My standard KP disclaimer:

I know Disney owns "Kim Possible"...lock, stock, and Rufus.

If they want to sue me, they have to get behind all my other creditors.

Since I am in south Florida, the line has formed to the right

…and goes all the way to Sacramento!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Opening notes:

1) This installment IS rated 'T'!! I am sure those loyal readers (both of you) who caught the first chapter understand my reasoning behind that.

2) I realize the scene from 'A Sitch in Time' had Ron mention the drawbacks of going to Bueno Nacho on a tricycle. I always thought there was more to it than that, maybe a 'mental block' keeping him from 'remembering' how to ride a bicycle. My words here attempt to reflect that deeper 'back-story'. For any other 'canon' issues, I invoke my 'AU License' (with restrictions requiring corrective lenses while driving).

Also, in replies to reviews for the last story, I told some of you I would use the name Amos instead of David. Given the potential for 'Amos and Andy' jokes that didn't fit this particular tale, I switched it back to David.

Enjoy the show!

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

'ch-RON-icles: Uncle David'

Chapter 2: Tunnel Walks and Melted Cheese

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

For Jody Hull. I still forgive you…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Thankfully for all concerned, Officer Hobble (aka 'Mr. Flopsy') kept a walkie-talkie, tuned to the Middleton Police Department's official radio band, in the 'Cone Cart'. With the crowd's attention focused elsewhere, he closed the windows of the 'Cone Cart', changed quickly into his spare MPD uniform, and grabbed the walkie-talkie. While keeping the on-lookers away from the scene, he immediately called for help.

Within minutes, every available rescue worker in Middleton rushed to the scene. While policemen kept the crowds and news crews a safe distance from the scene, paramedics approached the cyclists first. Their assessment of the adult rider was abrupt. Checking for a pulse was a mere formality, as the lower half of the man was completely crushed under the frame of his bike. After police photographers captured enough images for their investigation, the paramedics covered the body with a sheet.

The boy, on the other hand, had a chance to pull through. Yes, his leg was broken in two places, his wrist was shattered, his ribs were cracked, and every one of his multiple head injuries was quite serious.

…All things considered, it could've been much worse…

The speed of the impact on the sidewalk split his helmet right down the middle. Were it not for that added protection, his skull would have been crushed instantly. The elbow and knee pads were shredded; but they did their job, as his elbows and knees merely sustained superficial cuts and bruises.

As the paramedics placed a collar brace on the boy's neck, his body grew still. They tried various methods to bring him back, but were finally forced to pull a sheet over him as well.

Other rescue workers rushed over to the car. Upon sight of the substance oozing from the windows, they quickly rushed back to their truck to don their 'haz-mat' suits. They forced the open the car's door with a metal-separation device called 'The Jaws of Life'. Hearing muffled screams inside a solid block of the substance, hammers and chisels were used to carefully chip away as much of the block as possible…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

…In all his research on this experimental fuel, Andy never explored the effects of immersion in the substance at room temperature without protective clothing, aprons, or gloves. Had he done so, he would have discovered a 'two-sided' coin, both physically and mentally.

While such a person healed quickly from nearly all physical maladies, pain registered with twice the normal intensity. If such a person suffered a paper cut, it would completely heal in minutes, but feel like the entire hand was severed.

The psychological damage to such exposure was another interesting duality. Elaborate and intricate plans could be devised nearly instantly. However, it also brought on numerous mental maladies, including delusions of grandeur, episodes of dementia, panic attacks, paranoia, and megalomania.

Clinically and literally, such a combination would serve as…

the ultimate definition of 'sick and wrong'…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ron slowly opened his eyes to find nothing but white in his field of vision. He slowly turned his head back and forth to gain his bearings. He discovered he was staring at an overcast sky, no longer feeling any pain.

He looked around and found himself near the bench in Middleton Park. Part of his mind remembered the fun he had here last month with Kim and her family.

Another part, however, posed two extremely puzzling questions…

How did he end up here, over half a mile from Kim's place…

and where was Uncle David??

"Hey, 'Little Man'!" A voice cheerfully called. "Are you okay?"

Ron slowly rose to his feet. Discovering the source of the question, he exclaimed, "Uncle Dave!"

Pulling the man into a tight embrace, Ron began to pepper him with questions…

"Are-you-okay-What's-with-the-tux-Weren't-you-wearing-your-'Herbie-Husker'-shirt-before-What-happened-to-the-bikes-And-the-car-And-all-those-people-And-the-ice-cream-truck-Uncle-Dave-what-is-going-on-here-Tell-me-something!Anything!!PLEEEEEEEEEASE!!"

The speed of Ron's questions forced David to laugh for a moment. Indeed, his wardrobe had changed. During the bike ride, he wore his 'Herbie Husker' T-shirt, white socks, red sneakers, and white Bermuda shorts with his helmet and pads. Now, he stood before Ron while wearing a scarlet-colored tuxedo, complete with matching cummerbund, shoes, and bowtie, along with a cream-colored shirt and matching socks. The shades of red and white on the tuxedo reflected the color scheme of his collegiate 'alma mater'.

"Whoa, there!" David responded, pulling Ron away for a moment. "I've got so much I need to tell you, but we don't have much time."

"What do you mean?" Ron pleaded. "Where are you going?"

Not wanting to break Ron's heart, David chose his words carefully. "I have to go…on an important trip. I'm…not sure when I'll see you again."

Ron's eyes began to water. "Why, Uncle Dave?" he wondered. "Why do you have to go? Is it something I did…or something I didn't do?"

Ron tightly hugged David again and wept, "You're my favorite uncle…the only one who ever visits me…the only one who calls me 'Little Man', instead of treating me like a baby!"

After building a morsel of resolve, Ron tried to bargain with the man. "Can't I come along with you…at least until school starts again?"

David shook his head and replied, "Where I'm going, the only tickets are 'one way'. It may be a long time from now, but I'll look forward to seeing you again some day."

Ron's legs became unstable for a moment. This forced David to guide the two of them to a nearby bench.

"What am I gonna do now?" Ron yelled between sobs. "I mean…Damn it all to Hell, Unc—"

"HEY!" David barked. "Watch the language!" His voice softened as he explained, "One of these days…maybe soon, maybe not for many years from now…you'll get the chance to join me where I am going. Whenever that time comes, you'll never get past the front gate if you start disrespecting people like that."

Ron's face was horrified as cried, "I'm sorry, Uncle Dave. It's just that…You're the one who taught me to love life, and live it to the fullest…to never be normal, and be true to my heart…to see the good in everything and everyone, no matter what anyone else may think.

"You're my hero…and if I never see you again, I don't know what I'll do."

David touched Ron's forehead and chest as he declared, "I will always be with you in here…and in here. You will still have your mom and dad, along with visits from Grandpa Joe and Nana Rose, to keep you true to your essential 'Ron-ness'. There's also that nice family, the Possibles, to help you along the way. In fact I know one member of that family who loves you more than life itself…but has a funny way of showing it sometimes."

With a weak smile, Ron agreed, "I guess Mrs. Dr. P. is like a second mom and everything."

David heartily scoffed, "No, not her…but you're much closer than you think!"

In the distance, the opening refrains of the Alan Parsons Project's 'Sirius' could be heard by both of them. David locked onto Ron's eyes and said, "You've got to listen to me. What I have to say is very important, and it's almost time to go. Your Aunt Rebecca in Wyoming has a little boy named Shawn. Be nice to the kid, even if he isn't nice to you. Can you do that for me?"

Ron nodded, "Of course. There's just one thing…Who's Aunt Rebecca?"

David laughed again and replied, "Oh, you'll meet a lot more of the family than you'll ever remember soon enough, once they know I've gone…on my trip."

His face grew serious as he continued, "There's something else…you may not know it yet, but if you follow that big heart of yours, you may even save the whole world some day. I'm talking not just once, but hundreds of times over."

It was Ron's turn to laugh while he shot back, "Me? Save the WORLD? Uncle Dave, did you sample too much of that bottle of wine before we left the house?"

The music grew louder as a white circular portal began to form beside David. He stood and replied, "I'm quite serious, 'Little Man'. I just need you to do one more favor, but it's very important. I need you to say goodbye to your Aunt Sarah for me."

"WHAT??" Ron screamed. "She's not going with you? I thought you loved her. If you think I'm taking this badly, that poor woman will be crushed!"

David placed his hands on Ron's shoulders and countered, "Not if you tell her this…" He bent down and whispered something in Ron's ear. Ron's eyes bulged wide, as if he received a great revelation.

Ron gulped, "Are you sure you want me to tell her that?"

David grinned, "Absolutely…and if she doesn't believe that, tell her these four words…"

He whispered something else to Ron before hugging him one last time. The portal was full-size, and the song was playing at full volume.

David shouted, "Stay strong…and never be normal, 'Little Man'." With that statement, he walked through the opening.

After a moment of stunned silence, Ron tried walking through the same passage, only to have it grow into a white tunnel over a hundred yards long. Halfway through the tunnel he was able to look through to the other side of the passage. There, he saw an old man in a long, flowing robe. The man was pushing a lot of buttons on a computerized panel before looking up at Ron. Once he did that, he looked at a large viewing screen. The image on the screen was of a man who looked like Ron, except the man was in his late seventies.

"YOU!" The man at the controls shouted. "You're not supposed to be here. Go back…It's not your time yet!"

From where he stood, still fifty yards away from Ron, the man raised his right hand and brought his flattened palm forward. Ron felt the force of that motion as it pushed him backward, completely out of the tunnel and back into the park. An instant later, the tunnel closed and the music stopped.

Ron's backward motion caused his head to smack the railing of the cast-iron bench. He felt weary, but otherwise peaceful.

He whispered, "I won't let you down, Uncle Dave." as he slowly gave in to his exhaustion…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

After several minutes of work, the rescue workers clad in 'haz-mat' suits chipped away enough of the blue substance to find an semi-conscious man. If they knew his appearance beforehand, they would have noticed several glaring changes. These included an additional six inches of height, shrunken hands and a cut soon to form a scar under his left eye. They would have also realized the dark circles completely surrounding eyes that no longer required glasses.

The biggest abnormality was easy to see by everyone within a fifty-yard radius of the man…

his skin was perriwinkle in color.

When he began to regain his bearings, one of the workers tried to ask the usual questions, such as 'Do you know where you are?', 'What is today's date?', and 'Who is the President of the United States?', among others.

He truthfully answered all of them to the best of his abilities, until the landmark question was posed…

…'Do you know who you are?'

At that question, he cackled a bit and recalled the name of a villain from one of his favorite monster movies, Professor Dragon.

"Who am I, you ask?" The man bellowed. "Why, I'm none other than Professor…No, wait…that's Doctor Dragon!"

His voice was still raspy from being entombed by his blue shell for so long. His response was improperly heard by the rescue worker as a name that would be synonymous with the scientist forever…

…"I'm none other than Professor…No, wait…that's Doctor DRAKKEN!!"

The rescue worker was frightened enough to freeze in place as Andrew Lipsky stood and ran from the scene. The other rescue workers and police officers were too busy with taking care of the bike riders and crowd control to notice his escape. Once he was a safe distance from the area, he made his way downtown and hid behind a dumpster until he succumbed to his lingering injuries.

Back at the crash site, all the rescue workers, policemen, and witnesses looked in shock as a voice rang out, clear as day…

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ron slowly opened his eyes to discover nothing but white in his field of vision. Unlike the wondrous scenery in Middleton Park, he saw nothing but white as turned his head…or at least tried to do so. He discovered his neck secured in a brace, preventing him from moving very far from one side to the other.

Another thing he quickly discovered was…pain! There was pain while he rested…pain when he wanted to move his arm …pain when he tried to breathe …and, from all the other cells of his body…even more PAIN!!

As he became perfectly still, the pain was not as excruciating. It subsided enough for him to make one more realization. He found that the whiteness of his vision was due to a sheet covering his body.

Even though he was proud to be a straight 'C' student, he immediately knew the white sheet over his head meant people thought he was…

He had to let them know he was still alive…for no other reason than to keep his promise to Uncle David. Alas, his imaginary friend, Rufus, was unable to help him this time. He struggled to move his less-injured arm to the edge of the sheet. In one swift yank, he ripped it from his body and screamed, clear as day…

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

When Andy woke a few hours later, he tried to remember the events leading to the crash, the man in the 'haz-mat' suit, his current complexion, or even the faces of those bike riders. He found he could not, as if suffering from some sort of anxiety-induced amnesia.

Andy realized he was next to a local tavern. Since he still had his wallet, he had enough cash to buy a drink or two before calling a cab for home. The money may have also been dyed with a light tinge of blue, but it still looked acceptable as legal tender.

The instant he set foot in the place, all eyes shifted toward him. They had just watched the local news on several of the tavern's screens. A minute before Andy's arrival, here was what the anchor read:

"A family bike outing turned tragic in Middleton today. Thirty-six-year old David Stein, an acclaimed food critic for the Omaha World-Herald, and his nephew, a Middleton boy celebrating his eleventh birthday, were killed by a hit-and-run driver about a half a mile from Middleton Park. The boy's name is not being released because he is a minor child…

"Although the car, registered to a Patricia Lipsky of Middleton, crashed into a tree after hitting the cyclists, the driver escaped on foot…"

…A picture taken by a news cameraman at the scene replaced the image of the anchor as she continued reading the story. Some graphics beside the picture gave the vital statistics read by the anchor. A few graphics below the picture displayed two phone numbers and the names of the agencies where those numbers belonged…

"Middleton Police are searching for a man who identified himself as 'Doctor Drakken'. He stands between six-feet and six-feet-three inches tall, with a medium build, black hair, a cut below his left eye, abnormally-small hands, and blue skin. That's right, folks…blue skin. Police are asking anyone with information on his whereabouts to call Middleton Police or Colorado CrimeStop at the numbers on your screen. If your information leads to his arrest, you may be eligible for a reward…"

…A piece of paper was handed to the anchor from 'off-camera'. The woman quickly read it aloud with a choked voice and huge, tearful smile to her face…

"Ladies and gentlemen…we've just received…new information from the scene…that can only be described as nothing short…of a miracle…"

Despite the anchor's revelation, the words 'eligible for a reward' were still ringing in the ears of the cash-strapped patrons when Andy stumbled into the tavern. Seconds later, dozens of bar-hoppers were chasing him through the streets of downtown Middleton.

It was only by sheer luck he had his house keys on a separate chain from those he left in the ignition of the wrecked car. The fob for the house keys also contained a homing beacon for his other new invention…a long-range hovercraft. By pressing a button on the fob, he could transmit a signal from as far as fifty miles away from the craft. It would then lock on to the signal and safely navigate its way to the fob's location.

Less than a minute after he pressed the button, the hovercraft gently landed at his feet. He boarded the craft and made a hasty getaway, but not before at least three of the bar patrons fired more than a dozen shots him. Fortunately for Andy, those particular patrons were already drunk, and their aim was horribly off-target…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!"

That one word acted like a starter's pistol, as paramedics ran a full sprint back to where Ron was laying. The paramedics applied numerous devices to his body, monitoring heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing.

As they were attaching the devices, the two paramedics exchanged some extremely heated words…

"What were you thinking, leaving him for dead like that?"

"What do you mean 'What was I thinking?' He stopped moving, his eyes were glazed, he stopped breathing and he had no pulse after ten minutes of performing CPR. TEN MINUTES, man! What was I SUPPOSED to think?"

"Ten minutes? Are you sure it was that long?"

"Absolutely! I checked my watch at each point. We got here at 3:14. It took me one minute to grab my gear and get to him. After two minutes of placing the collar on him and checking his vitals, he crashed and I had to start CPR. I kept it up until Jenny pulled me away at 3:27 and covered him. That's ten minutes worth of CPR I did on this kid."

While the two of them were arguing, Ron was caught a glimpse of the watch worn by one of the paramedics…

3:48 pm

Even though Ron was almost finished doing the math, the owner of the watch looked Ron squarely in the eye and said, "Guess you've got a heck of a story to tell your grandchildren someday, kid…about the time you were dead for twenty minutes!!"

Ron squeaked, "Twenty…minutes?" before closing his eyes again. The heart and lung monitors reassured the paramedics of Ron's state of mere unconsciousness, as opposed to the alternative they just finished discussing…

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Ron slowly opened his eyes to discover nothing but white in his field of vision. Unlike the previous sensations of pain and panic, he felt like he was floating on air. The only thing contrasting the white background was a vision of beauty in a white shirt and matching pants. Her flaming red hair gave an appearance of a radiant halo. Her glowing face was free of any makeup, though redness was evident from a long period of crying.

This led Ron's mouth to form a wide grin and ask, "Is this heaven? I'm sure it is…'cause you look like an angel!"

The face looked at him with shocked wonder. Without responding to his question, she briefly kissed him full on the mouth before she ran from the room and screamed, "MOM!! Come quickly! He's awake!"

This turn of events brought Ron back 'down to earth' and let him examine his surroundings. He found he was in a hospital room, with the whiteness being the ceiling tiles high above his bed. The pain returned to his body; but it was not as extensive as the last time he was awake.

Before he could make any more sense of his surroundings, he was bombarded by nurses checking his vital signs and doctors examining various charts before writing orders dealing with his recovery. One of those doctors was the mother of the 'angel', who he realized was his best friend, Kim Possible.

Ron blushed when his mind finally linked his earlier questions to his current situation. He hoped Kim would forgive him for that cheesy 'angel' comment. That was one heck of a kiss, though! No matter how good it felt, Ron guessed it was probably just a delusion from the side effects of the pain medication.

As his parents ran into the room, his mind continued its reboot. His father gripped his good shoulder and said, "Welcome back, my 'miracle boy'!"

Ron gave a quizzical look and asked, "What do you mean, 'miracle boy'? How long have I been out, anyway?"

His mother's face was filled with fresh tears as she hugged him and responded, "Five days, Ronnie…five days of pure Hell for both of us, dear!"

Dr. Anne Possible concurred, "Ron, you've been in a coma ever since you came here…and that's after being dead for twenty minutes on the scene. Thankfully, your CAT scans came back negative."

"Negative?" Ron wondered, his eyes motioning upward. "Does that mean I have nothing up there?"

"Not at all." She warmly smiled. "It just means there is no permanent brain damage. It's just like your dad said…a complete miracle, considering all your injuries. Still, it was a heck of a way to spend your birthday."

Soon, Ron's eyes shot wide open and he shouted, "Mom! Dad! Where's Aunt Sarah? I've gotta talk to her."

Jean turned to Ron and said, "Ronnie, Sarah had to go back to Omaha to make arrangements."

Ron argued, "But Mom…I have to talk to her. It's important! I promised Uncle Dave I'd—"

"Son," Donald interrupted, "I hate to tell you this…but your Uncle David is gone."

Ron shot back, "I know that, Dad. He gave me a couple of things to tell her before he went on his trip through the white tunnel."

Donald took a breath and sighed, "Ronald, you don't understand. He's…he's dead. His body was crushed by that car that hit the two of you. At least his passing was quick and without much pain."

Ron's eyes began to flow with tears as he begged, "Please, Dad. This makes it even more important that I talk to her. Uncle Dave was the one who forced me to make that promise. What I've got to say may be his dying wishes!"

"Now, Ronnie," Jean pleaded, "be reasonable. Your Aunt Sarah is suffering enough without having you spouting off some wild story about a tunnel."

"Mom, Dad, you know I love you both; but…" Ron quickly grabbed his intravenous tubes and demanded, "…if I don't get to talk to her, I swear I'll pull these tubes right out of my arm. I don't care how you get a hold of her, but I need to talk to her NOW!"

"RONALD!" Anne barked. "You don't have to do this!' She reached into her coat pocket and pulled out a cell phone. It may be considered old and clunky by today's standards, but it was 'state-of-the-art' at the time.

Her voice calmed as she continued, "I have an unlimited long distance plan, just in case I have to be called out-of-state for an emergency consultation." She poised her fingers on the panel and asked, "What's the number, Don?"

After she dialed the number Donald provided, there was a short pause to allow the receiving phone to ring.

"Hello, is Sarah Stein there?" She asked. After another short pause, she began, "Mrs. Stein, this is Dr. Anne Possible…Yes, Kim's mother…Why, thank you. She's a godsend to us all. Listen, I have some good news. Ron is awake, and he's...demanding to speak to you for some reason. He says it's important. Is it ok if I put it on speakerphone so Jean and Don can hear as well?"

After hearing a response, she added, "Great. Here he is now…"

She pressed a button on the top of the panel and placed the phone on the stand between Ron and his parents.

A shaky voice finally came across the speaker…

"Ronnie? It's Aunt Sarah. Thank God you're going to be okay!"

"Not so fast." Anne interjected. "He's still going to need some physical rehab to walk properly; and he'll have to spend the first couple of week of school on crutches."

"That's understandable." Sarah admitted. "Ronnie, Dr. Possible said you needed to talk to me about something?"

Ron eased his grip on the tubes and stated, "I know Uncle Dave is gone. Mom and Dad won't believe me…but I promised him I would tell you two things. He said no matter how strange they sounded, you'd understand."

An air of skepticism seeped through the phone. "Okaayy. What exactly did he tell you?"

Ron cleared his throat and replied, "First, he said to be sure you take the money for that Vegas vacation you two were planning and place it an account for Aaron's college fund. He said you will meet Aaron about eight months from now."

Donald quickly spoke up and asked, "Who's Aaron?"

A long period of sobbing ensued before the answer was revealed. "Aaron…or I guess the name will be Aaron, now that Ron said it will be…is the baby I'm going to have. My doctor told me yesterday I'm three weeks along."

Sarah paused another moment to choke back more tears as she challenged, "David could have told you about the Vegas vacation while you two riding to the Possibles' house. How do we know you weren't just guessing about the baby, Ronnie?"

Ron responded, "He thought you would wonder about that. That's why he told me the other thing…'No Buff too tough!'…whatever that means!"

More tears came from Sarah as she wailed, "Oh, my sweet Davie…It was you! Wherever you are, I will give our Aaron the 'jump start' he will need for college."

Ron inquired, "What did he mean by 'No Buff too tough'?"

Her response was mixed with sobs and laughter. "That's…what he said…when he…taunted…that Colorado fan...back when we first met!"

Jean, the Colorado alumnus, smirked and muttered under her breath, "It figures!"

Sarah concluded by saying, "Thank you, Ronnie…Thank you so much…May God bless you all the days of what I hope will be a long and healthy life!"

As the hospital room fell into silence, a click was heard, indicating Sarah ended the call on her end.

"Well," Anne observed as she put the phone back into her pocket and checked her watch, "our star patient needs his rest for the night. His condition will be monitored 'round the clock', but I think the worst is over."

After they each gave Ron another gentle hug. His parents walked toward the door to the room. Jean turned around and asked, "Are you sure everything's going to be ok?"

Anne smiled and assured her, "Don't worry, Jean…If there's any change, I'll be sure to let you know."

Before facing the door again, she pointed to her own cellphone and said, "Thanks, Anne. Just call me or beep me, if you want to reach me."

Donald tapped a small device attached to his belt and offered, "When you want to page me, it's ok!"

Once they left, Anne sat next to Ron and noted, "Kim has been here every day waiting for you to come back to us. She was really shook up when she saw your body just lying there in the street…

"You do need your rest, but don't be surprised if she sneaks in here to check up on you…" She looked up and pointed her voice toward the door. "…even if she should be going home now. Right, Kimmie?"

The door creaked open to reveal the girl in question. She rushed up to Ron and gave him as ferocious a hug as his condition allowed. Ron wasn't sure…but he thought he felt her lips brush against his cheek, even if it was just slightly.

With her hair muffling his voice, he muttered, "You are my angel, indeed."

Not hearing that comment, Kim's voice cracked, "I'll…see you…in the morning."

Once Anne escorted Kim out of the room, the only sounds in the room were generated by the beeps and whirs of the machines monitoring Ron's recovery.

Suddenly, a white circle appeared in the ceiling. It was there just long enough for David to peek through and smile.

"Thanks again, 'Little Man'," he said. "I owe you one."

"Hey," Ron instantly replied, "I'm alive. That kinda makes us even, right?"

"Yeah," David admitted, "I guess it does. Just remember that recipe we talked about on the bike ride, okay?"

"You mean for that…taco and nacho combination platter?"

"That's the one. Back at the Bueno Nacho in Omaha, I didn't see that on the menu board. It might just work in Middleton."

"Maybe you're right, but…Hey! I just thought of something. What if they put the nacho chips and cheese into the soft-shell taco?"

"Nachos inside a taco? You mean…like some kind of 'Naco' or something?"

"Yeah. You're the restaurant critic…or you were. What do you think?"

"What do I think? That is downright genius!! A guy with your cooking talent could make millions off that…especially if you find a way to sell it worldwide."

Ron waved and grinned, "Thanks, Uncle Dave. I'll miss you."

David smirked, "I'll miss you, too, 'Little Man'!" With that, the circle disappeared.

As his eyes succumbed to darkness once again, Ron smiled and murmured, "Boo-Yeah!"

xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Author's ending notes:

I hope you are enjoying these 'ch-RON-icles'. I have a few more of these, including a multi-chapter piece involving a magical mask and Ron's first venture into hockey. I will still be posting these every two weeks until further notice.

Please watch for new 'ch-RON-icles' as they come down the line. The next one will be two weeks from now.

The production of this story, like that for any work of fiction, is solely dependent upon the constructive feedback of its readers. If you like it, I will gladly make more. If you think of ways to make it better, I am always open to suggestions. If you really think it's a piece of garbage, stop me before I strike again!! Once again, Review me, e-mail me if you wanna reach me! When you want to 'PM' me, it's okay!

Your friend in writing,

The Samurai Crunchbird