Back To Kwitcherbeliakin
A Stand-alone story featuring "Team Probable"
based in the world of Disney's Kim Possible
Kim Possible copyrighted by Disney, et. al.
Kim Possible sat in Bueno Nacho, her fingers enveloped in the warm cocoon of Ron's hand. They were both looking dreamily into each other's eyes. Kim used her other hand to gently trace her fingertips over the back of Ron's hand.
'Love you.' she said silently, exaggerating the movements of her lips without speaking.
Ron smiled back to her, a dazed look on his face. 'Love Nacos.' he mouthed back. She scowled very softly, but melted as Ron's other hand found hers and began a series of soothing caresses. 'Love you more.' he mouthed. She leaned into him, laying her head in his shoulder, a wash of euphoria creeping over her.
Ned looked over at their table from behind the counter and sighed, shaking his head. It wasn't so much the constant PDAs that Kim and Ron engaged in which annoyed him as much as the fact that they would sometimes spend hours sitting in the booth just looking at each other, long after their meals were finished. It slowed down floor traffic with both of them tying up a booth that could be used to serve more customers.
Luckily, he had never had to shoo them away. Someone else frequently did it for him. And right on schedule, Bonnie walked by after finishing her own meal, looking at Kim and Ron with an exasperated grimace.
'Do you losers even realize that the sun is up and people can see you?' she said. 'You could at least use the invisibility thing in that weird suit of yours so no one else has witness the toxicity!'
Ron and Kim glanced at Bonnie as if she were something mundane, like a phone ringing or a door knocking, that was pulling them back to reality from someplace much more pleasant. 'Walk me home?' she said softly, feathering her hand across his chin.
'Mmmm-hmmm.' Ron nodded, his eyes vacant. He stood up and bowed, holding out his hand with a flourish. Kim let him pull her up and escort her to the door, feeling like a princess being shown to a ballroom. Bonnie watched with a scowl as Ron opened the door for her, and they exited arm in arm.
'Uuuugh!' Bonnie said, clenching her hands and shaking her head. 'They are so vile!'
Ron and Kim walked down the street, holding hands. 'College forms back yet?' she said, not really interested in his answer, just in hearing his voice.
'A few.' he said. 'How about you?'
'Ditto.' she answered. 'I've really enjoyed these last few days, Ron.' she said sincerely.
'Double-ditto.' he said. There hadn't been as many missions lately, so Kim and Ron had been able to enjoy some quality time together. 'Can't help wondering why things have been so quiet, though.'
Kim had her suspicions. 'That thing with the Mega Synaptic Transducer probably has something to do with it.' she said. 'Almost every major bad guy got hit pretty hard when everyone turned evil. Normal citizens trying to take them over for a change. And there were a lot who just turned themselves into prison while the Transducer was on.'
Ron chuckled, remembering how in court Aviarius had demanded to be released because he hadn't really meant to give up. It had been a few weeks since the return of Zorpox. But that was all over. The Transducer was destroyed, and Team Probable was nowhere to be found. 'Who'd have thought some good would actually come out of all that?' he said.
'Good and evil had a weirdness overload that day.' she said. The memories were still painful. She had never come so close to despair. But once it was over, the villainage had dropped to nearly zero. They were probably still fixing their damaged lairs, or cooking up new schemes. She had Wade keeping a finger on things, but so far none of her major foes had made a move.
'I guess sometimes even the bad guys need a vacation.' Ron said.
'If they try anything, we're all over them.' she said. 'But for now... let's just enjoy the time we have.'
Kim held his hand tightly. What villains did in their off-time she didn't know, and didn't want to know, unless it involved the cops jumping them and hauling them off to prison. Shego's banter about Midas had been way too much information for her liking. Though bringing up the Transducer caused her mind to wonder about Grimm Probable. He had come within a hair's breadth of breaking them up, and it was only Ron's good heart that had thwarted him. She wondered very briefly where he was now, and if he was planning anything else...
Far from Middleton, a blonde-haired girl sat on a stool in a dimly lit room. The room had sports posters mixed in with a collection of pictures of various people on the wall. Dr. Director from Global Justice, Team Impossible, pictures of Team Go members, and also Kim Possible. Each photo had a number of darts sticking in them.
Rhonda Fatigable looked nervously at the auburn-haired teenage boy beside her. His athletic frame seemed tense, like a spring waiting be released. Grimm Probable was tapping his foot on the floor, staring at his computer screen.
'Still nothing?' she said.
'No.' he answered.
She sighed. 'Why so worried? We running out of money or something?'
A quick smile flashed across Grimm's lips before vanishing. 'Money's not an issue. I'm just bored.'
Rhonda sat quietly again. Ever since their caper in Middleton, business had dropped to almost nothing. Rhonda didn't mind the breather, but Grimm had grown steadily more pent-up with every day that passed without a mission. She saw his finger straying to a key on his keyboard. 'Don't do it!' she said. 'If there was anything, she'd have called us...'
But Grimm had already hit the key. A window popped up, and a young girl with an Asian complexion stared out at them, her rainbow-streaked hair hanging in neat strands around her pretty face. 'Jade, is there any...' he started.
'For the bazillionth time, no!' she broke in, sounding irritated. 'Jeez Grimm, you just called two minutes ago...'
Grimm sighed. 'Jade, there must be something. All those villains out there, and none of them are looking for help?' Jade grumbled, shaking her head. Grimm stared keenly at her. 'You're not holding out on purpose, are you? Are you still miffed about the Transducer thing?'
Jade's eyes narrowed ever so slightly. Grimm shook his head. 'I said I was sorry.' he said, his voice mingled annoyance with exasperation. 'But Ron didn't tell us what the bracelets were for until a few seconds before he turned on the Transducer. Besides, I thought you liked the bundt cake.'
'Cake was fine.' Jade said, nodding her head slightly from side to side and speaking in a sing-song voice like a kid teasing someone in a schoolyard.
'Come on Jade, how long are you gonna hold it against us? I didn't hold it against you when you helped Kim Possible and sent all those villains to fight against us...'
'Which I wouldn't have done if I'd had a bracelet...'
'All right, fine.' she said. 'I promise I'm not holding out on you. There just isn't anything that would interest you.'
'Try me.' said Grimm, eagerly.
Jade stared at him. 'OK, here are the details. Nearly half of the free villains in the world turned themselves in while the Transducer was on-line. Not only that, they felt so guilty about their past crimes that they set things up so that they couldn't escape in case they turned evil again.'
'But the guards running the prisons were evil because of the Transducer. They must have turned them loose...' Grimm said, but Jade cut her off.
'They did. But they stayed in voluntarily.'
'Then there must be someone on the inside who wants a jailbreak now...'
'None who could afford the fee.' said Jade, shaking her head. 'They also gave back all the money they ever stole before they turned themselves in. Unless you want to work for free...' she said, letting her voice trail off knowingly.
'Next.' said Grimm, frowning.
'All the villains who are still on the loose - Dr. Drakken, Killigan, the Seniors, are busy trying to rebuild their infrastructure. Most of them tried giving back all of their money too, and now they're scrambling to get it back. The others are going full-time just trying to get their bases and lairs back in order. Right now, the only 'help' they want are construction workers.'
Grimm tented his fingers in front of him, resting his elbows on the computer desk. 'Two possibilities.' he said. 'One, they're cheesed off at me for helping Ron make the Transducer and I've been blackballed...'
'Not really.' said Jade, her expression softening. 'They all said it was a brilliant scheme and wished they'd thought of it.'
'And two, they're cheesed off that we fought against them in the warehouse and I've been blackballed.'
'See above.' Jade answered. 'They don't blame you for turning them good - they're saving that for Ron. And they were more embarrassed that they wound up helping Kim than they were mad at us for starting the ball rolling in the first place.'
Grimm frowned. 'So they're really...'
'Just not hiring at the moment.' said Jade, shaking her head. 'Don't worry GP - they'll be back. Until then, do something to relax. I suggest sending me another bundt cake.'
'You rock, Jade.' he said, his voice flat and disappointed.
'There's something else.' Jade said, and her voice had an apprehensive edge to it. 'I've been keeping an eye on things in Middleton like you asked.'
Grimm looked curious. 'And...?'
'Kim and Ron were seen making goo-goo eyes at each other in Bueno Nacho. Just thought you should know.' The window containing her face on the computer screen closed with a blip.
Grimm frowned slightly. 'Unbelievable.' he said. 'I really thought Stoppable would dump Kim over that business with the chip. What a total doormat.'
Rhonda put her chin in her hands. 'Or maybe they really love each other.' she mumbled.
Grimm shook his head. 'Oh please.' he said. Then he sighed. 'Well, they're more fun to hassle when they're together anyway.'
Rhonda came up behind him and put her hands on his shoulders, massaging him gently. 'Well, let's take a clue from them for a change. We've actually got some down-time now. Let's relax and enjoy it while it lasts...'
Grimm shook his head. 'No time for love, babe.'
'What are you talking about?' Rhonda sputtered, incredulous. 'We got nothing but time! Look, you just said you were bored!'
'If we're on down-time, then it means Possible and her crew are as well.' Grimm said, starting to gather up various martial arts accroutements, including hand tape, a karate gi and a bo staff. 'We gave Kim a taste of what it's like to have Ron's Mystical Monkey Power turned against her. Which means it'll probably enter her head to start it working for her. If she's got even half a brain, she'll start pushing him to train and to tap into his power.'
'So?' said Rhonda, sulkily.
Grimm stared at her, his face darkened. 'So?' he said. 'You saw what he was capable of when we turned him evil. I don't even want to know what it'll be like fighting his Monkey Power now that he's good again. We're gonna have to step up our game if we want to stay level with Team Possible now. We can't afford any dead weight.'
Rhonda bit her lip at his words, but tried again. 'Come on.' she said. 'We played them like fiddles in that last mission. We rattled their cage so bad they'd be scared to death if we turned up again.' She poured it on, trying to persuade him. She really wanted to just relax with Grimm for a while, to just spend time with him, but she could tell by looking at his face that it was no use.
Grimm shook his head. 'We got some good digs in on Possible, but the fallout has turned into a disaster for us in terms of business. I kind of wish I hadn't turned Ron loose like that now - but at the time it was so worth it.' he smiled and glanced over at the photo of Kim Possible on the wall, which Rhonda had taken when Kim learned exactly how Grimm had played her. 'I'm off to the training yard.' he said, hoisting his equipment. 'You coming?'
Rhonda looked away from him. 'In... in a while.' she said softly.
Grimm was heading for the door. 'All right.' he said. 'But I'm writing up a new schedule for both of us. You're on two hours practice a day from now on - and I think you know what'll happen if you chintz on your time!'
Rhonda shuddered, remembering his 'Super-Soaker' treatment of drenching her with ice water from a squirt gun when she least expected it, every hour on the hour until she got in her training time. 'I...' she started, but Grimm had already left and closed the door behind him.
She sat quietly for a while, then sighed, turned off Grimm's computer and left.
Later, Rhonda sat on one of the swings on a swing set in a playground. Across the way was the pre-school building. It was the same playground where she and Grimm had met in Pre-K and become friends. The swing set was older now, and squeaked mournfully as she moved softly a few inches backwards and forwards. Rueful sat draped around her shoulders, breathing softly and looking at her.
She looked around, her eyes falling on a bare patch of pavement with four white lines painted into it, forming a subdivided square. The lines were faded now, and unbidden memories flashed into her mind.
'Hey freckle-face!' A four-year old Rhonda stood cringing before a semi-circle of other girls, her hands trembled around the four-square ball she had been playing with. The ringleader, a red-haired girl with a puggish face grinned with the satisfied look of a predator who knows they have their victim cornered.
'W...what do you want?' Rhonda said, shuddering. It was her first day in Pre-K, and she had felt the first feelings of discomfort when she had said her name to the class at the teachers bidding. The other girls who now confronted her had giggled softly at their tables.
'That's a FOUR-square ball!' said the pug-faced girl, and the others nodded. 'Not a one-square ball! Quit hogging it, fatty!'
'I'm not fat!' said Rhonda sadly.
'Oh yeah?' said another girl, a darker-haired one with a lispy voice. 'Then why are you named FATigable? Huh, fatty?'
'Leave me alone.' she said miserably, feeling tears welling in her eyes. But she still trembled, paralyzed with fear for she was outnumbered and knew that she couldn't stand up to all of them.
'What are you gonna do?' said the leader, stepping forward. 'You gonna cry all over us?'
'I... I've got an imaginary friend.' she said desperately. 'And he's HUGE, so you better back off!'
The girls laughed, some cowering in mock fear, and then they all advanced. They wrestled the ball from Rhonda's hands, pushing her to the ground. 'Rueful!' she screamed.
'You heard her - leave her alone!' said a voice behind them.
The girls turned around, and Rhonda peered through them. She saw an auburn-haired boy, who stood staring at them with a grim expression, his hazel eyes gleaming.
The pug-faced girl scowled, then looked back at Rhonda. 'This is your imaginary friend?' she said. 'He's not so huge!'
'I'm not imaginary.' he said, his lips curling into a smirk. 'Want to see?' He leaped forward and in a blur of motion, he circled through the whole clutch of girls with a foot sweep, knocking all of them to the ground. The ball flew out of the leader's hands and the boy neatly caught it, spinning it on his finger.
Rhonda gaped at him, her mouth falling open. 'Wow...' she said.
The girls sat up, groaning. The dark-haired one said, 'I skinned my belbow...'
The boy tossed the ball over his shoulder without looking and it landed in Rhonda's lap. 'She'll give you the ball to you when she's done.' he said. 'Until then you four-SQUARES can go play somewhere else!'
The girls got up and ran to other parts of the playground, casting dark looks at him and Rhonda.
'T...thanks.' said Rhonda, taking the boy's hand as he reached down and pulled her up. She felt a sudden desire to save face in front of him and said, 'But... I think Rueful could have handled them.'
The boy laughed. 'You're weird.' he said. 'But I like weird. My name's Grimm.'
'I'm Rhonda.' she answered, and felt a warm blush in her cheeks that she didn't understand. She added hastily. 'Is... school always gonna be like this?' she held the ball in her hands, looking down and wondering when the next clutch of bullies would show up.
Grimm laughed. 'You're worried they'll come back when I'm not here, aren't you?' he said, and Rhonda gasped, feeling like he had read her thoughts. 'Let me share a secret with you.' he said. 'Bullies can be scary, but they don't like to work too hard for their victims. If the person they go after is too much trouble, they'll usually look for someone else. You just have to let 'em know that you're not gonna be an easy target!'
He turned and made a scary face, lunging towards the pug-faced girl, who was still staring at them through the monkey bars. 'RRRRRRRR!' he snarled. The girl flinched and stepped back, bumping into the bars behind her. Grimm turned around, paying no more attention to her. 'You see? You just need to show them you won't go down easy. If they think they can get away with it, they'll keep coming back.'
Rhonda dug the ground with her toe. 'But... what if they hit me? I don't want to get hit...' she said miserably.
'Just remember they don't want to get hit either.' said Grimm, shrugging. 'That's why they keep going after the ones who don't stand up to them. You might get a bruise or two - but they'll know you're not afraid. And no bully likes that.'
'You're smart.' said Rhonda, smiling faintly. 'Will... will you be my friend?'
'Only if you'll be mine.' he answered, smiling.
The rest of the day went much better. She had a lot of fun playing on the swings and in the sandbox with Grimm. For some reason, Grimm kept asking to play 'ninja'. Rhonda had trouble at first, but he patiently showed her some of his moves so she could keep up with him. Later in the afternoon Grimm's parents came to pick him up and she waved good-bye to him through the window as his car drove away.
'Hey, fatty!' came a voice behind her. Rhonda felt a chill, and saw the four girls from the playground were there, scowling at her. Rhonda looked around for the teacher, but she was helping students put their things away in the other room. She wondered briefly if bullies had some kind of magic power that made teachers ignore them. 'Looks like your boyfriend left you all alone!'
'He's not my boyfriend!' Rhonda said, shuddering. 'He's... my friend... who's also a boy.'
The dark-haired girl rubbed the bandage on her elbow. 'Yeah, well he's not here now, fatty!'
'Stop calling me that.' said Rhonda, her fear slowly giving way to a warmer feeling of anger.
'What are you gonna do about it?' said the pug-faced girl. 'Sic your imaginary friend on us?'
'No.' she said. Then she pointed up behind them. 'I'm gonna sic the teacher on you!'
The girls looked around behind them, but the teacher was still in the other room. Then they suddenly all fell to the floor, squealing as they slammed into the mats after Rhonda dropped down and swept her leg in a wide circle, just like Grimm had showed her.
She sprang up and stared down at them. 'Booyah!' she shouted. 'And where do you lard-balls get off telling me that I'm fat?' The three other girls looked cowed, for Rhonda was right - they were all heavier set than she was. But the pug-faced leader got up and lashed out with a punch. Rhonda took it in the shoulder, but it didn't hurt all that much. She punched back, taking another hit, but managed to force her back down onto the mat.
'RRRRRR!' she snarled, and all four of them flinched. At that moment, the teacher came back into the room. She immediately sensed trouble and looked over at them. 'Play nice, girls!' she said. 'Or you're all on time out!'
Rhonda stared down at them with a satisfied 'hmph.' Her parents had arrived to pick her up, and she went over to them.
'Hello dear.' said her mother. 'Did you make any new friends?'
'There was a boy named Grimm.' she said enthusiastically. 'He was really nice. Do you think he'll be back here tomorrow?'
Her father laughed. 'Well, if his parents live in town, I'm pretty sure he will sweetheart.'
'Good.' she said. 'I think he and I are gonna be bestest friends...'
Rhonda looked dolefully at the pre-school building which was darkened in the setting sun. Without daylight to show off the primary colored plastic of the playground equipment and the building interior, it all seemed gloomy and melancholy.
She had been best friends with Grimm since that day, following him everywhere, even after he'd set up his website on a lark to do odd jobs. She'd stuck with him nervously on his first job when a super-villain accidentally hit his website and hired him to help get control of his base again when his new security system had malfunctioned.
She'd seen the taste for thrill and excitement build in him as he kept getting more jobs, and she had done her best to keep pace with him, practicing with him, studying judo in an attempt to match his Tai Shing Pek Kwar.
Then they had met Team Possible, and somehow everything seemed to change. Not just because she and Grimm had started shipping, but because of Ron. She remembered her first confrontation with him, and how it had felt like she was fighting a shadowy reflection of herself.
Rhonda gripped the chains on the swing. Doofus-boy, she had called him. Kim Possible's clumsy, useless sidekick - just like she was Grimm's clumsy, useless sidekick. She had thought Ron was as much a hindrance and annoyance to Kim as she felt she was to Grimm. But in the last caper, Ron had turned into a dangerous monster.
She remembered how he had constructed so many devices - the Transducer, the Mega-bots, Grimm's battle-suit, the Feedback Modulator, the Mega Magnetic Manipulator, all in such a short amount of time it was frightening. And she thought of her own contributions to her missions with Grimm and felt a dark sting of jealous inadequacy. She had never built anything, let alone anything that worked.
She remembered Ron going toe to toe with Kim, using his Mystical Monkey Power; and how easily he had captured her with the Lotus Blade. She remembered Grimm's words when they'd first arrived in Middleton.
'Stoppable is more dangerous than he looks. As good as I am at Tai Shing Pek Kwar, Ron Stoppable has the potential to defeat me.'
Rhonda felt a sinking feeling in her gut. Deep down, even Grimm was scared of Ron. But was Kim scared of her? Even Rhonda couldn't fool herself into thinking that Kim had ever given her so much as a second thought in any of their confrontations. Ron was 'potential boy'. But she couldn't recall anyone ever calling her 'potential girl'.
'Face it Rhonda - you're a joke.' she said to herself, her head drooping. What had she done in their last caper? Gotten beat up by Yori. Pushed buttons on a remote. What had she ever done in any of her missions with Grimm besides screw things up and get in his way? A big, fat zero. She felt her eyes beginning to smart, a sure sign that tears were soon to follow. She sniffled, running the back of her hand across her nose. Rueful cocked his head to the side and let out a querying trill, confused by her sullen mood. And in the back of Rhonda's mind, a dark thought gave voice.
'Maybe he'd be better off without you.'
She gripped the chains even harder as the thought took root. And before she could stop it, she found herself thinking of excuses to give Grimm for quitting.
She jumped slightly in the swing as Grimm's voice sounded behind her. She stood up and whirled around. He was standing looking at her, the setting sun lining him with an orange halo. He was dressed in his gi, and the tape on his hands was torn and frayed. His hair was unkempt, and he was covered with a thin sheen of sweat. Despite his disheveled appearance, she felt her knees going weak. He looked effortlessly magnificent as always.
'You didn't come to the training yard.' he said, a faint smirk on his face. 'Don't make me break out the super-soaker.'
'Sorry GP.' she said, turning away and sitting back down on the swing. 'I'm just not feeling the old magic today, y'know?'
Grimm stared at her. 'What's eating you?' he said, his voice a bit softer. He looked at Rueful, who was pointing at Rhonda surreptitiously and shaking his head.
'Nothing.' she said, wiping her nose quickly.
'Liar.' he said. 'You never come here unless something's bothering you. Talk to me.'
She looked down and away from him. She knew he'd eventually wheedle it out of her. 'I'm thinking of quitting.' she muttered.
For several minutes, Grimm said nothing. 'What brought this on?' he said at last.
'Something I heard someone say about 'dead weight'.' she said.
There was more silence. Rhonda didn't look up, but she could practically feel Grimm's eyes boring into her.
'Well,' he said. 'If you've made up your mind, then there's no use me trying to talk you out of it - is there?'
Rhonda raised her head, feeling a chilling tingle of loss and sadness. He was giving up on her that easily? That could only mean he agreed with her. She felt a tightness in her chest, and tears welling up again. The silence spiraled out horribly and everything seemed to turn grey around her.
'Unless,' he went on at last, 'You haven't made up your mind yet, and you're telling me this because you want me to talk you out of it.'
Rhonda scowled. 'You are so annoying when you look straight through people.' she said. 'Why do you always have to put a spike in the brain of anyone you're talking to?'
Grimm shrugged. 'It was either become a master at playing head games, or learn how to torture people with needles.' he said. 'I made my choice.'
'Izzat so?' Rhonda said, nodding. 'All right, fine. I'm feeling down because during our last mission all I did was play fetch and carry. It was all 'Ron' this, and 'Ron' that - everyone going on and on about how evil he was, how amazed they were with his inventions, his Monkey Power, and who knows what else...'
'And no one's ever gone on and on about you?' he said.
Rhonda bit her lip. Once again, he demonstrated his uncanny knack for cutting straight to the bone with a single sentence.
Grimm sighed. 'Come on, Rhonda.' he said. 'Fishing for compliments? Only fanfiction geeks do that. But if it helps, here you go. You faced down the whole Yamanouchi School twice. You got into Yori's head like a pro. And that Judo toss on Kim was a hoot to watch. I can tell you've been practicing...'
Rhonda blushed and looked down.
Grimm's smirk went back up. 'If you're really thinking about quitting, I'm sorry to hear it.' he said. 'Because something has come up that only you can help with.'
She looked up again. 'What's... the sitch?' she said, raising an eyebrow.
'Jade called.' he said. 'We've got a mission.'
Rhonda smiled faintly. She should have known. Only the prospect of a mission could have gotten him so laid back and cheerful all of a sudden, compared to the near-funk he'd been in earlier.
'If a chance to step up and prove yourself is all you're angling for, then your wish is granted.' he said. 'It's not a huge mission, but the price is right, and the client has requested help from you specifically.'
'Who's the client?' she said, confused. She didn't know anyone outside of Grimm's circle of clients. 'And why me?'
'It's got something to do with your old camping days. You mentioned something about bears?'
Rhonda shuddered. 'Oh yeah. The whole summer I was at that darn camp they had me bunked up in the same cabin with their stupid mascot - a bear cub! Can you believe that? They actually put a bear cub in the same cabin with me! Man, I wish the tort lawyers had gotten on their 'sue everybody' kick in those days, I could have nailed that camp to the wall!'
'Yeah yeah,' said Grimm, his voice going monotone. He'd spent so much time listening to her griping about her experience at summer camp that he had learned to tune it out. But he was trying to listen now, as the information might prove useful on the mission. 'But the mascot isn't part of this, at least I don't think it is. You also said something about some kind of statue?'
Rhonda groaned and put her face in her hands. 'The whole place was a menace! The troop I was in actually ditched me in the woods! I spent hours wandering around, trying to find my way back and I wound up in this creepy hollow with an ugly old boulder shaped like a bear! And I don't care what anyone else tells you, I swear I heard someone whispering! I was so scared I couldn't move...!'
Grimm smiled again. 'For someone who was so paralyzed with fear, you sure ran back to camp fast enough...'
'You'd have freaked out too if you heard a rock talking to you. I was just trying to fight back with my, uh, screams of courage.' she said weakly.
'It's the bear statue our client is interested in. He's some kind of expert in Native American artifacts and folklore. His name is Maze.'
'Mah... zay?' she said. 'Not mayze?'
'Yeah. He wants us - and by us I mean you - to guide him to this hollow so he can see the monument. Apparently you're the only one who's ever found it.'
'What?' said Rhonda, a cold chill spreading through her whole body. 'Guide him? As in personally? But that means...'
'Yep.' said Grimm, smirking. 'Pack some DEET, hot stuff. We're going to Kamp Kwitcherbeliakin.'
Rhonda's jaw fell open. Grimm took a paper from his belt pouch. 'We go this weekend. After so many years, I'm guessing your memory is foggy, so I'm not sure how long it will take you to actually lead us to the hollow.'
Rhonda's mouth remained wide open and gaping as Grimm kept talking. Rueful slithered under her chin and pushed her jaw shut.
'...I've had Jade go over their old nature hike schedules, trying to find out which squad you were part of, where they were walking, where they ditched you, and to calculate a search radius based on where a nine year old girl might have been able to walk in that short a time. We should get it done easier that way, but I want you to spend some time now coming up with a list of any landmarks you can remember...'
He pushed a printed overhead map of the camp into her nerveless fingers. She looked at it briefly, noting the spots that marked the cooking camp, the clown camp, the crafts camp...
'...so be sure to mark any that come to mind, even if you're not sure. We can have Jade rule out anything that's not possible and proceed from there.'
'Duuuuuuhhh...' she said softly, still staring at the map.
Grimm paused, looking down at her. 'Come on, Rhonda. It'll be a nice walk in the woods.' He leaned down and kissed her softly on the lips. 'Get some rest. I won't use the super-soaker tonight, but tomorrow you're at the training yard - or else!' then he stood up and was walking away.
It was several minutes later before Rhonda fully recovered from the shock, and Grimm was long gone. She clutched the map weakly, looking down at the camp and the surrounding forest represented in harmless black ink.
She bit her lip, hard. Returning to Kwitcherbeliakin - the place where she'd spent the worst summer of her life. 'All right, girl.' she said quietly, clenching her fists, standing up and looking defiantly at the sky. 'At a time like this - there's only one thing to do!' Rueful scuttled down her leg and stood at her feet, looking up at her like a soldier waiting for marching orders.
Then she promptly curled up into a ball on the ground and started sucking her thumb.
Author notes: With generally positive response (and some very enthusiastic response) to Team Probable as original villains for Kim Possible, I found one question being asked more often than any other - what 'power' does Rhonda Fatigable have to match Ron's Mystical Monkey Power? The questions prompted the writing of this story.
This tale and it's writing carried some risk. It is not "All Things Probable 3". It's a tale in which Team Probable is featured on it's own, and Kim Possible is mentioned only in passing. So instead of using the fan community's liking of Kim as a crutch to draw interest to Team Probable, I have to rely on their own quirks and personalities (and any skill as a writer I can muster) to generate any interest at all.
Hopefully I've done that, though only time and reader response will tell. Team Probable was generated to be 'opposites' to Team Possible. But since their creation, I've also tried to infuse them with their own personalities and characteristics instead of just making them evil 'clones' of Kim and Ron. This will continue as the story unfolds. Ron's Mystical Monkey Power seems heavily invested in lore from the Far East and the Orient, and features Japanese mysticism. I didn't want to just parrot that by making an 'evil' Yamanouchi school - besides, it seems everyone looks to the Orient these days to the point of it being almost hackneyed.
There is a strength and pull to Native American legends and mysticism which seems just as rich to me - and all the more compelling as it remains largely untapped. So when deciding what 'power' to give Rhonda, I felt led by her 'animal' style. She is a student of Judo, not Kung-Fu. And it started me thinking, is there any animal famed for strength in 'wrestling'? My thoughts shot at once to legends of the bear among Native Americans, and I knew I'd found a source for Rhonda's 'power'...