A/N: So this wraps up Sign Up. I'd like to extend a thanks to those who followed and favorited this story: 97Beet, CU1, HokageOrochimaru23, Nysk, bearinggreg, kealan7, omarhosein321, and STL28. Thanks again for the support! Don't be shy and let me know what you think! Enjoy!
Chapter 2 Sign Up Part II
She advanced toward him, her confident eyes and grin still radiant. "I saw it coming a mile away."
Ron backpedaled as she came closer before he turned to the door, Rufus barely hanging on, and stumbled out of the classroom, screaming.
He ran out of the school and took to the streets. His phone made the same disturbing sound it had right before Kim entered the classroom. Ron flipped the phone open.
"It changed again? Aw man. What the hell? This is so not cool!"
4/28 18:00 [School lockers] Kim Possible is following me.
4/28 18:02 [Going home] I run away, but Kim Possible keeps following me.
4/28 18:09 [In town] I escape into a side alley. I think I lost her.
4/28 18:15 [In town] I have a feeling that I'm being followed again. Is it Kim Possible?
4/28 18:20 [Building] I guess I'll hide inside this building.
4/28 18:25 [In the building] I am cornered by the serial killer and murdered. DEAD END.
Ron read all the journal entries. Knowledge of the future churned his stomach at the sight of the last journal entry. It was one thing knowing the answers to your test, but to see your demise before it even happened. That was an event Ron could live without knowing.
But who was the serial killer? Kim? Maybe his future diary held clues to what he needed to do. In particular, Ron honed in on one entry that described his escape into an alley. If he could lose Kim, then he could deal with the rest of the prediction after.
"Will you just hear me out?"
Ron looked up to find Kim standing at the entrance of the alley.
"Ah! However you're doing that, stop! Go bother someone else!" Ron yelled back, turning on his heel and running in the opposite direction, leaving a disappointed, flustered Kim behind.
He ran through Middleton, his mind raced to find a probable reason for what was happening.
"Get your head in the game Stoppable. There's gotta be an explanation. There's gotta be! As far as I know, I'm the only one who has dibs on the future. Right? So you should be able to get outta this bind!"
Ron ran to a building that was still under construction and straight for the central elevator. His frantic button pushing summoned the lift as if he knew he wanted to escape. He stumbled in, sweat drenched the collar of his shirt. His bag weighed him down so he tossed it to the side and found the control panel, pressed the button for the fourteenth floor, and breathed out.
"Alright Ron. Calm down." His eyes wide, lost in a sea of thoughts, his breathing ragged as the elevator doors closed shut.
The doors stopped.
His heart stopped.
A pair of soft, agile, yet strong hands squeezed in between and forced the doors to open.
Light flooded in and Kim calmly stepped through the parted doors with determined eyes.
Ron backed up into the opposite wall. "This isn't real."
"I'm afraid it is, Ron." Her tone serious and paired with a slight frown.
Kim advanced on Ron and held up her phone, her eyes laser focused on Ron.
Ron's eyes ballooned. "You're kidding me. You've got one too?"
She smirked. Ron pressed himself against the wall and hoped it would let him escape. There was nowhere to go.
Is she gonna kill me?
She stared into his eyes as the elevator doors clamped shut behind her.
She pocketed her phone.
Wait, my darts! Ron kept darts on the side of his pants as a matter of habit, since he'd developed a knack for playing. Maybe he could use the darts to deter Kim.
"Don't," Kim said, her voice firm and confident as Ron fumbled with his dart pouch.
She lunged softly at him, her hands raised up, gently grasping his shoulders, closed her eyes, and planted her lips against his. Ron froze, eyes still open, his lips locked with hers, unable to resist or protest the softness and angel like touch of her own.
She lifted her lips off his. "We both know you're not going to hurt me." Her lips hovered over his alluringly. "My diary says so. Tends not to be wrong."
Kim blushed and took a step back, a cheery smile played on her lips. "Besides, it's not the sitch you're thinking. You don't have any reason to hurt me."
"Huh?" Ron didn't understand.
Kim turned her head to the side of the elevator where the wall was a window to the outside. Her eyes narrowed and took on a dangerous visage. "He's here."
Ron peered over Kim's shoulder. Down below in the construction yard amidst the lumber and equipment stood a man dressed in a heavy raincoat and masked with a strange respirator, ski goggles, and machete gripped in gloved hands. His shoulders squared as the building itself.
Ron had no idea who he was.
Kim's glare iced over, leveling that the man below was a threat.
"The local serial killer. Known to the other diary users as Third. He's more than your typical villain. He's bloodthirsty."
"Third?" Ron asked.
Kim "He was slated to take you out of the running today with a machete. Good thing I got the inside sitch." Kim took out her phone again and flipped it open for Ron to view. "This gadget's specialty is keeping tabs on you. At 6:20 p.m, you're scheduled to die on the fourteenth floor."
4/28 17:50 Ron went back for his recorder. Ah…
4/28 18:00 Ron discovers Kim's clay sculpture. He's realized the truth.
4/28 18:10 Ron takes a back alley. Third must be targeting him. I've gotta save him!
4/28 18:20 Ron dies on the 14th floor.
Ron didn't know what to say. "But… what? All that is about stuff I do." Ron gulped.
"Well, it wouldn't be much use to me if I couldn't keep up. I get the sitch on your future in ten-minute intervals." Her eyes glued to his, almost glazed over with a certain craze at her next words. "The diary of future love."
Ron's eyes trembled. Ten minutes intervals? The school idol writes about me in her diary every ten minutes on the frigging dot? This is sick and wrong!
Kim held her phone to her lips as the elevator doors opened to the fourteenth floor behind her. Keeping her eyes on him, she reached for the control panel and pressed a higher floor button.
"In a way, your future kind of belongs to both of us."
"That's it!" Ron stepped forward as the doors closed again. "I want off!"
"Goof. Don't start getting paranoid. I'm trying to help." Kim stepped forward and shoved her phone in Ron's face. Hey eyes wide and serious with an hopeful ominous undertone. "You'll be the first person eliminated from the survival game if you get off on fourteen."
"What does that mean? I…"
"All future diary users are in a last man standing type of sitch. He's coming for you."
Mmmkay. Any second now she'll start making sense and Rufus will fly.
"If you want my advice, try not to let your entries be so topical. Makes it too easy to track you."
The doors opened, and Ron pushed his way past Kim to the outside. She led me to the roof! "Oh, great idea. Being on the roof makes getting away a total cinch."
Kim stretched her arms. "You know the whole 'you can run, but you can't hide,' bit? That kinda fits this sitch to a tee. So at least up here we can take in the sunset." Kim remarked with a calm smile.
Ron stared at her, fear set in his eyes. "Possible is certifiable. If I let her call the shots, I'm so dead."
"This is an ideal place to confront him," Kim said.
"Are you pulling my leg?" Ron asked.
"Yea!" Rufus poked his head out of Ron's cargo pocket.
Kim pointed at Ron's belt. "I do have a plan, you know."
Ron reached down and grabbed a dart from Rufus. "My darts?"
The elevator dinged.
"That darts gonna make or break your future. Hope you're feeling lucky today," Kim warned.
The elevator whirred as the cranks and levies heralded Third's coming. Kim glanced at Ron and pointed in the direction where she wanted Ron to set up and then hid to the left side from where Third would come out.
The door creaked open, almost as if the metal feared Third itself as he stepped out onto the roof. Ron watched on his phone from his hiding spot as Third stepped into the center, his eyes darted around. Kim had set up her phone under an AC unit where Third couldn't suspect a thing.
"Where are they?" Third said. "Hide and seek, is it?"
I've only got one shot at this. C'mon, take out your diary.
"Remember, a Future Diary is equal parts weapon and Achilles heel. The fate of diary and its user are intertwined." Ron remembered Kim's explanation to him. How does she know this all so well?
He heard Third stop and grumble. "Damn it. Where the hell are they?"
Ron watched as Third reached into his raincoat and pull out his phone. His own future diary. He rolled his dart in between his fingers. Destroy his phone. Destroy him.
He peeked over the ventilation conduit and Kim ran out from her hiding position, surprising Third. Ron leaped up, but his dart slipped from his fingers. No! But it didn't take long for his faithful companion to shoot up his arm and into his hand.
Rufus nodded at him and winked. "Oh yeah. Do it"
Ron nodded back and without hesitation threw Rufus like a heat-seeking missile directly at Third's phone, who was unaware, preoccupied with Kim. Rufus used his buck-teeth and crunched the phone's screen, pierced through the casing entirely, before he fell to the ground and scampered away, leaving a shocked Third.
"Whoa. Boo-yah Rufus." Ron pumped his fist.
Third stumbled back, sounds of guttural pain escaped his mouth, as a gaping hole twisted open in his chest. He dropped the machete and fell back. His arm twisted in a way that Ron knew his bones shattered, like when one twists a wet towel to snap like a whip. His other limbs contorted as Third gasped and twisted into oblivion, like an invisible drain sucked him in and left nothing behind.
Right before Third disappeared forever, his eyes connected with Ron's as if to warn him, his last dying scream disappeared with him as his phone clanged to the floor.
"Is that all we get?" Ron turned to Kim, still in shock and even more disturbed by her reaction. "You'd think there'd be a little bit of blood." She stretched her arms before a smile reappeared on her face and her green eyes set on Ron's. "So, what do you say we grab a bite to eat? Your mom is out tonight, right? And you got to eat something."
Ron stared at her, terrified, uncertain who Kim was anymore. This wasn't Possible. Kim Possible almost never interacted with him, nonetheless talked to him. When did this obsession with him start?
Sweat dripped down his cheek as he stared at her smiling, unphased face.
"I demand to know what's going on! You never said there were other people running around with future diaries!" Ron stood at the foot of Deus's unusual rocky throne back in his chambers with the unusual sickly purple light irradiating the room.
"Neither do I recollect saying the gift of future sight was unique to you."
Ron narrowed his eyes. "Cheap shot."
"Calm yourself. I've not been duplicitous. I told you this was a diversion. What's more, boy, you stand as its first victor."
Mur Mur, atop her floating exotic stone ball, floated behind Ron.
The room faded to black before Ron transported to his own podium that connected to a futuristic, circular metal bridge that had eleven more podiums connected to it, each with a shadowy figure. Deus's throne and Mur Mur watched over the contraption from outside, his throne afloat in some unknown blue sky.
A tall shadowy figure two podiums to his right spoke first. "Congratulations, First."
"Yeah. Nice work, dude. Takes some real balls to take out a practiced man-hunter," another said.
I'm looking at the other diary users, aren't I? Ron thought to himself as he looked around. To his left, right next to him, he spotted another shadowy figure, one all too familiar, who wore a thin veil over her face to further enhance the protection over her. She wore her familiar green crop top with blue jeans, and she glanced at him and gave him a warming smile.
"Now that you've all congregated under the auspices of my survival game, permit me to extrapolate on its rules and purpose." Ron watched Deus stand and speak to all of them. Deus extended his hand. "Let us first consider the diaries in your possession. Known, rather quaintly, as future diaries." All the diary users took out their phones. "Having begun as ordinary, linear journals, their relationship to time has been distorted to afford you a window into the future, up to ninety days."
"If I may interject."
"Speak your mind, Tenth," Deus answered.
"Given your explanation, I'm curious as to how it is I've witnessed my own diary rewrite itself multiple times."
Deus answered. "The future is subject to change in response to a user's actions. Consider, for example, gleaning foreknowledge of some imminent personal catastrophe that is to befall you down the road. When the appointed hour of said catastrophe arrives, the foreknowledge allows you to take steps to avoid it, thus curtailing one future and inaugurating another. In other words, the timeline of which the catastrophe is part has been left. A new future begins; your diary alters to reflect the change."
This answer left Ron with a question of his own. "Then I have a question. My diary has changed without me doing anything. I mean, I didn't even know this third creep was after me to begin with."
"None of you is the sole determinant of your own future, hence the stakes that render these proceedings a test of survival. Once there is confirmation that one user is poised to kill another, a death sentence will be entered and the words dead end sent to your diary as a warning."
"How are we supposed to know who to kill when we don't know who they are?" asked Sixth.
"The identity of your fellow competitors can be deduced from your diaries."
Another, Fifth, who looked like a small child, spoke next. "So the first thing we do is figure out who everyone is and take it from there?"
"Precisely," Deus replied. "Unveiling your opponents will severely compromise their position. Whosoever receives a dead end warning must marshall all their resources to undo it. Thus discretion is invaluable."
Deus leaned down from his throne, his head thrice the size of Ron, eye level with Ron. Ron took a startled step back. "You, First. Your death at the hands of Third was written in stone." Deus transported back to his throne. "But miracle of miracles, you reduced the verdict to mere scribbles in the sand! Should we owe this to more cunning than luck? You may well be my champion. In any event, without question, your beginnings bode propitiously."
The other diary users all snickered as Ron grit his teeth like the kid who received a compliment when they were completely undeserving. But, what if the cunning didn't exactly come from me? Ron sweated profusely, the game's burden weighing down his distraught eyes.
He snapped toward Kim, who looked in his direction and gave him an adoring smile.
"Lo!" Deus stood. "He who weathers the vicious onslaught shall win a throne incomparable. Indeed, he will succeed me. Bearing the mantle of space-time as its reborn god! Look around you, eleven only remain. Henceforth, consign mercy to the outlands of your warrior's heart and vie for control of the universe!"
Twelfth, who seemed dressed in a ridiculous costume, turned to Ron. "First things first, you might say." He disappeared.
"Well put," Eleventh added and vanished.
Tenth bowed. "A pleasant day to you, o' favored one."
Ninth, a woman with long hair spoke. "You better stay alive long enough for me to kill you."
"Bye-bye, First. Best of luck to you," Eighth was a stalky fellow.
"Wait, I, uh…" Ron didn't want this.
"Fear leaves an aura about you," Sixth said in a gentle, ominous voice.
"Sounds like this game should be interesting, hunting down a kid with your skills," Seventh said, combing his greased hair.
"It… it wasn't skill." Ron desperately wanted to plead his case. This game was insanity.
"Easy, kid." Ron turned to Fourth's position next to Third's empty platform that held the ominous words 'Dead End'. "I'm going to be watching over you."
The child-like figure, Fifth, creeped Ron out. "You poor little monkey."
Why'd he have to say monkey? "Please, I…"
"I declare this meeting adjourned!" Deus faded away and left Ron all alone.
Ron fell to his knees, back to what he used to describe as his imagination. The purple light filled the domed, vaulted room. How was he supposed to survive this game? He wasn't skilled at anything but the journal he kept, darts, his pet Rufus. What was he to do?
"This is insanity," Ron said to no one but himself. "There's just no other word for it."
"Don't worry, Ronny."
Ron's eyes widened in fear, his hands trembled at the voice behind him.
He slowly turned his head, and what he saw brought tears of fear to his eyes.
"It'll be okay." Kim stood behind him, her face cupped in her hands, a passion crazed look in her emerald eyes as she fawned over him. Her voice grew more passionate. "Kim's here to protect you. I'll do whatever it takes to keep you safe. Cause that's how much I love you."