Kim's dating ... Josh. Ron's dating ... Tara. And Mama Lipsky is driving her Drewbie, who isn't dating anyone, crazy. Romance, friendship, chimeritos, a clone, a couple of Seders, and 30 percent more fun. AU
Thanks to campy for his always invaluable beta and proofreading assistance.
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KP et. al. © Disney
A/N: This chapter originally appeared as part of "Man, Love is Complicated," a collaboration from which I felt a need to withdraw. Chapter Two, which will have at least 30 percent more bricks and an appearance by Mama Lipsky, will be comprised of all new, never-before-published material.
"And how's my bon-diggity girlfriend this fine day?" a cheerful Ron Stoppable asked as he slipped his arm around his GF's waist.
"Badical," she said with a smile. "I had so much fun last night."
"Well, the Ronster aims to please his lady," he said, trying to sound suave, but instead eliciting a giggle, which was accompanied by a peck on the lips.
"Okay, you two, cut it out," Kim said with a grin as she approached Ron and Tara.
"Oh, like you're one to talk, KP," Ron said with a grin of his own. "There are times when I'd swear that you and Josh had been hit by Dementor's sticky ball thingie," he added as he gave Josh Mankey, who was holding Kim's hand, a high five. "Whassup, my man?"
"Dude," Josh said in greeting. "Just chillin'. So, you two ready for the Fair?"
"You bet," Tara said sweetly. "It'll be so much fun! Cotton candy, and the petting zoo, and –"
"The Disorienter!" Ron exclaimed. "It's only the most extreme ride in Fair history!"
"Ron, you may be my BF, but I am not going on that ride with you," Tara said sternly.
"Aww," he whined.
"Don't worry, Ron," Kim said. "I'll go with you."
"Thanks, KP," he said brightly.
"No big, that's what best friends are for," she said as the two couples began walking down the hall to their next class.
Josh watched as Kim and Ron climbed onto the Disorienter. Like Tara, he had little interest in paying to have his stomach turned upside down.
"I hope Ron's okay," Tara said worriedly.
"I wouldn't worry about Ron," Josh observed with a wry grin. "I'd be more concerned about the clown," he said, tilting his head in the direction of the umbrella-wielding entertainer. "You want to get something to drink while Kim and Ron scramble their insides?"
"Sure," Tara said. "I'm feeling thirsty."
"You ever wonder about those two?" Josh asked as they queued up for their overpriced carnival beverages.
"What do you mean?" Tara asked.
"With some of the stuff they've done on missions, I'd think a Fair ride would seem lame to them."
"Hmmm," Tara said as she thought about Josh's observation.
"Yet they seem to be having a ball," he noted as they watched the ride spin around and around with Kim and Ron laughing and screaming their heads off like two little kids.
"Maybe they like an extreme ride that doesn't involve villains?" Tara suggested.
"Could be," Josh agreed.
"Uh, oh," she said. "Somebody had better warn the clown … ooooo."
Josh realized that Tara had picked up on the signs of her BF's crummy tummy before he – and more important, Chuckles, who had prematurely folded his umbrella – had. He shook his head sympathetically as the blonde cheerleader sighed.
"I so told you not to sneak in that chili cheese dog," Kim said.
"But it was begging to be eaten," Ron protested as they climbed out of the ride. "KP, it had cheese."
"Cheese!" Rufus squeaked as he popped out of Ron's pocket.
"Ron, you'd eat Styrofoam if it was covered with cheese," she shot back.
"Now don't exaggerate, Kim. I do have my limits," Ron said, his arms folded across his chest. "Though I did eat the cafeteria pizza last Tuesday …"
Kim rolled her eyes.
"Hey! Hey! I saw that!" Ron said. "No eye rolling!"
Kim began snickering.
"Oh great, roll your eyes and laugh at me!"
Kim's snickering quickly mounted to the point where she was doubled over in laughter and her eyes were tearing up.
"Oh, some best friend you are," he said with mock indignation.
"C'mon, Extreme Ride Boy" she said, slapping him on the back. "Let's go find our dates."
Josh and Tara watched as Kim and Ron walked their way, laughing and playfully swatting one another.
"Hey, you two better cut that out or people are going to start talking," the young artist said to the teen hero and her sidekick. "You look and act like an old married couple!"
"So do not," Kim said as she came up to her boyfriend and gave him a buss on the cheek.
"So do," Josh shot back with a grin.
"Hmmm. He may have a point, KP," Ron said, looking thoughtful before a huge grin spread across his face. "You do like to boss me around, just like Mom does Dad."
"I so do not boss you around!"
"Let's go to the video tape from our last mission," he replied before saying in a falsetto, "Ron Stoppable, stop playing around."
"Oh, you are so busted," she said with an indulgent smile.
"And then there's 'Ron, keep your head in the game'," he added, once again speaking in a very faux-girly voice.
While Josh found himself laughing as the two best friends gave as good as they got to one another, Tara watched, finding herself mildly uncomfortable. For a moment, she wondered why; she'd seen Kim and Ron pal around before and it had never bothered her. Then it occurred to her: she didn't like the idea of Kim and Ron as an old married couple – because that meant she'd never get to be Mrs. Ron Stoppable. She knew it was a silly thought – they were just high school students, after all – but it was a thought that wouldn't go away.
Josh walked Kim to the front door of the Possible abode.
"Thanks for a great evening, Josh," she said.
"Hey, it was fun. As long as you weren't the clown."
Kim snorted. "Sometimes I think Ron will never learn."
Josh smiled. "Well, you just make sure that he comes to the reception at the Middleton Gallery on an empty stomach. I really don't want him to hurl on my paintings."
Kim arched an eyebrow. "You do know Ron wouldn't do that?"
"Yeah, I know," Josh said. "Though just to be safe, I should make sure they don't serve any cheese."
"That might be a wise precaution, Mr. Mankey," Kim said with a grin as she leaned in and gave him a goodnight kiss.
"I'm so sorry, Ron, but I haven't seen my dad's Aunt Eleanor in so long," Tara said. "I promise I'll make it up to you."
"Hey, don't feel bad," he said. "Though if you're going to make it up with some of those badical Tara kisses of yours, maybe you should feel bad. Yeah, you should feel very, very bad."
"You sure you're not upset? It is your birthday after all."
"Nah, the Ronman is resilient," he said.
"I even had a new dress for your party."
"I'm all about you in a new dress. Maybe I could arrange a private viewing?"
"Actually, I think I'll save it for the Spring Fling dance," Tara said.
"Coolio!" Ron said. "I'll get to show off my fierce new dance moves for you and you'll get to show off your badical new dress."
"You really sure you're okay with this?"
"Oh, yeah," Ron said.
"This tanks, KP," Ron said. "Tara's going to be in Go City for my birthday," he groused.
"Well, I know it's not the same, but I'll be there," Kim offered.
"You know, I can always count on you, KP," Ron said.
"So not the drama," she replied. "You are my best friend, after all."
"You can't be serious," Josh said.
"I'm sorry," Kim replied. "But you know I promised Ron I'd be there for his birthday dinner. He's really bummed that Tara has to be out of town."
"Well, I'm really bummed that you're going to miss my gallery opening," he said.
"And I was supposed to know that your showing would be rescheduled how?" she asked.
"Sometimes I wonder who's more important to you," Josh grumbled.
"That is so not fair, Josh Mankey!" Kim snapped. "You know I want to be at your opening. But it's not Ron's fault that the gallery changed the date for your show."
"I know," he sighed. "It's just that this is important, and I really wish you could be with me."
"And I wish I could be there, too," Kim said as she wrapped her arms around her boyfriend's neck and gave him a conciliatory kiss.
"You're trying to get my mind off this, aren't you?" Josh said, grinning.
"I'm not trying, I'm succeeding," Kim purred as she kissed him again.
"Pretty confident, aren't you?" he asked.
"Check the motto," she said smugly. "I can do anything."
"What's the sitch, Wade?" Kim asked peevishly.
"Did I get you at a bad time?" Team Possible's tech guru asked in response.
"Only if you like hot food," Ron grumbled.
"Ron!" Tara scolded him.
Josh smiled and shook his head. He knew where all of this was going.
"Monkey Fist has stolen the Codex Simius Rex," Wade said.
"Great, another book about a Monkey King," Ron said.
"Uh, yeah," Wade said. "How'd you know?"
"Latin class," Ron said smugly.
Kim smiled sympathetically at her best friend. "Nice going, Ron!"
"Thanks, KP. Though it still tanks that we don't get salsa," he groused.
"Still, you do J-Lo proud," Kim said.
"You think?" Ron replied.
"Uh, isn't this where Kim says 'Get your head in the game'?" Tara remarked.
Kim and Ron turned beet red and simultaneously said, "My bad."
"Jinx!" Kim announced, just beating Ron to the punch. "You owe me a soda."
"Aww man," he complained.
"Okay, Wade, sitch me," Kim said.
"Legend has it that the person who possesses this Codex will be able to decipher the runes in the Monkey Temple of Madagascar and gain control of infinite monkey power."
"Great, Monkey Fist with mega monkey mojo," Ron said. "I am so not down with that."
"And neither am I," Kim agreed. "Do you have a ride for us, Wade?"
"It should be there …"
"Now?" Ron suggested he looked out the window to see the GJ hoverjet landing in the parking lot outside the restaurant.
"Let's jet, Ron," Kim said as she got to her feet. "Sorry, Josh."
"Hey, it's cool," he said as Kim kissed him on the cheek. "Have fun saving the world!"
"Be careful," Tara said as Ron leaned in for a kiss.
"Fear not, Ron Stoppable has mad fu skills and plans to use them. Tonight, Monty is going down!" he declared before he turned and followed Kim out of the dining room.
Josh and Tara watched as Kim and Ron left the restaurant.
"Sometimes I think they're dating," he said softly.
"What?" Tara exclaimed.
"Look at them. It really is like they're a couple," he said matter-of-factly.
"I don't believe it," Tara said emphatically. "Ron wouldn't cheat on me."
"I didn't say he would. And I don't think Kim would cheat on me, either."
"Then what are you talking about?"
Josh sighed before he answered. "It's like they're dating in everything but name. They're inseparable. They spend more time with each other than they do with us. Just look at tonight."
"But they're on a mission. That doesn't count."
Josh arched an eyebrow. "Missions definitely count. In fact, they probably count for more. Have you ever been in a life-threatening situation with Ron?"
"No," Tara said. "Other than Wannaweep. He was so brave."
"I've never been in one with Kim, either," Josh said, ignoring Tara's swooning over her BF's exploits.
"Have you ever saved his life or had him save yours? And let's forget Wannaweep."
"No," Tara admitted.
"Same here with Kim," Josh said. "They've shared experiences we'll never share with them. They've been friends forever. They still hang out all the time. They skip gallery openings to be at the other's birthday party."
"Are you angry with Kim?"
"No, not really," Josh conceded. "I just wish I mattered as much to her as Ron does."
"But you do!" Tara protested.
"I don't know about that. The fact is, well, maybe they belong together. To be honest, these past few weeks I've been wondering if maybe I'm in the way of something special, something that Kim and Ron just don't recognize yet."
"But I like Ron," Tara said. "A lot."
"I know," Josh said. "Look, I think Kim's really cool. But sometimes I can't help wonder if Kim and Ron are meant to be something more than just friends."
"Josh, I am not breaking up with Ron," Tara said emphatically.
"Whoa! I didn't say you should," he replied. "It's not like I want to break up with Kim. I was just thinking. Who knows? Maybe I'm just blowing things out of proportion."
"The opening tweaked you, didn't it?" Tara asked.
Josh shrugged. "Well, given a choice between her boyfriend and her best friend, Kim chose her best friend. And that's the kind of thing that does make me wonder …"