Standard disclaimer applies
"You think you're all that, Kim Possible. But you're not!" Drakken shouts his final insult as he jammed his finger down on the flashing red button.
Explosions rocked the foundations as blasts of light lit up the dark dank lair. Large chunks of jagged rocks fell around Team Possible, as Drakken's latest Doomsday Device glowed and beeped rapidly. Electronic panels shattered as capacitors overloaded and burst into flames. Even the ceiling lights flickered twice before going out in a puff of smoke. The whole place was all going to hell fast with them in it. Ron Stoppable looked up just in time to see Drakken slinking away into a dark side passage. He yelled out.
"KP! We better get out of here! The whole place is coming down."
"Hang on, Ron!" Kim yelled back as she parried another punch from a glowing-green villainess. She feinted to the left and tried a spin kick from the right, which missed as Shego ducked out of the way.
"Hey, Shego!" Kim taunted. "Isn't this where you usually run and hide?" Again another punch, followed by a leg sweep.
"Not this time, Princess. Not this time." Shego grinned toothily and threw a ball of plasma at where Kim's head was a moment ago, before throwing herself for another barrage of punches. Her eyes flashed as she slowly forced Kim back step by step.
"You want to die fighting?" Kim shot back. She threw another punch while sidestepping another lethal ball of plasma.
Shego just snarled in reply and charged in closer. While Kim might be the faster and more agile of the two, Shego had the stamina and strength to outlast and hurt her opponent, really badly.
Ron ran towards the exit and watched the two battling valkyries. Lunge, kick, dodge, punch and block. It was a macabre dance of death with lethal rhythmic precision, with rubble falling around them and small explosions in the background. The eerie glow of the green plasma emitting from the fist of one green villainess provided what little light there was left in the lair. Occasionally a green ball of plasma would fly and smack into a wall, flaring up like a little green sun, casting long shadows over the room. But the two did not seem deterred or even perturbed by the crumbling lair.
"KP!" Ron yelled, with a tone of urgency in his voice.
"Coming!" Kim feinted again, before successfully landing a straight kick below the ribs of a certain green villainess, and without pausing to look, she did a back flip and turn and ran towards the exit.
"Oh no, you don't!" An angry snarl rose above the sound of the explosions as Shego recovered quickly and charged straight at the cheerleader, with her right hand held high, ready to slash her claws down Kim's back.
Ron was vaguely aware of the Doomsday Device reaching its critical point, the high pitched beeping becoming more rapid and escalating quickly into a siren-like wail. He was vaguely aware of the falling rocks, and the successive explosions as three computer panels behind him just erupted in flames. He was vaguely aware of the gouts of fire that licked the steel girdles that were the skeletal support structure of the evil lair.
He had only one thing on his mind: KP! I got your back!
Just as Kim ducked down into the exit passageway with Shego an arm's length behind, Ron did what he had promised her all those years ago. He flung himself at Shego, tackling her in her midrift and the momentum of his body threw them both into the final flash of light and resounding explosion that shook the room and brought everything crashing down on them.
In his mind before the darkness enveloped, his last thoughts were:
KP, I got your back.
Ron didn't know how long he laid there in the dark. It was the disorienting sort of dark that just seems to stretch on infinitely in all directions. It was same sort of dark that muted all of his senses, and he felt the formless darkness seep into the very fiber of his being and merged the very fabric of his existence into nothing. Plain and simple, it was just an empty void where nothing existed, not even space and time. Except this time, there was just Ron, amidst and a part of a whole lot of darkness.
Despite his disorientation, he instinctively knew he wasn't dead. After all, how could a dead body feel this much pain? A sharp cold ice dagger pierced his skull as he tried to get up. He gasped at the pain and lay back down again, giving himself another moment to recuperate.
Take your time, Stoppable. You have all the time in the world. At least you're not dead yet.
He slowly tried to move his arms and wriggle his fingers. Okay, right shoulder was sore, probably after he landed hard on it after his heroic tackle. Fingers are all moving. Slowly he raised his hands to his face, and tried to feel any injuries.
Okay, face, a couple of small cuts. Nothing that wouldn't be cured in a couple of days. Shoulders, still intact, okay, let's move on. Ribs are… ouch! A little sore on his left side, he probably took at hit or two there when the roof came down. Nothing major. Yet. He felt his stomach, and nope, everything's fine down there. No major bleeding.
Ron let himself breathe a sigh of relief. Almost everything seems to be fine. No major cuts or wounds around. Must be the Ron Factor working for me.
He slowly pushed himself up with his right hand, as his left hand reached out in front of him into the dark for some sort of handhold to grip. Or something. His fingertips touched something solid. His fingertips did some exploring and realized that had the rubble fell three more feet, he would have been to the big Bueno Nacho in the sky. Sigh, I should be thankful for the little things.
He sat up gingerly and reached both hands to feel his legs, feeling for any sore spots or broken bones. When he finally got to his right foot, he winced in pain. His ankle felt distended and swollen. Oh man, not good. I don't think I can walk out of here like this. He reached into his large pockets, and pulled out a small flashlight. Thankfully Rufus isn't here today, he's been sleeping in a lot lately. Ron tried counting all the small little blessings he had so far, as he prayed someone would come rescue him.
A small beacon of hope lit up in Ron's heart with he found the flashlight still working. Three miracles and counting. He thought to himself. First the roof, then Rufus not being trapped with him, and now mysteriously he decided to bring a flashlight along to this mission and it works. Four if you count the fact you're almost unharmed. A little voice inside him pointed out. Okay, four.
His eyes tried to get use to the brightness and he glanced around his little grotto. The space was about eight feet by twelve feet, with only three feet separating the roof from the floor. The dust was still settling and there were a lot of loose rocks scattered. A couple of steel rods stuck out of the wall of stone and rubble at odd angles, which could have easily impaled him. He shuddered at the thought.
Only now could he appreciate how lucky he had truly been. He shone the flashlight at the ceiling. One of the huge steel girdles which had previously held up Drakken's lair had fallen neatly over a huge pile of rubble, which left Ron Stoppable virtually unsquished and unharmed.
Booyah for the Ron Factor! A little voice inside of him cheered.
The throbbing pain in his head was still there, but at least he didn't feel like he was going to throw up with every movement he made. He finally opened his parched throat and yelled out, "KP!"
All he could hear was the panting of his own breath. He crawled to the nearest wall and looked for some sort of escape route, but found nothing. All solid rock, all around him. He slowly crawled around his crude tomb, looking for some sort of way out, when he caught sight of the black and green jumpsuit.
He slowly inched his way up to the motionless body. The first thing he noticed was her right foot was caught under a large mangled computer terminal that he could never hope to move. Ron did the best he could; he placed two fingers on her jugular vein and searched for a faint pulse. He watched the slow rise and fall of her chest. At least she's still alive. Ron noticed a pool of crimson had formed beneath her lower leg, and he tried to look for a wound. She was slowly bleeding to death, he thought. Frantically, he did the only thing he could. He took off his shirt and ripped it into long strips, before tying it like a tourniquet around her right thigh. I guess she bleeds red too, like the rest of us. Ron thought to himself.
Ron gave her another brief lookover. Nothing else major caught his eye. Sure there were the usual bruises, and a bump on the head, and her face was covered in dust, but there was no way of telling if she was really alright. Unless…
"Shego?" Ron whispered. He shook her shoulder gently. Her eyelids fluttered for a moment before she moved her head.
"Shego?" Ron raised his voice a little louder.
"Huh?" Her eyes flashed opened, and her lips instinctively curled into a smile as she spat out the word, "Stoppable!" She raised her right hand to tear those brown eyes out, but in her current state she was too weak and slow that Ron easily caught her hand and restrained her.
"Calm down, Shego. You're hurt."
"Get back." She hissed in a low angry voice, then suddenly started coughing violently. Blood, sputum and saliva flew out of her mouth as Ron raised his hand to block the discharge.
He ignored her command and pressed on, "Where does it hurt?"
"Don't… touch me, you perv. Back off!" Her right hand, which was still in the grip of Ron started glowing and suddenly spluttered and died down again.
"Shego, you're hurt. I'm trying to help…" Ron started.
"Get away from me!" Her voice raised to a screeching roar.
Ron quickly backed away. His downcast eyes looked sadly upon Shego's body which was wracked with another coughing spasm. He sighed, and knew that he couldn't help her anymore now. At least she'll live for another couple of hours since he had stopped most of the bleeding. He shone his torch around, trying to spy for some way out, and he began to crawl towards a dark corner.
"Where are you going?" A raspy voice called out from behind him in the darkness.
"I'm looking for a way out."
"Don't…" the voice fell silent. Ron spun around to shine on Shego, wondering if she'd collapse from the pain that must have been shooting through her body.
"Light…" was all she could whisper.
Ron hesitated for a moment. He wasn't sure whether she would try to claw his eyes out again. First she ordered him to keep away, and now she's… she's pleading for him to come back.
"Don't leave me in the dark…" and after a long silence, a gentle whisper, "…please?"
Ron cursed his soft nature, and slowly crawled back towards Shego. He shone the light in her face and asked, "What do you want?"
"Just… don't take… the light away. I'm not… afraid." Her breath was wheezing.
"Okay…" Ron thought to himself. Now what the hell is going on?
"I… don't think… you're that sort of person…" Shego gave him a strange smile to accompany her cryptic words. She gestured down to her right leg. "Your shirt."
Ron stared at her for a moment, trying to wonder what she was trying to say.
"Been so long… since I've appreciated anyone… even Dr. D." Her eyes stared straight up at the cold stone ceiling.
Was this her way of saying sorry and thank you? Ron wondered. Do evil villainesses even say sorry and thank you?
"Hush, Shego. Save your strength, we have to wait for rescuers." Ron said quietly.
A choke and a gasp. Ron realized that Shego was trying to laugh. "Rescuers? No one would come looking for me. Maybe you. But even so, it's too late for me. I'm going to die, aren't I?"
"Shego, you're not going to die." Ron tried to reassure her.
She gave another cough, or was it a laugh, and fell silent.
"They'll come for us, I know it. KP would never abandon me." Ron said, full of conviction. He reached for Shego's hand and gave it a little squeeze.
"How could you be so sure?"
"Because I trust her." Ron fell into a deep silence.
His eyes slowly surveyed around their makeshift crypt. It just wasn't right to die here, right now, like this. He thought. I want to see KP for one last time.
"You know this is all your fault, right?" Shego grinned weakly.
Ron snorted. "My fault? I wasn't the one building doomsday devices in secret underground lairs."
"That's Dr. D. But if you hadn't tackled me, we wouldn't be stuck here."
"What was I suppose to do? You were about to hurt KP."
Again they fell quiet, just listening to the silence around them only to be periodically broken by Shego's labored breathing. Ron could only wonder what was going on in Shego's mind.
"Princess is lucky to have you." Shego suddenly broke the silence.
"To have you watch her back like that, and trust her so much. How do you know she even got out safely?"
"She did, because she can do anything."
"Stupid line." Shego sneered.
"KP saved the world many times, from you nonetheless. This is nothing to her."
"Princess is just another over-hyped teen hero."
"Why do you keep calling her that?" Ron retorted.
"Because she is a princess. She's got everything, loving family, fair maiden looks, the world adores her and she got her own knight in shining armor." Shego smirked at the word 'knight' and gave Ron another piercing look with her green eyes.
"I don't think that's me."
"Don't put yourself down buffoon. That's my job. At least you're there to save her. Like just now."
Ron just shrugged. "So what do you have against her?"
"Just that she has everything…. You know? Her with her perfect life, always loved, like a fairy tale. I couldn't stand it, I wanted to destroy her. Stamp her out. At all cost..." She left that last line hanging like a sharp guillotine. Shego clenched her fist and thumped the ground.
"She's just too perfect. She had everything I could never have."
"You have a family." Ron pointed out.
"Please. They're more interested in their own egos than each other." Shego rolled her eyes at the thought of Team Go squabbling over who got credit for their last mission.
"You have Dr. D."
"That man can't even fight his way out of a paper bag. Much less care enough to come and rescue me."
"Never had one."
Ron searched his memory for someone who could possibly be close to Shego, and that's when he realized, that perhaps Shego could be the loneliest person in the world.
"You know…" Shego continued in a quiet voice, "that's why she's Princess and I'm Shego."
"Is that why you turned to a life of crime? Because you're lonely?"
Shego tried to laugh again, and choked up another mouthful of blood and saliva. She turned her head to the side and spat it out into the darkness. Ron could only help her wipe away the bloodstains on her mouth. He gently lifted her head and offered his leg as a cushion to make her more comfortable. Shego found that she could breath much easier now.
"Lonely?" Shego smirked. "I've been lonely all my life. Sure, if it makes you feel better, that's one of the reasons I work for Dr. D. So, are you enjoying yourself?"
"What do you mean?"
"You know, watching me helpless, pitying me like some broken doll. I'm dying and you're standing over my deathbed."
"I don't need your pity."
"I know all you hero types. Thinking that you're better than me, just because you're good and I'm evil. Guess what? If the world is such a good place, why do you still have a job?"
Ron sat quietly, letting Shego rant all she want. After all, what else is there to do? He closed his eyes, and it didn't really matter anymore. He thought of the one person that mattered to him, and how she was coming to rescue him.
"Hey buffoon. What are you thinking?" Shego broke his thoughts.
"I'm thinking where I'm taking KP out tonight."
"Ever the optimist. You know what I think I'll be doing tonight? Feeding maggots." She had a malicious smile on her face.
"She'll find us."
"Whatever you say. So what gives between you two?"
"What about us?"
"You know, the whole dating thing."
"We've gone steady since… well since… it's thanks to you and Drakken that we're together."
"Huh? Really? Guess you owe me dinner then."
"Not really. You just made us realize our feelings for each other. I saw Eric and I was jealous enough to confront her about my feelings."
"I still brought you two together."
"That doesn't count."
Shego grinned. "You love each other?"
"Without a doubt."
"Took you guys a while. Could never figure out why else you'd stick with her all this time. So you two done it yet?" A coy smile appeared on her face.
"Rumblin' and tumblin' under the blankets?" Shego tried to laugh, but coughed again.
"Wha… no… we haven't…" Ron could feel the rising blood to his face.
"How far have you gotten?" Shego pressed on for some snarky details she could use against Princess.
"That's kind of personal."
"Sure you can tell me, I won't tell a soul."
"Shego, in case you haven't noticed, you aren't exactly a trustworthy person." Ron sighed. He shifted uncomfortably.
"Yeah, who exactly am I going to tell after I'm dead?"
"You're morbid, you know that?"
"I'm a complex person." Shego muttered scornfully.
"Touché. Shego. So what was that about just now?"
"What was what?"
"When you saw me… you yelled at me, then you said something about the light. Was that you being complex?" Ron joked.
"It's nothing." Her answer was curt and short.
"Really? You looked like you were afraid of something." Ron figured he could get back on her for all the teasing about KP.
"I am not afraid of anything."
"Really? You seemed terrified of the dark." Ron pressed on.
Shego fell silent and the only response Ron got was the slow wheezing of her breath. He couldn't believe he had shut her up! Wow, who would have thought? Shego? Dark?
"Hmm… seems like I got some dirt on you." Ron had an evil gleam in his eye.
"Don't you dare!" And as she raised her voice, Shego broke out again into another coughing spasm.
"Okay, chill, like you said, who's gonna say anything if we're both dead?" Ron had turned the tables on her.
"I'm… Not… Afraid… Of… The… Dark." She gritted her bloodstained teeth.
"You sure?" A slightly malicious light bulb lit up in his juvenile mind. He fingered the power switch on his flashlight and just as Shego opened her mouth for some snappy retort…
The darkness crashed down over them again like a forty-foot tidal wave and hit Ron with a wave of dizziness. But nothing prepared him for what he heard next. A piercing wail that chilled Ron to the bone reached a high crescendo hit him in surprise, and a strong hand shot out and gripped his arm in a crushing vice. Hurriedly he flipped on the switch and the darkness again was held at bay.
Shego's face was all twisted in a snarling rage, and her hand shook as she didn't let go on Ron's arm. Her breathing was even more labored than before, but above all, Ron was shocked to see a single solitary tear glisten as it rolled down the side of her dust-covered face.
Then whatever strength she had left her, and her eyes fluttered closed and her right hand relaxed and fell limply to the ground. Ron felt a sickening blow to his stomach as he stared at the unconscious figure.
Who knew? He tried to reason with his guilt. But somehow, he knew that what he did was unforgivable.
He moved closer and checked her vitals. She was still breathing, and her pulse was shallow, but it was still there. He heaved a sigh of relief that he didn't scare her to death. That's one less thing to beat himself over the head with, but it didn't make him feel less guilty about his evil act.
He wiped off the offending tear with his hand. It had glistened in the dark, like a scar to his crime and he couldn't bear to see it. He choked back a little sob himself and slowly brushed the dust off the rest of her face, and taking the time to look at her features.
And to his surprise, Shego did look human.
No, it wasn't as if Ron thought of her as a freak. Her face was usually hardened and contorted in rage whenever she was sneering and taunting Kim when she fought. She always put on the mask of a super villain that could throw green balls of plasma, nothing more.
She's a beautiful woman. A beautiful but hurt woman. He gazed upon that soft gentle face that could not be Shego.
"Shego?" He shook her again gently.
"I'm sorry." He whispered over and over again.
This time it took her a little longer to regain consciousness, and Ron was afraid it was because she was dying.
Her eyes fluttered open again, and when she caught sight of Ron's face, all vestiges of that beautiful vulnerable woman vanished, and instead replaced with a mask of rage that was… Shego.
"Glad you found that amusing." Her first words cut straight through him.
She ignored him and continued. "Sure, I hope you had your fun. I hope I die, and you remember this day for the rest of your life."
Ron just stared at her with glassy eyes. He didn't mean to. He just didn't mean to.
"What do you care? I'm just another villain out to kill you." She did not relent on the hurt she inflicted with her words. She coughed again, spitting more blood splatters at the shamed blond. He didn't even flinch.
"You're no better than me. You just hurt me to have your little fun." She sneered again accusingly. Ron shut his eyes tight and turned away.
"No, Shego… please, I'm sorry…"
"Hah," Shego scoffed. "You're not sorry. You just like to see me like this, weak, pathetic and broken. You're no better than all the people in my life."
"I…" Ron didn't know what he was going to say.
"I hope they find you weeping in the corner, holding my cold dead corpse then." She cut him off anyway.
"You want to know why I'm afraid of the dark?" She glared at him, enjoying the cowering form before her.
"Because it reminds me of my first boyfriend. He was blond and cruel like you. He took advantage of me, and raped me. Just for fun." Her voice rasped on accusingly. Ron could only hang his head in shame, barely registering her words.
"We dated in high school. I was sixteen, young and stupid, he was a senior, rich and good looking. Typical." She paused for a deep breath.
Ron just looked at her blankly.
"He said asked me out and I fell in love with him, and I thought I was one of the luckiest girls in school. I thought finally someone cared enough about me. He said he didn't mind my skin color, unlike everyone else. I felt his breath on my ear when he whispered that I was exotic." She let out a hollow laugh at the word.
"Thing is, guys like that never have girlfriends for too long. After he gets what he wants, he's on to the next girl." Shego's voice hardened even more.
"He took me out to a fancy restaurant then tried to grope me. I said no." She just stared at the ceiling as she recounted the agonizing memory.
"Guys like him don't take no for an answer. When I turned, he slipped a roofie into my drink." Shego closed her eyes hard. She didn't want to remember, nor feel a tear slip through her eyelids.
"The last thing I remembered was the darkness and his leering lecherous face. I see his face every time I close my eyes. In the darkness, I see him." Her voice fell into a whisper. Her shoulders trembled.
"Did you call the cops?" Ron finally brought himself to speak.
"Cops?" She laughed/coughed at the word. "I did. But who would you believe? Son of an upstanding senator? Or little green freak?" Her voiced hardened as she spat the word "freak" out.
"So he got away?"
"Damn straight." Her eyes were shut tight as she fought back against the pain of the memory. "Guess you're happy now. Now that you know why."
"I'm sorry… I didn't know…" Ron began.
"No, it's not that you didn't know. You didn't care to know. Just like everyone else." Shego turned her head away from him, not wanting to show her own tears. She had wanted to tear him open, hurt him good, for all her pain, and use it all on the guilt-ridden blond. But all it did was made her hurt more inside.
"I… don't think you deserve this. You deserve justice." Ron said it a low voice.
Shego became livid. "Justice?" She spat back at him that notion of an ideal that abandoned her a long time ago. "There's no such thing as justice. When I told the cops, his father sued my family for everything we had. My father disowned me and called me a liar. My mother could not handle it. My brothers thought I just wanted attention. I was abandoned by everyone when I was hurt the most. There's justice for you."
"No you're not. And the two of you run around, pretending to act like heroes when evil walks every day. Where's my justice then?" She sneered at him again.
"I… don't know what to say." Ron did the only thing that made sense to him. He reached out to hold her hand. As he wrapped his fingers around her, she didn't move and only turned her head away again. Her labored breathing became harder.
"I had nothing left…" came the quiet voice.
"I'm sorry this happened to you. You don't deserve that. I… will do something about it. I promise." Ron squeezed her hand gently.
"I don't want your help," came the miffed reply.
"No, you're right." Ron sighed a little. "There's no such thing as justice. But it doesn't mean I shouldn't do something about it."
"No you can't…"
"I will. Because you deserve at least that much."
"I… am too tired to argue with you." She exhaled and looked away.
"Just rest now, close your eyes. I'll be here." Ron whispered gently. He was still holding her hand. Shego looked back at the brown eyes and wondered many things. Yet his soft sincere eyes seem to wash the doubt from her mind.
"Okay," she mumbled and she closed her eyes, wondering if the face of an angel was the last thing she'll ever see.
Ron watched her as she closed her eyes to sleep. Her face relaxed once again and there was this strange beautiful woman that lay before him. He touched her face gently with the back of his hand, and whispered softly, "I'm sorry, I'll make this all right for you."
He turned and looked around their little grotto. He still had to look for a way out. He tried to let go of Shego's hand, but she still held on to him tightly in her sleep. He sighed and said, "Okay, I won't leave you alone in the dark."
He crawled over to the wall next to the sleeping woman and leaned back, and tried to make himself as comfortable as possible for the long wait. He never let her hand go. And he started humming a little tune to himself, something his mom used to sing to him when he was five.
A small smile crept to her face. Maybe she wasn't so lonely after all.
Author's notes(read if you need explanations)
Okay, I started out this piece with loads of description and action. I wanted to try my hand at describing a fight between Kim and Shego, which is tradition to most stories involving these two within the canon. I hope I did paint a nice picture, using the right words. Words with hard sounding consonants to denote a certain sounds rather than just typing in caps "BOOM!" But I feel I indulged too much in the description and hence the fight doesn't seem fast-paced enough.
Yes, I noticed a problem with my spacing, it's because the site seems to remove additional spaces from my Word document. Bah. Will try to work around that. Another option is to do chapters, but it will not do for oneshots.
This piece explores Shego's character. Rather how I interpret it. She seems out-of-character. My only note here should be that Shego's terrified. And I'm doing my best to not say that outright, but subtly hint that she's hiding that behind a façade of condescending bravado, nonchalance in the face of death and ribbing of Ron Stoppable. That's why she doesn't show any sign of weakness, insults Ron, keeps saying she's going to die in a laid-back manner and uses her pain to hurt Ron. She doesn't really care how much her actions hurt herself, but how much her actions hurt others. She did this twice, to Kim and to Ron. First time physically, second time emotionally. And she ends up getting hurt even worse, both times. But that's her nature.
I can't really say much for Shego, because all this is told through Ron's point-of-view. It's all his thoughts, all his observations, all his words. So she just seems complex and unpredictable. But she acknowledges that Ron is a good and trustworthy guy. He did save Kim, he saved Shego, and she acknowledges how important he is to Kim. That's probably why she trusts him. He does what he says he'll do.
Perhaps the line that sends shivers down my spine is, "That's why she's Princess, and I'm Shego." It's perhaps the most telling line in the whole story who Shego is. Cryptic, but I like it like that.
I know some people hate a cliffhanger, but I assure you, I hinted the ending already. Why else would Ron be so confident in Kim's ability to rescue him? That should be enough to ensure he's going to be saved. As to whether Shego will live, I think it goes to say if Ron survives, so will Shego. Because he won't leave her behind. He said he wouldn't.
Slowly I am peeling away the layers of Shego. Trying to make her more human, less of a green villain. Hence the title. Plus I think while writing this, I have a brief idea of how I want to proceed with this. Not continue this story exactly, this is probably a prequel or something.
I'm receptive to all forms of criticism. If you got something to say, I got something to listen to. Thanks for indulging.