Inside Looking out 2: Firestorm.

"It hurts." The 5 year old said, sniffing, holding out the Terrible Injury for inspection and proper commiseration.

"Mm… let me see." Kim said, and looked at the finger with the (barely visible) scratch on it. "Well, that looks like we'll need to put a band aid on it. How about that?" She asked, and got an emphatic nod. Kim patted him and gave him a hug, and then led him to the desk where she got the band aid and with all the solemnity of a pilgrim at the shrine put it on his finger. Tommy leaped up and squealed in delight.

"Yay!" he paused, and then seriously, "Thank you Missus Possible." Kim ruffled his hair.

"It's okay—why don't you go out and play now—it's a little while until nap time."

"OK!" he said, running out and waving his hand in the air, so that everyone else could see it. Kim smiled at that, and then looked over to the other room, where the younger kids (including Shego's two youngest), were asleep.

Did you think you would be doing this ten years ago? Kim thought. The answer came back. Did you think you would be doing this a three months ago?

She supposed in a Hollywood webmovie, she and Ron would be married now, or she would be back in the mansion… or maybe running from an evil plot to frame her. Kim laughed softly.

Unfortunately, Hollywood didn't account for real life. She loved Ron. He loved her. They proved that quite often…but he was still too big for her to live with him all the time. Her place was uncertain, she still wasn't clear on what she would end up being…and living back with Ron would be surrendering too much of her… independence? Ron understood, and hadn't suggested she move back in permanently, although she had spent time at the mansion, and he had spent time at her apartment…

But always asking if he could come in. He understood how important it was to her to have this place, and hadn't questioned why from the first pay check on, she made certain to pay for the apartment out of the money she made.

And I really didn't expect to be making money doing…this. Kim looked at herself in the reflection of the window. Wearing overalls, with a hair band pulling her hair back. She wasn't wearing any of the good clothes from Club Banana…for a simple reason. Nanite infused fabric might work for a dress up parade, it might keep a soldier alive on the battlefield, definding against chemical and nuclear weapons….

But put it up against a room full of toddlers and young children, and it wouldn't make it to the first washing—and you washed a lot. Kids had an amazing ability to gather dirt…or create it where there wasn't any, to say nothing of their other sources of dirty clothes. 'teacher, I gotsa upset tummy' had been her introduction to that truth.

And yet…she liked it. It wasn't what she had imagined, but watching the children run around, make their first friends, make their first discoveries was thrilling in and of itself. These children were seeing the world for the first time, and the innocence they brought to it, even when the occassinally made her want to pull her hair out by the roots, was worth it.

"Hey Kim, how are you doing?" Another aide came walking by, her own classes in tow.

"Fine Tanya—how is the brood treating you today?" The slim Latina laughed, "Well since today they didn't have all that heavy cake…no sugar high."

"Or what came after." Kim said, grinning, they'd both stayed late cleaning that aftermath up.

"Or what came after." She said, and waved her kids out to the playground where they charged with a series of war whoops and shrieks that would have made Jeb Stuart proud.

"So is your boy toy picking you up today?" Kim smiled at that.

"You mean Ron?"

"Well, unless you have another boy toy…" Tanya said.

"Ron's enough for me…"

"Well if he ever gets too much, you can always share him." Tanya said, elbowing her lightly. Kim laughed.

"I'll think about it." She shrugged, "But no, today something came up at Bueno Nacho and he's having to fix it in person. I'm going to spend time with the parents—we're going out to eat at a nice place and then see a movie together."

"Oh, parents night?"

"Well, help keep brother from going nuts night. Cindi had her kid…and Tim's learning that karmic payback can be…" Kim censored the comment, "Poetically just."

"Oh I bet—they were telling stories about those two in my high school."

"You went to high school in New York."

"And it wasn't far enough away according to some of our teachers." The two laughed and Kim whistled to bring the kids back in. Now that they had worked out their energy, it was time for a quick water break, some activities and a brief nap to prepare them for going home with their parents.

Ron Stoppable was not pleased. Yori was standing behind and slightly to the right and he was frowning at the men in front of him. Well, men and one woman. Dr. Director's hair was more gray than brown now, but she still had her trademark eyepatch. Next to her were the heads of the CIA and FBI and Colonel Samuel Verne —and whatever his official rank, he was by no means the least important person in the room. The air had the slightly stale feeling that spoke of multiple filters and the sound in the room was deadened by anti-eavesdropping systems, high tech and other wise. Outside of the airlock style door there were soldiers who had a higher security clearance then some generals, carefully chosen for a total lack of interest in who was in this room—beyond insuring that their names were on a special list, of course.

"You faked a food poisoning incident for this?" Ron asked, quietly.

"Faked nothing, my boy." Samuel said, "Those people who ate at the Washington Bueno Nacho are sick, no doubt about it. I'd look into your cheese quality control, if I were you. Gives you a perfectly good reason to be here and out of sight. Everyone figures you're with your lawyers trying to spin this."

"Thank you." Ron said as he forced the growl down. "Now why was this nessecary—we have secure links."

"We do." The head of the FBI said, "but there's some concern they may be compromised at your end."


"Kim Possible." Ron indulged in a brief, and horrifyingly violent fantasy involving the speaker and numerous house hold appliances.

Then he spoke, very quietly, and controlled. "If you have accusations about her, I suggest you bring them up to her parole officer. And I suggest that you be, very, very certain of your facts, because her lawyers will be very certain of theirs."

"She's a civilian." The FBI director said, "She's so civilianized now, it's not even funny, and yet she has free run of your house, including the secure parts. I understand she has been using the simulator in your dojo."

"For basic training only." Yori said, "her skills are beyond what she can find at the local health club."

"And in any case, Kim's not entered into the biometric read outs for the secure data base or the communication systems." Ron said, "She hasn't asked to be. So if you are here for the purposes of casting insults at someone who isn't even here to defend herself, this conversation is over."

"That's not the case, Ronald." Dr. Director said, "I for one do not share my companions fear."

"Nor do I." The CIA director said. "Jack drop it already. What put her in prison was the mother of all FUBARS and you know it. Everything she knew that was classified is ten years out of date, and unless she's training kiddy ninjas, it's pretty plain that she's not interested in the old career. If she does, will talk about it then."

"No, her parole officer will talk about it then."

"Oh, cut the crap." Samuel said. "We've dealt with a lot more dirty angels then her, and a lot worse. You know what the plan was, so why don't you tell him."

"What plan?" Ron asked.

"The one that had Kim getting a quiet pardon, or work release program offer about two years after going in." Samuel said. "We didn't tell you because we didn't want anyone sounding like it had been a done deal going in. There was quite the bidding war going on—CIA had the lead because she was a national, but MI-5 and the Japanese were in the running." Ron stared.

Ten years.

Ten years. She was in there, and now they tell me…

"Why…why not." He said, in a toneless voice. "What made you change your mind?"

"When she went in, she had endangered thousands, millions of lives." Samuel said. "But 'endangered' and 'cost' are two different words, and most Americans were comfortable in the knowledge that 9/11 had been a one time thing, and nobody had actually died of bio's or even another major attack."

"Then the June attacks." Yori said.

"Yeah. Then suddenly we had people watching death trucks driving down their street, with loud speakers telling you to 'bring out the dead' like some bad science fiction movie." Samuel said soberly.

"It changed the political equation, Ron." Dr. Director said. "Morale was at an all time low and suddenly people were referring to her, seriously as the traitor who had almost brought this very same thing upon the US two years before. Releasing her would have been disastrous, possibly even dangerous for her."

"Fine." Ron said, "I'm very happy it's played out well for you." He glared at the director of the FBI. "But I have my own sources and allies in Washington, and you report to some of them. If anyone starts going out of their way to make trouble for Kim, I will make trouble for you. Count on it."

"Is that a threat?" The FBI director asked.

"No. More like a statement." Ron said, "Like: The sun rises in the morning. Water's wet. That sort of thing." The director glared daggers at Ron, while the CIA director carefully studied the ceiling, and Dr. Director checked some papers. Samuel looked at the two of them with a broad Cheshire like grin on his face.

Then it went away.

"Sorry Ron. That wasn't all we called you in for. Not even the most serious. We may have… a problem. A big one."