That's where Kim currently found herself, in an expanse of colorless void that stretched in every direction for as far as she could see. She had never before seen such purity, so uncorrupted as to rival the snow-capped peaks of the Rocky Mountains. In a way, it was very peaceful, but it also created in her an uneasy feeling.
What was disconcerting for the heroine was the fact that there were no distinguishing features about her new environment. There was no ceiling that she could discern and the only way she knew there was a floor beneath her was the pressure and support that her feet were reporting. There wasn't even a horizon line marking where the sky met the earth, which led her to conclude that it might be possible that her view was unlimited, that she could pick a direction, walk forever and never get anywhere.
She wasn't even sure how she had gotten here, as the details were kind of fuzzy. Kim could remember being in the Temple of the Lotus Blade with Yori and Master Sensei. She remembered drinking the elixir that the Asian girl had given her and then suddenly she had gotten very tired. Finding it impossible to keep her eyes open, the redhead laid down and the next thing she knew, she was asleep. Her dreams were confusing and a little frightening, all of them centering on a vague feeling of falling, but without any concrete features to them. And just when she felt that she was going to hit the bottom of the rabbit hole, she opened her eyes to find herself where she was now.
The redhead estimated that that was about ten minutes ago, although it was nearly impossible to judge time in such a place that was devoid of all features. She gave off a mighty yell in each direction, which received no return nor returned an echo. This only served to reinforce her unease.
At first, she was unwilling to move for fear of losing her orientation but soon came to the conclusion that no matter what she did, there were no landmarks here and thus, as long as she stayed where she was, she would never know if she was moving or if she was staying still. So, she made the decision to talk a little stroll.
The heroine had been moving for a while in a direction that was due West of her original position. Of course, she was assuming that it was West, given that it was to the left of the way she was facing when she first got here. And she was assuming that she was still on the same course, for without any distinguishing features to the landscape, she had no way of making sure she was on a straight path. Eventually, she just stopped and began to stare at her hands, if for nothing else than to see a color other than white.
The redhead sat down and placed her head in her hands, trying to think of what her next move should be, when she heard a noise penetrate the deafening void. It reminded Kim of the sound of hard soled shoes on a wooden floor echoing down a long hallway. She looked up quickly and turned in the direction that the sound came from. Initially, the teen couldn't locate the source, as it was difficult for her to pinpoint it because it seemed that the noise was coming from everywhere at once.
Still, Kim kept moving her head 360 degrees until she eventually came across a black dot moving towards her. As she began to focus on the first distinct object in the void, other than herself, the heroine realized that it was the source of the sound. She decided that whatever it was that was coming towards her, maybe it could give her some answers as to what was going on so, she picked herself up and headed off in that direction at a moderate jog, closing the gap faster even as the approaching dot never changed its speed. In a few minutes, she was just about within viewing distance when Kim got her first glimpse of what she was running to and she gasped.
It was her. The woman that was approaching her was identical in every respect, from her height and body shape to her fiery red hair and deep emerald eyes. There were only two differences that Kim could discern. First, while she was wearing the yellow top with blue star and blue pants that she had put on this morning, her doppelganger was wearing her trademark green tank top and blue Capri's. And the other difference was that the new arrival seemed very much at ease in this environment while the real Kim was very confused.
"Hello, KP," the other Kim said with a smile when she was finally standing directly in front of our heroine. "I imagine that you have a few questions for me."
"Yeah, you could say that," the redhead replied, a trace of sarcasm in her voice. "First off, who are you, and second, no one calls me KP but Ron, even if you do look like me."
"I know," replied the twin. "But Ron is not the only person who calls you KP. Think for a minute. When you are all alone, when no one else is around, just you and your thoughts, how exactly do you refer to yourself in your mind? Is it Kim? Or perhaps Kimberly? No, what you call yourself is..."
"KP," Kim finished the thought. "I almost never think of myself in any other way. How do you know that? No one knows that, not even Ron."
"That's true. But then, if no one but you knows that fact, the only way I could know it is..."
"If you are me," she replied, dumbfounded. Kim mulled that over for a minute, trying desperately to wrap her mind around such a concept, and found that she was having a great deal of difficulty doing so. She brought her gaze back from its far off focus to the other Kim in front of her and opened her mouth to ask a question. But the other Kim was a bit faster and cut her off.
"You are wondering how it is possible that I am you and you are me. Come on, KP, don't you remember? Anything is possible for a Possible?" the twin smirked, clearly enjoying the perplexed look on the true Kim's face. "Sorry, couldn't resist. Why don't we sit down and I can explain a few things to you."
The other Kim motioned to a spot behind the true Kim and when the heroine turned, a set of chairs had appeared behind her, exactly like the one that was in her living room back in Middleton. She started to turn back to her twin to ask how they had gotten there, but thought better of it and, with a resigned sigh, made her way over to the comfy brown recliners.
"First off, let me congratulate you in achieving the proper meditative state necessary to be here. Not many people in the history of mankind have ever been to where you are now," the look-alike started.
"But where is here? I've never even heard of anything like this before in my life, let alone seen it. Are we in Ron's mind?" the true Kim offered. "Because that would explain why it's so empty," she thought with a small smile.
Instantly, the other Kim's expression soured. "I would appreciate it if you didn't think things like that, Kimberly. You have a rather annoying and pathetic habit of disparaging your best friend, despite all he does for you and how you feel about him," she snapped.
"Huh? Wait, you can read my mind?" the true Kim asked with a small amount of dread at the answer and what it implied.
"I can't believe you haven't figured yet," the clone sighed. "No, KP, I cannot read your mind because I am your mind. Or, at least, part of it."
"You're a part of me? Which part?"
"What you have to understand is that people perceive themselves as being a single whole, one mind that is shaped by experience, when in fact it doesn't work that way. Each person has within them several different viewpoints, or voices, each of which influences how we think, act, and feel. These voices combine to form a single coherent message that we perceive as thought. People think that a single thought is like a note played on a piano when in reality it is more like a note played by an entire symphony orchestra."
"I think I understand. But, if that's the case, then which voice are you? And what part am I? Why is it that I can be here, in my mind, and yet I perceive only this part of me as myself?"
"Getting quite metaphysical, aren't we, KP?" the twin asked with a trace of amusement. "First, I'm not really a voice per se. I am your consciousness. Not you conscious, which is something else entirely, but rather I am that which houses all current information that the various voices can interact with. Right now, you are in a dreamless state, so my area of our mind is this blank white space that you see before you. If you were awake, this space would instead be filled with your surroundings, your thoughts, maybe a memory that is relevant. Plus, it's my job to carry out any decisions that you make. I move the arms. I speak the words. I translate your orders into interaction with the outside world."
"Oookay," Kim responded to all the information that she had just gotten. "I think I get it. But you still haven't answered my second question."
"Ah, yes, who you are," the twin smiled. "You are what the philosophers would call the spark of life. Without you, none of this exists. During this journey, you will meet many different parts of us but all are expendable but you. Think of it this way. Imagine, for a moment, that you weren't here and that it was just I trying to bring all the voices into one single message. How do you reconcile the mutually exclusive ideas? Your anger wants to hurt but you compassion wants to forgive. Your desire wants to indulge but your sense of civility tells you to hold back. In the end, it doesn't work. That's where you come in."
"You are the final arbiter of the different parts of us. If a dispute arises, you make the decision. Think of yourself as the CEO of a large company. You have various directors giving you all sorts of advice on what to do in any number of situations, but ultimately the choice comes down to you. You are the ruler of the land, and it is my job to carry out your orders."
It was, all in all, a very disconcerting sitch that she now found herself in. Kim just sat there, her mouth slight agape, and tried to process everything that she had been told. The other Kim continued to watch her, seemingly at ease with everything that had been going on, and had the look of a woman with infinite patience.
After a while, the real Kim decided that there was just no way that she was going to make sense of all of it and took what she was being told at face value. Having made that choice, it was now time to get down to business.
"Alright, I've decided to believe you," she started as the other Kim got a knowing look on her face, "but you already knew that, didn't you? Now that I know who you are, I need your help in finding Ron."
"I am here to serve," the other Kim informed the redhead, "but, like Yori said, you're going to need some help. I think it's about time I introduce you to someone special."
"Suiko?" the heroine asked and got a nod in return. "How does she fit into all of this?"
"Well, Suiko is the core portion of your soul. Unlike most people, who only have one manifestation of their soul, you have forty. You see, there is no such thing as reincarnation. Each person gets one shot at life and then they move on to, well, lets just say another adventure and once you move on there's no coming back. However, like most rules in life, there are always exceptions to those rules, like you and Ron. You're not the first, and certainly not the last, but there aren't many like you."
"How many are there? Or were there?"
"No one knows for sure exactly. Suffice it to say, all of you could fit into a classroom at Middleton High, so its rare company."
"Wait, I don't understand. Didn't you say that reincarnation doesn't exist? If that's the case, how do you explain me and Ron?"
"Ah, I said that once someone passes to the next adventure, they can't come back but you've never actually moved on. When you die, your soul will either wait in an in between place between this life and the next until Ron dies and the two of you start the process all over again, or, if Ron is already dead, then you start over immediately."
The real Kim heard what her twin had told her and she had many questions, but all the talk about her soul had raised a deep seeded doubt that had been nagging her since yesterday. Of course, the other Kim instantly knew what it was that was bothering the teen and tried to bring up the subject, figuring it was better if she got it off her chest than to keep it bottled up.
"You are wondering how it is that there can be a Kim Possible and a Suiko at the same time. Well, the simple answer is that you are both. You see, when most people are born, they're a blank slate. They can mold and form their lives into what form they choose, from the person who does charity work all her life to a career criminal. You, however, started off already having certain decisions made for you. For example, since the moment you were born, you were going to be a strong, independent woman who felt an undeniable desire to help others. Thus, when you were standing outside the Paisley Estate where your first mission took place, you choose to go it alone, without calling in the police and backup."
"It was also no accident that you and Ron became friends. Think about it for a moment; in any other time or place, would the two of you still be as close as you are now? Ron, the goofy, geeky, unpopular slacker and Kim, the cheerleader, heroine, and top of the social ladder. You should be making fun of a guy like that, or at least wanting nothing to do with him. But, instead, you choose to create a life centered around him, doing everything with him, sharing everything about you with him. You felt more loss and despair in the two weeks that he was gone than fifty other people would in your place. No, your life is no accident. You travel the path of your life in your own way, but the path itself was chosen long before you were born."
By now, the real Kim had a massive headache, although a part of her silently wondered just how her head could hurt if her head was just a part of her mind. If what she had just been told was supposed to comfort her in some way, it had failed. The redhead was now more convinced that she was just an illusion; once she died, Suiko would take over and she'd be gone forever. Her clone looked on, a mixture of sympathy and understanding crossing her features, as she leaned back in her chair, giving her boss some time to get a grip on everything.
For the next fifteen minutes, the real Kim struggled with what was the toughest realization of her life. Everything her doppelganger had told her was running through her head, from the insider's point of view into her mind to the predetermined role that her life was going to play. There was a large part of her that was not happy with the thought that her life was not her own to live. She was forced to be a heroine? She was forced to save the world? Had she even been forced to be Ron's friend?
Ron. The redhead suddenly remembered that she wasn't here on vacation, that she was here to save her friend. She blinked, coming out of her stupor, and looked across at her guide. The other Kim, who immediately knew what she had decided, had all ready stood up and walked over to the heroine, offering her a hand in getting up and out of her chair.
"I'm glad to see you're ready to get back to work. I know you're confused, but there will be plenty of time for that later. Just remember, no matter what you see in this journey, you can trust me."
"Okay," the real Kim nodded. "Where do we go from here?"
"This way," the twin replied, snapping her fingers. Instantly, the two chairs disappeared and a staircase appeared out of the void. It reminded Kim of the one leading up to her loft bedroom back at her parent's house, only this one was leading down instead of up. Kim went over and stood at the head of the stairwell and peered down into the next level, but was greeted with nothing but an inky abyss.
"What's down there?"
"Remember when I told you that each person has different voices within them? That's were they're kept," the twin told her as she walked over to stand next to the heroine. She gave the real Kim a knowing smile, patted her back in a friendly manner, and then took off down the stairs. The heroine hesitated for a moment, getting an ominous feeling from what she would find at the bottom of this staircase, but realized that the only way to save Ron was to swallow her fear and get moving.
As the redhead descended down, something interesting happened when her head dipped below the level of the floor above. The darkened way down into her mind was suddenly lit by several wall sconces that provided enough illumination so that she could easily see where she was going and as she turned back to look at where she had come from, she noticed that it appeared as if the stairs simply ended nowhere. The heroine then reached up with her hand to above the top of the last stair and it disappeared. As she pulled it back and it rematerialized, she came to the realization that there was some sort of barrier that prevented her from seeing back up and into her consciousness.
It was interesting, but ultimately irrelevant, so the true redhead turned and headed off back down the stairs. It quickly became apparent that this staircase, while it may have looked like the one in her home, was a lot longer. She had been descending down it for about five minutes and was beginning to wonder if it would ever end when Kim was able to see a linoleum tiled floor coming up to meet her. The heroine now picked up the pace and in no time reached the bottom where she was greeted to a view that she hadn't seen in quite some months. It was the main hallway at Middleton High School.
The hallway was exactly as she remembered it. The view that she was afforded was that of someone who had just stepped through the main doors and was looking into the school. The aging, beat-up lockers lined the walls, there were notices for this club or that taped up everywhere, and even the horrid color of the floor was a spot on match. The only thing different about this version was that there was no one here except her and her guide and the front doors had been replaced by the staircase.
"An interesting choice," the other Kim said from her vantage point of leaning up against one of the lockers.
"What do you mean, 'an interesting choice'?"
"Well, we, that is the voices, don't really perceive our world in physical terms like you do. So, in order for you to interact with us, a physical representation of out world has to be created. You choose to use Middleton High, and I just thought it was interesting."
"I see," Kim replied not really seeing at all. "Okay, what now?"
"Now we go through the 'school' and deeper into our mind where Suiko is. Normally, I'd offer you the opportunity to meet some of your voices but since we're on a mission, I'd suggest we just move on without delay. But, before we begin, a warning. In each classroom there holds a single voice and as you pass by, the names of the various voices will be on each door. Some are very common, like compassion or anger. Others might disturb you just by their very existence. Paid them no heed and just keep going."
"Wait, I don't understand. Why would anything I see here disturb me?"
The clone took a deep breath and let off a long sigh. "Don't worry. You'll find out when we get there." And with that, she turned and headed off into the school.
Kim blinked at the sight of her twin's receding back, and with a shrug, headed off after her. As she came to the first classroom, she saw what her guide was talking about. Attached to the wooden door, just below the reinforced glass window, was a brass plaque that read 'Duty'. "Now why would something like that disturb me?" she thought.
"That's because you haven't seen anything yet," her twin called out from the far end of the hallway. "Now, lets get a move on!"
The true Kim nodded and started once again, this time with a little more spring in her step, but she always glanced at each plaque as she passed by the various doors. At first, they were all quite ordinary, humor, joy, sadness, frustration. But the closer she got to the end of the hallway, the names on the doors got a little darker. Fear. Anger. Jealousy. These were the kinds of emotions that Kim tried to ignore all her life, and she was a little uneasy around them. Eventually, she was standing in front of her clone at the crux of a T-intersection. The other Kim motioned down the hallway to their left and they continued their journey.
But the names on the plaques continued to get more and more towards the wrong end of the spectrum. And the further down the hallway they went, the more and more it looked as if the janitor hadn't spent a single moment here in quite some time. Finally, Kim asked her guide about it.
"The reason that this area looks neglected is because it has been neglected. The voices in this area are, in general, ignored on a constant basis by you and, as such, it is reflected in the poor condition that this area is in. Which isn't necessarily a bad thing," she finished cryptically.
Kim didn't know what to make of that, but she knew that the sooner she was away from this place, the better. She kept glancing at each of the various plaques until she finally came upon one that was so filthy that she couldn't read it. Her unease being overcome by her curiosity, she cautiously made her way over to the door and began to rub away the dirt covering the plaque.
During this time, the other Kim had stopped her progress and moved to stand behind the true Kim with a worried look coming to rest on her face. It took a moment, but the grime eventually came off and Kim was able to read what the plaque said. Instantly, a look of horror and disgust, disbelief and unease crossed her features as she reread the sign just to make sure she had gotten it right.
"Yes, Kim, it says Sadism. I wish you hadn't stopped, like I asked you to, but what's done is done. Now, lets go," her doppelganger pleaded, placing a gentle hand on the other girl's shoulder.
"I don't believe it," the real Kim shook her head. "I don't have thoughts like this. There isn't a part of me that wishes to inflict that kind of harm on someone, or that takes pleasure in it. No way."
"Believe it," the guide sighed. "Look, Kim, everyone has these voices. You can't get rid of it, you can only choose to ignore it, like you have done. Now, I'm begging you, please let it go and lets get going."
Her twin, in the hope that if she just turned and started off back down the hallway her charge would follow, did exactly that. She took a few confident strides away from the door, the sound of her shoes reverberating down the empty corridor, mentally wishing, begging, pleading with the real Kim to leave a sleeping dog lie and get a move on. But that was not to be.
The real Kim had stayed exactly where she was, kneeling in front of the dirt-encrusted door. She knew, deep in her heart, that there were baser emotions insider her. Her interactions with Bonnie provided all the proof she needed of that, from the anger that threatened to boil over just about every time the brunette opened her mouth to the jealousy that Kim felt when Bobby Johnson decided to ask her rival out. But sadistic behavior? That was simply beyond belief.
Yet, here she stood in front of a door that bore that very emotion. And it was beginning to eat at her.
"I'm sorry. I'm have to prove to myself that I don't think like this. I'm going to open this door and there's going to be nothing behind it," the heroine retorted with just a little bit a desperation creeping into her voice. "I hope," she silently added.
"Kim, wait, don't do that!" the other Kim shouted but it was too late. The real Kim had all ready reached out and turned the handle, pushing in the now freely swinging door. Well, it wasn't an empty classroom that greeted the heroine beyond the threshold of the classroom. In fact, it looked similar to one of Draken's labs, except that most of the equipment had been removed and replaced by nothing more than a simple metal table in the middle. Most of the sides of the lab were concealed in darkness, the table being the only thing illuminated by a powerful light from above that she couldn't see. Kim took a step in to get a better look, her curiosity once again getting the better of her, and she could see that there was a person strapped down on the table. It was Shego.
But this Shego was nothing more than a shell of the villainess that she knew. It was painfully obvious that the brunette had been tortured. She had been beaten and broken, cuts and bruises covered a good portion of her face, and she looked like she could die of fright from the very sight of Kim. Her usually impeccable green and black jumpsuit had been torn and ripped, exposing her green skin that had now taken on the colors of black and blue.
As the real Kim took several steps towards the bound woman, she could hear the woman moaning slightly and was able to make out was a set of electrodes that were attached to the evil vixen's head, the wires leading off into the darkness beyond. It only took a moment and the teen was in the circle of light, giving the bound villain a view of her latest guest. It was then that Shego first began to panic.
"Please, I'm begging you, let me go. I swear I'll never hurt another person as long as I live. How many times can I say I'm sorry Kimmie? I never meant for anyone to get hurt, you've got to believe me! Please," the woman begged. All sense of dignity had been stripped from her and she was now nothing more that a blubbering mass of quivering nerves. The sight alone caused a swell of pity rise up within Kim, for the way that her nemesis was pleading for what she could only assume was her life almost broke her heart.
"She may be evil, but no one deserves this," the redhead thought. Spurred into action, she moved ever deeper into the room intending to help free the helpless villainess. When she had finally crossed the distance between them, she reached out to remove the clamp that was holding down Shego's right hand when she asked, "Who did this to you?"
"I did," came an all too familiar voice from the darkness. Suddenly, all the lights in the lab came on, bathing a rather empty space in the harsh light of fluorescent lamps. It wasn't completely empty, however; the wires that were trailing from the green and black woman lead to a device that ran along one walls of the lab. It was four feet of dull gray metal with only two features, a dial and a large, rather clichŽ red button. The real Kim had never seen such a device but she surmised it was capable of delivering large amounts of electricity to the person on the other end.
But the horror that she felt knowing what the device did was nothing compared to what she felt upon seeing what was next to the device. There, sitting in a rather comfortable looking black leather chair, was another Kim. But, unlike her guide, or her for the matter, this Kim had some rather striking differences. First, her hair was a few shades darker than her normal orangeish hue and it looked wild, like she had just gotten out of bed. Then there was what she was wearing, dressed from head to toe in all black, with a rather tight top, black leather pants, and a set of four inch heals, which was rather tall for the redhead. But the most disturbing feature was her eyes; the emerald globes had taken on a crazed look to them, mixed with what Kim thought was pleasure? "I guess if I ever go completely insane, this is probably what I'll end up looking like," she thought bitterly.
"Now, now, there's no need to be rude, calling me insane," the Sadistic Kim chided her guest as she rose from her seat. "Welcome to my humble abode, KP. Do you like what I've done with the place?"
Normally, the real Kim would have had some quick retort but the total effect of what she saw before her had left the teen heroine speechless. Noting the lack of response, the Sadistic Kim sauntered over to just in front of the real version, taking her time and moving with the gracefulness of a cat, closing the gap between them to just a few inches. If Kim didn't know better, she would have sworn that her counterpart was trying to seduce her.
"Who are you?" the real Kim stammered out, swallowing the lump in her throat and asking a question to which she all ready knew the answer.
"Ah, who am I, who am I..." Sadistic Kim teased as she strolled around the real Kim. She trailed one of her slender fingers along the neck of her prey, reveling in the absolute hedonism of the act. When she had disappeared from the real Kim's peripheral vision, she lingered behind the heroine, way too close for comfort, the heat from her body easily felt by the teen. As the seconds passed and the heroine's level of discomfort grew to the point where she was going to move herself, her clone leaned in and whispered in her ear.
"I am that part of you that doesn't want to let up when you've beaten the villain. I am the part of you that doesn't want to play by the rules. I am the part of you that you've wanted to be ever since we saw our love fall in that power plant. I'm the girl you want to be but deny yourself because you fear the pleasure in what I do."
"What you do?" the real Kim spat, finally throwing off the trance that she was in and moving away from the girl who may have looked like her but shared nothing else with the heroine. "What you do is sick and wrong!"
"Sick and wrong?" her sadistic counterpart asked in a sweet voice that hid its venom well. "Now, that's Ron's line, isn't it? I wonder what he would say about what we're doing here? I think he'd approve. Besides, there's nothing 'sick and wrong' about revenge, KP."
"Why, yes, revenge. You didn't think we were here for our health, now, did you?" she flashed the true Kim a sugary sweet smile. Her sadistic version then turned on her heal, and moved quickly over to where Shego was bound, hopping up onto a space on the table by the brunette's mid-section. She locked eyes with the real Kim for just a moment, to ensure that she had her attention, and then looked down at her captured prey. The villainess was trembling at the closeness of her torturer, and looked like she wanted to crawl out of her skin when Sadistic Kim began to gently stroke her cheek with the back of her hand.
"Please, Kimmie, I'm sorry. You have to believe me," Shego whined, once more pleading for the pain to stop.
Smack! The Sadistic Kim brought forth a look of pure hatred and unbridled malevolence as she brought her right hand back and hit the side of Shego's face, putting enough force behind it to easily break the older woman's nose. Shego began to whimper at the attack until Sadistic Kim grabbed the other woman's head and leaned in. "Don't say another word or you will regret it," the sadistic version hissed, her voice dripping with enough cruel pleasure that the other two women in the room instantly knew that she meant it.
"Wha, what are you doing to her?" the true Kim stammered out, her fear of what her twin might do, or what she had all ready done, to Shego after seeing the brutality of her latest attack evident in her voice.
"Simple," Sadistic Kim replied, letting Shego's head drop roughly back to the table surface, her expression changing from one of hatred to contentment. "I'm here to make sure that Shego pays for what she did to us."
"What she did to us? She's never done anything close to warranting this kind of treatment. She has never hurt us like you are hurting her."
"Never hurt us, never hurt us?! She was responsible for taking away from us the most important thing in our life! Good God, KP, don't you remember? You should, you've dreamt about it almost every night since it happened."
"Ron? Are you talking about Ron? Look, no one is hurting more than I am, or I guess we are, over his death but that doesn't excuse what you are doing here."
"Aw, how noble. Fortunately, that particular voice is a few doors down. This bitch is going to pay. Every moment that we are in emotional pain, she's going to get ten times worse in physical pain." That's when she hopped off the table and strolled over to the device that was connected to the villainess, walking right past the real Kim who looked like she wanted to deck this version of her, but was afraid of the consequences.
When she had gotten there, she pushed the device away from the wall and walked around it so that it was between her and the two other women. The sadistic version of Kim then leaned on the device, allowing her right hand to drape over the edge. She took a moment to ensure that she had her guest's attention before she started to play with a large, red button that was on the device. Instantly, the captured villainess began to scream and struggle, the purpose of the button becoming painfully obvious to the real Kim as the sadistic one held down the button for just a moment and began laughing manically at the reaction from her prisoner.
"Stop! I won't let you do this, I'll fight you if..."
Both Kim's turned towards the source of the new voice. Her guide was standing in the doorway that she had initially come through, a mixture of concern and agitation showing on her features. The real Kim had completely forgotten about her and her mission, but now she had a second mission, to help Shego. She may hate the woman, but she wasn't going to leave her to this fate.
"No, Kim, leave her," the guide called out. "She is just a figment of your imagination. None of this is real, remember? Now, come on. Let's get out of here."
The real Kim took a minute weighing her options. On the one hand, it seemed so real. The fear in Shego's eyes, the sound that was made when Sadistic Kim's hand broke her nose, the evil way in which her counterpart was now laughing. But, she was currently in her own mind, and her guide had yet to steer her wrong yet. Conflicted between her sense of duty and her knowledge that it was probably a false image, she choose to take the advice of her guardian and left the room, to the insane ranting of the Sadistic Kim behind her.
"What just happened in there?" asked the real Kim. As soon as she had exited the room, it was if a fog had lifted off her mind and she was once again able to think clearly.
"That," her guide began with a gesture to the now closed door, "is exactly the kind of thing I warned you about. You have to realize that, no matter how many good deeds you do, no matter how many bad guys you put away or plots you foil, there will always, always, be a part of you that revels in such things. It is best to simply be aware of it and the ignore it as best you can."
The real Kim, however, was having a much tougher time coming to grips with such a concept. A rather bitter taste filled her mouth as her legs suddenly became weak. The redhead took a step back and leaned into one of the lockers lining the walls, slowly sinking to the ground as a wave of nausea overcame her. She dully heard her twin asking if she was okay but paid little attention to it as she focused on the sickly feeling in her stomach.
After a few minutes, during which the heroine fought off dry heaves with some deep breathing, her guide walked over and offered the real Kim some help in getting up. She gratefully took the outstretched hand and pulled herself up off the floor of the hallway. The redhead still felt a little disoriented, and needed to place a steadying hand on her companion, but when her twin gave her an 'are-you-okay' look, she silently nodded.
"Alright, then, shall we?" the other Kim asked as she gestured down the hallway towards the way that they were headed before their slight detour.
"Yeah, lets go," the true Kim replied, slightly dejectedly as recent events had disquieted her.
Still, both women took off back down the hallway towards their destination. There were a few more twists and turns as they delved deeper into the school, and as the minutes passed, the real Kim realized that the school that she was in may resemble Middleton High, but the layout was definitely wrong. Her suspicions were confirmed when they turned the final corner and she was confronted with another staircase, this one identical to the one she had come down to get into the school in the first place.
"Um, Middleton High doesn't have a basement," she pointed out to her guide.
"I know. But I also know that you know that this isn't Middleton High. Remember, it's just a physical representation of some decidedly non-physical things."
"So, what's downstairs?"
"Your next guide. I'm afraid that this is as far as I can go. Don't worry, she knows a lot more than I do and can help you save Ron. And remember, no matter what you may see, you are here for a purpose. Go save him and bring him back to us," and for the first time since they had met, the confidence that her guide had always shown left her to be replaced by an almost desperate pleading in her eyes. Kim should know; she had seen it many times herself in the mirror.
"Don't worry. We're Kim Possible and we can do anything," she laughed at the twist on her motto. Her guide shared in the moment of levity and they hugged, slightly saddened with the knowledge that they would never meet like this again. When the moment had passed, the two women locked eyes once more and then the true Kim turned and headed off down the stairs.
This staircase was much shorter than the one she had initially traveled down but was done in the same style. It was less than a minute before Kim found herself stepping off the last of the stairs and into a replica of the living room in her home back in Middleton. It was exactly as she remembered it, but without the constant sound of tweebs running throughout or her mother making dinner in the kitchen. Or Ron watching TV in the living room. In fact, the eerie quiet of the house gave it am almost unsettling quality to the space. The silence had led her to conclude that the house was empty, which is why she almost jumped when she entered the living room and discovered it occupied.
There, sitting on the couch in front of the television set, was a young Japanese girl. She was about Kim's age with jet black hair styled in the same manner as Yori's and dressed in a simple white gi. But the most striking feature of the other girl was her eyes; they were the exact shade of green as Kim's and shined with an inner light that belied a fierce determination and a deep understanding. The total effect made Kim a little uneasy, but when the Japanese girl stood and gave Kim a simple smile, it broke the ice and the redhead began to relax.
"Who are you?" the heroine asked.
In response, the Asian girl walked over to just in front of the redhead and, placing her hands together, she bowed deeply. When she was finished, she smiled even wider and began to explain Kim what was going on.
"Hello, Kim-dono. You are here seeking guidance in helping Stoppable-san break free from the sleep that he now finds himself in. I am here to provide such guidance. I am Suiko."
Author's Notes: Very sorry for the delay but my writing slows down in the summer. Anyway, I hope this chapter didn't put anyone off, I know that this is a bit of a departure but since the story was supposed to have already ended, it's kinda going off in its own direction and I'm along for the ride. And, sorry, but you're going to have to wait at least one more, maybe two, before getting a glimpse of Ron's mind.
Now its off to work on Fox and Sloth. Until then, enjoy Chapter 6!