KP is owned by Disney, whose cartoons seem to be so much more creative and entertaining than their live-action shows these days. Sigh.

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"Oh, man. This is NOT good."

Beads of sweat appeared on Ron's brow as he continued to mumble to himself.

"I don't see any way out of this one this time."

Ron's shoulders slumped in resignation as he thought to himself, "That's because there IS no way out. I'm not getting out of this alive."

Both he and Kim were once again trapped. But unlike many of their previous sitches, they both knew that this time there was truly little hope. The terrible device was a mere ten feet away from them, but whether it had been ten inches or ten miles, it would have made no difference. They were both powerless to do anything about it.

As the infernal machine began its final sixty-second countdown, Ron's thoughts wandered back to the past. The day he first met Kim in grade school. The day he had bought Rufus. The day of his first mission together with Kim. The night of the junior prom, and their first kiss …

A tear formed in the corner of his eye as he breathed a heavy sigh. Through a wall of guilt and regret, he thought, "I'm sorry, Kim. I've let you down big time. I promised that I'd always have your back, but now I've really screwed up. I should have listened to you when you warned me that it would be a lot different this time, that I should have prepared, but I ignored your advice, just like I always have."

He choked back a sob. "Even Wade offered his help, but I just blew it off. And now it's come down to this. I have to pay the price, and accept the eternal consequences. I know where you're headed now, Kim. And I know which direction I'm going …"

Kim was right beside him, lost in her own thoughts. Stress and frustration were etched on her features.

"Wow, I've never faced a challenge like this before. But if I fail now, the consequences would be …"

She shivered at the thought as she broke out in a cold sweat.

"Whoa. This sitch has me in a sweat? This is SO the drama!"

She shook her head, trying to clear her mind.

"No, I can't give up. I just can't! I'm the girl who can do anything. Even this!"

In desperation, she began reaching for the one thing that could help her. Ironically, the device that could potentially rescue both her and Ron was in her back pack, just out of reach.

She hesitated, then withdrew her hand. "No, I can't. Even if I could reach it, the consequences might be even more horrific. There's no way out this time."

She turned her head to look at Ron, trapped just like him in the same horrible sitch.

"Besides, our time has just run out …"

She looked up at the timer, inexorably counting down the final seconds just like so many of Drakken's doomsday devices had in the past. She had a brief desperate vision of Rufus scurrying in to save the day like he had so many times before, but the poor little naked mole rat had been left at home that day, nursing a bad cold. There would be no last minute rescue this time.

Ten seconds left.

Kim and Ron both caught each other's eye, a world a feelings and emotions passing between them as the final seconds ticked away.

5 … 4… 3 … 2 … 1 …

The buzzer rang. They closed their eyes as they awaited the inevitable.

"All right, people! All pencils down! The SAT test is now officially over."

Mr. Barkin smiled grimly as his gruff voice echoed through the room. The student's groans of dismay always gave him particular pleasure.

His grin widened in sadistic glee. "Ah, I never tire of saying those words …"

As they both rose wearily from their seats, Ron complained to Kim, "Well, I blew this test royally. Now you'll be heading for some fancy-schmancy university, while I'll be lucky to get into Middleton Junior College."

Kim put his arm around him in a gesture of comfort. "Cheer up, Mr. Gloom and Doom. It's not the end of the world, y'know."

With a small sigh he replied, "Yeah, I guess you're right. So, how'd you do, KP?"

Kim huffed, "Well, I think I aced all of the questions except the last one. I was really tempted to sneak a peek at the Kimmunicator in my backpack for the answer, but thought better of it. No point in risking cheating for only one question. But I'm so frustrated now! I nearly had a perfect score!"

Ron's eyes nearly bugged out of his head. "What? You got everything right except the last one? That was the only one I got for sure! I thought that you of all people would know that the Latin term for naked mole rat is Heterocephalus glaber!"

Red herring: a false lead, assumed outcome or obvious solution that a writer plants in a story to fool the audience from guessing the real outcome. See: misdirection. Heh-heh.

With a tip of the hat to a Charles Gray story for the inspiration.