Kim and Ron have been whispering in my ear again. This morning they wouldn't let me go back to sleep, so I came out and wrote this little piece. May is satisfy them for a little while.

I'm Sorry (Wasted Time)

"I'm sorry, Ron."

The words fell softly in the dimly lit room. Kim leaned over to look into the face of the man she loved. For the first time in months, there was no strain of deadlines, decisions or compromises. There was a slight smile, almost his usual goofy grin. Blond hair lay on the white satin pillow. His hands lay on his chest, almost as if in prayer.

Those hands.

Those big hands had hefted her up cliff faces. Strong enough to get hard jobs done. They had been gentle, just seconds later, giving her the emotional support that she needed in a tight spot. Those hands knew how to massage even the worst aching muscles, how to relieve all of her pent up worries and fears. With just one finger on her chin, Ron had been able to bring her out of even the worst funk. From the time that she first got her braces, to the abduction by the Lowardians, those hands had been ready to catch her if ever she fell.

She had fallen the night of the little Diablos. Drakken had finally found the way to beat her, with that abomination he had created as a distraction.

Eric. How could she have fallen for that? Sure, he had seemed perfect at the time, but only because her arch nemesis had played to her weaknesses, what she had believed were strengths. All the time, Ron was there, watching her back. Even as he was in pain over the thought of losing Kim, he had wanted only what would make her happy. He had stepped aside for what he thought was the guy that Kim wanted, not even going to the junior prom.

Then she was duped by the synthodrone, and shocked unconscious. When she woke up, there was Ron, tied up tight next to her. "I've got nothing.", she had said in a world of self pity. He had woken her up. "Out there, in here." Could four words ever have meant more?

It was then that she realized that what she had been craving for so long had been right under her nose. Somehow, she had been blinded, and his admission had pulled the blindfold from her eyes. All of the little things that he had done since they were four finally came into perspective.

He had been at her side when the tweebs were born, shattering the family life that she knew. Ron had reminded her that he was always going to be her parents' little girl, no matter how big the family got. She was important. Now she understood that he had meant that she was important to him. Being a card carrying member of the cootie patrol, he just couldn't say it.

There were all of the camping trips and sleep overs. Kim had never really thought about them until that moment, and now she saw them all again. Ron just wanted to be near her more than anything else in the world. Even though they were so different, they still managed to always have a good time together. She had many friends as a little girl, but none of them as close as the weird boy she had met in pre-k. When other girls were gossiping with each other about nonsense, she was telling Ron her deepest hopes and secrets. They had stayed up late watching movies on her living room floor, and she had told him that she wanted to change the world. He had just looked at her with those puppy dog brown eyes of his and told her that she would, that she could, as her father insisted, do anything.

Those eyes. Looking at his face now, the eyes were closed. How Kim wished that he would wake up and look at her again.

They had been out on yet another mission, and this time Kim hadn't been quick enough to duck as the debris of still another of Drakken's lairs rained down on them. (How did he ever manage to pay for all of these places?) A shard of glass had caught her in the back, just enough to tear her shirt and cause a good deal of bleeding. Ron's eyes had looked at the wound and all of the light just went out of them. He had stared at her the whole time she was being cared for by the doctor, his brown eyes wet at the thought of how close he had come to losing her as his best friend.

The night of junior prom, his eyes had danced and sparkled in the dim lights of the school gym. She had fallen into the depth of those orbs, surrounded by the feeling of love that came from him. At that moment, she realized that it had been in those eyes all along, and that she had wasted years looking for it in other places.

Ron would cast his eyes down to his shoes whenever she yelled at him. Then he would raise them again, looking for all the world as if a small part of him had died. She had never apologized to him for all of the times she had belittled him for the smallest of errors. Kim couldn't begin to count the number of times she had growled his name as if it were a curse, instead of the blessing that it really was. How often had she rolled her eyes at his attempts to raise her spirits with a lame joke? He simply looked away for a moment, and then came back at her with that mournful look in his deep brown eyes.

Why had she wasted all of that time complaining about his minor faults? It wasn't like she was perfect either. He had always done his very best, just so that she could do what she wanted. He pushed himself beyond his limits, to be there when she needed a helping hand or a distraction. Why had she ever thought that he was slowing her down? If anything, Ron had always pushed her on, giving her words of encouragement, words that she had taken for granted. Many times she had put extra flair into her movements, just to hear him tell her how wonderful she was. How self-centered she was! Now she realized that she had needed him if she was to do anything.

Lazy. Kim had actually called him lazy. The man who climbed mountains and towers to help her save the world. Lazy? A guy who took the same advanced level classes as she did, just to be with her, even though he had to struggle just to pull in a C. Lazy?

Ron was the mosted committed man she knew. He had promised to always have her back. When she had first started the website, he had just automatically gone with her to every assignment that she took on. From the deactivation of Mr. Paisley's securty system to the defeat of Warmonga and Warhok, he had been at her side. Even when facing his greatest fear, monkeys, he had always come through. She had just assumed that he would always be there. Could she say the same?

He was commited to more than just the missions. When she thought about it, Ron had always been about family.

When Hana had come along, he had rejected her at first. Then, he suddenly became everything a girl could want in a big brother. He had played with her, held her when she fell and hurt herself, even put himself between "the intruder" and Monkey Fist.

The twins had been more than just her little brothers. They were his as well. He played video games with them, watched wrestling with them. When she was yelling at them about their little inventions, he was pointing out how well they had designed this part or that one. It was like they had two older siblings.

He had even put himself in danger, posing as her father to foil Drakken's plans to get even with his former college classmates.

He even committed himself to things that he didn't really want to do. His work at school was a big priority, not that you could tell by the way he acted in class. The books were always with him when they were travelling for missions. It might take him time to get started, but assignments always got done. When Kim just had to have that green jacket from Club Banana, he had gone to work with her at Bueno Nacho. Why hadn't she seen the devotion back then? He'd even used his bonus to buy her the jacket. Had she ever really thanked him?

All those years, he had dedicated himself to helping her, and making himself a better person. She had let it all slip by, unnoticed, unacknowledged. Now, as he lay before her, all of these things became so clear to her. "Why did I waste so much time, Ron? Why couldn't I see what I had all the time?"

She laid her head down on his shoulder, looking at his hands. A small tear ran down the side of her nose, and she sniffled.

Ron reached up with one of his large, gentle hands, and brushed the tear away. He turned his head to look at her, and she fell once more into those deep brown wells that were the entrance to her own personal heaven. The ring that symbolized his commitment to her shone on his left hand.

"Don't cry, KP. We have a whole lifetime to make up for lost time."