A Box of Cuddlebuddies Redux
This is a sequel to one of my stories called "A Box of Cuddlebuddies." If you remember it, then you know what it was about and what this story may be about. If you haven't read the first one, I suggest you read it first before you read this one, because you will not understand what is going on.
A word of warning. The original "A Box of Cuddlebuddies" really disturbed a number of readers. It is a rather dark story with some distressing images and events. After reading the original story for the first time or rereading it, I hope that you enjoy this story.
"That Tara is so lucky to have Ron. She is so sweet she wouldn't hurt a fly."
"That Tara is so lucky to have Ron. She is so sweet she wouldn't hurt a fly."
Tara kept repeating those words. She had her arms around her self hugging herself so was so happy. She danced around the room in her white outfit laughing and giggling repeating those words again and again. Ron was hers and always would be. Kim was out of the way and no one would ever find her. Kim was gone and she deserved what she got. Tara giggled again thinking about Kim. She wondered how long Kim lasted in that hole. Did she die from lack of oxygen or did she slowly stare to death or died for lack of water.
Tara smiled within herself. She was so smart. No one would ever figure it out. If they ever did open that old hole she would be long gone. Ron would never ever doubt her by then. Tara took a seat on the floor still hugging herself. Ron would be back soon and they would live together forever. She looked around the white room not noticing the padding or the white straitjacket that had her arms wrapped around her chest. Tara kept giggling as she rolled on the floor.
Dr. Mason Norman watched her through closed circuit television. He scribbled some more notes on his pad and turned to give it to the duty nurse. The other two attendants waited behind her.
Dr. Norman turned to Nurse Price and the two attendants.
"Now what happened. She seemed to be making some progress. What caused this?"
Nurse Price and the attendants pointed to a television mounted on the wall. On the screen was the biggest news story of the year. Kim Possible was getting married to Ron Stoppable, her lifelong friend, long time boyfriend, partner in saving the world, and the man who saved her from a truly horrible fate. Dr. Norman swore a muted curse. Nurse Price started to speak.
"Some of the other patients wanted to watch the wedding so we put it on the main screen in the patient lobby. Everyone was enjoying watching when Tara came in the room. She stopped and started to watch. Then as the minister pronounced them husband and wife she started screaming. We tried to get her calmed down but she started to fight. That's when we had to restrain her. Then she started laughing and giggling. After that all she would say is what she is repeating now. What is going on Dr. Norman?"
Dr. Norman pulled off his glasses and put them in his pocket. Rubbing his eyes for a moment he looked over at the three.
"You don't know the story?"
All three shook their heads.
Dr. Norman looked in on Tara and then pulled up a chair.
"The shot we gave her will calm her down soon. She'll sleep for a few hours. Have a seat and I'll tell you the story."
Nurse Price pulled up a chair and the two attendants found them one each. Dr. Norman crossed his arms and sat back in his chair.
"It all began four years ago. Kim Possible disappeared one day and no one could find her. Everyone thought that one of her enemies had attacked her, but she was seen swimming out in Lake Middleton. She went under and never came back up. The authorities were called. Then..."
Ron paced back on forth by the edge of the lake. It had taken Officer Hobble and two other officers to keep him from jumping into one of the search boats. Tara stood right beside him holding on to his arm as best she could as he paced along the shore. She didn't say a word, but stood right with him. Ron watched as the boats continued to cross back and forth over the lake. Other boats stood still as divers surfaced next to them only to shake their heads. Ron stopped to look over at Kim's car parked a few feet away, the blanket laid out on the grass. All of this was marked off in crime scene tape now. As the sky began to darken Officer Hobble turned and motioned for Kim's parents to come over. Ron quickly joined James and Anne, as Officer Hobble walked to meet them. His face was long and drawn, pain and exhaustion etched into his face.
"James, Anne, Ron, there is nothing you can do now. We have checked the entire shoreline and along the banks. The divers have not been able to find anything nor have any of the search boats. Our helicopter has a thermo imaging camera that would be able to pick her up even if she was several yards from the shore. We have found nothing. We have to ass..."
Ron glared at Officer Hobble.
"NO! I CAN'T ACCEPT THAT! Kim is alive, I just know she is. You just have keep looking ...you just...hav..."
Ron stopped yelling as Anne laid a hand on his arm. He looked into her face and saw an acceptance of something so terrible that his own heart shattered. He kept looking at her as his chin began to tremble. Turning away he walked off into the darkness. Tara glanced between the Mrs. Possible and Ron. Anne nodded to Tara.
"You better go with him."
Tara nodded and ran after Ron. A smile crossed her face. This was working to perfection. She caught up to Ron and touched him on his shoulder. Ron spun around his fist raised. Tara stopped as she jerked her hands up to protect her face. Ron stopped holding his fist in air over her. She could see the veins in his arm bulging, he was using every ounce of his strength and self control trying to hold his arm back. Then in a voice that sounded so full of pain and despair Ron spoke to her.
"Tara. I know you want to help. But right now, I...I am not good company. Please for your own safety , don't touch me. Stay at least three feet from me. If I tell you to run, then I want you to run as hard as you can away from me. Please it's for your own safety."
"Can I talk to you?"
Ron shut his eyes for a moment.
"I don't know Tara. If I tell you to stop, then please stop. I can't say that I will be listening."
Tara nodded and didn't say anything but took a seat on the ground a few feet away from him. Ron leaned his head against a tree and began mumbling. Tara could not make out what he was saying but she did hear Kim's name several times. It was then he started to punch the side of the tree. She was getting ready to stop him when she remembered what he said. She stopped and stepped back as he continued to punch the tree. Her jaw dropped open when the bark started to fall of the tree and the wood started to turn to mush.
Then Ron turned his head back and let loose with an unholy scream. If seemed to be almost animal like, so full of pain and agony, as if the very being of his soul was being shredded. Again and again he punched the tree, screaming each time he threw another punch. Soon the screams turned to sobs and he collapsed onto his knees. Tara slowly approached him. Noticing that his hands and knuckles were covered in blood she ripped the bottom of her t-shirt off and wrapped his hands. This time he didn't pull away from her touch, but let her continue. After finishing, she took his arm and helped him to stand. Slowly, she guided him back to where everyone was. Waving for help she got some EMTs to take care of Ron's. Tara stayed close as Ron turned to her and sobbed on her shoulder.
Kim had stopped screaming and crying. It didn't do any good and all it did was waste her body fluids and use up the air in the room. Her wrists were moist with her blood where she had pulled and strained at the handcuffs. She leaned against the wall, exhausted from her struggles. Why, she wondered. Why did Tara do this? What had she even done to Tara for her to do this?
Kim thought back over the past few months. Tara and Josh had started dating months before the prom. Even after she and Ron started dating Tara never showed the least interest in Ron. It had been years since Tara had given Ron that little kiss after he defeated Gill at Wannaweep. Even then a couple of the other cheerleaders gave him a kiss too.
But then, she thought back to times when something of hers would disappear in the locker room. Tara would always be around to occupy Ron until Kim found it. The items Kim were looking for were never in a place she would have left them. Then on trips on the bus Tara would always be in the seat in front of them or behind them. Kim just chalked it up to Tara wanting to be friends.
Then Ron made the football team. The two of them were together a lot more in the public eye. The time when Kim blew the kiss to Ron and Ron ended up running into the field goal post was something that had gone down as one of those things everyone talked about. She and Ron got three days of detention for showing PDA at a ballgame. Tara had bumped into Kim several times at that game, once she bumped into her so hard Kim fell of balance. Tara had laughed and apologized so Kim had just about forgotten about it. Kim thought is had been funny that Tara never really talked about her dates with Josh. But Kim put it off as Tara being so shy.
Kim moved trying to at least get in a more comfortable position. How she was still breathing was beyond her. Somehow oxygen was getting into the hole. Maybe the moss in the hole was producing some or that some was actually seeping in through the soil. Maybe the cistern was just so big she just had not run out of air. Even if there was air coming in somehow, she could only last so long without water. Kim figured four or five days at the most. Staying as still as possible, and saving what little strength she had left would help her stay alive longer, but sooner or later her time would run out. What would happen then? Would they ever find her? What would happen to Ron? Kim could not control the tears as they started to flow again. She buried her face in her arms.
"Ron, please, I know you are out there. I love you, please don't let me die like this."
Tara made sure to keep her distance behind Ron as they walked down the hall of Middleton High. The school was in shock. Kim was definitely one of the most popular and well known student there. Her disappearance and suspected death four days before had cast a pall over a normally vibrant and active school. Ron was given a wide berth out of respect. Another reason for everyone giving him a wide berth was the same reason Bonnie was not at school that day, and might not be at school for a few more days. Tara still could not believe what seen had seen. Ron had walked up on Bonnie running her mouth. That was normal. But what Bonnie was running her mouth about was the reason for what happened next.
"We need to think about picking a new captain Soon! The regionals are coming and we need to get ready! Everyone needs to get over it. Okay, it's bad what happened to Kim. We need to move on people. It's not like it's the end of the world. I thin..."
Bonnie was not able to finish her sentence when someone grabbed her arm and slung her against the lockers. She bounced off the metal with a resounding bang.
"Hey just who..."
Bonnie's eyes snapped open when she saw who had thrown her into the lockers. Ron was standing there with his fist drawn back. She sneered.
"Go ahead loser. Just know that I'll file charges against you before you are at the end of the hall. So go ahead and mess up your life even more."
Her stomach twisted when Ron smiled.
"Life? What life do I have now? Kim was everything to me. Go ahead and file the charges after I finish with you. I don't care."
He started to pull his fist back more when Tara grabbed his arm.
"Ron, no! Kim wouldn't want you to do this."
Bonnie spoke quietly.
"Listen to the Tara Ron. Please. Now let go of ..."
Everyone in the hall including Bonnie screamed when Ron yanked his arm free of Tara's grasp and threw his punch
Bonnie took one breath, then another, she didn't feel any pain. She turned her head to the side and turned white. Ron was pulling his hand from a dent in the locker door next to her head. The dent was several inches deep. Bonnie's eyes rolled up into her head and she slid to the floor in a faint.
Ron looked over his shoulder to see Barkin standing there. He bowed his head and followed the asst. principal as two teachers tended to Bonnie.
Tara shook her head as her thoughts came back to the present. Ron was suspended for the rest of the day after that, but Barkin did not do anything else. Bonnie had planned to press charges until she found out that if she did that she would be about as high on the food chain as the mystery meat gravy in the cafeteria. Even the chess team avoided that stuff. After that incident, everyone gave Ron a wide berth. The only ones who would even approach him or talk to him were Monique, Felix and herself. The three of them tried to do anything and everything they could to help him. But the light that was Ron Stoppable went out that day at the lake.
The villains were lying low right now. They were not sure what was going on, or if it was all a ploy to draw them out into the open. Global Justice had let it be known by certain channels that any actions on the villain's part would be dealt with very severely. All of the villains were lying low, except for the Seniors. Senor Senior not only sent in the best search and rescue experts with the best equipment, but had also established a number of college scholarships in Kim's name.
Tara watched as Ron opened his locker and started to pull out his books for the day. Right next to his locker was Kim's. No one had come to open it and clean it out yet. No one wanted to take the chance of confronting Ron to do so. Ron closed the door to his locker. Standing there for a moment, he reached up and placed his hand on the door to Kim's locker. He closed his eyes and just stood there for a few moments. Tara stepped up to him and touched him on the shoulder. Ron opened his eyes and turned to look at her. His normally cheerful, bright eyes were dark, bloodshot and in Tara's opinion completely soulless. Ron stared at her for a moment, and then a flicker of brightness came to his eyes. Reaching out for the first time he placed his arm around her shoulder.
Tara nestled up under his arm and placed her arm around his waist. She led him slowly to their first class. As she sat down in the seat behind Ron, a small smile crossed her face. Kim always had the seat behind Ron, nobody but nobody had attempted to take that place. Now here she was in that exact same seat. The plan was going well. Late last night she had stepped out into the yard to check on the lid to the cistern. It was still in place. Even if she was still alive, she could not hold out a lot longer. It had been four days now. Tara was not sure how much air was down there. Even if there was air, lack of food and water would be a lot slower. Barkin came in the room and stopped for a moment when he noticed that Tara was sitting in Kim's spot. He nodded to her slightly as he turned to start the class.
Ron and Tara were walking back to his home when he noticed Officer Hobble's police cruiser sitting in from of the Possible's home. He broke into a run and left Tara standing there on the sidewalk. As Ron reached the door Mrs. Possible opened the door and motioned for Ron to come in. As Ron entered the room he noticed that his parents were standing there in the room along with Officer Hobble and a man Ron recognized as Mario, the owner of one of the small Italian restaurants on the edge of town. Then he noticed a number of items wrapped in plastic sitting on the table. His heart did a flip-flop. One of the items was his Kim Possible mask. The other items were a backpack, what looked like a diver's emergency air bottle with mouth piece, and one other item. He slowly approached the group of adults as he stared to the items on the table. Officer Hobble addressed Ron.
"Ron, I believe you know Mario here, he is the owner of Mario's over on Grace Street. Apparently one of his staff lost a personal item in the trash and they went looking for it in the dumpster. After they had pulled a number of garbage bags out of the dumpster they saw this."
Hobble picked up the backpack then laid it back on the table. He picked up the mask.
"After opening the pack in the hope of finding information on the owner they saw this. Mario called me immediately. Can you identify any of the items?"
Ron's heart was beating a mile a minute as he sat down. He pointed to the mask.
"That's the mask I made of Kim. I threw it away after we started dating. It gave Kim the creeps."
Ron pointed to the air bottle.
"I don't know anything about that."
Hobble picked up the other bag, opened it, and laid it out on the table. Ron's face flashed red. It was the bikini that Kim had bought for him. Her parents didn't know about and rightly so since it was a little small in areas. Ron nodded and looked down, not able to look Kim's parents in the face.
"Tha...that's Kim's. She bought that a few weeks ago. She was supposed to wear it for the first time for that trip to the lake."
Ron jerked his head up.
"WAIT A MINUTE! You found this a dumpster! If Kim was wearing this when she...she...disappeared then how did it get in the dumpster."
Hobble knelt next to Ron.
"Now Ron. This is very, very important. How do you know that this outfit is Kim's?"
Ron picked up the bikini bottom again and examined it closely. Ron's face started to turn redder as he looked up at Mr. Possible.
"Mr.Dr.P. I know it's hers because she modeled it for me. When she said she might keep it I told her she needed to take tag off. I reached over and yanked on it."
Ron stopped talking for a moment and covered his face.
James knelt next to Ron.
"Ronald, what happened?"
Ron spoke into his hands.
"When I yanked on it, it tore a small hole where the little plastic thingee went into the fabric."
Mrs. P put her hand on his shoulder.
"Well, Ron I sure she wasn't too mad about the hole. It is small and she was going to keep it anyway."
Ron continued to hide his face.
"Yeah, except for one thing. She had not tied it on real good so when I yanked on it...it came off."
Ron stopped talking for a moment and continued.
"It got ripped when she grabbed it back."
Anne stood there for a moment looking at Ron. He figured he was good as dead when she busted out laughing. Reaching down she wrapped her arms around him.
"It's okay Ron. Not that I am happy about it. But as close as the two of you are and as many times you have changed together I sure you have seen a "lot" of Kimmie. Maybe just not that much."
James's face was turning red until he burst out laughing too.
"Ronald, if anyone were to see Kimmie-cub under those circumstances, I'd rather it be you, but to get to matters at hand. Officer Hobble what does this mean?"
Hobble stood and examined the items on the table.
"Witnesses saw Kim wearing this outfit get into the water and disappear under the water. Then all of this was found together. It looks to me that someone was trying to make it look like Kim was dead. If so, why? And if that was not Kim that disappeared into the water, where is she then?"
Tara ran to keep up with Ron but stopped when she entered the Possible's front door. Her mind gibbered at the sight. There on the table was the backpack she had thrown into the dumpster. How did it get there? Then she noticed all the items laid out on the table including the air bottle. The metal air bottle that might have her fingerprints all over it. She didn't remember wiping it off. The mask that she had worn, what if some of her hair came off when she took it off her head? She quickly tried to back out of the room.
"Tara, look. It looks like someone faked Kim's death. Kim may still be alive."
She jerked her head up to see Ron smiling at her. She forced a smile to her face.
"That...that's great Ron."
There were more cruisers around the Possible home as well as several news vans. The news had hit the wires that Kim Possible may have been murdered or kidnapped. The discovery of the backpack caused a new wave of searches. The items from the backpack were being checked by the forensics team. No word had come since they had started. Tara sat quietly in one corner watching everything going on. Hoping beyond hope that all would come of this was that they would suspect Kim was murdered or kidnapped. Some of the crazier media outlets were already running stories that Kim had been kidnapped and sold over seas.
Hobble was sitting with Ron and Kim's parents when his phone rang. He pulled it from his belt and answered it. Tara listened as carefully as she could without looking like she wasn't. Her heart rate went up as she listened.
"Officer Hobble. Oh, you found something? Fingerprints? Have you run them? You got a hit?"
Hobble stiffened as he listened.
"Anything else? Some hairs inside the mask? Yeah, no good unless we match them. Could you bring them here? Thank you."
Hobble turned and motioned for a couple of the officers present to come over. He whispered some instructions to them and they stepped to different parts of the room. Tara noticed that they had taken positions at the two doors into the room. One officer whispered to a third officer. She glanced over at Tara, then took position in front of the only window in the room. Tara began to panic. She tried to wipe the sweat from her hands.
Officer Hobble turned to the Possible's and Ron.
"Forensics found some fingerprints on the dive bottle. There were also some hairs inside the mask. They ran the fingerprints through all the databases and it got a hit. They are bringing the fingerprints and the hairs here."
Tara noticed that two more officers had entered the room and took positions within a few feet on either side of her. She kept glancing from side to side trying to find a way out of the room. She quickly stood and stepped over to Ron.
"Ronnie, I think I need to get home. It's getting late."
Ron was about to speak when Officer Hobble stepped up beside Tara.
"Miss King. I think you best stay here. Why don't you sit over there with the officers?"
Tara bowed her head and went over to sit where Hobble had indicated. Ron looked over at Hobble like he was crazy but one glance at his face told him something was up. Ron glanced over at Tara and they met eyes. Ron's gut exploded. At that moment one of the forensics staff walked in with two items. Hobble took them and approached Tara.
"Miss King. The fingerprints on this dive bottle belong to your father. His prints were in the system because his job requires them to be in the database. Now there were some other fingerprints on the bottle much smaller than his; smaller, more feminine fingerprints. Now if we checked those prints against yours what would we find?"
Anne, James and Ron stood behind Officer Hobble in shock. Ron stepped up beside him.
"Officer Hobble. You don't think..."
Hobble cut Ron off.
"She had the opportunity. She was the last to see Kim alive. If her fingerprints match those on this bottle she has some explaining to do. Now do you still have Kim's device?"
Ron nodded and pulled it from his pocket. Hobble nodded.
"Good, call you tech guy and get him to scan these. These are the hairs found in the mask"
Hobble handed Ron the hair Forensics had found in the mask. Ron held the Kimmunicator as the scan beam activated and covered the hairs. Wade tapped on his keyboard.
"Okay Ron, got it. Now what do you want me to compare it to?"
Ron pointed it at Tara's hair.
The scan beam repeated its work.
Wade's eyes grew big on the screen. "It's a perfect match Ron. Who is it?"
Ron turned off the scanner.
"Tell you later Wade stand by for some heavy work if we need you."
Ron pocketed the device and stood in front of Tara. Then knelt taking her hands.
"Tara, can you explain all of this? Do you know what happened to Kim? What did you do to Kim?"
Tara pulled her knees up, wrapped her arms around her legs and buried her face into her knees. Officer Hobble turned to one of the officers.
"Inform her parents, get them over here."
Hobble turned to Tara as he pulled a card from his front pocket.
"Tara Rene King. You have the right to remain silent..."
Tara's parents stormed into the room with one of the officers. Her dad was red-faced with fury.
"WHAT'S THE MEANING OF THIS? WHY IS SHE UNDER ARREST?"
Looking down at the table he saw the dive bottle.
"My dive bottle! I thought Tara told me she had lost this."
Officer Hobble stood up to Mr. King and asked.
"Mr. King. Do you identify that bottle as yours?"
Tara's dad nodded.
"Yes, Tara borrowed it for a dive. She said she had lost it. I know its mine because the scratches here are from a moray eel. How did you find it?"
Officer Hobble showed him the backpack, mask and outfit.
"The bottle was found in this backpack along with these items. Several of your daughter's hairs were found inside the mask. Further testing has shown algae on the inside and outside of the mask. Algae known to be from Lake Middleton. There is also some mud in the hair of the mask. That mud has been matched to mud similar to that at the bottom of Lake Middleton in the area where Kim Possible was thought to have disappeared. Can you identify any of the other items?"
Tara's mother spoke up and pointed to the backpack.
"That looks like one I saw in the closet when I was cleaning her room. That was right before Kim disappeared. When I asked Tara about it she told me she was using at school."
Mr. King went over and knelt in front of his daughter.
"Tara, honey can you help explains all of this."
Tara didn't seem to notice her father. She just sat in the chair and rocked back and forth. Hobble's phone rang and again and he answered it. Listening for a few moments he just snapped the phone shut. He faced Tara's father.
"We checked some items around the exterior of your home by search warrant. They found Miss King's bike in the back of the garage. There was some mud on the tires and on the body of the bike. That mud matches the soil in the area where Kim disappeared."
Mrs. King knelt by her daughter.
"Tara honey please say something. Tell them this is all a mistake."
Tara still did not move.
Mrs. King stood and shook her head.
"I don't know what has gotten into her. First it was that awful smell in her room. Then she just had to spend every minute over here with Ron."
Ron jerked his head over to Mrs. King at the mention of the smell.
"Mrs. King? That awful smell, did it smell like old socks?"
Tara's mom turned to Ron in surprise.
"Why yes, it did."
Ron stared at Tara.
"Kim lost one of her containers of the gas we use. It smells like old socks, but it works great to knock someone out. We thought she had lost it because the last time she saw it was in the cheerleader locker room. She had left her mission pack in there while she took a shower. The only other person in the room was Tara."
Mr. King leaned over his daughter.
"Tara! Do you know anything about Kim?"
Ron thought for a moment.
"Mr. King. I am not accusing Tara of anything, but is there anything in your house or yard where someone could be hidden?"
Mr. King stood.
"Not that I can think of. We have been in all the freezers. I just cut the grass the other day and nothing was in the shed. I remember cutting the grass because I nearly broke the blade on the lid to that old cistern. I thought that thing had been covered up before but I guess the rain washed some..."
Mr. King's mouth dropped open.
"Oh my God, we were gone that weekend. I didn't realize about that old lid until later. Oh, God that cistern."
He spun to Officer Hobble.
"Get rescue crews over to my house now! Tell them to bring shovels, picks and anything else that can dig."
Before Officer Hobble could call on his radio Ron was already out of the door sprinting for Tara's house.
Kim could barely breathe. Her arms had begun to hurt the day before and there was a stink coming off of them. She knew that they had become infected. Not that it mattered. She was dead anyway.
She turned her head toward the sound to see Ron glowing in the dark of the room.
"KP, hang in there. I love you. If you love me. Please hold on for just a little longer. I have always had your back and nothing will keep me away from you."
As blackness covered her mind once more she thought she heard yelling above her.
Ron slid to a halt in Tara's backyard. He could see part of the lid to the cistern peeking up from under the dirt. He grabbed a shovel and began to dig. Soon other officers arrived with more shovels and pick. Within a minute they had the lip uncovered. As a group they tried to move the lid but could not. Hobble screamed for some pry bars. Ron saw a sledgehammer lying in the grass he picked it up and stood over the lid. All the officers dove out of the way as he brought the sledgehammer down on the lid with a scream.
The concrete lid shattered as the metal handle of the sledge bent. Parts of the lid fell into the hole but the other officers were able to pull the shards of the lid away from the hole. Even in the fading light of evening Ron could see down in the hole. He saw one thing. The pair of dirty shoes just Kim's size, a pair of handcuff were around the ankles. Before Hobble could say anything, Ron jumped feet first into the hole. He rolled to his feet and looked in the direction that he had seen the feet. One of the officers dropped him a flashlight. Ron turned it on and pointed it in the direction he had seen the shoes. His heart leaped to his throat. Kim lay unconscious against the far wall handcuffed to a ring set into the wall. She was filthy, her hair was matted, dried blood covered her face and arms. Ron ran to her and checked her pulse. It was there but weak. He turned to yell up the hole.
"She's here and she is alive. She needs help now. I need a set of handcuff keys."
Officer Hobble stood yelling into his radio as one of the other officers jumped into the hole. He pulled out his handcuff keys and undid the cuffs around Kim's wrists. Ron could see the cuts where she had pulled trying to free herself. The officer caught a first aid kit that had been dropped to him. He started to wrap the cuts on Kim's arm as Ron settled her into his arms. Kim's eye fluttered open to see him leaning over her. Tears pouring from his face.
A small smile crossed her face. A weak whisper came from her weak lips.
"I knew you would come."
Kim sat up in her hospital bed where she had spent the last few days. The infections in her arms were clearing up, but she would carry the scars from the handcuffs. She turned to see the man asleep in the roll away bed next to hers. She smiled. Her man, her hero. The man who pulled her from that underground hole that nearly became her grave for all eternity. She slipped out of her bed and lay with him. His eyes opened with a shock, then narrowed on her.
"What are you doing out of bed?"
Kim snuggled against him smiling.
"I am still in bed, just with you in yours."
Ron laid his arm over her as he pulled her tight against him. Kim purred in his embrace. She could spend the rest of her life right in his arms. And that is where she planned to spend it. In his arms.
They both sat up quickly as the door to her room opened. Dr. Director came into the room with Anne Possible right behind her. Anne stopped and placed her hands on her hips.
"Young lady, you are to get back in bed this second and no arguments."
Kim groaned as she got up and crawled back into her bed. The puppy dog pout was making it's presence known. Anne raised a finger.
"Don't even try that with me. It will not work."
Kim rolled her eyes but started to smile.
"When can I get out of here?"
Anne looked at Kim's chart.
"I think they will be letting you go home in a couple of days. Now I think Betty has some things to tell you so I'll step outside."
Anne pulled the door closed as she walked into the hall. Dr. Director took a seat as Ron stood then took a seat on Kim's bed. Dr. Director pulled a folder from the briefcase she was carrying.
"The authorities figured out what happened, although Tara has not spoken since that day. She had everything planned out well. If that backpack had not been found then we would not be here having this conversation."
Kim shuddered as Ron placed his arms around her. Nightmares were something she was dealing with right now.
"It's okay KP. It's over."
Kim shook her head.
"No Ron. Not yet, not till those nightmares go away. I can't stand to be in a small room. I have to have a night light. When I am in a room the door has to stay open. I can barely even stand anything around my wrists. Any moldy smells causes me to break into a sweat."
Kim turned to Dr. Director.
"What will happen to Tara?"
Betty closed the folder.
"The courts have found her mentally incompetent to stand trial. If and when she is, she will face quite a few serious charges. But as it stands right now she is in a catatonic state. They have to feed her and change her. She'll be under care or in prison for a long time. But all you two need to worry about is getting Kimberly well and out of here."
Kim lay back with a smile.
"Thanks Dr. Director."
Betty stood and turned to leave the room.
"Oh, by the way. The King's filled that old cistern in. I believe they plan to sell the house and move closer to Tara. Good luck Team Possible."
Anne came into the room as Dr. Director left. She stood at the end of Kim's bed.
"Now young lady you are not to get out of bed for anything other than to use the bathroom. Ron can help you back and forth if you need him. And I mean stay in bed getting over into Ron's doesn't count."
Kim sat back with her arms crossed. She blew a errant strand of hair out of her face.
Anne smiled as she backed out of the room.
"I said you couldn't slip over to Ron's bed. But I don't remember saying anything about Ron slipping into yours."
Anne smiled at their reaction. But she had one more thing to say.
"Oh by the way, Kimmie. Your father wants to have a little conversation with the two of you about that certain article of clothing in question and just what you were wearing under it when it came off when Ron yanked on the tag."
Both teens let out a small "EPPPP!" as Anne let the door swing shut.
Kim placed her hand on the front of Ron's tux. Her wedding ring and engagement ring glistened in the sun as the sun shone through a few puffy clouds. The air was crisp as the guests strolled around the back yard of the newlyweds home. White flowers and white ribbons were everywhere.
"Ronnie, it's time to cut the cake."
Ron smiled at her.
"Okay, but it is sorta nine point nine on the weird scale what you wanted to do."
Kim turned at looked over at the rear of her new home. They had purchased it from Tara's parents after it had stood vacant all those years. Tara's parents had rented it for awhile, but Kim had talked Ron into buying in from them soon after she and Ron were engaged. The past years had not been well for the two of them. Kim's nightmares lasted for years but slowly came fewer and further apart. She still had them, but not recently. The pressure on both of them nearly drove the two of them apart, but in the end only pulled them closer together.
Kim grabbed the front of his tux and pulled him closer, looking up at him with moist eyes she continued.
"Ron, I know it's crazy, but I am not going to get over it until I can really face what happened. I nearly died. It was close enough as it was. The doctors thought I would not have survived another day in that place. By living here, I am telling myself and the world that it is behind me. If I can sleep in the same house, walk in the same rooms. We can face this together, just as we have faced keeping up the world saving, school, and everything else."
Ron nodded and bent over to give her a kiss.
"I know, but having the cake set up on top of the lid to that place. Now you have to admit. That is weird."
"Well, as Mrs. Stoppable now I have to live up to the Stoppable creed of "never be normal".
Ron laughed as he took her hand and walked toward the tent where the cake was set up. Kim turned to him.
"Besides, we told the contractor to wait till we got back from our honeymoon before they could start digging for the new pool. We also made a deal that I was to operate the backhoe to dig up that place and we would pay extra on the contract if they would show me how. Now Mr. Stoppable, if you think you are going to smash a piece of cake into my face you better rethink that."
Standing up from his chair, Dr. Norman glanced at the closed circuit television showing Tara asleep on the floor. He pulled a pen from his pocket and made notes on her chart. He pointed at Tara on the screen.
"She wouldn't say a word through the entire trial, which was mercifully short in her case. It was a least a year or more before she would even talk to her parents much less anyone here at the center. After she started relating to other around her, we were careful about exposing her to any references to Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable. We were afraid that it might effect her. That was a chore sometimes because those two were in the news constantly over the next few years. We thought she was making progress but after this I just don't know."
Dr. Norman, the duty nurse and the two attendants turned to watch the television as Kim and Ron cut their wedding cake. As the two turned to each other the camera zoomed in to show evil little smiles on both their faces. One of the attendants started to smile.
"Do it Ron-man."
The duty nurse yelled.
"Do it to him girl."
As if Kim and Ron had heard them, they smashed the pieces of cake into each others faces. The camera pulled back to show all around laughing at the antics of the two world heroes. Kim wrapped her arms around Ron's neck and pulled him down for a kiss, mashing the cake against their faces. Dr. Norman shook his head and picked up the keys to unlock the door to Tara's room.
"At least there is a happy ending for someone in this mess."
This has been a work in waiting. It has been over a year since I wrote the original "A Box of Cuddlebuddies." Reactions to that story were mixed from. "I'll never read anything you write again" to "This is great!" I knew when I wrote that story that it would hit hard. I took two cherished characters of the show and did something horrible to one and twisted the other.
I knew even then that I would have to write an answer to the original story. I also knew that in the new story that Kim and Ron would come out okay. But how to handle Tara and how to handle Kim's rescue was something else. It had to be somewhat believable. Looking back over the story, I thought the only real hole in Tara's plan would be for the backpack to be found. So, in the end, this is what I came up with. I tried to use many of the same images that were in the first story and turn them into something else.
Please leave a review. I would appreciate it.