Author's Note: This story is a sequel to Bleeding Out. I recommend reading that first.
Doctor Drakken took a deep breath as the Global Justice operatives opened the door to Shego's room. It had been a week since he'd carried her out of the flaming ruins of his lair in the Ring of Fire, and he hadn't seen her since.
He'd spent that week retooling some of his older inventions for Global Justice, according to the terms of his deal (to his surprise and disappointment, they were far more interested in some of his side projects like the Truth Ray or the Juvenator than they were in any of his marvelous death rays), but today he'd put his foot down. He'd come into the lab, picked up his tools, then set them down again, and told them that he wasn't doing one more minute's work until he saw Shego, and satisfied himself that she was being treated well.
Now that he was actually here, with the door open in front of him, he was starting to think that maybe he'd been a bit too demanding.
"It's okay, Dr. D. You can come in. I promise not to hurt you."
Drakken ignored the smirks of the agents as he entered the room. If they thought that anything was funny about Shego in her current condition, then that explained why they were stuck spending their days on guard duty, and why they would probably remain there.
Drakken took another deep breath as the door locked behind him and reassured himself that he was reasonably safe in here. He was pretty sure that Global Justice didn't want him to get killed or maimed, so they'd probably be watching. And he'd taken beatings from Shego before.
Right. Perfectly safe.
"Uh, hello?" He called nervously. "Shego?"
"I'm right here, Doc," she said. And could she possibly sound…amused?
"Ah, well, yes. Of course you are. Not many places to hide in here, are there?" There weren't. It was a padded room, she was sitting on the only piece of furniture (the bed, which was bolted to the wall and had its legs bolted to the floor), and the green sweat suit she was wearing and the black of her hair were the only color against the stark white. "Um…" He hesitated, then decided to just ask: "Are you going to kill me, Shego?"
She actually grinned at him. "Shego wants to kill you. So it's lucky for you that I'm in control, and I'm grateful to you for getting us some help."
"Oh. Hello, Sheila. I'm glad that you feel that way."
There was a moment's uncomfortable silence, then Sheila moved over and patted the bed beside her. "Here, cop a squat," she said.
"Uh, that does mean 'sit down', right? Because if – "
"Yes. Don't be gross. Sit."
He still hesitated, but then she grinned again, shook her head, and repeated herself in a way that made him feel much better: "Sientate."
Reassured, he obeyed. There was another moment or two of uncomfortable silence before he attempted to break the ice. "So…uh, Sheila, you're looking…different."
She was. Her hair was raven-black without the usual green tint, and her eyes were night-dark, but he'd come to expect that. There were other, more drastic changes. He frowned as he noticed some of them. "What's that you're wearing?" He asked.
"These?" Sheila asked, holding up her hands to display the heavy, bracelet-like objects on her wrists.
"And this," Drakken said, tapping on the collar she was wearing.
"Those are power dampeners," she said. "And here, look at this." She pulled up her sweatshirt.
"Gah!" Drakken whipped away before he could see anything, raising a hand to shield his eyes. "This isn't a conjugal visit, Sheila!"
"Which is why I still have my sports bra on."
"Yeah, they don't want me to have underwire. Look, if I wanted to show you my tits, I'd show you my tits. That's not what you need to see."
Warily, his hand still up and ready to clap over his eyes, Drakken turned around. He needn't have worried. Sheila was turned away from him, and it was immediately clear what she wanted him to see: she was wearing some sort of harness, with what looked like a small battery pack between her shoulder blades, right on her spine. The "battery pack" had some sort of meter that was halfway lit up in green. "That's an energy siphon," She explained. "Every six hours, they take that and empty it into some sort of central battery." She chuckled as she pulled her sweatshirt back down. She actually chuckled. "I think they might be using me to power the base."
Drakken was outraged. "This is their idea of treatment?" He demanded.
Sheila shrugged as she turned back around. "They tried to do more, but there were a couple accidents, and a couple people died. Now they just try to keep me on the surface, and – "
Drakken wasn't listening. Instead, he sprang to his feet and began pacing in a way that was all-too-familiar: he was starting to rant.
"This is outrageous!" He began. "I have a deal with these people! Well, if – "
Startled out of his rant, Drakken spun around. "Yes, uh, Sheila?"
"You did hear the part about two people dying in accidents as they tried to treat me, right?"
He paused. He had heard something about something like that…
"These people have a responsibility to their own before they have a responsibility to me, or your deal. Right now, they're focusing on keeping me as the dominant personality with the energy drain, and keeping me contained with the dampeners and the walls."
"They're shielded, not just padded." She held up her wrist and looked at the heavy dampener there. "You know the scary thing? I think that just one of these things would have been enough to turn my plasma into a pretty lightshow back in the day. Now…" She shook the thought away, then patted the bed beside her again. "Now sientate. Tell me what's going on in your freaky world. I don't think we have much – "
She paused, grimacing.
"I don't think we have much – "
Then she wrapped her arms around herself and doubled over.
"Sheila!" He rushed over and knelt in front of her, trying to look into her face. "Are you all right?"
Hego was having a bad day. He'd had a lot of them recently, but this one seemed more aggravating than most somehow.
Not that it wasn't always aggravating to be confronted by a piece of trailer trash with her litter of snot-nosed, dirty-faced, smelly brats, demanding a refund on a burrito that "wasn't very good", even though the burrito in question had been completely consumed. After said brats had completely befouled their seating area, the bathroom, and the playground.
"Ma'am, I'm sorry, but – "
"Don't you sorry me, you greasy counter idiot. I paid my money, and I want some good food, or I want my money back!"
"Ma'am, if you'd brought it back when you realized something was wrong – "
"Don't tell me what I should do!"
"But ma'am, I can't – "
"And don't give me any excuses! I wanna talk to yer manager!"
That was enough. "I…am…the manager," Hego growled. "You stupid puta."
He blinked. Where had that come from? And more puzzling still, why was the woman – and all of the other customers – backing away from him in fear? And why were they staring at his hands?
He looked down at his hands, to see whatever they were staring at.
Well. No wonder they were acting scared. He'd clenched his hands, shattering the counter with one and crushing his cash register with the other. Funny…he didn't remember activating his Go Team Glow…
As he looked up to reassure the customers that there was no need to panic, everything was under control, we'd clean this right up, he caught a glimpse of something out of the corner of his eye, in one of the anti-theft mirrors.
He glanced up. His eyes were glowing? Since when did –
That's when it hit him.
The other students gave the Wegos a wide berth as they stalked the halls of their high school. Until last spring, there'd been no one more cheerful or friendly than those two. A bit odd – more than once, a girl had shown up at a school dance or some other date with one of them on each arm – but still good guys.
Since just before school ended last spring, though, it seemed like they were in a permanent bad mood. Mere sophomores or not, no one wanted to mess with the two boys who could form a gang all by themselves.
They'd just entered the lunch room when they stopped dead in their tracks. They looked at each other in perfect unison, and their eyes flared red.
Then they started replicating.
Mego put on his brightest smile as he entered the classroom. A bunch of second-graders worked up to a near-squealing frenzy of excitement at meeting an actual superhero wasn't exactly the adulation of the masses, but an audience was an audience. Oh, sure, they might've preferred to meet Kim Possible or someone with a cooler superpower, but once he did his most popular trick (getting them all in a circle and shrinking until he was their size, and talking to them eye-to-eye), he'd have them in the palm of his hand.
He'd only gotten as far as "Hi, kids!" when something hit him, and he started to shrink.
At Sheila's request, Drakken had pulled up her sweatshirt to check the energy siphon. Where the meter had been half-green before, it was now fully lit and blazing brighter every second. It – and the power dampeners – were starting to make frantic beeping noises.
"I'm blowing up," Sheila said, her voice that of someone trying to good-humor their way through pain.
"Don't even joke about that," Drakken said, dropping back to his knee beside her. "Is there anything I can do?"
She looked up at him, and her eyes were blazing green. "I don't think so."
Hego took out the warming bin with a wild swing of his arm, then staggered into the grill, crushing stainless-steel appliances with each desperate attempt to catch and steady himself. Finally, he fell to the floor and began to thrash and convulse. All the windows shattered with the first kick, then pieces of ceiling fell with the first flail of his arm.
The customers – especially the trailerwife and her litter – ran for the doors.
One hundred twenty-eight.
All thrashing, twitching, and screaming, turning the lunchroom into a diorama of Hell.
This was Mego's worst nightmare: his insignificance becoming real, tangible – shrinking out of existence. In a way, that was just what he'd done. It wasn't air he was breathing. It wasn't light he was seeing. Time and existence themselves were smoke and shadows at this level, and as he got further and further down, he…almost…saw…
And then he was growing.
"Get out! Close the door behind you and get the GJ guys out of here!"
beep…beep…beep beep beep beepbeepbeebeebeebee
Windows shattered and pavement cracked for blocks around. The Bueno Nacho collapsed on Hego, but he didn't notice. Nor did he notice the explosions as ruptured gas pipes met damaged heating elements.
Lost in his misfiring nervous system, Hego didn't notice much of anything – he just kept kicking and thrashing. And each kick and wild swing of his arms registered on seismographs for hundreds of miles.
After the one thousand twenty-fourth Wego, something started to go wrong.
Wegos without eyes. Wegos without limbs. Wegos that screamed through smooth, blank faces.
And then, as the numbers climbed, the duplicates lost all resemblance to the friendly young boys that they'd originally been and became twisted, nameless things.
Mego collapsed to his knees and wrapped his arms around himself as he returned to his normal size.
"Mr. Mego? Are you alright?"
"No. Get the kids out of here."
"Mr. Mego?" When the teacher touched his shoulder, his face snapped up at her. Purple light was blazing from his eyes and pouring between his gritted teeth.
"I said get out of here! Go! Now!"
And then he started to grow.
Drakken came flying out of Shego's cell, slammed the door behind him, and started running.
"Hey, Doc! Where do you think – "
"Take cover!" Drakken screamed back to them. "She's gonna blow!"
The Global Justice operatives looked at each other. They had decided between themselves that the blue-skinned mad scientist was one part crazy mixed with two parts cowardly, flavored with a generous helping of stupid. Doing as he said wasn't high up on their list of things to do. They didn't think it was an escape attempt – he'd closed the door and he knew about his tracking chip – so what in hell was he doing? In any case, they'd look pretty stupid if…
That was when they heard a faint electronic whine – BEEEEEEEEE – coming from inside the cell. That was when they started to run.
Inside the padded cell, the power dampeners and the energy siphon reached their limits and burned out. Then they ceased to exist as anything but scattered atoms of iron and silicon.