Standard Disclaimer applies.

"You! Loser! Come here!" Bonnie snarled from across the hallway of Middleton High, stabbing her finger angrily at one puzzled Ron Stoppable. Some students stopped to stare at the unfolding drama, but a quick, icy glare from Bonnie sent them along their merry way.

Kim and Ron just looked at each other in bewilderment at Bonnie's latest outburst. Ignoring her violent outburst, they both shrugged at each other and continued what they were doing. As Ron turned back to his locker and coolly dismissed the fuming brunette, he heard her shout again.

"Loser! You know I'm talking to you, get over here now!"

"Quit harassing Ron, Bonnie," Kim growled through gritted teeth as she stood up for her best friend. "Ron's not a loser and you know it. And you can't order him around like that!"

"Shut up, K!" Bonnie snapped back. "It's got nothing to do with you, so tell your lapdog to come over here... Right now."

Ron just slammed his locker shut, and looked tiredly at Bonnie, "You know, Bon-Bon, whatever you want to say to me, you can just say it to me from over there. Not that I expect anything nice from you anyway."

Growling in annoyance, the lithe brunette stomped up to the surprised blond and grabbed him by the sleeve of his red jersey, dragging him into the janitor's closet, much to his surprise and yelps of protest. Kim started to go after him, when a deadly glare from Bonnie suggested otherwise. "Back off, K… I won't hurt him… Much. Just back off… We just need to talk. In private."

Using her right arm, she shoved Ron bodily into the closet. Ron found himself slammed against the shelves, and he yelped in pain, "Woah, Bonnie, that hurts!"

"Shut up, Stoppable!" Bonnie growled angrily. "Now listen to me, and listen clear." She cleared her throat, and turned to peek outside the janitor's closet to make sure that no one was listening. Satisfied that even Kim was not in sight, Bonnie finally shut the door and glared at Ron.

"Okay, whatever it is I did to piss you off… I'm sorry okay?" Ron complained in a high pitched voice.

"Stuff it, loser!" Bonnie snarled. "Have you gone on a date with a girl before?"

"Err… Huh?" Ron shook his head in confusion. "What? Bonnie, did you just hit your head or something?"

"Just answer the question!" Bonnie grabbed his collar and yanked it hard.

"Err… Yes, yes!" Ron nodded his head vigorously. "Many times… You know how the girls dig the Ron-man, yo."

Bonnie rolled her eyes and groaned. "Dammit loser, the last person I heard you went out with was with Zita Flores… And I heard that date ended faster than K-Fed's singing career."

"Hey, we went out twice, okay?" Ron protested.

"The second time was to return her sweater which you spilt marinara sauce all over, or don't you remember?" Bonnie riposted.

"Details, details," Ron waved his hands as much as he could in the tight confines of the janitor's closet. "It was still a date."

"Okay, whatever, that sort of answers my question, you don't know how to treat a girl on a date," Bonnie remarked harshly.

"Hey, hey, so what is this about?" Ron asked. "I know you aren't here to give me dating advice."

"Wrong, Stoppable!" Bonnie cut him off. "That's exactly why I'm here!"

"Err…" Ron started whistling the X-Files theme song, and then made spooky UFO sounds. "Okay, we're entering the twilight zone here. Kim! I know this must be a practical joke! You can let me out now! Funny, haha!"

"No jokes, Stoppable," Bonnie yanked his collar harshly again. "Now listen here, Tara just broke up with Josh. Do you know what that means?" She eyed him carefully as he shook his head silently. "That means she's broken-hearted and miserable. That no-good jerk decided to dump her two weeks before Valentine's Day. And I intend to fix that!"

"What's that got to do with me?" Ron gulped nervously, as he realized that Bonnie was being deadly serious, with added emphasis on the deadly part.

"Tara always had a crush on you," Bonnie revealed with a growl. "You were just too dense to realize it. Which also proves that you are not datable material!"

"Hey… I got my moves, you know…" Ron muttered weakly. "Wait… Tara? Crushing on me?"

"You don't get to say anything!" Bonnie snapped angrily at him. She took a deep breath. "So here's the deal, I'm going to whip you into shape, so you'll at least be passable on the food chain."

"What?" Ron scratched his head.

Bonnie instinctively reached out and smacked him on the shoulder hard. "First of all, no scratching anywhere! It's gross!"

Ron abashedly pulled his hand away and looked guiltily at his hand. "Yeah… So… Tara wants to date me?"

"Yes!" Bonnie exclaimed exasperatedly. "That took you long enough. So right now, we need to assess how much work I need to do."

"How are we going to do that?" Ron asked timidly.

"Simple, by doing a practical field test," Bonnie smirked. "You are going to ask me out on a date."

"Say what?" Ron gulped in surprise.

"Don't think I enjoy this, I'm doing it for Tara!" Bonnie tightened her grip on his collar. "So don't get any fresh ideas." She eyed at him expectantly. "So what are you waiting for? Ask me out! Now!"

"Err… Ah…" Ron gulped. "So Bonnie… What are you doing tonight?"

Bonnie sneered, "I'm too busy to hang out with losers like you. Dammit Stoppable! Ask like you mean to, this is not a death sentence!"

"So Bonnie, would you like to hang with the Ron-man tonight?" Ron ventured with false bravado.

"No go, Stoppable," Bonnie groaned as she rolled her eyes. "Only madmen refer to themselves in the third person."

"Would you like to accompany me for a night out in the city?" Ron tried again.

"Too sixties!"

"I got some bondiggity dance moves to show ya," Ron invited with a waggle of eyebrows.

"For your information, even if Tara likes Grease, I hate that movie, so give it another shot," Bonnie snapped back.

"Err… Okay… How about this? Hey, Bonnie, would you like to catch a movie with me tonight?" Ron tried his luck.

Bonnie stared at him for a moment, before she nodded. "That was, almost passable," she replied haughtily. "But I suppose that would have to do for now. So what time are you picking me up?"

"Err… Six-ish?" Ron suggested.

"Wrong, Stoppable! Six-ish is not a time!" Bonnie almost yelled. "Well, you know what? I'll drop by your place at five thirty! At least that will give me a chance to look at your wardrobe! Then at least I can pick out something remotely decent for you." She turned her nose up at the clothes he had on at the moment.

"Okay… Five thirty it is then," Ron nodded weakly.

"Good, now get out of here," Bonnie shoved him out of the janitor's closet. "Ugh, I hope no one gets the wrong idea of what we're doing in here," she mutters under her breath.

"Right, right," Ron assented as he slid past Bonnie to get to the door.

"One last thing! Do not let anyone know of this, or I will tear you a new one!" Bonnie hollered after him, as he quickly ducked out of the closet. Ron waved his hand back, giving the sign that he got the message as he scampered down the hallway. "Oh man, this is going to be harder than I thought," Bonnie rubbed her temples as her head started to ache. "Damn, that loser is going to give me an aneurysm some day."

At precisely five thirty, Bonnie came knocking on the front door of Ron Stoppable's house. She wore a stylish and comfortable looking light green top and a pleated dark green skirt that was more modest than her normal, borderline inappropriate clothing. Through the front door, she heard the sound of stampeding rhinos, and suddenly the front door was swung open, revealing a disheveled Ron, still dressed in the same clothes she saw him wearing at school.

Tapping her foot, she remarked crossly, "Well… That's strike one." She shoved her way into the house, and dragged a hapless Ron along with her by the sleeve.

"Hold up… What? What's wrong?" Ron yelped hastily.

"You're what's wrong!" Bonnie yelled. "This is a date, and you want to show up for a date looking like that?"

"This is how I always look," Ron commented absent-mindedly, looking down at his clothes.

"That's the problem," Bonnie sniped at him. "Girls like to see that you put in a little effort when you take them out for a date."

"Err… Okay…" Ron nodded uncertainly.

"So get in there, and take a shower!" Bonnie ordered. "In the meantime, show me to your room. I'll pick out some decent clothes for you."

"What?" Ron whined miserably. "But I just…"

"No you didn't!" Bonnie shot back. "Now move!"

Ron reluctantly led Bonnie up to his room. He threw open the door, and instantly Bonnie turned her nose up at the mess that is before her.

"Oh great," Bonnie groaned. "I can't even walk around here without stepping on something!" She gingerly stepped over a dirty pile of laundry and gazed around the disaster-zone. "So are you waiting for? Go take a shower!"

"Err… What about my clothes?" Ron asked.

"Shower first!" Bonnie snapped, as she shoved Ron out of the door. With a huge sigh, she muttered out loud, "Tara, you better thank me for this, and get me a huge Christmas gift." She gingerly picked up a few shirts lying around and threw them into the laundry basket at the corner of the room. After giving his room a thorough over once, and tossing most of the garments into the laundry basket, she moved on to all of the books lying around. She turned her nose up at most of the titles. "Sci-fic? Fantasy? He's is a regular geek! Dammit, Tara if you saw this, you'd run screaming for the hills."

Regardless, she placed those books back gingerly on the shelves. Taking a good look around, she felt that at least there is some semblance of normalcy in the room. She threw open the window to let in the fresh air, and went out to the broom closet by the landing and looked around for some air freshener. After spraying copious amounts of the sweet scented fragrance around the room, she finally got that horrid musty smell out of her nose.

She opened his closet, and much to her surprise, she found that she at least had something to work with. Bonnie figured that maybe his mother had purchased him some nice clothes. She picked out a pair of khakis, a simple dark blue button-down shirt and a shiny, unused leather belt. "That should do for now," Bonnie sighed, as she wondered how much more work needed to be done.

A gentle knock on the door interrupted her thoughts. "Yeah, who is it?" Bonnie called out.

"Err… It's me," Ron's voice called from behind the door. "Do you mind? I… Need my clothes."

"Just get in here!" Bonnie yelled out. "I've seen you lose your pants before!"

"But…" Ron's voice replied meekly. "All I got is a towel!"

"That doesn't matter! I'm sure there's nothing to look at," Bonnie snidely remarked. "Just get your ass in here and start changing."

Ron gingerly opened the door, before peering around the side. "Err… Bonnie?"

"There's nothing to be embarrassed about!" Bonnie sniped. "Damn, you're such a baby."

"Err… I guess…" Ron replied, as he stepped into the room, wearing nothing but a towel wrapped around his waist.

Bonnie wasn't really prepared for what she saw. Instead of the scraggy blonde that wore nothing but baggy clothes, Ron looked really lean and muscular. His body was well toned, the sort of body that came only from a lot of vigorous physical activity: nimble and agile, yet strong. But what surprised her most were the marks on his body. The first she noticed was a large purplish bruise on his upper left shoulder that wrapped around from front to back.

What the Hell, he actually does go on all those missions with Possible? She asked herself as her eyes traced a clean, razor thin scar from just under his right pectoral muscle to the ribs above the left side of his abdomen. This led to noticing other scars, too, such as three ghastly parallel scars that went all the way across his back, from the outside his upper left shoulder blade down to just above his right kidney. There were numerous other smaller signs of beatings across his body, most of them scarred over, but some still in the various stages of healing.

"Err… Bonnie…" Ron muttered sheepishly, as he shuffled unnecessarily around the room and tried turning his back to her, which gave her a closer look at more of the scars on his back. "Could you… Not gawk? I'm embarrassed enough as it is." He moved to grab a pair of boxers, hoping to put them on while Bonnie wasn't looking.

Bonnie managed to shut her mouth, and turned away for a moment. "Whatever Stoppable. Once you're dressed, sit down here, and we'll do something about the hair." She groused as she heard him sliding into his boxers.

"What's wrong with the hair?" Ron asked, as he slid his arms into the shirt, and started buttoning up. Feeling at ease, now that he had some clothes, he turned to face a slightly blushing Bonnie.

"You need some hair gel," Bonnie said. "Do you have any?"

Ron gestured negligently over to the dresser and replied, "Top drawer."

Wordlessly, Bonnie walked over and pulled out a jar of white goo. Sticking her fingers into it, she slapped some on her hands, and walked over to Ron. Despite knowing Ron for over two years in high school, she never really did know how tall he was. When she stepped next to him, she somehow felt dwarfed right next to the loser. "Sit down!" Bonnie commanded sharply to hide her sudden nervousness.

As Ron sat down on his bed, she ran her fingers through his slightly moist hair, and quickly smoothed his hair down neatly. Then she walked over to the dresser again, and picked up a comb, then returned to style his hair to an acceptable, neat fashion. She pressed down his ever-present cowlick, and swept the bangs out of his eyes, to the side.

"Good, now we're done," Bonnie replied, as she stood back and looked at her handiwork. The ruffled loser of Middleton High was no longer there; instead there was a young man, smartly dressed and well-presentable. Maybe even handsome, she admitted to herself. After all, if anyone could pull off a miracle, it would be Bonnie Rockwaller. She smirked at her own backhanded compliment. "Now let me wash my hands and, we'll be off."

Ron nodded, and told her, "Bathroom's down the hallway, first door on the left."

As Bonnie washed her hands in the sink, she took a good look at herself. Opening her bag, she took out her makeup, and touched up her makeup slightly. Satisfied that she looked as beautiful as possible, she snapped the compact shut, and blew a kiss at herself, before slipping out of the bathroom. She walked downstairs, to see Ron was downstairs putting on a pair of dress shoes.

"I see at least you have the sense to put on some nice shoes," Bonnie quipped. "So ready to go?"

"Uh huh," Ron nodded. "So where are we headed?"

Bonnie froze in her tracks, and stiffly swiveled her head to fix Ron with a death glare that would make Shego proud. "You, Stoppable, asked me out on a date, so at least have the good sense to plan out something! Let me put it to you this way: a date is to let a girl know more about you! Your tastes, your likes, and most importantly how far you are willing to go to impress her. Which is why you are supposed to plan out the date!"

"Oh…" Ron mumbled. "I didn't know that…"

"Then start planning now!" Bonnie almost screeched at him. She knew deep down in her heart that this date was already a bust. All the good restaurants would no longer accept reservations, and any possible sort of decent date activity needed at least tickets in advance. But she still needed to do this, to teach the now presentable idiot in front of her how to treat Tara to a worthwhile date.

"Right, then… Okay…" Ron mused. "Let's try Daniel's."

"You've gotta be kidding me," Bonnie almost shrieked. "It's a Thursday night, and you expect to just waltz into a five-star restaurant, and get a table like that? You have to call them first in advanced, at least two weeks to get a table on a regular night, and over six months for a holiday!"

"Err… Yeah… Let me try and make a call first, okay?" Ron shrugged and nonchalantly went over to the phone. He whipped open his wallet, took out a card, and proceeded to dial a number. "Yeah, hello? Is this Daniel?"

Bonnie watched in amazement as Ron spoke casually on the phone to someone. He almost laughed and joked with the person on the other side, as they exchanged news of each other. Finally, Ron spoke, "Hey, I know this is a bit out of place, but I was wondering if you have a table for two tonight? I know you get busy at times… No, really? You sure about that? Thanks! Thanks a lot, man, I'll see you in a bit. Bye." Ron had a smile on his face as he put down the phone.

Bonnie crossed her arms as she snapped, "Who was that?"

"Oh, that was Daniel," Ron replied nonchalantly.

"I know the restaurant, I mean, who did you speak to?" Bonnie repeated herself.

"Like I said, his name is Daniel, he's a chef at Daniel's, and he says he can get us a table tonight at eight," Ron replied in a nonchalant voce. "So shall we get going?"

"Wait, do you know who the Hell you just spoke to?" Bonnie's voice rose to a high-pitch screech. "That was Daniel! He is the chef that owns the restaurant!"

"Oh? I thought it was just a funny coincidence that he had the same name as the restaurant," Ron mused as he raised his hand to run his fingers through his hair.

"Stop that!" Bonnie quickly interjected as she smacked his hand before he could mess up the hairdo which she had styled herself. "Don't ever touch your hair with your hands. And there's no need to be a sarcastic ass about knowing Daniel... Wait a minute, how do you know Daniel?"

"Y'know… I don't really remember," Ron shrugged. "Must have been one of those missions I go on with KP when I met him... And we often talk about recipe ideas. He asked me to be his sous chef over the summer, but well… I had other plans."

Bonnie's jaw tried to literally dropped to the floor at the words Ron was saying, "You? First name basis. Talking with him as though you're his friend?"

"Yeah, we're friends," Ron mumbled. "At least that's what I think. He seems friendly enough."

"Right…" Bonnie waved him off as she wasn't quite sure what to believe either. But it seemed real enough, and maybe saving the world does have its own perks. "Shall we go then?"

"Right, this way then," Ron held out his arm to escort her, which Bonnie took with a smile. The smile was short-lived, however. Much to Bonnie's dismay, Ron had led her out the house right past her car, and to his scooter parked right by the driveway.

"This?" Bonnie glared in surprise at the offensive vehicle. "This is not a date ride! It doesn't even sit two!"

"Hey now," Ron replied warningly. "Kim and I have ridden to school many times on this!"

"But… But…" Bonnie stammered in shock as she struggled for words to voice her outrage. "Kim's your best friend! You have to have a proper ride! A car! Don't you have a car?"

Ron shrugged his shoulders, "Bonnie, if you haven't noticed, my family isn't exactly that rich."

Oh, and the luxury furniture in your house are family hand me downs, I suppose? Bonnie almost said that aloud with a sneer, before she quickly caught it back in a choke. "Fine, whatever, we'll take my car instead, but I'm driving and this is strike two!"

Ron sighed, as he walked around Bonnie's car and got into the front passenger seat. "Right," was all he could say. He didn't know why he was going along with this, but hey, at least he was learning how to impress Tara. He had to remind himself, Focus on the prize, it's the end that counts.

The two teens sat silently in the car as they cruised towards Upperton for dinner. Bonnie finally broke the silence, her tone annoyed as she spoke up, "You know, if you keep this up, we might as well turn back and call it a night."

"Err… Why?" Ron was startled. He glanced at the dashboard clock; it was barely at six thirty.

"Clearly we are not enjoying each other's company, and to drag it out even further would make us both miserable," Bonnie remarked in a neutral tone.

"No… It's not that I don't enjoy your company," Ron hastily apologized. "It's just that… I don't know what to talk about with you. The most we ever do is trade insults in school, so there's really nothing between us to talk about…"

"Right…" Bonnie muttered as she pursed her lips.

"So tell me why you're doing this for Tara," Ron suddenly spoke up.

"She's my friend," Bonnie replied curtly.

"Hmm…" Ron let out a little chuckle as he mused. "You know what, Bonnie? It's funny how I remember you saying once that you wouldn't want to be anywhere within three feet of me, and here I am sitting in your car taking you out on a date."

Bonnie just scowled at the memory which Ron mentioned. She clearly remembered the day, when he had accidentally slipped on a puddle of spilt soda in the cafeteria and dumped his entire tray on her new blouse.

"Yeah, so you must be a good friend if you're willing to put up with me for Tara's sake," Ron continued.

"Don't think so much of it," Bonnie replied snippily. "Tara just did something for me, that's all."

"What did she do?" Ron asked.

"I was in a rut," Bonnie explained with a sigh. "I was just dumped by Brick…"

"Wait, wait… You got dumped by Brick?" Ron exclaimed in surprise. "I thought it was the other way around."

Bonnie gave a thin-lipped smile as she replied, "Spin control, I had people spread the news that way." She gave a hollow laugh, "Yeah, shows how little you know…"

"Wow… Okay…" Ron mumbled. "So what did Tara do?"

"I was having thoughts… Bad thoughts…" Bonnie replied grumpily as she twisted the steering wheel a little too sharply around a corner. "Let's just say that Tara came in time, and everything was fine, okay?"

"Okay… Whatever you say," Ron replied. "Anyway, I don't think you need to lie that it was Brick who dumped you."

"Oh yes, I did!" Bonnie shot back patronizingly. "You're so naïve about how things work! If word got around that Brick dumped me, my place in the food chain would have gone to waste, and… And…" She found herself clutching the wheel a little tightly, as something tensed in her temples and her vision went wild, before she shook her head and blinked hard.

"And you know it might make you seem more… Sympathetic?" Ron tried using a school word to impress his date.

"Hah!" Bonnie sneered at him. "Sympathy? Not my thing. Rockwallers don't need sympathy from anyone! Look, now that word has gotten around that I've dumped Brick, guys are lining up to date me right now!"

"Really?" Ron asked sarcastically. "If that is so, why aren't you on a date with one of them?"

"Because… Because…" Bonnie found herself at a loss for words. "Because I don't want to, okay? I'm taking my time with guys now!"

"You know one thing about a lot of those guys who're lining up to date you?" Ron asked quietly. "It's a competition, to see who can tame the Bonnie Beast, and… Well… You know…"

"How do you know that?" Bonnie's eyes narrowed dangerously as she gripped the wheel of the car hard.

"Well, word does get around, you know, guys locker room and stuff," Ron winced in his seat. "I mean, you seem like such a… Borrowing one of the names they called you… Hard-assed bitch… That no one decent would ever go on a date with you. All those guys are placing bets on who's going to score first…"

Bonnie gritted her teeth, as she thought about the attention paid to her by some of the guys from school. She knew the reputation of those guys, maybe Ron had a point. She quickly shook that thought out of her head; after all, the loser knew nothing. It's better to stick to something at least that loser knew. "Let's not talk about that, tell me about you and Kim then. You two seem to be tight, ever tried dating her?"

Ron squirmed uncomfortably in his seat at the question, "Can we not talk about that?"

"Why not?" Bonnie pounced immediately on a juicy topic she interpreted as weakness. "Hey, I told you something about myself, it's time for you to share."

"Yeah, well… I do have a crush on Kim, but… It's just… I don't think it'll ever work out," Ron glumly replied.

"Coz she only goes after the golden hotties?" Bonnie asked.

"Yeah," Ron replied sadly. "She'll never look at me that way."

Bonnie decided the blonde boy had felt bad enough that she didn't need to say anything to make it worse, so she fell silent. The two teens were caught up again in a web of silence, but this time, they didn't feel as uncomfortable with each other as before. Maybe they had something in common together after all.

Bonnie found herself laughing over dinner, as Ron told her stories about some of his earlier adventures with Kim. She carefully wiped away the tears in her eyes as Ron told, "Yeah… And I thought she was a monkey, and I brought Chippy to take her yearbook photo instead."

"How could you not know that the monkey wasn't Kim?" Bonnie almost howled with laughter, much to the chagrin of some of the nearby patrons in Daniel's.

"Hey, in my defense, all monkeys look the same, okay?" Ron huffed.

"Haha…" Bonnie laughed again. "I got to take a look at that picture in the yearbook again."

"Heh," Ron grinned weakly. "You know, Kim hasn't forgiven me for that yet… So it would help if you do not mention it to her."

"Why not?" Bonnie shot back. "I got the dirt on her, and I got the chance to let everyone know that she turned into a monkey."

"Look, maybe I shouldn't have told you that," Ron replied guiltily. "Could you just please, keep that to yourself?"

"Fine, but you owe me, Stoppable," Bonnie replied, as she picked up the last piece of ravioli with her fork.

At this point the maître d'hôtel walked by and politely inquired the young couple, "Is everything alright, Mr. Stoppable, ma'am?"

Ron nodded, "Everything is fine, Monsieur Pierre. We are enjoying ourselves, and send my compliments to the chef on his great sea bass dish; I thoroughly enjoyed the crispiness of it."

"I'm sure Daniel will be pleased to hear of your compliments," Mr. Pierre remarked. "Have you given much thought to his offer to work here over the summer?"

Ron let out a little laugh, "Mr. Pierre, now's a time for dinner, not business."

"I sincerely apologize," Mr. Pierre said with a smile. "I do not want to further interrupt you and your date tonight with such matters. Instead, do you want to see the dessert menu?"

"Sure we do, Mr. Pierre," Ron replied smoothly. "I'm sure the lovely lady wouldn't mind something sweet."

Mr. Pierre smiled as he presented the two with two leather bound dessert menus and politely excused himself.

Bonnie blushed at the compliment and beamed at Ron. "Okay, dinner is awesome, I don't suppose you can afford to take Tara out on a date like this every time, but for a first time this is simply the best."

"I'm glad I meet the Bonnie seal of approval," Ron replied with a grin.

"So what do you recommend for dessert?" Bonnie asked, glancing over the menu.

"I say the warm chocolate cake is my favorite, but the apple confit with soft caramel is divine too," Ron replied, without looking at the dessert menu.

"Hmm… I'm interested in the chocolate cake, but I'm afraid of putting on weight," Bonnie complained.

"Oh, don't worry about it," Ron explained quickly. "It's one of those chocolate cakes that's sugar-free, one of my recommendations to Daniel. I told him that people might be more health-conscious and they'd appreciate something with less carbs."

"Ooh!" Bonnie almost squealed with delight. "That's what I shall have then."

Ron nodded his head and raised his hand to gesture the maître d'hôtel over. He quickly ordered dessert for the both of them, and Bonnie wondered for a moment when Ron looked so much the part of a gentleman.

"You know, I had my doubts about tonight," Bonnie began. "I thought you would be a slob with bad table manners, from the way I've seen you in the cafeteria."

"Heh," Ron replied sheepishly. "Well, I thought that since this was a date, I should try to have better table manners… If that makes you uncomfortable…"

"No!" Bonnie almost shot up from the table. "I'm just saying it's a good thing. That earns you additional points in my book."

"Yeah, so can I ask, would Tara be impressed so far?" Ron asked.

"Well… You haven't really impressed me yet," Bonnie lied apprehensively, making sure to put the proper amount of disdain in her voice to mask her unease. "Though I'm sure Tara would enjoy it. But remember the date's not over yet."

"It's not?" Ron asked in surprise.

"You said we were going out for a movie tonight, so what movie are we going to watch?" Bonnie asked.

"Err… Bricks of Fury?" Ron asked hesitantly.

"That isn't a date movie," Bonnie groaned, shaking her head, knowing that she was going to get a stupid answer like this. "Why not the Memopad or P.S. I Like-Like You?"

Ron let out a silent groan, and muttered, "Well, you said I could choose. You said a date is where I let the girl knows what I like and my tastes."

Bonnie gaped at his quote which was almost ad verbatim. She did not expect him to pay half as much attention as he had tonight. "No! I did not say that! Okay, wait, maybe I did, but I also said that you should impress the girl! Show her your sensitive side."

"You know what?" Ron replied tersely. "I think that sensitive side is a load of crap, to be honest, I don't think a girl would appreciate me tearing up over a movie."

Bonnie sat back with a slightly surprised expression and looked at Ron Stoppable in a new light. "Fine, then, Ron Stoppable, what other suggestions do you have?"

"Well, I think we could try for a comedy," Ron began. "How about the Forty-One-Year-Old Virgin?"

"That movie got decent reviews, I'm sure we won't get bored during the movie," Bonnie nodded her approval.

"Okay, that's settled then," Ron replied. "So… What else shall we talk about?"

Ron didn't know when it happened, but somewhere during the course of the movie, he found that Bonnie had lifted up the armrest between them, and had leaned into his arm. He gingerly placed his arm over her shoulder, half wondering whether she would snap it off, but she only snuggled in a little closer, and he enjoyed the feeling of her warm body against his. He had this goofy smile on his face, and every five minutes, he glanced down at the brunette's head to make sure that he wasn't dreaming and that he was really on a date with Bonnie Rockwaller. It seemed like a distant past when the lovely brunette cuddling against him was a girl who detested him, and wished he was dead.

Together, they sat comfortably as they enjoyed the movie, dipping their hands into the same bag of popcorn. As the ending credits rolled and the lights came on, Bonnie still sat comfortably against him, watching the milling crowd pull away before she stood up and nonchalantly said to Ron, "Let's go." They wordlessly walked out of the movie, and Ron found himself holding hands with Bonnie, and she was chatting away freely about the movie. He wasn't sure what she was saying, but he enjoyed the feel of her hand in his.

When the two of them got into Bonnie's car, Ron suddenly spoke up, "I know I am to see you home and all that, but… Since you're driving… Well… I could walk home you know."

"What nonsense are you talking about?" Bonnie asked in surprise.

"I was saying that I'm supposed to see you into your front door, and not the other way around," Ron muttered sheepishly. "I mean, but since that it's your car, and you're driving and all that."

"Oh, don't worry about it," Bonnie replied quickly. "This isn't a real date after all."

"Oh…" Ron sighed. "I thought it was going so well…"

"Forget it," Bonnie bit her lip quickly as she reminded the both of them why she was doing this. "I'm doing this for Tara, remember?"

"Yeah, Tara…" Ron sighed again. "So next time I should definitely get my own wheels."

"That's right," Bonnie replied. "As well as get some fashionable clothes."

"What's wrong with the clothes I normally wear or what I'm wearing now?" Ron asked.

"For one, baggy clothes are so way out," Bonnie explained. "You don't have anything to hide, so at least, wear something fitting."

"I don't know, I don't feel comfortable in anything but baggy clothes," Ron replied.

"Well, you don't look good in baggy clothes!" Bonnie replied. "If you dressed up a little nicer, I'm sure more girls would pay a little more attention to you."

"Maybe…" Ron replied, with a hint of agitation, "But you've seen me without a shirt, Bonnie. Even this," he said with a sigh as he swept his hands over his body, "As comfortable as the shirt and khakis are, kinda hurts when they rub against the shoulder and that cut on my chest."

Bonnie stared at him open mouthed, shocked again as she realized there was far more to Ron Stoppable than he'd let anyone see. She swallowed and glanced away as she answered. "I... Yeah, that would kinda put a downer on dressing up regularly," she sighed lightly as she looked back, her expression unreadable to the blond "It wouldn't bother you too much to wear them for a date, though, would it?" she asked.

Ron couldn't help but notice a strange lilt to her voice. She sounded almost... Nah, you're hearing things, Ron! This is Bonnie, she hates you and she's doing this all for Tara, don't forget! Though you could ask... He shook his head slightly and looked at the brunette next to him. "So did I pass or what?" he asked instead, his trademark goofy smile plastered all over his face.

"Despite your bad start, with the choice of clothes and stuff, you hit it off pretty well with the dinner and the movie," Bonnie commented. "You were mostly a gentleman, which is a good thing. I've been on dates where I spent every moment trying to swat the guy's roaming hands. I'd say, you passed."

"A-Booyah!" Ron cheered.

"But you still got a way to go," Bonnie went on, albeit a bit tiredly. "So don't disappoint Tara, okay?"

"I won't!" Ron replied happily. "I promise, I mean, I will treat her right."

"Yeah, that's good enough for me," Bonnie sighed, as she seemed a little distracted. "Anyway, here we are." She declared as she pulled up into the Stoppables' driveway.

"So when should I give her a call?" Ron asked.

"Tonight's fine," Bonnie explained.

"So this is it. Thanks for tonight, Bonnie," Ron gave her a smile as he opened the door, and was about to get out, before he felt Bonnie's hand on his shoulder. "Huh?"

"You're forgetting the last thing," Bonnie explained slowly. "If a girl thinks the date went well and would like you to ask her out on a second date, she'd give you a kiss."

"Err…" Ron did not know what he was supposed to say to that.

"So…" Bonnie leaned in quickly and gave him a light peck on the lips. "Good night, Stoppable."

Ron stumbled dazedly out of the car, wondering if that really did just happen. Somewhere in his mind, something registered in his brain, and he heard his own voice say, "Good night, Bonnie."

He waved as the car pulled away, and he was still feeling that euphoric high when the car's tail-lights disappeared around the corner. He stumbled into his house, still smiling, and wondering what Bonnie meant by that kiss. He found himself still half-dreaming when he flopped back down on his own bed. He wondered whether he should call Tara now, and ask her out, or give Bonnie a call.

Sighing, he picked up the phone by his bedside and dialed.

"Hey Tara," Ron spoke into the phone.

"Uh huh, who is it?" a female voice replied on the other end of the line.

"Hey…" Ron slowly dragged out his words, as he realized he forgot to plan what to say. "Yeah… It's me."

"Err…" Tara's voice sounded confuzzled.

"Oh wait…" Ron almost kicked himself for the obvious mistake he made. "I mean, I'm Ron."

"Ron!" Tara squealed into the phone before she prattled like rapid gunfire. "Oh my gosh, I didn't know it was you, you just sounded so different over the phone. So what's up? Why are you calling?"

"Hey, Tara… Sorry, I'm kinda... Distracted right now, um..." Ron began again, before he quickly bit his own tongue to stop himself from saying something stupid. "Hey… I heard that you and Josh broke up…"

"Huh?" The voice came surprised over the other end of the line. "Oh… Josh… Yeah… Well… It's rather complicated right now."

"Oh…" Ron suddenly wished he could crawl under a rock, and stick his huge foot down his throat. "I'm sorry then, I thought you two weren't together… Plus I heard you were going to be alone on V-day, so I thought I might… Hey, never mind about it okay? I should just shut up now…"

"Oh Ron…" Tara sighed over the phone. "That's so sweet… But Josh and I are just working through a tough patch, we're still together though."

"Oh, my bad then," Ron quickly apologized. "It's just… I heard… Bonnie…"

"Bonnie?" Tara asked. "Oh… I haven't told her! I mean, Josh just called me and said he'd like to get back together, and I was going to tell Bonnie about it… Wait… Did Bonnie put you up to this?"

"Kinda…" Ron squirmed uncomfortably on his bed. "I mean… She just… Well… She told me you still had a crush on me…"

"Oh Ron…" Tara sighed. "I did have a crush on you, and I think you're cute… But I'm really into Josh right now, and… Oh Ron… I'm so sorry… I didn't mean to hurt you…"

"Nah, it's okay," Ron waved off his hurt feelings, wounded pride and apparent crushed hopes. "It's nothing… Well, you should apologize to Bonnie, I guess… She made me take her out on a date, and put up with me the entire evening so that I could show you a good time…"

"She did?" Tara's voice rose in shock and surprise. "Wait, B and you? On a date?" She giggled with joy. "Do spill!"

"It was nothing much," Ron shrugged. "Just a dinner and a movie. We had a good time, that's all."

"C'mon, Ron! Details, details!" Tara squealed with delight. "Where did you have dinner?"

"Daniel's," Ron replied uncertainly. The phone receiver went silent for a moment. Ron panicked, for a moment, urgently calling out, "Hello? Tara? You still there?"

"Oh my gosh, Ron…" Tara enunciated each word slowly and dragged out each syllable as long as possible. "Oh my God! Ron, if I wasn't with Josh right now, I'd so love to be your V-day's date! Oh my god, ohmigod! How did you manage something like that? How did you pull it off? What did Bonnie say?"

Ron attempted to fend off the spitfire of questions shot his way. "Err… Heh… I guess I just know a guy," he replied modestly. "So I just called earlier today, and he said he was glad to help. I didn't know it's such a big thing for you girls… I mean… Bonnie was only slightly surprised."

"Ron!" Tara replied patronizingly. "Don't you get it? Surprising Bonnie even a little is like doing something really fantastic. She's hardly ever surprised, and... Oh my god, oh my... Did she like it? Did she enjoy herself?" Ron found himself almost laughing as he pictured Tara shaking like a leaf in the wind in her hysterical ranting, but kept himself in check as Tara continued unabated.

"I think she did," Ron began slowly, thinking back on the memory. "Come to think of it, during the entire dinner, she didn't call me a loser or Stoppable once. And she laughed at my jokes."

"Oh my gosh, Ron!" Tara's voice had a distinct grin in it, as Ron could imagine her smiling widely, and being a bit calmer. "That was wonderful! Bonnie's always been complaining to me that Brick always takes her out to these steakhouses or family restaurants. I guess Bonnie's really impressed with you now. What'd you two do next?"

"We went to watch a movie," Ron explained. "It was a comedy, The Forty-One-Year-Old-Virgin."

"You know, Bonnie's been dying to watch that movie," Tara replied. "We planned to go last weekend, but then the blowup with Josh and everything happened, so I had to cancel. So what did you two do in the theater?" Her voice had a devious-sounding edge to it, as if she was leaning in closer to the receiver to hear the juicy piece of scandalous news.

"Nothing much," Ron began. "Just a little cuddling…"

"No heavy make out session in the dark during the opening scene?" Tara teased.

"No!" Ron spluttered in protest. "Nothing like that! We're just... It was just like a movie between friends."

"So you two didn't kiss at all?" Tara pressed on curiously.

"Well…" Ron drawled. "She kinda did give me a peck on the lips at the end of the date."

"No tongue?" Tara asked mischievously.

"No!" Ron almost doubled over into a hacking cough, much to the tittering delight of Tara.

"So tell me, Ron," Tara asked. "Will there be a second date?"

"I don't think so…" Ron replied. "I mean, it's Bonnie. Up till today, she hated me, and has been picking on me every day of my life in school. Besides, she said that date wasn't really a date?"

"I don't know, it sounds like a real date to me," Tara replied. "Plus, it sounds like Bonnie really enjoyed herself, and she might like you."

"You think so?" Ron asked in surprise, not quite able to suppress a doubtful snort at Tara's declaration.

"If Bonnie is anything, she's an honest person," Tara explained. "And if she doesn't like you one bit, she'd tell you straight to your face. So from what you've told me of tonight, I think she does like you."

"But this is Bonnie we're talking about…" Ron replied slowly. "You know… I know she's your friend and all, but… She's not exactly a very nice person."

"Oh Ron," Tara sighed. "You're acting so like Bonnie. I keep telling her that you're a nice guy and that she just had to get to know you. Bonnie's a nice person too, you just need to get to know her."

"You sure?" Ron asked. "Last I heard she makes it a point to insult all the incoming freshmen before winter break."

Tara let out another long sigh, "C'mon Ron, d'you really believe that? Just think about tonight, just tonight, and ask yourself, has Bonnie been anything but nice to you?"


"Do you know something, Ron?" Tara asked. "Bonnie hasn't really been herself lately. Ever since she broke up with Brick…"

"You mean when Brick dumped her?" Ron asked.

"She told you?" Tara asked in surprise. "Wow… Okay… I mean, yeah, ever since Brick dumped her, she's been a little broken on the inside. She really liked Brick… But she keeps it all to herself, and to be honest, I am a little worried."

"Oh, I didn't know," Ron replied guiltily. "I mean she seemed fine and all that when she talked about it."

"She's strong," Tara went on. "She doesn't like to show any weakness, so it's hard for even me to help her. But I think you can help her."

"How?" Ron asked.

"Take her out on a second date."

"Woah, woah… Hang on a minute there, Tara," Ron sat up on his bed in surprise. "First of all, I don't think Bonnie wants my help. And second of all, that wasn't even a first date. It wasn't a date at all… Even Bonnie said so."

"Ron, trust me, it was a first date," Tara insisted. "And if she opened up to you like that... Whether she admits it or not, I think Bonnie knows that you can help her. In fact, I'm sure that after tonight, she does want your help, she's just too proud to ask for it. She opened up to you and told you the truth. Something she's hardly done to anyone in the entire school. That means she trusts you."

"But… But… It's Bonnie," Ron protested weakly.

"Ron, do you find Bonnie attractive?" Tara asked sternly.

"I guess…" He sighed, knowing Tara would call him on it if he wasn't completely honest with her. "Ok, really, I can't really think of many people that think she's anything other than hot..."

"So you think she's at least cute, if not hot, right?"

"Uh huh…" Ron said, guessing where this was going but following the motions anyway.

"Do you like her?"

Ron sat there in silence for a moment. "Well… I don't hate her or anything…"

"But do you like her?" Tara asked persistently. "Think of your date with her, did you enjoy spending time with her?"

"I did…" Ron grudgingly assented.

"Then wouldn't you like to spend more time like that with her?" Tara asked.

"I guess…"

"Then ask her out on a second date!" Tara triumphantly crowed.

"Should I?" Ron asked doubtfully.

"Oh, yes, definitely," Tara quickly replied. "Tell you what Ron, just think about it for the night, and then tomorrow, ask Bonnie out again."

"But… But…" Ron stammered.

"No questions!" Tara cut him off. "Just think about it, and ask Bonnie out tomorrow. I've got to call her and get her side of the story now. Ooh… I'm so jealous… Daniel's…. She's so lucky… Anyway, her favorite flowers are baby lilies, remember that, okay?"

"Baby lilies? Right… Got it…"

"Night then," Tara said with a giggle. "Sweet dreams of Bonnie."

Ron almost cringed at the thought of all the nightmares the Queen B has given him over the years. "I guess. Later then."

For some reason, when Ron walked into school the next day, a typical Friday morning, there was something different with the general student population. Oh wait, this time instead of everyone focusing on his best friend, Kim Possible, as she walked alongside him, everyone had fixated some sort of look on him. He raised an eyebrow in surprise, and quickly shrugged it off as some leftover breakfast on his shirt as he followed Kim to her locker to grab her books.

"What's going on?" Kim muttered as the two heard a loud commotion of someone running, pushing a student or two into the lockers, and knocking books to the floor.

"Kim! Ron!" A panting Monique sped up to them, as she suddenly braked and bent over, trying to catch her breath. "Where have you been? I have questions!"

"Chill, Monique," Kim replied. "We just got to school."

"So you haven't heard?" Monique asked. "About him?" She stabbed her finger accusingly at Ron.

"What did Ron do this time?" Kim asked.

Monique took a deep breath before the words came out in a torrent, "Some people saw him going out on a date with Bonnie last night!"

"What? Ron? Bonnie?" Kim's mouth hung open a bit, before a kind Monique gently pushed her jaw shut.

"So spill boy!" Monique commanded as she rounded on the surprised blonde. "I want to hear all the juicy details. How'd you get her to go out with you in the first place?"

"Ron and Bonnie?" Kim asked again as her brain numbly registered what was going on. "Ron? Bon?"

"Yes, yes! Keep up with the program!" Monique snapped as she looked expectantly at Ron. "Now spill!"

"What do you want me to say?" Ron asked.

"Everything!" Monique instantly replied. "Is it true? Were you on a date with Bonnie?"

Ron could feel everyone staring at him and leaning into the conversation, waiting with bated breath, while his best friend and teen heroine, Kim Possible was staring at him as though he had just grown a second head. As he was about to answer, he heard a piercing and familiar voice yelling out in the corridor, "What are you losers staring at?"

He swiveled his head to the sound of the voice. As the crowd parted, he saw Bonnie strutting normally up the hallways, as though nothing had happened. Then it happened; it was almost imperceptible, and only his experience of helping Kim on her missions allowed him to notice it. Bonnie froze for a moment as her eyes met his, that instant spark of recognition between the two, and she instantly knew what was going on.

As their eyes broke contact, she coolly walked towards him, without as so much as giving him a nod of acknowledgement. And in her wake, an unsteady sense of normality returned to the school. As she passed by Kim and Ron, she loudly announced without giving the blonde teen another look, "Loser!"

"I guess that answers that, huh?" Monique sighed as students of Middleton High resumed their daily lives. "Well, it was just a rumor after all. I was thinking the world might have gone wonky if you two dated."

"Huh?" Ron's mind slowly turned its focus back to Monique. "You were saying something?"

"Anyway, Kim, you can close your mouth now," Monique remarked, as she gave the red-head a wide grin. "You know that look was out last fall."

"Wait, so you're not dating Bonnie?" Kim asked in surprise.

"Umm…" Ron began, not sure whether he should lie to his best friend, when thankfully Monique answered for him.

"I guess it was just a rumor," Monique replied. "She just treated him like how she treats him every day."

"Uh huh," Kim turned to look at her best friend, who was noticeably quiet and shifty today. "Ron, are you okay?"

"I guess," Ron replied. "It's nothing, let's get to class."

Kim watched her best friend as he ambled off to class, knowing that there clearly was something, and if Ron wasn't going to talk, there was someone else she needed to speak to.

"Hey Bonnie," Ron finally caught her alone in the gym after cheerleading practice.

Her back stiffened immediately; she did not want to be seen next to him. She had spent the entire day trying not to be in the same wing as him, and when they had to meet during cheerleading practice, she'd tried extra hard not to make any prolonged eye contact with him. Yet here he was, patiently waiting for her to get out of the women's locker room.

"Can we talk?" Ron asked.

"There's nothing to talk about," Bonnie quickly snapped back. "Now if you don't mind, I've got somewhere else I'd rather be."

"I was going to say that I asked Tara out," Ron replied quietly.

"So I heard," Bonnie replied huffily. "I didn't know she got back with Josh, okay? So sue me."

"Uh huh…" Ron mumbled. "Anyway, that doesn't matter. When I was talking to her, she said some things, and that got me thinking."

"Yeah, you can go do your thinking elsewhere," Bonnie snapped at him, and tried to push her way past Ron.

"Bonnie, wait," Ron reached out and grab her arm.

"Let go of me," Bonnie commanded, without turning to look him in the face.

"Bonnie, would you go out with me again tonight?" Ron asked.

It was the longest moment in Ron's life. He was holding onto the arm of a beautiful tanned brunette and asking her genuinely to go out with him. He wished he could see her face, to understand what emotions were going through her mind, and at least let him know. Because it was a torture not knowing anything, of being on the cusp of two possibilities: she might turn him down, she might not.

"Ron," her voice came softly. "Why'd you have to go and do that?"

"Because…" his mind screamed at him not to say it. "Because I like you."

"You must be joking," she still did not turn to face him. "You like me, even after all the times I called you a loser."

"Not today," Ron remarked. "You didn't call me a loser today."

She remained quiet for a moment before she bit back, "What about this morning, by the lockers in front of Kim?"

"Bonnie, I may not be that smart, but you definitely did not call me that this morning," Ron explained. "You said it to no one. Everyone just thought you meant me, but it was different this morning."

"How would you know?" Bonnie snapped angrily.

"Because I saw it in your eyes," Ron replied confidently.

"You know, I don't like you at all," Bonnie replied coolly. "You're just imagining things."

"But… The kiss," Ron asked.

"So what?" Bonnie asked. "I kiss guys all the time. You were no different."

"But… You said… If you wanted a second date…" Ron stammered.

"You were supposed to ask Tara out," Bonnie repeated again, but with less conviction. "Not me."

"But I am asking you out now," Ron insisted.

"You know something?" Bonnie finally turned to face him, but her features were stoic. "Today Brick asked me to get back together with him."

Ron felt his grip loosen, as the words sank in. "Oh," he said bitterly. "I get it." He gazed down at the gym floor and realized, "Wow, I am a loser huh? Twice in two days… The girl I asked out always gets back together with her boyfriend."

"Ron," Bonnie began. "I'm not finished. I told him no."

"What?" Ron's heart soared for a moment. "So that means you'll go out with me?"

"No, Ron," Bonnie began. "No, I can't…"

"Why not?" Ron demanded. "Then why did you say no to Brick?"

"It's… It's complicated," Bonnie explained.

"Don't say that," Ron said self-depreciatingly. "Explain it to me so that the 'stupid loser' can understand."

"Please…" Bonnie sighed when she saw the firm look on Ron's face. "Fine… After Tara called me last night, I thought about it and I was going to say yes to you. But when rumors got around today that we went out last night, Brick came and ask me to take him back. That was when I thought about you, and I didn't want you to think that I was using you to get back at Brick."

"Then why won't you go out with me?" Ron asked hotly. "Is it because of that damned food chain?"

"No, no more excuses about the food chain," Bonnie shook her head. "No more. It's just, you deserve better… You deserve so much better. I can't say yes to you, because if I did, somewhere along the line, you'd think of yourself as the rebound, even though you're not. You'd think the only reason I'd go out with you is because I broke up with Brick, and I'd latch onto the nearest guy…"

"I won't think that," Ron protested.

"That's what you say, but you'll feel different," Bonnie replied. "I've seen it happen, and I don't want to do that to you, where it hurts you to be with me. Ron, trust me when I say there's someone out there for you."

"I don't want someone out there," Ron replied. "I want someone in here! If last night was any indication... Any at all... We like each other, and there's no problem beyond that."

"That someone out there is a lot closer than you think," Bonnie replied. "And you really do deserve someone better."

"But…" Ron said, staring at her uncomprehendingly.

"Thank you for a wonderful date, Ron. If things don't work out between you and her, come look for me okay? If we were truly meant to be, then we'd find each other again."

"Bonnie..." Ron replied softly, "What about you? You deserve someone too, and not someone that's only with you because of 'status'."

Bonnie felt as if a hot, metal blade twisted up inside her, shredding her heart to bits. She looked into those innocent, accepting brown eyes, and almost felt herself lost in them before she dug her own nails into her hands as she balled her fists. A rising piece of shame got caught in her throat, as she struggled to swallow her indecision. She had already decided, she wasn't about to change her mind. Putting as much disdain into her voice as she could, she cursed out, "Dammit, Ron, are you listening to me? Are you as stupid as I always said you were before? Do I have to spell it out for you like a doofus?"

She flinched inwardly at her words, as she kept her face as impassive as she could. When he didn't react, she changed her tone, "There's someone that you know, that you're close to, and she likes you, and yes, I mean 'like like', and... And you deserve better than anything I can offer!"

"Bonnie-..." Ron started, but Bonnie leaned in close to him, cutting off his comment as he gulped at her proximity.

After a silent moment, he looked ready to speak again when she silenced him with her lips, in a deep passionate kiss, as she held his face with her hands and pressed her body close to his. For a moment, she wanted to take it all back, take everything she just said back, and just say yes. She wanted him to do something, to prove her wrong, show her that he was like any other guy, that she'd be used and dumped like yesterday's newspaper. Her mind begged for him to do something, anything that would give her a reason to slap him, hurt him and prove her wrong about him. But as his arms wrapped around her waist and he made no attempt to squeeze her ass, or run his hands up under her shirt, she again felt torn apart inside, until a voice from earlier in the day she steeled her resolve.

"If you ever hurt him..."

She broke off the kiss, twisted out of his arms, and picked up her fallen gym bag tensing her body to run for the door. She tried to push all thoughts of him out of her mind, as she heard his footfalls behind her, but the next thing she heard stopped her more effectively than if he'd have closed and locked all of the doors.

"Bonnie!" Ron hollered after her. "I like you!"

Her leaden footsteps fell silent, as she stood rooted to the floor in mid-step. She couldn't find the courage to turn, and yet she couldn't find the strength to leave.

"Hell, Bonnie... I think I'm falling for you," Ron yelled after her, then shook his head, sighing heavily. "No, I know I am... Doesn't that mean anything to you? Sure, some other girl likes me… Tough shit for her then," Ron whispered. Bonnie turned, staring at him with her mouth agape. She'd never heard him curse, and as she turned, she saw a soft, almost regretful smile on his face. "I hope I don't hurt whoever it is, but tough shit... You asked me first, Bonnie, and I do like you... I want to see how things go with you; maybe they'll fail like you said, maybe I'll feel like you're using me as a long term rebound. But maybe I won't. Maybe... Maybe things will work between us, and do you want to chance that they won't? I know I don't want to..."

"Please, Ron!" Bonnie pleaded with him, her eyes shimmering with tears, "Don't make this harder than it is. I don't know what happened last night, I don't know why I'm even doing this, I don't... I don't know..." She felt her legs go weak and collapsed to her knees by her bag, her hands curling into tight fists in her lap. "What did you do to me, Stoppable?" she screamed, her voice breaking as her scream echoed throughout the gym, her body shaking with pent up emotion.

"I could ask the same thing," Ron mused quietly, a soft smile playing across his features as he turned away from Bonnie and stared off into space. He sighed, knowing that he only had this one chance to say what was on his mind, and decided to just let his mouth do the work, and damn the consequences.

"You know, I used to have to watch soaps with my mom, when I was a kid." Bonnie cocked her head and gave him a quizzical look, as Ron went on. "I thought, I knew, with the way my life's been, that magical evenings do not happen. It is make-believe, that people suddenly stop hating each other, out of the blue, they forget their differences, all that bullshit. Then you made me take you on a date to teach me how to take Tara on one."

"What?" Bonnie said, thoroughly confused.

"And it was... God, I sound like the buffoon Shego says I am, but it was magical." Ron had his goofy grin on his face as he moved over to where Bonnie sat on the ground, lowering himself next to her and grabbing her hand absently. "And here you are, saying that you feel the same thing, only without saying it." He turned his wondering gaze on the beautiful brunette and saw comprehension dawning in her eyes. "I know you're scared, Bonnie, I... I am too. I've had one failed date, one chat at a theater ticket booth, and one good date. That's my experience with women. But that one good date is the stuff dreams are made of… the same stuff they write novels about, that they make movies about..."

"Ron," Bonnie whispered, weakly pulling against the gentle, insistent pressure of his hands. "I'll just hurt you, I always hurt everyone I ca-..." she stopped herself, not willing to complete that word out of the fear of what it could mean. "I can't hurt you like that." She finally said, looking away from him.

"You're hurting me now, Bonnie." Ron said simply, shaking his head slightly. "Please, Bonnie... Please don't hurt me like this..." Bonnie screwed her eyes shut with that simple request, trying to hide the warring emotions from him.

"If you ever hurt him..."

The words echoed back and forth across her mind, tearing bits and pieces of her away each time, until finally a small, choking sound welled up in her throat. "But what if the girl that likes you-..."

"Bonnie, if she really likes me, she'll see us, see... This..." he motioned between them in an agitated, jerky manner, "Then she'll understand, and she'll be happy for me. So how about this, Bonnie: one more date... If it works out, if it's a good date, we sit down and talk, seriously, about whether we want more than just a couple dates. No lies, no hiding the truth, just... Honesty." Bonnie opened her mouth to speak, trying to harden her face into the mask she'd worn a few moments before, but Ron brought her hand up and gently pressed his lips to her knuckles, silencing her. "Don't hurt either of us, Bonnie... Please?"

"I..." Bonnie wanted to tell him no, but found the words she'd heard earlier that day still bouncing around in her head. She realized she was giving Ron a small, coy smile as she nodded in agreement. "When did you get so eloquent?" Bonnie finally asked, a few tears marring her makeup as she broke tension that had been building up since the day before.

"Huh?" Ron asked as he leaned forward and brushed the tears away.

After he was done, Bonnie swatted at him, almost playfully, her tone taking a mocking version of her own vicious growl. "Doofus!" she exclaimed, pushing herself up and pulling Ron with her. She glanced down at her hand fitting comfortingly in his, wondering whether if it is where it belongs. She blushed lightly at the thought, pulling Ron out of the gym, her hand still clasped tightly in his.

A pair of eyes stared at the tableau from the opposite end of the gym. The eyes were tense with anger and the firm, athletic body belonging to them prepared to strike, but both eyes and body relaxed as they watched Ron's impassioned pleas fall on accepting ears. "Don't you dare hurt him, Rockwaller..." the soft, feminine voice grated, as twin tears sparkled down the young woman's cheeks. "He deserves so much better than what he's gotten before..." The woman scrunched her eyes shut for a moment, before reaching up and scrubbing at the tears running down her cheeks.

She turned and sprinted down the opposite hallway as the two teens in the gym stood and started towards the door. I don't want them to catch me, it'd just be too awkweird... she thought to herself. But if that was the case, why couldn't she convince herself she was doing anything more than running away?

Author's Notes

Most Ron/Bon fics begin with the premise that somehow Ron helps Bonnie out in a tight sitch, and then she falls for her knight in shining armor. Granted I generalize, and even if you point out one or two fics that don't follow this formula, it doesn't disprove my statement. Yes, I'm uptight and defensive right now. Anyway, I thought "What if Bonnie intentionally associates with Ron, just for the sake of her friend Tara?" Hence the premise of this story, and somewhere along those lines she discovers he is a gentleman of many talents.

I guess when I think about it, it's not too convincing. I sort of had Ron pegged out as a respectful guy who wouldn't do much to take advantage of Bonnie. Maybe it was just her coming out of a long term relationship; maybe Ron is a decent guy who didn't look half as bad. I'd like to think Bonnie was right, that she might be on a rebound, going for the most un-Brick-like character there is. Not to say that Ron lacks charms of his own; after all he does have his small moments. And perhaps it's the finer details that attracted Bonnie to him, his beliefs, his caring nature, his empathy, and maybe even his uncanny ability to quote her ad verbatim.

This is just a brief hiatus from my extremely long multi-chapter, The Human Element. Sequel is slightly off schedule as I have yet to find the motivation or inspiration to write. My muse is still hung over from the New Year's partying. But the planning's done, and I'd get cranking soon.

In the meantime, let me respectfully request readers to vote for their author of choice in the Fannies.