A polite cough nearly made Drakken jump out of his skin. He made an irritated sound and carefully set down the gondola from the scale model of Venice he was studying for his next plot. "Yes, what is it?"
"If you're busy…"
The voice was disorienting. It was definitely Shego, but he'd never heard her sound quite so… nice. "I can spare a minute," he said carefully, turning to face her. "What's going on?"
She was leaning on the doorframe, studying her nails a little too intensely to look casual. "Just wanted to talk to you for a second."
He raised an eyebrow. "About?"
She gave a faint laugh and tucked her hair behind one ear, not quite looking at him. "Well, you know, it just occurred to me that we were stuck up in the Arctic together for a while, and I never did thank you for paying for my vacation…"
"Don't mention it." He smiled and was about to return to work when he realized she wasn't moving. And there was something else odd about her. He'd be hard-pressed to say what an unhealthy shade was for someone who usually had green skin, but this dull pinkish cast couldn't be normal. "Shego, are you feeling all right? Your color's a little off, if you don't mind my saying."
"I'm fine!" Shego practically shouted. "I'm just…" She sighed impatiently. "I'm just a little out of my element, okay? I don't do nice."
"True," Drakken agreed. He started to say more, but something occurred to him suddenly. He couldn't suppress a grin. "Shego, you're blushing!"
The pink tone deepened. "I am not! And can you not make this harder than it already is?"
"You're right. I'm sorry." He tried to compose himself, but the smile wouldn't go away. "You were saying?"
"I don't know why I bother with you sometimes," she said softly. She stepped into the room suddenly, revealing an awkwardly-wrapped package in the hand that had been facing away from him. She reached over him to place it on the table, her arm briefly wrapping around his shoulders in something that might almost have been a hug. "Anyway. It's a couple days late, but merry Christmas."
"Oh! You didn't have t–" Drakken cut himself off, realizing that she'd disappeared already. He stared at the door in confusion for a moment, then shrugged and picked up the package, peeling back the green wrapping paper.
It was a globe. A small one, about the size of a baseball, elegantly carved in blue and green stone. Another fold of paper fell away as he held it, and Drakken had to laugh – not a maniacal laugh, but a genuine one – at the inscription on the base:
Someday, the real one. I promise.