this time in my life?"
"Positive-chi ninjas?" I offered, and she punched my arm. "Go ahead, each your Naco before it gets cold: trust me, they're ok cold, but they're magnificent hot," and she grabbed a fork, acquired a hunk-o-naco, and delivered it to her mouth. With each and every chew, her face got happier.
"Wow! This is wonderful! Ron created this?" She asked as I added Ron's homemade Diablo sauce to my Naco, and I offered the sauce container to Joss. She took it and placed a generous spoonful on her Naco, then took another bite. "Even better," and she scooped another spoonful on top.
"And sold it to Bueno Nacho," I added, "that's why he has the trust fund."
"He got his first royalty check and lost it in about four weeks, so now the money goes directly into his trust fund for college and afterwards."
"Wow, he doesn't act pretentious."
"Someone's been using their dictionary, I see," I smirked, and she swatted at me.
"I'm no dumb redhead, Wade," she retorted. "I've just never had a reason to concentrate in school; well, not until now," she smiled and brushed my lips. "I've got to keep up with you, now," she continued as she took another bite. "Wow, this is better than anything I've tasted around her in the restaurants."
"Drink?" and I pulled the bottle out of the champagne bucket.
"WADE! I don't drink!"
"You'll like this," I replied with a grin as I unscrewed the top and poured her a glass, then poured mine. Then, I showed her the label.
"WADE! That's not wine!"
"I never said it was alcohol," as I put the sparkling grape juice back into the bucket.
"Ron's trust fund?" she asked, and I knew what she was asking.
"I can't tell you that," and she brought out the puppy dog pout. "Though I can tell you that his original check for royalties was less than his fund is now."
"…and that was..?"
"US Ninety-nine million dollars," and she shot Naco almost to Tornado.
"wow," and I dabbed her mouth for her. Such a lovely mouth….
"Ron does that to people," I grinned. "Hopefully, that wasn't because the Naco was bad," I added.
"Ron has…does Kim know?"
"She knew about the original check; she knows that his money is going to his trust, but she doesn't know, that I'm aware of, unless Ron has told her himself. He learned pretty fast what money does to some people, and he's determined not to let that happen again. That, and his dad made a deal with Bueno Nacho to have his funds directed to the trust account."
"Some dad," she said as she chewed her final bite.
"Another?" and I motioned to the covered dish.
"No, I want to see what the chef did for dessert," and she sipped her sparkling juice.
"Let's see, and hope it's not the PB&J he packed," I commented, and she giggled. I kissed her cheek, and then I reached turned back to reach into the basket.
"What'd you do that for, Wade?" I stopped, and turned back to face her.
"Because I wanted to, and because I love it when you giggle. You're like me in some ways: we both have had to bridge adult worlds and the world that our bodies have us in. When you giggle, it reminds me of the world that my body is in and not the world of my mind."
"Wow, Wade, I'd not thought about how hard it must be for you, sometimes. I just thought it was my problem, and no one else had it."
"Jocelyn, you are definitely not alone: there are a lot of kids like us that bridge the two worlds. Unfortunately, many of them can't deal with the pressure, and they take another route." I knew what road she was about to take, and I wished and prayed that she wouldn't take it.
"What route is that, Wade?" The road traveled, far too often.
I got a lot quieter, and I reached over and took her hand. "They take their own lives, Joss. That's how I lost my best friend at college," and she squeezed my hand, then pulled me to her and hugged me.
I lost it, then, and with her hug all of the tears that I'd been holding in all these years came pouring out. I sobbed like I hadn't since after I left the morgue with my parents after identifying the body, that night.
After a few minutes, she lifted my head from her shoulder, kissed my lips tenderly, took my face in her hands, and looked me squarely in the eyes, "You've got to tell the story, Wade, but not now. You've been holding it in for far too long, haven't you?" and I nodded. "I thought so. I recognize it, Wade, because I've seen it in the mirror for far too long, myself. You loved her, didn't you?" and my eyes got big, "and that's why you were worried about me, isn't it? You were worried that you saw something in me that reminded me of her? How old were you when this happened?"
"Nine," I managed, barely, to get that word out of my mouth.
"Wade, I'll not pretend to know what you've been through, but I'll tell you what you've been telling me ever since you got here: we'll make it work. With what you've done for me, Wade my love, I won't leave you like she did. I'll never pretend to know what caused her to leave, Wade, but you saved me, Wade." And she hugged me once more and let me drain my tears away.
"Jocelyn, how did you do it?"
"Do what, Wade?"
"Capture my heart?"
She grinned. "Military secret, Wade: If I tell you…" and I completed the sentence.
"…you'll have to kill me?" and I grinned.
"That's better, my Wade," and she brushed my lips. "I like you all the time, but especially when I see that smile or grin."
"'Thank you,' Joss."
"I guess I had a demon or two to bury, just like you," and I reached into the picnic basket. "Let's see what Ron has for dessert," I tried again, and pulled out two containers. I peeked inside the first, and I gave her a huge grin. "You'll never guess," I said.
"Sweet tooth, 'Sweet Tea,'" and I dodged her hand. "Neither: close your eyes," and she complied. I pulled out some dessert and placed it on her lips. "Now, open your mouth," and I held it there as she bit into it.
"Oooo, Ron gave me some more 'Wadeshine,'" and I gasped as she pulled the blindfold off and took the chocolate-covered strawberry from my hand and finished it off.
"What? That's what Ron told me they were last night, when he leaned over and told me," and she giggled and grabbed the container. "That's why I blushed when he said it. Now, none for you, mister strawberry-holic," and she pulled another from the container and bit into it.
"Fine," and I kissed her hand. "I'd rather have the original, anyway," and I reached up, took the dessert from her, and kissed her.
"Besides, you'll miss the best dessert of all," and I opened a second container.
"Strawberry-topped flan," and I fed her a bite.
"OOOO, now that's dee-lish," she grinned, and took that fork and container away, as well.
"No dessert for poor Wade?" I pouted, and she gave me "the look."
"Oh, but there is, my Wade," and we kissed for I don't know how long. I liked dessert.
- - - - - - -
"So, what were you saying about school before, oh no-so-dumb-strawberry-goddess?"
"Oooo, can I get a bumper sticker of that to put on Tornado?"
"Sorry, big guy." and Tornado snorted.
"I've just never had a reason to concentrate in school; well, not until now," she repeated. "I told Daddy last night that I was changing things a bit starting this school year, and I'm going to start by changing to the courses that I won't just skate thru. I figure: if I hit any roadblocks," and she smiled, "I've got the perfect tutor to call and get help from. How's that sound?"
"Lay off the commercials, Wade, before they rot your brain."
"Can't happen, Joss?"
"And, why not?"
"Because, my dear, you've already corrupted my brain and my heart beyond repair," and I stole a kiss.
"That's the first time you've ever called me 'my dear.'"
"Why should I waste my time with the euphemisms, when the original is so much better, Jocelyn?
"Oooo, that's sweet?"
"You'd know sweet…"
"DON'T. SAY. IT."
"'Sweet Tea,'" and I grinned.
"I'm a'gonna kill Daddy," she mumbled.
"And, you promised him you were going to do better in school?"
"No; I'm promising you, my strawberry-holic tutor," and I got another hug. I could really, really get used to this.
- - - - - - -
On day 17, we ran the final tests of the networks, hardware, connectivity, and the applications. We also completed our final test of the live move of Kim's website over to the new server site here. Only us pure techno-geeks would be interested in the details; suffice it to say, the move was successful after 2 aborted attempts, but the failures were on this end so there was no site down-time.
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On day 18 at 4:00 AM MDT, Kim threw the ceremonial switch, and her site moved in milliseconds to being hosted and totally supported from the bunker. At 4:45 Am MDT, Joss threw the next switch, and the bunker became fully operational. We had some sparkling grape juice to toast the event, and I didn't see either Ron or Kim until about 5:15 that evening: Ron later told me that he was getting some serious PG-13 Kimshine in their hot tub, and he took advantage of the bench and table that remained at the site to serve Kim a lunch to remember. He looked glazed most of the evening; something about Kim, a two-piece white bikini, and her red hair….
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On day 19 at 4:00 AM MDT, Betty was on hand with Slim and threw the ceremonial switch, and GJ was now in the network (or, were we in theirs? It depended on who you asked). We'd been certified by their GJ-IT as secure, and they only used specific ports to enter/exit the network (I'd tell you, but …you know the drill), so Betty and her team were comfortable with us interconnecting. Rebecca Jane was there, as well: Kim had now gotten over her jellin' phase, and was happy to see Rebecca Jane (Kim had to explain to Joss why she did not want to be called Becky, and I got in more than my share of 'strawberry' jokes over the next two days after the blushing fit that Joss had!).
- - - - - - -
Arnold had been working with us to schedule more jump training, so he came up later in the day, and we finalized the schedule for the next 3 weeks.
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Probably the most 'fun' that I had was initially contacting the Montana DCI, on Day 19. In hindsight, it probably wasn't the best way to introduce oneself: hacking into their systems and sending the email to the director with my location and an offer to give her a tour of the facilities. Slim told me later that the director was, as he described it, 'a mite miffed' at me, but one call to Betty from the center with the agents that had taken me up on the visitation offer and Betty conferencing in both the DCI Director and the Montana AG, and she nipped that in the bud (she also got me to promise her that I would NEVER introduce myself that way again, sealing it by 'promising' to tell Joss about the battlesuit fittings if I repeated the action: positive reinforcement, indeed.) The AG bowed off on the tour offer, but the DCI later took us up on the offer on a later date, and she came away quite pleased (especially when she was able to meet both Betty and Will Du: it seems that she was a fan of Du-Duh. I guess anything was Possible….)
- - - - - - -
On the night of day 20, Ron took over the kitchen and made dinner for us, and he also began his preparations for the all-day construction completion party on Day 21. Betty had flown back up earlier in the day, and she and Joss went fishing again, the result being another trout-fest. Betty broke up when I started the music, and Slim had to explain to Joss what the 'Trout Quintet' was. Ron knew: I was no longer surprised at what Ron could do or at what Ron knew.
The next day, Day 21, we held an all-day party. Betty had all of the trainees that had worked with us flown in that morning, so they started the morning with a Ron-shine breakfast. Slim had all of his interns there, as well, including most of the ones who had left years before and came back for a day or two to work with us: it seems that Slim has developed quite an 'alumni association,' and they all keep in contact.
The biggest surprise for me was Mr. and Mrs. Dr. P showing up at breakfast: he looked more relaxed than I'd seen him in months, and she looked even more lovely than normal. It only took me 2 minutes to figure it out: the tweebs were with Nana Possible in Colorado (she came up for some cool weather and got Colorado summer heat of 100: go figure), and Kim had surreptitiously told Nana P. where the two mind-control chips were 'for the times when they got a bit lively,' as only Nana P. could describe them.
Slim opened up his "swimmin' hole" to everybody, and there were OLD PEOPLE (well, some of them were over 30!) swinging from tire swings and screaming as they dropped into the water.
After breakfast was the first real chance that I had to talk, with Joss, Betty, and Slim, to Mr/Mrs. Dr. P (I still hadn't gotten to the point that I could call them James and Anne). Joss and I told them what we were doing and what we had planned for the next 6-10 years. Mr. Dr. P smiled and mumbled something about being bummed that he would not be able to threaten me with a black hole probe since I probably could counter-program it and send the black hole back to his house, but he took it much better than I thought he would; he did, however, offer to Slim to threaten me by proxy if I needed it. I confirmed my suspicion that he and Slim had been talking frequently while I was here, and Kim and Ron had discussed us with him, as well: I owed them something for that; something positive, that is.
Lunch was Ron's sandwich buffet, and the soon-to-be-trainee-graduates almost killed themselves with a feeding frenzy. Even Rufus was impressed with their ability to consume cheese. They all headed back to the river, to the bunker swimming pool, or to the gym: there was a block breaking exhibition/contest ongoing, and the leader had broken 10 by this time. Ron finally won it with 15, Kim came in second with 13, and Rebecca Jane came in a surprising third with 12.
The dinner banquet was another Ronfeast, only this time he didn't rely on Betty's fishing abilities and had had a planeload of fresh trout flown in the night before. Ron served it up grilled, pan-sautéed, blackened, or fried: it seemed that if you could name it, trout was prepared that way. It must have been every cat's dream come true, just to stand downwind of the buffet and get the aroma of freshly-cooked trout coming from the serving lines.
My mind was on the trout until Joss came in the door.
Resplendent was an understatement, as was her attire, but…
She wore a simple black outfit (no, not the LBD: that came much later): a below-knee length skirt with no hint of a slit in it, and a button-down blouse and what had to be 1-inch heels. She wore a small green scarf around her neck.
This was no cowgirl. She stopped traffic throughout Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming that night.
She walked over to me and kissed me, and the hoots and yells started as I kissed her back.
Mr. Dr. P almost had a heart attack, and Kim punched him and whispered something to him: it must have been good, because he blushed and stammered a reply to her. Mrs. Dr. P beamed. Kim was smiling, and Ron was grinning at me wickedly. I didn't see any of this: Ron told me what happened, later. For some reason, I was distracted.
"You look good enough to eat, Wade," Joss stated when we unlocked lips.
"You don't look half bad yourself, Joss. Green and black: are you channeling Shego tonight?" and she punched me. That started up the catcalls again.
I offered her my arm and escorted her to the serving line.
- - - - - - -
After dinner, Slim stood up and thanked everyone for "workin' real hard, even on the weekends" and told them that there was a "littl' sumpin' extra" waiting for them on the way out.
Joss stood up and thanked everyone for their time and patience and for "puttin' up with me while Ah lost mah mind and temper sometimes." That earned her a bigger round of applause that Slim's "littl' sumpin." She did promise to thank each of them personally (that got a round of whistles from the younger agents in the 'cheap seats' and a big blush from Joss, but she put a Betty-esque look on her face and replied, "Sorry, guys, not even in your dreams." Then she smiled and added, "Besides, Ah'm 'jail bait' with a brown belt in karate, a lasso, and a whip: you don't want a piece of me," and that started it up all over again, this time even louder, and fed the even-redder blushes. She mumbled thank you and decided to sit down quickly before she dug herself an even deeper hole.
Kim stood up, and they all got real quiet real fast. She thanked Ron and told everyone that they were now officially a couple: that got some friendly boos from the cheap seats and a blush from Kim. She then thanked them all and told them that she and Ron had added a little something to their thank-you collection from Slim, and all of the friendly boos quickly turned to cheers. She motioned for Betty to stand up, and she hugged her and thanked her: that got a very loud and raucous round of cheers and applause for Betty's recognition. She did the same for Slim, and the applause and cheers were just even louder.
She then announced that the Kim Possible website was being renamed the Team Possible website to properly reflect the contributions of the entire team. She motioned for Ron to come up on the stage, and thanked him in a way that had Mr. Dr. P looking for a remote control to the deep space probes that he kept on hot-standby; her thanks gathered another round of hoots and hollers from her fans in the cheap seats. Then she motioned for me to stand, and she walked over to me.
"Ladies and Gentlemen: For those of you that don't know, this is Dr. Wade Load. He is the person who created my website and has been running it for me since I took my first mission. What many of you don't know is that he has also been my "Q," providing me with the tools that I've used on my missions and the intelligence when I needed it 24/7/365. He's never asked me for anything, and all I've ever done was say 'please, and thank you' to him as payment for his help. Without him, I'd likely not have returned alive from several missions, including the Diablos," and I heard her choke back for a minute.
I couldn't see because there was something in my eye.
"But, tonight, I'm publicly acknowledging that Dr. Load has been and always will be a valuable member of Team Possible. He hasn't been on many missions, but he and Ron have saved me countless times. Wade, even more importantly, you've been my friend: well, except for hacking into my on-line diary incident," and she grinned as the laughs re-appeared, and I looked around on for a transport tube, "'but that's not important,'" and I winced at her inside joke, and she winked. Then, she smiled and put her arm around my shoulders.
"Wade, thank you for being on the team, and thank you even more for being the best genius friend a girl could ever have," and she leaned over and kissed me on the cheek. That got a loud round of applause.
Ron came over, shook my hand, and gave me a big hug. The applause got even bigger.
Then, Joss stood up again and walked over to Kim and Ron and me, and the applause began to die down.
"Wade came up here weeks ago because I asked him for a littl' help, and this is what I got for his definition of 'a little help'" and some laughs and applause came over the quiet as she motioned around, "and I got all of y'all as friends, to boot," and the applause grew. She waited for it to die back down before she continued. "He's also gonna be workin' with me on our new opportunity to help people. Now you know what he's done, and what he can do when he sets his mind to help ya." She grinned and gave me 'the look' again. "Sorry, Kim, but you'll have to share from now on," and she kissed me, and not on the cheek. Kim laughed and started to applaud. Ron joined her, and Joss and I got the loudest cheers and applause of the evening.
I wasn't really paying any attention to the background noise:
I was holding and kissing my hero.
- - - - - - -
Dinner the night before I left, weeks after the completion party, was bittersweet for me: Joss, Betty, Slim, and I had pizza and drinks outside because we were all tired of being indoors.
Betty had returned to Middleton after meeting with the Montana DCI, and remained there until today: she flew up to take me back to Middleton.
The sun was heading down, but there was still enough light for us to see one another. We were alone for the first time in weeks, it seemed, and the first time since that horrific night. Slim was enjoying a longneck, Betty had her white wine, and Joss had become hooked on sparkling grape juice: I commented that, perhaps, my actions had made me an enabler, and Slim snorted.
"Well, Wade, What'ya think about your time with us in Montana?" Slim asked with a grin.
"Well, Slim," I grinned, "First, I never thought I'd be calling you Slim before I came up here," I answered honestly, and he chuckled.
"And, I definitely never considered calling you anything but Dr. Director before this time, Betty," and I smiled at her. I'd grown a lot since being here, and I had Betty's respect even more now than before for my expertise and expanded ability not to make a total of myself on a regular basis. My respect for her had deepened greatly, but she was still the GJ Director.
I was glad that I had a picture of her in that red dress, though, and I grinned inwardly.
"And, before y'all had to deal with Dr. D," and Joss laughed because I'd picked up "y'all" from her and now had to concentrate not to use it, "I certainly did not know what I was missing in Montana," and grinned at Joss as she blushed and Betty and Slim smiled.
"I certainly didn't expect to inherit the job of on-call tutor," and Slim and Betty both looked confused. I looked at Joss: "Didn't you tell them?"
"Not yet." And I banged my head against the air, and Betty chuckled.
"Daddy, you remember that night when we talked about me and college? Well, I've changed my freshman course load up a bit," and she pulled out a piece of well-worn paper and handed it to Slim. He and Betty looked at it, got a shocked look on their face, then smiled and looked at Joss.
"Are you sure about this, Sweet Tea?" Slim asked. "This looks like a 'load' for anyone, and you've haven't exactly been pushing yourself these last few years." I winced at his pun.
"I'm sure, Daddy. And, I'm not doing it for Wade or you: I'm doing it because I need to do it, it's about time I pulled my head out, and," she paused for a moment, then spoke quieter, "I'm doing it so I kin make Momma proud of me," and she surprised me by not breaking down. This was the first time that I'd heard her mention Sheri Nicole without sobbing.
I took her hand. "It's looks like those demons may have been caged, Joss, and your wounds are healing over nicely," and she squeezed my hand in reply.
"Slim, what about yours?" Betty asked.
"The scabs are back, and they're not coming off now that I've been through what we've experienced."
"I'm glad, Slim," and Betty leaned over and kissed Slim.
"I wish you'd have met Sheri Nicole, Wade: She'd have liked you a whole bunch," Slim offered.
"I wish the same thing, Wade. Momma would'a loved you," and Joss squeezed my hand.
"I wanted you to like me before I came here, Joss. I knew how I felt, but I had no idea how you felt or would feel about me."
"I couldn'ta told you before you came, Wade, because I didn't know how I felt, myself, until after that night. I buried demons that night, and I planted my sturdy redwood beside them. It seems like a good trade, now," she grinned, and then she said it again:
"I love you, Dr. Load."
"And, I love you, Miss Possible," and I kissed her.
"Get a room, you two," came from Slim.
"Don't encourage them," came from Betty.
"Don't worry," came from Joss. "My hero's worth the wait," and she kissed me.
"All in all, Slim, I think it's been a pretty good trip," I added, and I was showered with sparkling grape juice.
And, of course, it started to sprinkle; in 30 minutes, it had turned into a downpour, and I was glad that we'd gone inside when we did.
- - - - - - -
My last day on the ranch, and it was accompanied by a nice loud thunderstorm last night. Well, at least the storm part was gone, but the heavy rains remained..
I never thought that I wound regret my last day here:
My last day with Tornado.
My last day with Joss, at least for awhile.
No more hourly kisses….
I closed my suitcase and backpack, looked around my room one last time, and pulled on my raincoat: the downpour still hadn't stopped.
I walked out of the room, looked back to gather my memories up and zip them into my backpack, and closed the door one last time.
- - - - - - -
I thought as I walked down the hall:
My paradigm had changed considerably in a few short weeks, and it was continuing to change. I knew that I had to get back and finish my dissertation, but it didn't seem as important to me as it had a few weeks ago.
Kim and Ron weren't the center of my universe, anymore, and neither were Mom and Dad. I wondered if that had really sunk in on Kim and Ron, yet: I was just barely beginning to understand all of the impacts of my decision. I still had to figure out what and how to tell Mom and Dad….
- - - - - - -
Slim met me at the end of the hall, and motioned for me to put my stuff down. I did, and I followed him into his study. He closed the door, turned, and he was smiling through his tears.
"Wade," he said, and then he hugged me.
Now, that was not what I expected.
"Wade, you gave me Sheri Nicole by giving me my daughter back. I couldn't reach her: I knew something was wrong, but I couldn't break thru the walls. You steamrollered them into dust that I've now swept out the door.
"I knew that you were coming to help Jocelyn, but I had no idea, even in my wildest dreams, that this was what your help would turn into."
"Slim, believe me, I didn't, either," I replied, and he laughed.
"It's those Possible women, Wade: they get us guys every time, and Sheri Nicole wasn't even a Possible woman by birth," he answered, and we both laughed. Then, he sat and motioned for me to do the same.
"Wade, I'll tell you what I told Jocelyn:
"I'd never considered you and my daughter seriously getting together; I thought she was having another infatuation, like the one she had on Ron. Y'all might likely have some problems as your relationship grows because not everyone is ready for you two, but you're likely a lot more aware of that than I am," and I nodded.
"I'll tell you what I think right now: If you and my daughter do stay together, I'll give her to you proudly, because a young gentleman has won my daughter's heart.
"I may still need to borrow some of Squirt's deep space probes, just in case," and Slim grinned and I winced, "but I don't think I'll need them. You're a fine young man, Dr. Wade Load, and if and when you decide that Jocelyn is the one, I'll gladly place her hand in yours."
Joss' telling me, and my hearing it from Slim myself were two distinctly different events: here was a father telling me that he trusted me with his daughter.
"Dr. Possible, you can trust me. I appreciate the gift that you've offered to me, and I promise that, when the time is right, I'll be back to ask you proper."
"Your daddy and momma have raised a good son, Wade; I'm looking forward to being able to tell them that, someday," and Slim stood and stuck out his hand, and I stood and shook his hand.
"Be good to her, son," and his voice cracked, but only a little bit. "She's all I have left," and then he grinned and pointed to the outside.
"Let's get you home before the frogs start hitch-hikin' to Canada and the jack rabbits start building arks," he laughed as we left his study and headed outdoors towards the one person that I longed to see and dreaded seeing.
- - - - - - -
She stood there, staring at the jet, just like a good, strong, stoic soldier, but I could tell that she was as conflicted as I:
Part of me wanted to stay here forever.
Another part of me wanted to pick her up, toss her in the plane, and fly away with her.
That evil, nasty rational part of me won: I had to get back to work on my dissertation, and my old regular life. But that live was now so changed….
I'd be leaving my room at home more often, now: boy, won't Mom and Dad be surprised!
"Joss," I started, and that was as far as I got. She turned, and ran right into me.
She wouldn't let me go, but her hug felt so right.
'Did I really have to leave?' that one part of me asked, again.
She pulled away from me, and her eyes were red from a great deal of crying.
"I'm not going away permanently, Jocelyn," I tried to help.
"I know, Wade.
"Part of me wants you to stay here forever.
"Another part of me wants us to leave, right now, and never come back here again. We'll be together, forever, and that's the way it should be.
"But, my heart is telling me that you have to leave. But, it hurts, Wade, it huuurrrrrtttttts," and she started sobbing again and fell back into my arms.
'I know how you feel, my love, but I can't tell you that.' That thought rattled throughout my mind.
"Joss, we've been apart 13+ years; a few more won't hurt us nearly as bad because we know where the other one is; we didn't know who or where the other was, before."
"Won't you miss me, Wade?" and she looked up at me, and I couldn't take that sadness for much longer.
"Of course I will, Joss, but we have each other. Together, we can do anything, even make it thru our first time apart.
"I want to stay, and I want to take you away from all of this, but I know that neither option will work for us. We still have so much to learn, about the world, about each other, about life: We can't throw those times."
"Do me a favor, Wade," and she got 'the look.'
"Anything, Sweet Tea."
"Make a battlesuit for me, Wade: I know you've got the measurements," and she looked up at me and grinned thru her tears as I tried to dig myself a foxhole in the mud. "Betty told me, and she told Kim, and Kim's not mad at you: she's actually flattered, and she's also just a bit embarrassed."
Betty and I would have an interesting talk on the way home. Oh, boy….
Kim and I would have one when I got home. Oh, man….
"And, I'm not mad, either, Wade," she kept grinning. "I was, at first, when Betty told me what you did, but I realized when you collected the measurements when Betty told me how you'd done it, and I thought I would be in unique company. And, the fact that you did it showed me and them both how much you loved all of us: to risk your friendship to help keep us safe. Besides," and she got the look, "just think of what you have to look forward to as I get older since you've got those measurements, now," and she reached up and kissed me quickly. "Oh, strawberry-addicted boy," and she grinned even bigger.
"Well, now," I was finally to breath, "that was a surprise parting gift."
"Well, here's another," and she kissed me again, moved my hand down to her rear, and squeezed my hand. Her other hand was doing the same thing to me.
"Oooo, and I see that someone else liked it," she said when we separated, and she giggled. I was glad she couldn't read my blushing.
"Thank you, Wade. For everything," and she brushed my lips a final time, and ran back under the covered walkway into the arms of her dad. Betty came walking out from under the walkway, helmet already on and her visor up.
"I'm ready, Betty," and I tossed my bags into the plane, scrambled into the rear seat, strapped myself in, and picked up my helmet.
Before I put it on, I looked out to Joss and waved.
She waved back, and she and her dad turned and walked back into the house.
I put my helmet on, and keyed the microphone.
"Let's go home, Dr. Director," and she jumped into the cockpit, slammed the cover down, and fired up the engines.
I was going back, but I was also going forward.
Life's funny that way, isn't it?
- - - - - - -
The end of 'Blue Eyes, Shining.'
- - - - - - -
To my wonderful readers:
Thanks to all of you for riding alongside me on this adventure. I know that Jocelyn and Dr. Load want to thank you, as do as Betty and Slim, for listening to them and giving them all a chance to tell their stories. It's hard to believe that this all started with a 545-word one-time story, but look at where it's gone so far and where it's going: my thanks are to you, my readers and reviewers, for having faith in me and the ones I'm speaking for.
I can't and won't leave Jocelyn and Dr. Load without completing his requests to document the upcoming years and events between now and 'Black Hole Deep, Version 2.0' and beyond.
Remember to jump over to chapter 2 of Blue Eyes, Shining - Intermezzi to learn know the details of what happened after Wade left the room (after the end of Blue Eyes, Shining: chapter 6).
FYI, there will be some additional intermezzi to fill out some of the scenes in this chapter (what happened when Wade hacked into the Montana DoJ network, for example).
Stay tuned for the next phase of Blue Eyes, Shining: Training Table Blues.
Thanks, again, and please remember to review