I don't own these characters and I don't own Blade.

5: Hope

Kim tossed and turned in her empty coffin, having another nightmare. It was a good thing that she was the only person in the box or Shego, who sometimes shared the space with her, would have been pummeled in her sleep. Shego had opted to sleep in her bed that morning as she had been doing the past few days.

The redheaded vampire had thought that something was up with Shego when she started going back to her bed, but she considered that Shego might just need space in more way than one. After all, the coffin did not leave much room for moving around if two people were in it and maybe Shego just wanted to some time alone. Kim could understand needing some time alone.

Despite the fact that she had Shego, Kim still sometimes felt completely and totally alone. She was just different and she was not sure if there was someone else like her in the world. It did not help that she felt out of touch with all of humanity since she was not human at all anymore. She felt isolated, a lone island in a massive, rough sea, and it did not help that she had not seen her family since her transformation.

She had not seen anything from her old life since she was turned into a vampire. Not just because of GJ holding her captive, but she was not sure if she could or should show herself in her current state. She did not trust herself to be around her loved ones, especially since she knew how she often looked at humans.

The pain that she felt from not having her life anymore and possibly being the only vampire on the planet was indescribable. She often wished that one day she would just wake up and find that it had all been a nightmare. That day never came, though.

The redhead woke up that night and went out to the living room of the apartment. She thought that Shego might be out there, either waiting for her to tell her about their next assignment or just lounging, but the living room was empty. She checked in the kitchen, thinking that Shego might be making herself some breakfast, but that was not happening either. The bathroom was the last place for her to check, but it was also unoccupied.

Kim's brown wrinkled and she felt a small shiver of panic speed through her. Where's Shego? She stopped herself from bugging out as she recalled that there was still one last place that she had not looked. She went to Shego's bedroom, which was covered in books and papers. The books and papers were from Shego's research.

Shego was trying to figure out a way to change Kim back since GJ did not seem to be doing the trick. It had already been five years. They had gone on many wild goose chases, with the permission of Doctor Director, going after things that should have cured Kim as far as books were concerned, but they had done nothing for her. She was still very much a vampire.

The "cures" tended to fake them out every now and then. It was like Kim would take the cure or they would do the ritual or whatever and Kim would feel different for a moment. They would get hopeful and then the feeling would pass. They would see that she was still a blood-drinker. It was a bit infuriating.

It also was frustrating for Shego because Kim often insisted on coming with her when she went to go hunt for potential cures. The young vampire did not like being left completely alone, so if Shego was going to go some place on the other side of the world, Kim wanted to come. It was unbelievably difficult dragging a vampire around the world because Kim needed her coffin to be dragged with her.

Other than having to take Kim everywhere, Shego was frustrated because none of the cures worked. She read folklore from all over the world and anything else that she could get her hands on, hoping that somewhere the truth and the cure were buried. She just wanted Kim back and she did not care where she had to go or what she had to do in order to get her old foe back to normal.

Kim, herself, had slowly adjusted to what she was, even if she was different and feeling alone at times. She had gotten over feeling like a monster thanks to Shego, who was very supportive of her. Shego talked to her about it often and did her best to make sure that Kim accepted that it was not her fault that she was changed and she was not evil for craving what was now in her nature. Even with those feelings, she still had some trouble with the hand life had dealt her and sometimes let self-loathing leak into her heart.

The redhead stepped into the bedroom and saw that Shego was lying in her bed. She was sleeping with a book in her hand. She was on top of some papers and had a book underneath her head on top of her pillow.

"I never would've thought that the great and mighty Shego would end up something like a crazed librarian," the former hero muttered. "Of course, I never imagined myself ending up a vampire, so fair's fair."

Kim moved some of the papers and the books off of the bed. She covered Shego with the blanket that was on her bed and made sure that Shego's head was rested perfectly on the pillow. She then kissed Shego on the cheek and left the room.

The vampire was not sure what she was going to do with herself since Shego was sleeping. Usually when they did not have a mission, they hung out and watched television or they played games or just something. She was not accustomed to having the night to herself and she tried to think back to what she used to do at times like this before she was changed. Nothing came to mind.

"I guess I'll have to improvise."

The first thing that Kim did was grab herself something to eat from out of the refrigerator. Global Justice had recently come up with a synthetic form of blood for her to feed on. That was just about the only thing that they had done to help her since her transformation and, from what she could tell, it might be the only thing that they could do to help her because they did not seem any closer to a cure from when Shego first brought her in.

The synthetic blood tasted like ashes as far as she was concerned, but it did do the job that it needed to do, namely it kept her alive and well. She could not drink it all the time, though or it did have the habit of making her sick. So, she still needed human blood on occasion, which she typically got from Shego. If she did not get the blood from Shego, GJ delivered packets for her to drink.

Her relationship with Shego was now a complicated one, even though they both did not acknowledge that. They needed each other and that went beyond Kim's requiring blood. A clue that both ladies were still human, despite what others (Global Justice) would like to believe, was the fact that they needed company. They needed someone to share their lives with and with Kim being a vampire, Shego was just about the only person willing to trust her enough to be stay around her. Shego was still serving a long sentence for all of her crimes and she had little desire to serve the time in a prison, probably in solitary confinement considering the escape risk that she was.

They were the best of friends, not that either of them would acknowledge that. They had a bond that they never spoke on, but they both knew it was there. They recognized things in each other that no one else saw in them, even before things got weird; or so they thought, anyway. Along with their deep connection, they did things that regular friends did.

They talked at length, had good-natured arguments, and even when they disagreed, they would make up before the night was over. They enjoyed being physically close to each other and often embraced each other for no reason, just needing to reminder that someone cared. They seemed to know what they both needed, even without any words being passed between them, which was why Kim knew not to bother Shego for the past few days.

Shego needed some space for whatever reason. Kim guessed that while the green-skinned woman was getting her space, she was going to have to find something to do with her time. And she got the perfect idea. She just hoped it did not get Shego into any trouble since the older woman was her official babysitter. She also hoped that Shego did not wake up anytime soon or she would undoubtedly freak out.

Kim vanished from the apartment and decided to go see what she was missing on the outside world, the world that GJ did not trust in her despite the fact that she had not caused any trouble yet. She had not done anything to warrant such distrust, especially since she had Shego watching her. In all the years that she had been a predator, she had not attacked anyone; well, she had not attacked anyone to feed on the person, anyway. Being an informal GJ agent, of course she attacked people, but they were bad guys.

She appeared on the street and started walking around. It felt nice to just be able to do such a simple thing. While being stuck working for GJ, yes, she got to go outside, but she did not get to do anything simple. She usually had to go and find a criminal and subdue the villain. At the moment, she did not even have to think about bad guys.

Kim strolled down the street and she knew immediately what she wanted to do while she was out on her own. She wanted to check on her family first and foremost and so she started in the direction of her home. She wondered what they had been up to in the last … five years she believed it was.

Time to Kim had become an odd thing. She did not perceive large amounts of time the way she used to. They just did not seem so large. Everything sort of ran together too since she could only come out at night. Time also had no affect on her really, so it did not matter too much.

She did not make her presence known when she arrived at the house. Her family still thought that she was missing person. They kept a candle in the window for her and it was lit at the moment she arrived. Doctor Director told her about the candle, trying to assure her that her family had not forgotten her. She thought it was nice, if not a little silly, for the woman that would not let her go out on her own out of fear that she might eat someone was trying to comfort her by letting her know that she was remembered somewhere. Doctor Director told her a lot about her family, but undoubtedly told her family nothing about her.

"I don't know why that depresses me more. Even upsets me sometimes. Maybe its because sometimes it feels like she's only giving me the information to make sure I don't go crazy and tear all of GJ apart," Kim muttered to herself.

She noticed her parents inside the house, alone. Her brothers had graduated high school and were off to college. It's kind of funny, she thought; her brothers were in college. She had not even gotten the chance to finish her last year of high school. Well, she supposed the bright side to not going to college was that she did not have to see the tweebs considering they went to a college in the same town that she wanted to go to college in. She was proud of them, though.

"Wish I could tell them how proud I am. Wish I told them how much I actually loved them before all of this crap happened. I mean, I'm sure they know, but I wish I had told them, even though they were annoying little brothers, I did love them," Kim sighed and shook her head.

She had left so many things unsaid or undone, but she thought she had time. She had been seventeen, after all. No teenager ever considered that her life could be ended so easily and Kim was a special case as her life had been ended without even dying.

"Well, I guess I did die. All my blood was drained out of me and I'm pretty much an animated corpse," Kim said and then she shook her head. "Stop thinking about that stuff. I should see Mom and Dad. I hope they're okay." She moved to another window to scan for her parents.

Her parents, as far as she knew and could see, were still pretty much the same, outwardly anyway. She knew that they were wondering where she was and probably scared that she had died a long time ago, which was true in a sense, but she was still there. She had changed, but she liked to think that she was still Kim and that they could still love her. She wished that she could just go in the house and tell them that everything was all right and that she alive, but she could not do that now. Not while she was still the way she was.

She did not think that her parents would turn her away because she was vampire, but it would only bring more trouble into their lives. They would see that she was alive, but they would have to know that she survived off of human blood. They would have to deal with the fact that GJ was keeping her on a very short leash and that she was not really allowed out into the general population. They would have to know that they probably would not be able to see her whenever they felt like it and that she was a lab rat for some very curious people back at GJ. They would have to know that she was not happy with her life, despite having a life and having Shego with her, and there was nothing that they could do to change that. It would be a lot to deal with, especially as parents, and she did not want to put them through that.

They could imagine that she was somewhere better and that she was totally fine, she figured if she did not reveal herself. They could hope for the best instead of seeing what she was reduced to. She was going to return to them someday, but not now. She would do it when she could completely trust herself and it would not enter her mind that her parents were something inferior, as she had a small habit of doing when humans started getting annoying in someway or haughty.

Well, she supposed that she could leave her parents something to ease their anxiety. She did not want them to keep wondering, even though she had plans to see them at some point. It was just that not knowing that was bothering her. She did not want her parents to always wonder was she dead or was she alive. She wanted them to be able to move if only a little bit.

She vanished from where she was and reappeared in her old bedroom. She had teleporting down rather well, practicing as much as she could. She could do it for some distance without much trouble. Also she did not have to worry about where she was appearing because she could see the place right before she was about to reappear, so she knew if she had to change where she was going to touchdown.

She floated when she got into the room because she did not want to make any noise touching the floor. Her parents would have heard the footsteps and probably thought that they were being robbed or something like that. She did not want to alarm them or call any attention to herself.

She looked around the room. It was just how she left it. It seemed like she was going to come back to it within minutes, instead it had been years since she had been there. She had outgrown many of the things in it too. She wondered about the posters on her wall and the stuffed animals on her bed. I was just a teenager, she reminded herself.

"Well, I am still a teenager," she commented, looking down at herself.

She had gotten used to how she was now for the most part, so she did forget that she was a teenager when she was turned. Age did not really enter her mind anymore and she guessed that was because it did not matter to her anymore. She did not age. She was stuck in her seventeen year old body forever and it was better to not think about that. It would be depressing if she thought that she was always going to be seventeen.

She would never get older like a normal human being. She would never do a lot of things that normal humans did as they grew up, grew older, and lived their lives. The very idea used to get her down a lot. She just tried to never think about those things now. She could do some things and that was enough for the moment. Things could have been worse. After all, she could have just died back in the castle and not changed. Out of everything that happened, she was glad that she was still alive in some way because as long as she was still alive, there was hope in her mind.

Kim grabbed some paper from her computer desk and began writing her parents a note. It was not a long note. It was just to tell them that she was alive and that she was going to see them again someday soon. She just could not see them now because she had to work through some things. She told them that they did not have to worry about her and that they did not have to carry around the weight of not knowing anymore. They could breathe easy because she would be home again one day.

She then took that note and left it on the dining room table; she could hear her parents in the living room. She figured that they would notice the note in the morning since the table was clear. She was right about that.

The vampire then vanished from the house. She walked around the old neighborhood and even went to Ron's house. Ron did not live there anymore. He was an adult, a grown man. He lived in Japan, running a restaurant that he just recently started. He was married to Yori and even went on ninja missions with her.

Kim had seen him not too long ago, but he had not seen her. She had seen him when missions that they had collided, but she had stayed well hidden. He had seen Shego and actually got to talking to her, revealing some of his inner most feelings because he still worried about Kim. It gnawed at him that he had not been able to protect her, to help her, and he hated not knowing what happened to her. He could barely even talk to Yori about it, he had confessed and she was the person that he was closest to in the world now.

Shego had done something unlike her at the time and assured Ron that Kim was fine and he did not need to worry about her anymore. He did not know what to say to it and she told him to shut up for once and just take it in. So, he did.

He seemed to be doing pretty well outside of the depression he had in thinking about his missing best friend from what Kim could tell. She had sneaked off to see him for a moment; well, she had not really sneaked off. Shego let her go for a while, telling her not to bite any strangers without their permission as a joke. He seemed happy with his life for the most part. She was happy for him.

Seeing that Ron had moved on as best he could, it helped her move on as best she could. It also reinvigorated her on not allowing her new nature to get the better of her. Seeing Ron gave her more hope and drive to become human again, to be able to live in the world again, and to one day be able to tell Ron to his face that he had not failed her in any way. She knew that he had done all he could, she had done all she could, and it still was not enough. They had just been outmatched that day.

Now, seeing her parents and old neighborhood also helped her. She might not be able to go back to the way things were, but she had to move on and she would hopefully be able to reenter everyone's lives without them having to freak out over what she was now eventually. She wanted to be totally fine with herself to show them that they could be totally fine with her. She did not want them to feel bad for her, so she had to feel good about herself and she was getting there. She accepted herself for the most part now and she thought that would help others accept her.

She wandered by the old high school and decided to walk around it. She went on the football field and thought about all the cheerleading that she had done for the team. It was another lifetime ago, it seemed. She felt nostalgic, but not regretful.

She wished that she had graduated high school, but it was something that she just was not going to do more than likely. She accepted that. She was not going to get to do certain things. She did not lose hope, but she accepted what she was.

"I have to accept what I am or just live in a hole for the rest of eternity and I'm not about that," Kim reminded herself. Not that Shego would let me hide out from the rest of the world anyway.

She walked around for the rest of the night and almost got caught by the sun. She made it home just in time and practically dived into her coffin, even though she was safe once she made it into her room. She settled into her casket and felt a little better than she had when she woke up. She felt like everything was going to be all right, no matter what happened.

-8-8-8-8-

The doctors' Possible woke up to find the note that had been left by Kim. They cried as they read it, knowing it was real because they recognized her handwriting. They were so glad to know that their daughter was still alive. It felt like a weight had been lifted off of their shoulders and they could go on so much easier. She was going to come home someday. They were going to see her again. She was all right. It was the best news that they had ever received.

-8-8-8-8-

Shego rose in the morning, yawning. She pushed her covers away from her and got out of bed. She staggered by the piles of books in her path and went to the bathroom. She washed her face, which helped awake her up completely. She then went out into the living room and drew all of the curtains.

She breathed in deeply as the morning sun bathed her in light. It felt so good to be in the light again. The past few days she had just been enjoying the sun. For long time, she had tried to stay on Kim's schedule, sleeping in the day, rising at night, even sleeping in Kim's comfortable coffin.

She had no problem with doing that. She enjoyed being with Kim, but she missed a lot of the things. The sun was at the top of that list. So, for the moment, she was just going to revel in the light.

"All I need is a beach chair," she mumbled with a half-smile.

She wished that they had balcony because she could sunbathe on it. But, their apartment was not that great. She guessed that she could just leave for a little while and go out into a park to sunbathe. It was not like Kim was going to go anywhere while she was gone, so there should not be much of a problem. If Doctor Director called and she was gone, it could spell trouble.

The leader of GJ typically called a few times a week to make sure that she and Kim were where they were supposed to be. As far as GJ were considered, she and Kim were just about the most dangerous duo on the planet at the moment and they wanted to make sure they were in their apartment at all times. Maybe they were right in a way.

Shego acknowledged that she and Kim had the potential to be a deadly duo, but neither of them had any interest in it. Shego passed her time trying to find out ways to get Kim back to normal. She knew more folklore than most people holding doctorates on the matter. She also knew that no one through out history so far was right about ways to cure a human from being a vampire. She wished those Blade movies had been right about vampirism being a virus with a cure.

From what Shego could tell, vampirism was somewhat more like what it was thought of in the Middle Ages, the undead. But, it was stranger than that. Kim was very certain that Adrian had killed her, but while GJ conducted tests on the redhead, they found that she was in alive. She had a heartbeat, brain activity, and blood coursing through her veins. Her body was even warm like any other living creature; she just was not as warm as an average human being. Kim had died, but came back to life. She was something beyond their comprehension because she was alive, needed blood to remain that way, but did not age like other living things. They could not explain her.

Shego did not want an explanation. She still wanted a cure, even though that would come with consequences. Once Kim was cured, she would be free to go and Shego would be left serving her time alone, in a rank prison cell most assuredly. It was a maddening thought, but Shego had promised that she was going to cure Kim.

Shego felt a responsibility toward Kim now. It ran deep within her and she actually liked the feeling. She had gotten used to the feeling and she wanted to keep her word to the petite vampire. It was frustrating to find that she could not do that because there did not seem to be a cure for Kim's particular disease.

"If it is a disease," she snorted.

She had not noticed that Kim stopped viewing it as a disease or an ailment a while ago. It did not matter to Shego what it was anyway. She was focused on curing the girl and that was that. She wanted Kim to be happy since she had taken the time out of her life to go find the girl and everything.

She went and made herself some breakfast. It felt good to eat breakfast food during breakfast time. She also liked eating alone. When she did eat with Kim around, the redhead had a habit of watching her. She thought that Kim longed to eat human food again, but that was not really the case.

Kim just liked watching Shego for some reason that was beyond the young vampire. Some people might have thought that Kim was watching a desired meal. Sometimes, Kim even wondered if that was why she stared, but she did not feel attacking Shego and feeding off of her. Kim hardly ever felt like attacking anyone lately. She had that pretty much under control, which Shego knew better than the vampire herself since Kim still sometimes wondered while Shego was certain that the girl would never attack someone as a meal.

Shego enjoyed the waffles that she made for herself and then she just went and stood by the window. The sunlight felt so good. It was like getting into a warm bath with bubbles, bath beads, and other luxury items. She wished that she could bottle the feeling to save it for later when she got back on Kim's schedule.

"When I go back to doing everything for Kim," she said, but she sounded pleased about it.

She could not believe how much she had changed for one little vampire, but she felt good about the change. She had someone in her life that she cared about and someone that cared about her in return just as much. Someone that saw her as an equal and not a subordinate. Someone that would do anything for her and she obviously would do anything for, including give blood and become an expert in folklore.

She guessed that things would be better if only they were not prisoners. It was only natural to get a little down under such circumstances, she told herself. The thought was not as comforting as she would have liked it to be.

She was drawn out of her thoughts as the phone rang. She could not believe that Doctor Director was calling so early. She knew that it was the one-eyed woman because she was the only one with their number. She decided to answer if only to find out what was so important that Doctor Director was calling during a time she and Kim were typically asleep.

"Yeah?" Shego answered the phone.

"Aren't you supposed to be watching our friendly neighborhood vampire?" Betty demanded with a growl.

"Why? You want me to open the coffin and see her sleeping?" Shego countered.

"One of the agents spotted her on the street last night."

Shego snorted. "What are your agents doing with leisure time? Shouldn't they be saving the world or something? And besides, why should I care, anyway?"

"People could have been hurt," the one-eyed woman pointed out.

"But, they weren't, so let's just end the discussion right now before feelings get hurt," Shego replied. Okay, so Kim went out last night, so what? No one was dead; Doctor Director was too calm for someone to be dead or even bitten. What the hell is problem? Well, beyond the fact that GJ is so goddamn uptight, it's a surprise that anyone working there can blink considering how tense they are.

"You're supposed to watch her. She could've hurt someone."

"She's not going to hurt anyone. Geez, you're more of a cynic than I am. She's pretty much the same kid you knew and used to get do your dirty work for. She wants to help and she does. She just can't go out in the sun anymore and drinks blood. Calm down, I don't see her knocking you for eating chicken. She's not going around talking about how you might hurt the chickens," the green-skinned woman pointed out.

"This isn't funny. You keep an eye on her or—" the leader of GJ was cut off.

"Or what? You'll throw me in a maximum-security prison and try to keep an eye on her yourself? Good luck," Shego scoffed. The only reason that she could keep an eye on Kim was because the redhead wanted her to and everyone knew that.

Betty was frowning on the other end of the line and it was clear in her tone. "Just watch her."

"Yeah, yeah, yeah," Shego said and she hung up the phone because she did not feel like dealing with Betty anymore. She really hated that woman.

Shego went to check on Kim. She was not sure why, but she did. She went to the dark room and lifted the lid of the coffin just a little bit. Kim was in there as expected and sleeping like the dead, curled up on her side with a pillow under her head. Shego closed the casket before she accidentally woke the vampire up.

Once she was certain that Kim was there, she guessed anyway, she went to the living room and watched some television. She was tempted to watch the news, but resisted the temptation. She did not need to know anything about the outside world since she was no longer a part of it. So, she never watched the news and was not about to break that streak.

She watched some cartoons. They were her and Kim's favorite things to watch on television. She was not sure why, but she just thought that they were hilarious. Well, the classic ones, anyway. She was not too much a fan of the new cartoons. They even got GJ to spring for some DVDs and they had a huge collection of classic cartoons. They also had a bunch of movies from just about the times since movies were invented to recent blockbusters.

So, Shego passed the time watching television and just loving the sun on her skin. After a while, she decided to go back to her research, hoping to find some new clue to a cure. She went to her room and picked up her books. She drew the curtains and let the light from the sun in her room. She got into that and did not notice when the darkness was taking over the room.

Shego then suddenly went rigid. A second later she felt hands wrapping around her waist and a small weight against her back. It's funny, she thought. Even with the fact that Kim could appear out of nowhere, she still knew when the girl was around without seeing her. It was a sense that came in handy when living with a tricky little vampire.

"What did I tell about coming in my room without knocking?" Shego teased.

"You said I shouldn't do the mist thing to come in," Kim replied.

"Then how'd you get this time?"

"Came in through a shadow."

"Don't do that either then," Shego said.

"You're not leaving me many options in sneaking into your room," the redhead remarked.

"That would be the point."

"You're just mad because you can't sneak into my room," Kim joked.

"I just did this morning. You were sleeping," Shego pointed out.

"Yeah, it was morning. And you're reading again," Kim sighed.

"Doy."

"You should take a break."

Shego shook her head, against that idea. Kim was not for that and swiftly reached for the book that Shego was reading. She yanked the book and flung it across the room.

"Kimmie!" Shego huffed.

"You stress over the books too much. Take a break. You don't need to do this every single night or every waking moment. I'm all right as I am for the moment. So, you don't need to break your back over me," Kim informed the older female and then she kissed Shego's neck.

Shego expected fangs to be involved with that kiss because sometimes Kim would playfully nip her, but that was not the case. It was just a nice, deep, soothing kiss. It was a ploy to get her to stop working, she knew that, but that did not mean anything.

"You mean, you don't want to be human again?" Shego inquired with an arched eyebrow.

"Not that. It's just I'm all right with how I am, like you're all right with how you are, so you can take a break. You don't have to work every waking moment for my sake and wear yourself out," Kim replied.

Shego was not sure if she totally understood until she realized what Kim meant. Shego was different thanks to her powers. Some people might not even know that she was human. But, she was happy the way that she was. She doubted that she would go back to normal if she could. So, maybe Kim had grown used to how she was and could stand living like that.

The only thing was that if Kim remained a vampire, they would never go back to the way that they were. They would not be able to fight like they used to. Well, they could spar, but she could not ignite her hands to do it or she would kill Kim. She guessed that things were not so bad. It was actually hard to think that things were so bad with the small amount of warm weight against her.

Despite everything, they still had each other. They would be there for each other. And when they were ready, they were going to go off on their own whether Global Justice liked it or not.

"Well, I guess I can spare a few minutes," Shego said with a smile and that caused Kim to smile, too.

-8-8-8-8-

The End.