I don't own these characters.
A/N: this fic ignores pretty much the fact that Kim stopped liking Josh Mankey.
A little rant: I wanted to do a KiBo story because I liked the background story I did for Bonnie and her attraction to Kim in "In the Middle." This one is different from that one, but I'm hoping it works out.
Sealed with a Kiss
1: At First Sight
Twelve-year-old Bonnie walked down the streets of Middleton, heading to a nearby park. She did her best not to stomp as she moved. Dancers did not stomp, after all. Of course, dancers also did not grind their teeth, but her teeth worked against each other. Her body was tense and she felt like she was on the urge of shattering.
She was thin as a rail with ochre brown hair that flowed down her back like a cutting river. Her turquoise eyes bore none of the fire she would later be known for, but more of a burden chained to her soul. Her eyes looked tired, much too tired for a twelve-year-old. The cause of the look was the reasons she strolled around outside with no real purpose to her trip.
"Stupid house," she muttered under her breath, scratching her head. Of course, it was not really the house's fault. She kicked at an imaginary rock and scowled at the world.
She just had to get out of the house or her family would drive her out of her mind. They had made her very angry and she really could not do anything about it at the moment. Well, she never really could do anything about it. It was not like she could beat them up or something like that and they never listened to her if she said something back to them. They definitely ignored her if she requested they stop. The worse would be if she cried. Then they would never shut up.
So, she decided to just get out of the house until her fury ran its course or until she had to be back in, which usually was when it got dark outside. If she stayed out past then, her father would never let her hear the end of it and her fierce mood would be back as strong as ever until she buried it down in a pit that she was totally unaware of. Sometimes, she felt like she would literally explode thanks to her family.
Her sisters had been berating her all day for no reason that she could see; they were mostly bored and she was easy entertainment to them. Connie got on her nerves by pointing out that she would be in a regular class when she got into junior high in a few days when she lamented how summer would be over soon. Connie had been in gifted classes for her whole school career and relentlessly teased her baby sister, dubbing her an idiot because she had never been in a gifted class. Bonnie tried her best in school and she always had, but she seemed to be rather average when it came to education's measure of intellect, namely the basic school subjects. She had to put up with being called several versions of stupid, including some rather harsh, blunt terms like "retarded," by Connie until she just could not take it anymore that day.
"I'm not stupid. School is just hard," she grumbled, once again kicking a rock that was not there. "Lonnie's dumber than me." And as much of an asshole as Connie.
Her sister Lonnie had been telling her for the better part of her life that she looked "awkward," and had not shut up about it that morning. Bonnie was not sure what appeared "awkward" about her, but she tended to take her older sister's word on it because she had trusted her sisters for her whole life as far as she knew. She believed Lonnie when the blonde told her that she would never have a boyfriend because she was weird-looking, which actually did not bother her as much as Lonnie would have liked since Bonnie was only twelve and the blonde had been saying such things for years now, even when Bonnie assumed boys had cooties. She supposed weird-looking was a nice, sisterly way of saying that she was ugly.
"I don't get awkward, though. How the hell do you look awkward?" Bonnie grumbled. But, then again, she felt awkward most of the time. Awkward and ugly.
Bonnie probably would not mind being ugly if Lonnie did not bring it up all the time and contrast it to her looks. She noticed being ugly, or "awkward" or "weird-looking," did not keep her from having friends, even though she did wish that she had more of those. She had a bit of a problem keeping friends because she often lost her temper with them. Typically her anger was not directed at something they did, but she blasted them just the same.
And if being "awkward-looking" kept her from having a boyfriend, she probably would have shrugged it of. She had never had one before and she kept on living, but Lonnie made it seem like something so important and as it was said, she trusted her sisters. They seemed to know what they were talking about most of the time. Plus, they were older. They had to know more than she did, right?
"They don't have to be bitches about it, though," she growled, glaring at the park in the distance.
Her sisters had combined forces for most of the day, amusing themselves while tearing her down. They had seriously gone on almost non-stop about how horrible she would be in junior high and how bad things would be for her because she was… well, Bonnie. They even said her name like it was an insult. She had been very close to throwing a lamp at them, but there was no point. She would only end up in trouble, if she hit them or not. So, she fled.
They made her feel like she was unnecessary around their home a great deal of the time, like she was an accident or a mistake, a piece of junk mail they decided to keep. She could not do things as well as they did, so there was no point to her being there. She had no function or purpose and they never let her forget it.
Well, she simply tried her best to do things as well as they did with the hope she would have as much worth as they did at some point in time. It did not seem to work. They still did not treat her like they treated each other.
They got along with each other, hung out together, and all sorts of things while she was always excluded. She wanted them to include her. It would make her feel like she was part of the family and that she was loved by her sisters. She did not know it exactly on a conscious level, but she was aware that she wanted some respect from them. One day, she vowed a long time ago, she would make them proud of her and they would see her as an equal.
Bonnie figured it was possible for her to achieve such a thing since her sisters did seem to love and respect each other. They acted like friends. She gathered that they got that way by doing something that impressed the other. She could be impressive, she was sure of it. She just had to try harder and one day, she would be able to be a part of their little group.
"And then they'll stop being assholes to me." Or so she hoped anyway.
The thought left her mind as she entered the large, green park and looked around. There were a few thick trees shattered about that were prime for climbing. In fact, one had a couple of boys in it. Their kite was caught on a high branch.
There was a picnic area off to the left with a couple of families occupying some tables. Bonnie's own family came there sometimes and ate. It was never much fun. Her father was always grumpy and her sisters were… well, themselves.
A small pond with deep blue water was located in front of her. People went there to race boats on certain days. Sometimes, she watched. Something about the sound of the boats and watching them moved settled her. She was not sure what it was. Maybe it was just the fact that there was noise, but it was happy noise, not yelling like at home. A baseball diamond was set up to the far right, barely visible from where she was, but she could tell that there were people on it.
There were not as many people around as she thought there would be. It was a nice summer day and everything, so she had expected the park to be packed, but there were only a few folks around. She did not care about for the most part because it was not like she planned to talk to anyone or anything like that. She just needed some time to clear her head.
She went and sat down on a park bench. Sighing, she just breathed in the air. The smell of summer seemed to invade her, but her stomach coiled. The tension pulling at her body remained.
She looked around, seeing some squirrels in a nearby tree. There were ducks in the pond, which was not too far away. There was a little girl down there with a man that was probably her father and they were feeding the ducks bits of bread. Bonnie sighed while quashing a ping of jealousy that flashed through her. She always wanted to feed ducks in the park when she was little, but her parents or sisters never took her to do such a thing for various reasons. Sometimes they would get her hopes up and tell her things like "later" or "tomorrow" or "when the weather's better," but later and tomorrow never came and the weather never seemed to be quite right.
She turned her aqua eyes away from the scene and focused on her sandal-covered feet while allowing her mind to wander to the future. She was pretty sure she could turn things around for herself in junior high. It was a fresh start with new people. Even if she was in a regular class, maybe the work would be easier and she could get moved into a gifted classes. Maybe there would be boys there that did not think that she was "awkward" looking and she could find a boyfriend. She could then prove to her sisters that she was just like them, they would accept her, and then most things in her little world would be right.
Bonnie perked up when she heard the sound of an ice cream truck. What was it about ice cream that could just make a crappy day a little bit better? She did not know or care, but she was thankful for that small favor in life. She went into her pocket to make sure she had run out with some money and found she had. She smiled to herself. At least something's going my way today. She trotted over to the truck and brought a strawberry short cake ice cream bar. Yes, the day certainly was shaping up, she thought as she bit into her ice cream while walking off. It tasted like heaven on a stick.
Before Bonnie could fathom what was going on, as she was thoroughly enjoying her ice cream, she was surrounded by a group of five teenage boys and they did not look very friendly. Bonnie gulped, but showed no other outward sign of fear. I'm not scared of them… and maybe they won't hurt me anyway. She rarely made it a point to show fear or weakness; she learned it subconsciously because those emotions got her sisters to pick on her earlier in life and she liked minimizing her abuse.
"We noticed you pulled out a nice little wad of cash over there at the ice cream truck," one of the boys commented in an almost friendly tone, looking down at Bonnie since he was much taller than she was. He eyed the few dollar bills she had rolled up in her hand. His friends stared the same thing with greed in their eyes.
"So?" Bonnie asked with a bit of an attitude. It was her money, so she did not see what she did with it as any of his business.
"We think you need to hand it over," another boy answered with a growl. He was even larger than the first boy that spoke and she was a bit scared thanks to his tone. A guy his size could break little-old-her in half. She was not even five feet tall and did not weigh close to a hundred pounds while he was close to six feet tall and clearly weighed over a hundred and thirty pounds of pure muscle if the biceps he sported was an indication of what the rest of his body looked like. Still, she would not be intimidated. It just was not in her nature anymore. Her mind had blocked that out to deal with her sisters long ago.
"It's mine," she declared in a surprisingly strong voice, tilting her chin up at him.
She had eight dollars and some change in her pocket now after breaking her ten on her ice cream. It was hard work to save up ten dollars for her because she did not get a regular allowance and she often loaned her sisters money, secretly hoping such a thing would get them to like her more. She refused to give up her money without a fight since it was so hard for her to keep money for herself.
Twelve-year-old Kim messed with a new addition to her face, a new, unwanted addition. She had just gotten her braces and she kept using her tongue to trace the annoying devices attached to her teeth. She could only imagine the reaction she would get on her first day of junior high.
"Stupid braces," she muttered and noticed she slurred. She felt like she had extra spit in her mouth. Gross.
She sighed; every time she wanted to make a good impression somewhere, something managed to go wrong. She was going to be known as "the girl with the braces" for her whole junior high school career. She was thankful that would not be too long, but she supposed it would still follow her around because she was pretty certain that some of the people she met in junior high would also end up going to high school with her.
"Why me?" she groaned, pouting.
She entered the park just in time to see she had missed the ice cream truck, which was fine anyway. She had not gotten used to her braces enough to try eating a lot of things. She continued on her way through the park. She needed to meet up with Ron by the playground. He still liked playing on the seesaw, even though she insisted they were getting too old for that. Ron Stoppable was never too old to do something and he often proclaimed that, rather loudly in her opinion and way more times than necessary.
On her way, she noticed a group of boys. She would not have thought too much of them if only she did not see what they were doing. They were circled around a girl like a clan of hungry hyenas and pushing her around. Well, Kim could not just stand by idly while something like that happened. It just was not right and she liked helping out whenever she could. She could see her assistance would probably be greatly appreciated by the girl. Besides, it would be no problem for her to help. It was a good thing that she took martial arts classes, along with some gymnastics. So, she literally sprang into action.
Kim leaped into the fray just as soon as Bonnie was pushed into the dirt, dropping her barely eaten ice cream. Just as one of the boys was about to run through Bonnie's pockets, Kim backed him up with a rapid series of hand strikes. She then gracefully turned into a roundhouse kick, which landed on two of the boys. The fellows backed up, shocked by the sudden appearance of the fiery little redhead.
"Who the hell is this?" one of the teens demanded with wide eyes and a furrowed brow. His friends seemed just as surprised, mouths gaping and eyebrows curled up.
"The person that's gonna kick your butts," Kim answered, spitting a little thanks to her braces. Some of her words slurred again. Internally, she sighed. It's hard to be intimidating with a lisp. Maybe she should try practicing talking with the braces… in the privacy of her room.
"Ew, say it, don't spray it, kid," another of the boys said while shielding his face from Kim's words.
Kim sucked her teeth. Great, not only were the braces ugly, but they also made her talk weird and spit on people. Life with braces just keeps getting better and better, she thought sarcastically. I wish Mom and Dad just left me with the crooked teeth.
"Look, just leave her alone," Kim commanded, pointing down at Bonnie.
Bonnie was still on the ground, eyes just as wide as the boys and mouth hanging open as well. She was stunned for a completely different reason, though. She could not believe that someone came to her rescue. She guessed there was a first time for everything.
"Like hell we're going to let a pipsqueak like you tell us what to do!"
The boys charged Kim with the intent to beat her up, figuring since she was the same size as Bonnie, it would be an easy task. Size was not what counted in the brawl, though. Kim wailed on them with style and grace.
They could not believe they were being beaten up by a little girl and just kept coming in for more. Kim happily obliged, if only to teach them to pick on someone their own size next time. After a few minutes, it dawned on the boys that they would not be able to conquer Kim and they were just prolonging their own suffering, so they ran off in the other direction, swearing things were not over by a long shot. Kim only laughed while watching them go.
Bonnie was amazed and awestruck by what she just witnessed. The redhead before her was like some kind of superhero/angel of vengeance. She did not know what she should do or say while standing before such a wonderful person. She felt the urge to throw herself into the olive-eyed girl's arms and just thank her forever and always for saving her pain and eight dollars. But, before she did that, Kim turned to her.
"You all right?" Kim asked, once again spitting slightly as she spoke, but she put her hand over her mouth to prevent hitting Bonnie.
"I'm fine. Thanks for that," Bonnie managed to answer, even though she was still in awe of the girl in front of her.
"That's good. I'm Kim," the redhead introduced herself with a tight smile. Her tone was much more friendly than her expression.
"If you're not doing anything, you wanna hang out with me? I'm going to meet my friend at the playground," Kim explained. She still had her hand over her mouth, now totally mortified with her braces because she could feel how much spit escaped her mouth as she spoke. This is so majorly uncool! Maybe she could convince her parents to get them removed.
"The playground?" Bonnie echoed, forehead wrinkled. Kim looked like they were about the same age, so she should be too old for the playground.
"Yeah, my friend's still a kid at heart," Kim remarked. She grinned behind her hand. She thought it was sweet that Ron was still a little childish, even though it was embarrassing when other people were around.
Bonnie shrugged and agreed to go. It was not like she had anything better to do and she really would like to get to know her savior a little bit better. Maybe they could be friends, Bonnie considered. That would be nice. She could always use more friends in her opinion, especially friends who wanted to protect her.
The first thing Bonnie did when she got home was tell her sisters about Kim. She liked Kim a lot so far and had seen the girl do some amazing things while they were at the park. She had also been happy to find out that Kim was into gymnastics, which was something that she was interested in, along with ballet. They had done tumbles in the field and Kim was so graceful. She told them about how Kim had beat up all of those boys and then showed her all kinds of martial arts moves.
Her sisters were not as supportive and astonished by the whole story as Bonnie had been when it unfolded. In fact, they just used it like they used everything else that Bonnie ever told them; they used it as a means to make fun of her.
"You know what that girl sounds like," Lonnie said to Connie once Bonnie finally stopped talking.
"A dyke," Connie replied with a smug sort of bluntness. Smiling cruelly, Lonnie nodded.
"A dyke?" Bonnie echoed, studying both of her sisters through narrow eyes. That did not sound good and their expressions did not help. "What's that?" she asked her sisters. She had never heard such a word before. She made a mental note to go look it up if her sisters did not give her a sound explanation, which was likely to happen as they rarely explained words to her that she did not understand.
"It's what you are," Lonnie taunted the youngest of them, going so far as to poke her hard in the shoulder. Bonnie was moved back, but did not seem to notice.
"I'm a dyke?" Bonnie's face scrunched up and when her sisters laughed, it did not help change her expression. She was getting the idea that she should not be a "dyke," though. It seemed to just be something else that her sisters could hang over her head, like the fact that she was the dumb, ugly one out of them all.
"She admitted it," Lonnie commented while snickering.
"What is it?" Bonnie asked in a panic now, disliking that they seemed to have labeled her something bad without telling her what it was.
"A dyke, little sister, is a girl that likes to have sex with girls," Connie explained with a smirk. There was a cunning, almost predatory glint in her eyes that she got whenever she could make fun of her baby sister while enlightening her at the same time. It was an expression that probably mirrored a fox's when it sneaked into a hen house.
Turquoise eyes went wide and Bonnie frantically shook her head. "Wait, what? I don't like to have sex with girls!" She never looked at girls that way. Well, to be fair, she had only started noticing boys in the past year and she actually did not think there was much to them. But, she knew she should not even think about having sex with girls.
"No, you already said you do and you just told us about your little girlfriend," Lonnie remarked, still laughing from Bonnie's earlier words.
"She's not my girlfriend!" the youngest objected, stomping her foot and throwing her hands up. Kim was just her friend. Well, not even really a friend. After all, she had just met Kim today and if being friends with Kim meant her sisters would tease her, well, she would not be friends with the redhead, even though she really liked Kim.
"But you like her, don't you?" Connie asked, looking like a cat that had cornered an injured mouse.
"As a friend. Wait, maybe not even that much," Bonnie answered. There was a chance her sisters could take that the wrong way, after all. She did not want them to think that she was what they said she was, especially since she could tell they did not think it was a good thing. Great, now I'm the dumb, awkward dyke out of us. No. I won't let that happen!
"I bet you like her a lot," Connie smiled cruelly and batted her eyes.
"You probably want to kiss her when you see her again," Lonnie chimed in, making kissing noises.
"No, I don't!" Bonnie hollered, a vein in her neck popping up. Luckily for her, their father was not home or she would have been barked on by him for raising her voice through the house. Her hands were now balled into tight, angry fists, even though she did not plan to hit anyone. Her nails bit into her palms, but she was so upset that she failed to notice the pain in her hands.
"I bet you do," Lonnie practically cooed while bending down to get into Bonnie's face and really rub it in. She tapped Bonnie on the nose with her index finger.
Bonnie wrinkled her nose and stepped back. "No, I don't! I'm not a dyke!" On the inside, she begged with her sisters to believe her and to stop making fun of her. She just wanted them to treat her like they treated each other.
"Sure you're not." Connie rolled her eyes.
Bonnie picked up on the sarcasm immediately. Lonnie was still a little shaky on understanding sarcasm when it was used, but Bonnie did not give her a chance to give that away.
"I'm not!" Bonnie screamed at the top of her lungs, as if the louder that she said it, the more believable it would be.
The older sisters continued teasing Bonnie until the twelve-year-old just ran off to escape the verbal torment, seeking sanctuary in her bedroom. She slammed the door as loud as she could, just because her father was not home. She tossed herself on her twin-sized bed.
I'm not a dyke and I don't like Kim that way. In fact, she did not like Kim at all, she told herself. Nobody asked her to butt into my business, after all. I could've handled things. I didn't need her, her and her stupid karate and ugly braces.
If she hated Kim then her sisters would not be able to make fun of her. That made perfect sense and to her that was all right because she probably would never see Kim again. After all, she had only just met her and they had not made any plans to get together again after they parted ways in the park.
Imagine Bonnie's surprise when she saw Kim a few days later in the schoolyard on the first day of school. It would seem they were both going to be going to the same junior high school. She gulped as Kim noticed her and waved. She did not wave back, but that did not stop Kim and Ron from trotting over to her.
"Hi," Kim greeted Bonnie with a friendly smile. She was glad Bonnie was at school with her and Ron. They had all had a lot of fun the other day, so she thought they all had the chance of being great friends.
Bonnie rolled her eyes and did not bother acknowledging Kim. She even turned her back to the redhead, which took a lot of willpower to do because she really did like Kim, not matter what she told herself. Kim was amazing and she wished that they could be friends.
But, she remembered everything her sisters said. She did not want them to make fun of her anymore and she did not want them to call her any more names. So, she was not going to spend any more time with Kim, especially if her sisters were actually right about Kim.
She supposed there was a chance that Kim was a girl that liked girls. She did not want Kim to like her like that. It would be weird and people would make fun of her. She definitely did not want more people making fun of her, especially when she went out of her way at school to get other people to think that she was cool. It was just nice for people to look at her with some respect.
"Hey, Bonnie, what's the matter?" Kim asked, squinting a little as she eyed Bonnie since Bonnie seemed to be ignoring her. She doubted Bonnie forgot who she was already.
"Why don't you go away, brace-face?" Bonnie huffed, finding a talent she did not know she had, but would exploit throughout her time knowing Kim. She had the ability to spot the very thing that would hurt Kim as much as possible and use it with vicious accuracy. Deep down, it was not a talent that she really wanted, but it came in handy.
Kim's entire demeanor dropped and she looked absolutely crushed, not just by the name, but by the fact that it drew attention to the one thing she hated about herself at the moment. Bonnie felt a sting in her heart when she saw Kim's expression, but she chose to ignore that. She turned and walked away, leaving Kim to be consoled by Ron.
A small voice in Bonnie's head told that she should apologize, but she ignored that voice too. She could not apologize, would not apologize. Apologizing was a sign of weakness. Her sisters always used to laugh at her when she apologized and they were around. Her parents made her apologize when things were not even her fault. Apologizing was stupid.
So, there would be no apologizing and there would be no friendship with Kim and Ron. She would only work at making her sisters acknowledge that she was just as good as they were, but she soon found herself with a rival. She discovered quickly that Kim could do everything that she could do, but better.
Kim was smarter than she was, much to her dismay. Kim did not look "awkward" as far as she could tell. In fact, Kim got attention from quite a few boys. It was annoying and she did the only thing that she could, she started getting on Kim verbally, downing her to make other people think that she was not so great. She was not going to let Kim get in her way. She had to prove to her sisters she was their equal and to her that meant that she had to be the best at something. She had to be better than Kim.
Next time: In high school, Bonnie thinks conflicting thoughts about Kim.