Okay, I am busy at work getting Through the Cracks and subsequently The Freshman Fifteen back on schedule. However, my latest update has proved fitfully slow. So, to help break the creative logjam in my head (and in honor of the Winter Season), here is a little one-shot that's been stuck up there for well over a year.
Rated T for smuffy situations. Yay smuff!
Kim, Ron, and all other characters within are owned by the Walt Disney Corporation.
by Ultimate Naco Topping
Ron squinted through the Sloth's windshield at the blur of emergency lights now ahead of them on the mountain highway. The reds, blues, and yellows bounced off the onslaught of snowflakes and painted the quickly accumulating drifts with a spectacular dancing light show. The blonde groaned as he brought the car to a safe stop and waited as a state trooper approached to tell him what he already knew.
Kim shifted in her seat as the lack of motion broke her slumber. Her drowsy eyes tried to pass as much information along to her brain as they could. After tossing the keys to Ron at their last pit stop, she expected to awake in her parent's driveway for their first Christmas break from Go City University. Now, that was so not going to happen.
"Ron…?" the redhead yawned. Rather than trying to answer, he deferred and rolled down the window.
"Sorry folks," the well-bundled but probably still freezing trooper began. "The pass is blocked. You'll have to turn..."
The woman paused as a look of realization flashed onto her face.
"Hey! I know you!"
"Ah, well," Ron blushed as he began to smile.
"You're Kim Possible!" the trooper cut off Ron. The sidekick slumped with a scowl. For her part, Kim tried to shake off the sleepies and be courteous.
"Sorry," Kim apologized as she yawned again. "That's me…"
The trooper reached right across Ron and seized Kim's hand in a sturdy handshake.
"You probably don't remember me, but you saved my family a few years back from a camping nightmare!"
"Oh, I did?" Kim stalled giving her brain just enough time to access the right memory. "Oh! Right, from that rouge grizzly bear!"
"How you shepherded my family to safety will always be etched in my memory…"
"Yet, somehow me having to ride said grizzly bear isn't…" a vexed Ron fumed.
The woman pulled back as she gave Ron a second look.
"Come to think of it, you do look sort of…, vaguely…, familiar."
An awkward tick passed between the three.
"So, uh," Kim said getting things back on track. "Is there any way to get to Middleton tonight?"
"'Fraid not, darling. Unless your car has a built in snow plow, you'll have to head back and find somewhere to spend the night."
Ron's hand instantly made its way to the Sloth's control panel. It was met by Kim's, which stopped him from pushing any buttons.
"It doesn't," Kim said flatly. "Thanks, anyway, officer."
"No big!" the woman said with the cheesiest of smiles as she gained a second story involving the teen hero to tell her friends, family, and coworkers. "You two drive safely."
After a minute of maneuvering, Ron had the Sloth turned around and headed back to the last town they had passed through. Kim, now fully awake, stretched a bit before dialing up Wade on the main console.
"Hey, guys!" the tech guru greeted as he sipped on a cup of hot coco-moo. "Welcome home!"
"Not quite, Wade," Kim said. "This blizzard's got all the roads to Middleton shutdown."
"Still don't think the Sloth needs a snow plow?" Wade quipped.
"The one time you and the tweebs actually listen to me… Can you tell our parents we aren't going to make it tonight?"
"Sure thing. While I'm at it, do you need me to find you a place to stay?"
"Please and thank you."
With a flurry of keystrokes, the recently turned adolescent genius scanned the area for rooms. However, as his screen came up with the only available lodging, he hesitated, glanced towards the video feed of Kim and Ron, and wondered if he should tell them first. But realizing pickings were slim, he booked it just to be safe.
"Find anything?" Kim asked.
"Well…," Wade squinted in mental pain.
"It is a hotel, right?"
Wade rubbed the back of his neck. This was a lot harder than it should have been.
"By definition…? Yes."
"I. Cannot. Go in there," Kim said through her teeth as she lowered herself as far down in her seat as she could. She covered her face with her hand just to be sure she couldn't be seen. Kim took the precautions even though she was fully aware of how recognizable her car was in this part of the country and how it would take no effort at all to draw the wrong conclusion about why it was parked at that particular establishment.
The Lover's Last Chance Inn sported a European alpine village theme complete with all the wood trimmings and fake thatch roof. The sign made it abundantly obvious, with its three-stage glowing neon animation of a broken heart being repaired with duct tape, what the roadside motel was all about.
"Uh, Kim, there's no where else to stay. Wade checked."
"Oh, I didn't say I wouldn't sneak into to the room for the night. There's just no way I'm going to be seen at the front desk…"
Ron gave her a look like he didn't understand what she was worried about.
"Hello? I'm Kim Possible - role model to girls everywhere. Checking into a place like this could put a serious chill on my reputation."
"So, what are we going to do?"
Kim gave him a sideways glance, not really wanting to look her boyfriend in the eyes, and added a sheepish smile.
"Ah, man! How is it any better if I go in?"
Kim felt really small as she tried to come up with a gentle enough explanation.
"Well, it isn't, but…, it's just that, well, people have a harder time placing you…"
Ron shifted with a grunt.
"So, I can get in and out of there without being recognized and no one will ever know you had to stay at a place like this," Ron finished up for her.
"Something like that," said a guilt-laden Kim.
"Well, I suppose protecting my lady's honor is just part of the job," Ron said with a sigh. Kim gave him a more genuine smile before taking his right hand into both of hers.
"Thank you, Ronnie," she said as she leaned in to kiss him on the cheek. "I will totally make this up to you."
Ron grumbled again but was mostly just playing the part.
"Well," the redhead began coyly. "We will be all alone tonight in a 'romantic' themed hotel. And Wade said there's a hot tub in every room. I'm sure we can think of something…"
Ron shot her a glance and then smirked.
"What was all that about your reputation?"
Kim instantly let go of his hand and huffed. But just to make sure Ron knew she was playing, she crossed her arms and stuck out her tongue at him. Ron gripped the steering wheel as he looked back to the front office. Determination set in across his face.
"Okay, I'm going in."
Whatever courage Ron Stoppable had summoned up before heading into the lobby, he lost about halfway to the front door. Accordingly, he kept his head low and his jacket's collar pulled up. Once inside, he wiped his feet trying to take in as little of the sleazy hotel as he could. He shuffled straight to the front desk and rang the bell. After a small rustle in the back room, a man appeared.
Ah, Fuji… Ron thought as he briefly made eye contact with him. Wacky Wally, formerly of Wacky Wally's Weather Machines, gave him a greasy smile.
"Hello, young fella," Wally said. Ron didn't know whether to hurl, run, or both. "Do you have a reservation?"
"Um, yes," Ron said trying to disguise his voice. "Under the name…, uh, Stossable."
Ron hoped that Wade had remembered to use their new standard cover I.D. In the last couple years, anytime they checked into a hotel under their own names, bad or mostly annoying things happened to them once the staff found out who was staying in their hotel. The new I.D. gave them a measure of privacy but still let Wade and their parents keep tabs on them. Plus, checking in under one name made them feel like full-fledged adults. Thankfully, Wally found it on the computer screen and printed out the room contract. He handed it to Ron with a pen and another smile.
"Say, you look sort of…, vaguely…, familiar… Have you been here before?"
"Who me?" Ron squeaked briefly forgetting to keep his voice low. "No. Never. Just here to get out of the weather."
Wally tapped his chin as he tried to place the boy in his memory.
"Of course you are. Didn't I try to sell you a weather machine one time…?"
"Weather machine?!" Mr. Stossable said in near panic of being ferreted out. "I've never looked into getting a weather machine… I'm in… utensil… sales…"
"You don't say!" Wally said eyes lighting up. "I got my start in utensil sales. Who do you work for?"
"Oh, uh…, Bindersen…son… and Son…, in…, Lowerton…"
"Never heard of 'em. I was a door-to-door wholesaler myself. Specialized in industrial sporks."
"Ah, yes, sporks," Ron continued to struggle. "Still a strong seller…"
A very awkward vibe hung in the air as the conversation died in agony.
"So, uh, how much do I owe you?" Ron said with a nervous cough.
"$65.50," Wally said taking the room contract back and very slyly switching to salesman mode. "Unless you'd like to add a little something extra to your experience with us this evening. Perhaps rent a video or purchase a package of flavored…"
"No thank you," the blonde said hastily handing him a wad of cash. "Just spending the night because of the storm."
"Right," Wally said a bit less friendly after not selling any upgrades. "If I had 65.50 for every time I heard that."
The two shared a nervous and all-together awkward laugh.
"Room 224. Enjoy your stay," Wally said handing him the magnetic room key. Ron nodded and was out the door in two and a half steps. Wally watched after him still trying to figure out why the boy looked familiar before giving up and sliding off to the back room.
Drakken scowled leaning his head against the passenger's side window. The driving snowstorm was the last in a very long line of annoying straws for him that evening. Shego drove occasionally stealing glances at him.
"You didn't tell me Mama Lipsky made such a mean pot roast," Shego said after her boredom overwhelmed her desire for silence.
"I wanted it to be a surprise," Drakken growled. "Like how you didn't tell me we'd been invited over for dinner before we went out tonight."
"Ah, what's the matter?" Shego sassed. "Don't like spending a little quality time with the two most important women in your life?"
"Quality time?! If that's what you call having my whole life, career, and relationships put under the microscope for you two to slice and dice, I'd rather go bowling with Dementor…"
"You can. Next Thursday. We're up against him in league."
The blue skinned villain balled his fists and gritted his teeth. He wanted to be home and he wanted to be home now.
"Can you go any slower?" he whined.
"Good idea. We are driving through a blizzard," Shego replied slowing her car down even further. Having lost that battle, Drakken moved on to the next jab.
"And why couldn't we have taken the hover car? We'd be back at the lair by now."
No sooner had he finished talking than was his window rolled down. A slug of snow pelted him in the face. Shego rolled the window back up as Drakken wiped his face clear.
"Something about it not having windows," Shego said. "Besides, I made other plans."
"Other… plans…?" Drakken asked suspiciously.
Shego pulled the car off the road and into a parking lot. Her passenger looked up to see an animated neon sign with hearts and duct tape. He spun back towards Shego.
"Uh-uh! No way! I have a headache!" the evil genius declared crossing his arms and pouting.
A bottle of aspirin hit him in the head, a bottle of water in the chest.
"Shego, do you remember what the councilor said?"
"That it wasn't worth the money and that she quit?" she asked as she finished parking.
"Before that. We should be more sensitive to each other's needs…"
"Uh-huh," Shego said with a sneer. "And right now I have a need that you have to be sensitive to."
The villainess zipped up her coat and climbed out of the car to go check in.
"But Shego, I told you it takes a full twenty-four hours for me to get my A-game ready."
A third bottle was tossed at Drakken. He fumbled a bit before catching it. He looked at the label and scowled further when he saw it was a bottle of Viggaro.
"That should get you jump started," Shego said as she started to close the door, but remembering something, she opened it and stuck her head back in. "And only take one this time. We don't need a repeat of the flagpole incident."
Kim bolted past Ron and got as far into the darkened room as she could. She waited for him to close the door and turn a light on before she removed her hoodie and sunglasses.
The two teens looked at the surroundings in near disbelief. The room looked as though it were decorated by a tornado from the 1970's. Faux wood paneling lined the walls. A thick off-red shag carpet covered the floor. The lamps, television, and bed sheets all appeared to have been manufactured before either of them was born. The only saving grace for the poorly appointed room was the heart shaped hot tub waiting for them.
"I think I'm just going to skip the bio-scan this time," Kim said tossing the Kimmunicator on the dresser.
Ron wasted little time making his way to the hot tub and turned it on. Kim smiled – no, enjoyed herself – as he stripped down to his boxers and slipped in. A constant regiment of weight lifting, as required by the Go City University football program, had turned her once wiry sidekick into a well-toned boy toy. Watching him was more than enough to get her mind off of not making it home and having to spend a night in a place like this.
"Ready, Ms. Possible?" Ron asked with his super spy accent.
"Hold your horses, Agent Stoppable," Kim said picking up her backpack and heading for the bathroom.
Moments later, she emerged with a suitable bathing suit substitute and joined Ron in the hot tub. Not a word was said before the couple besieged each other in a flurry of kisses, cuddles, and caresses. The lip-smacking lasted well past prune-age, but eventually did end with Kim nuzzling underneath Ron's chin.
It was a rare moment that the two could truly just enjoy being next to each other. After each day was split up between school, work, football, cheer, missions, studying, and life in the dorms, completely alone just Kim-Ron time was something to be cherished deeply for the two. To that end, Kim felt it was time to bring something up she had been contemplating.
"So, I got my application to renew my dorm lease for next school year… And I was kinda thinking about… not."
"You mean getting an apartment?"
"Yeah," Kim said as she straightened up to face the blonde. "And I was wondering if you might do the same…"
Kim bit her lip as she watched Ron's face contort somewhat.
"Hold on. You mean getting an apartment together?"
"Um, yeah," Kim said timidly.
"Are you sure you wanna try something like that? I mean, it's a pretty big step… Especially for a girl who had major issues checking into a place like this for the night."
"You're right," she replied trying to dance around his point. "But there's a major diff' between being seen staying here and sharing an apartment."
Ron wasn't completely buying it as evidenced by his raise eyebrow.
"Look, there's only one reason why anybody comes to a place like this," Kim continued trying to reset the conversation. "But two people sharing an apartment and who just happen to be dating - it's not that unusual anymore. Especially since we're away from home. We'd save some money over the dorms. We'd have separate rooms. We wouldn't wake our roommates every time we had a mission in the middle of the night. And we'd get a little more 'us' time. It's all practical when you think about it."
Ron weighed it in his mind a bit but seemed to not let it trouble him.
"Okay, I just wanted to be sure you thought this out. But I'm not the one you have to sell this to."
Kim cringed as she sat back.
"My mom was the one who made me promise we'd get separate rooms. We're waiting until after Dad opens his presents to spring it on him. What are your parents going to think?"
"Eh, Stoppable tradition requires it'll be more of an 'after the fact' conversation."
"Your family is so flawed," Kim joked as she pulled herself closer to Ron. "So, it's settled. We're getting our own place."
"I think so."
The young couple smiled wide before sharing a couple kisses and a gaze that communicated far more than the words 'I love you' could ever do.
"Okay," Kim said reluctantly. "I'm pruning up and it's time for bed.
Ron groaned leaning his head back.
"I didn't say we had to go to sleep…"
"Oh," he said as he watched Kim get out of the hot tub, grab a towel, and head to the bathroom to change. He waited for the door to close before he got out to dry off and change into his sleepwear. On the bed, he found Rufus, who had been passing the time channel surfing.
"Thanks for giving us a little private time, buddy," Ron said. "Hot tub's yours if you want it."
The naked mole rat shut the TV off and put on a pathetic face.
"Nuh-uh. Hungry," the pink rodent said adding a pat to his growling stomach.
"Yeah, I guess I could use some snackage too. Let's see if they've got a snack machine."
Ron slipped on his shoes and jacket, scooped up his pet, and headed out the door.
"Ow!" Drakken yelped.
"Sorry," came a rare genuine apology from Shego as she rubbed the ointment into the burn mark on the back of his shoulder. His shirt, which had been tossed aside, sported a fresh burn hole. They had barely been in the room for a minute before things had ground to a halt.
"Is there anything you don't do rough?" he complained.
"Is that a serious question?"
Drakken grumbled for the umpteenth time. Shego grabbed a gauze pad, and delicately laid it over the burn. After a fair amount of deliberation, she leaned in and gave her more-than-just-a-coworker-but-still-not-exactly-sure-what's-our-deal-companion a gentle kiss on the cheek. Drakken stirred.
"Fine," the henchwoman began in conciliatory fashion. "Looks like we won't be getting anywhere my way tonight, so I guess – just this once – we can try your's."
Drakken shot her a sideways glance.
"Especially no backsies… You put the champagne on ice and I'll slip into something more comfortable."
Shego slid a finger across his shoulder before sauntering off to the bathroom to change. Drakken pretended he wasn't watching. After the door closed, he sighed, put on a jacket, grabbed the ice bucket, and trudged out the door.
Drakken had thought his mid-life crisis had passed with that whole Black Eye Brown business. Now, he wasn't so sure. He hadn't launched a post-Lorwardian evil scheme. Truth was, he was too busy. The plant fertilizer operation had made him a serious mint, but it was Hank's Gourmet Cupcakes all over again with the demands of running a business. Again, the idea was to use his newfound enterprise to disguise the next evil scheme. But no such plot had passed through his skull. Then there was the book tour and the constant barrage of 'thank you for saving the world's' every time he left the lair. He would grit his teeth and say 'you're welcome' all the while planning to use his new reformed-evildoer image to bide his time.
And as the ultimate topper, whatever 'me' time he used to have was now the property of Shego so they could awkwardly keep each other company under some sort of unspoken pretext that they were somewhat of an item.
Stupid flower, stupid U.N., stupid Shego's biological clock, Drakken fumed to himself.
It wasn't that he didn't, for lack of a better word, enjoy being around her. In fact, he was the first to realize the necessity she played in his life. The problem was, he had spent his entire adult life avoiding relationships to focus on taking over the world. So, he didn't have the first clue how to handle the sort-of-like-a-relationship he now had with his partner in evil. While there were some definite benefits to this change and very good things he was missing out on that only a woman like Shego could show him, he was an evil super genius, not an evil super freak. The solutions to things he didn't understand in the past were to either rant, invent something to control it, or steal a suitable substitute. Those weren't an option. Instead, he was going to have to confront his megomaniacle state of arrested development and figure out just what Dr. Drakken's life was all about right then.
After he pulled back the layers and really looked, he realized he was happy with where things were and where he was going; and it didn't involve him scheming to take over the world. He had money. He had respect. He had some sort of a friend that was a girl but more than just a friend. And all without the world under his command.
It was totally unacceptable.
Before he could dwell any further, he made it to the small cutout where the vending and ice machines were. As he turned in with his head still locked on the ground, he collided with someone coming out. Drakken dropped what he was carrying, the other man the same. Neither made eye contact with the other, both offering obligatory grumbled apologies as they groped around on the ground for their stuff. Quickly, the other man had his stuff and was down the hallway.
Drakken took a deep breath as he loaded up the ice. There was nothing he could do to change things tonight, but tomorrow was another story. Besides, there were worse things than having Shego waiting for him in a hotel room. The blue-skinned villain moved his attention to the snack machine to see if there was anything he might want. He finally settled on a new product.
"Gerkackers," he read aloud from the package of Pop Pop Porter's newest snack line. "Pickles meet crackers… Why not?"
He grabbed some change from his pocket and made the purchase.
Ron's heart rate subsided as he was certain he hadn't been recognized by whoever he had just run into. He now had enough to deal with and didn't need to face whatever fate befell a teen hero caught in a dive like this. He made it to what he thought was their room and tried to open the door. The lock gave him the little red light and refused to open. He looked at the room number, 224, and then down to the number on the card, 226.
Must be more tired than I thought. Maybe we should just go to sleep, he thought as he slid down the hallway to the correct door.
Ron entered to find his girlfriend was still in the bathroom. He opened the package of cheese crisps and let Rufus chow down on the table. The blonde flopped on the bed and looked up to the ceiling.
Our own apartment… Together…, he thought in awe. The concept literally flew over his head, but at the same time, with the benefit of hindsight, he knew it was inevitable from the moment they had met. It was going to be like a whole new start to their relationship. It was going to be awesome. It was going to be badical. It was going to be one helluva long wait through the spring semester.
Still, it made him realize that he was the luckiest man on the face of the planet. He closed his eyes to begin imagining just how ferociously cool their place was going to be, but just then the bathroom door swung open. He leaned up to meet Kim, but…
"When I checked us in, I picked up a little something that might be fun. I think I'm going to try the sour appl…," Shego froze mid-sentence as she made eye contact with the person lying on the bed. In an instant, the small square package she was holding was incinerated by plasma.
Drakken could have sworn they were staying in Room 226, but his key said 224. Not the first time he ever got mixed up. He looked around the room for the bottle of champagne, but couldn't find it. With a grunt, he set the bucket of ice on the table and flopped onto the bed.
Okay, go time, Drakken thought. He grabbed the bottle out of his jacket and popped a single pill. He began giving himself his standard pep talk attempting to ease his anxieties, before meandering off to how in the heck had they figured out how to make a pill like Viggaro and what if he could modify his plant growth formula into a generic knockoff. He would have drifted further to the letter of complaint he was going to write Pop Pop Porter for the Gerkackers tasting nothing like a pickle or a cracker but the bathroom door opened.
Ready or not, he thought as he braced himself for what was to follow.
Kim emerged towel drying her hair and sporting one of Ron's old red jersey's she had pilfered and converted into a pajama top. It was just long enough so that she didn't have to wear a pajama bottom.
"How do you like my new top, Rrro…," Kim froze as she locked eyes with the man lying on the bed. She instinctively used the towel to cover her legs.
The two somewhat-still-enemies-but-no-longer-in-that-epic-sense foes stared at each other in shock and terror. They would have remained that way were it not for the explosion of sheetrock, plaster, and wood that opened a hole in the side of the room.
Shego emerged dragging Ron right behind her through the hole and tossed him to the floor.
"I think I have something that belongs to you," Shego growled.
Kim could only remember ever seeing Shego in two, maybe three other outfits besides her Team Go jump suit. So, seeing her long time nemesis in a two piece green nightie that left very little to the imagination was sure to stay with her for a long time, like it or not.
Shego turned to Drakken who had wisely remained speechless.
"Move it!" she ordered. He slunked off the bed and booked it through the hole in the wall. Shego turned back to address Kim and Ron.
"Okay, this is one of those things we are never to talk about. Agreed?"
The two teens nodded and watched the villainess go back the way she came in. As Shego walked past the stunned occupants of Room 225, she couldn't help herself.
"Take this," she said grabbing the whip out of the older woman's hand. "And hold it lower like this. Flick with the wrist."
She handed it back to the woman and continued back to her room.
A pair of plastic tarps covered the damaged walls, but did little to block the snoring coming from the other two rooms.
Kim and Ron were tucked in bed but wide-awake. Both had looks that could have been mistaken for food poisoning.
"So, do you know if Wade's developed any sort of short-term memory eraser?" Ron asked.
"If he hasn't, I'm sure the tweebs have," Kim replied.
"I hope so, Kim. I hope so…"