Chapter 1 – Parting ways (Published: 04.06.12 – Beta: none)

There are many ways one could start this story. When it came to those two, any point in time would do just fine. It could begin they day they met, or maybe the day she got stuck to a boy's lips or maybe even their first mission together.

Yes, any point in time would do, but for convenience sake this story should begin here.

"Ron, we need to talk."

Ugh. Scratch that. This isn't the right point to end a story, much less to begin one. Yet, it strangely is.

Those four words were never a good thing to hear, even the ever-oblivious Ron Stoppable knew as much. When a girl says something like that to a boy, he should brace himself real tight because change was coming his way and it wouldn't be pleasant.

"What about KP?"

Yeah, what was the fuss all about? It's not like she was his girlfriend, 'just ' her best friend for life. Why had she invited him to her house to without telling him the reason despite his insistance? Why was she fidgeting like that? She should have known by then that she could talk with him just about anything. Anything short of monthly womanly issues. That's was just gorchy

"About you and me and… Josh."

Ah-ah. Mankey. He should have known it. Anything just a vowel away from the horrid tree-huggers could never be a good thing when he was involved.

"Hmm? What does Josh have to do with you and me?"

"Ehm… You know that he and I are kinda… dating, right?"

Ah, yes. He had forgotten that. Ron Stoppable's brain preferred to remove unneeded and unpleasant memories. It was a failsafe mechanism to prevent any- further- trauma.

"Yeah, so?"

That was definitely not good. She was usually very upfront and when Ron had to coax the words out of her mouth they usually were things she thought he didn't want to hear.

She was also usually right about it. 'Usually' as in 'Every Single Time'.

"And since we, as in you and me, are always hanging out together, well…."

"Yes? Come on KP. Just say it. What's the big deal?

"I… well… I kinda want… Oh damn it. Here. Ron we can't see each other anymore." Right. Imagine stabbing your own heart with and ice dagger. Can you imagine how cold and painful it would be? Good. Because that is not even remotely close to how Ron Stoppable felt at those words. "No, wait. That's not what I meant to say. That came out wrong."

"Whoa there, KP," he said. "Don't give me such a scare. Come on, what's this is all about?"

"I… I… I just don't know how to ask this to you. Ron… me and Josh are dating, ok? Now, you know I'm not exactly a normal girl, right? I'm an overachiever, a cheerleader and on top of that I do this saving the world thing with you. Well… I just… It's just… I think you might scare him…"

She was being serious. Hell, she looked scared out of her mind. It was probably the only reason why Ron didn't laugh his ass off at the notion of him being scary to someone else. That was absolutely ridiculous and he told her as much.

"Aw. Come on, KP. Did you hear yourself? Me, scary? Didn't you mean scared?"

"No Ron… you don't understand. We are always together. Like all the time. And I'm afraid that he might misunderstand our relationship and…"

Now, Ron Stoppable was definitely clueless but, despite common knowledge, not stupid. He could see where the conversation was going.

"So… Basically you are asking me to stay away from you from now on, right?"

"No… Yes. No. Just for a little while. Long enough for me and Josh to get more comfortable with each other, but…. I don't want to push you away… Ron our friendship is special. One of those things that happen to two people in a billion and… No boyfriend is worth our friendship so… if you are not okay with it then just forget I even asked you about this."

Now, Kim Possible believed what she said one hundred percent. Still that didn't change the fact that Ron was in a pretty sticky situation. What was he supposed to do? Being a crappy friend and tell her to forget about it? Stand in the way to her relationship with the guy she liked when she had been honest and upfront with the issue? Could he do that and still call himself her friend? Quite frankly he couldn't'.

He had to make a choice. One that would inevitably be painful, for him or for both.

Ron Stoppable was many things: a slacker, a wimp and a coward. He knew as much and he made no effort to deny it. He wasn't proud of it but he never once believed that he had what he needed to make things different. He had one thing, however, he had always been proud of. The firm knowledge that, in spite all of his phobia and lack of self-confidence, he would always have Kim Possible's back. It was the only thing he was good at and the only thing he would never give up.

Therefore, the choice was a no brainer to him. Between hurting himself and hurting Kim in any conceivable way he would always pick the first.

"Ron?" Kim's voice snapped him out of his thought.

"Ah. Wow," he breathed. "That's kinda… I mean… Yeah. I think I understand. Ok. I- I'm fine with it."

"Really? Oh Ron. ThankYouThankYouThankyou. You're the best friend I could ever hope to have," she said hugging him tightly.

"Ah. Think nothing of it, KP. Hey, you know I'm going to support you whatever you are going to do, right?" His selfness was rewarded with one of those beaming smiles of hers. That kind of smile that could make him jump of a plane without a parachute, more that any Puppy Dog Pout (PDP™) ever could. It was all the more hurtful to him. Yeah, despite what a random onlooker would think, Ron Stoppable wasn't simply crushing on her best friend. He was completely and utterly in love with one Kimberly Ann Possible. A girl he would never have for himself.

He was fine with it. It wasn't like he ever once thought she would look at him like that. He wasn't her friend because he hoped she would one day notice him and his feelings. He wasn't wired like that. If he had to step back so that she could be happy he would do suck it up and do it without a second thought.

"I know. Thanks Ron," she answered.

"It's okay. Don't worry about it. Besides, we're still going to see each other on missions, right?"

Silence. Never a good thing.

"Err.. Ron? We need to talk about this too."

Well, what do you know? Despite any previous conventions, things could actually get worse.

"What? Is Mankey going to replace me on missions too?" Silence again. "Ah. So that's how it is. I see."

"Ron. It's not like that. He volunteered to come. He said that it would help us know each other better and…"

"Enough," he snapped, and Kim almost jumped back. Ron wasn't one prone to burst of anger, especially not to her. "It's fine, I said I'm all right with it." He took a couple of calming breaths. His entire world was getting turned upside down and he had just lost in only anchor. For the receptacle of phobias he was dealing with the situation with remarkable composure. "Fine. It's fine. Eh, this actually solves me another problem."

"Ah… What you mean? What problem?"

It was now Kimberly's turn to be worried. Ron was reacting way more maturely that she ever thought him capable of.

"You remember that exchange program I participated in some times ago?"

"The one in Japan?"

"That one," he answered. "I've been asked to participate again, for a longer time. I was going to turn them down 'cause, you know, I thought that you needed me here for the missions but now… Well, since we are going to be separated from each other for a while we might be serious about it."

"How much is longer? Two weeks? A month?"

He shook his head.

"It's for six months, KP."

Call it fate, call it Karma but turnabout's fair. In spite of what one could think, Kim Possible had deep rooted feelings, if not romantic in nature, for her blonde haired friend. He had been the only absolute constant in her life, be it at school or dodging death rays and bottomless pitfalls. He was there for her. He had always been for almost fourteen years and now he was about to leave for a period of time most teenagers never even bothered to measure. Six months were a lifetime when you had something by your side every single day of your life.

Now, she was finding herself in the same situation as he was just moment priors. She knew him well enough. She knew the importance he gave to their friendship. He had dropped a job he loved so that he could rescue her from a situation he had put herself into and never even asked for a thank you in return. He had even used his pay to buy her the coat she wanted so much.

She knew that if he asked him to stay in Middleton so that she could easily reach him if she needed his support he would do just that. She just couldn't bring herself to be that selfish.

"That long? I… I'm really going to miss you Ron," she finally settled to say.

"Yeah. I guess I'm going to miss you too, but… Maybe it's for the best."

"Maybe. Will you… Will you call me?"

"I… The school is pretty isolated. They have this strict policy to keep students focused, so the only phone is for emergencies. I… I can write you sometimes. Not very often, though."

"Write? Yes… that would be great. I… Oh Ron. I'm… I'm so sorry about this. I'm being selfish. I'm going to tell Josh…"

"No! No, KP. It's okay. I don't want you to give up on this for my sake. I'm going to be ok. Besides, I think we need some kind of break from each other. I mean, we always been together since we were little. Maybe we should see how the world looks while the other isn't around."

"O… OK, Ron. Are you sure about this?"

"Yeah. I… I need to be my own person, maybe grow up a little while I'm at it. Just promise me one thing, Kim."

"Anything, Ron."

"If you ever find yourself in trouble, of any kind, make Wade contact me. I'll make sure to be reachable for emergencies. Just call and I'll be here in a jiffy. "Ron, I can't ask you to…"

"I know. I'm the one asking you. Just promise me, KP."

"I… I… Oh Ron you are the best," she exclaimed. "I promise. If I ever find myself in a bad sitch. I'll make sure to let you know."

"Good. Then… I should really go, now. If I have to leave I need to prepare a lot of stuff. There's a ton of paperwork to stay abroad for so long."

"Yes. I guess so. Then… When are you leaving?"

"In a week. Will I see you before I leave?"

"Sure. I'll come with you at the airport, ok?"

"Thanks. I got to go now. Lot of stuff to do," he said standing up a heading to the door. "See ya, KP."

"Ron," she stopped him, "you know I could have never saved the world without you, right?"

He turned a little and smiled at her. An honest, sincere smile.

"Thanks KP, but I think you would have managed anyway. You can do anything, after all."

And with those last words he left the Possibles' household for the last time in a long while.

As he walked back to his house he was taken by a storm of different emotions.

Fear and sadness, but also excitement and determination.

For the first time in his life and unknown path was opening up in front of him and he was determined to make the best out of it. Silently he vowed to himself to come back stronger that he was. Strong enough to say the words he couldn't speak. Strong enough to tell her how important she was to him, even if he could never have her for himself.

Setting himself on a difficult path of personal change and self-growth, Ron Stoppable stepped toward an uncertain future.

Author Notes:

Yep. It's a rewrite. I decided to revive this story. Plot bunnies have been tormenting me for a while now, but they weren't really enough to make me go back to this story. I also needed to go back to the original Ron since the one in Identities is getting farther from his Essential Rankness due to some pretty angsty events. I will also probably rewrite Identities too. I came a long way from a year ago when I first started writing a story in a foreign language and looking back I'm both pleased and horrified with myself. I know most people would rather read new chapters but I really need to renew my works, least I lose interest in them. Pride is a major motivation to me and I can't really put myself to work on a story that looks ugly in my own eyes.

Thanks for putting up with my whims.

As usual reviews are more than welcome. The original story will be deleted once this one reaches the same point. Make sure to subscribe to this one too.

Also, I decided to improve the quality of my writing by actually having a steady beta. Anyone up for the job feel free to PM me at any given time.