A/N: Important This Story is not written by me. I found it in the depth of my harddrive during a cleaning and want to share it with you guys^^" so when someone know the original author please contact him and me so I can ask for permission to let this story online, pleaseandthankyou ;)
Summary: When Kim becomes injured during what should have been a routine mission, her life is unexpectedly turned upside down. Help; however, comes from the one place least expected, and now Kim and her rescuer must now embark on the hardest mission of both their lives: Learning how to trust each other.
Disclaimer: I own the computer I wrote this story on, the flash drive I backed everything up on, and my brain. Kim Possible and related characters are sole property of the Disney Company. (Read as: Poor college student who can't afford to be sued, so please don't sue me)
The Road Not Taken Chapter 1: The Beginning of the End
June 4, 2005
It wasn't supposed to end like this.
Kim's heart was racing at a hummingbird's pace, and her concentration and resolve were quickly waning.
With a determined effort, she turned her head upwards, ignoring the pulsing pain reverberating through her skull. Her oxygen-starved brain noticed that the sky was just beginning to turn a beautiful shade of royal blue, and her body gave an involuntary shudder as she realized it would be night soon. Dressed only in her usual black shirt and olive green cargo pants, Kim was already feeling the early consequences of the nocturnal temperature drop.
She tried to comfort herself by reasoning that even if she weren't in such a bad condition, she wouldn't have been able to scale, jump, or flip her way out of the deep ravine she was currently lying in anyway.
She mentally cursed herself for going on this mission without warning Ron or Wade of her travel plans, but she never expected to fall off a cliff either. She realized that by the time anyone noticed her prolonged absence, she would be dead. This thought renewed the sense of dread that had been chewing at her gut, and Kim did something she hadn't done in months.
She started to cry.
However, her uncontrollable sobs did nothing to help improve her medical condition. Her tears dripped down her already swollen throat, and each cough brought white-hot searing pain to her chest. Trying to calm her racing heart and stifle her coughs, Kim turned her head to one side, closed her eyes, and took a few shallow breaths, scattering a few sand particles as she exhaled.
A sudden shadow over her prone form made her open her eyes. Her spirit soared as she entertained visions of her rescuer being her valiant crime-fighting partner Ron Stoppable with his trusty sidekick, Rufus. Or maybe the police were patrolling the area, and they had stumbled upon her broken body. Or maybe some unsuspecting local hiker who had a cell phone and could call emergency. Or maybe Wade had some weird tracking device in her Kimmunicator, and had been alerted that it had been destroyed.
Two words from a frighteningly familiar voice made her quickly forget her rescue images.
Long black hair that matched the sleek black and green color motif of her outfit softly brushed against Kim's face, and Kim closed her eyes, wondering what she had done to deserve the sudden change in what had been formerly good karma.
Unable to form a coherent comeback, Kim managed to look up to her rival with tired eyes.
Shego looked as fashionable as ever, leaning over Kim's body with her head slightly tilted to one side and one hand on her hip. The night breeze was softly fluttering her beautiful black tresses, and Kim laughed at the irony that at this moment, SHE, the supposed superhero, was the one battered and bruised.
With half of a smirk gracing her face, Shego dropped to one knee to put herself more at Kim's level. As if guided by instinct, Kim tried to move away from her enemy; however, her motor control was sorely lacking, and the only action she could manage was a series of twitches in her left leg.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk Kimmie. What dreadful situation have you gotten yourself into this time? And where is your sidekick, that idiotic Ron Stoppable?"
"Ron…Ron's not…he's not an idiot…" Kim was able to blurt out, her shallow breathing obviously a problem.
Gently taking Kim's head in her hands, Shego sat down beside Kim and started stroking the teen heroine's blood-soaked hair as she continued to talk.
"Such a shame Princess. I was rather looking forward to finishing you off myself. But, I guess this will have to do."
Jerking her head in a crude motion of disagreement, Kim managed to cough a few more times in response.
"You can't even talk, can you? Well, here you don't have to. You just have to listen. When I bring your dead body back with me, I will be feared and respected. I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible. Just imagine Kimmie. Kimmie?"
Hearing a sharp intake of breath from the young girl in her arms, Shego glanced downwards to the head resting in her lap and noticed that Kim's eyes were closed, and her breathing still labored. She reached down and carefully pushed a stray strand of hair out of Kim's face.
Sighing, she continued her monologue.
"I wish it didn't have to end like this Kimmie. I've never had to fight anyone quite like you, you know. You were superior, you were a worthy opponent…"
She took another long sigh and paused before finishing her sentence.
"You were special."
Gazing down at Kim's body, Shego gently ran her hand over a 3-inch scar that ran down Kim's left side and mentally cringed. That scar brought back some bad memories. With her spare hand, she produced a syringe of clear pink liquid from a bag slung over her shoulder. Holding it up to the small amount of light still left, she checked the volume of the solution. 5 CCs. Perfect. She took one last wistful look at the unconscious figure in her lap.
"We may be enemies, but that doesn't mean I don't respect you. I want to make this as painless as possible."
The girl coughed in response, as if she had heard the compliment, if one could call it a compliment.
"Time to sleep Kimmie."
With one swift motion, Shego jabbed the needle in Kim's thigh before depressing the plunger.
A single tear dropped onto the cold sand.
"I'm sorry…for everything."
Chapter 2: Opposites Attract
June 1, 2005
With one powerful and explosive kick, Shego was slammed into the display window of Club Banana. The glass shattered, and the mannequin toppled over. Smiling, Kim noticed that her archrival seemed to be temporarily knocked out. Looking over her shoulder, her eyes went wide.
"Ron, behind you!"
Out of the corner of her eye, Kim saw Dr. Drakken in the process of sneaking up behind Ron. Her gaze stayed on her sidekick long enough to witness him hastily duck Drakken's ill-aimed punch. Her heart sighing in relief that her long-time friend was alright, the heroine didn't realize that Shego had awakened and closed distance so quickly. She only had time to gasp in surprise before Shego's flaming plasma fist made contact with her lower abdomen. While Kim was staggering back in pain, Shego stood proudly and chuckled.
"What's the matter Pumpkin? Didn't do your stretches this morning?"
Recovering her balance, Kim flipped before landing a roundhouse kick to Shego's right shoulder. She grinned.
"You wish." Kim laughed.
"Glad to hear it Princess. It would be an insult to have to fight an out-of-shape you. You know how much I love it."
Smiling seductively, Shego blew an air kiss to Kim, who rolled her eyes in response.
"Shego! I had no idea you like me THAT way."
"Well, you know what they say Kimmie."
Shego took a lunge at Kim, but the teenage cheerleader easily backflipped out of the way, landing on a nearby table and glaring at the raven-haired woman below her.
"Oh, and what's that, Shego?"
A predatory smile gracing her face, Shego kicked out the nearest table leg, causing a caught-off-guard Kim to fall right into her grasp. Wrestling Kim into a fork-hold, Shego used one hand to steady Kim's head, and turn her face so that the two girls were staring at each other. Kim's grass green eyes met Shego's forest green ones, and for a fleeting moment, there was silence.
Shego leaned in, pressing herself closer to Kim. She broke Kim's gaze and whispered ever so softly in Kim's ear, "Opposites attract."
Returning her smug gaze to Kim's stunned one, Shego quickly pressed her lips against Kim's for a fraction of a second.
It was electric. It was ecstatic. It was wrong.
Pushing the still-stunned girl away from her, Shego's lithe form backflipped away from the superheroine. Once she had gained a considerable distance, she faced the young girl, who was staring at her intently.
"Something to remember me by."
With both her hands, Shego launched two green flaming plasma balls at Kim. Kim's gaze hardened, and her calf muscles tensed, ready to spring her into action and away from harm. The plasma fireballs drew nearer, and Kim crouched down in anticipation, her explosive action already planned out.
"KP! I got him!"
Ron's triumphant exclamation startled Kim out of her concentration. She glanced over at Ron, wondering what the fuss was, somewhat dubious that "I got him" meant that he had successfully apprehanded Drakken. As much as she loved him, this WAS Ron she was talking about.
Unfortunately, her millisecond lapse of concentration made her lose sight of Shego and the green glowing plasma balls.
Time seemed to slow down and approach a screeching halt, and for the first time in her crime-fighting career, Kim Possible froze, her breath caught in her throat.
On the other side of the room, the villainess Shego stared, dumbfounded, at the frozen superheroine. Her eyes widened slightly in surprise as she realized that her defeat of Kim Possible might be more real than she had originally intended.
Kim stared at the swiftly approaching emerald flames, her mouth opened in a silent scream and terror evident in her eyes. On her right side, Ron was moving quickly with Rufus trailing behind. Skidding to a halt beside Kim, he flung his arm out and grabbed her wrist, and with one swift motion, pulled her to the ground on top of him. With an earsplitting BOOM, the plasma exploded into the wall behind the Team Possible duo.
"You okay, KP?" Ron inquired with worried eyes, looking up at Kim.
"Thanks Ron." Kim breathed, her resolve only temporarily shaken.
Snapping back into her usual crime-fighting mentality, Kim wasted no time in jumping up from Ron and launching herself into a full pursuit of Shego, who at that point, was still watching her with a surprising intensity. As Kim drew nearer to the green and black woman, she paused.
Shego was looking at her.
But not with anger in her forest green eyes. Nor hatred. Nor rage. There was… something… but no discernable emotion. Or, perhaps, there were too many emotions, each trying to overpower another? Kim couldn't tell.
"Shego?" Kim ventured, somewhat timidly, Shego's new aura bewildering her.
Shego smiled cruelly, and any hint of softness behind her eyes vanished.
"Till next time, Kimmie."
And with those four words, Shego back-flipped out of Club Banana and quickly disappeared into the darkness, followed by a certain blue-skinned scientist.
Kim took a long sigh and rubbed her right shoulder, the muscles unusually tense. Her face twisted in a grimace as she hit a particularly sore spot.
"Boo-ya!" exclaimed Ron and Rufus from behind her, giving each other high fives.
"Who's the man? Who's the naked mole rat? We are, baby!"
Kim turned around to face the dynamic duo. Seeing them both unharmed, she smiled before walking over. Upon eying Kim, Rufus began dancing around and flashing the thumbs-up sign.
"Ron, thanks for your help." Kim grinned, as she patted Ron on the shoulder.
"As you would say KP, no big."
This statement made Kim grin even more, and she raised her left hand to join in the high-fives partying; however, a sharp pain on her side interrupted the festivities.
"OW!" she exclaimed as she glanced down her body. "What's – OUCH!"
Kim frowned as she saw a 3-inch burn down her left side, no doubt left by one of Shego's flaming plasma fireballs. The surrounding skin was inflamed and red, and the burned flesh itself was white and already blistering. A thin line of bright red blood trailed along Kim's side, and Kim noticed that in addition to searing her skin, she had also maintained a rather painful gash.
"KP…" Ron trailed off as he noticed the injury.
She looked at him, a soft smile on her face.
"As you would say I would say: No big. Come on. I should get to a hospital."
"Excellent Shego, excellent." Drakken exclaimed as he rubbed his hands together. "Did you see it? You burned her – what a good aim!"
Earlier that night, under the cover of darkness, the evil team had returned to Drakken's secret lair (which, technically, wasn't all that secret as Kim had stormed it several times already). Despite not being quite as successful as originally hoped, Drakken was still finding ways to gloat.
Shego glowered at him.
"Oooo, I wonder if she'll have to get stitches. I bet they'll hurt."
"Dr. D, Kim Possible is a teenage cheerleader heroine. I doubt she'll cry if she has to get stitches." Shego rolled her eyes.
"Ohh, I hope she cries." Dr. Drakken continued to laugh, rubbing his hands together.
"Dr. D!" Shego stood up, glaring at him. "Kim Possible can take it. She wasn't all that injured anyways."
"Shego, what's wrong?" Drakken looked at his henchwoman with wondering eyes. "You should be gloating right now I tell you, gloating You nailed her good. You should have seen the look in her - "
"Uh huh, I noticed, thanks for the update." Shego shot back, interrupting her boss before he could finish.
With Drakken looking at her dumbfounded, Shego took a few graceful steps and began walking towards the door. Her exit; however, was interrupted by Drakken's laughter.
"Oh, I get it." He got out, when he had caught his breath.
Her back to him, Shego's eyes widened ever so slightly.
"You can't be happy until you're completely finished her off. You're such a perfectionist that way, admit it."
Shego glanced over her shoulder to a chuckling Drakken and gave him a sly smile.
"Yeah Dr. D. I won't be happy until I get her."
Laughing to herself, Shego finally completed her exit, leaving a plotting Drakken behind her.
"I'm a teen superhero. Well, heroine." Kim explained for the third time in the emergency room. "I fight villains, and I get hurt. It happens when your opponents can throw flaming plasma balls at you, ya know?"
When the second nurse that night left the room, Kim sighed heavily. How many times did she have to explain her injury to the hospital staff to convince them she wasn't being abused or practicing self-mutilation? Apparently at least three tonight.
She looked down at her left side again, stretching her neck to gain a better look. Indeed, her skin was quite angry-looking, and although the wound had ceased bleeding, it still was raw and slightly oozing. She grimly nodded to herself. Yep, this puppy was going to need at least 10 stitches.
Her mind wandered to the earlier fight between her and Shego at Club Banana. She replayed the action, frame by frame. Every move she had attempted, Shego had countered. Every attack Shego mounted, she was able to block. Action and reaction. Cause and effect. It made sense, it was logical.
And then there was that kiss.
Kim shook her head violently. Better not to think about it. It meant nothing. How could it mean anything? It couldn't. Shego hated her, they were archenemies.
"Excuse me miss?"
The doctor's gentle voice knocked Kim out of her reverie, and she looked towards the door.
"What's the sitch doc?"
The doctor, a young woman in her early forties with strawberry blonde hair and blue eyes, walked in the room, closing the door behind her. She was carrying a tray with what looked like thread and a needle.
"You have a pretty bad gash there. We'll need to stitch it up so it can heal properly. I'm guessing you'll need about 15 stitches, give or take 5."
Inwardly, Kim cringed. Needles. She hated needles.
"I'll be using a 2.0 Vicryl stitch. It will probably hold the best, considering the location and severity of the cut." The doctor continued, while preparing the needle. "Ready?"
Kim nodded stoicly.
Some time later, Kim was reclining on her bed and mulling over the day's events. It had taken 17 stitches to properly sew her back up. She gingerly poked at her side and cringed.
Yeah. It still hurt. But two ibuprofens in the morning would fix that.
Yawning, she stretched her arms, wondering what time it was. A quick glance at her beside clock told her it was 12:37 AM, and considering the action she saw today, way past her bedtime. Placing a bookmark in chemistry textbook and setting her alarm for a bright and early squad practice, Kim snuggled under the covers and was unconscious in minutes.
Outside her bedroom window, a certain black-haired woman was observing Kim, and had been doing so for the past several hours. Moving quietly and quickly, Shego jumped onto the window ledge before deftly undoing the lock and slipping in the room. The night breeze blew in the room, and under the covers, Kim shuddered and curled into a tighter ball.
Shego stood for a few moments watching the redhead. Her eyes softened at the sight off the girl, who in her sleep, appeared fragile and vulnerable. She wondered if Kim would ever look at her with the same expression, one not of rage and animosity, but of softness and tenderness. A sudden whimper from Kim shook Shego out of her mulling, and reminded her of what she had originally come here to do.
Taking a seat on the edge of the bed, Shego slowly pulled the covers away from Kim, exposing the teen's shoulders and back. She rested a gloved hand on Kim's shoulder-blade, and began exerting a small amount of pressure. Her eagle eyes stayed focused.
Kim moaned softly in response, but remained asleep.
Confidant that she would remain that way, Shego placed both hands on the back of Kim's neck, and began massaging the day's muscle knots away. Working expertly and with extreme care around Kim's left side, Shego could feel that Kim had quite the impressive accumulation of calcium deposits in her upper back. Frowning, she felt a small twinge of guilt. How many of those knots were caused by her? She couldn't imagine any other of Kim's foes giving her such an intense physical workout - that honor was reserved for her. Somehow, she liked that thought.
By the time Shego had thoroughly massaged Kim's neck, shoulders, and back, her fingers were numb and her wrists aching. Kim had positively responded to Shego's attention, and in the process, had attempted to snuggle up against the villainess.
Now, Shego found that extracting herself from Kim might prove to be quite the challenge. As much as she desired to stay with Kim, and curl up next to her, she knew she had to leave, and do so without disturbing the younger girl.
Gently, Shego half pushed and rolled Kim away from her. The sleeping figure frowned and moaned in protest, but thankfully stayed asleep. Leaning over Kim, Shego pulled the sheets and covers back over her, and proceeded to tuck her in while watching a sleepy smile appear on Kim's face.
Time seemed to stretch on forever.
Shego crouched over Kim, bracing her arms on the bed to either side of Kim to steady herself. Slowly and carefully, she lowered her head before planting a quick and soft kiss on Kim's forehead.
Normally, nothing happened at this point, other than a feeling of elation and euphoria overcoming the supervillianess; however, tonight proved to be different. As Shego watched with mounting horror, Kim stirred and began to open her eyes.
Shego's first instinct screamed for her to move, to flip, to duck, to do SOMETHING – even if that something meant knocking Kim unconscious before she opened her eyes.
But Shego continued to stand there, her breath caught in her throat, and her gaze transfixed on the slowly awakening Kim Possible.
Wanting to stay, needing to go. Isn't that how life went?
And for the second time that day, time became painfully slow as Shego's brain attempted to coerce its body into action.
Kim…I need to tell you…
You have to know I don't hate you…
Suddenly, both of Kim's eyes opened and looked right into Shego's, and Shego drew an involuntary sharp breath. Kim blinked, as if she couldn't properly digest the fact that her archrival was leaning over her – and in her bedroom of all places.
MOVE! DO IT! FOR KIMMIE!
With a burst of speed and three well-executed series of jumps and flips, Shego had disappeared from Kim's room, leaving the bewildered girl staring out the open window, shivering slightly from the breeze.
Outside, Shego waited on the roof in a cat stance, awaiting to hear Kim's outraged scream and ready for immediate action. She strained her ears, listening for something…anything.
The silence was deafening.
Sighing in relief, Shego disappeared into the darkness, not risking to be seen a second time by Kim that night.
She sensed that Kim had already fallen back asleep, and knew the girl would be alright.
June 7, 2005
Someone was calling her name.
Kim struggled to open her eyes, but the darkness was seductively inviting.
Who was nudging her? Didn't they know what time it was? It can't be past 6 AM, could it? It was too early, five more minutes…
With a good amount of effort, Kim forced opened her eyes, and looked into a pair intense green ones. She blinked.
An older woman with long black hair, pale green skin, and forest green eyes was staring down at her with a blank look on her refined features.
Kim swallowed and attempted to speak, but her throat was painfully dry. Shego produced a glass of ice cold water from somewhere behind her, and slowly proceeded to pour the refreshing liquid into Kim's mouth, pausing every once in a while to let her swallow. Kim settled back into the rather comfortable bed she found herself reclined in, a feeling of well-being creeping through her. She cleared her throat and spoke.
"What time is it?"
Shego let her eyes widen slightly, before she gained control of her facial muscles to steel herself into a more neutral expression. Slowly and deliberately, she began to answer Kim's question.
"It's a little past 6 PM. But…" Shego paused momentarily, unsure of how to continue. "I think you should be asking what day is it."
Kim blinked, and carefully asked, "What day is it?"
Shego studied Kim, her eyes narrowed, an unspoken question present. Kim looked slightly confused at where she was, and probably how she got there, but was not immediately alarmed by Shego's presence.
"Umm…" Kim's voice trailed off, and she looked at Shego almost as if expecting permission to speak.
"Yes?" Shego prompted softly.
The redhead paused, looking slightly embarrassed.
"Who are you?"
Chapter 3: Faded Memories
June 7, 2005
Shego stared at Kim, words escaping her grasp. Was she just hallucinating for the past few milliseconds, or did she hear Kim timidly utter the words "who are you" to her? Didn't she recognize her? Where was that familiar look of determination? Where was the surprised outrage?
Before she had much time to ponder what was exactly going on, Kim was continuing.
"Wait, wait a minute!"
Kim's voice was rising, a hint of panic discernable.
"Where am I? Who are you?"
Kim paused, her eyes growing ever wider as more time elapsed. She looked back at Shego, almost on the verge of tears, but her self-control was amazing. Shego leaned over and put her hand on Kim's shoulder to reassure her that everything was under control.
"Shh, it'll be alright. Just try and relax."
"Who are you? Do I know you? Are we friends?"
"Kimmie…" Shego started, softening her gaze as to not frighten the girl.
"Kimmie?" Kim stared at Shego. "Is that my name?"
Kim started to sit up, but a sharp pain in her temples and her lower neck made her pause.
She looked herself over, and found that she had a white gauze bandage wrapped firmly around her midsection. Her left wrist was currently in a brace and an IV drip of 1000 mL Lactated Ringers (LRS) was connected to a catheter in her right inner arm. Even though she couldn't visually confirm, she could feel that her right leg was braced and bandaged in its entirety, as movement in any direction seemed impossible.
Shego sat by Kim's side, watching as Kim inspected herself, deciding it was better if she kept her mouth shut rather than try to explain everything at once in gruesome detail. A fleeting image of Kim falling, her expression of genuine fear, flashed in Shego's mind.
"What happened? Why am I like this? Who am I? I don't know who I am, I don't even know my own name!"
Kim's resolve was failing, and Shego could see it.
Without a word, Shego shuffled closer to Kim and pulled the girl into a firm, but gentle, embrace. At first unresponsive, Kim remained still; however, this show of affection and support convinced her to quickly abandon her reservations, and she leaned into the embrace. Her shaking shoulders indicated she was crying, and Shego stroked her hair, realizing that this was the first time she had actually seen the girl show any kind of vulnerability.
As Kim rested in Shego's arms, her sobbing now reduced to a series of hiccups, Shego's brain was frantically trying to work out what had happened. But no matter what scenario Shego was able to propose, the result would always end up the same: Kim Possible had lost her memory.
The concept of not being in control was something alien to Shego, and she thought about how frightening it must be to not be in control of one's own memories, those silly things usually taken for granted. She cringed mentally, and squeezed Kim in a tighter hug.
"Excuse me?" came a slightly muffled question from Kim.
"Yes?" Shego said, still stroking Kim's hair.
"What's my name again?"
Shego smiled fondly. "Kim. Kim Possible."
"What's your name?"
Kim trailed off, and Shego could sense there was an unasked question still lingering in the teenager's mind. She let Kim go, and looked into those confused green eyes.
Kim looked back at her, and Shego could tell she was mentally debating whether to ask a particular question. She opened her mouth before quickly closing it again.
Shego smiled down at her, urging her on. "Its okay. You can ask me anything."
"We…are we…umm, you know? Uhh, friends?"
Shego swallowed. This was the question she was expecting, and this was the question she was most afraid of answering.
Wanting to say "yes" but having to say "no." That's just how life went.
She thought about how easy would it be to tell Kim that they were together. It was a tempting thought.
After all…she now had the power to reconstruct Kim however she desired. Isn't that what she wanted? To be able to have Kim without all the strings usually attached to her, such as the sidekick and the job as teenage superheroine?
Shego looked back at Kim to find an expectant expression gracing her face; she was waiting for an answer.
You can do it.
No! You can't lie to her.
It is what you've always wanted. You'll have Kim all to yourself..
But if you change her, she won't be Kim Possible anymore…
She'll be YOUR Kim Possible…
Shego took a deep breath, and chose her words with the utmost care.
"We have an…interesting relationship." She started to explain to Kim.
Some part of Shego's brain scoffed.
Kim tilted her head, wanting a further explanation.
"We respect each other. There are certain…issues…we don't agree on, and usually, we end up fighting over them."
Kim blinked, and Shego mentally frowned. This was difficult. But she just couldn't say they were enemies and were supposed to hate each other…
"But…I do care for you."
Shego sighed. It was hard to admit she was attracted to Kim, but the more she seemed to deny it, the stronger the feelings became.
Why was it easier to tell Kim how she really felt now? Was it because for once, Kim wasn't viewing her as the enemy, and she wasn't looking at her with intensity and determination in those beautiful green eyes of hers? Was it because Kim was looking so vulnerable? Or was it because she had finally come to terms with her feelings towards Kim and had finally accepted (and even embraced) them?
With some anticipation, she looked at Kim, who was looking at her with an emotion akin to wonderment.
"Do I…do I like you too?" she ventured timidly.
Shego ruffled Kim's hair.
"Only you can answer that, Princess."
Kim looked amused, and a faint smile began spreading across her face. Shego laughed.
"It's one of my nicknames for you."
"One of? How many do you have?"
"Well, what are they?"
Shego smiled slyly.
"Oh, I'm sure you'll figure them out."
"Aha. I see."
A sudden and slightly awkward silence descended on the pair. Shego cleared her throat, her expression becoming more serious.
"Its nice to see you again. I was...I was really…afraid…I had lost you."
Kim took another look at herself and nodded.
"I can see how you thought that." She paused. "So…what exactly happened?"
"Oh, sorry!" Kim apologized quickly. "Did I do something?"
"Oh no Princess. Its not you at all." Shego quickly gave Kim a hug. "Its just that…it's a bad memory, probably for both of us. It involves a deep ravine, a hovercraft, and the 3-inch scar you'll probably have on your left side."
Kim's hand instinctively flew to her left side. Through the bandages, she could feel a tender spot and a line of stitches. She flinched.
"So…how did I get that gash?"
Shego bit her lip. She could foretell that she would be doing a lot of explaining to Kim within the next few days. Of course, she might have to slightly edit the parts in the story where she was involved…but she was confident she could tactfully navigate through those dangerous waters.
Perhaps if she just changed…?
Shego blinked and realized she had slipped into a pensive state again, neglecting to answer Kim's earlier question.
"Well…it seems that we need to have story time. But first, I think you should get out of bed and shower. Its probably good for you. You know, hygiene and exercise. But first, let me unhook you from that IV."
Shego reached over gently pulled the line of the catheter before carefully pulling out the catheter itself. Firmly pressing a gauze pad over the vein, Shego studied Kim's face as she waited for the blood to clot at the small incision.
"I didn't know you were a doctor." Kim smiled.
"I'm not technically. But I know enough."
Kim was looking at her with disbelief in her eyes. Not that Shego could blame her. The poor kid had just woken after four days of unconsciousness without her memories. Now this strange woman who wasn't a doctor was pulling an IV out of her arm. She gave Kim a rub on the back.
Kim seemed to think about it before finally nodding.
With Shego's help, Kim was able raise herself upright in bed. She looked around at her surroundings, finally mentally awake enough to register information.
They were in a rather large room with a vaulted ceiling. The lighting was very dim due to a lack of sizeable windows, but Kim was able to see that the room was sparsely decorated. There was a queen-sized bed (the one that she was currently sitting in), and two small mahogany nightstands on either side, the nightstand to her right having a small lamp on it. There was a small dresser and mirror on the opposite side of the room, and a bookshelf with assorted titles on the left wall. The dominant colors were black and various shades of green, the darker, the better.
Very utilitarian, Kim thought. And the color scheme very fitting.
With some effort, Kim swung her legs over the edge of the bed. Shego stood in front of Kim, and helped hoist her into a standing position, pausing for a moment to make sure Kim had oriented her balance. She was a little wobbly at first, but quickly gained control of her center of gravity. Shego smiled encouragingly, internally amazed that despite all her injuries, Kim was still able to stand on her own (on one leg no less) after only four days of unconscious rest.
Bracing herself against Shego, Kim took one hesitant step forward. Then another. And another.
"You're doing great." Shego volunteered.
"I can do anything." Kim chuckled.
Shego arched an eyebrow.
"Can you really?"
"Of course." Kim answered, a smug smile on her face.
Studying Kim's eyes, Shego found nothing familiar, and felt a small tinge of disappointment. Kim didn't remember anything. That sense of empowerment, that was just the way she was.
Shego paused, reiterating to herself what she had just thought.
That was just the way she was.
A new and uplifting thought dawned on Shego. Kim may not have her exact memories, but at least from what she had seen so far, Kim's basic personality seemed unaffected.
Step by step, Shego helped Kim down the hall to the bathroom. With each step, Kim seemed to gain a bit more confidence in her abilities.
Once they reached the bathroom, Shego paused, feeling a tad awkward. It was a bit early in the relationship to be stripping Kim naked, but then again, for all intents and purposes, Kim had virtually no use of her right leg and left arm.
Kim paused too, and Shego could tell the same thought processes were running though Kim's mind.
"I can get you a towel and some shampoo and conditioner." Shego said. "Do you think you'll be okay then?"
"Yeah, I'll be fine, thanks."
Shego left Kim sitting on the edge of the rub and walked over to the cabinet by the sink. She got out an extra dark green towel and two bottles, one each of shampoo and conditioner. She placed the towel on the edge of the sink and the shampoo and conditioner in the tub.
"I think I got everything. Anything else you need?"
Kim looked around.
"No, I think I'm okay."
"Good. If you want, you can toss out your old clothes when you undress. I can wash them today and give you something else to wear in the meantime."
Shego nodded. "While you're showering, I'll go make us some dinner. You must be famished."
As if it heard Shego's comment, Kim's stomach rumbled. Shego laughed.
"I'll take as a 'yes' then."
With one fluid motion, Shego turned around and exited the room, closing the door behind her and leaving Kim in peace.
Downstairs, Shego decided to make pasta with meatballs and parmesan. It was simple, easy, and yielded lots of carbohydrates and proteins.
Kim was in desperate need of some nutrition. Not wanting to say so in front of Kim as to frighten her further, Shego was alarmed to see how much weight Kim had lost. She was a lean girl to begin with, and her four-day lapse of consciousness was starting to wear on her health. The IV drip was the only thing Shego could do to ensure that Kim was at least getting some form of nourishment, no matter how rudimentary.
The human body can survive up to about a week without solid food; however, only a few days without water. Shego was afraid that Kim stayed unconscious any longer, she would have to take the girl to a hospital (again) so the doctors could insert a feeding tube. And then she would have to do some major explaining. She could just imagine the debacle.
Yeah, I need treatment for Kim Possible.
Oh. Well. She was fighting me, and tried to jump on my hovercraft, and uh, missed.
And you brought her here?
Umm, yeah? Where else does one bring an injured person?
Why are you helping her? Aren't you her nemesis?
Because I have a crush on her, is that okay with you, or do I need to fill out an application?
Plasma fire would have shortly followed…
The water starting to boil, Shego emptied about half a box of penne into the pot and started to heat up the marinara sauce. She was turning the meatballs in the frying pan when she heard a loud thud and a muffled yelp of pain that could only be coming from…
"KIM!" Shego shrieked as she dropped everything and bolted upstairs to the bathroom.
Chapter 4: Past Life Regression
June 7, 2005
Shego took the stairs three at a time and threw open the bathroom door, mentally prepared to handle almost any situation. Once she was able to wave the steam out of the way, she peered in.
Kim was sitting in the tub, her back towards Shego. She was leaning forward and clutching her left side. She didn't seem to care that Shego had just burst in. The bottle of shampoo was on the floor, some of the translucent purple liquid leaking onto the floor.
Shego took a cautious step towards Kim, unsure what exactly was wrong.
Kim turned her head toward Shego while simultaneously moving her arms to cover her chest.
"I reached for the towel, and must have stretched too much. My left side hurt, and I guess I knocked the shampoo bottle off the edge of the tub when I pulled my arm back. Err…sorry. I didn't mean to make you come running up here."
Shego let out a sigh of relief.
"I'm just glad you're alright."
Kim nodded. "Sorry it wasn't anything more exciting."
Shego glared at Kim. "I think you've had enough excitement to last a lifetime."
"Really? What do I do?"
Moving into the room while taking care to not look at Kim (even thought it was quite tempting), Shego reached for the towel still resting on the sink's edge before passing it behind her back to a still-naked Kim.
"I'll tell you after dinner."
Her back still at Kim, Shego could hear Kim struggling to stand up and step out of the tub.
"Let me help you."
"Hang on, I can do this…just a sec…"
Shego smiled to herself. Even with her memories gone, she still insisted on doing everything herself, and her way.
"Okay, you can turn around now."
Shego turned around to see Kim clad only in the green towel, bracing herself on the wall. With reserved amusement, Shego also noticed that while Kim was in a pseudo-standing position, she was still in the tub, the water only beginning to drain. She extended a hand towards Kim, who took it to help her keep her balance as she hopped out of the tub on her good leg.
Kim caught Shego's eye, and for a moment, both girls looked at each other, neither saying a word. The silence lasted only a few seconds, but Shego thought it felt like an hour.
"Well, it looks like you'll be okay on your own now. Your clothes are right over there…I'll be downstairs cooking dinner. Give me a yell when you're ready to come down; I don't want you attempting stairs on your own yet."
With that, Shego strode out the door.
Back downstairs, Shego was relieved to discover that nothing had burned, overflowed, or set off the fire alarms during her temporary absence. The penne was boiling away, the marinara sauce only beginning to get warmed, and the meatballs were just crisping.
Getting out two bowls and the grated parmesan cheese from the refrigerator, Shego turned around to see Kim leaning against the doorway. She had managed to get her wrist and leg brace back on correctly, and it appeared that she had also re-bandaged her wounds. Some part of Shego's brain noted how cute Kim looked in an emerald green shirt and black slacks.
The green shirt matched her gorgeous eyes…
"Kimmie, what are you doing down here?"
Shego ran over to Kim, and slipped under Kim's arm, providing ample support for Kim to limp over to the kitchen table.
"I thought I told you to call when you were coming downstairs." She sternly addressed Kim.
"I thought I would try it myself at least. And it worked. I got down here okay, no?"
"Kimmie, a girl with a head injury, a broken wrist, stitches, a broken tibia, and a shattered patella is not supposed to be walking down several flights of stairs, whether she thinks she can or not!"
"But I can! I just did!" Kim protested.
"Just because you can, doesn't mean you should." Shego countered.
"If I'm capable of doing something, there's no reason I shouldn't do it."
"You think you can do anything Kimmie. And yeah, that slogan worked well for a while, and it was catchy, but you need to realize you CAN'T do anything. You can do a lot, but not everything."
Shego went back to stirring the pasta, occasionally picking a noodle out of the pot and tasting it. She fished the meatballs out of the pan and put them in the stove to keep warm.
"I know my limits, okay? If I didn't feel I could walk down those stairs, even with a broken wrist and broken whatever else I have, I would have asked for help." Kim pouted.
Shego sighed heavily.
"No, Kimmie, you don't know your limits."
"Yes, I do."
"No, you don't."
"How do you know? You're not me."
Shego spun around to face the young girl sitting before her.
"No, I'm not." She snapped. "But I know enough about you to be able to pass calls on your judgment. And lately, your judgment isn't doing so well Kimmie. In fact, it sucks. You wanna know why you're like this? Why you have broken bones all over, why you can't remember your own name?"
Kim opened her mouth, but quickly closed it. Shego was continuing.
"You're like this because you made one very bad judgment call four days ago when you leaped off the edge of a cliff because you thought you could jump onto a hovercraft. You missed, and you fell, so excuse me for not believing you can make sound judgment calls."
Kim stared at Shego, amazement and disbelief plastered on her face. She tried to speak, but couldn't formulate coherent sentences. Shego turned around and proceeded to drain the excess pasta water, fighting an overwhelming urge to throw plasma at the nearest wall in growing frustration.
"I…what?" Kim asked.
"You fell over 100 feet Kimmie." Shego replied softly without turning around. "I thought you were dead."
Kim decided to stare at the floor for a few minutes. She could hear Shego stirring something on the stove and felt the tension in the atmosphere.
"Shego?" She ventured, somewhat timidly.
"Yes?" Shego was terse, but there was a hint of something softer underneath.
Kim looked up at the older woman. Shego showed no discernable expression or emotion, but she turned off all the stove knobs and walked over to have a seat beside Kim. She sighed.
"I'm not angry with YOU, Kimmie. I just worry that one day, you'll go off on a mission, and you won't come back."
Kim's ears seemed to perk up.
"Missions? I go on missions? What do I do?"
Shego left Kim's side and picked up two bowls, pouring the penne, marinara sauce, and meatballs into each one. She returned to the table and set one bowl in front of Kim, and kept the other for herself. She walked back to the counter to retrieve the grated cheese and utensils.
"Parmesan?" She asked Kim.
"Please." Replied Kim, as she took a handful and proceeded to sprinkle it on her pasta. "Now, what missions do I do?"
Shego chuckled and gave Kim a wink. "Very secret ones."
"No, really! What do I do? This sounds intriguing."
"I told you – they're very secret missions."
"So secret, even YOU don't know about them."
Looking at Kim, Shego decided that the cheerleader looked for all the world like an entranced child listening to the story of Santa Claus for the first time. She laughed wholeheartedly before continuing, her previous anger now totally evaporated.
"Once upon a time, there was this young girl. She was spunky and cute, and found that she really liked defending those who couldn't defend themselves. In other words," Shego grinned "she was a goody two shoes."
"Hey!" Kim protested in between bites of her dinner.
"I'm not finished Kimmie." Shego mockingly admonished.
"As she grew older, she grew more beautiful, and her skills increased tenfold. She could execute a flip worthy of the Olympics, and a spinning roundhouse kick that could take down a grown man. Originally, she wanted to get a job as a babysitter, but as fate would see it, this girl was destined to become someone more, someone special. So one day, she formed the legendary Team Possible, and dedicated her life to fighting crime. She got sent all over the world and battled some of the fiercest villains of her time."
Shego paused, glancing over at Kim. Kim's eyes were wide, her supper temporarily forgotten.
"But one day, while battling her archnemesis, the girl miscalculated a certain jump. She missed her target and ended up falling into a deep ravine. She was badly hurt, and her chances of survival were low. But, this girl could do anything, and she managed to survive."
Shego looked over to Kim again, a more serious look in her dark green eyes as she continued the story.
"That girl is you, Kimmie."
Kim stared at Shego. "You're telling me that I'm a superhero?"
Kim shook her head, blinking rapidly. "Wow. That's just…Wow. I guess that explains the injuries then, huh?"
Shego nodded again. "Now do you understand why I worry about you?"
Kim looked away from Shego, her brain still in the process of digesting the information. Shego quietly ate her dinner, letting Kim mull over everything she just told her, knowing that the redhead's mind must be reeling from information overload. As she observed Kim mentally rehashing everything, she knew the next question Kim would ask her, and took the time to attempt to formulate an answer.
"Shego?" Kim asked, getting the raven-haired woman's attention.
"Mmmm?" Shego mumbled, her mouth currently full of penne.
"So, what part do you play in this story? Do we fight crime together?"
Shego swallowed, a little too quickly.
God damn it Kimmie. Don't tempt me again.
Shego paused, her breath caught in her throat. Torn between giving Kim what she deserved (the truth), or yielding to her own hedonistic tendencies and lying, the lines of a certain poem repeated themselves in Shego's mind.
Two paths diverged in a yellow wood…took the latter…and that has made all the difference.
What if Shego chose the road less traveled? What would happen?
She could see Kim gazing at her expectantly, and knew she had to say something. The silence was becoming awkward.
"I…" she reiterated, her mind still waging a fierce debate with itself.
If you love her, you'll tell her the truth.
Her memory is still too fragile. The truth will destroy her now.
She deserves the truth.
She deserves to have someone who will love her and protect her.
And not lie to her.
And telling her who you really are will change that? You'll still love and protect her.
But she would run from you if she knew.
Then let her run.
But she's too weak still. She will injure herself more.
And how hurt will she be when she finds out you've been lying all this time?
I won't really be lying…we are in a relationship, even if it's not the most traditional one.
I can protect her.
"Kim." Shego started. She paused, took a deep breath, and finished her sentence, her eyes locked on Kim's. "We're dating."
Kim's eyes widened even more, and Shego's inner demon cackled in triumph. There. She said it. It was done. Kim was hers.
But… Shego's mind taunted. Can you protect her from yourself?
"I, uh, didn't know I liked girls." Kim stammered nervously. She turned towards Shego. "But, uh, I guess I do?"
Biting her lip, Shego nodded, while simultaneously wishing she could go back in time and take back everything she had just said.
"Well, okay then?" Kim breathed, still looking unsure about everything, but accepting of what Shego was telling her.
"But, remember that just because I tell you something, doesn't mean that it has to be that way." Shego quickly reminded Kim. "Remember how I told you only you can tell yourself how you feel about me? Well, its true. No matter what anyone might tell you, only you can decide how you truly feel."
Kim nodded slowly. "Yeah."
Inwardly, Shego cringed at the pathetic attempt to rectify the situation. There was no taking back what she said, but she could at least try to make sure that any feelings Kim might develop for her were genuine, even if the original concept was falsified.
She reached over and ruffled Kim's beautiful red hair before continuing.
"I don't want you to like me because I told you to. I want you to like me because you do."
"But, if I'm dating you, then I have to like you, right?" Kim questioned.
"Well, yeah, that's normally how dating goes."
"Then I must like you."
Shego help up her hands in a mock gesture of defeat.
"I'm just saying Kimmie…I don't want you to think you have to do or feel anything just because you can't remember. Its possible that when you get your memories back, your attitude towards certain persons may change based on how you interact with them now when you lack a past precedent to base your opinions on. Its also possible that nothing will change. In this case, you won't need to worry about it."
Shego paused, not knowing exactly how to finish.
"Of course, you also have to consider the possibility that your memories will not ever come back, and if that is the case, you have start making new ones from what you're able to experience now."
"What are you saying?" Kim asked, shaking her head in confusion. "If I didn't like someone before I lost my memory, I'll bet that when I meet them again, I still won't like them. There must have been SOMETHING that made me dislike them in the first place, and I'll bet that aspect won't have changed in the four days I was asleep."
"Don't be too sure of that." Shego warned.
"No. See, right now, the only person I've 'met' since my accident is you, and you've been extraordinarily nice to be so far. I think can trust my instinct on this."
Kim smiled, almost reassuringly.
"I'm going by what I feel NOW, Shego, and that is that you care for me. You've taken me in when I was hurt, tended to my wounds, and now you're feeding me and explaining my forgotten life to me. You're under no obligation to do so, right?"
"No. What's your point?"
Kim shrugged. "You're a good person."
Shego frowned. "Only to you. I think your idiotic sidekick would beg to differ."
Kim tilted her head. "Who?"
Shego mentally reprimanded herself for making such a careless slip. As much as she hated to admit it, Kim Possible was part of the Team Possible package, which included Ron and Wade, and a la carte was not an option.
Well, now a la carte was definitely looking like a possibility.
Over the years, Shego had repeatedly attempted to isolate Kim from the other two and had disappointedly discovered that wherever Kim was, the other two were bound to be close behind. It was only recently that Shego was beginning to accept Ron as Kim's friend and sidekick, as ineffective as he was…
"Team Possible is basically you, this genius Wade who you've actually never met, and that bumbling childhood friend of yours, Ron Stoppable." Shego explained. "Oh, and there's a naked mole rat too."
With each word Shego uttered, Kim became more and more confused.
"I work with someone on a team who I've never actually met?" Kim wondered aloud.
"Okay Princess, here's how it goes: Wade talks to you via your Kimmunicator. He also invents stuff for you. Your sidekick is some kid named Ron and his sidekick is this rather ugly naked mole rat." Shego explained, slight disgust creeping into her intonation.
"Awesome. I think it got it now." Kim nodded.
"Good. Then tomorrow, we can begin."
"Oh, you'll see. I think you'll enjoy it."
Shego smiled mysteriously.
"But go ahead and finish your dinner Princess. You'll need a lot of rest."
"Aww, please Shego. Tell me."
Kim attempted to use her patented puppy-dog pleading face, and Shego blinked in surprise. Since when did she remember that? Or maybe that was a personality quirk that somehow didn't get erased? After all, only a few hours earlier, Kim had stated that she could do anything, but wasn't able to associate the significance of her declaration to her particular…career.
Shego folded her arms. The girl was adorable, but Shego was stronger than that.
"That's not a valid answer."
"Of course it is."
"Only from your point of view!"
"But that's not fair."
"Nor is life. Get used to it Pumpkin."
Shego leaned over and softly kissed Kim's forehead. Kim closed her eyes, letting herself experience the moment – or perhaps even enjoy it? She didn't know all that much about herself, but her gender dating preferences seemed pretty clear: She liked girls. Well, some girls. Maybe this girl.
"You alright, Kimmie?"
Kim opened her eyes to see Shego studying her. A slight blush crept across her face as she nodded.
"Tough day?" Shego inquired? But a hint of a smirk on her face made Kim think that she had something more on her mind.
"Yeah. Its just that…" Kim trailed off. She shook her had, as if to clear her mind. "I'm just trying to figure everything out. I see that I'm going to have a long healing process ahead of me. And when I'm not trying to reteach myself how to walk, I'll have to basically relearn my life."
"It'll be tough." Shego agreed.
"Yeah…but…" Kim felt the rush of heat to her cheeks and knew she was blushing. Shego; however, didn't seem to notice, and if she did notice, she wasn't acting like she had seen it.
"But, you'll be here too, right?"
"Of course. I'm not letting you go."
"About what Princess?"
"You won't let me go?"
"Do you really want that?"
"Right now, you're the only constant thing in my life. I don't want to lose that."
Shego closed her eyes momentarily, her expression unreadable.
"Then yes, I promise. I won't let you go."
Kim smiled in what appeared to be relief and Shego felt a tinge of guilt, only to be superseded by a feeling of possessiveness.
I have her now, and I'm not giving her up. She's mine.
Shego stood up from the table and picked up both her bowl and Kim's bowl and brought them to the sink. Washing both the bowls as well as the various pots and pans used to cook their meal, Shego worked swiftly and with surprising efficiency. Kim started to hoist herself up from the table, but a stern command from Shego made her pause.
"Sit down Kimmie."
"Chill out, I'm just stretching."
"Uh huh. I don't quite believe you Princess."
"You're not even looking at me!"
Shego turned around, a mischievous grin on her face. "I can still hear you."
"Then you have amazing hearing."
"That's not all I have Pumpkin."
Kim arched an eyebrow. "Oh? Is there something else I should know about you?"
Shego shrugged nonchalantly, but there was a playful gleam in her eyes. "Oh, I'm sure you'll figure it out in time."
Putting the last fork in the drying rack, Shego walked over to Kim and held out her hand. "Back upstairs Kimmie."
Kim took her hand and Shego helped her up. Slowly but surely, they eased their way back upstairs and into the bedroom. Kim took a seat on the edge of the bed and Shego bent down on the floor and took her right foot in her hands.
"What are you doing?" Kim questioned.
"Testing." Shego calmly replied. "Tell me if you feel anything."
"Testing wha – OW! HEY! OUCH! SHE- OW!" Kim yelped as Shego pinched all five toes.
"Okay, good. You felt those."
"Of course I did. Why wouldn't I?"
"I wanted to make sure that when you broke your leg, you didn't sustain any nerve damage. I wanted to see if you could still feel sensations. In addition, I wanted to make sure you didn't put your brace on too tight."
"You could have warned me."
"Well, you could have done a better job." Kim huffed.
A sly grin slowly spread across Shego's face. Without a word, she moved behind Kim and began toying with Kim's hair. It only took a few seconds for Kim to realize that Shego was putting her hair up in a messy bun.
"What are you doing now?" Kim asked, her eyes narrowed.
Shego didn't answer, but Kim could feel hands pressing on the base of her neck, deliberately moving in clockwise circles before descending lower. It was amazing.
Inclining her head to give Shego better to access to her neck and upper back, Kim let out a satisfied exhale.
"Like that Princess?" Shego whispered in Kim's ear, her breath hot against Kim's cool skin.
"Mmm hmm." Kim murmured.
As Kim sat there, a general feeling of contentment began to overtake her. She closed her eyes, letting herself get lost in the moment. Time became meaningless as seconds became minutes, but minutes felt like hours.
Shego's voice seemed far away, but Kim obeyed. It was the logical thing to do…
As Kim shifted position so that she was lying on her stomach with Shego straddling her above her waist, a sudden jolt of remembrance shot through her. She couldn't exactly place it, but somehow, this felt…familiar.
Her body succumbing to relative exhaustion, Kim felt sleep begin to take her. But right before she let herself slip into blessed unconsciousness, one thought reverberated through her mind.
Shego looked down at Kim, noticing that her breathing had become deep and regular. She carefully slid off the bed and pulled the soft covers over the redhead while tenderly pushing a few stray hairs out of Kim's face.
"Sweet dreams, Princess."
Chapter 5: Mind Games
June 8, 2005
A bright flash of white light engulfed her, and for a moment, she felt as if her head would explode from the intense visual overload.
"KP! I got him!"
A male voice coming from behind her. She turned around. A blonde-haired boy with what is that poor-looking thing! Did he really shave that rat?
Why does that man have blue skin? That can't be his natural color, can it?
And why am I standing in Club Banana?
Is that rodent speaking?
"I"ll be using a 2.0 Vicryl stitch."
Oh god that's a big needle. I hate needles. Is she really going to sew me up with that?
Kim turned her gaze away.
If I don't look, it won't hurt as badly.
She hissed inwardly as she felt a sharp pain shoot up her left side.
Well, screw THAT idea…
She was sitting up in bed. Was this her bedroom?
She shuddered as she felt the cool night breeze on her bare skin. She glanced over at the window, which was slightly ajar.
I didn't open the window. Well, not that I can remember. It was a long day after all, and I'm tired. I better go and close it so I don't get a chill.
Do I really have to go to cheerleading practice tomorrow morning? I don't think I have the energy to deal with Bonnie.
Wait a minute. Who's Bonnie?
A sharp white-hot searing pain made her flinch in midair, her extension falling short of what it needed to be.
The ground was rushing up to meet her.
There was pain. Oh, god, intense pain. And it wasn't going away.
She wanted to die.
She WAS dying.
Kim woke with a start, her breath caught in her throat, and her hands flying to her body as if to make sure she was still all in one piece. Letting out a long sigh of relief, Kim let herself flop back onto the bed. The bedside clock had a glowing green digital display, and it read 4:57 AM.
4:57 AM? Definitely not the best time to be awake…but it wasn't as if she was having the most pleasant dreams as of late.
Kim looked around her only to notice that Shego was lying on the floor next to her. Her first reaction was something akin to panic, but upon closer inspection, she realized that Shego was prone on an air mattress with the requisite blanket and pillow, obviously asleep. Kim felt a stab of guiltiness for hogging the bed when it wasn't even hers, but she reminded herself that it was Shego's decision to put her there.
Suppressing a yawn, Kim let herself fall back onto the bed and took a deep breath. She was okay, everything was okay. She was safe, Shego was next to her, and that's all that mattered.
Sleep came quickly.
And this time, it was dreamless.
"Time to get up Princess."
5. More. Minutes.
Well, that's so not what I meant to say…
With a small dissatisfied growl, Kim waved an arm in an attempt to shoo away whoever was trying to pull her out of the comforting darkness. A strong hand grabbed her flailing arm and held it still.
"If you keep this up Pumpkin, you're going to smack the wall next to you and get yet another broken something. I don't think you want that."
Penetrating through her foggy brain, the warning made Kim halt her movement, and only through sheer strength of will, Kim was able to open an eye.
Shego was sitting on the edge of the bed, one of her hands holding fast (but gently) to Kim's right wrist. Dressed in an olive green tee shirt and black slacks, Shego looked half amused and half annoyed.
"Good morning Princess."
Kim strained her neck to glance over at the bedside clock.
"Its…early…" Kim muttered, her brain still fuzzy.
"Depends on your definition of 'early' Kimmie. I usually get up at 7:00. 8:00 is late for me." Shego replied, a grin clearly dominating her expression.
"Five more minutes?"
"No way Princess."
"Mmmrrrr…" growled Kim in response.
"Get up and get dressed. Then we're going to begin."
Kim hoisted herself upright and stretched. "Huh?"
"We're going to play some games."
"And then I'll be setting your hair on fire." Shego replied casually, not missing a beat.
"Hu – No!" Kim exclaimed, frowning at Shego.
"Just wanted to see if you were paying attention."
"If you insist."
There was a playful sparkle in Shego's eyes and a slight upturn in her mouth that made Kim think Shego was laughing at her. But before Kim could ponder on it further, Shego let go of her wrist, and in one fluid motion, stood up while offering a helping hand.
Kim sighed in reluctant submission and took Shego's extended hand to brace herself as she stood up. Together, Kim and Shego made the now familiar trek to the bathroom across the hall, Kim favoring her good leg. Once there, Kim observed that Shego had a new set of clothes under her free arm. Shego tossed the pile onto the edge of the sink and gently let go of Kim, staying near until she seemed convinced that Kim could stand on her own.
"Your clothes for today." Shego gestured towards the sink. "I trust you'll like them."
Kim glanced over at the bundle of black and dark green resting on the sink. Shego's fashion taste seemed pretty clear: everything was black and green. Not that those two colors didn't compliment each other well, but, didn't she favor at least some form of variation?
"Are you my own personal fashion consultant?" Kim laughed.
"You could call me that." Shego winked.
"How do you know my preferences?"
"You wear the same outfit every time I see you. I have it down to an art by now."
"Alright then. But if I don't like it, you're fired."
Kim chuckled and Shego took a step forward to quickly run a hand through Kim's hair.
"Just get dressed Princess. And give me a call when you're done."
"Yes mother." Kim rolled her eyes.
"I mean it."
Shego glared at Kim with a gaze that could melt steel. But Kim was tougher than that.
"If I see you downstairs, you're dead. And I mean that Pumpkin."
Giving Kim another of her signature glares and tossing her long black tresses over her shoulder, Shego turned around and vanished. Kim watched her make her exit in silence, wondering if the mysterious woman always acted like that…
Turning towards the clothes, Kim began to inspect her supposed preferred fashion statement.
A black shirt with 3/4 sleeves and olive green cargo pants.
It seemed a bit strange for normal everyday use, but she would have to trust Shego that this is what she would have worn back before…before the accident.
Giving a mental shrug, Kim began to dress herself.
Hey! This actually is looking good on me…
As Shego walked out of the bathroom and down the hallway, she shook her head, trying to gather her focus.
What was she doing, what was she thinking? Is she really going to attempt this? Was she crazy? The concept of having Kim Possible here – with her – and with memory loss no less…it was mind-boggling. There were so many possibilities she could pursue, but there were so many ways a perfect plan could wrong.
She paused at the top of the steps before briskly changing direction and instead heading back to the bedroom. Glancing over her shoulder to make sure Kim wasn't directly behind her (as that had a habit of happening when the two women were in close proximity), Shego reached under the bed and pulled out a shoebox, giving it a slight shake.
She smiled when she heard the familiar contents rattle inside. With her free hand, she reached even further under the bed, her fingers searching for something. Her hand felt a small, but respectable-sized, pile of books. She sighed in relief. Everything was as it should be.
A familiar voice sounded from the hallway.
Quickly shoving the small box back under the bed next to the stack of books, Shego turned around and went to gather Kim as one thought kept repeating itself in her mind.
I'll have to hide those in a better spot tonight…A spot where Kim will never find them.
With her right leg propped up on an extra chair, Kim took another sip of the herbal tea Shego had supplied for her. It was a tad bitter-tasting, but a teaspoon of honey solved that problem. At least it smelled nice. Kim took a deep breath and settled deeper into the small, but comfortable, deep green couch.
"What's in this tea again?" Kim pondered, looking towards Shego, who had taken a seat on a matching green loveseat across the glass coffee table between them.
"I don't know exactly. Its some kind of New Age herbal stuff." Shego shrugged nonchalantly. "Its supposed to help your chakras or something like that."
"What's a chakra?"
Shego scoffed. "You tell me."
"So, what's going on?" Kim inquired.
"We're going to play a game."
"What kind of game? And…why?"
Shego idly twirled a strand of hair on her left index finger, but didn't immediately answer. One of her legs hung off the side of the loveseat while the other one was braced on the edge. While utilizing her left arm to play with her hair, her right arm was slung over the back of the loveseat, giving Shego the aura and appearance of a large predatory cat.
Beauty. Grace. Innate power. And a certain bit of arrogance.
Kim couldn't help but stare. Shego grinned back.
Correction: A large predatory cat that was ready to pounce.
"Like what you see Pumpkin?"
"No, I was, uh, just, you know, uh..." Kim stuttered, while quickly averting her gaze to the coffee table, staring at the glass chess set resting on top as if it were the newest and most radical piece of sculpture at the Museum of Modern Art.
"I see you've noticed the chess set." Shego commented, deciding a change in subject might be best.
Kim nodded, not quite trusting her brain to formulate coherent sentences.
Shifting position, Shego crossed her legs and leaned forward to move the game set so it rested more squarely in the center of the table.
"Good. Do you know how to play?"
Kim shook her head. "No."
"Okay. Then today, you're going to learn."
"Did I used to know how?"
Shego shrugged before softly answering. "I can't answer that for you."
Kim looked back at Shego, who was busily arranging the pieces. Kim watched as each piece was carefully and deliberately placed on the proper square of the proper color, and was overcome by sudden feeling of sadness. She blinked.
Shego was looking at her again, concern and slight confusion showing through her dark eyes.
Kim quickly wiped her eyes, determined to not cry.
"Nothing, I just…just got something in my eye."
It was a lame excuse, and Kim knew it. Apparently Shego did too, because she paused and put the black queen back on the table before straightening her posture.
"You suck at lying Kimmie. I'm going to ask again: What's wrong?"
Kim took a deep breath and cast her gaze upwards towards the ceiling, her breath hitching in her throat.
"Its just that…I don't know. Its hard to explain I guess. I'm sitting here, watching you put all the chess pieces back on the board, and I don't even know if I knew how to play chess before I lost my memories. I can't remember if I remember. And I'm watching as every piece goes where its supposed to, all fitting together like a nice puzzle you just solved. And I wish I could put everything in my life back together that easily, you know? Put every piece back where it belongs. But I can't do that. And I don't know if I ever will. I don't even know HOW."
Shego sat back and let Kim have her rant, nodding her head occasionally to acknowledge that she was still listening. After a few minutes of silence, Kim looked back at Shego, a ghost of a smile back on her face.
"I'm okay now."
Shego inclined her head slightly, as if to ask "Are you really?" but remained quiet. Brushing her hand across her eyes, Kim sniffled and straightened up before shuffling forward and gesturing at the game set on the table before her.
"Chess huh? Are you really going to teach me?"
"If you want me to."
Shego tilted her head sideways and took the moment to study the girl sitting across from her. Her long red hair was hanging behind her shoulders, resting in the small of her back. She was sitting on the couch as if to feign relaxation, but her posture radiated nervousness, tension, and agitation.
Actions speak louder than words Princess.
You don't have to be so strong ALL the time…
Shego picked up the smallest piece on the board and held it out to Kim.
"Okay Kimmie. This is a pawn. It can move forward one space at a time, unless it is attacking, in which it moves diagonally…like this."
Back in Middleton (Bueno Nacho more specifically) a certain dynamic duo had obtained a backup Kimmunicator from the necessary evil of breaking into Kim's school locker.
"Wade, I'm starting to worry about KP."
"Meeerrooo" Rufus added, his mouth currently stuffed with a Naco.
"The global positioning chip I installed in the Kimmunicator must have been destroyed on her last mission. I can't pick up any signal, even with hacking into all the government satellites." Wade explained, looking slightly exasperated as he furiously typed more coordinates into the GPS system. "Why didn't you go with her last time?"
Ron quickly looked to the side and thoughtfully scratched his head, his expression that of the kid who just got caught with his hand in the cookie jar.
"I already told you." He huffed.
Wade nodded. Ron obviously didn't want to talk about it, and Wade guessed he was feeling extraordinarily guilty. All he knew was that Kim had gone on a solo mission three days ago and still hadn't returned. Meanwhile, all attempts to contact and trace her had failed.
"What do Kim's parents think of all this?" Wade inquired.
Ron shrugged and a hint of a frown appeared on his face.
"They're a little worried, but not totally flipping out yet. I guess they're pretty used to KP's superhero routine."
Wade nodded in understanding. It wasn't the first time Kim was away on a mission for an extended period of time. It was; however, the first time she was away, hadn't contacted anyone, and Ron wasn't with her. Now, THAT was worrisome. But then again, anything was possible for a Possible.
"Just hang in there. There are a few more options I would like to pursue, and some more trace programs I want to run. We'll find her."
Ron nodded before letting Wade continue.
"Kim's a tough girl. She can handle anything. In fact, she'll probably reappear in a few days and laugh at us for worrying so much. But just in case that doesn't happen, I have a couple last resorts."
Ron smiled, but he didn't look convinced.
"You're getting better Princess. You actually won this one. I think congratulations are in order."
Kim scoffed. "Yeah right."
Shego arched an eyebrow. "Care to explain that one?"
Kim laughed. "You let me win. I know I wasn't that good."
"Oh, don't worry. With some practice, you WILL be good." Shego grinned.
Kim quickly looked over at Shego in surprise, wondering what exactly she meant, and found Shego smirking at her as if she knew what a flushed Kim was thinking.
"What's on your mind, Princess?" Shego practically purred.
"Nothing!" Kim answered, a little too quickly.
Shego didn't reply, but her smirk grew wider.
"Well, how about another game?" Kim tried to change the subject.
"Another game of chess?"
"Do you have anything else in mind?"
"Actually, Pumpkin, I do."
"Well? Don't keep it to yourself."
"Truth or Dare."
"Truth or Dare? But Shego, I can't remember anything. How are we supposed to be able to play?"
"Oh, don't worry about that. I'll think of a way…"
Shego blew an air kiss to Kim, but Kim had already decided that she didn't quite like the predatory gleam in Shego's eyes.
Back upstairs, in a box unknown to Kim, there were several sealed envelopes already addressed to Ron, Wade, the doctors Possible, Monique, and Kim's school. Under the letters, there were two unlabeled vials of small round white tablets.
If Kim had known about these letters, she might have been shocked and surprised – appalled even – to see what had been written about her.
I am writing to you to regretfully inform you of the recent passing of Kim Possible.
Three days ago, Ms. Possible was rushed into the ER department suffering from severe and traumatic head injuries, several broken bones, and a collapsed lung. It appeared as though she was in a major impact collision.
The exact situation of the accident is unknown, as she was unconscious when brought in by a group of mountain hikers who had found her during their daily trek. Despite our best efforts to stabilize her vitals, she passed away within a couple hours of her arrival. An autopsy is being performed even as I write this.
Her parents, relatives, and other friends and colleagues have already been notified of the situation.
Due to her relative fame from being a superhero, and the suspicious circumstances of her death, her body is being kept under close surveillance and we regret to inform you that we are not accepting visitors at this time.
Again, my sincerest regrets and apologies,
Edward Lee, M.D.
Chapter 6: Illusions
June 8, 2005
"More tea?" Shego asked as she took the now-empty cup from Kim.
Kim shook her head vehemently. "No thanks. I'm fine with only about, oh, five cups. Or are we at six now?"
"Sorry Princess. I forget that not everyone is as big a tea drinker as myself."
"Hey, I'm not saying tea is bad, I'm just saying that five or six cups within the time span of a couple of hours is a bit much."
"Its only one cup per chess game." Shego protested.
"Its still herbal overload." Kim replied, rubbing her temples as if she had a headache.
Shego shrugged, but took note of Kim's complaint. "To each her own I guess."
As Shego took the cups back into the kitchen, Kim licked her lips, pondering on the tea's aftertaste. Even with the honey she added, it still was a tad too bitter for her particular preferences. Oh well…
The lapse in conversation and interaction with Shego gave Kim a chance to think over her post-accident life. Everything was almost perfect. Almost.
She couldn't place it, but something was off. Nothing that rang loud and obnoxious alarm bells in her head to send her running away in panic, but still…she could feel something in the air that wasn't quite right.
A muffled thump from Shego jumping over the back of the opposite couch and landing squarely on the cushions snapped Kim out of her thought processes.
"What's on your mind?"
Kim felt her eyes widen in surprise. Was she really that easy to read? Or did Shego just know her too well? She reminded herself that Shego was her girlfriend – of course Shego would be able to read her expressions and body language and know when something was amiss…right?
"Nothing." Kim lied.
"I told you before – " Shego started.
"Yeah, I know. I'm bad at lying." Kim interrupted.
"Well, no offense Princess, but you are." Shego stated. "It could be something you might want to fix later, but right now, don't worry about it. You don't have any reason to lie."
Look who's talking. Shego internally reminded herself.
Kim nodded. "I guess not. I wouldn't even know what to lie about anyways." She tapped her head lightly. "I can't remember anything, remember?"
"Well, I think we need to start fixing that."
"Me learning how to lie?" Kim asked, confusion in her intonation.
"No. You knowing what to lie about."
"You knowing what to lie about." Shego repeated.
"No, I heard you the first time. I don't understand. You're going to tell me what to lie about, and what not to lie about?"
Shego laughed. "Well, sort of."
Shego stood up, walked over to Kim and took a seat next to her. She extended a hand and ruffled Kim's hair before answering.
"You'll find out later."
Kim scowled. "You know I hate it when you do that, right?"
"Do what?" Shego asked, a mock-innocent expression on her face. She continued to run her fingers lightly through Kim's hair, effectively sending chills down Kim's spine. "This?"
"No…" Kim started, temporarily lost in the moment. She shook her head and pulled back from Shego to regain her thoughts. "When you do that mysterious enigma thing…"
Shego shrugged nonchalantly. "Well, I AM an enigma."
"Even to me?"
"What is that supposed to mean?" Kim demanded.
"Whatever you want it to." Shego slyly answered.
"Shego." Kim stated, her expression becoming quite a bit more serious. "I don't know if you were this mysterious before the accident, or if this is a new development, but its driving me crazy. If you were this way before everything happened, then whatever, fine. But right now, I can't have you talking in riddles to me. I've lost my memory for goodness' sake – I can't sit here and try to interpret your half-answers when I can't even remember anything about my life, even really simple stuff like the names of my parents. Speaking of which, who are my parents?"
Shego took a deep breath. She knew the basic facts about Kim's family, but nothing in great detail.
"Well, your mother is a highly respected brain surgeon and your father is a rocket scientist. You have two younger brothers, who happen to be twins."
"Oh? How much younger? What are their names?"
Shego gave a mental growl. Here's the part where everything got a little tricky.
Oh God…I know I've heard her call them by their REAL names before. Why the hell can't I remember now! Of all times!
"They're quite a bit younger, and quite honestly, the only name I've heard you refer to them is The Tweebs. Usually because you're upset with them…"
Shego could see the hypothetical wheels turning in Kim's head, and knew what the girl was thinking. If she and Shego were going out, how could Shego not know the twins' real names? Isn't that basic information that would be shared right away? And what if she wanted to know more about her parents? Oh, crap. Shego held her breath and kept her face expressionless as Kim mulled over everything.
Kim gave a second glance at Shego, and although she didn't immediately say anything, Shego could sense there was a question lurking behind Kim's deep green eyes. Kim opened her mouth, but quickly shut it.
The question remained unasked. But the tension in the air continued to expand. Exponentially.
You know what she's thinking, don't you?
She wants the truth…which is something you've consciously withheld from her. You're a bitch.
Here's your chance then. Let her ask her question.
Give an honest answer.
Give her the truth.
Shego swallowed the lump in her throat and felt a great pain tear through her heart.
You're going to hate me Kimmie. But I can't do this anymore…
"Kimmie…" Shego started. "Ask your question."
Each word she uttered felt like a dagger pushed deeper.
Looking at Shego, Kim could see there was a deep and intense conflict waging itself in the older woman's head. When she had spoken only a few moments earlier, Kim could have sworn she heard raw pain in Shego's voice. Interesting. Kim thought about this unexpected response before choosing her question.
Shego looked at Kim, and for the first time, the cheerleader saw fear in Shego's eyes.
"Shego…" Kim began again. "Do you love me?"
Shego stared intently at the redhead before her. Kim was looking at her expectantly, a soft expression on her face – one that almost said, "Don't worry. Everything's going to be okay."
This is your question, Kimmie? This is the question that has been lurking in your eyes, that you have been so terrified of asking me? No, I know you. There's something else underneath it all. You're still hiding something.
Shego swallowed, knowing that at least time, she would be giving Kim the absolute truth of the situation. "Yes."
It was a single word, but it was somehow charged with a power and intensity foreign to Shego. Unlike many other words that people like toss around and barter back and forth with, at this exact moment, this one word had a real meaning.
Kim nodded solemnly. "That's all I need to know."
And just like that, the question behind Kim's eyes was gone, replaced by a soft knowing smile.
"Well…I think its time to play our game of Truth or Dare." Kim volunteered.
Shego gaped at Kim in surprise.
"I thought you said that…?"
Kim shrugged her shoulders nonchalantly. "I know. But, I'll have to muddle through this. It will be hard, I will be confused and maybe frustrated, but I'll still be moving forward."
She glanced over at Shego. "Does that make any sense?"
Shego nodded. "Perfect."
Kim leaned back into the couch, her shoulders drooping into the soft back cushions as she settled in. "Why don't you start?"
Shego smiled. "As in, you daring me, or me daring you?"
"You may not like my dares, Kimmie." Shego hinted.
"Then I'll have to take that chance." Kim grinned back.
Shego paused, thinking about how exactly she wanted to pursue this delicate matter. The game itself didn't matter. For all she cared, she and Kim could play Go Fish. But no. There was a goal to be accomplished here. Truth or Dare just made for an easier means to achieve it.
"Truth or Dare Kimmie?" Shego asked, letting a wicked glint sparkle in her eyes.
"I'll chicken." Kim blushed. "Truth. But I'm warning you right now, I don't know what dirty secrets you'll be able to uncover as I can't remember anything."
Shego waved her off. "Don't worry. We're not playing this game so I can uncover all your 'dirty secrets.'"
Kim looked a bit befuddled at Shego's response, but nodded nonetheless.
"Princess, how to you feel?"
Kim laughed. "Being one with hardly any thermal regulation, I'm feeling a little chilled right now."
Shego chuckled. "Nice dodge Pumpkin. But you know what I meant."
Kim widened her eyes in a mock gesture of innocence. "Do I?"
"I think you do. But still, that was a worthy answer." Shego did a mock salute.
Kim grinned, obviously pleased with herself. "Now, my turn. Shego…truth or dare."
"Dare. Of course."
"Okay…this has to be a good one."
"Take your time Princess."
"Oooohh, I got it!" Kim exclaimed, clapping her hands together.
"Well? Do tell."
"I dare you to do a backflip."
Shego blinked. "Say what?"
"Aww, come on Shego. Do a backflip. At least try? I promise I won't laugh at you or anything if you fall."
"How is this supposed to be a dare, Kimmie?" Shego said incredulously.
Kim shrugged, looking genuinely confused. "I don't know. It seemed like a crazy request at the moment…is it not?"
Shego laughed. "For anyone else, doing a backflip would be an admirable dare."
"But not for you?"
"You'll see in time Princess, that we're different from everyone else."
Flashing a quick wink in Kim's direction, Shego leaped over the coffee table and in the rest of the open space of the living room, executed a series of Olympic-caliber acrobatics, including both front flips and backflips. When finished, she calmly walked back to have a seat on the couch, a smug expression on her face. Kim noticed that she didn't even break a sweat.
"Umm. Well. I guess I'll have to think of better dares for you in the future." Kim stammered, obviously awed at Shego's show of athletic prowess. In response, Shego gave Kim a knowing smile.
"Don't fret Pumpkin. Once you're all better, you too will be doing backflips again in no time."
Kim scoffed. "Me? Backflips? Riiiight."
"You are not only the world famous superhero who happens to have an eleven o'clock curfew, but you are also a cheerleader."
Kim blinked. "I'm a cheerleader?"
"Yeah, I sorta found it odd at first, but how else do you think you get all that acrobatic practice?"
"Now. My turn."
Perhaps it was the dim lighting, or perhaps it was her imagination, but Shego could have sworn she saw Kim pale.
"Truth of Dare?"
"Ummm…truth. I'm in no condition to do dares."
Shego grinned. "Are you sure you want to choose that Princess? Last time I asked a 'truth' question, you tried to evade it. I'll give you one last shot to choose 'dare' instead."
"Well, I don't think that will be happening because I wouldn't be able to perform any dares."
"And why not?"
"Because I am in no physical condition to be doing any dazzling acrobatic stunts."
"Who said I would ask for that? YOU are the one who seems to have a fascination with gymnastics."
"Nah. I would ask for more…interesting activities." Shego replied thoughtfully, a playful half smile gracing her face.
"Such as?" Kim inquired, not quite understanding what Shego was hinting at.
"Oh, Pumpkin, what I'm thinking of isn't appropriate content for polite conversation." Shego licked her lips suggestively, and Kim appeared to pale even more.
"Now you REALLY have me wanting to stick with my original answer. I shall still go with truth."
"Alright. Tell me, Kimmie…how do you feel? Emotionally, that is."
Kim stared. "Is that really your question, Shego? I mean, you could, you know…try and find out all this dirt about me and blackmail me later and-"
"You're trying to dodge again Kimmie." Shego cut Kim off. "But to answer your question: yes. And you have to answer truthfully. Rules of the game."
"Define 'emotionally' please."
"As in, what is your current emotional state?"
"I feel fine." Kim shrugged nonchalantly, trying to feign passivity. But Shego noticed how the teenager refused to look her in the eye.
"Try again Princess. And this time, don't keep averting your gaze when I try to look at you."
Kim started to reply, but paused, creating a sudden silence.
"Go on." Shego gently urged Kim.
Kim opened her mouth, as if to try a second time, but quickly shut it again.
Wordlessly, Shego stood up from the couch and walked over to have a seat next to Kim. She pulled the red-head into a firm, but gentle embrace, wrapping her arms around Kim's shoulder, one of her hands taking hold of Kim's soft hair, her fingers trailing through it, caressing Kim's scalp. She used her other hand to guide Kim's head to her shoulder.
She whispered in Kim's ear, "You don't have to be strong all the time. Its okay to be scared. It means you're human."
Kim muffled something, but Shego couldn't quite catch it.
"I'm sorry, what was that Princess?"
Kim lifted her head from Shego's shoulder.
"I'm scared. I don't want to admit it, but I am. It makes me feel weak, somehow. And I don't like that feeling."
Shego continued to lightly massage Kim's head. "And that's perfectly alright. Fear is just your body's way of telling you that something isn't right. And in this situation, fear is a very natural and expected response. You're a very strong, stubborn, and aggressive young woman. Even after your accident, you're still all those things. I can tell. I could tell the moment you tried to walk downstairs on your own. Remember that?"
Shego paused and smiled warmly at Kim before going on.
"You're just not used to not being in total control of the situation. This is a first for you."
"What would you know about memory loss?" Kim glumly asked Shego.
"Well, Princess, I see it like this: One day, you're hiking across this empty field, when all of a sudden, out of the sky comes this great big meteor. It happens to hit you squarely on the head and create a great rift in the landscape, pulling you down with it. For the next year or two, your family embarks on a rescue mission, but in the end, they will realize that their loved one has been greatly changed by the ordeal. She had to leave a lot of things back in that rift – things that are impossible to get back. She doesn't know she was hit by a meteor – she might never know. She only knows that she's spent a lot of time in a dark, lonely place."
Kim looked up a Shego to see a solitary tear running down her face. Shego returned Kim's gaze, and Kim could see pained love in her eyes.
"That was…pretty accurate, actually…" Kim whispered.
Shego nodded in understanding. "I thought so."
"How…how did you know that?"
"Does it really matter?"
"Not really. I just thought it was very…" Kim paused, searching for the right word. "Beautiful."
"Just like you."
Kim blushed slightly. "Thank you."
Still nestled in Shego's arms, Kim took a deep breath and settled into the embrace. Shego continued to hold onto the young girl and let herself savor this rare moment of peace between them.
Closing her eyes, her mind drifted to the pre-accident days. The days were she and Kim would fight, trading blows with relative ease, leaving everyone else in the dust. The days where they always seemed engaged in a delicate, but intense, dance, where their lives hung in the balance…where one slip, one miscalculation could result in paying the ultimate price for failure. How Shego both longed for and dreaded to see those days renewed, for the encore to commence.
But for right now, there was serenity.
And Shego liked that.
"So, Shego." Kim said, breaking the silence. "Truth or Dare?"
"I thought so." Kim sighed heavily.
"What's wrong?" Shego inquired.
"You always choose Dare." Kim pouted.
"And what's wrong with that?"
"I can't ask you any Truth questions."
"And I reiterate: What's wrong with that?" Shego mused airily.
"Because I can't learn anything about you. I think right now, the only thing I know about you is your name. Everything else – everything you've told me about me - I'm have to believe on faith."
"Well, Princess…sometimes we have to go on a little faith, because sometimes, that's all we have."
"I guess so. But one day, sooner rather than later, can we sit down and have a serious discussion?"
"So…you're not going to back out and choose Truth?" Kim asked hopefully.
"Not a chance. So. What will you have me do for this round Princess?"
"Errr…TWO backflips this time?"
Shego chuckled. "I think you are capable of thinking up more challenging and death-defying dares than THAT."
From the look in Shego's eyes, Kim could tell she was still falling short of requesting a truly outrageous dare.
"Okay, fine. I dare you to do ten backflips, followed by ten frontflips, do a split, and then do that cool fire-breathing stunt that's always in action-adventure movies."
"Why fire breathing?"
Kim shrugged. "I don't know. I just had this fleeting vision of you and fire. It seemed to fit."
Shego grinned sheepishly.
"Is there something you're not telling me?"
But Shego only grinned like the cat who ate the canary.
The weather in the garden couldn't have been more perfect. The temperature outside had plateau-ed at about 85 degrees Fahrenheit, give or take a few degrees, and although the sun's rays shone strong on the pair, an occasional breeze provided much appreciated relief. Shego had decided that Kim was probably experiencing mild cabin fever, and getting her outside for a little while might break up the repetition of the day's events. The idyllic setting; however, was a sharp contrast to the activities currently taking place.
"HA!" Kim shouted in triumph.
With one fluid sweeping motion, Kim successfully parried Shego's half-lunge before setting up and quickly executing her riposte.
"Very good Princess." Shego commented, while simultaneously taking a retreat from the armed redhead.
"This is fun. I can't wait until I'm all healed – then I can actually bout with you on my own two feet." Kim laughed.
Sitting on one of the kitchen stools Shego had dragged out of the house, Kim was currently holding a practice foil in her right hand – the one that remained uninjured. Shego had suggested that perhaps Kim resume some basic exercising to at least strengthen the muscles that were useable. Fencing had provided an excellent means of doing so, as Kim was still able to bout with her good arm and sit and elevate her broken leg at the same time.
"I can't believe you've never fenced before. With your reflexes and all…"
Shego smiled, seeing the genuine joy shining in Kim's eyes.
Kim shook her head. "I can't remember. But if you say so. Nonetheless, when I regain use of all my limbs, I'm definitely picking this sport up ASAP."
Shego laughed. "It's exhilarating, no?"
Kim nodded. "Indeed."
With a slight flick in her wrist, Shego advanced one step while making a feint to Kim's left side before a disengage to the right. With a circle parry 6, Kim was able to successfully parry Shego's attack.
"Good." Shego said, approval lining her voice. "But you forgot to riposte. Remember: Parry, riposte. Parry, riposte. Always."
"Then let's try this again."
A flash of movement, silver glinting in the afternoon sun, and the distinctive clang of swords coming into contact with each other sounded through the hazy air.
"Here you are." Shego gave Kim yet another cup of herbal tea.
"Shego…please…no more tea." Kim moaned while making a motion of rubbing her stomach as if full. "I'm tired of tea."
Sighing, Kim took a sip, which resulted in a fit of coughing.
"What's wrong?" Shego asked, her eyes focused on Kim. Kim wiped her mouth with the back of her hand and stuck out her tongue.
"This is awful-tasting. What weird herbs are in THIS concoction of yours?"
Shego shrugged. "Its just tea. Its what I've been giving you all along. But if you find it so bitter, I'll go get you some honey."
Kim watched as Shego disappeared into the kitchen, muttering something about having to deal with Kim on a sugar-rush. Inwardly, the amnesiac sighed and took the chance to study her drink. It was definitely more bitter tasting today than before. Bringing the cup to her nose, Kim noticed that it also smelled different. Not by too much – it was still herbal-smelling, like chamomile, but there was an extra unrecognizable scent to it.
Back in the kitchen, Shego retrieved the honey from the cabinet. She turned to head back to the living room, but paused. Reaching up into the top-most cabinet above the refrigerator, Shego pulled out two small orange vials that rattled from whatever was rolling around inside them. She turned them over in her free hand, double-checking the labels.
Shrugging, she carefully put them back, pushing them as far into the cabinet as they would go, almost as if she were trying to hide them from the casual observer. Stopping by the sink, she briefly turned on the water to rinse off two spoons that had been coated with white powder, the remnants of a crushed…something.
"Let's see who loves us." Ron exclaimed as he opened the mailbox. "Bills, bills, bills…hey, what's this?"
A single white envelope actually addressed to him.
"Boo-yah! I got mail!"
Rufus responded by slapping Ron a high-five.
Tearing open the envelope, and paying no attention to the return address, Ron wrestled the single piece of paper free and began to read, his eyes going wide as he choked out portions of the letter aloud to Rufus, who was already reading over his shoulder.
"Ron Stoppable…Three days ago, Ms. Possible was rushed into the ER department suffering from severe and traumatic head injuries, several broken bones, and a collapsed lung…The exact situation of the accident is unknown… Her parents…already been notified of the current situation…being kept under close surveillance…not permitting any visitors…sincerest apologies…"
"Rufus…" Ron sighed, as the letter fluttered to the ground, unnoticed. "I can't believe it…she…she's gone? Just like that? Gone?"
Rufus hang his head and chirped out a word that sounded an awful lot like "Kim."
Shaking his head, somewhat violently, Ron reached into his backpack and violently grabbed the spare Kimmunicator, scattering books and loose leaf paper in the process. A few seconds later, he had the right channel.
"Wade, I need to know something NOW."
Wade looked surprised at the sudden outburst, but regained his composure.
"The last mission Kim went on, who was she going up against?"
Looking at Ron, Wade could see something was definitely wrong. There was raw unbridled anger looking back at him through Ron's normally calm (if not dazed) eyes.
Typing furiously at his computer, Wade got took a look at his screen, but looked hesitant to continue.
"Well, I have her mission history here, but don't you think you should – "
"NO! Tell me what you know NOW!" Ron interrupted.
Taken aback at Ron's rare show of intense emotion, Wade took another glance at his computer.
"She was going to try and disassemble Drakken's newest–"
"Drakken, got it."
Ron clenched his fists together.
"Wade, get me a jet. A fast one. And tell me where I can find Drakken. Where there's Drakken, there's Shego."
Chapter 7: Paradise Lost
June 9, 2005
"How's that Princess?"
Shego moved her index fingers and thumb first up and down, then from side to side against Kim's soft skin. The sensations she was generating were nothing short of positively amazing.
"Mmmm…" Kim trailed off, her eyes closed, her mind wandering.
The side to side motions suddenly shifted into circular ones moving ever so higher, sending miniscule muscle spasms through Kim's body.
"Mmmm." Kim moaned, apparently unaware of the sounds her throat was emitting.
Shego paused in her ministrations, grinning at Kim.
"Use words Pumpkin. I can't understand mumblings."
Kim opened her eyes and lifted her head to meet Shego's eyes. Kim was lying on her back on the bed with Shego crouched at the end, gingerly holding Kim's right foot and leg in her arms and gently massaging the unused and ignored muscles in Kim's lower leg.
"That was great."
"I'm glad you thought so."
"Have I told you that you would make an amazing massage therapist?"
Shego chuckled. "Maybe once or twice."
"Well, you would."
Shego smiled and crawled up, shifting her weight so that she was straddling Kim. She leaned over the cheerleader and quickly planted a soft kiss on her forehead.
"As I've always said to you before, we don't want your muscles atrophying. Even though you can't really exercise, we can still take measures to make sure you stay in shape."
Kim nodded wordlessly, trying not to think about the situation she found herself in – pinned under Shego…on a bed.
"Well, I think its time for breakfast. Hungry?" Shego asked.
A muffled rumbling of Kim's stomach answered the question before Kim could, making Shego laugh.
"I'll be downstairs making pancakes and tea."
Kim rolled her eyes.
"Why more tea? Haven't you ever heard of orange juice? Or coffee? Or any other consumable liquid that's NOT tea?"
Shego looked up at Kim in surprise. "You drink coffee?"
"No. But I'm just saying…"
"Tea. Its good for you."
"No offense, but its been horrible tasting."
"Add more honey."
"No. You are. Be back in a few Princess."
And without another word, Shego strode out of the room and downstairs to the kitchen and Kim let herself flop back onto the bed, letting out a contented sigh.
This is perfect…
But something kept nagging at her inside.
Maybe she had been drinking too much of that damned tea…
The gentle and soothing sound of hot water being stirred reverberated through the small kitchen downstairs.
"Hmmm…" Shego mused as she realized that she was down to the last two bags of citrus chamomile.
Taking a quick look behind her to make sure Kim hadn't snuck up behind her, Shego reached into the cabinet on top of the sink and retrieved the two vials. Popping off the tops, she took one white tablet from each container before replacing them back in the cabinet. Walking over to the counter, she took two spoons and crushed the pills between them, pouring the contents into one of the cups and stirring to dissolve. To the cup with the added ingredients, Shego added a generous amount of honey to disguise the bitter taste of the tablets.
Walking back upstairs, Shego handed the altered tea to Kim while keeping the normal cup for herself.
"Drink up Pumpkin."
Kim took a tentative sip and nodded in approval.
"Ahhh, this is much better. What did you do different?"
"Added honey. A lot."
"Well, this is MUCH better." Kim smiled as she took another two gulps.
"I'm glad you like it. Remember to finish the whole thing. Then you can bring the cup downstairs and have some breakfast."
"Oooooh, you're letting me walk downstairs on my own?" Kim asked, her tone incredulous.
Shego sighed heavily.
"If you want to Princess."
Kim nodded earnestly. "Now, THAT, I CAN do."
"I'll see you downstairs then."
And once again, Shego exited the room with a flourish.
Sighing for a second time, Kim hoisted herself upright. Grabbing a spare hair tie from the nightstand, she pulled her long red hair into a loose ponytail and raised her arms above her head in an extremely satisfied stretch. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, Kim gingerly stood up. Her right hand took hold of the crutch that Shego had supplied for her, and with one swift motion, she stood up, balancing most of her weight on her left leg.
"Okay…" She said to herself. "We can do this. Even though I'm terribly unbalanced with unsymmetrical injuries. One step at a time."
As Kim was about to leave the room, a small something hiding just under the bed caught her eye. She probably wouldn't have ever spotted it, but the white color was a stark contrast to the darker and cooler green and black color scheme that dominated the room. Squinting, she was able to discern that it was a scrap of something – perhaps a magazine or newspaper clipping. Upon closer inspection, she found it was a small piece of plain old copy paper.
"Hmm, what's this?" She muttered to the empty room as she hobbled over to pick it up.
On it, there were several black scribbles and violent-looking cross-outs, most of them illegible and nonsense. But, Kim was able to decipher two of the phrases.
Narrowing her eyes as she read the text written rather unceremoniously on the paper, it took a few seconds for Kim to register her shock and surprise.
"…tragic accident, fell to her death…" and "….memory loss."
What the hell? What's going on?
"WHAT DID YOU DO TO KP!" Ron shouted at Dr. Drakken with Rufus perched on his shoulder and frowning as if to provide an extra measure of intimidation.
After rather noisily crashing into Drakken's not-quite-so-secret lair, Ron and Rufus had stumbled through the pseudo-maze inside to find the blue-skinned scientist crouching over some new world domination invention. The syntho-drones were nowhere to be found, and with Shego's absence, neither of the dynamic duo had to worry about dodging green plasma balls. Upon finding Drakken, Ron grabbed him and pushed him up against a wall with a loud thud.
"Look, I don't know, okay?" Drakken exclaimed, throwing his hands up.
"YOU DID SOMETHING TO HER!"
"Did not, did not, did not!" Drakken countered in a singsong voice.
Frustrated, Ron let Drakken fall to the ground with a muffled thud. Seemingly unfazed, Drakken picked himself up and began to dust himself off and straighten his dark blue coat. Narrowing his eyes at the blonde sidekick whose name he always seemed to forget, he began to wonder where the cheerleader was.
"So…where is dear Kimberly Ann Possible?" Drakken mocked Ron.
In response, Ron spun around and punched the mad scientist squarely in the jaw, his anger flaring up with surprising intensity.
"Don't you EVER talk about her in front of me! How could you! I knew you were evil and all, but come ON!"
Taken aback by Ron's outburst, Drakken silenced himself from making any more comments. Ron slumped down, Rufus right beside him.
"I can't believe what you did, you bastard." Ron spat out.
His eyes widening in surprise, Drakken gaped at sidekick before him.
"Oh no, I didn't – " Drakken got out before Ron interrupted him.
"YES YOU DID!"
What began as a statement borne of anger and fury and rage slowly transformed into one of grief and suffering.
Drakken stood where he was, speechless. It was the first time he had seen Ron not only be able to successfully perform a mission without Kim – that was, breaking into his lair, but it was also the first time he had witnessed Ron express a real emotion, one other than his typical laissez-faire attitude. Normally the bumbling sidekick added a bit of humorous interlude between bouts of intense combat, and sometimes, even his awkwardness proved to have beneficial effects.
This was something totally different.
This was serious.
"What's wrong with you, you buffoon?" Drakken inquired.
"Isn't it obvious?" Ron growled as he slowly stood up again, turning to face the doctor. "I'm here to find out what you did to KP."
"I told you before – I didn't do anything."
Without a word, Ron reached into his pocket to produce the letter he had received in the mail. He practically thrust it in the other man's face.
"Then explain THIS!"
His eyes narrowed, Dr. Drakken paused a moment to read the contents of the letter so rudely shoved in front of him.
"Oh. OH!" He exclaimed when finished, rubbing his hands together, a burst of laughter escaping his throat.
"Oh, so NOW you remember." Ron mocked.
"Oh, so many possibilities now that Kim Possible is no longer in the picture. No more will that darned superhero take away my victories! No more Kim Possible! HA!"
Crossing his arms, Rufus frowned.
"Soooo…" Ron started, trying very hard to ignore Drakken's gleeful gloating. "You didn't do anything to KP?"
"Not I, not a thing."
Ron sighed, only to be rewarded with a strange and inquisitive look from Drakken.
"What are you looking at?" Ron challenged the villain.
"Oh, nothing." Drakken replied airily, as he continued to skip around the room chanting about how the teen cheerleader was out of the picture.
Disappointed, Ron and Rufus quietly slipped away, unnoticed by the singing mad scientist.
Once outside, Ron slumped down, defeated, on the hard ground. He turned his head to take a look at his trusty animal sidekick, his gaze empty and emotionless.
"It was all a waste, Rufus. Drakken didn't know what happened to Kim. He obviously didn't do it, because he obviously had no idea she…she was..." Ron cut off suddenly, unable to continue and admit, to himself maybe, what had happened.
Rufus nodded his head in agreement. "Yeah."
"I guess we're back at square one, huh?" Ron sighed, as he flipped on the Kimmunicator.
"Hey Ron. How did it go?" Wade inquired, looking slightly dissatisfied with something. "Did you find out what he did to Kim?"
Ron shook his head and Wade sighed.
"Ron, I know you're upset about Kim – we all are, but you can't just go around trying to dish out revenge."
"Because you don't even know what happened! Its possible that she just got herself in an accident – no villains nor foul play involved. I mean, it is unlikely that Kim would slip up like that, but remember the tough week she was having?"
Narrowing his eyes, Ron reached into his pocket to pull out a dog-eared and waterlogged piece of now-yellow paper. He waved it in front of the Kimmunicator before stretching it out in front of the screen so Wade could read the text.
"Letter! We both have it! Have you read it lately?"
"Yeah, I –"
"Then why are you just sitting there? Why are you not, like, tracing her or something? I know Dr. Lee said that no one could come and visit, but I'm her best friend and sidekick. I'm sure I could get in, you know…just to see her…you know…even though she's…" Ron couldn't bring himself to say the last word.
"For all intents and purposes…gone?" Wade finished for Ron.
"Ron, I told you before. I can't pick up any signal, not even when I hacked into all the government satellites, which, trust me, wasn't an easy thing to do. Her Kimmunicator must have been completely destroyed or dismantled in some way. I…I think we might just have to wait, and see what happens – you know – if anyone confesses. I mean, with something this big, some villain is going to gloat about it."
"See what happens? SEE WHAT HAPPENS!" Ron shouted at the tiny screen. "I'm not just going to sit here while Kim's attacker is running loose. I thought it was Drakken, but he seemed surprised, I mean, really surprised."
Wade shrugged. "Is it possible that Drakken was faking it?"
"I don't know. I don't think so."
"Then I don't know what I can tell you Ron. The trace programs can't turn up anything." Wade remarked as he stared at the computer screen.
"Well, keep looking. And if you find anything, let me know."
"Now, uh, Wade?"
"Can you get us a ride home? I'm freezing out here. And I can't even think about how poor Rufus feels."
"No more Kim Possible. Hmm…I wonder what happened." Drakken mused to himself, once the buffoon and his naked mole rat were gone.
Pacing back and forth in his not-so-secret lair, Drakken mentally replayed the events of the last encounter he had with Team Possible. As usual, he had been attempting to use his newest invention, which happened to be a small and portable time travel machine (and energy efficient); however, that interfering teen superhero had to…well…intervene. Damn her.
Drakken frowned and scratched his head. He actually didn't remember all that much that had happened to Kim that day, probably because the cheerleader had been busy battling Shego.
Speaking of the devil…where was she?
"Well, good morning Princess." Shego smiled as she heard Kim noisily enter the kitchen.
"Ahh, you heard me."
"Only from about a mile away. You need to practice your stealth."
"Well, sorry, oh-mighty-ninja for trying to walk with like, ten zillion broken bones."
"Well, whose fault is that?"
Shego turned around from the stove with a large plate full of pancakes.
"Breakfast time, Princess...what's wrong?"
Shego paused mid-stride to study Kim, whose head was tilted and was looking at her with an amused expression on her face and half a smirk beginning to form on her lips.
"Oh...you, uh…you wouldn't happen to have a pink frilly apron, would you?"
Shego narrowed her eyes at Kim.
"No." Shego replied slowly. "Why do you ask?"
"I just had this image of you in a pink frilly apron, and I look at you and say 'Nice…apron.'"
Shego stared at Kim, dumbfounded and half mortified. Of all the things to remember, her brain had to pick the time when she happened to be wearing the color pink.
Kim shook her head and said, almost as if to herself, "Never mind. I'm sure it was a weird dream or something."
"Yeah, probably. Can you really imagine me in pink?"
"Nah. I mean, only if you being mind controlled or something like that and someone MADE you wear pink. But other than that, no, not really."
Shego cringed inwardly. Recently, Kim was beginning to hit a little too close to home. It was a good thing, because it meant Kim was starting to remember who she was…but Shego wasn't too sure if she liked that. It was a good sign, because it meant that Kim's brain was healing, but then again, it also meant that soon Kim would realize the gig was up, and that they were archenemies. Her mind flashed to the secret box upstairs and the vials of white tablets she kept carefully hidden from Kim.
The sudden loud (and rather annoying, as she was noticing) ring of the phone snapped Shego out of her reverie right away. She quickly strode over to the blasted thing and picked up the receiver, still wondering what was going on, a slight feeling of fear and dread beginning to form in her gut. The only person who knew her home number was…
Ignoring Kim's inquisitive look, Shego turned her back to the girl to have a pseudo-private conversation with the mystery caller.
There was a momentary pause.
"Oh, Doctor D, hi." There was another temporary pause as Shego looked over her shoulder to the redhead sitting at her table before continuing her phone conversation with Drakken. "Don't worry. Everything's going fine. You know my vacation days, the ones I haven't taken yet? Yeah, I'm using them now….Its not your business…Bye."
Shego hung up and returned to the table to have a seat next to Kiim.
"Who was that?" Kim asked, as she reached over the table to grab the syrup, her plate heaped full of pancakes.
"Just my boss."
"Yeah. Doctor D was wondering where I am."
"Oh. Are you supposed to be at work then?"
"Kind of. But I haven't taken my vacation days yet, so I'm taking them now." Shego smiled at Kim, and Kim was overcome by a warm feeling of being cared for and protected.
"Well…thanks for taking time off to help me." Kim smiled over at Shego, who kindly returned the gaze.
As the two began to eat in relative silence, Shego's mind began to drift. How long could she realistically keep up this charade? Kim was bound to regain her memories soon, and unless Shego stepped up her seduction efforts, when Kim found out the truth, she would be furious. Hell, she might be furious anyway.
"Hey! Everything okay?" Kim looked over at the raven-haired woman, her face showing a hint of concern.
"Nope. Everything's fine." Shego smiled back.
You're lying… Kim thought.
Pushing her plate aside, Shego stood up and walked over to the stove. "I'm getting myself some more tea. You?"
"Aww, geez Shego. Sure, I would absolutely looove ANOTHER cup of tea." Kim retorted, sarcasm dripping from her voice.
"Fine Pumpkin. I'll get you a glass of orange juice."
"Only for you Princess…only for you." Shego muttered.
"What was that, Shego?" Kim demanded from across the room.
"Oh, nothing." Shego replied in a singsong voice while Kim rolled her eyes in exasperation.
Pacing back and forth in Bueno Nacho, Ron was slowly becoming more irritated than ever. Munching on a Naco, Rufus was giving Ron his most sympathetic look.
"I don't get it Rufus. I mean, if the last mission Kim went on was against Dr. Drakken, but Drakken doesn't know what's going on."
"Hmmm." Rufus contributed.
"So, what could have happened? I don't think Kim would just mess up that badly. I mean she's a cheerleader, she's a world famous hero, she just wouldn't like trip and end up with a traumatic head injury and several broken bones, and whatever else that damn letter said she had. Someone did something to her, and once I find out who, he's gonna pay."
Ron sighed heavily and slumped down in the nearest empty booth.
All of a sudden, Rufus's face lit up and he jumped up, waving his heads at Ron.
"What?" Ron narrowed his eyes at Rufus. "Its like you're trying to talk to me…"
Seeing how he obviously wasn't getting his point across verbally, Rufus began jumping up and down and extending his arms out in front of him, almost as if he was trying to throw something.
"Dude, what's your malfunction?"
Slapping a paw against his forehead in frustration, Rufus ran over to the plate of food and stuck his front paws into the guacamole, before flinging it in Ron's direction.
"Rufus, dude, you totally lost…" Eyes growing wide, Ron halted mid-sentence, as he finally realized what Rufus had been trying to tell him.
"Truth or Dare, Shego?"
After enjoying a leisurely breakfast (which included orange and cranberry juice, much to Kim's delight and amazement), Kim had requested a rematch game of Truth or Dare. It wasn't that anyone had "won" or "lost" the first game, but Kim had been thinking about the past few days. It wasn't that Shego was mistreating her – in fact, Shego had been unbelievably nice, caring, concerned, and a whole array of other complimentary adjectives.
But…the nagging feeling that had been eating at Kim's gut still wasn't going away. In fact, it was slowly growing stronger and more insistent. There was something amiss here, and Kim couldn't quite figure it out on her own; she could see that there was text, but she couldn't read the words.
She decided to take the hypothetical plunge. It was sink or swim.
"AGAIN! How many dirty secrets do you have, Shego?" Kim demanded.
"None." Shego lied.
"Then why are you afraid of answering any Truth questions?"
"Because Dare questions are always more entertaining. You can learn a lot about people from what they ask you to do for a dare."
"Fine. I dare you to answer this question truthfully, if you have the guts, that is. How did we meet, and how long have we been going out?"
Shego smiled, almost as if she were a proud parent.
"You're learning Pumpkin."
"Well, are you going to answer the question, or not?"
"Keep your pants on, I'll answer it. But…"
"But you're not being quite fair. You said 'Answer this question' which denotes one question. But you're really asking two." Shego reasoned, while idly twirling a stray piece of her hair around her pinky finger.
"Am not. I'm asking one multi-part question."
Shego's smile grew wider, and she commented, almost as if she were a teacher encouraging a student, "Good girl."
"So, are you going to answer or not?"
Smiling and letting herself relax, Shego began a story. It was the story she had mentally rehearsed millions of times, the story that she had edited and re-edited to perfection.
But now…now it was time for the performance.
A few hours later found Kim perched on the couch next to Shego. Her knees were brought up to her chest so that she was in the fetal position, and her head was resting on Shego's shoulder. Her eyes were puffy and bloodshot, and her arms hung limply by her side. One of Shego's hands was gently holding one of Kim's, their fingers intertwined. A serious and solemn silence was present in the air.
"I can't believe it." Kim whispered, her voice cracking with emotion.
"Believe what?" Shego tilted her head sideways so that her cheek made contact with Kim's hair.
"That my family…that they are so, you know…" Kim trailed off.
"Conservative? Close-minded?" Shego prompted helpfully.
Kim nodded glumly.
"I know its hard to have to hear it again Princess." Shego soothed the redhead. "But it was the reason I knew I couldn't take you to your parents or other family members when you woke up with no memories. I knew they would try and brainwash you into thinking that lesbians were these soulless creatures from hell. I knew they would try and keep us separated."
Kim leaned in closer to Shego and wrapped her arms around the pale green-skinned girl.
"Thanks I guess. I'm just surprised that everyone got THAT upset at me when I told them I was dating you." Kim sniffled.
Shego nodded. "When you told your parents and your friends, they just began treating you like dirt – all because you were gay and they didn't approve. Intolerance can be such a bitch sometimes."
"But, can't I see them though? I mean, they may think I'm this horrible immoral excuse for a human because I'm dating a girl…but, they're still my parents, and I still love them, and on some level, they must still love me…right?"
"I guess so, but don't you find it odd that you haven't heard back from them since you woke up? If they loved you, wouldn't they try to call or write to see if you were okay, and see how you were doing?"
"Well, no, they haven't, but-"
"Then that means, Kimmie, that they don't care. I know it hurts you, and you know how I can't bear to see you in pain, but you have to face the truth. Your parents don't approve of us dating. They don't approve of you being a lesbian. They never did. My god Princess…if I had taken you back to your parents, they would have never let us see each other again! I did this for your own good! I did this for us!"
Shego looked at the younger girl currently sitting in her lap and could see the flurry of emotions flitting through her head. Anger, sadness, disbelief, agony, angst, heartbreak.
"Shego…" Kim started, taking a deep breath and gathering her nerves together. When she looked up at Shego, her eyes were hard and determined. "I don't even know if I'm a lesbian. Its only what you've been telling me."
"Kimmie. I've always told you that only you can decide how you feel. If you're not attracted to me, then you're not. If you are, then you are. I can't tell you anything. I -"
"I know that Shego!" Kim interrupted, her voice rising. "What I'm trying to tell you is that there's something wrong, there's something off here! Can't you feel it? Something is not right! This place…you…me!"
"This is normal Kimmie." Shego attempted to soothe the ranting redhead. "You're suffering from memory loss, things will seem different for a while, and you'll be confused for some time, but I'm here to help you work your way through it all."
Shego moved in to wrap Kim into a tight embrace, but Kim pushed her away. Stunned at this new and unexpected reaction, Shego stared at the girl, fear slowly creeping into her being. Did Kim remember?
"No Shego. No. I think I can trust my gut instinct on this. There is something wrong here." Kim reiterated sternly.
Shego's heart dropped.
"And what's that, Princess?"
"I want the truth Shego. The whole truth." Kim sighed heavily, as if she had to expend effort to speak. "Why won't you let me see my friends and family? Why won't you let me out of the house? Why am I not at a hospital if I'm so messed up? Why haven't I seen any doctors?"
Kim paused a moment before continuing her tirade. "Shego, I want to trust you, I really do. I just feel that there's something you're not telling me, but I also think you really don't want to hurt me at the same time. I'm so confused, and the only person I know right now is you…and I don't even really know you."
Shego closed her eyes, but Kim was continuing, her voice timid.
"Actually…I'm a little afraid of you." For a brief second, Kim look ashamed as she admitted her true feelings.
"What are you scared of?" Shego asked, her voice emotionless and dead, her eyes closed tightly as if she were trying to shut out the world.
"That you'll hurt me for what I've just said to you." Kim whispered, staring at the floor.
As Shego slowly turned her head to gaze at the cheerleader, Kim cringed. In a swift motion, Shego reached over to seize Kim by her good wrist. Ignoring Kim's cries of protest, Shego grabbed the girl into a tight embrace, planting gentle kisses on Kim's forehead. Whispering in her ear, Shego tried once again to soothe the panicked girl.
"I'm sorry Princess…I'm so sorry. I love you, you know this right? I'm only trying to protect you. Do you understand?"
Shego felt Kim give the slightest of nods.
"What can I do to earn your love?" Shego asked softly, a hint of wistfulness in her voice.
"You already have it." Kim murmured from within the confines of Shego's embrace. "But I want to see my family."
As Shego tilted Kim's head to look at her, Kim saw infinite sadness in Shego's dark eyes.
It was a request and a demand at the same time. And as Shego continued to stare into Kim's silent pleading eyes, Shego knew she had no choice.
"Alright Princess. Tomorrow, I'll take you to see your family."
A ghost of a smile appeared on Kim's face.
And in silence, they sat there, both of them finally having found a bit of personal peace.
"Harder Kimmie." Shego yelled through gritted teeth, her gaze fixed on the redhead in front of her.
"I'm trying!" Kim protested, wiping a few droplets of sweat from her brow. "But I can't-"
"Yes you can! You can do anything! Now try harder!" Shego commanded.
Squeezing her eyes shut, Kim attempted to execute another series of extensions and parries.
After a cathartic afternoon and leisurely dinner, Shego had suggested that they burn off extra energy through basic fencing drills. Of course, Kim still wasn't able to use her legs, so practicing any footwork was out of the picture. To compensate, Shego had designed several drills that only involved bladework. As Kim did her extension, at last minute, she disengaged to the right, then to the left, and one last time to the right before she was supposed to do a parry six to Shego's attack and riposte.
Well, that is what was supposed to happen.
Instead, as Kim went to execute her second disengage, a sharp pain in her wrist forced her to drop the practice foil, her face already twisted in a grimace. She looked down at the sword as it clattered to the ground. As she raised her gaze, she noticed that Shego had her own foil aimed directly at Kim's heart.
"That's an interesting tactic, Princess."
Lowering her sword and pulling off her gauntlet, Shego took a few steps towards the pained fencer, taking Kim's wrist in her hands. Gently and lovingly, she began to examine and lightly massage Kim's wrist.
"What happened?" she inquired softly.
"I went to disengage, and a flash of pain shot through my arm."
"Your whole arm?"
"No. Just the wrist."
Shego nodded as she turned Kim's hand over to have a look at the opposite side.
"Aha." She smiled knowingly.
"What? What's wrong?" Kim asked.
"You've been putting too much strain on your one good wrist. You've been using it to bear almost all your weight on the crutch, right?"
Kim nodded slowly.
"I thought so."
"So? What are we going to do about it?"
Shego grinned. "I guess it means you shouldn't be walking around."
"But how will I get around?" Kim protested.
"I could always carry you around the house." Shego suggested, a sparkle in her eyes.
"Shego! Well…" Kim paused, as if she had to double-think her opinion. "I guess that wouldn't be so bad."
"Of course not."
And with half a smile on her face, and in one swift motion, Shego scooped Kim up in her arms as if the cheerleader weighed little more than an empty cardboard box. Her action was rewarded with a yelp of surprise from Kim, who threw her arms around Shego's neck.
"Shego!" Kim giggled.
Kim chuckled and grinned in delight, but her laughter quickly died when she took notice that Shego had abruptly stopped walking. As she turned her gaze toward the raven-haired woman, she could see that Shego was definitely not happy with something.
"What's wrong?" Kim whispered in Shego's ear, only to be answered with an enraged hiss.
Following Shego's gaze, Kim saw a blonde-haired boy and a hairless rat standing in the driveway adjacent to the garden they had been practicing in.
"Oh, look. The sidekick." Shego snarled, her grip on Kim tightening slightly.
"What?" Kim looked back and forth between the two. "Umm, Shego?"
"Don't mind him Princess." Shego soothed the confused redhead, planting a quick kiss on the back of Kim's head.
"Don't mind him? You bitch!" The boy exclaimed, his hands curling into fists.
Shego arched an eyebrow. "Oooh. What language!"
"Shut up Shego." Ron turned his gaze to Kim, the anger in his eyes dissipating slightly as he saw her. "KP…"
"Who are you?" Kim demanded, still nestled in Shego's arms. "And why are you angry at my girlfriend?"
The boy stared back at her, his jaw dropping open. His little hairless rat slapped a paw against its head.
"Girlfriend? KP, you can't be serious."
Her eyes trained on Ron, Shego gently placed Kim on the ground before taking a stand in front of Kim to face the irate boy.
"Go home, Sidekick." Shego said slowly, enunciating each syllable, with a particular element of disdain on the last word.
"Or what?" Ron challenged back.
As Kim could only watch in horror and surprise and confusion, Shego's hands seemed to spontaneously catch green fire. She took what Kim could only assume was an offensive fighting stance, holding her fire-engulfed hands threateningly towards the intruder.
When she spoke, her voice was dripping with venom.
"Or you'll wish that you've never been born."
Chapter 9: The Truth Hurts
June 9, 2005
"KP?" Ron's concerned voice shook Kim out her nightmare as she bolted upright.
Blinking, Kim looked around, taking in her new surroundings. Once again, she found herself sitting on a bed, but this time, she noticed she was in a hospital setting. The blinds on the large window were drawn, and bright sunlight was streaming into the room. Over her head, a monitor was steadily beeping – it was her heart, she realized. Feeling a strange, but somehow familiar sensation in her arm, Kim looked down to see an IV catheter inserted in her vein, which was attached to a rhythmic drip of Lactated Ringer's solution. Clothed in a scant white hospital dress, she shuddered and pulled the beige blankets closer to her chilled body. That blonde boy with the naked mole rat – Ron – was sitting on a chair next to her bed, his leg elevated and an ice pack taped to his foot…the foot that Shego had stomped on, Kim realized.
At once, a flood of terribly conflicting emotions surged through her. Anger and rage at having been betrayed by someone she thought was a friend…someone she thought she liked (and perhaps loved). Still though, her feelings of resentment were muted by sharp pangs of attraction she felt towards the raven-haired woman, and Kim was sure that no amount of lying could have tricked her into feeling that way. Shego HAD taken her in and attempted to treat her – it was a genuine gesture of caring on her part. Right? But then again…Shego had killed two officers – she was a murderer. Or, maybe, murderess?
But for the immediate moment, there were more important matters to deal with.
"Where am I?" Kim asked Ron, still clutching the somewhat rough hospital blanket to her chest.
"The Middleton Hospital. You're back home."
Ron nodded. "You were having some sort of nightmare I guess. You screamed 'you lied to me' before waking up." He extended a hand to pat Kim on her back in a small gesture of support. "You okay?"
Kim nodded slowly and Ron smiled warmly.
"Okay then. I'll send your parents in."
"What!" Kim exclaimed as she leaned forward to grab Ron's arm before he had the chance to stand up. Ron winced slightly before smiling as he felt Kim's strength. Obviously, her lost memories had done nothing to offset her years of toned muscles. Flashing another gentle smile at his best friend, Ron gave her a soft pat on the head to reassure her, but Kim still looked uneasy, a bit of fear still flickering through her green eyes.
Oh my god. Kim thought, suppressing a reflexive urge to panic. I hope my parents still love me. I hope that they don't think I'm some kind of freak because I'm a lesbian.
What if they don't? What if they treat me like some kind of outcast? I wish Shego were here. She would help me out.
Kim shook her head furiously.
No. Don't think about her!
"Your parents. They're right outside the door. They've been waiting for you to wake up." Ron was explaining.
"Oh. Oh, okay. Sure! Uhh, send them in!" Kim breathed, her excitement and nervousness evident in her voice as she quickly let go of Ron's arm, having enough sense to appear embarrassed at her outburst.
"Don't worry, KP. It'll be alright." Ron smiled at her again before walking out the door.
Kim let out a tired sigh. This was all too confusing, and she didn't have enough time to sort through her scrambled thoughts. Perhaps her parents would be able to help. Parents usually had that innate and uncanny ability to fix everything when it seemed that life was falling apart.
Kim swallowed as she heard the quiet click of the door handle turning, followed immediately by the creak of the door swinging open.
'Mom!' Was the first thought in her mind as she recognized the fiery red hair of her mother, a red shade that was her own.
"Kimmie!" Her mother exclaimed, running over to hold Kim in a fierce embrace, several tears already tracing paths down her cheeks.
"Kimmie-cub!" James Timothy Possible cried out moments later, following Kim's mother's example. "We were so worried about you!"
"Mom! Dad!" Kim gasped, suddenly finding herself in the embrace of two emotional parents. At once, she felt a wave of cool relief wash through her. This was the greeting she had been hoping for - this was what she wanted.
They don't hate me! Kim realized, letting out a sigh. She lied…she lied about THIS too! Damn you Shego!
"How are you doing!" Both doctor Possibles exclaimed simultaneously, their words barely discernable as they were choked with tears. "Are you alright? What did that Shego person do to you? Where have you been all this time? Where was she keeping you?"
"Let go! Can't…breathe!" Kim squeaked, gesturing her arms wildly to emphasize her point.
Finally understanding what their daughter was attempting to communicate, both the doctors let go of Kim and took a step back, but still staying within a small radius of their daughter.
"Kim…first off…are you alright?" Kim's mother asked slowly while taking the time to visibly examine her daughter, looking for obvious skin abrasions and bruises.
"Yeah." Kim answered, taking a precursory glance at herself, almost as if doing the same thing. "I feel fine."
"What exactly happened in the first place?" Kim's mother continued, now moving on to inspect Kim's older injuries, critiquing the bandages and splints for their effectiveness and tightness around the skin and circulation system.
"I…I don't remember." Kim admitted. "I mean, I think I might remember, but I'm not sure if my, I guess you could call them visions, are real, or dreams."
"Hmm. They could be either. What do you think you remember?"
Kim's father had taken a seat on the chair that Ron had been occupying only minutes earlier, letting Kim's mother continue with her questioning and examination of Kim. She was, after all, a brain surgeon.
"Well…I dreamt of falling. Just…falling and not being able to stop myself. I hit the ground and keep thinking to myself how it hurts so much, I just want to die to make the pain end."
"Falling is a very common theme in dreams and nightmares." Kim's mother admitted. "But, then again, considering the type of work you do, there is the very real possibility that you did experience a nasty tumble. Do you remember why you were falling, or even where you fell?"
Tapping a certain nerve bundle near her elbow, Kim's arm jerked involuntarily, effectively hitting the woman. Kim looked horrified, but Dr. Possible just smiled approvingly.
"Sorry!" Kim squeaked, her face red, but her mother shrugged nonchalantly.
"Don't be. I was testing your reflexes. Yours are still good, just in case you're wondering."
"Okay…but I think I knew that already." Kim chuckled, her mind reveling in her ability to be able to laugh again.
A feeling of well-being started creeping its way through her, and Kim felt herself begin to relax somewhat. The last time she felt this way was…
A familiar scene flashed in her mind as she saw herself bolting upright in a strange bed, in an unfamiliar place. Her body connected to a bag of Lactated Ringer's solution, her various damaged limbs sprinted and braced. The relieved and concerned face of a woman with ebony-black hair and dark green eyes was hovering only a few feet above hers.
"What happened? Why am I like this? Who am I? I don't even know who I am, I don't even know my own name!"
Within the span of a few seconds, she found herself in an embrace, and she felt worry and anxiety fade away to be replaced by relief…and love. But it wasn't the type of love a parent bestows on a child…this was different…
Her hair was being stroked, and she was being slightly rocked back and forth, as if she were a young girl again…
"Shego…" Kim whispered.
Kim felt the now-familiar flood of varying emotions surge through her again, only to be replaced by an empty feeling of bitterness and confusion.
You saved me… Kim remembered. But then you lied to me. I want to believe you Shego…but so far, everything you've told me has been a lie. I don't know what's what anymore. I want to love you…I WANT to. But I can't. I don't even know if you like me back. Was that a lie too?
As Kim felt her cheeks flush red again, another image assaulted her overworked brain, once again fading too quickly for her to make any sense of it.
She was falling again, staring up at the sky.
"Yes, what DID that Shego girl do to you, Kimmie-cub?" Her father asked upon hearing the woman's name uttered from Kim's mouth, shaking Kim out of her thoughts.
"Nothing…" Kim mused thoughtfully. "She…she didn't do anything. Well, not anything like try to kill me. Actually, she was rather quite helpful."
The doctors Possible exchanged looks as their daughter continued her monologue, almost speaking as if she had forgotten her parents were still there with her.
"I mean, how I remember her is nothing like how she treated me though. The Shego who I interacted with was caring, and concerned, and loving. But the Shego I'm remembering is cold and mocking and arrogant. She…she tried to kill me."
Kim frowned, feeling that familiar rush of heat to her face and that tightening in her chest as tears threatened to spill. She blinked them away, but another image flickered through her mind, stronger than the last.
The air was rushing up around her, but there wasn't anything to grab onto. Reaching to her belt, she couldn't find her grappling gun – where the hell was it!
She turned her head skyward again, expecting to see the cerulean blue and crimson sunset above her, but no.
She was staring into a startlingly similar pair of green eyes – emotionless eyes.
And she was still falling.
"She's always tried to kill me…" Kim whispered, her breath choked in her throat. "And I believed her when she said she loved me. I'm such an idiot!"
Kim smacked herself on her forehead. "My god, I'm so dumb! Why did I believe her? Why didn't I see through her lies?"
'Maybe because you didn't want to…' Her mind suggested.
"She said what Kim?" Kim's mother was asking, gently grabbing Kim by the shoulders as if to shake her daughter out of her reverie. "What did Shego tell you?"
"She said she loved me." Kim repeated, her mouth quivering. "But I know she doesn't, because we're enemies, and she's always tried to kill me. I bet it was just some cruel trick of hers, just like when Eric said he loved me!" Kim finished bitterly, spitting out the last word as if it tasted bad.
"Ahh…him." Kim's mother nodded, remembering how crushed Kim had been to find out that her 'boyfriend' wasn't even real. And what was worse, that he didn't care for her. He never did.
"She said she loved me! But she was lying!" Kim was continuing, her eyes filling with tears again.
But this time, Kim made no attempt to hold them back.
"I thought she cared about me!" A last anguished wail escaped from Kim's throat as her resolve finally crumbled and she let her head fall into her hands, her shoulders shaking, wracked by her cathartic sobbing,
All the emotions she had held back – all the fear and worry and anxiety and bitterness she had kept suppressed for the last several hours – were finally released as her mind carried out an internal dialogue with itself.
I thought she loved me…but she obviously doesn't…so…Why do I still…feel SOMETHING…for…HER?
Her? You can't even say her name anymore?
YES! I mean, NO!
Because she lied to me! I loved her, and she was lying to me all along! That's so wrong! It's twisted and…WRONG! I hate her! I HATE her for what she did to me! I HATE HER!
Hate is such a strong word.
So is love.
But I still…love her? Do I? Can I? How can I? After what she did? Am I that starved for attention? What's wrong with me? Why am I falling in love with my enemy, with my archrival, with my lifelong nemesis? I'm not supposed to!
You're not falling. You fell. And when does love follow rules?
I don't want her.
You're right. You don't WANT her. You NEED her.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit!
Huddled in the darkness and hiding from the world, Shego's mind was racing as she mentally replayed the day's events.
And 'Shit. Shit, shit, shit!' was all she could say about it.
Her perfect seamless plan of seduction…ruined by none other than Ron Stoppable.
That name brought upon a mini-seizure as Shego pictured his triumphant expression on his face as Kim had agreed to go with him. Why the hell had she agreed to that?
Shego took a deep breath and consciously tried to calm her pounding heart. As much as she despised the boy, she couldn't hurt him. Well, nothing serious or permanent anyway. He was annoying, but he WAS Kim's best friend – and a damn good one at that.
IS, Shego's mind reminded itself. He still IS Kim's best friend. Even if Kim's accident IS his damn fault.
Always having relegated him to the role of pure comic relief, Shego was surprised at his demonstration of bravery earlier, as well as his show of amazingly practiced and well-executed defense and attack tactics. If she were forced to fight him again…he might just win.
Shego suppressed another wave of murderous rage within her as she pictured Kim falling. Where had Stoppable been? Why wasn't he with her? Wasn't he supposed to be her backup? Wasn't he supposed to catch her before her body slammed into the hard unyielding ground? Wasn't he supposed to save her before the audible crack of bones being broken and shattered resounded through the canyon?
Or… Her mind couldn't resist taunting her. Wasn't that YOUR job?
Shego shook her head violently, trying to dismiss the thought. Despite her best efforts, a vision of their last "real" fight above the canyon replayed itself through her tortured mind, making her wince as she saw herself delivering that one last blow to Kim.
You didn't have to go that far that time…you lost control of yourself! Are you blaming Ron because you can't face that fact?
But no…she couldn't kill him. If she hurt the sidekick, Kim would never forgive her. Not that Kim would forgive her now anyways…
The morning had started out, at least in her opinion, perfectly. She had even cooked pancakes for the girl. Pancakes! Did Kim even know how hard it was to make decent pancakes? Her initial problem with the tea was beginning to solve itself with the discovery that honey lessened the bitter taste of the crushed pills, and Kim seemed to be slowly accepting that tea would be her main beverage from then on.
Besides, the tea was specially chosen…
After eating together, Kim had insisted on a game of Truth or Dare. Shego had assumed it was Kim's way of attempting to indirectly weasel information out of her, but already having an appropriate story prepared, what did it matter if she fed Kim the carefully crafted half-lie? Oh no, it wasn't a full lie – most of the information was correct – mainly the parts about Kim's job as a world superhero as well as her missions. Shego had only conveniently forgotten to mention that Kim's top villain priority was herself. She smiled at the thought that Kim's highest precedence was…her. Not Drakken, but her.
Drakken was a fool. Shego could care less for what that blue-skinned scientist was working on. Even if he were able to construct a brilliant plan that was foolproof (which would never happen), Shego couldn't give a no nevermind about world domination…nah…that wasn't what she wanted.
The one thing she wanted was the one thing she couldn't have.
Why do I want her? Damn it!
But she'd been SO close! She had been so damn close!
The little debacle that transpired earlier in the day had shattered any dreams she had of getting Kim to fall for her. Damn.
Shego sighed. How did this happen? How did she fall for Kim Possible? Miss Perfect. Miss Goody-Two-Shoes. Miss I-Can-Do-Anything. But she could, and that was the problem…she COULD do anything.
"Include make me fall in love with her." Shego whispered to the empty air. "Why are you doing this to me?" She asked the night sky, wondering why Fate had decided to intervene so rudely in her life.
And why was that important to her? Why did she give a damn about Kim? Kim was her nemesis, they were supposed to fight! One of them was supposed to defeat the other! That was how it was supposed to go…how fate decided the story always went. They weren't supposed to fall in love…they…they...DAMN!
It was against all the rules; it was against everything that every young child learns from his or her parents: Don't lie, don't cheat, don't steal, don't kill, and don't fall in love with your mortal enemies.
Check, check, check, check, and check. Shego thought to herself, garnering only slight amusement that she had been able to break all five of those commands.
It was irrational, it was wrong, and if nothing else, it was cruel. For both parties.
Shego closed her eyes, enjoying the feeling of the night breeze caressing her exposed skin. She longed for a cold body of water to jump into – it would clear her head, and perhaps if she was lucky, shock her back into reality. An older reality where she and Kim were still enemies, where they would resume their nocturnal cat-and-mouse game, where Kim had never gotten amnesia and Shego had never taken her in. The comfortable reality where they would fight as usual, where their bodies did the talking for them, where their actions spoke louder than words ever could.
But no. She didn't want to fight Kim anymore…well…not like that. The thought of her Kim in pain brought a sudden tightening of Shego's chest.
That reality was dead, lost, and gone. There was a new reality to deal with now – a scarier one, but perhaps a brighter future, Shego's secret fantasy – a life where she and Kim didn't have to be at odds all the time, where they could say "I love you" in public.
Shego frowned. As appealing as her fantasy was, it also horrified her. She used to be so free-spirited, doing what she wanted how she wanted and when she wanted, not caring what anyone thought of her. And now…now all she could think about was being with Kim…being a couple.
As long as Kim didn't kill her first, that is.
Shego took another long sigh before disappearing into the darkness of the night.
As much as she both despised and feared the prospect, had to find Ron Stoppable.
Look what you've made me do Kim. Look what you're making me do for you. Look how weak you've made me. If only you could see it…
Among numerous other things she wanted to confront Ron about…that bastard had commanded a police raid on her house after he had driven her into fleeing the scene, and unless she was mistaken, he now had in his possession a certain cardboard box. A box that contained several drafts of a certain letter.
Snuggled tightly in her parents' supportive embraces, Kim's sobs had finally been reduced to occasional hiccups. Kim's mother could almost see the wheels churning in Kim's head, the fierce emotions waging a relentless war.
And she could understand.
Well, sort of.
Although she was never privy of the tiny details of Kim's missions, she knew enough. She knew that one of Kim's most dangerous enemies was this older woman named Shego, a person who matched Kim in terms of strength, speed, reflexes, and martial arts and gymnastics skills. On top of that, Shego could generate and control plasma fire, which there was no denying that it gave her a slight edge on Kim.
And this woman, who time and time again, had fought with Kim and been the cause of countless scrapes, bruises, and strains, had been caring for her – at the very least, keeping Kim alive and healthy. Blood tests had shown that Kim was well nourished and hydrated, a lack of significant number of white blood cells indicated that the cheerleader was also infection-free – a relatively admirable accomplishment considering the nasty burn Kim had sustained before her accident.
X-rays demonstrated that her various broken bones had been healing well, and her multiple splints were well-placed and effective in their motion-limiting intent without cutting off her circulation. There had definitely been some research involved in tending to Kim's injuries…and seeing as there was no record of anyone being admitted to a hospital (anywhere in the world) with injuries even resembling Kim's condition, the only person to have fixed Kim up so well was…Shego.
Shego, as in Dr. Drakken's henchwoman, the one who has the history of being a thief, villainess, and on top of all that, the one who had sent Kim to the hospital for stitches on numerous occasions. Dr. Possible blinked as a certain clarity dawned on her.
Kim's only been in the hospital for stitches and the like. Trivial injuries, never anything serious – at least, not from fighting with Shego.
So…why did she save my daughter's life? Why did she fight to heal her without lasting disablement? It would mean nobody could stop her.
Her mind wandering back to the blood test results, Dr. Possible's thoughts settled on another puzzling little facet of the situation.
There were trace amounts of several drugs found in Kim's blood.
Being a neuro-surgeon, Dr. Possible recognized the drugs – they were designed to directly affect the brain, working to alter the amount of oxygen delivered to the brain cells by changing the dilation of the blood vessels…which in turn affected the brain's ability to remember and recall past events.
Kim's mother found herself shaking her head. It wasn't possible. It didn't make any sense, and it seemed too contradictory. Take her in, care for her, feed her, clothe her, but then slip her drugs in secret? Why?
There were more questions than answers, and any proposed response only brought upon a flood of new questions.
It could be part of a huge secret plan to corrupt Kim, or even sneak under Kim's defenses while she was weak to take her out…but it wasn't quite Shego's style. From what Kim had always told her, Shego seemed like the type of woman to want to settle things face to face – the raven-haired woman actually enjoyed fighting.
Kim's mother suddenly remembered a conversation she and Kim had shared several months ago…
Kim was pacing nervously around the kitchen while her mother was busy trying to prepare dinner that night. Several pots were boiling on the stove, and the muffled sounds of the television were coming from the adjacent living room.
"What's on your mind Kim?"
"Shego? As in, the sidekick of Dr. Drakken? The one who shoots plasma fire at you and Ron?"
"What about her?"
"I think she likes fighting with me."
Kim had paused in her pacing and started lightly chewing on her lower lip.
"What do you mean, she likes fighting with you?"
"I mean, she seems to enjoy it."
"Why do you think that?"
"Because she always gives me this strange smile right before we engage in combat."
"Are you sure she's just not trying to intimidate you?"
"I don't think so. She never smiles at anyone else she fights…like Ron, or any of the backup police officers that show up sometimes. She just frowns at them like she's bored. I don't know. Its…strange."
"Well, it also seems that you're the only one who can actually keep up with her, and beat her. Maybe she embraced the life of a thief because she gets an adrenaline rush from fighting? And when she fights with you, she gets some sort of weird thrill from it all because you have similar levels of martial arts training?"
"Yeah…but…" Kim trailed off, seeming unsure if she wanted to continue or not.
"She calls me…nicknames."
"Nicknames? What nicknames?"
"Princess. And…uh…pumpkin. And Kimmie."
"I wouldn't worry about it too much Kim." She shrugged. "They're probably just a tactic for her to try and throw you off."
Three words were echoing in Kim's mother's thoughts: Princess. Pumpkin. Kimmie.
Petnames. Shego had assigned Kim petnames.
A conclusion was starting to form…and she wasn't sure what she thought of it yet.
She CAN'T BE! Not Shego…not really in love. Can she?
Taking another glance down at her daughter, Dr. Possible shook her head. This whole debacle with Shego was confusing to HER. How must poor Kim feel about it?
Judging from what Kim had said thus far…Kim didn't even have all of her memories back yet. Just scattered confusing images and sound bits – not anything in its entirety, but enough for Kim to remember that Shego was the villain.
Enough for Kim to be devastated by Shego's treachery.
Even if it was meant with the best intentions.
But she's not really gay. Kim's mother reminded herself. She can't be…
"Alright, how does that feel?" Dr. Nidadavolu asked Kim with a gentle smile as she slowly and carefully inserted a needle into Kim's right leg, pushing deeper and deeper – all the while studying Kim's face for any sign of discomfort.
"Um, its fine I guess." Kim breathed, making an effort to not watch the process. She couldn't quite figure out why, but needles seemed to be an irrational fear of hers. It wasn't that they hurt all that much, but the concept was just too…creepy.
"The local anesthetic should have kicked in by now, so the only thing you should feel right now is a slight pressure. If you feel any pain at all, you need to tell me, okay?"
Glancing over at the screen to make sure her aim was correct, Dr. Nidadavolu depressed the plunger, releasing the solution of nanotubes directly into the compromised bone. It was the newest technique for quickly treating broken and fractured bones.
"Carbon nanotubes work so well because they are ideal for the rapid production of lightweight, but high-strength materials – like bones." The doctor was explaining to Kim. "The nanotubes are low density, have a high mechanical strength, and demonstrate excellent flexibility. They are able to mimic collagen as a scaffold for bone growth and repair. Plus, the technique of injecting them directly into the bone is much less invasive than an actual bone graft, where we would have to manually screw and pin the healthy bone to the artificial crafted one."
Kim winced and the doctor nodded.
"We thought you might prefer this method. Besides, these carbon nanotube enhanced bones will be stronger than before. This way, you'll be back to saving the world in no time." The doctor smiled encouragingly, but Kim was only able to manage a weak laugh.
If saving the world meant she would have to face Shego, she wasn't quite sure she wanted to get back in the business. At least, not anytime soon.
It's like seeing your ex in one of your classes.
Am I really considering Shego my ex! This is too weird. If Shego is my ex, then we were girlfriends at one point…right?
Kim smiled to herself as she pictured what it would be like for Shego to romance her. Maybe Shego would have sent her red roses and a little note card to tell her she loved her. Or maybe she would have quietly pulled Kim into an embrace to whisper, "I love you" in her ear before gently kissing her. Or maybe she would have shown up in a disguise at a school dance, sheepishly admitting her true feelings for Kim and asking her for a dance. Maybe they would have left the building and danced outside, together under the faint glow of the moonlight. Maybe…
"Alright, done. That wasn't too bad, right?" The doctor exclaimed with a flourish as she pulled the syringe out from Kim's leg while simultaneously pressing a piece of white gauze over the puncture to slow the tiny amount of bleeding that did occur.
"Not at all." Kim agreed, amazed at distracted she had been, feeling a twinge of embarrassment. Was she really that in love with Shego?
"Good. Now we're going to do the same thing to your left wrist. Roll up your sleeve please?"
Wordlessly, Kim obeyed; however, her mind was still on a certain green-eyed raven-haired woman…
In a rapid blaze of green and black, Shego dodged a baseball hurled at her, her body easily flipping out of the ball's trajectory. She quickly brushed her dark hair out of her eyes as she turned to face Kim's best friend again.
Damn damn damn! Stoppable, I swear you're making this much harder than it needs to be! Shego thought, exasperated at how quickly the situation had spiraled downwards.
"Get out of my house, you sicko!" Ron screamed at the woman, his cheat heaving as he grabbed the nearest object (which happened to be a flower vase), pulling his arm back to take aim. Shego opened her mouth to talk, but Ron had already flung the vase in her general direction. Ducking her head to avoid the heavy vase thrown at her, Shego's face twisted in confusion and anger as she realized that if the vase had indeed hit her, she would have been knocked out cold.
"I just said I wanted to talk, Stoppable. How is that a crime?"
"Is that what told KP before you brainwashed her?" Ron shot back.
"For the millionth time, I didn't brainwash her!" Shego yelled back, utilizing all her mental strength to not lunge forward and tackle the boy.
You're lying. Her mind whispered, taunting and jeering at her. You can't even romance someone without it being on your own terms.
"I even rang the doorbell." Shego finished.
"What?" Ron scoffed, a bit of confusion lacing his tone.
"I said I rang the doorbell. You know…the other alternative to breaking in and beating you up to make you talk." Shego explained. "I can't believe I'm even saying this!" She finished, her frustration clearly showing.
Ron narrowed his eyes at the villainess in front of him, his expression very obviously telling that he wasn't buying anything Shego had said.
"Well, actually I knocked first, but I guess you didn't hear that." Shego added, straightening up.
"Well…you said you wanted to talk, so talk. But make it quick." Ron demanded, a small bit of nervousness creeping into his voice as he realized that he didn't have the luxury of several SWAT officers to back him up for this encounter. He gulped in an attempt to swallow his supposed fear, and was surprised to discover that he wasn't afraid of her anymore. An encouraging rush of self-esteem flooded his senses as he remembered his training at the Yamanouchi School of Ninjas. He remembered how supportive Yori and his Sensei had been. They believed in him for a reason. As did Kim.
The thought of her being subjected to Shego's twisted mind games was enough to spur Ron back into action and courage again. Quickly reaching for the second baseball he kept around, he gave it an experimental toss in the air before catching it again and returning his glare towards Shego.
"Okay okay." Shego started, holding her hands up in a mock gesture of defeat. "I just want to know how Kim's doing."
"Fine." Ron answered tersely. "Anything else?"
Shego rolled her eyes. "I won't accept 'fine' as an answer. How is she? Really."
Ron snorted. "Like you care?"
Shego felt her pent-up rage boil up again, trying to resurface.
"I do." She growled.
Though why I should give a damn about my enemy is beyond me. No matter how far she fell because of me. No matter…no! It wasn't my fault! It couldn't have been! Why am I caring about that girl? She's my nemesis…my…cute nemesis.
"That's surprising. I thought you were just screwing with her head. You know, messing her up worse than she already was. And for what? Sex?"
Shego clenched her jaw, but Ron smiled, seeing how his tirade was affecting the older woman.
"Of course not you little bastard." Shego hissed, barely controlling her temper.
Was I? Her mind begged the question.
"This was all some sort of power game for you, huh? You know, dominating her in bed or something, because you know you can't beat her physically." Ron continued to mock her, a smug smile plastered on his face.
Letting out a roar of indignation, Shego let her hands burst into plasma flame as she twisted her fingers into claws, wanting so badly to grab that annoying sidekick, drag him to the top of the nearest skyscraper, and throw him off. The sound of his body hitting the pavement below would be so satisfying…
In response to Shego's display of aggressiveness, Ron calmly slipped into a TSPkwar fighting stance. With one hand behind his back, he summoned the Lotus Blade, having no second thoughts about using it in case Shego attacked him. Tilting her head to study what the sidekick was going, Shego found herself to be incredibly surprised that she didn't recognize the fighting stance. In all her extensive martial arts training, she had never come across a stance quite like the one he had stationed himself into.
Careful! Her mind warned her. He already proved to you that he's not just a buffoon – he actually knows what he's doing.
Still staring at the boy, Shego opened her mouth to take a deep breath in and out, attempting to prod her rage back into its cage. She let her plasma flames go out before speaking again. When she spoke, it was slow and forced, each word enunciated with startling clarity and broadcasting a raw feeling of…need. Ron found himself moved by this startling show of emotion from the villain. It wouldn't hurt him to at least listen to her for a few more minutes.
"Ron. I just want to know. Is Kim alright?"
Taking a moment's hesitation to answer, Ron finally replied, only a slight look of disbelief showing through his eyes. Behind his back, and unknown to Shego, the Lotus Blade had vanished as suddenly as it had appeared.
"Yes, she's fine. She's in a hospital being treated for her injuries and broken bones."
Shego let out a heavy breath. "Good."
Ron could have sworn he saw a relieved smile flicker across Shego's face, but he blinked and in an instant, it was gone. Perhaps it was his imagination – today was turning into quite the stressful day. He took a careful step towards Shego, wondering if he should ask her about it, but Shego had already back-flipped out of the front door and was lost to the cover of darkness outside…but not before dropping something on the ground.
For what seemed like the first time in ages, Ron let his tired muscles relax. His mind; however, was anything but calm.
Shego was just here. And she didn't hurt me. I could see it in her eyes…she was holding back.
Shego…my enemy…Kim's enemy…the woman we've fought for years. She's in love?
Another question begged to be asked.
With caution, Ron walked over and picked it up – it was a plain envelope. Taking a quick look around before opening it, he found one hundred dollars in cash along with a note. Ron blinked. A hundred bucks!
Please buy Kim get-well flowers. Yellow if possible. I would do it myself, but I know you wouldn't trust anything if it came directly from me. Tell her it was from a friend.
His mind still reeling from the recent encounter with Shego (not to mention the note she had left) it was only then that Ron realized that Shego had addressed him by his real name.
And she DID ring the doorbell.
Several hours and four needles later, Kim was more than ready to go home. Despite several of the hospital staff petitioning Kim to stay in the critical care unit so they could keep an eye on her for the rest of the night, Kim and her parents had reasoned that the best way for Kim to try and regain all of her lost memories would be to immerse her in her old life, which included her younger twin brothers, her house, her room, and as many family photo albums as they could recover from the bookshelves, basement, and attic.
It was late at night, but the Possible residence wasn't far away from the hospital, and in Kim's parents' opinions, the sooner they got Kim back in a familiar environment, the better.
Sitting on the relatively comfortable hospital bed, Kim found herself very excited to be going home. She was looking forward to seeing her room, secretly hoping that once she got home, her amnesia would improve. While at first she had her doubts that her "parents" might not be who they said they were (look what happened with Shego, she reasoned), all the hospital staff had assured her that indeed, everyone who had visited her this day were who they said they were, and Kim assumed that several dozen hospital staff couldn't be wrong. Besides…she had felt…something click when she saw them, and when they held her in their arms. Maybe it was something on the cellular level? She was their biological child, after all.
Kim's father had left to go warm up the car and drive it to the main entrance, and Kim's mother was having a chat with the other neuro-specialists regarding several treatments they could try that would help Kim remember. While Kim had decided she definitely had enough needle pokes to last her for the next few lifetimes, if that's what it took to help her regain her memories, she would deal with it.
Kim sighed and closed her eyes, savoring the feeling of contentment that was slowly beginning to drift over her.
She was going home.
Chapter 10: Homecoming
June 9, 2005
Sitting in the backseat of the car, Kim was silent as she observed what should have been familiar scenery rapidly flashing before her as her parents drove her home. Her parents were in the two front seats, and when they weren't exchanging worried expressions about Kim's well-being and safety, they were stealing a surreptitious glance at their daughter every few minutes, just to make sure she was alright. She appeared to be exhausted, and aside from her old injuries, she seemed to be taking the situation relatively well.
How can everything be alright when you can't remember who you are? Kim's mother was pondering thoughtfully. It's like trying to solve a puzzle with missing pieces.
Anne Possible frowned as she realized that from this moment on, even if Kim regained all her memories, her life had effectively been split into two distinct periods: pre-accident and post-accident. How Kim viewed the world now was dependent on if, when, and how she regained her lost memories. She seemed to have a basic working knowledge of herself and her family, and Kim's mother couldn't help but wonder if such knowledge was due to Shego's doing, or was it due to the natural progression of Kim's healing process?
And furthermore…there was still that little interlude with Shego - that shady grey area of so much concern.
It had only lasted a few days, but what impact did Shego have on Kim's fragile and confused psyche? What did she do to her? What did she tell Kim? Shego did, after all, have a blank slate to work with. She could have instilled anything she wanted. There was no one there to stop her.
Anne gave an internal shudder as she couldn't help but think of what could have happened. Shego could have killed Kim outright. And if Shego had been in a less-than-magnanimous mood, she could have taken a long time to do it – drawing out Kim's death slowly and exacting torture (physical and/or mental) on the helpless and vulnerable redhead. She could have brainwashed Kim into being a servant – even a slave perhaps? Another bodyguard to Drakken? Kim did, after all, possess an admirable amount of athletic training and prowess. She could have kept Kim locked up in some godforsaken cell somewhere as a hostage, using her for ransom – a bargaining chip.
Or…Shego could have taken Kim and just disappeared with her, leaving an empty gaping hole in her wake. Shego did have enough monetary funds to go wherever she wanted – a private island even.
And yet…Kim seemed fundamentally unchanged. But why? That was the big question: Why? Either it was something rotten, or something genuinely…good? But the idea of Shego doing something good was such a foreign concept. It could have been part of a wicked plan to somehow corrupt Kim, but how would that work, exactly? Didn't Shego realize that Kim would eventually regain her memories? What would she do then? Kill her? Was Shego capable of cold-blooded murder?
Stealing yet another glance at her droopy-eyed daughter, Mrs. Dr. Possible wondered what Kim was thinking about this debacle. Did Kim think Shego was a murderer?
Sighing, Anne Possible thought back to when Global Justice had originally approached her, wanting to outline a plan for Kim's rescue. Back then, the blueprint had seemed so simple and foolproof, but in the end, nothing had gone to plan. It was supposed to be a simple and quick retrieval mission. No one expected Shego to have been caring for Kim, nor did anyone imagine that Kim would want to stay with Shego. No one was supposed to get hurt.
But, as fate seemed to want it, they did. Aside from several bruises and minor abrasions, one of the officers had suffered a concussion as well as second-degree burns from Shego's plasma flames. Anne Possible had volunteered to treat the officer with the concussion (she was, after all, the most respected brain specialist in the area), and thankfully, it wasn't serious. The whole outcome had been…strange.
With almost superhuman strength and the ability to generate and control plasma fire, Shego has had more than enough chances to demonstrate her lethalness; however, she's never actually killed anyone. Not even when she was feeling threatened by the police showing up at her private residence and attempting to take Kim away. She was angry, furious, irate, and acted accordingly…but still…it seemed that she had been holding something back.
The realization hit Anne with a surprising intensity.
Why? Anne mused.
Was the answer really that obvious?
Because she's not as dark as she likes us to believe.
The situation was becoming more and more complicated, and Anne felt herself sigh for what seemed to be the hundredth time that day. She had to tell Kim that Shego wasn't a murderer, even though Kim had thought it was painfully clear that Shego was. No one would be able to remain standing upright after being hit by a plasma blast, no matter how fit they were, didn't Kim realize that?
Anne shook her head. It was too late, and her thoughts were already jumbled enough. There would be time in the morning to sort everything out. Besides…then they could analyze the objects retrieved from Shego's house, hoping to gain some sort of insight into her intents. Ron had called several minutes earlier, before they had left the hospital. He seemed confused and distressed about something, but outright refused to tell Anne what was causing his agitation.
We're all uptight right now. Everything seems like a big deal. Sleep is the mother of all counsel. Let up hope we'll be refreshed come sunrise.
The clouds were heavier now, and the nocturnal temperature was certainly chillier than expected. An ominous rumble from the dark sky threatened rain even as a few frigid droplets of water began to land on the shadowed pavement, leaving small black circles. A shadow darted across the street.
Damn you Stoppable. Shego thought as she suddenly realized that she had completely forgotten to talk to the buffoon about the one topic she had been meaning (ever since the first scramble) to attempt to discuss with him: the items swiped from her house during the raid – a certain cardboard box more specifically. Now, not only did Ron possess the soon-to-be-controversial items, but he would no doubt be showing them to Kim as soon as he got the chance. This definitely posed a significant problem.
I had just wanted to talk, to explain that I never meant to hurt Kim. Hurt Kim - how could I? I wanted to tell you why I had those letters, and why I sent out those letters. There was a reason; there was a reason for everything I did. But no. You had to go attacking me before I could even say a word. Not that I could blame you though. I guess I deserved it.
You deserve much worse. A deep part of her psyche whispered, mocking her. Shego frowned.
It wasn't my fault.
It was a desperate declaration; a strong thought pushed forth with such force. A fleeting image of Kim's body falling, twisting, and spiraling through the air dared to show itself in Shego's mind, and a familiar rush of anger and guilt rushed through her. Shego bit her lip, trying to block out the painful reminder. But the vision was playing itself in her brain, and her mind's eye couldn't blink.
Not your fault? Are you sure about that?
A bout of cruel laughter erupted through her mind, as if to say "Yeah, right."
Creeping through the dimly-lit streets of Middleton, Shego paused in mid-stride, a news broadcast on a television in a display window of some generic store catching her keen eye. Scanning the area for any observers, Shego darted across the street to have a better look at the 'Breaking News Headline' flashing across the screen. Her eyes going wide and her breath catching in her throat as she realized what the repercussions of the broadcast would be, she sprinted off into the darkness.
She had to find Kim. Immediately.
Behind her, the broadcast continued to loop, the television announcers looking positively pleased with themselves.
"Please stay with us as we continue to follow this developing story: Kim Possible, world famous teen superhero, has just been spotted at the Middleton Hospital after having been missing for five days. Our anonymous source has claimed that the superhero was released only a few minutes ago after being treated for several broken bones and amnesia."
All over the world, many people could be found sighing in relief at the news that the heroine had been found and effectively treated for her injuries. But for all the millions cheering in triumph, there were a handful of persons cheering for completely different reasons.
Their smiles were sinister.
"KIM! WATCH OUT!"
Kim yelped in surprise as she was quickly surrounded by a whirlwind of two young boys – her brothers, she realized. Diving at her and tackling her, they attempted to push her to the ground as a rapidly moving object sailed into the room, ricocheting off of several cabinet doors. Her dark green eyes scanning the kitchen for anything to protect herself from the rocket, Kim's gaze rested on a stray frying pan still sitting atop the stove. Stretching her arm to reach it, she wasted no energy in swinging it for all she was worth, effectively interrupting the rocket's trajectory and leaving it a crumpled heap of spare metal on the floor.
"TWEEBS!" she bellowed, her patience running on low. Only then did she realize that she had reflexively called them "tweebs." Her hand flew to her mouth in stunned surprise.
Exchanging guilty looks, Tim and Jim pointed at each other.
"He did it!" They exclaimed in unison.
Kim only growled slightly in response. "I so don't have time for this. I'm tired, and I just would like to sleep. Is that too much to ask?"
"Sorry Kim. We were just bored, and figured we would get a head start on the science fair project." Tim apologized, obviously trying to quell his older sister's rising anger.
Kim blinked and opened her mouth; however, her mind was overcome by another wave of fuzzy and almost incomprehensible images.
"I have to baby-sit them AGAIN? But, but – "
"No 'buts' Kim. Your father has to stay late to work on the project now that he's on the planning committee. And I can't help that I'm being called in for an emergency surgery. The man was thrown from his motorcycle during the collision, and he fractured the parietal bone of his skull. I'm guessing he's suffering increased cranial pressure due to fluid buildup."
"But…couldn't you call another babysitter? I promised Ron I would meet him at Bueno Nacho tonight for dinner…" She protested lightly, but still knowing she wouldn't change her mother's mind.
"No Kim. How about you call Ron up and ask him to help you, or at least keep you company?"
She sighed. "Okay…"
She and Ron were riding some kind of vehicle – a motorcycle! Feeling a helmet firmly strapped under her chin, Kim could hear the high-pitched whine of the rocket engines propelling her and Ron forward down the streets of Middleton.
A giant red and black robot was behind them, chasing them and shooting at them. Hands tightly wrapped around the handlebars, Kim steered sharply to the right, evading the green blast from the robot. The weight distribution now uneven, the small vehicle began to tip to the right, but the extra propulsion of the rockets' engines assisted in restoring the balance.
'Finally! The tweebs' rocket experiments are actually paying off!' She thought.
She was drifting through the air, papers were flying everywhere, and Ron was swiping at them unsuccessfully.
"Serves you right!" she heard herself laugh, still looking at a dejected Ron who had managed to grab a few loose sheets.
She was in a kitchen – THIS kitchen – and pouring herself a bowl of cereal – sans milk.
"Ron's such a baby about free-falling…" She was explaining to her parents.
Kim felt herself smile. Ron a baby? Not from what she had seen of him thus far…
"Hey Kim!" Jim gently poked her in the stomach. "You okay?"
Kim shook herself out of her thoughts and returned her gaze to her younger brothers. She nodded unconsciously as she noticed the resemblance the boys had to her parents – the same dusty brown hair color as her father, and the same cerulean blue irises, obviously inherited from her mother. Not that family resemblance had any impact on the closeness of a family, but in this scenario, Kim found that it was indeed helpful.
She smiled at them, feeling an immediate bond reform with the children. Jim and Tim seemed to easily reciprocate Kim's intent, and hugged her tighter, ignoring the fact that she had just called them Tweebs, a nickname usually reserved for when she was annoyed with them.
"Tweebs, Kimmie-cub?" James Possible inquired, raising an eyebrow. "Looks like your memory is coming back." With an encouraging smile, he gently gave Kim a pat on the back. "Like I say, anything's possible for a Possible."
"Yeah…I…I guess so." Kim smiled, feeling somehow triumphant that she had remembered something, even if it was just a nickname.
"How did you remember?" James inquired. "Was it a conscious process, or did it just pop out?"
"I…I don't really know Dad. I just did." Kim shrugged, the feeling of triumph becoming ever more insistent.
"Kim, Kim!" Jim and Tim chattered, vying for her attention.
"What happened to you? Where did you go for so long? Why were you in the hospital? What went wrong on your last mission? Who found you?"
"Hey!" Anne interrupted, attempting to steer the twins away from a flustered Kim. "Kim's just had a very rough day, she's tired, and it's late. You two should be asleep by now, but we only let you stay up to welcome Kim home."
"Awww, mom!" They whined.
"No arguing kids. Now, off to bed for you two." Anne shooed the kids away. "You can pester Kim for details tomorrow."
"Aww, okay. Fine." Jim and Tim pouted, as they realized they had little chance of winning the debate.
As they scampered off, Jim turned around, giving a last glance at his older sister.
"Don't worry about that Drakken and Shego. You'll get them next time!"
As Kim felt a familiar rush of heat to her cheeks and knew she was blushing, she cast her gaze downwards and let out a slow breath, trying to hide her discomfort. While James muttered something under his breath, a frown evident on his face, Anne shot a quick glance at Kim, trying to decipher her actions.
"Thanks." She muttered weakly.
As she watched in silence, Jim turned around and scurried out of sight, yelling a last goodbye and goodnight.
Shego… How could so many emotions be evoked from one single word, only five letters long?
No, no, no! Kim scolded herself, squeezing her eyes shut. Don't think about her!
The momentary lull in action didn't last long. Walking over to her daughter and wrapping a supportive arm around her shoulders, Anne smiled. "I'll show you to your room…unless you remember where it is?"
"No, I don't." Kim murmured, a hint of dejection in her voice. "Could you show me?"
Anne smiled encouragingly. "Of course sweetheart."
Standing in her room, Kim wasn't quite sure what she was supposed to be feeling. Familiarity? Security? Was she supposed to be overloaded by emotionally draining flashbacks? Was she supposed to be joyous that she was home? Was she supposed to gasp in recognition?
Or was it some other emotion? One that didn't have a corresponding word, perhaps? Something completely different?
This whole situation was feeling more and more like a twisted standardized exam question: A, B, C, D (A and B), D (B and C), or E (all the of above).
Walking around the perimeter of her room, Kim let her fingers idly trail over everything – the walls, the scattered posters adorning aforementioned walls, the bookcases, her desk, her computer, her bed, her various knickknacks collected over time, her telescope…
Peering at her bookshelf, Kim smiled as she recognized the authors: Shakespeare, Milton, Dickens, Atwood, Chaucer, among various other classic writers. On the self below, she found several books about physical training, booklets about proper stretching and muscle toning, as well as a nutrition guide specifically written for the young female athlete.
"At least I was intelligent." She murmured to herself as she continued browsing over her literary collection.
Moving on to inspect her desk, Kim switched on her computer, listening to the faint hum as the fan switched on. As she sat there, her gaze was drawn to a small blue electronic device resting on top of what appeared to be a pile of unfinished homework. Idly picking it up and inspecting it, Kim decided it was like an oversized and more technologically advanced variation on a cell phone. Perhaps it was a pocket computer? Kim gently placed it back on the desk, promising herself that she would attempt to fiddle with it the next day – perhaps when she was more awake and alert.
The melodic ring of the computer called for her attention again.
She felt herself unconsciously arch an eyebrow as she noticed that her desktop wallpaper was composed of a collage of villain mug shots with a small text box containing cursory information about each one. And right there, in the center, was a picture of Shego with her hands on her hips, a smug smile on her face – the same picture pinned up on the inside of her locker.
Not a mug shot…she's wearing a green Club Banana sweater… Kim noticed.
Hey….that was the sweater I wanted.
Shaking her head, Kim opened up a new window, connected to the Internet, and immediately opened up her Favorites folder, secretly wishing that she could find more clues to her former life through her surfing preferences. Frowning and letting herself utter a small growl, she found her saved websites of little help: various homework help sites, numerous fighting and physical training-related sites, and assorted other random favorites – usually links to online games, probably used to procrastinate and pass the time. As she continued to scroll down, one particular website caught her eye: on by a healthy curiosity, she clicked the link. Her eyes widened reflexively as she began to read the contents on her own website.
"Baby-sitting. Interesting." She commented to herself as she continued to skim the webpage. "All this…all this hero business – just because I wanted to baby-sit. Who would have thought…"
Reading further, Kim found a section about the history and missions of Team Possible. She let out a sigh as she stumbled upon a page with various profiles of her foes, one of which was, naturally, Shego.
Guess I better read these so I know who I'll be dealing with. She reasoned with herself.
Clicking the PRINT icon in her window, Kim made sure the printer was on and running before getting up and resuming the inspection of her room. Cautiously opening the doors to her closet, as if she half-expected something to jump out of it, Kim peered in, squinting as she took a few seconds to let her eyes adjust to the darkness. Fumbling, she blindly searched for a light before her fingers brushed against the sought-after switch. Wasting little time in flicking the light on, she took a step back to survey her clothing. In addition to the usual shirts, skirts, pants, there was also a pale sky blue dress that appeared to have some kind of burn tracing the bottom. Kim chuckled at the sight. Must have been due to one of her saving-the-world missions. Too bad – it really was a gorgeous dress.
Pushing aside more of the clothing, Kim tilted her head as she found two suits stuffed towards the back of the closet – one of them a white spandex-looking outfit traced with electric blue lines. The other was a black and green suit with alternating patches of black and green. Kim narrowed her eyes. That latter suit…it was so familiar. As Kim gingerly picked up the green and black suit, her fingers tracing random patterns over the surprisingly soft material, she caught a scent of something…a blend of spices, very distinctive. It wasn't a bad smell, but it managed to be different and recognizable at the same time. She clutched the suit tighter, her fingers somehow recognizing the texture of the fabric.
A brief flash of pain forced her to squeeze her eyes shut, and her temples began to throb slightly. Her internal movie was playing again.
Donned in the exact same green and black suits, Kim and Shego (Shego also sporting a pink apron) ran towards each other. Bumping into each other, they shook their heads as a naked mole rat nimbly bounced away. There was some sort of red rectangular thing glued to their foreheads, their eyes unusually blank and unfeeling. Even Shego seemed subdued. What's going on?
Ron was there…and the tweebs…and that blue-skinned man with black hair. Dr…Dr…
DRAKKEN! His name was Dr. Drakken!
Kim found herself sitting at the kitchen table, staring at Shego, an amused smile tugging at her lips.
"Oh...you, uh…you wouldn't happen to have a pink frilly apron, would you?"
Shego narrowed her eyes at Kim, and Kim couldn't quite tell if Shego was furious or amused.
"No." Shego replied slowly. "Why do you ask?"
"I just had this image of you in a pink frilly apron, and I look at you and say 'Nice…apron.'"
There was a moment's pause before Kim shook her head, reconsidering her earlier statement. "Never mind. I'm sure it was a weird dream or something."
"Yeah, probably. Can you really imagine me in pink?"
"Nah. I mean, only if you being mind controlled or something like that and someone MADE you wear pink. But other than that, no, not really."
The pair's amused laughter was echoing in Kim's mind.
Kim, still letting her eyes remain shut, let out a deep breath, trying to calm her racing mind. As suddenly as the vision appeared, it was just as quickly gone and lost – a fleeting intangible thing that seemed to enjoy playing cat-and-mouse games with her soul.
Upon slowly opening her eyes, she noticed that her trembling hand was still clutching the suit, her knuckles white. The scent was familiar now – it was Shego. Letting out a cry, Kim dropped the outfit as if it had burned her skin.
"Its HERS! I kept it! What the hell is wrong with me?"
She staggered away slowly, her heart pounding in her chest.
"I need to get to bed. Yeah, sleep. Sleep would be nice right now." Kim mused, bringing up a hand to gently massage her temples. Grabbing a loose sleep-shirt from one of the hangers, Kim quickly changed, tossing her dirty clothes on the floor. She would deal with them tomorrow, perhaps when her mind wasn't so exhausted.
Climbing into bed, Kim finally felt herself relax, both physically and mentally. It had been a long day, not to mention the week she had endured. Ron had mentioned something about finding clues to Shego's intents after the rescue, and had wondered if he could stop by for a visit the next day. Snuggling deeper into the warmth and perceived protection of her sheets, sleep came quickly, and the world fell away as Kim dozed off.
Her dreams; however, were anything but tranquil.
There was black and grey smoke floating everywhere, the remains of Shego's famous plasma fire. Judging from the various scattered bits of rubble, they had indeed done a number to this building…
Locking arms, breathing heavily, Shego flashed Kim a predatory grin.
"Hey! Eric's cute. With you out of the picture, maybe I'll date him!"
A surge of anger and rage and betrayal inundated Kim, and with a renewed round of force, she pushed Shego away from her.
She blinked and was somewhere else – a large circular room with all the emergency sprinklers spouting cool water a full blast. Her perfectly calculated flying leap had turned out to be not so perfectly calculated after all, and slipping on the watery tiles, Kim found herself skidding towards Shego before finally colliding with the older woman.
In a split-second, Kim found herself lying on the ground, her hair splayed out underneath her. She was looking up at Shego, who had a playful and amused expression on her smiling face. She opened her mouth to say something, but quickly closed it again, feeling a tickling in the back of her throat. In response, Shego only grinned wider.
"What was that Princess?"
As Shego flinched away from Kim, the back of her gloved hand wiping her face free of Kim's germs, Kim braced herself on her elbows, grabbing a tissue to blow her stuffy nose.
Aha. She was sick.
Kim blinked again, and found herself atop a building, dressed in that white and blue suit in her closet. Her hair dripping from the rain, a smug smile graced her face as she spotted a certain pale-green-skinned woman attempting to sneak away from the battle scene. When Shego noticed she had been spotted by the redhead, she immediately assumed a fighting stance. Kim chuckled.
"You know what I really hate?" She inquired, still eying Shego.
"That your boyfriend melted?" Shego supplied, prodding Kim.
And with a swift and powerful roundhouse kick, Kim sent Shego flying into the electrical tower. As she witnessed the sparks fly and the tower collapse, Kim felt a satisfied smile creep onto her face.
She blinked, and found herself staring at a rather muscularly toned Ron. What was THAT about? This wasn't the somewhat scrawny boy she knew.
In a split second, she found herself diving in an air ventilation shaft. To her right, Shego was there too, her dark green eyes shielding some emotion as she quickly turned her gaze forward - away from the redhead. Now, that's strange…
Why is Shego here?
Kim blinked again.
And could hear Shego's cruel laughter. Looking above her, Shego and Drakken were in some sort of hovercraft with Shego perched on the edge and waving some small metal object in Kim's face, her trademarked arrogant grin on her face.
"Nice try Kimmie, but not quite in my league."
Kim felt herself lower her body, the muscles in her calves tensing with anticipation. The hovercraft was ascending even higher now, and that smug grin was still plastered on Shego's refined features.
"Till next time Princess!" The raven-haired woman called down to Kim.
Kim; however, wasn't about to take the back-handed compliment lying down. With a burst of energy, Kim launched herself through the air towards the hovercraft, the tendons and ligaments in her lower back stretching themselves as she reached out, her eyes focused on the moving vehicle in front of her.
She realized; however, that there was a reason she had been struggling with her latest physics problem set, and was now suffering the practical ramifications of her slight miscalculation.
As her fingers barely brushed the edge of the cool metal surface, Kim felt her heart had skipped a few beats, the familiar rush of adrenaline surging through her stunned body. As she reached the apex of her jump and began to fall backwards, she unconsciously found herself staring at Shego's emotionless face.
As the velocity of her descent increased, Kim found her gaze still drawn to Shego's face…and for the first time, she saw real emotion flicker through Shego's dark green eyes…
But she was still falling…
This would be so much EASIER if it weren't raining! Shego growled to herself as she skillfully navigated the streets of Middleton, abiding by a route she had memorized - a familiar route she had traveled time and time again under the strictest cover of darkness.
The weather had progressively gotten worse – the already-gloomy twilight had evolved to a rather stormy and humid night, the rain seeming to fall with more intensity with each passing minute. It was also noticeably colder than before, and Shego gave an involuntary shudder as the frigid water began to soak through her clothing.
How disgustingly cliché. Shego scoffed, as she brushed a damp lock of her ebony hair out of her pale face. Blinking the cool water out of her eyes, Shego looked up to the building in front of her, its shape familiar and somehow comforting, even in the turbulent weather. It was somehow like coming home, even though it wasn't hers.
With a single practiced graceful motion, Shego hoisted herself up onto the lowest hanging branch of a sturdy oak tree before ascending a few branches higher. It only took her a few seconds to reach her destination – a medium-sized branch shielded by the dense foliage of leaves. A quick flash of lightening and the low rumble of thunder make Shego apprehensively retreat deeper into the camouflage, while still attempting to peer into the nearest window unnoticed.
To Shego's disappointment, the torrential downpour was making it extremely hard to see inside the window, but Shego's trained and sharp eye was still able to make out the faint image of a sleeping girl with copper hair. Seeing Kim appear so helpless filled Shego with a surge of protectiveness over the younger girl. With her memory half missing and half her limbs immobile in casts and splints, Kim was, for all intents and purposes, vulnerable.
It was such a bittersweet word, one that was usually only whispered with the faintest of breaths when no one else could overhear.
The weather still hadn't lightened up any, and as Shego continued to crouch out of sight, memories of their interactions began to slowly infiltrate her psyche as she silently watched over the sleeping girl, keeping an eye on her.
The first time they had fought, it seemed that Kim had merely been evading and dodging Shego's attacks. The auburn-haired girl was a cheerleader, and her body was flexible and pliant for quick simple gymnastics. At that time, Shego found herself annoyed at the nuisance, one which she thought would quickly fade away as Kim wouldn't be able to train enough to match her own martial arts skills. As fate would have it; however, Kim demonstrated her proficiency as a quick learner and within the span of a few months, she had proved her athletic skills were on the same level as Shego's.
It was at this point where Shego had to admit to herself, even grudgingly, that she had to at least respect the teenage cheerleader for her still-developing physical prowess. It was the first time, Shego had realized, that she had finally encountered someone who was able to match herself, someone who was able to keep up with her, and someone who was able to even challenge her.
As they began to meet more often, and their fights became more insistent, more passionate, and more charged, Shego's reluctant admission of respect evolved into an admiration of the girl's idealism, her ever-positive outlook on life, and maybe, perhaps, the touch of arrogance Kim was able to wield during a fight – a certain light shining in her dark green eyes that silently said, "Bring it on."
It was during these fights, Shego realized, that she was developing an attraction to her arch-nemesis. The way they moved together, the way their bodies did the talking for them – it was a wordless dance that they would rehearse time and time again, the only audience present would be a blonde-haired sidekick and a blue-skinned scientist. They went well together – light and dark – equal, but opposite. There was fire, there was excitement, and even though Kim tried to deny it, she enjoyed the chase.
Kim was a growing obsession Shego knew she must have, and Shego was a temptation Kim could not refuse.
A loud creak shook Shego out of her reverie, and she blinked as she felt the branch under her sway and waver. She instinctively grabbed tighter to the rough bark as a gust of wind threatened her balance. Another powerful burst of air blew through, and this time, Shego had no control over the tree branch as it cracked and sent her flying through the air. With a muffled thump, Shego found herself slammed against the glass of Kim's bedroom window, her gloved hands scrabbling for purchase on the slippery ledge. She stole a look inside, only to see the sleeping girl stir, consciousness becoming apparent.
The rain seemed to be falling more insistently now, and Shego's already weak hold on the ledge was failing.
Quickly and quietly, Shego slid open the window, pausing for a moment as she saw Kim begin to wake up, probably disturbed by the sudden influx of cold air, a yawn drawing itself from her perfect mouth. With a satisfied sigh, Kim began to rub her eyes unconsciously. She tossed her head, her copper hair spreading out behind her. Shego continued to stare at the girl; however, her hold on the edge of window sill was precarious. Kim began to stir again, and Shego knew she had to make a decision.
In or out Shego…one or the other…fall or face her.
In her mind's eye, she was still falling, Shego's face above her still etched in her vision.
Oh god, was that it? Did I just hit the ground? Why is there no pain?
Kim awoke with a start, her muscles reflexively tensing as if she were preparing for a fight. A thin layer of sweat covered her back, and her breathing was rapid.
"Just a dream…" she murmured groggily. "No…a nightmare."
A sudden night breeze gently blew into the room and Kim shivered, grumbling something about sleep deprivation. As she got up to close the window, she thought she remembered doing this before. The action seemed so familiar, and a sudden feeling of deja-vu struck her.
She blinked, another flashback assaulting her senses.
'I didn't open this window.' She was thinking as she tossed her covers aside, hopping out of bed.
Taking a quick glance outside, Kim scanned her surroundings, but found nothing of interest or importance. It was a crisp and clear night, and the rustle of the leaves in one of the trees, unusually loud at this time of night, sounded somewhere in the distance, but it was probably a cat or squirrel or something equally mundane...
She blinked again, and the real world was returned to her.
"My neighbor has a cat?" Kim wondered aloud as she gazed out the window, her mind still somewhat groggy from sleep. Nothing seemed out of place – the world was quiet and sleeping – something, she realized, that she should be doing as well. The weather was something rotten, but that wasn't anything she could really change, could she? Kim rubbed her eyes, a purely unconscious and reflexive motion before turning around to head back to bed and settle in the warmth of the covers. She barely accomplished a few steps when she heard a familiar voice softly call her name.
Chapter 11: Where Is The Mango Princess?
June 9, 2005
All sleep-borne cobwebs in her half-awake brain vanished instantly as she recognized the intruder. The voice gave it all away: the softness, the way it seemed to take on a life of its own and pull you close before entangling you in its insistency and unintentional huskiness. And by the time you realized what was going on, you were already lost.
But Kim knew better by now.
Kim spun around as fast as her body would let her, making sure a glare of contempt was on her face.
"You!" She hissed, wishing that she wasn't so crippled at the moment so that she could launch herself at the woman and push her out the window.
"I need to warn you…and I wanted to see how you were doing." Shego leveled with Kim, concern blatantly showing on her pale face.
"Because…why?" Kim challenged the older woman.
"You already know why." Shego breathed.
"Do I?" Kim laughed, bitterness lacing her voice.
"Yes, you do."
Kim scoffed. "I don't believe you."
"You just don't want to admit it to yourself Princess." Shego replied softly.
Kim only rolled her eyes, a flash of lightening illuminated her expression of disbelief. But Shego was continuing.
"Kimmie, really. I'm serious. How are you? Are your injuries healing well?" Shego pressed.
"Why the hell do YOU want to know?" Kim practically yelled, her eyes flaring. "You've been trying to kill me for years, haven't you? HAVEN'T YOU!"
As she continued to stare down Shego, her feelings of betrayal renewed, Shego only took a small step backwards, barely noticeable, away from Kim. If Kim couldn't tell, the older woman seemed slightly embarrassed. She opened her mouth, but quickly shut it, as if to rethink what she had been about to say. This momentary lull in conversation (if one could call it conversation) seemed to give Kim an extra burst of energy and spur her into another tirade. She took a step forward.
"You liar! You filthy liar! I can't believe you! How dare you – how COULD you!"
Shego blinked in awe at the fury demonstrating itself in Kim's green eyes. "I…I…damn it Princess! Listen to me!" She stuttered. Kim; however, wasn't going to hear any of it.
"You lied about my family, my friends, me, you – my whole life! How could you do this, Shego? And why?"
"Princess, too much information too soon would have hurt your recovery – it would have been too much for your brain to handle. I was going to tell you, but slowly and over time." Shego attempted to explain to an enraged and irate Kim.
"No, I KNOW what you were doing Shego!" Kim retorted, taking another step forward, poking Shego in the chest and effectively making a shocked Shego take another step backwards. "The doctors at the hospital told me about how mental conditioning works, especially on amnesiacs like me. You were trying to corrupt me, to turn me into a thief, to make me fall in love with you!"
Would that have been so bad, Princess…? We could have been happy together – you and me. We're meant to be together, you have to see it! Yin and Yang – light and darkness – equal and opposite. I complete you, and you complete me. I could have given you anything!
And at once, Shego found herself somewhere else – a beach. Kim was there too, and they were both smiling. Shego pulled Kim close to her, her hand creeping around Kim's waist. She leaned down to whisper something in Kim's ear, causing Kim to grin and giggle.
"The charade…" Kim jabbed Shego on the sternum, knocking the older woman out of her fantasies.
"Ow, hey!" Shego protested lightly, more in surprise than in anger.
"The tea…" Another jab.
"The drugs…" Another poke.
"It was all a lie!"
"Not all of it." Shego hitched out slowly. "I never thought of it as a charade."
Breathing heavily, Kim paused her verbal attack, waiting for Shego to fight her.
The first blow never came.
"Fight me!" Kim demanded. "You've always fought me, why is tonight any different? You finally have your chance. The secret's out – I know. And plus, I'm helpless. Completely at your mercy…its what you've always wanted, right? To finally beat me? To win? Well, here's your big chance." Kim took a step forward, so that she was mere inches away from Shego's face, her green eyes staring into Shego's identically-colored ones. When she spoke, her voice was considerably softer. "Go ahead."
"Well…Shego…what are you waiting for!" Kim exclaimed, throwing her hands in the air when Shego said nothing.
"What? Kimmie, what are you talking about?" Shego questioned Kim, her voice low and steady.
"What are you waiting for?" Kim questioned.
"For?" Shego blinked as Kim raised her fist.
"You've always wanted to fight!" Kim yelled, exasperation lacing her voice.
"I told you before…" Shego whispered, suppressing an overwhelming urge to reach out and caress Kim's flushed cheek. "I love you. I could never do anything to hurt you. Especially not now."
Kim shook her head. "With everything you've told me, all the lies…which ones am I supposed to believe Shego? How can I love someone who lied to me about…about everything?"
Seeing Kim's pained look, Shego couldn't help but to reach out to the girl, wanting nothing more than to pull her close and embrace her, taking her pain and hurt away…but then again…the pain and hurt was her fault.
"Don't touch me!" Kim hissed, raising a hand to ward off Shego's.
"Pumpkin…" Shego started.
"And don't call me that!"
Shego closed her mouth, before trying again.
"DON'T TALK TO ME! PLEASE! I HATE YOU FOR WHAT YOU DID TO ME! I HATE YOU!"
"Oh god Princess, you can't mean that." Shego breathed, her heart feeling painfully constricted. Her stomach began to curl and go icy, and a wave of light-headedness began to permeate through her body. A rush of blood to her head made her temples throb painfully.
"I…I…I can't call you…Princess-"
"NO!" Kim interrupted, jabbing her. "You've lost the right, damn you! The right to call me anything ever again!"
"You can't-" Shego tried again.
"I DO, AND I NEVER WANT TO SEE YOU ANYMORE! EVER!"
With a sudden and unexpected eruption of newfound energy, Kim pushed Shego against the wall, hard, wincing as she felt a sharp pain shoot through her splinted leg, the limb protesting having not been used to having to bear so much weight.
"Kimmie." Shego sternly protested. "You're tired sweetheart, you should-"
Her sentence was cut short when her peripheral vision caught sight of Kim's fist swinging through the air, aimed directly at her face. She stood there, frozen, as her mind waged an internal battle with itself. If she tried to block it, she could potentially harm Kim in the process…but was she really going to stand idly and let Kim hit her?
The answer turned out to be yes.
The action itself seemed to hurt more than the stinging blow. As Kim took a surprised step backwards, almost as if she herself couldn't believe what she had just done, Shego cautiously brought a hand up to her face to feel a warm fluid slowly creeping its way down her chin – blood. Kim's punch had drawn blood. She looked at Kim, her face showing her disbelief and hurt, but Kim had taken two more steps back, and was standing in the middle of the room balancing on her good leg, and looking like she was expending a lot of effort and energy to be doing so.
And from the obvious rise and fall of her shoulders, and the fine tremor that was running through her entire body, Shego could tell Kim was trying to keep from weeping.
The two girls continued to stare at each other in silence, the only audible sounds Kim's harsh breathing and the soft patter of the rain outside.
Minutes passed before any of them made a move…or it could have been hours…it wasn't important.
Shego silently let out a sigh. She wasn't going to accomplish anything tonight, and the longer she stayed to try to reason with Kim, the more it seemed she was hurting her.
Wordlessly, Shego turned around and hopped up onto the window-sill, perching on its edge before turning her head to have a last glance at her enemy-turned-would-be-lover. When she spoke, it was barely audible.
"I may have lied, but I do…I do love you Kim, no matter how twisted it seems to you. I…I'm sorry."
And with that, Shego jumped back into the storm and was once again lost to the night. A clap of resounding thunder resonated through the room.
"Lying, two-faced green-skinned bitch! Coming here – to my house – and trying to…to…talk to me! How dare she! How dare she!" Kim hissed, trying to ignore the hollow pit forming in her stomach at the image of how genuinely hurt Shego had looked when Kim had punched her.
As she hobbled over to the window to close and latch it, a new thought crossed her mind: Shego knew where she lived, and had, perhaps more importantly, been able to enter her room undetected and unnoticed. Was this the first time Shego had done this?
Another flashback played itself in Kim's reeling mind.
That feeling of being watched seemed to permeate through Kim's sleep, and she squeezed her eyes tighter, as if that action would ward off the intruder.
But it was still there, still insistent, and Kim knew she should wake up.
But sleep was so much more satisfying.
I should really wake up now…I really should…
With a gush of effort, Kim opened her eyes, willing for the fatigue and bleariness of sleep to be washed away…and as she adjusted to the brightness of the room due to the moon's light, she found herself staring into a certain shade of emerald green – a hue she knew too well, for it was the exact color of her own eyes…and the eyes of a certain green-skinned henchwoman…
Sbe blinked and the green color was gone.
Instead, she found herself sitting upright in her bed, with the window slightly ajar, and a small but welcome breeze drifting through her room.
And then it was gone.
Had Shego really been watching over her all this time? Been sneaking into her room? And if so…why?
While her conscious mind struggled to deny the obvious, her soul knew the truth.
How many times had she gone to bed with a crick in her spine (from one of her fights with Shego), only to wake up the next day with that exact same spot feeling miraculously better? How many times had she fallen asleep with a sore and overused muscle in her shoulder, only to wake up the following morning to feeling amazingly relaxed, as if she had gone to a masseuse?
Could it be?
Kim lay there, the moonlight making her green eyes glow unusually bright. Suddenly, she sat up, her hand gently caressing her neck, the exact spot in her memory.
The chill of the rain was barely noticeable now as Shego noiselessly meandered her way through the dimly-lit alleyways of Middleton, silently making her way to the edges of the town, where she had carefully hidden a black and dark green motorcycle. Her mind and heart were a flurry of feelings and passions – anger at being rejected, misery at being declined, fear for Kim's safety, and self-loathing for causing all her aches, physical and other.
Kim was in danger…and it was mostly her fault. A rush of guilt threatened to well up inside Shego, but she suppressed it, attempting to reason with herself that their fights together was a drug they both were addicted to – Kim liked it too...
Damn it! I went too far that time…I thought she could handle it. I didn't think she would go throwing herself into midair like that! And even so…she should have been able to clear that jump!
Well, she might have been able to...if it hadn't been for -
STOP IT! Shego reprimanded herself, as she revved up the machine and instinctively strapped her black plastic helmet to her head, smoothing her soaked hair behind her ears.
You tried to save her, and you failed. But the point is that you tried, really tried. Her falling wasn't YOUR fault. She didn't estimate the distance correctly. Not your problem.
Yes it was. You weren't quick enough. You weren't strong enough. If you were, you could have caught her, then no one would be in this mess right now. You should be thanking your lucky stars that Kim is as strong as she is…otherwise, she would be dead right now, and it would be all your fault. Killing the one you love is such a fine way to show your affection.
You didn't move as quickly as you can, did you?
She was falling! I couldn't have moved any faster!
Couldn't, or didn't?
Couldn't! There was no way!
She was FALLING! I can't move faster than gravity!
And who was making the hovercraft rise so she was forced to push for that last inch? It wasn't Drakken.
SHUT UP, SHUT UP! I don't need a guilt trip right now. It's not my fault!
Keep telling yourself that and maybe one day you'll believe it.
I'm NOT in denial!
But it sure felt that way.
Shego took a deep inhalation as she struggled to calm her ranting mind, and breathed in as she tried to enjoy the sensation of the chilly air and the splash of the raindrops hitting her bare face as she rode through the darkness, the roar of the engine only a background noise, and easily droned out.
Within a half-hour, she had arrived at Drakken's not-so-secret lair. The ride had not been as soothing as she had originally hoped it would be, and upon dismounting the motorcycle, Shego furiously un-strapped the helmet and pulled it off her head, ignoring the tug and pull of a few stray hairs caught in the straps. Rather violently, she flung it across the room so that it hit the opposite wall, making a satisfying clatter, but not quite fulfilling enough. Grumbling, she stormed into the main planning room, half of her hoping she would run into a synthodrone she would be able to utilize to vent her anger upon, and the other half desperately hoping she would be alone, so she could creep to her personal chambers to collapse in a heap of tears.
She wasn't quite that lucky.
The whiny voice of her incompetent boss echoed throughout the otherwise empty room. Shego; however, ignored it and continued hastily walking towards the nearest exit.
"Shego! Listen to me! You'll never guess what happened!"
"Can it Drakken." Shego snarled though her clenched jaw. "I don't wanna hear about your newest scientific breakthrough. I'm sure it'll get foiled by Miss America soon enough."
"No, no, no Shego! Its about that darned cheerleader!" Drakken protested.
"What? Found a foolproof method to beat her? Like that last debacle, cause we all know how well that went." Shego remarked, her voice dripping with sarcasm.
"No, Shego. We won't have to anymore. Kim Possible is no more!" Drakken grinned.
Shego froze in her tracks, her breath hitching in her throat.
No more? What the hell does that mean? Is Kim dead? Can't be…I was just there a half-hour ago and she was fine…well…we did fight, but not physically…
Terrifying visions began to swim in Shego's head of Kim, distraught after her encounter with Shego, had tried to run to her family, her eyes clouded by her tears, and in her rush, she didn't see the tweebs' rocket lying on the ground, and what if she tripped, or fell, or stumbled, or got hurt even more? What if another villain had snuck into Kim's room after Shego had left and killed Kim? What if…?
I should have stayed to watch over her!
"WHAT DID YOU SAY?" She hissed, spinning around, her eyes wild.
She's "no more?" Is she…is she…
Please god no. I'm not ready to let go yet.
"I said…" Drakken began a second time, his eyes full of malicious light. "No more Kim Possible. Didn't you see the news?"
Attempting desperately to feign a mixture of disinterest and boredom, Shego felt her face twist uncontrollably, a ripple of turbulent emotions vying for dominance in her expression. Trying to relax her facial muscles, Shego's sharp and concerned eyes were quite the contrast to the disinterested mask she was maintaining – and maintaining badly. She felt her left eye and lower lip twitch, and hoped that Drakken was too absorbed in his news to notice her discomfort.
"You know I don't tend to watch the Middleton News on a daily basis Dr. D."
"Well, you should, and here's why: Kim Possible has been badly injured."
Not dead, oh, thank goodness…
Shego wanted nothing more than to slump down in relief, but she forced herself to shrug nonchalantly. "So what? She'll get the best medical care and will be back fighting crime any day."
"Ahhh, you didn't let me finish." Dr. Drakken admonished, holding up a finger.
"Okay, fine, whatever. Finish."
"Not only is she badly hurt, but she also lost her memory. She doesn't know who she is!"
Crap. He knows.
"Really, Dr. D. You can gloat all you want, but I'm sure she'll be fine. Don't get your hopes up. She'll be back to her old goody-two-shoes self anytime now."
"No, she won't. Not this time Shego."
Shego blinked. "What do you mean?" She eyed him closely.
"We'll strike at her when she's out of commission and helpless – don't you see Shego? We'll get her when she'll be unable to fight. Finally! It's the break we've been waiting for!"
No, NO, NO! Not like this!
Her laugher was strained and harsh, sounding alien even to her own ears.
"Seriously Dr. D. What do you think you'll do? This is a bad idea, I'll tell you that right now. This is Miss Perfect we're talking about – she'll probably be surrounded at all times by a task force of special Global Justice agents – multiple task forces probably. Plus we'll have to deal with that blonde-haired buffoon, who will be sporting whatever techno-gadgets Wade develops for him. I could probably take out the boyfriend, but everyone else? No way you'll be able to pull anything off."
Shego subconsciously held her breath, all her attention focused on Drakken, looking for any sign of reconsideration. A twitch of the jaw, a narrowing of the eyes…even a blink would have been better than his actual reaction.
Waving his hand idly, Drakken gave Shego a knowing smile.
"Worry not Shego. You take care of the buffoon, and everyone else will take care of the Global Justice guards as well as Kim Possible. I suppose, though, that we could leave the final fatal blow to you – after all, she's fought you for years. See? I can be a caring and kindly employer."
Shego snorted, a real and genuine emotion.
"You and who else? If you think your synthodrones will be able to compete against Global Justice, you've got another thing coming. No offense…they're good, but not THAT good."
"When did I ever say anything about synthodrones, Shego?"
Shego blinked, a purely unconscious reaction. "What did you mean then?"
A knot was beginning to form in her stomach again.
"For the first time in history, Shego, we're all banding together."
"And who is we?"
"Why, all us villains Shego. I've already talked to Monkey Fist, DNAmy, Senor Senior Senior, Senor Senior Junior, and Duff Killigan. Despite our differences, the one thing we have in common is a hatred of that damned cheerleader, Kim Possible. We figure, once we can get her out of the picture, then we'll all be unopposed to world domination. We could each take our own continent! You could even have Iceland!"
Words escaped her, and Shego could only growl as she felt her hands clench into fists, a small burning bit of rage beginning to kindle within her. Yes, it was going to burn for a long time.
"Speechless I see." Drakken laughed. "Told you it was a good plan. Now, Shego…are you in?"
Shego mutely nodded her head, a choppy and robotic action.
"Yes." Her voice was restrained and terse.
At least I'll be there to protect Kimmie.
"Good good!" Drakken grinned, clapping his hands together. "Well, I'll not keep you. It's a big day of planning tomorrow, and we'll all need our rest so we can be in top mental condition! Off you go!"
Shego seized the opportunity to make her escape, running through the empty corridors to her private chambers, her footsteps echoing loudly and mind in shock over what she had just heard. She might have been able to surreptitiously protect Kim from a few minor villains, but all of them at once, each one utilizing their own unique skills? It was a daunting task, and seemed impossible.
Within the safety and privacy of her personal rooms, Shego grabbed the nearest loose item, Milton's Paradise Lost her mind noticed amusedly, and flung it against the mirror with an anguished cry. The glass splintered into a collage of cobwebbed patterns before shattering and falling to the ground in hundreds of minute pieces. But, it wasn't quite fulfilling enough, so she sauntered across the room, the broken glass crunching under her boots, to throw a blind furious punch to the wall, her mind not caring that she was still dripping wet from the storm raging outside. The dull pain was a welcome call back to reality, and Shego repeated the process, this time leaving a visible dent in the plaster. Bringing her hand back to herself, she tore off the glove to inspect her pale skin – definitely some slight dark green bruising, and judging from the dull throbbing already beginning to develop, it was going to get worse before getting better. As she readied her already-injured hand for another blow, she stopped herself.
Be reasonable Shego! You're angry and frustrated, but you can't protect Kimmie if you're injured too! Now stop it, and think!
Closing her eyes and suppressing a bout of tears threatening to fall, Shego collapsed on her favorite armchair.
Now…what have you accomplished? Let's try and think through this.
Um, making Kim hate me?
Stop it. What else?
There was silence.
Well, I went over to Stoppable's house to try and talk to him and…shit.
What was that?
I forgot to retrieve the box! I was so wrapped up in trying to defend myself from his attacks I totally forgot about the stupid box! Damn! Kim's gonna hate me even more now.
Shego bit her lip and clenched her eyelids tighter, as though if she willed it hard enough, the real world would go away and the situation would remedy itself. Visions of how Kim would react began to play in her mind's eye…Kim opening the box, her deep green eyes widening as she read the contents, especially the unsent letters. Then, her beautiful innocent eyes would quaver and fill with tears, as she began to think Shego had meant to kill her, and whatever fragile trust she might have grasped would be shattered.
Damn it, I've caused you enough tears! Shego swore. I promise Kim, I'll make it up to you somehow. Even if I have to sit there and endure you beating me senseless.
The internal movie of Kim reading the secret letters was replaced by a much darker one – one where an enraged Kim was fighting Shego, but this time, the redhead's anger and betrayal were powerful weapons, and she had Shego backed into a corner – or maybe forced her to the ground. And, in a cathartic moment for both parties, Kim had begun to physically beat Shego, landing a series of relentless blows to the raven-haired woman, spilling blood, and making her eat every word. Huddling there, Shego had taken the assault, not raising not even one finger to stop the onslaught. She deserved it, after all.
Exhaustion overtook her, and within a few minutes, Shego was asleep, her fevered mind swimming with visions of herself being repeatedly tortured and beaten by Kim.
Kim's snarling face was above her, her mouth twisted in an expression of pure hatred and loathing. In her fist were the remnants of the hidden letters, crumpled scraps of paper. Kim waved them in Shego's face forcefully.
"Every damn day you lied to me!"
A roundhouse kick to Shego's midsection knocked her to the ground.
"Every!" A wicked punch to her jaw dislodged a few teeth as a thin line of blood began trickling down her pale chin.
"Damn!" A kick to her chest forced the air from her lungs, a muffled crack audible as a few of Shego's ribs snapped under the applied force.
"Day!" A third kick to her gut left Shego panting on the ground, trying to steady herself with a free hand. Blood – her blood – was dripping on the floor.
"You manipulative bitch. I hate you, I HATE YOU!"
After making sure Kim had settled in her own room without much difficulty, James and Anne Possible retired to their room, a collective sigh escaping their lips. It had been a long and trying day. While James had insisted on staying with Kim as she explored her room, Anne had firmly disagreed.
"No. She needs to learn on her own. Having us there will probably make her nervous. If she has questions, I told her we're right here, and she could bother us anytime." She explained.
"But –" James had attempted to interject.
"No. Regaining one's memories after amnesia is a highly personal quest. We can be there for support, but we can't remember for her."
Finally seeing the reason in his wife's logic, James left the issue alone.
"So, what is the verdict?" He asked, settling into bed and tossing his shoes aside.
"About what?" Anne inquired from the master bathroom, pulling her nightshirt over her head.
"About Kim. What did the doctors say?" He clarified.
"Aside from the amnesia, she should be alright. Tomorrow we have plans for immersing her in a bio-suspension tank filled with vitamins, glucose, and a whole slew of other water-soluble medicines. It should speed up the healing process exponentially. Plus, Dr. Oakley has agreed to fly out here to work with Kim – he's the best physical therapist around."
"Bio-suspension?" James raised an eyebrow. "Is this new? Is it safe?"
"Both. But for Kim's case, we decided it was needed."
"And how about mentally? Will Kim be able to regain her memories?"
"That's really up in the air still. MRI scans demonstrated no permanent or crippling damage to the brain tissue. There's no excessive swelling of either her grey or white matter, thank goodness!" Anne exclaimed, slipping into bed next to James. "In fact, she has increased blood flow, which is probably why she's getting progressively better at remembering events and persons from her past, even if her recollections are brief flashes."
"Well, that is definitely a relief!" James sighed. "But still…I can't believe that Shego person! The nerve of her!" He finished in a huff.
"Well…" Anne began, a hint of nervousness and uncertainty creeping into her intonation.
"Hmm, dear?" James pressed.
"That's what I'm worried about."
"Of course you should be worried! That ruffian tried to hurt – "
"I don't think so." Anne finished quickly, not giving him the chance to complete his thought.
"I think Shego is in love with Kim."
"But…she's a girl…and so is Kim."
"Yes, dear, that's one of my points."
James was silent, and Anne could almost see the wheels turning in his head as he began to process the information and put the pieces together.
"But…they're both girls!" James protested.
"Yes dear, they are." She answered calmly.
"But…but…does Kim reciprocate the feelings? How could she, especially after what Shego has done? And why do you think so in the first place? Shego likes Kimmie-cub? Why? How? I just don't understand how anything like this could happen."
"Well, Shego is gay and she's fallen for Kim. It does happen in this day and age dear." Anne sighed, her annoyance peeking through.
"I know the basics Anne, but our daughter? I mean…Kimmie-cub? I know she hasn't had much luck with boys, but…still…" James mused thoughtfully, the frown on his face still revealing his extreme displeasure at the unfolding debacle.
"Well, I don't think Kim has any favorable opinion on Shego right now, but before we intervened…who knows. I have this hunch about the drugs found in Kim's blood chemistry. I'll find out their exact identities tomorrow, but I just have this feeling they aren't supposed to be harmful. Think about it: If Shego really wanted to kill Kim, she would have had a great window of opportunity to do so. But instead, she takes Kim in and takes care of her." Anne paused in her explanation. "Has Kim ever talked to you about the nicknames Shego calls her?"
James shook his head no, and Anne sighed.
"Better get a cup of coffee honey. This might take awhile…"
The doorbell rang, a soft melodious sound that reverberated through the house. Bracing her good hand on the couch's arm, Kim hoisted herself up and took a few uncertain steps to the door. Her body, though still a bit weak, was feeling much better today, and she could have sworn she was able to bear a little bit of pressure on her leg.
That morning, Kim and her parents had spent a few hours at the hospital while various doctors continued to perform a number of reflex and reaction tests on the teenager. Satisfied her stretch reflex was still healthy and functional, they then made her wait for a rather boring hour while she lay in a claustrophobic bio-suspension tank. With a heady mix of nutrients as well as a plethora of biochemically-designed soluble drugs that permeated her skin to exert their action, the experience was definitely new. At least it was relaxing. Kim had utilized the hour to meditate and let her mind drift away from the real world…at least for a little while.
"We'll get it Kim!"
The twins rushed past her, one of them jumping over the back of the couch. Kim chuckled. Man, did they have a ton of excess energy.
"Its Ron!" They chattered, yelling to Kim even as they proceeded to drag Ron into the house. Holding a bouquet of flowers in one hand, and a cardboard box under his opposite arm, Ron flashed Kim a smile that somehow was both goofy and encouraging at the same time.
"Hi Ron." Anne walked into the living room to greet the guest. "Would you like some lunch? We have some leftover pizza."
"No thanks Ms. KP. I just ate." Ron patted his stomach for extra emphasis.
"Nacho!" Rufus chirped, poking his head out of Ron's pocket and resting his front paws on his chin.
"Alright then." Anne smiled. "But if you would like anything, just let us know."
"Okay Mom." Kim thanked her mother as Ron made his way across the living room to have a seat next to Kim.
"These are for you." He smiled, extending the bouquet.
"Oh, Ron, they're beautiful!" Kim exclaimed in joy as she brought her nose to the yellow roses, so delicately arranged with ferns and baby's breath, pausing to inhale their fragrance. "And they smell so…nice! Thank you!"
Leaning closer to envelop Ron in a hug, he seized the moment to move a few inches away from Kim, holding his hands up to prevent her from actually hugging him.
"Actually, KP. These aren't from me." He admitted, rubbing the back of his neck with a free hand. Rufus nodded in agreement and pointed at the flowers.
"What do you mean?" Kim inquired, confusion lacing her eyes.
"They're from a friend who wanted to remain anonymous." He explained, hoping the nervousness in his eyes wasn't giving too much away.
But Kim; however, was keener than that.
"An anonymous friend?" She pressed. "Would that anonymous friend happen to have an ability to shoot green fire from her hands?"
"I'm not telling!" Ron crossed his arms in defiance.
"Jeez, they ARE from her." Kim muttered in disgust. "She just doesn't know when to quit, huh?"
And before Ron or Rufus could stop her, Kim had grabbed the flowers and walked into the kitchen to find the nearest trash bin to violently throw them in, tears welling up in her eyes. She blinked them away. She was stronger than that. Ron's surprised protest sounded from the living room, but Kim ignored it.
I can't let her trick me again! I won't!
As Kim turned around to leave, Anne silently poked her head in the room to have a glance at what Kim had thrown away. Making sure Kim was safely out of sight and back in the living room, she retrieved the flowers from the trash, giving them a rinse under the sink. Smiling as she heard the exasperated sound of Ron's voice scolding Kim, Anne began untangling the flowers from the clear plastic wrap and myriad ribbons. Producing a vase from one of the cabinets, and with an almost practiced ease, began to skillfully arrange the flowers.
"Don't scorn such a tender gift Kimmie…you may regret it later." She mused quietly to herself.
You'll thank me later Kimmie.
Smiling at her finished work, she made her way upstairs to place the flowers on Kim's nightstand, wondering where exactly Shego was hoping to end up with all of this.
As Kim practically stormed across the common room to let herself flop on the couch next to an astonished Ron, he noticed the flowers were gone, as well as heard the metallic clang of the trashcan lid opening and closing only a few moments before. It didn't take a genius to put two and two together.
"KP!" Ron exclaimed, obviously stunned by her reaction.
"No Ron!" She protested. "I don't want to accept anything from her. Its gotta be a trap."
Ron nodded, able to understand her train of thought. It was sound logic, but she still wasn't drawing the correct conclusion. Or, she didn't WANT to.
"Well, I brought some stuff we gathered from the raid. We could have a look at them…" He began, thinking maybe Kim would at least be interested in reviewing said items – maybe they could find some kind of motivation for Shego's admittedly contradictory actions. Kim looked at him, her expression definitely saying 'No way.'
"I know it might be hard KP, but I just thought it might be a good idea…you never know what you'll find, right?" He tried again hesitantly. As educational as the experience might be, he didn't really want to force Kim into it.
"He's right, you know." Anne added, strolling in the room to have a seat next to Kim. "And we'll be right here to help you if you want." She smiled encouragingly.
Kim sighed. She knew Ron and her mother were right, but she didn't really want to face that past…it would be like reopening a wound and letting it bleed afresh…but wasn't that how they had to treat injuries every once in a while? Hell, her mother was right. If she had to face a painful reminder of Shego, she might as well do it with the most support available.
"Okay." She agreed. "But I want both of you here to – "
A small and barely audible chirp made her smile. "All three of you, I mean."
Rufus beamed before beginning to drag the box towards Kim, the weight of it obviously a problem. After a few moments of struggling, Ron finally lifted the box and brought over to Kim. Rufus sighed in relief.
Kim looked down at the small box sitting on her lap, the size of a couple of shoeboxes put together, and only a couple of pounds. It seemed so insignificant (it was only a box), but inside were so many memories…some good…some bad…but all confusing. What exactly would she find in there? She unconsciously licked her lip and put trembling hands on the lid. Taking a deep breath, she opened it quickly in one swift and deliberate motion, as if she expected something to come bounding out at her.
Of course, nothing did.
A pile of papers and a few paperback books stared back at her.
Kim picked up a book, the one on top of the pile, reading the title aloud.
"Exercise and Fitness Regimes for Paraplegics. Hmm, interesting."
Passing that book to Anne, Kim pulled out a second book, which was more of a thin pamphlet than an actual novel.
"So, You Know Someone With Amnesia: A Rough Guide to Helping Your Loved Ones Through A Life They Don't Remember." Her eyes narrowing suspiciously, Kim skimmed the contents. "Published by the American Mental Health Association…" She murmured quietly, her eyes still scanning the pages.
With a hurried motion, she handed the pamphlet to Ron, who had been trying to read over her shoulder. Noticing how there were a whole bunch of informational handouts, she grabbed the whole bunch, now more interested in reading the titles than the actual text. Ron and Anne remained silent as they let her explore.
"Herbal Supplements…Natural Remedies…Coping with Depression: How to Recognize Symptoms in a Friend…Recommended Reading for Brain Trauma Patients…"
Kim's eyes narrowed in obvious confusion, but she continued on, pulling a few more booklets from the box.
Her sharp eye noticing the logo, Anne smiled to herself as she realized all the information guides were the same ones usually distributed in the various waiting rooms of the Middleton Hospital. Her suspicions of Shego's true intentions were becoming more and more founded with every pamphlet. As she began to read the "Herbal Supplements" guide, she noticed a particular section circled in dark green ink, and highlighted fluorescent yellow: Gingko biloba – an herbal supplement for thinning the blood, improving circulation to the brain, and improving memory. And scribbled, with the same hue of green ink, on the opposite page were the words, "Gingko tea."
Stealing a glance at Kim, who was currently absorbed in reading "Recommended Reading for Brain Trauma Patients," Anne shook her head slowly.
Shego…what are we going to do with you?
"Mom…" Kim's timid and confused voice knocked Anne from her ponderings.
"What's this book? I don't' get it. I don't get any of this. It doesn't make any sense."
Kim held out a small paperback to her mother. It wasn't a medical book or leaflet; it was actually a novel. Her eyes narrowing, Anne took the book from Kim and read the title to herself.
Where is the Mango Princess by Cathy Crimmons.
"Its…" Mrs. Possible began, unsure of how to explain to Kim the significance of the book. She found herself smiling down at her befuddled daughter, pushing the book back in Kim's hands. "I think you better read it, Kimmie. Its really hard to explain – you just have to read it."
Kim looked less-than-happy at her mother's cryptic response, but nodded her head in acknowledgement, setting aside the book next to her for safekeeping.
Anne's mind; however, was overwhelmed, her hunch confirmed.
'Where is the Mango Princess?" is the book I recommend to people whose spouses have suffered traumatic brain injury? It details the healing process, not only for the victim, but for the victim's lovers and friends and family…it allows the victim's family to understand what the victim is going through…if Shego had been reading this book…she had been trying to…
The thought was left unfinished as the phone rang.
Kim watched her mother as she answered, idly flipping pages of her newest reading assignment.
"Hello, this is Dr. Possible speaking…oh, hi Fred…yeah, that's great, thanks so much for getting those done so quickly…mm hmm…interesting…alright, thank you….yep…bye."
"What's the sitch mom?" She inquired, her expression inquisitive.
"I just got your blood chemistry results back." Anne smiled. "And don't worry, everything's fine."
Anne's cheerful smile was a weak mask of the emotions she was trying to conceal.
I have to tell Kim, but how do I do that? She wondered. How do I tell her that Shego had been slipping her the drugs vasopressin, nimodipine, and piracetam with choline? How do I explain that to Kim?
As a neuro-surgeon, Anne Possible was very familiar with vasopressin, nimodipine, and piracetam with choline. Their purpose was to increase blood flow to certain lobes of the brain, especially those lobes whose function it was to retain and recall memory.
All three of them were the standard drugs used to treat patients with amnesia…someone like Kim.
This is going to change everything, for both of you…how do I tell you…and Shego…what the hell do we do about you?
A deep sigh from beside her shook Anne out of her reverie, and she turned around to see Kim holding up a few pictures of herself. In these pictures, she was just smiling, looking calm and content and happy.
"She has pictures of me." Kim mused, while Ron curled his lip.
"I don't know KP…that's a little…stalker-type, ya know?" He asked.
"Don't know Ron…I used to think she wanted to kill me, but with all these medical flyers, I don't know anymore." She admitted, her shoulders slumping down. "But I guess…I don't know. I really just don't know. Maybe she wasn't as bad as she seemed." She finished as she reached once again into the box, her hand closing around a series of letters.
Unfolding them, her eyes grew wide in shock and disbelief as she began to read them.
"I am writing to you to regretfully inform you of the recent passing of Kim Possible. Three days ago, Ms. Possible was rushed into the ER department suffering from severe and traumatic head injuries, several broken bones, and a collapsed lung. It appeared as though she was in a major impact collision. The exact situation of the accident is unknown, as she was unconscious when brought in by a group of mountain hikers who had found her during their daily trek. Despite our best efforts to stabilize her vitals, she passed away within a couple hours of her arrival. An autopsy is being performed even as I write this. Her parents, relatives, and other friends and colleagues have already been notified of the situation. Due to her relative fame from being a superhero, and the suspicious circumstances of her death, her body is being kept under close surveillance and we regret to inform you that we are not accepting visitors at this time. Again, my sincerest regrets and apologies, Edward Lee, M.D."
Furiously, Kim skimmed over the other letters, only to discover they all said the same thing – that she had died.
The silence that followed her flurry of actions was tangible, and the letters fluttered to the ground unnoticed.
This time, she couldn't hold back the tears any longer, and dropping her head into her palms, she began to cry. The pair of arms that enveloped her into a supportive hug helped a little, but didn't really ease the pain that was threatening to rip its way through her soul.
You WERE trying to kill me, you bitch! YOU LIAR! I…HATE…YOU!
Through her tears, Kim didn't see how her mother had picked up the dropped letters. Nor did she see her mother read them quickly and glance at Ron in shock. Nor did she see how Ron shook his head in confusion as he mouthed, "I don't know what these were for" to Anne. Shrugging her shoulders in a gesture of agreed confusion, Anne's expression became anxiously puzzled as she continued to comfort her daughter.
The ruckus and cacophony was deafening, and it was extremely tempting to plasma-blast all of them.
Sitting in a corner, a scowl plastered on her face, Shego exuded hatred and loathing at the scene rapidly unfolding in front of her.
"I'm telling you, my Monkey Ninjas will be able to sneak past any Global Justice team they've set up." Monkey Fist scratched his chin with his foot thoughtfully.
"I could engineer their DNA though so that they're even faster. I could give them cat reflexes." DNAmy chirped, grabbing onto Drakken in her excitement, completely ignoring his attempts to disengage himself from her grasp.
"Well, I still say we should have synthodrones. Monkeys running about will call attention to themselves. At least synthodrones look human."
"Aye, I agree with that lad about that." Duff chimed in, tapping his golf club on the table. "But I want a chance to kill the lass."
"No, I do!" Monkey Fist interjected. "After she stole the Tempus Simia from me, I think I deserve the chance to finish her off."
"No, she's my soulmate!" Senor Senior Junior protested lightly, only to be smacked by this father, who promptly told him not to believe such animology rubbish.
"Hey, wait, my syntho-hottie Eric was the closest. I should kill her!" Drakken exclaimed.
"Err, how about that Shego girl?" DNAmy suggested, timidly raising her hand and gesturing at the still-quiet reclusive Shego grumbling in the corner. All eyes turned to her, a grudgingly respectful look in them.
As Shego studied them, a series of deranged smiles lit up their faces.
"Aye, the wee lass is right. Shego has fought Kim more than any of us." Duff observed, his eyes cast skywards in thought. Even Monkey Fist and the two Senor Seniors were nodding.
"Its settled then! Shego will be the one to take Kim Possible out." Drakken grinned while DNAmy clapped her hands together.
"Excellent." Monkey Fist breathed, cracking his knuckles.
And Shego could only stare back, her eyes intense, a scream threatening to tear itself from her throat.
Chapter 12: All The Difference
June 10, 2005
Each inhalation was like trying to breathe fire and ash; her diaphragm didn't want to function, and her lungs felt like they were filling with some kind of fluid. An involuntary cough brought a wave of hot metallic liquid to her mouth. Even in the scant moonlight afforded to her, she could see it was deep red.
And oh god, it HURT!
That deep and slightly seductive voice…it was her. Shego. The liar, the betrayer – that bitch!
And for all her wrongdoings, the multitude of her crimes, she looked good. Her incredibly soft hair brushed against Kim's bruised cheek, and Kim felt her eyes close as she let herself enjoy this one pleasant sensation, so starkly contrasting with the sharp pains shooting through her side. She knew she should say something, but speech just seemed so difficult for some reason. Well aware of (and somewhat embarrassed by) her obvious pathetic state, Kim looked up at her archrival, hoping to at least salvage some modicum of respect.
Of course, Shego was beautiful, her hand on her hip, her eyes dark, and her expression unreadable.
She smirked, and Kim found herself staring at Shego's lips – the way they curved so perfectly, the way the upper joined the lower…
Great Kim, just perfect. You're dying, and the only thing you're noticing is how gorgeous your enemy is.
Perhaps it was due to oxygen deprivation – yeah, that's what it was. She wasn't thinking right, it was the only explanation.
With a suppressed chuckle, and that infuriating smirk still plastered on her face, Shego dropped to one knee to have a better look at the battered teenager.
She's gonna kill me! Gotta run!
Her body remained motionless. Gritting her teeth, Kim tried again.
Still, no movement.
Damn it! MOVE! NOW!
She felt a wave of muscle twitches in her left leg.
Real helpful Kim… She scolded herself.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk Kimmie. What dreadful situation have you gotten yourself into this time? And where is your sidekick, that idiotic Ron Stoppable?"
The dripping sarcasm in Shego's voice was unmistakable, and Kim wanted nothing more at that moment than to reach out and smack that smug grin right off her pale green face. How DARE she insult her partner, not to mention her best friend!
"Ron…Ron's not…he's not an idiot…" She choked out, ignoring her lungs' protests as she defended her friend.
She inhaled sharply and involuntarily as she felt Shego crouch down beside her. Before she could argue, the older woman had taken her head in her hands and was gently stroking her hair as if she were consoling an injured child.
Gently…Shego was being so gentle. But Shego was never gentle. Shego was a thief, and a liar, and a -
"Such a shame Princess. I was rather looking forward to finishing you off myself. But, I guess this will have to do."
NO! I will NOT go down like this! Kim thought frantically, as she shook her head no. Several more involuntary coughs escaped her throat, and Kim felt that metallic taste flood her mouth again.
And that damn woman laughed at her.
"You can't even talk, can you?" Shego's mocking voice taunted. "Well, here you don't have to."
Kim was trying to comprehend what the thief was saying, but everything seemed muted and her vision was blurry, like one of those paintings done by an impressionist; the basic premise was there, but when she tried too hard to concentrate on the details, her mind began to hurt. She felt like she was floating…but Shego was still talking, and Kim forced herself to concentrate on Shego's voice.
"You just have to listen."
The pain, thank goodness wasn't as insistent as before, and Kim felt her eyes close as body started to relax. In fact, Shego's voice wasn't as insistent as before – she was still talking, but her voice was far away and growing fainter with each passing second.
"When I bring your dead body back with me, I will be feared and respected."
"I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible."
Fighting was useless, and darkness overtook her.
A pair of intense green eyes blinked as Kim awoke and found herself staring at the ceiling. The rain was still softly falling outside, making gentle pitter-patter sounds as it beat against the windows. Kim blinked again, breathing deep to calm her jangled nerves. A cursory glance around her room told her she was alone, that she was safe. Her windows were closed, her bedroom door was shut, and her Pandaroo was still nestled next to her pillow.
"Stupid dream." She mumbled under her breath before running a hand through her hair and pulling her comforter closer to her body. She yawned and closed her eyes, trying to block out that one damned sentence from her consciousness.
"I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible."
The rubble shifted slightly underneath her boots, causing a mini cloud of dust to swirl about, and Shego altered her position, readjusting her weight so that it mostly rested on her left foot. Had circumstances been different, Shego might have found herself taking a spare moment to enjoy the landscape and appreciate the lovely pastel colors that the sunset was painting the sky.
But today was different. Today was special.
Today was the day she killed Kim Possible.
You didn't kill her. She misjudged distance and made a poor decision. Not your fault. Shego reminded herself. You fought her, and for the first time in your career, you won!
Then why did she feel so bad? Why did she feel a hollow pit in her stomach, one that was growing larger with each passing second of uncertainty about Kim's whereabouts and health? The heroine had fallen quite a respectable distance into the ravine below, and despite her excellent physical training and conditioning, that was one serious tumble for anyone to endure.
Where is she? Shego reiterated to herself for what seemed like the thousandth time that late afternoon.
Dark forest green eyes quickly scanned the landscape searching for a familiar auburn red color…
Fuck it, where IS she?
She started running, the muffled thudding of her frantic footsteps echoing through the deserted canyon, her eyes still scanning the ground for a certain redheaded cheerleader. The olive green cargo pants should give the girl's position away…or the utility belt. Maybe the last rays of the sun might catch on the metal buckles, and reflect the light towards Shego. And if all that failed, Kim did have a rather unique hair color. Pausing to catch her breath, Shego contemplated what to do. She wanted to call out, but knew that Kim wouldn't answer – yelling would be useless.
Where the fuck are you, Kim?
The image was still replaying itself in her mind, stinging like a fresh wound. Kim's confident smile, her brilliant eyes sparkling with the anticipation of a challenge, almost as if she were saying, "Ha. I win." And Shego remembered how she had grinned back, accepting that challenge, a sly gleam in her dark eyes because she knew she would finally beat Kim this time.
But if she knew what winning would entail, she would have gladly taken it all back. It seemed to happen so fast, but so slow at the same time. It was paradoxical; it was ludicrous. Was she so intent on winning that she wasn't paying attention to what was really happening? Didn't she see how high she had pushed the hovercraft; didn't she realize how hard she would be effectively pushing Kim to jump that high? Didn't she remember that Kim had stitches, stitches caused by HER plasma fire? Was she THAT determined to win?
Why do you have to so brave all the time, you idiot? Shego thought to herself. You ARE allowed to call it a draw, you stubborn girl!
Shego shivered as she felt a gust of cool air blow past her. Securing the dark brown canvas bag over her shoulder, she leaped off the nearest rocky outcrop and landed gracefully on a large boulder below. A flash of motion caught her eye, and without wasting another second, Shego flipped ten feet forward to land close to a prone figure with fiery red hair.
Her breath caught in her throat, and her heart feeling as if it were going to explode, Shego cautiously made her way towards the still girl lying at the bottom of the canyon, almost as if she were terrified of what she might find once she got there. Kim lying there in a pool of her own blood? A shattered skull? A broken neck? A severed trachea? A collapsed lung?
It still didn't make any sense, what had happened.
Oh my god…please be alright, please be alright…
But at the sight of Kim's motionless body, with one of her legs twisted under her at an unnatural angle, a deeper part of Shego's psyche knew better.
This is my fault, isn't it? Oh, no, I didn't mean it, please Kim, I'm so sorry, I didn't mean it! I –
Shego was snapped out of her thoughts when a series of jerks and hitched coughs caught her attention. Shego blinked reflexively, more in surprise than anything else.
She's alive? Still?
The sound of shallow and labored breathing caught and held her attention, almost as if answering her unspoken question.
Time is precious. Move!
But Shego continued to stand there, still caught in the absurdity of the situation, her mind still trying to sift through the chaos to uncover the truth. Was it Kim's fault? Ron's? Wade's? Or was it a collective unintentional effort?
Do something! NOW!
She took a hesitant step towards the unconscious teenager, half expecting the ground to split under her and leather-winged demons to come flying out of the gaping hole to drag her down to the deepest darkest recesses of hell.
Nothing happened, of course. She took another step, this time with a bit more certainty and confidence. And another. And another.
Opening her mouth slightly, Shego took a deep breath to steady her tense nerves as she continued to study the prone teenager. Her eyes fluttered shut for the briefest of moments as she tried to regain control of her racing heart. But what should she say? Or maybe she sholdn't speak at all? Her throat felt painfully dry. But she needed to do something, anything. Bracing one of her gloved hands on her hip for balance, Shego leaned over Kim, inspecting her, watching her…loving her…
Was that so bad? Her mind mocked her.
A sudden, yet soft, breeze wound its way through the valley, dislodging a few strands of Shego's raven hair and effectively pushing them to brush against Kim's cheek. Shego stared as Kim began to stir with a bit more effort, her breathing still obviously posing a significant problem for her.
Was that a…a sigh?
Before she could ponder further on that thought, Kim opened her eyes, squinting almost immediately as if she were looking at an extraordinarily bright light. But her surprise didn't last long, and Shego felt a flash of pride as Kim attempted to give her most imposing glare. Unfortunately, Kim's intended glower fell expectedly short of being actually fierce, and Shego felt her mouth curl into an unintentional smirk, almost as if her facial muscles were acting on autopilot in response to the cocky teenager.
But as soon as she realized her arrogant disdainful half smile was apparent, she wished she could have taken it back…
She would have taken the entire DAY back if she could…taken the latter part of her life back if she could. If she had joined Team Possible instead of signing with Drakken, she would be working with Kim – constantly! How different her life might be if she were one of the "good guys."
A fleeting mental image of herself fighting alongside Kim, the two of the battling Drakken played itself in her mind, and Shego tried to suppress a chuckle as she saw the surprised look on Drakken's face when she and Kim burst through the doors…
Don't laugh! Help her!
Pushing the fantasy out of her mind, Shego bent down to level herself with Kim more. From Kim's clenched jaw and fists, Shego could discern that Kim was trying to spur her body into movement – with little success.
"Tsk, tsk, tsk Kimmie. What dreadful situation have you gotten yourself into this time? And where is your sidekick, that idiotic Ron Stoppable?"
Shego grimaced, even as she heard herself speaking in such a condescending tone. It wasn't that she meant to laugh at Kim, but it had just seemed so routine, their constant bantering and mockery of each other.
And where WAS Ron?
Shego felt a momentary flash of anger at the young boy. If he were here…
You wouldn't have to be, right? Her mind jeered at her.
"Ron…Ron's not…he's not an idiot…" Kim gasped, hesitantly and haltingly…painfully.
Shego felt her heart constrict painfully as any pretense of arrogance and disdain quickly evaporated from her soul. Even in this weakened state…Kim still defended her friends. The girl was strong – much stronger than Shego ever imagined.
She bent down, taking Kim's head into her hands with the utmost care. Unable to restrain herself, she began to softly stroke Kim's matted hair, still beautiful despite the crimson liquid that coated it. A portion of her brain was screeching at her to stop, as moving Kim might ensure further injury to her already damaged body…but another more insistent part was pleading with Shego, urging her to comfort her archnemesis and hold her and tell her she was safe and everything was going to be alright…
But Shego had a façade she was expected to maintain…after all, she had kept it up for so many months, a few more minutes wouldn't hurt, right?
"Such a shame Princess. I was rather looking forward to finishing you off myself. But, I guess this will have to do."
She heard her own cold words leave her mouth and felt a sudden stinging in her eyes as tears formed and threatened to spill.
But her inner actress continued with her morbid speech.
"You can't even talk, can you?" Her voice taunted. "Well, here you don't have to. You just have to listen. When I bring your dead body back with me, I will be feared and respected. I will be the one who killed the legendary Kim Possible. Just imagine Kimmie. Kimmie?"
A forced and rasping inhalation from the young girl still nestled in her arms drew Shego's attention away from her monologue and back to her supposed arch-enemy. She frowned. Were they still enemies? Yes? Yes and no. They were supposed to be enemies, but right now, Kim was motionless and silent…and defeated. But it wasn't supposed to be like this! It wasn't supposed to happen like this.
You weren't supposed to fall in love with her. Shego's inner mind added softly, and for once, there was no trace of the usual sardonic undertones. Without thinking, she reached out a few gloved fingers to push a stray stand of hair out of Kim's face. When Kim still didn't stir, Shego knew that cheerleader was unconscious. And what she said now wouldn't matter – no one would hear it.
"I wish it didn't have to end like this Kimmie. I've never had to fight anyone quite like you, you know. You were superior, you were a worthy opponent…you were special."
Stealing a quick glance at Kim's left side, Shego cringed as she gingerly touched the scar there. A scar that was her doing; a scar that was the cause of this whole debacle…it was a visual slap in the face, a reminder of whose fault Kim's death would be.
The reality of the situation was beginning to hit Shego with full force, and a slow burning rage was beginning to ignite in her soul. Kim was dying. And it was at that point that Shego knew she was going to have to do something drastic. She had brought a backpack full of medical supplies, and she also knew how to properly utilize all of them. She could try to save Kim's life. Or, she could walk away and leave fate to decide whether Kim lived or died.
Shego blinked, and found her 17-year old self in Go City.
She was sitting in literature class, and the blonde boy behind her kept poking her in the back with the eraser of his #2 pencil. It wasn't so much painful as annoying, and if it hadn't been that they were trying to take an exam, she would have turned around and punched him in the jaw…but no. She needed to finish analyzing the poem in front of her. It was by someone called Robert Frost…
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I-
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
She blinked again, and reality snapped back into focus.
Her jaw set in her determination, Shego began to pull various medicines and painkillers and syringes out of her canvas bag and made her decision.
She was going to save Kim Possible's life.
For starters, she would need a sedative (just in case), definitely some drugs to dull the pain, and antibiotics to fight any opportunistic bacteria that could begin an infection in all her open wounds.
Quick and economical in her motions, Shego drew a mild sedative in her 5 CC syringe and, after double checking the volume, injected it right into Kim's thigh. As Shego continued to rummage through her bag to gather several rolls of medical tape and bandages, she heard a soft sigh.
Shego looked down, but Kim was still motionless. Her eyes narrowed in suspicion, Shego went back to her work, rummaging through her bag for more rolls of white medical tape, bandages, and that blue non-sting antiseptic solution. She took a spare moment to steal another glance at her redhead.
But something was wrong.
The air was too quiet, and Kim was too still.
Reaching out her index and middle fingers to take a pulse on Kim, Shego felt her eyes widen in fear and disbelief when she couldn't locate one, not even a weak flutter. Kim's chest was still, and Shego realized that the girl had stopped breathing as well.
Swinging her leg so that she was straddling Kim, Shego reached out with one hand to pinch Kim's nose closed, and used her other hand to stabilize Kim's head, grasping Kim's chin. Shego bent down, and ignoring the hair falling in her eyes, she took a deep inhalation before clamping her mouth on top of Kim's and exhaling, eying Kim's chest to watch for the expansion. Satisfied she had blown some air into Kim's lungs, Shego moved her hands so that they were positioned on Kim's sternum, and pressed down 15 times, compressing the heart and forcing oxygenated blood through Kim's body. She then repeated the breathing portion of CPR, and then resumed the cardiac stimulation, hoping that Kim's system would revive on its own.
Several minutes passed, and the grim situation still hadn't changed.
Dumping the contents of her bag out onto the dusty ground, Shego scanned her eyes for the crash drugs. She quickly drew up epinephrine into one of the syringes, and jabbed the needle into Kim's thigh, silently apologizing for having to stick Kim a second time.
Grabbing Kim's hand in her own, Shego squeezed, hoping and praying that the drug would begin working soon.
A halted and raspy breath caught Shego's attention, and she looked down to see Kim's leg give a small jerk. Shego smiled in relief, and let her shoulders slump down, now finally aware that she had bunched them up in the first place.
Kim lifted her head and blinked, apparently unaware that Shego was poised above her.
"Kim?" Shego asked hesitantly.
But Kim only blinked again, her eyes uncharacteristically lifeless and dull. Shego quickly jumped up and off of Kim, standing up and offering a hand for support if Kim wanted to try and pull herself up.
But Kim just stared, emotionless.
"Kim?" Shego attempted again, slowly withdrawing her hand, her eyes showing her confusion.
Silently, Kim stood up, her movements mechanical and jerky. As she stood up, Shego could see that her wounds were still bleed profusely, and the deep crimson liquid was running down Kim's body in spurts. Her leg was at an unnatural angle, but Kim still was trying to bear weight on it. As Kim took a step forward, Shego heard a series of loud and sickening cracks as the bones in Kim's leg shattered under the unwanted pressure. Shego quickly moved towards the injured girl, pausing when Kim held up a hand in protest.
"Kim? What's wrong? You need help Princess. You're still bleeding, and you have to sit down!"
Finally catching Shego's eye, Kim smiled. But her smile was off, somehow. It was just as emotionless as her eyes.
"Shego." Kim whispered, and Shego strained to hear.
"You've killed me, Shego."
"No. You're still here! You're talking to me right now. You're not dead!" Shego protested, bewilderment lacing her voice.
But Kim shook her head. "I might as well be. You took away that which makes me how I am, Shego. You stole my mind."
"But…but I've been trying to fix that!"
"Failed, haven't you? Failed like always whenever it comes to actually being kind to someone, to do something for someone other than yourself. I DIED on the plateau because I lost myself. I lost who I am, and you just let me! Now, you're going along with a plot to kill me because I don't know how to defend myself anymore. You're going to KILL ME TWICE, and it's going to be all your fault!"
And with a burst of unnatural motion, Kim lunged at Shego, grabbed her by the throat and squeezed tight, twisting her hands with a force borne of pure hatred. A nauseating crack reverberated through the eerily calm air.
With a distressed cry escaping her lips, Shego threw her dark green comforter off the bed as she was abruptly jolted awake. Her eyes wild, she surveyed her room, but found nothing out of the ordinary – the world was quiet and asleep.
The fluorescent green of her bedside clock told her it was 4: 27 AM, and the soft glow of the display was urging her back to sleep.
"Just a dream Shego. Calm down." She murmured aloud to herself as she retrieved her displaced blankets and pillow from the floor.
"Just a nightmare, go back to sleep." She reasoned with herself while letting her eyes flutter shut.
The only problem was…the nightmare was actually true.
"What's wrong Kimmie-cub?" James inquired, looking up from his morning newspaper, coffee cup still in hand.
"Huh?" Kim blinked, confusion tracing her face.
"You've been awfully quiet and you've barely touched your meal."
Nodding his head, James gestured to the plate in front of Kim, still full of scrambled eggs, two slices of slightly burnt toast with a touch of butter and strawberry jam (just the way Kim liked it), and an assortment of fresh fruits. Kim looked helplessly at the food before shrugging her shoulders, almost as if she were somehow defeated by the meal.
"I'm not really hungry right now…dad."
James frowned and slowly put down his coffee. "You still need to eat something."
"I know…" Kim tried to protest.
"Your mother said to make sure that you ate something – anything – while she was working the morning shift at the hospital."
Kim bit her lip, knowing that she was fighting a losing battle. "I know."
"But?" Her father encouraged, folding his newspaper in half and tossing it aside.
"But…oh, I don't know." Kim sighed. "It just feels strange, you know?" She looked up at her father, her eyes asking if he understood.
"What's strange?" He asked, narrowing his eyebrows in concern as he leaned forward to rest his elbows on the edge of the table as he listened to her.
"I know this is what I should be doing, that THIS is my normal life. But I only really remember living with Shego. I don't remember this at all." Kim confessed.
"And…?" James prompted.
"And…it's just strange."
"Because you don't remember it?"
"Because I only remember something that never really was." Kim muttered, bitterness lacing her voice as she began to play with her food, idly pushing the eggs around the plate with her fork.
"I see." James nodded, straightening up, his expression turning pensive.
"Do you get it now?"
"Yes…but I think you're selling this Shego girl a little short Kimmie-cub."
"What!" Kim exclaimed, the fork making a metallic clang as it dropped to the tiled floor. "What did you say?"
Continuing to look calmly at his daughter, who was anything but pleased, James began to elaborate slowly.
"Think about it Kim. She had countless opportunities to kill you, right?"
"Yeah? So, what's your point?" Kim frowned, still angry.
"Why hasn't she? Or, in this instance, why didn't she? Think about how easy it would have been to leave you there. Or to kill you. Why didn't she?" Her father pressed carefully and cautiously.
"She was playing some weird mind game with me dad." Kim sighed, exasperated. "Trying to warp me into being like her or something like that."
"Ahhh…but she didn't outright tell you that you were a thief, no?"
"Well, even if she didn't, she still killed the cops who came to rescue me. She's a murderer dad." Kim brought up.
"Really? I was under the impression she just knocked them unconscious." James countered.
"Well, I don't know. They fell over when she fire blasted them, they had to have died, right? I mean, getting hit by a fireball must do awful things to your body, no?"
"Indeed, it must. One of them suffered quite the concussion, but he's still alive. Your mother treated him at the hospital, actually. I think he's out of Intensive Care by now, which is quite the improvement."
"But she tried to kill him." Kim still argued.
"How well do you remember Shego's abilities?"
"Pretty well I guess."
"Then what can she do?"
"Well…she's really athletic, really strong, can obviously throw fire ball things with her hands…what were you looking for?" Kim asked.
"I've seen news footage of what that woman can do, Kimmie-cub. And she can punch through solid steel, with or without that plasma fire of hers. If she's so evil, why hasn't she actually killed anyone yet? Especially you, who have sent her to jail more times than I can count, when you were in no condition to fight back?"
Kim blinked, but didn't have an answer.
"But…but…she lied to me! About who I am and what I do. And those letters saying I died! How do you explain those? What were those all about?"
"Maybe she was afraid you would die in her care, despite her best efforts to keep you alive. Let me be serious here: if I had found you in your condition, I would have expected a grim outcome too Kimmie-cub. You weren't doing too well."
"Why mail out letters though?"
"If you died, and there was no explanation of how or when, all your family and friends would be left with this empty gaping hole, a lingering question mark. I rather have an anonymous letter explaining what happened than doubt and false hope. At least we would have known the truth."
"Okay, so maybe there was a reason for the letters. But she still lied when I asked her who I was."
James nodded in agreement. "True, she may have. But what have you done if you had been in her position?"
"I would have told her the truth!"
"Really?" Kim pouted as her father arched a questioning eyebrow in mild disbelief.
"Yes, I would have."
"So you would have told her she was a thief, wanted in a dozen different countries, and that you were a crime-fighting agent who has been working for years to turn her in?"
"Well, not that exactly. Not like that." Kim stammered.
"Well, let's hear what you would have said."
Kim was silent as she tore her gaze away from her father's, realizing a bit too late that she didn't have a valid answer. Her eyes flickering back and forth, almost as if she were trying to find some method to refute his question, Kim finally took a breath and answered.
"I would have waited a little while until I told her anything at all."
"Why do that?" Her father softly inquired, waiting patiently for his daughter to sort out her thoughts.
"Because if she had brain damage, I wouldn't want to confuse her?" Kim volunteered, her expression one of a student hoping she had just answered the teacher's question correctly. She unconsciously began to chew on her lower lip in anticipation of his response.
Smiling, and with a slight twinkle in his eye, James nodded approvingly. Picking up his coffee and Kim's plate of still untouched breakfast (both now cold), he walked over to the microwave to reheat them. An insistent and dull hum of the machine began in the background, breaking the silence that had overtaken the room.
"So…" Kim continued hesitantly. "You think she lied to me because she thought she was helping somehow?"
"Yes. I didn't think that originally, but after your blood chemistry results were processed, I'm 99 sure of it now."
"What's wrong with my blood?" Kim frowned.
"Nothing. But there's something you should know. And you should talk to your mother about it – she's the doctor. I'm sure I would mess it up somehow if I tried to explain to you."
"Dad!" Kim pressed. "Please tell me?"
Shaking his head no, James turned around to retrieve the food from the microwave, with only a few seconds remaining on the display.
"Eat first. Then we'll call your mother. But only after you eat."
Needing no further encouragement, Kim wasted little time in gulping her food down.
"Ooooohh, so perfect!" Drakken chuckled, looking over several pieces of paper splayed out on the floor.
"Monkeys? Didn't you try that already?" Shego scoffed, peering through the crowd to catch a glimpse of the strategy.
"Of course we did, but remember – this time, Kim can't remember anything. She won't remember how to fight them. And I assure you, my monkey ninjas are even better trained than last time." Monkey Fist tried to convince Shego, who cast him a disbelieving gaze.
"And this time, they'll be genetically enhanced." DNAmy piped in. "That little teenager won't stand a chance!"
"Still though." Shego practically sneered. "Genetically enhanced monkeys? Kim can still best a genetically enhanced human." A faint smile traced Shego's face, and for a moment, her eyes went glassy as if she were remembering an event long past.
"No no no, Shego. You're missing the first few pages. Here."
Drakken turned around, handing a few pieces of loose paper with scribbles on them to his henchwoman. This time, Shego didn't have to feign interest – she read over the text with a renewed attention and intensity, mentally judging the actual threat her boss and his allies would be posing to Kim. If the past trends had continued, she doubted Kim would have anything serious to worry about; however, this time she feared that Drakken might actually have a chance of succeeding due to Kim's amnesia.
Shego's dark eyes went wide as she read the text.
The sheets of paper dropped to the ground, hastily retrieved by Monkey Fist and DNAmy, who batted her eyes at him. Rolling his eyes in annoyance, he snatched the document away from her to give it back to Drakken.
But Shego wasn't paying attention to them – her thoughts were still on the proposed plan.
"Don't you see now Shego?" Drakken asked. "How beautiful the plan is?"
Shego nodded numbly.
"Our timing is perfect Shego. Kim's spring dance is approaching, and I have no doubt she'll be going with that buffoon boyfriend of hers."
Clenching her jaw, Shego attempted to remain calm and unaffected. Luckily, Drakken was too preoccupied in describing the newest plan for world domination to notice Shego's warring emotions.
"Senor Senior Senior and Senor Senion Junior will disguise themselves as DJs and sneak into Kim Possible's school and set up for the dance. This way, they'll be able to let everyone in and hide them somewhere. Once the dance is in full swing, we'll surprise that Kim Possible and finish her, once and for all. And if that buffoon and his annoying rat get in the way, our genetically enhanced monkey ninjas will distract them. See Shego? It is foolproof."
Drakken clapped his hands together and closed his eyes, as if he were picturing the scene unfolding in his mind's eye.
"And how were you going to get rid of her, once you're isolated her and all that?" Shego asked, trying to force sarcasm in her voice and hoping it didn't sound too false.
"Easy. I've developed a drug that will render Kim Possible helpless."
"She isn't helpless enough for ya?" Shego scoffed, steeling her face to present a slightly amused, but nonchalant expression.
"You can never be too certain." Drakken countered in a singsong voice, waving a finger.
"Heh. Whatever." Shego snorted as she spun on her heel and turned to leave.
"Wait Shego, you're missing the best part!"
"What, did you order cake?" Shego paused midstep in the doorway, rolling her eyes.
"Well, there will be cake, but after you kill Kim Possible." Drakken grinned.
"After I kill Kim Possible? Is this new or something? I thought this big plan was all about you guys."
"Of course Shego. Remember that we were going to leave the honor to you? But don't worry, she won't be in any shape to fight once you inject her with this!" Drakken exclaimed as he held up a small oval vial filled with a pale green liquid.
"What is that? And why…why is it green? Is it glowing?" Shego frowned, eying the glass vial warily before reaching out a gloved hand to take it.
But Drakken only grinned, and his expression wasn't quite within the realm of sanity.
"She drugged me?" Kim exclaimed, her mouth hanging open, her brain still refusing to comprehend what her mother was attempting to explain to her.
Anne reached forward and pulled her daughter into a gentle embrace. "She did, but you didn't let me finish sweetheart."
"Okay. What were they? And how did they mess me up?" Kim muttered, bitterness apparent in her voice.
Anne sighed. "They didn't mess you up Kim."
Blinking in confusion, Kim slowly pulled out of her mother's hold and turned to face her.
"Then…then what did they do?" Kim asked slowly, narrowing her eyes, a wild idea beginning to form in the back of her mind.
"Listen to me Kim." Anne took her daughter by the shoulders and looked into her eyes, her expression serious. Kim nodded, indicating that her mother should continue.
"Kim…when you were at the hospital, we found traces of several drugs in your blood: vasopressin, nimodipine, and a piracetam-choline mix. These drugs are standard use for treating patients with amnesia. They increase blood flow to the brain, which delivers more oxygen to the brain cells, which speeds recovery. I don't know how she knew about them, or even where she obtained them, but…"
As Anne trailed off, Kim slumped back into the couch, her mind racing and her suspicions slowly becoming confirmed.
"They were being used for your benefit, Kim." Anne finished softly, still looking at her daughter, who was looking like she had just seen a certain green-skinned ghost.
"When did it happen? How did it happen?" Shego asked her mirror, her voice barely above a whisper, staring at her haggard reflection. "How did I fall for the hero?"
But the answer was painfully obvious.
It was an initial dislike that morphed into a necessary tolerance that changed into a genuine admiration of the redhead's abilities.
Of course, it didn't happen overnight, but it did happen eventually – and that is what mattered. How was more important than when.
When she first met Kim, she thought the auburn-haired teenager was just a nuisance - an annoying excuse for a nemesis, and almost an insult. Of all the highly trained and capable forces the assorted justice organizations could have pitted her against, they choose a high school teenager? And not only a teen, but a cheerleader as well? It was disgusting. Shego, one of the best thieves in the world, against a uniform wearing, pom-pom waving, school motto chanting cheerleader?
It was absurd.
The redhead was fast and agile, but used her abilities to dodge and evade rather than actually engaging in combat. Her refusal to fight enraged Shego, and Shego had tried so many times on so many occasions to force the girl into combative interactions.
And maybe it had begun to work.
In the beginning, Shego found herself coming back to the lair after a fight, and after soothing her bruises with a cold pack from the freezer, she would mentally replay the battle, trying to see where she went wrong and where she could improve. Originally, Shego found herself infuriated by the fact that she was being beaten by a high school cheerleader, and formulated plans to overpower Kim. Then, to Shego's horror (and reluctant amazement), she found herself enjoying the fights. Kim was no longer a timid teenager; she was a capable opponent that was able to genuinely challenge Shego – mentally as well as physically. And these times, when Shego returned to the lair, she would close her eyes and let herself savor the adrenaline rush that only came after fighting Kim.
She began to relish their contests – and by now, that's all they really were – contests…or perhaps highly unusual dances that were meant for the artists, and not the audience…
"Shego!" A familiar voice sounded from the hall.
"What?" She snarled in response, loathing the interruption.
"We're ready to go."
"Fine. I'll be down there in a few." She growled.
"Hey KP. Want it?" Ron asked with a grin, holding up the last slice of pepperoni pizza.
"Thanks Ron, but I'm not really hungry." Kim held out her hands in protest.
"Already have lunch?"
"No…I'm not. I'm not that hungry now." Kim frowned.
"KP. You really need to eat." Ron crossed his arms.
"Yep!" Rufus chirped in agreement.
"I'm sorry Ron. I've just been…preoccupied, I guess." Kim shrugged.
"Take a guess."
For a moment, Ron cast his eyes downward and away from Kim, almost as if he were trying to conceal some kind of disappointment and disapproval within. Kim leaned over gingerly and gave him a small pat on the shoulder, a reassurance that he hadn't somehow managed to offend her.
"It's okay Ron. I know you're probably really mad at her."
Smiling back at Kim and taking her hand in his own, Ron took a calming breath.
"Of course I am KP. She stole you away from us and lied to you. Of course I'm angry at her. You aren't?"
Chewing on her lower lip, now unsure of herself, Kim hesitated a few seconds before responding, making an almost conscious effort to avoid Ron's eyes.
"Well…she did lie, but it was for my own good."
"KP," Ron began sternly, "when is lying ever for anyone's own good?"
"I mean that she didn't tell me exactly who I was because it would have been too soon in my, uh, recovery process. She was trying to protect me, I guess….in her own strange way, she was trying to help. I can't hate her for that."
"KP, listen to yourself. You're defending your evil nemesis!" Ron exclaimed, throwing his hands up in the air, frustration lacing his voice.
"I'm not defending her! I'm trying to explain her! I'm trying to understand her." Kim shot back at him, a renewed spirit shining through her green eyes.
"She tried to kill you Kim! There's nothing to understand! She! Tried! To! Kill! You!" Ron shouted, closing his mouth quickly as if he didn't mean to say that.
An uncomfortable silence settled in the room. Breathing heavily, both Kim and Ron took a half step away from each other, each taking the temporary lapse in debate to catch their breath and regain their composure. After only a few minutes (that actually felt like hours), Kim broke the awkward stillness.
"Ron?" She inquired softly, gathering up her courage to look him in the eye.
"I really don't think she was trying to kill me."
"Why not?" Exasperation began to seep back into his voice.
"Because she took me in, clothed me, fed me, helped me exercise to regain my motor control, and even gave me amnesia drugs. If she really hated me, why do all that, when I was helpless right after the fall, and it would have been really easy to kill me then?"
Ron blinked before shaking his head quickly in disbelief, still digesting what Kim had just told him. "What did you say?"
"I said that she took me in –"
"No, what was that last part?" Ron interrupted, his eyes narrowed.
"Umm…she gave me amnesia drugs."
"Like, drugs to combat amnesia?" Ron tried to clarify.
"Yes, drugs to fight amnesia. I forget what they were called, but my mom said they increased blood flow to the brain, which is supposed to help me get my memories back." Kim shrugged. "Biology was never my best subject I guess."
For the second time that afternoon, the room fell into silence, though this round was less uncomfortable than the last. Ron let himself fall onto the couch, lost in thought.
"She…she really gave you medicine?" He looked up at Kim, a realization slowly coming into focus.
Kim nodded. "She did."
Ron fell back into contemplation, but Kim was already continuing.
"I know you probably still think she's crazy and evil, especially with those letters she mailed out to say I died, but I just don't get that gut feeling that she's trying to hurt me and-"
"Hold up KP." Ron interrupted again, holding up his hands.
Kim paused, her mouth still hanging open, taken aback at the interruption.
"What's wrong?" She inquired.
"Repeat what you said about the letters KP."
"I said that if you think Shego's crazy because she sent out letters saying I died, I wouldn't blame you, but I have an explanation for that too."
Ron blinked. "Shego sent out letters saying that you died?"
"Of course. We saw copies of them in her shoebox, and you yourself said that you received the letter from her." Kim explained, confusion beginning to show itself on her face.
"We – I – did get a letter from her. But…but it didn't say you died." Ron told Kim haltingly, unsure of where this conversation was headed.
"Then…what, what did it say?" Kim asked, her eyes widening in shock.
Reaching into one of his pockets, Ron carefully drew out a tattered, yellowed, and stained piece of folded paper. Without a word, he held it out to her.
"Is this it? The letter?" Kim whispered, her mind reeling with the realization that she may have been deceived once again.
Ron nodded slowly and deliberately.
With a slight tremble in her hands, Kim reached out to take the fragile piece of paper. Unfolding it with a small amount of reverence, she took a moment to read what was written. The creases and what appeared to be drops of water smudged and obscured some of the writing, but it was still legible.
Three days ago, Ms. Possible was rushed into the ER department suffering from severe and traumatic head injuries, several broken bones, and a collapsed lung. The exact situation of the accident is unknown, as she was unconscious when she was admitted.
The good news is that she is now conscious; however, she appears to have no recollection of her past memories – in short, she is suffering from amnesia. Her parents have already been notified of the current situation. We have requested the services of the country's most respected and accomplished therapists but for now, the only thing we can do is wait.
Due to the severity of the brain injury, as well as her relative fame as a superheroine, she is being kept under close surveillance. We regret to inform you that we are not permitting ANY visitors she remains in such a fragile mental state, but we will let you know of any major developments as soon as they occur. Her family has already been notified of the situation.
My sincerest apologies,
Edward Lee, M.D.
"She never told you I was dead, did she?" The redhead whispered. "She lied, but she didn't at the same time. In terms of my health, she really was telling you the truth…letting you know I was still alive and I was being kept…safe…"
Ron nodded solemnly, but Kim could only look back at him with hot tears forming in her emerald eyes, and a small smile beginning to tug at her lips.
"So, You Know Someone With Amnesia: A Rough Guide to Helping Your Loved Ones Through A Life They Don't Remember." Kim read aloud to herself later that night, lounging on her bed. Ron had left for the night, and she assumed her parents and brothers were either already asleep, or just beginning to drift off. A cup of steaming tea sat on her nightstand, the chamomile tea bag just beginning to seep.
With a critical eye, she began to examine the pamphlet, one of the many that had been recovered from Shego's cardboard box. Her earlier conversation with Ron had triggered a series of questions about Shego's true intentions, and although she knew that each answer would lead to another question, she knew she had to try and answer them nonetheless.
Unnoticed before, Kim now saw how used the booklet had been – a series of creases crisscrossed the paper, water stains dotted the interior, and various passages had been highlighted or circled – or both. Turning the first page, she began to read the pamphlet's contents.
The typical information was there – What Amnesia Is (And Isn't), Causes of Amnesia, Diagnosing Amnesia, but a select few passages caught her eye: Treating Amnesia and Living With An Amnesiac – Do's and Don't's. Incidentally, both of these sections were also highlighted and circled with dark green ink.
Most likely, doctors will prescribe any one or more of the following drugs: vasopressin (also known as the anti-diuretic hormone, ADH), nimodipine, and piracetam. All these drugs are designed to stimulate blood flow to the brain, which delivers an increased amount of oxygen to the recovering brain cells. More natural remedies such as herbal supplements (gingko tea or vitamins) may be used in conjunction with the prescription drugs, but always consult with the doctor to make sure such supplements will not interfere with the prescription drugs' effects. Therapy sessions will most likely be recommended for additional mental and emotional support; however, patience and time will be the most necessary tools you will need to see your loved one through her/his ordeal.
Living With An Amnesiac – Do's and Don't's:
Patients with amnesia are most likely going to be scared and confused, unsure of who you are (and in rare cases, of who they are). Be patient with them as they explore their surroundings, and do not try to force information before they are ready. If they ask to see old photos and/or other materialistic reminders of their life, fine – but as long as they volunteer the notion and you are not pushing it upon them.
- be patient with them
- answer questions she/he asks
- try to keep them as calm as relaxed as possible, creating a safe environment for them
- assure them that you are not angry with them regarding their condition
- try to prove to them that you are a trustworthy person they may talk to
- rush them into remembering anything
- try to guide them excessively as they begin to remember. A little guidance is fine, but too much can be damaging
- become angry with them if they cannot remember something
- avoid them excessively and make them feel as if you do not wish to interact with them
Reaching over to take a sip of her tea, Kim sighed. Shego had definitely taken a few pointers from the brochures. As she brought the mug to her lips, a memory shot through her mind's eye.
"What's in this tea again?" Kim pondered, looking towards Shego, who had taken a seat on a matching green loveseat across the glass coffee table between them.
"I don't know exactly. Its some kind of New Age herbal stuff." Shego shrugged nonchalantly. "It's supposed to help your chakras or something like that."
Kim blinked and paused, the tea mug still poised at her slightly parted lips. The tea – that weird-tasting tea that Shego kept feeding her – it must have been ginkgo tea. Slowly, she put the mug back on her nightstand, put the medical pamphlet aside, and walked over to her bookshelf, a strange suspicion beginning to form in the back of her mind.
Shego's unusually calm voice permeated her racing mind.
"Well, Princess, I see it like this: One day, you're hiking across this empty field, when all of a sudden, out of the sky comes this great big meteor. It happens to hit you squarely on the head and creates a great rift in the landscape, pulling you down with it. For the next year or two, your family embarks on a rescue mission, but in the end, they will realize that their loved one has been greatly changed by the ordeal. She had to leave a lot of things back in that rift – things that are impossible to get back. She doesn't know she was hit by a meteor – she might never know. She only knows that she's spent a lot of time in a dark, lonely place."
Finding the desired book, Kim pulled it off the shelf and began to read the summary. Where Is The Mango Princess by Cathy Crimmons was another book that had been taken from Shego's home during the raid, and for some reason that she couldn't quite remember right now, Kim had wanted to keep it. Her perusal of the inside jacket told her that Cathy Crimmons was a writer whose husband suffered a traumatic brain injury when he was hit on the head by a motor boat. Where Is The Mango Princess was the book she wrote detailing his recovery process for him, her, and their family.
Her crazy suspicion almost becoming more founded with each passing moment, Kim began to skim through the pages, looking for a particular passage. Within twenty minutes, she found it, and her eyes widened in surprise.
Accidents divide things into the great before and after. Even before his brain injury, Alan had a hard time remembering names, I would say. Since Daddy's accident, I have to work more, I told my daughter Kelly. The brain injury community marks time by asking how long someone has been out of injury, the same way bereavement counselors ask how long your loved one has been dead. Six months out, two years out, ten years out. Out of what, exactly? Out of the giant crevice that has been exploded into the bedrock of your life. Here's how I see it: One day you and your family are hiking across a long solid plane, when out of the sky comes a blazing meteor that just happens to hit one family member on the head. The meteor creates a huge rift in the landscape, dragging the unlucky one down to the bottom of the crevice that has been made. You spend the next year on a rescue mission, helping him climb to the top, but when he gets up there, he realizes he has been greatly changed by the hardship. He doesn't know a meteor has hit him. He will never know, really. He only knows that he has spent a lot of time in a dark confusing place. He left a lot of stuff behind, the stuff he was carrying with him, down in that big hole. And it's impossible to get it all back.
But really, some deeper part of her soul wasn't all that astonished.
Of course Shego would be reading an account on brain injury recovery.
Alone in the observational tower, crouched on the floor, holding her head between her hands, Shego's mind was a turbulent storm of conflicting emotions and desires.
In a few days time, she would be sneaking into Kim's high school and playing out the part of villain she knew so well. But it was a part she didn't want to play anymore; she had tasted retirement, and it was sweet.
Reaching into her leg pouch, Shego withdrew the mini glass vial, still emitting a faint green glow, barely discernable in the dim light. She inverted it several times, watching almost hypnotically as the liquid flowed from one end of the tube to the other.
Kim's faint voice echoed in her head.
You took away that which makes me how I am, Shego. You stole my mind! I lost myself! I lost who I am, and you just let me! You're going to KILL ME TWICE!
Squeezing her eyes shut to block out the luminescent liquid, Shego spoke to the empty room, her voice barely above a faint whisper.
"Kim. I'm sorry. Please forgive me."
Chapter 13: Flashback
June 11, 2005 – The Present
The crickets were chirping outside. Normally, their noise was a welcome interruption to the usually eerie silence of the night, but this time the unintentional cacophony was just annoying. Somewhere in the distance, a mouse screeched and was immediately snatched up by a silent barn owl. Directly outside the lab, the myriad security cameras continuously scanned the ground and air for any and all security threats, the most usual of which was a particular cheerleader with auburn hair. But tonight was calm, and there were no significant threats to be seen or heard. The hired security guards paced through their assigned rounds both inside the building and outside around the perimeter, occasionally giving each other a wave or wink or low grunt to let each other know that everything was still alright – no need to go into red alert yet.
Inside, everything was mostly tranquil as well. Muttering the lyrics to the latest song by Oh Boyz in his sleep, Senor Senior Junior's foot unconsciously tapped along to the rhythm playing inside his head. Senor Senior Senior was smiling, the blueprint for the latest high precision laser gun clear in his head, along with visions of him using it to blast a few choice government buildings into oblivion. Hanging upside down, and suspended from a metal ceiling beam, Monkey Fist was snoring loudly, and the nearest monkey ninja gave him a vicious kick in the stomach to shut him up. In his sleep, Duff Killigan was humming and out-of-tune ditty that sounded a lot like Danny Boy, and two rooms down the hall, DNAmy was comfortably surrounded by an excess of cuddlebuddies with no less than eleven of her plush-toys somehow nestled between her arms. Even Drakken's workbench was uninteresting – several plastic unused test tubes lay scattered next to a toolbox and a variety of different volume pipettes. The mad scientist himself was fast asleep, a thin line of drool slightly trickling out a corner of his mouth.
There was one person; however, not happily unconscious with the rest of the crew. Her green eyes were bloodshot, and dark lines were easily visible around her eyelids. Her raven-colored hair was tangled and a thin layer of greasy buildup was beginning to show her stress. Finally making a decision, she reached over to her nightstand and grabbed a yellow bottle full of round white pills. Taking one of them and swallowing it dry, she let herself flop back onto her back, her hair splaying out on the pillow underneath her. As the seconds and minutes ticked by, her mind started drifting and a half hour later, she was violently tossing and turning. She was dreaming…no, it was a nightmare…of a time that seemed like eons ago…
Across town, there was another woman with striking green eyes also dreaming of a time that seemed long past. And like her counterpart with ebony hair, this redhead was gasping in her sleep, unconsciously clutching her sheets in frustration and fear.
June 4, 2005 – The Past
"Hey Wade, what's the sitch?" Kim grinned as she clicked her Kimmunicator on and slammed her locker shut, silently thanking a higher power that she only had one more class left before school got out, and freedom was hers.
"Hi Kim. Drakken and Shego are at it again. But I guessed you already knew that." Wade chuckled.
Rolling her eyes, Kim laughed. "So not the drama Wade. We've dealt with them before, and Drakken's an idiot. A smart idiot, but an idiot." She added thoughtfully.
"You may be right Kim. My satellites have picked up strange electrical energy in the Grand Canyon. From my preliminary observations, it looks like Drakken has built some kind of time travel machine."
"Time travel? He thinks he can actually build a time travel machine?" Kim scoffed, a hint of a laugh in her voice.
"Well, he thinks he can, and he actually did." Wade shrugged. "Personally, I think he's totally off with his design. I mean, the frequency he set the –"
"Whoa Wade." Kim interrupted good-naturedly, flashing a smile. "I haven't taken physics yet, remember."
"Ahhh, gotcha." Wade responded with a wink.
"So, where and when do we save the world? Same time, same place?" Kim inquired, arching an eyebrow in anticipation.
"I'll send you the coordinates right now, and if you could somehow destroy the machine sometime tonight, I think we, as in the world, would appreciate it." Wade remarked, typing in the destination longitudes and latitudes in his computer, and exporting them to Kim' s Kimmunicator.
After a few moments, he looked back at Kim. "Got it?"
"All set." Kim nodded, looking over the map and committing it to memory.
"Awesome. Then go get 'em Kim. And good luck." Wade gave Kim the thumbs up.
"So done." Kim smirked back. "But gotta go Wade. One more class left." She tapped her watch as she clicked her Kimmunicator off and sprinted towards class, trying to ignore the flash of pain in her side, a very physical reminder of her last encounter with Drakken and Shego.
June 12, 2005 – The Present
With a resounding thud that echoed throughout the dimly-lit lair, Drakken bit back a curse that was threatening to spill out through his dark blue lips.
"Awww…" DNAmy cooed. "What happened to my little Drakkie-poo?" DNAmy questioned, a bit too sweetly, from a bench nearby, trying to cuddle a screeching and scratching monkey, who obviously didn't want anything to do with Amy or her incessant cuddling. From across the room, picking dirt from his toenails, Monkey Fist exchanged a sympathetic glance with his monkey ninja, shuddering at the image of Amy trying to cuddle him.
"I'm NOT YOUR DRAKKIE-POO! And why is this speaker so heavy?" Drakken whined, bending down gingerly to rub his left foot, still throbbing and smarting from the mishap a few seconds earlier.
"Be careful with that!" Senor Senior Junior mumbled angrily, rapidly approaching Drakken. "That's expensive equipment you're throwing around, and I don't want to have to buy it all over again because YOU dropped it! I could never become a world famous pop star if you break my speakers!"
With a disdainful glance at Drakken, Senor Senior Junior leaned down on one knee to inspect the damage. He glowered at the blue-skinned mad scientist and shook his fist, before pointing to a series of black and grey click knobs and buttons that, for the record, looked perfectly fine.
"You idiot, you messed up my volume adjustments! It took me, like, several hours to get the bass balance right. It was conflicting with my vocal –"
"Aww, shut it." Drakken shot back. "Just help me get these bulky…whatever it is you call these large things…into the van."
Junior opened his mouth to protest, but quickly shut it.
"Never mind." He sighed under his breath, gritting his teeth together almost painfully.
"And where is Shego?" Drakken sighed. "We need her. The final plans are finally taking shape, and she needs to know what she's supposed to do. I don't want to screw this up this time."
"She's probably milling about in her room, perfecting her revenge!" Monkey Fist grinning. "You know how detail-oriented Shego can be."
"Oooooooh, I hope she plans on using that pretty plasma fire of hers!" Amy squealed. "I just love it when she throws it around! I hope Shego burns that cheerleader to a crisp!"
"Aye, I want to see Shego overpower that annoying lass and slowly break every bone in her body." Killigan grunted, idly tossing a golf ball in the air.
"I can just see Shego placing Possible in an easily escapable and exotic death, obviously involving electric eels of course, and sulfuric acid vats, and handheld laser guns, and poison darts, and long sharp needles with tranquilizers, and…"
Senor Senior Senior paused in his mini-speech, his mouth still open as the rest of the villains gaped at him. He spread his hands and shrugged his shoulders.
June 4, 2005 – The Past
"Why are we huddled out here in the desert, in the middle of nowhere again?" Ron whispered, wiping the sweat off his forehead.
"Hot." Rufus chirped, mimicking the motion with one of his paws.
"Because we're trying to dismantle Drakken's newest invention, remember. Save the world and all?" Kim reminded her sidekick, barely suppressing a grin.
"Ahhhh, right. But why, why, WHY in the middle of nowhere? I mean, couldn't Drakken have staged his newest world domination gig somewhere a bit closer to civilization?" Ron complained. "You know, somewhere where there's a readily available supply of water and soda and nacos? That way, at least we can snack while we're waiting."
Shrugging her shoulders, Kim replied, "Ask him I guess?"
Ron frowned. "He doesn't even know my name, KP."
"Remind him then."
"You really aren't being all that helpful, you know."
"How about a name tag? You know, one of those sticky ones? It can say, 'Hi, my name is Ron Stoppable.'" Kim smirked.
"No." Rufus shook his head. "Wouldn't work."
"Sorry. I was being silly. But you can – look!" Kim grabbed Ron's head and turned him towards the middle of the ravine, where a familiar blue-skinned scientist and plasma-throwing woman had gathered next to a rather complex-looking machine.
While Drakken seemed lost in thought, muttering to himself, pushing several buttons and clasping his hands together unconsciously, Shego looked as alert as ever. Her dark green eyes scanned the canyon, and her face had taken on its usual predatory expression. As she turned towards the general area where Kim and Ron were hiding, she paused a few seconds longer and narrowed her eyes, and Kim could have sworn she caught the faintest of smiles trace Shego's lips. Within moments; however, she had turned around again, looking somewhere else. Cautiously, Kim peeked out from the boulder she had taken refuge behind, attempting to catch a better glimpse at Shego.
There! Kim thought in triumph, finally spotting her nemesis.
Pausing abruptly in her surveillance of the area, Shego quickly spun around to face Kim's direction. Almost anticipating this moment, Kim leaned back and pressed herself against the edge of the boulder, trying to lose herself in the shadows while keeping Shego in her line of sight.
Inclining her head slightly and almost giving a nod of acknowledgement, Shego kept her gaze oriented in Kim's direction, her eyes narrowed in suspicion. Keeping silent, Kim stared back at Shego, stilling her breathing as quiet as she could manage. Suddenly, Shego's calm expression broke out into a full grin, and she inclined her head again, letting her eyelids droop slightly.
With a sly smile, and a challenge present in her eyes, Shego whispered two words to the wind. They were almost inaudible, but enunciated so clearly that even Kim could read Shego's lips.
And with those two words, Shego turned around so that her back was towards Kim, her motions careful and deliberate…and perhaps even playful and inviting.
Kim felt her face contort in confusion and slight amusement. What was Shego's intent, what was her game, what was she playing at? Kim tried to catch a glance at her rival's facial expression, but Shego continued to stand there, her back deliberately turned towards Kim. Kim felt herself grin in response.
You want to play? Fine by me.
Crouching down and tensing her muscles, Kim prepared to launch herself towards Shego. First, she would land a right punch in Shego's midsection to knock the air out of her, and then tackle her to the ground to subdue her, pinning her plasma hands above her head. Reaching into her hip pack, Kim checked her supplies, making sure she had brought sturdy rope. Her grappling gun was gone – Wade was in the process of repairing it. On a previous mission, the firing function had failed, but she shouldn't need it on this mission, so it wouldn't be a problem if she didn't have it. This mission was a simple destroy the doomsday device and save the world gig.
Feeling the adrenaline coursing through her body in the anticipation of a fight, Kim grinned, rotating her shoulders to ease herself into a better stance.
Okay in 5…4…3…2…1! GO!
June 12, 2005 – The Present
"Hey KP." Ron practically chirped, holding up two nacos, Rufus cheerfully offering a third. "I picked us up some lunch."
"Aww, thanks Ron." Kim smiled, reaching out to take the naco closest to her reach.
"You DO remember nacos, right Kimbo?" Ron asked, a momentarily serious glimmer in his eye.
"Of course I do Ron. They. They." Kim's face twisted into an almost-grimace. "They're…like…"
Unwrapping her naco with caution and care, Kim tenderly held the hybrid food in front of her quizzical face. She narrowed her eyes and wrinkled her nose before volunteering a guess at the mystery food.
"I think it's…"
"KP!" Ron interrupted, grabbing his head with his hands in a gesture of horror. "You've forgotten what a naco is!"
Rufus mimicked the motion with his two front paws, squeaking a small "Oh no!"
A wicked idea forming in her mind, Kim mentally grinned. Making of show of gingerly taking a bite of her naco and chewing experimentally, Kim swallowed her food before a look of terror and panic overwhelmed her face. She stood up and grabbed her throat, forcing a choking sound and pretending to gag.
Ron rushed over to help, but suddenly, Kim burst into a wide grin. "Just kidding you guys! I may not remember exact details, but a naco is legendary. I could never forget that!"
Still in his frozen tableau ofhorror, hands still on his head, Ron blinked once. Twice. Rufus promptly followed.
With a small chuckle, Kim broke into an all-out laugh and took a large bite of the naco. She winked. "Got any extra Diablo sauce?"
June 4, 2005 – The Past
With a burst of built-up energy, Kim threw herself from behind her cover, Ron and Rufus following after her. She had approximately twenty feet to cover before she would reach Shego, but her speed was more than enough to make up for the distance.
As she drew nearer to Shego, Kim was surprised to see that Shego hadn't already turned around to block her attack. Was the thief suddenly deaf? Mentally shaking off the question, Kim returned her attention and focus on her advance – there was no time to dwell on this interesting scenario now – she had a villain to apprehend.
But, as Shego quickly pivoted on her heel to face Kim at the last second to deflect the punch Kim had aimed at Shego's stomach and throw Kim on the rough terrain, Kim realized that Shego had a similar goal – she had a hero to defeat.
Kim wasted no time in rolling out from under Shego's grasp, quickly glancing around to see where Ron and Rufus were. As expected, the duo had confronted Drakken, and from her cursory glance, it looked like Rufus was trying to bite Drakken's ear, causing the mad scientist to hop around in a circle, clawing at his head.
Satisfied that her lifelong friend would be able to handle himself, Kim redirected her attention towards Drakken's green-skinned sidekick.
"Shego!" She hissed, narrowing her eyes towards the older woman.
"I don't even get a 'hi" first, Princess?" Shego laughed. "I think I'm insulted."
Shrugging her shoulders in an attempt to feign disdain, Kim arched an eyebrow. "Then consider yourself insulted."
Her grin growing wider, Shego chuckled in response. "I'm not insulted THAT easily Pumpkin. You'll have to do better than that."
"Don't worry, I will." Kim promised.
With a quick snap of her wrists, curling her fingers into claws, Shego ignited her plasma flames. "Show me, Kimmie."
Lunging forward with her right leg, Shego threw a punch at Kim's head, but with practiced ease and economy of motion, Kim ducked and compensated with a roundhouse kick to Shego's calf. Too busy with attempting to grab Kim's wrists, Shego felt the kick land and gritted her teeth as she accepted the blow. Normally, kicks and punches were mere pinpricks to her nerve receptors, but Kim's attacks were forceful and they actually hurt. It was painful, but a nice kind of pain.
'My god, I'm turning into a masochist!' Shego thought to herself, almost grinning through the pain.
Staggering back and catching her balance, Shego smiled, almost wistfully. "You're learning. Very good."
"Like you care." Kim breathed heavily. Her exterior was cool and controlled, but inside, she was a mixture of emotions. Somehow…somehow she liked the taunting, the backhanded compliments. What was wrong with her?
Shego smiled, a predatory gleam shining through her eyes. "You have no idea."
Running at Shego, Kim jumped up at the last minute to flip over the older woman, kicking out her leg to catch Shego in the back. Shego; however, wasn't about to fall for this ruse, and rolled forward to avoid the kick. Missing her target, Kim only ducked more into her tuck and landed on her feet a few seconds later, spinning around to face Shego.
As Kim looked back at nemesis, realigning her position to a better fighting pose, Shego studied the redhead's eyes, searching for something…
And there it was. Among several other expected emotions, Shego found the one she was looking for.
Kim liked fighting. Or, at least, she liked fighting with Shego. With Shego – only with Shego. It was an observation Shego couldn't ignore, and if she had anything to do with it, neither would Kim. Shego smiled knowingly, causing Kim to take an involuntary step back.
"What?" Kim demanded.
"Oh, nothing." Shego purred, her voice husky.
"Whatever." Kim shrugged, crouching down to swing her leg out and hitting Shego in the ankle. But Shego only grinned calmly, giving no indication she even felt the impact.
The two women stared at each other, both breathing heavily, occasionally shifting their weights between each leg. Almost unconsciously, Kim reached to her left side and gently rubbed it, testing her pain tolerance there. The faintest of grimaces flashed across her face for an instant, and if Shego hadn't been looking carefully, she probably wouldn't have even noticed it.
But she did.
The memory shot through her, uninvited and unwanted. That half second where Kim had been distracted by that blonde sidekick of hers, that single moment…little did Shego realize what a defining moment it truly was. Kim's voice jolted Shego out of her focus.
"Well, would love to stay and fight, but I have a world to save."
Winking at Shego, Kim wasted little time in running and flipping past Shego, landing a heel in the back of her head, and sprinting as fast as she could towards Drakken and Ron.
For just a second, Shego fought against unconsciousness before mentally forcing herself to stay with it. Even though it was just a second, her internal struggle cost her time, and at once Shego was growling in defeat. She stood and stared at the running redhead in disbelief.
"Why, that little bit…" Shego started.
A sudden slow smile curled on her lips. Kim was injured, knew it too… but still she could do something like that. And THAT, Shego could privately admit, was the reason she had growing admiration for the redhead.
"Well done, Pumpkin… well done."
Nearing the two, Kim could see that Drakken and Ron were both fighting over what appeared to be a lever of some sort. Drakken had both hands grasped around the handle, and was trying to pull it towards him. Ron had grabbed the lower half and with his feet braced on a nearby rock, was trying to simultaneously pulling it towards himself, and away from Drakken.
Easily, Kim flipped over Ron to land squarely next to Drakken, elbowing him in the stomach and effectively forcing him to let go of the lever. He staggered back, and Kim followed up with a front kick to his chin. Toppling over from the series of impacts, Drakken crawled backwards, away from Kim, and frowned.
"Don't touch that!" He yelled, gritting his teeth.
"What? This?" Ron mocked, punching the side of the machine, a loud clang ringing out through the ravine. A half smile lacing her face, Kim walked over towards Ron to inspect the machine, looking it over with a sharp eye.
"Okay, what have we here, and how do we destroy it?" She remarked, hesitantly hovering her right hand above what appeared to be the control panel.
"What did Wade say about it?" Ron asked, with Rufus perched on his shoulder.
"He said just to destroy it outright – there shouldn't be any weird effects." Kim answered.
"Okay, so push all the buttons, pull out the wires, kick it, punch it, throw it, pour water on it, set fire to it, or hit the off button?" Ron rambled, counting on his fingers.
"Basically, yeah." Kim grinned. "Rufus, you want to start with the wires?"
Giving a mock military salute, the small mole rat jumped off Ron's left shoulder and onto the machine, opening a side panel and hopping inside. In a few seconds, sparks began to fly from the control panel as Rufus jumped out holding a pawful of multicolored wires.
"Here!" He chirped, handing the wires to Ron.
"Shego!" Drakken's terse voice rang out through the valley. "Backup please NOW!"
"Speaking of which, where is she?" Ron whispered to Kim, eying the valley.
"Don't worry, I knocked her out." Kim assured him.
"Uhh, are you sure about it?" Ron asked nervously, gesturing towards a very irate Drakken. Following his gaze, Kim saw a very conscious Shego, her hands ablaze with her signature green plasma flames.
"Um, no. No, I'm not." Kim corrected, involuntarily flinching and taking a few steps backwards as another series of flashes and sparks came flying from the machine. Within a few minutes, the small LCD screen went blank and a small internal explosion blew the device apart. Grabbing Ron and Rufus, Kim ducked behind the nearest rock formation to dodge the flying bits of metal and plastic.
"Whew! Thanks KP!" Ron breathed, slightly shaken.
"Don't worry about it." Kim smiled at him, jumping to her feet again. "But let's go get Drakken and Shego. They're not off the hook yet."
As the crime-fighting trio ran back out into the clearing, a dark green and black hovercraft quickly began ascending from the smoke still settling from the previous explosion. Reaching to her utility belt and hip pack, Kim silently cursed as she remembered that Wade had taken her grappling gun to make some repairs, adjustments, and upgrades. Wasting no time, she leaned over to grab Ron's gun, and pointing the hook to the underside of the aircraft, she aimed and fired. Unfortunately, her aim was half blind as the smoke and dust in the air still hadn't totally cleared, and the resounding silence told her that she had failed to make contact.
Leaning over from the side of the hovercraft, Drakken paused the craft's ascent and looked down over the cheerleader and buffoon. He laughed, and Shego joined him.
"You think you're all that Kim Possible!" Drakken shouted, pointing a finger down at the redheaded heroine.
"But I'm not?" Kim finished for him, amusement in her eyes. "Yeah, you keep telling yourself that, Dr D."
Shego quietly stifled a laugh at Kim's use of her pet name for her employer, causing the blue man to glare at her for a second before turning back to the slowly shrinking redhead. He raised a finger and opened his mouth… and realized he couldn't think of a comeback.
His finger dropping in disappointment and surprise, Drakken's jaw followed shortly. Clenching his jaw and working his hands into fists, Drakken disappeared behind the controls. Moments later, the hovercraft began rising again.
"Consider this a goodbye present, Kim Possible!" Drakken shouted from the air, still operating the controls.
Almost instantaneously, two missiles shot out from beneath the hovercraft, headed straight towards Kim and Ron. Guided by her highly disciplined reflexes, Kim threw her weight to the side and quickly rolled out of the missiles' trajectories. Hitting the ground harmlessly, the missiles exploded, sending bits of rock and dust everywhere. Kim shielded her eyes and face with her arm, looking skyward when the dust had cleared some. The hovercraft had just risen out of jumping and flipping range now – if she wanted to catch Drakken and Shego, she would need more height.
Shego's smug and infuriating voice called from above. "Till next time, Princess!"
Glaring back at the thief, Kim had made up her mind.
"Come on Ron, we're going after them."
After a moment's silence, and Kim looked to her left. "Ron? Where are you?"
Several coughs sounded a few feet behind her, and Kim turned around and ran towards the noise.
Coming upon a prone figure on the dusty ground, Kim knew it was her sidekick. Kneeling beside him, she began to inspect him for any visible wounds, gently turning his head from side to side, tapping his patellar reflex, and occasionally pinching his skin to see if he felt it. From her cursory glance, he looked stunned and bruised, but by and large alright.
"Ron, what happened?"
"I was knocked over by the blast I guess. I…I couldn't move fast enough. I'm sorry."
"How many fingers am I holding up?"
"Kim, you have to go get Drakken and Shego before they escape."
"Answer the finger question!" She barked.
"Okay, you can see and count. But I'm not taking any chances. Can you walk? Does it hurt to stand? I'm getting you to the nearest hospital." Gently grabbing Ron by the wrist, she tried to get him to stand, but with a dismissive wave, he shooed her away.
"I'm fine Kim. Get Drakken!"
"No Ron, I'm going to take care of you!"
"I'm fine, I swear."
"I'm telling you Ron, we need to get X-rays and really take the time to inspect you for injuries. You could have a small fracture, or even have broken something. Did you hit your head? You could have a concussion."
Reaching up to firmly take Kim by her right wrist, Ron pulled Kim down to his level to look into her eyes. Speaking carefully and slowly, he made a point to enunciate each word to convey his seriousness.
"Kim. You need to get Drakken. We can't take any more chances this time, especially when Drakken was so close to winning last time with the Lil Diablo plot. Come back for me later when you've caught him, but you need to get him first. I'm fine. Please go. I have Rufus."
As if on command, Rufus peeked his head out from Ron's pocket. "We'll be safe." He chattered, indicating himself and Ron.
Still breathing heavily, Kim nodded wordlessly. Giving Ron's hand a small and affectionate squeeze, Kim unfastened her utility belt and dropped it by his side.
"There are extra antiseptic wipes in the inside pockets by the belt clip. There are also three small vials of drinking water fortified with vitamins and minerals, and other good stuff. You can ask Wade about it. If you can, use the wipes to clean any scrapes and drink some water. It's not a lot, but it will help get the dust out of your throat. I'll return after I deal with Drakken, okay? For if for some reason I don't…" Kim trailed off.
She reached into her pocket and withdrew her Kimmunicator. She handed it to Ron, making him take it.
"But if I don't come back in a few hours, call Wade with this. He'll be able to track you and get help."
"You will come back though KP. Promise me that." Ron demanded.
"Of course I will; I'm just saying I don't know how long it will take, and I don't like the idea of you here with any injuries alone."
"I'm fine KP. But you be careful though. I want to see you tonight, at the very latest."
Rufus nodded firmly in agreement.
"I think I can handle it." Kim smiled, trying to reassure them both.
"Okay. Go get them."
With a wink and another smile, Kim sprinted off on foot, leaving Ron and Rufus behind.
"What do you mean, the engine failed?" Drakken grumbled, sitting on top of a random boulder.
Almost having reached the top of the canyon, the hovercraft had begun sputtering and stalling, grey-black smoke spouting from the engine. It took all of Shego's effort to guide the machine to the nearest rocky outcropping, and they had barely made it.
"These machines aren't meant for the desert, Dr. D. The engine must have been clogged with sand. Some genius you are." Shego shot back.
"I don't need a lecture Shego, I just need to know if you can fix it."
"I don't know Dr. D. I have to take a look first."
"Well, hurry up before Kim Possible catches up with us." Drakken whined nervously, looking out over the horizon, looking for a familiar flash of red hair.
As Shego popped the cover to the engine,Drakken grabbed the spare tool kit in case the damage was easily repairable with the basic tools they kept on board the ship. Waving her gloved hands back and forth to clear the dark smoke from the interior, Shego clicked on the flashlight and peered inside, suppressing the urge to cough.
"Well, Shego?" Drakken inquired, impatience evident in his voice.
"Give me a minute already!"
"But Kim Possible might – "
"A minute!" Shego roared, effectively shutting Drakken up.
Pacing back and forth on the edge of the canyon, Drakken paused between every few steps, occasionally kicking a loose pebble down the incline, and occasionally scanning and rescanning the horizon for Kim. A series of continuous clinks and clangs (and curse words) from Shego's direction weren't sounding too reassuring, and Drakken was beginning to worry even more. Breaking out of jail after the Diablo incident had been relatively simple as Global Justice had underestimated the exact capabilities of Shego's plasma fire, and the metal prison walls and enclosures could not ultimately withstand the intense heat that Shego's plasma was able to generate. Though the Diablo Plan had been foiled by that loathsome teenage cheerleader, it had been his best plan to date, and had almost succeeded. His confidence restored, he had turned his attention forward to time travel. He would build the machine himself, program it himself, and be absolutely sure that there were no glitches. Then the world would be his again.
A quick movement out of the corner of his eye snapped his attention back to the present. Was that a flash of auburn he saw?
"Shego?" He asked, warily eyeing the horizon.
"What?" She snapped, throwing a wrench on the ground.
"Ready to go yet?" Worried, Drakken held a hand to his forehead to shield from the sun and stared carefully at the location where he was sure he saw that auburn flash.
"Just about. I removed the fan to clean out the sand particles as best I could. There's still quite a bit stuck in the air filtration system, but we can still make it to the headquarters before it totally fails. I just need to replace the ventilation grid. Why? You have dinner plans or something?"
"Then why?" She asked, screwing in the second bolt.
"Because…well. That!" Drakken shouted, hopping back into the hovercraft and wildly gesturing to his left. Following his gaze, Shego saw the familiar form of her archnemesis perched on the largest boulder, her legs hunched under her, muscles tensed for immediate action. A smile tugged at Shego's dark lips, and, firmly securing the last screw in place, Shego rose slowly to meet Kim's gaze.
"Still think I'm not all that?" Kim grinned, mocking Drakken, who seemed to be turning a deeper shade of blue.
"Well, you've followed us this far, but you still won't win, Kim Possible!" Drakken practically cackled as Shego rolled her eyes in disgust.
Kim looked less than impressed. Slowly, she arched an eyebrow. "Uh huh." She quipped, sounding almost bored.
Clenching his jaw, Drakken narrowed his eyes, frustration apparent on his features.
"So, are we gonna fight or what?" Shego asked lazily, holding up a gloved hand and igniting her plasma fire, the green flames springing up with a muffled whomph.
"No Shego!" Drakken held up a hand. "No need to occupy ourselves with such trivial fistfights. Soon, we shall rule the world!"
Without another word, Drakken turned around and quickly hopped into the hovercraft. Taking one last look at Kim, Shego blew a mock goodbye kiss and backflipped into the pilot seat next to her blue employer. With the push of a few buttons, and adjustment of a couple levers, the hovercraft began to rise up and over the canyon ravine.
Using the boulder she was perching on as springboard, Kim launched herself towards the rapidly ascending vehicle, running as fast as her calves could propel her. She was quickly approaching the edge of the rocky outcropping, and a few more steps would put her in midair.
Give up already! Shego silently yelled at her nemesis, her patience waning with each passing second.
But the firm mask of determination on Kim's face and the way she continued her sprint forward without any signs of a decreased momentum told Shego everything she needed to know.
Kim was going to try and jump.
But the hovercraft was already practically out of reach, even for such an accomplished athlete like Kim.
Is she crazy! Shego thought, the realization hitting her that Kim really was going to attempt to jump. A glance at the redhead told Shego that Kim hadn't brought along rope, her grappling gun, or any other device that could theoretically help her get a grip on the hovercraft. It was possible that such gadgets were well hidden on Kim's person, but in the past, Kim had made no effort to disguise the basic gizmos that got her from point A to point B.
Still, Kim attempting a leap like that was a risk Shego didn't particularly feel like taking, and she returned her attention to the control panel. Perhaps if she guided the hovercraft to a height so extreme that even Kim, the girl who could do anything, would rethink her actions, then she could solve the problem. Almost violently, Shego increased the acceleration and guided the vehicle further away from the canyon's ledge, effectively further away from Kim. Upon placing several more feet between the aircraft and the cheerleader, Shego looked back, but her smug smile quickly evaporated.
Kim hadn't stopped; she hadn't even slowed down.
In Shego's mind, time painfully skidded to a halt, and every motion seemed to unfold in slow motion, frame by frame, millisecond by millisecond. Though her brain was screaming frantically for her to act, she found herself frozen in place, unable to even blink.
Upon reaching the end of the rocky ledge, Kim crouched down on her hunches, pausing only a fraction of a second before springing up and out, towards the hovercraft. Reflexively, she pointed her toes and extended her arms, making her body more aerodynamic and getting the most amount of reach possible as she sailed towards the hovercraft.
Some part of Shego's brain watched, horrified and fascinated. Another part begged to move the hovercraft closer, and put it in reach of Kim. But then what would she say to Drakken, still standing right next to her, watching the same spectacle she was? How would she explain her actions? An engine malfunction, due to the grainy sand particles still embedded within the machine?
Yes, of course. A technical abnormality.
Her gloved hand drifted back to the control panel, but a sudden motion and a suppressed gasp to her left had her head twisting violently back to where Kim was still reaching for the vehicle.
A grimace of pain twisted on her face, and still in the middle of her jump, Kim moved her left hand to her left side, clutching it and panting. Her focus and attention interrupted, she curled her body into a loose ball, her hand still grabbing her left side, and her aerodynamic posture lost.
"What the…" Shego angrily muttered aloud, wondering what was causing Kim so much pain that she would tuck in during a jump like that – especially when she needed to be stretched and extended to even consider a hope that she would reach the hovercraft without a grappling gun. It was almost as if someone had shoved a spear through Kim's upper abdomen…
A past but still relatively recent memory flooded Shego's senses. She was in Club Banana, three days previous.
"KP, I got him!" The blonde boy yelled. Looking at Kim, Shego saw her determination and focus waver, and even though the redhead was in the perfect physical position to dodge the impending plasma fire, her mental state was suddenly unprepared.
As the plasma fire drew nearer and nearer, the redhead remained motionless and still. Her mouth was slightly open, almost as if she were screaming, and a bit of terror began steadily building in her eyes. The only moving objects were the plasma fireballs, and now, Kim's blonde sidekick and his repulsive rodent. Running up to a still frozen Kim, he reached up to grasp her wrist and quickly pulled her down on the ground with him. The plasma exploded into the wall behind them – a narrow miss.
No, not a narrow miss.
As Shego looked closer, her heart still caught somewhere in her throat, she saw a reddened and inflamed line of skin on Kim's left side. And not only inflamed, but bleeding and exposed, prone to infection. She would need a couple of stitches at least before the day was over.
A narrow hit.
Shego blinked, and found herself back in the rapidly unfolding and unfortunate present. Still clutching her side and wincing, Kim had already reached the apex of her jump, approximately three feet below the hovercraft, and was just beginning her involuntary descent, gravity pulling her down. Without thinking, Shego jumped over the side of the hovercraft, grabbing the edge with one of her clawed hands and extending the other as far down as she could manage without falling overboard herself. She desperately grasped for Kim's arm, or her leg, or her clothes – hell, she would even grab her hair if she had to.
But Kim was too far gone, her tumbling body out of Shego's reach.
KIIIIIIIMMMMMMMM! Shego screamed silently to herself as she hung suspended from below the hovering vehicle, still swinging slightly.
As she watched Kim's spinning and twisting body falling down the ravine, a dark feeling of helplessness began to overcome her, followed immediately by a slow-burning irate fury – but not at Kim. Shego couldn't tell exactly who she was angry at; she only knew she was infuriated. Unconsciously, she gripped the metal hovercraft edge harder, her knuckles cracking under the extra pressure.
But the disturbing scenario wasn't going away. In fact, it was getting worse.
The shock and sudden pain finally wearing off, Kim seemed to regain her awareness of her situation. She stretched out from her involuntary tuck position, and obviously ignoring stabs of pain in her side, Kim frantically looked around for anything she could grab hold of – anything to stop her fall outright or at least slow it down. Automatically reaching to her utility belt, Kim's eyes widened in terror as she realized that she had already used her rope to repel down the canyon the first time, and that her hairdryer was in the process of being repaired. The world was passing by her in a total blur of tan and brown tones, and above her, the idyllic sky was a stark contrast to the dark profile of a certain green and black thief. Kim closed her eyes and opened her mouth to scream as she neared the rough bottom terrain below her.
At the top of the canyon, Shego squinted as Kim's form became smaller and smaller below, disappearing into the shadowed rift. The thief felt her heart constrict painfully in her chest, and her lip quivered as tears threatened to spill from her green eyes. Her breathing slowed, and she felt an invisible pressure preventing her chest from expanding.
A panicked scream sounded from below, followed shortly by an unusually loud thumping and cracking sound, and ultimately, a very disturbing silence.
Shego felt her blood freeze, the hairs on the back of her neck standing on end as she heard the crack resounding through the canyon. And the silence…the silence was so loud she wanted to slap her hands over hears to drown out the world.
Hoisting herself back on board the hovercraft, Shego slammed a mask of indifference on her face and opened one of the side storage compartments to grab the medical supply bag, personally stocked by her and kept there for emergencies. As she guided the hovercraft closer to the nearest rock ledge, hopping off the vehicle and onto the dusty ground, Drakken stared at her in disbelief.
"Shego! What are you doing? Do you realize what we've just done? We've killed Kim Possible!"
"Yeah, yeah, I hear ya."
"So, get back in here and let's get back to the lab."
"You go on Dr. D. I'm going to have a look myself and make sure Kimmie really did fall to her death. I'm not totally convinced. You know how that teenager has a knack for escaping stuff like this."
"Ahh, I see. Good thinking Shego."
"Right. Now, you get back to the lab before too many GJ agents swarm the place, and I'll contact you later."
With a nod, Drakken moved to the controls and within a few minutes, the hovercraft was just a small black dot on the horizon.
Skillfully navigating down the rocks, Shego searched for her redhead nemesis, hoping and praying she had somehow survived. It seemed impossible, but this was the legendary Kim Possible.
The sun was just beginning to set, and the sky was turning a deep hue of a beautiful crimson red.
And somewhere down below, stuck at the bottom of that great rift, a teenage cheerleader with fiery red hair was clinging to life, and waiting for her rescuer, a woman who had once sworn to kill her.
Life, it seemed, enjoyed a good practical joke.
June 12, 2005 – The Present
Narrowing his eyes in concentration, Drakken rechecked his calibrations. This volume had to be exactly right – even being off by 0.1 microliter would bring upon severe consequences. But right as he was about to draw up his buffer solution, a pounding resounded through the lab.
"Not now, I'm working!" Drakken shouted to whomever was insistently clanging at the door.
"Dr. D, let me in!" The pounding increased in volume and frequency, indicating desperation.
"I told you, I'm working!"
"Let me in! I'm warning you!"
"IF YOU DON'T LET ME IN RIGHT NOW…"
With his microliter pipette hovering above a rack of six 2-milliliter plastic test tube, Drakken paused and narrowed his eyes. That low angry voice was…
"RIGHT! I WARNED YOU, DR D!"
"SHEGO!" Drakken hollered as the aluminum-reinforced door broke open with a blinding flash of green. "I TOLD YOU I WAS WORKING!"
"Yeah, yeah, I sorta got the point." Shego yawned, examining her hands. She prayed that Drakken didn't notice the shadows under her eyes, the way her skin was even paler than usual, and the sweat on her brow.
With a low growl, Drakken threw down his pipette and turned back to Shego. "You ruined my experiment! What do you want? This had better be good!"
"It's about that solution thing you made."
"Which one, Shego? I'm a very busy scientist here."
"That…green one." Unspoken, Shego continued the sentence in her mind. That…that threatening one….
Drakken narrowed his eyes. "What green one I make many green solutions, Shego. You need to be more specific."
"The…the glowing green one."
"WHICH glowing green one?"
"The one in the…the…the small glass vial."
The one that will kill my Princess…the one that will make Kim forget everything…including me.
After an awkwardly silent pause, Drakken sighed. "What's this really about Shego? You NEVER care for my experiments."
"Well…" Shego coughed out, desperately trying to mask her worry and frustration, which was growing more and more insistent and ready to boil over in a single explosive moment.
"Shegoooooooo…" Drakken drawled, tapping his foot.
"Alright, alright, fine!" Shego snapped. "I just…I just…" She bit her lip.
"What!" Exasperation laced Drakken's voice now.
"I don't think this is a good idea!" Shego finally roared, clenching her fists and letting her plasma fire flare up. "I mean, she's surrounded by GJ agents, her friends, her family, and that nerdlinger probably has her protected with all kinds of…of…I don't know, anything! Everything! And on top of that, she's just gotten out of the hospital! It's not fair; it wouldn't be a fair fight!"
Almost withdrawing into herself, Shego found herself whispering the same sentence over again. "It wouldn't be fair…to either of us."
"Shego! What's gotten into you all of a sudden? When did you start caring about something being fair?" Drakken questioned, a wild thought forming in his mind.
"Argh! Nothing! Nothing! Don't worry about it!" Shego growled, almost half mumbling. "Forget I even said anything."
And with an angry flourish, Shego turned away and stormed out of the room, plasma-punching the door as she exited. Behind her, Drakken stood in the dim light, his jaw slightly hanging open in surprise. His suspicion was becoming more and more justified with each passing day, and a realization finally hit him, and hit him hard. Turning back to his workdesk, he pulled out a small vial of fluorescent green liquid.
There were some modifications to be done…
Chapter 14 – The End of the Beginning
June 20, 2005 – The Present
"So did you hear about what happened to Kim?" One of the newer cheerleaders inquired, wanting to earn her way in the popular crowd. And gossip was always a great way to start. It was her first cheerleader practice at Middleton High, and she was determined to fit in.
"Old news." Bonnie scoffed, an unpleasant expression overcoming her otherwise pretty features, a frown threatening to twist her mouth.
"Not really! I just heard about it!"
"Humph!" Kim's rival cheerleader pouted, narrowing her eyes in what could only be described as disgust. "I figured she would get hers one day."
"What do you mean? Isn't she saving the world and working for good?"
"I mean that Kim's just so…so…so…" Bonnie gritted her teeth, glaring daggers at the newest team member. "She's such a goody two shoes. Miss Perfect. And she lords it over me, just to torment me!"
"She probably doesn't mean to though. Maybe it's a mistake?"
"No, she's an arrogant bitch who deserved what she got!" Bonnie spat back, almost a snarl, but at the same time regretting the reaction. Sure, Kim was her rival, but no one deserved what happened to her…
Taking the not so subtle hint, the blonde teenager backed off, throwing up her hands in defeat.
"Alright, fine. Let's change the topic then. Who are you going to the dance with?"
Bonnie grinned and gave a casual flip of her brown hair. "Josh. If Kim can even remember, she'll be so jealous! Once she sees me and Josh together at the Prom…well…it's the perfect ending to a perfect story."
"Hey, KP." Ron greeted Kim, giving an awkwardly overly cheerful wave.
"Hi Ron. What's up?"
Kim smiled. This felt familiar, this friendship. There was something she just couldn't describe or put her finger on, but it felt safe.
Hanging out at her place after school – working on homework, brainstorming on projects, and generally having a good time – it was a routine that Kim had gotten used to. Even Kim found herself to be a creature of habit. Even if she couldn't fully remember…she could still feel. And this felt right – being a normal, albeit superhero, teenage girl.
"Hey, where are the rents?" Ron asked, looking around the house.
"Dad's working late, and mom's with the tweebs. I think they're getting new sneakers or something." Kim paused, and thought. "Or maybe some more model rockets, knowing them."
"Ahhh." Ron nodded his understanding.
"Oh, Rufus! Here, I got some cheese for you." Skipping to the kitchen, Kim returned with a small plate piled with eight well-sized blocks of sliced cheese cubes. Squeaking and chirping in delight and gratitude, Rufus jumped onto the plate and began munching, patting his belly in between each cheese block and giving the thumbs up sign.
"Way to go Rufus!" Ron exclaimed, giving his pet a high-five. "And the molerat scores some food!"
"So Ron, what's up?" Kim inquired, setting the cheese platter and accompanying critter on the living room table and taking a seat on the couch herself.
"I, uh. Never mind." Ron finished quickly. "I'm sure you're sick of it by now."
"Sick of what?" Kim inquired.
"You know!" Ron egged her on. "The question."
"The…" Kim narrowed her eyebrows, trying to think. Suddenly, her face lit up in understanding, and she playfully rolled her eyes at her best friend. "Oh, right. That question. Well, go on. Ask. You might as well." She winked at him.
"How are you feeling?"
Kim chuckled. "Yeah, you're right - I've been getting a lot of that lately. Really though, I'm fine. This new high tech experimental treatment thing that dad, mom, and Wade have developed is awesome. Record healing in record time!"
"Well, you do have three geniuses working on it!" Ron assured Kim.
"Yeah." Kim agreed.
"So…" Ron trailed off, casting his eyes towards the floor, but making a show of pretending to cast them towards Rufus, who now had a noticeable bulge in his abdomen area.
"So, what?" Kim inquired, pressing him on.
"Are you going to the dance?"
"Are you asking me to?"
"I'm asking if you're going, not who you're going with." Ron laughed nervously.
"You're asking if I want to go with you?" Kim grinned.
"No, I. No. I mean, no." He stuttered, scratching his head and turning a pale shade of red.
"No?" Kim questioned, looking only mildly dejected. "We're not…you know…?" She trailed off, the unspoken question hanging in the air.
"Kim…" Ron began, taking a serious look at his best friend. "We're friends. Best friends, really – well, there's Monique too, but we have been friends since elementary school. But to answer your question – no, we're not dating."
"Then…who was I dating?"
"No one, actually. I mean, you used to like Josh, but then you fell for Eric."
Ron flinched upon seeing a flash of remembrance and anger shine through Kim's eyes. He quickly continued his train of thought.
"And, well, when you were going out with Eric, Bonnie. Uh, she and Josh began going out."
Forcing an awkward smile, Ron carefully studied Kim, wondering what her reaction would be.
A plethora of emotions passed across Kim's face – recognition, anger, betrayal, sadness, and regret – just to name a few.
"Eric…I remember Eric." The redhead whispered, slowly turning away, lost in her own mind. "He was a synthodrone."
Ron nodded. "Yeah. He part a part of Drakken and Shego's plan."
Ron blinked as Kim turned to look at him, casting a slightly accusatory glance in his direction.
"It wasn't Shego's plan. She's just his hired help – she didn't know what was going on! It wasn't her fault!"
Kim found herself surprised at her behavior, and quieted herself. Her stomach gave a small lurch, performing a small backflip in her body. How could one woman evoke such a strong reaction?
You do realize that you're defending a woman who tried to kill you, right?
No, she didn't!
Just keep telling yourself that dear, and maybe, one day, you'll believe it.
Awww, did I hit a nerve?
SHUT UP! Kim screamed at herself.
And in the blink of an eye, it happened again. Kim felt herself ripped from the present and launched back into the past – her own past. If it wasn't so helpful in restoring her memories, it would be damn annoying.
She was all dressed up – wearing a dark blue – almost royal purple dress. But this was something special – it wasn't a school dance, or any other similar formal social function. There was a vague recollection of a black wig, but she didn't have it anymore – now her radiant red hair was flowing loosely around her neck.
And, incidentally, she was fighting.
And not fighting just anyone, but a certain black-haired, green-skinned woman with superhuman reflexes and plasma-generating abilities.
A rolling tray was pushed across the floor – well-aimed as it hit Shego squarely and sent her flying into the microphone setup.
Kim saw herself sprint towards the older woman, grabbing her by the front of her green and black dress and hoisting her up.
Shego was smiling. Grinning, rather.
"Where's Drakken, and what's he up to?"
And Shego was speaking, but Kim now found herself only half listening. That arrogant expression that Kim now knew was hiding deeper feelings underneath…it was strangely attractive now. And there were other things. Kim felt the warmth of Shego's skin, the exact texture of the fabric, that low husky voice, the smell of her hair – all small details imprinted in her mind, stored away for recollection later.
Why does she remember those things?
Because she loved Shego then? Or because she loves Shego now?
"Huh?" Kim questioned, shaking her head, trying to regain her lost focus. Ron had been talking, but she had been wandering through the sparse back roads of her memories. "I'm sorry, I missed that – what did you say?"
"I was saying that you shouldn't give Shego too much of benefit of the doubt. You never know what she could be up to."
"No!" Kim protested, vehemently. "She wouldn't do anything to hurt me."
Gritting his teeth, Ron sighed heavily. "Well, she could have fooled me, with all those fights you have – with all the times she tried to kill you."
"She knew I could survive whatever she threw at me. She wasn't trying to kill me!" Kim found herself arguing. "Well, not deliberately... well, not intentionally. I... look I just know, okay?"
It was madness. Emotionally, she felt attached and strangely attracted to this woman, but another part of her kept disagreeing, kept trying to rationalize the feelings that it thought shouldn't even be present in the first place. It was an internal civil war, tearing up her psyche.
Shego is a villain – the enemy. She needs to pay for her crimes. She's a criminal most of all! Flaunting the rules, the things you live by. Always doing what she wants! She'll steal, lie and cheat. She deserves to be punished! And as for what she did to you... the lies she used so she could have what she wanted again. A fling with a hero. That's all you are to her – a fling.
No, she's reformed, or in the process of reforming at least. Anyway, considering her brothers, can you blame her? Forced to be part of Team Go. It was pretty damn obvious she never wanted to be part of it! So she found a way to be free, as free as she could. But she's realised that she doesn't have to be a criminal to be free!
She tried to kill you! Has tried to do so for years!
She saved my life! That's not something she'd do if she wanted me dead!
Back and forth, round and round – it made Kim's head almost physically hurt.
Even Shego deserves a second chance.
Does she? Are you really being objective here? Or is it that you're more interested in seeing the woman rather than stopping the criminal?
Sighing, Kim began to massage her head. Perhaps she could stop the headache before it began.
"Maybe you're right. But you still need to be careful." Ron agreed.
"Oh. I said that aloud? I didn't realize." Kim felt herself begin to blush. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean…" She trailed off.
An uncomfortable silence began to settle between the pair.
"Kim…" Ron began, walking up to his best friend and putting a comforting and reassuring arm around her shoulder. "I see the way you look at Shego. When you were…when you were sick, she must have done something really impressive. And if you want to trust her, then I'll support you, and be there for you. But you're my best friend, and I want you to be careful, okay?"
With a warm smile, Kim looked back at Ron.
June 21, 2005 – The Present
A dim small desk lamp was the only light source illuminating the work bench.
Black gloved hands skillfully added a few microliters of a clear liquid to a glass test tube. Capping it and swirling the contents around gently, there was a pleased chuckle.
This was transferred to a sickly green liquid that glowed in the dim light. As the clear fluid splashed into the glowing flask, the fluid began to churn and bubble, releasing a faint whisp of vapor.
A few grams of a light blue powder was added to the frothing mix, and the green liquid rapidly changed to a dark red, before frothing to an even brighter and more sickly foul green color. This time the liquid not only glowed, it pulsed steadily.
Blue eyes took in the pulsing light and a thin mouth smiled cruelly.
The vial was subsequently placed in a test tube rack and placed in a freezer for safekeeping.
With a click, the lamp was switched off, and the room was plunged into darkness.
June 23, 2005 – The Present
A loud voice boomed out over the microphone, announcing the start of the evening's festivities. It was the end-of-year party, and the Middleton High School gym had been turned into a dance floor, complete with banners, posters, balloons, and a hired DJ.
"WHO'S READY TO PARTY?!"
And an answering resounding cheer rose up from the crowd, with the throwing of balloons into the air.
"IT'S THE END OF THE YEAR, SUMMER'S JUST AROUND THE CORNER, AND TIME TO CELEBRATE!"
For the Middleton High students, it was just the time to celebrate indeed. Most of the sports teams had placed in the top ten regional rankings for the athletic year, final exams were finally completed, and for the seniors, they were nervously awaiting the start of their college years or job internships.
Although all these aspects were important to Kim, Ron, and Monique, the current celebrations were directed at a different achievement: Kim's recovery.
Nobody had expected such a fast and miraculous recuperation, but then again, they reasoned, this was Kim Possible – and anything is possible for a Possible. Her reflexes were improving dramatically, her strength was returning little by little, and to the delight of everyone around her, she was still able to execute a few of her crucial gymnastic stunts. She still felt small twinges of pain now and again, but they were most ghost pains than real physical symptoms – little reminders of her past – which, thankfully, were also returning to her, bit by bit. Small bits of progress are better than none at all.
Though if you asked her opinion, gingko tea was becoming more and more boring with each passing day.
Something suddenly punched her from inside, making her almost physically wince. Gingko tea was Shego's idea. And apparently, a good one.
"You look hot, girl!"
A familiar voice at last. Dressed in a long flowing navy blue gown with her dark hair twisted into a bun on the back of her head, Monique also was stunning. Her smile was comforting and brilliant, matched only by the delicate silver chain necklace around her small neck.
"Thanks Monique." Kim grinned.
The redhead was wearing a similar style dress, though hers was strapless and pure jet black with black sequins embroidered on the back and stretching to the front to form a wave-like pattern that shimmered and sparkled when Kim moved. She had a thin silver chain – much like Monique's – around her neck as well, but hers had a small emerald pendant – the same color as her eyes.
And the eyes of…someone else.
"Where's Ron?" Monique inquired, looking around the dance floor.
"In the bathroom. He's straightening his tie. And gathering his courage to ask a girl for one dance."
"Really? Which one?"
"Anyone that says yes." Kim grinned, unable to suppress a small laugh of endearment.
Internally, Kim felt herself breathe a huge sigh of relief. Life was finally beginning to return to normal.
Behind the DJ station, keeping up a front of organizing the CDs and playlists, Senor Senior Junior was quietly talking into a hidden walkie-talkie while surveying the scene. In his back pocket, a small dart gun was hidden. Behind the stage, Senior Senior Senior was controlling the lights according to his son's orders to be in time with the music. He also had a similar dart gun hidden within his jacket. Up in the rafters, staying out of view, Monkey Fist was watching the partying highschool teenagers like a hawk – following the movements of Kim and her friends and reporting them to the others. Hidden outside in a van, DNAmy, Duff Killigan and Drakken waited patiently. Once the dance was in chaos, and confusion was widespread, they would provide backup, preventing Kim from escaping. Monkey Fist's monkey ninjas were also hidden outside, positioned in all the trees surrounding the school to make sure the targets didn't escape through any back doors.
Hiding out behind the bleachers in the football field, Shego smoothed out her modified dress. She had toyed with the idea of tying up her hair, but ultimately decided against it – she liked her hair free flowing and subject to the whims of nature. She was wearing a dark green dress that both contrasted and blended in with her natural skin tone. It had an open back with laces that kept the dress together, and the dress itself came down to her ankles, though it could be hiked up to her knees should she need to fight – which was expected. On her right hand, a small gold ring rested around her ring finger, decorated with three small red rubies – barely visible to the naked eye. She, too, was carrying a dart gun – but it felt like a piece of heavy lead in her hand, dragging her down.
Without warning, her stomach gave a warning growl, and Shego realized that she hadn't eaten in over a day – not even basic hydration with water. Thinking back to her actions within the past few days, Shego realized she was a mess. She had also neglected sleep as she was too busy worrying about Kim. Her mind was too active to quiet down, and even sleeping pills wouldn't calm her down. A small throbbing headache had been developing for days, and tonight, Shego had taken a handful of painkillers to forget the pain and relegate it in the background. And now, she was hating herself – she had let herself become so ragged.
What if she wasn't strong enough to save Kim?
A flash of terror tore at Shego's heart, and she regretted she had been so foolish. She needed her strength tonight to protect her loved one. And yes, god damn it, she loved that girl.
"Shego!" Her personal communicator bleeped at her, the voice metallic but still recognizable as Drakken.
Shaken out of her reverie, she dropped the gun.
"What?" She whispered, dreading the answer.
"It's time. Execute."
And with a quiet click, Drakken closed the communication channel, leaving Shego alone with her thoughts…and actions.
Grabbing the gun, Shego quietly made her way towards the school.
With adrenaline racing through her system, Kim found herself spinning before landing in Ron's arms. She laughed at it all. It was all so mundane, but again, so comforting at the same time – this was normal life – she, a teenager, at a highschool dance, and sharing one dance with her best friend.
But something kept nagging at her insides, that something wasn't quite right, and she couldn't quite figure it out. She tried to let it go, whatever it was, but a shadowy figure here, or someone lurking over there kept raising her internal alarm. Always, those suspicious people were always her classmates, but something just kept eating away at her.
Suddenly, from behind her, she felt a hand snake around her waist, and another warm hand gently rest on her shoulder. Although she couldn't see the person, the touches seemed so familiar and at the same time, so feminine.
"Don't turn around." A low husky voice whispered in her ear, barely audible over the pounding music blasting over the loudspeakers.
And if she didn't recognize the voice, the perfume gave it away in an instant.
At once, Kim felt her heart jump, but not before skipping a few beats.
"Shego!" Kim whispered back, her voice soft, and unable to think of anything more to say, her mind stumbling over itself.
Unaware of everything around her, Kim tried to spin around to face the source of all her pain and all her joy, but Shego was stronger and restrained Kim, dragging her into a darkened corner of the dance floor.
"Let me talk!" Shego insisted. Kim thought about protesting, but there was some kind of urgency in Shego's voice, and it silenced any complaints Kim had thought about voicing.
"Kim, you have to get out of here."
"What? Why?" Kim pressed.
"Drakken and DNAmy and all the others – they're trying to kill you."
"Huh? I mean, don't they try to do that anyways?"
"No, they're all working together now! And they're planning something tonight!"
There was something in Shego's voice that raised an internal alarm within Kim. The urgency of Shego's tone…an undisguised fear.
"Let me go!" Kim snarled, more harshly than she intended.
To her surprise, Shego let her go. Immediately, Kim spun around to face her former enemy.
And as much as she steeled herself for this sight, and as much as she played it out in her mind, and practiced what she would say…she still felt at a loss for words and actions. In her mind, Shego was both a fallen angel yearning for love as well as a seductive demon looking to drag her into Hell. Maybe she was both. Maybe she was neither.
But right now, in her flowing dress that looked so soft to the touch, and that yearning look in her eyes…she was breathtakingly beautiful. And for a split second, Kim didn't care if Shego was there to save her or damn her.
To damn you… Kim's mind reminded her.
"How do I know you're not involved too?" Kim accused Shego, glaring at the older woman and snapping out of her thoughts.
Somewhere inside her ribcage, Shego felt her heart drop into her abdomen.
Not like you expected her to trust you right away, no? You lied to her, remember that? Of course you do. After all, it is she who cannot remember…
Kim's reaction was expected, but even though it was fully anticipated, it still drove deep like a dagger, and chilled her heart like a shard of ice.
"Kim. I'm supposed to be involved."
Drawing forth the dart gun, Shego held it out to Kim, handing it over to her to inspect. As Kim gingerly took the gun from Shego's hand, Shego was continuing her explanation.
"See? I was supposed to distract you, fight you, and if I had the chance, shoot you with this. I don't know what it is, but it can't be good."
Kim was continuing to study the gun, turning it over in her hands. She noticed the unnatural glow from within, illuminating the darts with a sickly light that promised something evil and malicious.
"I can't hurt you. Not again."
"I don't know what to say." Kim admitted, half to herself and half to Shego, but she didn't know who she was trying to convince.
Desperate, Shego gripped her shoulders and, to Kim's surprise, shook her. There was real fear in Shego's green eyes. Fear for her.
"You don't have to say anything, but you do have to escape."
Wordlessly, Kim nodded.
"Good job Shego!" A loud voice echoed around the room. "You're cornered her, just like we planned!"
And at once, Monkey Fist dropped down from the rafters, and Senor Senior Senior and Junior appeared from what seemed out of nowhere. The front doors swung open with a clatter, and Drakken and Duff Killigan stormed through the entrance. And Kim noticed, all were holding similar style guns, the same type of gun that Shego had been carrying. In response to the sudden invasion, the dance erupted into chaos – students were running, hiding under tables, desperately grabbing for their cellphones, and there was so much screaming and shouting and wailing – it was almost deafening.
"Drakken!" Kim hissed, venting her anger towards the mad scientist, though underneath it all, a deeper feeling of betrayal was just beginning to boil. Just like they planned? It had been all a setup – right from the beginning. Tears of frustration were threatening to spill, but Kim knew at this moment, it was crucial for her to remain strong – or at least put on a convincing faÁade. But she was angry at herself – angry for falling for Shego, angry at believing her…
In Shego, a deep feeling of despair was beginning to blossom as she could see the emotions beginning to unfold within Kim. If Kim had begun to trust her again…well, it was all destroyed now. And Shego knew that even the nicest people have limits – could Kim forgive her again? Could Kim ever trust her again? All that work that Shego did, it just kept getting destroyed over and over. And a part of Shego was tempted to think it was a sign, a signal to quit. The writing had been on the wall all this time, and Shego had ignored it, and now, Kim was getting hurt in the process.
Her head felt light and dizzy, and Shego felt that she was about to fall into a deep abyss somewhere…
"Kim…" Shego started, taking a step towards the teenager.
"Don't talk to me!" Kim hissed, raw emotion lacing her voice. "You knew all along, you... you deceiving and backstabbing bitch!"
"No, no, please. I didn't!" Shego protested, pleading despite the small part of her that begged her to be silent, to hide the fact that she cared for Kim.
"Shut up!" Kim snapped back, before Shego could even speak one more word. To Kim, Shego's voice was poison, and the less she spoke, the safer she would be. She was devious, a master of words, with all the powers of prose and persuasion. She was a dangerous woman not to be trusted.
The part within Kim that kept insisting that Shego was the innocent bystander was growing weaker and weaker, evidence slowly being eroded away.
"Kim Possible, we meet again. Though this time, there will be no escape." Monkey Fist announced, breaking both Kim and Shego out of their respective reveries.
"Maybe not for you." Kim scoffed back, trying to keep up her front of aloofness, though in her mind, she desperately wanted to scan the room for Ron and Monique – where were they? Did they escape? Were they hiding? Had they been captured?
But her attention couldn't be diverted. Especially not now.
"Oh, such misplaced confidence." A bout of laughter echoed around the room. "We've got the room rigged with traps and we outnumber you. Not to mention we can nab any one of your school friends. And yet you still believe you could best us in battle."
Feeling her heart grow cold, Kim realized they had a point – fighting in here was not in her favor. They had successfully hidden themselves in the room and avoided detection from virtually everyone at the dance, who knew what else they had managed to set up? What other tricks were hiding within plain sight?
"Well, let's even the odds then!" Kim exclaimed, making a show of idly tossing her hair.
"And how do you plan on doing that?"
"Easy. Like this!"
And on the last word, Kim launched herself up to land on the rim of the basketball hoop. From there, and in the blink of an eye, she further flipped to the light supports, and then to a small window. Giving a brief wink to the villains below her on the ground, she pushed open the window and climbed outside.
"She's on the roof!" Senor Senior Senior shouted! "After her!"
Junior frowned, running along behind his father. Despite the situation, he scratched his chin. "If she has lost her marbles as Shego claims... how can she still do the supery heroey stuff? Did she have a book?"
"Junior, now is not the time!"
As the ground crew ran out the door, Monkey Fist imitated her moves to follow her outside.
Shego; however, was already gone.
On the roof, illuminated by the moonlight alone, two figures stood at a standstill, but a heated argument was building between them.
"Please Kim!" Shego was practically begging (and hating herself for it, but needing Kim to forgive her even more). "You have to believe me! I didn't do this! Honestly! I was trying to warn you!"
"I don't…I don't…" Kim trailed off, gritting her teeth in frustration, her fists poised midair in case an attack came. Though it never did.
But deep inside her, she already knew that.
"Kim…" Shego whispered, her words barely audible. "I didn't intend…any of this! Not tonight, not the lying – none of it!"
"Sure, yeah, you had good intentions!" Kim snapped, her eyes narrowing in what could have been a mixture of disgust and betrayal and perhaps even slight confusion. But before Shego could offer an explanation, Kim was continuing her emotional tirade.
"But don't they say the road to hell is paved with good intentions? Your idea, your gesture of curing me…it was a good idea, it was a good gesture…but it was poorly executed!"
"I know Kim, you don't think the moment –"
"No, obviously, you didn't think! You lied to me!" Kim felt her cheeks flush red with heat, and tears threatening to well up in her eyes. Unable to control her storming emotions, and before she was aware of what she was saying, she blurted out, "I thought I was with someone who understood me…who was protecting me and helping me heal. You…you…you LIED to get what you WANTED!"
"Yes, Kim, damn you! Yes!" Shego shouted, her voice crescendoing to a forte, stunning Kim into a temporary silence. "I lied to you, and I'm sorry. The moment those words left my mouth, all that time ago, I instantly regretted them! You don't think I didn't?!"
"I honestly don't know what to think of you anymore, Shego! And that's part of my problem!" Kim yelled back, her voice rising in pitch, her chest rapidly rising and falling with her breathing. "I want to thank you, and I want to hug you, I want to love you, and I want to hate you – all at the same time! I don't know what to do!"
"Hate me…" Shego whispered, her voice barely audible to even her own ears over the pounding of her heart.
"Yeah, I just might!" Kim snapped back, not catching the pain lacing Shego's hoarse whisper.
Something within Shego had been tottering on the edge of a great precipice. It was a combination of stubbornness and pride pitted against a team of soft vulnerability and enlightenment – a realization of what could be, rather than what actually was.
On the ledge was everything familiar and systematic to Shego – loneliness and arrogance and thievery and self-reliance. In the empty space below her was the unknown – love and caring and honesty. And as much as she wanted those things, she would have to jump, and enter a world where she was a stranger. Who knows what else would be down there, waiting for her. She wanted to cling to her ledge, stay where she knew she would be safe. But also alone. And now…
Now she didn't want to be alone anymore.
Taking a deep breath, Shego felt her metaphorical fingers loosening. And finally, with a sigh of contentment and maybe peace, she gave into one of the most primitive human urges.
The urge to fall.
And back on the roof, Shego was sniffling and wiping her eyes, though now she wasn't ashamed of her tears, nor the public show of emotion. She wasn't caring who saw, or what they said. This was her breaking point, and she finally cracked.
"Kim, I…I… love you."
And as strong as Shego had intended her voice to be, now it was cracking, and interrupted by the occasional hiccup and sniffle.
"What?" Kim asked, her tone still sharp but having lost a little bit of its former edge.
"I love…you. I…need you. Can't you see? All this time? You gave my life meaning, and without you, it would be empty. I…I would be empty. I understand if you hate me, and I wouldn't blame you for it…and…and. If you still hate me, then so be it. But…until you're safe…I have to protect you. Then I promise, I'll…I'll…leave you alone."
Shego's voice dropped again to a whisper. "I promise."
Kim stared at Shego, opening her mouth as if to say more, but closing it at the last minute. A stunned silence descended on the pair.
Sighing heavily, Kim let her eyes flutter closed for a split second. Looking down at Shego's feet, unable to look into her eyes, Kim mumbled, "I can't hate you."
Taking one hesitant step towards Kim, Shego paused, unsure what to do. Her heart wanted nothing more than to run over to her Princess and embrace her and take away all the hurt and pain, but her head was still spinning out of control, riddled with heated emotions and unsaid declarations of admiration and respect. But Kim was continuing her monologue.
"Yeah, you messed up. Sure, you messed up really bad. But, you helped me. And you took care of me. And you were so kind…"
And you made my heart race, and my blood pound, and you showed me what it means to really truly deeply care for someone.
Kim shook her head, trying to get her mind back on track, and back to the present.
And what it means to forgive…
And maybe, just maybe... need back?
"Kim…" Shego started, softly. "I…"
"What?" Kim asked back, her voice just as soft, and her eyes finally meeting Shego's, two matching shades of rich green locking with each other.
"I, I…" Shego continued to stammer, all semblance of eloquence gone, and her well-rehearsed speeches and declarations of love conveniently forgotten.
Inwardly, she fumed.
Say it. Three words. 'I... love... you."
Okay, how about "Love you? Can you do that, Shego?
Oh for the love of, Doy! Come on, Shego. How about her name then?
"Kim..." Shego whispered, a faint sheen of perspiration making her hair glisten in the night.
Kim took one small step towards Shego. Not quite enough to cover any significant ground, but enough to show her continued interest in the conversation. "Yes?"
"I'm sorry." Shego stated, in a defeated whisper, breaking eye contact and looking down. This was the one battle Shego couldn't win; she had already lost the war.
"You're…sorry…" Kim repeated, barely able to hide the disappointment in her eyes. "That's it?"
"That's all I have to say." Shego said, clumsily tripping over her own words.
"No, I know there's more." Kim pressed gently. "I can see it."
"No!" Shego yelled suddenly, catching Kim off guard. "I know what you're expecting me to tell you, and I'm not going to!"
Kim blinked in surprise. "Why not?"
"Because you deserve better!" Shego screamed, ignoring the painful twisting of her heart in her chest.
You deserve so much, Princess. So much that I can't give you. A life with me will be a pain-filled life, full of disappointments.
A vision appeared in Shego's frustrated mind. In this possible future, she and Kim were together – but always on the run from government authorities – both national and international. In the beginning, Kim was fine with it, understanding why all the secrecy was needed and dodging the police. But eventually, Kim got fed up with it all, and her happiness slowly evolved into bitterness and regret. They could never settle down, and now…for helping Shego…Kim was wanted too. And now, when Kim looked at Shego, Shego could only see hate in her eyes.
Continuing her impassioned speech, Shego spoke in hushed and humbled tones. "You deserve someone who loves you, who respects you, who treats you with dignity-"
"Someone like you?" Kim asked softly, interrupting the green woman, shocked that Shego didn't see herself that way.
"I didn't say that!" Shego argued back, stunning Kim back into silence. "I'm saying you do NOT want someone like me!"
"How do you know what I want?" Kim persisted, taking a few steps towards, bringing herself closer to Shego. "Wh…what if I…I want you?"
Shego felt herself retreat in Kim's advance, stunned by this sudden proclamation. Secretly, she was terrified. In her fantasies, this was so easy and so natural, but in actual practicality…this was downright frightening. It made jumping out of planes child's play.
"What?" Shego muttered, still trying to calm her crazed mind. Life, it seemed, enjoyed a good practical joke and a good dose of irony.
Kim sighed, a deep exhalation of air, but the tension continued to mount, almost to a tangible level. It was now or never.
"Shego…" Kim started, before pausing and taking a gulp to settle her nerves. "I won't deny that I'm angry at you. You've been my enemy for so many years now, and you lied to me – in a big way – and I can forgive you for that, but it will take some time. But I also won't deny that I… I like you, and I think…I think that if we could start over, and be completely honest with each other, we could have a chance."
Silent, Shego continued to stare into the distance, wondering if this was a dream, and if so, praying she would never wake up.
"And you know, you DID put my mind back together. Except even I know everyone's wondering where I got the whole 'Shego is cute' deal from."
Shego looked up, and was startled to see Kim biting her lower lip and alternately looking back and forth between Shego and the ground while subtly shuffling her right foot. And if she wasn't mistaken, she could have sworn she saw Kim beginning to blush, her cheeks just beginning to show a rather cute hue of pink.
"Aw, Kim." Shego smiled, treasuring the moment. It was as if Kim were asking her out on a date.
Well, essentially, that's what was happening.
"So? What do you think?" Kim asked, trying to look at Shego surrepticiously, attempting to gain a glimpse of the older woman's reaction. "I mean, you would have to do things to make up for your previous crimes, but uh, I'm sure we could make up some kind of…you, know, arrangement. Maybe, you know, do volunteer community work or something like that. Well, maybe. I mean, I think so."
Shego couldn't help but be enchanted over Kim's display of awkwardness, as the precious redhead was stammering and stuttering through her speech. It was incredibly and astoundingly adorable.
The younger girl looked so hopeful, her brilliant emerald green eyes lighting up in expectation, and thinly disguised hope, and her mouth slightly open.
And this time, Shego was smiling, and for once, her whole body felt filled with warmth and triumph, and not surprisingly, a rather huge sense of relief. Her small smile was quickly evolving into a no-holds-barred grin, and she couldn't help it. "Kim, I think that's a great idea! Even if I have to do a thousand hours of community service! Anything to be with you! I'll wrangle with Dr. Director if you want me to!"
"Oh, really?" Kim gasped, a part of herself still shocked at Shego's response.
The thief, indeed, had dramatically changed.
And Kim found herself reciprocating Shego's grin, amazed at the turnout of circumstances. It had such potential to go so horribly awry. Maybe, sometimes, the universe does unfold as it should, albeit a few bumps and snags along the way.
"Awww, how sweet!" The sardonic comment came from an annoyingly familiar figure, and rudely interrupted what would have been a cathartic and tender moment. "Would you like me to find some roses?"
"Monkey Fist!" Shego snarled, glaring daggers at the primate-human mutant hybrid, perched in the branches of a nearby tree, several feet below the rooftop.
"I KNEW there was something going on with you Shego!" Drakken gloated, raising a fist in the air, his eyes glowing with triumph. "But I mean…really. Wanting to be Kim Possible's girlfriend? You ARE odd... and I don't mean the green skin."
"All right, that's it!" Shego roared, standing her ground, and facing her new antagonists. "All of you, back off!"
With a rapid flick of her wrists, her signature plasma fire ignited with a muffled whoomp sound that reverberated through the air. Her dark green eyes issued a challenge to anyone who would accept it.
"You think you're going to fight all of us? You're a strong lass, I'll give ya that, but there's no way you'll fight the lot of us." Duff Killigan practically snorted, idly tossing a white golf ball from hand to hand. "Lassie, nobody can stop me when I use mah wood driver!"
"You never know until you try!" Shego snipped, experimentally waving her fists around to generate an impressive display of firepower. She glanced across as DNAmy crept, or tried to considering her bulk, across the roof towards herself and Kim. And as for you, blubber butt. You come one step closer and I'll show you just what MYgenes can do."
"Of course, dearie. Whatever you say." DNAmy cooed. "NOW!"
And from out of his coat, Drakken pulled out a modified rifle gun, braced it under his arm, and took careful aim at Shego. She grinned, knowing her catlike reflexes could counter anything that idiot and bumbling fool Drakken could throw at her, metaphorically and literally. Knowing his sloppiness during critical times, he would probably miss anyways.
There was a loud popping sound as Drakken finally pulled the trigger, and a colorful dart shot out from the gun, its needle point catching the light. And as the projectile came closer, Shego almost let out a sigh of relief – the dart was going to miss her – Drakken had aimed badly.
But as the dart's approach continued, a dread feeling began to bubble from deep inside Shego's heart, and her mind was frantically trying to work out the trajectory.
Drakken wouldn't miss.
He would hit.
But it wasn't Shego he was aiming for.
For one more unwanted time in her life, Shego felt time grind to a painfully slow halt as she watched the dart fly through the air.
A flood of unpleasant memories she thought she had buried deep within her psyche broke through her mental dam, and she felt the past becoming the present. It was as if her mind were replaying that one fateful encounter with the former object of her hate (and, incidentally, the current object of her love) – but unlike those horrid flashbacks and disturbing nightmares that have haunted her mind's eye, this was happening in real life, in real time, and right in front of her.
She knew she had a decision, and that decision had been made long before this night. It had been made months ago, perhaps, years ago.
But for now, it was time to act.
Quick as a cat, Shego took a desperate leap in front of Kim, and launched herself into the path of the dart. Her extremely honed and almost superhuman reflexes kicked in, and with a well-timed flip and roll, Shego had successfully placed herself in the position to act as a human shield. And at the last minute, with narrowed eyes, Shego reached out and grabbed the dart, grasping it between her thumb and middle finger and plucking it out of midair. She felt a wry grin spread across her face accompanied by a sense of elation, realizing that she had foiled Drakken's plan. A low chuckle escaped her lips, and her smile widened.
"Nice try." She scoffed, arching an eyebrow to the astonished conglomerate of villains below. "I mean, hello? I used to fight Kim Possible hand to hand, and she has super fast reflexes... so come on! It wasn't even a hypersonic dart. Puh-lease!"
Triumphant and in control, her mind began to swim with visions and fantasies of the future – now Kim would understand that Shego meant no harm, and that she had truly and honestly reformed. And if these representations of pond scum below her were apprehended and carted off to a prison, perhaps she would get a lessened sentence herself for her good deeds. This moment was the beginning of a new Shego, a reformed Shego, and a…dare she say it…a good Shego?
But a rumble of low laughter interrupted her fantasy. Shego found herself narrowing her eyes in bewilderment. She had just prevented the master plan from becoming a reality, and yet they were laughing at her – there was more here than meets the eye. What was going on?
"Oh, Shego, you simple-minded fool!" Drakken sneered. "You've got it all figured out, huh?"
"What?" Shego snapped, her mind spinning in overtime, trying to figure out what game they were playing.
But the group below was continuing to sneer at her, and Shego still couldn't figure out what they were hinting at.
"You think you've saved the day? Far from it." Monkey Fist chuckled, rubbing his hands together in what could only be a perverted expression of malicious glee. "You're just making Possible's final defeat all the sweeter."
Shego continued to eye her former allies, a defensive glare highlighting her features.
"If you even dare…" Shego threatened, baring her teeth to demonstrate her seriousness.
"We don't dare, honey." DNAmy grinned through a fake saccharine smile. "We act!"
And with those words, someone – it may have been Senor Senior Senior – shouted, "Attack!"
There was a split second of silence before all hell broke loose. Monkeys were running everywhere at the command of Monkey Fist, herding the bystanders into smaller groups at knifepoint. Duff Killigan was shooting golf balls at Ron and Monique, who were rather skillfully dodging them and reflecting them with makeshift shields. Senor Senior Senior was shouting something unintelligible and attempting to urge on his son to do something productive, rather than shuffle through the songs in the dance playlists.
"Look father! Boy's Aloud's first ever album. They do the whole swinging of the booty to the music!"
Still armed with his dart gun, Drakken took careful aim at the redheaded figure on the rooftop. With his sights set on the side of Kim's neck, just a few inches below her ear, Drakken waited for a clear shot, and when the opportunity came, he pulled the trigger.
Even immersed in a flurry of surveillance monitoring, Shego was able to see Drakken's minute movements from the corner of her eye. Mentally, she laughed.
So, Drakken thinks that with a bit of distraction, he'll be able to get a clear shot of Kim! As if!
"Kim, look out!" Shego shouted as she took a diving leap towards Kim. While she was sure she would be able to successfully intercept the dart for the second time, there was no harm in yelling out a warning in the remote case she missed.
But, of course, she didn't, and the bit of metal fell from her gloves. the remains now a molten blob.
Glancing over at her former archnemesis, Shego flashed a brief reassuring smile.
It's alright Princess. As long as I'm here…no one will hurt a single hair on your head!
Quickly, Shego turned her attention back to Drakken and contorted her face into an expression of disdain and disgust towards her former employer, an expression that challenged a response. While she expected the meek scientist to pale, he tilted his head back and laughed heartily.
What the fuck is his problem?! Shego screamed at herself. Had this crazy scientist finally gone off the deep end permanently?
Before she could even utter one word of surprise and disbelief, she caught a glimpse of Kim in her peripheral vision. Kim's face was twisted in an expression of horror and pain, and Shego's first thought was to run over to the redhead and make sure everything was alright. What had happened? What did Drakken do? But before Shego could even twitch a muscle, Kim was pointing past Shego, and yelling something.
But everyone was shouting, and the cacophony was almost completely deafening. For all her other skills, Shego wasn't great, or even proficient, at lip-reading. And in this instance, that lack was posing a significant problem.
Shego whipped her head around, wondering what Kim was gesturing about, and let her sharp gaze settle on DNAmy, who was standing on the edge of the roof with a rifle steadied in her hands.
She heard Kim yell her name, despite the chaos all around them, and took another quick look over her shoulder at DNAmy, and more specifically, the rifle she was holding. A rifle that looked eerily similar to the pistols that…
She managed an involuntary intake of breath as she felt the small needle pierce the skin on the back of her left shoulder. She felt, rather than saw, the small concealed plunger depress. But she felt the rush of liquid shoot into her muscles and the associated dull throbbing pain associated with it. With a grunt and scowl, she reached around to remove the dart, and eying it with contempt, tossed it to the ground.
DNAmy's grating laughter was ringing in her ears, and her head began to hurt. There was a dull but insistent pounding behind her temples, and her senses were all off – the world seemed muted through her ears, with sounds lowered several octaves to a low drone. Her sight began to blur, and her orientation of up and down was mixed up. She needed to lie down, and lie down fast. The world was spinning, and the pain was becoming sharper and more pronounced, and her sense of balance was all off, and if she could just find the strength of will to sit down, but even the simple act of sitting itself was just so hard…
The sky was sideways…
She fell to her knees and blinked. The roofing tiles looked so... amazing this close up.
Gotta get up! She staggered upright, the world around her a hazy blur. Have to protect my Kimmie and... oh, look, clouds!
Why was the sky upside down?
That pretty blue color…it was cerulean…the setting sun was casting an ethereal hue to the environment…everything was glowing…
Like Kim's suit, that white and blue glowing suit when they last fought…oh dear lord how that suit hugged Kim's body, emphasizing every curve and every outline…
She was so beautiful... is beautiful I mean, especially when she fights. The way her body moves – it's like a dancer…it's an art form all it's own. And when she moves into you, that supple body, even in a throw or a strike, it always made me want to gently undress her and... and... god, I'm feeling hot.
I hope it's the weather. and not... not...
As Kim watched, Shego took a few awkward and unsure steps backwards. The usually sure-footed thief was stumbling for the first time Kim could recall. Considering the circumstances, such awkwardness was understandable; however, the same circumstances made this behavior dangerous.
"SHEGO!" Kim yelled, her second warning that evening. The raven-haired woman was perching precariously near the ledge of the roof, with only a few feet between her and empty air.
"Watch out! Oh god…SHEGO!"
With her heart sinking, Kim was remembering the layout of the school. Below Shego, who was still teetering on the rooftop ledge, was a hard wide concrete sidewalk. And if Shego fell…her skull would crack open like a walnut shell under too much pressure.
"SHEGO, WAKE UP! GET A GRIP! COME ON!"
Despite her yelling at the top of her lungs, Kim intuitively knew that Shego couldn't hear her, nor interpret her.
And she was right – Shego continued stumbling towards the edge of the roof, unaware of any of her surroundings or the danger she was putting herself in. And it all seemed familiar to Kim, though that sense of familiarity was reversed – Kim was the one doing the watching while Shego was the one doing the falling.
Before she knew what she was doing exactly, Kim was sprinting towards Shego, covering the ten feet between them with relative ease. And while the running happened so quickly, the events that followed seemed so slow.
As Kim approached her savior and her damnation, Shego had one foot on the raised concrete rooftop edge, with her other foot hovering midair. She was trying to regain her lost balance, but her sense of balance itself had been altered. Her body was tipping over the edge, and her center of gravity was leaning over the abyss below.
Shego's eyes were wild and her drug induced confusion and bewilderment shone through. She gave a low laugh, not understanding what was happening to her. As her head began to slightly tip over the edge, following her upper torso, Kim reached out, extending her hand to the falling woman.
But Shego didn't have enough sense of reality to reach out and grasp the helping hand offered to her. At the last minute; however, for one split second, Shego seemed to recover her sense of self, and as her eyes drifted towards Kim, focusing with intense and surprising clarity, Shego mouthed a single word before toppling over the edge.
It all was so horrifying – Shego's body succumbing to gravity, and watching her slowly but inevitably disappear from the line of sight.
Down below her, the crowd was horrified and surprised to see Shego so out of it, her body pumped with drugs. Ron and Monique, focusing in on Kim, saw the look of desperation and terror in her eyes, shining like a beacon, and broadcasting her despair. And in that instant, Ron finally realized how Kim had been feeling about Shego, and…
If Shego fell, it would finally destroy her – mind, body, and soul alike.
Suddenly, and at the same time wholly appropriate and completely inappropriate, Kim was assaulted by a familiar sensation.
The hovercraft was right in front of her, slowly rising upwards. She had extended her arms to the fullest of their capabilities, and it was during that last extension when she realized she had overexerted herself…for the first time in her crime-fighting career.
It felt like a pulling burning stinging sensation, which originated in her midsection but quickly radiated to the rest of her body. She knew she had to keep going, keep extending, keep grabbing, but the curling of body into a pseudo-fetal position was just so instinctual…it wasn't entirely due to a conscious choice.
Her fingers were so close to the dull metal side of the vehicle – if she could just manage a few more fucking inches!
She was falling, once again, and looking up to where she was supposed to be. On that hovercraft. Fighting and exchanging blows with Shego. Yeah…
And Shego was looking down at her while she was falling…with a neutral expression on her face – could it be fear that the normally cold woman was trying to mask?
Shego was afraid? That never happened…
Down, down, she was…falling
Kim blinked as she found herself looking towards the ground, and in her mind's eye, saw herself through Shego's eyes, but it was reversed – it was her who was Shego, and Shego who was her, and it made her head hurt.
She was seeing Shego fall, and saw the fear in her eyes, and the realization that she was going to die. But this was worse. It wasn't that Shego couldn't do anything to save herself, but it was that she was unable to, that she had been drugged and rendered incapable of action.
And despite their previous messed up twisted relationship that defied traditional conventions of hero and villianess, no one, not even Shego, deserved to meet her end this way – it was disrespectful and anti-climatic somehow. And dying? For all her thievery and involvements in world domination plots, she had never actually killed anyone. Well, with the exception of that fateful fall - a tumble that should have been fatal, and very well could have been fatal if not for Shego's intervention and admittedly awkward attempts at reconciliation.
And Kim realized, that Shego had been faced with a choice.
The same choice that Kim herself had, at this very moment.
And like Shego, she chose without thinking, going with her heart and all the mysteries that lay hidden within it.
To save her.
With a single leap born from an absolute force of will, Kim reached out and desperately grabbed for Shego's wrist. As Kim landed against the rooftop edge, her hand firmly clasped around the older woman's wrist, and a pained grunt escaped her lips as she felt her shoulder wrenched out of its socket. Feeling all of Shego's weight pull on her muscles and tendons, Kim gritted her teeth and fought the pain to hold onto Shego. Screaming wordlessly, and wailing to the stars above her, she continued to maintain her grip, determined not to let go. Below her, Shego was swinging back and forth rather precariously, and the crowd on the ground, even Bonnie, was screaming their encouragement.
"Hang on! I've got you!" Kim muttered, as she forced herself to stand up and began slowly backing up and hauling Shego's limp body back onto the rooftop. A second burst of shooting pain jolted down her arm and up her neck as she threw all her weight backwards for the final pull that hoisted Shego to safety.
Panting and cradling her injured arm, Kim leaned down to have a closer look at Shego. The green woman was breathing in uneven gasps, and was lapsing in and out of wakefulness. Her lithe body was covered in a fine layer of sweat, and her forehead felt unusually hot.
"Shego…" Kim whispered, ignoring the pain in her shoulder to reach down and gently caress Shego's matted hair, and stroke her feverish forehead.
"Whaa…" Shego murmured in response, jerking her head from side to side while other small spasms and seizures took hold of her torso and legs. Opening her mouth, Shego tried to speak again, but her tongue wasn't working quite right, and some saliva ran out of her mouth.
"Oh, Shego…" Kim continued to stroke, to reassure, and the green woman underneath her continued to convulse and whimper. It tore at Kim. Shego had never sounded like a child before today, but now she sounded so... young. "Come on, hang in there. Fight it! Whatever it is, fight it!"
Carefully, Kim reached underneath Shego's shoulders to lift her up. And with the same amount of care, she ran a single finger down Shego's pale cheek, trying to urge her back into the real world. But Shego's head only flopped backwards, all muscle tension lost.
"What did they do to you?" Kim whispered, mostly to herself. With the utmost amount of care, the redhead laid Shego's head back on the ground, arranging Shego's long black hair to form a makeshift pillow. A flame was beginning to ignite inside her, and Kim knew this wasn't like an intense passing wildfire, but rather a prolonged and slow burn that would build for quite some time before exploding.
Kim stood up, her face hardened into an expression that almost promised unforgiveness.
She cast a vengeful look towards DNAmy, then towards Drakken and the rest of the villainous gang, and enunciated three words.
"How dare you! How... Dare... YOU!"
In Shego's mind, consciousness was a thin delicate string that kept slipping in and out of her reach. Her fingers were sluggish and weak, and she could barely summon enough strength to even close her hand.
She could hear fighting…conflict…at the same time, it was so far away and also so damn close.
Kim would be spinning and dodging and kicking and punching and flipping and maneuvering, weaving in and out, between her enemies, moving like smoke in between her combatants. So much power in that young woman, and so much grace.
In her mind, Shego couldn't tell if she was dying…or not. Surely in death, one feels no pain; however, there was such much agony, and so much misery. This couldn't be death…
But what if it was?
An unbridled panic surged through Shego's psyche, a raw and desperate single, but terrifying thought.
What if this was the end?
And following this one animalistic rush of hopeless and anxiety, a second powerful sensation flooded her mind.
Not the type of fleeting passing sorrow, but real genuine remorse. The kind of regret that keeps you awake through the night and into the early morning – the kind that you mull over while watching the sun rise. The kind that makes you subconsciously and consciously replay the scene over and over again and again in your mind and dreams, wondering and hoping and fantasizing and imagining what could have been, or what might have happened in an alternate universe – anything but what actually DID happen.
The kind that slinks into your soul, haunting your dreams and seeping into your nightmares like a clever virus – finding the weak spot and getting past all those well guarded defenses and multiplying and growing and expanding and taking over everything in your being until you don't know where YOU end and IT begins. And then, you become one single entity of fear and hatred and sorrow and yearning and wishing.
The kind of regret that worms its way deep inside you, in between every crevice of every cell, and makes you secretly wish that a god really does exist – just so you could have an opportunity to beg for forgiveness and any semblance of salvation for whatever immortal soul you still might have clinging to life inside your hollow shell of what used to be a physical body. Because what you did, or didn't do is just too hurtful and wrong to contemplate while sober and logical, because it wasn't really logical to begin with. Logic took a vacation that day, hijacking common sense with it. And somewhere during the journey, both got lost and have yet to return.
From far away, Shego saw herself slowly blink.
Kim…I'm so sorry…I can't fight it any more... I'm... oh, Princess.
She closed her eyes, and there was blessed darkness.
And the world fell away around her.
For Kim, it was a total opposite. For her, the world suddenly was jerked into sharp violently dark focus.
It felt as though Kim had been living life for the past few weeks through a specific, but thick, filter. Her vision was blurred, her hearing was suppressed, and her voice was smothered. But now, it was as if someone had cruelly ripped away her filter, leaving her more enlightened – but this came at an unacceptable price.
But that is always how it seemed – the lesson learned was learned too late. Nothing was gained for free, and everything had its cost. This was unfair, but so again, was life. Cruelly unfair.
It is said that some things in life are simple, and others are easy - but very rarely are things both simple and easy.
On this occasion; however, the choice was simple, and the action was easy.
A voice was screaming inside Kim's head. It was devious, and had been longing for release for quite some time. It had been kept tied down, locked in a cage, and shielded from escape, but once in a while, when the tension was just right, and the emotional storm had just enough strength, it would wrench itself free from its prison.
You've been good – so good – for so long now. Don't you just want to let it out? All that anger, all that rage - you need your outlet. Being completely evil and malicious and unhinged isn't great, but bottling up your emotions isn't great either. You have to let yourself FEEL, and let yourself get angry.
It was seductive and alluring…making so much sense…
Show the world that you have feelings too.
It was devious…
And hurting the ones you care about has consequences…
A new thought raced through Kim's head. It was forceful. It was adrenaline. It was all reaction. It was pure, though not by the usual meaning of the word. The driving force within Kim that was beginning to push her to act was sheer and complete, not mixed with any other emotions. But it was not virtuous.
Revenge. Kim Possible smiled with a feral grin. Make them suffer and BLEED!
Despite being injured, and despite the small twinges of pain she felt, Kim took a running leap off the rooptop, executing a series of flips to land down below with what might have been an almost-perfect score from Olympic level gymnastic judges. Her emerald eyes were blazing and sharp, and with a smug smile, caught the golf balls flung at her at breakneck speed by Duff Killigan, tossing them back to the golfer and making him yelp as they exploded, forcing the Scottish golfer to scrabble for cover.
"I'm disappointed." Kim smiled. It hinted at an inkling of cruelness.
With his eye twitching, Drakken managed to crack a smile, though it was painfully forced and horribly fake, not only to Kim, but all the other onlookers present. His mind was spinning and twirling – he just couldn't figure out what was going on. With her beloved Shego out of the picture, Kim was supposed to crumble and crack – completely breaking down into a blubbering sobbing mess unable to even lift a finger to resist, much less launch an offensive attack.
But this…this was…
Something wasn't quite right in Drakken's mind. He had it all figured out – the formula, the roles, the tricks, the attacks, the diversions, the reactions – it had all been carefully thought out and anticipated.
Everything but this.
But that nagging feeling of forgetting something crucial was continuing to grow.
But what was it?!
He took another glance at Kim, not caring if she noticed him studying her. It was familiar, and triggering something in the back of his mind, something that was hidden deep within the recesses of his grey matter.
Those hardened eyes, and that intense stare, and that eerily calm smile that radiated something malicious and something vicious threatening to be unleashed into the world.
An almost twisted pleasure at causing others – namely, himself and his peers – pain.
He blinked. And then it hit him. And damn, did he feel stupid. The most obvious thing, that was staring at him in the face all this time, and he missed it.
The last time he had seen her act in such a way was at the ill-fated conclusion of his Lil Diablo world domination plot. Just the thought of it gave him twinges of embarrassment, but he suppressed them – now was not the time to muddle in the past.
It was then that Kim kicked Shego into the tower, an impact that only Shego would be able to survive, given her superhuman abilities bestowed upon her.
And at the thought, Drakken felt the blood in his face drain, and he paled.
If Kim did that to Shego…what would she do to him? And the slightly more important question, would he be able to survive it?
And Kim's grin grew wider.
Below, Ron watched Kim's body lanugage as she stepped closer and closer to the villains.
Even down in the crowd he knew...
Something was wrong. Very wrong.
"We have to get up there and stop her."
"You mean them, right?" Monique asked, blinking in surprise.
"No, I mean Kim. Before someone gets hurt."
Her footsteps echoed throughout the...
The what? Where was she?
Shego looked around, her raven black hair swishing around her rather gracefully and slowly, as if time had no meaning here.
There was mist swirling around her too, gathering at her ankles. There were no landmarks – no trees, no plants, no animals, no buildings – no nothing – just an infinite expanse of pure nothingness - everything was white and grey, and everything felt very empty. The silence was creepy, and very unsettling. It was getting under Shego's nerves, making her skin twitch.
A terrible thought hit her. Was she dead? Was this the end at long last?
There was no pain, but there wasn't quite the sense of peace she thought would be present in death – but then again, maybe her soul was so corrupted, she would never find peace. Maybe that was her punishment, and eternal damnation. She reminded herself that people like her don't deserve happy endings.
Was this hell? Surely not. Hell had fire. And demons. And torture. Unless this was some exquisite form of torture that she hadn't completely figured out yet. Or, unless, the worst was yet to come.
The waiting itself was agony.
Of course, this led to the more important question – if there was a hell, and heaven, and purgatory, was there a god?
Shego shuddered, though not from a temperature drop.
Was she going to be judged?
Shego blinked, and cocked her head. Was that her answer? The voice – it was coming from very far away, and it also sounded very familiar. It, the voice, was also filled with grief and mourning, and a frightening amount of anger, and suddenly, Shego could put a face to the sounds and emotions. A face with emerald green eyes and auburn red hair, a face usually sparkling with enthusiasm about life.
Shego closed her eyes, and slowly took a deep deliberate breath out, and let herself feel, absorbed in the stillness all around her.
And she could feel Kim's animalistic rage, and this unbridled dark force pulling her into a dark and deep abyss. And she could see Kim, back in the real world, acting on pure adrenaline, kicking and punching and flipping and dodging. But it wasn't all in defense – it was a malicious offense. She could feel that Kim had lost herself, and was beginning to walk a path that Shego, herself, had once walked. And having been there once before, Shego knew where it would ultimately lead.
No, Kim, no! Stop! For yourself, you have to stop this madness!
But Shego knew that Kim couldn't hear her.
I have to go back…
And, almost as if someone or something was listening to her, the world shifted and she saw the path that would take her back to her own body...
Back to someone special. Back to Kim. Back home.
The students who had successfully fled had taken shelter in nearby buildings with friends or friends of friends or parents of friends. They were cautiously peering out the windows, watching the horrible scene unfold and calling for help.
It only took minutes for the Middleton police force to arrive, sirens blaring and German Shepard dogs barking in alarm and excitement.
But in those few minutes, an immeasurable amount of damage had been done.
Duff Killigan's arm had been broken, and huddled underneath a tree, he was trying to push the fractured bone fragments back under his skin, grunting with the effort. DNAmy was nursing her broken nose back, pinching it with her two fingers and trying to stop the bleeding. But considering one of her fingers was broken, this was no easy task. Senor Senior Senior was laying unconscious on top of a white minivan, and Junior was nowhere to be found. Monkey Fist was hanging upside down from his ankles, tied to the nearest tree and swinging freely. A dart of embedded in his stomach, and he too was unconscious.
And now, Kim was standing over Drakken, who was sniveling and groveling for his life to be spared. Her face was hardened, and an empty look haunted her eyes. She was holding a tree branch she had grabbed from the ground, and was rhythmically banging it against her palm, and unspoken threat on her face.
The school and police were staring at her, somewhat afraid of interrupting her in this altered state. The same question was on everyone's mind: What had set her off like this? This was not the Kim Possible everyone had known, this was someone else – someone a bit more dark and foreboding, and a bit more scary. Was this caused by the damage she had suffered from so long ago? Was this part of Drakken's plan, that had somehow gone awry? Chemicals? Had Shego done something? Brainwashing of some sort?
But Ron knew. He had seen that expression and that rage only once before. But also, like that one time in what seemed like long ago…he didn't know how to help her.
Come on Shego! He found himself thinking. You can bring her back!
"Please, please, please! Have mercy!" Drakken whined, throwing up his hands in defeat, praying for some form of divine intervention that might spare his life.
"Why? You weren't going to show me any!" Kim spat at him, rolling her eyes in disgust.
"Because!" Drakken shouted, having no other answer or justification.
"Not a good enough answer." Kim grinned, raising the tree branch to strike the blue-skinned man.
As she let her arm fall with an almost unnatural strength borne of hatred and a burning desire for revenge and retribution, one word choked out by a familiar voice shook her from her frenzied state. It was uttered softly, with barely any breath behind it, but even so, it cut through the haze surrounding Kim, and registered in a deep part of her brain. Was it even a sound... or more simply a thought?
Opening her mouth in stunned surprise, Kim let the branch fall to her feet, hitting the ground with a muffled thump, all thoughts of vengeance instantly forgotten.
Running to the fire escape ladder, Kim climbed up to the school's rooftop, making it to the top in record time. Back on the ground, Drakken breathed a deep sigh of relief and collapsed from sensory overload while the police swarmed the ground arresting the injured and unconscious villains, unable to put up much of a resistance.
On the roof, Kim wasted no time in setting herself by Shego's side, the older woman just beginning to regain consciousness, her eyes lazily beginning to open.
"Kim." She mouthed, unable to even speak a proper sentence.
"Shh, shh, I'm here now." Kim whispered, hot tears making paths down her cheek. She gently took hold of the thief's head, and slowly began rocking back and forth and stroking Shego's hair. "It's gonna be okay, you're gonna be okay. I promise! I'll take care of you this time, just like you did with me. Remember that? Remember how you took care of me?"
"You…" Shego whispered, her voice beginning to crack.
"Shhh!" Kim admonished gently. "You should rest. And I'm going to get you to a doctor. I'm going to take care of you."
"Did you stop?" Shego mouthed, expending a great effort to try and lift her head.
"Stop what?" Kim asked, trying to figure out what the green woman was attempting to get at, letting a few tears drop on Shego's cheek. "Stop Drakken? Yeah. The police are taking care of it now. Though I think I got carried away…I hurt some of them pretty bad. No one died though, thank goodness."
Shego smiled weakly, but just the sight made Kim's heart ache with joy and something else she just couldn't place her finger on.
"Carried away…but you…you came back."
Kim smiled and patted Shego's head, before leaning down and placing a soft kiss on Shego's forehead. "So did you."
"Kim…" Shego started, looking into green eyes so similar to her own.
"Yes?" Kim urged, looking back.
"I love you. I…I just wanted to say it. Just to say it."
Kim felt herself beaming back, unable to suppress a huge grin. She laughed in relief and joy. "I love you too. But oh dear, we really need to get you to a hospital."
"Finally. We... we agree on something." Shego murmured as she fell back into unconsciousness, a pleased and sleepy smile on her face.
"Yes. We finally do." Kim agreed, smiling down at the unaware woman in her arms.
"Hey Wade." Kim quickly activated her Kimmunicator, and aimed it at Shego's prone body. "Can you analyze her? What was she hit with? What drug was it? What does it do to her?"
"Sure thing KP." Wade winked, furiously typing into his computer. "Okay, the scan is being sent over here, then it'll analyze her."
"Can't you do it faster?" Kim pleaded, taking another look at Shego. "I don't know what the hell this is in her."
"Hey, the machine is working fast as it can." Wade threw up his hands.
"Come on, come on, come on…" Kim found herself chanting, as if her repetition would help the machine's analysis be completed more quickly.
"Okay, done!" Wade exclaimed, picking up a printout.
"Great! Talk to me Wade!" Kim commanded, urgency lacing her voice.
"Oh, don't worry." Wade laughed, looking relieved. "It's ketamine laced with a drug that inhibits the memory center of the brain. It won't kill her."
"Won't kill her?!" Kim exclaimed. "INHIBITS THE BRAIN?! SHE WON'T REMEMBER ANY OF THIS?!" A wave was pulling at Kim's soul, threatening to drag her into a dark space in the ocean, where there was no light and no oxygen.
"No, no, no - don't worry - the cosmic powers within Shego neutralized the drug by denaturing the molecular structure as soon as the solution entered her bloodstream. Give her some time to rest, and she'll be fine."
"Great! Thanks!" Kim signed off her Kimmunicator and put it back in her hip holster.
The commotion below her was somewhere in the distance, and not important to her now. For now, Shego was cradled protectively in her arms, and that was quite enough.
For the first time in many weeks, Kim finally felt like she was home.
And even though she was unconscious, deep within Shego's heart, she felt at home too.
Three months later…
"Naco?" Shego wrinkled her nose at the supposedly edible item in front of her. "What is this?"
Kim smiled, her teeth sparkling in the bright lights of Bueno Nacho. "It's a cross between a taco and nachos."
"And…why do I need to eat this?" Shego asked, studying her food. "I'm not quite sure this is FDA approved."
"Because on the full comprehensive body scan and blood chemistry panel at the hospital, the doctors found the one thing the drug did manage to erase from your mind before your body fought against it - the taste of a naco." Kim explained, still grinning.
"Are you sure it's good?" Tenderly, Shego held up the tortilla wrapper and inspected the contents inside. "Are you sure I used to eat these?"
"It's alright." Kim laughed, playfully elbowing Shego in the ribs. "Ron eats them all the time, and he's fine!"
"Heh, depends on your definition of fine." Shego retorted, winking.
"Hey! Still being mean? Obviously, then, I'll still have to keep an eye on you!" Ron warned, staring the former thief only semi-seriously.
Shego nodded. "I wouldn't expect anything less."
Ron nodded back, and Rufus joined him. "Good. Cause I wouldn't trust anyone that won't eat a naco."
"Alright then. Here we go!"
With a grandiose theatrical motion, Shego took a big bite, and chewed thoughtfully. Ron and Kim, and even Rufus looked on expectantly.
"Soooo…?" Ron drawled.
Without a word, Shego grinned and took another huge chomp. Within a matter of seconds, the naco was gone, followed by a glass of ice cold water.
"I think she likes it." Ron observed, slapping Rufus a high-five. "We've got another convert!"
Putting her arm around Shego's shoulder and lightly toying with her soft black hair, Kim slowly turned Shego's face towards her and leaned in with closed eyes. Shego returned the kiss, her soft warm lips pressing against Kim's with an urgency and feeling that stole Kim's breath away and made her legs wobble.
Breaking the embrace, Shego smiled at Kim, who enthusiastically returned the expression, her heart leaping in joy. An unspoken understanding passed between them, and they were finally at complete peace with each other.
Words, in this case, were completely unnecessary.