Boilerplate Disclaimer: The various characters from the Kim Possible series are all owned by Disney. Any and all registered trade names property of their respective owners. Cheap shots at celebrities constitute fair usage.
Author's Note: I don't normally start a story with no plans to continue it in the immediate future. A pile of started stories rest in my hard drive until the day I finish them and they can be posted. But this has been nagging in the back of my head for a while and I wanted to write up the background. A few people have complained of my Will Du and Monique pairing. Monique would have agreed with that from the first evening she met Will.
2013 Note: This often appears as RESPECT. Before an update FF.N didn't allow dashes in titles. Hope there's no confusion.
Chapter 1 - The Lessons of History
The Grant Family Pedigree
The old South denied slaves the right to family names, history, or even marriage. Some slave records allow partial reconstruction of familial links, but no one in Monique's family had seriously tried to trace family history before Cato. The South liked to give Roman names to slaves, as a way of imaging they were in some way like that ancient civilization. Of course ancient Rome knew nothing of racism, but for the old South the patriarchal glory of Rome was the perception in the minds of the large plantation owners rather than the ugly details of their present-day reality.
Cato knew nothing of Rome and Latin, but the ugly details of slavery were his daily reality. In the autumn of 1863, with the Confederacy split in two and the North demonstrating a willingness and ability to win the war Cato and the woman he lived with left their two children with his brother and fled the plantation. Their first act, on reaching the Union lines, was to request the chaplain marry them. When the chaplain insisted on a last name Cato chose Grant, for the man who had taken Vicksburg
The two took menial jobs in the Union camp while waiting the day they could reclaim their children. She died a few months later from one of the many diseases which killed more soldiers than combat. As the North realized that blacks bled and died just as well as whites, and were perhaps more willing to do so, it became politically popular to allow them the opportunity, and Cato traded in his shovel for a Springfield musket.
Cato Grant felt no compulsion to return to the old farm and the life of the sharecropper in the era of Reconstruction. His brother accepted responsibility for the two boys, and they took the last name Duke from their former owners. They remained on the land as Cato traded up from the Springfield musket to a Sharps carbine and served in the 10th as a Buffalo Soldier. He met his second wife in Nicodemus, Kansas. The two had three daughters and one son - William Tecumseh Grant.
Willy T. engaged in combat in the jingoism known as the Spanish American War, and remained in the military even when the war ended and African-American soldiers returned to digging latrines and other support services. His two surviving sisters had despaired of his marriage, but he surprised them and wed a pretty Duke cousin on the eve of US entry into World War I, where he served as an orderly in the Medical Corps.
Willy T.'s son, Theodore Roosevelt Grant, broke his father's heart when he enlisted in the U.S. Navy. On the morning of December 7, 1941 black messman Dorie Miller was one of the few Americans thinking fast enough to man an anti-aircraft gun as his ship, the Arizona, came under attack. His friend Teddy helped carry ammunition to him. Despite the fact Dorie had received no training on the weapon he fired he brought down four Japanese Zeros. Dorie died in 1943, serving aboard the Lescome Bay. In the newly integrated US military Teddy Grant came out of the war as an ensign, becoming a lieutenant during the Korean Conflict and eventually retiring as a lieutenant commander during the last days of the War in Vietnam.
Teddy followed his father in marrying late. His second son, Dwight David, followed his father's tradition by jumping services and returned to the Army. Captain Dwight Grant, fourth generation career military, served with distinction in Operation Desert Storm. An Army Court of Inquiry determined the act of carelessness responsible for the death of Major Grant and three other men during training exercises several years later did not come from the Major, but could not fix the blame.
After his death his widow returned to her hometown, Middleton, to find a job to help supplement the military pension as she raised three children. That fall his daughter, Monique, enrolled as a freshman at Middleton High.
The Duquesne Family Pedigree
France continued to have more nobles than it could comfortably support despite efforts by the English to reduce the number of noble families at battles such as Crécy and Agincourt. The nobles bred like rabbits and by the time of Louis XIV their number was again larger than could find comfortable support at home, especially with the King's rapacious taxation policies. Charles Duquesne, third son of a family at the bottom of the noble ladder, knew his chances a decent inheritance were only slightly greater than the odds he might sprout wings and fly, so he resolved to journey to France's new territories across the ocean, make his fortune, and return to luxurious retirement in Paris.
Charles settled among the Haudenosaunee and prospered by dint of hard work. But he never made it back to France. A doe-eyed Iroquois maid captured his heart. Unlike some French, who adopted a love 'em and leave 'em attitude towards the Native Americans Charles did the right thing and found a Jesuit priest to consecrate the union.
Their son, Louis Duquesne, grew up fluent in both languages. And while the wonders of Paris his father described filled his head with dazzling images they did not turn him from the business of business. He might someday have wished to see the land of his father, but yet another doe-eyed Iroquois maiden captured his heart as well.
The third son of Louis, Françoise, added English to the languages he spoke and maintained his smuggling interests with the American colonists even during the French and Indian Wars when their people were officially in conflict. His guiding principle appeared to have been, "War is always good business for someone." His wife, Marie, also boasted one-quarter French blood along with that of the Iroquois nation.
The descendants of their son, Franklin Duquesne, who settled in Delaware following the American Revolution, would in time forget and deny early branches of the family tree. The early Duquesne men had married "women who came over from France," according to family tradition. Catholics were regarded with suspicion in the new nation and Franklin abandoned the church of his forefathers for one with better business connections.
The American branch of the Duquesne family continued to trade with the branch in Quebec, to the mutual profit of both sides. Two of Franklin's grandson's later moved to the American south to explore the potential for profits in that region. The Northern Duquesnes found New Englanders utterly unable to pronounce their family name properly and in time shortened it to Du, and finally even accepted the pronunciation 'doo' that everyone seemed to assume.
The Southern branch would shorten their name to Duke. A Duke would later serve as Undersecretary of the Treasury for the Confederate States of America. Backing the South proved one of the few money losing enterprises by the Duquesne tribe. While Dus in the North grew rich during the war through hard work and fraud the southern Dukes came out of the war with massive debts. While the Du branch offered loans to help their relatives back onto their feet the Dukes proudly refused, they sold their property and moved to Hazzard County, Georgia, for a life of less than gentile poverty.
Since the Dus preferred solid investments and real estate to buying on margin they survived the Great Depression in relatively good shape. Several banks they owned shares in went out of business, and the face value of most of their stocks took a tremendous loss. But Andrew Du toughed it out by laying off most of the domestic staff and restricting himself to his Newport mansion until the economy began to revive. During the Second World War his ancestor Françoise's motto proved true once again.
Andrew's wealth had been great enough to insure every descendant from each of his three wives (and two children with servants) a comfortable life, but not a happy one. Squabbles over who should have inherited what and who should sit on which board of directors kept Du family gatherings from bringing joy to any of them.
Every race, religion, gender, and sexual preference has individuals who create society's negative stereotypes. There are drunken Irishmen, even if Irishmen who don't drink or know how to hold their liquor would like to push them in the River Shannon. The widow Grant's brothers were a definite embarrassment to her. If she had hoped for support from her family when she moved back to Middleton she would have been disappointed. But she knew what they were - they were part of the reason she had been so eager to leave Middleton on graduation from high school.
However, warts and all, they remained family. And even if she drew on her own limited resources to help them more than they ever made an effort to help her and her family she vowed she would set an example of responsibility for her family.
Monique filled her mother's heart with pride. Smart and hard-working there was nothing her daughter couldn't do if she set her mind to it. Financing college represented her mother's only concern in regard to Monique. When the Club Banana scholarship came through it erased that single worry.
Martin, her oldest son and Monique's younger brother, filled her mother's heart with sorrow and fear as well as pride. She saw her late husband every time she looked at him. He wanted to follow the path of Grant men. Sometimes his mother wished he would find something else to do with his life - she knew he was smart enough. Sometimes she felt ashamed of herself for thinking like that.
The driving energy which started the family fortune was seldom seen in later generations of Dus. William, who also inherited the dark complexion and high cheek-bones of his doe-eyed foremothers, was an exception to the tendency. With enough money in his trust fund that he never needed to worry about using his energy to support himself the priggish youth sought some other outlet for his restlessness. Told from birth he was superior to others he tried to demonstrate that by excelling at everything he attempted. He read a dictionary to impress others with his vocabulary. His attitude endeared him to no one, and while he finished high school at fifteen and college at seventeen through hard work rather than genius he accomplished the feat without making a single friend in the process.
He resolved that, as a superior sort, he should help others less fortunate than himself. Similar urges had sent several Du men into politics, where their efforts to help others helped to create a number of large tax loopholes for the family. William resolved to help others by joining Global Justice. His older sister chalked it up to watching too many James Bond movies, but the family could afford yet another eccentric. At least his hobby wouldn't set the family back any money in legal fees.
Will threw himself into a year of intensive training after college and achieved the highest marks ever recorded on virtually all GJ entry tests.
As the various department heads spoke about the latest batch of potential recruits his name came up again and again from those who only knew him from his test performances, followed by the remark "Outstanding."
One of the few exceptions was the psychologist who had administered the personality test. "I don't know," he told Betty Director, "it's the first time I've seen a negative charisma score on the profile. If he was any less aware of the feelings of others I'd diagnose him with Asperger's Syndrome "
A rumor, never confirmed, claimed that Global Justice raised its minimum age for joining from eighteen to twenty-one specifically because of Will Du, but that, having been hired, the rule could not be applied retroactively.
New Year's Eve (see Cognitive Dissonance for the more complete story)
Will respected a very exclusive list of individuals, and Kim Possible's name appeared on that list. Even the fact the redhead seemed to be entering a relationship with the villain Shego could not alter the fact she was extremely resourceful and effective. When Kim invited him to a New Year's Eve party at her house he accepted. He seldom received an invitation to any gathering except for family events and GJ staff meetings.
He frowned as he parked in front of the Possibles' home. He remembered Kim telling him eight, and his memory never failed him. He saw only a few cars near the house. He considered the possibility he had the wrong address, and dismissed the idea he might have made a mistake as ridiculous.
Kim answered the doorbell.
"Miss Possible, Kim, I seem to be early..." he apologized
"No Will, I needed a couple people to come early and help gets things set up. You've always seemed so nice I thought I'd take advantage of you. Can you come this way to the kitchen?"
The redhead made fast introductions after leading him to the kitchen, "Monique, this is Will, he works at Global Justice- Can I tell her that?"
"It appears that you already have."
"Oh, Will, this is Monique. We've been friends for years; she's really nice. Can you help her slice up vegetables for tonight? Thanks. Bye."
They stared at Kim as she left for another room. "Ah, Monique? How would you assess Kim's behavior?"
"I don't want to say, what do you think?"
"I don't want to say either, which means we both are thinking the same thing."
"She wasn't terribly subtle, was she? I've worked with her on some missions and have a high regard for her abilities. Therefore, I am wondering why she did it in such an obvious and clumsy fashion." On three occasions his older sister had attempted to set him up with one of her friends. None of the three ever spoke with her again and she had given up.
"Uh, Sherlock, before you get too analytical I've got to tell you that while Kim may think fast on a mission she isn't the sharpest knife in the drawer in social situations. There is a chance she thought she was being subtle."
"That is awkward. What do you propose?"
"Well, let's start by slicing up the veggies. Here's a peeler - work on those." Monique felt at ease in all situations. Moving between army bases as a small child gave her a lot of experience meeting new people. And as assistant manager at Club Banana she had learned to put others at their ease quickly.
"What are they?" Will asked, staring at the round lumps, "Turnips?"
"Jicama. Open your mouth." She gave him a slice from the pile she had prepared.
"There's not much flavor. Nice and crisp though."
"Yeah, no fat, and it doesn't mess up the flavor of the dip. Of course you still get lots of fat from the dip."
They didn't speak much as they worked with peelers and knives in the kitchen. Will attempted to impress her with his vocabulary. His ploy typically annoyed people rather than impressed them. Kim's pretty friend simply seemed amused. She called him 'Sherlock' and 'Mr. Du, Will Du'.
She laughed at things he said, although they weren't meant to be funny, and he wondered briefly if she wasn't very bright. He got his answer a little later, "Tell me, Sherlock, if someone asks you a question which requires a simple 'yes' or 'no' as an answer are you physically capable of saying 'yes' or would you say," she tried to lower her voice and imitate his clipped tones, "'I feel I must respond to that interrogative with an affirmative.'?"
He started to smile; he got the joke. He started to blush; he not only really got the joke but it appeared he was the joke. Will recovered enough to attempt something unusual for him, a joke of his own. "I feel I must respond to that interrogative with a negative."
She smiled. Even though she was one of 'those' people, and he never knew what to say to 'them', she had smiled when he tried to be funny. "Boy, you better try and amp down for this party," she advised him.
"You don't go showing off your vocabulary and I won't show you mine," she told him. Shego would probably have purred and asked Monique to "Please, show me yours," but if the thought could have entered Will's head it could not have used his mouth for an exit point.
A few minutes later he asked, "Are we done?" He felt slightly disappointed for losing his excuse to be near her.
"Yeah, Sherlock, we can clean up in here and graduate from kitchen help to party animals." She swung a hip over and bumped it up against his. Under his tan Will blushed furiously. "What in the world is Kim thinking?" Monique wondered. "This poor guy is so shy it hurts."
The Drs. Possible seemed in command of the main floor with their guests from Middleton Research and the Hospital. Kim and her college friends and high school friends who were home on semester break dominated the recreation room in the basement.
Monique, Kim, and Ron were the only people at the party who claimed any acquaintance to William Du and, like a literary Fitzwilliam, he found himself ill qualified to recommend himself to strangers. Will didn't care much for Ron, who seemed bent on dominating the pool table anyway. And the disturbing presence of Shego at the party meant that he avoided Kim as much as possible. His choices appeared to be leave early or stick to Monique like glue. The black woman found his puppy-like attention slightly annoying in that it kept her from dancing and interacting with other friends as much as she wanted. But she knew he lacked friends at the party and felt pity for him.
Bonnie came over and challenged Monique to a game of pool. Monique still didn't get along especially well with Kim's dorm mate, but that only made the prospect of humiliating her on the pool table all the sweeter. There was a fly in the ointment, however - a very large fly with blond hair. Monique pointed out that Ron appeared unwilling to leave the table. Bonnie signaled Kim to come over, then nudged Monique to speak up.
"Come on, Kim," Monique complained. "He's hogging the table. He says he gets to play as long as he's the winner - the rest of us can only challenge the winner. Beat him and give someone else a chance."
"Sorry, Monique, but I'm too busy to play."
Will spoke up, "I believe I have the next game, perhaps I'll be able to defeat him."
"I doubt it Sherlock. You don't look like the eight-ball type, and Ron's good."
But Ron was not good enough. After Will sank the eight ball Ron surrendered his cue. Will bowed to Monique and handed her his cue. "Who would you like to play?"
Bonnie laughed and spoke up, "Let me play her."
Will Du watched in wonder, and Monique in disgust, as Bonnie giggled and played stupid - resulting in Ron putting his arms around her and trying to show her how to how the cue properly. Monique stole a fast glance at Will, "If he tries that I'm going to pop him."
Will didn't know what to say to Monique, and for most of the evening she endured listening to long silences from beside her and the laughter and conversation of friends in the distance. Later in the night the pool table became less popular, and at a moment when no one was on it she dragged Will over and handed him a cue.
"You'll play left-handed," she told him.
"I don't play left-handed," he informed her.
"Blind-folded then. Your choice."
It was completely ridiculous. Even Ron came over and snickered as they played. Will still shot a better game and downed the stripes while Monique tried to sink the solids more with luck than skill. But Will scratched going for the eight ball and Monique threw her arms in the air and let out a victory whoop.
Will smiled, he hated to lose and he could not consider what they were playing anything other than a burlesque, but he couldn't remember feeling happier than he had that evening.
When the party broke up after midnight Will left, knowing he wanted to see Monique again.
Kim only had a minute to talk with Monique as she left. "Well?" the redhead demanded.
Monique shook her head, "GF, I'm coming over tomorrow to give you a piece of my mind, 'cause I don't think you have any left of your own. If you ever shove something else like him at me I'm going to hit you with a stick. I just may anyway."
"I'll give you the gory details tomorrow."
Monique came over early in the afternoon on January first. Kim promised to never try and set Monique up again.
The black woman managed to forget the whole painful incident as second semester of her freshman year at college began. One Thursday evening a couple weeks later it returned forcefully to her. Monique sat at the kitchen table, sweating over calculus homework when the phone rang.
"I'll get it," Marty shouted, hoping it would be his girlfriend or one of his hoop buddies. A minute later he called, "'Nique, it's for you."
She sighed; Kim or a close friend would have called her cell. "Hello?"
"Miss Monique Grant?" a slightly familiar voice asked.
"Great, a telemarketer," she thought. "Yes."
"This is Will, I-"
"Will Du, we met at the Possible's on New Year's Eve. I had hoped I left a more lasting impression."
"Oh, Will. Sorry, I didn't think I'd be hearing from you." "At least I hoped I wouldn't."
"There are seventeen Grant families in the Middleton phone book," he reported. "Did you know your family is number eleven on the list?"
He asked questions about the semester which she answered politely. Will possessed the mysterious power to make even calculus sound more appealing. Monique was trying to think of a way to end the call without telling him to drop dead when he came to his point. "The Boston Symphony will perform at the Middleton Auditorium on the twenty-eighth."
"Uh-huh." "Symphony? I'll just say no to this guy and be done with it."
"Would you object to my escorting you to the performance?"
"That's wonderful. I'll pick you up at seven."
Monique heard the dial tone; he'd hung up. She stared at the phone for a minute. "I'm going to have to get a stick and see Kim," she thought.
To be continued, at an unknown date. Some later events in the relationship have been mentioned in passing in other Best Enemies stories.