This story is my entry into Zaratan's "Guess the Author Contest".

Kim Possible and company are the intellectual property of Walt Disney. Great thanks for the loan.

On the Inside

The lights came on, resulting in hissing, growling and yelps of surprise. Two men in crisp uniforms walked down the aisle, looking at the numbers over the barred doors. Every now and then, one would comment on how long the occupant of the cell had been in the facility. Several were to be released in the coming days, paroled to persons who had been willing to take on the responsibility.

They stopped at one of the last doors in the line.

"Number R-035. Came in last night." The man consulted the clipboard he was carrying. "Is this normal? Look at him, he's pretty odd."

"I did some research after the street crew brought him in. It's perfectly normal. It took the doc by surprise too. She just about went crazy looking for an illness." The second man chuckled lightly. "She just kept staring at the computer screen."

The two men continued on and out another door.

R-035, as the occupant of one cage was called, opened his eyes. He hadn't been there very long. One moment he had been out with friends, the next he was waking up on a cold examining table. From the aches and pains, he'd gotten the short end of the stick in that last brawl.

Looking to his right, he saw a thin blond lying on the pallet that served as a bunk. He resembled one of 035's best friends. He was thin and rather awkward looking. His hair was an unruly mess, and yet there was something about him that was just plain likeable.

"Have you been here long?"

The blond youth looked over at him. "A couple of weeks. My family is out there now getting ready to take me home. Or so the guard said." K-126 smiled a little bit. "I have a bad habit of wandering off, and this time the narks picked me up in an alley. I know I'll hear about it when they get me back." Looking past 035, he eyed the young lady in the next cage over. "I'm going to miss her though. We met on the outside. I tried to hold the guys off long enough for her to get away, but they got the both of us."

035 turned and looked around. Lying on her own pallet was a female with long red hair. She was slim without being skinny. Her legs were long and muscular. There was a gleam in her eyes that belied the serious situation. She got up and stretched. She was obviously athletic, and took care of herself. The numbers over her cell read K-098.

"I'm on my way out too. They got an ID on me when they brought me in. Some joker thought it would be a good idea to plant a microchip on my body somewhere." 098 giggled a little. "I was going to chase him around the block, but considering that it's keeping me out of the 'room of no return', I suppose maybe I can be forgiving."

"Room of no return?"

All eyes turned to the door that the two guards had gone through.

"When one of us isn't paroled or identified, they take us into that room down there." 126 looked into his neighbors eyes. "I've seen two go down there. They never came out. Both of them were old. F-247 was on his last legs I think. Hank hardly was able to eat the stuff they call food in here. "It was probably a blessing." 126 put his head back down on his bed and closed his eyes.

035 sat and thought about his friends. They wouldn't leave him in here. At least once or twice they had saved each others' lives. He had pulled them out of sticky situations before. At least here, nobody was armed with clubs or stun rods.

The guards came in again, and shoved bowls of food through the gaps that opened up near the floor. He ate what was provided, but would have given his left leg for a naco.

The night was cold and long. Up and down the rows of cells there was the sound of snores and deep breathing. Occasionally, one of the inmates would whimper or cry in their sleep. Lying on his pallet, 035 thought of what would happen if nobody ever came for him. It was almost certain that no one would take him into their home. He was just too different.

He looked down at the door he knew was there, even in the dark. It loomed there, a silent threat.

At last he fell asleep on the cold dark mattress.

As he was sitting in his cell, getting to know his neighbors, who turned out to be Duke, on his left, and Sally on his right, he heard a commotion outside the door.

"He's got to be here. We've looked everywhere else!" The voices, he knew those voices!

The door opened and his family rushed in. They bypassed all of the cells and immediately came to his.

"Rufus!" Ron cried out in joy. "Thank heaven we found you. After Shego tossed you down into that parking garage, we thought you were gone for good. Are you okay, buddy?" He opened the cage and pulled his pet and best friend out.

Kim Possible was right behind him, gushing about how much she had missed him.

Rufus had known that his family would never leave him stranded if it could be helped. It's what made them work as a team.

"Oh Ron, look at this gorgeous Irish setter over here. She's positively wonderful." She bent down and put her hand up to the bars. Sally sniffed her open palm.

"This golden retriever is a nice looking dog. All he needs is a little care." He and Rufus stooped to look into the cage. Duke extended a paw, in a gesture of greeting to Ron and farewell to Rufus.

'Look after yourselves. I hope I see you again on the outside.'