Boilerplate Disclaimer: The various characters from the Kim Possible series are all owned by Disney. Any and all registered trade names property of their respective owners. And cheap shots at celebrities constitute fair usage.
I've Got My Love to Keep Me Warm
Drakken pronounced the furnace antiquated.
"No it's not," Jim insisted. "Dad put in a new furnace when he bought the place. That one was ancient. Probably converted from a coal furnace."
"The ductwork's ancient," Tim said, shining a flashlight up at and examining the system. "Must cost a fortune to heat this place."
"I'll bet I could improve the efficiency," Drakken boasted.
"What they need is zone heating," Tim observed. "No way to do that without new ductwork."
"What if you put a damper on every heat vent, remote controlled from a central thermostat?" Jim suggested. "Then you don't need new ductwork."
"Not a central thermostat," Tim answered, becoming excited. "You're right about the damper, but an individual thermostat in each room. You can set it to control each room's vent. Set it down, less heat. Set it up, more heat."
"But if one room is set much higher, like for Smaug, won't that heat the rest of the house?" Drakken wondered.
"No, the other vents would close down wherever they were set, so the heat would concentrate in that room. With all the heat going one place it would heat up quickly."
"I like it," Jim seconded.
"Could be very practical," Drakken agreed. "Zita will love it. We can patent the technology for any older home. I'm thinking of some of those new thermocouple panels on the outside of this furnace. The heat of the furnace itself will generate all the electricity necessary to run the blower.
"Another good idea. Let's go back to the lab and get started."
Joss was coming in with the part as they were going out. "Sounds good," she agreed, "but all they asked was to fix the thing. Ah wouldn't try your ideas until after the party tonight."
"Of course not," Tim agreed. "Well, we won't try them for real. Jim and I want to make up a prototype for the room thermostat and vent control."
"And if they're coming back I'll bring a few thermocouple panels to check out how to install them."
"But you won't install them," an anxious Joss asked for reassurance.
"No. Like you said, nothing that might cause problems for the party. How long's it going to take you to fix the blower? Want us to wait and give you a ride?"
"Nah, Ah'm good. See ya soon."
Zita protested Drakken taking four of the expensive panels until he explained they were for Kim. Jim and Tim thought they avoided any potential problems with Zita by finding old parts in a storeroom. The parts, in fact, dated back to when the original building had been part of Drakken's lair in a take over the world scheme.
Ron was back from his mom and dad's to let in the cooking team. The house was still too cool, but warming up. As the oven and stove were used to cook the meal the kitchen quickly reached a comfortable temperature.
When Drakken and the twins arrived the dining room was ready for the meal and food was being prepared. The blue man carried the panels to the basement and considered how they should be attached, then left them leaning against the furnace.
Jim and Tim took the prototype isolation thermostat and vent up to the small room in the attic Smaug used as his den. The creature resented the intrusion into his territory and watched them suspiciously as Jim installed the vent and Tim put up the thermostat with a no-nail temporary hanger. The test in the room, between thermostat and vent, worked fine.
"Go to the basement and install the remote switch on the furnace," Jim suggested.
"We could wait."
"We're not going to leave it on. Let's just make sure it really works, then we turn it off up here."
"The tricky part is going to be coordinating multiple receivers on the furnace, putting this one on won't answer that."
"Yeah, but does this have the power to reach the basement? We need to know that before we design the master control."
Tim got a shock when he went to the basement; a static charge built from the panels left by Drakken. He told himself he should ground the panels after testing the receiver.
The signal from the attic reached the basement. After verifying the fact over their cell phones Jim turned off the thermostat in the attic room. The three men congratulated themselves as they left the house, "Kim will be grateful for all we've done," Tim insisted.
The temperature in the house was near normal as its residents returned home. Hana arrived to watch Jane and Aaron for the evening. Ron planned to work with his catering friends in the kitchen while Bonnie had a girls' night out with Tara. Shego kept looking at her watch as she dressed for the dinner, wondering when Kim would get home. The Crandalls arrived before Kim. Briana, Sheki, and Kasy all squealed with joy and ran upstairs to get into holiday outfits.
"You should have brought Tommy," Shego suggested to Alicia, "Hana has a low hourly babysitting fee – and a big surcharge per diaper."
"I'm so glad that part's over with Tommy," the DA's wife sighed. "He's having his first sleepover tonight – friend in the neighborhood. Thanks for letting us watch you light the Chanukah candles."
"No problem. I put out an extra Chanukkiyah for Briana. If you want you can use Kim's if she isn't here."
"The candle holder for the Chunukah candles," Bonnie explained.
"I thought it was called a menorah."
"People call it that, but technically it's not. The Chanukkiyah has places for more lights than a menorah," Shego answered. "Oh, great timing. The twins finished fighting over who got to put the most candles right before you got here."
Ron held Aaron and guided his hand for lighting candles while Shego performed the task with Jane. Those who knew the blessing recited it, then Bonnie kissed Ron on the cheek and headed out and Ron returned to the kitchen. Hana disappeared to the nursery with the two smaller children.
"Where are our presents?" Kasy demanded.
"Look on our bed," Shego told them. "Read the tags. There's something for Briana – and one for Hana."
Kasy grabbed Briana by the hand, "This way!" and headed upstairs.
"Alice should be here any minute," Shego told Steve and Alicia. "Can I get you something to drink?"
Shego was getting the Scotch and soda and a wine spritzer when the front door opened and Kim ran in. "Too late for candle lighting?"
"I'm sorry," Steve apologized. "We should have waited."
"No problem. Running late. Need to get dressed. Glad it's warm."
"Furnace went out. I'll explain after I change." Shego was coming out of the library with drinks as Kim ran up the stairs, "I'll be back as fast as I can," Kim promised.
The DA repeated his question, "Warm?"
"Something went wrong with the furnace this morning," Shego explained. "Kim's cousin must have fixed it. I'd accuse someone of trying to sabotage tonight's dinner but I'd probably appear on the suspect list."
Kim came downstairs shortly before Alice Armstrong arrived.
Sheki, Kasy, and Briana had changed and opened the gifts. "Where's your dragon?" the blonde wanted to know.
"He's in a room upstairs," Sheki told her. "He doesn't like the cold so he can't go outside."
"Can I see him?"
"Sure, just don't scare him or anything."
The small dragon opened one eye when the lights went on, saw that Kasy and Sheki were there, and closed the eye.
"He's a lot bigger than the last time I saw him."
"Not that much bigger," Sheki argued.
As the other two girls debated about Smaug's size Kasy noticed the thermostat her uncles had installed in the room. "Hey what's that?"
"A thermostat… I've never seen that here before."
"I wonder if it caused the problem this morning." Kasy moved in closer to look at it. "It's off. Should I turn it on?"
Sheki verified it was set to off. "Probably... I don't want the house all cold again."
Kasy threw the switch, turning on the thermostat and sending a signal to raise the temperature.
No one thought anything of the furnace being on as guests arrived. Opening and closing the front door let out a lot of heat and let in a lot of cold air. The old house was large, and the furnace could not raise the temperature instantly.
Temperatures were comfortable during the cocktail hour before the meal. If it seemed slightly warm during the soup and salad courses it was easy to attribute the heat to work being done in the kitchen.
"Does it seem a little too warm?" Kim whispered to Shego as the entrees were served. "And I'm not suggesting anyone take off their clothes."
"You know I'm not the best judge of external temperature," her partner whispered back. "Maybe someone goosed the thermostat up because it was cold earlier."
"I'll check," Kim told her and slipped away from the table. The redhead returned a minute later, "Something's wrong. Temperature setting is sixty-eight. Actual temperature is eighty-one."
"That's a lot of heat from the kitchen."
"I turned off the furnace, but it's still running."
"Furnace might have gone off, but the blower might run for awhile even after the furnace is turned off, check again in a couple minutes."
The furnace was still running a few minutes later, and everyone was commenting on the heat. Kim headed for the basement to turn off the furnace, and was knocked off her feet by the static charge. Uncertain what to do she called Joss and explained the problem.
"All Ah did was fix the blower switch," the young woman told her.
"There's something by the furnace now that wasn't there this morning."
"Doc and your brothers were talkin' 'bout workin' on... Thermocouple panels sittin' there?"
"What does a thermocouple panel look like?"
"Bi-metal panel 'bout three feet by–"
"That's them. What do I–"
"Right careless of him to leave 'em ungrounded by the furnace like that – 'nough heat to–"
"Could that have messed up the furnace?"
"I don't know. Wade and I are out to dinner. Is this an emergency?"
In Kim's mind it was an emergency, but she didn't want to ruin Joss's evening. "Got any suggestions for me?"
"Find the breaker in the circuit box. That'll turn off the furnace. When it starts gettin' cool again turn 'er back on. Wade and I'll head over after dinner."
"Circuit box… I hope the furnace circuit is labeled," Kim thought. Before she could check, however, another problem arose.
"Kim," Shego called from the top of the steps.
"Someone's getting frisky in the heat."
"Come up here and help me corral Smaug."
The family pet was begging food from those at the table.
"He's a lot bigger," someone commented.
"I think he was in a terrarium for the first party," another commented.
"Just be careful," Shego warned them, returning to the dining room. "The bad news is that his bite is poison. The good news is that warm temperatures put him in a good mood and we've almost got him convinced not to bite people."
"Almost convinced?" a guest asked nervously.
"Dear God," Shego thought, "a room full of lawyers and Smaug."
With Kim's help the beast was cornered and his leash put on. "Lock him in his room," Shego suggested.
"You lock him in his room," Kim answered, "I'm going to find the breaker for the furnace and turn it off.
"Why don't we just open a couple windows a little bit?"
"And heat up all Middleton? Joss said turn it off now and back on if it gets too cool."
Shego shrugged. "Fine. I thought Joss could fix the furnace."
"I suspect she did. Apparently Drakken and my brothers came over to help."
Kim returned to the basement to figure out the breakers and Shego took the dragon upstairs. Heat rises. Smaug's den was wonderfully warm, at least by the pet's standards, as Shego closed him in the room. It was warm enough, in fact, that as Shego went down the stairs to rejoin the party the thermostat sent a signal to the vent to close down, triggering a long-dormant circuit on the old receiver. "*SELF-DESTRUCT SEQUENCE INITIATED* DESTRUCTION IN 30 … 29 … 28 …" The message rang from the customized vent and echoed through the ductwork and out of every vent in the house.
"GIRLS! OUT!" Shego yelled.
"I have the little ones," Hana called.
"23 … 22 …"
The green woman ran into the dining room. "What's happening?" Steve demanded.
"Hell if I know," Shego answered quickly. "This side – out through the sun room. You," she pointed at those on the other side of the table, "out the front door.
"18 … 17 …"
Shego skidded into the kitchen, Ron had half the catering crew out the kitchen door already and the rest lined up to exit. "Aaron?" he called to her.
"Hana has him. Check the guests."
Ron nodded and headed back to the dining room.
"Where's Kim?" the green woman shouted at Ron.
There were no vents in the basement. Kim might not have heard. Shego kicked off her shoes as she ran for the steps, tripping and breaking her neck on the stairs wouldn't save Kim.
"8 … 7 … 6 …"
The countdown grew fainter as Shego went down the stairs, Kim wouldn't have heard. Shego tried to keep the countdown in her own mind.
Kim was at the circuit box, there was no time to get out. Shego grabbed the younger woman.
"What?" Kim tried to protest.
Shego jerked Kim off her feet, dragged her to the panic room, shoved her in and followed, pulling the door shut behind them.
Guests and catering crew moved to the front sidewalk, Ron helping Alice. Hana had wrapped both Jane and Aaron in blankets. Alicia Crandall held Jane. Hana held her nephew and glared at adults to offered to hold him for her. Steve Crandall had taken off his jacket and wrapped it around both Kasy and Sheki while the DA had his daughter in his arms.
In Smaug's room the vent broadcast the signal to ignite the high explosive… Since there were no high explosives to ignite nothing happened.
"Where's Mommy and Eemah?" Sheki demanded.
"Maybe they got out the back," Ron answered anxiously. "I'll go look."
He started back for the house, "Stop," Judge Armstrong ordered. She was a woman used to being obeyed, but Ron wanted to ignore her. Ron's move, however, had inspired Kasy and Sheki.
"We're going back," the two said and headed for the house.
"Keep them out here," the judge told Ron. "Kim and Shego would want them safe."
While riding herd on the twins Ron managed to call Joss. "Ah got no idea," she confessed. "Ah'm goin' call the guys. We'll be there fast as we can."
Tim was there in minutes. Jim might have beaten him, but it took some time to convince the officer who stopped him for speeding that driving to see why his sister's house hadn't exploded was a valid reason for ignoring posted limits.
Those outside waited, and waited, and waited. After about ten minutes the reality sank in. "Where the ka-boom?" Ron laughed nervously, "There was supposed to be an earth-shattering ka-boom."
"Not funny," the DA commented.
A police car, lights flashing, pulled up to the curb. "What's going on?" a patrolman called through the open window as his partner let Jim out of the back. He recognized two judges and the DA.
"We're not sure," Ron told the officer. "There was something about destruction, and a countdown timer. We got out of the house and nothing happened. We're hoping it was some kind of bad practical joke. Looks like you've already nabbed a suspect." He pointed at Jim.
"Hey, Tim and I were over here today. But all we did was try and figure out how to save Kim some money."
"Could the arguments and interrogation of suspects be moved inside?" Alice complained. "Damn cold out here."
"If there was a bomb threat," one policeman began, "I don't think–"
Although the judge was used to having her commands obeyed she was not used to taking advice from others. And she was cold. Alice started back for the house. There was a brief hesitation on the part of the others, and then they also began to trickle back.
While those outside were wondering what would happen the pair in the panic room were having their own argument. In Shego's green glow Kim found a battery powered light and turned it on.
"Sounded like one of Drakken's old self-destruct sequences."
"We should have gone outside."
"Wasn't time– Don't worry, everyone else got out."
"Drakken must have gone off his meds."
"Wasn't Drakken. Based on the fact I'm not hearing an explosion I'm guessing your brothers."
"Would we hear an explosion in here? My brothers wouldn't bomb the house."
"We'd hear a big explosion. Drakken only went big, more proof it wasn't him."
"What do you mean, more proof? How do you know he hasn't gone off his meds?"
"Because even off his meds he wouldn't do anything to hurt me or the girls."
"I notice I'm not on the list."
"Kim. I love you. But I'll be honest, if he went off his meds you'd be the first target. No explosion, ergo he didn't do it. Stupid joke by the brothers."
"My brothers wouldn't do any joke like that!"
"You sure? Want me to give a list of stunts they pulled, like setting the couch on fire?"
"That was an accident! It wasn't my brothers. Drakken was over here."
"Well Drakken wouldn't do anything to disrupt the party."
The caterers and Ron returned to the kitchen, "Dessert in a minute," the chef told them.
The twins were concerned because they didn't see Kim and Shego. Fortunately Helen overcame her dislike of crowds to appear briefly in the doorway. "Your mothers are arguing in the basement," she told Sheki.
"I'll tell them we are upstairs," Hana said, now passing her nephew off to a lawyer.
"Tell who?" one lawyer asked another at Hana's comment.
"I have no idea," the second answered. "Who was that young woman in white at the doorway?"
"There was no one there."
"Yes there was," one policeman said.
"No there wasn't," his partner answered.
Before the debate about the young woman in white ("No there wasn't!") degenerated further Hana returned with Kim and Shego from the basement as dessert was served.
"You always host the most interesting parties," a lawyer told Alice and Shego. Alice accepted it as a compliment. Shego wondered if it might have been sarcasm.
Drakken arrived within seconds of Wade and Joss.
After dessert most of the guests left. The Crandalls were among the few who stayed for the inquisition following the meal.
It took time to sort out the sequence of events. Kim wanted to tie the problem to the thermocouple panels left in the basement. "I think it's Drakken's fault."
"Thermocouple panels couldn't have done what you're sayin'," Joss told her.
"Well, they gave me a big shock," Kim retorted.
"Gave me a shock too," Tim said. He turned to Drakken, "You forgot to ground them this afternoon."
"Oh… I must have been so busy trying to figure out how to install them." He turned to Kim and Shego, "They'll save you a fortune every winter on electricity."
"See," Shego told Kim smugly, "Not Doc's fault." The green lawyer looked at Tim, "If you saw they weren't grounded, why didn't you do it while you were in the basement?" Shego looked at Kim and smiled, the unspoken message being, "It's the fault of your brothers."
Jim jumped to his brother's defense, "If Doc can be absent-minded while saving you money Tim and I are allowed too. We figured out a way to convert the house to zone heating and–"
"Zone heating? This old place?" Shego asked in disbelief.
"Hey, if it works it'll save you a pile. We'll probably make a fortune for the firm. We mocked up a prototype and–"
"Parts from Storeroom B?" Drakken asked.
"Yeah, figured Zita wouldn't mind if we used old parts."
"You were saving us money with old parts?" Shego protested.
"It was a prototype," Tim shot back. "We needed to know if the basic idea worked before we invested more time in the design. If Jim had the thermostat off–"
"I did!" Jim insisted. "I don't get absent-minded. I triple-checked."
"Well it was on when–"
"Sheki told me to turn it on," Kasy tattled in a pre-emptive strike against her sister.
"Well you asked if you should!" The dark-haired girl looked at her mothers, "The house was cold this morning, and you asked if the thing was off, so when the one in Smaug's room was off–"
"Don't worry, Kiddo," Shego told her in a reassuring manner. "Not your fault, you were trying to be good."
"Well it has to be someone's fault for messing up the party tonight," Kim said firmly. She pointed at Shego, "And ultimately you're the one to blame."
"Me? I was at the office all day."
"If you hadn't taken the plumber to small claims court none of this would have happened. We wouldn't need to drag friends and relatives away from important work. It's your fault we can't get a normal repair around here."
Shego's eyes narrowed slightly, "Ultimate blame, huh? You want to fix ultimate blame?"
"Yes I do."
"Then it's your fault."
"My fault?" Kim asked in disbelief, "how is it my fault?"
"Hey, you knew I was a dangerous felon when you fell in love with me. Therefore, anything that happened after that is your fault."
"I'm responsible for anything you do?"
"Yep. If you hadn't fallen in love with me none of this would have happened. I'd be rotting all safe in a prison somewhere. Doc here would have blown himself up–"
"Maybe I'd have taken over the world," the blue man protested.
"You'd have blown yourself up," Shego told him firmly. She turned back to Kim, "You'd be stuck in some passionless marriage to Ron, probably with three snot-nosed little sons and wondering why you were always unhappy. Ron would be miserable wondering why he could never please you in bed and not knowing that you really needed a woman. Bonnie could never have found a man who understood her and would be on her fourth marriage and descending into a life of booze and drugs. These wonderful children," Shego gestured at Kasy and Sheki, "would never have been born to give joy to their grandparents. I'm telling you Kim, it's all your fault. You need to accept that you're to blame."
"So I'm to blame for wrecking tonight's party because I fell in love with you?"
Kim looked to the DA for support, "What do you think of her case?"
Steve was smiling, "She might be able to sway a jury with that argument. I won't have you arrested, but you might consider a guilty plea."
"Any chance I can blame society?"
"No way," Shego protested, "none of that blame society. You wanted to fix ultimate blame on some individual… Confess, Sinner!"
"You might try for a plea bargain," Alicia Crandall suggested.
Kim came over and sat on Shego's lap. "Can I throw myself on the mercy of the court?"
Shego smiled, "I think the court will be lenient in this case."
"But I've been a bad girl," Kim pouted. "Maybe you should punish me."
"Mommy," Kasy complained, "you're embarrassing us, again."
Kim leaned in and whispered her suggestion in Shego's ear, "You could put me over your knee later and spank me."