Chapter 14 - To a Most Dangerous Sea
Shego had asked Kim out to lunch which Kim had only accepted after several moments of being flustered with the idea. However, being both hungry and tense had made for a quiet meal and left soon after finishing for a quiet - and still tense - walk through one of Beijing's parks.
About 20 people were arranged along a grassy flat area of the part, going through movements of Tai Chi. Kim and Shego passed them, still on the sidewalk, without uttering a word to each other. In fact, they hadn't spoken since leaving Kwong's.
"I'm..." Kim said, "not exactly used to this sort of thing."
Shego frowned and pulled Kim to the side while a couple children sped by on bicycles. "What, the buffoon never took you out?"
Kim rubbed her arm. "Let's not talk about it."
"No arguments here." They walked on. "So... where have you been? I haven't seen you since I dropped you off at that Spanish hospital."
"Portuguese, actually," Kim said, "Centro Hospitalar do Barlavento Algarvio. Stayed just long enough to say it." She huffed. "I recovered a few hours after you left and checked myself out. I've been trying to find all the people I fixed with a mind control chips, but most already had them removed after you rescued me. Along the way, I tried to find every scientist who could have anything to do with the Attitudinator and convinced them them that they should never attempt that research again. It was a small list and easy to get since Bortel was the lead."
Shego gave a low whistle. "That's still a lot of to do in just two months. How did you convince the scientists?"
A wry smile crossed Kim's lips. "I told them the truth: the Attitudinator directly caused me to take over the world. They all dropped and destroyed the related research without question after that. So nice of unethical scientists to not publish their work." Kim chewed her lower lip before speaking again. "Thank you for rescuing me. I don't... I don't want to know what I would have done if you hadn't."
Shego waved dismissively. "You already thanked me plenty of times. ... though if you really want to make it up to me, I might still have some bruises you can kiss and make better."
Kim flushed and decided to deflect. "You really didn't have to take me out."
"If I didn't," Shego said, "I'm not even sure you'd get any food in your stomach; and you really need to get on a better diet, because you taste like ash. What have you been eating out of? Dumpsters?"
Kim flushed an even brighter red and looked down at her moving feet. Then she nodded.
Shego's finger tapped her side. "Look," Shego said, "Kim -"
Kim held up a hand, still looking down at her feet. "Did you just... use my name?" Kim said. For some reason, she still couldn't bring herself to look at Shego.
"What's wrong with that?" Shego said.
"I dunno," Kim said. "Nothing. I just got used to the nicknames, I guess."
"... whatever you say, Cupcake."
Kim finally raised her gaze to Shego and covered her chest defensively. "That one you can drop."
"What's wrong with cupcakes?" Shego said turning towards Kim with open palms. "It's fun to lick icing off the top."
"Can we not do the teasing thing right now?"
Shego held her hands up with a sly smiled... which faded into something more serious. "Look. I'm not... the best at, you know, talking about things, but... I know what it's like to have that Attitudinator -"
"- Reverse Polarizer -"
"- whatever. Just... whatever." Shego didn't seem to want to finish and instead, walked a little ahead of Kim.
For a long time, Kim was quiet. She watched entire groups of children run by. They came to a rode, and instead of leaving, they turned back to the park.. Finally, she tried to look up but instead, looked to the side. "... I don't know if it even affected Ron as much."
"Your boyfriend is weird," Shego said.
Kim snapped back towards Shego. "He's not my boyfriend. Not... anymore."
"Cha well, that remains to be seen," Shego said.
"And what's that supposed to mean?" Kim said.
Shego shook her head and waved Kim off.
Kim chewed her lip. "Do you know what they're calling me now?"
"Screw 'they'," Shego said.
"'Dead Eye Kim'. Everywhere I went, I got frightened people running away from me as soon as they recognized me."
"You did look kind of like death," Shego said. "I still say screw 'em."
Kim shook her head. "You know I can't do that. I just don't know what to do now. I just wanted to go to college. Have a life. A normal life."
"Is this about -"
"It's not about being... you know..."
"The word's gay, Kimmie," Shego said. "It's not exactly a taboo thing to say."
Kim nodded hesitantly.
Shego looked to her expectantly.
Kim ignored her.
Shego raised her eyebrows another millimeter.
Kim rolled her eyes. "Fine," Kim said. "I'm..."
"Guh! Gay! Happy?!"
Shego actually did a little hop in answer. "Doesn't matter to me. You're the lesbian here."
"So are you!"
"Did I say that?" Shego said with pseudo-confusion. She put a finger to her lips. "Hm. I can't seem to recall."
1Kim opened her mouth again, but Shego held up a finger. "Ah-ah, remember you're not in a lair, Kimmie, and you've already been pretty loud." She jerked her thumb outward and Kim followed it. A few tables of people were starting at Kim with varying degrees of haughtiness and anger.
Kim felt her face burning yet again and tried to position herself behind Shego, slouching. "Do you want to want to have a serious conversation or not?!" Kim murmured under her breath.
"Oh come on, Kimmie," Shego said. "Did you really just asked me that?"
Kim grumbled and slouched more.
Shego giggled; Kim hated how it made her less angry.
"Tell you what, Kimmie," Shego said, "I'll be good if you tell me what you've been doing for the last three months."
The last three months, not two, then. "I'll tell you if you tell me about your past too," Kim said.
Kim smirked a little. Then Shego nodded, and her smirk vanished.
Kim tucked her hair behind her ear. "Alright. I guess... should start with after your escape? Don't you know what happened?"
"Kind of," Shego said. "I was actually with Wei Ding most of the time."
"You were training?" Kim said. "I thought I noticed you were being more cautious during our fight."
Shego nodded. "Battle suit or not, I could still be knocked out with a well placed punch. Wei Ding and I went over a lot of different styles you know to give me an idea how to fight you. Turns out I didn't need much, but... I wanted to be sure I could win."
"You're admitting you might have lost?"
"And why was it so important for you to... defeat me?" Kim said. "Don't supervillains want the world to be taken over?"
"Cha, but we want to be the ones in charge, Princess," Shego said. "Can't just go and let you take my job."
It was Kim's turn to huff. "Like you'd ever be able to take over the world; you're far too lazy."
"You know, if you weren't around," Shego said, "I think I'd just take over the world out of sheer boredom."
"I still say you'd never be able to do it," Kim said.
"Maybe I should take that as a challenge, Kimmie."
"Shutting up now."
A breeze blew by. Kim lost track of how much time passed, but there seemed to be an agreement of silence for a time.
"Let's start at the very beginning," Shego finally said as they picked there way through a sloping bank of the park. "Why did you rescue me?"
"... I don't know," Kim said. There were some kind flowers that floated through the air. It made her nose itch. "I just... couldn't let you die."
"You know they execute criminals sometimes, right?" Shego said. "Not that I'm complaining, mind you."
Kim gave a subtle nod while she stared straight ahead, then swallowed. "I know. I just... don't know if it's wrong or not. When I was evil, I saved people for selfish reasons. But taking away someone's life... I don't know."
"Oh come on," Shego said. "You're practically do-gooder of the year and you don't know if taking someone's life is wrong?"
Kim shook her head. "Taking a life out of anger or vengeance is wrong, yeah, of course... but I don't know how I feel about... capital punishment."
They walked for a time. Kim could feel Shego's eyes on her, but she didn't turn to face her.
"Then, why?" Shego said.
Kim sighed. "It just seemed weird. It was like the entire thing was setup just for me. It felt... forced. In hindsight, Warmonga's mind control was pretty obvious."
"So if it didn't seem like something was off," Shego said, "would you have let it happen? Let them execute me?"
Kim thought about it. It wrenched her to consider just letting Shego die, but... "I..." She glanced to the side, towards Shego beside her. "No. I don't know what I would have done differently. Maybe nothing, but... I wouldn't just let you die."
"That's easy to say now," Shego said. "But you knew nothing but antagonism from me before, Cupcake. Why would you rescue me?"
"I told you," Kim said. "I'm honestly beginning to wonder if you just like me to repeat myself; we became friends when you were good. Yeah, you were good, but it was still you."
They reached a decent sized pond surrounded by a grassy bank and picnic tables. On the closest one was a small bag of tiny sliced grapes. Kim picked it up and began flicking the few left towards the ducks crowded near the water's edge.
"That's enough for you," Shego said, "is it?"
"Yeah," Kim said, "it is."
They watched the dunks huddle around the last of the grapes.
"You know that's still kind of evil, right?" Shego said.
"What?" Kim turned towards her. "No it's not! I'd be saving a life! I did save a life!"
"What was it you said?" Shego tapped her chin. "'I saved people for selfish reasons.'"
Kim dusted her hands off, hopped off the picnic table, and started walking along the sidewalk again.
"Should you really be out like this?" Kim spread her arms to indicate the park. "Aren't you afraid of being recognized? You are green, you know."
"Says one of the most hated women in the world right now," Shego said. At Kim's flinch, her expression softened. "Most people don't really see the green skin, actually; they just assume I'm ridiculously pale. It's not that bad. Big hit in Japan, though; I have a pretty big fan club."
"You have a fan club in Japan?" Kim said. "You tried to kidnap Mr. Nagasaki! He's practically a national hero!"
Shego just shrugged.
For a long time, neither of them said anything. They walked, enjoyed the company of the birds, the falling of the leafs... even each other.
"Shego," Kim said after a time, "what are we going to do?"
They walked a little further, until they stopped at the place where they came in. Neither looked at the other, and Kim couldn't bring herself to move.
Then she felt her hand be taken by Shego's.
It was enough.
Oh, hey there. Glad to see you. Where have I been? Uuhhhh... Atlantis?
1, Dear sweet gods, all your reviews have encouraged me so much. I thank you all for each one from the bottom of my heart.
2, I won the award for best romance of 2014? I... well! Alright! Thank you all so much for who thought my story deserved to win. Truly and really. However, I have a confession to make.
3, SFaSS is my half-assed attempt at a Kigo fanfic. Indeed, it's my half-assed first attempt at fanfic in general. It was rushed, it was chaotic, and it wasn't my best writing. According to my girlfriend, it's gods awful compared to my regular writing, and I have to agree. Originally, I had intended to take it semi-seriously and write a very slow progression of Kigo, but I dropped the ball when I realized what fun I could have if I experimented. I used each chapter to try something new and went completely off the walls with it, whatever came into my mind to write. I tried everything I could think of and learned a lot. More than that, however, I learned to respect fanfiction as a medium.
4, A girlfriend happened. We've been together since I stopped writing SFaSS. You can do the math. :) However, before you completely rage at her, which she doesn't deserve at all because the fault is mine, she's also part of the reason I write and we both love Kigo so much, she's a large part of the reason I'm writing More Light, More Dark. She's the love of my life, and I'm better for her. I hope you can excuse my year long hiatus after I found the person with whom my soul can dance.
That's it for me on SFaSS. Thank you all so much for following me this far and I hope I'll see you over on my next story! Bye for now, lovelies!