Opening Notes: In production order, 'Crush' is the 13th episode but it was the first one aired. There are many strong points to using the production order as the basis of previous events except for one. I am moving the arrival of Monique to the beginning of the school year and having her established in the school instead of after the spring dance as her first appearance came later in production number.
Kim Possible: The Rise of Ron
Tara sighed as she walked toward the bathrooms. The Spring Fling dance was a total downer for the vivacious blonde cheerleader. Her friend and teammate Bonnie Rockwaller had somehow convinced most of the sophomore cheer squad members to wear their cheer uniforms to the dance. That coupled with a number of overbearing junior and senior jocks vying for her attention was enough to make her want to be at home tonight. She was about to take the next hand to grope her butt off at the wrist before the squad captain, Kim Possible, suggested she make a bathroom run to cool off.
As the most endowed on the squad on top of her long blonde locks, she was desired by many but for none of the reasons she wanted to be desired for. She pulled in mid to low A's for grades and was in the top 10 percent of the class. Well closer to the 10 percent level than the 1 percent level but still there. Her tendencies to giggle, squeal, and speak before thinking tended to get most to file her away as another blonde airhead.
Her sneakers squeaked on the waxed floor and echoed down the hall. The thump of the music stopped as the MC switched records on his turntables and a quiet voice reached her ears.
"But, I'm a bon diggety dancer!" the muffled voice said.
"Ron? That sounded like Ron," Tara muttered. The school mascot and cheer squad hanger on, Ron Stoppable, was a no show for the dance. Tara had hoped to get in one or two slow dances with the brown eyed blonde. The boy had shown serious bravery a few weeks prior during an incident at Camp Wannaweep. Tara had rewarded the boy with a kiss on the cheek but she found her thoughts going to him more often. She admitted to herself she was crushing on the boy and wanted to see if it could be mutual at this very dance.
The beat of a new song covered up any further voices she might have heard. She hurried into the bathroom to finish her business and headed back to the dance. She found Kim dancing with Josh Mankey with glassy eyed happiness.
"Kim?" Tara called out in the red head's ear to get her attention.
"Hey, Tara. What's up? Another guy getting fresh?" Kim asked with a slight frown.
"No, but can we talk for a second?"
"Sure," Kim said. The red head turned to her date. "Josh, Tara needs a minute."
The brown haired artist pushed his highlighted hair off his face and said, "Sure, I'll go grab us some punch."
The blonde cheerleader led Kim to the edge of the dance area. "I was just wondering, why isn't Ron at the dance tonight?" Tara asked.
"I haven't seen him since school this afternoon Tara," Kim replied. "He even flaked on Bueno Nacho after school when I got asked to the dance by Josh. He must have taken off in a snit when Josh talked to me."
Tara's mind raced. Ron and Bueno Nacho were legendary. He would never bail out on his Mexican fast food. She knew Kim well enough to know that she got distracted by hotties and Josh qualified there. She also didn't like the way Kim treated Ron on their world saving exploits as Team Possible. Kim was a glory hound and never pushed Ron to the spotlight even when he deserved it. The Camp Wannaweep incident stood out once more. Ron had saved the day and Kim got the credit. Ron had just stood in the background with a neutral look on his face as she got another TV interview.
"Were you over in B Hall near the bathrooms when Josh asked you to the dance, Kim?" Tara asked quietly.
Kim thought for a moment. "Yeah, I was over there. How did you know?"
"No reason. Oh, looks like Josh got the punch. Better get back to him. Thanks Kim," Tara chirped in a cheery voice.
Once the redhead had wandered back out to dance, Tara headed back toward the bathrooms. She let the scene form in her mind. Kim and Ron were normally so joined at the hip people thought they were going out. No one would even try to ask Kim out in front of Ron. It was one of those unwritten rules Middleton High had about Kim and Ron.
A flash in her mind of a book their sophomore English class had just read. 'Kimandron. One word, like the two of them are one person just like the boys in that book.' Another more pleasing thought of a different pair of names ran across her mind next as she waited for the thumping beat of the music to break at the end of another song.
Her sharp blue eyes looked at the hallway. Kim and Ron were together when Josh asked Kim out. But Ron would not have simply walked off without Kim. She scanned up one side of the hallway; girls bathroom, boys bathroom, classroom, classroom, next crossing hall. Nothing there. Her gaze tracked back down the hall getting closer; classroom, classroom, janitor's closet, utility room.
She stepped up to the janitor's closet. The door was one of those solid ones that opened out into the hallway and for some reason had the lock on the outside. The song was winding down and the MC switched to a slow one with no bass. She could barely hear the music out in the hall now.
"Ron?" Tara called out in the direction of the janitor's closet.
"Hello?" came a muffled voice in reply.
"Ron, it's Tara," she said in a stronger voice.
"Tara! I'm in the closet. It's dark in here!" Ron cried out.
Tara twisted the knob and the door opened up. Ron blinked at the light shining in his eyes and was about to step into the hall when his pants fell down around his ankles. The blonde boy fell out of the closet to land on the floor at her feet. He rolled to his back and looked up at her. He suddenly blushed before covering his face with his hands.
"Sorry, sorry. I didn't mean to look," he cried out in fear.
Tara was confused for a moment before she realized he had a prime view up her short cheerleader skirt. She was not terribly worried as she dropped to her knees next to Ron.
"Silly, I am wearing my spankies you know. Besides, I know you look at us cheerleaders all the time during practice, Mad Dog," she said with a giggle before she helped Ron stand up and pull up his pants. "What were you doing in the janitor's closet, Ron?"
"Um, I was looking to clean up something and the door closed behind me, "Ron said as he rubbed the back of his neck.
Beep, wrong answer," Tara said crossing her arms as one eyebrow rose. "I can spot a lie like that and I'm blonde. Now spill or I tell Bonnie about how you are checking us out from under your Mad Dog mask, Mr. Stoppable."
"Kim didn't mean to lock me in there," Ron blurted out.
Tara's kind face took on an angry visage as Ron explained the whole Kim crushing on Mankey ordeal and how she had shoved him into the janitor's closet and forgotten about him.
"That little … grrr … a few minutes ago she said she didn't know where you were and that you flaked out on Bueno Nacho on her. I am so going to give her a piece of my mind," Tara grumbled as she dragged Ron along behind her back to the dance.
"She locks you in a closet so she can get a date with a guy and forgets about you. She claimed you had bailed on her and didn't even remember that she pushed you in there." The last statement was heard in the gym as the music had stopped about halfway through Tara's tirade. The MC paused putting on a new record. He wanted to hear the conversation of the blondes.
"But its fine Tara," Ron protested as he pulled her to a stop in the doorway to the gym.
"No Ron, it isn't," Tara protested. "She doesn't respect you. She just uses you and takes your accomplishments as her own! After Wannaweep, the paper said she captured that seaweed guy, not you. You were the hero and she took all the credit! Remember the reporters that were there? She could have set them straight right away but she didn't! Ron, they didn't even have your name in the article!"
Tara had tears running down her face at this point. Her voice had carried across the gym. More than a few people were standing there and muttering.
Ron was stunned at what Tara had laid out to him. His hidden misgivings about the Team Possible situation reared up. The effect of the pretty blonde crying in front of him would not allow him to deny what she had said. He never looked at the newspapers or watched the news about their Wannaweep encounter because Kim told him he would get 'big heady' if he did. The reminder of the haircut incident was something Kim loved to use.
'They don't even get my name after I stopped Gill at Wannaweep?' he thought. 'I thought that was just a Drakken thing.'
Tara took his unresisting hand again and turned to see the silent gym looking at the two of them. A stunned Kim Possible stood with Josh Mankey in the center of a large open area that had developed around them.
"Ron?" Kim asked in a quiet voice.
Ron walked toward Kim in silence. "What Tara said about Wannaweep, is it true?" he asked his best friend since pre-K.
"Ron, it's complicated …," Kim started before Ron cut her off.
"Is. It. True?" Ron asked again carefully stressing each word as a sentence.
"Ron, I …"
"IS IT TRUE?!" Ron yelled at Kim's repeated non answers.
Kim stood in silence as his angry brown eyes seemed to cut deeply into her. It took nearly a minute of absolute silence before she whispered, "yes".
With that, Ron just turned and left.
The crowd of teens looked at Kim and Josh and the muttering began. Bonnie glared at her rival and decided a remark was in order.
"Smooth one, K. I may cut Stoppable down, but at least I'm honest about it and do it to his face," she said in a snarky tone.
Kim winced under the barb and looked around the gym. No face looked at her in a friendly fashion. Even Monique, her new best girlfriend, looked at her with questioning eyes. Kim turned and fled the gym using a different door than Ron.
Steve Barkin, the assistant principal of Middleton High School, spoke up.
"Okay people, the drama is over!" he cried out. The MC started up the music at his direction and the dance continued. However, few people in attendance realized that the drama had only just begun.
Tara chased Ron down just outside of the school.
"Ron, I'm sorry but you needed to know," she said.
"You're fine, Tara. I should have known after all this time. No reporter ever calls my house and I've been helping Kim since the beginning with that rich guy. I guess I am a loser for not seeing it before now," he said as he began to turn away.
"You are not a loser, Ron Stoppable!" Tara yelled out. "You're a hero! And … you're my hero," she finished.
"Really?" Ron asked stunned.
"Yes, really. You saved the whole squad from being turned into mutant fish girls. Even Bonnie is grateful for that much. You should have been the one in the spotlight this time."
'But I wasn't,' he thought with a pained heart.
"I gotta go, Tara," he said in a sad and quiet tone. "I've been in that closet since practice this afternoon and I must reek something awful. I'll see you on Monday, okay?"
Tara did not want to wait that long but she accepted it for now. Ron was right that he did smell of old sweat. It had much less appeal than when fresh and glistening. "Okay Ron. I'm in the student directory if you want to talk about anything."
The blonde girl waved lamely as Ron had already turned to walk off into the night.
Ron groaned as he woke up the following morning. The phone was ringing twice then going to the answering machine over and over. His sleep muddied mind took a minute to realize that someone was calling the house. He had always set the ringer in his room to the lowest setting since he never got phone calls and the few that came to the Stoppable house were for his father.
'Why isn't Dad getting the phone?' he thought. He stumbled out of the bed and down the hall to the living room. Next to the phone was a note from his parents. 'Gone to an actuarial convention in Dallas. Food is in the fridge and we left money in the usual place. Be back on Tuesday.'
Ron frowned. "Of course, finding out they left is just a note. I bet we could end up moving and the first notice of it I got was when the 'Sold' sign is on the lawn," he muttered.
The phone began ringing again. The living room phone was much louder and Ron rubbed his still crusty eyes and walked over to it as the answering machine picked up again. The person on the other end just hung up as soon as the recorded voice began. Ron looked at the answering machine and pushed the button.
The old fashioned tape recorder machine rewound and began playing. Most of the words were garbled as the tape was chewed by the head. "Stupid old machine. Dad thinking answering machines are just a 'fad' like everything else. We really need to upgrade." Ron would not be surprised if his dad had an old rotary phone stashed away somewhere in case the twenty year old touchtone model they had broke.
Sighing, the boy went upstairs to wake his pet mole rat so they could get breakfast.
Once fed and dressed, Ron considered what to do with his Saturday. His anger at Kim from the night before was subdued but still in mind. He had to find something else to do today than hang out with Kim. He grabbed a keg of cheese balls his parents had bought from Smarty-Mart and headed back to his room and a stint of Zombie Mayhem.
Kim was having a terrible morning. "What's wrong Kimmie?" her mother asked shutting off a small TV when the teen plopped down at the kitchen table.
Kim pouted for a moment before she looked up at the red headed Anne Possible.
"Ron yelled at me last night at the dance. It was so embarrassing," she said in a grumpy tone.
"That doesn't sound like Ron at all. Why would he do something like that?" Anne replied with an arched eyebrow. The woman knew her daughter well enough that if Ron was so upset to act out, it usually meant Kim had done something seriously wrong.
Kim got nervous and looked at her mom. The older redhead just kept looking and waiting for an answer.
"Well, it goes back a few weeks. That thing at that camp with the fish guy, I kind of kept quiet when the press gave all the credit to me when Ron did everything," she muttered.
"Oh, that must be why it's all over the news this morning. But they have a slightly different rendition of the facts," Anne said glibly as she set a plate of eggs in front of Kim.
All … over … the news," Kim slowly repeated in shock.
Mrs. Possible just nodded calmly. "I guess you got some 'splainin' to do, Kimmie."
"Ugh," the teen replied.
Hours later, Ron had finished the latest Zombie Mayhem game and Rufus had finished off the keg of cheese balls. The boy saw his pet mole rat would not be budging for hours so he left the engorged rodent in the bottom of the empty plastic keg. He looked in the refrigerator for lunch ideas.
The phone rang once more and without thinking he reached over to grab it.
"Stoppable residence," he said in a good imitation of his father's voice.
"Hi Mr. Stoppable, is Ron there?" asked a perky voice.
"Um, hold on please," Ron replied putting his hand over the voice pickup. 'Tara calling for me?' he thought.
Ron put the phone back to his ear. "Ron here," he said in his normal voice.
"Ron, its Tara. I was, um, I was wondering if you wanted to go get something to eat and maybe hang out with me at the mall this afternoon."
Ron thought for a moment. Normally he hung out with Kim but he really did not want to see her today so he came to a life changing decision.
"Sure Tara," he replied.
It had taken hours of backtracking and cross examination before Kim finally cracked and confessed to her mother everything she had ever done wrong. Kim told how she was always giving bad information on Ron to the press as the least of her 'crimes'. Anne had wondered about the missing snack food from the years Kim was in middle school but had chalked that up to the black hole known as Ron's stomach. The wads of gum stuck to the bottom of the couch were new to her.
Anne was not so much mad as she was disappointed in her daughter. The brain surgeon knew Kim was driven to do her best at everything but also that the girl had a minor need to always be seen as special in her own right. 'Anything is possible for a Possible' was something James had always told his children and it had led to Kim embarking on a career as a teen hero.
The core of the problem Anne could see was that Kim had been keeping Ron dependant on her by never allowing him to get the accolades his efforts had earned. Now that she knew the whole Wannaweep incident from beginning to end, she could see exactly what Kim's ego was becoming. Ron was more capable in some areas than Kim was but Kim was not allowing him to see that fact.
Anne was not very proud of Kim at this moment but she knew her daughter needed to talk with Ron and clear the air before Kim's ego stiffened back up. However, the call to the Stoppable's was only a long series of phone rings with no answer.
"Strange, even their answering machine usually picks up by now. I wonder what Ron is up to," she muttered.
At that moment, Ron was sitting with a big smile on his face. He went to the mall wearing his normal outfit. The vivacious blonde girl had shown up in khaki shorts and a tight purple t-shirt with the logo, 'Property of Middleton H.S. Cheerleading' on the chest.
Tara had taken him to lunch at the Bueno Nacho first thing and had even eaten a whole Naco herself. That was something Kim never did. Tara reminded him that between her cheering and daily exercise regimen she would burn through the calories in no time. It was not something she could do everyday but she could indulge herself once in a while.
His biggest surprise was when they cruised the mall afterward. Normally Kim would drag Ron around and have him carry things for her but Tara was different. She asked him where he wanted to go and they alternated stores to browse in. Ron was trying a demo version of a game system in the computer store while Tara looked over the bargain software. After that, the blonde girl had to look over latest west coast fashions in a trendy store. After they left that store without buying anything, she confided to Ron she would be likely buy similar clothes at the Smarty-Mart in a few days.
The last stop at the mall was the Better Buy. Ron knew the answering machine at home was broken so he decided to use some of his parent's money to replace it. Tara pointed out which models were best and helped him pick one that was simple to program and use while avoiding an overpriced model with the exact same features.
"Wow, Tara, you know how to shop," he commented as they left the store. "Kim normally just sees something she likes and goes after it."
Tara blushed lightly at the compliment. "My Grandma was a ferocious bargain hunter. She was a stay at home mom and raised five kids on what Grandpa made working in construction. When I was little she used to watch me when my Mom would work. I ended up going with her grocery shopping and she showed me what to look for. Grandma taught me that if two items are the same thing that I would be wasting money getting the more expensive one simply because of the brand name."
Tara giggled at the astonished look on Ron's face. "Just because I'm blonde and beautiful doesn't mean I am an airhead, Ron," she said with a flirty grin.
Ron just nodded and gulped slightly at the smile Tara had given him. The blondes parted ways at the door of the mall and each headed home.
Bonnie Rockwaller was in a happy mood for once. Her sisters were both away at college and her arch rival Kim Possible had been taken down a few pegs by her own sidekick. She had fought down her initial thought to parlay the situation into a bid to reclaim leadership of the cheer squad. In the end she decided to bide her time on that issue until she saw how the redhead would handle things. If Kim could not handle the pressure solo then Bonnie would be waiting to come to the squad's rescue.
Her planning stopped when her cell phone rang. The 8 bit rendition of Julie Brown 'Cause I'm a Blonde' let her know Tara was calling. Bonnie smiled before answering. She knew Tara was instrumental in the embarrassment of Kim the night before and hoped it would continue with the girl's interest in the Mad Dog.
"Hey Tara. What's up?" she answered before pulling the phone from her ear at Tara's squeal.
"Bonnie, I just spent three hours at the mall with Ron!" Tara had squealed in a high pitched tone.
Bonnie switched the phone to her non deafened ear before continuing.
"Tara, you spent three hours with Stoppable?" Bonnie asked wanting confirmation.
"Yes, it was great," Tara said still way to happy for Bonnie's taste.
"Interesting, so dish Tara," Bonnie said slowly as her mind processed this tidbit. 'Kim normally keeps Stoppable on a short leash. If he was out with Tara, that means there might be a chance for some longer term fallout between the hero and her sidekick.'
Tara had continued to talk about her day with Ron while Bonnie had been thinking. Bonnie rolled her eyes at how her friend could be so intelligent but at times be such a bubblehead. She waited until Tara took a breath before breaking back in.
"Tara, I think you should see if there is a chance for a relationship here," Bonnie said clearly.
"You think so?" Tara bubbled up even further at Bonnie's tacit approval.
"Well, Kim is going out with Josh Mankey so that means you're not poaching. Stoppable is free, clear, and fair game. You do want to see if there is something there, don't you?" Bonnie said in as nice a voice as she could manage.
"Oh, yes," Tara said fighting back another squeal before what Bonnie was saying sunk in. "Wait, you normally are against anything to do with Ron. Why the change now?"
Bonnie thought fast and covered it with a hesitant "Well …" before continuing. "He did save us all a few weeks ago and he does have whole hero in his own right thing happening. That and he is technically a part of Cheer Squad since he is the school mascot means he can provisionally be rated above average. And with his growing a spine at the Dance last night in front of everyone, that means he has some buzz right now. Not hottie potential but something worthwhile on its own. With proper guidance, he could get some serious long term status."
Bonnie suppressed a shudder at giving Ron Stoppable a compliment even if it was true. She felt unclean and she would need a hot bubble bath and at least a pint of double fudge ice cream to get over it. But the feeling was worth it if it helped bring down Kim Possible a few more notches.
Tara squealed again before they talked about plans for school on Monday and their homework before hanging up.
Kim sat up in her room trying to figure out where Ron had disappeared to. His home phone was not answering. Her mom had confiscated the Kimmunicator for the weekend when she overheard Kim ask Wade to trace the teenage boy. Then to make things worse, the elder Possible had instructed Wade to cut off Kim's web access until further notice. That was beyond harsh in the younger redhead's mind until she recalled her actions against Ron during her missions.
After winning her thirtieth game of Freecell in a row, Kim looked at the phone again. She dialed the Stoppable house once more and was surprised to hear an answering machine come on. This meant that Ron or his parents had gotten home.
"Ron, its Kim. I need to talk to you about a whole lot of stuff. Before any of that, I need to say I'm sorry about the way I acted when it came to missions. I was so being a jerk to you. Please, call me back when you can.
Rufus looked up at Ron who had not moved a muscle since the answering machine had picked up the phone. The blonde teen had begun to reach for the phone when his pet mole rat bit the hand and began to scold the boy. Then Rufus did something Ron never thought the hairless rodent would do. He reached over and pressed 'Delete Message'.
"You sure Rufus?" Ron asked in a sad voice.
"Uh huh, uh huh," the pet replied in a squeaky voice and nodding its head before gibbering an explanation to Ron that somehow the boy understood.
After a long bout of his unique language, Rufus ran up onto Ron's shoulder and patted his boy on the head. The red furred girl had hurt his boy and she needed to feel some of it in return. Only then would Rufus let his boy see her again. Also the scent of the yellow furred one he smelled on Ron when the boy returned home was appealing to Rufus. A competition between potential mates would bring his boy the better one.
Sunday passed in silence between the Possible and Stoppable households. The 12 year old twins, Jim and Tim Possible, grumbled at no Ron during dinner but after Mrs. Possible explained, the boys merely glared at Kim and went to their room.
Tara dragged Bonnie out for a trip to a specialty sports store and a budget chain men's clothing store and left with a few items. Bonnie was not happy but the potential outcome at least made her tolerate Tara's bubbly personality during the trip.
Ron set a new personal high score on Zombie Mayhem and moved his character up two levels in Everlot. He called it a productive day.
Monday morning came all too soon for Ron. He would have rather slept in like his pet mole rat did but he knew school would not relent. Ron also knew Mr. Barkin was waiting with extra homework if he should show up even five seconds tardy.
Roughly a half hour before he would have left for school his doorbell rang. Ron was surprised to see Tara waiting there holding a bag from a local sports store.
"Morning Ron," she said with a smile.
"Oh, hi Tara. What are you doing here?" Ron said puzzled to see the perky blonde girl.
"Can I come in?" Tara asked and Ron stepped back to allow her entrance.
Tara set the bag down and pulled a light jacket out of one of it. The jacket was a purple zip front jacket with the school cartoon bulldog mascot on the back and the words 'Mad Dog' arcing over the bulldog's face. The name 'Ron' was on the front under the MHS initials.
"Wow Tara, what is this for?" Ron queried.
"It is a school jacket silly. Some of the other girls and me had gotten together after Wannaweep and decided you earned something special for what you did," Tara responded in a happy voice. "All the sports guys wear them. They usually put their name and sport logo on the jacket. Since you are the school mascot we got you one that has the Mad Dog face on the back. Isn't it cool?"
Ron smiled looking at the jacket. It was a medium weight one he could wear a good part of the year in Colorado. It was not a letterman coat but still it showed off he was a part of something at his school. He slipped it on and noticed his normal red jersey stuck out the bottom. If he did not want to look too strange he would need to wear a different shirt.
Tara reached into the other bag she had brought and pulled out a nice leather belt. "And this is so your wardrobe malfunction the other night doesn't happen so much. I noticed you didn't have one when your pants were around your ankles."
Ron blushed profusely at her comment. He thanked Tara for the belt and headed upstairs to change his shirt and don the belt. Within minutes, Ron had returned wearing a nice polo shirt tucked into his pants, his new belt and new jacket.
Tara stared for a moment. Ron's red jersey normally hid his physique but his long hours of mascot practice along with hero work had left him in better shape than most realized. He was not overly muscular but did have a decent shape for his age. His waist was trim with just a hint of roundness in the front but did not hang over his belt. His chest was not impressive either but more than a hint of lean muscle could be seen.
"Um, Tara?" Ron said to get her attention.
"Sorry, I didn't mean to stare, Ron," Tara apologized. "It looks good on you."
'Ron is hot,' she thought as she fought back some of her more outrageous fantasies and the urge to squeal.
"You want to head off to school with me Ron?" Tara said with a bright smile.
Ron noticed Tara's eagerness to walk with him so he figured it couldn't hurt anything. Kim was just next door they could talk later.
"Sure Tara," Ron said smiling back.
Shortly, at Middleton High School a large number of the more popular kids were hanging outside the building. Bonnie had said something to them when she arrived about how she wanted to get some fresh air before class today. The people who wanted to be seen near her took the chance to go stand outside to wait for the bell as well. This made for an above average group of people to see Tara and Ron walk up together.
A few of the other cheerleaders saw the new jacket on Ron and pointed one yelled," Mad Dog! You got the jacket!"
Ron smiled sheepishly. A boyfriend of one of the cheerleaders walked up to Ron.
The baseball team captain stuck out his hand to Ron. "Thanks for taking care of Jessica on that trip, Stoppable. We all thought Possible had done it. She hogged the glory but you did the job. You're okay, Stoppable."
Jessica hugged her boyfriend after what he said and several other jocks with girlfriends on the cheer squad all thanked Ron as well. By now, Ron was embarrassed and looking for a way out but Tara had grabbed his arm while people were thanking him.
"Um, thanks guys," Ron said nervously.
"How did you beat the guy, Ron," asked a football player.
"Well, I just kind of …" Ron stated to say.
"Were you scared?" a girl asked.
"Yeah, I was pretty scared." Ron said rubbing the back of his head.
Bonnie decided this was enough for one day. Ron would end up talking his way out of popularity again if he kept on like this.
"Stoppable lured the fish boy away from us all so he couldn't turn us into fish girls and Stoppable had him trapped in a net he made before he freed all of us, including Possible and Mr. Barkin," Bonnie added in just before the bell rang for the students to go inside for homeroom.
Tara gave Ron a big smile as she led the new hero into the school.
In the distance, Kim Possible looked on at the crowd around Ron and then down at the ground as she made her way into the building. She had tried to stop by Ron's after he had been a no show for his customary breakfast mooching at the Possibles. The dark house and no answer to her knocks proved to Kim that Ron had gone on without her.
'I guess I deserve a little silence after what I did. I meant it for the best but Mom reminded me that I don't always know best; just what is best for Kim Possible,' she thought as she opened her locker.
"Hey Kim," the voice of Wade Load sounded from her computer in the locker.
"Oh, hi Wade," Kim responded in a sad tone.
"Something wrong Kim?" Wade asked as he started the scanners he had built into the computer.
"Yeah, Ron found out how I never corrected the media in the Wannaweep incident a few weeks back. But what is really bugging me is the way so many people here are flocking to his side. He is popular again like with the hair thing," Kim groused.
"Ron does manage to cross social lines fairly well Kim. You know that. Still he should be back to normal in a few days," Wade replied in an encouraging voice.
"I hope so," Kim said as she closed the locker and headed for homeroom.
The rest of the morning continued to be a disaster for Kim. Every time she tried to get close to Ron to talk to him, someone blocked her off. It was not until lunchtime that she realized that the blocks were deliberate. She saw Tara steer Ron toward her table instead of letting him go sit with Kim and Monique. Bonnie accepted Ron's presence without comment after a brief moment of looking him over.
Kim stood to go talk to them when Monique spoke up.
"Kim, don't you think you should let things settle down before you stir up more trouble? Never strike a prepared enemy at their strongest point." the raven haired girl asked.
"What do you mean Mon?" Kim said confused. "They have Ron over at the popular table. I need to save him from those … those …," Kim searched for right words.
"Those people that would use him?" Monique said with one eyebrow arched.
"Yes!" Kim replied as she turned to the popular table once more.
"You mean people like you, Kim?" Monique said slightly annoyed. That statement stopped Kim in her tracks. The redhead looked back at her best girl friend.
"Kim, you're my girl. You know that. I'll stand by you unless you hose me over but let Ron have some time. You hurt him Kim. He needs time to C.O.A.R."
"Chill out and relax?" Kim replied.
"You betcha. If he is just peeved at you, he'll be back. You are his 'best friend since pre-school' aren't you? But if he is honestly angry at you, going up to tell him he is being stupid will just push him further away. Give him some time, Kim. Once things calm down you can work out any issues still going on between you," Monique finished.
Kim sat down and Monique decided a little more needling was needed.
"Besides, if you keep acting like a dumped GF, people like Josh Mankey are going to think there was more than best friend action going on between the two of you," she said with a smirk.
Kim made a face at the thought of Ron as a boyfriend, "Eww, gorchy."
Monique just smiled and turned back to her lunch after that. Her thoughts turned to the rumors that had reached her ears so far today. Tara was earnest in her like of Ron but not manipulating things. Bonnie was playing in this and was managing the situation from a distance. Her posse was acting as blockers without the knowledge of the blondes and setting things up for Kim to make a scene and push Ron further away. The girl had the subtlety of an enraged bull sometimes and Bonnie knew it.
But Monique felt Kim and Ron were meant for one another. Everyone could see that except for the two of them. She knew how to bring Ron into Kim's arms. First, plant the seed so that Ron as a potential boyfriend would get into her head. Next, they would weaken the enemy by neutralizing the outlying blockers. Then when the time came, they could strike and pull Ron back out of the hands of the Populars. Kim had to learn that in order to hold on to what you want you need to fight, but proper timing on when to fight was just as important. Sun Tzu's Art of War was something that could be applied to more than just warfare after all.
'Too bad nothing in Sun Tzu could be applied to school cafeteria food,' Monique thought bleakly.
Ron was having his best day since the Hair Incident. Amelia had been fun to hang with but she was an upperclassmen. Tara was the same age as he was and a cheerleader as well. Then there was the fact that Tara kept clinging to his arm and pressing her breasts against said arm. Ron did not advertise it much but he was as enthralled with the female form as much as the next straight teenage male. It was a very nice day for him.
The lack of needling or open public acceptance by Bonnie had sent a message to the rest of the Jocks and Populars. It was in the strictest of terms. Stoppable is currently not in the Outcasts nor is he in tight with the Popular People. He is simply part of the masses. Not low enough to be picked on but not yet high enough to be looked on as an equal. Each person could make their choice. Jocks might not think too highly of him but as the mascot he was a contributor like the cheerleaders were. That alone had earned him a minimal amount of respect that no jock would go against without bringing trouble to his own reputation.
Cheer practice after school was up next. As the mascot Ron only really had two jobs. The first was he would goof off for the crowds while staying out of the cheerleader's kicks and dance routines. The second was much more serious. He was a back up spotter when they did their pyramids. Some of the girls did the actual catches but he was behind them in case of a bad tumble. So far he had never needed to do so but he was ready every time. Being behind the pyramid also would have given him a prime view up the skirts had he chosen to look there. After one run through on a pyramid, Tara leaned over to Ron in his mask and whispered, "Bad dog." Ron blushed under his mask and Tara continued with practice.
They had a home basketball game the following day to cheer for so Kim pushed them hard to make sure they were ready. Fortunately, Kim had taken Monique's advice and didn't let her missing Ron show on her performance of her job as cheer captain. Bonnie was watching for a moment to pounce but Kim never gave her rival the chance.
Tuesday went much the same as Monday for Kim. Tara had shown up to walk Ron to school again and the blonde boy's social reputation was at an all time high. Tara had not quite been seen as a girlfriend to him but the entire squad knew about her crush on the mascot. Ron was skillfully steered away from Kim once more but Kim put on a show of paying that no mind but did make a point of greeting Ron as normal in each class they shared.
The vivacious blonde had an additional effect of keeping Ron grounded when his desire to brag or show off in his new status. Tara would distract him before he could say things that would have brought it all crashing down. Kim noted that she could have done all the things Tara had done but she never had. Kim had simply allowed Ron to mess things up and slide back down the status ladder.
After school, a lack of practice left a couple of dead hours before the game so Kim took the opportunity to visit the karate club and pound on the equipment for a while to vent frustrations.
Bonnie had used her influence in the background. A few linemen from the football team had visited D Hall and told Big Mike that Stoppable was not worth the trouble of messing with. Big Mike took that with a nod showing he understood. No one wanted friction between the cliques because that would bring Barkin down on all of them. They also gave their routine recruitment speech to try to get the large teen to join the football team but were turned down.
The basketball game was going well. Middleton was barely behind the highly favored Upperton at halftime. The cheerleaders were doing a dance number when Hope slid on a wet spot on the floor and went down. The brunette sat up holding her ankle. The trainer came out and looked at it. She noted it was not broken but there might be some sprain damage and would not allow her to continue in spite of her protests. Kim knew that without Hope they would not be able to make the pyramid they had practiced. The other girls helped Hope to the bench. The dead time in the normally active halftime was dimming the crowd's enthusiasm. Ron had a few accessories for his mascot duties and Bonnie noticed a large foam bone was sitting there. Bonnie immediately hatched a new plan to bring Tara and Ron closer together.
She picked up the bone and threw it onto the court.
"Fetch, Mad Dog!" she called out loud enough to be heard by the entire squad.
The foam bone slid out to center court. Ron understood what Bonnie was doing and ran out to the bone and began playing with it. First he stalked the bone and pounced at it only to miss as he knocked it away as he landed. He into an act of lifting one arm then the other while bobbing his head up and down while he seemed to laugh. When it was clear he didn't have the bone, he put his hands to the dog mask and imitated crying.
The crowd was getting into the act and calling out to Ron that the bone was off to one side. Bonnie nudged Tara and whispered, "Go help him. Fake obedience lessons"
Tara ran out onto court and stopped by the bone. The crowd cheered louder as she clapped her hands to get Ron's attention. She stooped to pick up the bone and wiggled it at the Mad Dog. Ron was confused for a moment but hurried over to Tara.
Tara cradled the bone in one arm away from Ron and held out the other one while shaking her finger at him in an exaggerated manner. Then she stuck her hand out and pointed at the ground. "Sit, Bad Dog," she said.
Ron got what she was doing and immediately dropped to the ground like he was a dog. The crowd cheered even louder. Tara smiled big and moved her finger in a circle to which Ron rolled over before resuming the 'sit' position. Tara had him roll back and the cheers and laughter increased.
As they had nearly covered the time the cheerleaders would have had for their dance number, Tara held the bone up high and Ron responded to a 'beg' position. Tara handed Ron the foam bone and the boy hugged it like it was a major find. Tara patted Ron on the head and headed off the court with an exaggerated wiggle to her hips.
When she reached the sideline, Tara looked back over her shoulder and called back out to the Mad Dog. With a sly smirk, she patted her thigh with a dog command for 'heel'. Ron looked at Tara, then down at the bone then back to Tara before looking around. He threw the bone into the air and ran comically after Tara to the still louder cheers of the crowd chanting "Mad Dog".
The floor crew came out with the dust mops to wipe down the court before the second half. Kim was almost gritting her teeth from the display on the court but chose instead to make the best of it.
"Good job filling the dead time, Ron. You too, Tara. That was a good idea with the bone, Bonnie. Let's keep the crowd fire up so our guys can win this!" she said to her squad.
Middleton managed a win after a hard fought second half.
A/N This is another story languishing on my flash drive uncompleted. I decided to share what I have on it even though I might not update it for some time. Do no be asking for updates because it will only happen once in a long while when I get to it again.