Take Me as I Am
A/N: Kim Possible and all characters of the show belong to Disney.
This will be part of a series that goes hand in hand with my other short story, 'My Home'. I'm going off of it and making it into its own series of shorts as its own separate universe. I hope you enjoy! Leave a review and let me know what you think! Thanks!
It was late October, a chilly wind blew in from the North. The trees rustled above with the gust shaking loose the leaves that were ready for their slumber. Ron watched the leaves dance on the wind to their resting place on the autumn floor, already littered with orange and red. Who am I? Am I the leaves on the tree? Or am I the leaves on the ground? Am I the one falling? Ron mused, sitting on a metal bench.
The past year-and-a-half or so had been amazing. Thanks to the effort of family, friends, and the unity the world had built in their tenure as teen heroes, the world rebuilt relatively fast after Warhawk's invasion. It had only taken months instead of the projected years. Kim and Ron, along with now-former villains, had helped bring it to a swift end. This enabled Kim and Ron to start off their adventure faster than they ever expected.
Kim followed her dream to go to school abroad and Ron followed her, keeping his word of what she meant to him over a year ago. She was his home. Back in that disaster of a summer, helping rebuild the Tri-City metropolitan, Ron told Kim she was more than just a girlfriend. More than just a future partner or someone he thought might be his future forever. She was his home. He had stayed true to those simple words as he followed her abroad to Britain, where she accepted admission into Cambridge.
Moving from America to Great Britain was simple enough, probably easier for Kim and Ron than most others seeing that they could call in favors. Rescuing the world had its perks. Since the invasion and the start of college, many of the villains of the world had gone into hiding or retired altogether. Only four missions in the last year and all of them were humanitarian.
Ron adjusted, even though he went to school on the outskirts of London seeking a vocation as a chef. A thirty-minute drive still irked him when he traveled to see Kim. Still, it was always worth it to Ron. Seeing each other always made him smile and it lifted her spirits from all the stress she would face in school. Kim's goal to be a world-class diplomat and unite the world or at least start the process was challenging. But Kim was ready for that challenge, unnerved by the obstacles ahead. Ron understood it was never easy, even though Kim made it seem so.
Sitting on the bench in Middleton Park, Ron watched the leaves fall and twirl their way down to the cold ground. Making the trip back to America wasn't easy as he sat there with his lukewarm cup of hot chocolate. Is this the right choice? Am I going to do the right thing for 'us', Ron's mind was spinning. It had been nauseating ever since the two conversations he had last month when he went to surprise Kim.
A month earlier, Ron stepped inside the office of the dean of Cambridge University. Ron didn't understand why the dean of Kim's prestigious university had wanted to see him, but upsetting Kim by refusing the invitation was out of the question for Ron and he did his best to keep his composure and mind himself.
He was a heavier-set man, older than even his dad. Ron took a guess the dean was in his sixties by his white combed hair. His bleak gray eyes shielded by his vintage glasses. Ron almost smirked at the thought they shielded him from any happy emotions.
Ron followed him into his office, clumsily knocking over a fragile historical vase wasn't how Ron wanted to start things off. "Hehe," Ron laughed nervously, "Sorry about that, I'll clean that up right—"
"Have a seat, Ronald," The dean's serious face dulled the mood.
Ron slowly took a seat on the love couch opposite of the dean's desk. An uneasy silence descended in the room. "So, uh, what's this about, sir?" Ron gulped nervously as the dean's bleak cold eyes bore into his.
The dean waited to reply, making seconds seem like hours to Ron. "Indeed Ronald. What is this about? Or better yet, what to do? What to do?"
Ron stared at the dean puzzled, "What do you mean by that, sir?"
"How do I put this Ronald? There is no simple way to say it. Put mildly son, you are a disruption at our school," the dean asserted.
Ron's face fell absent. What was he supposed to say? I hope this isn't about Kim. If it is, I don't know if I can hold myself back. "So, how exactly am I a disruption to this school?"
The dean furrowed his brow, "More pointedly, you're a hindrance to Kim and her studies."
I knew it! This is about Kim. It's okay Ron, be cool. You have to be level-headed for Kim. Be the Ron-man and act cool. "I don't see how I'm a hindrance to her. I only come to see her at night and that's if I don't work. She's not failing anything, is she?"
The dean sighed, closing his eyes, taking off his glasses, and rubbed his temples frustrated. He opened his eyes, "No, Kim isn't failing any classes, yet. She's passing all of them with flying colors."
Ron resisted the urge to roll his eyes. Duh, of course she is. She's Kim Possible. She can do anything. "I don't see what the problem is then."
"The problem quite frankly is we don't expect Miss Possible to be your average student. We anticipate and hope that not only will she be a prestigious alumna but world-renowned. I hope her success here will shadow her time saving the world, even the interstellar invasion," the dean explained.
"Look," Ron's ability to hold back his frustration was becoming difficult. So this is what he's getting at. He thinks I'm a drag on KP. Ron grew upset. He thought that the original invitation to Cambridge would be a positive experience. Ron didn't expect a lecture on the difference between his worth and Kim's. That's what this was about. Isn't it. "What do you want from me then?"
"I can't ask anything from you. You're not even a student here. However, that doesn't mean I don't have influence beyond this school…" Ron took the dean's words as a veiled threat. "I know Miss Possible has skipped a few classes and important student council events to see you. Even help you with your own academic studies where you are enrolled."
The Dean wasn't wrong. Sometimes, even when Ron was trying to forge through his own work, Kim had a knack for knowing when he needed help. She would show up unannounced to help prepare for a test. Even as Ron worked towards his culinary career, he still worked hard at achieving the basics of academics in college, even taking on more challenging courses to help his alma mater.
"You're never going to be anything more than a hindrance to Miss Possible. I know you are trying hard yourself but you are dragging down a person who can excel at anything no matter the odds," the dean added.
"A hindrance!?" Ron raised his voice. "How can you say that? You don't know how our relationship has been. I've been there to help her too!" Ron protested.
The dean stood up from his chair, turning to look out his window. "I never said you made her unhappy. And I don't think you're efforts are anything to mock. But I believe that exemplary students such as Miss Possible are few and in between. If it were any other student, I wouldn't bat an eye, but Miss Possible is not any mere student."
"You're right. KP is no ordinary girl," Ron said quietly. He could agree with the dean on that. He couldn't narc him for admiring Kim.
"At least we agree on one thing. Mr. Stoppable, I don't have anything against you in particular. I only wish to see Miss Possible hit her stride and excel. I just don't see that happening with you in the picture."
Ron looked down at his sneakers. This is really happening right now, isn't it? Ron mused. He felt so many emotions he almost didn't know what to do. All back to the stupid food chain again. It may look different but it walks the same way. "So if you don't want anything from me, are we done here?"
The dean turned around, "As I said before, I can't have you do anything. You're not a student here. I only wanted to discuss the matter with you professionally and if I may offer a suggestion," the dean made his way around his desk. "Think about Miss Possible's future. Think about what is best for her, do me that favor."
Ron stood up walking to the door. He twisted the handle opening it. He looked back at the dean, "I'll think about it," Ron replied reluctantly. He turned back and stepped outside into the larger room where the dean's secretary sat at a desk outside.
When the door clicked shut behind him, Ron let out a breath of air. That was rough. Never expected to hear that from the dean of Kim's school. Ron was used to small criticism for his relationship with Kim. To many, the pair just didn't make sense. They didn't understand their dynamic.
The dean's words rained down on Ron's mind as he slowly walked through the halls of Cambridge. He made sure to walk the opposite way of Kim's classes, she didn't know he was here early. He didn't tell her about the invitation and he definitely wouldn't tell her about the discussion. Over the last year, he became more adept at his poker face, keeping Kim at bay when trying to pry into his mind. It still seldom worked.
"Hey!" Ron said as someone passing by shoulder-checked him while walking outside into a courtyard. Ron turned to see a young man with slick combed hair, lean against the wall of the building. Great, just what I need, to run into some pretty boy. His looks were vexing as he looked similar to Synthodrone-901. He looked like a student of the university.
"Break-up with Kim," the young man said candidly.
Fury raged in Ron's eyes as he balled his hands into fists. "What did you say?" Ron pointed at the young man angrily, "Are you looking to start a fight?" It wasn't like Ron to act this way but he had his limit of nonsense and he was well past it.
The undergraduate smirked gesturing with his hands for Ron to calm down. "I'm not here to fight you for her. Not in the slightest. I have no interest in Kim in any way. I already have a healthy relationship," the young man smirked snidely to rub Ron the wrong way. It worked. "I wouldn't dream of fighting the man who single-handily took down superhuman aliens."
"How do you know about that?" Ron asked lowering his fists.
"Come on. I'm also a member of the student council. Do you really think Kim speaks humbly of you? Most of the world might not know, but Kim made sure to direct much of our gratitude to you when speaking with us. Like I said though, I'm not here to fight you. I'm merely here on behalf of Kim."
"Kim?" Ron questioned. What does he mean by that? "Kim sent you here?"
The young man shook his head. "No. Kim doesn't know about any of this. I'm sure she would highly disapprove at the very least."
You're right about that. "Then why are you talking to me?"
"Because I heard about your little meeting with the Dean. And I support his suggestion. Break things off with Kim. You're only holding her back."
"How so!?" Ron almost shouted.
The young man shook his head. "Kim is a member of the student council and president of the student union here. She has many responsibilities that she shrugs off for a basic person like you. You might be strong, but you're not the brightest tool in the shed. You're trouble for someone like Kim."
Blood rushed to Ron's ears. He couldn't believe the nerve of this kid. Ron didn't often want to use his kung-fu skills on anyone that was innocent but this guy was testing his limits. "Excuse me?"
"Hear me out. I'm not saying you're a bad person. I'm saying you're not compatible with where you're going. A chef? A brute chef at that. Kim's striving for goals you couldn't even begin to dream about. Unlike people who speak out of their rear, I truly believe Kim could bring those goals to reality. Has she ever talked to you about them?" the young man asked.
"I know her goals. You must be stupid to think she hasn't told me about them. She wants the world to come together. World peace. I think it's badical!" Ron replied. He never had any doubts that Kim could achieve that.
"She won't achieve it if you're around. Especially with the way you talk and your style. You don't compliment her in the slightest. You're not even yin to her yang chap."
Ron's eyes grew in anger as he reached out to grab the man, losing himself, "You little punk, I ought to—"
"You know it's true. You know it yourself don't you." Ron stopped just short of grabbing him by the scruff of his collar. Ron almost lost it. He had never acted this way before. What's wrong with me? He continued, "You know deep down you hold her back. You're dragging her down to your level and drowning her potential."
Ron's eyes softened. It came back to him, that nagging feeling of doubt and anxiety that he felt before high school came to an end. Where would he and Kim end up? Could their relationship survive the waters ahead? Calm or troubled? The feelings surfaced to the forefront of Ron's mind and it didn't go unnoticed.
"How do you think it would be like on the world stage if you were there when she set out to accomplish her goal? Unsightly at best in my opinion. You're only going to impede her efforts, therefore, hurting her. Do you care about Kim? Do you love her?" the student asked.
Ron looked up, determination etched on his face. "More than anything. More than you'll ever know." If only Ron knew where the young man was going with his thoughts.
"I can see it. Your eyes say it all. That's good. Then if you really care about her. If you truly love her. Set her free. Break it off and let her grow wings. Let her fly. If you stay with her, you'll only keep her wings clipped. You'll only hurt her."
The young man didn't even need to touch him to knock the determination right off Ron's face. His face was still flushed, his blood boiling but his eyes told a different story. Ron realized an immovable truth. That was, he might be dragging down the woman he loved.
"I know you see it too Stoppable. She's too madly in love with you to notice. But you, you're smart enough to notice it, right? You love her so much that you know compared to her, you're dead weight. You have to get her to forget about you. Imagine her telling a world leader about your power?" the young man went with another train of thought. "The world would start fighting over your abilities. The world would focus on conflict instead of peace. You're incompatible in more ways than one."
"Stop it!" Ron gritted his teeth. He didn't want to hear any more of it.
"I could say more but I believe I've driven the point home. So I'll be going now. I have a meeting to attend and classes after that," the young man said walking back past Ron. Ron stood there unsure of what to say taking in shallow breaths. "By the way. Thank you. I'm grateful for you saving the world from being enslaved. Now save it from itself and let Possible unite it," the young man said without looking back.
He stood there out of breath. Anxiety drowning out any positive or reinforcing thoughts that would affirm his belief that he was good for Kim. It was almost a one-sided exchange. Exchange of words. That was a fight and I lost. It was an ultimatum. Ron felt that deeply. He had lost a verbal exchange with one of Kim's peers and began to lose himself in the process.
It wasn't the last time they would meet. Before that evening, before Kim would come rushing out to meet him, the young man got the jump on Ron and drilled it into him one more time. Ron wasn't an intellectual. With Ron's power, he was now the equivalent of a brute. He needed a career change. He needed to change his view and look in from the outside. Ron saw what Kim's peer saw. The truth was undeniable. If she failed, it was all his fault.
Ron remembered that day vividly in his mind. The day was almost a month ago yet it still rang clearly. Fresh as if it took place yesterday. Is that how the world sees us. A mismatched couple that should never have existed. I'm a speed-bump in danger of becoming a fatal obstacle for someone like Kim driving in the fast lane? That's what a speed-bump would do if someone hit it at a hundred miles per hour, right?
Ron looked up startled as a strong yet delicate hand waved in front of his field of vision. He forgot that this entire time he was sitting next to Kim. They came back to Middleton to help Mrs. Dr. P and the Scare-For-Care Haunted House at the hospital. Her mom and dad insisted they stay in England but Kim insisted she go there and help so they left a week early.
"Earth to Ron? Your hot chocolate is dripping on your leg," Kim chuckled pulling out a handkerchief to dry the now cold coco from his pants.
"Oops, sorry KP. I was busy thinking about the future and all. I kinda spaced out, ya know," Ron let out a half-hearted laugh. She must have been talking the whole time and I didn't hear one word.
Kim quirked her brow as she continued to pat down his leg. "Okay Ron, spill. What's bothering you?"
Ron looked at Kim. He could tell she was determined to find out the truth. He let out an exasperated sigh, slumping his shoulders. Is this really the right choice? Is she a blossom in the spring while I'm a leaf in the fall? "I don't…" Ron didn't want to say it. The words were lumping up in the back of his throat.
Kim stopped patting him down. "You don't, what?" Kim asked hesitantly.
Ron relaxed his shoulders. It's now or never. "Kim, I think we should break things off." Ron thought it'd be best to keep it short and simple.
He gazed back up at Kim, the tangerine sky behind her as the sun set. A lamppost turned on, poetically shining its light on the drama unfolding.
She looked confused, unsure of what to say. "Don't joke like that Ron. It's not funny," Kim gave him her own nervous smile.
"It's true Kim. I'm only holding you back," Ron said calmly. He had practiced this spiel against better advice for the past two weeks. "If you stay with a guy like me, you're only going to chain yourself to the floor."
Kim stared at Ron dumbfounded, aghast. Where was this coming from? She didn't understand. "Earth to Ron? I love you. More than anything. Where did you get this idea that you're holding me back? Who put these thoughts into your head?"
"No one," Ron lied. He wasn't going to set Kim on the warpath, it would only complicate and ruin her dreams. "Listen, I just came to the realization you're badical KP. You're smart, talented, beautiful… I could go on and on. The point is you have dreams that I'll only hinder."
Kim stood up. She had had enough of whatever was going through Ron's mind. "No! Ron, don't talk like that. This isn't some high school food-chain sitch is it?"
Maybe Kim wasn't so far off yet the truth was undeniable to Ron. "No, Kim, think about it. I already know where I'm going in life. I'm going to be a chef somewhere in the world. One day I'll have to fulfill whatever destiny I have with this stupid monkey power I've been endowed with. And during that entire time, you're going to have to help me get through school that I always struggle with? You're always gonna be tied down helping me. It doesn't make sense Kim."
"No. Ron stop!" Kim protested. "I can help you with your studies and whatever else comes our way. It doesn't tie me down. That's what love is all about."
Ron knew it wasn't going to be easy. He knew it would hurt both of them but he practiced for days now to be strong. If he stayed, the hurt for Kim not being able to achieve her dreams would eat away at her like cancer. "Kim, it's okay. I can manage my life, I've grown up a lot. And I'm also able to tell when I'm not good at somethin', like school."
"Ron. If you're saying this, then you have doubts about what I can do," Kim frowned, her eyes watering.
"No, Kim. It's because I know who you are that I know you're destined for great things. My life is almost predetermined. I'm cursed by this stupid monkey destiny. You, you're a Possible. You can do anything and because of that, there's an infinite amount of paths you can take. You're shooting for the stars and beyond while I'm on a predestined flight to be some weird chef-samurai-ninja with monkey powers to boot," Ron kept up his expressionless face.
"Don't talk like this Ron. Please, I never knew it would hurt this much for you to talk down about yourself. We can work through this," Kim pleaded.
"No," Ron said simply taking his eyes away from hers. He couldn't stand seeing her hurt like this. An uneasy silence descended upon them as evening light slowly faded into the darkness. The lamppost shone brightly casting the spotlight on the two.
Finally, Kim broke the silence. "Ron. I love you. I'm in love with you. I can't lose you," Kim pled almost desperately, tears beginning to form at the corner of her eyes.
Ron didn't want to do this. "Kim, what I felt for you wasn't love. At least not the way you describe it. It was high school love. Like, first love kinda-stuff. I don't think it ever was the real love you're talking about," another lie. He could feel the heat of Kim's gaze. He knew he had torn her heart out.
Kim let out a soft gasp. Ron could tell she was fighting back tears. Ron stood up, if he kept this up any longer than he had to, he would go back on the actions he had already committed. "Kim, I'm grateful that I ever got the chance to know you, let alone be your best friend and first love. It's something that I'll always cherish. But now I'm at my exit and you still have the open road ahead of you. It's best to leave it on a high note."
Ron faced Kim but they both avoided eye contact. "Just try to forget about me. About us and live your life to the fullest. Go accomplish your dreams and reach new heights. Don't let me keep you from that." Ron put one of his hands into his pockets, holding the cup of coco in the other as he set his gaze away from her. Kim held her arm, tears finally escaping their prison. It remained that way for a long minute.
Kim's whisper broke the quiet, "I understand." Ron looked up but she turned away from him, her coat falling away leaving one of her shoulders bare and cold. "I'll do my best Ron. I was so happy. Thank you for making these last few years so memorable," Kim whispered with dispirited eyes as she started a slow walk out of the park and to her car.
Ron watched her until she climbed in, making sure she was safe. When the sloth disappeared around the corner, only then did Ron turn his gaze away. He slumped back onto the park bench, taking a slow sip of the now cold coco. He slowly lowered the cup from his lips, the taste of the chocolate bitter as his heart sank. Finally, he cringed at what he said, dropping the cup onto the ground. Tears welling up in his pained eyes while his face contorted. His facade finally broke as he doubled over sobbing into his hands.