A/N: Okay then. This is the last chapter of this story. However, the 8 Nights arc will continue. I'm not just going to dump a buncha unanswered questions on yous guyses. I'm not that evil.
Disclaimer: Kim Possible, Disney. See where I'm going with this?
Review shoutouts go to the following: lxk, LTAOZFAN, Captain IT, CajunBear73, FireStorm2K7, LaaArtWrtr, rebafan4ever, Pharaoh Rutin Tutin, Drakonis Aurous, kims 1 fan, and majinbuttercup. You guys rock!
Wanna know who else also rocks? cpneb and the writing team of JAKT for their superiour beta work.Without them, this story wouldn't be nearly as good.
8 Nights: Help Us
It was a horribly cold night in January as Ron and Kim Stoppable made their way to Ron's parents for dinner. The Mustang had been fixed, thanks to a teamwork effort of the two, but they had taken the truck, seeing as how the bigger heater and warmed up faster. Ever since the, as Ron had started calling it, "Mission Gone Wrong" the two were having a small fear of the cold.
As they drove, Kim thought back to the night before. It was basically a mirror image of one four nights before. It ended up with a hot and heavy make-out session and some steamy kitchen activity that didn't involve cooking.
Kim and Ron stood outside of the Stoppable's house on a bitterly cold air. The freezing blast of wind reminded Ron of how it was like their hearts not a week before ice cold and lacking any warmth. It had been two nights since they visited Rabbi Katz, which had replaced that cold with a small flame of love that was to be growing, and Randall and Rebeka Stoppable, Ron's parents, had asked them to come over. The two weren't sure why that invitation for dinner had come, but as Ron had put it, it was "free eats from a badical cook", so now here they were. They looked at each other and seemed to almost dare the other to ring the bell.
The last two days had been hard on the young Stoppables. They were still fighting, but through the grace of a miracle, it wasn't as much or as often. The fights had taken on the form of airing things out rather than hurting each other as much as possible. It might have come from the fact that the two had taken to sleeping in different bedrooms. Ron was now calling the guest room his own, but without Kim there, it felt empty and lonely. The master bedroom had the same feel for Kim. The pressure from their respective jobs wasn't helping anything, either, seeing as how it was keeping them apart.
Coco Banana was having Kim work practically around the clock to get Monique's new line of clothes out to the stores before their rivals, Fashion Nista, could hit the markets with their new line. Fashion Nista also had a respectable celebrity backing with them, with the star of the latest Hollywood blockbuster, London Marriot, wearing their newest fashions. Marriot and her entourage commanded respect from the pop culture industry and fully supported Fashion Nista. However, Coco was playing his biggest card in having Kim Possible, world famous hero, making public appearances in Go City to talk up his stores' newest lines. Kim was none-to-pleased about the public appearances, which she felt Coco was just using her for her fame instead of having her do her job. The fact that he didn't let her use her legal name of Kim Stoppable was also the cause for major tweakage. It was turning into a fashion war of the ages between the two companies, and in the battleground of the consumer market, only the one that delivered would survive.
Ron's bosses weren't going easy on him either. New policies from Smarty-Mart corporate offices, located in the small town of Joplin, Missouri, were firing off new policies left and right, tying to keep their closest competitor, Circle-Dot, at bay. It was Ron's job to go around to all the stores in not only the Tri-City area, but also the Colorado Springs and Go City areas to tell store managers there how the new rules were to effect their stores.
Ron wasn't even sure if he agreed to the policies. It would mean that the employees that got sick longer than three days in a row would essentially be without a job. Ever since Martin Smarty had stepped down as chairman of the company to spend more time with his son, it seemed like the new guys were screwing over the employees. Ron was even thinking about leaving Smarty-Mart. He had heard from the grapevine that his favorite game store, BE Games, was looking for a new district manager in the Tri-City area.
Kim and Ron reached out and pressed the doorbell button together, calling forth a Westminster Chimes ringing sound in the house. It was the first action that they had done unanimously since the fighting began. While they waited, she cuddled up close to Ron for warmth. The bitter cold was bringing back unpleasant memories of a cave in the German Alps, and she did not want to relive those memories. If it wasn't for that cursed cave, then Kim and Ron wouldn't be in the situation they currently were in. Actually, that wasn't fair for the cave. It was Dementor's fault, and his fault alone, that they were in this sitch. In fact, once Dr. Director had learned the news of what happened, she had leveled a murder charge against the mad professor.
As Ron and Kim huddled close, they watched the door open. On the other side was Randall Stoppable. With a smile on his face, he stepped out to the two, embracing them both in a warm hug which was returned graciously by the of the younger Stoppables.
"Ronald, Kimberly: we're glad you could make it. Please, come inside before you get chilled to the bone," Randall said, breaking the hug and stepping to the side of the door frame to let the two in. As the two walked past them, he noticed that they had locked their hands together. "Rebeka sent Hana over to your parents, Kim, so it's just going to be us adults."
"Mom didn't have to send Sis over there Dad, but thanks for inviting us over for dinner," Ron told his father as he shed his coat and hung it from the coat tree by the door. He then took Kim's coat from here and hung it next to his.
"We felt that it should just be the four of us for dinner tonight: that way we can talk adult talk and not have to worry about little ears," Randall said with a slight chuckle.
"Are Kim and Ron here?" Ron's mom shouted from the kitchen.
"Hi, Mom!" Ron shouted back as the three made their way into the living room.
"Ron, could you come in here for a moment, I need a bit of help," Rebeka asked. Ron was all too happy to comply and left Randall and Kim in the living room.
Randall ushered Kim to a seat on the sofa and took a spot in the love seat adjacent to it. "So, Kim, how are things in the public relations world?"
"They're doing fine, I guess, Mr. S. We're about ready to show off our newest line, and I've been all over Go City building excitement for it. Of course, it's also pretty hard, having to have to go to Go City what seems like every day when Ron and I are trying to patch things up at home. Plus there is the fact that Coco Banana is forcing me to use my maiden name, rather than my married name. Okay, so maybe things aren't so fine," Kim replied.
Randall felt his heart ache. Here was this woman, who had been the best thing in his son's life, and whom he loved like his own daughter, having troubles in her professional and personal life. His first instinct was to call up Coco Banana and rip into him like so much shredded cabbage, but he pushed it down, and instead decided to focus on helping his daughter-in-law with her troubled home life. "I can imagine, seeing as how Go City isn't exactly a stones throw away. That must be quite the drive back and forth.
"Kim, allow me to cut to the chase. We invited you and Ronald over tonight because we're worried. You two have been fighting almost non-stop since you've gotten back from Germany. And while we are grateful that you two have started seeing Rabbi Katz, this is our way of telling you that you've got Rebeka and mine's support."
That did it.
What little defenses Kim had came crumbling down. The father of her husband just broke through a brick wall she had started to keep from making a fool of herself. Kim reached up and brushed away a tear forming in her eye and quickly closed the distance between herself and Ron's father, embracing him in a hug and lightly sobbing into her shoulder.
Randall closed his arms around his son's wife and patted her on the back. He closed his eyes and mentally said a prayer for Kim and Ron's strength to pull through this situation. "Its okay, Kimberly, let it out, just let it out."
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Ron was helping his mom put the final touches on dinner, which consisted of pot roast, mashed potatoes, sweet corn off the cob, and tossed Caesar salad. Basic comfort food for a night that was going for sure going to need every ounce of comfort it could find.
"So Ron, how are things at Smarty-Mart going?" Rebeka asked.
"Not so great mom. Ever since Martin Smarty stepped down, corporate has been handing down policies that, well, to be honest, will only increase employee turnover. I'm, I'm thinking about applying at BE Games, you know, that video game store I like. I hear they looking for a new district manager," Ron said as he tossed a pinch of pepper into the salad and started tossing it.
Rebeka looked at her son and realized that he was, indeed, a responsible man that was not only having troubles in his professional life, but in his home life as well and it tore her up inside. While she couldn't help him with the later, it was well within her power to help her with the former, and she would give it everything that she had. "Well, if you think that is the best option, then I would look into it. After all, there is no point in working for a place that you're not happy with.
"Ron," she continued, "allow me to get the heart of why you and Kim are here. We're very worried about you. You and Kim have done nothing but scream at each other since you've gotten back from those eight nights you spent in the Alps. Your father and I, well, this is our way of telling you that you've got our support."
Ron dropped the chop sticks he had been using to toss the salad and dropped his head, pushing the bowl away. He couldn't bring himself to be a cook when his heart was hurting as much as it was.
"Ronald, what's wrong?" His mother asked and came up behind him.
Ron didn't say anything. Instead he just sniffed, then reached up and rubbed his nose.
"Mom," he said and then turned around, grabbing his mother in a tight hug and cried quietly. For reasons he couldn't fathom, he felt the need to hold his mom and cry into her shoulder like when he was a little boy.
"Oh my son. There, there. Momma's got you," Rebeka said as she held her boy and let him cry into her shoulder. A few tears of her own slid down her cheek and went unnoticed as they landed in Ron's straw-colored hair.
"The dinner was badical, Mom!" Ron said as he pushed away his plate away. For one of the few times in his life, the young blond had eaten his fill.
"Thank you Ron. I apologize for there not being a dessert to follow up with this meal," Rebeka said.
"Its okay, Mrs. S, I don't think I'd have a place to put it," Kim said. She, too, was full, but pushed that feeling aside and thought it would be best of her to help clean up. After all, before dinner, her father-in-law had just told her that he and his wife had their backs. "Allow me to help you with the dishes."
"Why, thank you, Kim," Rebeka said and stood up as well and started to gather up the plates and glasses. Kim followed her lead while Randall and Ron rose from their chairs as well. A slight wink from Randall told Rebeka that it was time to get the hardest part of the night over with. Luckily for the older Stoppables, Kim and Ron hadn't noticed the quick wink.
"If you don't need any help from us, we'll be in the living room, waiting for you two," Randall said. His wife gave a nod, and he motioned to Ron to come with him with a quick jerk of his head to the living room.
Ron eased himself away from the table and followed his father into the living room. He took a seat on left end of the couch and Randall took a spot in the love seat from before.
"Ronald, what I'm about to tell you, your mother is telling Kimberly right now, so don't be surprised if you hear a sob or two coming from the kitchen," Randall said and then let out a sigh, recalling memories that he would sooner have forgot. Painful memories that now, for the sake of his son and his son's wife, he would have to revisit. "We've never told you this before, Ronald, but, your mom and I have been in the same predicament you two are currently in."
Ron gave his father a rather puzzled look. He couldn't picture his mom and dad screaming at each other the way he and Kim had been. More importantly, he didn't even want to think of anything like that happening. But he could feel that his father had something important to say, so Ron pressed forward. "What do you mean, Dad?"
Randall looked over at his son. It wasn't going to be easy, but it had to be done. "Shortly after your mother and I got married, maybe three or four months into it, we were blessed with expecting a child of our own. Sadly though, the, well, the pregnancy didn't hold. Your mother had a miscarriage. The doctors told us that sometimes, even under the best circumstances, a woman's body decides to abort a pregnancy. It wasn't easy for us, and it wasn't easy for your mother."
Randall sniffed and fought back a couple of tears that were threatening to form in his eyes. This was exactly as hard as he thought it was going to be, if not more so. "We had started yelling at each other much like you and Kimberly have been doing. Come to find out, I had some problem with my, little soldiers. I had done some things in my past that I'm not particularly proud of, and it seemed like karma was catching up with me. That, by the way, is the reason why I pounded into your head the evils of drugs. But then, once we were able to work through all our fighting, we tried again."
Ron was on the edge of his seat, listening to everything his father had to say. He wasn't aware of any of this. In fact, he thought that he was the result of the first time his parents tried to have a child, and now, that was no longer the case. Added into the fact that his father had just admitted to being a drug user in his youth. To say that he was shocked was to say Wade knew a little bit about computers. He leaned in closer to his father and gave the man who raised him his undivided attention.
"We were blessed the second time. You came into our lives. We couldn't have been happier. We also had a tough decision to make, and in order to save ourselves from future bitter fights and risk you growing up in a broken home, we came to the conclusion that I get, 'the snip,'" Randall said. This caused his son to wince ever so slightly, which got a chuckle out of the older man.
"C'mon now, son, it wasn't that bad, although, I swear the doctor had stuck her hands in some ice before she started." Randall said with even more of a chuckle, which was coupled by a slight snicker from his son. "But now you know why you were an only child. It wasn't until your Sensei contacted us about Hana did we decide that it would be good for to have another child in this household. And we're glad we did. We get the distinct honor of guiding two world class masters of the ninja arts to face the world."
Father and son soon embraced each other in a hug from across the arms of the furniture that they were sitting on. "Thanks Dad," Ron said, "Kim and I needed to hear this."
Rebeka and Kim walked out of the kitchen just as Ron and Randall broke their hug. Kim took a seat next to Ron. She looked over at Ron, who had in turn looked over at Kim, and their eyes and hands locked on each other. Ron noticed that Kim had indeed been crying, as her eyes were slightly puffy and there were tear stains under them.
"We're going to be able to get through this Ron," Kim softly said.
"Yeah, I know we are KP, I know we are," Ron said. They leaned forward and gave each other a passionate kiss, ignoring the audience they had in Ron's parents. That kiss alone brought the small fire that Rabbi Katz had started in their hearts up to a more respectable flame. It still wasn't as big as it used to be, but it was growing.
Randall and Rebeka smiled as they watched their son and daughter-in-law kiss. 'Those two are the toughest people I know,' Rebeka thought and she placed a hand on her husband's shoulder, 'If anyone can get through what these two have been through for the past month, it's them.'
Randall reached up and covered his wife's hand with his own. He felt the softness of her skin and the warmth of her hand. He loved her dearly, and felt a very sharp twang of guilt from something that happened over twenty years ago. It was amazing what this woman could do to him.
Suddenly, Rebeka remembered something, and pulled her hand out from under her husband's and dashed off to the guest room. She couldn't believe that she had forgotten one of the most important parts of the night. If anything could help these two reclaim what they had lost, it was this.
Kim and Ron broke the kiss and cuddled into each other, hands still locked and Kim's head resting on Ron's chest. They watched Ron's mom dash off like she had. "Where is mom off to?" Ron asked.
"Well, kids, we've got a little surprise for you. We figured that it would help you two put aside the fighting a little faster if you had something more than Buck to take care of. Something that would be more like a family member than a pet."
"But, Buck is a…" Kim started to say, but was quickly cut off by Rebeka, who had returned with a box full of holes in her hands.
"We know that you both love and care for Buck a great deal, but, well, let's face it. As far as dogs go, he's not the smartest of the litter. However, this little guy IS the smartest of his litter," Rebeka said and took off the lid to the box. A tiny figure popped up.
"Ta-da!" the little thing said. It was totally hairless except for the four whiskers coming from around its nose. It also had a gigantic seat of buck teeth.
Ron and Kim couldn't believe their eyes. It was impossible for something like this to happen. Totally and completely impossible. Yet, there he was. In a night full of the past coming back to bite people in the backsides, this was one thing from the past that could literally do it.
"Rufus!" Ron shouted at the top of his lungs, instantly recognizing the figure that was in front of them.
"Uh-huh, uh-huh!" the little mole rat chirped and jumped out of the box, scampering over to Kim and Ron and giving them each a hug on the cheek. He was happy to be back with his humans. Although it felt like he had just woken up from a very long nap.
"How?" Kim asked as she petted Rufus on the head.
"Well, the way your brothers explained it, Kimberly," Randall said, "is that he's a clone, taken from a sample that they had on file from the mission before the first Rufus passed. He's got all the memories from the first Rufus up until that point. An added bonus that they threw in is that he's physically the age he was back when you two were in high school."
"Hnk! Better and badder!" Rufus squeaked. He knew that he was a clone, but that didn't matter to him. As far as the little guy cared, he was back and ready to get back out into the field, kicking villain butt and taking villain names.
"Okay, normally, that would be sick and wrong, but not this time! I've got my little buddy back! Boo-yah!" Ron shouted triumphantly and threw his fist high into the air. The joy that Ron felt from having his beloved "little buddy" back was only rivaled by the joy he felt when Kim said "I do." Ron instantly couldn't believe what a jerk he had been to the woman he loved so dearly.
"Boo-yah!" Rufus squeaked, following Ron's action and then took a spot on Ron's shoulder. It was just like old times. Times that Ron felt for sure had passed. But it seemed like that wasn't the case anymore. Rufus, his little buddy and best friend outside of Kim, was back and ready for action. And Ron couldn't be happier. It was as if his family was full again.
Several minutes went by as Kim and Ron got reacquainted with Rufus. They gave him a quick recap about what all he had missed, about what went down in Germany, and about Buck. They assured him that Buck wouldn't have a problem with Rufus, and the little guy was now looking forward to meeting the puppy that Kim talked about.
As the happiness and reunion of family flowed freely, the Kimmunicator, that Kim had brought, thinking that she could get some more work done on a presentation she was scheduled for the next morning, went off with its familiar four beeps. Those beeps rarely brought good news. Kim pulled out her Kimmunicator and tapped the "answer" button and said a phrase that had all but vanished from her vocabulary. "Go, Wade."
"Hey guys: I've just gotten word on Drakken and Shego from the hospital. It's great news and, well, at the same time, it's horrible news," Wade said, feeling a great deal of nostalgia from hearing Kim give her old command. For some reason, a month without hearing those words felt like a lifetime.
"Aww man, why can't it be great news and more great news, I mean, we just got back together with my little buddy," Ron said in a more than whiney voice. Just once he would like great news and more great news.
"Hi!" Rufus chirped as he popped up in front of the screen, almost totally blocking off Wade's view of Kim, save from a few wisps of red hair on either side of Rufus' face.
"Hi, Rufus!" Wade replied; happy to see a face in the Kimmunicator screen that he hadn't seen for a good long while. "I see Mr. and Mrs. Stoppable got you to Kim and Ron safe and sound. Now you be sure to help out when things between the two start getting rough. We're all counting on you. Unfortunately, there is still the matter at hand."
"Yes, but why is it never the matter at foot. You think that the foot would start to get jealous of all the attention the hand gets." Ron said, looking to the sky and tapping his chin with his index finger as if he were deep in thought.
Three sets of eyes just rolled at Ron's statement. Just like old times indeed. "Head in the game, Ron," Kim said, and then realized that was a phrase that she hadn't used as much lately, if at all. It, almost felt great to say it again. Mentally, she slapped herself for being as big a bully to Ron as she had been. How she could have treated the man she loved with all her heart so cruelly was beyond her.
"The great news" Wade said, drawing everyone's attention back to the Kimmunicator, "is Shego, under her own power, has left the hospital. She's back to one-hundred percent, and is feeling better than ever. She even said herself that she was going to make it her personal mission to hunt down the one responsible for her and her fiancée's beating."
Cheers from four humans and a naked mole rat erupted over the channel, causing Wade to have to turn down the volume of his speakers on his computer. The great news had been delivered, and now it was time for the horrible news. Swallowing a hard lump in his throat, Wade spoke up, "Unfortunately, Drakken isn't so lucky. The doctors, they've done everything they could, but, they are going to have to take Drakken's right arm. It's too badly damaged. The poor man. In the times I've worked with him, he always called his right hand his 'genius hand.'"
Wade's news had a chilling effect on the group. Not a person spoke a word as the news sunk in. Slowly, scowls started to form on Kim and Ron's faces. Anger formed in the pits of their stomachs. They knew why their friend was going to lose his arm. They knew the exact cause of it. And they were about ready to even up the score card. An eye for an eye, and now, an army for an arm.
"Wade," Kim said, slipping into a mode that she hadn't been in for almost a month. "You and Joss need to start pulling together every last resource you can. Also let the other team know what's going on. In no later than three months, I want to be ready. And pray to God that we find him before Shego does, or worse yet, he launches his attack."
Ron, hearing a voice from Kim that he hadn't herd for a while, slipped into the same mode that Kim was in. Mission mode. And now, it was time for him to go from Ron Stoppable to Ron Stepupable. "We're not going to sit around and wait. We're going to take the fight to him. Give KP and myself some time to knock the rust off.
"And while we're doing that, you find that bastard. Find out everything you can.
"Then, give Warhok a message. Tell him that the full Team Possible is coming, and that Hell is coming with us."
A/N: Okay, so, what have we learned? Well, we've learned that I can blatently rip off G-Go in an attempt to bring Rufus back into the fray. We've learned that I'm heartless and I'll take someone's arm off if it means bringing forth a story. Okay, that last one was a joke, seeing as how it sucks that Drakken has lost his arm.
Also, the first round of Fannie voting is winding down, and the second round will start up shortly after that. Even if none of my noms make it to the second round, I want to thank all of you who have voted for me in this first round. You guys kick so much backside...
And always remember Ran's Three R's: Read, Review, Responce!