The Halloween Spirit, by DoofusPrime

XX

The Halloween spirit had descended on Middleton. It floated in the air alongside crinkled autumn leaves that passed through the fading afternoon light. As afternoon slipped into evening, it winked on front porches, hidden in the mischievous flickers of yellow light that emanated from jack-o'-lantern eyes, noses, and mouths.

Soon, it would be found in the laughter and joyful skips of costumed children who went from house to house as they added to their sugary stashes. It wasn't quite dark enough for those children to hit their neighborhoods yet, to their collective consternation. Instead, the Halloween spirit lingered in living rooms and kitchens as children all over Middleton waited for the sun to finish going down.

The kitchen of the Possible family's home was no exception. Although the person waiting most impatiently for trick-or-treating to begin was not a child anymore, except at heart.

"Come on, KP!" Ron shouted up the stairs. "We're gonna be way behind with our schedule if we don't get out there quick. By the time we get to Lowerton, all the houses will be totally cleaned out!"

A harried voice came from over the banister above Ron's head as Kim finished putting on her costume.

"Be down in a minute, Ron!"

Ron returned to the kitchen and grabbed another Halloween cookie, fresh baked and topped with a leering pumpkin frosting face. Ron had helped Kim's mother Anne with the baking and frosting, and while Kim had wanted to lend a helping hand herself, the two of them had dissuaded her from the idea as nicely as possible. Fortunately, she hadn't pressed the issue. Which was a good thing – Ron thought Halloween cookies were a sacred tradition, and burning them would be the worst blasphemy he could think of.

"Excuse me Ronald," said James Possible, frowning as he watched crumbs fall from Ron's mouth to the kitchen floor, "did you say Lowerton?"

"Sure did, Mr. Dr. P. We're gonna hit up all the houses in Middleton, Upperton, and Lowerton tonight. Gotta make the best of the time we have, you know? By the way, I hope you don't mind, but I grabbed a few trash bags from your garage."

James felt his frown increase. He admired the scope and boldness of Ron's trick-or-treating plans, but he and Anne had been hoping that the two teens could help them later with cleaning up the Haunted House at Middleton Hospital once they were finished there.

"Ronald, how about you two stick to Middleton? We never bothered with Lowerton when I took the two of you out trick-or-treating. I'm sure Middleton has more than enough candy, even for you," James chuckled.

"Sure, for one night! But we need to hit Upperton and Lowerton if we wanna stockpile."

"Upperton, too?"

Rufus poked his head out from Ron's pocket and nodded very seriously to Kim's father, confirming that there was no way Upperton could be avoided, and that stockpiling was in fact a necessary part of any good Halloween plan.

James' incredulity was cut off by the appearance of his daughter in the kitchen. Kim had finished putting on her outfit. It was a good one, although James counted his personal favorite as the cowboy outfit Kim had worn in preschool. And he knew that Anne had found Ron's preschool ballerina costume too adorable for words.

"How's it look, dad?"

"Excellent, Kimmie-cub. Now, do you think you and Ron could try to wrap up your trick-or-treating by, oh, say ten o'clock or so? Your mother and I were hoping the two of you could stop by the hospital and help us clean up the House of Horror once we're finished with the Scare for Care."

Kim looked skeptically at her partner in candy crime, who was on the verge of literally hopping up and down in anticipation of getting his loot.

"Uh, maybe if I can rein in Ron."

"Oh, and one more thing – could you do me a favor?"

"Sure dad."

"Great! Would the two of you take Jim and Tim along with you while you're out trick-or-treating? We can't exactly take them, and I don't want them destroying anything at the hospital or setting up actual scythe traps in the Haunted House like they did last year."

Anne nodded in agreement as she shuddered at last year's memories, thankful that no one had sued or needed her medical expertise for anything beyond band-aid applications. "How in the world did they get a hold of actual scythes?" she wondered aloud.

"Your guess is as good as mine, dear."

Kim sighed. It looked like her father had roped her in pretty well, and she felt a little guilty about knowing that she was almost guaranteed to be late for the Haunted House cleanup with Ron as her fellow trick-or-treater, so perhaps taking Jim and Tim along was only fair.

"Alright dad, it's a deal."

Two blurred shapes whisked past her as they raced around the kitchen, almost as if they had materialized out of thin air.

"Aw man!" cried Jim.

Tim raced close on the heels of his twin. "We wanted to go out by ourselves!"

"I don't think so boys. Your sister will be making sure the two of you don't get too wild out there, won't you Kim?"

"Oh, for sure."

Ron was unable to wait any longer.

"Alright!" he announced. "It's time for some T or T action!"

"Eek – yes!" Rufus squeaked as he pumped his fist in anticipation.

Ron almost dragged Kim out the door along with her twin brothers as they all said goodbye to Kim's parents. James and Anne watched the costumed kids leave as they stood in their open doorway and looked out over the darkening neighborhood. In a few moments, they would be headed to the hospital themselves.

When Kim and Ron were children, James had often led them around the neighborhood trick-or-treating. Sometimes, when his wife wasn't busy being involved in the Scare for Care program, which had been an event at the hospital for quite some time, she would also tag along. It had been a few years since James and Anne began to let their daughter go out trick-or-treating on her own – his wife had convinced him at the time that, being a teenager who had recently started going on international crime fighting missions, Kim probably didn't need parental supervision.

Now that James thought about it, Kim and Ron were a little old to be trick-or-treating in the first place, but he knew Ron would probably keep the habit up until he was in a resting home. James watched his daughter feebly trying to corral Jim and Tim as they went down the street, while Ron skipped gaily ahead.

It was surprising how quickly they had grown up already. Ron looked nothing like the little boy who James' could see in Halloweens long past, although sometimes his behavior wasn't all that different. And the freckle-faced cowgirl of James' memory was long gone. In her place was a young woman.

Anne grabbed his arm as the two of them looked out into the street.

"Ready to go, honey?"

James watched his daughter for another moment before closing the front door and turning back into the kitchen as his wife grabbed the car keys. He dashed into the bathroom and gave himself one last quick look in the mirror, making sure his traditional vampire costume was all in order. A pair of plastic fangs pushed against his leg from within his pants pocket. They were a little uncomfortable to wear for very long, so he always kept them there until he actually got to the Haunted House.

"Alright, ready!" he said as he left the bathroom and joined his wife, who was standing at the garage door and tapping her foot impatiently. The time for reminiscing about the past was over. Now, it was time to terrify some hapless children!

XX

Jack-o'-lanterns were lit, and laughter was in the air. A myriad of ghosts, goblins and ghouls flitted across the street from door to door trick-or-treating, often followed closely by their parental handlers. Kim, Ron, and the twins walked along a lamp-lit sidewalk to the next house on their route as Ron pored over a map of Middleton. He did not need a map, since he knew the town well enough already, but it was more the principle of the thing. Halloween was serious business.

"Would you two slow down?" Kim called out as her brothers ran ahead.

Jim and Tim were dressed as siamese twins, a costume which consisted of little more than some fake latex flesh connecting their heads together. They had thought the costume was awesome when they first came up with it, but now they were beginning to realize that they had not given enough thought to how uncomfortable gluing their heads together actually was. Even with that impediment, however, they still managed to run around wildly and drive Kim to distraction.

Kim was happy with her James Bond costume, especially since she had gotten her braces off recently. Pulling off the James Bond look with braces would be a challenge. A few people answering their doors had been confused, thinking that instead of a costume she was just wearing a suit for no reason, but Kim wasn't going to let that get her down.

"Grr!"

Kim looked down at Rufus with a guilty pout.

"Seriously Rufus, I totally didn't know!"

Rufus had been holding a bit of a grudge against Kim even since she came down the stairs earlier; not because she had failed to say hello, but because Rufus happened to be wearing his own tiny James Bond outfit. As far as he was concerned, it was a Rufus Halloween trademark. And everyone knew there weren't two James Bonds.

"Next time I'll make sure we're not matching and avoid the fashion faux, deal?"

"Mmm."

Ron seemed to like Kim's choice in costume despite knowing Rufus was a bit displeased. She had caught him eyeing her with a bit of admiration several times since she came down the stairs earlier. Ron was a Bond fan, but he had chosen to dress as Cinderella after seeing the movie for the first time a few days ago. He wore a flowing white gown that he struggled to keep from dragging on the road. Ron carried the look surprisingly well, Kim thought. Although boy's feet stuffed into glass slippers was a total no.

Kim had been on the verge of teasing him a little about his outfit when she had first seen him in it – it was hard to ignore – but then, she supposed it would be hypocritical of her when she was dressed as James Bond. If Ron was going for women's clothing, though, he could have at least consulted with her earlier. The two of them could have gone to the mall and put together a good Moneypenny outfit for him.

She looked over at Ron, who had fished something out of his billowing white gown and stuffed it into his mouth. "What was that?" she asked suspiciously.

"Whmpf? Jus' a li'l candy KP," said Ron through a mouthful of what was clearly chocolate.

"Shouldn't you be waiting until after we're finished?"

Ron swallowed. "Oh no, this is some stuff I grabbed from your house before we went out. Need a little pick-me-up to make sure we hit all our targets on time, am I right?"

Kim anticipated a massive sugar crash hitting Ron in a couple of hours.

"Whatever you say, Ron."

Tim looked back from where he had run ahead with his brother. "Hurry it up guys!" he shouted.

"Yeah," added Jim, "those kids are probably getting all the rest of the candy!" He pointed to the next house on their route, which had just been visited by another group of trick-or-treaters.

Kim and Ron caught up with her brothers as they reached the front porch of the house. There was a single pumpkin on a wooden bench alongside the door, although instead of a normal pumpkin face, Kim noticed an American flag was carved into it. Jim and Tim fought each other to ring the doorbell, and when they finally did, the group waited for a few moments before the door swung forcefully open.

"Stoppable?"

Ron looked up the imposing figure and gulped.

"Hello, Mr. Barkin. I didn't know you lived in the neighborhood."

"Well, now you know. What do you want?"

"Um – candy?"

Barkin looked around at the neighborhood, as if he had temporarily forgotten it was Halloween. He noticed Kim Possible standing beside the sandy-haired bane of his teaching career and gave her a curt nod; a moment later, he noticed the two tiny figures standing closer to him, stretching out what looked like trash bags at about his knee-level.

"Are these your brothers, Possible?"

"Yes sir. Jim and Tim."

"Who are you dressed as?" Ron asked, his curiosity overcoming his nervousness.

"Robert McNamara, Stoppable! We talked about him in history just last week!"

"Oh right, the breakfast cereal guy. Good stuff, Mr. B!"

Kim couldn't blame Ron for asking, seeing as Mr. Barkin didn't look any different to her than he did at school. Jim and Tim held up their bags eagerly, but instead of a candy payout, Mr. Barkin returned to the door after dipping inside his house for a moment with a handful of protein bars.

"Here you go, kids. Wheatgrass flavor."

Jim and Tim stared at the bars like they had just been handed a dead animal.

"For real?" Jim asked.

"Yes, that is for real! Now EAT UP!"

Ron shook his head at the wheatgrass bar offering, but Barkin forced it into his bag. "You need to eat healthy, Stoppable!"

"Come on Mr. B, the Bueno Nacho Naco diet gives me all the essential vitamins and minerals I need."

"You're going to turn into some kind of giant mutant someday if you keep eating that junk."

"Like that'll ever happen," grumbled Ron as he slung the trash bag over his shoulder.

He and Kim hastily said goodbye to their teacher and took their leave as Jim and Tim scurried ahead of them down the street. Ron looked even more disappointed with getting a protein bar than the twins were, if that was even possible, but as he pulled out his map while they went to the next house, his good mood soon returned. The next few houses had some nice candy scores which soon erased the bad memory of Mr. Barkin's Halloween treat.

"Check out that kid," said Ron as he pointed to a trick-or-treater passing by on the sidewalk. "He almost looked like Professor Painmaker." Ron was referring to a self-professed supervillain Kim had fought on a couple occasions recently.

"Yeah, pretty close," she agreed.

Professor Painmaker was really more of a Professor than a pain maker, but Kim had been getting the impression that the world of villainy was as much about appearances as it was about actual villainy. Either that or she hadn't fought any seriously dangerous foes yet. Perhaps one day the Professor would be replaced by new foes for her to fight.

Ron poked her arm again to point out another trick-or-treater, who was definitely not a child. Maybe someone's father had dressed up in costume.

"He looks like somebody we might fight on one of our missions too."

Kim had to agree again. The man was dressed in some kind of blue trench coat, his skin painted blue to match, and sported a fake scar running underneath his left eye. Other than the embarrassing mullet, Kim would have given him props for a reasonably convincing supervillain outfit. The man stared at her strangely for a moment, as if recognizing her, but then looked up and whistled nonchalantly as he passed them by, swinging a pumpkin-shaped pail of candy he was holding.

After hitting a string of houses, Kim was beginning to wonder if Ron would be disappointed if she cut off her trick-or-treating early. She knew Ron would probably insist on pressing on for a little while, but she had more candy than she was ever going to eat – she usually gave most of her candy to Ron anyway – and she wanted to make sure she helped out her parents at least a little before the night was through.

As she considered her escape strategy, she and Ron followed the twins to a house with a well-kept lawn and a silver Porsche parked in the driveway. The doorbell rang and they stood waiting until the door opened. Kim gasped at the sight of Bonnie Rockwaller standing in the doorway. Not that it was that surprising to see her – Kim wondered if she had just subconsciously assumed that Bonnie would be off flying around and sucking people's blood on Halloween.

"Kim?"

"Bonnie."

Kim looked over her cheerleading nemesis. Bonnie was dressed in what looked like a gigantic hard candy costume. It was red, round, covered in clear plastic twisted into a bow at either end, and looked like it would prevent Bonnie from getting back up if she was unlucky enough to fall over. Kim smirked, and could barely resist bursting into laughter.

"Sweet costume, Bonnie."

"Oh, can it."

"Why aren't you out trick-or-treating?" asked Ron.

"My sisters are the ones who go out trick-or-treating. Mom makes me dress up in this ridiculous costume and give out candy to people every Halloween. It's the way we do things in the Rockwaller household," Bonnie said, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Besides, anytime I used to go out trick-or-treating they just stole all my candy anyway."

"Your sisters? Aren't they like in college or something?"

"Yeah well, tell that to Connie and Lonnie. They like to dress up as celebrities and stuff. Lonnie always eats a whole bunch of chocolate and spends an hour in the bathroom at the end of the night."

Kim and Ron smiled and nodded awkwardly, sensing the conversation had taken an unexpected and weirdly personal turn. Bonnie regretted being so open, but Ron had caught her off guard with his direct questioning, and Bonnie was surprised to find that even Kim and Ron were a welcome distraction compared to the hordes of kids bothering her when her mother wasn't.

"Besides," Bonnie added in an attempt to save face, "I'm too old to go out trick-or-treating. What are the two of you doing out there?"

Ron was taken aback by Bonnie's lack of Halloween spirit. "You're never too old to go trick-or-treating!" he said. "How can you go without all that free candy?"

"Um, I don't eat candy. Being at the top of the food chain and leading the Middleton Cheer Squad in all but name demands a healthy physique. I'm surprised Kim doesn't seem to know what," said Bonnie with a pointed glance at Kim's bag full of candy.

"I'm just going to give these to Ron!"

"Sure K, I believe you. Hey, is your stomach looking a little paunchy there? Maybe you should be avoiding the midriff-baring style."

"Like you're one to talk! That costume makes you look like you weigh two hundred pounds!"

"A-booyah!" added Rufus, finding himself unable to resist giving props to Kim's smackdown even if he was still a little sore over the Bond costume fiasco.

Bonnie snarled, and the two of them looked like they were about to come to blows when Ron nervously wormed his way into the doorway between them. "Ladies, ladies," he said with a laugh, wondering if he had just put himself in the path of certain destruction, "let's not fight each other! Bygones, right?"

For just a moment, Kim and Bonnie looked like they were going to tear him apart to get to each other, but as Ron froze in fear, they both cooled down and backed off a bit. Ron breathed a sigh of relief as the situation returned to a non-impending-catfight state. Jim and Tim had realized who Bonnie was as soon as they heard her name, thanks to the numerous occasions Kim complained about her at the breakfast table, and they had been standing back waiting for a fight the whole time. They both groaned in disappointment at the sudden lack of tension.

"Whatever," said Kim. "Ron, I think we should wrap things up. Jim and Tim and I need to get to the hospital" - she glared at her brothers to assure them that they were, in fact, going to follow her orders - "and help my parents pack up the Haunted House as soon as their event is over."

"Aw, Kim, we haven't even hit Upperton and Lowerton yet! The night is young."

"We'd be trick-or-treating well into tomorrow morning if we did that, Ron."

Ron looked down at his candy – only one trash bag had been filled, and even then, there was room to spare. It certainly was not the jackpot he had been hoping for.

"I'm going to keep trick-or-treating," he said. "I'll just see you tomorrow, alright?"

Kim shrugged. "Sure. No sugar blackouts tonight, okay Ron?"

"Me, black out? Naww! Oh, hey, you're gonna give me some of your stash later, right?"

Kim smiled. She knew Ron would be helping himself from her candy stash whether she let him or not, but at least he asked nicely.

"Totally."

The two of them waved goodbye to each other as Kim took the twins in the direction of the hospital. Ron nodded nervously at Bonnie, who still had the door open, and dashed away to continue his quest for treats. Bonnie grunted as she watched him run off, holding his gown up to keep himself from tripping.

Now that she thought about it, she hadn't even given him a hard time about the Cinderella costume – she had been too worried about being caught in her own ridiculous costume to notice. That, and Ron was already such a weirdo that maybe it had gotten to the point where seeing him in a gown didn't make Bonnie blink an eye.

Costumes, costumes. Bonnie looked down at her bon bon costume and began to worry. Maybe Kim would be telling the whole school about it. Maybe she'd have to make some kind of exchange in which she promised not to tell anyone about Ron's outfit if Ron got Kim to keep quiet about hers. But then, Ron was wearing that ridiculous Cinderella getup in public, so he obviously didn't care.

Bonnie grunted again; this could mean trouble for her place on the food chain. Halloween, humbug! She closed the front door and set the bowl of candy down on an end table, hoping the night would soon be over, when a pair of hands descended on her without warning. She winced, her cheeks crying out in protest at a pair of sharp pinches.

"Oh, my little Bon Bon is such a cutie!"

"Mom!"

Bonnie's mother beamed at the costume she had picked out. "I can't wait until your sisters get back from their trick-or-treating and we can all take some family photos together," she said. "Don't you worry, I'll make sure all our relatives get a look at your cute little costume, pumpkin!" She released Bonnie's cheeks from their torture and wandered off into the house. "Hmm, pumpkin – that would have been a good choice too. Maybe next year!"

Bonnie sighed and sat in the chair she had set up next to the front door. If they had to take family photos, at least her older sisters would hog the spotlight and almost certainly block her out of the shot.

The trick-or-treating was dying down, but her mother insisted that Bonnie wait near the front door in her costume a while longer in case any other children arrived. The hard candy costume was so big that Bonnie had trouble sitting in the chair without falling off entirely. She looked down at the bowl of candy she was holding. It was almost empty.

Despite the fact that she needed to watch her flawless figure, Bonnie felt herself tempted to eat a piece or two, but she had to be strong. Fortunately, the sound of the doorbell ringing saved her from her own weakening resolve.

"Happy Halloween," she said as she opened the door. "Take a piece of candy and get out of-"

She frowned. It was Ron Stoppable again.

"What do you want?"

Ron rubbed his neck sheepishly, although he did help himself to one of the remaining pieces of candy in Bonnie's bowl, unwrapping it and eating it in front of her. Bonnie felt there was something distinctly cruel in the gesture, even if Ron didn't intend it that way.

"Uh, this is going to sound kind of weird, but do you want to go out trick-or-treating with me?"

Bonnie's eyes bugged out of her head.

"What?"

"Well, you sounded kind of sad that you didn't get to go when your sisters went out. I know it's getting late, but I thought we could still hit a few houses and get you some candy. I can hide behind the bushes if anybody recognizes me from the last time I hit their house up. That way you don't have to be seen with me."

Ron waited for an answer, which he knew would probably be a no. He hadn't stopped by the haunted house at the hospital to tell Kim where he was going, so he would have to call her later. He knew Kim despised Bonnie with a passion, and he certainly didn't like the girl very much himself, but it was Halloween, and she had definitely looked like she was in a bad mood when he and Kim stopped by her house the first time. And for good reason – even someone like Bonnie deserved to go trick-or-treating once in a while!

"You seriously want to go trick-or-treating with me?" asked Bonnie. She looked around in the darkness of her front yard suspiciously, half expecting Kim to leap out of some nearby bushes and take pictures.

"I just thought you might have fun."

Kim did not seem to be anywhere in sight, so perhaps Bonnie was saved from further social humiliation. She was almost certain Kim would be blabbing about her embarrassing costume to the entire school. But then again, maybe she could convince Ron to talk to Kim and make sure the two of them kept it to themselves. But that would involve trick-or-treating with - she shuddered – Ron Stoppable. People might see her!

She was about to turn Ron down when she noticed two dark figures down the street, laughing cattily to each other as they drew closer. Even at a distance, she knew who they were from the sound of their voices. As she looked around at the dark neighborhood, Bonnie decided that no one would recognize her if she kept out of direct street lights and forced Ron to ring the doorbells first, so she could make sure no one she knew answered the doors. Bonnie changed her mind faster than Ron could unwrap a piece of candy.

"Alright Ron, let's go. Mom, I'm going out for a bit!" she shouted back into the house. "I'll be back later!"

Bonnie grabbed Ron's arm and dragged him away from her front door, hitting the street before her sisters could come back and give her a hard time. She heard a vague word of protest from her mother as they left, but she knew she wouldn't be in trouble – her mother was so absentminded that she probably wouldn't even realize Bonnie was gone once Connie and Lonnie arrived and sucked up all available attention in the house.

"Alright, dork," she said as she helped herself to a piece of candy from Ron's bag. Maybe it was time to live a little. "Which house first?"

XX

"Hey honey! Nice of you to make it!"

Kim smiled and waved to her parents. Jim and Tim, who had already reached the haunted house but were making no attempt to help the other hospital staff start packing things up, had already gotten tired of their latex head patch and disengaged themselves from each other. Jim had a grotesque flap of latex skin flapping around on his head as he ran in circles. He was probably fueled by a sugar rush from all the candy he had already eaten, although neither of Kim's brothers needed any motivation to run around wildly for no reason.

"How did it go tonight?" Kim asked.

"Very well, I think we made a lot," said Anne as she helped load some cardboard monster cutouts into a truck.

James came out of the haunted house entrance and hissed at his daughter. "Velcome to our hooouse of hooorror, Mr. Bond!" he intoned in a Dracula-esque voice. "Hey, where's Ronald?"

"Still trick-or-treating. I guess Middleton wasn't enough for him."

Kim entered the haunted house with her father and helped pick up some of the heavier decorations. As they carted things out to a couple of parked trucks, Kim found himself thinking, yet again, about Bonnie's ridiculous costume. Even if she had gone trick-or-treating, Bonnie definitely wouldn't have chosen a costume like that. Maybe a ballerina. Even if Kim thought Ron owned that look much better than Bonnie ever would. Maybe a princess as well. But a giant piece of candy? No way.

The costume was embarrassing, no doubt about it, and Kim knew that she could probably deal Bonnie a social blow at school if she ratted her out. It was certainly tempting, and Bonnie sure deserved it. Unfortunately, Kim didn't really know anybody at school well enough to gossip in the first place, other than Ron, who already shared the knowledge of Bonnie's secret candy shame. Not to mention it would also be mean. She would be sinking to Bonnie's level if she told people about it just to be vindictive.

Kim sighed as she helped her father prop up a freakishly heavy fake skeleton. Sometimes being the good girl was a real drag.

XX

If one happened to be passing by the sidewalk, one might not even notice that there was a towheaded teen buried under the collection of overfilled trash bags that seemed to move over the ground of their own accord. Ron Stoppable was lugging along his own candy stash, but he had also been volunteered into holding Bonnie's bag for her. And, although Ron had been excited to find that the crazy lady a few blocks away from his house was giving out armfuls of almost-certainly-expired chocolate Easter rabbits, he was not as enthused about having to lug them around. Fortunately they had reached his house.

Ron opened the door and motioned for Bonnie to enter. "Ladies first."

Bonnie passed him and looked over his Cinderella costume. No, she thought. Too easy.

"Mom, dad? Anybody home?"

There was no answer.

"I think they're out for the night," Ron said. "Dad has actuary parties on Halloween sometimes, so he's always happy to let me go hang out at Kim's place."

"Whatever," said Bonnie as she looked around the entryway of the Stoppable abode. "You realize this is just for tonight, right? I was feeling generous and thought I'd grace you with my presence, and I guess this is better than hanging out with my stupid family all night."

"Sure, sure."

The Stoppable house, while certainly lacking in flair or good taste, was not as horrific as she had expected. Ron led her into the living room where she immediately plopped down on the couch and turned on the television. trick-or-treating had been fun, even with Ron as her partner, but trying to keep up with him had been difficult. She had only barely convinced him to skip Lowerton and the remaining half of Upperton after they had trudged around for what felt like hours.

Ron sat down beside her and dumped the trash bags unceremoniously on the floor. Several Easter rabbits spilled out, looking up at Bonnie forlornly from the clear plastic windows in their boxy prisons. That's right, she thought as she stared at the rabbits and licked her lips. Your time is up!

Then again, maybe she'd let Ron try those first to make sure they were still edible.

"So, um, Ron," she said as she distastefully watched Ron scarf down a rabbit almost in a single bite, "why did you invite me to go trick-or-treating and hang out at your house, anyway? I figured you hated me with the way I'm always picking on you."

"Well, you can be a drag sometimes, but the Ron man holds no grudges."

Bonnie rolled her eyes. Always with the third person.

"I guess you just looked a little sad when we stopped by your house," Ron continued. "I think everyone should get to go trick-or-treating. As for coming here..."

Bonnie had given up flipping channels quickly, as there was nothing interesting on besides a few gross creature features, when Ron suddenly scooted closer to her. Bonnie was about to – well, she wasn't sure what she was about to do, maybe freak out – when he grabbed the remote. She sighed with relief and loosened up a little. Ron began to flip through the channels as she watched. The way he was flipping, it seemed like he was looking for something in particular.

"Fearless Ferret reruns," he told her, almost as if he had read her mind. "There's gotta be a Halloween-themed one on tonight."

"Isn't that the corny show with the geriatric grandpa?"

Ron flinched at Bonnie's disrespectful treatment of Timothy North.

"And even if it wasn't a Halloween episode, they're always in costume anyway, aren't they?"

"Well, yeah, but Halloween ain't just about the costumes, Bonnie."

Although she was sure the answer would somehow be ridiculous, her interest was piqued. "What else is it about?" she asked.

Ron was glad she asked. He raised his eyebrow and put his arm over the couch, looking at her with the self-assurance of someone who was absolutely sure they were an expert on the subject.

"Well, you know. The Halloween spirit and all! It's all about giving. That's why I wanted you to go trick-or-treating and invited you to my house so I could share the wonder of The Fearless Ferret with you!"

Bonnie looked at him blankly.

"The spirit of giving? Ron, that's Christmas."

"What?"

Ron found the channel on which the rerun was about to start and put down the remote as he thought about her argument. "Hmm, maybe you're right. Well, the Halloween spirit, it's – it's spending time with your friends and family?"

"Um, still kind of Christmas. Or pretty much any holiday, really."

Ron frowned. Perhaps he had spoken too soon. Sometimes he liked to just blurt out explanations of things without having the details nailed down – Ron was a big picture kind of guy, and you could go far with a little improvisation, after all. But, as it was turning out, not very far with Bonnie.

"I think the spirit of Halloween is candy or something," Bonnie offered.

"Oh, yeah, that makes more sense. I knew that!"

The two of them settled down into the couch as the rerun began. Colorful credits flashed past Bonnie's eyes as the Ferret and his weasel sidekick punched out enemies with associated exclamatory words. Bonnie couldn't remember if she had ever seen the show before. The opening sequence shifted into a shot of the Fearless Ferret and Wonder Weasel putting up some Halloween-themed decorations in a room already drenched in 70's beige, cream, and taupe colors. It was definitely a holiday rerun.

Bonnie noticed a movement in the corner of her eye, and turned to see Ron's naked mole rat poking out of his pocket.

"Um, hello," she said.

Rufus looked nervously at Bonnie.

"Hi?"

He wasn't sure what was going on, but Ron hanging out with Kim's enemy was not something that happened every day. He was beginning to think he should have gone with Kim and her brothers. But then again, this was where the candy was at.

Bonnie tried to ignore Ron's strange pet, finding naked mole rats a little awkward, and eyed the trash bags filled with candy instead. There was no chance of Ron eating that much in one night – he was probably planning on making it last as long as possible. Then again, she had seen Ron in the lunch room. Maybe she was underestimating his gastric abilities. She decided she'd better sift through the candy and grab whatever looked the best before Ron left with her some disgusting malt balls or something. She'd just have a few. It was just for one night, anyway – what could it hurt?

As the show went on and Bonnie helped herself to a candy bar, she was surprised to find that being in Ron Stoppable's house was not nearly as bad as she had expected. Hanging out with Stoppable was turning out to be better than dealing with Connie and Lonnie, at least. Even the show wasn't that bad, really. It wasn't something she'd ever watch with any of the cheerleaders, but she could see why Ron liked it. It did have a certain charm. Not to mention that Timothy North had been pretty decent looking back in the day.

She yawned as she settled even further into the soft couch. Ron was entirely too close to her, but she found that it didn't really bother her. Probably just because she was tired, she told herself. She'd have to let Ron know that this little holiday outing would stay between the two of them, but Bonnie could break some social rules for one night.

XX

Dean Stoppable woke up from where he had fallen asleep on the desk in his home office, crunching numbers late into the night. The actuary party had been exhausting – actuaries worked hard, but they played harder - and his wife had gone to bed earlier, even though Dean still had some work to finish. The work of an actuary, while it could be done anywhere, was never finished. At least not for Dean.

He made sure there was no drool puddle on the desk and got up with a yawn, noticing by the clock on the wall that it was already quite late. Ronald had to have returned from trick-or-treating by now, even if his son hadn't been back when he and his wife returned from the party. Then again, based on some of his son's ranting and raving earlier in the day, Dean had gotten the impression that Ronald had big plans for the night. Maybe he was back already. After checking his son's room and finding it empty, Dean went downstairs to see if maybe he was watching television.

Sure enough, Ronald was sitting on the couch in front of the flickering television, fast asleep. Dean was a little more surprised to see the young woman next to him. She was also asleep, propped against his son with her head lolled over against his shoulder. Dean noticed a small drool stain on the shoulder of Ronald's white evening gown. Dean was amused to find that he did not even blink an eye at Ronald's choice of trick-or-treating outfit anymore.

He didn't recognize the girl with his son, but she definitely wasn't Kim Possible. Judging by some chocolate stains around her mouth and on her hands – stains which his son was also sporting – the two of them had enjoyed a successful trick-or-treating run.

Most parents might be a little concerned to find their son asleep next to a strange girl, but it did not bother Dean. He knew Ronald well enough to know that there would be no funny business going on, and the girl was most likely there for a sleepover. Although usually Ronald slept over at Kim's house, so this was a bit of a change. Perhaps his son was growing up, making new friends, developing an interest in the ladies. Even if the chocolaty hands and sugar-crash-induced deep sleep reminded him of the little child he had taken trick-or-treating years ago.

Ronald would have to introduce Dean to his new lady friend in the morning. Until then, hopefully they would have a good night's sleep. Dean was about to go upstairs and join his wife to get some sleep of his own, when he stopped and looked at the candy scattered around the floor amongst the trash bags that Ron had taken trick-or-treating. Ronald's pet naked mole rat was asleep on the floor, surrounded by a pile of empty wrappers, but much of the candy was still untouched.

Dean picked up a chocolate, still unwrapped, from the mess. His son certainly wouldn't notice a single piece going missing, and Dean had to eat at least one piece of candy tonight.

After all – that was what Halloween was all about.

XX


Notes - Happy Halloween, and reviews put me in the Halloween spirit, hint hint. Well ok, not as much as candy or zombies.

Hope you enjoyed the story. As for whether Ron and Bonnie decide to make hanging out more of a habit, or if they never speak of this night again, well - that's for you to decide, dear reader!