Monique checked her watch. Then glanced at the school wall clock to double check. Yep, baby girl was going to get to renew her acquaintance with Big Mike and the gang if she didn't show real soon. Giving up her vigil (after all, she didn't have any keen desire to meet the after school gang herself) she stepped toward the hallway. A red headed lithe figure danced by her without a word. She began to run, she had to get to the bottom of this. Kim? Dancing in the hall? With a grin that threatened to split her face?
At the basso rumble Monique skidded to a halt, turning slowly. "Mr. Barkin?"
The militaristic monarch of Middleton high loomed over her. "Miss Jenkins, are you aware of my zero tolerance policy toward running in the hallway?"
One eyebrow quirked, "Well?"
Monique blinked, "Sir?"
Slowly and carefully Mr. Barkin enunciated. "As you were aware of policy, Miss Jenkins, why were you running in my hallway?"
Mr. Barkin smiled in faux understanding. "Keeping the arteries clear, Miss Jenkins? Well, I think after that strenuous little sprint some relaxation is in order. One hour detention, today."
"And a ten page report on the benefits of a regular cardio vascular workout schedule, suitably researched and foot noted of course."
Monique began to hyperventilate.
"Do you have anything else to say, Miss Jenkins?"
Monique frantically shook her head negatively.
"Very well, I suggest you get to class, unless you want to extend your participation in my afternoon club with a tardy." The big man turned and walked away.
Monique jerked herself out of her shock, then scurried towards her home room.
"Those shoes were NOT made for walking." Monique moaned to herself.
Yawning hugely, Monique walked into her home room, swerving to place her report on Mr. Barkin's desk. She had been up half the night, finishing the formal paper Barkin had demanded. "I may have to rethink my ideas about Ron. He gets handed two or three of these a week and completes them. How does he do it?" Monique walked over and flopped into her seat, then laid her head down into the cradle of her arms. "Not only did I not get to find out what Kim was so happy about, I got three more days in detention! At least they'll be in solitary." She felt more than saw the chairs on each side of her fill.
"Really, Monique, I thought you were fashion wise. Those pink sneakers aren't even last year."
"Just what I need." "Bon Bon, do not give me any grief, so not in the mood." Monique snarled.
"You did not just call me that. My name is Bonnie!" Bonnie gritted.
Without raising her head, Mo snarked, "Why not? Is that a little love label you only let Ron use?"
"Love la...that...you...Stoppable and...ME! He's a loser! And...and so are you!" Bonnie jerked to her feet and stomped to a chair as far away as she could get.
"That'll learn ya." Monique snorted into her arms. She turned her head, cracking one eye open at the tinkling giggle that sounded beside her. "Morning, Tara. What are you laughing for? I though you and Bonnie were best buds."
Trying unsuccessfully to stop her giggles behind her fingers, Tara replied, "Oh, we...we are. But that doesn't mean I don't know her faults. Not many people have the courage to nail her like that. I think she was totally unprepared for it."
Monique reluctantly and slowly sat up. "So, you and bonnie don't generally sit here, what's up?"
"I was hoping you could tell me." Tara semi pouted. "Haven't you talked to Kim?"
"Nope, haven't even seen her since she and Ron left on that mission yesterday."
"Didn't you call her last night?"
"Girl, after the afternoon I had, by the time I got home I was to beat to call anybody, and I still had to finish Barkin's paper!"
"Somebody said you got detention, but I didn't believe it." Tara nodded with conviction.
"Believe it. Not only yesterday, but I got handed three more days."
"What happened? " Tara asked in horror.
"It didn't start off too bad, just boring. Then Mr. Barkin had to leave the room for a moment.' Monique closed her eyes as a pained expression washed over her face.
"Go on!" Tara urged.
"Well, we were all sitting in a tight little group, Vinnie and Jr. beside me, Big Mike behind me. When Mr. Barkin left the room, Vinnie decided it was a great time to hit on me." She wearily rubbed her forehead. "Then Jr. wanted in on the action."
"It's not like I couldn't handle those two, but then Big Mike got in the game." Monique shook her head.
"Go on! What happened?"
"Well, things were getting a little out of hand, but I remembered what Kim told me about her little stint in detention." Monique winced in pained remembrance. "I couldn't see the door, Big Mike was in the way, I asked them 'What did Kim teach you?'"
Monique nodded. "Yep, they couldn't have said it better if they practiced. 'Take turns'. Just as Mr. Barkin walked in the door Three days solitary for bing a disruptive influence."
"I've got my eye on you, Jenkins. I'll see you this afternoon." Barkin anounced as Monique hastily grabbed her books and joined the stampede for the door. Once in the hallway, she glanced around quickly and saw her quarry.
Tara and Bonnie stood, obviously waiting for Monique to catch up. "Tara, you started to ask me something about Kim. Do you know why neither she nor Ron were in Home room?"
Tara nodded eagerly. "I thought you might know what's going on. I was in the office getting a pass for tomorrow when I heard the secretary talking on the phone. All I caught was that 'Stoppable won't be in today'. I thought you might know why not. If he was hurt on that mission yesterday."
"Probably tripped over his own shadow." Bonnie sneered.
Monique glanced cuttingly at the brunette. "I haven't heard anything, Tara. But Ron being hurt wouldn't keep Kim out of class."
"Oh, please, as if she can function without her lapdog. Come on, Tara, we have to get to class." Bonnie walked away.
"If you hear anything, let me know, please." Tara whispered, before hurrying after her friend.
Monique stood for a moment, before striding toward her own next class. "As soon as I get out of detention, I'm going to Kim's" Recalling that her own car had given up the ghost in the school parking lot last night, the reason for the old but comfortable sneakers today, she had a second thought. "Maybe she'll give me a ride home. That walk is a killer."
"Mrs. Possible, is Kim home?"
"Come in, Monique. Maybe you can get her to talk." Mrs. Possible smiled as she held the door open. "All I can get her to say, when she's not crying, is that she's going to kill Shego."
"I...ah... heard that Ron was hurt." Monique asked.
Mrs. Possible shut the door, then led Monique to the loft stairs. "Something's wrong, but I'm not sure what. He isn't in the hospital and as far as I know he hasn't seen a doctor." Mrs. Possible frowned. "I tried talking to his mother but she just burst out laughing and wouldn't say anything."
Monique put her hand on the rail, "Well, maybe Kim will tell me."
"If it's anything dangerous, you will tell me, won't you?" Mrs./Dr. Possibles' tone turned the request into a command.
"Yes, Ma'am, of course." Monique hurried up the stairs, "Kim, it's Mo. Are you all right." Rising through the hatch, Monique saw her BFF lying face down on the bed, her head buried in a pillow. "Kim! TMWGO?"
Damp red eyes raised in question. "W-what?"
"Tell me what's going on."
"Girlfriend, what happened? You were on cloud nine yesterday."
Kim's bottom lip quivered, her eyes filled with tears, she jumped up into Mo's arms wailing.
"I think this is where the BF is needed." Mo managed. The wails increased in volume. Sitting Kim down on the bed "Now, you want to tell me what's going on, GF? What happened between Sunday and today?"
Kim sniffled, then blew her nose in the tissue Monique handed her. "S-Sunday was so...so good. And...and...then...." A few more tears leaked.
"I take it the training worked?" Monique stifled her grin.
Kim shook her head. "It worked, but not the way I thought. When I met Ron at the tree house he had some fur lotion and a book, Training with Kindness."
Monique nodded in a "go on" manner.
Kim's expression turned dreamy. "It worked too. When we were through, that tail was doing things you wouldn't believe. By the time we graduate, Ron was going to have the best trained tail in the world."
Monique's eyes opened wide. "I think we're getting real close to TMI territory here, but...wait a minute, you said 'was'?"
Kim's face puckered up again.
"Now don't start bawling again. Just tell me what happened. And is Ron hurt? Your mother is really worried."
Kim jerked back in horror. "You can't tell my mother! You can't tell anyone! The only reason I'm telling you is because you already know about Ron."
Monique made soothing gestures. "Calm down, calm down. I won't tell anyone you don't want me to. But is Ron hurt?"
Kim looked everywhere but at her friend. "Yes...and no."
"Nothing like being definitive." Mo muttered. "You want to explain that?"
"How do you tell anyone you hurt something that isn't even there?" Kim asked.
Mo blinked, "Yes, yes, I can see where that might be a little tricky. What happened? You get a shock in with your pointer before he brought out the book?"
"Monique!" Kim said reproachfully, "As if I would."
Monique raised her eyebrows.
"Well, yeah, but that was before Ron explained things to me." Kim defended herself.
"Um hmm. Ok, then what happened?"
Kim blushed, "Well, yesterday I wasn't quite myself." She began.
"Girl, you danced right by me and never even noticed. Then you had Ron out of the room so fast I'm surprised you didn't leave tread marks!"
"Well, I wanted to...Do you want to hear this or not?" Kim huffed.
"OK, well, we got called on a mission just before lunch. You may have noticed Ron and I weren't there."
"Drakken was up to his usual tricks, trying to...."
"What did he have this time? Mutated poodles?"
Kim frowned. Mo raised her hands in defense, "Ok, ok, shutting up."
"His plan doesn't matter." Kim paused thoughtfully, "I'm not sure I understood it anyway. Something about his new ray giving tadpoles legs." She shook her head. "But the main problem was that I wasn't ...ah....paying attention."
Monique snorted, "Girlfriend, if you hadn't woke up since I saw you..."
"As I was saying," Kim growled. "Ron was dealing with the henchmen, Rufus was at the self destruct switch, same old same old, but Shego managed to nail me pretty good. But Ron saved me." Kim's lip began to quiver again.
"Story now, cry later." Mo admonished.
"Right." Kim sighed. "Well, somehow Ron knew I was in trouble. He grabbed the henchman he was fighting in a bear hug, did a backwards flip, and with his back to Shego, his tail came out and wrapped around her throat, choking her." Kim smiled in reminiscence. "That really was a spankin' move. I didn't know he could do that."
Monique asked impatiently, "Ok, Ron has Shego in a choke hold, so what went wrong?"
Kim began sniffling. "R-Ron was still fighting the henchman, Shego lit her hands and grabbed his tail."
"She burnt his tail?" Monique began to grin.
"She didn't burn it," Kim wailed. "She broke it. And now it won't come out and play anymore." She collapsed on her bed.
Ron lay prone on his bed, fighting to overcome the handicap the unfamiliar position gave him in his battle with the zombies. Reaching one hand back, he adjusted the ice pack sitting below the small of his back. "Now, if I can just keep my cool," he thought, "things can settle down. Another tree house session like that, and I'll get to see up close and personal, the nearest black hole."