{A/N: And now we come to the conclusion of this tale. I want to thank all of you who have been with this story from the beginning, and those who joined it as it happened. Many thanks go to my Betas (Magic Basher54986, Orionslave, and Rose Winterstorm) because without them, this story might've taken longer - or not have happened at all.}

*13.) Starting Again; This Time Together*

It was a month after Kim's return to the world's awareness. Fortunately, she and Elizabeth had been moved into Rayne's mansion by the time the media hounds descended upon her; not one of the reporters was dumb enough to even try the mansion's security after learning who it now belonged to. The redhead's dramatic return - the mission to rescue Rayne Gooding, the founder and owner of Corporate Security Operations - had brought immediate attention to her. She did answer a few questions once some reporters had caught her before she'd reached the mansion's gate; she'd been out shopping for some food and had taken her daughter with her. She explained that she was 'back' into the 'hero thing' but was easing into it so she could get back into shape; she readily admitted that she and Rayne were dating as the pale woman had no intention of hiding that fact; and that the little girl with her was her daughter. Those were the only things she answered, even when obscenities were tossed into the questions they continued to shout at her. When one of them insulted Rayne, though, she punched the offender hard enough to not only knock the person on their ass, but also broke their nose in a fountain of blood.

"Don't talk about things you have no idea about," she said quietly, but just loud enough for the mics to pick up. The assaulted reporter wanted to press charges, until one of his colleagues pointed out that he couldn't afford the court loss that would happen for him.

A few days later, though, Kim did hold a press conference to explain her reappearance (and some hoped her previous retirement and disappearance).

"Why did you retire, Miss Possible?" asked the representative from the Go City Tribune. "You and Miss Gooding were doing some amazing things before her disappearance."

"Personal issues," the redhead explained. "I won't explain about Rayne, as that's her story to tell if she chooses, but I will say it did hit me hard. I retired because I wasn't able to keep my head in the 'game' and that would've been bad not just for me." She pointed at another person.

"Rob Bell, Upperton Journal," the man said as he stood. "Without being disrespectful, Miss Possible, but might I ask why you disappeared? You were last seen publicly at a charity event held by the Holdings, then vanished a month later."

"I appreciate your understanding, Mister Bell," Kim said. "It's not something I like talking about, but I have been able to deal with it enough to explain it now." She took a deep breath and let it out. "I was in a bad way back then, emotionally and mentally. I'd had a bad breakup that very day, and ended up drinking more than I should've. But then, I'm kind of a lightweight when it comes to alcohol anyway." Everyone laughed at that, which she'd expected as she had meant it to be funny. "I ran into an old schoolmate who I'd once had a crush on before I realized my sexuality and came out. Long story short, he took advantage of my drunkenness and emotional vulnerability and . . . raped me." THAT statement brought about a dead silence. Kim answered the question she knew would follow once the reporters recovered. "Yeah, THE Kim Possible got raped. It wasn't shame or anything that prevented me from saying anything before now. I wasn't in a state to think clearly and I knew I couldn't handle the media circus that would've happened." All of the media representatives nodded; they knew she was right, and many of them felt shame as they knew they would've jumped into that feet first. "I moved away and had my daughter. Her name is Elizabeth Anne Possible."

"Do you intend to press charges against the man who raped you?" another reporter asked. Though Kim hadn't selected the next questioner, she decided to answer that one.

"Yes," she replied. "At the present time, though, I'm settling into my new life, reconnecting with my friends and family, and really just trying to find myself again. But I will be filing charges against him for what he did; even though I did get a beautiful daughter out of it." After that, less intrusive and personal questions were asked and the conference eventually wound down.

TLP

Stephanie was surprised when she saw Rayne back in the café. She looked around but didn't see Kim and Elizabeth anywhere. Only a little less happy than before, she approached the table and spoke up.

"Haven't seen you in a while, stranger," she said with a grin. The pale-skinned woman looked up at the blonde and returned the smile.

"Had some things to care of," Rayne replied. "And I needed to talk to you about something, too."

"Well, let me take your order and get it tended to, then I'll see if I'm close enough to my break to take it a little early." The pale woman agreed and ordered her usual tea, as well as a couple of Thai dishes since she was hungry and was missing lunch with her girlfriend and her girl's daughter. It didn't take long for her tea to arrive, and Rayne nursed it while waiting for her food to reach her. A few minutes (and half of her tea) later, Stephanie brought her order to the table - along with what looked like her own lunch.

"Turns out it's actually time for my lunch break," she explained. "So I figured I'd take my break with you."

"Fair enough," Rayne agreed, expertly using her chopsticks to start eating.

"So what did you want to talk about?" Stephanie asked, digging into her own food. "I gather you didn't come by here for the food or to socialize."

"Like I go anywhere just to socialize," the plasma thrower retorted. "But you are right. I've actually got a bit of a business proposition for you."

"Like what?" the blonde wondered.

"Nanny," Rayne said bluntly. "With Kim resuming her hero work, as well as college when the spring semester starts up, we'll need someone to watch our Little Princess when neither of us is around."

"Things are that serious between you two, huh?" Steph inquired softly. The other woman just nodded. "Why me, Miss Gooding?"

"I see you've done your homework," the pale woman said, sipping the last of her tea.

"Yep. So I know you're more than capable of affording a real nanny for Elizabeth."

"I'm doing it for Kimmie," the raven-haired woman admitted. "You were there for her when she needed someone, even if you never got her heart. She trusts you, a lot, and does miss having you around. I'm sure Elizabeth does, too." Rayne hesitated, then just decided to keep going. "I miss you, too. In the short time that I was around you, I felt like I could trust you as much as Kim does. That only happened once, and I ended up almost ruining everything. I'm not saying that it's the same thing I have with Kim, but more like . . . well, like a real friend. I can count on one hand how many real friends I have, and not mark anything."

"Damn," Stephanie said in response to Rayne's impromptu speech.

"Yeah," the mint-tinted woman agreed. "I don't usually go for the mushy things, but it's something that would really make Kim happy. And I'm sure you miss the Little Princess, too." Rayne set her chopsticks down. "You would be paid good, with full-coverage benefits, as well as whatever vacation days you want or need. And you wouldn't be required to pay for room and board; you'd live in the mansion free of charge, since there's more than enough room. I can even provide a decorating budget for your room - though that would be a one-time thing, of course."

"Of course," the blonde, soon-to-be-ex, waitress agreed. She sighed. "I do miss them. Didn't expect to become so used to someone in just a years' time. Not even half a year for Elizabeth."

"Believe me, I understand that," Rayne said dryly. "So, what do you say?"

"Give me five minutes to quit my job and change," Stephanie replied with a grin.

TLP

Kim was indeed ecstatic when Stephanie showed up with Rayne. She was even more joyous when she learned that not only was her friend going to be staying in town, but she was going to be a live-in babysitter/nanny for them. Rayne explained the agreement she'd worked out with Stephanie, and even had engaged one of CSO's lawyers to work up the paperwork for it. Things seemed to be settling down now, except for the rift that had appeared between Kim and Ron; he refused to let go of what Shego's disappearance two and a half years ago had done to Kim, refusing to believe that the plasma thrower could have changed again (of course, he'd believed the same thing back when she'd first been pardoned, but he'd trusted Kim's judgement back then, too). Kim didn't really care, though; it was her life, she was taking it by the horns, and was steering it in the direction she wanted it to go. Team Stoppable was still currently the go-to team for supervillains (no one bothered with Team Go), though many were anticipating the return of Kim Possible - even a new Team Possible consisting of Kim and Rayne (which of course didn't make Ron happy). There was still one more thing to take care of, and that was visiting Kim's family. Things had been pretty hectic since she'd first talked to her mom, and she hadn't had a chance to visit yet.

Until now.

Kim and Rayne were currently on their way to the Possible residence in Middleton; they'd arrived in the Colorado town via the pale woman's private jet. Kim was in the passenger seat, feeling more than a little nervous, and frequently looking back to check on her sleeping daughter. Rayne was, of course, driving; she hadn't had a reason to keep a car in Middleton, so she'd rented one. She had resisted her initial impulse to pick out a sports car or something like that, and had instead chosen an SUV hybrid that had a great safety record. Needless to say, Kim had been impressed with the older woman's choice and had given her a kiss on the cheek in appreciation, making her blush.

"Relax, Princess," Rayne said after the redhead had checked on her daughter for the thirteenth time.

"It's been over a year since I've seen them, Rayne," Kim replied, turning back around in her seat but letting her eyes rest upon her girlfriend. "I'm . . . I'm scared of seeing them again. I know they've gotta be angry with me."

"Kim," the pale woman said, getting the younger woman's attention immediately. "I'm sure they will be angry and hurt and all of that, but they'll be happy to have you back. That'll be more important to them, I think."

"I hope so," the redhead said, still so obviously anxious about the pending visit.

"Everything will be fine," her girlfriend reassured her. "You're family . . . from what I remember, they're way beyond understanding and supportive. Like I said, there'll be some anger and hurt because of what you did, but they'll remember how things were back then and see how you are now. They love you, Princess. And they'll love our Little Princess, too."

It wasn't too long after that that they were pulling into the Possibles' driveway. Kim had calmed down some, though she was still visibly nervous. It was early afternoon, since they wanted to make sure there was plenty of time for a good visit if things went well. Though Kim was the one to get little Elizabeth Anne out of the truck, Rayne was the one to carry her; it was at the pale woman's insistence as she had a feeling about how Kim's family would react at seeing her again after a little over a year of nothing.

And that feeling proved correct after Kim knocked on the door and her mom opened it; the younger redhead was instantly pulled into a hug by the openly sobbing woman that literally left her struggling to breathe. It wasn't too long before James Possible found out who was at the door and Kim again found herself in a hug that was threatening to asphyxiate her. The two older adults were openly crying, happy to finally be seeing their only daughter after so long. Then Anne caught sight of Shego, and the little red-haired bundle she was holding.

"Is that . . ." she started to ask, but trailed off before finishing. Her aborted question drew her husband's attention, and got him to release his daughter - which allowed her to walk back to her girlfriend and daughter.

"Mom, Dad?" Kim said, taking her daughter from Rayne and letting the older woman put an arm around her shoulders. "This is my daughter, Elizabeth Anne Possible. Your . . . your granddaughter." Anne and James took note of the way the two young woman stood together, but said nothing of it; for one, the pale woman was the reason their daughter was even back, and two they'd seen what had happened to the reporter that had insulted the plasma thrower within Kim's hearing. They knew that Kim would never do anything like that to them, but it was obvious how she felt about the older female (plus Rayne had already told them that the two of them had worked out their issues). Anne walked over to the couple and asked, "May I?" Kim smiled and gently handed Elizabeth over to her mom. The older redhead expertly cradled the six-month-old girl and smiled down at her.

"She's beautiful," Anne said as she gazed down at the baby. James had followed his wife over and agreed; though he didn't say it, he thought his granddaughter might actually be cuter than his Kimmie-cub had been at that same age. Soon the four headed into the house and sat in the den, where Anne brought out drinks for them: coffee for Rayne and James, tea for her and Kim. For a while, no one said anything as no one really knew what to say. Kim was still nervous and anxious about the situation, worried that her parents would lecture her about her actions and express their disappointment in her about them; Rayne knew that this was a moment between the Doctors Possible and their daughter, and simply sipped her coffee while discretely (she thought) keeping an eye on her Little Princess.

Anne and James, for their part, didn't really know what to say to their once-estranged daughter. They had been beyond frantic during the early days of Kim's disappearance, calling every one of Kim's friends that they knew about and even begging Betty Director for help. Their panic hadn't eased as days turned into weeks, and then a month. It got so bad that Anne had to take a leave of absence from the hospital and James had actually put a couple of projects on hold because he couldn't focus on them. And of course none of Kim's friends had had any idea of what had happened to her, not even Wade; THAT had surprised the Doctors Possible utterly. Jim and Tim had taken their sister's disappearance just as badly as their parents; maybe worse because, in spite of their near-constant antagonizing of her, they actually did love their sister. After all, they'd gone two months without blowing anything up after she'd left. And now here she was, back and definitely different from the nineteen-year-old who had vanished one day.

"I'm sorry," Kim said quietly, breaking the somewhat tense silence.

"Don't apologize, Kimmie-cub," James replied, surprising her. He chuckled at the expression on her face and continued. "Yes, it did hurt when you left like you did, and after the pain lessened a bit we WERE angry with you, but what matters is that you're back now."

"We know you won't be living here in Middleton," Anne added, glancing down with a smile at the slowly stirring baby in her arms for a moment, "but we hope that you'll at least visit every once in a while."

"I'll make sure she does," Rayne promised, breaking into the conversation for a moment.

"We hope you'll ALL come," the elder redhead said, smiling at the former villainess.

"We understand why you thought you had to leave," James said, "even though you know we would've been behind you one hundred percent." He held up a hand to halt Kim's protest. "We know that weren't yourself back then. Your mom and I spent a lot of time talking after your first call, and decided that lecturing you about your decisions then wouldn't do anyone any good. And I'm sure you've thought about it a lot yourself. It . . . wasn't easy for anyone, but it's in the past now." Just then, a rocket went through the house and would've taken Kim's head off of she hadn't ducked.

"TWEEBS!" Kim shouted as the rocket went out a window.

"We didn't do it!" came the instinctive and twinned response. Rayne smirked and held up three fingers. She counted down until she had a fist, and right at that instant Jim and Tim burst into the den with twin shouts of, "KIM!" They glomped onto their sister with a pair of flying tackles; if it hadn't been for the intense sparring sessions with her girlfriend, Kim would've been knocked off of her feet. Rayne actually felt a warmth spreading through at the sight of her Princess and the young woman's twin brothers sharing that goofy yet tender moment; laughing and teasing each other. Then Kim took her daughter from her mom and introduced her brothers to their niece.

TLP

Kim was glad to learn she had worried for nothing. While no one acted like she'd never left - which would have bothered her - they made sure to let her know it didn't really matter to them now that she was back. They did wonder about her life during her absence, and how she had changed. They even asked if everything was good between her and Rayne now, and had been reassured by the pale woman that she had no intention of leaving Kim or their Little Princess ever. Anne had noted that ex-thief had referred to Elizabeth as being both her and Kim's child, but said nothing about that as Kim apparently thought and felt the same way. The younger redhead even talked about the night she'd been raped, unintentionally making her girlfriend feel some guilt (she then spent a few minutes reassuring the plasma thrower that no one blamed her). She even told her mom - as her dad was keeping an eye on his sons while they spending time with their niece - that she'd already begun filing charges against Josh Mankey back in Go City (since that IS where the rape had occurred). It wasn't long after that that the doorbell rang. Kim was expecting it, as she knew that Ron was intending to stop by to at least try to mend bridges with her. She opened the door . . . . . and felt her jaw drop in shock.

"Hey, Kim," said Josh Mankey with what he probably thought was a charming smile. "I'd heard you were back."

"What the fuck do you want, Mankey?" Kim growled, actually having to struggle to control her temper. Rayne had been coming to check on her girlfriend since she didn't think it'd take that long to greet the buffoon and let him in; hearing the redhead swear had surprised her, but her surprise was chased away by a fury that surprised her in its intensity when she heard WHO the younger woman was addressing. She came behind the redhead and placed a supportive hand on her shoulder.

"I'd like to see my daughter, Kim," he replied smoothly - or at least he thought it was smooth.

"She isn't yours, Mankey," she snapped.

"It's rather obvious that she's mine," he told her. "You haven't been with a man since me."

"She wasn't with a man that time, either," Rayne quipped, making Kim chuckle.

"And who might you be, babe?" Josh said, turning on his charm.

"I'm the badass lesbian who's dating Kim Possible," the pale woman explained, slipping her hand down to wrap it around the redhead's waist.

"You expect me to believe that two hot babes like you girls are claiming to be gay?" he asked incredulously. He simply couldn't believe that the two women before him weren't falling for his charm and good looks; especially Kim since she had once already.

"You're not going to see my daughter," Kim said.

"She's just as much mine as yours, Kim," he replied. "Genetics."

"That doesn't make her yours, asswipe," Rayne told him. "It just means that she was unfortunate enough to be cursed with half of her genes coming from you."

"You know I can have you made to let me see her," Josh said, his voice cool and no longer easygoing. "Or even have her given to me completely." If he expected that to make her give in, he found himself mistaken.

"There's no way in hell I'll let that happen," Kim said quietly, but with venomous anger infusing her voice. Josh was so shocked at how she'd said that that he actually took a couple of steps back. "I've already begun filing rape charges against you," she added before he could say anything. "You caught me at a low point in my life back then. I've moved beyond that now, and if you're lucky I'll let the law take care of you. So goodbye, and I'm sure Rayne will let Johnny in Cell Block B know that he's gonna be getting a new bitch soon." Then she shut the door firmly in his face.

{E/N: To be continued . . . but not in here.}