Title: Under the Milky Way Tonight (16/16)
Spoilers: Takes place after "If You Build a Better Monkey". Ignores the events of "Go Team Go".
Feedback: I hope everyone who has always been so supportive will continue to write.
Disclaimers: Kim Possible, Ron Stoppable, Shego, Wade, and all other characters from the Kim Possible television series belong to Disney, its television production arm, and the creators and producers of the animated series. All original characters are my invention. I seek no profit from writing this, and expect none.
Summary: The sixth and final chapter in the Unacceptable Sitch saga! Kim Possible finds herself surrounded by old and new faces as the American government drafts Team Possible to save civilization from the Worldwide Empire of Evil by boldly going where no one has gone before.
"How the hell am I up before you?" Ron asked Kim as she shuffled into the kitchen area.
She grunted and reached for the coffee. "For starters, you crashed almost as soon as we landed back on Earth. For another, the military was asking me questions for over an hour. And I had to check on my family." Kim looked morosely at him. "And after all that, I didn't sleep very well. I had a lot on my mind."
"Oh," Ron said. He looked down at his own cup of coffee. "I'm sorry, I didn't think - "
"No, now that you've brought it up, did you see Shego today? She wasn't in our bed when I woke up earlier."
Ron shrugged. "I only woke up thirty minutes ago. I haven't seen her."
Kim seemed disheartened as she drank from her mug. "I don't know why she's avoiding me," she murmured. "She can't believe I'm going to leave her!"
"I DID see Mr. Barkin, though," Ron volunteered, eager to get her mind off Shego for a minute. "He came in a little while ago with a couple suits, and they've been in Dr. Director's office with the door closed."
"Suits?" Kim asked, raising an eyebrow. "FBI? CIA?"
"More like Armani."
"Great, sounds like lawyers then." Kim frowned. Why would lawyers be with Colonel Barkin? Maybe it had something to do with the legal repercussions from their mission. Or the people Betty had killed yesterday.
Kim looked at Dr. Director's closed door. They really needed to have a talk about that. She was eternally grateful that Betty had kept her family alive and unharmed, but . . .
As if Kim's thoughts had rung a bell in Dr. Director's office, the former GJ boss emerged. "I thought I heard your voices. Kim, could I have a word with you? Ron, you should come too."
"Is there a problem?" Kim asked.
"Not exactly, no."
"That was reassuring," Ron said as they followed her back to her office.
Standing just inside the door was Colonel Barkin. Sitting in two chairs across from Betty's desk were the two strange men Ron had mentioned. Sure enough, their suits were too expensive-looking for them to be with the government. Both men appeared to be in their sixties.
"Kim, Ron, these men are – were Señor Senior Senior's personal attorneys," Betty explained as she sat down. "Apparently Senior gave the Oryx a CD-ROM on the station and asked her to keep it safe."
Kim looked at Ron as a pang of sorrow ran through her at the reminder of Senior Senior's death. Junior hadn't tried to flee while Jaqui was being restrained the night before. He had remained with his father's body until an American military spacecraft docked next to Sappho at the station. Only then had Team Possible headed for Earth as dozens of Marines took up the job of cleaning up the mess WEE had left behind. The elder Senior's corpse had been treated with all due respect, Kim had been told. "Did she mention anything about it to you?"
"Not that I remember," Ron said.
"The Oryx handed it over to the authorities," Barkin said. "It turned out to be a visual message intended for his attorneys that Senior recorded while on the station, and the CD-ROM was turned over to them."
"Ms. Possible," one of the two men said smoothly, "my name is Walter Fogel, and I've represented Señor Senior Senior for over twenty years. My colleague here is Harvell Madigan, and he has assisted me on many, many legal matters involving Señor Senior and his son over the years."
"How do you do, Ms. Possible?" Mr. Madigan asked.
"Fine. What's the sitch?"
"The, eh, sitch?" Fogel asked.
"As in the situation," Betty supplied.
"Ah. Yes, of course. Ms. Possible, it appears that while he was in his son's custody, Señor Senior recorded a new last will and testament," Fogel said. "From what we've been told by the authorities, and from his own words on the CD, it appears he knew he was going to die when he made it."
"God," Kim said. "How horrible."
"Indeed. At any rate, Señor Senior Senior made several changes to his will. He stipulated, for example, that two billion dollars be set aside for the purpose of reimbursing Smarty Mart for any money which his son embezzled, once the extent of the damage is known. As for the son himself," Fogel said distastefully, "Señor Senior Junior inherits one million dollars, which is to be placed in a trust specifically for any future expenses relating to his physical and/or psychological care."
"Wait," Ron said. "He only gets a million? And it's just for – "
"As Señor Senior put it," Madigan interjected, "Junior will need that money for a full-time psychologist if he abandons his current path, and a full-time physician if he does not."
Kim's chuckle was forced. If Junior didn't get his father's money, who did? And what business was it of hers?
"The most important alteration," Fogel continued in all seriousness, "is his inclusion of you, Ms. Possible. More precisely, the Team Possible corporation."
"Me?" Kim asked, shocked. "Why would he leave ME anything?"
"Apparently you helped save his son last year?" Fogel asked. "Also, Señor Senior Senior said in his statement that he has greatly respected you for years. He could not think of a more deserving recipient, or one who would do more good with it."
Kim and Ron both looked stunned, so it was Betty who asked the inevitable question. "How much did he leave Team Possible?"
"We're still determining the precise valuation, but it appears to be several billion dollars."
"WHAT?!" Ron burst out.
Kim just stared. "You – you can't be serious!" she said.
"We are totally serious," Fogel replied. "There was an initial concern that some would claim you forced Senior Senior to change his will while you were alone on the station with him, but we have proof that didn't happen."
"What kind of proof?" Betty asked calmly.
"In case of kidnapping," Fogel explained, "several years ago Señor Senior Senior gave our firm a list of fifteen code words. He stated that any future changes to his will, written or oral, would contain fourteen of those words, no more, no less. Otherwise we would know the change had been coerced by kidnappers or extortionists."
"Several billion dollars?" Kim repeated. "Cash?!"
"Not all of it," Fogel said. "Most of Senior Senior's assets were in investments. There's the private island, of course, the mansion, the controlling stake in Smarty Mart, the – "
"Wait, wait, wait," Ron interrupted. "We own Smarty Mart?"
"Señor Senior Senior didn't own it outright, but he owned so much of the corporate voting stock, he might as well have," Fogel told him.
Ron looked ill. "I think I'm starting to hyperventilate. Need – paper – bag!"
"Perhaps you should lie down, Ronald," Dr. Director suggested. "In fact, maybe we should continue this discussion at a later date. I think the memory of Señor Senior Senior's passing is still fresh in our minds, and that this is a subject best left to our attorneys."
"We have attorneys?" Kim asked.
"Well, no, not yet. But I had several United States government contacts when I was the head of Global Justice who have entered private practice. I can call in a favor."
"In that case," Fogel said, "have them contact us when they're prepared." He handed Betty his business card. "An estate of this magnitude will require time anyway."
Ron looked around. "Maybe we should buy a couch first," he suggested. "For the next time I feel a sudden urge to lie down?"
"Let's go, Stoppable," Barkin ordered. "Looks like it's the showers for you. I might have known," he muttered.
Ron didn't look comforted as Barkin put his arm around Ron's shoulders. "KP, help."
"Betty and I have to talk things over, Ron," Kim said absently, staring at Dr. Director even while the two attorneys passed her as they exited the room.
"Yes, I imagine we do," Betty agreed. "Steve, I'll - "
"See you tomorrow night?" he asked, his eyes twinkling.
Betty's cheeks reddened. "Er, yes, we should discuss that further. Later. Not now."
"I'll see to Stoppable's - case of nerves then."
"Eh, you know, Mr. B, this isn't Middleton High," Ron said nervously. "We don't have a nurse."
"I'll have you know I was a battlefield medic in cases of emergency."
"Eep!" Rufus squeaked.
A few seconds later, the room's population had suddenly dwindled to two. "What about tomorrow night?" Kim asked.
Betty fiddled with her prosthetic ear. "Well, Kim, Steve and I may have decided to . . . try picking up where we left off several years ago. It seems neither of us have really dated anyone since then, so we're looking at it as a very long - break."
Kim blinked. "You're dating Mr. Barkin."
"I think we have more important things to talk about."
"I'd like to pretend we didn't for a second, but okay," Kim said. "Look, Dr. Director, I thought about - what happened at the Space Center. And I don't want you to think that I want you to quit. You protected my family, and you were outnumbered, and I never specifically told YOU that you shouldn't kill anyone since you're not a field member of Team - "
"Kim," Dr. Director said calmly. "I appreciate what you're saying, but I have a few things I want to say to you. So why don't you let me have my say, and then you can decide my future, okay?"
Kim didn't entirely like the sound of that. "Um, all right."
Betty sat on the edge of her desk. "First, I don't think my administrative role with Team Possible should be an excuse. I believe that I should hold myself to the same standards as the rest of you, much as I held myself to the same standards as GJ agents beneath me years ago. If your policy is no killing, then that should be my policy."
"Well - "
"Please, Kim. Let me finish uninterrupted. Then you can say all you desire."
"That policy of yours, Kim . . . I think it needs to be changed." Betty waited to see if Kim would interrupt. The young woman's eyes had widened, but she'd remained quiet.
"It's not that I disagree with your intentions, or your motives, or your goals, Kim," Betty continued. "I admire them, in fact. It should be the object of every law-enforcement agency in the world to pursue justice with as little loss of life as humanly possible. As humanly possible, Kim," she repeated.
Then Betty sighed. "You are so incredibly talented, Kim. I couldn't do the things you can when I was your age. I certainly can't do them at my age. I'm probably not in the best shape I could be in either," she admitted.
"But even if I was, I don't believe I could have dealt with the situation at the Space Center without killing anyone, even with Colonel Barkin's assistance. Ten armed men, close quarters, five untrained civilians including two teenagers and a two-year-old boy?" Betty shook her head. "Maybe if I was younger. Maybe if I was you. But I wasn't. I'm not. And I didn't have the luxury of time to think of a better way. Sappho, she meant well, trying to impersonate Junior. But there was a fifty-fifty chance those men would have started firing in one minute."
Kim was starting to turn red, and Betty grunted. "All right, I guess I can't ask you to sit there silently. Say what's on your mind."
"I'm not questioning your judgment at the Space Center, Dr. Director," Kim burst out. "You were protecting my family, your friends, your baby. You were trying to free yourselves so Junior couldn't go on holding your safety over our heads like a sword! But there's a difference between what you did, and what you're proposing!"
"Actually, what I did ties in with the point I'm trying to make, Kim. Sooner or later, there will come a time for you or your teammates where the situation is so desperate, the odds so long, the risks so great, that every option needs to be available. Including killing the bad guy when the alternative is likely the death of you, your friends, or innocent victims."
"No," Kim said firmly. "There's always another way."
"For you maybe. But Ron, Monique, even Shego - they can't all be you. Face it, Kim - even YOU can't be YOU all the time. None of us are perfect. Sometimes you have to make personal sacrifices to protect others."
"I'm TRYING to protect others! I know that Global Justice agents are allowed to kill in the line of duty. Had you ever killed someone before you retired?"
Betty nodded. "Yes, I had. As a GJ agent I killed four men in the line of duty."
"Was it easy for you?"
"The first time I had to make that call in the field, no. The later times it was easier," Betty said, "but it was always hard for me at the end of the day. It was hard for me last night too."
"And you can probably imagine what I went through after I killed Mrs. Acceptable," Kim said. "And you know what Shego went through last night."
"Then why can't you see? I'm trying to protect my friends from going through the same thing!" Kim cried out. "Anything's possible for a Possible! Together I know we can face any crisis without forcing one of us to go through the trauma I did!"
Dr. Director rubbed the back of her neck. "Oy. I figured as much. Kim, may I remind you of something? Last night, Shego was put in a situation where she felt killing another human being was the only way to save the world. And I'm sure that was hard for her. But knowing how you felt about killing, knowing how disappointed you'd be - would you say that made Shego's burden easier, or harder?"
Kim cringed a little when she thought that one through. "Harder, I guess," she murmured.
"Kim, I understand where you're coming from. Even as the head of GJ, my door was always open for agents who used deadly force in the line of duty. I know what that does to decent people. And I also liked to keep an eye out for the occasional person who didn't mind much at all. For some people, killing is a slippery slope. They do it, they find out it's not that hard, and they tell themselves killing serves justice better than putting people in prison. Those people become monsters in their own right."
"Police, the FBI, Global Justice - groups like those allow the use of deadly force, but for them it's a last resort. A killing in the line of duty always leads to hearings and investigations to determine if the killing was lawful and justified, and therapy and counseling for the shooter. They understand what I'm trying to tell you, Kim. It's always an option, but one whose use requires serious safeguards and extreme caution. Or do you think that the use of deadly force undercuts the authority of police departments across America?" Betty asked shrewdly.
Kim sighed and shook her head. "No, of course not. But we're different, Dr. Director. We can be better than that."
"You're right," Betty agreed. "You're world-savers. You're hope for people all over the world. You're special. And Ron is so loyal, so close to you, that he will never take a human life on a mission, knowing how you feel about it. And I worry if that puts him in greater danger."
Kim gasped. "That was a low blow, Betty," she growled.
Betty held up her hands. "Perhaps. But you have to ask yourself - is it more important to protect him from what it feels like to kill someone, or from being killed? You said earlier that anything's possible for a Possible, as in being able to save the day without killing anyone. I choose to interpret that motto differently. I think anything's possible for you, including being able to help your friends if they kill someone, to draw on your past experiences and life lessons, and help them cope with the trauma."
"I can't - how can I do that? It would be like telling them it's okay to kill! I'd be the one responsible."
"Kim, being a responsible person doesn't mean heaping all the blame upon yourself," Betty said. "Some things are out of your control. Like what happened to Shego last night. It wasn't your fault. But if you don't help her, or if you don't help your friends when they're forced to make the same decision, THAT will be your fault."
Kim crossed her arms in a classic defensive position, but she felt doubtful for the first time. She still felt confident that they could complete any future missions without needing to take a life . . . but Betty was right, Shego had really freaked out last night because she thought Kim would hate her. Maybe things would be different today if Kim told the others -
"So what are you telling me?" Kim asked. "Do you expect me to just change my mind? Tell them that if they want to kill someone, hey, that's okay?"
"No, I don't expect you to change your mind in five minutes. And I certainly don't expect you to tell them killing is 'okay'. Killing is NOT okay," Betty retorted. "Killing is what you do when there's no other choice, when the danger to your teammates or to the defenseless is so grave that it would be foolish to risk anything else. And after, you deal with it, you hope you never have to do it again, and you move on. I'm not trying to tell you what to do, Kim. It's your team, you're the leader, you set the tone for everything that happens here." Betty's shoulders slumped. "I'm just concerned for you, Kim."
"Yes, you. I'd like to be able to mentor you on occasion. And I'm concerned that you've never really gotten over what you did to Mrs. Acceptable, and that until you do, you'll project those emotions onto your team." Betty shrugged. "Or maybe I'm just being overanalytical. Kim, your heart is so big. You take on everyone else's problems and ask for so little in return. So I'm certainly not going to add to that by TELLING you what to do. This is your decision. I just hope that you'll think about it long and hard."
Kim waited a long second before nodding. "All right, Dr. Director. I won't promise you anything, but I appreciate your candor and that you're trying to help. And I do still want you to remain with us. But I expect you to realize that if I choose not to accept your advice, you'll abide by my decision and not bring it up again every three months."
"Of course, Kim. You're the boss."
"Could I ask for your - mentoring on one thing, while I'm here?"
Betty sat back down in her chair. "Try me."
"Shego and I haven't had a chance to say much since we got back from space," Kim said. "I've tried to avoid giving her any kind of impression that I'm angry with her, or that I'm going to break up with her. But she's been avoiding my eyes, and today she's avoiding me."
"Well," Betty replied, "either the signals you're giving her aren't enough, and she needs to hear you say it. Or she's discovered she's capable of killing someone, and even though it was in defense of others, she needs to deal with this in private."
"I thought of that," Kim admitted. "If Shego's feeling guilty or remorseful, would it sound twisted if I said I was - relieved?"
Betty leaned back. "You mean, relieved that Shego wasn't just upset last night because of how she thought YOU might react? That Shego's not a heartless killer?"
"Yes," Kim said. "I mean, I didn't think that anyway, but a lot of people still refuse to believe that Shego's anything more than a selfish, evil thief. That she only does something if it's in her own interests." She looked troubled. "I've seen talk on the Internet and on the television. Some people say she's become one of the good guys only because she thought it would get me into bed!"
"In other words, someone who never risk sacrificing her relationship with you in order to save millions of lives," Betty said.
"Or sacrifice her own life before taking mine," Kim added.
Betty nodded. "Kim, Shego's going to work this out with your help. And over time, the whole world is going to learn who the real Shego is."
"It's the least the world can do."
"Monique-san? If I may have a word?"
Monique yawned. "Sure, Yori. What's up?"
"It will not surprise you to know that I am returning to Japan tonight," Yori said calmly. "The mission is a success, my homeland is safe, and as I played a role in the mission, national honor is maintained. I will have a new secret mission waiting for me tomorrow, just as you have the streets and alleys of this city."
"I hadn't really thought about it," Monique said. "I guess I'd already gotten used to you being around."
"And it was my honor to have met you," Yori replied. "That is why I need to tell you something – about Ron-san."
Monique eyed her dubiously. "If this is going to be another rehash of our last discussion – "
"No, Monique-san. I wished to tell you that you were right. I have - feelings for Ron-san."
"Oh," Monique said after a moment. "Well then, why don't you stay? Take some vacation time?" Part of her, though, didn't really mean it.
Yori smiled sadly. "What would you have me do, Monique-san? Ask Ron out, even though this was the first time we were together in over five years? Spend a week with him? What then? He would not leave Team Possible for Japan, and I could not leave my country's service for him. I'm not ready for that."
"Yori, I feel for you. I really do. But why are you telling me all this?"
"Because, Monique-san, we both know that you have feelings for him as well," Yori told her. "I am giving you the chance to do something about it."
Monique rolled her eyes. "Oh, come on, girlfriend. I keep telling you, there's nothing between us."
"Honestly ask yourself how much time you spend with him, and then how much time you spend with everyone else."
"We're friends, we're sparring partners, and we're on Team Possible together," Monique said, ticked off her fingers.
"Is that not how Kim-sama and Shego-san started?" Yori asked innocently.
Monique found herself flushing. There was nothing between them, though. Nothing!
"Monique-san, you did not see Ron-san on the station. I did. He was very concerned when you were still missing, and I do not believe it was just worry for a friend, even if that is what HE thinks. I cannot at this time compete with your closeness." Yori shrugged. "What you choose to do is up to you, Monique-san. I cede the field to you. You must look inside yourself and decide."
"Yori – "
"For I promise you, Monique-san. One day I believe I will come back for good," Yori said. "And when that happens, I believe the American expression is 'all bets are off'."
Monique's eyes widened. "Was that a threat?"
"A promise, Monique-san."
"Wow. I think you'll fit in real well in America some day, Yori."
"Is that a compliment?" Yori asked.
"Very much so, yes." Monique pulled Yori close and gave the startled secret agent a hug. "It was my honor to fight next to you."
"Please and thank you," Yori said, grinning.
Then Monique yawned as she let go. "And now I'm getting me some coffee." Leaving Yori behind, she headed for the kitchen. Ron always left enough in the pot for . . .
Monique cocked her head. Maybe, just maybe, Yori was on to something.
Behind her, Yori's exit was halted by the sudden appearance of someone else. "Wade-san," she said. "Monique-san just went to the kitchen if you are looking for her."
"No, actually, I'm looking for you," Wade said. "Colonel Barkin said you're leaving for Japan soon."
"Yes, tonight. Why?"
"I just – wanted to say goodbye. It was nice working with you," Wade said nervously.
"And I you. Your computer skills are incredible. I have worked with several people such as you in the field, some much older and more experienced, and none of them can compare to you." Yori chuckled. "I am sure I will miss you the next time I have to work with one of them."
"Well, there is something you could do about that," Wade told her.
He held something out to her. "Be sure and take this with you on every mission," he told her.
"It's a simpler version of the Kimmunicator. No video, but you'll be able to communicate with me almost anywhere in perfect audio. And it has scanning capabilities too." Wade rubbed the back of his neck. "You know, only as a last resort. I wouldn't want the geeks in Japan to think I was stepping on their toes."
"How delightful, Wade-san!" Yori said brightly. "I will make sure it is a secret between us."
"And, you know, in case you just want to talk when you're free," Wade added. "I mean, because you were one of us for a few days. I think we should stay connected."
Yori studied his face and understood. Her smile didn't change as she nodded. "You are absolutely right," she said. "I will speak to you again when I am in Japan."
"That's great! I mean, great, everyone will be glad when I tell them," Wade said quickly.
Yori doubted that he would tell anyone. Young love was so sweet.
"So, what's your sign?"
The joke fell flat as Kim slid into the booth Shego was occupying at the Planetarium. Shego was staring into a filled shot glass.
"You'd think my tolerance for alcohol would have gone down after years of being a prisoner of . . . the Acceptables." Shego turned her head and grimaced, as if the very act of saying the name made her ill. "Looks like I've got a cast-iron stomach, though."
"I've been looking everywhere for you," Kim said. "I finally tried here because I know this place has significance for us."
Shego nodded. She picked up the shot and downed it in one gulp, but said nothing afterwards.
"You know, last year, after the showdown in the Acceptables' lair?" Kim continued. "After, I didn't know if I had become a different person, or if I was the same person I always was. And I didn't know which scared me more."
"You're the same," Shego said. "Believe me, I've known you for years. You're the same." She sighed, and then her face changed as depression seemed to cross her face like a wave. "You're the same," she repeated.
"Shego, you told me a while ago that you'd never killed anyone. I know where you're coming from, I understand what this is doing to you - "
"No, you don't," Shego said calmly. "You don't know where I am. I don't know where I am. That's the problem . . . no, I take that back. The problem is I don't know who I am."
Kim reached out for Shego's hand, but the pale hand slid back a quarter of an inch. It was enough for Kim to know she didn't want to be touched right now. "You're not a killer, if that's what you mean. You may have killed, but that doesn't make you a killer in the truest sense of the word. Not caring that you killed, that's what makes you a killer."
Shego looked up, and a bitter smile played with her lips. "Pumpkin, you may not appreciate this at first, but part of me wishes I WAS a killer 'in the truest sense'. It would make things easier."
"What things? Shego, you need to let me in. I thought this was about Mrs. Acceptable, but it's obviously not," Kim said, troubled.
"No, it's part of it," Shego corrected her. "I freaked out back on the station. Thirty seconds after she was dead, I panicked. I was terrified of the look I thought I'd see in your eyes. Then I calmed down a little when I realized that wasn't the look I saw from you. Of course, then came dealing with what I'd done."
"And I'm here to help you with that," Kim said, loudly enough to carry over the music, but only just. "Shego, I - "
"Look, Princess, you can't help me, okay?!" Shego snapped.
Kim stiffened. Shego saw this and flinched in turn. "I don't mean it like that," she said quickly. "I'm not angry with you. I'm not . . . argh, this is what I'm talking about!!"
"Shego, I don't know what you're talking about. You have to try explaining to me."
Shego groaned and put a hand over her face. "What's my least favorite word in the dictionary?" she asked.
Kim blinked. "That's easy, it's 'soft'. Shego, you can't be upset because you think feeling remorse about killing someone means you're going soft!"
"It's not that," Shego grumbled. "It's . . . I was that dysfunctional family's prisoner for years. I was subjected to physical and psychological torture. It was the worst time of my life. And a few months after I got out, did I seem a whole lot different to you?"
"No," Kim said hesitantly. "You were the Shego I'd always known, pretty much. Other than that you were finally willing to let your guard down and try giving our friendship a chance."
Shego held out a hand, as if to say There you go. "You hit both nails on the head, Kimmie. A month of excessive training and a high-calorie diet, and I was back to my old self. And I liked my old self. I still do, Princess. Hell, I love that Shego! But that Shego would never have agreed to be your friend. She needed to be your rival so badly."
"And didn't that work out for the best?" Kim asked pointedly.
"Yes," Shego said, closing her eyes. She opened them again and looked at Kim. "I love you, Kim."
Kim couldn't stop herself from smiling. Finally, some sense! "I love you too, Shego."
Shego didn't smile, though. She almost looked like it pained her to say it. "Don't say that. Don't say my name. Don't call me Shego like you're sure I'm her. Because I'm not, not any more. I don't know who is, but I'm – not – Shego."
All at once, it dawned on Kim. "You're right," she realized. "The killing is just a small part of this, isn't it? You're afraid for your identity."
Shego nodded. "Kimmie, I've been making choices since we first teamed up. And I could rationalize those choices. I was Shego, and I was evil and selfish and greedy and unconcerned about anyone else. But I worked with you because the Acceptables were a greater personal threat. And I became friends with you because even then, I felt the first stirrings of lust."
"You what?" Kim asked, startled. They had never really talked about when their feelings for each other first changed.
"Oh yeah," Shego said. "Why did you think I was so possessive? But that's not the point. The point is that I was acting out of character, and I needed to tell myself that I was only acting for my own benefit. Any mercenary will take a few jobs for the good guys if the pay is right, and being close to you, I thought, was a high-paying job indeed."
Kim nodded. "And then came the space station."
Shego sighed again. "Twice, twice, I did something that I couldn't rationalize in a hundred years. I was willing to sacrifice my life to save your life. And if that wasn't enough, I was willing to sacrifice my life with you to save your soul. Not to mention a few billion people. I was downright heroic yesterday."
"You're not in the mood to appreciate it right now," Kim agreed, thinking how odd it was to hear Shego saying words like the ones she'd used with Betty earlier, "but you were."
"And you feel like you can't reconcile good Shego with evil Shego."
"Good Shego?" Shego scoffed. "There's no such thing. There's evil Shego, and then there's this other goody-two-shoes that I don't recognize. If I didn't feel horrible about myself over killing that evil bitch, then at least I could believe I hadn't really changed! But I do, and that's just one more sign that I have!" She suddenly looked oddly helpless. "Kimmie, I don't know how to go back to who I was before, and I so want to go back, but I don't know how, and come to think of it, maybe I don't want to go back. But I don't want to go forward either!" She looked away. "I'm afraid of losing myself."
Kim stared at her. She'd never anticipated this, but then it had never occurred to her that Shego was dealing with even bigger problems than Mrs. Acceptable's brief death. "Shego," she said, stalling for time while she tried to think of what she should say, "this is a special place for us and all, but how about we step outside for some privacy . . . and maybe some quiet. The bass in here is going to break my teeth."
Shego shrugged. "S'kay."
Kim almost couldn't bear to see Shego acting like – well, like someone else as she docilely followed Kim outside. The closest alternative was Sadie, and Kim led Shego into the back seat. "Sadie, would you mind turning off your 'ears' for a little while?" she asked.
"Of course, Kim."
"And as for you, Shego."
"Maybe this is for the best," Shego said softly. "Maybe if I turn into this other woman, I can be sure you won't – leave me. I don't think I could survive all this change if I lost you too."
Kim gasped. "Shego!"
If that admission came as a surprise, Shego's next movie shocked, even horrified Kim.
She started crying.
"Oh f-fuck, I'm so pathetic!" Shego wailed. "Only the Acceptables ever made me cr-cry!"
Kim took her by the arms, intending to pull her close and comfort her, but she hesitated. "Shego, you're not changing," she said. "You're exactly the same person you were before."
Shego's tears dried up almost instantly. "W-what?"
"You were never as evil as you made yourself out to be. Even as Drakken's sidekick. You told me once that you never wanted me to die back then, that you wanted to see how I'd escape. Not exactly the proper behavior for an archnemesis, I'd say."
"That was different!" Shego shot back. "That was, was – professional curiosity!"
"That was a woman who not only drew the line at killing, but didn't even want to watch someone else die," Kim replied. "You were never heartless. You had a rotten childhood, and you were angry, and you lashed out at everyone around you. And now that you have someone who loves you – who doesn't just love part of you, who loves all of you – you're not changing. You're just letting the real Shego out. The Shego you would have been if your parents had lived and raised you the way you deserved."
"Just because you can do anything doesn't make you a trained psychiatrist," Shego said crossly, rubbing at her eyes.
"Gee, the snark still appears to be there."
"Kimmie - "
"Shego, I hate to break this to you," Kim said, "but you might actually like the new you if you tried. In fact, I bet that in the long run, the new you won't be that much different from the old you." Kim looked down. "I'm changing too, you know. Betty seems to think that it would be better for Team Possible if I made killing an option."
Shego snorted. "Why? Because I handled it SO well?"
"Yeah, well, maybe she's wrong and maybe she's not so wrong. Police officers kill suspects on occasion."
"But you're Kim Possible."
"Funny how Betty seemed to be able to use that to support her argument," Kim said. "Look, I don't want to get into it now. I'm just saying - " She chuckled then. "We love to compete, don't we?"
"Well, how about we see who can help the other adjust quicker?"
"Ha!" Shego laughed. "Our last wager worked out REAL well."
Kim smiled. "See, I told you the 'new' Shego wasn't all that different."
Shego looked away. "It's not going to be that easy, Pumpkin."
"Because if you WERE that different, I'd have to love you less, wouldn't I?" Kim asked. "And yet I don't."
"Damn it, Kimmie, I've done my crying for the year, I don't need to start again!"
"If you're that emotional right now, why not put it to some good use? Like ravaging me passionately right now?" Kim asked, grinning.
Shego blinked. "Sometimes I forget how exciting the 'new Kim' can be," she murmured.
"Exciting is good."
"Princess, no future mission could live up to this last one. We're going to need all the excitement in our private lives that we can generate," Shego said with a hint of a leer.
"Maybe we should start now."
Shego leaned forward, pressed Kim against the car seat by the shoulders, and kissed her. Breaking for air a minute later, she smiled. "Consider the engine started."
The car suddenly came to life.
"Not you, Sadie!"
It powered down again.
"Erm . . . ehh . . . gah!"
Dr. Drakken threw his plastic utensil down. "A spork, hah! They'd like to THINK you can use it like a fork. It barely qualifies as a spoon!" He rose from his table. "I hereby swear," he proclaimed grandly, "that my next invention shall be a spork that works!"
And I will prove it works by sticking it in Will Du's eye!, he thought to himself.
No one paid him any attention. There was a reason he sat alone at lunch. He was insane.
Drakken knew they thought of him as such. He couldn't understand Arabic, or Farsi, or whatever it was Islamic terrorists spoke. It could have been Bulgarian for all he knew. Drakken DID know that he was the sanest person in the room. He was sane because HE chose not to sit with THEM. These jihadists were scary!
Unfortunately, he was being "held indefinitely for questioning" on the grounds that he was a terrorist. So they kept him with the other terrorists. A.k.a., the scary people.
Dr. Drakken wondered if he should have treated Shego differently. Shego would have freed her "Dr. D" from GJ custody by now. Especially if she still had that chip on the back of her neck.
Instead, that Kim Possible . . .
That was another sign he was sane, Dr. Drakken felt. He'd be crazy if he didn't hate Kim Possible with every fiber of his being. Meddlesome girl, always interfering, and now he was locked away with annoying GJ agents and scary terrorists. And she may have fooled everyone else, but HE remembered that her hair used to be brown.
"There's a spork with your name on it, Kim Possible," he grumbled.
"A spork? Been hanging around Agent Dash too long, I guess."
Dr. Drakken squinted up at the intruder. "I will have you know that I am the great . . . " His voice died.
"As I recall," Yvonne Acceptable said, "you weren't so great after Shego left." She paused as she sat across from him. "Actually, you weren't that great when she was around either, I think."
"You – you're – you're supposed to be dead!" Drakken squeaked. "Everyone says so!"
"Actually, I'm a clone," Yvonne said. "You know, the improved kind that doesn't get melted by carbonated beverages. Unlike, say, your clones."
"I could make non-melting clones if I wanted to!" Drakken complained. "And it looks like your creation wasn't perfect either! Your face looks a bit swollen to me."
Yvonne grimaced. "Oh, that's left over from our last tango with Team Possible. Believe me, I looked a lot worse last night, but they tampered with our genes when they cloned us. We heal mighty fast now."
"They? Who's they? Who would clone YOU? The villains don't like you Acceptables any more than the goody-goodys do!"
"It's not really relevant," Yvonne said idly. "Except if you villains want to blame someone, blame my parents. They came up with the plan."
"Hard to blame them when they're dead too," Drakken retorted. "Er, that is – are they cloned as well?"
"Daddy dear was obliterated. My creator couldn't even find DNA traces of him," Yvonne replied. "Mother's in the hospital ward. My brothers are in their cells. Apparently we're not allowed to be in the same room together, so we have to eat lunch separately."
Drakken shrugged. "Prison stinks. Maybe if you'd known that sooner, you might not have started locking villains up."
Yvonne sighed. "Yes, prison does suck, and we've been here less than a day. We're thinking of escaping. Want to come with?"
"Escape? Hah! This place is filled with the biggest threats to global peace anywhere! The security is unimaginable! And believe me, I tried imagining it! This place, it's worse!"
"Because," Yvonne went on, ignoring his interruption, "my brothers and I, we hear you're looking for a sidekick."
Drakken stopped. She wasn't kidding. "A sidekick has her uses," he allowed. "When she follows orders, that is."
"Well, how about three sidekicks who sometimes follow orders?"
" . . . It's better than what I had before," Drakken admitted.
Yvonne smiled. "Because, you know, after we got that cripple Dr. Director out of the way, the Acceptables were awfully chummy with the head of Global Justice. We had, like, practically free range of GJ headquarters. We know all SORTS of things about this complex that other prisoners don't."
"So why me?" Drakken asked suspiciously. "Why not just the four of you?"
"The four – " Yvonne leaned back and laughed. "Our mother?" she spluttered. "You think she's with us?"
"Well, I know MY mother can be a pain – "
"We want you," Yvonne interjected, "because we need an idea man. That's you. AND we all have a score to settle with the same people. Shego, and of course . . ."
"Kim Possible," Dr. Drakken snarled.
"Exactly. Also, we can't just break out of our cells and walk out. We need to pay our mother a - visit in the infirmary first."
"Saying your farewells?"
"You could say that. So do we have a deal?"
Drakken looked at the spork in front of him. He picked it up, snapped it, and shook her hand. "Deal."
"Wow," Yvonne said. "Your hands are smaller than mine."
"That's it! Just once I'd like a respectful sidekick!"
Betty Director glanced at the clock on her desk. A few minutes until midnight, with no end in sight. She groaned softly and rubbed her lower back with one hand.
The difficult conversation with Kim earlier had been just the beginning of her long day. Dr. Director had spent two hours with both FBI agents and Middleton police officers, going over the events that led to the deaths of several members of WEE, mostly by her hands. The investigation would grind on for some time, but early indications were that they'd be ruled justifiable homicides.
She'd also brought up the matter of Shego's culpability for what happened to Mrs. Acceptable. Barkin had volunteered the information that the American government was prepared to declare that this was a military mission, and as such Shego would not be charged with attempted murder as she was acting in the line of duty. The Justice Department had begged off prosecuting her, raising several complicated issues which would lead to years of appeals, including who had jurisdiction for a crime committed on a privately-owned space station on the other side of the moon, and whether killing any clone, much less the clone of a woman who was already dead, was murder.
Then came her own report on the moon mission. She'd written multiple pages on the entire incident, drawing on both her own observations and the conversations she'd had with Team Possible. Betty thought it was important that team members should have extensive files on all prior missions, just like they did in GJ.
And of course, there was the bombshell dropped by Señor Senior Senior's lawyers. Obviously it was very good news – Team Possible could go back to not charging clients and being a completely nonprofit operation, something Kim was much more comfortable with. One of Betty's first acts once the will cleared probate, in fact, would be to reimburse those few organizations Team Possible had billed for its services.
Betty was even starting to think that Team Possible Inc. could grow into the kind of organization that surpassed GJ in the amount of good it could do.
It also meant a lot more work. As an experienced administrator and the only person who had ever run a multi-billion dollar organization before, Betty was the obvious choice to monitor Team Possible's new and improved finances. Global Justice had invested tens of millions of dollars with various financial management firms who were considered reliable and a low security risk. She had already entered into talks with three of them. Probably they'd leave most of Senior's investment portfolio untouched – no one was about to suggest their judgment was better than Senior's.
Of course, since their portion of Señor Senior Senior's estate included over a billion dollars in cash and other liquid assets, there were ample funds available to upgrade their facilities. One question they would have to answer was whether to renovate the current building or to buy something newer. Then there'd be computers, vehicles, furnishings, training equipment . . .
Betty glanced at the door to Tommy's bedroom. Maybe some kind of day care facility – raising her son was a full-time job in itself, and she'd be bringing him to Team Possible headquarters a lot in the future.
She sighed. Tommy had lingered in the back of her mind all day. Especially when she learned of the cloning of not just Tommy's siblings, but his birth mother as well. True, while she wouldn't wish her years of imprisonment on anyone, that torture had led to joining Team Possible, to reuniting with Steve, and of course to Tommy. She had never felt as close to someone as she had to her adopted son.
And now there was a very real, very gruesome, very frightening possibility that Mrs. Acceptable could sue to reestablish her parental rights. No one could say what might happen then. No court in the world had ever heard a petition from the clone of a dead person.
Thinking of Tommy's birth mother also generated fresh doubts about Tommy's brain implants. So far Holly and Vivian hadn't made any progress. And now this unfortunate distance between her and Vivian – Betty couldn't believe that Vivian would be any less determined to help her son's condition, but you never knew.
Betty wasn't a young woman, but she could certainly still outlive her son. It was late, she was alone and exhausted, and more than usual, this thought depressed her.
"I just wish I could know for sure about Tommy," she murmured.
There was a crackle behind her, and Betty was suddenly conscious of some kind of warmth on the back of her neck. She swiveled around in her chair and gaped. A circle of white light, slightly taller than an average adult male, hung in front of her. Blue streaks ran through it and swirled in a spiral pattern.
As GJ's former resident expert on temporal mechanics, Dr. Director was personally familiar with what was in front of her – a time portal.
Before she could move, however, two incredibly strong hands reached through the portal, grabbed her by both arms, and yanked her through.
Even though she was blinded by the bright light, Betty kicked and struggled as she tried to clear her vision. "No, no, let me go!! Put me – "
"Please be calm, Dr. Director. All will be explained."
Dr. Director froze. She knew that voice. "Sappho?!"
"Betty. You're looking young – er."
Betty could have sworn she heard the smirk before she saw it. Not that seeing it was possible, because Sappho didn't have a face. The woman standing before her did, though. She was a Caucasian woman in her early thirties, beautiful, with long curly blonde hair.
"What's the meaning of this?" Dr. Director. "And what am I doing on Sappho?"
"Betty, if you were on me, you'd be too busy enjoying yourself to be asking questions," the blonde said – with Sappho's voice.
"She just traveled through time, Sappho. She's confused enough without you teasing her. And could you please let go of her?"
Betty turned her head at the sound of the unfamiliar voice. A man in his late teens was approaching her. She took one look at his face and gasped in horror. "John Acceptable!"
"John Acceptable" winced. "Wow. Nobody's confused me with him in a while. I kinda got used to it. No, Mom, it's me. It's Tommy."
Betty stared. This gave her time to inspect the young man's face, and she could see that it wasn't John, although there were striking similarities. Like brothers. "Tommy?" she asked, shocked.
He looked a little embarrassed. "Uh, yeah. Hey, mom. You're looking, um, younger."
"And you look older!" It finally dawned on Betty. "You said I traveled through time. This is the future? How long?"
"Little over fifteen years. Yesterday was my eighteenth birthday, actually."
"I asked you - well, the future you - if we could celebrate by going to a strip club," Sappho said. "I was most disappointed when I found out you have to be twenty-one, not eighteen."
"Sappho!" Tommy hissed. "It was just as embarrassing the first time!"
"So," Betty said, ignoring the question of how Sappho turned into a human for the moment, "you're all right? You're going to be all right? They got the machines out of your head?"
"Actually," Tommy said, "yes, I'm going to be all right, but it's because they put MORE machines in my head. It was always too dangerous to remove my birth mother's additions through surgery, and eventually they WOULD have killed me, but Aunt Vivian invented a chip that regulates the activity in my head."
"She did? Well, not the answer I anticipated, but it's your health that counts!" she said happily.
Tommy looked serious. "Mom, part of the reason I brought you here is to warn you. Apparently you did something in the past, and you and Aunt Vivian didn't speak for a while?"
Betty looked down. The Possible family had actually WITNESSED those WEE agents being killed in front of them, but Holly was still the same with her. Probably because she was protecting their children. Vivian, however, had turned distant ever since she saw the bodies in Mission Control. Betty had actually gotten a little annoyed about it. Yes, it was a shock, but she had her reasons, and Vivian had no call to treat her like a sadistic assassin!
"Well, do something about it," Tommy went on. "She's the one who saves me, and that might not happen if you're not friends any more. Sure, she's not the kind of person to stop helping a little baby, but if you two are close, the extra motivation might lead to her finding the cure in time. So just say you're sorry, okay?"
"All right, all right," Betty said. "I'm sure we'd be friends again eventually, but - I'll do whatever it takes. But Tommy, time travel can have serious consequences. You shouldn't risk them for something that's already happened!"
"Actually, I had to. You told me to."
Tommy chuckled. "Something about saving the space-time continuum. Apparently Mom went fifteen years into the future the night after Mission: Moon, and met her son and Robo-Sappho. She told me that I had to do this, or I'd create a paradox."
"My name is not Robo-Sappho!" Sappho snapped.
"When exactly did Sappho become - "
"A robot?" Tommy asked. "About four years ago. Another one of Aunt Vivian's inventions. We can transfer her core consciousness from the spaceship to the robot body, and back again, in case there's an emergency and she needs to help with a mission. She spends most of her time as a robot, actually."
"They need her help that often?" Betty asked.
Tommy grinned. "No, she goes to bars a lot and flirts with pretty girls with black hair."
"It's a coincidence!"
Betty felt her head hurting, and she didn't think it was a symptom of her unexpected time travel. "So, who invented a time travel machine?"
"I did," Tommy said. "Two years ago. We call it the Time Director. Original, huh?"
"Well, you always were precocious."
"Don't worry, we hardly ever use it. The last time was three months ago. Kim had to go back in time and give Shego her plasma gloves when she was a teenager."
"What? That was her?!"
"Like I said, paradox bad."
"Right. So, is there anything else you can tell me while I'm here? For science, you understand?"
Sappho laughed. "Isn't science great?"
Tommy smiled. "Well, we can't leave this room, because the less you see, the less chance you'll change the past. The world's a pretty nice place these days, so change would also be bad. And I have strict instructions about what I can't tell you. But I do have a slide show."
He led her over to a bank of computers with oversized monitors. Betty looked at her surroundings for the first time, and saw that the room she was in had wall-to-wall technology. The only place without blinking lights or wires was the narrow corridor Tommy was leading her down.
"Here, have a seat." Tommy hit a few buttons, and the center monitor sprang to life.
"Team Possible - anything's possible for our world!"
Betty raised her eyebrows. "You do advertising?"
"Uh, no, we, um - "
"Team Possible has many fans, Dr. Director," Sappho informed her. "This is one of the most adequate 'fan videos' found on see. I'm assuming the fan in question didn't insert all those blurry images and black bars."
"No, that would be our own careful editing," Tommy replied.
From what Betty COULD see, Team Possible had expanded over the years from four members to nine. It was now three separate teams, in fact, each conducting separate missions all over the world.
All three team lineups surprised her.
Team Possible - Kim, Wade, and Yori.
"Yori comes back?"
"Thirteen years ago. She said she could do more good here."
Team Go - Shego, Monique, and Tommy.
"You're a member? Tommy, it's too dangerous! You're only eighteen - "
"A few years older than Kim was when she started. And I've been learning martial arts since I was six."
"And that chip in your head could malfunction!"
"It's in the center of my brain. Any hit that could do that would kill me first." Tommy froze when he saw the anguished look on her face. "Sorry, Mom, that didn't come out right."
Betty sighed. And she couldn't even fight it, because that would change the past. "Just keep rolling."
Team Stop - Ron, and two men she finally recognized as Jim and Tim Possible.
"They were serious about joining when they were eighteen," Tommy said. "They're great guys. They say I remind them of themselves at my age."
Oy, Betty thought.
Team Possible continued to save the world free of charge. In fact, it donated a large part of the income from its investments - including Smarty Mart, where Ron was apparently their top marketing consultant - to charities around the planet. And its headquarters was the biggest building in Middleton.
"Sorry, I know it wasn't much," Tommy said when it was over a few seconds later. "But you're better off not knowing the rest."
"Why, is it bad? Are there - are they forced to kill anyone else?"
Tommy looked uncomfortable. "Ron did, although I can't say when. That was bad, but everyone was there for him. Some of what I can't tell you is bad. And you won't be able to do anything about the bad parts, because that would - "
"Change the future," Dr. Director finished for him. "I know."
"I do have one bad thing to tell you," he said. "Mom has a precise list of everything 'I' told her, and if I leave anything out, I've changed history. In two days, Dr. Drakken and the Acceptable children kill Mrs. Acceptable, escape GJ custody and join forces."
Betty smacked her forehead. "You have got to be kidding me! Christ, I stop running things there and everything goes to hell! And now I can't even warn them!"
"No, but you CAN do some advance preparation for the first time they take Team Possible on. Mom did."
"I can't tell you how many times, but yeah, first."
Betty sighed. "Anything else on this 'list' of hers? Mine, I mean?"
Tommy looked at Sappho.
"Kim and Shego adopted a boy. Daniel is nine. Ron and Monique are married. They have a daughter, Michelle," the robot said. "Wade and Yori are also married, although they have no children."
"Wait, Ron and Monique I can see, but Wade and Yori?"
"During her final two years with the Japanese government, Wade becomes her go-to computer geek. They become close. When the age difference is no longer a problem, they begin dating."
Betty scratched her head, and then paused. "Am I married too?"
Tommy became wide-eyed. "Whoa, whoa, whoa! Mom says that's completely off-limits!"
"What, what happens?!" Betty asked alarmed.
"Hello? What if I have bad news? What if, hypothetically speaking, I tell you that you dated Steve Barkin for a month, or six months, or six years? You're not going to bother dating a guy if you know it won't last! And then you've changed history! I can tell you that you're with someone today, and you're happy, and that's it. No names!"
Betty considered that. It was completely logical, but if her relationship with Steve lasted, there would be no reason not to tell her that, would there?
Then again, it certainly wasn't fair to herself or Steve to break things off on the basis of Tommy telling her nothing. And she was with somebody, and she didn't have anyone else in her life other than Tommy, Team Possible, Kim's family, and Vivian.
So she resolved that it wouldn't have any impact on their relationship.
In the back of her mind, though, she wondered.
"Fine, I won't ask anything else," Betty said. "Unless there's something else you need to tell me."
Tommy calmed down. "Just one thing." He leaned forward and kissed her on the cheek. "Rely on your instincts and your judgment for when you make decisions, and forget about what you learned here. Mom says I came to bring you hope for the future. We're going to be all right. She thought you could use that."
Betty blinked back a tear and nodded. "She's right. I'm right. The woman I'll be."
"Yeah, yeah, it's confusing, I got it."
"Tommy, we should be getting her back," Sappho said. "We've told her everything, and the longer she stays, the greater chance there is that she learns something else."
"Sappho is right," Betty said. "I should be going. It's not like you're going to miss me."
Tommy's smile widened. "Yes, that's true. Although maybe we could play catch first. I bet you're a little sprier right now."
"I'm from the past and you're making jokes about my age?"
Tommy led her back to the platform she'd arrived on. "See ya later, Mom," he said.
"Fifteen years later," Betty said, chuckling. "And Sappho? You look great. More than a bit like Vivian, actually."
Sappho smiled brightly. "Thank you, Dr. Director. Vivian did design me, after all. And of course you think I look great."
Betty shook her head as the light from the portal appeared and blinded her. Sappho was still a little too full of herself.
When her vision cleared, she was home again. She went into the next room and looked down at her son's sleeping form.
"Don't worry about not knowing what's to come," she whispered to her son. "We're all going to live happily ever after."
Author's Note: Wow. I guess I should say something here, because it's my last chance, isn't it?
When I started work on An Unacceptable Sitch four years ago (I'm amazed it was so long ago now), I didn't anticipate this kind of commitment. I was a fan of the show, especially this one woman named Shego, but I didn't have a level of commitment that would lead me to write a six-part epic. I thought it would be a one-shot deal, and then I'd move on to other things.
Funny how that worked out, huh?
Two things happened - one, I really enjoyed writing AUS. It was a lot of fun, and working on it, I think, increased the level of enjoyment I got from watching the show. It made people like Kim and Shego become doubly alive for me. Two, the readers were incredibly enthusiastic and encouraging. I have never received a reaction from readers like I did for my Kim Possible work.
And then AUS ended without a Kim/Shego moment, which came as a bit of a surprise to me since it was supposed to be a one-shot with a Kim/Shego ending. But I realized it was too soon for the two women to move to that stage of the relationship, so it was a damn good thing I was writing another story, huh?
This series plotted itself extremely well. I've known what the major events of Milky Way would be - the space station, Gemini, Junior, Senior's death, Betty's jaunt to the future - for over two years. My imagination seemed to be especially fertile for these stories.
I think it's fitting that I finish this series right around the same time as the show ends. I do admit that I don't watch the show like I used to. I've pretty much become a watcher of only episodes involving Shego - I'm as devoted to her as I've ever been. Which is probably how Kim/Shego started in the first place for me. I quickly decided I wanted a story where Shego could be happy, and in the Disneyverse, a villain can't be happy until they renounce evil and find redemption. Falling in love with Kim seemed like a logical way to do that.
These stories - not to mention Undercurrent and Too Many Possibles - have been personally fulfilling to me. I have loved every chapter of them. And I really appreciate what the fans have said and done for me. I owe much of this to you, and I thank you.
And that's the end. Thank you, Kim. Thank you, Ron. Thank you, Shego. Thank you, Christy and Will and Nicole and Raven and all you great actors and actresses. Thank you, Steve and Mark and Bob and all you writers. Thank you, readers. Thank you for being my muses.