Hi everyone. I’ve been nervous about sharing this because it’s fanfiction but this has been my primary focus for the past two months writing-wise. I actually did this for my NaNoWriMo and got my 50,000 words in for it.
This is I’m Scared Too. It’s a very queer Kim Possible fic about the intersection of depression and ethics. I’m sharing Chapter 1 with you here.
“Alright Ron, you’re on Shego. I got Drakken.”
“Sure thing KP — waaaaaait, hold up! Kim, you fight Shego, I create a distraction. There’s a rhythm to how these things work.”
“Yeah, that’s not going to fly this time Big Blue.”
“You know if you told me that I’d have to work this much harder just because I threw two aliens into space — ”
Doctor Bortel’s MIT LAB: Cambridge, MA
July 16, 2007: 4:37PM
It was an adventure ununlike any other. Drakken was “outsourcing” from another famed scientist and Shego was as miserable as ever. Team Possible had arrived to the scene right on queue and within seconds our combatants would be doing their usual runaround.
“Are you seriously sticking me with the Buffoon, Princess?!” Shego screamed, plasma immediately flaring from her gnarled hands. She considered her rage and threw her hands to her hips and smiled coyly. “Eh, cool with me. Long as you’re okay riding home with your BF in a pine box.”
Ron’s face fell. “You know I’m still here, right?”
Kim smirked and patted Ron on the back. “You’re gonna have to grow a spine, Ron. She’s feisty.”
Shego’s malicious grin rose higher with the roaring of the plasma on her hands. “Makes sense Princess’ BF wouldn’t have experience with feisty women.”
Kim and Ron’s faces both went pink and Shego dove forward, ready to burn Ron to a crisp, but right as her fists flew over his cranium, he flipped his legs into the air and nailed Shego right in the stomach.
Ron spun and landed firmly planted on the dusty floor as Shego rolled through the dust plumes he had kicked up.
Off of Shego’s grimace, Ron stuck his nose into the air. “Looks like the sidekick’s got a little — upside kick left in him?”
Kim and Shego blinked.
“Yeah, KP, you’re gonna have to catch me up on the quipping,” Ron moaned.
“Definitely not your scene,” Shego grinned as she got to her feet, brushing off the thick dust caked onto her catsuit.
Kim rolled her eyes and snuck one last glance at the ensuing fight before running off to find Drakken — wherever he was. Shego was found robbing Dr. Bortel blind and Drakken was nowhere to be found — which probably meant Shego was sort of a red herring. The whole thing screamed peculiarity after peculiarity; for instance, they weren’t fighting in a warehouse or zany factory but a pretty famous university.
Running past the rows of highly gifted college kids taking a summer semester, Kim remarked at how small she felt besides these young adults that really were barely older than her. Within a mere two months she would be of them. It sent a shiver up her spine; everything that had happened that year, it felt wrong to saunter off to college like any other eighteen year old with vague ambition.
The Lowardian Invasion had left the world in shambles back in June and already it wracked Kim’s brain to remember what Earth was like before. Many people, including Kim, lost their homes because of the disaster, and no one had power for weeks. It was not uncommon to head to work and drive past several fallen Lowardian Cruisers on the way. Global communication was nigh impossible and all over there was paranoia. Aliens, actual aliens, came close to conquering the world yet somehow — Earth defended itself.
Or rather Ron defended Earth. But that was Classified Information.
Which placed Kim and Ron under Global Justice’s protection. Things like Wade’s battlesuit had been confiscated for testing and every once in a while, some doctors checked out Ron’s body in a desperate search for abnormalities. In return, the national organization tossed enough freelance assignments to them now that Kim, Ron, and Wade might as well have had a salary with them.
At first, Kim was thrilled at the opportunity to keep working rather than stress out constantly — college was on their brains now too — and Ron was thrilled to marinate and coast through the missions off his badical new powers — but ….
Ron had a lot of potential to grow into now — rather, he always had the potential, but it was now more prevalent and obvious than ever. But giving Ron’s inclination to take advantage of badical situations — Kim had her work cut out for her.
Kim had been charged with training Ron; Sensei would have been preferable but that would have required pulling Ron from the field. While lots of villains had been scared stiff by the near end of the world, others rose to take advantage of the chaos the Lowardians left behind, and she needed to work Ron into shape. So leaving Ron with Shego was something of a no-brainer.
She also hated to admit it but just looking at Shego after all this time, and for her to act like nothing had changed, sent a clammy revulsion surging down her throat that was somewhat akin to vomit. This wasn’t something she felt comfortable talking about with Ron though.
Every night, Kim and Ron ended up holed up in some swanky hotel room and while there was a comfort to that, Kim’s mentorship over her boyfriend sloppily lobbed a hefty wrench into their still blossoming relationship. Even in Kim’s most adrenaline fueled moments, she could feel the dull throb of a migraine.
And that migraine didn’t event count for the sudden (and very disheartening) return to form from Shego and Drakken.
“You know, she thinks she’s all that….”
Kim slid to a halt and turned to her right. Speak of the Devil.
Kicking open the door, Kim found herself in the office of the Dean of MIT, a small sunlit room veiled in shadow from the massive stack of papers. At one end of the desk was the Dean, Subra Suresh, an older Indian man with dark eyes still beaming with innovation. Opposite Suresh, with his back to Kim, was Dr. Drakken.
Something about seeing the ol’ Bad Doctor back at it spread a horrible chill throughout her body and set the scene just how it always had been in her nightmare. But this was of course the worst moment to give into any of that.
“…and she really is — oh! We were just talking about you!” Drakken laughed, sliding back the cushioned chair and getting to his feet.
Kim looked from Suresh to Drakken. “What’s going on?”
“Oh, just giving my letter of recommendation!” Drakken chuckled.
“Um….thanks?” Kim raised an eyebrow. “Taking this whole robbery thing a little casually aren’t you?”
Suresh’s fists pounded against his desk as he rocketed to his feet. ” I thought you just wanted to drop by and talk about how great Kim Possible is — you’re robbing us?! ”
Drakken’s cheeks went purple. “Uh — I prefer to call it outsourcing — ”
Suresh shook his head. “Unbelievable.”
“Don’t worry Professor,” Kim smiled. “We got our best man on the job.”
“Who? The Buffoon?” Drakken said with much relish. Suresh could only claw at his bald spot in frustration.
Kim stepped forward to throw one swift punch into Drakken’s jaw but before she could even process it, two green tendrils had protruded from Drakken’s neck and speared her shoulders, tying her up fast and pinning her to the wall ten feet above them. As her back slammed against the plaster, accolades and certificates rocked off the wall and shattered on the floor.
Kim glared down at Drakken and pushed hard against the tendrils, but they only wrapped around her tighter; she had completely forgotten about Drakken’s flower predicament.
“So — what?” Kim cocked her head to the side. “Did you like how the vines gave you someone to play pattycake with?”
“Ooh the mouth on you!” Drakken cried out, an array of petals immediately sprouting around his head. His face fell. “Don’t say it.”
Kim bit her tongue as she snickered away. “Alright, Dr. Drakkfodil.”
“Ha. Ha. Very funny,” Drakken looked off to the side. “But you won’t be laughing anymore after this villainous violet vanquishes their virulent — uh, foe.”
Kim smirked at Drakken’s little slip.
“What? It was on short notice, I didn’t think we’d be doing flower puns!”
“Alright Shego. What’s your game?” Ron said, elbows arched to his shoulders and fingers set a-twiddlin’.
“Uh — I dunno honestly, Dr. D never tells me anything,” Shego sighed.
Ron frowned. Prying out the villainous, villainous monologue from his foe was one of his favorite techniques of stalling. Already, he missed the condescending yet still tolerable rapport he had with Drakken. “Huh. Well that’s rude of him, huh?”
“Eh, I couldn’t care less either way,” Shego nodded and lobbed several flurries of plasma at Ron.
Ron’s feet stayed planted to the ground like one of those towering balloon with wagglin’ arms you always see outside the gas station. As the blasts darted towards him, he desperately flung his body into an erratic spiral and somehow managed to evade each and every blast.
Shego winced and picked up the pace, but she could swear she saw a spark of blue flash in her emerald lightshow. Suddenly, she heard a crash as one of Ron’s feet swung fully over his head and came down on one of the plasma blasts, the energy disintegrating upon impact..
“Oh here we go,” Shego rolled her eyes as Ron’s foot planted into the floor, light blue shockwaves cascading several inches from the now cracked floor. Ron’s normally brown eyes flickered into a surging turquoise and he leapt at least twenty feet into the air.
With his newfound control over the Mystical Monkey Power, Ron never really knew what he was getting into. Like everything else he had experienced before, he surrendered his trust and hoped for the best, allowing the ancient techniques to flow into his body; this made it somewhat easier to mentally process all the new combat Kim was forcing him into.
Feet flipping over his head and back to the ground, Ron glided through the air, zeroing in on Shego, feet flapping out and vaulting into a high speed assault at her skull.
Shego grinned and swung both her gauntlets into the air, blocking the first kick, although it hurt. A lot. Blue energy flared off of Ron’s feet, propelling him back just far enough for his feet to pick up speed as they hammered down on the green mercenary. Each blow threatened to cave in Shego’s wrists behind the gloves, but she held strong, although her canines started cutting into her lips from her resulting grimace.
Each kick bled into the next and with no signs of stopping, Shego had somehow found herself locked into defense. Ron was just relentless enough in this blitzkrieg that the language of their tussle was completely under his command.
“Your —energy’s — g-good!” Shego remarked haughtily. “But you’re gonna — have to — wooorrrrRRRKKKK! — gah — on that form.”
Ron frowned. “Hey! Last time I checked I’m the guy who threw two aliens into space!”
Couldn’t someone — just once — acknowledge that he was a Certified Tough Guy now? The whole sidekick angle was so last month.
“Uh huh yeah, you mentioned this earlier.” And then Shego dropped her fists.
“Woops,” Ron bleated as one of his feet swung through the empty air and like the ill-fated Charlie Brown, Ron’s foot continued to slice into the air, arching his entire body up into the sky.
“You were more focused on distracting me than you were beating me,” Shego lectured. “Maybe Princess promoted you too early, Newbie.”
Ron thoughtfully scratched his chin while plummeting from the air he had throttled into. “Newbie’s a better name at least.”
“Ugh, zero the ego, Buffoon,” Shego rolled her eyes and flung both arms out, grabbing onto Ron by the seat of his pants and in a move that sent serious whiplash down her arms, Shego flung Ron so hard that he soared clean out of his pants (“Aw man! Still?!”) and straight into Dr. Bortel’s lab table. But his beat red face was totally worth the killer strain the throw placed in her forearms.
Beakers and cylinders erupted as random chemicals dripped everywhere, burning Ron’s scrambling legs as he slipped off the table and fell to the floor. Rubbing his head, he boosted himself back up to be eye level with Shego and opened his mouth to say something when Dr. Bortel came in carrying an armful of gadgets and gizmos.
“Here are the devices you and Drew wanted to look at!” Bortel cried out with starry eyes, immediately frowning at the sight of his destroyed experiments. “Oh Ron, so good to see you,” he said with the air of someone bumping into their mother-in-law.
Ron grimaced. “Dude, ‘Drew’ and Shego are robbing you.”
Bortel clapped a hand to his mouth. “What?! I thought you guys were good now!”
Shego blinked a few times and groaned. She returned back to the two of them with dead eyes and shrugged. “You really that surprised, Doc?”
Losing the upper-hand to Drakken was absolutely one of the worst feelings in the world and while it hurt to keep her jaw locked in anger, Kim remained silent as the Bad Doctor’s vines throttled her out the door and into the wall opposite them. Drakken chortled as he stepped out the now gaping hole in the wall leading into Suresh’s office and looked up at his enemy. “Who would believe that I — Dr. Drakken — could take Kim Possible down in a fight?! You should’ve sent your Buffoon.”
“Someone’s got a big head,” Kim deadpanned. “Must be the petals.”
Drakken let his grin slowly melt into an ugly smirk as sharp as the scars that ran under his eye. “You laugh but my flowers have given me ultimate power!”
“Hm, well I wonder how they feel about you using them for evil now. Considering how they uh — you know — saved the world,” Kim growled.
“Ha!” Drakken laughed so sharply she could hear a light ting! echo off the fluorescent lights above them. Tears trickled from the corners of his eyes and his voice gleefully shook with emotion. “You really are naive!”
Drakken then went off on some tangent about some crossover between conquering the world and kids these days with their cellular devices and MeTube, giving her ample time to think. She closed her eyes and shut out Drakken’s incessant rambling. Her muscle relaxed and despite being held up in the air, her body began to sink towards the floor as all the tension dropped out. Her heartbeat slowed and sweat stopped pouring down her forehead. For a moment, she could feel her light body safe and alone.
Something she had been picking up in therapy lately was to go into her safe place when stressed. While this was dangerous in the presence of a supervillain, Dr. Drakken was a whole different matter; he could talk until the point of exhaustion.
As she escaped into her safe place, which was usually a fantasy of her and Ron lounging together in the old treehouse, there was a twitch in her eye and she suddenly felt something very different.
Alone. She saw herself alone in a place she didn’t recognize. But somehow, it still felt like home. She didn’t have any missions to embark on or all powerful boyfriends to mentor; she was just living like everyone else. But this was strange. Why would she want to be alone? She was so fortunate to always be surrounded by people who unconditionally loved her. Why did it feel so eye opening to step away from all that?
She felt — happy.
The vines responded to Kim’s sudden serenity and began to loosen their grip on her, becoming slack under her weight.
” — and don’t even get me started on the lack of respect towards the traditional captive / captor relationship!” Drakken shook his fist in the air just in time to watch Kim slip free from the vines and drop to the floor.
Kim brushed the hair from her eyes and glared daggers at Drakken, taking note of him flinching in her wake. “Let’s go.”
“Nyrgh….” Drakken’s upper lip quivered as he pulled back the vines before blasting them back at Kim. The lithe teen pirouetted about, dodging each lashing, bits of plaster bursting from the walls and showering her in white dust.
Keeping up with the vines was easy; it was obvious right away that he got his technique from Shego. Imagining the two training together in a gym really made her want to laugh but she had to hold onto her serious face. She was just barely keeping up with his rhythm and at each near-miss, she felt a razor slice through the air just skimming her skin. It was enough of a kick that she started to feel like her old self again as a strategy blossomed.
Thrashing to and fro, Kim began to get ambitious and started clambering across the vines as they passed by, flipping forward and back, keeping Drakken guessing. A projection played in her head of the vines as she danced about, showing her exactly how they were moving and how she was forcing them to cross each other; it was almost too easy. She somersaulted several yards back and watched as Drakken’s sweaty face screwed up in concentration. The vines pulled off the walls they had destroyed and once again, lunged at her….but this time, they had crossed over each too many times and in this desperate attack, the vines pulled taut against each other and formed a knot.
Drakken choked at the pressure and fell to his knees, the flower petals falling off his neck one by one.
“I know what you’re thinking,” Kim sauntered over to Drakken, stepping over the fallen vines. “And it’s a common mistake. There’s actually a K at the start of that word.”
Shego and Ron thrashed about the room, arms and legs flying so fast it was impossible for any one, including them, to keep track of who really had the upper-hand. While Shego struck with precision, Ron’s energy was wild and unpredictable, desperate yet successful in its guard. Yet still a nervous gulp stayed lodged in Ron’s Adam’s Apple.
Right after the Lowardian Invasion, Kim was so unlike herself. The reasoning wasn’t that difficult to parse; Global Justice had them working to the bone, and he, her Potential Boy, was now under her tutelage. The one thing that really shined a light in her eyes was the recent turn from Shego and Drakken. Two villains forever indebted to relentless, over-the-top schemes changed and for the first time ever, fought alongside them.
Whenever they came up, Kim would chatter on and on about their collective dreams of the future. Ron never really knew what to say; her fixation on the duo worried him. He figured it was a one-and-done kind of deal rather than an eternal servitude to the good boy side. Ron never really connected with Drakken and Shego on that level. His arch-enemy was Monkey Fist and the dude got turned into a rock so….
But Kim — Kim really believed it, which was strange because when the chips were down, he was big picture and she was nuts n’ bolts.
Ron, I’m scared too, Kim told him during the Invasion.
They never talked about it; but he couldn’t shake it. He couldn’t forget the strain in her voice nor the anguish in her wide eyes. This person that he’s grown with and fought alongside and looked up to — was scared. About what? He almost didn’t want to know. Especially because things were changing fast.
Whenever Kim and him went out on a date, she would laugh herself into tears rather than trade quips with Ron and engage in their traditional banter. Her strides came with a little bit more weight and her mind was a little farther off. But this only started after the Lowardian Invasion. Correction. It wasn’t because of the end of the world; it was because of Drakken and Shego.
So what was he supposed to say? As Shego grabbed him by the boot and whirled him into the air — should he stop the fight and talk to her? Reason with her? Try to fix the thing that broke?
All these thoughts came to a close as Ron’s lizard brain kicked in as a response to him face planting against Dr. Bortel’s splintering lab table so hard that he bounced off to the floor. He pushed so hard on the table to get back up that he nearly slipped off of it. He readied himself to fight and instead found Shego halfway across the room browsing through Bortel’s inventions.
“Uh.” Ron exchanged a look with Bortel who shrugged back. “Dang — uh — Shego? Hey — uh — hi! I thought — thought we were fighting? I mean — we don’t have to? I guess.”
“Buzz off rookie,” Shego grumbled while she inspected each trinket.
“Um — well — okay,” Ron’s sweaty palm folded to his forehead. “Well — that’s cool,, I kinda wanted to talk anyways. About you guys doing evil stuff again. You kinda hurt Kim’s feelings.”
Shego cast him a stone cold look as if to say, So?
“I know,” Ron soliloquied. “You don’t want to hear about our feelings but like — she’s hurting and — would you please listen?”
“Uh huh, yeah, I’m listening,” Shego drawled. “Oh sweet!” She looked over to Bortel and held up one of the Moodulators. “We were wondering if you were still working on these.”
“Aw dude!” Ron shook his head. “Those things are sick and wrong — you gotta cut that out.”
“Heh,” Bortel could only cheese at them in response. “Uh — what can I say — the military auctioned for ’em.”
“Aw, well you might want to tell the military that they’ve been outbid!” Shego laughed and whipped out a crate full of gadgets with enough force to send a whole gallery’s worth of unethical and convoluted looking machinery into the air. Ron instinctively leaped forward and lashed his limbs about, swatting at the inventions. He kicked off his boots and managed to slide his toes between the the clattering metal, holding them just above their impact with the floor.
Nothing was broken and with braggadocious monkey whoop, Ron started finally feeling himself that day.
“So you ready to do the one thing you’re actually good at?” Shego smirked as she lazily tossed a wild plasma bolt up and down almost like a stress ball.
“Oh yeah! The Ron-Dog is out to play!” Ron said, but instead of a rapid fire quip from Shego, all that came his way was plasma. He tried getting out of the way but he was too encumbered by all the discarded gadgets.
“I’ll tell Princess for ya — ” he thought he heard Shego say as the plasma burnt the frayed wires to something shoved into his armpit, and before he knew it a chain reaction of explosions were going off and then —
Kim was guiding the weeping Drakken back to Bortel’s lab, his own vines twisted into handcuffs, when the door to the lecture hall blasted off its hinges and nearly crushed the two of them. Fighting to regain her grip on Drakken’s wee digits as he desperately tried to skedaddle from her, Kim looked up to see the silhouette of Shego framed in the doorway. Her shadow was only visible from the faint green light glowing from her hands. Everything behind her was dark gray — and — swirling?
She squinted and realized that a heavy dark smog was blustering behind her.
Suddenly Drakken and Shego didn’t matter so much anymore; she let go of Drakken and bolted up to the exit. Shego finally stepped out from the shadows with an ugly smirk cracking her face, the green light flickering out of control.
“Looks like you thought your Sidekick was all that — ” Shego started but paused as Kim’s shoulder bumped against hers.
“Move it, Shego!” Kim growled.
The green light sparked again and Shego grabbed Kim by the back of her shirt and flipped her into the air, slamming her limp body to the floor. Shego pursed her lips. “Aw, Princess doesn’t want to fight right now? That’s too bad.”
Kim looked up into Shego’s emerald eyes and saw the same unflinching, uncaring face that she was all too familiar with.
Drakken back in the game was no surprise. What else was that man actually good at other than conspiring over various ways to take over the world?
But Shego? This woman with a teaching degree? This ex-superhero turned bad guy who saved the world with her?
Pinned to the floor, glaring into the same eyes she had been avoiding for years now, Kim spoke.
Her voice was shaky but her resolve was cold and final.
“Steal whatever you want and go. Stay out of our lives. I don’t ever want to see you again.”
Shego’s eyes widened as if she thought she heard someone say her name from far off, but as the long silence held on between them, her pupils dilated at the realization that it was Kim’s voice that scorned her. Shego’s hands opened and Kim slipped out from under her, leaving the Bad Doctor and his Henchwoman behind, plunging deep into the smog.
The smoke immediately brought tears to her eyes and she wished that she had the battle suit on her; Global Justice had been holding it for nearly a month now in processing as they decided if they felt comfortable with Wade’s technology. But all that she could do was throw her elbow to her nose and hope for the best.
“Wade,” she spat past her arm into the Kimmunicator. “We need escape MIT ASAP. I need an out.”
“I’m on it,” the tech genius chirped as she grabbed the shattered hinges to a door that she really wished wasn’t splintered and burnt. Peering into the once dark room now lit ablaze, there was no sign of Bortel anywhere. Flames had spread across every surface and enveloped the room so much that she almost thought she was in a different room. But no. It was the lab, because she very quickly found Ron. His body was scorched, covered in burn marks and bruises, but his entire body was tinged with that mystical monkey blue.
She wedged her arms underneath his back, a little taken back by how her gloves ran across a smooth wall rather than the lumpy, frumpled Ron Stoppable. “I don’t know if you’re there Ron,” Kim whispered. “But I’m here now.”
Instead of the weak “Kay-Pee…” she hoped for, she heard the strangled chirpings of a naked mole rat. Eyes widening, Kim pushed against the blue barrier protecting Ron and felt Rufus squirming from within one of the pockets. The pink creature poked his head out and looked at Kim with dim recognition, his little body pulsating in his strained effort to live.
“Stay with me, Rufus,” Kim pushed a finger up against the barrier and allowed a gentle smile as Rufus rubbed his head against the point of contact. “We’re going to get out of here.”
As Kim threw her game face back on, Wade began talking, voice filtered through her pocket. “Kim, you there? There’s tunnels under MIT, I can guide you into one, but you might need a student to swipe you in.”
“Um — Wade, there’s a fire. I’ll figure it out.”
There was a strained silence before Wade began giving directions. Usually Kim was the one to find a way to stop the imminent disaster, but today there was no time for that. And usually, it was just some bad guy’s lair going up in smoke. But today it was a piece of culture..
They only had seconds to live and while each door she passed was another tempting obstacle, she still found herself slamming doors and checking for stragglers; and she did find some. She had no concept of space or time but at some point there were about seven of them running down the halls.
“Oh shoot, we need our ID,” one student growled as they screeched to a halt before the imposing tap card barrier.
Kim ended up sounding more enraged than she hoped to allow and sent her foot up against the plastic barrier separating them from the tunnels. She felt nothing as the barrier collapsed into a myriad of shards around them. Her heart pulled at her from all directions and as she fell to her feet, the smog overcame her.
“Kim! Kim! You guys okay? Shoot! Guys! Ron?! Come on! Anybody!” Wade’s voice echoed down the barren tunnel.
“You were really brave today,” an older blond girl smiled, curling the hair out of Kim’s eyes. “What’s your name?”
They were in some dark, dirty tunnel. Above them, shafts of light shone through the mesh ceiling that kept them separate from ground level Cambridge.
The girl’s voice was so soft. The girl couldn’t have been much older than Kim but something about the way her cropped hair curled around her chin and the way her relaxed shoulders supported a leather jacket that retained her femininity, Kim felt small at her touch. Like she was being protected.
“It’s Possible,” she flubbed, her cheeks a little red. “Kim Possible.” Her head fell like a ragdoll into her shoulder. “But that’s a common mista—”
Vomit splashed into a bucket.
This was a simple moment. Not much else going on.
“I’m sorry for messing everything up.”
“Hey there kiddo, you awake?”
Mass Ave: Cambridge, MA
July 16, 2007: 5:24PM
Apparently she had been awake for a few minutes now but it took someone asking her if she was awake to realize it. Go figure.
Kim looked up at Doctor Suresh from her spot on top of a brick wall overlooking the Charles River. A tree supported her back and cast a shade over the two that made her feel very separate. Her eyes narrowed at the billowing smoke still coming out from the building, but it looked like the fire department was getting everything under control.
“Did everyone get out?” she asked.
“Thanks to you, yes,” he patted her on the shoulder. “If I didn’t know any better, I’d say you did all this because we rejected your application. Rest assured Ms. Possible, you can absolutely attend MIT this fall.”
“Application? I didn’t — ” She groaned and gave up; this was probably a sign that it was time to have a real heart to heart with Wade. “Nevermind, what did Drakken and Shego even steal?”
Doctor Suresh blinked and shook his head. “According to your Buffoon friend, just the Moodulators.” He blinked again. “Which we did not authorize by the way. Those things are unethical.”
“He’s not a buffoon, ya know,” Kim chastised.
“Oh,” Suresh shrugged. “He did respond to the name.”
Sounded like Ron alright. She broke eye contact for a moment and tried to make sense of what was going on. Letter of recommendation from Drakken. Moodulators. Arson. Sounded more like the makings of some ‘Destroy Kim Possible’ scheme than the usual run-of-the-mill Drakkanada plot. Then something within her stifled. “So Ron’s okay?” She felt bad that she didn’t ask right away.
“Oh yeah,” Suresh looked off to a spot several yards down from Kim. She followed his gaze and immediately brightened at his bad posture and resting dopey face. She got up but Suresh gently sat her back down. “He’s in better state than you. Let him come over. Anyways, thank you. I need to talk to the police now.”
“Hey,” Kim called out. “What did Drakken say in his letter of recommendation?”
Suresh scratched his head. “He said you’re all that many times over, I guess. Anyways, take care Kim Possible. See you this Fall.” And then he winked.
“Letter of recommendation? You’re going to have catch me up,” Ron sighed. Kim looked up at him and couldn’t spot a single burn or scratch. Before she could process it he continued, “Mystical monkey healing power. Who knew?”
“Is Rufus okay?” Kim asked slowly.
“Oh — um — yeah, he’s a little down, the paramedics said he’ll be okay but it might not — ” Ron’s voice rapidly became higher. ” — I don’t think we should bring him on missions anymore.”
Kim nodded and the two sat together in silence for some time.
“I couldn’t stop Shego, I’m sorry I let you down, Ki—”
Kim’s arms wrapped around Ron’s shoulders and pulled him in tight. He flinched and then gently rubbed circles on Kim’s back. She hacked a lung before pulling back from him, anxiety dancing in her eyes that was already twisting his insides.
“Can we talk?”
The Esplanade: Boston, MA
July 16, 2007: 6:01PM
Ron and Kim never really stopped to smell the hummus during their missions, so their journey across the stone bridge that linked Cambridge to Boston, while touristy, was a treat. Flowing underneath the large, stone bridge was the Charles River, which was packed with families, kids, and college students in rental kayaks. Lots of first dates and day trips. Past the river was the grassy Esplanada, a park that ran along the length of the river, dotted with parks and benches galore. Nestled besides some rustic sections of the historic town, the Esplanade was surprisingly quiet.
After some time taking in the sights, Kim and Ron found themselves sitting on a bench just outside of a playground. They looked out at the blue waters, remarking at how the skyscrapers over in Cambridge shimmered in the river’s surface.
“I’m really glad you’re okay,” Kim said softly. “I’m sorry that I pinned you with Shego so soon.”
“Uh — it’s ‘kay. You don’t have to worry so much about me ya know.”
Kim nodded, lips forcibly pressed together. After some time, she recouped. “I know, I guess I have a hard time trusting people — no offense!” she corrected quickly, checking Ron’s face to make sure that didn’t sting too hard. “Especially lately. A lot of people have let us down. It’s — I mean you can relate right? Being scared?”
There was that word again. Scared.
“Yeah,” Ron said a little too quickly. He took in a deep breath. It felt like he was supposed to say something else. But instead he just nodded. “Yeah,” he repeated.
There was a long stretch of silence.
“I really thought we made a difference during the Invasion, like, if anything good happened then it would have to be Shego and Drakken,” she sighed, shaking her head as if what she said wasn’t enough.
Ron wrapped his hand around hers and they continued to sit there.
“I can’t believe they’re really back to villainy,” Kim looked over to Ron. “You don’t feel that way though, right?”
“Not really, sorry,” he sighed glumly. “I mean, Dude doesn’t even know my name so to me he’s just whatever. Ya know?”
Kim giggled and punched his shoulder.
“Ow! Hey, just because I have Mystical Monkey Healing that doesn’t mean — ow! Stop that!”
He always felt like he was living in Kim’s shadow. Anything he could do, she could do better, and everyone knew it. His whole situation was so visible to anyone who saw him. At least he could make her laugh though.
“Hey, so I overheard you’ve been accepted into MIT now, huh?” Ron grinned.
“Ugh, yeah, I don’t even know where these college acceptances are coming from,” she said, again, without eye contact. She slipped a loose hair behind her ear and started to say something but Ron ended up blurting out the thing that was on his chest that day.
“Kim, I didn’t get into any of your dream schools!” Ron’s chest was heaving.. “I — all I got into was Lowerton Community College. I’m sorry. You must think I’m some kind of loser…”
Kim’s expression softened and Ron had no idea why.
“Ron, that’s okay — you wanted to stay close to home anyways, didn’t you?”
“Yeah but — um — he — you’re home to me, KP.”
It became strained again. Kim hesitated and pulled away, hands folding awkwardly into her lap. “Ron I have to tell you something.”
Yep. It was happening. Beads of sweat started to build on his forehead and Kim looked over to him from tens of thousands of miles away.
“I’m not going to college,” she said. It didn’t sound like her though; why would Kim not go to college? She was so dead-set on success. So structured and ambitious. Everyone looked up to her like she was a hero — which she was, and she carried that responsibility so elegantly. People all over the world knew who she was and wanted the best for her. So why would she skip college? She was qualified to do anything — was this his fault? Did his laziness do this to her?
Ron’s heartbeat picked up as he realized his train of thought was causing him to miss half of the things Kim was saying.
“I don’t know— what — there. Like — I don’t know, I never really —all of a sudden — alright Kim, get out — get — job!”
And there he was, sitting there dumbly, probably blinking rapidly, as his mind plunged down three different routes with each new thread of conversation.
“But all I — we — do — is —. — can’t — forever — what’s next? I don’t know! I never thought about it!”
When did she bring her knees up to her chin? Was he supposed to comfort her or give her space?
His hand flung out to grab hers but she gave him an almost betrayed sort of look and he retracted that sweaty palm.
Ron forced a laugh. “Well this is kind of a relief because I don’t want to go either.”
She didn’t laugh. A cold overcame him.
“Ron — are — listening — me?” Kim’s eyes were glassy. “— not —you or I go or not go, it’s — future.”
Ron tried to blink away the phantom head of Barken that tended to invade his mind in these precious moments. Center cannot hold….
“You want — college right?!” Kim challenged.
He really wanted to say no but he knew inside that he needed it. He needed an academic makeover. It meant something to him. Something he had no idea how to put into words. Him and books went together like nacos and mayonnaise after all. (And he did venture that food combo before.)
“Yeah,” he rasped.
“Then go. You — whatever I — do what — want.”
Kim smiled even though she was starting to cry. It wasn’t until then that Ron realized he had been crying for some time now.
Ron pricked up. “What about Global Justice? Can —— have that y’know — long distance — ” Even his own words sounded foreign to him. Did he really say long distance? And did Kim really frown at the expression? ” — oh no.”
Kim bit her lip.
” — Ron, we’re breaking up.”
This made sense.
Ron slumped. ” — yeah. I figured.”
Her voice glimmered in his ears.
“— not — Team Possible — anymore,” Kim’s shoulders sunk lower. “I just want to be Kim.”
Ron blurted it before he could think it over. “What are you going to do?”
A particularly painful tear trickled from her crinkled eyes right there, speedily falling off her damp cheek.
“— don’t know.”
It was like someone had just clenched his heart and refused to let go.
“I don’t know who I’d be without you,” Kim reached out and grabbed his cold hand. For some reason, this felt familiar. “But I need a chance to find out what I want. On my own terms. I know it’s vague — and it is vague — but — do you understand?”
He sniffled and grabbed her hand too. “Kim, I’ve been relying on you for everything — I messed you up right? This is my fault, right?” This too felt familiar. But not honest.
A misty fog blossomed in Kim’s eyes, shrouding them in confusion. All the known expressions and particulars about his girlfriend’s face became as foreign and flat as a stranger’s.
“Ron stop,” she said slowly. “I’ve been living in your shadow too.”
Something within Ron threatened to collapse. “We’re still going to be friends right?”
“I need space,” Kim said softly. “But we’ll always be best friends.”
A strange comfort lingered between them. Then they both said it for the first time.
“I love — “
“— love you.”
Thank you so much for reading. If you want to read on, check it out on ArchiveOfOurOwn.