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

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

Chapter 36:
Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

Part I:
The Friend In Darkness

Kim spent the next two days walking on eggshells. Somehow she managed to get through several study sessions with Ron without holding hands or kissing him. But it was obvious that Ron was noticing it, and her excuses were becoming repetitive and more transparent.

She didn't know what else to do. She wanted to kiss him, but every time she did, she remembered the visions of her spiritual journey, and it totally killed the mood. School encounters between them were getting more awkward. And it seemed to Kim that Bonnie was always lurking somewhere nearby, as if enjoying the sitch immensely.

At the end of practice, Kim had gone home to do her own homework. She turned on the TV in her bedroom loft, taking a short break between two history chapters, and flipped through several news reports.

World communications were almost fully restored, and nations around the world seemed to have settled back into their routines of bickering and quarrelling over trade, borders, all the 'normal' things. Damage from the golem attacks was being repaired, and some of the reports were already turning to other news events - a sign that things were truly settling down.

But some channels and reports were still covering aspects of the golem sitch. A few channels here and there were showing silhouettes of Monkey Fist with a question mark on his chest, and banner headlines in all caps - WHERE IS MONKEY FIST NOW? But each report left the question unanswered.

Kim did note that in all the reporting, Maze had escaped scrutiny. He was never named, and even the reports that did mention him referred to him as 'Monkey Fist's mysterious accomplice'. Kim wondered where he was now. He was the one who had freed Monkey Fist and started the entire scheme, yet no one seemed to be inquiring closely about him. Maybe it was because Monkey Fist was the one who had made the video ultimatum to the world when the golems were attacking. Or maybe Monkey Fist was simply more high profile because of his previous crimes. But whatever the reason, Maze remained anonymous.

Kim wondered if she should have mentioned Maze directly to the press, and was thinking she would do so if any more reporters made inquiries. But another report had started, and she listened to a well known anchorman on DNN.

'...manhunt is still underway for the super-villain Monkey Fist, who crippled the world's satellites and attacked with an army of animated statues. Any person with information regarding his whereabouts is urged to contact the appropriate authorities. So far, the Department of Justice will not confirm if they have Monkey Fist in custody, as teen hero Kim Possible asserted in a recent statement.'

Kim's mouth fell open as she heard what the reporter said next. 'Kim Possible of course, is the teen heroine who single-handedly defeated Monkey Fist and saved the world, as she has done on numerous occasions....'

Kim turned off the TV in disgust. Single-handedly? When she had answered questions from the press, she had been careful to make mention of Monique's role, and Ron's. But like Maze, Ron was being quietly dropped from all the press coverage. As far as she knew, no one, not even A.U. Dibble, had gone to his house to ask about his version of events, or even ask how he was doing.

She clenched her hands as she thought back to all her past missions. Somehow, Ron always got cropped out of every photo. He got edited out of every interview. No one ever cared what he had to say. He never seemed to get any of the glory. And he never really complained. Every so often he would say, Aw, man! But then he would forget all about it and go right on smiling.

And he had done so much. The number of times he had saved her - even if only by just distracting the bad guys long enough for her to take them down. He had stopped Monkey Fist. He defeated White Stripe. He had beaten Gill - twice. He had flattened an army of Wegos bare-handed. And the one time Ron had gotten some of that glory, just after he saved Russ Cueler, she had resented him for it.

Many times when Ron had been absent from missions - like the sitch with Hank's Cupcakes and Drakken's freezing machines - those were the times when Kim had come closest to being defeated. And now Ron had destroyed the Ultra-Atmospheric Jammer - saving the world from Monkey Fist and Maze. Where without him, she and Grimm had been thwarted for nearly a month. But once again, Ron's role was being ignored.

Ron had stepped up for her a hundred times over, and what had he gotten in exchange for any of his sacrifices? A place on the sidelines so he could clap and cheer - for her? While the world ignored him and his contributions? Was it any wonder he had turned into a vengeful super-villain when the Attitudinator removed his good?

She curled up in a chair - her homework forgotten as she brooded. Ron had joined the football team for her. Gotten his job at Smarty-Mart for her. He went on missions, risking life and limb... for her. Weren't these improvements? Rising to his potential? Would he have done any of those things if she hadn't driven him?

Potential boy. He had so much potential that was just lying idle because he had no reason to use it while she was getting all the attention. 'And he'll never have the chance to live up to that potential,' she thought with horrible realization. 'As long as he has to live in my shadow.'

She thought back and suddenly remembered a note, sent by Grimm just before he turned up in Middleton, asking for her help.

Help me reach a friend in darkness.

Ron had been in the Spirit World, in darkness, for weeks. But when she had seen him returning, he had been so bright to her eyes. When she had thought about the note, about Ron, all during the time she was trying to save him, she thought he was the friend in darkness she was struggling to reach.

She remembered what Grimm had said. 'He's an exceptional guy. In all the years that you've known him - has he ever done anything to willfully hurt you? But how many times have you done things to hurt him? You've lied to him - you've ditched him - you've marginalized and criticized him at almost every level. And still he's stuck with you. Frankly, you don't deserve him.'

She heard Kim-i-i shouting at her during their battle. 'Ron was always there for you to step on when you wanted to look a little taller! What kind of monster are you?'

She buried her face in her hands. 'The friend in darkness wasn't Ron - it was me all along.'

She started as she heard her Kimmunicator beeping, but it wasn't Wade. It was a text message from Ron. The bright blue letters flashed across the Kimmunicator screen. Back from Smarty-Mart. Can u come over? - Ron

Kim turned off the Kimmunicator, trying to muster her courage. She'd had no lack of courage while Ron was missing. She had worked harder and fought longer than she ever remembered to save him. And now it was time for her to save him again. Though the thought of what she would have to do to save him now filled her with dread.

( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - )

When she entered the Stoppable's backyard, she looked around but couldn't see Ron anywhere. Under the deeper shade beneath the tree house, she spotted a white sign fastened to the tree. In black marker, it read, 'Up Here, KP'

She climbed up the rickety planks nailed to the tree trunk and hoisted herself up through the trap door. Ron was standing in front of the moth-eaten couch, but he was wearing his tux. Not the ugly, frilly blue one he had worn at Junior Prom, but the nice black one he'd worn at Homecoming. He was even wearing dress shoes.

'Ron?' she said. 'What's the sitch?'

'No sitch, KP.' he said, waving his hand. 'Well, I guess there is one but it's not a super-villainey thing.' He sighed. 'Kim, we need to talk. You've been avoiding me since we got back, and I think I know why.'

Kim felt as if clammy fingers were closing around her insides. She suspected he'd picked up on the awkwardness, but deep down she had also hoped his normally innocent nature would overlook it. 'Ron...' she said, but he broke over her.

'Nah, don't deny it KP!' he said, and there was no trace of bitterness or anger that she could hear. He sounded more like he was trying out his guess at a riddle. 'I can tell. And... I don't blame you.'

Kim was confused now, because it was Ron who sounded guilty. And before she could say anything, he started what sounded like a speech he had practiced beforehand.

'Monique and Felix have been asking what it was like when I was... away.' he said. 'At first there was Monkey Fist to deal with, then it was just too weird to think about. I haven't told anyone yet, because I wanted to tell you first. It's time for me to do something I meant to do almost a year ago, but never got around to - talk about my feelings!'

Kim felt nearly spellbound as he looked down at his feet. 'When I was in the Spirit World, I hung out with Rhonda.' he said, 'There really wasn't much to do except talk. So we talked a lot. Somehow our own bad vibes came to haunt us while we were there. Rhonda was taking it pretty hard, so I kind of helped her out by teaching her how to groove like the Ron-man.'

'But some of the things we talked about got me thinking. And I saw something that I'd never thought about before. I saw I haven't been a very good boyfriend. When you started going out with Eric, I freaked because I thought I was losing you. Then after that thing with the Diablos, you took me to prom and... it was all so amazing.'

'And not long after that, I blew it. I mean, I'd been trying to find a girlfriend for ages. Then suddenly I had one - the most bon-diggety GF anyone could ask for! Someone smart, and beautiful, and talented. I should have been thanking my lucky stars every day and treating you like a queen. But instead I wound up treating it all like it was just another toy, or a game I could put on the shelf without thinking twice. And I'd just expect it to be there ready and waiting when I got back. But dating's not like that. It's not supposed to be like that.'

He heaved a sigh and looked straight at her. 'I can't go back and change all the lousy things I've done.' he said. 'But I can do my best to make up for it.' He snapped his fingers and Rufus pushed a box tied with a pink bow across the couch. Ron picked it up and held it out to her. 'Happy Three-Quarter-Versary, Kim.' he said, smiling.

Kim numbly took the box. 'Three... Quarter-Versary?'

Ron grinned, shrugging. 'Cuz it's about three quarters of a year since we started dating! You remember that belt you gave me for our Half-Aversary? In the Spirit World I realized that I never gave you anything. I was selfish and stupid. This is just... my way of saying I'm sorry.'

Kim opened the box and gasped. It was a dress. A duplicate of the dress that had been ruined by the Diablos, and moreover she could see a logo stamped inside the lid. 'Country Club Banana?' she said. 'Ron, this must've cost...'

Ron waved his hand again. 'Well, since I'm on a homework-only diet until further notice, so I figured I might as well sell the Y-box and use my game money to get you something special.'

'Ron you shouldn't have...' said Kim, shaking her head.

'That's another thing.' he said, and his face was beet red. 'When I was a millionaire, I spent all that money on myself and I didn't even think about you. And you tried to warn me to be careful with it, but I wouldn't listen. I'm sorry about that too.'

Kim felt her breath short. 'Ron, don't...' But again, Ron spoke over her.

'I know,' he said with another wave, 'You're thinking, what's the point of a dress without an occasion to wear it? Check out the card!'

Then Kim noticed a card lying on top of the dress. It was a reservation for Chez Chouteaux. 'Oh no...' said Kim. In any other circumstance, she'd be swept off her feet by all this. But given what she swore she would do for Ron's sake, it only made things worse.

'Yeah, I know the first time we went there it didn't turn out so well.' he said, smiling. 'That's another thing I realized in the Spirit World - that I can be kinda thoughtless. When we first went to Chez Choteaux, I was goofing around with coupons and crayons when I should have been trying to be a little more grown up. I don't get embarrassed much, so I never realized how embarrassed you might be. But we can go back now, and I promise - I won't gorf out, or turn into an orange troll, or try to scam a cheap meal.'

Kim felt tears building. It was all so wonderful, but after her spiritual journey, it was also painful. 'Please stop...' she whispered, but Ron didn't seem to hear her.

'Remember when you got your memory wiped?' he said, again looking ashamed. 'You remembered everything except that I was your boyfriend. In fact you looked totally gorched out when I said we were dating. I guess since I wasn't a memorable boyfriend, I was easy to forget. When you got your memory back, you said, 'I think I love you'. If it had been me, I wouldn't be a hundred percent sure either. You made the effort, and like a total sap, I didn't. All I cared about was myself. And it's just another thing I did wrong that I can set right.'

He bit his lip and looked her full in the eyes. 'Kim, I know guys aren't really good at talking about stuff like this. But I want you know I luuuuh.....' He paused, coughed and took a deep breath. 'I luuuuuh....' he tried again, putting his hand over his eyes. '...I luuuuuh-ve you.' he finished at last, looking like he'd unshouldered a heavy weight. 'I love you, KP. And I hope someday, you can be sure you really love me.'

He looked at her, smiling. 'So what do you say, KP? Would you like a night on the town with a guy who's learned his lesson about how to treat a lady?'

Kim looked into Ron's face. This was what she had fought for, suffered for. To have Ron back. And more, he had stepped up. Not just against Maze and Monkey Fist, but he was promising to make up for all the things that had ever gotten on her nerves. But instead of feeling joy, or passion or even relief, she felt unworthy, and tainted. Ron wasn't even kissing her now, but somehow everything she had seen in her visions with the Mystical Monkey flashed through her mind and seared her heart. All the shame and pity and remorse over what she'd gone through, what she'd seen Ron go through - because of her.

She bit her quivering lip. Death rays. Mad scientists. Golems, synthodrones and evil henchmen by the dozens. She had stared them all in the face without any fear. But she found herself unable to look into a single pair of loving brown eyes. Eyes that belonged to someone with a heart and a spirit so pure and bright that it had hurt her own eyes just to look at him.

    Listen to your heart 2.0    

Ron stared as Kim suddenly dropped the Country Club Banana box as if it was stinging her. She covered her tear-streaked eyes and jumped down through the trapdoor onto the lawn below the tree house. Ron stood there dumbfounded, watching through the rough window as she ran down the street towards her house. He turned his eyes to Rufus, who looked back at him and shrugged.

'I shouldn't have reminded her about the coupon book.' said Ron.

Part II
Cuz Breaking Up Is Hard On You

Mrs. Dr. Possible was fixing dinner in the kitchen when she heard a door slamming and a thumping of footsteps heading upstairs. She went out into the living room. 'Kim?' she said. 'Is that you...?' But there was another door slamming upstairs from Kim's loft.

A few seconds later, there was a knock at the front door, and Ron Stoppable was there, looking very strange in a formal suit and tie. His normally smiling face was frowning and uncertain. 'Uh... hey Mrs. Dr. P. Is... Kim home?' he asked hesitantly.

'She just went upstairs I think.' said Mrs. Dr. Possible.

Ron was blushing. 'I know Mr. Dr. P might have issues - but its kinda important.' he said. 'Could I go up and see her?'

Mrs. Dr. Possible nodded. As Ron went up the stairs, she stared after him. Her mother's intuition was fairly reliable, and at the moment, it was sounding all kinds of alarm bells. 'Oh dear...' she said quietly.

( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - ) ( - )

Through her closed and tear-filled eyes, Kim could still see Ron sitting alone on a see-saw while she dated Eric. She saw Ron being attacked by a giant roach while she ran away to save herself. She saw Ron laughing evilly as the Mega-Synaptic Transducer reversed the good and evil of everyone on Earth...

She heard a knock at the door, and Ron's muffled voice. 'Kim?'

She didn't want to let him in. But she had to. She owed him that much. Still, she couldn't bring herself to look him in the eye as she opened the door. Instead she heard his voice, hurt but still trying valiantly to be of good humor.

'Uh... was the dress the wrong color or something?' he said.

Another rising of tears swelled in her eyes, but she fought it back. 'No.' she said, her voice breaking. 'It was perfect - everything was perfect.'

He sounded baffled. 'Then, what's the sitch?'

'Ron...' she said breathlessly. 'I... I don't think we should date anymore.'

Ron stood there, his mouth hanging open, looking as if she had kicked him. 'Whuh.... why?' he said.

She gritted her teeth, convinced that she was doing the right thing for him. 'I just... don't think we're right for each other.' she said.

Ron was spluttering. 'Kim... why?' he said again. 'If it's something I forgot about... or something I did - whatever it is, I can change!'

Kim had to fight to keep herself from crying. It was so totally Ron. All the guilt coursing through her, and he was asking if there was anything he could do. How could she explain that his every generous word felt like a dagger piercing her? How could she help him understand that it was his kindness that was hurting her now?

She wasn't sure she could explain or understand it herself. All she knew was that the more Ron tried to make her feel better, the worse she felt. His love felt poisonous to her, because it was a gift she didn't deserve. 'Ron please.' she said. 'There's nothing you can do because it's not about you... it's about me.' she realized how stupid it sounded the instant she said it, but there was really no other way she could think of.

Ron's voice sounded numb. 'Kim, getting back to you was what kept me from losing it in the Spirit World.' he said. 'Now you're saying that all along you were just going to dump me?'

'No!' said Kim. She couldn't let him walk away with a thought like that. 'This isn't about me dumping you, or me wanting to see anyone else. There isn't anyone else. It's got nothing to do with crushes or Bonnie... It's just... complicated.'

Ron shook his head. 'I thought love was complicated, but not this complicated!' he said. 'I could laugh it off when all the other girls at school said the same thing! But not now - not like this! After everything we've just been through?'

'Please don't be angry.' she said, and her voice was a whisper. 'And please don't hate me. But I can't be your girlfriend anymore.'

Ron was shaking his head, looking baffled and desperate. 'Kim...' he started forward, holding out his hand.

And Kim saw Ron holding out his hand to her while she turned and was walking away in the dojo in Middleton, just after threatening his place on the team if he didn't step up... She flinched and pulled away. She couldn't bear to be close to him the way she felt now. 'Ron, please don't!' she said. And a pair of thick tears escaped her efforts to hold them back, rolling down her face before she could wipe them away.

Ron halted in mid-step. He looked more stunned by the sight of her crying than anything else. His mouth opened, then closed, as if he wanted to say something. But her tears seemed to have conveyed to him what she couldn't say in words.

His face was pale as he turned and walked slowly from the room. He looked more slumped and defeated than she had ever seen. He looked back at her, his hand on the door frame. 'If... this is what you really want.' he said, and his voice was pleading, 'If it's what you really want... Then... I won't.'

He paused. 'Kim, I don't want us to be together because I argued you into it. I spent enough time in the Spirit World to know that's not what either of us would want. I'd fight an army of monkeys for you. But I can't fight you.'

Kim bit her lip. It was all she could do to keep herself from running up to him and throwing her arms around him, but she stayed motionless and silent. With a last pitiful look, Ron closed the door behind him. She heard his footsteps moving away and the closing of another door. He was gone.

Kim turned and walked to her bed, sinking down onto the sheets. Then she rolled over onto her stomach, buried her face in the pillow and burst into tears.

Coming Soon:
Chapter 37

What is a place where weak metals go to become stronger?

Author: Some of you are probably looking at this chapter and wagging your heads and thinking, 'Didn't this guy say over and over that he wasn't going to do anything to interfere with established KP canon? What the heck is this? He broke up Kim and Ron? Why that.... no good... so-and-so! (Or something like that) Well - how do you know this wasn't my plan all along? To trick you into thinking that my stories would fit right into the KP universe without any major changes?

You'll have to go through the previous chapters and pick out any clues you might have missed :) But notice - the end of this chapter does NOT say 'The End'. And the story's not officially over until the words 'The End' show up. So no, it's not over yet. Are Kim and Ron broken up for good? Will the Mystical Monkey return? Will Team Probable have anything to do with all this? Don't miss a finale so syrupy you'll be blowing your noses with pancakes!

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