A Kim Possible Fanfiction
by Greg Fisk (aka "Slyrr")

Kim Possible is owned/copyrighted by Disney and its affiliates, etc. etc.

Chapter 34:
Operation Clean Sweep

This chapter is dedicated to the memory of fanfic writer cpneb, who passed away last month.
You were Team Probable's very first review, and you will be missed :(

Part I:
Cleaning Up

Mr. Dr. Possible held his wife's hand, looking intently at the TV as news reports began. For some time, world communications had been totally shut down when the golem attacks began. Now satellite and phone systems were coming back, and the TV channels which had been showing nothing but static were winking back in one by one as reports on the worldwide events started flooding in.

He cycled through several channels while moving towards the local stations, and each of them, even the sports channels, were talking about the same thing. It was as if the fragmented words spoken by reporters from various networks were somehow linked together and forming a single report.

'World leaders have called for a moratorium on all talks and discussions until cleanup operations are finished....'
'...early reports indicate that damage done by the golem attackers was mostly superficial except in areas where larger statues were brought to life...'
'...repair work is already beginning in major cities across the....'
'...many being interviewed say these events are similar to the Diablo robot attacks...'
'...similar operations are now being put underway which were used after the villainous Dr. Drakken used toy robots to....'
'U.S. Politicians will soon issue a statement explaining what the role the military will be playing in....'
'...Police and National Guard forces remind all persons, militia or civilian, that there is no longer any danger and are urged to use caution....'
'...bizarre moving statues suddenly halted their attacks, very much like the Diablo robots which were shut down by global crime-fighter Kim Possible...'
'...rumors are that teen heroine Kim Possible was the one....'
'...Possible is said to have defeated the super-villain known as 'Monkey Fist' within days of his globally broadcast ultimatum...'
'...Kim Possible being sought for interviews....'
'...waiting for full communication to be restored so that it can be confirmed whether Kim Possible...'

Mr. Dr. Possible felt Mrs. Dr. Possible's hand tighten around his arm as he reached the local station. Jim and Tim leaned in as a shaky camera view focused on a disheveled, bleary-looking reporter with a crooked tie, an unbuttoned shirt collar and ruffled looking hair.

'..A.U. Dibble, MIDX News.' said Dibble, holding his microphone in one hand and trying to smooth out wrinkles in his shirt with the other. 'Reports are just coming in from Upperton and Lowerton. The statue attacks have indeed stopped. And the people who were petrified by Monkey Fist's strange weapon have returned to normal. Speculation is rampant, but most of the rumors say the reason for the sudden halt in the attacks is that the villainous Monkey Fist was defeated by his teenage foe, Kim Possible.'

Mr. Dr. Possible smiled. 'I knew it wouldn't be long, with our Kimmy-cub on the case!' he said proudly.

'Shhh!' said Mrs. Dr. Possible, snatching the remote and turning up the volume.

'Authorities in England have been tipped off that Monkey Fist's hideout was located among a series of mountains within the United Kingdom.' said Dibble. 'Agents of Global Justice were dispatched to the scene immediately, and have found several people who had been kidnapped by Monkey Fist and used as laborers to build his machines. None of them are reported to have been harmed, and some of them have already been questioned by Global Justice, and then released. One of the men, Mr. Ignacious Stone, agreed to a brief interview about their ordeal.'

The camera cut to an outdoor scene with mountains in the background, and a middle-aged man in simple brown clothes had a microphone in front of him. 'It was some blighter dressed up like an American Indian.' said Ignacious. 'But Kim Possible's sidekick - I don't know his name, the fellow with the blonde hair? Somehow he defeated Monkey Fist's partner. I thought we'd be stuck as statues in that cavern forever, but not long after they left - poof! Suddenly we were all back to normal!'

'So you had no control over your actions after Monkey Fist turned you to stone?' said one reporter.

'Well if I had, I wouldn't have stuck around in that dank cave!' said Ignacious with a snort. 'Honestly - over two weeks doing nothing but working on those infernal machines. I'm just glad it's over!'

'And what will you do now?' said another reporter.

'Get home as quick as may be.' said Ignacious. 'I didn't get hungry or anything while I was there, but I must have missed a dozen tea times!' There was a ripple of laughter from the assembled reporters.

The camera cut back to Dibble. 'We've learned that the kidnap victims were from two small towns in England named Graniton and Basalton. Neither town was well known before. But as their residents were in the thick of things for weeks, no doubt they will be returning to their homes to find themselves the center of attention from a curious media...'

The reporters then started to re-hash things they had already said in more detail, and Mrs. Dr. Possible turned the volume back down. 'Does this mean that Kim will be coming home soon?' she said.

'I hope so.' said Mr. Dr. Possible. 'Those show folk will be swarming around our house like buzzards until they get an interview. At least this business seems to have humbled that Dibble character. Maybe next time he'll think twice before doing a report that tries to make the good guys look bad.'

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It wasn't only in the Possible house where people were watching the world reports. The prison which housed the infamous Cell Block D was also watching and listening. Several prisoners who had radios booed loudly when they heard that Monkey Fist had been defeated. Many of them had been hoping they could escape in the confusion if the attacks grew worse. But in one of the cells, a man with a black helmet and orange skin was packing a small suitcase. As part of the deal he had worked out with Team Probable and Leigh Gality, Professor Dementor had been given a TV set for his cell. He smirked as he saw the screen panning across scattered heaps of mechanical debris while Dibble's voice spoke.

'Troops from Global Justice at the scene have found the wreckage of the device which they believe Monkey Fist had been using to jam the world's satellite network...'

'Gut gemacht, Herr Probable.' said Dementor. 'That should teach that poser Dr. Drakken not to try and take over ze world using my creations!' He straightened his collar and walked out of the cell, throwing his suitcase into the hands of one of the guards. 'Escort me to ze exit, muscle-bound oaf!' he said insolently. 'The sooner I depart from this hole, the better! I have lairs to rebuild and plans to make!' The guard growled with narrowed eyes, but Dementor was already strutting past him. 'Step lively and knock it off with ze glaring. Remember, a deal is a deal!'

The guards slouched along behind Dementor, muttering. Behind them in the cell, the TV broadcast was still playing, and Dibble's voice echoed faintly within the walls of Cell Block D.

'...very little is left of the machines, but Global Justice is already confiscating the wreckage, hoping to forestall any further use of this devastating technology. Sources close to Global Justice have stated that anonymous tipsters have already turned over schematics for the machines, and they are sharing the information with several countries. With this information, authorities are confident that such a machine will not be able to take out global communications again. Though since all the computers in Monkey Fist's lair have been destroyed and the data apparently lost, it is unclear where this information came from...'

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Jade sniffed In the makeshift tech garage at the Omo-sa residence, staring up at the same report Dementor had been viewing. 'Unclear where the information came from.' she said, looking over at Wade. 'Bet you'll be bragging about it to the press before much longer.'

Over at an opposite table, Wade Load glanced over his shoulder to where Jade was working at her own station. 'We worked pretty hard to take down the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer.' he said. 'Why shouldn't we tell the press about it? We've got nothing to hide.'

'Speak for yourself.' Jade muttered. 'The best kind of tipsters are the anonymous ones.' said Jade. 'Once the public knows who the tipster is, they dump him because he's not mysterious anymore. But if they’re anonymous, people hang on their every word. How do you think conspiracies survive when they're all so kooky?'

Even though the Jammer had been destroyed, the work to get everything back to normal was still very much in progress. Wade and Jade kept working over their computer consoles, linking up different areas and helping to restore communications as they brought more and more satellites back under control. 'I've restored military communications between the Army, the Navy and the Air Force.' said Jade. 'How's it going on your end?'

Wade grunted as he worked. 'I just got in touch with the Middleton Space Center.' he said. 'They've been using their equipment to bring satellites back under control. Now that I've linked them to other work stations around the country, they can expand the effort.' He kept typing as he spoke, watching as more satellites came back on line.

Jade slid her hand quietly down to a small pack she'd kept on the floor next to her work station, quietly opening it and reaching in. She kept tapping randomly on her keyboard, making it sound as if she were still working. She turned her head and saw Wade hunched over his own keyboard at the other table with his back turned. 'So... it's all over but the shouting?' she said, in a would-be curious voice.

'We can speed things up by continuing to coordinate the satellite restorations.' Wade answered. 'But yeah, it looks like things are getting back on track!'

'Wade... thanks.' said Jade.

Her voice sounded strange, and he turned in his chair. Jade was standing only a foot or two away, holding some kind of aerosol can, and she was wearing a gas mask. There was a hiss, and a grey mist obscured his vision. Before he could stop himself, he had taken in a coughing breath which smelled and tasted like some kind of medicine. Then his eyes rolled, going out of focus. He clutched at the desk, trying to keep his balance, but in the moment it took him to try and speak, everything went black.

Jade watched Wade slump heavily to the ground. She sighed as she took off the mask. 'Sorry about this.' she said softly. The door behind her opened, and several black-uniformed soldiers from the Riddleton Black Ops tromped into the room, followed by several people in white hazmat suits.

'Is the prisoner secure?' said the lead soldier, his voice muffled by a black mask.

'Yeah.' said Jade.

'We doing full Clean Sweep procedures?' he said.

Jade nodded. 'Go over everyplace they've been - and I mean every place.' she said. The houses, the school, training yard, everywhere. Use the long and short range scanners. Take anything they've touched that you even think might have a tracking device in it, and feed it into the shredder. Then take everything that was shredded and feed it into the grinder. Then take the grindings and throw them in the incinerator. Get all their stuff, their luggage, clothes, equipment - crate it up and mail it to the Possible's house in Middleton.'

The hazard suited men were already piling everything in the room into boxes and going over the room with sensor wands. The black suited soldiers were rolling Wade onto a stretcher and lifting him up. 'And the prisoner?' said the leader.

'Full medical and body scan.' Jade said. 'And be careful - this guy likes hiding bugs and tracking devices inside people. We don't want them to have left anything they could use to track us.'

The leader nodded and turned to the others. 'Let's go, people!' he said. 'Once he's processed, crate him up with the rest of their things.' They were carrying Wade's sleeping form out through the door.

'Wait a sec!' Jade blurted out, and the lead soldier paused, looking back.

'What is it?' he said.

Jade bit her lip, fidgeting. 'Uh... make sure he has plenty of air holes.' she said weakly. 'And... some soda for the trip.'

The leader's eyes looked confused for a moment, then he shrugged. 'Yes ma'am.' he said, then they trooped out of the room. Jade looked around for a moment, watching while other members of the Clean Sweeps started tearing down the control center she and Wade had been using.

It wasn't the first time they'd used Operation Clean Sweep after a caper. Whenever a possible security leak to Riddleton was identified, the Clean Sweeps were sent in to sanitize things, and make sure that nothing was left that could trace anything to Riddleton. Jade had remembered a long time ago that she wanted to invent a 'Neuralizer', but so far she hadn't gotten past the drawing board.

Team Probable had enough resources and money that they could afford to destroy their own hideouts to keep their tracks covered, but it was still a tough operation. Especially against a group like Team Possible. She sighed again and left the garage, feeling strangely empty.

When she was out in the backyard, she saw other members of the Clean Sweeps swarming over the guest house, and some were trooping in and out of the main house. Jade saw her dad standing on the back porch, looking over the proceedings with a stoic expression. He raised an eyebrow as he saw her. 'Daughter.' he said in his gravelly voice. 'I take it that Load-san's time here is now finished?'

Jade nodded. Mr. Omo-sa sniffed as he looked at the uniformed men and soldiers milling around, boxing things up and carrying them out of the yard. 'I trust that you have remembered to inform them that I will require approval for anything that is removed from my house?'

Jade rolled her eyes and nodded. The last time the Clean Sweeps had been through their house, one of them had left a scratch on one of the marble display tables. Her father had not let her forget about it for weeks afterwards.

Mr. Omo-sa's voice took on a casual tone as he continued looking across the backyard at the proceedings. 'And... were you able to gather any more information from Load-san about the Nakasumi Corporation?'

Jade sighed. 'No, dad.' she said.

His eyes flicked towards her. 'Very disappointing.' he said flatly. 'I expected better from you.'

Jade felt stung. She didn't really feel like discussing the reasons why she hadn't tried harder. The fact was, there had been too many things keeping her and Wade busy. Trying to block Monkey Fist's scheme, the business with Mr. Matter, building and organizing the tech garage, building the Counter-Jammers, designing and building the Moo-Goo guns and grenades, and so on. One thing she had done with regard to her father's snooping was to prepare a response in advance which she hoped would deflect his questioning. She took a deep breath and spoke. 'Well, I knew you were on the case after Wade had dinner with us that first night. You said you wouldn't give up until he talked. So I didn't think someone as skilled as you would need any help.'

Mr. Omo-sa raised his eyebrow even higher. For a moment he looked stern, and Jade was sure he'd seen right through her ruse. But then his expression softened. 'You use my own words and turn my own weapons against me.' he said. There was a few seconds silence, and then he nodded. 'Very good, daughter.' he said. Then he turned and went back into the house.

Jade stayed on the porch and sighed with relief. She would need to keep overseeing the Clean Sweeps to make sure they didn't get too rough with their belongings, but at least the sitch with her father was dealt with. 'Don't say I didn't do anything for you, Wadey.' she thought. 'You were too busy to notice, but me keeping you out of dad's crosshairs was a big-time favor.'

Part II:
Loose Ends

The atmosphere was still festive at the Yamanouchi School, even several hours after Monkey Fist had been defeated and returned to the Path of the Yono. His petrified form had become a kind of centerpiece to the victory celebration. The townsfolk from Basalton and Graniton who had been freed from their golem enslavement seemed particularly eager to give Monkey Fist a swift kick now and then, though Monkey Fist remained immobile and silent.

Cleanup and repair operations had already begun as well. Though the Yamanouchi students had spent previous weeks repairing the school after the Yono's first attack, they were not inclined to grumble about having to start fixing it all over again. Their victory against all odds made the upcoming labor seem somehow more agreeable.

Kim had slipped away from the celebrations and quietly returned to Toshimiru's dojo. She half expected to see the Mystical Monkey standing next to the Buddha statue and whistling, waiting for another Naco to be delivered. But aside from a deep gouge in the floor where Monkey Fist had landed, and some broken wooden lattice, the dojo showed no other signs of having been part of the combat. Even with the celebrations outside, the building seemed as silent and empty as it had the very first time she had entered.

After the angst and agony of her spiritual journey, and the hassles she had endured putting up with the Mystical Monkey, she thought she should be grateful that he was gone. But as tough the advice and training had been, she couldn't argue with the end results. 'Thanks double-M.' she thought, and she turned and left.

She then went quickly to fetch Monique and Enrique from the storage building in the rear courtyard. Monique looked relieved to be escorted out, and Enrique seemed disappointed that his one-on-one time with Monique was over.

When Monique saw Monkey Fist standing petrified in the courtyard, she walked up to him, cracking her knuckles. 'I owe you one for pushing me off that cliff!' she said, and she punched him in the jaw. She drew back at once, shaking her hand vigorously. 'Ow!' she said. 'Man, I forgot about the pain part!'

'Allow me...' said Enrique, moving to take her hand.

Monique skittered out of his reach. 'Back off, home-boy! I didn't ask for a medic!'

Kim smiled faintly and blended back in among the ninja. She saw Rhonda Fatigable sitting on the deck of one of the dorm buildings, petting Rueful. Chief Sakituya was there as well, and a quiet smile was on his face as he looked out over the School.

The night had mostly passed, and the inky black of the night sky was just starting to lighten when Kim's Kimmunicator beeped it's familiar tune. Turning it on, she saw Ron's face on the screen. 'Ron - where are you?' she said.

'Hey KP!' he said, looking tired, but still awake. 'Looks like quite a party down there! Are there any eats for the late-comers?'

At his words, Kim looked up around at the skies. With a nearly silent humming, the Ksikkihkíni swooped down and landed in the courtyard, with two figures astride the bike. Ron threw off his helmet and made a bee-line for her. Fresh cheering broke out as Kim and Ron embraced and kissed.

They kept holding hands as they broke apart and Ron turned to look at Monkey Fist. 'You beat him!' he said, smiling brightly. 'And I wasn't here to see it - that's kind of a first!' Rufus had scurried out of Ron's hip pouch, climbed up Monkey Fist's leg and back, and was hopping up and down on his head. Ron took a close look, up and down. 'Hey, isn't that the same pose he was in when he first started on the Path of the Yono?'

'Yeah.' said Kim. 'Kind of weird, huh?'

'I like weird.' Ron answered.

'Hmm-hmm weird!' Rufus squeaked.

Kim looked back at the dorm building. Grimm and Rhonda were kissing tenderly under the shadow of the eaves, while Chief Sakituya turned and pretended to be watching the breaking dawn in the other direction. 'Come on.' said Kim, pulling at Ron's hand. 'We need to talk with our 'partners'.' Ron nodded, and Rufus hopped onto his shoulder.

Rhonda looked a little dazed, and Grimm looked irritated as Kim called out to them, interrupting their kiss. 'I want to make sure the sitch is under control.' she said. 'We've got Monkey Fist. Where's Maze?'

'He got away.' said Grimm.

Ron's mouth fell open. 'You didn't say anything about that!' he said. 'I thought you tied him up and left him for Global Justice. I saw you trussing up his wrists and ankles!'

Grimm looked a bit flustered. 'I don't know how he did it.' he said. 'When I'd finished demolishing the Jammer, all I found were the cut cords.'

'What about Drakken and Shego?' said Kim, her eyes narrowed.

'Ask Ron.' Grimm answered. 'We didn't see either of them during the fight. I couldn't tell if they were ever there in the first place.'

Kim glanced at Ron, who shrugged and nodded. 'Did you let them get away?' Kim growled.

A bark of laughter echoed from Grimm. 'You really think I'd let Maze go? First off, he's on my list of banned clients. Second, he's the one who banished Rhonda. Third, I don't like him. Want me to go on?'

Kim gave him a look of withering disbelief. 'You said yourself, if a client pays enough, you'll put up with a lot. Plus you didn't say anything about banning Drakken or Shego. How do we know you didn't cut a deal with them?'

Grimm rolled his eyes. 'You don't.' he said. 'I can't prove I didn't, and you can't prove I did. Let's just leave it at that.'

Kim looked at Ron. 'How about the Jammer?' she said. 'Can you prove that was wrecked?'

'Yeah, I saw that for myself!' said Ron proudly. 'When Grimm came back to the bike, we flew over the hatch in the mountain on our way to the airport. Total junkage!'

'Satisfied?' said Grimm, sarcastically.

Kim's expression didn't soften. 'I had to ask.' she said. 'And how did you beat Maze?'

Grimm shrugged. 'I didn't.' he said. 'All I did was wreck the Jammer when the fight was over. Ron was the man of the hour. Maze had us dead to rights with his shadow medicine. Ron powered through it and took him down along with the mini-jammer they'd built.'

Kim felt a strange stinging inside herself. At Grimm's words, her first instinct had been to say, Ron beat him? Are you sure? It was the same kind of feeling she'd had when she heard over her Kimmunicator that Ron had defeated Monkey Fist during their first encounter so long ago. And it was exactly that kind of disbelief, the reflexive dismissal that Ron could have done something on his own, that she thought she'd defeated forever when she'd fought Kim-i-i. Shaking her thoughts back to the issues at hand, she lifted her wrist and showed her Kimmunicator. 'If the Jammers are destroyed, why can't I get in touch with Wade?' she said. 'I've been trying to raise him for a while now.'

'Not sure.' said Grimm. 'Jade's not answering either. They're probably still busy getting all the world's satellites back to normal. Unless they're kissing again.'

Ron spluttered. 'Wade and Jade? Kissing?' he squealed. 'Whuuuuuuuh???'

Kim winced. 'Long story.' she said.

'Oh man...' Ron said, scratching his head. 'Monique is gonna be bummed!'

Grimm looked across the courtyard to where Enrique was still trying to sidle up to Monique. 'She'll get over it.' he said.

Ron started ticking off on his fingers. 'So lemme recap. Maze is gone, Monkey Fist is back on ice, the Jammers are wrecked and everyone they petrified is back to normal. Sounds like we're back on track to Normalville!'

'So the mission's done.' said Kim.

'Yup.' said Grimm simply.

'And the sitch with Ron and Rhonda is over.'

'Looks that way.' said Grimm.

'Then our arrangement is over too.' said Kim. 'I said once we were done, I was putting you in jail.'

Grimm smirked. 'So you did.'

Rhonda started looking back and forth between Kim and Grimm, her face suddenly nervous. Ron looked at Kim, then at Rhonda, and back again. 'Uh, everybody here is partying.' he said. 'We don't have to break it up with another fight, do we?'

'They're still criminals.' said Kim. 'And they've got a lot to answer for. If they hadn't stolen all that equipment for Monkey Fist, none of this would have happened.'

The smirk didn't fade from Grimm's face yet, but his voice was more clipped. 'You want me to bring in Leigh Gality again? There's no evidence that we ever stole anything.'

'A jury can sort that out.' said Kim coldly.

Grimm sighed. 'Well, your team's fully assembled and you've got a boatload of ninja to back you up. You'll never have a better chance to take us down. But in the spirit of the moment, how about letting us quietly take a powder?'

Kim was glaring. Ron cleared his throat. 'They did help us out a lot.' he said. 'And it wouldn't be the first time the bad guys got away after we blew up the lair.'

'Ooooh...' said Grimm with a shrewd expression. 'Looks like the sidekick is also the smart one.'

Kim felt her hands twitching. It wouldn't take much. All she had to do was call out and the entire Yamanouchi School would come to her aid. Team Probable wouldn't stand a chance. 'Come on, Grimm.' said Rhonda taking his arm. 'Just because the sitch is over doesn't mean we have to start going at it right away.'

'That's up to her.' said Grimm, nodding at Kim. 'What's it gonna be, Kim?'

But Ron never found out what Kim's choice would be. At that moment, Grimm's watch started beeping. He raised his wrist and glanced at the dial. 'Whoops.' he said, turning off the alarm. 'Too late.'

There was a sudden roaring sound, and several helicopters crested over the walls of the school. There were two large cargo helicopters, which started coming in to land, the lights mounted on their canopies flooding the courtyard. There were also a number of what looked like military attack choppers which remained hovering in the air.

As the larger copters landed, armed military troops began leaping out. The Yamanouchi ninja still had their weapons, and readied them almost instantly. But Master Sensei stepped in front of them and raised his hand. At his gesture, the ninja lowered their weapons, but only slightly.

The troops had formed a firing line, but their leader also raised his hand, and the troops did not raise their weapons. The troop leader and Master Sensei met in the middle of the courtyard. 'This is a private sanctuary.' said Sensei. 'You are not welcome here.'

'We're not here to fight and we won't stay long.' said the leader. 'We're with the United States Department of Defense and we came to return Monkey Fist's victims to their homes. We're also here to arrest them.' and he pointed at Team Probable.

Kim looked at Grimm, who was smirking. And she understood at once. She rushed to Master Sensei's side. 'He's lying!' she said. 'Grimm's family is in the DOD! They came here to bail them out!'

The troop leader's face was inscrutable behind his mask. 'Our orders are to take them into custody by force - if necessary.' he said. 'If you turn them over to us, you have my word that we will leave your sanctuary untouched.'

Kim looked up at the attack choppers with their machine guns batteries and missile launchers. The residents of Graniton and Basalton were looking up at them and at the soldiers, their expressions now scared. She was sure that the Yamanouchi ninja were at least a match for the soldiers, but she couldn't risk anyone getting spooked and opening fire with innocent people in the midst. She looked over at Team Probable again. Grimm, Rhonda and Rueful were all on their knees with their hands raised. Grimm was still smirking.

Master Sensei raised an eyebrow, looking at Kim. 'They are your enemies. The choice is yours, Kim Possible.' he said.

She sighed heavily. 'Let them go.' she said.

At once, a number of the soldiers fanned out through the courtyard. A troop of black masked soldiers were wheeling the Ksikkihkíni aboard one of the copters. The residents of Graniton and Basalton were being ushered towards the other. 'Where are you taking us?' said the old woman with the cane.

'Back to your homes, ma'am.' said one of the soldiers. 'Our orders are to gather everyone who was used by Monkey Fist and get them back where they came from. Once we're at the airport in Tokyo, you'll be boarded onto a passenger jet and taken to England.'

'Oh my.' said the old woman. 'Will we all fit?'

'We'll do multiple trips if we have to, ma'am....' said the soldier, and they disappeared on board.

Other soldiers had surrounded Grimm and Rhonda and were frog-marching them onto the other chopper. It certainly looked as if they were being taken prisoner, but Kim wasn't fooled. Without anyone to lead Kim back to Riddleton, it meant Team Probable would disappear again. A sudden thought came to Kim and she went up to where Grimm was being loaded onto the copter. Ron followed behind her. 'What did you do to Wade?' she said. 'Where is he?'

Grimm smiled faintly, even as the soldiers hauled him up the ramp. 'He's fine.' Grimm answered. 'Black Ops sent him back to Middleton along with your stuff. He might actually beat you there.'

Kim shook her head. Grimm had planned all this in advance, probably days beforehand. 'You jerk.' she said.

'Come on Possible, we beat the real bad guys already.' said Grimm. 'Let's not spoil it by sniping about which one of us comes off with the most points. The world is saved and you can go back to hogging the camera like you always do.'

Chief Sakituya was being led into the chopper, looking very out of place in his Indian garb, but he seemed more comfortable than the soldiers, who even behind their masks seemed bemused by their bizarre cavalcade of passengers.

Ron suddenly called out, and Kim saw why. Several troops had hoisted up Monkey Fist and were carrying him towards the copter. 'Hold it!' Kim shouted. 'You're not taking him!'

'No choice, Possible.' said Grimm, and his smirk was gone. He looked serious, and the cocky edge was missing from his voice. This more than anything else stopped Kim's protests while Grimm spoke on. 'We can't leave him here.' he said. 'Maze is still on the loose, and he knows where Yamanouchi is. Sensei's ninja are good. But we're talking about a guy who's devoted his life to hunting down relics and artifacts. No matter where they hide Monkey Fist, Maze would find him. He comes with us.'

'What makes you think you can guard him better than we can?' Kim said.

'Where are you gonna keep him?' said Grimm. 'Cell Block D? The place leaks more than Arkham. You might as well gift-wrap him for Maze with a pink bow on his head.'

'It's not where he's kept I'm worried about.' Kim said, her eyes gleaming. 'It's who's keeping him.'

'Don't worry.' Grimm said with a wry laugh. 'After double-crossing us and putting us through the wringer like he did? Monkey Fist isn't going free again. But I'm sure the first thing Maze will try next is to find his partner. And if Maze re-animates him, they could start this whole mess all over again. Not gonna happen.'

 

Nearly half of the Graniton and Basalton citizens had been loaded up, and the pilot was giving the ready signal for lift-off. The soldiers on Grimm's chopper were pulling him further inside. 'I guess that's everything.' said Grimm, leaning his head out. 'So long, Possible. It's been real. As in - a real pain.'

Kim glared back at him. 'So that's it?' she said. 'Aren't you going to brag?'

'No.' said Grimm. 'But don't think anything's changed. It's not like we bonded during this caper. You still hate my guts, I still can't stand you. I said at the start that once this was over, I wanted to pretend like none of it ever happened. That's a promise I'm gonna keep. You've got my word no one will spill the beans about Yamanouchi. And if you're feeling all sentimental, I'll send you a Bundt cake at Christmas.'

'Farewell, my beautiful Monique!' said Enrique, standing at the other side of the chopper's main hatch. The motors on both copters were revving up, and the rotors were spinning faster. 'I shall never forget you. I only wish you could come with me!'

'Oh please - don't go.' said Monique in a flat, sarcastic voice, rolling her eyes. 'Whatever shall I do?'

The copter was rising in a cloud of dust and rock chips. 'Be strong, sweet one!' Enrique called down. 'My heart will always be yours!'

'Until he sees someone else.' Monique muttered.

Kim stared with glittering eyes as the helicopter rose higher. Grimm was smirking down at her. Rhonda was also standing at the hatch, looking down at Ron. She had a strange look in her eyes that almost seemed like regret as they moved further away, and she raised her hand in a half-hearted wave of farewell.

Ron was waving back, a faint smile on his lips. The engines whined loudly, the copters wheeled and turned, and soon they were swallowed up in the shade of the rising dawn. Soon only their blinking tail lights were visible, fading to tiny dots that skirted above the mountain peaks.

The rest of the former golems, about twenty men and women, stared after the helicopters. 'I... suppose they will come back for us, won't they?' said one of the men, who was dressed like a bartender.

'Yeah.' said Kim. 'But I think we've seen the last of Team Probable.'

'Hey, what about us?' said Ron suddenly. 'We need to go home too - where's our helicopter?' He looked hopefully at Master Sensei and Yori.

Yori laughed softly. 'Stoppable-san,' she said, smiling. 'I am glad you have not lost your American-style sense of humor. Of course, as the victorious heroes, it will be....'

'I know, I know!' said Ron with a groan. 'It will be our honor to walk!' Both Yori and Sensei bowed. 'Now I know I'm really back.' Ron muttered. 'Only real life is this annoying.'

Soon, Kim and Ron had changed back into their normal mission clothes. The few belongings Kim had brought with her to Yamanouchi were stowed in her pack. She, Ron, Rufus and Monique stood near the shattered gate. Master Sensei, Yori and the entire assembly of ninja bowed to them. 'You all have our thanks, for what you have accomplished here.' said Sensei gravely. 'You should be proud of this great victory. The Yamanouchi School, and the entire world, owe you a great debt.'

'Always glad to supply the mad moves!' said Ron, and he and Sensei made the peace sign to each other before bumping fists.

Kim bowed back to Sensei, then took Ron's hand. 'Come on team.' she said, and she felt a great relief as she spoke her next words. 'Let's go home.' Team Possible crossed the hanging bridge, and with a last glance back at the school, they took the trail leading back down the mountains.

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

Morning continued to rise outside the walls of Yamanouchi, but there was a patch of shadows between two outcroppings of mountain rock which did not become any brighter in the growing dawn. Maze stood hidden in the shadows, staring with an open mouth at the ruin of the Yono Shrine, at the damaged school, and the ninja students milling in the courtyard. Some of them were gathering tools and supplies, getting ready to begin repairs.

But he saw no sign of his golems, or of Monkey Fist. He kept watching, as if unable to believe what he was seeing. It was only when the sunlight began to fully creep over the mountain peaks that he shrank further into the darkness and disappeared.

Part III:
Homeward Bound

Grimm watched with satisfaction as a pair of the Riddleton Black Ops wheeled the petrified and immobile Monkey Fist into the garage of his house. They set him down in a dark, cobwebbed corner among an assortment of old rags, boxes, holiday decorations and lawn ornaments.

It was now half a day since their escape from Yamanouchi. Confusion and difficulties with the slowly returning world communications had lengthened the flight back to Riddleton for some time. Once back, the Riddleton Black Ops and the Operation Clean Sweep troops had brought them back to the Probable house.

Grimm ushered the Black Op soldiers out with a respectful salute, and while he closed the garage door, Rhonda fished out a Santa hat from a dusty box labeled 'X-Mas' and put it on Monkey Fist's head. Then she and Rueful took one of the tarps and wrapped it around his waist and shoulders to make a crude looking dress. 'How do ya like that Mr. Ultimate Monkey Master?' she said.

Grimm stood by her to admire the handiwork. 'He's never looked better.' he smirked, putting an arm around her shoulders. He was suddenly aware of how much he had missed the way Rhonda's neck and shoulder warmed his arm, and found himself leaning closer to her. She didn't seem to notice, for her eyes were still on Monkey Fist.

'So, what do we do with him?' she said. 'Keep him?'

Grimm shook his head. 'Too risky.' he said. 'I wasn't kidding when I told Possible that Maze would try to find him. Somehow, Sakituya tracked me to Jade's house. If there's even a chance that Maze could find Riddleton, then it’s too dangerous for us to stash him here.'

'What about your dad?' Rhonda said. 'They could box up Monkey Fist and put him in that warehouse where they're keeping the Ark of the Cov...'

'Still too dangerous.' he said, breaking in. 'We need to hand him over to someone who's constantly on the move so Maze can't get a fix on him. Someone who will keep an eye on Monkey Fist all the time.'

Rhonda bit her lip and puffed out a short breath. 'Where are we gonna find someone like that?' she said. 'Who's going to want to spend all their time baby-sitting a statue?'

Grimm shrugged. 'I'll have to think about that. In the meantime, he should be OK in the garage, so long as we keep him covered up.' Then his voice softened. 'But how about you?'

Rhonda blinked in confusion. 'What about me?'

Grimm stood in front of her, his hands on her shoulders. 'How are you doing after all this?' he said. 'You were stuck in limbo for a month with only the doofus-king for company. How are you holding up?'

Rhonda wasn't sure how to answer. Partly because Grimm's sudden closeness was making her focus more on his face and the sound of his voice. And partly because with Ron's help, it hadn't been so bad, especially towards the end. 'OK I guess.' she said, feeling her cheeks blushing as Grimm kept staring into her eyes. 'Doing a lot better now.'

'Do you need to talk about it?'

She shook her head. 'Not yet.' she said. 'Right now... I'm just glad to be back.'

Grimm nodded. 'At least tell me one thing.' he said. 'There were times when you could see me, and Possible. You saw me before I took on the giant golem, and when I made that deal with the Great Bear Spirit, right?'

Rhonda nodded. 'You were so brave, going up against that monster...' she said.

He looked at her more keenly. 'That Mystical Monkey must have made a similar deal with Possible.' he said. 'And whatever it was, that was the clincher that brought you back. What was it?'

Rhonda sighed and started to tell him the story....

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

'Thanks for giving us this ride, Clutch.' said Kim. Clutch Cargo leaned back, looking through the hatch of the cockpit of his plane.

'Not a problem, Kim Possible!' he said, giving them the thumbs up. 'It's the least I could do after you saved the world from those rampaging statues!'

'It was no big.' she said. 'Anyone could have defeated a super-strong animated monkey statue - with the best team in the world backing them up!' She gestured at Ron, Monique and Rufus.

They had been on board the plane for hours while they made their way back to the States. When they had finished their hike down from Yamanouchi to the Japanese lowlands, they had found a great commotion of people moving hither and thither on foot, in cars and whatever else they could use as transport. With the golem menace ended, the police, military and townsfolk alike were going about trying to set things in order, inspecting damage, or trying to find family members who had been separated in the confusion.

They had managed to get a lift to the airport, where they found things even busier. Workers were clearing debris from the runways, airport staff were going about breathlessly, trying to get things fully up and running.

But they saw no sign of the military choppers which had descended on Yamanouchi. When she asked an air traffic controller, Kim was not surprised to hear him say that he had not seen any choppers coming or going.

With things as chaotic and busy as they were, they were worried they might spend several days trying to find a flight out of Japan. But they had spotted Clutch Cargo, who was heading back to the States after dropping off some relief supplies, and he had gladly agreed to take them along.

While functional, Cargo's plane wasn't really designed for comfort. Kim had hoped to have a quiet moment or two with Ron, to talk about things, and to get news from him about what he had experienced in the Spirit World. There were so many questions she wanted answered now that he was back.

But despite the hard seats, the drafty cargo hold and the rumbling throb of the engines, Ron had slumped to the side and fallen asleep barely a few minutes after takeoff. Rufus was asleep too, curled up in Ron's hip pouch and bearing a look of contentment that Kim hadn't seen since Ron was banished weeks ago. When Ron started snoring, Monique made to nudge him, but Kim stopped her.

'Let him rest. He's earned it.' she said.

Monique sighed, looking around the plane. 'I can hardly believe it.' she said. 'It's really over! We're finally going back home.'

'Yeah.' said Kim. 'Sorry about the weirdness. Normally my missions don't take this long.'

'S'all good, girlfriend.' said Monique, smiling. 'Mom keeps saying I need to get out and meet new people. This ought to keep her quiet for a while. I'm just glad we can go back and do the normal again. School, work, shopping... Heck, I wouldn't even mind seeing Bonnie again.'

'I hear you.' said Kim, and she ran her hands through Ron's hair. Ron kicked in his sleep like a dog being scratched, and snored on.

'How about you guys?' said Monique, pointing at Ron. 'You're both OK, right? I mean, you haven't had much time to talk since he got back.'

'Yeah, but after a month I think we can wait a few more hours.' She ran her hand through his hair again, and again he thumped his leg like a sleeping puppy.

Monique chortled. 'Cute.' she said. 'Can I try it?'

It seemed all too soon when the time came to bail out of the plane. Clutch turned on the auto pilot and helped them prepare their chutes before opening the rear hatch.

Ron couldn't remember having Monique present for a sky dive, and she looked even more nervous about the prospect of free-fall than she had about fighting Gill and Camille Leon. But as a credit to her mettle, she made the jump.

'Why couldn't we just land the plane and catch a cab?' Monique screamed.

'I've been asking that for years!' Ron wailed.

The earth spun and shuddered beneath them, but Monique could still see several familiar landmarks below. They were over Middleton - they were home. Kim gave the signal to open their parachutes and Monique felt a jolting sensation as the chute unfurled and her fall was slowed. Kim had instructed her on how to steer and guide her descent, but the ground still seemed to be coming a lot faster than she wanted.

They stayed apart from each other and staggered their landings in the field behind Kim's backyard. Monique's landing went better than she thought, but she still stumbled and tripped just as she thought she was stopping, and she was pulled down as her chute drifted overhead and tugged her. She got up from where she'd landed on the grass, feeling dazed. There was a nearby rustling sound, and she looked up and saw Ron and his chute were tangled in a tree.

'Yep.' he said weakly. 'Been doing that for years too.'

Kim landed smoothly a few yards away while Rufus scurried from branch to branch, using his teeth to cut through the chute cords until Ron tumbled to the ground with a yelp. 'Everyone OK?' she said.

Ron gave the thumbs up. 'Just... great.' he groaned as he staggered to his feet.

They packed their chutes and started through the backyard. But they hadn't gotten to the door when Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Possible came bursting out, followed by Jim and Tim. Mrs. Dr. Possible swept Kim into a hug which Kim returned. 'Hi Mom, Dad.' she said. 'Tweebs.' she added.

'Kim we were so worried...' said Mrs. Dr. Possible. 'All the things we were hearing in the news, and you were gone so long this time...'

'It's all over, Mom. We're back.' she said.

Mr. Dr. Possible smiled, patting her shoulder. 'I knew she'd be fine.' he said. 'Anything's possible for a Possible!'

'And Ron's back!' said Jim and Tim at the same time.

'Why does everyone keep talking about my back?' said Ron, craning his neck, trying to look over his own shoulders.

Mr. and Mrs. Dr. Possible glanced at each other. 'Yes, that's Ron all right.' said Mrs. Dr. Possible. 'Welcome home.'

Once inside the house, Kim found herself having to relate the story of everything that had happened after she went to Riddleton. Mr. Dr. Possible in particular seemed to want to make sure that no boys had tried hanging out with her, but he seemed satisfied when he heard that Monique had been there to keep an eye on things. He even seemed to be all right to hear about the Riddleton Prom Rehearsal dance on hearing what a battle-axe Ms. Darken was.

Kim had given only very slim details about her training with the Mystical Monkey. For her, the experience was still too personal to talk about. The twins had wanted more information, thinking that the idea of a talking monkey was 'neat', but Mrs. Dr. Possible had sensed the hesitant and pained expression on Kim's face and encouraged Kim to move on to Ron's return and the showdown with Monkey Fist and Maze.

When she was finished, she breathed a sigh of relief, for as tough as it was to speak of the ordeal, having to live through it had been worse. Mrs. Dr. Possible sighed, putting a kindly hand on the shoulder of both Ron and her daughter. 'I know summer's not here for a while yet.' she said. 'But I think you both deserve a vacation.'

Mr. Dr. Possible was peering out through the front curtains. 'Well, here come the show folk.' he muttered. 'You've barely been back half an hour and they already got wind of it. I guess we'd better get ready for some interview requests.'

Mrs. Dr. Possible moved next to him and looked out. 'That doesn't look like a news wagon.' she said. 'It's a... delivery truck.'

They went outside while Kim and the others followed. A flatbed had pulled up alongside the street in front of their house. On the back, Kim saw the Sloth, tied down securely. She also saw a large wooden crate, about six feet square. A man in a gray jumpsuit got out of the truck and approached them, carrying a clipboard.

'Evening, Mr. Possible.' he said jovially. 'Special delivery for you. Just sign here.'

Mr. McVeeley.' said Mr. Dr. Possible, looking curiously at the flatbed and its cargo. He absent-mindedly signed the form. 'Who sent these?'

'No idea.' said Mr. McVeeley, shrugging. 'These were air lifted in just today, with instructions to send them straight to your place. It was an unmarked plane, breezed straight in and out and they didn't even sign any forms.'

'Probable.' Kim growled. Mr. McVeeley lowered a ramp, and Kim climbed up. A few moments later, she was driving the Sloth back down to street level. The car seemed fine, though she wanted to turn it over to Wade to check for bugs or any kind of tampering. As she got out again, she saw Mr. McVeeley pushing the crate onto a lowering platform. Soon the crate was on the sidewalk as well, and with a wave, Mr. McVeeley got back into the truck and drove off.

It was then that Kim heard a thumping noise from inside the crate. There were a number of holes, and through them came a muffled but familiar voice. 'Hey - is anyone listening? Get me out of here!'

'Wade?' Kim said. 'Are you all right?'

'Kim?' came Wade's voice. 'Get this thing open and hurry!'

'We need a crowbar!' said Kim, wheeling around, but Jim and Tim were already rushing eagerly at the box, crowbars in hand.

'Awesome!' said Jim.
'How often do we ever hear anyone asking to break something open?' said Tim.

They both tore into the task with gusto, heaving and prying at the side of the crate while the others watched. Before long there was a squeal of bending nails, and the front panel of the crate swung down with a crash.

Kim peered inside, and there was Wade, sitting on a stool in the shadows with a very glum expression. There was a cooler with several empty soda cans next to him.

'Bathroom!' he said sheepishly, and he dashed up the driveway into the house.

'Hey, it's our stuff!' said Monique. Kim looked back in the crate and saw their bags, suitcases and other items. They were tied and fastened to the inside of the crate. They were unfastening the bags and heaving them out of the crate when Wade returned.

'They gave me soda, but no rest room.' he grumbled. 'Typical.' Wade pulled one of the large stickers from the side of the crate. 'Oh - "Heavy LOAD"!' he said. Then he turned furious eyes up at the sky. 'Funny, Jade! Really funny!'

'What happened?' said Kim.

Wade bit his lip. 'Jade hit me with some kind of knockout gas while we were working on the satellites.' he said. 'When I woke up, I was trapped in that crate.'

'I think I know the answer to this already.' said Kim. 'But did you rig up anything that could help us track down Team Probable?'

Wade glanced at his luggage and equipment, which were now on the driveway. 'I did, but I don't know if they're still working. I'll have to get home and run a few programs.' he said. 'Once mom is finished lecturing me on staying away for too long.'

Monique gasped. 'Oh snap.' she said. 'My mom! I gotta get back home - once she's sure I'm OK, she's gonna kill me!'

'I'll give you both a ride.' said Kim, unlocking the Sloth. 'After all your help, it's the least I can do.'

wade

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Grimm stormed into his basement room with Rhonda following behind him timidly.
'I don't believe this.' he growled, slumping down into his chair. 'All that angst I had to go through, all that time I spent begging the Great Bear for help, all that time you had to spend in the spirit world. And you're saying all Possible had to do to put an end to it was to say she's sorry?'

Rhonda felt a little alarmed. After she had told Grimm what she had Ron had seen, and Kim Possible's battle with Kim-i-i, she hadn't expected Grimm to be angry about it. 'Well it wasn't that simple.' she said. 'It was really tough on her. You kind of had to be there...'

Grimm didn't seem satisfied. He was still shaking his head and looking as if Donnie had cut him from the gymnastics team again. 'That's how they ended Bartholomew and the Oobleck for Pete's sake!' he sneered. 'Talk about cheesy...'

'Come on Grimm,' said Rhonda. 'Forget about it. It's over...'

'Oh no.' said Grimm, shaking his head. 'This is not over. You saw how she was trying to double-deal us. The whole time we were supposed to be working together, she was planning to stab us in the back. Its only because I planned ahead that she couldn't pull it off. Now that things are back to normal, we can find a way to pay her back!'

Rhonda sighed while Grimm sat at his computer and started dashing off an email. 'Some of the Irregulars are still keeping tabs in Middleton.' he muttered. 'I'll have Twitch give us the low-down...'

Rhonda thought about Ron, who was probably only just getting back home after the long ordeal, and felt a strange ache inside. 'Grimm, I don't think we should be bother with them just now.' she said.

Grimm turned and looked at her curiously. 'You what?' he said, sounding partly sharp, and partly surprised.

She wiped her forehead to avoid looking in his eyes when she answered. 'I mean...' she said, hesitantly. 'We've got other stuff we need to deal with, right? We need to find someone who'll hide Monkey Fist, we need to help Jade finish up with Clean Sweep, and then I've got to get back to school...' She ended with a hopeful glance at Grimm. To her relief, he looked like he was considering.

'Yeah, I guess that's true.' he said, tapping the desk with his finger. 'And I haven't even told your folks that you're back yet, I should have done that first.' He got up and took Rhonda by the hand, leading her towards the door. 'We can hold off dealing with Possible until after the clean-up is taken care of. In the meantime, let's get you back home. I bet Indy will be glad to see you.'

Rhonda felt better as they left Grimm's room. She wasn't sure why, but the thought of hassling Kim and Ron so soon after the sitch with Maze and Monkey Fist made her uncomfortable. She knew Grimm would come back to the idea before long, but like the thought of doing unpleasant homework, she was glad to put it off for a while.

- + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - + - +

Dropping off Wade and Monique had been wonderfully mundane. Kim had helped smooth things over with their parents, assuring them that Monique and Wade had both played an important part in stopping the golem attacks, though it only seemed to mollify them slightly.

Kim gave Monique a hug on the driveway while Ron hauled her bags into the house. 'I'll see you at school tomorrow.' she said. 'Thanks again for everything.'

'Just remind me not to volunteer on any missions again until I know what I'm up against.' Monique said, but she was smiling. 'Oh, and if Enrique calls, I'm not home!' She walked inside, waved and closed the door.

Later, Ron had groaned a bit when taking Wade's bags into his house, since his luggage had mechanical parts and was a lot heavier. 'Be sure to let me know if you pinpoint Riddleton.' Kim said. 'If satellite communications are still spotty, they might be easier to track.'

Wade looked doubtful, but nodded. 'See you next sitch!' he said, and disappeared inside the house. Even as they were pulling out of the driveway, Kim saw the familiar blue lights turning on in his room and shining through the blinds.

A few minutes later they were back in the driveway at her house. When the car engine was off, Kim was suddenly aware that she and Ron were alone in the car together. Rufus was asleep in Ron's hip pouch. There was no one else around.

Ron had a sheepish look on his face, and his freckled cheeks were flushed. He looked adorably shy. 'Well, I guess I'll head home too...' he said, but Kim leaned over and took his arm.

'Not just yet.' she said softly. 'In all the weirdness, I still haven't had the chance to say it.'

'Say.... what?' his voice sank low as Kim slid her other hand around his neck, their faces almost nose to nose.

'Welcome back, Ron.' she whispered. And she leaned in to kiss him. Kim felt strong anticipation. She'd been waiting for this moment for over a month. The sitch with Monkey Fist and Maze was over, Team Probable was gone, and Ron was back. There was nothing left to keep them apart, no looming battles or treacherous allies. Just the two of them...

  wade

Their lips touched. But instead of comforting warmth, Kim felt something else, sudden and intense.

She was watching Ron as he sat alone, trapped in the Janitor closet during the Spirit Week Dance while she spent the evening with Josh. He was giving up his job at Bueno Nacho for her. She saw his hurt and shocked face as Grimm told him the truth about the tracking chip Wade had planted on him. Then he was returning from the spirit world, seeming as bright as a star to her eyes...

She pulled back from him. Ron looked confused and slightly hurt. 'Sorry.' she said quickly. 'It's just... well, I forgot Dad's in the house and you know how he is...'

Ron smiled and nodded. 'I hear you.' he said. 'After a month in the spirit world, the last thing I want now is to get shot into deep space!'

'Plus you might want to let your parents know you're back.' she said.

 

Ron's mouth fell open. 'Oh man, I forgot to call and let them know!' he squealed. 'They're probably still worried sick! I'd better get back pronto!' He fumbled with the seat belt and scrabbled at the door lock.

'I'll see you tomorrow at school.' she said, squeezing his hand. 'Get some rest, because I bet a lot of people there will be glad to see you again.'

'Can do!' he answered, and he slid out of the car door. 'Sleep is something I can do that doesn't need study!' he paused for one moment, looking shy again. 'KP... thanks again for saving me. You really went beyond the call. Catch you tomorrow!'

'Yeah. Tomorrow.' she said, forcing a smile onto her face as Ron closed the car door. She watched him as he raced down the sidewalk towards his own house. Once he was out of sight, she went inside the house and leaned against the wall, sighing heavily and putting both hands on her forehead.

'What happened just then?' she thought. It was almost like being back in Toshimiru's dojo, still on her spiritual journey. But she thought that was all over. Even the Mystical Monkey seemed to think she'd had enough. But somehow being alone with Ron, and having him close to her had brought back all the feelings of remorse and guilt she had felt when she was fighting with Kim-i-i.

'Where did Ron go?'

Kim blinked and shook her head. Her mom had just walked in, on her way to the kitchen. She had a knowing smile on her face. 'I thought you and Ron might go out and relax together now that things are quieting down.' she said.

'We will.' said Kim reflexively. 'I mean... he's been away from his family for weeks. I thought he should get back to them.' She ended with another forced smile.

Mrs. Dr. Possible paused for a moment, giving her daughter a suspicious look that Kim knew too well. She picked up her books and moved towards the stairs. 'Gotta get a start on my homework.' Kim said quickly. 'See you at breakfast.'

Once she was in her room, she set up the books at her desk. 'Had to be a fluke.' she thought. 'I'm just still weirded out by everything that happened. Once I've rested up a little...' But she wasn't sure what she would do after that. Instead of starting on her homework, she turned her attention to her bags, still unpacked after having been shipped from Riddleton.

She started putting things away, and while she fished clothes and other items out of her luggage, her hand fell on a piece of paper. She took it out and found herself looking at a check. Mr. Matter's check, which he had signed to her after the caper in Riddleton. Her endorsement signature was still on the back.

In the turmoil of the last few days, she had all but forgotten about it. Now the dilemma of what to do with it returned to her mind in force. It was money from one of Grimm's clients, and to her mind, it was tainted. But now that Maze and Monkey Fist were defeated, there was the question of all the damage done by their attacks. She could help out people who had been hurt by the golem scheme, including Monique and her family.

She found herself staring at the check for several minutes. Then she stuffed it underneath the mousepad at her computer desk. 'I can't deal with this now.' she thought. She started getting ready for bed, leaving the check and her homework untouched. 'Better take my own advice and get some rest.'

She should have slept like a stone. It was her first night at home without worry since Ron had disappeared. But even though she went to bed early, sleep remained as elusive as Riddleton...

           
 
Coming Soon:
Chapter 35

The Journey Continues

Author: Now that Kim and Ron are home at last, Kim is finding that the spiritual journey isn't as over as she thought it was. What will it mean for the team? And now that Grimm is back, what has he got up his sleeve? Don't give up on the story just yet, for the heaviest blows are still to fall!

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