Here it was, the final hours of shopping before Christmas. The final hours left in anticipation of all the important shopping that couldn't find its time between duking it out with Kim Possible and listening to Dr. Drakken's latest plan for world domination–something involving dressing up like Santa and driving a nuclear-powered sleigh. Or something. Well, it would probably be sent into action tonight. After all, it was Christmas Eve.
Yes, Christmas Eve. Shego ran as fast as she could through the Dillard's department store doors, completely sending a couple of wanna-be goth teenagers slamming into the walls. Serves them right for being in her way. Shego glared back at them without pausing. There were more shoppers coming, a veritable avalanche of people.
She supposed it was her own fault for being so late. But things come up. And that sale on those boots she had been eyeing ended tonight.
An elderly woman who couldn't have weighed more than ninety pounds stepped on her foot. "Sorry, dearie."
Shego had not come out in a blizzard and every other Christmas Eve reveler to be called 'dearie.' She sighed and lifted her hands. Sparkly green was festive, wasn't it? "Out of my way!"
A couple punks thrown here and there, and she was finally in the main part of the store. Tinsel and fake greenery hung from the ceilings, and that lousy remake of "Baby, It's Cold Outside" blared throughout the walls. She took a deep breath. Yuck. Perfume samples everywhere. If there were anything worse than perfume samples, it was–
"Our latest variety of Clinique Happy?" a smiling salesgirl asked, bottle already poised.
Shego knocked her to the floor. No, nothing was worse. "Can you point me to the shoe department?"
The salesgirl, still on the floor and wiping perfume off her dress, didn't respond.
Oh, well. She'd find it. Now if she were shoes, where would she be? She hopped onto a escalator decorated with Christmas lights.
Unfortunately, it led right to the lingerie department. Shego moaned. All around her, Christmas delicates no one in their right mind should be looking at. And another smiling salesgirl, too wholesome-looking to be working in such a department. "We're having a last-minute sale. 70 percent off on select styles."
Shego nodded. "Wow. I have my choice between Mrs. Clause or Santa's Little Helper."
The girl kept smiling. "Just in case you have someone special."
"And I don't." The shoe department was just beyond this. She marched on.
"But I'm on commission!" the girl screamed after her, no longer quite so perky. "It's Christmas Eve!"
The shoe department was a madhouse. Did anyone have anything better to do on Christmas Eve than shop? Well, she was here. But she had an excuse. She stepped around a stroller with a screaming infant, over a heap of fallen shoe boxes... and there they were.
Mable Wisteria boots. Full brown leather, mid-calf, 4-inch heel wonders. She was almost ready to drool. Not exactly practical for fighting Princess Possible, but sometimes a girl just had to have a night on the town. Sometimes a girl had to spoil herself. There was nothing wrong with getting a present for one's self.
And you just couldn't beat fifty bucks on sale. Not for these babies.
She almost threw back her head and laughed. No, that was a bit too Drakken. She grabbed her size and sprinted to the shoe counter.
The line practically twisted around the upper floor. Apparently only one register was open.
Well, the lingerie counter had been available... no, that was not a place she wanted to revisit.
She sighed, stroked her new boots, and waited.
Maybe she should just steal them. She could take on any security guard they had.
The music had switched to "Away in a Manger."
Nah. You couldn't steal on Christmas Eve.
Behind her a lady was having a terrible coughing fit. Shego could feel it every time. Little germs just begging to get her. Coughing... coughing... She tried to ignore it. But the little boy in front of her was just as irritating. He had found the most marvelous way to make the lid of the shoe box he was holding flip up and down in the most noisy fashion. Stupid kid. And the lady kept coughing.
Well, she did have superpowers. She could just take out the entire line.
Except you just didn't beat up people while "Away in a Manger" played.
Slowly, the line moved forward.
And the kid in front of her kept fiddling with that stupid shoe box. Lid went up, lid slapped back down. Lid went up...
"Hey, kid, do you think you could knock it off with your new toy there?" she snapped.
He turned around to look at her, all big blue eyes and unruly black hair. "It's not my toy," he said pointedly.
She sighed. "Your shoes, then. Whatever."
He wiped his nose on his sleeve. Apparently the lady's germs were getting to him as well. "Not my shoes. They're for my mom."
Oh, great. She knew where this was leading. She slid the shoe box to her hip and met his eyes. "Let me get this straight. Your mommy has some horrible incurable disease and she's probably going to kick the bucket tonight and all you want is to give her these beautiful shoes."
He blinked. "Huh?"
"You know, I just wanted you to stop fiddling with the box."
"I'm bored. I gotta do something. You know, lady, that was mean about what you said."
If he really did have a dying mother, it would be a rather insensitive thing to say. Wasn't she the kind one? "Look, I'm sorry about your mom."
"My mom isn't dying, lady! She's a dietician with lower cholesterol than half the kids in my class!"
The kid continued. "She just wanted these boots, and the only time I could go shopping was tonight."
Well, there went any pity she could have felt. "So your mom isn't dying?"
"No, I just wanted to buy her some boots because she's nice and bought me all the video games I wanted. Except I'm not supposed to know about those yet. Santa's bringing those."
Wouldn't he be surprised when Drakken showed up instead? "So what boots did you pick out?"
The kid opened the box and showed her. Ooh. The same Mabel Wisteria boots she was getting. "Your mom has good taste."
The man in front of them moved away, and the kid's turn was next. This salesgirl was not smiling; instead she looked ready to kill someone. "Just these?"
"Just these," the kid replied.
The salesgirl practically through them over the scanner and into a bag. "That'll be $53.74."
The kid pulled a couple of crumpled twenties from his coat pocket and flung them on the counter. Next a handful of change. "I think I'm short."
In that one Christmas shoes song the person next line gave the kid some money to pay for the shoes. Good grief. That wasn't going to be her, tonight? She had to check on Drakken's sleigh before he took off so he wouldn't kill himself mid-flight, and she wanted some boots to pay off for this evening.
The kid flung another dollar bill up. Now they were actually playing "Christmas Shoes." For crying out loud...
She reached into her pocket and pulled out her cash. "Here, kid–"
"Yes!" He pulled a half-torn twenty from his jeans. "Forgot I had this."
"Great," the salesgirl said without anything enthusiasm.
The kid grabbed his change, the bag, and looked back at Shego. "What were you saying?"
She stuffed the money back into her pocket. "Never mind."
He nodded, looking very confused. As well he should be. "Well, Merry Christmas." He walked off, whistling.
Odd kid. "Merry Christmas," she called after him. Then she set her own shoe box on the counter.
The salesgirl glared. "If I see one more pair of these," she began.
Shego grabbed the girl's collar. "Why don't you just be a little more with the season?"
The girl just nodded in fear and rang up the boots.
There was still a little money left over.
Drakken laughed evilly as he flung the rest of whatever weapons he just designed into the back of the sleigh. "This is it, Shego! Kim Possible won't dare stop us on Christmas!"
Shego nodded and increased the volume on the tv. A Christmas Story was on. "Yeah, uh-huh. Evil on Christmas. Great plan. Just like last time."
"But it will work!" Drakken said, pulling on a Santa hat. "That Grinch will have nothing on me. Are you sure you don't want to come?"
Spend Christmas Eve with Drakken? "I'm good," she replied. "You can handle the sleigh by yourself. Trust me, you'll have a lot more fun."
"Well, if you're sure you want to stay at the lair and be bored..."
"I'm sure. Good luck and Merry Christmas."
"I don't need luck. I just need–" He pulled something from the front of the sleigh. "What's this?" He held up a gauzy mockery of an elf costume.
"A Christmas present for you."
"I don't think–"
Shego shrugged. "It was Christmas Eve and this girl needed the commission."