Chaos Lord Productions Brings You.

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Soulmates

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Written by Chaos Lord

Disclaimer: All entities and devices in this story belong to their respective owners.

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At the crest of a hill located in a relatively new suburb of a regular, if not somewhat upscale, town, a home rested peacefully. In the living room, a young girl sat staring at her television. Her green eyes were wide as they reflected the images on the screen. In an effort to be more grown up, she tried watching one of her Mommy's movies. And, for a time, she actually paid attention to what was unfolding before her.

Everything had been worked out to the extreme. She had gotten her Daddy to make some popcorn while she got herself some juice. With bowl and drink in hand, she sat ready to prove how grown up she was. As the film started, and the first seconds of the story unfolded, the young girl felt so proud of herself. Her parents always said that she should enjoy childhood while she could. The girl never understood that though. There were people to save, places to see, and, should she get finished saving and seeing it all, there was always one of Daddy's rockets to ride into space.

Soon, the exhilaration of impending adulthood gave way to disappointment. The movie was boring! Adult stuff wasn't supposed to be boring. Adults were fun and exciting and everything she wanted to be. But this? It was nowhere near was fun as what she normally liked. Where was the teddy that everyone should have? She knew that Mommy had one; the older girl had even mentioned it to Daddy. And why was that woman kissing two different guys on the lips? Only Mommies and Daddies should do that.

Convinced the material before her was inferior, the little girl with the red pigtails reached for the remote to find something more sensible. But just as she was about to change the channel, one of the characters uttered a word she had never heard before. Like lightning, it blazed across her young mind. She was overcome with a feeling poets and dreamers struggled with for millennia. It was all too big for her mind to take in with any real comprehension, so the bulk of what she was feeling sealed itself away, awaiting the day the girl could truly understand.

The word remained though. It was important, probably the most important one ever. Normally, she would have done as her parents encouraged and looked it up. Something told her this word was different though, that Mommy may have the explanation she needed.

"Kimmie-cub," called out the voice of her Daddy, "time to get your bath."

Grabbing her bowl and cup, the girl jumped up and headed for the kitchen to put them away. "This is great, I can ask Mommy now." She knew her wonderful Daddy probably had the answer, but something told her it was best left to Mommy.

ooooooooo

Around the corner and down the street another child sat enraptured. He had plopped down before the tube to see a fantasy movie. There was the standard princess being captured and the prince off to her rescue, but that was secondary to the awesome fights and magic. Until, that is, the prince, in a moment of torment yelled out a word.

A feeling unlike any he ever conceived spiraled through his being. Despite its novelty, everything seemed to click into place for the lad. Oh sure, the bulk had to be shunted away less it fry his young mind, but the core concepts remained. In his mind's eye, he saw a line of figures standing shoulder to shoulder stretching off into the infinite. With glowing eyes, each turned and stared at the child with hope. He knew then that there was something great waiting for him, something greater than even taco night.

With a nod, the boy saluted the men, accepting the wondrous gift that was soon to be granted to both him, and someone else.

ooooooooo

The bath had been as pleasant as always, yet the girl had paid it little attention. Her mind was still too caught up trying to come up with the perfect way to pose her question to her Mommy. There were so many possibilities. She could ask about her desire to find something. The intense wave emotion she felt was also an issue she pondered. Finally, she reached a conclusion as she was being tucked in for the night.

"Kimmie," asked the older woman, "what story do you want to hear?"

Though a part of her wished to hear about the young girl who went on all sorts of neat adventures, the question seemed more important. "Mommy, what is a soulmate?"

The woman's eyes grew large as she lowered herself onto her daughter's bed. "Why do you ask?"

"I heard it in your movie, Mommy."

As she looked into her daughter's eyes, the woman could see the questions brewing. Something about that word had triggered something in her child. Whatever it was, the woman knew the standard dictionary trip had been dispensed with this time. The woman sighed deeply. How was she supposed to convey the complexities of what the girl asked? "I should probably start small," she thought. "Do you remember what a friend is?"

With a happy smile, the girl nodded. "Uh huh, it's a person that'll stay with you through thick and thin," she singsonged. In a few days she would start preschool and her Mommy promised that she would make lots of friends.

"That's right," smiled the woman. "Now a soulmate is a very special friend, that has been set aside just for you."

She stared at her Mommy with wonder. "I have my own special friend?" The idea just seemed so great that she could barely believe it. In fact, had she not experienced what she had, the child probably wouldn't have. Tonight, however, it was something she wanted so bad she thought she would burst. "Really? Really really," she asked in that child-like way that youngsters do when they are begging for the truth.

"Really really," echoed the adult. "And do you know what makes them so special?"

By now, the little girl was positively vibrating with anticipation, "No."

"Remember how it felt when you saw Mickey Mouse's House? Remember how happy you were?"

"Yes!" Now that was something she remembered well. She had been so happy to see everything it felt as if her little heart would explode.

Just as her daughter was being swept away by the fervor of the topic, so too was she. It was the ultimate destiny that any good parent wished for their child, the finding of someone who made happily ever after a reality. "Well add that to ice cream night and times it by a million! That's how warm and happy you'll feel right there," she gushed as she touched her daughter's chest.

All of the girl's vibrations came to a halt as this newest piece of information entered her mind. Now, to be honest, the intricacies of multiplication were well beyond her grasp for the moment. Thanks to her Daddy though, she did know that when you times things they got really, really, big. And a million was already so big that it almost seemed infinite. What her Mommy described though, it seemed impossible and she knew well what such things meant. That such a person existed for her and her alone felt good, it felt right. "Wow," she breathed.

Looking around, as if to check for any listeners, the woman leaned in close. "And the best part of it all is," she whispered, "is that, as much as this person will mean the world to you, they will feel the same about you."

Though she was young, the little girl knew how important it was to make people happy. She had worked really hard to make a gift for her Daddy last Christmas. The way his face had lit up when he opened it made all the work more than worthwhile. This latest piece of news just put the whole thing over the top for her. Someone out there was waiting for her, they needed her, to make them happy when they were sad. She now had a mission, she had to find this person and make both of their lives complete. "Where can I find my soulmate," she asked solemnly.

It was a new face for her daughter, it spoke of a great determination. Nothing would stand in her way and Heaven help whatever tried, for only Heaven could hope to stop the fires burning within her daughter. As a mother, it was a wonderful and frightening thing to see. "Well," she sighed, "that is the bad news. No-one knows who, or where, their soulmate is. Some people find theirs right away. For others, life won't let them together for one reason or another. People can go whole lifetimes and never find that special someone."

"That's not fair," she mentally raged. No one should be denied such happiness, it just wasn't right. To go your whole life and never find the one? No, that did not sit well with how the girl saw the world. "Do you think I'll find mine," she asked. Mommy had to know, she just had to.

She peered deeply into her daughter's green orbs. Something rumbled there, something timeless and ancient. In that moment, she knew there was but one answer to the question. "Honey, I think you can do anything. Now come on, you need to get to sleep."

Her mind awash with new ideas, the girl reluctantly slid down into the warm embrace of her comforter. Absently, she wished her Mommy a good night. As the lights went out and her body started shutting down for the night, young Kimberly Ann Possible looked out of her window, her face a mask of determination. "I will find you, I promise."

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The little boy was lying in his bed with his hands between him and the pillow. Ever since his parents tucked him in the young boy was locked in a deep conversation with his good friend Rufus. Now he knew that no one else saw the towering specter but there were times he was sure it had interacted with something. "So, this soulmate . . . I'll want to do anything to protect it?" The idea was somewhat laughable to him. Even at his young age, there were not many people who stayed around that often. They all thought he was weird and left him to his own devices. Even his parents, whom he loved dearly, were rather distant most days. In all honesty, he couldn't really imagine anyone staying around long enough to allow him the opportunity to protect them.

"It is true," said Rufus, his deep voice echoing in the room. "They will see you as no one else has. They shall accept you for who and what you are, if you give them the chance."

He took it all in and thought hard about it. For as long as he had known him, Rufus never steered him wrong. And he did have to admit, the thought of a real friend like the kind Rufus described was most appealing. "Okay Rufus, I'll make sure to give people their fair chance."

"That is all you can do, young one. Now, it is getting late and you need your rest."

Unlike other kid's imaginary friends, Rufus didn't always talk. So when the giant spoke he tended to listen to it more. "Okay Rufus, goodnight."

"Goodnight."

As he was left alone for the night, little Ronald Elijah Stoppable looked out at the stars. "Don't you worry, I've got your back."

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Several days later, the young Kim Possible was in the middle of the most terrifying experience of her life, Pre-K. Despite how much she had begged, Mommy and Daddy just left her in this strange place all alone. Though the various activities were fun, they did little to dispel the loneliness she felt. Luckily for Kim, recess came around soon enough and she was able to lose her cares in between the trees and equipment as she chased her ball. As she giggled and laughed, the ball got further and further away with each enthusiastic kick. Finally, the young Possible applied so much force that the orb rocketed away at a breakneck speed.

In slow motion, the pig-tailed girl watched her toy fly towards the blonde boy who was in the midst of building an odd, yet elaborate, castle in the sand box. Even as the warning formed in her mind, the projectile slammed into the boy's head.

"YeeeeOuch!"

Wide eyed and filled with worry, Kim rushed towards the boy she had inadvertently assaulted. "Ohmygoshohmygosh! I'm so sorry. ," she said in a rush.

The boy groaned as he rubbed the spot where the ball had hit him. "That's okay. Playing is a vital part of the childhood experience," he said sagely. "It allows us to test the boundaries of the world before our creativity is squashed by the conformist nature of adulthood."

Kim looked at the boy she had inadvertently assaulted. Normally, that kind of language was reserved for adults. She never expected it from someone her own age. "You're weird," she giggled, "but I like you."

At first, little Ron Stoppable felt a familiar rush of disappointment. Yet another who just set him aside. Before he could get a good funk going though, the girl's second statement filtered through. "Really?"

A smile and a nod was Kim's answer.

"Neat! Hey, I'm Ron Stoppable."

"I'm Kim Possible," she said proudly.

"Want me to help you get back your ball?" In the intervening time the toy had been acquired by some of their fellow children. While he did not mind them having fun, it was still Kim's turn. He would do what he could to ensure the fair play standards of Pre-K were upheld. They were all that separated them from the savagery of yesteryear, after all.

She shook her head emphatically. "Why don't I help you with your castle?" There would be other toys in other recesses, but now she had a new friend.

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Ron Stoppable was a wreck. Just that morning he returned from Hell. Though his people didn't exactly believe in the place, Ron was sure Camp Wannaweep was close enough to be the same thing. Everything there seemed to be out to get him, whether it was the insects, the food, the lake, or the camp mascot.

The whole terrible ordeal was made that much worse by the absence of Kim. Had Kim been there with him, Ron knew that he would have been able to face those problems. They may have even been able to fix some of them. Instead, she ended up going to gymnastics camp leaving him to face the terror alone.

Of course, he really couldn't blame Kim for that. It had been his parents who decided camp would be good for him. With him not around for their usual summer adventures, Kim was perfectly justified in attempting to find some fun of her own. Still, it didn't make the experience any less stressful for him.

"Ron, you okay?"

He hadn't even noticed Kim's arrival, so caught up was he in that terrible place. Looking up at his friend, all of Ron's mental faculties temporarily came to a grinding halt. Somehow, someone had gone and replaced his best friend with a girl. Now, he had always been aware that Kim was a member of the female gender, but now she wasn't just a girl, suddenly she was a Girl. For several seconds he just sat there looking at her with wide eyes. Finally he was shaken, quite literally, from his thoughts by Kim's worry.

"Yeah KP, I'm good I guess."

Kim's features softened, "Oh good. You had me worried there for a sec." Sensing that something was still a tad off with her friend, she tried to boost his spirits with a change in discussion. "So, how was your summer?"

Unlike what the girl hoped, the change in topic only served to rekindle Ron's despair over the horrors of Wannaweep. "KP it was terrible," he wailed. "There was green lake, and the food was sick, and don't even get me started on the monkey." Just the word made him shiver with disgust.

She stared at her friend with wide eyes. When she had heard that Ron was spending the summer at a camp, Kim had been really upset. Eventually Mom had convinced her that a little separation would do them both good. It seemed now though, that such an outcome was far from likely. "Uh Ron, maybe you should start from the beginning."

Ron blinked at the request. He had known that the tale would need to be told and while the emotions were still fresh, still raw, he knew Kim was the one he had to tell first. "Well I guess the badness started about five minutes after I got off the bus . . . . ." For what seemed like an eternity, he outlined the nightmare of a summer others forced upon him. Even as most of him slugged through the heavy emotions of those events, a part in the back of his mind could not stop staring at Kim. Seeing her like she was, full of concern for him and brimming with unmistakable femininity, tugged at him in a way he really couldn't comprehend. But whatever it was, that dark part of his mind did know one thing, he liked it a lot.

ooooooooo

"Stupid Kimmie, really, really, stupid," mentally growled Kim as she looked around for any further attempts by the tweebs or the embarrassment ninjas to make her embarrassed. "Ron just asked you to do one thing, didn't he princess," asked her inner voice in a tone rather reminiscent of Shego. "He asked you to just stay in your room while he went to get the flower. Ron knew something stupid like some gum would embarrass you. And where are you now, eh princess? You're a floating head. Oh Josh! He's so golden," mocked her conscience.

"You could have said no, you could have told him that you were sick, or that you had homework. After all, you do have a freakin' black hole in your belly button. Would it have really been the end of the world if you had just said no, for once?" For a moment, she tried to refute the scathing assault upon her, but in the end she just couldn't.

"Yeah, thought so. I can just hear Bonnie now, "Did you hear? Kim disappeared because her life is a total embarrassment." I guess it's okay though. I mean, you're out on a date with Josh Mankey, the dream boat. So, even if you do manage to get us vanished, at least the social order will know that you did your duty."

Desperately, Kim looked around, seeking out the one person who could save her. "Ron, where are you?" The voice cut back in with an angry laugh. "Oh, NOW you're counting on Ron eh? Who knows what troubles he's facing because of you? I mean, last I checked the Amazon isn't the most friendly territory. You know, he's probably killing himself trying to get that stupid flower. Even though he's sure you're safe at home, he's out there risking life and limb to save you. How do you think he's going to feel when he gets back and you've blushed yourself into nothingness."

Suddenly an image formed in her mind. It was Ron in a black suit. Even though it was pouring down rain, she could see the streams of tears flowing from his eyes. Slowly, he walked with flower in hand before kneeling before a headstone. On its gray surface was her name. The tears soon turned into sobs that shook his frame like an earthquake.

"KP, I'm sorry. I failed you," he kept repeating as an empty casket sat in the dirt beneath him.

To be honest, the sight tore a hole in her so deep that it hurt even through the numbness permeating her body. "Well, it could be worse I guess," mused the voice. "Luckily Ron isn't the type to let tragedy linger on." An image of a tearful Ron outlining the horrors of Wannaweep sprang to mind. "Oh wait, I forgot. I guess it will be worse."

Before she could fight back against the voice that so viciously, and accurately, attacked her, a pair of embarrassment ninjas popped out with their usual M.O.. Dispatching them was a rather easy affair, their particular training being no match for her skills. Unfortunately, there was a casualty in their most recent encounter. Her mouth had joined the rest of her body in non-existence. "Swell, looks like it won't be much longer. I hope it was worth it. Hopefully Ron will be able to tell your family before he completely breaks down."

She really wanted to be able to fight back against the voice. But Kim knew everything her conscience said was true. This was as close to death as she had come so far, and this time it wasn't some doomsday weapon that a freak had tied her to. While Drakken may have loaded the gun, she was pulling the trigger. All she wanted to do is just run away, to get back home and hope it would be enough to save her before Ron got back like she knew he would.

Before she could run, or stay, a cool wind brushed across her face. It brought with it an aromatic scent that tickled her nose and caused her to explode into a series of sneezes. With each sneeze, Kim felt the numbness retreat that much further. So violent were they that by the time they were done she was doubled over. To her joy, the Possible female saw her shapely legs sticking out of her dress.

"Yes," she mentally cheered. As Josh helped her up, Kim noticed something in the bushes behind him. At first she thought it was yet another one of those stupid embarrassment ninjas. A closer look though revealed Ron, still in his mission clothes and holding up a plant.

"Well, what do you know, the sidekick came through," drawled the voice. "You know, you should probably thank him," it growled warningly. Her eyes met his and they both shared a smile. "I will, I promise."

ooooooooo

It was a tired Ron that trudged into Bueno Nacho. The events of yesterday had really taken it out of him. Solo missions, he decided, were not fun. And while he was a little tweaked that Kim had gone out and nearly gotten herself vanished, the blonde-haired young man would always remember the smile she gave him.

Kim was at their usual table and as Ron looked at her she winced. Realizing that he was probably showing more than he should, the Stoppable male made an effort to seem livelier than he really felt. "Hey KP," he said as he slid into the booth. "How was the date?"

For a moment Kim felt a rush of girlish glee that wanted to tell all the good parts. The redhead quickly squelched that desire however. "It was great Ron, but that's not what I want to talk about."

Immediately Ron straightened up in his chair. Kim had slipped into that same voice she used on missions. Even Rufus sensed something important in the air; the little creature climbing onto the table to stare at the two teens. "What's up? Drakken still around?"

"No, nothing big like that." Kim looked down at the table, "Here I am trying to apologize and he is getting ready for another battle." "I just . . . Ron, I want to apologize."

Ron stared at his friend. He was stunned; this was not the Kim Possible he was used to seeing. "KP," he said softly, "it's no big."

Kim looked up at her friend, her eyes filled with defiance. "No Ron, it's way big. You asked me to do something important. I know how much you and my family would be hurt if something really bad ever happened to me, but when Josh called all I could think about was him. Even as I was doing it, I knew how stupid I was being and I'm ashamed to say that I really didn't consider going home until it was almost too late. So you saved my life last night, Ron. You saved me from Drakken and you saved me from myself."

"But I do that all the time," said Ron in his usual bid to minimize his contribution.

She shook her head. "That's on missions. You save me, I save you, it's part of the job. Last night was all me. And you saved me. I was only a partial head by the time you got that flower to the park. I owe you big time."

Slowly, he leaned forward and looked her in the eye. "Kim, you don't owe the Ron man nothin'. Remember, I got your back."

ooooooooo

Kim Possible shut the door as Eric finally left the house. The taste of him still lingered on her lips and she found it oh so sweet indeed. "God! He is soooo perfect," she crooned. Listening to that beautiful music of love, the young Possible danced merrily through her home. As she made her way into the kitchen, Kim saw her mother there cleaning up. "Hi mom!"

Ann Possible raised an eyebrow at her daughter's behavior. "What's got you in such a good mood."

"Eric," she sighed happily. Even the boy's name sent wonderful shivers down her spine. "Oh mom, I think he's the one."

Mrs. Dr. Possible's bemused expression immediately hardened. With images of a depressed Ron yelling about cooties fresh in her mind, she dried her hands off. "Kim, please sit down."

The unmistakable chill suddenly permeating her mother's voice shocked the teenaged girl. Still, that did not stop her from following her elder's request. Even more surprising than the woman's tone was the nearly paranoid examination of the area the older Possible performed. "What's with her," she thought worriedly.

As she slid into the alcove, Ann shot a hard look her daughter's way. "I want your word that nothing I am about to say will ever be repeated. Not to Ron, not to Monique, not even to your diary. Because if you do say something, I will personally make sure there is a Kim sized seat on one of your father's rockets. Am I clear?"

Kim swallowed hard. This was a side of her mother that she wasn't used to seeing. Heck, she hadn't even known that the woman was capable of it. Subconsciously, she didn't want to do anything to further upset the already upset parent, so the red-head just nodded.

Seeing her daughter's agreement, Ann's visage softened noticeably. "I want to tell you a story honey. It's about how I knew your father was the one for me."

"Please mom," groaned Kim, "not this story again. It's not exactly a secret. You fell for daddy at the Winter Ball."

"No Kim, that is just the story I tell you kids. I'm going to tell you the real story." Ann sat back as she slipped into memories of events long since passed. "You know, you and I are more alike than you may think. Back in college I was one of the prettier girls on campus. I was smart and popular, a real top tier member of the food chain. I even had my eye on a real hottie, a running back if you can believe it. In fact, I would have to say that your father and I would have never met if it wasn't for one class. Even though I was on a medical track, I still had several math courses as part of my general education requirements.

"When I got to class, there was a man around my age sitting up front. Though I knew nothing about him, his clothes just screamed geek. But he seemed innocent enough so I sat beside him. We exchanged a look and a smile and then went to work taking notes for the class. It wasn't until the first test when he really said anything. I had gotten a less than stellar grade and he noticed. Right then and there he started giving me pointers on the problems I had missed. Seeing an opportunity to get some better grades I asked him if he would be willing to tutor me. Of course, James said yes and we set a date.

"James may have been a bit shy around me, but when it came to the course, he was all business. He had a way of making things easier for me to understand and my grades soon took a dramatic turn north. Being me, I often engaged him in more personal subjects. We talked about our families, our hopes, anything, everything, but always at that friend level. And we did become friends.

"It was about three weeks before the Winter Ball that I had this really horrible nightmare. I'm not going to go into the specifics, but let me tell you, it still scares me," she added with a shiver. "I woke up in a panic and immediately called James. It was just such a primal, instinctual thing, that I never even thought about it. I could tell that I had woken him up, but I begged him to meet me. He was such a mess when I saw him, his brown hair was sticking on end and he was wearing one slipper and one shoe. It didn't matter to me though, I just hurled myself into his arms and cried my eyes out.

"We ended up in some all-night eatery just talking. We talked the night away, just him and me," she said wistfully. "And as we talked, I started to see a different man. He came when I called Kim, not many people will do that for someone, but he did. As I looked at him, I knew he would always do that for me, and I could count on him to be there for me. That was when I fell in love with your father." Ann looked poignantly at her daughter. "Do you understand what I am saying? The person you end up with should be someone that, when you look at them, you see yourselves together decades from now, doing what you both love."

Kim stared at her mother. She had never expected such a story from the woman. It almost sounded like she was trying to push her towards Ron. "Are you saying that I should break up with Eric," she asked softly.

Ann shook her head. "No sweetie, I'm not. I'm just trying to say that before you start thinking about a commitment like that, you need to think. Eric could very well be your special person and he completes you like no other. Or, he could just be a crush. Believe me, I know it can be hard to tell the difference sometimes. But I know that when you finally can separate one from the other and actually find your one, you will know it with every fiber of your being." The elder Possible smiled at her daughter, "Now get going. I'm sure you have some homework to do."

ooooooooo

Running through the halls of Bueno Nacho, Drakken's newest and most ingenious lair, Kim felt a rage that was only surpassed by the Moodulator's emotion enhancing abilities. That blue jerk had played her. Her! And what's worse is she let him. One look at that syntho-jerk Eric and she just waltzed into the mad doctor's plan. He had been so handsome, so understanding, so . . . so food chain. God, was she really that shallow, to fall right into the garbage Bonnie had so eagerly laid out for her? She was supposed to be better than that. She should have never thought of poor Ron like that, like he was somehow less for being who he was. "I guess I really can do anything," she thought angrily, "even mess up."

Suddenly a song popped into her mind. It was one she once stood on stage and proudly sang before a captivated audience. What you need, got your back, just say the word, I'm there. She had performed those words Ron so eloquently written and thought it was a promise to those who listened. Now, with the light of truth shining upon them, Kim knew who they were really meant for. Even as he summed up everything she was, who she saw herself to be, Ron was also making a vow to her. If you find your world is cavin' in, you can bet your gonna need a friend, someone to take those fears away. And he always had, hadn't he? Whenever things got her down, it was Ron with the kind word or the goofy act to cheer her up.

Even after the way she treated him over the last few days, he swooped right down and saved her once again. Four simple little words. She'd been complaining that there was no one in the world for her, yet he confidently told her there was someone out there for her. "Out there . . . in here." And that was all all she needed. It was as if a switch flipped on in her mind. Suddenly she felt things coming to life within her. Colossal engines of emotion churned within her mind. They churned and turned and before her eyes Ron started to change into someone else.

Though Rufus interrupted them, Kim felt those engines still working within her. Every instance of her life with him was reevaluated. As she saw things once missed in the fog of friendship, Kim was both invigorated and angered. For so long she searched for something and it had been right beside her all the time. It was that anger which fueled her attacks.

"Yo KP I've got your back," wham there went a punch.

"You don't owe the Ron man nothin'," a kick flew out to snag one of the countless villains in her path.

"You know what was worse, spending the whole summer away from you," with that thought grinding at her soul, fueling her rage, Kim lashed out with a kick so strong it sent Shego hurtling into the signal tower.

ooooooooo

While James directed Jim and Tim in the task of getting their home into a somewhat livable condition after the Diablo attack, Ann busied herself with the equally difficult task of rebuilding their home's soul. Broken frames were thrown away and cherished pictures were carefully stored for future placement. At the same time, she desperately tried to keep her mind off her daughter's current mission. She had known, on one level, that Kim stopped other threats against world safety in the past. This time though, the threat was more real. It destroyed their home and threatened lives across the globe. Even the look on Kim's face when she came home to acquire her battle suit had been harder than she ever saw on her daughter's face before.

Suddenly she heard the door slam open. Running to see the cause of the intrusion, Ann saw Kim barreling through the house with a determined expression. "Kimmie, did you rescue Eric?"

Kim shuddered at the mention of that name. "It's complicated mom. I need to get my dress."

As her daughter thundered off, Ann followed. She saw the shudder that had passed through her daughter's frame. Something had happened with that young man, something that, while bad, was not enough to stop Kim from going back to the dance. Whatever that was, she vowed to find out.

Climbing up the stairs to Kim's room, Ann saw her daughter slip out of the battle suit Wade created for her. Not bothering with the usual decorum, she closed the door behind her and stood ready to confront, or comfort, her daughter.

The younger Possible female could feel her mother's stare. Though she wanted to just get her dress and go, Kim knew that some sort of explanation was required. So, as she pulled her damaged prom dress on, she looked back at her mother, "Can you zip me up?"

Nodding, the elder Possible now knew the rules of this conversation. She walked over to her child's back and worked the zipper up. It took a little doing, Kim's fight with the Diablos having stretched and warped the material somewhat, but soon enough the dress was in its proper place. "There you go sweetie."

"Thanks mom." Trying to maintain her cool, Kim moved over to her makeup table and started to assess the damage.

Ann trailed after her daughter and reached for the girl's hairbrush. In the mirror, she could see the conflicting emotions on Kim's face. Her internal mom systems slowly countdown to when the talk would start. Until then, she busied herself with fixing her child's hair.

"Eric," said Kim with a shudder, "was a synthodrone. Drakken came up with the perfect guy for me as part of a take over the world plot."

She winced at the bitterness and hatred that weighed down Kim's words. From the moment she met him, Ann had a bad feeling about that boy. Never though had she imagined such a horror. Pausing in her work, she gently squeezed the trembling girl's shoulder. As much as she wanted to just grab hold of her child and promise that all the bad things would just go away, intellectually Ann knew that right now Kim needed a different kind of support.

Even though her mind was a jumble of thoughts and feelings, the events that occurred after Eric's unmasking surged to mind and with them came a rush of a much more powerful, and soothing emotion. "Ron saved the day mom. Drakken came up with a plan that totally took me out." Kim smiled at the image of Ron, her Ron. "Then Ron did what he always does, he saved me. We were tied up and I was majorly depressed."

The smile had buoyed her spirits as to the ultimate destination of this story. When Kim looked down and said nothing for a while Ann's curiosity outweighed her desire to let her daughter control the pace of narration. "And?"

Kim looked up and caught her mother's eyes in the mirror, "I called and he came for me."

Seeing the pride, wonder, and even love reflected in her daughter's green orbs, Ann knew she could only mean one thing. Even as she was mentally cheering and doing cartwheels as images of grandchildren watched, the more rational side of her returned Kim's stare with one of her own. "Honey, don't take this the wrong way, but are you sure?" She could see that Kim was going to argue so she clarified her previous statement, "It's just that a few hours ago you were gaga over someone else." Ann purposely didn't mention the name.

"Mom, I know what you mean. But it's like I've got this little star forming here," she said as she placed a hand over her heart. "I can feel it getting hotter the more time goes by."

Ann nodded; there was no more information she needed on that subject. Kim finally realized what she had known for so long. "Those two are going to be together forever," she thought ecstatically. "Well, we better get you ready for prince charming."

Kim smiled widely, "Thanks mom, you rock."

ooooooooo

As he walked hand in hand with the most important person in his life, Ron Stoppable was certain that he was dreaming. Nothing like what he was feeling could ever really happen. Kim and he would never really kiss; no matter how much he wanted it. Then, as if in response to his thoughts, he felt her squeeze his hand tightly. Looking over at his childhood friend, Ron saw that she was smiling at him.

She wanted to deny it. The thought made her want to scream. Every fiber of her being was telling her to not even think it. But, sadly, her mother was right. She looked at her new boyfriend, "Heh, Ron's my boyfriend. Who would have thought that would feel so right?" Looking at him, it was if a whole new world was open for her. It was just like she had always dreamed it would be. "Just making sure that this is real," she said in answer of Ron's silent question.

Ron smiled. "I know what you mean."

"If it is a dream, I never want to wake up," she said as her eyes sparkled.

"Kim, do you mean that? I mean really," he asked hopefully.

The red head nodded and smiled. "Yeah, I do." And boy did she ever. If she woke up right now, if all this really was some sort of dream, Kim didn't know if she could hold it together.

Ron's smile was so wide that it looked as if the top of his head might pop off, "Booyah!"

They walked in silence for a while, both were content to simply be in the moment. Gradually Ron noticed that Kim had been leading them to the park. Mercifully, the tranquil oasis in the teeming suburbia had gone, for the most part, Diablo free. Whatever her destination, Ron just let himself go with the flow and enjoy these moments.

"Why don't we sit down," she said as they came near a bench.

Ron looked at the wood lattice fixture for a moment before nodding, "Sure thing KP."

Instead of sitting next to him though, the redheaded center of his life sat a bit away, facing him. Breathing deeply, she looked at him in that special way she had when she wanted to say something and was trying to gather her strength. "Ron, I think we should talk."

Immediately Ron felt a lance of fear crash through him. Those were words that never boded well for the other person. As far as he was concerned, they were just as much bad road as Monkey Fist. Being who he was, Ron decided to rely on a tried and true response, melodramatics. "Oh no! I knew it! This is a dream and you're breaking up with me."

Kim's eyes went wide, that had not been the way she wanted to start this. Ron, that sweet lovable goofball, was always one to think of himself when it came to certain avenues, and she had just driven a bus down one. "Come on Kim, you can do anything, Ron said so. You can, no," she mentally shook her head, "you will tell him how you feel." And there was the real problem. Though he had gone out on a ferociously long limb for her, she had not done the same. She had just gone off on a mission. "Admittedly, it was a take over the world sitch. But I should have said something."

"Ron . . .RON! Amp down. I'm not breaking up with you."

All of Ron's panicked wailing came to an abrupt halt as Kim's words broke through. With eyes filled with hope he looked up at her, "Really."

Kim smiled, "Yes really. There are just some things about this, this, thing we're building that we need to talk about."

While not a big fan of talkage and emotions, Ron knew that, in this instance, such things needed to be said. Thinking he knew where she was going, the Stoppable male started rambling. "Okay KP. No problem. I'll be a total gentleman. No black holes for me, yes sir!"

"I didn't really mean that," she giggled. "But yeah, you're probably right. I mean, the couples package is so in, but I think it may get a tad awkweird if we go past that too quick."

Ron raised an eyebrow at the new term, "Couples package."

The redhead blushed, "You know, hand holding, hugs, some k-kisses." By the time she finished, Kim was practically whispering, so embarrassed was she.

"Oh," laughed Ron nervously. Sure, they had just spent the whole walk holding hands. And the kiss at the dance had been totally badical. But she had just basically given him a free pass to do all that whenever.

"I'm sorry," blurted Kim.

"What for KP," he asked in confusion.

A memory flashed in her mind. It was of Ron looking at her, his eyes filled with hope. The kind of hope that says, "Please tell me that you feel the same way."

"For not saying anything when you told me how you felt."

Ron shook his head. He knew why she hadn't said anything. Rufus had saved the day and Drakken needed a smack down. "KP," he said soothingly.

Instead of easing her pain, his words only threw fuel onto the fires of her own rage. "Ronald Elijah Stoppable. I messed up and you will let me apologize!"

He looked at her, eyes downcast and lips turned down in a pout. "Three names KP?"

She giggled at his version of the puppy dog pout. "Sorry Ron, I just wanted you to listen. But I do mean it," said Kim seriously. "This is like the whole Drakken blushing me away sitch. I was majorly stupid and I need to be able to admit that."

Ron nodded his head. He remembered that particular instance well. Despite what he may have said, the Stoppable male knew well that Kim had messed that one up big time. At the time he had been happy that she was able to own up to it. If she needed it now, Ron guessed it was okay. "Okay KP, but no more of the three names, k."

"K, Ron," she giggled. "I should've said something though. I didn't have to spill everything, but I could have at least told you that I felt the same."

"You do," he asked, his face a picture of hope. While she said the whole walking thing was like a dream, Ron's mind always had the capacity to assume the worst. Here though, he could get a response that not even he could distort.

Though she had made the conscious choice to put a little distance between them for the purposes of this talk, Kim reached out and took Ron's hand. "Yes Ron, I do. It took me a while to realize it, but I would love to be your girlfriend."

He tightened his grip on her slim hand, "That would be totally badical KP. But, if you don't mind, why the sudden feelings? I mean, why not a different time or somethin'? You didn't keep up with me after the Moodulators."

"I know what you mean, it was kind of a quick switch. What it really took was the right words at the right time. With the whole Moodulator sitch I was able to convince myself that it was all them, that you were just my friend. Besides, you did break up with me," she said with a mock glare.

Ron rubbed the back of his head as visions of an enraged Kim Possible ran briefly through his mind. "Yeah, well, it was such a weird turn. I didn't want to mess things up."

"Yeah, I can see what you mean. And had you said something then I would have probably just chocked it up to the whole sitch. But in Bueno Nacho, it was like you flipped a switch in me. I saw a completely different Ron, yet it was the same you that was always there. I guess it's like an avalanche. Everything had been building for years but when that last snowflake landed on top at the right time and place, the whole thing just started going."

"Actually," he thought, "that kinda makes sense. How many stories are there when something like that happens? Like a million?" "Okay KP, the Ron man can dig it."

She giggled at his bravado, "Well Ron man, answer me this. When did you know?"

Ron raised an eyebrow. "Know?"

Kim blushed and lowered her head, "You know, about us?"

"Oh," exclaimed Ron. "Um, I don't really have a time KP. I kind of just took the long way there. Though I will say the kiss in the hall really helped it along," he muttered as he blushed scarlet. That one incident had led to numerous dreams.

The Possible female nodded as she listened to her new boyfriend talk. For so long she had tried desperately to maintain the friendship angle. It had gotten to the point that she actually started seeing him as someone different than who he was. Someone that, while an awesome friend, was definitely not food chain material. Kim couldn't imagine what it must have been like for Ron, having those feelings slowly build and being able to tell what they were. "Well, I think we can both count on some more kisses in the future," she giggled at his goofy grin. "I think that's enough seriousness for now," she thought with a smile. "Time for some snuggling."

As the lithe form of his best friend/girlfriend moved over and pressed herself into his side, Ron just sat there with wide eyes. Inside, a veritable riot of emotions and thoughts all vied for dominance. Old thoughts of friendship battled with ones of a more romantic nature. "Should I put my arm around her? Is that going too far, or not far enough? On no! What if I do put my arm around her and I touch the wrong place!" Quicker and quicker did the processor that was Ron's mind work until there was an unmistakable smell of something burning.

Leaning next to Ron, Kim waited for several moments for him to wrap his arm around her. When he didn't, she looked up at him at saw his wide, unblinking, stare. "Oh Ron," she thought with a smile, "you so want to do something but just don't know what. Don't worry, I've got your back." Gently, the young woman reached out and took hold of her new man's arm. After laying it place, she snuggled deeper into that wonderful warmth radiating from him like an inferno. "Remember," she said as she looked into his eyes, "this is part of the couples package."

"But Kim," he countered in a mild panic, "what if I touch something I shouldn't? Your dads' gonna shoot me into a black hole!"

Kim snuggled in closer to him, hoping that her warmth would sooth his nerves. "Ron, do you trust me?"

The young man looked down at his new girlfriend. In the back of his mind the sight felt so right. "Of course I do KP."

"Well then trust me enough to trust you. Now, let's just sit here and enjoy ourselves. Okay Ron." After several seconds Ron agreed with her. As he did so, her new boyfriend tightened his grip on her. "Oh yeah," she thought, "that's much better." It was certainly better than any of the other boys she dated in the past. For so long she had dismissed the idea of any type of relationship with Ron. Even setting aside the ferociously bad ideas surrounding the "food chain," Ron had always been her best friend. Kim convinced herself that turning such a good friend into a boyfriend would be like suddenly deciding to date one of the tweebs. On every level it seemed like a bad idea. In the here and now though, Kim was realizing that a friend like Ron made for an excellent boyfriend. She didn't need to put on airs with him, they knew each other too well for that. Plus, she didn't have to wait to see if he would suddenly become someone different, the Possible woman trusted him with her life on the field, she could, and would, extend that same trust to him now. There was safety in those arms, there always had been. Nothing could touch her there, and now she knew it.

Feeling Kim press herself into him, Ron sat on the bench with the widest grin ever. When he had awoken that morning, he never anticipated that, by the end of the day, he and his best friend would be an official couple. In the fullness of honesty, he expected to somehow get caught in the janitor's closet again, such was the way his luck had been. Now, not only was he not just the friend to Kim Possible, he was also the teen hero's boyfriend. There were times when he dreamed of such an eventuality, but now he realized that those dreams paled in comparison to the truth. Ron had always made it his mission to protect Kim, sometimes even from herself. As he looked down at her, he felt that desire grow. No one would hurt her again, not while there was breath still in his body.

ooooooooo

Kim was running. As fast as her legs could take her, the home and buildings of Middleton sped past her in a blur. She dared not look behind to see what she was running from, to do so would slow her down enough for it to get her. Though she did not know what followed, the young Possible had a vague idea what it was doing at her heels. A part of her knew that her beloved home was being gobbled up back there, but for the life of her she couldn't remember what had been taken.

She was losing, and Kim knew it. Whatever it was that chased her was too strong, too fast. It was only a matter of time before she ran out of places to hide and it took her too. That was not something she could not allow though. There were people who counted on her, people she wanted, needed, to see again. So, with a thought, she changed directions. There was one place it hadn't taken yet, she was sure of it. That was where she would go.

As one foot fall followed the next, Kim never noticed what was occurring to her. The curves granted by years of puberty and that had caught the eye of many a male, slowly faded away. In their place was the simple state of the child she had once been. With each building it consumed, the beast destroyed another mental construct representing a memory of her life. And, while she did not know that, Kim knew that something precious was being stolen from her. There was one thing though that she would not let it steal, one person it would not touch. Up ahead, she could see it shining, beckoning her to seek shelter within. That would be her last stand.

It was the one place on the planet that held as much meaning as being encircled by Ron's arms. Even then, it held such a bedrock link to Ron that she really couldn't think of one without the other. From that spot, a new friendship was forged. Kim could not even fathom what her life would be like without that meeting. She knew herself too well, the person she would have become would not have been pretty. So, within the walls of Pre-K she would keep the memory of Ron alive.

The beast was coming, Kim could see it now. Everything else was gone, eaten away by the white wall of nothingness. It was closing in on the iron gates of her preschool. She couldn't remember what had once been out there, as long as she could remember it was just that white mist out there. The school though, she knew that, it was her place to remember Ron. With all of the power of her love for him, Kim put all of her soul into keeping it safe. Nothing would come in and take it, take him, from her.

She could hear it out there, howling, thrashing, just waiting for a moment of weakness so it could swoop in and destroy her. Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, its cries abated, the mental pressure assailing her died down. In its place was the most oppressive silence ever heard. It seemed to bear down on everything. Even the sounds of her own breathing seemed like the loudest of rockets to Kim's ears. At first, the young girl felt frightened at the silence, but her fears were banished by a pair of spectral arms belonging to Ron. Here, as in the real world, her wonderful BFBF kept her safe from all that would dare harm her; even if it was just her mental image of him.

Eventually, the world outside of Pre-K began to materialize from the haze of non-remembrance. As it did, so too did Kim's age slowly progress to it true state. While all seemed well though, Kim wasn't buying it. Now, more than ever, she held onto Ron with all her might. No scheming nothingness would trick her into giving up her most treasured space. Now and again, something from the outside would call to her with Ron's voice, but since everything she held about him was in with her she did not open the gates.

With the last of her world in place, Kim still held on strong. Finally though, the mutterings of Ron from outside came through with one thing that no beast could have known. It was an image of Ron standing in a train holding up his pants, the belt she had given him for their halfaversery having just been used to save the day. It was then that the Possible woman knew that the beast was truly gone. Ron, her Ron, had been trying to get to her. Needing no further proof, Kim Possible threw open the gates of her treasured place and was consumed by light.

When it cleared Kim remembered everything, both before and after the incident with the MRM. A part of her was crushed at the majorly unfair way she had treated Ron. Even to her own ears she had sounded less like herself, and more like Bonnie. Despite the guilt, she knew one thing though. Cupping his boyishly handsome face, she looked into those big brown eyes and said what she knew to be true in her heart, "I think I love you!"

ooooooooo

The flight back from a mission was often a time for unwinding. In fact, Ron had taken leisure to a whole new level of being. This time though, there was no sleep, no chips, not even homework. He was exhausted, both physically and emotionally, but none of the typical Ron lazy even tried to make an appearance. The last few days had just drained everything from him. As his mind ran over the events, he wasn't exactly sure what was worse, Kim losing her memories or Kim getting most of them back and, in the process, turning into Kim. Both events had been about as painful in their own unique ways. It was almost as if he had lucked into two hells for the price of one.

More so than most people, Ron knew the duality of the human mind. How, even in the nicest of souls, there could lurk an evil so vast that it sent chills up the spine even thinking of it. Those who basked in the darkness often had a kernel of goodness within them as well. Ron, more so than most, knew this hard truth well. His dark side had come to the fore before. The latest incident had been only a month or two ago. Some days he could feel him back there, that jerk he had come to call Zorpox. After his bouts with the attitudeinator, Zorpox had gone from just that dark part that resides in every human to a more fully formed creature. He sat back there and, when Ron was particularly weak, he would start talking, like some evil Jiminy Cricket. Luckily, he was so far back that most days Ron never heard him.

Just as Ron had his own bad self, he had seen Kim's as well. Not having as an apt a name as his own villainous side, Ron had just settled on calling her Kim. Over the years he had many opportunities to interact with Kim. She was the side of KP that was into the fads at the exclusion of all else. When she was around, KP acted less like the girl who would do anything, save someone, and make her family happy and more like Bonnie. When he heard that his girlfriend remembered him finally, Ron had been elated. Unfortunately the one who remembered him was Kim. Every time he even mentioned their relationship, she would answer just like some stuck up cheerleader. Kim, the real Kim, back before they had gotten together would not have been so harsh, especially when she saw how hurt her words made him.

When it became quite clear that Kim had regained all of her memories except the ones concerning their relationship, Ron began to despair that she would never return to girl he fell for. Just when all hope seemed lost though, a light returned to Kim's eyes that had been missing these last few days. His pants, always a bane of his self-image, had been the final thing to trigger her memories. And with the memories of their relationship returned, so too did his totally badical KP.

As if just getting his Kim back was not enough of a reward for him, she came out with the "L" word. She loved him. Kim Possible loved him, Ron Stoppable. He had longed to hear that for so long that he was left almost completely speechless. It was then, as he mentally relived that totally badical moment, that Ron realized that he had totally left Kim hanging. "Oh man! She said how she felt and I just stood there looking at her!"

Whereas he was too busy decompressing, Kim had been using the after mission time to get some homework done. As he looked over at her, she looked up from her studies. Their eyes caught and Ron mirrored her smile. "Hey KP," he said softly as he held out his hand to her.

He watched her with a smile as she looked at his hand and her homework. "She just got her memory back and should probably be resting, yet there she is working," he thought wryly. Even though he hoped that she would take a break and sit with him for a while, Ron seriously doubted she would. Kim had missed a lot over the last few days and her Kimness wouldn't let her stay behind for long. So, it was with great surprise, and even greater delight, that he watched her get up and sit down beside him. He sat looking into her eyes for a few moments. Just as she was starting to get lost in those orbs, Kim closed the distance between them and started to check his tonsils for him.

Though he wished that they could just stay like that forever, Ron was eventually forced to pull away. As he breathed deeply to replace vital stores of air, the Stoppable male felt a measure of pride that Kim was similarly breathless. Gently, he brushed a strand of her hair from her face. "I was so worried that I lost you." She tried to reassure him, but Ron placed a finger on her lips. "It is big KP. So, while everything is all calm, I wanted to tell you that I love you."

ooooooooo

In a small restaurant in the outermost suburbs of Middleton two teens looked at each other nervously. It had been over a month since the Lorwardian invasion. Since then, Kim Possible and Ron Stoppable had been almost constantly on the move. Even with the militaries of the world out in full force to help clean up, there seemed to be no end to the brush fires that Team Possible needed to put out. No matter where they went though, the young couple was constantly amazed at the level of help and cooperation that seemed to have blossomed. In many ways, it seemed as if the science fiction writers had been right. The real, honest, evidence of life existing elsewhere had the effect of bringing down many of the walls that people used to separate themselves from each other.

While the rising humanity of humanity overjoyed both teens, they had decided to take some time out of their world saving for a bit of couple's time. In fact, this date was a bit of a belated anniversary for them. A little over a year ago they finally created something that a whole host of people long hoped and prayed for. Thanks to the invasion, their celebration had been put on hold. Until now that is.

The locale for their date had been chosen by Ron. It was small, quiet, and, as an added bonus, it had no coupons; something that Kim thoroughly appreciated. Though each tried desperately to maintain focus on the one they were with, both teens kept looking away. For Ron, the target of his continual glances was the pocket of his suit jacket and the small box it contained. Even before the invasion had occurred, it was something that the blonde young man had considered. As much as he didn't want to hold Kim back from her glorious destiny, he couldn't conceive of his life without her in it. After the invasion though, he knew that this was the right path. He wouldn't try to hold her back, but he would be there for every step.

As for Kim, she couldn't keep her eyes off her purse. Despite its tiny size, the accessory carried something she valued as much as the man across from her. After graduation, she occasionally glanced at her man and saw the near total panic that lay there. He was so worried that he was holding her back from some grand future, yet at the same time Ron was terrified that he would be separated from him. She tried numerous times over these last few weeks to put into words how much he meant to her. He was her everything and without him she was certain that she wouldn't be "The" Kim Possible. The small rectangular box in her purse was something that she hoped would help make Ron understand that she would go nowhere unless it was with him.

So, as they tackled each course of their, admittedly, lavish meal, the two teens chatted away. Chatting, in the past has often been confused for talking, though they are, in fact, quite different. Chatting occurs when people are too enthralled by something else, or too bored to care about a given situation. Talking, on the other hand, is when people come together and devote serious brainpower to the function of speech. Kim and Ron were most assuredly doing the former as they were so concerned with the items they had that they could only fall back onto the human instinct of discussing inane garbage that neither really cared about.

The chatting died down though as the final course, dessert, was served. Both could feel that there was no more time for idle chatter. With the timing that they had developed over years of knowing and trusting their partner, Kim and Ron looked at each other.

"Kim . ."

"Ron. . ."

With their first attempt at saying what weighed heavily on both their minds, Kim and Ron looked down at their deserts once more. Between bites of his double cheesecake, Ron mumbled, "You first KP."

Kim smiled at her boyfriend. She knew he would do that. Ron was always letting her go first, letting her shine. Well tonight was the night that would hopefully change. Putting down her spoon next to her slice of Devilishly Delicious Devil's Food Cake, Kim looked at her boyfriend lovingly. "Ron, you mean so much to me. You've always been there, by my side, helping me in so many ways that I can't even think of them all. Eventually, you and I are going to be going to college. But, before then, I want you to know that, no matter where I am, I will only be there if you are." Every fear in her was screaming that what she was about to do could turn out badly, she paid them no heed. Kim Possible was on a mission, and on a mission she could do anything. From her bag, Kim withdrew a rectangular box and opened it. As she held it out to Ron, she looked deep into his eyes. "Ronald Elijah Stoppable, will you marry me?"

At his core, Ron had never really been one for jewelry. Oh sure, he wore some bling bling to attract the ladies, but that was really against his essential Ronness. The necklace that Kim was holding though, for a small eternity, it became the center of his universe. It was a small oval of silver with a peridot in the center. The design was rather simple and gave no indication that it belonged to one gender or another. As important as the item was though, what was of greater importance though was the question that Kim had popped. Looking up into her eyes, Ron could see them brimming with love, hope, worry, confidence and fear. There was really no need to think about an answer to her question, in a way it was sitting in his pocket at that very moment. "I-I would be honored KP," he replied with a tear or two in his eyes.

If one were to plot her happiness on a graph, they would have had to use scientific notation and a really large sheet of paper. Hearing those words come from her man made her heart beat so fast it almost stopped. Gently, and with shaking hands, Kim pulled the memento of her commitment to him out of its box. When it was firmly in his large, yet oh so gentle, hands, she gasped out, "Open it."

Several seconds of work was what it took for the Stoppable male to find the mechanism to comply with his fiancé's request. When he did so, Ron found that, while the inside was largely oval, the opposite side of the door was shaped like half a heart. Within both pieces there was a picture of Kim. In the oval, it was her as the woman she was now. The heart though, held an image of a much younger Possible, and from the way it sat it was clear that there was more to the image that was missing. "Kim . . . it's beautiful. But where is the other half?"

From her purse pulled out a second box. Opening the lid, she revealed another necklace similar to the first, only this time the gem was topaz. "Right here Ron." Sure enough, as she opened the piece of jewelry, there were two pictures there too. This time they were of Ron, both as a child and as a man. Kim reached out and placed the second necklace next to the first. "They are a set, incomplete without the other. Which is exactly how I feel Ron. You complete me in ways I'd only dreamed of. We'll each wear one to remind us of the other. That way, even if we're apart for some reason, we'll always be together."

"W-wow Kim," stuttered Ron with surprise. He knew that Kim loved him, but the depths of that feeling amazed even him. Reverently, he placed his engagement necklace where it belonged and he smiled as he watched her do the same. "Not to try and spoil the mood here KP, but what about college?"

Kim's answer was quick and heartfelt. "Wherever we go, we go together or not at all. You could get a job nearby or even get into the same college, but we stay together."

To Ron, it was as if a great weight was finally being lifted from his shoulders. For so long he feared a parting, even Kim's words had failed to totally divest him of those worries. Now though, as the cool metal slowly warmed to his body temperature, those fears were gone, the words made real. "Thanks KP. Though I never expected you to be the one to ask me," he laughed.

"I know," she giggled. "But I figured, if I want to marry you, why should I be normal."

Ron beamed with pride. "That's the way to be thinking." Without a hint of trepidation, he reached into his pocket, "Although, sometimes normal can be a good thing."

Just as she was about to ask him what he, of all people, meant by that, Kim felt her throat close as she watched him get up from his seat and kneel down before her. Though a part of her heard the happy mutterings of the people around her, every fiber of her being was trained on the man at her side as he took her hand.

"Kim, since the first day we met, I have treasured every moment of my life with you. Would you do me the honor of being my best friend and my partner for the rest of our days?"

She knew that there were women out there who would have taken one look at the ring that Ron had bought for her and turned him down flat. It was a simple golden band with a tiny gem the color of her hair. For Kimberly though, she could not have been any happier with his choice. As much pride as she had taken in her choice to ask him, Kim was ecstatic that he had planned to do the same. Not even noticing the tears which poured down her cheeks, she nodded happily, "Yes!"

The cheers and well wishes of those around them went totally ignored by the newly engaged couple. For them, the world was just each other as Ron stood to kiss his best friend. It was a short kiss, with only a hint of the passion that both felt for the other, but it was filled with love and the promise of a lifetime. As they finally pulled away, reality intruded upon their world and the sounds of the onlookers became unmistakable. They both blushed with embarrassment, as neither had even remembered that they were surrounded by people. The couple waived and thanked the crowd before sitting down in their seats and trying very hard not to be noticed by anyone else.

For a while, silence and desert rested between the pair like a warm blanket. With great frequency, chocolate met with emerald and the world once again faded for a time. Eventually though, Ron broke the silence, "Um KP, there's something we should talk about."

Even riding the emotional high like she was, Kim could see that this line of discussion was mildly upsetting to her newly engaged best friend. "What's the sitch Ron?"

"It's about your last name."

Kim could see where this was going and reached out a comforting hand to envelop her love's. "Hey, it's no big. I'll happily be Mrs. Stoppable."

Ron shook his head. "No KP, you don't understand, I want you to keep your name."

She felt as if he had suddenly stabbed her. Reflexively, her hand began to pull away, but its escape was blocked by Ron's. Looking into his eyes, she could see he was serious, "Why?"

"Listen Kim, I've thought a lot about this. You're Kim Possible and I'm Ron Stoppable. Thanks to the Lowardians, there are probably three people on the planet who don't know our names. We've done a lot of good as Team Possible."

"And we can keep doing it as Team Stoppable," she assured. "We're partners, remember."

"Yeah, I do KP," he smiled. "But Team Possible is more now than just a girl with a website. We help people, heck we saved the world. When we get married you might be Kim Stoppable in your heart, but the world looks to Kim Possible when it needs saving. We don't have to like it, but we're becoming legends KP. You may not hear the whispers, but I do. What'cha wanna bet that, in like, a thousand years, people will be talking about us like Hercules or something."

She had heard them and, in her drive to just be a teen, Kim ignored them. There was a time when she could have become Kim Stoppable and the world would have never noticed. But that was in the past, before she even knew that it was a possibility to love Ron with every fiber of her being. Now though, she heard it when people talked to her. In emergencies officials immediately differed to her, as if she were some sort of monarch. She hated it of course but she knew enough about history to know that a hero is often the one who least wants it.

Still, there was Ron to think about, "What about you? I mean, what does it say about you that I wasn't willing to take your name?"

Ron's smile could have broken his face in half. "I think it says that you have one bondiggity fine husband. And really KP, who cares what they say? We know the truth, and our parents are okay with it."

Her eyes grew wide at that, "You asked my parents?"

"Heck yeah, no way the Ron man is gonna take a black hole trip."

She giggled even as she tightened her grip on his hand. In his eyes, Kim saw a love that was as vast as infinity. He had shocked her with the name thing. Even more shocking was the argument he put up in defense of it. "Well," she thought, "time to do some shocking of her own." Slowly, she slipped a slim foot from its shoe and began running it up and down her fiancé's leg. "You should know, I got us a hotel room. Just in case."

For his part, Ron was really glad that he wasn't eating or drinking anything at the moment. Had he been, it was a rather high possibility that it wouldn't have gotten past the lump that had suddenly formed in his throat. In all his plans for the evening, what she seemed to be suggesting had never entered into the itinerary. Now, he couldn't stop the flood of images his hormones were conjuring. "You sure?"

A tiny voice, sounding not unlike her mother, spoke up, "Yes Kimberly. Are you sure?" Of course the couple had talked about sex before. After they had finally put to words that which they both knew, they had talked for a long time. Together they had decided that, while there was most certainly an attraction, they would wait for when the time was right, not just when hormones cropped up. Since that time, the closest they had gotten was right after the Lowardian Invasion was defeated, and even then, boxers and panties had stayed in place. What had held them back then was that, while it most definitely felt good, it didn't feel right. Now though, as Ron's question tumbled about, she could feel it. Tonight was the night, and heaven help any baddies that interrupted. "Yeah, I think I am."

ooooooooo

The room was quiet. The lusty cries of lovemaking had long faded into the ether. All that remained was the sounds of soft breathing and the smell of sex. In this room a partnership for the ages had been renewed. Bonds of friendship and love had been strengthened by the fires of passion. Across the room there were the strewn remains of clothing that had been discarded to allow flesh to meet flesh. And on the bed at the center of the chaos, Ron Stoppable and Kim Possible slept softly.

Ever so slowly, the male of the pair was roused from his slumber by the incessant urging of a rather full bladder. When it finally overcame the blessed warmth of unconsciousness, Ron looked around. For a moment or two, as he took in the unfamiliar surroundings, the Stoppable male wondered why he wasn't in his room. But then the memories of the night came rushing back in. After dinner they had made their way to the hotel suite Kim had reserved in advance. Soon, all their clothes had been shed and they settled into the bed. People talk about their first time being perfect, about how everything went so right that it could be used as a teaching moment. Well their first time wasn't that. There were mistakes; tickles instead of a caress, giggles in between moans, and a miss or two. Because of that though, for Ron it was the most perfect thing ever. A textbook experience wouldn't have been a reality in their world.

Any further rumination on that topic was forced to take a backseat to the screaming coming from his bladder. As smoothly as he could, Ron slipped out from underneath his new fiancé and made a b-line for the bathroom. Upon finishing his business, the blonde-haired teen turned and almost ran right into an ethereal form.

"Stoppable-san . . . ."

"Sensei," squeaked Ron as he dove for a towel.

"Fear not Stoppable-san, I see you as you see me. Your privacy is maintained."

Though the assurance calmed him somewhat, Ron still wrapped a towel around his torso. "What's up Sensei? Another test or somethin'?"

"No, nothing so dramatic. I just wished to congratulate you on your recent joining."

Ron stared, wide-eyed, at the apparition. "How did you know about that," he squawked. The idea of an old man watching him and Kim make love was too many levels of wrongsick for him to even comprehend.

The light of Sensei's form dimmed somewhat. "There is much to say, Stoppable-san. You should be seated." After several moments, the apparition seemed to straighten some. "Your becoming the Monkey Master was not an accident. Scrolls kept here at Yamanouchi have long spoke of your arrival to this world."

"Wait, you mean you knew?"

"Indeed. Toshimiru wrote of you in his waning years. You are the Monkey Master that would herald the arrival of the Han."

"But why didn't you take me from my parents or something? I mean, if I'm supposed to be so important why not train me?"

"Your path was always meant to be different. You were to be grounded in your world, not the one of Yamanouchi. I admit though, our first meeting was not at Yamanouchi."

He wracked his brain trying to think of any little Japanese men who could fly in magic bubbles and predictably he could find none. "I'm drawing a blank here Sensei."

"When you were but a child, I came to you and taught you some of truth and honor. I was a friend before you met Miss Possible."

"Rufus?" Though he normally referred to his naked mole rat buddy by that name, Ron still remembered the special friend he had so long ago.

"Indeed."

"That was you?"

"Not always. Rufus was as much imagination as he was me. But, when your soul called out for guidance, I was there to give it."

"Why? I thought that I was supposed to be myself."

"You were, and you are. My advice was only there to help bolster the innocence and justice that already burned so brightly in your heart."

Slowly, Ron went over what he could remember from his discussions with "Rufus" all those years ago. "He's right, I don't remember anything that would be directions." "Okay Sensei, I can dig. So how did you know about Kim and me."

Sensei chuckled deeply, "Stoppable-san, there is no disciple of the Monkey who does not know. Your joining with Kim Possible sent a surge of energy throughout the world."

"Ah man! Everyone knows? Even Yori?"

"Yes Stoppable-san."

"How's she handling it?" Though he only learned of the girl's affection rather late, Ron still didn't want to cause her any pain.

"She is happy for you. As are we all. You have managed to do something that people the world over yearn for."

For a moment, Ron thought that Sensei meant the sex thing, but with the older man it always paid to be a little cautious with what he said. "I did?"

"Indeed, you have found your soul's mirror."

Immediately, Ron's gaze shifted to the bathroom door and the wonderful woman lying in a bed beyond it. "You mean Kim's my-?"

"Yes. And in so doing, you have found a union that not even I have been fortunate to experience. It is this discovery that has brought me here today. There is more to the our school than you know."

"Ah man! What now?"

"Ages ago, the King of the Monkeys gained from the God of Death freedom for his people. Since then, monkeys do not die as men die. As disciples of the Monkey, you and I are bound to that same covenant. Soon, you will find that you do not age as normal men do. This will only increase as your power and skill grow."

"What does that mean for Kim?"

Sensei sighed, "For most of us, we try hard to marry another from our school. So that at least we may spend the years with the one we love. I cannot say how long you will live Stoppable-san, but I believe it will be well in excess of what even those of us from Yamanouchi can sustain. Destiny will see to that."

Ron felt his blood go cold. "You mean I'll outlive Kim?" Thoughts of him, looking just as he did now, standing beside an elderly KP shook him to his very core. It was not the thought of a old Kim that so chilled him, it was seeing her age every day and him going on, looking ever younger in comparison to her.

"If nothing is done, yes. It seems as if fate is on your side though."

"What do you mean?"

"There is a way for those who are soulmates to join their energies together. Already I can see a partial link between you. It is a fragile thing, but if you both wish it you can be with each other forever."

Suddenly, the bathroom door was pushed open and a very nude Kim Possible stood in the doorway. "I want it," she said with firm determination. Though he didn't know it, Ron's leaving of the bed had awoken her. When he didn't soon return, Kim playfully sneaked over to the door to scare him when he came back; and possibly encourage another round or two of Ronshine mk 2. Hearing the voices, she naturally grew curious and began listening in. She soon realized it was Sensei that Ron was talking to. Like her beloved, she was horrified to know that she would precede him in death by who knows how long. The news of an alteration to that destiny had only one response.

Though he felt a not small measure of pleasure at seeing his naked fiancé, the majority of Ron was dancing with joy at her proclamation. Standing, he moved over to her. He took her hands into his own and stared into her eyes, "Really?"

"Together forever Ron."

As he looked into her eyes, Ron saw that she meant it. With every fiber of her being, this woman, the only woman, wanted to spend eternity with him. It had taken years to come to this point, roads crisscrossing through life until they met at one moment in time; but what were a few years when measured against forever? With his eyes reflecting every bit of emotion he saw in her, Ron leaned in and kissed his love.

In that kiss, the world fell away and behind their eyelids both teens saw the world go blue. None of that mattered though. For them the moment stretched out into the infinite. Two souls, born apart by distance and kept apart throughout the ages, finally touched and no force in heaven or on earth would ever part them again.

Eventually, the kiss ended and the couple's mortal shells parted, but inside, right beneath their necklaces, they could feel the other. Each had, in the moment, taken a piece of the other into themselves for as long as their bodies remained on this earth.

Unnoticed by the couple, Sensei faded away. His work was done for now. He had seen the most truly divine thing anyone could hope to see. What came next, he would leave to them but the elderly man was sure of one thing, no matter what they did it was going to be grand. "Booyah."

ooooooooo

Author's Notes: When I first posted this, it was something of a mess. Now I've cleaned it up for your enjoyment.

Chaos Lord

King of the Wicker People