Yet another chapter, drawn from another story.

The usual disclaimers regarding ownership apply. Disney blah blah blah.


Soup for Sarah

Ron Stoppable knocked on the door of his girlfriend's apartment. He was soaked to the skin from the sudden downpour he had endured on the way to do a little grocery shopping. Knowing what this weather would do to the average person, he had made some additions to the usual list. It was time to show Kim just how he had developed the "impenetrable fortress of the Stoppable immune system." Only once had it failed him. With rather ironic results.

Kim opened the door.

"What do you think you are doing, going out in the rain dressed like that?" She grabbed her boyfriend and dragged him into the foyer of her apartment. Taking the reusable bags from him, she deposited them on the kitchen table and ran into the bathroom. She returned with a large, fluffy bath towel. She watched as Ron stripped off his soaking shirt, revealing the muscle that he had developed over the last year, working out to improve his martial arts skills.

He had just finished with his hair when he reached into his cargo pants pocket and pulled out a small shivering pink body. "Don't think I forgot about you, Rufus! One of these days we are going to have to get you a little raincoat." Taking a dry corner of the towel, he rubbed his little friend all over, then took him over to a warm dry corner of the couch in the living room. "You rest there until you warm up, buddy."

"I'll put on a pot of tea for the two of you. I already have the coffee going." Naturally. Kim practically lived with a mug of coffee in her hand, with finals only a few weeks off, she was cramming every other night. When missions didn't get in the way. "I know you said you were going to pick up a few things to make up for while we are studying, but isn't that a little much?" She pointed to the four bags on the table. She was so grateful that her boyfriend was such a spankin' good cook, she didn't have to grab the stuff that the dining hall at Upperton University called food.

"When the temperature dropped and the rain started falling, I figured I'd better get some stuff together. The last thing you need is a cold, right before the big sociology final. Remember how tired you were when we got back from Rodigon?" She had been burning the midnight oil after that last mission, trying to put together a paper about governmental change. She had paid for the next two days, sleeping until the last second, and getting by on caffeine and a sense of responsibility.

Ron grabbed the handles of two of the bags and took them over to the pantry in the corner, casually reaching in and grabbing the canister that held the tea bags. Handing it to Kim, he started putting away the dry goods that had been on Kim's list. Pasta, rice, cereal and cans of ravioli went onto the shelves. With his help, Kim had gotten to a stage in the kitchen where she could produce healthy meals without risk of burning down the building. She had even gotten to the point of enjoying what used to be her least favorite room of the home. Especially if he was sharing the space

"I bought some fresh chicken in the meat department. I'm going to make up a pot of my grandmother's chicken soup. A bowl of that, and neither of us will have to worry about another cold getting in the way of a mission, or classes." Reaching into a third bag, he pulled out a package of chicken thighs. He put them on the counter, and proceeded to pull out vegetables, which he put in the crisper in the bottom of the fridge.

"Well, you aren't doing anything until you change out of those clothes. You're getting the floors wet, and I won't have you getting sick on me before you can even start on your defense." Kim gave him a rough shove toward the bedroom. A portion of her generously large closet was given over to his mission clothes and some of his usual outfits. They spent so much time together, it made sense to have a change handy. "Go on, your tea will be ready by the time you finish up."

A couple of minutes later, Ron was dressed in dry pair of blue jeans and a dark blue polo shirt. He sipped at the mug that Kim handed him, and gave her a quick kiss.

"How are you doing, Rufus, better?"

The naked mole rat looked up from his spot on the couch. Kim had poured a tiny cup of tea for him as well, which he sipped at as if he were attending a Victorian tea party. "Hnk, better!"

Ron strolled into the kitchen, just as he would at home, and started to work. He grabbed the largest pot in the cabinet and filled it with four quarts of water. This was put on the stove and set to boiling. Unwrapping the chicken, he separated the thighs carefully and rinsed them under cold water from the faucet. Six went into the pot.

Reaching into the fridge, he grabbed an onion and a bulb of garlic. The knife flashed over the cutting board, and with his usual flair, he had diced the onion and chopped the garlic, not even having time to let the onions start making him tear up. Using the wide knife blade, he put the resulting aromatics into the pot. Turning down the heat, he put a lid on the pot, and let it all simmer.

Kim, Ron and Rufus snuggled up on the sofa. Turning on the television and the DVD player, they watched the latest Fearless Ferret movie; The Origin. Every now and then, Kim would look up and snicker at Ron, remembering him dressed up as the Ferret 2.0. He simply looked down at her, and grinned that goofy grin. Sure, he'd been pretty gullible back then.

When the movie was over, Ron helped Kim clean the few dishes that were in the sink. The simmering pot was turned off, and space made for it in the fridge, once it was cool enough.

"Rufus and I will drop by in the morning and finish up with the soup."

Kim walked her boyfriend to the door, and they kissed goodnight. Rufus pretended to gag a little, but couldn't suppress the little naked mole rat grin. It had taken forever to get these two people together, but it was worth it. He snuggled into his pocket as Ron walked out to his car, for the ride back home to his parents' house in Middleton.

Kim was just turning off the television when there was a knock at the door. Thinking that Ron must have forgotten something, she went and pushed back the deadbolt lock.

On the doorstep, dripping all over the hall carpet, was not Ron, but Shego. Her hair was matted and dull. She was dangerously thin, not that she had ever been big to begin with. She just stood there for a moment, looking down at her feet. Finally, she raised her head.

"Please, help me."

Kim drew the woman into her apartment and pulled her into a hug. After they had stopped fighting, she'd tried to keep track of Shego, and for a while, things had looked promising. Then, a few months ago, she'd dropped off the radar. Even Wade hadn't been able to find her. Now, here she was, obviously in dire straits and needing help.

After getting the older woman into a warm bath and getting the filth out of her hair and off of her pale skin, Kim tucked her into her own bed. She practically ran to the phone. Hitting number two on the speed dial, she waited until a sleepy voice answered, "Hello?"

"Mom, it's Kimmie. I need a doctor over here, and I didn't know who else to call. Shego just showed up at my apartment, and she doesn't look good at all. Please, Mom, can you come over and take a look at her? I don't dare take her to the hospital, not until I know where she has been the last six months, and what she's been doing." Kim worried that perhaps Shego had gotten into trouble with the law again. She would have Wade contact Global Justice, quietly, and find out if there were any outstanding warrants.

"You don't need to pull out the puppy-dog-pout, Kimmie. I'll get dressed and be there in half an hour. Keep her warm, and watch for shivering or signs of fever." All traces of sleepiness were gone. Her carefully honed abilities to wake up when a patient needed her were in full gear. The phone went dead as Anne Possible cut off the call and slipped out from under her blankets. James mumbled in his sleep, but didn't wake up. When you are married to a brain surgeon, you never know if they are going to be in the bed when you get up.

Anne didn't even have time to knock on the door before it was thrown back. Her daughter practically yanked her arm off pulling her into the apartment. She dropped her bag on the foyer floor and took off her coat, putting it on the coat rack.

"Mom, thank God you got here so quickly! I just didn't know what to do. I just put her in a tub of hot water and got her clean and put her in my bed. She's sleeping, but I don't like the look of her. She's too pale and too thin, even for Shego. Please tell me you can do something!" Considering how long Kim had been fighting the woman, she was very worried about her now. Of course, that was Kim Possible's nature. Every life was important.

Anne looked at her patient and checked her over. Pulse was normal, temprature was normal (though she never really woke up when the thermometer was put under her tongue) and there weren't any obvious signs of trauma. To all appearances, Shego was merely exhausted and undernourished. Taking her daughter by the elbow, Anne left the bedroom, tucking the quilt up under the sleeping woman's chin.

"She'll be alright, Kimmie. From what I can see, she's just tired and hungry. A few more days like that, and she might have been in trouble." She looked at the closed door. "I want you to watch her, let her sleep, and when she wakes up, call me and give her fluids. I don't think she'd be able to hold too much down just yet." She reached up and brushed a tear from Kim's cheek. "Don't worry, between us, I'm sure we can get her back on her feet in no time."

Kim walked her mother to the door, thanking her again for coming over in the middle of the night. She then grabbed the Kimmunicator off of her desk and hit the button that would connect her to Wade, back at his house in Middleton. It was only a moment before the young man answered.

"What's up, Kim? I was just about to shut down the laptop for the night and go to bed. Just let me know what you need, and it's yours." Wade grinned at her. Like so many computer geniuses, he was up until the wee hours, even if he was teaching over at MIST part time.

"I need you to do some quiet searching on the Global Justice system, Wade. It's Shego. I need to know if she's been spotted, or if there are any outstanding warrants on her." She couldn't just up and tell him that she was just in the next room. "I'm still worried about her."

"I'll have it for you by late tomorrow. If you want it 'quiet', I'll have to get around the security codes. At least we know who put them in place." Wade grinned at her from the small screen. " I just have to make sure Dr. Director hasn't played with the programming herself. I'll call you when I have results." The device went blank. The information was as good as found.

Kim spent some long hours on the couch, listening for any sound from the bedroom. She would not let herself doze off. At three in the morning, there was a knock on the door. Before she could get up to answer it, there was the sound of a key in the lock. Only two people had duplicates, and one of them had only just left. Ron opened the door and quietly closed it behind him.

"What's the matter, Kim? I could feel it all the way across town." There had been a strong mental connection between them ever since his MMP had come to full strength in the battle with Warhok and Warmonga. It was as if they could sense what the other was feeling, almost each others thoughts. "When I went to sleep, I saw Shego, and I could feel you being worried."

All this time, he had kept his voice down, almost as if he knew that there was somebody else in the apartment.

Rufus poked a sleepy head out of a coat pocket. He looked around. "Kim okay?" he chirped.

"Shego showed up just after you left, Ron. She's in terrible shape, and I called Mom. She seems to think that Shego will be okay if we just let her rest and feed her." Opening the bedroom door a crack, the trio looked in at her. She was just as Anne and Kim had left her, with the quilt pulled tightly up to her chin. Ron closed the door.

"I guess Grandma Stoppable's soup is going to be needed sooner than I thought." Ron looked at his girlfriend. "Here's what we'll do, we'll take it in shifts. I've slept already, so now it's your turn." He had put on his "serious face" and his tone of voice implied that no argument would change the arrangement. For the first time in her life, Kim meekly allowed herself to be put to bed.

The morning light was what woke her up. Sometime in the night, a blanket had been put over her, and a pillow slipped under her head. The welcome aroma of coffee wafted its way from the kitchen. Rubbing her eyes, she walked in that direction, and heard the fridge door closing.

"And just who decided that I didn't need to stand watch last night?" Kim glared daggers at Ron as he was putting the pot of broth back on the burner. Removing the lid, he looked into the pot, rather than her eyes.

"Kim, you did the hard part, you took in a woman who used to be your enemy. If we are going to get her back to health, you can't afford to get run down yourself." Walking over, he took her in his arms, rubbing her back. "I promised your parents that I would look after you, KP. Let me keep that promise, please." There was almost a pleading tone to his voice. It was one of his most effective weapons against her when she was angry with something he had done "for her own good."

When her muscles finally relaxed and she put her arms around his neck, he knew he'd been forgiven. He kissed her lightly on the forehead and then released her. Without looking, he reached over and grabbed the steaming mug that he had poured for her. Ron went back to the pot and pulled the chicken pieces out. Shredding the meat from the bones, he discarded the skin and cut the dark meat still further, putting about half of it back into the pot. The rest went into a resealable container for later use.

Rufus, meanwhile, had been pulling the chef's knife from the block on the counter, and put it, handle end out, on the cutting board. He then used a large spoon to skim the fat that had solidified and floated to the surface in the fridge overnight. The mole rat knew this recipe as well as Ron did, and loved to help make up a batch. When you are small and hairless, you like things that warm you up.

As Kim sipped from her coffee, she watched her boyfriend set the broth to boiling again. He reached into the crisper at the bottom of the refrigerator and pulled out two carrots and three stalks of celery. These were quickly diced and put into the pot. By now the pot was steaming again, and the aroma was starting to fill the apartment. A cup of rice followed the veggies into the soup, and it was all turned down to a simmer.

"I figured that rice would be easier on Shego's stomach than noodles."

They sat all morning, drinking coffee and worrying about the woman in Kim's bed. For all that she had tossed them around and fired her plasma bolts at them, they had a certain amount of respect for Shego. She was loyal to her employer, and always lived up to a code, albeit one that she created for herself. They traded stories of how she had done something really amazing in this fight or that. Ron confessed to calling her cute once, when fighting in Drakken's muffin bakery.

Just as the soup was finishing, there was a slight noise from the bedroom. Kim went to the door and went in. Ron headed the other direction, and prepared a bowl of soup, a hot cup of tea, and a single rose in a vase. He handed the flower to Rufus, and put everything else on the tray. He added a generous amount of pepper to the bowl, and covered it.

At that moment, the door was unlocked again, and Anne Possible walked in. Following her nose, she wandered into the kitchen. "I thought I'd find you here. You have a habit of being where you are needed the most." She peered into the pot. "And with your own brand of medicine I see." She gave the young man a brief hug.

"I was just doing a consult at the Upperton Health Centre, and thought I would check in on Shego. Since Kim isn't in the living room, I assume that our patient is awake." Picking up her bag, which she had put on the hall table, she knocked lightly on the bedroom door and went in.

Ron waited to give the women some privacy. When Anne came out, he picked up his tray and he and Rufus went to the door. It was still open a crack, and they could hear what was being said on the far side.

"You have a long journey ahead of you. But I'll help you take the first step."

"As Sensei used to say, 'A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.' Time to lace up your shoes Sarah Go." He pushed the door open and sauntered into the room, balancing the tray. On his heels, Rufus entered carrying his single rose bud. "And you can't go anywhere on an empty stomach."

Ron Stoppable put the tray on the bedside table and pulled up the lid. The aroma of chicken broth hit everyone like a wave, causing all of them to take a deep breath. He took a spoon of the soup and blew on it, holding it out for Sarah to sample. The warmth hit her stomach and eased some of the cramping hollowness she had felt for so long.

"It's my grandmother's recipe. Guaranteed to cure what ails you. You don't even have to eat it to cure a cold, germs run when you mention it." Another spoonful followed, and he would have continued to feed her like an infant, if Kim hadn't intervened.

"She's a big girl now, Ron. I think she can manage a bowl of soup on her own."

"Oh, yeah, sorry about that Sarah." He had remembered her name from the days that she had spent as Miss Go, teacher and friend. In his mind, you never forget your friends, even if you do wind up fighting them for a while.

"Thank you, Ron. Not just for the soup. You just called me Sarah, like I had never spent all those years fighting with you all." She smiled at Rufus as she accepted the pink flower that he offered. For a rodent, he was something special too.


Author's Notes and Recipe

This chapter is written for friends of mine. They are headed off to college in a very cold and windy city. He will have access to his own kitchen for the first time, so I thought a little "Jewish Penicillin" was in order. You can substitute your favorite pasta for the rice, but when dealing with a "crummy tummy" I find rice is the best choice.

Ingredients

4 to 6 chicken thighs or drumsticks

1 medium size onion

2 or 3 cloves of garlic

2 large carrots, diced

3 stalks celery, diced

1 cup rice

Salt and pepper to taste

Start 4 quarts of water boiling in a pot. Add the chicken and then reduce to a simmer. Coarsely chop the onion and add to the pot, along with finely chopped garlic. Allow to simmer for at least 6 hours, 8 if possible. Allow to cool and refrigerate overnight. In the morning, remove the fat that has collected on the top of the broth. Bring back to a boil. When broth is boiling, remove the chicken using tongs, and cool. Add diced carrots, celery and rice. Add water if necessary to maintain at least three quarts of broth. Return half of the chicken, removed from the bones. Simmer for another three hours. Add salt and pepper to taste.