Summary: What do you need? Different aspects of Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs applied to Drakken and Shego's daily lives in no particular order. Add a spoonful of uncomfortable silences, and we're good to go.
She slapped him. Hard.
He toppled over backwards and stared up at her from where he lay prone on the cold lab floor, his eyes large with apprehension.
"Who the hell do you think you are?" She demanded angrily. "Playing with my free will like I'm some sort of toy? How would you like it if I did that to you?"
"B-but— you weren't doing what I told you to d—"
"You know, Dr. D, even bad guys have morals." She snarled. "Even bad guys have standards, guidelines— you don't put an obedience chip on your so-called 'sidekick' just because she doesn't behave like a mindless drone! You should learn to appreciate the fact that I have more brains than your henchmen! It's certainly gotten you out of a sticky situation or two!"
"I...I just wanted you to obey me for once, and— and besides, it was only supposed to be a joke! I was going to let you go, it was all a joke, really...!" He babbled nervously, shielding his face with his arms.
"A joke?" She asked in a quiet, stunned voice, the pit of her stomach growing cold.
She realized a little something about him, then, something she'd suspected during the couple of years she'd been working with him, but had only come to understand fully now that she'd actually started living with him at his lairs during weekdays and worked closer with him and more often than she'd had before.
Moving in with him and his henchmen had been necessary. As Dr. Drakken had required her services more and more often until she became more of a 'sidekick' than hired help, he'd started needing her available twenty-four hours a day. It was also necessary for her, because having Drakken's secret lairs to escape to came in very handy when you were wanted in more than eleven countries.
What she realized was that before she'd moved in, Dr. D had been used to being alone alot. Alone, and not really having to think about anybody but himself, not having to consider the feelings of others. His henchmen only talked amongst themselves while he'd been mostly reclusive in his lab. Living like that tended to...detach you, distance you; it made it harder to sympathize with others. It made it easier for you to play with people's lives without feeling a guilty twinge about it; she should know, she'd done it plenty of times herself. She was a loner, too, but he was a loner in a bitter, helpless kind of way; he wasn't alone by choice, and she was. No matter how much he claimed that he'd left by choice, he'd been ridiculed and ostracized before that.
But she hadn't thought he'd go as far as playing with her life. She hadn't thought he was that inconsiderate, selfish and power hungry. She hadn't thought he was so wrapped up in his megalomaniac, mad scientist deal to actually think he could get away with trying to control her like she was nothing more than one of his experiments.
The fact that he'd thought she wouldn't remember anything afterwards and that life could just go on without any consequences for him just…scared her a little. He hadn't considered her at all, and his lack of remorse angered her to the bone, simmering in her gut.
He'd made her feel helpless, violated— and he needed to understand that.
"Drakken," she sighed irritably. "I don't care if you're an 'evil genius' or whatever— you're not a single operator. You're gonna have to learn to respect the people you work with, and especially me, or I'm gonna take my business elsewhere! This isn't some tech support office or a news bureau or something— we're trying to take over the world here! Things are bound to get personal! I'm helping you take over the world! Do you understand how serious that is?" She snapped, towering over him. "And you've got some great gadgets and stuff, but seriously, where would you be without me? I'm not just the hired muscle! I have fee—" Her sentence skidded to a halt; she'd just been about to say that 'she had feelings, too', hadn't she? And wasn't that just like something wimpy that he might say?
"Anyway, I really mean it— if you don't keep a leash on your bigheadedness and start treating me better, I'll just go and work for someone else. Like Dementor," she suggested evilly, smirking as he gasped in shock and outrage. Served him right. "But before that…" she said grimly, cracking her knuckles before she took one of the mind control chips from his worktop, "I'm gonna teach you a little lesson…"
The issue wasn't really what she'd made him do, Drakken thought, because that had been far less cruel than what he'd feared. She'd made him cook her dinner, give her a foot massage, scrub the floor of the entire lab with a tooth brush, do a handstand while singing the theme to the Love Boat, compliment her incessantly and sign an agreement to give her a shameless raise, and while it was all very frustrating and humiliating, it was all more or less forgivable, because she could have done so much worse if she'd liked. She could've made him obliviously pull out his own teeth, break his own fingers with a hammer without as much as complaining, made him gladly visit Dementor and tell him he wanted to have his babies— any damn thing she wanted, really!
But she didn't. Because that wasn't the point of her revenge, he came to realize. She simply wanted to show him how it had been like for her, and she didn't even need to go to extremes to teach him that.
Because the truly horrible thing about it all had been the complete and utter lack of control that he'd had over his own actions, the painful loss of any sort of free will— and he'd been aware of everything he was doing the entire time, just like she'd said— as if he'd been nothing but a puppet, completely at the mercy of her every whim, and not even able to do as much as wince about it.
Shego had kept him busy for a solid five hours before she released him, probably only because she wanted to go home or something, and during the last two of those five hours, he'd needed to use the bathroom so badly that it was only by some amazing miracle that he'd managed to hold it in; once she let him go, he practically sprinted towards the bathroom.
When he returned to the lab with dragging steps, she was there waiting for him, and he could tell he was in for a verbal thrashing.
"Sorry," he mumbled before she could say anything; during those five hours, he'd had plenty of time to regret what he'd done.
His unexpected apology seemed to slow her down a little; instead of snapping at him, she crossed her arms tightly over her chest, letting out a scoff. "That didn't feel very nice, now did it?" She asked coldly.
No, it hadn't. It had felt almost exactly like the time when a bunch of bullies had hung his skinny, ten-year-old body up on a hook by his shirt at school, and he'd been completely at their mercy as they stole his lunch money and his shoes, gave him a wedgie and sucker punched him in the gut. Except now it had been even worse than that; back then, at least he'd still had the free will to be able to shout curses and threats at them to show them his defiance, no matter how powerless he'd been.
"No, it did not." He said dully. It had felt horrible. And Shego had only made him obedient and devoid of free will for a few hours. He'd let Shego stay like that for nearly a whole day, he realized, and cringed. It was no wonder she'd been so angry.
Shego gave a small nod of approval; she'd never, ever seen him this subdued before, and she supposed she could take it as a sure sign that he'd learned his lesson. "You can be as evil as you like to the good guys, but you can't be evil to me." She said calmly. "You got that now?"
"Yes." He nodded slowly, his eyes trained on the ground. It wasn't that he was afraid of her, she realized as she studied his face, and he wasn't planning on submitting to her; he was still the boss, but he was acting like this because she'd actually managed to make him be ashamed of what he'd done. She'd actually made him learn something, understand something...about people.
"Good," she muttered, "I'll see you tomorrow."
Shego shivered as she drove home to her apartment that evening. No matter how angry and frustrated it had made her feel to listen to tales of his childhood while baking him cookies and complimenting him, she had to be grateful when she thought about what he could've done to her, had he been so inclined. Drakken had thought that she'd forget everything afterwards, so if he'd wanted to, he could've…done all sorts of things to her. Other villains probably would have.
Not Drakken, though…which she supposed was one of the reasons why she still stuck around.
In some ways, she thought, Drakken was strangely innocent. If she knew him right, the thought had probably never even occurred to him. What he'd wanted from her was attention and respect and company.
Well, she could provide company for him, and perhaps a little attention, but her respect for him had already been pretty flimsy, and after this, it was kind of fading even more. The world seen filtered through his mad scientist mind could be a disturbing place sometimes. If he wanted her to stay, he needed to learn that not everything could be solved by mad science, especially problems with other people.
After their little talk, though, he was actually beginning to treat her a little better...and that was something, at least.
After she'd left him to go on an impulsive vacation, he folded on the cloning issue much faster than she'd expected. When he called her up continuously during her impromptu 'vacation', she grinned to herself at how ridiculously forlorn he sounded.
He was practically crawling on his knees to get her back, like some kind of lover who'd just committed a relationship faux pas and was begging for forgiveness.
Knowing Dr. Drakken, he'd probably read in some outdated volume that pet names made women more agreeable. Well, they made her laugh, anyway, and she supposed that had to be something.
It wasn't the pet names that made her come and rescue him, though. It had to be his persistency, if anything. And she'd had men begging her before, like a lot of beautiful women often did, but no one had sounded as genuinely lost and desperate for her return as Dr. D. That's when she realized that while she wasn't even remotely romantically involved with him, it was probably one of the closest relationships she'd ever had with a man, which was kind of beyond pathetic…wasn't it?
She knew that they were much more familiar with each other than an employer and employee should be, but she supposed it came from being forced to live together so often and from the kind of 'business' they were in. And, admittedly, because of how emotionally demanding of a person Drakken was. He was always so personal, no holds barred, even towards his henchmen, that it was kind of difficult not to get involved with him outside of a purely professional level.
In the car on the way back 'home' after she'd rescued him from the Bueno Nacho, she glanced at him in the mirror and almost cackled out loud when she caught the disapproving, peevish glare he sent the current hunk of muscle by her side, who she'd coaxed to come with her from Greece. She smirked; he probably reminded the Doc of the jocks who'd bullied him in school, adding insult to injury to the fact that he had to sit in the backseat like some kind of third-rate sidekick.
It felt kind of weird, really, but at the same time so very, very satisfying. This would surely teach him once and for all to appreciate her more, the big egomaniac.
See how it feels to be disrespected, then, she scoffed.
When they got back to the lair, Shego was fuming, and Drakken thought she was being entirely unreasonable.
Shego pursed her lips, scowling at him. "Where is my guest supposed to live now? At some shoddy hotel?"
Drakken rolled his eyes; there was no need to get all huffy just because he'd demanded that what's-his-face with the overdone tan and the steroid muscles couldn't come with them, was there? He'd let him off outside of a hotel, after all. "That's not my problem, Shego." Drakken sighed in annoyance. "What part of 'secret lair' don't you understand? You can't just bring all sorts of random people in here!"
"He is not...random," Shego objected. "He's my guest and he's—"
"How long have you known him for?" Drakken interrupted her.
Shego hesitated, her gaze flickering to and fro. "Uh...three days?"
Drakken wasn't quite able to hold back the triumphant grin. "And so I can safely assume that you don't actually know whether he's trustworthy or not, right?"
"Okay, fine...so I don't." Shego muttered as they got out of the car and started the walk up from the massive garage to the main lair.
Here he'd just trampled all over her wishes and her contract, and still she'd forgiven him and had agreed to come work for him again— and all he could do was give her a hard time about who she saw in her own free time? Okay, so bringing a date to the secret lair wasn't exactly a good idea— but he hadn't even said he was sorry for what he'd done! Not even once! He'd only groveled until he got what he wanted— his sidekick back— and then he'd returned to his surly, arrogant self.
She couldn't believe him. When he'd ignored her objections and had actually tried to sneak a strand of hair from her head, she'd had enough. That was just the last drop. Again, he'd disregarded her completely in favor of mad science, treating her like some sort of test subject, and this time, she hadn't had any patience left. She'd simply quit her job. Enough was enough.
The reason she'd quit was because she'd been disappointed and fed up. It had seemed like he'd learned nothing after all, and was only going to keep doing things like that to her. What would be next? Would he suggest incorporating cybernetics into her system to make her able to defeat Kim Possible? Hack off her arms and replace them with robotic ones? Try to tamper with her DNA?
If she was going to keep being his sidekick, she needed to know that he'd finally understood what was off limits.
In the middle of the garage, Shego then stopped so abruptly that he almost walked right into her. "Hey, watch where you're going, Shego!" He complained, barely avoiding her.
"Just thinking..." She said quietly, her back still turned. "Have you really learned your lesson about cloning?"
"This again?" Drakken sighed heavily, rubbing his face in annoyance. "I said 'no cloning', all right?"
She shrugged seemingly carelessly, her face still hidden from view. "I guess I just want to know if you fully appreciate the wrongness, that's all. Wouldn't it be all creepy and...and existential if a copy of you suddenly turned up one day? Wouldn't that raise a lot of questions for you about who you are? And wouldn't you be afraid of the copy capturing you and replacing you like in one of those old, cheesy sci-fi shows or something?"
"But..." Drakken blinked in surprise; she'd apparently taken some actual time to think about the issue. He'd thought she might've just said no to spite him; that's what he'd been telling himself so he could keep asking her about it without any inconvenient guilt, anyway.
"I'm a person, I'm not a commodity to be mass-produced. I don't like the idea of being replaced, and I don't think you would like it, either." She turned her head finally, looking at him over her shoulder, her eyes narrowing. "Of course, if you'd like to find out what it would be like, I could always pluck some hair from your head while you're sleeping and try out your cloning device..." She suggested with a kind of lazy, almost disinterested tone that was somehow scarier than it would've been if she'd been shouting angrily. "Now I'm no scientist, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out, right?" She said innocently, turning fully towards him. "Sure, there might be some...accidents on the way...like, say, some horribly disfigured clones turning up if I accidentally mix up your hair with carpet fibers or lint or maybe some of Commodore Puddles' fur, but eventually I'd probably get it right, don't you think?"
Drakken gulped loudly at the horror scenario she'd just presented for him. Oh, great, she was doing that thing where she turned the tables on him again— that annoying little 'what if it were you' thing that she did sometimes, mostly whenever he tried to do something unethical that involved her. Of course, if it involved anybody else than her, she couldn't give a monkey's bottom about it.
Still...like the last time, she'd managed to get a very, very valid point across with him: I hope you don't think you can get away with treating me like that, and I hope you realize what you've done. His eyes wide with terror, he nodded slowly. "I understand, Shego," he said in a tight voice, finally exhaling when she nodded, turning to go again. Clearing his throat to rid himself of the tense moment, Drakken followed.
Three seconds later, however, he almost bumped into her again as she came to a sudden halt, apparently staring at one of the cars. As he followed the direction of her gaze, he saw that it was the truck they'd used earlier today. One of his henchmen must've have driven it back.
"Is that a plumber's truck?" She asked, staring at him. "Don't tell me the bathroom's out of order again?"
"No, the truck is mine. I used it for stealth today." He said, shrugging.
Shego tilted her head at him, sending him an incredulous frown. "And so, under cover of daylight, you were being 'stealthy' with the biggest truck you could find? "
Ah, banter, Drakken thought to himself, everything must be getting back to normal. He'd almost been worried there for a second. "It's called the principle of hiding in plain sight, Shego." He shot back matter-of-factly. "Being where they least expect you to be."
"Uh huh, and how were you planning to stay inconspicuous with that honking big picture of you on the side?" Her eyebrows rose slowly in disbelief as she further contemplated the truck, walking around it to see it from both sides."The one where you're sitting next to what looks like a toilet bowl...?"
Drakken's face tightened with frustration, his cheeks reddening from the embarrassment. Maybe that particular part of the plan had been a silly idea. "Stop criticizing me, Shego!" He blurted. "You weren't even here!"
"Okay, not another word, I promise..." She said before pausing, a playful smirk growing on her lips. "...Mr. Potty."
EDIT (14.09.08): I've rewritten this chapter slightly because I've felt for a long time that I wasn't getting the point across properly about what Drakken had done to Shego. He'd really disrespected her, and I feel like I sort of brushed it aside to a certain degree— this wasn't my intention at all, but that's how the old version came across to me. I haven't added much, I just felt like they needed to reflect on the subject just a wee bit more.
As for the cloning bit, I thought Shego's sudden need to remind Drakken what he'd done needed a lead-in, too. It was a little abrupt, which took away some of the gravity from the point she was trying to make.
Morality is set after The Twin Factor, in which Dr. Drakken, as much as I do like him, was being a jerk. I felt like it had to be addressed. After that, it's all about Kimitation Nation.
Concerning the age of the characters: I'm assuming that Drakken's a few years younger (not much, though, just like three years or something) than James Possible since Drakken doesn't have greying hair like Mr. Dr. P. and since in high school and college etc. it's usually the younger member of a group that gets talked into doing stuff for the other members (like getting them dates), to 'prove themselves' or something. Also, from my own experiences with college, age differences vary a lot. I've had friends in college who range from a year to almost ten years older than me.
As for Shego, I'm mostly basing her age on the fact that in Stop Team Go, she was actually interested in dating Steve Barkin, who has to be at least thirty-five or forty, and that Ron described her being older in such a way that it sounded like a big deal, but I'm also basing it on her voice, her looks, her confidence and attitude and her life experience. I mean, I really can't see her as a teenager at all, like some people seem to think. One might say she acts kind of juvenile with how she's always lounging about reading magazines, filing her nails or listening to hip hop, but if we were to put the character's age down from their general behaviour, Drakken would be about thirteen-years-old; occasionally five. XD
Shego's at least twenty-five, but most likely older. She used to be a super hero for a good while, and she's obviously been in the villain business for quite some time considering she's wanted in eleven countries by season one already and considering how Drakken and Shego seem like they've known each other for a while. I wanna go out on a limb here and say that she's twenty-nine, going on thirty. Call it the artistic liberty of a fanfic writer.
Here I'm semi-quoting MST3K: "And so, under cover of daylight, you were being 'stealthy' with the biggest van you could find? "