Ladies and gentlemen, let me start out by saying that I do not own Kim Possible or any of the other characters from the Kim Possible television series. This story is not intended to generate profit, merely for entertainment.

Legal issues aside, this is the fifth story in my 'To the Mat' series. For those of you who haven't read the previous four stories, I must say that this story will be more understandable and hopefully more enjoyable if you read them first. That said, please enjoy the story:

Chapter 1

"Very well, Drew, what seems to be the problem?" Dr. Director's eye pierced her blue underling from the giant monitor, which dominated one wall in the former Dr. Drakken's office. "What couldn't wait until game night?"

"It's Trudy Dementor," the man who now answered to Mr. Lipsky informed his superior. "She's taken over her father's operation."

"You've already reported this and to be honest, we expected her to do this. Why has this become a problem."

"She's learned from her father's mistakes," Drew reported.

"You've reported this, as well. You claim that the professor didn't make full use of his genius. Are you sure this isn't your old rivalry speaking?"

"I'm certain," Lipsky snapped. "I'll freely admit that the professor was probably a better research scientist than I ever was. However, he made two errors that kept him from becoming the worlds dominant criminal. First, he didn't diversify his income. He counted on his payoff and protection money to keep him solvent. I, on the other hand, had developed manufacturing capability and sold useful implements to Henchco. While it didn't bring in massive payoffs, it brought in a steady income. To use the baseball metaphor, it's better to have a hitter that gets on base six out of ten times, than a hitter who hits a home run one out of ten and strikes out the rest."

"Drew..." Dr. Director attempted to interrupt.

"The second error my former rival made was that he ostracized himself," Lipsky continued. "I know I wasn't exactly 'Mr. Sociable', back in the day but at least I got along with most of my peers. I was able to hire or partner with Fiske, Duff and... DNAmy." Mentioning the geneticists name caused Drew to flinch in remembered horror. "Also, I kept Shego as a long-term employee." Here, Drew paused for a moment, "speaking of her..."

"Keep on your original topic," Director demanded. "And make it short. I'm on a tight schedule."

"Right, right. Professor Dementor didn't have any such long-term employees and he didn't have any partnerships within the wicked community. This meant that whenever he needed additional muscle or talent, he was forced to hire it. Whenever he tried to hire a particular talent, or muscle up, your organization was able to detect it and take action."

"And you're saying that his daughter isn't making the same mistakes."

"YES. Exactly! First of all, Trudy Dementor has started to build minor items, which I am purchasing and distributing to the villain community. While the items she's constructing aren't breakthrough technology, yet, she's establishing her markets and her manufacturing capability."

"You've already reported this." The voice was getting noticeably impatient.

"But I have additional information," Drew protested. "Do you know who convinced her to start off manufacturing simple devices?"


"Elisabeth Minated! Trudy Dementor is a brilliant physicist but still naive within the industrial/criminal world. She's compensating for this naiveté by establishing contacts with more experienced criminals. Minated is a genius when it comes to operating criminal organizations and she has limited access to Senior's wealth. I had Hank talk to Trudy a little bit and we think that Elisabeth funded Trudy's manufacturing venture, after establishing the parameters."

"This is troubling," Director admitted, with a frown. "But I don't see this as being an extraordinary situation."

"It is extraordinary," Drew insisted. "First of all, these two compliment each other very well. Trudy is a brilliant and unethical physicist, which means she has incredible potential. Elisabeth is a brilliant and unethical resource manager, she can both utilize and develop Trudy's talent."

"Secondly, the two appear to be genuinely fond of each other," Drew continued. "This means that they will support each other even beyond mutual benefit. Elisabeth will go that extra mile to secure funding for Trudy's ventures. Trudy will go that extra mile to make sure that Elisabeth gets a return on her investment."

"Third, both of these women are very young," Drew concluded. "Trudy is still in her teens and Elisabeth is in her early twenties. They could very well be establishing a very long-term partnership, one that will threaten the world for decades to come."

"Don't you think you're overreacting just a little?"

"Potentially, yes. Also, I could be potentially understating the problem. Think about this for a moment, by working with Minated, Dementor has established a reliable income. Using this income, she could fund additional research. Right now, she's purchasing some very high-end monitoring equipment. She's clearly studying something."

"Any ideas?"

"She's a better physicist than I am. Whatever she's studying is beyond my knowledge. By the way, did anybody ever figure out why her father kidnapped Camille?"

"No idea," Dr. Director added. "Kim and Ron talked to Camille when they returned her to Senior's Island and she reported that Dementor had her morph, repeatedly, between her own form and that of one of his bodyguards. After this, he had her doing so while wearing some, in her words, 'cheap, uncool rings'. After that, he was going to have her do the same with a belly piercing. Does this give you any ideas?"

"At the moment, no," Drew confessed. "If you can send me a complete transcript, I'll be happy to review it. Maybe my genius is enough to figure out what that little pretender was up to."

"It's good to see that you've put your former rivalries behind you," Dr. Director quipped.

"Hey, I was kind enough to send him a songbird, compliments of Henchco, to ease his incarceration! I hope that the sweet music makes the hours fly by."

"As well as make something else flying out?"

"Eeergh, fine! I'm a vindictive man and I haven't been able to completely leave my past behind. Speaking of which, are you willing to give me an update about Shego's status?"

"She's pregnant, Drew."

"That's wonderful!"

"Our monitoring assets report that she's uncharacteristically happy about it. When she scorches her employer's rivals and rowdy employees, she's been known to give them smiley face scars. Anyway, she's due next spring. If you continue to do your job and she and Monty behave themselves, within reason, we'll allow you to be there when she gives birth."

"What will you expect in return?"

"Drew, Global Justice understands rewards based reinforcement. Shego and Monty are making no effort to subvert any national governments. In fact, they've dissuaded their employer from taking that course of action. You have done an excellent job of monitoring potential, international criminal organizations. You and Shego have earned a reward and I think that both of you would like you to be present for your…'grandchild's' birth."

"Yes, I will consider the child to be my grandchild. I wonder what kind of life those two are going to be able to provide the child," Drew mused. "Will they raise their child to be a criminal or teach him or her something else?"

"Don't you want your grandchild to follow his grandfather's footsteps?"

"No, no, no," Drakken shook his head. "Crime only pays in certain circumstances. Now even my own cousin is trying to go straight. I hope that Shego and Monty are capable of giving their child a better future. Who knows? Maybe I can find something better for him or her."

Speaking of Cousin Eddy...

"The Colorado Board of Paroles will now hear the case of Mr. Edward Lipsky. Mr. Lipsky, do you have your representation with you at this time?"

"Seriously, your honorable dude!"

"Let the record show this as an affirmative response. Mr. Lipsky, we have already read your sworn affidavit about the events that took place during your abduction from the halfway house and the events at the location now known as Loward's Island. We will be asking you questions about your motivations during these, and other, events. Do you understand?"


"He means they're going to be asking you why you did what you did," his lawyer explained.

"Oh, sure dude! Fire away, seriously!"

"Very well, Mr. Lipsky. First, I'm going to question you about the events that took place during the flooding, when you encountered Team Possible."

"Oh! You mean Red and the Skinny Dude!"

"Exactly. I understand that you had been assigned to assist at the airport when you observed Miss Possible and immediately requested reassignment."

"Seriously! I had a restraining order so I needed to be somewhere else."

"Very well, you received a reassignment to help clear debris along the riverbank. While working, debris shifted and injured one of your fellow trustees. While you were attempting to free him, Mr. Stoppable approached and assisted. Did you entice him to assist?"


"Did you give him any indication that you required his assistance?"

"Seriously no way, dude! I didn't even know that the skinny dude was there."

"Very well, after he assisted with the rescue, I understand you allowed him to ride your motorcycle. Why did you do this?"

"Getting him back, dude, seriously!"

"Please explain."

"The skinny dude had bought my last ride when I went into the slammer, seriously. So I built a better ride. I wanted him to see how sweeeeeeeet my new ride was. So I let him take a ride on it. Once you ride Ed's latest, everything else seems seriously lame."

"Weren't you concerned about your restraining order?"

"Seriously not, dude! My restraining order was for Red, not the skinny dude."

"But Kim Possible approached you while Mr. Stoppable was riding your vehicle," the judge pointed out."

"Yeah! She seriously approached me, so I wasn't violating the order. She thought I'd wrecked him, seriously. Anyway, her friend came back and smoothed everything over."

"Very well, shortly after this, the villain known as Shego visited you at your halfway house facility, abducted you and apparently secured some sort of tracking device on your body," the judge continued.

"On my body!?" Ed snapped back. "She seriously shoved a bug up my..."

"I don't think we need the specifics," the judge interrupted. "Shall we say that this device wound up in your body cavity? Anyway, according to you, you did not instigate the contact with Shego."

"No Way! One of my parole things was that I kept away from known felons. Now, when she showed up in my room I seriously thought she wanted to crank up the RPMs, if you know what I mean, but I was seriously ready to walk away and report the incident...the next morning. Anyway, she did the cavity thing and sold me to that seriously whacked out Loward dude and he made me work with my cuz to build those robot wrecking machines."

"I understand that during Mr. Loward's takeover attempt, you physically confronted him."

"I rumbled with him, seriously," Motor Ed grimaced with remembered pain. "And seriously got it handed to me."

"Why did you do so?" The judge asked.

"My cuz said that it was time to wreck their plans," Ed shrugged. "I kinda figured that once they had what they wanted, they seriously wouldn't have any use for us anyway. Since Red, the skinny dude, the green babe and the monkey dude had all shown up, it seriously seemed like my best chance."

"So you didn't perform an altruistic sacrifice?"


"You didn't do it for the sake of the entire world?"

"Seriously, this world's never done much for me, so I'm not all that into saving it. I'm not gonna tank it but I'm not about to put my neck out there to save it, either. Me and my cuz were in serious trouble and it looked like our best chance to get out. I seriously wasn't looking out for anyone but me and my cuz."

"So you freely admit that you were acting in your own self-interest?"


"I would like to ask questions along a different line," another judge chimed in. "Mr. Lipsky, it is my understanding that you are currently gainfully employed."

"I've got a serious job, if that's what you mean."

"It is," the judge confirmed. "Please name your employer and tell us your duties."

"I work at Fred's diesel repair. I take care of overnight repairs and nighttime emergency work. If some big rig breaks down, the tow boys bring it in and I seriously get it running again."

"Are you an adequate mechanic?"

"Dude, you can't be serious! There is no such thing as an engine that I can't fix! When I work on an engine, it winds up better than it was before it broke down."

"I've reviewed your pay stubs," the judge continued. "With the money you've accumulated in your account, plus your continued income, you should be able to afford your own domicile. Mr. Lipsky, what are your financial plans for the immediate future?"


"He's wondering if you intend to keep working for Fred," Ed's attorney translated.

"Seriously!" Ed assured his questioner. "Nighttime mechanic work is great! There's nobody around to harsh my mellow, y'know. I mean, it's just me, the engines and the shop. Nobody much cares that I don't like wearing a uniform or cutting my hair. As long as I get the machines working by the time the sun comes up, everyone's seriously cool with me." After a moment of thought, he continued, "the extra coin's pretty gnarly, too."

"How about longer term plans?" The judge insisted. "Do you see yourself working for Fred's until you retire?"

"No way dude! Check it out, I've been looking into an old racetrack outside of town, seriously. Now, nobody races stock cars there anymore, so it's seriously cheap. Now, I save my money and buy the place, then I make it into a demolition derby! People pay me to compete and more people pay me to come and watch the gnarly wreck-fest. Now, after the derby each week, I tell the losers that I'll get rid of their heaps for them. That'll give me parts for my junkyard."

"Your junkyard?"

"Seriously dude, check this out! When I'm not running the demo derby, I'll be customizing rides. You can make some serious coin doing that, if you're good enough and Ed's good enough!"

"Very well, Mr. Lipsky, the board will now deliberate your case. Bailiff, kindly escort Mr. Lipsky and his attorney to the holding cell."

"So, you seriously think I have a chance of getting out of the halfway house?" Ed asked his attorney, once the two of them were in a side chamber.

"Believe it or not, I do," the man replied. "You made some...serious...points when you didn't lie about your fight on that island. You're not the hero type, Ed, and trying to act like one wouldn't have helped you. In fact, they would have probably stopped the hearing."

"Hey, I just want to have fun," the big man admitted. "I've figured out that I can have more fun by not hurting anyone, and staying out of the slammer, than by wrecking someone and going into the big house."

Any response the lawyer might have made was interrupted by the parole board's summons for the two to return.

"Mr. Lipsky," the chairman addressed the mullet-clad blonde. "This board has decided that you have earned additional freedoms. Judging from your honesty, the fact that you have sustained gainful employment, and the fact that you have a realistic plan for your future tells us that you have an excellent chance of reintegrating yourself into society. You have thirty days to obtain your own domicile. The Board of Corrections will free up such funds as you require, after approval. After you establish this domicile, the Board of Corrections will install a monitor receiver at this location. You will continue to be limited to travel between work and your domicile, with the addition of supervised trips for commercial purposes. Do you understand, Mr. Lipsky?"

"Seriously dude? You lost me at reintegrating."

"Let me explain," Ed's attorney interrupted. "They're going to let you get your own place," he explained to his client. "You'll be under the same rules as you are in the halfway house, right now. For instance, you'll still wear a tracking device and you'll have to report your movements to the authorities, but you'll be pretty much free within your own place. Do you approve of this?"

"Approve? This is sweeeeeeeeet!" Ed Lipsky shrieked in joy, pantomiming playing a guitar while leaning back so far that his back was on the ground.

"Your honor," his attorney addressed the parole board. "Let the record show that the subject, Mr. Edward Lipsky, indicated enthusiastic agreement by performing a stunning air-guitar solo."

"Duly noted."

Meanwhile, in Upperton:

"Dinner is served to the two most bon-diggity ladies in Upperton," Ron Stoppable announced, setting two plates on the table.

"You never give up, do you Stoppable?" Ms. Hatchet snarled, but she had a smile on her face as the young man served both her and Kim. Kim couldn't help but smile as her PF fetched two more plates, for Rufus and himself, before sitting next to the redhead. Kim quickly slipped one foot out of her sneaker and slid it along Ron's calf, adding a bit of spice to an already excellent dinner.

Kim had been delighted to learn, during the five weeks she had lived with her PF and their chaperone, that Ms. Hatchet wasn't interested in suppressing all affectionate displays between the teens. Instead, she simply made sure that the teens didn't indulge in any activities that they wouldn't have been willing to display in public. Therefore, Kim and Ron were free to indulge in cuddling, kissing and even some light necking. However, the librarian was adamant that they keep up in their schoolwork and she firmly shut down any further romantic activity.

Two weeks into their new housing arrangement, Kim decided to put their chaperone's competency to the test. Ms. Hatchet had retired early and Kim could clearly hear her talking in her sleep, discussing the strengths and weaknesses of the Dewey Decimal system. Kim, who had had an argument with the cheerleading coach, decided that this would be an excellent night for a little comfort, so she slipped silently out of her room and tiptoed towards Ron's.

She hadn't intended to have sex with Ron, she just wanted to settle in next to him and have him hold and comfort her. Kim had always been a little high strung and Ron had always had a talent for calming her. This gave her nighttime excursion a practical application, she just wouldn't be able to get a good night's sleep without a little Ronshine. That's when she had discovered that Ms. Hatchet's claim of incredible hearing wasn't an idle boast.

"You've already taken three strides past the bathroom, Possible," the gravely voice announced from the chaperone's room. "So I think it's a fair bet that you're heading for Stoppable's Room. You can forget about it! It might interest you to know that his little, freaky rodent crawled into bed with him forty minutes ago, I heard every scampering step and his squeaks sounded a little crankier than usual, so waking the little guy up might not be very pleasant. Finally, I'd like to inform you that your socks are mismatched, one is slightly thicker than the other and I can hear it in your tread. Now, I'll write this one off as you trying to test the waters, so to speak. If I hear either of you sneaking into the other's room after this incident, I will report it to your parents, particularly your father and Stoppable's mother."

Kim had been suitably intimidated. If either her father or Ron's mother thought they were 'getting frisky', like Monique would say, the whole deal would come to an end. Strictly speaking, she and Ron were now over eighteen and could remain living where they were, but neither wanted to defy their parents yet. Instead, they had asked their chaperone, the next morning, what sort of affectionate displays she would allow. The teens were pleasantly surprised when Hatchet pointed out that she was just there to make sure they didn't neglect their studies and keep them from doing anything that might 'affect their futures'.

Since then, Kim Possible had learned just how satisfying casual contact could be. While she still had a strong desire to join with her pre-fiancé, this desire was tempered with the knowledge that such joining was eventually going to happen. In the meantime, she had become a connoisseur of cuddling, an enthusiast of the embrace, a snuggling specialist. Right now, she was certain that Ms. Hatchet was perfectly aware of her playing footsie with Ron but the older woman didn't seem to mind one bit.

"The two of you are going to put in some study time tonight, aren't you?" The librarian asked. "After all, you're going to want the rest of your weekend free."

Kim and Ron agreed with her command-disguised-as-a-question. It only made sense. Tomorrow was the football team's home opener and both the Possibles and Stoppables were coming to Upperton to see their children perform. Of course, the teens would want to get their required schoolwork done so that they could spend time with the families after the game. Kim simply smiled, knowing how the studying would progress.

After dealing with the dinner dishes, Kim and Ron retired to the house's den to study. Both had some reading to do, so they used their favorite method of doing so. They sat back to back on the comfortable couch, each with their feet hanging over one of the couch's arms. Rather than distracting each other, their presence comforted each other, helping them to relax. While the desire remained, stronger than ever, they both knew that it was inevitable that they would share themselves with each other at the right time. With that knowledge, they were able to push the longing aside and concentrate on the matter at hand.

It wasn't just academics that had the two teens tense right now. To nobody's surprise, Kim had made the varsity cheerleading squad and, to a few people's surprise, Ron had become the first true freshman to start on the football team in over a decade. Last week, the Upperton U team had played its first game of the season. It hadn't taken long for Ron to make his mark, scorching the opposition for over one hundred and eighty yards of rushing and another forty yards receiving. Behind this offensive output, Upperton had cruised to an easy victory. This probably wouldn't be the case tomorrow.

For one thing, the visiting team, Chadron State, was much better than the Colorado School of Mines had been last week. Secondly, after Ron racked up the yardage last week, the defense would be keying on him this week. For another thing, this was the home opener, the first time that Kim would cheer and Ron would play, as college students, in front of the 'rents. Finally, Warren the reporter had warned the teens that there would be a few protests taking place during the game.

Apparently, Rita Richards had let a few of her acquaintances know that if they showed up to protest Upperton's home game, she would assure that they received some positive press coverage. Warren, a media insider, had identified two groups that intended to show up and wave the signs. The first was a hardcore socialist organization, that intended to complain about the preferential treatment the university gave the two teens, by allowing them to live in their own place. Apparently, this group had not heard that it was the university itself that had required the teens to live off campus.

The second group was a fundamentalist organization that was protesting the teens' living arrangement. This group declared that the teens were living in sin, neglecting to acknowledge the facts that the sleeping arrangements, and the chaperone, were public knowledge. What really tanked was that the two groups mustered only seventy members between them but Rita Richards' cronies were sure to make the protests look like a massive demonstration. To top it off, like Warren said, protesters were a social species. As soon as some other groups saw protesters and television cameras, they were sure to show up and try to get a little screen time, themselves.

This constant attention, far more critical than she received in high school, made Kim thankful for the current living arrangements. Somehow, just the feel of Ron's back up against hers calmed her. What she found even more heartwarming was the sure knowledge that she comforted him every bit as much, with the casual contact. She honestly wished that they could sleep together, even by the term's literal definition but she was willing to wait. They were still preparing for a real life and she was content, for now, to know that the real life would include each other.

The teens continued to study until 9:00 PM, choosing to turn in early. Despite the pressure and frustrations, they slept well. Both were up by seven the next morning, eating a solid breakfast. The 'rents, with Hannah and the tweebs, showed up shortly after they finished. There were hugs and greetings, but the visitors knew that Kim and Ron wouldn't really be good company until after the game. Instead, they wished the teens well as they climbed into the Sloth and drove off to the stadium.

"Well, Warren did warn us," Kim commented, as they drove by two small groups of protestors.

The two groups, each under twenty people, were energized when the spotted the very recognizable redhead. The protest signs began to wave with some more energy and the chants picked up volume as Kim drove past them and parked outside the gym.

"Do you think Rita will bother to mention that there's actually more press people here, covering the protests, than there are protestors?" Ron asked is PF, as the two teens recovered their gym bags and walked towards the gym.

"Rita won't," Kim grumbled. "Warren will, but she won't. Of course, since we got here early the demonstrators probably don't have all of their members here yet. Once some of the campus activists spot the cameras, I think we'll have a lot of groups out here to get some lens time."

Ron grunted his agreement. Like a lot of college freshmen, he was honestly shocked by how seriously some of his fellow students took political activism. The teens moved quickly, getting into the gym before either the protestors or the press could confront them. The two quickly made to their respective locker rooms and changed into gis. It was still well before the 11AM kickoff and the two teens would loosen up by sparring.

After roughly an hour, the teens were limber, warmed up...and had attracted an audience. Several members of the football team and the cheerleading squad, stood by as the two teens hammered away at each other. Feeling more than a little self-conscious from the attention, Kim and Ron ended their workout, shared a quick, chaste kiss and went to their respective locker rooms, preparing for the game.

"I see some things haven't changed very much," Marcella commented to Kim, joining the redhead in the locker room. "At least if Tara was telling me the truth."

"We can't all be normal," Kim replied, opening her locker. Marcella was a year older than Kim and had just made the squad this year. It was very rare for a freshman to make the squad, which was yet another testament to Kim's incredible athleticism. "Seriously, sparring is kind of necessary. Ron and I still tangle with the bad guys quite a bit, so we need to keep ready."

"You two always were different," the older girl shook her head, although her tone made it clear she was giving Kim some good-natured teasing. "Seriously though, it's good to see that the two of you finally realized you were a couple. You look good together."

"If I could just explain that to a few more people around campus," Kim retorted, although she smiled at her teammate.

Kim and Marcella shared a commiserating smile. Both young women were very attractive and had thus gained the attention of numerous young men. Kim, with her fame, had gained the attention of even more such young men that Marcella had. While most such young men were polite, dropping their pursuit when Kim told them she wasn't interested, a few were distressingly persistent. Kim was seriously considering getting a little more forceful in her refusals but she was sure that any such actions would be covered, in depth, on Rita Richards' next broadcast.

"Has Ron been having the same problems?" Marcella asked.

"Not as much," Kim admitted. "And sort of opposite to the problems I've been having. I mean, I had a lot of guys hitting on me when I first got here but most of them backed off when they found out I had a boyfriend. Almost all the rest of them backed off when I told them I'm with Ron for the long haul. Ron on the other hand didn't have that many girls interested in him, until his performance last week. Still, most of the girls who started noticing him backed off once they realized that we're an item."

Marcella looked like she was ready to say something else but Lisa, the cheer captain, interrupted her.

"Okay girls," the collegiate senior's voice silenced the conversations. "Let's get ready. We've worked out the routines. Since the weather will be dry, if a little cold, we'll be doing the towers today."

Kim quickly changed into her uniform while smiling a little. She actually enjoyed not being the cheer captain, since it allowed her to just enjoy herself on the squad, rather than being responsible.

"You set, mad dog?" Jeremy, the starting fullback, asked Ron. Ron smiled at how his high school nickname had followed him to college.

"I'm just feeling a little jumpy," the blonde admitted. "I don't understand it, I wasn't this nervous last week."

"You've learned some things," Jeremy shrugged. "Now you know just how much better the competition is, at this level. That and this is the home opener. If you screw up here, all your classmates will know about it."

"As well as my parents and my sister," Ron grumbled.

"Don't sweat it," Jeremy punched the halfback lightly on the shoulder. "Just get out there and execute. You'll be fine."

"You sound like Coach Hartmann," Ron retorted.

"I hope so, he's a smart man. You know the drill, I'll open the holes and you scorch 'em."

"That I can do," Ron agreed. "Although I'd almost like to scorch our own defense even more." Due to his distant brush with fame, Ron had received more than the usual freshman hazing from his upper classmen teammates.

Jeremy smiled at his halfback. He had joined in the hazing, in a good-natured manner, when Ron first arrived. Shortly after the freshman players took their physical fitness tests, and Ron had set the school record, he had backed off the hazing in an effort to teach the freshman as much as possible. While most of the offense followed suit, the defensive players continued to heckle the blonde, mercilessly. Ron wasn't experienced enough to realize that the trash talking had changed from freshman hazing to the usual offense vs. defense jawing.

After the team started full contact drills, Ron had earned most of the defense's respect. Still, a handful of players continued the very mean-spirited attacks. Jeremy figured that half of the guys wanted to put down Ron to make themselves look better while the other half were jealous of the blondes skills. For whatever reason, it wasn't open enough to affect team unity, yet. There were also other students, not on the team, who were giving Ron no end of grief, secure in the knowledge that Ron wouldn't strike back for fear of being kicked off of the team.

"Ron," Jeremy began. "Did you get this kind of heckling in high school?"

"Not very much," Ron admitted, after a moment's thought. "I mean, I started off really green so a lot of the guys really got down on me when I screwed up the drills but..."

"No," Jeremy interrupted, even as he geared up. "I mean did you catch the crap off of the field."

"Oh yeah," Ron nodded, smiling at the bad memory. "Freshman and sophomore years, I was the school punching bag."

"That's still not what I meant," Jeremy interrupted again. "Did you catch all this grief from people about you hanging out with Possible?"

"Only from a couple of the girls who really hated her," Ron shrugged. "Why?"

"I've never seen anyone catch as much grief from the protesters as the two of you have," Jeremy told his teammate.

"I'm not the brightest guy around but I kind of expected this. KP's famous, so she always has some cameras pointed at her. Since the protesters want to show up on TV, they go to where the cameras are at."

"I don't think that's the whole story," Jeremy frowned. "I mean, some of these groups didn't even exist before you two showed up on campus. I think..."

The fullback's musings were cut short when Coach Hartmann bellowed at his players to get certain portions of their anatomies moving before he applied his foot to those same body parts. Further conversation was out of the question.

It was game time.

A big thanks goes out to Joe Stoppinghem, for beta-ing my latest work even at the expense of his own writing.

Until my next posting, best wishes...