Ron pressed against her (probably unconsciously) as he braced himself for a jump scare. "Shit," he whispered, jolting at the loud scream and sending popcorn flying everywhere. "I knew it was coming up too... Never split up! It's the first basic rule to horror movies!" Kim clawed at the remaining popcorn, chewing hard on kernels despite knowing they'd get stuck in her molars. Ron turned to her. "I mean, really, you'd think they'd have learned by now." One of his legs was folded upward, sock-clad sole resting flat on the couch and the other bent underneath it; she sat crisscrossed, knee pressing into his side.
"Seriously. This has happened in every movie we've watched tonight."
"Maybe horror movies weren't such a good idea," muttered Ron, bringing their shared blanket over his shoulders.
"We'll watch a comedy later," she stated blandly, like that would make up for the several hours of eerie music and jump scares.
"I'm just... not gonna watch the rest." And with that, he threw the cover over himself, seemingly deciding that the makeshift tent would prove efficient in waiting out the rest of the film.
"Okay," she declared, turning off the TV, and tossing the empty bowl on the coffee table, "come on. I've got 'Double Quote' downloaded on the Kimmunicator."
Ron peeked his head out from his safe haven, giving a little smile as he watch his best friend head up the stairs to her room. He grabbed the blanket and started after her, nearly positive he'd heard a low gurgling noise sounding from the kitchen.
The Possible household was silent for once. Jim and Tim were sleeping over at a friend's and Friday nights were her parents' date nights, so she and Ron had the entire place to themselves. And unlucky for them, the creaks and groans echoing from within the house (that always seem louder and more frequent than you remember after you've watched several horror movies in a row) were leaving them a little on edge.
Around midnight, they were someways through the comedy film and she swore she heard her front door creek open. Footsteps bounded up the stairs, and she tried to reassure herself that it was her parents, letting her know they were home and heading off to bed. She moved a little ways from Ron—just in case.
Didn't want her parents getting the wrong idea.
Even though she was pretty sure her mom could walk in on them having full blown sex and she'd still ask how he was and if he was staying for dinner (or—more appropriately—breakfast).
Sure enough, there was a knock on her trap door and Mr. Possible's head poked in.
"Just got back, Kimmy-Cub. Hiya, Ronald."
"Hey Mr. P."
"Alright, not too late you two. Your mother and I are heading off to bed. G'night."
"Night, Mr. P."
She scooted back closer again. Ron didn't even shift. Come to think of it, he hadn't taken his eyes off the screen, even when her dad had come in.
Then, he burst into fits of giggles, squeezing his eyes shut and draping an arm across his forehead, angling his body further into hers. He was warm.
She turned to the screen to see the main character in patterned boxers, another character sprinting off with his pants.
"Remind you of anyone?" Kim teased.
She couldn't help it.
"Oh, ha-ha. I see how it is."
"Sorry," she snickered, not sounding apologetic in the least.
"I am a flawed man KP and I am not ashamed of it."
She patted his shoulder. "Good to see you looking on the bright side, Ron."
Somehow, he didn't feel all that encouraged.
The glowing numbers on her alarm clock let her know it was probably too late to be up. Another movie she didn't really care to recognize was playing on the Kimmunicator laying flat on Ron's lap. The boy in question had his head tilted back, soft snores emitting from him. She, too, had fallen asleep long ago and was only a little surprised to wake up and see her best friend in his usual change of clothes. They each had extra clothes at the other's place, just in case of mission emergencies... or I'm-too-comfortable-to-move-and-am-therefore-staying-the-night emergencies.
He'd probably watched through two other movies entirely, before falling asleep partway through the third. Carefully, she picked up the device and set it to the side of her bed, plugging in the charger.
If Wade paged through right about now, she wasn't all that sure she'd answer. And judging by the sounds emitted from Ron, he wouldn't either.
She shifted again and, without really thinking, threw an arm over Ron's torso and drifted off.
Ron awoke in the early hours, perhaps partially due to the fact that he wasn't in his own bed. His eyes fluttered open and he stared at Kim's bedroom ceiling, moving his arms up to rub at his eyes. Upon further observation, however, he noticed the feeling of restriction by a pleasant weight along his ribs. He cast his gaze down and jerked involuntarily at the sight of his best friend tucked in his side, nose wedged at the top of his rib cage and arm thrown over his torso.
It wasn't as if they hadn't ended up in the questionable positions that often came with sharing a bed before, but this... this felt a little too couple-esque for him. Was he supposed to wake her up?
Oh, hey KP, didn't mean to wake you up at seven AM on a Saturday, but you see your arm is kind of comfortably warm and you smell good and look adorable in your sleep and, really, I can't be doing this right now. So yeah, thanks for the night over, but, uh, I'll just be going now. C'yaatschoolokaybye!
That's... definitely not how he wanted it to go.
He wasn't exactly worried about someone walking in on them—everyone knew not to wake up Kim on the weekend—so he wondered if he should just wait until she woke up.
But he did kind of have to pee...
It took him all of five minutes before deciding he'd just slip out and if she didn't wake up: fantastic, and if she did... well, he'd deal with the consequences.
The very scary consequences.
He'd just lifted the cover when a familiar text tone went off and he winced as he watched Kim stir into consciousness, mumbling what vaguely sounded like 'motherfucker'.
He took it back; he was glad he hadn't been the one to disturb her sleep after all.
She reached over behind her, blindly feeling for the Kimmunicator and answering the call. "What the fuck, Wade."
And, that was a change...
Ron held his breath.
"I know, Kim, I don't want to be awake either," Wade replied, sipping from a mug.
"Whoa, wait, Wade you drink coffee?" Ron interrupted, unable to keep his curiosity at bay.
The kid was, like, eleven.
"Actually, it's hot chocolate," he responded sheepishly. "My mom won't let me drink coffee." Kim shot them both a look of irritation, effectively silencing their conversation and provoking the preteen to proceed with his reasons for waking her up at this ungodly hour. "Alerts have been going off all around the tri-city for the past three hours. I was able to hack into the mainframes of one of the companies broken into and, well..." Security footage of Señor Senior, Jr. and his father somehow getting past high tech security—and copious amounts of it at that—manifested on the screen of the device. "This is one of the biggest corporations in the world, Kim: C-Tech Industries. The kind of skill they would've needed to get passed that kind of security is insane."
"And you were able to hack them, how?" Kim asked, roguishly.
Wade sat back in his chair pridefully, throwing an arm around the back of his head and shrugging.
"You da man Wade," Ron praised, leaning over Kim.
"I know," the prodigy smiled. "Also are you guys sharing a bed?"
"Okay, Wade nice talking to you gottagobye!"
Half an hour later, Ron fidgeted with anticipation as they road a bus to Upperton. It was a pretty normal tendency for him, seeing how he usually ended up bruised and sore after villain fights. They probably still had another half hour to go and Kim brooded indignantly.
"You know what the rest of the world is doing right now?" she huffed with her arms crossed haughtily.
"Well the bus driver isn't sleep—"
"The rest of the world, Ron!"
There was a moment of silence before he glanced at her shyly.
"You could always sleep now? I've been told I have quite the comfortable shoulder."
"Oh, yeah?" she smiled, all trace of anger replaced with jest. "By whom?"
"People," he muttered. "It's cause I don't work out," he added, with a little self-deprecating laugh.
"Well whoever they are, they were right," she murmured, after nestling in the crook of his neck.
"Night, Kim," he said, looking anywhere but at her.
Precisely 26 minutes later (he had kept count) they arrived in Upperton. He shook Kim awake before grabbing her hand and gently guiding the sleep-ridden girl off the bus. She was still bleary eyed by the time they started off to the flashing lights. Nevertheless, not even her parents would've been able to tell she was sleep deprived with the fake smile she put on.
"Hi, Mr. Simms, is it? Kim Possible." She stuck out a gloved hand politely, which the tall man in a tailored suit that probably cost more than her house graciously shook.
"Yes, I've heard an abundance about you. Thank you so much for coming."
He bent down to kiss her knuckles and Kim shuttered involuntarily.
Ron wrinkled his nose. She's seventeen, he thought. You pig.
Twisting out of his grip, she grit her teeth and turned to analyze the situation. "Can you tell me exactly what happened?"
The man cleared his throat. "From the security footage all we can make out are two men sneaking in. Apart from that, nothing was stolen or even moved out of place, really."
Kim turned to face Ron, who looked just shy of perplexed. "Señor Senior Sr. and Jr. not stealing anything? Sounds like a load to me."
"Yeah," she agreed, and directed her attention to the business owner once more. "Mind if we look around?"
"Be my guest, Miss Possible."
There was a tone to his voice that just didn't sit well with her. "Thanks," she forced out. "Oh, and in the future, please ensure a higher profile security system." Eleven year olds can hack into your cheap garbage. (Although Wade was far beyond the average intelligence of an eleven year old, but that was beside the point.)
Mr. Simms looked almost embarrassed and she had to fight to suppress a smirk.
"I assure you, Miss Possible, we will."
Kim is fine, thanks.
Inside the building, she and Ron scoured the place for anything out of the ordinary, though she figured it would prove a tough feat.
Finally the blond let out a long sigh, turning to his partner. "What exactly are we looking for, KP?"
"I'm not sure, if I'm being honest," she replied a little bashfully. "I just thought we'd find something. A clue—something."
"There's this can of hair spray," he added, picking up the discarded aluminum. "But we already know it's Junior's."
"Leave it to him to leave a can of hair spray at a crime scene," she muttered. "I guess we should use it for evidence anyway."
One flammable aerosol scan and thirty-four (Ron counted, again) bus stops (that seemed to only progressively increase Kim's grumpiness) later and they were back at her place.
"Someone up there made a wise decision to make it a weekend," she grumbled, rummaging through her dresser for a change of clothes as Ron grabbed his discarded overnight ones.
And that was the thing about Kim: she often found herself very comfortable in front of her best friend. So when he turned to find her with her back to him, bra visible as she shrugged over a different crop top, it was all he could do to not yelp. She'd done this before, many times in fact, and every time was the same: with no warning and so quickly Ron usually ended up shielding his eyes longer than necessary.
Finally, she turned to him in a completely new outfit, hair tied and pulled through a baseball cap. "I feel like I wasted my time."
"You promise you'll be there for people when they need you and that's exactly what you did, KP. We'll figure out what the Seniors are up to eventually. Just... take it easy for the time being, okay?"
She shot him a grateful smile. "Yeah. Thanks, Ron."
"Anytime," he replied softly, mirroring her smile.
Moments like these seemed to be playing out a lot more frequently recently, but he forced himself to push the impeding thoughts aside, taking the moment for what it was instead.
And not what it was this morning, which led him to want to jump back into bed with her and watch movies the entire day.
"Speaking of taking it easy," she started and Ron wondered briefly if she'd somehow developed the ability to read minds within the last ten minutes, "Bueno Nacho?"
"Kim you are speaking my language!" he boasted, hurrying ahead of her.
And then it was nachos and nacos and Rufus dancing on the table top, munching on a meal of his own.
"You know this is probably not a great breakfast option."
Ron looked royally offended. "KP, there is never a set time for Bueno Nacho. Naco time is all the time."
"Yeah, tell that to your grumbling stomach," she countered, gesturing vaguely with a cheese-covered nacho. He turned away, silently conceding to the whine emitted from his belly. The Kimmunicator text tone went off and Kim reached for it, answering the call. "Go Wade."
"I see you're significantly less grumpy," he mused through the screen.
"I bought her food—that's why," Ron added, earning him a glare from the girl in question.
Wade stifled a laugh before commencing his report. "Anyway, I scanned the hair spray and I can't find it anywhere in department stores."
"That's kind of... weird," murmured Kim in thought.
"It gets weirder. I thought it might've been imported, but there aren't any traces of this thing anywhere—no archives, no high tech designer company, no nothing. And, it was found at every building they broke into last night."
"That is weird," Ron chimed in.
"Do you think it's custom made?" asked the redhead.
"Way ahead of you, Kim."
"Maybe Junior just couldn't find a product he liked?" suggested Ron, not sounding convinced himself.
"With all the hair gel he owns? Doubtful."
"I'm willing to bet it's not ordinary hair spray. Or hair spray, at all," added Wade, a tone of finality in his voice.
"See what you can find?"
The call was ended with the familiar dismissal sound, and Kim set the device on the table.
There was heavy silence in the air and then:
"You're not gonna be able to stop thinking about this until he calls back, are you?"
"Nope," she replied listlessly, shoving a handful of nachos in her mouth.
"You're stressing," he pointed out.
She shook her leg under the table, pointedly.
"KP, you're stressing."
He saw her swallow harshly, staring elsewhere and tapping her fingertips on the tabletop.
"Kiiiiim," he singsonged, "you're stressing!"
As if on cue, she flinched, sending her half-empty basket of melted cheese clattering to floor. He eyed her calculatingly, making one of those I-told-you-so faces.
"Okay, so I'm stressing! So what?" she defended, leaning over to pick up the discarded plastic and setting it aside on the table.
"You know what," he countered. "You just fed the floor perfect, triangular, cheesy goodness! This happened last year during finals; you got so stressed you didn't sleep for a week!"
"I had to study!"
"How much did you learn while sleep deprived?" he challenged.
She sunk a little further into the booth. "Point taken."
"Point delivered," the blond shrugged, reclining in the booth and slurping his second soda refill.
"That's... not how that works."
"Point is," he pressed, "you need to chillax a little. Cruise into ease-ville. Or... ease into cruise-ville. One of those.”
"You own a permanent residence in one of those, Mr. Nonchalance?"
"...You can bunk with me."
She smirked at his small defeat, despite knowing he'd won the entire debate. "So how do I go about chillaxing?"
"Well, lucky for you, The Ron-Master is quite the chilled out guy," he replied, indicating himself with his thumbs.
"Meaning you can supply all the chill-pills?"
"Did you just imply that I'm a drug dealer?"
"Maybe," she said, pressing her lips together to stifle a laugh.
"I am both alarmed and flattered."
This time she did laugh, silently thanking whatever god was up there that she could call the character sitting across from her her best friend.
"The first step to chillaxing is ridding your mind of any worries."
She sat cross-legged on his carpeted living room floor with her eyes closed, attempting to calm down a little, per Ron's initiatives.
"What are you thinking about?" He kneeled behind her, rubbing at her tense shoulders and attempting to actually calm down the ball of nerves that was his best friend.
"Well, there's the whole hair spray thing and I'm kinda worried that Wade's not gonna find anything and that Senior and Junior'll realize they can get away with stuff and they'll start doing more evil and I won't be able to stop them, and then Drakken will start coming up with things and maybe I won't be able to stop him either and Shego will laugh in my face, because finally—finally!—the great Kim Possible has been defeated— which, speaking of, do you think Shego and Drakken have a thing going on because honestly I kind of ship it? Also, I have that Chem project due Wednesday and I'm scared I'm not gonna get it done on time, which, really, I should just be able to ask for an extension because hello, I'm Kim Possible! I'm kind of busy saving the world! But that sounds kind of cocky doesn't it? I couldn't do that. And then Bonnie'll stick her nose into things and mess with my life for the umpteenth billion time and honestly I can't even blame her for it all that much 'cause I think she's got a lot of problems at home but that doesn't excuse her behavior obviously. I just don't think I should be the one to interfere with that, you know? Oh, and Monique—"
"Jesus Christ, Kim, does your brain ever stop working?"
"What do you mean?" pouted Kim. "You don't think about stuff all the time?"
He shook his head, a blank stare on his face. "Eighty percent of the time I'm trying to remember the last time I gave Rufus a bath. I feel like it was a pretty long time ago."
Upon hearing this, Rufus moved from his spot on the couch to hide behind a cushion, shuddering and whimpering out the word 'bath' in a desperate tone.
"Come on, buddy, you're gonna have to take one eventually." The mole rat cried out incoherent protests while his owner turned his attention back to the girl in front of him. "Okay, try this: think of nothing."
Silence hung in the room while he went back to attempting to rub out the knots in Kim's shoulders.
"What are you thinking about?"
"The fact that you can't remember the last time you gave Rufus a bath. And now I know where that stench is coming from. Funny, this whole time I thought it was you."
"Kim!" Ron stood up, moving to sit in front of his friend and giving her a look.
"I’m sorry! I can't help it, I can't 'think of nothing'."
"Okay... let's have a spa day instead!"
"A spa day?" she repeated.
"You are probably the world's number one defier of gender roles."
"I'm a feminist, too."
"The total package."
"It's been two days Ron. Why hasn't Wade beeped?"
"You've been staring at the Kimmunicator for half an hour, put it down."
Kim surrendered with a sigh, letting the device drop to the ground and rolling over to face Ron, who was staring at the grey light of his TV through the darkness of his room. It had been a birthday present from his parents: a fifteen inch square TV set with over a hundred channels to flip through. His room was nice, and Kim often found herself surprised at the lack of clothes littering his floor, save for the odd sock somewhere by his bed.
"I can't believe the spa day didn't work."
"It did wonders for my skin though, and I am forever in your humble debt."
Ron spared a glance at her and she had the cheesiest grin on her face. He found it hard to look away, but forced himself to direct his attention back to the screen at the other end of his room. He began speaking again—something of the show he was halfheartedly watching—when he turned to sneak another look at her and saw her fast asleep, cheek smushed against the mattress instead of a pillow. He watched her for a bit; the calmness in her expression the one he'd been trying to get her to acquire for days—and yet she achieved it so easily the second she fell into slumber.
Slowly, he began to drift off as well, unconsciously inching closer to her warmth.
"What fucking time is it?"
Ron opened his eyes groggily to the sight of Kim leaning over his bed and searching for what he assumed was causing all the ruckus at two in the morning. As she shifted on her back he noticed his arm tucked over her waist and hastily pulled back.
Had he been spooning her?
Oh God, he'd been spooning her.
Had she noticed? Ron didn't think so. And even if she had, she didn't seem to let on to being bothered by it.
"Sorry for the late call Kim, but there've been four more break-ins all by the Seniors. But get this. I was able to hack into a security camera outside of building and... well... see for yourself.
Monochrome, fuzzy film of Señor Senior Senior and Señor Senior Junior spraying aerosol solvent at security systems and breaking in without a trace appeared over the small screen.
"Whoa. Rewind, pause." Kim stated. "There, zoom in."
Ron's eyes widened. "The hair spray."
"Yeah. Turns out the hair spray isn't hair spray at all. It makes the security systems go dead for, like, five minutes. Enough to get in, get the job done and get out, without anyone even knowing. Until the next morning, of course. Here's the genius behind it though: it makes the cameras go dead too. So unless you've got a separate circuit or more than one system, you'd never be able to catch them."
"Unless they leave a can at the scene of the crime," Ron interjected.
"The Seniors have stepped up their game, but not by much apparently," added Kim. "We're on it Wade."
"We're on it Wade?" Ron repeated after she'd ended the call. "It's two in the morning."
But Kim was already up and out from his bed, changing into her saving-the-world uniform so fast Ron didn't even have time to look away. She always packed one with her, no matter where she was going. "Come on. Up," she said.
"Kim," he whined, stretching out her name.
"It'll get me to relax," she taunted.
"Sleep has that exact same effect," he mumbled, dragging himself out from under the covers.
Kim back-flipped out of the way of a laser beam. What was it with the Seniors and laser beams, Ron wondered. He searched frantically through desk drawers and filing cabinets for a secret formula or blue prints—something relating to the faux hair spray. Giving up, he ran to the next room over, pawing at shelves and bookcases as Kim screeched. "Ron! Might wanna hurry it up a little!"
He spun around—his intent to move on to the next room in the lair—and was met with a giant painting. The metaphoric lightbulb went off above Ron's head and he yanked the large frame off the wall to reveal a safe hidden behind it. If a top-secret formula had to be hidden anywhere, this was it. He clicked his tongue. "I'm a little disappointed, Seniors." And then called out to his partner, ushering her over.
She snapped into action, moving agilely toward him. Kim stilled for a moment in front of the safe, before leaping out of the way and dragging Ron with her. She fell on top of him, shielding him completely from the debris, and he moved to cover her head with his arms as best he could while the safe exploded to pieces.
When they finally gauged that it was safe enough to get up, flames and soot replaced the the alcove where the safe had been. "I'd say our job is done here," declared Kim, wiping her hands together as though she'd just completed some mundane, insignificant task.
Ron stood on shaky legs, muttering something about cheap material and 'aren't those things supposed to be fireproof?'
"How do you feel?" he asked as they walked out of the precarious building, already hearing sirens in the distance.
"Accomplished," she replied, counting off a finger. "Dignified, humbled, a little bit like I just got off a roller coaster, and... kind of relaxed."
"Kim, you're probably the only person in the world who could do ten cartwheels in a row in order to dodge things that could potentially end your life and feel relaxed—of all things.
"What can I say?" she shrugged, more than likely about to make a pun when Ron interjected.
"You're a psychopath. That's what you can say."
"Aw you're just bitter you weren't able to get me to chill.
"Maybe," he pouted. "I should've known to just throw you into a pit of lions or something."
That got a laugh out of her, and begrudgingly, Ron found himself laughing right along with her.
Kim suggested going out that night, to the mall or a movie—something to get Ron's mind off the Senior fiasco—but he preferred to stay in, claiming he couldn't move another muscle. So they ordered in from Bueno Nacho and found themselves back on Kim's couch, a pile of forgotten homework left discarded on the coffee table. Phenomenal Racing Karts II was already in the gaming system underneath the TV, and neither of them really felt like searching through Jim and Tim's video game collection, so Kim handed her best friend a console and they began a multitude of races against one another.
By the end Ron had won—just like always—but not by much, and Kim felt too tired to do anything else but stare at cheesy, repetitive infomercials.
He changed channel, not quite as unbothered by the bad acting and monotone voiceover. “What are you thinking of?”
“How much I wanna cuddle with you.”
“Wow, you are always thinking.”
Floored, Kim wondered how something like that could go over his head.
She took it back.
He turned, eyes meeting hers, trying to gauge whether she was serious or not. He was met with a tired smile, but no sign of insincerity. Ron settled on a channel, making himself comfortable next to her and dragging the blanket down as he did so. He slung an arm over her waist.
“This is brave of you.”
Ron sniggered, pressing his nose into Kim’s shoulder. “If you’re always thinking, then I guess I can be the one who doesn't.”
“You’re already that person, what are you talking about?”
“Hey, shh—just pretend I was being cute, okay.”
“You’re always cute.”
“Did you just say that without thinking?”
And Ron was warm, just like always.
It was funny, because he really didn’t have to do anything to calm her; all he had to do was be himself. And in little moments like this, snuggled up with him under the covers, was where she relished comfort in the chaos of her life. Kim Possible—world renown teen superhero—could certainly fend for herself. But when it came to just being Kim—over-thinker and ball of stress—Ron was always there to make sure she wouldn't have to.