Title: Professional Courtesy (1/1)
Disclaimers: See at bottom.
Summary: Gotham. The determined hero. The sexy thief. The sparks flying. Wait, you thought I meant Batman and Catwoman?
She stayed back in the shadows and watched with a degree of puzzlement. The thief was good, of that there was no doubt. The necklace was heavily protected - TOO heavily, considering its value in comparison to other items in the gallery, she thought - but the thief was handling a complicated web of lasers with an acrobatic ease that suggested both great skill and experience.
She wanted to wait and see how the other woman handled the security system on the glass case, but her curiosity was getting the better of her. It wasn't just that the necklace was, according to her research, not worth the trouble the museum was going to protect it. It was that this new thief certainly appeared to be experienced, and yet she was trying to steal the jewelry instead of a half-dozen different paintings each worth close to a million dollars. As if she hadn't done her homework, and instead merely assumed that the most valuable item would have the best security. Lack of preparation was a rookie mistake.
There were multiple explanations, of course. The mystery thief had been specifically hired to steal the necklace, which would explain why she was unfamiliar - a freelancer. Or the necklace had some personal meaning for her. Or she wanted to test herself.
Or she could just ask the thief herself. Without sounding like she wanted to be a mentor. "Say, you know that Cezanne is worth twelve times the necklace is, and it'll require one-quarter of the work."
At least, judging by the thief's completely black ensemble, she wasn't a "themed" criminal. That was one more headache the city didn't need.
Unless she was supposed to be the new Shade or something.
The sound of clapping hands brought the thief up short as she was reaching claw-tipped gloves toward the display case. She turned around just in time to see a tall woman with long black hair emerge from the shadows. Her eyes widened as they took in all - that - purple.
"Don't mind me, I just wanted to show my appreciation for a little artistry."
"Catwoman," the thief said flatly.
Catwoman, an "okay" burglar in her own right, smiled easily. "So your eyes do work. Good. I thought you might be one of those blind karate prodigies. Because you have to realize what you're stealing isn't worth as much as half the items in this room."
"It's not about the money," the other woman said irritably. "You're not who I was expecting."
"Smart. Most people just assume Batman won't show up at all."
"I wasn't talking about him." The thief sighed and vaulted through the laser network the way she came in. "So what, did I invade your territory? Are you going to arch your back and hiss now?"
Catwoman frowned. "There's no need to get snippy with me."
"Sorry, I get snippy with everyone." She pulled off her mask and allowed black waves of hair to come cascading down, looking as if she'd just stepped out of the salon. Then she unzipped the front of her outfit, revealing a flash of pale green.
Catwoman raised an eyebrow. "Okay."
The other woman kicked away the black clothes once they were down around her feet. Underneath she had on a tight catsuit in a crazy pattern of black and green. She also wore one green boot and glove, and one black boot and glove. In the dim light Catwoman could make out pale skin with a greenish tint.
Themed, yes. Criminal, not that Catwoman had heard lately. "Shego," she said.
"I guess you've heard of me," Shego said dryly.
"I heard plenty about your exploits when we were younger," Catwoman replied. "And everyone's heard of Team Possible. But that makes you a good guy now."
"Ahem, pot calling kettle black?" Shego pointed out. "One of the best cat burglars in the world, and now here you are, interrupting my little smash-and-grab, come to arrest me?"
"Pffft. I'm no hero," Catwoman said. "I was just on my nightly prowl when I saw the entrance to one of my favorite secret ways in here was open."
"I'm no hero either," Shego replied. "I'm just trading my services for sexual favors."
In her years of trading barbs with Batman, Catwoman was fairly certain that one had never been used.
"So, since we're both thieves, how about a little professional courtesy? You get back to your prowl, I get back to my appointment?"
"Appointment," Catwoman echoed. "You said earlier you were expecting someone, but it wasn't me or Batman. So who was it?"
Catwoman had never met Kim Possible. She wasn't even a reserve member of the Justice League like Catwoman was. (Figuring out how THAT came about was a Gordian knot she hadn't untied yet.) They had to have given Possible an invitation at some point - Team Possible, Inc. had saved the world, oh, eleven times by now. So she must have declined.
She didn't have a lot of fondness for the condescending super-powered schmucks of the League, so a hero with no powers of her own - a hero like one of the Bat-clan, really - who told the JL "no" couldn't be that bad.
Catwoman glanced sideways and saw Kim Possible, evidently having just arrived from the very same entrance she and Shego had used. Her outfit was just as skintight as Shego's, but it was white with the occasional glowing blue stripe. "Maybe I should just put a blinking neon arrow on the roof," Catwoman said. "Museum Secret Access - Enter Here."
"There's no crime here, Catwoman," Kim said. "Unless that's why you came here."
"Let's just chalk it up to a cat's curiosity. It's not my concern whether there's a crime taking place or not. Like I told her, that's the Batman's problem, not mine."
Kim nodded. "We don't want to keep you from whatever activities you had planned."
A light bulb went on in Catwoman's head. "You two want to be alone, you mean," she said, chuckling. "Is this the 'trading of sexual favors' Shego told me about?"
The heroine turned bright red in under a second. "Shego!" she hissed, scandalized.
"Something the matter, Pumpkin?"
"And this whole setup," Catwoman realized, gesturing to the defenses surrounding the necklace on display, "that's all it is, an elaborate setup. You planned it so you'd interrupt Shego, either during the robbery or while she was escaping. You're right, this isn't a crime." She gave Kim a naughty smile. "This is just foreplay."
At this point Kim looked utterly mortified, while Shego just chuckled.
"Looking to recapture the old magic?" Catwoman asked.
"Sometimes," Shego replied wryly, seeing Kim wasn't going to answer, "sparring sessions aren't enough. The necklace is mine. We loaned it to the museum. We're paying for everything, the security, all of it. The only stipulation to the agreement is that when the necklace disappears in the middle of the night, they don't report it to the police."
Catwoman nodded. "Why here? Why Gotham? Even if I hadn't shown up, you had to know Batman might."
"We've . . . done this in other cities," Kim mumbled.
"Different museums, different ways in - just trying to keep things interesting," Shego added.
"I understand," Catwoman said. "Still, as a Gotham resident, I should point out that Batman won't like it if he finds out you two are playing games like this in his city."
"I think we'll just call it an early night anyway," Shego replied. "Kimmie's been completely thrown off her game."
"I have not!" Kim said hotly. "You're the one sharing secrets of our sex life!"
"Doy, you can be such a prude, Princess."
They'd stopped paying attention to Catwoman in the heat of the argument, and she chuckled as she slipped away. They were cute in their own way. Kind of like Dick and Barbara, if you pretended one of them was a man.
"Breaking and exiting?"
Catwoman knew he was there even before he spoke. "The door was open," she told Batman, "so I wouldn't say 'breaking', no."
"What's going on in there?" the hero asked.
"Just a couple heroes remembering what it was like when one of them was on the wrong side of the law," Catwoman said lightly.
Batman scowled. "Team Possible has been playing this game in a steady eastward march across the country," he said. "It's irresponsible. Someone could get hurt, irreplaceable items could be damaged - "
Somehow she wasn't surprised he'd known all along. "I think they know what they're doing. Why not let them have their night? Call it . . . professional courtesy."
"I won't cut someone slack just because we're on the same side."
"Actually, I was referring to how you also like remembering 'old times', Bruce," Catwoman said, grinning wickedly.
"I'll take that as a yes. Speaking of which, feel like a chase?"
Before he could answer, she unfurled her whip and used it to swing across to the next building over. She leapt nimbly through the shadows and out of sight.
Batman's lip did something that could maybe be interpreted as a hint of a smile. Then he pulled out a grapple and fired it, following after her.
And in the building below . . .
"Hand it over, Shego!"
"Mmmm, but I think it looks good on me, Kimmie. Don't you?"
Author's Note - This is not actually part of my "Unacceptable Sitch" series. Or my "Bridesmaid" series. My KP and DC Comics fanfics operate in two different universes. For the purposes of this story, let's just assume that two worlds happened to join for the space of a night.
Disclaimers - Kim Possible and Shego belong to Disney. Batman and Catwoman belong to DC Comics.