For the last twenty one years, one Kimberly Anne Possible liked to think that she had experienced it all. She'd saved the world on more than one occasion in every conceivable scenario even the most fanatical action movie guru could name, she'd gotten pregnant by none other than her arch-rival and in turn married her, and all of that by the time she was 18. In the years since…well…she still continued to save the world, albeit with her adoring and breathtaking wife, she was now the mother of not only that first miracle but three more, and she had established her in the literary world as a force to be reckoned with, winning two Nebula Awards and a Pulitzer for Fiction, the first to win for science fiction in over twenty years. When not saving the world of some new supervillain or accepting some award at a benefit…she drove carpool, she taught Sunday School, and chaperoned fieldtrips. Who'd have thought that she'd have wound up such a suburbanite?
Which didn't count a bit in situations like this!
Gracie Anne Possible's door had slammed so hard that more than a few family photos hit the carpeted floor, thankfully still intact…though right now, those photos were the least of their worries. They'd been having dinner, a relatively nice one in fact, a bit of a celebration in fact. The twins, Emily and Zoe, had received a blue ribbon in the elementary school science fair for their homemade solar energy panel and all had agreed that that certainly warranted a first rate meal of the twins' choice. They'd just about finished up a dessert of lemon yogurt cake when the Billy Murphy's phone call had arrived. The writer in Kim had known that her daughter had had one of those romances that every writer dreamed of encapsulating in their works. Ever since they were little, her daughter and Billy Murphy had been like two peas in a pod. And when they had "taken their relationship to the next level"…well Shego had reacted all too predictably, that was for sure, but Kim couldn't have been happier. Those two were genuine all-American sweethearts.
Of course, then reality had to show its big ugly face. Billy's father, Greg, had served with the Middleton Police Department with distinction and had been something of a liaison with Team Possible over the years…which made it all the more difficult to hear that due to his exemplary record, and in no small part because of the constant praise from one Kim Possible, Greg had been offered…and accepted a position with the Pennsylvania State Police…in Philadelphia. That had been hard enough for poor Gracie to swallow, having to conduct their relationship with the entire state of Pennsylvania between them, but her oldest wasn't willing to let it go…which gave Kim an educated guess as to the reason for her daughter's current state.
"If I ever see that sniveling little worm again, I am going to burn him to cinders," Shego fumed, pacing back and forth across the bedroom. Their room was soundproof but…that only kept sounds from getting out. "I have half a mind to drive to Philadelphia and SHOW him…"
"…how you are going to get right back into bed, Eme," Kim sighed, climbing out from under the sheets and pulling the older woman back towards the bed.
"Princess…I…how can you be…so…" Shego sputtered yet still allowing herself to be guided to the bed. "I mean…our daughter is in her room…she's been crying her eyes out for the past…" Shego glanced at the alarm clock next to her bedside "…the past five hours and you expect me to…"
"I expect to let this run its course. Believe me, it's the best course of action."
He'd broken up with her. As much as she hated to admit it, all the evidence pointed to that inevitable conclusion…which meant that the family was in for a rough couple of weeks…if they were lucky. Billy Murphy was her first…her ONLY love…and that wasn't something that you got over immediately. With your first…it was like having a knife shoved into your chest and carving out your heart, like part of your world was coming to an end…at least that was how Kim had felt when Truman Cooper had dumped her. She wasn't proud of it but…she just may have barricaded herself in her room for the better part of a week…and written several collections of "poetry" about the darkness of the soul…but such was the life of a teenager. Eme…bless her heart and damn those who broke it…had a far from typical adolescent experience, making her something of a Mama Bear when it came to the children.
Kim nuzzled up to her wife's warm bare flesh, her head nestled just below the breast. "Shego…this isn't something that you can beat to death; believe me. If you try to, it's only going to make things worse. All we can do is be there for Gracie and…I guess help her move on." A long well-muscled arm snaked around her, pulling her close. "Your first break-up is always bad, even worse when you've been together as long as Gracie and Billy had. I…kind of had a…Goth phase after Jeremy Simpson…"
"YOU had a Goth phase? God, please tell me Ron has pictures!"
"ANYWAY," Just for that, Shego deserved a little pinch. "I barricaded myself in my room for…I guess the better part of a week…and came out looking like I hadn't seen the sun for twice as long…and I guess I kind of ran with it. I wrote books of…I guess you could call it 'poetry'. I developed a taste for Nirvana and…slept with Kurt Cobain poster over my bed. I went completely off my rocker. I'm just glad I could never successfully dye my hair black."
"Oh God…so Gracie's going to fly off her rocker and start listening to groups like Veritas, get really pale and…"
"And look like you?" Damn…her wife didn't usually leave the door open for things like that.
"Why you…oooookay, I walked right into that one." Kim didn't see but she knew that her wife's eyes had drifted back towards the door. "Kimmie, I'm serious, though. It breaks my heart to see her like this and…when she was born, you and I swore that we would protect her from all the evil in the world. I…I don't like fighting an enemy that I can't see."
"I know, Eme, I know."
Except that Billy Murphy wasn't the enemy and it was unfair to think of him in that way. Kim could still remember telling the kids bedtime stories during Gracie's sleepovers. She'd driven him home from school more times than she could count and the same for Shego. Greg Murphy had saved her and Shego's lives at least a half dozen times and…despite being stereotypical Irish Catholic, Lori Murphy had been one of Kim and Shego's staunchest defenders when Shego had started teaching and a few citizens were less than thrilled about not only a lesbian teaching at the school but one that had successfully conceived a child. Until…well…until they'd started dating, Billy Murphy was like a son to her. Heck, the whole Murphy clan was like family to the Possibles and...
"You know what; Abby's got the twins and Nicky tomorrow. I'm going to schedule us a makeover at the salon. I know it's cliché but when I was her age, that was a sure fire cure for relationship woes."
"Now that I think about it, I remember something about Global Justice taking possession of a couple of B-17 Flying Fortresses a warlord in the Congo had in his possession. I think I can call in a favor and get some flight time on one of them."
"There you go. That's the best thing for her right now, getting her mind off of it. THAT'S how we fight something that we can't see! She's going to be feeling better in no time!"
Well…"no time" was a little optimistic. From where Shego was standing, things looked pretty darn bad, so bad that…well…she was getting a little scared. For the past 17 years, Shego had taught high school English to upwards 400 students and while her own youthful experiences with high school were akin to a Turkish prison, she liked to think that she'd at least gotten of the inner workings, the same way a documentarian learned about chimps…sometimes more similar than people imagined. Anyway, she'd seen relationships come and go that were straight out of the worst after-school teen dramas that had ever been attempted but…something about this just seemed horribly wrong.
From the moment Gracie had left her room, it was like something out of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. She settled back into her usual routine of school, basketball, and a myriad of other things but…she may as well have been a zombie for all the emotion that she displayed. Kim's makeover day, Shego's flight time…Gracie went through it all like…she couldn't even describe it. Neither could Kim…which scared Shego far more than she could admit. The same was said for Gracie's teachers. Kimmie had said that helping their daughter get over it was the best course of action…despite the fact that she REALLY wanted to hit something…but even Kim was getting worried.
The sky was soft and purple as Shego made the quick dash through the still chilly February pre-dawn towards the gym. Everyone was still asleep and…she just needed to vent, do SOMETHING to calm her mind and there was a practice dummy in there with her name on it. The door…slid open? That wasn't supposed to happen…and her memories of this past October were only too clear. Plasma ball in hand, she peeked around the corner and…heaved a sigh of relief far more audible than she'd intended. The lights were on and Gracie was standing in front of the bay windows at the far end. It was…just such a relief to…in a way…see Gracie out of her routine…ironically that Shego had wanted her to get back into in the first place…
"Muffin…what're you doing up so early?"
Gracie's head swung around. "Momma…I…I'm sorry. I…guess I was having trouble sleeping. I'll go back to my…"
"No…that's okay sweetie. I don't mind at all. It's just good to see you out and about right now. How…how about a run on the treadmill? Give your ol' Momma a run for her money? Maybe…we could put Billy Murphy's picture on one of the practice dummies and beat the crap out of it?"
The laugh was small…but it was like music to Shego's ears. For the first time in over a week, she could see her baby girl again. Much to Shego's disappointment, Gracie elected not to choose the practice dummy, not that she likely would've, but the two were soon side-by-side, building up a good pace at around four miles per hour. Normally they'd have had some kind of music going but…Shego couldn't help but sneak glances at Gracie. She seemed okay…if a little overly focused on the opposite wall.
"Momma," Shego was barely able to keep her feet. "I…I know I've been a little…depressed lately. I…I'm sorry if you and Mom were scared."
Man, she was so much like Kimmie it was ridiculous. Gracie was going through who knew what kind of inner turmoil and she was worried about how it was affecting her family. Her daughter cared so much, gave so much of herself to the rest of the world…and asked for nothing in return. As if from hitting the same "off" button, the treadmills came to a stop and Shego turned to face her, pulling her into a tight embrace.
"Sweetie…I…you…I just…" Shego couldn't put the words together. "Tell me what I can do. Tell me how I can help you feel better. Whatever it takes…whoever we have to talk to…I promise…whatever I can do, I'll do it in a heartbeat. Just…please talk to me."
"Mom, I…I'm sorry. I…I'm not…I mean I don't want to commit…"
Oh…Shego's hugs were always tight but she could feel her embrace going even tighter. Thank God! THANK GOD! Every scenario imaginable had been going through her head, everything that she could possibly have to hear and…she dared not even think about…even the mere thought of it made Shego want to…but…but it wasn't…she didn't have to…she…she needed to sit down. She felt her arms begin to release and it felt like Gracie was guiding her towards the windows. The padded wall pressed against her back and she felt Gracie take her hand.
"Gracie…I…when you have kids…you'll understand just how much those words mean. So…I mean, if anyone's got a right to be upset right now it's you but…you've kind of been like a pod person for the last few days. I mean…you and I had 54000 lbs. of all-American awesomeness at our fingertips and…not a peep. I mean we actually pulled off a flipping BARREL ROLL in a B-17 and you acted like it was an everyday thing. You can't let Billy have that kind of effect on you!"
"I know, Momma. I…it's…it's not…yes, Billy broke up with me but…it's not that. Billy…he can date whoever he wants in Philadelphia as far as I'm concerned. But…I…I feel like…I don't know. Part of my life has just disappeared and…I don't know how…or what to do."
Well…there was certainly some truth to that. Philadelphia had gained one of the best families in Middleton. Kim had said it often enough and Shego fully agreed. Greg and Lori Murphy were and always would be family. Shego herself had taught Hank and Teddy Murphy, Billy's older brothers, even going to so far as to write a Letter of Recommendation for both, one to Annapolis for Hank and one to Norwich University for Teddy, and she meant every word of it. Billy…he'd been an integral part of Gracie's group of friends since they were six, they were in the same band…this would be the same as if Mary or Jimmy would've moved away. Gracie had seriously had her world rocked by these events.
"I guess it's a lot to take in, kind of like losing a limb, but…Sweetie, you can't let this get you down. If your cause is worthwhile, you will be pushed to the brink of hopelessness just before you emerge on the other side."
"What…what part of the Bible was that from?"
"Oh, that's not Jesus, someone far wiser…George Lucas."
That got another laugh, a little louder. "You're such a nerd."
"Aw, you know you love it…but I'm serious. Billy was just one chapter in…well…what's already a pretty exciting story and one that is only going to get more exciting. Mark my words. Every great literary character faces adversity right on the verge of what is to be their greatest triumph, their grandest adventure. Skywalker lost his hand in the battle on Cloud City. MacDuff lost his family to Macbeth just before he faced him in combat. I…hope…you're not about to lose your hand and your Mom and I certainly aren't about to go quietly into that goodnight…so, I can only assume you've got something BIG," Shego pointed out the window, "just over that horizon."
"It's just…so hard sometimes. Ever since Billy left, there were days that I just…had to fight to even get out of bed in the morning."
"Well…that's tougher. I guess you take solace in the fact that there are others that you can talk to who have gone through the same thing," Okay; Shego could feel things starting to get better. It was a calculated risk…and she would pay for it, that was for damn sure, but…well…well-behaved women never made history. "You know, your Mom and I were talking last week and SHE told me that when her middle school boyfriend dumped her…Mom had a Goth phase!"
The smile spread across Gracie's face like a wave. Her eyes got big and…yeah, she was going to exactly the same place Shego had went to. The idea of her wife with pale skin and headphones blaring Godsmack or Nirvana, the image of her…relatively normal…wife clad in black leather and chains, Shego could only IMAGINE what Kim's room had looked like. Dear sweet Kimmie was never one to do things by halves. SOMEBODY had to have pictures of that time, Mom, Ron, SOMEBODY.
"Oh man, tell me Grandma has pictures!"
"That's my girl. You know, she was half worried that you were going to turn that way."
"ME? Are you kidding? I hate black, can't stand leather…and have you heard what that crowd listens to? It sounds like…a penguin trying to have sex with a platypus or something like that."
Well…uh…penguins…with a platypus? Not that Shego would disagree but…how in the world did Gracie know what…actually, she probably didn't know about that. She couldn't help rolling her eyes.
"WHAT?" Gracie glanced at her sideways. "It was all I could think of." For good measure, she stuck her tongue out.
Shego felt like a ton of bricks was lifted off her shoulders, brick by brick. With each brick, Gracie was sounding more and more like herself, the peppy and above all quirky 16 year old all-American teenager. With every word, Shego just felt…well a lot more at ease than she had. It felt…pretty good that Gracie felt comfortable to talk about things like this with her Momma. I mean…well…it had kind of moved out of the realm of boyfriend problems but… "You know, you usually only talk about this stuff with your Mom."
As if on cue the door swung open and Kimmie walked in, clad in her workout clothes. The younger Possible immediately locked eyes with the older, both knowing exactly what the other was thinking. What was going on? Before Shego could say anything Gracie was on her feet and making her way towards Kim, wrapping her up in a hug, much to Kimmie's surprise and appreciation. Shego would be lying if she said she wasn't partly worried about how Kim would've handled this long term, especially after everything that Kimmie had gone through on their last mission. Her wife was doing so much better but…she'd always be the first to ignore the chinks in her own armor.
"Wow…someone's in a good mood," She smiled as Gracie let her go. "I think I may have missed something?"
"Momma and I…had a long overdue talk about my afterschool teen drama moment; so not the drama," Gracie smiled as she led Kim into the gym. "I'm sorry, Mom. I…guess I've just got a lot on my mind and kind of let it get the better of me. I guess it kind of WAS the drama."
"Hey," Kim thumped Gracie on the shoulder. "Trust me; you handled your first break up far better than most I know."
"Yeah, I hear that sometimes breakups can be positively GOTHIC."
"SHEGO! WHY YOU LITTLE…"
I've been wanting to get back to this universe for a long time, in particular getting started on this story. I thought the Leverage crossover worked pretty well and this one I've been thinking about for a LONG time. Not to give away too much but I've got to give mad props to Hopeful Husky for inspiring me to do my own origins story and this will be bringing together two of my favorite series from what seems like forever ago.