Disclaimer: Kim Possible and all related characters belong to Disney.
Her thoughts stirred slowly, shifting and configuring. For the woman in question it was like waking up from death itself. The darkness around her slowly peeled back as she opened her eyes.
Shego did like the reality she was waking up to.
She found herself lying facedown on the roof of Bueno Nacho, her face lying in a ever forming puddle, courtesy of the night's torrential rain. Through the corner of her submerged eye she could make out strands of scarlet weaving throughout the water.
Something else came to Shego's attention: the considerable pain wracking her body. Breathing itself was causing Shego harm; a sure sign of broken ribs. Not the first time Shego had put up with such an injury, but that simple fact did not make it any easier to tolerate the pain.
That was merely the beginning of Shego's discoveries. She could feel the hot blood running down the right side of her face and dripping down onto the cement roof below her, forming the red strands she could see dancing in the puddle. With each fading heartbeat more blood gushed from the gash on Shego's forehead. Worse was the muscle spasm. Shego was not only losing blood, but twitching sporadically. A side effect of experiencing a massive amount of electric shock just moments before.
Despite all the problems facing her, Shego could only say one thing in regards to her current situation. "Was that me that just kicked me?"
Shego slowly pressed her hands against the roof's surface, ignoring the pain that shot up her left arm from wrist to shoulder. She tried to push herself up, but there was something besides the pain that refused her request. Shego could feel the weight pressing down on her back. The woman grew annoyed at the increasingly dificult situation presented before her, and turned her head to the side. She could plainly see what was impeding her progress. She was covered in all sorts of scrap metal and pieces of machinery.
That only furthered Shego's desire to get up off the floor. She bit her lip hard enough to draw blood, and once more pressed the palms of her hands against the cold concrete. She began to push again, a low and guttural growl escaping Shego's mouth as pain washed over her body in response to her actions.
Shego felt her elbows begin to buckle under her own weight coupled with that of the machinery pinning her down. Her anger began to take hold of her mind; anger at her current predicament, and at herself for being so weak. Her hands came alive with the green Go Team Glow. The added boost of power and rage combined allowed Shego make it up to her knees, throwing the machinery off her form. A scream of victory and anger let loose from Shego as she did so, almost drowning out the thunderous sky above her.
"Takes more than that..." Shego whispered to no one in particular, her erratic breathing coming to a stop, "to put me down... What happened to me?"
Trying to ignore the blood getting into her eyes and obscuring her vision, Shego shifted her gaze upwards, looking to where she had just been, or so she remembered. Shego tried to concentrate, but her mind was a jumbled mess, recent memories a puzzle she just could not piece together. Despite all that, Shego looked up. Standing so high above her was a woman.
Shego strained her eyes to make out just who it was, but the darkness of the encroaching night combined with her diminished vision made it difficult to discern.
Is that... me?
Slowly, things came into focus, and Shego could vaguely make out the identity of the woman despite the cover of darkness and the falling rain.
It all came flooding back to Shego. Another one of Drakken's schemes ruined. That was nothing new, but what happened afterwards was. Being confronted by Kim. Being hated. Being kicked. Thrown into Drakken's signal tower. The electricity of the machine mixing with the night's rain. Falling down onto the roof of Bueno Nacho, the crumbling remains of the tower collapsing upon her.
Why... why couldn't I remember it clearly? Do I have a concussion? Shego glanced side to side, ignoring the pain brought on by moving. Concrete rooftop... Right... Yeah, a concussion is looking pretty obvious.
Slowly, Shego returned her head to looking up towards Kim Possible. Then, before Shego's very eyes, the night sky was torn asunder by lightning and thunder. That brief moment of light illuminated Kim Possible, allowing Shego to gaze upon a sight she would never forget.
There was a smile on Kim's face. Not your basic average smile. No, this was something much different. Something disturbing, something sinister. It was new for Shego to see it on Kim's face, but the smile itself was not new. No, Shego knew it all to well.
Shego just knelt their for a moment, letting the rain wash down on her. Half her face covered in a crimson mask of her own blood, a stark contrast to her otherwise pale complexion. She just sat there, ignoring any pain that coursed through her body. She just kept looking up at Kim Possible. Even as the police arrived and brought handcuffs down upon her aching wrists.
Shego just kept looking. She did not like what she was seeing. Not at all.
Kim Possible was used to being woken up in the middle of the night. Far too often than she would care to remember. She would be having a perfect little dream, when a familiar sound would echo throughout her room. Of course, Kim had grown used to it over the years. After all, it had been her idea to be a teen hero. Besides, people who needed help could not wait until the sunrise. That simple, selfless thought was all it took for Kim to accept that a peaceful night's sleep was out of the question whenever her Kimminucator sounded off, urging her wake up and do anything from babysitting to saving the world.
This was another one of those selfless nights.
Kim sighed as she came out of her deep and peaceful sleep. She reached out from under her covers and grabbed hold of the Kimminucator lying on her nightstand. She flicked a switch on it, its screen and speakers coming alive.
"What's the sitch, Wade?" Despite her best intentions, Kim yawned.
Wade Load came into view on the Kimminucator's screen. "We just got an anonymous hit on your website."
Kim could not help but yawn again. "An anonymous one?"
"Yeah, it's weird," Wade replied as he typed furiously on his keyboard, bringing up the information up his computer screen so that he could properly relay it to Kim. "Something about Monkey Fist. Apparently he's planning to rob the Middleton Museum. Something about a shipment they recieved this afternoon that contains-"
Kim cut Wade off. "Let me guess, an ancient artifact that has something to do with monkeys?"
"He's getting that predictable?"
Kim nodded her head. "Just a little bit. Listen, I'm going to get ready. You contact Ron, and I'll pick him and Rufus up on the way to the museum."
"Man, why can't villains rob places during the hours of daylight? I mean, poor Rufus was so tired he couldn't even come along!"
Kim sighed as her partner (as well as newfound boyfriend) stretched out his arms and yawned. "Ron, please keep quiet. If Monkey Fist is here, I'd rather he not hear us coming."
"Not that I want to challenge your authority, KP, but-"
Kim stopped dead in her tracks, shrugged her shoulders, and turned towards Ron. "But you're going to, right?"
Ron smiled sheepishly, scratching at the back of his neck with his free hand, the other still tightly gripping his flashlight. "Well, uh... I just mean how stealthy can we be when you're walking around wearing mission gear that could double as a night light?"
"Ron, Wade's battle suit has been a big help to us."
"Yeah, I know, but it's not made for every situation. I mean... I didn't even need to bring this flashlight with me the way that suit lights up."
"Come on, Ron... Who knows what Monkey Fist has up his sleeve..."
Now it was Ron's turn to sigh. "KP, I know my arch foe. Monkey Fist is all about close combat. What good is a shield or that hand thingie when your enemy isn't packing heat and can't shot laser beams? And believe me, if Monkey Fist ever manages to fall under either category, I'll hereby relinquish all my rights to him being my archenemy."
Ron had a point, Kim knew that. Still, using the suit was fun. Kim could not lie to herself. She could not really lie to Ron either (well, not since one particular Halloween anyway), but she did not have to out and out tell him either.
Apparently she did not have to. Ron's eyes went wide as he finally put the pieces together. "You've become a super-suit-aholic!"
"Oh, where did Mister and Misses Doctor Possible go wrong?"
"How could those ten-year-old super geniuses be so cruel as to put this stuff out on our streets?"
"All right," Kim said, almost dejectedly, not looking him in the face. "Maybe I am a little addicted to the suit-"
"A little? KP, you wore the thing when you were babysitting."
"Ron... it was your cousin Shawn."
"Okay, so that one was justified, fine! But tomorrow I'm gonna start up an intervention for you."
Kim sighed. "All right... fine... intervene away. But can we please get back to the mission at hand... quietly?"
Ron simply nodded his head. The conversation settled, Kim turned her attentions back to making her way down the museum's darkened corridors, looking for any signs of trouble or a break-in.
It did not take too long. After only a few minutes searching, Kim came across several damaged cameras all across a wall.
"Guess that anonymous tip was correct," Kim said. "Looks like someone has been monkeying around with the security around here. Come on, Ron!"
The two picked up the pace, following the trail of damaged security cameras. Finally, it led them to the Aztec Exhibit. The door to the room was conveniently left slightly ajar.
"I think we found our thief," Kim said, a slight grin coming over her face.
"That's strange..." Kim said, noticing something amiss. "I don't see any lights on in there. Maybe Monkey Fist has some night vision goggles or something."
"Great, a freakish monkey attacking me when I can't see," Ron said, frowning. "It's just like that time Camp Wannaweep lost power."
"You want to just stay here while I go in and take care of Monkey Fist?"
"Thanks for the offer, KP," Ron replied, "but I can't let you put yourself at risk. Besides... I'd feel much safer with you around, Monkey Fist or not, than out here in the dark by myself."
"All right then; let's just get this over with."
Slowly, Kim opened the exhibit's door fully and stepped in, Ron right by her side. They tried to look around the room, but it was to no avail. Thanks to the battle suit's constant glowing their eyes had not been able to adjust to the darkness. Kim mentally chided herself for that fact. She really was getting addicted to the battle suit, whether it was a benefit or a hindrance.
Kim entered a battle stance, preparing herself for the possibility that Monkey Fist could attack at any moment.
"Ron," Kim whispered. "Maybe you should get out of here after all."
"No way, KP. I've got your ba-"
Ron's statement was interrupted as a flash of light shot through the darkened room. The bolt of light struck him directly in the chest and knocked him right to the floor.
Kim knelt down by him and checked his pulse. He was simply unconscious, but that did not put an end to Kim's worries. The bolt of light, of energy, that had hit Ron had been green. Kim knew exactly what that meant.
"Monkey Fist was never going to be here, was he?" Kim asked the darkness as she stood up. "This was all a set up you orchestrated, wasn't it?"
"And the last horse crosses the finish line, princess."
There was no mistaking that voice. It was Shego all right. However, something was off about her voice. It's pitch was so much lower than what Kim had come to expect over the years. With that change in tone came something else. There was no joy in that voice. For better of or worst Kim had grown accustomed to Shego seemingly taking pleasure in her insults, in the possibility of defeating Kim. Now, though, that sounded like it was gone. Replaced. By what, however, Kim could not tell. She was not sure she wanted to know either.
Then, out of the corner of her eye, Kim could make out a faint green glow. She turned, prepared to activate her battle suit's shield in case of any attack. What at Kim saw almost turned her blood cold as ice.
She could see Shego illuminated by the light emanating from the Go Team Glows that surrounded her hands. It was very easy, if disturbing, for Kim to realize that Shego's voice was not the only thing that was different. No, her expression was completely different from anything Kim had seen from Shego before. No sarcastic smile, no grin in response to an upcoming fight, not even the look of one very angry woman. No, that was not what Kim saw at all. The best, no, the only interpretation Kim could make from Shego's face was that of someone who apparently had no connection to any sort of emotion at all. Not bored, but truly lifeless.
Kim did not know what to make of it. All she knew was that it unnerved her greatly, no matter how much protection her battle suit could offer her. "Shego, what's going on? You should still be in prison..."
Kim knew it was a stupid point to raise. Shego had managed to escape prison time and again in the past. So why would she be surprised to see her escape one more time? Nonetheless, Kim had said it, hoping that it could, in some way, help diffuse what she imagined could end up a rather messy situation.
"I got out," Shego said matter-of-factly. "It's what I do."
So much for that, Kim thought to herself. She sounds just as cold and distant before.
Shego began to speak again, her face still cast in the hellish glow of her powers. "I just want this to be very, very clear. Everything I do from now on... is your responsibility. I'm not the one who took our little relationship to the next level. No, I'm just responding in kind. And then some."
"What are you talking about?" Kim asked. Though deep down she had a pretty good idea exactly what Shego was talking about.
"Don't act innocent with me," Shego answered. "You know exactly what I'm talking about. Don't you dare pretend that experience meant nothing to you. Don't you dare act like that was a normal occurrence. Don't you dare, not while it's done so much to me. Not after it changed me."
Then, before Kim knew what was happening, Shego charged right towards her. For the first time since the conversation began, Shego's demeanor showed emotion; it was not pretty.
"Don't you dare pretend it was meaningless!"
Shego was faster than Kim ever remembered her moving in any past encounters. The villain slammed into Kim, driving her back into the wall behind her. Before Kim could launch an attack all her own, Shego's left hand wrapped around Kim's throat, fingers on the verge of digging in and drawing blood. That was not the worst of it; Kim could see Shego flick her wrist and, in response, the claws in her right gloves sprang to life.
"Pumpkin, I think it's about time I carve you up real good."
Kim would not let that be the case. Reacting off mere basic instinct, she threw a punch that caught Shego across the face. Shego's head snapped to the side, but her grip on Kim's neck did not loosen in the slightest. Then Shego turned her head back, looking Kim face to face once more.
"Oh come on, princess... We both know you can hurt me more than that." A nasty smile began crossing over Shego's face. Than the smile faded, leaving Shego with a scowl. "Come on, I'll give you another shot." Shego's hand left Kim's throat as the woman stepped away from the teen hero. Shego lifted her head slightly, her chin at angle enough to point slightly towards Kim. "Come on, make the bad girl be dead, Kimmie. I know its what you want deep down."
Kim did not make a move, despite the blatant opening Shego had left in her defenses. This is so wrong... Kim could not figure it out. The person before her looked like Shego, fought like Shego, but her attitude and actions were so far removed from the Shego Kim had been at odds with for years that it was just incomprehensible to imagine it was the real deal standing before her. However, there was that thought, that infinitesimal whisper in the back of Kim's head, telling her this was Shego herself. Telling Kim that Shego's change in demeanor was on her conscience.
Kim squelched those thoughts, pushing them even further away than they were from the start. That was not her problem. Despite all that, however, she did not attack Shego. Despite her pushing anything and everything aside on the matter at hand, it still unnerved her.
The lack of any offensive on Kim's part apparently did nothing to make Shego any happier. "Why you spineless sack of-" She did not even finish her insult. Shego cut herself off and lunged forward, driving her shoulder into Kim's chest, pushing her once more back up against the wall.
"You're not taking this serious," Shego hissed, driving the edge of her shoulder forward, pinning Kim against the wall. "Fine. First you. Then I'm going finish off your boyfriend. Then I'll swing by your house and paint the town red with your family's blood. And then there's your computer geek... Say, you have any other friends at school I should know about? Because I've got a whole lot of time to kill, sweetie."
That was enough to get Kim's blood boiling. Without a thought, nary a moment's hesitation, she struck out again, striking Shego across the face once more with her right hand. Only this time, she hit harder.
Shego's head twisted around as her feet left the ground. She spun through the air in a twisted vortex of hair and body, only to stop when the side of her face impacted with the one of the glass display cases lining the opposite wall. From there, Shego simply slid to the ground as the now shattered glass sprinkled down onto her limp form.
Kim simply watched as her enemy lay on the floor. Was she unconscious? Was she dead? Kim started to wonder if she even cared. She threatened everyone. Kim's breath was ragged, she could feel her whole body shaking with rage. She deserves what she gets.
Kim clenched her teeth as she saw Shego begin to stir and make her way up to her knees, her hands firmly pressed against the floor in an attempt to maintain balance. What Kim saw on the woman's face was a direct contrast to her own. Shego was smiling. Smiling despite the noticeable injuries that Kim saw. That she had inflicted. Blood seeping from the corners of Shego's mouth, a cut on the right side of her face, no doubt from a shard of the glass.
"That's more like it," Shego said as she wiped some of the blood from her face with the back of her right hand. "You made me shed my blood again..." Shego's hand came alive briefly with her energy, burning away the blood that was now on her glove. Then she stood up and looked at Kim, her smile still remaining. It only grew wider and more malicious when she saw the state her enemy was in. "Oh, you're trembling with anger," Shego laughed. "I knew my Kimmie was in there still, just dying to come out and play... and kill. I just had to press all the right buttons a second time."
Shego's words sunk into Kim's consciousness without much delay. As they did so. Kim slowly began to contain and control herself once more, her emotions slowly slipping back into their original state. It was then that Kim felt a sharp pain in her left hand. The dull ache from throwing the punch that had sent Shego flying, and something more. Kim looked down at her hand, opening it up from a close fist.
She saw it. She had been so angry, so ticked off and lost in her own emotions, that she had clenched her fist tight enough that her fingernails had cut open the palm of her hand. It was slight, of course, but enough to cause some pain, draw some blood.
"First rule of anger, princess," Shego said, her words almost lost on Kim's state of shock. "First rule of hate. It hurts everyone, including yourself. Sometimes you hurt yourself in the process of it all... and sometimes someone else does it for you!"
Shego lunged for Kim again, both her hands alive with the Go Team Glow. Kim did not allow this attack to go unchallenged. She shrugged off any worries or concerns that Shego's words has stirred within her, and summoned up the protective energy of the battle suit, specially designed to combat Shego's Glow in close combat situations. The blue energy came to life around Kim's hands, stretching from her fingertips to nearly her elbows. Then she charged forth, meeting Shego in the center of the room. The clash of the two's energies illuminated the insides of the museums, the darkness broken up by the blue and green glows.
Kim saw one of Shego's attacks coming thanks to one of those brief seconds of light, and she managed to block it with her forearm. Taking the opportunity presented to her, Kim drove her free fist into Shego's torso with all her might. Judging from the pained expression on her enemy's face, Kim could only assume she had cracked one of Shego's ribs.
Apparently it did not slow Shego down in the slightest. Before Kim knew what was coming, before she could continue the fight and her advantage, Shego caught her in the face with a headbutt. Kim stumbled back, feeling her nose break under the impact against Shego's forehead. Kim tried to regain her senses, ignoring the blood now seeping down the lower half of her face, but Shego was upon her again. A fist laced with emerald light caught Kim across the face, knuckles dragging across flesh. The blow sent Kim sailing back a foot or two, but she was undeterred by the pain. She would give as good as she got. She did, striking out with a punch of her own, catching Shego and forcing her back.
Kim could feel her breathing was heavy, her body trembling under the pressure of the fight. She knew it was different from before, so much different than any other fight she had ever found herself in. This was not about showing off fancy footwork or martial arts prowess. They were just beating the hell out of each other. This was not about preventing a robbery or saving the world. The name of the game was survival.
Kim really despised the rules of that game.
Kim forced herself up into a jump, leaping over the low sweeping kick Shego had just performed. However, Kim instantly regretted failing for the trick, realizing just what the villain was planning, too late to prevent it. Shego's other foot launched up and caught Kim in the gut while she was still in midair. The attack knocked the wind out of Kim as she fell back to her feet. She shrugged off the blow and launched an attack of her own, throwing out a butterfly kick in a desperate attempt to draw some distance between her and Shego.
It worked, but not in the intended way. Kim chided herself, realizing that she must have given her move away, allowing Shego the necessary reaction time to backflip out of the way so as to avoid the attack. Kim grew frustrated at the dodge and launched herself at Shego. The villain was fast, slipping to the side and than behind Kim. Before Kim could accurately predict what Shego had in store for her, she felt her enemy's right arm lock around her throat, her left hand pressed against the back of Kim's head.
"What do you think, princess?" Shego rasped, tightening her grip on Kim and dragging the struggling teen hero across the room. "Did you really think I'd just die from what you did last time? I bet you hoped I would! I bet you wished I did!"
"Shego..." Kim wheezed, the pressure on her neck more than she would care to admit. She glanced through half-opened eyes and saw exactly where Shego had dragged her too. Right in front of her was the damaged display case that Shego had crashed into earlier. Then Kim felt Shego's hand exert pressure on the back of her head, pushing her forward, right towards the sharp glass that still remained.
"Hey, Kimmie," Shego laughed. "I just want to, you know... thank you for setting me free and all that. I haven't felt this true to myself in years. No more holding back, no more enjoying the actual fight. It's all about the kill."
Kim could not let it end this way. She tried her hardest, tugging on Shego's arm, trying to free herself, but Shego's grip was too tight. Kim did not give up. As the sharp end of a piece of glass came dangerously closer to her eye, Shego pushing down harder, Kim drove her elbow back into Shego's stomach. Once. Twice. Three times. Yet still Shego's grip did not loosen in the slightest. Now Kim's eye was barely an inch away from the jagged glass.
"Blast it!" Kim screamed, throwing a wild punch up and above her shoulder. Her fist connected solidly with Shego's own eye. The woman cried out in pain, the unexpected attack finally catching her completely off guard. Her grip on Kim was gone completely as Shego stumbled back, clutching her face.
Kim, however, was not out of the woods yet. Her balance was off, and she found herself still falling towards the glass. Quickly, she threw her hands out, slamming them into the wall around the display. She held herself up, having stopped herself. The edge of the glass was far too close to her eye now, nearly touching it.
Kim breathed a sigh of relief and turned around, looking back towards Shego. Just in time, to. A green bolt of energy was hurtling towards Kim, but she was ready for it. Another one of the nice little design features Wade had installed into the battle suit. The suit's hand quickly morphed into a makeshift xistera designed specifically for dealing with energy projectiles. Kim caught the green plasma in the battle suit's transfigured hand and hurled it right back at Shego.
Though that was nothing new to Shego, and Kim knew it. Heck, the trick had not worked the first time Kim had used it. Just like last time, Shego dodged her redirected attack.
"Oh," Shego sighed, "that thing again. I wonder how many of my attacks that stupid TRace ON rip-off on your hand can send back my way if I really cut loose... Want me to keep score?"
True to her words, Shego took things to another level, firing blast after blast towards Kim. The stalwart teen hero knew that she was not fast nor skilled enough to take up Shego's challenge. However, that was what Wade had intended the forcefield for. Not giving it a moment's thought, Kim brought it to the fore, the blue energy circling around her body in the form of a protective sphere. All of Shego's beams harmlessly impacted with the shield, dissipating into the ether.
"I've been waiting for this," Shego said as she stopped her relentless assault. Her glow faded away from her left hand, but not her right. Slowly, very slowly, the energy around that hand began to expand, growing out in diameter.
What is she up to? Kim was not sure. Shego obviously had something up her sleeve, and, despite her forcefield, Kim was concerned. Keeping the shield up, she ran toward Shego, hoping to cut off whatever plan she was hatching.
That was not to be. The overbearing energy encircling Shego's right hand began to shrink back down, compacting itself back down smaller than it had even been before. Soon enough, there was only enough of the glow left to encircle Shego's index finger.
Kim could see Shego smile, and then she saw the woman lift her hand up, pointing directly at Kim. Like lightning, the minuscule amount of energy, barely the width of a pencil, leapt forth from Shego's extended finger.
It tore right through Kim's defensive shield. Before Kim could get over her shock, the beam struck home, catching her directly on her right kneecap. The energy hit hard, hard enough to shatter bone.
Kim stopped dead in her tracks, her eyes bulging. She screamed as she collapsed to the floor, landing hard onto her already damaged knee. She clutched at it, biting her lower lip in an attempt to acknowledge another pain. Anything was better than the pain that Shego had just caused.
"I told you that suit didn't put you in my league," Shego said matter-of-factly. "It just took me a little while to consider how to get around it. That shield your idiot of a nerdlinger made is good at taking out large scale blasts that affected a major portion of its surface area. But compacting all that power I generally shoot off so that I can target one small point? Tears right through like a steak knife through butter."
Kim glanced up from the floor and could see Shego advancing towards her. She tried to prepare herself to put on an offensive, whether it had to be on one leg or not, but Kim could not get herself to stand up. Then, before she knew it, Shego was standing right before her. The woman reached out, grabbing Kim by her hair and lifted her face up so that they could see eye to eye.
"What's the matter, Kimmie?" Shego taunted, grinning like a diseased Cheshire Cat. "Need a break?"
Almost enunciating the last word of her question, Shego drove her knee sharply into Kim's throat.
Kim found herself coughing uncontrollably after the impact, clutching at her neck in a desperate attempt to alleviate the pain. It did not make a bit of difference. The pain took a hold of Kim and she began to slump forward, her face falling right into Shego's outstretched hand. Slowly, very slowly, Shego tightened her grip.
"You know, Kimmie," Shego said, a melancholy tone pervading her voice. "This is for your ears only..."
Slowly Shego moved her face closer to Kim and began to whisper.
"I hate you, too."
Kim could feel the Go Team Go emanate from the hand clutching her face. She looked towards Shego as the villain pulled her head back. A sick smile crossed the woman's face. Kim's eyes went wide at the sight, and then the destructive powers of the Go Team Glow engulfed her.
Kim Possible awoke with a start. She did not sit up or scream, having finally been released from the nightmare's grip. No, she had stopped doing that after the fourth time she had suffered under that wretched nightmare. That had been nearly a three and a half weeks ago.
Kim felt her heartbeat begin to slow down, her breathing ceasing to be erratic. God, I'm getting so sick of this... Kim rubbed her eyes slightly, trying to shake any remaining visions of the dream out of her mind's eye. This shouldn't be happening...
Kim knew it, she felt it. Everything should have been fine and dandy in her life. She had saved the world from impossible odds. She and Ron were happy, having grown so close in light of everything that had happened, having gone to the prom together. Kim had even managed to gain a measure of true revenge against the person who had been a thorn in her side for the past few years.
So why can't I be happy?
However, she knew why. It was that measure of revenge that she had obtained that was eating her up inside. It had been so unbecoming of her. Saving the world was one thing, stopping Drakken and thus having to go through Shego to get to him was her job, her lot in life, but perhaps she had taken it too far.
That worried Kim a great deal. She had wondered if perhaps it had been a side affect of the suit. Wade had designed the costume to connect to a person's nervous system so that its advanced capabilities could be activated by thought. He had said it would be faster and more convenient to operate than a normal control system. Kim had worried if somehow that technology, in one fantastical form or another, had messed with her emotions, her adrenaline levels, or something along those lines. Wade assured Kim that the suit, while experimental, could not have had any of the above effects.
Leaving Kim to shoulder any burden. No, I was caught up in the day's events, wrapped up in my emotions at the time. Emotions running wild and out of control.
Kim bit her lip, mulling over all the erratic thoughts making their way through her head, the distinct events of the nightmare leaving her memory free, the most visceral parts of it remaining . No, it was not so much her actions that she regretted, it was what she had been feeling at the time. If Shego had died, Kim might have been glad. After all she and Drakken had done with that stupid syntho-drone scheme, they had deserved it. They had gone too far.
That was what truly had Kim shaken to the core. It was not a matter of not caring about the consequences of her actions, it was that she had been hoping for the consequences to be dire and deadly, to be fatal. That, as Kim kept telling herself again and again, was not her. Could not be. She had to be above that sort of thing. She was Kim freaking Possible. She knew she should not degenerate into feeding such thoughts with her actions.
Kim thought back to all her troubles with Bonnie throughout high school. Maybe she could have just turned the other cheek, let things slide, but no, her competitive spirit would not allow that. She would fight tooth and nail to win. Push herself as far as her abilities could carry her and beyond. Kim had always considered it her greatest strength, but if it got out of hand, would it be her greatest flaw as well? To win at any cost, no matter who got hurt or how bad, and to enjoy that victory despite its consequences.
Is that why Shego... why my subconscious... is beating me up in my dreams?
Kim did not like that at all, but there were worse things to consider, something much worse. She had not had an encounter with Drakken or Shego since that night. What if that dream was an inadvertent sign of the future? What if Shego was sitting around in prison, fuming like never before? Plotting to escape? Plotting to cut a bloody swath of vengeance right through Kim's life?
The last thing I need right now is a revenge crazed Shego out looking for my blood. And the blood of anyone I know or care about. Kim leaned back against the wall beside her bed. There was a thought, an inkling, making it's way through the back of her mind. She could always talk to Shego. Oh yeah... That'll just be swell. 'Gee, sorry about taking out my frustrations on you in a fit of rage that was so extreme your life or death wasn't high on my priority list.' Yeah... She'll love that. I know I don't.
Kim slammed her fist down onto her nightstand, her frustration growing.
I can do anything...
Kim grabbed hold of her Kimminucator and activated it, waiting for Wade to pick up.
Wade Load was not used to being woken up in the middle of the night. Normally, it was he that called Kim at such late hours, having been up all night and working away on his computer, coming across a hit on her website. For once he had decided to get a good night's sleep. Just this once.
Apparently, it was not meant to be. Wade's eyes opened as he heard his computer beeping away. He knew the sound all to well, having programmed it in himself. Kim was calling him.
Wade got up from his bed, rubbing his eyes as he slowly began to awaken completely. He sat down in his computer chair and turned the machine on, Kim appearing on the camera besides the monitor.
"Wade, I know it's late-"
"You have no idea," Wade replied, trying not to yawn.
"I'm sorry, Wade, but I need detailed schematics of the Lowerton Penitentiary, including the location of each and every prisoner."
Wade raised an eyebrow at Kim's request. "Why would you assume I'd even have access to such information?"
Kim raised an eyebrow in return. "I am speaking to Wade, right?"
Wade sighed, knowing she had him dead to rights. "Okay, okay. I'll get you what you need. Might take a couple of minutes though." Wade began to sift through his computer files, looking for exactly what he needed.
"Good," Kim replied. "That'll give me just enough time to dust off the stealth suit."
Wade was concerned. Something about this whole situation just was not right, not right at all. "Kim, not that I'm questioning your ethics, but what are you-"
"Good, because I wouldn't want someone who microchips people questioning my ethics."
Wade was shocked. In all his years as the super genius of Team Possible, he had never heard Kim snap at him like that. Not even when he had hacked her account or read her diary.
Before Wade could say anything to Kim, she spoke again. Wade could hear it in her voice; she regretted her poor choice of words. "Wade, I'm sorry. I'm just...not having a good night here right now. Look, I promise I'm not breaking someone out of prison or something."
"It's all right, Kim," wade said. "It's no big. Anyway, I'm sending you all the information about the prison that I've got."
"Thanks, Wade." Then the monitor's screen went blank, Kim having cut the connection off.
Wade sat in his chair, lost in thought. I hope Kim knows what she's doing...
Kim did not know what she was doing, or why for that matter. Never in all her life had she even entertained the notion of breaking into a prison, And yet here she was, clad all in black, and scaling up the side of the prison wall in the middle of the night.
This is so stupid, Kim thought to herself, bringing her right hand up and over her head, the stealth suit's suction cups adhering to the wall and bringing her a foot or two higher on her journey. I could have just waited until daybreak, waited until the afternoon. Called the warden and make an appointment or something.
Kim knew she could not wait. Not with her recent bout of worries dancing in her mind.
What am I going to even do if Shego really is mad about what happened and plotting revenge and stuff? Kim suddenly stopped herself, hanging on the wall for a moment, the thought setting in. If she really is going to go after the people I care about... or worse... what can I do? Kim did not like the answer that came to mind. I couldn't do that, could I? No. I wouldn't. But I can do anything... even kill...
Kim closed her eyes and shook her head, trying her best to force the thought she found so repulsive out of her mind, but she knew it could not be done so easily. However, she did know the thought would be easy to execute. All she had to do was stop caring, to let herself go fully. Let herself become once more what she had been so briefly during her last encounter with Doctor Drakken and Shego.
No, I can do anything... even resist that stupid temptation. That wasn't me. And it never will be again.
Kim summoned up whatever resolve she could, and once more began to scale up the wall, ignoring the part of her that was not worth any attention wasted. Not long after, Kim came across the cell window she was looking for. If she had counted the number of windows she had passed correctly, it had to be the one. Taking a deep breath, Kim looked into the window, her face nearly touching the bars that were a part of it.
Kim was startled by what she saw.
Bound and gagged by her own sheets, tied down to her bed, was Adrenna Lynn, one of Kim's one-time, one-shot enemies from back in the day. She was asleep, but she sure did not seem comfortable. Kim shook her head and looked to the other side of the cell. Sure enough she saw Shego, asleep on her own bed and under her sheets; decidedly not all tied up.
"Shego," Kim whispered.
The woman did not budge.
The woman's hands came alive with her trademark green glow as she threw her blanket up and off her form. Quickly, Shego stood up from her cot and looked towards the window.
"Possible?" Shego said, furrowing her brow, her glow fading away. Her hands, however, stayed balled up into fists. "So much for thinking the one good thing about prison was that I wouldn't have to listen to you- Oh, another new costume, huh? I'd say this one is a big improvement over that white and blue piece of garbage you sported last time. Now if only you were to add some green to go with that black, you know-"
"The orange prison suit seems to suit you well."
"Hey," Shego replied, not batting an eyelash. "Unlike you I have to deal with a rather strict dress code. Still... I think I do this season's fashion proud."
Well, she sounds like the same old Shego, Kim thought, taking in every last word. "What'd you do to Adrenna Lynn?"
"Tied her up," Shego began, walking towards the barred window and Kim. "Oh, and I gagged her, too."
"I can see that."
"Than why did you ask, princess?"
Kim just bit her tongue for a moment, restraining herself. "Why did you do that?"
"You listen to her all day long," Shego answered, rolling her eyes. "'Freaky' this and 'freaky' that! It tends to drive a woman mad, you know. Two days of that and I came up with this little ritual. I get some peace and quiet... and she gets to stay alive. Everybody's happy, fine, and dandy."
Okay, so she sounds and acts like the same old Shego, Kim mused. But how can I be su-
"So," Shego began, inadvertently interrupting Kim's thought process. "What brings you all the way out here, pumpkin?"
"I..." Kim began, finding herself on the verge of stumbling over words. "I just wanted to see how you were."
Kim could see Shego was confused. "What's wrong with yo-" Then Kim saw a smile begin to light up her face. "Oh, I get it. Is little Kimmie suffering over a guilt trip? Well, let me clue you in on how I've been ever since our last fight. I lost quite a bit of blood. I needed some stitches. I was sporadically twitching for a little while thanks to the electrical shock I went through. Then there were some broken ribs, to. Think I sprained my wrist... or was it my ankle? Oh, I suffered a concussion as well. And worst of all... It took me at least a week and a half to get my hair back to normal. Lots of split ends. But would I do it all again?"
"That's not funny."
Shego's smile faded. "Who said I'm laughing?"
Kim felt her heart sink, the tone in Shego's voice radically shifting, sounding so much like the Shego that Kim's subconscious had subjected her to. She watched, her breath bated, as Shego turned her back on Kim.
"You know," Shego began, "I really have no idea why you even bothered to come all this way to talk to me."
"Because I have say something to you," Kim responded. "I'm sorry."
Shego turned back around, her gaze focusing solely on Kim. A confused look consumed the villain's face. "What?"
"I'm sorry about what I did to you," Kim answered.
"You've got to be joking..." Shego replied. "Why should you apologize for that?"
"Because, despite everything you've done... it was wrong."
"Still trying to be perfect, aren't you? You try so hard, and you just can't accept that it's not possible... even for a Possible."
Kim was caught off guard by the question. "What?"
"Oh, don't play the innocent act with me," Shego continued. "I've seen you at your worst, Kimmie. And now you try and backpedal out of it. That's sad."
"I'm not backpedaling out of anything-"
"Awww... And here I'd thought you'd learned your lesson about lying long ago."
Kim was taken aback by the words and looked away for but a moment. "Fine. So I'm trying to backpedal... because what I did was wrong."
"I don't even know why you're trying to make amends or whatever," Shego said. "You're the hero, I'm a villain. I've taunted you ad infinitum over the years. Tried to take you out on more than one occasion. I was helping Drakken, and he hurt you with that syntho-drone scheme. Hurt you to the core. And you responded. You opted for vengeance. It's only natural, princess."
"Doesn't make it right," Kim said, looking away for a moment.
"All right, fine!" Shego suddenly said, her voice raising an octave or two. "So you think you did something wrong... Just don't do it again. It's that simple, pumpkin. Now please let me get some rest-"
"It's not that simple."
Kim watched as Shego shrugged and rolled her eyes. "Oh please... I thought you could do anything."
"I can," Kim replied. "I can even screw up."
"Fine," Shego rasped, irritation beginning to dawn in her voice. "If you can't let go of whatever sins you think you've committed... then give into them. Hey, if you were to cut loose... You and me? We'd make one swell team. Bring the world to its knees."
Kim could not believe what she was hearing. "N-No..." Kim stammered for a moment, finding it even harder to believe that she found some merit, no matter how small, in Shego's suggestion. She denied the idea to form a purchase in her mind, no matter how easy it would be to give into such impulses. "I can't live like you."
"Sure you can!" Shego shouted, a grin spreading across her face, her hands waving out side to side. "You're already walking my path after all. That night... you set foot on it, and I think you're still following it."
"What are you talking about?"
"Think you can hang onto that wall long enough to hear a story, princess?" Shego asked as she sat down on her bed. "'Because I can honestly say this one is a killer."
Kim pushed back any reservations she had on the matter. "Fine. Just tell me the story already."
"All right," Shego responded. "Just stop me if Hego told you this one when you two met. Though I can't imagine he'd have the guts to."
Kim did not like where this was going, and yet she could not tear herself away.
"Where to begin?" Shego paused for a moment, closing her eyes. "See, this is why I never bother talking about the past... Anyway... Back when I was in Team Go we had this villain, went by the name of Nogo. I guess he lived to fulfill the clich of the doppelg nger. Apparently every super hero or team of super heroes needs at least one antithesis, one evil twin type of bad guy. And we had Nogo. He played that role to the hilt, even copied our costume style; went with a black and white color scheme. 'Cept he tossed in an all encompassing mask and cape. Personally, I think he only did that so Hego wouldn't sue for copyright infringement. Anyway... During one of our fights with him..." Shego paused for moment, biting at her lower lip, closing her eyes. "Nogo killed one of the Wegos."
Kim could not believe what she heard. "But I met both of the Wegos back in Go City."
"You're right," Shego replied. "You did. Nogo only managed to 'kill' one of the duplicates created by the Wegos Go Team Glow. But I didn't know that at the time. It happened in the middle of a pitched battle between Team Go and Nogo. I witnessed what he did in the heat of the moment. And I snapped. I tore into Nogo with everything I had, breaking bones and drawing blood. I was on the verge of killing him before Hego stopped me... Showed me that Wego was alive, that it had merely been a duplicate. But that didn't change what happened. A villain pushed me too far... And I took out all my frustrations on him in response. Before that day, I found Team Go's enemies a royal pain, yes, but they were still just a nuisance. But in that moment, that one dark moment, I hated Nogo with every fiber of my being. Sound familiar?"
Kim was about to respond when Shego began to laugh, if only slightly.
"So funny..." the woman began. "I was sharing my trip down memory lane to prove a point, princess. To prove that you are walking down the very same path that I have for years. But I was wrong. There's a difference between our actions."
"You regret what you did. I don't. That night in the rain... Oh, you did start down that path. But the moment little Kimmie started to doubt her actions, started to question herself, to suffer under regret... You got off that road real quick. I never did. I never made excuses for myself. And that's where my corruption began. Well, what you would call corruption. I look at it more like a release. But that's not the point, princess. Your regret would never allow you to become like me. So you can go home and sleep peacefully at night, pumpkin. You're still little miss perfect... not despite your regret, but because of it."
Kim was not sure why Shego was saying what she was. She understood every bit of it, every word spoken. It made sense; every bit of it appeared to Kim as the truth of the matter. She just could not understand why Shego would be telling her this. "And that's why I had to apologize to you."
"That," Shego began, "and I figure you were afraid I'd be some revenge-crazed maniac who would go after you and everyone you care about."
Kim was taken aback, but only slight. "Am I that transparent?"
"You couldn't be any more transparent even if your tech geek tricked out your battle suit with invisibility. But no, I'm not going to come after you or your family. I don't like you, you don't like me. Suppose we never will. But I'm not going to waste my off hours of villainy looking for revenge. When I do defeat you... again... it's going to be on the clock. What's the point of beating the great Kim Possible if I can't get a bonus in my paycheck for it? Heck, now that you got that battle suit... If I beat you while you've got that, maybe I can get an even bigger bonus. 'Sides, I've been thinking up some real nifty ways to get around its capabilities."
"Well," Kim replied, almost sighing. "That's a relief. I think."
"Now," Shego said, stretching out her arms as a yawn overtook her. "Can I please just get some rest? A girl's got to get her beauty sleep if she plans on breaking out of her at some point."
"Sure," Kim replied as she began to climb back down the side of the prison. "'Night."
Kim made her way out of the prison complex, making sure to be both quick and quiet. Outside, she found Ron's scooter. Kim knew it was not the most dignified way to travel. Nor did she think for an instant Ron would be happy to know that she had borrowed it. She knew he would be even less thrilled to find out just why she had needed to do so, but Kim had not been able to allow herself to call in one of the favors owed to her to get to Lowerton. Not for this.
Kim started the vehicle and began to drive down the road, away from Lowerton and towards Middleton. Towards home. Towards bed no less.
As the night air swept pass Kim's face, she could only find herself lost in thought. Talking to Shego had been fairly cathartic. Not at all what Kim had been expecting. Deep down she knew she had expected to find Shego the same as she had been in her nightmares. Surprisingly, she he had not changed at all. Everything was exactly the same as it had been before that night.
Kim could not help but smile for a moment at the realization. It was not a smile of anger, hatred or malice. Not a smile talking pleasure in letting loose one's own darkness. No, it was a smile full of hope. That things, while not what they once were, were not as dark as they had originally appeared to be. That maybe, just maybe, the future would be even better than the worst moments of her past. Possibly even better than the best.
Kim turned the scooter into the Stoppables' driveway. Not wasting any time, she pushed the vehicle into the garage, silently closing its door behind her.
Then Kim began the not-so-long walk back home, a slight spring in her step. She undid the stealth suit's fabric that framed her face, allowing her hair to spill out into the night air and upon her shoulders. As Kim made her way home, she could see the morning sun begin to peak over the horizon, it's faint light spilling out over rooftops. She knew she would have to sleep in late today to make up for the hours lost, but Kim did not mind. Not at all. She could feel it: she would not suffer under those nightmares anymore. She was free from her own faults and insecurities.
As the morning light began to cast itself across her face, Kim could only smile still, closing her eyes for one faint moment to let it all soak in. She could truly feel the enormous weight of her own world begin to slide off her shoulders, her life finally returning to what was normal for her.
Kim could not be happier for either the future, or for herself.
Shego lay silent in her bed, her arms crossed between the back of her head and the pillow. How she wanted to sleep. but that was not going to happen. She was far too lost in thought for her own good.
Shego knew she had not wanted to dredge up the past, to talk about that incident with Nogo, but she had known it was necessary. She had known it to be necessary ever since that night. The moment she saw that twisted smile overtake Kim's face. Shego had recognized that smile right away. It had been the same smile that had crossed her face as she was attacking Nogo after she had thought he had killed one of the Wegos. Shego could not let that similar situation change Kim like it had her. For reasons Shego hated to admit even to herself.
However, thanks to having talked to Kim about those events of old, those memories had been brought to the forefront of her mind. The exposure to things long past forced Shego to know that she had not been entirely truthful with Kim.
It was true that Wego had not died that day, that it had only been one of his duplicates killed by Nogo's hands. That did not make it any better. Thanks to the nature of the Wegos powers, they both controlled any duplicates they created, as if they were living in multiple bodies. They experienced what their duplicates experienced, felt what they felt.
So while it had not been his body, Wego had experienced death, and lived to tell about it. It had nearly ruined the boy. It had been months before he could smile again, to enjoy life again. Months more before he could ever feel the courage necessary to rejoin Team Go as a super hero.
It had broken Shego's heart to see it happen to her family. As annoying as they all could be- Hego's prattling on about sacrificing a life of normals to defend the city, Mego complaining constantly about himself, the Wegos always starting and finishing each others sentences- despite all those annoyances, it had hurt Shego to the core to see one of her own, her family, hurt in such a way.
Shego knew she had lied to Kim. She knew she actually harbored regret about her actions against Nogo, but they were entirely different from what she assumed Kim was feeling. While Kim seemingly regretted crossing that line, Shego knew she regretted not crossing it enough. That was the fundamental difference.
That's why Possible is and will always be a better hero than I ever was.
Shego knew that was why she had played psychologist or whatever it was to Kim. Selfish reasons all her own. She had to tell Kim even a little about the incident involving Nogo, if only to permanently scare her off the trail of darkness that Shego walked. If that day had truly been the start of Shego's corruption, she could not let Kim herself become corrupted thanks to that night atop Bueno Nacho.
She's already a better hero than I was, Shego thought to herself, her body unmoving. And that's bad enough. If Kim were to take my path in life... become a villain... Would she become an even better monster than I am?
Shego closed her eyes and rolled over onto her side, pulling the covers over her body. She could only hope that her talk had scared Kim off that path to villainy, and given her the strength to stay off of it for good.
If Kimmie were both a better hero and villain than I am... What place would I have in this world?
Shego pushed the thought aside, slowly drifting into blissful sleep, praying for a better future than the immediate past.