Disclaimer: guess who doesn't own KP? That's right, I don't.
A/N: it had been a while since last time I wrote anything about Monkey Fist, who still happens to be my favourite character in the show. So, what better excuse than NaNoWriMo to push aside anything else and get writing a plot bunny that hit me a while back? The fic isn't complete yet, but I have seven chapters done and I'll keep writing as I post, so I hope I'll manage to update regularly enough. Every two weeks or so, most likely.
The title of the fic is from the poem "The Road Not Taken" by Robert Frost.
Also, happy birthday to VampireNaomi, since right now it's December 12th already where she is.
Even though that was far from the first time their master spent weeks locked in his study – that small, dark room only lit by candles in what had been the castle's dungeons and where he now kept his most valuable books and scrolls – barely leaving it for their daily training session, the monkey ninjas still hadn't ceased worrying over that kind of behaviour. The previous day it had been exactly three weeks since they had come back home from India with those old scrolls their master had found, and ever since that afternoon he wouldn't even leave them to eat: hadn't they made sure he ate by bringing him food, he probably would have neglected to. Most times he would not even acknowledge their presence, focused on translating and studying the scrolls as he was, but sometimes they found him sleeping, won by exhaustion. Those times they could see that his sleep was no an easy one – then again, it never was.
That was the reason why the monkey ninja who went to bring him some tea and biscuits – not exactly a duty they were very willing to fulfil since the room was always pervaded by a heavy smell of incense that made their eyes water – was very surprised to find him neither studying the scrolls nor sleeping. Actually, the thought of sleep couldn't be farther from his mind: Monkey Fist was walking around the room in a frenzy, muttering to himself and letting out a laugh from time to time – the kind of laugh that would have screamed insanity to any human being who heard it and that was immediately classified as trouble by the monkey ninja.
"The greatest opportunity I could hope for! I can't waste it – I won't waste it! There will be no stopping me this time, not with the power to twist the fiber of time in my hands!" a loud, insane laughter came from Monkey Fist, and the monkey ninja immediately winced. His behaviour was worrying and a sharp contrast with how terrible he looked: with bloodshot eyes, pale skin looking even paler in the flickering light of the candles in the dark and the circles around his eyes even darker than usual he looked like someone barely alive, someone who desperately needed some sleep.
And still, Monkey Fist felt so full of energy that he felt like he could tear down a stone wall with his bare hands, the same way he was more than ready to tear apart anything and anyone who dared to stood between him and his goal, the item that would allow him to rewrite history – literally. He laughed again at the thought – the monkey ninja still standing at the door holding the tray with his meal nearly took a step backwards – and resumed walking back and forth, his mind racing, barely aware of the fact he was speaking aloud.
"But how could I use it? There are countless things I could accomplish, countless! I could go so far back in any time, I could learn from the greatest masters of Tai Shing Pek Kwar who ever existed! I could learn from Toshimiru himself – oh, wouldn't that be priceless!"
The thought of the outrage those fools in Yamanouchi should they know he had the possibility to learn from the man who had created their school was delightful to say the least – but maybe there would be no chance for them to feel any outrage: with the power of time in his hands, he could even stop their school from being built! There would be no Yamanouchi ninjas to guard the Louts Blade, to keep him from taking it, from taking what rightfully belonged to him! Or else he could go back to kill Stoppable before he could steal his Mystical Monkey Power, so that he could never become the nuisance he had grown to be – the mere thought that useless buffoon had a share of the power he had worked to hard to get, the power that belonged to him and him alone, was outrageous… and for that outrage, Stoppable would die, painfully.
Another delighted laugh escaped him, but then he shut his eyes and drew in a few deep breaths, trying to put some order in his racing thoughts. Entertaining as it was, he couldn't fall in the trap of getting too ahead of himself: that had too often led to a defeat, and he would not allow himself any mistake now. No, he would spare no thought on what he would do once the Tempus Simia was in his hands until he had actually collected both parts of the item: now he would only focus on how to have it, and on nothing else.
Monkey Fist opened his eyes again, frowning in thought. That was going to be the hardest part, no doubt. The first piece of the item was in a museum, and should Team Possible show up he could end up being defeated… and he could not allow it to happen: his destiny was at stake, and he could not allow himself any more mistakes. What was there that could grant him success after all the times his schemes had been foiled by either Team Possible or those pesky Yamanouchi ninjas?
Maybe he would need help, Monkey Fist reasoned. The thought made him grimace a little – he had always preferred to work alone rather than mixing himself with other villains, those fools who truly believed power could come from their ridiculous doomsday devices that could blow in their faces any moment. Still, if he needed assistance, some of them would probably do, if anything to keep Team Possible distracted long enough for him to get what he wanted.
Once the item was complete and in hands, he could as well abandon those fools and pursue his destiny – or he could keep them as allies for some more time with the promise that each of them would get a share of the globe, and maybe he would even keep his promise… only to crush them later and fulfil his destiny, of course: he certainly was not going to share. Monkey Fist firmly believed in destiny, just as firmly as he believed that his destiny was becoming the Monkey Master – a god on earth, and the only true ruler that there could be. The obstacles he had faced until that moment were minor setbacks, simply meant for him to prove himself worthy to be the one, true Monkey Master.
But until the moment unlimited power was finally his, he certainly was not above taking advantage of some fool's delusions… but he would be generous enough to spare their lives, given that they didn't try to stand in his way. Monkey Fist grinned at the thought and reached for the phone, which had stayed disconnected for three weeks straight – not that many people phoned him, but he'd rather avoid being interrupted by the millionth phone call from DNAmy – and began to dial Killigan's number: that man was enough of a fool to do his bidding without even suspecting what his true plans were. Drakken was foolish like that, too – he could be useful, so very useful.
His sidekick could be more troublesome, having definitely much more common sense than her employer, but she could be disposed of as well: other than being confident of his skills enough to be certain he could defeat her in a fight, he knew she would be no threat to him the moment he gained the power to manipulate time… and until that moment, her fighting skills would be useful to him. She would keep Team Possible distracted while he-
And what if she doesn't? What if they only hinder you? None of them ever defeated Team Possible. What makes you think they'll get anything right this time?
The thought caused the grin to freeze on Monkey Fist's lips, his hand stopping in midair. He stared at the phone for a few more moments before he finally hung the receiver. That was true – none of the villains had ever defeated Team Possible; Drakken and Shego were defeated by them almost every Tuesday, and Killigan… he was such a pathetic excuse of a villain that he couldn't picture any way he could be useful to him. Could he trust any of them to do something as important as serving as tools in what was his best – and probably his only – chance to gain the power of time travelling, and thus the chance of a lifetime to rewrite history to aid his destiny? No, he could not – besides, how could he not be sure they wouldn't double cross him? None of them was above that, after all. He certainly couldn't take a risk like that. What in the world had he been thinking?
"There must be another solution," he muttered, a thoughtful frown on his face. Maybe he could have them distracting Team Possible while he stole the head of the Tempus Simia from the museum before they could even be there to stop him. Yes, stealing the item while they were busy elsewhere seemed the best option. But how could he know in advance if, where and when some villain would strike? It wasn't like anyone in the villain community had the habit to tell the others their plans beforehand, and until that moment Monkey Fist had never been really interested in any of their plans. Maybe he could-
A soft, hesitant squeal snapped him from his thoughts. Monkey Fist turned to the monkey ninja still standing in the doorway, holding the tray with tea, biscuits and a slice of cake. He had never really had a sweet tooth, but he wouldn't mind some tea and he was just then realizing how hungry he actually was. Maybe he could think a little more clearly once he had eaten something – besides, thinking always came easier over a good up of Earl Grey. He gave a slight nod to the monkey ninja, who immediately placed the tray on the ground next to the small rug Monkey Fist usually sat onto when meditating before leaving, shutting the door behind it.
Monkey Fist sat cross-legged on the rug and took the cup. It was warm, but not quite as hot as the monkey ninjas usually served him his tea – how much time had that foolish monkey waited on the doorway before making its presence known? – but he didn't really mind. He took a moment too savour the scent before he took a sip of tea, a familiar and calming gesture that soothed his restlessness a little. He took a bite of cake and resumed pondering what he could do.
Asking some other villains what their next scheme was and when it would take place was most definitely out of question: he had never had any interest in their activities after all, and if he asked about it now they would certainly suspect he could be up to something and might demand to know what it was about… and Monkey Fist had no intention to let anyone know anything about the Tempus Simia. He doubted any of those fools would really think of it as anything more than an old legend, but he was not going to take the risk: he wouldn't do anything that could compromise in any way the best chance at success he had had in years. And of course, actually asking them to cause some havoc on a certain day was even less of an option, unless…
Monkey Fist shuddered a little at the idea of having to ask DNAmy to do anything. He had no doubt she would do just what he asked, so he could easily have her creating some kind of… monstrosity that could cause enough trouble in some place that was far enough from the museum where he would steal the body of the Tempus Simia at any time he wanted, so that Team Possible would be elsewhere when he did so – still, the idea of having to hear from her was enough to make him shudder… especially since calling her would probably mean making her even more delusional than she really was, giving her a reason to cling to her foolish certainty that he might be harbouring any kind of romantic feelings for her.
Then again, Monkey Fist reasoned as he took another sip of tea, he wouldn't have to put up with her for long after that. No, he wouldn't have to put up with her at all: once he had the power of time in his hands, he would make sure she would never be able to become a nuisance to him by dealing with her as soon as she was done making herself useful and giving him his monkey hands and feet.
The thought made him chuckle darkly as he finished his tea. For a moment he almost got up and went to make the phone call right away, then he changed his mind and willed himself to be patient enough to assume the lotus position, shut his eyes and start meditating – that phone call that was going to take all his patience and self-control, and some meditation would be needed.
"Why does it have to be at three in the morning?" Ron complained with a yawn as the truck pulled to a stop on the outskirt of Clarksville "last time I checked villains liked to sleep, too."
"Maybe genetically engineered monsters are insomniac," Kim replied before jumping out of the truck, turning to yell at the driver over her shoulder "thank you so much for the ride, Mr. Thompson!"
The driver dismissively waved his hand. "It's the lest I could do after you got my truck out of that river," he replied before quickly starting the engine again – no matter how grateful he was, he did not want to stay there one second more than necessary… not with a sixty feet tall monster running amok in town.
"No big!" Kim called after him.
"Hey!" Ron yelped, barely managing to jump from the truck as it drove away "he could at least wait a moment! Not cool," he muttered, though rather relived by the fact he hadn't dropped his pants for that once "what's the rush anywa-"
His words were suddenly covered by a rumbling noise as the ground beneath them began shaking, and moments later a nearby building collapsed on the ground to reveal the… thing they had been called to stop. The huge, dinosaur-like creature roared and waved its tail, slamming it against another building and causing it to partially collapse. Ron's jaw dropped, and Rufus went to hide deeper in his pocket with a whimper.
"…oh, okay. Can't blame him for rushing."
Kim sighed. "This is so DNAmy's work," she muttered – that creature bore a striking resemblance with the creature she had created when working with Drakken some time back. She had thought it had been Drakken's idea to come up with a thing like that – wasn't she supposed to all about cute and cuddly, weird as her idea of cute and cuddly could be? – so why had she created another creature like that again? It was big, menacing, ugly, and scaly. Not even DNAmy could define it even remotely cute.
"Okay, KP, I have a plan," Ron announced "you keep it distracted while I… run around screaming and try to come up with something."
"Sounds like a plan," Kim commented with a small smile before pulling out her grappling hook and aiming it to a building just behind the monster's back "get running and let me know what you think of."
The Tri-City museum was completely dark as Monkey Fist dropped inside from a window someone had been careless enough to leave open. One inside he went straight for the room where the item he was seeking – the body of the ancient, priceless artefact known as the Tempus Simia – was held. He didn't worry about the possibility he could meet some night guard, nor about the cameras: his monkey ninjas had already taken care of that. And even if there were one guard left to wander within those walls, it wouldn't be a problem – Monkey Fist was more than ready to fight his way through an army if that was the only way to get his hands on the Tempus Simia, let alone some pathetic night guard that certainly stood no chance to fight him.
Besides, he had no time to waste: he knew that Kim Possible and that cursed Stoppable had to be busy elsewhere far from there with the creature DNAmy had created – he didn't ask just what kind of creature she had created for the task, nor he wanted to know since it would require speaking to that woman a few seconds more than it was strictly necessary – but the sooner he'd be out of there with the item, the better it would be. But once he had the power to manipulate time… oh, then he wouldn't have to worry about not wasting time anymore, would he?
A dark chuckle escaped him at the thought, but he focused once again on the task at hand as he finally stepped in the room where they kept, among other relics that were nowhere as valuable, the first part of the item that would allow him to rewrite history and fulfil his destiny. There it was, right in the middle of the room – the Tempus Simia. A sinister grin curled his lips as he carefully grabbed the item, handling it with the same care one would use to handle a newborn. Once, a long time ago, he would have felt outraged at the thought anyone would ever steal from a museum, thinking of it as the worst kind of crime. But now it was different: his eyes were now open to his destiny, and he knew better.
Leaving an artefact such as that one would be a dreadful waste, almost a crime itself: those fools couldn't even begin to imagine how priceless that relic actually was. But he did, and he would put its power to a good use by using it to fulfil his destiny as the Monkey Master. And when he did-
A squeal snapped him from his thoughts, and Monkey Fist turned to see that his monkey ninjas had joined him in the room. "Have you made sure nobody could give the alarm?" he asked, receiving a few nods as a response. "Good. Let's get away from here," he glanced down at the relic in his simian hands, a wide, insane grin spreading on his face "we must get ourselves a head."
"What I still don't get is why DNAmy just created a thing like this and let it tear down a town," Kim – a little bruised and desperately needing a comb, but still in one piece – said to Wade as she watched the monster lying on the ground, wrapped into the electric cables she had managed to drive it into "it's not something she usually does – she only did so once because Drakken asked her to!"
"You're trying to find logic in something DNAmy did?" Ron asked, trying to walk up to her without stumbling on the debris of what had probably once been a mall "KP, you know who we're talking about…"
"She could be right, Ron," Wade's voice came from the Kimmunicator. Both Kim and Ron turned to the screen to see him reading something on the screen of his computer "seems like someone robbed the Tri-City museum while you were busy with DNAmy's monster. It could have been just a distraction to cover up something bigger."
"Bigger than a sixty feet tall dinosaur?" Ron said suspiciously.
"Not that kind of big, Ron."
Kim frowned. "Couldn't it just be a coincidence? I mean, there are so many museums and so many thieves…"
"That's what I thought, at first," Wade admitted "but check this out – the stolen artefact was the body of a monkey statue known as the Tempus Simia. Seems like the thief left already, but the guards say they were attacked by monkeys. Does it remind you of someone?"
"Monkey Fist!" Ron almost yelled, jumping backwards and nervously glancing around as if he feared he could appear out of thin air.
"Yeah, it wasn't a hard guess," Wade said with a shrug "do you want my two cents?"
"Monkey Fist convinced DNAmy to start this mess," she gestured to the ravines around her "so that we'd be busy and wouldn't be there to stop him. It must have not been difficult to convince her if even Drakken could charm her into helping him once," she shuddered a little, and behind her Ron made the chocking noise of someone trying not to throw up. "Is that what you thought?"
"Yes, that's just what I was thinking."
"And we fell for it," Kim growled.
"Hey, there was a giant monster destroying a town. That would have gotten the priority anyway," Ron said, almost thankful for the fact Monkey Fist's plan did work – dealing with a giant dinosaur didn't seem that bad if compared with that it would have been like having to deal with that insane monkey man and his monkey minions "besides, Wade can track him, right?"
Wade shook his head. "I wish," he muttered "but it's not so easy. He doesn't use any kind of technology that would make him detectable like other villains do. I mean, tracking out guys with doomsday devices and huge lairs are one thing, but a guy who uses pretty much no technology and isn't likely to do something stupid that would give his position away? That's hard."
Kim groaned. "Great. Can you try looking for some info on the thing he stole – what's the name again?"
Wade checked something on his screen again. "Tempus Simia."
"And that's monkey mumbo jumbo for… what?" Ron asked.
"It's Latin, really," Wade was typing so fast that his fingers were a blur "and hey, check this out – it means Time Monkey."
"Time Monkey?" Kim repeated slowly, staring at him as if she expected him to correct himself and say that he has been wrong, that Tempus Simia actually meant something else, possibly something that made some sense.
"That's what it says."
"…okay, so we've got a stolen Time Monkey. Fine. Anything else?"
"Let me see…" Wade typed something else "the idol seems to hold… well, try to guess."
"Mystical powers?" Kim guessed.
"Exactly. And there's more – centuries ago its head was separated from the body and hidden forever so that nobody could find it.
Ron made a face. "Must have been one ugly monkey."
Kim smiled a little. "I still have to see a monkey who'd win a beauty prize. Anything else, Wade?"
"Well, there are some vague mentions of the reason why the head was hidden. If the Tempus Simia is made whole, it seems like it could be used for – try to guess?"
"Evil monkey magic," Ron muttered with a shudder. Perched on his shoulder, Rufus reached to pat his earlobe.
"Sure. What else?" Wade sighed "though I still don't know exactly what kind of evil monkey magic."
"Just like those jade monkeys – why is that guy always trying to place together stuff that would stay a lot better very, very far away?"
"And now Monkey Fist has it," Kim said with a frown "that's bad news."
"That's sick and wrong!" Ron corrected her.
"That, too," she conceded before speaking to Wade again "see if you can find something else about it, and let me know if Monkey Fist shows up somewhere. If he wants to collect the head too, he'll have to step down form whatever tree he's hiding."
"Unless he already has it," Wade said with a worried frown.
"Wade. It's five in the morning, I just came out from a fight with a giant dinosaur thing and just found out an insane monkey man got a hold of some mystical evil item. Can you allow me some optimism?"
The boy smiled a little sheepishly. "Okay, I'll see what I can find. And I'll get you a ride home right away."
"Thanks, Wade," Kim sighed "maybe I could have a shower before going to school. I'd never hear the end of it if Bonnie saw me like this."
Ron seemed still way too worried about the news about Monkey Fist to even bring himself to spare a thought on her worries. "I'm more worried about Monkey Freak having that Freaky Time Statue," he said "that sounds like very, very bad news."
"Don't be too tragic, Ron," Kim said with a shrug "we stopped him a lot of times already, we'll stop him aga-"
"I'm afraid Stoppable-san is quite correct. This is the worst thing that could happen."
Both Kim and Ron promptly turned to see the ghost-like form of an old man floating behind them, sitting cross-legged a few feet above the ground.
"Oh, hey, Sensei!" Ron waved at him while Rufus, on his shoulder, bowed at the old master, who gave him a small nod "is that really you? Neat trick! How are you doing this?" he asked. It would take him some time before getting used to mystical stunts like that.
By his side, Kim blinked. "Stoppable-san? Sensei?" she repeated, suspiciously glancing at the old man "Ron, do you know this guy?"
"Sure, he's the one who… er…" Ron paused a little awkwardly as he realized that, true to his word, he had never mentioned anything of what had happened at Yamanouchi during his stay the previous year. He glanced at Sensei. "Do you mind…?"
The old man nodded. "It is alright for you to tell her, Stoppable-san. She is your friend, and therefore she is our ally. I wouldn't have showed myself to her hadn't I deemed her trustworthy. Besides, the situation at hand requires all the help we can possibly get."
"Oh. Okay," Ron cleared his throat and turned to Kim – who, on the other hand, was giving him a glare that was more than enough to know what she was demanding him to do.
"So, uh… remember when I went to Yamanouchi for the students exchange program thingy?"
"Well, turns out the Yamanouchi school is a secret ninja school, and they had this shape-shifting sword called Lotus Blade who only the ones with Mystical Monkey Power can use, and guess what? Monkey Fist wanted it. He tried to steal it, but I stopped him. All by myself," he proudly puffed out his chest.
Kim raised an eyebrow. Rufus noisily cleared his throat. They both kept staring at Ron.
"…okay, some help was needed, but I did a lot of stuff by myself, really. He can tell you!" he added quickly, turning to Sensei almost hopefully.
The old man nodded. "It his true – Stoppable-san proved himself worthy of wielding the Lotus Blade, and was of great help in the battle against Monkey Fist."
"Uh… okay," Kim said, glancing a little wary of what looked like some kind of hologram before turning back to Ron "and you didn't tell me because…?"
"He promised us he would keep the secret," Sensei spoke up for him before Ron could ever say anything "and while keeping the secret honours him, as I said we may also need your help. I have heard quite well of you, Kim Possible, and I'm certain we can trust you to keep the true nature of our school a secret as well."
"Well… sure, no problem," she replied "so, I take it Monkey Fist is on to something big?"
Sensei nodded gravely. "I'm afraid so. The fact he stole the body of the Tempus Simia leaves very little doubt on his intentions."
Kim frowned. "How do you know what happened?" she asked. The idol had been most likely stolen just a couple of hours earlier, so how could he know?
"We have our sources," was the vague reply "should one mystical item we know of be stolen anywhere in the world, we'd be the first ones to know."
Kim bit back the question that had threatened to leave her mouth – why in the world couldn't they be bothered to also guard them instead of just keeping themselves informed on what happened? – and decided to turn her attention to the most pressing matter. "Is it really that bad?"
Sensei nodded gravely. "Unfortunately, yes. Whoever recollects both parts of the Tempus Simia idol and places them together in the right place and in the right moment gains the power to twist time itself."
Both Kim and Ron stared numbly at him for a few moments, their mouths hanging open. "Wait, wait, time out," Ron finally spoke "are you really saying that with that Tempis… Tempor…"
"Tempus Simia," Sensei corrected him "the Time Monkey."
"Right. Are you really saying that with the Time Monkey one can really… er…" Ron paused "no, wait, I don't know. What does one get to do with it?"
Sensei sighed. "If placed back together correctly Tempus Simia gives whoever holds it the power to move back and forth in time at will. With a power like that at his disposal, I dread to think what someone like Monkey Fist could do. He could easily rewrite history, and shape the world to fit his will."
Okay, Kim thought, that sounded So Very Bad. A part of her mind faintly realized that a possibility like that sounded beyond crazy, but she had witnessed real monkey magic working already and she didn't feel like doubting Sensei's words at all. Fine, maybe she didn't really trust him blindly, but Ron did, so… maybe she could give him a chance. "Fine, that is bad. Do you have any idea where the head of the statue is? If we can keep it from him he won't be able to put the statue together, and won't get to mess with time," Kim said.
"Sadly, we do not know the exact location – that can only be found by the one with the idol's body. But we do have some clues that point to Australia, and we'd be glad to let you know everything we know if you granted us the honour of paying us a visit. Your help and Stoppable-san's is going to be much needed."
"Sure," Kim immediately held up her Kimmunicator "Wade, cancel our ride back home and get us one for Japan. We need to go to…"
"Yamanouchi, I know – I heard everything. You forgot to shut off the Kimmunicator."
"No problem, you know it has super batteries," Wade replied "anything else?"
"Yes, let my parents know that I'm staying out for a little more and that I'm not with any boy. Okay, there's Ron, but he doesn't count…"
"Hey, thanks," Ron muttered, folding his arms.
"…and tell them that I won't miss any other school day, but this is an emergency. Got that?"
"They'll find the message as soon as they wake up. About the ride-" his words were suddenly covered by a loud rumbling noise. Both Kim and Ron glanced up to see a large, black hover jet hovering above their heads, then they turned to Sensei.
The old man smiled faintly. "I knew you'd honour us with your presence, so I took the liberty of arranging your arrival myself."
Ron's face brightened. "Hey, good thinking."
"Wade, scratch away the ride part – we already got one. Just warn my parents, I'll stay in touch."
"Sure. Good luck," Wade said before the Kimmunicator switched off. Kim put it back in her pocket and sighed, wondering what were they getting themselves into.