Thanks to campy for his usual valuable beta and proofreading assistance.
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You saw it on KP, it belongs to Disney; otherwise, it's mine.
Ron tapped his knife against his glass, gaining the attention of the gathered guests. He looked around the elegant dining room, briefly locked eyes with Kim, who smiled warmly in return, cleared his throat, and began to speak.
"I'd just like to take this opportunity to offer a toast to the bride-to-be," he said, prompting a number of lusty 'hear, hears' in response. "KP and I have known each other since we were four. We've been through a lot together, some of it admittedly unbelievable. Ya know, I still remember the time we switched bodies …"
"Ron!" she protested, though the wide grin she wore made clear she was most definitely not tweaked by her best friend's stroll down memory lane.
"… And I still think the breeze was refreshing!" he observed cheerfully.
Kim rolled her eyes, her family exchanged knowing looks as they recalled one of their strangest dinners ever, and the rest of the guests simply exchanged puzzled looks.
"But seriously, folks, I can't imagine what my life would have been like if I hadn't met KP in that playground back in pre-school. We've laughed, we've cried, we've had some pretty amazing times together. To be honest, I'm the luckiest guy in the world to have had Kim Possible as my best friend all these years," he said.
Kim found herself growing teary. "Back atcha," she mouthed at her best friend.
Ron smiled in response, then cast his gaze at a tall, handsome man seated by Kim's side. "Take care of her, dude, or you'll have to deal with Ron Stoppable's mad fu skills!"
Kim's fiancé smiled genially and offered a gracious nod in acknowledgement.
Ron then hoisted his glass and said, "To Kim and Julian!"
"Thanks for the spankin' toast, Ron," Kim said as she gave him a peck on the cheek.
"Hey, no big as someone I know likes to say," he responded.
"Well then, we'll see you at the church tomorrow at three," Julian said as he extended his hand.
"Yeah," Ron replied as he and Kim's husband-to-be shook hands. "You can count on the Ronman to be on time. Wouldn't do for one of the groomsmen to be late to his best friend's wedding, would it?"
"Thanks for being part of this," Kim said as she pulled him into an embrace.
"Wouldn't miss it for the world, KP," Ron said. "Well, I'd better get some shut eye. Gotta look my best so I can impress the ladies tomorrow with my bon-diggity dance moves!"
After a few more minutes of banter, Ron headed down the stairs and out the door of the private dining club, which was located in London's exclusive Belgravia neighborhood. As he stood on the street before the eatery, he looked up at the clear June sky for a moment and thought about the past few years. Then he headed to the Tube and his ride to his small flat in Southwark, a much funkier part of the city.
Ron had come to enjoy prowling the streets of the British capital in the years since he and Kim had first come to England for school. His walk took him through residential streets redolent of wealth and comfort and quiet squares dominated by stately, leafy trees until he reached Constitution Arch and the beginning of Piccadilly, with all its bustle and traffic and tourists. He continued his walk, and as he skirted Green Park, his thoughts turned to the concerts he and Kim would take in when they were dating.
He stood by the entrance to the park and looked at the darkened expanse, home now only to memories of happier times. "Man, this tanks," he grumbled.
When he arrived at the entrance to the Underground station, he paused, then decided to keep walking. He really felt like he needed some more fresh air.
"Good work, Shego," Drakken said gleefully. "With the Magneto-Accelerator Reaction Metaphasic Ion Theta Emitter, I will …"
"Don't care, Doctor D," the glamorous henchwoman interjected she continued reading Villains' Digest: European Travel Edition. "You know, I know: whatever it is, it isn't gonna work."
"Shego, your lack of faith is disappointing," the blue-skinned scientist replied. "This is my most …"
"… Brilliant plan ever. Been there, done that," she said as she put down her magazine and headed to her room.
"Are you going to bed already?" he asked. "The night is young! I thought we could make some cocoa moo and marshmallow squares and play Strategories with the henchmen."
"Actually, I thought I'd change and head out, maybe have some fun while you work on Project Destined to Fail," she answered.
"But Shego …" Drakken said plaintively.
"See you in the morning, Doc," she said as she walked into her room and closed the door behind her.
Ron's peregrinations took him into Shepherd's Market, which was filled with boisterous young twentysomethings and loud professionals enjoying the start of their weekends. It was a warm June evening and many establishments were keeping their doors open to let in the early summer breeze and allow patrons to gather and mingle outside. He found himself standing in front of a pub called the Red Lion. The place beckoned to Ron, far more so than his small, empty apartment.
Ron felt a wave of loneliness wash over him and wished Rufus was with him. He missed his little buddy, who was back in Middleton, living with his family, or, to be accurate, his little sister; the naked mole rat and Hana were smitten with one another from the moment they met and were now inseparable. The thought of the two playing together momentarily lifted Ron's spirits and reminded him of why the decision to let Rufus move back to the States had been an easy one: he knew that entertaining a precocious child was a far better use of Rufus' time and talents than sitting around an empty flat waiting for his human to come home from class or work.
He debated going in, then looked at his watch; it was only 10:30 and the wedding wasn't until the following afternoon. A beer or two and human company didn't seem like such a bad idea. He entered the noisy pub and made his way through the crowd, approached the bar, loosened his tie, and looked at the taps.
"What'll it be?" the bartender asked.
"I'll have a pint of the IPA," Ron said. As his drink was poured, he looked up at the monitor only to see the news was carrying a story about the wedding of former teen hero Kim Possible to Olympic athlete Julian Coe. "Dude," he said as his drink was placed before him, "Can you change the channel?"
"Sure," the barkeep said as he switched to another channel, wondering why the young man, who looked vaguely familiar, as if he'd once been sort-of, kind-of famous, suddenly looked so upset. "You okay?"
"Who me?" Ron replied as he hoisted the beer that had been set before him. "Never been better. I'm badical."
"You sure?" the man pressed.
"Oh, yeah. I'm just super," Ron answered. He then quickly drained his pint and ordered another one.
Shego had always liked London. Among its many attractions, the city was filled with people of every race and nationality and was one of the few places on the planet where nobody ever took notice of a pale, green-hued woman. Before leaving the lair she had changed out of her trademark jumpsuit into a pair of black jeans, onyx boots (stolen from Country Club Banana) and a long-sleeved green designer t-shirt and was now hoping to find some fun. She had left the Square Mile, which was all but deserted in the evening, and headed to a livelier corner of the metropolis.
Often, when in London, Shego would go clubbing, but tonight she was in the mood for something different. So, when she found herself walking by a lively pub from which people were spilling out onto the street, she thought the place might be worth investigating – though not until she had cleared up one important matter.
"This place have karaoke?" she asked one of the patrons.
"No," the young man said as he appreciated Shego's curves. "But it has me. Can I buy you a drink?"
The gorgeous villainess smirked as she entered the Red Lion. "Nice come-on, Sport. Not!"
Once inside, Shego made her way through the crowd to the bar.
"What'll it be?" the bartender asked.
"Make it a pint," she said, pointing to the IPA.
"Thatsh a very good choish," a slurred but strangely familiar voice said.
Shego turned and did a double-take. Sloshed out of his mind and staring into his glass was none other than Kim Possible's dopey sidekick. "Stoppable?" she asked. "What are you doing here?"
Ron looked up, squinted, and stared. "Sh-Shego?" he said before he belched. Then he looked at the bartender. "Dude, thish one'sh on me."
The barkeep looked at Shego, who nodded. She then pointed to the corner. "Beer Boy and I will be over there."
The glamorous henchwoman grabbed Ron by the arm and led him to the booth. She shook her head as he leadenly dropped into his seat.
"You're looking badical," Ron managed to say.
"You're not," Shego shot back. "I never took you for a boozer. Since when did you start drinking?"
"Shince I had to go to KP's rehearshal dinner."
"Excuse me?" Shego asked.
Ron belched. "You didn't know? Kim's getting married to a smock."
"Okay, now you've lost me," Shego replied.
"Shmart jock," Ron explained.
Normally, Shego would have wanted to taunt Stoppable, but he already seemed so beaten that she couldn't find it in her to say anything snide. Instead, the villainess said, "You know, I always thought you and Princess would be the ones getting hitched."
"Me too," Ron said. "But we'd both be wrong. Maybe thatsh why we're jusht shidekicksh."
Shego sat quietly for a moment, realizing she hadn't thought much about Kimmie in a long time, not since the annoying cheerleader quietly disappeared from the scene more than a year earlier; she wondered what her one-time nemesis was up to. "So, you gonna tell me what happened?"
"You really want to know?" Ron asked as he quaffed his beer.
"Yeah, actually I do," she said as she signaled to the bartender to bring over two more pints.
"Sho, that'sh the shtory," Ron said as he drained his seventh pint of the night.
Shego shook her head. "Stoppable, you really are a buffoon."
"Hey, I rezhemble that remark," he said as he waved to the bartender.
"I don't understand why you're doing this to yourself," Shego said. "Princess dumped you almost two years ago. Move on. Get a life. Go back to Middleton. Go to Cancun. But don't stay here. You don't need her."
"You're wrong; I do need her," Ron replied defiantly. "Beshides, she's my besht friend."
"Some friend," Shego snarked. "She's a …"
Ron glared at his drinking partner and shook his head vigorously. "She'zh not perfect," Ron said before belching. "But she always wazh and always will be my besht friend."
The henchwoman looked across the table at her soused companion. "You love her! You really still love her!"
"Yeah, I do," he admitted before he drained his drink and signaled for another.
Shego looked at Ron. A couple of inches, a few years and a little filling out suited him well. "You know, Stoppable, you're looking pretty good these days, other than the fact that you stink of booze. You want, I could make you forget Kimmie in no time," she offered.
Ron, much to the villainess' surprise, actually leered. "Shego, you are one bon-diggity babe. In fact, you may be the mosht bon-diggity hot babe on the planet."
"Really?" she said, touched by the compliment.
"Oh yeah," Ron answered. "I always thought sho. In fact, you're almost as hot as KP. Unfortunately, she'sh shtill got my heart."
"Maybe it's time to take it back, Stoppable," Shego said, unable to hide her annoyance. "It's not like she needs it if she's marrying some other guy!"
"Julian'z not jusht shome other guy. Why," he said adopting a faux British accent, "the old boy'sh a shtinkin' lord." Ron drank more of his beer, then pointed at Shego, "I'm pretty shure Bon Bon would tell you that'sh higher on the food chain than a department manager at Marx and Shparx in Oxshford Shtreet."
"Hey, I've stolen stuff there," Shego observed. "That's a pretty big store. Good selection, too."
"It'sh the flagship," he said with pride.
"Well, then you're doing okay," Shego said. "Don't sell yourself short."
"Gotcha," Ron said as he gulped more of his beer.
"I still don't get why didn't you tell Princess where to get off," Shego said with a shake of the head.
"Sure you do," Ron replied.
"No, really, I don't," she said impatiently.
"You and Drakken," Ron observed.
"What do you mean?" Shego asked.
"You know: you and Drakken," Ron said knowingly.
"Whoa!" Shego said dangerously. "Me and Drakken – a couple? Don't even go there!"
"Now that's jusht shick and wrong," Ron said with a laugh before he took another swig of his drink. "I don't mean it like that."
"Then what do you mean, Sidekick?"
"Shidekick," Ron said, slapping his hands, palm down, on the table. "That'sh what I'm talking about."
"Okay, you're in Drakken territory; you've so stopped making sense."
"No, no, lishen. You, me, we're shidekicksh. We shtick around our partnerz through thick and thin. It'sh what we do. Ya know, I shtill remember how you went back to Drakken after that whole thing with Warmonga went down in shenior year …"
Shego squirmed uncomfortably at what was still, if she reflected on the matter, a painful memory.
"… Drakken for you, Kim for me. They're not perfect, no way. Kim'z bosshy and shtill inshishtsh on buying dezhiner labelsh. Blue Boy'z, well, Blue Boy. But it wouldn't be right for them not to be in our livez, ya know what I mean?"
Shego pursed her lips and considered what Ron was saying. "Yeah, I do," she said softly, now feeling a tinge of regret over how she'd blown off Drakken earlier that evening.
"If I can't have KP az my wife, I'll jusht have to shettle for being her bud, even if it meanz shpending the resht of my life in a country with warm beer," Ron said, unable to conceal his disappointment. "Well," he said as he struggled to his feet. "I'd better be going; big day tomorrow."
Ron took all of two steps before he tripped over his own feet and went down hard.
Shego looked at the young man sprawled on the pub floor. She knelt so she could help him back onto his feet – and then grinned as she had an idea.
"Where is he?" an agitated Kim asked, regretting her decision years earlier to have Wade deactivate Ron's tracking chip because it was the ethical thing to do. "He should have been here half an hour ago."
"Do you want me to talk to Dr. Director?" the teen genius asked.
"Please and thank you," Kim sighed.
The retired teen hero was concerned – and feeling guilty. She was sorely tempted to go look for Ron, but resigned herself to letting GJ Europe search for him; it was her wedding day, after all, and as much as she wanted to do something, she knew she couldn't just leave the church thirty minutes before the service was supposed to begin. It wouldn't be fair to Julian, their family, or friends. She told herself everything would be fine, that Global Justice was more than capable of handling the sitch.
Still, Kim found herself wishing she could slip into her old mission gear …
"Dearly beloved, we are gathered together here in the sight of God and in the face of this congregation to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is an honorable estate, instituted of God in the time of man's innocence, signifying unto us the mystical union that is betwixt Christ and his Church and therefore is not by any to be enterprised nor taken in hand unadvisedly, lightly, or wantonly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly, soberly, and in the fear of God …"
Kim stood at the front of the magnificent Wren-designed sanctuary beside her handsome and charming soon-to-be-husband as the distinguished-looking clergyman read the beautiful service from the Book of Common Prayer unable to focus on the ceremony and what was supposed to be her fairy-tale day. She just couldn't help but think of Ron, wondering where he was; GJ had found no evidence of either foul play or medical incident at his apartment, Marx and Sparx, or any of his usual hangouts and neither the police nor the intelligence agencies had anything to report. The former teen hero didn't want to contemplate the possibility that Ron, her best friend, had actually skipped her wedding.
"… Therefore, if any man can show any just cause why they may not lawfully be joined together, let him speak now or else hereafter for ever hold his peace."
As if on cue, the door at the rear of the sanctuary swung open, just as the cleric finished offering the traditional challenge to the congregation.
"Actually, I've got a few things to say," Shego declared as she entered the sanctuary.
"Shego!" Kim growled.
"Hey there, Princess," the henchwoman, who was wearing her trademark jumpsuit and looking very good in it judging by the reactions of the assembled men, said in greeting. "Nice dress, though it's kind of snug around the hips. You really need to work out more."
Shego began striding down the aisle with the confidence of someone who knew she commanded everyone's attention.
"This is low, even for you," Kim said. "What do you want?"
Shego ignored her one-time foe and looked at the groom. "Not a bad piece of eye candy," she said admiringly. "Definitely better looking than Stoppable."
"Leave Ron out of this," Kim said, bristling.
"Actually, Princess, I think not," Shego retorted. "So, you actually love this guy?"
Kim, seeing the angry, stunned expression on her fiancé's face, laid a restraining hand on his arm. "I'll take care of this, Julian," she said.
"But this is completely outrageous," he protested.
"True," Kim said. "But welcome to my world," she said to him before observing to herself wistfully, "or at least what used to be my world." She then turned to Shego. "Of course I love Julian."
"Uh huh," Shego said. "You love anyone else?"
Much to Shego's satisfaction, Julian seethed and Kim did a double-take.
"Someone about oh, so tall," she said, raising her hand a few inches above her own head, "brown eyes, freckles, messy blond hair and ridiculously large ears? Come on, Kimmie, surely you remember his name. Even Doctor D does. Ron. Ron Stoppable."
"Shego, Ron's my friend, my best friend, but that's all," a tweaked Kim answered.
"Funny, I thought the guy you were marrying would be your best friend," Shego jibed, enjoying the confused look on Kim's face.
"Look, Shego, I don't know what your sitch is …" the former teen hero said.
"So, where is Stoppable?" the villainess asked as she casually scanned the sanctuary.
"We don't know," Kim said. "But you are so busted if you've done anything to him …"
"You know, you still talk a big game, Princess," Shego shot back, "but even if I wanted to, I couldn't hurt him half as bad as you did."
"What are you talking about?" Kim, taken aback by her one-time nemesis' accusation, asked.
"Oh, let's see," Shego said as she rubbed her chin and turned a thoughtful gaze towards the ceiling before looking back at Kim. "Dumping the buffoon ring a bell?"
"I so did not dump Ron," Kim snapped. "The breakup was mutual."
"Yeah, right," Shego laughed derisively. "Mutual. Sort of like when lions eat gazelles."
Kim frowned, sensing she would not like the direction in which the exchange was heading.
"So, tell me about this 'mutual breakup'," Shego demanded.
"I beg your pardon, Miss, but is this really necessary?" the cleric asked.
"Chief, this is so necessary it isn't even funny," she responded before staring at her one-time foe. "C'mon, Kimmie. Answer the question."
"Ron and I changed," she said. "Dating just wasn't right for us anymore."
"Uh huh, yeah," Shego said. "How about this version of events: You decided you want to come to school in England and your lap dog of a boyfriend follows you, even though you get to go to Camford while he's stuck at London Metro College. You start meeting people like Little Lord Fauntleroy here …"
Shego smirked as Julian's face twitched.
" … And after awhile, Stoppable's looking kind of plain and boring. You decide you want to trade up …"
"I so did not 'trade up'!" Kim protested heatedly.
"Sure, you go tell yourself that," Shego replied, knowing she'd touched a raw nerve. "Princess, you may never have put it that way, heck, I bet you never even thought of it that way. But admit it: you led a pretty sheltered life before going to college and all of a sudden you're here and you're like a kid in a candy shop. All you did before leaving that dullsville suburb was fight villains and hang out with Stoppable and his rat. Now you're in the big city, surrounded by all these really smart, impressive people who talk funny. By the way," she asked, "how come you gave up the hero thing?"
"I couldn't be a teen hero forever," Kim said defensively.
Shego snorted. "And I thought you were all about helping people."
"There are other ways to make a difference, you know," Kim replied.
"Really?" Shego said as she cocked an eyebrow. "So, tell me, Princess, how are you making a difference now? I mean, as much as it sickens me to admit it, you did actually save the world on a couple of occasions."
Kim scowled. "I'm working on a Ph.D. in international diplomacy."
"Oooo! Exciting!" Shego said sarcastically. "So what are you going to do with that fancy degree?"
"Study global problems and develop new approaches to conflict resolution," Kim answered.
"Wow! Kimmie's gonna write White Papers. You can read the bad guys into a coma!" Shego said snidely before looking out over the congregation. Her gaze settled on one of the guests. "Hey, Dr. Director, do me a solid and stand up."
Betty Director, curious as to what was going on, did as requested.
"You still running GJ?" Shego inquired.
"Yes, I am," the attractive one-eyed crime-fight czar answered.
"You got an advanced degree?"
"Two, actually," Director answered.
"You still go into the field?" the henchwoman asked.
"As often as I can," the eye-patch-wearing woman replied. "It's still the most satisfying part of my job."
"So you decided you could study villains and fight them, too," Shego observed.
"Yes, I did," Director agreed.
"You got a social life?"
"I do," the woman said.
"Sounds like you've pretty much got it all?" Shego asked.
"Short of a tolerable sibling, yes," Doctor Director replied. "Sheldon is so annoying–"
"Thanks," Shego interrupted before turning back to Kim, who was looking uncomfortable as she found herself recalling how Julian had persuaded her to give up missions for her safety and the health of their relationship; Ron, in contrast, had not only actively supported and encouraged her save-the-world activities, but joined her in them even though he was scared silly half of the time.
"You know, Princess," Shego said, "you stayed with Stoppable, you could have had it all: marriage, kids, grad school, hero work, whatever. He'd have kept going on missions with you. He'd have stayed home and taken care of your brats. Heck, he'd have done anything for you."
"So would I," Julian said defensively.
"Really?" Shego asked. "Okay, Sport, pop quiz time: you learn that Kimmie here's been abducted. What do you do?"
"Why, I'd call the police, use my contacts to help her, of course," he said.
"You wouldn't go after her?"
"Well, no, there are professionals far more capable than I who do that sort of thing."
"Stoppable would go after her," she said before staring at Kim. "Even if they'd had a fight and he had to quit his job. Even if he had the hots for her but she was gaga over some guy named Eric. Even if he was gonna get his head handed to him by a scary woman with glowing hands."
"Why are you doing this, Shego?" an increasingly perplexed and uneasy Kim asked.
"You know Stoppable still loves you," Shego stated, ignoring the question.
"Excuse me?" an incredulous Kim replied. "I'm his best friend."
"Well, your best friend loves you, Princess," Shego said as talking to a slow child. She crossed her arms and stared at the retired teen hero.
"And you'd know this how?" Kim shot back.
Shego flashed her one-time foe a malevolent, triumphant grin. "Because, Kimmie, he told me."
"What?" Kim exclaimed. "I so don't believe you!"
"Suit yourself," Shego said as she turned towards the rear of the sanctuary. "Bring him in, Doctor D," she yelled.
The sanctuary was abuzz as Doctor Drakken strolled down the aisle, followed by two henchmen who were escorting a bound, gagged, rumpled, unshaven, and visibly embarrassed Ron Stoppable.
"Kim Possible!" Drakken declared. "You'd think after all we'd been through, you would have sent us a wedding invitation. I can't begin to tell you how hurt I was to be excluded from the festivities. Well, I hope you like your present. They tell me buffoon is the new black!"
"Uh, Doc," the villainess said.
"Put a lid on it."
The mad scientist sulked. "Fine," he said before turning to the henchmen. "Release what's his name," he ordered.
The red-suited goons did as instructed; then Drakken roughly pushed Ron forward.
"Uh, hi, KP," the tow-headed young man said sheepishly.
Kim walked down the aisle towards her best friend. "Are you okay? They didn't hurt you, did they?"
"Nah," Ron said as he rubbed the back of his neck.
"You sure?" Kim pressed. "You look terrible," she said before her nose twitched. "You smell terrible, too."
"You can blame that on the beer," he said. "Man, does my head hurt," he added as he rubbed his temples.
"Okay, that's enough whining, Sidekick," the henchwoman ordered. "Tell her."
"Tell her what?" Ron asked.
"Don't get stupid on me, Stoppable," the henchwoman snapped as she raised her clawed gloves, which were now wreathed in a green penumbra. "You know what. Now tell her."
"Shego," Drakken hissed. "We're in a house of worship …"
"Oops. My bad," she said as she doused her glow power. "Sorry," she mumbled to the cleric, who nodded his understanding, before she turned to Ron and said, "Look, it's not like she doesn't know already."
Ron's jaw dropped. "You told her?" he whined.
Shego replied with a smirk. "Sorry, Sidekick, but something told me you'd just be a good soldier and keep your trap shut which, given your history of blabbing, is actually kind of remarkable."
"Aw man," Ron complained. "Now on top of everything else I have to put up with insults from you?"
Kim finally interrupted in a hushed voice, "It's true. You really …"
Though her words were barely audible, Ron felt as if a thunderclap were echoing through the sanctuary. His shoulders slumped.
"… Still love you," he said as he completed Kim's sentence. "Yeah," he answered, sounding incredibly forlorn. "I do. Not that it matters."
"Ron, why didn't you say something?" Kim asked. "We're best friends. We could have dealt with this."
"'Dealt with this,' KP?" he shot back. "What's to deal with? I know I didn't measure up …"
She'd convinced herself the breakup was mutual, but Ron's words, and more tellingly, the pain in his eyes forced her to finally admit the truth. Shego, in her own way, had been right.
Kim had been seduced by Camford: the brilliant professors, the smart classmates, the vibrant social life – and goofy, never-be-normal, retail-loving, video-game playing Ron Stoppable was no longer what she thought she needed in her romantic partner. She broke up with her BFBF, having her cake and eating it, too: she was able to meet and date people like Julian and still keep Ron's friendship.
"… I know you wanted something different. That, that's okay," Ron noted with a catch in his voice. "I always knew that was a risk when we started dating."
Kim looked at Shego, Drakken and the two henchmen. Then she looked back to Ron and recalled all of the adventures and close scrapes, not to mention the special times, they'd shared. It all seemed so long ago. Her life had changed so much since they'd stopped dating. Sure, she was happy now. But she knew she'd been happy with Ron. The difference was that with Ron she'd been Kim Possible, teen hero. Now she was just … normal, and she realized she didn't like it. The girl who could do anything was shaken by the discovery, suddenly feeling at sea, unsure what to do or think.
"I so don't know what to say, Ron," she admitted.
"KP, there's nothing to say," he said. "I just hope you'll still be my friend. That's the most important thing to me; always has been, always will be." Feeling he had ruined Kim's wedding, Ron could no longer bear to look at her, so he looked down at his shoes and said softly, "I never could imagine living without you, though I guess maybe I should; maybe I should just move back to Middleton. Man," he rambled, "I really made a mess of things today. I so should have kept my mouth shut last night." He stood silently as if gathering himself to do something requiring Herculean strength, then squared his shoulders, gazed at his life-long friend and turned to leave. "I'm sorry I ruined your big day, Kim."
She looked at her defeated ex-boyfriend and found herself wondering what had happened to the goofy teen who'd stolen her battle suit in the mistaken belief he was going to lose her and had to do something, anything, no matter how crazy, to prevent that fear from coming to pass. She wondered where that Ron who would so desperately fight for her had gone and realized he'd willingly left the field so she could be happy.
Kim gulped as she watched Ron push past Shego and Drakken. As he walked down the aisle, his footsteps seeming to echo throughout the sanctuary, it occurred to her that this time he might actually be walking out of her life for good – and that with him the part of her that would wear a battle suit was leaving, too. Ron had always been a part of her life; more importantly, he was actually a part of her. She knew she couldn't say the same thing about Julian and didn't know that she ever could.
She made a decision.
"Ron, wait," she said. "Please."
He turned and looked expectantly at Kim, who then walked back to her fiancé.
"I'm so sorry, Julian," she said. "But I just can't do this, not now. I need time …"
The Englishman stood quietly, gazing at the woman he had planned to marry. The look in Kim's eyes told him that regardless of what she might say, she didn't need time. It was over; there would be no wedding.
"… This is so ferociously confusing," the former teen hero confessed as she admitted to herself that while she cared deeply for the man she had planned to marry, she still harbored powerful romantic feelings for her best friend.
"Actually, Kim," Julian said. "It need not be."
"What are you saying?" she asked.
"I think you know exactly what I'm saying," he said gently.
"You can do anything, Kim. Go, be happy."
All eyes in the church were now on Kim. She looked at her fiancé and the minister and the wedding party. Then she turned and saw her family. Finally, her eyes settled on Ron. She took a moment to look at her best friend and one-time boyfriend, studying his messy hair, his freckles, his large ears. Then she hurried back down the aisle to him. "We need to talk."
"Talk?" Ron asked. "About what?"
Kim offered her best friend a vulnerable smile. "Us," she said hopefully as she took his hands in hers.
"You want to talk about us?" he said in disbelief.
"Yes," she said.
Ron let out a deep breath. "Kim, I know you're probably feeling sorry for me and everything, but you don't have to do this."
"You're wrong, Ron," she replied confidently, giving his hands a gentle squeeze. "I so have to do this. And I so want to do this."
He said nothing and stood silently before her, his face unreadable.
Kim swallowed, wondering what Ron was thinking, realizing the fate of their relationship, romantic or otherwise, rested in his hands. For the first time in her life, as she waited for him to say something, anything, she truly understood the cliché about passing seconds feeling like an eternity.
Finally, Ron spoke.
"Badical," he whispered.
The hover car, now in stealth mode, flew over the rooftops of the British capital, heading back to Drakken's secret lair. The mad scientist's evil crib was conveniently located inside the top of the Gherkin, the largest pickle-shaped structure in the world and without question the most distinctive tower in the City of London. The blue skinned villain had chosen the office building as his European base of operations because it was the last place anyone would think to look for a supervillain's hiding place and, in a soft real estate market, the rent was surprisingly attractive.
"Tell me, Shego, why?" Drakken asked.
"Why what?" she said as she filed her clawed gloves.
"Don't sass me, Shego," he snapped. "You know what. You do realize that if Kim Possible and the buffoon get back together, our lives will become much more complicated. I just know that she'll be interfering with my plans in no time."
"You do a good enough job of that yourself, Doctor D," she japed.
"Shego, you hurt with your words," the mad scientist said sulkily.
The glamorous henchwoman looked at her long-time employer, thought of her drinking session with Ron, and grinned affectionately at the blue-skinned mad scientist. "Yeah, you're right. I do. Sorry."
Drakken looked at his longtime colleague in dumb amazement. "Did you just apologize?"
"Yeah, I guess I did, but don't quote me on it," she replied before asking, "So, remind me why we stole that Magenta Accelerating Whatever It Was?"
"It's a Magneto-Accelerator Reaction Metaphasic Ion Theta Emitter," Drakken said.
"What does it do?" she asked.
"It emits … magnetic things and it … reacts. Metaphasically."
"You don't know, do you?" she shot back, unable to suppress a grin.
"Well, no," Drakken conceded.
"Then why did you steal it?" she wondered.
"Because it had a kickin' acronym, okay?" he admitted.
"You are so whacked," she said with an indulgent laugh. "So, tell me, does it make marshmallow squares?"
"Mock all you want, Shego," Drakken said testily. "When I figure out what the MARMITE does …"
"Whoa, chill out Doc," she interrupted. "I actually think some marshmallow squares would be good. Maybe some Strategories, too."
"Really?" Drakken said. "You mean that?"
"Yeah," Shego responded. "Maybe we can have Evil Family game night or something."
"Thank you," Drakken said, appreciating the gesture.
"Don't mention it," Shego said. "Especially since I'm going to kick your can."
"We'll see about that," Drakken retorted.
The two were flying in companionable silence when the would-be Supreme Ruler of the World turned to his long-time colleague in villainy.
"Don't think I haven't noticed you still haven't answered my question, Shego," Drakken said.
"Can't keep anything from you, can I?" she responded.
"I am an evil genius," Drakken said. "So, just why were you helping Stoppable?"
Shego looked back in the direction of the church where she'd just disrupted Kim Possible's wedding and hopefully sent the lives of the former teen hero and her dopey one-time boyfriend in a new direction and smiled. "I'd explain it to you, Doc, but you wouldn't understand. It's a sidekick thing."