Finite Middletons (Middleton Mall, just outside of Flynn's Arcade, 8 pm)

Ron and Crystal came out of the arcade where they had spent an enjoyable hour practicing for any potential Zombie Bashing Charity tournament that might happen to pop up.

"Want to stop at the cafe for some tea before calling it a night?" the young man asked his date. At least now, he knew they were dating and was even getting used to the idea. It was still a little strange to hang out with anyone that wasn't Kim, especially a girl.

"Let's go to my house for a snack and something to drink," she suggested, "Mom found this high fiber bread that gets super crunchy when you grill it. Raising her voice a little and speaking to his kilt, she added, "It makes a great grilled cheese, crispy and buttery on the outside and filled with cheesy, gooey goodness on the inside."

"Cheesy!" came a muffled cheer from under the plaid fabric.

Ron laughed, "I wonder if whoever said that 'food is the way to a man's heart' knew about naked molerats?"

The young couple walked out of the mall, heading over to the parking lot.

"Do your aunts live in Middleton?" Ron asked.

"Our family has a nice cabin near the lake; Aunt Galyna, Aunt Oleks, and some of the others come up to stay in it from time to time." Crystal climbed behind Ron on the small moped, holding on to him more tightly than strictly necessary.

"I think I need a bigger bike," Ron said. He applied maximum throttle and their puny petroleum-powered plastic and steel pony ponderously putted up to a reasonable speed for the residential streets in their neighborhood.

"Are you saying that I'm fat?" Crystal teased.

"No, but a bigger seat would be more comfortable for you," Ron avoided taking the bait, "even with your skinny posterior."

"Maybe for a long trip, but for a short hop, this is fine," she snuggled tighter against him.

The Stamos house was dark when they pulled up and parked in the driveway. Frowning, Ron extended his ninja-trained senses feeling/listening for movement or human presence in the darkened home. He felt nothing except the typical mechanical vibrations of a modern house. The refrigerator picked that moment to dump some ice into its bin, and he felt the soft rumble of the central air blowing air through the ductwork.

"Are your parents home?"

"No, why, did you want to talk to them?" his date unlocked the door and stepped inside, "Let's be different tonight, OK? Maybe swap things around?"

"What you got in mind?" the blond asked.

"I'll cook, and you sit at the table and look pretty."

"I can do that," he grinned and then added as he followed her into the kitchen, "Are your parents OK with having me in the house without anyone else here?"

Crystal straightened up and backed away from the fridge, holding a block of American cheese slices and a butter stick.

"Seriously, Ron," she said as she pulled a cast-iron skillet down and put it on the stove. "They let me travel to the other side of the planet on a mission with you, and I got back safely," the burner came to life with a series of small clicks followed by a quiet whoosh as the gas ignited, "It's not like you are going to do anything to me in my own house. Nothing that I don't want you to do anyway."

"Cheese?" a small voice asked.

"Not yet, Rufus. The secret of a great grilled cheese sandwich is the bread," she explained, showing her newest and smallest friend how to place the bread down on puddles of melted butter in the skillet. The molerat sniffed at the aroma of the frying bread.

"Can I help?" Ron asked, coming up behind her and putting his arms around her waist.

"Sure, get some glasses out of that cabinet, and there is a pitcher of iced tea in the fridge."

"Mmm," Rufus was on the counter next to the stove, watching in rapt fascination and apparent approval as she picked up the sandwich with a spatula and rubbed the butter stick on the hot skillet before dropping it back in the skillet to cook the other side.

The three friends quickly consumed the grilled cheese sandwiches, partly because they had played through their standard dinner time at the arcade and somewhat to keep Rufus from eating everything. Not that they wouldn't have made extra for him, but because they knew it wouldn't be healthy for their little friend to eat the entire pound of cheese by himself.

"More?" he said, small eyes bright with interest.

"Time for dessert," said Crystal, relighting the burner under the skillet.

This time, after she had the butter melted and nearly smoking, she reached over, took a bottle of sugar-free caramel flavoring, and poured some onto the hot skillet. Once most of the water was boiled away in a cloud of steam, she slapped slices of bread down on the remaining thickened syrup.

"No Cheese?" Rufus sounded almost mournful as she placed a plate with the fried caramel-flavored toast cut into triangles in front of him.

"Try it. It's good. Like a crispy danish, but less sugar."

Rufus decided it was OK and nibbled his down a bit at a time.

The humans at the table watched as the cheese glut finally caught up to their curd-loving friend.

"I'll wash the dishes if you fix a place for Rufus to nap," said Ron.

"Just put them in the dishwasher. There isn't enough for a load. We'll start it in the morning after breakfast." Crystal took a dish towel, folded it into a little bed, and gently slipped the rodent into it.

"I can't believe how much he ate," she said, "how long will it take him to sleep it off?"

"The little guy will sleep for twelve to fifteen hours if nothing bothers him." Ron explained, sliding the last plate in the dishwasher, "but after about forty-five minutes from now, if there is an alarm for a mission, he will be ready to go."

"Then we'd better be quiet," she said, pulling him over to the couch, pushing him onto the cushions. She whispered, "Shh, don't wake the molerat," and covered his lips with hers.

"Mmm," Ron thought the young woman pressed against him was…purring? She wasn't talking; at least her lips and tongue were busy communicating in other ways. Was that him making the noise?

As Kim's uncle and cousin would say, "This wasn't his first rodeo, but his second." Back in the fifth grade, he had been Kim's boyfriend, with all the rights and responsibilities that Kim's fifth-grade mind thought went with the title. That included kissing. Lots of kissing. Because of their extreme friendship, Ron was free to try anything he could think of, secure in the knowledge that Kim would tell him when he was pushing a boundary, or even if she wanted him to push a little harder.

But Crystal wasn't Kim. The young mystical martial artist decided to use some of the sparring techniques that Yoriko had taught him. Time seemed to slow as he focused on where her body was in contact with his. He felt the tension in her right side as she compensated for being out of balance. Moving to let her slide down a little at his side, she was now balanced, held securely cradled in his left arm, with his left hand able to feel her bra strap through her tee-shirt.

His brain immediately froze, locked in a logic loop. If he found and released her bra clasp, would he be exposed as a scoundrel and a cad? If he didn't release the clasp, would she consider that an insult to her desirability? Did she want him to at least try and fail? Or try and succeed? Or not try at all?

"Ronnie," she murmured, running one hand through his hair and the other tracing his ear, "You are thinking."

"Stop that right now," Green eyes opened and glared at him as she pulled his right hand under her tee shirt and placed it high on her stomach.

"Besides, the clasp is in the front," she giggled, all traces of her glare vanishing as she started to pull his shirt loose from his jeans.

Nearly an hour later, Crystal gently untangled herself from Ron and sat back far enough to see him clearly. They had talked a little, mostly nonsense, caressed a lot, explored 'safe' areas of each other's bodies, and kissed even more places, mostly gently, but Crystal found herself looking at two places on her boyfriend's shoulder thinking, 'I don't think that will leave too noticeable a mark…'

Ron was shirtless, and she appreciated the look and feel of an upper body showing the results of Yoriko's training. Technically, her shirt was still on, mostly, but served to highlight rather than conceal her own trim body. She had demonstrated the trick of removing her bra without taking off her shirt.

Taking a cleansing breath, she looked around, seeing a pair of drinking glasses filled with ice and tea on the side table next to the couch; when had he placed them there? They were still alone, except for Rufus snoring gently on a kitchen towel on the table, sleeping off his buttered toast and cheese glut.

"Ronnie," the brunet said, nodding thanks as he handed her an icy drink, "Have you ever done it?"

She took a long, appreciative drink, waiting for his response. "I'll have to remember this; making out is thirsty work," she thought to herself.

"Have to be more specific," the blond grinned, "I've done lots of things and still have a bunch of things I haven't gotten around to doing."

"Be serious for a second," she said, "My dad was telling me that I should expect it to hurt the first time I do it…"

"Hold that thought," her boyfriend interrupted, "I know that I missed that we were dating for maybe the first month. Have we gotten really serious, and I missed that part?"

"No, you haven't missed anything," Crystal hugged him, pressing her face into his shoulder, "It's just that my willpower...or won't power...is starting to waver a little. I think we might move forward, and I'd rather be ready when the time comes. I can't see if we will become life partners or if you'll find someone else next week. But I know that if it comes to it, you'll do your best not to hurt me, and I want you to be my first."

"Crystal," he gently pushed her back to see her face, "I think girls often do this without worrying that much about it, is there something else going on?"

Looking down, she said, "A long time ago, I was going out with someone who tried to do it with me. It hurt a lot…"

Looking up into his eyes, she quickly added, "and no, you won't go beat him up or anything."

"If you are just looking for someone who knows how to do it, I'm pretty clueless," Ron's voice had a touch of something that she didn't like. She felt a sliver of fear run up her spine, a fear that she had well and truly screwed up.

'Oh my gosh!' she remembered an article describing "Things you must never, ever say to your boyfriend," "he thinks I am saying that he is inadequate!"

"No!, Ron, I trust you, I really, really like you. You have a good heart and gentle but strong hands."

"But what if I hurt you? I don't ever want to hurt you."

"Then, we'll stop and maybe try something different. There are people we can ask. Maybe there is something wrong with me that a doctor can fix."

Not sure that she had convinced him, she continued, "I'm sorry I mentioned it. I just thought it was a good idea not to surprise you if it happens to us."

"No, I'm sorry, I guess I'm over-reacting. Do you think you should see a doctor?"

The inexperienced Monkey Master struggled to remember anything in Yoriko's teaching or the scrolls or anything that implied that Mystical Monkey Power could heal.

Crystal blew out a breath in relief and grinned at the concentration on the young man's face. She didn't see it often, but her easily distracted young man could have a frightening degree of concentration when he truly cared about a problem that he considered was his responsibility to fix.

"Well, Doctor Stoppable," she said, watching his expression start to echo her grin, "it hurts when someone presses here." She rose to her knees on the couch cushions next to him to better show him the general area of the problem.

"Maybe you shouldn't let anyone touch you below the equator, Miss Stamos," Ron's expression and deepened voice couldn't have been more serious and authoritative if he had put on a disguise to impersonate Mr. Barkin himself, "and tell that ragweed you associate with to keep their hands to themselves."

"Maybe you should touch me to see if your touch hurts, Dr. Ronnie," Crystal reached under her skirt, and as she sat down on the couch, pulled something off over her legs, then dropping it on the floor.

There was dead silence in the room, not even crickets. Feeling her cheeks burning from the furious blush she knew her outrageous behavior had caused, she looked up. Ron was, well, the best she could figure was that his brain was rebooting.

"Ron."

"Uh…"

"Honey, listen to me. I'm not going to do any puppy dog pout or anything. I want you to do what you feel is the right thing to do. I would like for us to slow down, maybe a lot but not stop. Does that make sense?"

Ron came back to life, sporting an almost goofy grin.

"I think so. How about if I do a digital map of the entire area and you tell me where to be careful."

"Digital mapping? Oh, right," she said, watching him wiggle his fingers, "yes, Doctor, I would like that very much, please and thank you."

Ron saw her frown as he reached into a small section of his sporran that held crime scene supplies and pulled out a pair of latex examination gloves.

"I stopped by the Home Economics room today and was showing them how to slice hot peppers," he explained, "Trust me, you don't want to risk having me touch any sensitive parts of your body in case I didn't wash off all the residue on my hands."

"See? That's why I trust you," she said, scooting closer to him and leaning back on the couch.

Before Ron could even remember to check if this procedure required a co-payment, there was a familiar four-note ring tone from his phone.

Ron sighed heavily, looking upward for an answer that would never come. Crystal pulled her legs off of Ron and sat up, brushing her skirt out over her knees.

Reaching into his backpack and pulling out his cell and holding it to his ear, he said, "What's up, Wade?…"

Rufus, mumbling something about being woken up from the best nap, struggled to climb up onto the couch. The brunet scooped her newest and smallest buddy up and cuddled the rodent holding it close to her face.

"Help me watch out for him Roof, he is the boyfriend I want," she murmured, "I need him. He is the one I lo…"

"I'm really sorry," Ron started before Crystal reached out faster than a snake strikes and put her fingers over his lips.

"Don't lie to me, Ron Stoppable; this is not a job you were hired to do and must go. You go because you feel it is important and that I can wait."

Ron tried to say something, but she now had his lips clamped shut between her thumb and forefinger.

"And I will wait. I might need a heating pad, but I can deal…Unless… this is a mission, right?"

Ron nodded.

"Can I help?" she released him so his lips could reply.

"Can I leave my scooter here? Wade is sending a ride to pick me up."

"Sure. I can ride it to school in the morning if you can't pick it up later tonight. Can I come with you?"

"No, you'd better not. It's a stakeout, most likely boring, but it could get violent in a hurry. Not the best for a beginning mission."

"Ron, look, about earlier. I…"

"It's OK. We'll talk. Here are the keys." The blond leaned over, giving her a very nice, slow kiss. This kiss, well, actually a series of slow kisses, promised that more would follow in the future.

Taking the keys to the scooter, she watched him jog to the curb where a pizza delivery car pulled over and then sped off into the night, taking her boyfriend to some unknown peril.

Finite Middletons (Middleton, Track and Field area next to the football field, Middletown High, 7 am)

"Morning Yoriko, where's Ron?" Contrary to what both she and Ron both called the time, it was not dark, but the sun wasn't entirely above the horizon.

The brunette pulled off her coat and draped it over the railing next to where the obviously pregnant ninja was stretching out. Her blond running buddy was nowhere to be seen.

"He was slightly injured stopping a robbery last night. The doctor wanted to keep him overnight for observation."

"Why didn't someone call me? Will he be OK?"

"I believe that calling a special person on the phone should be reserved for extreme cases. If it had been something serious, someone would have come to your house in person. He will be fine. Frankly, I believe that the doctor wants to make sure that Ron isn't under the influence of illegal drugs."

"Drugs? Ron? Why would anyone think that?"

"I haven't talked to Kim to get the details, but apparently, he did things that a normal person shouldn't be able to do while under the influence of a taser."

"Kim? She was there?"

"Of course. A ninja might be up to his butt in alligators, but he is never alone."

"So, you and Hiero are really training them to be ninja?"

"Right now, I am about to go run these stairs. Are you coming?"

"Are you sure it's safe for the baby?"

"The baby loves the bouncing. Enough stalling."

Finite Middletons (Middleton, Kitchen at Possible House, 7 am)

"Good morning Kimberly. How's everything going with you these days? How are you and Ronald doing?"

Kimberly Ann Possible looked at the pale, thin person sitting across the table from her. His tee-shirt had a picture of a fuzzy kitten on its back with all four paws reaching for a descending hand, its claws out, and its mouth open and ready to bite. The text under the picture said, "Not today, Human."

"Ron and I are fine. We are best friends forever," she replied, "'Why do you ask?"

"Would you like some toast, dear?" an older redhead asked, sliding a plate with eggs and bacon over to her.

"Please and thank you," she replied, trying to suppress a small shudder. The redhead wasn't her mom but an artificial person designed to be a copy of her mom in her twenties. Being based on Dr. Drakken's synthodrone technology, it would never age physically. Her father's final cosmetic design and programming were done in another timestream, where Dr. Possible had been driven nearly insane by an attack from Dr. Drakken. It acted way too much like her flesh and blood mom for her comfort at times.

In comparison, "Mr. Gray" was less weird even with his pale skin, overlarge eyes, and super skinny build.

He looked at the young redhead, taking a sip of his orange juice,

"Didn't I hear you say something about there being too many girls interested in your Ron?" His voice lost the raspy quality it had before he sipped juice, "Remember when you all did the astral projection version of teleconferencing? I seem to recall you muttering something about too many girls named 'Yori' smiling at your Ron."

"That was just a random, silly thought," the redhead replied, "besides, there's no reason that we can't date other people before we become the 'One True Pair' of prophecy. After all, you can't escape fate, right?"

It was clear that the redhead thought the idea that she and Ron were a fated couple was silly. It was also clear that sparkles were floating around the teenage hero.

"I thought you guys were up at Uncle Slim's ranch?" she continued.

"We were, but we decided that we needed to get Dr. Porter's current files to compare against the copy I carry," said the artificial woman.

"You couldn't just log in remotely? Wade could have helped," suggested the young hero.

"Never underestimate the bandwidth of duplicate disk drives being driven down the interstate in Ichiro's club cab pickup." The artificial copy of her mom had a disturbingly familiar look of amusement on its face.

"I heard you had some excitement last night. Did everything turn out OK?" it asked.

"Ron and I were helping with a sting operation down at the museum. The idea was to catch some jewel thief, but they never showed. Instead, some nut case with trained monkeys grabbed some old writings and stuff down by the rain forest exhibit. We could have stopped him, but we got caught up trying to keep the stupid monkeys from trashing the place. The other security team got there in time to help us, but the guy got away. The good part was that they drove off the monkeys. The bad part was that one of the security team aimed for the intruder with a taser gun and hit Ron instead."

"Oh, dear," electric blue eyes softly glowed with concern, "Is he all right?"

"Yeah, he was fighting the guy, doing really well against him. The guy was using a style of Kung Fu that I didn't recognize. Even after he got hit with the taser, Ron was still doing well enough to wipe the smirk off the guy's face."

"Did you all catch him?"

"No, with more security showing up, the guy decided to make a run for it. Ron would have caught him, but he tripped when his kilt snagged on something and was pulled down around his ankles."

"Ron fights in a kilt?"

"Yeah, and given the tears in the fabric from the monkeys trying to bite him on his butt, it was a good thing he wore it last night."

The pattern recognition software connected to those electric blue eyes detected something called an "eye-roll with affection" from Kim's facial expression when she replied.

"Did you get bitten?" the synthodrone's sensors had been trying to get a medical reading on the teen hero, but something was interfering with them. The sensors weren't designed for doing a full non-contact medical checkup, but usually, they could get some data.

"Nope, not even a scratch. Guess they didn't care for the taste of cheerleader."

"Would you like a pancake?"

"No thanks, I need to get to school a little early. I need to find someone before class."

Kim dropped her dishes in the dishwasher and gathered up her books, and put on a jacket.

"I would like a pancake, please. Erica," the pale, thin person said.

"Have a good day at school, dear." Her pattern recognition software recognized that the teen didn't appreciate her calling her "Dear." Her analysis routines suggested that 'her' James made her too close a match to the real thing, but somehow not close enough. Vivian had told her it was the "uncanny valley" effect. Whatever it was called, the synthodrone estimated a greater than 90% chance that it was causing the teen's discomfort.

The teen said, "Bye, see you later," in a distracted voice as she headed out the door.

"Did you notice anything strange about Kimberly this morning?" Gray asked as he nodded in thanks as a pair of fresh pancakes slid onto his plate.

"Please be more specific; Kimberley is a teenaged girl. There are many things I find strange about her."

"It appeared to me that sparkling particles were dancing around her," he replied, wondering if he should comment on her humor settings.

"I didn't notice any sparks, but there was something producing interference with my sensors."

"I will write up notes for Mistress Sensei. I think that our interference is stressing the local timestream and that Kimberly is the focus. I suspect that something will snap before the stream settles into the new path that we are pushing it into."

"Is this snap going to be dangerous?"

"Hard to tell. I believe that it will produce something more wildly inappropriate than outright dangerous."

"You make it sound like some sort of overseeing intelligence guides the time stream."

"My math skills are inadequate for that analysis. Perhaps you could check with Ms. Flanner for her opinion."

"No time today. Ichiro and Vivian should be here any minute with the 'official offsite backup' drives for her lab. We have done our duty to Hiero; his Kimberly is OK and should remain that way until he returns the day after tomorrow. We need to get back to the ranch and continue preparing the data his 'Bouyatachi' will need."

Finite Middletons (Middleton High, Cafeteria, second lunch period)

"I swear that I never took my eyes off of him, but when we took a break, there were two glasses of iced tea on the table next to the couch!" Crystal told Hope as she dipped a tater tot into catchup and popped it in her mouth.

"Your eyes were open all the time?" teased her friend.

"No, but when they were closed, my lips were touching him. Or his were touching me."

"He had a cold drink ready," her friend admitted. "That does sound like a class act to me."

"Excuse me," Josh Mankey walked up to their table, "Crystal, have you seen Ron today?"

"He and Kim were on a mission; he got tasered and sent to the hospital for observation," the brunet replied, "It wasn't supposed to be serious, so I figured I would hunt him up after school."

"I have an art class there in a half-hour. I'll check on him after that."

"Thanks, Josh."

The pair watched the artist walk out of the cafeteria.

"Whoa," said Hope, "that is one serious hottie."

"Is he?" Crystal had a smug smile, "I hadn't noticed."

Finite Middletons (Middleton General, Exam Room #8, 2 pm)

"It's alive!" the small squeaky voice cried out as the figure on the examination table sat up.

"Ha, ha, buddy," a grumpy voice replied.

"I thought it was pretty good," Dr. Anne Possible smiled as she unclipped electrodes from his neck and ankles, "it shows that you guys aren't ignoring the classics."

"Everything looks good to me, Ronald," she continued, handing the blond his shirt, "I can see the burn marks from where the taser darts hit you, but there doesn't seem to be any nerve damage. At least electrical impulses traveling between your ankle and neck seem to be traveling at the correct speed. Maybe even a little faster than normal. The toxicology report shows nothing in your bloodstream that can't be explained by a high cheese and Diablo sauce diet."

"Can I go?" asked the blond.

"Sure," she said, handing him an envelope, "Here's a copy of the toxicology report from the lab. I've put a cover note on it. If some police person stops you, give it to them and tell them to call Dr. Howard, if they have any questions, his name is on the report."

"Not your name?"

"No, I didn't want to give anyone the chance to complain that you got special treatment. I was just rerunning some of the tests to make sure that they didn't miss anything."

The pair turned when the door unexpectedly opened.

"Oh, excuse me, the nurse at the desk said that Ron was finished," The blue-eyed young man with frosted tips on his brown hair started to back out of the door he had just opened.

"He is. Please, come in. I was doing a last-minute check," the doctor waved for the young man to come in, "I am Dr. Anne Possible; are you here to pick up Ron?"

"Good to meet you, Dr. Possible. I'm Josh Mankey. I heard from a classmate that he was injured last night. I was here helping with art therapy with some kids in the children's ward, and I thought I would check on him before heading home." Turning to Ron, he said,

"Hey, Ron, need a ride home?"

Ron stood up to tuck in his shirt and adjust his kilt. He wobbled slightly, and Mrs. Dr. P. reached out and steadied him.

"I'm fine," the blond complained, sounding tired and a little cranky.

"You are lower than I like to see on liquids, blood ketones, and carbonic acid. I prescribe a giant slurpster and some pseudo-Mexican food. Repeat as needed."

When she didn't get the response she had hoped for, she put her hand on his shoulder and turned him so that he was looking at her.

"Ronald, tell Yoriko to bring you over for breakfast in the morning. I want to see both of you. I will make pancakes, eggs, and fakin' bacon. If you want anything else, you can cook. I'll have plenty of eggs, cheese, and such in case. OK?"

"I hear you, Mrs. Dr. P."

"Dear, I know there is nothing wrong with your hearing," the surgeon's smile didn't reach her eyes, "Stop by in the morning for breakfast, don't make me hunt you down."

"I hear and will obey, Mrs. Dr. P." Ronald's goofy grin seemed a little forced. Still, she decided not to press him on his mood but wanted to keep an eye on the young hero.

"See you in the morning, dear. I'll go check you out now, so you can just leave and not worry about any paperwork."

Turning to his classmate, she reached in her lab coat pocket and pulled out her wallet, saying,

"Josh, dear, if you could stop by Bueno Nacho and get you all some…"

Josh raised his hand in a "halt" motion, intending to stop her from pulling out money, saying, "Dr. Possible, that's not necessary, I owe Ron and Rufus; enough for a B. N. stop anyway."

"Please, Josh, it's the least I can do," the surgeon pressed a pair of twenties into the young man's hand, "I do think that the electric shock has affected the calcium levels in his blood. Please take him for a solid snack with extra cheese and see that he gets home."

"Well, OK. If you insist."

"I do, and thanks again, Josh."

"Is Rufus here?"

A small head poked out from the side of Ron's kilt.

"Hi, Rufus, ready for some cheese?"

"Cheese!" the tiny hero cheered and climbed up onto his person's shoulder.

"Rufus doesn't ride in your belly bag?"

"Nah, my sporran bounces when I walk, which makes the three ties tap against the leather. That keeps him from napping. There are slits in the side of my kilt so I can reach underneath to get in the pocket of my gym shorts or that he can use to get into a pouch that hangs underneath the kilt."

Ron's voice deepened, and the expression on his face changed. He now seemed tired and world-weary, like the blond traveled to school crawling on the broken glass of a thousand beer bottles each day.

"Not that I don't appreciate the effort, but why are you here?"

"Just checking, you know, just friends looking out for friends.", the artist responded.

"Yeah, hey, do you have a date for the dance? Uh, not for me, even though I wear a kilt most times….a friend was really interested. She didn't ask me to ask, though."

"Anyone, I know?" Josh wondered if this was a joke, but the sparkles hovering around Ron seemed too out of place for a simple jest.

"Yeah, she's a cute redhead, and she's really into you, Josh."

"Redhead? You mean Kim, Ron?"

"Is being a world-saving heroine a deal-breaker? You didn't hear this from me, but she's a little nervous about asking….I guess cause you're a popular chick magnet, and as I said, she is really into you. I've known her most of my life, and she needs a good guy… a perfect guy. She doesn't know I'm doing this for her, so it might be easier for you to approach her."

"Ron, you're not pulling my leg, or anything are you?"

"Nope. Soooo, you are interested, right?"

"Yeah, the worst she could do is shoot me down in front of the whole school. I've been thinking about asking her out for a movie."

"This is a lot better than a taco combination platter and a movie, Mister Big Time Artist. I think you guys would be good for each other."

"Thanks."

'Wait a minute, did he just call me Mister Big Time Artist?' Josh was tempted to look for hidden cameras, but he was dragged back from his musing when his arm started to itch. Looking down at it, he brushed away sparkles that had begun to collect on him.

"You know, Josh, ya come up here to see if I'm a candidate to look at roots and stuff, and ya walk outta here with a chance to date one of the nicest people you'll ever meet. Mann, I could make a living at this.", Ron coughed, "See ya later, buddy."

"Hold up there a second, Ron. Aren't you coming with me? And what's this about you being a candidate for looking at roots and stuff? You were hit with a taser, and according to Crystal, you are here because the police thought you were way too fit and too healthy, not because you were hurt. What's the deal?"

Josh looked at the blond, his friend's face clearly showing his struggle to keep going on in the face of disaster and agony; his destiny was to live and die loveless, friendless, and alone.

"Whoa, this is heavy," the artist thought, "I could never capture this much emotion and angst on canvas or paper. I wonder if any of my writer or filmmaker buddies would want to take a swing at it?

This time, his musings were interrupted by Rufus's antics, who was slapping Ron on the cheeks mumbling, "Damn time-cooties."

The sparkles vanished as his face turned back to its usual carefree expression. Ron blinked a few times then said, "Josh, what are you doing here?"

"Ho boy," Rufus pulled a paw over his face then called out to Josh, "Cheese! Diablo sauce! Stat!"

Still not sure what just happened, Josh said, "Dr. Possible said you needed Bueno Nacho and lots of it. Let's go!"

"Mrs. Dr. P. knows her stuff, lead the way, buddy," replied the blonde.

As they walked to the elevator, Josh was heard to ask Ron,

"Is Dr. Possible Kim Possible's sister? I'm betting that I see a strong family resemblance…"

Sitting behind a sizeable computer screen, hidden from the young men and molerat, Dr. Possible and the floor nurse heard the artist's comment. Both women looked at each other as the nurse commented, "Anne, you'd better keep an eye on that one. Don't know that I trust those artist types."

"Oh, I don't know," the surgeon replied, "I think I'd go with an eye trained to see the beauty in things."

"Well, I'd have a go with that one if he wasn't young enough to be my grandson."

Both women laughed and returned to the patient records on the computer screen.

Finite Middletons (A random place in a stagnant pool at a bend of the time stream, Bueno Nacho, Some meaningless point in time)

The Mystical Monkey Monk placed three baskets, each containing one order of Nachos Supreme, onto a tray. Pausing at the soda machine, he set three Slurpster sized drinks, one iced green tea, one unsweetened orange pekoe tea, and one diet cola alongside the nachos and took the tray onto the patio. The Monk then returned and brought over a large platter piled high with tacos and burritos, each wrapped in paper. He sat at the table to wait on his young teammates.

"Why the extra food?" he wondered, "this place is mystical but not intelligent. Still, there must be a reason."

He took a wrapped taco off the pile, unwrapped it, and idly munched on the crispy treat filled with fish sticks.

His duty over the long centuries was to inform the person prophesied to take control of the MMP that it was theirs for the taking and how to get it. Oddly to some, while the prophecies mention only one holder of the MMP per catastrophic event, sometimes the MMP would change hands several times in just a short time until they came under the control of someone who could (and would) use them for true good (or true evil). The Monk shuddered thinking of such power in the hands of an evil soul who might manage to save the world, then require another to save the world from him.

He heard a heavy rumble coming from around the restaurant. There should be no one there except him, and the small replicas of Kim and Ron, Shim and Shon, the pair of mystical spirits created out of MMP energy along with a sampling of Kim and Ron's very souls by the mad scientist Dr. Drakken.

"Shon must have upgraded Ron's scoot…" The Monk stopped, puzzled by the bike the pair rode up and parked by the curb.

"Oh my dear," the Monk thought, the monstrosity the pair rode on was a 2003 Dodge Tomahawk. In 2003, he was nearly ready to tell a villain going under the unlikely name "Motor Ed" that he was approaching the discovery of the MMP, and he could unlock vast, untold amounts of mystical energy... However, the shaggy-haired man had zero interest in mysterious power and, in fact, used one of the jade monkeys as a paperweight. That period had been fascinating; indeed, the heavily muscled mechanic listened to music that the monk found to be deeply inspiring and soul lifting. One of the things that he had learned about while shadowing the extreme vehicle enthusiast was that a company named Dodge had taken a powerful V-10 engine used in an insanely overpowered car called a Viper and made a motorcycle out of it. It was theoretically able to reach a cruising speed of 450 miles an hour. Ed was excited and wanted to test that but was never able to find one to steal.

Another shock rocked the Monk as he moved his gaze from the insane motorcycle to the pair dismounting.

Shim drove the bike; Shon sat behind her, overshadowing the redhead in size. While Shim had gotten taller and put on weight, nearly all muscle, the blond looked a full six inches taller than his partner and had the body of a blacksmith of Olympus or Asgard. Their ordinarily pale skin, which had been darkened by sun and weather and marked by scars, gave them an aura of "don't mess with us."

It had been, maybe, a week at most since he left them to check on the present. By their appearance, it seemed like…ten?…twenty?…Years? And hard years at that had passed for these two.

"Triple M!" the blond took his hand, giving it a firm shake, while his partner gave him a tight hug.

"How is everything going back home. How long were we gone? Fifteen years?"

Shim interrupted her partner, "What happened? We kept waiting for the recall, and it never came. What did we miss?"

"Sit, my friends," the Monk motioned them to the table where the pile of snacks waited, "I don't know what happened. To me, it's only been a few days since I saw you last. I started the pull on the MMP to bring you back a few hours ago. What happened?"

"Man, what didn't happen! At one point, we became more physical than mystical!" Shon managed to say before the lure of lunch distracted him.

It was evident that this mystical oasis at the edge of the timestream was a kindred spirit of sorts to Shim and Shon because the pair was ravenous and fell on the food piled before them with a will and a purpose. At one point, Shon used a hard taco shell as a scoop to help shovel in the chips dripping with meat and cheese from his nacho platter. Pausing to breathe, he noticed the monk staring at him in horror. Even his now buff redheaded companion had a fond look of tolerance for him as if this was just a part of her friend.

"What!" he said, "It's a naco." Turning to the Monk, he explained, "Ron invented it in most of the timelines we investigated. It was trendy, and royalties from it came in very handy."

"It just looks like an extra-messy taco to me, said the Monk, "you said something about becoming physical beings at one point?"

"Several points, actually," Shim talked, as Shon, having gotten in a couple of breaths and a sip of soda, returned to reducing his stack of paper-wrapped delicacies.

"It started when we were fleeing a hideous chest-bursting monster that sang old show tunes. We ran into the Demoness Haures who was following Kim."

"Kim and Ron were demon hunters?" the monk wisely decided not to ask about monsters that burst out of people's chest to sing show tunes.

"No. Hmm, where to start…On this fragment, Ron refused Kim's marriage proposal because he was convinced that they wouldn't go to school together. Kim proposed that Ron start college first. He could study and get transferable credits while she studied at Yamanouchi, with the Shaolin monks in China, and finally attend something called 'jump school' with a group called para-jumpers. Then they would reunite and do the together-forever thing."

Shim looked at Shon, but he nodded at her to continue and unwrapped another taco from the steadily shrinking pile.

"I don't know all the details, but Kim, while studying in China, tried to save some Nordic doctor from alien ice-giants. She grabbed what she thought was the Lotus Blade in a hammer form, and this magical hammer bound itself to her. The hammer was Mjöllnir, magical hammer of the Norse God Thor who had abandoned it and was traveling in disguise as her doctor friend until he could prove himself worthy to carry it again."

"So, Kim being Kim builds up some favors. Are you familiar with Norse Mythology?" Shon asks.

"Only a little," replied the monk.

"You've heard of Ragnarok?"

"I've heard of that."

"Basically, Kim canceled Ragnarok," Shon explains, "Fenris, the wolf, is her and Ron's child, not Angrboda and Loki's child. Then she freed and healed the serpent Jörmungandr and even argued that Loki should rule Asgard and Thor should be the Champion of Justice and Defender of Realms. At the time, the pair didn't think much of her idea, but they eventually came to like it."

"Ron and Kim had a baby wolf? As in Kim….?" asked the Monk.

"Yep, Kim popped out two babies that at times have four legs, a tail, and teeth that can bite through steel chains; apparently, the Monkey King thought the two hadn't been spending enough intimate time together…" began Shon.

"No, wait, that sounds like a long story. Where does the demon come in?" asked the monk.

"She 'owed Kim a favor' and was following her to find a time to pay it back…" started Shim.

There was a chime, and they all looked up at the counter. On the wall appeared a shiny new liquor license.

"Just a moment, please," the monk got up, "Does anyone need their drinks refreshed? I need something. I can tell that listening to these stories is going to be thirsty work."

Credits

Check the details in my profile, but basically,

Disney owns Kim Possible and all related characters.

Sentinel103 was a source and inspiration for details of Yamanouchi Ninjas. Specifically, Wanda and Suzy (Wendy and Subira.) He encourages me to push the envelope - with my characters anyway.

Daccu65 is a great source for dialog ideas.

CajunBear is a good source of story sanity, and I love reading his reviews. Reading his reviews always makes me wonder if English is really my native tongue.

ST103, CB73, and Daccu65 continue to help with story ideas even though I have been dragging out this story. Thanks, guys!

Special thanks to Mindless Violence Fan, who inspired the original story.