Author's Note: Here's one I've been working on for a little while. Hope everyone enjoys. As always, write a review, get a response.
Monique approached the crude podium, a solemn look decorating her young, smooth features. She looked out over the small crowd in attendance as she tried to recall her rehearsed speech. It was moments like this that had frightened her away from joining the Speech and Debate team. Now, she was trying to give a speech at a funeral no less.
A funeral for one of her closest and dearest friends.
The dark skinned beauty took a moment to find her breath before beginning. "Ron Stoppable was a great guy."
Monique pointedly ignored the peanut gallery even as she unconsciously raised her voiced slightly. "He was always polite, even if he did have the worst table manners I've ever seen." Monique recalled with restrained horror.
"He was definitely brave, unless you ever mentioned Monkeys or garden gnomes or summer camp." She continued on.
"I'm supposed to be weeping. I'm not weeping!" The high pitched voice cried out in frustration.
"Oh for heaven's sake boy." Monique finally snapped as she turned to look down at the prone figure lying before her. "One, you're not supposed to talk during your own funeral, and two, this is seriously morbid, boy."
"Is this how you would remember me?" Ron asked angrily as he lay on his couch within his parent's living room, the couch itself lay before a poor man's podium which consisted of some spare wooden crates arranged in approximation of a podium. "I give my life for the world and this is the heart wrenching speech you prepared for all my family and loved ones?"
Monique's lips smashed together in frustration. "Boy I am about to wrench your heart like you won't believe." She threatened even as she looked out to Kim, who was sitting along with the rest of the guests in attendance on a series of foldable lawn chairs arranged in a single row within the Stoppable living room.
Kim, for herself, wore a trapped expression on her face that Monique recognized all too clearly. It told Monique that, while Kim did indeed agree that Ron had yet again crossed a whole new level of weird, she simply wasn't prepared to say anything that might hurt her best friend and boy friend's feelings.
"Hey everyone." The front door to Ron's house swung open as Josh, Felix and Tara walked in anxiously. "Are we late?" Felix asked.
"You are now." Monique relayed regretfully. "You should have bolted when you had the chance."
"Oh, ha ha." Ron laughed without laughing.
"Hey buddy, how are you doing?" Felix asked light heartedly as he moved over to where Ron lay.
"I'm supposed to be resting in peace but Monique is totally ruining my big day." Ron grouched.
"Big day?" Monique could not restrain her incredulousness any further. "You're dead! How is this a big day for you?"
"Because, in the extremely nigh impossible but ever present possibility that I should pass from this earth, I want two things. First, I would like my likeness enshrined in a statue of solid cheese." Ron counted with his finger.
"Cheese!" Rufus exclaimed eagerly from his seat next to Kim.
"And second, I want to make sure that my funeral is a heart warming and memorable occasion." Ron finished counting as he lay back down, refolding his hands over his chest and closing his eyes. "Now everyone sit down so Monique can give her speech."
Everyone looked up at Monique as she gave a sigh before collecting her breath. Moving to their seats, the crowd of five looked up as Monique prepared to begin again.
Monique took several long breaths before finally proceeding. "Dearly beloved…"
"Hey! That's not how…" Ron was cut off.
"We are gathered here today, to witness the joining of Ron in the earth, forever." Monique continued in mock solemn.
"This is so…" Ron never got a chance to finish.
"Ron…" Monique paused a brief moment, caught up in the dramatic power of her own performance "speak now, or forever rest in peace. With liberty, and justice for all. The end."
"Hooray." Tiny paws clapped in approval and cheer as Monique descended from the stage to take her seat next to Kim.
"Kim, remind me that Monique is not invited to my funeral." Ron grouched from his resting place.
"Can I have that in writing?" Monique asked with her arms crossed.
"And another thing, why isn't this being held at Bueno Nacho liked I wanted?" Ron's frustration continued to grow.
"We tried it there." Kim reminded wearily. "They actually kicked us out Ron. After everything you've done, this was the final straw!"
Ron just grumbled. "Hmph. Heartless, unsympathetic monsters. You'd think they could show a little more respect for the inventor of the Naco. It should be a national holiday for them."
"Well, my turn." Felix added cheerily, trying to elevate the general mood of the room as he made his way up towards the podium. Noting it to be non-wheelchair accessible, as well as incredibly unsteady and unsafe in general, Felix activated the hover controls within his wheel chair, thus allowing him to approach the podium at level.
Felix took a moment to clear his throat before beginning. "Ron Stoppable was a great guy."
"Ahh, so true." Ron whispered under his breath as he let out a small smile.
"He was charming with the ladies, and a true friend to every guy anywhere." Felix continued.
"Now this is how you give a good speech." Ron couldn't quite wipe the burgeoning look of pride from his face.
"As a gamer, his skills were paralleled by only a small number of people in the entire world. Only a champion such as myself was even capable of keeping up with him."
Ron let out a small sniffle. "It's like he's saying what we're all thinking."
"If he was saying what I was thinking, he'd be talking a lot faster." Monique noted sarcastically, her arms crossed as she lay back lazily in her seat, eliciting a barely restrained chuckle from Kim.
"Such gaming talent as Ron's," Felix continued, apparently oblivious of the interruptions "will be greatly missed in this world. Truly, our sky has lost one of its brightest stars."
"Oh preach sir. Preach." Ron looked to be seconds away from tears.
"But we must not let ourselves linger in mourning over our loss." Felix took a moment to look down in somber observation of the moment before adding. "We must instead look to the future, and to the dividing of Ron's estate."
"What?" Ron asked quickly, a look of shock evident in his face.
"As Ron's closest gaming friend and brother in arms, I know that Ron would have wanted me to have his brand new Uss gaming system."
"Hey! I just got that." Ron shot angrily from his couch.
"And I, in fact, have a signed contract from Ron," at this, Felix pulled a piece of paper with some writing on it, "legally documenting his expressed wishes to pass it on to me along with his full library of video games, consoles and remotes. I offer it now to the officer of the court for verification." Felix then prompted a cybertronic arm to pop from his chair, taking the faux contract and passing it across the room to Rufus for inspection. "The officer will note the disclaimer which does in fact leave Ron's copies of both Everlot and Everlot II to his naked mole rat Rufus." Felix explained with a knowing wink.
At this, the naked mole rat's eyes widened as he quickly scanned over the make shift contract and the obviously forged signature of Ron's name.
"'t's good." Rufus gave it his thumbs up.
"Hey!" Ron looked up in shock.
"Well with that," Felix retracted the arm and contract back to himself, satisfied. "It seems that really is nothing left to talk about. Ron ol' buddy, we'll miss you."
As Felix hovered down from the podium, Ron shot him a sour expression that might have killed were it not for the semi-smug look on Felix's face. "You just couldn't wait, could ya? I'm not even in the ground and you're already looting my corpse." Ron asked angrily.
"Sorry buddy." Felix apologized with an amused expression that totally betrayed his words. "But I know it's what you would have wanted."
Felix just moved right past the angry look Ron continued to shoot at him, taking his place next to the rest of the audience in attendance.
"You are a genius." Monique whispered to him loud enough for all to hear anyway.
"Thanks." Felix replied modestly.
"Tara, are you in here or not?" The voice from outside didn't wait to knock, barging right in through the front door. Bonnie Rockwaller wore an expectant look on her face as she scanned the audience.
"Well, so much for resting in peace." Ron noted in sour defeat as he eyed Bonnie.
"Shut up loser." Bonnie waved dismissively even as her eyes came upon Tara sitting down, looking up at the brunette cheerleader expectantly. "Tara, what are you doing here?"
"We're having a funeral for Ron." She explained plainly as she gestured to the room and those present.
The brunette took a long moment to scan the room in disbelief. "Ok, one, this is a whole new kind of weird." Bonnie insisted even as she gave an incredulous look at the entire gathering.
"Thank you." Monique nodded her head in vindication.
"And two, I don't care. You were supposed to meet me at the mall twenty minutes ago." Bonnie placed her hands at her sides impatiently.
"Well, this won't be too much longer." Tara insisted. "We're all just going to say a few words and then…"
"Oh for pity's sake." Bonnie held her hand to her forehead as if to restrain the enormous migraine she felt coming on. "Here, let me make this quick and painless."
"Too late." Monique noted sourly.
Bonnie stormed past the assembly and up to the podium. Ron wanted to shoo her away, but she spoke before he had the chance.
"I happen to believe in life after death." Bonnie spoke frankly, raising her voice only slightly from her usual tone. "That means that now that Ron is dead, we can all get on with our lives."
"Rest in peace, Gloria hallelujah, amen." Bonnie added finally before coming down from the podium, marching over to grab Tara and dragging her out of the room.
"Uh sorry." Josh apologized as he stood up. "I guess we gotta go. Rest in peace Ron."
"Sure would love to." Ron admitted as he gave a small wave fair well to Josh.
"Ronald, was there someone at the door?" The good Mr. Stoppable walked in with his daughter Hana in his arms as took a look around the living room. Taking a few extra seconds to examine the re-decorations to the room, he turned to his look down to his son as he asked "Ron, what's going on in here?"
"We're having a sort of mock funeral for Ron." Kim explained with a slight awkwardness that didn't seem to faze Ron's father in the slightest.
"Really? What a fun idea." The elder Stoppable exclaimed, oblivious to the confused looks he received from the audience as he deposited his baby daughter atop his prone son's lap and made his way to the podium.
"Brouther" Hana Stoppable declared, slowly annunciating the word, as she reached out with her tiny hand and began to grab at Ron's nose and then his ear and his eye pinching and groping at them.
"No, Han… you're not supposed to" Ron tried to explain as he continued to pull his face away from his sister's grip. "Han, you're not supposed to disturb the dead."
"I'm pretty sure 'the dead' around here are already pretty disturbed." Monique commented to herself, earning a poorly restrained laugh from Kim and Felix.
"As an actuator," Mr. Stoppable began, oblivious to his son's discomfort "I had mathematically confirmed that Ron wouldn't last past his sixteenth birthday, or his first girlfriend, whichever came first. This means I win the office pool! I can finally afford that motorcycle I've always wanted."
The room was speechless as Mr. Stoppable got off of the podium to make his way out of the room.
"Ronald, your mother and I are going out again tonight. We need you to watch Hana for us." At this, the three time actuator of the year turned around and made a beeline straight for the VCR. "Oh, I almost forgot. Here's her favorite tape."
"Oh no. No. No!" Ron's cries went unheeded as his father placed his baby sister's tape in the machine.
"La la lalalalala." The music caused the tiny Stoppable to shriek and cry in delight as she began to leap to her feet atop Ron's stomach, flipping and jumping to the tune.
"Ouch! Help!" Ron pleaded in agony as his sister hopped up and down on his chest. "My sister… is dancing… on my grave!" he gasped.
Hana continued dancing until Kim finally came over and picked her up, taking her over to Monique.
"You know, someday, when you hear about this, it's going to emotionally scar you." Monique explained cheerfully as she held up the tiny Stoppable. "Yesh you are. It is going to scar you. Yesh it is."
Hana seemed to laugh at the sound of the words rather than out of any sort of understanding of them.
"I guess I'm up next." Kim seemed to resign herself cheerfully to her fate as she made her way up.
"Oh forget it KP." Ron let out a sigh as he lay back on the couch. "No crying girls, no mountains of cheese. This funeral thing is definitely not working out."
Kim cast her boyfriend a wry smile as she ruffled his hair before making her way up to the podium. As she took her place, she seemed to focus on Ron instead of her audience for a second before bringing her gaze up.
"It is the greatest tragedy that we never appreciate what we have until we lose it." Kim took a moment; her voice had become very soft. "And it's when we lose those that we love that we have to ask ourselves, what's the best way to remember them."
Ron found himself frozen where he lay, almost afraid to look up at Kim as he listened to her words.
"The song asks us 'how many roads must a man walk down before you can call him a man?' It seems like we've been asking ourselves that question since we first learned to grind rocks together to make fire and grunt specific sounds when pointing at different objects. What is the best way to remember someone we've lost? How do you measure a life?"
No one else said a word nor dared to shift the slightest where they sat. Even Hana seemed to have fallen mute.
"Some people do it according to the accumulation of money and possessions. Ron made his first ninety eight million before he even turned eighteen." Kim couldn't hide the slight chuckle at the memory. "Others base it on fame, prestige and recognition. Ron became a warrior hero to an entire nation and invented his own sporting phenomenon, each in a day." She found her voice gaining confidence and momentum as she spoke "Some more chauvinistic thinkers of our day determine a man's worth based on the number of hot girls he's been with." Kim couldn't help but to bat an eyebrow at this before admitting "This list may be short, but I can say without a doubt that Ron has caught some of the most gorgeous eyes in his days."
The brief display of faces passed before Ron for quick inspection, beginning and ending with a streak of fire red hair and deep green eyes.
"General Patton once said 'I don't measure a man's success by how high he climbs, but by how high he bounces when he hits bottom." Kim couldn't restrain the envy, the admiration in her voice as she confessed "Ron may have been dealt more than his share of bad hands from time to time but that never stopped him from bouncing back with a smile from each of them."
Ron felt a lump form in his throat, but forced it back down. Eventually. After his fourth try.
"Every girl dreams at some point of being rescued by a knight in shining armor riding in on a white horse. Mine wore a red t-shirt and had an imaginary friend named Rufus." Kim couldn't help but to smile at the childhood memory that passed before her mind's eye as it had every day for the last fourteen years. "Most people think that I'm a hero. That I save the world. The truth is I'm just passing on what Ron taught me the very first day we met."
Ron had to allow himself a moment to remember to breathe as he continued to listen to Kim's every tantalizing word.
"Everything that I am, I owe to Ron Stoppable. His friendship, his faith in me and his love… these are the things that make us all great. That bring out the best in each of us. We all should be so lucky to have a best friend like him, but the truth is that there was only one Ron Stoppable, and no matter how far you look, you'll never be so blessed to find another like him."
As Kim finished, she stepped off the podium and over towards the couch where Ron lay. Kim caught moist brown eyes starring back at her. No words passed between them. Kim simply leaned over and planted a kiss on his forehead.
Rising up finally, Kim smiled at her friends as she stated calmly "Come on. Let's remember Ron the way he should be remembered. First Nacos are on me."
A collective soft chuckle went up as those still in attendance rose up as one. Monique held Hana in her hands as she passed over to where Ron lay, still unmoving, still silent. Quickly, she leaned in to whisper so as no one else could hear.
"You are so loved."
With that, Monique hurried back after Kim, Felix and Rufus, closing the door and leaving Ron to himself.
He would have rushed after them but, as he reminded himself, he was dead after all.
By the time the sun had finally set, the room was dark. "Death sucks." Ron Stoppable decided aloud as he rose up from the couch, his cell phone in hand as he dialed the first number on his list, wondering if it wasn't too late for them to catch a late night snack at Bueno Nacho.