By Ninnik Nishukan
Summary: A couple of years or so after season four, it's the day when Shego is turning thirty. Drakken and Shego are some darn slow movers, apparently. Written before I'd seen the finale and some other episodes of season four. Random future one-shot.Written for D/S Day Explosion 2007.
He found her out on the balcony, her back turned to him. The initial moment of relief was quickly overcome by irritation that she'd simply been hiding from him— that's what it looked like, anyway.
"Shego! Where've you been?"He demanded as he walked up to her. "I've been looking for you all day!"
She shrugged, not even looking back. "I've been around."
Drakken sighed in exasperation. "Well, you know what today is, and you should— are you smoking?"
"Looks like." Shego sent him a glance that was half annoyance, half amusement; for a second, he'd sounded like his mother.
He gave her an odd look. "Since when do you smoke?"
Again, she shrugged. "I don't."
There was silence, and Drakken suddenly understood what it was all about. She was turning thirty, and knowing Shego and her thing about image and the vanity that she'd never admit to, but that he knew was there, well…
He decided not to give her a hard time about it after all.
Walking up to her, he leaned companionably on the banister next to her. "Can I have one?"
She paused with her cigarette halfway to her lips, and simply stared at him, her expression strange, her lips quirked. She looked not unlike the 'cool kids' had looked like at school whenever he'd asked for a cigarette to try to fit in—
—unlike the 'cool kids', though, she eventually shrugged and produced a pack of cigarettes from a pocket, handing him one. After finding her lighter, she even lit it for him. It felt oddly gratifying, like it almost made up for all of those rejections in high school.
They stood in comfortable silence for a while, simply smoking quietly, the smoke billowing into the cold, dark night air.
"Happy birthday," he told her after a while, looking up at the stars.
"Thanks," she said, nodding curtly.
"You're not very happy about turning thirty, are you?"He went on, glancing down at her face.
Her expression remained neutral. "Doy."
"Well, I'm already forty-four." He said matter-of-factly, before taking a drag off of his cigarette. "So stop whining." He added, a small smirk in the corner of his mouth.
Shego opened her mouth, as if she was about to snap at him, but she couldn't help but grin as she caught the look on his face. "Where's my gift?" She demanded, half in jest.
Drakken shrugged, taking a last drag off of his cigarette before throwing it to the balcony floor and crushing it under his heel. "If you hadn't been sulking all day, you could've gotten it hours ago, you know."
Shego rolled her eyes, suppressing a chuckle. "Well, bring it on, then," she said, before flicking the remains of her cigarette off of the balcony.
"Fine," he said, leading the way.
"So, why are you all cheerful and…you know, non-grouchy?"She asked casually as they walked inside.
He shrugged. "You actually kept the mocking to a minimum on my birthday, so I thought I'd lighten up a little on yours." He cleared his throat, looking somewhat stern. "Don't get used to it, though."
"Don't worry, I'll never get used to that…!"
"Close your eyes," He said with a giddy grin, holding something behind his back.
She gave him a deeply sceptical look. "Close my eyes? What are we, five?"
"You just love to spoil my fun, don't you?"He complained, pouting.
Sighing, Shego indulged him after all, closing her eyes. She also stuck out her hand, tapping her foot.
Drakken rolled his eyes at her when she couldn't see, grinning as he put the gift in her hand.
Shego opened her eyes, somewhat surprised. It was an envelope. What could that be? More than a card, she hoped, or she'd get offended. It wasn't as if he couldn't afford it. Glancing curiously up at his excited face, she shrugged and opened the envelope.
There was a card, like she'd thought. It was a silly and tasteless, of course, probably bought at the very last minute. It had a cartoon goat on it, which was holding an armful of balloons, and it said Happy Birthday in gold writing. It also said, just below the goat: You Really Get My Goat.
She sucked in a silent bark of laughter, struggling to keep from making a sarcastic comment; she had to at least be able to stop herself when he was giving her a gift on her birthday, right?
Or maybe not. It was just too...corny. Oh, good grief, how corny it was; it was almost causing her physical pain to not to launch a verbal assault on this cheesy, cheesy card—
She looked up at him, about to speak—
"I know, I know...! It's cheesy." He cringed, stopping her by holding up a hand. "Just...read the card, okay?"
She smirked before turning her attention back to her card.
Dear Shego, it said,
Congratulations on your 30th.
You haven't aged a day. If you ever feel old, just take a look at me and feel better.
Happy birthday. I wish you all the best.
It was so sappy and clichéd, yet she found herself smiling, if even just a little. Glancing at him, she looked into the envelope and found something else.
It was a gift certificate for a trip. To anywhere she liked. For two whole weeks. And it included a rather surprising sum of money. No matter where she chose to go, this sum would surely cover it. Hell, she could even bring somebody, if she felt like it...
This time, it was a gasp she had to stifle instead of the sarcasm.
When she looked up at Dr. D again, she found him looking nervous and expectant. What, he thought she didn't like it?
She felt all fuzzy inside, but not the in the usual way, where she got discomfited and wanted to shake it off; no, she got the sudden urge to say…something to him, but she didn't quite know what.
'Thank you' was a given— she'd just received a gift, after all— but it just wasn't…enough.
'I like you' just sounded lame and…and also insufficient. Hollow-sounding. Like something a child might say in a careless kind of way.
'I care about you' sounded mushy, cheesy, sugary and other nauseating things; it just sounded…unnatural, somehow.
'I love you' wasn't even an option. It was completely out of the question.
'I love you' sounded like an anvil dropping on her head from a great height, like Mr. Sit-Down squashing her under his giant, yellow behind. It sounded overwhelming, like a mountain or a storm at sea, and she felt like she'd just lost her grip on the climbing rope and was tumbling down, like she was in a tiny dinghy that was about to be crushed against a reef— and 'I love you' wasn't something that she felt, not here, not now, maybe never— 'I love you' was something so unfamiliar to her that she didn't think she'd ever say it. To anyone.
So she couldn't do words in this case, but she supposed she could always be Action Shego. Putting the envelope aside, she took a few steps towards him and slipped her arms around him. It was a genuine hug this time, not the flighty, brief, awkward things she'd given to him once in a blue moon for all these years they'd known each other. She squeezed him tight, put her face against his shoulder— everything a proper embrace was supposed to be.
She let it linger, and after a few seconds, she felt his arms envelop her as well, felt him squeeze her back and felt his large chin come to rest on the top of her head. There weren't that many perfect or even semi-perfect moments in life, but this was one of them, she thought as she grinned, slowly rubbing her cheek against the fabric of his lab coat. Somehow, this hug was more significant than any hug she'd ever gotten from her real family.
Before she knew it, she'd also planted a rather heart-felt kiss on his cheek. And he felt…good.
"What was that?" Drakken asked softly when they parted.
Shego's face felt suddenly hot under his astounded stare. Dr. D was very familiar to her. She'd known him for years now, and she could usually with some accuracy predict what he'd say or do in reaction to this or that situation, but this…this was not familiar to her at all. This was something else. "Doy, my birthday hug?"She explained, looking down.
He tilted his head at her, puzzled. "How come I never got one, then?"
"You snooze, you lose."
She looked back up, starting to slowly feel like herself again. She directed a shameless smirk at him. "Now…I'm assuming there's cake?"
She appeared in his doorway later that night, unexpectedly, and he halted in opening his pajamas drawer.
"Yes?"He asked curiously as she just stood there, saying nothing.
There was another stretch of silence as she simply subjected him a strange, slightly unfocused stare, as if she was trying to look into some sort of portal to another dimension— but through his actual face. He was about to speak again when she cleared her throat so loudly and abruptly that he almost jumped.
"I was thinking, you know…somebody gave me this fancy trip, and I thought…"
She shuffled her feet a bit. "I thought that maybe somebody would like to keep me company and everything."
It took a second or two before he realized what she was on about. When he did, he couldn't hold back his own astonishment. "Who, me?"
"No, I meant my invisible rabbit friend, Harvey!"She snapped.
He took a step back. "No need to be like that." He objected, frowning, "You can't just dump this in my lap and expect me to not be surprised!"
She looked pained for a moment, but bit her lip and regained her composure before turning to leave. "Fine, just forget it…"
Before he knew what he was even doing, he was leaping after her. "Wait, wait, wait…!"He chanted rather desperately— because it did feel desperate, like a once in a lifetime kind of chance— as he took her by the arm. "Listen, Shego, I don't get it, okay? I bought that trip for you so you could get away from me and work for a while—I thought I was doing you a favor!"
"Yeah," she hissed, venom in her eyes, her voice hardened, "I would love to get away right now!"
Sudden hurt flashed on his face. "Shego…?"
Shego swallowed, shaking her head. "Dr. D, I've been alone on all of my vacations since— since always! And that's been fine, I've been okay with that because it's been relaxing, but now I just thought that maybe…"
Drakken blinked at her, baffled. She'd been alone? He'd always assumed that she had to be meeting someone…or something, anyway. Not always alone…
"Really, just forget it…"She insisted when she saw the look on his face. She'd obviously confused him completely.
He felt some small sense of panic starting to build. "No, Shego, I mean, if you really want me to—"
Bad choice of words, he thought as he saw her suddenly looking cornered. "Hey, I didn't mean— it was just a suggestion, you know!"She exclaimed, scowling at him. "It's not as if it's a big deal or anything, I can just go alone—"
Drakken swallowed as he realized what he would have to do; he would have to fold in this situation, to allow for her dignity to remain intact. Because he knew her too well— had known her since her early twenties— and there was no way she would ever admit to needing him to come with her. And if he kept pushing all her wrong buttons, he would lose this chance that she'd somehow managed to work up the courage to present to him.
"Shego, I…can I come with you?"He asked quickly. "I would like to go."He added earnestly, deliberately turning everything around on her. "I mean, I'm sure I could use a break from my attempts at world domination. Start afresh when I come back and everything."He shrugged. "And who knows? Maybe I'll even be inspired by something when I'm away."
Shego stared at him for a second or two before it looked as if she was having some kind of revelation. "Well…if you really want to, I guess I can't say no…" She mumbled, nodding.
Drakken sighed softly, smiling just a little. "Yes. I do."
She glanced up, then down, then up again, meeting his gaze hesitantly. "So, yeah…it was in one week, right?"
"Um…yes. One week."
Finally, her face lit up a bit. "That's…yeah. Great."She nodded, grinning awkwardly; finally calming down, but embarrassed after everything.
"Yes," he agreed, nodding slowly. "I'll look forward to it."
She reached over to squeeze his hand, her grin softening but still staying put. "Okay. So…good night."
"Good night," he echoed, feeling a bit warm suddenly. But it was a good kind of warmth; it felt like relief, expectation and excitement all at once.
She turned to leave. "Be sure to get a good night's sleep, Doc," she told him, then, "because we have to get up early tomorrow."
"Hmm?" He frowned. "Why? Are we doing anything?"
She turned in the doorway, smirking. "We have to go shopping, of course. I need a new bikini for the trip, and you need a new…well, everything." She added, raising an eyebrow at his somewhat washed-out T-shirt.
Drakken's face fell before he groaned with defeat. "Fine."
Shego nodded in a self-satisfied kind of way before leaving his room.
Drakken sighed. He supposed it was true what they said— that you didn't get something for nothing. He hated shopping and he rarely wasted time and money on updating his wardrobe— especially since he mostly just wore his lab coat, anyway— but in this case he saw that it was wise to just go along with whatever she said for now. He supposed he could use some new clothes, anyway, he thought, picking at the hem of his old T-shirt.
He froze, then.
Blinking, he rushed to the door. "A bikini, Shego?"He called after her, flabbergasted. "Where are we going?"
The only reply was her amused laughter echoing in the hallway.
Author's note: Yeah, they're Disney characters…and they're having a cigarette. Sue me. Or, you know…don't?
I wanted this fic to have a sort of 'old friendship turning into something more' kind of feeling to it. I hope I managed to do that. If they seem more mellow than usual, it's because I did that deliberately. They've changed a bit after a few years. Not much, but a bit.
I just realized I forgot to credit my beta, Zoza! smacks own head Sorry-- thanks for the help once again, Z! You're always ready to assist me on my fics, and for that I am grateful.
Thanks to Teh Dipstick for helping me come up with the You Really Get My Goat line on the card. I needed a bad pun for a card with a goat on it.