AN: For those of you waiting for Forever New to be updated, I'm almost finished with the new chapter, I just haven't been happy with how some of it has deviated from the course and am trying to edit it all out while keeping the original idea. *grumblepissedoffgrumble* It's not that it's not working, it is just aggravating.

Anyway, on with this one. I almost have this one written out from all the frustration, so WHOO! Yay for forward thinking.

Grandpa had heard the bell and came from the potion he and Fuu were brewing. It came as a surprise to see a boy his grandson's age hesitate in the doorway. Weren't most of the kids in school? He suppressed the urge to run the kid out of the store. If he was a delinquent, he would feel no remorse, but if he was here for genuine business . . .

"How can I help you?" The slightly startled look made him want to laugh but he resisted in favor of studying the boy more closely. Human? Yes. Magical? No, not really. Only the barest hint was there and even that was all but lost in his aura.

The boy bowed low in standard form. He blinked at the change of behavior from skittish child to a well versed young man. He bowed to the boy, not quite sure why a child would know of this form of greeting if he had little to no experience of it . . . or maybe this young man was more than he had first thought? He would see.

"I was looking through the neighborhood and my Aunt Mel told me about this place. I just wanted to see what you had to sell," ah, Melinda. A delightful woman who was not quite all there. "I think I found a new home until I start school," the boy said into the silence. Grandpa hid his snort of amusement. Wouldn't Jake find it humorous to hear this place called a second home.

"What interests you, young man?" Grandpa watched the boy scan the store and smelt the use of wild magics. Where . . . ?

"Um, anything that I can work on? I'll do it for free, but I just need something to do right now for a few hours. Aunt Mel won't be around until four and I saw that some of the machines were in deep trouble." The young man looked slightly afraid he would say no. He wouldn't but really felt astonishment that a boy had collapsible tools in his pockets. Tools that hadn't made it to market yet. "It looks like the wheel is broken. I'm not Houdini or Wade or anything, but I can get it working in top shape in no time!"

Houdini, the magician and Wade . . . probably a technician the boy knew. He rubbed his beard as he thought quickly. Why not? Maybe he could find out what the boy's magic was. "I don't see why not, young man, so please work your magic." And he sincerely meant it.

And so he sat as the shy young man fiddled with the old VCR that had been causing all kinds of problems in the store. When a naked mole-rat surfaced from a pocket, yawning and looking around, he felt amusement curl in him. Such a strange human boy needed an equally unique companion. Just before lunch, the boy finished three VCR's, two DVD players and a handful of small gadgets that were scattered about. The ten or so manuals the boy had devoured like water to a thirsting man made Grandpa raise his brows. The dozing boy that held another manual to his current project made him smile.

Everything worked too, better than it had before hand while brand new. So, that was the boy's magic. Fixing things. Grandpa was sure that with a little training, the boy could probably be an adequate healer or a master restoring sorcerer. He'd need to chat with Melinda before referencing someone to him, but he thought he could talk the woman into it. He'd give it a week, though, to make sure that this wasn't a fluke of duress.

"Fuu, I'm going out for lunch. What would you have me bring you?" Fuu stuck his head out from the back, the gray dog pulling on the folds of his loose skin that he had charmed to hold impossibly large things.

"Applegate down the street is selling her new Eat'em and Love'em pies. I'll have one of those and make sure the kid gets one, too. I've been listening to his stomach growling for the last half hour." Grandpa nodded and left the store, turning the sign to say "Back in _" before going to buy lunch.

Ron woke to the incredible smell of pie crusts and berries, pork bar-b-cue and pickles and felt his mouth watering and his stomach growling a bit obviously. He was starving!

"Ah, awake, finally? Here, this is your lunch," the tiny man waved away his protest at being fed, "and no arguing. You're hungry and have been helping me out in the store just by fixing things. I'll feed you even if that isn't half of what you've done today." Ron felt the blush rise high on his cheeks and cleared his throat before taking a bite out of the pork sandwich with a groan at the taste. Only Nacos were better than this!

"Thanks, sir!"

"Oh, call me Grandpa, young man!" the man said in a happy voice. Ron smiled and tried to talk through his food. Feeling just a bit embarrassed, he gulped the food down and offered his hand to shake. "Ronald Stoppable, but just call me Ron."

The rest of the afternoon passed with idle chatter, the older man watching as he tinkered a bit with some old toys that didn't have manuals but were fairly simple in design. A gray dog lounged on a cushion by the door, licking the pie set in front of it hungrily and making loud slurping noises that made Ron laugh. Rufus escaped the pocket for a bit of exploring, chattering with the dog and bouncing around with whatever berry he had at the time as he sucked them down. Twenty-to-four, Ron packed away his tools and left with a wave to the elderly man, promising to be back to finish working.

"Aunt Mel! I'm home!" He walked through the entryway to the kitchen where the woman was banging around, shoving a pan into the oven and turning it on low heat. He smiled a the attempt to hide the cake he knew she was baking. "Ready for those Espresso Double-shot Mochas with donuts?"

Aunt Mel jumped up and pushed him out of the apartment leaving it unlocked and telling Ming Ue that she was taking time to spend with her nephew and if she would please keep an eye on her cake? The woman agreed with a smile on her cherubic face, her dark almond eyes taking in the youth that stood with Melinda and nodding to him. He bowed back, if a little less perfect but no less sincere gesture. Ming smiled at him again and shooed Melinda away.

So, they had their Espresso Double-shot Mochas, Ron with extra chocolate and a variety of Dunkin' Donuts that made even Ron envious of the luscious flavors and he wondered if he could recreate them sometime. And so, his days were spent with Grandpa at the Old and Used Electronics store where he heard about Jake, the man's grandson and his forays into trouble with his two best friends, Rufus talking to Fuu . . . who Ron had yet to be introduced to and still didn't know the dog could talk. A new record for Fuu, actually. He started at the same high school in two weeks. His sudden and unexpected departure from his previous high school was making transfer take longer than he ever imagined. Aunt Mel worked all day and came home to a home-cooked meal courtesy of Ron and bought more clothes than humanly possible to wear for the still overly quiet and sad boy.

This went on for a week before Ron broke down. He was sitting at the table with Mel when the Communicator went off. Now, this was fairly normal since he'd gotten in touch with Wade, so Melinda brushed it off. It wasn't until she heard the "Hi, Kimberly." that she looked up. The fake smile was back and her heart ached.

"Give me the Com, Ron." When he shook his head, she got a serious look, one he'd only seen twice in his life. Once when his Aunt Mel heard she couldn't have kids, and the second time when he had come down sick and had to go to the hospital for three weeks. "Ronald, do it now."

He gulped and handed over the Com without anymore fuss, leaving the room just in case. She was glad he did and turned to the Com in her hand, glaring daggers at the girl on the other end. "What do you want?"

Kim had known this woman for years and she'd never been this . . . angry and hateful. "I wanted to talk to Ron, see how he was." Which was partially the truth. She also wanted her friend and crime fighting partner back. She missed him a lot and even the Tweebs wouldn't talk to her right now.

Aunt Mel sneered at the girl. "Well, he moved here to not see you, hear from you, or even know you. You broke his heart and now you want your friend back, is that right? Well, listen hear, little girl, don't call him again. He'll call you when he wants to talk to you and I won't have you harassing him into going back to work for you. Find a new side kick. Ron's tired of being burned by you." With that she tossed the Com into the trash disposal and hit the button, feeling satisfaction with the grinding noise of damaged metal. All she had to do now was call up that young genius boy. Such a loyal friend and sweet darling boy, Wade was. She dug through the kitchen drawer and growled to herself. She had Wade's number somewhere . . . AH HA!

"Wade? Hello, sweety, this is Aunt Mel. Yeah, the one in NYC. Can you rustle up a Com that Ron can have?" She smiled. "You would? You really are a sweet boy! Ron was so right about you!" She frowned slightly. "Just make sure that Possible girl can't just tap through to him. You haven't heard? I'll give the low down then . . . " and they talked for a few minutes, Mel hanging up rather sooner than normal as she went in search of Ron.

He was sitting on his bed, head in his hands and face closed off. His hair hung limply over his eyes casting them in shadow and hid his honey brown eyes. Mel sat in a kneeling position in front of him and opened her arms for a hug. Ron hugged her hard, shaking like a leaf. She soothed him and when he did cry, it was a messy, wet affair as he gripped his aunt and second mother to his chest to try and stop the hurt. She let him, rocking him and running fingers through his hair to comfort him. He stopped when he finally fell into an exhausted sleep draped over Mel's shoulder. She set him on the bed and pulled the quilt from the bottom to cover him, tucking in the bottom around his bare feet. A small kiss was laid on his forehead, her fingers brushing the hair from his face. He'd need a hair cut soon if he didn't want to have really long hair . . .

"Hey, Marsha," she said over the phone later. "Possible called. Yeah. He cried, Sha-sha, he cried like his world was falling apart. No, no, I threw the Communicator down the drain . . . No, literally . . . She won't be getting to him through that again. Wade is sending some over . . . He sent some to you too? Good, good. Can you send some stuff from the Twins? He needs some cool gear to get around. You can? Thanks, sis, I don't know what I'd do if he got hurt any worse." She listened and watched the boy—no, young man from the small hall move in his sleep. "Did you know he could fix things? What? He never told you? Well, Grandpa Long from down the street? He's been fixing everything in there . . . would you believe it? I think he "inherited" something from great-Grandpa Abby. Yeah. I'm talking to Grandpa Long about it now. He'll need a tutor . . . "

Grandpa felt concern when Ron didn't show up early like he usually did. He did come in after lunch, a sheepish smile on his face and a large picnic basket, his eyes still a little red and large dark bags telling of his restless night. This really did bother Grandpa, more so than usual, who called Melinda when Ron went to the washroom.

"Hello, is this Melinda?" He held the phone from his ear to lessen the volume of her enthusiastic voice. "I just called because I was worried about Ronald. Yes . . . What? No wonder. Thank you, my dear . . . Oh, sure . . . Oh? Well then . . . If it's not too much trouble, he can stay the night with me?"

"Um, stay the night?" Ron came back out wiping his hands on his jeans, the dark gray shirt pulled up out of the way. "Is Aunt Mel called out again?"

Grandpa nodded that yes, Melinda was called away again. Ron sighed and rubbed his neck. "Okay, whatever she thinks is best." He grabbed his key and went to the door. "I'll just grab some clothes before she leaves. How long did she say she was going to be?"

"Two, maybe four or five days, but she'll try to be back in two." Ron nodded and left at a slow jog. When he finally got back, he was carrying a fairly small duffel and a clear ball meant for Rufus. There were several clear buttons that all but blended into the ball but Grandpa didn't ask what they could be used for. Really, how much trouble could be had from a silver-ish-clear pet toy?

Ron just put his things off to the side and started back where he had left off, taking the back off one of the newer electronics and pulling out the memory board. He whistled at the damage it had, pulling the solar-operated welding tool Wade had given him (months ago after the fortress stunt when a little welding would have made things so much easier) from his pocket. He touched up the little nodes and made a few adjustments that would allow it to run without going in circles. He felt Grandpa's eyes on him and stifled a grin. The old man was so weird . . . kind of like Uncle Bart. Very observant but a little loose in the clock tower.

"GRAMPS! YO, GRAMPS! We had a half day! Let's get that training done so I can go with Trixie and Spud to the arcade!"

Startled, Ron jumped and the welding tool burned deeply into his left hand making him yelp. He tried to sooth the wound without touching it, ignoring the other teen boy that was now staring at him. Grandpa came around the counter with a jar as he glared at the black-haired teen. The boy rubbed his head and grinned weakly. "Oops?"

"JAKE! Please, what have I told you about showing courtesy? Even if this is my shop, you should show proper respect!" Grandpa turned Ron's hand over and felt himself wince. This was a third degree burn and it would take a long time to heal, even with the healing cream in his hand. It needed maybe seven or so stitches, or at the least butterfly stitches to hold it closed. Ron glared at it, seemingly unconcerned.

"Don't worry too much, Grandpa, it's not that bad. I've done worse and they always heal quickly," Ron soothed softly. He held his other hand out for the cream, dipping his fingers in when Grandpa opened it and spreading the purple mess over the stinging wound. "At worst, I'll loose a little feeling there if the nerves are too damaged, but nothing too serious. Promise!" Ron held his fingers in a boyscout salute, grin in place . . . a real grin, though it was slightly small and sad.

The boy called Jake cleared his throat. "Um, yeah, sorry about that, man. I didn't think anyone would be doing anything like that here. Welding, I mean. Especially not another kid," Jake babbled as he pulled on the green tips of his hair lightly, pacing in agitation. He stopped to face his livid grandfather and the other boy. "I'm diggin' myself deeper, aren't I?"

When Grandpa would have come back with a speech about disrespectful treatment of a guest, Ron laughed at Jake and waved him over. Grandpa marveled that he hadn't heard the sound before, even after several days. Children laughed constantly and he was surprised he hadn't noticed the difference like he should have. Was he loosing his touch?

"Maybe, but it's kind of funny to see a street wise kid like you sputtering." Jake did sputter at this making Ron chuckle at the affronted look Jake gave him. "So, what's this training? Martial arts?"

Jake hid a cringe and cast a glance at his Gramps. "Well, yeah." If you called daily torture training with mops and toilet bowl scrubbers, crazy unicorns and hungry harpies, trolls and potions martial arts training, then yeah, he did. A lot.

Ron nodded. "Hey, Grandpa, since Jake and I will be having different schedules anyway, do you think you can give me some beginners lessons? I can do Monkey Fist because of that staff, but I really can't use it."

"Because of a staff? Come on, even the magical community needs more than a staff to learn a whole set of martial arts!" Jake protested the casual way Ron just mentioned fighting. No one could learn from holding a stupid stick! He didn't see Grandpa slowly having a fit at the mention of magic.

"Ah, but if it was the enchanted Monkey Staff, able to change shape to adapt to the situation, then yes you could. Especially if your life was on he line which left you open to its influence under the full moon at Summer Solstice. And anyway, I said I knew how to do it, I didn't say I could use it. Beat that, green boy!" Ron grinned at Jake and stuck his tongue out. Jake did the same, only his tongue was long and forked like a reptile's. Ron stared before saying, "Cool! I knew he wasn't exactly human," he hooked his thumb at the stunned older man, "but I didn't know it ran in the family!"

Jake felt his jaw all but drop into his lap in astonishment. "Seriously? You can tell when someone's magical?" Ron nodded hesitantly before shrugging, arms out in a helpless gesture.

"I guess. I doan know."

"No way, man! Are you a for real wizard?"

Ron snorted. "Yeah, right, me? You obviously can't see clearly," the blond huffed. And then cringed when his hand came in contact with his shirt. "Ow!"

Jake reached out and grabbed the hand, looking at the burn. It really was bad, the kind even his mother had a fit over no matter that she knew he was a dragon. "Let's get you to my mom. She's good about getting things healed." Ron felt himself flush, but ignored it as he pulled his hand away and tidied up where he had been working, wincing every time his hand hit something resulting in spikes of pain shooting up his arm. Rufus grabbed all his tools and stuffed them in a pocket, returning to his own and snuggling in for the ride.

Ron patted his little buddy and grabbed his duffel, wondering how he was going to carry it and the ball for Rufus. Jake solved the problem for him by picking up the ball and pushing it under his arm. Jake led him out, grabbing a helmet and skateboard, both that he put under his other arm, as they left, both calling out far-wells and Ron mentioning to eat the truffles from the basket.

Fuu came from the back and eyed the door. "Does it bother you as much as it does me that Ron doesn't seem to take his health seriously enough?" Grandpa nodded to the dog. "Okay, just make sure he actually eats. He's getting too skinny, yah know. S'not healthy at all."

Grandpa sighed. Why was everything so complicated when it came to dealing with young?

AN#2: For the sake of some, yes, I am making some of this shit up about the monkey staff. Go me. Don't like it? Sorry, but that's too bad. ALSO . . . there will be KP bashing taking place. Not evil or anything, she is, ut a clueless pretty girl who finally gained popularity and a hot boyfriend that is not Ron the Sweet and Adorable.