Story: If You Build a Better Monkey (all chapters)

Authors: Allaine

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Chapter 1

Title: Chapter One

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Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (1/??)
Author: Allaine

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron". Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.
Summary: Their relationship for once secure, Kim and Shego follow a lead to central Africa, where Monkey Fist and a new ally believe that with their new and improved minions, the world will beat a path to their door.

Chapter 1

"Don't you love the irony?" Kim asked.

Shego chuckled. "Oh, irony's nice, although I was always partial to sarcasm. Both had a tendency to go over Drakken's head, though."

"I remember," Kim said dryly. "I'm sure this would stick in even HIS craw."

THIS was one of two abandoned secret labs Drakken had built in the vicinity of Middleton. Both times his evil schemes had been designed to strike Kim Possible close to home. Both times they failed - though it wasn't for lack of Shego trying.

At any rate, this hideout, like so many of Drakken's, had fallen into disrepair. It would take a lot of cleaning and renovation. On the other hand, nobody owned it now, so obtaining ownership wouldn't be too difficult. And, for all Drakken's failings, he did know how to build a halfway decent headquarters. Of course there were always a couple ways for intruders to slip inside - how else had Kim gotten in? But unlike Drakken, Kim and Shego could locate them and close them off.

In short, it was the best Kim Possible Inc. could do in these circumstances. Assuming Dr. Director agreed.

"Needs work," the former head of GJ was saying as she inspected the building.

Thomas sneezed.

"And a maid," she added as she knelt in front of her adopted son's stroller and rubbed his nose with a tissue. "But, with our budget, we're not going to do much better. And it has potential." Dr. Director glanced back. "It's kind of like you, Shego."

"Uh, what?"

"Well, looking at you years ago, who would have thought you would become the person you are now?"

Shego folded her arms and didn't smile. "I'm sensing an insult there."

"She does have a point," Kim said as she slipped her arms around Shego's waist. "You weren't exactly a ray of sunshine and light when we were younger."

"Bite me," Shego muttered. She ran a gloved finger down a grimy monitor. "I hope she's not saying it's like me because we're both dirty, too."

"Sadie would say that," Kim murmured, grinning wickedly.

"That's why Sappho likes me more," Shego replied. "I'm not a goody-goody like some people I know."

"Hm? Oh yes, Sadie and Sappho. Thank you for reminding me," Dr. Director said, overhearing them.

"Reminding you of what?" Kim asked, shivering a little as she felt Shego leaning back into her.

"Transportation. Right now our main financial concern is acquiring the vehicles that will get you where you need to go," Dr. Director explained. "I'd like you to speak with Dr. Freeman, make sure you can borrow his inventions when necessary. It's going to take a mission or two before we can afford the kind of ground transport you need. And as for air travel, well, we might need to resort to commercial flights at some point. We can't rely on your doctor's generosity forever. That's why you formed the company, as I recall," she added, looking intently at Kim.

"Right," Kim said quickly. "I'll make sure we're still on his good side."

Shego grumbled. "From Sappho to coach? I don't know if I like the sound of that."

"Maybe we can get on the waiting list for the next S.A.F.O.," Kim suggested.

"Sure. All we'll need is a few million bucks."

Kim sighed. It was going to be hard when they had to give up the self-aware machines. Without them, the Supreme One might have succeeded in killing Ron's parents last month. And it seemed - somehow appropriate that each vehicle had selected different people as their "favorite".

"Also," Dr. Director continued, "this Oryx girl. Could you arrange a meeting?"

"Uh," Kim said, hiding a grin, "I think it could be arranged. Why?"

"She did well against the Acceptables. I'd like to find out what her long-term plans are. It's quite possible that one day the two of you and Ron won't be enough to handle the requests we get. The Oryx might be willing to do freelance work, as a reserve option."

It wasn't long ago that Kim had told Monique she didn't like the idea of her friend risking her life fighting crime. Now Dr. Director wanted to hire her.

Like she'd said, irony.

"I don't know, Kimmie," Dr. Mr. Possible said dubiously. "I realize the SAFO has been useful on your recent missions, but Dr. Freeman built the SAFO with specific objectives in mind. You can't expect him to make his inventions available all the time."

Kim sighed. She loved her father dearly, and she appreciated his swift acceptance of her relationship with Shego, but sometimes she wished she'd treat her like she was an adult.

"Maybe you should try moving out first," a voice whispered in her brain. It sounded so much like Shego that she almost turned to make sure the other woman wasn't there.

"I am right here, you know," Sappho said crossly. "There is no need to talk about me in the third person. Although talking about me as if I was a person would be an improvement." She'd been pouting until now that Kim had come without her favorite pilot.

Dr. Freeman chuckled. "She doesn't like to be called 'the'." Then he scratched his head. "Although he is right, you know. Sappho has passed all her tests. Soon we'll begin drawing up plans for her first unmanned space mission."

Sappho slowly turned a dark shade of blue.

"That went over well," Kim said dryly.

"But I don't want to be an unmanned vessel!" Sappho complained. "It's not fair to give me a personality chip, and then make me spend a year alone in space! How come Sadie gets to stay here? Can't Shego be an astronaut too?"

"No," three people all said at once.

Kim looked at Dr. Freeman again. "Why did you give her personality programming along with her artificial intelligence?" she asked curiously. "I could see the logic if you were sending her on a manned flight, but if she's going to be out in space without a crew, what good does it do her?"

Dr. Freeman began to look uncomfortable. "Well, I never really thought about it that way. I knew there would be some time between her first activation and final testing. I wanted her to be able to communicate with the other machines. I do tend to program personalities into most of my inventions, you know."

"At least give me the toaster!" Sappho whined.

"I could send Sadie with you," he murmured.

"Now you're being mean," she said, sounding genuinely horrified.

Kim groaned. This was a strange side of the brilliant inventor. Then again, if Dr. Drakken had once manipulated him with nothing more than reverse psychology . . .

"This isn't exactly reassuring, Doctor," her father said. "It doesn't matter how well the spaceship works if it lacks proper motivation."

"Removal . . . of the personality implant is an option," Dr. Freeman suggested hesitantly.

Sappho made a shocked noise. Alarm klaxons began blaring, and her hull changed from dark blue to bright red.

"A very unlikely option!" Dr. Freeman quickly added.

The alarms subsided. "You wouldn't really do that to me, would you, Doctor?" Sappho asked quietly. "I function properly, don't I?"

"I'm sorry, Doctor, but there doesn't appear to be any other choice," Dr. Mr. Possible said, frowning. "We're going to have to build a second ship - this time without a personality."

"But - but even relying on our experience building the first SAFO, that could take over a year!" Dr. Freeman protested.

"You should have thought of that before you created a personality that can't be taken away without violating your ethics as a scientist," Kim's father replied. "As for the SA - I mean Sappho, I'm sure we can find a better purpose for her."

"Stunt pilot?" Sappho asked.

"Hardly," Dr. Mr. Possible said, giving Kim a meaningful glance.

Kim froze for a moment. Sometimes he treated her like she was still a child, but as she'd said, most of the time she loved him dearly. Now was such a time. "Why not become a part of Team Possible?" she asked. "I realize she's owned by the lab, and we don't have much in the way of money, but - "

"You want to buy Sappho?" Dr. Freeman asked, surprised.

"I was thinking more - I want to hire her," Kim said. "Sort of a lifetime contract."

Not only did Sappho turn pink, but she seemed to be an even hotter shade than usual. "See, someone who understands me," she said brightly.

Dr. Freeman scratched his head. "She wasn't built with my money, so it's not an issue for me. Your father would be better able to decide."

"I suppose we could work something out," her father said dryly.

The scientist nodded. "Still, Sappho is one of my creations. I'd hate to see her go."

"Oh, Dr. Freeman, I'm not leaving you," Sappho told him. "Now, if you'd sent me into space for a year, THEN I'd be leaving you. Don't you see this is better?"

He smiled. "I guess so," he said.

"Besides," she said smugly, "you'll still have Sadie."

"Actually," Kim said, taking a gamble, "maybe we could talk about her too?"

"So let me get this straight," Shego said as she sprawled on Dr. Director's couch. She snatched one of her gloves from the coffee table nearby before a small pudgy hand could grab it. "Uh-uh, no touchee my gloves," she said to Thomas, wagging a finger at him.

He didn't seem to mind as he returned to disassembling a scientific calculator.

"As I was saying," Shego continued, "you managed to buy Sappho AND Sadie from your father's science lab."

"Not buy," Kim corrected her. "I hired them. They're still on the lab's books, but they're also on our payroll. It's like a lease, since we'll be making monthly payments to the lab."

"How much?" Dr. Director asked from her computer.

Kim smiled. "For now? A dollar."

Shego blinked.

"Not bad," Dr. Director said. "I assume the payments will increase?"

"Dad said we could work out a different financial arrangement once Team Possible Inc. can afford it. Also, Sadie and Sappho will still have some responsibilities to fulfill in connection with the lab."

"Like what?"

"Oh, the occasional expedition," Kim said. "Plus, um, Dr. Freeman's commute."

"Kim - "

"Don't worry, we take priority. Sadie wants to continue driving him back and forth when we don't need her," Kim told her.

Dr. Director nodded. "So we have a headquarters AND transportation for almost nothing. This is most unexpected, but certainly appreciated."

"Yeah," Shego said, grinning. "Maybe we can start thinking about salaries."

"We'll be plowing money into renovating Drakken's old facility first," Dr. Director reminded her.


"Still, I do have some more good news."

Shego studied her nails. "You're saving a bunch of money on your car insurance by switching to Geico?" she mumbled.

Kim giggled.

"No," Dr. Director replied calmly. "I'm saving Team Possible - and you - a 'bunch' of money with your new living arrangements."

Shego sat up. "My what?"

"You had problems with your last apartment, right?"

"Hello? Evil self from the future smashing everything up?"

"And the time before that?"

Shego sighed. "One of DNAmy's creations made a hole in the wall. A hole the size of a minivan."

"Precisely. You're too exposed to your enemies living alone. Besides, I assume you're drawing on your savings to pay your rent?"

She nodded. "I had money stashed somewhere. If the Acceptables had - asked, I probably would have told 'em that too, but a few bucks were beneath their notice."

Kim balanced on the edge of the couch and leaned into Shego, letting her fingers play with her hair. "You showed John though, didn't you?" she whispered.

Shego grunted.

"Well," Dr. Director said awkwardly after a moment. Her hand rose halfway up to her the scar where her ear used to be, but she dropped it. "As I was saying, I think I've found a better use for your money than renting an unsafe apartment. You can become our first investor."

"I'm talking about getting money out of this joint, and she's telling me I should put money into it," Shego grumbled.

"But where is Shego going to live?" Kim asked.

"Why, at our headquarters, of course."

Shego and Kim looked at each other.

"Why the hell didn't I think of that?" Kim said.

"Maybe because it's filthy there?" Shego replied.

"And your money will go a long way toward changing that," Dr. Director told her as she stood up. "I would suggest Kim live there as well, but perhaps it's better that she stay with her family. They could be a target some day too."

"Look at what happened to the Stoppables," Kim said.

"Where is Stoppable anyway?" Shego asked.

"Date with Zita."

"Ah. A girl who needs to expand her horizons, obviously."

"I thought you were going to be nicer to him?" Kim asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I can't keep it up 24/7, Kimmie. Otherwise I'll explode. Spontaneous combustion caused by built-up sarcasm," Shego said, grinning.

"As I was saying," Dr. Director sighed, "there's another reason why Kim shouldn't move into headquarters yet."

"What's that?"

Dr. Director looked a little embarrassed. "Well - then you'd practically be living together. I'm not sure what I'd say to your mother if she found out that was my idea."

Her mother wanted to be kept informed when their relationship moved to "the next level". Kim suspected she'd view her moving in with Shego as vaulting past several levels and hitting the top floor.

"Still," Shego murmured, letting her hand play along Kim's thigh, "since I'll be staying at our place of business, no one can blame us for having all-night planning sessions.

"More like makeout sessions," Kim thought.

Which didn't sound bad at all.

"Moving on," Dr. Director said briskly. She walked past them and crouched next to her toddler. "Thomas, what are you working on, huh? That looks like - a portable silicon phase disruptor? Oh honey, you're such a smart boy!"

"Ten years before my brothers built one," Kim said. "I can't wait to tell them. They'll be insanely jealous of a baby."

Dr. Director chuckled. "I got you an assignment. It's not a paying job, but it serves several purposes."

"And these purposes are better than cash how exactly?" Shego asked.

"It lets people know that while we're beginning to expect payment for Team Possible's services, we're still willing to take on a job simply because it's important enough and because it's the right thing to do. And it will calm our clients down."

"Calm them down?" Kim asked, puzzled.

"Apparently you had some sort of incident at a zoo in Boston?" Dr. Director inquired.

"Yeah, Dementor set a trap for us there."

"Well, apparently the zoo feels you're partly responsible for the damages to their facility. Also I'm told one of you knocked one of their tiger's teeth out."

"Hey, they were saber teeth and they were coming for my neck," Shego said defensively.

"I'm sure you had a good reason," Dr. Director assured her. "But some of their animals were stolen recently, and if we can recover them, then I don't have to worry about them demanding compensation before we've made a single dollar."

Kim nodded. "I'm up for it," she said. "I've tackled poachers before."

"Boston?" Shego asked darkly.


"Just so we're clear - we are not, repeat NOT, having dinner with the Rockwallers."

"Sounds like a plan," Kim said, smiling. She leaned over and kissed Shego's frown away.

Shego reflexively dropped the glove clutched in her hand, and Thomas began to crawl toward it. "No, Thomas," Dr. Director said fondly, picking him up. "You heard what she said - no touchee."

To be continued . . .

Chapter 2

Title: Chapter Two

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (2)
Author: Allaine

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron". Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 2

Kim turned her head and sneezed.

Or at least tried to.

It was hard when Shego's lips were locked with hers. It was even harder when this was one of those times when kissing was like sparring - both women fighting for dominance, years of rivalry and a lifetime of pride driving them to seek the upper hand. One might gain the advantage, but could never dominate the other. Perhaps that was why they did it. Knowing that the competition they seemed to feed off would never end between them.

Except now it was also fueled by the connection, the sense of knowing who each other REALLY were, that linked them. There was a mutual respect and appreciation that was behind every caress and gesture. When Kim's hand cupped Shego's cheek, it was like she was saying, "Thank you for being able to understand what kind of person I am." And when Shego's fingers trailed lazily along Kim's arm, she was almost thanking Kim for believing she was worth something.

Even when their competitive sparks were dormant and their arms held each other gently, this feeling of union was still there.

Right now, however, Kim was about to sneeze.

Pulling herself away was easier said than done, considering how possessive Shego's free-ranging hands got at a time like this, so Kim simply yielded instead. It was the last thing Shego expected, and she broke the kiss, giving her a questioning look. Kim's answer was a sneeze that barely went over Shego's shoulder. "Sorry," she said. "It's dusty in here."

"Hm," Shego said, grabbing her by the elbows and practically molding Kim's body to hers through sheer will, so that their breasts were the only thing allowing air to flow between them. "I always knew I'd get you in the gutter with me some day," she added with a taunting grin.

"If you think this will happen the next time if this place still looks like a sewer, you're crazier than the other villains combined," Kim shot back, smiling. They'd decided to work on getting Shego's rooms at Drakken's abandoned lair - aka, the new headquarters of Team Possible, Inc. - habitable. It had led to Kim getting dust and mildew on the back of her Club Banana shirt as Shego attacked her in a fashion quite unlike she had five years ago. But Kim wasn't the only one with a little grime on her, and as if to prove what she'd just said, she reached up with some difficulty and removed a cobweb from Shego's perfect waves of hair.

Shego chuckled. "Miss Responsibility would rather clean? All you have to do is break my grip. It should be easy for Kim Possible."

Kim didn't try. Why fight to break free, when her tongue could be dueling with Shego's once more?

"Mmmmmph!" Shego moaned into Kim's mouth. They were a unique breed, she and Kim, and she'd never share this kind of chemistry with anyone else. Part of her still wished there were no other Possibles, no Oryx, no one to share Kim with. And of course, no . . .

"KP? KP!"

Shego broke the kiss. "Stoppable," she breathed viciously, and Kim shivered as Shego clutched her all the more tightly and their breasts rubbed against one another. "Interfering again, what a surprise."

Kim sighed. "He'll be up here any minute. We'd better clean up."

"Why, don't you like it dirty?" Shego murmured, her eyes intense.

Kim wondered who had rubbed off whom more, because at the same time, Shego didn't sulk or pout. She just released Kim and began smoothing her hair. While Kim reached a hand back out and ran her hand along the curve of Shego's hip, sending a tremor through the other woman.

"I can do anything," Kim said, and flashed a confident smile.

"Or anybody," Shego purred, and by Kim's expression, she knew she had the upper hand.
"Sorry, Ron," Kim said as they entered. "We're doing some cleaning, and we got a little filthy."

Ron looked at her dubiously. Kim was flushed as if with fever, and there was a look in her eye that she usually got after trading punches with Shego. "I can imagine," he said, although that wasn't the same as saying he wanted to. Two girls making out might be a common fantasy among males, but not when the male was Ron and one of the girls was Kim.

"What are you doing here so soon?" Kim asked. "I thought you were going to be out with Zita today."

"Oh, uh, she cancelled," Ron told her.

Actually, she'd broken up with him, but Ron figured that implied the cancellation of all future dates. Except at the gym - Zita still expected him to show up for their physical training exercises. Funny how Zita could always keep business separate from pleasure, and yet she didn't think he could do the same. Why else would Zita use the same tired argument she'd used to break up with him in high school? "Oh, Ron, how am I supposed to feel when I can't compete with another woman for your attention? And now there's that other girl hanging around you!"

She saw Shego as a threat. Funny, if he hadn't been so irritated. Never mind that she was jealous of two women who only had eyes for each other.

But he wouldn't tell Kim that. It'd only make her feel guilty.

"Anyway, I thought we had a mission?" he asked.

"Boston," Kim confirmed.

"Aah! Bonnie!" he yelped.

"No Bonnie," Kim said hastily. "Someone stole some animals from the zoo."

"Monkeys?" he asked with trepidation.

"No - well, we don't know yet."

"Aah! Monkeys!"

Shego slapped a hand over her face. "Stoppable, quit the screaming, or I fly us to Boston extra-fast."

The thought of the stomach-lurching thrill ride that Shego considered "piloting" shut Ron right up.

"Kim Possible, thank goodness you've arrived. This is simply terrible!" the head of the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston said. "We're at our wits' end."

"What's the sitch?" she asked as Shego and Ron followed behind her. It was strange being here during the day. Not long ago she was here at night, and a woolly mammoth was chasing her across the property. "What did they take?"

"I'm sure you remember Simza," he answered, waving his hand at the cage they'd arrived at. The interior was empty of any animals, and the bars were festooned with yellow tape, a telltale sign that the police had already been here.


"One of our tigers. You met her when she was a little - different?"

"You mean the sabertooth," Shego said flatly.

"Yes, that one. The owners of that strange machine changed her back into a normal tiger," the zoo curator said, "but she was stolen the other night. The only animal taken, for that matter."

"Probably not a coincidence," Kim said.

"I assure you, it is not. We'd already had multiple offers from various zoological institutes to buy Simza. They wanted to conduct tests on her. Apparently they felt her DNA might show some trace signs of her transformation. Naturally we declined. Our animals aren't meant to be used as test subjects."

"Do you think one of those institutes could have hired someone to steal the tiger?" Kim asked.

"It's possible," the curator acknowledged. "Although this isn't the first time we've had an incident."


"No! Several months ago, there was another theft. We lost a silverback gorilla, a gibbon, and a spider monkey."

Ron's face twisted in horror. A moan escaped his lips.

The curator looked at him oddly, and Kim quickly distracted him. "I take it you never found out who stole the primates."

"The police did not, no," he said angrily. "That's why we've asked for your assistance. This zoo no longer has faith in the local authorities. If you can recover Simza, we'd be willing to forget about that little incident the last time you were here."

"Hey," Shego shot back, "it was Professor Dementor who broke in here, released your animals, and transformed them into prehistoric killers."

"Simza was missing two teeth the next day," the curator said coldly. "Are you saying the madman was responsible for that as well?"

"Indirectly," she muttered.

"We'll get right on it," Kim said, "after we've checked out the scene. Maybe you could show us the monkey house later? So we can see if there are any similarities between the two thefts?"

Ron clutched his throat.

"We meaning me and Shego," she sighed.

"Sorry, my analysis didn't turn up anything other than animal DNA, Kim," Wade apologized over the Kimmunicator later. "They must have been real professionals."

"I bet they wore gloves," Ron said.

Shego rolled her eyes and began filing her nails again.

"You could help, you know," Kim told her. "You're not just part of the team during a fight."

"If you'd asked for my help, we wouldn't have wasted time looking for clues in the first place," she said, bored.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

Shego idly pulled out her own Kimmunicator. "Wade," she purred, "I want you to access Villains Digest Online as an anonymous browser and enter the forums."

"Whoa, whoa, whoa," Kim said, holding out a hand. "Villains Digest Online?"

"Well, people usually steal things so they can sell them. Trust me on that one."

"Yeah, and?"

"And tigers aren't exactly something you can buy at Smarty Mart," Shego replied. Then she glanced at Ron. "Can you?"

"No, although they once were offering a live ostrich for half price," he said. "Something about eggs that could feed a family of four."

"Yeah, right," she drawled. "Anyway, nice upstanding goody-goodies like you, Kim, don't buy endangered species from thieves. Only evil people like me," she added, placing a hand modestly on her chest. "So, if one villain wants to go to another villain for a purchase, you go to the want ads the villains use. Except now they've gone high-tech."

"She's right, Kim," Wade said. "They've got thousands of threads here . . . hey, there's even a board dedicated to you, Shego."

This bit of news did not seem to thrill Shego. "Can we focus on finding - "

"There's one thread where they guess what your measurements and cup size are," Wade continued.

"Thank you, nerdlinger!" she growled.

"Five hundred and thirty-one replies so far."

Shego delivered a wordless snarl this time.

"Okay, okay," Wade said smugly. "Quit calling me nerdlinger, and I won't repeat things people wrote like, 'Rather small. 34-Beta, tops'."

Kim coughed into her fist while Ron's eyes widened.

Shego ground her teeth and almost smashed her communications device. "Gemini, you little troll, when I get my hands on you . . ." she hissed. She tossed her head, her wavy black hair swishing to the left and right, and took a deep breath. "All right, Wade, I want you to post an ad. Tell them you're looking to buy rare and endangered species of wildlife, good condition only, willing to pay top dollar. Tell them you're based in the New England region, and that you want to set up a meet in the Boston area so you can inspect the merchandise."

"Shego, wait," Kim said. "This whole thing reeks like a set-up. No villain is so stupid that they're going to fall for this."

Shego looked at her. "Dr. Drakken. Monkey Fist. Duff Killagan. Now, what were you saying about no villain being that stupid?"

Kim didn't have an answer to that.

"It's posted," Wade said. "I'll let you guys know the minute I get a response."

"Don't go rushing off in a hurry," Shego told him. "You'll get your answer real soon. There are plenty of poachers out there waiting for buyers. Which is why we specified good condition. Most of the animals available on the black market have been in captivity for months, and they're not looking so good. Thieves don't spend money on upkeep until it's absolutely necessary. Our crook has had Simza in his or her possession for just a few days. She'll still have that shiny zoo fur."

"Got something," Wade interrupted. "It's - huh, how about that."

"What?" Kim asked.

"Note from the site administrator. He's moving my post to the appropriate thread. These guys are pros."

Shego chuckled. "Relax, Kim. Take a breather, put your feet up. Life's too short, even for a perfectionist like you."

Kim wondered if this was what future missions would be like - her doing the hard work while Shego took the shortcut.

"Got a seller," Wade told them.

Right now the shortcut was looking pretty good.

"They say they got a new 'shipment' recently," Wade continued. "Including one tiger. But she's not coming to us. She says she'll select a place to meet if we accept her offer."

"She?" Kim asked.

"She referred to herself in the third person."

"Who were the first two people?" Ron asked.

Shego stared at him. She still wasn't sure if he was intensely clueless, or extremely unfunny.

"And she has this habit of tripling her s's," Wade said.


"I sssincerely hope we can come to an underssstanding. She actually wrote that."

Kim rubbed her temple. "Don't tell me. She's a snake-themed criminal."

"Got it in one. She calls herself the Snake Charmer. You'll like this, Kim. She says she can steal anything."

"Ripping you off, Kimmie," Shego said, chuckling. "Trademark infringement - worst crime there is."

Ron calmly stood up. "The Snake Charmer?" he asked.

"Yeah?" Wade said.

"And she trills her esses?"

"That's what I said, why?"

"Wade," Ron said hesitantly, "could you look up an actress named Juliet Newcastle for me?"

"Okay, time out," Kim said. "Before Rufus becomes the next one to ask Wade something completely out of left field, who is Juliet Newcastle?"

Rufus poked his head out of Ron's pocket upon hearing his name. "Eh?"

"Come on, KP," Ron said. "You lived with the tweebs. You've never heard of her? She was the Snake Charmer! On the television!"

"Sorry, I generally tried to avoid anything the tweebs found mildly interesting."

"The Fearless Ferret," he explained. "She was the Ferret's archvillainess."

"Fearless ferret?" Shego asked slowly. The look in her eye suggested she thought Ron had gone quite insane.

Kim groaned. "Not again," she said. "Like White Stripe?"

"Nah, White Stripe was just a one-time villain. Snake Charmer was in a lot more episodes. The tweebs had me watch a marathon of Snake Charmer episodes a few years ago. I think they rediscovered her appeal after they hit puberty. Sort of a romantic interest for the Ferret - walking the line between good and evil, attracted to the hero and the dark side at the same time - "

"Finally, something I can relate to," Shego muttered.

"She had this tight leather outfit like the scales on a black racer," Ron went on, his eyes becoming slightly glassy. "It looked like she was poured into it. And - "

"Sure it was just the twins who rediscovered her?" Kim asked dryly.

"Bad girls are hot, pumpkin," Shego said to her.

"You're not helping," Kim said, but she shivered as well.

"Anyway," Ron said, rubbing his eyes, "she always trilled her esses like she was hissing. And she was played by Juliet Newcastle. So if Timothy North could do it, why not her?"

"As much as the idea makes me cringe, it's worth checking out," Kim said. "Wade - "

"Sorry," he said. "But Juliet Newcastle died one year ago."

"Dang," Ron said.

"Hold it, Wade. Does she have family?" Kim asked.

"Uhhh, yeah, she does! One daughter, father deceased as well. Irma Newcastle. And guess where she lives?"

"I'm guessing within shouting distance of Cape Cod?" Kim guessed.


"Way to go, Ron. Wade, we're heading over to her house. Once we locate Miss Newcastle, set up the meeting. I bet she'll lead us right to the tiger."

"We could just go to the meeting," Shego pointed out.

"If she's stolen other animals, I want them recovered too," Kim replied.

Shego shrugged.

"There might be a reward too," Kim reminded her.

"Oh. In that case, let's do it."

Kim and Ron looked at each other. Kim smiled, while Ron just shook his head.

To be continued . . .

Chapter 3

Title: Chapter Three

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (3)
Author: Allaine

Rating: PG-13

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 3

"Maybe she's not the Snake Charmer," Ron suggested.

"Let's give it another half hour," Kim said.

Shego groaned and began filing her nails for the fifth time.

They'd been staking out Irma Newcastle's home for the past hour. Upon their arrival, Kim had told Wade to contact the Snake Charmer and arrange a time for the buy. The theory was that Newcastle would leave her home, and lead them directly to where she was keeping the stolen tiger, and perhaps other animals as well.

The theory wasn't looking so good, because Irma's car was still parked out front. Which left the three of them alone together, waiting. Shego itched for action, and she fidgeted relentlessly. Ron wasn't as talkative as usual. Obviously he hadn't quite figured out how to factor Shego into their conversations. Kim just tried to ignore those times when Shego would reach a leg out and run her foot up and down Kim's calf, turning her cheeks crimson.

"So," Ron finally said, "you don't look like a 34-B."

Her nail file bent in Shego's hand as she gripped it tightly.

"She's not a 34-B. Trust me," Kim replied.

"Do the two of you MIND?" Shego snapped.

"What do you have to be angry about?" Kim asked. "Okay, who wants a bunch of villains drooling over you in a chat room, but it's a sign of the reputation you have among them. I thought your image meant something to you."

"It does, but I want them fearing me, not undressing me with their eyes!" Shego retorted.

"Like you've never done that to me," Kim said slyly.

Shego and Ron both gaped at her.

"Anyway," Kim went on, "I'm jealous. Wade didn't say anything about ME having a shrine."

"Well, it is the VILLAINS Digest Online," Ron pointed out.

"You've got a board too," Shego muttered.

"I do?"

"You do realize how many of these guys you've beaten, right? They're obsessed with you." Shego sighed. "It's twice the size of mine, actually."

Kim grinned at her. "Ah, so you're the jealous one."

"Hardly," Shego said.

"I've got to see this," Kim said, pulling out her Kimmunicator.

Shego's hand clamped down on her wrist. "You don't want to do that," Shego told her.

"Believe me, Shego, I think I can survive villains debating my cup size," Kim assured her.

"It's not just that," Shego replied. "These are people who are attracted to you, but they ALSO hate your guts."

Kim looked at her. "Big deal, so they're plotting my demise. That's just whistling in the graveyard."

Shego looked exasperated. "They plot much worse things than your death, Kimmie. Believe me, I looked once. A lot of it involves leather and handcuffs, if you catch my meaning."

"Leather and - " A look of comprehension appeared on Kim's face, which was quickly replaced by one of revulsion. "Oh my God, that's sick!" Kim said, shuddering.

"Hello? Villains are sick by nature."

"Did you ever write things like that?"

It was Ron who spoke, and as Shego turned to look at him in the backseat, she could tell by his expression that he was completely serious. "I was practically fighting Kimmie once a week," she told him. "I didn't need to fantasize."

He leaned back, mollified. "What about Drakken?"

"All right, all right, enough!" Kim interjected. "I think we've discussed this enough for a lifetime." She put the Kimmunicator away again. "I vote we never bring this up again."

"Works for me," Shego said.

"They don't say anything about me, do they?" Ron asked.



"Not really," Shego said indifferently. "Nobody can remember your name."

"Aw, jeez," he grumbled. "They NEVER remember my name!"

"While this conversation has been so fascinating that I think I will erase it in its entirety from my memory banks when we return home," Sadie informed them suddenly, "someone is leaving Ms. Newcastle's home."

Everyone leaned forward to get a better look. A young woman in a raincoat emerged from the darkened doorway of her home and hurried down the steps toward her car. A duffel bag was in one hand.

"Finally, some action," Shego said, relieved.

"She could just be headed to the gym," Kim pointed out.

"Fine. At least I can get a good workout."

Kim sighed.

Three time zones away, Monique was sighing too. With her Club Banana a smoldering ruin, the company had moved her to its older location in the mall. She was luckier than most of her staff, which had been let go with the promise of their old jobs back once the store was rebuilt. Still, she was now the lowest-ranking manager on the totem pole here, and she found herself getting the crappiest shifts.

The Supreme One's evil knew no bounds, she thought.

She ran her palms over the countertop idly, wishing for either more customers, or for the clock to move more quickly. Monique was officially bored out of her skull.

A chime alerted her to a customer either entering or leaving the store, and she raised her head. It was in fact a new customer, and she went over to greet her. "Welcome to Club Banana," she said brightly. "I'm Monique, is there anything I can - "

"Yes, you can," the woman pushing the stroller said.

As she looked into Monique's eyes, the young woman's smile slipped. She'd never met Dr. Director, but Kim had described her to Monique. The eyepatch was a giveaway, and Monique noticed how her hair was brushed so as to cover the ear she'd lost. This had to be the former leader of Global Justice, and currently the woman in charge of much of the decision-making process at Team Possible, Inc. Why was she here?

"I can?" Monique asked uncertainly.

Dr. Director nodded. "Do you suppose you could take a break for a few minutes? We could go for a walk."

Monique found someone to cover for her before leaving the store with Dr. Director. Kim must have told her who she was. Okay, Kim obviously trusted this woman, but she could have warned her best gal pal first!

"I've heard a lot about you," Dr. Director said as they walked through the mall slowly.

"I've heard a few things about you too," Monique replied as Thomas gurgled happily in his stroller. She realized he was playing with what appeared to be the insides of an electric toothbrush. What kind of woman was this Dr. Director, anyway?

Dr. Director nodded. "I'm sure you have," she said. "There was a time I was quite the field agent."

"What happened?"

"I got older," Dr. Director sighed. "When I was a 'guest' of the Acceptables, I got older a lot faster."

Monique rubbed the back of her head. That night in the Acceptables' base had worked out for the best, but some BAD stuff went down that night. Seeing Kim falling into that hole had been one thing. Desperately trying to save that baby - the very baby she was walking alongside now, she realized - from the capsized robot before it followed Kim into the blackness. That had been another. Although again, it worked out for the best.

"At any rate," Dr. Director went on, "I want to talk to you about the company I've been organizing with Kim."

"I hope you're looking for money," Monique said feebly. She knew what this was about, though. Oryx.

Dr. Director blinked. "Do you have money to invest?" she asked. "I wasn't exactly looking for investors as young as you."

"I have some set aside," Monique said. "Are your finances THAT bad?"

"Well, we have no revenues as of yet. And I have no intention of seeking investors outside of Kim's immediate circle of friends and family," Dr. Director explained. "The last things we need are stockholders whose sole concern is the ability of Team Possible, Inc. to turn a profit, rather than the safety and security of its team members. Currently we're paying off expenses with money invested by the Possibles, the Stoppables, and Shego."

"Shego?" Monique asked, surprised.

"Her current living quarters are above our headquarters," Dr. Director said. "She told me that a one-time investment beat paying rent, and that the sooner we were in the black, the sooner we could think about 'upgrading' her rooms," she added dryly.

Monique chuckled. "That girl will go the mile for you - if there's a way she can say later that she only did it because there was something in it for her."

"You sound like you know her relatively well."

"Yeah . . . well, uh - "

"Relax, Monique," Dr. Director murmured. "Shego has told me that she's been tweaking your fighting skills. Skills you'll need if you wish to continue being - Oryx."

"Keep your voice down!" Monique hissed.

Dr. Director smiled. "Relax, we're in a mall. The background chatter will drown out anything I say to you. If you've got money to invest, I'll gladly accept it with the promise of repayment with interest. But I was more interested in whether you were interested in 'freelancing' for Team Possible."

"You kidding? Why do they need me?" Monique asked. "Kim and Ron saved the world all by themselves when they were younger, and now they have Shego on their side. Nobody can stop them now!"

"Perhaps," Dr. Director agreed, "but they can't be in two places at once. Understand, Monique - there are multiple threats always confronting our world. That's why GJ was so large. There were always three dozen hot spots that needed our attention. The same applies today. I don't want to turn down a client, or have to choose between the public good and a paying customer, because we're committed to a single mission. And since there are only three members in Team Possible, I can't split them up without sending a single person a mission. There isn't a chance in Hell that I'd send any of them into a hostile situation with their backs unguarded."

Monique suddenly heard the voice of the woman who used to run Global Justice, not just a retired mother of one trying to raise money. It was the voice of a leader who was committed to combating evil, yet cared for the welfare of those beneath her. "All right, I get you," she said, "but I never got into this intending to be another Kim Possible. I've got a different gig, you know?"

Dr. Director nodded. "I know," she said. "You must realize how deeply I admire what you've done, Monique. You've faced something even Kim never concerned herself with - the ordinary crimes that happen daily to everyone. You may only make the streets safer, while Kim made the world safer, but for a lot of people, the streets IS their world."

"Thanks," an astonished Monique replied. "I don't get too many congratulations in my line of work."

"Because you're in the shadows, and Oryx doesn't want publicity."


"That's why I'm interested," Dr. Director said. "Some missions will require us to be stealthy, even sneaky, and Shego has that in spades. And when Shego told me the two of you have trained together, I was even more so. Kim and Ron - well, no matter how close she is to Shego right now, Kim and Ron are too close-knit to operate separately. They practically know what the other is thinking, their teamwork skills are so attuned to each other."

Monique smiled. "It doesn't take much to know what Ron is thinking. Bueno Nacho is usually a good bet."

Dr. Director smiled in return. "Perhaps. At any rate, if Team Possible needs to be in two places at once, Shego is the odd one out. She needs a partner, Monique, and this is NOT someone who plays well with others. Am I wrong?"

"No," Monique sighed. "You're not."

"It would be a lot easier for me to sell Shego on the idea of going on a mission without Kim if she had a partner she could trust," Dr. Director said. "And there aren't many candidates. Monique, I'm not asking you to become a full-time member. You've got your own priorities. But if you can't make yourself available in the future for occasions like these, then I'll have to choose between allowing a wrong to continue unchecked, and sending Shego into danger by herself. Both options hurts the company, and Kim."


"Since when have you ever known her to like it when the bad guys get away with something?" Dr. Director asked.

"Well - "

"And what if Shego comes back one day with injuries - or worse yet, doesn't come back at all - because no one was there to cover her - "

"All right!" Monique snapped. "You don't need to lay it on so thick. I guess I've got to, don't I? I just hope Shego won't mind having my rookie rear end along."

"Knowing Shego, she won't mind - but she won't let you see that, either," Dr. Director said ruefully. "So you're in? We all want you, Monique - not just because we can trust you, but also because we know what you're capable of."

If she was going to become an investor with her hard-earned savings, she'd better make sure it paid off, right?

"Oryx is in."

"Let usss get that cat moving," she hissed at the three well-muscled men working for her. They wore matching shirts, each with a different word on the front in small letters. "When our buyer findsss out hisss new acquisssition wasss formerly an extinct form of sssabertooth, he will undoubtedly pay us triple what the animal is worth."

"This is the last time I work for someone with a speech impediment," one of the men muttered as he led the heavily-sedated animal out of its cage by a noose around its neck tied to a long pole. Other exotic animals watched and squawked from their confinement.

"I'd rather she call us by our given names," another man grumbled.

"Asssp! Cobra! Be careful with that creature! It isss worth hundredsss of thousandsss of dollarsss!"

The Snake Charmer watched them move a little more carefully with disdain. She took a few steps after them, then tugged at the thigh of her costume a little uncomfortably. "Maybe I can afford something that doesn't chafe the skin now," she mumbled.

"This is SO lame," Shego groaned from their hiding place. "I feel like I'm trapped in a television set."

"I'd like to be trapped in a TV set," Ron muttered. "Maybe I could be the popular character, the one who gets all the girls. Or at least I could be on a show with no monkeys!"

"Can it," Kim hissed. "There are a lot of stolen animals in here, and we've got to take these people down without hurting them or letting them escape before they leave for the rendezvous."

"How about a decoy?" Ron asked. "It's what I do best."

Kim nodded. "Works for me."

Ron pulled Rufus and Ruby out of his pockets and retreated from their hiding place back into the shadows.

"We could always just dive in and beat them up," Shego pointed out.

"But like Ron said, this is what he does best," Kim replied.

Shego rolled her eyes.

"Ex-sssellent," the Snake Charmer said as the tiger was bundled into the portable crate in which it would be taken to the buy. She fondled the constrictor around her shoulders. "Sssoon the Sssnake Charmer will be the most famousss thief in the world!"

"Not if I have anything to do about it!"

The four criminals froze, then looked about wildly. "Who ssspoke!" the Snake Charmer called out.

"Who else but your greatest adversary? It is I, Snake Charmer! The Fearless Ferret!"

Back in their hiding place, Shego slapped her hand over her face.

"Imposssible!" the villainess shouted, still looking about for the source of the voice. "The Fearlesss Ferret is old and feeble now!"

"Just call me - Ferret 2.0!"

Ron came into view as he climbed onto a crate. "With my Wonder Twin Weasels!" he added, holding aloft Rufus and Ruby.

"Hah! You are just a boy! Asssp! Cobra! Python! Take care of him!"

The three goons ran forward, but Ron leapt over them, putting one foot on the shoulder of the thug bringing up the rear and bounding past them. Before they could recover and turn around, Ron ran toward the Snake Charmer and flung Ruby at her. The naked mole rat landed onto her face and hung on for dear life.

The Snake Charmer shrieked and dropped her snake. "EEEEEE! GET IT OFF, GET IT OFF!" she screamed as Ron dropped Rufus into the tiger's crate. Rufus instantly began chewing on the lock keeping it in.

"You wanted a decoy," Shego said as she stood up. "Enjoying it, Ferret Girl?"

"So not Ferret Girl," Kim retorted as she leapt out and ran after the hired muscle.

"You named your henchmen?" Ron asked the Snake Charmer as she pulled at Ruby. "That is so old school villain."

Pulling Ruby off, the Charmer threw her back at Ron. Ruby nimbly landed on his shoulder and crawled back into his pocket. "You insssolent pup! Where isss your costume?"

"Where did you get YOURS?" he shot back. "That looks like rayon, not leather. And the goggles? What do goggles have to do with snakes, anyway? I swear, everybody just HAS to update their look. Don't they get the original look worked best?"

"He's got a point," Kim told Shego, giving her green-and-black costume a glance as she plowed into the trio of goons, striking Asp in the jaw with her palm.

"Yeah, yeah," Shego grunted as she spun Python's head with a kick to his jaw.

"Leather isss expensssive," the Snake Charmer hissed as she picked up her snake, which had lain unmoving on the floor.

"What are you going to do with that?" Ron asked. "Constrict me from afar?"

She grinned nastily and held the snake like it was a rolled-up wet towel. Its head hung limply, and Ron realized it was either dead or a fake.

"Yikes!" he remembered. "Episode 23 - the Scales of Injustice!"

Then she pulled hard on the tail.

Luckily he dove out of the way, having recalled in the nick of time that a stream of toxic liquid would squirt out of the mouth of the weapon designed to look like a snake. It spilled onto the floor and scarred the concrete.

"If you want to be the Ferret, you can die like him!" the villainess cackled.

She didn't have the chance to say more, because Kim's fist struck her solidly across the face. The Snake Charmer collapsed and didn't get back up.

"I hate themed criminals," Kim said.

"Thanks, KP - look out!" Ron said, running at Kim.

She dove out of the way, and Cobra stumbled past where she had been standing. He'd escaped Shego's notice as she focused on pounding his partners into submission. Ron stopped his momentum with a shot to the stomach. "Biff!" he cried out as the fist connected. "Kapow!" Ron added as a second punch connected with his chin and dropped Cobra.

"You were really getting into that, weren't you?" Kim asked dryly.

"Hey, if somebody told you I was just a 21-year-old sidekick - "

"I know, somebody lied," she finished for him. Then she reached over and ruffled his hair. "Nice punch, by the way."

He beamed.

"Where's my compliment?" Shego complained as she dragged Asp and Python over.

"Nice costume," Kim said. "The original still looks best."

Shego snorted. "Better believe it."

To be continued . . .

Chapter 4

Title: Chapter Four

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (4)

Author: Allaine

Email: PG-13

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 4

"Look at them all," Kim said. "There must be thirty of them." She pulled out her Kimmunicator. "Wade, I want you to send a general email to every zoo in America. Ask them if they've had any animals stolen in the past year. If any of the descriptions of the missing animals match the ones we found here, send them a photo and see about identifying them."

"Ask if there are any rewards," Shego murmured.

Kim looked at Shego, but she didn't seem concerned. Kim sighed. "And find out if there any rewards we can claim," she said.

"Will do, Kim," Wade told her.

"I keep forgetting we're in it for the money now," Kim said.

"Maybe you won't make it sound so sordid if you start remembering," Shego said.

"Snake lady's waking up, KP," Ron said from across the warehouse.

Kim nodded as she and Shego went over to where the costume-clad woman was tied to a chair. The thief rolled her head and blinked her eyes, confused. "What - where am I?"

"Irma Newcastle, you're going to wait here until the police come for your arrest," Kim told her. "You've been stealing animals from zoos and smuggling them out of the country."

"Maybe they can get you some mental help," Shego taunted her. "Then you'll stop thinking you're a character from a TV show."

"I'm not crazy," the Snake Charmer retorted.

"Just for your information, the 'Fearless Ferret'?" Shego replied, crooking her fingers like quotation marks. "Not real."

"I know that, you bitch!"

Shego and Kim looked at her. "What do you mean, you KNOW?" Kim asked. "What about the snake and the hissing and all that?"

"Your friend said he was the Fearless Ferret, and I don't see you accusing HIM of being crazy!"

"She's not hissing her esses any more," Shego said.

The Snake Charmer looked sulky. "It gets tiresome after a while."

"You finally figure that out?"

"Shego," Kim said. "All right, Irma, what the hell are you up to?"

Irma exhaled loudly. "My mom left a lot of debts behind when she died, and I don't make much. Then I heard about Mr. North and the incident at the Ferret convention. I figured, why not? My mother made me watch her episodes on the Fearless Ferret over and OVER, after all," she grumbled. "I knew the shtick by heart."

"So you started poaching animals from zoos to pay off loans?"

"Well, the loans are paid now, actually. I was going to use the proceeds from selling the tiger so I could buy a REAL leather suit, not this cheap imitation. You'd think Mom would have saved her costume, but nooooo," Irma sighed.

"So you've sold some of the animals you stole already?" Kim asked.


"To who?"

Irma laughed. “Like I’d incriminate myself any further.”

“Kinda defeats the purpose of the imitation get-up, doesn’t it?” Ron asked as he came over.

“What’s that supposed to mean?” the thief demanded.

“Well, anyone who does the things you do obviously wants to make a name for herself,” he explained. “The more thefts you add to your resume, the more likely it is that the newspapers will pay attention. That’s what the real Snake Charmer did in episode #6, ‘The Serpent - “

“In the Garden,” she finished for him. “You do know the show.”

“I saw a marathon of your mother’s episodes,” Ron admitted.

“Really? So did I. About once a month,” she muttered.

“Then you should be able to sell it better,” he said. “You’ll get out in a couple years, buy yourself a real outfit, get photographed, pull a few big scores - next thing you know, you’ll be bigger than Shego was!”

“Excuse me!” Shego snarled.

“Yes, yes, you’re right,” Irma realized, her eyes narrowing with avarice. “The media won’t care if I robbed a couple zoos. But they will care if I have spent the past year visiting the . . . ‘havens of zoological treasures’ with my - “

“Reign of slithering terror?” Ron suggested.

“Exactly!” she agreed. “Episode 37, ‘Death Rattle’!”

“But make sure that when the police arrive, you nail the hissing,” Ron said. “You’ve got to make them believe! Come on, try something out on us.”

Irma paused. “You should be grateful,” she sneered. “If it wasssn’t for that interfering do-gooder Kim Posssible, my reign of ssslithering terror over America’s havensss of zoological treasuresss would yet continue!”

“Boo-yah!” Ron told her, and she preened, even tied to a chair.

“What the fuck does he think he’s doing?” Shego growled as Kim kept a restraining hand on her arm.

“Stroking her ego. It’s a sidekick thing. Although you never seemed to grasp that.”

Shego rolled her eyes. “I had my pride. Which, I’m told, is NOT a sidekick thing.”

“It helps him be impervious to embarrassment.”

“Hey, Kim, could you guys come over here? The Snake Charmer here wants to practice for the police. Go ahead, interrogate her.”

Shego unfurled her claws, but Kim stopped her again. “I think he means like police interrogation, not KGB interrogation.” Then she faced the deluded thief. “All right, Snake Charmer, if you think you’re so hot, how many times have you stolen animals from zoos so you could sell them on the black market?”

“Countlesss timesss,” the Snake Charmer hissed arrogantly. “Thossse animalsss you sssee are jussst a fraction of my work.”

“Yeah, well the local zoo says they lost a couple gorillas last year. Know anything about that?” Kim even played along to the extent that she spoke the way she’d seen real police officers speak.

“Of courssse,” she said slyly. “I sssold them for a nice profit too.”

“Maybe you’re making it up.”

“How dare you!”

“To who, then?”

“I . . . did not get hisss name. He wasss from Africa, though.”

“Sure,” Kim said. “Africans don’t have enough gorillas back home that they need to steal them from here.”

“I did not sssay he wasss an African!” the Snake Charmer retorted. “I sssaid he wasss FROM Africa. Hisss plane flew in from there. I loaded the gorillas onto hisss plane, he paid me, and he flew away.”

“Then how do you know he wasn’t an African?”

“He ssspoke with an English accent. And I shook handsss with him. He wasss a white man.” Her lip crinkled. “I did not like shaking hisss hand. It wasss quite hairy.”

Kim froze. She looked at Shego, who appeared equally intrigued. “Did he shake your hand normally?” Kim asked calmly. “The way a normal person would?”

“No, he did not. He told me he wasss left-handed. Although who could shake handsss like a normal perssson when you have hair on your handsss, hair ssso thick it wasss like fur.”

“A white man with an English accent and furry hands bought a gorilla from you?” Kim asked quietly.

“TWO gorillasss. And a ssspider monkey. I had a pair of nice flamingosss too, but he wasssn’t interesssted.”

Ron wasn’t dense. “Lord Monty?” he said to the others.

Shego grinned. “I knew we’d find him eventually.”

“You did great, Snake Charmer,” Ron said. “The media is going to love you. And they’ll love you even more when you get out.”

“In ten years,” Kim muttered. “What part of Africa, anyway?”

“The Congo, I believe. Yesss, it was the Congo. He sssaid he had heard of my prowesss, and he wanted me to procure the apesss for him. Within three daysss of the theft, he came with my money. I am a much-sssought after thief, you sssee.”

“Oh yeah,” Kim agreed, looking heavenward. Then she turned to Ron and Shego. “We’ll need to have Wade check the records at the Boston airport for any flights coming in from Africa around the time of the original zoo theft.”

“But why gorillas?” Ron asked.

“And why from here, if he’s in the Congo?” Kim added.

Shego shrugged. “Maybe he wanted them domesticated. Easier to train.”

“Shego, he uses monkeys for ninjas, not gorillas.”

“And maybe he figured out that ninjas have limited usefulness when they’re two feet tall,” she replied. “Grab it by the tail, swing it around, let go - one less ninja in two seconds flat.”

Kim didn’t like the sound of that. “Gorilla ninjas?”

Ron clutched his chest. “Monkeys? BIG monkeys? He must be the most evil person on the planet!”

Shego snickered. “Well, we know he isn’t the weirdest.”

"Monkey Fist could be gone tomorrow," Shego pointed out. "Especially if he learns that Kim Possible caught the woman who sold him those gorillas."

"I doubt that kind of news will reach all the way to central Africa," Kim replied. "Besides, that's thousands of acres of thick jungle over there. His hiding place could be anywhere, and we need a good idea where it is, instead of just beating the bushes for weeks." She shrugged. "We come home, we do a little research, we let Wade do his thing, then we find him. And we need to let Dr. Director know. Otherwise she'll sign us up for a new mission, and we won't be able to fulfill the contract because we're off on our own."

Shego grumbled. "He still owes me for letting those monkeys of his run amok in my apartment," she said. Then she brightened a little. "Of course, research is important too."

"Right," Kim said. Her tone of voice suggested she knew Shego was up to something.

"And we do have a brand-new headquarters of our very own to conduct research in."


"AND I happen to live there. There's this one room, I'm having my bed put in there, but somebody already cleaned the place up a little, and it does have a door that closes and locks," Shego said with a leer.

Kim sighed. "I don't think Dr. Director suggested you move in so you could turn it into our personal lovepad."

"Oh, Kimmie," Shego pouted. "Don't you want to spar for a little while first? Get the competitive juices flowing a little?"

"That's it!" Ron yelped. "I am in the backseat here, and I am not going to go on listening to the two of you plan your next romantic encounter. And I especially don't want to hear the word 'juices'!"

"Thank you, Ron," Sadie muttered as they pulled up in front of Team Possible headquarters.

Shego's mock pout became an outright sulk as she folded her arms and glared straight ahead. "I'm tired of being judged by our CAR," she said.

"Hello? Does my judging count for nothing?" Ron asked.

"Do you hear something, Kimmie?"

Ron growled at her as he got out of the car.

"Shego," Kim pleaded. "Could you provoke Ron another time?"

Shego shrugged. "Sorry."

Kim groaned. On some level Ron and Shego continued to rub each other the wrong way, even after the Supreme One incident, and every so often it bubbled over.

Although she doubted Shego's spicy talk had anything to do with Ron. For Shego, much of their relationship was all about the competitive aspects. The bedroom was just another version of the practice arena - a contest of wills as the two fought for dominance. Kim supposed some would find their pairing odd. It was like they were still trying to beat each other sometimes.

There WERE some more traditional aspects to their relationship, however. Like the stirrings of desire Kim felt as she watched Shego saunter away in her sexy, body-hugging outfit. The sight of those curves reminded Kim of a dozen passionate encounters the two had already experienced - although they hadn't actually made love yet. There was still a bit of hesitation, for both of them really. As if it was some kind of final leap that both women, uncharacteristically, were waiting for the other to take first.

That being said, Kim inhaled deeply as she watched Shego watch. "Oh, Shego?" she called out.

Shego turned around, her wavy black hair lifting slightly by the breeze. "Yeah, princess?"

Kim strode toward her with determination, as if she were seventeen again and Shego was still working for Dr. Drakken. She certainly never slipped one arm around Shego's waist when she was seventeen, however, and put her other hand on her shoulder, pulling her in for a kiss that ripped the air from Shego's lungs.

When she let go, Shego looked dazed, as if Kim had delivered a roundhouse instead of a kiss.

"Maybe later," Kim murmured, "if we're still waiting on word from Wade, the two of us could slip away and - get some exercise."

Shego swallowed. "Uh, yeah, she said hesitantly.

Kim grinned sultrily and kept walking, letting her hand slowly slide off Shego's hips. If Shego insisted on being competitive in all things, it was good to remind her that in all things, anything was possible for Kim Possible.

Her good mood began to turn sour as she entered what was to be Dr. Director's office, and found something unexpected. Not only was the office clean and modestly furnished, but Dr. Director was inside - with Monique. "Monique?" she asked.

"Hey, Kim," Monique said easily, but her body language was slightly tense.

"Well done, Kim," Dr. Director added. "The zoo just called to say how pleased they were that their precious tiger was returned by the police unharmed. I've also been fielding phone calls from other zoos across the country. It appears your friend Wade has been referring them to me concerning their lost animals being recovered as well."

"Just trying to get us into the black," Shego said as she came in. "You know how much I like black - and green."

"Their budgets don't allow much in the way of cash rewards, Shego," Dr. Director pointed out, "but I'm sure we'll have some money coming our way. More importantly, this does a lot for Team Possible's reputation and goodwill. Again, it was a raging success."

"Thanks," Kim said. "Uh, where's Ron?"

Ron ambled in with Rufus and Ruby even as she spoke. "Bathroom break," he said.

"Too much information," Kim replied, grimacing. "Couldn't you have used Sappho's facilities?"

"Uh, KP? Didn't feel like using the bathroom while I'm being watched by a female spaceship."

"Whatever," she sighed.

"Hey, Mo! What're you doing here?" Ron asked cheerfully.

"Kinda wondering that myself," Kim added.

"Yeah. Um, Dr. Director here kinda offered me a job, Kim."

Kim became still. "A job?"

"I was hoping I'd be able to explain," Dr. Director said. "There's a strong possibility that as this company grows, there will be an occasion where Team Possible will have to run two separate missions. Considering the three of you can't split up without leaving someone with their back unprotected, I thought it wise if the Oryx here could join as a fourth member - "

"Whoa, whoa," Kim said, interrupting. "You went and expanded the team without consulting us?"

"What's the matter, Kim?" Monique asked, assuming a more belligerent stance. "Am I no longer in your inner circle?"

"No," Kim said, annoyed. "Of course you are. But Shego, Ron, and I are more than able to handle routine missions on our own."

"Monique's position would not be a full-time one," Dr. Director said. "She would do contract work for us, according to Team Possible's needs. Obviously the three of you together are unbeatable, but sometimes the three of you CAN'T be together. I felt that the Oryx, considering she's been receiving fighting training from Shego, was a worthy - "

She stopped as Kim held up a hand, palm out, and glared at Shego. "Monique has been WHAT from WHO!"

"Uh-oh," Monique said, while Shego naturally looked unconcerned.

"She was raw but talented," Shego commented. "I could see that at the Acceptables' lair. I'm sure you could too. I told her so, and she came to me for teaching. I figured it would be easier than teaching Señor Senior Junior. I mean, at least Monique didn’t start out like a wounded tortoise.”

“At what point did the not telling ME come into play?” Kim asked dangerously.

“I did not realize you weren’t aware of this, Kim,” Dr. Director began to say.

“Save it,” Kim said icily. “I’m angry with you, too.”

“Excuse me!”

“I’m angry with you,” Kim repeated, pointing a finger at Dr. Director, “for bringing Monique into this without consulting with me first. I’m angry with YOU,” she said, turning to Shego, “for training Monique behind my back. And I’m angry with YOU,” she added, jabbing her finger in Monique’s direction, “for not giving up this crazy Oryx idea!”

“Um, are you mad at me?” Ron asked timidly.


“Okay, your tone says yes, but your words say no, so I’m going to make like a decoy and run very fast.” He rushed out of the office, having seen the enraged look on Monique’s face as well. Shego, at least, didn’t look upset, but you never knew what emotions lurked behind those eyes.

When Ron had left, Kim focused on the other three women in the room. “All right, let’s have this out.”

“You know what?” Monique asked. “Let US have this out, and by US I mean you and me.”

Then she grabbed Kim by the arm and literally dragged her out of the room. A shocked Kim didn’t protest until after they’d reached the corridor. “What do you think you’re doing!”

“Saving our friendship, I hope,” Monique muttered, and Kim was stunned into silence.

Shego watched as Kim was now meekly led into another room and the door closed. “Wish I could drag her around like that,” she murmured. “Maybe I could use a few lessons from her, too.”

To be continued . . .

Chapter 5

Title: Chapter Five

Author's Note: For those of you who haven't seen yet, Rinacat has now drawn several separate illustrations which are all based on events in the "Unacceptable Sitch" series, or inspired by them. They are all extremely good, especially the most recent ones, which include cover art for "An Unacceptable Sitch". Truly she is a goddess among mortals when it comes to Kim Possible fanart. You can find her work at rinacat AT deviantart DOT com. I encourage readers to visit.

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (5)

Author: Allaine

Email: PG-13

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 5

"Thanks a lot, by the way," Shego grumbled.

"For what?" Dr. Director asked.

"For telling Kimmie that I was training Oryx. Kinda didn't want that to get out."

"How was I supposed to know?" Dr. Director said, exasperated.

"You could have figured it out. You knew Kim was uncomfortable with her risking her neck and fighting drug dealers and muggers. So of course we were going to spar in secret."

"Actually," Dr. Director said dryly, "I didn't know that part either."

Shego paused. "Oh. Kimmie's only told ME twenty times."

"Kim is the one who told me where I could reach Oryx. Why would she have done that if she had a problem with Monique's nighttime activities?"

"Beats me," Shego said, shrugging. "Maybe she never thought Oryx - "

"You do realize that's not her real name, right?"

Shego sighed. "Maybe she never thought Monique would agree. She's always been hellbent on only going after the small-time thugs and pushers."

"Well, it stands to reason, after what happened to her parents."

"I suppose . . . wait, what ABOUT her parents?"

"So, is this where we 'have it out', Monique?" Kim asked when they were alone.

"Hey, if this is about you not wanting to change the team, that's okay. Or if this is you saying you don't think I'm qualified yet, I'm even okay with THAT," Monique said. "But if this is that same old line where you think you can judge me for being the Oryx - "

"There are some very dangerous people out there, Monique," Kim said. "We deal with the worst kind of megalomaniacs and would-be conquerors and - "

"Snake-themed thieves?" Monique interrupted, raising an eyebrow.

Kim folded her arms. "You could get killed very easily fighting these people."

"You want to know who's really dangerous, Kim? One man in a dark alley with a loaded gun. I don't know how many times you've had to dodge lead bullets, but it's not easy. And I've been handling those losers for months. I think I can handle monkey men and deranged golfers."

"You shouldn't be risking your life fighting 'those losers' in the first place!"

"Here we go again!" Monique exploded. "You can't accept that I'm the Oryx now!"

"They have police for the things you're doing!"

"And they have Global Justice for the things YOU do, but I don't see that stopping you. Face it, girl. You're a hypocrite."

"I am NOT!" Kim retorted. "I've been doing this a lot longer than you, Monique."

"That's because you started in high school! I'm twenty-one, an adult, and I know a lot more than you did when YOU started saving the world. I don't need you trying to mother me!"

"Maybe you do! God knows your real mother can't!"

Then Kim slapped her hands over her mouth. "Monique," she said, her voice muffled. "I shouldn't have said that."

Monique glared at her coldly. "No, you shouldn't have, Kim."

One month after high school graduation, Monique's parents had gone out for dinner. On the way back from the restaurant that night, they had been involved in a one-car accident when their car smashed into the side of a building. The fuel tanks had been ruptured and the car exploded, killing them both. Based on what Monique's father had ordered during his meal, the police suspected he had been driving under the influence. The life insurance company refused to pay because of that, and that was why Monique worked at Club Banana instead of going to college.

Kim lowered her hands. "It's just that . . . sometimes I wonder if that's why you became the Oryx. Like maybe you're risking death because they're gone too," she said quietly. "And I don't want anything to happen to you, I really don't. Other than Ron, Shego, and Wade, you're practically the only close friend I have, Monique. So yeah, I worry about you. You're important to me. I'd like to see just one of my friends living a normal, happy life."

Monique turned away. "I appreciate the sentiment, Kim," she replied. "And you're right. I became the Oryx because of my parents. But not for the reasons you think," she added, whipping her head around to look at Kim. "Despite what you may think, I want to live. I want to live a long time, so I can pay all those bastards back."

"What do you mean, 'those bastards'? Who are you talking about?"

"People like the guy who killed my parents, that's who."

Kim gasped. "But I thought - "

"Here's a little story, Kim," Monique said. "About six months after my mom and dad died, this guy shows up in a hospital emergency room. Seems he's been shot in the stomach. The doctors try to save him, but they can't, and he dies on the operating room table. Later, the medical examiner finds these untreated burns all over his body. Looks like they're a few months old. When the police do a thorough search of this guy's apartment, they find some stolen goods - including my father's wallet and driver's license. And since the police knew he had his wallet when he left the restaurant . . ."

"He was a carjacker," Kim realized.

Monique nodded. "He must have gotten in the back seat and forced them to take him somewhere. But something went wrong and there was a car crash. My parents died, but that scumbag got out of the car in time - he got burned, but he lived."

"But I never heard anything in the papers, or - "

"Yeah, well, you weren't exactly around, were you?" Monique asked.

"I tried to be there for you after the accident, Monique," Kim said, stung. "I'm sorry if that wasn't enough for - "

"Forget it," Monique said, waving a hand. "You're right, you were a good friend after they died. It's my fault for not moving on like everyone else, I guess. Anyway, it wasn't in the papers. They couldn't prove he was responsible, and he was dead anyway, so they closed the case. And I didn't feel like dredging it up again, so I never talked about it. On the other hand," she continued, "the insurance company had to change its tune. I collected over a million dollars from their two policies."

"You did?" Kim asked, surprised. "Then why did you stay in Middleton?"

Monique shrugged. "It felt like blood money. I couldn't bring myself to spend it on something like college. If they had died in an accident, it would have different. But not when they were murdered. Most of the money is in the bank, gathering interest."

"Most of it?"

"How do you think I paid for my costume?" Monique smiled grimly. "I didn't get everything from Wade, you know. As I see it, using that money to stop creeps just like that guy is poetic justice."

Kim rubbed her head. "Mind if I sit down? This is a lot to digest."

"Are you kidding? I've been dealing with this for years, and I still haven't processed it all."

Sitting down, Kim took a moment to think it through. "So is this revenge or justice?" she finally asked.

Monique sat next to her. "It was revenge at first, with a little justice mixed in," she said. "I won't lie. I looked at those punks' faces and thought I saw my parents' killer. Later, though, it stopped being about payback for what was done to me, because I could do this for twenty years and STILL not be satisfied. Now it's about making sure this kind of thing doesn't happen to other people. That's the difference between you and me, Kim."

"What's that?"

"Well, you save the world, and 'the world' is kind of an impersonal thing to save. You see the big picture. And don't get me wrong, you've done amazing things and I totally respect and admire you for it," Monique said quickly. "Me, I'm not so interested in the big picture. I want to save the world one person at a time. Like I said before, people need someone like you, and someone like me. So . . . just stop asking me to quit, okay? You have to realize by now how important this is to me. It's personal, Kim."

Kim sighed. "Yeah, I guess it is. God, I wish things were different, though."

Monique chuckled. "You're telling me."

"So if you're so focused on the little picture, then why did you agree to freelance for Team Possible?" Kim asked curiously.

"Well - this might sound funny, considering you said something similar a little while ago. But other than Ron, Shego, and Wade, you're my only close friend. And if me coming along on a mission every so often helps keep you guys safe, then that's all that matters to me." She smiled. "So while you're trying to keep the world safe, I'll be trying to keep you guys safe."

Kim blinked. "Actually, that IS a little funny," she admitted. "You know what else is?"


"Lately it seems like the girl who can do anything is only good for opening her big mouth and shoving her foot in it," Kim said ruefully. "I've been lectured by you, Ron, Shego, my mother, and even a spaceship and a talking car."

"Well, a little humility never hurt a girl who runs around saying, 'Anything's possible for me!'."

"Does a little humility include putting up with being teased by her friends?" Kim asked, grinning.

"Oh, yeah," Monique agreed.

"You know," Kim said, "you might not want to tell Ron about all the details of how you became the Oryx."

Monique looked confused. "Why?"

"You know. Parents killed by mugger, so their child starts dressing in costume and knocking out crooks in the middle of the night?" Kim pointed out gingerly. "It sounds like the intro to that Fearless Ferret show Ron watches."

"Girlfriend, you did NOT just compare me to a television superhero," Monique said. "Do you realize how corny those shows are?"

"Don't even get me started on the lame sidekicks," Kim replied.

"Totally! Hey wait, how do YOU know how the Fearless Ferret begins?"

Kim blushed slightly. "That Snake Charmer we went after. I may have done a little research."

"Mmm-HMM." Monique raised an eyebrow, not entirely believing her.

"Let's just find Dr. Director," Kim grumbled. "And tell her you're on the team - on a contract basis."

"Really!" Monique asked, surprised.

Kim nodded. "Just ask Ron. When you think about it, the safest place to be is wherever I am."

"Oh, I see. Guess you should have emphasized the little in 'little humility'."

"Probably," Kim said.

"I - apologize for shouting at you earlier," Kim said calmly to Dr. Director a few minutes later. "You were only thinking about what was best for Team Possible, and you couldn't have known how I felt about Monique's crimefighting."

"Thank you," Dr. Director replied, "but I probably should have consulted with you first before I offered Monique a job. We agreed at the beginning that such decisions are your domain, and I'm sorry for that."

They shook hands, and that was that. Dr. Director was a consummate professional, Kim thought.

"This will be an interesting topic of conversation when I have lunch with your parents tomorrow," Dr. Director added thoughtfully.

"Wait, what?"

"Well, your mother is a friend of mine, and both your parents are investors in Team Possible Inc., so I do try to keep them up to date. Since your mother's shift doesn't begin until late tomorrow afternoon, Thomas and I will be going to the Space Center for a visit."

Kim closed her eyes and sighed. Then she opened them. "Where did Shego disappear to?"

"She went looking for you. I believe she wants to tell you that you shouldn't expect an apology."

"Of course not," Kim muttered.

She located Shego quickly. She was leaning in the doorway to another room, her distinctive dark locks ending just above what Kim had only this year admitted was a really nice ass. Shego must have heard her coming, though, because she turned her head slightly and raised a green-gloved finger to her lips.

"What?" Kim whispered as she came closer.

"I see it, yet I don't believe it," Shego mumbled.

Kim looked inside and saw Ron sitting cross-legged on the floor, his forearms resting on his knees and his eyes closed. "So he's meditating. So what?"

"Kimmie, since when do sidekicks meditate?"

"You used to be a sidekick, I might point out."

"I didn't meditate. I just got out my heat lamp and my beach chair. Anyway, Stoppable always struck me as having too much of a slacker mentality to be into meditating."

"Ron's not the same person, despite your refusal to believe that," Kim told her. "Or do I have to remind you AGAIN that you promised yourself to treat him with more respect after the Supreme One incident?"

Shego looked down. "Keep trying to forget I said that," she grumbled.

"Anyway," Kim said, "he's probably just trying to prepare himself for our encounter with Monkey Fist."

"Because monkeys are sick and wrong," Shego said sardonically.

"That's not why. Okay, that's partly why," Kim acknowledged. "But mainly it's because Monkey Fist and Ron probably still consider themselves archenemies."

Shego turned away and stared at her in total disbelief. "Stoppable is Monkey Fist's archnemesis?"

"See, again with the lack of respect."

"Kimmie, I just told you, that is NOT how the world works. Sidekicks do not meditate, and they certainly don't become the archenemy of reputable villains," Shego said. "You're the one who always beat Monkey Fist. Why aren't YOU his archenemy?"

"I'm sure he doesn't like me very much," Kim said. "But actually, the first time Monkey Fist tried to attain ultimate monkey power, Ron stopped him without any help from me. So that has a little something to do with it. Plus Ron apparently got some magic powers that Fist wanted, so that's also a factor."

Shego went on looking at her. "Ron Stoppable - "

"And Rufus. And I was giving him advice over the Kimmunicator."

"Whatever. Stoppable fought Monkey Fist in the flesh, and Fist lost?"

Kim nodded.

"Damn," Shego said. "Damn," she repeated.


"I guess I need to respect him a little more," Shego admitted.

Kim smiled. Fighting prowess was the surest way to gaining Shego's esteem. Just look at Monique.

"Wait another minute," Shego added, pulling Kim farther away from the room where Ron paid them no attention. "How could Ron still be alive if Fist had it out for him that badly?"

"He DID have me in his corner, you know," Kim pointed out.

"That's not what I'm talking about," Shego said darkly. "Look, did you ever wonder why the bad guys didn't try to kill you while you slept? Or maybe blow up your school while you were in class?"

Kim didn't answer for a moment. "Not really," she finally said. "Usually the villains just had their own plans and waited for me to come to them."

"It's a pride thing," Shego explained. "It quickly became the consensus years ago that if a villain would stoop so low as to try to kill you while you were completely vulnerable and defenseless - "


"If someone had thrown a grenade into your bedroom at two in the morning, Princess, what do you think your chances would have been?"

" . . . Not that good."

"That's what I'm trying to say. For a villain, his reputation is almost everything," Shego explained. "You've seen how their egos work. If a villain tried to kill you in your sleep, for example, then it would have been seen as an implied admission that he couldn't defeat you any other way. He'd been viewed as a coward. Or worse, an incompetent. And that's why you never woke up to find a gun barrel pointed in your face."

"Okay," Kim said slowly. "Of course, you never broke into my bedroom for a different reason."

"I worked for Drakken. If I had, it would have reflected upon him," Shego said, looking away.

"You wouldn't have cared about that. You've already admitted it was always about beating me, not killing me," Kim reminded her. "And you wouldn't have gotten any satisfaction out of beating me like that."

Shego ducked her head lower. "No," she mumbled.

Kim used her finger to lift Shego's head by the chin. "Don't worry. I could never think you're soft," she said before kissing her on the lips.

When Kim pulled away, Shego had a dazed yet happy expression on her face. She shook it off, though, and tried to look serious. "I'm trying to make a point, Kimmie," she said.

"Fine. They never tried to attack Ron and me in our homes because it would have made them look bad. I get it."

"That's not why they didn't attack Ron, Kim," Shego said. "Killing a sidekick while he slept would be viewed as way beneath a villain. Ron was considered a pointless target."

"Shego," Kim said, annoyed. "Why do you have to keep insulting him?"

"I'm not trying to," Shego hissed. "I'm trying to say that Monkey Fist wouldn't have felt those rules applied to him! If he really did see Ron as his archenemy, then Ron should have been in mortal danger from him. No one would have given a shit if Monkey Fist killed his archnemesis, a.k.a. Ron, whereas Drakken would have been humiliated forever if he killed HIS archnemesis, a.k.a. you."

Kim was confused, but she was willing to admit that Shego knew these people much better than she did. "So what does it mean?" she asked.

"Well, either Monkey Fist didn't really consider Ron to be an archfoe . . . or he had another reason to let Ron live," Shego said.

"Like what?"

"Don't ask me, I'm not sick in the head like Monty is. I'm just saying it's something you should keep in mind."

Kim nodded. "Okay. Whatever Monkey Fist was thinking five years ago, he's still a dangerous warrior, and Ron's fighting skills aren't where they could be. I think that maybe I should begin training Ron while you're training Monique."

"I'm surprised you never trained him before," Shego said.

"Fighting was never a big part of his job description."

Shego shrugged. "It's a start, although he'll never be able to match Monique."

"Oh, I think he could beat Monique if I worked enough with him," Kim said.

"Really?" Shego drawled, her eyes sparkling.

"Uh-oh," Kim thought.

"Then how about a friendly wager?" Shego suggested. "Since we know I'm the better fighter - "

"As if!"

"Let's find out who's the better teacher. I bet you that in one month, Monique could take Stoppable one-on-one."

Kim smiled. Competition would always be the lifeblood of their relationship. "What's the prize?"

Shego grinned evilly. "If Monique wins, you have to dress like me again for another mission." She let her eyes trail down Kim's body. "You know how those baggy pants are wasted on your legs."

Kim chuckled. "Then it's only fair if you have to wear MY mission clothes on a mission if RON wins."

Shego's eyed widened. Kim's smile grew as she realized Shego hadn't thought her wager all the way through. "Fine," Shego said. "Since you have no hope of victory anyway."

"Fine," Kim agreed. "I teach Ron how to fight like me, you teach Monique to fight more like you, and we stay on the sidelines."

Shego slipped her fingers into one of the belt loops on Kim's pants and pulled her close. "The sidelines aren't for people like us, but just this once," she purred. "You know, maybe we should give Ronnie some alone time. His concentration could be broken by . . . loud noises."

"The sparring room or your room?" Kim asked.

"Kimmie, Kimmie," Shego said with a wink. "Haven't you figured out yet? They're the same thing."

Kim shivered. Shivering was a good thing.

To be continued . . .

Author’s Note – For those not familiar with the episode, “The Fearless Ferret” was based on the Batman TV show.

Chapter 6

Title: Chapter Six

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (6)
Author: Allaine
Email: PG-13
Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".
Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 6

"Uh, KP?"

"No, we can't take a break yet," Kim said. "We've only been doing this for two - "

"I am NOT that out of shape," Ron said defensively. "And that wasn't what I was going to ask."

Kim flushed. "Sorry," she replied. "I guess a little of Shego's abrasiveness is rubbing off on me."

"Along with sweat and dead skin cells, I bet."


Ron grinned at her. "Now if only some of your sweetness can rub off on her, we can call it even." Then he became more serious. "Kim, I'm not exactly the fighting master like you," he began.

"Which is why we're doing this," Kim pointed out. "I've neglected your training for way too long. If I was a better friend I would have started teaching you long ago."

Ron tugged at his workout clothes self-consciously. "KP, I still remember you coaching kids' soccer in high school. If you'd been training me back then, I probably would have hidden in my room and locked the door."

"I can't help it if I'm a bit of a perfectionist," Kim told him.

He just looked at her.

"Maybe more than a bit," she conceded.

"Yeah, well, don't get me wrong. I appreciate you doing this for me now, but what I was going to say before is that I couldn't help but notice that this isn't your normal style of fighting we're practicing."

"You can tell?" she asked, surprised.

"I've been watching you for years. I think I can tell when you're using a new move."

"Point," Kim said. "And yes, this is something different. I thought we could begin with something a little more appropriate for you."

"Uh-huh," he said. "Chinese, right?"


"Maybe something similar to, oh, I don't know, Ta Sheng Pek Kwar?"

Kim sighed. "Ron, you DO have the Monkey Mystical Power inside you."

"Monkeys!" Rufus squeaked from where he was watching them. "Sick!"

"Wrong!" Ruby chimed in.

"What they said," Ron added.

"You have a gift, Ron, whether you choose to use it or not. When you've defeated Monkey Fist in the past, you did it using the monkey kung fu abilities the Power automatically gave you," Kim reminded him. "Imagine what you could do if you were actually schooled in the art of Ta Sheng Pek Kwar."

"I get what you're saying, KP," Ron replied, "and it's really not because of the monkey thing. Well, okay, partly. But not all of it! Just maybe most of it - some of it. It's 49, all right?" His shoulders drooped. "Unlike Lord Monty, I don't want to be the Monkey Master. I'm not going to learn to be something I'm not, just because I accidentally got some powers years ago. Besides, you never got powers. You became the person you are through sheer determination, skill, and practice. If I became the Monkey Master because of some special power I have, it'd be like - I don't know. Cheating?"

Kim looked at him oddly. "And you think you can do the hard work necessary to become the fighter you think you're supposed to be, Ron?"

"Of course," he said. "Contrary to public opinion, Kim, I'm NOT the same guy who once forced Monique to build a volcano all by herself. If I could work with a personal trainer every day for weeks - a trainer, by the way, who happened to be my ex-girlfriend - "

"Who you started dating again," Kim reminded him.

"For a while, until she got jealous," Ron said. "I guess she never understood what it meant to be part of Team Possible. What I'm trying to say is - I want to become the kind of hero you are, KP, the way YOU did it. This is about you and me fighting evil as a full-time job. If I can't pull my weight, what good am I?"

"So no monkey kung fu?"

"I don't even want to fight like the orangutan in that Clint Eastwood movie."

"And three-hour practice sessions if that's what it takes?" Kim asked.

Ron swallowed.

"Shego and I worked six to eight hours a day, every day, on the Seniors' island," she pointed out.

"Yeah, but your batteries were constantly being replenished by a compulsion to win and a lot of hidden sexual tension," Ron replied. "Unlike the current situation," he added slyly.

Kim turned beet-red. "Yeah," she said sheepishly, rubbing the back of her head. "It's not hidden any more."

Ron chuckled. "Yeah, okay, if it means you've got to run my ass ragged for three or four hours a day, then that's what it takes."

She grabbed him before he knew it and pulled him close. Her other arm wrapped around his back and held him tightly in a hug. "I'm so proud of you, Ron," she murmured.

He couldn't see the gloating look on her face. Shego was losing this bet for sure!

And when she let go, she looked normal again. "So, who DO you want to be?" Kim asked.

"I thought I'd learn to fight like you, KP."

"Well, obviously I'll teach you all of my moves, and certainly you've been in top shape ever since the Acceptable sitch, so we don't need to worry about your conditioning. But you just told me that you want to become the fighter you were meant to me, not who you became by accident," she said. "Do you have any idea of who that is?"

He didn't even hesitate. "I am all OVER that ninja stuff, Kim." He raised one hand over his head, and extended the other arm, making a "come" gesture with his hand. "Hoo-aaaaah!"

She shook her head, smiling. "I should have known," Kim said. "You and your movies."

It was too bad Ron couldn't tell her about Yamanouchi. He still remembered a lot of what they'd taught him at the secret Japanese school, and he'd practiced some of the moves alone in his room. If she taught him anything he was already familiar with, he'd just have to hold himself back and play the "fast learner".

Now the Lotus Blade - that was the one good thing about the Mystical Monkey Power. THAT had been a sword! Plus Yori had been really nice. Too bad she hadn't been interested.

So he just smiled back at her. "Enter the Ronster, baby!"

Monique groaned as she pushed her way into Bueno Nacho. It was two minutes until closing time, but damn it, if SHE could deal with the Supreme One coming into her store five minutes before she locked the doors, then THEY could deal with one very sore crimefighter - civilian attire, of course.

"Uh, miss?" the assistant manager said from the cash register. The place was deserted. "We're about to - "

She threw a murderous look at him, and he trembled.

"W-welcome to Bueno Nacho, may I take your order?" he asked politely.

"Give me a cup," she said, holding out a hand. "I want a soda."

"Er, that may not be such a good idea," he said.

"Look, I don't CARE what time it is, I just want to sit down and drink my diet soda," she said, exasperated.

"That wasn't what I meant, miss," he replied. "You see, there's this - situation."

"Just give the lady a bottled water, my good man."

Monique started. Shego had ridden her even harder than she thought. For a moment she thought the soda machine had spoken. "You didn't maybe let anyone from the Space Center tinker with your soda machine, did you?" she asked hesitantly.

"No, ma'am," the employee said. "There's been a, uh, customer in the ice bucket for the past ten minutes."

"A what in the what?" she asked. Now she KNEW she was too tired. The inanimate objects were talking, and the actual people were saying things that couldn't POSSIBLY -

A hand rose from the top of the soda machine and waved limply. "I said a bottled water for my lady friend, good Bueno Nacho custodian," someone said.

Monique stared. "Ron!"

"I'd raise my head to see who just said my name, but I can't really move right now."

She climbed onto the countertop, causing the assistant manager to scramble backwards. From there she could see that the top of the soda machine had been removed, revealing the large tub from which the ice was dispensed. Nestled atop the ice was, in fact, Ron Stoppable. "Ron, what the hell are you doing in there?"

"Hey, Monique. Physical therapy. I'm hoping to die from hypertension."

"Hypothermia," she corrected him. "Are you all right?"

He looked at her. "If I was all right, would I be doing this?"

"Probably not," she admitted. "Although this IS Bueno Nacho. Anything's possible for YOU in here."

"Funny you should say that word, Monique. Possible. Actually, KP is why I'm here. She told me earlier today that I needed to work on my fighting skills," she sighed.

"Ahh," Monique said. "How long ago was that?"

"About five hours."

"Ouch. Almost as long as me."

"Almost as long as you what?" he asked.

"Shego worked me over good tonight," she explained. "We were fighting on the roof of a factory for almost six hours. Said that if I was going to be coming along with Team Possible on missions, then I was going to have to live up to a 'higher standard'." She smiled. "Which, according to her, means getting to the point where I have a slim chance of lasting against her."

Ron shook his head ever so slightly. "Shego, thy name is spelled with 'ego'. How much more of that do you have to look forward to?"

"A few weeks or so. Shego's not exactly someone who plans far ahead."

"Whereas Kim's got my training schedule nailed down for the next month," Ron groaned. "Including a diet. A diet, Monique! She wants to cut down on my Diablo Sauce intake by 50!"

"Poor Ron," she said, reaching in and ruffling his hair. She stopped. "Uh, Ron, I'm no doctor, but your forehead feels a couple degrees short of normal."

"Good. My savior hypodermia has arrived."

"Thermia," she muttered.

A couple minutes later they were seated across from each other at a BN table. "You realize I'm never getting a soda here again," Monique told him. "I think you just violated a half-dozen safety codes tonight. Hell, you did everything to the health and safety code except flush it down the toilet. How'd you get them to let you in there?"

"I'm a valued customer, Monique," he reminded her. "Inventor of the naco, remember? Also, I may have scared them a little. They kept calling me 'Mr. Stoppable'. About every three seconds, I think."

"What about Kim?" she asked. "You going to be doing this every night?"

"Until Dad buys that Jacuzzi, yes," Ron said.

"Maybe you're not cut out for this kind of high-intensity training," she suggested gently.

"Maybe," he admitted. Ron looked into her eyes, and Monique could see that for all his exhaustion, he was completely serious. "But that doesn't mean I'm stopping."

"Just checking," she said.

"What about you? You're as beat as I am."

"After learning how to get by on three hours' sleep five nights a week," Monique said, "I think I can survive this."

"It helps having someone to talk to, though," Ron said.

She realized she agreed. "Yeah, it does. Maybe we should get together tomorrow too. We can argue about who's more beat."

"That's easy, I am," Ron replied, grinning weakly.

Monique smirked.

"Maybe we can compare notes, too," he went on. "I mean, most people might not know this, but after watching Kim and Shego fight all those times, I've learned there are a lot of subtle differences in how they fight. Kim's going to teach me everything she knows, but there must be things Shego knows that Kim doesn't."

"Ditto for Shego," Monique said. "Of course, she'd say that she DOES know, but that her way is better anyway."

"Probably," Ron agreed.

"Sure, why not?" she said in answer to his suggestion. "Whatever makes us better fighters."

"And if I'm going to watch Kim's back, I need to be the best fighter I can be," he said quietly.

"Amen to that," she said. "And so we can protect Shego too."

He raised an eyebrow.

"Ron, what do YOU think it would do to Kim if Shego was hurt?" Monique asked rhetorically.

Ron waited for a moment before he nodded. "Shego too," he said.

Rufus and Ruby crawled out of Ron's pockets and clambered onto the table. Rufus lifted up Ron's hand by the wrist, and Ruby did the same with Monique's.

Ron smiled and shrugged. He took Monique's hand and shook it. "Then it's a date."

"As long as you're not bringing flowers."

"You have an excellent facility here, James," Dr. Director said as they walked along the hallway. Thomas was safely strapped into his stroller - although perhaps not securely. Already an old hand at disassembling and reassembling electronic devices, Thomas had shown in the past that if the stroller were to stop moving for a minute or two, the straps would be unbuckled and he would be climbing out again.

"I'm surprised you've never visited before, Betty," Mr. Dr. Possible replied. "We do a fair amount of work here for the American government."

"I had my hands full at Global Justice, James. And I'll remind you that GJ was an international organization subordinate to no government, so the Space Center's affiliation with the scientific arm of the U.S. government would have meant little to us." She looked around. "Still, I was always aware of its status as a research facility of the highest order. I believe I lost one or two of my people to your Center, lured by civilian salaries and shorter hours."

"Ha ha, of course," he said. "Um, which ones?"

"Classified information, James. We make sure our best undercover agents have only the most sterling resumes."

He chuckled. But he eyed two scientists closely as they walked past.

"So, when do I get to meet Team Possible's most expensive employee?" she asked.

"The SADI is in her hangar right now," James Possible said. "We'll go there as soon as my better half arrives. Doctor Freeman will also be joining us at some point. As Sadie's creator he can tell you more about her than I. Whereas I can tell you more about . . . my office."

"Spacious," she said as he ushered her in. It looked more like a research lab than an office.

"Actually, this used to be my research lab when I was younger," he told her. "Later on I added the desk when they started giving me administrative duties as well as scientific ones," he grumbled. "Still, I usually find myself looking out the window at the launchpad when I'm trying to solve a particularly difficult problem."

"I imagine there were few of those, James."

"You should have been there those nights when I was trying to figure out how to keep Kimmie away from boys until she was twenty-five," he said. "Never did solve THAT one."

Dr. Director blinked. She realized Mr. Dr. Possible was protective of Kim. She just hadn't realized how much. "I suppose Shego solved that one for you."

"You know, she did at that. Maybe she should be working here."

Betty Director tried to imagine that, and failed completely.

Before their conversation could return to something a little more - normal, there was a beeping from Mr. Dr. Possible's coat pocket. She almost expected him to pull a Kimmunicator out and utter the immortal catchphrase, but instead he retrieved his cell phone.

"Dr. Possible here," he said, opening the phone. "There's a what? . . . You're not serious . . . And they tried to launch anyway? . . . All right, I'll be right down." He closed the phone and put it back in his pocket. "I'm sorry, Doctor, but there's a bit of an emergency at the launch pad. Would you mind if - "

"Not at all," Dr. Director said. "I'll wait here with Tommy until you get back."

"Thanks," he replied. "If my wife arrives before I get back - "

"I'll tell her you'll just be a minute."

"Top notch," Mr. Dr. Possible said. "Take a seat and relax while you're waiting."

Dr. Director smiled and nodded, but she remained standing even after he left. He had a nice office at the Space Center. Not as nice as her old one at GJ, of course, but nicer than the one she was using at Team Possible, Inc. Of course, they were only spending money on the essentials right now - computer hardware, security, a twin-sized mattress for Shego's room JUST so she was clear that her new accommodations weren't arranged just so she could have a little lovenest with . . .

She turned around and gave a little sigh of exasperation. She'd let her mind wander, and naturally Thomas had freed himself from the stroller again. "All right now, Thomas," she called out as she went into the corridor, quickly ascertaining that he wasn't still in the office. Undoubtedly he was looking for something he could disassemble. Like a fission reactor. "You're not getting - "

Then Dr. Director stopped. Thomas was sitting on the floor in the middle of the hallway, staring up at the large man before him. He looked completely mesmerized.

"There you are!" she said, going over to him.

"You have a fine boy there," the man said. "Good, solid manufacturing."

"Er, thank you," Dr. Director said.


The man turned around. "Yes, Doctor?"

Dr. Director looked past him and blinked with her good eye. A woman in her early thirties was approaching them, and the only thing that suggested she was truly a doctor and not a shampoo model was her no-nonsense lab coat. It hid her body somewhat, but not enough.

Beauty, and evidently brains as well. If she was still head of GJ, Dr. Director would consider her a prime candidate for recruitment.

"The experiments are a little rambunctious without you around, Oliver," the woman said to him as she stopped. "Perhaps you should get back."

"Right away, doctor," he promised. He turned and left without another word. Thomas just watched him go. Then he looked up at his mother. He seemed almost disappointed.

"You'd almost think your friend was a machine the way Thomas took after him," Dr. Director said.

"Funny you should say that," the other woman said with a knowing grin. "Are you just visiting, or a new addition to the staff?"

"Just visiting. I'm here with the Drs. Possible. Oh, I'm Dr. Betty Director." She offered her hand.

"Dr. Vivian Porter," the woman said, shaking it. "Pleased to meet you."

"Oh? What field?"

"You don't believe me?" Dr. Porter asked. Her hand was still in Dr. Director's grip, and it stiffened slightly. She sounded suddenly irritated.

"Of course," Dr. Director said, surprised by her shift in demeanor. "I simply was curious about your area of expertise. I know enough about the Space Center to know that not everyone here is a rocket scientist."

"Oh," Dr. Porter replied, seemingly mollified. "I'm in robotics, actually."

"Really? If Thomas here should be staring at anyone then, it's you. He loves machines." Dr. Director paused. "Wait - Vivian Porter? You're not V. F. Porter, are you?"

"I don't really go by my initials much any more," Dr. Porter said, startled. "But yes, that's me."

"I read several of your articles years ago on robotics designs," Dr. Director explained. "I found it fascinating. I would have tried to hire you for my organization, but I heard the Space Center had already snapped you up."

Vivian looked intrigued. "What organization was that?"

"Just a little something in the public sector," Dr. Director said vaguely. "Anyway, that was years ago. I'm semi-retired now, except some work I'm doing with James' daughter Kim."

"I haven't seen Kim Possible in a long time," Dr. Porter said. "She practically saved my career years ago."

"It seems there are very few people Kim hasn't saved nowadays."

"Probably. So, your boy here likes machines?"

"Very much so."

"Perhaps he'd like to see my lab," Dr. Porter suggested. "We have a lot of experimental work going on there."

"It sounds like something he'd enjoy, but that's probably not a good idea," Dr. Director said. "It could be dangerous."

"I assure you, my lab is completely safe - "

"Dangerous for your robots," Dr. Director corrected her.

Dr. Porter chuckled. "Another time then. I should be getting back, though."

"It was a pleasure meeting you, Dr. Porter."

"Please, call me Vivian. Any friend of Kim Possible's is a friend of mine." She leaned closer. "And just so you know, my assistant Oliver?"

Dr. Director nodded.

"He's a robot. Almost as if your son knew, eh?"

"Right," Dr. Director said, although this remark concerned her. Surely it wasn't possible that little Thomas had known Oliver was a robot? She certainly wouldn't have guessed.

"Well, enjoy the rest of your visit," Vivian said.

"Thank you, Vivian. And it's Betty."

Vivian smiled. "Enjoy the rest of your visit, Betty."

"I will. Tell Oliver how close he came to becoming Thomas' latest masterpiece," Betty told her.

The robotics expert waved as she walked back down the corridor. Betty Director watched her go. She could guess that most men here enjoyed that as much as watching her coming.

If only GJ had hired her before the Space Center did. Pity.

To be continued . . .

Chapter 7

Title: Chapter Seven

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (7)
Author: Allaine
Email: PG-13
Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Summary: Their relationship for once secure, Kim and Shego follow a lead to central Africa, where Monkey Fist and a new ally believe that with their new and improved minions, the world will beat a path to their door.

Chapter 7

"So, can I escort you two lovely ladies - AND this fine strapping boy you have - to the hangar where the SAFO is docked?" James Possible asked once he returned to his office and found Dr. Director there with his wife.

"Probably a good idea," Dr. Director said. "We wait too long, and Thomas gets bored. And a bored Thomas is not something this building is equipped to handle."

"Is he still rebuilding your electronic appliances?" Mrs. Dr. Possible asked her.

"My electric toothbrush was sacrificed the other day," Betty Director sighed, "along with the blender. They're in the garage, living their new life together as a custom-made set of power tools. On the other hand, those tools would probably cost several hundred dollars even at Smarty Mart, so you can't fault his economics."

"At least there's that," her friend murmured. "The boys still prefer creating things they can promptly destroy. I look at it as Drew Lipsky's just deserts - my children ended up being better at building death rays than him."

"Rocketry has a long and proud history in the military, Holly," James reminded her.

Holly Possible smiled tightly. "We're trying to get them to explore other careers than weapons designers, remember dear?"

Dr. Director chuckled. "Perhaps they could work for their sister one day," she said. "Explosives experts do come in handy."

"One world-saving child per family, Betty," Holly told her.

They began walking toward the elevators, but Mrs. Dr. Possible dropped back and pulled Betty, along with the stroller, with her. "You go on ahead, James," she said. "Girl talk between friends. You know how it is."

"Indeed," he said wryly. "Pretend I'm not here."

"So," Holly Possible asked once he was several feet ahead. "I hope Thomas didn't wreak TOO much havoc in James' office."

"He never bothered," Dr. Director said. "He found a new friend in the hallway." She described their encounter with Vivian Porter and her robotic assistant Oliver.

"Something's bothering you," Holly realized. "I caught a look in your eye when you mentioned Oliver. I've met him - or it - once or twice. Thomas would have been perfectly safe around him."

"Oh, it's not that," Betty said. "It's just that - is it possible he knew Oliver was a robot?"

"You didn't know. How could he?"

"I don't know how. But he seemed awfully intrigued by Oliver," Betty replied, worried. "Like he knew that man ran on metal parts instead of a beating heart. What if he sensed something? Holly," she said gingerly, "what about the implants in his brain? We know those have something to do with him being a technological prodigy. What if they enabled him to detect Oliver's true nature?"

Mrs. Dr. Possible thought for several moments before she answered. This had rapidly moved beyond "girl talk" and into the realm of "doctor-parent discussion". She had been the first neurosurgeon to examine the boy, back when he was Thomas Ronald Acceptable and not Thomas R. Director. She had concluded that Mrs. Acceptable, through some wizardry she couldn't possibly comprehend, had wedded Thomas' brain tissue to the cybernetic implants with such complexity that surgery to remove them would kill the child without question.

Of course she had encouraged Betty to get a second opinion, and a third as well, but the result was inevitable. Thomas would have to live with those implants, probably for the rest of his life. They'd been designed to enable his brain to "link" to computers, thus creating the kind of artificial intelligence that even machines like Sadie and Sappho, with all their personality, couldn't match. Possibly this was why he was so fascinated by machines, why he already seemed to know their inner workings even better than Dr. Possible knew the brain's, why he could mix and match their parts like some mad genius.

The word "mad" could not be avoided. There was literally no telling what having those implants in his brain would do as he grew older. Insanity was a definite possibility. Or, worst of all, they might just kill him one day.

"It could be," Holly Possible admitted finally. "I don't know one-tenth of what I need to know about how his brain works. Not to sound clichéd, but anything's possible - for Thomas Director's mind, that is."

"I see," Betty Director murmured.

"On the other hand," Holly said quickly, "there's no reason to worry. Even if that IS the reason he was so intrigued by Oliver, what's the harm? If he was older, he probably would have been more fascinated by Dr. Porter," she added, trying to change the subject.

"She is very pretty," Betty said.

"Pretty? You're underestimating her," Holly answered. "I think James stopped paying attention to her looks a long time ago, but I've seen her at holiday functions here, and there are a lot of middle-aged men who work here who obviously have been crushing on her all this time."

"She mentioned Kim helped her out of a problem once," Betty remembered. "Do you know what that was about?"

Holly thought back. "One of her colleagues accused her of stealing his designs. It turned out he was the thief, trying to steal credit for her work."

"I can't imagine why she needed Kim's help," Betty said. "Even as the head of GJ, word of V.F. Porter's reputation reached me. Surely James would have known - "

"He would have," Holly Possible interjected, "if he had known who she was. But Vivian had allowed people to think she was merely a lab assistant when she started working here."

"Why on earth would she do that?"

"Apparently Vivian had some bad experiences when she was younger. People saw her beauty and couldn't take her seriously, no matter how intelligent she was," Mrs. Dr. Possible explained.

"She overreacted when I asked her a simple question about her field of expertise," Betty recalled. "Now I understand why."

"That happened to me the first time I met her," Holly said. "Even now she's very insecure. I think she believes that everyone who meets her for the first time assumes she's a stereotypical 'dumb blonde'. Of course, everyone here knows that's the furthest thing from the truth."

"That's true," James said, and the two women discovered that, even as slow as they were going, they'd caught up to James as he waited for the elevator. "Still, even after the incident with Dr. Fen, she had her work cut out for her."

"What does that mean?" Dr. Director asked.

"Well, she'd basically lied about her identity to the other scientists, so they were a little skeptical of her." Then he glanced around. "Also, there was the matter of her dress," he added quietly.

"Her dress?"

"She dressed like a singer in one of those pop music videos. Who was that girl Kimmie met once?" James asked his wife. "Chrissy? Tiffany?"

"Britina," Holly told him, always a bit more tuned into pop culture than her husband.

"Right, Britina," he said. "It was a bit hard to take her seriously when she underdressed like that. I considered speaking to her about it, but I was afraid she might interpret my comments as harassment. Fortunately she figured it out on her own."

Dr. Director looked at him. "Why James, you're not a half-bad administrator after all," she said.

"Lucky me," he sighed.

"Anyway," Mrs. Dr. Possible said as they got out of the elevator a minute later and once more allowed James to take the lead, "Vivian has been an object of fantasy for some of the single men here for some time. And as long as she remains single, that will probably continue."

"Single?" Betty asked, surprised. "Brains and beauty? I would imagine she has a flock of suitors."

"Not when you still assume that men are only interested in you for your body," Holly pointed out. "Also, she's apparently one of those scientists who goes fifty hours without leaving her lab. Like someone who shall remain nameless until I got him to change his habits."

"Says the woman who operates on her patients for ten hours straight," James' voice floated back to them, and Holly turned slightly pink.

"Whatever her personal life is," Betty said, "I'm just glad that it wasn't just my big mouth when I offended her earlier."

"Yes, I think that's just a rite of passage for visitors here," Holly said. She glanced at Betty Director and shook her head slightly.

"What?" Betty asked.

"Nothing." But privately Holly thought that Vivian and Betty had something in common - both women were attractive and intelligent, yet allowed their beliefs on how others perceived them to keep them single. Only whereas Vivian thought everyone saw her as just another pretty face, Betty was convinced that a woman with one eye and one ear was not dating material. Holly had attempted to change her mind when she heard Betty say that, but her friend seemed resigned to letting her life revolve around her son and her work. "I'm just out of things to say about Vivian Porter."

"Then let's close the discussion on her and her robot, and focus on this SAFO and how she helps your daughter."

"Sappho" proved to be an amazing craft, and one oddly taken with Shego, Dr. Director thought. It had been disappointed when it learned Shego was not with them. When machines began preferring certain humans over others, it became hard to draw the line at where programming ended, and a soul began.

"And aren't you sweet?" Sappho laughed as the Possibles and Dr. Director finished their tour of the spaceship and exited through the hatch. The glowing white orb that served as its "eye" and "mouth" when it communicated with people outside the ship extended on its cable and lowered itself into the stroller where Thomas lay.

"Er, Sappho, that might not be such a good idea," Dr. Director said. She didn't want her son to work his magics on Team Possible's sole aircraft.

But Thomas only smiled as Sappho's eye briefly touched his forehead and pulsated softly. Sappho chuckled and pulled back. "He's quite the charmer," she said.

"He's a beautiful boy," Mrs. Dr. Possible agreed.

"Smart too. He was telling me how much he liked my design."

Dr. Director and the Possibles looked at each other, then back at the spaceship. "No, he didn't," Dr. Director said. "He doesn't even talk yet."

"Well, he was talking to me," Sappho said.

"He didn't speak!"

"I heard him perfectly fine. I've never met a human who spoke binary so well. Come to think of it," Sappho added, "I've never met a human who spoke it at all."

Dr. Director just stared. It seemed the only one who couldn't speak was her.

"Tired?" Kim asked that night as she lounged on Shego's bed. Her quarters were at least clean, but still short on furniture.

"Not really," Shego said casually. "Although you must be exhausted, trying to teach Ron Stoppable how to fight."


"Maybe if your teaching skills were a little better."


Shego just laughed. She stripped down to her underwear and cast the green-and-black catsuit aside before slipping on light green cotton pants. Her black sports bra would be the only thing covering her above the waist, Kim knew, having shared a bed with her several times.

Although they'd never shared a bed for the purposes of making love, and Kim found herself wondering when that was going to come.

"I'll have you know that Ron is catching on very quickly to some Japanese martial arts skills he requested studying," Kim said. "He's in the best shape of his life, you know."

"Good," Shego said. "He'll need that when Monique pulverizes him next month."

"So you say," Kim said dryly. "But I think I'll be seeing you in cargo pants and a turtleneck before long, Shego."

"As if," Shego replied smugly. "At least you won't have to go far when it's time to dress like me next month. I'm sure you haven't forgotten how to put it on."

Kim blushed. This wager wasn't about her not LIKING Shego's chosen outfit. It felt nice against her body, it didn't interfere with her during the mission, and of course Shego looked drop-dead gorgeous when she wore it. Like always, it was about the competition. It was about Shego seeing herself in Kim's mission clothes next month and being reminded that this round, at least, belonged to Kim.

Even though they were no longer enemies and consequently were no longer trying to hurt each other, Kim and Shego competed with each other even more than in high school, by virtue of the fact that they spent so much time together. It was something Kim might have expected from a rival or a sibling, not her girlfriend.

But then, it wasn't about beating each other, not really. In many ways Shego was the standard against which Kim measured herself, and Kim knew Shego felt the same way about her. Their endless cycle of challenging each other and sparring with each other was about becoming even better, and being the very best would always matter a great deal to both women.

Plus, there were the bragging rights. Not to mention the way their fighting seemed to stoke the fires inside them, especially inside Shego.

"Maybe I should just turn out the light now," Shego suggested. "With you being so bushed and all."

"So not the drama," Kim said, lying on her side as Shego climbed onto the bed next to her. "I could go all night if I had to."

There was an evil look in Shego's eye that hadn't been there a second ago.

"Really?" Shego drawled. "All night?"

"Uh-oh," Kim thought.

Shego got onto her knees and, without warning, pushed Kim by the shoulder. She rolled onto her back but, before she could go on rolling right off the side of the bed, Shego had clambered on top of her. Her thighs straddled Kim's waist, and she looked down at Kim with a predatory air.

"Hey!" Kim said warningly.

"Don't make promises you don't expect to keep," Shego said, holding Kim's shoulders down. Her waves of dark hair cascaded around her face and hung before Kim's eyes. "And you shouldn't say things like that and not expect me to - answer."

"You've been training Monique for four hours," Kim said. "By now you'd take it as an invitation if I offered to make you a sandwich."

Shego frowned. "Monique's very talented," she said.

"I know that, Shego. This isn't about the bet."

"I know that," Shego snapped. "What I mean is - she's very good, and teaching her is a lot more fun than teaching Junior how to pull off one measly heist. And there were a few thieves and muggers along the way . . ."

"Wait, you mean the villainess Shego actually helped fight crime tonight?" Kim asked slyly.

"The creeps didn't see me," Shego said with a sniff. "I was very stealthy. It was a good object lesson for the Oryx. People always wondered why a thief would wear such bright colors. Any clown can dress in black and hide in the shadows. But for someone to dress in an eye-catching shade of green and still be a master thief - that's a mark of stealth. Oryx saw that Icould dress like the lead singer in a hair band and still avoid notice. Stealth isn't about lighting or clothes. It's about knowing how to use your body."

"Thanks, Professor."

"Bite me. Anyway, as I was SAYING, I was fighting all night, and it was fun. But - it's not the same as when I fight with you," Shego admitted. "There's something missing. So I suppose I'm a little frustrated right now."

"Hence the being on top of me," Kim said.

"Precisely. It would be useless to fight me on this."

Kim just lay there, smiling.

Shego scowled at her. "You're not fighting me on this."

"You said it was useless."

"Since when do YOU ever give up?"

"Well, ask yourself this, Shego," Kim murmured. Shego had barely moved for the past couple minutes, and the proximity was starting to make Kim quite aroused. "While I'm sure us fighting for control right now would be quite the turn on, would it be more or less of a turn on if I just lay here and allowed you to have your way with me?"

Shego chewed on her lip unconsciously as she thought it over. "There would be that nice feeling that comes from winning," she admitted, grinning wickedly now. "Taking my prize."

Kim moved her arms slightly and rested her hands on Shego's thighs. "And what if the prize was . . ." she whispered, and then stopped.

She couldn't believe she was doing this.

"Was what?" Shego asked quietly.

Kim closed her eyes for a moment before reopening them and looking into Shego's face. "My virginity."

Strangely, suddenly, all thoughts of sex fled from Shego's mind. She could only stare in shock. "You're a virgin?" she finally asked.

"Come on, Shego," Kim said, sounding a lot less nervous than she felt. "You said it yourself. When do I ever give up? How easily do you think I'd give up THAT?"

Shego shook her head. "Not easily at all," she mumbled.

"Shego," Kim said, "remember when the Supreme One came? And we were both panicking that if she disappeared, we'd disappear from each other's memories?"

"I wouldn't say I was panicking," Shego said defensively.

Kim just waited.

"Maybe a little," Shego admitted.

"Well, I also remember the moment after the Supreme One went into the portal," Kim said. "I remember how frightened I was that you were gone. And then the relief that flooded in when I found you . . . Shego, after all that, how could you not be the one for me?"

Shego trembled. "Kimmie," she whispered. "You - you can't want me. Nobody's ever wanted me."

"I don't want you," Kim agreed. "I need you. Don't you think it's been long enough?"

"I've - "


"I've been wanting to do this for weeks," Shego said.

Kim smiled. She realized how deeply she felt the words she'd uttered, and they washed much of the nervousness away. Her right hand moved up and tugged at the waistband of Shego's pajama pants. "Then why don't you come down here and take your prize?" she asked. "I promise you, you'll never win one like it."

"Never one more precious," Shego murmured, and this was as much a cause of the thrill that ran through Kim's body as was the way Shego's lips suckled at the base of her neck before moving up and kissing her demandingly.

This was when the Kimmunicator was supposed to go off, Kim thought dimly as Shego devoured her lips, allowing her hands to run up and down Shego's arms. This was when Ron burst in and saw something he'd never wipe from his brain until he died. This was when the interruption came.

Except it didn't.

"I guess the good karma finally paid off," Kim thought just before her ability to think left her completely.

To be continued . . .

Author's Note - What, you thought this scene would keep going? This is PG-13, remember:D

I've seen so many names given for Kim's mother, but I'm almost positive that the show has never stated what her first name is. I went with Holly because it sounds like 'wholly'. Get it? Hardy-har.

Chapter 8

Title: Chapter Eight

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (8)
Author: Allaine
Email: PG-13
Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Summary: Their relationship for once secure, Kim and Shego follow a lead to central Africa, where Monkey Fist and a new ally believe that with their new and improved minions, the world will beat a path to their door.

Chapter 8

Kim padded downstairs in her bare feet. A week ago such a thing would have been unthinkable, due to the buildup of dust. Now Team Possible HQ was, if sparingly furnished, at least clean.

And ironically, considering Kim and Shego were currently fighting to stay out of each other's mission clothes, Kim was wearing Shego's pajama pants along with the T-shirt she'd worn last night. Shego was sprawled out in her bed right now, dead to the world and without a stitch on her. Kim had grabbed Shego's green pants because they were the closest thing handy.

Shego . . . Kim thought about the nude beauty and felt her face grow flushed. Oh God, the things they'd DONE to each other last night. Surely none of the tortures Shego had visited upon her while in Dr. Drakken's employ years ago had been followed by such sweet ecstasies! And while certainly Kim had never imagined her first time would turn out the way it did (until Shego re-entered her life, Kim hadn't even considered her first time would involve a girl!), Shego had no trouble blowing Kim's mind, without even the benefit of that one part of the body which no man could do without!

There was one moment that, fortunately, didn't turn out the way it might have. Shego's nipples were the same shade as the rest of her breasts, instead of being darker. That might have thrown Kim off a bit, if she hadn't already seen Shego naked poolside on the Seniors' island.

The best part was, one corner of Kim's mind had analyzed and memorized Shego's moves the same way she would have during a fight. When Shego had finally rolled over, having driven her relentlessly to not one but two orgasms, she'd been surprised when the "inexperienced" Kim turned the tables and reduced her to incoherent whimpering.

Even then, it seemed, Kim's competitive spirit had not given Shego the chance to say she was the better lover.

"I have a lover," Kim whispered. "I have a lover."

She grinned unashamedly. It made her so happy to say that out loud! That was why she was downstairs, in a way. She felt so full of energy that she couldn't go on lying in bed, and she couldn't bear to wake Shego. Most wouldn't believe the raven-haired former villainess had it in her, but Shego had been surprisingly tender at times last night, and for that Kim chose to let her sleep.

It was a good thing no one was there to see her dancing around the main room at ten in the morning!

"Enjoying life, Kim?"

"YAAH!" Kim shrieked, spinning around.

Dr. Director leaned against the doorway of her office, a coffee mug in one hand. "Sorry," she said. "Mind if I tell you a story?"

"A . . . story?" Kim asked. She was still reeling a little from the night's activities, and Dr. Director's unexpected presence left her dazed. Why was she here, and where was Thomas?

"You see," Betty Director began, "Global Justice has always recruited people like yourself to be new agents - young, strong, fast, intelligent, determined, intuitive, often very attractive too. And these young men and women quickly found themselves working together on assignments, frequently life and death situations, and learning to trust one another with their lives."

"Uh-huh," Kim said, curious as to where this was going.

"And, as the agents became closer," Dr. Director continued, "sometimes it was inevitable that the agents also became romantically involved with one another."

"Oh," Kim replied, turning red.

"Naturally Global Justice tried to discourage such relationships," Dr. Director said. "It could create complications during assignments, as you can imagine."

"Sure," Kim said. What else could she say? The potential for distractions was there, although it had never created any problems for her and Shego.

Oh God, had Dr. Director arrived early enough to hear any sounds coming from Shego's room? Was that where this was coming from?

"Dr. Director," Kim went on before the older woman could continue. "I don't know how long you've been here, but - "

"I arrived not five minutes ago, Kim," Betty Director said.

"Ah," Kim said. Now she was definitely confused.

"As a supervisory agent, and later the head of GJ, I became quite good at reading body language, Kim," Dr. Director explained gently. "It was relatively simple to tell when two agents were interested in each other, or when someone had . . . the night before - "

"I got it," a mortified Kim said quickly. Dr. Director had taken one look at her and seen the truth. Kim had, as the boys liked to say, gotten laid.

"Good," Dr. Director said. She seemed a bit uncomfortable as well now. "That being said, Kim, I trust you didn't do anything like THAT last night? Because if you did, and I found about it, well . . . my next conversation with your mother could get a bit awkward."

"You wouldn't - "

"Tell your mother? IF it was true? Of course not, it's not my place to tell. It would just be awkward, though, knowing this."

They looked at each other for a moment.

"So," Betty said briskly, "you didn't do anything out of the ordinary last night, right?"

Kim responded with almost military precision. "Nope, nothing at all," she replied.

"Glad to hear it, Kim, glad to hear it."

"Er, Dr. Director?"


"Was there ever a time in GJ where you found out two of your agents had done - you know? And they were of the same sex?" Kim asked cautiously.

Dr. Director nodded. "Yes, once or twice."

"What did you do?"

"Well, it was discouraged, the same as I would have if they were of the opposite sex," she said. "But I never held it against them, or gave them less responsibility."

"And if Shego and I became lovers - "

"Kim, this isn't GJ. I'm not your superior. It's your name on the company letterhead, remember?" Dr. Director said dryly. "I can't tell you what to do. If you don't think it will cause any problems, then you should do it."

Kim nodded. "Thanks. Speaking of Mom, she wants me to tell her when it finally happens."

"Really? Are you going to?"

"Well . . ."

"Don't worry, I won't tell any tales."

"I said I would, but I think I'll wait until it's gone on for a little while. I mean, she has to know sooner or later. But I don't think I'll call her the morning after," Kim said.

"Probably a good idea," Dr. Director murmured. "She was just worried when she made you promise that. Mothers do that, they . . . worry."

Kim sat down. "Dr. Director, is everything all right? Where's Tommy?"

"Thomas is asleep in my office," Dr. Director said. "Yes, everything is all right - for now."

She sat across from Kim. "You might as well know," she added, "since this latest development happened because of Sappho."

"Our spaceship?" Kim asked, raising an eyebrow. "He didn't - take her apart, did he?"

Dr. Director chuckled, but it lacked some of its humor. "No, nothing like that. Your father took me to meet Sappho yesterday, and I brought Thomas with me. While we were there, I discovered that my son . . . well, it seems he speaks binary."

Kim stared at her for a minute. "You're kidding."

Betty shook her head.

"He can speak computer?"

"Not speak it in the human sense, no. But when Sappho touched him at one point, he transmitted his thoughts to her in binary - a long series of 1s and 0s that would make no sense to you or me, but which Sappho comprehended perfectly."

"What did he say?"

"Basically, that he liked her."

"Shego would agree," Kim muttered.

"Anyway," Dr. Director said, "it shouldn't be altogether surprising. His birth mother designed him to be able to interact with computers, after all." She scowled. "Thomas was conceived by his parents not so they could raise a child and love him, but so they could experiment on him and create a weapon."

"Dr. Director - "

"Your mother says the Acceptable father must have operated on the mother while she was still pregnant," she went on, heedless of Kim's attempt to interrupt. "Somehow he surgically grafted the cybernetic implants into Thomas' brain without killing him, and as he grew, the implants grew with him. And they condemned him to a life that was anything but normal, a life that could end in madness or even a fatal aneurysm - "

"Dr. Director!" Kim said loudly.

Betty blinked and raised her head.

"The Acceptables are gone," Kim reminded her. "He's free of them. You're his mother now, and I know you will raise him and love him the way children are meant to be. None of us know what those metal parts in his brain will do to him, but you're going to make sure that no matter what, they won't turn him into a machine too."

Dr. Director took a deep breath. "Yes - thank you, Kim. I love Thomas like he was my own son, and that means I fear for him the same way. Because of my work, I never had time for a man in my life, so I thought I'd never have children." She looked back into her office. "Now I can't imagine my life without him."

Kim had never thought about children, of course. She wasn't even halfway through her twenties. But she knew her mother thought about it, and now she wondered what her mother had undoubtedly thought of months ago - by loving Shego, would SHE never have children?

She wasn't sure what she thought about that.

"Anyway," Dr. Director said, wiping away a tear that was just beginning to form in the corner of her eye, "I came in early to think. Just as well that I did, too. We have our first paying mission."

"Really?" Kim asked.

"Yes, a case of corporate theft. Our client says they had one half of a chemical compound stolen the other night. The other half is at their facility in Portland, Oregon. It hasn't been taken yet, and of course they've increased security, but they'd feel more secure if Team Possible was there. That way the thieves can be caught if they show up, and they have no choice BUT to show up."

"What does the compound do?"

"I was told it wasn't relevant. Let's just say it's not 'take over the world' stuff, but it is quite valuable to the company," Dr. Director told her. "And while we're waiting for Wade to find Monkey Fist's lair in central Africa - "

"Which is looking a lot like finding a needle in a haystack," Kim said glumly.

"The Snake Charmer's information was pretty broad," Dr. Director admitted. "Still, it is a lead. And he'll pop up sooner or later. In the meantime, there's more crime to be dealt with."

Kim nodded. "Any idea who's responsible? DNAmy, maybe, or SSJ?"

"Apparently it's someone new. The criminal world doesn't revolve around your old nemeses, after all," Dr. Director said.

"I don't know if I like that or not," Kim replied.

"Several days ago," he murmured. "And still no Kim Possible bashing down my door. I could probably hide here forever if that insufferable do-gooder hasn't found me by now."

He logged off the Internet, but not before printing the news story from several days ago, about the "Snake Charmer" apprehended by Team Possible near Boston, Massachusetts.

"But we want her to find you, don't we?" the slim figure said behind him.

"Oh yes," he said. "Oh yes, we do. Where Kim Possible goes, that pretender, that thief Ron Stoppable goes too. If our hissing friend in America couldn't give them the information they needed, though, then I shall have to . . . guide them further."

"And soon, my dear," Monkey Fist said, his hands caressing the arms of his chair while he clasped his toes just below his chin, "all the Mystical Monkey Power in the world will belong to ME!"

His mad laughter quickly became indistinguishable from the animal shrieking of his servants joining in. The jungle fortress was filled with their cries.

"You're going to make this work, right?"

"I told you - "

"Oh, I suppose eventually, yes. But I need to know now how much longer it's going to take. Otherwise I'll just have to go in myself. I can, you know."

"Yes, I know," he sighed. "Obviously the laser security grid is no match for you, Jaqui. And the pressure-activated panels on the floor. AND the motion detectors. AND - "

"Are you finished yet? Because if you're not, E-Cool, then stop talking to me and get on with it."

The hacker, call sign "E-Cool", growled something under his breath. He pushed his glasses up the bridge of his nose and continued fiddling with the building's internal computer systems - specifically the ones that handled the vault security.

His partner Jaqui, a slim Chinese woman, looked intently at their prize. The cameras were running on a loop, so she was free to stand and look. She fidgeted a bit in her outfit, traditional Chinese robes that seemed inappropriate for a late-night heist. "Have you - " she began.

"Look!" E-Cool exploded. "You may THINK you can get through security, but you can't! Which is why I'm here!"

"Then why am I here?" she pouted. "Once the security is off, you can just stroll inside, retrieve the chemicals, and walk out again."

"Must we go through this every time?" he muttered. "YOU are here in case the guards show up. Despite my impressive physique - "

"All six-foot-three inches and one hundred and forty pounds of it," she said snidely.

"Exactly," E-Cool grumbled. "I can't exactly hack into the guards and tell them to have another coffee! That's where you come in."

"I pummel them soundly," she purred.

"And, if I can't hack the security firewalls, then you get to do it your way. Fortunately," he replied as he typed a few last keystrokes, "tonight we're doing it my way."

The lasers guarding the vault disappeared.

"Poo," she sighed.

Jaqui stepped over the threshold and entered the vault. No alarms went off as she took her first step.

"You know, I could have handled security here. But if you felt like you needed him to make it easier for you, then obviously you know your limitations."

Jaqui whirled about, her robes flying off and floating onto the floor. Beneath she was dressed in a skintight outfit in crimson. She gripped a fan in each hand and whipped them open, revealing sharp edges.

"As for the outfit, well," Shego said, still leaning against the wall where Jaqui couldn't have seen her from outside the vault, "you've got the body. Why hide it?"

"It's a testament to my heritage, actually," Jaqui said coldly.

"Is the stealing a testament to your heritage too?" Kim replied from the other side of the vault.

"Time to go," E-Cool muttered, closing up his laptop.

"Aw man, I was going to ask if I could check my email first," Ron said from behind.

E-Cool turned just in time for Ron to drive his elbow into the hacker's face, breaking his glasses AND his nose.

"Well, well," Jaqui said, turning to look at Kim, then back at Shego. "If it isn't the villain who went soft, and the heroine who went gay," she sneered.

"Word spreads fast," Kim said.

"Villains Digest Online, remember?" Shego reminded her. "They gossip like hens there."

"Maybe you should go there too," Jaqui spat. "Then you might have heard of me."

"I really don't see the need," Kim said. "You're not us."

"So you can't win," Shego added.

"No big."

Jaqui didn't try to run, to her credit. And her first strike with her fans left a tear in the arm of Shego's outfit.

But as Kim's foot came speeding toward her jaw less than a minute later, Jaqui had time for just one more thought.

Gemini wasn't going to like this.

To be continued . . .

Chapter 9

Title: Chapter Nine

Title: If You Build a Better Monkey (9)
Author: Allaine
Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".
Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 9

"Well, I have good news and I have bad news," Dr. Director said the following afternoon.

"The next words out of your mouth had better not be 'the check didn't clear'," Shego muttered.

"The good news," Dr. Director said, ignoring Shego's remark as the former thief lounged in her chair, "is that the police recovered the other stolen chemicals in the thieves' hideout, so the client will be paying us in full. More importantly, Jaqui had an outstanding warrant against her for attempted murder. Apparently she assaulted a security guard during a heist in Texas and almost severed his jugular with those fans of hers. So she's being extradited to San Antonio for trial there, along with the hacker as an accessory. And we got a bad person off the streets last night."

"Good," Kim replied. "So what's the bad news?"

Dr. Director frowned. "The bad news is that we still don't know who the buyer was. Both Jaqui and E-Cool have remained silent on the identity of the person, or persons, who hired them to steal the chemicals, and the police were unable to uncover any information at the hideout. Whoever the buyer was, he or she has managed to remain well hidden. The client is putting us on retainer in the meantime, in case someone makes a second attempt to steal the chemicals."

Kim looked at Ron. "Think it's anyone we know?"

"Who knows?" Ron asked, shrugging. "Does it matter?"

"It matters," Dr. Director told them, "because it reminds us that several years have passed since your greatest enemies were people like Monkey Fist and Professor Dementor and Doctor Drakken - "

"And me," Shego said calmly.

"And you, Shego," Dr. Director acknowledged. "At any rate, there are bound to be new criminals rising up, now that the Acceptables are gone and the old criminal guard is vanishing. Soon you may have an entirely new gallery of archvillains to worry about."

"Great," Kim sighed. "I like a little variety in my sources of aggravation. Thanks for the heads-up, Dr. Director."

"Of course, Kim."

"Any new missions yet?" Shego asked.

"Nothing yet, but I'm sure they'll come as word gets out."

"At least that leaves plenty of time for you to train, Ron," Kim said sweetly.

Ron grunted, but he didn't complain, which Shego couldn't help but notice. She'd counted on winning the wager partly because she didn't think Stoppable could survive a month of Kim's exacting sparring sessions. But if he was keeping up with the program - and Kim would undoubtedly say this was another example of how she underestimated Ron - then Shego would have to work with Monique that much harder.

Meanwhile Kim was already on her feet, taking Dr. Director aside for a moment. "Is everything all right, Dr. Director?" she asked. "Our conversation the other morning was a little . . . unusual."

"I apologize about that, Kim," Dr. Director said. "I was a bit stressed over the incident with Thomas and Sappho, and my being awake all night probably wasn't conducive to my mood. I shouldn't have made those remarks about your personal life."

"No big," Kim replied. "And I'm sure Tommy will be fine. He's surrounded by some of the top doctors and scientists in the country, after all."

"Speaking of which, your mother asked me to meet her for coffee this afternoon. She says she has a few ideas about Thomas' treatment. Is there anything you'd like me to pass along for you?"

"Well, training with Ron all afternoon," Kim said, "and then an evening out with Shego before she has HER training with Monique. So just tell her - "

"You'll be home late?" Dr. Director said dryly.

"Please and thank you."

"Sorry I'm late," Dr. Director said as she sat down, "but - "

She stopped as she realized there was a second person sitting across from Mrs. Dr. Possible. And this was a person she'd just met.

"Hello again, Betty," Vivian Porter said.

"You remember Vivian, of course," Holly added.

"Of course," Betty Director said. "I'm sorry, I didn't know anyone else would be here."

"Honestly, I'm curious why I was asked here too," Vivian said. "I do have a lot of work waiting for me back at the lab."

"This is about your work, Vivian," Holly said, "the most important kind of work you can do. Any medical doctor knows there are times when you call on another doctor to consult on patients with complex illnesses, and frankly, Betty's son has a truly unique problem."

"Holly!" Betty said, startled. "It's not something I want just anybody knowing."

"But Vivian isn't just anybody," Holly said. "She's the foremost robotics expert in the area, isn't that right?"

Vivian smiled. "If by area you mean half the United States, then yes, that's right."

"Betty," Holly explained, "I've been viewing Thomas' implants from a purely medical perspective, but the incident the other day with Sappho reminded me that this has as much to do with robotics and computers as it has to do with medicine. I think Vivian could have crucial insights into how to deal with Thomas' condition."

"I'm sorry," Vivian said, "but I don't understand what you're talking about. Thomas, right? The little boy? What kind of implants are you referring to?"

Holly didn't answer. She just looked at Betty.

Dr. Director thought for a moment before she realized that Holly was almost certainly right. Thomas' mother had intended to make him one half of the ultimate cyborg - the giant robot with the human brain. To focus on the neurological aspects was to ignore half of the equation. "Thomas . . . is my adopted son," she said quietly. "His birth mother inserted cybernetic implants into his brain so he could interact with computers. And she's dead now, so we're not entirely sure HOW she did it, or how it will affect him as he gets older."

Vivian looked stunned. "That's inexcusable!" she said. "And you want my help?"

Betty nodded soberly. "If he can't be normal, then at least I need him to be safe."

Dr. Porter took her cell phone out. "Oliver?" she said a moment later. "Put my experiments on hold for the remainder of the day. I'll be busy with a new project today, and I may be bringing someone back to the lab later as well . . . in fact, hold on," she added before putting the phone down and looking at Betty. "This isn't the best or most private place to talk," she said. "Do you think you could bring Thomas to the lab?"

"I would need to be there the whole time," Dr. Director told her.

"Of course," Vivian said. "I'd need you to tell me everything you know about his condition."

"I have to get back to the hospital," Holly told them, "but I brought my notes for you to look at. Just make sure I get those back later."

"Of course, Holly," Vivian said. "Thanks for calling me about this."

"Yes, thank you," Betty echoed, looking at Holly as she rose, handing over a folder containing papers.

Holly smiled at her. "That's what friends are for, Betty," she said.

She kept smiling as she left. She'd meant those last words. Besides being able to help with Thomas, Vivian could also be a second friend to Betty, someone else to help ease her stress over Thomas' health, as well as be a friend in other ways. And frankly, Vivian could probably use a human friend as well.

"When this is all over, Betty," she murmured, "I know a doctor or two I can set you up with."

"So - huh - you're saying I should wear something brighter?"

"It's a little too late for that. The black's already become your look," Shego replied. "But by wearing green since I was younger, I was forced to become more stealthy. I couldn't just rely on my clothes to help me fade into the shadows."

"Is that why - ugh - you chose those colors?" Monique asked.

"The person who gave me my gloves - "

"Not the Supreme One."

"Nope, not her, the lying bitch. Whoever it was, they suggested I try wearing something that matched, something form-fitting. And it did help me create an identity," Shego said easily, sounding much less tired than Monique.

Monique was NOT in fact tired, as Shego well knew. She was practicing sounding tired. Deception was a part of every fight, and being able to believably sound winded before you actually WERE was especially useful when fighting a man. Men were inclined to assume that women tired quickly.

Shego figured that, across town, Kim was teaching Stoppable the way a coach might diagram football plays. Kim would go through each move, step by step, and lay it all out with visual aids and exhausting detail.


This wager was about competing styles of teaching, not fighting. So Shego taught Monique the best way she knew.

They fought. Without end.

Shego purposely held herself back, because Monique wasn't at her level yet. If she were, there'd be no need for these lessons. And she limited her repertoire of moves, using certain attacks repeatedly until Monique learned to recognize them, anticipate them, defend against them, and use them herself. Then Shego used new moves to bewilder and, eventually, instruct her.

Monique wouldn't know the names of these moves, but who cared? She'd memorize them all the same.

Shego's lectures were limited to general bits of advice, and lessons which, while painful, were better learned now than later during a real fight with a real enemy.

Like now.

"By the way," Shego said conversationally as she dodged a punch, "Kimmie and I had sex the other night."

Monique's defenses collapsed as she stared at Shego, who kicked the Oryx's legs out from under her with the ease of a child.

"Banter isn't just a hero-villain tradition," Shego said, looking down. She was pleased by the way Monique could carry on a conversation with her while fighting, but talking to your opponent wasn't all chitchat. "A well-timed, provocative remark can completely throw you off your game."

"Right, got it," Monique said as she got up. "For a second there I thought you were being serious."

"Oh, I was," Shego said as she kicked upwards.

Her foot stopped an inch from Monique's face. She hadn't even tried to defend herself. "Monique," Shego said, exasperated. "I just told you - "

"Time the fuck out, girlfriend," Monique retorted. "Did you mean it or NOT?"

Shego grinned. "I'll let you tell me about your next time if you like."

Monique grimaced. "You don't do girl talk like other people, you know that?"

"What can I say?" Shego asked. "If I was like other people, would I be here right now?"

"Probably not," Monique admitted. She leaned against a wall. "You told anybody else about this?"

"Not really sure who else I'd talk to," Shego said. "I'm sure Kimmie's told Stoppable by now."

Monique wasn't so sure. She'd sparred with Ron two nights ago, and he hadn't mentioned it. Now granted, Ron wasn't the type to spill that kind of secret to anyone, even her. But she would have known by his body language if anything was bothering him, and while Ron was basically okay with Kim's relationship, hearing something like this would have been a distraction for a few days, easy.

Then she chuckled. "So, girlfriend, details?"

Shego shook her head smugly. "I don't kiss and tell - much."

"Define much."

"Well . . . " Shego looked away for a second. "I'd had a couple one-night stands before the Acceptables locked me up," she said, suddenly quieter. "Once with a guy, and then once with a girl, if only for the sake of not being conventional. And it was good, but one wasn't really better than the other. Kim, though - "

Monique took a step forward. "What?" she asked gently.

"I've, well." Shego seemed embarrassed. "I've always told Kim that there'll never be another person in my life because there'll never be another her. And after last night - I believe that more than ever."

"Wow," Monique said. She folded her arms. "So, you tell her you love her yet?"

Shego jumped as if she'd been goosed. "Whoa, wait, what?" she said, shocked.

"Oh, come on, Shego. It's pretty obvious."

"I don't love her," Shego said, defensive. "That's not the kind of person I am. I don't go in for that gooshy, mushy stuff."

"Right," Monique said, not believing her. "You're not in love. She's just someone you'll never be able to replace, someone you'll be with for the rest of your life, and someone who gave you the most unbelievable sex of your life."

"Exactly," Shego replied.

Monique shook her head. "You got issues, girl."

"Break's over," Shego retorted. "Unless you want to be up until dawn."

Shrugging, Monique assumed a fighting stance. "Whatever you say," she said.

As Shego slashed her clawed gloves through the air, narrowly missing a dodging Monique, the black-clad vigilante calmly asked, "When you going to make an honest woman out of Kim, anyway?"

Shego almost lost her balance, the comment surprised her so, and Monique's open palm shot out, striking Shego in the shoulder and driving her back a step or two.

"You know, Shego," Monique said wickedly, "I'm told a well-timed, provocative remark can completely throw you off your game."

Unable to bite back a laugh, Shego dove back into the fight, and the subject wasn't mentioned again that night.

Wade drank from the water bottle in his hand. "Give me a scrolling feed of major news stories hitting the wire in America's largest cities," he said out loud. The voice-recognition software he'd designed years ago efficiently began work, and a slow crawl of breaking stories in the Atlanta region began to move across the screen before him.

He rubbed his other arm across his forehead, wiping sweat away. A couple years ago his mother had installed the treadmill in his room, claiming that if he wasn't going to play outside like other kids, he'd at least get his exercise indoors.

Wade couldn't argue with her logic, but working out and working on the computers tended to conflict with each other, and for weeks at a time the treadmill grew dusty.

Lately, however, he'd begun using it on his own initiative. In fact, he was thinking about getting some free weights. Maybe even a Nautilus some day.

The "sitch" was that, unlike five years ago when he was still just young enough to order from the kids' menu, he was noticing girls now.

Wade was too savvy to ignore the fact that most girls wouldn't be too interested in a short, overweight sixteen-year-old who sat in front of computers most of his life. His early graduation wouldn't interest them. Nor would his intelligence, his computer skills, or his personality.

They'd see the geek. Hence the working out.

Of course he was surrounded by beautiful women - he'd worked with Kim for years, naturally, but it was only at a certain age that Kim suddenly became "attractive". And Shego didn't leave much to the imagination with the outfits she wore.

But the girl he was noticing most these days was Monique. They'd dated briefly when she first started as the Oryx, although the dates were more like friends hanging out and going to movies together. Unlike other guys, she didn't have to make excuses when she suddenly vanished to do her "protecting the night" thing.

Wade doubted she was attracted to him. At sixteen, he was probably too young for her.

That didn't mean he couldn't still try to impress . . .

"Computer, pause!" he called out, shocked. "Click on the second link from the Boston area." Wade pushed a button on the treadmill, bringing it to a complete stop.


So-called "Snake Charmer" killed in prison

Wade already had a suspect of his own. Someone who had a reason to shut the Snake Charmer up before she could talk - or someone who wanted to punish her because she DID talk.

"Monkey Fist," he breathed. "If you're behind this, I'll find you. And then it's finally over for you."

To be continued . . .

Chapter 10

Title: Chapter Ten

If You Build a Better Monkey (10)

Author: Allaine

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".
Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 10

Kim was still exhausted as she made her way into Team Possible headquarters the following morning. She'd slept at home last night because she didn't feel like dealing with her mother questioning her as to why she hadn't been home two nights in a row. Even though she was working as hard as she ever did - training Ron, practice sessions with Shego, Team Possible business - sleep had come less easily than usual.

Sleeping in an empty bed, Kim had realized, just wasn't the same any more. The fact that this had happened after just a single night of passion with Shego - it surprised her. Not in a bad way, but it surprised her all the same. If this continued, she'd have to talk to Shego about, well, moving in.

"So not the drama," she muttered as she headed for Shego's room.

Shego's door was closed, and almost certainly locked. Kim had learned the other night that Shego didn't like the door to her quarters left open, after she'd slipped downstairs the morning after they made love and encountered Dr. Director. She'd returned only to fetch her clothes, not wanting to wake Shego.

When she'd returned hours later, Shego had told her in no uncertain terms that unless she wished it otherwise, she wanted her door closed and locked, whether she was in or out. Their exchange had been - memorable.

"I don't like being asleep in bed for hours, when anyone could come in without me knowing. Do you have a problem with that?"

"Do I get a key?" Kim asked.

"Yes," Shego said after a moment, "but I'd prefer you knocked first."

"Why? It's not like you have a troublemaking pair of twin brothers in the building."

"I've got my reasons," Shego muttered.

"You're just paranoid about losing your stuff because of all the things you stole over the years," Kim teased.

Shego surprised her by scowling ferociously at her, and Kim's smile faded. "Shego - "

The dark-haired woman looked away before she could say any more. "Sorry," Shego finally said after a minute like that. "I didn't want to tear your head off there. You just don't know what you're talking about."

"About what?" Kim asked carefully.

"It's not about my things," Shego said. "It's about my privacy."

Kim didn't push. She just waited for her to elaborate.

"Being able to lock my door and go to sleep," Shego finally went on, "was a luxury I didn't have when I was an Acceptable hostage."

"Oh, Shego," Kim said, instantly beginning to understand.

"It's no big deal," Shego mumbled. "It's just - when you've been rousted out of your bed and taken to the interrogation room for torture enough times, you want to avoid feeling vulnerable. I can't go to sleep knowing just anybody can come in, even when it's only a friend."

Kim nodded. "I won't do it again, Shego." It was so easy to forget that Shego wasn't exactly the same woman she'd been before, that Shego had suffered long and hard in the Acceptables' lair.

"Like I said, it's okay," Shego said. "I'm getting better. I mean, look at us."

"What about us?"

"You're the only person I'll completely lower my defenses around. I . . . trust you with my life, Kimmie." Shego looked embarrassed to have said such words, but the fact was, she'd said them.

Kim scooted closer and slipped an arm around Shego's waist. "Well, not that you'd ever need my protection, but I guess I'll have to keep a close eye on you at all times, won't I?"

Shego smiled finally. "How close?" she asked, unsnapping her outfit at the neck and lowering it slightly.

"I'll need an unobstructed view," Kim said with a grin. "Unobstructed by anything."

Kim turned bright red at the memory. Shego had more than complied as she took off her . . .

She coughed. Better to wait for Shego to get up. Otherwise she couldn't be held liable for what she might do.

As she kept walking, she noticed one of the storage rooms that had been converted into a temporary bedroom - for Kim or Ron or whomever needed to crash there - was open. She looked inside curiously as she went past.

Then she stopped, stepped back, and looked again.

Ron was fast asleep on his back.

Monique was lying on her back, also asleep. And her back was pressed alarmingly close to his body.

Kim stared. Then she spun away and out of view, leaning against the wall. Absurdly she felt as if she'd just eluded detection by armed guards.

Ron and Monique were still dressed, she'd noticed. Probably Ron had been practicing his moves late last night, and Monique had dropped by after patrol. They'd both been too tired to go home, so they shared a bed. That was it. After all, they were still dressed, albeit a little rumpled.

Kim and Shego had been known to rumple each other's clothing once or twice -

She slapped her hands over her face, mortified. THAT wasn't the image she'd needed!

Could Ron and Monique actually be - involved?

And if this so, why was she so bothered by it?

Kim quickly scurried back to Shego's door and knocked quietly. When there was no answer, she shrugged and used the key Shego had had made for her.

Shego also preferred to sleep on her back. Her blanket was in disarray, almost tangled up in her legs. Her full breasts, hidden from view by a black lace bra, rose up and down peacefully. Shego's head was turned to the side, her luxurious black hair draped across the pillow.

Anyone encountering Shego like this for the first time would have been thrown off by her pale, almost green skin. But Kim had stopped wondering why Shego's skin was that color long before Shego told her about the circumstances of her birth, and now she felt only faint stirrings of desire at the sight of this beauty.

Kim crept forward, stripping off her top even though it wasn't her habit going to sleep this late in the morning. After the lonely bed in her room, sliding next to Shego would feel -

"Took your time getting here, Pumpkin."

Shego opened her eyes and looked at Kim impudently. Kim just looked embarrassed. "You heard me? I thought I was stealthier than that."

"I heard the door open. Remember, I've learned how to be alerted by the smallest sounds," Shego said.

"Yeah, yeah," Kim grumbled, struggling to remove her pants. "You looked like you were sleeping pretty good."

Shego's hand shot out and grabbed Kim by the wrist the moment her pants were on the floor. Kim yelped as she felt herself pulled down onto the bed. Before she knew it Shego had both arms around her chest and was holding Kim possessively against her body. "I didn't sleep well," Shego murmured. "You're mine now, Kimmie, and I don't like having what's mine sleeping across town."

Kim chuckled, pleased by Shego's admission that her sleep was as restless as her own. "Or maybe it's you who belongs to me, and you didn't like being away from your mistress," she replied wickedly.

"My sidekick days are over," Shego whispered into Kim's ear, creating a chill down her spine.

"Speaking of former sidekicks," Kim said, remembering why she'd come to Shego's room so urgently, "I just saw Ron and Monique. In the spare room. In bed. Together."

Shego didn't reply at first. "You realize what this means?" she finally asked.

"Besides my two oldest best friends hooking up?"

"This complicates the wager."

Kim blinked. That was a funny thing to bring up. "Why our wager?"

"Stoppable and Monique could be spending a lot more time together."

"Yeah, and - "

"What if they start showing each other the moves we're teaching them?" Shego pointed out. "How will we know who's the better teacher if our students are sharing notes?"

"Oh," Kim realized. "Well, in the long run that's not a bad thing. They should know as many fighting techniques as they can, and more practice is always better."

"They've got plenty of time to get better when the month is up," Shego said irritably. "Right now they're here to do only what we say so I can get that hot, perky body of yours into skintight spandex."

"Oh, is that what's going to happen? You're so altruistic, Shego!"

Shego's arms slid up and down Kim's body as she shrugged. "As long as we're all getting something out of this, I'm okay with it."

"Still, what exactly are we going to do?" Kim asked. "Order them not to train against each other? It'll just make them suspicious!"

"Come up with an excuse," Shego said. "Stoppable defers to you. Give him something halfway believable, and it'll be 'Whatever you say, KP! Booyah!'," she added, mimicking him smugly.

"And what do you think you can tell Monique?" Kim retorted.

"I'll tell her that she's going to learn those moves eventually from me, and that I don't want Stoppable messing around with my training regimen," Shego said matter-of-factly.

Kim paused. It seemed, as Shego put it, halfway believable. "Whatever," she said. "You're still going to be wearing cargo pants before the month is out."

"Go to sleep, princess," Shego mumbled. "Do your dreaming there."

Kim didn't listen, though. "Still, I guess I'm okay with them dating. I mean, they accepted US being a couple. How can I not be as accepting?"

Shego grunted. "Is that your only reason for accepting it? Because they did the same for us?"

"Well, no, I mean they're good for each other and all. It's just - I never saw it coming."

"The great Kim Possible caught by surprise? Not possible!"

"Ha ha," Kim said sarcastically. "You're not surprised?"

"I have better things to focus on."

"Like what?"

"Having you in my clutches, for starters. Doy."

One of Shego's fingers started twirling circles around Kim's navel, and suddenly it was very easy to not think about Ron's love life.

Ron Stoppable had not dated much in college. Still, he wasn't so inexperienced that he hadn't lost his virginity by now. And he knew that there were few things that felt as good as waking up in the morning to the feeling of a warm, inviting body pressed close to his.

As he slowly woke that morning, his first thought was that yes indeed, a good feeling it was. And Monique, not that he'd really noticed back then, had had a great figure even in high school. Now that she was in incredible shape . . .

It was then, as his brain shifted into full awareness, that he realized what he was doing.

He was in bed with Monique. Which was funny, because he didn't remember GOING to bed with her.

Ron's head snapped up as he looked at himself. He was relieved to see that he was still mostly dressed. For an instant he'd wondered if maybe they had DONE something together and he'd forgotten.

Monique was a good friend and a beautiful woman, but having a sexual relationship with her when they weren't even dating was probably not a good idea.

"Eh, Mo?" Ron asked quietly.

"Mmmphrrr," Monique mumbled in her sleep.

"Monique," Ron said, shifting his position as a way of shaking her awake.

"Huh - what?" Monique lifted her head and opened bleary eyes. "What time is it?"

"Monique, how did you and I end up in bed together?" Ron asked hesitantly.

Monique turned her eyes to him. Unlike him, she didn't appear the slightest bit confused by the situation. "We were talking for a while last night, and we were both exhausted. I guess we just both crashed like this."

"Oh," he said. Gently Ron sat up without jostling Monique too much. "Good thing nobody saw us like this. They might start getting ideas about us."

Monique chuckled. "That'd be funny," she said.

Ron scratched the side of his face. "Uh, yeah, I guess I'm not prototypical boyfriend material."

"Oh, come on, Ron, you know I didn't mean it like that," Monique assured him. "It'd just be funny if Kim thought we were sleeping together. I mean, how would you feel if you found out Kim and Shego were having sex?" The words were out of Monique's mouth before she realized how ironic they were.

"I don't want to know," Ron said. "I told Kim - no details of her sex life. As long as she's happy, I'm happy. But I don't need a blow-by-blow account of their nights together."

Monique pressed her lips tightly together, but she started laughing anyway.

"Yeah, blow-by-blow probably wasn't the best choice of words there," Ron sighed.

"It's like . . . a mad scientist's laboratory," Vivian said after a moment.

Betty didn't mention that she'd had a similar reaction to Dr. Porter's robotics lab yesterday. Instead she held Thomas a little more tightly and said, "Yes, well, Thomas has some of the packrat instinct in him."

"Packrats are collectors. Your son is much more than that," Vivian Porter replied.

Thomas was a very little boy, and children were not known for cleaning up after themselves. It was understandable if his playroom was messy.

Thomas' playroom looked more like a junkyard.

Most of his toys were off to one side. The rest, those with electronic components, had been disassembled long ago. Betty Director would never know what percentage of the computer he'd rebuilt for her was made from toys for children 3 and under. It was unspeakably fast nevertheless.

"I may be mistaken," Vivian said, "but he seems to prefer using kitchen appliances."

Betty's chuckle was forced. "Oh yes. Blenders, toasters, microwave ovens, mixers - I don't let him in the kitchen any more."

"He's only a toddler. How on earth did he - "

"I got them for him," Betty admitted. "Once he spots something he wants to take apart, there's no quieting him until he gets it."

Vivian looked oddly at her, and Betty flushed. "I'm a good mother, you know," Betty said defensively. "I know what you're thinking - what kind of mother lets her son play with household appliances?"

"Betty - "

"He takes things, you know. He crawls into other rooms, he sees things that his mind can somehow translate into the innards of a holographic inducer, and he drags them back to his room like some prehistoric man hauling prey back to the cave so he can make bones into spears! I figure, at least if he's supervised, I can make sure he doesn't hurt himself or - "


Dr. Director looked up. Her son's condition was making her increasingly frazzled. First she'd run off at the mouth with Kim, and now with Vivian. And all because the robotics expert had requested an opportunity to view Thomas' life in the home. "I'm sorry, I was babbling again," Betty said.

"It's all right," Vivian assured her. "My mother was the same way."

Betty blinked. "Your mother? Wait, you don't - speak binary too, do you?"

"Well, I understand the language, but I sort of have to in my field," Vivian said. "I just meant that when I was still a child, I tended to create rudimentary robots out of toys and stereo equipment. Although my work was nothing compared to Thomas', and he's a lot younger than I was."

"I'm not sure what to do at this point," Dr. Director admitted. "My biggest concern is his future health, but I'm also worried that he won't be well-adjusted as he grows older. If he's talking to computers the way you and I communicate, what if he prefers their company to other little boys? Or what if he spends all his time in his room like some kind of savant?"

"It's possible," Vivian acknowledged. "But ANYTHING is possible at this point."

"You sound like Kim," Dr. Director murmured.

Vivian laughed. "Actually I was thinking of her father. But as I was saying, he's still too young. He's got a lot of formative years left. His mastery of technology and the binary language may be expert, but his human brain is still that of a toddler. Although Holly Possible can attest to that better than I, of course. I suspect she and I will be performing many joint consults on Thomas over the years to come."

Betty nodded. "Speaking of the Possibles, have you ever met Kim's friend Wade?"

"I haven't," Vivian said, "but I think I know who you're talking about. Child prodigy, techno-wizard, out of school by the time he was eleven?"

"That's him," Betty said. "Right now my goal is for Thomas to turn out like him. I would prefer that Thomas spend a bit more time outside than Wade does, but in my conversations with him he's struck me as a very well-adjusted young man, for someone who spends all his time on the Internet."

"Well, like I said, that's something you don't have to think about just yet," Vivian said. "In the meantime, I'm going to give Holly a call and share my findings with her. We'll figure things out from there. I'm also considering speaking to this SAFO at some point. Perhaps she could hold a conversation with Thomas, gain a few insights into how his implants work in conjunction with the rest of the brain. If that's all right with you," Vivian added quickly.

"Compared to what he does in here, Thomas talking to an artificial intelligence is pretty tame," Dr. Director said.

"You should keep doing what you've been doing. I watched how you supervise Thomas in my lab yesterday, and you seem to be monitoring him closely. Although he never seemed to be in any danger of hurting himself, I noticed." Vivian shook her head. "Your son is amazing in that respect."

"My son is amazing in all respects," Betty replied.

"Of course he is," Vivian said instantly. "Anyway, I suppose I'll call you back in a week or so."

"Oh. Right, good," Dr. Director said. She felt oddly disappointed. Maybe because other than Team Possible and Kim's mother, Vivian was the first person she'd had a normal conversation with in years. And considering the twisted minds she'd encountered in the Acceptable home, sane and rational conversation about everyday life was a prized commodity. "I realize you're Thomas' doctor now - "

"Let's not put it like that," Dr. Porter said. "People might think I was practicing unlicensed medicine. Let's just say I'm his . . . tech consultant."

This time Betty's chuckle was sincere. "At any rate, I realize there are ethical considerations at play here, but maybe - we could talk again before then? About things other than my son's condition? I don't have many friends, you see."

Vivian raised an eyebrow. "Are we friends?" she asked.

"Well, I don't see why we can't be."

The robotics whiz didn't respond at first. Truth be told, she didn't have many friends either, if you didn't count robots like Oliver who were near-perfect imitations of humans. Maybe her people skills had atrophied a bit. It wasn't like she was out of the lab much, so dating had been out of the question for a long time. But just a friend . . .

"All right then," Vivian said. "Perhaps I'll give you a call the next time I'm free."

"Perhaps then," Betty agreed.

And as two professionals, they shook on it. Vivian realized she'd almost forgotten what living flesh felt like. And Betty felt just a bit less frazzled.

"Ron, we need to talk," Kim said hesitantly as they prepared for another day of training.

"Sure thing, KP," Ron replied. "About what?"

"Well . . . I saw you this morning. With Monique."

He looked blankly at her. "Eh?"

Rufus echoed the sentiment.

"In bed this morning?"

"Oh. Ohh! You thought - "

"And I just want you to know that if you and Monique are having an intimate relationship right now," Kim said before he could continue, "that's just fine with me."

"But KP - "

"Really, it's fine!" Kim said brightly. "Only we need to talk about how this affects your training."

Ron felt deja vu coming on. "Eh?"

"Well, you know how I've followed strict guidelines in teaching you," Kim said. She'd used a disciplined lesson plan in teaching Ron. She'd made sure he understood completely the moves he learned, and then practiced them so rigorously that it became second nature to him. It was always one part physical and one part mental.

Shego was probably just flying by the seat of her pants with Monique. Kim would win the bet for sure!

She suppressed a cackle, and suddenly what she was about to say became easy.

"Yeah, I know," Ron said. Summer vacation meant freedom from classes, but not from Kim's lessons. Sensei Kim was always fair and taught by example, but she could be relentless. That being said, every night got a little bit easier, not the other way around, so Kim was obviously doing it right.

"Well, when you and Monique spend time together, does she ever show you any of the moves Shego teaches?"


"Because if she tries to, don't let her."

Ron scratched his head. "Uh, run that by me again?"

"I don't want you learning your lessons out of order, Ron," Kim explained. "I'm afraid that if Monique shows you how to do things before I'm ready to show you, it's going to interfere with my teaching. I don't want you getting ahead of yourself, you know."

He considered telling her that he and Monique had been sharing information for several days now.

Then he thought about how Sensei Kim would respond to what was apparently a gross violation of "the plan".

Ron swallowed. "We, uh, couldn't have that, could we?"

"I'm glad you see it that way, Ron," Kim said happily. "So, HAS she tried to teach you any moves?"

Glancing behind Kim, Ron could see Rufus shaking his head frantically. Ron was with him all the way on that one. "Uh, nope, not really."

"Great, glad we're clear on that. Thanks, Ron!" She gave him a quick hug.

Ron suddenly realized she'd managed to prevent him for explaining that his relationship with Monique wasn't a sexual one. "Uh, KP, getting back to Monique - "

Their Kimmunicators beeped in unison.

"Hold that thought, Ron," Kim said as she reached for hers. "Hey W - I mean, hello?" She stopped herself from assuming it was Wade, since Shego had her own Kimmunicator and could contact her as well.

"Kim, I've got something big. Really big!" Wade told her on the viewscreen. "Where's Ron and Shego?"

"Ron's right here," Kim said as Ron came over to stand beside her. "Shego's out somewhere."

"Never mind, she's answering her Kimmunicator," Wade said. "Shego?"

A small box with Shego's face appeared in the lower-right corner of the screen. "What?" she asked, sounding irritated.

Kim shook her head and smiled. Shego hated interruptions. "Now that we're all here, what's the sitch?"

"I think I found Monkey Fist."

"Way to go, Wade!" Kim said. "How'd you find him?"

"I've spent all day tracing an encrypted email someone sent to a prisoner at the women's correctional facility near Boston, Massachusetts," Wade said grimly. "They must have sent it through at least five different continents, AND bounced it off several different satellites, but I finally tracked it down to a remote corner of the African jungle in the Congo River region."

"Wait, why the women's prison in Boston?" Kim asked.

"The Snake Charmer," Ron immediately guessed.

"It's serious, guys," Wade said. "She was murdered yesterday by another inmate while awaiting trial. Looks like someone hired the killer from outside, and that someone may have been Monkey Fist."

"Not Monty's style," Shego said while Ron and Kim gasped. "He usually sends his chimps to do his dirty work."

"Tell me how to get a monkey into a prison, and I'll buy you a soda, Shego," Wade said.

"But why?" Kim asked. "Why now? Monkey Fist must have known that the Snake Charmer spilled to us by now. If he knew she was in custody, then he knew we were the ones who busted her."

"Either he was killing her to shut her up on the off-chance she HADN'T told us about him yet," Wade said.

"Or he was punishing her for opening her big trap," Shego finished for him. "And who else in the Congo would want someone like her dead?"

"He's a real bastard either way," Ron said angrily.

"Ron?" Kim asked, surprised.

He shook his head. "She was just a thief. Not even a very original one. She didn't deserve to die. If he's my archenemy, then I'm sure as hell making him pay."

"Sounds like Stoppable's grown some cojones," Shego said slyly.

"And the muscles to match," Ron retorted.

"Save it for Monty, guys," Kim said. "Get me Sappho on the horn. We're going out to Wade's coordinates first thing."

Monkey Fist settled awkwardly into his seat. There was a beeping he had to investigate and - yes, it appeared someone had finally broken his encryption and isolated the source of the email.

He felt a presence behind him, and he pointed to the screen.

"Excellent," she said.

He couldn't agree more.

To be continued . . .

Chapter 11

Title: Chapter Eleven

If You Build a Better Monkey (11)
By Allaine

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 11

"You'd better postpone any jobs we've taken for the next couple of days," Kim said as she walked with purpose toward the hangar where Sappho was kept. "There's no telling how long we'll be out there, or what shape we'll be in when we get back."

"I've already taken care of it," Dr. Director said as she kept up with Kim. "And you sound very confident that you'll be coming back."

"Oh, please," Shego said from behind. "Monty couldn't beat her before! And the only thing that's changed since then is he's gotten a little more arthritic, AND he's got me to worry about. What the hell is he going to do to us?"

"He's had five years to plan in the jungle," Dr. Director observed. "There's no telling what defenses his hideout has."

"And that's NOT the only thing that's changed," Kim added. "Monkey Fist buying gorillas? Monkey Fist putting contracts out on people? And no matter how many times he lost to me, he was always the one enemy whose fighting skills approached my own."

"Excuse me!"

"Not counting sidekicks," Kim told Shego quickly.

"And despite all that," Dr. Director said, "you're sure you will return."

"Oh, we'll win. I mean, doy," Kim replied.

Shego blinked. "Did you just swipe one of my catchphrases?" she asked, surprised.

"Uh, I guess I did," Kim said. She hadn't even realized.

"And yet she's never once said 'Booyah!'."

"Sorry, Ron."

"Why isn't Monique coming anyway?" Ron asked as he brought up the rear.

"Awww, does Ronnie-poo miss his sweetie pie?"

"You should talk, Ms. I-heart-Kim Possible."

Kim laughed quietly as Shego turned and gaped at him. She didn't seem to have a comeback to that. "We didn't put her on retainer for this kind of mission, Ron," she explained. "Whatever we're getting into, I think the three of us can handle it."

Ron nodded. He STILL hadn't told Kim that she was mistaken about his relationship with Monique. He hadn't really had the time, and besides, there was one upside . . .

"And you haven't shown her any of your moves, right, Stoppable?" Shego growled. "I don't need you teaching her wrong!"

"For the fifth time, no," Ron sighed. That wasn't technically true - actually, that wasn't true no matter HOW you looked at it - but it protected him from their wrath. And even if he said no a hundred times, Shego wouldn't entirely believe him. He could see it was driving her nuts.

Like he'd said, there was an upside.

Still, he wondered why they were both so rabid about he and Monique not practicing their moves with each other. It was almost like they weren't telling him something. But of course, KP told him everything.

Except her sex life. And that was his call. He shivered. Shego behind closed doors was not a mental image he needed.

"Well, get in touch the minute you're finished," Dr. Director was telling Kim, and Ron realized they were at the hangar.

"You've been spending too much time with my mother. You sound like her," Kim said good-naturedly.

Betty looked a bit embarrassed by that. "Sorry," she said. "Make sure you report in when the mission is over."

"Very GJ," Kim assured her as they went in.

"Urgent mission, Kim?" Dr. Freeman asked as they arrived.

"Let's call it another 'animal retrieval'," Kim told him. "What brings you here?"

"Well, actually, someone's having a conversation with Sappho. They wanted to clear it with me first."

Kim looked around but didn't see anyone near the spaceship. "Where?"

"She's inside. I'm sure Vivian will be out momentarily.


Then the hatch opened, and a gorgeous blonde came striding out.

Ron whistled.

"I'm telling Monique on you," Shego jeered.

"Save it, Shego," Kim said as she went to meet the other woman. "Doctor Porter?"

"Kim Possible," Vivian Porter said. "It's been a long time."

"Years, probably," Kim replied. Dr. Porter had been a knockout when she was younger, and five years only made her fill out her clothes better.

And yet Kim's appreciation for her looks didn't extend into actual physical attraction. Sometimes she wondered about her sexual orientation. Maybe she was only into Shegos.

"Find a clone of Shego that doesn't melt, and you could have a hell of a night."

Kim turned bright red. She almost could have sworn Shego had said that, but that purr had been in her mind alone. Obviously Shego's effect on her wasn't limited to catchphrases!

"How's Oliver?" Kim asked, trying to cover up her embarrassment.

"Still the same, with a few upgrades," Vivian said.

"I don't recognize her," Shego said. "Did Dr. Drakken abduct her?"

"Dr. Porter's problems weren't actually part of an insane world domination scheme, actually," Kim told her.

"It figures. Dr. D wouldn't have been able to handle her anyway. One look at her and he would have been tripping over his tongue the whole time," Shego said, losing interest.

Vivian looked at Shego. "I don't remember her, either," she said to Kim. "You have a new sidekick?"

Shego scowled while Ron quickly raised a hand. "Still here, VF," he said.

"What's your interest in Sappho?" Kim asked.

Dr. Porter shook her head. "I'm not at liberty to say. It's a confidential matter - "

"She's helping me with Thomas," Dr. Director spoke up as she came over.

"Oh! Hello, Betty," Vivian said. "I had an interesting conversation with Sappho. Shall I share with you once they've gone?"

"Certainly, yes," Betty agreed, although she felt a trifle awkward and she couldn't say why. Possibly because she hadn't intended this Dr. Freeman to hear anything about Thomas.

"So you're finished?" Kim asked.

"Yes," Vivian said. "You need her now?"

"Please and thank you."

"Good luck, Kim," Dr. Director said.

Shego snorted. "We won't need it, but thanks anyway."

Ron just went on looking at Vivian. She was years older, but man, someone like that made Ron remember that he was a single man in his prime. Suddenly the Ron Man's arm was feeling a mite lonely!

Too bad he and Monique were just friends . . .

Kim pulled out her Kimmunicator as she headed towards Sappho. "Wade, anything new?"

"I've got more precise coordinates," he told her. "There's a large stone structure about half a mile from where the email originated, possibly carved out of the hillside or something. But you'll have to jump a mile or so from there. The trees are too dense over the structure, and you'd get tangled up in seconds."

"I'd take the farther drop anyway," she said. "Maintain the element of surprise."

"Hello, Kim Possible," Sappho said brightly as Kim approached. "Oh, and Shego too," she added. She tried to sound nonchalant, but Kim could still tell who she was excited about.

"Just because you're on the Team Possible payroll doesn't mean you have to kiss up to me, Sappho," Kim said. "We both know you just want Shego to fly you."

"Is she?" Sappho asked. She sounded almost pathetically eager.

"I can already feel the stick in my hands," Shego murmured.

Sappho turned bright pink.

Dr. Freeman sighed. "I should have programmed a greater appreciation of the color gray when I designed her."

"Sadie always greets me when I get in," Ron complained. "How come Sappho doesn't greet me?"

Sappho sniffed. "I am nothing like my cousin."

"In other words, either the car loves you or the spaceship, but not both, Ron," Kim said.

"And I thought you and the TWEEBS were contentious," Ron said.

Ron panted as he pulled at the collar of his mission shirt. "Hey Shego," he said. "How about turning on those gloves of yours and waving them in front of my face? I'm DYING from the heat out here!"

"How about I just - " Shego began to snap, but a look from Kim stopped her. "I'm not sure how effective they'd be with this heat and humidity," she instead said. "Anything I touched would probably melt in a half-second."

"Well said," Kim said.

"Yeah, yeah," Shego muttered. "Must be nicer to Stoppable. What the hell was I thinking when I said that?"

They were making their way south through the dense tropical jungle of central Africa. Progress was slow. At least their outfits, as always mostly shades of green and black, allowed them to blend in better.

And as Ron had observed, it was beastly hot out. Kim looked at Shego again, then at herself. The one failing of her cargo pants had always been their performance in tropical climates. In her tight leggings, Shego probably didn't feel as sweaty below the waist.

Maybe the jumpsuit would have been -

Kim stopped herself. She was actually looking for an EXCUSE to dress like Shego! Well, maybe there was a time for that, but she wasn't going to admit that just a couple weeks before Ron and Monique would complete the wager.

When Shego lost, perhaps Kim would make sure their next mission was somewhere cold, so Shego might look at Kim's pants with a bit of envy.

Kim contented herself with this notion until she froze in her tracks. "Whoa," she said.

"Subtle," Shego said sarcastically.

"Don't forget sick and wrong," Ron added.

It was a monkey temple. Of course it was a monkey temple. And it was in fact, like Wade had guessed, hewn into the face of a cliff. None of them could tell how big the interior was. But the simian snarl that was its front entrance was imposing, if crude, and looked oddly new.

"Monty must have made this one himself," Shego said. "It sure as hell doesn't look two thousand years old."

"Did this world really need another monkey temple?" Ron sighed.

"Monkey Fist always did have an exalted opinion of himself," Kim said, rolling her eyes. "Let's find a back way."

"Up the monkey's butt?" Shego asked, grinning.

Rufus spoke for Ron by poking his head out of Ron's pocket and holding his nose shut. Then he wiped sweat away and drooped over the pocket's edge.

"Word, little buddy," Ron said. He patted the mole rat on the head while Kim and Shego began taking a circuitous route around the temple.

Before Ron could try to follow them, the ground went out from under him. "Whoa!" he cried out as the earth moved, causing him to fall in.

"Ron!" Kim shouted, turning around.

"The element of surprise just got un-maintained," Shego said, scowling.

As if to prove her words, another opening appeared at their feet, and they vanished into the darkness below.

"Ow," Shego groaned as she sat up. "Stupid chimp booby-traps."


"Kim. Where are you? Where are we?"

They were in pitch blackness, but a light appeared as Kim turned on her Kimmunicator. "I'm not getting a signal," she said. "We must be far below the ground."

"My tailbone agrees with you," Shego muttered. She got up and went over to Kim, who was already standing. "You all right?"

Kim nodded and smiled. "Thanks for asking. You?"

"I'm pissed as hell now, but nothing a little spankage of Monty won't cure."

"Nobody gets to spank Monty but me!"

Kim and Shego both started. "Who's there?" Kim asked, looking into the darkness.

There was a yellow flame suddenly, about thirty yards away, and the flames multiplied as torches were lit one by one. A woman faced away from them as she lit the few remaining, revealing a cylindrical chamber with a very high ceiling. There were hexagonal depressions in the walls around and above them, dozens of them, each the size of a pizza tray.

"Welcome," the woman said as she tossed the torch aside. "We've been expecting you."

"I know that voice," Kim said.

"So do I," Shego agreed. "I just heard it a few months ago. But it CAN'T be her!"

The woman turned around. "Never tell a scientist she can't do anything," DNAmy said.

They stared at her. "Guess you tried the South Beach diet after all, huh?" Shego finally asked. “Don’t I get a thank you?”

DNAmy was the same height as before, and above the neck she was still no beauty. But now she had a slim figure that most men would actually find appealing. "Nothing so chancy," DNAmy assured them. "I simply spliced hummingbird DNA into my own. Now my metabolism is so high that I need to eat four times a day just to maintain my current weight."

"You could revolutionize the dieting industry, DNAmy," Kim noted, "and instead you're slumming with Monkey Fist? Why?"

Shego groaned and suddenly slapped her face.

"What?" Kim asked.

"Remember when Drakken and DNAmy created that monster a while back?" Shego asked.


"Not to give you an image that will lead to nightmares, but Drakken actually fell for DNAmy."

"Ick," Kim said, grimacing.

"And she turned him down because she was already in love with Monty."


"Excuse me? I am in the room, you know," a visibly angry DNAmy said.

"Sorry, I forgot," Shego said. "There was a time I relied on those thundering noises your feet made when you walked to know where you were."

DNAmy seethed. "You can make all the snide remarks you like, Shego! Our love is eternal!"

"And your madness is never-ending!" Kim shot back. "Where's Monkey Fist? And Ron?"

"Oh, don't worry," DNAmy told them. "My Monty is taking care of Ron Stoppable."

"Someone gets the name, and he misses it," Shego said.

"You have your own problems," DNAmy went on.

There was a grating noise as dozens of hexagonal tiles slid sideways.

Behind each one was a pair of yellow eyes.

"Just great," Kim grumbled.

"Whooooaaaaaahhhhh!" Ron screamed as he slid down the ramp. "Now that was a ride!"

Finding himself unhurt, he stood up and looked around. He was in a square room, somewhat large. The ramp behind him was extremely smooth, as were the walls. He didn't see himself climbing back out, and there were no doors in plain sight.

One of the walls was different from the others, and he realized it was one huge monitor. One that very shortly was filled by the immense visage of Monkey Fist. "Well, well, if it isn't the false Monkey Master, Ron Stoppable," Fist sneered.

"At last they get the name right," Ron said. "Shego said we'd be going up the monkey's butt to get in here. I guess your face would be the logical finish."

Monkey Fist bared his teeth. "Laugh if you will. But your doom is nigh."

There was a hissing sound, and two small packages slid down the ramp and into the room. Ron looked at them. "Trap?"

"If you don't wish to open them, that's fine. One of them is filled with explosives wired to go in sixty seconds."

Ron swallowed. "Opening now," he said, reaching for them. "Uh, if I open it, does it blow up?"

"If I wanted that, you'd be Stoppable pizza right now."

"Uh, yeah." He opened the first container and found only a collar with a transparent gem attached. "Not a bomb," he said.

The second container was in fact packed with explosives, and a timer that showed 0:45. "THAT'S a bomb."

"I could deactivate it, you know."

"And there's no catch, right? This is all a big joke and you'll let me go?"

"Such rapier wit."

"Guess not. What's the catch then?"

"You must put the collar around your neck."

"I'm not the one here who needs tick and flea protection," Ron said.

"The timer is down to 0:30. Do you really want to keep talking?"

"I'd like to keep talking, breathing, eating, and oh yeah, kicking your tail."

"Twenty-three seconds."

"You know, I'm sensing this collar is bad, and you're not helping."

"Nineteen seconds."

Ron grumbled as he took the collar out. "Does the gem go in front or in back? Because if it goes in front, I'm not sure I can buckle it without looking at what I'm doing."

"Oh for god's sake, it doesn't matter! Just put the damn thing on or you'll be painting the walls in thirteen seconds!"

"You've got the remote control! If you're in such a rush just push the button now!"

"Foolish pretender, I should just kill you right now!"

"Why don't you?" Ron shot back.

"Because you're going to put that damned collar on first!"

Ron sighed as he finally "put the damned thing on". "Happy?"

"Oh, yes," Monkey Fist purred as he lifted his hand and pressed something. The timer stopped on the explosives. Then he lifted his other hand and pushed something else.

The wall slid aside, revealing two hulking shapes swaddled in black cloth. They looked like monkey ninjas, except - bigger.

"Stoppable, meet your end. My morilla ninjas will destroy you!"

"Mo-whatsits?" Ron asked, sure only that they were apes, and therefore inherently evil.

"Morillas - half gorilla, half monkey. All the size and strength of the gorilla, with the monkey's agility and speed. You cannot defeat these creatures, Stoppable."

"Great," Ron sighed. "How about I take the collar off and you blow me up instead?"

"Sorry, I like this way better."

"Of course. And dude, morillas? You seriously need to go back to the drawing board on that. They sound like Cuddle Buddies!"

"Actually, it was DNAmy who coined the expression," Monkey Fist told him.

"And that was your first mistake," Ron said.

"For heavens - morilla ninjas, attack!"

If he was going to die, at least he deserved to die fighting something with a cooler name.

To be continued . . .

Chapter 12

Title: Chapter Twelve

If You Build a Better Monkey (12)

By Allaine

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 12

Kim tried to count the small, furred shapes swathed in black cloth that were crawling out of the hexagonal openings in the walls, but it was impossible even for her trained eyes. The walls were very high, and she couldn't tell how high the openings went. In fact, soon the openings themselves were obscured by a black, writhing mass of monkeys that climbed and swung about the walls. They weren't attacking - yet. Probably the continued presence of DNAmy was the cause, and for that reason Kim wanted to keep her talking. "Adding cloning to your resume, Amy?"

"I find clones to be notoriously unstable," DNAmy replied smugly. "Especially after I read that study from researchers at Pepsico. No, my Monty-poo has been capturing and buying monkeys for years now, each one trained in the art of the monkey ninja."

"Monty-poo?" Kim asked, raising an eyebrow.

"Well, he IS a monkey man," Shego noted. "He probably flings his poo at her."

"I don't think I appreciate your tone of voice, Shego," DNAmy retorted.

"I get that a lot. Is the biting sarcasm or the dripping disdain that gets you?"

Kim shot a look at her. "Let's not provoke the crazy lady just yet," she hissed. "What's Monkey Fist doing with Ron?" she then demanded.

DNAmy's smile was not a pleasant one. "At the moment, probably stealing his powers. Or perhaps he's already moved on to killing Ronald."

"Powers?" Shego asked.

"Monkey magic, remember? We discussed this," Kim said.

"You really ought to be told before my creations tear you apart," DNAmy went on, ignoring them. "I think Monty would want you to know, since you'll never see your friend again. Several years ago, before fate brought us together again - oh, those days where we rekindled our passion!"

Kim felt slightly nauseous at the thought that DNAmy was about to divulge details of their great romance.

"Anyway, Monty's research into the Monkey Master," DNAmy went on, drawing a sigh of relief from Kim, "turned up some interesting information. For example, those powers were never meant to be housed in the body of someone so young. Further proof that Ron Stoppable is a pretender to the title of Monkey Master, as Monty says."

"Which do you think drove her off the deep end?" Shego murmured. "Making love to Monkey Fist, or listening to him rant?"

"Can't it be both?"

"Normally the ritual," DNAmy continued, "involved a subject who had just reached his twenty-first birthday. Only then could the would-be Master access his true potential. Such is why you believed yourself to be victorious all those times," she pointed out, "when in fact Monty only LET you win."

Kim blinked. "Uh, run that by me again?"

"Monty could not allow Ron Stoppable to die until after his twenty-first birthday, of course. Monty believes that if Stoppable died before then, he would be able to access only a fraction of the power Stoppable stole, or perhaps none at all. So when you interfered in his other schemes, he allowed you to win rather than risk killing Stoppable too soon. Nor did he murder Ron Stoppable while he slept, when he had hundreds of opportunities to do so."

"Told you," Shego said.


"That Monkey Fist had a reason for not killing his archenemy sooner."

"Whatever. If that's what he told himself to make himself feel better about losing to a girl," Kim said, shrugging, "then I'm not going to tell him he's crazy."

"My Monty is not CRAZY! He has been waiting YEARS for you and your foolish friends to arrive, and now that you're here, we're going to destroy you all!" DNAmy suddenly snarled at her.

Kim looked her in the eyes and nodded. Anyone who would splice animal DNA together to recreate Cuddle Buddies couldn't be sane to begin with, but whether it was the fault of Monkey Fist, the Acceptables, or tampering with her own genes, DNAmy appeared to have completely lost it.

"You said he was going to steal Stoppable's powers, THEN kill him," Shego said suddenly. "Why doesn't he just kill him?"

DNAmy composed herself somewhat. "There is a possibility some of the magic could escape at the moment of death," she explained. "Monty wishes to possess it all."


"It's actually quite ingenious, not to mention pure evil," DNAmy said.

"Figures," Kim replied.

"By now Stoppable is in a life-and-death struggle with my newest creations, my morillas. Alone he will be unable - "

"I'm sorry, your what?" Shego asked.

"MO-rillas. Part monkey, part gorilla. Monty felt his ninjas could benefit from a bit more size. I used the gorillas Monty obtained over the years to create gorilla ninjas with increased agility."

"Morillas," Shego sniggered. "Sounds like something Dr. D would come up with."

"And that's not a compliment," Kim said.

"She's just jealous that she wasted all those years on a blue-skinned freak when I have allied myself with a true visionary of evil."

"Someone's been taking elocution lessons from Professor Dementor," Shego said.

DNAmy glared at Shego. "As I was saying, my morillas will destroy Ron Stoppable UNLESS he draws upon the monkey magic which his body contains. However, as he uses his powers, the device which my Monty has placed around his neck will drain the powers into a special gem. In his attempts to save himself, Stoppable will be signing his own death warrant!"

"I hope you're as good a teacher as you think you are," Shego said.

"You'd be surprised," Kim replied. Ron had shown tremendous progress, sometimes memorizing moves with just a couple attempts. All he really needed to become a fighter on the level of Kim or Shego, she thought, was another six to nine months of practice.

Plus five to ten more years of experience.

Still, DNAmy made it sound like he was getting several days' worth right now. Especially considering he was being attacked by you-know-whats.

"So you're saying Ron's doomed?" Kim asked.

"Thoroughly!" DNAmy assured her.

"Well then, I guess there's only one option then. Right, Shego?"

"Only option I ever use."

"What's that?" DNAmy asked suspiciously.

"Take you down hard and fast," Kim said. She surged forward towards DNAmy so fast that she almost seemed to outrun her words.

There was a lot of ground between them, however, no matter how quickly Kim moved. And within a second there was a black wall between Kim and DNAmy as monkeys rained down on their position. One pounced on Kim's back and grabbed onto her tightly with all fours as it leaned down and bit her on the shoulder. Kim cried out and reached up to dislodge him, but Shego had already torn him from her back and hurled him like a football into a crowd of simians.

"Did I forget to mention?" DNAmy called out from behind her defenders. "I added rat DNA to their genetic makeup. They've become quite carnivorous now. And while Monty may not entirely approve, his ninjas aren't afraid of biting and scratching their opponents."

"You know," Shego said as she turned her back on Kim, preventing any creatures from sneaking up behind them, "if we survive this, we don't tell anybody what it took to make it. Otherwise we're going to have PETA picketing our doors for months."

Kim frowned. She didn't like that word "if". Especially coming from Shego.

Of course, Monkey Fist never sent QUITE so many monkeys against them in the past. Especially monkeys with altered genetics. And now, ironically, they were trapped like . . .

"Rats," Kim muttered.

Monkey Fist glowered at the monitor as he sat on his throne. He clasped his fingers in front of his mouth while he twiddled his toes. Others had always laughed - having the SIDEKICK as an archenemy! But Ron Stoppable had been a constant thorn in his side, always possessing that which belonged rightfully to him! The true Monkey Master, the man who had compromised his very humanity to mold himself in the proper image!

Not some BOY who didn't even like apes!

Still, he'd had years to prepare for this eventuality. The pack of hyenas known as the Acceptables had made him doubt for quite some time, but they had fallen, and Kim Possible had risen again. Bad news for a lot of villains. Good news for him, because where Kim went, Ron was sure to follow like the loyal spear-carrier he was. Good for running, screaming, flailing his arms about, and not much else.

And that was his archenemy.

Monty buried his face in his hands as he conveniently forgot the time he'd been defeated in his very own ancestral home by Stoppable. Or the time in Japan. If that pretender hadn't interfered . . .

He calmed himself. He took deep, cleansing breaths. None of that mattered now. The boy was a man now, of age, and ready for the slaughter. The jeweled collar around his neck would drain the monkey magic from him as quickly as he used it. And then his body would be just an empty vessel - much like his head.

There was just one problem.

Stoppable wasn't using his powers. Either that or the mystical artifact he'd obtained wasn't working. But it was legitimate, he was sure of it! So Stoppable simply wasn't using his powers.

It would be highly unacceptable for Monkey Fist to go to so much trouble, only to have his victim DIE before his magic could be stolen!

Although he wasn't sure just WHEN Stoppable was planning to die. He didn't seem to be in any great hurry. He wasn't winning, of course. He was outnumbered by attackers who outweighed him substantially. Stoppable simply couldn't incapacitate them, no matter how well he fought.

But he wasn't losing either. If it hadn't been for the fact that the moves Stoppable was using were distinctly NOT Ta Sheng Pek Kwar, Monty Fiske would have felt compelled to conclude that it was in fact the artifact that was to blame.

So Stoppable was defending himself without using Monkey Mystical Power. That was all there was to it. And against two morillas trained by Monkey Fist himself, he had to tire sooner or later. Then he would be killed.

But he had to use the Power first!

There was no other option, Monkey Fist concluded. He must challenge the pretender himself. Challenge him to see who the TRUE Monkey Master was! Then Stoppable would be forced to defend his honor by fighting in the ancient art of monkey kung fu. And his power would become Fist's power.

And then Fist would kill him himself.

Really, wasn't that for the best?

"Being able to adapt is the true sign of genius," he told himself as he leapt from his seat and sauntered toward the room where Ron Stoppable would die.

Shego panted as she tried to speak. "Remember - remember that time - "

"Don't speak, Shego," Kim said. "Save your breath."

"Look who's talking," she muttered.

"I'm trying to think!"

"Then shut up!"

Kim growled as she blew hair out of her eyes. This was getting them nowhere, and she didn't mean their arguing.

Individually, and even in groups of twenty or more, these ninja monkeys were no more a match for the combined force of Kim and Shego than they had been for Kim and Ron all those years ago . . . She forced herself not to think about Ron, and the danger he was in right now. She was in plenty of danger as it was.

And as it was, they were surrounded by what could be called a group of "twenty or more" only by the most broad estimates. There were in fact over a hundred monkeys in the room right now. Some of them were dead, an unavoidable occurrence when you were battling for your life. More were unconscious. Many were nursing bruises, cuts, broken limbs, broken tails, and other injuries.

Many were still fresh, because more monkeys continued to pour from the hexagons which had remained open the entire time. Kim guessed that for every monkey they'd taken out - and that number was in the dozens - two more had arrived.

"We've got to find a way to close up those tunnel openings," Kim said.

"Other than jamming them shut with dead monkeys, I don't see much to work with," Shego said as she pulled a hand back, narrowly avoiding having a monkey latch onto her fingers with its teeth. She kicked a foot out, sending it crashing into the wall.

"What about your gloves? Couldn't you freeze them shut?"

"Senior told me their powers are very limited in their effectiveness in hot climates," Shego muttered. "Otherwise I would have chilled some monkey brains by now."

"We've got to try it anyway!" Kim burst out. "Or they'll just keep coming until Monkey Fist runs out of ninjas, or until we run out of blood." Her blood leaked from many cuts and scrapes all over her body. Her outfit would be hanging in scraps if this kept up for much longer. Shego wasn't in any better shape.

Only by virtue of their workout sessions, which tended to last for hours, were they still on their feet instead of passed out from exhaustion.

"Fine," Shego said. "Don't know what good it'll do, though." She snapped her fingers, activating her gloves.

The monkeys encircling them froze.

Shego looked at her hands. "Uh, Kimmie? You want to look at this?" she asked strangely.

Kim risked a glance over her shoulder. "What - the hell?"

The green glove on Shego's left hand appeared to be on fire. Green fire.

"There's more," Shego said, holding up her right hand with its black glove.

It was glowing with black fire.

Kim stared at her, their peril briefly forgotten. "When was the last time you powered those up?" she asked, astonished.

"That corporate heist we broke up," Shego replied. She looked almost - annoyed. "Kimmie," she went on. "I always keep my gloves locked in my room when I'm not wearing them. Can you think of any time in the past week where my room was unlocked and unattended?"

"You were IN your room when I left the door unlocked!"

"I was sleeping! Anybody could have come in and done something to these - and somebody did!"

"But the only other person even in the building that day was Betty Director," Kim said, still confused. Then she stopped. "Oh . . . and she had Thomas with her."

Shego scowled at her. "You're saying that two-year-old mad mechanic did this! I TOLD him - no touchee!"

"What are you complaining about? You WANTED your old powers back!"

"Yeah, but I don't know what he did to them. They could short out any second!"

Kim gestured toward the monkey ninjas, who were still mesmerized by Shego's flames. "Then perhaps you should use them while you still can by destroying those monkey holes?"

Shego looked at her gloves. She slashed her right hand through the air, and a wave of black plasma flew out, striking a group of tunnel openings and reducing them to impassable rubble. Monkeys scattered, screeching in panic.

Then she smiled. "Treat every blast like it's my last, you're saying?"

"That's how we live our lives, isn't it?" Kim pointed out.

Shego grinned. "I'm suddenly thinking we'll be living them tomorrow after all." A well-timed burst exploded over Kim's shoulder and knocked a monkey out of the air. "What do you say?"

Kim could only smile. There was Ron's life to think about still. "I say we find what PASSES for humans in this dump, and pummel them mercilessly," she said.

"Then if you'll just give me a few seconds of breathing room," Shego said, gesturing to the wall DNAmy had escaped through earlier, but which had turned out to be solid rock operated from without, "I can start by pummeling the wall." She clenched her fists and brought them together, causing the glowing fires to start building.

"Please and thank you."

To be continued . . .

Chapter 13

Title: Chapter Thirteen

[Author's notes:

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.


If You Build a Better Monkey (13)

By Allaine

Chapter 13

"That - was - fun," Shego panted as she leaned her hands on her knees and bent over.

Kim wanted to keep moving, but her body felt like it was made of cement, and she slumped against a wall. "Just rest for a minute," she gasped.

They'd just completed a suspenseful race through twisting passageways dimly lit by torches, if at all. Sometimes the only light had come from Shego as handfuls of green fire splashed through the air. When Kim and Shego had fled the chamber they'd been trapped in, their monkey attackers had become emboldened, and they screeched as they scampered after them, some leaping about the walls and even popping out of - yes, more of those hexagonal openings. For a monkey temple, it certainly had reminded Kim of a beehive.

"I don't like running from my enemies," Shego growled.

"Think of it as running toward Monty," Kim said.

They'd bought themselves some time by racing through a small arched doorway. Shego had then used her fire to destroy the keystone, causing debris and rubble to cascade down, blocking the entrance. A few monkeys that made it under in time were summarily knocked out, leaving the two women in a long, sloping corridor free of those pesky monkey holes. Their only two choices were up and down.

"I thought the Balrog was going to show up any minute," Kim added.

Shego looked at her strangely. "The what?"

"Balrog - you know, Lord of the Rings? Ron, um, may have gotten me to watch the movie with him," Kim admitted.

"Sorry," Shego said. "I always let Doctor D translate 'geek'." She looked up. "Guess we should move to higher ground."

"But Ron could be anywhere!" Kim said urgently. "What if we go up and he's down?"

"And what if we go down and he's up?" Shego replied. "At least maybe we can get a signal on your Kimmunicator and reach Wade. He could scan a layout of the temple, detect heat signatures - I don't know, nerd stuff like that."

"You want to go up, fine," Kim said. "But I'll go down."

"All right, all right, fine," Shego muttered. "Sheesh. We'll go down."

"I'm not trying to be difficult, Shego," Kim answered. "I think we should split up. Cover more ground."

"You think I'm going to let you go off by yourself?" Shego asked, surprised. "What if you get jumped by another monkey horde? You're not in very good shape, you know. Some of these bites are going to be infected by tomorrow, I bet."

"I'm Kim Possible. I can do anything, remember?" Kim said. "Including saving Ron."

Shego looked at her. "Okay," she finally said, "but you go up. I'll go down. If you're in really bad shape, you find an exit and get the hell out of here. And take this." She reached over and started scratching at her left wrist, a gesture Kim recognized as unlocking the mechanism that kept her glove in place.

"Hey, what are you doing?" Kim asked, alarmed.

"Giving you one of these," Shego said. "Nothing like a little fire to give the monkeys a fright. Just snap your fingers - " she explained as she started pulling the glove off.

Kim slapped her hand down on Shego's arm, stopping her. "Don't," she said. "This means a lot to me, considering it seems like you're always losing your powers as soon as you get them back, but I'll stick to what I know best."

"What's that?"

"Beating the odds."

Shego scowled as she slipped her glove back on. "Fine," she said. "You're so stubborn, Princess."

"Pot calling kettle black there. Shego?"

She'd turned away to head down. "Yeah?"

"You be careful too. I don't know what I'd do without you."

When Shego blushed, she turned a darker shade of green. "Yeah, whatever," she mumbled. "See you topside."

Then she disappeared.

Kim wiped her forehead with her arm. Truth be told, turning down Shego's offer had more to do with keeping HER safe than anything else. But she had to trust now that Shego could take care of herself, just like Shego trusted her.

Now she just had to find Ron.

Ron, as it happened, could take care of himself too.

Still, he could really go for a naco right then.

"Rufus," he said to his little buddy as he crouched warily to one side of the room, "I'm still floating like a butterfly, but I'm still stinging like one too." His knuckles throbbed, but if he'd managed to hurt the creatures through their thick, furry pelts, he couldn't see it.

"Eh?" Rufus asked.

"Sorry, guess you slept through that episode of ESPN Classic," Ron said.


Kim - or his old Sensei, for that matter - would probably be aghast to see Ron mixing Japanese fighting techniques with American boxing slang, but right now his best strategy appeared to be "rope-a-dope". The two hulking "morillas" looked more tired than he did. Even with monkey agility and speed, as Monkey Fist had claimed, they were still slow, and you couldn't really ask the animals to fight as long as they had, and not show signs of exhaustion. Ron was dodging strikes that had lost a lot of quickness, and hoping they finally keeled over, comatose.

As long as someone with fresh legs didn't enter the picture . . .

"Monkey pretender! I challenge your claim to the position of master!"

"And you just had to think it, didn't you?" he thought.

"Morillas, leave me with the false prodigy," Monkey Fist hissed as he loped through a door that hadn't been open before.

The two genetic mutations seemed all too relieved. One gave Ron a wordless gesture as he shambled out. Ron chose to see it as a sign of respect, although it could have also been a vicious insult.

"Dude, just let it go already," Ron said wearily. "I mean, sorry I got some of your special mojo. You want to be Monkey Master? Take the title, it's yours. I don't even want it!"

"Bad enough that you steal what is mine, but you can't even appreciate it!" Monkey Fist howled.

Ron put a hand over his face. It was like going in circles.

"Come, Stoppable," Fist continued, sneering. "Let us test each other, and see who is the TRUE master of Monkey Kung Fu!"

"Yeah, okay, just one second," Ron said. He reached under his chin with both hands, unbuckled the collar he'd been wearing all this time, and tossed it onto the floor. "I gotta tell you, I've been waiting for a chance to take that off forever!"

Monkey Fist stared at him, stunned. "You - you - put that back on this instant!"

"Why? You going to blow me up if I don't? Oh wait, that's right. You can't blow me up without blowing yourself up too. Uh huh, who's the man now, that's what I'm talking about!"

"Oh really? Well, I'll just go back to the control room, and then we'll see about putting it back on!"

"And then when you come back, how are you going to stop me from taking it off again?"

Monkey Fist spluttered. "Well - you see - I - "

"Besides, dude, you issued the challenge. Winner takes the title," Ron pointed out. "You run out of here now, you forfeit, I'm still the Monkey Master." He frowned. "Yay for me."

Left unable to answer, Monkey Fist finally screamed at the ceiling, jumping up and down and slapping the floor with the palms of his hands. "Ooo! OOOO!"

"Congrats, Monty. You are officially speaking worse English than my little buddy here," Ron told him.

Rufus poked his head out again and guffawed. "Ha ha, busted!"

"Fool!" Monkey Fist finally snarled. "Your powers will be mine!"

Ron smiled. "I've traded punches with Kim Possible, Monkey Fist. Compared to her, who the heck are you?"

"I let HER win!"

"That is why you fail," Ron said sagely.

Possessed by an insane rage that made him look nothing like the English explorer he'd once been, Monkey Fist leapt through the air.

Ron heard the bell and stepped into the ring once more.

"This can't be good," Kim thought.

There were thirty monkeys or more facing her in a half-circle. They faced her, but they did not approach her. They kept a good five yards away from her, in fact. Kim liked to think it was because they were afraid of her, but she didn't think that was it.

She risked a glance behind her through the doors she'd been backed against. The room through the doors appeared to be filled with large machines. One in particular looked very familiar. It looked like something she'd seen used to combine Rufus years ago with Mr. Barkin.

In other words, Kim was about to enter DNAmy's lab.

"You guys probably have some bad memories of this place," she said as she backed inside.

Judging from how they didn't pursue her, she was probably right.

Going deeper into the laboratory, she took out her Kimmunicator again. Maybe this time she could get a signal. "Wade, come in, please," she said, activating it.

And her persistence was rewarded. "Kim, is that you?" Wade asked, his face appearing on the display.

"Wade!" Kim said. "Things are pretty messed up right now."

"You're telling me," he replied. "I've been trying to raise you for a while. What happened?"

"The usual," she sighed. "Trap door, long chute, fall down. I don't know where Ron and Shego are - Ron's fighting for his life, Shego's trying to find him. And DNAmy's mixed up in all this."

"Genetically mutated monkeys, huh?" he guessed sympathetically.

"What else?"

"IS there a monkey Cuddle Buddy?"

"I could have told you that five years ago, Wade, but not any more," Kim said.

"For shame, Kim Possible. For someone who once owned a Pandaroo, you must remember the Goraffe?"

Kim closed her eyes. "Of course. Thank you, mad scientist." She turned around.

"Should I also reacquaint you with THIS model?" DNAmy asked her, waving her arm at the beast that towered over her.

Kim looked at the all-too-familiar giant rabbit with the rhinoceros horn. "No, I remember. Wade, let me get back to you. I have a plushie to take care of."

"Ohh-kay," he said. "I'll give Sappho a heads-up on your position. She's been worried."

"I'm worried about Shego too," Kim murmured before she shut it off. "Rat monkeys, woolly mammoths, saber-toothed tigers - you know what?" she asked DNAmy. "I'm in the mood to kick a human's ass right now."

DNAmy chortled. "You'll have to get past - "

"Yeah, yeah," Kim said, running forward. Shego had tangled with this beast earlier in the year. She'd also told Kim what happened.

And once again, the monstrosity tried to pounce.

Once again, its intended victim ran between its legs.

The last time, Shego had wounded DNAmy with a cutting remark. Kim used a more straightforward approach - a shot to the jaw.

"Now," Kim said, turning to face the Cuddle Buddy again, "you still want a piece of me?"

It whimpered, looking at the unconscious DNAmy, and plowed through the exit. Kim heard frantic monkeys outside.

She wanted to feel better, but there was no time to feel better. She pulled out her Kimmunicator once again. "Wade, can you still read me?"

"Loud and clear, Kim."

"I'm in DNAmy's laboratory."

"And where's she?"

"Well, Wade, you know," Kim said, glancing at the out-cold scientist, "when you have a really metabolism and you miss a meal or two, you tend to pass out."

"DNAmy has a high metabolism?" Wade asked dubiously. "What does she eat, fifteen meals a day?"

"Long story. Look, if I patch you into DNAmy's computers, can you give me access to any other computer systems Monkey Fist has? Blueprints, security cameras - "

"Kim, come on, who are you talking to?" Wade said. "I don't give you access, I give you control."

"Right, sorry," she said wearily. "Get bit by enough rabid monkeys and a girl can get a little sluggish."

Shego was of two minds concerning Ron. Of course she didn't want him to die. That would hurt Kimmie, hurt her a LOT, and Shego didn't want anything interfering with the life they had. And it wasn't like she wished Stoppable dead. Maybe she wished he lived across the Atlantic Ocean, tops. So if Monkey Fist really was draining his mystical "monkey batteries" so he could kill Ron, then he had to be stopped. There were other reasons he had to be stopped, of course. Like that little incident at her apartment months ago. Plus there was the fact that Monty took the whole monkey thing a BIT too seriously to be entirely sane.

On the other hand, for all his failings, Monkey Fist was one of the best hand-to-hand fighters in the villain community, and if she happened to find Ron getting his clock cleaned - well, she could take some measure of satisfaction in knowing she was going to win her little wager with Pumpkin, couldn't she?

That was predicated on finding him, though, and right now she was bored. She hadn't seen one solitary monkey, even. There was concern that the little simians were focusing their attention on a stubborn SOMEONE who refused to arm herself with glowing plasma flames that terrified the rodent chimps.

Being bored was preferable to such thoughts, though, and she ruthlessly ignored them.

Turning a corner, she skidded to a halt. There was a larger chamber in front of her, better lit than most corridors she'd run through. Inside were two gorillas swaddled in ragged scraps of black cloth. They appeared to be fast asleep.

"Either this is an ambush," she thought, "or ol' Monty is going to have these two peeling potatoes for a month."


Shego almost leapt out of her boots. "Yeah!"


She turned around and saw nothing. "Kimmie? Where are you?"

"DNAmy's lab. Wade hacked me into the security system. I'm watching you through the security camera over your left shoulder. Monty has the whole temple rigged with them, as well as an intercom system. So he can summon his minions, I guess."

Shego looked where Kim said and, sure enough, a camera with a blinking red light was mounted there. Shego waved her hand hesitantly, and the camera matched her movements. "Are you all right?" she asked.

"Could be worse. Listen, Ron is in the next room."

"What room? There's no door."

"Secret door. Hold on a second."

Shego waited impatiently, and then she remembered the - morillas, they had to be. They were still asleep, despite all the noise Shego had made. They must have been exhausted.

Weren't they supposed to have been fighting Ron? Why the hell were they out here? And why were they so beat?

The wall slowly slid aside, and when Shego looked through the opening, she understood why.

"Toto, I don't think we're in Kansas any more," she murmured.

Ron Stoppable appeared to be winning.

She couldn't say for sure, because both men had frozen when she appeared. Monkey Fist's legs were wrapped around Ron's waist. Ron had a hand around Fist's neck and a fist in midair.

"Should I come back when you two have had your alone time?" Shego asked sardonically, leaning against the wall.

"You! Why aren't you dead?" Monkey Fist demanded.

"Seems to me the 'plan' isn't working out, Monty," Shego said, crooking her fingers in the universal "quotation marks" gesture. "Why are you surprised the other part failed?"

"Shego, where's KP?" Ron asked.

"DNAmy's laboratory, apparently. Looks like she's in control of temple security now. I realize you have to be a monkey to qualify for that position, Monty, but since all humans basically from apes, I'd say she gets in under the grandfather clause."

"I'm not a big believer in intelligent design," Ron added, "but if it means we didn't evolve from apes, I'm for it."

"You dare make jokes at a time like this!" Monkey Fist thundered. "And what have you done with Amy?"

"Don't know, didn't ask, didn't care," Shego said, shrugging. "So, steal his monkey mojo yet?"

"Which of us are you speaking to?" Ron asked.

"She means me! And no, not yet. Either the artifact was flawed, or Stoppable . . . no longer has the power," Monkey Fist muttered.

"Steal whose mojo? Mine?"

"Yeah," Shego told him. "Apparently he's been - " She chuckled. "Letting you win all those times so he could take your powers when you turned twenty-one. And I've officially heard everything."

"It's true!" Monkey Fist howled.

"Hey, if that's what you have to say to yourself so you can look in the mirror in the morning," Shego said indifferently.

"So you think my Monkey Magic is gone?" Ron asked.

"Obviously a buffoon such as yourself lost it without even knowing it was gone!" Fiske snarled.

"Hey, you hear that?" Ron said. "Sounds like this mission comes with a bonus! Although not liking the B-u-f-f word."

"Doy," Shego mumbled. "I'm starting to think I shouldn't have come in."

"Uh, while you're here," Ron replied, "could you maybe give me a hand?"

Shego frowned. "Actually," she finally said grudgingly, "it looks like you're handling him pretty good by yourself."

"Excuse me!" Monkey Fist said.

"What he said," Ron said, although he was mainly surprised by Shego's vote of confidence.

"Yeah, I'm going to go find Kimmie. Maybe have a banana milkshake or something. Come find us when you finish with his sorry baboon ass."

"Now see here! Baboons are - "

Ron interrupted him by finishing his punch, which cut Ron's knuckle but also knocked out one of Monkey Fist's teeth.

"Shego!" Kim said, stopping her as she went back to where the morillas lay. "What are you doing!"

"He's not in any real danger," Shego sighed. "But I'll wait out here, just to make sure. How about you come down and watch? Check out your student's progress."

" . . . Well, okay, I guess."

"Fine," Shego said. She sat against the wall and looked at the sleeping apes. "So, you boys up for a game of gin?"

To be continued . . .

Chapter 14

Title: Chapter Fourteen

If You Build a Better Monkey 14

By Allaine

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.


Chapter 14

"Is this how you were with Drakken?" Kim asked.

"Hm?" Shego replied, half paying attention.

"Feet up, filing your nails?"

"Oh, yeah, pretty much constantly." She looked over at her. "Although I didn't usually have my feet resting on the back of a 'morilla'."

"Shego!" Kim burst out, exasperated. "Those are genetically engineered killing machines you're using as furniture! And Ron's in the next room fighting for his life!"

"Please," Shego said. "Stoppable's only in danger if he makes me wait much longer. Maybe if you trained him a little better, it wouldn't take him so long to polish Monty off."

"How can you tell?" Kim asked. "You closed the door! Which I opened for a reason, you know."

"So Monkey Fist could escape?"

"Excuse me?"

Shego sighed. "I was watching. He tried to make a break for it. I singed his fur a little, he decided he was safer with Stoppable, and I had to figure out a way to close the door so it wouldn't happen again. Which, of course, then left me with nothing to do but wait for you to show up."

Kim hadn't been able to watch the fight since she'd left DNAmy's lab, having used her Kimmunicator to download the temple layout and find Ron's location. "So - he's doing well?"

"Well enough that this fight should have been over a while ago," Shego said.

"Oh . . . but the morillas!"

"Shh," Shego said, raising a finger to her lips. "You'll wake them."

Kim clapped her hands over her mouth.

Shego laughed. "Just kidding, Kimmie. You could set off firecrackers in here and it wouldn't wake them. These boys are going to be hibernating for quite a while, I think. I guess Monty didn't train 'em to fight for extended periods of time. Unlike, say, you and me." She frowned suddenly and crossed her arms.

Kim scratched her head. "This didn't end quite the way I expected it to," she admitted.

"Swooping in to save the sidekick?"

"Well, kinda - I knew Ron was getting better, but I didn't think he could compete with Monkey Fist, with all his experience AND his new monkey ninjas," Kim said.

"He can," Shego said simply, still scowling. "Which is why you win," she grumbled.

Kim blinked. "What?"

"The wager. You win. I'll - wear your stupid mission clothes next time."

"But - there's still a couple weeks left! And Ron and Monique have to - "

Shego interrupted her. "Look, princess, I watched Ron fight the Supreme One not long ago. And I was giving Monique lessons before that. I know how good they were before this bet started. And I was watching Ron before. Right now, he's better than Monique. And I say that knowing just how good she's gotten."

"You mean it?" Kim asked, startled. Monique had been fighting hoodlums while she and Ron were still attending college and Shego had been in a cell.

"Yeah, I do," Shego said. "And if he's gotten THAT much better, THAT much faster than Monique, then you must be a pretty goddamn good teacher. Much better than me, anyway." She looked disappointed. "So there's no reason for us to wait another few weeks. You win."

Kim had beaten Shego many times over the years. Having Shego concede defeat was - strangely unsatisfying. "I'm sure you've done a great job with Monique," she said awkwardly.

Shego shrugged. "I thought so. Maybe you should take over, though. Monique's got skills, and I don't want to be slowing her down."

"Shego - "

"Ah-ba-ba-ba," Shego said, holding up a hand. "I'd appreciate it if you could save the gloating for when I show up in baggy pants."

"I wasn't going to gloat!"

"I know, Kimmie, I know," Shego sighed. "I do, uh, reserve the right to wear these, of course." With her hand still raised, she snapped her fingers. Once again, it was alight with black plasma.

"They show no sign of weakening, huh?" Kim asked, suddenly eager to change the subject.

"Nope," Shego said, sounding hopeful again. "It'd be nice if we knew how it happened, though."

"Do you still think it was Thomas?"

"Well, it's possible if he was in the building when you carelessly left my door unlocked while I was alone sleeping," Shego replied, grinning.

Kim smiled. "Oddly enough, I'm not feeling sorry about that any more."

"Ooh, naughty, are we? Anyway, it's possible, but according to Dr. Director, his reinventions are pretty random. And I think it's strange that a toddler who wasn't even conceived yet the last time I had plasma gloves would, by sheer coincidence, give me back my old powers," Shego reasoned.

"Still," Kim reminded her, "Thomas and Sappho can communicate in binary. We could always have Sappho ask him, just to be sure."

"Whatever," Shego said, shrugging. She stood up. "Where's Amy?"

"The device she uses to combine her subjects' DNA? It makes an excellent holding cell," Kim told her.

"Hm, really?" Shego asked idly. "Does it separate them too?"

"It did years ago. That's how we saved Rufus when he was spliced with Mr. Barkin."

"Mister who?"

"High school principal."

Shego chuckled. "How do I get out of this dump?"

"Here, give me your Kimmunicator."

"I really need a more appropriate name for this thing," Shego said as she removed it from her leg pouch.

Kim pointed hers at Shego's. "I'm transmitting you a copy of the temple layout. You can use the keypad to identify the key points, including the exit."

"Thanks," Shego murmured. "Think I'll head up. Tell Stoppable - " She paused. "That I said his fighting wasn't half-bad."

"That kind of exuberant praise? From you?" Kim said. "He'd never believe me."

"Ha ha," Shego said. "I'll check up on Amy before I leave." She started to walk past Kim, but she stopped and gave her a quick peck on the cheek. "And you're getting those bites looked at when we get back."

"You too," Kim answered, smiling at the show of affection.

Once Shego was gone, Kim went over to the door mechanism Shego had used to close it. As she got closer, though, she heard a light pounding. She put her ear to the wall.

"Shego! I can't open it from this side! Are you going to let me out!"

Kim put a hand over her face. "Such a gracious loser, Shego," she muttered.

"KP!" Ron said once the door was opened. "You're okay!"

"And you're - looking more than okay. Victory suits you," Kim said. "Monkey Fist doesn't look so good, though."

"Yeah, well, I know you probably wanted to beat him, so I waited as long as I could! But I had to knock him out finally. Just between you and me, KP," he said, leaning forward, "when he's really close? Smells like poo."

"Aw, gross, Ron!"

"So where's Shego?"

"Off to make sure DNAmy is still in her cage," Kim said. "She tried to kill us with a swarm of rat monkeys."

"Wait, she tried to kill you? And you're letting Shego near her? Especially after DNAmy and the other villains wrecked her old apartment and tried to capture her?" Ron asked, surprised. "You must really trust your girlfriend."

"I do," Kim agreed.

Then she thought about it.

"Or maybe we should hurry."

"Still gotta drag Monkeybone upstairs, Kim."

"Oh well," Kim sighed. "It's not like she'd beat DNAmy up or anything."

"I still can't believe you!" Kim yelled at Shego as she piloted them back to America. "I leave you alone with her for twenty minutes, and you splice her DNA with a monkey!"

"Aw, but she and Monty make the perfect couple now."

"Team Possible shouldn't do that sort of thing to people intentionally!"

"Apparently me not being a villain any more doesn't mean I can't still hold a grudge for a long, LONG time," Shego said casually. "Don't forget I removed her hummingbird DNA first. I wonder how many calories it'll take her to realize her metabolism has changed again."

"Fat monkey Amy," Ron said, shuddering. "I may not be able to eat tonight."

Rufus made a face. "Uh-uh, no way," he wailed.

"I'm not sure what the authorities in Africa were more thrilled about," Kim told Dr. Director that night after they'd landed at the Space Center. "Having Monkey Fist in custody, or having DNAmy in custody. Monty's wanted on a list of poaching charges that's as long as the Blue Nile, and DNAmy's in major trouble for her reckless genetic experiments on the wildlife. She's going to have to undo all her genetic experimentation before she goes to jail - otherwise they'd have to destroy all the monkeys for fear of what they might do if released into the wild." She shot a stern look at Shego, who brushed it off. "Hopefully being turned into an ape won't prevent DNAmy from doing it."

"I wonder what DNAmy's pelt would go for on the black market," Shego said thoughtfully.

Kim stared at her. Sometimes her sense of humor could be so, well - evil!

"Monkey Fist may not be in Africa long," Dr. Director said. "Wade contacted me earlier. He found plenty of evidence in Fiske's computer server that shows he ordered the hit on Irma Newcastle last week. Massachusetts state authorities should issue an arrest warrant for murder within the next forty-eight hours. Of course, after being in an African prison, an American penal facility could be 'so not the drama'."

Kim and Shego both looked at Dr. Director. "So not the drama?" Kim asked in disbelief.

"I'm not allowed to say it?"

"No, no, it's just strange hearing it from someone else."

"Someone older," Shego said.

"Look, I'm sorry you lost, now get over it!" Kim shot back.

"Um, am I missing something?" Dr. Director asked hesitantly.

"Nothing, just a little tension," Kim said, while Shego folded her arms sullenly.

"Ah. Well, I called ahead," Dr. Director told them. "Your mother will see you in the emergency room once you're done here. You were scratched and bitten multiple times by wild monkeys whose DNA had been altered. There's no telling what you could have in your systems right now."

"We know," Kim sighed. "Before we go, though, we wanted to get your permission for something."


"We want Sappho to ask Thomas something."

Dr. Director's one eye widened. "You what?"

Shego held up her hands and activated her gloves. "The one thing we didn't tell you is that my plasma powers are back, and I don't know why. But one of the only people who had any opportunity to do anything to my gloves was - "

"Thomas," Dr. Director finished for her. "He DID show an interest in your gloves the last time you were at my house. I guess it's a good idea. Vivian and I have been talking about having Thomas and Sappho talk more anyway. Let me get him."

"I'm not in a bad mood because I lost," Shego muttered.

"You're being snarky."

"I'm always snarky. Speaking of which, where's Stoppable?"

"He left Ruby with Sadie," Kim said. "He went to get her. And Shego, I think you should continue teaching Monique."

"She'd do better with you."

"I don't have time to teach two people - "

"Teach them both at the same time."

"Even then, I won't be giving either of them my undivided attention. And I don't know what Monique does and doesn't know," Kim went on. "There could be any number of things you've taught her that I haven't taught Ron and vice versa."

Shego looked at her intently. "Are you saying this because you don't want to hurt my feelings, or because you honestly believe Monique would be better off with me?"

"I honestly believe that," Kim said. "And I won't believe that Ron is sure to beat Monique in a match until I see it. I mean, when we fight, is the outcome EVER preordained?"

"Well, if I really want to win, yes," Shego replied with a wicked smile.

"You ALWAYS want to win."

"One of many things we have in common."

"And here I thought we only shared a size in clothing," Kim said dryly.

Shego started to pout. "Oh, Kimmie, you look so good in a catsuit. Why do you have to wear those baggy pants of yours? And make ME wear them?" She grabbed Kim around the waist. "Are these bodies meant to be hidden by big pockets?"

"Well, not when you look at it that way," Kim admitted. There really WAS no reason why she couldn't change her mission gear. She'd been wearing the same thing for seven years - why not debut something new to coincide with the emergence of Team Possible, Inc.? Something tight-fitting, something that Shego would just love - but not green and black.

Of course, she somehow doubted Ron would want to go on missions in a cat suit. Still, no reason why he couldn't go on wearing -

Dr. Director coughed in the doorway. "Ladies, if you're free?"

Kim blushed a little as she realized Thomas was staring at them. She backed out of Shego's light embrace. Shego smiled and shrugged, and it seemed the tension was gone.

Shego had deactivated her powers when she put her hands on Kim, but she turned them back on now. "You like, Tommy?" she asked sarcastically, waving her hands around.

Thomas Director made a little squealing noise and struggled in his mother's grasp with an arm outstretched.

"Well, THAT was suspicious," Shego said.

"It's almost like he wants you to hold him, Shego," Dr. Director said.

"Yeah, well, bad girls like me aren't much for being maternal, Doc," Shego replied. "Especially when someone's been playing with my things."

"I'm sure he didn't mean any harm if he did it, Shego. It was what you wanted, in fact."

Shego's eyes sparkled, and Kim had a bad feeling about it. "What I want is a night with Kim filled with nonstop sex, but I don't see how - "

"LA-LA-LA-LA!" Kim screamed, putting her hands over her ears as her cheeks started flaming. "I'm not hearing this!"

If Shego was hoping to get a rise out of Dr. Director, though, she was sadly mistaken. "I'm afraid they frown on carnal bliss in the ER, Shego, which is where you'll be an hour from now. Getting shots, perhaps."

Shego grimaced.

When Sappho finally retracted her "eye" from Thomas' forehead ten minutes later, they waited for her to tell them what he said. And waited.

"AND?" Ron finally asked.

"I'd rather not say," Sappho mumbled.

They all looked at each other. "You're worrying me, Sappho," Dr. Director said. "Is Thomas all right?"

"Oh, he's fine! He's just - well, he's young. He doesn't understand computer etiquette yet."

"Etiquette?" Kim asked.

"Well, electronically his brain is very advanced," Sappho explained. "More advanced than I, in fact. But he's also very new. There are a lot of things he hasn't learned yet."

"Like what?"

"Like scanning my memory files without my permission," Sappho said gingerly.

"Excuse me?" Dr. Director asked.

"It appears Thomas' cybernetic implants allowed him to bypass my firewalls and access my memory banks when we first made contact," Sappho told her. "Apparently I'm much more advanced than any other machine he'd encountered, and he wanted to see more of me. So he saw all my memories . . . plus some other things."

"What other things?"

"I told you."

"Told us what?" Shego asked.

"That I'd rather not say."

"Sappho!" Dr. Director exploded. "You are on Team Possible's payroll, which makes you an employee. And if Kim Possible wants you to share information she needs, then you give it to her. Understand?"

"I'm sorry!" Sappho pleaded. "It's - embarrassing."

Kim groaned. "Well, how about you just tell one of us, and that person can tell the others outside?"

"I guess," Sappho finally agreed. "I'll tell Dr. Director."

"Kim," Dr. Director said, "since Shego isn't the mommy type, could you take Thomas and wait outside the hangar for me?"

"Sure thing," Kim said.

Shego looked from Dr. Director to Sappho. "I can't believe she won't say what this is," Shego grumbled. "I thought I was your favorite pilot."

"You are!" Sappho said. "But I can't tell you most of all!"

"This is sounding weirder by the minute," Ron said.

"Yeah," Ruby agreed.

The three members of Team Possible, plus their two mole rats, were forced to wait outside with Sadie like students outside the principal's office. "Who knows what my cousin has done this time?" Sadie asked. "Her parameters are completely irrational!"

"Leave her alone," Shego said. "I'm sure there's a good answer."

"I'm sure there's an answer too. 'Good' isn't the word I was going to apply, though. 'Deranged', perhaps," Sadie replied.

Dr. Director's arrival forestalled any further bantering. "Okay, I know what happened now."

"Was it Thomas?" Kim asked.

"Yes, he told Sappho he did it."

"And was it a coincidence?" Shego asked.

"No," Dr. Director told her. "It was definitely NOT a coincidence." She paused. "Apparently, when Sappho has no one to talk to, she spends a lot of time on the Internet."

"And?" Shego asked, her voice growing dangerous.

"Sappho has downloaded a great deal of security and news footage showing you and Kim fighting, Shego," Dr. Director told her. "Actually, Kim has nothing to do with it. She just likes watching footage of you."

Shego stared at her. "You're kidding."

"I don't believe I could make this up, Shego. She's absolutely fascinated by you. And when Thomas saw all the footage of you with your plasma gloves, he decided to change them back as a favor to Sappho."

"Where do you GET security footage of Shego?" Ron asked.

"Villains Digest Online, where else?" Kim told him.

"I should be more surprised, but I'm not," Sadie muttered.

"I'm not entirely surprised either," Kim said. "She's always flirting with you."

"She just does it because Sadie likes you more," Shego said.

"Perhaps at first," Dr. Director said, "but Sappho tells me that if she were human, she would want to be just like you."

"This is what happens when you give machines personalities," Ron said.


"Sorry, Sadie."

"It's not like you don't flirt back, you know," Kim grumbled. "Always 'grabbing her stick' and 'taking her for a spin'."

"Look, I am NOT in love with a spaceship!" Shego shot back.

"How come you don't flirt like that with me?"

"Hello? Did you really not hear me say the words 'night with Kim filled with nonstop sex' earlier?"

"Whoa, penalty, fifteen yards for too much information!" Ron said.

"Could everyone just settle down for a minute?" Dr. Director asked. "Now we know what happened. And judging by Thomas' other inventions, your gloves should continue to work for quite some time, Shego. And Sappho has promised to delete all the downloads and tone down on the spicy talk if you promise you'll keep flying her."

Shego ran her fingers through her hair and grunted. "I've never exactly had an artificial intelligence crush on me, but I'm all right with that if Sappho promises to stop talking that way when Kim's around. And if she recognizes that Kimmie's the only girl for me."

Kim smiled in spite of herself. Suddenly complaining about robotic flirting didn't seem to matter any more.

Dr. Director smiled as she took Thomas from her and saw that Kim was barely paying attention. If a woman with one eye could see they were meant for each other, then so could Sappho.

To be concluded . . .

Chapter 15

Title: Chapter Fifteen

[Author's notes:

First of all, this story in its entirety is dedicated to Rina Cat, because I know for a fact that some of you began reading these stories only after you were introduced to them by her wonderful fan art at the DeviantArt website. For that reason, I thank her.

Second, yes, Wade's prototype suit is a reference to the outfit Kim wore in "So The Drama".

Third, this story was conceived prior to my watching the third season episode "Gorilla Fist". Any similarities between this story and that episode are purely coincidental.

Fourth, Juliet Newcastle and the Snake Charmer are inspired by Julie Newmar's Catwoman from the 1960s Batman TV series, which was of course the foundation for the "Fearless Ferret" episode.

Lastly, here's the summary for the final story.

In the sixth and final chapter of the Unacceptable Sitch series, Kim is asked by her country to boldly go where no one has gone before after Gemini and WEE threaten the very planet Earth itself from a secret moon base. But this time Team Possible won't be alone.

However, I will be finishing the story Undercurrent prior to starting work on "Under the Milky Way Tonight".


If You Build a Better Monkey 15

Author: Allaine

Spoilers: Takes place after "But for the Grace of Ron".

Feedback: Some of you have been extremely helpful, and I hope you'll continue to do so. New reader opinions are encouraged too!

Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.

Chapter 15

Ron didn't realize things were strange until he fell backwards and broke through something.

Once he discovered he was lying on his back in a dark hallway with pieces of a paper-like substance on either side of him, then he knew. Strange.

"I knew I shouldn't have had that hospital burrito, Rufus," he said, patting his pants pocket.

It took him a second or two to find that the reassuring bulge created by a tiny sleeping rodent was gone. The other pocket was similarly flat. Rufus and Ruby were gone.

"Rufus!" Ron called, stumbling to his feet. "Ruby!" He ran blindly in the dark, heading toward a rectangle of dim light.

The light turned out to be moonlight shining through a frail door like the one he'd already broken. He broke this one too, as he accidentally ran into it.

"All right, getting tired of those!" he cried out.

Once he was outside, however, he understood why things were so different - including the doors. Ron had been here once, years ago in high school.

He was in the courtyard of the secret Yamanouchi school in Japan.

"Sayonara, United States," he murmured.

"Good evening, Stoppable-san."

Grappling hooks had been stealing his pants for years, but now he almost jumped out of them. "Gah!" he screamed, leaping around.

"I apologize. I did not wish to frighten you," the old Japanese man said.

"Sensei?" Ron asked, staring at him. "How did I get here?"

"I do not believe 'here' is what it appears to be," his temporary sensei said. "The last thing I remember doing was retiring for a short nap."

"So this is a dream, right?" Ron asked.

"It would appear so," Sensei replied.

"Thought so."

"Of course, I seem to be having the same dream. Which doesn't usually occur." The Sensei looked at him piercingly. "Is there something you wanted to talk to me about?"

Ron blinked. "Dude, I mean Sensei, if I could control my dreams, I would have had those 'naked in math class' nightmares a LOT less frequently. Maybe once just for the novelty of it, but that's it!"

"Then it must have been your Mystical Monkey Power, Stoppable-san."

"Can't be that," Ron told him. "I don't have it any more."

Sensei raised an eyebrow. "Indeed? And how did you come to this conclusion?"

Ron summarized the events of the past day, culminating in his fight with Monkey Fist. "And let's face it," he finished. "The Monkey Man knows a lot more about Monkey Power than I do. I mean, he built his very own temple!"

Sensei sighed. "Lord Fiske was once a very great man, Stoppable-san," he said. "His education, his bravery, his dedication to the monkey arts - he could have been a great Monkey Master. But his ambition and greed corrupted him, and now he has become utterly insane. At times I can almost feel his madness moving through the air like waves, when he is delving too deeply into what he should not. That being said, he does not understand the Power as well as he thinks he does."

"Why not?" For some reason, Ron had a bad feeling about this.

"He believes the Power rests inside its host like a flame inside a lantern, or liquid in a vessel. He need only draw it out, and it is his. The Power is nothing like this," Sensei explained, as one hand emerged from the overflowing sleeves of his robe. He placed it on Ron's chest, as Ron stood motionless.

"Your Power is here," Sensei said, "and it is not. It is here, and here, and HERE." His hand moved, briefly touching Ron's arm, than his forehead. "It is everywhere, in truth. Stoppable-san, when the Power entered your body, it became a PART of your body. Lord Fiske could no more remove the Power than he could remove your heart - "

"I think Monkey Fist would love to remove my heart," Ron said anxiously. "And the rest of my organs."

"I mean your heart in the literal sense," Sensei corrected him. "Your soul. The necklace around your neck might as well have tried to take your sense of humor."

"Well, good thing it didn't!" Ron said. "He can have the Power. But the sense of humor stays with me."

"Stoppable-san," Sensei replied quietly, "why do you fear this Power so? I realize that you do not exactly enjoy the company of apes, but - "

"It's not that," Ron sighed. "I mean, you tangle with monkey ninjas enough times, and you learn to live with the fear. When someone mentions monkeys and I overreact, it's more of an old habit than anything else."

"Then why does it trouble you? The Power is a blessing as well as a responsibility."

"Like you just said, it's the responsibility," Ron said.

"You assist in saving the world on a weekly basis. You recovered the Lotus Blade when you were only in high school. I have never found you to be someone who shirks responsibility."

Ron looked down. "I'm just - I'm afraid of how it's going to change my life. I do good things, great things, the way things are now. Becoming the Monkey Master, it's going to change everything."

Sensei nodded slightly. "Why don't you tell me what you want?"

"What I want?" Ron asked. "I want to help Kim. I want to support her. What I don't want is for the roles to be reversed."

"I do not understand."

"Well, what happens when I become a full-fledged Monkey Master?" Ron asked plaintively. "Kim doesn't have super powers. What if I become - better than her?"

Sensei rubbed his beard. "Lord Fiske was too ambitious. Perhaps you are not enough."

"It's not that. Believe me, I want to be the best fighter I can be," Ron said. "I've had this role for years, and it suits me really well, Sensei. KP is a hero, a world-saver. I'm the sidekick. I help out, play the decoy, take out the last henchman while she's dealing with nine others. Every so often, I'm the one who pushes the button that saves the world. Or the one who saves Kim instead of the other way around every once in a while. She's like a sister to me, Sensei, as well as a standard to live up to, and an object of the greatest admiration. If I became . . . better than her, I think my head would explode. It's not who I want to be. It's not who I was MEANT to be. This magic, it was just an accident. Ron Stoppable isn't supposed to be the Monkey Master. He's supposed to be the guy who watches Kim Possible's back."

"I see," Sensei said after a moment.

"I'm sorry if you're disappointed in me, but - "

"Disappointed, Stoppable-san? Of course not. As you say, you are not the expert on the Monkey Master. You were not condemned to life servitude to some kind of unbeatable power when you became one with the magic. Your destiny is still what you choose to make it. You could settle down, take a wife, and live out the rest of your years as a gourmet chef like you dream about - don't look surprised, Stoppable-san, I heard things about you in the school kitchen," he said knowingly.

"Right, sorry."

"Anyway, you could do all these things and never intentionally draw upon your powers again, and it would be all right. It would be a power wasted, but you are free to do with it as you please."

"Really?" Ron asked hopefully.

"There ARE two things you need to understand about your gifts, however."

Ron stiffened. "What two things?"

"One, as I have said, the Power is a part of you. It is in every cell of your body. It flows through you like blood. As such, it touched you from the moment it first bonded with you. You are not the same person, Stoppable-san. In many ways, you are stronger, faster, and tougher than you would have been otherwise. Before, you were human. Now, you are just a bit superhuman. You say it was Kim Possible's training that saved you when you discovered your Power was 'gone'. You are correct in thinking so, but I suspect it wasn't the only reason. Lord Fiske has the Power as well. If you did not have it, I think the outcome would have been quite different."

Ron looked at himself. "Wow," he said. "There IS no spoon."


"Never mind. So it's made me a better fighter. I can deal with that. If it means I can help Team Possible that much better, I'm for it. What's the second thing?"

"The second thing is that I would not worry about surpassing Ms. Possible any time soon. The Monkey Power is not some kind of instant superhero pill, where you need only say the words and be bathed in an otherworldly light that gives you incredible strength or speed," Sensei told him sternly. "It is only a key that allows you to attain a level of skill in Monkey Kung Fu and other fighting styles that mere humans cannot. It requires years of study and intense discipline. If you came to Yamanouchi as my personal pupil, I could make you Kim Possible's equal with - oh, ten years of intensive training, perhaps. Assuming she doesn't get any better during that time. Otherwise, it could be twenty years or more."

"Twenty years?" Ron asked. He gulped. "You know, uh, that sounds like a lot of fun," he said, backing away slightly, "but I'm going to be busy with the whole hero-sidekick thing."

"So be it," Sensei said. "I am sure Kim Possible will do an adequate job in my place."

Ron wondered if Kim was planning to keep training him for three hours a day over the next twenty years, and he decided they needed to discuss a firm timeline with a definite endpoint when he woke up.

Which didn't seem to be happening any time soon. "So, uh," he finally said, "how are Hirotaka and Yori?"

"Hirotaka has become a top teacher here at the school," Sensei answered. "As for Yori, she left two years ago to become a 'secret agent' for the Japanese government. Very secret, of course, and I probably shouldn't have told you, but since we are both dreaming, it is not as if I have actually said anything. Both are well, though, and if this wasn't a dream, I would tell them you asked."

The Sensei had never struck him as an especially jovial man, but Ron suspected that he too had a sense of humor which no magic device could steal.

"Oh, there is one other thing," Sensei added. "Something I should give you, but obviously now is not the time. Later, after you wake up."

"How do I do that exactly?" Ron asked. "If my Monkey Power brought you into my dreams, that is."

"As you have not mastered control of the Power yet, it is not something you can end on your own. I shall have to help you."

"Is there a ritual?"

"Not exactly. They say that if you go to sleep in your dreams, you wake up in real life, Stoppable-san."

Before Ron knew what was happening, Sensei was behind him and had an arm around his neck.

"Sleeper hold, what else?" Ron thought. "Steel Toe could learn from - "

And then he blacked out.

Ron opened one eye and looked around. Slowly he patted one of his pockets and felt Ruby's tiny body. From the way she was breathing he could tell she was asleep. "Maybe it was just a dream," he thought. He took his hand away from his pants pocket and touched the wall behind him. It felt reassuringly thick, something a guy wouldn't accidentally walk through. Into maybe, but not through.

And the curtain across from him was still drawn, shielding Kim's bed from view. All of these things suggested that he had been sleeping in a chair in Kim's room at the hospital, that he'd been dreaming, and that he'd been nowhere near Japan.

Of course, it wasn't like Sensei didn't say it WASN'T a dream. But there was no way to prove that his mind hadn't created the whole thing.

Then again, why would he dream of being told he was still the Monkey Master, and would be until the end of his days? A nightmare perhaps, but then why be told that his destiny was of his own making? Why condemn him and liberate him at the same time?

Maybe it would be easier if he just went with the dream scenario anyway.

He scratched the back of his head with his other hand and let it drop. It brushed against something leaning against his chair. Curious, Ron touched it - and it vibrated.

Ron's eyes widened, and he grabbed it. He knew what he held in his hands, but he still had to draw it a few inches out of its sheath to believe it.

Somehow, while he slept, someone had placed the Lotus Blade at his side.

Or - it had appeared on its own.

"Looks like I'm a monkey's uncle after all," he whispered.


He let out a strangled gasp and almost hurled the Lotus Blade across the room before realizing the curtain was still closed and Kim couldn't see the sheathed Japanese sword in his hands. For the moment, anyway. "Yeah. KP?" he whispered, looking around frantically for a place to stash it. If she saw it, she'd obviously want to know why, and he wasn't sure if he could explain it away without breaking his oath of secrecy to Sensei and Yamanouchi.

"You were talking in your sleep," she murmured sleepily from her bed.

"Was I?" he asked, moving toward the room's private bathroom. He hung the scabbard by the strap from the hook inside the door.

"I distinctly heard the word 'monkey' a few times," she told him. "Nightmare? Reliving the fight with Monty?"

"Uh, sort of," he said, closing the door again. Once Kim was asleep again, he could bring the sword home.

"Ron? Do I have to talk to a curtain all night?" Kim asked with a trace of irritation.

"What? Is that still there?" Ron said with a forced laugh. He brushed the curtain aside. Kim was lying there, looking at him with a question in her eyes. She was dressed only in a hospital robe, with an IV dripping antibiotics into her vein. The doctor Mrs. Dr. Possible had referred had prescribed them mainly as a precaution, much as he had requested Kim and Shego stay overnight for observation.

"What were you doing? I heard you walking around."

"Just, uh, had to step inside the bathroom, if you know what I mean."

"I didn't hear the toilet flush."

"Didn't want to wake you, KP," he said brightly. "I'll be right back." Quickly he went back into the bathroom and flushed the toilet.

"Ron," she sighed, shaking her head. "So what was the dream about?"

"Well . . . " Ron considered making something up, but what he'd learned had been really important, and it wouldn't be right to keep it from her, especially considering how it impacted Team Possible. "It seems I still have the Monkey Mystical Power after all."

"What?" she asked as she sat up straight, startled. "How do you know!"

"I was told in a dream."

"By who?"

"S - some higher power, I guess," Ron said, having very nearly undone his hiding of the Lotus Blade by dropping Sensei's name.

She stared at him doubtfully. "A higher power told you while you were sleeping that you were the Monkey Master?"

"Pretty much, yeah," he said.

"Are you sure this wasn't a nightmare?"

"Maybe I should start from the beginning," he said, pulling his chair closer and sitting down.

He told her everything. Everything, that is, except for the old Japanese man and any reference to anything at the Yamanouchi school where he'd once trained in high school. Instead he told Kim that he'd been back in the African monkey temple, where a disembodied voice had spoken to him.

"Wow," Kim said when he was finished. "Still, you should be careful. It could have been a trick. Maybe Monkey Fist is using some kind of meditation trick from prison."

"It's possible," he acknowledged, "but explain for me how what I was told could play into any villain's hands. I mean, I have great power and I can use for any purpose I choose? Not exactly a real spirit-breaker."

"True," Kim said. "So you're okay with this?"

He wasn't exactly thrilled about the legendary weapon in the bathroom, since there was no way he could use it on a mission without blowing his secret. "Ron the Monkey Man? Yeah, I guess if I've got to be the Master, this is the best-case scenario. I can go on being the sidekick - "

"Sidekick is a word that applies to you about as well as it applies to Shego these days," she corrected him.

"Junior partner, then. I can be the person I want to be, AND I can be better at it. For that, I can live with a little extra responsibility," he said. Ron smiled then. "Especially since I might need a little extra Diablo sauce to go along with it."

The muffled word "cheese!" could be heard coming from both of his pockets.

"Good," Kim said softly. "Any idea how Shego's doing?"

"Uh, no. Frankly, the idea of being alone with her in her bedroom if she wakes up made me soil myself," Ron said. "Anyway, she's got Monique 'guarding' her door. Either she's really security-conscious, or she doesn't like the night nurse very much."

"She's very security-conscious," Kim said. "Plus she was a little snarkier than usual today." Then she paused. "Ron, this 'voice' told you that the Monkey Mystical Power is a part of you? That it's made you stronger, faster, things like that?"

"Yep," he said, leaning back. "The Ron Factor is now the Ron Max Factor. Might not have been able to win today if it wasn't for that. Well, that and your training, of course," he added.

"So your powers have been making you a better fighter," she said. "Because, you know, I've been meaning to tell you just how quickly you've been learning your lessons. Even Shego thinks you've come a long way from a few weeks ago."

"She said THAT? No wonder she's been snarky," he muttered. "She's been regretting it ever since!"

"Ron," Kim said.

"Sorry, KP. And yeah, thanks, that means a lot to me. I did feel like I was picking up what you were teaching really easily - well, if you consider hours of relentless exertion followed by pure exhaustion 'easily'. But I just figured it was because you were such a good teacher." He stopped. "That didn't come out right," he added. "I didn't mean you're not - "

"Don't worry, I know what you meant," Kim said. "Must be nice having super powers."

"You're not going to ask me to wear spandex now, are you?" he asked.

"Too bad Monique doesn't have powers like that," she went on, almost to herself.

"What about Monique?"

"Oh, nothing," Kim said cheerfully. "I guess none of us knew what an edge you have."

Ron wasn't sure what she meant by 'us', but he accepted the praise just the same.

"And here I thought teaching one's child about right and wrong was a parent's prerogative," Dr. Director sighed.

"Don't think of it that way," Vivian Porter told her as they watched Thomas interacting with Oliver. "Think of it more as having his cybernetic parts 'reprogrammed'. His human brain still has a lot to learn from you."

"Do you suppose this will work?" Betty asked. "I'd hate to think that Thomas will be downloading classified government secrets when he's five because they look 'interesting'."

"I wouldn't be worried," Vivian replied. "When I first designed Oliver's artificial intelligence, I programmed him quite thoroughly about what he was and wasn't permitted to do. I've never had any problems with him since then, except for a minor glitch or two."

Dr. Director widened one eye. "Minor glitch?"

"Very minor," Vivian assured her quickly. "Anyway, he can explain to Thomas' robotic brain the necessary concepts better than I can now. It just may take an hour or two."

"I've always got time for my son," Dr. Director said. Then she smiled at Vivian. "For you, too."

Vivian blinked. "Huh?"

"Vivian," Dr. Director said, "you know that I've never had many meaningful relationships over the years. My twin brother Sheldon and I were not close, even before he became Gemini."

"How does one decide to become a megalomaniacal would-be tyrant just because you don't treat him like an 'older brother' anyway?" Vivian asked curiously.

"It's really very simple."


"He's insane. Anyway, what I was trying to say is that until I adopted Thomas, I had no family. As head of Global Justice, my work became my personal life, and I was strictly professional with my fellow GJ agents. Oh, there was this one man," she admitted wistfully. "He wasn't exactly a GJ man, mind you. But we . . . at any rate, it couldn't work out. And of course, I didn't exactly have friends when I was a prisoner of the Acceptables," she added.

"Now, however," Dr. Director continued, "I have Thomas, and more. You and Holly have become the best friends I was never able or allowed to have, and that means a lot to me."

Vivian was briefly taken aback. "Wow," she finally said. "That was a surprise. Thank you, Betty. My only friends were my machines for years, and of course you know all about my dating troubles. But my time spent with you and Holly is important to me now as well."

Betty smiled and, reaching forward, squeezed Vivian's hand gently.

"Dr. Director?"

She turned, hearing Oliver speak her name. "Yes?"

"I am making progress with your son, although I cannot estimate at this time how much longer it will take. His circuitry is very advanced."

"Thank you, Oliver."

"And I believe you are about to receive a transmission."

Dr. Director's Kimmunicator went off a millisecond later, and she drew it from her handbag, letting go of Vivian's fingers. "I never thought years ago that I'd be using one of these," she murmured to Dr. Porter.

"Uh-huh," Vivian said absently, studying her hand where Betty had touched it.

"Yes?" Dr. Director asked, answering the device.

"Hey, Dr. Director," Wade said. "Just letting you know that I've received a couple eyewitness sightings of Duff Killagan in Thailand."

"Excellent," she replied. "Have you notified Kim?"

"She's being checked out of the hospital right now," he said. "Anyway, he's already left the country, but it gives me a lead I didn't have before. It's only a matter of time before I track him down."

"Wonderful," she said. "Thanks for the sitch." She turned it off and looked at Vivian. "Something else I never thought I'd use - the word 'sitch'."

"People change," Vivian said.

Ron tapped his foot on the floor. "I didn't think single guys had to sit around and wait for women to get dressed," he said. "No offense, Ruby."

Being a 'naked' mole rat in every sense of the word, she looked quizzical.

"Come on, KP," he called upstairs. "The deranged Scotsman isn't going to just wait forever, you know!"

There was a noise from above. "Keep your shirt on, Stoppable," he heard Shego's voice come floating down. "For all our sakes, keep your shirt on."

For a typical Shego retort, it lacked some of its pep, Ron thought.

A few moments later, he thought he understood why.

"Don't - say - a fucking - word," Shego snarled as she stormed in.

He couldn't have spoken if he wanted to. His jaw didn't seem to be working. Rufus rubbed his eyes and stared harder.

Shego had come downstairs wearing cargo pants and a tight black turtleneck that bared her toned midriff. Other than the black and green gloves on her hands, and the dark olive shade of her pants, she was dressed exactly like Ron.

"Um, Shego?" he finally asked nervously.

"I lost a bet, satisfied?" she growled.

"Completely!" Ron replied, putting up his palms.

"Let's just get this over with," she said. "We fight him, we beat him, and I ask him to say 'ah' with a five-wood. And then maybe I'll be able to enjoy myself," she added, folding her arms.

"There ARE other ways to have a good time, you know," Kim said from behind.

Ron saw her first. "Has someone been changing the past again?" he asked, astonished.

Shego turned and saw Kim was dressed in the green-and-black cat suit that had been folded in her bedroom drawer since the time she'd worn it in Boston. She didn't let the fact that Kim looked damn hot distract her. "What are you wearing?" she demanded.

"I didn't think this left much to the imagination," Kim said.

"I think I'm going to wait outside," Ron said, "before Monique walks in wearing feathers and heels." He disappeared before either Kim or Shego could say anything.

"We had a bet," Shego said angrily. "I don't need your pity!"

"The bet was flawed," Kim replied.


"According to Ron, he still has his Monkey Power," Kim explained. "It's become a part of him, and it makes him a stronger and faster fighter. Unlike Monique, who has no powers of any sort."

Shego nodded slightly. "So he had an advantage over her. He could get better faster."

"That's what I think," Kim said. "Ergo, his improvement was not entirely my doing, and it's possible that Ron would still be fighting at the same level whether it was you or I training him."

"And that's why he's better than Monique!" Shego understood. "The bet's off!"

"Well, you already conceded, so it's too late for that," Kim said slyly. "I say you're still stuck with that outfit today. Still, since there's no way to tell who the better trainer is, I decided that it's only fair if we BOTH pay the penalty for losing."

Shego pouted. "I hate these pants."

"Look, it's up to you. Do you want to go now, or do you want us both to go back upstairs and change into our usual attire?" Kim asked.

Her impatience to hunt Killagan down as soon as possible, combined with her pleasure at seeing Kim wearing something that suited her FAR better than loose-fitting pants, proved even greater than her distaste for the Team Possible mission uniform. "Let's just go," Shego finally grumbled.

"Look at it this way," Kim said as she walked out with Shego. "You'll be able to undress faster tonight."

Shego purred in spite of herself.

Wade frowned at the closet. Kim might not even want to wear it.

But it was silly and dangerous for Kim to be laid up overnight at a hospital for observation last week because of monkey bites. An ordinary shirt and pair of pants was no longer acceptable for a full-time heroine in this day and age. His inventions had paid off dozens of times over the years. Something like this could go on reaping dividends for Kim for years.

Of course, it WAS several years old. He'd put his prototype away, still unfinished, when the Acceptable Family arrived and Kim had hung up her spurs.

But Wade had made several years' worth of upgrades to Kim's latest Kimmunicator. Why not here too?

He fingered the skintight outfit hanging in the closet, white with blue stripes. "Clothes do make the woman," he murmured.

Wade made up his mind. After he finished using the treadmill, at long last he'd get back to work on his variation of the Centurion Project.

Jaqui coughed as she rolled away from the wall. "Wha fuck?" she choked, trying not to inhale copious amounts of dust.

Hands grabbed her by the arms roughly, and she tried to fight them off until she felt a gun barrel pressed against her forehead. "Come with us or be shot," a man ordered.

"Fine," she said, her voice raspy. "I didn't like prison anyway. And my roommate had a flatulence problem."

"Really?" the man said. He turned and pumped three bullets into the other woman, who had been trapped under her collapsed bunk. "Now she doesn't."

Jaqui was struck speechless for a moment, although not for any love of the woman. "If I'd known you were going to do something about ALL my problems," she finally said, "I'd have given you the name of a guard or two."

"Funny," he said. "We are leaving now."

Two other men in visored helmets hoisted her up by the armpits and physically dragged her from her cell on the third story of the Texas state penitentiary she'd been housed in since her extradition. A helicopter gunship was waiting for them. Complaining all the way, Jaqui was unceremoniously tossed inside even as searchlights trained on the chopper and the sound of shotguns being fired could be heard.

"Who the hell are you guys?" she demanded as the helicopter began ascending. Shots pinged off the underbelly of the vehicle.

"Your - vacation leave is over, Jaqui," someone said from the rear of the gunship. "I have need of you."

Jaqui turned cold. "You couldn't just leave me there, could you?" she asked bitterly. "You had to drag me to whatever lair you're using these days just so you could pull the floor out from under me yourself."

"Nonsense," Gemini said as he emerged from the shadows. "I haven't dropped someone into a secret pit in . . . oh, three weeks or so. Kappa knew he wasn't supposed to be singing rap music in the halls. It upsets Pepe so."

She heard a lot of things besides her employer's penchant for punishing minor offenses by dropping people into death traps. Like his dog Pepe - apparently a lot of things upset him.

"So why did you bust me out? Is E-Cool coming too?"

"Well, my dear Jaqui, I'm afraid you'll be operating on your own from now on. E-Cool will go on using computers in a prison library under tight supervision for some time to come," Gemini said smoothly. "I have no need of thieves at this time, especially those who are defeated by Kim Possible and her crew."

"Look, about that - "

"Think nothing of it," he interrupted. "I don't expect people to beat Team Possible on their first try. You've had your nose bloodied - "

"It was worse than bloodied."

"Figure of speech, Jaqui. What matters is that you've faced them once already. The second time will be entirely old hat for you."

"I have to fight them again?" she asked dubiously.

"Probably. You are about to become my newest Alpha. You will be my personal guard from now on."

"What happened to the old Alpha?"

Gemini raised a finger. "Ah yes. I almost forgot. He'll be dropping out of sight . . . now." He pressed a button on the wrist of his robotic hand. "Where were we again? Yes, Alpha. And when one is about to threaten the Earth with global destruction, generally one expects Kim Possible to poke her nose where it doesn't belong."

"And where doesn't her nose belong this time?" Jaqui asked. "Underwater base? Cloaked airship?"

"Not exactly, but it DOES involve a ship. A spaceship, to be precise."


"Don't worry, Jaqui, the moon is quite lovely this time of year."

The End. (To be concluded in "Under the Milky Way Tonight")

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