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!
If a name has an ®, I own it. If it doesn't, I don't!
1) Well, folks…this is the seventh story in the 'ch-RON-icles' group. These tales previously featured Ron Stoppable in many of his everyday adventures before he began joining 'you know who' on her missions.
This one is technically in that range as well…but it does a full-scale 'tap dance' along its border!
2) Originally, I was going to try keeping each story independent of one another. However, one or two elements from other tales in the 'ch-RON-icles' group may come into play here. As the group has progressed, I am still not ready to call this an 'arc' yet; but I have been seeing different ways to tie some of them together.
3) This upcoming Saturday, June 28th, 2008, marks the one-year anniversary of my joining FanFiction!
Details on where to pick up your cake and ice cream are found in the closing notes.
I want to thank each and every person who has ever taken the time to have read (and especially reviewed) so much as a single chapter of my work. Such loyal support from so many people has encouraged me to keep going after a few times where I came very close to releasing my 'swan song' story and walking away for good.
In the upcoming weeks, my future opening notes will include 'plugs' encouraging new readers to check out previous tales, including the popular(?) 'So the Reality' series, as they approach their own one-year anniversaries of being posted here. I figure they are just about as deep in the FanFiction archives as Disney has buried 'Song of the South' in its own vaults.
For now, let's just sit back and…
Enjoy the show!
'ch-RON-icles: Be the Tea'
…For John McGill…
…In every life, there comes a defining moment…One which could decide a person's path for years to come—maybe even the rest of one's life! Choose correctly, and life would bring prosperity, joy, and inner peace. Choose poorly, and life would bring despair, loneliness, and shame.
That moment came just before the start of high school for one life in particular…
…The blond boy was still reeling from the aftermath of the last few hours…
In appreciation for getting the pet he wanted, Ron made one of his 'extra-special' dinners. While his parents waited in the living room, they watched the local weather forecast on television…
"…A band of strong thunderstorms is expected to cross the Tri-City area sometime tonight. A few of these storms can become quite severe, capable of producing heavy rain, dangerous lightning, high winds, and maybe a funnel cloud or two. Folks, if you don't have to be anywhere important, you may want to stay home tonight. You might also want to bring in your pets, as these storms could be quite dangerous for small animals…"
…True to it's billing, the storm was intense. Although none of the potential funnel clouds formed, the winds, lightning, hail, and rain were all as strong as advertised…
…Just after Ron closed his bedroom door on the way to get some water, a crashing sound was heard. The noise came from his room, and woke both parents in the process.
Donald and Jean rushed up to where Ron was standing, the door to his room still closed.
"Are you alright, Ronnie?" Jean screamed. "What's going on, here?"
Donald followed up that query with, "Why are you up this late, son?"
Ron answered both parents as honestly as he could. "My Naked Mole Rat said he needed some water, and I just got up to get it for him. I closed the door and heard the crash."
Donald stepped forward and opened the bedroom door. The storm's violent winds snapped a sizeable branch from a nearby tree and hurled it through Ron's window, coating his entire bed with jagged shards of broken glass.
That, in and of itself, would have been enough for most people to believe in miracles, if they hadn't done so before. What made it nearly Biblical in proportion was the placement of the branch. The pointed end of the branch pierced Ron's pillow…exactly where his head rested no more than three minutes before the incident occurred!
Ron turned to the pink rodent and proclaimed, "My little buddy saved my life tonight!"
Jean noticed what Ron called the pet. "You mean you still haven't named him yet?"
Donald agreed. "If he's going to be living in this household, he really should have a decent name!"
Ron's face suddenly took on a knowing look. "Mom, Dad…It's time to take yet another step in growing up. My pretend protector is no more, now that a real one has taken its place."
Jean began to realize Ron's track of thought with a hint of pride. "Ronnie, do you mean…"
Ron continued. "Yes, Mom, I do. Good-bye, Imaginary Rufus…" He lifted the pink, hairless rodent high and declared, "…Hello, Rufus David Stoppable!!"
…After Jean assessed the damage to Ron's room, she grabbed a spare blanket and pillow from the linen closet. She began to lead her son toward the bedroom she shared with Donald. She figured he would sleep in their room for the night. Oh, yes…On the outside, he bravely declared he had taken another step toward growing up. Her motherly instincts, however, suspected her 'Little Ronnie' was still trembling on the inside.
This made her pause when she heard Ron's voice from behind her. "Mom," he wearily groaned, "if it's all the same to you, I'd rather sleep on the couch tonight. I'll be okay, thanks to Rufus."
Jean thought for a few more seconds before she smiled and handed the pillow and blanket to Ron. She relented, "Okay, Ronnie…but I still get to tuck you in, alright?"
Ron replied, "It's a deal!"
…After breakfast, Donald and Jean used the daylight to re-examine the damage. The glass shards looked a lot worse in the dim illumination of Ron's nightlight than they did now. While the sheets were ruined, the mattress itself was glass-free. In fact, Ron's bedding really didn't suffer much damage at all…except, of course, for the large branch that impaled Ron's pillow and stuck itself firmly into his headboard.
The thought of Ron's head on that pillow shook Jean to her core. She made a mental note to spoil that little life-saving rodent for the rest of his days on Earth.
In order to keep repairs moving along smoothly, Donald thought it was a good idea for Ron to stay out of the room for a while. To that end, he gave his son permission to use the computer in his den. Since it had DSL instead of the dial-up connection for his own second-hand system, Ron leapt at the chance to use his father's state-of-the-art computer.
The first website Ron visited was one Kim had set up a few days earlier, with the help of Wade Load, Ron's super-genius pre-teen friend who taught computer science classes at Middleton Middle School. Even though he thought the 'she can do anything' slogan was a bit too braggy, he was assured that it was merely good advertising.
Ron volunteered to monitor the site when Kim was busy with some of her other activities, such as martial arts or babysitting. Today was no exception, as she was slated to try out for the freshman cheerleading squad. Although Bonnie Rockwaller, Kim's long-time nemesis, planned a monumental routine for Kim to perform, Ron was confident she could do it…and look fabulous in the process. In his mind, if anyone could do the impossible, it was Kim Possible!
Wade normally monitored the site as well, in order to screen requests so that she never had to see, as he once put it, 'the slimy underbelly of the World Wide Web'. However, this was the day Wade's mother picked to force him to clean the garage.
This left the monitoring duties to Ron. He accessed the site's message board with ease, combing through the usual babysitting requests and crackpots who posed such questions as "Can you tell me how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Marsh-o-Pop®?" The former made Ron double-check Kim's appointment book to avoid any scheduling conflicts before replying. The latter, and its seedier companions, earned a quick trip to the Recycle Bin.
Just as he deleted yet another college fraternity's request for her to jump out of a cake, a new image flashed across the screen…
…"HIGH PRIORITY! HELP NEEDED IMMEDIATELY!!"
Ron accessed the message, wrote down the details, and ran to his parents in his room at full speed.
"Mom…Dad…" He panted once he reached his bedroom doorway. "I have to go to the high school for a while. Kim got a hit on the site, and it's an emergency."
Jean responded, "Ronnie, if you're going out of the house, be sure to take Rufus. I think he'll be safer with you while I pick up all this glass and your father works on replacing the window."
Ron accepted, "Sure thing, Mom. Come on, Rufus…It's time to meet my best friend in the whole world!"
Rufus jumped into Ron's hand, glared at the boy, and squeaked something that sounded like, "HEY!!"
Ron stroked the rodent's back and corrected himself. "That is, my best human friend in the whole world."
Satisfied with that explanation, Rufus smiled and jumped into the pocket of Ron's blue Bermuda shorts. Ron didn't want to start wearing that 'jersey-shirt-cargo pants' combo until next week, when it was absolutely necessary in order to keep his mother happy.
Deciding that Rufus faced too much danger of falling out of the pocket if the boy tried riding his bike, Ron sprinted the distance to Middleton High School on foot.
…Over the years, many scribes and historians have recounted the details of the events that followed Ron's arrival at the school. Ron was especially proud of the way his new little pet helped his friend…who was a girl…but, as he repeatedly insisted, was not his girlfriend!
The entire experience opened Kim's eyes to a whole new world of danger, excitement, and adventure. She felt a complete adrenaline rush at the thought of being able to 'do the impossible'.
'Perhaps,' she thought, 'that slogan doesn't sound so braggy after all!'
Since she refused any monetary payment for her help, Mr. Paisley thought the least he could do was provide her and her friend with a ride back home. Kim was extremely quiet for almost the entire trip from Upperton. As they approached their neighborhood, she turned to her best friend and stated, "Ron, I really loved being able to help Mr. Paisley today. The rush I got from that experience was…amazing! I want to help more people who get into this type of sitch."
She paused and locked her brilliant green eyes with Ron's orbs of brown. Her tone of voice became solemn. "Ron, I know you have helped me before…whether it was keeping the Turner Twins from forming an unholy alliance with the Tweebs or getting Mrs. Mahoney's cat to jump down from that tree."
Ron flashed his trademark goofy grin. "I've always got your back, KP. You know that!"
"Yeah," she noted, "but this is a whole new level of weird. I don't want to drag you into anything you don't want to do…and I really don't want to see you get hurt."
The car soon pulled up to Kim's driveway. Ron followed her to the front door. She placed her hands on his shoulders and continued, "Ron, I'm not needing an answer right away, but I want you to think about joining me for some of these…'missions', I guess I'd call them. I'm not sure I can do all this stuff alone. I mean, If I'm going to face this kind of trouble on a regular basis, I'll need the help of someone who could support me…someone who can provide an extra set of hands for strength or security…someone I can trust with my life. I can't think of anybody else that fits the description besides you."
She squeezed his shoulders and concluded, "Just promise me you'll think about it, okay?"
"Okay, Kim." Ron softly replied. "I promise."
…By the time Ron got back to his house, his mother was in the kitchen, preparing the evening meal. She made sure her cooking could safely be put on hold for a while and rushed to give him a massive hug.
"Ronnie," Jean cried, "thank God you're home!"
"Mom…" Ron muffled through the stifling embrace, "…Son…Need…AIR!!"
She loosened her grip and sighed, "I'm sorry about that. I just got so worried about you out there."
Jean wiped away the last of her joyful tears before she included, "Your father saw the message on the monitor. You left before turning off the computer. I think he was more worried about you doing that than going off to help Kim."
Ron reasoned, "He probably also heard when I called you twice on Kim's cell phone…Once when we got to Upperton, and once when we were on our way back. You both knew I was okay the whole time!"
Donald entered the room and placed his arm around Jean's shoulder and smiled. "Yes, son…we knew. You can't blame her for worrying, though. Laser grids can be a little…tricky."
Jean shot Donald a wicked look. "And just how do you know so much about laser grids?"
Donald merely smiled again and massaged her shoulder. "Honey, I handled the McHenry account to determine the probability of…accidents suffered by those installing the laser grids. It was really a safe investment for the underwriters to insure the installers…as long as they didn't drop the remote control after they touched the little red…"
His face dropped at that moment as he groaned, "Don't TELL me that fool Paisley pushed the little red button and dropped the remote!"
Ron silently nodded, prompting Jean to look at her son and gasp, "You mean…they wanted you…or little Kimmie…or both of you to jump through a complete net of deadly lasers and reach the remote to shut off the system? That's…that's IMPOSSIBLE!!"
Ron snickered, "Not quite, Mom…but you're closer than you think." After telling his version of the events at the Paisley mansion, he audibly heard the drop of both parental jaws. He turned to Donald and scoffed, "Oh, come on, Dad. I know Mom would worry. It's her job to worry. You, on the other hand, joined me in watching Kim earn her 16th black belt last week. You should know that if anybody could do it, she could!"
He motioned for all of them to be seated before he let the other shoe drop. "In fact, she actually found it more rewarding than the usual stuff she's done with the site. She has asked me to help her with these 'missions' whenever I could."
Jean quickly grabbed Ron's hand and begged, "You didn't say 'yes', did you?"
Ron looked into her eyes and responded, "I told her I'd think about it. She said she is willing to accept my answer either way when I do reach a decision."
Donald offered a follow-up question. "You mean…you're seriously thinking about doing this?"
Ron gave another look of encouragement toward them as he began a series of questions. "When Kim's Halloween costume got ruined, who lent her his cowboy outfit and allowed himself to wear the last rental costume the party shop had in my size?"
Donald remembered his son wearing a white ballerina tutu and chuckled, "You did."
"And who broke out his mad cooking skills to make sure Kim successfully fought her cold when she was four?"
Jean replayed the moment in her mind and offered, "You did."
"And who helped Kim peel bubble gum out of her braces for over four hours, missing out on 'Three-for-one Chimerito Night' at Bueno Nacho?"
Donald could barely stifle his laughter at that memory. "You did."
"And who spent two hours a day, six days a week, for over half his life, wearing twice his weight in padding just so he could help Kim train to earn her martial arts belts?"
Jean countered, "But I only made you wear that much to keep you safe."
Ron redirected the point, "Bones busted or sweat-basted, there was just as much danger either way; but still…who did all that for her?"
Jean bowed her head in acknowledgement of her over-protective nature and admitted, "You did, Ronnie."
"And who broke out that 'Fumblerooski' play so Kim's team could win that game the one and only time we were allowed to play tackle football at recess?"
Donald's face grew into a proud smile. "That was the play you used, son? That's terrific!" He saw the scowl from Jean's face and half-heartedly rephrased his last sentence. "I mean…that's terrible the way things got out of hand that day. Wasn't that also the day you single-handedly saved the student population from getting detention?"
"Yes!" Jean snipped, "But at the risk of his life!"
Donald found an opening in her line of argument and decided to exploit it. "Ronald, I seem to recall hearing somebody say at the side of your bed that they would not stand in the way of something like this. I believe the exact words were, 'Heck, you can even go off and save the world some day, if you want. You have my blessing!'…" He gave a sly look toward his wife and continued, "Now…just who was it who could have said such a thing to my son?"
Before any further implication of Jean's guilt in making that statement could be made, Donald glanced at the clock and decided a diversion was in order. "You know what, Jeannie?" He offered. "Since tonight is the last night before school starts again, why don't we have a cookout? I can make the burgers, Ron can make his famous potato salad, and you can make a big pitcher of iced tea. How does that sound?"
There were two human voices of approval, but one squeak of sadness. Ron turned toward this hairless pink source and grinned, "Don't worry, Rufus. When Dad makes his burgers, there's always plenty of cheese to top them. I also mix some sharp cheddar into the potato salad, just to add a little color, texture, and extra flavor."
That added piece of news brought a toothy grin from one ear of the rodent to the other…
…As Donald began forming the ground beef into patties, he remembered an old story he read online once. Although the tale involved only one of the ingredients they were using tonight, he reasoned there two other items which provided suitable substitutes to demonstrate his support for Ron's decision once and for all.
He walked into the kitchen just in time to see Ron about to begin making the potato salad. Jean was also in the kitchen, retrieving the necessary tea bags for her contribution to the festivities.
Ron appointed Rufus to serve as the 'honorary cheese guardian', despite Jean's comments that had something to do with a fox and a hen house. Neither Ron nor Rufus quite understood what she meant…until the first block of cheddar was gone. After that, Ron was appointed to serve as the 'guardian of the honorary cheese guardian'.
Donald cleared his throat and asked, "Can I have your attention for just a minute?"
Once all three faces looked in his direction (though one was smaller and stuffed with cheese), he stated, "I have few…requests of you right this moment. Jean, look at what you are holding in your hands. What are those?"
Confused, Jean looked and stated, "These are Breezeanna® tea bags…the ones you always want me to use for making iced tea. Why do you ask, dear?"
Donald raised a hand and responded, "Just please bear with me for a moment." He then handed a butter knife to his son and proceeded, "Ron, I know this may sound a bit strange to you, but I want you to take the non-bladed side of the butter knife and hit that potato."
Ron complied, and the knife simply bounced off the potato. Rufus had to jump back to miss getting hit by the butter knife as it rebounded away from the spud and landed on the counter. After they all saw this happen, Donald then handed him a raw egg and continued, "Would you please hold this egg over the sink and hit it with the same side of the butter knife you used before?"
Ron's tap with the butter knife cause the egg shell to crack in half, sending the white and yolk all over the inside of the sink. Once Donald cleaned up the mess in the sink (and on the Naked Mole Rat) from the visual display, he turned back to the group and concluded, "Now, you may think I have flipped my lid, but remember what you have seen now. I will come back in about 15-20 minutes to prove my point to all of you."
True to his word, Donald returned just over fifteen minutes later. He pointed to the three pots on the stove and observed, "All three of the items we saw earlier are now in contact with boiling water, am I right?"
Ron was still a bit confused, but affirmed, "Yeah, Dad. The eggs and potatoes are done; and the water for the tea is beginning to boil as we speak. I was just about to remove my pans to let Mom come over with those tea bags for her pan of water."
Donald nodded, "Then it's time I bring your mother in here. As they said in those old 'Lucy Loves Me®' reruns, 'I got some 'splainin' to do'."
While Ron and Rufus snickered at his father's pitiful attempt at a Cuban accent on that last line, Donald turned toward the living room and beckoned, "Jeannie, could you please come in here? The water for your tea is ready."
Jean entered the kitchen and was promptly, but politely, escorted by her husband to those three pans of hot water on the stove. The pan for the tea was twice as big as the other two. Donald pointed to the larger pan and asked, "Honey, could you put those tea bags in here now?"
Jean gave her husband a puzzled look, but stated, "I was just about to do that anyway." After the large bags were lowered into the water, she eyed him suspiciously and inquired, "Now just what was all this stuff with the butter knife and the potatoes and eggs, anyway? And don't think this will serve as a distraction from your babbling about Ronnie risking his life on these missions with Kimmie."
Ron let those words sink into his mind as he brainstormed, 'Hmmmm…a distraction! Maybe that's how I can best help KP…Keep the bad guys distracted while she does the 'hero stuff'. I know I won't get much fame out of it; but at least she'll be safe. That's all that matters to me, because…I just can't picture my life without her. It's almost like I lo—NAAH! Who would believe a girl like her, with all that talent and beauty, would go for a goofball like me, anyway? That's just 'crazy talk'!!'
Rufus snapped his fingers (despite his lack of opposable thumbs) to wake Ron from his daydream while Donald began his explanation. "We have all heard that 'getting into hot water' means facing some sort of trouble, right? Well, these three things have all faced that kind of trouble, only literally instead of as a figure of speech."
He handed Ron the same butter knife from his last visit to the kitchen and challenged, "With the same force and movement you used before, try hitting the potato now."
After using appropriate measures to carefully remove the same potato from the pan, Ron repeated his earlier motions with the butter knife. Rufus cringed, anticipating another round of bouncing metal. Ron found the potato much more giving than before, allowing the knife (since it was the non-bladed side) to penetrate half-way through the tuber. Had it been the bladed side of the knife, it would have probably sliced clean through the starchy object.
Donald nodded at the results and intoned, "Some people are tough, but become soft and weak at the first sign of trouble." He motioned toward the second pan. "Now try one of the eggs, son."
Again, Ron carefully removed one of the eggs and repeated the steps he took from before. Since he used less force to tap (and shatter) the previous egg, he was mindful to adjust his movement to match that of his earlier attack. While the shell cracked, the hard-boiled egg stiffened and only allowed half of the knife to penetrate it. Rufus quickly examined the egg from as many angles as he could, trying in vain to understand its transformation.
Donald looked on and noted, "Some people are protective, but harden their hearts and lose all ability to feel compassion when they suffer from some kind of trouble." He turned toward the third pan and told his wife, "I think my speech has taken long enough, Jeannie. How about removing those tea bags now, okay?"
Thinking that her husband was through, Jean complied with the instructions. While she placed the bags on a paper towel to dry, she snipped, "Okay, dear…but you still haven't proven anything with all of this."
Donald raised an eyebrow, bobbed his head toward to the third pan, and mused, "Haven't I? Just look at the water that's left after using those tea bags and tell me that again."
Jean was beginning to show her impatience at this line of thought. "Donald Stoppable, you and I both know this isn't water anymore. It's tea…and if you want to be drinking it instead of wearing it, you had better start making some sense soon!"
A sense of imminent danger entered the mind of Rufus as he hid behind his human boy. Donald politely chuckled, "Don't you see? Once the tea bags dry, they will still be tea bags. They will have not changed their structure in the least. Instead, they changed the water! Some people are special enough to still be themselves when going through rough times; however, they do not lose their compassion or their strength. They simply make a difference in the world…to make it a better place than it was before."
He joined his hands with Jean's, looked into her eyes, and concluded, "Honey, our boy is a special blessing to this world. We have both seen what Ron can do…and has done—for us…for his community…and for his friends. We raised him well enough to give him a good heart and the inner strength of our ancestors. Through our efforts, and his time with Kim, he is building his physical strength as well, so that he would not crumble at the first sign of trouble…
"Jeannie, please…let him be the tea!"
Jean slightly bowed her head and wiped away a tear as she sat down at the kitchen table. She let go of Donald's hands and replaced them with those of her son as she admitted, "Ronnie, I did give you my blessing to save the world someday. I just never thought that day would come so soon. Just remember what else I said in that hospital room…
"…Be careful, okay? You may be on your way to becoming a man someday; but for now, you are still my 'Little Ronnie'…and I can't afford to lose you!"
She sniffled once more as she pleaded, "…Can you at least do that for me?"
Ron pulled his mother out of the chair without warning and gave her a massive hug before his wide grin returned, "Of course I will, Mom. After all, who else will be around to make the second set of burgers after Dad burns the first few on the grill?"
Rufus joined the hug as Donald quickly barbed, "What do you mean sec—Oh! Heh, heh…sorry about that." He sniffed the air and understood Ron's words, as he smelled the first batch of burgers entering their third stage of evolution into their ultimate fates as charcoal pucks.
Still in awe from the amount of strength Ron used to pull her into his embrace, she laughed, "You can 'be the tea' tomorrow, Ronnie. Tonight, it would probably be better for all of us if you'd 'be the...Hamburger Helper'."
Simultaneously, three sets of hands, all male, slapped themselves on the forehead, groaned, and shook their heads at their disapproval of Jean's awful pun.
Author's ending notes:
Like I said before, this is my one-year anniversary of joining FanFiction. Your cake and ice cream, along with other refreshments, are on the table over there.
Through 20 tales, 49 chapters, and 212,721 words, it has been one heck of a ride so far…and it just keeps rolling at full speed.
What did that sign say back there?? 'Bridge Out'?? That's good…I was always one for playing poker instead of bridge, anyway!
Please watch for 'ch-RON-icles: The Great One-Half'. The first chapter is scheduled to be released in two weeks.
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 more, Review me, e-mail me if you wanna reach me! When you want to 'PM' me, it's ok!
Your friend in writing,
The Samurai Crunchbird®