Mmkay so I wrote this in response to Levi's question... in my story, I Lost A World the Other Day, has Ron actually been involved in the death of people that had nothing to do with his revenge? Read to find out :)
I don't own any recognizable characters of Kim Possible and I'm not making any profit from posting this, and if I were I'd be writing real episodes still.
In this, Ron's gonna have some explaining to do to KP. I'm using a song title for this, so naturally there will be a quote. I haven't used quotes for my outtakes, but I feel like this one fits. Ron and Kim are dealing with some after math of Levi's question. in the process KP learns that the best thing she can do is be there for him, and Ron learns that KP still wants to be, and always will want to be his best friend and lover.
I can finally see
That you're right here, beside me...
Please, don't let me go
I desperately need you.
~Meteor Shower, Owl City
Chapter 24.5: Meteor Shower
"No... no, no no no NO! KP!" I gasp as I suddenly feel him shaking me awake. "KP wake up," he orders me, even though I'm already awake. Before I can get a word in, I feel his tears on my face and neck. "This can't be happening," he mutters, hovering over me. His hands flutter desperately over my body. "KP please," he pleads, his voice a broken whisper.
At some point during all of this, some part of my brain realizes that he's dreaming. I need to snap him out of it. "Ron," I start, trying to keep the confusion and fear out of my voice.
"I'm here, KP... stay with me," he answers immediately.
"Ron, I'm okay," I try again. "Ron—"
"Yeah, you would say that," he chuckles through his tears. His hands come to rest low on my left shoulder. "I... I'm so sorry. I'm sorry, KP, please—"
"Ron!" I push on his shoulders, hoping to get him to let me up.
"Don't move, Kimmie," he mumbles. "You're gonna be okay. Don't fight me, let me take care of you." His hand on my shoulder presses harder.
You've got to be fucking kidding me. "Ron, wake up!"
"Huh?" he asks in confusion.
I slap his cheek, and he instinctively grabs my wrist. His eyes, once glazed over and haunted, are suddenly confused. He's awake now. "Ron... I'm okay."
"KP?" He looks around before meeting my eyes again in the dark. His arms wrap me in a bone-crushing death grip, and he sobs, his muscles flexing with the effort as he gasps for breath. "KP," he cries into my hair. "Oh God, KP—are you okay?! Fuck, I didn't even—let me see you," he says, tugging at the hem of my shirt.
"What?! Why wouldn't I be okay?! Ron, wait," I tell him, stilling his hands.
"Because you got shot," he mutters, his eyes frantically scanning me. "He shot you and—fuck, I need an ambulance."
"Ron, nobody shot me, dammit! I'm okay!"
He tears his hands out of mine and they frantically touch every inch of me, from my hair to my face, to my back, looking for some injury. "Take it off," he tells me, his voice not leaving room for objection.
I lift my night shirt over my head, and only when both his eyes and his hands have been satisfied that I'm not bleeding anywhere, does he sigh in deep relief. Tears gather in his eyes again, and he turns away from me, sitting with his legs crossed.
"Ron? Will you... tell me what the hell just happened?"
His shoulders tremble a little and he shakes his head. "I can't."
"You'll hate me, KP." He sounds so dejected.
"I thought we already covered that there's no hate between us."
"And I want to keep it that way," he says testily.
I know what this is. I've read about it on the internet, and in my abnormal psych class we covered it extensively. He's so jumpy all the time... it stings me that I've only noticed his exhaustion and tension now that we're here. He has awful dreams like the one he just had, that leave him gasping for breath, or sobbing... or worse, believing that the dream is real. There are certain sounds that send him into a spiral of panic, certain scents that make him literally sick to his stomach...
Post-traumatic Stress Disorder.
His mind, tormented by his grief and anger and all the dangerous and maybe down-right evil things he's had to do to make it right, is completely overloaded. I had wondered how long it would take before it all came crashing down on him... I guess it took Hana's almost-accident and this whole monkey-power business to finally open the can of worms, so to speak.
"How long have you been like this?" I ask gently.
"A while," he answers vaguely. "It's better when the girls are home," he adds.
"Does Shelby know?"
"Yeah. Stayed with her in the beginning, remember? She's had to wake me up before." So he's been like this for months and months. How didn't I see...?
I swallow hard. "What... I mean, what happens when no one is around to wake you up?"
He gives a short, humorless chuckle. "I don't sleep much."
"Ron," I start to chastise him, but he interrupts.
"Don't worry about it, KP," he says quietly. "I, um... Shego made me start seeing a GJ shrink for the PTSD stuff. I go twice a week. Once for talk therapy, and once for this weird-ass light shit. I guess it helps though, so I can't complain. It's just... fucking weird."
I chuckle at that. He's talking about EMDR therapy. They have a light or series of lights you're supposed to follow with your eyes while talking about whatever traumas affect you, in an effort to, I guess, desensitize you to the overload of emotion that the trauma has caused.
"Why didn't you tell me?"
Another humorless snort. "I think I've burdened you with my bullshit more than enough, don't you think?"
"You're not a burden," I argue, feeling on edge and maybe slightly hysterical.
"I always was a burden to you," he says quietly, his voice full of resignation and regret. "From letting you do the stupid science project by yourself, to being the dumbest sidekick ever made, to leaving you with my sister and two kids... all I've ever done is just add weight to your shoulders."
I sputter my protest incoherently.
He just shrugs. "You can't tell me I'm wrong."
I sigh. "It was... hard, but our girls, they can't ever be a burden to me. I love them," I tell him.
His shoulders slump.
"You can't ever be a burden to me," I tell him, letting my hands roam his back. "I love you."
He finally turns to me, wrapping me in another bone-crushing death grip. He pulls back then, drawing a deep, shuddering breath. "It was only a few months after I left... I was distracted. I'd just... I mean, I'd just found out about you and the twins and... I couldn't focus. I should never have gone on that mission."
"What was the mission?"
"In some cultural museum in California, they had an exhibit about ancient religions that led to what is now the 'New Age' movement or whatever... there was part of the exhibit having to do with you know, opposite powers: yin and yang, and all that, and how most ancient eastern religion focused on that sort of thing, and how to achieve and maintain balance. They displayed some of Monkey Fist's work on Tei Shing Pek Kwar in an exhibit about ancient ninjas and stuff, actually, which was a big tip-off for me... Of course, they added that the man eventually went insane and started believing all the ancient myths... but in any case, they talked about the two sides of the mystical monkey power. They talked about a blade... just like the Lotus Blade is supposed to be used for only for good, this one is supposed to be used by the person possessed by The Yono. I can't even tell you how much life would suck if that... slime... had gotten his hands on that blade. Not even you, KP," he says with a sad tenderness in his eyes, brushing my face gently. "Not even you could stop him. And seeing as how I'm a completely inconsistent mystical handicap right now, I don't think I could have stopped him either. He would have won, KP... and he would have killed you, and Han, with that cursed blade.
"I was so angry, KP... I've never been so torqued in my whole life. I couldn't believe that this sort of information was just... out there, for him to see. I felt like the whole world was turning against me. I destroyed the exhibit... with an alterior motive, of course. If he didn't know about it, he would not be able to take it. Using that information and searching through Yori's journal for more information on it, I was going to find the second blade and either get rid of it, or turn it over to Sensei so that he could keep it away from that hairy freak until I could kill him." He smirks. "Mystical Monkey Power or no, there isn't much you can do about a bullet in your brain..."
I roll my eyes."So you went to that museum... and you destroyed the exhibit and stole the information they had. Then what happened?"
Another shuddering breath. "I... the place was surrounded. There were people still in the building... civilians, you know? I fired warning shots to get them to leave... they all tried to run. But of course... firing the shots gave my position away in the building, d the cops..." he stops, trying to breathe evenly. Tears escape from his eyes in a steady stream now, and his hands, along with the rest of his frame, tremble violently. "KP I'm sorry," he whispers, his voice pleading with me to understand. "Please... KP don't make me say it," he begs. "I don't want you to be angry."
"I'm not angry, Ron," I tell him, the firmness in my voice contradicting the gentleness of my hands, still rubbing his back.
He wipes his face with his sleeve and clears his throat. "Um... when I fired the warning shots, the cops returned fire... probably thinking I was shooting at them, or at civilians. I ducked out of the way but in the confusion... I saw the kid go down. He was like.. fifteen or sixteen. Dark hair, sort of tall, about my height, wearing a black hoodie. They shot him twice. I think... I think they thought he was me." His voice breaks off as he tries to finish his sentence.
"I dragged him out of the line of fire, and I fired on the cops that shot him. They had vests though, so they didn't die. I just knocked them down... I tried to save him, KP, I swear," he says, his voice rough with tears. "I tried to save him! He... had nothing to do with this, I didn't want him to die. I swear, KP, please believe me," he whispers, his broken pleas clawing at my insides. My stomach is in knots. I wrap my arms around myself and squeeze my eyes shut, trying to block out the images of him fighting for the life of a teenage stranger that invariably got dragged to his grave by the mess Ron was in... I can hear his voice in my mind, desperate like it was earlier tonight, full of grief and horror: "This can't be happening..."
And then he says it. It's a broken whisper, and I barely hear it. "I had to leave him there."
I gulp. "W-what?"
"I had to leave him, KP... the cops were coming and if they found that info on me, they'd know I was the thief... and they'd put me in jail and then Monkey Fist... he would have killed you, KP! And Han... and maybe our girls too... and the Tweebs, and your parents... and I can't! I couldn't let that happen," he says savagely. "The cops were coming in and I had to choose... I had to choose between my future, your future, and the lives of our girls... and the kid. And I just... I couldn't let myself get captured. So I left him there. He died in the arms of one of the medics that arrived on the scene after I was gone."
I feel like I'm going to hurl. Oh fuck...this is too much. I scramble to my feet, taking his hoodie and shorts from the corner, and I bolt.
I shouldn't have said anything. I stare at the open door long after she's gone. I knew she would run. She... looked so sick there at the end. Disgusted, probably. I'm a murderer, now she knows. She knows that, while I killed men who deserved a much more painful death than what I gave them, I was the monster that time in the museum. I let that kid bleed to death on the ground like the rest of the criminals. I let him die. Furthermore, I'm the reason he's dead. Oh God, I killed him...
I saw his grave stone later... as I was passing through that town on another mission, I wanted to see his resting place... maybe beg forgiveness for walking away that way. My chest tightens painfully as I remember his name. Joel. Joel Hastings. There were still flowers and candles and teddy bears and shit on his grave. There was a letter from his girlfriend, telling him that she still loved him.
Suddenly my heart lurches as my chest constricts again. I can't breathe. I need to—I need air. I gotta find KP and tell her I'm sorry. Even if she leaves... oh God, if she leaves... am I dying? She must have already left.
Oh God... if she left...
I can't breathe.
I wander into Yori's garden after I finally manage to get myself under control. To both my surprise and my not surprise, Sensei is sitting there, watching the moon and the stars dance with the sparse clouds. His face, underneath the perpetually calm and collected mask, is sad. "Stoppable-San carries much sadness and pain inside him," he says, his voice barely above a whisper.
I sit on the tiny bench next to him, wrapping my arms around myself again and shuddering. "I didn't know... I didn't know how much it cost him. I mean, he told me most of it, but then... then he tells me stuff like this...? I don't even know what I'm supposed to do with this information." Part of me wants to do what he predicted, tell him that I fucking hate that he let some stupid kid die that really had no business there anyway, and that I plain hate him and then take my kids and run.
But the rest of me knows that if I did that I would be lying to him and myself. I can fix this. We can fix this. We can fix him... right?
"What did he tell you?" Sensei asks, his deep voice masking his curiosity a little.
"He told me... he said that he had to let an innocent person die. A teenager. He said he had no choice, that they would have captured him and that Monkey Fist would have had his chance to destroy the world and—"
"I remember when he arrived here with the blade. He seemed to have much inner turmoil... I accepted the blade from him, and he wanted to leave immediately. I asked him what troubled him so."
"What... what did he tell you?"
"Everything. More than he told you. He still wishes to shield you from the darkness he's suffered... or perhaps from the fact that some of that darkness has come from inside him."
Just then, a thicker cloud, blown by the breeze, cover the moon, temporarily leaving the world around us in complete darkness. It suits the moment.
"But even through that darkness, there was still goodness in him. Did you know he thought to use his mystical monkey power to heal the boy's wounds?"
I gape at him. "He can do that?"
"And more, with time and practice," he says quietly. "But he could not activate his power, and that is why he had to leave the boy to his fate. Otherwise, the boy would have been healed in an instant."
I don't know what to say. I feel like I should learn more about his power and what he can do. He needs my help more than ever now. That's... what Yori was trying to do before she died... that's why she died. And I think... I owe it to both of them to do that.
"He wanted to use it to save the boy. He knew he would probably suffer for it later, given his own thoughts about it. But he thought it would be better for him to suffer than for an innocent life to be extinguished. Unfortunately, he could not do so. He feels immense guilt."
"Is that why he hates it so much?"
Sensei pointed to the entrance of the garden. "Why don't you ask him?"
I whirl around, to see what he's talking about, and sure enough, Ron is standing just inside, one arm wrapped loosely around his torso and one clinging to the gate. He looks pale and terrified. He is struggling for every breath. My first instinct is to jump up and guide him to into my seat. It takes him several minutes to catch his breath. Tears spill from his eyes as he continues to gasp and hyperventilate. Not knowing what to do, I grip his hands tightly. Tears spill down my cheeks too; I hate not knowing how to help him.
When he finally calms down some, I look up to find Sensei is gone. I sit on his space on the bench and hug Ron. "Are you okay?" I ask him, my voice a hoarse whisper.
"You... stayed," he breathes, and then his arms wrap around me, squeezing until I'm the one gasping for breath.
"Of course I stayed—I can't breathe, put me down," I grunt at him.
"Sorry," he mumbles sheepishly.
"It's okay. Why'd you think I wouldn't stay? I told you I don't... I don't hate you. I forgive you and... I hope you can forgive me for my part in this too."
"Can you... really... love me like this?"
"Like how? I don't understand."
"I'm fucked up, KP."
I smirk, thinking back to all the weird phobias he used to have (and probably still has). "You always have been, Ron."
He cracks a smile. "True enough," he says trying not to laugh.
I poke his rib.
He jumps, glaring at me even as his lips twitch. He finally has to laugh.
I smile, happy that he's laughing. "And I've always loved you," I tell him sincerely.
His eyes, still sparkling with laughter, meet mine. He brushes a stray hair behind my ear and kisses my forehead. "Thank you."
I lean into him, and he buries his hands in my hair. We stay that way, sometimes silent, sometimes talking about the dreams that plague him, until dawn tints the sky, and then I disentangle myself from him, standing up to stretch. "Come on, we have a long day and we haven't slept."
"We?" he looks up at me in curiosity and confusion.
I peck his lips and he smiles. "Yeah. I have some training of my own to do."
"Whaddya mean by that?"
"I just... I realize how little I understand about all of this. And... I know it's a secret and you couldn't tell me a lot, but now I feel like... like I can't let you do it alone. Besides, I know some animal styles of Kung Fu, but Monkey Kung Fu is not one of them. So while I'm learning about your mystical monkey stuff maybe I'll pick up a move or two."
"Wait... you want to...? You're gonna...?"
I roll my eyes. "It's no big, kay? I just want to know more about what it is you can do and how to help you. Now come on, I want to get a jump on the cafeteria lady for breakfast. No one should have to fight for food this early in the morning."
"I couldn't agree more, KP. Let's chow." He takes my hand and leads me back to our room so we can get ready for the day. The sun chases the remaining wisps of cloud and fog away, making brilliant pink, orange, and yellow before making them disappear all together.
I pull Ron to a stop, launching myself at him. He catches me, surprised, and holds me.
Everything is going to be alright.
She tugs on my hand, and when I turn, she launches herself at me, causing me to stumble a little bit. Her arms lock around my neck and mine automatically circle her waist, holding her close. I absently rub her back. Having her in my arms is the most liberating feeling in the world. She and I talked a lot tonight, and I think... I think I won't have this nightmare again. I'm not losing her, she's here. She's here and she forgives me. She's not leaving, ever.
I can breathe.